Punk Retrospective

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.


Punk Returns to the Miner’s Foundry | Nevada City, Ca | 8/8/13

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

It's the beginning of August, which is the hot, dry part of summer up here in the foothills of northern California. There are nights the temperature can stay up in the 80 degree range, enough to make the “Summer Daze” concert series moniker predictive rather than just descriptive. This Thursday, August 8th, at the Miner's Foundry Cultural Center, marks performance number 4 in a series of 7, “the heart of the series: punk rock!,” as promoter Chad Connor Crow said in a telephone interview this afternoon.

He's more of a metal head than a punk, he claims, but says he had a friend, back in the day, who used to school him on punk rock through their weekly meetings. He has a serious love of Henry-era Black Flag and had some really nice, profound things to say about punk as a genre.

“I know the word 'organic' is overused to the point of becoming foul, but punk, at its core, is the most organic, most real music ever. This is what adrenaline sounds like...this is how we speak our truth,” he said, adding,”This should be the most rowdy show of the series, and not just because it's the only one that has whiskey available.”

He says the series, produced by his company, 'As The Crow Flies Presents,' has had a fair turnout and that the people who are showing up are blown away by the talent they're witnessing. “This is all about love and support of the bands,” he said, “and it's been a real grassroots effort, it's a real community driven event. The whole point is to turn people on to something they didn't know they would like.”

I had to ask him about the posters for these events, because they're so eye-catching. The entire series of promotional flyers is being hand-drawn by local artist, Olaf Jens, who may be better known to the community as KVMR's, “Vinyl Avenger”. Chad told me he and Olaf have become good friends over the last few years and that he'd given “full artistic freedom” over the design work to Olaf. How successful are the posters? Well, Chad informed me he's been replacing them, several times, all around town, as people are “taking them home to put on their refrigerators.”

Olaf Jens Photo credit Mike Meals

Olaf Jens
Photo credit Mike Meals

This isn't the first series he's produced, but the rapid return of a week to week concert series sounds a bit overwhelming. I'm always impressed by people who take on massive undertakings like this and succeed. To Chad, success is making sure when people see 'As The Crow Flies Presents” on a flyer they'll “know it kicks ass!”

Chad Connor Crow Photo credit Chula Gemignani

Chad Connor Crow
Photo credit Chula Gemignani

He said the bands are excited by the opportunity to play such a great venue. “It feels like an arena, the lights, the sound...very professional.”

Speaking of which, I also spoke with Greg Cameron, of Cameron Pro Audio, the man in charge of sound at the venue. His knowledge of punk rock and his story, which I'll include some of below, are matched only by his expertise in venue sound. He's the go-to sound-pro for The Miner's Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City. Here's a little Q&A:

ElDorkoPunkRetro: As the Crow Flies Presents has already put you to work on three of these...your impression so far?

Greg Cameron: Each of the nights has had a different theme which keeps things interesting. So far it's been a great opportunity for both newer and established performers to strut their stuff on a bigger stage with a good sound system and lighting.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Because you and I have become somewhat acquainted, I'm a little familiar with your story...I'm always curious how people end up where they do. What's the connection between the Greg Cameron who appears in FILMAGE: The Story of DESCENDENTS/ALL and the Greg Cameron who posts tech jargon, which I can't begin to understand, with other tech nerds when discussing large venue sound systems?

Greg Cameron: I've always been a tech nerd since I could walk and talk. Even back in grade school as far back as the 3rd grade, I was able to thread up the movies in school on the 16mm projectors. And I figured out how to run sound and lights in the school auditorium. When I became involved with Black Flag, jamming in their practice space, I was the one figuring out how to fix broken guitar amps and figuring out how to keep the practice PA up and running.

I'd replace blown speakers, solder bad cords, replace tubes in the amps, etc. My big introduction to live sound was on the '85 Black Flag "Loose Nut" tour when Black Flag took Rat Sound Systems with them on the road. My band SWA was on one leg of the tour. It was the second time out for Rat Sound on a tour and their second with Black Flag. They (Dave Rat and Brian Rat, it was a 2 person company back then) had built a new system for the tour from scratch. As a punk rock tour, the band members were also roadies. So we were all loading the PA in and out of clubs every night. Me, being the tech head that I was, had to learn everything about the system and rock band PA. So I nagged Dave Rat a lot and picked his brain. And I still do quite a bit.

Greg Cameron Photo credit Jordan Schwartz

Greg Cameron
Photo credit Jordan Schwartz

At the end of that tour, I needed a job upon our return to LA and Dave hired me for a while for one-off shows in LA at places like Fenders Ballroom and such. I learned a lot more. But they couldn't keep me on for very long as there had been a couple of robberies of gear and money was tight. They were living in their shop as it was to keep expenses down so they could continue to grow the company. But the love of live sound PA never left me. After about 15 years, I decided I wanted to start doing PA stuff again and started buying gear and building stuff. I also got back in touch with the Rats who had grown to be one of the most recognized PA companies in the world doing the tour sound for the Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Rage, Coachella festival, and tons of other bands and events. I still had a lot to learn and a lot to get back to up to speed on. I'm a PA junky, so I learn stuff and it sticks. I'm still a drum junky, though.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: I've heard whisperings of some ancient appearance by the Dead Kennedys...even M.D.C. Is it true punk bands used to appear at the Miner's Foundry?

