Sunday, October 4, 2015


Do you remember community radio? Of course you don’t, you shitheels with your digital playlists and corporations telling what is cool, and you swallow it like bucketfuls of money jizz. Well, before you get off my lawn, let me tell you something. 
If you live in the right kind of town, you have a radio station where people can claim a timeslot and play whatever the fuck they want. Those towns are golden, and need to be given medals for awesomeness. When I was a kid, the station was WAIF, rumbling out of Cincinnati. One night a week, there was a hardcore punk show that I can’t remember the name of, because I drink a lot, and fuck you if you don’t know that kind of pain. 
The main DJ called himself Clem Kadiddlehopper, and his sidekick’s name had something to do with hockey. Fuck. I don’t remember. I was maybe sixteen when all this went down. I’m pushing fifty now. I hope I can be forgiven if I forget a few details after all this time. I didn’t think I would live past the age of thirteen, so suck it. 
One night, Clem played a song by a band I had never heard of called Hüsker Dü. Now, I knew the name because I had the game. The band took their name from a memory/recognition game that I had gotten for Christmas a few years in the past. 
It struck my first because I couldn’t figure out what the chords were. Now, I’m a good guitar player, and I play be ear. But I was befuddled by the crazy shit Bob Mould was throwing down. And it was a slow song! I should have been able to parse those chords out. Nope. Total mystery. 
But more important than that, to an angst-driven white Anglo suburban punk, were the words. Damned if Mould hadn’t read my mind and made a catchy tune out of it. 
I could be sad, I could be lonely
I could still have some friends if I only
Didn't play the games I had to play
I was important when I was cool
Now it gets lonely playing the fool
It's a game that anyone can play
Fuck, it was like he had ripped those feelings right from my heart and my balls and said them more plainly than I ever could. I went out the next day and bought the album. 
So let’s talk about Hüsker Dü’s FLIP YOUR WIG. 
The band was a three piece. Bob Mould on guitar and lyrics. Grant Hart on drums and lyrics. Greg Norton on bass. He rarely contributed vocals, and not at all on this album. 
This was the last album they put out before getting signed to Warner Bros. which is pretty much the death knell for any band. Even R.E.M. finally submitted to the Warner curse. They should have stayed on IRS, just like the Hüskers should have stayed on SST. 
The opening title song, tight with Bob and Grant taking turns on vocals is a joyous little pop gem. There are a lot of those on this record, from Bob’s “Hate Paper Doll’ to Grant’s ballad, “Green Eyes.” But then, when you least expect it, the record slaps you in the reproductives with a song like “Divide and Conquer,” Bob’s treatise on revisionist history and the “Youth of Today.” It goes into your head like a drill, stirs your brain around, then leaves as brutally as it came in. One chord progression in the whole song. ONE. Fuck Led Zeppelin; this was the sledgehammer of the gods, crashing down upon everything the Establishment held dear, leaving nothing but the jagged seams of the music staff in its wake. 
And what could prepare the casual listener for the complete mental breakdown of the last half of the album? Fuck all NOTHING. From “The Baby Song,” played on a slide penny whistle, to the instrumental closing double shot of hellfire that is “The Wit and the Wisdom” and “Don’t Know Yet,” FLIP YOUR WIG shows Hüsker Dü at the height of their power, still in touch with their audience enough to be relevant, not yet appearing on the Joan Fucking Rivers Show. 
It was the final show of solidarity, before drugs, sex and the confines of the closet destroyed the band from within. It’s their greatest balance between pure anger and post-punk pop, and on one susceptible night in 1985, it changed my life forever. 
A bit about Jeffery with two Fs; he's the author of Black Friday and Stories About You and contributes over at the mighty Check out his Amazon author profile HERE. Oh and he's a mighty fine sumbitch to boot! 

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