(Originally published on my Agony Shorthand blog in 2004)
THE BOTTOM 10, CIRCA 1985-1989
Somehow the band “SUICIDAL TENDENCIES” popped into my head today and it got me reminiscin’ about my 1980s college-era punk rock/garage/rock & roll radio show “White Trash” on KCSB-FM in Santa Barbara, California.
Not because I’d ever play such an atrocity, but because several of my listeners repeatedly begged me to. Requests for true quality did come in but were few and far between, yet these mid-80s clunkers were always, always being dialed in. The Top (Bottom) 10, in order:
1. (By a goddamn mile) SUICIDAL TENDENCIES “Institutionalized”
2. DEAD MILKMEN “Bitchen Camero”
3. BLACK FLAG “TV Party”
4. anything by DR. KNOW (consider my then-location and proximity to the “Nardcore” scene)
5. anything by METALLICA, ANTHRAX, C.O.C. or MEGADETH (consider the onetime popularity of what we then called “speed metal”)
6. RKL “Pothead” (consider the marijuana intake of many college students)
7. VANDALS “Anarchy Burger” and “Urban Struggle”
8. anything by THE ADOLESCENTS or D.I. (what is D.I., you ask??? Don’t ask.)
9. AGGRESSION “Money Machine”
10. anything by the DEAD KENNEDYS
Except for “Money Machine”, which is just a numbskull politico-corporate rant and not really a punk novelty, I never assented to any of these requests. Sadly, no one ever requested “Destroy Exxon” by CIRCLE ONE or “Fuck Money” by RF7, but I wish they had….
Ha ha ha, spot on… pretty much everyone who lived through those days knew that most of this stuff was bullshit, it’s only the newbs commenting on YouTube (etc.) who consider crap like this ‘classic’. Although I did like an RKL 7” once.
Woah, slow down, are you two honestly ripping on Dead Kennedys?
Or the first Adolescents album?
And the alternative is … RF7. Great.
Help Me I’m In Substandard Hardcore Hell
1st Ads LP earns a pass, barely (shitty drum sound, come on), and that entire first-generation SoCal eyeliner-punk scene definitely held its share of sketchy moments. Dead Kennedys, pffffffft, maybe early on they were something, but by the time “Frankenchrist” and the trial came about they were basically a novelty joke band and nobody who’d been in the scene for a while — or at least nobody with any self respect — took them seriously.
I’m not offering RF7 as an alternative, that’s Jay’s pick. I’ll offer Decry’s “Falling” LP, though — shit’s pretty great.