5 Albums That Remind Me of High School by Laura Pleasants (Kylesa)

Danzig: 3 How the Gods KillI think this came out right before I entered high school, but it was a main stay in my CD player throughout the 4 years. I was completely obsessed with Danzig, Samhain and Misfits. I loved it all and listened to this stuff constantly. I think this is probably my favorite Danzig album as it showcases their best work. The intro song “Godless” is sheer rocking power, and Chuck Biscuits’ drumming here is a prefect example of how to rock. In fact, all the songs on this record are great. I went to a Christian high school and wore my Lucifuge shirt almost every day (the one with the skull and the upside down cross). That shirt and combat boots…. How the Gods KILL!

Fugazi: In On The Kill Taker
I am a huge Fugazi fan. I remember anxiously waiting for this record to come out. I believe I bought it the day it came out, and I studied the liner notes and art relentlessly. I think, as a whole, this is their best record. I jammed this and Repeater a whole lot in high school (as with Minor Threat) …well…I jammed all of their records but this probably reminds me of high school the most….maybe this and Red Medicine Riding around in Jonathan Fuller’s old car with this blaring in the tape deck, FUGAZI was the band that got me through so much bullshit. I loved their lyrics, their punk ethic and their control of weird guitar feedback. They took their punk roots and twisted them into an angle of their own. They did everything themselves. They charged $5 for their live shows. They blew everyone away and influenced more people than most bands of their day, and they never had an interview in a major music magazine like Spin or Rolling Stone. I have so much respect for this band.

Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath
“Iron Man” was the first song I learned how to play on guitar. Before I owned an amp, I played guitar through my stereo, and I remember calling my friend Katherine and playing the riff over the phone to her. It sounded so bad but I was too excited to care. This is THE band for me. I’ve listened to Sabbath more than any other band ever, and they certainly sucked up many hours of my youth. They were the best band to listen to sober, stoned, tripping and depressed. They were everything. The S/T, <emiParanoid, Master of Reality, Volume 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage were ALL main stays in my stereo during high school. They just made sense to me, and I felt every one of Iommi’s notes with all of my heart and soul. I used to have a pink lava lamp and it went sooo well with Black Sabbath. I had this “jamming” room (it was really a closet) with black light posters, a huge poster of Danzig, black lights, trippy shit, lava lamps, and a guitar practice amp (a Crate). I would smoke pot in here and play guitar with my flanger pedal. I’m sure my mom knew what I was up to but she never said anything. She knew I was a stoner kid, and she knew I loved Sabbath.

Black Flag: The First Four Years
I got a Black Flag tattoo when I was 16. I waltzed into some total dive shop in Madison Heights, VA, with my cassette tape in hand.
“You want 4 black bars”?
“Yes. How much”?
Done. It was a weird but cool experience getting tattooed by some burly old biker probably fresh out of jail. He hit on me the entire time (he was way into his 40s) and could barely tattoo, but had Sabbath’s Paranoid LP spinning on the record player. So all was ok because of that.
Black Flag…this band was my band! Anger and energy and vibe and distortion: it was everything about punk rock that I loved and related to so much. I jammed the First Four Years the most in high school and it’s still one of my favorites today. “Nervous Breakdown,” “Fix Me,” “Clocked In,” “Six Pack,” and “Damaged” were some of my favorites. Keith and Dez were my favorite Flag vocalists. I used to walk around school with my headphones on with this tape on repeat in my old walkman. I think I was the only person in high school that still had a walkman and not a “disc”man. Ha. Greg Ginn’s guitar playing had a huge impact on me, and he is up there on my list of favorite guitarists. Total fuzzed-out anarchy.

Alice In Chains: Dirt / Jar of Flies
Dirt came out a little before high school but I listened to it nonstop. Dirt and Jar of Flies were records that got me through a lot of the high school “lows.” I love how droney and depressing AIC are…they fit my moods perfectly, and I really love Jerry Cantrell’s guitar playing. These records were vastly different from one another but I loved them both the same. I recently started listening to these records again and they have certainly held the test of time well.