I’m not particularly good at gauging the general consensus on issues since I am a loner who usually writes from personal experience because who has time to listen to the “opinions” of “friends” am I right. But a lot of you read my post about Pitchfork’s revisionist history when it comes to pop punk and I must’ve hit a nerve because I got a big heap of messages from people saying they had similar feelings, including one guy named Craig or Greg who told me so at Target last week while I was buying a 900-pack of extra strength DayQuil. It was nice meeting you Craig or Greg and I’m sorry that phlegm was pouring out of my eyes sockets while we talked.
Then this past Sunday, Pitchfork reviewed blink-182’s Enema of the State and gave it a 7.5. Unless they’d given the Vandals’ Hitler Bad, Vandals Good a perfect 10.0, I can’t think of them proving my point any more directly. I know Pitchfork probably maps out their editorial calendar weeks in advance but I can’t help but feel this review is an affront to me personally? I want to pull the first letters of each paragraph to see if it spells out DAN OZZI GO BACK TO WARPED TOUR or something. But I’m glad I stuck my flag in the sand on this issue because now every time they pull this dumb shit more people sign up for my newsletter so hooray thanks to Pitchfork I guess.
At this point I always feel compelled to mention that I’m not picking on the writer of the Blink review specifically. In fact, he (Jeremy Gordon) wrote a piece last year that I thought was informative about how music publications are so horny for access to A-listers like T*ylor Sw*ft that they will debase themselves journalistically for interviews. For what it’s worth: My solution to being denied access to high-profile artists is to have an unprofitable and uncelebrated career interviewing tiny bands that no one’s ever heard of until five years later when they blow up and then their publicist cancels your interview with them last-minute because “they have a big opportunity they couldn’t turn down, maybe next time!” and you just know it’s the fucking NPR Tiny Desk. Blast that cursed desk. Not even that tiny, really.
Aaaanyway, I didn’t come here today to complain about my flailing “career,” I came here to uh… actually I don’t have a point to this one, sorry! Sometimes I have a point and sometimes I ramble and today’s email is a rambl’r. My focus has been elsewhere lately as I woke up on January 1 and realized how far behind I am on MY BOOK and have basically had an unending panic attack for the last two weeks. I expect this dread to last for several more months. Fun! As much as I complain about it, though, this book is a true dream gig and I try to appreciate as such.
Most of my day is spent tracking down people I need to interview and emailing them. The first thing I like to do is make sure the person is alive. Dead people are not great at responding to emails, I’ve found. Once I’m relatively sure the person I’m contacting is alive, I email them to say hello can I interview you for my book? Some of them write back and say sure yes you can interview me for your book and then we set up a time to meet and I drive to them and make them say regrettable things into my recorder. But then sometimes they say no I’d prefer not to talk to you for your book sorry and I have to counter by saying hmm are you sure c’mon it might be fun. This goes back and forth for some time until one of us gets tired of emailing and it’s never me because I have all the free time in the world.
But the people I do get to talk to are often musicians whose work I’ve loved for years and it’s been such a wild ride getting to know these folks and exchange messages with them at weird times of the day. The other day the father of as very famous rock frontman called me back at 7:30 a.m. Books are funny!
Bern, Piano Island, Bern
I recently started a thread of Bernie Sanders thanking bands for their music.
Here he is thanking Ratboys for their music:
Here he is thanking Pet Symmetry for their music:
Here is is thanking Pig Destroyer for their music:
Nah, just kidding, but that’d be tight! I hope this trend continues and by the end of the campaign Bernie has thanked the entire Fest lineup. “Let me thank AJJ for their music.” “Let me thank Jawbreaker for their music.” God, imagine Bernie saying “Jawbreaker.” [Bernie voice:] “Blake Schwarzenbach.” “Bivouac.” “All Americans should have access to 24-hour revenge therapy.” Make it happen, 2020!