Greg Cameron: I have limited knowledge of the punk history of the Foundry, but I've been told by people that were there back then DK had played there as well as the Decendents and lots of other punk bands as part of their tours.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Over the past couple of years there seems to have been a resurgence in punk rock. This whole area, from Reno to Chico, San Francisco to Sacramento, is teeming with great bands in the genre. Heck, even our little town has a few punks left. What do you see as the lasting contribution of punk to music, art, and expression? Do you see a future for punk?

Greg Cameron: I think "punk" has been hugely influential on current music and will last purely by the virtue that established bands now which were heavily influenced by it will in turn influence bands for generations. Just like African tribal music influenced Europeans to form modern 4/4 time signature music. That of course was the roots of blues which gave way to rock and punk rock. It just keeps on going. As far as art, much of the punk scene where I came from in LA was part of the art community. It's all intertwined. Even hard music is art.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: The Secretions are a fairly successful band and The Devils Train are building a good following. This punk version of 'Summer Daze' looks like it should be worth going to. Do you think we'll be seeing more punk at the Miner's Foundry? Any chance some of your old pals might pop into town?

Greg Cameron: I would certainly like to see more music with an edge at the Foundry. And I think some of my friends will come to play once in a while. I have a personal commitment from the members of FLAG (one of the two current incarnations of Black Flag) that they will play at the Foundry early next year. They were potentially going to come this month but we were a bit too far north for them to make it back to FYF in L.A. the next day without too much stress. I've been nagging the Descendents to come play for a couple of years now. It's difficult for them because Milo, their singer, is also an actual scientist and can only get away from home for a limited number of days per year. I just got word that FILMAGE will be screening at the Nevada City Film Festival next month. I pitched it to the band as a good opportunity to come and play. It's a long shot, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Final thoughts?

Greg Cameron: I would like to see better attendance at the rock shows at the Foundry. I realize with the myriad of events in this small town and the lack of money in the pockets of younger folks, it's tough to pack shows for younger audiences. Bringing in bigger names from the outside could certainly bring more people to the shows and help get more exposure for the local bands. I'd really like to see that happen.

So, there you have it folks...possible visits to the Miner's Foundry by FLAG and Descendents soon! In the mean time, check out the music of these four bands who will be appearing there this Thursday night. Pick up early bird discount tickets at the BriarPatch Co-op or through the Miner's Foundry website. $12 advance/ $15 at the door.






Ace Dans

Photo credit Ace Dans







Kef Photography

Photo credit Kef Photography








Photo credit Ellie Gaylord

Photo credit Ellie Gaylord


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


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












Bat Guano Fest - Day 2


















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


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


The Genius of Punch and Pie – Part 2

Posted by benjamin_abel

When we shoot shows, it is sometimes hard to enjoy oneself. You have to stand in uncomfortable positions, arms raised, watching a tiny screen. We have a system, where we film three or four songs of a set, try to take in the music for three or four songs, then exit during the closer for a rest or a smoke. Unfortunately, this formula prevents us from fully experiencing the shows most of the time.

That said, it would have been difficult to not enjoy yourself at Punch and Pie. These bands came to play, and inadvertently melt some god dammed faces.

If you’re not aware of whom Urban Wolves are, I feel sorry for you. Sarah McLaughlin, sad one-eyed puppy, hide the swelling tear from your girlfriend sorry. It’s difficult to be an opener, be amazing and not steal the limelight from the headliner. It’s a very fine balance to entertain, enjoy what you’re doing, and still be real. These kids knew what they were doing. “Seasoned musicians” is not a good enough explanation of what I saw. You seriously wanted to dance. How do you dance to punk music? Fuck you, that’s how. The god dammed Urban Wolves are on, don’t question me.

In the first part of this story, I mentioned how Sean Stepp offered to put me on a guest list I was already on. He brings that class with him on stage with Civil War Rust. I disappointingly missed more of this set than I would have liked, but not in vain. Not knowing who he was, I approached Sean and told him what an amazing job he did. We struck up a conversation and I learned he works for Amp Magazine. Holy shit, I was making a friend. Or I was drunk, I guess it was something I’d have to figure out in the morning.

When you watch Bastards of Young, you hear something in their music. You can’t quite make out what it is, but it’s empowering in a way. Lys Mayo (Urban Wolves, Dead Dads) dances wildly beside me as the camera closes, shaking her tall can like a tambourine. In fact, everyone surrounding me is dancing. It’s safe to dance. For a moment, I’m liberated, and who I am or what I’m doing… It doesn’t matter, only the chanting of on and on from “In the Diggins…” matters. Lys bends down in front of me and grabs Sean Hills’ set list, writing “New Reaction” over it in blue sharpie, throwing it at Sean’s feet. Sean picks it up and shows drummer Wyman Harrell, modestly saying, “I like Lys’ idea.” The song starts, and the place goes mother-fucking bat-shit crazy. Where am I and how did I get here? And can I please never leave?

