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Something interesting happens when you take the punk band frontman out of his band and you give him an acoustic guitar and a mic. Joey Briggs‘ upcoming solo debut, Politics, Touring, And Self-Loathing, is a personal album that is fueled by tour stories, his ongoing obsession about the decline of the music industry, and politics. After all, what would punk rock be without politics? While listening to this record, you cant help but gain a better understanding of who he is and where he’s coming from. To us this is just music, but to him this is real life.
Joey Briggs, guitarist and frontman for Los Angeles punk band The Briggs, embarks on an introspective journey, culminating from years of experience and feelings of disappointment, to the current state of affairs, both politically and musically. Comprised of four songs, two on each side of the record, and clocking in at under 13 minutes, the end result is this solo endeavor that tackles each issue with the same musical prowess as he does with his full band.
On side A you have So Let Down and a political song, 37 Cents, to round kick off the album. So Let Down is a song about the music industry, but where this one differs from the album’s other music industry themed tune, Bottom Of A Beer, is that this song deals mainly with the decline in quality, whether it’s the quality of bands or the quality of these music websites. Taking a direct jab at AP, Joey Briggs sings about how “it’s so fucked up, i’m so let down by this industry that’s burned itself to the ground” but there is some hope in the song where he says “but it’s not too late to turn it all around.”
Out of all his solo songs, 37 Cents might be the most popular. Having received over 1 million hits on Youtube, this full-band song is an open letter to the President. Taking a page from the song Classify, this song can be applied to any presidential regime and it’s something that resonates strongly in this day and age. One of the things that stands out the most with the song is the music video. It’s the only song on the record that has a music video and if you haven’t seen it, it shows Joey sitting with placards that tell you what he’s saying. He’s then masked and bound and at the end of the video ends up shooting himself. It gets the point across and it’s definitely a great song to end the record.
Side B of the album starts off in the same political vein as 37 Cents with the sociopolitical subject matter in Classify, shifting gears towards a more personal song in Bottom Of A Beer. Starting off with some guitar strumming, shifting into a fast-paced song with unique instrumentation that seem to be comprised of a keyboard-drum beat as well as some piano, Classify is the anthem for those that hate labels. It’s for those that understand that life is a little more complicated that just being a communist, a capitalist, or a fascist. We can’t fit into just one mold. Joey sings “Let me mention I’m not preaching, I’m just saying it’s not black or white” at the end to push home the message of nonconformity he’s made throughout the rest of the song. It’s also the second song that employs more than just a guitar and a mic.
The song Bottom Of A Beer is an honest look at the reality of being in a band and trying to juggle those responsibilities as well as your own. Joey does a good job of illustrating the monotony of the scene with the lyric “well the city is different but the routine is the same.” As the song title states, the only thing you have in the end is that familiar face at the bottom of a beer. It’s one of his more personal songs and you just get the vibe that he’s tired and over it.
Politics, Touring, And Self-Loathing is Joey’s definitive album. It’s the beginning album of a solo career that will allow him to take his musicianship a step further by writing songs outside of the comfort zone of The Briggs and Punk, itself. But this is something that will only make The Briggs stronger in the long run. One of the most memorable concert experiences I’ve ever had took place in 2008 in Orange, California at a Briggs acoustic show. Taking place at a small record store, the intimacy of the performance showed these talented musicians in a different angle. Essentially stripped down from the comfort of being on stage, the guys were armed just their guitars and a couple of mic’s to bring together the few of us that showed up, Joey Briggs has come full circle as a musician. As a result, he’s at his most honest but at the same time, his most vulnerable. If you’re a fan of the The Briggs, then you will find that this is Joey Briggs at his best and it’s an album that’s definitely a “must have.”