Five Reasons Antiseen Is the Most Important Punk Band Alive Today

Categories: Arts, Music News


North Carolina punk legends Antiseen celebrate their 30th "Antiversary" this weekend with a pair of shows at the Tremont Music Hall in their hometown of Charlotte. I've had the honor of knowing these sods for 20 of those 30 years. I've seen their good, bad, and ugly -- but I have NEVER heard them play a solitary note of anything that wouldn't kick a hipster's ass at 100 paces.

Here are five reasons why Antiseen remain the most vital band still waving the punk-rock banner.

5. In eras ruled by stifling political correctness (early '90s) and watered-down mall punk ('95 to present), Antiseen has done its best to get under people's skin in proper punk fashion.

When you can buy $375 "punk" leather jackets at Urban Outfitters, it's easy to forget when the Sex Pistols and the Ramones hit the scene -- both society and rock 'n' roll itself were appalled. Like most cool things, once punk hit a certain age, many of its purveyors forgot it began as a series of sick jokes about beating brats with baseball bats and going on submarine missions for Malcolm MacLaren. A large element became preachy and embraced being "no fun." Antiseen has done its best to correct this by offending hippies and prudes whenever possible.

A prime example of this is its tune "Animals, Eat 'Em." "Animals..." began when singer Jeff Clayton cut up a "Love Animals, Don't Eat Them" bumper sticker and shortened it to mortify the PETA crowd. Now it is the greatest pro-carnivore anthem in rock 'n' roll history.

4. Instead of petering out after an album or two, Antiseen improved with age.

Generally speaking, punk and hardcore bands have a short creative shelf life. Nearly all punk bands get together in their late teens or early 20s, have a burst of creativity, record, and then the music biz/growing pains sucks all the juice out of them until they can't find a fresh riff to save their lives. So if they are still around, they are milking a one- to three-album burst of creativity they had.

Antiseen, on the other hand, made massive strides in the '90s, writing much better tunes and giving much fiercer performances than it did in their '80s halycon days. Unlike most of its hardcore peers in the early '80s, what Antiseen learned in musicality did not turn it into a lame-ass metal band. Its four best albums, 1993's Eat More Possum, 1995's Hell and the recorded-at-Churchill's One Live Sonofabitch, and 1996's Here to Ruin Your Groove were made 10, 12, and 13 years after they began. That is unheard-of.

Above is Here to Ruin Your Groove in its entirety.

3. Jeff Clayton and "Mighty" Joe Young are American punk rock's Jagger and Richards.

Jeff Clayton's mixture of pro-wrestling theatrics, Jim Dandy sass, and Alice Cooper shock-rock tactics make him an amazing frontman. It has been said he's never met a beer bottle he didn't want to smash across his forehead, unless his fanboys begged him to do it first. He's probably the only person to wear a Confederate flag onstage who had Rudy Ray Moore on speed dial.

While Joe Young may know only four chords, those are the only chords he needs to know. And because he has killer vintage Fender gear and "accidentally" hits open strings on his power chords, he has the most blood-curdling guitar tone on the face of the Earth.

Here the band is displaying the skills that has made Antiseen last for 30 years on its tribute to ECW wrestling legend SABU, live in L.A. a few years back.

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