I just heard about the death of the Middle Class guitarist, Mike Atta, last night; I think he was only 53. Details via OC Weekly:
Trailblazing punk guitarist Mike Atta died after a lengthy battle with (lung) cancer on Easter Sunday. Atta's band with his brothers Jeff and Bruce, the Middle Class, is often credited with being one of the first hardcore bands ever. The Santa Ana based band was active from 1977 to 1982, but inspired countless hardcore punk bands from OC and beyond for years to come.
Tho' punk was a thing which was happening all over the world by 1977 the Middle Class were, most likely (yes, along with Black Flag), the first punk band to go hardcore. I'm inclined to agree, just dig their Out Of Vogue EP as it nails all hardcore's hallmarks.