The other day as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, something caught my eye as I saw laid eyes on something that was too good to be true. Several of the accounts that I follow had posted a link to the first part of a documentary that was being released about the legendary hardcore band Judge. The accompanying captions said that more parts would be released in the upcoming weeks. For me, this was too good to be true, as Judge has become one of my more favorite bands over the past few years that I have been dying to learn more about.
As a late bloomer to hardcore music, I never got a chance to hear many of the old stories about the band. You hear things here and there, but you can never be sure what is true, and what is just made up nonsense. Part One gets right into some of those rumors and sets a good starting point for this documentary to continue on. I’m not going to sit here and review the film. I’m not critic, nor a hardcore music expert, so that’s not my job. What I will tell you is that Mike Judge, the original lead singer of the band, makes some damn good and very REAL points in this very short first installment that myself, and I’m sure a whole lot of others can relate to whole-heartedly.
Mike’s discovery of hardcore punk rock music and the psychological change that one goes through when they discover it is so authentic and relatable, that it is easy to see that he speaks for so many others with a similar story. It was an immediate release for him and many of his emotions that his dad forced him to bottle up as a young kid growing up in a “macho” household after the untimely death of his mother. It’s that discovery, as well as realizing that there are people out there that just DO NOT GIVE A FUCK about what other people think about them—punk rockers. Once he discovered the music and the scene, Mike no longer had to try and be someone he wasn’t, try to impress others that didn’t give a shit about him, or feel alone any longer. There were plenty others out there just like him.
His self-discovery in coming to the decision to never have a drink again is also one I am sure many others have either been through or have been very close. Getting wasted before a show at CBGBs, running his mouth, and getting the shit kicked out of him isn’t such an uncommon story. The epiphany of coming to and realizing that you never want to be that vulnerable or not in control ever again in your life is one that MANY addicts experience, some many more times than once, in their lifetime. It’s a matter of truly feeling that way and sticking to your guns to make that happen.
His awakening and my awakening, although quite a few years apart, aren’t so different from one another. When I finally got sober in 2007, it took me a while to realize that there was a lot of internal baggage that still needed to heal. Like Mike and discovering punk rock music, when I REALLY sat down and listened to it, I uncovered a way of coping and dealing with all the issues I had and how to keep moving forward. When I discovered Straight Edge, I finally saw others who not only refrained from drugs and alcohol, but people who were living by their own rules, refusing to give in to the “norm” or run with the “cool kids”. THEY were the cool kids, not giving into what TV or what the radio told you what was normal or expected of you. It was free thinking, real freedom, something I had lost long ago.
I am eagerly awaiting the rest of this documentary. I got a chance to see Judge perform live for the first time at Musink 2014 is Costa Mesa and it was one of the most powerful shows I have ever been too. I have no doubt that Part One only scratched the surface. If you want to see what it’s like to have passion and live free, I highly suggest you check it out.