Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Poison Idea

Poison Idea is an aberration. Poison Idea should have been bigger than they were. They were marred by the lack of a sexy locale, a hypercompetitive era, and personal demons. Here is what needs to be said for Poison Idea's place in the pantheon of hardcore punk. Pig Champion is the greatest American hardcore guitarist of all time. Poison Idea's influence is what would shape the Burning Spirits sound in Japan to what it is today (i.e. one of the greatest hardcore scenes in the world owes itself to Poison Idea). The band was probably the first real "drug" band in hardcore. I say the first real drug band because no other band in hardcore's earliest days were defined by their drug use in the way Poison Idea was. The lyrics sounded like the ravings of a junkie because they actually were. The sound Poison Idea captured through Jerry A.'s lyrics and P.C.'s guitars is unrivaled.

Here is what else can be said for Poison Idea. They were from Portland, Oregon. Despite Portland's more recent fame as a counterculture mecca, it has never truly been given its due in the realm of hardcore punk. This is made more distressing by the fact that Portland has one of the proudest and staunchest hardcore traditions in the USA since the genre first made its rise in the early 1980s. Portland has put out more quality bands in the past decades than most of the country. It is tragic that the Portland scene is as overlooked as it is. If Poison Idea had been from Los Angeles or Boston or New York, they would be in the same breath as Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Bad Brains and in the mainstream discussion of 'punk'.

The second problem was obviously the drugs. No other band of their day had been crippled by drugs in the way that Poison Idea had. That is not to say other bands don't do drugs, but let me be clear... there are two drug discussions. If you smoke weed regularly, drink a lot, and even dabble in coke. Okay fine, but no offense, who hasn't? The second drug discussion is when you get into stuff like heroin. No drug has a more debilitating effect on a person's functioning at all levels. Mentally, physically, and socially. Poison Idea mainlined heroin. The drug is interwoven into Poison Idea's mythology. You can't have a Poison Idea discussion without making a wisecrack about heroin. The band's demons led to a revolving door of personnel over the years. Despite this fact that would end most bands, Poison Idea soldiered on and don't actually have a bad record to their name. Included is all of their records. This stuff is essential. Feel The Darkness needs to be in your top 10 hardcore albums of all time. Pig's guitar work is some of the best you will ever hear in the genre. RIP P.C.


1 comment:

  1. I remember driving cross country and ending up in Portland, skating Burnside for the first time,fuckin' unreal and later that same night going to see Dystopia and low and behold Pig Champion was there,sittin' down at the bar(for the whole night). I was so stoked, him just being at the show seemed to make my Portland trip complete. For all this midwestern mofo new about Portland was Poison Idea and Burnside.