I promise I’m almost done with my recent binge of punk/hardcore/straight-edge posts, but I have to share (at least) one more. I found this vid today for the first time.
Fugazi in 1991, the same year I saw them in Nashville, playing at what appears to be a rally ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. Love it. Where are the bands that matter today? There’s something more powerful about an underground band challenging the government than when pop bands do it (see Green Day, Dixie Chicks, etc.)
I went to see Fugazi wearing a tshirt, ripped blue jeans, and combat boots. I left with one leg of those blue jeans completely missing from the thigh down, no shirt, and the boots. I got to see my buddy Nathan go swinging into a crowd of skinheads. He took a beating (left with a boot print on his chest), but it was darn funny.
This vid looks more like the show I was at. I actually thought it WAS my show at first – very similar set up. I’m remember thinking how cool it was to be onstage beside Ian MacKaye, even if it was just for a few seconds before diving head first into the melee again. It’s a great memory! I felt like I was a part of something serious and real. The kind of stuff the regular kids had no idea about. No worries mom and dad, I made home alright that night.
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.