fanzine * webzine
From the editors:
PO Box 42124
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Sean <[email protected]>
Rich Mackin <[email protected]>
Nardwuar <[email protected]>
Designated Dale<[email protected]>
Everyone else can be reached c/o Razorcake.
We’re fucking stoked with our columnists right now,
but if you’d like to submit an interview or are interested
in doing record reviews, feel free to drop us a line. It’s
probably a better idea to contact us and see if we’re
interested before you do any actual work. We’ll keep an
open mind towards most things, but Razorcake absolutely refuses to run any interviews with Thomas Pynchon.
AD DEADLINE FOR ISSUE #2
April 15, 2001
Full page, 7.5 inches wide, 10 inches tall.
Half page, 7.5 inches wide, 5 inches tall.
Quarter page, 3.75 inches wide, 5 inches tall.
Sixth page, 2.5 inches wide, 5 inches tall.
You're probably wondering who the hell we are, right? Basically, a bunch
of us used to write for a punk magazine called B-sides or something like that.
Maybe Flipside? It was actually the longest continuously publishing punk
rock magazine in America. It may still be. I can't say for sure. All I know
from my personal experience is that I did an interview with Against All
Authority sometime during the summer of 1999, and that interview is set to
run in the next issue. So if it does still come out, at least we know it's timely.
Anyway, if you want to know more about Flipside and its possible demise,
check out Todd's column. And now on to the things I do know about.
I know Todd left Flipside and wanted to start a new magazine, so first he
went to Tucson to meet with Skinny Dan and Katy. Together, the three of
them came up with the name and the beginnings of a web zine. Shortly after
that, Todd took a vacation to Florida to hang out with me and drink away his
woes. While he was there, we started talking about the web zine and I said
something like, "What about poor fuckers like me who can only use the internet in half hour intervals at the library?" Todd said something like, "You're
fucked, then, aren't you?" Then I said, "Yeah, but most punks are in the same
boat as me. You should really go to print, too." And Todd, always being one
to turn responsibility back to the critics, told me that, if I really wanted a print
version of Razorcake, I should get off my ass and do it with him. I thought
about it, and I had all the right qualifications: I was unemployed, not really
doing anything with my life, and I like punk rock. Also, I have an incredibly
patient and understanding fiancé who told me, "Fine, go to California to put
out that zine. It'd be nice to get your broke ass out of my hair." Or something
like that. Thus, Razorcake was born (in less than a third of the time it's gonna
take for that AAA interview to run).
The rest is basically logistics. I came out to Cali, we set up shop, hit up a
bunch of record labels for ads and stuff to review, did some interviews, gathered up some columnists, got drunk in Vegas, and worked on this zine.
Meanwhile, Skinny Dan and Katy are still rocking along with the web zine,
and the web and print serve as nice compliments to each other. So that's how
this zine ended up in your ink-stained fingers. I hope you enjoy it as much as
*Covers are already taken in perpetuity (forever), but if
you put in a request, we'll put you on the list.
*Please make all checks out to Razorcake.
*All ads are black and white. There are no immediate
plans for color insides.
*Make ads the right size and orientation. If ads are the
wrong size, they won't run or we'll chop 'em up with
scissors to fit.
*We will not accept electronic ad files. Hard copy only.
*Send good laser prints for the ads. Use solely black
ink on all art. Do not output your ad on a bubble jet
printer even if it looks black and white. It will reproduce like complete shit when it goes to an offset printer.
*Only for full-page ads, we'll accept film. Positive
stats, RRED (right-reading, emulsion side down) only.
*All photos must be halftoned using a 85 LPI (85 line
*If you feel the need for us to invoice you, understand
that your ad won't run until we have the cash on hand,
so make those arrangements before the ad deadline.
*If any of this is fuzzy, don't hesitate to contact us.
We'll explain it.
Congratulations Matt Average and Erin
on their new son, Henry.
THANK YOU BOX: (in no particular order) Roger Moser, Jr., Davey Tiltwheel,
Money, Harmonee, Nardwuar, Designated Dale, Jimmy Alvarado, Rhythm Chicken,
Rich Mackin, and Gary Hornberger for their columns; Kat Jetson for her pictures and
interview with the Gossip; Julia Smut for all she did with Smogtown; Vanessa from
Fat for hooking us up with the first ever Fat Mike and Erin interview; Donofthedead,
RumbleStripper, Jimmy Alvarado, Roger Moser, Jr., Harmonee, Liz O., Bob Cantu,
and Pete Hucklebuck for record reviews. And last but not least, Felizon Vidad and
Sara Isett for their patience and understanding.
www.razorcake.com and PO Box 42129, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Visit www.razorcake.com for exclusive live reviews, exclusive
interviews, news, gossip, and contributor information.
Table of Contents
Roger Moser, Jr. .......... Drunk and Demented in Texxxas ................ pg. 6
Money ................. Pog Mo Thon ................................. pg. 8
Davey Tiltwheel........ Hair-Brained Scheme Addict .................. pg. 10
Harmonee ...................... Meow Mix ................................. pg. 12
Retodd ...... Complete, Utter ReToddNation ........... pg. 14
Nardwuar The Human Serviette ........ Who Are You? ............ pg. 16
Designated Dale ............. I’m Against It ................... pg. 20
Jimmy Alvarado ......... I’m a Little Airplane ....................... pg. 22
The Rhythm Chicken .......... The Dinghole Reports ......................... pg. 24
Rich Mackin ............ The Twisted Ballon ................... pg. 26
Sean Carswell ........... A Monkey to Ride the Dog ..................... pg. 30
Gary Hornberger........ Squeeze My Horn .................. pg. 34
Selby Tigers ....... Interview by Todd .............. pg. 38
Smogtown ........................... Interview by Julia Smut ....... pg. 42
The Causey Way ......... Interview by Todd ............... pg. 46
The Gossip ......... Interview by Kat Jetson ................................. pg. 52
Youth Brigade .................... Interview by Sean ............. pg. 56
Fat Mike and Erin.............. Interview by Sean and Todd .............. pg. 60
Record Reviews ................................................................. pg. 66
Book Reviews..................................................... pg. 78
Zine Reviews............................................................. pg. 76
Razorcake is put together by Skinny Dan, Sean Carswell, Katy Spining,
and Todd Taylor. Special thanks go out to Julia Smut for doing the
Smogtown layout and Dave Guthrie for making the logos.
Razorcake is bi-monthly. Issues are $3.00 ppd. in the U.S.
Yearly subscriptions (six issues) are $15.00. Plus you get some free shit.
Drunk and Demented in Texxxas
Them snaggle-toothed Skoal-lipped good ol' boys are as quick to pull their guns
as they are to vigorously pull their puds... yippy-tie-yie-yay, indeed!
Texas has undeniably had its fair
share of media attention lately with
the villainous devil-may-care
escapades of seven escaped convicts who effortlessly slipped out of
a southwest Texas penitentiary virtually undetected (of course, they've
since been recaptured, rounded up,
and returned to state-sponsored captivity), and the even more villainous
underhanded political poopooing of
a certain son-of-a-Bush character
(yep, let's all give a hearty round of
sarcasm-laced applause to the corrupt politically-biased government
of Florida, specifically Jackass Jeb
and Contemptuous Kathy... afterall,
they authoritatively took it upon
themselves to appoint our nation's
newly bestowed prez; he certainly
wasn't elected!). But, hey, at least
ol' Dimwit Dubya is no longer governor of Texas, and we native
Texans are no longer subjected to
his confrontational cockiness and
overconfident arrogance, his regressive political agendas, his manipulative mismanagement of the state's
school system, his corporatebacked flagrant disregard of our
irreparably damaged environment,
and his Hitleristic zeal for executing
prisoners. Damn straight, he's currently the entire nation's scourge
("we've got a bigger problem now",
to plagiaristically quote Mr. Jello
Biafra!). Anyway, I've obviously
digressed, so please permit me to
consume another euphorically
intoxicatin' 12-ouncer before I
blissfully continue this incoherently
informal lil' rant...
Since I was born, bred, brewed
and stewed here in Texas, I can
knowingly give argument to the
common misconception that Texas
is nothing but endless miles of
scrubland crawling with such utterly despicable critters as scorpions,
rednecks, and rattlesnakes. The
panoramic surface of Texas is a terrain of awe-inspiring contrasts as
diverse and colorful as its people,
its culture, and its history: cactusdotted rocky deserts dip perilously
into craggly canyons as ancient and
time itself; vast endless expanses of
grassy plains stretch as far as the
eye can see and effortlessly blend
with the eternal openness of the
celestial western sky; the Gulf
Coast shores glisten with effervescence, excitement and exoticism
like a paradisical swirling dervish
of wickedly divine hedonism; lush
forests of evergreen pine thickly
cover rolling hills that seem to
never have been touched by the foot
of man... pure, pristine, and
unscathed. And whooooodoggy,
Texas is musically as resplendantly
disparate as it is culturally: blues,
rockabilly, tejano, zydeco, punk,
metal, the most raucously rowdy
BBQ beef more tangy and tastier
than the most succulent of all
exquisite and exotic cuisine ever
placed on a platter, and rowdy
unruly honkytonks where insurmountable intoxication and loud
blaring ditties inspire many a couple to frenziedly shuffle their feet
and kick up the dust into the wee
wild-eyed hours of the morning.
But there are lifelessly colorless
regions of Texas severely lacking
creative musical and artistic expression, awe-inspiring cultural diversity, liberally-inclined openmindedness, and the undeniable inalienable
right to freely express one's self
rock'n'roll ever to be robustly blasted, twangy heartbroken country'n'western swing, and so much
more (graciously givin' birth to such
cacophonously gifted musical characters as Bob Wills, Buddy Holly,
Bobby Fuller, The 13th Floor
Elevators, The Moving Sidewalks,
Bloodrock, Hates, Big Boys, Dicks,
Backtones, Bulemics, Roller, and a
healthy heapin' helpin' of so many
others!). And let me not neglect to
mention the other perversely pleasurable aspects of Texas: bountiful
abundances of freeflowing spiritual
elixirs and zesty coma-inducing sizzle-sauces for the soul (beer,
whiskey, tequila, and other such
eye-blurrin' beverages!), the most
bodaciously buxom and generously
proportioned gorgeous gals ever to
bask beneath the sun's life-enriching grandeur, mesquite-smoked
without fear of violent retribution...
sparsely populated places and
beastly inbred areas where social
ineptitude is the norm, where fanatically fervent religions intermingle
with militant right-wing politics,
where the skies always seem drearily dismal and the sun surely never
shines, where ignorance and intolerance rules supreme, where
Confederate flags freely flutter in
an industrial-polluted breeze
(inspiring fear, uncertainty, and
even more mistrust and strife
among the races after all these years
of so-called progress and unity),
where radio stations putridly permeate the airwaves with unrelenting
regurgitations of Fleetwood Mac,
The Eagles and The Doobie
Brothers (the blandly vile epitome
of 70's schlock-rock repugnance!)
until a person's ears are lulled into
uninspired catatonia and the mind
becomes mush, where guns are the
true measure of a man's worthiness
in society (if ya don't own an arsenal of firearms in these here parts,
son, you're un-American; a gawddamn yellow-bellied lily-livered
communist. Smith & Wesson
should open several outlet malls in
Texas 'cause they'd make a killin'
here, pardon the pun! Yup, them
snaggle-toothed Skoal-lipped good
ol' boys are as quick to pull their
guns as they are to vigorously pull
their puds... yippy-tie-yie-yay,
I unfortunately live and dwell in
such a pleasureless place... a catatonic cowtown so culturally retarded that taking a daily dump is considered a monumentally newsworthy occasion. Indeed, redundant
predictability runs rampant here in
Longview (or Dungview, as I've so
renamed it!): the garbage-strewn
streets lead nowhere fast (dead-end
dead ahead more often than not!); a
nonprogressive, unidealistic city
government forcefeeds their outdated self-serving values and flaccid
limp-dicked old-man morals upon a
braindead unsuspecting population;
fascistic Christian conservatives
self-righteously condemn any freethinking naysayers to eternal
damnation in Hell; and urban
enlightenment is next to nil (oh
sure, there's a couple of hoity-toity
upscale art galleries for the snivellin' martini-drenched crowd and a
hippy-drippy handful of slackerswarmed coffee shops, but anything
else out of the extraordinary, culture-wise, is deemed too risque,
decadent and sinful for public consumption. Thanks for livin' my life
for me, oh highly revered and much
respected self-annointed nobodies!).
Sooo, what's a poor boy to do
(shameless "Street Fightin' Man"
reference there, folks!) for salacious
spiritual salvation and enthralling
inspirational escape from the everyday routine tedium of smalltown
mediocrity?!? Well, at an understandably early age, I eagerly
embraced the melodiously mind-
altering magnificence of music
(most specifically, the ragin' roar of
"rock'n'roll music, any ol' way you
choose it", to gratuitously quote ol'
guitar-maestro Chuck Berry!). My
dad possessed quite an impressive
collection of Elvis Presley 45s and
CCR 8-tracks which I repeatedly
played over and over again with
passionate zeal as if there would be
no tomorrow... man, such sonically
smoldering sounds hedonistically
titillated and cacaphonously corrupted my impressionable young
ears to no end like a sinfully decadent breath of sensuously fresh air.
Hot damn, I was hopelessly hooked
and irreversibly addicted... I
became spastically tantalized and
mindlessly mesmerized by rock'n'roll's raunchy rebelliousness (I
obsessively sought any and every
style of audial damage pertaining to
its mighty thundering wrath!). I
spent mind-numbing amounts of
time (not to mention school lunch
money!) in music stores during my
so-called "formative" youth religiously pursuing the rawest, rowdiest and most raucous records my
ears could possibly encapsulate.
After a deviant audial dalliance
(that persists to this day) with Black
Sabbath, I desperately desired
something stronger, harsher, and
more extreme (I'm talkin' about
music here, kiddies; not drugs,
damnit!)... enter the scruffy sonic
insurrection of the Sex Pistols, the
darkly brooding aural belligerence
of Black Flag, the giddy goodtime
cartoonish cacophony of the brudda
Ramones, and the decadent swashbucklin' juvenilistic savagery of the
Descendents. My dearly deceased
and beloved cousin, mentor and
brother in beer-sloshin' sinfulness,
Scott (a semi-pro skateboarder, a
highly learned articulator of
thought-provoking opinions, and an
all-around professional brewimbiber), irreverently introduced
me to such musical miscreance in
the early 80's as he frenziedly olliegrinded and chaotically careened
through many a stretch of pavement
and numerous geometrically curved
plywood ramps. My mom will exasperatedly assure you all that I've
never been the same since...
Due to the inspirationally chaotic sonic fury of punkrock, I became
a nihilistic entity unto myself while
feverishly transforming my onceshy personage into the apathetic
disheveled insurgent personification of all-out snot-tossin' rage
(complete with the obligatory
spiked Sidney 'do and decorative
dogchain necklace, of course). But
I'm older and drunker now, and I've
considerably toned down my outward appearance due to continuous
confrontations, sometimes physically violent altercations, and reac-
tionary redneck insinuations ("Hey,
boy, what are yooouuu?!? Some
kinda faygit?!?" To which I'd
invariably reply, "If I were, you'd be
BangBamBoom, oops another
black eye, bloody nose, and busted
knuckles for poor ol' pitiful Rog!).
Plus it's extremely unarguably difficult to attain gainful employment in
these here parts when a person
uncannily resembles an alien hooligan from another universe.
Anyway, punk is an attitude, an
unfaltering rebellion against socially acceptable norms, a flagrant disregard of puritanically correct
morals, and a belligerently outspoken protestation against the oppressive powers that be... it's substance
over appearance and mind over
matter, certainly not a fashion-oriented trend of the moment nor a
stylish homogenized fad to be whorishly incorporated into mainstream
society's slick plastic-coated moneymakin' machine. Yep, I've had
plenty of time to dwell on such
truth-in-progress thoughts way
down here in these redundantly
rural environs, so I occasionally
sometimes almost know what the
hell I'm espousin' (even when I'm
In closing, I'd just like to state the
obvious: Texas ain't all bad, but it
sure as hell ain't all good either (I
love Texas; I just utterly detest certain segments of its population.).
Buddy Holly tearin' outta the flat
emotionless plains of Lubbock like
a frenetically turbulent tornado hellbent on an awe-inspiring path of
destruction; crimson freezeframed
reminders of JFK forever frozen in
time on the blood-splattered
autumn-splashed streets of downtown Dallas; a handful of students
and citizens unknowingly stepping
into full glaring range of an exmarine psycho sniper's field of view
and systematically cut down in a
slaughterhouse hail of unrelenting
gunfire on the UT campus in
Austin; Roky Erickson's wild aciddrenched audial dementia; a bloodbath butchershop of horrors in
"Texas Chainsaw Massacre"; Dicks
Hate The Police (who unrepentanly
kill niggers and Mexicans in the hot
Texas desert sand); atrociously animalistic hate-motivated dragging
deaths in Jasper and Amarillo;
seven escaped cons unwittingly terrorizing the entire Southwest for
several weeks during the Christmas
season of festivity, joy, and brotherly love; a fascistic totalitarian mindless mannequin of a president
appointed to serve his very own
self-aggrandizing purposes at the
expense of our so-called democracy! Damn straight, Texas is the reason...
-Roger Moser, Jr.
Pog Mo Thon
It was not an IRA demonstration. It was a march for civil rights, a defiant, yet peaceful protest.
Is there any one amongst you
Dare to blame it on the kids?
Not a soldier boy was bleeding
When they nailed the coffin lids!
When you hear the words Bloody
Sunday, do you think of Bono, waving the tricolor in a snarky sleeveless t-shirt at Boulder, Colorado's
Red Rock Amphitheater? Do you
think of the song John Lennon wrote
with Yoko Ono and recorded on his
solo album "Some Time in New
York City?" Or do you think of thirteen Derry Catholics gunned down
like dogs in the street by British
To speak of Bloody Sunday is to
invoke dispute. Very little of what
transpired on January 29, 1972 is in
agreement. Here are the facts:
British soldiers shot and killed thirteen Catholics at an illegal march in
the city of Derry to protest the practice of internment. The massacre
outraged Catholic communities in
Northern Ireland and around the
world, for photographs taken by
numerous foreign journalists clearly
show that the protestors were
Lord Widgery, who was instructed to conduct a full investigation,
exonerated the soldiers and implicated the civilians in their own
deaths, claiming many of them
either to have been armed or in
proximity to someone armed, and
thus were legitimate targets. The
indictment stunned the people of
Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn
Fein, puts it more bluntly: "Bloody
Sunday was an ambush. It was the
application, premeditated and
unadulterated, of counterinsurgency
measures to pacify a popular struggle and to subdue an insurrection. It
was conceived at the highest level of
British military command and
authorized at the highest level of the
British political system."
In 1998 Tony Blair, Prime
Minister of England, agreed to reopen the investigation into Bloody
Sunday and impartially weigh all of
the evidence. Today, many feel that
if the peace currently enjoyed in
Northern Ireland is to last, the
Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday,
which continues as of this writing,
must right the wrongs committed by
British soldiers and exacerbated by
Lord Widgery's Report.
Although the North of Ireland has
been a trouble-spot since Viking
raiders used the Irish coast as a commando training ground, the generation of violence that is generally
known as "The Troubles" officially
kicked off with a civil rights march
in Derry in autumn of 1968.
Roughly 500 men and women took
Photo obtained from the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) Web service at
to the streets, and the RUC (Royal
Ulster Constabulary) broke up the
party with their batons, leaving
many protestors battered and bloodied. This enthusiastic show of force
was televised, and as Irish Catholics
watched their countrymen get their
asses handed to them, they experienced something similar to what
their American cousins were feeling
on the other side of the Atlantic
when they sat down to watch Laugh
In and got execution-style murder
served up from the steaming jungles
of Da Nang instead, or watched
National Guardsmen shoot down
college students in Kent State. In an
instant, the image of systematic suppression of a peaceful rally catalyzed public opinion, particularly
in the Catholic sector. Rioting broke
out in Derry and continued unabated
for two days. Although Belfast
would emerge as the symbol for The
Troubles, the place where violence
erupted as faithfully as a geyser, its
epicenter would always be Derry.
The Troubles had begun.
The following summer in 1969,
violence erupted when a Loyalist
parade route passed dangerously
close to a predominantly Catholic
Derry neighborhood known as the
Bogside. When the parade deteriorated into street fighting, the RUC
attempted to break it up with
armored cars and water cannons, but
the Bogsiders held their ground and
successfully turned both the
Loyalist mob and the RUC back. As
news of The Battle of Bogside
spread, sectarian violence erupted
throughout Northern Ireland.
Catholic vs. Protestant. Nationalist
vs. Loyalist. Taig vs. Prod.
After two days of street skirmishes and running gun battles, the
Stormont government requested that
British troops be deployed to
Northern Ireland to help solve their
"Irish problem." By mid-afternoon
troops were rolling through the
streets of Derry. Later that day The
Troubles notched its first casualty
when a Catholic civilian named
John Gallagher was killed in the
streets. The troops came under the
guise as protectors of peace, but
were actually an armed extension of
the police and immediately began to
make wholesale arrests in Catholic
With the body count beginning to
escalate, Catholic Nationalists, who
were feeling beset from all sides by
Loyalist aggressors, the RUC and
British soldiers, were divided over
which methods should be used to
stand up for their rights and advance
the Republican cause; to wit,
whether armed resistance should be
part of their methodology. The result
was a split in the IRA and Sinn Fein
-- the IRA's political wing -between advocates of violence and
nonviolence. Meanwhile the situation grew increasingly tense. In the
summer of 1970, the British Army
imposed martial law on the Falls
Road area of Belfast. A strictly
enforced curfew was imposed as
soldiers went house to house, looking for members of the IRA. Homes
were sacked. Valuables destroyed.
Civil rights violated. The worst
result was the near total erosion of
good will between the British Army
and the Catholic community. Soon
after, rubber bullets were introduced
as a means of crowd control. More
often than not, however, the bullets,
which were designed to be fired at
the feet of rioters so that they would
bounce and lose much of their
velocity before striking, were fired
point blank at their targets, often at
innocent civilians. Thousands were
maimed in these state-sanctioned
attacks on the public.
The proverbial straw that broke
the camel's back was the re-introduction of internment in the summer
of 1971. The British Army broke
into houses, rounded up suspected
IRA members and placed them in
makeshift camps like Long Kesh
(a.k.a. The Maze) and the
Maidenstone Prison ship in Belfast
Harbour without trial. The results
were disastrous. Not only did violence escalate in hot spots across
Northern Ireland (in the 48 hours
after internment, 17 people were
killed, including a Catholic priest),
but the practice of internment created political martyrs for the
Nationalist cause. It was against this
practice that the several thousand
people (just how many has always
A Republican poster from the 1970s
calling on Nationalists to resist British
control of Northern Ireland
The average age of the Derry 13
Nearly half of the victims were
under the age of 18.
The British soldiers used SLR
rifles, capable of piercing a tree
at 100 paces.
Photo obtained from the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) Web service at http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/images/posters
been a point of contention) who
congregated at the Creggan shops in
Derry gathered to peacefully protest
on a Sunday afternoon in January.
THE BOGSIDE FUSILIERS
After they shot dead
The thirteen men in Derry
PARAS THIRTEEN, the walls said
In all likelihood, stones thrown
by angry youths touched off the riot
that was suppressed with such murderous force that it left thirteen men
dead at the barricade, in the car park
and on the street (a fourteenth man
died of his wounds some time later).
Growing up Catholic in Derry
meant shaving your head so the soldiers couldn't pull your hair. It
meant knowing which neighborhoods were safe to walk in, and
which were not. It meant openly
antagonizing the soldiers who had
beaten your brother or interned your
dad. It meant throwing stones. It
meant starting riots.
A fusillade of stones clattering
against a Saracen Armoured
Personnel Carrier was a common
sight in those days. On that fateful
day in Derry stones where thrown
and a small riot broke out, though
participants in the march said it was
neither intense nor enthusiastic.
After all, many of the marchers
were old men, women who had their
wee ones with them, children of all
ages. It was not an IRA demonstration. It was a march for civil rights,
a defiant, yet peaceful protest. It has
been estimated that as many as
20,000 and as few as 3,000 were in
attendance that day.
The shooting began shortly
before 4:00 when two soldiers shot
and injured a young boy of 15 and
an older man of 59 from the cover of
a derelict building on William
Street. (The soldiers involved in this
and other attacks are anonymous.
They are known only as Soldier A
and B, etc. As protection against
reprisals, the names of the soldiers
who participated in Bloody Sunday
have never been disclosed.) Later,
these soldiers would claim that they
had seen someone lighting a nail
bomb, but this claim was refuted
vigorously by the wounded
Catholics and has never been corroborated by eyewitnesses. Twentynine years later, the boy, no longer
young, admits to throwing stones.
The British Army admits to nothing.
The majority of the marchers,
however, did not know shots had
been fired, though those that heard
the crack of the SLRs (Self Loading
Rifle) knew instantly that live
rounds, and not rubber bullets, had
been fired. Stewards with megaphones ushered the marchers down
Rossville Street toward Free Derry
Corner for the rally. Moving east on
Rossville Street, they encountered a
barricade of wire and rubble. This is
where they were ambushed.
The First Battalion Parachute
Regiment moved in to arrest rioters,
with Saracens rumbling from the
rear. The soldiers claim they were
fired upon first, either from a gun or
a bomb, they couldn't say. The
marchers contend it was the soldiers
who opened fire. The shooting was
most intense at the barricade. Seven
Catholics were killed here, several
more were felled as they dashed
across the Glenfada car park seeking cover. They must have felt like
rats trapped in a cage. These are the
names of the dead. This is how they
Foreign journalists were shot at,
as was a member of the Knights
of Malta -- a volunteer organization.
Approximately one out of ten eyewitnesses attest to the presence of
sharpshooters on the ancient
Jack Duddy, age 17, shot in the
back while running from soldiers.
Pat Doherty, age 31, shot in the
back while attempting to crawl to
safety. A photograph of Patrick
taken mere moments before he was
gunned down shows that he is not
armed, yet his killer, Soldier F,
claims in Lord Widgery's Report
that he carried a pistol.
Barney McGuigan, age 41, shot in
the back of the head while going to
the aid of Pat Doherty. He was waving a white handkerchief. He died
alone. His photo, taken by Gilles
Perres, is perhaps the most famous
image to emerge from Bloody
Hugh Gilmore, age 17, shot while
running from soldiers.
Kevin McElhinney, age 17, shot
while attempting to crawl to safety.
Michael Kelly, age 17, shot in the
John Young, age 17, shot in the
William Nash, age 19, shot in the
chest while going to the aid of
Michael McDaid, age 20, shot in
the face. A photograph, taken just
before he was killed, shows Michael
unarmed and walking away from
James Wray, age 22, shot twice:
once in the chest/abdomen area, and
then again, from close range, in the
back. "I can't move my legs!" he
Gerald Donaghy, age 17, shot
once in the abdomen. Four nail
bombs were found on Donaghy's
body (who, coincidentally, was a
member of the youth wing of the
IRA and died in British custody)
even though he had first been examined by a Catholic doctor and his
clothing was searched for identifica-
tion before he came into British custody.
Gerald McKinney, age 35, shot in
the chest with his arms above his
heads, shouting "Don't shoot! Don't
William McKinney, age 26, shot
from behind while attending to
Gerald McKinney (no relation).
A total of 25 men and one woman
were felled, 14 of which died of
No soldiers were injured. No bombs
were detonated. No guns recovered
from the scene of the massacre.
Those who were injured have their
God and the kindness of those who
rushed them to safety to thank.
The thousands who were there but
escaped unscathed will always wonder but never know why they had
The families of the dead, particularly the mothers and the wives, have
less to comfort them: sorrow, a useless ache, a hole that can be filled by
hatred, hope for justice, forgiveness.
The names of the soldiers are not
known. Their instructions can only
be guessed at, their murderous
motives intuited. All that can be
known for certain are the names of
the dead, a few details about their
lives, the paths the bullets took as
they tore through their bodies.
Whether the British government
will continue to profane their memories, or seek absolution by ceasing
to interfere with the mechanics of
justice, remains to be seen.
(Next issue: The Aftermath of
*A full list of works cited will
be included at the end of this
Allison Discount was sitting downstream writing something,
probably some poem about my ass.
Rosswheel turned me on to D4.
He gave me a tape of the 7”s and
the split with The Strike. Every
show the Tiltwheel would play
you’d find us accosting some poor
bastard’s cassette player with the
tape and if you listened close
enough you’d hear one or the both
of us screaming into said bastard’s
ear, “ISN’T THIS GREAT!
Ross told me a story of the
brief time he had a radio show at
Local College station KCR. He
spent 2 or 3 hours playing D4 nonstop justifying his actions with
periodical spurts of “We are getting
request after request for this damn
D4 band!” I believe he was asked
not to come back after that one.
Larry Harmon, of Genetic Disorder
fame, fared much better with his
“All Venom All The Time” radio
show. Evil never dies.
Fast forward about 6 months
to yet another disastour with
Everready. We were broke and
showless in the middle of nowhere
calling frantically every band, zine
and distro person we had a number
for. When Brad Rhetoric picked up
the phone he seemed somewhat
elated to know we were in his area
of the country, though he didn’t
have a show for us, he told us to
stop by and he’d buy records and
get us drunk in the snow. That’s
what’s so great about the DIY
thang: that people will open up
their homes to any old asshole with
nothing more than an email
We pulled up to Brad’s house
with a couple cases of Madison’s
finest cheap beer and were relieved
to see a group of folks already
enjoying the same hops and barley
refreshments we were looking forward to. I’m a one-track mind most
of the time, my main loves in life
are going to shows and drinking
cheap beer, in either order or combination. I asked Brad what was
going on this evening in Madison,
and he told us about a show with
Zoinks! and a band called Dillinger
4 a short drive away in Milwaukee.
Just then the carbohydrate-fueled
adrenaline rush to my brain
switched me into “persuasive
mode” and I threatened people with
violence if we didn’t drive to
Milwaukee that instant. Turns out
we were supposed to meet up with
Zoinks! for a couple of weeks tour
in a day or two anyway and I’m
fairly sure I had spent many a driving hour up until then spewing
forth stories of Dillinger Four’s
amazing barrage of bombastic rock
n roll antics. In the quick turnover
world of punk rock, this could have
been my only chance to see them. If
people had to bleed, we were going.
We pulled up to the club at about
5:00pm. Sold out. Not a problem.
Where there’s a roof or a back door,
there’s a way. It’s much easier to
sneak beer into a club if you go in
through the unguarded areas anyway, so I was all ready to scale a
fence when this bright idea came
over me. See we had our equipment, we were early enough, a band
we were about to tour with and we
had a local celebrity punk in tow
who could easily persuade the promoters of the show to let a lowly 3
piece band from San Diego start the
show early. That’s the one good
thing about being in a band: if you
play, you get into the show for free,
even if it’s sold out. It’s the only
fringe benefit I’ve ever gladly taken
advantage of. This usually includes
a few guests, who tonight would be
a few punk kids outside who were
also ticketless. You take something
you give something back. It’s that
We set up our equipment and do
a quick line check and are informed
it’s 30 minutes til start time. I wander outside for more boozy refreshment. The show is at a bar, but the
bar is closed to allow an all ages
crowd in. We don’t have this is San
Diego. I am impressed. I walk past
this nice white van and I comment
on “rich punks taking daddy’s
weekend wagon for a spin” when
out of the side door comes this
sweaty, seemingly cross-eyed
drunk, a red-nosed being half
falling out, half stumbling. I say,
“whoa nellie” and it replies, “I’m
Paddy wanna drink some whisky?”
I reply with a hearty and surprised,
“Fuck yeah” and the being tells me
to grab a seat.
It’s funny how drunks find each
other... “BeerDar” I guess the college jock types would call it. We sit
in the van and drink what’s left of
Fast forward an hour or two. I’m
sure we played a set in there somewhere, and I’m shitting myself
watching Dillinger Four play one
of the most inspiring punk rock sets
I’ve seen in almost a decade. It was
like a new lease on life. After
countless “naa naa poo poo” bands
masquerading as punk, including
my own, I had seen the future and it
was 3 fat cunts and this guy who
looked like a villain from a Murnau
We spent the rest of the evening
in the Everready van with Billy,
who was very nice to talk to and
seemed to be drinking beer as fast
as we were, perhaps fearing we’d
run out before we had a chance to
drink it all. Can’t remember what
we talked about. It didn’t matter
since we enjoyed each other’s com-
pany. That’s another great thing
about punk rock: meet so many
similar people who aren’t raging
assholes like yourself.
Fast forward again, a couple of
years later to Los Angeles,
California. Discount and D4 are on
their way to Japan and get bumped
from their flight. They are given a
few rooms at the Airport Hilton, a
very fancy hotel by anyone’s standards, but for a group of punks
from Florida and the Midwest, it’s
like oscar night. Turns out the same
flight was occupied by Mustard
Plug, also heading for a Japan tour,
but not touring with D4. Just a few
months earlier, Everready and
Mustard Plug played a handful of
shows together on unrelated tours. I
believe it was somewhere in New
Jersey that the club gave us and the
Plug a 12 pack of Corona to split.
Now you have 12 beers, 3 alcoholics and a big fuck off ska band.
It doesn’t add up. We were broke as
usual but for some reason, somehow, we offered to replenish the
beer supply with what is known in
certain circles as a “Beer Run”.
Needless to say, I was glad to see
Mustard Plug as well as we shared
4 cases of beer with our horns held
high at the headlining bands that
We walk into the Hotel lobby,
smelly, hungover and loud when I
spot Eric and Lane, who recognize
me before I do them. I said hi and
bee-lined for the bar while they got
their rooms. Billy was next and didn’t remember who I was, I didn’t
remember him too much either
since we consumed a lot of beer sitting in the van outside that show in
Milwaukee. I just remember he had
glasses and a beer in his hand. He
seemed much taller now. Luckily
we were introduced. Paddy and I
start in on the whiskeys and shoot
the shit about everything from
Leatherface to shitting in Japanese
toilets. I think it was the Japanese
toilets that stuck in our minds as the
evening went on. Japanese toilets
are similar to ours except they are
buried in the ground and you squat
over a small canal as you evacuate
your half-eaten meal from the night
before. Shitting is easy, it’s the wiping thats hard. Do you stand to
wipe risking a dirty ass as your
cheeks squeeze together residual
grease and turtletail or do you continue to squat and risk the dragging
your knuckle through your mallcookie-warm peanutty pile. I’ve
shit in a few Japanese toilets and I
still don’t have it right. Once while
shitting in a parking garage bathroom in Osaka, the only place I
found after a 20 minute clenched
ass journey/prayer session, my
unbalanced equilibrium sent me
face first into the door of the tiny
stall. As I settled in the small indentation my head left on the door, I
remember seeing through my legs,
my balls hanging upside down in
the foreground of a greasy and
rather large stew of rest stop soba,
Malt Liquor and Izakawa finger
foods. Later that night, a young
Japanese skate punk traded me my
D4 pin for a spike on his wristband(that spike is on my jacket that
just happens to be in Lane’s kick
drum as i write this. Funny how
things work out). Maybe it was the
way he screamed “DIYINYA
POAH” in my ear and bounced off
my shoulders but it made me happy
to know that someone else in this
world tends to walk up to strangers
and scream their name in earnest. I
told Patrick these stories to ward
him off of falling into the same
predicament as I had been. I care a
lot about my friends, especially the
ones who aren’t too uptight to share
funny tour shit stories.
Paddy’s ass hurt. So did mine. It
happens. You know the stories of
the all grrl bands and roommates
whose periods synch up. Well with
the Genus “Irish Largicus
Alcoholicus” Our hemorrhoids
tend to rear their ugly heads at similar times. It’s true! Probably about
as true as the menstruation tales
anyway. By this time, I had already
consumed a lot of Airport Bar
Whiskey, Paddy’s Bottle and a case
of some hippy’s beer in the van outside. The rest is sort of a blur but
somehow, in the midst of greasy
shit, chaffed ass and bloated hemmoroid tales Paddy and I dropped
our drawers and soothed our beaten
bungholes in the nice fountain
adorning the patio bar area. I do
Discount was sitting downstream
writing something, probably some
poem about my ass. Be warned
next time you see your kids playing
in a fountain. We’ve both toured
fairly extensively, and this is probably not the first time we’ve floated
our sacks at cupid’s feet.
I know most of this is supposed
to be rememberences and stories
about D4, but fuck you. I tend to
ramble. I have a few more, like the
time we were in Vegas at the bowling tourney. Paddy bowled on
team asswheel while I signed,
“fuck you, signed paddy” autographs for kids. When I think
about those guys, this is what I
think of. When I listen to them or
see someone wearing their shirt, I
just lose myself in thoughts of
great drunken episodes with four
of the most obnoxious people
you’d ever speak highly of. I love
those guys and I see them about
once a year to catch up on old
times and reopen new wounds and
bruises. In the midst of most of my
own drunken adventures, I look to
my left, and I look to my right and
I hope to see one of them sitting
beside me trying to get me
to use beerdar to convince
some record label person
or college jock guy to buy
us a 12 pack.
The magic of the mix tape was
introduced to me in the 10th grade. I
had just changed schools, and
amongst greeting some new kids,
mixed tapes were exchanged. It was
to become the tape that changed my
life, an experience many have
encountered but most have yet to
discover. To receive a mix tape is to
be offered the pages of your friend’s
hidden diary. The music one chooses to listen to explains a great deal
of a person’s personality. A group of
songs formatted and restricted by
time and order reveals more than a
verbal expression of one’s emotions
and ideas at time of recording. And
of course, recording a mix tape of
your own, in return, is displaying
yourself in musical form for whoever the cassette is decided upon. I
decided to write up a sort of making
of a mix tape as an example of the
sort of steps and strategy that go in
to the mix-tape process. Reminder: I
am simply displaying an example
and am in no way proclaiming to be
the end all, say all in mix tapes.
Part of the charm is making a tape
that is a signature all of your own.
First of all, before mixing, I like to
prepare a small bunch of supplies
including (but not limited to);
chocolate, lip gloss, water or juice
(usually apple for me) and writing
utensils for the documentation.
Now, do I want to start the tape off
with a bang, or ease into the rock
slowly? I think a fun, poppy intro
will start things off right.
“Eurodisco” by Bis gets it all started. The fun continues with That
Dog’s “Minneapolis.” (This song’s
great because it builds, so you stay
interested in what’s coming up
next). I decide to keep up the flow
with The Rondelles’ “Please Shut
Up” (no matter where I am or who
I’m with, I always play air guitar
when I hear this song). The tape has
been pretty up-beat until now, so I
decide to ease up a little with Liz
Phair singing “Don’t Have Time”
from the Higher Learning soundtrack. What’s great about this song
is it has a nice buzz. It won’t put you
to sleep and it wont drive you crazy,
so it makes for a good transitional
song. I feel like “Words and Guitar”
by Sleater Kinney would follow Liz
perfectly, but my copy of “Dig Me
Out” is on vinyl and I haven’t yet
gotten my hook ups
for that kind of recording (much to
my dismay) but Tuscadero with
“The Swaye” fills in quite nicely for
Right now you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s up with all the
girl bands? Does she hate men?”
The answer to this is simple. No, I
do not hate boy bands, I’m just very
selective about who I invite into my
music collection. Beck, being one of
the selected few, makes it on as song
number six with “Get Real Paid.”
The Bangs bite back with “Tiger
Beat” followed by Helium “Digging
a Hole in the Ground.” PJ Harvey
brings her expertise to the mix with
“Working for the Man.” One of the
styles of mix tapes that I’m starting
to display here is a tape that goes in
waves. A nice transition from light
to heavy grooves. Mix taping can be
described as a form of editing, and,
like any good film, the cuts and
splices should seem natural and go
nearly undetected. With that in
mind, I’d like to add that PJ ends
with this smokey room fuzz sound
that precedes “Spiderman ‘79” by
Veruca Salt just sweetly. I have a
special place in my heart that I hold
for Veruca. Veruca Salt was one of
my high school bands. She crept
into a lot of emotional soundtrack
time for me during my “troubled
teens,” so I am very nostalgic for
that musical time in my life - which
brings me to the next musical diary
entry, Weezer, with one of their
sticky love songs, “Jaime.” I was
going to continue with my nostalgic
kick and end on some Nirvana, but
I’ve already done that once before
on a different mix, so I decided to
just end with a punch supplied by
the rugged vocals and stiff riffs of
The Distillers raging “Distilla
Truant.” Thus ends side A.
I like to treat this time as a sort of
intermission. A time to stretch,
smoke another hit, or in this case,
reapply the lip gloss rubbed off by
the half-a-bag of chocolate chips I
just devoured. Onto side B. The
same question posted for the first
side also applies to side two. Do I
want to take it up slowly, or start
right in? Not wanting to fall asleep
just quite yet, I decide to keep the
party going with “Eat” by The
Skirts. I love my music collection.
