I’d heard “Circles” on the 20 Years Of Dischord comp and besides heard that Can I Say was the essential Dag Nasty album. Of course the record store only had Wig Out At Denko’s and even though I’d heard that it was their weird, slow, quasi-metal record I wasn’t going home empty-handed so I got it anyway. The rumours were true, and then some. Not only was Wig Out At Denko’s barely hardcore, the production and guitars were hair metal, the vocals were way off and the lyrics are still some of the worst I’ve ever heard. Maybe it’s that listening to hardcore I was spared from actually hearing most horrendous lyrics, but Peter Cortner, however off-key, was clear as day, spouting lines like “being laughed at, being judged, like being in bed with a porcupine”, “I’m supposed to bounce back, I am a rubber ball”, and “I was only five when I heard the tale of a little train that said “I think I can” “. Even though I’ve come to hold Wig Out dear those lyrics still make me cringe, endearing as they may seem years later (“Let’s wig out at Denko’s on Coke and Doritos” is actually a killer line though). At the time I was irate. Buyer’s remorse was compounded by how good I knew “Circles” was. I was sure I would feel better about the whole thing as soon as I got my hands on a copy of Can I Say, but it was impossible to find. It became my holy grail for a few years but no matter how many record stores in however many towns I trawled I never caught a glimpse of it.
Strangely, unlike most albums I hated on first listen that immediately got delegated to the junkpile under my bed, Wig Out At Denko’s enjoyed almost constant Discman duty. There was something about it that saved it from being thrown out altogether. As bad as it was, it wasn’t all bad. There was something worthy buried in those laser grooves, and I played it repeatedly trying to dig it out. Some of the guitar riffs were actually kinda killer, and some of the tunes that Peter Cortner struggled to carry were alright. I never did find an actual copy of Can I Say, but years later when my household internet had progressed past Sunn 0))) speeds I bit the bullet and just downloaded it. It was great, a definite classic and leagues ahead of its follow-up, but by then it was too late. I already knew every riff and line of Wig Out At Denko’s by heart.