Inter oleo

At 3AM, what a body has a mind to do, sometimes, is to listen to a bunch of records, CDs, and MP3s.

Not to be one of those guys who goes on about things, but the Ear Pod pulled up a Jerry’s Kids song again, and I’m a sentimental character, you know, and realized that despite having been a rock-critic stooge of the magazinos, and all that, it’s somehow hard to…

…describe what it was like being young and seeing hardcore bands every week — pretty much your canonical Reagan Youth, Necros, DRI kind of revolving marquee (this was in and around New York) — where it’s like, “Loud, fast, woo! Love this loud fast stuff. Harder, harder!” And a band like Jerry’s Kids comes on one night, where there’s this gigantic ROAR, and once your eyes focus, it’s like the Flying Wallendas or some shit — these guys are literally airborne the entire fucking time, skinny limbs splayed out in all three dimensions, spinning in the air, guitars centifugal-forced to the ends of their straps, with this hyperactive BLAST of sound rushing off the stage.

I don’t mean it was like that, or that they were trying to seem manic and out of control — I mean you’d be looking at that spectacle after having seen five or ten hardcore bands every week, thinking, “No sane person would even attempt this. Nobody I know would last five minutes playing like that.”

Worse, New York and Boston were in a ‘scene war’ then (we slashed their bands’ tires, they slashed ours; our thugs chased them down the Bowery; theirs menaced ours in the Channel parking lot). I was actually one of the New Jersey people, and we were able to retreat into a near-Swiss neutrality across the Hudson, when wars wound on that we didn’t agree with. Still, the shame (for a time) was keen.

There were lots of other riveting, wonderful bands in other ways, and in other styles, certainly. There’s also a ‘for the time’ aspect, in that music that loud and aggressive was completely off the map in the ’80s, while today there are at least cognates in mainstream culture. (“It’s like Slayer, but…more unpretentious and manic, sort of. Like Bad Religion except…you know, not bland and sucky.)

But in reverie, at n-o’clock in the morning, I’m imagining that in a certain way it’s like having met Isaac Newton or seen The Tempest in its original run, or having heard Sarah Bernhardt sing. You can’t reproduce it and very nearly can’t describe it: Remembering only gives you that same jaw-drop again, initially. And you can’t explain that feeling without wanting to share it.


Comments: 7


So I know exactly what you are talking about.

Except the opposite. The first concert I ever went was They Might Be Giants. *sigh*

Thanks for the post. I do know what you are talking about, though. We started writing about one song a day, and instead of trying to sound cooler than everyone else, we are trying to get across that why a particular song can hit you the way it does.

And thanks for ripping on Bad Religion. “The Title of this Bad Religion Song is either the first line or the chorus, probably both” 6 minutes of poo poo Oasis is better than 2.5 minutes of Bad Religion is better than…


I have a clue as to what you are talking about.
Last year I found myself living in a veritable Mecca for the scene in Boston: A house called (with tongue firmly held in cheek) the HOSS (the House of Suffering Succatash…it had been the House of Suffering when a couple members of the Dropkick Murpheys lived there, but we figured that we wanted to make the place a little more friendly, so rather than drop all the graffiti on the walls, we just added an additional S and the word Succatash).

In short, 90 shows in our basement over the span of 11 months, over 200 different bands, cops at our door 36 times, and a constant stream of the worst, best, edgiest, boringest, but generally the rockingest music that the Boston scene could cough up. Some of those bands sucked royal donkey testicles, but everyonce in a while, you’d get the odd combination of bass, washboard, keyboard, electric fiddle, and some girl in a deer mask made with plaster, wire, and scraps of newspaper and cloth…and end up with 100 sweaty hipsters and scenesters and punks and too cool for school college kids and music afficiandos forgetting, all as one, that they were trying to be cool, and just dancing and yelling and trying to keep that moment alive for as long as possible.


Gavin- did you ever see Fury of V back in the day? For me, they’ll always rule the Jersey/ New York hardcore scene.


I’m a bit old, honestly. The big NJ band at the time was the Misfits — although they had their own little fiefdom up in Lodi, and never really mixed with people in other parts of the state. This was like Junior High in 1981-’82, sort of thing. Having confessed that, the Hudson Falcons fucking rip.


Did you ever see a band from Albany called Thy Sons of God? They did that same jaw-drop thing for me. Man, those guys put on a show that was sublime, and then I never, ever heard of them again.


I was in a band that played with Thy Sons Of God twice. Just came across their demo tape.


My stepdad was in TSOG. Would kill for a copy of that demo, I havent seen or heard from him in 10 plus years.


(comments are closed)