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.


It’s Independent Bookstore Day

rsz_eitherorIf I could go back in time I would probably spend this Independent Bookstore Day at the long gone Either/Or Bookstore in Hermosa Beach. I’ve encountered better bookstores over the years (I’m looking at you Powell’s BooksSundog Books, Chaucer’s Books, Mysterious Galaxy and City Lights Books) but Either/Or is the one where I had my eyes opened to “On The Road,” “Ham On Rye,” “Siddhartha,” and “Breakfast of Champions”. Books by writers like Kerouac, Bukowski, Hesse and Vonnegut that set up residence in my mind during those important formative years.

Some of those books were already pretty old when I got around to reading them, but they were new to me and Either/Or was the place where I discovered them. It was a magical portal to a literary universe that I’m still groping around in three decades later. A place where hippies, punks and yuppies would co-mingle and collectively get their freak on.

If you want to find out a little more about Either/Or Bookstore, my friend and former band mate Garrison Frost wrote a pretty great warts-and-all ode on his blog a few years back (that’s where I stole the picture from—Hi Garrison!).

IDB 2015I tell you all of this because today is Independent Bookstore Day. If you’ve got any romantic notions about the Indie bookstores you have visited, make sure to stop by a few today. Here’s a short list of Indie bookstores in the Los Angeles area because that’s where I live, and hey—you’ve got to start somewhere: