Double Plaid

1997’s Double Plaidinum by Goleta’s pop-punk poster boys, Lagwagon, was the first release by the band that I shied away from. In retrospect, I’m not exactly sure why I outright abandoned this release, since I jumped all over 1998’s Let’s Talk About Feelings, and the 2000 master comp, Let’s Talk about Leftovers. Double Plaidinum just sort of, didn’t exist in my late teen years, and is sitting there today 1) as a reminder of how much of a completest I’m not, and 2) as a 21-year-old afterthought waiting to be discovered.

Fatty Music

Fat Wreck Chords’ Fat Music Vol. IV: Life in the Fat Lane was released back in April of 1999 and contains some classic, pop-punk tracks from seminal Fat Wreck mainstays. Lagwagon’s May 16 to start it off, Road Rash by Mad Caddies, and San Dimas High School Football Rules by Indiana’s The Ataris. Presented here is a detailed insert featuring all the information one would need to get to know any and everyone one of the artists on this fun and playful compilation. Sometimes, information just simply laid out in black and white is the most effective and viable option.

No One Lives Exception to This Passing Grief

Though I’ve been in (clenched) possession of this amazing Lagwagon box set for 6 years (Putting Music in its Place… the 10 LP box set… you remember…), I hadn’t, until today, noticed this stellar insert for the double Hoss LP. The photo is of high enough quality for you to zoom in and have a laugh to the bottom left corner’s brief history of the album. The center band photo was used in 1994’s Fat Wreck Chords comp, Survival of the Fattest (I remember it from my high school days), but to my knowledge, the photos on either side are exclusive to this release. Anyway, I found this particular story to be quite humorous.

The Lag

My copy of Putting Music in its Place box set doubles as a “catch-all” for all my Lagwagon schwag. Well, to be honest, the only element NOT from the 519 releases of the colored, 10x vinyl box set that IS “personally” original is the printed ticket from the only Lagwagon show I’ve ever witnessed (January 17, 2015 at The Fonda here in LA). Anyway, for a band with so much personal history, and the perfect release to reflect that, it’s always fun to trip down Memory Ln.

… a Box!

pmitpAside from Double Plaidinum, these five albums were Lagwagon’s discography for this young listener (some 17 embarrassing years ago), which makes this exclusive box set (limited to 519 copies), all the more exceptional. Have a look, then a listen, then hunt one down online. Released by Fat Wreck Chords back in 2011, she comes with a bonus reissue of the band’s first 7″… worth the price of admission by itself. Happy hunting, kids, and happy Friday!

Life in the Fat Lane

FatLaneLife in the Fat Lane, Fat Music Vol. 4 was my first introduction to The Ataris, and their late 90s summer classic, San Dimas High School Football Rules. They must have fallen into obscurity after that, as that was my only exposure to this crazy pop punk band. A quick Discogs check indicates that The Ataris, in fact, did NOT fall into obscurity as they put out a new, self-released album just last year. LitFL also houses Lagwagon’s May 16, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes’ My Favorite Things, and Tilt’s Old School Pig, all of which were late 90s personal classics. Anyway, enjoy your hump day, kids!

Smoky Trash

Smoky_TrashBack when Lagwagon’s sophomore album, 1994’s Trashed was rereleased on colored vinyl (2008), buyers were not told which colored vinyl version they would receive. Fat Wreck Chords didn’t indicate the varying array of colors, so nobody knew how many variations of the 765 reissues there were. Then pictures started popping up on forums showcasing a coke bottle clear vinyl version. Having already owned the original, black vinyl version of Trashed, and having received a blue vinyl reissue, I decided it made plenty of sense to order another and try my luck at the coveted coke bottle clear version. What I received was this muddy purple version, and then all 765 were sold out. For the past 7 years I’ve been hunting for that damn coke bottle clear version, but those lucky bastards aren’t selling, and rightfully so. The last one sold on Discogs on 11/13 for a whopping $85, so the hunt for a reasonably priced copy continues. On a side note, I’ve since acquired yet another copy of Trashed with 2011’s Putting Music in its Place box set. It’s a great album, but I may be obsessing just a bit…

Garbage

TrashedLagwagon’s brand of snotty, emotionally-charged pop punk was, and still is, a staple for the Fat Wreck Chords label. The band’s longevity and continued popularity among middle class youth (now middle aged middle class) has spanned its influential wings across an impressive 23+ years. With many iterations throughout their tenure, and even more rock-solid studio releases, it doesn’t get any better than 1994’s Trashed, as far as I’m concerned. What you’re seeing here is a reissue from the 10 LP box set, Putting Music in its Place from back in ’11. A personal classic, Lagwagon continues to demand my respect.

