Outta Style #3 or 4. I've already lost count. Turned Out A Punk Edition
This is kind of the rough story of how I became a punk, or maybe I was always a punk at heart? Well this is how I became involved with punk which lead to me being involved with Sorry State, which then lead to me writing this. A warning, my memory is complete garbage and the fact that I was able to remember this much impressed me. I tried to fact check dates but yeah some stuff might actually be out of order. Also maybe this isn't exactly how things happened but it's what I remember.
The first real memories I have involving anything with "punk" go back to the early 90s. My family had huge parties every labor day that were just insanity. Hundreds of people at the tiny three room a-frame house in the middle of the woods that we were residing in at the time. Most of the time I was too young to really partake in a lot of the fun minus the pinewood derby racing tournament that happened every year. Somehow I remember meeting a kid who shared a name with a famous baseball player and we became friends. He lived like two towns over so we didn't hang out a lot, but every once and a while my parents would drop me off over there to hang out. I remember seeing MTV for the first time at his house (I'm pretty sure this must have been late 1993/early 1994 because this was the fist time I had heard Snoop Dogg's Who Am I). Anyways I remember him making me a mix tape that had a bunch of more alternative stuff on it, most of which I can't remember. I do remember that Green Day's pre-dookie material was on there (I think he had gotten it from his cousin or something, the specifics of how he got it are just all together not there). I think having access to MTV definitely kept him way more up to date than me and he was always showing me new music. The tape got a lot of rotations along with my other tapes I remember having (Tom Petty, Foreigner and a lot of other classic rock). The next year the greater Charlotte area got its first "alternative" radio station 106.5 The End WEND. This was a huge impact since all we had before hand was classic rock, I remember waiting for the day it actually went on air excited to hear something new and more current. The station also held its first end of year festival called The Weenie Roast that year. I didn't go to that one but did attend the next year which had Space Hog, Stabbing Westward, Luster the Verve Pipe and more. This might have been one of the first music related things I went to on my own volition and not just because my parents were going. Anyways this is diverging too much into how I got into bad alternative music in the 90s. I went to the Weenie Roast a couple more years and spent all my time obsessively recording songs off the radio onto cassettes since there wasn't really anywhere in town to buy CDs or tapes.
'98 was a big year for me. I had just started high school. High school was terrible for me. I grew up in a small southern town that was slowly being invaded by super rich families and really I just didn't fit in anywhere. My sister is two years older than me and due to my inability to talk to people I would kind of hang out with her friends, who were your typical late 90s alternative crowd, ranging from nu-metal to punk and even juggalos. I had been buying more punk stuff (real starter stuff and a lot of compilations) from the mall whenever I could, along with the typical mainstream stuff which seemed like real cutting edge underground compared to everyone at my school who listened to hip-hop or Dave Mathews. The biggest influence though was my sister dating this guy from Philadelphia (which at the time seemed like a whole different world). He explained a lot to me about music and I would wait till he forgot his cd book in my sisters car and steal it to rip it all to cassettes. This was how I first heard a lot of classics like Minor Threat and Black Flag. Black Flag was definitely one of the ones I remember playing a lot because it didn't make sense to me. It just kind of didn't sound like music in the way I knew, because at that point the most punk thing I owned was probably The Offspring (which I let someone borrow and they lost it and gave me a Skankin' Pickle CD in exchange which started my hatred of ska). Yeah so now I had a very shaky foundation in underground music but really nobody to share it with. There weren't any bands at our school, there was one punk guy, everyone else was just kind of weirdos but older and so I still didn't really fit in anywhere. Not until I oddly went to church. My family didn't ever go to church after we moved from Chicago in 1990 but my mom decided we should try this one church up the street. We didn't go for long but while there I met these two brothers Paul and Mark. They were more into punk and alternative stuff and I think I bragged about how I played drums to them at youth group (my dad had a drum set but I had no clue how to actually play it). A couple months later they called up my house telling me that were starting a band and needed a drummer. I panicked and said yes even though I had no clue how to