Have Nots DNA
While I was claiming the Have Nots' Artist page on Spotify, I noticed that there was an option to add an artist playlist. So, for this installment of the Playlist blog, I thought it would be interesting to create a playlist of some of the bands and music that influenced the band.
Some of these may seem a little off track or sound nothing like what is represented in the band's music. However, I can say that when Paul and I were forming the band, these were some of the bands that we discussed. Some on this list only influenced me personally when it came to the lyrical content. Some are from later in the band's history and affected the live shows and a number of songs that were not documented and have been lost to time.
This list is broad and diverse in ways that don't make sense but they were all part of the DNA that made up a short-lived band. See that's what we wanted from the start a band that brought small pieces of the music we loved and reinvented, You see that's what you get with the Have Nots, it's messy, it's contradictions but hopefully it's fun.
This is my perspective from my memory of the long talks about music and what the 5 of us were listening to at the time.
- Sounds of Laughter by T.S.O.L. - Christians quote bible verses and Punks quote lyrics or at least I do. This is one of those songs that I have quoted over and over. With the Weathered Statues single and Dance With Me LP, not only had the band began to go in a much different style but Jack's lyrics had hit a level of storytelling that the early songs do not have. Jack often will dismiss the lyrics as just something he threw together but as time has shown he is a skilled wordsmith. Here is the song that I discovered that and began to hold my own lyrics up to this level.
- I Just Want Some Shank by The Circle Jerks - The first time Paul, Brian, Greg and I played together it was a cover or attempt at covering this song. More about seeing how things gelled than anything and was never part of our set. Paul and I had spoken often about how the Jerk. For me, I used Keith's sing style or a version of it with Bury the Rage.
- Jealous Again by Black Flag - Anyone that listens to the few guitar solos that Paul did on the demo, can easily hear the influence of the Black Flag. When we first formed the idea was to do a basic Black Flag/Circle Jerks band and it shows in Destroy, Decay and a Bury the Rage.
- Nausea by X - X is the first in the holy trilogy of Hollywood punk. We covered them on the Demo, and the band's name kind of came from the title of their song. So, it's easy to say that X was an influence. This is especially lyrically. I worked hard to be able to express a feeling of a place and a time in the way that X does.
- Idle Life by The Weirdos - Second in the Holy Trilogy is the Weirdos. They influenced my personal view of what a punk band should sound like. Also, I tried to put in the wittiness and playfulness that I always found in their lyrics.
- The Other Newest One by The Germs - And last in the Trilogy is the Germs. The rawness of their sound can be heard in a number of songs and even though I was never one to use the thesaurus in the way Darby did, I did use his method of cutting and pasting and recycling old material.
- Mainliner by Social Distortion - OK, I'll admit it I was a big Social Distortion fan. In fact, all of us were and they did influence a number of songs that were never recorded. However, I'm not or nor have I ever tried to sound like Mke Ness. If anything my vocals are a combination of Joe Strummer and Keith Morris or at least that was what I was trying to do. The thing I got from SD was the focus on the outsider and learning to be simple, clean and small. I would often get puzzled looked when I would say make it smaller but for some reason, Paul understood that.
- No Way - The Adolescents - No one seems to sum up frustration and alienation like the Adolescents. It comes out in a number of lyrics I've written and the Adolescents sum it up. That raw aggression mixed with pop elements was something we shoot for on a number of songs. Also, Forget Yesterday is my own personal Kids of the Black Hole or Play Pen(Social Distortion)
- Johnny's Got a Problem by D.I. - We in fact covered Guns or Weapons by D.I. I think I first discovered them in early 85 and though a lot of the subject matter tends to be the standard "Punk" stuff, I have to admit that it greatly influenced me. Like the Adolescents, they were one of the bands that I wasn't supposed to like in day and age of Hardcore's PC/Yo-Pos.
- America by Agent Orange - We covered this song in a lot of sets and I always loved it's cynical approach to patriotism and the American experience. Mike Palm's lyrics I think have always been overlooked. Everything Turns Gray expressed my general feeling when I first heard it. "No matter what I do or say, everything turns gray." I'm not sure if there is another lyric that expresses Punk more than that. Though I had made up songs when I was younger it was listening to Agent Orange that first inspired me to write lyrics down.
