Day 4. Influential or otherwise important albums.
After my Guns N' Roses love affair, I began to tread deeper and deeper into independent music. I had a boyfriend in eighth grade, which is so sweet to think of, who was a skater. He and his pals wore Vision Street Wear and listened to punk. Stuff like the Dead Kennedys.
I soaked it up. Something about it really appealed to me. I was a pretty good kid, pretty well-behaved, and also definitely came with the baggage of having been an outsider. I was never, ever a very cool kid. In fact, at times, very much the opposite. So, I think the wierdness and misfit nature of punk appealed to me.
Despite my quiet nature, I had (have) a rebellious streak. My catechism teacher did not like my query: "Why is the Pope was so great, if we are all supposed to be God's creation?" It was an honest question, borne out of deep quest for egalitarianism. I tried to explain, but it didn't fly. I hated the idea that the teacher presented - the church as a triangle with all us peons at the bottom supporting the ever narrowing pinnacle that rose up to the Pope (with a gap between the triangle's top and then g/d in heaven? Maybe?).
By the time I found Fugazi, I was also a burgeoning feminist (remember that egalitarian thing). Very few bands I knew of included women. I'd loved Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, and Madonna. However, there were no musicians I knew of that combined "in reach and therefore human and real seeming" (Cyndi is pretty damn real, though) with "woman".
Fugazi, all four of them guys, filled the void partially. They were in reach at $5 a show at City Gardens in Trenton. Ten bucks a CD (maybe $8...anyone comment on this?). Plus they wrote their own music, and released their albums on the record label owned by one of guitarists, Ian MacKaye. They definitely were real, accessible humans.
As for the "woman musician" part, Fugazi was a bit of a stop gap. Here's what they did for me: their inscrutable lyrics seemed to say vaguely positive things about women. Possibly negative things about bad things happening to women. Again the lyrics are pretty obscure, so it is hard to say.
This is the opposite of how women are represented in other punk bands I knew about and liked. Black Flag is one example. Loved them. Guns N' Roses. Loved them. In the lyrics, women are usually the recipient of something...bad love, bad luck, bad times. I loved the gritty, raw energy and chaos but I really needed some positive and egalitarian imagery.
Fugazi presented a serious, intense outlook on life - musically and lyrically. As a gloomy, depressive teenager, that was a lifeline for me. The music had deep, fighting energy that infused me with passion.
"Burning Too", a song from the previous album, 13 Songs, was a mantra. Rereading the lyrics, they still are. It was released in 1989. I'll give you a taste:
"The world is not our facility
We have a responsibility
To use our abilities
To keep this place alive"
I so appreciated their shows, their songs, and their hard line on creative Independence. I rarely listen to the album now, but it is for sure part of my bones.