Why can’t the 10th anniversary be the “Vinyl Anniversary” as opposed to tin, aluminum, or diamond? That would really help to justify some of the recent purchases I’ve made at the newly-opened Armageddon Shop in Harvard Square.
I was going to write about my 10 year punkiversary, because I think shit like that is fun, but it wouldn’t be accurate and the last thing I want to do is deceive the internet. I am one of those freaks who was sung “The KKK Took My Baby Away” as a lullabye and taught how to gingerly place a record player’s needle atop a Dead Kennedy’s 7″ at age 10. I didn’t know what any of it meant or why it might be important, but Dad made punk a part of my life from the get-go.
Fast forward to “borrowing” Rancid cassettes, buying my first records (Weird Al’s “I Love Rocky Road” followed by Weird Al’s “Dare To Be Stupid” – don’t judge me), I still had no context. Finally, at age 15/16, I started to grasp the concept of DIY. Punk music went beyond what was in my Dad’s record cabinet and it existed in my fucking high school, in my neighborhood’s garages? This blew my fucking mind wide open.
I will never forget my first DIY show (a Food Not Bombs benefit featuring, like, 8 local bands thrashing around in my hometown’s American Legion) or my first acquisition of non-major-label albums. These records have pretty much stuck with me since I bought them at the now-defunct Phoenix Records of Waterbury, Connecticut.
Paying homage to the past is one of my favorite aspects of punk, so lets get to it:
HOLY SHIT, a female vocalist and this shit came on colored vinyl. I couldn’t believe it. Some of these songs are slightly more cringeworthy than 10 years ago (“Driving while infatuated with YOU!”), but generally they retain a firm grip on my heartstrings. Seeing Fast Times in action at the NJ reunion show a handful of years ago was completely epic.
People make music like this? This is music? These are vocals? “I think I like this but mostly it sounds almost scary and dangerous, which is exciting as fuck” is probably what my teenage mind thought about Assuck. It was also nearly incomprehensible (and awesome) to me that I was buying a record by a band whose name I had never even heard pronounced.
I always liked the Blatz side better. As in, I fucking love it and could care less about Filth. There goes all of my cred, I’m certain. I don’t really know what to say about this band that sums up how I feel. That doesn’t happen too often, which might be the most noteworthy thing of all.
I actually taped this CD from someone (my high school pal Tim, maybe) and was totally decimated by the speed, fury and how few fucks were in fact given by this band. I definitely couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Charles Bronson speed through 96 songs in an hour (maybe I still can’t…). On an embarrassing note, I found live photos of Charles Bronson (thanks askjeeves) to print out and hang on my bedroom wall, easily replacing my Korn clippings from Hit Parader. Oof.