10 Songs That Made Me Fall In Love With Punk – (Vultures United)

We recently caught up with Vultures United vocalist Jordan Salazar to get his take on the songs that got him in to punk rock. Check out his list here.

1. Green Day – “Longview”

For me, punk rock started with Green Day. It was 1994, I was in 6th grade and around my house, my middle brother played a bunch of Metallica, Guns N Roses and Anthrax while my older brother played a ton of West Coast Gangster Rap (Dr. Dre, NWA, Snoop Doggy Dog, etc.) My parents? Creedance Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, 50’s rock and roll hits compilations and tons of mariachi music.  I pretty much liked all of it. And in fact, ended up buying other “alternative rock” cd’s before Green Day “Dookie” came out. But was it for me. I remember seeing the video for “Longview” and being just addicted to it visually and sonically. The catchy bassline. The agression and speed. It scared me a little because I knew nothing about it.  I remember going to this little record store in Fountain Valley called Record P/X and buying “Dookie”, along with an overpriced Green Day t-shirt with the “Dookie” album artwork on it. I soon wore it to school and this girl in 7th grade came up to me wearing a Green Day “Kerplunk!” t-shirt and asked me if I was punk rock. I answered “I think so.” From there on, I started spiking and dying my hair and really digging into punk rock. I had to know everything about every band I liked. I went to shows. I bought cd’s and records. I never really stopped.


2. Nirvana – “Heart Shaped Box”

For as much as I adored and idolized Green Day, Nirvana made a huge impact on me. Green Day made me feel like maybe one day I can learn how to play guitar and be in a band. They sang about some things I could relate to (well, the songs about relationships etc.) With Nirvana, they were my rock star giants. I never dared to even dream that I’d be able to write a song or even understand where the band was coming from fully. To this day, I feel like a lot of what Kurt Cobain sings about is way above my head. With Nirvana, I knew I’d never get to this artistic and creative pinnacle, ever. Because they were on a different level. They were true artists. The loud/quiet/loud of “Heart Shaped Box” song was my first real exposure to Nirvana. Yeah, I was around when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came out, but I didn’t really listen to music then. I was in 5th grade or something, and loved skateboarding and baseball. I remember “In Utero” being released. I was there for that. My full attention. That record is still one of my favorites.


3. Rollins Band – “Liar”

Another 1994 staple. Probably my first introduction to anything close to actual “hardcore”. Again, MTV exposed me to this scorcher via music video. The only thing I knew about Henry Rollins at this point, was that he used to sing in an old punk band called Black Flag that I knew nothing about. All I knew is that I had never heard anything as pissed off and polarizing as Rollins Band. That fact that he talked in the versus, and it was just super mellow and just exploded, amazed me. Seeing this older, pissed off tattooed monster just screaming his head off, made me want to smash things myself. Rollins Band “Weight” was the first CD I had ever purchased. At this point, I only owned the “Wayne’s World” motion picture soundtrack on cassette tape. So after seeing this video, I went to the Warehouse and bought my first cd(s) ever. It was a trifecta of the Rollins Band “Weight”, Snoop Doggy Dog “Doggystyle” and Cypress Hill “Black Sunday”.”


4. Operation Ivy – “Knowledge”

“Knowledge” isn’t my favorite Operation Ivy song, but it’s the first one I had ever heard. I basically ended up buying their “Energy” CD after reading the liner notes to Green Day’s “39/Smooth” and realizing that the song “Knowledge” was a cover song by Operation Ivy. Wanting to know everything about Green Day, influences included, I went to Vinyl Solution in Huntington Beach and bought the sucker. I immediately remember thinking, “shit. This is way faster than Green Day’s version.” I think my favorite song might be “Sound System” or “Bombshell” but because of the song “Knowledge”, I was led to one of the greatest punk rock records ever created. It’s catchy, the vocal performance and recording is incredible and it was the first time I had ever heard ska. They are still one of my favorite bands.


 5. Descendents – “I Wanna Be A Bear”

“A kid in middle school I had P.E. with had an older sister in high school who was a riot girl. I eventually wore band shirts every day to school and we bonded over Green Day and “mainstream” stuff I liked. I already felt pretty badass for figuring out who Operation Ivy was, but one day he leant me this CD by an “underground band” called The Descendents. The CD was “Two Things At Once”. It blew me away. I think they were the fastest band I had ever heard at that point, and their short songs like “I Wanna Be A Bear”, “I Like Food” and “Weinerschnitzel” seemed absurd to me at the time. I didn’t know bands were allowed to write 40 second songs and be funny. At that point, the bands I was into didn’t really have a sense of humor, except for maybe Green Day slowing down and making a comedic version of “Knowledge” and their other song “Dominated Love Slave”. But those were like their joke songs. Descendents had songs about food, girls and hating things and they were like, their songs. And they did it in a very direct way. In every writing session Vultures United has done, we’ve written a song that’s under 1 minute. We always will, too.


