Back when, I used to think I was mad anti-establishment sitting around with my friends in our parent's Westchester homes, reading punk rock zines. Time passed, and it turns out we weren't so much rebellious as we were just kinda reckless, but I guess that's pretty punk. Anyways, even if I was a silly little boy, the Cometbus zines I was reading were still great. He was the first writer I ever found who seemed like a real person to me. His zines were all handwritten and all about loneliness and girl trouble and punk, basically the summation of my experience from the ages of about twelve to eighteen or so. He also played drums and wrote lyrics in a bunch of bands that I love. These are a few choice examples.
"In my Mind" by Crimpshrine As far as I always knew, Crimpshrine was the first noteworthy band Aaron Cometbus was involved with. Paired with Jeff Ott's meatgrinder vocals and punk rock chords/hair metal riffs guitar playing, Cometbus's lyrics came across with a sort of chaotic beauty that lots of punk bands shoot for, but not as many achieve. His drumming had a certain identifiable frenetic quality to it, using a lot of double hits where most drummers used one, something that I really miss from his later efforts.
"Landlords" by Pinhead Gunpowder So after Crimpshrine, Cometbus founded Pinhead Gunpowder along with a couple of friends from the East Bay scene. So if you own a radio, you're probably gonna recognize the vocalist on this track as Billie Joe Armstrong, from Green Day. I'll be the first to tell you that Green Day sucks 99.4% of the time and that I think they're shitheads for taking the master rights for 39 Smooth and Kerplunk back from Lookout!, but nonetheless, I enjoy Mr. Armstrong's vocals with Pinhead Gunpowder. This band was formed when Green Day was still broke and playing shows at 924 Gilman Street, so I can assume that Armstrong's intentions were still pure when he signed on. I still think he's a prick.
"Jailbird Bars" by Cleveland Bound Death Sentence Cometbus on Drums, Patrick from Dillinger Four playing Bass, Emily of the Salteens playing guitar and doing most of the wailing, and Mr. Spitball playing guitar, this was a project based in Minneapolis, and was put together with no real intentions of serious touring or anything. Which is a shame, cuz this band is great. I've heard them described as someone pissing in the Buzzcock's mouth. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but it's a fun analogy and I think if you really concentrate hard enough you can see how it makes a little sense. This song is another one of those moments for me where a punk band achieves that filthy beauty that no other genre can really replicate.