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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

No Operation Ivy Reunion? Thank You, Jesse Michaels

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 4:53 PM

click to enlarge Operation Ivy at 924 Gilman
  • Operation Ivy at 924 Gilman

Jesse Michaels, you have just earned yourself enough punk rock cred to fill a dirty van. (Or a four-door car, as the case may have been.)

In an interview  with Jewcy, Michaels, singer of the short-lived-but-much-mythologized East Bay ska-punk band Operation Ivy, frowned on the possibility of getting the band back together:

I don't think it would be a service to the legacy of the band to have a reunion, I think it would be more of a service not to have a reunion. People always want more, and I understand that, but sometimes less is more. Take Minor Threat, could you imagine a Minor Threat reunion? It would be such a fuckin' disaster.

Now, its easy to make the case for an Op Ivy reunion.

All the original members are still alive (half of them are in another band you may have heard of called Rancid). Though it fell apart in 1989, Operation Ivy remains a major influence in modern punk. The group's tight, pop-friendly arrangements and flavors of ska and reggae birthed a whole generation of bands that went on to great success in the '90s and 2000s. An Op Ivy reunion would be to ska-punk kinda what the Pixies reunion was to grunge -- huge. Michaels, who isn't rich,  would make a few bucks. Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman, who later went on to big-time success with Rancid, could stroll down memory lane. (Not that they'd get to play at 924 Gilman.)

But Op Ivy shouldn't reunite. It shouldn't capitalize on its revered legacy for money and fame and even long-overdue recognition. For one thing, I sincerely doubt that Michaels or any other original member could match the fury they played with from 1987-89. Listening to the few recordings Op Ivy made is like listening to the sound of an electric current blitzing through a bathtub. I don't want to hear a sap-speed version of that -- I'm happy to remember how the band sounded in its heyday.

Playing aside, Op Ivy's members could not still carry the hunger -- that mix of naivete, ambition, and abandon -- that made their music at once angry, hopeful, cynical, loving and honest. "Unity" and "Freeze Up" were songs written by young punks to represent the views of young punks, not those of grown adults living in big houses. Part of Op Ivy's legend -- and, dare I say, the quality of its music -- was the band's short lifespan. Operation Ivy was fast and fleeting -- like its songs. According to Michaels, its former members don't even talk much. They're right to leave the band's legacy undisturbed.

Follow us @SFAllShookDown and the writer @iPORT
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Ian S. Port

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