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Thursday, December 19, 2013

[don't give up]

Without you in it, there's no point to our story.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

[twelve bands]

[twelve]

AFI

I really struggled with this last one (based purely on the music I would’ve put Jesse Malin, Against Me! or even Alkaline Trio), but I decided to put AFI because of what happened because of this band. I first heard them in early 1998, but didn’t really get into them until 1999. I only knew who they were because I decided to listen to all of the bands that were on Nitro Records, the label owned by Dexter Holland (lead singer of The Offspring). AFI were really hard to find here back then and you could only find their albums at 78 Records if you were lucky. I actually found Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes there once, then ordered Black Sails in the Sunset in after I became obsessed with Shut Your Mouth. I do still love a lot of their songs, even if there’s just as many (if not more) songs I don’t care for at all. The funny thing with this band is that the songs I DO like, I really love. Third Season, A Single Second, The Prayer Position, Narrative of Soul Against Soul, 6 To 8, Morningstar, The Killing Lights, Rabbits Are Roadkill on Rt 37, Veronica Sawyer Smokes, et al. I started reading their message board properly in early 2000. A huge amount of music I love came through reading that board; I properly got into Ryan Adams (further than just New York, New York which I found thanks to Rage) because of him being mentioned on there in 2000, I fell in love with The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Refused, Tiger Army, etc. And because of that band’s message board, I met two of my best friends online in 2003 (and in person five years later) and for that, I will forever be grateful.

Plus, meeting Hunter and Smith was pretty much the most amusing night ever (Adam/Davey/Jade were lovely, too, but you know). I told Hunter that they sure took their time to come to Perth for the first time (because their previous Australian tour when they FINALLY came here didn’t include Perth) and he said, “Don’t worry, we won’t skip Perth again. I think you’re my favourite Australian yet.” Pretty sure that’s only because I made fun of him and called him a doofus, though, while most of the other people just asked him to sign stuff for them. Then in between my going backstage to meet them and the show itself, Simone and I went out to dinner and were sitting at a table outside the restaurant when Smith, Jade, and Adam were walking down the street in our direction. I tried to quietly say, “So there’s AFI...” to Simone, but she was like, “What do you mean?” and after multiple subtle attempts, I just said, “AFI. Walking. Up. The. Street.” But she didn’t have time to have a inconspicuous look, because Smith saw me, ran up to our table, stole our table number, blew me a kiss, and ran away while Jade and Adam just laughed. Luckily he brought the table number back. Then he was hanging around the front when people were entering Metro City for the show when Simone and I walked past and most people were oblivious to his awesomeness, but he said, “Have a good dinner?” to me and I laughed. I like dorky bands, don’t I?

I’d throw away everything to live

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

[twelve bands]

[eleven]

Darren Hayes (including Savage Garden)

Savage Garden was my first introduction to real ‘pop’ music that I truly loved. I never really liked a lot of other pop music pre-2001, not because it was “popular” or mainstream, but because it just never appealed to me like the passion of a lot of punk/metal/rock music did. I think Darren Hayes is one of the most incredible songwriters in existence and very few people can write a true beautiful pop song like he can. His lyrics and melodies always make me happy, even if they’re sad songs. I can still listen to Violet and Affirmation on repeat, 16 and 14 years after I first heard them. I still adore the lyrics of Spin, find Crush (1980 Me) awesome, The Tension and the Spark is still one of my favourite albums ever, On the Verge of Something Wonderful and Me Myself & I can make me dance no matter what mood I’m in, The Future Hold’s a Lion’s Heart is amazing, the lyrics to Don’t Give Up and Hurt can make me cry and make me fall in love with pop music all over again at the same time. I will never not adore Darren Hayes, his music, and defend him to all the ridiculous haters, because he’s extremely talented and lovely.

I like the way you move in the dark

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

[twelve bands]

[ten]

The Clash

Before Paul Hester, Joe Strummer’s death probably affected me the most out of people that I’d never met. I will never forget sitting at the dining room table reading my book eating breakfast while my mum was reading the paper across from me when she suddenly went, “Oh my god!” and literally covered something up in the paper. I just said, “What the hell?” and she just said, “Oh, Linda, you’re going to be so upset about this.” My mum was genuinely concerned about how sad I would be that the lead singer of The Clash had died. That moment, more than anything before then or since, made me realise my mum really understands my love for music – even though she is where I got it from the first place, it still took me something like that to realise it.

What is there to say about The Clash? One of the seminal punk bands, influenced countless bands and musicians across all types of music, blah blah blah. All I ever cared about is how happy their songs make me. And as if there’s a better song in the world than Train in Vain. <3

Some things you can explain away, but my heartache’s in me ‘til this day

Monday, March 25, 2013

[twelve bands]

[nine]

Nirvana

I will never leave Nirvana behind. Without my brother having Nevermind and Bleach, I never would’ve found Hole as early as I did and at such a crucial part of my music life. It was the intro to Come As You Are when my brother played it for me one day that got me hooked when I was 11 years old, but it was Blew and About A Girl that really made me fall in love with them. I still have my brother’s copies of Nevermind and Bleach, because he never really got them back. The passion and the lyrics and Kurt’s voice is why I love this band, not because they are “Nirvana”. The beauty of Heart-Shaped Box and About a Girl and All Apologies and the screaming of Sliver and Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle and the music of Blew and Come as You Are and Floyd the Barber and the covers of The Man Who Sold the World and Old Age will never get old to me.

She eyes me like a Pisces

Sunday, March 24, 2013

[twelve bands]

[eight]

Rancid

I generally credit The Vandals, AFI, and Rancid as the three first bands I got into completely on my own and also as the first bands I liked that had never been on the radio at the time [in 1997/1998]. I didn’t really like AFI back then apart from one or two songs until I heard Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes and Black Sails in the Sunset in 1999, but Rancid and The Vandals I just adored the second I heard them. I listened to ...And Out Come the Wolves for months on repeat. I had Let Go as well, but ...Wolves was incredible to me. I’d never heard of ‘ska’ before I got into Rancid and I couldn’t figure out what the hell a ‘moon stomper’ was. Their songs are still, so many years later, just some of the best songs in the world to me and ...Wolves will forever be one of my favourite albums of all time. Tim Armstrong was my biggest crush throughout my teen years. Rancid have been for many years and still are the number one band I want to see live that I have yet to be able to. Seeing Roots Radicals or Ruby Soho or She’s Automatic live would complete my life.

When the music hits, I feel no pain at all

Saturday, March 23, 2013

[twelve bands]

[seven]

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

I think Nick Cave is hugely respected by those that love him and hugely underappreciated by those that don’t really know his music. I think a lot of older people in Australia think of him as he was in The Birthday Party and think the music of the Bad Seeds is similar, which I find quite amusing. Nick’s voice, apart from Ryan’s, is my favourite. His songs are stunning, his lyrics beautiful. And I think I will always be a little bit in love with Nicholas himself. The first time I saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 2005 remains one of my all-time favourite concerts ever. He is just incredible.

We watched the world as it fell past

Friday, March 22, 2013

[twelve bands]

[six]

Metallica

Metallica became my brother’s favourite band when he was 13; it was like me with The Offspring not long after. He’d found his favourite thing ever and it never went away. I kinda liked their pretty music when I was 11, but I thought of them as a band that never sung. They had these seven or eight minute songs and it mostly felt like music. I liked words back then; I liked tunelessly singing along to them using the wrong words in my deafness. Then I heard James Hetfield sing the words “language of the mad” in Harvester of Sorrow and I fell in love. I still adore that line. I still adore that song, though I have numerous I’d rather listen to most of the time: Of Wolf and Man, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Thing That Should Not Be, Wherever I May Roam, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), My Friend of Misery, Fade to Black, The Memory Remains, Holier Than Thou, It’s Electric...

