“California as Congenitally Punk via Offspring’s Americana.”

I have a friend used to rip on Offspring, but now he freakin’ loves ‘em. It’s like Kramer on Seinfeld with that girl he dumps and then tries to get back with: “I love you! I’m sorry! I’ll do anything!”

I sort of toggle back and forth between thinking and not thinking that every good punk band in history is from the American state of California, The Clash and The Buzzcocks sitting as those undersized British lads I just neglect.

The other week I met this dude who was all about Chicago: The Lawrence Arms, Rise Against, and I was just kinda like, oh yeah, all that crap exists, but from where I’m sitting Chicago is the progenitor of math rock: Shellac, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Tub Ring. Unorthodox time signatures or phrasings are essential to this.
Paramount in effective punk rock is palpably, tactilely hating whiteness, and no land is whiter than California. The people there are very rich and uptight, and, as Morrissey once described, “Thicker than pig sh**.” Also, Tennessee Williams complained of the “spiritual death ray” emanating out in Hollywood. I personally have no interest in ever living west of Underwood, Iowa, for as long as I exist, but even back here there are certain times when I want that music that is loud, critically unacclaimed but oh so heady. No Use for a Name is a great band (Bay area), Lagwagon (Bay area), Strung out (Bay area), Bad Religion (LA), Offpsring (LA).
The Offspring’s album Americana is DELICIOUSLY enigmatic. It came out during the undisputed death knell of punk, when boy bands and rap/metal ruled pop culture and the Suicide Machines were poised to make their syrupy but listenable delve into radio catchiness, or at least a stab at that.
But there was Americana, rocking out about as hard as ever, at least “Falling.” Dexter Holland is at his wittiest and most steady-handed, too: “Have you ever been out some place / Recognizing everybody’s face / Until you realize that there was no one there you knew?”
I’m writing about this because I just experienced this phenomenon, and I’m feeling pretty good today in my hometown, which is very bluesy, blues going on now in this cafe. And it’s funny, because it’s actually a pleasant experience, except that Dexter Holland lives in LA, so he’s just congenitally angry, hence requiring the undergoing of punk. Also, Bad Religion has an album with a picture of LA called Road Maps of Hell. For the record, here are some other genres I think thrive in the state of California: neo-soul, electronica, blues-rock, NOT hip-hop, unless Blackalicious puts out another good one.

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