Punk Retrospective
5Feb/140

Happy 100th Birthday, William S. Burroughs

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Burroughs

Just Say No to Drug Hysteria ~ William S. Burroughs (February 5, 1914 - August 2, 1997)

An interesting case of mass hysteria is described in a book called The Medical Detectives, by Berton Roueche. The outbreak occurred at the Bay Harbor Elementary School in Dade County, Florida. A girl named Sandy, who was slightly ill with the flu, collapsed in the school cafeteria and was carried out on a stretcher as the next shift of students was coming in.

Sandy, it seems, was sort of a leader. In any case, the students started keeling over in droves. An officer from the Department of Public Health was dispatched to the scene. Fortunately, he recalled a similar case some years back from another high school, and quickly made a diagnosis of mass hysteria.

The remedy is very simple -- get back to a calm, normal routine as expeditiously as possible. Get the children back to their classes. And that was the end of the outbreak. However, if the hysteria is not recognized and acted upon, it will go on and get worse and worse, as happened in the previous outbreak.

When hysteria is deliberately and systematically cultivated and fomented by a governing party, it can be relied upon to get worse and worse, to spread and deepen. Recent examples are Hitler's anti-semitic hysteria and present-day drug hysteria. The remedy is simple -- a calm, objective, common-sense approach.

Remember that during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries -- the "good old days," which conservatives so fondly evoke -- opiates, cannabis tinctures, and cocaine were sold across the counter from sea to shining sea, and the United States did not founder as a result. There's no way to know exactly how many addicts there were, but my guess would be: surprisingly few. Many people simply don't like these drugs.

In England, before America persuaded the English government to adopt our own tried-and-failed, police-and-sanction approach, any addict could get heroin on prescription and fill his script on the National Health. As a result there was no black market, since no profit was involved. In 1957 there were about 500 addicts in the U.K., and two narcotics officers for metropolitan London. Now England presents the same dreary spectrum as the USA -- thousands of addicts, hundreds of drug agents, some of them on the take, a flourishing black market, addicts dying from O.D.'s and contaminated heroin.

Obviously the sane, common-sense solution is maintenance for those who cannot or will not quit, and effective treatment for those who want to quit. The only treatment currently available is abrupt withdrawal, or withdrawal with substitute drugs. Withdrawal treatment dates back to early nineteenth-century British drug essayist Thomas De Quincey. Surely they could do better than that. Indeed, they could, but they show no signs of doing so.

Consider alternative therapy that is available: acupuncture, apomorphine. Both therapies work because they stimulate the production of endorphins, the body's natural regulators and painkillers. The discovery and isolation of endorphins has been called the most crucial breakthrough toward the understanding and treatment of addiction since addiction was first recognized as a syndrome.

If you don't use it, you lose it. The addict is ingesting an artificial painkiller, so his body ceases to produce endorphins. If opiates are then withdrawn, he is left without the body's natural painkiller, and what would be normally minor discomfort becomes excruciatingly painful, until the body readjusts and produces endorphins. This is the basic mechanism of addiction, and explains why any agent that stimulates the production of endorphins will afford some relief from withdrawal symptoms.

De Quincey suggested that there may be a constitutional predisposition to the use of opium, and modern researchers speculate that addicts may be genetically deficient in insulin. I have heard from one addict who received an experimental injection of endorphins during heroin withdrawal. He reported that there was none of the usual euphoria experienced from an opiate injection, but rather "a shift of gears," and he was suddenly free from withdrawal symptoms. Researchers believe that endorphins, since they are a natural body substance, may not be addictive. Only widespread testing can answer this question.

Since endorphins were first extracted from animal brains, they are at present prohibitively expensive -- $2,000 a treatment -- just as cortisone was very expensive when it was first extracted. Synthesis has brought the price of cortisone within reach of any patient who needs it. Is any of the $7.9 billion in Bush's latest War on Drugs plan marked for the synthesis and widespread testing of endorphins? I doubt if many of the congressmen who draft "tough drug bills" even know what endorphins are. And the same goes for the so-called drug experts who advise President Bush.

Billions for ineffectual enforcement.

Nothing for effective treatment.

I quote from a reading I have delivered to many receptive university audiences. This is an old number that is once again current and timely. It is called "MOB," for "My Own Business," drawing a line between the Johnsons and the shits:

This planet could be a reasonably pleasant place to live, if everybody could just mind his own business and let others do the same. But a wise old black faggot said to me years ago: "Some people are shits, darling."

I was never able to forget it.

The mark of a hard-core shit is that he has to be RIGHT. He is incapable of minding his own business, because he has no business of his own to mind. He is a professional minder of other people's business.

An example of the genre is the late Henry J. Anslinger, former Commissioner of Narcotics. "The laws must reflect society's disapproval of the addict," he said -- a disapproval that he took every opportunity to foment. Such people poison the air we breathe with the blight of their disapproval -- Southern lawmen feeling their nigger notches, decent churchgoing women with pinched, mean, evil faces.

"Any form of maintenance is immoral," said Harry, thus rejecting the obvious solution to the so-called drug problem.

On the other hand, a Johnson minds his own business. He doesn't rush to the law if he smells pot or opium in the hall. Doesn't care about the call girl on the second floor, or the fags in the back room. But he will give help when help is needed. He won't stand by when someone is drowning or under physical attack, or when animals are being abused. He figures things like that are everybody's business.

Then along came Ronnie and Nancy, hand in hand, to tell us nobody has the right to mind his own business:

"Indifference is not an option. Only outspoken insistence that drug use will not be tolerated."

Everyone is obliged to become hysterical at the mere thoughts of drug use, just as office workers in Orwell's 1984 were obligated to scream curses, like Pavlov's frothing dogs, when the enemy leader appeared on screen. And they'd better scream loud and ugly.

William von Raab, former head of U.S. Customs, went even further: "This is a war, and anyone who even suggests a tolerant attitude toward drug use should be considered a traitor."

Recollect during the Dexter Manley famous-athlete-cocaine-dealer flap, "Eyewitness News" was prowling the streets, sticking its mike in people's faces. One horrible biddy stated:

"Well, I think making the money they do, they should serve as an example."

She gets plenty of mike time.

And here a black cat, working on some underground cables, straightens up and says, "I think if someone uses drugs, it's his own bus--"

He didn't even get the word out before they jerked the mike away. Freedom of the press to select what they want to hear, and call it the voice of the people.

* * * * *

Urine tests! Our pioneer ancestors would piss in their graves at the thought of urine tests to decide whether a man is competent to do his job. The measure of competence is performance. When told that General Grant was a heavy drinker, Lincoln said: "Find out what brand of whiskey he drinks, and distribute it to my other generals."

Doctor William Halsted has been called the "Father of American surgery." A brilliant and innovative practitioner, he introduced antiseptic procedures at a time when, far from donning rubber gloves, surgeons did not even wash their hands, and the death rate from postoperative infection ran as high as 80 percent. Doctor Halsted was a lifelong morphine addict. But he could still hack it and hack it good, and he lost no patients because of his personal habit. In those "good old days," a man’s personal habits were personal and private. Now even a citizen’s blood and urine are subject to arbitrary seizure and search.

The world's greatest detective could not have survived a urine test. "Which is it this time, Holmes, cocaine or morphine?"

"Both, Watson -- a speed ball."

* * * * *

It is disquieting to speculate what may lurk behind this colossal red herring of the War on Drugs -- a war neither likely to, nor designed to, succeed. One thing is obvious: old, clean money and new, dirty money are shaking hands under the table. And the old tried-and-failed police approach will continue to escalate at the expense of any allocations for treatment and research. In politics, if something doesn’t work, that is the best reason to go on doing it. If something looks like it might work, stay well away. Things like that could make waves, and the boys at the top, they don’t like waves.

Anslinger's "missionary work," as he called it, has found fertile ground in Malaysia, where there is a mandatory death penalty for possession of a half ounce or more of heroin or morphine or seven or more ounces of cannabis. (No distinction between hard and soft drugs in Malaysia; it's all "Dadah.") Anyone suspected of trafficking can be held two years without trial. Urine tests are a prerequisite for entry to high schools and universities.

Mahathir Bin Mohamed, Prime Minister of Malaysia, has launched an all-out radio and TV campaign to create a "drug-hating personality." He is said to command widespread support for his drug policies. So did Hitler command widespread support for his anti-Semitic program. Just substitute the word "addict" for "Jew," and Der Sturmer storms again. Der Sturmer was Julius Streicher's anti-Semitic rag, designed to create a Jew-hating personality.

In order to get to the bottom line of any issue, ask yourself: "Cui bono? -- Who profits?" According to Michele Sindona's account in Nick Tosches's book Power on Earth, the bulk of the world's dirty money is processed in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and the sums involved are trillions of dollars. Any liberalization of drug laws could precipitate a catastrophic collapse of the drug black market and cut off this salubrious flow of dirty money to the laundries of Malaysia. (Hanging small time pushers-addicts to protect huge Syndicate profits ... does money come any dirtier?)

And I would be interested to examine the offshore bank accounts of Malaysian officials involved in the fabulously profitable war against drug menace. But that is a job for an investigative reporter like Jack Anderson, a job he is not likely to undertake, since he seems to be in basic sympathy with Prime Minister Mohamed.

Interviewing Mohamed on the subject of drugs, Jack Anderson reports that he "spoke with real passion." (And so did Hitler speak with real passion.) In a column entitled, "We Are Losing the War Against Drugs," Anderson speaks of thousands of "stupid and criminal Americans" who persist in using drugs ... yes, criminal, by act of Congress. With the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act in 1919, thousands of U.S. citizens -- from frugal, hard-working, honest Chinese to old ladies with arthritis and old gentlemen with gout -- were suddenly "criminals."

George Will relates the story of a Colombian woman who was detained at Customs until she shit out some cocaine in condoms. He goes on to say: "We should attack demand as well as supply. Life should be made as difficult for users as it was for that woman."

So thousands of suspected users are rounded up and forced to swallow castor oil in the hope of bringing illegal drugs to light ....

"Got one!"

"False alarm ... just a tapeworm."

* * * * *

Fifty years ago, deep in the Ural mountains of Lower Slobbovia, a thirteen-year old prick named Pavlik Morozov denounce his father to the local authorities as a counter-revolutionary kulak because he had a pig hidden in his basement. (A kulak is a subsistence farmer.) That was when Stalin was starving out the kulaks to make way for collective farms, which didn't work. Stalin levied an outrageous produce tax, knowing that the farmers would hide their crops, then sent out patrols to search and seize concealed produce and farm animals. At least three million people starved to death in the winters of 1932 and 1933, and that's a conservative estimate.

Little Pavliki was hacked to stroganoff by the outraged neighbors -- good job and all. Thus perish all talking assholes.

"His name must not die!" sobbed Maxim Gorky, his hearty voice contracted by painful emotion. So Pavliki became a folk hero. Got a street in Moscow named after him, and a statue to commemorate his heroic act. He should have been sculpted with the head of a rat. And the viilage of Gerasimovka is a fucking shrine, drawing legions of youthful pilgrims to the home of Pavlik Morozov.

"Dirty little Stukach."

That's Ruski for "rat" -- a word designed to be spat out.

It is happening here. Lawrence Journal-World, October 29, 1986: "Girl, 10, Reports Mother's Drug Use." It was the fourth time that a California girl had turned in her parents for alleged drug abuse since August 13th. And Reagan's Attorney General Ed Meese said that management has the obligation and responsibility for surveillance of problem areas in the workplace, such as locker rooms and, above all, toilets, and the toilets in the nearby taverns, to prevent drug abuse.

I am an old-fashioned man: I don't like informers. It looks like Meese and Reagan, and now Bush, intend to turn the United States into a nation of mainstream rats.

Well, as Mohamed says, one has to give up a measure of freedom to achieve a blessed drug-free state, at which point the narcs will wither away. Sure, like the KGB withered away in Russia.

* * * * *

In April 1987, I was privileged to attend a debate between Timothy Leary and Peter Bensinger, former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and at that time one of Reagan's self-styled drug experts. The debate was held at the Johnson County Community College in Kansas City, Kansas, in the heartland of America.

It was a massacre. Bensinger was lying, and the audience was fully aware of his blatant falsifications. Pausing for applause after some assault on logic and common sense, he received instead a chorus of boos. Fully 90 percent of the audience supported Leary, who won the debate hands down.

Lying comes as natural as breathing to a politician, and as necessary to his political survival. One mark of a liar is his refusal to answer any direct question. When asked if the billions a year spent on enforcement of unworkable, unenforceable laws would not be better spent on research and treatment, Bensinger replied that the Defense Department spends more in a week than the DEA spends in a year.

"Boo! Boo! Boo!"

Asked about the English system of allowing addicts heroin on prescription, he said: "They went right out and exchanged it for stronger street dope."

What could they find on the street stronger than 100 percent pure pharmaceutical heroin?

"Well, uh, cocaine." (Which can also be obtained on prescription in England.)

Lies ... Lies ... Lies. The Lie Decade.

* * * * *

Here is a passage from my work in progress, Ghost of Chance:

* * * * *

The Board had lost interest in the Museum of Lost Species, some members even suggesting that the Museum was a figment of the late captain's drug-clouded mind, perpetuated by the superstitious villagers. In any case, there were more pressing matters: international dissent on an unprecedented scale. Their computers estimated that dissent would become acute in the next fifty to a hundred years. They had to think at least that far ahead.

To distract from the problems of overpopulation, depletion of resources, deforestation and pandemic pollution of water, land, and sky, they have inaugurated a war against drugs. This will provide a pretext to set up an international police apparatus designed to suppress dissidence on a worldwide level. The international apparatus will be called ANA: Anti-Narcotics Association. Ana mean "I" in Arabic, so ANA can be shortened to "I," or "Eye."

Propaganda will follow the tried-and-true methods used by Adolf Hitler. Just substitute the word "addict" for "Jew." Same song, different verse -- DOPE FIENDS covered with sores, reeking of sulfurous evil.

If it works, don't fix it, and it is working. Kids turning in their parents, and here is a California Reader writing in the Ann Landers column suggesting we take a lesson from Communist China: shoot all the drug dealers and all the addicts .... "Then we'll all be much happier."

"One kook."

"Yes, but ... there are plenty who see through our plan right now."

The Texas member looks up from his crossword puzzle.

"We should worry? We got the Moron Majority."

"It's not a majority."

"Who ever needed a majority? Ten percent plus the police and the military is all it ever took. Besides, we've got the media hook, line, and blinkers. Any big-circulation daily even hinting that the war against drugs is a red whale? Anyone asking why more money isn't going into research and treatment? Any investigative reporters looking into money laundering in Malaysia? Or the offshore bank accounts of Mahathir Bin Mohamed? Anyone saying that the traffickers hanged in Malaysia are not exactly kingpins? There is no limit to what the media will swallow and shit out on their editorial pages."

* * * * *

Unfortunately, my own most "paranoid" fantasies in recent years have not even come close to the actual menace now posed by antidrug hysteria, if current polls are even approximately accurate. According to a survey conducted recently by the Washington Post and ABC News, 62 percent of Americans would be willing to give up "a few freedoms we have in this country" to significantly reduce illegal drug use; 55 percent said they favored mandatory drug tests for all Americans; 67 percent said all high school students should be regularly tested for drugs; 52 percent said they would agree to let police search homes of suspected drug dealers without a court order, even if houses "of people like you were sometimes searched by mistake"; 67 percent favored allowing police to stop cars at random and search for drugs, "even if it means that the cars of people like you are sometimes stopped and searched"; and fully 83 percent favored encouraging people to report drug users to police, "even if it means telling police about a family member who uses drugs."

President Bush said in his television address not long ago: "Our outrage against drugs unites us as a nation!"

A nation of what? Snoops and informers?

Take a look at the knee-jerk, hard-core shits who react so predictably to the mere mention of drugs with fear, hate, and loathing. Haven't we seen these same people before in various contexts? Storm troopers, lynch mobs, queer-bashers, Paki-bashers, racists -- are these the people who are going to revitalize a "drug-free America"?

The emphasis on police action rather than treatment has persisted and accelerated. The addict seeking treatment today will find long waiting lists and often prohibitive costs. And the treatment is old-fashioned withdrawal, with a very high incidence of relapse. In all the television and newspaper talk about drugs, I have yet to hear a mention of the possible role of endorphins in such therapy, or any other innovative medical approach.