My break came during Red City Radio. When you do what we do, there’s a certain point you don’t care who’s playing anymore, you just want to rest. This was not that opportunity.

I got the privilege to watch from behind the wall at the Press Club, pulling back the curtain and complimenting drummer Dallas Tidwell on his amazing style. He turns and HOLY FUCK, YOU’RE THE GUY I TALKED TO IN LINE FOR THE PISSER!! My life is full of these screwed up coincidences, but it’s been a long, long time since one of them caught me so off guard. It’s safe to dance again. It’s okay to enjoy myself.

It’s night one for me, it’s not yet over, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Amazing things have already happened.  Justin Hell from The Strange Party introduces himself, as well as band mate Morgan (?). He recognizes me from a podcast. Over the course of the festival, Justin and Morgan turn from a couple of guys I’m not quite sure of to a couple of guys I’m not only glad to have met, but am honored to call friends. Someone mentions Ken Doose’s name, and I recognize it from the internet. This is one of the guys always sharing the Video Magazine. I must meet this man, shake his hand and say thank you. No one bothered to tell me I was approaching a legend, or maybe I would have waited until I was sober. I can’t imagine what this man may have thought about me, but I hope good things. And I received a Bat Guano button for my boldness.  We were introduced to Taper Jim, a fossil of a man, who tapes shows much like we do at Sucker Punk Productions. The genius idea of trading footage came up, something I’m jealous that I didn’t think of myself. We exchanged contact info with Jim and Sean from Civil War Rust, although I admit I can’t remember why Sean wanted me to contact him now. And I couldn't leave without introducing myself to Pat Hills, whom I'd later learn was in the middle of mixing nine albums at the same time.

All of this, plus Sean Hills. We exchanged gratitude about our little video, and I coined the phrase in that moment, the “Man with Million Dollar Ideas.” It’ll catch on, Sean. Promise.

And at the end of the night, outside with all the younger kids, next to Dennis and Erin Jordan’s merch table, Morgan and a friend play an acoustic set. Why? Because that’s how they fucking roll. Accept it.

It was a long, long day at work the next morning. As well it should have been. But I was anxious to get back to the festival. We arrived to a very crowded Luigi’s, and that’s when the Genius of Sean Hills hit me. The Press Club is a 21 and up bar. Bands like Mad Judy and 9:00 News, younger with a younger fan base, needed somewhere else to play. The under age kids needed to experience this as well. And both bands, with their anthem style rifts and unique vocalists drew in that crowd. I’m posted between the sidewall and the stage for both sets, and I enjoy every minute of it.

I get my break during the Secretions, and this is when they bring it. They slam through what sounds like a decade of music. It’s fast and unapologetic. All of this I’m taking in, it’s too much too soon. I’m culture shocked. I have to step outside and get some air. There’s no will or energy to socialize. It’s night two, and my liver cannot keep up. For Christ’s sake, how much more am I going to be able to take before I just pass out from over stimulation?

Blag Dahlia was the break I needed. His quaint, personal acoustic set was both relaxing and funny as hell. He played to the crowd like they were old friends he hadn’t seen in years. I ran over normal recording time because he was just so damn entertaining. I didn’t want to put the camera down because I was afraid I would never see such a charismatic, crowd-friendly person again.

There wouldn’t be any socializing that evening, and I was perfectly okay with that. I was exhausted, shell shocked, and overall still questioning myself about where my place in all of this really was. The beer was as heavy as the sleep, and if my glasses ended up underneath Jasen’s ball sack that evening, I was sure I would be okay with it in the morning.

I was revived the next day, wanting impatiently to be back at Luigi’s. My hand was shaken numerous times upon arrival, for what I cannot say. I sat down with Ken Doose and was schooled on Sacramento’s rich scene history. I honestly felt like a foolish idiot, and yet proud that a guy like Ken would bother with a guy like me. This man, this iconic figure with such a love for music, spending time being one of the biggest supporters of local music and I imagine one of the best fans a band could have, gave a shit about what I was saying. Tiny, insignificant, lost nobody me. I will always be grateful for that conversation.

And that’s what the day was. Amazing conversations with Justin Hell, Mike Boyd from The Walking Dead, Dave Gordus from The Porter Project and numerous others I can’t even remember. Pints of beer turned into pitchers. People began recognizing and realizing who I was, thanking me for filming and telling me I was doing an amazing thing for the scene. All of which branched out from spending the last decade feeling dead inside and wanting so badly to just not be bored with myself anymore. It was like I hadn’t ever been outside.

I was already dancing when Dead Dads came on. I took my spot on the side stage, a perfect angle to watch Lys Mayo beat the fuck out of the drums. Shoeless. Seriously, is there anything this girl doesn’t do? I would later be told that lead singer/guitarist Cory Wiegert would be a good person to trade footage with and that I must… MUST download their EP. I did that. I was not disappointed.

