"If the beat gets to the audience, and the message touches them, you've got a hit." Casey Kasem

Friday, August 26, 2011

What 21 Feels Like

On August 25, 1992, my friend Veesa and I took off for London to go see Babes in Toyland. We didn't have tickets to see them, but we had hopes that we could get them. When she originally went to get the tickets, she got L7 ones instead, which wasn't a problem since I liked them and she really liked them. And besides, this was the summer of 10,000 concerts. We were averaging about 2 shows every 3 weeks, which was something because we were young and didn't have a lot of money to be traveling to London or Norwich or various other places in southeastern England as much as we were, but we were still off into the NME / Melody Maker world.
All in all, it was a great time to be alive and enjoying music.
That night, instead of Babes in Toyland, we saw a shitty band named Medicine. We stayed for all of 1 and part of 2 feedback heavy "songs," and left. Somewhere in there, she got to meet Tony from Curve, which made her year. That weekend, we saw Henry Rollins speak in London and it changed both of our lives because he was fantastic. That was just the kind of summer it was. It didn't matter that there was no love relationships or anything good on a day to day basis. There was music and friendship and memories, and that was what made 21 such a great summer.
Like Husker Du sang about, it was my celebrated summer of being young.
The year before, grunge had arrived and punk had broke (or so the video said), and we were in Camden Town as often as we could be. At that time, I wasn't thinking, so I got a tattoo. Then, I really wasn't thinking, and I got another one and a pair of Doc Martens, which matched nicely with my No More Censorship Defense Fund shirt - the classic Alternative Tentacles look without the record bag. If there wasn't that one, there was the Corporate Rock Still Sucks SST T-shirt, a definite classic from the day (as was the Black Flag bars T-shirt).
It was a good time to be young and into music. Kurt Cobain was still alive. Drinking all the time and going crazy wasn't a sign of immaturity or lack of direction. In fact, living in an Air Force dorm and drinking was to be expected. When I got to my final base the next year, we literally had a dorm bar. Nevertheless, authority was evil and needed to be put into its place - which sounds as dumb as it was seeing as I was in the military at the time.
Yeah... the early 1990s was what it was: youth culture.
And my life was what it was: a whirlwind of transitions and trying to fit in - musically, if not socially.
That said, not all of the music is as good as it used to be. Nevertheless, the following 60 songs epitomize that period of time in my life. There is some nostalgia for the past years that I had lived since I was in England and some of what I was trying to hang onto from my days in America. There was British Indie (before Blur made it cool to be Brit Pop and the sound became a sanitized and older version of mellowed out Beatles stuff).
So if this is my halfway point (the 40th birthday), then this is what the first 1/4 of my life was and where it was at - musically speaking at least, which is really where my life was at that time.
1. Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine - Is Wrestling Fixed
2. Gangreen - Ballad
3. King Missile - Sensitive Artist
4. Camper Van Beethoven - Where the Hell Is Bill
5. They Might Be Giants - Ana Ng
6. A House - I Don't Care
7. Pixies - Head On
8. Husker Du - Makes No Sense at All
9. Nomeansno - The Fall
10. Alice Donut - Mother of Christ
11. Jello Biafra and DOA - Full Metal Jackoff
12. Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy - Satanic Reverses
13. Jesus Lizard - One Evening
14. Misfits - Bullet
15. Samhain - All Murder All Guts All Fun
16. Jawbox - Low
17. Joy Division - Novelty
18. Sonic Youth - Wish Fulfillment
19. Babes in Toyland - Catatonic
20. Henry Rollins - Ex Lion Tamer
21. The Descendants - Cheer
22. Circle Jerks - Making the Bombs
23. Minutemen - Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing
24. Henry Rollins and the Hard Ons - Carry Me Down
25. Sugar - The Act We Act
26. Lemonheads - Bit Part
27. Boo Radleys - Does This Hurt
28. Adorable - Sunshine Smile
29. Throwing Muses - Not Too Soon
30. Julian Cope - Hanging Out and Hung Up on the Line
31. Angry Samoans - Lights Out
32. Minor Threat - It Follows
33. Leatherface - Not Superstitious
34. Kingmaker - High as a Kite
35. Love and Rockets - Dog End of a Day Gone By
36. Nirvana - Come As You Are
37. Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Happy
38. Consolidated - Brutal Equation
39. Faith Healers - Reptile Smile
40. Curve - 10 Little Girls
41. Breeders - Limehouse
42. Wolfgang Press - Kansas
43. Bauhaus - In the Flat Field
44. Pigface - Little Sisters (live)
45. Ministry - So What (live)
46. 1000 Homo DJs - Supernaut
47. Acid Horse - No Name No Slogan
48. PTP - Rubber Glove Seduction
49. Nine Inch Nails - Wish
50. Meat Beat Manifesto - Now
51. My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult - A Daisy Chain for Satan
52. Skinny Puppy Rodent
53. Pailhead - I Will Refuse
54. Lead Into Gold - Faster than Light
55. Revolting Cocks - Beers Steers and Queers
56. L7 - Shitlist
57. Huggy Bear - T Shirt Tucked In
58. Steel Pole Bathtub - Arizona Garbage Truck
59. Jesus and Mary Chain - Reverance
60. Les Thugs - Moon Over Marin
And in looking back at the songs, there were tunes for breaks ups, jumping around and listening to music in clubs or the dorm room, songs to be frustrated to, and there were songs for energy to get through long train rides. Sadly, there wasn't much music for happiness. Sure, there are songs for a lot of different things... the music of the relationship I was in at the time doesn't really hold up as it represents what I hoped a relationship could be musically - as opposed to what one is. Hence, we lasted a lot longer than we should have, but in the end, we were no more.
Nevertheless, life is where we end up after all of the things that take us somewhere. This was a stopping point on my journey to me, a journey that is in way complete, but at least, it's headed towards somewhere good. I truly believe that - even if I'm still waiting for the inevitable phone call of what should happen, but can't until someone else does something with it.

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