Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, Calif.
The concept of a man is taken down many roads in the music of the Bay Area band Sporting Life. It's that concept that these young men find to be so sporting. It's the idea of sporting as it consists of risking the sanity and safety of a body, of a man as a simple thing like a body that runs largely as an automatic machine. It's sporting to place different men into various situations where the odds are stacked against them, where their greatest hope could only come when the streets have thinned out some, when there are less people to compete against. It's then, when a reality sets in, where you see what someone will put themselves through to not get trampled.
The songs heard in this four-song session are evident of fellows who don't take no for an answer. There are brick walls in front of them and they just get a hotter head of steam, lower the shoulder and try to make the point of impact as solid as physically possible. They sing, "I'm a man, I'll take what I want," on "Immigrant," and at another time in the song, we're informed that we don't really have the capacity to know what the human body can take because we haven't been through what a certain body's been through. We'd be surprised by how much a body can tear, with the implied addendum something along the lines of, "A whole helluva lot without ripping."
The men that wander through and in and out of Sporting Life's often propulsive and scenic sonics are drifters, getting by on day-old rolls and some kind of calloused will to make it - or rather to outlast the next guy, which isn't really all that bad of a strategy. It's as good of a survival technique as they come. Those in "The Way I Grew," are hangers-on to one of those last days, or the day after the last day for most others. They sing about being the former and being the "new one too," and being "the sidewalk when the people are gone." They've fallen between, so out of touch and so out of love, that the only thing that can now be done is something that's going to mend the tear, that's going to make them serviceable and able to perform in the next match or the next war.