It seems whenever I meet someone new, whether or not they are a music fan as soon as they figure out I'm a big music fan they ask that one question. "What is your favorite Band?" I've always been stumped by this one because I've never been good at defining favorites. It's like calling someone your best friend when there are equally fine and wonderful people in your life that could easily fit the definition. Each bring something special, wonderful and pure to my life and to put one ahead of all the others just doesn't seem right or fair.
Bands are the same, there is far too many great bands out there to just raise one above all the others. I have never been able to settle on just one. Each give a different experience to the listener. When a band is good it has it's own personality that represents the best qualities of their members. That's why there are so many truly awful solo records by members of great bands. There is just something about the personality those people create when they are together.
So, here's a list of 20 of my Go To Bands. They are bands that even after years and years of listening, I still come back to them. They are the endless soundtrack to my life and never feel out of place or out dated. They are timeless but still a touchstone. They are important and continue to be. They can lift my sprits even in the most dire situation. They match my anger and my joyfulness and can often shake me out of the worst of places.
About twenty years ago, I took a trip with a few friends to Lawrence, KS to see the Dwarves at the Outhouse. I didn't know it at the time but it would be the last show I would see at the Venue that I had enjoyed so many shows in the past. I've never been a huge fan of the Dwarves. They aren't bad I guess but I've always found their version of misogynistic kind of rock tired and rather boring. I always felt that the Meatmen and the Mentors did a much better job of it long before. This would be I believe Cock Noose's first show too and a rather famous show because the Dwarves had left their singer at a Dairy Queen which would be the topic of a later song. Someone filled in for him and I remember thinking has they pilled through a bunch of songs that were meant to be "funny" that I really longed to be elsewhere.
We stayed the night and the next night went to some party. Five minutes after getting to the party, I realized that I had no interest in anyone at the party or being there at all. Everyone was on nitric oxide and generally being a pain in the ass. I was already is a agitated mood and this bitchin party was only increasing the mood. As luck would have it I had made contact with my friend Gil and he stopped by the party. He rescued me not only my traveling companions but the stupidity of moronic drug use by suggesting that we check out a band by the name of Big Toe that was playing that night.
We got to the venue and for some reason I remember it as being in an upstairs area but my mood immediately changed as I got a beer and sat down. More than anything the contributing factor was X Los Angles playing on the sound system. All the pent up frustration and discuss that I had exposed myself to during the 24 hours before melted away with those first four simple power cords of the intro. Big Toe was also a soothing element and is among the many lost jewels of the Midwestern punk scene. If I didn't say it then, I was say it now Gil saved me.
So, here is twenty of those bands that will always make up my musical landscape. they are their songs are the ones I will always sing out of tune after a few too many and the ones I long to here when things are right and good. There are a few not here because like the Plugz all their music is long out of print or just doesn't appear on the Spotify landscape.