Punk Retrospective
31Dec/130

Can’t Keep Up

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

OBN III tearing up the VFW - Photo credit

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

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

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

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

and OBN III:

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

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

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

more? ok, here's some Oll Breds!

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

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.

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.

13Apr/120

Shames / Spitting Image / Acid Baby Jesus @ Hideout Lounge 4/6/2012

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

ArtifactSo, it’s Good Friday…what should we do? There was talk about heading down to Sacramento to see Boats!, but no one could get too excited about doing the South 80 drive another time this week. Our local show seemed expensive and not too punk, leaving 'stay home' and/or 'go out for burritos' as our best option(s). Then something of a divine intervention took place when another member of the Punk Retrospective Collective noticed the fact that Acid Baby Jesus had lost their show in San Francisco and were now playing in Reno. Should we go? Acid Baby Jesus over Easter weekend in Little Sin City…perfect!

While they’d posted the fact of the Reno gig to their Facebook page, they’d omitted certain details…like time and club. We’d have a decent drive in front of us if we were going to make this work…Facebook messages to the band and Olaf (The Vinyl Avenger), phone calls to Slovenly and an e-mail to April finally paid off, 10pm Hideout Lounge, and, after dropping $70 into the gas tank, we were off!

Yeah, I’ve lived up here about 8 years now, but this is my first show in Reno. We saw Youth Brigade and Adolescents in Sparks…and, well, like that time, I get lost because of Obama and his infrastructure project on the North 80. Seven miles of labyrinthine detour and we finally found the Hideout Lounge. We park, cross the street and I immediately try to enter through the wrong door…yeah, I really am a dork.

Once inside we’re approached by a seemingly random female bar patron who asks us for $5 for the band, to cover their gas, etc, we comply. We ask if the band is in town, she tells us they are, but that they are currently being tattooed. Interesting.

This is a dive bar. The brown paint on the floor has mostly peeled off to bare concrete and the 70’s wood paneling is, surprisingly, almost in mint condition, though covered in beer lights and punk flyers. Two flags drape meaninglessly from the ceiling, one representing Miller High Life, the other is an American Flag with ‘PIGZ’ being the only decipherable word remaining of all the blue marker ink in its white stripes. There’s a really cool bicycle hanging from the ceiling and an awful light enclosure built-in over the bar. Two pool tables are pushed into a corner and are covered with OSB…I wonder aloud if that’s the stage, knowing in the back of my mind that the band will be playing at ground level WITH us! The bathrooms have no signage and, again, this is Nevada, so smoking is still encouraged in the bar. Even though I am suffering from intense nicotine cravings, I love this place!

The ShamesI also love it when the assumptions I make as I go through my life are shattered. For some reason I assumed Acid Baby Jesus would be the only band, since the show wasn’t planned, but rather, just happened. I began to realize I was wrong when I saw a kick drum, with ‘The Shames’ spray paint stenciled across the front, being set up by a guy who didn’t look at all Greek. Around this time I noticed the band walk in…the chick who collected the money appeared to be giving them some of it…I don’t know, it was smoky, the jukebox was playing Turbonegro and Iggy Pop, mohawks were rising and the rest of the Collective was having vodka tonics.

The young men from Acid Baby Jesus were smoking cigarettes and enjoying their first PBR’s of the night by this time. One of them started toward us because there was a huge row of ashtrays on the countertop behind us. I asked about the canceled show and joked around a bit about our long drives from California, eventually finding out his name was Otto. We talked for a bit and were eventually joined by Marko. Fifteen minutes later I realized I should have turned on my recording device, but I sent myself a lame-ass Facebook message to remind myself of the conversation:

“Talked to Marko about the US tour and their Israeli tour. The little guy told me a story about getting electrocuted in a beer filled basemwnt” (sic)

All that is true, but I guess I lied in the prior paragraph…I didn’t find out the little guys name was Otto (guitarist) ‘til later, though Marko (percussion) did introduce himself right away. Either way, I would end up spending about an hour and a half talking with Otto about everything in the world and a few more minutes with Marco after the show. They were all very proud of their Greek “acid” tattoos, including April, their Slovenly Records tour manager.

