It was freezing. Why I had elected to ride my bike down to Burt’s Tiki Lounge for The Meatmen show was beyond me, but I didn’t have time to think about it—only time to get inside and order an overpriced beer. I didn’t really know what to expect, although I assumed that the band must be legit solely on Kevin from the Heavy Metal Shop hosting a reading of “Touch and Go” by Tesco Vee (lead singer of the Meatmen) at his store earlier in the day. At the very least, I hoped it would be good. The show was midway through the first band by the time I stopped saying hi to people and turned my attention to the stage.
Against the Grain: I obviously assumed this local band was going to be some vague Bad Religion style band based solely on the name, but was pleasantly surprised to see the guitarist wearing a GG Allin shirt while playing The Dead Boy’s “Sonic Reducer”. I instantly recognized they were doing a good job, though I was a little offended by the bassist, who had three too many strings (5) and knew how to play the instrument. The guitars dueled fairly consistently throughout the standard but well played punk songs, and I remember being fairly impressed before missing the end of their set to go smoke weed in the Sears parking lot. Overall, good start.
Endless Struggle. I saw them break up twice, once at a bowling alley. They have that mohawk punk Casualties feel to them, though I personally think they’re way better than The Casualties, who I’ve only seen at a show with the weirdest lineup ever—Andrew W.K., The Casualties, and The Used. That was worth a review and a half, but that’s neither here nor there. Endless Struggle had successfully weathered a number of breakups and personnel changes, and was gearing up for a national tour, so it was no surprise that their performance was tight. Their songs are fairly straight forward structurally, with lyrics most likely packed with socio-political commentary and full throttle energy, though I will say they follow in line with a musical tradition that I consider, well, predictable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—it’s just a sound that’s hard to bring clear cut originality to.
The Meatmen = Day Glo Abortions + The Vandals + The Fucktards-stifling alcoholism and completely dysfunctional band members
Imagine Mike Brown as a fifty year old yelling about how punk rock he was while Dan Rose’s replacement, a chubby guy with a shaved head and bandana, hammers out a couple riffs. Meet The Meatmen. Obviously I was up front, drunk, yelling and supporting, as they shot confetti out of a bazooka while ranting about being from Michigan, some state east of here. Props were being thrown around like they were going out of style, as were preachy holier-than-thou statements about why I should care about whatever they had to say.
My favorite line? “I’ve been doing this shit for thirty fucking years! I’m here to put an end to all those pussy poser punk bands… like NOFX!”
Ten years too late buddy. NOFX? They’ve been playing simple punk rock for over 25 years now—what’s the fucking problem? What’s not punk about them? Just ‘cause every band that bit their style sucked on every level doesn’t mean NOFX sucks. If they’re too poppy for you, don’t talk to me about the Ramones. And by the way, if you don’t like the Ramones, I don’t want to talk to you. NOFX sings about drugs, weird sexual activities, fuck the government politics and whatever else—what’s the problem? You couldn’t at least say Good Charlotte? All I can figure is the lead singer is too old to have heard about MTV, something I wish I could say about myself.
I got into the music for a few songs before getting bored and vandalizing the bar. Next thing I knew, the show was over and almost everyone was gone. I borrowed twenty bucks from someone, bought Tesco’s book compiling zines from 79-83, jumped on my bike, and went in search of pizza. How dumb I looked in my solar system shirt and Evel Knievel bike helmet is debatable, but I definitely noticed a couple kids at the Piehole with dyed black bangs and Tap Out t-shirts talking shit about me. I just ate my slice in silence and prayed God would call me up to the big leagues so I could finally be at home playing rhythm guitar in Buddy Holly’s band, hitting on some dumb breezy at Johnny Thunders’ after-party and smoking weed with Eazy.