I’m kind of in love with James Hetfield. He has this persona of being this heavy metal king; he’s so “hardcore” and screams and all he does is write about death and suicide and war and monsters. I liked him a lot anyway, but after seeing Metallica for the first time at the Big Day Out in February 2004, I just think he’s lovely. He talks at his concerts so eloquently, so kindly. He always says lovely things about the fans, about the support. When I saw them in 2010 he said, “Do you know my friend Lars? Have you met my friend Kirk? And my amazing bass player mate, Robert?” He said, “And I’m James, just so you know” and it was like he hasn’t done that every few nights for the past thirty-odd years. It was genuine. He says things like, “One member of Metallica that is here in spirit is always Cliff Burton. And this is for you.” So simple, but you can tell it’s heartfelt. He loves creating and playing music. He loves what he does. He wants the crowd to have fun. They, to me, are the most important parts of live music. It’s kind of like the lead singer of arguably the most well known metal band in existence is still pretty chuffed that all these people came to watch his band play. The other week when I was watching The Vandals at Soundwave, seeing him off to the side of the stage bopping his head along and smiling, was just so cute to me.

I'll also never forget when I was watching them at Soundwave a few weeks ago and working out how long I had left before I had to leave for The Offspring's stage and the very first opening bars of Master of Puppets started and I just said, "Fuck! No! SHIT," and this big burly guy next to me goes, "How can you not like this song? It's classic Metallica..." and I said, "I love Master. But I've got very limited time here, man, I don't have eight and a half minutes to see a song I've seen twice before and they always play live when they COULD be playing Of Wolf and Man or even Harvester of Sorrow." Then he laughed at my ranting and said, "You know your Metallica pretty well, then, if you know how long Puppets is. How can you leave them early?," and I replied, "I love this stupid band, but they're frickin' on at the same time as my favourite band who are on at 9pm. Honestly, if they play Nothing Else Matters in the next 20 minutes I'm going to be so mad." Then he just goes, "Yeah, I fucking hate that song, too" and it was awesome. Then there was that absolute heart-crushing moment when I was halfway to The Offspring's stage and I heard Of Wolf and Man start and I literally stopped dead in one of the alleys of the Showgrounds and never wished I could be at two places at once more so in my entire life. First time they've played that song in Perth since 1993; my real favourite song for reasons other than the nostalgia and long-term special-ness of Harvester.

People think I’m strange for calling Metallica songs pretty, but a lot of their music really is pretty to me. And they mean a lot to me.

Roamer, wanderer, nomad, vagabond, call me what you will

Thursday, March 21, 2013

[twelve bands]

[five]

The Living End

Oh, what to say about these boys? This is the band that I would be most upset about breaking up; I’m actually genuinely concerned about how devastated I will be when that happens. Nothing makes me happier than seeing them live. I have seen them 20 times now and each time is just as perfect; the passion in which they play each show and every single song is incomparable to any other band.

They can play an album a night in every city in Australia and never lose their incredible showmanship. They can do a signing at a record store in 2006 in Perth and it’s 40 degrees outside, much less how hot it was in the upstairs of the store, and they can be lovely and kind to each person that comes through to meet them. I can put a six-pack of beer in front of them at the very end, because I purposely wanted to be the last one in the line, and Andy’s facial expression when he reacted to that can still make me laugh today. A bunch of fans can be waiting outside The Rosemount being total dorks and Chris can come and look over the balcony at us, just watching without anyone else realising, notice me trying-to-be-subtle smiling up at him, raise his hand and wave at me with his lovely smile, then laugh as everyone else notices me wave back. Scott can come downstairs at the venue after playing Roll On live in full for the first time and have a beer with a bunch of the fans and be so sweet when I tell him the two guys I was with are too shy to ask to have a photo with him; Andy can compliment Simone on her jacket and say “That’s fucking awesome” when he looks at the photo of the three of us laughing after a guy photo-bombed our first photo and talk with me about how amazing King Cannons are; Chris can put his arm around my waist for a normal photo and act like it’s totally normal and amusing when I say, “Wait, can we do something really weird and act like Japanese tourists?” and do the most perfect Japanese-tourist facial expression ever.

I will never not see these guys live every chance I get and support them in everything they do, because not only do I find their live shows incredible, but I think they are some of the most generous and kind-hearted musicians in existence. I can’t imagine coping with my life without the absolute happiness I get from seeing them play.

