So, the other day Gatermann and I were headed out for pizza–if you’re ever in St. Louis and in the mood for pizza, Fortel’s is your place–and he had the local alternateen station on the radio (105.7), and to my shock and amazement, they quit playing Bush and Linkin Park and Bush and Korn and Bush long enough to play an old Social Distortion song.
And I must interrupt myself again. If you’re ever in St. Louis and you’re into modern and/or eclectic music and need a decent radio station to listen to, start with 89.1 and 93.3.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah. 105.7 was playing Social D. I’d forgotten about Social Distortion so long ago that I struggled to remember the name of the band. “The lead singer’s name is Mike Ness,” I said. And halfway through the song I remembered Social D. “Real punk,” I said.
“Now what’s wrong with Green Day?” Gatermann asked me. I’ll have to point out that his tone was joking, otherwise I’ll end up with four tires with no air in them. So let me make one thing loud and clear: GATERMANN DOES NOT LIKE GREEN DAY, FOR THE RECORD!
Well, what’s wrong with Green Day is that punk was supposed to be three chords and an attitude. Green Day’s got the three-chords bit down, but the attitude… Billy what’s-his-name just sings about being slackers. Mike Ness is always worked up about something.
So tonight I threw in White Light White Heat White Trash and gave it a listen, all the way through, for the first time in a long time. I know I’ve ripped a choice few tracks, like “I Was Wrong” and “Down Here With the Rest of Us” into MP3 form and listened to them a lot, but I don’t think I’ve sat down with the album since college. Suddenly it was like it was the summer of 1997 again and everything was OK. And the songs I didn’t like then, I liked just fine now. I’ve lived enough to understand them now. Critics didn’t like the album all that much. Maybe if they bottomed out a few times and had God pick them back up again, maybe, just maybe, they’d like it better.
Fortunately for me, bottom isn’t nearly as deep for me as it was for Ness.
And then I got curious and did a web search. I wanted some insight into Mike Ness’ lyrics. How autobiographical were they? Were they just words to him, or did he live them? And I found a quote. Something he said to the Los Angeles Times, apparently. It’s one for the quote wall.
“It used to be, ‘Live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse.’ Now I want to live to be 100. I don’t want to leave my kids without a dad.”