Review: Common Rider

Common Rider
“This is Unity Music”
(Hopeless Records)

You can’t keep a good band alive. Just isnt possible. Look at Guns N Roses, one of the best rock bands in history and is currently being smothered by an aged, overweight Axl Rose, currently embarrassing himself in places like the MTV Video Awards. So what are band leaders to do, if they can’t hang on to the group? Joe Strummer of the Clash went on. Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys is uh, well, he talks about politics or some shit. Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy is back with a second release from his current outfit, Common Rider. Obviously, just like seeing a Strummer or Biafra show, you won’t find that original music that you grew up with. As much as I want to hear a complete extension of Op Ivy, it’s good to hear Jesse doing what he loves.

CR is basically the same Operation Ivy vocals (matured) with the same flow, aprehension, style and approach with a completely new band, and although it would be fun to see Lint back in the band (do they talk?) we all know Lint’s too busy running his little label (Hellcat) and porking young punks (Brody of Distillers). So what’s up with CR? Pretty decent songs. Again, initially hard to swallow because, fuck, this isn’t Operation Ivy.

Most of the twelve tracks are faily average in their upbeat, almost ska-ish tone, like “Small Pebble”, an excellent song, and also their ‘single’, as it has appeared on comp “Plea for Peace”. Speaking of, they’re on the Plea for Peace/Take Action tour. Yay! It’s a fairly diverse tour with bands hoping on and off, so check your local listings. Here in San Diego, CR is playing with Thursday, Poison the Well and others. CR is decent, upbeat peacefull music that’s replaced the rawness of Op Ivy with actual production, something that Op Ivy fans will magnify and initally freak out on, but true fans of Jesse’s vocals and lyrics will come around and pick this up. The others will not.