Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm Not A Loser

You're a fucking son-of-a-bitch
You arrogant asshole
Your pants are too tight
You fucking homo
You suck, Mr. Buttfuck
You don't belong here
No way! You're fucking gay
I'm not a loser!
- Descendents, I'm Not A Loser

I'm Not A Loser is by far the most covered song in the Descendents lexicon.
There are a couple of reasons for this. The song rocks. As far as hard fast loud Descendents songs go this one has to be near the top. The intro/verse riff just drips snot. It's an angry tune sung from a point of view that was a recurring one for Milo Goes To College, that of the sloppy working class outcast geek that girls in general aren't interested in.The other reason this song is probably covered so much is the shock/offensive factor.
Our protagonist starts the song out denying that he's a loser even if his clothes are a mess and he smells a little telling whomever is calling him a loser that they "can fuck off cuz I'm working sixty a week!" The song goes on for a couple of more verses to rail against rich kids doing drugs with interjections of the affirmative "I'm not a LOSER! That's right. I am not a LOSER!" before the final verse proceeds with what I like to think of as the meltdown.
The last verse, which I reproduced in it's entirety above has to be a big part of the song's appeal. All the frustration of trying to prove that you are worth a damn only to see the girl you like go out with a guy that you know is a scumbag, all the pent up frustration of being ridiculed by morons in high school who don't understand you, all the rage that a young person can have towards his or her job, love, parents, friends, society, Ronald McDonald, whoever, is exorcised in a profanity strewn salvo. Of course the Descendents weren't the first to go super blue lyrically, following the Sex Pistols' Bodies with it's "Fuck this and fuck that fuck it all and fuck the fucking brat" by at least five years. The Descendents, however, will always top the Sex Pistols as far as authenticity goes.
The big problem with this song and I know I might be accused of looking through post 90s PC goggles is the homophobia. Bill Stevenson has denied the song's homophobia on multiple occasions as just being the jargon used by all the meathead surfer punks in Southern California in the early 80s but it still is shocking to hear in such blatant terms. It's ugly. Then again, that shock value could be a main reason the song is so popular.

For the longest time I thought he said "you suck, let's buttfuck." I found this confusing.

The band I was in in high school, Complete Shock, would often borrow my grandparent's conversion van to take us and our equipment to shows throughout New Mexico. We affectionately called this van Mr Buttfuck, because you could pack all your shit in the back.

Teenagers are retarded.

Listen to I'm Not A Loser

Monday, July 14, 2008


This song was my introduction to the Descendents. My whole life listening to music can be separated into two eras: B.D. (Before Descendents) and A.D. (wait a sec...).
Before I heard this song I was a typical teenager in the mid 90s. My first concert and my favorite band was Metallica (saw em in August of 1994 before the haircuts) but I was finding myself more and more often listening to "Alternative Rock." I liked Nirvana after seeing them on Saturday Night Live after In Utero came out. This was mostly due to the fact that Dave Grohl beat the hell out of his drums with a fury that I found inspiring as a drummer who could hit hard but didn't have the technical reach of someone like Lars Ulrich (hahaha, if I only could see a couple years in the future).
I definitely was wooed by punk rock. I got the SPIN Guide to Alternative Music and it became my bible. When I would make it to Media Play with my paychecks from delivering flowers on the weekend I started mixing in the Ramones, Sex Pistols and Wire into my purchases alongside alt rock and rap faves like Smashing Pumpkins and Helmet and Snoop Dogg.
I couldn't fully commit myself to punk rock though, I thought musically it was just a little too much "sounds the same" or wasn't actually musical (this for some reason was a big deal to me when I was that age, again B.D.)
I also thought new punk rock was annoying mostly. I liked Green Day, Bad Religion Rancid and the Offspring but they were practically alternative rock. I found NOFX, Lagwagon, and most of the bands on Fat and Epitaph (what all of my punk rock friends were listening to) to be mostly lacking and couldn't figure out how someone could claim that Punk Rock saved their lives.
And then there was Milo.
My friend Roger and his friends Nik and Yuri were starting a punk band and they were looking for a drummer. Roger had made me a mix tape of punk rock songs they had thought about covering, so I could learn some songs that we could actually practice. The only songs that really stuck with me were Screeching Weasel's cover versions of The Ramones. I wasn't that into the tape but I did want to play music with someone and this seemed like it could be fun. So I jumped in.
One day before or after we had practiced, I don't really recall the details, we were going somewhere in Roger's truck. He popped in a tape of Milo Goes To College (I had read about this album, which had gotten a 10 and was one of Spin's top 100 alternative music albums, so I was excited to check it out).
The first thing I heard was Tony Lombardo's peppy caffeinated bassline, so far so good I thought and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Bill Stevenson's snare roll, Wipeout on speed, kicks in sync with Frank Navetta's surfy guitar joining in and I all of a sudden understood what all the hub bub was about. Before Descendents, I thought punk music was three chords with someone singing about anarchy or about sniffing glue or some other concept that I didn't have any personal stake in. This was different though. The music was fast, it was energy, it felt like it belonged to me. The lyrics, from what I could gather, were about a girl the singer has a crush on who probably didn't know he existed. This was something I knew a lot about. "She don't need no one" sang the chorus and by the second time it rolled along it was hard not to sing along.
Before this song was over my life had changed forever. For better or worse, I was a convert to the church of punk rock and I wanted more...

Listen to Myage