Someone came and punched her in the face

Hey welcome to another week. As time whips past our chapped noses at the dizzying speed of one second per second and all of us just kind of piss in the wind while we try to find our bearings, make no mistake, when this bullshit finally slows down enough for any of us to really be able to notice what’s going on, it’s only gonna be to poetically illustrate how much we’ve blown it. “Holy shit!” you’ll say! “I’m forty two, my tits are saggy and I never saw paris when I was still fuckable. What the fuck happened?”
“Motherfucker! I’m fat and bald now, and I never made it out to LA to give that whole acting thing a go.” Or “Jesus fucking Christ! I’m gay and I’ve been closing my eyes and imagining Ashton Kutcher carrying a kielbasa in his mouth while I bang women (eew) for the last fifteen years! Do you know how many dicks I could have packed into myself in fifteen years? Christ.”
Christ, indeed. This is sort of inevitable. Well rounded lives take a lot of work, and if you’re anything like most of us, you’ve probably got one aspect that you really kick ass at (you’ve got a nice job and some money OR you’re truly happy in your hobbies, OR you’ve got a spiritual connection to animals or some shit, or whatever) some other aspects that just sort of come along for the ride effortlessly (you’re fastidious, or you have a circle of friends, or you just happen to be good looking so you get laid a lot) and then you’ve probably got a passion for relaxing every now and then, and that’s where the other part of your life (you know the one) comes into play. It’s atrophied. Your relationship with your daughter is in the shitter, you’re unemployable beyond being a barista, you’re fat as shit and it’s unhealthy, you haven’t been laid since the Clinton administration, you feel like your life is a soulless exercise in doing work for someone else and there’s no time for your own pursuits, or, again, whatever.
Make no mistake, everyone’s life is like this, man. It’s hard. It’s like exercising. You can have some sweet traps, but maybe you neglect your glutes, bro. Most people don’t have the time or the discipline to spend six hours a day in the gym and as a result, their toned arms are somewhat undermined by their fat ass, but hey! Toned arms are still something, right? And such is life. So, there’s a problem area here and there. Whatever man, we’re human beings. The only people on this world who have it all figured out are the most reprehensible shits on the planet. It’s that uncertainty and festering stink of potential failure that keeps you interesting. Without that, you’re puff daddy, and you know what people get when they approach puff daddy at a party? A big long speech about how puff daddy has it all figured out. sweet.
When I got my wisdom teeth pulled (go back to the entry from a few days ago entitled ‘brush yo toof’ if you need a recap) I bought the album “Buzz” by the band Fifteen as a way to pass the time, since for the first few days I couldn’t really do shit but lay there. I had never heard them before and picked up the record based on a recommendation from my friend Rob Kellenberger. Without being dramatic, let me say that there have been exactly three times in my life that I’ve put on records and just absolutely been blown away to the point that everything I thought about art and music changed. The first one was No Control by Bad Religion, the second one was How to Clean Everything by Propaghandi and then, finally, Buzz by Fifteen.
Suddenly, even the punk rock that I had previously thought was cool seemed square and dorky in comparison. These dudes did not give a FUCK, man. They played through PRACTICE AMPS! They were filthy, they had terrible sounding records, they were sloppy, the dude couldn’t sing, and they didn’t give a shit at ALL because they were passionate and the songs were great. They didn’t play to sold out rooms of three thousand people like Bad Religion or NoFx, they were playing in fucking kitchens of Moose Lodges to twenty kids who were practically crying because what this totally batshit crazy guy was barking was exactly what they were feeling and trying to say. It was a HUGE moment for me, honestly. One that would eventually lead to me quitting the band I was in, which suddenly, I no longer thought was cool, starting another band, and then starting yet another band. I still think that record is pretty great, although I’m not a fan of Fifteen’s whole catalog but one of the big BIG revelations from that moment is still sitting here with me, fifteen years later.
That day, I decided I didn’t want to be in a big band, I wanted to be in an IMPORTANT band. A band that made kids cry and get the words tattooed on themselves, and if we played for three hundred kids a night, that was perfect and if we just skated by under the radar, we’d always be awesome and that would be the best.
Well, hey! Check it out! Got my wish. And you know what? I really, really really wish I would have aimed a little higher. Not that I have any regrets regarding my band, but I didn’t realize the harsh reality of Peter Panning around the world for ten years back when I was deciding exactly how I wanted my life to go. Now I’m 32 with a kid and I’m noticing that tattoos on fans and two hundred fifty kids in Buffalo is cool, is GREAT, but it doesn’t exactly make for a cost effective way for me to live. I mean, I make a little money and that’s amazing. Living off art is the greatest feeling in the world, but I can’t live like a teenager forever. That sounds nice, but when you actually SEE an old guy cruising around the bars like a twenty one year old, living with roommates in some shitty whitewashed apartment, he just looks disgusting and deluded. I have some friends who never had a moment like I did with my Fifteen record and they play music for a living and they’re huge and some of them are still great at it, and some of them are terrible at it now…None of that matters. They’re able to do it for now, but they won’t be able to do it forever. And when THEY’RE done, fuck…they’re gonna be forty, maybe. Nice. You know how fucking TERRIBLE that would have to be? “Oh, I used to play to two thousand kids a day and ride around on a tourbus, now I’m an unpaid intern here at Expedia. Oh, and I’m forty. Wanna do some shots?” NO, dude! NO one wants to do shots with the forty year old intern, no matter who he used to play bass for. It’s gnarly.
Okay, so, this is reflective of my earlier point about all our lives being uneven, right? You all get the connection? Good. I’m going to the gym. I gotta work on my dick muscles.

