View My Profile
start the fight, start the drinking
my sweet neocon
there's a war goin down between my brothers tonigh...
hoist up the john b sails
you have to fight to stay in control of the situat...
banned from the roxy
too much momentum this room feels like it's going ...
she's filing her nails while they're dragging the ...
momma i'm so sorry
stacks so fat rubber bands can't hold em
Friday, February 29, 2008
journey to the end:
I just got reacquainted with my old ABC No Rio friend Liz Baillie, and yesterday a compendium of her comic book My Brain Hurts arrived in the mail. I can't recommend it enough, especially if you were, um, a mid-1990s New York City punk rocker. In the span of five panels you'll find nostalgia-trip references to Munchies (remember when Camille got thrown through Munchies' plate-glass window?), Coney Island High (remember when Defiance played one of their last shows, and Stuart Schrader was the only one who still cared about them, even though I maintain they were an underrated band?) and Mike Blank chickenhawking a 13 year old dude with the promise of kamikazes (remember when he gave Lauren scabies?). It's enough to make a guy feel... extremely old.
So one thing you can use as a barometer of taste is the band t-shirts that appear in the comic. Liz is less interested in strict realism than she is in capturing a sensibility, particularly for her queer teenage protagonists: they can go to a show at the Coney, for instance, while wearing Limpwrist patches on their hoodies, even though Limpwrist didn't exist for nearly half a decade after Coney Island High closed its doors. But of all the bands that the My Brain Hurts kids enjoy -- credibility-infused mainstays like Aus-Rotten, Screeching Weasel, Choking Victim, the Subhumans and Crass -- the absence of the Band That Shall Not Speak Its Name is unmistakable. I'm talking about Rancid.
"Salvation" was a dagger to the heart of New York City punk rockers of my age. A brilliant, perfect song that was suddenly mainstream. The Constitution of punk rock dictated you couldn't like it, even though every punk-rock statute and common-law tradition demanded that you did. All of a sudden, everyone who loved Rancid's first record ("Adina's cryyyyyyyyyin'!") had to pretend they didn't like -- and, perversely, didn't listen to -- Let's Go. My freshman year, Jamie Weiss had RANCID written on his green backpack. When "Salvation" hit MTV he dutifully wrote SUCKS below it.
Lord help us when November 1995 rolled around and ...And Out Come The Wolves came out. That record is track-for-track perfect. If you don't like it, you neither like nor understand punk rock. And yet none of us allowed each other to listen to it. It was OK to be gay in punk rock, and out -- as it should be -- but if you so much as caught an earful of Rancid as background music, you kept that shit to yourself. There was practically a riot at the Coney on a Sunday that month when Lars and Brett showed up for a Blanks/Casualties show after playing Saturday Night Live the night before. (You're goddamn right I watched it, and you're goddamn right I jeered them both when Jorge invited them on stage.)
But much as it must be frightful and liberating to finally admit that you're gay, so too was it a relief to finally scream, at the top of your lungs, that Benzonatto was waiting for you on the 60 bus out of downtown Campbell or that Jenny DeMilo don't care nothing about you. This afternoon/evening I drove up to Brooklyn, and the whole way I blasted the first three Rancid records and the last two. Indestructible? Great record. Kids, don't give in to fear. Jenny DeMilo may not care nothing about you, but Rancid? They're gonna take care of you.
Yeah, I kind of smeared the timeline a bit with the band names. Forgive me! I've gotten more than one slightly annoyed, perfection-obsessed email about that, haha...