The dominant policy of police enforcement has nothing but escalating addiction rates (and ballooning appropriations) to recommend it. Americans used to pride themselves on doing a good job, and doing it right. Hysteria never solved any problem. If something clearly and demonstrably does not work, why go on doing it? It's downright un-American.

My advice to the young is: Just Say No To Drug Hysteria!

Filed under: Review No Comments
31Dec/130

Can’t Keep Up

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

OBN III tearing up the VFW - Photo credit

OBN III tearing up the VFW - Photo credit: Amy Donovan Photography

Yeah, I never write on here anymore. I still go to shows. I still shoot video...so much that I fill up all the hard drives I find. Between work, family, the band and shows, I rarely find myself with time to even upload video, let alone add titles and other info. This week I decided I needed to get some of this online and off the main laptop...so, in a somewhat random fashion I'm going to drop a few videos into your lap.

I was called to Missoula, Montana in October and got to witness night 1 of the Bugs US tour. No, they're not THAT Bugs, these guys are the really great Bugs from Portland who wrote the underground hit song, 'Fuckin' A Right,' that I love so much. They played at the ZACC, which is a really cool cultural component of the Missoula scene...and a nice intimate setting to witness artists of this caliber. I shot their whole set, but had to shoot the last 15 minutes with a screen width of 320px instead of 640px, because I'd shot the Oll Breds set (which I hadn't planned on) and the card still had Paul Collins Beat and the Maxies from a few nights before (yeah, I'll probably post those other bands soon). I talked with Paul and Mike before and after the show, then financed the first leg of their tour before walking back to the house I was staying at. Here's their set from where I was standing:

Pretty damn good, right? OK, so here are two more from my trip to Missoula. First up is the The Blind Shake at the Ole Beck VFW Hall in downtown Missoula. They opened for OBN III and Thee Oh Sees...the combination of which whipped up the over capacity crowd into one of the craziest situations I've ever been in at a show. The video of The Blind Shake is pretty clean, but by the time OBN III started, there was barely any space left for the bands and they were forced to hold the fans back while they played! I'll drop the last OBN III song here, but probably won't bother with Thee Oh Sees video. Here's The Blind Shake:

and OBN III:

Well, I decided not to post this 'til I uploaded the Oll Breds video I shot. Like I said...I had no intention of filling my SD card with anyone but the Bugs...then these guys started playing. I'd spotted them at the Paul Collins show...thought they looked strange for Montana, so when they started slinging some sloppy, garage style fun I got hooked. As always, the sound quality leaves a lot to desire, so I'd recommend also scrolling to the bottom for some studio recordings:

OK...that's what I've got uploaded from my Montana adventure. Maybe I'll drop some more of that later...but, since you're still here, why not go buy some Bugs music?

[bandcamp album=172638194 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

more? ok, here's some Oll Breds!

[bandcamp album=2512373294 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

18Aug/130

Post show wrap-up: Secretions at the Miners Foundry

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Cooper Žák

Cooper Žák of Lightweight at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center for the Summer Daze concert series.

I started writing a piece about the show we promoted so heavily last week...you remember, the Miners Foundry event with Sacramento's Secretions. I guess it was fine (the article), but it started getting into the future of events and didn't focus enough on the absolute success of the current event. With that in mind, I'll try again, with some bonus footage of each band.

When I saw the first poster for the Summer Daze events I immediately knew I wanted (Pug Skullz) to be part of it. Olaf Jens, local artist and disc jockey, had created a captivating image with that first poster, and it boosted local interest. Each successive poster generated more enthusiasm and with a simple request to As the Crow Flies Presents promoter Chad Conner Crow, Pug Skullz was in!

SummerDazeSometimes I feel I over-promote, that I abuse my Facebook friendships by being a little too persistent in my attempts to get the message out about certain shows or music releases. If Facebook weren't so intent on hiding posts from friends and followers it might not be necessary to repost events, but as it stands, newsfeed posts disappear in a matter of hours without a diligent search. Point? I pushed this show in ways I hadn't before and felt a little guilty about it. How many of the attendees did my work bring in? I'll never know, but I'm certain I'll over-promote again.

By the time we got to playing there was a good sized crowd of kids and old punks dancing and having a great time. The venue staff was having a good time, the promoter was happy, the bands were relaxed and ready and the audience was really enjoying the venue's sound and lights. Yes, Scott Steuer did a great job with lights and my previous predictions about Greg Cameron's ability to do sound were greatly underestimated...I was completely blown away! I think our community is finally beginning to notice what we've got here.

Pug Skullz are fairly new and we don't mind opening for other bands. We play simple punk rock with a deeper message than most people care to hear. We make mistakes. We don't use pedals, effects or other sound enhancing technologies. We don't promote an image...for me, it's all about expression. It's difficult getting people to come see an unknown band, so opportunities to play with well respected, established artists like the Secretions are a gift. Aside from a couple of blown verses and a simultaneous loss of place in the music (by me), I think the show went well for Pug Skullz. We were followed by Santa Cruz's 'Lightweight'.

Lightweight pushed the speed levels up quite a few notches and were rewarded with a nice circle pit. It's really great seeing younger people playing full-tilt punk rock. There is still melody under all that speed and noise, so I 'liked' their Facebook page and bookmarked their releases on Bandcamp. They're doing some really cool things and are just gonna get better.

