The only cool band I’ve ever loved

I’m thoroughly uncool.

I mean that in the sense that I rarely love something ‘before it’s cool’ (Taylor Swift being the exception) and I’m pretty sure that enjoying Taylor Swift does not make me cool. On the other hand, I’ve always just loved what I’ve loved, unashamedly. I mean, I’m a KISS fan, for fucks sake. There ain’t nothin cool about that. 

I don’t know anything by Vampire Weekend, or the 1975 or any artist that has been in the lineup for St Jerome’s Laneway Festival…well…ever. And I’m ok with that.

I guess what I’m trying to say is with few exceptions did I ever pioneer my own taste in music. I was heavily influenced first by my family, and then by my friends.

There is one band I stumbled across in my mid teens that I always felt like gave me some much-needed cred. 90’s NYC Glam Punk rockers, D Generation. Any ‘cred’ I got was really all in my head because no one besides my brother was remotely interested in listening to them with me. But putting pictures of them in my school diary made me feel pretty badass.

dgen (1)

I came to know about Dgen by way of Ryan Adams (I think everything in my life seems to come by way of Ryan Adams, to be honest). Ryan is long time friends with Dgen front man and exquisite solo artist in his own right, Jesse Malin.  The kind of good friends who can form a parody punk band called ‘The Finger’, release an album called ‘Punk’s Dead. Let’s Fuck’ and use the pseudonyms Irving Plaza and Warren Peace. So, in that delightful way that you discover new artists you love because of other artists you love, I started listening to Jesse’s solo work.

I distinctly remember the day I bought The Heat. It was a Sunday, and I bought it from HMV in the Glen when I was on a break from work. I was astounded that my usually wildly unpleasant assistant manager at The Reject Shop (yes, this is where I worked as a teenager) let me put it on the store CD player because I was so excited to finally have it. I guess he wasn’t so bad after all. I am both blessed and cursed with a long-term memory that lets me recall instances like this with incredible specificity, yet I can’t remember your birthday, sorry about that.

The natural progression was to consume everything Jesse had done solo (which was all of two albums at that point) and then set about ordering all three D Generation albums online. From the minute I put No Lunch on my shitty bedroom stereo, I was in love. This was the first real punk music I’d ever owned. Everything else seemed kinda soft in comparison. The best part was this band were like my little secret. Literally no one I knew had ever heard of them, and to this day, it’s still pretty rare for me to come across people in Australia that are familiar with them.

I had to write about them today because it’s been a long, long time since they made any new music, or even played together, with the exception of a handful of special shows in 2011. But the band just announced a new album this summer and some shows in NYC. As if I needed another reason to wish I was in New York.

One of the great pleasures of being a real fan of music is that an announcement like this can make your whole day, or week. I thought I would only ever get to listen to three Dgen albums, and now we’re getting a fourth. And that’s pretty fucking cool.





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