You may be thinking: “Uh oh Dan, you aren’t one of those dreaded Bernard Brothers I’ve read about, are you?” Why yes I am. And I’d like to explain if you care to listen.
I grew up during that post-Gen X era where disaffection was cool and the pervasive edgy thinking was that BoTh PaRtIeS aRe bAd. Which, yes, is true. We have a two-party system wherein one side is comically evil and one side is tragically ineffective. This is maybe the most cutting political joke the Simpsons ever made:
I personally would love to say “ah well, both parties are full of corrupt shitheads and we’re fucked either way so what can you do” because then I could just stay home on election day and watch Step Brothers for the 400th time and have a good laugh at the dinner scene where Brennan hogs the sauce which he calls fancy sauce. But when you start to let that way of thinking discourage you from voting at all, that directly benefits the GOP. The Republican Party wins elections when people under 40 stay home on election day to watch Step Brothers and let presidential winners be determined by senile geriatrics stuffed into Florida retirement homes.
That said, I support Bernie Sanders because he circumvents many of the trappings I despise about our two-party system, namely that he is the only truly grassroots candidate not funded billionaires or corporations. I am a political simpleton, and you certainly don’t have to listen to me, but if you are on the fence about who to throw your vote behind this year, may I humbly suggest that you also support Bernie Motherfuckin’ Sanders.
I am not so naive as to think any candidate is perfect, so please spare me the questionable gun bill Bernie voted for 40 years ago or whatever. But as far as the tenets I wish existed in American politicians, he hits just about all of them:
Running a small-donation campaign funded by the working class and not the ultrawealthy.
Supports universal healthcare.
Opposes war in direct, uncompromising language and votes against defense spending bills.
Supports raising taxes on millionaires and grinding billionaires to a fine bouillabaisse that gets served once a year on a new holiday he has named The Feast of the Fortune 500.
Has proposed turning Donald Trump inside out and displaying his bones in a public park where children can play his ribcage like a xylophone. I don’t think it’ll pass the Senate but I support the plan.
Now, maybe you don’t like Bernie. The most common critique I hear of him is actually not one of him but of his supporters: “The Bernie Bros were very mean to me online once and I therefore cannot support him!” Nah, sorry. “My political beliefs are steadfast insofar as they are not challenged at all, at which point I am willing to completely abandon them” is not an argument that flies. If this is your hangup, please separate online discourse from the integrity of the candidate and reassess your priorities.
Maybe you prefer another candidate, and that’s fine. I just happen to think all of the other candidates are operating on a belief that America is structurally good and just needs a few repairs. Bernie is the only one who recognizes that the whole system is fucked and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. He understands that the election of Trump was not a fault in the system, it was the logical result of a power structure that was built upside-down. This is why I can’t abide by the “anyone but Trump” thinking. We may get four years of reprieve by electing any ol’ Democratic candidate, but we’re setting ourselves up for something so much worse in the future, like the election of one of Trump’s fuckface kids. I don’t just want Trump out, I want a revolution. I don’t want to say “no more,” I want to say “never again.”
Alright, there are like a gajillion email newsletters about politics and I’m sure you didn’t follow this one to hear the musings of some brain-dead idiot who writes primarily about pop punk, so let me leave you with a weird internet thing I found…
I somehow stumbled across this guy’s Youtube channel a while back and find myself coming back to his videos with alarming frequency. As far as I can tell he is some crust punk who kinda looks like Steve-O who won a Trailer Park Boys contest, which amazingly is not how I found out about him. Anyway there’s a video of him getting deloused while playing a mandolin cover of my favorite little Fugazi song (music geeks feel free to correct me if it’s not a mandolin):
From the same session he’s also got this cover of The Bloodhound Gang’s “The Bad Touch,” which I promise is weird and good:
Why is there a person sitting there and not acknowledging that anything is going on? I have no idea. I’m not here to ask questions, I’m just a guy who finds weird things online and emails them to strangers named Craig or Greg!
Have a good week! I’ll have a point next time! Uncut Gems was robbed!