So. Bands break up. It sucks, but that’s the way of things. For most of them, the reason is pure and simple; on some level, they suck. Whether it’s only a little, or harder than a $20 hooker, it doesn’t matter; the world doesn’t lose a whole bunch. The members go on with their lives, and probably go on to make a greater impact in other areas of society.

Then there are bands that are forced into submission for other reasons: money, conflict – both personal and artistic – or sometimes the fanbase only comes after they’re long gone.

This is a chronicle of those bands. Most you will not have heard of, for the very reason that they’re not even around to promote themselves any more. But trust me, they are bands that you really really should have heard of.

Further into a book than any of your schmucks have ever read: pageninetynine

Punk rock should mean freedom: liking and accepting anything that you like; playing whatever you want, as sloppy as you want, as long as it’s good and it has passion.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mahS6DCwy_U]

Pg.99 or pageninetynine, however you want to say it, are inarguably one of the greatest, most influential screamo bands EVER. Like, literally ever. I espouse similar praise a lot in this column (as that’s what it’s all about, really), but Pg.99 really are.They were pretty much all about that opening line. Loud, sloppy, and with passion, and it’s not surprising given their penchant for wild shows and a continually rotating lineup that spanned from six to as many as fourteen members at any given time.

They hailed from Sterling, Virginia, and ran from 1998 to 2003 – not a bad run by any stretch of the imagination.

01. In Love with an Apparition
02. Your Face Is a Rape Scene
03. Life in a Box
04. We Left as Skeletons
05. Punk Rock in the Wrong Hands
06. Ballad of Circling Vultures
07. Hollowed Out Chest of a Dead Horse
08. Lonesome Waltz of Leonard Cohen
09. The List

If Refused‘s The Shape of Punk To Come is a “chimerical bombination in 12 bursts”, then Document #8 is three times the chimeras, twice the bombination, and all in 75% of the number of bursts.

It’s considered by many as their pinnacle. It marked the most stable period of their existence, even though it came slap bang in the middle of their output. I can see you doing the maths now; that’s right, there were fourteen ‘document’s – fifteen, if you count the fabled, never-released split with contemporaries City of Caterpillar (yep, them again), which is supposed to feature the final recorded songs of both bands.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-EYtDqafvo]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwRy1XtTsic]

That said, it wasn’t all caustic screaming over guitars that sound like they’re receiving some serious abuse. Tracks like “Goin’ South” and “Diagram for Suicide” showed softer or more experimetal sides, drenched with some seriously uncomfortable overtones.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxYj7S4-p0o&feature=related]

[youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRvUZO5iO1Y&feature=related]

In a post on their website in 2003, one of the Mikes explained that, under the weight of touring and writing, the band had become an effort rather than something they loved, and they would rather save their friendships than keep “beating the dead horse in”. That’s fair enough; I know a lot of bands that have ended for that very reason, and it’s a noble one.

I’m sure that there have been dozens of post-pg.99 projects, given how many people were in the band over the years, but the only ones I know for sure are Mannequin, Forensics, and the Hissing Choir. I know nothing about any of these guys, and it’s hard to find anything about them, or even if they’re still going. Any of you guys know anything? Let me know in the comments.

– CG

If you have any suggestions for this column, please send them my way to: chris(at)heavyblogisheavy(dot)com or leave a message in the comments section!
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