iFloyd

iFloydThe SO is out of town, which means bachelor weekend for this here guy! So the first thing I do… start organizing my 45s… Apart from deciding to start a new RFTC 7” collection, I discovered this outdated sticker / sampler album insert. Titled iFloyd, the now defunct 14-track sampler featured a few previously unreleased tracks (from Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Against Me!, and Dead to Me), and a slew of classic Fat Wreck Chords mainstays, reminiscent of the old Fat Music comps. Unsure of what to do with this dinosaur, I decide to leave ‘em shoved inside one of the 45 boxes, to be discovered again at a later date. Happy Friday, kids!iFloyd_back

There’s a Lag in the Wagon

Lag WagonReleased in October of ’92 to help promote their debut album Duh, the first 7” by Lagwagon (or, listed here as Lag Wagon) is a bit of a beast to find. I’ve personally never seen an original, but one can be had over at Discogs for a cool $107.29. As the label, Fat Wreck Chords states:

Lagwagon’s first 7″. 2 songs from Duh. WAY outta print. Good luck finding this one. We don’t even have one.

LabelwagonFortunately for us Johnny-come-latelies, Fat re-issued this 22-year-old record back in 2011 with the mega-11-record box set, Lagwagon – Putting Music in its Place, which is where I was finally able to get my grubby little hands on a copy.

Me & Julie Down by the Bowling Alley

Me First CoverEvery so often the (pitcher beer ordering) mood for late 90s pop punk versions of mid 70s radio hits rolls down the cherry wood lane of life and lands a perfect strike (phew… that came desperately close to being a run-on sentence… I miss those).  Times like this, it’s comforting (although not really) to know Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is good for a round, and some damn good classic covers.

This, their first full-length released on Fat Wreck Chords back in 1997, features pop punk-ified versions of John Denver, Kenny Loggins, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and some other hit-making individuals of considerable musical talent. Covers, not unlike Social Security, are the third rail of musical politics. On one hand, paying homage to a classic can be somewhat of a respectful gesture, but on the other hand, these lazy, talentless bastards could just be riding the coattails of other, more innovative artists. Lucky for all involved with today’s post, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is comprised of a lucrative series of already established bands, so the results are smooth and well produced.

Me First VinylAllow me to introduce you to the band:

Vocals: Spike Slawson (of the Swingin’ Utters)

Lead Guitar: Chris Shiflett (of No Use for a Name and Foo Fighters… in that order, the order of importance)

Rhythm Guitar: Joey Cape (of Lagwagon)

Bass: Fat Mike (of NOFX fame, also the owner and operator of Fat Wreck Chords)

Drums: Dave Raun (of Lagwagon)

A pop-punk all-star band if ever there was one, Me First is deserving of a listen from fans of that 70s drawl, and bay area pop-punk. Now, set up those bumpers and let’s go bowling (courtesy of The Prudent Groove Lanes Across America Bowling League*).

*Does not exist

101 Bands Playing 30 Second Songs

FatIn June of 1999, Fat Wreck Chords released the optimistically ambitious Short Music for Short People, a novelty album featuring 101 bands spanning the punk rock spectrum in 30 second bursts. With grandfathers like Black Flag, Descendents, Circle Jerks, Misfits and Youth Brigade, to Fat mainstays Lagwagon, NOFX, Wizo and Strung Out, to fellow Epitaph Records mates Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Offspring and The Bouncing Souls, Short Music for Short People, as enjoyable as it is (and it really is), becomes exceptionally laborious when attempting to search for 1/101 of this record’s contents for just a 30 second reward. Lucky for me, I had a brief moment of clarity as a 19-year-old twit and picked up the compact disc version as well. That’s all gone as we wake up each day amongst the digital rays from our digital sun and pull up our digital socks and drive our digital stick-shift vehicles to our digital jobs to earn our digital wages and continue to get looked over for those digital promotions, but that’s neither here nor there.

Fat BackAs hilarious as it is catchy, and as arduous as it is enduring, Short Music for Short People is an aggressive achievement worthy of any open-minded listener. Also, you can learn how to make a bomb out of household objects on track 45, courtesy of The Offspring. Don’t try this at home, kids.