Columns - "The Sign of a Good Time" 03.01.03

Why Grown-Ups Hate Hardcore:  The Rise Of The Punk Curmudgeon
            I can’t go to a show without drinking.  It’s simply far too troublesome of a proposition for me to even consider.  IF, for some reason, I do go to a show and force myself not to drink, that self-imposed torture almost immediately takes a backseat to forcing myself to actually stay.  It’s a no win situation if there’s no booze, and that makes me ashamed of myself.  It really wasn’t too long ago when I would just run over to a show and watch the bands and be totally into it, completely free of intoxicants of any kind.  Now, not only can I not do that, I hate the people who can!  That might be why I tend to stay away from Hardcore shows and choose to almost exclusively see bands that are just as drunk, “old” and jaded as myself.  Hardcore shows are filled with people who appear to be generally enthusiastic about being there, interacting and letting loose.  What the fuck makes these Hardcore crowds so…hardcore?  And what makes me (and possibly you) so…not?

            When I first posed this question to myself, the first thing that popped into my head was age.  When you are young, you can fight, think and act a way that adult life really doesn’t nurture.  In terms of economics, your average 15-year-old underground music fan generally doesn’t have the same concerns as your average 25-year-old fan (or 35, 45, so on).  Less responsibility (be it financial or personal) directly equates to more time spent doing the things you want to do. 

I am writing this column right now in the house I grew up in.  For a variety of reasons (some of which were personal, some of which were economical), I have shacked up with my folks again.  A painful truth for this 24 year old to admit publicly, but one that has a lot to do with the subject matter of this column.  You see…by not paying rent and as many bills, I suddenly find myself thinking about things I haven’t devoted much thought to in a long time:  political and social issues, art as action, dissent and the various “big” issues in the world today.  Coincidently…I’m also finding myself listening to my Minor Threat records more now than I have in 7 years. 

The move home has played a direct role in reminding me of why I even got into this stuff in the first place.  Ironically, I got into it more for the ideas it presented (different, dangerous and entertaining takes on politics, culture, relationships, roles, art) rather than the stuff it made me want to do (break stuff, be rude, yell, fuck, drink).  Of course, all that “want to do” stuff was really important too.  Regardless, the pattern of my life seems to be (temporarily) changing from a seemingly infinite series of painful workweeks and booze-induced lost weekends to brief glimpses at the motivation, ambition, and idealism that I thought I had lost.  I’m not sure how to handle it…so it’s been a steady diet of youthful Hardcore and Thrash.  I actually can’t wait to become a grump again…but it’s a nice vacation.
New Stuff That Doesn’t Suck That Much
The new Henry Fiat’s Open Sore single, “Patmos Or Bust”, simply kicks fucking ass.  I’m curious to see how the die-hards will receive this record, as it sounds slightly different from their other stuff.  “(Proud To Be The) Black Sheep” sounds so much like The Damned, it ain’t even funny.  I think this actually might be my favorite thing by them.

The Clone Defects have finally proved their worth to me.  “Shapes Of Venus” is an absolute monster, the best thing I’ve heard in months.  This is what I was hoping “Blood On Jupiter” would sound like, but it took ‘em a while to reach their full potential.  THEY EVEN GO POP ON THE TITLE TRACK!  GIMME A FUCKING BREAK!  SO GOOD I COULD SHIT!  “Fill My Fridge” pays tribute to garlic, bologna (or Garlic Bologna?), and water with lemon…genius.  Probably the finest “cheap eats” tune since MDC’s “Ketchup Soup”.  SHOW ME A BUTT CHEEK, OWWWWWWWW!!!

I’d like to echo Filthy Rich’s statement regarding The Lids single…I dig.  The new F-Hole “Gives A Fuck” single has been getting a few spins too.  As good as those two are, The Geeks “Dreamland In Machineland” b/w “Hey Wreck” 45 hasn’t really given me much chance at spinning other 45s.  It’s another one of the S-S Records excavations, this time diving deep into Marin County, CA (!!!) for some incredibly out there free-jazzy Contortions mud and screech.  Amazing how it went unheard for so long…too good.

I know it’s probably been mentioned here already, but Hostage Records put out this CD-only budget comp called “Cuts”.  Yes, it sucks.  There is one gem on it though:  The Fuse!  I know you’ve probably seen their name on the In The Red site.  Anyway, I’ve had the privilege of seeing them a couple times and I can honestly say that they are the most promising young band on the west coast.  “Who meets Crass” is a good description…maybe “Jam meets Le Shok” too…we shall see.  I’ve got incredibly high hopes for this one……………………………
Mitch Cardwell
1405 Rose St.
Crockett, CA 94525

© 2003