Let me start off by saying – I don’t have any kids. But I used to be one. And from what I remember, I had to be shown how to quantify and categorize objects into tangible form. I remember looking at the Grand Canyon and not really caring about it until my mom pointed out that what I was looking at was called “Scenery” and that it was “Pretty.”
When I was 13, by Hebrew tradition, I was considered a man. But I know for a fact that my transformation from boy to man was not complete until I had listened to “Frampton Comes Alive” and someone told me, “This is what Rock ‘N’ Roll is.”
So much of the punk, hard-core and metal experience can hinge upon the experience, not necessarily the music. If some ugly poser goth chick in torn fishnets and ass-kicking boots called you a poser and spit on you, I promise, you stuck out like a boner in sweatpants.
But with great joy, I listened to Tucson band Step Aside’s upcoming 7” Reaching Out recently and I have to say – this is going to be one I have to pull out every now and then just to prove that all good straight edge and punk isn’t slowly going the way of the buffalo. Keep in mind, these guys aren’t out to blow your mind with amazing and complex guitar solos; instead they are here to play high energy rock to move your ass and leave you drenched in sweat and grinning. The title track “Reaching Out” sold me on the fact that this band is born from experience. You can listen to every Black Flag, Siouxie Sioux, or Minutemen record and spend hours hacking it out on your second hand Fender, but you don’t make this kind of sound without having spent a few dozen nights in a crowded dive with graffiti-covered cement-walls and wearing your weight in sweat and spit. If Step Aside’s van steers its way towards your town soon, by any means necessary, get to that show.
Like the epic Teen Idles EP Minor Disturbance, Reaching Out has a lot packed into a scant amount of time. Songs are short, fast and hard. If you’re looking for a band that knows the roots but lays down their own brand, check these guys out. Much like Denver band Straight Outta Luck or the great Austin band Lower Class Brats, these guys are devoid of filler, but they’ll still kick you in the gut if you don’t watch it.
Keep this handy for when the neighbor kid starts strumming quick three-chord licks. I want you to kick in his bedroom door, stride purposefully across the room, place this disc into his still-trembling hands and whisper “This is what Straight Edge Punk… IS…” For effect, break a toy on the way out, symbolizing an end to his adolescent innocence. Don’t worry – he’ll thank you for it later.