Fuck. Here we go again.
I’m left deposited in the middle of some factories responsible for making commodities of some sort. Factories are enemies of the state. Enemies of my state of mind.
I was taken, without blindfold, to the practice space for Cincinnati’s newest reason for me to stay excited, Homemade Drugs, located in an area of the city I had witnessed countless times traversing the vile Queen City’s interstates during both northerly and southerly journeys alike throughout my entire career as a free-crime walker. But I couldn’t get to that sacred quadrant again if my life depended on it.
I read somewhere — and it has stuck with me since reading it — that modern society resembles a dystopian future to older generations as compared to their lives. And I believe that. I’m living the nightmare realized.
To find them, I was told to wait or follow the music I’d be hearing, the sound of the band warming up while my escort went back for a forgotten weapon — a guitar in the trunk of a borrowed vehicle adorned with Republican party bumper stickers as a disguise to fit in and assimilate into an oppressive environment. I was being tested. Instantly. I push onward to follow the music.
Nestled on the second floor of a factory in a back corner, Homemade Drugs’ room is filled with spare furniture arranged in a manner that suggested it was not being used or hadn’t been used in quite sometime. A Christmas tree sits lit up in the corner; it had to have been that way for at least a year or more because it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet when we meet. This Christmas tree doesn’t represent preparation; it represents a beautifully lit festive season of treason.
This Christmas tree is criminal. It represents a lackadaisical attitude toward society. It’s taking a certain moment and making that moment theirs.
I like it quite much. In fact, I appreciate the crime sentiments even if they are not fully realized.
In a room full of unwanted furniture and holiday decorations there is a subversive sound. There’s no longer the need to covet what was had during the “glory times” of London or Manchester Punk Rock or what was dually happening in New York or L.A. or anywhere else. Those moments are these moments right now. In this factory, following the music, walking in on a band I had never met previously. There is decadence, there is a struggle and there is something else happening. Moments are being built, and this time I’m going to grab hold of it and shake it until it offers nothing more.
Homemade Drugs are anti-heroes in a world without heroes. In a world where cameras are on every corner and your picture is taken up to 400 times a day in some places. In a world where a simple thought is dangerous and weaponized. Where crime becomes everyday life. Everyday life becomes criminal.
I am instantly humbled by Homemade Drugs from the moment I meet them. Their origin story — three personable childhood friends meet a grocery store worker who joins on drums and the rest is future history. No hoop and ha. No tryouts. It’s simple if you let it be simple. Four friends get together, play unforgettable music and become a unit that banters back and forth as if they are acting out a forgotten script to a missing episode of Bored To Death.
Sometime during our conversation, somewhere between writing an accidental joke, seeing a dead rat in a five-gallon bucket and smelling burning leaves, I realized something. Homemade Drugs’ scenario has been acted out countless times before around the world and will do so time and time again.
Homemade Drugs are in it to win it, all the way. Moving through life’s social insecurities and uneasiness, somewhere in that space, amongst the unwanted furniture, is a plan.
Homemade Drugs are grabbing their moment and not looking back, only ahead. Ahead to Saturday’s release of their self-titled, self-released 10-song album, recorded locally at the infamous Candyland Studios. Ahead to vinyl plans, which are forming nicely with Youngstown, Ohio’s Lion’s Care Recordings. Ahead to whatever happens.
Homemade Drugs’ album brings to mind local greats The Wolverton Brothers, Punk Rock pioneers The Fall, Wire or even earlier artists like Neu! and Can. The band recaptures the intensity of a moment and defines it, again for the here, now.
Homemade Drugs will test you as I was tested. You will move forward, move ahead or you will turn back.
HOMEMADE DRUGS’ release party is Saturday at Newport’s Southgate House Revival.