In the midst of a supremely idle moment yesterday, I discovered that New Jersey 1990s punk-rock legends the Blanks 77 are now on iTunes. I cannot begin to tell you how huge this was for me.
For those of us around New York punk in this bygone era, the Blanks were — if I can borrow a phrase from out of the ether — less a band than they were a fucking way of fucking life. With the clarity of unsentimental retrospect, it turns out this way of life was basically being drunk and obnoxious and getting hit on by people who were too old to hit on teenagers. But still. Whether it was at the Continental or at the Coney or at Wetlands or wherever, the Blanks were there to introduce new slang –"speeeeed" for, uh, speed (also known as Max Alert following a song of theirs) or anything that was cool; a vodka cranberry was the PRJ or Punk Rock Juice — and have a good and altogether inappopriate time. And while everyone knows that the best way to listen to the Blanks was on cassette or colored-vinyl 10", their not-really-a-debut-record-since-all-the-songs-were-previously-released-to-the-kids Killer Blanks record helped serve the completists.
Now said record, containing songs I haven’t heard in over 10 years, is on iTunes, along with its follow-up Tanked & Pogoed which I didn’t bother downloading. If you know anyone who was in and/or around the scene, this would make a nostalgia-induced holiday gift, leading people to tell all sorts of crazy stories, like about the tale of Renee and Jailbait J*** at the Continental or a certain guitarist of a certain band contracting a certain infestation after a certain romantic encounter with a certain Blanks member on a certain tour.
And if you were a teenaged punk rocker at that time — I’m thinking of a few readers of this blog — let me ask you this: did the Blanks seem kind of old to you back then? Because I’m older now than they were back then and I think my 15-year-old self considered them to be way way old and I can’t really reason through why. Did it seem that way to you too?
That picture? It’s me at 16. True story.