This year, the Figgs celebrate 25 years as a band with the release of a new album, The Day Gravity Stopped. Since Go Metric couldn’t afford silver, we instead asked some of our contributors to write about their five favorite Figgs’ songs.
by Joe Keller
The Figgs! The goddamn Figgs! With so many great tunes, it’s a hard, forehead-kneading, marathon-length mental trek to come up with five and only five songs that are one’s favorite. This is a band that rewards the music nerd, the super fan, the ebay hunter, and the record rack digger. The albums are fantastic and should be sought out by one and all, but search further dear reader and you will find exceptional comp tracks (“Who Hung that Sign”, their cover of “Passion is No Ordinary Word”) and singles you won’t be able to take off your turntable (“Christmas Shake” and the Neck Punch split 7” come to mind). The two recorded eras of the band as quartet and then trio are both different and great in their own ways. In this age when music is essentially worthless in terms of dollars and cents it warms the cockles to know that a great rock n roll band like The Figgsis still, STILL, out there making new records and kicking ass in a club near you. I hope they make ten more LPs and maybe finally put out a singles collection (who do I have to kill to make this happen?) Thank you for continuing to BE The Figgs.
5. "Cheap Cassettes" (Sucking in Stereo, 2000)
The album closer on Sucking in Stereo, and the debut of Figgs 2.0 (or is it 3.0? I am not as knowledgeable about the history of the Figgs lineup as some of the other authors here no doubt are.) In my humble opinion, The Figgs succeeded at redefining themselves as a power trio with this record, wisely taking a somewhat lower-fi-than-usual left turn due to the departure of Guy Lyons. This one reeks of Davies influence especially since it is a nostalgic tune about an outdated music medium.
4. "Rollerskate" (Rejects, 2000)
This one has sort of a Buzzcocks-type (Buzzcockian?) jerkiness to it that I always found appealing. Rejects is probably the best outtakes album ever made. This is the record that got my friend and former band-mate Mike Yannich into the Figgs. I think it’s better than some of the Figgs’ other LPs honestly. The bass is mixed EXTREMELY loud on this record which a lot of the times kills the overall feel of a rock record, but somehow works perfectly on Rejects. I’ve also always had a soft spot for the couplet, “And I know what you’re thinking/You think I’m some kind of square,” for some inexplicable reason.
3. "Chasing After Words" (Follow Jean Through the Sea, 2006)
A bit of an odd choice, but I love this number from Follow Jean Through the Sea. The older I get, the more I find myself not being able to recall names, places, and such and that always reminds me of this song. In the end though, my love of this song is probably due to the fact that I’m a sucker for a finger-snapping, harmonized breakdown. The, “You shouldn’t do that,” back ups towards the don’t hurt either.
2. "Wait on Your Shoulders" (The Figgs Couldn’t Get High, 1998)
My favorite thing about this song is that the liner notes indicate that producer and Dictators bassist Andy Shernoff wanted to veto this track off the album. This sometimes makes me doubt my own love of this song - the man wrote “Loyola” for cripe’s sake! Anyway, the feeling of looming life worries (financial and otherwise) is captured perfectly in this great Pete Donnelly tune, track 2 on their most underrated album, Couldn’t Get High.
1. "Step Back and Let's Go Pop" (Low-Fi at Society High, 1994)
This song is the very definition of a great album opener (or band opener if you will). Any Figgs mix I would make would start off with this. On it’s own it’s a great song, but it also provides the instructions for how to take in the rest of the killer album you the listener are about to enjoy, namely Low-Fi at Society High. The one verse of sparse lyrics are perfect, leaving just enough to your imagination, and the killer guitar lead at the end is one sweet lick. The twin attack of Guy Lyons and Mike Gent in this era is near unstoppable, especially on albums one and two.