Next up was the Devils Train. Since moving north roughly 10 years ago, I don't believe I've watched another band perform as many times as I have this one. Surprisingly, they continue to improve. They play around town a lot, but since they played the Far West Punk Fest, I've been hearing how much Sacramento loves them. The evidence of this lies in the fact that Akasha, pin-up 'devil-girl'/vocalist extraordinaire, was able to convince The Secretions to come back to Nevada City after an unfortunate ten year absence. They have a very loyal local following because they put on an awesome stage show and play an interest blend of punk, jazz and ska. Plus, they're really nice people, so don't be afraid to approach them...they're not as dangerous as they appear.

Haha...I guess I did have some video of the 'masked paparazzi', aka Mike Meals, with the Secretions on "Viva La Lucha Libre"!

The Secretions are a bunch of great guys. I only got to spend a few minutes with Danny while he worked the merch table, but found him to be a very personable, enthusiastic and knowledgable guy. Once they took the stage his sense of humor ruled the evening. The crowd stuck around to the end, which is a huge testimony to the solid set they played. These guys impressed everyone with their originals and nailed their covers...Greg called their Descendents cover on the first chord. The Secretions are a great band and proved to be just the anchor punk needed to regain a foothold in Nevada City.

In the end, there were more people than I've personally seen at a punk show in Nevada City...and that's with the higher than normal ticket price. Because of this show, I see a future for punk rock in Nevada City and Grass Valley...and so do bands from around the area. I'm already getting e-mails and Facebook messages from a wide range of punk acts requesting gigs. If your band is interested in playing this area, 'like' us on Facebook/PunkRetro or Facebook/PugSkullz or e-mail me at doug at punkretrospective.com.

19Jul/130

Strange Party – Radio(in)active EP Release & Show

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Strange PartyA mysterious message appeared in my Facebook inbox the other day...a secret Bandcamp link to an unreleased four-song EP. I clicked through and got to hear the new 'Strange Party,' Radio(in)active EP a full week in advance of it's release on 7/20/2013.

I have seen these guys perform, so I had an idea what to expect. Anyone who read my column on the Sacramento horror-punk scene will remember the respect 'The Left Hand's' singer, Vic, holds for 'The Strange Party' and that both bands were to open for former 'Misfit' Michale Graves. That show was a huge success.

The horror-punk genre is typically characterized by power vocals and a quick tempo married to simple, catchy melodic structures. The punk-edge of the guitar sharpened by the skilled mastery of a metal-head axe wielder. The Strange Party does not disappoint. Their talent and skill are presented here in some nice, clean recordings.

While similar to their 'Waste of Flesh' EP, 'Radio(in)active has it's own character and strength. Sadly, I will not be sharing the secret link with you at this point...you will have to wait for the band's show at The Colony tomorrow night with Dead Dads, Mad Judy, Carbomb Commies and Keep It From the Cops. Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/189659817853946/

Teaser track:

7May/130

Recovered Files: Bows and Arrows Collective 2/2/2013

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

BowsIt's tough to keep things like this blog going without a really reliable stream of income. The winter months destroy us financially, as I do a lot of seasonal building/painting type work. What's that have to do with anything? Well, if I can't keep my truck running or afford new blades for my circular saw, I certainly can't afford a better camera or a computer that isn't on the verge of dying.

Lucky for me, I have a decent knowledge of technology. I've been running computers since the mid 1980's and I'm familiar with pretty much every operating system IBM/Microsoft or Apple has come out with. You still don't care...what am I rambling on and on about?

Toward the beginning of this year, with my Mac G5 Power PC becoming quickly and unusably obsolete, I acquired a used HP laptop. After installing Windows 7 Home Premium on it, I started moving all of my music over to it. Gigabytes and gigabytes of glorious punk rock! I then dumped my SD cards full of recent shows and my pocket recorder full of song ideas, concerts, etc. Things were going really well...I finally felt somewhat organized.

Then the HP fizzled, fried and failed. Goodbye everything I failed to actually back up.

The videos below partially represent what was saved from the February 2, 2013 show at the Bows and Arrows Collective. I say partially because I actually do have the rest of the Charles Albright gig, but they're already well represented on our YouTube page. Sadly, I think the Four Eyes footage is gone. I will save this hard drive for most of what remains of my life hoping to one day retrieve that data...but, realistically, it's forever gone.

It was a really great show. Most shows at Bows are. This was my first time seeing the Four Eyes and Scouse Gits, second time seeing Charles Albright, as well as Boats!. Had a really great grilled cheese from the kitchen...crazy good!

I think I'm just going to drop the videos in here and not do too much more commentary...I've got more uploads to take care of before this pile of crap crashes.

I've been meaning to get Boats! on here since they played Reno with Youth Brigade and Adolescents two years ago...hooky punk and humor!

The Scouse Gits were a huge surprise. Trashy garage rock fun!

As always, Charles Albright rules!!

16Apr/130

Horror Night in Sacramento

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

World-class horror punk in Sacramento Wednesday!!

World-class horror punk in Sacramento Wednesday!!
Event page on Facebook

From the subculture rich environs of punk rock has emerged a dark, sometimes campy, variant. Werewolves, vampires, evil doctors, friendly psychopaths and amorous murderers infest songs of love, yearning and other terrors. True, elements of horror have been with punk since the dark beginnings, but horror punk has become a popular, well-defined sub-genre of the greater punk movement.

Early 'horror' acts include the Cramps, Bauhaus, 45 Grave and Alien Sex Fiend, but the most influential of all remains the Misfits. The headliner for tomorrow night's show at Luigi's in Sacramento, Michale Graves, helped redefine the boundaries of horror punk, giving expanded legitimacy to the genre through his strong songwriting and vocal work with the latter-day Misfits.

