Wednesday, April 30, 2008
These photos are of The Reatards playing live at Gibson's in downtown Seattle in the late '90s. It was an excellent show that included a bunch of drunken antics from Jay, which seems par for the course with him. This was the era when I think the band peaked, around the time their "Your So Lewd" single and "Grown Up, Fucked Up" album came out on local label Empty Records (in fact, this show was probably a tour supporting that album coming out in 1999). Jay has played in Seattle a bunch of times with The Reatards and his next band, The Lost Sounds. This Summer he will be back again with his new band, just going by the name Jay Reatard, to play the Capitol Hill Block Party in July. He always puts on a great show and you local folks should check him out.
Jay Reatard, in real life known as Jay Lindsey, started playing music in his teenage years. At age 15 he sent a demo of recordings to garage punk label Goner Records. In 1998 he formed the Reatards and Goner released their record "Teenage Hate." The band found instant fans with their raw garage punk sound and pretty much up until they broke up steadily toured and released records. From 2001 to 2005 he fronted The Lost Sounds, a synth-punk-garage-rock band that started as a side project, but blossomed into a full band. He also did time in the Angry Angles, Final Solutions and Bad Times. In 2005, after both The Reatards and Lost Sounds had imploded, Jay Reatard started a solo career, which has led to a few releases and tours. He recently signed a deal with Matador Records, who have already released a couple 7" singles of his. It's funny, where I kinda think his music peaked almost 10 years ago (as far as the stuff I like the most), his career has gone upwards and outwards and he's only now getting attention outside of the garage and punk world. Those early 7"s I Ebayed for $50-$100 a few years ago probably are going for much more now...
Formed in 1979 in Vancouver B.C., The Dayglo Abortions were one of the early Northwest punk bands to gain national attention (uh, I guess that's international attention). The Dayglos are a band that never shied away from controversial lyrics, songs and album covers, which led to them getting prosecuted for distributing obscene material over the album art on 1986's album "Feed us Fetus." The thing is, as crass and as rude as the band could be, their political criticisms, especially of the U.S. and our politicians, was generally spot on. Musically the band wavered around a bunch from punk to metal to crossover/thrash. Many people think they hit the mark best on 1987's "Here Today, Guano Tomorrow," which incidentally is one of the only punk albums to be released on 8-track. There is a Dayglo Abortions fanpage here with a few songs and more information.
Labels: Dayglo Abortions
This photo is of Dr. Know in 2000, playing at The Furnace. Dr. Know were one of the early "nardcore" bands, a group of Southern California hardcore and skate punk bands mostly associated with Mystic Records (other nardcore bands included Aggression, R.K.L, and Ill Repute). Brandon Cruz, who would later front the re-formed Dead Kennedys, fronted the band from 1981-1983. The band had a revolving door for members and eventually broke up in 1991. Cruz, along with original bassist Ismael Hernandez, reformed the band in 1998. Since then they've released a few records and played a handful of shows. For more information and to hear a few Dr. Know songs, go here.
Monday, April 28, 2008
"With tartans a sailin'
pipers a whailin'
laddies and lassies
apart frae the crowd.
When the fightin' is done,
the battle is won,
there we'll be standin'...
Scottish and Proud,
Oh yea we Scottish and Proud."
Great and typical lyrics from Canadian band the Real McKenzies. The band is actually based in Vancouver, B.C. and I doubt any of the members were really born in Scotland, but they do play a great mix of punk rock and Scottish music, complete with bagpipes. Definitely a bit gimmicky, but totally fun. I still play their first two albums all the time. We brought my friend's Scottish cousin, in full kilt, to the show this picture is from and he loved it (late '90s at The Breakroom on Seattle's Capitol Hill). The Scottish cousin cleaned up on girls that night, even though his accent was so thick and his mouth so dirty, barely anyone could understand a word he said.
The band started out in 1995 with the release of "Clash of the Tartans" and has been releasing albums and touring ever since. I swear for a period singer Paul McKenzie lived here in Seattle, I'd see him at shows and parties all the time. For more info and a discography, the band's website is pretty complete:
Labels: The Real McKenzies
This photo is of Seattle crust/hardcore punk band Decrepit playing a party at Dave Eck's back in the late '90s. The band was around from 1996 to 1999 and included members of Whipped, Whorehouse of Representatives and Cease and Desist. They were a good and fairly underrated hardcore band. You may be able to pick up their discography on CD still, if not, Inimical Records is supposed to release it on LP in 2008.
