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. I was still in college, sometime around 2000 or 2001, and had driven down from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara, CA to stay with my friend, John Eightclip, for a couple of days to hit some shows. We were going to go to this cool Weezer gig in a small venue on State Street in Santa Barbara, but I also planned to catch a couple of other shows at the Living Room in Goleta and The Pickle Patch in Isla Vista while I was down there. I think the Living Room show was a local hardcore show of some kind, but the next night at The Pickle Patch was an As Friends Rust show. They weren’t exactly the most popular band with hardcore kids, so I actually went to the show by myself because no one else wanted to go. Boy am I glad that I did! Strike Anywhere opened the show to about 9 other people in The Pickle Patch, which was literally just the living room of an apartment in Isla Vista, CA, run by this dude Steve Aoki. They blew me the fuck away! They were intense, soulful, honest, welcoming, and screaming “fuck you” all at the same time. There was something about the combination of emotions that I felt while watching them play that connected me to them instantly. I think standing their alone watching them play all by myself really added to the intensity of the moment. After they played, I went over to buy their record(s). They didn’t have any vinyl or t-shirts, just one CD with a cheap looking image printed on the CD face. It didn’t even have a cover… What it did have was a note explaining that they had to leave for tour before the booklets were finished, and I could write down my address and they would send me the CD booklet when they got them finished. I bought it anyway and wrote down my address. The CD that I purchased that night turned out to be the “Chorus Of One” EP, and I played it probably every single day for the rest of the summer. Of course, that record was later re-released on vinyl by No Idea Records, and paved the way for the classic “Change Is A Sound” LP. I have loved every single record that they’ve released since. 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.
Strike Anywhere – “Change Is A Sound” LPThis is the album that really catapulted Strike Anywhere onto everyone’s radar. I dig the classic looking punk cover with stark black and white contrasted photo. And of course, the anti-facist symbol of the 3 arrows surrounded by a circle, which appears on every single Strike Anywhere release. I’ve never known the pressing info for this album. I had a bunch of colors (shown further below), but recently sold them all except for this grey vinyl copy.
This is the only thing that might be more rare than a test pressing! It’s an acetate of Side A of “Change Is A Sound”. Acetates are created as part of the vinyl pressing process, long before they ever start running off the actual vinyl or test pressings. They are one-sided, with separate acetates for each side (A and B).
Strike Anywhere – “Exit English”This is one of my favorite Strike Anywhere albums. I love the layout too – I dig the colors and the half-toning. I don’t know the pressing info. I had yellow vinyl and white vinyl.
Strike Anywhere – “Dead FM” LPThis is my favorite Strike Anywhere album, or at least I find myself listening to it the most. Interestingly enough, this album came out on Fat Wreck Chords. For a pretty big label, Fat keeps its vinyl pressings pretty damned limited. They are usually 300-400, with just one color and that’s it. This one is no exception – 335 on yellow vinyl, the rest on black. I don’t know if they ever repressed it on any other colors.
Strike Anywhere – “Iron Front” LPThis album came out on Bridge 9 Records, which is a pretty big change of pace from Fat Wreck Chords. I’m not sure if their relationship with Fat Wreck kind of went sour or what. The layout of this album looks really nice, especially with the pink vinyl (out of 700) so that is the color I ended up keeping. The insert shown in the photo has explanations of what many of the songs are about – very cool. I’ve always liked it when bands do this… I get a lot more out of their message with liner notes like this.
Strike Anywhere – “To Live In Discontent” Picture Disc LPIf I remember correctly, “To Live In Discontent” featured alternate versions, b-sides, demos, and/or live recordings? Something like that. They did a limited run of picture discs.
Strike Anywhere – “Fat Club” 7″This single came out as part of Fat Wreck Chords “Fat Club” singles collection, long before they ever signed to Fat for their “Dead FM” LP. With the Fat Club, you sign up and pay a yearly fee, and each month you get a new 7″ in the mail. I think these were all on blue vinyl, out of 1,300.
Strike Anywhere – “Underground Europe 2001: Genoa Benefit EP”Strike Anywhere’s demo, pressed on vinyl to benefit the brutalities committed against the Genoa protestors. This came on a bunch of different colors, but I only kept the one that best matched the theme of the 7″ – black.
Inquisition – “Revolution, I Think It’s Called Inspiration” LPThomas’s band before Strike Anywhere, Inquisition. This record was originally released as CD-only, but this LP was released long after Inquisition had broken up, even after Strike Anywhere had already released several albums. I don’t know how many were pressed on blue vinyl. I also owned a copy on a weird purple-ish color. I’m not sure how many other colors they pressed.
My Strike Anywhere collection, at its peak…
- Strike Anywhere – Underground Europe 2001 Genoa Benefit EP (BLACK)
- Strike Anywhere – Fat Club (BLUE, out of 1300)
- Strike Anywhere – Failed State (CLEAR)
- Strike Anywhere – Failed State (GREEN)
- Strike Anywhere – Failed State (CLEAR w/GREEN SPLATTER)
- Strike Anywhere – Chorus Of One (GREY, 1st press, out of 550)
- Strike Anywhere – Chorus Of One (BURGUNDY, 1st press, out of 550)
- Strike Anywhere – Chorus Of One (PURPLE, 2nd press, out of 1020)
- Strike Anywhere – Chorus Of One (BLACK, 3rd press, out of 1100)
- Strike Anywhere – Change Is A Sound (TEST PRESS)
- Strike Anywhere – Change Is A Sound (ACETATE, SIDE A, more rare than a test press)
- Strike Anywhere – Change Is A Sound (GREY)
- Strike Anywhere – Change Is A Sound (WHITE)
- Strike Anywhere – Change Is A Sound (BLUE)
- Strike Anywhere – Change Is A Sound (GREEN)
- Strike Anywhere – Exit English (YELLOW)
- Strike Anywhere – Exit English (WHITE)
- Strike Anywhere – To Live In Discontent (PICTURE DISC)
- Strike Anywhere – Dead FM (YELLOW, out of 335)
- Strike Anywhere – Dead FM (BLACK)
- Strike Anywhere – Iron Front (CLEAR, 1st press, out of 300)
- Strike Anywhere – Iron Front (PINK, 1st press, out of 700)
- Strike Anywhere – Iron Front (SOLID GREEN, 1st press, out of 1000)
- Strike Anywhere – Iron Front (CLEAR GREEN, 2nd press, out of 1000)
- Inquisition – Ideas Are Bulletproof (BLACK)
- Inquisition – Revolution, I Think It’s Called Inspiration (TEST PRESS, pre Strike Anywhere, same singer)
- Inquisition – Revolution, I Think It’s Called Inspiration (BLUE, pre Strike Anywhere, same singer)
- Inquisition – Revolution, I Think It’s Called Inspiration (PURPLE, pre Strike Anywhere, same singer)