Anyone who’s had the patience (or
the intrigue) to go through all my
shit knows that I enjoy a very well
rounded assortment of music.
Having a lot to choose from does
make it easier to pick the perfect
songs out, but just like a painter has
a certain palate, it’s fun to create a
new and exciting mix tape using the
same colors as before. This mix has
been a blend of mostly turquoises
and blues. It’s time to rinse off my
brush and douse my bristles into
Nikki and her red hot Corvettes
peel on with “Let’s Go.” Kim Lenz
and her Jaguars twing and twang
with the “Devil on My Shoulder.”
And if those two didn’t get things
hot enough, The Gossip shake their
stuff while they’re “On the Prowl.”
Moving on to a little orange now is
Jucifer, “44:dying in White,” continuing to Le Tigre and “Phanta” (yel-
low). It’s normally around now
(about a quarter ways through side
B) that I start to figure out where
this tape is heading and what it has
become - kind of like nurturing a
flower from seed to blossom. My
head is starting to clear (or maybe
that’s just the drugs wearing off...).
Babes in Toyland say “Hello” and
bring back the fury. Rasputina sings
some tales of old times about a
buzzing “Mayfly,” but their humming cellos and purring vibratos
melt into The Cold Cold Hearts’
“Cute Boy Discount.” Team
Dresch’s “Fagetarian and Dyke”
break some glass with Tracy
Bonham and her “Navy Bean.”
(Hey boys! Come and play with
us!). Matt Sharp brings The Rentals
over with “The Love I’m Searching
For.” Slant 6 dive into “Eight
Swimming Pools” and Autoclave
run through the land of “Dr. Seuss.”
Here we are introduced to a major
mix tape faux pas. (I wasn’t aware
of this until after reviewing the finished product later in the evening).
Two different bands, same lead
singer, but it works out fine because
the songs compliment each other
quite nicely. Fourteen songs down,
only a few more to go. It’s kinda
tricky to end a mix. You want to
leave something the listener will
remember and that will make a nice
impact, but without overshadowing
those previously listed. I was going
to lay down some Bjork and then
some Bowie, but decided that both
are too strong in character to bring
together side by side. By already
outnumbering the boys twenty-three
to three, I went with David Bowie
and his “TVC15.” Guiltiness still
lingering from the prior Sleater
Kinney mishap, I bring this story to
an end with the sugar and spice of
“Milkshake ‘N Honey.”
Having listened to (and re-listened to) the finished product, I am
happy to reveal that this tape rocks!
Now comes the tricky part - letting
go of the mix and picking the hands
of the tape’s final resting place. For
me, a mix tape is more than just
music. It’s a collection of ideas and
feelings created by different people
(or bands) who you choose to represent those of your own. I feel more
comfortable choosing someone who
I know will acknowledge and enjoy
what music I have to offer. After
serious thought (and much internal
argument), I’ve decided to give this
tape to one of my friends for her
birthday. We haven’t exchanged mix
tapes in well over two years now, so
this will make for the perfect occasion. I made a cover that I’m happy
with, so all I have left is to pass it
on... which I will be as soon as I finish listening to it in my car...
Complete, Utter ReToddnation
He then asked for his camera bag back. I asked for the $24,000 he owed me.
Neither of us got what we asked for.
Sean was telling me about monkeys the other day. How some people kill them. He wasn't talking
about vivisection, medical experiments, or the Animal Liberation
"Tribesmen would make a hole
in a rock. At the end of the hole, a
little less deep than a monkey's
arm, they'd place some salt.
Monkeys love salt. They smell it,
crave it, and their instinct locks
their paws around it. When that
happens, they can't get their paws
out. They're stuck. They won't let
go of the salt."
I thought of the Simpsons
episode where Homer gets his hand
stuck in the vending machine. I
think he's got a candy bar and the
machine falls down on him. Homer
wants the free candy bar really bad,
enough to suffer some cranial damage in the process. He won't let go.
"All the villagers do is go beat
the monkeys to death. The monkeys won't let go of the salt. They're
easy prey, an arm stuck in a rock...
don't you see?" Sean said. "We're
all monkeys going after the salt.
For some people, it's kids and a
As with most things that change
my perspective on life, I had to
pause, reflect, and down a couple of
beers to get the right frame of mind.
Sean wasn't just talking about monkeys, he was talking about humans.
He was talking about you. He was
talking about me. I know what a big
hunk of salt in my life was. Flipside
Fanzine. I gave everything I had to
it for five years straight with too
many fourteen hour days and six
day weeks to count. Although I'll
do my share of blaming in what follows, know this: I blame myself.
Nobody else forced me to keep a
hold of the salt. For better or worse,
one of my enduring talents in life is
being able to sustain severe beatings.
Let's start at where this all began
and where it'll all end. Music. I love
it. I don't have any musical talent,
and haven't lamented the fact since
my fifth music teacher wouldn't
even let me play the recorder (I got
stuck on block duty).
14 Never wanted to be
in a band. Don't like crowds. Don't
like people I don't know recognizing me. But I love listening to
music, writing about it, filtering the
world through it. Flipside helped
tons. I no longer had to buy used
cassettes to affordably discover
new music. I worked a lot. I learned
a lot. Al Flipside seemed nice
enough - kind of a hybrid between
Charlie Brown and Spock - but we
didn't have much in common. I
think we hung out, outside of
Flipside, a grand total of five times
in as many years.
Music was the salt. It's what kept
me there. I mistook Flipside for my
passion. I mistook my job for my
life. As with any type of drug, what
made me feel superhuman was also
my wrecking ball. It's what made
ly a quarter.). I don't want this to
sound like an emo song, but music
and the very real culture it's steeped
in kept me fixed, resolute. At twenty-eight, I was sure that Flipside
was my life - and that it would
remain so for literally decades
more. I could see no alternative. I'd
finished school. I'd worked enough
jobs to know that being a tow truck
driver and a coffee roaster had their
limitations. I'd just as soon slit my
wrists than punch a clock but I didn't mind working so much I was literally getting sunburn from the rays
coming out of the computer monitor. The rock of salt got bigger. I
squeezed that fucker harder and
harder, trying to make it crumble,
or compress it like coal to a diamond. Like some middle-eastern
The alternate Razorcake logo. Designed by David
Guthrie <[email protected]>
me impervious to repeated beatings
- financial (I was on a dirt poor,
tuna fish diet for the last two years)
and emotional (lost a girlfriend
because she forced me to choose
between her and the magazine.
Come to think of it, if I had a nickel for every time a girl who gave
me the speech that punk rock's not
a way to grow up, I'd have... exact-
tantric thingamajig I've yet to learn
about, I found out that I was really
crushing myself, not the salt.
Rotz distribution (RIP, fuckers)
put Flipside through the ringer. No
doubt about that. Rotz's owners,
Kai and Agnes, rammed the flag
pole into us while waving the punk
banner high and furious. To make it
real simple - they sold a bunch of
Flipside's stuff and didn't want to
pay us. We took them to court after
they failed to cough up a dime in
eight months. We won the settlement, and someone's lawyers ended
up getting all the money. I have no
idea if Flipside saw a dime. I know
I didn't and won't see a cent from
When this started going down,
Al and I would have long talks and
I finally mustered up the courage to
ask him for an equal partnership; to
essentially start Flipside again as
two people, not the good ship
Alyosius Kowalewski. I guess it
should be noted here that Al didn't
pay me for the better part of the last
two years I worked there in the
hopes that we'd stay afloat. (Fuck,
I'm no martyr, but I live simply. I
walked to work. I lived in a basement. All of my entertainment was
paid for. I wrote tons. All I had to
do was cover minimal rent and pay
for gas to get to gigs. I saved what
little money I made for three years
at $6/hour.) My thinking was simple. Show Al that I was serious and
that I wanted to make Flipside the
best magazine we could. I didn't
want anything more in the world. It
felt like my whole life - by little
steps over a decade - was leading
up to what I was doing with that
It wasn't about scene cred or
respectability or a name. It was
because I knew I could do it, that I
loved it, and I was getting pretty
good at it.
A digression. On a personal
level, the preceding couple of years
had been deep fried in a batter of
shit. My grandma, the main reason
I moved to California in the first
place, died. My mom got cancer,
the exact same type that killed Tim
Rock'n'roll. Two of my favorite
ladies on the planet were either suffering or dead. The Dillinger Four
are right. "If there is a god, he's
either a bully or a dick."
As a matter of fact, Dillinger
Four became my favorite band of
all time in there somewhere. They
always make me think. One of their
song titles is "It's a Fine Line
Between the Monkey and the
Robot." There's no monkeys or
robots in the song itself, but
damned if I didn't start feeling like
a monkey made out of nuts and
bolts. I was working like a
machine. I was beginning to feel
like someone else's pet. The worst
of it was that I had done it to
myself, had given Al the leash.
I laid it all on the table with Al
last October. Equal partnership
with full financial disclosure or I'd
get another job. Al didn't bat a lash
and told me it would be better if I
got a job until things blew over. I
asked him point blank if there were
any hard feelings and he said there
weren't. I went to Tucson for a
week to work on a computer.
When I got back, the Flipside locks
had been changed. When I went to
his house and asked him why, he
said, "I don't trust you." When I
pressed him as to how or why, he
replied, "It's just a feeling." He
then asked for his camera bag
back. I asked for the $24,000 he
owed me. Neither of us got what
we asked for.
In my head, I freaked. I felt bolts
loosen and sheer off. I felt like I
was falling down. I couldn't distinguish very well when I was awake
and when I was asleep. This lasted
about eight weeks.
To say I don't harbor resentment
would be a lie. To say that I don't
feel like he used me would also be
a lie. The guy's going to use my
interviews and columns for the
next two issues of Flipside (if they
come out.). I wrote Al three times
to have him send me back my
material, to have him sign over a
music release that legally wasn't
his. Nothing. Not a call, not a letter
(and I'd even sent a SASE). The
last I've "heard" from him is that he
cashed a check made out to my
name for freelancing work I do that
a label mistakenly sent to the
I seethed. I skated. I wrote. I
didn't sleep well. 12 packs would
disappear from the fridge nightly. I
was so lazy, I'd pee in bottles
instead of walking upstairs to piss.
I watched TV without muting the
commercials. I'd hit a low.
In effect, I was a monkey that
had just gotten beaten by a villager
in a monkey suit. I thought he was
a fellow monkey, someone just like
me; in the same predicament. I
couldn't let go - the salt. The fucking salt. Why'd they make music so
tasty? Why do I need it for a
soundtrack from the time I make
my coffee in the morning until I
fall asleep reading a book at night?
The resentment to Al was sinking me. I had to get salt of my own.
I had to stick Al's salt up Al's ass
and get along with my life.
Shortly after, due to low finan-
cial overhead, I started working on
a website with a long time, real
smart friend, Skinny Dan. Now, he
and his wife kt, are the brains
behind the code and organization
of <razorcake.com>. It's coming
along pretty well. There's stuff on
there that won't be in this magazine
and visa versa.
My loving parents (still married
after almost 40 years) asked me
along to fly out to visit my brother.
When I was in the South, I hooked
up with another longtime friend,
Sean. We hung out for a week. We
watched large tankers filled with
sand dump their cargo along the
eroding shoreline from a port that
the navy made so they could
launch their Trident nuclear submarines (and which Disney leased
so their cruise ships could visit the
island that the mousketeers own)
up the way a bit from his house.
We found out that a stripper used
the monkey bars at her kid's
preschool to practice her pole
moves, which were very impressive. One of the many things I like
about Sean is that he's easy going
yet defiant. He's low key but he's
also one of the most articulate and
militant people I know, just by the
fact that he'll tell you from so many
directions how popular culture is
little more than a huge shit on the
head. And he'll make you laugh
when he does it. He brought it up
that he'd move all the way from
Florida to Los Angeles to start a
print magazine up with me.
Two months later, even after his
transmission failed in Alabama and
he read about bow hunting because
his books were in his truck on a
lift, we moved in together and
started on Razorcake Fanzine.
Beaten within an inch of his life,
this little monkey let go his grip of
his salt. It's kind of opposite to the
ending of "SLC Punk" (where a
future lawyer with a funny haircut
mistakes being an asshole for a
form of rebellion, sees the errors of
his childish ways, and eagerly slips
on the shackles that society has
slated for him because he "tested
its boundaries.") . I love music,
more every day. Barring severe
head injury, I doubt there's going to
be a day when I wake up and say,
"what the fuck have I been doing?
I need to get a 'real' job." I just mistook Flipside as the only job I
Shit, for all I know, I might have
just picked up another piece of salt
and am waiting to get macheted by
some more villagers.
I gave Al back his piece of salt.
This time I own some outright.
Nardwuar: Like, are you afraid he may rub cum all over the dressing room walls like you did to Kiss, causing
Motley Crue to get kicked off a Kiss tour?
Nardwuar: Who are you?
Tommy Lee: Hoaah! Haha!
[laughs] Who am I? Oh my god, I
am many, many things, my friend!
Nardwuar: You are Tommy Lee of
Methods of Mayhem!
Tommy Lee: Yes, uh, I am many,
Nardwuar: And Tommy, who else
is in Methods of Mayhem?
Tommy Lee: Uh, we got, oh my
god, are you ready for this?
Nardwuar: Bring it on! Bring it
Tommy Lee: Are you sitting down,
Nardwuar: I sure am! With my
pen in my hand!
Tommy Lee: Okay! Uh, obviously,
Nardwuar: Tommy Lee.
Tommy Lee: Yes. Um, my fucking
crazy fucking redheaded, dreaded,
fucking hiphop motherfucker, Tilo.
Uh, Stephen Perkins from Jane's
Addiction on drums. Ummm, Chris
Cheney, who was in Alanis
Morisette's touring band.
Nardwuar: A Canadian connection!
Tommy Lee: Yes sir! Um, and also
another fellow Canadian, Kai, is on
guitar. He was from a band called
Nardwuar: From Vancouver, BC,
Tommy Lee: Yes sir! And also, um,
Mixmaster Mike from the Beastie
Nardwuar: You didn't even give a
drumroll for that one!
Tommy Lee: Br-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!
Shhhhh-crash! And, also, we've
sort of got like an opening revolving DJ door. It's DJ Shortcut who's
also, uh, a Scratch Pickle, so it will
be, yeah! A couple of DJs, you
Nardwuar: So, Tommy, a few
years ago, there was a quote from
the Motley Crue camp - I don't
know if it was you or not, but,
"Keyboards and porno soundtracks
should be thrown in the garbage."
Tommy Lee: Oooh.
Nardwuar: But now your doing it
in Methods of Mayhem!
Tommy Lee: Yeah, but those aren't
keyboards. These are
Nardwuar: But you had Scott
Kirkland of the Crystal Method on
doing vintage keyboards!
Tommy Lee: Yes sir!
Nardwuar: And you had the "Get
Tommy Lee: Mm hmm.
Nardwuar: Now, with Stephen
Perkins on drums there, are you
going to be drumming with him? Is
it going to be like dual drums right
Tommy Lee: Mmm, yeah, it's
fucking insane! Like, it's not your
typical, like, "Okay, here's your...."
- it's not like your typical two drumsets sort of uh, you know, split
apart, like we've all seen before.
This is one toxic-looking, fucking
insane, uh - it's a very large drumset, one large drumset that two guys
sit inside this pod, if you will.
Nardwuar: Tommy, where do you
come up with this stuff? Like in
Motley Crue you had that caged
rotating drumset. Was that thing
made by NASA?
Tommy Lee: Uh, no it wasn't. It
was made by some people at a company called Show Staging, but it
was my idea, and me and this sort
of hydraulics specialist called Chris
Peters, we just sort of started
dreaming about what it would be
like to fuckin' have the drums spin
around upside down, and we did it!
Nardwuar: From the hard streets
of Covina, California to Methods of
Mayhem! "Wassup G!" Snoop!
Snoop! I can't believe it! Snoop
Doggy Dogg. Tell me about Snoop!
Snoop! Like, recording with
Snoop! That's incredible!
Tommy Lee: Yeah!
Nardwuar: What's that like,
Tommy!? What - was there any
Snoop moment that you remember?
Tommy Lee: Mmm mmm.
Nardwuar: Like when you first
came into the studio there!? Did he
tell you any good Dre stories?
Tommy Lee: Um, any deranged
stories? Uh, well, other than the
fact that Snoop Dog smokes more
fucking weed than I have ever seen
on the planet. Uh, pretty mellow,
like nothing, I couldn't really recall
any crazy moments. Really like a
lot of fun, creative, like, you know,
we were getting high on the fucking
music, you know what I mean?
More like that, more than anything,
Nardwuar: Tommy Lee of
Methods of Mayhem, [the song]
Anger Management: "I don't
believe in the Public Eye/ Seems
like 24/7 being watched by a spy.
They're not news reporters/ They
are full of bullshit!/ Being watched
by a spy." Now, I was wondering, it
was reported a couple days ago that
you got kicked out of your house
with Pam, but you have said you
were not. Then yesterday, there was
a news story on the newswire. I
don't know if you saw this or not,
"Tommy Lee and Wife Face
Tommy Lee: I know! I saw that!
Nardwuar: "Tommy Lee and his
wife Pamela Anderson are headed
back to court, this time over their
pet Rottweiler. A woman is suing
the couple, claiming she was
bitten by the dog during a 1997
visit to the couple's home near
Malibu." Like, a dog bite lawsuit!
What the hell is going on here!?
Tommy Lee:: I don't know.
Nardwuar: I was curious, Tommy
Lee, were you unknowingly unknowingly!? - set up, perhaps by
a record company, to help generate
publicity for the upcoming
Methods of Mayhem tour? Like,
are they pulling these people.
Label Rep: Absolutely not!
Tommy Lee: [laughs]
Nardwuar: Are they pulling - hey,
how the hell are you?! How the hell
are you?! Label Rep: Good, how
Nardwuar: It's the record company rep, listening on in our conversation! But, um, I was just curious
Tommy Lee: Noooo.
Nardwuar: But isn't it just crazy;
Tommy and wife face dog bite lawsuit?
Tommy Lee: I know, this fucking
lady, I mean, like, a year and a half
or so after the fact, she decides to
sue us and it's like, uh, dude, you
know what, that's why I call my
new band Methods of Mayhem
because it's always fucking like
this. It's a fucking nuisance, you
know? One day I hope, you know, I
can just fucking come and go as I
please, and, uh, every time I fart,
it's not in the fucking newspaper,
you know. I just fucking yearn for
that day. It's not to mean that, you
know, I mean, I would like it, certainly now. I'm not saying that I
don't like the exposure and the
fans and all that shit. I love all
that, but god, if it was music driven it would be so much more fun
than fucking every time you know
someone gets bit or someone farts
it's in the paper. It's fucking stupid.
Nardwuar: Tommy, are you
gunna teach Tilo the ways of the
touring with Tommy Lee? Like,
are you going to teach Tilo?
Like he's your main man there
with Methods of Mayhem. Will
there ever be another "spaghetti
incident," do you think?
Tommy Lee: Ha ha ha! [laughs]
Oh, lord, you know, I just know
we're going to have... probably
one of the best times ever, you
know? That's, that, we're not here
for a long time; we're here for a
good time. That's my fuckin',
basically, you know, the lyrics
that I live by, so...
Nardwuar: But Tilo must have,
like, thousands of questions! Like
you've done twenty years of touring, and he's, I don't know, he's
pretty new on the block. Does he
ever come up to you and ask you
about... stuff, like, one thing I'm
curious about, that Motley Crue sex
contest, where you and Nikki Sixx
had a contest to see how many
groupies you could "have" without
bathing, and the only way you won
was because Nikki had spaghetti
barfed on him while having sex
with a groupie, and, after making
her eat it all up, he had to take a
shower? Is that the "spaghetti incident," Tommy Lee?
Tommy Lee: Yes, that was.
Nardwuar: What, can you, I've,
I've only heard bits of it. That
Tommy Lee: It's, uh, it's a nice and
disgusting, filthy road story. No
more, no less. [laughs]
Nardwuar: What's Tilo, your
co-conspirator in Methods of
Mayhem, like? Is he going to live
up to that? My god?!
Tommy Lee: Uh, this kid is fucking - uh [laughs] I don't know if I
should say this! [laughs] Uh...
Nardwuar: Does he need to be
taught any manners? Is he a young
Tommy Lee? Like, are you afraid
he may rub cum all over the dressing room walls like you did to Kiss,
causing Motley Crue to get kicked
off a Kiss tour?
Tommy Lee: [laughs] You know
what, I just let him be himself, you
know. He's a fucking, he's a great
guy. He's definitely, he's got his
own style, and, uh, yeah he's a
fucking wildman, that's why I love
him. That's the kind of energy you
Nardwuar: The best part
of that video, Tommy Lee,
is - I mean, sure there's
Pam, and there's all that
other excitement - but I
think the best part is when
you "honk the horn!" of
the speedboat! When you
take your cock out there,
and you push the horn of
the speedboat. Do you
need on stage, you know. That's the
kind of energy people come to see,
so yeah, you know, I basically just
let him do his thing, you know? I'm
not going to be his dad. I'm not
going to be anything but his friend.
You know, we're just going to have
a good time, and take Methods of
Mayhem around the world, and
fucking tear it up.
Nardwuar: Well, Tommy Lee of
Methods of Mayhem, have you
heard of the band The Donnas at
all, from San Francisco? They covered "Too Fast For Love."
Tommy Lee: Yeah, I heard about
Nardwuar: And they spotted you
driving the Methods of Mayhem
tour bus. Now hold on! Why isn't
Tilo driving. Make him work there,
Tommy Lee: [laughs] I'm driving
this ship, baby!
Nardwuar: [the song] "Get
Naked" - "77 million made from
watching me cum under the sun on
my vacation." But you didn't make
one penny off that?
Tommy Lee: Nope. Not one. Zero.
Zilch. Fuckin' nada.
Nardwuar: The best part of that
video, Tommy Lee, is - I mean,
sure there's Pam, and there's all that
other excitement - but I think the
best part is when you "honk the
horn!" of the speedboat! When you
take your cock out there, and you
push the horn of the speedboat. Do
you remember that?
Tommy Lee: Of course.
Nardwuar: Did you rent or buy
Tommy Lee: Um, that was a rental.
Nardwuar: So did you, like, tell
them that your cock-print was left
on the horn?
Label Rep: Nardwuar!?
Tommy Lee: [laughs] God damn
it! I would imagine they would
know by now if they've seen the
Nardwuar: Tommy Lee of
Methods of Mayhem, further on
the video there is a "Mayhem" tattoo prominently displayed on you
in the video, and there is totally
wild music going on in the background which is complete foreshadowing, now that you have
Methods of Mayhem with wild,
crazy toons! What was the music
going in the background there? It
was some craaaazy stuff! It was
like "It's all good." Like, "It's all
Tommy Lee: That's MC Hammer,
actually. That's one of my favorite
songs that he ever did. Because it is
all good. Because every time, uh,
Pamela and I would go anywhere
and do anything, that was like our
theme song, man. It was like, we
would both, you know, look at each
other and just fuckin' be like "it's all
good." You know what I mean?
Nardwuar: It's all Hammer Time!
Tommy Lee: Well, I don't know
about Hammer Time, but it's definitely all good, that's for sure.
Nardwuar: Now, Tommy Lee, was
this whole video fiasco all Bret
Michaels of Poison's fault?
Because since he started flogging
his sex tape with Pamela, and it like
sold for 5 million dollars, the people who stole yer tape wanted to
make bucks too? Was it Bret
Michaels' fault, Tommy Lee?
Tommy Lee: Uh, you know, I don't
know too much about that. I've sort
of kept my... distance. I know nothing about that. That was before my
Nardwuar: Because they put 3
million dollars into marketing your
video tape. That's pretty good! That
would be great to put 3 million into
promoting your record!
Tommy Lee: Yeah! [laughs]
Nardwuar: And you are Tommy
Lee of Methods of Mayhem. Now,
Tommy, [the song] "Narcotic":
"Are you ready? Are you ready for
the weekend?" Is that a reference to
"Workin' for the Weekend" by
Loverboy, Tommy Lee?
Tommy Lee: No. [laughs] Mine is
actually "Are You Ready for the
Tweak End." Don't confuse me
with the Loverboy guys!
Nardwuar: Well, Loverboy was
from Vancouver, and you do sort of
have some Vancouver connections.
Like you have your guitarist from
Noise Therapy,from Vancouver.
And wasn't your first wife - before
Pam and Heather - Candice, from
Tommy Lee: Uh, yeah, we used to
go out for a little bit.
Nardwuar: So she was your wife?
Tommy Lee: Uh, for like about 30
Canadians can be proud. And, do
you know the name of the
Canadian brand of the beer that
launched the career of your third
wife, Pamela Lee?
Tommy Lee: Uh, Labatt's, I think.
Nardwuar: Labatt's Blue! Tommy
Lee of Methods of Mayhem, so
what's yer fascination with
Vancouver girls? Like there's the
song "Girls Girls Girls" that mentions the Vancouver club, The Body
Shop. What is the fascination?
Tommy Lee: Um, I don't know, I
think at that time it was a time in
our life and I just decided to write
about it, you know?
Nardwuar: But you like the
Comox/Courteney area where
Pamela is from? You know, here in
the Vancouver area... on Vancouver
Island? The Comox Valley?
Tommy Lee: Yeah, you know, I
spent a, a good day or two out in
the gardens. I think it was Butchart
Nardwuar: Butchart Gardens!
Tommy Lee: Yeah, I just walked
around the checked out all these
beautiful trees and plants and water
features. It was beautiful. I thought
it was a really beautiful part of the
Nardwuar: That was totally amazing. The one time I interviewed
Kurt Cobain, he actually mentioned
he went to Butchart Gardens as a
small kid! Kurt Cobain and Tommy
Lee having something in common!
Tommy Lee: [laughs]
Nardwuar: [the song] "New
Skin": "Now I'm shedding my
skin... you gotta listen." Now,
Tommy Lee, will Mick Mars ever
shed his skin and reveal his
Canadian roots? Isn't
he from Newfoundland?
Tommy Lee: Uh, actually, you
know what? No, he's not. That was
just like a big trip, a big press
facade. Like, I think he's from
Nardwuar: Oh no!
Tommy Lee: Yeah. [laughs]
Nardwuar: Well, how much of
this was a facade? I mean, Methods
of Mayhem is totally real here, but
with Motley Crue, on the Shout At
The Devil tour and parts of Theater
of Pain tour there was a rumor that
Nikki Sixx, Nikki Sixx! - Nikki
was replaced with a double! Like
some guy from Erie, Pennsylvania
from a band called Sixx Pack
dressed up as Nikki, cuz Nikki was
too fucked up to go on tour.
Tommy Lee: Uh, god, fuck, you
know what, dude? I don't really
want to talk about all that shit. It's
all so old. I'm into, I'm onto some
new shit right now. Like those stories are all so old and tired.
"Hypocritical": "We Protest against
their negative stress."
Tommy Lee: Yes.
Nardwuar: Now you have this
record with Methods of Mayhem,
Tommy, and we kinda got to refer
to the Crue here slightly, but did
they "blackmail you" into anything, saying to you if you "talk
any shit about us, we'll let the
world know, that Tommy Lee, uh,
kicked my dog," etc., because there
weren't too many biting lyrics into
your past relationships with the
Crue on this particular release?
Tommy Lee: Yeah. Yeah. Um. I
don't know. I just set out to do this
record for me. It's all about truth,
you know? And I will always speak
the truth, you know? And some
people might not like to hear it, but
I'm going to fucking say it, you
know. I just don't like the way, um,
I just don't like the way things are
reported. I think everything is sensationalized just to get fucking ratings...
Nardwuar: But how about Motley
Crue on this record? Were there
any references to them? I looked
closely, just wondering if there
were any, and if the Crue did
indeed tell you, "Hey, Tommy,
you'd better not do this or we're
gonna, you know"?
Tommy Lee: No, there's no references whatsoever.
Nardwuar: What do you think of
the rock'n'roll form know as
"punk," Tommy Lee? What do you
think of punk? Because you were
in the LA area. Did you ever see the
Tommy Lee: [Silence. Line goes
[Three minutes later on Nardwuar's
Label Rep: Hey Nardwuar, I think
Tommy's on his cell phone, and the
battery died. Um, so let me see if i
can get him back on the phone. Ok,
call me back. Thanks, bye.
<www.nardwuar.com> for more
...unless one of these "evangelists" has holes in the palms of his hands,
he needs to worry about his own fuckin' life, not mine or anyone else's...
If it's one thing I learned growing up as a little kid, it's to carefully
give the once over twice to things
that reek of bullshit or seem just a
little too far-fetched. Not to be
overtly cautious or paranoid; just a
bit more aware of the jive that floated (and still floats) around me. Over
the years, I've often found this practice to exist in quite a few of fellow
family members in the punk/underground culture, so I soon learned
that I wasn't the only one. The main
topic of this here column touches on
that area of keeping your eyes open
- the slick trickery of subliminal
practices in advertising and, supposedly in some cases, some of the
world's best known music. Even
some motion pictures have been
found to be involved in this same
practice of getting the audience's
brain juice pumping. I'd like to
firmly remind any of ya reading that
there's some of these findings that I
strongly believe in, like the advertising embedding because it's so
damn obvious and has been discussed about with the folks directly
involved, yet I honestly believe
some of the "professional" findings
on the subliminal music monkeyshines are, well, just a little bit
too fuckin' far out there; i.e., FULL
Add to that that the majority of
the salvation brigade squeezing the
turds of "truth" out of their mouths
stinking up the air about the hidden
evils in "rock music" are Christian
snake oil salesmen to begin with, so
you can see how they can take the
ball and run like crazy with it (and I
stress the word CRAZY, here, people). Anyhow, my fascination with
subliminal uses in the many forms
of media slapped me upside the
head while I was starting early on in
high school. I liked to check out and
learn about things that weren't the
norm and this seemed to strike me
as one of them. In one of my photo
classes, our teacher had brought in
some slides and a few books that
would forever change the way I
looked at ads in magazines or the
commercials I had been watching
for years on television.
The books are
Sexploitation" written by Wilson
Bryan Key, a very much accredited
university professor who has been
studying this subject for years (the
first book of his came out in 1973, I
believe) and I strongly recommend
his books to any of ya who might
want to read up on the subject, as he
has become one of THE leaders in
this field. The first book mainly
deals with magazine ads and how
tons of them, mainly liquor and cig-
self... "Media Sexploitation" (the
second book) deals more with commercials, magazines, even MORE
ads, and some newspapers as well
as a whole chapter on one of my
favorite films of all time, "The
Exorcist." I had constantly heard in
the past that there was in fact a lot
going on behind the scenes in the
making of "The Exorcist" and had
always felt a lot of the findings to
have some truth being that some of
the people who worked on the film,
arette ads, have had the master
touch-up jobs within the photographs to entice the unconscious
reader's stimuli to pick the advertiser's brand of product when faced
with a purchase selection. It all
sounds WAY fucking out there, and
that's exactly what I had thought at
first when initially getting into his
books and findings, but after thoroughly reading chapter after chapter, some of the findings within
these ad photographs stick out like a
neon sign, really.
Doubting Thomas himself would
have had the fucking rug pulled
right out from under him if he had a
chance to read these books him-
like director William Friedkin,
openly admit that there was a lot of
visual as well as audio tooling
going on during the film's making they never make no bones about it.
His chapter on "The Exorcist" confirmed a lot of the rumors that had
been circling it for so long. While
reading the chapter, Prof. Key noted
that while he was free to write anything he wanted about his findings
on "The Exorcist," he was in no
way to reproduce any photos or
stills from the film itself. You really
can't blame Warner Bros. for giving
Key the legal warning - it's like
doing an article on Coke or Pepsi
and asking to print the secret recipe
because you want everyone to know
why it tastes the way it does, ya
know what I mean? I actually began
to understand some of the reasons
why "The Exorcist" made my bowels run cold to this day after reading
his findings on the movie. VERY
interesting read, folks, even if you
aren't a fanfuck like me of the film.
And if you ain't an Exorcist fan,
then I'm sorry - you just plain suck
- that's the way it is. I'm always rattling on explaining to folks that
what "The Exorcist" did for the
future of horror filmmaking is what
the Ramones did for the future of
rock and roll - they both set the new
standard for the 100s to follow
them. Any of Professor Key's books
can be found in most bookstores or,
as most people find things these
days, online. Way worth the purchase price, folks - I can't emphasize this enough.
Another interesting (and almost
ALWAYS entertaining) facet to this
phenomenon are the accounts of
backward masking done on records
to "get evil into the minds of the
innocent and unsuspecting" and the
hidden artwork sighted on certain
record covers as well as in artists
logos that are "just simply the work
of Satan.” Hee hee hee... I'm
already starting to get all fuckin'
giggly just thinkin' about it. If anyone who grew up in the ‘70s & ‘80s
on rock music, you'll remember the
scads of religiou$ organization$ on
television who had those night-long
specials on the "evils of rock music"
and how they would go on to "prove
that the devil is afoot in your children's records - right in your own
home!" Man, I used to love and
watch them pick apart everyone
from Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black
Sabbath, Kiss, Iron Maiden, and
The Doors to bands like The Eagles,
The Police, Prince and even the
soundtrack to the musical "Hair"!
The funniest parts of those specials
were how they would single out a
particular instance and overanalyze
the shit out of it. (by the way, if any
of ya out there have access to copies
of any of those shows, I'd gladly
pay for video copies - get in touch
with me through Razorcake - I need
to piss my pants laughing while
showing these shows to some
One of these instances that sticks
with me to this day is how they
showed a short clip of Jim Morrison
getting down and taking control on
stage while belting out some vocal
wailing and droning, like he was
often noted for doing live. These
fucking idiots on the show said that
Jim was "being inhabited by unholy
demons live onstage" and that he
did this to "beckon the evil spirits
that be to gain attention and minds
of his audience.” The clincher of
this clip was after they explained
what you were "witnessing" Jim
doing, they cut to a snippet of an
interview with Ray Manzerek, The
Doors' keyboardist, and Ray went
on to explain how "Jim was possessed, man - he was a shamen.”
Then they cut back to these people
on the show and they're shaking
their heads, sobbing that Morrison's
own band member admits his singer
was in cahoots with Satan himself.
If those assholes would have played
the WHOLE interview clip with
Ray (and it's a popular interview
that has been shown quite a lot),
they would have seen that Ray was
talking about how Jim would work
himself up into a psychotic frenzy
onstage when the band would build
up a roaring wall of sound and just
let it blast and also how Jim would
groove himself into a trance-like
state while performing impromptu
vocal jams onstage as the rest of the
band played on during an extended
bridge of a song or whatnot... It
really DOES make a difference
when you tell the whole story - just
like anything else.
I ain't completely denying the
fact that some of the backwards
masking instances don't exist, but
when they'd get on a roll with 'em,
especially the notorious ones like
Led Zeppelin (their fourth LP w/
"Stairway To Heaven") and The
Beatles (“The White Album” with
the "Number 9" buzz), suddenly
EVERYTHING that looks or
sounds remotely devilish to these
people contains evil messages hidden backwards in the grooves of the
LPs... two words to these peoplefuck off.
Why don't we talk about some
GENUINE evils - like how much
money is made through these
Chri$tian television networks where is all that money going? I
sure as shit don't see it helping out
the REAL unfortunate people in
this country, like the seriously disabled, the war vets or retired folks
who can't even afford to buy some
fucking groceries, unless you count
the "unfortunate" fucks from these
organizations who have yet experience the pleasure of hillside mansions or garages filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth
of cars (and let's not forget the
cocaine in some instances) thanks
to their networks "spreading the
word and saving the non-believers.”
Did God tell these "unfortunate"
network wads to spend like kings
and do so? They'd probably tell you
that to yer face. To me, brother,
THAT is fucking evil as all hell. And
what about these evangelists who
are knocking boots with the likes of
women that resemble strippers?
And, no - they ain't married to 'em,
by the way. Hmmm, I guess that
would be considered just as much a
sin as us "heathens" who haven't
been "born again." Come to think of
it, a lot of these "evangelists" live
life pretty close to the likes of the
same rock bands they are so desperately trying to "save." Kinda makes
one wonder, ya know? To me, unless
one of these "evangelists" has holes
in the palms of his hands, he needs
to worry about his own fuckin' life,
not mine or anyone else's...
Sorry to go off an a tangent, but
it always seems to be these biblethumpin' types that are the ringleaders of righteousness when it comes
to crusading against the so-called
"evils of rock.” The thing I find
even more interesting (and funny) is
that these people or any other of the
organizations never go after bands
like The Candy Snatchers (fucking
RULE), The Humpers (RIP), or
even the older, past punk prototypes
like the Ramones or the Dead Boys.
I think the main reason they won't
(and can't) go after bands of this
caliber is 'cause these groups ain't
got a damn thing to hide - and these
outfits would tell anyone straight
out that they have nothing to hide
before burying a foot in the accusing party's ass. Besides, why would
some parents try and go after a band
like The Candy Snatchers with a
lawsuit for their kid's suicide when
they can shoot for the big bucks by
taking bands like Judas Priest,
Ozzy, or AC/DC into court? What's
even more amusing is that all who
have tried have been denied court
awards every time. I can picture it
now - Larry May (Candy Snatchers'
vox) telling the judge on the witness
stand - "Well, your honor, we told
the idiot out in the audience to come
party with us during our tune,
"Drunken Blur,” but we didn't force
any booze or drugs into his mouth he croaked it on his own will - the
fuck you want me to do about
it?...or how about this - Joey
Ramone up on the witness stand
explaining to the judge about the
song "Now I Wanna Sniff Some
Glue" - "Look, yer honor, when we
wrote this song, it was about us and
our stupid experimentation with
sniffing glue - the kid we're talking
about here today who died doing
the same glue huffin' happened to
be as stupid as we were, but not as
lucky to live, ya know?" Man, now
THAT would be a laugh riot to
watch on the evening news - "Drugcrazed band of punks claim the life
of innocent young teen... more on
this late-breaking story at 10.”
Well, I hope the first installment
of this here column has been of
interest to some of you readers. Feel
free to drop me a line here at
Razorcake or email me directly at
<[email protected]>. New
and existing bands that RAWK are
encouraged to let me know what
they've been up to. ‘Till then, keep
asking all the questions that make
the people with the answers
Exclusive Razorcake shot of Linda Blair getting twisted with The Ramones.
The fact that there have supposedly been two attempts on his life in his first month in office, it becomes
patently clear that we may have elected the right man
Greetings, Salutations and
First of all, I'd like to personally welcome you all to the premiere issue of "Swedish Fish
Erotica," the only mag in the
world that caters to those of us
with truly "specialized" tastes, if
you know what I mean. I hope
you are all as excited as I about
the features that have been jampacked, sans Vaseline, into these
soon-to-be very sticky pages.
Might I suggest you skip all the
usual drivel associated with publications of this ilk and head
straight for the spread on page 17,
entitled "Leprechaun Lust," which
features a couple of handsome
dwarfs in green suits gettin' jiggy
with some prime, grade-A sea
bass on the moonlit shores of
Okay, some guy named Todd
has just informed me that the
name of the magazine this will be
in is Razorcake, that its focus is
on music, and that is not intended
to satiate the fetid, fetishistic fantasies of all the pathetic poisson
pervs residing outside of France's
borders. In other words, we're all
shit outta luck, kiddies. You can
all go back to reading this rag with
both hands, 'cause it looks to be
like another lonely night.
Hail to the Chief
In a not-so-recent column for
another magazine, I recounted a
vision I had in which the spirit of
Jimmy Stewart instructed me to
relay a personal message from the
God of Punk to his legion of followers.
Assuming that the majority of
you didn't read it, it boiled down
to this: The reason punk rock has
become the dung heap that it is is
because of a considerable lack of
noticeable oppression in this
country. Sure, things are really not
that much better than they were
back in punk's "golden years,"
but, thanks to the amassing of
considerable amounts of "stuff"
by the typical Joe, the co-opting
of the media by corporate interests
and the abhorrent
"don't worry, be happy" attitude of
the general public during the
Clinton era, the average punker
has turned his sights away from
the things that adversely affect the
world around him and, instead,
has opted to focus on how rad his
plastic personality girlfriend is,
how partying is cool, and essentially adopted the very value system that punks were supposedly
rejecting all those years ago. The
only way punk rock can truly be
saved from the black depths in
which it currently resides is a
good, hard look at how lousy life
is behind the television nipple at
which its acolytes so frequently
feed. To achieve this, the God of
Punk called upon his followers
over the age of 18 to vote for the
most racist, war mongering, queer
bashing, gun toting, true gem
among sons of bitches that they
could find to serve as this country's president.
Well, he has since sent word to
me (via email) that he would like
to thank you all for your efforts.