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35 Responses to Someone came and punched her in the face

  1. myassisapipebomb says:

    dan hannahway ripped off jeff ott and did him little justice. i think you probably knew that too. but i think the broadways were better than fifteen, for what that’s worth. little ego trip never hurt anyone right?

  2. juventus1287 says:

    slapstick was an important band, so were the broadways. and thanks for the buffalo shout out.

  3. planespotting says:

    That same thing happened to me a few years ago when I heard the Nickelback song “photograph.”

    heyoooooooooh snap.

  4. Blair says:

    I was reading about how the Fifteen record changed your view on things, and I was just thinking to myself. Propagadhi’s “How to clean everything” did the same thing for me. then I kept reading and was so glad you share the feeling.

  5. simmons says:

    i totally have tla lyrics tattooed on me. one line from “Hey, What Time Is “Pensacola: Wings Of Gold” On Anyway?”

  6. FAskies says:

    wait, are you saying goodbye to music or am I just misinterpreting this?

  7. DrewJohnson says:

    Brendan, I know this won’t pay your bills or your child’s education, but for what it’s worth man, TLA is still hands down the most important band that’s ever entered my life. I was in 8th grade (7 years ago) when I heard Ghost Stories for the first time, and seriously opened up a whole other realm of punk rock for me. I grew up on the archetypes (op ivy, minor threat, nofx…etc) but when I heard the fucking straight up unfeigned and satiated emotion you guys were spilling, (hyperbole aside) it just opened my eyes to a whole other way of looking at punk. Dude, growing up I was exposed to so many “new” and “interesting” other genres of music that were cool, but it was you guys that always reminded me where my roots lay. I have bought every record by you dudes and continue to support you in anyway I am capable of… and there is no other way I would rather invest my money than into something that timelessly gives back!

    …ps: “Fifteen” was a fucking solid release!

  8. ty. says:

    I gotta agree with the guy above me. I was listening to silly punk rock for a majority of my teen years. The Queers, MTX, blink, just songs about girls. Which is fine! But the lawrence arms and hot water music changed my world. I know it’s selfish for us to beg you to keep touring when you have your own “grown up” life now, but at least know that everything that you, chris and neil have done, has MORE than mattered to lots and lots of people. Because of the Lawrence arms, I started a band and have been lucky enough to travel the world with some of my peers and heroes. So thank you so much!!

