Fucked Up – “No Epiphany” 7”
Acquired: KJHK Music Staff, New, 2009
I’ve been jamming Fucked Up’s 2008 release The Chemistry of Common Life a lot lately when I do the closing count at work. It’s summer, so it’s super fucking busy and by 9 o’clock I’m at wit’s end for one reason or another. I slump up to the office with the drawers, put this on and the pure release of Fucked Up’s sound triggers a sort of emotional escape valve that, combined with the meditative nature of counting money, prepares me for my reentrance to the world. I never listened to this album much when it actually came out, but I listened to their follow-up David Comes to Life a whole hell of a lot (although not as much as I would have liked, the album was long and 2011 was long on other great albums that needed listening).
Despite the lack of time I’ve spent with any particular Fucked Up release, I always actively went to their live shows whenever they came through Lawrence. When Fucked Up came to town, there was an understanding that this was as close as you were going to get to seeing an actual punk band. I’m talking the way people saw Black Flag in the 80s. Connecting that thought, when I was at SXSW in 08 I saw Keith Morris join them on stage for a cover of “Nervous Breakdown” and that pretty much made my year. While I was in Austin I also saw them play Beerland with J fucking Mascis standing directly behind me. Pink Eyes bled a lot that night and it was A.) the first time I’d ever even heard the band and B.) one of those really fundamentally grounding moments you experience as a music lover where you take a flyer on a band and get your brain totally blown out of the back of your skull. Fucked Up trigger this part of me that never quit loving punk rock and always loves punk as much as I loved punk when I was 16. When it was what I lived and breathed and where I drove to my shitty job at AMC listening to the cassette copy of the Nervous Breakdown EP for a year straight. Though I let that piss and vinegar subside, Fucked Up always causes it to boil back up to form my lips into a big “fuck yes.”
The Nervous Breakdown EP is just over five-minutes long. Both sides of the cassette had identical versions of the EP so that it effectively played on a loop forever in my Saturn's tape deck.
Every time. Right now it’s 11 o’clock and I’ve gotta get up at 7 and I’m tired and “No Epiphany” still gets me pumped up for its four minute duration. Fucked Up are so sneaky. They trick you into thinking you’re gonna get some average hardcore with their abhorrent name and loud guitars and instead you get something that is actually tuneful. Sure, Damian Abraham is barking at you, but he’s barking with melody. That’s the thing that always threw me about Fucked Up. They’re a pop band in a punk band’s body. That much was evidenced by their covers of indie pop groups the Shop Assistants, Dolly Mixture, and Another Sunny Day. It’s all so fucking smart, but not too smart for its own good. This track just keep rolling and rolling and grooving and grooving and then you think it’s getting ready to run right back into some more verses and DRUM FILL/PRIMAL SCREAM/DINKY GUITAR SOLO/BITCHIN OUTRO. This song kills every time. Did I mention how fucking good the drums are on this song? It’s like every time through something different pokes its little head up and I just sit here overjoyed to be listening to such a vital, pulsing jam with so much energy and potency. The b-side features a pretty forgettable remix by No Age which bugs me because surely Fucked Up had some gnarly b-side sitting around.
When I saw Fucked up play the Jackpot a few years ago, despite having already seen them at SXSW, my immediate thought was: “These people are fucking crazy, they’re playing dinky ol’ Lawrence, Kansas like they’re playing their last show ever.” When I went to buy a t-shirt after the show (one without the band’s name on it because of my peculiar respect for common decency when it comes to vulgarity in public places despite my rampant sailor mouth) I was stunned that they were not only friendly, but also the friendliest band I’d ever met after a show. Friendliness will go a long way to sell me on a band, and it totally worked that night.
Nonsequiter Note: I tried to find a video of Fucked Up playing in Lawrence and this was one of the first hits:
A couple of skater bros getting high and driving around Lawrence. It is truly terrifying that today's youth are oblivious to the fact that putting videos of oneself in incriminating circumstances is not a terribly bright idea. I literally watched the whole thing, jaw hanging on the floor. At first I was like, "Ok, you can't prove they're smoking weed," and then there's a glass pipe, and then at one point one of the bros holds a nug directly in front of the camera. Not to mention they're driving in an impaired state like they never saw that infomercial about the stoned guys at the drive through running over a kid on a bike.