Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fuck you, you filthy (rich) hippie

I never really hated hippies until I moved to the southern suburbs of Los Angeles County. What was to hate, exactly? Hippies liked weed and peace and love and music. Why not dig that stuff? But something happened out here in South Bay towns like Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. The hippies got rich. They started smoking the most expensive weed (from Humboldt County). They started drinking the most expensive wine (from Napa Valley). They got the best cocaine. Which is all good. They’re pretty generous. So you go to their parties at their nice houses by the beach. You try to have a good time. Be social. But you can't. The problem is not just that they tell you exactly how expensive that glass of Cabernet or bag of skunk is. The real problem is they ALL have the following two albums, and they seem to ONLY have these two albums: The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 and Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers. These two albums seem to be blasted non-stop from their expensive stereo systems. Speakers in every room. Outdoor speakers. You cannot escape hearing Jammin’ or Tequila Sunrise for the hundred millionth time. This is a buzz kill, no matter how many glasses of red or joints you consume. If you’re lucky, you’ll hear some CSN and/or Y to break things up.

It was after one of these parties that I truly began to understand SoCal punk. I began to grasp why South Bay bands like Black Flag and the Descendents wanted to get some distance from their rather round and bald neighbors. Even though Greg Ginn is a Dead fan, you’d be hard-pressed to hear Slip It In playing during a luau party in Redondo Beach.

Instead South Bay punks and their Orange County counterparts embraced things like Budweiser, heroin, speed, sobriety, Devo, the Adolescents, Social Distortion, Agent Orange or anything, ANYTHING other than the fucking Eagles (ask the Dude about the Eagles). I’ve met a lot of old school punks from these parts, and they all hate hippies. It’s a real us-against-them kind of thing here. This was the battleground, and the war is not forgotten.

This brings me to tonight’s selection: A fine Devo cover by the OC band D.I., who were part of the Adolescents family tree. What makes this extra special for me is that I bought this album for one reason: the song Richard Hung Himself, which is featured in Penelope Spheeris’s film Suburbia. The Devo tune is just a bonus track, but it outshines most of the preceding 8 tracks.

So anyway the D.I. record is called Team Goon and it was released about 1986. Aside from the Devo and the suicidal centerpiece, Team Goon also features some pretty entertaining cold war tunes like Nuclear Funeral and Reagan Der Fuhrer: “Reagan’s our Fuhrer/We need someone newer.” Things of that nature. Boy the 80's were rough, weren’t they? We were stuck with a conservative Republican commander in chief who seemed to love waging war in foreign lands. Good thing we’re not going through anything like that nowadays. Oh wait. Shit. Where’s my Budweiser?

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