Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The new Jello Biafra album, free!

The new Jellow Biafra album is available free to download from Amazon. And it's surprisingly heavy/crunchy punk with the same pissed off vocals and lyrics you'd expect from Biafra, that guy hasn't slowed down at all in his 40s: Download from Amazon for free here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's a Fucked Up Christmas!

Fucked Up reworked "Do The Know It's Christmas?" and recorded it as a benefit, along with Andrew W.K., Bob Mould, David Cross, Ezra Koenig, GZA, Kevin Drew, Kyp Malone, Tegan and Sara, and Yo La Tengo. It's so much better not having Bono wailing on it...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dragstrip Riot

"Who are these guys? They're awesome!" a friend recently said during a Dragstrip Riot set. And he was totally right, they are indeed an awesome band. Dragstrip Riot have been around since 2001 blasting out a mix of punk, rockabilly and hard driven rock'n'roll with songs about drivin', drinkin', fightin' and fuckin'. You can almost smell the cigarettes, gasoline and cheap beer as these boys step on stage.

Dragstrip Riot will be playing the 5th Annual Punk Kristmas this Saturday night (December 19th) at The Funhouse in Seattle. Also on the bill are The Them, Sledgeback, The Load Levelers and Neutralboy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Brother James!

James Burdyshaw was already an established band guy by the time I got into the music scene in Seattle. He fronted 64 Spiders, who had one 7" out on Daniel House's C/Z Records, as well as two cuts on the legendary late '80s Seattle underground rock compilation "Another Phyrric Victory." He also was in somewhat legendary (in the late '80s Seattle scene) Catt Butt, Yummy, awesome garage punk band The Sinister Six, and he most recently fronted The Bug Nasties. James also has done time on my side of the music community, writing music reviews for both my old mag Tablet and Dawn Anderson's Backfire. Most importantly, he's just one fucking nice guy, he always stops and says hi when he runs into you and often has a great story or two to tell.

These days James is getting together various friends and doing a project he's calling Brother James and The Deciples of Junk. And he's also DJing old rock'n'roll and soul in various venues around town. The shot above of DJ Brother James was when he was spinning at the one year anniversary party for Gainsbourg in Greenwood. Within minute of when James started spinnin', the floor was crowded with people dancin' to the old soul singles he was throwing down. He spins at Studio 66 at the Lo Fi and other nights around town too, check his action out!

The Damage Done at Funhouse last Friday!

Chest tattoos, barefoot singers, fingers pointing in the air, and pure emotional driven melodic hardcore. Each and every time, The Damage Done bring it live. Remember the first time you heard, or better yet saw live, a band like Against Me? That kinda energy and emotion that the band has and the crowd feeds off? Yep, these guys have it, even at the smallest show they win their audience over and they have an every growing group of fans. Seriously one of Seattle's best punk bands these days, don't sleep on these guys!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm DJing a great show at Funhouse tonight!

Sadly another great uber-fan and local music supporter died recently before Bob Kondrak. Ben Russell was a kid I was just getting to know, having just hung out talking and drinking with him at a few shows, house parties and Shorty's during this past year. I call Ben and uber-fan because he went out to shows and events almost every night of the week, his support for local music was practically unparalleled. His main haunt was Funhouse, if you've been to a show there in the past month you may have seen the memorial pictorial on one of the tables there. Besides Funhouse I'd see him at house shows, other clubs, at the Pencil Fighting Championships, he came to my photo show opening... the guy was just fantastic at supporting local music and arts events. He died at home pretty suddenly due to complications with his diabetes, taking everyone by surprise. Tonight's show at Funhouse isn't meant to be a sad event though, it's supposed to be a celebration of Ben's life. Most of the bands playing were either friends with him or he was big fans of, Bobcat and I will be DJing, and the money raised at the door will go to his parents to offset their funeral costs.

Not only is it a good cause, all these bands rock. Dragstrip Riot always put on a great show, they'll be doing it acoustically tomorrow night. Smokejumper is an up-and-coming pop punk band featuring many ex-members of the band Dateless. And The Damage Done is what I consider one of the best melodic punk bands in Seattle right now. They will also be collecting blanket and coat donations for the homeless at this show.

Some interesting info on my favorite Bob Kondrak photo

A bunch of people have been coming out of the woodwork the past few days on garage rock forums and Facebook sharing their stories about Kondrak, which is excellent. One woman that knew Bob back in the '70s punk scene gave me some info on that punk kid photo I love:

"In your bottom & favorite BK photo is Nina who was only about 10 years old. I often helped her get home or to someone's house after shows at the Bird, etc. I really wonder what happened to her. I have photos of her dancing on stage with the Boomtown Rats looking so happy. Often she didn't look that happy."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bob Kondrak's funeral service details

This is a photo of The Buzzbombs that Bob took back in 1999:

I heard back from Bob's son Kuri, the funeral service is open to the public and I'd like to encourage anyone that had a connection with Bob through the music scene to attend. Here are the details:

Bob Kondrak's Memorial Service
2pm on December 12, 2009
At Evergreen Washelli, 11111 Aurora Ave. North

And who knew, in these fancy internet times you can watch a memorial service online. I know Bob had a lot of friends from the Goner, Terminal Boredom and Banana Truffle (old school Usenet) forums where he went by tet68, Bongo White or his real name. If you're not in Seattle, you may want to watch online, here are the details:

WHEN: Live Event Saturday, December 12 2009, 05:00 pm EST

IMPORTANT Please Note: This is Eastern Time (New York Time) please adjust your schedule to be available at the appropriate time.


