Saturday afternoon, my friend Jon was driving me and my friend Kevin to the second day of the festival. We were running late and had already missed two of the bands I wanted to see, so I'd like to imagine Jon was driving all French Connection to get us there without missing any more fun, although I know that when looked at through a purely factual worldview, that's not exactly true.
What I do know for sure is that Jon was playing a Bad Brains CD in his car. There was some discussion as to whether it was the self-titled album (you know, the one with the lightning bolt of righteousness striking the Capitol building) or "Rock for Light." I can't remember which one it was or which side I was on, but since I'm writing this blog, we'll go ahead and say I was right.
There was much singing and pumping of fists and pointing for emphasis. There was much talk about how insane it was to finally see the lyrics if you had a dubbed tape of the album and wondering how all those words fit in there when all you could make out was "hackabackabackabackaPOISONWEEEELL." There was much skipping of reggae tracks.
Discussion floated from mutual friends who were lucky enough to see Bad Brains in, if not their peak, at least not in their crazy, 'you might get energized HR, might get reggae, might get crazy no singing HR' days of the last ...holy crap, 20 years, to the awesomeness of "The Big Takeover."
Here, check out this stolen Youtube clip from 1983:
While this cuts out the awesome Morse code sounding intro, and Dr. Know's guitar solo doesn't sound as much like a semi truck as on the studio versions, it still shows just how vital and explosive the song is. Now for the rest of the week I'm going to be singing "jusanotha nazi scheeeme. Heeeaay." And check out that blonde girl on the stage happily singing every word. I wonder what she's doing right now?
As Einstein and Doc Brown have taught us, time is a crazy thing. Sometimes I think that Pitchfork fest was just last year, sometimes it seems like about a decade ago. Then I realize that I've known the people in that car for over 20 years. Our friendship is old enough to drink! I was married for over ten years. I've been at my job for longer than that, even though thinking back, the past 30 years or so seem like they've gone by in a flash - all my stories, all my experiences seem like they happened in the blink of an eye, which, I guess in the grand scheme of things, they did.
I'd say that listening to decades-old hardcore songs made the three of us feel young again, but, at least in my case, I feel about the same as I did when I heard "The Big Takeover" for the first time. A little fatter, with possibly a few more life lessons under my belt, and with marginally better skin, but not too much different from my late teens or early or mid 20s. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
I do know that when it came time for Jon to drop us off, after listening to Bad Brains for about a half hour, we all sort of looked at each other, knowing that with all the bands we were going to see that weekend, none of them could touch what we were listening to at the moment. I think we made him drive us around the block just to milk a little more Bad Brains out of the afternoon.