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Maverick Punk Sound: An Interview with Double Dagger

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An unusual opening for a rock show: A muscular man walks onto the stage and leads the audience in a group warm-up exercise that mimics the atmosphere of being at a gym. I was expecting Double Dagger’s live show at Current Space to be somewhat fiery-spirited punk, yet somehow the workout activity gave it an incandescent, joyous and vibrant positive energy. 

This was the start of a recent reunion show of the legendary Baltimore avant-punk band Double Dagger, formed by vocalist Nolen Strals and bassist Bruce Willen in 2002 (initial drummer Brian Dubin left the band in 2005 and was replaced by Denny Bowen). This opening to their limited-comeback show demonstrated fitness as a purely enjoyable leisure activity, something that stood in contrast to a modernized, capitalist fitness culture that has transformed physical exercise into a signifier of self-fulfillment and social class. A humorous reversal of fitness culture’s association with late capitalism and new liberalism, this group warm-up emphasized the fun of simple exercises.

Double Dagger had been broken up since 2011. But in July of this year, a “doubledagger.forever” account appeared on Instagram. Its first post was a bodybuilder’s workout video with full-screen muscles soundtracked by Double Dagger’s song “Surrealist Composition with Your Face.” The post made many fans think that they were about to make a comeback. Around the end of August, Double Dagger announced their two-date shows at Ottobar and Current Space as a “once in a decade” event that would only be held in Baltimore in mid-October. 

Shortly after, they announced the early October release date of their new album, Sophisticated Urban Living (Contemporary Conveniences Edition). The new album’s concept was made clear to me as the band performed their classic song “Luxury Condos for the Poor” at the end of the Current Space show. “A fresh coat of paint won’t cover up these stains,” Strals sang. Their on-stage performance embodied their sincere punk spirit with a relentless expression against gentrification, class indignation, and the phenomenon of house flipping before the 2008 financial crisis. The song rang familiar to the current situation in the United States, with many people unemployed and unable to pay rent or mortgage, while the housing market is still going up.

 

Double Dagger, Ottobar, October 2021
Double Dagger, Ottobar, October 2021

Both new and old songs comprise Sophisticated Urban Living, whose title references the self-consuming world where everything is flattened through images, full of symbols and signs. People pursue a more comfortable living space and fill it with objects, objects that lack the presence and traces of history and become intermediaries in people’s relationships. Advertisements give these intermediary objects their meaning, making people submit to an endless social system of production and consumption in pursuit of a new and better materialistic environment that promises so-called “spiritual healing.” As the French postmodernist philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote in the epilogue of his book, ​​The System of Objects, “consumption is irrepressible, in the last reckoning, because it is founded upon a lack.”

These themes are pertinent for the band as Strals and Willen are graphic designers who met at MICA and, in addition to playing music together, co-founded the design firm Post Typography in 2007. (Disclosure: Post Typography designed the previous iteration of BmoreArt’s branding.) 

Through this interview with Double Dagger, I was able to further grasp an understanding of the various references and awareness in their sound. The band uses a loud bass as the main instrumental melody, and its strength complements the drums in perfect harmony. Strals’ performance during every show surprises and interacts with the audience, injecting true feelings and sincere speeches with pleasant wit and humor, jumping off the stage and walking into the crowd. At Double Dagger’s shows, you can sense their view of the world through the goodwill criticism of “not accepting anything as it is.” I believe that the audience present at either of these two shows in October were integrally involved in the present moment and embraced the music as a practice of critical intervention.

 

Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021
Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021

Jaddie Fang: Why did you reunite?

Bruce Willen: It had been almost exactly 10 years since our last show. Personally, I think after the band broke up I was really burnt out on rock music and I didn’t want to listen to it, I didn’t want to go to shows, and I definitely didn’t want to play in a rock band. That may be a reason why I started doing Peals with William [Cashion]. Four or five years ago, I started listening to rock music again and getting excited about it, seeing newer bands like Mdou Moctar, and Baltimore bands like Wume and Horse Lords. They’re bands that are doing rock music but in a fresh and exciting way and it makes me remember going to punk or rock shows when I was in my early 20s, and getting really excited about the music. I started feeling that way again.

Do you feel rock music has become more diverse and more interesting?

