“Try, but you can’t bring me down”: H20: Everready

1994 was a hell of a year for punk.

Offspring’s Smash and Green Day’s Dookie both came out and sold over 10 million copies each.

Bad Religion released Stranger Than Fiction, NOFX put out Punk In Drublic, while Rancid’s Let’s Go and Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary were both landmark releases for the genre.

Most importantly though, at least for pockets of kids in scattered neighbourhoods around the world, was the release of the first Punk-O-Rama compilation that November. I think I came into the series at number three, which came out in ’98, cost $10, and featured songs with alluring titles such as ‘We Threw Gasoline on the Fire and Now We Have Stumps for Arms and No Eyebrows’, ‘Rats In The Hallway’ and ‘World’s On Heroin’.

These cut-price compilations were ostensibly a promotional tool to spread the music of the bands signed to the Epitaph label, but in actuality they opened up an entire scene to those who were in, say, Maitland, NSW – which is where I happened to be when I discovered this alternative catalogue of music.