Effective period / Period of releases: 1986 - 2016
Members: Glenn Wallis, Paul Della Pelle, Rich Hutchins, Cordy Swope, Vosco Thomas, Damon WallisAmerican hardcore band from Philadelphia, PA. Their first live shows and recordings date to 1980, with founders Damon and Glenn Wallis on guitars, Steve Marasco on bass, and J.R. Arters on drums. By 1982, the lineup of Ruin was largely settled: Vosco Thomas Adams on vocals, Cordy Swope on bass, the Wallis brothers on guitars, and Richard Hutchins on drums. Paul Della Pelle became the drummer when Hutchins left the band in 1984. All six members played the so-called ReUnIoN shows in 1996, 1997, 2013, and 2016.
As teenagers inspired by the eruption of the American and British punk movement, the Wallis brothers and Adams began writing songs together around 1978. Several songs that became fixtures of Ruin's performances date to this early period, including their revved-up covers of Leonard Cohen.[a] In what became a hallmark of Ruin, the early Wallis-Adams songs, while loyal to the hyper-rhythms and aggressive delivery of early punk and later hardcore, were just as likely to evoke the melancholia of American folk music or the frantic jam quality of psychedelic rock. Incoming bassist Cordy Swope added elements of 1960s British invasion and American underground art rock to the band's mix of styles. This eclecticism became a defining feature of the Philadelphia underground music scene of the 1980s and beyond, an environment that contributed to Ruin's success. American author and urbanist Adam Greenfield noted: "Philadelphia threw nothing but curveballs. McRad, The Dead Milkmen, Pagan Babies, Scram: none of them quite fit the template, somehow. They were too weird, too goofy, too unpredictable, too hard to fit into the categories that were already then beginning to solidify."
According to Pulitzer Prize-nominated rock critic Ken Tucker, by 1984 Ruin had established itself as "one of the most promising bands" in the Philadelphia region, "an ambitious group unto something new—a striking synthesis of rock styles." By 1986, Ruin had become "one of the most beloved bands in the history of Philly," according to Maximum Rocknroll's Stacey Finney. WKDU DJ Mike Eidel has gone as far as to call them "the best Philly band ever."