Short Story in a Song — “Clean Sheets”

One of my favorite rock docs is “Filmage” about the legendary SoCal punk band Descendents. It’s a thorough history of the band’s evolution that gives them credit for creating “pop punk” while outing drummer Bill Stevenson as the band’s mastermind. It’s also nice to see lead singer Milo Aukerman acknowledged as one of the best punk singers of all time, without making the film about him. And I love how the director explores ALL, the Milo-less band that has lived a parallel existence with Descendents since the 80s. So, if you’ve read this far and still haven’t seen “Filmage”—you totally should, bro.

Which is all fine and good, but we’re actually here to discuss a Descendents love song that would make a great short story. Driven by the band’s signature mix of straight-ahead punk energy and Beach Boys-worthy hooks, “Clean Sheets” is a devastating tale of betrayal and no-frills road life. In a little over three minutes our protagonist goes from falling in love and letting himself get comfortable, to getting destroyed by infidelity and moving on. He may smash a mirror with his fist in the end, but the moral of this story is clear—even punk legends get their hearts broken when they’re young.

Read the lyrics for “Clean Sheets” by Descendents right HERE.

More “Short Story in a Song” posts:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

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