For the past year and a half, members of the Seattle chapter of the small but notorious national gang called FSU (Friends Stand United) have been a source of frustration for Seattle’s hardcore music community. The Stranger first reported on the issue in January [“The Show Must Go On,” Jan 5], when members of FSU showed up at an all-ages show and threatened the band Dangers (a hardcore act from California) with violence if they played a song that disparaged FSU’s reputation for threatening people and fighting at shows. Intimidated, the band and the promoter decided to cancel the concert.
But shortly after the incident, the music community started to fight back. Three members of FSU were fired from their security jobs at El Corazón after club owners received numerous complaints from both parents and patrons. A number of people involved in the local hardcore community also started brainstorming ideas of how to handle the situation, with suggestions ranging from a public forum to a complete FSU boycott.
Before any further action was taken, however, the situation escalated: Last Saturday night a number of men involved with FSU were arrested outside the all-ages SoDo rock club Studio Seven. According to the police report, a sergeant patrolling the area observed a group of men, some wearing FSU jackets, gathered in the street outside the venue. The cops, aware of FSU’s violent reputation, decided to investigate the scene and approached the group.
“In recent months, there have been at least three incidents involving FSU members violently assaulting strangers for no apparent reason,” the officer stated in the report. “In addition, there have been complaints received from the manager of Studio Seven in the past concerning the violent behavior of the FSU group, including assaults to other patrons inside the club.”
When an officer saw someone drop a set of brass knuckles (which are illegal), the police searched 24 men and ultimately arrested four—Mike Torres, Zachary Collins, Steven Fox, and Jake Vore. Three of them, Torres, Collins, and Vore, are known throughout the community as FSU members. Torres was one of the men fired from El Corazón for his involvement in FSU, and Vore is said to be one of the original members of FSU Seattle.
Torres, Collins, and Fox were arrested and charged for possession of weapons, including fixed-blade and spring-loaded knives and brass knuckles. Vore, who is named in the report as a previously convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm, was arrested for not only carrying a 9mm handgun, but also for possessing 28 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute. All the men except Vore, who according to the Prosecutor’s Office is being held on a $30,000 bail, have been released.
At press time, the Municipal Court had not returned our phone calls when following up on Torres’s, Collins’s, and Fox’s charges.
Another man at the scene, who was not booked, was reported to be wearing a bulletproof vest (which is legal) and carrying a can of law-enforcement-issue pepper spray.
Attempts to contact the men who were arrested were unsuccessful, except for Torres, who declined to comment on why they were outside the club (which they were banned from last year due to a previous incident involving FSU violence outside the club) or why they were carrying weapons.
Some speculate, though, that FSU showed up because the band that played that night, the New York oi-punk band the Templars, has a following in the skinhead community. This makes sense: FSU did start in the ’80s as a group of people who fought racist skinheads at East Coast hardcore shows, trying to eradicate Nazis from the scene. But FSU’s current insular message of fraternity and demand for respect is far removed from their anti-racist beginnings. In recent months, they’ve threatened and assaulted a number of members of the hardcore scene, including band members, show promoters, and music fans.