When Know Your Saints played, you could feel the bitter cold of Seattle. The band relocated to Oakland and front man Lucas Andrews had something to say. And I listened intently, trying to not be distracted by the urge to jump around. The band has passion, and they wear it openly. I was left with an impression of awe that would be hard to beat.

Kill Devil is a different kind of beast, and one I’ve enjoyed since I first saw them almost a year ago at the Professional. Mike Boyd and Alex Dorame are wonderful people and we have a rich history of doing one another favors, like when Alex gave us a shout out, “They weren’t asked to be here. They do it because they love it.” You couldn’t ask for such a lovely compliment. Or for a more amazing set. Their whole style is more alternative, true alternative, not punk. But when they play, you can see and hear why they fit in so well with the scene. It’s their home.

This next part is hard for me to describe. I watched this old guy slam beers all day. He had an impressive wizard beard to go with his impressive beer gut. His movements blended in the crowd and you wouldn’t guess he gave a shit about any of the music. This man was obviously here to get smashed and find a bush to pass out in. He also ended up being Davey Quinn from Tiltwheel.

This guy is smashed before he reaches the stage, and he admits he has no idea what the next half hour is going to sound like. His band mates razz him about talking through the whole set, then they debate what song they’re going to play. This intro fell just short of being slightly uncomfortably long. And without notice, the band slams into playing this fast, heart pounding music that I was not expecting.

My job was to get angles of the drummer. The camera never left Davey Quinn. You could see the passion literally flow through this guy’s guitar playing. All the angst, all the anger of a horrible life… All the shitty jobs to make ends meet, all the fucked up girlfriends, all the people passed away. It was all there, right in front of my face. This man paid his dues in this life, and being up on that stage with a guitar in his hand, it’s the ONLY thing he wants. By all accounts of what I saw, this guy should have been a total wreck. He stole the show. Completely blew me away, so much so that I swelled up and almost dropped the camera. I could feel the music in my heart, and it moved me. Tiltwheel did something to me so profound and far off edge for me... It woke me up. There were no filters, no walls, no denial. Just real, true to blood life. Grounded and pumped out of Davey’s guitar.

I wish I could end right there, at the highest point of a festival that was nothing but high points. But it was Saturday, and the day was only half over.

There was a pause between shows. I had to compose myself. And drink. This was all so crazy for me and I had no idea what to expect next. Cold Heart Re-Press, it’s like they knew. They didn’t disappoint. Bear Williams is a genius in his own right, blending a beautiful mix of grunge era alternative rock sounds with punk. Paul Filthy acts out for the camera and I can’t turn away. The man is made for the stage. We have a rule about crossing one another with our camera angles. You just don’t cross in front of one another. Fuck that, I started behind drummer Kiel Gesicki and circled all the way around the stage to Sarah Shintaku and back again. I had to get them all on my camera, it wasn’t worth missing. I didn’t do this for any other band, and it was fantastic.

By the time Hear the Sirens came on, I finally figured it out. My entire life, people kept telling me to listen to music. My fleeting flaw of being way too literal, it never occurred to me to feel the music. Every band clicked in one way or another, and they were no different. The crowd had swollen and they spoke their compliments with dancing and cheers. This is the point I think my face began to melt.

I broke during Union Hearts. No, I didn’t go outside and rest for a moment. I literally spiritually broke down inside. That is how amazing this night, these bands were. It was a surge, a pouring of something other worldly, frothing through my skin, and it broke me. Union Hearts makes the room spin in a way that makes you feel like you’re moving all over the place while you’re standing perfectly still.

Cobra Skulls has an intensity I imagine being akin to lighting yourself on fire and jumping out of a plane while being eaten alive by fire ants. These guys don’t play their instruments, they slay them like a back-talking indentured servant. It was like fucking in a janitor’s closet when you know the custodian is almost done mopping up. What I’m trying to get across here is that they were pretty good. I didn’t walk out of Luigi’s so much as I stumbled out a drunken shamble of the person I used to be.

Sunday, the fest moved back to the Press Club for an early show. I was in a strange mood and didn’t say much to anyone. The last three days had put a lot in my mind and it needed to sort itself out. This was the night I met Cory Wiegert and we briefly talked about trading film. I had a long conversation with Justin Hell about things of the scene nature. To be honest, it was mostly just me listening. It was suggested I talk to Charles Albright, which I never got around to doing. I was growing a new perspective, and I realized I had been selfish with myself by not allowing myself to experience any of this until I was almost 30.

And then The Strange Party started. When you look at Justin Hell, you don’t expect to hear Jerry Only come out of his mouth. It made sense later when I heard he stood in for Vic Salazar at a Left Hand show just the week before. In fact, when you see the band get on the stage, you don’t expect what comes out of them. Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. Unless they’re at a Strange Party show, because they leave you wanting more. I immediately asked for recordings, which aren’t yet available. I feel like taking methadone to get through the withdrawals.

