DFL began in 1993 when Monty Messex decided to start a punk band with Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys and renown skateboarder Crazy Tom Davis. The trio hit it off because they both came of age during the first wave of hardcore: In 1981, Messex formed hardcore punk band the Atoms, which included Izzy Stradlin (pre-Guns n Roses); Horovitz started in the early NYC hardcore scene with the Young and the Useless before joining the Beastie Boys during their initial run as a hardcore band; Crazy Tom was a seasoned skateboarder hailing from the Marina Del Rey skatepark.


Messex says, “In 1993, I was obsessively listening to Bad Religion’s How Could Hell Be Any Worse. I had this beat up cassette that I’d listen to it over and over and over and over again on my Walkman.  That record brought me back to the early 80s hardcore scene I grew up on- that included Circle Jerks, the Germs, The Adolescents. I wanted to make a record that called back to the initial rush I got from the early hardcore scene.”


 Without much planning, Messex linked up with Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys, who, at the time, were recording the seminal Check Your Head Album. Messex threw the idea of starting a hardcore punk band past Horovitz and DFL was born. Messex says, “I literally remember the moment when we started DFL. Adam dropped by my place in Echo Park and kinda half joking I asked him if he wanted to start a hardcore band. To my surprise he was like, ‘uh… yeah!’ I had a few songs and we went over to G-Son. I played them for Adam and the band was born right there and then.”

Shortly thereafter, Messex and Horovitz drafted “Crazy” Tom Davis into the group. Hailing the so-cal skate scene, Davis was added as much for his explosive singing style and unpredictability.  Along with drummer Tony Converse, the band recorded the volatile My Crazy Life album in the time it takes to listen to it: 20 minutes. Unlike the more polished records of the day, My Crazy Life was 15 tracks of raw and ragged hardcore punk that, while fueled by the same energy as first wave of California hardcore, was pushed into the present, addressing issues like mental health, ‘90s Hollywood, and the fact that pizza is tasty. The album was produced by Beastie Boys in-house producer Mario Caldato, who captured the band’s raw, ragged live energy on the recordings.

In 1995, the band released their second album, Proud to Be, on Epitaph records. Although Horovitz had left the band at that point due to commitments with the Beastie Boys, he produced the record, which resulted in a second helping of DFL’s classic style hardcore. At the time, punk rock was going in a poppier, more mainstream direction. DFL swam against the current with a lo-fi, high speed ripper of record, resulting in the album becoming a cult favorite in punk rock circles.

In 1997, the band released their third and final album, Grateful… While the album was rooted in the classic DFL hardcore attack, it found the band experimenting with their format- some songs have Balinese music dropped between tracks, one song is a Sabbath-style slow motion stomper, and the entire CD was presented as a 26-minute, one track release. Despite that the release was the band’s most ambitious release, they broke up just before its release, never touring on the LP.


Messex and Davis reunited the band in 2013 and released the first new material in 24 years, YRUDFL (SBAM Records), in 2021, to critical acclaim. The band now includes Patrick Sullivan on bass and Snare Jordan on drums. The band has reunited with producer Mario Caldato and are working on new material.