Holy Shit it’s Nice Out So Listen to Pinhead Gunpowder!

Holy God, it’s like the most beautiful day ever here in The D, so I’m not looking to be on my computer very much today. So you’re all getting kinda of a blow off post from me today. But I still hope you can appreciate this.

When it gets absurdly beautiful out like it is today and I need some tunes, I’m often inclined to reach for some 1990s West Coast punk. One of my staple bands in this category is Pinhead Gunpowder. Pinhead Gunpowder’s original lineup featured Aaron Cometbus (from Cometbus ‘zine and Crimpshrine), Bill Schnider (bassist from the oft forgotten pop-punk pioneers Monsula), Mike Kirsch (my own personal punk rock hero, who’s punk rock resume includes Please Inform the Captain This is a Hijack and Baader Brains and who currently plays in Mother Country Motherfuckers) and also Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day fame.

Pinhead Gunpowder is still active today, however Mike Kirsch left early on in the band’s history citing political differences with Billy Joe Armstrong following the release of Green Day’s major label debut album Dookie.  This early period of Pinhead Gunpowder’s history is my personal favorite, as it happens that when Kirsch left so did the bands explicitly revolutionary anti-capitalist message. I’ma sucker for this sound and for any punk that came out of this period, but The juxtaposition between some of the signature major label approved pop-punk sounds that are so reminiscent of Green Day playing behind seemingly Marxist inspired lyrics is interesting enough to give them a listen.

Check it out. Here’s “Freedom Is…” and “Future Daydream.” The first song is an excellent example of the band’s radical politics, while the second show’s more of Billy Joe Armstrong’s work in the band.

“Freedom Is…” off their early compilation album Jump Salty.

Home of the brave, land of the free,
Where “freedom” just means coke or Pepsi…
But I’m not buying it.

They say if you’re not working
You’re just wasting away,
“Employment gaps look bad on your resume…”
But I’m not buying, I’m not buying,

I’m not buying their incentives, their lies,
Their empty promises — just chains in disguise
— while we let them steal away our very lives!

Tell me why there’s still a 40 hour work week
While unemployment’s on the rise?
Why do we keep overproducing
But still it’s hard just to survive?
Why does “surplus” food rot
While hungry people die?

We’re stripped of human dignity,
Forced to live in poverty,
‘Cause in this land of the free
Our “freedom” is all fake.
We’re wage slaves to the company,
Land slaves to the property,
And tax slaves to the economy
Of the capitalist state!

It’s illegal to squat or live on the street,
But rent is extortion when you have to pay to sleep…
But I’m not buying it.

We’re just endentured servants
Living on the master’s land,
Serfs trying to buy back
Our freedom on the lay-away plan…
But I’m not buying, I’m not buying, I’m not buying.

“Future Daydream” off Jump Salty

Now, now I want to see
All the skyscrapers and the factories
Crumble down to the ground and we’ll go walk around
And pick through the wreckage scattered in the streets.

Now, now I want to see
Malls with paint peeling off of cracked walls,
All the plants overgrowing and the fountains overflowing
And we can rumble through the stubble
And play hide and go seek.

Well once I saw an old guy
Digging through the trash,
Then I watched him walk on down the street.
He’d gathered cups, got water,
And was watering all the plants
Growing through the concrete.
(True story.)

Now, now I want to be
At the edge of the land
Crawling out at the sea
And we can get acoustic guitars
And play in the ruins of the world today.

Yes it’s my Armageddon scheme.
It’s my twisted future dream.
It’s right around the corner, wait and see.

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