The other day
███ said some band that came on was one of his favorite bands ever, and then I started thinking about who my favorite bands ever where. One of them would without doubt be J Church. I think I first heard them way back in... 10th grade I guess. When my brother went off to college he brought back (or sent me) some tapes of punk bands he'd copied from friends there, and one of them had J Church's Quetzalcoatl on it. From then on I started buying their 7"s and CDs and whatever I could find (my music player says I could listen to 13:31:40 of their music without repeating). I only got to see them play once at the old Stalag 13 in West Philly on their Arbor Vitae tour. Listening to that album still vivedly feels like my freshman year of college when it came out and I listened to it obsessively.
At some point I started following Lance Hahn, the songwriter, guitarist, singer, and only constant member of the band, via his old e-zine/email list, where I learned about his heart problems and his apartment burning down but also his reviews of films and books. He died back in 2007, younger than I am now. Sometimes I still google his name or the band to see if anything has come up, rereleases or the book on the UK's anarcho-punk scene he had been working on for years. Somehow yesterday I stumbled upon this obituary/appreciation at Pop Matter I hadn't seen before which does a good job in summarizing the band and Lance's history. One thing the author doesn't mention is how Lance would always put reading list/book recommendations in the CD/album booklets. I always loved that, it's how I first learned about the Situationists and anarchists in the Spanish Civil War and Jean Baudrillard. The only thing I regret in digitizing and getting rid of all my CDs is that I didn't keep those J Church booklets.
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