My life got complicated quick. So I'm fighting back. This is where I strip out the complications of life and share the simple truths that make my world go round.
Fucked Up is the latest addition to the vinyl documentary… Fucked Up captivated collectors in a non-conventional way by releasing several short vinyl-only 7″ singles. These singles almost never came on colored or limited vinyl, and most followed the same layout with band name and title at the top. What was cool and refreshing about all of this was the absence of pressing after pressing of wacky colored vinyl. It was always black vinyl, and once you got one single, it seemed like there was already another one coming out. It’s shocking that the band was able to grow so quickly with vinyl-only releases, with very little CD or digital download releases. Nevertheless, there was obviously a method to their madness, and that method has been wildly successful in getting their music out there. Fucked Up has gone on to release highly acclaimed full length “rock opera” type albums, culminating in Damian (vocalist) gracing the cover of SPIN magazine earlier this year (!!!), with “The Chemistry Of Common Life” touted as record of the year. I still can’t believe that! Good for them! This is a documentation of all the different Fucked Up records that I ever had… I definitely never had everything, so this is absolutely not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything that’s out there!
Kill Your Idols and Time Flies have both been added to the vinyl documentary. I always really admired the way Kill Your Idols went about doing their band. You could tell that they only did releases with bands and labels with whom they had built strong relationships throughout their years in the underground hardcore punk scene. They were never afraid to do releases with new or smaller labels/bands. It’s no surprise that KYI seems to have a ton of “super fans” who collect every version of their records, get the KYI skull tattooed on them, etc. Kill Your Idols always seemed so humble, so down to earth, and so connected with the local scenes that they passed through. They just seemed to “get” what hardcore punk was supposed to be all about. I’ll never forget one summer around 2001 when KYI embarked on the most brutal 6-7 week U.S. Tour. Most bands do 3-4 weeks max on US tours, and even that is pushing it. But KYI went out and played every small town that they could find. On that tour my best friend, Zach Harlan, booked them a show in Chico, CA. There was hardly anyone at the show other than the dudes in the other bands and some of our closest friends from Chico and Redding. But the dudes in KYI played an awesome set and were very thankful and respectful to Zach and all of us who had helped set up the show. That made a big impression on me. From that day on, I always made it a point to follow what Kill Your Idols was doing. I bought pretty much all of their records. The only problem with KYI is that they worked so hard and released so much material, many times as small vinyl-only releases, that it could be hard to keep up before another release came out! I’ll bet KYI has many hundreds of songs in total, haha. I tried to keep up as best I could, as shown in the photos below, but I definitely never had everything!
Two new collections added to the vinyl documentary: Strike Anywhere and The Get Up Kids. Strike Anywhere has been one of my favorite bands for a long, long time. I got into them in the coolest way possible – by just stumbling across them on their very first tour, without ever hearing them (or even hearing of them, for that matter). That is happening less and less these days, given the ease of hearing about bands via internet streaming, Pandora, Youtube, social networking, etc etc. The last time that I saw Strike Anywhere play was in October of 2009, and I honestly felt the exact same way about them as the first time that I saw them nearly 10 years earlier. It’s pretty rare to feel the same way about anything 10 years later, especially given the growth and change that occurs in a person between the ages of 20-30. There is just something about Thomas’s voice that makes you feel welcome, safe, defiant, and angry, all within the same moment. Strike Anywhere feels like community, they make me feel hopeful, and I will forever love that about them.
Monta drops almost 50 on Durant and the Thunder and the Warriors still lose… I never play this card, but straight up, the officials cost them the game. There were about 5 calls in the last 3-4 minutes of the game that were blatantly one-sided. The culmination was a play where James Harden hacked David Lee and made an “oops, ah shit” face and put his hands up near his chest to imply “damn, sorry.” The ref standing right next to the play gave a no-call, despite D Lee’s arm being held behind his back while he tried to shoot the ball, and Harden “admitting” to the foul during the play. Then on the other end, Durant is driving to the bucket, pulling up for jump shots at the free throw line, and fouls are getting called on jump shots. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, and pretty much hate those who make excuses, but this was one of the first times I’ve ever been watching an NBA game and legitimately thought “hmmm…. Tim Donaghy style shit?” Anyway, the game was amazing, down to the last 30 seconds when Durant hit a jumper to put the Thunder up 1 point. The Warriors played tough and really hung with two of the most explosive scorers in the NBA right up till the last second.
Two more collections have been added to the vinyl photo documentary… Other than random local bands, Good Riddance and AFI were the first hardcore punk bands that I ever saw. They were also the first 2 bands that really stuck with me, mostly because I was able to see them play semi-regularly, growing up in Northern California. I was initially drawn into the passion and aggression of their live shows (obviously now I realize that these bands were relatively tame compared to any other hardcore/punk/metal, but compared to what I had seen up to this point, it was intense). As I got further into their material, I was increasingly drawn to the straight edge lifestyle and their animal rights focus. The first show I can remember feeling like “Yup, this is for me, I’ve finally found something that clicks with me” was an AFI / Good Riddance / Fury 66 show at the Zocolo Room in Chico, CA. The singers of all 3 bands just seemed to bring it, in such a different way than any other pop punk or goofy punk that I had seen up to that point. I was hooked on hardcore, and I never looked back. Over the years, my tastes have obviously changed somewhat, but I still regularly throw on Good Riddance “A Comprehensive Guide To Moderne Rebellion” and I think I love it today just as much as I did back then.
