How I Spent My Summer Vacation.
Now available digitally, on CD, and in a comprehensive “Discography” pack, it’s time you caught up with The Eleven-SixtyFours! Two EPs! Two Singles! 16 new punk rock blasts of middle-aged DIY, at the intersection of fury and nostalgia. If a 46 year old man can sit down in four different sessions to record this music, writing all the songs on the spot, then just imagine what you could do?
WTBC 0031: The Eleven-SixtyFours – Sack The Sacklers EP. (Available Digitally, or on CD)
Six new songs about getting revenge on the 1%, how the cyberpunk future seems to match pandemic life, the consequences of ignoring the moment, and a dance craze that is sweeps the right wing that needs to be obliterated from the clubs, post haste. Get to know The Eleven-SixtyFours, with 13 minutes of three-chord manifestos that should make you want to quit your job before your job quits you. Sack The Sacklers. It’s for your own good.
WTBC 0032: The Eleven-SixtyFours – Smothered, Covered, Chunked & Capped EP. (Available Digitally, or on CD)
The Eleven-SixtyFours wear their influences on their sleeves, and now, you can hear them in this collection of six cover tunes, clocking in at just under 11 Minutes. Recorded over the span of a day, with the songs picked based on which ones came to mind the quickest when the question was posed, “What songs do The Eleven-SixtyFours cover?” The answer: this half-dozen pop-culture tunes, modified to fit the new sound from The Lava Lamp Lounge. Get it before one of these bands gets mad.
WTBC 0033: The Eleven-SixtyFours – DIY OR DIE Single. (Available Digitally, or on CD)
The debut single from The Eleven-SixtyFours, so controversial that people on my mailing list requested they be removed when they heard about the anti-cop sentiments and “Max Headroom” references in this single. These two songs were spawned from an actual argument I had with a fellow musician. The following day, I wrote and recorded these two songs, which began the entire journey of The Eleven-SixtyFours. Two blasts of anti-authoritarian punk that suggests that, perhaps, the old systems should be dead?
The Eleven-SixtyFours – WAKE UP! Single (Available Digitally, or as a Postcard.)
Our second single is another dose of un-refined, shot-from-the-hip punk music by someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing. This time, a dance number dominates the single, sending kids to cut a rug late into the night so they can feel some semblance of order. But that’s only because the alarm goes off early in The Eleven-SixtyFours house, as we try to remind you that the fight is on-going, and will probably never stop.
* * * * * *
I think everyone’s first band is a punk band, either by choice or through limitations. You’re not that great at playing yet, you have borrowed (or broken) gear, and as a young person, punk speaks so loudly to all the ailments of youth without having to be polished to do it. The Bullshit that Authority puts us through. The Brokenness of The System. How TV and Movies are pandering to some idea of how we should all behave that has no connection to real life, or how any of us want to live. When you are 15, all of that sounds like it was chiseled in stone. Wise words, handed down from a punk elder only a few years your senior, who makes it sound like a six pack and a basement show will cure you of any notion that the rest of the world has it’s shit together.
And, the problem is: Punk Rock is onto something. But the interests of an aging person sometimes veer away from the interests of Punk. And, as we get older, there is an element to Punk that becomes more obvious, that isn’t as so when you’re a kid: the rigidity of the scene, the patriarchal structure that often gets overlaid onto everything, and the narrowness of the musical form… it all eventually causes some of us to age out of Punk, as scenes like Experimental Music start to actually encompass the things you wish Punk Rock did. Punk is often a young person’s game, as the lifestyle becomes harder and harder to embrace as we all get older.
A Riot of My Own
But certainly, some conversations I’ve been having with people in the last several years seem to evoke the need for someone to reduce an idea to a short punk song so you can scream it at them, in the hope that they can then understand it. A refrain I kept hearing was that when the environment and the politics get bad enough, “good Punk Rock” would make a big comeback. But where was this comeback? And while it did seem to produce occasional acts that I really enjoyed, on the whole, it didn’t feel like there was a movement happening anywhere like folks had predicted.
