"I’m relistening to Great Job’s “F-" with only a pint-sized space heater to fend off the shivers. It happens to be an exceptionally cold night in St. Petersburg, Florida, in an uninsulated garage apartment. But it’s easy to imagine that I’ve slipped back to 2009 and I’m hearing these songs live at Dry River on a desert-winter night. Tucson at that time hosted several great DIY venues, none of which had adequate heat!
And there were lots of rad local bands playing those spots, joined by an abundance of touring acts who appreciated the magic of Tucson or simply needed a place between Austin and LA to play and stay. The rent was cheap and friends were easy to make. For my simple needs, Tucson circa 2009 was the perfect place to be, and I can’t credit that to nostalgia because I knew it was true while it was happening.
Though sober then-and-now, I had one foot in the Tucson bar scene and the other on the DIY side of the line. Around this time, as I’d finally moved from fan to singing-in-band and sought an ideal atmosphere to not-grow-old, I figured out that those all ages venues felt more like home.
One of my favorite bands of that era that I never would have found if I’d just hung around bars was Great Job. Indeed, many other contenders for “favorite” were bands that members of Great Job played in! At that point, I don’t think I’d seen many bands play unamplified other than AJJ, and I may not have been aware yet that “folk-punk” was a thing.
I enjoyed all the lineups and iterations of Great Job. The period documented on “F-“ seems to be when they really hit their stride: wonderful songwriting, and so many voices with guitar, banjo, bass, fiddle, etc. all tossed into the playpen. I remember how much fun they always seemed to have during their sets, which made it feel more like a hangout I’d been invited to than a “rock concert.”
Some of their song titles were silly, like “Patrick Sway-Z Does Flips.” Sometimes they had (brilliant) covers/mashups, like the album finale “Teenage Wasteland.” Yet they also sang of loss, and mental health, and looking back/growing up. These elements comingled naturally, just like the different voices and instruments. Great Job were happy-sad, funny-serious, all at the same time.
I’m not sure how many times I saw Great Job before I talked to and eventually befriended them, but it was Tucson so of course, it happened! They even played a reunion set at my first bye-bye Tucson party (thank you!!). It’s been a joy keeping up with their projects in the years since, but Great Job will always have a special spot in my heart.
“When We Young” from this reissue is a personal favorite of mine that makes me feel as gosh-darn quivery as it did over a decade ago. Perhaps the emotions are enhanced by pandemic-era longing, but whatever the present or future may be, Great Job will always be a big part of the soundtrack that takes me back and follows me forward."-Mullarkey
Heirloom Records is a means of saving and preserving music from the lost CDR generation of music.
Heirloom Records is a Related Records sub-label