He understands that the choice for
outright bigoted freaks was dismally small (although he does
acknowledge the efforts of his
Florida disciples and their votes
for Pat Buchanan. Hey, we all
know that they weren't really taking Gore into consideration), but,
given the choice between a
Disney animatronic nightmare
with a penchant for lying through
his teeth and a low-grade moron
who happens to be a member of
one of the most dangerous families in American history, you have
chosen the better (or worse,
depending on your point of view)
of the two.
The greatest thing about Dubya
(as his supporters like to call him)
is that he's living, breathing proof
that the jocks and frat boys always
win, primarily because they've got
the deck stacked in their favor.
The man was, by most accounts
I've heard, an average student who
preferred to drink the night away
and allegedly shovel Colombia's
primary export into that upturned
nose with his fraternity brothers.
His father, once a president himself and former director of the
CIA, has had the word "murderer"
occasionally mentioned in the
same breath as his name, thanks to
his involvement in efforts to fund
right wing "freedom fighters" in
Nicaragua by selling arms to other
"hostile" countries (not to mention
rumored drug sales to his country's own people), among other
things. Both can credit their privilege and wealth to their involvement in the oil business.
According to a recent segment on
Television," George Jr. did fuckall
for the state of Texas during his
tenure as its Governor, except to
back legislation that favored supporters and friends in some way or
another. He also fried his fair
share of convicted felons with
It's almost surreal that a person
of such high caliber could be
elected as a member of the Hank
Williams, Jr. fan club let alone
leader of the free world. Yet, when
you've got a daddy as powerful as
his, a résumé that includes one of
schools, money coming out of
your ears, corporate media backing and a brother who, in what has
to be one of history's most suspect
examples of coincidence, happens
to be the governor of the one state
you need to put you over the top,
you could probably be named
emperor of the universe if that
was your bag.
As of this writing, Junior's been
in office a total of one month and
he's already been a busy little bee.
He's filled his cabinet with a
bunch of daddy's old buddies,
many of whom were the architects
of the Gulf War, particularly of
note being the naming of a retired
general (who once denied that
there were any atrocities being
committed by U.S. soldiers in
Vietnam two months after that little shindig in My Lai) as Secretary
of State. He's named an alleged
racist Jesus freak as his Attorney
General. He's aggressively backing a tax cut that will most benefit
the nation's richest citizens,
promised to open one of the last
virgin pieces of land on the planet
in Alaska to oil drilling (being an
oil man, anyone wanna bet on
who stands to gain most from this
move?), cut abortion funding to
foreign countries and, in an apparent attempt to show the world
who's boss, bombed Iraq again.
He also seems to have some difficulty formulating a coherent
thought without the use of a
When you add to the equation
the fact that there have supposedly been two attempts on his life in
his first month in office, it
becomes patently clear that we
may have elected the right man.
We could very well have the makings of the perfect asshole we
need to tighten enough screws to
give the nation's (not to mention
the world's) great unwashed punk
rock hordes enough truly meaningful things to bitch about that
they will no longer need to sing
nauseating, ska-tinged odes to
their girlfriends or the healing
powers of the herb.
I'm personally sweating in
gleeful anticipation at how good
music, art, magazines and books
are going to get. If all goes well
during Dubya's tenure with
regards to war, police abuse,
assaults on anyone who is not
white, heterosexual and god-fearing, increased amounts of crippling drugs into inner-city, primarily minority neighborhoods
and other general naughtiness, I
just may vote to reelect the guy.
Considering all the increasing tension that's been going down in the
Middle East lately and the fact
that U.S. just has to stick its hypocritical nose into the fray when its
corporate interests are even
remotely threatened, I wouldn't be
surprised if we found ourselves
out in the middle of some other
continent killing off the native
population by the early 2002.
The future looks very bright for
punk rock, kiddies, at least for the
next four years.
The God of Punk is pleased.
Blah Blah Blah
Rapper Eminem has been in a
maelstrom of controversy for a
while now, mainly due to lyrics
considered by some to be homophobic and misogynistic. As I
write this, protests are being
planned for the Grammy Awards,
where he is nominated for various
awards and is scheduled to perform with Elton John. Other
artists, including Madonna, Stevie
Wonder and Elton, defend
Eminem, saying that he is free to
say whatever he wants. You know,
free speech and all that. Now, I'm
am by no means Mr. PC and I
wholeheartedly embrace the
rights of Eminem, or any other
person for that matter, to say
whatever they feel like saying (I
just personally wish the guy could
at least make his music somewhat
interesting), but I am curious as to
where Eminem's high-profile
defenders would draw the line.
What if he made derogatory
remarks toward specific ethnic
groups, replacing his liberal use of
the word "fag" with "nigger," or
"kike?" What if, instead of fantasizing in his music about blowing
his wife's brains out, he gleefully
sang about tying a black man to a
truck, dragging him around and
then setting his body on fire? How
many of these defenders of free
speech would then jump to his
defense? If David Duke or some
other outspoken member of the
Ku Klux Kiddie Klub could hold
a decent tune, would Elton or
Gloria Estefan sing a duet of
Skrewdriver's "White Power"
with them? What makes a violently anti-homosexual or antiwoman song any different from
one that is violently anti-Swede or
anti-midget? I'm just wondering…
In recent graffiti news: The city
of Los Angeles has been plagued
recently by the work of a person
going by the name of the
"Mustache Bandit." This individual is allegedly responsible for
putting mustaches on the city's
advertisements and brazenly tags
his/her nom de guerre to his/her
work. Witnesses have testified
that this scoundrel's greatest
achievement thus far has been to
mustachio a supermodel's image
on a huge billboard overlooking
the Sunset Strip. Authorities are
stumped as to what sort of maniac
could be behind such heinous
crimes. We here at Razorcake
would like to say that anyone with
information regarding who this
person could be should go fuck
A warm welcome to sunny
California is extended to Mr. Sean
Carswell. If you need help accli-
mating to your new surroundings,
I'll be happy to lend you my pyramid-shaped tent, patchouli scented crystals, personal list of the
city's best plastic surgeons and my
.45-caliber "freeway problem
solver" until you get your bearings, mate.
Thanks to Todd for being Todd.
Sorry we missed your birthday
I would like the world to know
that my girlfriend, Karla PerezVillalta, bestowed upon me that
most sacred of objects, Speed
Racer's Mach 5. I know of no
greater indicator of true love. No
longer will I have to jump onto
the couch in emulation every time
I watch his exploits. Now, I merely have to place the "Speed" doll
into the driver's seat as the theme
blares from the television. ChimChim rides shotgun, watching
Speed's back. Spridle sits in the
trunk, where he belongs.
That should about do it for
now. Tune in next issue, when my
column will consist of the word
"bitch" printed 12,000 times so
that none of my more prudish
and/or politically correct friends
will be able to read it.
I'm a little airplane,
Soon as that camera goes off, he gonna fuck that fish.
From this point on, Earth has been a whole new rock
The Dinghole Reports
by the Rhythm Chicken
(commentary by Francis Funyuns
edited by Dr. Sicnarf)
Ruckus. Plain and simple. 6 letters, 2 syllables, my mission statement compressed into one dingtweaking word, ruckus. As the
Happy Schnapps Combo would
say, "Raise it!" Raise a ruckus! All
your Manic Panic and all your neopolitical ideologies don't mean turd
if you don't act on instinct on a guttural level. Shove that metaphorical wire brush up the dinghole of
society! Cosmetic impalings and
drinkin' shit shakes are about as
shocking as the rest of that counterculture you blindly propagate.
Grab a carret and pull up a chair!
Stretch out your dinghole and
Coleman beware! I have found one
true way to celebrate ruckus in all
of its forms. In my quest to raise a
ruckus I have embraced sheer
organic lunacy in the form of
mankind's final superhero, the
Rhythm Chicken. Here you can
keep up to date with my "Boycott
Cadbury" campaign, my direct
philosophical contrast to the words
and actions of Gary Coleman, my
lifelong quest to fit larger and spici-
er objects into my dinghole, and,
above all, victorious tales from the
battlefield. These are the Dinghole
(Alright, Chicken. You're boring
them. Get to the reports already!
Fine! That Mr. Funyuns, I tell ya.
He puts out seven meager Rhythm
Chicken newsletters and he thinks
he can tell ME what to do!........
So ON TO THE REPORTS!
Dinghole Report #1: the hatching
(Rhythm Chicken Sightings #1
While passing through Titletown,
USA, I remembered that evening's
big rock show and thought Green
Bay would be the perfect place to
nest for the night. That night Face
to Face and the Alkaline Trio were
performing at the Concert Cafe. I
anticipated a line of ticket holders
around the block come door time, a
captive audience to witness the
hatching of the Rhythm Chicken.
The drumset (herein referred to as
the Chicken Kit) was untrunked
and set up on the sidewalk across
Main Street from the anxious concert line. They observed the set-up
and scratched their heads reading
the bass drums "Rhythm Chicken"
logo. I sat at the thrown and took a
deep breath before pulling on the
chicken head. The happy-hour
Pabst in my gullet was bubbling in
tingly anticipation. The head went
on and, already, people cheered.
Then it began, the first ever opening drumroll! Like a call-to-arms,
it heralded the other happy-hour
drunks out of the Speakeasy Tavern
next door, and the gay bar, and the
Mexican restaurant, and Jake's
Pizza, and the porno shop, and the
strip club (God, I love Green Bay!),
and the sidewalks filled with
Americans of all walks, awe-stricken at the sight of lunatic ruckus.
Soon began the rhythms, the drumbeats born from Pabst, cheap gin,
social absurdity, and an undying
urge for mayhem. Traffic stopped.
honked. And, above all, the crowd
went ape! The bands trickled out
of the venue to see for themselves
and realized that the show had been
stolen. From this point on, Earth
has been a whole new rock. After
that monumental debut gig, I found
my way back to the free happyhour pizzas and Pabst on tap.
Later, during the post-concert tavern social, I was befriended (out of
pity, I'm sure) by the Alkeline Trio.
They talked me into one more gig.
It was now raining out, but the needle on my Pabst-o-meter was in the
red! Terminal ruckus ensued as the
drunks poured out once again to
witness the Rhythm Chicken, only
this time he was playing on the (Oh, you're just jealous because
island in the middle of Main Street he's got a bigger dinghole than you!
with honking traffic whizzing by
him on both sides! He was...
Yeah, well if I had Snuffy's trunk to
(Hey Chicken! You're talking do my dingstuffing with it would
about yourself in the 3rd person! be a different story!
What's with that? - F.F.)
What the hell are you, the
grammar cops? Jeez! Ok,
Ok, onward and downward.
Dinghole Report #2: the
Francis Creek incident
(Rhythm Chicken sighting #7)
Two days after the hatching
I was heading north after
Milwaukee's "Count Your
Eggs Tour" and saw the
highway exit sign for
Francis Creek. I figured
that they deserve ruckus
rhythms just as much as
those Green Bay and
Milwaukee scum. Upon
entering town i saw the sign
"Francis Creek population
263". About 5 blocks later I
found myself in cow fields
again and turned around
back into town. The sign on
THAT side of town said
"Francis Creek population
252!" I knew I was in the
right town! After finding
the town park I set up the
Chicken Kit and looked
around. Not one person was
to be seen in any direction.
Oh why the hell not! The
head went on, the opening
drumroll rumbled, the beats
were pounded out, and still I
saw no one. I considered it
a practice session until I
started to tear down and saw
about 10 kids BEHIND me
on dirtbikes! They backed
away once realized and had
a look of immense bewilderment. They had just witnessed a grown out-of-town
stranger playing the drums
in their park wearing a big
....TO NO ONE! One little
tyke mustered up enough
courage to inquire, "Who
are you?" I paused and then
answered him, "I am the
do drugs!" Seconds later,
the Chicken Kit was trunked
and I was northbound on I43.
(And you thought BIG BIRD was
(Come on, Chicken! You're wastcorrupting our youth! - F.F.)
ing Todd's valuable text space here!
Next report! - F.F.)
Hey, Funyuns! Don't you dare
bring up that big stupid ass-fuck in
Funyuns, I'll deal with you
my presence ever again!
later.......you AND Gary Coleman!
Dinghole Report #3:
Winter pensed (God, I love Wisconsin!).
Since my road crew declined from
(Rhythm Chicken sighting #174) working this tour, I recruited a sled
to pull around the Chicken Kit on
Two weeks ago I found myself at the ice and snow, calling it the
my favorite Wisconsin festival, the Rhythm Chicken Sin Sleigh of
Fish Creek Winter Games. Way Ruckus! The final tourstop was, of
course, the BEER TENT!
I set up just outside the
tent opening, right next to
the snowmobile raffle!
As the opening drumroll
festival-goers poured out
of the tent and just
Chicken chant began as I
was showered with frozen
beer and wool panties!
This was my 2nd annual
Winter Games performance and the fans knew
the ruckus to be had!
Dancing, yelling, phototaking, chanting, taunting,
dinghole stretching, sheer
Chicken Kit was trunked I
found my way to Fish
Creek's Bayside Tavern
for some complimentary
beer and brat-burgers. It
was a cold tour, but the
pay was good!
(Well, kids, it looks like
the Rhythm Chicken has
left it up to me, Francis
Funyuns, to close his
debut installment of the
Remember to boycott
Cadbury, reject Gary
Sheppard Express, fuck
Big Bird, and keep them
dingholes a strecthin'!
If you would like to
receive free issues of
"Follow that Bird", the 1st
Chicken newsletter, or
just wanna say "hey, what
the fuck ARE you?", just
drop an electronic insult
by [email protected] Submit your
postal address to the mailing list. Join the hundred!
Till nest time (yes, nest
time), this is Francis
Funyuns saying CARRITS TO YOU! -F.F.)
[Did this make sense to
ANYONE? What the hell
am I supposed to do
with THIS?!!! Dr. S.]
out on the frozen bay, drunken
Wisconsinites compete at ice vol- -Rhythm Chicken
leyball, ice bowling, the bike toss,
the ol' "icicle up the dinghole" contest, and other various twisted
events, between visits to the bigtop
where beer and bratwurst are dis25
The Twisted Balloon
My cranky, aging punk side brought up that while some co-workers would not have dared to enter "the pit,"
this bouncing crowd was to me a friendly party, not holding a candle to the late ‘80s frenzies of New York hardcore and thrash, or the jock core dork kick dancing I have to deal with back home.
My day job since April has been
working for "The Truth" (the antibig-tobacco campaign). It's a good
job that gives me all the advantages
of selling out without selling out, a
decent paying job with excellent
benefits, and encouragement to
give a few companies hell. I was
sent with a bunch of my coworkers
to Seattle for a youth summit that
Truth was putting on. I specifically
was going to teach kids how to put
together a zine. Here is a brief rundown of the trip...
I wrote this on a lined pad. I was
a bit excited. At the last minute I
realized that a lined pad would provide much needed order to my
messy handwriting and I would be
able to get more writing on each
It is maybe 3:30. I am an hour
and a half early to check in for my
flight to Seattle. I expect to have
lots of down time to write on this
trip. Of five summer trips, this
looks like it will be the least exciting.
Logan airport, Boston. Looks
and feels and acts like an airport.
Everyone seems to have a handrolled suitcase and a cell phone,
and I wish I could say I wasn't one
The guy in front of me at the
ATM (I had the typical last minute
"maybe I should have more cash on
me" thought) was wearing a blue
polo, a white baseball cap, and Gap
khakis. He had a Niketown bag in
one hand and a Starbucks frappachino in the other. As if to shout
to the world "I am lame and proud!
I support the whitebread generic
lifestyle of the American Empire!"
Does he really know that it is his
fault that the world is in such a bad
It just hit me that most people
have these hand wheeled-suitcase
things as their carry-on luggage.
My wheeled thing was my luggage
luggage. My carry on is my courier
bag. This pleases me as it makes
me feel somehow
has one movie you pay to hear,
crappy food, and pay for drinks.
Virgin had six channels of movies
and shows (“Simpsons,” “King of
the Hill,” weird indie stuff) on personal TVs, and liquored us up.
Flying over the Great Lakes. I don't
care what anyone says, these things
With Seattle being considerably
north of Boston, and it being close
to the summer solstice, the sun was
setting at the unthinkable hour of
10:30 pm. Which was 1:30 am to
I woke up Friday Morning
around 8ish? 9ish? I don't know.
Don't remember. The morning
shower, which I usually don't take
except for hot summer days, being
a before-bed man myself, was easily the best shower I have ever
taken in terms of water pressure
and quality. Afterwards, I had seen
that I had a message, from Bill
Hollister, another copywriter on
the Truth campaign. He had
secured better accommodations
and suggested that I do as well.
The thing was that there were
three hotels our group was staying
at. Most were downtown at the
"W," some were at the Edmond
Meany across from the University
of Washington, and a few of us
were at the Aljoya Conference
Center: a nice place to stay if you
were on a quiet retreat and wanted
to meditate or write a book, but not
where you want to stay if you were
going to attempt to enjoy Seattle
for the city. It also was some ways
away from the actual summit,
which is what the whole point of
being in Seattle was, so we felt
somewhat banished to the wasteland.
With a quick phone call, I
wound up getting a room at the
Edwin Meany Hotel, a really nice
art nouveau building in the cool
used record store part of town,
across from the university, where
more rugged of a traveler.
the summit was. I would endorse
I have decided almost immedithe place if it wasn't for the fact
ately that Virgin Airlines kicks
that it was a good 80 bucks more
American Airlines' ass. American
per night than any place I would
normally stay (and even with that,
my 40 motel experiences were only
if I couldn’t find a couch or floor to
Having already talked with Bill
about how strange it was that a 40
dollar Best Western would have a
pool and breakfast bar and a 120
dollar fancy place doesn't, Bill
informed me that there was indeed
a breakfast buffet.
I was in the hall, I had eaten two
slices of cantaloupe, had cream
cheesed my bagel and was getting
my coffee together when a well
dressed man, probably my age,
came out of the adjoining conference room. (Seems the place was
mostly a set of meeting rooms with
a dozen overnight rooms for convenience). We exchanged pleasantries, and he asked if I was going
to help out with his meeting.
"Huh?" I asked
"Well, you are eating the food
for our seminar, so maybe you'd
want to contribute."
I could have argued that serving
food in front of the room I slept in
means I get to eat it, but he wasn't
trying to, and I doubt he would
want it if he did try to take away
my light sweet coffee and half
eaten bagel, but still, I felt stupid
(and proud - score one for the
Bill and I split a cab to our
hotels. The Aljoya had a nice
locale, but the Meany had a skyscraper view and in-room
Nintendo! I unpacked for the second time in twelve hours and went
down to the summit. It took maybe
ten minutes room to room.
I was later to find out that my
hotel room was only booked for
two days. I called the Aljoya to see
if I could have my room back in
two days, but it turned out that they
only had me booked for two days
when I was there. Between our
thing and the Experience Music
Project opening and a few other
things, all the hotels were booked.
I wound up being able to stay in
my room no problem at all, but I
had two days of having no idea
where I was going to stay.
As the zine track teacher, being
there for a specific point, I didn't
apparently need to be at the orientation meeting thing for the kids,
but I was glad I could help out
where I could and it helped get me
in the correct mind set. For the
most part, I helped do stuff like
insert t-shirts and stickers into the
courier bags we were giving out to
the kids. Wow, I never had anything like this when I was a kid.
Not only did they get a free weekend, but they also got courier bags,
a few t-shirts, bracelets, travel
alarm clocks that look like imacs or
something out of Star Trek,
comics… so much cool stuff.
Lunch was provided; picnic type
stuff. Make your own sandwich,
salad, stuff like that. Not too much
emphasis on catering to the vegetarians, but enough for anyone to
get a good meal without eating
meat. I thought vegans would be
doomed, but heard no complaints.
There were a few types of brownies, and at least two of them made
the trip worthwhile in and of themselves.
After I was done doing shitwork
(which is very tolerable when it is
what you are asked to do for a few
hours, not what you have to do for
a living) I was set free, as there was
really nothing for me to do. I went
back to the hotel, exchanged stuff
for other stuff, and wandered the
area. A few decent thrift shops nothing so great I needed to buy
anything, but places I would have
shopped a lot had I lived in Seattle.
Between two record stores I spent
several hundred bucks but got
every single thing I had been looking for for months - including
Metallica cover band), Choking
Victim, Daisy Chainsaw (which
was lost in the divorce), and a
bunch of Boston band CDs that are
impossible to find locally, but were
in dollar bins out there. Having
scored everything I had been craving, I vowed to stop CD shopping
lest I return to an empty bank
I did check out the cool stores
for flyers and cool people, seeing
what I could do in Seattle besides
work stuff. I saw that Bloodhag
was playing, which made me
happy. I had heard they were great,
and one opening band was called
Raft of Dead Monkeys, which
worked on my “Worth Seeing by
Name Alone” rule. The club was
called Graceland - a good sign for
someone who wears a "Taking
Care of Business in a Flash" cap.
So far, I had seen Big Ass
Moustache based solely on name,
and they were an amazing
Rockabilly-before-the-big-rockabilly-revival band. You Will Know
Us By The Trail Of The Dead also
lived up to expectation. So Raft of
Dead Monkeys were promising.
Most people, or at least the
punkish, artsy cool store employees I talked with were friendly and
without attitude. Oddly, most had
no idea of where anything was
since they all were new to the city,
usually having been there a year or
less. One punk girl saw my Truth
Summit wristband and made the
connection and asked if she could
hold a sign in the ad.
I returned to my hotel, I think
mostly because it was nice to have
some sense of a home base, and
went back to the summit. We were
then shuttled to "the hangar,"
which was a former airplane
hangar (heck, maybe it still is one).
This was the entertainment HQ for
the event. We had dinner (BBQ) in
a tent outside while Truth people
gave speeches. We then went in for
the multimedia extravaganza and
some words from Chuck D. Then
came the headliner.
So I am sitting on bleachers
watching Blink 182. My options
are to sit with a bunch of grownup
office workers who think that
Blink 182 is too loud or go dance
with punk activist kids who think
that they are too poppy. Basically it
comes down to dancing being
more fun than not dancing, and I
was able to crowd ride in a group
of people without a single cigarette
or glass object to damage me. On
one level, I felt old, being about ten
years older than anyone else, but
young that I still would do this. My
cranky, aging punk side brought up
that while some co-workers would
not have dared to enter "the pit,"
this bouncing crowd was to me a
friendly party, not holding a candle
to the late ‘80s frenzies of New
York hardcore and thrash, or the
jock core dork kick dancing I have
to deal with back home.
Later, I found myself being the
most sloppily dressed person at the
W Bar with many of my cooler
coworkers and new boss, Roger
(who looks older than me, but not
by much, certainly not looking like
a boss.). Most of the other patrons
were expensively (not tastefully,
just wearing major label crap)
dressed and acting drunk and stupid and exhibitionistic. They
reminded me of high school kids
who take limos to concerts or the
Saturday it rained for about ten
minutes - just enough for me to
bring a raincoat that gave me
something bulky to deal with the
rest of the hot humid day.
Strangely, despite Seattle's coffee reputation, it is almost impossible to find coffee when you actually need it.
I met Ian from a partner company. He and I would work together
the whole weekend to the extent
that by the time I left I felt like I
had known the guy for years. He
made a zine mockup that made me
feel redundant, but he kept telling
me that he knew nothing and I was
the expert. He, Kevin (a similar
minded coworker of mine), and
some journalism people were
handed a group of eighty kids who
we were going to put a zine together with. The problem was, these
were teenagers that had all been
flown to Seattle the day before, put
in rooms filled with 1,000 other
kids and given a free Blink 182
show before putting them in dorms
together. Many of them were away
from home for the first time, and
many of them were several time
zones away. I doubt if any of them
got any sleep at all. So at 10 am or
so, there wasn't much hope for a
tentative audience, except for a few
kids that were obviously the ones
who needed the track the least
because they were already doing
stuff like that.
One girl already had a column
in the LA Times. What do I teach
someone who has a column in the
Basically, we set the kids on various art and writing projects and I
mostly helped them when they had
questions. I was exhausted myself
and wasn't in the most constructive
mood, but I think I played it off.
Ian was amazing with the kids and
helped inspire me. A few kids -18year-old punkish artists and writers
- identified with me and I with
them, but it was weird, since I had
to remain professionally distant,
even though I have similar friends
Dinner was another huge group
event. I had fish. I haven't eaten
fish much in my life, but have been
eating it more this year since I am
having the worst time going vegetarian. I am aware of why I should
be, and would like to be, but just
can't get that excited about it.
Eating fish seems a good compromise. The meal as a whole was
more of a social event than yesterday's dinner - people had made
friends and there wasn't that clumsy “who to sit with?” awkward
Some time after dinner, I left to
walk to the show. The directions
were simple, a few turns near my
hotel and get onto Eastlake. The
club was at the other end of
Eastlake. I gave myself an hour to
make it (and I had busses passing if
I changed my mind and worst case,
I miss part of the opener). Some
thought me mad to go for an hour
walk, but I know others (my old
friend Mike Mullarkey, of "It's Not
Hot Enough!" zine and other stuff)
would be proud.
I was so happy I walked. I saw
things that I don't think even the
locals reflect on. It was a beautiful
street; mountains on one side, the
river on the other. While crossing a
bridge, I could see snow-capped
mountains on the horizon, lit by the
sunset so it looked like the white
tops were floating off in the air. I
was impressed by Seattle's set up the roads and buildings seemed
more integrated into the landscape
than Northeastern cities.
Early into the walk, I passed a
good omen of a stat27
ue of a child holding an origami
crane or swan. The statue itself was
covered with a lei of paper cranes,
which looked in good enough condition that they must be fairly
recent. I was awed. The sidewalk
had pictures of pond life, mostly
microscopic organisms, set into
each corner. Each bus stop was
painted, either by students or professional artists. Halfway through,
I passed a view of downtown,
including the famous Space Needle
landmark. I was a bit tired of walking by the time I got there, not
exhausted physically so much as
emotionally drained, almost overstimulated by the sights. I got to the
club just fine. I was on time clockwise, but early in terms of the
show. Like many cities, a nine
o'clock on the flyer means show up
at 9:30, but I didn't want to take
that chance. In some cities, if a
flyer says 9:00, the band better be
on stage ready to play at 9:00
At first I was a bit apprehensive
- normally if I am the new guy, I
am also performing or at a place
like a zine fair where everyone is
new - this was the first time in a
long time that I was very by
myself, and I didn't want to just sit
in the corner until the bands
played. But, boy oh boy, was I in
luck. It wasn't just a show, it was a
fundraiser for the "Hi-Score
Arcade,” an independent video
game arcade that, if I have my facts
straight, has TV sets with old
Coleco, Intellivision and Atari sets
instead of arcade style games. They
had two TVs and games set up, so
I not only could play, but I had
great conversation starter. There
was also a great food spread - pita
and hummous and chips and salsa,
the sort of thing most art openings
have, but also with homemade PacMan cookies!
The first band was
Vandemonium, an all girl sorta
punk sorta just plain rock band.
They actually reminded me a bit of
Broadzilla from Detroit, but I
doubt too many people in the world
know enough about both bands to
compare. A very short band I must
say. It was Courtney, the singer's,
birthday. She apparently gets a lot
of crap about being a singer named
Courtney from Seattle, what considering that other Seattle Courtney
singing lady. Her and I talked
enough by the end of the night that
I would feel comfortable calling
her a friend.
Between bands and hosting the
evening were Jackie Hell and
Ursula Android, a pair of over the
top drag queens (Which is to say
that they were over the top, even
for drag queens). Ursula was at
least 90 feet tall in heels. I have
never really gotten the concept of
drag queens lip synching as entertainment, but one can understand
my enjoyment of their performance
of "If I close my eyes forever" by
Lita Ford and Ozzy.
Raft of Dead Monkeys were the
hard rocking noisy sort of band I
expected them to be, but the real
treat for the night was Bloodhag.
The deal with Bloodhag is that
they are "educore": they write
songs about books- specifically
science fiction books. Their set list
is a list of sci-fi authors. They hand
out Seattle Public Library applications and throw out paperbacks
from the stage. Even if they
sucked, I would consider this
worth seeing. But they don't suck.
Very talented loud noisy, skirting
the edge of death metal. I know
very few people talk of the band
GWAR in terms of music, but I
could hear similarities between the
two, especially in the vocals. I
don't know if Bloodhag will ever
be a huge touring act, but I can
hope, I want to see this act again. If
you live anywhere near Seattle, see
these guys, even if you don't like
them, you'll have a story worth
I briefly chatted with Bloodhag
and Vandemonium members
before leaving- nice people all. I
think I won points by being from
Boston, and thus having traveled
the farthest to come to the club (a
wary Bloodhag member had to
confirm first hand that I didn't travel JUST to attend the show.)
The walk home was actually
about a half-hour. I was walking
fast and deliberate, this time just
trying to get back instead of
exploring with wonder. I slept well.
I woke up early again and
resumed zine coaching. We had
accumulated a huge pile of writing
and material, much of it impressive
in skill, and it became the job of a
few of us adults to sort through it
and compile it into an actual zine.
We started on Sunday afternoon
and needed 1000 finished collated
folded stapled zines by 8am
Now, anyone who has ever done
a zine knows how hard it is to get a
zine done in a month, so imagine
what we had to do in a period of
HOURS. Granted, we had 4 people
working together (and impressively, we were working TOGETHER)
but we also had to check with various administrative personnel for
This brings up something that I
am not used to in my world. Cell
Phones. Having traveled extensively, and having almost died in a car
crash in New Jersey, I saw the logic
of getting a cell phone for travel
emergencies. For two months I had
a cell phone on me when I traveled,
using it only a few scant times to
clear up directions. Suddenly I am
in a situation where I am carrying
my phone with me all weekend,
surrounded by others in the same
boat. Every 15 minutes or so, a
phone would ring and we each
would scramble in our pockets and
bags until someone held the phone
that actually had a call.
The advantage of a cell phone is
than people can reach you anywhere, anytime. The problem with
having a cell phone is than people
can reach you anywhere, anytime. I
find myself having parts of the day
like this. Ring ring ring "Hello"
"Hey Rich, this is M-----(best not
to speak ill of coworkers too much)
is the zine ready?" "No, we have a
while to go, I will call you when it
is." 15 minutes later...
Ring ring ring "Hello" "Hey
Rich, this is M----- is the zine
ready?" "Did I call you? Well, then,
it can't be ready yet, can it?"
Of course, people that keep calling you to see how you are doing
never understand that it takes time
to stop what you are doing in order
to get the phone every 15 minutes.
Another lesson I learned is that
someone who is a graphic designer
for a living should not be entrusted
to put together a zine by kids with
a day turnaround deadline. The end
product was beautiful, but I rather
would have had it look a bit
rougher and gotten more sleep. At
around 6, I took a quick break to
call the club that Screaming Trees
was playing at. On an unrelated
note, I was going to Interview Krist
Novolselic for Flipside magazine.
He was hosting the show, which
was part of the big Experience
Music Project events. I had called
him on Friday and set up the interview. I was going to be on the guest
list and meet one of the most
important people in rock music
today. Digress paragraph- I always
liked Nirvana. I never disliked
Nirvana. Nirvana never was my
favorite band, but I am happy they
existed. Even if you hate them, you
have to admit that they were
important. Specifically, I had
always been interested in Krist,
both for things I know he has done
and even more so because of
rumors I had heard about him.
Besides, he's famous, and famous
must mean cool, right? When I
talked to Krist on the phone, he
Unfortunately, we miscommunicated the time of the show. I had
asked about his plans for the
evening, but it seems the show was
at 2pm, and completely over by
then. DAMN! I missed out entirely,
but my fellows were happy I could
stay and help. Ian, Carlea, and I
spent some time driving from
Kinko's to Kinko's (the smaller
places were too small and closed
by the time we would be done) to
negotiate who could handle what. I
used my insider know-how to figure out what obstacles were minor.
"You can't do 1000 copies
overnight? Why not? Suppose the
cover was the same color paper?
Oh, Okay then." "You can't do that
many copies? Why not? Are you
sure, let me speak to the manager"
In many ways I was the idiot customer I had always hated. At least I
admitted it. One place I even started with " Sorry, but you will hate
me for this." Kevin meanwhile was
chained to the computer, laying the
whole thing out for its final form.
It made me feel better to see their fan base dwindle a thousandfold in just one week.
I saw the Georgia Satellites three
times in one month, but give me a
chance to explain myself.
First off, it wasn't the Georgia
Satellites exactly. It was all the
members of the Georgia Satellites
except the singer. And I didn't go
voluntarily, exactly. I worked in a
rock'n'roll bar in Atlanta and my
boss hired the Georgia Satellites
(minus the singer) to play Sunday
nights for a month. I worked Sunday
nights. Hence, I saw them three
The first time, I kind of liked it.
A bunch of people showed up. I was
busy as hell. The Georgia Satellite
(minus the singer) fans drank heavily and tipped well and it looked like
I might finally be able to pay my
rent on time one month. I learned all
kinds of interesting things from the
fans. They would come up to the bar
and order a beer and pay me and say,
"Did you know that the Georgia
Satellites had the number two song
in 1986?" And I did not know that.
With the next beer, the fans would
tell me that the Georgia Satellites
(with the singer, of course) were still
huge in Sweden. The fans would
order more beers and tell me,
"Damn, these guys rock." And that,
too, I did not know. Not that they
completely sucked. In all honesty,
they didn't. Without the singer, there
were no hokey dokeys there. They
didn't play any Georgia Satellites
songs at all. Instead, they covered
old Chuck Berry and Link Wray and
Eddie Cochran songs, and they are
professional musicians, and those
are good songs. So it wasn't terrible
and I made some money.
The second Sunday, the fanbase
was cut in half. I wasn't nearly as
busy. For a lot of the set, I sat on one
of the coolers and drank beer and
watched three fifty-year-old men
with big hair play Buddy Holly
tunes with a glam rock pose. I also
ran out of Budweiser halfway
through the night and had to go into
Shawn Stern of Youth Brigade
Rock God or Drunk Guy?
the storage room to get another case.
That's when I got to see the shrapnel
of the backstage big time rock'n'roll
lifestyle at close range.
When the Georgia Satellites
(minus the singer) worked out the
agreement with my boss, they asked
for a personal dressing room. The
bar I worked in was more of an old
warehouse converted into a punk
club converted into a semi-legitimate restaurant/rock'n'roll bar, so
we didn't have a dressing room.
What we did have was a run-down
storefront adjacent to the warehouse
that we also rented so that we had a
place for an office and a storage
closet and an extra room for one of
our cooks to sleep in. A lot of times,
we'd rent the storefront out to ravers
(which pissed off the cook to no
end), but on Sunday nights that
month, it was the Georgia Satellites'
dressing room. I went back to the
storage room on the second Sunday
to pick up another case of beer and
walked smack into the two girlfriends and one wife of the three
Georgia Satellites chopping out
huge rails of cocaine on the one
table in that part of the restaurant.
I'd like to say that the women were
bleached blond glam metal floozies,
but they weren't. They were actually
very nice to me, and they looked
more like women who drove SUVs
to soccer games in Marietta than
like groupies. And the recreational
drug use didn't bother me. Hell, I
was a bartender. Alcohol is a drug. I
made my living off of recreational
drug use. In fact nothing about the
scene bothered me that night. I just
grabbed a case of Budweiser and
headed back out to the half-full bar.
The third Sunday of the month,
the Georgia Satellites played a
Monsters of Rock festival in
Stockholm. We had a bunch of suburban punk bands play an afternoon
show. I charged a buck a glass for
water and considered the buck my
tip. The singer of one of the punk
bands called me a greedy bastard.
He bitched about me to his friends
as he drove to his upper middle class
home in the car his mom bought for
him. I worked an eight hour shift for
The last Sunday, about fifteen
people showed up to see the Georgia
Satellites (minus the singer). Only
the three guys on stage and their two
girlfriends and wife drank heavily.
One girlfriend asked me for a Jack
and coke. We didn't have a liquor
license, but being the good guy I
am, I ran down to the liquor store,
bought a bottle of Jack, and started
serving her a string of doubles. The
set droned on. The crowd, small as it
was, dwindled. I poured myself a
Molson draft (a real Molson draft,
not the Meister Brau I usually sold
as Molson), sat on the beer cooler,
and thought real hard about my life.
I'd made rent that month, but only
because I worked every single shift
that we were open that month. My
boss hadn't paid me in three weeks.
I thought about how bad that sucked
and how bad February sucked
because you had to pay the same
amount of rent as any other month
but you only had twenty-eight days
to earn it in. I thought about how
bad the Georgia Satellites (minus
the singer) sounded when they
moved into drunken Beatles covers.
A guy came up and ordered a Bud.
As I opened it, he said to me, "This
is lame. Last week, these guys
played in front of fifteen thousand
That cheered me up. It made me
feel better to see their fan base
dwindle a thousandfold in just one
week. I quit thinking about things
that sucked and remembered the
Sunday one month earlier when Jon
Cougar Concentration Camp and the
Blanks 77 had the stage, about how
we all tied a healthy buzz on before
the show, about how Suzy Blank
finally had to drag her bands' drunken asses out of there so they could
make the next show in Memphis. I
thought about hanging out with the
JCCC guys after the show, eventually closing the Little Five Pub. I
drank more Molson. I got to feeling
so good I almost didn't notice the
scab Georgia Satellite singer making fun of my Dead End Kids workshirt. Almost. I did snap out of it in
time to hear him tell the two
drinkers his sorry ass band drew to
tip me well so that I could quit my
day job at Jiffy Lube. Their one
thousandth of an audience laughed
Pierre and Larry
of Pegboy are two of the
coolest sort-of-famous guys
I’ve met. Within an hour,
we’d each downed a couple of shots and a couple of
beers, and they’d filled me
full of hilarious stories
about getting naked in a
North Carolina brew pub
and various things that I
promised to keep under my
hat. I wouldn’t let Larry
buy another round of shots
because I didn’t want him
to get too fucked up to play
his set. It was one in the
at my expense. I was so stunned that
I didn't even think to yell out something like, "Why don't you guys
write a song this decade?"
Then, after the set, I handed the
drummer the bill for all his bottles
of Corona and all his girlfriend's
double Jack and cokes that I was
nice enough to serve illegally. First,
he refused to pay the bill with all the
money he'd made off of having the
number two song of 1986. He
attacked me with a string of obscenities. He even cursed my mother,
who he's never even met. When I
finally convinced him that paying
the bill was better than going to jail,
he stiffed me. I thought, fuck this
guy, fuck his monsters of rock, fuck
his number two song, fuck his soccer mom girlfriend, and fuck his
Chuck Berry covers. I suddenly
hated everything about him and his
dying rock'n'roll lifestyle. I hated
that he got paid even if he didn't
draw a crowd. I hated that he got
paid and I didn't. I hated that he
demanded a dressing room. I hated
that his girlfriend snorted coke off
the same wobbly table that I'd once
seen the crack addict who we hired
to clean the place sleep on. I hated
this one-hit wonder's one hit and the
fact that I had to listen to it over a
thousand times while I worked construction through the late eighties
and early nineties. I hated that his
fall from stardom landed in my front
yard. Most of all, I hated that I had
to serve him all night. I decided that
he was about to feel what happens
when I don't keep my hands to
myself. Then, his girlfriend handed
me a twenty dollar tip and called
him an asshole. Like I said, she was
actually very nice. I let go of the
The next day, I told my boss that
he had to choose between me and
the Georgia Satellites. One or the
other of us would be there the next
Sunday. He fired them. That same
morning, actually. I'm sure it had
more to do with the fact that no one
wanted to pay to see the Georgia
Satellites in 1998 (outside of
Sweden, anyway) than with my ultimatum, but let's ignore that.
The whole experience made me
think about fame. No matter how
badly the Georgia Satellites sucked,
they were famous. There's no getting around that. There was a time
when they packed arenas. They did
world tours. They were on television
all the time. Every reader of this
magazine who's old enough to
remember Night Flight saw the
Georgia Satellites singing bad classic rock in the bed of a truck. Most
remember it. I probably put that terrible song in some poor reader's
head. I apologize.
But back to fame. As I said, the
whole experience made me think
about fame. When those guys first
showed up to play, I was somewhat
intimidated by them. Up until they
started making fun of my Dead End
Kids shirt, I felt inferior. When I
finally got around to recognizing it
and thinking about it, I felt silly. Of
course I shouldn't feel inferior.
Those guys suck. There's no evidence to suggest they did anything
of any significance in their lives.
I've done a bunch of nice things. I
pay my bar tabs. I tip. I'm even tolerant of old men with big hair wearing tight jeans. I have no reason to
feel like a lesser being because fifteen thousand people will never
gather to hear me play bad classic
rock. But fame and inferiority go
hand in hand, and they manifest
themselves in weird ways.