Somewhere beneath the laughter, the anger begins to affect her
Timid like a Chinese whisper, calm like a needle in the eye of a twister

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

[twelve bands]

[four]

Hole

16 years after I fell in love with Violet ten seconds into hearing it for the first time and I don’t find anyone more inspirational in the music world than Courtney Love; a fact that most people don’t understand and think is slightly ridiculous. When I got into the ‘punk’ music scene and opinions, it became extremely apparent that it was a boy’s world. And still is. Most of the girls in the punk-type bands get nothing but shit from the majority of the punk scene. And I find this endlessly frustrating, just as I did when I first ‘found’ punk music. The thing that attracted me to Courtney in the first place is not only was she a female in the punk/alternative world, not only did she put up with endless crap about her husband who killed himself and left her alone to raise her daughter, but she screamed as a female. She didn’t try to emulate the boys and their bands and their lyrics. She wrote lyrics about being pregnant, love, rape. She wore pretty dresses, but she also played guitar and screamed at the same time. Ask me as a 27 year old female who still loves a lot of punk music and I will still say that Courtney is incredibly important and needed in that scene for girls, even the ones that just listen to the music at the age of 12 from a little city in Australia.

If you live through this with me, I swear that I will die for you

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

[twelve bands]

[three] 

Ryan Adams [including Ryan Adams & the Cardinals and Whiskeytown]

Ryan just has my heart. I can unexpectedly hear a Ryan song somewhere and it will just make me feel immeasurably calmer and happier. I’ve never known how to write about what Ryan means to me, but he is who I go to after The Offspring. He’s funny and lovely and he even understands what regular vertigo and balance problems and ear issues are like. His passion for music and writing and playing makes me love him all the more than simply the absolute beauty of his songs alone.

Apart from the first time I saw The Offspring and met them and the fourth time I saw The Offspring when they performed Ignition in full, seeing Ryan live the two times I have so far have been the most important shows in my life. The second time, where he was happy and hilarious and laughing, was absolutely one of the happiest nights of my life.

He has my heart, always.

Dancin’ where the stars go blue

Monday, March 18, 2013

[twelve bands]

[two]

Finn-related music (including Split Enz, Crowded House, Tim Finn, Neil Finn, the Finn Brothers, Betchadupa, Liam Finn)

I grew up with the Finns. My earliest memory of music is me dancing around to History Never Repeats by Split Enz in our house in Littleton, Colorado. I had such crappy hearing for much of my childhood, but it didn’t stop that music from getting through to me and making me fall in love with it all. Split Enz were already finished by the time I was born, with Crowded House forming the year I was born. Paul Hester was my favourite “Crowdie” from the start, even though the Enz were always more important to me as a band. Paul was the one doing cartwheels and handstands and fake kissing Nick Seymour and smiling his goofy contagious smile in the Crowded House videos when I was little. He was the funny one. He was the drummer and I will forever love my drummers. I have never, ever been affected by the death of someone I’ve never met like I was when Paul Hester died and can’t imagine I ever will be affected quite like that again.

Out of the Finns themselves, Tim is and always has been my favourite. He always did his own thing; his creativity and originality circa his first band still amazes me. The craziness that was Split Enz in the early days is still the most ‘punk’ thing I know. To be from such a small New Zealand town like Te Awamutu and dress like they did and sing like they did and just not care what people said... No one can tell me that Split Enz weren’t my first introduction to a true ‘punk band’. I truly think Tim and Neil Finn write some of the most incredibly beautiful songs that exist.

Prior to the Split Enz reunion show in Perth in 2006, my mum and I were able to sit in on a soundcheck. It's something that happens once in a blue moon for 'life' Frenz (Finn fan club) members. My mum and I only have one membership between us, because 15 years ago when we joined we thought it was pointless paying for two memberships when we'd share the news, competitions, etc, with each other anyway. So when I was 12 years old, it was put under my name. Then when the soundcheck opportunity came up, I was devastated because I realised only I would be able to get in. Thank god Peter Green, who runs the fan club, was incredibly lovely and responded to my email asking if my mum could go instead of me by saying that we could both go. We didn't get to personally meet the members of Split Enz, but the six or seven of us that were there did get to talk to them and request songs from them on stage. Oddly, my favourite moment of the whole thing was when we were all leaving and they were on stage and no one was watching the stage anymore except me. Neil did this little wave, realised no one was watching, put his hand down, and then I waved back and he smiled this huge dorky Neil smile and did another bigger wave just at me.

