Fish Tank #34
Close But No Cigar:
Starting in 1992 out of Orebro, Sweden was the flag ship band for Burning Heart records and one of the first skate punk bands I went crazy over, Millencolin. Their name is taken from a skate trick named Melancholy. These guys are an amazing blend of some heart wrenching lyrics and straight shredding. Well, for those of ya who don’t know these guys, let’s solve that problem.
1994 saw the debut album Tiny Tunes. This was initially released in Europe on Epitaph’s sub label Burning Heart. When it was released in the U.S. the band was forced to rename it Same Old Tunes and change the cover art due to a lawsuit from Warner Brothers. This album was primarily straight ahead skate punk with a few ska punk songs. Stand outs on this include Mr. Clean and Da Strike.
1995 dropped Life On A Plate. This continued their blend of skate and ska punk songs. Their playing continued to tighten up. Stand out tracks on this include Bullion and Vulcan Ears. This was another solid effort from Millencolin.
1997 gave us For Monkeys. This had a break out single for this band with Lozin’ Must. An honestly great song. Their sound was getting harder on some songs in this album. The other stand out on this was Twenty Two.
2000 was Millencolin’s break out release Pennybridge Pioneers. This was their jump from Burning Heart to Epitaph. They had dropped the ska sound and every track on this is solid punk rock. Stand outs on this are Fox, Penguins and Polar Bears and No Cigar. The album title is the English translation of the band’s home town. No Cigar was featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.
2002 was Home From Home. The Millencolin sound plowed right along in this album. In some was the sound hardened up more on singles like Man or Mouse and Kemp. The true stand out on this album though was Punk Rock Rebel. This is a tribute song for that old dog that got ya into punk to begin with, we all have one.
2005 gave us Kingwood. There are number of notably harder tracks on this one. Some are at more of a break neck pace than anything this band had done prior. The stand out is a dark and sad song known as Shut You Out though. It’s not a slow song by any means though, it’s a punk rock ballad you can thrash a ramp to.
2008 was Millencolin’s most current release Machine 15. Through all the years and albums this band hasn’t slowed up one bit. Aside from these releases the singe Nikola has released 4 solo albums. The band continues to tour and are said to be working on a new album. They even had a Vans shoe which I’d like to see come back. So lube up your bearings and play some of the Pennybridge Pioneers at your next skate session.
The Punk Rock Lifesgtyle
The Most Common ideologies and philosophies within the punk subculture.
Punk ideologies are a group of varied social and political beliefs associated with the punk subculture. In its original incarnation, the punk subculture was primarily concerned with concepts such as rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, individualism, free thought and discontent. Punk ideologies are usually expressed through punk rock music, punk literature, spoken word recordings, punk fashion, or punk visual art. Some punks have participated in direct action, such as protests, boycotts, squatting, vandalism, or property destruction.
Punk fashion was originally an expression of nonconformity, as well as opposition to both mainstream culture and the hippie counterculture. Punk fashion often displays aggression, rebellion, and individualism. Some punks wear clothing or have tattoos that express sociopolitical messages.
An attitude common in the punk subculture is the opposition to selling out, which refers to abandoning of one’s values and/or a change in musical style toward pop or more radio-friendly rock in exchange for wealth, status, or power. Selling out also has the meaning of adopting a more mainstream lifestyle and ideology. The issue of authenticity is important in the punk subculture, the pejorative term “poseur” is applied to those who associate with punk and adopt its stylistic attributes but are deemed not to share or understand the underlying values or philosophy.
Because anti-establishment and anti-capitalist attitudes are such an important part of the punk subculture, a network of independent record labels, venues and distributors has developed. Some punk bands have chosen to break from this independent system and work within the established system of major labels. The do it yourself (DIY) genre is common in the punk scene, especially in terms of music recording and distribution, concert promotion, magazines, posters and flyers. On religious issues, punk is mostly atheist or agnostic, but some punk bands have promoted religions such as Christianity, Islam, the Rastafari movement or Krishna.
Anarchism And Left-Libertarianism
There is a complex and worldwide underground of punks committed to libertarian socialism or anarchism as a serious political ideology, sometimes termed “peace punks” or “anarcho-punks.” Whereas some well-known punk bands such as the Sex Pistols and The Exploited sang about general anarchy, they did not embrace anarchism as a disciplined ideology. As such, they are not considered part of anarcho-punk. Notable anarchist punk artists include: Aus-Rotten, Dave Insurgent, Crass, Dick Lucas, Colin Jerwood, and Dave Dictor.