Bruce Willen: That could be a good way of putting it. We’re all a little older. My tastes in music have always been broad but definitely have gotten a lot more diverse in the last ten years. And I still like listening to punk or metal or whatever, but it’s always exciting for me when there’s a band that is bringing their own influences to whatever genre, whether it’s punk, rock, contemporary classical, or something else.

Denny Bowen: I would echo Bruce’s sentiment but a little differently. I was playing guitar and doing vocals in a rock band, Roomrunner, and it was a fun little project at first. The idea of that band became to take it more seriously, and then I just got burnt out on it very quickly. The band didn’t last that long functionally. Additionally, I was touring with Future Islands and Dan Deacon here and there, so I still was playing drums. After I moved to Atlanta about six years ago, I started doing sound full time and had a job opportunity to do front-of-house at a venue. I was kind of being assaulted with guitars all the time, and that makes you really not like it that much. I’ve known many people here for a very long time through touring who have varied musical tastes and projects of different musical varieties. So it was nice to finally break free of this raucous mindset I’ve held for a long time. 

 

Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021
Double Dagger, Ottobar, October 2021
Double Dagger, Ottobar, October 2021

The title of the new album, Sophisticated Urban Living, contains both old and new songs, and the concept behind it brings to mind Maslow’s hierarchy and consumerism. Do you think such “Sophisticated Urban Living” is an inevitable desire when people reach a certain phase of life? 

Bruce Willen: Inevitably, when you get older, you’re not going to want to be sleeping on a mattress on the floor in some dirty warehouse. I think that your tolerance for discomfort, dirtiness, horrible roommates, and all that stuff gets a lot smaller. I think everyone knows all of our bodies grow and evolve. And when we’re seventy years old, we’re probably going to want to live in different situations. So in that sense, definitely, people’s needs and desires change. 

The flip side is, going back to the album title, in our society we’ve really been sold this idea of conveniences or luxuries as needs or as comforts that, a lot of times, we don’t question. Either we don’t have time, or we just don’t think about, “Oh, do we need this thing?” Whether it’s a fancy car, or a certain amount of space, or certain types of furniture—even outside of things that are obviously frivolous luxuries, it’s all been sold to us. There’s this expectation on the path through life that entails acquiring certain types of stuff and obtaining certain social status. 

It’s very easy not to question that. It’s really interesting thinking about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, how this idea of shelter, which is a very basic need, has in our society become a commodity, something you invest in.

Denny Bowen: In some ways, the inverse is even true. If you want to live in an urban environment, something that should be necessary, like public transportation, would be seen as a luxury, and it’s made to seem unaffordable, something that should be necessary but is seen as frivolous. Everything is still car-centric. It was pretty appropriate, revisiting this particular song, our work, and everything at this time with the real estate market bubble or crisis, however you want to define this insane state of it right now. It’s interesting to look back on 2008 and have the same sort of grievances, but now the situation seems exponentially worse. For-profit housing, something I’ve noticed living between [Atlanta] and in Baltimore, is very cutthroat and it happens at a breakneck speed.

Nolen Strals: We intended the title as a sort of snarky or sarcastic repurposing of the type of marketing language that is used by developers. When we started the band, I lived in the Copycat and had seven roommates and no heat or air conditioning. But we were young, and when you’re young you don’t care about those things. Now, ten years after the band broke up, 19 years after the band started, I happily have a smaller place. Just me, my girlfriend, and my cat, and we are thrilled that we have central air. But as I have aged, as I have matured in my career, as I have gotten more financially successful, I still have so many of the same values that I had from my 20s and early 30s, but I’m maybe not so hardline about them. Because, for better or worse, with age most of us get less hardline and compromise more. 

I guess that’s a roundabout way of saying people do want to be more comfortable as they get older. I think it’s the responsibility of those of us who still have those values from our younger, more antagonistic years, to make sure that as we are trying to better our lives to make sure that we aren’t contributing to the societal problems that we’ve always had an issue with. It’s still our duty as conscientious people to not buy into the types of new development that actually hurt the overall market. In the last few years when thinking about the song “Luxury Condos for the Poor,” what I thought about is that if we wrote that song today it would definitely have a line in there talking about the market rate—because that’s such an infuriating term and I could go on about that for another half hour.

 

Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021
Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021

2005 to 2010 was the era of digitization of words and images; it is also roughly the period when Double Dagger was active. Some of the songs on your debut album, such as “CMYK” and “Command+X Command+V,” are reflections on the effects of digitization. Did all this development towards digitization have an impact or outcome that you’re happy to see? Or was there a sort of resistance to it?

