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SSR Picks: Jeff - April 14 2022

What’s up Sorry Staters?

As more and more years go by, I realize that I still just like all the same stuff that I was into when I was a teenager. I go through phases of feeling like I need to expand my palette and broaden my horizons, but I think I’m just avoiding the inevitable. I always find myself coming back to hardcore and skateboarding. I don’t necessarily think the issue is that I have a serotonin response to what feels comfortable or familiar… I think the problem is more that I just need to admit to myself that I don’t need to abandon things from teenage years that bring me joy.

Now, my body probably isn’t prepared to be along for the ride, but lately I’ve just been transfixed on skateboarding all over again. Whether it’s binging episodes of Jeff Grosso’s Love Letters to Skateboarding or watching Jason Lee’s interview on the Nine Club podcast, I just eat it up. I even re-watched Thrashin’ the other night, and even with the corny moments, I loved every second of it. Monk from the Daggers’ Zany Guys t-shirt? So rad. And when it comes to records that inhabit this exuberant, skate-obsessed spirit, the Big Boys have really been scratching that itch for me lately. First of all, they’ve got the best logo. I think I’ve probably gushed about the Big Boys in the newsletter before, but hopefully not too recently. Anyway, here we go again!

This might be weird to say, but the Big Boys are the kind of hardcore band that really brings a smile to my face. Don’t get me wrong, I do sit and boil over with rage while absorbing the seedy, negative and pissed off vibes that I usually gather from my hardcore records. And as much as I identify with that, the sort of upbeat positivity that Big Boys bring to the table is welcomed at this particular moment. When you look at photos of Big Boys on their record layouts and inserts, you’ll see the guys jocking skateboard decks with Pushead’s Zorlac graphics. So sick. And while other 80s skate-centric punk bands doing surf covers is cool, I think the Big Boys’ funk tunes totally rule. But then, of course, the 40-second hardcore songs RIP. The band touches on some politics and worldview, but always with a sense of humor and cynicism. Like in “Apolitical” where Randy Biscuit belts “Leave me alone you pamphleteers, give it up and buy me beers!” Pretty rad. As iconic and classic as the Fun, Fun, Fun EP is for most punks, I often find that Lullabies Help the Brain Grow is my go-to record when I wanna listen to some Big Boys. Every song is good. The opening track “We Got Your Money” with its hooky, repetitive background vocals kicks the record off with a bang and sets the tone. Then vicious rippers like “I’m Sorry” or “Brick Wall” are sub-minute explosions of killer hardcore. Some of the songs are more brooding like “Sound On Sound” or “Manipulation”. Then of course funk bangers like “Jump The Fence” get you groovin’. I don’t know, I could probably write an essay about every song. The sounds from song to song are so diverse, but they flow so well. And all of them are charged with this infectious energy. One day, I’d love to get my hands on a copy of the Where’s My Towel LP and of course the legendary Frat Cars 7”, but I’ll probably need to go sell plasma a few times before that. One day…

For the most part, I would say Big Boys exude a more colorful, light-hearted perspective. I mean come on, “Fun, fun, fun, that’s what we say!” I think that underneath the surface, I do sense that the band captures a spirit I connect with. Big Boys fly the flag for the true freaks. Chunky, dirtbag, skate-obsessed, queer… true weirdos. Also, if I see one more new dumb crust band with a high-contrast black and white photo of dead people, I’m gonna lose it. I’m so sick of that shit. Fuck Discharge! (…I’m totally kidding, they’re like the best band in punk to ever exist.) I think that’s just where my head’s at right now. So sue me.

Maybe one day I’ll get back into skating for real. I miss it. I’m just worried I’ll wreck myself. I guess that’s part of it, right? Even if I don’t go hard, it feels like a part of my identity that’s missing. Like my Texan legends would say, “Skate for fun or don’t skate at all.”

Well damn, that was more than I was expecting to write today. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


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