Sunday, October 4, 2009

I hear a shadow...

Writing on a sticky keyboard in a 40 rupee per hour internet cafe in Northern India is just one of the many ways that life has changed for me in the last ten years. In '99 I'd left the Bay Area and returned to the Eastern Sierra where I lived out of my car, climbed as much as my tendons would take, and began the path toward becoming a teacher. I largely left behind the hardcore punk community that I'd known for the previous ten years and with it, the ins and outs of a scene that is at once intensely earnest and woefully unstable. It was a necessary move and one that, in the end, marked a major turning point in my life.

Last month, both Rorschach and C.R. played reunion shows in New York, and while I'm thousands of miles removed from that time in my life, I could not help but reflect on the impact both of those bands made on me.

When Protestant came out it made Rorscach the baddest band in the land, excluding no one. It was the Raw Power or Damaged for my generation. The vocals were at the very edge of unintelligible, moving into the realm of noise, but unlike legions of others that would ape that style their lyrics had substance and intelligence. Rorschach's anger--and I think pain--seemed genuine and that came through in their sound. As Sam McPheeter's has written, they took the banal genre of New Jersey grind and created something beautiful. When they played with Honeywell and Not For the Lack of Trying it marked one of the best nights of punk in Southern California.

For a whole year I woke up each morning and put on side two, as a way to deal with a decaying relationship and the uncertainty of my academic studies. When it came time to write my senior thesis I chose to delve deeply into the reproduction of images of violence in a piece that became "A Traffic in Suffering." I was able to speak at length with Charles Maggio about the genesis of the Remain Sedate, "Lightning Strikes Twice," and the use of Jan Saudek's troubling images. It was with his help and patience that the project was able to take shape and I was able to graduate with honors in Anthropology from UCSC.

C.R. was a band I came to love and follow entirely through an interview in Rumpshaker. That interview was one of the best pieces of writing I'd come across in years and though I never got to see them live I've maintained a pen-pal correspondence with Bricks Avalon for over a decade now. His energy, lust for life, and commitment to easing the suffering of others is a true inspiration.

I hope that the energy that energy that was invested in these bands can be channeled in directions beyond the basements and bedrooms that make up the world of hardcore punk and into real change in people's lives.

"If I had the power..."


ryan said...

hi marty, i read elsewhere that you have a dvd of a honeywell show (or shows?). i am wondering what it would take to get a copy. i'd love to see/hear anything you've got. i was in the band, but don't have anything but the records.

Marty said...

Great to hear from you. I do have a dvd of that show in Claremont with MITB and Struggle (only the Honeywell set though.) I'm Argentina now but email me your address and I can send you a copy in July when I return to California.
Hope you're well. Check out the other images over in the 'ephemera' posts.

ryan said...
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ryan said...
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