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Blue Ribbon Glee Club, Fugazi & The Resistance

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Idolator’s Maura Johnson posted a fantastic video mashup by Chicago’s Blue Ribbon Glee Club this past week, which sparked a trend of comments (well, just two actually) which bounced about the accessibility of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” The limited query was started by one comment asking, “My only question is, why is ‘Waiting Room’ ALWAYS the go-to Fugazi song? For a band who never had any proper radio singles or music videos, why does one song rule over all the rest? It’s not anywhere near their best song either.” Responding immediately (and subsequently ending the discussion) was the next comment, “I think it’s pretty easy — ‘Waiting Room’ has one of the greatest bass lines and opening riffs in all of recorded music and is instantly recognizable. And that riff has been played and recognized for almost twenty years now, so that it’s part of the subculture. I agree that there are plenty of great Fugazi songs, but none have quite the same playful immediacy of ‘Waiting Room’.” All this kind of made me thing, since Fugazi has recorded and released so much great music, why don’t I like Fugazi more in practice than I do in theory?

Since I was in junior high I’ve continually had a difficulty with retroactively sinking my teeth into bands. There have been exceptions to the rule however, bands like the Led Zeppelins, the Van Halens, the Primus’; bands that really helped form my taste in music at a young age. But since then my tastes have grown increasingly close minded in terms of exploring back catalogs; with rare exception I tend to focus on where we are rather than where we’ve been. Fugazi continues to be a shining example of this.

Best I can remember, my first memory of ever hearing Fugazi was on a snowboarding VHS called The Resistance. I went to high school out West in a part of the prairie that found itself neighboring the Rocky Mountains. As such there was a large conglomerate of friends that I had who were heavily into snowboarding (I never drew interest though; one of the biggest regrets I have in my life is not spending more time with the beautiful nature I was graced with during my adolescence). So in high school we did the same things that normal high schoolers did, we got high, drank beer, listened to punk; but our experience was different in that it eventually began to evolve around house parties where we watched all types of skate and snowboarding videos. The only one that I can really remember with any sense of fondness from those days is that of The Resistance, a video that introduced short skits along side a fantastic array of music, making it (to this day) my favorite of the genre.

In the coming years I left Canada, bounced around Minnesota a bit and eventually landed in Iowa where I spent the majority of my collegiate years. It was during my freshman year that I again found The Resistance and introduced it to a number of my friends. The point is, that during this time I never once felt the urge to expand on the fantastic “Styrofoam” which I had grown to love; Fugazi remained a band that I was completely happy enjoying in small doses. Even as my friends continued to flow through Fugazi’s music, then back to Minor Threat and Rites of Spring, I found myself always clasping to something other than the DC based quartet. I’ve listened to just about every one of their albums, as best my memory serves me, and each is fantastic in its own right (even Instrument) but there always seems to be something else that I love more that I tend to gravitate towards whenever I’m reminded of the band’s music; much like right now. So until the storm breaks and the boys at Castle Dischord decide that the hiatus has gone on long enough (about six years now) I will probably continue to be a fan in theory.

Recently I had the privilege of sitting down with a beautiful girl to mince words over a few beers, but as words seem to continually fail me I asked her what she thought about some of the bands which were on the club’s calendar handout on the table. Steve Earle, she responded, was an musician that she’s always enjoyed in principle, but not necessarily someone whose albums she would rush out to buy. I can respect that, not simply because I feel the same way about Earle, but also because I feel the same way about any number of other bands – including Fugazi. And unfortunately unless the band releases any new material in the future “Styrofoam” and “Waiting Room” won’t only continue to be my favorite Fugazi songs, but pretty much the only two I know.