Punk Retrospective
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.

17Sep/120

This week in northern California…

Posted by benjamin_abel

Filed under: Upcoming No Comments
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]

27Aug/121

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.

25Aug/120

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
15Aug/120

El Dorko – The Crucifixion of Pussy Riot

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

That's right...the folks at El Dorko are at it again...yeah, I'm old, so what? Jump on the bandwagon and grab your free download while it's still there...then go to Amnesty International to sign the petition for their release.

5Aug/120

SPP Video Magazine, Vol. 1 Issue 8

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

It's a big week in Sacramento...err...Central and Northern California:

4Aug/120

The ‘Pussy Riot’ Enlightenment Doctrine

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Putin-Protest-Pussy

Iconic imagery, punk rock, feminist messaging and intelligent argument round out the many talents exhibited by heroic art collective, Pussy Riot.

Police presence and public protest marked the opening day, July 30, 2012, of the ‘Pussy Riot’ trial in Moscow. Victims of these ‘banal hooligans with a religious motive’ are hoping to put the group behind bars for 7 years. "When I talk about this event, my heart hurts. It hurts that this is possible in our country," one victim, Lyubov Sokologorskaya said. "Their punishment must be adequate so that never again is such a thing repeated."

The group claims to be a Russian feminist punk-rock art collective, a living counterpart to the 90’s American Riot Grrrl movement. In an interview with The St. Petersburg Times Pussy Riot said, “What we have in common is impudence, politically loaded lyrics, the importance of feminist discourse and a non-standard female image.”

Of the 25 or so people associated with the final YouTube output of Pussy Riot’s performance art, three are on trial. Of the three, two are young mothers. They have been held in custody for five months now following their alleged “hooliganism driven by religious hatred”.

What was their despicable act? Basically, the three hooligans have been charged with praying the wrong kind of prayer in church. Had their prayer been silent and within the confines of the normal congregation, it would only be between Pussy Riot and God. That is not how it happened, and in the end, Pussy Riot, dressed in short, colorful dresses, leggings and balaclavas, entered the soleus, or inner sancum, of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow and performed their ‘Punk Prayer’. Two weeks later they were arrested and have been in police custody ever since.

"So…what is Pussy Riot, really?", I hear you asking me. Well, when I’m going through the articles, the photographs, the videos…hearing the testimony of the “victims”…well, what I see is coordinated intelligence building an iconography and a visceral message larger than the sum of it’s parts. I see a group of people using ALL the tools at their disposal to improve their lives and the lives of those around them by pointing out the hypocrisy of their own society and becoming martyrs to awaken the citizenry by proving the tyrannical intent of their ‘leaders’.

They use mystery, fear, sex, brazen acts and abrasiveness to provoke anger and sympathy. This is using ‘shock value’ to awaken…this is thoughtful dissent disguised as mockery. I don’t know that I have witnessed this kind of artistic control…this kind of radical message branding and intent…since the rise of that McLaren brainstorm the Sex Pistols. Here we have another, somehow more fully formed, example of what was called, in 1977, the "last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium".

Petr Pavlensky

Russian artist Petr Pavlensky sews his mouth together in support of Pussy Riot.

The sheer, subtle genius of using the machinations of the State to expose the machinations of the State is as intriguing as it is terrifying! The success of this tactic, seen again all these years after the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, though fascinating and really inspiring, shows that force is the first thing power will resort to to protect itself. Placing their bodies at the mercy of the system, these women have half-awakened the world press. To see reputable news sources’ calling it a ‘show trial’, ‘worse than the Soviet era’ and this ‘Time’ magazine headline today, August 3, 2012, is something amazing, the irony completely missed;

Russia’s Pussy Riot Trial: A Kangaroo Court Goes on a Witch Hunt
Is the ongoing trial of three Russian feminist punk rockers in Moscow a sign of a new tyrannical streak defining the rule of President Vladimir Putin?

Why the Church? Why Putin? Well, these crazy kids grew up with notions left over from the heady days of the 1990’s when Russia appeared to be freeing itself from the kind of repression that’s flowing back under Putin’s reign. The cozy relationship between Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, who called Putin’s time in office a “godly miracle”, and Putin, who promised $120 million to build more Orthodox churches, brought back sour memories and, in February of this year, this highly inventive protest.

