Virgin Islands: Feels Like the First Time

A conversation about unforgettable firsts.

Made up of local-scene vets from bands like Neo, Hello From Waveland, and the Cops, Virgin Islands are far from musical neophytes. The band's latest, Ernie Chambers v. God, is the kind of cerebral post-punk that only grownups can make, and the band cleverly does so without ever dropping the ethos of "doin' it for the kids." Ernie Chambers, of course, references the notorious Nebraska legislator's symbolic lawsuit regarding the frivolity of lawsuits. Exploring themes of a quasi-political nature, frontman Mike Jaworski, drummer Aaron Ball, bassist Charles Keller, and guitarist Christopher (Chippsy) Meyer have put Jaworski's poli-sci degree, and everyone's punk-rock past, to work. We chatted at Hazlewood in Ballard recently about cherry-popping, musical and otherwise.

SW: What was your first exposure to punk rock?

Jaworski: It was The Clash, and [the Sex Pistols'] Never Mind the Bollocks. I was also into lots of early California skate punk, like Jodie Foster's Army, Fear, stuff like that. I was lucky to have cool friends with cooler older brothers.

Keller: In ninth grade I got a cassette from a buddy of mine with Fugazi's 13 Songs taped on it. It just blew me away.

Meyer: I had a friend visiting from Canada who brought a copy of Black Flag with him. Before that I was covering Ratt in the junior-high talent show.

Do you remember your first inebriation?

Ball: Seventh grade. It involved Seagram's wine coolers. My buddies and I had all these schemes to rip off 7-Eleven. One involved paying for a bunch of penny candy with huge handfuls of pennies you'd kind of throw all over the counter. While the clerk sorted it out, your friends would grab the booze.

Meyer: This is going to sound bad . . . I was about 15 and babysitting. An older relative gave me and my buddy a sixer of Olde English 800.

I'm not going to ask about the dirty details surrounding losing your own virginity, but . . . was there a record on, and do you remember what it was?

Jaworski: My best recollection is that it was The Cure or something in a similar vein. Probably The Head on the Door or Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

Meyer: I regret not having a musical reference for my first "lay," but if I could go back and give it a soundtrack, it would surely be "Too Young to Fall in Love"!

Ball: I'm almost positive that Appetite for Destruction was the romantic soundtrack for my first time. I know for sure that it was a cassette tape that you put into an 8-track adapter situation. Good times!

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