20 Years Ago: D Generation Release ‘No Lunch’
D Generation were one of many bands that were pegged for stardom in the early-to-mid '90s. But the New York band's 1994 self-titled debut, a mixture of punk rock and glam metal, had trouble translating their critical acclaim to mainstream success, and that continued with their second album, No Lunch, which came out on July 16, 1996.
The lack of success of D Generation prompted a split -- at the band's request -- with their label, Chrysalis. After a bidding war, they were signed to Columbia and the group linked up with Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, who'd found success behind the boards as the producer of Weezer's debut.
“My first real choice was Ric,” guitarist Danny Sage told Critical Mass in 2011. “I liked the first Weezer album, and I like the Cars, and I was aware that he'd worked with Bad Brains and Suicide, who we all love. He lives in New York, he's really smart and funny, it was a good fit, at least for me; he and I got on well. And I think that's a good record. I learned a lot from Ric."
Though D Generation was starting from scratch, four tracks from their debut would be retooled for No Lunch, including the single “No Way Out,” easily one of the top songs about youthful disaffection of the decade, with Jesse Malin singing lines like, “Send us all to high school / Make us pray to statues / We hang on corners lookin' bored.”
Songs like “Capital Offender” and “Waiting for the Next Parade” have an insistent punk sensibility that took liberally from the New York Dolls and incorporated a bigger-than-life melody. “Too Loose” starts with a bass line reminiscent of Nirvana’s “Sliver,” but quickly shifts into a driving sing-a-long. Then there’s the all-out assault of “Frankie” and “Degenerated” and album opener “Scorch,” any of which would silence those from the punk scene intoning the dreaded "sellout" tag.
It might not have been the perfect punk album, but it’s pretty close, and in the mid-'90s, there wasn’t much else in the genre that could touch it. The band toured relentlessly on No Lunch, and it still didn’t break down the doors like it should have. It still doesn’t make any sense as to why, though as Sage explained to Critical Mass, audiences weren’t ready.
"Not to sound like we invented fire, but we were the real deal, and it just so happened that the timing was really bad,” Sage said. “People were really into Seattle, grunge, etc. and we were the polar opposite of that, on the surface."
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