When I was 12 years old, a few weeks before I turned 13, my mum and I saw Neil Finn live for the first time. His eldest son Liam was playing guitar and (other times) the drums, at the age of 14. I told my mum that I'd marry him one day just so she could meet Neil, who, since the late 1970s in New Zealand, has been her favourite singer. Nine years later, I saw Liam Finn perform in this ridiculously tiny venue after his first solo album post-Betchadupa was released. I spoke with him for a while after the show and he signed my 7 inch single of his with, "Dear Linda. All my love, Liam." I showed my mother later (who naturally came to the show with me) and said, "See? We're totally still going to get married."

“History never repeats” will be inked into my skin someday soon, because they will always be my first love in the music world – I don’t know a life without knowing every one of their songs and lyrics. Nothing compares to the ‘home’ feeling I feel whenever I hear the intro to History Never Repeats or Weather With You, no matter where I am in the world.

There’s Eskimos in summer clothes, I don’t suppose you’d like to laugh with me

[twelve bands]

[one]

The Offspring

Dexter Holland, Noodles, Greg K, and Ron Welty were 100% without a doubt the four musicians that meant the most to me growing up. In books, it was John Marsden, and in music, it was The Offspring. They were the band I first heard properly when I walked past my brother’s room at the end of 1996 and heard, “Nothing changes because it’s all the same” and I walked in and asked my brother, “Who is this?” and he rolled my eyes at me, saying he’d already played me a single by this band a few weeks ago and I hadn’t been that fussed on it. “But it wasn’t this song, was it? I really love this song.” “No, it wasn’t. This is the other song on the single, I forget what it’s called.” And I picked up the All I Want single and read it out loud. “Way Down the Line. It’s called Way Down the Line.” I still feel like that moment changed everything about the person I became and how I survived the crappy aspects of my teenage years. Without them, I don’t know if I could’ve done it – at least without the negativity taking over my life.

Way Down the Line was there when I had both of my eardrums patched with skin grafts at the same time.
Smash was there the day my parents told my brother and I they were splitting up.
Ignition and especially Dirty Magic was there when, “Hey freak, what happened to your face?” happened for the first time.
Have You Ever was there the day I discussed with my craniofacial surgeon that I wanted surgery, now.
It’ll Be a Long Time was there when I was lying on the hospital bed in the waiting area with my mum before being wheeled into the operating theatre to come out with a different face.
Amazed was there when I threw up my own blood for days afterwards.
Jennifer Lost the War was there when my ENT surgeon told me the chronic infections in my ears were so bad they needed to reconstruct my ear canals because there’s no way they’ll clear up without a bigger pathway and I’ll otherwise end up losing my hearing altogether.
Conspiracy of One was there eight months after my face operation when my ENT shaved off the hair around my left ear, cut through my skull around my ear, peeled it back, and spent six hours creating an ear canal for me, while also getting rid of the major infection in my mastoid that years later when I studied audiology I learned can lead to death.
Ignition and Ixnay on the Hombre were there two years later when I had the same thing done on my right ear, without the mastoid infection part.
They were all there when I got an infection in my right ear canal six months after the surgery and I had to go back and have my skull opened up again to clear it out.
Splinter was there when I had the metal plate taken out of my chin.
Rise & Fall, Rage & Grace was there when my ENT told me I have to have a little procedure on my ears every year to keep them clean and keep the infections away, so I get to see my good friend, the operating theatre, every 12 months indefinitely.

The Offspring started my theory of when something bad happens to me medically, something equally good happens musically. It all began when I had a 6.5 hour operation on my face and jaw and a few months later I won a competition and I got to go backstage and meet those four frickin’ dorks a few days before my 16th birthday.

I’d be amazed just to find tomorrow