Rob Lind is a tragedy just this side of redemption. The man who penned the fight anthems for so many of America’s forgotten youth of the nineties and early two thousands. The major creative force behind Blood for Blood and Ramallah, as well as a wonderful rock project with his little brother Mark, Sinners and Saints. He was a strong voice who was once assumed for dead, but has come back full force with his YouTube channel, WhiteTrashRob OFFICIAL.
I am not here to sing his praises, or fan boy over him, which it might seem as I am doing. But I want to honor his voice and his contribution to American hardcore, punk rock, and metal, and now to the social spectrum on YouTube. Lind has penned and voiced some of the nations ugliest stories and songs. From the Charlestown projects to the underbelly of violent hardcore, from drug addiction and depravity to a man’s constant struggle for vindication, Lind has laid his heart bare upon America’s kitchen counter for the eager hungry ghosts to feed from and find nourishment.
I remember the fist time I ever heard Blood for Blood. I had just spent a three day trek kicking heroin cross country on an Amtrak train, tickets whom my sugar-daddy purchased for me to get to Boston to reunite with my just recently clean and sober wife. I had weaseled my way into a Cambridge sober bed of a wet shelter (Wet shelters consist of shelter beds that were reserved for those still drunk or high, which most shelters disallowed), which was reserved solely for Cambridge and Somerville residents. I was going to 12 Step meetings, and I spent the majority of my time wondering what the fuck I was doing in a city I knew nothing about, trying to get back a wife that left me, being a victim to extreme east coast weather, and I was now reluctantly sober, per request of my wife. With no desire to actually be sober, no sex, no drugs, and no escape from the voices telling me to hop the first freight train back to the west coast where I could live opiate and meth induced bliss, as was my life’s goal prior to, and during, my marriage; I found myself extremely angry and even more obscenely violent.
One night I found myself riding around town with some sober men who had seen the angry and hateful young skinhead (anti-racist skinhead, for those of you who don’t know), looking lost as all hell, and decided to take me under their wing. Our mirrored love for punk rock and hardcore was one of the things that bound us even more. They loved to feed me caffeine and take me to hardcore shows, only to watch me mow down anything in my path. Anyway, I was in the backseat when my friend Jesse said “Wait a minute. You’re angry. You will probably love this,” and with that he popped in a Blood for Blood CD, and skipped straight to “Wasted Youth Crew.” And with the opening line “This one goes out to all the scumbags, lowlifes, and outsiders” I was hooked.
The next day I went to Newbury Comics and bought all Blood for Blood I could find. I loved punk rock, and loved hardcore, but for the first time I had a found a band that sang MY song. With every lyric of every line of every song, I was able to finally identify with someone other than the voices that rattled around my thick disdainful skull. Blood for Blood screamed about the loneliness, about looking out into a world of “normal people” and wishing they only knew my cold and isolated prison of violence, hatred, and regret. Finally a person, or people that intimately knew my pain. Finally a band that didn’t preach to the spiked choir about class politics, but ordered the huddled masses of the poor to the front lines of the class war for our revenge on society. No longer did I have to listen to the endless bantering of over privileged kids playing squatter for the weekend drone on and on about boring and cliché communist agendas, but argued for the sanctity of striking back against a world that hated us for being born.
Within a year, I had a tattoo of the band logo, and desperately sought my into that social circle of social outcasts, but to no avail. But that didn’t stop me. After my wife asked me for a divorce, I was free to enact my evil plan, and take all of the world down with me, except for the rare few friends I had made in my years as a street corner hoodlum. With my old friend alcohol and a Blood for Blood hoodie as my suit of armor, I began the slow progression of killing myself and as many as I could fell along the way.
As it is obvious, that never happened. After a drawn out five year suicide mission via alcohol, I had burned every bridge, destroyed every relationship, and seemingly squeezed every last drop of hope from my pathetic and pitiful existence. One day, after finding solace with a good woman and her family in La Habra, California, I found myself coming out of a black out on a Greyhound bus in Amarillo, Texas, bound for Boston, with a ticket stub that had “GET SOBER, ASSHOLE” scrawled along the bottom in my handwriting. Except this time when I got to Boston, I dove into recovery full force. The rest is history.
I had a brief encounter with Rob once, which led to some emails and some exchanging of stories and ideas. For one reason or another communication was ended and I never heard form him again. More than anything it was awesome just getting to meet and talk with someone whose work had touched so close to home for me. I am not much a fanboy, but I am quick to appreciate and show appreciation for those that speak to me in ways that others don’t.
When I was on my last leg and couldn’t find another reason to live sober, Rob’s lyrics became a friend to me. When my wife left me and I was left to the open and lonely road, Rob’s songs comforted me. When I didn’t think I could take not one more day, not one more step, not one more heartbeat, Rob’s voice crashed through and reminded me that I am not alone in this world. I can’t tell you how many times I have been unable to talk myself out of hanging it up or jumping off the nearest bridge, and so I step outside for one last cigarette and want to listen to some good music before I go, and Blood for Blood got me angry enough to not go out like that, to stick around and take my revenge. Blood for Blood’s album Revenge on Society was a godsend. It convinced me to do exactly that, take my revenge on society. But someone once told me that the best way to get revenge is to outlast and succeed. So that is exactly what I have done.
I listen to anything either of the Lind brothers puts out, as I trust their song writing and their perspective. It is too close to my own, at least at some point in my life. I may not listen to Blood for Blood much these days as I do not identify with the boy that needed that music to keep going day after day, but the gratitude I have for that musical project will never die. I absolutely love Ramallah. A lot of Lind’s musical choices may not be exactly what I am looking for, it is that voice that rings through loud and true. And now he has his “NodCast” which consists of him chain smoking, popping Suboxone like Pez and guzzling Diet Dr. Pepper while insanely ranting into an iPhone. For those outside of the world that has forced both he and I to make some odd life choices to have brought thus far, the particulars of which he speaks will probably fall on deaf ears. But it is with the power, passion, and truth with which he speaks, that makes way for what Buddhists call Shamabala, or an enlightened society. So many pseudo-spiritual rich liberal NIMBYs, what with their Volvos, yoga, and gluten-free buttholes think that life is supposed to feel good and be pretty and white and lace curtains. But then there is a voice like Rob Lind, yelling at us from the dark alleyway. If we’re not paying attention, we would think it is just some madman trying to kill us. But if we just stop for a moment and realize that even the ugly of the world is beautiful, because it is of this world, then we might understand that from the shadows is a madman. Yelling at us. Trying to save us from ourselves.