The church is now playing the victim card, going so far as to compare the Pussy Riot performance to the persecution the church faced from the Bolsheviks under communist rule. The State is clamping down, arresting those who protest in any meaningful way outside the courthouse, freezing the groups’ lawyer’s bank accounts and ‘disappearing’ Nadezhda’s philosophy professor, who was to testify on her behalf.

The citizenry are responding and their response has evolved since March, when the young women were arrested. The majority of Russians now support Pussy Riot and feel the government is going too far. The swing in opinion is forcing Putin to call for ‘leniency’. There is something of an artistic revolution happening around the group, with hundreds of photos and several videos being generated to venerate the women and what they stand for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do they stand for? Is there a philosophy major in this bunch, or what? When I first began researching/following this story I stumbled upon an interview (manifesto) with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. She happens to be a student in visual arts and a fourth year philosophy student. Punk Retrospective was inspired, using a quote from that manifesto, to create this picture as part of a ‘thoughtful dissent’ meme we’ve been pushing on our Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/PunkRetro

Part of the Punk Retrospective 'thoughtful dissent' meme on our page at http://www.facebook.com/PunkRetro

Here is the article the quote comes from:

Manifesto by N. Tolokonnikova from 05/04/2012

Many news sources are calling Nadezhda Tolokonnikova the face of Pussy Riot, falling so quickly into the traps of the ingrained thinking patterns of the civilized world. The point of the balaclavas is that ANYONE can be a member of Pussy Riot. Today saw the release of video with male protesters being arrested on the rooftop at the courthouse in Moscow. True, the visual artist/ philosophy major obviously plays a pivotal role in the thinking behind Pussy Riot actions, but the other two charged women, Maria Alekhina and Ekaterina Samucevich, are also highly educated and artistic.

So, what does it all mean? To me this means Pussy Riot must be studied and revered, even as we fight for their release in whatever ways we can. The force of change moving through the situation created by the minds of these artists and thinkers is more than impressive. This is what ‘punk rock’ is supposed to be at its most fundamental level. This is what I see as the beginning of the Pussy Riot Enlightenment Doctrine: Do not be fooled into thinking that you can accomplish anything by pure shock value. Your motives must be clear in your mind before you attempt to create on this level…but do not let that frighten you away. It would be a shame to allow the momentum and lessons of Pussy Riot go to waste. Choose your issue, educate yourself, question the dominant paradigm, create a meaningful stance and iconography to go with it, but this cannot be faked…do all of this with your full heart and mind and freedom and you may achieve something as glorious as the hooligan art collective known as Pussy Riot.

Go to Amnesty International to sign the petition for their release.

FreePussyRiot.org

Art and Human Manifesto (different from the previous manifesto)

Free Pussy Riot Now! (Putin, fear no art.) on Facebook

Free Pussy Riot Two on Facebook

FreePussyRiot.org on Facebook

30Jul/120

SPP Video Magazine Vol. 1, Issue 7

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Ok, kiddies...here's the latest from Sucker Punk Productions...that's right, it's this weeks lowdown!! Stay tuned to Punk Retrospective for an interview with Benjamin Abel of Sucker Punk Productions...in just a few minutes!!

SPP Video Magazine Vol. 1, Issue 7

Filed under: Concert, New music No Comments
30Jul/120

Interview with Sucker Punk Productions’ Benjamin Abel

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

The internet is a double-edged sword. It makes some things increasingly easy, while making other things more difficult. Almost any kid in America can access the tools required to record and distribute a song for free, which is amazing, but there is now a feeling of entitlement that has risen with that ease...music is now considered to be free. Intellectual property is bullshit, according to a huge swath of the world's music listening public. So, easy as it's become to make a record and put it in front of people, for a person whose genuine calling in life is to be a musician, it's nearly impossible to focus in on your art without holding a "real job". Now, instead of releasing an album and touring to drive up record sales, bands record and release albums to drive up attendance at shows and sell t-shirts. This is a recipe to kill music, or at least the music of the underground.

I have had an overwhelming love of music since I was a small child, so supporting truly independent musicians, venues, labels, bookers, etc. is very natural to me. I don't need to be convinced of the importance of music in my life, so helping support the creators of music is a no-brainer. I know that every dollar I spend at a local event makes it that much more likely another event like it will happen. I know that my buying an LP, digital or physical, from Bastards of Young makes it that much easier for them to record another. Free downloads are great, but supporting what you love has to become the logical response as we step out of our self-centered collectors' mentality.

