Interview: Fury of Five

Few hardcore bands are more synonymous with raw aggression and intensity than New Jersey hardcore legends Fury of Five. With a signature style that combines streetwise rhythms with heavy, metal-inspired riffs and ruthlessly aggressive lyrics, Fury of Five put New Jersey Hardcore on the map and kicked down doors to assert their place in the halls of hardcore history.

Formed in 1994, Fury of Five took the scene by storm, and their album, At War With the World, set the tone for countless bands to follow. Fury of Five demanded both your attention and your respect, and they weren’t going to be denied. Notoriously equal parts ruthless and real, FOF took shit from no one, proving time and again they lived up to the mythology that surrounded them. 

While Fury of Five’s initial run came to an abrupt end in 1998, frontman, James “Stikman” Ramen, never gave up on reuniting the band, and in 2022 an announcement was made that the band was officially back together and writing new music, with a brand new EP, Half Past Revenge, slated to be released on Upstate Records in early 2023. In the interview below, James took some time to fill us in on the storied history of Fury of Five and what we can expect as they make their triumphant return as the kings of NJHC.

*The original text for this interview appeared in Today Forever Issue 02 in March 2023.

**All text copyright Today Forever 2023, please do not duplicate without express editorial permission.

Photos by Danielle Dombrowski –

Fury of Five recently announced that, 23 years after your last recording, you’re about to drop a brand new EP, Half Past Revenge, on Upstate Records, with plans for a full length album in the works. When did you start work on the Fury of Five reunion and how does it feel to be back?

James: It feels nothing short of amazing. We started talking about it in late 2021, but didn’t start practicing until January of this year, and played our first show on June 11th at the House of Independents in Asbury Park, NJ. The momentum has continued to this point. We definitely don’t have any complaints.

In the 20 plus years since the release of This Time It’s Personal were you all still in touch and working on music? The core lineup of the original band is back together, was it hard to get everyone on board for the reunion?

Well, we ended abruptly in 1998, and we all went back to living so-called “normal” lives. As time went on, contact became more infrequent. Marriages, kids, and jobs always take precedent in people’s lives but I stayed involved with music. I did Fury twice without the original guys. The first time was in 2010 at the first East Coast Tsunami Fest in Pennsylvania. And, honestly, it caused some drama amongst the OGs. Then I did it in 2014 at TIHC Fest in Philly with new guys. That time around, Mike Terror was on board at first but changed his mind. I already had the band in motion, though, and I was going to try to continue, but it didn’t work out. Even did a tour in Europe, then called it a day. 

Finally, after many years, the stars aligned. Jay Fury and I were talking and he told me he was down to play. So, I posted on social media – who wanted to see the OG Fury? Mike replied he was in. Chico was contacted and he was hesitant to commit at first, but after the first practice with our new drummer, he was all in. Chris was the only one to decline after being asked by multiple members, so we put it out there that we needed a drummer, and Mikey Mayhem found us. 

Fury of Five came up in hardcore at a time when hardcore music and subculture wasn’t nearly as accessible as it is today. How were you first introduced to hardcore and what were the circumstances around Fury of Five initially forming?

I got into hardcore in 1985. I come from the crossover era. I was a metalhead who stumbled onto Agnostic Front’s Cause For Alarm record, which took me down the portal to NYHC. 

In 1988 I started my own band with some of my homies called Locked Up In Life, but then got locked up for real. It wouldn’t be until 1990 [that] I’d reform the band. We put out 2 demos, which are online, but we broke up in late ’92. I started another band called Position Of Power, which got a decent local following, but broke up in early ’94. Mike Terror, who was also in Locked Up In Life, started a band and needed a singer, so he called me and I went to meet up with him and (the soon to be) Jay Fury. The rest is history. Now here we are in 2022, ready to bring [Fury of Five] to the next level. 

Anyone who follows Fury of Five will know you’ve been hard at work writing and recording new music at Landmine Studios in New Jersey. What has the process of writing and recording your new material been like? How did you connect with Len Carmichael and Landmine Studios?

I met Len back in 2010 when I featured on Lifeless’s first album, and we’ve been homies ever since. We recorded Fury there in 2014 and 25 Ta Life in 2017, plus a lot of features, as well as my son recording some rap stuff there. 

Recording has been super fun. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a drummer record with no music – just click track. I’m still blown away. Mikey Mayhem is a beast, and I’m so glad he found us, for real. 

Recording has always been fun for us as a band. We always got mad jokes and antics happening, but when it’s crunch time we are focused and there for each other. We have great chemistry, and vibe very well together.

Beyond hardcore and the music scene, what is everyone in Fury of Five up to in their day-to-day lives? Has it been hard to find time to write, record, and tour along with your other responsibilities?

You know, work, and life. Two of us are married and four of us have kids. Girlfriends, dogs, houses, etc.

We do practice once a week on Sundays – Hardcore Church. We actually wrote 4 songs in less than two months, so writing is not an issue. Our heads are always in the game. Playing shows and tour[ing] is a little harder with our jobs being our main income sources. It’s hard to get days off for weeks at a time, so we do our best playing weekends when we can. We hope to hit some states we’ve never played before, but for now we will just be local unless something that makes sense comes our way.

