I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard of the band Rancid, especially if you listened to alternative stations in the 90′s when they started hitting it big on the radio. I’m also willing to bet that some of you, though not nearly as many, have heard of Operation Ivy. To bring the rest of you up to speed, Operation Ivy was a short-lived late-80′s band that served as one of the major influences behind the punk revival of the 90′s and the ska-core movement. How does that relate to Rancid? Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman, two of the core members of Rancid, were two of the core members of Operation Ivy, with a man named Jesse Michaels at the helm.
Jesse Michaels dropped out of music for almost a decade when Operation Ivy disbanded, but when he made his return, he came back strong with Common Rider. Another unfortunately short-lived band, Common Rider spanned the millenium change with two full-length albums (Last Wave Rockers; This Is Unity Music), one EP (Thief in a Sleeping Town), and one split (with future TBBYNHO band Against All Authority). There are no Common Rider songs that I don’t like listening to; everything Jesse and the gang produced is just aural stimulation at its absolute best.
I first heard about Common Rider near the end of their run when a webcomic I frequented (and would still frequent, if only it would update on occasion) did a funny little piece about them. I went out and grabbed Last Wave Rockers immediately, and fell in love with what I heard.
In my opinion, Common Rider came out absolutely perfect. Operation Ivy was an excellent and influential band, and Rancid had a really good sound going up to and including their …And Out Come the Wolves album. Operation Ivy’s production quality was terrible, though (understandably), and Rancid turned…rancid (hurr hurr hurr). Common Rider is the absolute best thing that came out of Operation Ivy, including Operation Ivy, and that really is saying a lot.
As always, if there’s a band you’d like to see featured in the series, send me an email with the band name, a bit of history/backstory for the band, any experiences you’ve had with live shows or the band, where you first heard of them, and (if possible) links to some of their songs. I’ll edit it/put it together, and post it up with credit for the submission. I do, however, reserve the right to refuse any submission that I feel totally sucks. Hey, it’s my series, after all.