  9. Katie says:

    i’m glad you brought up the older guys cruising bars living with 10 other dudes in an apartment kinda deal…I’ve noticed how sad that is and thought the same but felt that i was being a prick. but yeah, from my experience in this world so far, it’s lame when you’re 30ish (I know, not too old, but old enough to not be working at a pizza place anymore and only care about beer money) with no ambition beyond getting wasted and doing fucking retarded things that hurt yourself or others, and not having an ounce of respect for anyone or anything…yeah not that I’m bitter or anything

  10. T.NERB says:

    dont break up. you’re band has had more of an influence on my life than any other band.. by far. a tour or two every couple years isn’t so bad. besides, our money isnt real anymore so theres no reason to chase after it. all the people who spent their lives slaving to acquire it, who are forty, are the ones who missed out on living.. not you. as bad as youd like to think it is being “old” in a rock band at times, just know that you cant buy the experiences youve had with all of the money in the world. i mean.. sure you could.. i guess with ALL the money in the world, but thats not the point.

  11. Karen@Women's says:

    new band for neil? you ranting about life and not wanting to be an old rocker? Oh no! I still haven’t seen you guys live and YOU are my band that I had the “oh my fucking god, all those other bands SUCK” moment with.

    So I dunno. Maybe I’m being too much of a fan and jumping to conclusions. I probably am. BUT, do what makes you happy but at least lemme see you play first. ha.

  12. Mikey says:

    new band for neil? you ranting about life and not wanting to be an old rocker? Oh no! I still haven’t seen you guys live and YOU are my band that I had the “oh my fucking god, all those other bands SUCK” moment with.

    So I dunno. Maybe I’m being too much of a fan and jumping to conclusions. I probably am. BUT, do what makes you happy but at least lemme see you play first. ha.

  13. Mikey says:

    sorry about that. apparently i made that comment under someone elses name. then i went to post it under mine. i went back to the other browser to delete the same post but that one had logged out.

    so, to make a short story long, i did it twice and i’ve now (unless someone else posted while I wrote this) have made 3 in a row. woops.

  14. Dan says:

    “The Greatest Story Every Told” is to me, what “Buzz” was to you.


    p.s. you can finally buy Old Style in Pittsburgh.

  15. apsymp says:

    Not to be a dick or anything, but if you want more money, how about you release a fucking CD, huh? That might do something. Whatever Brendan. Also, I really like TLA and ditto what everyone else said about you guys being my Fifteen. Yep.

  16. Buddy says:

    Great story about Buzz!! Awesome fucking record, and the first I ever heard from them as well. That actually made for a quasi-interesting experience when I got to see them at the Bowl (during the Take Action Tour in 99′), since they only played one song off of Buzz (food not bombs), and because I ignorantly didn’t know at the time that the gruff voice used in Buzz wasn’t actually his ‘real’ voice, or even the voice that is used on most of their songs.. it was actually really confusing during their set- so much so that I took the liberty after the show of asking their Bass player/merch guy where the singer with the gruff voice was at, and had the displeasure of finding out that the singer I had just seen with the whiney, nasally voice was the same singer as the gruff voiced guy- and was furthermore surprised to find out that he didn’t do that voice anymo’ because it hurt his voice. Really taught me a lesson about asking stupid, uneducated questions though.

    [I also vividly remember a bare-footed Jeff O. after the show, sitting in the grass across the street from Midas (Haas Park), surrounded by a handful of those crying hippy-punkers you talked about]

  17. Mike says:

    Fifteen was a huge inspiration of mine (Crimpshrine too), but did anyone ever get to a point with Fifteen where you were like, “Hey… uhhhh. This is making me uncomfortable”? Try listening to the lyrics “My mama got gang raped” in front of someone else. Thank you Jeff Ott.

  18. Candice says:

    i only discovered you guys a few years ago but you pretty much saved my life last october when some awful things happened so i hope you never ever stop.