Hard and heavy as hell, Fury of Five wrote metal-influenced tracks that also incorporated elements from hip hop, creating a style that became foundational to the modern hardcore sound. What were your initial influences when writing music for Fury of Five and what are your influences writing new music in 2022? Now that you are writing new music, how do you feel your sound has evolved?

First and foremost, my life experiences are my main influence. The pain I endured by the ones who supposedly loved me will always drive my lyrics. Sometimes, I think anger is the only emotion I have in my heart, and it shows in our music. We are a reality based band, and use the same formula for our new material. I believe the songs we’re about to put out are some of the best we’ve ever written. Some will disagree, but I said what I said. We will soon find out.

You’ve played some amazing shows this year, from touring the West Coast with fellow NJHC legends, E-Town Concrete, to destroying the stage at This Is Hardcore. How does it feel to be back in the mix and playing shows? How do you feel audiences have been reacting to FOF in 2022?

Pretty incredible. We just picked up where we left off. Same attitude and approach that we always had. It’s like we never stopped – the response is overwhelming and humbling to say the least. The love is real. Even for our first time on the West Coast, it was nothing but love. When you’re bringing your music from your heart, the real ones will always embrace you. 

Fury of Five’s lyrics have always been as honest as they are aggressive. How does it feel to sing those words nearly two decades after they were written? Do you still have the same outlook on the world as you did when you wrote the original FOF records?

These 20 year old songs are still relevant, and one album came out after we went away, so the catalog isn’t played out. To me, my lyrics are everything. I wouldn’t write it if I didn’t mean it. So, the outlook is still the same because the world hasn’t changed. When the new songs drop they will just solidify the old songs. To be honest with you, I think I have more hate and anger towards the world now, but I just control my actions a lot better. 

The original Fury of Five records, along with several compilations, are now available to stream on various online platforms. Was the band able to regain the masters for these records and do you have any plans for rereleasing any of the FOF vinyl? How did the folding of Victory Records affect the Fury of Five catalogue?

We disappeared off the streaming platforms because Victory Records was bought by Sony. They archived our records, but Jay tracked down our stuff, which is controlled by some other record label, and he was able to get us back on the streaming platforms. They are also willing to work with us, and talked about vinyl, but I really don’t know where we are with that to be honest. From what I understand, if it happens, it would be the album This Time It’s Personal. So we’ll see.

Fury of Five has a reputation as one of the most intimidating, take no bullshit bands to come out of hardcore, and kicked down doors that people may not have even realized were once shut. How does it feel to be amongst the godfathers of modern hardcore and how has your perspective on hardcore and the scene changed over the years you’ve been involved? How does the hardcore scene you’re re-entering in 2022 compare to hardcore when Fury of Five was first playing shows?

It took many years before Fury even started to get the respect that is shown today. Fury opened many doors for bands in New Jersey. I don’t think there has been any band the repped our state as hard as we did. 

The scene was small and tight knit back then, and even smaller before Fury. To me, the hardcore scene is always the same – it never progresses and is always divided. You got the hipsters, and you got the real ones. The difference for me is that the fear element is gone, and that [the] pure rage that once spewed from bands is no longer there. The scene is a happy, safe space, filled with newborns just waiting to cancel someone. There is really no comparison in my opinion. It’s a different time, and it’s so saturated that most bands sound the same. It’s very watered down.

Along with your impending EP release, Half Past Revenge, you’ve mentioned plans for touring and writing another LP in close succession to the EP. Can you tell us any more about FOF’s plans for 2023 and beyond?

We’re just going to take in stride. We’ll probably do a record release show and a video for a track off the EP. Hopefully we’ll hit Europe, as well, but we’ll see what the future brings after we drop these new songs. 

Fury of Five put out some of hardcore’s most influential music, toured the world, and put New Jersey hardcore on the map. What are some of your favorite memories from those days?

Wow, where do I start? So many crazy shows and events that transpired – I could be here for hours telling stories. 

I’d have to say 1998 Dynamo Fest was a favorite. That came together thanks to Onno Cromag – rest in peace. He was a huge Fury fan and got us on that festival. Even back then, cancel culture existed and tried to keep us out of the spotlight, but thanks to people like him, we were able to chip away at the wall of hate. It was a great show. There is a video of the song ‘Come And Get It’ filmed by Drew Stone on YouTube. Go check it out if you haven’t seen it. 

In 1998, Fury of Five had the whole world in their crosshairs. Who is Fury of Five taking aim at in 2022?

Well, with 2022 coming to end, we’re looking forward to 2023. We will be taking small steps and trying not to be the flavor of the month. Kids these days move on to new things fast, and have a dislike for “old head” bands returning, from what I understand. But we’re going to do what we’ve always done – make the angriest and realest music we can and stick to our roots. 

Fury of Five has always been known for looking out for the scene and other bands. As we close the interview, is there anyone you want to pay some respect or shout out?

I would like to thank my band members who are my family. We started this thing in ’94 and we are still here doing the damn thing. I got nothing but love and respect for these guys. 

I would also like to shout out to all the NJHC bands repping the state who continue to keep the scene alive. 

Also, thank you for the opportunity and your time in helping Fury reach new ears and reading about our history.

You can order the new album Half Past Revenge on Upstate Records at and you can find them on Instagram at


Author: Nikki
Former editor at Inked Magazine and contributor to a wide variety of art and media publications over the years, Nikki founded Today Forever in 2022 as a love letter to the music and scene she has been fortunate to be involved in for the better part of a lifetime.