Sunday, October 02, 2005

Zenformation Playlist 10/2/05:
A Look at Growing Up Punker

Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.
- Albert Camus

Been a while since I did a genre-specific playlist. Last night, I loaded the ol' MP3 player with several punk tunes and headed out to the local coffee house to read some Archibald McLeish (the most bad-ass librarian in American history), do some writing, and to get caught up on some paperwork. (Renee at No One Here Thinks I'm Funny posted a cool playlist that has me craving Def Leppard this morning.)

1. Bullet - The Misfits
Lovely little ditty about Jack Kennedy getting whacked, Jackie O going down on a corpse, etc. Every goth band of the 1990s basically tried to hit that level of "shock and awe" that guys like Danzig and Von Frankenstein created in the 1980s. Most punk music nowadays is completely devoid of one key element - the pure, unadulterated energy associated with doing and saying things just because you can. The Misfits were definitely an influential band, but it drives me nuts to see kids hanging out at shopping malls, simply trying to look the part. Pick up a guitar, learn some barre chords, and start a band, for Chrissakes! And have fun.

2. Stealing People's Mail - the Dead Kennedys
I had a buddy in high school, who I'll call Pete, who took this song a bit too literally. He actually took a lot of stuff too literally. Pete was the kind of guy you were never really sure you wanted to party with, because his style of partying usually involved doing extremely stupid things. He was the living embodiment of spontanious anarchy - the kind of guy who would jump through a second-story plate glass window just to get attention. Last I heard, Pete was in Divinity School to become a Methodist minister. God help us all.

3. Nazi White Trash - Leftover Crack
Yup. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what this song's about.

4. Along the Way - Bad Religion (Live bootleg recording, from a San Francisco show)
Greg Graffin and Co. get more and more political as time wears on. Which is good and bad. I sort of miss the good old social commentary rants and the early fun tunes. Their last album was still awesome - probably will add some "Los Angeles is Burning" in here somewhere.

5. Ball and Chain - Social Distortion
The band's biggest hit before "I Was Wrong." Very simple ballad and very representative of the band's shift from old school punk to a more rebel-rockabilly sound. Even heard a local Josh Groban wannabe cover this in a coffee shop a while back...even that couldn't ruin it for me. This is definitely a "cruising in the ol' Ford Pick-Up on a Sunday" tune.

6. Jean is Dead - The Descendents
From Milo Goes to College. And, yeah, Milo did go to college. And is still going to college, all these years later. The song clocks in at under two minutes.

7. Pay to Cum - The Dick Pickles
A cover of a classic Bad Brains track that my former bandmates and I recorded sometime in 1994 or 1995. We were really not that good, but punk music has never really been about the music so much as the attitude. I couldn't keep my crappy telecaster in tune,even in Drop D Minor. Our drummer didn't have a traditional drum kit - just a helter-skelter mess that included a 40-gallon rubbermaid trashcan, a second-hand cowbell, and a snare that was held together by duct tape. We had a rotating cast of bass players, usually falling to whoever was drunk enough to bang on the top two strings. Our other guitarist and I shared vocal responsibilities. The other guitarist? He was in the band because his Dad was a doctor and his parents would buy him whatever he wanted.

As I've gotten older, I realize more and more that the piercings, Rustler jeans (the kids who wore designer jeans at Virginia punk shows usually left the pit missing teeth), combat boots, Vans, and studded dog collars were simply window dressing. I do, however, miss the freedom offered by playing on a makeshift stage, giving the finger to a small audience looking for a good time and an outlet against the mainstrem. Sadly, the rebellion of punk has now been conscripted by the Mainstream. The same t-shirts I used to wear as a kid, salvaged from Goodwill's 2-for-$1 bins are now sold as "vintage" in the back of Rolling Stone and Alternative Press for $20-30.

8. Don't Call Me White - NOFX
Before Fat Mike became Karl Rove's worst nightmare with the creation of PunkVoter in 2004, NOFX was giving the Establishment hell in its earlier years. Saw NOFX play in Norfolk, Virginia sometime in high school. Awesome live show.

9. Media Blitz - The Germs

10. Get off the Air - The Angry Samoans
Just flipped past MTV - song says it all.


Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

That's anice playlist and excuse me I own several of those vintage tee - shirts.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Thanks....but... know you could save a bunch of money just hitting yard sales for the same shirts, chica ;-)


Stacy (UNLV) said...

Haha! I just picked up some Germs at Big B's this weekend. Have you ever heard of a band called the Queers? OMG...they rock! Picked up a compilation with them on it...

renee said...

Nice list. You seem to have a knack for this kind of thing (tracklists). Maybe you should be on the cover of punk and disorderly (volume II). :)

By the way--that was my first emoticon of all time. Seriously.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Of course I've heard of the Queers! Everybody loves the Queers! If you dug the comp., I'd recommend picking up Love Songs for the Retarded[Lookout!, 1993 L066]. Classic 1990s punk...better than 90% of the shit floating around out there these days.

BTW, ask you roommate's big sis why I never got this album back when she dumped me back in 1997 ;) Very interesting story (hmmm...I gave the Selena soundtrack back...)

A ha! An emoticon virgin! Love it! Most of the time, they get overused...I'm guilty of it myself.

Thanks for the tracklist compliment, too. Its amazing where musical nostalgia can take you...

Smurf said...