Thursday, June 26, 2008

London's Calling... it's The Clash!

I love, love, love this photo of The Clash that Bob Kondrak gave me permission to put up. He snapped it at the band's first Seattle gig, October 15th, 1979, at the Paramount Theater. It was $6 to see the show.

It had been two years since The Clash released their debut album. Like The Sex Pistols, the band instantly found fans in America, but whereas The Pistols seemed like nihilistic malcontents, The Clash gave a feeling of perseverance, and indeed hope, through their working class anthems and leftist ideals. Plus they'd already began to incorporate a lot more into their music beyond the blistering catchy punk tunes on their first album, including elements of reggae and rockabilly. They were the total package, the real deal. I would have loved to have seen them in this era, but sadly I was too young. I didn't discover The Clash until many kids my age did, via the more commercial "Combat Rock" album, when "Rock the Casbah" ended up all over MTV and radio. Thankfully I went back and found their older material when I was still in highschool and played the shit out of it. Their debut album to this day remains in my top ten albums of all time and I play it a couple times a month.

The Pulses

Seattle-based band The Pulses have often flown pretty low under the radar in the local music scene. In part because they've pretty much bucked every trend and charted their own path, which has weaved through art punk, garage rock and post-punk. They actually have quite a few releases and live shows under their belt, but they've never seemed to actually play out regularly. I think it gives some extra mysterious flare to the band.

The Pulses began in New York in 1995 as a four-piece who all attended the same college, but it wasn't until 1999 when the band moved to Seattle, added ex-Fallouts Shannon Mcconnell, and stuck with a line-up as a three piece that things really clicked for them. This photo is from one of their early Seattle shows at Gibsons, taken by Bob Kondrak. The band has recorded with the likes of Jack Endino, Zack Static and Johnny Sangster, all big names in the garage and independent music world, and they have a couple of great CDs out on Dirtnap you should seek out.

  • 2002, "The Pulses" LP/CD (Dirtnap Records)
  • 2003, "Little Brothers" 10"/CDEP (Dirtnap Records)
  • 2003, song "Stuck" on "Dirtnap Across The Northwest" CD (Dirtnap Records)
  • 2005, "Gather Round and Destroy All Our Records" LP/CD (Dirtnap Records)
  • 2006, song "The Kinks Say Fuck You" on "The Funhouse Comp Thing" CD (My Fat Ass Productions)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Zero Down's metal challenge for Judas Priest!

Local Seattle metal band Zero Down have thrown down the gauntlet at Judas Priest in their pretty damn funny new YouTube video:

The Cute Lepers new video!

The Cute Lepers have a great new video for their song "Terminal Boredom", check it out:

Monday, June 16, 2008

In The Pit

I want to go where the action is,
I want to fly through the urban blight.
I want to live like a shadow in the dark
and only move at night...

I get asked fairly often what kind of photography I shoot. The funny thing is I've never considered myself much of either a photographer or a writer, but more a documenter. I try to capture a moment, a feeling, what's going on, generally in punk and underground music, although the scope of stuff I obsessively document has definitely expanded far beyond punk music over the years to cover zines, pinball, classic arcade games, and other types of music and events. So when people ask that question about my photos, I usually say "In the pit photography." And really, that's what it is. I'm down there front and center as a music fan, not to take pictures, my camera just comes along for the ride. And I've broken quite a few cameras at shows, had them doused with beer, seen them go flying out of my hands from a fist or elbow of someone dancing by and probably have taken more than my share of bruises getting up to where I wanna be, where the action is...

A couple of these shots I think I've run before (maybe the 2nd and 4th ones), I just found the first one today, it's from a show in the early '90s at Rkcndy. I love the chaos and energy of the circle or slam pit, old school style, with people laughing, raging, and yet all rocking out together.

ps- Check out the dude's Joy Division tat in the first picture, that's awesome!

Punk Scene Photo: Larry, Jay, Nils

This is a photo of Larry Rickets, Jay Ford and Nils at some party, probably in the mid-'90s judging on how young Nils looks. Larry has been in a string of bands and currently lives in Oakland and plays in the awesome Jesus Fucking Christ. Jay did Point of Interest punk fanzine for quite a long time. Nils was also in a string of bands and now both plays in The Shy Ones fronts The Greatest Hits.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The King of Kong: Steve Wiebe

Steve Wiebe was the star of last year’s hit documentary film “The King of Kong.” In the movie Wiebe challenges the long standing Donkey Kong high score record held by Billy Mitchell. He finds himself up against Billy’s friends, Twin Galaxies (who maintains and regulates arcade game high scores), and some dubious videoed high scores from his competition, but throughout the movie he perseveres and fights on. His humble and humorous attitude really comes through in the film. And the somewhat epic battle that pits Billy against Steve makes the movie enjoyable to almost anyone, you don't have to be a classic game geek like me to enjoy it. It was a big hit at the Seattle International Film Festival, then played theaters, and is now available to buy or rent on DVD.

Being a classic arcade game collector, someone that has their own Donkey Kong game in their basement, Wiebe is a bit of a hero to me. So I was more than stoked when we were able to get him to come talk at the Northwest Pinball and Gameroom Show last weekend at the Seattle Center (I helped with the planning, hence the plugs for it on the blog). Wiebe was even more funny and humble in person. He seemed unable to talk shit about Billy "Hot Sauce and Mullet" Mitchell or Twin Galaxies, even though they fucked him over a bunch in the move and the crowd was on his side and practically begged him to during the Q&A session. He regaled us with the back story of his fight for the high score, his history playing Donkey Kong (it's been an obsession for him since high school), things that we didn’t see in the movie, and what’s happened since the movie was released. Wiebe even played Donkey Kong on a projection screen and showed the crowd tips and hints. Great and gracious guy, he hung out afterwards to sign autographs (he signed the marquee to my DK machine), pose for photos, and do an interview with The Stranger. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you've got to check it out. Hollywood has bought the rights and will do a fictional version... I only hope it won't be horrible.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Elizabeth Davis of 7 Year Bitch

This is a photo of Elizabeth Davis, bassist of 7 Year Bitch, during a 7YB show at the Weathered Wall in Seattle in September 24, 1992. This was a great show, Seven Year Bitch's debut album "Sick 'Em" had just been released on C/Z and they were riding high with local attention. All the bands were great, it was a packed crowd, The Gits were in their prime, and Selene from Seven Year Bitch owned the crowd during their set. Elizabeth was always a great counterpart to Selene on stage, she'd crack dumb jokes, talk to the crowd and smile alot. I always wondered what happened to her after the band broke up...

Zeke's "Benton County" demo tape

I can't exactly recall when this came out, but if I had to guess it was after Zeke already had put out their first two 7"s, "West Seattle Acid Party" and "Fight at the Storeroom." Regardless, it rawks and was and indicator of big things to come from these guys. The songs all came out on later releases: "Galaxy 500," "Spoonful of Soul," "Chiva," "Wreckin' Machine," "Quicksand," and "It's Alright." I think Mark or Donny handed this to me in a bar around 1993. It's got a photocopied cover, stickers, and handwritten in blue ballpoint pen ink inside are Donny and Mark's names with their phone numbers. Awesome.

Sick and Wrong

I previously gave a pretty thorough history of the band Sick and Wrong here, but stumbled upon these photos Amy took of the the band, well really just Mr. Wendy, during a set at the old Off Ramp. These are from December 1992. I love the whole smoking a cigarette while wearing a strap-on look that was big in Seattle during the early '90s. Someone needs to bring that back!

UK Subs

This photos are from the UK Subs and Anti-Flag show at Rkcndy in Seattle in 1997. These are from the Subs' set, but Justin Sane from Anti-Flag jumped and sang along for one song. Great show!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Clikatat Ikatowi

Clikatat Ikatowi, along with Gravity Records labelmates Heroin, Mohinder, Angel Hair, and Antioch Arrow help define the Sand Diego sound of the mid-'90s. This was what some call the second wave of emo, a decade before guyliner pop punk bands getting dubbed with the label. Influenced in part by the more melodic DC sound a few years before it, but adding in more elements of hardcore, noise and jazz, bands like Clikatat Ikatowi could go from slow building indie rock to complete chaos and back again within a song, sometimes multiple times. This photo is by Amy Halligan from a 1992 show at Seattle's Velvet Elvis.

Drummer Mario Rubalcaba has played in a string of bands, including Rocket from the Crypt, Thingy, The Black Heart Procession, Hot Snakes, the Sultans and Pinback.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Help! Can you identify this band?

I don't know what band this is and would love help identifying them. If I had to guess, the show was probably at The Black Cat in Seattle's U-District around 1991-1992.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lamefest and Ultra Lamefest

The first Sub Pop Lamefest show took place June 9, 1989 at Seattle's Moore Theater. The line-up was Mudhoney, TAD and Nirvana. From Mudhoney's tourbook "There were many problems with security at this show. Mudhoney stopped playing on three separate occasions, and at one point Mark tried to kick a security guard into the audience. This was the first all-ages show that Mudhoney played in Seattle." I'm pretty sure the security group were the Fallen Angels, who used to do security at a lot of bigger underground shows. Despite the security overreacting to an excited crowd, this was a great show. This was before Nirvana was very big, they opened the show and Mudhoney were the headliners. There is some decent footage online of this show here. This was essentially a really big Sub Pop showcase after the label had outgrown doing label showcases at art galleries and small clubs.

Three years later, on April 4, 1992, Sub Pop put on another big show, calling this one Ultra Lamefest. This time it was even larger and took place at the Paramount Theater. Again Mudhoney headlined, also on the bill were Seaweed, The Supersuckers, Pond and Earth. There was actually a three gig Lamefest tour Japan in 1993 as well, featuring The Supersuckers, Fastbacks, Seaweed and Supersnazz. The tour played two shows in Tokyo and one in Osaka.

I've heard mention of a Lamefest San Francisco in 1993... anyone know anything about that?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

3 Women that Rocked the Underground like Motherfuckers in the '90s

Lynn Breedlove and her band Tribe 8:

Carol and her band Not My Son:

Bliss Blood and her band The Pain Teens:

All photos by Amy Halligan, taken at Seattle's premiere '90s rock and punk club, The Off Ramp

Mia Zapata / The Gits

I tear myself apart and I throw it on the ground in front of you
Can't hide that I'm a social wreck
And though I sit within the wounds that one day could destroy me
Sometimes it's hard to find my friends
As far us I can see it, I ain't got nothing else
And with all that you've taken from me, you can answer that yourself
This twisted world can sometimes seem like it's caving in around me
But I will not let it waste my mind
And though you're holding out on what lets me know where I stand
Sometimes it makes it worse to know I ever trusted you
As far as I can see it, I ain't got nothing else
And with all that you've taken from me, you can answer that yourself
Don't try it, don't tell me lies and call it some kind of truth
Go ahead and walk me, walk closer, escort me right to the edge
Push me, push me I don't care, 'cause I'll keep coming back
Slightly stronger, despite the worlds you've left and unbled and said
Well just keep your twisting, keep your twisting
But I'll keep breathing, I keep breathing.

We still miss you terribly.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Four Bands, Four Bucks

Back around 1989-1990 the University of Washington hosted a series of shows called "Four Bands, Four Bucks." Most of the bands came from the emerging new "grunge" scene before anyone called it grunge... back when they were just punk rock bands, some a little more rock than we were used to. Nirvana, Tad, The Fluid, Crunchbird, Skin Yard, Girl Trouble, The Gits and more would play shows that would run $1 a band. The turnout for these shows was huge, I think I went to most of them, they always had huge lines and sold out. Some of the best Charles Peterson photos from that ear are from these shows, including the mammoth crowd shot during Nirvana with a dude stage diving far above the crowd... it's funny how many of my friends you can see in that shot. This article ran the UW Daily about one of the shows at the time. Phil West, the writer, wrote a bunch about the emerging grunge scene for The Daily back then and probably got little credit for it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Do You Remember Rock'n'Roll Radio?

Do you remember Hullabaloo?
Upbeat, Shindig and Ed Sullivan too?
Do you remember Rocknroll radio?
Do you remember Rocknroll radio?

Do you remember Murray the K,
Alan Freed, and High Energy?
Its the end, the end of the '70s.
Its the end, the end of the century.

Do you remember lying in bed with your covers pulled up over your head?
Radio playin' so one can see.
We need change, we need it fast, before rock's just part of the past.
'cause lately it all sounds the same to me.

Oh-oh. will you remember Jerry Lee,
John Lennon, T. Rex and 'ol Moulty?
It's the end, the end of the '70s.
It's the end, the end of the century.

You know, it's funny to read the lyrics of The Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock'n'Roll Radio?" and realize they were fondly remembering the rock radio of the '50s and '60s. But that's what punk was trying to recapture, the fast rockin' two minute songs of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holley, but roughed up around the edges. Me... I'm an '80s kid. The radio stations I fondly remember from growing up are represented above. KJET I've mentioned before, in the early to mid '80s they played the best alternative and punk music in Seattle. From the 1972 through 2001 KCMU, the University of Washington's college station, also played it's fair share of alternative and local music. After a big donation from Paul Allen in 2001, the station moved off-campus down to Allen's Experience Music Project and adapted it's name, KEXP... from there it definitely stepped up it's programming to be much more commercial, yet still has managed to maintain it's local roots (and added punk programming!).