The Assistant were a hardcore punk band from New Jersey. They played loud, fast, heavy music with lots of screaming. They also played catchy and poppy songs with slightly off key singing. Songs with programming, keyboards, and samples- Yeah, that too. They could also jam for 5 minutes without saying a word. I try not to get to tied up in the genre(s) slapped on a band, outside of the broader things like Hardcore, Punk, Ska, Rock, Emo, Metal, etc.; I know that the Assistant was a Screamo band, but that just sounds so narrow, so I guess I will get caught up in it this one time, which is why I called them a Hardcore Punk band at the onset of this post. I think that does them the most justice, and at least for me, more fairly says what they were and the depth of what they meant to me.
The last song that the Assistant released, "I Have A Name", from the split with Takaru & This Ship Will Sink, states that the Assistant, as a band, was about standing up for what you believe in. To me, that speaks far more to what this band meant to me (and many others). They covered topics that encompass just about every aspect of human emotion, self-reflection, and dealing with life itself, as a whole. From self-abuse to the impacts of illicit drugs (and discussion of the lengths that governments have been willing to go to in order to test out new drugs on the poor and the resulting impacts), sexual abuse, consumer culture, the consequences of convenience, the com-modification of independent and thought provoking music sounds/scenes, and much more. All of it with thought and explanation - an insight into the words and thoughts that are just as heavy (if not more so) than the music they are playing. Multiple members singing and writing lyrics gives a little something extra, not that the band wouldn't have been great with just Leigh singing.
I will leave it at that- as i've said before here, some times less is more. The Assistant, for me, is a band that ranks up there with Battery, Hot Water Music, the Cable Car Theory, By The Grace of God, and other incredible bands that seemed to fuse themselves into the music they played, and shared words that were bits and pieces of themselves and of myself too. That's not said for a dramatic flair; this music of hardcore and punk ; through many bands and people; has indelibly made an impact on nearly every aspect of my life in some way.
Members have been in a laundry list of other bands, especially guitarist/vocalist, Tom. Check each and every one of them out.
The Assisant (2001)
In The Year of the Dawg (2002)
We'll Make The Roads By Walking (2003)