AND NOW FOR SOME PUNK
Last summer, again low on
money, I picked up a part time job
teaching English at a local community college. Occasionally (well,
okay, all the time) I'd talk about
punk rock during class. I figured,
what the hell, I had to sit through a
generation of education by hippie
teachers, so why should my students
be free of my pointless musical diatribes? During break time of one
class, one of my students came up to
talk to me about music. We chatted
for a while, and I noticed a Less
Than Jake patch on her backpack. "I
know those guys," I said.
"You've heard of them?" she
asked, and I said, "No. I know them.
I interviewed them a few years ago.
The woman who used to play sax is
a friend of mine."
My student suddenly turned
gushing. "I can't believe you know
Less Than Jake. What are they like?
Are they cool guys?" and so on. Part
of me felt like she was being a silly
kid, but part of me felt really cool
for knowing Jessica from Less Than
Jake (see, I'm even namedropping
again). Later, when I thought about
it, I decided I was cooler for knowing Jessica, but not because she was
in Less Than Jake. Because she's
such a good person. She's open and
friendly and seems to be in a good
mood every time I see her. If a little
of her coolness rubs off on me, then
I am cooler. Also, she named her
beautiful little girl after Emma
Goldman, and my coolness level
raises at least a couple of notches for
knowing someone who named her
daughter after Emma Goldman. The
fact that she quit a band that went on
to record a handful of crappy
albums and a radio mix version of
"Dopeman" on top of that does
nothing to make me cooler, though.
To continue the namedropping
here, I met Shawn Stern not too long
ago. I'm a huge Youth Brigade fan
from "The Sound and Fury" all the
way up to the latest split with the
Swingin' Utters. Hell, I even listened to "Happy Hour" in the past
month (and it's a safe bet that that
statement will hold true no matter
when you read this). For the month
between the time I set up the interview and the time the interview
finally occurred, I was stoked that I
was going to meet him. When he
and I finally sat down to do the
interview, I was nervous. I stuttered
through the first few questions. I
guess something about the dozens of
times I watched him in "Another
State of Mind" on TV, the thousands
of times I heard his voice scream
through my stereo, and the intensity
of watching him play all those songs
a half hour before sitting down with
me all conspired to make me a little
star struck. Then, the absurdity of it
all hit me. Shawn Stern's a guy just
like me. Hero worship is bullshit.
Enjoy the music but don't deify the
Of course, that thought had
occurred to me before. It occurred to
me all the time as various musicians
with various degrees
of fame came through the rock'n'roll
bar I worked in. It occurred to me
during the tons of interviews I've
done with bands, but usually, the
sense of fame and inferiority didn't
creep up on me during those times.
Perhaps just because I'd listened to
Youth Brigade for longer than I've
listened to most bands or perhaps
because I started listening to them
when I was pretty young and still
susceptible to hero worship, it hit
me during that interview. Perhaps
because Shawn Stern acted like less
of a star than the singer of Less Than
Jake had acted when I interviewed
them after their first album, I was
able to dismiss it and move on. With
the Georgia Satellites, it was completely different. Their fame came
from no actions of my own. Though
I've heard what they call music hundreds of times, I've never voluntarily listened to them. I never bought
their album. I had nothing to do with
their number two hit. And I couldn't
dismiss their fame because they
were guys just like me. They're not
guys like me. They're nothing like
me. They're assholes. Not that I'm
not an asshole. I'm just a better
breed of asshole.
So this brought me back to thinking about how strange fame is, how
we know that it's absurd to feel inferior around someone who's famous,
but we do anyway. How this sense
of inferiority is so ingrained in us
that we have to consciously get
around to abandoning it any time we
meet anyone famous. That's when it
occurred to me that there is no such
thing as fame. It's a completely manufactured concept that exists in society solely for advertising purposes.
Think about fame as a historical
concept. Who was a famous Souix?
Crazy Horse? Sure he was famous to
us, but do you think the Souix were
lining up to get his autograph? Were
Souix photographers outside his
teepee waiting to take his picture
and put it in a magazine that was
dedicated solely to reporting what
fashion designer put together his
buffalo skin robe ensemble? And
what about other societies? Who
was famous in Greek society?
Achilles? Sure, but he was a character in a poem. He wasn't a human.
Humans don't die when you stab
them in the heel. I know a guy
whose heel was blown off in
Vietnam. He's still alive. And he
wasn't even the greatest fighter in
the war. So who was famous?
Socrates? Hell no. He was just a
teacher. The only thing that made
Socrates famous was that Plato had
a bunch of ideas that were too controversial for his time, so he blamed
them all on Socrates, who was dead
anyway (it's true, but don't tell your
teacher that. You'll get an F). So who
was a famous Greek person? I'll tell
you who. Sophocles. Sophocles was
the hack who wrote the trilogy about
Oedipus (again, don't tell your
teacher Sophocles is a hack. You'll
get an F). At the time he wrote it,
everyone knew the story of Oedipus.
It was ancient. He didn't make up a
goddamn thing. All he did was write
it down and get a bunch of people to
act it out during a festival in Athens.
Then, suddenly, because everyone
knew the story and associated
Sophocles's name with it, he was
famous. And that's pretty much how
fame has gone historically.
Shakespeare didn't come up with the
story of Romeo and Juliet, he just
made it a subtle form of kiddie porn,
threw in a bunch of archaic words,
and made a name for himself out of
it. And even now, the Georgia
Satellites recycle old classic rock
riffs and next thing you know,
you've got the number two song of
1986. A rich guy makes a movie
about a ship that sank a hundred
years ago and suddenly he's a star.
The next generation Annette
Funicello bleaches her hair blond,
buys new boobs, strips off her
mousekateer uniform, and suddenly
you have Brittany Spears. And so
on. How does any of that have any
significance in your life? Does it
matter at all? If you closed your eyes
to it, would it go away?
So, of course, you know what I
think, and I'm not saying anything
too groundbreaking here. Fame is
bullshit. Who doesn't know that?
But going a little deeper, it is interesting to understand that fame is a
form of bullshit that is so deeply
ingrained in us that we have to consciously battle it to erase that feeling
of inferiority. It's interesting to
notice how often we're bombarded
with those artificial notions of fame
and how often some of it slides right
into our unconscious solely because
we don't have the time or inclination
to battle it consciously. It's interesting to notice that it's getting worse
with time. At least Sophocles battled
with deeper themes related to the
human condition. What deeper
theme surfaces in Titanic?
So, in the end, that leaves us with
Crazy Horse and Shawn Stern and
Jessica who was smart enough to
leave Less Than Jake. I can only
speak for myself, but I definitely
prefer people who can only get as
famous as their day jobs allow them
to be. I'd much rather abandon the
concept of heroes and replace it with
people from my community who I
admire and who challenge me. And I
think it's great that that community
exists below the radar of mainstream
society and that I get to be a part of
it. I know it's not utopia, but it beats
the hell out of arena rock with fifteen thousand screaming Swedes.
The Red Star should do well - they spent more on the press pack than I did on my car
Hello everyone and let me say
welcome to Razorcake. I'm Gary,
and comics are what I do, yeah
kinda like the guy on the Simpson's
just not as fat and I don't have the
voice down yet. What we do here is
review independent comics, though
every once in while I'll give my
turn on what the big guys have
done exceptionally well or what
they've done so bad we had to dig
them a hole and arrange flowers.
Another month and another eclectic
collection of books for your sampling. Comics have ups and downs,
like any other industry, and hopefully I can let you know what's out
there both big and small. Often you
will disagree with my assessment that's okay - I don't care what you
think. For instance, let's take
McFarlane toys. They've outdone
themselves on the "Where the Wild
Things Are" figures, these figures
look like Sendak created them himself; good thing.
Bad things? Well just read the
review on DC's Spectre. I am a Tick
fan - a big Tick fan - but why do
they do so damn many alternative
covers of the same book? Why I
ask? I will tell you why. To get
more money! It's like the way that
the record company repackages the
same ten Sex Pistols songs and puts
a new title on it. It's still the same
ten songs. This is a trend that we
should all revolt against. So, while
you're at the shop not picking up
alternative Tick covers, you might
look at these titles. To update you
on what I know (probably very little), though I did debate the lack of
fondness I had for the new Tick live
TV show with a clerk at the local
comic shop. I mean, they're using
the guy from the M&M commercials, and we all know that John
Tesh has a bigger jaw. Enough said.
Also out are the new Simpson
characters, so everyone that enjoys
the ever-loving softies Moe and
Nelson, go get 'em. One thing about
all comic media that does confuse
me is supply and demand. I frequent a comic show in Walnut now this isn't to complain about the
34 show itself - hell, any
show that is open two days a week
and has no cover to get in is great.
My problem is that I can go there
and if I want a comic, I can get it
for far cheaper than a shop, but a
figurine is almost double than if I
go to a store. Isn't everyone basically getting there stuff wholesale?
To tell you about what I review,
well it's anything that has been sent
to my editor or myself directly. If
nothing comes my way and I have
to go looking, it will usually be
something with catchy art or title.
You will most likely find my horn
being squeezed by "The Tick" and
my favorite dude in spandex, "The
Green Lantern", though less on the
latter because, well, he's not an
Also I'm a golf nut and I'm seriously looking for any medium that
exploits the less stuffy side of the
sport. Luckily, I have found a mag
that does just that. Look for it in
this review. Take these reviews at
face value - some days things are
just plain funnier than others. But
before the reviews just a bit about
what has pissed me off lately. On
the item of golf, I had tickets to the
LA Open this weekend yet was
unable to go due to the weather, so
if any of the reviews seem harsh
that is my bailout. So, once again,
welcome to Razorcake's comic
reviews and enjoy all the tasty reading.
#1, Bongo Entertainment, $2.50
U.S., $3.50 Can.
If watching the television show
weren't enough, well bongo (just
like with the Simpsons) has
brought new adventures to pulp.
How much money can Matt
Groening make? Good question,
since Futurama seems to be selling
like hula hoops or mood rings,
there are even toys out there now.
So lets dig into this comic. One
nice thing about Bongo comics is
that there is no deviation in the
characters. They're the same as they
are on the glow bowl and as you
read, you can pretty much hear the
voices of each character. I'm going
to assume that most are familiar
with the cast and well, hell, that
should make the review go a little
more lickity split. It seems that
while digging in the basement of
express delivery, the crew happens
on a time capsule from the seventies. I'm going with this due to the
references to beta and eight tracks.
It seems Fry needs something to
prove that his time period was cool,
so he finds an ad for sea monkeys
(yea, brine shrimp and, no, they
don't wear crowns). Through some
vintage emporium, Fry manages to
acquire some and, well, just like the
rest of us, everyone presumes them
to be dead. But the professor
throws them into a can of radioactive waste. You see where this is
going right? That's right. They
grow into giant monsters. The solution ends up being the fine print, "If
not satisfied, 100% refund" which
gets them temporarily out of the
jam. Of course, they get stuck with
the clean-up bill, but this is easily
remedied by the starving Zoidberg.
I must say that the comic has more
than my shortened review. Just like
Groening's team does with TV,
there are pokes and prods at everything from advertising to the philosophical. If you're a collector or a
leisure reader, get your mitts on this
rag. Well, go on get it. (Bongo
Entertainment, 1440 S. Sepulveda
Blvd., 3rd Floor, LA, CA 90025)
THE PLOT THICKENS
#2, Armchair Comics and Slab-OConcrete, 1.75 Pounds
I liked the cover - the devil
with a martini and goatee. I
even liked the threat to
potential reviews that Satan
would strike me down if I
gave it a bad review but my
liking it ended there. I am
taking the chance of the
Infernal One casting his evil
spell upon me to tell you
not to spend your hardearned British pound. This
comic was a good idea make fun of peace punk
bands and hell. But it wasn't
sarcastic enough to be
funny. A couple of good
lines do not a comic make.
A vampire comes to bite a
girl in her bedroom and is
disturbed by his cell phone a call from the coffin lid
repairman who, by the way,
doesn't work nights. Yea, a
nice hit on the cell phone
culture that we (collective
meaning alive, dead, and
undead) have become. But
that's a little passe. Wasn't
cell phone use out of control in the
mid 1990's? The artwork looks like
XXX(Strip)Burger, for those of you
who that means anything to. It's
black and white, odd-shaped faces
with lots of detail (i.e. eyebrows
and sculptured cheeks). Not my
scene. So decide for yourself if a
cool cover is worth the "concealed
US currency" that you have to
send. I would say no and if you
don't hear from me it's because
Beezelbub has cursed me for this
bad review. (Slab-O-Concrete
Publications, PO Box 148, Hovem
BN3 3DQ, UK; <[email protected]>)
new title. This actually came out
in June 2000 and is a monthly, but
I want to bring you in at the beginning. This book should do well they spent more on the press pack
than I did on my car and it has an
interesting team behind it. To set
you straight, I am not a Star Wars
junkie. Sure, during the seventies
it was a good movie, but "The
Phantom Menace" - ehh. But the
creator/writer/illustrator of this
book was the guy who came up
with the idea of Darth
Maul having a double
edged light saber - so he's
got some history. The
- what the hell does that
have to do with a comic?
- is a guy who does 3D
animation. That is significant because he gives this
the look of watching a
scene taken from a movie
not drawn - because it
isn't really. It is 3D backgrounds with character
drawings in the foreground. Stylistically, it
looks like Kingdom
Come, which is good.
You get sucked in by the
drawings and the story is
written in a very compelling way. It is a series
of flashbacks by Maya as
she rides the metro to the
cemetery to put flowers
on her husband's grave.
She talks of the war in
which he was killed and,
despite the odds, she survived. The story is based in the
THE RED STAR
#1, Image Comics, $2.95 US, Soviet Republic (hence the name),
but with a magical twist. I get the
This book is great - it is not often Russian references, but you don't
that I look forward to a #2 of a have to. This could be the story of
any superpower that believes its
military is unstoppable. You do
have to learn the terminology - a
glossary at the back helps. After a
few issues, you will know immediately what a skyfurnace is and
why a sorceress is tired after a
transformation protocol. The language doesn't put you off, like in
so many books that try to do the
"Clockwork Orange" thing. It
really flows well. I don't want to
give too much away, but definitely
get this book and read it - you'll
have some catching up to do but
it'll be good for you. (Image
Comics, 1071 N. Batavia St. Suite
Fall 2000, $3.95 US, $5.50 CAN
Golf is a changin' and this magazine proves it. From cover to finish, this one rocks. We all know
that golf is filled with tradition and
etiquette, so much that it tends to
overflow and make it stuffy. This
mag throws all that out the window. Just check out some of the
article titles off the cover: "Daisy
Fuentes," "Golf Strippers," "Club
Throwing 101," and "Urban
Golf." One article even gives you
specific rules to use while playing
to ensure victory called "5 ways to
beat your buddy by the book,"
though he or she probably won't
be your buddy by the end of the
round. The photography is excellent. There are so many pics of
scantily clothed women modeling
golf equipment, that by this fact
alone you want to keep turning the
pages. Just like traditional golf
magazines, this one will help you
find out about cours-
es, new products, and reference
other golf media. They even have a
section on golf apparel and the
vendors that advertise have some
pretty cool stuff. Hell, I even saw a
pair of golf shoes I'd like to get my
feet into. Music is also reviewed
inside the pages of this mag. I saw
a review of NOFX's "Pump up the
Valium" and an ad for ALL and the
Vandals. This magazine is a alternative golfer's delight and is a must
subscription for any of you club
wielders out there, so check it out.
( Schwing Magazine, PO Box
884570, SF, CA 94188-4570)
#1 - fourth edition (I believe),
$2.50 US, $4.25 Can.
Alright, let me tell you why I
picked a DC title. Yeah, I know it's
not an independent, but what with
their rearrangement of characters,
DC has really pissed people off.
This one in particular got me. I
knew what I was getting when I
pulled this one off the rack.
Remembering that I'm a huge
Green Lantern fan, especially one
of Hal Jordan, the original silver
age Green Lantern and the guy
they killed off a couple years ago
to make room for their "upgraded
youth movement" in an attempt to
sell a few more issues. Anyway, it
seems after killing him off there
was such an outcry that they decided to bring him back in one of their
other good selling titles, the
Spectre, a being that seeks God's
vengeance on evil mortals' souls.
The problem is that the original
Spectre was using the body of Jim
Corrigan and, well, they did a pretty kick ass job in their editions, so
why are these guys destroying
these titles? Hal Jordan is a Green
Lantern so leave him being one.
This is like seeing Craig T. Nelson
as a police commissioner. He's not.
He's "Coach" along with that funny
Van Dyke guy. You guys at DC
should have another big bang,
timeline-crossing, media event seven issues made into a hardback
- and put the DC universe back the
way you had it. Well, that's off my
were many loose ends. First it
looked like we were going to be
introduced to Carmelita, Arthur's
significant other and owner of the
other moth suit. We know this
because of the TV cartoon. Also
waiting to ambush The Tick are
The Terror and his gang who turn
out to be more villains from the TV
show. All in all, this comic was a
big let down. Even though there
were side-cramping funny parts, it
lacked the originality and was oh
so predictable that we know
Edlund didn't write it. It seems that
New England Comics is going to
milk the Tick until even the original 12 comics, which are probably
some of the best comedic writings
out there, lose their value. I can't
really say don't go get this one
because when I saw it I had high
hopes and it does deliver comedy.
It just didn't have that ziplock
freshness. I've pretty much given
up on the "Tick and Arthur" and
"Heros of the City" titles and their
dual covers, so I beg of NEC to
stop the maddening rape of the
beloved Tick title. There, I said it
and, well, I feel no shame. Tell you
readers what, read this one and tell
me what you think, that's all.
THE TICK ( THE PSEUDO
#13, New England Comics, $3.50
US, $4.95 Can.
After waiting years and years, it
seems NEC lost its corporate
patience with big Ben Edlund ever
coming back to continue his original story. So they decided to let
someone else give it a try. Let me -Gary Hornberger
tell you where #12 left off. There
* Arzu: Guitar * Dave: Drums * Nathan: Guitar * Sammy: Bass *
I'd heard the Selby Tigers'
first Hopeless 7" ("Sidewalk" b/w "Gene
Pool") and was duly impressed. The band
popped off the vinyl with paranoid fun like a nervous tic that itches just right.
They were manic enough to have energy
spasm out of them, yet adroit in keeping
the ever-important rhythm and making
strong, separable songs. In other words,
they made me want to shake some ass and
sing along, much like a couple of late '70s
heroes of mine, The Undertones (think
buzzsaws and melody) and X-Ray Spex
(think female-fronted power drive getting
hit by a fire engine). When I saw their LP,
"Charm City," on the racks, I snapped it up
Emotional Support by Skinny Dan *
at The Wayward Council, a great collective
record store in Gainesville. Juan Bastos
said the cover looked a little - shall we say
- fruity (or was it arty?). To Juan's credit,
we spun it when we got home and both of
us have been hooked ever since. It's one of
those records that lets out quiet discoveries
on repeat listens but was great right when
the stylus contacted the groove the first
By pure happenstance, when I was in
Tucson on official Razorcake business, the
Selby Tigers were playing. I got a hold of
guitarist Nathan forty-five minutes before
"What is this? A swinger convention?"
Razorcake co-conspirator, Skinny Dan,
asked after we got into the club. Scanning,
I double took and soaked it in. A lady in
calf-high silver platform boots and a beehive hair-do sat on the stool to our right. A
guy in a full-body, Smurf-blue jumpsuit collar flipped up jauntily - with an orange
and white checkered scarf around his neck
walked by with a razor-thin moustache
caterpillering his upper lip. Across the
room, another was another guy, in hornrimmed glasses, snappy orange shirt and
black tie matching a black suit. Together,
we composed half an audience that
watched an opening band do a Tool impersonation.
After the chonka-chonka waaaah (insert
vivisection cat sound) band got off, the
"swingers" turned out to be The Selby
Tigers. Without fucking around, they
plugged in and jammed out; tightly raw,
barely-contained, high-kicking, and fun to
watch. Crystalline and dirty pop.
By another pure circumstance, there
happened to be a tiki bar nearby that served
drinks in fish-bowl sized glasses and had a
cage with real parrots. That seemed an
appropriate place as any for an interview.
The rest is captured on tape, except that
beyond any reasonable doubt, the Selby
Tigers were some of the nicest people in a
band I've never met before.
Todd: Isn't your name really Dave?
Sammy: Yeah, my name's really Dave
Gardner but he's Dave Gatchel and we're
both Dave G.'s, so I just became Sammy to
make it easier when we meet people.
Todd: What bands have you recorded?
Sammy: Dillinger Four, The Cows, The
Strike, Unsane, The Hidden Chord,
Lollipop, Nashville Pussy, Lifter Puller.
Todd: What was the craziest band to
Sammy: A hardcore band that will go
nameless who - well, let's just put it this
way - they came in, they recorded a single
with me and they later recommended me to
another band by saying I was really professional… because I didn't do all of their
speed. It was pretty sweet. I was tuning the
drums and the drummer came up and said,
"Hey man, do you mind if we do some
drugs?" I was like, "Well, what are you
going to do?" And he's like, "You know,
just some speed." I was like, "You seem
like someone who that's your modus
operandi. I'm going to go with the flow
Todd: What do you do Nathan, besides
Nathan: I am a letter press printer. I was a
printer at a place called Luna Lux for
awhile but now I do it for myself. I mostly
print posters with old fashioned type; typeset stuff. Kind of like Hatch Show Prints.
It's a place in Nashville that did all of the
old Sun Studios posters and stuff like that.
That's the kind of style of printing I like.
Todd: Did you used to work at
Nathan: I did direct sales for about two or
three years. It was fun.
Todd: Arzu, how true to detail have been
the Wonder Woman outfits you've worn in
Arzu: How did you know about that? That
was an old band, actually.
Todd: Do you have a golden lariat?
Arzu: Well, I had a little, crappy lasso,
yeah. It was from some sort of craft store.
She's my favorite superhero. I used to be
really, really into her and then I'm sort of
out of it. I collected toys for a long time
but now I've stopped. Everyone's always
giving me Wonder Woman presents.
Todd: Dave, why did you get to keep your
name and not Sammy?
Dave: I have no clue.
Todd: What do you do besides play
Dave: I'm a connoisseur of mini golf. I'm a
militant left hander.
Todd: Do you drill holes in cups - like a
dribble glass, near the rim - so you they
can only be used lefty?
Dave: I should. That's a good idea, dude.
Todd: Can you find left-handed scissors
Dave: Yes and hate them.
Todd: Why's that?
Dave: 'Cause they suck. Rounded points,
rubber handles. Why? Oppression.
Todd: And you two are married, correct?
Arzu and Nathan: Yes. Three and a half
Nathan: In Vegas, no less, where we'll be
Todd: Have any of you gone to the
Museum of Questionable Medical Devices
in Minneapolis? (<www.mtn.org/quack>)
Todd: Name your favorite questionable
Dave: The head bump counter.
Todd: Oh, the phrenology helmet.
(Phrenology was a "science" that believed
that by examining the shape and unevenness of the skull, one could discover the
development of the particular cerebral
"organs" responsible for different intellectual aptitudes and character traits. For
example, if you had a knot in your skull in
a specific position, it would mean that you
were more "benevolent," or "angry" or
"prone to over-eating," depending where
the bump was. -Todd)
Dave: Yeah, yeah.
Todd: Did you test it on yourself?
Arzu: I can't remember the names of all of
them. They were all really good. The one
that surprised me the most were those ear
candles things and they were telling people
not to do them because they're really dangerous, actually. (Ear candles are still sold
on the net. -Todd)
Nathan: My favorite one was this shocking wrist massager that my friend Frank
Bevin actually ended up possessing somehow. He was working at a convention and
they moved all of the stuff from the museum there to show it off and then left this
device behind and he was cleaning up and
found it and started playing with it. And he
just kind of obsessively… it uses ten D cell
batteries. It could be lethal.
Dave: It's like a taser.
Sammy: I'm getting confused because
there's another really weird museum in
Minnesota which is the Greatbatch
Museum -- the museum of electricity and
life, because Medtronic, which is the company which invented the Pacemaker, is
from Minneapolis, and the owner of that is
completely out of his mind. And when he
died, he turned his house into a museum
and they have tons of electrical medical
devices so I can't remember if it was The
Questionable Medical Devices that had all
of what were, essentially, vibrators that
used to be prescribed to women who had
nervous conditions and they were these
truly bizarre looking - vaguely like modern
vibrators but they're really big and metal.
(Historical aside: Greatbatch had earned
140 patents by the time of his death. Every
year, the implantable cardiac pacemaker is
used in half million people worldwide to
keep their hearts pumping in time.)
Todd: Give me a short timeframe. When
was the band formed? When was the first
demo done? When did you sign to
Arzu: Dave Drummer and I started playing
in April in '97. Then Nate and I went and
got married. Nate was playing in another
band. They broke up in October.
Todd: [to Nathan] You played in Arm?
Arzu: And then he
joined our band in
started playing guitar. We had another
bass player at that
time. We actually
played one show as
a three-piece. We
played with DarkFaced Player for
about a year…
Sammy: …recorded with me.
Dave, err, Sammy.
The first thing we
did was a CDEP.
March '98. Did a
couple tours with
ways. And Sammy
February of '99.
month, we recorded a new EP.
Sammy was in the
band less than a
month. I've got to
hand it to the guy.
Then signed to
Hopeless the next
Todd: I think one
problem people are
having is classifying you guys which I really don't
really worry about
- but I would like
to know which
bands you wouldn't
mind rubbing some
of. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you
guys are dealing with music from the late
'70s, early '80s. So, I'm thinking Zero
Boys, Undertones, B-52s, Xray Spex.
Instead of, like, The Queers. I'm not harshing on the Queers, I'm harshing on bands
that do bad imitations of them.
Todd: Could you name some other bands
that you would be genetically similar to?
Arzu: Just that you mentioned The
Undertones in the same breath as us… I
love The Undertones.
Todd: They're great.
Arzu: We always get Buzzcocks, X.
Todd: I don't quite get the X part. Is it
because of the male/female voice interchange?
Arzu: That and the husband and wife
thing. A lot of people are like, "X is so
obvious." I don't think that we sound like
them. I mean, I like them, but I like all that
Sammy: Devo I'd be fine with rubbing
some chromosomes off of. Booker T and
Dave: Alley Cats.
Sammy: Dillinger Four.
Todd: Who's musical DNA evidence do
you want far away from you?
Arzu: It's so hard to mean.
Todd: You don't have to be mean… OK.
I'll answer my own question. Mariah
Carey. That's an easy one.
Arzu: Real obvious ones - Korn. Those
bands. It's not what we're into.
Sammy: I even think that bands that do
stuff really well, I think, like emo - there
are people that who do it great. I want
absolutely nothing to do with it. I want
none of whatever is touching Braid, Rainer
Maria - so many
bands that can be
nice people or in the
case of Rainer Maria,
can be pieces of shit.
But I don't want
whatever is touching
them to be anywhere
near me. Nothing's
going on with them
that I think is relevant
Todd: My aside to
Braid is that, live,
they were Nyquil
rock: "I think I'm
going to pass out
cold. You guys are
still fucking playing?"
Sammy: And they do
it better than anybody
Todd: In one sentence, name your philosophy for the band.
[Long pause. Tape is
filled with drunken
frat boys and blownspeaker tiki music.
Arzu: Just to do it as
long as we can and
have a lot of fun.
Meet a lot of great
people. Is that right?
Todd: There's no
wrong answer to this
Nathan: To always
have fun up on stage
and try to include the
entire audience and a
live experience is
very much important
Sammy: The space
between notes is as
important - if not more important - than the
Todd: Sammy, name another swinger that
wears a neckerchief.
Sammy: Mr. Furley of "Three's
Todd: And another one. What cartoon
Nathan: It's a dog, right? Hanna Barbera...
Todd: I'm thinking of Fred from "Scooby
Sammy: Aahh, yes. I never thought about
Todd: And your color scheme sorta matches - the blue jumpsuit with the orange neckerchief.
Sammy: Arizona's treating me well. I got
some great stuff today. Arizona's where the
jumpsuit started for me. The first tour I was
on out west, we, of all places, stayed in Sun
City [a retirement city], because it was the
cheapest off-season place to stay. So we
stayed in Sun City for three days because
we had some days off and Dave got really
sick, so we hit all these thrift stores and I'd
been talking about how I really wanted the
leisure wear jump suit to play shows in and
I found my first and second one there…
and some really embarrassing tennis shorts
that I wish I'd bought. I couldn't have
played in them but they were pretty amazing. They were brown.
Arzu: I can picture it still.
Todd: What's the last random thought on
stage that almost blew your concentration?
Dave: If I think I'm doing five things at
once, then I blow it every time. If I'm thinking "left foot, right foot, right hand, left
hand, voice…," I fall apart.
Arzu: It's probably if I'm hungry and I start
thinking about food or something. "What
am I going to eat… oh shit" - chord change.
Nathan: I think the last one I had, when we
were in Chicago, and this girl Ruth came
up and she was about to take my picture
and I turned around and looked right into
her camera and just like a deer in the head
lights, I fell apart, and stopped playing for
thirty seconds. I don't know why that had
an effect on me but that's the last time I
completely train wrecked.
Sammy: I think the random thought, and it
wasn't completely random, was when we
played in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I looked
down at one point and there was this girl
who was probably thirteen or fourteen who
was grabbing my leg. And it's Arkansas, so
you're like, this is kind of crazy. And at one
point, she grabbed pretty far up on my
thigh and I had this pause in my brain because I'm a really visual person - I could
see myself, oh no. I'm in the South. There's
a thirteen-year-old girl who's extremely
close to touching… to getting it and I was
completely freaked out and Dave looked
over and later said, "I wasn't quite sure
what happened." I had this sudden chain of
the worst possibility of what could come
out of this if I don't move now and I just
Todd: Has anybody compared you to a
band, and you just disagree with the comparison because you just don't see it?
Arzu: Someone compared us to Metallica?
Dave: Someone said, "You're as sweet as
Metallica."… She'd only seen one other
band and that was Metallica. She had super
fun. She said, "It's not even right, but you
guys were as fun as Metallica."
Nathan: I think I'd have to back to Sammy
on that one, kinda of what he said when we
get compared to certain emo bands.
Arzu: They're not comparing us to a particular band, but they just say, "emo-influenced" or "emo-something" and I think it's
because we're from the Midwest. That's the
only thing I can think of. And we did a
bunch of emo shows at first.
Sammy: [heavy sarcasm] Those went over
really well. Whoo.
Todd: To somebody who's never listened
to you guys, what are your themes lyrically?
Nathan: I think we always try, regardless
of the situation of the show, no matter
where it is, to have fun with the crowd and
fun with the show.
Dave: I think there's a raw, sexual energy… did you feel it, dude?
Todd: I felt some tension that you weren't
getting everything you wanted out of the
Arzu: Those vocals were cranking. It felt
kind of weird. It was way too loud.
Nathan: It felt like karaoke.
Sammy: I think that we're all products of
the suburbs who probably won't return
there. I think that growing up in the suburbs
has effected all of our views on the world.
Todd: From what I'm getting today, you
guys seem very collaborative. Am I correct
in saying that?
Todd: What role has fires played in shaping this band?
Dave: I'm a fire sign. Everyone except
Sammy's a fire sign.
Todd: Has anything caught on fire?
Nathan: One time I broke a high E string
and it popped off from the bridge. It was
still connected to my guitar and actually
landed perfectly in a light socket. It looked
like total fireworks. Like a Kiss concert. It
lighted up, exploded, then disappeared. I
just kept playing. People were looking at
Dave: A couple weeks ago, I had
this dream - it doesn't have to do
with the band, though. I never
remember dreams but I remembered
my apartment burned. We all live in
the same building. Mine was the
only one that was burnt. So I called
my roommate to tell him, I don't
know why, and then two weeks later
he told me that another apartment in
the building had burned and he was
too scared to tell me for two weeks.
He was like, "Fuck, it just happened,
and he called me to tell me watch
out for it."
Todd: Arzu, what's the number one
karaoke song that you have to deal
Arzu: I've just dealt with parties so
far, I haven't done bars yet. When I
get home, I'm going to be doing bars
and stuff. Well, me and my friend
would always argue over who was
going to do "99 Red Balloons" because I've
been doing it for six years and all of a sudden she decided that she really liked that
song. Usually, now, it'll be a party so
nobody wants to do the same one that
someone already did.
Nathan: You do "99 Red Balloons" better.
Arzu: I do it differently.
Todd: You're so polite… What's the best
insult that's been hurled towards you guys?
Sammy: It hasn't necessarily been the best
ones, but who it's come from. We appear to
have, at least in The Twin Cities, among
like the teen and slightly preteen punk rock
crowd, who are huge Dillinger Four fans,
apparently the girls of that crowd don't like
us. It was right after the Hopeless thing
came out and I was like, "Fuck, there's a lot
of people here. We're doing all right." And
I walked out and I heard this thirteen-yearold punk rock girl look at the set list and
go, "Fuck, I hate the fucking Selby Tigers."
I was like "Oooohhh." It was a serious reality.
Arzu: It's kind of sorry for me because
there just aren't as many girls at our shows.
Usually it's all guys and when I'm sitting at
the merch, it's all guys that usually buy
stuff. I mean it's fine, it's nice if anybody
does, but it makes me a little sad sometimes
when there aren't as many girls that are into
it. When I grew up, it was all through that
riot grrl thing and I was all "wooo." And I
still really think those bands were important to me, like Bikini Kill. So, I had such a
different mentality growing up. "Yes
women can play." And when a woman can
play, I'm going to be there, even if I'm not
necessarily into it or like it, I'm going to be
supportive and be "that's cool that they're
just doing it." So, it's sorta sad sometimes
when girls are just not into it and are kind
of snotty about it sometimes, even. I
feel like, "Aww, you didn't grow up
when I did."
Life's a conundrum. It's a deep, black pit most of the time.
Some of us use our own philosophic flashlights to see
through this darkness and steer our way through, bumping
into some scary shit, pretty much alone. Other people need
the light furnished for them; for guidance, for salvation, for
attainment of bliss.
Enter Causey. To many - and a growing more - he is a
soft-spoken, penetrating beacon. A safe haven. A lighthouse
of which to avoid smashing on a craggy shore of a confusing
To others, he's a sham, a man who's been accused of letting the Clorox bleach - which he uses on his uniform to keep
it the whitest of white - seep to his brain.
I'm not concerned of where the spleen of the world tackles
the ideal of religion. There are no winners in that debate. You
I n t e r v i e w
believe or you don't.
I'm concerned with the temple rock'n'roll and in this
respect, there's no doubt that The Causey Way's minstrel
salve is a mighty, healing force.
Bedecked by lovely ladies - Reign and Summer Causey
on keyboards and the statuesque Truth on bass - who whisper only into his ear, and backed by Homo Causey on drums,
Causey's services are rambunctious (And fucking funny. I've
never seen so many audience members give dollar bills to a
band when asked.). The music is the perfect pounce of new
wave melody laying a seductive track for the crunch of guitar
and Causey's distinctive (some claim hypnotic) high-end wail
Believe and it will heal. Don't believe and walk away
T o d d .
P i c t u r e s
S e a n
a n d
T o d d
Todd: Let's begin at the beginning. Where
did the name Causey come from?
Causey: The name came from my parents,
who named me Causey. I've had that name
since I was born. Causey was actually a
judge in Putnam County, Florida. That's
my Uncle Causey. So I took on his name.
But The Causey Way came from, obviously, my name, and when we started The
Causey Way, it started out as a way of life.
There was no music or band or anything.
It was a group of us, about ten at the time,
that lived on a little area outside of
Gainsville, Florida. We called ourselves
The Causey Way. It wasn't solely on my
name. We thought, "Hey, it went pretty
Todd: Sean was saying that it sounds like
Causey: Right, right. A causeway takes
you to a better place.
Todd: It takes you there rapidly.
Causey: Right, right. It's grown to be
much more than that, the way it was years
back. Now we have about 498 people that
are in The Causey Way. ACE - which is
the Aural Communication and
Entertainment division - that's who you'll
see tonight. We're the entertainment program on the actual Causey compound.
There's five of us here tonight. That's
about it with The Causey Way. My name's
Todd: Who's the person named Scott
Causey: I used to be Scott Stanton. That
was back in my secular days of being the
typical punk. I was a skateboarder. I did
the typical things. I busted heads. I
Todd: You ran with the wild ones.
Causey: I did, I did. I slashed tires. I set
fires. I did all that stuff, but one day skateboarding, I just busted my head. I was getting too extreme. So I just came to the
realization who I really was and what was
there for me in The Way. So, that's it.
Todd: So asphalt/head/light?
Causey: Severe head injury/lights. So, it
was a good thing.
Todd: How long were you a skater?
Causey: I skateboarded most of my life. I
can't remember not skateboarding - when I
was a skateboarder. And I was a pro skateboarder from around '89-'92 and before I
took my headfall, kids were getting crazy
and I just didn't like what was going on in
the skateboard industry. It was very
extreme, to sum it up. It did take me all
over the world. I got to see a lot of land
and a lot of areas. It kind of helps now
because I've been able to find out different
areas for international compounds that The
Causey Way is looking for.
Todd: Has The Causey Way ever been
sued by the economic tigress Chanel for
the appropriation of her crossed "C"s that
you have as your logo?
Causey: Well, someone brought that up to
us a while back, and we thanked them
because we realized Chanel was ripping us
off, so we contacted Coco's lawyers.
Unfortunately, she was able to get a much
better marketing plan and made a lot more
money before we got out with ours. We're
not about money. We're the cheap
Scientology. So, we had to change our
logo, which now has the little fish symbol
(little fish fins) on the bottom of the CC.
It's all cleared up now. We settled out of
Todd: Your epiphany came after a severe
TRUTH AND BUTTON
head injury. What were the signs? I don't
know many people who start ministries
after bonking their noggins.
Causey: Well, it started 'cause I was laying in the hospital bed and the woman
next to me had a spider bite. She was just
screaming to her cousin. I believe it was
her husband, actually. It's in the South, so
I don't know. But, she's yelling, "There's
got to be a better way." She was just really
upset. It all hit me there and then I realized
- I actually reached out from my bed to
hers and our hands touched and she was
better and it amazed me then and I knew I
had to get out there and help the people,
especially the punk rockers and the skateboarders and all of the people that are
basically lost in life and I don't like to say
losers, but I mean, they're pretty much
derelicts, you know? It's harder to be better than everybody, basically, but we're
trying to help.
Todd: What do The Causey Way and
Sonic Youth have in common?
Causey: A woman playing the bass. I
would believe that's about it.
Todd: Didn't you both get your equipment
Causey: We did get our equipment ripped
off, but no one was as nice as to help us
and send out world-wide emails to try to
get our equipment back. It's as if we
weren't important, as if no one cared. But
this indie rock band, everyone seemed to
care and everyone knew about it. But I
will tell you this, when our equipment got
ripped off, I switched to playing Peavey
amplifiers and I believe that some of the
Sonic Youthers use the Peavey equipment.
A lot of churches have Peavey equipment.
Todd: Who does Causey thinks he looks
Causey: I know where you're going with
this one... You can't really see an ass kicking in print, but for the readers, when they
come to a Causey Way service, if they
bring that one up, they can get an ass kicking in real life.
Todd: I asked with the utmost respect.
Causey: Right, right. A lot of people bring
up the David Koresh thing. I know where
you're going with that. I guess I can just
simply say that he was a mentor of mine at
one point. He helped me out with some
guitar playing. He tore an axe up. He
It's coincidence. Today, we were in the
Guitar Center in LA on Sunset and that's
where he saw a man in there and asked if
he wanted to play drums in the band. Dave
was just like a lot of us musicians. He
needs a drummer, too. He needs to find
musicians. He picked his drummer up at
the Guitar Center when he was out in LA
trying to make it as a musician, but then
he gave that up and things didn't work out
so well, so he moved back to Texas and
got involved with the church and started
his band with that. But, yeah, a lot of people at our services have learned not to
bring up David Koresh because Causey
gets a little upset.
Todd: How does Causey keep his whites
so white on tour?
Causey: That is a great, great question
and also a question we ask ourselves while
on tour. "Why white?" It's hard. We've got
laundromat cards and certain laundromats
around the country sponsor us and welcome us in. So, we've got laundry stops
every other night and that's what the ladies
are good for. They're good
for a lot of things but they sure know to do
the wash. And as you can smell the "Carea-van," it smells really great and we bring
in a lot of homeless people and punks with
puppies, et cetera, to come into the Care-avan and have a good life.
Todd: How is The Causey Way like
Right now we have about ten drummers.
This drummer just started (from the secular band Mooney Suzuki), and I think by
the time we get to Seattle, which we're
heading up North from here in LA, I'm
wondering if he'll be around still.
Todd: Is that Summer?
Causey: No, Summer is the new organ
player, who is just taking the place of The
Button while The Button - The Button's in
drug rehab right now. The secular world
and the rock'n'roll lifestyle kind of got to
him. He was a perfect human being and he
just fell short to the evils of the secular
world. I caught him sniffing glue backstage. So Summer Causey stepped in.
She's been at the compound the whole
time. All four years. She hasn't even been
out to the secular world. She lived on the
compound her whole life before she came
to The Causey Way. Things are going to
be really iffy on this tour for her. She's
kind of scared.
Todd: Isn't she touring with her sister,
Causey: Yep. So, Reign's keeping an eye
on her. We're all keeping an eye on her...
the drummer we have now is Will, The
Will of Causey and... red tape right now.
We're going through the judgement forms
and processing and we're thinking he
might actually be Homo Causey but we'll
get to that, later. [The Care-a-van's door
opens.] There's Homo Causey right now.
Todd: How is Causey like the rock band
Causey: I used to smoke weed.
Todd: No, Creed.
Causey: I used to smoke weed... Oh,
Creed. We're spiritual like Creed. We live
in the same area as Creed. Creed's from
Florida as well. We're all as fine as Creed.
We're good-looking folks... Do you have
something to say Homo Causey? [Homo
the band, because it brings people in, conversion and such, and that's a way to get to
the kids with rock'n'roll or whatever. I
mean, we are going to build a chain of
skateboard parks around the world at some
point, probably within the next year, simply called The Causey Way, too.
Todd: What was little Causey's favorite
Causey: Little Causey was never able to
play with toys, unfortunately. But at the
age of fifteen, I got a Curious George doll
and I think that was my favorite. [Causey
reaches his hand inside of shirt, underneath his arm.]
Todd: I thought you were going to pull it
Causey: No, no. I was just... That sounded
Todd: Curious George - from your armpit.
Causey: OK. Oh, "it." People refer to "it"
as a sexual organ or the sexual intercourse.
People say, "Were they doing 'it'?" Yes.
Todd: What were some of the discarded
titles of albums?
Causey: That we were going to maybe
have? "CIA - Causey Is Awesome,"
Todd: Tell me what Glossolalia is.
Causey: Speaking in tongues. [Homo
Causey whispers into Causey's ear.] No
Homo Causey, we were never going to use
that. Homo Causey, which is one of the
things why we're wondering if he might be
Causey or The Will of Causey or Homo
Causey, he wanted to name an album
"Causeyfornication." And we just didn't
think that was very Causey and we
thought it was quite kind of homosexual,
and that kind of leads to other things.
Reign Causey kind of has a shaded past
with a rock trio - they're not even a rock
trio and I don't even think they're rock - a
secular band called The Red Hot Chili
I SLASHED TIRES. I SET FIRES. I DID ALL THAT STUFF, BUT ONE DAY SKATEBOARDING, I JUST BUSTED MY HEAD... I JUST CAME TO THE REALIZATION WHO I REALLY
WAS AND WHAT WAS THERE FOR ME IN THE WAY.
Causey: Mmm. Well, and just to clear
things up, the only reason I know about
Spinal Tap is because I did a lot of
research on the secular world, so I know
what you're talking about. Actually made
The Causey Way members - the ACE
members - watch "The Spinal Tap" before
we went out in our rock concerts and such.
A lot of times we feel very Spinal Tap-ish
when, say, we get through a set and feel
that our amplifiers aren't working and we
realize they were on "standby." Or a
cable's not attached. We're not really up
there in the electronics. Sometimes we've
been known to get lost backstage, walking
Todd: What about your drummer situation? Drummer number one was Birdstuff
of Man or Astroman? and Servotron.
Causey: That's evident and that's obvious.
Causey whispers into Causey's ear.]
Exactly. We've been know to ask the question, "What is this life for?" And that's
about it. That's it. Pull quote.
Todd: I've read in print many times that
you say that The Causey Way is not a
band. I can understand if you were the
Backstreet Boys making that claim, but
are you not playing instruments?
Causey: That goes back to earlier. The
Causey Way is a way of life: The Causey
Way. It's not a band. It's much bigger than
Todd: Can you name your band something different, then?
Causey: The band is the ACE, which is
the entertainment on the compound. When
we go out into the secular world to build
the CCC - the Causey Conversion Count we go under the name, The Causey Way,
Todd: What's the scariest movie Causey's
Causey: I think it was "The Gladiator"
because one of The Causey Way members
went into that movie and he wasn't going first of all, I read all of the scripts before a
Causey member can perform in a movie.
Some of the Causey people are in movies
and such. I just didn't really agree with the
script at all. He went against my word and
went into this movie and I have to see that
damn movie everywhere I go - the billboards and this and that - and to me, it's
just a sign of one of the Causeys leaving
Todd: And we're talking about Joaquim
Causey: Joaquim Causey, mmm hmm. He
was called [phonetically] "Wa King"
Todd: Which has two meanings.
"Walking," as in the right path, and "Wa
Causey: I don't think we should talk about
him any more.
Todd: Is Causey a poppa?
Causey: No, but I do like to think of all of
my Causey Way congregation members as
children of mine and I try to take care of
Todd: Besides joining the Causey Way,
what's the second easiest way of obtaining
Causey: All I can say is that if you don't
know, you don't believe.
Todd: How's your compound coming
along and how long's the water slide going
Causey: All I can say, simply, is it's
something about the 1920s and women
and film. I didn't agree with her because I
don't agree with the academics of the
world. Basically, because most of the academic colleges don't allow Causey into
Todd: It's like Germany's position on
Causey: So, I'm kind of uptight with that
whole situation, but I am glad to let you
know that Dr. St. Causey is in Kalamazoo,
Michigan, teaching at the Kalamazoo college. She's actually turned out about fifty
percent of the CCC from some of her students. She's back on track and doing really
well. She's brought Causey into that
Kalamazoo college. She's just done six
interviews with different colleges around
pound, the south fifty acres, and all of the
belongings go into there. And then we
have a whole group - there's about fifty of
them - that actually refurnish all the old
furniture, clothes, and a lot of the clothes,
if they're not too dark, we bleach them and
try to clean them up a bit. Whatever we
can't use, we give to the Goodwill or The
Salvation Army. We're all about people
doing better business and we know the
Goodwill and The Salvation Army are
doing good business now. They're marking up. They're charging people a good
amount of money. They're getting successful. The Causey Way has a little bit to do
with that; thrift store prices going up. That
Causey: How'd you hear about the water
slide? Did you get that on the web? Well,
the compound is basically finished at this
point. We are building a pool. We were
going to build two pools. One was going
to be full of water and one was going to be
empty for the skateboard kids on the compound, but I don't think we're going to do
that anymore. Plus, the fact we're questioning the pool in general because some
of the women are going to be wearing
bikinis and the men might be getting crazy
too, and I can see a potential problem, so
I've got to think about that one for a little
while. It is awfully hot in Florida, though,
and the demons come out and we've got to
drown those bastards. The water slide, at
the moment, the template's drawn out and
it's going to be, probably, five hundred and
thirty feet. It's a damn long slide. Pretty
much slides around the compound. It's just
a bitch to walk up those steps.
Todd: The EP, "Testimony," was put out
by Fueled By Ramen. Are those people in
Less Than Jake?
Causey: The drummer has a tie with that
label. Those are some good folks. They're
from the Gainsville area as well.
Todd: Dr. St. Causey got her Ph.D. in
Causey: English. Film studies. Film studies in English.
Todd: Do you know what her dissertation
the country and she's brought up
Causeyhood and Causey-ness to them and
they seemed to want to bring that into
their academic schedules. She'll probably
be teaching Causey.
Todd: Was she in the Robert Palmer
video "Addicted to Love"?
Causey: No. At that time she was still in
middle school. I think her and her brother,
they actually got their parents to take them
around the country touring with Blondie.
She really likes music from that perspective.
Todd: The Truth, she sang backup for
R.E.M. Is that correct?
Causey: She did. And so did Reign
Causey. On the "Monster" album.
Todd: Do you know of any other work
they've done prior to The Causey Way?
Causey: They don't really want anyone to
know about that past either, because, just
like all of us - I told you a little bit about
skateboarding - but we just try to forget all
of that and just focus on Causey. But we
can say a thing or two about the R.E.M.
because they've helped out with some
tithes and such for The Causey Way.
They're all right folks.
Todd: When somebody joins The Causey
Way and becomes a full-fledged Causey,
do you have yard sales of all their earthly
Causey: Actually, there's a big ol' warehouse we have on the left side of the com-
was kind of our plan. You can sell that
stuff for a lot more when people find out
that it was a Causey Way member's couch
or toilet seat cover.
Todd: Causey, have you ever been beat
up while preaching the gospel?
Causey: It hasn't happened lately and it's
not going to happen 'cause I've been training. And I'm sure if you've seen our services, you see that I have whipped ass in
my time. I just challenge anyone to come
up and punch me in the nose.
Todd: Kind of like Houdini challenged
anyone to punch him in the stomach.
(Which actually got him killed.)... Button.
What's with Button's helmet?
Causey: It goes back to a couple different
things we've touched tonight. My head
injury. That was the helmet that I should
have been wearing. Well, it's a good thing
I had that head injury, right, because the
whole Causey Way took off. That was my
helmet at the time. I wasn't wearing it, so
that was good. So Button wears it now.
For that reason and for the reason in
Chapel Hill, North Carolina at one of our
first services, he was gay bashed by some
really upset folks. Button has an eggshellthin skull. He wears the helmet 24 hours,
which doesn't make him so popular some
times, I guess.
Todd: Who's on the top of Causey's shit
list right now?
Causey: That's more of the department of
The Truth, Reign Causey, and Summer Causey. They
seem to have the angst in the ACE. Causey's all about
love. He's good to everyone. Even that man who beat me
up that time is not on my shit list. I forgave him. If I got
down and thought about it, there would probably be a couple people. You were a little bit ago. You didn't even bring
it up but it got me pretty worked up - about David Koresh
- and you didn't even have to say anything. But I know
how you can get on my good list. It's by filling out the
judgement form and becoming a Causey member.
Otherwise, there is no shit list. You're either Causey or
you're not Causey.
Todd: What's your next step in world domination?
Causey: Well, "world domination" would scare folks and
make it sound like a Hitler type movement. My next step,
though, is to get on out there and build a really nice garden. That's my personal goal. As far as The Causey Way
and all the people that are counting on me to have a better
life, when I get back, I'm in touch with this electrical engineer and we're building a frickin' rocket. Basically, it's
YOU CAN'T REALLY SEE AN ASS KICKING IN PRINT, BUT FOR THE READERS,
WHEN THEY COME TO A CAUSEY WAY SERVICE, IF THEY BRING UP WHO I
LOOK LIKE, THEY CAN GET AN ASS KICKING IN REAL LIFE.
going to hold about 2,000 people. The paperwork's going
to be out really soon. Whoever wants to go to a better place
- this is about 300 pages of paperwork and red tape and
stuff - but that's kind of way out there and I haven't really
discussed that, which I can't believe I'm going to let your
readers know about. I haven't discussed with my chosen six
at the moment, but I'm going to get working on that
“Causey Is Everything” and "With Loving and Open Arms"
CDs/LPs on Alternative Tentacles, PO Box 419092, SF, CA
"WWCD - What Would Causey Do" CDEP on Put It On a
Cracker Records, PO Box 2944, Gainsville, FL 32602; <[email protected]>
"Testimony" CDEP on Fueled By Ramen Records, PO Box
12563, Gainsville, FL 32604; <www.fueledbyramen.com>
I love The Gossip. They rule. I have no qualms putting that statement right out there. They grooved hardcore for L.A.
tonight, and everyone packed into Spaceland tonight took their brand of Southern, swamp, slither-rrock. Nathan
(guitar,) Kathy (drums,) Beth (vocals,) and Sassy Lassy (dancer, of course,) love what they do. Their excitement
and energy for their audience, music and each other is apparent. They’re a charming bunch of youngins that’ll literally rock your shirts off. I got a chance to talk to the very sleepy and hungry Kathy and Beth after the swarm of
adoring fans left for the night.
INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY KAT JETSON
Kat: In your CD sleeve you mention that
you'd like people to send you mix tapes,
which I thought was a genius idea. I know
your CD has only been out for a couple of
weeks, but have you received any yet?
Beth: I actually stole that idea from The
Kat: My friend said she'd make a mix CD,
but I told her they probably need…
Kathy: No, we need tapes for the van.
Beth: We haven't gotten any yet.
Kat: You went on tour opening for
Sleater-Kinney this past summer. Was that
your first tour?
Kat: How did you get on that tour?
Kathy: Carrie (Brownstein - guitarist for
Sleater-Kinney) saw us play at a party and
I guess she saw us a couple of other times
after that, and (she) just asked us to play.
Kat: I have to tell you, before your show I
was dancing to "Hott Date." I had it on
repeat and got funky for you from home.
Kat: I knew I wouldn't be able to dance
much with my camera tonight.
Beth: Awesome! That's awesome.
Kat: What did you learn on tour? I mean,
seeing as your first tour was with such an
established band, it had to have been a
Beth: I learned about getting along with
people in the band. And how hard it can
be. Not like you're like "Goddamnit!", it's
just nice when you get to be alone. Just
being patient. For me, touring with
Sleater-Kinney… they're great. They took
us because they liked us. I just think that
was really awesome. They took a band
that they wanted to see, maybe?
Kathy: Me, too. Just getting along with
people and being patient.
Kat: Well, you're in a van with each other
Beth & Kathy [said wearily]: Yeah.
Kat: What do you do with your down
Beth: We shop a lot.
Kathy: We spent a lot of money.
Kat: So they give you the money each
night and you're like, "Let's shop!"
Beth: Yeah, I came home broke last time.
Paid my rent, bought some groceries and
that was it. I was broke.
Kat: But it must have been so cool to get
out there and just play for the kids.
Beth [so enthusiastically]: It was amazing!
Kat: I mean, I can't believe how you got
the audience going when I saw you on the
Sleater-Kinney tour. I've never seen anything like that.
Beth: It's great when people actually like
us, and they feel comfortable enough to
dance. It doesn't happen a lot.
Kat: And take off their shirts, at that!
Beth: I know!
Kat: You had chicks taking off their shirts
Beth: Even this fat boy took off his shirt
and it was really amazing, 'cause, like… I
dunno, it was a big deal to me because
people don't think boys deal with body
issues, like it being a problem. But that
was a really brave guy. I thought "This is
good. This is what I wanna do."
[Toast comes by and offers her place to
stay for the night, but they've got a place
in Whittier already. They contemplate
going to a party, but agree that they are
too tired. And then wonder if they should
stay at Toast's. But then realize they have
to talk to Nathan, but he's off getting some
food. With all this confusion and uncertainty, Beth slaps her hands to tops of her
thighs and questions whoever will listen,
"God! Why are we never all together?" It's
Your interviewer seems to have lost
their attention. Beth wonders if they got
paid. Kathy looks ready to get some shut
eye, and rests on Beth's legs. Beth runs her
fingers through her friend's hair and says,
"Your hair is so thick. I want it on my
head." They seem so genuinely close with
each other. It's a rare, sweet moment in
rock and roll.
More people come up and thank them
for a great show. Almost as if they really
want them to know that tonight's show
was special to them.]
Kat: Do you remember the first song you
wrote? I mean, it could even be a song you
wrote when you were a kid.
Beth: Ok, first grade, I wanted to have a
band called "Star," and I would write all
the songs. I used to write songs all the
time. I wanna say the first song I wrote
was when I was six. Together, as a band…
"And You Know" was probably the first.
Most of the songs we have, are like…
we used to be the Rock and Roll Babies
before we were The Gossip. We were the
Rock and Roll Babies for like a month.
So our songs now are mostly songs from
that band taken apart and put back together.
Kat: And you all met in Arkansas?
Kat: It's amazing that you found three
cool people in Arkansas!
Beth: There's a fourth person from
Searcy. I have a picture of him on my bag.
Kat: I saw the button on your bag.
Beth: All four of us were the Searcy
Babies. His name's Jerry. It really, seriously amazes me. I think everything happens
for a reason. We lived in this shitty town.
We were smart kids; we saw through people's bullshit, in this really fucked up,
Christian town. The fact that all four of us
noticed each other, and started to become
friends with each other and get along so
well amazes me. It was totally meant to
be. I know that even if the band is not
together forever, that we will always be
Kat: Did you actually play shows in
Arkansas? Or not until you moved to
Kathy: No, we never played together (in
Kat: I would think that would be near
impossible. To find places to play there.
You don't ever hear of bands
coming out of Arkansas. I don't mean that
in a band way, it's just…
Kathy: No, it's true.
Beth: We didn't have any intentions to
moving to Olympia. I had no idea that was
where I was gonna end up after I graduated. That's what's so great about The
Gossip, I think. Is that we didn't plan to
play together, we just all ended up moving
to Olympia and got together. Nothing was
prefabricated. There was no, "We're gonna
be in a band, and it's gonna sound like
this." Everything just happened, from
putting out a record, to touring with
Sleater-Kinney, to getting together in
Kat: Have you ever called into a radio station and dedicated a song to someone?
Beth: Like for love?
Kat: I think I dedicated "Let's Get
Physical" by Olivia Newton John to someone when I was in fourth grade.
Kat: And I didn't even know what it
Beth: I don't think I ever did. There's this
country radio station in Arkansas and you
could call in dedications, but I really didn't
have anyone to dedicate anything to.
[Dancer Sassy Lassy is there, just hanging
out, and I wonder…]
Kat: Does Sassy Lassy dance with you all
Beth: Well, no. She's not a big Olympia
Kat: That must be a cool job, just getting
up there and dancing all night.
Sassy Lassy: It's the best. I would dance
with any of my friends that asked me.
Kat: Are you from Olympia, too?
Beth [answering for Sassy]: She was born
and raised in Olympia. She's one of the
few people FROM Olympia, that LIVES
Kat: There was this band Hazel that had a
Kathy: I remember Hazel. They had a
Kat: Yeah. There was this guy, with a
beard, and he would just go crazy.
Beth: For Hazel? How weird.
Kathy: Is this the band with Pete Krebs?
Kat: Yeah, and Jody Bleyle. Speaking of
dancing. What makes you get up and
Kathy: The White Stripes.
Kat: They wear tight clothing.
Beth: Oh my God, he wears the tightest
clothing in the world.
Kat: So do you dance to anything?
Beth: I dance to EVERYthing. Bikini Kill
really makes me dance. I know this
because I was watching this video that we
made. Me and some friends were making
breakfast and Bikini Kill was playing, and
everybody, without even looking up at
each other, they were kinda just moving
around, and before you know it we're all
over the place.
Kat: If you were in a convenience store
right now, what would you buy?
Beth: I would buy one of those sandwiches that come in a bag, and it's really soggy.
And a Mountain Dew, because Mountain
Dew is my drink of choice. And some
Kat: Right on!
Kathy: Oh God. [pause for some think
Kat: Would they have cool characters on
them, or would they be just plain-ole
Kathy: Plain Band-Aids.
Beth: Because she's responsible and I'm
the hungry one.
Kat: You were talking on stage about
inspiration for some of your lyrics, and I
was wondering, you have a song with the
lyric, "Mama always warned me about
girls dressed in black," and I was curious
if your mom really did?
Beth: No, never. Mama's beautiful.
Amazing. I couldn't ask for a better mom.
Kat: And you even have MAMA tattooed
on your arm. (It's actually a tattoo of an
anchor with "MAMA" written in a banner.)
Beth: Yeah! She hasn't seen it yet, and
we're going home to Arkansas. I'm so
excited for her to see it. I took a picture of
it to send to her.
Interview and Photos by Sean and Todd
I found out that you don't interview
Shawn Stern of Youth Brigade, you play
his straight man. It's been eighteen years
since the "Someone Got Their Head Kicked
In" comp and the "Another State of Mind"
tour. Eighteen years of tours, broken down
buses, shows, punks, beers, drunks, shady
businessmen, and cheating club owners.
Eighteen years watching some friends
become famous and some fade into obscurity. All the while, Youth Brigade has been
pretty consistent about holding their
ground, writing and playing great songs. On
top of that, Mark and Shawn Stern have
spent eighteen years with BYO, putting out
cool records that span, musically, from the
early eighties Nard-core days to the upcoming new Leatherface album.
After a few beers and a great live show,
Shawn was pumped up to talk about the
whole eighteen years of Youth Brigade and
BYO. All I had to do was give him a topic
and hold the tape recorder.
Sean: Where does Youth Brigade end and
BYO begin? Are you both the same entity?
Shawn: No. Youth Brigade's a band. It's
me, Mark, and Adam whereas BYO's a
label that's me and Mark. Adam has nothing really to do with it other than the band
he plays in happens to be on BYO, and he
gets a lot of advantages that way. And he's
in Royal Crown Review. Our little affiliate
label, Big Daddy, put their record out as
Sean: It's been eighteen years since
"Another State of Mind" came out, and at
that time, no one was really putting together
record labels on their own. I mean, there
were punk rock record labels, but it was
you and Dischord who started...
Shawn: Yeah, and Epitaph had started
around that time but they didn't put much
out. Well, they pretty much just put out Bad
Religion. And Frontier, although, personally, I think what Lisa Fancher did was good.
She got some classic bands. Same thing
with Posh Boy. But I personally look at the
labels that were part of the scene, the labels
started by people in bands like Dischord,
ourselves, Epitaph, Alternative Tentacles,
Touch and Go, and there's some other
smaller ones that didn't survive, but those
are the ones that survived, and of course Fat
Mike started Fat way later, in the nineties.
And there were some other early ones that
were mostly started by business people who
may have been fans, but they weren't really.
Sean: Like Mystic.
Shawn: Yeah, Mistake. That's what I call
them. And Dangerhouse was a good label,
but that was like the early scene, so they
were more about - well, Dangerhouse was
cool, and it was people in bands, but they
were more about putting seven inches out.
And then it became Slash. And Slash were
more business people. They did the magazine, and they split and started to deal with
the majors, and that was the end of that.
Sean: When you first started to do BYO,
what were some of your apprehensions?
What did you fear as a musician?
Shawn: You know, the thing is, we never
really thought about what we were doing.
Everything came out of necessity. If we
needed to play a show, it wasn't a matter of
options. If we wanted to do a show, we
needed to do it ourselves, because there
weren't any other possibilities. Same thing
with putting out a record. We didn't think,
"Should we try to get on a major? Should
we check out some of these other labels,"
'cause there really weren't any other small
labels. We never really thought of doing
anything except doing it ourselves.
Todd: Why did you guys release "The
Sound and Fury" twice with different
remixes and different songs so close to each
other, and a different cover on each?
Shawn: Yeah, actually, what happened is
we decided to start the label, and we knew a
lot of bands and were friends with a lot of
bands. So between the money that we stole
from Godzilla's (an early eighties LA club)
and the money that we made from the
Youth Movement '82 show, we got the bus
and decided to start the label. We decided
to do a comp to start it off. It was a good
idea to get bands that weren't really popular
or were just sort of up and coming and to
get them known by doing something with
more popular bands or bands that had a bigger name. And then we decided to do the
tour. That was the Someone Got His Head
Kicked In tour and... 'cause we'd gotten this
bus... I don't know, that was Mark's crazy
thing. "Check out the schoolbus. Mark
bought a schoolbus for fifteen hundred
bucks." So we figure, all right, it would be
smart to put out an album out before we did
a tour. So we ran into the studio and rushed
out an album. We recorded it at Mystic.
After we had recorded it, we pressed out a
thousand copies or eight hundred copies, I
think. We went on the road and by the third
show, we had a copy of it and we sat down
and listened to it and it sounded like shit.
Just the quality of the recording sounded
bad and we thought the production was
really bad. We liked the songs, but when
we listened to it, we said, "Fuck, this is
lame." We called back to LA where we'd
made the stupid deal with Mystic to distribute the first thousand copies. We said,
"Stop. Don't press any more of this Youth
Brigade album. Don't sell any more." So
most of the stuff we sold on the road on that
tour, only a couple of hundred copies and
the rest of it, you know, we had a bunch of
it at our place and some of it was distributed.
So when we got back, we just said, fuck,
we've written a bunch of new songs. Let's
go in and record the album again. We've
taken some time. We know what works and
what doesn't. So we re-recorded it. We
recorded it with Thom Wilson and we
recorded a bunch of new songs, and we
liked the new songs better. And people kept
bugging us to re-release that thing. And
when we actually pulled it out and went in
and Mark remastered it, we found out that it
wasn't the recording that was bad, it was
just the master. And if you listen to "Out of
Print," which is basically that album with
some outtakes from over the years, it
sounds fine and the songs are good, we like
the songs, but they're just different songs
that we never bothered to re-record
because, by that point, we were just so sick
of those songs and we'd written a bunch of
new ones. We'd written "Sink with
California" and "Men in Blue" which
weren't on that first album. We kept the
ones we liked, we dumped the ones we
were sick of, and that's how it happened.
Sean: I was thinking before the show that
you had that song about Ronnie and his
Shawn: "Jump Back"
Sean: Have you thought about redoing that,
modernizing it, making it appropriate for
the next president?
Shawn: No, I never thought about it. I used
to love playing that song live but Mark
hates it. He's a big baby so... You know, the
thing I loved about that second version of
"Sound and Fury" is that it had a sense of
humor. There were a lot of fun moments on
it that we captured. It was very spontaneous. We would be recording a song and I
would say, "I got this idea. Let's just do
this." And Mark would, Mark's kind of…
Mark's kind of just sometimes a party pooper. But we did it ("Jump Back") at the end
of "What Would the Revolution Change" "I'm an Individual" and all that sort of stuff.
That was totally improvised. And I just
said, "Follow me. I'm going to try this
thing," like a Marines sort of thing, rah, rah,
rah. We did it and it came out pretty cool.
"Jump Back," I mean, we pretty much
wrote that in the studio. I think I had a seed
of an idea a long time ago. I don't know.
That was eighteen years ago. Jesus Christ.
But I kind of remember, there were a few
songs where we'd do that, you know, "I've
got an idea but it's not really fleshed out,"
and we didn't really work it out in the studio - I mean in the rehearsal studio - and
then we got in the studio, and we start
recording, and we just start playing with it,
and it comes out great. That's the fun thing
about Thom Wilson is that he was really
open to that. When we went to record in the
beginning, we didn't really have anything
worked out. After about two days, he said,
"You know what, you guys aren't ready to
record this album. I don't think I can work
with you on this because it's not ready." We
didn't have enough songs. But that record, it
was fun, really a learning process, and it
worked out well. I think it's one of the best
things we ever did.
Sean: Looking back over all this time of
being independent and putting out your
own stuff, what different things has that
allowed you to do musically? I know
you've had a number of offshoots and
smaller bands that you've
each been in and put out different kinds of
albums. What kind of freedom...
Shawn: Well, actually, Royal Crown
Review, in the beginning, we couldn't give
that record away. Nobody knew what the
fuck it was. People would love them live
and buy the records at the shows, but I
couldn't get distributors to do anything with
it. But then when the swing thing blew up,
after my brothers weren't in the band any
longer, we sold a shitload of that record. It
was crazy. We made a lot of money off that
record. It was cool.
All in all, it's pretty amazing that we're
able to do what we love to do, which is
play music, and we pretty much make a living off of it. It's pretty cool. I'm pretty
happy about it.
Sean: There were other side bands, weren't
there, like That's It?
Shawn: Yeah. That's It were doing okay,
and then my brothers met up with me when
they were on tour with Royal Crown, and
they suggested, "Let's do a Youth Brigade
reunion thing," and I started running the
label again and they were busy doing Royal
Crown, so That's It fell by the wayside.
Todd: Why did it become "The Brigade"
after Youth Brigade, and then back to
Youth Brigade after you were less youthful?
Shawn: What happened was we went to
Europe in '84 and Adam decided when he
got back, he said, "Look, I'm going to go
back to school and finish my degree." So
we got another bass player. We sort of
debated back and forth, should we change
the name? Mark and I both agree that we
made a mistake. We thought, "Well, it's not
really Youth Brigade any more but if we
change the name entirely... If we keep the
Brigade then we'll keep some of our fans,"
but, uh, it was a dumb idea, we shouldn't
have done that.
Todd: So it was a compromise?
Shawn: Yeah, we were almost a different
band with what we were doing. Keeping
the Brigade was kind of shitty because we
kept playing Youth Brigade songs, too. We
should've just changed the name entirely.
And then when we got back together, yeah,
well, we were Youth Brigade.
Todd: I have a question. Did anyone ever
tell Agression (an early band on BYO) that
their name was spelled wrong?
Shawn: Yeah, we knew it, but they were
like, "It's us," you know. I don't know what
the fuck it was.
Todd: Didn't they just have a tribute for
Shawn: Yeah, we went to Hawaii on the
twenty-eighth of September, played a show
on the thirtieth with Guttermouth and
Swingin' Utters, then stayed for two weeks,
surfed, surfed the fucking North Shore
which is fucking humbling. The place is
gnarly, crazy. Then we came back on a
Thursday and played the benefit up north
two days later with Dr. Know and Ill
Repute and the Grim...
Shawn: Yeah, nardcore. We kind of feel
responsible for helping nardcore establish
itself by putting out the Agression record
and putting them on the comp and then
putting their full lengths out, but unfortunately that introduced Doug Moody to
punk rock, and he got all those bands to do
records, which is a shame. I mean it's good
that they got to do records but he fucking
ripped them all off, blindly.
Todd: He's still ripping them off. He's still
ripping off the Crowd.
Shawn: The Crowd, NOFX, and the list
goes on and on and on, many, many bands.
Sean: Well, rather than bad-mouthing
Shawn: I'll badmouth him all day, the old
fuck. I tell people they should go over to
his house and kick his ass. You don't even
have to kick his ass. Just go over and
threaten him and he will give you money.
You could take things from his house.
What's he gonna do? At least take your
master tapes back and say, "You can no
longer make this record. And if I ever see
you making another one of these records
I'm gonna come over and fuck you up, old
man." It never ceases to amaze me that no
band ever did that.
We went in there. We made this deal. I
mean, it's a long story but when we recorded the record, he gave us some credit
because we didn't have enough money, then
he started telling me... I mean, he did help
out giving us information about how to distribute and getting paid by distributors. And
he came up with the idea of pretty much
what Mordam became which was, take a
company that takes a bunch of labels
together as an umbrella organization and
deals with the distributors and takes a percentage off of the top and has more power
that way. Because you're only as good as
your next release. So if you want the new
hot release that we've got, then you better
pay us for all these other releases, and so
on and so forth. Which sounded like a good
idea, but we were kind of like, well, we
want to do our own thing. And he said,
"Well, you owe me money, I'll give you
credit, you should give me a break, let me
do it." So we said all right. We let him do it
on a limited basis for the first couple of
records. Then we came back from tour,
"Another State of Mind" and we said, "All
right, what's up? How many did you sell?
Where's the money?" He kept saying, "I
don't know." So we said, "Okay. We're
done with you. We're not working with you
anymore." He was just being a jerk about
paying us our money. And the pressings
were in his name. All the parts were in his
name. We couldn't press our own records
And we were at the Cathay de Grande
because Mystic Studios was right down the
street about a half a block from the Cathay
de Grande . We were there at some show,
and the guys from Agression were there
and some of our friends. We were sitting
there drunk, talking like, "Yeah!" We
marched over there like Frankenstein's
mob. I beeped the buzzer. "Hey Doug, it's
Shawn from Youth Brigade. Can I come
up?" "Yeah, come on up." So we go up the
stairs and all these guys come in and we're
like, "We're gonna kick your ass. You better call the studio and tell them to give us
our parts back. We don't want nothing more
to do with you." "Okay. Okay. Okay." He
shit his pants. And that was the end of our
relationship with him.
Unfortunately, the nardcore bands did
not learn from our experiences, despite
what we told them.
Sean: So what are you guys doing next?
What's the next thing after the split with the
Shawn: Uh, we've been talking about making an album, so I guess I need to write
Sean: Or just go into the studio with Thom
Shawn: Thom Wilson gets a lot of money
now. He did all the early Offspring stuff.
He's a millionaire. I mean, we've worked
with him. He mixed our "To Sell the Truth"
record. And we love working with Thom
but we can't afford the guy anymore. We
work with Steve Cravak. Like the split we
did with Steve. We did it in just a few days.
It came out really good. We're really happy
with it. We figure, if we could make a
record like that, we might as well make a
full-length. So we've been talking about it.
Hopefully next year we'll have one. I've got
to write some songs.
Todd: What are some bands that are inspirational now and how do they differ from
the bands that inspired you in the very
beginning? I mean, were you inspired by
the Germs, the Eyes, the Controllers, the
Shawn: No. I wasn't really inspired by
them. I used to go see them. The Germs, I
mean, they were groundbreaking in what
they did, but the weren't a very good band.
I don't think they were that amazing, but if
you were really fucked up and Darby was
really fucked up, they would be amazing
live. But that had a lot to do with how
fucked up you were. It's kind of like Iggy,
but Iggy wrote better songs. But the were
groundbreaking. The Eyes, the Controllers,
the Skulls, they were okay bands.
Personally, I was more... the first punk
band I saw was the Dickies, and I was way
more inspired by them. They blew me
away even though they were more of a
commercial band. And I loved F-word. But
X was the shit. I used to go see X, and it
was amazing, man. They didn't have a
record out, but everybody would be singing
all their songs. Them, the Screamers, even
though the Screamers never put a record
out, live they were one of the most amazing
bands. The Bags were great. And I had a
band, the Exchange. I was in the band,
Mark and I were, so we played with most
of these bands. And I saw a lot of bands. I
saw the Dead Boys. I saw the Clash. I was
very impressed by a bunch of English
bands: the Clash, the Jam, Sham 69, Stiff
Little Fingers, Cockney Rejects,
Buzzcocks, Undertones, Magazine...
Todd: Cock Sparrer?
Shawn: Cock Sparrer I liked. They were
sort of that second generation along with
Vice Squad and Antipasti. But Cock
Sparrer never came over here. Vice Squad
and Antipasti did. So we were friends with
them. I wouldn't say I was inspired by
them, but I liked what they were doing.
Todd: So what about nowadays and what's
changed between the two?
Shawn: Now I'm somebody who has been
doing it for a long time, so it's not like I'm
some kid who's checking out these bands
for the first time. There are lots of good
bands out there. They sound like this band.
They sound like that band. They play really
well. They write okay songs. Like
Lagwagon. They're a good band, but they
sound like NOFX. Millencollin, all of those
Swedish bands sound like Bad Religion.
There's tons of bands like that. But what
separates the good bands from the great
bands is that the good bands sound like so
many bands and the great bands take all
their influences and may remind me of this,
or they remind me of that, but they are
them, you know. Like Swingin' Utters, At
the Drive In, One Man Army, Dillinger
Four, Hot Water Music, Leatherface. You
know, if I could have all those bands on my
label, I'd be fucking very happy. Well, I got
Leatherface. Anti-Flag, Bouncing Souls,
their first two records. I think that they're
not really... I don't know what it is, if
they're trying to be more commercial or...
They're still a great band, a great band live,
they write okay songs, but I don't know
what it is. They're not reaching the way
they were in their first two records.
Todd: That was a pretty good list.
Sean: Yeah, you're listening to
the same things we are.
Shawn: Pretty much.
I WAS THINKING ABOUT THE WHOLE
IDEA THAT, BEHIND EVERY GREAT
MAN, THERE’S A GREAT WOMAN.
Something like the stories of George Washington
coming home from Valley Forge and Martha waiting
there for him with a bong and a big fat bowl packed.
Then I thought of Fat Mike (who’s kind of like a
punk rock George Washington, if you’re drunk and
living in my brain) because in the last couple of
years, he managed to tour with Me First and the
Gimme Gimmes, tour with NOFX, and write, sing,
and play a bunch of funny songs on two cool NOFX
So that led to the next obvious question:
albums. And then there’s Fat Wreck Chords, which
has recently put out great albums by established has anyone ever interviewed them together?
bands like the Swingin’ Utters and Avail, cool And, surprisingly, no one has... until now.
albums by new and unknown bands like Fabulous
Todd and I got a chance to sit down with them
Disaster, and even rescued a few bands from
at the DIY Bowling tournament in Vegas.
major label obscurity.
Here’s what they told us about good business,
I’m sure I wasn’t alone in wondering how one man bad business, friends, punk rock, sex toys,
can do so much. Is there a great woman behind him and Fat Mike’s dad.
swinging a riding crop?
Of course there is. It’s Erin, his wife
and partner in Fat Wreck Chords.
Interview by Sean and Todd
Pictures by Todd
Sean: In your relationship, who’s the
superhero and who’s the sidekick?
Mike: I’d say probably I’m the superhero, but maybe in our sexual relationship, it’s probably the other way.
Todd: Since you opened it up already,
have you ever had sex in the Fat Wreck
Erin: Yeah. We have.
Todd: On an employee’s desk or on your
Mike: It wasn’t on a desk, actually. It
was in a chair.
Todd: Erin, you’ve been with Fat since
its inception, is that correct?
Erin: Yeah. When it started, it started as
a side project. Mike was touring and the
first thing we did was a NOFX seven
inch. It was just a very small little thing,
and when he went on tour, I’d do all the
mail order and handle everything. In the
beginning, it wasn’t really a business. It
was kind of like a hobby.
Mike: Right. She was supporting us.
Erin: I was. I used to work in public relations.
Mike: And I was making my two grand a
year in NOFX.
Erin: We got engaged and I thought, I’m
gonna have to support this guy for the
rest of my life, but you know what, it’s
okay. It’s all right. I can handle it. And
then look what happened. It turned out
Todd: It turned out pretty good.
Sean: How broke would Fat Wreck
Chords be if you weren’t doing the
Erin: I think we’d be a lot broker. I definitely think so. That’s where Mike and I that’s one of our big arguing points is
Mike: Because I don’t care.
Erin: He doesn’t care.
Mike: And she cares.
Erin: And I care. It matters to me that we
watch everything. And he just takes the
path of least resistance. Whatever’s easier, he just goes, “Ah, okay.” And I try to
look at all the numbers and the figures
and budget it and go, “Well, we shouldn’t
really be doing this.” Which is actually a
Mike: It is a good mix.
Todd: So who signs the bands? Who’ll
do the creative talent scouting?
Mike: I sign and I scout. But we also
have a meeting once or twice a week. An
office meeting, and I’ll bring up a band
and ask, yes or no. And if everyone’s
like, “That’s lame,” then we pretty much
don’t sign them.
Erin: It’s definitely happened before
when we were interested in bands and we
had the office meeting and they were like,
“No.” And we didn’t do it.
Todd: So how’s the Dillinger Four coming along?
Mike: I don’t know. We’d like to have
them on our label, but you know they’re
talking to Epitaph. I like those guys a lot.
Todd: Great guys.
Sean: Great band. Is there any band you
can think of that you really wanted to sign
but weren’t able to get?
Mike: That’s a good question.
Erin: Yeah, it is a good question.
Mike: I don’t think so.
Erin: Yeah, I can’t think of one.
Mike: The one band I really wanted to
sign was Snuff, and I got them.
Todd: How long was the courtship with
Snuff, because Snuff was gone for a bit?
Mike: Well, we toured Guns and Wankers
in England and I knew Duncan had been
in Snuff and he told me, “Me and Simon
are starting to jam again.” He said, “But
there’s no money.” I said, “Hey, if you
guys get Snuff back together and use the
name Snuff, I’ll give you a big old bonus.”
I gave them fifty grand or something.
Mike: He’d never made anything in the
band before. So he did that and because of
that, they got back together. It’s been awesome.
Sean: Have there been any recordings that
have come back from the studio and
you’ve just flat refused to put out?
Erin: There have been some that we
should have refused.
Todd: Such as?
Erin: I don’t know if we should say that.
Mike: Yeah, we can’t say that.
Erin: There have definitely been records
that, once we got it, we weren’t happy
Mike: We’ve had a lot of bands remix.
Todd: Didn’t Propagandhi remix a couple
of times, three times?
Mike: We had Propagandhi remix. We
had Zero Down remix. We had Strung Out
remix. There are probably five or six
Erin: Well, Propagandhi went into the
studio like five times in the last four years
to make this record.
Mike: Probably five times.
Erin: I think they did. They actually went
in, then sometimes they would just cancel
Mike: Finished the record then said, “No,
we’re going back to redo guitars, to
Erin: We gave them money for the record
four years ago.
Mike: Four years ago, we gave them an
advance for this record.
Sean: It came out well. It’s a good record.
Erin: Yeah. It was actually pretty funny
because Jord from Propagandhi just called
me the other day and he was like, “I’m
confused, you guys gave us money on this
record four years ago but it never seems to
show up on any of our royalty statements.
Are you ever gonna charge us back for
that?” And I’m like, “It took you four
years to make the record. When the record
comes out, I’m gonna charge you back.”
He said, “Wow, that’s pretty cool. You
just loaned us that money for four years.”
“We’re waiting. The fans are waiting.”
Mike: We really don’t push bands at Fat,
at all, to record or do tours. Like I never
called up Propagandhi and said, “Hey,
how about a new record?” Whenever a
Todd: What’s the largest change in operating Fat over the last five years?