Songs in the genre can be humorous or dead serious, and there has always been a persistent melodious nature to a large percentage of them. They're catchy, contagious even, and they've infected our Sacramento scene.

I was introduced to the local strain back in February, when we went to the Where House?, a crazy, all-ages venue in the warehouse district of south Sacramento, to play for my birthday at Matthew Marrujo's 'Far West Punk Fest'. I had invited a bunch of people I know from the scene, as this was our first show in the area and I really wanted someone to see us. Scene historian Ken Doose showed up, as did Benjamin Abel of Sucker Punk Productions fame. Benjamin introduced me to Mr. Vic, who described himself as an old punk, and although I believe he is a punk, I doubt he's anywhere near as old as I am.

Vic and I talked about our histories, punk and the Sacramento scene, until the bands started playing. We chatted some more between acts and by the time we went on Vic and I had decided to talk again soon about one of their bigger upcoming shows. That time has finally arrived, as Mr. Vic's band, The Left Hand, will be opening for Michale Graves at Luigi's on April 17th. The Moans, Strange Party and Avenue Saints will also be sharing the bill, as Michale Graves swings through Sacramento promoting the release of 'Vagabond.'

I'll save the gory details of our talk for another time, but have a chat with Vic if you get a chance. He's not as frightening as he leads on and his easy going nature and enthusiasm give him a certain charm. It's interesting to note, there is no rivalry between the bands appearing on tomorrow night's bill. I learned there are actually very real inter-band friendships and a genuine respect for the songs and talents of their fellows.

During our conversation, Vic spoke about Danny (The Moans) and Justin (The Strange Party) with a sincere brotherly affection. I point this out because it's an important dynamic I see, in varying degrees, throughout the entire Sacramento scene. It's this quality that is keeping Sacramento punk alive and thriving. Hoping to see your friends succeed and doing everything you can to provide support seems to be the underlying element of everything I see here...and it's inspiring.

So...this truly is a night of horror punk, Sacramento...it's a Michale Graves 'Vagabond' CD release party (he's bringing a full band with him!), shared with the Moans as they unveil their first full-length CD "The Moans...From Underground". You'll see The Left Hand, who have a new video out, which you can see over here. The Strange Party will also grace the stage...they have a new song on their Bandcamp page. And the Avenue Saints, who will be playing their hearts out tomorrow night! Video of each band can be found below, just to give you a taste of what's in store. Support local music!!

Michale Graves

The Left Hand

The Strange Party

Avenue Saints

The Moans

Additional linkage:

The Left Hand's ReverbNation page.

Mr. Vic's wanted to give a shout out to this blues show on V103. V103 is a Sacramento based internet radio station that does great things for our scene and has recently been invaded by the Sucker Punks, who I talk about way too much because they're so great. Look at my other articles for links to them.

We play a lot of The Strange Party music on our Facebook page...here's their website.

17Jan/130

Charles Albright Rules!!

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

OK...I know I haven't been keeping up with Punk Retrospective. That doesn't mean I haven't been going to shows...I just really haven't had the time to put together videos and write reviews. I still don't have the time to do a proper write-up. Suffice it to say, Charles Albright is a great band and Charles Albright is a nice man. Here's a little treat to calm your nerves...it's Charles Albright and the boys at Bows and Arrows. I think the Babies played, too...but watch this!!

and for god's sake, go buy this cassette!!

[bandcamp album=2204346250 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=grande3]

Filed under: Review No Comments
9Jan/130

Bad Daddies & Jesus Christ, Mister! video from The Where House?

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Bad Daddies ripping it up at The Where House? 1/5/13

It was my second trip to The Where House? and I was pretty excited to see Bad Daddies again. Hit Reset, The Enlows, The Community, Jesus Christ, Mister! and Bad Daddies...my first show in 2013 and worth the trip, even in an unexpected rainstorm. It was Matt from Rise Entertainment's birthday. Ken Doose was there taking pictures (check 'em out). Former Enlow, Chris Sabatoni, now of Croissants and Charles Albright fame, also attended the event.

This is also the first show I've attended since my band played it's first gig, so I have a new lens to view performance through. I used to only judge a band on whether I like their music or not, but I've softened a bit on that stance. I know it takes some people a lot of preparation and courage to step out there and be judged by the crowd...apparently not the case with Bad Daddies' singer Camylle, nor guitarist Matt. Both are used to being the center of attention at work, so they easily took charge of the venue from the first squeals of feedback 'til the final shout of their brutal set.

Bad Daddies are the reason I drove all the way to the southern edge of Sacramento to stand in an unheated warehouse. The sounds Matt grinds out of his guitar are just about the coolest thing in California and the confrontational intensity of Camylle's performance put this band near the top of my current favorites. There's a certain chaotic energy surrounding the first part of the set, but order starts creeping in as they progress into their newer material and it just gets more awesome. Here's Saturday's live version of 'Regress,' the song the band released on their Soundcloud account last week:

Next up...Jesus Christ, Mister!, the newest band on the burgeoning Sacramento scene. I've seen Morgan stand in for a lot of missing guitar players over the last couple years, but missed him in what I hear were quite a few good bands in the years before I got here. They were a success...here's video of 'Baby, I'm Bored' to prove it:

I might come back to this one and drop in some video from the other bands, but I've got a bit of a backlog going now that I'm devoting my energies toward my band. I can say, the Sacramento scene is growing and there are a bunch of great bands that deserve your support. If you can, get out to a show and buy the merch...if you can't make it to a show 'like' the bands pages, leave comments and buy their stuff online. Let them know you care!