Bruce Willen: Perhaps both. It’s really interesting that during the 2000s, there was so much change happening. The internet was still evolving, and I feel now, during the last ten or twelve years, the digital world is very much codified, especially with social media. It’s very corporate. There is still a lot of experimentation going on, but there are all these big platforms that everyone is working with now. Back then, things felt a little more exciting, and now, the internet feels a little depressing. With social media especially, I feel it is really one of the worst things to happen to society. The jury’s still out, but it’s seeming that way.

Denny Bowen: To borrow an overused terminology, reality today is much more augmented with digitalization technology. All that stuff has been implemented from top to bottom. Whereas before, it was just a different layer that we were able to work with, we were able to use it as a sort of simple networking tool to share music and get in touch with people, and then use that as a vehicle to have a show somewhere else, and to meet other people that were on the same wavelength. It seems that end goal isn’t really the motivation behind a lot of it now. We don’t know how younger people are perhaps utilizing it in a way that makes sense for them—and I’m sure there are some people that are doing that—but it’s permeated so much of daily life that it’s even harder to understand how resistance to it would even take place now.

Was it weird starting an Instagram for Double Dagger?

Bruce Willen: I remember when MySpace was a big thing in 2006 or whatever, when all the bands and everyone were on there. We were talking a lot of shit on MySpace at first and then it did become this thing where everybody that we know, all the other bands we play with, everyone’s on MySpace, and people are finding out about shows that way. It also felt a little more playful, like you could just fuck around with it. I remember we made our profile picture 1000 pixels tall or something so our icon made the whole page drop out. You couldn’t do this stuff now, you don’t actually have any control over Instagram. There’s also an algorithm that’s saying who’s going to see what you post, so the people who follow Double Dagger aren’t all going to see what we post. We have no control over that. It’s a black box. 

I feel like the algorithm allows social media to fit a capitalistic model. Do you think of it this way?

Bruce Willen: It’s all about selling. If you want more people to see this post, buy an ad. I shouldn’t say it’s a fake community, because there are definitely people who find real communities and make real communities there, but it’s also being strictly controlled and regulated by a giant corporation.

 

Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021
Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021

In the book Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, the French philosopher Jacques Rancière writes, “critical art is an art that aims to produce a new perception of the world, and therefore to create a commitment to its transformation. This schema, very simple in appearance, is actually the conjunction of three processes: first, the production of a sensory form of ‘strangeness’; second, the development of an awareness of the reason for that strangeness and third, a mobilization of individuals as a result of that awareness.” I’ve always thought Double Dagger’s music is an act of critical art. Would you consider your music and artworks critical in a way? Do you expect to activate awareness or mobilization of individuals through your music?

Bruce Willen: We’ve always been pretty self-aware of the way that we approach music, songwriting, and performance, to the extent of knowing that you’re not going to change the world by writing a punk song. Maybe in the ‘70s or ‘80s there was a little more of that feeling. We also understand there’s only so much influence you can have. But at the same time, with Nolen’s lyrics and the performances, we’re trying to get people engaged with social and political stuff—that cultural stuff which is happening around all of us.

Denny Bowen: Especially in the performance aspect of it, Nolen acted as the critical arm of the whole operation, very confrontational, putting himself in the middle of situations or getting in people’s faces—especially right around the time when I joined the band, where that seemed like a very unpopular thing to do, to insert yourself into the crowd or do something that is confrontational. But being slightly younger than Bruce and Nolen, it felt good to feel more of a purpose to being in a band than just having cool songs. I think there was a reason for every song that we had written. A lot of it was, early on, graphic design-based, which isn’t my field, but I understood that these were things that have an effect beyond just the graphic design and art world. It’s everywhere. It affects everybody’s lives. It was exciting for me to know that we existed at least as a vocal counterpoint in some capacity.

Nolen Strals: I don’t think I would ever write something thinking, “oh, this is what’s going to kickstart some action.” It was more, “these are things I’m feeling and I care about and that people who are close to me care about, and this is something that I want to amplify.” If that does spur some action, that’s great, but hopefully it just helps the listener feel like they’re not the only one who feels this. It would be great if something that I wrote could inspire someone to take action, but I don’t delude myself into thinking that it will. Through all the years of being with the band, some of the most meaningful moments for me came from when strangers in other cities, or even here, would come up to me to thank me for something that I’ve written, because it helps them to work through something or to figure out how to express something that they were feeling, whether it was political or personal.

