By 1988, Angst was a band with a honorable history. Formed in San Francisco, in 1980, Angst put out multiple albums on seminal punk label SST Records, including a couple that were produced by the label’s co-owner, Joe Carducci, making it reasonable to consider the group one of the signature acts of the pile-driving music house. When I got to my college radio station, I didn’t know any of that. All I knew is there was an album called Cry For Happy in rotation that had a striking drawing of roses on the front cover. I’m pretty sure I even pronounced the band name wrong about half the time I played them, opting for a softer “a” sound which made me sound either pretentious or like I was mocking pretension. It was neither. I was just dumb.
I’d like to think I learned of my error in understanding before my tenure at 90FM ended, since I know I returned to Cry For Happy periodically over those years. I’m worried that I didn’t, meaning any time I ventured to offer information beyond the basic band name and song title in my raps I may very well have announced my ignorance, talking about this great band that only came out with one album back in the late eighties and what ever happened to them anyway, huh? It’s possible, even likely, that the other Angst albums were in the station somewhere (the punk stacks seems a likely home for them) but my frantic self-education didn’t venture wide enough to discover them.
At least I now know a little more about them, including the whatever happened part. The group dissolved shortly after the release of Cry For Happy, officially calling it quits after a European tour. And I’m appreciative in a slightly different way when a track from Cry For Happy, such as “I Could Never Change Your Mind,” shuffles up on my iTunes. There’s nostalgia for my radio days, but even a touch of wistfulness over a time when I had loads to learn and the necessary material for proper lessons wasn’t a simple click or two away. The discovery process was different then, filled with mystery. Ultimately, I prefer the bounty of information that we have now (and envy those student programmers who can actually correct their uncertainty before opening the microphone), but I also miss the old days, when sometimes all I really had to parse a band’s history was whatever was printed on the record’s sleeves.
Listen or download –> Angst, “I Could Never Change Your Mind”
(Disclaimer: It appears to me that Cry For Happy is out of print as a physical object that can be procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said shop and the artist. I could be wrong. Those independent labels that have endured can sometimes surprise me with what they have in print and the unexpected avenues to get the music into fan’s hands. Regardless, I share this track here as a celebration of the band and its music, not as some way to swipe dollars from them. Therefore, I will gladly remove this MP3 from my little corner of the interweb if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)