Gang Green – “Another Wasted Night”

Another Wasted Night, the 1986 LP by the East Coast punk outfit Gang Green, is one of the early hardcore punk classics.  I was pretty excited when I ran across this at my local used record store Vortex last weekend as part of a smile pile of great punk titles, and while the vinyl looked well loved and heavily played, it sounded solid and the pops and clicks seemed to add a little to the old school DIY feel.  And at $2.50 it was a bargain.

Gang Green went through a number of iterations over the years, and Another Wasted Night originated from the band’s first reincarnation following its 1984 breakup.  Vocalist Chris Doherty is the one common element over the years, and the roster of former members is long enough that the band can be viewed as whoever Doherty happens to be playing and drinking with at the time.  But with his singing talent you can see why the band has hung around the punk scene so long and so influentially (“Last Chance” sounds so much like a Mudhoney song it’s scary).

Another Wasted Night is certainly fast, though not nearly so fast as what hardcore later became – and that middle ground is a perfect sweet spot of speed, sneering, and Budweiser (a picture of a Budweiser semi trailer is on the jacket reverse along side the photos of the band members).  This is a band, after all, that brings you tracks like “Another Wasted Night” and the simply titled boozing anthem “Alcohol.”  They sing about drinking and skateboarding and drinking and anger and drinking, but still found the space on the album to also do a brilliant cover of ‘Til Tuesday’s new wave pop hit “Voices Carry,” made all the more impressive by the fact they didn’t play it at a fast hardcore pace but instead kept it relatively close to its original length.  It’s a great version of the song done without synthesizers, giving it a march darker and my anguished feel.

You’ve got the beer,
We’ve got the time,
You’ve got the coke,
Gimmie a lime. 

No doubt about it,
Can’t live without it.
No doubt about it,
Can’t live without it.
Alcohol!
— “Alcohol” 

At eight songs and just over 16 minutes, this is pure punk rock at its finest.  CD and import vinyl versions of Another Wasted Night contain various extra tracks, though the original label Taang! Records continues to limit its vinyl re-releases to the original eight, which is fitting.  I know it’s a short record, but it’s supposed to be.  It’s hardcore.  It’s punk rock.  These aren’t ballads and there aren’t any self-indulgent solos.  It’s about as close to pure as you can get.