Liner Notes

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Murder City Devils // In Name And Blood

Released in 2000
First press on black
Favorite Track: Then: "Rum To Whiskey" 
Now: "Someone Else's Baby"

In the 1999 I transferred from a high school too poor to allow its students to share books for its Spanish program to a community college pilot program. Essentially you'd take college courses and still graduate high school. I'll never forgive myself for taking two full semesters before realizing 9AM classes are to be avoided like 2020 handshakes.

The experience was a fucking gift. I met some all-time desert island people and for the first time felt like I belonged. One of the people I met there would go on to define several chapters of my life. Enter: Jade. Jade was rock and roll as fuck. She wore retro glasses and usually some kind of bandana. She was slight of frame and spoke like she was made of glass. But holy shit did she dig some killer bands. She dropped the Murder City Devils S/T in my lap like it was nothing. This motherfucker was howling about Iggy Pop rolling in broken glass and I never fell in love with a record faster. Jade later got me into Tom Waits and we took PE together the following summer because we needed it to graduate. She dated my best friend and that's a whole other story.

Fast forward to the summer of 2000. The underground had been exploding. My buddy Jawsh used to say, "Indie isn't a genre. It's just alternative that hasn't gotten popular yet. Mark my words, Dude. Jimmy Eat World is going to be huge."  At The Drive-In just released Relationship of Command  (a record which most certainly will make this list sooner rather than later) and announced a tour with the Murder City Devils in the fall.

News of the this tour shook Reno. Literally every person I liked planned on making the four hour drive to see them perform at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. But as Tarantino pointed out in a Pulp Fiction b-side, "There are two types of people in the world: Beatles people and Elvis people. Now Beatles people can like Elvis, and Elvis people can like Beatles, but nobody likes them both equally. Somewhere you have to make a choice. And that choice tells you who you are."

At The Drive-In are Beatles people and the Murder City Devils are Elvis people. And Reno had to fucking choose. And everyone insisted on knowing your answer. At the time I was playing in a trashy rock 'n roll band AND a screamo post-hardcore band. I refused to answer for months. It wasn't until the drive down I let my allegiances slip. While warbling the verse of "One Armed Scissor" to my captive audience, I shouted, "I'm an At The Drive-In man!"

The show, however, changed my mind. ATDI was unhinged. They were raging like a wild fire, but it was thirty seconds into "Ebroglio" before I even recognized what song it was. MCD, however, put on a rock 'n roll sermon. Leslie indulged her parts with a cigarette in one hand. Spencer wrestled with he mic like it owed him money.  I fell in love with Coady as a drummer. It was perfect. I walked in a Beatles man, and walked out an Elvis man. Twenty years has not changed my mind.

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