Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Few Wishes for the New Year

  • Seattle's Mayor's Office of Film and Music drops music from it's scope and becomes just the Office of Film. This office is a perfect example of government bureaucracy. We don't need our music clubs overregulated and government involvement in the music community stifles creativity. Government is not the solution to our problems, it's monolithic, inefficient and expensive. Things like an 80K+ Club Czar position, industry happy hours and public relations concerts at The Paramount are a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, especially in tough economic times where we see public hospitals and schools forced to take major funding cuts. Focus the office on film and generating income for the city by making it cheaper and easier for movies to be shot here, instead of everyone going to Vancouver BC. The best thing government can do for the music community is keep it's hands off it. Allow artists, labels, promoters and clubs to follow their own path to success or failure.

  • The beard fashion trend will end. I thought it was played out a year ago, yet it seems more and more band members are growing facial hair. Today's hair bands don't have teased out long hair, they have big bushy hippie beards. It's trendy, it's cool, it's hip... why not grow one, everyone else is? To me it just says you're a trendy hipster or you're too fucking lazy to shave. And gross, I can see what you ate for lunch on your face.

  • Ticketmaster, who charges up to 50% over the ticket price in "convenience fees," will face greater competition from alternatives like Brown Paper Tickets (and Live Nation, even though they are also evil), driving handling fees for a concert ticket back down to the $2-$5 range.

  • Nationwide concert venue owners and promoters like AEG and Live Nation lose power, money and influence in tougher economic times, allowing more competition and locally-owned venus and concert promoters to more easily flourish.

  • People get over cocaine. I can't believe so many people are still doing coke all the time in Seattle, especially people in their 30s and 40s, it's like a Bret Easton Ellis novel for aging hipsters. I can understand "partying" occasionally, but this town is packed full of wide-eyed, jaw grinding, figidy people with an inability to carry on a real conversation. Disappearing into back rooms at parties for hours or bathrooms at bars and clubs all the time is annoying to everyone hanging out with you that isn't high. Stick to the booze baby, you're much more fun to be around on it. And in case you haven't looked into the mirror lately, your drug use has aged you five years in the past five months.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Icki from StyZine and ex-MRR coordinator is now a full time photographer and photo editor. He pointed out a few weeks ago that The Boston Globe added a great section to it's online edition called "The Big Picture" that highlights a world event with a large photo essay. I've been looking at it every few days and the photos are just blowing me away, they capture so much emotion and energy, they make you feel in the moment much more than words describing an event can usually do. Check out this photo essay of the Greek riots. You think Seattle blew up big when the WTO came to town, but we got nothing on the Greeks. They took to the streets in huge numbers and fought back way harder with the police after police shot an killed a 15 year old punk kid Saturday, December 6th. Each day the protests have grown, the reaction has been huge:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seattle's new rockin' punk forum!

Seattle's newest music forum is only about a month old, but it's taken off faster than The Stranger's forums with over 5,000 posts in it's short existence. And for good reason, Seattle's mammoth punk community has needed a good forum for years, something along the lines of the Northwest Hardcore forums for fans of punk rock. There have been plenty of local punk forums in the past... The Northwest Punk-list is the longest running, had a good couple year run, there were some Tribe, MySpace and Yahoo Groups (Northwest Punk Rock Tavern or whatever it was called), but there really hasn't been a good, big, easy to use forum with lots of bands and fans until now since the hey day of NW Punk. And it's on now, so sign up and join the conversation at! You know the cool thing about it? While still in it's infancy, it's not full of assholes. Everyone is playing nice, wanting to meet new people, helping each other's bands out, and making shit happen. It's refreshing to see such a positive and active community blossoming, so let's keep it that way!

The Jesus Lizard return!

Check out this 1994 live footage of The Jesus Lizard, around 45 seconds in David Yow gets knocked out when a bottle is thrown at him. Eventually he gets back up, they clean the glass off the state, the band starts up again, and a now pissed off Yow belts out the rest of the song. Both lame (the bottle throw) and awesome (his recovery and willingness to continue).

For fans of Yow and The Jesus Lizard, this performance isn't very surprising. For a full decade from 1989 to 1999, David Yow would bring it 110% live fronting The Jesus Lizard. And the good news is we all might get to hear it and see it again! From Touch and Go Records:

The Jesus Lizard to reunite, seminal albums remastered and reissued!