  19. mommyimadeapoopy says:

    “I have some friends …. and they play music for a living and they’re huge…. and some of them are terrible at it now’

    lol alkaline trio.

    it saddens me to even say that though because ‘goddamnit’ was thhe important one for me,the one that blew me away in a way above all other music ive heard before then or since, and it sucks that they’ve sunken so low. i mean what the FUCK. how did the dude who wrote ‘san francisco’ and ‘clavicle’ write bullshit like ‘calling all skeletons’.

  20. Daniel says:

    The Broadways were one of those momentous bands for me, as were The Honor System; incidentally, once Propagandhi’s Potemkin City Limits finally hit me, so were they. I don’t know how you view your time in The Broadways but that band means a lot to me, even if I was about a decade late! It was good to hear you’re still friends with Dan, and to see Mike Park posting on his forum that he and Chris Carr were thinking about writing again. And of course, I hope to see TLA live some time, so play Scotland!

  21. FAskies says:


    It saddens me to see posts like this. Seriously Alkaline Trio has just changed their style, there not selling out there not trying to fuck over their fan base. Alkaline Trio is still good, just as good as they were before it;s just that 60% of punk fans are complete dumbasses who think they are original and cool cause their favourite bands all fit a cookie cutter sound. TLA has change their style, you ca deffinatly hear it on Greatest Story but I don’t see you talking shit (I am not saying that TGSET is a bad album its actually one of my favourites i’m just saying there is a noticeable difference. Anyways my 5 cents right there.

    BTW Neil is in a new band, and this. Is there something we need to know? Or is Neil just in a side project.

  22. Mikey says:

    hmmmm, i find new alkaline trio stuff pretty great too. i don’t know why everyone hates on agony and irony so much. it’s good music imo. and all the people i’ve showed it too have clinged to it.

    yeah, there’s my couple cents to for all the nothing it’s worth.

  23. Scott Juniper. says:

    honestly, the greatest story ever told was one of those records for me.

  24. Sickie27 says:

    1. I went to see Propagandhi last night (Sunday) and almost died/almost cried.
    2. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you which of your albums/songs made me feel funny because I’d feel awkward. But I guess I’m just letting you know something you created, did.
    3. I don’t have any friends at all to start a band with, but I probably should give it a shot, I think we’d make some people happy. I’d be more into trying to make a few films to change someones life. I just need the push and confidence to do it.

    Confidence, man. You’re right, it’s pretty key for life. You’re a wise man.

  25. Dave says:

    Bren, I understand what you are saying, but bro, you haven’t missed out on much.

    I covered this in a long -winded comment before, but if you had worked a 40 hour a week job and had TLA as a local band you would be kicking yourself now. Don’t get me wrong, a few parts of having a “real job” are nice – having health insurance and not having to borrow money from your parents, or live with 5 other people. But shit, Brendan. If Ghost Stories and No Division weren’t written I don’t think I would be here.

    I understand what you are saying, you don’t want to be 41 and working nights at a pizza joint, while you are trying to buy soccer cleats for your kid. But take it from somebody who has had many “real” jobs, you haven’t missed much.

    I don’t know Brendan, there are 20 million bands out there and 99% of them suck. You were lucky to be in one that made a real difference in peoples’ lives. Including mine. You should be happy with that. You didn’t make millions off the band thing. So what. If you had never been in bands don’t you think you would still be going through some of the same stuff you going through now – Trying to figure out how to be an adult without become some suburban yuppie bastard.

  26. 3 wisdom teeth says:

