Have You Read the New(-ish) Cometbus? It's About Touring Asia With Green Day and Some Other Stuff...

ride the wohl whip
Weezer concerts, Retromania, one other obligatory thing to complete a list of three--seems like everybody is getting swept up by nostalgia these days! Add to that list the latest issue of Cometbus, the venerable punk zine that namesake Aaron Cometbus has been self-publishing for as long as I can remember knowing what either punk or zines were. Cometbus #54--out since February and priced at a Fugazi-incensing $4!!--follows Aaron as he tours Asia for two weeks with Green Day, which would be like some kind of modern-day Cameron Crowe Creem-dream, except that he's done it a few times before.

Aaron and Green Day are old friends going back to the band's earliest days--he roadied their first North American tours, briefly sat in on drums for a second (and played with Billie Joe Armstrong in Pinhead Gunpowder)--but they're also old friends who have grown massively apart in terms of lifestyles, economics, fame, and just about everything else you could think of. They've fallen out over the years about punk ethics and personal misunderstandings. They've just grown apart the way people do when their lives radically diverge. And so the whole issue becomes more than just a tour travelogue, it becomes a treatise on friendship, nostalgia, paths taken and not taken. You catch up with your old friends and they're exactly like you remember and/but everything is different. You size up Stadiums in Singapore against basement shows in shit-town California. Or, as Cometbus puts it:

What happens when friends grow up together but make choices that lead them down fundamentally different paths? Can they still travel together, despite their differences. That's what I wondered as I boarded the plane bound for Thailand, and, for the first time in my life, took a seat in first class... Because, you see, I hadn't changes that much. Not enough.

For me, there was an extra layer of synchronicity and nostalgia to the issue. I hadn't picked up or read an issue of Cometbus in years (although I have a small, prized pile of back issues as well as the Omnibus), so reading it was in a way like reconnecting with an old friend of my own and being amazed at how things have and haven't changed. I've become perhaps a more discriminating--and certainly better read--reader since I was 19 or 20, and at first I was let down by how plain and unimpressive the writing seemed compared to how I remembered it. (Al Burian remains the more technically impressive of the first-person zinesters, I guess.) Other things change, too, as a friend remarked: "he types now?!" Eventually, though, the writing, if not the typesetting, grew back on me--Aaron can be a simple storyteller, but also insightful and poignant, and when your story is this weird and long and personal and big, sometimes saying it plainly is the best.

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