11 May 2018

HAGGIS


In the summer of 1994, my band MULTIPLE CHOICE embarked on a ridiculous nine week North American tour during which we lost all of our money and most of our dignity....and during which we made friends that I still cherish today. One of the last shows of that tour was in San Jose with ALL YOU CAN EAT (who were at that point, at least to newcomers like us, already stalwarts of the Bay Area Scene - they had toured overseas and members worked for Maximum Rocknroll for fukks sake!) and Boise, Idaho band HAGGIS (who had something cool written on the side of their van, even though I can't remember what it was). It was classic early DIY touring - the dude who "set up the show" showed up late and all the bands just hung out on the sidewalk with some local punks in front of the venue in downtown San Jose until he got there...and we told him the venue was locked. Turns out he hadn't exactly asked anyone if he could do the show there, he was just kinda hoping they would be open or some shit, so we convinced him (or guilt tripped him) to find a house where we could have the show. Wait....did I say house? I meant apartment - like in an apartment complex. So even though it seemed we were gonna play mostly for each other (you want to romanticize touring, young punks? because playing for the other bands at the show because no one knows who you are and no one bothered to stop watching tv to come see you play....? that's what touring is really about) but we double parked and were all working like a team to load shit in to this apartment and set up in the living room. And then a cop drove by as we were pulling the bass cabinet out of the van and he stopped and he looked at us as if to say "what the actual fukk do you think you are doing?" and we all kinda assessed the situation and thought "yeah, this shit ain't never gonna fly" and so we loaded the gear back in the van/s. So yeah...that's how I met HAGGIS, and that's how I became friends with ALL YOU CAN EAT. 

But if you want to listen to this 1996 demo, and you should, then you are in for a fukkn treat. I mean, if you like melodic 1990s punk. But the good kind....not the mindless generic bullshit. Guitars that bridge a gap between Flip Your Wig and early '90s Bay Area (note: original HAGGIS guitarist was ex-SEPTIC DEATH...according to The Internet), and the kind of gravel drenched vocals that make the era so easy to apologize for. I asked Karoline for comparisons and she mentioned CRIMPSHRINE and SCHLONG and JAWBREAKER and Hayes-era Lookout! and I don't disagree with her at all even though I have completely different reference points (like: DEAD MILKMEN playing high energy pop punk through 1985 HÜSKER DÜ's gear without changing the settings). The main thing though, is that SL9 holds up extremely well in the face of an overly judgmental and/or compartmentalized internet. These songs are absolute burners - and if you can sing along and there's a story to go with them....? Well then that's even better. 

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