Before You Were Punk: Glenn Barrington (!Attention!)

Welcome to Before You Were Punk, an interview feature here on Punks in Vegas where we ask your favorite musicians and music biz aficionados one simple question: what made you the music fan you are today?

This installment comes from Glenn Barrington, from the Toronto, ON gruff pop punkers !Attention! Find out how his weekly allowance funded his love for punk music.

In grade 5, my best friend Blake’s older sister gave me a tape with Offspring’s “Smash” and Green Day’s “Dookie” on either side and I used to listen to that shit constantly.  It’s funny how the next year they weren’t cool anymore in my school and I put it away for a little over a year. Then in grade 7, the first year of jr high school, my same friend told me about this band Blink 182 that he had seen a video for on MuchMusic. After hearing “dammit” for the first time and thinking it was the fastest song I’d heard to date, I quickly went rooting through my 12-year-old bedroom, full of toys and posters from scary movies to find that tape I discarded so hastily only a year prior. From there on, it became an obsession to try and hear every band with fast punk beats I could cram into my ears.

Every Friday I used to get an allowance of $10 for doing random tasks around the house that at the time seemed like the most tedious shit ever (vacuum, dust , rake, mow). On weekends my friend Blake and I would get a ride to the mall and spend our allowance on CDs. Sometimes I’d save my money for a week or two to buy a full-length, and sometimes I’d spend that fresh 10 on a compilation. Now, since that was back before you could instantly check out any band you want from anywhere in the world via the internet, compilation CDs were the only way we heard of new bands.  To this day I can remember what CD I bought and what CD my friend Blake bought at the same time. I remember picking up a copy of Gob’s “Too Late…No Friends” the same time he bought Pennywise’s “Full Circle” or the first time we both listened to Descendents, Lagwagon, NOFX, and Pulley sitting in his bedroom and reading along with the lyrics.

The other thing I really owe a lot to while growing up was a strong local music scene with a lot of older bands to look up to.  Despite being fairly isolated, our scene was pretty active with shows and festivals, and an amazing level of acceptance that “anything goes” when it comes to style. As well, a decent amount of touring bands passed through when Cape Breton Nova Scotia was still a relatively “un-tapped” place to play.   Playing in punk bands and being into punk rock in those days was the reason for meeting some of my longest and best friends to date. Three of the four members of !ATTENTION! (Nathan – Bass, Jono – Guitar, and myself) grew up playing in an assortment of all different kinds of bands throughout high school and early days of University.

However, the most revelatory moments in my teenage years with punk rock were hearing music that Nathan and I would describe as bands that “play at 11,” as well as bands that deviated from the fast, straight-ahead skate punk that I was raised on. Game-changers for me were the first time I heard Piebald seamlessly transition through time changes with both angular and catchy guitar riffs, or the first time I heard Satanic Surfers and found out that not only was the drumming the fastest punk drumming I’d ever heard, but that the same dude was also the lead singer.

It’s always difficult to get into these kinds of conversations about punk rock and who influenced you the most growing up, or “If you were stranded on a desert island what 10 records would you bring with you?”  You always feel like you’ve only scratched the surface. It’s impossible to compactly explain the variety of ways punk music provided influence and experience for the different members of any band.  Simply put, however, if I never got into punk rock I would have never had the chance to do all the amazing things that I’ve done to date.  And for everything I’ve done, there’s a particular album by a specific band that provides the perfect soundtrack.

-!Attention! released their latest EP “Another Year” in 2011, which you can get for only $5 from their bandcamp page.

About the author  ⁄ Ashleigh Matview

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