Band members: Doug on vocals, Jim on bass, Jay on guitar and Jon on drums
Band members: Doug on vocals, Jim on bass, Jay on guitar and Jon on drums
- 1997, self-titled 7" (Consensus Reality Records)
- 1997, split 7" with Scathed (Un-Yelliman Records)
- 1998, split 7" with Cephlotripe (Un-Yelliman Records)
- 1999, Tired Of Licking Blood From A Spoon" LP (Profane Existence)
- 1999, split 7" with Phalanx (Un-Yelliman Records)
- 1999, Discography CD (Czerwony Diablek Records)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I've mentioned my insane fandom for the New Bomb Turks and their music before, especially their 1993 debut album "Destroy-Oh-Boy!!" Not only did they have a big impact on me, but I think they played and important role in the whole garage punk/rock revival that hit in the mid-'90s. This is a picture of lead singer Eric from a show at the Off-Ramp the band played in the late nineties with the Bomboras.
These days Anti-Flag are hugely popular, but back when they played their first Seattle show at the Lake Union Pub, I think me and a few friends were their only fans. I met a few of the band members through the National Punk-List email list and drummer Pat's girlfriend Wandi started writing a column for 10 Things in the early '90s. These photos is from when the band played Seattle, around 1995 or 1996. They put on an excellent show even if just a handful of us were paying attention, check out Andy Flag (who left the band in the '90s) in the first picture, I caught him in the middle of jump. For information on all things Anti-Flag, check out: anti-flag.com
I've talked about Joshua Plogue's excellent hardcore band the Mukilteo Fairies before and at some point will do the same for his other band Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live. I found this funny photo of him last night, it's from the late '90s in the kitchen of his old U-District house. I can't remember why he was wearing a suit. These days Joshua travels the States cooking for people. He essentially goes on tour and lines up private vegan dinners for a fee and from all reports the dinners are excellent and super popular. For more info go here.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
A few months ago I finally saw the movie "Air Guitar Nation" which I'd heard was pretty funny, and man, did it totally live up to the hype. Watching a movie about people playing air guitar my sound dumb, I know, almost like going to watch people play it in a club. But these folks elevate it to a new art form with over the top costumes and personas, along with tons of great moves. The finalists end up being part-comedian, part-actor and all rock'n'roll enthusiasts. "Air Guitar Nation" follows the American air guitar competition of 1993 through crowning it's winner, C-Diddy, and then following him to the world championships in Finland. It's completely hilarious and there is even a rivalry built up between C-Diddy and another contestant that brings some added drama to the film.
In recent years, partly in thanks to the movie just coming out on DVD, the buzz about the U.S. Air Guitar championships has spread... so much so that this year there will be a U.S. Air Guitar national tour that will hit 21 cities. The winners from each city will compete in August in the national U.S. Championship, who's winner will represent America in August at the World Air Guitar Championships in Oulu, Finland.
Seattleites, your chance to compete is June 23rd at Chop Suey. I hope many of you start practicing your moves now. For more info, check out usairguitar.com.
These photos are of Seattle band The Retards playing live at Fallout Records from I think June of 1998. The Retards were a poppy, garagey young punk band playing Seattle in the late '90s, think Ramones meets Screeching Weasel meets Head. I loved the band even though they were all about 16, sloppy and kinda goofy. They enthusiastically loved to play the kind of music I was into--simplistic, catchy punk with a very '70s feel to it. At some point they changed their name to The Cheatin' Hearts, then to The Dirty Looks, before breaking up.
Band members: Derek on guitar and vocals, Leif on bass, Stacey on guitar and Conor on drums
- 1997, "First Offense" 7" (Puke Records)
- 1998, "Still Playing with Toys" 7" (Shady Grove)
Labels: The Retards
I was in awe of Whorehouse of Representatives before I even heard their music after seeing their name on a flyer the first time and thinking, "What a fucking excellent punk band name!" Over the years in the mid-'90s, Whorehouse was a band I saw a lot, hence three pictures from three different shows (#1- Live at the Velvet Elvis, #2 Live at the Radio House, #3 Live at Rckcndy). Whorehouse of Representatives formed in 1993 and broke up in 1999, in the Seattle punk scene they were a constant opener for touring politically/socially oriented punk and crust bands throughout the '90s. They wore their politics on their sleeve and in some ways were the atypical drunken, political punk band. But they put on shows, ran a label, put out a few records, did three U.S. tours... they accomplished a lot more than most of their peers in Seattle's punk scene at the time and had fun doing it. Last year Un-Yelliman Records put out the band's complete discography on CD and LP, it's definitely worth picking up. I personally have tons of great memories from shows and parties Whorehouse played.