Over the last couple of years, we have all watched the music scene in the Sacramento region growing. Bands from Stockton to Reno, Nevada City to Davis, play shows in small and large venues ranging from the storage closet of Luigi's Slice in Sacramento to the awesome basements of Luigi's in Davis and the hip, new Haven Underground in Nevada City. There were a handful of promoters/bookers on the bill at Luigi's the other night...a show that worked out spectacularly, shiny walls and all. We're lucky to have such punk friendly venues.

Behind the venues, promoters and bands is another line of people doing promotion work on the internet. I do this in a haphazard, directionless way, but others, like Sacramento Punk Shows and Undie Tacos pull everything together to make it easy to know what is happening in town. A couple months ago I saw a note pass through the Sacramento Punk Shows Facebook page asking people to submit their flyers for a weekly video magazine. I was immediately jealous that I hadn't thought of this. It's the brainchild of Sucker Punk Productions...and I'm lucky enough to have had a couple of chances recently to talk to Benjamin Abel.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Hello Benjamin…thank you for taking the time to talk to Punk Retrospective. I really enjoyed our conversation the other day and still wish I had recorded it. Hopefully we’ll be able to get into some of this stuff at near the same depth as last time!

Benjamin Abel: Thanks for having me and oh man, I gotta have you on a podcast at some point. It's those kinds of conversations that can really instill change in people. The more I learn about people doing similar things, the more it drives me to do more. It's amazing how something as simple as a conversation can seed the energy to really start taking action.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Exactly! OK, cool, so...first off, can you tell us a little bit about you…give us your bio, how old, where from, etc?

Benjamin Abel: I'm 29 years old and I've been in and out of Sacramento over the last 20 years. I helped put together Sucker Punk Productions last year in the hopes of making some short films, movies, etc. Different parts of the company have kind of spun off and become their own giants, including our local music scene ideas. Which I suppose is what has gotten me here.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: At what age did you become aware of your love of art? I guess I’m assuming anyone who would devote as much time and energy to promoting other peoples’ music through their own art…anyway…You love music, you run around with a bunch of punks filming shows…where does this passion come from?

Benjamin Abel: I started writing around... Fuck... 10 or 11... The art of story telling, that's what hooked me. I got into poetry and song lyrics a few years later and guitar a few years after that. By 15 I was writing acoustic songs no one liked, and continued doing that for around 10 or 12 years. I played bass for a while, but no one seemed to like that either. All in all, I probably have enough material to come out with an album, but I don't think my mother would even buy it. She'd probably re-gift it to me on accident at Christmas. I've painted and drawn on and off for the same amount of time, but I've never been too good at that. What I'm really good at is script writing. I shut myself in for three days and wrote out my first script when I was 18. I never stopped. Last year, one thing led to another, and a bunch of other story tellers joined me as The Sucker Punks, and we began trading ideas about what we wanted to do. I think Tony Del Valle (from The Walking Dead) urged us to do a documentary about his band, but that idea soon fell to the side of an even larger idea Andy Harrison (also from The Walking Dead) pointed out. But we had all this footage of the band and Brett jordan and I didn't want it to go to waste. So I cut a video of it together of the live footage. And it made sense. We just kept doing it. The love of music was always there, we just never thought to apply our love of film to it.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: So, what exactly is Sucker Punk Productions? How many people are involved, who are they and what is the agenda?

Benjamin Abel: Sucker Punk Productions is a group of 5 individual artists whom help one another try and bring their film visions to life. We are all writers, directors, editors, videographers and idealists. When one person has something they really want to do, we rally around one another and do everything we can to make it happen. You can find out more about the crew at our web site, www.suckerpunkproductions.com. Our agenda is... To entertain. We push the local music scene because the scene itself seems to be an extension and an inspiration ot all of us, but we're much more than that. We do comedy (which is admittingly suffering right now), we have ideas for short movies, full length films, animated features, documentaries... Many, many things we want to do.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: We were talking about financial ‘problems’ on the phone the other day, but you seem remarkably calm for a guy who can’t really even make it to all the shows you’re actively promoting. You are a driving force in the local music scene, you encourage others to respect the music and bands by supporting shows and buying merchandise, but you do all of this stuff for free…I’m not sure what my question is here other than maybe…why?

