Posted by Billyjam, January 19, 2008 11:00am | Post a Comment

Man! I miss the eighties. I miss the 1980's mainly for the music and the vibe surrounding it. Yes in-fuckin-deed!

Perhaps even more than the hip-hop of that decade (which I love to death), I miss the American punk rock of the 1980's even more.

I miss 80's US punk because the music was still fresh and vibrant and hard(core). It was when punk itself was still an ideal that hadn't been fully exploited yet, not some fuckin pre-packaged commodity hawked as a fashion accessory at the Hot Topic outlet down at the local strip mall USA. 

Back then punk zines from MRR all the way down to every small but passionately put together two-page Xeroxed, circulation of ten had balls. And near everything related to punk, from zines to album covers to concert fliers and of course the music/lyrics itself, had a strong scent of political activism. And the one thing that seemed to cement everything together? The president at the time: Ronald Reagan. 

If you've forgotten who Reagan was, let me refresh your memory. He was a former governor of California who made some bad decisions but still became president of the USA. Reagan was (like George W. Bush) a Republican and (also like Bush) someone that folks liked to mock and imitate and disdain. He liked jellybeans. He asked "where's the beef?" and (like Bush) was the puppet of corrupt big business powers behind the scenes. 

And at that time it seemed every punk rock group had a song or album or show flier about Reagan. I thought of this when I went crate-digging in my punk section this morning and dug up my copy of the great Alternative Tentacles compilation Let Them Eat Jellybeans and also an album by the great former band Reagan Youth -- just two examples of punk releases fueled by their contempt towards the then-president of the USA.
reagan youth
Reagan Youth, which was formed in Queens, NY by Dave "Insurgent" Rubinstein and Paul "Cripple" Bakija, used to play bills with the likes of the Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains (both on the Jellybeans comp on Jello Biafra's label).

Their music was political, humorous and direct as it poked fun at Reagan and when he left office they disbanded the group.

There were tons of politically creative anti-Reagan art/music that punk in the eighties gave us. Now considering Reagan compared to Dubya,Reagan was not so bad -- because Bush and his administration are the worst fucking things that have ever happened to this country. How come we are not inundated with real anti Bush imagery in all of the so-called punk rock of today? 

Yeah, sure, there's art and comedy out there (including David Letterman's nightly laughs) today that pokes fun at Bush -- but it is harmless. Why? Coz if it were really effective, that idiot, whose damage to this country and the globe has not yet fully been felt, would not still be power!  He would have been impeached long ago. Fuck, I am mad! Think I am going to play these old eighties punk rock albums at full volume and sing along inserting Bush's name for Reagan's.

(NOTE this is my personal opinion and not necessarily that of my employers -- Amoeba -- who give me full freedom to rant and say whatever is on my mind... and this is on my mind today...and I am angry!!)

Thanks for reading and please add your COMMENTS -- good or bad -- below.

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Maximum Rock N Roll (2), Reagan Youth (1), Alternative Tentacles (3), Jello Biafra (12), Ronald Reagan (3), Punk Rock (15)