Some punks claim to be non-political, such as the band Charged, GBH and the singer G.G. Allin, although some socio-political ideas have appeared in their lyrics. Some Charged GBH songs have discussed social issues, and a few have expressed anti-war views. G.G. Allin expressed a vague desire to kill the United States president and destroy the political system in his song “Violence Now”. Punk sub-genres that are generally apolitical include: glam punk, psychobilly, horror punk, punk pathetique, deathrock and pop punk. Many of the bands credited with starting the punk movement were decidedly apolitical, including The Dictators, Ramones (which featured staunch conservative Johnny Ramone alongside left-wing activist Joey Ramone), New York Dolls, Television, Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers, and Richard Hell and The Voidoids.
Christian punk is a small sub-genre of punk rock with some degree of Christian lyrical content. Some Christian punk bands are associated with the Christian music industry, but others reject that association. Examples of notable Christian punk bands include The Crucified and MxPx. Some Christian punk bands perform after a religious sermon is preached at a sanctuary type setting.
A small number are conservative or right-libertarian, rejecting anarchism, liberalism, communism and socialism in favor of free market capitalism, a minimal government and private ownership of property. Notable conservative punks include: Michale Graves, Johnny Ramone, Lee Ving, Billy Zoom, Joe Escalante, Bobby Steele and Dave Smalley. Notable punks who have expressed support for voluntarism or anarcho-capitalism include Joe Young and Jeff Clayton of the band Antiseen, Exene Cervenka, Mojo Nixon and Barry Donegan. Some Christian punk and hardcore bands have conservative political stances, in particular some of the NYHC bands. Iggy Pop campaigned for Ronald Reagan.
Taqwacore Punk a sub-genre centered around Islamic beliefs, its culture and its interpretation. The Taqwacore scene is composed mainly of young Muslim artists living in the United States and other western countries, many of whom openly reject traditionalist interpretations of Islam. There is no definitive Taqwacore sound, and some bands incorporate styles including hip-hop, techno, and/or musical traditions from the Muslim world.
In the 1990s, some notable members of the New York hardcore scene, including Ray Cappo (Youth of Today, Shelter and other bands), John Joseph (Cro-Mags) and Harley Flanagan (Cro-Mags) converted to Hare Krishna. This led to trend within the hardcore scene that became known as Krishna-core.
Liberal punks were in the punk subculture from the beginning, and are mostly on the liberal left. Notable liberal punks include: Joey Ramone, Fat Mike, Ted Leo, Billie Joe Armstrong, Crashdog, Hoxton Tom McCourt, Justin Sane, Tim Armstrong and Tim McIlrath. Some punks participated in the Rock Against Bush movement in the mid-2000s, in support of the Democratic Party candidate John Kerry.
Nazi punk, White Power Rock, Rock Against Communism
Nazi punks have a far right, white nationalist ideology that is closely related to that of white power skinheads. Ian Stuart Donaldson and his band Skrewdriver are credited with popularizing white power rock and hatecore, or Rock Against Communism.
Nazi punks are different from early punks such as Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux, who are believed to have incorporated Nazi imagery such as Swastikas for shock or comedy value.
In 1978 in Britain the white nationalist (White Nationalism), had a punk-oriented youth organization called the Punk Front. Although the Punk Front only lasted one year, it recruited several English punks, as well as forming a number of white power punk bands such as The Dentists, The Ventz, Tragic Minds and White Boss
Centering around a belief in the abject lack of meaning and value to life, nihilism was a fixture in some protopunk and early punk rock. Notable nihilist punks include, Iggy Pop, Sid Vicious and Richard Hell.
The Clash were the first blatantly political punk rock band, introducing socialism to the punk scene. Some of the original Oi! bands expressed a rough form of socialist working class populism often mixed with patriotism. Many Oi! bands sang about unemployment, economic inequality, working class power and police harassment. In the 1980s, several notable British socialist punk musicians were involved with Red Wedge. Notable socialist punks include: Attila the Stockbroker, Billy Bragg, Bruce La Bruce, Garry Bushell (until the late 1980s), Chris Dean, Gary Floyd, Jack Grisham, Stewart Home, Dennis Lyxzén, Thomas Mensforth, Fermin Muguruza, Alberto Pla, Tom Robinson, Seething Wells, Paul Simmonds, Rob Tyner, Joe Strummer, Ian Svenonius, Mark Steel and Paul Weller.
