Friday, February 29, 2008
In junior high and high school, my buddy and I used to trade our CD's and tape them, making copies for ourselves and expanding each other's knowledge of punk rock. One Friday he brought in the U.S. Bombs' The World, which was released in 1999 on Hellcat Records. I was really excited because the few songs I had by them on compilations had always stuck out to me with their Clash sound. That weekend I stayed at my grandmother's house, and I remember listening to that CD over and over again on my discman, in my mother's old bedroom. I didn't see one of those 18 tracks as filler; I loved them all.
I was drawn in equally by the sound, which took from the punk rock that I loved, ('77 punk as opposed to the pop-punk that was rampant at the time), as by the skater, cut and paste political imagery. I loved that the political imagery wasn't all anti-US as most of my punk records were. Although there remained criticism of the US ("US bombs the world"), there was underlying American pride in the WWII imagery and songs like "Yanks & Rebs", where Duane sings, "I'm proud to be an American!"
The standout track for me was "Joe's Tune", which is credited in the liner notes as written by Strummer himself. I have yet to find out the real history behind that song. Was it written by Strummer for the Bombs? Or is it a cover of a Strummer song I've somehow never heard? Either way, The World remains one of my favorite punk records from the 90's, and thankfully it's still in print.
"Well the black man got the rhythm
And the white man got the law
And I know one thing I've been workin for."
"That dunce in the corner says he wants to be a cop
Caught me smoking in the toilet stall
Said "I'll get you when I grow up."