I saw RAD’s very first show at the Professional last year. They had left an impression on me back then, and I yearned to see them again. I regret waiting a whole year, because they were just as awesome this time around as they were last. What makes RAD so amazing is their ability make you say, “Fuck, that was rad.” Who can pull that off? They can. I felt my skin sliding off my skull again. The thrash from these scene veterans makes you wish you’ve known them all your life. Lory Gilpatric screams so violently into the mic, you wonder if she could punch a hole through your face. And they do it with these huge shit eating grins on their faces, like they’re about to surprise you with a carnival prize.

And then there’s The Walking Dead. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen them play. Something familiar, something I can sing along with. I party with these boys, and ideas are formed and passed around regularly. Front man Andy Harrison had a hand in leading us in the direction we’ve gone. To say anything less than they’re a solid act with class would be an insult. When they’re on stage, they’re top billing performers, and when they’re off, they’re all just one of the guys. I love their sound. Always have, always will.

Everything came to an end for me with Kill the Precedent. Holy fuck. These guys are genius. This isn’t music so much as performing art. They blend their music with costumes, stage presence, film, sound clips and noises that I can only describe as old science fiction sound effects. You have no idea what the hell you’re looking at when it happens, but when it’s done, you’re so glad you saw it. It really is something different, and I don’t say that lightly. While the whole festival was noise candy and some sort of spiritual doping for me, this was by far the most intriguing band I had seen, not for just the elements I mentioned above. These people should be famous.

And that was it. I walked away strangely satisfied by the experience that was Punch and Pie. I would miss the Phenomenauts and Continental. There would be no City of Vain for me, and that was a disappointment. I would leave wishing to have seen the Moans, Prima Donna, the Community, Setting Sons and Cold Feelings. They would all have to be seen at a different time. And that funny feeling came back to me.

Sean Hills, the Man with Million Dollar Ideas, he was doing something in the scene, in the community. He was setting a standard. He was making a point. He was proving this could happen, if we wanted it. And so modest is this man, giving credit where it’s due, shying away from compliments. This wasn’t something he did to gain attention. Like Alex Dormane had said about our company, he did it because he loves it. Because he loves the music and he loves the fan. He is, in my opinion, the new standard of the scene. And yes I would be so bold to say so, even being an outsider coming in for the first time. I don’t believe I would be disagreed with.

Because that funny thing that happened when Urban Wolves started playing… That thing I couldn't describe when listening to Bastards of Young. The feeling I would continue to feel throughout the festival. The thing swelling in my chest that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. The emotion that I continue to feel after experiencing the juggernaut that was Punch and Pie Fest.

Sean Hills put that there. And it’s called revival.


The Genius of Punch and Pie – Part 1

Posted by benjamin_abel

PunchNPieEl Dorko has asked me to start contributing to Punk Retrospective, and humbled by the offer, I agreed. But before I turn in my first piece of work, I thought it would be fair to give you, the readers, a little background as to how I ended up here. I, although not surprisingly to anyone that knows me well, ended up here through a series of interesting coincidences that snowballed out of my control.

See, I am not a show goer. Or at least until recently, never considered myself as such. That wouldn't be a big deal... Except I'm 29. My experience with the scene up until this point can be compared to a borderline blackout, with glimpses of memories coming back without explanation and an overwhelming feeling of shame about what I may or may not have been listening to. I'm dead serious. My friends still point out pop rock idols I had once as a teenage girl. My particular taste in music was deplorable, and it seemed to leave a dirty taste in others' minds. That's right folks, I have no real street cred, it's all a sham.

Which makes everything even stranger for me because I know the difference between good and bad music. My guilty pleasures as a teen included obscure b sides of Rancid, the Queers and bootleg Anti-Flag. I was exposed to Rage Against the Machine before the radio was, and my brother spun Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel when I came to visit. My father introduced me to Arlo Guthrie while I was still wetting the bed, for christ's sake. I don't know what happened to me, but at some point I strayed from the path and started listening to crap.

And this sad fact continued on for years. Even into early adulthood.

This harsh criticism is an echo of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Grayden Day, formally of Soul Kavity, I Hate Everything and The Walking Dead. He constantly reminds me of who I used to be and keeps me humble... Well, really he gets drunk and belittles me, but it's close to the same thing, right?

I followed his arch through Soul Kavity, which I believe is where we both first encountered Tony and Andy of The Walking Dead. These two would later be the catalyst of some of the things we do at Sucker Punk. Through Grayden's stay in Soul Kavity and The Walking Dead, I never really went to a punk show. The closest I think I can come to is the Offspring, but that was on their Americana tour, and that wasn't quite punk anymore. Following Grayden to his shows for support, I ran into hardcore and metal mostly, music that while I have a great amount of respect and admiration for, I don't enjoy. I don't get it and never really have. And I'm judged just as harshly for this as anything else.

I don't want to confuse anyone, but all this time, there was punk spinning somewhere in the background, but I didn't recognize anyone around me listening to it. I discovered it on my own, through compilations from early Warped Tours and the internet. And even then, it was always “don't listen to Alkaline Trio,” or “why are you listening to that NoFX album? This one is better.” So even what I thought could be tolerable by my peers... Wasn't. Pulling that 7 Seconds tape out of my pocket was completely out of the question. It would just be more ammo, and I'd had enough. I gave up on bringing up music or asking what was worth listening too. That was obviously a part of the world I was never going to understand.

