If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.
Jack London, the author behind The Call of the Wild, has long been quoted as having offered the following credo to friends in the months before his death:
I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
Knowing London was near death when he spoke these words may lead you to believe he was referring to how he wanted his body disposed of in the wake of his passing (cremation as opposed to burial), but such ideas could not be further from the truth. Jack London was not speaking to what he described as “going into the silence,” but rather about life! The words above tell of a man’s determination to live life to the absolute fullest for he knows not what comes next. We all must die, but we must choose to live.
With all this in mind, it’s time to turn our focus from London to a few of the countless people his work has inspired. Stick To Your Guns has been carrying the banner for a particular subgenre of hardcore music that is derived from life experience rather than ego and id for the better part of fifteen years. Their collective journey has not been an easy one, but their music has withstood the rise of social media, the age of streaming, and the dissolution of chain record stores, among other industry-changing evolutions, all while their peers have struggled to maintain their footing in this business. We could debate the numerous reasons for why this might be all day, but the simple answer is most likely the right one: This band makes music people relate to.
On Better Ash Than Dust, a new EP of material arriving in stores on September 23, Stick to Your Guns pull back the curtain on their lives both on and off the road a bit more than ever before. The EP is a collection of material that could only have been written by people who have twenty-five or more years on this Earth because it speaks to revelations that can only be understood with the passing of time. It’s a reflection on the way we slowly grasp the roles our parents and other early influencers played in developing the people we grow up to become, as well as our responsibility to be a positive influence on those around us. To say it’s optimistic might be going a bit far, but there are silver linings to even the darkest ideas that offer hope for a brighter future through perseverance.
When you listen to Better Ash Than Dust you are reminded of the simple, but very important fact that life is constantly propelling you forward and all you can do is make the most of the time you have been given. You can decide who you become and how you spend your time, but as you mature you begin to appreciate the fragility of life in ways that can drastically alter your perception of the world around you. Stick To Your Guns use this EP to urge people to appreciate the loss of naivety that comes with age and to use their knowledge to not only life themselves up, but also those around you. It’s as simple and as difficult as “treat others as you want to be treated,” but it’s absolutely essential in order to get the most out of life.
When listening to this EP, I think not only of Jack London, but also of George Carlin. In a recently unearthed special, Carlin goes into a long-winded discussion of the things he enjoys in life and why he puts so much effort into appreciating them to the fullest. I could write the whole bit here, but he summarizes it well by suggesting that life is one big show, and he’s here to enjoy every minute of it. He recognized long before he left this planet that there is no second performance in life, and there is no option to rewind. We’re here and then we’re gone, so we better do what we can with the time we have because we rarely are given the knowledge of just how much time we have left.
This is your wake up call. Life is short and you’ve got living to do. Let Stick To Your Guns remind you of this in the days ahead, and support the band by picking up a copy of Better Ash Than Dust as soon as possible.
James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Manager for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records (RIP). Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.