Thursday, January 25, 2007

On Tough Guy Hardcore and My Generation's "Positively 4th Street"

At The Causeway nightclub, where I worked as a soundman and which I sometimes managed from 1993-1996, one of the up and coming sub genres
of rock music we featured would come to be known as "Tough Guy Hardcore".

The moniker should be self explanitory, but in any case one of the leading lights of the movement was a young Charlestown native named Rob Lind who had a band called Blood for Blood.

They played some of their first shows at The Causeway, and their drummer Mike Mahoney was an occasional (and very effective) door and security staffer at the club.

I was 26 when I went to work at The Causeway, and was no longer someone who really "followed" hardcore. I could appreciate the bouncers' Life of Agony and Madball albums, which were a refreshing alternative to the house selection of fey indie rock CDs, but honestly I listened mostly to jazz and country on my own time. I was pretty overloaded with rock from working 50+ hours of shows a week.

But I liked Blood for Blood, as people and as a band. Sure, they had a post adolescent attitude about them, and maybe even a chip on their shoulder, but they were good kids. Whereas underground music at the time was overrun with rich brats Rob had an even thicker Boston accent than either Martin (The Causeway's proprietor) or myself.

Their energy and songs stood out, and I wasn't the only one who thought so. Kenny Chambers from the legendary 1980s punk band Moving Targets was quick to sign on and produce their first (unreleased) demo.

They went on to do pretty well internationally, and towards the end of their run Rob Lind wrote what I believe to be my generation's "Positively 4th Street", a scathing kiss off to an unscrupulous woman called "So Common, So Cheap". I first heard this splendid song in 2003, about a year after its release. It hit home, for I had an ex fiancee much like the woman he was addressing in that number. The spoken word intro certainly got my attention.

Fucking your pussy was like fucking the wound from a shotgun blast... With gang green!

Then the band kicked in, with a caveat.

Sorry ladies but this song goes out to all the guys out there
that have been fucked over by that lie known as love
Bottoms up.

Soon spoken word gave way to song.

Looking back at all the times we had, I wish I could tell ya' that they weren't all so bad.
But in the end we were just wasting our time,
Yeah I knew what you were but I was out of my mind.
(Lost my mind)

I knew you were common when we started this thing
So very common with you're everyday dreams.
But I was desperate for a heart of gold,
So I took a chance and I came in from the cold.
(Life's so cold)

Just as I began to ask myself if Lind had dated the same woman I had the vocals chimed in, switching back to the third person and offering some practical advice.

Let me let you in on a secret fellas
if she sucks great cock she's a pro
and if she spreads on the first date she's a ho

The song returned to the second person.

I oughta' have my fucking head examined for screwing with a skank like you.
But it wasn't like I really felt for you, I was just cold and empty through and through...

I thought you were something but you proved me wrong.
Money is your only god, what a tired boring old song.
Just another coward out to sell your soul but it just goes to show that
Nothing in this world is forever
And people are all the same
And there's no such thing as love
It left me choking like a candle in the cold hard rain

But there's just one thing I never told ya
You numb fucking broad

You were so common, you were so cheap
Another coke snortin' slut from the barroom scene
But brother, I was so empty, I was so blind
I turned my back on the truth before my very eyes

'cause sister, you could have been anybody.
You could have been anyone
All I needed was anybody
All I needed was anyone

And, back to spoken word in the thickest of Boston accents, the extra point on the touchdown.

Check this out: I was cold and empty and your body was warm
You could have been one of those fucking blow up dolls for all I fucking cared
Thanks for the memories you fucking sow!

A studio audience then cheers, concluding the song, and I'd like to cheer as well. All in all I feel our culture as it is today offers skanks too many words of approbation and too few words of opprobrium. Kudos to Rob Lind and Blood for Blood for bucking this trend.

* "So Common So Cheap" is from Blood for Blood's 2002 album Outlaw Anthems, available on Victory Records


Matt said...

'Fucking your pussy was like fucking the wound from a shotgun blast... With gang green!'

Fucking anybody's pussey with Gang Green sounds like a good way to get much to close to chris doherty.

Pablo Diablo said...

One of my favorite bands is a shame they aren't making music any more. I think that that raw anger & cynicism is especially valid now, maybe more so in the past 8 years. Rob's other band has a song Walk Away which is a collection of various lyrics from Blood for Blood one of the non BforB lyrics goes:

"I don't need nobody to save me.
So just walk away, oh yeah.
I know nobody can hear me.
There's nothing more I can say"

Rob is in Ramallah and Sinners & Saints currently, I don't know about the other guys...