Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Subways - Young For Eternity

 

“Yeah, well, they may be superstars but they sold out,” she stared at me with agitation in her voice. 

We were at a coffee shop in Berkeley. I glanced up at her from my organic blend and said, “So, what if Green Day went commercial?  They’re a great band with great songwriting.  Now, their music is just more accessible.  What’s wrong with that?  They’ve made a ton of money in the process.  Why should you be so angry about it?”  I stirred the cream, dropped in two packets of Sweet ‘n Low, looked down at the paper cup and took a sip. Still too hot.

She became vociferous, “What do you mean! The stuff is now musical dreck.  It is pablum as sweet as that no calorie quasi-cup of coffee in front of you.  Green Day stood for something.  They were defiant with a message.  They went from being masters of punk to Kings of cash. They lost me in the process.  I’m sure many of their early fans feel the same way and it makes me angry.  I want the real band back - not the FM radio imitation.”  She waited a beat or two.  I thought her throbbing cartoid arteries were going to explode.

I decided to deflect the anger.  “There are other bands that have stayed true to their punk roots.  Why don’t you follow one of them?”  She took a bite of her blueberry scone and did a virtual spit take.  Scone crumbs covered the table.  Her eyes bulged out.  She screamed, “What others?  There are no others.  When Green Day split for cash and stardom there was no one that good.  The whole scene imploded.  I mean, after that, who was there to follow?”  She gulped her  caramel machiatto and quickly downed a cube of scone droppings.

“What about The Subways?” I said.  She looked at me and replied, “BART sucks but if you want we can take it from Rockridge into the city.”  “No, I mean the band called ‘The Subways’.  They’ve stayed true to their punk roots.  Is there a reason you don’t follow them?”  I asked.  She looked at me with a blank stare and replied  “Never heard of them.” I did my virtual spit take as I accidentally overturned a container of half and half on the table.  We both pushed back and stood up to avoid the white waterfall off the edge.  A worker came over with a sponge, mop and rag and immediately cleaned up the table, chairs and floor.

“They’ve got three albums out now, I think - Young for Eternity, All or Nothing and Money & Celebrity. But, if you haven’t heard of them you really should start off with Young for Eternity.  It is their debut album and contains a numerologically significant thirteen tracks, one of which is ‘hidden’.  All of it is written by the band’s guitarist and vocalist Billy Lunn.” I sat back down, took another sip of my coffee and felt the clammy cool of a damp seat wick through the crotch of my jeans.

She grabbed a handful of paper napkins and dried her seat thoroughly before she sat down.  I remained uncomfortable.  She looked at me and said “Are they good like early Green Day?”  I grabbed my smartphone, fired up the music application and loaded the album Young for Eternity. “Here, plug in your headphones and listen.  We’re done here.  Why don’t we just walk down to BART?” I suggested and she agreed.

We grabbed our coffees and she donned her headphones.  She listened intently to the first two or three tracks, then I lost her.  She started hopping, almost head-bashing her way down Telegraph.  By the end of the album she was amped.  She took off the headphones as we reached the BART station.  She handed me my phone and I said, “Well, what do you think?”  She replied, “You’re right. I don’t miss early Green Day anymore.  But, before we get on the train can we go down to Rasputin’s?  There are three albums that I’ve just got to buy.“

- Old School



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