Way, way back in the day, like 2007 or so, I declared Deconstruction’s “L.A. Song” a “RAGE TV song”, a term which I promised to explain and, of course, never ever did.
Okay. A “RAGE TV” song is an “alternative rock” single from the early-to-mid ’90s that didn’t quite make it into heavy rotation on your local rock station. In fact, one of the only ways You might have heard it (assuming “You” is a Boston-area youngish adult between the ages of 25 and 35) would be if you happened to be watching WSBK-TV 38 at 2 in the morning on Saturday. You know, the same time I used to be on the radio. For at that hallowed hour, the nice people at Channel 38 gave over the airwaves to a cheaply produced program called Rage TV. It was hosted by some blonde guy with a leather jacket, who used to go around Boston meeting semi-famous rock and roll types. And while they played videos by Green Day and Oasis and Cracker and other bands you may have actually heard of… and while Blondie in the Jacket occasionally got to interview such stars as Shirley “Garbage” Manson, the show was packed, mostly, with videos and interviews from the likes of Green Apple Quickstep, Ruth Ruth, and, yes, D Generation. None of whom you’ve ever heard of, but trust me, they were great. Green Apple Quickstep, in particular, is notable for being a “Two-No Hit Wonder Band”, having released two great singles that failed to go anywhere: “Feel My Way” and “Dirty Water Ocean.” Alyssa still likes them.
According to the internet, there’s no proof Rage TV ever existed, except for this clip of legendary Boston ska band The Allstonians being interviewed by Blonde Guy (Eric?), who doesn’t have his leather jacket on today.
D Generation is notable because a) they’re such a New York Dolls rip off, it’s adorable, and b) the lead singer is one Jesse Malin, who you may now know as a vaguely folky/countryish guy who duets with Bruce Springsteen and hangs out with Ryan Adams in the sorts of New York bars where Ryan Adams hangs out. But back in the day, Jesse Malin was pretty f*cking punk, that’s for sure.
The song “No Way Out” (which premiered on Rage TV in the summer of 1996 and I still have a copy of the Glorious VHS tape somewhere) was almost a hit for them, and is catchy and angry and you would have loved it when you were 15. The video is standard ’90s alterna-fare, featuring several flash cuts, jumpy editing, and overlit shots of “freaky alternative” people doing freaky alternative things in unsanitary locales, such as the NYC subway system (which features prominently).
Merely hearing this song takes me back to a simpler time when a line like “send us all to high school/make us pray to statues/so we hang on corners lookin’ bored” actually made emotional sense. Eric Bogosian wrote a whole play/movie about it, called subUrbia. When U Maine produced it, it was notable for two things: a) I wasn’t in it, despite the show requiring one of the cast to play the guitar, and I was the ONLY PERSON WHO COULD PLAY THE GUITAR in that department, and b) it used this song in the pre-show.
I’m not bitter, mind you, but godDAMNit…