The Scene (#3): My first punk rock cassettes!

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For the next two weeks, between the final notes of Woodstock 94 and the start of the school year, I was all “Green Day this” and “Green Day that.” I can remember at one point my mom telling me, “Enough about this, already! Can’t we have one meal where we don’t have to hear about this Green Day?”

But it was too late - I was hooked.

Even though no one in my family understood my recent obsession, my older sister’s boyfriend totally got it. He was a skater, but not your run of the mill “I like skateboarding” type. He was the, “built a half pipe at the end of his driveway much to the chagrin of his mother” type of skater.

In the middle of what my family was declaring to be nothing more than my “music non-sense,” I’ll never forget the night that he stopped off at my bedroom before going out with my sister, and tossed three cassette tapes onto my bed for me to borrow.

  • Green Day – Dookie
  • Violent Femmes – Add It Up (1981-1993)
  • Green Day – Kerplunk

I quickly grabbed my blank cassette tapes from out of my nightstand drawer and spent the entire night listening to each album as I made a copy to keep for myself.

I was in a trance when “Burnout” pulled me into Dookie with the same energy the band displayed at Woodstock 94, thought it was rad how “Chump” segwayed into “Longview,” and was pleasantly surprised when I discovered “All By My Self,” the hidden track that played a minute and a half after album closer “F.O.D.”

As I listened to the Violent Femmes album, I couldn’t help but think of how my mother wouldn’t approve of me listening to this, which made me love it that much more. Gordan Gano sang with such angst on “Gimme the Car” and “Kiss Off,” and gave me such lyrical questions as, “why can’t I get just one screw?” and “why can’t I get just one fuck?” on “Add It Up.”

Kerplunk, though, was the album that would set up my next foray into the punk rock scene. As I listened to Green Day charge through songs, “2000 Light Years Away,” “One of My Lies,” “Christie Road,” and the original version of “Welcome to Paradise,” I was busy laying on my floor studying their liner notes.

In the section labeled as “Green Day Thanks,” there were several (what I could only assume at the time) other bands listed: Mr. T Experience, Pinhead Gunpowder, Operation Ivy, and Schleprock. Of course, there was also the Lookout Records logo stamped on liner notes as well since they are the label that released the album.

And I asked myself:

Who were these other bands?

What did they sound like?

Did they sound like Green Day?

What other bands were on Lookout Records?

It was just about time for me to call it a night as the cassette had finished recording, but I was about to begin my punk rock education the very next day. My first stop was just a stone’s throw away at the local library - - - how punk rock!

YOUR TURN: What were the albums you first heard when you were discovering punk rock, and how did you get them? Tell us about it below!

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