We lost a good friend, on Tuesday, a legendary figure in the punk scene. Rest in Peace indeed, brother.
André Schlesinger, lead singer of the Press, who has been widely accepted the first Oi! Band in New York City and an outspoken and active antifascist, died Feb. 11.
At the time of this posting, no immediate details of Schlesinger’s passing were available, although tributes have been posted throughout Facebook by fans and fellow musicians, who saw him as an icon in punk music.
The Press were an Oi! band in the United States formed in New York City in 1984. The outspoken anti-fascist band were early members of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice and Schlesinger also supported the views of the British Socialist Workers Party which was reflected in some of the band’s lyrics. Among it’s recordings were “Just Another Warning” on Moon Record’s NY Beat: Hit & Run, 8 tracks on Oi! Records Skins ‘N’ Punks Vol. 5, “It’s Not What I Want” on The Best of Oi! Records compilation, and their last release “Friday 5 PM” on Radical Record’s Oi!/Skampilation Vol 1.
After years of lineup changes, the Press broke up in 1994, playing their absolute last performance at The Gas Station on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Schlesinger continued his music with a new band, an Electronic/Oi/Punk/Reggae hybrid called Maninblack. He also remained an outspoken antifa, participating in political rallies throughout New York City and occasionally working with One People’s Project.
“I was often cited for being angry [when I was in The Press],” Schlesinger once said, “as if that’s a crime, and I guess a certain amount of anger went into The Press’ song writing process and my personal performance, but if you think I was angry then, well, I’m 10 years older now and a whole lot meaner. Maninblack is a reflection in an oil slick of that anger. I’m known for being somewhat of an idealist and on top of that I’m now on a very personal mission, I’m in a very dark place, so this is going to hurt a whole lot more.”
No funeral arrangements were available at the time of posting.