27 January 2022



I wonder what happened to the scene in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I got my first peek into their world at the fest in Oklahoma City some time in the twenty-teens, where the Mississippi punks rolled up about 30 deep - they all went off of each other's bands and their energy was enviable. BIG BLEACH, EYE JAMMY, JUDY AND THE JERKS, PLEATHER...these were bands that felt like they were born out of a collective need for community that grew organically into a camaraderie that transcended the bands themselves or even individual relationships - they just seemed tight as shit and it was awesome. The bands though, they were also tight as shit, and it was if they were trying to escape their own skin every time I saw one of them play. I'm talking specifically about JUDY AND THE JERKS here, but the same observation applies to the other bands mentioned (hell, it applies to their friends watching those bands too, it was like community catharsis). For a few years, I would see bands passing through the Bay Area on tour and ask them how things were going; if they had been to Hattiesburg then it was probably the only show they even mentioned because these kids were that fukkn good. It was like Minot (or even Starkville, MS for a hot minute) in the '90s, just this thing that exploded in a small out of the way town where 'cool' things weren't supposed to happen. I tried Minot in the '90s and it was a bust (so it goes with the small flash-in-the-pan scenes), and I really wish I had been able to conquer logistics and adulthood to be surrounded by these Mississippi freaks in their time and in their element. Not trying to sound like some social anthropologist - I mean that I wanted to get sweaty as fuck and watch the bands and wild out and shoot the shit until 4am and sleep uncomfortably on a floor wake up groggy and hungover and eat breakfast and then drive somewhere else with new friends and a great night in the rearview mirror. Friends that you might not see again because that's how punk works, but friends that you shared a night with nonetheless - an important night, just a couple of hours from where my papaw grew up near Lorman, MS. But that never happened, and honestly probably won't, but I hope these kids are still raging. I know Earth Girl is still cranking out tapes, and I know JUDY AND THE JERKS were playing shows just before the 'Rona cast its shadow in 2020, but Hattiesburg? I kinda want it to feel like I painted it in my mind, but really I want it to be whatever they want...so I can soak it up. 

No comments: