Article written by Noz of Skratch The Surface.


This is an article I wrote a while ago and then shelved, some parts of it now are brand new, hopefully, you’ll be able to tell when reading it. Basically after hearing Tairrie B on the ‘Radio 1 Rock Show’ last night, I felt compelled to finish it. Firstly let me say this is in no way an attempt to be ass-kissed by SNOT fans and that I make no pretences about having known Lynn, its just a subject, that as someone touched by his music, I feel strongly about. The closest I have got to SNOT is swapping e-mail with mikey’s sister following Lynn’s death. But to get back to my point…


I’ve always been sceptical about Tairrie B, I’ve loved some of her work, hated some of it, I’ve always been un-decided whether she’s cool as hell, or full of shit. But I’ve always respected her. Then I heard her on the radio last night, now I know she’s cool as hell, and that full of shit is the last thing she is. I agreed with, and was blown away by most of what she said. But when she was talking about Lynn with Mary Anne Hobbs, I was simply awestruck. Not only did she get across her problem about not being on the tribute album in a tactful sensitive way, everything she sed was 100% spot on, and straight from the heart. It was hearing her that, as I said, compelled me to finish this article:


In only a few days time ‘Strait Up’ the tribute album to Snot’s late vocalist James Lynn Strait will be released. No other record release within the past year or more has made me think as much as this one. In keeping with that fact, no other demise of a band has made me think as much as when Lynn tragically died and when Snot came to all to soon an end.


A few days ago I was flipping through some old ‘Kerrang!’ magazine’s, and I came across article after article, poster pull-out after poster pull-out, and letter after letter dedicated to Kurt Cobain and, no disrespect to the late Nirvana frontman, but it made me think, what about people like Lynn?, what about people like the late Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon?.


A couple of days later, I was surfing the ‘net, and I stumbled across a forum/message board. I can’t remember which site it was on, but on the board, a number of fans were discussing ‘Strait Up’ and how they couldn’t wait for it to be released, as it featured some new stuff from Corey from Slipknot. They went on to argue in depth about how it “had better be better than his stuff on the Soulfly album”.


After reading that I felt compelled to write this article. …I remember in Dec’98 when I first heard the news about Lynn, my girlfriend at the time rang me up, she’d just had an e-mail from a friend in the states who knew Mark from Sugar Ray, and he’d passed on the tragic news.


I remember being ‘frozen’, for hours, just sat thinkin’ about it. It hit me a hundred times harder than the whole Cobain thing. I just felt empty, obviously gutted because another human being had passed away, and gutted because it meant the end of one of my favourite bands, but apart from that I had no idea why it had hit me that hard.


In the months since then I’ve begun to realise why. Snot was always one of my favourite bands, and Lynn one of my favourite front-men. They came out during the start of the nu-metal boom, but they didn’t fully fit in. To me they were funkier, and punkier,  than a lot of the other stuff goin’ on at the time, they had a charisma that some of the others lacked and were kinda ‘rough around the edges’ – it reminded me of like a cooler, more ‘now’ take on Ugly Kid Joe, one of my favourite bands. As it turned out UKJ guitarist Dave Fortman guested on Snot’s ‘Get Some’ record, and the bands were friends, indeed there are many links between the two bands.


But more importantly than that, they were totally down to earth, and, in Lynn, they had a front-man who ‘the kids’ could look up to and consider cool, but without having to put him on a pedestal or make him ‘iconic’ in the way that Chino Moreno and Jon Davis et al had been. Just after Snot signed to Geffen records and released ‘Get Some’, Lynn came out with one of my favourite ever quotes from a musician. He was questioned about signing to a big company like Geffen, and the benefits of being signed, Lynn’s non-plussed reply was “well I can get cheese on my big-mac now”.


Despite having a jokey name like Snot, and an obvious love for partying, ‘Get Some’ was a vastly under-rated record by a band that could address serious issues as well as any other. ‘I jus’ lie’ was a classic dissection of relationships, ‘Unplugged’ was the anti-music business tirade a thousand bands have tried to write, and ‘Tecato’ was a brutal look at being in jail/quitting heroin. At the time I thought it was the coolest thing, a band that started for fun, and were all about fun, but at the same time could address serious issues in a totally bullshit free way. I still do if I think about it.


I own and religiously watch a number of Snot bootleg videos, and again in each one, the bands charisma and lack of pretension shines through. During one gig, the band have to remain on-stage because they are too early finishing, they blast through an un-named Bad Brains cover and Lynn announces “first person to come up and tell me what this song’s called gets to come and smoke a phat bowl with us”. This is just one example of many, of how they were about fun, about partying, and were accessible to their fans. Indeed, when watching these bootleg’s you simply see a warm guy getting off on seeing people have fun.


It’s because of all this that I realised why it had hit me so hard. The heavy music world had lost a great band and one of its coolest, most charismatic characters, but at the same time, I’d lost someone that, whether I’d met or not, was someone I looked up to and admired. Someone who reminded me that you could fuck up and make mistakes (Lynn was no angel and was not afraid to admit it), but still be cool, and someone that reminded me that not all musicians had to be put on pedestals, or had to be like ‘poster bands’. Indeed, this punky little band with the joke name have inspired me and touched me more than most.

And as Tairrie B said last night, the reaction happening NOW to the SNOT record is almost scary. It’s overwhelming, a whole new generation of kids want to know and learn about SNOT, whilst the late-teen/twenty-something’s amongst us are still wholeheartedly into the band.


As Tarrie said, to her, he was a ‘rock star’, and I agree totally, but not in a bullshit ‘hollywood’ ‘Rock Star’ a kinda way, just in a cool-as-hell, over-the-top crazy bigger-than-life kinda way. In American wrestling, when a good guy wins the world title, he is sometimes referred to as ‘the people’s champion’, therefore, to me, Lynn Strait is ‘The People’s Rock Star’.


So, very soon, when ‘Strait Up’ is released, I just think it’d be cool if people remember its not about Corey form Slipknot’s guest appearance, or anyone else’s guest appearance (ok, so it’s a great way of doing the record and a lot of Lynn’s friends are on there)… But the guest appearances are not what should be remembered, try and remember Snot the band, and Lynn the person, 2 great losses, and without which, that record wouldn’t have been made. With the imminent release of ‘Strait Up’, Lynn and Snot won’t be forgotten this year. With Tarrie B and My Ruin playing their awesome tribute, ‘Rock Star’, they won’t be forgotten this year.


But I guess the point of this article, and what I’m trying to say is, next year, don’t forget. The year following that, don’t forget. The following year, don’t forget. In the years following those, don’t forget. You get the point.


Article written by Noz of Skratch The Surface.