- We're Only Gonna Die by Bad Religion - I think Paul was the first to get my general truth about Bad Religion. There is one band before Into the Unknown and a different one after Back to the Known. I love both but the first EP and Could Hell Be Any Worse? Spoke to the teenager I was in a way that Suffer never could. There was just a level of raw angst that the later band polished over. It may be why this song almost 25 years later is the most covered song of their whole catalog. I always felt that this was the genetics behind the song Dancing On Graves.
- Gimme Some Action by Fear - It's Fear it has to be in there somewhere. I just can't help but through in the fact that I often wrote lyrics based on the music of other bands. The pace, cadence, and delivery of this song were used with a number of the lyrics I wrote.
- P.C. by Guttermouth - One of the many bands that we were listening to at the time of the forming of the band. I know that the idea that Punk should be fun that these guys possibly express better than anyone, was behind the song Chicken Hawk. Also, the calling out a band member on their weaknesses is a very Punk thing to do.
- Brand New Cadilac by The Clash - Topper was a huge influence on Greg's Drumming, in fact, the bass drum intro in Character Assassin was his little tribute to Topper and comes from this song. Around 95 the Clash Box set came out and I listened to it almost non-stop, thus Joe's singing style and lyrics did influence me.
- Frankie by D Generation - I think I heard the No Lunch LP every day for at least a year. It reminds you that Punk can be rock-n-roll without the trappings. A lot of the unrecorded songs have a backbone that is made out of the body parts of this band.
- Pirate Live - Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers - Everyone's favorite Punk Rock Junky. The thing that always amazed me about Johnny Thunders was for someone that was so out of it he wrote some amazing songs. There's was always a level of discomfort and dissatisfaction in his situation in all of his lyrics. Many have seen it has a celebration of drug culture but if anything it's a realistic level by someone that deeply wanted to get out of it. When I approached my own life at the time of writing a lot of the lyrics used in the song on the first demo, I wasn't happy with the double life that I was living as an office worker during the day and a borderline alcoholic at night. It often brought out the self-destructive side of me that I shared with a few of the other members of the band. Even at the time of the recording of the Demo, most of us were living a 7 day weekend.
- Entrapment - Naked Raygun - Maybe more than any other band Naked Raygun taught me that a story can be told in 16 lines. This song which came later in their career when they were moving in a different direction musically but it is a good example. In fact, this song had a lasting effect on me. Around the time it was released I was struggling with the idea of going into a professional career and still trying to figure out for the most part what I wanted to be when I grew up. Strangely when my son was reaching the tell end of his high school years, I rediscovered the song. It struck me that a song that had had that effect over 28 years earlier still did. Especially the last verse, "Well okay life's not what it used to be.
We're trying to become something that maybe wasn't meant to be. /We're now so totally up for grabs - I hope someone's left to see.
Will the end justify the means?Well it beats the heck out of me."
- Everybody's Happy Nowadays by The Buzzcocks - I couldn't really talk about lyrics without mentioning the Buzzcocks. The sharp-witted turn of the phrase leads me to write things like, "Beat me with Kindness". Sweet Pop songs with this bitting cynical ideas always appealed to me in that hipper than thou way that only the Buzzcocks could.
- Disorder by Joy Division - Ian Curtis didn't write lyrics he panted photographs. There are very few people that can create a vision in your mind of a place and emotion that you have never experienced first hand.
- Mutiny In Heaven by The Birthday Party - Nick Cave is one of those people that is almost a character of himself. This idea that this guy from Australia writing about the American experience in the voice of Faulkner. This song, of course, is about drugs but is a good example of his uses of streaming words and phrases that shouldn't make sense together but paint a clearer vision than a more literal method would be. I used this trick on a lot of lyrics over the years. It's like a direct attack through the conscious mind into the subconscious and you don't really notice that on its own it doesn't make sense but together the painting is clear.
This list could go on and on and on and on but I think this is the major ones that influenced me and some of the other members of the band. Some important ones aren't mentioned because their music still isn't on Spotify. A really big one would be the Angry Samoans. Sublime could have been on there because we were all deeply into them at the time. Paul would have also pointed to Suicidal Tendencies' first record which was a big influence on his life.
Paul and I believe Joey were both recyclers of riffs. Undoubtedly, Have Nots songs had bits and pieces from their former projects and some of those pieces used in the Have Nots were adapted slightly for uses in their other projects. Also, since both of them loved their metal, I'm sure there is a little of that in the Have Nots too but it's hard to find.
I hope you enjoyed this little insider baseball look at the Have Nots. Hopefully some of this music imspirse you to go out and start a band or some creative project.