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NoMeansNo: The Coolest Geezers in Punk

August 7, 2011

Ahhhh, the greatness that is NoMeansNo.  One of the (many) reasons that I feel proud to come from British Columbia.  While you could certainly pinpoint influences in their music (prog-rock, punk rock, even jazz), you would be unable to put them in any scene at any given time.

To be fair, the main influences you could point out in their music would be from the original post-punk variety, like Gang of Four and Public Image Limited.  I know that Rob Wright, has cited J.J. Burnel of the Stranglers as an influence to his bass playing, for example.  But there are certainly other influences going on too, such as the aforementioned jazz (check out their cover of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew).

I have to admit though, the first time I ever heard any of their music, I was definitely misled.  I first heard the song Big Dick over 10 years ago, which, although is a fun, humourous song, isn’t really representative of the majority of their work.  So, unfortunately, I dismissed them as a “jokey, funk” band, perhaps even similar to a band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers! (because, as you EVERYONE knows, RHCP is the first band EVER that had prominent and funky bass playing!).

-Big Dick, from Wrong, 1989

Later on, I eventually checked out more of their discography, starting off with Wrong.  This is probably my favourite record from them, and is probably the best starting point for a newcomer to their music.  The Tower is definitely one of their classics.

-The Tower, from Wrong, 1989

Another song in particular that I love from them is Obsessed, from their Sex Mad album from 1986.  It’s such a great instrumental.  I love the start-stop rhythms and the odd time signatures throughout the song.  In a way, it almost sounds like a “punk-rock” response to Rush’s YYZ (at least to me anyways).

-Obsessed, from Sex Mad, 1986

To be somewhat fair to my initial comment though, alot of their lyrics definitely have a dark sense of humour.  The song “Everyday I Start to Ooze” is a great example (from 0+2=1, 1991):

Heard they were dismembering people down the street
Those Joneses, you gotta love ’em!

A bold plan drawn up by assholes to screw morons, you gotta love em!
News at eleven, but first
A long serious look at what\’s seeping from open sore
Perhaps you should STOP PICKING AT IT!

If every fourth animal in the world is a beetle
Perhaps every fourth person is a DUMB FUCK!!!

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface the reason why I love this band (the side-projects related to the band, such as the Hanson Brothers, are a different, although certainly not bad, story altogether).  I am glad to have seen this band twice (once in Edmonton and another time in Vancouver).  They are definitely a band you do not want to miss.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 16, 2011 1:15 pm

    It’s funny you comment on how misleading it can be to only listen to a few passing songs from them. To me, they’re definitely more of an album-style band. Listening to one-off singles from the group will never do them justice. Although they probably don’t take themselves quite as seriously as other more prominant political/social hardcore punk bands, their influence (Canada or otherwise) cannot be denied. Classic example of a band you may not have heard of, but whose music has influenced countless other more prominant bands. Call me crazy, but I liken them somewhat to the career trajectory of the Melvins, or maybe Butthole Surfers?

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