Man, you know you’re getting old when MDC has a “greatest hits” package out. Saw this band many a time back when I was young, bald and mad at the world (which means I’m somehow in a different place now that I’m mad at the world, old and destined to go bald), and while they always struck me as a little too uptight in the early days, they were never dull to watch. Their records were always an event, though, ‘cause not only did you get what at the time was some of the most punishing and musically complex hardcore (seem to remember that their guitarist was a major jazz hound, and it showed), you also got some heady reading in the liner notes, with all kinds of information about how the US government was keeping itself busy in other countries and how the police were here to protect the elite’s assets from being defiled by the riff raff that most of us common folks are, and recommended reading if you wanted to know more. Somewhere around the late ‘80s, though, they kinda dropped offa the radar screen, and I lost track of ‘em, although I did hear that some o’ the boys got pinched by the pigs and were spending some time locked up and “on vacation,” as they call it in the ‘hood, and saw that Dave was still releasing product now and then with a different lineup. So, this is the first time I’ve actually heard some o’ this stuff and I’ve gotta say, some of the newer stuff sharing the, uh, grooves (do CDs even HAVE grooves?) here with the early classics aren’t too shabby in their own right. Many of the newer tunes show Dave’s wry sense of humor coming to the forefront more often than in the early days, as evidenced in his sendoffs to two of punk’s most reviled figures, Ronald Reagan and Skrewdriver’s Ian Stuart (the title of the latter, “Nazis Shouldn’t Drive,” caused me to laugh out loud). If you’re looking for the “best” of MDC, all’s you need is their first album, the More Dead Cops LP (which compiles all their early EPs), and Smoke Signals (if two albums worth of MDC just ain’t enough). If you’re more interested in catching up to where the band are these days musically, this is the perfect place to start while waiting for the next release to hit the shelves.
–jimmy (Beer City)