D.I. - Horse Bites Dog Cries (Cover Artwork)


Horse Bites Dog Cries (1987)

Triple X

I have always wondered how bands like the Adolescents and Circle Jerks came to create bands like NOFX. I can see the similarities and how the influences of the bands like the two I just mentioned helped to create modern day punk, but I always felt that there was a missing link. In the back of my mind I knew that there had to be some band that incorporated the same speed and intensity of the more modern day punk bands and blended it with the snotty Southern California attitude that early L.A. `80s punk captured. I thought I might have found this missing link after hearing the "Pervert Nurse" reference in the NOFX song, "Two Jealous Again," and seeing Guttermouth cover "Guns" live, so I decided to check out D.I.'s album, Horse Bites Dog Cries. It became immediately apparent that his album was the missing link that I had been looking for all these years.

For those of you who don't know, D.I. started when Adolescents members Casey Royer and Frank and Rikk Agnew decided to begin another project as the Adolescents stalled. If you like the Adolescents and don't own this album then stop reading this right now and just go buy the CD, you'll love it (I don‘t know why I never did that). The album starts off with the highly infectious "Pervert Nurse." The song is everything that is great about this brand of punk rock. The fast drums, the quasi-nonsensical lyrics, and the great hooks all help blend together the `80s and what would soon provide the base for early `90s punk and will have you at least tapping your foot right off the bat. Royer's stellar vocals are drenched in mucus throughout the album as the band shreds through topics like politics, the punk scene, Southern California, anti-drug use (no, they‘re not straight-edge, just not fans of hard drugs), anti-religion and rebellion. Just like the topics of the songs, the melody of the songs varies as well, as the band dabbles in skatepunk, surf, and even keyboards. However, everything works and will immediately hook you in.

I put this whole album as a classic simply for the fact that it contains the songs "Johnny's Got a Problem," "Guns" (whether it's a pro-gun song or not…I don‘t really know), and "Youth in Asia," which are staples in any punk rock song catalogue. There are plenty of other standout tracks as well. For example, one cannot even being to deny how catchy "Hang Ten in East Berlin" is (which smart-ass does this first?). Sometimes the lyrical content is a bit lagging (I will admit that I don‘t really connect with a song lyrically like "No Moms" at the age of 24) but the songs are all as catchy as hell, so what can you do? In all honesty, I don't think that there is one track worth skipping on this this entire album, which is a true testament to the song writing capabilities of the band.

If you still don't get what I am driving at try this: I am not a fan of Southern California and I don't skate, but this album makes you wish that you lived in some dirty little studio in Hollywood where, in the sweltering heat, you and your friends could blast this album, drink a little too much PBR, then throw on some gnarly neon green hat and skate down to the Troubadour to catch a sold out punk show. That is the essence of D.I. and the blueprint of their punk rock masterpiece.