There are few men on today’s punk scene who can compare with Roger Miret. He has been a force to be reckoned with, and a writing machine, since forming the NY hardcore band Agnostic Front in the early 1980s. His work has always been inspired, passionate, fiery and his fourth album, Gotta Get Up Now, set for release January 25, 2011 on People Like You records, with his “other” band, the Disasters, has proven once more that Roger Miret is, without doubt, the epitome of punk musicians.
For those familiar with the groundbreaking and volatile history of Agnostic Front, one of the first of the New York City hardcore punk bands and one of the bands embraced and beloved by CBGB’s Hilly Kristal, there might be an expectation that the Disasters would follow similarly, the bruising, confrontational, working class ideal that was created and maintained over decades by their apotheosized leader, Roger Miret. Yet that assumption would quickly be dashed by anyone who understood, even moderately, the true musical brilliance and passion that has made Roger Miret one of the most prolific, influential and versatile songwriters to emerge from Gotham’s mean streets.
For all the ways that the Disasters are nothing like Agnostic Front, there are just as many connections that they share, mainly in their devotion to the punk tradition, their reverence of those who inspired them and the passion and energy of their delivery. In a world where punk has become a commercial enterprise, the Disasters are one of the few bands who can still hold the title with any sort of street integrity. They aren’t worried about being cool or being popular—and that is exactly what makes them so. They embody the punk attitude that is so sorely missing in punk music today. They don’t need you to like them; they don’t expect you to get them. They just want to get their message, their thoughts, out there as they always have—through their music—and they don’t care whether you approve of them or what they have to say. Odd as the idea has ever been, that is exactly why people admire Roger Miret: he is the voice of the rebel inside us all.
Never one to sheathe his message in “double entendres” and fuckwittery, Roger Miret’s songwriting on Gotta Get Up Now is simple, succinct and pointed. Songs like the album’s opener “Stand Up and Fight,” “The Enemy,” “Red, White and Blue” and the first release from Gotta Get Up Now, “We’re Gonna Find a Way,” are the type of emblazoned, fiery anthems of unity that can rarely be created, or trusted, outside of the old punk brigade. They epitomize the provocative spirit that was born in the UK with bands like The Clash and the Sex Pistols and which flourished unchecked once it found its way across the pond and into the streets, the alleyways and eventually into the hearts of America’s defiant, rebellious youth. Such anthems lack the credibility to move anyone to action when delivered by pseudo-punk pop stars. Only men who have spent their lives playing for the next gig, saying what they mean and with enough conviction to fight for what they believe in, can deliver that sort of anthem of defiance and make you feel it.
But it is the music and the overall message on Gotta Get Up Now that makes this album so unique. It is, in total, an album that reaches back into punk’s history and pulls from it the very best of its kind. It pays homage to the past and to the personal memories of one of New York hardcore’s most celebrated warriors, Miret himself. On songs like “Tales of a Short Haired Boy,” “My Own Way,” “Bare – Knuckle Brawler” and “City Soldiers” he tells the story of his life in the hardcore, skinhead world of New York City, of all that influenced and drove him.
That history is celebrated directly in “Outcast Youth” in which he tells the story of his beginning in hardcore, mentioning the skinheads, getting arrested, beaten in the streets, starting the band Agnostic Front and finding a home at CBGBs. Most amazing of all is the music that he has set his story to; some of the fastest, most flagrant, authentic punk music I’ve heard in years. One of my favorite songs on the album, “Outcast Youth” explores Miret and Agnostic Front’s history in around two and half minutes.
Particularly impressive is the fact that most of the songs on Gotta Get Up Now clock in at a hardcore one-and-a-half to two minutes. Absolutely beautiful! Fast, hard… and get the fuck out: that’s how punk songs were meant to be played.
My favorite tracks on Gotta Get Up Now, though none would I consider a “throw away,” are “Faded,” “Tonight’s the Night,” “Road to Nowhere” and the title track, as well as the aforementioned “Outcast Youth.” They all have that distinct hardcore sound that distinguishes East Coast punk bands from the rest of the pack, usually only found in bands like Bad Brains, Danzig-era Misfits, Dropkick Murphys and Sick of It All.
The album wraps with “JR,” a psychobilly, cowpunk ballad obviously written for Roger Miret’s daughters; a step away from the hardcore on the rest of the album, but a charming reminder of country music influenced punks like The Cramps.
Several times whilst writing I put Gotta Get Up Now on autoplay and just let it go. This is truly a monumental album for Roger Miret and the Disasters. It is destined to become a punk classic. It wasn’t long before Miret’s words, and the music he set them to, had me digging through my CD and cassette collections to pull out the old classics. The Clash, The Ramones, Dead Boys, The Cramps, UK Subs, Circle Jerks, Subhumans and Buzzcocks: Gotta Get Up Now by Roger Miret and the Disasters found a perfect home amongst them.
“We’re Gonna Find a Way” from Gotta Get Up Now
Listen to the full version on MySpace.com/Disasters
ROGER MIRET AND THE DISASTERS:
Roger Miret – Vocals
Rhys Kill – Guitar/Vocals
Randy Rost – Vocals/Guitar
Roy Valencia – Bass/Vocals
Pete Sosa – Drums
Gotta Get Up Now was produced by former Disasters member Johnny Rioux who is currently with Street Dogs.
Record Label: People Like You
Gotta Get Up Now track listing:
01. Stand Up And Fight (02:00)
02. The Enemy (02:10)
03. We’re Gonna Find A Way (03:14)
04. Faded (01:26)
05. Gotta Get Up Now (03:49)
06. My Own Way (02:21)
07. Outcast Youth (02:36)
08. Tales Of A Short Haired Boy (01:33)
09. Tonight’s The Night (01:36)
10. Bare-Knuckle Brawler (02:29)
11. Red White And Blue (01:44)
12. Road To Nowhere (02:43)
13. City Soldiers (01:39)
14. JR (02:15)
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