Few people will have heard of Common Rider, of that I am fairly certain, which is a terrible shame. More of you will have, however, heard of a band called Operation Ivy, which launched the career of Tim Armstrong, better known in the mainstream for his band Rancid and as a songwriter-for-hire. The true talent of that band, though, found himself with less of the spotlight, but retained more respect from his peers. I am speaking of Jesse Michaels, creator and lead of Operation Ivy, and later, creator and lead of Common Rider.
Common Rider had a fairly short run. The band formed in 1999, ten years after the breakup of Operation Ivy, and split in 2003, with each member moving on to different projects. Most recently, Jesse Michaels has started a new band called Classics of Love, named after an amazing Common Rider song. The band released two full length albums and one EP, all of which were spectacular works.
Their first album, Last Wave Rockers, had a softer sound than Operation Ivy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The music and the lyrics blend together so well on this album, and on their later album, This is Unity Music, that you can’t help but enjoy it. This is Unity Music was somewhat faster than Last Wave Rockers, and a bit harder, but there is a definite connection in sound between the two. The videos below are from the first and second albums, respectively.
-[insert TIM, YOU’RE NOT BRITISH. STOP SINGING LIKE YOU ARE. here]
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