The newest additions to the vinyl photo documentary are Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, and Paint It Black. Lifetime is one of the most unique bands that’s ever passed through the hardcore community… They somehow mixed pop punk, indie, and hardcore into one fluid sound that was absolutely original and unique to them, and them only. Over the years I’ve seen several bands set out to do something similar, but it invariably ends up sounding like one of two things… It either sounds like the more mainstream pop punk stuff that we’ve seen proliferate in the 2000′s era, or else it’s not quite poppy enough and it just kind of sounds like wimpy hardcore with no threat. The bottom line is Lifetime has been imitated a thousand times, but hasn’t been duplicated even once. The closest thing to it would be Lifetime guitarist Dan Yemin’s next band, Kid Dynamite, but that was purposely done quite differently – “Shorter, Faster, Louder”, duh! I never got to see Lifetime play live during their original formation in the late 1990′s… I had one opportunity when I was 15 years old – when they played with Good Riddance in Chico, CA. I did not know who Lifetime was, but was pumped on going to see Good Riddance. Unfortunately, my family had fallen upon some hard times that year, and it turned out that I had to help my family move to another home the week of the GR/Lifetime show. My best friend, Zach Harlan, went to the show, and brought home the Lifetime “Hello Bastards” recording, talking about how awesome they had been. I’ve loved them ever since! To this day I still wish that I could have seen them that night in Chico, CA, but I’m glad Zach was able to go so that he could share their records with me. In my opinion, the “Hello Bastards” and “Jersey’s Best Dancers” LP’s are always going to stand as untouchable classics.
I’m really going to miss looking forward to the Sunday football game each week! This season was one of those amazing times where something as small as a sports game on TV each weekend can really help pull you through a tough work week. It was an amazing ride, and so unexpected. It really felt a lot like the 2010 Giants World Series run. It’s been so awesome to see the Bay Area excited again about their local teams. Today when I got up in the morning and went down to Safeway, I saw so many elderly guys, ghetto guys, regular business guys, all in 49ers letterman jackets, starter jackets, and vintage hats, all fist bumping and cheering to each other. It brought back all of those memories of being a kid in the 80’s, watching my dad put on his Niner gear, and scream at the TV every Sunday as John Taylor or Jerry Rice were streaking down the field for their usual 50+ yard touchdown runs. (Mike Whitlow: “He’s gone…. He’s gone… HE’S GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!”) The rain, wind, and general vibe of today seemed so perfectly fitting for a home playoff game at Candlestick. And who knows, this may be the last playoff game we ever see at the ‘Stick since the Niners will finally be out of that hell-hole and move to Santa Clara in 3 or so years. I hate to see them leave the City, but I understand that they need a new facility with adequate accessibility badly. Like everyone else, I’m so disappointed and felt physically sick to my stomach when Kyle Williams botched those 2 punts today, but I’m still so pumped on this unexpected season and am looking forward to the next 4 years with Harbaugh at the helm!
So with no football anymore, it’s time to focus my attention to the rest of the Golden State Warriors season. Obviously they probably won’t even finish above .500 this year, but I never give up on my teams, and will always enjoy my good ‘ol season tickets at Oracle. And hey, it’s only 2 months until I head to Arizona for Spring Training to kick off the 2012 Giants season! I fly out March 22nd and return April 1st. Definitely looking forward to that as my next vacation! Who’s got it better than us??? NOOOOBODY! 🙂
I have finally completed the official Rivalry Records entry in the vinyl photo documentary. There’s photos of every single vinyl variation released on Rivalry, photos of the bands hanging out, as well as embedded video of each Rivalry Showcase…. Rivalry Records was an amazing 6 year period of my life when I got the unique opportunity to do something productive, inspiring, and impactful on a truly global scale with 30+ of my closest friends. I will forever be grateful to them for the commitment and faith that they put in me. Though Zach Harlan and myself were the faces of Rivalry Records, our label truly was so much more – it was a family. I always saw all of the band members/roadies/significant others, Naoma Johnston (booking shows at 924 Gilman St.), my roommate Aaron Menesez (Right On bassist), and Ryan Mattos (Rivalry screen-printer, Gilman show coordinator, Ceremony guitarist) as just as much of an integral part of Rivalry Records as anything else. Without this sense of community, I don’t think Rivalry Records would have been able to accomplish even half of the things that we did. Thank you to the entire Rivalry Family, for all of your friendship, hard work, and most importantly, for all of the good times. We killed it. 🙂