Jesse Michaels, the lyrical mind behind Operation Ivy, quietly uploaded two videos to YouTube last week.
They’re titled “Jesse Michaels’ Thrash Metal Blog.” They feature a never-changing photo of Julius Erving. They sound like they’re recorded on a cassette tape. And they’re hilariously off-kilter and profane. (Don’t play them for mom.)
“Don’t tell me I got the genres of thrash metal wrong,” he says, at one point. “Slayer’s not thrash metal? Fuck off. It goes fast. Satan comes second.”
Another bit: “Try going to a Kreator gig in 1983. Lemme tell you something. It wasn’t fun. It SUCKED. That’s why you went.”
With the videos at just 100 measly views earlier today, there was some speculation going around if in fact this was the real Jesse Michaels or just an imposter with an uncanny resemblance and a weird sense of humor. I checked with Jesse: “Yes, it’s really me. It’s supposed to be funny,” he replied. “I know it’s weird.”
For anyone who has both Energy and An Eye for an Eye in their collection, listen below.
“It’s nice to see so many health food stores in Santa Rosa,” announced Jesse Michaels partway through the set by his band, Classics of Love. “Santa Rosa used to be known for something else.”
That thing, of course, was meth, which propelled an entire generation of thrash bands to play as fast as humanly possible while growling unintelligible, moronic lyrics. Jesse, of course, was affected by the drug in other ways; by writing some of the greatest lyrics of all time with Operation Ivy, and singing them in such a controlled, rapid-fire way that evoked chemical desperation as much as unbridled joy. Who knew Jesse equated Santa Rosa with meth? I mean, except for Capitalist Casualties?
“Let’s dedicate this next one to Victims Family, what the hell,” he continued, launching into “Time Flies,” just one of many actual great songs. Folks can disagree for hours about Big Rig and Common Rider, but let the bickering end—Classics of Love is easily Jesse’s best post-OpIvy band. The singing is in tune, his guitar playing’s right on, and his backing band is great. I’d heard stories about his faltering solo shows, but after their maiden voyage tour coming up, I’d wager to say that Classics of Love will be a well-oiled force to be reckoned with.
Jesse shouted out the Cotati Cabaret, hoping that people might remember. Some did.