Benjamin Abel: Well as much as I appreciate it, I wouldn't call myself a 'driving force.' I'm still new to promotions, and everything we do from the music videos to the video magazine to the podcasts... The popularity fluctuates from one episode to the other. We're still trying to get a foothold in the Sac music scene. We barely have an audience, and we're not sure how to get one except to keep doing what we're doing. Why do we do it? Why do I do it? It's ingrained in me. I have friends in the scene, and I want them to do well. I enjoy their music. At some point it became, “well, if you want them to do well, and you enjoy their music, lend a fucking hand.” It's the way I hope people think about me and the company. It's a thought I've applied to the people in the company, and in the scene. The scene isn't dead kids, you just need to get up and support local music. The bands are out there, you're not. And it's not because these bands suck, believe me.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: You mentioned working on a specific documentary film project the other day…are you ready for people to hear about this yet, or do you want to wait?

Benjamin Abel: No, we can talk about that a little. We can't really go far in depth with it until we get an LLC, but I can tell you we've already been working on a documentary about the local music scene, and we have an interesting angle we want to try utilizing many of the people promoting the scene. It's something we want to be good enough to send to film festivals and such... I'm not sure I should say more than that, but we'll have an LLC next month, so hopefully we can talk about it more soon.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: I told you a story the other day about a friend of mine who was harshly and unjustly criticized for floating the idea of a Kickstarter project to make physical product available from her record label. Then we spoke at length about each of our initial forays into mp3 collecting and our current beliefs about buying what we like after streaming a first listen. How do you view the internet as a tool for artists/labels/production companies, etc. and how do you think fans can best support bands and the continued creation of actual LP’s, EP’s, CD’s, DVD’s and films?

Benjamin Abel: I actually experienced this first hand today. We have a kickstarter for a short film, Fighting through the Zombie Apocalypse, we started a few days back. Some artists I truly deeply respect dogged me for 'asking for a handout,' and for a moment it broke my heart. I shot back with a comparison of bands asking people to go to shows and buy merch so they can continue producing art for their community, and how what we were asking for wasn't much different. Overall, they were just kidding, but that attitude is more of what I disagree with. Don't just say you support a band or project or idea. Do things that show that support. Sometimes it's as simple as a good friend saying “I'll check my wallet, but don't expect much.” Someone said that to me. Fuck if he even has a dollar to give me, at least he's showing with his actions and saying with his words, “you're worth me at least saying i'll try.” Yes buy merch, yes go to shows, no downloading illegally. That all goes without saying. But also, be what you want to hear in your own life. Be a pillar and a moral support. Tell bands you love them and you want more, encourage the things you love to persevere. Be the catalyst of difference in your community. That's what makes change, that's what changes ideas into actions. It's not standing on the sidelines heckling the players, it's being knee deep in the game.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Let me just say…I’m a big fan of the SPP Video Magazine. I like Sacramento Punk Shows listings and the constant barrage coming out of Punch and Pie into my stream…I like Bows and Arrows and Undie Tacos, but there’s something about just listening to who will be playing that hits my brain harder…maybe it’s the background music…I don’t know, but thank you for sending that out! It looks like it must take hours…days…all those links! Thank you…invaluable!

Benjamin Abel: Thank you for being so supportive. I WISH I could reach the audience Sacramento Punk Shows has. Right now it's great to have so many bands and musicians watching what we'll do next, but we've yet to make it over that wall where we're drawing in real fans, the show goers and film lovers, people interested in everything we're doing because they stumbled upon us and we actually entertained them. I could seriously do SPP Video Magazine until I die because I love it so much, but it's a different story with our other shows. We have to find our own fans at some point, and that's the most frightening part for me. You can't tell if it's going to happen until it hits you.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: OK, so…I know we’ll talk again soon and that you will be contributing to Punk Retrospective…is there something I should have asked you that I didn’t? I feel like there is…but I just can’t find the question…final words on current music or some another project you have going?

Benjamin Abel: Yes! Keep reading Punk Retrospective because people like El Dorko give a shit, and want to see the scene flourish, and do everything they can to be an active part of that flourishing, And he's not even getting paid! So keep coming back, and share this page with your friends. And if I can plug our current project, find more information on Fighting through the Zombie Apocalypse at https://www.facebook.com/events/153284038128511/.

ElDorkoPunkRetro: Thank you again for visiting!!

Benjamin Abel: Anytime. Thanks for having me.