I lived in the Bay Area off and on during 2002 and 2003. For the most part, I lived in San Francisco (and specifically, the Mission District), either in attics, makeshift rooms or a van. Back then, the city was recovering from the dot com crash of the early 00's and sometimes it felt like anything was possible. A lot of other times, it felt crushingly depressing. I played in some bands (ALLERGIC TO BULLSHIT and SHOTWELL) and they were fun, but many times I felt like an outsider in the larger punk scene. I never really felt connected to much and it's one of the many reasons I left.
Five years later, after getting shot, playing in other bands and living in a tiny college town, I returned and still felt disconnected in many ways. One of the first punk shows I went to after getting back here was QUESTION in the basement of Thrillhouse Records. The dank basement with it's musty smell, moldy walls, makeshift screenprinting set-up, and stacks of weird shit that no one loves anymore instantly made me feel at home. Like any other place, it has its faults, but unlike many other places, Thrillhouse has never tried to hide them. I think it's important to have public spaces where people can just hang out, especially in a rapidly changing and increasingly unfriendly city like San Francisco. Maybe you don't wanna hang out in a dank ass record store. That's fine. I do..and when I go there, there's usually someone there worth talking to for a while.
I'm getting off track. I'm not even sure if there's a point. I think what I was trying to get at is that the more time I spent here, the more that I felt like I was part of a supportive community. I still feel like an outsider most of the time, but that's my problem. In an area that is so vast and so full of creative individuals, I've rarely encountered people who are not supportive of the punks around them. I don't really know too many people who are driven by their ego....at least in the scenes I'm involved in. It's refreshing to see when this city is quickly transforming into a nightmare tech world.
This tape comp was put out earlier in the year and provides an excellent cross section of great bands from the Bay Area. Some of the bands (NEON PISS, INDEX, HUNTING PARTY, HUFF STUFF MAGAZINE) have already called it quits (last show for TRUE MUTANTS this Saturday) but many are still going strong.
Long story short: I still like the Bay Area. With all of its faults, I still don't know where else I would live in the world if given the chance. This compilation is excellent. I like most every song on here, but the HUFF STUFF song is the one that really gets me. You can still order physical copies of the tape from Thrillhouse, Fully Intercoastal or Remote Outposts Analog (although I had nothing to do with putting this out...besides writing some of the insert). Stay Punk Tapes also helped put this out, but they are sold out of their copies.