Monday, December 8, 2008

Jake Jacobs Wigs Out

Dag Nasty with Peter Cortner at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

New DCXX contributor Jake Jacobs hits us with a piece he wrote a few years back on Dag's classic second album, sharing his personal coming of age with the record that seems to split people down the middle... -Gordo DCXX

The first time I heard Dag Nasty's Wig Out At Denko's album, I hated it.
It was 1987. The previous year, I had purchased and fallen in love with Dag Nasty's Can I Say LP, which is an extremely significant slab o' wax in my life both because of the music and lyrics as well as being the very first record that I ever purchased at Zed Records in Long Beach, California (the punk and hardcore record store of the day). Anyway, I had just turned 17 and gotten my driver's license that summer and some friends of mine and I were driving somewhere and listening to the title track off of Wig Out. I remember thinking to myself, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT??? Just one year earlier, Dag Nasty had released one of the best punk/hardcore records I'd ever heard in my life! How the hell could they have fallen off in ONE YEAR'S TIME? I placed the majority of the blame for the weak soundingness of Wig Out squarely on the shoulders of Peter Cortner (the singer on Wig Out who'd been recruited to replace Can I Say's singer, Dave Smalley) and quickly forgot about it.

Brian, Doug and Peter of Dag Nasty, Photo: Ken Salerno

Fast forward 4 years…

In 1991, Dischord Records very kindly released both Can I Say and Wig Out At Denko's on one CD at a very affordable price for me, at the time a 20 year old full time college student with a part time minimum wage job. I'd been waiting impatiently for 5 long years for Can I Say to be released on CD, so I purchased it shortly after it hit the racks. After listening to Can I Say a number of times, I decided to give Wig Out another try.

For some reason, I enjoyed Wig Out even more than Can I Say and began listening to it on a daily basis. In fact, to this day, whenever I listen to Wig Out, it makes me think about 1991 and what a fantastic time in my life that year was. Some of the highlights: hanging out with my brother Evan and my best friend Mike all the time, their band ICE playing their first real shows, seeing 411 (my all time favorite Orange County, California band) play live at least 5 or 6 times, seeing my good friend Joe do his first shows as the singer for Triggerman (another favorite local band of mine), getting a shout out for my 21st birthday at a show from Greg Brown (the singer in Blackspot, yet another favorite local band of mine), going out to eat at Denny's after all the shows, discovering Vinyl Solution in Huntington Beach and shopping there on a weekly basis – the list goes on. No other album brings all of those great memories back to me in vivid detail like Wig Out does.

Cortner belts it out, Photo: Ken Salerno

But it has ANOTHER very important significance in my life…

It was Monday, April 19th, 2004. Just two days before, I had taken the biggest step that I'd ever taken before in my then 33 year old life by marrying my wife Christy. With the very minor exception of the rain that came down during the ceremony (which was outside, natch), it was a beautiful wedding and definitely one of the best days of my entire life (if you want to feel like a celebrity for a day, get married). Anyway, I was still riding the wave of euphoria of having gotten married while I was in my car driving to work that Monday morning (because I was between jobs and working as a temp at the time, I couldn't take time off for a proper honeymoon that week). As is customary whenever I drive by myself anywhere, I reached into the cassette compartment in my car and popped the first cassette that I got my hand on into the tapedeck.

Brian Baker, Haagen Dazs and hair bleach, Photo: Ken Salerno

Which just so happened to be an album called Wig Out At Denko's by a band called Dag Nasty.

The first album that I listened to the weekend after my wedding day.

As I drove to work that morning with side A of Wig Out playing full blast in the tapedeck, I thought about two things and two things only:

1. I had just gotten married to the best girl in the entire world.
2. 1991 - the best year of my 20s.

Dag doing it at City Gardens, Cortner style, Photo: Ken Salerno


Guav said...

Cassette? What's this device you speak of?

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is jake jacobs?

Isaac Golub said...

Damn it Jake, I so wanted to talk shit and burn you on being a poser hanger-on, but you ended the story with that sweet thing about your wife and getting married (weird I never got an invite). Now bound by Bro-Law I am not able to burn you.... I'll get you next time you sneak. PS. Your favorite Dag Nasty record was Field Day, you admitted to me many times.... Don't front.

jbanks said...

Sometimes you get a little down when studying torts at a very conservative Catholic Law School in the middle of America. Then one snowy and gray day you open your mail and it's a picture of Jake hanging out with Henry Roillins. You put it on your door and look at it every day for the next 3 years and it fires you up every time.

Nice work Jake.

Jake said...

Guav - I didn't get a CD player in my car until January of 2007. Yes, I'm serious.

Nez - Field Day is a GREAT record. Everyone needs to go back and give that one another spin. I didn't think I'd be able to round up enough dudes for a hardcore table, so the only friend I invited was Chad, who sat at the bride and groom table.

Banks - thanks.

Guav said...

Damn, now that's old school, rocking a tape player til '07 ... wait a second, what's a CD player?


Anonymous said...

Everybody has hundreds of stories like this. What´s the point in here?


Pete Cortner is still my favorite Dag Nasty vocalist.

Anonymous said...

who is this guy? and why do i care about his opinion of wig out at denkos?

Joe said...

Well..if you want to play that card, then really who the hell are any of us? and why should anybody care about any of this silly non-sense we're talking about?

I liked the article personally, and think it would be cool if DC added more randoms commenting on whatever they want. Always keep in mind what made Hardcore so great for a lot of us was there never was a seperation between bands and the crowd. We were all in it together.

I do have one complaint though JAKE... your name is The Jake.. WTF? is Jake Jacobs? From now on and forever it should simply be The Jake.

Jake Jacobs said...

DC christened me Jake Jacobs. And to be perfectly honest, I quite like it. Of course if they prefer to call me The Jake, that's fine too.


To be honest, neither Tim nor myself really knew Jake until he sent us this story. We thought it was well written and enjoyable, and we had some great Salerno shots to go along with it. Jake seems like one of the good guys, so party on.

One thing about DCXX - we are fans first and foremost. We'd like to think this whole thing is fan driven and from a fan perspective. So, whether you are a random Jake, or even a random Tom, Dick, or Harry...if you have something to share, shoot it our way. Who knows, maybe we'll post it and someone will be dissing you in the comments section of your contribution.

-Gordo DCXX

Ben Edge said...

Can I Say gets better with each listen, Wig Out At Denko's gets worse with each listen. That said, I think every Dag album has good things about it, but Can I Say is the masterpiece.

Dave Smalley moving to Israel - WHY?

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