SONG OF THE WEEK: Fugazi | Waiting Room

EVERY WEEK WE’LL BE POSTING OUR FAVOURITE SONG OF THE WEEK. THIS WON’T NECESSARILY BE A NEW RELEASE BUT RATHER A SONG WE’VE HEARD THAT HAS STUCK IN OUR HEAD AND REFUSED TO LEAVE OR IS SIMPLY ONE OF OUR FAVOURITE TRACKS. THIS WEEK – FUGAZI’S WAITING ROOM.

The year was 1989 and I was on that precipice between high school and university where the world seems to be laid out in front of you – terrifying and exciting at the same time. I’d already made the transition from Top 40 radio to cultivating my own discography of tastes a few years earlier thanks to albums like Guns n Roses’ Appetite For Destruction, Jane’s Addiction’s Nothing’s Shocking, The Cure’s Disintegration, Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration, The Smith’s Meat Is Murder, Pixies‘ Doolittle and Public Enemy’s Nation of Millions. The influence of New Zealand student radio station 95bFM was immeasurable in my journey from Duran Duran to Dirty Three and during that summer my ears were drawn to a veritable call to arms from a band out of Washington DC by the name of Fugazi. As Joe Lally unleashed Waiting Room’s bass line it felt like an adrenalin shot to the heart (it still does) and made me want to get up, thrash about uncontrollably to the taut energy that the song seems to possess like a coiled spring, contained yet wired to the max. I think that was the first Fugazi song I heard, it was definitely the one that signed me up as a fan of the band who became one of my favourites over the next decade. Those opening rumbling notes are up with the best bass intros – moments like My Bloody Valentine’s Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside), and Jane’s Addiction’s Mountain Song and it never fails to induce that same feeling of staring into the unknown at that time of your life when everything is changing. Lyrically the song addresses the same issues I was facing at the time it was released, themes of identity, self-worth, future fear and feeling the need to make a mark, to do something. The guitar of Ian MacKaye is like a circling shark until it thrashes and grinds across the chorus with that push and pull that made Fugazi such a dynamic band.

Waiting Room (2.53) was written by Ian MacKaye and comes from Fugazi’s 13 Songs album – a compilation of the Fugazi and Margin Walker EPs from 1988.

I am a patient boy
I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait
My time is water down a drain

Everybody’s moving
Everybody’s moving
Everything is moving,
Moving, moving, moving

Please don’t leave me to remain
In the waiting room

I don’t want the news
(I cannot use it)
I don’t want the news
(I won’t live by it)

Sitting outside of town
Everybody’s always down
(Tell me why)

Because they can’t get up
(Ahhh… Come on and get up)
(Come on and get up)

But I won’t sit idly by
(Ahhh…)
I’m planning a big surprise
I’m gonna fight
For what I want to be

And I won’t make the same mistakes
(Because I know)
Because I know how much time that wastes
(And function)
Function is the key
Inside the waiting room

I don’t want the news
(I cannot use it)
I don’t want the news
(I won’t live by it)

Sitting outside of town
Everybody’s always down
(Tell me why)

Because they can’t get up
(Ahhh… Come on and get up)
Up from the waiting room

Sitting in the waiting room
(Ahhh…)
Sitting in the waiting room
(Ahhh…)
Sitting in the waiting room
(Ahhh…)
Sitting in the waiting room
(Ahhh…)

(Tell me why)
Because they can’t get up

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