This Sunday’s Punk Rock Gospel wants to live these times with you, if you’ll have her. But be forewarned, this one’s a real curmudgeon.
written by Dia VanGunten
One last Punk valentine from Jesse D. Karshner
I actually did it. I finally recorded the gospel. It really ruins the mystique!
These Times – With You
I kept putting this off because I was sure I had this song in the Punk Gospel archives and I just knew it was good, like an all-time best. It had to be. Because this baby is a favorite. This personal anthem is in every valentine I’ve written or every happy birthday to bestie. I’m a slut with this one. I throw it around. I give it to all of my beloveds. At some time or another, on X or no, I will look at them with besotted awe. You. You! Youuuuuuuuuuu. I wanna live these times with you.
Think of the opposite vibe:
Issac Hayes says, “You put the hurt on me” and we hear that hurt. Issac is bent over, carrying Grandma’s dining table all by himself, only it’s a slab of cement, and you, YOU, put that on him. Right on top of Issac Hayes. You did that. You.
Whatever you did to Issac Hayes, man. Damn. That’s not the ideal version of you, is it? It wasn’t you at your Platonic best. That wasn’t your all time finest moment. But, hey, it’ll be okay. I can’t speak for Issac, but I forgive you.
Because you’re here and I’m here. You’re alive and I’m alive. And these times, wow. What a fuckin’ juggernaut curveball these times have been. I didn’t see this comin’ back when I started quoting this song like my own personal hallmark card… or maybe I did. I should’ve…
Back then, we were partying at Emos, we were watching Fred and Toody, the world’s greatest punk rock love story, and Earth felt imperiled in like a “fight for your right to party” WRECK THE SYSTEM way, but otherwise we’d be mostly okay. Now it’s clear that we are, for sure, gonna have to wreck those systems.
We’re crew members on a ship and our rat king “captain” is some Kubrickian madman. He’s got a pistol on each hip and he’s blowing holes on the deck. I guess the word is mutiny. Does that make us mutineers?
Strikes. Protests. Walkouts. Ruckus.
Or we could always believe the second talking head that they put up to say the first head’s just trying to scare us. That’s what I did in 1999. I would still prefer to ignore the facts, because climate science is a real bummer. On top of that, we have insane income inequity, some Scrooge McDuck bullshit.
Here in the states, we have rampant gun violence and uninsured citizens. (Hello, I’m one of them. Hopefully, I can steer clear of those assault rifles that any nut job can order off the internet) Oh god, I know. This isn’t “Mayday! Mayday!”
This is “For Our Next Trick.” The Valentines issue! And it’s the gospel! The gospel before Valentine’s Day, and an all time favorite, probably the greatest love song in the world, yet here we are… I’m just a real drag over here.
My Dad used to do that, that spectacular bastard. He’d say I was a drag because I was 5 or 6 or 9 or 10, but a tiny harpy. Dad! You’ve had enough to drink. You gotta steer the boat over a choppy lake. This party sucks, the carpet is too green, I want my mom and I have an earache. But look, ya know what? I miss that fuck up. I liked living those times with him, and I wish we were living THESE times together.
I wish we could all live all of the times, together forever, and no time, or no people, or no love, or no world, would ever end.
Except for billionaires. They can go bye bye.
I should’ve written this gospel two weeks ago, when I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. Now I’m halfway into this issue, and I’m pretty sure that I’m the worst magazine editor that ever editor’d. Worst bozo journalist that ever bozo’d. The last gunslinger that ever loaded the magazine. The first fiend that ever made a fast point. The autistic tics are setting in. Typos are old news.
We’ve moved on to compulsive rhyme.
I didn’t write this before launch because I really did think there was a gem of a gospel in the archive that said everything I’ve ever wanted to say about Fred and Toody (which is NONE of this.) I typed “These Times” into the search bar and sure enough, it popped up. “Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel Dead Moon / These Times,’ dated 2011. Oh goodie! An oldie! The file was linked to a youtube video, the lyrics were there, a few photos of Fred and Toody, but no gospel. I didn’t have the guts to talk about Fred and Toody in 2011. And I don’t have the guts now. It is that which mustn’t be lost. But will be. Dead Moon can’t tour forever. No one lives forever. These times cede to times that won’t include all of us.
Hey! Another weird thing happened, this piece auto published last Sunday, and same thing, just the song and no gospel. Maybe I’m not meant to ruin this one with my babble. I’d probably just rabble rouse, suggest we kill billionaires, tell weird stories about my parents, go on anthropocenic rants, and whine about being a shit editor. I’m not a shit writer though, so why can’t I bring myself to talk about this song and what it really means to me?
All I have is these here times and I want to live ‘EM with you.
We have all these circles of living, and loving, self, family, friends, society, scene.
By “scene,’ I refer to cultural epochs of art and energy that have existed throughout history, but also, just your friends, all coming together at the height of August to dance to Dead Moon, at the shittiest little punk rock dive with a mural of kinky Flintstones. BDSM Betty & Wilma. If you know the club, cool. If not, cool. You’ve known one just like it. And it has saved you.
So yes, I do believe that it means something, to be a living thing on this still kicking planet, in these times, shoulder to shoulder, dancing or creating or punkin’ for something better.
It sure as fuck doesn’t have to be romantic, but for Fred and Toody, it was. The couple traveled the world, touring with their band, Dead Moon – for decades. At one of their last shows, they gazed into each other’s eyes and sang, like no one else was there. A crowded club narrowed to a pinhole. The whole world was Fred and Toody, and all the living and loving they’d done.
I’d seen them do that trick before, but that night was something else.
Their whole life passed between them.
These Times With You
I had to trace the clouds with the dark side looking in I couldn’t play the lie, it’s just the way it’s been I never wanted to clear the pages in my life I just came across to try it one more time I wanna live these times with you
I couldn’t find the road, the signs had been wiped out I couldn’t hear you after silence stunned the crowd I was ready for change before it slipped away I wanna steal the heart that holds the break of day I wanna live these times with you
With some false delay before we take the fall We seem to capture the pain before we face the wall I never understood the things that cause our plight I guess shadows falling down won’t make things right I wanna live these times with you
They were probably feeling their mortality. They’d just lost a bandmate. Maybe they knew Fred was next. It’s hard to love someone when they are synonymous with “these times” – the times we’ve got. Our small allotment.
And we all love a few people like that.
We’ve really put ourselves in a bind…
But as long as we’re here, in these times, dammit we might as well do some living, and I’m glad it’s with you.