The Broadways – Broken Star
Asian Man Records, 1998
Acquired: Asian Man Records Mail Order, 2003
Price: $1 (it came in a box of vinyl that cost $25)
This is Chris and Brendan’s band before they started the Lawrence Arms. In High School I was pretty obsessed with Asian Man Records and Fat Wreck Chords, and when Mike Park offered up a $25 box filled with 13 LPs and 15 7”s, well, I freaked out. I came home from school to find the box on my doorstep, filled with extra goodies too. Tons of stickers, patches, etc. I’ve since sold or given away most of the records in that box but this is one I held onto because I really love this record. I listened to it a ton, and the Broadways were one of the best socio-political punk bands of their time in my opinion. Them and Propagandhi. It’s hyper-political, really pissed off shit about fucked up cops, fucked up grocery store owners who prohibit dumpstering, corporate takeover, the fucked up school system, etc. My favorite track, “Fifteen Minutes” comes into my head every time I’m stuck in traffic and wonder what I could be doing with the time. I think it’s why I will always find an alternate route instead of waiting in a long line of cars, no matter how out of the way it is. Being stuck in traffic is one of the worst feelings to me. This was one of those records that turned me into a pseudo anarcho-punk for a year or two in high school, and of course I had a Broadways patch sewn onto my black hooded sweatshirt. Of course, I was never really an anarcho-punk. I lived in the suburbs, but my family was more legit middle class than the other kids so instead of getting into rap I got really into punk and got really pissed off at corporations and George W. Bush. Which was a good idea. “Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Genocide I Learned in the Third Grade,” I distinctly remember listening to that song on my CD player in the halls in between classes on Columbus Day. Their arguments aren’t as fact-based or as good as Propagandhi’s, but it was good to have when I didn’t know shit other than what I was told as a kid and it really helped to open my mind, like a hundred other punk bands. It’s like there’s this secret world that you never see if you live in the suburbs where everyone has their American flags out and no one really cares about anything except their own family. I also have the “I Hear Things are Just as Bad Down in Lake Erie” 7”, which would find itself on any “punk rock I listened to obsessively in high school” compilation I made. I think it’s their most concise song, but only because it tackles pretty much every subject they sing about and put it into one jam. “And the only dream I have is for an H-bomb to come and blow us fucking up/ so you don't have to hear me bitch anymore.” I will never sell this record.