A few songs:
Prepare to Fight
Blinded By Darkness
Let Freedon Reign
Band members: Michele on vocals, Jim on bass, Dave on guitar, Rick on guitar and Brendan on drums (ex-members include Dan Hammerschmidt on guitar, and Mike Doody & Pat Schultz on drums)
- 1993, "Who's Screwing Who" six song demo tape
- 1994, "It's a Corporate World After All" 7" (Un-Yelliman Records)
- 1996, split with Toxic Narcotic 7" (Un-Yelliman Records)
- 1997, song "Censorship" on "10 Things Northwest Punk Comp" CD (10 Things)
- 1997, "Your Alcohol Taxes At Work 7" (Sabotage Earth Records)
- 1998, split with Mark Bruback 7" (Outcast Records)
- 1998, split with Brother Inferior 7" (Profane Existence)
- 1998, song "Prepare to Fight" on "We Are All Guilty" compilation LP(Outcast Records)
- 1998, song "Censorship" on "No Fate: A World Hardcore Compilation" 2XCD(HG Fact Records)
- 1998, song "Acid Rain" on "Making Human Junk" compilation LP (Hybrid Records)
- 2007, "Discography 1993-1999" LP and CD (Un-Yelliman Records)
Labels: Whorehouse of Representatives
Friday, April 18, 2008
Saturday at King Cobra is SSP Wrestling's 5th Chronic Pain event. The night promises to be packed full of laughs, blows, moves and rock. The rock will come from Black Eyes & Neckties and all the rest will come from Seattle's always entertaining local wrestling league. Don't miss out!
This is one of my favorite photos from the 1970s punk scene. There are 5 or 6 really well-known photographers of this era that have a large body of work, which is usually available through books and websites. I've paid up to $150 for a great live print of a band like The Germs, I'm a big fan of this era of punk and definitely appreciate a photo that seems to have captured the mood and feeling of early punk. But this isn't a well-known photo by a famous punk photographer, you probably haven't seen it unless you read my old zine. This was shot by a local Seattle guy named Bob Kondrak (who shot the Avengers photo I put up yesterday). Bob and I talked one day back when I was doing 10 Things about him contributing some photos and writing to my zine. Little did I know until I started to see his photos that he had a wealth of great stuff dating back to the '70s that really hadn't seen the light of day. This is my favorite of the bunch, a punk kid in 1978. I love everything about it. The DIY cut-up and drawn on punk shirt, the spiky hair, they curious but cynical look, the androgyny (is it a girl or a boy?)... to music posters on the wall, like the Elvis Costello poster with a Lewd poster slapped on top of it. It's almost like Bob captured a moment of calm, surrounded by punk chaos, probably back stage at some club or in the corner of the living room of an early punk house. It makes me wonder how many other cool photos that capture this era are out their lurking on people's photo albums that really ought to be scanned in and shared.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Back in the early '90s when Sub Pop was getting national attention for it's noisy "grunge" bands, there was another label out of Minneapolis on a similar mission, releasing limited edition singles of underground rock and punk bands. That label was Amphetamine Reptile. Often Seattle bands would put out a single on AmRep and AmRep bands would be on a Sub Pop single, the two labels even did a few co-releases. Only the thing about Amphetamine Reptile Records was, rather than being like a sister label to Sub Pop, it was more like Sub Pop's creepy drunk misogynist uncle. Sure, Tad and The Dwarves seemed kinda scary to me at the time, but Amphetamine Reptile was putting out bands that were tens times more fucked up. They had twice as much feedback and distortion going on. They had album covers with dead and bloody people on them (a classic Unsane album cover showed a NYC subway suicide with a guy laying dead on the tracks with his severed head in a pool of blood). Hell, they sounded like they were on PCP, would beat you up, steal your money and rape your mother. The music of some AmRep bands sounded as if the band was dragged across a factory floor through chemical spills and rusty metal bits by chains as they played and the singer growled out the lyrics.
I paint this pretty picture to get you on the same page as me when listening to Seattle band Arbitron. They come straight from the school of fucked-up-edness that spawned bands like the God Bullies, Jesus Lizard, the Cows, the Melvins and Surgery. And they are only two guys! But they use an array of effects pedals to layer in the feedback, loops, distortion and noise. The result is filthy, ugly, noisy, self-indulgent... and occasionally borders on brilliant when it all comes together right. See what I mean right here. This photo is from a show they did a few weeks at at the Monkey Pub in Seattle's U-District.
Thirty years ago many of you weren't even born and I was just a young kid, but this whole punk rock thing was already in full swing and there were a couple powerful women leading the charge. Pictured above is Penelope Houston, fronting her band The Avengers in 1978 (photo courtesy of longtime 10 Things contributor Bob Kondrak).
