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Entry date: 6-4-2024 – Procrastitiling – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

I let the day slip by yesterday. I did a few things. Signed some papers and went to the store. I wrote about a band (see below) and watched TV. It felt good. I should have been tiling, but I chose not to do so.

 

One of the things I thought about yesterday was one that turned my pea brain into a pretzel.

 

When you read to the end (and now you have to) you will see that I wrote something kind of bold. Now I’ve been thinking about the concept of top ten records. I should probably wait until the year is done and I’ve written about 366 albums I love (fucking leap year) and then rank them.

 

Ha.

No.

I’m not doing that.

 

But it did make me think about what my personal top 10 might be. Those first four were easy. They were…but I don’t know about the next six.

 

I’ll ponder on Wednesday when I actually do get to the tile.

 

*****

 

There is a funny thing that happens sometimes to me now when I’m listening to a song or album, and I realize how much influence it has had on me. Some of these influences could be heard almost immediately and others it has taken a long time for me to realize just how much someone else’s work has seeped into my brain. Over the years, there has been a few funny occurrences of this, too, in the practice room.

 

Years ago, I was sharing riffs at a Hillbilly Devilspeak practice and our drummer, Shane, said, “You’ve been listening to Hammerhead, haven’t you?” The riffs I was bringing to the band were copycat Hammerhead riffs. I learned that I could not listen to Hammerhead on the day of a show or practice because I would morph into Hammerhead-mode.

 

There were times during The Father Figures, too, where the bands we were listening to would seep into our collective consciousness. It’s easy for this to happen. Sometimes you go with it because the idea is good enough that you say, “who fucking cares” and keep playing the riff.

 

One of my all-time favorite records, aside from the last 155 of my all-time favorite records, is some excellent punk rock from the Bay Area and it has had a tremendous influence on me. Christ on Parade’s A Mind Is A Terrible Thing has been a favorite for a long, long time. It was a bit of a Holy Grail record for me for a little while, too.

 

I first heard it while hanging out at my buddy Craig’s apartment and I thought it was the coolest record, but I couldn’t find a copy anywhere until a few years later in Berkeley. I searched and searched, though, for four long years. I remember being at a Circle Jerks show in 1989 and a guy there had a big Christ on Parade patch on the back of his jacket. I flipped out and tried asking him about it, but it was too loud.

 

My Christ on Parade obsession was unrequited for a longtime, but once A Mind Is A Terrible Thing found its way to my house, I listened to it a lot. As I do so now, I realize how much of an influence it had on early Hillbilly songs. Christ on Parade had a lot of weird, note-y riffs and I have a penchant for writing those kinds of riffs.

 

I know the record so well that I eagerly anticipate the beginning of each song when the previous song ends. One of my favorite moments on it is the beginning of the penultimate track on the A side, “Twenty Years.” The intro part is kind of haunting and cool and is something that I have really gravitated towards for thirty plus years.

 

One of the best things about Christ on Parade is the lyrics. There was a lot of thought put into them. I had hoped to talk with them about this about fifteen years or so ago when we were scheduled to open for them, but they ended up cancelling. I had so many questions.

 

The opening track, “Teach Your Children Well” is a prime example of intelligent punk rock. A lot of what they were saying here is still completely relevant today.

 

“The power that they have is the power that you give/They take advantage of your ignorance and control the life you life/The process the people like they process the food/they process your children while they’re being schooled.”

 

There are many different themes about growing up and bucking the system and/or the need for some people to feel like they belong to the mainstream. This is yet another reason why I gravitated toward the band. That and their ability to borrow from Subhumans without making it obvious. “Pressure to Succeed” sounds very similar to songs off of World’s Apart.

 

The whole of side A is fucking great. “TV Media Mass Murder Celebrity” is another one that could easily have been written today. These dudes were onto some sort of universal vibe in those days because they can’t be too much older than I am.

 

“Nothing to Live For” is another great punk rock song and it flows into the equally rad “Rock and Roll Armageddon” and the aforementioned “Twenty Years.” The last song on side A, “Everyone’s Crazy” is another barn burner. The opening of “Everyone’s Crazy” is a bit of an interview with Charles Manson. I remember hearing this for the first time and losing my mind. 

 

I never got to see them live, but I can imagine they ripped.

 

“Stupid Questions (Not To Ask)” is another one that I love off the of the rocking B Side. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the excellent keyboard work on A Mind Is A Terrible Thing. A guy named Brett Carroll did the keyboards and he has also played with Neurosis and now, apparently, a reformed Steel Pole Bathtub. On “Stupid Questions…” Carroll’s keyboards kind of take it over the top.

 

“Doctors” has excellent lyrics, and the riff is nutty and brilliant. This one is definitely near and dear to my backwards riff loving heart. I can understand why Neurosis wanted Carroll to join their band after thinking about how he did the outro, too.

 

The whole thing is just superb. I feel like a broken record here, but it’s really surprising to me that Christ on Parade wasn’t bigger than they were. Their output is just excellent.

 

“Dead Meat,” “Lifesucker,” “Power,” and “Old Mac Donald’s Farm” end the record in fantastic fashion. “Power” is another one that has a Subhumans feel to it, but Doug Kearney’s vocals separate it from sounding just like them. Kearney’s work, along with Noah Landis, on the record is great. I’m not sure who sang what, actually, but all the vocals are great.

 

This is a top 10 punk rock record for me.

 

Damn. That’s a bold claim.

 

***** 

 

See you tomorrow.



Jennifer Dunkirk...we miss you.

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Steve Roberts
Steve Roberts
6월 05일

That's how I blew my audition for D.I, Casey & I was listening to early TSOL on the way to the studio, and it seeped in. I attacked the kit like Todd Barnes, and it was too fast for Casey to fit the words in. Not exactly the blend of surf.goth they were looking for.

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