Hey this is Pat from The Decline, we’re a skate-punk-ish band from Western Australia and we’ve been releasing music for like 10 years, we love touring, beers, the legend of Zelda, our pets, veggie food and punk rock. It’ll be hard to choose just three records that changed my life, but I’ll give it a go!
Blink-182 – Dude Ranch
I think for a lot of people Blink were probably the gateway band into punk rock, they definitely were for me. I heard the song Dammit before I heard the rest of the record. In year 8 music class at school we were learning a song on piano, and after class this kid was like “Do you know Dammit by Blink?” and showed me how to play the intro riff. I memorised it and learned it cause I thought it was so catchy, even though I’d never heard the song. I went home and downloaded it illegally off Kazaa and I really liked it. I’d heard the Enema stuff on the radio but hadn’t really connected with it like I did with Dammit. It just seemed really relatable. A few weeks later I found a copy of Dude Ranch at the local library and realising Dammit was on it I borrowed it immediately, and the whole thing blew my mind. It was fast and fun, but it was also melodic as hell, and it was funny and relatable. It was the first time I’d really listened to music where I could pick out an obvious, interesting guitar part that I might be able to learn, even though I’d never played guitar. I burned the CD to my computer so I could keep it forever and I asked my mum if I could borrow her acoustic guitar. I asked how to play a “C” note and taught myself how to play Dammit based on what I knew from piano lessons at school. It was slow at first but eventually I knew a few riffs. I got an electric guitar soon after and I started a band.
Descendents – Milo Goes To College
My all time favourite record, I think (I’ve got a few). By this time I was well and truly into punk rock, and I think that The Decline had almost started writing songs. I was 15, and a big NOFX and Bad Religion fan. I was at 78 Records in Perth, Western Australia in December 2005 looking for a copy of “How Could Hell Be Any Worse” by Bad Religion. From memory there was a copy of “Milo Goes To College” right next to it on the CD rack. I’d heard of Descendents from that NOFX song “13 Stitches” but had never listened to them. So I bought both CDs I think, and maybe a Distillers one too. Then I listened to the Descendents one non-stop and neglected the other CDs pretty hard. Back in the CD store it was the simplicity of the artwork which caught my eye, but now I was hearing the simplicity of the songs. They were so raw and authentic, and they had this unreal balance of melody and aggression or attitude. They were erratic in structure, but that was perfect for my teenage mind. The best part was the lyrics, they were all about not being cool, not fitting in, being an outcast – but not in a cool “I’m a punk with a mohawk” way, these guys were nerds, and they were unashamed nerds playing unashamed love songs with pop melodies, presented in this raw style. It was the authenticity which really got me. They weren’t trying to be anything else, which was probably the most punk rock thing ever. This album came out in 1982, Descendents pretty much wrote the book on punk rock.
Frenzal Rhomb – Sans Souci
This is the album that showed me you can sing punk rock with an Australian accent! I bought this album at the Subiaco Markets in Perth when I was 15 and it came with a free DVD of some music videos and live footage from the Big Day Out festival in ’03, it was awesome to see videos of an Australian band playing fast punk rock at an Aussie festival and seeing a crowd go crazy for it. Also, Frenzal looked like regular dudes you might see out in the community, they wore shorts and band t-shirts like we did. I’d already heard a few Frenzal records, (me and my mate Sam found his sister’s old copy of Not So Tough Now in the shed at his mum’s house the year before) but Sans Souci was this fast, melodic, musical masterpiece. The songs had this awesome relatable vibe of Australian suburbia, and I guess listening to 90% American punk bands at that time it was really refreshing but also it showed me what was possible in the musical setting where me and my mates lived, it was super relevant to us as Aussie kids who were interested in punk. Also the lyrics are hell funny, the songs are pretty complex musically but they’re still fast and catchy and fun. A year or so later some friends and I got tackled by security guards and kicked out of a music festival for jumping a fence to try and meet Jay Frenzal, we tried to sneak back in but got chased by security guards again and tried to swim across a river to get away. We got rescued by a boat and made up some lie about why we were in the middle of the river.
The Decline is a skate punk band from Perth, Australia.