He's a really good drummer.
He studied jazz drumming. He plays Latin rhythms. He reads music, for God's sake. Are punk drummers allowed to read music? I mean, would the Sex Pistols have been any good if they were, you know, great musicians? This is not to say that there aren't punk musicians who are really good. It's just that at some level, I think it might be a bit of a handicap. I say this without much real appreciation for punk. I like some Ska-Punk. That's punk influenced music played by all of the people who in high school were band geeks. So it's got trombones and shit. I like Streetlight Manifesto. But I am offering mostly baseless opinions on punk.
A couple of years ago, friend was doing a play called The Loud Americans, about the sort-of-nearly-rise of and precipitous fall of a punk band. The actors on stage were backed by a shadow band, that is, four people playing the music that was ostensibly the music of the punk band. The music was all original and when you went to see a performance, you got a free CD. Although reviews of the play were mixed, the band was pretty much universally described as 'Kick Ass.' The writer's brother was a musician, and he put together the little band, and in a remarkably short period of time they wrote the songs, rehearsed them, cut a raw but quite good sounding CD called The Loud Americans Project and then went on stage. There was a guy in his 20s, a girl in her 30s, a guy in his 40s, and Bob, who was 50.
Hence Bob's brief, glorious career as a punk rocker. (He has a lot of t-shirts from that brief period, including a Ramones t-shirt I secretly covet.)
For no reason, today one of those songs has risen from the depths of my subconscious and I have been singing quietly to myself, "I'm burning with fever and I'm all stitched up..." I was going to link to a site where you could listen to The Loud Americans Project but alas, they've finally taken it down. I was thinking about putting the MP3 up so you could listen if you wanted but I don't know how to do that. I'd have to contact Steve (who put together the band) and Chris (who wrote the play) and ask them for permission.
I'll ask you to just trust me when I tell you that the band was really pretty good. They got some airplay at colleges but about a month after the play ended, Howard Stern got fined for using a swear word on the radio and for awhile nobody would play Pink Floyd's "Money" because it had the word bullshit in it. The Loud Americans dropped the F bomb a lot in a manner befitting their punk outlaw status, so they disappeared from the airwaves forever.
I like the idea that art is ephemeral. It's weird, but I don't mind that art sometimes disappears. Of course, I've got the CD so its not really ephemeral for me. But letting go of stuff like this is like learning to let go of books. It's like knowing that in one hundred years, no one will read my books. It's something of a relief, in an odd way. I don't want Shakespeare to disappear. But there's so much out there, it feels as if it is going to suck up all the available space. When things disappear, they leave space.