Flash forward years. Many, many years. I had tried developing a role playing game, tried selling a script, tried playing bass in a hard rock band, tried starting a comic book. Nothing was taking so I took a sabbatical to Long Beach for a year. I became a fan of talk radio, specifically SmodCo and RadioLab. I finished Battle of the Drunks, a shitty documentary about an underground drinking competition. My liver almost didn't survive the editing process. Nothing was happening for me down there but the bar, and I wasn't sure what the hell I was going to do. But I knew I wasn't going to survive long if I stayed in Long Beach, so I raced home.

I pulled together Matt Farquhar and Brett Jordan and we began writing. But it wasn't enough. We planned on making movies in the future. It wasn't soon enough. I was getting frustrated. And then, of course, came the inevitable lunches and dinners when you arrive home. The long, tedious, drawn out conversations where you repeat yourself over and over and the person opposite of you doesn't impress you at all. That's when Julie Wuest, an old friend of mine, sparked an idea. She works for the Children's Receiving Home off Auburn Blvd. She had been trying to throw a benefit show for a music program she wanted to start at the home, but was continually stone walled by promoters and venues. I though, “Hey, I know plenty of musicians. Maybe I can get someone to help.” We were next door to Luigi's, so I just strolled over and asked the Walking Dead if they'd help.

Michael Boyd was new to the band, but it sounded exciting to him and everyone else. So we threw a benefit show a few months later, with Keeping Score, Kill Devil, STR and TWD. We thought filming the show would be cool, even though we didn't have a whole lot of equipment yet. Maybe if the footage was good, we could cut a dvd and sell it to the Children's Home. That never happened, because we didn't think of what the sound was going to be like. But this is where the ideas of documentaries began being thrown wildly around. We could make one of TWD's ten year anniversary. Or of Andre Love, because of how crazy his life was. We quickly switched from writers to documentarians. We raised $500 for the home, and we went to look at the footage we got from the show.

It wasn't great. But we could fashion a few things with it here and there and hey... This actually looks really cool. What else do we have... Dude, we should film more shows...

And we did. A bunch of metal shows. The music thing became Brett and Jasen Koster's thing more so than anyone else. And good for them, because they were doing awesome things. But I didn't want to film more bands I didn't know and probably wouldn't like. And it had been a while since I had picked a show to go to, so when I saw Autumn Sky playing with the Secretions, I said “That one. I've heard of both of them and have never listened to either. That show, there.” It was a decent show, but not exactly what I thought it was going to be. (I later learned the Secretions didn't 'bring it' like they normally do because Autumn Sky is way too awesome to play fast.)

We continued branching out. My mind was blown away by Sans Sobriety at the Blue Lamp. I watched Bastards of Young and City of Vain at Concert in the Park. One of my favorite videos I've cut is of A Single Second at the Press Club. And it started making sense. I wanted more. I wanted to know the faces I recognized at shows by name. But I didn't know how to get there. I searched the internet and found Sacramento Punk Shows. And it was there and at all these shows that I started admiring the graphic design in flyers. I thought back to how Joe Maumee used to read local show listings on the air every night, and how insightful the idea was. It's something I wanted to do, but I wasn't a radio guy, I was a video guy. And the idea of the video magazine popped into my head. How hard could it be? It was worth taking a chance. I would send out a pilot episode and plan to start in a month, just to see if anyone responded.

They did. Overwhelmingly. I was immediately contacted by Sunny D at v103, El Dorko from Punk Retrospective,and Bob Tul from Maiden's Sorrow. I was so taken aback from the positive response, I knew I couldn't wait a whole month to get started. I immediately released the first issue, and it just took off. I was emailed by the legendary Sean Hills from Bastards of Young and Punch and Pie Productions. It was short but sweet. Just something saying he thought it was a great idea and to contact him if he could help in any way. I thanked him and asked him to send me flyers when he got them. I wasn't aware at the time that he actually made all the flyers for Punch and Pie. After a few issues, I knew it was something that I had to keep doing, for myself, and for everyone that seemed to appreciate it so much. And thought nothing else of it.

About two months went by, and there was quite a scuttle going around about Punch and Pie Fest. We made the choice to make it to as many of the shows as we could and film as much as possible. It would be business as usual, with the majority of the footage being archived for later, and possibly a music video or two, whatever worked out. Sean emailed me again. He wanted a commercial for Punch and Pie. Yes, Sean. I can do that. I can do that very well.

We met, talked about what he wanted, he showed me his amazing talent in photoshop. Nothing less than impressive. We cut the video together in a few short hours and sat down over pizza and talked about the scene. He offered to let us into the shows for free because he had no other way to repay me. I tried to refuse. It seemed like too much for such a simple thing I helped with. I literally did nothing but help him decide on the flow of the video and then put his work to music. He insisted, and that was that.

