I bring up The Ramones to highlight an aspect of Bad to the Bone I haven't discussed much, what with all the attention on vampires and dogs and, well, vampire dogs.
Like Wicked Game, Bad to the Bone is steeped in rock 'n' roll. It plays an integral part, not only for the characters' internal wellness, but in the plot itself. Songs are used to send messages, including a life-saving one, when our heroine Ciara is in the worst jeopardy.
(Speaking of music, before I forget, Shane McAllister will be live-tweeting the rebroadcast of his "Whatever" radio show tonight from 6-9pm Eastern in honor of Bad to the Bone's release. Stop by if you want to see what he plays and what he says about it.)
After completing the playlist (the songs that actually appear in the book, not the songs I listened to while writing it), I realized that nearly every era/subgenre of punk rock was represented:
- Classic (The Stooges, and the Sex Pistols on the Chapter Title playlist)
- Reggae Hardcore (Bad Brains)
- DC Hardcore (Minor Threat)
- Cowpunk (Meat Puppets)
- Riot Grrl (L7, Bikini Kill)
- Emo-core (Thursday)
- Punk-inspired Grunge (Nirvana, Hole, Garbage)
Of course, every other kind of rock (blues, psychedelic, goth, etc. ) is also represented, and the Chapter Title playlist skews much more mainstream (there's even a disco song and a Plain White Ts cover of "Do You Hear What I Hear?").
Here are the playlists, for your release day enjoyment and beyond. If you'd like to put them on your own page, go to the playlist page and simply click on "Get code for your own site" at the bottom of each playlist.
BAD TO THE BONE Playlist ("Soundtrack")
BAD TO THE BONE Chapter Title Playlist
Why I Love Punk Rock
Despite my harmless exterior (seriously, no one ever looked LESS punk on the outside, and I am completely incapable of changing this), I'm a pretty angry person. I don't know why. I've had a good life. No major traumas beyond the usual. Maybe it's brain chemistry.
Or maybe it's because when I was a teenager it became obvious that there are plenty of things in this world to be pissed about. Things that pop stars wouldn't sing about, like dictators and domestic violence. Things like rape and global warming and the systematic disempowerment of the poor and middle class. Things like--okay, I'll stop. Point made.
But it's not just the socio-political elements of punk that I love. I love its sound, the lack of pretension, the straightforward making of noise for the making of noise.
Like Shane from Bad to the Bone, I have musical skeletons from high school. For him, it was heavy metal hair bands; for me, it was progressive rock, or "art rock." I would actually measure a song's worth not by how much it moved me viscerally or emotionally, but by how many key and tempo changes it had.
(I won't list the bands I loved then that I hate now--I'm much less willing to offend than Shane is--but one of them worships Ayn Rand, and the rest had members who went on to become partners in the law firm of Anderson Bruford Wakeman & Howe.)
What I don't love about punk is the scene, the cliqueishness, the pervading sense of judgment over whether you're "punk enough." I wouldn't last a minute in a hardcore club like Bad to the Bone's Outlander, because I'd be judged based on what I wear and how well I carried the 'tude. Since I'm only punk on the inside (where I keep it warm and safe), I'd be a total failure.
But that's okay. All by my little self I jam to new and new-ish bands like Anti-Flag, Flogging Molly, Bouncing Souls, NOFX, and Rise Against. I got all giddy over the new Green Day release last week (and oh please don't start the Green-Day-isn't-real-punk argument).
Frankly, I fret over the future of punk under an Obama administration. Not that there are no problems left to get mad about, but there's more a sense of everyone seriously trying to solve them in a mature, reasoned manner. Most people, I think, are willing to pitch in and figure a way out of our messes, rather than simply raging about them.
The Rock Against Bush CDs brought a lot of exposure to many of this decade's biggest punk bands. The Iraq War is our generation's Vietnam, but the personifications of that debacle (Bush and Cheney) are gone (okay, just Bush is gone--Cheney is on all the Sunday talk shows for some reason). It would take a truly bizarre turn of events to engender a Rock Against Obama compilation CD.
But punk has "endured" Democratic administrations before. During the nineties, after the long, punk-nurturing Reagan/Bush/Thatcher years, the genre turned towards pop (Green Day, Blink 182) and towards the more internal, personal stylings of emo (Dashboard Confessional, Weezer, Jimmy Eat World). So maybe all is not lost. ;-)
Enough musing. I hope you enjoy Bad to the Bone (which by the way comes out today). Drop me a line and let me know what you think, okay?