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The Arrogant Sons of Bitches Have Reason to be Cocky

asob setlist
Set list I nabbed from the stage after an ASOB show.

I’ve been trying to write an article about The Arrogant Sons of Bitches for the last two years.

I was going to title it something like, “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone? Eagerly Awaiting the Return of the Arrogant Sons of Bitches” and it would basically be 1,000 words of me gushing about the now-defunct ska punk band from Long Island, N.Y. I’d talk about how they were the first ska band I’d ever seen live, the first tiny club show I’d ever been to, and how those shows basically changed the type of music I listened to and the types of places I saw music at.

As you can see, I put a lot of thought into the article.

Despite several attempts, my writer’s block prevented me from being able to produce a full-fledged story. That is, until I looked at my inbox a couple weeks ago and saw an email from Webster Hall: “Upcoming shows: Arrogant Sons of Bitches on May 26.”

I spewed iced coffee across my keyboard and yelped into the quiet office:  “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!”

asob flyer
The stage at this show came up to right below my knees. The result? Some gnarly looking shins.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, The Arrogant Sons of Bitches (commonly referred to as ASOB) are a 6-piece ska punk band. Formed in 1998, the band self-released two albums and two EPs, and toured with bands like Catch 22, Mustard Plug and Big D & the Kids Table (<3). They broke up in 2006 after their final album was released, much to the the dismay of myself and countless others.

The first time I heard ASOB was when my friend gave me an amazing ska mix CD (which I still listen to) around 2003. Not long after, I went with that same friend to my first ASOB show at a tiny- and equally sweaty- club in Albany, N.Y. called Valentines. Before then I had only been to concerts at big stadiums and arenas and felt like all of my favorite bands were untouchable. Going to see the show at Valentines helped me realize that not all of my heroes were so far out of my reach. In fact, some were even close enough to kick me in the face and leave a bruise the shape of a shoe print on my temple. Legit, I got kicked in the face by a trombone player from High School Football Heroes once… it was awesome.

Out of all the different ska bands I saw, most of which having names that incorporated a type of condiment, animal or body part, The Arrogant Sons of Bitches always stood out. Their songs were loud, fast and catchy, and their live performances were pure insanity. But I think my favorite thing about ASOB is their lyrics. Some of the highlights include:

asob keyboardist
The ASOB keyboardist’s usual stage antics. Does it count as stage antics if he’s hanging from the rafters?

Got Filk?“If you make me so damn mad, why can’t I keep my pants on / Maybe this is just a trick, wait that’s you yeah I forgot / Go to hell and suck my dick, scratch that last part better not.”

Royal Fuck Deluxe: “And as time passes by, its stands ever still and I just can’t figure out why, why you fucked me over / Heartsick disease. You hand-cooked me royally fucked with tomato and cheese.”

Pornocracy: “Pornocracy, government run by whores / We never ask what the fuck we do this for / We only have one party, democracy is just a front / They say they care about our country, all they care about is cunt.”

And my personal favorite…

I Just Wanna Have Sex With You: “I don’t like the way you cook, I just like the way you look / Your beliefs really hurt my head, but all I think about is getting you in bed / I don’t know what I wanna do, I just wanna have sex with you! Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh”

asob jeff
Up close and personal with vocalist Jeff Rosenstock.

The Arrogant Sons of Bitches pulled me into the awesome world of ska punk / hardcore music (skacore?), and what I found there were bands like Big D & the Kids Table, Operation Ivy, Assorted Jelly Beans, Catch 22, Choking Victim, Streetlight Manifesto and Voodoo Glow Skulls. Not too shabby.

Throughout the years my musical interests have morphed and grown; I’ve gotten more heavily into funk and jam bands, and I’m sure most of my festy phriends have no idea about my past life as a skanker. But despite my ever-expanding iTunes library, no live music experience can ever quite satisfy me like a good, old-fashioned ska show.

See you on May 26, boys!

Comments

Rochelle
Reply

Dad and I remember your bruises from the shows all too well…

JT Turret
Reply

cool article. keep sharin’ in the Weekapaug Groove (yep ASOB has Phish fans in it). Cheers,
Jay Tea

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