By: Paul Korol
A big moment for the punk rock community came last Friday when Tim Armstrong of Rancid released a new track in collaboration with his former bandmate, Jesse Michaels. Titled "Living In A Dangerous Land," the song marks the first time Armstrong and Michaels have written music together since they played in Operation Ivy together over two decades ago.
Operation Ivy, one of the most beloved bands to come out of Berkeley's Gilman St. punk scene (which also spawned eventual superstars Green Day), broke up under mysterious circumstances in the late eighties. The only clue the community has since been given as to the band's untimely demise came in the form of "Journey To The End Of The East Bay," a track off of Rancid's 1994 album whose cryptic lyrics seem to cite youthful naivete as a reason for the break up (of course, that can mean any number of things. Thanks for clearing the air, Tim).
The collaboration has stirred up cautious excitement among some prominent members of the punk community, including Gilman veteran and indie record label owner Mike Park, who in a facebook post revealed he is "nervously smiling" at the new track. Beneath the surface, "Living In A Dangerous Land" is a sign that after some twenty-odd years the former bandmates have put aside any differences they might have had in order to lay down some primo music.
While both Armstrong and Michaels have publicly stated that an Operation Ivy reunion is unlikely to happen, in my mind it wouldn't be out of the question for Rancid to tour with Michaels' current project, Classics of Love, and get on stage with them to play some of their old Operation Ivy classics. Let's hope the two men share those sentiments.
By the way, Rancid will be in town at the House of Blues next Sunday the 28th, so go check them out if you're into that stuff.