Gray Matter (band)

Last updated
Gray Matter
Origin Washington, D.C., U.S.
Genres Post-hardcore, emo, hardcore punk
Years active1983–1986
Labels Dischord
Past membersDante Ferrando
Mark Haggerty
John Kirchstein
Steve Niles
Geoff Turner

Gray Matter was an American post-hardcore band from Washington, D.C., United States, who played in the 1980s and 1990s. They disbanded in 1986, but reformed in 1990.



Gray Matter officially formed in the summer of 1983 from the ashes of several Washington, D.C. area punk bands. Geoff Turner, Mark Haggerty and Dante Ferrando had been playing in bands since their early junior high school days. In 1983, Dante and Mark were playing in Iron Cross, but when the band's image began to reflect its violent supporters more than the members themselves, Dante quit. Soon after Mark also left and the two reunited with Geoff and Steve Niles and started playing shows around Washington D.C. as Gray Matter.

The band's first album, Food For Thought, was recorded at Inner Ear studio in November 1984 with Minor Threat's Ian Mackaye assisting with production. It was originally released on R&B Records in 1985, while the members were still in high school. In 1986, Dischord Records released the EP Take It Back. Shortly thereafter, Mark left the band to go to college and Gray Matter broke up. Dante went on to play drums for Ignition and Geoff, Steve, and Mark reunited and formed the band Three, with Jeff Nelson from Minor Threat. Gray Matter reformed in the spring of 1990 and released a double seven inch in 1991 and the full-length, Thog, in 1992. The band officially disbanded in 1993.

Dischord originally re-issued Food For Thought and Take It Back (DIS 49) onto one CD in 1990. [1]

On September 21, 2003 the band reunited for a one off show to celebrate to 10th anniversary of the Black Cat, a nightclub in Washington D.C. that's partially owned by band member Dante Ferrando. Subsequently, Gray Matter has performed at the Black Cat's 15th, 20th, [2] and 25th anniversary shows.


Before Gray Matter, Haggerty and Ferrando played in the DC skinhead band Iron Cross. Niles later gained fame for writing horror comics books, in particular 30 Days of Night . Geoff Turner went on to found WGNS recording studios, [3] and Dante Ferrando is the founder and owner of long running D.C. alternative and punk nightclub the Black Cat. [4]



EPs and singles


Compilation appearances


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  1. "Dischord Records: Gray Matter".
  2. Lavanya Ramanathan (June 5, 2013). "Black Cat Turns 20 With Shudder to Think, Ted Leo, Mary Timony and more". The Washington Post . Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  3. "WGNS | w g n s".
  4. "Black Cat Nightclub: History".