Hit Reset

Jesus Christ, Mister!

The Community

The Enlows

Bad Daddies

19Sep/120

Lasher Keen – Berserker

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Markus Wolff - Berserker

'Berserker' artwork by Markus Wolff
You belong to the forest that grows immortal trees.

Lasher Keen - Berserker

August 27, 2012 - 'Berserker' arrives
Left to right: Sage, Dylan and Bluebird

December 18, 2009 - The atmosphere in that old convent hall, filled with smoke and the whisperings of something uncommon about to appear, now defines Winter Solstice for me. It was my first time, witnessing the deep, spiritual intensity of Lasher Keen. I remember feeling intimidated and elated by their musical explorations of the dark…the real dark of a less human-constructed reality. Iconic, near archetypal characters, meshed dramatically with multiple, distinct layers of eerie, swirling, shimmering sound, to create something more than mere song. I wish I could put into words what it was that caught my fascination; the way the whole performance became a ritual and seemed to revel in that scarcely known secret truth of our animal nature was profoundly visceral. I walked away knowing I’d witnessed something unique and worthy of great attention.

That night was the official release of “Wither”. I bought a copy directly from Dylan and Bluebird at the show. The feelings conjured by their performance hadn’t faded when I found myself noticing the strangely organic look and feel of the disc cover binding and the artwork. It became startlingly obvious to me that these people I knew peripherally, in the community, were true artists.

By the time the ‘Possessed by the Forest Queen’ 10″ came out, on December 18 of 2010, I knew Dylan and Bluebird well enough that I went to their house to buy a copy. This wasn’t my first trip there, as our children are classmates and friends, but it was the first time I was really able to look a bit deeper into their everyday lives. From just a cursory glance, the fact that their artistry was not confined to the music and its packaging was obvious. They live lives rich in aesthetic beauty and organic texture and somehow seem to take their existence from a place of deeper thematic meaning. Yes, they’re a bit eccentric, odd even, but in a very grounded, authentic and endearing way.

Bluebird dress rehearsal

Bluebird at the 9/18/2012 dress rehearsal.

 

That ‘thematic meaning’ I mentioned is expressed in a very real way in their songs, conjured from the mix of instrumental divination and mythical lyricism. For example, the title track of the aforementioned album, ‘Forest Queen,’ brings to life a Goddess I’d never even known to look for. Not an anthropomorphic deity or creature, but something more akin to the movement of a particular branch of the tree of existence. She is the living nature of new life and growth spread throughout, and between, all matter and time. This is their depth and I find it difficult to express in prose, but it is as clear as awareness on their LP.

I include here a performance of the beautiful 'Forest Queen' from the 10" ‘Possessed by the Forest Queen’. All of the Lasher Keen back catalog is available on their website at lasherkeen.net.

While ‘Forest Queen’ is, at least to me, at least today, the strongest song on the 10”, it is exceedingly difficult to rank the 13 songs of the new double 12" LP, ‘Berserker’. The album moves through a range of emotions, constricting into tight, claustrophobic little spaces, then soaring into unbridled flights of hopeful torment. But the song ‘Sun Chariot,’ which may eventually be seen as the crowning summation of the band's output (*disclaimer near bottom of page), passes through so much emotional territory that it’s hard to remember where it began as it falters out of existence. It is at once condensed and expansive, present and eternal. It is epic and successful in its grand ambition and highlights the most elementary aspects of what Lasher Keen is.

Berserker master

Dylan holding the official master of 'Berserker', perhaps the advance copy Bluebird gave me on March 11, 2012.

There do not appear to be any genre constraints with Lasher Keen. The album opens with ‘Ancient Chaos,’ which itself opens with a harp intro, somehow reminiscent of the deeper metal gods of yore, then gracefully slides into a sexy, Motown-inspired romp called ‘Rainmaker’ and later explores growly, twangy, swamp rock with a 3-stringed, cardboard banjo in ‘Fabled Wild Country.’ Plowing through the depths of this album we begin to understand the broad range of puzzling descriptors used in reference to Lasher Keen; “Wood Metal for Scandinavian Tree Troll Folk,” “Medieval Psychedelic Folk,” and “Spirit in Mourning**,” being among those the band use to attempt a coherent self-description. Dylan mentions “inspired amateurism,” perhaps quoting Emerson or Lester Bangs, in a recent interview, while describing the multi-instrumental abilities of the three members of the band.

Rainmaker video

Scene from the April 23rd video shoot of 'Rainmaker'(view video @ bottom of page). Video and photo credit to Lara Miranda.

It may be exactly that “inspired amateurism,” which stirs my respect and amazement at this band of artists. Why else would someone like me, who claims allegiance to humankinds’ greatest art form, punk rock, feel so strongly about the music of a group of mystical folkies? There are no distorted guitars - instead cello, harp, banjo, accordion, barbatos, bodran and Glockenspiel rule the soundscape. Their historic usage of percussion had, until recently, been primarily animal skin drums and a wide range of hand instruments, though they now occasionally employ Adam Torruella to play the trap set. Sage is known to play bass, bouzouki, and banjo along with an array of other stringed instruments I don’t know the names of. Hardly punk, yet it carries within it whatever it is that makes punk great.

Dylan rehearsal

Dylan at the 9/18/2012 dress rehearsal.

