Economic Cycles

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Growing Up in Jersey

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If you happened to have grown up in NJ in the mid 90’s / early 2000’s, you inevitably saw Saves the Day at some point or another. Whether you liked pop punk, metal, punk rock, hardcore, or other bands that were influenced by Lifetime, it was impossible not to have grown up with Saves the Day during this time period. I was a HUGE fan along with all my friends. We saw them super early on, I think in 1999 or so – between Can’t Slow Down and Through Being Cool. Lead singer Chris Conley was still a pimply teenager at this point and was perfecting his pop song writing skills (and said Hi to his Mom who was in the crowd halfway through their set that night). Saves the Day’s lyrics pumped through my veins all through the end of high school and the beginning of college. There is no doubt Chris is one of the most talented lyricists in music (my pick for the best would probably be Wes from American Nightmare).

Anyway, Brika and I got to see Chris perform solo last night when he opened up for the 10th anniversary of the Swiss Army Romance Tour. It was my Christmas present from Ben, Rikki, and Jonah. (Thanks guys!) Of course most of the crowd could care less about Chris or Saves the Day and many decided to heckle him during his set. They were just too immature and impatient for the Dashboard performance. I wanted to yell in their faces, “Don’t you realize how influential Saves the Day was?!” But of course they don’t. They didn’t grow up with the band like we all did. It’s a shame. Despite the many shortcomings of the East Coast, they have probably the greatest music scene in the world. From Boston down to DC, that corridor is a treasure trove of musicians from every genre of music. New York hardcore in the mid-late 80’s (Sick of It All, Warzone, Gorilla Biscuits). Boston hardcore in the later 90’s (American Nightmare, Bane). New Jersey pop punk and ska (Inspecter 7, Bigwig, Midtown). DC hardcore (Minor Threat, Bad Brains). Billy Joel. THE BOSS, to name a few.

Well, the music and the food. The food is way better too.

I’ve spoken to Chris a few times at other shows in the past, but this time I made sure to talk to him after his set particularly because of the unfriendly Denver crowd. He mentioned on stage that he was from Princeton, NJ and got some shouts from the crowd about NJ and where a couple others were from in the Garden State. I yelled how I was from the Princeton area too – EXIT 8 baby! Anyways, I saw him hanging around the merch table before Dashboard went on and told him he did a great job and that I appreciated the fact that he was still doing this all these years later. Then we talked about NJ and the Princeton area for a bit. Brika walked over and took a picture of us at the end of it. Pretty awesome. He is still a super humble, down to earth dude who doesn’t hesitate to talk to fans when they approach. I wish I could have really broken down how much his music and lyrics influenced me growing up. There are still a few lines that I can’t live without. One of them that will forever stick with me is, “But it’s okay ’cause I’m still breathing.” That lyric in the context of the song, and in the context of my penchant to blow things out of proportion in life kept me sane at times. Thanks again Chris for writing some of the best songs with the best lyrics. You made Jersey an even better place to grow up.

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Written by jlongo12

January 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

One Response

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  1. […] coming off my hip hop kick, I’ve been on a monster pop-punk kick. I think it was seeing Chris Conley live that did it for me. That show conjured up a lot of old pop-punk feelings, plus I’ve been […]


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