T-Shirt Tuesday #6 - Gorilla Biscuits

For over 2 decades I have been moving band t-shirts from apartment to apartment, and now to the basement of my house. I’ve said for years that I want to make a punk rock quilt out of them. What’s more punk than a quilt? I don’t know how to quilt, so until I learn I will be posting pix of these vintage gems and remembering when. I will call this series T-Shirt Tuesday.

T-Shirt Tuesday #6 – Gorilla Biscuits

Tomorrow night I’m going to see Samiam in Boston, Walter Schreifels is opening up solo. When I was digging thru my pile of t-shirts for this post, I saw this gem and thought it was fitting.

There are 3 records that have opening notes, chords and lyrics that instantly transport me back to the summers of 1989 and 90; summers when I would skate every waking hour I wasn't working my part time job and I would spend everything I made on records.  These records are: Operation Ivy’s ‘Energy’, Fugazi’s first EP and Gorilla Biscuits ‘Start Today. Each record begins differently, but they all have this quality of “what you’re about to hear is different from anything you’ve ever heard.” These records were written at a time when there were no song writing formulas, bands were experimenting with sounds and rhythms and if that meant staring a hardcore record with a trumpet, that’s what was done. If it meant a harmonica solo in 'Start Today', let’s try it.

What was it about this band that made them special? Why did they stand out in an ocean of other great bands from New York that were all putting out solid records in the late 80’s? Here’s what I think,  Gorilla Biscuits seemed to be having more fun than alot of other NYHC bands, musically and lyrically. More importantly, they were super positive without being preachy like so many of the contemporaries.  It was like they walked this magical line between the struggles and issues the other NYHC bands were singing about and my teenage, straight edge suburban life, doing it all without alienating listeners who didn’t subscribe 100% to the straight edge subculture.

So, I have a couple stories involving the Gorilla Biscuits. The first one involves a matinee show at Babyhead when the lights went out and the everyone kept sing along to ‘Start Today’ when all the instruments cut out. I was not at that show. End of story.

The second story involves seeing the Gorilla Biscuits “re-union” tour at the Worcester Palladium in 2006. There’s no way to be kind about this, it was awful. I think it was early on in the tour and they were working thru songs they had not played in a VERY long time. The epic trumpet intro that starts the record was awkwardly played thru an ipod and the recording of the first chord of ‘new direction’ bled thru the PA before Walter strummed it out.

I did make my way up front for a few songs, to see what had changed since the last time I was up front at a show. I got kicked in the face and had to go to work the next day with a black eye.

Here’s ‘New Direction’, reminding us to have fun with music -

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