"Its just a typical punk rock song. But, what this post is more of a question about the song, than an answer. I assume all the names in it refer to real people, who are they? Tom I can only assume is Tommy Clement (sung about in Along the Way), Milo.. well Milo Auckerman. Missy.. no idea who that is. Jimmy... I dunno, could be Jim Lindberg? He's a pretty crazy guy, and I know he's worked with BR before. Laurie... I'm thinking Laurie Vitt, used to teach Greg, teacher type.. quiet. Wendy - was hoping one of Brett's kids was called Wendy.. but nup, so no idea. Eugene, Muggger and Mary, I don't get them either.. and that's that, anyone know any of the answers for sure?"
"This is more of a question than an interpretation. This song mentions a lot of old punk guys, and I was wondering if you guys could help me figure out who some of them are. 'Milo went to college, but you knew about that' - That's Milo from the Descendents, almost for sure '...mugger was security..' - Mugger, roadie from Black Flag, probably 'Tom took his life in his mother's car.' - Tom Clement, from Give You Nothing fame. Brett said he took his life, but other people said it was just a car accident. 'Billy went to county on a class one possession.' - Mr. Brett himself, maybe, does anyone know if he was ever in jail? Eugene and Rodney sound familiar, but I can't place them. And I am clueless about the rest. Help?"
"Well, when I heard the line 'Billy went to county on a class one possession' I immediately thought of Brett (as in No Control's 'Billy Gnosis'). He has, after all, been busted several times."
-Amish Rake Fighter
"I can add something to the last post. '...Rodney played our records...' thats a reference to Rodney from local Southern California station KROQ. He played Bad Religion for the first time on the radio. He technically made BR know throughout So Cal. He still has his show after 20 or more years."
"This one of those 'memories of the good old days' punk rock songs that older bands write. 7 Seconds has a few of them. Minor Threat's 'Salad Days' is another that comes to mind. These songs always seem to come down to 'we were a bunch of outcasts who came together, united by the scene, and it meant something back then' I couldn't tell you who all the names are, although Milo is obvious, Mugger was Black Flag's roadie, and Billy is probably a reference to Brett."
"I'm hardly well informed but to me I think its about the people they grew up with. Of course I dunno but Milo obviously Descendents Milo, Billy is an alias for Brett (see 'Billy' No Control) just reckon that cos Brett has done time for a minor drugs charge hasn't he??? dunno anyway its a start."
"Beyond the question of who exactly this song is referring to, or the details of each story described, this song reflects the deep cynicism that seems to have been developing in BR songs for many, many years. 'Just think of all the things we did... we were different, just like all the other kids.' This line seems to reflect the ultimate absurdity of the whole punk rock culture. Sure we all feel different, separate, even like we belong to something ELSE, but really everyone feels like that- i.e., 'just like all the other kids.' One of many examples present on this album that demonstrates how asking questions about why we feel how we feel about things often results in answers that are very indeterminate (uncertain) and possibly even cynical."
"I'm pretty sure 'Rodney played our records' is referring to the infamous 'Rodney on the Rock' show on KROQ. Perhaps 'Billy went to county on a class one possession' is referring to Brett and his struggle with drugs. kinda autobiographical, much like the song 'Billy'."
"The song references a character named 'billy' who 'went to county on a class one possession'. Billy is an alias for Brett (see track 14 on No Control), so the possibility exists that Brett is using aliases for all these people. That kind of fits with the whole Beatnik sensibility, using real experiences to create semi-fictional characters."
"I would have to agree for the most part with Punk-Kid80. I do know that the people in this song are definitely real. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with all of the people, but here are the ones I know for sure: - Tom is indeed Tom Clement. The song 'Best For You' is subtitled 'Tom Clement.' Brett once said that Tom was a friend of his who committed suicide (hence the line 'Tom took his life in his mother's car.') - Milo... remember the Descendents record, 'Milo Goes To College'? - Rodney is a disc jockey from the famous California radio station KROQ. He had a show called 'Rodney on the ROQ' and when BR first started playing, he played their records. - Billy is Brett Gurewitz. Recall the song 'Billy' which is all about Brett's battle with substance abuse. The line 'Billy went to county on a class one possession' refers to the time he was caught with ten balloons of heroin and was ordered by the court to go to rehab. Unfortunately, that's all I know about this song. Can anyone else fill the gaps that still remain?"
