When Larry Livermore tweeted that Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day approached him with an offer "I couldn't refuse" last September, Green Day fans all over the Internet were buzzing with excitement over rumors and conjecture on what exactly Billie Joe's offer was and how Livermore would be involved. After several weeks of sadistic teasing and hints, the speculation was finally put to rest and The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore, a compilation album of the best bands in modern punk rock was announced.
After two decades of insisting he had left the music business for good, Livermore was sucked back into it in the most profound way. Co-founder of the now defunct Lookout! Records, the record label home to early Green Day, Operation Ivy and Screeching Weasel, among others, Livermore is largely recognized as the man who discovered Green Day and revered as an icon in the punk music scene.
In a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Lookout! 1988 compilation album The Thing That Ate Floyd, an eclectic mix of the best in alternative and indie-rock of old, today's "Thing" is a sixteen-track package of pure pop-punk rock perfection wrapped in both old-school and modern styles presented by new and emerging bands hand-picked by Livermore himself and released through Adeline Records.
Though he'd been out of the industry a while, the one thing that can be said about this album is Larry Livermore has not lost his touch.
Okay, maybe there are two things: Be ready to dance, because from the very first song, "Walking Distance" by Dear Landlord, the heart races, the head moves, and images of slamming into people in the pit in front of a stage, any stage, fly through the mind.
It's one high energy song after another until the last song ends and the repeat button starts it all over again; and throughout is the perfectly timed smattering of something special, like "Business Papers" by the Dopamines, immediately conjuring visions of orgasmic nostalgic bliss in Sid Vicious t-shirts and black eyeliner on the romantic, brooding face of a poet.
And then there is The Max Levine Ensemble with their song "Anthem for a New Morning-After." With lyrics after my own heart, this song's hard and fast beat guarantees a wild ride through what a girl really wants, breaking the stereotypes with brutal honesty.
"Me and My Dad" by The Hextails gifts the listener with the biggest contradiction on the album, lyrics of the disturbing reality of a dysfunctional, abusive relationship set to an ironic, funny, upbeat tone and energetic beat. A song that can easily fit in with a movie soundtrack or mainstream radio, this has all the makings of a band to watch for future success.
Comprised of California all-American teenagers, Emily's Army plays with a talent beyond their years, easily earning a spot at the table with the more experienced bands. From the seriously cool guitar riff, to the snotty vocals, to the drum beat that keeps everything moving, "Good Looks" has all the right elements of a hit song entirely at home on both the punk underground and the mainstream.
And those are just a sample of what's sure to be one of this summer's hottest albums. Asked if he thought this record release through Adeline within months of the much-anticipated releases of Green Day's recently announced album trilogy was a harbinger of the possibility of a 1990s-like punk rock explosion into the mainstream, Livermore mused, "Actually, no, I don't. Of course to put that in context, I didn't anticipate the full scope of what happened in the mid-90s either."
With this triumphant return to his punk rock roots, the burning question on everyone's mind is whether or not this is the beginning of a Larry Livermore return to the music business. Focused primarily on the projected release in September 2012 of his new book Spy Rock Memories, he replied "... my gut feeling is, yes, if I could do further work at this level, basically A&R, and/or helping to produce and promote some deserving bands, I think I could do that, in fact might thoroughly enjoy that," but he insists his writing, with an additional memoir and novel in the works, will come first.
Here's hoping he decides to juggle both.
"Good Looks" by Emily's Army from The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore:
Adeline Records official music video release of "Business Papers" by The Dopamines from The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore: