How To Abuse Everything
ADD Records (Currently only available on iTunes but Physical Copies Available Soon)
Punk rock history taught me that the movement, the music and the scene started with a serious desire to say fuck the man and had a bit of crass humor. At the very least, the Sex Pistols may have been all about Anarchy in the UK or they might have just been a bunch of filthy jokesters. The Ramones played fast and loud, but let’s face it, the songs were also light-hearted and amusing. The Clash didn’t really have any sense of humor in the music or on stage though, but they were still the greatest band to ever come out of England. That’s sorta besides the point. Over time, punk rock factioned off into two schools. There was the crude side of things, with songs about fucking, drinking and doing stupid shit and there was the more serious, politically minded and social conscience people. One side took to the standard set of power chords and 4/4 tempos. The other created a litany of new experiments to where, only the ideas of revolution and fighting back really stayed put (notable exceptions to this include Strike Anywhere, Anti-Flag and Rise Against, the latter two becoming major label darlings for the mall punk revolution).
Growing up, I spent some time in the drunk punk scene for a little while. It was full of a lot of beer drinking, dorky looking, working class dudes and some pretty hard looking women who were, for the most part, nearly nonexistent. It was an alright time, but it was definitely a time of excessive drinking and total thoughtless anarchy, crammed in the hours after my 9-5 job and on weekends. It all came crashing down and I quickly abandoned that scene. The music was never the point. It was mostly about hanging out with a group of friends I had at the time.
Today, punk rock is a million dollar industry. Indie bands look all glossy and pretty and it’s hard to say where so many bands get their influence from. Musically, it’s a bit more than The Ramones, but the content is even more vacant than anything I can attest to with confidence. Mostly it looks like hair cuts and make-up are the center of it all. This music, amazingly did not come out of the alcohol fuel raged of the previously mentioned working class, street punk scene. The music is more closely related to the post-punk, proto-emo of the early nineties. It’s just fueled with a lot less substance and meaning. So, it begs the question, which scene, which path really kept true to the essence of punk rock?
Dude Jams sits somewhere on the line of punk rock bands made up of dudes, playing to dudes, singing songs about dudes. Clearly, they are after all called Dude Jams. And what do they do? They pick up guitars, write songs with power chords that have a bit of a hook to them, sing about getting fucked up (i.e. songs titled “Fucked Up”), drinking too much (“Drink. Drank. Panic”) and odes to beer (“12 Pack Anthem”). There really isn’t a lot else about it. Either you have room in your life to realize that the race to the middle is all your going to get and that shit is always going to suck, or you don’t. Dude Jams, much like their brothers in Too Many Daves, chose not to wallow in the misery and sorrow, but take the down trodden truth and turn it into a celebration.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about these two bands, why they do it for me. I mean, I do genuinely like the music, it’s a mild, fast pace bit of pop-punk with funny lyrics and song titles. Part of it is a relief, a release from the worry about being unemployed, on a path to not too much and destined for a life of working until I die. There is commiseration in this music. Part of it too is that it’s all truth and no bullshit. Dude Jams is not trying to be something more than what it is. The so-called intellectual punk rock movement, those versed in political and social ideologies, made up of mostly privileged white kids from suburbs who have chosen a working class life, is filled with just as much of the base desires found in their drunk punk brethren. The difference a lot of time is expectation, language and a lot of guilt and denial. It’s still people getting fucked up, doing fucked up things and fucking. But so often these people cloud themselves in rhetoric and theory. Some of which I find valid and true, for sure. But Dude Jams, there just dudes, playing jams. It’s meant to be inclusive and accepting, even if it isn’t totally enlightened or thought to death. It might be male centric, but it’s only because it’s told from the perspective of the people making the music.
I’ve already over-thought the entire thing. This is a lot of words dedicated to a 23 minute album of mid-range, middle of the road, drunken punk rock music. I dig the music, a lot. It makes me feel okay with my mediocrity. Somehow, here in the middle, I know it’s gonna be okay. There’s always a beer or 12 at the end of any shit day. There’s always some dudes I can rely on when shit sucks. There’s always a couch to crash on when the bill collectors take everything away. In that, I know, I can always pull myself up until the day they toss the dirt over my coffin. That’s the magic of Dude Jams.