For me, musically speaking there is nothing more Americana or American (when it comes to music, the words are interchangeable to me) than a group of young musicians grabbing a microphone, a guitar, a bass, and a drum kit and going into a basement or a garage and trying to bang out the music they feel inside of them to the best of their musical acumen and ability.
Such was the case in the early 1980s when four Seattle lads – John Conte, Duff McKagan, Todd Fleischman, and Greg Gilmore formed a punk rock band called The Living and did just that, like scores of other disaffected youngsters across America at the time. It just so happens that with this young band two of the four aforementioned band members would later go onto greater musical fame.
Gilmore, the drummer, would later be a part of the seminal, albeit short-lived, Seattle band Mother Lovebone and the guitar player McKagan would, of course, go on to achieve rock and roll superstardom as the bass player for one of the world’s biggest rock bands since the late 1980s, Guns N’Roses.
Dropping on April 16 on Loosegroove Records is the only studio recording of the band, packaged as The Living:1982 and it is magnificent.
The seven songs on the LP comprise, as Gilmore so rightly declares, “ a fantastic document of a loaded moment” and stand as a vibrant audible example of the American hardcore punk rock that was so prevalent in the early 1980s underground music scene back then. It was this same scene that a few short years later would ultimately morph into and lead to among other things, the more commercially successful sub-genres of punk-pop and grunge.
Speaking from experience as a punk rocker myself during this era, it was quite an exciting and oftentimes thrilling thing to be a part of that scene largely because even though you were sometimes never quite sure where the music was leading you politically or socially, you always knew that it was pushing and prodding you to make your positive mark on the world and to find ways to make it a better place than the one we were living in.
That DIY spirit pours out of this record and as such serves as a wonderful primer to the uninitiated to what flat out in your face, loud, and inspirational American rock and roll sounded like at that time. For that, I am eternally grateful that this sparkling record, after all these years has finally come to the light of day.
The Living was John Conte- frontman, vocalist, Duff McKagan-guitar, Tood Fleishman – bass, Greg Gilmore- drums
The Living:1982 on Loosegrove Records is now available here.