In March of 1997, I got on a bus in Milwaukee and headed home to San Francisco. My head was spinning - I'd just spent three winter months with Karoline, and we had decided that she was going to relocate to the west coast and we were going to get married after only knowing each other for a few months...maybe it's easier for some ideas to seem wise when you are younger, but even blinded by young love there was an element of Chevy-Chase-about-to-jump-in-the-pool, Vacation styled "this is crazy this is crazy this is crazy" shit going on in my brain as I headed home. Many hours into the journey while chilling in the back of the Greyhound listening to my walkman and trying to ignore everyone, a vaguely punk looking dude asked me where I was headed. "San Francisco," I replied. "Cool, I'm going back to Oakland...you want a snort?" I thought (hoped) he was offering me drugs, but he (fortunately) just had a flask of whiskey and we proceeded to get quietly tipsy on the back of the bus for a few days. It was an eventful trip - stranded in a freak spring blizzard in a Wyoming hotel (technically, all of the passengers slept in the lobby because Greyhound wouldn't get us rooms), a dude getting into a physical altercation with the driver (for drinking, ironically...he clearly wasn't as stealth as we were) outside of Elko, Nevada and getting kicked off the bus in the middle of nowhere. We didn't really talk much, but I realize now that he would have had tons of stories to share, and probably could have accelerated my introduction to east bay punk by several years....but we just chilled, drank, and took comfort in knowing that we weren't the only freaks on the bus. I never saw the dude after he got off in Oakland and I continued across the bridge...and nine months later he was dead. It wasn't until the summer of 1998 when Karoline and I went to his memorial show in Oakland to see FILTH, EXODUS and GRIMPLE play in his honor that I realized what a huge force Lucky was.
While it might be easy to dismiss this as a weird memorial post for a guy I didn't really know who died almost twenty years ago, let it be known that these tunes are fukkn sick. From the opening EBMUD track that sounds like a more punk WIPERS to the raw hardcore of NO DOGS, Lucky's output is stunning. Like a bridge from classic '80's punk/hardcore to the sound that made the East Bay famous, these bands are full of hooks and have enough teeth to rip your fukkn heart out. Relentless hardcore from FOR PEACE and NO DOGS are the clear faves for my ears, but THE LEFTOVERS, EBMUD (though, seriously, how can "Confused" be so undeniably brilliant and "Fly Into The Sky" be so really bad?), CRUMMY MUSICIANS and especially STOP THEM DOGS are classic blasts from '90s Oakland - melody and frustration combining forces to make timeless tunes. Most people outside of this area would probably never have crossed paths with any of these sounds, and thankfully Eggplant did a brilliant job of compiling and sequencing this comp to let us all know what exactly it was that we missed. Also and not for nothing: the interview clip from the Green Day tour is the best thing you will listen to all day. I can think of few better ways for someone to remember me after I'm gone than a snippet like this one. Later, dude...thanks for the whiskey.