When you hear The Have Nots, you can’t help but think they’re punky like Green Day, Dropkick Murphys, Offspring, and Sublime’s hardcore numbers. And indeed, if this were the 1990s, I’d be betting on big things for them. But with that style of music no longer in vogue, The Have Nots would be at risk of being a novelty act, another ska/hardcore/kinda Clash band. That is, if they weren’t so Goddamn talented.
Their lyrics are deep and complex, eschewing accessibility for true punk philosophy; the hooks are nonstop; the lyrics are spat in spoken shouts; and the drumming is simply phenomenal. I dunno where this Steve Patton dude came from, but he deserves widespread renown. His relentless, driving beats give the record it’s spine, supporting the anarchic philosophy, surprisingly interesting keyboard accents, and steady guitar riffs.
The best song on the record, “Used to Be,” is all about the stuff we leave behind when we grow up and get too old to headbang and mosh. I’m sure I’m not the only one who relates to it. Other standout tracks include “Army of One,” an anthem for veterans that should be blasting out of every radio in Iraq, “There’s Gonna Be a Riot” (it’s meaning is obvious), and the punny title track, “Serf City U.S.A.,” with it’s chorus: “Serf City, U.S.A./How long must we live this way?”
The band is D.I.Y. after some issues with their record label, and just self-released their first album.
And you can hear their original 4 song demo for free at Pure Volume.