BALONEY TIME, June 5 - Here's a new barometer of how bad the economy has gotten; Declining Ex-Band Valuation. In 1998, I was offered $5,000 to license records by my old band, Born Against, to German reissue label Lost & Found (a suspiciously generous amount from a label known for bootlegging pretty much any American release they wanted). In 2006, the band was offered flights and hotels to play one of the unfortunate CBGB benefit/farewell shows. So it came as a bit of a jolt this week when the band - now 16 years gone - was offered naught but a free meal to reunite for something called Liskfest in Orange County. At this rate, we'll be haggling over a single Dorito chip when we finally do reunite in 2017.
The Liskfest people would do well to consider the new, new Born Against, who seem like they might appreciate a hot meal. If they're still together. I wrote about them two years ago, on my old Myspace blog, and at the time the story seemed to have strong legs. I really looked forward to a few years of fresh comedy material from these guys. But it looks like things didn't pan out. Maybe version 4.0 will have better luck.
Oddly, the two pieces below were written right before the very first Born Against - the one preceding the version I sang for - surfaced on Myspace. They're good! Or were good, I mean!
Born Against is playing shows again. This time around, it's a bunch of fellows from Columbus Ohio. Each looks like the kind of guy your older brother might buy pot from. The bass player wears a doo-rag and a sly little goatee. The lead singer, a big bear of a man, is ominously named Gar. Because my version of Born Against stole the band name from an early 80's Orange County punk group (the first Born Against had one photo in Flipside, a mention in Alternative Tentacle's "Let Them Eat Jellybeans" liner notes, and no recordings), 2007's B.A. have airtight squatters rights. With time, the name might evolve into a franchise, like the Blue Man Group, or Jiffy Lube. The band is still unsigned; perhaps someone at the newly repurposed vermiform.com can remedy this.
Still, the new Born Against have a long haul ahead of them. On their photo page, there's a sad picture of the old band name on the marquee at the Alrosa Villa on Sinclair road, with but one distant, lonely car in the parking lot (the one in the foreground looks abandoned). This is the same club where Nathan Gale, convinced that members of Pantera could read his mind and were laughing at him, shot and killed Dimebag Darryl on stage, three years ago. Personally, I wouldn't want to play that club to one carload of people. But being the lead singer of Born Against is a hard road. Gar has come character-building challenges coming up.
The new, new Born Against seems to have made some enemies after just one show. This is impressive. It took Born Against 1.0 (meaning 2.0, see last post) a dozen shows to get in any real trouble. A fresh Myspace page lists the current band as a gay / transgendered / "homocore" act, and there are a lot of rainbow motifs and photos of nearly nude bodybuilders. It could be genuine, but my strong hunch is that modern central Ohio hard rock enthusiasts disrespect each other by establishing fake Myspace pages just like this one. It's a little confusing.
Their first show had such promise - what with the "hot ass midget girl" flashing her "perfect little set of titties" - that it's hard to believe things have sunk so low so fast. Is frontman Gar fully prepared to live the B.A. experience in one twelfth the time?