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for October 24, 2002

It Was Then and There
by Stiffy Biceptz

[This is part two of a three-part rant. Part 1 is here. -Ed.]
It was a Sunday morning, around 11 a.m., in January of 1994. I was sitting at my old 1 mega-byte-of-RAM Macintosh Classic, working on my dreaded monthly report, in my apartment in Berkeley, CA. There were few places in the world I could have been sent to after New Brunswick and been happy; fortunately for me, the Berkeley/San Francisco Bay area was one of them. I was listening to the great alternative radio station out of SF called "Live 105". It wasn't as organic as WHTG, but was still a great station playing great music. Out in the Bay Area, Alternative music was the mainstream, and Live 105 had the 2nd or 3rd largest listening audience. Being the bizarro world that it was, the standard top 40 station was actually less popular.
The oddest thing about being in CA was getting used to football starting at 10 am. Back East, the early games start at 1 p.m., but through the magic of time zones, its breakfast with the John Madden in Berkeley. (Its not as weird however, as seeing live football at 7 am in Hawaii, but at least the scenery is nice...)
Anyway, I was trying fiercely to finish my report, so that I could head downstairs and watch the Giants, who had made the playoffs and were trying to make one last go of it with LT. The music was on (and it was its usual goodness) but at the moment it was just background.
An unfamiliar song intro momentarily caught my attention, but just as quickly it was back to the report.
And all of a sudden the song exploded out of the speakers. The volume was down low, yet it still nearly knocked me out of my chair. I wheeled around and sat straight up and just stared in amazement at my receiver. I said to myself, holy moley, this is amazing, its one of the most powerful tunes I've ever heard! It was definitely American punk, yet had an early English punk anger to it - at least that's how I described it to myself at the time.
Much to my chagrin, I soon found out this band, on the cusp of rightfully taking the Ramones' battle flag into the next decade, was a Berkeley band who had frequently played at a small club just 8 blocks from where I lived! For whatever reason, in the nearly two years I had been in Berkeley, I had never bothered to check the place out, always opting to go to the clubs in SF. And right under my nose, one of the most respected bands of our time, the band that single-handedly kick started the true American punk revival, had played live nearly every night and I HADN'T SEEN THEM! D'OH!!!
With that one song, everything had begun anew, and wouldn't be the same. Again. The band was Green Day and the song was "Longview". And to add insult to injury, I missed that other great American punk band to come out of Berkeley in the wake of Green Day, Rancid. Double D'oh.
[To be continued...]

©2002 Stiffy Biceptz

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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