A blast from the past
With Guns N’ Roses, legendary bassist Duff McKagan reached cult status, but before GNR, there was The Living. The short-lived punk band by no other than McKagan himself recorded an LP, but it was never released, well, until now. The Living: 1982 is a seven-track long LP that is reminiscent of the English roots of punk. But McKagan was by no means the only future-legend in the band. Greg Gilmore, on the drums, went on to be part of the famous grunge band Mother Love Bone. The album is now released by Loosegroove Records, which is co-owned by Pearl Jam’s and former Mother Love Bone’s Stone Gossard, which is almost a full circle moment of punk history.
The album starts with “A Promise,” and just like that, the listener is transported to maybe a dirty bar mosh pitting and fighting or just the early beginnings of punk. The hard guitar riffs, the fast drumbeats and the typical punk vocals are a delight for every punk fan. Maybe it is time to get back into mohawks and safety pins.
“Two Generation Stand” has the same mentality and features the famous ‘no-future-no-fucks-attituded’ that seemed almost lost these days. The lines, “Your generation, it won’t last, yeah I said it ain’t gonna last/ Fuck off, you’re just too old, your sad story is left untold,” seems like the punk version of ‘ok boomer.’ Well, someone could almost argue that punks did it first. “Live By The Gun” features this little bassline at the beginning that makes the track special right off the bat. The chorus is easy to follow along, and again, it takes the audience to this dirty little nightclub, holding a beer, screaming along. It’s nearly impossible not to headbang to this sound of pure anger.
Now here is “A Song For You,” with clearer lyrics and hints of early grunge. Because The Living was Seattle-based, this would definitely make sense. Because most people associate punk with being only about anger or social/political issues, the sort-of-love songs just hit differently, like this one. The track is also the longest one on the entire album.
“No Thanks” starts with a short backward track, which almost sounds like “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles, but that might be because The Beatles used a backwards track as well. It’s hard not to combine music history with the album, as it is part of it. When everything in life sucks, “Life Is A Terror” might be the anthem. The song deals with frustration in life and ends with a nice and heartfelt “fuck man.” The last track on the LP, “I Want,” checks off another punk catchphrase, “eat the rich.”
The Living: 1982 is pure punk history. The way the album takes people to a different time and place shows the magic of the LP. It almost makes one sad that there are fewer punk clubs around now.