February 4, 2009

Operation Ivy//Sound System

Last night, I walked by Tompkins Sqaure Park on my way to Sidewalk. This reminded me of the C-Squat, which in turn reminded me of my days of high school punk rock.

Yeah, I really loved punk rock back in the day. Loved it. I went to a lot of shows, mostly at the Wayne Fire House (classy) to see bands who were friends or friends of friends. My current bandmates were in an awesome outfit called The Voicecracks, who had a song whose only lyrics were, “Hey emo kid/How’s your girlfriend?/Hey emo kid/I fucked your girlfriend.” I can also remember paying a kid to lick the ground. Glory days: don’t let them pass you by.

One of my favorite moments from this era of my life was this party thrown by some rich girl in SmokeRise. The party consisted of a lot of bands playing in her basement and a lot of 16-year-olds “cooking” vegan food (read: cutting up some carrots and spooning half-baked vegan brownie mix into their mouths with their fingers). She invited Leftover Crack (speaking of C-Squat) to play as the closing band. Of course they totally tore the place up—I distinctly remember a hole getting punched in one of the walls of her ridiculous mansion. When most of the band you invite to play your suburban birthday party has some kind of criminal record, you can’t be all that surprised when your house gets wrecked. We hightailed it out of there before the serious shit (i.e. the girl’s poor parents getting home) went down.

As an adult, my tastes have definitely veered more toward the classic late 70s/early 80s version of punk/post-punk (like Blondie, Patti Smith, Velvet Underground, Televsion, etc…), but as an adolescent, I would take whatever was the “baddest” I could find. My most loved record of this teenage punk era was definitely the self-titled combo reissue of Hectic and Turn It Around by Operation Ivy. This may make me a nerd, but I loved these records and I unabashedly loved listening to them on repeat. There’s something so raw, pissed off and alive in Jesse Michael’s voice. A lot of it is definitely youthful naïveté and swagger, but there’s something so seductive about it just the same.

This song is perfect for OSS, because it’s all about how music can have that special ability to restore you, regardless of whatever heinous things are happening in your world. I also like how this can be thought of as an appreciation for music or an enjoyment for performing. I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment regarding the emotional transcendence of sound.

Sound System.mp3

Sound system’s gonna bring me back up, yeah;
One thing that I can depend on!

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