Mike: Not too much. We profit-share
Erin: Yeah, we just started that. As you
get more and more bands, I think the
biggest thing we changed was a little bit of
our sound. Like, in the very beginning, we
had a real core Fat Wreck Chords sound
and then, probably with what - maybe Sick
of It All was the first band - do you think?
Todd: Swingin’ Utters, too?
Erin: Swingin’ Utters were a little bit different, but Sick of It All was really the
first real hard core band we signed and
that was a real big departure for us.
Todd: Did Ryan Greene do Sick of It All,
Mike: Did he produce? No. He only does
like a third of our records. But, profit-sharing is this year. It’s the newest thing we’ve
done. Everyone who works there gets a
share of our profits.
Sean: What’s the last thing you spent a
heepload of money on that didn’t turn out
the way you wanted it to?
Mike: Dance Hall.
Erin: Dance Hall Crashers.
Todd: How so? What part did you lose
Erin: We gave them too much money.
Mike: They asked for a real big advance
and we gave it to them. We didn’t really
want to, but, you know, they’re friends of
mine and I like their records, so I gave it
Erin: Sometimes that’s a hard line
because, it’s really cool, most of the bands
on the label, we’re really good friends
with. Very close personal friends with,
which is great. But then sometimes there’s
kind of a weird balance when business
gets in the way and, you know, if we get a
record that maybe we’re not that happy
with or maybe we feel like we’ve overspent, it does get a little uncomfortable.
Because we really love these
Todd: What’s the largest change in operating Fat over the last five years?
who works there
gets a share of
Brian Archer, Fat employee, reaping the benefits
comp and a lot of those bands that were on
Mike: What’s really cool about a lot of our other labels, they called us up afterwards.
bands is that they don’t even ask for money And they’re like, “That’s the first time I’ve
up front. They’re really reasonable ever gotten a royalty check. You guys actubecause we give them a real good royalty ally sent us money.”
rate. Half our bands, all the records are Sean: That’s great. Erin, why do you think
recouped, so advances don’t really mean there aren’t more women in punk rock?
anything. It just means getting it a little Erin: I think there aren’t more women
because I think it’s tough. I think there
aren’t enough women who, well, first of all,
Todd: What about the Muffs?
Mike: The Muffs, too. The Muffs wasn’t play their instruments properly. But I don’t
need to say that. I mean, it’s such a maletoo special for us, either.
Erin: We don’t even have contracts with a dominated industry that it’s hard. For
lot of our bands. We’ve never had a contract instance, last year, you know on the Warped
with Good Riddance or Hi-Standard. The Tour they did a Lady’s Lounge. They had
last two Lagwagon records, no contract. A this idea that they wanted an all-female
lot of our bands, it’s just, we’re such good stage. And Kevin Lyman? called me up and
friends that we come to an agreement. asked my opinion on that. He said, “We’re
Everybody sticks to it, and it doesn’t really doing a Lady’s Lounge on the Warped
Tour, what do you think of that?” And I
have to be in writing. It’s kind of cool.
Todd: Are there any people who were in said, “I think the bands you’re talking
bands who aren’t anymore who are still about, like maybe the Lunachicks, they
don’t want to be on a female-only stage.
pestering you for royalties?
They want to compete on their own level,
Mike: You don’t have to pester us.
Todd: Or do they think you’re holding out not because they’re women, but because
on them, saying, “That record sold twice as they’re good.”
many as you reported.” Or something like Todd: Right. You don’t want to make a
Mike: I don’t think so. Like one girl was Erin: Exactly.
in No Use For a Name. She played on one Mike: I don’t even think you can even ask
record. She still gets a couple thousand that question because women are not a very
big part of any music industry. It’s not punk
bucks every six months.
rock. It’s any kind of music. There are good
Mike: And she hasn’t been in the band in women bands here and there, but it’s a
like, eight years.
Erin: We’ve always paid our royalties on Sean: Why do you think that is?
time and in full. A lot of independent labels Mike: I don’t know. Maybe boys practice
out there have a hard time with royalties. guitar more when they’re kids.
Like we did that hundred and one band Erin: Well, there is this problem that when
women become more aggressive, people
think they’re a bitch and a lot of women
don’t want to be a bitch. So it’s harder to
be ambitious in that way and get somewhere if you still have this insecurity
thing. You want people to like you. You
don’t want people thinking you’re a bitch
or an asshole, but if you try to be ambitious and get somewhere, it’s a lot harder.
Todd: How much has gentrification
become a factor in the last couple of years,
living in San Francisco? You have a pretty
big warehouse and you’re well-located.
Mike: Our rent is going to be raised from
sixty-five cents to four dollars a square
Todd: Are you going to stay in the same
Mike: Probably not, unless we can make
some kind of a deal. But our landlord is
trying to rent it out for four bucks a square
foot in another year to a year and a half.
Todd: Does that scare you?
Erin: Yeah, because we have to move out
of the city and I don’t want to.
Todd: Would you go to Oakland or would
you go somewhere else?
Mike: Probably put a warehouse in
Erin: Yeah. I think we’d have to split up
the company. We’d have to have an offsite warehouse and then just have offices,
which I don’t really want to do. I like us all
being together. First of all, I think it would
suck for the warehouse people. Part of
what’s fun about working at our label is,
even if you’re just doing mail-order or
even if you’re just warehouse staff, you’re
there with everyone else. The bands come
in a lot. It’s more social.
Mike: We all play ping-pong after work.
We do a lot of stuff together. Go out a lot.
Erin: Yeah, we do a lot of stuff. Like this
Vegas trip. We’re all really close, and I
think if we split it up, it’d be lame.
Mike: When we have meetings, it’s not
just the higher ups. Pretty much everyone
goes to the meetings.
Sean: What’s the strangest place a Fat
song has ended up?
Mike: I can’t really think of anything.
Erin: “Taxi Cab Confessions”? That’s not
Mike: Yeah, we opened up “Taxi Cab
Confessions” on HBO. Oh, this is weirder.
The new Judy Garland special has a
Gimme Gimmes’ song.
Todd: What has been the largest offer for
money for a song that you didn’t give out?
Mike: I’m gonna tell you. And it’s fucking
ridiculous. And we turned it down. It was a
hundred and fifty grand for a Gimme
Gimmes song for, what was it, Lexus?
Erin: It was some car commercial. I don’t
remember what it was.
Mike: Yeah, I think a Lexus car commercial. We voted on it and we voted against
Sean: A lot of Lexus owners Gimme
Mike: No. Other bands may have done it,
but I don’t want to be involved in that kind
of shit. When I think of Lenny Kravitz. I
mean, you think of one car you think of
Todd: Right. Are you going my way?
Mike: Yeah, I don’t want that. And not
that we’d never do a commercial, but that
sounded totally lame. Movies. Movies are
fine. If it’s a cool movie, that’s totally fine.
Erin: Lagwagon had a pretty decent offer
for Sprite, and they turned it down.
Mike: Lagwagon were offered, I think,
two hundred grand for a Sprite commercial.
Erin: And they turned it down. It’s just so
Todd: Did you ever write anything nasty
on the matrix area - the dead wax area - of
a Face to Face record?
Mike: I don’t know [laughs].
Todd: Who drew first blood between you
and Dr. Strange?
Mike: Oh, did we? That was Face to Face
that did that. We had nothing to do with
Erin: Yeah, that was the band. It wasn’t
Todd: What did it say? Do you know? Do
Floyd : Fat activated his dental plan.
Todd: How was it?
Erin: It was funny because he did it on
Valentine’s Day, because he thought there
was no possible way that I would ever
expect it. Like that’s the cheesiest time to
propose to somebody.
Mike: Like, six months earlier, I’d said,
“It’s so cheesy.”
Mike: I gave her a ring and said, “So, will
Erin: I was actually quite shocked because
neither one of us really… We’d already
been living together for three years when
we got engaged and I already sort of felt
married. I thought we’d be together forever,
but I didn’t really believe in marriage and I
don’t think he did so much, either.
Mike: I never really believed in marriage. I
just thought it was something to do.
Erin: And I didn’t think we’d feel any different. I felt married before I was married.
Then, after we got married, I thought, it’s
gonna feel the same. It did feel a little bit
Todd: Excellent. To a different last name?
Erin: Yeah. Yeah.
Mike: We want to go for Dagger.
Erin: I’ll be E Dagger and he’ll be Mike
Todd: That’s great.
Sean: What was the coolest illegal wedding
gift you got?
Mike: I don’t think we got anything illegal.
Erin: I don’t think we did get anything illegal. You know, when we got married, we’d
never done drugs. Like, we didn’t do anything weird.
Mike: He could’ve meant firearms.
Erin: I don’t know. I thought he meant a
bunch a pot or whatever. We’ve been married eight and a half years, so that was a
while ago. It’s strange because we didn’t go
to high school together, and neither one of
us did the experimentation phase in high
school. We stayed away from it. And even
in college, really. And then, later, we’re
like, might as well try it now.
Mike: We just tried ecstasy for the first
time last year.
Erin: But I hated it. I’ll never do it again.
Mike: I thought it was great.
Erin: I’m too much of a control freak for
anything like that. I can’t handle that shit.
Mike: Let’s get off drugs.
Todd: What ever happened to the band
Slang? They were going to be the first or
second release on Fat Wreck Chords.
Mike: Well, they turned into the Other.
Todd: Oh really, I didn’t know that.
Mike: Slang was better, though.
Todd: Was Bommer (the drummer, who
Todd: What has been the largest offer for money for a song that you didn’t give out?
Mike: I’m gonna tell you. And it’s fucking ridiculous. And
we turned it down. It was a hundred and fifty grand for a
Gimme Gimmes song for, what was it, Lexus?
Erin: It was some car commercial. I don’t remember what it was.
Erin: You know what? I don’t remember.
Mike: We do drugs. We don’t remember a
lot of things.
Todd: That’s perfect.
Sean: When Mike proposed to you, did he
take a knee?
Erin: Did he take a knee? No. No, but it
was very romantic.
Mike: It did feel a little different.
Todd: Did you take his last name?
Erin: You know, I did. I hyphenated, which
was stupid. I shouldn’t have hyphenated.
It’s nothing but problems. No one can figure it out. They don’t know how to alphabetize it.
Mike: We’re gonna change our last name,
was also in RKL) in the Other?
Todd: So do you think the people on
Honest Don’s feel like they’re on the Fat
Mike: It’s not supposed to be that. It’s just
supposed to be bands that… Yeah.
Todd: What’s the separation or at least the
Mike: It’s just supposed to be bands that we
liked but didn’t really put on the label.
Erin: It’s supposed to be a little different
Mike: It is. It’s way poppier. Different
styles of music. I like Fat Wreck Chords to
be pretty much just a hardcore punk label,
but everything is just watered down.
Todd: Is there any separation at the label
Mike: No. It used to be.
Erin: We brought it back together.
Todd: Didn’t Marc used to work separately?
Mike: He used to, but now everyone gets
the same everything.
Erin: We have the same staff working for
Todd: So why the name Pink and Black?
[Erin tugs at her hair. It’s died pink and
Erin: I don’t know. I was having a really
hard time coming up with a name. And
pink’s my favorite color but I didn’t want it
to be too girly. I don’t know. There’s really
not much significance. Actually, Mike
thought it up. I couldn’t think of a name and
Mike goes, “How about Pink and Black
Records?” And I was like, “Yeah, I like
Sean: Have you two ever died your hair the
same color at the same time?
Mike and Erin: No.
Todd: Unintentionally? Come home and
go, “Look, honey.”
Mike: I’m not gonna go pink and she’s not
gonna go green.
Erin: I’ve had pink for like five years now.
I only dabble in the girl colors: pink and
Todd: Do you guys ever worry that you’re
gonna be kind of like, I mean no offense,
but kind of like the backwash for the
majors? You have the Muffs, Sick of It
All… Do you have a feeling that people
will say that you’re not bringing in new talent; you’re just taking established bands?
Mike: People won’t say that because, for
every band we take from the majors, we
sign four bands that are new. But yeah, we
have picked up some major label bands. We
signed Less Than Jake and that’s awesome.
They’re stoked. They’re seeing money.
Erin: Yeah, and you know, if we don’t do
that, where are those bands gonna go?
Because all those bands, they’re great bands
and they’re getting shit deals on majors.
They’re getting treated like crap. So it’s not
fair to them for us to not take them.
Mike: It’s a perfect situation
for a band that’s built up a good fan base
but isn’t making any money.
Todd: Has any band on Fat gone gold?
Mike: We don’t have any gold records on
Sean: What do you consider a hit song or a
hit for Fat?
Mike: We don’t have hit songs. I always
thought, just make a good record.
Todd: What is the time frame from when
“Punk in Drublic” (on Epitaph) came out
and when it went gold?
Mike: It came out in ’92, never hit the
charts anywhere, and it went gold in 2000.
Eight years to go gold.
Todd: And it still sells pretty well?
Mike: It still weekly. Every week it sells
more than any other NOFX record. Even
our new record.
Mike: It still sells a thousand a week.
Sean: When’s the new Dickies album
gonna come out?
Mike: May. It’s done.
Erin: Yeah, that was a labor of love
because we love the Dickies and it’s like
pulling teeth to get them to finish a record.
They’re not terribly organized.
Mike: They’ve been drugged for eighteen
years. They’re a little slow, now.
Todd: Yeah, they’re great but their noodles
Erin: It’s literally like every day that Marc
Tamo has to call them and go, “Okay guys,
you got the studio time. Are you guys
ready?” But it’s done.
Todd: Where and how did you guys meet?
Mike: In college.
Erin: I left a note on his van to ask for a
ride to Santa Barbara.
Mike: Because I had NOFX spray painted
on the side of my van and she knew we
were playing Santa Barbara. We were
friends for about two years before we… we
Todd: Do you have nicknames for one
Erin: Yeah, but I don’t want to say.
Erin: Not Shmoopy.
Mike: No, that’s “Seinfeld.”
Sean: If Mike has a sex change, will you
Sean: That’s a good answer. Where does he
keep his pornos?
Erin: Can I answer that?
Erin: In a locked chest.
Todd: When’s the last time that Mike’s
been terribly embarrassed?
Mike: Oh, shit. The most embarrassed I’ve
ever been in my life was a while ago?
Erin: How long ago? A few weeks ago?
Mike: At my mom’s house. No, like eight
Erin: Oh. That was bad. You don’t want to
tell that, though. Do you want to tell that?
Mike: It’s not that big of a deal.
Erin: If you have to say what it is, shoot.
Mike: It’s not that big of a deal.
Erin: She found a sex toy.
Mike: She said, “You need a jacket,” and
she grabbed one of mine. When she
opened it up, she found a riding crop in the
Erin: It was really awful. And she didn’t
Mike: She just like, lifted it out, looked at
it, put it back in.
Todd: Does your mom live in San
Mike: No. Laguna.
Todd: Does she really have Misfits
Mike: No, but my dad met me at the airport once. He spray painted his hair orange
and he had punk clothes on. That was pretty fucking embarrassing.
Erin: So awful. Then he calls me up like a
month later. It was Mike’s birthday and he
goes, “I have this great idea what to do for
Mike’s birthday. Remember when I met
you at the airport and I was dressed punk?
Well, they have these life-sized cardboard
cutouts. I’m gonna get one of those made
and he’ll put it in his office.
Mike: Then she’s like, “I don’t think that’s
the best idea.”
Erin: “I don’t think he’d like that.”
Sean: Damn. I should’ve asked you about
your parents right from the beginning.
Todd: Erin, who was your teen idol?
Erin: My teen idol. I don’t think I had a
teen idol, but my favorite band was 7
Seconds. I don’t know if I’d say that Kevin
Seconds was my idol, but I was a big fan.
Mike: Darby Crash.
Erin: I think what’s weird now is, like,
now meeting people who, when I was fifteen, I used to think were just it. This is so
lame, but when I was fifteen and I went to
see Social Distortion, I was just like this
geeky kid or whatever. Then, as an adult
now, having a label and actually meeting
them and having a purpose and an identity
and a reason to talk to them. It’s weird shit.
Mike: It’s so weird. Like when Jerry Only
yelled, “Mike, come on out here and sing
‘Halloween.’” I was like, hell yeah.
Because when I was a kid, I used to think
being in the Misfits would be the greatest
shit ever. When shit like that happens, it’s
Erin: And having bands like that call and
go, “Are you interested in our…”
Mike: I have a little list in my office, like,
Lee Ving, Jerry Only. All these people
called. Joey Shithead. Oh my God.
Erin: It’s just weird.
Todd: Have you ever been completely
starstruck? Have you ever just wanted to
meet that person, then you just blanked
Mike: No, but I think meeting the Misfits
was really cool. There’s only two people I
really wanted to meet in my life, and
haven’t. Madonna and Kurt Cobain. And I
Todd: Have you ever had sex in the Fat Wreck Chords office?
Erin: Yeah. We have.
Todd: On an employee’s desk or on your own?
Mike: It wasn’t on a desk, actually. It was in a chair.
never met those people. And I don’t even
want to meet Madonna anymore. That was
just like, sex.
Todd: The riding crop comes into play
Erin: When I met the Misfits, I was nervous.
Todd: Was it the original line up?
Mike: No. I actually met the Misfits in ’82.
But it wasn’t meeting them, it was like,
“Hi. I like your band.” That was original
members. No Bobby Steel.
Erin: The first time I met Brian Baker, I
was a little nervous. I thought that was
Sean: Was that before or after he was in
Erin: That was actually before he was in
Mike: No, no. It wasn’t before Junkyard.
Erin: No, the first time I met him it was
before that, but I didn’t know him as a person. Like, now I know him.
Mike: We met him socially during late
Todd: More sober thought. How many of
your friends have died since you began?
Mike: I’d say only like…
Erin: Three or four.
Mike: Close ones, like three or four. I know
tons of old Hollywood punkers who’ve
died, but no one who meant anything to me.
Todd: Is it true that, when rumors were flying around that Epitaph was being bought
out by Interscope, you went down there and
said, “I want to buy all my stuff back so that
you can’t sell it.”?
Mike: No. We’d made some kind of agreement during a record that we can buy back a
lot of our stuff if they sell to a major, but we
have to pay a lot of money for it. So I don’t
know if that’ll ever happen.
Erin: [To Todd] That’s partially true what
you said. [To Mike] It’s definitely true that
you negotiated that you never wanted to be
on a major and that, if they sold, you had
the option to buy it back.
Mike: Right. We got kind of screwed, anyway, because my publishing got sold.
Todd: Really? You had no say in it?
Mike: No. It got sold to MCA?
Sean: And that’s why your song is at the
end of “The Chase”?
Todd: What day is it today, Mike?
Sean: Erin, do you make him shower more
often than Wednesdays and Saturdays now?
Erin: You know what? I gave up. That song
is actually true.
Mike: She’s lucky if I go one a week.
Erin: It sucks. You know, I got tired of it.
There’s so many more important things for
me to nag him about. Like this is really not
that important. But in the beginning, there
actually was a calendar posted on the inside
of the bathroom with Wednesdays and
Saturdays marked off so he wouldn’t forget.
Because I’m like a clean freak. I shower
like twice a day. When we first started dating, I was like, eww. But he never smells.
He’s not a smelly guy. I got over it. It’s
silly, folks! Indeed, this ain't no airwave-ready "Soul Train" rehash; this is
an atomic-powered punkrock "Soul
Locomotive" cacophonously careening
out-of-control with salaciously smooth
wild abandon. It's sensually smokin', for
your ears only... -Roger Moser, Jr.
(Upper Cut, 4470 Sunset Blvd. #195,
LA, CA 90027; <uppercutrecords.com>
or The Bellrays, PO Box 1532,
<thebellrays.com> or $10 ppd to Vital
Gesture, PO Box 46100, LA, CA
Split 7" EP
@patia: Venezuelan political punk wit
h that classic Latino hardcore sound, th
e closest comparison being early
Atoxxxio. Jabara: Discharge-y hardcore with that patented Japanese
over-the-top nudge. This is one great 7
incher. -Jimmy Alvarado (HG Fact,
105 Nakano Shinbashi-M, 2-7-15
Yahoi-Cho, Nakano, Tokyo 164-0013
After the "Soulwinter" 7" and the
"Customized Circle" CD comes this
absolute beast of a release. That is the
only history I know of this band and
that is all I own. This three piece from
Japan has gotten plenty of references
to Terrorizer (Earache Records, 1980s)
for their pounding grindcore meets
hardcore. The two releases that I got
prior were almost exactly reminiscent
of that band. This one carries on the
same tradition but comes off heavier
with added influence, in my ears, of
Entombed and Hellchild. Manic and
excruciating in their madness while the
energy thrusts upon bleeding ars.
-Donofthedead (HG Fact, 105 Nakano
Shinbashi-M, 2-7-15 Yayoi-Cho,
Nakano, Tokyo164-0013, Japan)
I was really apprehensive putting this
thing on. I see sun flares on CD covers
and my first (usually correct) assumption is that I'm gonna be lambasted by a
bunch of emo crybabies pouring their
poor, wounded hearts into some of the
worst songs ever conceived. Thankfully,
I was wrong in this case. 324 play some
punishing metallic Japanese hardcore
that could easily have been recorded in
the mid-'80s. There's nary a slow song
here and lots of gutteral "rooaooar" in
the vocal department. Damn if this ain't
some kickass stuff. I'm willing to bet
that a double bill featuring these guys
and Gehenna would be a very dangerous place, indeed. Yes, I recommend
this bad boy. -Jimmy Alvarado (HG
ALL NATURAL LEMON & LIME
"Straight Blue Line" CD
The "Loveless" -era My Bloody
Valentine influence is painfully obvious, yet this stands pretty well on its
own. While not a sonically overwhelming or as densely lush as "Loveless,"
this group manages to effectively channel MBV's poppiness and wobbly, hypnotic repetitiveness through a sound not
unlike Os Mutantes' psychedelic bossa
nova experiments and come out sounding less like a rip off than extension of
an idea. Shoegazers all over the world
can rejoice. With this release, the total
number of bands playing that style that
are worth a piss has now been upped to
five. -Jimmy Alvarado (Gern Blandsten,
PO Box 356, River Edge, NJ 07661)
"The Black Godfather" CD
Although dirty old man Andre's still
growlin' and howlin' about the good
things in life - pussy, ass, dope and
pussy - his rug burn voice no longer resonates
“Critics are like eunuchs at a gang bang.”
orange-juice soaked BBQ ribs and
Bonneville joyrides. Distracted by far
less than 36-24-38 these days, the gritty
"Pass the biscuits, please" signature
voice now inertly punctuates the
fuzzed-out guitars of the Countdowns,
Blues Explosion, Cheater Slicks and
Compulsive Gamblers - Andre's never
had so much competition from a bunch
of white-boys-gone-black. Ol' Andre,
senior citizen, was done plucked plumb
outta his weekly-rate hotel room on
Detroit's notorious Cass Corridor and
re-branded as the Pimp of all Pimps,
injected with the trademark Jon Spencer
sound. A good idea in theory, but much
to my chagrin, "Shut the gate Sally, and
don't let me in." -RumbleStripper (In
The Red, 2627 E. Strong Pl., Anaheim,
ANTHEM EIGHTY EIGHT
"Q: And Progress A: And Progress" CD
Hardcore that was loud, fast and really
pissed off, just as it should be. For some
reason, they reminded me a little of
Articles of Faith, had Vic Bondi been
stricken with throat cancer. -Jimmy
Alvarado (No Idea, PO Box 14636
Gainesville, FL 32604)
ATOM AND HIS PACKAGE
"Redefining Music" CD
If you've never heard of Atom, it's a
hard sell. "Uhm, it's this Jewish guy
who tours the land solely with his synthesizer and his wits to protect him. He
got threatened to be doused with a bucket of blood in Wyoming." But he's much
more than that. Live, he rocks the
house. Serious. Although not quite a
redefinition, Atom's surely exploring
some fun stuff. Think of an extremely
warm-sounding Devo crossed with the
gleeful abandon of Masters of the
Obvious (if you've never listened to
MOTO, do yourself a favor and get the
"Bolt" LP - $8 to Box 578912, Chicago,
IL 60657) with some Weird Al Yankovic
poking its nose in here and there. What
makes the kitsch/ joke value almost
irrelevant is fact that Atom makes Grade
A, excellent songs; little poisonous capsules that sound like simple sugar until
you realize how damn catchy they are.
No matter how hard you shake your
head, those little ditties stick. They're
layered, catchy, structured really well,
and thoughtful. Songs range from whatever happens to be on his mind: "I'm
going on a shopping spree," to a workmate being "undercover funny," to a plea
for the Washington Redskins to change
their name, to "Oh, I get it. Anarchy
means you can litter." If you're already
familiar with Atom, this album's a natural extension of "Making Love." He's
definitely developed a steadier music
and a tighter album as a whole. Parting
shot: if the popular '80s new wave had a
sense a humor and more balls than hairspray, distilled through thousands of van
miles, you'd get Atom. -Todd (Hopeless)
"Grand Fury" CD
The Bellrays once again brazenly blast
out a spirit-stirrin' hypnotic concoction
of sizzlin' soulful rock'n'roll and sonic
voodoopunk sultriness. Man, this is
aurally IT! Nothin' else compares, or
even comes close! The guitar grinds and
growls with distorted over-amped jungle-swamp ferociousness... the spellbinding nicotine-charred hoochie
-enchantress vocals are the intoxicating
aural equivalent of a female James
Brown/Bon Scott hootin'-and-hollerin'
at a holyroller revival down in the
impoverished shanty-towns of a "Deep
South" Mississippi delta (man, this gorgeous gal's voice is more passionate,
more sensuous, and sexier than any
sweet sound in existence that's ever
seductively caressed my ears, I kid you
not!)... the bass raucously rumbles
along like the earthmoving clamor of a
filled-to-capacity subway train clattering along an over-used track on a
one-way destination to nowhere... the
dinosaur-stomp drums dissonantly
crash, bang and boom with such frightful fullforce fury, I just peed myself
"Grand Fury" CD
The mighty BellRays have once again
reared their collective heads and let fly
13 tracks of some bombastic, scathing
rock'n'roll. Let me tell you, kids, this is
a pretty welcome addition to the playlist
at the Alvarado/Perez-Villalta household. Karla (my girlfriend) is not especially punk-friendly, but the Bell Rays
is one of few bands that she not only tolerates but actively encourages the listening of on a regular basis (the
Descendents and early Bad Brains being
a couple of others). Of course, we still
have our disagreements about who we
hear traces of in their music (she says
either a meeting of Jimi Hendrix and
Tina Turner, or Angela Davis set to
music, but I think she's high, because
it's patently clear that what she's hearing
is an MC5/Aretha Franklin hybrid, but I
digress), and these discussions usually
get pretty heated when they're coupled
with a game of Scrabble (I do not make
up words! "Git" does exist! Sod the dictionary!). While we may disagree on the
irrelevant particulars, we do agree that
the Bell Rays are one of the best groups
that rock'n'roll in the new millennium
has to offer, even if listening to them at
excessive volumes causes your ears to
bleed. I hear through the grapevine that
they're going through a bad patch right
now, and I hope that they are able to
come through it relatively unscathed,
'cause losing this band would be the
equivalent of losing a lung for any fan
of loud music. -Jimmy Alvarado
"Shitty in Pink" b/w "Nobody to Love" 7"
The good news is, the Beltones are still
getting better. The vocals vibrate out of
the speakers at a dizzying speed, sounding like something between a snarl and
a growl and, if you can decipher the
lyrics, they're funny and angry and pretty damn good. The music keeps up with
the speed and, like the lyrics, it's pretty
complex once you separate it from the
fuzz. I really like this band. I like these
two new songs. I even like the cover
with its trashy, shitty-in-pink punk rock
broad on the cover and the crazy collage
in the back. The bad news, though, is
that you get, what, four minutes of
music and then it's done. Just like their
eighteen minute full-length and twenty
minute shows. It's good to be left wanting more, but it's better to fill up the
vinyl and get, like four two-minute
songs instead of two. -Sean (Radio, PO
Box 1452, Sonoma, CA 95476)
Look, the fact that I was a member of a
later version of this band is of no consequence because A) That version of the
band was completely different from the
version presented here and B) I was a
fan long before I was a participant in
any of their shenanigans. So there. All
of you screaming "conflict of interest"
can kiss my ass. Now, on with our story.
I first saw the Black Jax in late '85/early
'86 at a party in Montebello, if I'm not
mistaken. I was a little, bald, hardcore
shithead who thought that you had to
play fast and hard to be considered a
good punk band. They proved that particular belief of mine was ridiculous.
The band was hard, up-tempo and
(gasp) melodic at the same time. The
fact that Pogo was a fuckin' madman
didn't hurt much either. We later got
chased out of the party 'cause a drunk
Vietnamese kid who was with us was
claiming to be a "Suicidal" in a party
filled with skinheads (Suicidals and
skins didn't get along back then, mind
you) and he ended up jumping into the
swimming pool. I left that party humming the song I later learned was called
"Fooled By a Pretty Face" and considered myself a fan from that day forward.
Over the next year, I saw them many
times and, each time, I stood awed at
how utterly goddamned good they were.
They could pull hooks out of thin air.
They laid waste to almost any band
dumb enough to play with them. They
were, to sound like a high school geek,
fucking awesome. Sadly, though, they
never got their moment in the sun or the
chance to put their amazing set on vinyl.
This release, which consists of two
demos, will hopefully rectify that injustice. The first nine songs were recorded
in 1986 and later (coupled with a live
show from Raji's that ain't on here on
the other side of the tape) became the
band's official demo. The sound is what
is now referred to "77 punk" with a
good dose of old So Cal punk for good
measure, yet, 14 years later, they don't
sound dated at all. The recording is
excellent (which is amazing considering
that it was recorded on a four-track in a
bedroom) and the tracks are tight and fat
with instantly hummable hooks. Their
finest moment, the song "Growing
Pains," which begins with a quiet guitar
intro and quickly kicks into overdrive,
still gives me chills. The remaining
three tracks are from an earlier demo
that I've never heard (dammit, Gary, you
were holding out on me!). The sound on
these are a little rawer, but the songs
shine through and transcend the primitive recording limitations. A note of
gratitude goes out to Steve Stiph for
finally giving this great, long-gone band
their due. Now those of us who have
been listening to shitty, worn out cassette copies of the demo all these years
can give them a decent Christian burial
and rock out once again to one of the
best punk bands East LA/San Gabriel
ever produced. -Jimmy Alvarado
(Wankin' Stiphs, PO Box 6480, Mesa,
BORIS THE SPRINKLER
"...Is Gay" CD
What I like about Boris the Sprinkler is
that they put out new albums often
enough so that a newish Boris the
Sprinkler record is always on high rotation in my life. And all their albums are
really good. "..Is Gay" keeps
SweetTart-blood-level high. It's fast,
bouncy, Ramones-distorted, Norb-
twisted rock'n'roll. The monologue is
back at the beginning, thanks to a little
pre-planning (they stuck Paul #1 in a
soundproof booth while Rev. Norb
delivered his sermon [though not without having to monologue duel with the
computer from the "Group Sex"
album]). But I don't want to give away
too many secrets. Suffice it to say that
the schtick is still funny, and the songs
around the schtick are still great. -Sean
Carswell (Go Kart, PO Box 20 Prince
St. Station, NY, NY 10012)
BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
Mellow late '60s-tinged rock. For some
reason, every song on this reminds me
of Love's "Signed DC." I liked it.
-Jimmy Alvarado (Bomp, PO Box 7112,
Burbank, CA 91510)
BRIEFS, THE/THE SPITS
Split 7" EP
Briefs: Their side of the cover is a total
bite of the first Child Molesters' single.
More engaging than their CD. I can hear
a Voidoids influence in there somewhere on "(I Think) My Baby is a
Communist." "Silver Bullet" calls for
the death of Bob Seger, and I sure ain't
gonna argue against that. Pretty fucking
good stuff. Spits: Sound quality is as
bad as the Misfits' "Cough/Cool" single.
The first song is a punk'n'roll ditty and
the second reminded me of the Normal.
-Jimmy Alvarado (Dirtnap, PO Box
21249, Seattle, WA 98111)
"Letting Off the Happiness" CD
I saw these boys play at the Silverlake
Lounge a while back and they were nice
enough to give me a CD to review. I
think these guys are great, and I think
they are going to continue to grow with
their music and their popularity. First of
all, this band is huge (or at least bigger
than your average 4 piece). They have
enough instruments to incorporate into
a small jazz band, but without losing
their indie rock sound and charm.
Whether or not this band is as young as
they look is questionable on behalf of
the emotions and situations represented
in their music. I hate to drop the reference, but lyrically they remind me of
Belle and Sebastian, using stories rather
than sentences to portray their ideas and
songs. I discover something new every
time I listen to this album; whether it be
a softer lyric, or a new digital pulse or
putter that somehow went unnoticed the
time before. "Letting Off the
Happiness" is only one of many CDs
they have released that you probably
haven't heard, but are recommended to
listen to. Their newest release, "Fevers
and Mirrors," is equally enchanting and
exceptional. -Harmonee (Saddle Creek,
Box 8554, Omaha, NE 68108-0554)
"Notes for a Catalogue for an
It's no secret by now that I hate emo in
all its sickly hues, cacophonous tones
and pretentious intents. A good day for
me would be one in which all the little
emo lemmings took a flying fuck off the
nearest cliff, taking every one of their
putrid CDs along for the ride. That said,
I liked this disc. Sure, it has its share of
overblown artistic reach, soaring guitars
and stream of consciousness lyrics, but
it also has one hell of an edge, and that
alone allows it to pull itself out of the
dung heap. Behind all the usual trappings is one mother of a rhythm section,
notably a drummer who lays a solid
foundation by gleefully wailing on his
skins in wild abandon, giving the whole
thing an almost early Die Kreuzen
intensity, albeit sans the thrash beats.
No faggy boo hoo cry in my Fugazi
backpack swill here, boyo. This stuff is
as anything remotely related to punk
rock should be: a pure emotional purging of anger, desperation, rage, tragedy
and every other negative adjective you
can think of. Fuck, I could probably
stomach all the whiny crybaby shit all
those other bands force-feed the masses
if they at least sounded the least bit
upset about the whole thing, you know?
Despite all the annoying genre trappings
to be found here, these guys sound
pissed off and that makes all the difference. -Jimmy Alvarado (No Idea, PO
Box 14636, Gainesville FL 32604)
BUSTED LIVES, THE
"The Winner's Circle" CD
Not as crazed as their last album, but
that doesn't mean that this isn't up to its
eyeballs in bad drug-induced psychosis.
As I listened to this, I pictured Black
Randy fronting an early incarnation of
the Flesh Eaters writing desperate love
songs to The Reatards. Then again, I
could be way off the mark with that
description. It wouldn't be the first time.
Look, just send 'em your fuckin' money.
You won't be disappointed. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Blueball, 6517 Faralion Way,
Oakland, CA 94611)
"Ugly on the Inside" b/w
"Party Girl - Cocaine County" 7"
If Chuck Berry was a bunch of much
paler guys, hopped-up, drugged-to-thegills, and bleeding, he'd be the
Snatchers. These guys are the
teleprompter and dance instructor pop.
Two fast, drunk and plunder songs. The
only question I have is why did someone Photoshop a can of cat food on the
cover? -Todd (Get Hip, PO Box 666,
Canonsburg, PA 15317)
CANNANES AND STEWARD
At An Unknown Rate" CD
Nope, I won't be needing any downers
tonight. -Jimmy Alvarado (Yoyo, PO
Box 2462, Olympia, WA 98507)
CAUSEY WAY, THE
"Causey Vs. Everything" CD
A lot more sultry than previous releases,
it seems that Causey is personalizing his
message to each and everyone of us.
The more blatant new wave trappings
have been updated to something I can't
exactly place, but enjoy immensely
("Newest Wave," perhaps). All I know
is that their sound is slithery, bouncy,
and saturated with space-reverb guitar
that borders on a rapture of sorts. This
time out, Causey's high-pitched voice is
augmented by the smoky female esophagus of The Truth Causey (I believe.
Scant details are on the CD packaging
itself) that develops yet another dimension to Causey's already considerable
musical arsenal. There
are also quite a few slower and mid
tempo songs on "Vs. Everything," that
bip, bop and bounce around in really
intriguing ways, avoiding the continual
trap of boring the audience with mere
repetitious masturbation. My sole quibble is that there are no sermon transcriptions to the songs accompanying the
release; instead there's a picture of a
shirtless Causey frolicking in a field of
yellow flowers that's so funny I want to
get the LP version so it's bigger. All in
all, a fantastic release that'll be sure to
swell the minions converting to The
Causey Way. -Todd (Alternative
Tentacles, PO Box 419092, SF, CA
"American Swagger" CD
The Chubbies is just one girl,
Jeannette, and she is DIY. This album
is a collection of demos written,
recorded, mixed, produced and starring her. After 22 other releases as The
Chubbies, Jeannette decided to go
back to basics for this one. This album
was recorded on an 8-track in her bedroom. The booklet is very Storytellers
with a short description of what the
songs are about before the lyrics are
given. A recommended listen for anyone who owns a virgin 8-track who
needs to hear how it's done.
-Harmonee (Filthy's, 31736 Mission
Tr. #D, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530)
"England Belongs to Me" CD
A compendium of their early singles,
this release also serves as an interesting document of the evolution of this
long-running band. The earlier tracks
owe more than a little to the pub rock
sound that was prevalent when the
band started back in the '70s and, as the
disc progresses, you can hear the
development of the hard, yet very
poppy sound for which they are
known. Toward the end, the listener is
also treated to a lesson that plagued
many English punk bands (Adicts,
SLF, Angelic Upstarts) during the '80s:
overproduction can ruin even the best
song. Still, this is more than worth the
price of admission just to hear early
versions of classics like "Running
Riot," "Argy Bargy," "Working," and a
great live cover of the Clash's "White
Riot." -Jimmy Alvarado (Taang, 706
Pismo Ct., San Diego, CA 92109)
"Live: Runnin' Riot Across the USA"
You can't really say that Cock Sparrer is
breaking any new ground these days.
This is a recording of their show in San
Francisco last February. They played
most of their hits: "Runnin' Riot,"
"Where Are They Now?" "Riot Squad,"
"Argy Bargy," "England Belongs to
Me," and so on. The recording quality is
high. It sounds great, and the songs are
really good songs. The only problem I
have is that I've heard them all so many
times now that I wish they'd write some
new fucking songs. They also have kind
of a rock star way of putting on a show:
they say the name of the city the same
way Spinal Tap would, they tell the
crowd that they're great audience, they
encourage you to sing along with the
hits, etc. So if you're a Cock Sparrer nut
(no pun intended), if you want to relive
the last time you saw Cock Sparrer, or if
you've never heard them, this would be
a great album. Otherwise, well, you've
heard it. -Sean Carswell (TKO, 4104
24th St. #103, SF, CA 94114)
"Boy, You Better Run Now" CD
This band is from Stockholm. If they
don't play here soon, I might have to
save money to search for them in
Sweden. The Concretes are made up of
six steady members and two more
loosely involved members. This is kind
of mellow pop - kinda jumpy with some
harmonicas and trumpets adding sparks.
Victoria's vocals are very soft and
sweet, almost paralleling the emotion of
the keyboard. Sometimes they remind
me of Mazzy Star, sometimes they
remind me of Devics. Good music to
bake to (and by that I mean cakes, cookies, dinner party action, etc.). Yummy.
-Harmonee (Up, Box 21328, Seattle,
"Tales of Drunkenness & Cruelty"
The powerpop punkiness of The
Condors is dynamically delicious, jubilantly jumpy, and melodiously spirited
with a spine-tingling plethora of
happy-go-lucky hook-laden harmonics!
This is the swirling sound of The Byrds
if they had been energetically infused
with a high-octane dose of snarlin' rock'n'roll belligerence and rabid badboy
bite... this is the booty-twistin' sound of
hot fun in the summertime sun, of sloppy juvenilistic sex in the backseat of a
souped-up turbo-charged '81 Camaro,
of wide-eyed youthful innocence soon
to be corrupted by mind-altering stomach-churning amounts of the devil's
drink and other illicit intoxicants... yes,
this is the rambunctiously sparkling
sound of vibrantly frenzied life itself!
Man, The Condors are sonically cooler
than cool, so aurally impress yourself
and all of your cliquish lil' friends with
this powerfully rousing platter of
poprock perfection now, tomorrow and
always... -Roger Moser, Jr. ($6 ppd to
Vital Gesture, PO Box 46100, LA, CA
90046 or The Condors, PO Box 6673,
Alhambra, CA 91802-6673)
"All Hell Can't Stop Us" CD
For those of you dismayed by the unfortunate termination of the Gits or who
mused that 7 Year Bitch would be, well,
musical, or plain just can't get enough of
the eclectic NW scene, rejoice! Cookie
is here. Vocally strong chick singer and
some punk rock guys. It's the
Automatics. It's Poison Idea. It's Elmer.