Jaddie: Graphic design plays a massive role and influence in the digital era, and in The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z, Rand writes that “capitalism could not survive in a culture dominated by mysticism and altruism, by the soul-body dichotomy and the tribal premise.” That means capitalism encourages production and profit, being prosperous, independent, confident, and active. And it’s guided by social, economic, and political justice; it does not allow anyone to demand to have anything that was not fairly earned in the first place. Based on her theory, it seems extremely difficult to ask clients to consider the impact and influence of their product on society or the environment, and it compels graphic designers into ethically dubious pathways that are tough to deviate from. Do you think there is a way to escape from capitalism?

Bruce Willen: I think a lot of art-making happens in a pretty ethically gray area, whether or not people recognize it. I have been feeling a little burned out on graphic design for that specific reason. I think graphic design is very much a tool for selling stuff, but also for me it’s a communication tool essentially. It’s primarily being used in our society to promote, market, and sell things that, at best, are not necessary and, at worst, harmful. I’m diving into the weeds a little bit with this, but there’s been this real incorporation of behavioral science into design and marketing with the motivation of trying to influence people through design and art, and trying to use visuals, whether it’s music or design, to tap into people’s identity and make it feel like, “I need to do this thing,” or “I’m buying this thing to self-actualize.” We obviously don’t think that way when we’re doing it, but we’re getting these little rewards, and it’s tough breaking out of that cycle. I think that the focus should be, if you’re a designer or a communicator, using your skills to build community or do something that is not solely focused on selling something.

Denny Bowen: Something that I’ve noticed, to tie back to social media or technology, is that a lot of design work is now wrapped up, like Bruce has mentioned, on getting people to click on things faster, getting the quickest sensory response. It’s even gone into people designing YouTube thumbnails. That’s a service, which is very bizarre because it’s funneling everything a particular way. I always thought that there were inherent flaws with things, where you’re not supposed to acknowledge altruism as a valid human emotion but you can operate based on the concept of individualism or self-determination—but if you’re self-determined to be altruistic then it doesn’t make any sense. Whatever flaws there are with that, we’ve basically speed-run that for decades now. I can’t speak as someone who’s worked in the field of design but there are points when you’re observing things and you are aware that they’ve been constructed in a way that’s to encourage consumerism only. That’s the only end result. It’s not to communicate anything other than the transactional process of interacting with or buying a product—a means of gaining profit.

I think one thing that’s helpful is that people are becoming more design-savvy now, but one side of that is that people are using design in a very insidious way to exploit people, to get them to buy shit they don’t need. The flip side of that is people are also learning more about when they’re being manipulated. And hopefully when people become more savvy to advertising, communication, and design marketing, they’ll develop a resistance.

 

Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021

Post Typography was founded in 2007, and a part of the “About Us” page on the website says, “We support [clients’] missions with a wide range of services that include branding and logos.” It reminds me of the Double Dagger song “Corporate Logo Preservation Society.” What are your thoughts on branding and logos and the meaning behind them?

Nolen Strals: My feelings on that have evolved quite a bit over the years and honestly they continue to. When we wrote that song, that was me probably at 20 or 25 and being mad at UPS and others who had these beautiful, classic, timeless marks and then they replaced them with these updates that looked just cheap and trendy. But personally, an aspect of the job of being a graphic designer that I’ve always thought about is the relationship that design has to capital and power. It’s based on money. And most often, how I have made peace with that has been when Bruce and I had Post Typography (and continuing into my solo practice), we have always been mindful of who we choose to work with and help through branding and design. I have worked for clients in my 20s that I never would have worked for because I had certain views I don’t have now. 

But when you are someone who comes from a truly DIY punk rock background, and you are a designer, there’s always going to be some moral or ethical push and pull. This is because you are steeping for years in this underdog culture where everything has no budget to it. You are creating in defiance of people who do have budgets. Then, getting older and having a day job and being part of the world that has budgets, there’s a balance of making sure that you are still working with people who you can believe in, who you think are bettering the world, but also making sure that I still can make enough money to be happy, to be healthy, to be safe, so that I am able to successfully and effectively create for other people. I tried to work with people who I think are going to make things better, and that doesn’t have to be in an altruistic sense.

