Punk, Garage, Fusion, call it what you want, this is the zone for me when energy is required so this was a fun/easy one to make. At 50 songs and over 2 hrs., it should keep you jacked up for a while if you need that. A lot of it however is produced by bands that I’ve discovered independently and therefore don’t have a lot of significant memories or stories to share that are associated with them as I’ve enjoyed them in solitude a majority of the time. There are some obvious inclusions that most punk/garage fans would expect so I don’t go into them, none the less, here are some of my thoughts, enjoy! // jump to playlist
BAD BRAINS – Punk + Reggae, sold! I don’t remember how I discovered these guys but for the longest time I was alone in my enjoyment of them. I was only able to see H.R. live on a solo tour (I went alone) BUT, one time I went on a spring break trip to South Padre Island, TX which was not my scene at all. After experiencing the obnoxiousness at the big clubs on the first night, we opted out the rest of the week having found this great reggae bar that had pool tables and a house band that was basically a Bad Brains/Bob Marley cover outfit. They pulled it off very convincingly, were super good dudes and saved spring break, every night. Whatever… Bad Brains is one of my favorite punk rock ensembles, for sure.
FEAR/LEE VING – Most punk fans know John Belushi was a big punk fan and got them on SNL to debut, I think that’s where I might have picked them up? I don’t remember how I discovered a lot of the classic punk that I listen to beyond trips to Northern Lights in Minneapolis but they’ve always been a favorite. You also can catch Lee Ving as a strip club owner in FLASHDANCE which I found hilarious at the time. Look for the Lee Ving/Dave Grohl track on the playlist.
DEVO/MARK MOTHERSBAUGH – I’ve been a DEVO fan from the beginning, but holy shit is Mark Mothersbaugh influential beyond that band. A few years ago, I was able to spend some quality time at an exhibition he had that was at the MIA and my mind was significantly blown a number of times a number of ways. The man is prolific beyond words.
GENERATION X/BILLY IDOL – I’m pretty sure Billy Idol was the gateway drug into the world of Punk Rock for me although is solo material doesn’t really feel as “punk” as his Generation X work, to me. Also the first live show I saw without my parents but it was in a stadium so, not very punk rock. Amazing none the less.
TY SEGAL/FUZZ – Ty Segal makes so much damn music it can be somewhat daunting to sift through it all, but the exploration always yields sonic gems.
SAVAGES – The last show I was able to see at the Triple Rock Social Club. My friend Kolby and I had tickets, almost didn’t go because we’re old and tired or something, talked each other into going, got right up to the stage and had our minds completely blown by their sheer force.
THEE OH SEES – I discovered this band through Spotify Radio and went down their rabbit hole. I’m sad that I missed them when they were here last fall. I had a hard time deciding what to put on the playlist, so I went with the track that snagged my ear the first time. It’s a jam!
BEASTIE BOYS – PUNK AF!
MELVINS – Another massive library to sift through, a lot of it experimental. Legendary live shows I’ve seen a few times. This was the last First Avenue Mainroom show I saw before Covid. With Redd Kross opening, I had made a poster for a show later on the tour so I got in free to drop off the posters and I went alone, fitting. Blown away by Redd Kross, something told me to park my ass against the stage during band changeover. Right up against it. Once the show started it became clear what I had done to myself, “I’m too old for this shit” I thought as people started to get aggressive in their movements. Then they started to play Honey Bucket, the mosh pit opened up behind me and within seconds that “I’m too old for this shit” mindset vanished, and I was in it. I am SO GLAD that the last live music experience I’ll likely have for the foreseeable future was that unforgettable. Music is indeed the drug.