I suppose in the end it is the raw passion and artistry I really love, though I can’t presume to tell you that you will love Lasher Keen the way I have come to. I can tell you, it is strange to have found a ‘local band’ doing musical arrangement and performance at this level. There is depth, subtlety, awareness, integrity, intelligence and passion in this work and, for me, that makes it genuine. And, the authentic nature of the music, artwork and lives of this band are well represented in this brilliant album, 'Berserker'. It is beautiful to look at, double LP, full-color gatefold with a 32-page booklet and some stunning colored vinyl, if you like, but the flow and depth of the music is what makes "Berserker' a must-have.

Sage Rehearsal

Sage at the 9/18/2012 dress rehearsal. "Probably not the t-shirt I'll be wearing," he said.

I went to video one of the last practices the band will have together. I could feel an underlying mournfulness, aside from what Bluebird's cello naturally brings. You see, after Lasher Keen performs ‘The Psychotropic Cult of the Oracular Sacrificial Severed Head’ at Stella Natura: The Light of Ancestral Fires, string master/percussionist, Sage Arias, makes his disheartening, hopefully temporary, move away from the band. I am assured we can all hope to hear new songs arising in a yet unknown future as the last note of this incarnation of Lasher Keen falters from existence.

Lasher Keen

Dark Folk Power Trio

Contact the band to get your copy of any Lasher Keen release through these links:

Pesanta Urfolk Records
LasherKeen.net
Facebook
Reverb Nation
Bluebird's Etsy shop!

Lasher Keen~ Rainmaker from lara miranda on Vimeo.

*There are songs on Wither, like 'Animal' and 'Spirit Flesh,' which were critical in defining the sound and feel of the band. 'Forest Queen' and 'Greater Darkness' on the 10" ‘Possessed by the Forest Queen’ are also pivotal in the process. It remains to be seen where the rumored 25-30 minute ‘The Psychotropic Cult of the Oracular Sacrificial Severed Head’ will stand in the overall catalog of Lasher Keen. 'Alone in the Night (Celtic Death March)' seems to be the only hint at what was to come off the first CD, the self-titled 'Lasher Keen.'

**Purportedly a literal translation of 'Lasher Keen'. Why shouldn't I take Dylan at his word? Well, because he also said the definition/translation shifts according to his whim. I like this translation anyway!

Dylan works his magic.

Roadside fun on the way to the Diggins for the 'Rainmaker' video shoot.

11Sep/120

Bat Guano Fest – September 14 & 15

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Get ready, kids! Bat Guano Fest (September 14 & 15) is just around the corner featuring the release of the new compilation, "Batshit Crazy" from your host, Mr. Ken Doose...and don't forget...Saturday is Ken's birthday! If that weren't enough...it's also the unofficial 22nd anniversary of Bat Guano Productions!

Ken is a deservedly well-known figure in Sacramento punk. His knowledge and documentation of the scene are the stuff of legends...and websites (LoserList69, SactoPunkFlyers, etc.). As part of his nearly 30 years of tracking the history of Sacramento punk, Ken has been co-creating that history by putting together some pretty incredible shows and releasing compilations, including artists from within the local scene, over the past few years.

This years' comp features over 30 bands and will be available at the shows (CD-R) and as a free download upon release (officially, 09/19/12 - Ken's actual birthday)...just Ken's way of giving back to the community!!

Be sure to thank Ken for putting this event together when you're giving him his birthday present! Oh, and tell Paul Imagine he did a great job on the compilation artwork!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bat Shit Crazy - Local Bat Guano Comp
Released by Bat Guano Productions 9/19/12

Featuring:

Union Hearts - Losing Skin
Cold Heart Re-Press - A Lover's Answer
The Strange Party - I Know Where You Live
City Of Vain - P.M.A.
Bastards Of Young - Achin' To Be
Dead Dads - Trolling At The Moon
The Walking Dead - Driving
Mad Judy - Facial Hair Stare
Urban Wolves - Farewell
The Moans - Son Of The Devil (But He's A Real Stand Up Guy)
The Yoohoos - Bad Hair 24/7
The Croissants - On My Mind
RAD - Victim In Pain
Bad Daddies - Climb The Levy
Abandoned Generation - A.A.
Crude Studs - Night Bathe
MJF & The Parkisins - Love To Skate
Rat Damage - Graveyard
The Community - Modus Operandi
The Left Hand - Undead Bride
Killdevil - "Rusted Dream"
30.06 - Merchant Of Death, Soldier Of Doom
The Porter Project - Start To Finish
Support The Rabid - Government Cheese
Bad Ending - Slave To The Rich
The Aberzombies - Sleep
The Crappys - Wreaks Of Effort
The Secretions - Back In The Day Punk (Live)
The Dumb Fox - Audio Or It Didn't Happen
Eggnog Yoohoo - Cave Potato
The Carbonites - My Vulcan Heart

Bat Guano Fest - Day 1

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

ZERO FOR ZERO

BOBBY JOE EBOLA AND THE CHILDREN MACNUGGITS

THE LEFT HAND

MAD JUDY

THE COMMUNITY

8:00PM

ALL AGES

$5.00

 

 

Bat Guano Fest - Day 2

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15

THE WALKING DEAD

SUPPORT THE RABID

RAT DAMAGE

THE STRANGE PARTY

UNION HEARTS

KILLDEVIL

THE CROISSANTS

THE PORTER PROJECT

DEAD DADS

SNEEZE ATTACK!

CRUDE STUDS

ABANDONED GENERATION

3:00PM

ALL AGES

$7.00

Yoohoos

The Yoohoos from Germany at Casa De Chaos last year. September 17, 2011.

 

[bandcamp track=3581605770 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=grande]