6. Minor Threat – “Straight Edge”

At this point, my older-middle brother Roman and I were fully into punk rock. We bought cd’s every week with our lunch money. At this point, we shared our collection. He had told me one day that there was this old band called Minor Threat who were straight edge, and that this group of scary looking kids in his grade were actually straight edge as well. They were tough looking kids who fought a lot. They had shaved heads and just looked crazy. He told me Minor Threat is what they listened to, and that they would beat up other kids who they would see smoking and drinking at parties or after school. The idea of being a punk rocker and not doing drugs and that kind of stuff amazed me, because I didn’t do any of that stuff nor had I any interest in doing any of it. The violence and gang mentality of it all bummed me out though. My brother ended up buying the Minor Threat discography and “Filler” just blazed through. Every song, intense and fast. I kept thinking “how the hell are these dudes faster than the Descendents!” I remember thinking at the time (and still do pretty much), that Ian MacKaye’s lyrics were the best I had ever read. It was pure teenage aggression, but it was about things that mattered. About friends. About personal choices. The lyrics for the song “Straight Edge” really are important to me. They were back then too. I’m 30 years old and have never been drunk, or done a drug in my life. I also never had called myself “straight edge” or X’ed up or have been part of a crew. I read these lyrics and got the individual id”ea it was suggesting. Most others I knew got the more “gang or group” interpretation of it, I guess. And the music, well it’s fast, it’s direct and Ian’s vocals are strained on it. It’s the perfect punk rock song and it’s only 47 seconds long.”


 7. Jawbreaker – “Chemistry”

“I was in 7th grade when I bought “Dear You” blindly. There was a free zine that independent record stores would get called BAM Magazine, and on the cover of one of their issues, Jawbreaker was on it. Somewhere in the article or on the cover of the magazine, it had mentioned that Jawbreaker was a punk rock band, that they were from the Bay Area and that they were going to be the next Green Day.” I remember thinking, “They’re from the Bay Area, they’re punk and sound like Green Day? I’m in”. I bought their cd and sat in my room expecting to hear some fast and catchy pop punk and instead, it was the slow-to mid tempo and odd sounding “Save Your Generation”. I remember thiking, “this wasn’t what I expected but I like it.” I remember when the cd was over, I didn’t get the Green Day connection at all. I was thinking “these guys sound nothing like Green Day!, but I really liked it. I remember not even showing the cd to friends or my brother because I didn’t think they’d like it. It was kind of my first weird little band that my friends had not have heard of that I loved, but knew nothing about and didn’t bother to tell them. The song “Chemistry” instantly popped out as the best track on the CD. I was approaching high school, I had crushes on girls and Blake sang about hanging out on the 405 freeway, which runs through Fountain Valley. This song was my highschool anthem.”


 8. Blink-182 – “M+M’s”

I first heard this song on a Liberation Records compilation called “Punk Sucks”, and eventually saw the video on some Hopeless Records “Cinema Beer” videotape. Hearing this song, I got the same feeling I got when I heard songs like “Bikeage” and “Hope” by the Descendents. It’s a love song. It’s serious, but had a sense of humor too. After seeing the video, I was 100% sold. Mainly because these guys were younger than all of the bands I was into at the time, and they looked like me and my friends and wore the exact same kind of clothes as we did and apparently, liked the same bands (judging from the stickers on their guitars and the t-shirts they wore). In Southern California, Blink-182 was responsible for a lot of people actually starting bands. Green Day got me to buy a guitar. But Blink-182 got me to actually start learning how to play it and start writing songs, and starting bands.


9. The Broadways – “15 Minutes” / “Everything I Ever Wanted To Know About Genocide I Learned In The Third Grade”

At this point, I had already really liked a couple political bands a lot. Rage Against The Machine and Propagandhi. Both musically and lyrically, they were it. Both made me want to be an anarchist and get super into politics, but it never really happened. They at least got me to think about politics a whole lot and how people should be treated. The Broadways was a political band, but they went about it differently then any band I knew about. Rage Against The Machine and Propagandhi at the time (“Less Talk, More Rock”-era) were more about standing up and doing something. They were songs to riot to. They were songs of the revolution. But The Broadways’ songs were more observations and opinions on politics, history and culture. These weren’t songs to rally to. They were songs to make you think. They were the lyricists view of what was happening around them at that time and it was brilliant. And the music…..well, they sounded like Jawbreaker to me with the guy from Slapstick playing bass and singing lead vocals occasionally. A lot of things in the album “Broken Star” changed the way I view things, even today. At that point, songs like “Police Song”, I had even experienced myself in my shitty suburban city, so I completely related to that. “15 Minutes” is about living in Chicago and seeing it change. It was about what was happening and what the future held. And “Everything I Ever Wanted To Know About Genocide I Learned In The Third Grade” is about how Thanksgiving is a total sham. Mind you, both of these songs are total rippers and don’t have a repeat chorus or verse lyrically. That is some seriously, hard-Propagandhi type shit to do and they do it on almost every song on this album.”


 10. Treadwell – “Bomb Diffusion”

I heard Treadwell the jr. year I was in highschool. I was pretty into this beach punk band called Le Shok, and I found out that besides The Locust and Action League, that a couple of them were in a punk/hardcore band called Treadwell. I ended up checking them out at the PCH Club in Long Beach. I think The Icarus Line played with them but I’m not 100% sure? What I do remember was they played for like 10-15 minutes and was one of the most aggressive live bands I have ever seen, even to this day. The one song that stuck out was “Bomb Diffusion”. The multiple screaming singers, the speed of the song, the way it slowed down and then picked up. Definitely one of my favorite songs ever, and was the basis of me starting Grave For The Fireflies and then Vultures United. After getting into The Get Up Kids, At The Drive-In, The Locust and The Murder City Devils in high school (and playing in bands that sounded like Blink-182), towards the end of it, punk/hardcore came back full circle in my life with Treadwell. I soon got super into Black Flag, Drive Like Jehu, Ink And Dagger and never really got out of it. I think I’ll always prefer angry over poppy and catchy.


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