In what has to rank as one of the most unlikely developments in rock, the awe-inspiring primal force of the Jesus Lizard will return, briefly, in 2009. The original lineup of David Yow, Duane Denison, David Wm. Sims and Mac McNeilly will reform for a very limited series of live dates in 2009, starting with the All Tomorrow’s Parties event dubbed The Fans Strike Back in Minehead, UK on May 9 and 10 and ending with a final appearance in Chicago in late November. These shows will be the Jesus Lizard’s first since disbanding in 1999 and the first in twelve years to feature the original storied quartet. As anyone who has experienced the Jesus Lizard live can attest, they are one of the most intense and visceral musical assemblies to ever stalk a stage. This fleeting reunion offers an incredible opportunity to either be blown away all over again or to immerse yourself in the sweaty power and driving mayhem for the very first time.

In celebration of this event, Touch and Go Records will reissue four full-length releases and one EP from the Jesus Lizard in May 2009. Remastered recordings of Head (still to include the remastered Pure EP on CD), Goat, Liar, and Down will be available on both LP and CD - plus a remaster of their 5-song EP Pure on vinyl, all with expanded packaging and liner notes. Bob Weston is heading up the remastering process with Steve Albini, the original session engineer, sitting in.

The Octabites

2003-2004 seemed to be the peak for Seattle-based surfy punk band The Octabites. They put out a self-released CD, played a lot of local shows and got a bit of a buzz going for them. The band featured Lea Nichols on guitar and vocals, Henry Leinonen on bass, and Aimee Tubbs on drums and backing vocals. Their music was somewhat unique, the played a mix of surf, punk and psychobilly, in the vein of X and Deadbolt. But what really set The Octabites apart was Lea's voice and singing style, she could go from pissed of screaming to powerful high notes on a dime, her vocal range was much more than you'd expect from a punk rock singer. She also had somewhat crazy antics on and off stage that were always entertaining. The band still has a MySpace page up here with a few songs, but they haven't been around for a couple of years, if I had to guess I'd say their last show was in 2005. Here are a couple songs off their self-released CD:

Sold My Soul
Wake Up and Dream
Burning Sand

Photos by Amy Halligan. If anyone from the band isn't into me making a few songs available, just let me know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Spits return!

The Spits are back... well, sort of. They played a packed show at Funhouse in Seattle last night. Derek from The Catheters was on keys. Sean Spits said they are looking for a permanent drummer and keyboard player and want to record another album, it's been five years since their last one. He also said after the album comes out, they want to tour the States at least one more time, or as he said, "Give it one last shot!"

The show was a blast, but I hate it when people bring a birthday cake to a punk show. It inevitably turns into a cake fight and the floor gets insanely slippery, which happened during one of the opening band's sets. My jeans smelled like frosting when I got home thanks to Vas stage diving on me and knocking me to the ground. Whoever found my camera in the pit and handed it back to me, thanks! I was freaking out for a second, it's a fairly new and expensive camera. Good turn out and a fun show!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Murder City Devils reunion show!

The Murder City Devils will be doing a reunion show Thursday, February 12th at Seattle's Showbox Theater. Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10am, but there will be an Internet presale starting tomorrow morning 10am via Ticketmaster (password is "showbox"). Since this show will sell out, if you plan on going, I'd get tickets tomorrow. And sorry kids, it's 21 and over.

Shorter sentence for Mia Zapata's murderer?

When local Gits singer Mia Zapata was found raped and murdered it devastated the local music community in Seattle. She touched so many of our hearts. Even if you didn't know her personally, just listening to her songs or seeing her perform live made you feel like you knew her. Mia had a way of laying her emotions out there in front of everyone with her songwriting and delivery. There was a rawness and soul to her songs, something you can still hear listening to The Gits a good 15 years later.

When she died it was so tragic, and the pain and hole in the music community went on for so long because the police were unable to solve her murder. Benefits were held, funds were raised, and her friends ended up hiring a private investigator to try to solve what the police could not... but still, the murder went unsolved. It wasn't until ten years later with DNA testing that a fisherman in Florida named Jesus Mesquia was caught and matched to the scene. Mia finally got her trial and Mesquia was convicted of the horrendous crime. Because of the circumstances surrounding the murder, the judge was extra tough in sentencing and gave Mesquia 36 years. 36 years seems way too short a time for taking Mia's life, the bastard should have got a life sentence, but the judge actually gave ten years more than the usual sentence because of the heinous nature of the murder.

A recent US Supreme Court ruling has overturned the sentence however. The court ruled that only juries, not judges, can hand out exceptional sentences. For Mesquia, that means he will have a new trial for sentencing and will probably get shortened jail time. This totally blows, especially since in an odd twist, Mesquia himself has said he thinks he deserves the longer sentence and shouldn't be let out any earlier. The trial date hasn't been set yet for the new sentencing, but I'll update you all when I hear more about this. It's another sad day in a really sad story.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Punk and Hardcore beer!

I stopped by Seattle's Big Star Beer Market last night. It's an unassuming store just off Aurora on 105th that looks like your run of the mill mini-mart from the outside, but inside features Seattle's largest selection of beers from around the world. This place treats beer like a fine wine, importing hundreds and hundreds of beers from all over, the variety and depth of their beers is almost staggering when you walk in. How do you pic out a Lambic when there are 80 different ones to choose from? If you're scratching your head wondering what a Lambic is, it's a beer brewed only in the Pajottenland region of Belgium by a process of spontaneous fermentation. Lambic's aside, you'll find about every beer you're looking for at Big Star, along with hundreds, if not thousands, you aren't. And sometimes you stumble upon ones you just have to buy... like Punk IPA and Hardcore IPA, two beers from Scotland's BrewDog brewery. At $12.95 per 22 ounce bottle because it's a very new and limited import, not too many punk rockers are going to be buying it, but I just couldn't pass it up after reading the back of the bottle:

Ha ha ha, awesome. The brewery's website is and it looks pretty popular in the UK. While they have one distributor in the US, they seem quite small making it about impossible to find, except locally at Big Star. Besides Punk IPA ("a post modern classic ale"), BrewDog also makes Hardcore IPA ("An explicit imperial ale"), Riptide ("a twisted merciless stout"), Paradox ("whiskey cask aged imperial stout"), The Physics ("a laid back amber beer"), Hop Rocker ("a statuesque lager"), and Tokyo (a 12% imperial stout brewed with jasmine and cranberries). Brewdog's naming and marketing has gotten them in hot water with The Portman Group, the UK's self-regulating alcohol industry body. From the UK Independent:

An "aggressive" beer sold under the name Punk IPA faces being banned after a ruling that it would promote irresponsible drinking.

The drink and two others made by BrewDog in Fraserburgh, Hop Rocker and Rip Tide, were found to have breached marketing rules in a provisional decision by the Portman Group, a self-regulating industry body.

It decided Rip Tide's description as a "twisted merciless stout" would be associated with antisocial behaviour, while the claim that Hop Rocker was a "nourishing foodstuff" and that "magic is still there to be extracted" implied that it would enhance physical and mental capabilities.

BrewDog, which was set up 18 months ago by two former law students, reacted angrily to the decision, saying it threatened to put the firm, which sells to Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Oddbins among others, out of business. The company is given the chance to respond before a final ruling.

James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog with Martin Dickie, denied the advertising would encourage irresponsible behaviour. The label on Punk IPA, the main seller of the three, says "this is an aggressive beer, we don't care if you don't like it", which Mr Watt said highlighted the contrast in taste with light lagers.

"Our branding, our packaging, is a little bit edgy. The word 'aggressive' is used because of the biting bitterness in it. It's a heavily hopped beer. It's not something you can drink a lot of," he said.

"We could [change the label] but should we be pushed into changing our approach by our competitors? I think what they [the Portman Group] are doing flies in the face of anti-competition laws."

He said irresponsible drinking was more likely to occur as a result of strong lager produced by the major brewers being sold for a third of the price of his beer.

The Portman Group has also made a provisional ruling against Skull Splitter, a beer produced for 20 years by the Orkney Brewery and named after Thorfinn Hausakluif, the seventh Viking earl of Orkney, who had that nickname. It was decided the phrase was associated with violence and also could be a reference to its effect on the drinker's head.

Wacky Brits! I can't believe the name or a witty description can get a beer banned!

Carl from Tigertail says they'll be stocking Punk IPA and one other Brewdog beer starting tomorrow... and they will be priced at about half what I bought mine for! So if you want to try it out, hit Carl and Tim's (ex-Fallout Records owner) fine establishment later this week!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Heaven on a Bun? I don't know, but it has beef, ham, cheese and eggs on it!

I wrote about my fondness for Centralia, Washington's Country Cousin in a diner review back in July. Over Thanksgiving weekend I stopped there again in route back to Seattle from the Portland area and low and behold, they had a new burger on the menu. 2 quarter pound patties, cheese, ham and a fried egg on a cibatta bun. Protein overload and seriously really tasty. It goes great with a beer and pulltabs: