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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best of 2011 by Greg Harvester

I already submitted a Top Ten list full of great albums and Ep’s that will appear in next month’s issue of Maximum Rock n Roll, so this is my list of “other things that kept me going” in 2011. In no particular order:

1. Taking part in the General Strike of Oakland as part of the larger Occupy Wall Street movement. No matter what the history books say, no matter what the media says about it and no matter what the police continue to do the people of this world, I know that we were doing the right thing. It felt amazing to march with the queer/feminist bloc alongside thousands upon thousands of other likeminded folks without a pig in sight. People cheered us from their doorsteps and we shut down the port…twice.

2. Seeing the Fastbacks in San Francisco. I had my reservations about seeing one of my favorite bands over 10 years after they broke up at a dumb rock club, but they were really a million times better than I could have ever imagined. They were also incredibly humble, appreciative of the crowd and rocked out harder than most people half their age.

3. Moving back to Chattanooga, TN for 3 months. I used to live there years ago and felt out of touch with the bands, the people, and the general day-to-day of my friends there. It was heartwarming to see the thriving vegan restaurant ran by my friends (Sluggo’s North), the awe-inspiring punk-run recording studio (Revolution Sound), the wealth of completely stunning bands (too many to list), insane art projects and so much more.

4. My partner, Anandi being in remission from cancer for the full year. She battled breast cancer and won! With the support of our friends, a good doctor and just plain stubbornness and determination, she made it through and I am completely stoked and proud of her.

5. Writing a music blog. No, this isn’t just self-promotion. By digitizing a lot of my old tapes and putting them online for free download, it has gotten a lot of folks to dig out their old tapes of exciting bands from our past punk history and loan them to me to share with people as far away as Malaysia, Russia and Australia. Also, this allows younger punks to hear all of this awesome stuff that the older ones have been hoarding away in boxes for years. Everyone wins. www.remoteoutposts.blogspot.com

6. Playing in two bands (Neon Piss and Black Rainbow) that I love and help me feel connected to a worldwide punk scene that continues to excite and challenge me well into my mid-thirties. When I was a kid, I viewed 35 years old as ancient, but now I feel like I’m just getting started.

7. Being lucky enough to live in the Bay Area and getting to see bands like Displeasure, Hunting Party, No Statik, Livid, Rank/Xerox and Songs For Moms on a semi-regular basis. All of these bands are local, amazing and exactly what I love about punk in their own different ways.

8. Knowing that Fred and Toody Cole are still touring, recording music and living their lives together after all these years.

9. The publications Nuts!, Mother’s News, Maximum Rock N Roll, Myopic Waiste, Shotgun Seamstress and Broke Ass. All of these help me to realize that I need to stop making excuses and put out a zine in 2012.

10.. The hope that the end-times punk of 2012 will be more urgent, more chaotic, and crazier sounding, but also less sexist, transphobic and dumb. Here’s to the future!

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