Among my punk friends your credibility diminishes in direct correlation to each subsequent Dag Nasty album you profess to enjoy. Those punk friends then, according to their criteria, are much more punk than I. “Can I Say” (the beginning and end of Dag Nasty for my punk-er friends) and “Wig Out at Denko’s” stand out as my favorites by far, but “Field Day” played hand in hand with those first two albums on my desert road trips to and from college over the years (Although to this day, I still haven’t ripped it to my computer—that’s changing today though. I mean, come on, the opening lines to the title track are, “Here on the beach I’ve got the sun / I’ve got the surf, I’ve got Mexican food. Life don’t get better than that!).
The shift in sound between “Can I Say” and “Wig Out at Denko’s” occurs mostly in the albums’ tempos and vocal styles. On the second record, the band slows things down a notch and singer Peter Cortner sings more often than he yells on “Wig Out at Denko’s.” The transformation continues on “Field Day.” Basically, the band continued to add more melodic elements to its hardcore sound, thus they’re often cited as one of the bands that influenced later emo bands (I threw up in my mouth a little bit just using that term. Ugh.).
. . . I just axed most of this review. Rehashing the band’s history was boring me, and hell, anyone could find that info online, or listen to the music and make up their own mind on whether or not Dag Nasty is a band they’ll enjoy. It’s sad because this post doesn’t do justice to the band, nor to their influence on my life. It’s close to impossible to talk about bands that mean a lot to me in a space so small (see my Lloyd Cole post as another example). I could organize an entire memoir around these Dag Nasty records. Dag Nasty dominated my stereo when I met Alisa. “Four on the Floor” came out the year of my first radio show. The people and bands I worked with during the first half of this decade were likewise influenced by the band, and I expect the connections I made with Dag Nasty as their soundtrack will last a lifetime.