It's the Nuns. It's Patsy Cline.
-RumbleStripper (Last Chance;
"The Atavistic Triad" CD
Big, blustery black metal that was interesting for approximately two and
one-half minutes of the first 15 minute
track, then I found myself thinking
about my new socks. They're very nice
socks, by the way. -Jimmy Alvarado
(Dark Symphonies, Box 457, Billerica,
"The Mystery of the Whisper" CD
If there is one truth that becomes more
apparent with the passing years, it is
that the goth scene just won't stay dead.
For every kid who trades in their
Specimen collection for the latest Bis
album, it seems that two new adolescents are drafted into the legion of darkness. While many people will agree that
"Darkwave" grows more tedious with
age, some seem to find solace in
stagnation. We can always count on a
band of teenage night-creatures (and
their middle-aged admirers) to take the
look and sound of 1980's post-punk and
drive it further into the realm of
self-parody. "The Mystery of the
Whisper," the latest disc from the
Cruxshadows, more than aptly proves
this point. Upon first glance, it's obvious that the Cruxshadows are the poster
children for all that is spooky. The packaging embodies every cliche of the
scene (or is that "lifestyle"?) - spiky hair
mixed with too much black eyeliner,
bell-sleeved dresses, ankhs, computergenerated infernos, etc. As the album
begins to play, the uber-gothness of the
Cruxshadows becomes even more obvious. Opening with the track "Isis &
Osiris (Life/Death)," the band conjures
up the spirit of Dead Can Dance. Lead
singer Rogue does his best to capture
the Middle Eastern-vibe that sends all of
the corset-clad girls running to the
Cruxshadows settle into the sound that
dominates this lengthy release - overly
dramatic synthpop set off by flat vocals
and lyrics that could have been lifted
from SNL's "Goth Talk." Throughout
seventeen tracks, listeners succumb to
such profound statements as "everywhere I go they all stare/I don't understand why they care/ They stare at me
all in black/ And when I turn they stare
at my back." Needless to say, the
Cruxshadows prove that we need to
seriously consider driving the stake
through goth's tortured heart once and
for all. -Liz O (Dancing Ferret Discs,
4939 Catharine St. #3f, Philadelphia,
"Make Us Old" CD
This San Francisco band transplanted
itself to LA in the fall of 2000, hot off
the heels of recording their second full
length. SF's loss is definitely LA's gain.
The Dagons mine literary references,
gothic imagery and Grimm's Fairy Tales
all the while avoiding the trappings of
goth in favor of a straight-up rock
Jacobson (who also played bass on this
album) lulls you in with sweet, ethereal
vocals as drummer Drew Kowalski
sneaks up with menacing, pounding
drum work on songs like "Grinder" and
"As Close As You May Ever Get."
Spooky in a good way. -Bob (Dead Sea
Captain, 4470 Sunset Blvd. #163, LA,
"You (That's All We Ever Talk About)"
Tight, female-fronted punk rock'n'roll.
The songs are well written and poppy in
a good way. I think I'm keepin' this
puppy. -Jimmy Alvarado (Fan Attic, PO
Box 391494, Cambridge, MA 02139)
"Analbum: The New Indie Rock
Standard" CD-R EP
Dharmakaya skillfully churn out melancholy musical madness raucously reminiscent of the lo-fi grungey gruffness
that statically strutted across the college-radio airwaves everywhere in the
early '90s (a complimentary comparision of sorts: Black Sabbath maniacally
mutating with Pavement, vocally led by
a gargoyle Kurt Cobain character!). The
noggin-thumpin' numbers cacophonously contained herein screech and
scream with scathing sonic emotion...
delicately soft and cuddly at times
(albeit briefly!), and then turbulently
tumbling into all-out frenzied fierceness
at the spontaneous shift of a chord.
Indeed, a heady dose of anger-rock is
robustly served on this appealing platter
of mind-twistin' tunesmithing, so I'll
give it a hearty thumbs-up and a playful
poke in the eye... -Roger Moser, Jr.
($5.00 ppd. to Spat, 1113 Forrest Ave.
Apt. A, Nashville, TN 37206)
Dude, Soundgarden sucks. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Elastic, PO Box 17598,
Anaheim, CA 92817)
"Who Killed Vinyl?" 7"
What's more authentic than a street
punk band whose been around awhile
but took several years to get to vinyl
due to members being in prison?
Hoosegow aside, imagine the less fat
Cock Sparrer, the Cock Sparrer that
actually wrote new songs - their
anthemic, powerful, perfectly timed
choruses - and you'll get a taste of
entrenched in a genre that's notoriously narrow and stifling, I'd go as far to
say that Discontent is like a 12 pack of
beer. You know what you're getting
from the packaging, it takes you to
where you want to go pretty quickly,
but when it's done, you're pissing and a
little sad that it's gone. Good shit.
-Todd (Hostage, PO Box 7736,
Huntington Beach, CA 92615)
"Cold Cinder" 7"
This is wondrously wild distorted audial depravation at its most mindwarping
and disruptive best. Dollicious are
cranked-to-the-max over-amped Who
frantically fronted by Theo Lunachick
(and toss in the occasional spooky
strains of a theremin's wavy-gravy eeriness for added incendiary effect). Man,
this is deliciously decadent, aurally belligerent, and nefariously noisy beyond
belief... I've repeatedly rotated it until I
can no longer hear myself think (it's that
damn addictive, folks!). Please,
Dollicious, tell me there's gonna be
more... -Roger Moser, Jr. (Get Hip, PO
Box 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317;
Dollicious, 39 Newcourt House, Pott St,
Bethnal Green, London E2 0EG, UK)
AND THE HUNNS
"Tickets to Heaven" CD
Quick on the rebound from the seemingly just released "Unity" LP, it can be
said that the ink-filled, tooth-deprived,
Beer City pro skater main man with two
bands, Duane Peters, can put together
two great albums quicker than it takes a
normal band to put out a shitty one.
What's alarming is how essentially
flawless the spirit of mid-tempo '77
punk spins into the '00s without it
smelling like rotting meat or another
tired dance around a grave. Broken
hearts, broken bottles, broken dreams,
broken streets, broken unions, and broken lives are the song themes, all told
with conviction, all told in pirating,
street riot vein of poetry.
Maybe because I stood on his side of
the stage when I recently saw them live,
and his monitor was under my arm, but
Mark "Anarchy" Lee (ex-Humpers,
ex-Crowd) is probably one of the most
underrated rhythm guitarists playing
punk these days, providing a huge
amount of swagger, hum, and melody
that would probably just sound like a
rehash of popular favorites in lesser
hands into huge, dense, vital songs.
-Todd (Disaster, PO Box 7112,
Burbank, CA 91510)
"The Winter is Coming" CD
This is a pretty weird one here. Take
some jangly pop, sprinkle in some
Republic/Middle Eastern drone on the
top and voila! It's not exactly what most
people would call "rockin' tuneage," but
it is definitely a nice, mostly successful
attempt to find some new ground by
mixing some seemingly disparate influences. -Jimmy Alvarado (Sugar Free,
PO Box 14166, Chicago, IL 60614)
"Kero! Kero! Kero!" CD
I'm so happy I intercepted this CD. This
is a female Japanese trio and what
Shonen Knife did to pop, eX-Girl could
do for experimental/indie rock. All
songs but two are sung in English (one
is in Japanese and one is in Spanish).
My favorites are "Tofu Song" (which is
styled after, or even mocking maybe,
those Bulgarian Women's Choir chants)
and "The Revenge of Kero," which is all
about frogs... lots of them. If you're into
Japanese pop culture at all, you might
be interested in this album. Reminiscent
of The Raincoats here and there, just as
much fun as its packaging. The question
left to answer is not if you should go
find this album, but rather which
eX-Girl is your favorite. -Harmonee
"What's What and Who's Who" 7" EP
Apparently, Larry May of The Candy
Snatchers has opened a school or
released the patent to his "How To
Scream Like Punk Rock Opera." And if
you think I speak ill of such things,
you're mistaken. The band follows suit solid snap, crunch, and twists to straight
forward, guitar-driven rock'n'roll. What
keeps it from being a clone are the hints
of psych, pockets of nerve, and the fact
that it's easier and more fun to understand than basic math. In my humble
opinion, Crime sucked, but The
Exploders' cover of "Rockabilly
Drugstore" gave it a nice shank in the
balls and made it real, real listenable.
The Exploders also follow a good rule
of thumb: if your cover has a cartoon of
a pretty lady with lightning bolts
over her boobs, chances are that
more people will buy your record.
Good listen. -Todd (Teenage USA,
PO Box 91, 689 Queen St. W.,
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1X6,
"Put Out Or Get Out!" CD-R
Man! Retodd knows my preferences and what I might enjoy. After
a long layoff on the review front,
he picks a winner for the first thing
he sends me. This is the pre-release
for this band's release on the Fat
Wreck subsidiary Pink and Black.
This is the label's second signing,
joining the Dance Hall Crashers on
the roster. What a great choice! If
you like or love DHC, you will
love this band. This has been a regular play in my CD changer in the
car now for weeks. I can't get over
the great harmonies over great
melodies. At the same time, the
band packs a punch. I have no idea
what the songs are titled or what
the band members look like, all I
know is that track five is my
favorite. The intro reminded me of
The Cure and bolts forward with a
mid tempo punk riff and goes into
an almost dream-like chorus of
beautiful harmony. The moods on
that song jerk back and forth from
regret to pure anger. An absolute
gem! I can't wait 'til the actual
release comes out to see the lyric
sheet and see if all my curiosities
can be answered. It reminded me of
the Teen Idols (not the DC band,
Teen Idles) mixed with the great
elements of all the female-led punk
-Donofthedead (Pink & Black, PO
Box 190516, SF, CA 94119)
"So Fashionable It Hurts" 7"
Orange County punk bands seem
to re-congeal, re-form, and get
sicker all of the time. It's the opposite of incest - these bands' blood
seems to be getting thicker. The
Fakes are no exception, having
(ex-Stitches drummer) and Steve
Reynolds (ex-US Bombs bassist)
into their fold. The sound? This
oscillates between hard-nosed and
snot-nosed with a slurring vocalist
who phrases his words into short
punches. At best, there's a strong
undercurrent of '90s power pop (a
la The Gain), in the song
"Sometimes," yet with the song
"Grey Matter," they slip into
late-US Bombs territory where the
mid tempo plods a little too much
and the repetition gets the better of
the song. On the whole, it's definitely not bad and I'd keep an eye
out for them, but they're no unexpected taser to the nuts, either.
-Todd (Hostage, PO Box 7736,
Huntington Beach, CA 92615)
FATAL FLYIN' GUILLOTINES
/SCARED OF CHAKA
Split 7" EP
FFG: Trashy punk, but not in the
'60s sense. It has a certain charm.
Scared: Hyped up, lo-fi punk with
a smidgen of pop. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Dirtnap, PO Box 21249,
Seattle, WA 98111)
This CD is so weird. Is it synth? Is
it rock? Is it spoken word?
Whatever it is, it's a small square
of art. It's curious and intriguing.
It's one of those CDs where none
of the tracks have breaks between
them, so they all kind of just string
along, each one adding something
to the next. If you read the back
cover, it sounds like a small story,
when in fact it is the song titles.
The music itself (stories), vibrations, whatever, is a journey
through an obviously complex
Christopher Deckard (I think.
Everything about this little package keeps me guessing). It is a definite experience, but in reference to
what, I am unable to define as of
now. -Harmonee (Muzak, 3000
Lemp Ave., St. Louis, MO 63118)
"Our Fathers Sent Us" CD
This is what I always wished the
Pogues sounded like when I listened to their albums: songs born
of Irish ballads that fill in the
sound; songs that maintain the
sense of self-loathing and downtroddenness, but add some chunks
of Chuck Berry style rock'n'roll
along with whiskey and gravel and
hope from the hopeless. The Filthy
Thieving Bastards are a side project for Johnny Bonnel and Darius
Koski from the Swingin' Utters
(along with various musicians filling in on drums, mandolin, banjo,
bass, and percussion). Musically,
it's a pretty big departure from the
Swingin' Utters, but they retain the
spot-on lyrics ("So deep in debt I
just might get the bends"), the
catchy melodies, and the general
sense of "how do they make this
sound so good?" And, on a personal note, I have to love an album
with pictures of James Joyce, Jack
Kerouac, and Charles Bukowski
on the back cover. This is definitely one of the records we're all
wrestling for here at Razorcake
HQ. -Sean Carswell (TKO, 4104
24th St. #103, SF, CA 94114)
FUCK YOU UPS
"Fuck City Baby" 7" EP
A living, breathing TV punk rock
stereotype. You guys must be
beaming with pride. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Formula 13, PO Box
7385, Tempe, AZ 85281-0013)
Fast, punishing hardcore rage,
reminiscent of long-gone DC
greats United Mutation. I can't
understand a fuckin' word he's
sayin', and the lack of a lyric sheet
doesn't help matters much, but he
sure sounds pissed about whatever
it is he's singin'. This is well worth
whatever you pay for it, and I suggest you seek it out. Now. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Crawlspace, PO Box
41031, Long Beach, CA 90853)
"Never Mind The Goddamned,
Here's The Ditchdiggers" CD
The GDDs brazenly belt-out a
cacophonous conflagration of
rough'n'ready, rude'n'rowdy backwoods punkrock belligerence!
Beer-fuelled and whiskey-saturated
demon-spawned rural reprobates
immorally epitomize a new jawcrackin' genre of rock'n'roll which
is more vile, vulgar, demented, disgusting and rambunctiously primitive than anything else ever recorded... indeed, I'll fittingly call it
"hickcore"! On such deviantly
divine ditties as "Vengeance of the
Damned," "Allez Dupont," "Blow
Up Longview," "My Friend
Misery," "Rather Stay Home and
Fuck," "I Was a Teenage
Ditchdigger," "Let's Have a Beer,"
"Modern Day Frankenstein," "I
Wanna Get Drunk/Ditchdiggers"
and so many more, the savagely
frenzied instrumentation and snotty razor-slashed vocals violently
roar like an atomic terroristic
attack on the central nervous system (spontaneously causing a person's body to spastically leap
around the room, destructively
bounce off the walls, and then lifelessly collapse on the floor in a
heap of smoldering remains). Ah
yes, this is anarchic audial insurrection at its brainbruisin' best! Roger Moser, Jr. ($5 ppd to
Ditchdiggin' Recs., 106 Horaney
St., Longview, TX 75601;
Gallop-tempo hardcore with a
sound circa 1986. Whoever wrote
the lyrics is pretty fond of alliteration. Pretty good. -Jimmy
Alvarado (702, PO Box 204, Reno,
"No Car" CD EP
Minimalist art damage. Gimme a
second to put on my Dieter
one-piece. Now we dance...
-Jimmy Alvarado (Troubleman
Unlimited, 16 Willow Street,
Bayonne, NJ 07002)
I HATE MYSELF
Emo CDs make for good skeet
shootin'. -Jimmy Alvarado (No
Idea, PO Box 14636, Gainesville
"Check Please" CD
Plop pop, fizz fizz, what a piece of
shit this is... -Jimmy Alvarado
(Adeline, 5337 College Ave. #318,
Oakland, CA 94618)
IRVING KLAWS, THE
"Pajama Party" CD
The inimitable infectiously evil
Irving Klaws have once again
defiled my ears with another deca-
dent dose of sleazy sonic sordidness, and I couldn't be happier even
if I were inescapably ensconced in
a roomful of submissive nubile
nymphos in the nude at this very
moment (okay, well perhaps, that's
a slight exaggeration of truth there
on my part, folks!). Anyway, The
Irving Klaws can aurally do no
wrong when it comes to their hedonistic hellfire blend of raunchabilly
rowdiness, garagerock rambunctiousness, and primal wildman
rock'n'roll madness... on this musically pristine platter of demonically rockin' revelry, they rule
supreme with such maniacal
melodies as the punky-spunky
"Not Me Not Now," the psychosonic "Wigglin' & Jigglin'," the
rompin' boppin' "Put 'Em On," the
ghoulishly sinister "Return Of Dr.
Spook," the rabid drum-driven "It's
Pervasonic!," the spastically devilish
"BestForm," the robustly belligerent "Dig My Six," the psychotically spooky "Moon Has Measles"
and more, motherfucker, more!
Yep, my unsolicited advice for all
of you rock'n'roll raunchcats out
there: get down'n'dirty, and "do the
Klaw"! -Roger Moser, Jr. (Get Hip,
PO Box 666, Canonsburg, PA
or The Irving Klaws, PO Box 1231,
Buffalo, NY 14213-1231;
"American III: Solitary Man" CD
It's a cold dreary rain-drenched day
outside the frost-tinted windows of
this inner sanctum I call home. And
it effortlessly reflects a drab colorless
imagery that seems all-at-once
uninspired, semi-detached, fragmented, and none-too-eager to
greet any hapless wayward individual wandering the desolate
trash-strewn streets of this tired old
town on such a miserable winter
afternoon. So I restlessly cradle a
can of lukewarm beer while intently listening to these solemn spirit-enriching songs of solitude, the
sometimes disquieting loneliness
of life, and eventual redemptive
hope via the proverbial effervescently shining light at the end of
salvation's tunnel. "American III:
Solitary Man" is an all-acoustic
slice of rural Americana, a stark
somber soundscape of haunting
melodies that indelibly touches a
man deep in the furthermost recesses of his soul. It aurally conjures
rustic images of simplistic domesticity in a pastoral countryside
sprawl, beat-up old run-down
pick-up trucks, festive Sunday picnics spent euphorically indulging
in the soothing sun-splashed splendor of a gentle Spring breeze, history and heritage and unrelenting
pride, native tribal Indian spirits
ghost-dancing in the tall sinewy
grass of the windswept High Plains
region, a burnt-orange sun slowly
setting on the barbed wire-ridden
rugged terrain of the wild untamed
West, and solitary frontiersmen
tombstones basking in the ominous
snow-speckled shadows of a
moonlit winter's night. The sparse
instrumentation (acoustic guitars
and an occasional accordion, fiddle, piano, and organ) flawlessly
complements the swaggering
time-worn, and aged to perfection)
of Mr. Cash, a picturesque voice as
deep and dark as the bottomless
depths of a coal mine and as rich
and textured as freshly plowed fertile Tennessee soil. As always, his
original compositions are pristinely
saturated with down-to-earth country charm that's as idealistically
inspirational as it is unique and
entertaining. And he reverently
takes a diverse assortment of songs
from a vastly differentiating array
of notable composers (Tom Petty,
Neil Diamond, Bono, Nick Cave,
and others) and skillfully crafts
them into his own with an elegant
touch of expertly chiselled clarity.
Indeed, his inate aural ability to
speak to and for the common man
(no matter what race, color, or
creed) has become his true lasting
legacy, an indelible essence forever
imprinted in the hearts and minds
of those who recognize the message in his music. Ladies and gentlemen, the inimitable legendary
Man In Black, Mr. Johnny Cash...
-Roger Moser, Jr. (American)
"Just Be..." CDEP
Every time I get a release by this
prolific Japanese band I always feel
short changed. I'm guessing that
this is their fourth release and this
one was released on CD. There are
only four songs! The two previous
releases (and the first, I assume, but
I never have seen a copy) was on 7"
and only had two songs each. What
you do get every time is quality old
school Japan-core. The songs are
mid-tempo and pack a lot of punch;
manic vocals over powerful guitar
chords. Under all the rage is a fine
line of melody. The songs just have
a hook that carries it over the edge
and keeps things interesting.
Something new in the mix from
their previous releases is some
background vocals from the female
bass player. I don't know her name.
I can't read Japanese anymore.
Consistent, as always, and brought
to you from a label everybody
should check out. -Donofthedead
Shinbashi-M, 2-7-15 Yayoi-Cho,
Nakano, Tokyo164-0013, Japan)
"Crash Motherfucker" CD
I remember hearing their 7" a while
back and not being enthused about
it, but this is lots better. They still
play noisy-as-hell mid-tempo hardcore reminiscent of the time when
mid-tempo didn't mean metal
moshing madness, but they seem a
little more focused than before. It
gave me a nasty headache, and
that's always a good sign that what
I'm listening to is pretty good.
-Jimmy Alvarado (CNP, PO Box
14555, Richmond, VA 23221)
LAND OF THE LOOPS
"Puttering About a Small Land"
Land of the Loops is an excellent
artist's description because that's
exactly what it is. I believe he does
have a couple of female vocalists,
but for the most part, this album is
simply layer upon layer of samples
and electronic ecstacy. It has
enough beats to supply a teenage
boy under his covers and rhythms
to send your soul a shiver. Nothing
too bass heavy. Simply seismic
enjoyment of the lava lamp and
black light kind. -Harmonee (Up,
Box 21328, Seattle, WA 98111)
"Any Battle Won" CD
Anthemic punk rock with the occasional nod to hardcore and reggae.
I really wasn't too enthused with
this disc upon first listen. Although
it's catchy and some of the hooks
are nice, there really isn't any new
ground being broken musically.
Then I read the lyrics. There's a
level of intelligent introspection
and a deceptive simplicity to them
that makes them easy to understand
yet surprisingly deep on a variety
of levels. Most effective is the song
"Amarillo's Shame," which is
about the punk rock kid intentionally run over by a classmate during
a fight. While one might feel the
band's delivery of the song lacks an
appropriate level of anger, the sarcasm, outrage and moral indignation they feel towards those
responsible for letting the driver of
the car off literally drips from
every line of the lyrics. I went back
and listened to the whole disc
again, lyric sheet in hand, and have
come to the conclusion that this is
some damn fine work. Sorry it took
me so long to notice. -Jimmy
Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145)
"Just Another Band from East LA"
Back before "La Banba," before
their Grammy nominations, even
before their association with Los
Angeles' early '80s punk scene, Los
Lobos were following their own
muse. While all the bands in the
neighborhood were playing Top 40
and bad disco (which were, more
often than not, the same thing), Los
Lobos delved deep into their parents' record collections, gleaning
musical gems from the worlds of
the son jarocho, son huasteco, guajira, bolero and plena, to name a
few. After playing a few weddings
and other such gigs for beer and
gas money, they pressed and sold
1,000 copies of this, the "yellow
album," in 1977, and since that
time, it has become a hot collector's
item among the band's more avid
followers. Listening to this album
so many years after its initial
release, it seems almost inevitable
that the band would eventually
gravitate toward Los Angeles'
underground. Although already
highly accomplished musicians,
there is a very informal, "party"
feel to the recording and their
approach to the songs themselves
seems fueled by much of the same
intensity and speed that would give
their nortenos that punk edge a few
years later. When they take on a jarocho like "Maria Chuchena," they don't
merely cover it so much as devour it
and spit it back out in a rush of flying
fingers at tempos that rival the masters
of the form, which, anyone who has
heard Lino Chavez or some of the other
Veracruzano purveyors of the son jarocho can tell you, is some feat. It is no
small favor that Hollywood Records
has done. By re-releasing this unassuming little gem, they have not only
given us a peek at the genesis of one of
America's greatest, most provocative
bands, they have also provided another
generation of would-be and will-be
musicians a new avenue to explore, one
that the average American music aficionado has no idea exists. In short, this
is essential listening for anyone who
claims to have even a passing interest
there's some disappointments for the
more dedicated fan, such as the glaring
omission of their crowd-pleasing renditions of Los Pinguinos del Norte's
"Mexico Americano" and Andres
Huesca's "Canto a Veracruz," an early
single version of "Under the
Boardwalk," tracks from the "Si Se
Puede" soundtrack, or any of their early
'80s collaborations with the legendary
Lalo Guerrero. Yet what is included
almost makes up for such slights: covers of Fats Domino's "I'm Gonna Be a
Wheel Someday," a reworking of Los
Aventureros' "Panchita" (titled here as
"Los Ojos de Pancha"), Little Richard's
"Rip It Up," and demo versions of
some of their originals, not to mention
Los Super Seven's interpretation of
Valerio Longoria's "El Canoero,"
which nearly surpasses the original in
quality. Sure, CD sets this big can be
overkill. In this case, though, the band
is more than deserving. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Rhino, 10635 Santa Monica
Blvd., LA, CA 90025-4900)
"El Cancionero Mas y Mas" Boxed Set
We all know the story of Los Lobos,
don't we? Band from East LA lands an
opening slot for Public Image's debut
Los Angeles gig at the Olympic
Auditorium. Outraged punks pelt band
with debris. Band signs with punk label
and develops a strong local following
that includes many of the same punks
who hated them at the aforementioned
gig. Band later has a fluke number one
hit with a cover from a movie soundtrack and eventually becomes one of
the most respected bands on the planet.
Well, this four-disc retrospective covers virtually all of Los Lobos' career,
starting with tracks from their 1977
"yellow" album (see other review), and
snaking its way through assorted
albums, early singles, collaborations
with other artists and assorted unreleased tracks, making for a total of 86
tunes in all. While some might view
CD sets this large as overkill, in the
case of Los Lobos it seems to merely
scratch the surface. So varied are the
band's sounds and styles that it often
seems that one is listening to a compilation of many bands rather than just
one. For example, on just the first disc
in this set, the listener is treated to a
musical palette consisting of guajiras,
boleros, punk-propelled rockabilly,
nortenos, waltzes, blues, country and
ballads, to name a few. Over the course
of the remaining discs, new sounds are
added to the pot: weird hybrids of traditional Mexican rhythms coupled with
English lyrics, psychedelia, cumbia
Colombiana, swing, soul, art damage,
rock'n'roll and beyond. By the end of
the ride, it becomes painfully clear why
Los Lobos is one of the most respected
groups of musicians in music today:
they are damn good at what they do.
Not only have they consistently produced some of the most exciting music
ever to come out of the United States,
they have done so over a span of time
that has seen literally thousands of lesser bands hit that "Number One" lottery
jackpot and quickly fade back into
obscurity. They've done it on their own
terms to boot, which is more than most
of the biggie "punk" bands can say for
Split 7" EP
Loudmouths: A couple o' helpings of
their patented ranting. Rocks: If this
were the only band on the disc, they
would probably sound pretty decent.
Following the Loudmouths was a big
mistake, though, 'cause they sound
really tame in comparison. -Jimmy
Alvarado (702, PO Box 204, Reno, NV
MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT,
"Gear Blues" CD
Extremely LOUD Japanese trash rock.
The press materials allude to Billy
Childish as an influence, but I don't
hear it as much I do the Cramps and
others I can't quite think of right now.
Hell, I gotta lay off of them there allergy pills, 'cause they seem to be messin'
up my short term.... Whatever. Either
way, this is some screamin' mad shit
here, all sludgy, dirty and fuckin' loud,
man. I think they're singin' in English,
but it's damn hard to tell. I'm recommending this disc for two reasons: 1)
The songs are mighty nice, and 2)
Playin' it at excessive volume levels is
sure to kill all rats, insects and small
dogs in a square mile radius around the
speakers. Oh, wait.... Silly me, I accidentally had the stereo runnin' through
my guitar amp. Well, I still like it, even
if it ain't as loud as I thought it was.
-Jimmy Alvarado (Alive/Total Energy,
PO Box 7712, Burbank, CA 91510)
MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT,
"Gear Blues" CD
Just as Guitar Wolf re-interpreted
Gene Vincent style cool and MC5
flash in a kitschy, fun way, thee
Michelle Gun Elephant, in a strange
new twist, crosses the animalistic passion of the Stooges with the rigid
NYC composure of the Ramones to
produce this furious blend of rockin'
sukiyaki. On CD, anyway, this made
in Japan quartet howls, writhes and
rolls like demon possessed samurai
for fourteen tracks and the syntax of
the lyrics isn't nearly as bizarre as you
might expect. -Bob (Alive/
"You Think It's Like This But Really
It's Like This" CD
I love Mirah. I saw her play two summers back at Olympia's Yo-Yo A
Go-Go and after watching her play I
jumped up and bought all the merchandise she had to offer (one 12" and one
cassette). Now she has released a full
length album (16 songs) and I can't
keep my ears free from listening to it.
It's happy. It's sad. It's fast. It's slow. It's
love revealing what's real by scratching
away all the skin and pink with its own
slightly chipped glitter-coated fingernails. I can picture Mirah opening up
her journal to write her latest emotional update and as soon as the pages are
cracked, all sorts of crazy cartoon bubble notes and hearts come flying out in
between words like in those old
"Reading Rainbow" episodes. This is a
personal yet confident listen into the
broad emotional - as well as musical spectrum that is Mirah. Mirah has
clever usage of vocal harmonies,
ukulele, guitar, organ and distorted bass
(to name a few from this instrument
collage). Mirah's purity and light is like
a new star's who has yet to reach eyes
from its own place in the sky. Harmonee (K, Box 7154, Olympia, WA
MORNING SHAKES, THE
"Piss Off Daddy" 7"
This is down'n'dirty wildly demented
garagerock rambunctiousness with a
turbulent twist of frenzied face-slappin'
punkiness that'll assuredly knock ya
upside the noggin somethin' fierce! The
petulant snottiness of the two enclosed
sardonic songs (includin' a catastrophically clamorous cover of The Zero
Boys "Civilization's Dying") saturated
my ears with highly flammable levels
of pure rock'n'roll resonance. I just
can't ask for anything more aurally
earth-shattering than the smokin'
sounds of The Morning Shakes on this
here lil' 7-inch sizzler... -Roger Moser,
Jr. (Get Hip, PO Box 666, Canonsburg,
PA 15317; <http://www.gethip.com>)
Split 7" EP
NY: A cool musical melding of Sick
Pleasure and early Freeze. The lyrics
are well written and the songs are
catchy as hell. Good stuff. Voids:
catchy, female-fronted hardcore that's
similar in sound and attack to Spain's
Aerobitch. One damn good slab o'
vinyl here. -Jimmy Alvarado (Straight
Jacket, PO Box PO Box 136, Fullerton,
NATION OF ULYSSES
"The Embassy Tapes" CD
Noisy, lo-fi, Birthday Party-ish chaos
from this long gone DC band. Having
never heard them before, I'm in no
position to compare this with their
other work, but I will say that I think I
missed out on a lot back then, 'cause I
really liked this a lot. -Jimmy Alvarado
(Dischord, 3819 Beecher Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007)
NEW BOMB TURKS
"The Blind Run" swirled purple vinyl
This sonically turbulent 10-incher belligerently blazes with all-out rough'n'tumble rock'n'roll crunch! The four siz-
zle-fried songs cacophonously contained herein are evil, vile, and
tumultuously trashy... venomous and
snotty razor-slashed vocals; high-tension crank-crazed straight-outtathe-gutter guitar savagery that violently
grabs ya by the balls; skull-pummelling
rumble'n'roar flesh-scorchin' bass detonations of frenzied low-end audial bite;
boom-boom drumming madness. Hot
damn hellfire for sure, the New Bomb
Turks aurally rampage with dangerously bad-ass bowery punk sleaziness!
-Roger Moser, Jr. ( New Bomb Turks,
PO Box 82192, Columbus, OH 43202;
"The Knowing" CD
Heavy metal prom ballads for suicidal
Dungeons and Dragons geeks. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Dark Symphonies, Box 457,
Billerica, MA 01821)
"Music Design" 10"
Shit, now I'm not so upset that the
Mono Men broke up. Though there's no
overlap in band members, this ten inch
seems to pick up right where the Mono
Motherfucker" left off. It's six
high-energy, nothing-to-lose, twominute rock'n'roll songs, that, if they
were stripped down to their core, would
have something to do with Johnny
Cash and Sun Records, but they've
pushed that sound to its edges, dragged
it through a hard life, and come out
punk rock. My only complaint is that
the record is so short that I don't feel
fulfilled unless I play it twice in a row.
I guess I know how my girlfriend feels
now. -Sean Carswell (Dead Beat, PO
Box 283, LA, CA 90078)
"Invite Us to Your Funeral" CD
This is real trashy punk'n'roll from
Spain. It doesn't really sound like
garage music, but it sounds like it was
recorded in a garage. You can almost
hear the big door rattling and the neighbors calling to complain. You can literally hear the singer hock a loogey. I
point all this out by way of complimenting the band, of course. They sing
in English, but judging from songs like
"Suburban Twat," "Kill the Hippies,"
and the title track, lyrics aren't what
these guys are all about. What they are
about is playing fast and loud punk that
falls somewhere between Turbonegro
and the Smut Peddlers. It's good stuff.
-Sean Carswell (Dead Beat, PO Box
283, LA, CA 90078)
"Best Before 2000" CD
This is a compilation of this German
band's tracks from various 7-inchers,
splits and comps. They play "street
punk," but thankfully, they do it well.
The singer sounds a little like Wattie.
Hell, he looks a little like Wattie. I'm
really glad that they didn't include a
lyric sheet, 'cause I probably woulda
liked this less if I knew what they
were ranting on about. As it stands, I
liked this a lot. -Jimmy Alvarado
Merrimack, NH 03054)
"Earth Ball Sports Tournament" CD
Here is a band that gets better and better. Starting with their self-titled 7" to
their CD titled "Singing Shouting
Crying" to the earth-shattering "The
Door" / "Provided Railroad" 7". The
progression from the first to the current
amazes me on how much a band can
improve and continue to grow while
not staying within their formula. The
last 7", including the current release,
has moments of a spaghetti western
mixed with a blend of old school
Japancore with some metal overtones.
An absolute enjoyable listen. The songs
have melody and rage while they continue to search to find new elements to
introduce. They bring in horns,
acoustic guitar and harmonica at
moments to add more texture to their
music. If you have been following the
Japanese music scene, you know that
these guys are heavy hitters.
-Donofthedead (HG Fact, 105 Nakano
Shinbashi-M, 2-7-15 Yayoi-Cho,
Nakano, Tokyo164-0013, Japan)
"We the People" CD
Pretty decent American bald boy stuff.
Judging from the name of the band, I
expected a lot of stupid lyrics brimming with blind patriotism, but that
doesn't seem to be the case. There's the
usual praising of "street punk" music,
drinking, yadda yadda, but the lyrics as
a whole are not bad enough to make
you cringe. The music itself is well
executed and pretty catchy. Not bad.
-Jimmy Alvarado (GMM, PO Box
15234, Atlanta, GA 30333)
A surfy/thrashy/pop band for twenty
debaucherous years, PopDefect takes
its final bows with a little pathos, a little bathos and a dash of self-depreciating humor on this full-length album.
This release contains new recordings
of "Drunken Sailor," "Vena's
Revenge," and "Rock in My Hand"
that aren't too different from the previously available versions, but it's nice
to have them all in one place on what
might be the band's finest collection of
songs ever. The CD's final cut, "Dirge
Overkill," is a song lamenting the last
beer at a party that has long run its
course as the band finds itself "far
from the greatest show on earth" and
serves as a moving coda to the band's
lengthy career. The keg may have run
dry but the memories will last a lunch
time. -Bob (Heart Murmur, PO Box
50602, LA, CA 90050)
"Testing Underway" CD
When PopDefect's demise became
inevitable a couple of years ago, drummer Nick Scott said that he would
probably fill the void by "joining the
Paper Tulips or something." From that
notion sprung Project K, a power trio
featuring Scott, Tulips' guitarist Greg
Kay and bassist Io Perry. As he did with
the Tulips, Kay brings a delightfully
quirky lilt and skewed poetic vision to
the material that makes songs like
"Little Things" and "Just One Kiss"
darn catchy. Hopefully, this collaboration will last a good long while, too.
-Bob (Bong Load)
"Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes"
Up to this album, I'd never fully gotten
into Propagandhi. Basically, you could
read their covers and know exactly
what the album was about: gay-positive, animal-friendly, etc. These are
views that I essentially agree with, but
sentiments I'd heard much more compellingly by the political heavy hitters
like Noam Chomsky, Emma Goldman,
and Howard Zinn. And when I listened
to their albums, Propagandhi was okay.
Definitely not as banal lyrically as Face
to Face, but the music itself - essentially pop punk - left me neither a fan nor
an antagonist of the band. I liked 'em
more than Fifteen. Hell, at least they
didn't treat their fans like idiots and talk
down to them. But I think Moral Crux
did a better job asking for a riot while
chewing through bubblegum pop
songs. Well, with "Today's Empires,"
that's all changed. This album is fantastic; the lyrics are hyper intelligent,
cogent, and literate. The attacks are
focused. Their previously ham-fisted
platitudes are pocketed for syringe
attacks filled with acid that burns onto
the small patches of exposed neck of
corporate and governmental graft, providing
Propagandhi's very real world of
active, perpetual rebellion. The music
matches the cacophony and gets about
as fast as you can get while retaining a
melody. Seething of speedmetal, the
entire album sounds like it's surrounded
by barbed wire, like these ideas were
made in an interment camp or they're
already illegal by committing the crime
of thought contrary to popularized
Disney-fied belief. Whatever happened
to them in the last five years since
"Less Talk, More Rock," has made me
an unabashed fan. -Todd (Fat, PO Box
193690, SF, CA 94119-3690)
Q AND NOT U
"No Kill No Beep Beep" CD
Kinda heavy on the college rock at
times, this disc nevertheless has an
edginess that manages to transcend
any wimpy pretentiousness that the
dreaded "C" word might evoke. Pretty
good. -Jimmy Alvarado (Dischord,
Washington, DC 20007)
"Only Square People Think It's Cool to
be Cool" CD
Bland pop punk disguised as '60s trash
rock. Bastards. -Jimmy Alvarado (Boss
Tuneage, PO Box 19550, London,
SW1 1FG, UK)
"Trust Me" CD
It's been nigh on 15 years since I last
heard anything from this Italian institution and, judging from this release,
things haven't changed much. The formula is still metallic guitars married to
over-the-top, punishing hardcore. The
only noticable difference I'm able to
detect is that Mauro's voice has gotten
a little raspier over the years. If you like
your hardcore pretty mean, you can't go
wrong with Raw Power. A word of caution, though. Don't expect eloquent
lyrics, because it is sometimes painfully obvious that, although they are able
to get their basic point across, their
native language is not English. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Hello, 100 E. Vine St., Suite
809, Lexington, KY 40507)
Rocket 455 raucously roar with robust
bowery garagerock trashiness which
sent me into a spastic state of all-out
foot-stompin' insanity. The duo of
deviant ditties contained on this
skull-pummelling platter of psychotic
sounds fiercely rage with murderous
musical madness like there just ain't no
tomorrow. It knocked me upside the
head with such full-force seething
intensity, I'm now permanently
brain-damaged, cross-eyed, and imbecilically slobberin' all over myself...
wheeeee, what fun! -Roger Moser, Jr.
(Get Hip, PO Box 666, Canonsburg,
PA 15317; <http://www.gethip.com> or
Rocket 455, 5299 Tarnow, Detroit, MI
"The Fox" CD
I was a little bit disturbed when I first
listened to this CD, for it's a bit different from their last and first (self-titled)
album. The first album reminded me of
rollerskating rings and comic book
reading. It was a little more pop-y and
the keyboards were a little more prominent. "The Fox" sounds a little harder, a
little more mature. Here's where I have
torn feelings. I respect a band who
finds maturity with their music, but part
of the charm of the Rondelles are their
teenage rebelliousness. This album still
gives you plenty of room to dance and
play your electric air guitar. I guess
these CDs are the difference between
chocolate cake and brownies. I like one
for its light and airy sweetness, but I
like another for it's thick, stick-to-theroof-of-my-mouth gooey goodness.
Both are equally as exciting and good,
served up fresh and with love by the
band we all crave. -Harmonee (Teen
Beat, PO Box 3265, Arlington, VA
"Trestles" b/w "Restless" 7"
This is the country side project of Chris
and Chuck of Hot Water Music, along
with Samantha Jones, that heavily
reminds me of Johnny Cash's "Rock
Island Line" LP (mostly because it's
chock-full of railroad references). It's
replete with solemn echoes, poetic
vagrants, and souls who have been
beaten but not broken accompanied by
plaintive vocals and a warm-toned, hollow-body guitar. What keeps it far from
sucking is that it's cliche-free, and it
trembles out of the speakers as
heart-felt. A welcome change of pace.
-Todd ($3 ppd. to No Idea, PO Box
14636, Gainsville, FL 32604-4636.
Rumbleseat, 116 NW 13th St. #141,
Gainsville, FL 32604)
"Number Two" 7" EP
Who the fuck are these guys? This is
some righteous fast punkrockdon'tgiveashittearthefuckinghousedown
genius! Eight brilliant tracks on this
piece of shit disc, every one of them
crucial listening matter for anyone even
pretending to have a clue. I suggest you
buy out the pressing of this and give
'em to all those Blink fans at your
school so that they'll know what real
punk rock sounds like. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Hard On, Jarntorgsgatan 10,
703 61, Orebro, Sweden)
SCARED OF CHAKA
"Seven Stories Tall" CD
An anthology of sorts, compiling various singles, B-sides, comp tracks and a
live set. If you've heard 'em before, you
know what you're getting yourself into.