    such is life is right. Its amazing how life experience becomes life perspective and reflection. without the experience and desire at different points in time you don’t end up in the position to revisit with your understanding of what really went on.
    I enjoy reading your blog a great deal as a result of growing up with punk rock and skateboarding…both subcultures i felt had the same attitude at the point in time. i first listened to fifteen when i was fifteen and my family had just lost our house and i was homeless. needless to say, jeff ott seemed to have come along in my life just as husker du had for him in a song he wrote about being a scared homeless kid. although i had friends floors to sleep on it was still difficult but the perspective of the bands i was listening to saved my life…fifteen, propagandi, broadways, jawbreaker…so on and so on. I cant imagine what the fuck i would have done if at that point in my life i would have been listening to limp bizkit or creed, fuck, i woud probly have tribal tats and drive a lifted truck or some shit. not that those guys dont rip or anything..
    i guess my reason in blogging a comment on your blog and coming across halfway sentimental retard is that i feel in the cycle you come up alongside people that seem your on the same page with. i went to shows and rode a skateboard everyday for 15 years, few years ago i slowly transitioned into becoming a “real adult” mainly as a result of injuries, burn out and whatever happens when u get old that makes those lifestyles difficult to be engulfed in at some age or whatever. and after all those years, friends, cred or whatever…i can walk into a show or a skateshop and feel the whos this guy shit,! well, fuck, thats what i get for being the old guy on the ramp with a business guy haircut who looks like hes gone to the gym before.
    I still have friends that are all around 33 living in a skatehouse, or playing in bands(all of which I respect and enjoy, of course)…they seem half happy half bitter at this point, little burnt out. its sad to see it go but there are no longer super hot 21 year old chicks pouring into their house nightly, the shows are real small, and the sponsors for skateboarding have been gone so long if i actually brought up the last time my friends got some product i would have to take their shoe laces from them. Seems most of them do their heavy drinking after shitty jobs by themselves, not after shows, demos contests….and there are no cool kids/hot girls more happy endings.
    well, its apparent i should not start my own blog and i appologize if i seem like an asshole, but i agree with your position is all and thanks for the great music and writing.

    whats the saying, “time does heal all wounds, except when that wound is time”

  27. Jake Teufel says:

    Everyone’s basically saying the same thing but I figured I’d throw in my voice to the masses: You and the bands you are/were in are really important to me. I can only imagine how it must suck to start feeling older, looking at yourself, and realizing that by doing something you love honestly you won’t be able to live off it but if it’s worth anything you can at least know what you made was truly something special and meaningful. Plus, you know, you’ve done a lot for felching awareness.

  28. DutchDude says:

    TLA is by far my favorite band! Finally saved some money for my larry arms tatt. Your band is for me what like NOFX and shit was for you when you were younger. If you hadn’t tour that much in the past you won’t probably had this blog. All your great stories have in a way something to do with your life in a band.

    Make some albums with that creative mind of yours XD
    And some Falcon stuff too!

  29. tonedeff says:

    I love you (sorta) and your band (a lot).

    I say if you’re thinking about quiting, that you at least go out in style. One last mammoth tour/album. Tour the Euro and the US (where I am, aka ‘south’ florida).

    And if you end it all, thats cool, its your right, but at least do an acoustic country project, playing little bars in Chi-town.

    In other news, other then the suggestions waaay back at the beginning of your blog, what else is there to do in Chicago (you, know, things I MUST see).


  30. johnny tainted. says:

    hey bk –

    question: i quit college and pretty much all chances on a “carreer” to tour europe and the states with this band i work for, this year.
    i feel awesome, but work a shitty job now.

    you think i made the right choice?

  31. Andrew says:

    dude your band saved me from listening to nickelback and 50 cent for the rest of my life. for that i am forever grateful

  32. Andrew says:

    and to the guy above who was talking about alkaline trio:
    I respect that you have an opinion on the new record. And it’s fine if you don’t like it. But don’t hate on them just because they signed to a major label. Personally I still think their music sounds as great as it ever has. But that’s just my opinion.

    Now if you want to bring up a point about AFI….

  33. kylewagoner says:

    I’m seeing Propagandhi tomorrow and I’m excited as shit. Oh, and D4 and The Bouncing Souls the next day, but I’m more ready to watch Paddy get naked than watch The Bouncing Souls.

    And I thought it was more towards Rise Against being the terrible music-writers now and Alkaline Trio being the ones that still have it. Maybe that’s just me…

  34. Ryan says:

    Yeah Apathy and Exhaustion completely changed my life and opened me up to so much more. Then came along “greatest story”, unbelievable.

  35. dustin says:

    thanks for all the music you’ve ever been a part of. when i first heard tla seven years ago it changed what i thought music was capable of. even if you never release another song i’m happy to have all the rest.

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