Perhaps it is both nostalgia and a less than 20/20 hindsight informing this thought, but I think we caught the last wave of the Mainstream Punk Movement in the 90’s, where the influence of Grunge Bands cast a light on the remnants of the ’80’s punk scene. This all breathed new life into bands like Bad Religion, and catapulted Green Day and Rancid to the top of the charts, and caused long-standing labels like Lookout! and Fat Wreck Chord to suddenly have some amount of pull in the major music industrial complex.
But quickly, what seemed like the beginning of a new national craze, where Punk would help foster more activism, and possibly move to make big changes, it was immediately subsumed into the dying music industry that was taking everyone down with them. Hot Topic and the rise of modern Emo started to dismantle any steps forward Punk seemed to have made, and the last 20 years has underlined the fact that punk has returned to the status of “just another genre,” with about as much cachet as Country Music, Hip-Hop, KPop… or Experimental Music, for that matter.
In fact, it’s probably fair to say that memes on Tik Tok have more political power than Punk Rock ever did. But some of those memes are pretty powerful.
Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want The Truth?
As a fan of earnestness in music, Punk Rock is one of those genres where screaming the things you feel at the top of your lungs doesn’t seem at all out of place, and is encouraged. It’s certainly one of the last places where sloppiness and lack-of-skill are not deterrents. (Almost every other genre still seems to care about production and quality.) In fact, being able to write, record, and release music quickly is one of the backbones of Punk, and DIY Releases will always say everything you are saying in your music through the packaging, too. There seems to be a mode of songwriting where you can let go of the conventions that are usually expected, where you can just spew out a bunch of stuff that you want to get out of your head. In a way, it’s the music equivalent of a free-write: make all the mistakes and be as sloppy as you want, because there’s another kind of writing later where those other rules will be back in place.
The therapeutic element of Punk Rock seems to work on a number of levels. Listening is great, writing and performing it is great. But as someone who writes and makes other kinds of music, Punk Rock is a great way to get some of your interests sated, so you can put your mind into other kinds of art.
It’s Not Hard, Not Far To Reach
A large part of my interest in getting back into making and performing music again came directly out of feeling like I needed to do more than just talk on the radio about bands that were making a difference. As the Trump Presidency wound down, and as it seemed clearer and clearer that there would be no consequences for anyone involved – and more pointedly, a lot of people seemed to be okay with that – a kind of anger welled up in me that I hadn’t felt since I was in Cathead, 100 years ago. While I had set out to write the follow-up album to the Shot Reverse Shot record that I recorded in 2020, each time I sat down to record stuff this year, very different songs were coming out.
I have never tried to write Punk Rock songs on my own like this, but I immediately felt like I had to for this particular project. I programmed the simplest drums I could in a way that seemed appropriate, and cut a lot of corners to make it seem like there was a full song where it was just me in my office. Even still, I could usually fill the entire day with work to do even as I tried to DIY-it, even when I sat down to record just two songs. (That’s how each of the singles was recorded.) The EPs were two days for each one, over a single week. None of these songs were written before; I had no idea what I wanted to say until I sat down to write. And I should repeat: I’ve never tried to record music like this before.
Mixing / etc took longer. I would tinker with the songs all the time, trying to figure out how to improve them and make sure you could hear it all. I did one session of re-takes for other parts that I missed. Then I sent them to press. Stop fuckin’ with them and just move on. I feel like I waited too long already.
And, astonishingly: I think they’re okay.
I don’t want to suggest that this is great music, or that I’m writing at the same level as my influences. (There’s a reason that covers disc sounds a little better than the other stuff.) I don’t anticipate this will supplant all your favorite punk records. I might be fortunate enough for you to actually still keep the CD in a few years from now.
But in a way, that’s not the point. I had a great time writing and recording this stuff, and I think that comes through.
And: I mean every single word of it. And that feels important.