Bands I Used To Love is a segment where we talk about old flames: the music we used to love as younger people. Our middle school favs, our first albums, our angsty high school heroes. For whatever reason, these bands fell out of our rotation. Sometimes they’re embarrassing, sometimes they make us feel like we were pretty cool back then. Either way, old heroes reveal a lot about a person, and the reason they’re gone tells us even more.
The Band: Jughead’s Revenge (aka Jugg’s Revenge)
There was a time in middle school, after thoroughly exploring the music and story of Blink 182, that I became curious about punk music. I took to some of my older sister’s records for my research. Among them: Jughead’s Revenge and their 1999 album, Pearly Gates. The cover art cartoon of tatted up old people rocking out intrigued me.
The band broke up shortly after, which is just as well, because Archie Comics was suing them for their name. Apparently they had a resurgence in 2010, as Jugg’s Revenge, but it doesn’t seem like much more than a tour at this point.
Why I Liked Them
Other than it being there? It’s tough to tell. When you’re that age and you’re looking at different genres and subcultures, you’re basically trying on different outfits, both literally and figuratively. Jughead’s Revenge was just a jacket I was trying on, because it was the first one in the closet. Still, if I didn’t like it a little bit, it wouldn’t have touched my skin at all, right?
And I did like it. My favorite song of theirs, though, was a cover of The Cars’ “Just What I Needed.” That mix of melodic pop guitar riffs and rough & tumble vocals is something that I still gravitate toward today. Other than that, I enjoyed their rapid-fire rock, the ones that were designed more for singing than moshing. “These Valley Streets” and “Victims and Volunteers” specifically.
But that was a rush I got from other bands too, like Bad Religion and Pennywise. Jughead’s Revenge was just another compliment to that roster I was forming in my head. A disc to slip into the rotation when “Inner Logic” got too familiar.
Even at that age there just weren’t enough songs on Pearly Gates that demanded constant attention. I liked a handful of the 14 tracks, and when they average out at 2 minutes long, it was easy to burn through them. Plus, no one seemed to be talking about them. I could spend hours reading about Bad Religion on Buddyhead or other websites back then, but I couldn’t satisfy any curiosity about Jughead’s Revenge, if they inspired any. The biography was part of how I got invested in an artist, even if I had to imagine it based on small hints. There weren’t really any hints with Juggs, but that’s to be expected when they break up right after you find out about them.
Another thing is that any thrill they offered was shared by a bevy of other bands. What I got from Juggs I could get from Pennywise, Bad Religion, even NOFX. They were good, but not one of a kind.
Some of these songs still rule? I appreciate the blistering pace of “Victims and Volunteers,” “Tearing Down the World” feels like primal 90s punk and “No Time” feels like a great cerebral rock song. They do this well. But other bands do this on an elite level. These vocal melodies, these pop rock riffs, these urgent hooks, these blistering solos. I’d like to take this music on its own terms, instead of comparing it to all the other options in all of music history. But after all these years, they serve best as a way to break up the homogeneity of 90s punk rock playlists.