|Photo by Bobt3|
As in life, the musical experience can be one long, all-encompassing journey, or it can be a few different pieces that combine to paint a complete picture for those outside the immediate perspective to consume. And, as someone who has many life experiences that revolve around the works of John Davis as the leader of Superdrag, I would classify his trek as the latter. No one piece is any more important than the other, but they should be held separately in order to experience each without comparisons diluting their individual greatness.
Taking the 10 to Spin reigns, John lays out in great detail the influences that inspired him to dive boots first into his newest project, EPIC DITCH. This is by far our most hardcore list – so be forewarned. You may want to loosen up your fist-pumping elbow, and your neck, since uncontrollable fits of head shaking are likely to occur.
Pick up the punk goodness of EPIC DITCH here, and check out what makes John want to Skate or Die! below.
Ten Songs That'll Get A 37-Year-Old Has-Been Hyped To Go Skateboard
1 "Nervous Breakdown" by Black Flag
If you had to assemble a ten song playlist to get you hyped to go skate (often before 8 AM, and before the coffee kicks in... that's the window, deal with it), you could do a lot worse than to just play "Nervous Breakdown" ten times in a row. I mean, seriously... the first two bars of that intro go by and, bingo. Mission accomplished. The insta-stoke factor at work here can hardly be denied. In my view, 'Flag could basically do no wrong from their first recordings right on up 'til about 1985 (the beginning of the end, in other words). And while I've never been one of these Rollins haters (Rollins was sick, Dez was sick, Chavo was sick), I have to side with Rollins himself on this one. Keith Morris was the finest singer Black Flag ever had, and he brought something to these earliest records that's never been duplicated elsewhere, not even with the Circle Jerks a year or so later. That's my $.02 worth, anyway.
2 "Darkness" by OFF!
Fast-forward about thirty-two years, and you'll wind up with OFF!, Keith Morris' new thing (featuring members of the Burning Brides, Rocket From The Crypt & Redd Kross). For me personally, this is probably the most exciting new music to come out in the past decade. The band's a killing machine, and Keith's delivery is as ferocious as it ever was. There's an ironclad... rightness of purpose to the whole proceeding that practically blares out of the speakers right along with the jams. "Darkness" is a prime example. And if you don't like it (what's the matter with you?!!), don't worry; it'll all be over in about fifty seconds.
3 "Attitude" by Bad Brains
If you absolutely have to get the stoke flowin' NOW, accept no substitute. I mean, you're just not gonna make a better Hardcore record than the ROIR cassette. Stop trying! It's impossible.
4 "Screaming At A Wall" by Minor Threat
I don't know how you'd go about choosing THE BEST Minor Threat song, but I think "Screaming At A Wall" encapsulates most, if not all, of the elements that made them a great band: breakneck speed, total commitment, Ian Mackaye's strident voice (the prescience this guy had, even at such a young age, still floors me), Lyle Preslar's buzzsaw guitar, some totally in-the-pocket bass playing from Brian Baker, and, last but certainly not least, the secret weapon, drummer Jeff Nelson. Stoked just thinking about how hard that guy ripped. I'd say the majority of hardcore bands of a similar vintage that have been relegated to the dustbin of history probably had half-assed drummers. Not so Minor Threat; Nelson's a beast!
5 "Lifeline" by Hüsker Dü
If there's a record that means more to me than the Metal Circus EP by Hüsker Dü, then I have no idea what it would be. Anything else would have to be a lateral move in terms of greatness, if you ask me. I chose this particular track because, in lieu of an "intro," you get one bar of Grant Hart counting in and Bob Mould howling his brains out in a fit of existential angst. Score! This is one effective playlist; haven't even heard the song, just got stoked.
6 "I'll Never Forget You" by Hüsker Dü
My favorite band of all-time is worthy of two slots on the list. At any given moment, my inner monologue probably sounds a lot like this. Zen Arcade is pretty much a full frontal assault, with some fleeting moments of tenderness snuck in there; this isn't one of those tender moments. It's pure aggro. Skate Or Die!
7 "I Can Take" by Pegclimber
Pegclimber - I Can Take Out
My favorite Knoxville band of all time. This stuff rips as hard today as it did in 1993.
8 "Bomber" by Motörhead
I thought it might be helpful to point out that Lemmy has written at least 300 other kick-ass songs besides "Ace Of Spades." This is another classic. It only takes about five seconds for the insta-stoke to take effect. If you try to make a list like this without Motörhead, you're seriously blowin' it.
9 "Time To Think/Surf And Destroy" by BL'AST!
Go watch Jason Jessee's Streets On Fire part at the Fallbrook ramp; you'll get the idea.
10 "I Want To Destroy" by EPIC DITCH
I didn't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but... toot toot! Seriously... the whole mission with EPIC DITCH was to create something worthy of being included on a list like this. As for whether or not the mission was successful, we'll let you, the blogosphere, be the judge! Our brand-spanking-new self-titled EP is for sale at http://epicditch.bandcamp.com/. Six songs, $5. Get some!