“Writing a Post about The Ziggens ’Cause Fu**it it’s Summer”

Something in particular made me want to write a brief little post about Orange County’s The Ziggens, fellow Orange County harbingers with Sublime, denizens of the latter’s record label Skunk, cited golden boys of Sublime’s celebratory album track “Greatest Hits” and benefactor’s of a sample in Sublime’s “Smoke Two Joints.” And this specific thing would be this lengthened section in their live version of “Waitress” in which the band ostensibly take a break from full-fledged groove to initiate an ambient, spoken-word session similar to part of the mid-section of The Doors’ “The End.” Actually, the band set up the proceedings as if to mimic “The End” except that the response to “Father”… “Yes son”… is “Can I borrow your hedge trimmers?”

In case you hadn’t already guessed, The Ziggens, even though they are indeed fellow So Cal constituents of poignant doomsters The Doors (who happen also ironically to be really good summer music, in my experience), are a pretty light-hearted bunch. They make [1] music for surfing to, make copious titular references to surfing and other extreme sports like “Ride the Wild Surf”; “Dickie Built a Halfpipe”; etc. With punk rock as their primary stylistic anchor (the last album actually reminded me of Blink-182 in a way that made it break my heart that ’02 was really too late for sensitive, quirky and humorous rock bands to make it big), they wield an influence of hair metal, evident in their cover of Judas Priest’s “Breakin’ the Law,” damaged pop a la Steely Dan or The Smiths (live standouts “Strange Way to Live”; “Big Salty Tears”; “Call it Quits” et. al.) and even the exact zeitgeist of surf rock that went on to galvanize the work of Dick Dale and others within the Pulp Fiction soundtrack (“Sea Kelp”).

I’d planned on emphasizing the “The End” reference just because it was so funny — actually my friend recommended and burned for me the CD of Live (Tickets Still Available) back around ’02 when we were getting ready to graduate high school and so naturally I just figured I’d employ a fixation on that album, which follows about five or six of their studio LP’s and acts as a pretty commensurate cluster of their overall catalogue, donning this skin as it does. But I noticed that they indeed put out an album, a self-titled effort, in ’02, their only studio project to follow Live (Tickets Still Available), so unexpectedly, I found myself subject to a preternatural force compelling me to listen to that (remember there wasn’t Spotify back when I got into this crew of knuckleheads). I put it on, finding it again uber-approachable pop-rock, and honestly I got this weird mix of emotions that included kind of feeling voyeuristic, as if I were actually CHANNELING a true part of someone, something I should be paying money for, but doing it for free, and also getting pi**ed off at the fact that I just know this band didn’t get a fair shake, hitting their songwriting and production stride within the throes of the Three Doors Down/Nickelback “good ol’ boy” movement in rock where any music not ordained as patriotic and appallingly simplistic by the Ministry of Thought was discarded and, potentially, never heard again. Well this band is still technically together and for whatever the case may be about them this tells me that the motherfu**ers still love rock and roll. It must just me how good STP’s “Plush” remaster sounds in a new, rented car — it must just be how perfect Don Henley’s “The End of the Innocence” or The Stones’ “Wild Horses” sounds on the jukebox as you wait for your bun-clad waitress and everything else almost just seems so wrong that it’s in a way oddly ensnaring.


[1] This is nominally that I use the present tense as they still are “technically” a band but haven’t put out an album since ’02.

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