Denny Bowen: If you want to tie it into music, I’ve liked when bands have employed some sort of faux corporate entity. I always bring up Devo, and one of The Tubes’ albums from the early ‘80s where they released a corporate-style training VHS. I’ve always found that stuff entertaining because it’s realizing that the music is a product, and it might be annoying to some people because they’re overselling it, but I personally enjoy that.

In the documentary If We Shout Loud Enough, I recall Nolen saying “these DIY spaces [in Baltimore] give bands chances to suck, chances to grow, and chances to stop sucking.” Since many DIY spaces in town have been shut down over the last decade, plus the ever-increasing cost of rent, do you think music scenes have been squeezed out, or have they been shifted towards different platforms?

Denny Bowen: I haven’t been living in Baltimore for a long time, but there’s a really good group of bands here in Atlanta since I’ve been running sound full time for a good number of years. I got to see a natural scene growing, so I do think that’s still possible. Geographically, it’s hard for many bands to tour in places where it would be viable for them to reach a wider audience or get more recognition. They’ll plan tours that go as far north as somewhere in North Carolina, back down to Tallahassee, and then back to Atlanta or something like that. It’s not easy for a band from around here to go play in New York all the time like it is for bands on the East Coast. 

As far as I can see, many DIY spaces are getting closed down as well, like a warehouse space just got closed down. One venue I used to work at for years, right around that area, they’ve now constructed these, like, $600,000, $700,000 condos right over top. I don’t know who is wanting to live right above a bunch of really loud bars. You see people that move in there and then they post stuff online complaining about noise in the street, graffiti, and it’s always preceded by something like, “I love music but…” or “I love art but… can you please make the music stop?” I always wonder about this weird gravitation towards living right next to what is perceived as a cultural and artistic area and then it gets pushed out.

 

Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021
Double Dagger, Ottobar, October 2021

Double Dagger shows were always unforgettable experiences for people. For you personally, does the live show represent any symbolic meaning of conscious expression?

Bruce Willen: For our live performances, we always wanted to make it as much a visceral experience as possible, and an emotional experience as well. Part of that was just through volume, and Nolen’s performance, as Denny was talking about, going off confronting people, breaking down the third wall—or whatever wall it is, breaking down all the walls! The performance is a distinct experience from listening to the record, and it should be a communal experience too. Being in this space with other people who are having their own perspective and emotional reaction, but being able to share that with other people, is important.

Denny Bowen: What makes playing Double Dagger uniquely special to me is that it always seemed like a unit and it exists as a purely collaborative thing in the live performance. It’s the most musically and naturally collaborative project I’ve ever been a part of, as opposed to leading with one person’s idea for the entire duration of the project or just individually for certain songs. It’s sort of an intangible thing, but the mindset, that cohesion, helps the performance, and I think it communicates well to an audience. And even though Nolen is maybe 50 feet away from us, it’s still working in that same way. 

I also feel a lot of it is almost subconscious. When I recall working on songs with Bruce, he wouldn’t overthink it. If we ever got to be overthinking, we would just move on and come back to it later. We may have a very loose concept or just be like, “it’s time for the next part.” It’s a natural kind of songwriting movement, but we felt good about it and we just went forward with that. 

Bruce Willen: One of the things that we’re always trying to do with the band is impose a set of restraints on ourselves—how much can we do within something that on the surface looks or seems like it would be simple? Even considering the instrumentation of the band, there’s just bass, drums, and vocals. A lot of songs are intentionally written very stripped-down and maybe just based around a single chord, a single note, or a simple phrase, using a drone or repetition. It’s weird to say “restrained” because I don’t feel like there was much of anything about the band that was restrained—it was very in your face. There was some level of restraint in how we approached the band even though we were kind of maximizing that.

Nolen Strals: When I think of the band, what I’m most often thinking of are the shows, because that’s where it came to life, that’s where it became something more than just three guys who were writing these songs. I grew up in a religious household. Both of my parents are retired Methodist ministers, but at a very young age I realized that I didn’t have the same faith that they had. Maybe two years before we broke up, there was one show we played at the Floristree where I felt so moved by the connections that I had with my bandmates, but also with the audience, that part of the way through our set I said something like, I was feeling something that my parents always had wanted me to feel but I never felt; in that moment, that dirty warehouse, that culture, that it was my church.

