In the Spotlight: Roadside Bombs – Bring ‘Em Home
by Mat Weir
Oi? Oi. Oi! In 2014, this is how my friends and I greet each other in one way or another. Yet, once upon a time, “Oi” was the snarled cry of skinheads and boot boys drinking the night away at working class punk shows around the world, but don’t tell that to Santa Rosa’s Roadside Bombs. With members consisting of Sonoma punk scene vets (forming from previous NorCal legendary bands like The Randumbs, the Bodies and The Feelers), they don’t know any other way than true, red-blooded American punk and by God, they do it well.
Thanks to the people at Chapter 11 Records (which vocalist, Ben Coleman is a co-owner of), the Roadside Bombs’ debut album, My Side of Town, will be released later this month on CD and Bandcamp. Unfortunately, the vinyl pressing won’t be released until next month, no thanks to Jack White’s last album taking priority at the pressing plants and delaying everything else in another reason to hate hipsters.
So, while I patiently wait for the LP and put voodoo curses on Mr. White, I thought you all needed some schooling on the Roadside Bombs’ first EP, Bring ‘Em Home.
A four-song punch to the jaw, I must admit the EP surprised me at first. With the band’s name and a cover of U.S. military personnel, I was expecting your typical conservative, skinhead politics. I figured there would be a song about work, a song about sticking together with your boys and a couple macho, “America: love it or leave it and let’s blow up the people ‘over there’” tunes.
Instead, the title track is two and a half minutes of pure punk with Coleman singing “There’s no shame, it’s time to go/and there’s no shame now, let’s bring ‘em home” in an (almost) anti-war message. The second track, “Tax Revolution” is similar in that while technically it’s based in conservative ideology, in 2014 the idea of revolutionizing the tax system is increasingly liberal. “One Two,” the last song on the EP, is my favorite because it’s another example of the Roadside Bombs writing outside the Oi box. In a world of misogyny and more-macho-than-thou-bullshit, “One Two” is an anti-rape culture song about men who call women whores when their sexual advances are rejected–something women face on a daily basis, unfortunately.
Arguably, the only cliché skinhead track on the EP is “My Side of Town,” about people talking shit in your neighborhood. However, the Bombs skillfully maneuver around the young man’s game of “We’ll kick your ass, boots & blades, blah blah blah” and instead show these actions for what they are: just a bunch of young kids trying to make a name for themselves without respecting the generation before them. It’s not gratuitous violence, it’s honor.
As always, Bring ‘Em Home is available at Streetlight Records, proudly displayed in our new, Chapter 11 Records section in the 7-inch bin. Or, you can check out the Chapter 11 website to find more by the Roadside Bombs, Stellar Corpses, Randumbs, Rile 9 and more.
If you’re really yearning for that sweet ol’ punk rock music, check out the Roadside Bombs and He Who Cannot Be Named on Oct 19th at the Fireside Lounge in Alameda. In the meantime, I’m going to keep spinning Bring ‘Em Home. I think I finally figured out the right combination of needles in this Jack White doll. . .Oy vey.