Houston was raised in Seattle and in the mid-'70s attended Fairhaven at Western Washington University in Bellingham (incidentally, at the same time as famed Northwest poster artist Art Chantry). By 1977 she moved to San Francisco and became the lead singer of The Avengers. The band gained attention in the burgeoning '77 punk scene through their debut 7" on Dangerhouse (which now sells for $200+ on Ebay) and opening for The Sex Pistols at Winterland. Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones went on to produce the second Avengers EP, which was released just after the band broke up in 1979. Houston went on to have a lengthy solo career.
Most of The Avengers record releases were posthumous, I picked their LP up in the mid-'80s, it was on Canada's CD Presents. The LP and early singles are fantastic, the music is catchy punk and Houston's vocals are not only strong and powerful, but at times searing and vicious (like on "Thin White Line" and "The American in Me.") "We Are the One" remains for me in my top 25 punk songs ever written... even though I broke down and sold my copy of it because it was worth so much.
Penelope Houston completely ignored fan calls to play Avengers songs live throughout her solo career and in interviews said the band would not get back together... but she had a change of heart in 2004 after another CD of old Avengers material was released and the band received yet another wave of attention. Houston reformed the band with the original guitarist (Gred Ingraham) and a bassist and drummer from The Plus Ones. They did a handful of live shows before ending... I really wish I could have caught them live. The thing that annoys me up the most is in 2006 Houston joined Pearl Jam on stage to perform "The American in Me" at the Bill Graham Civic Center, but at least it gives me hope we might hear more Avengers stuff from her in the future.
Between June of 1977 to June of 1979 The Avengers played just over 100 shows and headlined above bands like X, the Go-Go's, and the Dead Kennedys. While their moment was brief, they burned brightly and left a legacy of great material behind them. You can hear a few songs here.
- 1977, "We Are the One" 7" (Dangerhouse)
- 1979, "Avengers" 12" (White Noise)
- 1983, "Paint it Black" 7" (CD Presents)
- 1983, "Avengers" LP (reissue of earlier material, CD Presents)
- 1999, "Avengers Died for Your Sins LP/CD (unreleased material & outtakes, Lookout)
- 2004, "The American in Me" CD (Live 1979 recording from the Waldorf, DBK Works)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
This is Vendetta Red, rockin' out at a party in their living room in their place in the U-District around 2001... just before they broke big nationally. Vendetta Red is one of those local bands that may have got too big, too fast. After self-releasing and EP and doing their first West Coast tour in 1999, the band got signed to Seattle label Loveless and released their debut LP White Knuckled Substance in late 2001. They played very catchy indie rock with some punk elements, it was no surprise the record got them radio play and a lot of press. They almost immediately were offered a record deal by Epic Records, which they jumped for. The next few years were a blur of releases, Warped Tour shows, interviews and touring that seemed to take a toll on band members (not to mention the negative reaction to their hype from local Seattle music fans). Instant fame isn't all it's cracked up to be, they moved through band members and the struggle got to be too much for the band, which was apparent in their "we're breaking up" email in 2006. In some ways I bet they wish they had stayed smaller, because at this party pictured here, the entire room was packed full of friends and fans. Everyone was totally into it, the audience was one with the band, the energy was fantastic, and I swear... I thought the floor was going to cave in with everyone jumping up and down dancing and having so much fun.
Labels: Vendetta Red
This photo is of Akimbo rocking out in the U-District Seattle Public Library at a show from about seven years ago. I love how you can see a couple about to kiss each other in the shadows behind the band. Akimbo will be one of the bands playing this year's Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle... and one of the only heavier/noisier/punk/rock bands on the bill. Jay Reatard is playing the same day, so for rock fans, it looks like Friday is your best bet. I think it's pretty funny that the two pop bands that I find most annoying right now, mainly due to how much media hype they are getting, are both playing. That would be Vampire Weekend and Kimya Dawson. At some point I'll do some sorta Capitol Hill Block Party contest and give away CDs for some of these bands, I have a pile of U.S.E. and Kimya Dawson promo CDs I'd love to pass on to folks that like them. Here's the announced line-up so far:
Friday July 25
Les Savy Fav
Black Eyes And Neckties
Plus many more!!!
Saturday July 26
The Hold Steady
Darker My Love
The Builders & The Butchers
Little Party And Bad Business
Plus many more!!!
You can get more information about the block party here.
OK, he's not really crying, but it sure looks like it. I've taken photos of easily over 1000 punk and rock shows, often I get a few unflattering ones, but occasionally I get ones that are just plain bizarre. Usually it's with drummers, drummers often have the weirdest facial expressions when they are beating away, so much so that for a couple month period I got obsessed with taking drummer photos every show and compiling freaky drummer photos.
This photo of Lux Interior I shot at the Showbox in Seattle when they were on tour in support of their 1997 album Big Beat From Badsville. If I remember correctly, The Demolition Doll Rods and Guitar Wolf opened up. Lux was giving it his all and climbed up on the speaker cabinet in front of me and laid half on the cab, half hanging out over the audience, singing out the lyrics.
The Cramps are a band I've loved since before I listened to punk rock, they are band that has combined punk, rockabilly and the blues since the '70s and their songs always have a great rockin' sound to them with hilarious lyrics generally revolving around sex, drugs, guns, space, horror and rock'n'roll. Their influence on other bands cannot be understated, it's huge. And the band openly admits a lot of their songs were reworked versions of blues, rockabilly and rock songs that came in eras before them that they proudly pay homage to. If you want to see a '70s band rock out live, don't go see the Rolling Stones tour, go see The Cramps. For music, tour dates and more, check out thecramps.com.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
What do you get when you combine ex-members of The Cripples, The Gloryholes and Hot Rollers? Le Shat Noir. In the Queen's English, that's The Black Shit. Nice. The band sounds like a garage rock band that's had a bloody head on collision with psychedelic synth punk band. There's elements of all the members aforementioned bands present, along with bands like Big Black, The Epoxies, The Lost Sounds, Wire and more. But really they are in somewhat uncharted waters, replacing the lead guitar with fuzzed out noisey keys, keeping the intensity of a punk band, and totally distorting the vocals. Good crazy somewhat experimental stuff, and they slay live. These photos are from their show last Saturday at the Monkey Pub. They have a few song online here. Catch them while they're still new, hot... and steaming.
The Emerald City Soul Club has been putting on soul dance nights around Seattle for the past couple of years. They focus on Northern Soul, quick tempo, garagy, heavy-beat soul music that got big in Northern England in the '60s and '70s, which many of the mods got into. The club has put on a Rare Soul Weekender, a New Years party, a couple nights in various clubs, and for the last year or so has been hosting a monthly soul night at the Lo Fi on Eastlake in Seattle. The night is hugely popular. From hardcore soul fanatics decked out for a night on the town to curious music fans checking out something new, the night draws a large diverse crowd who comes ready to dance, drink and have fun. I shot this last Saturday from a packed to capacity dance floor. For more information, check out the Emerald City Soul Club MySpace page.
Monday, April 14, 2008
I love the BellRays' slogan, "Blues is the teacher, Punk is the preacher." For the uninitiated, the BellRays harness the soul of the blues, but package it with the guitars and energy of garage punk. I've heard the band's sound labeled as hard soul, rock'n'soul, garage rock, dirty punk rock, and high octane rock and roll, all which seem to aptly describe what the band has been doing since the early '90s. Frontwoman Lisa Kekuala has an insanely powerful singing voice, she never ceases to floor me. Live... well, they put on a show. They own the crowd, people are dancing and singing along, Lisa will occasionally hop down into the audience and engage people, and they really just seem to harness a great live energy. I shot this photo is from a show The BellRays did at the Breakroom on Seattle's Capitol Hill September 22, 2001 (The Fireballs of Freedom and Soledad Bros were also on the bill).
Band website: thebellrays.com
Discography: Can be found here
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I interviewed Sicko long before they became a big Seattle pop punk band after picking up their demo at Fallout Records one afternoon and getting hooked. Soon after their first 7" came out, my friend Ty, who was a pop punk fanatic, bugged me to ask the Sicko guys if they'd play a party he was having. I gave Ean a call and he said he'd talk to the band, a few days later we had confirmation. The party kicked ass, except for Ty's face landing in an amp or something and bleeding everywhere, but that's punk rock. And Sicko rocked the motherfucking house. The band later went on to release a slew of albums and singles on Empty Records and gain fans worldwide... that night no one yet knew where they would go except maybe a dozen of my friends who already knew they were brilliant. I shot these photos at the party, I'm guessing it was 1992, possibly 1993 (there's a possibility that these photos are from a show they played at the Radio House and Ty's house party photos are still lurking in my piles, but I'm pretty sure the Radio House would have had the windows covered with sound barriers and a different paint color).
Friday, April 11, 2008
I can't remember when I first heard the term psychobilly, but reading through rock history archives it seems to have first been used on Cramps gig posters along with rockabilly voodoo during the mid-'70s. The idea stems from mixing rockabilly, punk and garage rock with themes of outer space and horror movies. The Cramps didn't exactly love the term, although it did aptly fit what they were doing. Probably the first band to fully embrace the label and really make it their own was UK band The Meteors, pictured above. During the early '80s they released the highly influential (and great!) albums "In Heaven" and "Wreckin' Crew." There have been many waves of psychobilly bands to follow in the UK, US and really worldwide since The Meteors began, but the band has kept going strong (they are still touring, they played Seattle in February). And locally for a while there was a great band called The Spectres. I shot this photo at a Meteors show in the mid-'90s at The Breakroom on Seattle's Capitol Hill. It was a fairly ill-attended show, which was a bummer for the band, but fun none-the-less. Even though at the time bands like Tiger Army, Horrorpops, Devil's Brigade and Nekromantix were around, the third wave resurgence in popularity of psychobilly was just starting and did not have near the fan-base that it does today.
Really this photo could be of anybody. And I'm not even sure which on of The Spits it is, but if I were to guess, I'd say Erin because I see a bass. One thing I've always liked about The Spits, besides their Killed By Death-era sounding punk rock, is they usually play in costumes. Sometimes the costumes are totally crappy and slapped together at the last minute, sometimes they are really planned out... like this night, when they wore Americana type outfits and Reagan masks. Awesome.
I talked about hanging out backstage with The Donnas years ago and interviewing them before a show at the Graceland back here. This is another photo from the same night of Donna A (Brett Anderson) and Donna C (Torry Castellano). Since I last talked about the band, their album "Bitchin'" came out. While I'm glad to see this all-girl group off of a major label and back on an indie, overall the album was pretty disappointing. I was fine with their move away from garage rock towards cock rock... that is until they slowed down so much. I at least want the energy of AC/DC and Priest, but on "Bitchin'" it's like they turned things down a notch, which makes me just pine away for their earlier material. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
I shot the photo upstairs in the band room at Graceland (now El Corazon) October 26, 2002.
Labels: The Donnas
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I kept seeing MDC spraypainted or written as graffiti with other punk bands like Black Flag and DOA in the mid-'80s when I was just starting to buy punk records. I had picked up a few Black Flag cassette tapes, along with the Ramones and the Surf Punks at the Mall. Ha ha ha! So when I finally started buying punk vinyl LPs around 1985, one of the first I picked up was MDC's "Millions of Dead Cops" LP on R Radical Records. The LP had been released a few years earlier in 1982 and MDC had been around since 1979 and were part of the unholy Austin, Texas punk triangle of the Big Boys, the Dicks and MDC. That first LP was insane for me as a kid. On their classic song "John Wayne Was a Nazi" they completely made fun of and insulted America's favorite movie star hero. On "America's So Straight" singer Dave Dictor sang openly about being gay, right after the song transitioned in from singing about dead cops. This was a fucking revolution jumping off my turntable and it pretty much both amazed and frightened me. The fearlessness, brutality and power of early MDC just blew me away and really helped push me towards more underground and political punk bands. Over the years the band has had a zillion name and personnel changes and at some point I lost track of what they were doing. But back when I caught them live for the first time around 1992 at the Crocodile Cafe when this photo was taken, they were still brilliant in my eyes.
On a side note, while I can barely handle listening to the singing on the first Crucifucks album, the banter on it between the singer and a cop over a flyer for a punk show featuring Millions of Dead Cops is hilarious. It's one of the best samples added in to a punk record ever (a runner-up would be Pete the Sticker Guy talking to a venue owner who shut a punk show down on the first Zoinks! LP).
I think I first heard of Eric Bogosian when he starred in the 1988 Oliver Stone movie "Talk Radio." He was a mouthy shock jock radio DJ and the story was based on the real life events that led to a radio host getting murdered by a Neo-Nazi listener of his show. Bogosian was excellent in the film and it gave him a chance to show off some of his skills he'd been developing since college doing a one-man theater act that combined social commentary, dark comedy, and a rough and tough New Yorker image. During the late '80s and early '90s Bogosian did a number of off-Broadway one man shows in NYC. His latest became a movie entitled "Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll" and he was talked about a lot as a hard-edged and still sort of underground comedian. So much so that Sub Pop flew him out to perform at a show in 1993. The line-up was pretty odd, it was Ween, Eric Bogosian, The Didjits and Steel Wool at Rckcndy. And the whole show was a benefit for CURSE. CURSE was an organization formed by most of the DJs from KCMU (which became KEXP after a huge donation from Paul Allen). The station managers at KCMU started moving the station towards what it is like today and dictating more what DJs could and couldn't play, the result was most of the DJs and staff went on strike and tried to stop the changes... fairly unsuccessfully unfortunately. Most of the harder music the DJs played got dropped from the programming.
But I digress, so Sub Pop flew out Bogosian to play the show. Now if you know anything about The Didjits, you know Rick Simms owned the fucking stage. He'd strut around in sunglasses and a suit and shit talk and goad the crowd between songs. Simms had a whole fake rockstar persona that was full of attitude and pretty damn funny. And the audience ate it up at this show, heckling back to his taunts and insults, getting pretty riled up. One would think that would be a perfect send up to Bogosian, who hit the stage next. But the crowd was already hyped and expected a tough NYC comic and began heckling him immediately. He tried to do some of his bits, but he was heckled pretty mercilessly by the crowd and pretty much walked off stage within 15 minutes. It was lame, I certainly expected more. Plus I wasn't a Ween fan, we ended up hanging out at the bar with Rick Simms during most of their set. I was hoping Bogosian might come out and join us, but we didn't see him again.
I shot this photo of Bogosian when he first walked out on stage. Today Eric Bogosian is quite an accomplished actor and can be seen on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Needless to say, I wasn't exactly organized with my photos back when I was drinking a half rack of Black Label a day and going to 3-4 punk shows a week. I didn't date or name thousands of photos. Slowly I can piece together who most of the bands are, where they played, and usually the year, but I also have hundreds and hundreds of photos for which I don't have any clue who the band is. Here's one, anyone know? The show is at the Monkey Pub, if I had to guess it would be within a year of 1999 and they played with one of Zack Static's bands. They look like they could have been in punk bands since the late '70s. Any help would be appreciated! As with all the photos on the blog, click on it for a higher resolution/bigger version.
I first heard and saw TSOL in the 1984 movie "Suburbia" about "Suburban punks running amok." I was just getting into punk music around this time, but still listening to a lot of goth and alternative music. In the movie TSOL performed live and singer Jack Grisham had kind of a goth look and feel to him, the band had keyboards and guitars, and they pretty much seemed to me to bridge both the punk and goth subcultures. I knew nothing about their past or music, but went out and bought their "Beneath the Shadows" album on Alternative Tentacles and like it. I started reading up on the band and found that they used to be more hardcore punk and their old fans were disgusted by how their sound evolved, soon afterwards Grisham quit the band and they became more of a big hair metal band that put out an album on Enigma (a label in the '80s that was putting out stuff I was buying like 45 Grave, Dead Milkmen and The Untouchables). Since I wasn't into TSOL's new look and sound, I just played my "Beneath the Shadows" album and never really sought out their earlier music for a few years.
In 1986 I moved to Seattle's University District and started shopping for punk records every day at places like Cellophane Square, Second Time Around, Peaches, Golden Oldies and a handful of other used record stores. I scored a lot of great vinyl for a couple bucks that's worth $50 to $250 now because punk wasn't exactly popular then. I picked up TSOL's first single and it was totally raw and great, then I slowly found their other early vinyl. Man, I was hooked! I'd later read all about the band in We Got the Neutron Bomb and get pretty fascinated with their history and story. This book is mandatory reading for any punk fan, along with Please Kill Me. After tracking down TSOL's early releases I was pretty bummed with what the band had become... that is until the original members reformed the band, fought for the rights to the music, and toured again! This photo is from that tour when they played the Breakroom on Seattle's Capitol Hill. I think in 1999 or 2000. The show was excellent, Grisham looked older and had gained some weight, but he jumped around on stage, got in people faces, and performed like he was in his teens again as they ripped through all their old material. After the show he hung out and shook hands and talked to us, which ruled. Excellent band, excellent show.
This is a fairly random photo I found in my old zine stuff last night. It's of The Lillingtons with Ben Weasel (of Screeching Weasel fame) singing along for a song at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago. I was a huge Screeching Weasel fan and always sent a copy of my zine to Ben's label, at some point he started advertising in my zine. I never thought Ben actually read my zine though. I'd never met him or talked to him before. But one day out of the blue he calls me to rant about the current state of the punk scene (this was probably around 2000 or 2001) and we end up talking for about an hour. In the end he said he wanted to write a column in 10 Things, the kind of stuff he couldn't say in his column in Maximum RocknRoll. I was ecstatic! Here one of my punk heroes not only called and talked with me for an hour, but he wanted to do a column for my zine. And Ben totally followed through and the column later was reprinted in his book "Punk is a Four Letter Word" with credit to where it was first published. Cool all around.
Oh, I should add I didn't take this photo, it was taken by Joel Myrene, Bellingham show booker and ex-member of a bunch of bands, including the USS Horsewhip. I plan to start running a few other people's photos and writing on this blog in the future. The next up is a great story by Fred Speakman from the band Zero Down talking about growing up punk in Seattle during the '80s and early '90s. I just need to put together some photos to run with it.
Monday, April 7, 2008
In the second half of the 1980's one Northwest punk band I saw a lot live was Subvert from Tacoma. They were big compared to a lot of other local punk bands because they had out a 7" and eventually a full length vinyl LP (at their record release party in Tacoma they opened the box of LPs sent from Europe only to find them all with a warp in them, luckily they played and I still have my warped copy). Subvert often either headlined local punk and hardcore shows or was the big local band opening up before an out of town band like Poison Idea. When Subvert broke up in 1991, singer Eric Greenwalt formed the band Christdriver. Where Subvert were metally in a fast hardcore punk way, Christdriver slowed things down to a gloom and doom pace with grindcore parts. I thought they were excellent at what they did, but I don't think they ever really caught on big locally or in national punk scene. Profane Existence put out their first 7", "Blind," then later their full LP/CD "Everything Burns." They also had a cut on the Home Alive benefit album. This photo is from August 1998 at the Off Ramp (now El Corazon).
Band members: Eric Greenwalt on vocals and guitar, Luke Picard on bass, Brian Ward on keyboards, Edward Pollick on drums. Ray Skilton was the first player, he tragically died in a bike accident ten days after Mia Zapata of the Gits died in 1993.
Eric went on to sing for the Irish punk band Saint Bushmills Choir. Then he and Brian formed Black Noise Cannon.
Malefaction formed in Manitoba, Canada in the early '90s. They walked the line between grindcore, hardcore and death metal over their existence, putting out a string of releases on G7 Welcoming Committee and other labels. They broke up in 2004 when singer Travis Tomchuk decided to go back to school. This photo is of the band in the late '90s playing a house show in Josh Plague's (Behead the Prophet) basement.
Band members: Travis on vocals, Clint on guitar and vocals, Mike on bass, and Cory on drums
Clint now plays in Big Trouble In Little China and Of Human Bondage. Mike is one of two vocalists in Time Kills Everything. Both Mike and Cory play in Of Human Bondage. G7 still has a Malefaction page up with a few songs and more information here.
The No-Talents hailed from Montrouge, France. They combined the sounds of '70s punk with garage rock and burst onto the scene in July of 1995. The next year they debuted on vinyl with a single and their "100% No Talent" LP (released first on Wild Wild Records). The LP was re-released in the U.S. in 1997 on Broken Records. In 1998, Bellingham's Estrus Records released their second LP, "Want Some More!" Both records are fun, crass, raw and packed with energetic songs with female vocals. These photos are from May of 1998 when the band toured the U.S. and played at the Breakroom on Seattle's Capitol Hill (now Chop Suey). The band broke up in June of 1999.
Band members: Cécilia Meneau on lead vocals, Lili Zeller on guitar and vocals, Iwan Lozac’h on bass, Laurent Bigot played drums on the first album, Marc Adolf played drums on the second album and US tour.
Lili Zeller is married to Jack Ansellem, together they both played in another great French punk band called The Splash 4 and run Royal Records, which has a Northwest tie-in, because they released the A-Frames "Crutches" 7". They also run a smaller label called Polly Magoo that in 2006 released the vinyl version of The Intelligence's "Bordeom and Terror" CD with extra songs under the title "Let's Toil." Lili has some solo stuff out now, if you check the Polly Magoo MySpace page you can hear a few songs and get more info.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Last Saturday night I went to an excellent show at the Monkey Pub that really should have been more packed, because holy shit, 9 Lb. Beaver put on a show! It was my first time seeing ex-Rickets singer Scott Reese's band 9 Lb. Beaver. They were totally hilarious with super goofy songs, costumes and staged routines mostly revolving around Ric Flair and wrestling. They do songs about rollerderby, Les Schwab tires, Spokane girls, and cover both Rainer and Hamm's beer commercial songs. Awesome, they put on a full show. It's fairly un-PC, which I guess got them into a little trouble when they played Funhouse, but you can tell it's all tongue-in-cheek and supposed to be funny. The singer pretends he's Rick Flair for god's sake. Seriously, don't miss these guys next time, they are hilarious. The Bill Collectors were up next and rocked it. They had more witty banter than usual (and that's saying something, the lead singer does stand-up comedy), Owen was fucking on with the wrestling comebacks to 9 Lb. Beaver. I haven't laughed so much at a rock show in ages.
9 Lb. Beaver:
The Bill Collectors:
ps- There is an excellent photo montage from this show up on the Stranger's Lineout music blog
9 Lb. Beaver:
The Bill Collectors:
ps- There is an excellent photo montage from this show up on the Stranger's Lineout music blog