HEY NINETEEN

Oh, to be 19 and in hate again.

To believe there is no way to unwrong yourself or the world, so you embrace the rage, the loud clanging of despair and powerlessness which to signal to everyone, but especially yourself, that you are not happy with how everything is, even if there’s nothing you can do about it.

“No I’m never bored
when im a-killin for the lord.
now ive seen the light-
hell Mary, I’ve got Jesus on my side!!”

Dark.

In the 1980s, all you needed was a howl and a guitar. Throw in suburban rage — not angst, rage — and you had an audience, at least at the blind pigs and grimy clubs that dotted every university town. There, you could grind your teeth over fake-bleak lyrics which let everyone know that you — and all who listened — were not going to live like everyone else, not be like everyone else, not go to work like everyone else, because you were the holy Other.

The Circle Jerks — such a great band name — were perfect 80s anti-heroes. Indignant, deafening, known, but not too much, clever, almost musically gifted.

“All across the world
The holy armies on a tear
Ripping through the planet’s faiths
Population’s running scared
Christianity’s all around
Zealots they abound
I wanna blow them to pieces
Cause I…I’m…

Killing For Jesus
Killing For Jesus”

I’m too old now to partake in the charade, to feel all the world’s wrongness and feel that if I just yelled and played and sang loud enough, angry enough, and shared that feeling with fellow travelers, flesh pressed against flesh, to hear and give witness, that I could believe for all eternity that I would never change.

I can’t. But just like I can still get upset if there’s no Pepsi in the house, I can revisit that feeling, re-connect with my no-longer self, pump up the volume and escape. The Circle Jerks were nasty, angry, defiant hardcore punk. They cursed the darkness. I still listen.

Odd the things that stick to you.

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