In the blackness of my despair during my time in Oakland, I felt unappreciated, worthless, and alienated. I am not fond of how I felt during those days or proud of my inability to bring myself out of that darkness. My friend John didn’t live with us long, but I liked having him around. John had a sensibility and a presence of mind about him that was refreshing amongst all of my bro-punk roommates. He brought me breakfast in bed on my birthday. Steph bought me beer, beef jerky, and gave me a stupid-looking bear she won in the claw machine on the first night we hung out. She cut a lock of her dreads and stuck it in a hole she cut in the bear’s ass to give it a bit of style. Corrina managed to scam food stamps even though she didn’t live in Oakland. She spent most of them on my house for letting her stay for a while. She got a kick out of buying us a set of Pez dispensers featuring all of the princesses and girls of Disney movies displayed in a cardboard case, because it could be purchased on stamps as a food item. John left Oakland after about three months to be closer to his family and friends in New Orleans. There he walked in on his own burglary and got shot in the head. Steph lived with him in New Orleans and came home that night to flashing blue and red lights. She never wanted to be in New Orleans, but wore a bracelet around her ankle that would send her to jail if she left. She did leave, though. She turned on the gas in her home and checked out. Corrina would move to New Orleans and start a band. A band called Crackbox, a band I would rave about after getting their first 7” to review for this fanzine by sheer luck of the draw. I was floored by the vigor, soul, and integrity of the songs. This time, maybe not so much by coincidence, Razorcake sent me their second record, Couldn’t Get Worse, to review. I pulled out the lyric sheet to see Corrina’s photo-realistic drawing of Steph and John together and smiling. Playing the record I heard songs written about friends dying and being sad about it. I heard songs about the struggle to keep living and to keep fighting. Songs about resistance in a broken world. Songs about loss and damage and gritty hope. It was the best damned punk record ever made and if there’s anything else about it you want to know, you can fuck off.
–Craven (Self-released, [email protected])