S. I. Punk
The Situationist International
This was allegedly an early influence on the punk subculture in the United Kingdom. Started in continental Europe in the 1950s, the SI was an avant-garde political movement that sought to recapture the ideals of surrealist art and use them to construct new and radical social situations. Malcolm McLaren introduced situationist ideas to punk through his management of the band Sex Pistols. Vivienne Westwood, McLaren’s partner and the band’s designer/stylist, expressed situationist ideals through fashion that was intended to provoke a specific social response. Jamie Reid’s distinctive album cover artwork was openly situationist.
Straight Edge Punk
Straight Edge And Hardline Subculture
Straight edge punk, which originated in the American hardcore punk scene, involves abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drug use. Some who claim the title straight edge also abstain from caffeine, casual sex and meat. Those more strict individuals may be considered part of the hardline subculture. Unlike the shunning of meat and caffeine, refraining from casual sex was without question a practice in the original straight edge lifestyle, but it has been overlooked in many of the later reincarnations of straight edge. For some, straight edge is a simple lifestyle preference, but for others it’s a political stance. In many cases, it is a rejection of the perceived self-destructive qualities of punk and hardcore culture. Notable straight edgers were Ian MacKaye and Minor Threat who put the straight edge music movement on the map, Tim McIlrath, Justin Sane, and Davey are others who promoted the straight edge lifestyle.
Criticism Of Punk Ideologies
Punk ideologies have been criticized from outside and within. The Clash occasionally accused other contemporary punk acts of selling out, such as in their songs “(White Man)” In Hammersmith Palais” and “Death or Glory”. Crass’s song “White Punks on Hope” criticized the late-1970s British punk scene in general and, among other things, accused Joe Strummer of selling out and betraying his earlier socialist principles. Their song “Punk is Dead” attacked corporate co-option of the punk subculture.
Dead Kennedys front man and always controversial Jello Biafra wrote many songs criticizing aspects of the punk rock subculture and he once accused the punk magazine Maximum Rock n Roll of “punk fundamentalism” when they refused to advertise his punk rock label “Alternative Tentacles” records because they said the records “weren’t punk”. The Misfits’ Michael Graves, a right-libertarian who co-founded the “Conservative Punk” website, argued that punks have become “hippies with mohawks”.
Kurt Cobains Top 50 Albums
1. The Stooges
2. Pixies – Surfer Rosa
Kurt says: A die-cast metal fossil of misplaced draft, with or without the fucking production. Everyone who has ever commented on ‘Surfer Rosa’ has said that the production’s amazing. I agree with that, but the songs are so strong that it wouldn’t have mattered if you’d listened to it through a boom-box.
I was completely nihilistic up until about four or five years ago, when I first heard this. It changed my attitude. It made me finally admit, after being into punk rock for so many years, that I finally liked other stiles as well. It made me finally admit that I’m a music lover. Their music reminded me of the music that I always wanted to do – and was doing – before I got into punk rock eight or nine years ago.
3. The Breeders
4. The Vaselines Son Of A Gun
Kurt says: I just have this feeling Eugene and Frances had a really cool relationship. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think it’s a really amazing thing when a couple can get on together and write some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. They’re kind of sharing their life with people. Eugene and Frances are the Captain & Tennille of the underground.
5. The Shaggs – Philosophy Of The World
Kurt says: It’s so obviously the real thing. I heard this one live song – a Carpenters song, maybe? – where they must have been playing a day centre, and the screams in the background are louder than the music. The Shaggs are another archetypal K band.
6. Fang – Landshark
7. MDC – Millions Of Dead Cops
8. Scratch Acid – Scratch Acid
9. Saccharine Trust – Paganicons
10. Butthole Surfers – Pee Pee The Sailor
11. Black Flag – My War
12. Bad Brains – Rock For Light
13. Gang Of Four – Entertainment
14. Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks
Kurt says: A million times more important than The Clash. How do I explain that? Hmm. Both were always a bad imitation of The Rolling Stones, in love with America. But at least they took their girlfriends on tour with them (The Slits). Their music was terrible, though. I blame Sandinista! for not letting me get into punk until years after I should have done – it was so bad.
The Pistols’ album has the best production of any rock record I’ve ever heard. It’s totally in-your-face and compressed. All the hype The Sex Pistols had was totally deserved – they deserved everything they got. Johnny Rotten was the one I identified with, he was the sensitive one. The only reason I might agree with people calling our band “The Sex Pistols of the 90’s” is that, for both bands, the music is a very natural thing, very sincere. But in terms of influence, fuck, no! Rock is too exhausted for that. We haven’t produced a totally original sound like that. We might be uncompromising, but that’s about it. We’re an obvious metamorphosis.
