The 1980’s were a very interesting time for music. Hardcore Punk was created as was Thrash metal. Towards the late 80’s a group formed in Berkeley, California. Operation Ivy was one of the first bands to mix hardcore punk and ska. Their mix of the two genres is regarded as part of the vanguard of the second wave of American punk rock which swept the country in the 1990s. Operation Ivy was critical to the emergence of Lookout Records and the so-called “East Bay Sound.” Although the band released just one full length album Energy, before breaking up in May 1989, Operation Ivy is well remembered as the direct antecedent of Rancid (Tim “Lint” Armstrong and Matt Freeman were both in Op Ivy) and for wielding a lasting stylistic influence over numerous other bands. A fun fact about the band at their last official live performance. This show was Green Day’s first performance at the famed 924 Gilman St. This was also supposed to be Operation Ivy’s record release show. As for a reunion, the group has stated a number of times that Operation Ivy reunion is unlikely to happen. frontman Jesse Michaels addressed reunion issues in a Myspace blog years ago, citing the legal and logistic difficulties in getting the four members together for a reunion, as well as the fact that the band “never belonged in a big rock club in a one to two thousand seat joint.” He concluded the post with the following: “[Will] it happen? The most honest answer is probably not.” The closest thing ever to a reunion happened at a Rancid show at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco on December 17, 2006, Jesse Michaels reunited with Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman to perform the tracks “Unity” as well as “Sound System”. It was Jesse’s first time on stage with Tim and Matt in over 15 years.
Operation Ivy is one of those bands that if they were to come back would immediately be welcomed. There is such a high regard for this band in all circles of punk, and even parts of the metal community. One can only hope that one day this happens before it’s too late.
By: Brian Lacy