Monthly Archives: March 2007

Hardcore Punk Documentary: “American Hardcore”

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BT hooked me up with this dvd yesterday, so I immediately took it home and watched it. I’ve been in this hardcore mode lately, so seeing the old school bands again fueled my fire. I was enthralled while watching the old performances by Black Flag, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, SSD, DRI, etc. Hearing the guys who lived it talk about was great too. 

Favorite segments includes: Rollins fighting with a guy in the audience while on stage, Ian MacKaye talking about the “Straight Edge” movement.

These were hard times. The scene wasn’t nice; in fact, it was the polar opposite of the hippie movement of the 60’s. It was violent, angry, and disenfranchised. Alot of these kids were runaways, homeless, or from broken homes. They fought each other. The individual scenes were likened to today’s street gangs. They fought the police. They fought Ronald Reagan. Something as intense as the american hardcore scene couldn’t last though, so by 1986 it was dead.

It’s a good documentary if you just want a taste of the era. There were too many omissions though. I kept waiting for segments on the Dead Kennedy’s and the Misfits, but they were never even mentioned.

Gimme Gimme Gimme MORE (footage, official site)

Buy it

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Songs that shaped your world view

There are some people, like The Figurehead, who have been music fanatics throughout their lives. For people like me, music has played a vital role in shaping my world view. Sounds rediculous, right? In some cases that’s true.  I personally don’t give a darn about what the Dixie Chicks or Dave Matthews think about domestic and world affairs. I’m not talking about getting my politics from an out of touch musician here. I’m talking about songs that have stuck in your conscience through the years. Those songs that have shaped your opinion about something – something you’ve considered closely, and only then decided that you did agree with what that particular song said to you. I also lump songs into this category that didn’t necessarily shape an opinion in you, but carry some weight in your pantheon of moving songs anyway.

Here’s a quick list of songs that I recall having an effect upon me a teenager and young adult.

Suburban Home by The Descendents: To this very day, when our society’s “keeping up the Jones” epidemic starts to sicken me I go back to this song. “I want to be stereotyped. I want to be classified. I want to be a clone. I want a Suburban home.”

Merchandise by Fugazi: 10 years or more before I knew anything about Dave Ramsey, Ian MacKaye taught me about debt’s strangle hold on society: “Merchandise, it keeps us in line. Common sense say’s its by design. You are not what you own.”

New Years Day and Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2: I could list a dozen or more U2 songs that mean something to me. This is the first one that gripped me though. It taught me that bands that weren’t overtly punk could have a social conscience as well.

Only the Young – Journey, Change – John Waite, Lunatic Fringe – Red Rider: All of these songs appeared on the Vision Quest soundtrack. To this day, I break out into a sweat when I hear Only the Young, tears fill my eyes when I hear Change, and I go into a trance when I hear Lunatic Fringe. I’d rather not explain all the reasons, but if you know me you already know why.

This list could go on forever. I’m more interested in hearing about the songs that made a dent in your lives, my Figureheads.

A few  more of the Figureheads for good measure: Come as you Are by Nirvana, Rise Above by Black Flag, One Love by Bob Marley, The Captain and the Kid by Jimmy Buffett.

Today and The Formative Years

Something’s been eating away at me for a few weeks. There has been an angst stirring within me that I haven’t felt in long time. Every woman driving an SUV yakking on a cell phone, every slob stuffing a Big Mac in his face while sneering at me while I’m on my bike/running, every 30 something yuppie faking it…it’s made me angry. I feel myself becoming like them – well, I’m not becoming a woman in an suv, but you get the point. I swore as a kid I’d never be what I hated. I didn’t know what that meant. I suppose I don’t know now either.

I’m not the sort of soft English/Art/Philosophy degree holder (although I do hold the English degree and for a single semester I was an Art major) that believes that anger is evil and best suppressed. How we act upon that anger is what defines us, because ultimately we can’t avoid it altogether. In my life I’ve found two refuges: writing and physically draining sports (wrestling/hockey/triathlon). I’ve been coping with my angst lately by writing again. I’m always running or hitting a heavy bag.