You can upload photos, videos and comments by accessing the event link.
For later viewing of the event, please access the link approximately
24 hours after the event.

The location ends up having a punk rock photo tie in, which is perfect for Kondrak. I'm pretty sure the Evergreen Washelli cemetery was featured in the photo on the cover of the early punk rock single by Solger:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Punk photographer Bob Kondrak passes away

This is a photo of Bob Kondrak with Nobunny from Nobunny's MySpace page.

In the mid-'90s right when my old zine 10 Things was in it's hey day, I was contacted by a local guy named Bob Kondrak about running some of his photos in the zine. He loved garage rock and was taking pictures at a lot of the shows I was going to, although I had never met him. So we met up for beers and for Bob to give me some photos and I was surprised to find a big, gray haired, bearded dude that was probably already in his mid-fifties. As it turned out, Bob told me he had been working in a reggae store in the '70s when punk broke and he totally got into it (his reggae vinyl collection is supposed to be 7,000 records strong). He'd been shooting punk bands since around 1978 and had piles of photos beyond the garage punk stuff he was just handing me. At the time he was a bit of a loaner, working as a night janitor at the University of Washington, going to punk and garage shows, and shooting a lot of photos. He didn't seem to have any close friends, but told me about his son, Kuri, who was a DJ or something and was into electronic music, "Totally the opposite of the music his old man likes," he said. I had a feeling at the time he was first giving me photos to publish that he'd never really shared his band photography with anyone. He certainly wasn't published anywhere and hadn't yet made a name for himself even in punk circles. He was just finally in his 50s sharing what was already his life's work to the world for the first time.

Over the years Bob began writing for 10 Things too, covering mostly the garage punk scene in his column "Blow it out your ass!" He also began contributing to Horizontal Action and a few other zines, as well as posting to many of the online forums for fans of garage punk. Bob was never a classy guy, he rubbed a few people the wrong way with some creepy comments and a tendency to shoot a lot of girls in garage bands, he was definitely a fan of the boobs. And heck, the last time I saw him at a show at Funhouse a few months ago, he called my wife a MILF. But that was part of his character, it went along with a great sense of humor, excellent stories about old punk shows, and his great live band photography.

I didn't talk to Bob all that often in recent years. Maybe I ran into him at a show at Funhouse, The Monkey or The Sunset a couple times a year. More recently we had been exchanging some emails after I asked if I could scan and run some of his old photos here on the blog. And I was really trying to get him to sell me some larger prints of my few favorite photos of his too, my last email from him said, "I have been kinda lazy lately in the darkroom, but I'll make a note on my "do" list for the two you mention below. I'll let you know when those are ready and we can meet and discuss price." I never heard back from him.

I heard this morning that Bob Kondrak passed away on Friday after a long struggle with a rare blood disease. I didn't even know he was sick, he said nothing to me about it the last few times I saw him. So it's completely out of the blue that Kondrak has passed away and I'm feeling a little numb about it right now. I'm sure someone out there can write a better obituary, this is more just about my memories of Bob. While Bob Kondrak isn't a household name even in the local punk community, he was fairly legendary in the underground garage punk scene for years. Cheers old creepy man! You were a loyal contributor to 10 Things over the years, were damn funny, and took some wonderful photos that I really hope more of can surface and be published.

Here are a few of my favorite Bob Kondrak photos I ran in 10 Things:

This is a fantastic picture of The Clash in their heyday, Bob shot it at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. I tracked down the show date, October 15th, 1979, I would have loved to see The Clash back then!

This is a classic Kondrak garage girl shot. It's Margaret from the Demolition Doll Rods, from 1998.

This final photo below is my favorite Bob Kondrak photo, I love everything about it. It was shot probably in early 1979 ("Armed Forces" came out January 5th, 1979). I love everything from the DIY cut-up and drawn on punk shirt, the spiky hair, the 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. He perfectly captured a moment in time, like all great photographers seem able to do.

This photo, more than any other, makes me wonder how many other cool photos that capture this era are out there lurking in people's photo albums that really ought to be scanned in and shared. Heck, it makes me wonder how many other great photos Bob Kondrak shot that have yet to be shared with the world. Hopefully his son or a friend has access to his negatives and prints and can make something happen with them. Bob's legacy needs to live on through his photography.