Short Story in a Song — “Date With Destiny”

SoCal’s South Bay community (including Hermosa Beach) has long been considered the cradle of American hardcore. Once home to the legendary church immortalized in The Decline of Western Civilization, this laid back beach town has produced an endless flow of punk bands over the decades including the big four—Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Descendents and Pennywise. Formed a decade after their forerunners, Pennywise picked the flag up and continues to carry it around the world thirty years later with hard-hitting songs that are often about positivity and self-reliance.

“Date With Destiny” from their 1997 album Full Circle exemplifies the band’s sound, but the lyrics would make a great short story. Our narrator opens by describing a series of untimely deaths ranging from a plane crash to an earthquake. It’s clear that he’s having extreme thoughts about the nature of life and coming to grips with the inevitable demise awaiting us all. More than just a morose examination of mortality, our protagonist challenges us to examine the way we lead our lives. He asks what we would do if we only had one hour to live, ultimately pleading with us to live every hour like it was our last.

Read the lyrics for Pennywise’s “Date With Destiny” HERE.

My podcast interview with Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg:

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.


My 29 Favorite SoCal Punk Songs

My debut mystery novel may be named after a fictional SoCal punk band called BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, but the music that influenced this murderous story is very real.

Up above you’ll find a playlist including 29 of my favorite punk songs by SoCal bands from the 70s to the 2000s. I’m loosely defining SoCal as the region between San Diego and Santa Barbara for the purposes of this playlist. Likewise, the definition of “punk” is also pretty loose because it’s one of those words that means something different to everybody who uses it. So save your aggression for the pit, bro.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-09-08_at_101842_am-2The list currently includes Descendents, Red Cross, The Dickies, The Runaways, Circle Jerks, The Gun Club, Black Flag, X, Pennywise, The Bags, Unwritten Law, Minutemen, Face To Face, Agent Orange, War Called Peace, Lagwagon, Simpletones, Social Distortion, Adolescents, Black Randy & The Metro Squad, Wasted Youth, Germs, Rocket From The Crypt, Fidlar, Smut Peddlers, The Vandals, D.I., The Leaving Trains and Fear.

There are, of course, hundreds of other songs I could have included—and my “favorites” change from week-to-week—but I think this list would make my protagonist, Greg Salem, proud.

Take a listen and let me know what SoCal punk songs you would add in the comments below.

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books on November 3, 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.