I haven’t posted in a few days, because I knew this post was coming. Over the weekend I bought new tires for Mrs. Figurehead’s car and today I found out that I’ll be buying a new central air unit. I wanted to smash something. Instead, I took a dose of reality; I went home a little early, skipped my workout, and hugged my wife and daughter. Two sides to being an adult – the harsh realities of struggling to get ahead while life constantly tugs you towards the bottom of the lake and the beauty of having a family who loves you even on your bad days.

So Henry, I’m with ya buddy. But Figurehead, we dont’ know what you’re talking about man. Some days are meant for understanding where you came from, the proverbial “formative years”. Some days I still wanna be Henry in this Black Flag vid:

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100th post: Have I found a cause to care about?

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I’m not the sort of person driven by or motivated by politics in any way. For the most part I avoid socially relevant discussions and choose to internalize my opinions. I’ve never seen a point in arguing with a friend or acquantance about things that niether of us will affect any change over by having a personal discussion. I’ve always seen that as akin to having a contest to see who can beat their head against a wall just to prove who is tougher.

There are a few soft spots in my heart though.

1. Children affected by poverty

2. Young men whose feelings of adequacy and self worth are overlooked in favor of focusing on this aspect of the young woman’s coming of age struggles.

Today, while with a friend at Starbucks (how lame does that sound?), I saw A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. I looked over the book and was instantly gripped by the horrible thought of children being forced to become adults in the worst circumstances possible. War is ugly. It’s a reality a child should never experience, much less be forced to take active part in.

I haven’t read the book. I haven’t researched the subject. I’m just giving you a gut reaction. I’ll be reading the book. I’ll be researching the subject.

World Vision

Amnesty International – Child Soldiers

Get to know The Figurehead

I’m having some trouble with youtube today, so I’ll have to postpone “Founding Father’s Friday”. In it’s place I’ll give you a look into the world of The Figurehead; just odds and ends about everday life. Sound boring? Avert your eyes now then.

Playing in the car: Modest Mouse “We Were Dead…” and U2 “U218 Singles”

Playing at this very moment: Death Cab for Cutie “The Photo Album”

Beside the bed: Pat Conroy “My Losing Season” and Clive Cussler “Shockwave”

In the Loo: ESPN the Magazine and Wired

On my feet: Everyday – Vans Old Skool / Running – Brooks Addiction

The Shades: Rudy Project

Pedaling: Specialized Allez Comp Double with Mavic Ksyrium ES Anniversary Special Edition Wheels

Keeping the water out of my eyes: Aquasphere Kaiman

One Man’s Ipod: Volume 4

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Today’s shuffle:

Sons and Daughters – The Decemberists

The Unforgettable Fire – U2

Survive – Jimmy Buffett

Mr. Jones – Counting Crows

All The Passengers – Elf Power

Ticket to Immortality – The Dears

Can You Feel It – Apples in Stereo

Shadows – Yo La Tengo

Bubble Toes – Jack Johnson

Snail – Smashing Pumpkins

Volumes 1, 2, and 3

Dave Ramsey and Chuck Norris: the real DeltaForce vs. the modern day slave trade (debt)

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Chuck Norris doesn’t sleep – he waits. Behind Dave Ramsey’s goatee isn’t a chin – but another fist. Seperately, they’re here to kick butt on debt bondage.

Last year, the credit card industry “reaped a staggering $17.1 billion in controversial penalty fees alone – a ten-fold rise in such fees in the last decade.” And the latest generation of consumers has used credit cards “to charge up $1.8 trillion a year, up from a $69 billion a year in 1980.”

Are you free? Or are you slave to your own greed? Trust the ol’ Figurehead on this – GET DEBT FREE and stay that way.

Read THIS article for more staggering stats on how debt is enslaving you and how it’s time to stop ignoring this form of slavery.

 More on Dave Ramsey