I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes. I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale. Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not. In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey. I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site. With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment.
I first heard the Australian band The Living End in the late 90s. I had risen from the smoky, alternative haze of college, a time that was peppered with the sounds of anything and everything from the Presidents of the United States of America to Sublime, and found a life of my own. I moved far, far away from home — this was an opportunity to both “find myself” and be myself in a place where no one knew me. I took refuge with a group of lively, open-minded individuals with musical tastes that spanned the history of music itself. It was then that I discovered the joys (and pitfalls) of punk. Sure, I had heard of “punk music,” the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and all that. But not being part of that crowd, I always thought that those doors would forever remained closed to me. But really, all music does is ask you to listen; and listen I did. And when I first heard The Living End’s “Prisoner of Society” on the radio, I listened hard. Being a fan of The Stray Cats, I recognized the strumps of a stand-up bass behind the loud guitars and vocals. A punk/rockabilly band with a stand-up bass?! How could I resist?? I picked up their self-titled debut album as soon as I could find it.
I went two records into the world of The Living End before my punk phase faded into the backdrop. Not that it ever left; if anything, it’s ebbed and flowed over the past several years. One of the things that helped fueled the fire early on, believe it or not, was the soundtracks to Tony Hawk’s skateboarding video games. Though I never played a minute of any of the games, my husband did…a lot. And I loved to watch him play. And I loved to listen to the music as the game played. Those soundtracks remain among the most influential in my musical life. The Living End and I were reunited with “End of the World” from their 2003 album Modern Artillery, which was featured on the soundtrack of Tony Hawk’s Underground 2.
From YouTube user CyberDeletion123
This fun and fast-paced song with just a hint of morbidity presents a brilliant melding of punk and rock. I love that it runs like a rollercoaster of action and quiet in both the song and the lyrics. Call it punk, call it rockabiliy, call it psycobilly, call it whatever you want, but just call it good. The Living End is a fantastic band, and I couldn’t imagine my iPod without them.
And y’know what? It’s still incomplete.
Though I snatched up “End of the World” awhile back, it’s still missing the other two albums I had: The Living End and Roll On. A friend and I traded CDs to copy one day — two Living End CDs for two All CDs. Every now and again we’d ask each other about the CDs and if we finally got round to copying them. The answer was always “not yet.” Time passed, as it has a habit of doing, and the CDs never got traded back. I don’t have the All CDs any more…are my Living End CDs still floating around in the world somewhere? A question for the ages, I guess.