These offers and opportunities, they popped up everywhere. El Dorko asked if I'd like to write for Punk Retrospective. Of course I would, but about what? I wasn't making it to too many shows. I didn't know how to review a show. But El Dorko couldn't make it to any of the Punch and Pie shows, so someone had to do it. But how was I going to put together something interesting enough for people to watch? Was my writing still sharp enough for that? And worse, what if I didn't like it and had nothing to write about? How shitty would I look? I was already going to miss the first and last show at the fest, and it didn't look like I was going to make it to the Red City Radio show either. What a half ass journalist move, only getting to half the shows. Was it going to be worth it?

I posted online that I wanted to go, but didn't know if I was going to make it. Sean Stepp from Amp Magazine and Civil War Rust offered to put me on the guest list (little did he know, he he). I just wasn't sure I'd be comfortable going to a Thursday show with work on Friday. Jasen called me. Always the voice of reason, he basically told me to nut up and get down there. So I did, not sure what to expect, feeling like an awkward outsider, and fearful that at any moment someone would recognize me for the fraud I was, ruthlessly outing me and tossing me out of the Press Club. I was tense, unsure and nervous. Even more so than usual.

I walked in and got stamped quietly. I politely shook Sean Hills hand. I ordered a beer, flipped open my camera, and took place at the front of the stage. And then, Just as Urban Wolves slammed into the first chord of their set, something funny happened...

Filed under: Festival, Review No Comments

SPP Video Magazine Vol. 1 iss. 6

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Sucker Punk ProductionsHey Sacramento! Here's the Sucker Punk Productions lowdown on this weeks shows!! Don't forget to 'like' the Sucker Punk Productions and Punk Retrospective FB pages:


Lasher Keen Northwest Summer Tour 2012

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Bluebird handed me an advance copy of 'Berserker' on March 11, 2012 and allowed me to photograph the original Markus Wolff artwork. I will not post any of that data until the new album, ‘Berserker’ actually comes out in May (postponed), but it really is quite beautiful.

I've spent a pretty good amount of time with the band over the last couple of months and will be writing up a piece on 'Berserker', my experience helping out on the Lara Miranda directed video for 'Rainmaker' (song at the bottom of this page) and what it's like to live within (the outer shell of) the bubble of one of the most creative groupings of musicians I have ever witnessed.

I have been collecting my own video and stills of the band. I've attempted several interviews and have recorded portions of several practices on video. As always, the best conversations seem to happen when no recording device is rolling and the deeply human aspects of all parties rise to the surface...but the depth of this band is always there, even in the physical spaces they create for themselves to live.

Then there is the live performance aspect of Lasher Keen. This is where the band really shines and where you (Portland, Seattle, Eugene, Nevada City and Sacramento) get to witness the current incarnation of this band playing their most intense songs with an incredible variety of instrumentation. Below the ShakyCam® video you can find the tour schedule for roughly the next month. It starts Thursday, so look now and enjoy!!

Thursday May 24th Portland Oregon
Alberta ST. Pub. 1036 NE Alberta St. Portland OR
With Waldteufel & TBA. 8:00 show starts

Friday May 25th Seattle Washington
Northwest Folklife Festival on the Vera Stage
playing from 9:15 ~10:00 pm
As part of the Underground Cascadian Folk Showcase. Visit http://www.nwfolklifefestival.org for more info.

Saturday May 26th Eugene Oregon -Private Event-

Friday June 15th Nevada City California
Stonehouse 107 Sacramento St.
scheduled to perform 9:00
As part of an all day festival featuring many great local Nevada City acts!!

Saturday June 16th in Sacramento California
Luigi’s Fun Garden 1050 20th Street
Show starts at 8:00
With In The Silence

OK...I will post this snippet of the album cover Bluebird posted on the Lasher Keen Facebook page.


Way Out West Fest / Tucson, Arizona / April 13-15, 2012

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

http://www.wayoutwestfestaz.comI didn't wake up today expecting to find a new punk rock hero, but a simple Facebook request from the creator of the Way Out West Festival led me to one. Billy Brooks is in the middle of promoting and pulling everything together for a 60+ band festival in Tucson, AZ and he took time out from what I'm sure is a stressful endeavor to answer a few questions for Punk Retrospective. Inside his answers you will find the kind of brutal honesty and integrity I think is necessary to have an independent music scene. That old, punk, DIY ethic you hear so much about, persistence in the face of corporate competition, building a festival that will promote new music without caving into commercial pressures, the truth about building community through All Ages shows versus the reality of having anyone show up, paying bands all of the profit from passes...I wasn't expecting principles and ruthless candor when I answered that request for help, but the fact is I'm glad that spirit is alive in 2012. Get out to Tucson this spring and support a real music festival and a heroic promoter with genuine integrity.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: How did you start promoting? Were you in a band, did you start setting up local shows or did you dive right into a massive festival?