To this day, some of the most moving moments in my life have been playing with this band. When we toured in Europe we played at a small youth center in Wales, and there were kids screaming my words but they had this Welsh accent that sounded so fucking weird, it was so disorienting but it was also so special. They’re from a different world than me but we found a way to connect here. And we played a show in Berlin, it was this last-minute thing and we were squeezed into this tiny room at the end of a warehouse that typically hosted big raves and we were the only band. The crowd showed up and it’s the coolest, sexiest, hippest punk crowd I have ever seen of course—because it’s Berlin—and they all look so serious. But they were so into it and kept saying, “keep going, keep going.” We played like eighteen songs that night and typically we’d only play seven. We only stopped because Denny had played so hard for so long that he puked. This is stuff that I will never forget. For me, it’s like we don’t exist till we’re on that stage.

 

Double Dagger, Ottobar, October 2021
Double Dagger, Ottobar, October 2021

We can understand the persistence of the punk community in the previous century with regard to various new social movements through Craig O’Hara’s book The Philosophy of Punk: More Than Noise!!. Punk music and punks in society are sometimes viewed as a kind of resistance to capitalism. Do you profess yourselves to be punks? Does punk need to be redefined to fit the changes of time?

Bruce Willen: Nolen’s definitely a punk. I never considered myself a punk and it’s also weird using this word that I feel has lost some of its meaning and has become commodified. What is punk now? I do think that all three of us have a punk rock ethos, and we come from this DIY background. We value communities and the creative process over money. I think it essentially boils down to that.

Denny Bowen: I believe we fall into that, somewhere in the larger scope of the word “punk.” But especially in the past couple of years or so, it’s been narrowed down to a very specific stylistic thing, specifically in fashion. You can go a lot of different ways with that term, but I think Bruce just summed it up pretty nicely there.

Bruce Willen: My friend Monique Crabb had a closing reception at Current Space and she had a really amazing artist talk. One of the things that she talked about was how punk rock gave her an education and how she basically skipped classes in high school but would go to shows. She was getting to understand this kind of community-centered ethos, and zine culture, all the aspects that surround punk rock, and learning about political things, anti-fascism, anti-racism. I thought that was really beautiful how she was putting it, how it could give you this education. It’s also interesting that punk, or being punk in the traditional sense, is very much the idea that you’re in opposition to something, and I think that it’s typically a youth cultural thing. So you’re against something that the previous generations were doing, like capitalism or against XYZ. I hope people are still capturing that sense of not just being in opposition to something, like against Trump, climate change, or XYZ, but also trying to figure out, what is better? How do we make this better, even if it’s on a really small scale?

Nolen Strals: I would say I’m not punk now only because I haven’t been in a punk band for ten years. Also, because for the last eight years or so, I’ve been mostly listening to country music. I grew up down in Georgia, and honestly, I became disillusioned with punk and with indie rock for various reasons. As I get older, I’ve sort of drifted back towards my roots. I would say that I used to be a punk, and I still hold and value many of the ethics, the morals, and the worldview that I owe to punk rock. 

There’s much of the country music that I listen to now that is played by people who grew up being in punk bands. It’s country music, but it’s played by people who have a more punk-like sort of ethics, and that comes through in their lyrics. But the vision of punk that always spoke to me is not rigid, like we wear all black and have spiky hair; or if you don’t wear bondage pants or have colorful hair then you aren’t punk. Those are very specific moments or subsets of punk, and what we often lose sight of, because of the media simplifying things so that it can be sold, is that people in the early punk scene dressed wildly in all kinds of different ways. People’s politics for better or worse actually had some variety to them, musically even. Out in Los Angeles, if you look at the photography of Jim Jocoy, he has this great book called We’re Desperate. It came out like twenty years ago. He photographed people who were at punk bars, who were at punk shows, and you have everything from people head to toe in cowboy gear to goth to people who were dressed up looking like a gumball. But you also had the people who had safety pins sticking through their nose. That’s the vision of punk that I like; it’s this kaleidoscope of wild outsiders who aren’t happy with the conventional way of doing things.

 

Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021
Double Dagger, Current Space, October 2021
Double Dagger, Ottobar, October 2021

All photos by Josh Sisk

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