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Classics of Love at Barfly in London, UK on 17 May 2009 (Imelda Michalczyk)

On the upcoming, self-titled Classics of Love LP, Jesse Michaels declares, “Life is a game where you see who gets the most money/Life is a game where you see who gets the most power.” Those are some cool punk lyrics on their own but the ex-frontperson of Common Rider, Big Rig, and Operation Ivy backs up the sentiments by starting rad bands that never get played on the radio, play huge tours, or cash in. Instead, Michaels just makes totally honest, somewhat trashy, energy-packed, and supremely melodic ’70s punk-inspired music with hardcore and ska leanings. So I was stoked when our mutual friend Mike Park asked me if I wanted to contact Jesse about his band’s latest release on Asian Man Records. Cramming 13 songs into 23 minutes, its brand of raging punk channels Bad Religion (“We Need a Change”) as much as The Specials (“Castle In The Sky“) . Of course, the breathless, humanist, blue-collar lyrics are pure Jesse Michaels. Here’s how the conversation went…

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