The Generators

State of the Nation

Signed to Warner Bros. in ’96, LA’s Schleprock barely flinched — they just refused to be cute enough to sell any records. When they got fired, singer Doug Dagger formed the Generators, whom, given the chance to appear in a beer ad, took payment in the form of a year’s supply of Corona.

If Dagger and crew didn’t have that rippin’ rock ‘n’ roll spirit, they never would’ve survived the big-time meat grinder. Call it chutzpah, soul, or cojones — for a band to navigate the pratfalls of corporate America and emerge with punk credibility unscathed, it needs a secret weapon. They lived to be signed by TKO, the SF-based indie that’s fast becoming the Oprah’s Book Club of straight-ahead punk. (“Oi!,” if you prefer — or even the refreshing parlance of the new millennium, “street rock.”)

Like any decent plate of meat and potatoes, the eight-song State of the Nation is every bit as tasty as the last, 2001’s Tyranny. And not least because Dagger knows how to turn an efficient phrase in a gruff, unaffected manner that matches attitudes with his band. From the pounding opener, “Go Away,” to “Hanoi ’68,” each of the eight tracks is a fireball of slashing guitars and clattering drums that blasts off the analogue master like a laxative for ProTools constipation. Its third song, “Tough as Nails,” is something that the kids’ll still be yelling for at the shows ten years from now. It’s an anthem to guideless endurance, with Chuck Berry riffs swaggering by at a tipsy pub-rock clip.

Purveyors of the more artsy batch of punk being scooped by the majors these days probably think this stuff is easy to play. Maybe they should try it — the result would sound like Tool doing Otis Redding. If any beer company were to use an “emo” band in a commercial it would only usher in the Apocalypse, after which, according to the Book of Revelation, Viacom International will reign over Earth for a thousand years and having any balls will be forbidden by law. So crack open a cold one and throw on the Generators while you still can.

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