When people ask me what Exit Generation is about I tend to pull out the trifecta of “big guns, space aliens and punk rock”. But in reality, it is the final of those three things that speaks most directly to what sits at the heart of the book; the DIY spirit and ‘get-up-and-give-it-a-go’ that led me from daydreaming about making comics, to where I am now, with just a few months until this, my debut series, hits comic shops across the globe.
As the punk ethos plays not only an important part in the story of Exit Generation, but was also key in the inspection of the project as a whole, I wanted to share a playlist of tracks that both influenced me at the writing stage (keep an eye out for ‘Easter eggs’ when you pick up the issues…) and provide a ‘soundtrack’ of sorts to the series.
So; call up your friends, turn up your speakers, and have a listen to the sounds of Exit Generation!
1. Search & Destroy – The Stooges
For reasons that will hopefully be obvious to anyone reading the first issue of Exit Generation, and in more subtle ways found from studying the song’s lyrics, ‘Search and Destroy’ really speaks volumes to where Jack, the listless kid around whom Exit Generation’s story revolves, gets his desire to find a more exciting and even dangerous life.
Against the backdrop of the red-raw (pun fully intended) guitar riff that drives the track forward, Iggy Pop’s blend of pleading for release and angry pronouncements at being left behind by the world really articulates many of Jack’s feelings at the story’s start, and keen-eared listeners may also notice one or two pertinent lines that resonate with his journey across the four issues.
2. Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine – Refused
From hands-down one of my personal favourite albums ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’, this song is another that outlines the frustration that afflicts Exit Generation’s central characters; not just Jack, but also those he encounters on his journey.
The line “Rather be forgotten than remembered for giving in” is certainly one that illustrates one of the message at the very core of the series, and having taken this book from a self-published, hand-sold project to one that will be in comic shops all across the world later this year, it is also a mantra that I hold close to my own heart.
3. ‘Sunday Hardcore Matinee’ – Dropkick Murphys
It was Caio (Oliveira, Exit Generation’s phenomenal artist) who first got me thinking of including Dropkick Murphys here, after he drew Jack sporting one of the band’s shirts. Their’s is exactly the type of free-wheeling, barn-storming sound what would have Jack aching for the days of circle pits, pile-ons and rough-and-tumble live shows that ‘Sunday Hardcore Matinee’ is all about.
I also think it’s appropriate to include the Murphys here, as just like the band; Exit Generation’s publisher Comixtribe hails from the Greater Boston area in the fine state of Massachusetts, USA!
4. ‘They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)’ – The Bronx
The Bronx are, for me, all about that spirit of throwing yourself head first into something without any real caution or care for personal safety. I am in fact living testament to this, having found myself minus one eyebrow piercing post-a particularly frenetic pit at one of their shows a few years back, not to mention having seen their front man Matt Caughthran play a show in a cast, yet still launch himself into the crowd repeatedly, often howling in pain, no mind for his own comfort.
But even without the story-appropriate title, this song is an ode to a type of world that is as alien to Jack and his friends as the extra-terrestrials they encounter, and illustrates how songs detailing the grubbiest aspects of our present could prove fascinating to folks in the sort of peaceful future utopia found at the start of Exit Generation.
5. ‘Kick Out the Jams’ – MC5
“I gotta kick ‘em out!” – If there was one line that summed up the mission statement for the ramshackle crew of Exit Generation this would likely be it, and I challenge anyone with a beat in their heart not to get up and dance to the visceral stomp of this track.
With MC5’s Detroit origins, there also no little irony in what could be seen as the series’ anthem coming from a place that once was a major metropolis in the industrial heartland of America, only to since suffer a terrible decline, and depopulation; there certainly lies some resonance with the broader themes under the surface of the series.
6. ‘Astro Zombies’ – The Misfits
Question; is a punk mixtape really a punk mixtape without at least one Misfits track? Personally, I’m not sure it is, and being that ‘Astro Zombies’ is a track about a bunch of terrifying creatures descending on planet Earth, looking to wipe out any humans they find there, I’m also not sure that any other track from their back catalogue could be more fitting for an Exit Generation playlist!
7. ‘TV Party’ – Black Flag
I read Henry Rollins’ ‘Get in the Van’ at a young (probably too young…) age, and again during the time I was coming up with Exit Generation, and always found Black Flag to have the combination of bravado and sincerity that marks truly great punk bands out from the crowd. And with the fact that at the start of this story Jack and his best friend Mo spend most of their time just hanging out, watching films and listening to records, it just makes sense that this song would appear on any mixtape I’d put together to accompany their journey.
8. ‘Give ‘Em Hell, Kid’– My Chemical Romance
As with a number of the songs on this list, ‘Give ‘Em Hell, Kid’s’ title has a certain symmetry with the events of Exit Generation, and undoubtably, it being on my speakers when I was trashing out the scripts led to more than a little of this track’s frenetic energy translating through to what our protagonists find themselves caught up in on the page.
Additionally; My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way being an accomplished comic writer (check out ‘The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys’ and ‘Umbrella Academy’ if you’ve not already), if just felt right including something from their catalogue here, especially a song as great as this one.
9. ‘No Sweat’ – Brawlers
These guys are a bunch of local lads tearing it up across the UK right now. And when I say local, I mean very literally so; when I worked at OK Comics in Leeds, Brawlers’ lead singer Harry used to work next door, and picked up Exit Generation back when it was a self-published production.
They are a great bunch of guys, and have gone from strength over the past year, and I’m a big fan of them, and all they’ve achieved. I’d also eagle-eyed readers to see if they can notice least one bystander in an issue of Exit Generation who seems to share my enthusiasm…
10. ‘Blank Generation’ – Richard Hell and the Voidoids
Cards on the table; the title of this classic first-wave punk track is one of the main inspirations behind the series name.
But it is also a song about the attitude behind the whole punk ethos, which feeds into Exit Generation’s themes, and is summed up well in this quote from Richard Hell himself; “To me, blank was a line where you can fill in anything … It’s the idea that you have the option of making yourself anything you want, filling in the blank.” I really like that quote, and hope people take something similar from experiencing Jack’s adventure (minus the murderous aliens, of course).
Hope you’ve enjoyed this sonic journey behind the scenes of Exit Generation, and that if you’ve not yet had the chance to check it out, you can pop on over to our Facebook page, say “Hi”, and consider grabbing the book when it hits shops in September.