play. So then we started our first band Stereotype. Influenced by everything terrible in the late 90s. The brothers parents were super Christian to the point of not believing in contraceptives of any sort (resulting in like 8 children) so we had to say I went to church and play more Christian oriented events which mostly meant at local Christian Youth centers which were abundant at the time in the area. The cover picture is from possibly our first show, putting me at 14 or 15 I think. The other big turning point of 1998 was going to my first punk show. I remember very little about it but I do remember the lineup being Snapcase, H2O and Boysetsfire. I knew all of them probably from a Victory Records sampler or something. I went with my sister and her boyfriend, I don't remember having any life awakening epiphany or anything like most people describe, I just left thinking it was cool. Well maybe it wasn't as big of a turning point as I thought? I do remember this is my first time experience "hardcore dancing" though. From there till college I drifted around a lot going and seeing really just anything I could. I'd go to any show that seemed underground and cool (even though most of it with my current wisdom I would have deemed bad). Once I got my license in 2000 I stopped spending as much time in my home town and more time down in Charlotte. One of the biggest things was Manifest Records where I spent lots of time buying CDs and then Records. It definitely wasn't the best store but always felt cool, with all of their weird little junk around and it was huge. Sometimes it seemed more like a Spencer's Gifts than a record store but it was home base for a good while (of course until FYE bought it out).
College was kind of a blur, mostly I have very few memories that stand out. I still played in bands a lot, usually falling a little more on the bro-mosh side of things. I would go see multiple shows every week, hang out with punks, skins, hardcore people, scenesters and whoever was around. I wasn't too happy in the scenes I hung around or the music I played. I had a roommate who felt the same way, we wanted something that didn't feel like such a shitty dude fest (even though I've come to realize most music scenes are this on some level) and more punk. This all changed when we got the first Government Warning ep in 2005. It was everything we wanted, super punk and fast and seemed seperated from all the bullshit we were getting tired of. We started coming up to Raleigh NC for house shows, buying all the No Way, Sorry State and Grave Mistake releases and worked on starting a band that we liked. Eventually in 2007 it was time for me to move so I picked up and moved to Durham (which is like 20 minutes away from Raleigh). This is where I feel like I finally was into punk; everything beforehand seemed like obstacles to get to that spot. I was finally happy with the people around me, the bands I was in, and finally felt like I was part of a group of people who I could identify with. I felt free to be the giant dork that I am instead of trying to be cool. Here's a picture of Logic Problem (my first band after moving to Durham) being a collective bunch of dorks in front of a castle in 2009.
Records Records Records
I probably care more about punk now than ever. Getting to hear so much awesome stuff on a daily basis is pretty amazing. So here are a few things I've been stoked on lately.
Natterers: Toxic Care Cassette- This reminds me a lot of Night Birds in a way. It has that good pop sensibility with a foundation in great punk. It manages to be ripping while still being super catchy. Their demo was great and this is a step forward even. If this band isn't on your radar then get with it so you can say you were there before they blow up.
ISS: Endless Pussyfooting 12" - I'm sure I've said enough about ISS by now. penISS Envy might be one of the best songs ever. Every time I listen to this I catch another lyric I hadn't heard yet and usually it ends up making me laugh. But yeah this is essential so don't be an idiot and miss out.
The cover art on this one fits super well. The music is dark and raw and a little on the weirdo punk side. Are these the reptilian overlords everyone keeps talking about? If so then sign me up for this new world order.
Raw power pop that still has a punk edge in a way most bands are never really capable of pulling off. Much like The Carbonas' second album which is a blown out mess but some of the catchiest songs written ever. Part of the song Sister reminds me of the intro to Sweet Rot by Hubble Bubble. This is a solid ep front to back with 5 hits and then an Undertones cover to top it all off.Here's a video for the song Peace Chuggin'
Chalk up another one for Connie Voltaire. This powerhouse of prolificness treats us with 3 new songs and a new recording of the great Puke Girl's Class. All the songs are super twitchy and blown out. It's a beautiful thing really. No Dancing is a frantic burst that makes me want to dance around like an idiot. It's hard to say if this is Neo Neos best stuff since they have so many great things but it's definitely up there.