Album Started in ’87, Ended in ’89
posted by November 6 at 12:06 PMon
I love Operation Ivy.
I could talk for hours about why they’re so great. I could quote favorite lyrics, I could tell you over and over again how I will never feel completely satisfied in my life because I never had the opportunity to see the band live (I was 8 years old in Lake Stevens, WA when they were in their prime), and I could tell you about the time I had to miss my great grandmothers memorial service two years ago because I got to/had to do a phone interview with the band’s former frontman Jesse Michaels (for another publication) and it was surreal and awesome.
Gush gush gush, swoon swoon swoon. I have a real, honest to god relevant reason for mentioning the band.
Hellcat has remastered the band’s self-titled full-length (that was originally released on Lookout! in 1991, almost two years after the band broke up), and it’s in stores today. In this week’s paper I “review” the album. By review I mean to say “examine why it is the 15 year old record has managed to stay not only good but relevant and one of Lookout!’s best selling records to this day.”
The best thing Operation Ivy ever did for us was break up.
For almost 15 years now, Operation Ivy, the posthumous 30-track record released on Lookout! Records almost two years after the band called it quits, has survived as an authentic snapshot of the much-romanticized late-’80s to early-’90s Bay Area music scene where bands like Green Day, Crimpshrine, and Jawbreaker thrived.
Though Op Ivy’s founding members moved on to other projects—Tim “Lint” Armstrong and Matt Freeman found commercial success in Rancid while Jesse Michaels teamed up with ex-members of Squirtgun and Screeching Weasel to form the unmemorable Common Rider—their music remains untainted by age or later compromises and mistakes. This month Hellcat Records will rerelease a remastered version of the record that is one of the best-selling in Lookout!’s history.
Hearing it now, far removed from the Bay Area scene by both miles and years, you can still feel the fervor inside a 19-year-old Michaels as he sings to a pack of sweaty outcasts from the stage at 924 Gilman. He fearlessly questions authority and calls for social justice, while his bandmates take cues from the Clash and Madness, bridging the gap between ska and punk rock. They were and will always be a vital punk band with brains, big hearts, and an endearing naiveté. MEGAN SELING
So there. There’s that.
Now, here’s this… Rancid’s tribute to the Op Ivy years:
It’s the one thing that I can depend on.