By Kat Hamilton
December 18th, 2015
I have a funny relationship with music. If the music and the moment align, I will be reduced into a pile of emotional jello. But the same music can be playing and without that moment, I may feel nothing. This morning, I was driving back from Oakland airport thinking of all the ways I’ve self-victimized recently. I have backslid into a weird hollow depression since my band finished tracking our second album. This realization only hit me after I finished a marathon of saving face. Some friends of mine came to visit me at my parents’ house in California. We made jokes, we drank wine, and then 48 hours later, I dropped them at the airport. As soon as I was back on the highway, the feeling, or more honestly, the lack thereof, hit me. I think to myself, “if I turn on a band I love, I will feel better.” So I put on one of my favorite albums of all time, Reinventing Axl Rose by Against Me!. At first, I felt awkward, like I was forcing myself to be cinematic. But then, “Walking Is Still Honest” came on and I felt a little better. I started singing along and the cloud was lifted.
June 13th, 2015
Against Me! was playing at Northside Fest in Brooklyn and I had work that day. My job as a coffee shop manager had been getting under my skin. Truth is, I don’t care if someone’s grilled cheese was plated incorrectly, or if my shirt isn’t “work appropriate.” I kept staring at the clock, unfocused, waiting to leave early. I ran out of the coffee shop and barely said goodbye to anyone. When I git off the train, I run to McCarren Park. I make it in time for “Black Me Out.” In that moment, it didn’t matter how difficult work had been. The pressure as a new manager was melting off my shoulders. I got to stand with my favorite band and scream, “I wanna piss on the walls at your house,” at everyone whose criticism I’ve had to absorb in silence.
May 25th, 2015
I took Freya Wilcox with me to Laura Jane Grace’s solo set at City Winery. I was really hoping to get an interview for Punk Out, so I waited to get tickets till the last minute. Every punk I know in Brooklyn was there. The line outside is an awesome family reunion. I immediately felt at ease, seeing a fancy wine shop filled with ripped tights and DIY jackets. Laura read her journal entries out loud between songs. In this moment, they weren’t just a band to me. They are me: kids who wanted to make a difference turned-adults, basking in palpable irony. None of us thought we’d be here, yet none of us feel out of place. “Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?” cuts deeper than ever before.
May 5th, 2014
This is the first time I saw them live. I missed their New York Show because my band was playing in Poughkeepsie, NY. I had been waiting to see this band, so I bought a megabus ticket to Boston to see them at the Royale the following week. I knew I wouldn’t have friends at the show. I could count the friends I still had in Boston on one hand. I knew this would be a solo mission. I decked myself out in my finest red studded leather jacket. I brought extra cash for merch. When I got there, I headed to the front of the stage. I look around anxiously, waiting for the music to start and I see a familiar face. He and I aren’t exactly good friends, but it didn’t matter. He was there alone and I was too. Laura Jane entered the stage as we stood side by side: a motley pair of brave loners.
September 15th, 2014
My twitter account flashed with the holy grail of tweets: Against Me! is playing a secret show in Brooklyn at Baby’s All Right. I hopped on my bike and raced to go buy tickets. I felt a little embarrassed waiting for the box office to open when there was no line. I’m doing it again: the big romantic gesture thing I do. They go on at 1 AM and with the wilted swagger of a band who could have used the night off. The crowd was throwing bodies up towards the stage. It was a small crowd, but a hungry one. I wanted to crowd surf, but I’m wearing my glasses and no band is worth breaking my glasses over. I found a cozy spot at the front of stage left. The crowd reminded me of the rowdy house shows I used to go to in Boston. Everyone was glistening with sweat and runny eyeliner, their studded fare sparkles under the stage lights. When they play “True Trans Soul Rebel,” the crowd bum-rushes the stage. I ran up to Laura and sheepishly gave her a thumb drive of my band’s album. I know she must get this all the time, so I awkwardly slunk off into the night.
End of Summer, 2009
This was the first time I really got Against Me. My shitty boyfriend had turned me onto them that summer. I bought his shitty car, which I now own, filled with his shitty mixed CDs. He was the kind of person who made you feel guilty for not having heard of an obscure band. He sold me his car when he left me. So there I was, driving around aimlessly, staring at the plastic cow toy on his dashboard. “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” came on the mix. I started feeling my anger and my heartbreak collide. I had heard this song so many times from the passenger side. But in that moment, all alone in the driver’s seat, stewing in my own frustrations, I finally heard the song. I rolled the windows down.
Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed on our Artist Corner and Blog are exclusively of the author and do not reflect the views and opinions of Punk Out as an organization.