15.The Frogs – It’s Only Right And Natural
16. PJ Harvey – Dry
17. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
18. The Knack – Get The Knack
19. The Saints – Know Your Product
20. Kleenex – Kleenex/Liliput
21. The Raincoats – The Raincoats
22. Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth
Kurt Says: The music relaxes you, it’s total atmospherics. It’s just nice, pleasant music. I love it. The drum machine has to have the cheesiest sound ever. We’re going to be on a Young Marble Giants compilation, doing ‘Credit In The Straight World’. I had a crush on the singer for a while – didn’t everyone? I didn’t know much about them – the Moxham brothers, right? I heard they might be getting back together again recently. Isn’t it weird how, when you hear something like that, you still get excited, even though you know you shouldn’.
23. Aerosmith – Rocks
24. Various – What is it?
25. R.E.M. – Green
26. Shonen Knife – Burning Farm
Kurt says: This was the first cassette that came out on K. Eventually, after a week of listening to it every day, I started crying. That’s how much it affected me. I just couldn’t believe that three people from a totally different culture could write songs as good as those, because I’d never heard any other Japanese music or artist who ever came up with anything good.
Everything about them is just so fucking endearing. They’re not too cute! That’s part of the charm. Do I think there’s a paedophiliac element to their appeal? I think in Japanese culture in general there’s a paedophiliac element – most of the women there dress op as young girls. It’s weird.
I’m sure that I was twice as nervous to meet them as they were to meet us. I didn’t want to offend or scare them in any way, because I know I’m a scruffy, slimy person who might scare them off – and that’s exactly what I did. They were afraid of me. In fact, on one of our first dates together, they saw me walking towards them and they screamed at the top of their voices, turned around and ran away, and then peeked their heads out of their dressing room. I was trying to reassure them that I was harmless. The communication we had with them was deathly silence and a lot of smiling.
In many ways, they’re the ultimate K band, because they are sincere, they are real. They don’t’ purposely put their guitars out of tune and they don’t purposely sing out of tune.
27. The Slits – Typical Girls
28. The Clash – Combat Rock
29. Void/Faith/Split EP
30. Rites Of Spring – Rites Of Spring
31. Beat Happening – Jamboree
32. Tales Of Terror – Tales Of Terror
33. Leadbelly – Last Sessions Volume 1
Kurt says: William Burroughs turned me onto that guy. He said that if you want to hear true honest music, you should hear Leadbelly. The songs are just amazing heartfelt.
Leadbelly was this poor black man in the early 1900s who went to jail a few times for wife-beating and robbery and getting into fights and bootlegging liquor. While he was is in prison, he started playing the guitar, and he sang so well that the governor started to like him, and let him out of jail. Leadbelly became an apprentice with Blind Lemon Jefferson and started recording songs, but none of the commercial recordings he made ever captured his true essence, except for these late sessions. They happened when this guy who’d been following his career for a few years caught him on a two-track tape recorder one night when they were hanging out at this hotel. It’s just really cool.
I hope that my songs approximate that honesty. That’s what I strive for. He was like the first punk rocker: he’d get into town, walk into an all-white bar, try to have a drink, get beat up and then go to jail because of it. So it’s really cool to hear this music, especially the air of the recordings themselves, because it’s so eerie to hear it on this crackly two-track. But that’s what Folkway records are like – they’re awesome. They even have the entire Watergate tapes available as a 10-album set. I’m gonna get a Folkways tattoo next to my Black Flag tattoo.
34. Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff
35. Daniel Johnston – Yim Jump Music
36. Flipper – Generic Flipper
37. The Beatles – Meet The Beatles
38. Half Japanese – We Are They Who Ache With Amorous Love.
Kurt says: I like to listen to Jade Fair and Half Japanese with headphones on, walking around shopping malls – in the heart of the American culture. I just think that, if people could hear this music right now, they’d melt, they wouldn’t know what to do, they’d start bouncing off the walls and hyperventilating. So I turn up the music really loud and pretend it’s blasting through the speakers in the mall.
39. Butthole Surfers – Locust Abortion Technician
40. Black Flag – Damaged
41. The Record
42. Flowers Of Romance
43. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
44. The Marine Girls – Beach Party
45. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World
46. The Wipers – Is This Real?
47. The Wipers – Youth Of America
48. The Wipers – Over The Edge
Kurt says: Is This Real? Yes it is. The Wipers released maybe four or five albums. The first two were totally classic and influenced The Melvins and all the other punk rock bands. They’re one of the bands I tried to assimilate. Their songs were so good. Greg Sage was pretty much the romantic, quiet, visionary kind of guy. What more can I say about them? They started Seattle grunge rock in Portland, 1977.
49. Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly
50. Swans – Young God EP