The year was 1988. I heard Verbal Assault’s album Trial, and I fell in love.
I spent the entire summer enjoying that album. And then fall, and winter, and the next year.
Verbal Assault also came to Milwaukee, and played at the Odd Rock Cafe to a small crowd. A very small crowd. I think it was a Saturday afternoon… the weekend Summerfest opened. It was great seeing them, but the live experience doesn’t have an affect on me the same way Trial does… even today.
For years I didn’t hear Trial… I had it on vinyl and it wasn’t available on CD, and my respect for artists prevented me from trying to find some illegal download of it. For years I checked verbalassault.com hoping to see Trial get released in some digital form, but it never happened. Finally, I gave up, and digitized my old worn out copy of 12″ musical magic. Hisses, pops, and cracks galore…
And it’s amazing. The sound quality is not great… I’ve got a worn-out needle on an old turntable with my battered vinyl. It’s also the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.
Maybe it transports me to an idealized time in my life: young and mostly care-free, but I tend to not buy into that salad days bullshit and in thinking about it, it’s the powerful words and music that still affect me.
Listening to it more than 20 years later, I start to wonder if it’s had a major effect on my life, or if it’s some strange coincidence that I find so much of it relevant to whom I’ve become.
So many of their songs have to do with persevering, and not giving up, and continuing when the odds are against you. Never stop. In all my years, I’ve always found it hard to quit things I believe in. It’s a rare thing for me to do. I don’t like to admit defeat. There’s plenty of things I probably should have quit over the years, but didn’t for one reason or another. I find a way to rationalize things. (I guess It’s a good thing I tend to do creative things, and not self-destructive things.)
So right now, I’m listening to Trial by Verbal Assault. And when I’m done with that I’ll probably listen to it again. That may continue for a while.
Here’s what someone else has to say about Trial.