We opened a Pandora’s box of sorts when we unearthed the EPs of Defiance last week. Now I’m failing miserably at charging my long-ass hair into four-foot-tall liberty spikes and I’m on a mid ‘90s punk kick. With that in mind, where else to go but the first Casualties EP?
Yeah, I know what a lot of you are probably thinking—these jokers played the Warped Tour, attempting to break into the mainstream by pandering to a bunch of neutered suburbanites. Like I said about Defiance last week, things were much different back in 1994 when the Casualties first unleashed 40 Oz. Casualty upon the world. Punk had gone mainstream once and for all when Green Day and the Offspring hit it big that year. Meanwhile, there was a movement within the still-existing underground scene to redefine just what this punk rock thing meant to the world. Punks like the Casualties wouldn’t stand for any of this. To them, Green Day were a bunch of poser fags and these new punks who wanted to write a bunch of rules on how to live were nothing more than hippies in disguise. The Casualties said, “fuck that noise.” They were the fucking PUNKS, with Doc Martens and huge fluorescent spiky hair and plaid pants and studded leather jackets galore. They HATED hippies and posers and they were going to proudly stand against that shit. Punk rock needed its identity (and wardrobe) back, and the Casualties saw themselves as a band that would fly that flag.
For that, I admired them. Although I also enjoyed bands with a more modern take, there will always be a need to remind the world that this punk rock shit is supposed to be for the fuckups, rejects, and malcontents of the world. The kind of people who didn’t fit in because they were too ugly, stupid, angry, or violent for normal standards. For better or worse, the Casualties did a fine job representing that mindset back then. I’m not sure who I can count on to do that in the here and now, but hopefully they’re out there somewhere. Get drunk and stay punk here.