Explosion: Defining Punk in the '00s
story by tim mcmahan
Lazy-i: November 27, 2002
w/ One Man Army, Madcap, Lick Golden Sky
Sunday, Dec. 1
7:30 p.m., $8, all ages
13th and Martha
do you define punk rock at a time when punk is more about fashion
Explosion has the definition written down in every bitter, three-chord-fueled
anthem on their latest CD Flash Flash Flash. Influenced by
The Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers, the Boston five-piece's
music isn't so much about angst as anger and frustration, singing
in the voice of every loser trapped in a plastic, corporate world
that they never made. The Explosion may be too weak to escape, but
they're strong enough to gather forces.
"The word 'punk'
is being thrown around and co-opted by so many people these days,"
said The Explosion's bassist Damian Genuardi from his apartment
in Boston, where he's preparing for a tour that brings the band
to Sokol Underground Dec. 1. "You can't say it's spiked hair
or a leather jacket -- those are sold at Macy's. You can't define
it as a materialistic item."
Instead, Genuardi says
punk is a spirit and attitude. "It's looking at the world with
a sort of skeptical eye, knowing things aren't right and trying
to always be aware of that fact," he said. "It's having
a certain dissatisfaction and being proud of having that dissatisfaction."
dissatisfaction can be heard in the gnashing, double-guitar attack
that epitomizes their name. On Flash Flash Flash the punk
part is obvious, but the high-end production (this is no DIY job)
and rock-and-roll arrangements push it over the edge from stereotype
to head rush. Vocalist Matt Hock knows how to sing punk with melody
-- he's not just another atonal howler. And everything else just
plain rocks with a blistering intensity that Green Day or Blink
182 could never touch on their best day.
Hock, Genuardi and company
have managed to put a new shine on a very old apple, thanks to unbridled
chutzpah and ability to write a damn fine hook. Each of the CD's
compact, 3-chord ditties sports a sonic nugget nestled among the
power chords and a message about a society that has lost its voice
or been beaten into submission, from "No Revolution" (On
the edge of tomorrow / What are we fighting for?/ We fight each
other / Whenever we get bored) to "Reactor" (Dear
young reactor / We're gonna pull you under/ You know it's for the
best) to the corporate face-spit anthem "The Ideal"
(There are no good Samaritans / There are no proud Americans
/ This isn't my idea of success).
"We do a song called 'Points West' that talks about how we
conquered the West with American lust, and that really sums up a
lot of what's going on right now," Genuardi said. "It's
getting to a point where this society can do whatever it wants,
and is getting really blatant about it."
having a certain dissatisfaction and being proud of having
the government took away our Internet privileges or our cars,
we'd be marching in the streets."
to that alarming picture a star-struck culture that's generally
disinterested in world events. "Everyone is more interested
that J-Lo and Ben Affleck are engaged then speaking out against
war," he said. "We're a sedated people. We have so much
in our hands to keep us happy and occupied. If the government took
away our Internet privileges or our cars, we'd be marching in the
streets. Sept. 11 was supposed to wake us up to the fact that we're
not so isolated anymore."
Genuardi said people
today are living more private, less-dangerous lives and are happy
just keeping to themselves. "There is no sense of community,"
he said. "Why else would reality television be so popular?
We can sit safe in our homes and look at other people living their
lives. You'll look through your window, but you won't go over and
shake your neighbor's hand. That's our biggest message -- don't
just sit there, do something."
Genuardi said those same
themes carry over into The Explosion's new music. Flash Flash
Flash is ancient in industry terms, having been released by
indie label Jade Tree Records way back in June 2000. The band is
releasing a 5-song EP called Sick of Modern Art in January
on their own label, Tarantulas.
moving forward with our new music," he said. "We always
want to retain an urgency in our songs. We're not going away."
Published in The Omaha Weekly Nov. 27, 2002. Copyright © 2002 Tim
McMahan. All rights reserved.