The end of the world has been on people's minds lately, what with the Mayans apparently penciling in the apocalypse next year and the Rapture rain-checked for October of this 'un. That preoccupation with the end of the world is why we skipped straight to 'Doomsday Transmission" on the Wrongs Ones' new album, Deceiver (Cutthroat Records).
In most of their moments, the Wrong Ones are a textbook punk band. That's not meant as a knock against them, but what expectations you hold in your head when you're told that an album is a punk album will be met within standard parameters when you throw on Deceiver. True, it's a bit angrier than modern punk, and there is a curious lack of artistic difference in that sung vitriol.
When you listen to something like the Anarchitex's Digital Dark Age, as we just finished doing, you are usually aware of the difference between a song's literal meaning and the fact that it is likely just an artistic expression. From time to time on the full on chainsaw tracks from Deceiver, you wonder if that line between art and action might be just a bit perforated with the Wrong Ones. We're going to play it safe and not cut them off in traffic.
Maybe that hazy barrier between worlds real and worlds imagined is what makes "Doomsday Transmission" the stand out track from Deceiver. It's softer, more spoken, and ultimately emptier than the red-line production of the rest of the album. In that regard, it kind of calls to mind "Gimme Danger" from the Stooges' Raw Power, save that the Wrong Ones never turn up the volume.
Instead, they let the call echo out across the wasteland. They beep like an S.O.S. from a plane crash where everyone has long since ate each other. It's a haunting track that we just cannot get out of our head, and in the context of the album it serves as the brief silent interlude that will surely follow the violence of the world's end and the greater violence of the new world's birth. All of it will be bloody and loud, but the pause, the punctuation is what ultimately defines it.
We sat down with singer Jarrett Barger to ask him a bit about Deceiver.
Rocks Off: What makes The Wrong Ones different from other punk bands?
Jarrett Barger: Nothing much. We don't have to write punk, we choose to. It is the music we grew up on, and we like to stay true to ourselves when we can. If three chords turned up really loud can get the point across, then that is what we will use. If people still don't get it, no worries we have more chords, more sounds, more tools of the trade. Before it is over, we will use them all.
RO: Got to tell you, "Doomsday Transmission" may be one of our new favorite songs. What's the story behind it?
JB: Well there isn't one particular incident or story that the song comes from. It was inspired by a feeling I get often right before I go out at night and I know I'm going to do something bad, or get in to some kind of trouble and disgrace myself and my family. Like when I get on stage and air out my dirty laundry.
During the period when we were writing that song my life was really falling apart. People around me were dropping like flies. People I loved were running away from me trying to find some higher ground. I just wanted to create something, a sound that would help me sleep at night.
I can never sleep unless there is noise of some sort in the bedroom like a fan, fuzz on a television screen, or anything that hums loudly. I wanted that song to be something soothing amongst all the chaos, like sonic rain. In the end the song is about chasing desire and what it eventually lends to.
All journeys end in death, and there will be much pain along the way. Most people always lose. It is not a crime to lose, but like my probation officer always says "JARETT MAKE AN EFFORT!" It is better to realize that you may not ever get what you think you deserve, or what you think you want, but you will get what your suppose to.
It feels good to lie to oneself sometimes, you know? So you can get some sleep at night. Tell your self it's going to be ok while you're hell-bent on racing towards an early death. What I have learned for making music is that we are all static fuzz on the television screen, or on the radio in the end, just floating around waiting to be combined with other static and be pushed trough electric strings and through an amplifier.
All those which have passed are waiting to become a new song. I take solace in knowing there are millions of kids out there right now raising the dead.
RO: With the exception of "Doomsday Transmission," most of the album is a nonstop cursefest of anger and hate. What the hell are you so pissed off about, anyway?
JB: The unemployment rate X a $7 pack of cigarettes X a $4 gallon of gas X the value of the American dollar X my 99 cent TV dinner X teenagers driving brand new Cadillacs X my girlfriend nagging at me because I drink to much X I cant get another Vicodin = my life sucks.
I mean people walk around all day just eating shit, and it's like they don't even care. They just smile and say, "Thank you, sir." I would hope that we can all understand we don't have to take whatever the world gives us. We can make it our own.
If you don't like something you can say you don't like it, you can scream it, and we have the right to do so. I don't mind if people don't like this album, I don't mind if they hate it, or burn it! The Wrong Ones made it so we can listen to it. If others enjoy it, and if it makes them feel better then yes that makes me happy it has served its purpose.
But if they don't like it, it is not going to stop us. What I'm trying to say is you are angry, everyone is. You just don't want to think about. I do. You can't fix anything until you find the problem. I want kids of the world today to see that the torch has been passed. We are the leaders of the new free world.
RO: Most of the songs seem to come from the point of view that the apocalypse has already happened, and we're stuck living in it? Do you feel that's true, and the world is over?
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JB: Well the answer is no. Although there is a world ending, and for the better, my world starts July 3rd. There is always hope, and the kids know where it's at.
The Wrong Ones release Deceiver Sunday at Fitzgerald's with Hell City Kings and Secret Prostitutes.