inessential by Brent Simmons


Still addicted to Napster. I've been listening to these bands since I was a teenager. The excitement comes back in a rush -- did you hear the new Pogues album? Dude, totally, it's so great.

There's something thrilling about typing the names. X, Germs, Pogues, Camper Van Beethoven, DOA, Butthole Surfers, Ramones, Cramps, Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground, Circle Jerks, English Beat, Specials, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Roxy Music, Sex Pistols, Selecter, David Bowie, Smiths, Nick Cave, Echo and the Bunnymen, Jazz Butcher, Aztec Camera, Minutemen, Clash.

Hey, who remembers when R.E.M. was good? When they were still, broadly speaking, a punk band? Seems like forever ago. The day Michael Stipe started enunciating was the day the music of my youth ended. The names of the albums are still magical to me: Chronic Town, Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Life's Rich Pageant.

Naturally, Sheila remembers.