Punk Retrospective
5Aug/130

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

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.

secretions


 

 

 

 

Ace Dans

Photo credit Ace Dans

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kef Photography

Photo credit Kef Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit Ellie Gaylord

Photo credit Ellie Gaylord

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

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