Saturday, November 04, 2006

Can Joann's Weekend Mutiny: Joel

Editor's Note: This post was written by Joel Peck, vocalist for Chapel Hill, NC band can joann. It is part of a series of posts that you can link to below.

Do you remember the moment of no return? Can you recall the song, artist, or track that threw everything you knew about yourself out the window of present and into the dormancy of past? Do you remember the moments when you knew that this world, for lack of a better world, was yours?

For me, it was the realization that hardcore could groove like the Gorilla Biscuits, and the bass in your face of Jawbreaker. After hearing these bands, I happily gave up everything I’d been interested in for a life of punk rock. From ages 15-21, all I did was eat, sleep, breathe, and shit hardcore. Fanzines like Maximum Rock and Roll, Punk Planet, and HeartAttack became my CNN, my school books, my mantras. I lost myself in that world until I reached the very common burnout stage. It is only now, at 27, that I’m getting back into the records I still have (sold most of them), digging up the old fanzines, and revisiting the spirit, energy, and youthful hope I once had. Only this time, my punk rock ethos is on my terms- sans the naivete, provinciality, and holier than thou approach.

This opportunity has reminded me of a cathartic moment that I just recently realized through a conversation with a friend. He mentioned that he was sharing a bill with Portastatic (another great Chapel Hill band), and he was bursting at the seams because he had listened to their music growing up in Florida and now he was opening for them with his band. I felt great for him and I wished I’d had a story to offer along the same lines. Then, I started talking about my old hardcore band, The Essentials, and I realized I, too, had come full circle in my own corner of the punk world. To steal a line from MRR columnist, George Tabb, but let me back up a bit…
In 1994, I was at the very beginning of my punk rock obsession. I had acquired a copy of the old MRR publication “Book Your Own Fucking Life,” which was a pre-internet guide to punk rock bands, labels, zines, record stores, venues, and people arranged in a state by state, city by city, nation by nation listing. Needless to say, it was a different world back then, but that’s another article. I got this book before I had any records so I decided to utilize this guide for a trip I was taking with my best mate and current band mate, Andrew (bass). We were off to visit Berkeley, California, where my uncle and aunt lived. That trip was a seminal experience that led us to 921 Gilman Street, a night with Lars from Rancid, and most importantly, a trip to Amoeba records. It was there, that I picked up 2 7” records. Jawbreaker’s “Busy”(the one with Walter Matthau on the cover) and a J-Church 7” with “Panama.” I loved both records and three years later, my collection would grow to over 500.

Fast forward to 1997. I was 18 years old and in the final months of singing for The Essentials. We were doing quite well, but our demise was well understood. I was going to college and the band would be forced to break up. It was a whirlwind experience trying to secure a venue for our last show. There were no leads and I was leaving Cincinnati on June 15th, forever. It was June 1st and nothing was planned. In a panic, I headed down to my second home, the legendary short Vine St. in Cincinnati’s University Village. There, I came across the schedule for upcoming shows at Sudsy Malone’s, which I’m not even sure exists anymore. Advertised for June 12th, was a J-Church show, which featured our friend’s band as openers. I took a deep breath, walked right in and five minutes later, walked out with us as openers for J-Church for our last show. I remember that night was incredible. We played a great set which featured a new song I wrote for my girlfriend in Seattle who heard it because Andrew called her from a payphone and held out the receiver. After the set, my friends picked me up on their shoulders and led me around the club as my head spun from ecstasy, terror, and god knows what other emotions I was going through. The Essentials were over and had ended in grand style. Lance from J-Church congratulated me and asked why the hell we were breaking up. It was too much to take in and that’s all I remembered from that night. That is until the conversation I had last week with my friend. It was only then that I realized I, too, had come full circle. Incredibly, the first 7” I bought was a band called J-Church who I would share a bill with only three years later, only to connect the dots nine years after the fact. Now all I need is a Jawbreaker reunion tour…

Gorilla Biscuits - Start Today
Jawbreaker - With or Without U2
J-Church - Yellow Blue and Green (BBC Session)
Portastatic - I Wanna Know Girls

Local Love:

Ben Folds Five - Song for the Dumped (Live)
In 1998, the whole country was once again focusing attention on Chapel Hill, NC. This time, it was a band called Ben Fold’s Five. For us, that year was spent in individual settings miles apart. Nevertheless, we all realized one day that we had watched the same incredible performance of “Song for the Dumped” on the Conan O’Brien Show. We were spread out in North Carolina, Minnesota, Florida, and New York, but we tuned in, turned on, and were blown away by the power of their live show on the same night. Sadly, we couldn’t find a link or available footage for their appearance that night, but this one from Japan gives a little hint of their magic. Note that they’re singing the lyrics in Japanese. Incredible! We're also including an mp3 from London.

Valient Thorr - Man Behind the Curtain
What can I say about Valiant Thorr that hasn’t been said already? Plenty! For one incredible year, we lived and practiced two houses away from the mighty Thorr. In that year, we watched as they ascended the ranks of rock and roll’s who’s who list. It started with a show at the old Go! Studio’s (in front of ten people). I remember watching their incredible live show and thinking, “Ok, whatever ‘it’ is, they’ve got ‘it.’” That year, we watched their “valiant” work ethic and seemingly indefatigable energy pay off in dividends. Six months later, they were selling out King’s in Raleigh, playing with the same energy they had expended in front of the ten lucky attendees at Go!, and six months after that, I drove their van to the airport to see them off on their tour that included second stage at “Warped,” and seven dates with Billy Idol. Crazier still, a month before, after they had told me of the Billy Idol dates, I was at the Atlanta airport on a layover when who walked out and into the gate? Billy Idol. I almost wet myself approaching him to tell him my friend’s would be accompanying him for several dates in the next month. It was little things like that that made me certain they were destined for greatness. It was the big things, like their front man Herbie’s memorizing stage presence, that sealed the deal and resulted in their efforts fully realized. They’ve since gone on a second warped tour and have opened shows for Joan Jett. Check them out through Volcom(their record label) and the footage below. No clips could fully pay tribute to their performance, but this will have to do. For the record, they still pick up the phone and shoot the shit with me when I call them here and there, from time to time. We love ya, brothers!

Little Brother - Hold On
One group who we haven’t much of a professional/social connection with is Little Brother. However, we remain fans through and through. This is the kind of hip hop that will never reach commercial success because the mainstream has no room for insight and advanced theory. These guys are well celebrated across the globe in their circle and w they need very little added press from dorks like us. However, we couldn’t miss the chance to broadcast them to more people who may not be acquainted with their work. This clip and mp3, are just a juicy tidbit of this solid tour-de-force. At times funny, spiritual, and outright brilliant, it is our pleasure to offer a hint of their talent and we encourage you to quench that curious thirst of yours, which has been mirrored by so many others. Little Brother, you inspire plenty, least of all us. Respect.

Little Brother - Speed

I would like to credit Mutual Rejection for the great picture of me.

Can Joann's Weekend Mutiny:
Band's Intro


Post a Comment

<< Home