Billy Brooks: Before I decided to take this thing on I had put on a total of one show, one show with one band and it was on about three days notice. Luckily that turned out really well and we had a decent turn out even though the first half of the "show" was open mic night for some really bad comedians. That band was a relative unknown in Tucson at the time, Cheap Girls. Ironically enough months later Ian from Cheap Girls helped me talk myself into this fest thing.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Is the 21+ a logistical thing? Skrappy's Youth Collective would appear to be a great venue for All Ages shows. Any chance next year will have some All Ages shows?

Billy Brooks: It's a logistical and enjoyment thing. Skrappy's is a great space and I do mean GREAT, they do so much for music and the community. If anyone reading this wants to play Tucson, and you should, Skrappy's is a great all ages venue. With all that said the downfalls for putting on a larger fest at a place like Skrappy's for me were: no alcohol, earlier curfew and a single stage. I personally would love an all ages stage or fest but to ask people to travel and pay for a multiple day party then tell them they cannot drink is a hard sell, especially within my group of friends and this musically community as a whole. Maybe one day I will be able to open my own all ages venue with my vision.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: In the AMP interview you say your plan this year was to have a smaller festival than last year, but you actually ended up with more bands. Near the end of the same interview you talk about more "well known" bands wanting large guarantees, but say you expect some of those bands next year...I guess that means you expect another WOWFest next year (great!!) and you've decided to succumb to demands that the festival grow larger? Do you see a benefit to bringing in bigger bands and conversely, do you see a benefit in leaving those bands off the roster?

Billy Brooks: Just to clarify, not all the "bigger" bands we were unable to work out for Way Out West Fest were due to monetary issues, a few had logistical issues and some I just never heard back from. There are plenty of bands I will continue to pursue if the fest can continue to move forward, this year is very crucial for me and the fest in the sense that it's do or die. If everyday mostly mainstream Rancid or Social Distortion fan took a look at the lineup for this fest I'm guessing they would pass because with all the great bands we have there are only a handful that a casual fan of this genre would recognize, that being said I love our lineup this year. I love it. I'm happy with the variety, I'm happy with the talent and more than anything I'm happy with the people we have coming out. The folks in these bands are working their asses off for gas money or less and they want this fest to be a success just like I do, Way Out West Fest was never about money and I hope that shows through with all the profit from passes going to the bands. If I can somehow sustain this I will always have "unknown" bands be a part of Way Out West but I would love to have one to six bands that people in and out of the know get excited about, it's better for everyone.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Any final thoughts before you get back to work?

Billy Brooks: There are a lot of fests going on and I see more popping, a lot of good ones too, I don't see this community sustaining them all. I really don't. In all honesty Way Out West may be one that goes by the wayside because it has so much working against it with my refusal to seek out sponsorship to going against Coachella and their reunion
machine on the same weekend. I really hope the "punk" community starts coming out to local shows and smaller fests because guess what; without these bands playing their hearts out and skipping meals to put gas in the van there won't be a band like Refused to reunite down the road. We really need to start using our judgment better as punk
consumers and music lovers in general, buy a shirt, get a record and go to a $5 show with bands you've never heard of. If we do this a little more as a community we'll get stronger and we'll be rewarded with great music. I promise this won't put Warped Tour out of business. I will probably never have the money to compete with these big name productions but I feel that we offer something a little more here; we're making friends.

Here are the details you'll need:

Way Out West Fest in Tucson, AZ features over 60 bands from all over
the United States and is set to take place April 13th-15th, 2012. This
is the second installment of what looks to be like an annual event,
with a roster of independent bands and no corporate sponsors to speak
of Way Out West Fest looks to build on last year's success in lieu of
taking place on the same weekend of The Coachella Valley Music and
Arts Annual Festival in Indio, California.

The lineup includes: The Well, Beside Myself, Bobby Joe Ebola and the
Children MacNuggits, Allout Helter, The Mighty Fine, Shovel and Gun,
Static Thought, The Loss, Come On Die Young, The Plurals, American
Lies, Why I Hate, Hands Like Bricks, Horror Squad, Dudes Night, Samuel
Caldwells Revenge, Bonsai, The Shell Corporation, Plainfield Butchers,
Rumspringer, Prosthetic Arms, Civil War Rust, News From The Front,
Seas Will Rise, Said Gun, Fort Worth, The Angry Lemons, Abolitionist,
French Exit, Margate, Tuck & Roll, Radio Crimes, Young///Savage, Tin
Horn Prayer, Holding Onto Sound, Yulia, Perdition, The Sky We Scrape,
Advocate, Lenguas Largas, Success, The Anchor, Arms Aloft, Gunner's
Daughter, The Maxies, Bastards Of Young, The Slow Death, Tiltwheel,
Turkish Techno, BOATS!, Reverend Loose Morals, Rossi H., New York
Taxi, International Dipshit, Jefferson Deathstar, Heroes For Hire,
Flatwheeler, Pretty Boy Thorson, Joey Briggs of the Briggs, Jeff Rowe,
Lizzie Huffman, and The Bertos.

Three day wristbands are only $25 will all wristband profit going to
the bands. More information is available on their website or their Facebook or their Bandcamp, which has tons of free, downloadable music...well, these albums:

Oh...and Boats! will be there!

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/32140517" iframe="true" /]