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By Alex Distefano
Photo by Jeanne Rice>The Offspring. Ah, hell—they converted me into the insubordinate, take-shit-from-no-one punker I am today, so I couldn't possibly compile this list without placing them at the top. I particularly like Ignition—no humorous, Latino-influenced guitar riffs or mile-long strings of obscenities uttered in one breath there, but there is definitely some excellent old-school punk rock social commentary and tons of really bitchen guitar solos à la Noodles.
>The Dropkick Murphys. Pure, raw, Boston street punk with traditional Irish folk-music influences—all oy, no bullshit. I saw them play at the Palace recently, and I left with numerous Doc Marten imprints on my skull. I also noticed just how many people in that mosh pit knew the words to "Amazing Grace." Who says good old-fashioned morality is dead? While you're at it, check out fellow street punkers the Ducky Boys and the Business.
>Jello Biafra. Real politics for real people. I'd recommend reading or listening to anything authored by the former Dead Kennedys front man. But a word of caution for those who may not have the stomach for the truth and would rather be fed the puréed propaganda of bureaucratic-scum people: Jello is a little sarcastic. Hmmm . . . President Biafra. There may be hope for this nation yet.
>The Vandals. One of the funniest punk bands around, proving that punk isn't only about creating chaos for organized government and mainstream thought. Well, actually, yes, it is—but we can have fun while doing it.
>Punk-O-Rama TV,Sunday mornings at 1 a.m. on KDOC. Viewer-requested music videos by various Epitaph bands, inspired by Epitaph's Punk-O-Rama compilation CDs, which I also highly recommend. (For $5, you get almost 30 songs by 30 bands.) Either way, you get to sample music from punk bands you may never have heard of before who never quite made it . . . er, I mean, sold out . . . to the likes of MTV and its highly distinguished following.
>Gary Hoey. Surf-rock guitar melodies that'll melt you like buttah. This is music that cannot be experienced any other way but with your eyes closed and your senses finely attuned to the magnificence of Southern California surf. As the familiar fecal aroma of Surf City gradually overwhelms your senses, you realize with Hoey that you're experiencing true audio bliss. I especially recommend his work on the Endless Summer II soundtrack; his rendition of the Peanuts theme song on that one is definitely one of my favorites.
>Napster. The best source of rare and bootlegged music ever known to man. Okay, so there is that little legal issue of copyright infringement and blah, blah, blah, but there are two pieces of wisdom that any reluctant, potential Napster user should bear in mind: 1) it's only illegal if you get caught and banned, and 2) you can always find a smart friend who can remedy that problem for you. Plus, an added bonus is the instant-message feature that allows you to bitch at and send death threats to users who cut you off mid-download. What an age we live in!
>The Ataris, "The Radio Still Sucks." Because it fuckin' does.