It feels really good to be reunited with the drums… The thing is though, not having the drums gave me more space to give love to the other instruments. So of course i became inspired, and said, ‘Lemme just do some full songs.’ i am just a punk kid, and am not at the point of virtuosity (which you can see if you’ve been paying attention to these posts- HA!)
i felt inspired, and got the guitar, bass AND drums out to do some D.C. hardcore (or harDCore). i wore out the Flex Your Head compilation (blurry cover vinyl edition), and there were a couple of songs i felt would be really fun to play. i don’t have the crunch of the early D.C. bands (interestingly, i sound like i’m playing Cali skate punk, with an east coast accent- the best of both punk worlds, i guess).
i don’t drink alcohol or do any type of drugs- i don’t even take so much as an asprin, nor do i do caffeine…. except for the time i laid there in the hospital for two months in an immense amount of pain, and i had to take a gang of painkillers and muscle relaxants. i don’t wish the feeling of morphine, dilaudid (or any narcotics) on anybody. i was so out of it, and had intense nightmares a few times. Also, i couldn’t go to the bathroom.
As i said, i wish that on no one. i was extremely fortunate to not have developed a dependency or addiction. i ran out of the prescription, and never reordered, because i didn’t need to. i am saying all of this to say that for all intents and purposes, i would be considered ‘straight edge’, save the time in the hospital (and i’m sure some reactionaries out there would call me a traitor for even using drugs in the hospital. Whoever thinks that way, good luck with having survived a massive traumatic accident and a limb amputation with no meds). i don’t call myself straight edge, and despite being drug and alcohol free i don’t judge others for partaking.
i love me some straight edge punk though. i mean, ‘Master Of Puppets’ is one of the greatest straight edge-themed metal songs of all time (despite it being written and performed by a band who were alternately called Alcoholica). i was once in a band in the 90s where we were all ‘straight edge’. And of course, even though there were prior songs and artists which eschewed the drug-addled life, there was the (reluctant) foreparent of straight edge hardcore, Minor Threat. Flex Your Head featured other straight edge bands like Government issue and SOA.
One of those songs is ‘Waste Of Time’ by Youth Brigade. As i said, i don’t judge people for partaking, but yo, i love this song. Always have. It definitely was not a waste to do this song. All the instruments got some love- Jerome (the guitar) and his bass and drum siblings.
Help me to name them.
Another song from the compilation i did was ‘Nic Fit’ by The Untouchables. i love the song but i honestly have little idea what Alec MacKaye is singing (save a few words)- so i took what (i guess) were some lyrics from the Sonic Youth cover, and made up a few of my own. Also, i think on the OG Danny Ingram is playing on an open high hat, but i’m playing it on closed.
i actually started this one out on drums, then played everything else around it. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…
Crass is one of my most favoritest punk bands of all time (Bad Brains is, to this day, number one for me). They are easily in the top five. The foreparents of the anarcho-punk movement (which is some of my favoritest type of punk), they were a collective that fused art and music, challenging the capitalist ideology/ethos (and all which fall under the umbrella of it, such as patriarchy, imperialism, neoliberalism, commercial media and consumerism).
i love that (being a staunch anticapitalist myself) i don’t even necessarily agree with all of Crass’ viewpoints- they’re Anarchist and i’m a Nkrumahist-Tureist. i mean, there have been a number of Anarchist individuals and organizations who have definitely struggled with Crass on particular positions. There are many shades of particular objectives and ideologies. That said, i have no qualms with paying respects to a band who contributed to my burgeoning ideological development as a teenager. The first person i need to thank is actually Ronald Reagan. i saw him at 10 years old and he inspired me to begin developing even then, an intense hatred for capitalism. i just didn’t have the words for it.
On the music front, one of my favorite things about Crass is Pete Wright. i absolutely love his bass playing, and sadly i don’t really hear anyone talk about him. i honestly can’t even pick a favorite, but ‘Do They Owe Us A Living’ (both versions) and ‘Darling’ (which i do here, but only the bass) are a couple off the dome.
An even bigger thing i love about Crass is that even though they were tagged with the ‘punk’ label they heavily critiqued ‘punk culture’ as being conformist and nihilistic. As someone who identifies as a punk kid (because it was punk that shaped the person i am today), i actually can’t be mad at their sentiment. Also, their primary influences were blues, jazz and various aspects of ‘counterculture’ visual art.
i hope i do his playing at least a modicum of justice. Especially since the bass kept trying to fall!
The final contribution to today’s post is another Crass song, ‘Shaved Women’. This song is interesting because it really does ask us to look dialectically and question our position on particular things. The song does refer to women in France who were seen as ‘collaborators’ to the nazis during the war. After the allied forces won, those women had their heads shaved as a form of public humiliation. Due to the band’s consistent antipatriarchy/antimisogyny messaging, it does force the listener to ask if the women were willing collaborators (for sleeping with nazis), or were they forced to do so in order to survive? Were they assaulted (or worse)? People do things every day of their lives in order to survive (such as have their labor exploited); so we are forced to ask ourselves, how ‘low’ is one willing to go just to feed our ‘screaming babies’ and ourselves? Sexual violence has historically been a major factor in war (which Crass actually did songs about). So would this situation be any different?
The other widely held interpretation is calling to question women who shave their bodies (and adhere to other patriarchal beauty standards). Are these women collaborating with the enemy? The desire to fulfill unrealistic standards (and the consumerism it entails) contributes to the “decadence” that occurs, while “people die.” The more we consume, the quicker it leads to our death.
But! If that’s all we know, do we understand the role of being a collaborator?
Crass were pretty open in stating their contradictions. They called for the listener to make up their minds about how something was interpreted. That’s not always necessarily the best thing, considering there are too many people who don’t actually listen to messages, and react to something based on a surface-level reading. However, i do understand what the band means when they say that, especially since they were pretty open about where they stood, when they were a solidly functioning collective.
i am playing Jerome, along with the yet to be named bass and drums…. along with vocals, and a couple of train samples. i’m certainly no Eve Libertine, but… i don’t have to be.
i’m just a bumblebee.
So there you have it… el uno abejorro banda musical, lejos de la colmena por el día. i hope it’s not too bad.
(This post is dedicated to Cicely, Eli and Shamole)