The Arrogant Sons of Bitches
w/ The Fad, Dan Potthast and Hardcore Karaoke Pile-On Extravaganza!. $15, 7 p.m., May 25. Heirloom Arts Theatre, 155 Main St., Danbury, heirloomarts.org
Certain perks come with calling your band the Arrogant Sons of Bitches. The first is the opportunity to stand out. Imagine being instructed to read a list of 25 band names and later recall as many as possible; the brilliant ring of ASOB's moniker makes it one of the first you'll regurgitate. The second upside is having a curse word in your name, which means your mere existence will force some publications and organizations to squirm and haw as they attempt to mention you in the politest terms possible. The third perk is that giving your group this name grants you and your comrades a pass to actually act like arrogant sons of bitches. "We kind of got to be jerks on stage a lot because people were expecting it a little bit. We got away with a lot of stuff," Jeff Rosenstock says. "We could get up there and be loud and weird and obnoxious."
Originating in 1995, the now temporarily reunited Long Island act created clatter that was empowering in its brazenness and handsome in its haphazardness. With a wink, a nudge and a thunderbolt of brass, they freely mocked themselves, their scene, their government and — strangely enough — Radiohead (the subject of an entire ASOB cover record). Rosenstock, the band's leader and best-known member, had a stop-start stream-of-consciousness shouty vocal style that would exhaust him.
Rosenstock began his band by carrying on the third-wave ska practiced by the likes of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. As a sax player from an early age, he relished the idea that bands were out there using the instrument to create youth-oriented music.
Breaking up in 2004 and reuniting occasionally thereafter, ASOB remain beloved among underground ska-punk aficionados, other music fans never talk about the group — probably because they've never heard of them, which is a real shame. The members of ASOB are back to being on good terms with one another, but the years and life changes mean they have no reason to stick together past a few one-night stands. Rosenstock is content with that. His attitude matches the cynical-on-the-top, loving-underneath vibe that made ASOB so endearing. "I think everybody did a really good job on all those records. Whether or not they sound good or any of it's any good, it's kind of like looking at a picture of your friends in high school or college," he says, "like 'This is what that was. It's awesome.'"
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