On October 5, 1993, the Afghan Whigs released their major label debut, Gentlemen. Already a fan, I bought it the day it came out. I wouldn't have considered myself a gentleman at the time, but I was miles away from being a minor. When you speed through Alice and Ace right into Twisted and Motley and then hit Venom and Mercyful Fate, you finally get sky high with Cro-Mags and Negative Approach. After all of that mileage in such a short period of time, you gotta come down somehow. Burned out and bored with nightlife before you're legally at the age to drink. Bars are not so impressive when you've already stuck it in a few butts, paid to stick it in anything you could afford and copped dope. It was a few years earlier, in March of 1990 at a show where Sick of It All opened for Nasty Savage and ended in massive brawl outside with a few pigs that I began thinking of retiring. There were different drugs, records and girls out there. I was over the scene. Twenty four years later, I laugh at the cute naivete thinking I could escape. I never fully entered punk rock WITSEC, but I started to cruise different boulevards. Congregation and Up In It were scratched into my soul. Gentlemen was even better, which was a rarity in a world where bands upgraded labels right after hitting their peak. All records worth spinning are made on some blood, sweat and tears. I was smart enough to connect with "What Jail Is Like" but dumb enough to think I knew it all or what jail was really like. It's comical to go back and think that I thought I had every record, saw every movie, knew love, knew hate and experienced every high and low after only two decades on earth. I knew nothing when Gentlemen was released. My hands were getting dirty from running with the suburban wolves but I was fresh flesh on the concrete of life's actual junkyard.
Thinking back recently on all things I did when Gentlemen was in bloom and the year I tried to quit the core led to an assault of imagery from the '90s. Of course Sherilyn Fenn was there nude. When she posed in the December edition of Playboy we were without the modern technology we own now so I missed the issue of Playboy with my most jerked upon fantasy. While going to a Seaweed and Royal Trux show a year or two later I found a copy in a three-pack at a neon-lit porno strip mall. The three-packs worked like this: You paid a discounted price and got a sealed bag that contained a sandwich of smut. The bread was either a Playboy, Penthouse, Club or Hustler. Something glossy and something that showed the pink. The meat of this deal was sloppy and expired cold cuts. Juggs if you were lucky, but usually it was Over 40. In the early stages of the '90s the thought of a naked woman in her 40's was nauseating. A total hard-off. MILF's weren't a thing. When your blood is rushing straight down and you are running through the jungles of youth and lust with tight Levis the last thing you want to aim your arrow at is something that looks like your trailer trash aunt. Over 40 was the magazine you gave your roadie or gross, loser friend when you went into the bathroom with your Club or Sherilyn Fenn pictorial.
On October 27, 2014 The Afghan Whigs released Gentlemen at 21 for the album's 21st Anniversary, and man, as nice as it was to have this again on vinyl at an affordable price, what a blow it was to see how it was labeled. Boasting the age like a fine wine or something. How can something that seems like last night also feel like another lifetime ago? I don't know why this affected me the way that it did but life is in overdrive. Youth... RIP. Here I am now, drug free and somewhat professional hardcore kid in his 40s. I still read porn and I'm not grossed out by maturity. I still like Seaweed and I finally got around to watching Twin Peaks. More importantly, I get Gentlemen now. Thank you Whigs for the wild ride.