"I know for sure that 'Rodney' is a DJ here in Southern California at radio station KROQ. He always plays local and new music and he is pretty much credited for 'discovering' BR. He was the first person to play them on the radio....and the rest is history."
"This is more of an autobiographical song, like a quick revision of their close friends' and acquaintances' lives, but again it deals with a recurrent theme: this question of not belonging to a certain scene or social group, but still accomplishing one's goals. Greg (though I think this is a Brett song) has always stated how an outcast he used to be when he moved down to LA... But still he managed to achieve his target; he formed a band and released a lot of records. Yet, that is not their ultimate aspiration ('and can it be found in a record store, will it's not there anymore'). They just set the list of other friends' deeds and place them all in the same level, with no jerarquization. They were all part of a 'confederacy of the wrong' (wrong for the outsiders, the mass, that is) and dedicate the song to all these people like you and me who maintain against the grain, don't belong (to the mass), but belong to somewhere else, less known for the average. Now, as far as the different names, I know for sure like you have all said that Tom is Tom Clement, who is mentioned in Along the Way ('like Tommy you are free') and also gives the alternative name for the song Give You Nothing... Anyway, I don't understand why they have to mention that particular fact. I mean, didn't they have a better memory of him? Milo is Milo Auckerman. 'Milo went to college but you knew about that'. We know it because of the name of that album released by The Descendents, but Milo did go to college after he left the band. He is a good friend of Greg and Brett, and shared with the former their passion for Biology. Rodney was the guy at KROQ who played first their EP Bad Religion. Jimmy I have no idea about... Laurie neither... But just in case, do they happen to be friends with Laurie Anderson? Jack again, I'm clueless. A vague guess could be Jack Grisham (TSOL singer). He is a good friend of Brett, who played guitar in that Jack's just-one-song (Somebody to Love?) solo band project called Gentleman Jack Grisham (featured in the Punk o Rama IV). Interestingly, there is another Jack mentioned in Evangeline ('hey Jack, get back, in fact don't do that'). Billy IS without doubt Brett himself. Apart from the songs Billy Gnosis and Billy dealing with his problems with drugs, there is this great article on LA Weekly Magazine where Mr. Brett retells with full details the last time when he was caught red handed shooting crack by the police and after going to jail we went on rehab. He said that it was his fear of staying in jail more than his serious chances of death that made him go under treatment. Wendy, Eugene, Mugger and Mary, again I have no idea about... D-Rek, thanks for the info about Mugger, I had no idea..."
-My Epitome Me
"'Rodney played our records,' That's Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ fame. 'Jimmy started riots,' I'm pretty sure that would be Jim Lindbergh. 'Jack wore a skirt, but he knew how to scrap,' that's Jack Grisham of TSOL fame. That's all I know guys/girls, hope it helps!"
"Ill try to be brief and to the point. With you don't belong, to me it sounds like some kind of memoir or a letter that says something like 'hey.. remember the good ol' times? The lines "hey you, is there something worth belonging to? We've been here all along like a confederacy of the wrong and I confess it could be prejudice but to you i dedicate this song" back it up as well. On the album lyrics there's a bottle with the word 'poison' on it.. i know its a far stretch, but it kind of seemed to me as if this were a letter greg would write to brett to kind of help him realize who his friends were and to keep his head on straight from all the stuff he was going through. "just ones like us will never belong" As far as the people mentioned.. they are probably people they hung out with or saw at shows regularly..who knows. tom we all know.. milo of course... Rodney was from KROQ from "rodney on the roq" who cut their records on the air and got them exposure. The rest, as far as i know, i have no clue who they are.. just people that theyve known."
"I dont know about the others but Rodney refers to the presenter of 'Rodney on the Roq' who played there records. And Brett did spend some time inside a county jail when he was court in possesion of some smack in '97 so 'Billy' almost certainly refers to him"
"just to inform on another character mentioned in this song. When Mr.Brett says "Jack wore a skirt but he knew how to scrap", he is referring to Jack Grisham who is the singer of T.S.O.L. Grisham used to come out onstage wearing a skirt in response to the hardcore fashion of LA city punkers."