New Jersey’s Best Rock Bands


Somewhere Down in the Swamps of Jersey

It’s a beautiful state. One that I, and at least one other writer on this blog, hail from. There have been several things written and said about the Garden State in recent years. Most of it has not been flattering. Who to blame? Reality televisions stars, corrupt politicians, straight-up mean average folk. I could also blame youth culture. Especially youth culture. Kids. They’re listening to some really shitty things on TV, from their parents, from each other.

I was recently on a bus, coming back to North Jersey from New York, and it was already a pretty bad day. Go to work late, fixed co-workers’ little computer issues, didn’t get the chance to have lunch, nevertheless a break of any rational amount of time. Worst part: I didn’t have my iPod with me. Good lord, what a brutal mistake. A cardinal sin. But maybe it wouldn’t have been so awful if a group of 16-year-old girls didn’t sit next to me on an already-crowded bus.

I don’t listen to young people often. They don’t have anything intelligent to add; they can only take away. However, with no ear buds pumping Fucked up into my noggin, I was forced to stomach what these stereotypes were bitching.

They talked little things: girls they don’t like, alcohol they’ve tried, shitty concerts they’ve been to. And what I noticed, and sort of appreciated, but then sort of don’t, was that they went to a lot of shows. A lot more than I did at their age. Then again, they could have been exaggerating. Tweens have a tendency of doing that. For likely reasons, I truly believed they forced their parents to drive them up and down the Garden State Parkway to see some horrid bands spewing horrid noises in some horrid malls in South Jersey. It got me thinking: despite what these tikes are arguing, what are the best bands to ever come out of New Jersey?

I know there were some great – hell, amazing even – bands that played locally, and then went on to rock main stages and headline festivals dating back to the 1980s. The 90s, not so much. Turn of the millennium? A few here and there. But I believe I’ve narrowed them down, and I can say they are all respectable bands, full of respectable musicians, and at least a handful of quality albums between them. And I like that the girls on the bus have no idea who these bands are. It sucks though. I, personally, was too young to fully enjoy them in their prime. But I’m lucky, too, because I’m too old now to give a shit about the new breed of pop “punk” groups dawning skinny jeans with smartphones jammed in their pockets.

Here are the greatest bands to come out of one of the greatest states in the union, New Jersey. There’s a little bit of everything here: punk, pop, hair metal, ska. All quality, all Garden Fresh.

1. The Gaslight Anthem


2. Blues Traveler


3. The Bouncing Souls


4. The Misfits


5. Yo La Tengo

6. Bon Jovi


7. Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band


Honorable Mention
: The Smithereens, Danzig, The Wrens, The Feelies, The Early NovemberThursday, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Don’t hate me, I’m not a Titus Andronicus fan. Shit’s too long, boys. Cut it down, stop boring me.

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Categories: Music

Author:Mike Pop

Rock & roll.

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6 Comments on “New Jersey’s Best Rock Bands”

  1. 09.25.11 at 10:48 PM #

    The crotch shot at the top is just too good.

  2. 09.25.11 at 10:59 PM #

    Early November! Yes!

  3. 09.26.11 at 1:35 PM #

    Catch 22 doesn’t even get a shout out in the Honorable Mention. My inner 15-year-old is so pissed right now.

  4. 09.30.11 at 11:25 PM #

    is it good? i have never heard of this..

  5. Brian
    03.16.14 at 11:22 PM #

    The Front Bottoms need to be here!

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