If you haven't, picture the Supercharger
with a tad more hardcore sensibilities
playing pop punk. Pretty good stuff.
-Jimmy Alvarado (702, PO Box 204,
Reno, NV 89504)
"Get the Hell Down" CD
Sounds like the BellRays with more
restraint. A pinch less soul and a dab
more metal. Either way, the formula's
still the same but the ingredients aren't
quite right. Maybe the oven wasn't at
the right temp. A few listens and I'm
(Sympathy for the Record Industry)
"My Pleasure" CD
This was kind of a harsh listen at first,
but I worked it in like a pair of Docs.
Sick Bees are a duo (guitar and drums)
but they do have bass and some keyboards on the album. This album experiences many attitude changes throughout its entirety. Songs go from light and
twangy to harsh and heavy. A clarinet
gets some good use. Overall a good listen. -Harmonee (Up, Box 21328,
Seattle, WA 98111)
"A Selfish World Called Freedom" CD
The band's name is a misnomer, for
there is nothing slight about what they
do. Their music is the aural equivalent
of being repeatedly bitch-slapped with
a studded metal fly swatter. This is a
seein' stars, turn all the lights off, no
relief in sight migraine that no amount
of aspirin is gonna help. It's all
hyper-speed tempos, over-the top
screeching and a "let's go in, kill 'em all
and get the fuck out" plan of attack.
The title of their opening salvo says it
all: "Tokyo Power Violence." -Jimmy
Alvarado (HG Fact, 105 Nakano
Shinbashi-M, 2-7-15 Yahoi-Cho,
Nakano, Tokyo 164-0013 Japan)
"A Selfish World Called Freedom" CD
My band did a split with these guys and
it was one of our more popular releases. Fastcore at its finest - manic rage
that feels like a power drill is being
forced against your temple while you
are overdosing on amphetamines.
Screaming vocals are flowing over guitar riffs that are so fast that you wonder
if it is possible. The drum beats are
pounded so fast you wonder if the tape
machine was sped up. I sometimes
think the bass player must have calluses the size of quarters on his fingers. It's
a full release with 20 tracks that barely
clocks in just under 21 minutes; short
bursts of intense energy that peeks your
adrenaline meter to the point of a heart
attack and you survive with no side
effects. This is the first thing you need
to listen to after leaving that shitty job
you got stuck in. -Donofthedead (HG
"Dead Reckoning" CD
Small Brown Bike is touring with
Leatherface and Hot Water Music now,
and that line-up sounds just about right
because Small Brown Bike is definitely
in the same vein, musically. There's a
sense of racing towards the edge of
chaos without going off. The sound is
very full, and everyone seems to be
doing something interesting. The bass
guitar is more prevalent in this album
than in most rock'n'roll records, but not
in a wanking way. Ben Reed has a way
of playing bass like it's a drum, filling in
spaces between beats. It's very cool and
it matches well with the rest of the
songs, which all rock. Lyrically, it
comes across as the poetry of a melancholy guy in his twenties, which I don't
really dig, but when you don't read the
lyric sheet, you catch only snippets of
pretty poetic lines, and I do dig that. No
Idea found a real gem in this band. I'm
looking forward to catching them live
when they come around. -Sean Carswell
(No Idea, PO Box 14636, Gainesville,
"Audiophile" 7" EP
The question I find myself presented
with is this: How or what makes
Smogtown the best at what they do surf punk? The title track fucking kills
and plays along like an air raid siren
blasting over a bong-toking beach party.
It's the fun, nervous tension that they
capture which is so addictive. I can hear
echoes of the past of Orange County
punk, but those echoes are distant compared to the absolutely fresh scree
Smogtown continues to provide. They
even tackle and champion an instrumental on this one: "Blackout in Beach
City." As with anything that has
Smogtown on the cover, you'll be a better person if you buy it. That all said, the
cover blows. Sorry, but it looks like
someone just learned computer layout,
found the emboss filter and had a 45
spool to play with. My only qualm with
the band? Tour, you fuckers, tour and
the world will be yours. -Todd
(Hostage, PO Box 7736, Huntington
Beach, CA 92615)
"Bipolar Girl" 7" EP
Tickle me pink and tattoo a skull on my
throat. This is good. When I'd cordoned
off the Smut Peddlers to the playground
of The Dwarves and GG Allin camp of
white trash punk, comes this slab of
wax. The playing has always been powerful (shit, with Roger Ramjet
(X-Members, Pushers, ADZ) skinning
his guitar, leading the attack) and with
Julia's drumming and Gish's bass, the
music's been as tight as a liposuctioned
thigh on a soccer mom, but the lyrics
seemed - well - a bit dumb. I'm not asking for "Masterpiece Theatre" or anything, but it seemed they were gonna get
as complex and deep as shooting speed.
Maybe I wasn't listening closely enough
before. For example, with the song and
main chorus "Let's Get (Fucked Up)" is
the inverse of what you're thinking. It's
about the travails of a sober guy drinking fizzy apple cider on New Years Eve.
And the other two songs complete
Polaroid snapshots of Orange County in
decline - surfers with Hepatitis C,
worker surfers, and being in love with a
girl with a bona fide psychological disorder. I'd even go far to say that
"Surfer's Grave" is an epic. A surprise.
What separates this release from the rest
of the Hostage pack? The band's actually smiling on the picture on the insert.
-Todd (Hostage, PO Box 7736,
Huntington Beach, CA 92615)
SOLAR SATURDAY, THE
"The Solar Saturday" EP
Kinda garage/lounge/indie. The keyboardist from Papas Fritas is in the band
so it does sound a bit like them.
Definitely Silverlake lounge-able for
those of you in the LA area and know
where I'm talking about. If you're not
fond of bands who bear tambourines,
then you might not like Solar Saturday.
-Harmonee (Nearby Music, PO Box
441448, Somerville, MA 02144)
"Pulling Teeth" CD
If I were in Helmet, I'd sue these guys
back into the Stone Age. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Epitaph, 2798 Sunset Blvd.,
LA, CA 90026)
"Chorus of One" CDEP
Fuck me, this is great. Ever listen to
bands that burn fast and hot just like
gasoline, that make you want to start
fires the first time you put them on?
They've got the supercharged posi-core
anthems for tomorrow dynamics down
to a tee. I hear a lot of Good Riddance,
only if Russ was cloned three times and
did backup vocals. I hear a lot of Avail.
Super tight, uber-force Richmond,
Virginia songs of rebellion. (Lyrics proclaim "resist infiltration," "we are at
war" and "leave their power unfilled."
And the conviction is so believable that
it's far from laughable.) I hear a lot of
Hot Water Music. The guitarists are
twining the same strands of rope into a
double-tight musical noose and
although the songs are powerful, they're
not simple, wanky, nor fearful of slowing down on occasion. Most importantly, I hear a band that believes in themselves. Impressive first volley across the
bow. I think Jade Tree's going to
re-release this. -Todd (Red Leader, PO
Box 20836 - Park West Finance Station,
NY, NY 10025;
As you may have deduced by the band
name, these guys play(ed) crushing,
super-fast hardcore with throat-shredding vocals. This is supposedly an
anthology of their recorded work.
There's 16 tracks, but the last one actually consists of four or five little tracks,
bringing the total to 20-21 tracks clocking in at 18 minutes total. One of the
guys is now in Propaghandi, if that
means anything to anyone. Pretty mean
shit. -Jimmy Alvarado (G7 Welcoming
Committee, PO Box 27006, 360 Main
Street Concourse, Winnipeg, MB R3C,
With such "powerhouse" affiliations
(A.F.I., Tim Armstrong, Rob Peltier of
the Quakes, nourishment from the
Hellbillys and across-the-board refer-
ences to early Misfits and the Rev), only
the most bored and bitter of devotees
could wonder why this shouldn't be the
American psychobilly "IT" band of the
millennium. Although the album gets
off to a rollicking good start like any
great Klingonz album would, Nick 13's
(insert hysterical bobby soxer screams
here) mellifluous voice, albeit strong
and unwavering, doesn't always convince or make a concave impression
through the blistering muck of a nimbly-played stand-up and rip-roarin' guitar, all done up in proper style. But there
is redemption - Nick's voice shines like
a Gibbous moon late for Halloween on
the more country-oriented material
(akin to Ness sans battle scars) and may
send chills through the spines of any
pretty-boy lovin' Bang Bang sissy.
Caveat emptor: proceed with caution
and a grain of salt. The hoodoo-voodoo
setting may bore you to death and that
ain't how the properly evil die.
TILTWHEEL/ OVAL split 7"
This 7" has two three-piece bands who
approach music similarly. Tiltwheel:
unsung, virtually unknown, and usually
hands-down favorites of mine, don't
play poorly, but Davey's vocals on this
7" sound like a hybrid between Alvin
Chipmunk and a prostate cancer'd Bob
Mould - tight, high, and uncomfortable.
It think it's the mastering or Davey lost
a testicle and didn't tell anyone.
Anyhow, if you're willing to be netted
into songs instead of going for a "professional," bright hook, Tiltwheel will
grab a toe and take you down slowly.
(Well, except the second song is a cover
of Cher's "Believe.") Their last LP,
"Hair-Brained Scheme Addicts" is well
worth seeking out. Oval: hyper-proficient, super-tight Japanese rock, much
in the vein of Leatherface's instrumentation (i.e. they build this thing called tension instead of doing a bar chord). If
you give your ears the time to unspool
what's being played, you realize how
lazy most other pop bands are. The only
drawback is, once again, the vocals,
which are scratchy and stuck in
mid-screech all the way through - but
maybe that's how they always sound.
Last word: hard to fully endorse
because of the vocals, but wouldn't hurt
to snap up if you see it in the bin. -Todd
(Snuffy Smile, 4-1-16-201, Daita,
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0033, Japan)
TRASH BRATS, THEE
"Rocket To Heaven" 7"
The two tumultuous topsy-turvy tunes
on this here vicious lil' piece of vinyl are
twisted, crazed, and raucously turbulent; the frenzied epitome of trashy
rock'n'roll wickedness! Imagine an
amped-out faster-paced New York Dolls
cacophonously crossbred with a louder
more frantic Lazy Cowgirls, and there
ya have the sleazy sonic aggression of
Thee Trash Brats. My ears are now a
smoldering mound of mush, and I just
couldn't be any happier! - Roger Moser,
Jr. (Law Less, PO Box 689, Hingham,
MA 02043-0689 or Thee Trash Brats,
PO Box 05387, Detroit, MI 48205;
"Songs in the Key of F U" CD
Glam punk, meant in the best sense of
the term. These guys have apparently
been around forever, but they don't
seem to be lacking in the Hanoi
Rocks/Electric Chairs-inspired hooks
department. Yeah, there's more bands
doing this shtick these days than is
probably good, and most of them do
suck pretty fucking hard, but these guys
appear to be one of those rare exceptions, that hidden ruby in a putrid dung
heap. The fact that they also have a
healthy sense of humor doesn't hurt
matters much. Thumbs up. P.S.: Thanks
for not including the cover of
"Civilization's Dying." You have no
idea how many cover versions of that
fucking song I've been subjected to
these last few months. -Jimmy Alvarado
"We Speak in Code" CD
I saw these guys open up for Fugazi a
while ago. They weren't the band that
Fugazi took on tour with them to open,
just the local band that gets to open for
the band that gets to tour with Fugazi.
Pretty far down on the totem pole, is
what I'm getting at. Anyway, they left
me with the strange sensation of wanting the opening band's set to last longer
and the even stranger sensation of wanting the band opening for Fugazi's set to
last longer. Then, I didn't hear anything
from them again for over a year, so
when I saw this album, I was stoked.
The first time I listened to it, I liked it,
but it didn't strike me as anything that
special. I may have even passed on it if
I hadn't enjoyed their set so much. With
each listen, though, this album gets better. True North is definitely a Fugazi
progeny. They have that edge and that
sense of disjointedness. The singer even
sounds a little bit like Guy. The music
isn't quite as complex or polished as
Fugazi, but the songs tend to carry a
higher rockin' factor. And now that this
album has spent some time in my high
rotation, I'm starting to like everything
about it from the tempo changes and
methodic nuances to the photos in the
CD booklet (including one photo of the
killer Gainesville record collective, the
Wayward Council). Highly recommended. -Sean Carswell (No Idea, PO
Box 14636, Gainesville, FL 32604)
"We Speak in Code" CD
Take a blender. Add equal parts early
Minutemen, hardcore and arty pretentiousness. Set controls for puree. Ingest.
Relax, it's better than it sounds. -Jimmy
Alvarado (No Idea)
"Rockstar Potential" CD
This six-song CD is a virtual re-release
of the Toronto band's "Hotrods &
Honeysuckle" six song debut which was
pretty much available only in Canada
previously. The only difference is the
substitution of the Go-Gos-like "Who's
The Fool Now" for the song "So Glad"
on the old release. A wise decision as
"Who's the Fool Now" is the superior
song. And, also wisely, they chose to
retain their delicious cover of the
Vibrators "Baby, Baby" which alone
makes this EP worth getting. -Bob
TWO TON BOA
This band is fascinating to say the least.
Supported by drums, two electric bass
and the acidic voice and lyrics of Sherry
Fraser, Two Ton Boa does in fact supply
that much weight. They're kind of like
watching a collision on the highway, a
body lay there rotting in the sun near the
center divider, but you apply your
brakes, compelled to observe the gore
spread out before you and you give a
crack to the window just enough to
inhale the stench. This CD glows with
the sounds and spirits invoked from
early carnival, circus and freak shows.
To become enthralled is only the beginning. Go ahead and try to not listen to
this CD first note to last. It's hard to
press the stop button when your eyes are
glazed over and your body's bathed in
sweat. -Harmonee (Kill Rock Stars, 120
NE State Ave., Olympia, WA 98501)
"Fast3chordhardcoremotherfuckingthrashcrustpunkshit" 7" EP
The tile of this sweet little piece of wax
says it all. -Jimmy Alvarado
(Disintegration, PMB 419, 1442A
Walnut St., Berkeley, CA 94709)
"0 to 60 in 73 Bands" CD
The title says it all, zero to 60, as in seconds. Most of the bands are probably
not too well known, but there are a couple o' "names" here (Oi Polloi, the
Vapids). The music is startlingly
diverse, from pop punk to hardcore to
grind to hip-hop to noise to acoustic and
anywhere in between. As expected,
there are some tracks that are dubious at
best, but the majority of them are pretty
good and the disc as a whole is worth
your time. -Jimmy Alvarado (No!No!,
1862 Virnankay, Ann Arbor, MI 48103)
"H.E.A.R. This" CD
A pretty good sampling of punk old and
new, featuring the Lewd, Avengers,
Suicide King N.Y., Shonen Knife,
Damnation, Scared of Chaka, Texas
Terri, VKTMS, Tongue, Mary Monday,
The Bellrays and many more. This was
better than I expected. Proceeds benefit
Hearing Education and Awareness for
Rockers. -Jimmy Alvarado (Sub City,
PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA
Hostage Situation" CD
An absolutely amazing comp of what's
California's beaches the past few years.
Included are tracks from Smogtown,
The Bleeders, The Numbers, Smut
Peddlers, Bonecrusher, The Negatives,
The Spooky, The Crowd, The Bodies,
Instagon, Discontent, The Fakes, The
Pushers, Curb, and The Decline, all of
which are previously unreleased and all
of which are crucial. Even bands that
did little for me before clock in here
with some amazing tracks. Fuck, there's
even quality readin' material on the
inside that has nothin' to do with how to
contact the band. When's the last time
anyone had the courtesy to provide you
with something worthwhile to read with
a comp?!? Rick Bain has outdone hisself with this puppy. Look at me, I'm
gushing over a fucking punk comp. I
haven't done that since I bought my first
"Rodney" comp back in 81! Mark my
words: this disc will go down in the
annals of punk rock history as one of the
most important musical documents of a
scene ever released, right next to "Flex
Your Head," "This is Boston, Not L.A.,"
"Not So Quiet on the Western Front,"
"Beach Blvd." and "Lawrence Welk
Presents: the Sound of Andorra." Trust
me, you NEED this. -Jimmy Alvarado
(Hostage, PO Box 7736, Huntington
Beach, CA 92615;
"Hostage Situation" CD
Anything less would simply be a disappointment from Hostage Records. I was
truly blown away by the power and
emotions spewed out by these bands.
The variety in styles also helped shape
the sound of the true underground scene
we've managed to keep alive over the
years. With music like this, I wonder
how anyone can possibly stand to listen
to the radio these days. Before I forget,
there's a secret photo which I dicovered
while finding a place to hide my dope
(just kidding). If you pop out the plastic
disc holder inside, you'll find a photo
consisting of many of the band members at a beach party, which I thought
was a cool idea. Songs that stand out
above the rest include: The Spooky's
"Warriors," Discontent's "The Shakes,"
Smut Peddlers, "Hoosegow," The
Numbers, "I'm #1," The Crowd (doing
an excellent job of covering the
Weirdos') "Solitary Confinement," The
Bleeders, "Elvis & Edie," and The
Pushers, "You're Not," (along with an
outstanding cover of the Stones')
"Respectable." The accompaning booklet is basically a history of Hostage
Records including all the bands that
gave inspiration to the birth of Hostage,
including The Stitches and their own
release of the "Sixteen" 7". Once again,
Rick Bain has proven himself to be an
unselfish asset to the "only music" philosophy that matters. -Pete Hucklebuck
"Internationally Yours Volume 2" 7"
Ditchdiggin' Records once again
unleashes seven inches of ear-searing
punkrock insurgency and "old school"
audial anarchy from around the world.
It's a mayhemic musical melange seditiously swirling with riot-inciting
urgency and balls-out badboy belligerence! Seven cacophonously chaotic
combos blast their skin-blistering brand
of aural revolt on this here gut-pummelling platter of pure barbaric
punkrock viciousness: The Goddamn
Ditchdiggers (Texas), Planet Trash
(Sweden), The Stillborns (Indiana),
Unfortunate Sons (Texas), Aaargh!
(France), Skurvy The Clown (Florida),
and Billy Boy E La Sua Banda (Italy).
Yep, this is the savage sound of all-out
indefatigable insurrection runnin'
crazed and rabidly rampant in the streets
and alleys of anytown and everytown all
over this godforsaken globe... -Roger
Moser, Jr. (Ditchdiggin' Recs., 106
Horaney Street, Longview, TX 75601;
or The OldSchool zine, 4621 El Campo,
Ft. Worth, TX 76132;
"Live at the Starlight, Fort Collins, CO"
This is a four-way split 7", recorded live
on the same night. Tanger: they've got
the dissonant, jagged musical edge of
Black Flag without the internal bite and
damage index. Fair but not necessarily
rad. Good Riddance: realizing they're
becoming a fine hardcore band while
retaining what they learned playing pop
punk is one of the best moves Russ and
company have made. "Yesterday Died,
Tomorrow Won't Be Born" is the fastest
- and my favorite - song of the bunch:
terror with melody. Wretch Like Me:
they write good songs but are still playing in the shadow of their mentors, All.
All: play an art punk jazz metal remix of
"Educated Idiot" that'll definitely
stretch the ears (and perhaps the
patience) of first-time listeners. A nice
audio document, kinda like a punk diary
entry. -Todd (O and O, PO Box 36, Fort
Collins, CO 80522; <www.oandorecords.com>)
"Quarters Vol. 1" 7"
Four-way split 7". Small Brown Bike:
fantastic, ecstatic, run-down-hillscreaming power with bottle rockets
launching out of their pockets. They're a
listen akin to a melody assault - kinda
like firearms and open arms. Lovesick:
thrashy, screamy, acerbic, and grating
self-professed Midwest "heartcore."
Well-intentioned but not so enjoyable.
Keleton DMD: Helmet meets Jawbox.
Band plays stop-start, heavy poetic
jams. I shrug. Quixote: slowish and
herky jerky, so much so, I figure ways
to rig the turntable so Small Brown Bike
can launch from the other side and do
some ass whooping. Song ends. I get
beer. -Todd (Salinger Press, #06 180
Rosetta, Auburn Hills, MI 48326;
"Songs for the Jetset 2000" CD
This CD is fabulous. Imagine yourself
sitting in one of those wobbly, doublecubbied, black science desks with the
bunsen burner hookup in the middle of
it, back in the seventh grade, watching a
cheezy mid-'70s educational video
about wind or the movement of human
muscles. While watching neon outlines
of someone doing a cartwheel, an x-ray
of someone chewing and swallowing, or
a girl with a blonde feather hairdo blowing the seeds off a dandelion in the sunshine, this music is playing. It's kind of
an April March meets Air sort of thing,
with maybe a few Atari game ditties
thrown in for fun. Exciting in an early
episode of Sesame Street kind of way.
This CD makes me want to eat cereal,
and that's a good thing. -Harmonee
(Jetset, 67 Vestry St., NY, NY 10013)
"South America In Decline" CD
First, my obligatory bitch: Why is it that
people insist on including Mexico,
Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and
other countries in that area with South
America? The majority of Mexico rests
on the North American plate, which
makes it part of North America, NOT
South America. The other countries I
mentioned are part of Central America.
I won't even get into the fact that Puerto
Rico is a Caribbean Island. That said,
this disc has 30 absolutely smoking
punk/hardcore/grind tracks from a variety of American countries where some
dialect of Latin is spoken and being a
punk is not a fashion statement but an
act of rebellion that could very likely
get you killed. I would imagine that,
aside from Brazil's Ratos de Porao, the
average U.S. punker would have no idea
who any of the bands on here are, so I
won't bother listing them. If you dig
your hardcore loud, fast, and pissed off,
though, you'd be a fool not to pick this
up. International comps this good don't
come along too often. -Jimmy Alvarado
(Six Weeks, no visible address)
"Tomorrow Will Be Worse Volume 2"
Full-throttle, punishing hardcore here,
courtesy of Real Reggae, Krigshot, MK
Ultra, Mukeka di Rato, 9 Shocks Terror,
Uncurbed, Scalplock and Ruido. The
tunes are fast, hard, unrelenting and
there ain't a bad one in the lot. Excuse
me while I stagedive offa this here
desk... -Jimmy Alvarado (Sound
Pollution, PO Box 17742, Covington,
The Kinks and the Velvet Underground
go to see Pink Floyd, who are trying to
channel the spirit of the Monkees covering Ravi Shankar through a lava lamp
that has apparently been force-fed to
Jim Morrison's belly button. -Jimmy
Alvarado (Bomp, PO Box 7112,
Burbank, CA 91510)
WILD SAMMY &
"Speed Crazy" CD
Wild is right. This is some Grade-A,
smokin' surf music from a top-notch
Japanese trio. The rhythm section provides a solid backbeat for a guitarist
who has all the chops to put him up in
league with Dick Dale hisself. No bullshittin' here, kid, this is some seriously
good music. -Jimmy Alvarado (One
Million Dollar, address cut off by some
asshole at the label trying to prevent this
from being resold. Your loss in the end,
"Home is Where the Floor is" 7" EP
Not to be confused with the LA band,
this is a collection of late-'70s recordings by this long-gone Aussie band.
What it sounds like is raw, rude punk
slop with virtually no discernable
Ramones influence whatsoever. Classic,
to say the least. -Jimmy Alvarado
(Rocknroll Blitzkrieg, PO Box 11906,
Berkeley, CA 94712)
Send all zines for review to
Razorcake, PO Box 42129, LA,
CA 90042. Please include the a
contact address, the number of
pages, the price, and whether or
not you accept trades.
Anniversary, Radar Mercury, The
Lapse, Rusty Nails, and Novena. I
do have a question for Jim Testa,
the editor, though. Why so low a
line screen on all your photos? It
looks like all of the in-house
graphics are viewed through
miniature chain link fences. You
can bump those bad boys to 85
lines per inch, and it’ll print nice.
All in all, a real solid musical
resource that’s definitely keeping
its ears to the ground and hearing
the future shocks of the music
world. -Todd (Jersey Beat, 418
Gregory Ave., Weehawken, NY
BOOK OF LETTERS #14, $3
ppd., 5 ½ X 8 ½, copied, 48 pgs.
There's no getting around the fact
that Rich Mackin is a funny motherfucker. I've read his first thirteen
books of letters and number fourteen still had me laughing to beat
the band. Parts anyway. Mackin's
letters to corporations are sharp,
witty, and occasionally pretty deep.
Some corporations are still taking
the bait. A few consumer reps took
the time to respond to Mackin personally, and no matter how lame a
personal response comes across, I
still admire it ten times more than
the always lame form letters
Mackin seems to get reams of.
Kellogg's responded to a Mackin
haiku. I thought that was pretty
cool. After I got done laughing, I
spent a lot of time thinking about
the founder of Kellogg's and what
a health nut he was (and I do mean
nut) and how ironic it is that the
company making a fortune off his
name is doing it by using genetically engineered flakes. I bet that
puts tabasco in the ghost of Dr.
Kellogg's colostomy bag. And so it
goes. Good for hours of entertainment. -Sean Carswell (Rich
Mackin, PO Box 890, Allston, MA
drenched interview with former
Discussion; and pretty thorough
coverage of various hardcore
bands. Matt does a lot of interesting things graphically that aid to
your reading rather than disrupt it.
There's also a handful of columns
and a bunch of record reviews. I
like this zine a lot. -Sean Carswell
(Engine, PO Box 64666, LA, CA
CLAMOR #6, $4 ppd., 8 ½ X 11,
offset glossy, 90pgs.
I think Clamor is trying to take the
place of left leaning mags like
Harper's and The Nation by not
pulling any punches and covering
issues from a punk rock perspective. The news isn't as timely as the
larger magazines, but in most
cases, it's more thorough. Word on
the street has it that Clamor was
even voted best new magazine by
Utne Reader. So it's definitely
respectable. This issue has articles
on the police strategies surrounding the protest of the Democratic
National Convention, an interview
with Spitting Image author Jerry
Lembcke, a history of skate parks,
and a bunch of articles covering
different political, economic, and
cultural issues. Some kook even
wrote an article about the newest
Star Wars movie and how it's a
metaphor for American society.
Geez, where'd they find that guy?
Anyway, the quality of the articles
varies, but there are definitely
some gems in here. -Sean Carswell
(Clamor, PO Box 1225, Bowling
Green, OH 43402)
GARAGE AND BEAT #1, $3.50
ppd., 8 ½ X 11, offset newsprint,
I always liked Edwin's column, No
Car Garage, in Flipside. He knows
so much about music and has a real
talent for sharing that knowledge
with you without pulling the typical record collector bullshit of
making you feel stupid for not
knowing about, say, a Japanese
garage rock album that went out of
print five years before you were
born. The premier issue of Garage
and Beat reads like an extended
Edwin column, with the common
Edwin homage to Dionysus
Records and the Dave Clark Five,
plus a down-to-earth story about
his passion for record collecting;
interviews with Les Sexareenos
and the Bobbyteens; and bunch of
record reviews. All in all, it's a
good read. -Sean Carswell (P. OFF-LINE #15, $1 by mail, free
Edwin Letcher, 2754 Prewitt St., to low-income, 5 ½ X 8 ½, copied,
Los Angeles, CA 90031)
Off-line’s a serious political zine
JERSEY BEAT #67, $3.00 ppd., 8 that doesn’t shy from a fight in
½ X 11, offset newsprint, over a print. Although it borders on selfrighteous indignation on occasion,
The title helps you out - lots of there’s no denying its scholarship,
music that’s from or coming passion, diction, and erudition.
through New Jersey. Literally This issue has a long piece dissectthousands of reviews. (Quite a few ing an attack on pacifism (going to
of the columns are just more great detail to separate it from pasreviews, separated by critic.) This sivism), first-person accounts of
issue’s coverage leans toward the the rallies against the School of the
less aggro and more to the intro- Americas, vegan recipes, and
spective and “musically crafting” lengthy open-forum discussions
bands. Interviews with Saves The from people who don’t agree with
ENGINE #6, $3 ppd., 8 ½ X 11,
offset newsprint, 60 pgs.
This is another cool issue of Matt
Average's hardcore and punk zine.
There's a great drunken interview
with Smogtown; an equally great if
less drunken interview with the
Stitches; a lengthy, Santaria-
EXTREME CONFORMITY #3,
$3 ppd., 4 ¼ X 11, copied, 60 pgs.
This is a fiction zine from Larry
Nocella of QECE. It's a hilarious
story about an art exhibit gone
awry, and in a tongue and cheek
manner, Nocella attacks mob mentality, censorship, the media,
protests, and pretentious art fucks.
I laughed all the way through reading this. Nocella also did something really cool by posting this
issue of this zine on the web and
letting you download it for free.
Send me three dollars and I'll give
you the web address. Or skip the
middleman and check out Larry's
-Sean Carswell (QECE, 406 Main
St. #3c, Collegeville, PA 19426)
MICRO-FILM #3, $3.50 ppd.,
8 ½ X 11, offset glossy, 38 pgs.
Reading Micro-Film is pleasant
torture for me. It's full of interesting articles about independent
films that I know I'll never get to
see, but I love to read about them
and think how cool it would be if
the movie theater down the street
showed them instead of fucking
Hannibal. But even knowing that I
can't get my hands on most of the
movies covered in Micro-Film, I
appreciate knowing that independent filmmaking is still alive, vital,
and only a couple of years of technological advancements and price
reductions away from being accessible. I always dig Jason Pankoke's
editorials, too. He has a way of
starting with what appears to be a
simple story about being a movie
fan, then transcending into a subtly
philosophical diatribe that relates
to my life and things I've been
thinking about. And as for the films
I'll never see, this issue covers two
indie punk rock flicks, Godass and
Threat; the latest Troma film
(Troma is the team that made Toxic
Avenger); a new movie funded by
Kevin Smith and written and
directed by one of his filmmaking
buddies, Vincent Pereira; and a
bunch more really cool looking
movies. -Sean Carswell (Opteryx
Press, PO Box 45, Champaign, IL
the main writer, Vincent. What’s
further striking is that Vincent is
simultaneously a devout metalhead, Catholic, and a heavy duty
peacenik activist; a unique melding
of influences that all twine to an
interesting, engaging perspective.
The only off-putting element of the
zine are the jabs and asides of condescension to people he disagrees
with. Although he’s well-armed
with ideas - and is most often right
- I think he’d benefit from keeping
the soapbox home once in a while.
(For example, he’s flabbergasted
on why someone would join the
Army and not so interested in what
keeps the Army such an attractive
alternative to so many people. (A
great resource that melds both a
religious perspective to military
life is the book “On Killing,” by Lt.
Col. David Grossman)). That all
said, I can honestly say I learned
more in 63 pages of Off-line than I
did in a semester of high school
history. -Todd (Claire E. Cocco and
Vincent J. Romano, 35 Barker
Ave., #4G, White Plains, NY
PUNK #2, $5 PPD., 8 ½ X 11, offset newsprint, glossy cover, 50pgs.
Hey, look, twenty-plus years
between issues. It’s still got lots of
hand lettering. It’s kind of like Mad
Magazine. It’s got a lot of scensters
writing for it. They name Blink 182
as the 62nd top band of ‘99.
Interviews with Murphy’s Law,
Niagara, Machinegun (Chris Fields
of Jon Cougar Concentration
Camp), futuristic novelist William
Gibson, and lots of people with
huge egos clawing for their glory
days. It’s OK, but there seems to be
a Rumpelstiltskin-esque musical
chasm for Punk from 1977 to 2001;
almost like nothing of note happened musically besides what their
contributors were involved with. Todd (Punk, PMB 675, 200 E. 10th
St., NY, NY 10003;
QECE #12, $3 ppd., 5 ½ X 8 ½,
copied, 55 pgs.,
QECE - Question Everything,
Challenge Everything - is a political zine from Pennsylvania. The
first half of this issue discusses animal cruelty, the death penalty, and
a history of milk. The second half
has four different perspectives on
the Unity 2000 protests in
Philadelphia this past summer.
What sets QECE apart from most
other political zines, though, is its
ability to discuss issues intelligently without taking on that all-toofamiliar know-it-all tone. The writers seem to be undergoing a
process of discovery rather than
coming off as ill-informed authorities, and I appreciate that. And
though they take on serious issues,
they don't take themselves too seriously. In some parts, it's pretty
damn funny. Editor Larry Nocella
is serious about taking over the
media from the grassroots, and I'll
take QECE over The New
Republic any day. -Sean Carswell
(QECE, 406 Main St. #3c,
Collegeville, PA 19426)
SHORT, FAST AND LOUD! #5,
$2.00, 8 ½ X 11, offset newsprint,
The name says it all. ADD thrashers unite. If you like Cookie
Monster vocalists, assflaps, forkin-garbage-disposal solos, and tack
the word “core” to every possible
musical style (Japancore, blurcore,
grindcore), this is your bag of
nails. Edited by Chris Dodge
(Spazz, Slap a Ham Records), the
music selection is spot on. Clean
layouts, pics of people jumping
really high, and a refreshing load
of fanaticism, all make this pretty
pleasant. Interviews and articles
about Heresy, Nice View, and
Blaine Cook of the Fartz. My only
quibble is that some of the columnists seem so fucking bored and
jaded - instead of as amped up and
crazed as the music they’re writing
about. -Todd (Short, Fast, and
Loud, PO Box 420843, SF, CA
SUBURBAN VOICE #44, $4.00
ppd., 8 ½ X 11, offset newsprint,
glossy cover, 144 pgs.
I was flipping through a book about
punk rock poster art the other day,
and it was full of quotes from people who had been in the scene in
the late seventies/early eighties,
and a bunch of the quotes were
about how great the past was and
how everything sucks now. It was
starting to get on my nerves. Then,
I came across Al Quint's passage
about how punk rock was great
then and it's great now and that's
why he continues to put out
Suburban Voice after sixteen years.
That quote reminded me of what I
already knew: Al Quint rocks. This
issue of Suburban Voice is no
exception. It has one of the most
in-depth and hilarious interviews
with Dillinger Four that I've ever
read. He also interviews heavy hitters like Cocksparrer and Hot
Water Music, as well as F-Minus,
Kill the Man Who Questions, the
Varukers, the Nerve Agents, and a
few more. There's a cool article on
the Clash, some decent columns,
and tons of reviews (I should add
that Quint does my favorite kind of
record reviews: ones that I agree
with). All in all, it's a hell of a good
read. It comes with a compilation
CD, too, with Toxic Narcotic, A
Poor Excuse, Broken, Aus Rotten,
and twenty-two more bands. -Sean strip and about to jump on the freeCarswell (Suburban Voice, PO Box way.” Fine, fine read, even if you
don’t know or will never listen to
2746, Lynn, MA 01903)
the band he’s musing about. -Todd
TILTED #1, $1 ppd. (?), 4 ¼ X 4 (Stovepiper
370895, Reseda, CA 91337-0895)
½, photocopied, 40 ppgs.
What would be an eloquent and literate homage to a fantastic band, UPRISING! #9, $1 ppd.,
Lifter Puller, becomes a eulogy. 8 ½ X 11, offset newsprint, 31 pgs.
The band broke up right after this This is a pretty cool punk rock zine
little zine came out, and after read- from Michigan. It has interviews
ing it through, it made me all the with River City High, PT'S
more happy that I’d seen Lifter Revenge, and Shift-D; a column
Puller live a couple weeks prior to about the Warped Tour that I
their demise (to verify that the true enjoyed until I got to the end notes
verve of the band that Mike writes and the author said, "No one should
about wasn’t just the well-written go through the day without listenmusings of a publicist-to-be). What ing to at least one song by
separates Tilted from most of the Morrissey or The Smiths"; an interherd of its collated and stapled esting Maui scene report; and tons
brethren is the ease and fluidity of of record reviews. Best of all,
the writing without collapsing into though, was the book review in the
simple cheerleading nor chastising back, because they reviewed the
the reader for never having heard book I wrote and said really nice
of the band. Enthusiasm, well writ- things about it. Rob G, the guy who
ten. Mike also has a knack of puts Uprising! together, is very
weaving narrative, interview, positive and downright gung-ho
observation, and correspondence about music, and his attitude is
into a seamless whole. His style is contagious. I like this zine. You can
staccato and rhythmic; rapid bursts also check out extended Uprising!
followed by explanation: “LFTR punk
PLLR is Literature. It is raw emo- <www.toledopunks.com>. -Sean
tion of mystery and suspense, true Carswell (Uprising!, PO Box 2251,
orbiting paranoia, a comedy of Monroe, MI 48161)
errors, the new world as viewed
and aurally construed by the
newest. LFTR PLLR is cruising the
BECOME THE MEDIA
Jello Biafra, Audio Book
What I like about Jello Biafra is that
he’s punk rock’s own well-respected
intellectual. He tours college campuses and gets paid (probably pretty well)
to just talk about whatever’s on his
mind or whatever he’s been reading
lately, and people outside of punk rock
respect what he has to say. And the
cool thing is that he’s got no real credentials except that he was once in a
punk band. When you really think
about it and realize that Biafra went
from “Too Drunk to Fuck” to the
national lecture circuit, you have to
admit it’s pretty cool. And, once
again, his talks are released in a three
CD set. “Become the Media” starts off
with a campaign speech Biafra gave in
response to his presidential nomination by the Green Party. It’s interesting in the sense that I agree with most
of his points (which is very rare in the
case of a political speech) and in the
sense that he actually endorses Nader
as he (Biafra) accepts the nomination.
The only bad thing is that it sounds
like a speech. Biafra sounds like he’s
reading off a teleprompter, and if I
wanted a presidential candidate who
reads off a teleprompter, well, I don’t
want a presidential candidate who
reads off a teleprompter. Then he goes
on to outline the problems with the
WTO. It’s pretty one-sided, but that
doesn’t bother me because I can’t conceive of the other side making a solid
argument for reintroducing DDT on
our vegetables, dolphin in our tuna,
and increased monoxide in our air.
But that’s just me. What do I know
anyway? Biafra does a good job introducing the problems that the WTO
represents, though. Then he goes on to
give a hilarious, sardonic examination
of school shootings and overall problems with education and suburbs in
“Hellburbia.” The second disc takes on
computer technology in “Hack the
Planet,” then discusses the World
Bank and IMF. Again, one-sided, but
again, I have trouble finding a rational
argument that explains why thrusting
half the globe into suffocating poverty
is a good thing. The last disc discusses genetically engineered food, the
Republican National Convention, and
Joe Leiberman and his extremely conservative record (including time spent
on the “700 Club”). It ends with kind
of a rallying cry against mainstream
entertainment and media. Basically,
“Become the Media” is kind of a crash
course in leftist or radical politics.
Biafra is admirably thorough in his
research, and even when he’s not, his
irreverence is enough to keep me listening. At times, he’s almost a cheerleader for his beliefs. At other times,
he takes himself less seriously and it’s
more enjoyable to share his beliefs. So
there are some really good parts to this
and some kind of weak or redundant
parts, but all in all, I’m a Jello supporter. Fuck it, at least he’s one of
ours. Hell, maybe he’ll even become
the next Ralph Nader. Remember you
heard that here, first. -Sean Carswell
(Alternative Tentacles, PO Box
419092, SF, CA 94141)
STORIES HOLLYWOOD NEVER
Howard Zinn, Audio Book
Howard Zinn strikes me as an amazing
writer, historian, and intellectual for
several reasons. He delivers very
complex information with a conversational tone, and he maintains a sense of
humor when speaking of things that
normally inspire outrage. When he
speaks of war, he speaks of it from the
perspective of both a veteran of war
and a veteran of anti-war movements.
When he speaks of the working class,
he does it from the perspective of a
man who grew up in cold-water flats
in Brooklyn, then went on to work in
shipyards and warehouses. And when
he speaks about history, he does so
from the perspective of a well-respected scholar who has spent most of his
life studying history. What’s most
striking to me is that, despite his tendency to return most conversations
back to how unjust war is or back to
the inequities of wealth, every time I
read (or listen to) Howard Zinn, I learn
something new. “Stories Hollywood
Never Tells” keeps up that trend. This
CD was recorded during a lecture Zinn
gave at the Taos Talking Film Festival.
Zinn begins by speaking of Hollywood
movies that glorify war, like “Saving
Private Ryan.” but then he expands his
focus to cover the Mexican War, the
Phillipino War, Mother Jones, the
Ludlow Massacre, and the New
England textile strikes. It’s a dazzling
tour through not only films that are
rarely made (I won’t say never
“Matewan,” which is a great movie
about the Wobblies helping miners in
West Virginia form a union), but also
through events in history that public
schools gloss over or ignore completely. If you’ve never heard of Howard
Zinn and are maybe a little intimidated
by the terms that float around him like
“radical historian” or “intellectual,”
this CD is a warm, non-threatening
introduction to Zinn’s scholarship, his
subtle sarcasm, and his point of view.
If you’ve read everything Howard
Zinn has ever written, you’ll probably
still find something new and interesting in this CD. -Sean Carswell