Friday, April 22, 2011

Little Billy's Burning

I first came across the Nubs while researching bands for a Bay Area archive I’ve been working on. Figuring they’d be one of a whole bunch of obscure local garage bands, I checked them out…and wouldn’t you know it, they’re probably my favorite out of the batch of random Killed by Death-style singles I’ve added to my hard drive. From what I’ve read, “Job” is the favorite amongst the KBD set. I can see why; it’s good, retarded rock ‘n’ roll with a shitty attitude. Other bands can open up a song with a line like “Hey, Mom! I just quit my job!” and sound completely stupid. When the Nubs say it, you don’t just SEE the middle finger—you FEEL it. For this song’s 110-second duration, you wish you had the guts to quit your job and throw all caution to the wind doing stupid-ass shit that could get you thrown in jail. Why? Because it sounded like fun.

For my money, however, the favorite is a nasty little number titled “Little Billy’s Burning.” It doesn’t deliver on the same visceral level as “Job,” but it brings a different sort of antisocial attitude that should be appreciated. I don’t know about you, but I love a good mean-spirited punk song and this one is right up my alley. There’s something about a tune regarding a little kid burning down his house that appeals to me. Maybe it’s because playing with fire can be fun in both a literal and figurative sense. Or maybe it’s that the basic nature of “Little Billy’s Burning” reaffirms that punk rock—and rock ‘n’ roll music in general—was always supposed to be for bad kids.

Everything about these two songs reminds me of being a teenager, throwing rocks through the windows of abandoned buildings and running away laughing. Not many records have evoked that specific feeling in me. Click here, grab your own rock, and get to work!

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