I was struck by a feeling of familiarity and friendship with this pair very early in the night…something akin to the fast-friends I’d made on film jobs in Los Angeles over the years. The ease of speaking with them made for a fun evening of joking around and I even got to share a little history of the rumored cannibalism at Donner Pass, which they’d passed through earlier in the day. Maybe they were just humoring an old man, but there was a genuine kindness and rapport I hadn’t expected.

What had I expected? Well, truth is I really loved the name of this band from the first time I read it on Spineflower’s Tumblr page last summer, but figured they were going to be another Brian Jonestown Massacre rip-off/tribute band. I'd also mentally lumped them in with a bunch of lame bands some idiots listen to on Blip.fm…so, because of these things I assumed they were going to sound shitty. I also figured that a band from Greece wouldn’t be speaking great English. Yeah, I’m wrong a lot.

PIGZOnce in a while I’d start feeling like I should let Otto get back to his friends and fans…or to play, but he assured me they were not going to play until after the other two bands. At some point in our conversation, he told me he’s 25 years old. They formed Acid Baby Jesus for fun about three years ago and have been touring pretty heavily for the past two years. There is a certain kind of wisdom in this young man. He knows this road life is for the young and is taking full advantage of the opportunity, but he is a young man and misses his girlfriend and family. The economic crisis faced by Greece came up a couple of times, so I know he carries concern for his country…but, at the same time he’s full of energy, quick to laugh, ready to share stories, opinions on food or even offer to buy drinks.

The Shames took the stage sometime around 11:30pm. They were an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. The two young ladies out front brought the crowd into the pit and that guy hitting the skins gave them a tight beat to slam to. It’s melodic punk rock with a bit of attitude. Totally impressed. I will tell you this…they are so much better live than anything on the internet shows, their recordings and YouTube videos do them no justice.

Spitting ImageAfter the Shames came Spitting Image. As if the Shames were all love and light, Spitting Image dredged through some pretty dark territory. Their material was a little more on the hardcore end of the spectrum, but it was more experimental than that. They have a new EP out on their Bandcamp site…you should check it out.

After Spitting Image finished, I started looking at the merch table and made Otto promise he’d get the band to sign an LP if I bought one. April gave him a silver paint pen and he went to work. He gave the album to me with signatures over all the members. I’d watched everyone else sign, but I knew Marko hadn’t touched it. Over his image Otto had written “MIZ”, which I assume means “Ms.” or something along those lines, because when I gave the LP to Marko he drew some breasts and something of a Barbara Feldon hairdo onto his image. A bit more laughing and the band started setting up. I figured it would be a good time to take the LP out to the car so I wouldn’t have to keep track of it during the show.

Spotting them outside the club, I congratulated the Shames on a great show and made a vague promise to help them get a show in California. It would be great if we could open for them, but there’s a lot more practice needing to happen before we play out. There was a lot of smoke outside, too, so I headed back in ‘cuz I didn’t want to miss a minute of Acid Baby Jesus.

The ViewI turned on my little camera and started videotaping about 3 seconds before they actually started playing. It was pure luck. I was about a foot away from Otto, nearly stepping on his effects pedals, and I could feel the crowd growing and surging behind me. When I think back on it now, I’m amazed the band showed absolutely no fear of the crowd or the electrical situation. There was beer a quarter of an inch deep on the floor and all of their effects pedals and amps were plugged into power strips that kept tripping from either pulling too many amps or wetness.

I remembered something I’d read in the Distortioni interview. They were asked a question about their sound being as mixture of garage and psychedelic and which thought more defined their sound. They answered that it was both and none…that it was hard to classify. Space punk, they call it on their Facebook page.

MIZI must admit that I was a bit worried for them when the first two bands played straight-up punk/ hardcore. The defiance I saw in the crowd as they challenged the other two bands, probably their friends, but nonetheless. I thought these poor, nice foreign kids are gonna be eaten alive. But the space punks had captured the audience during the first song and had built momentum. Midway through their set the speed peaked and the crowd came down on all of us. The entire mosh pit lurched into the bands’ area, toppled the singer and his mic and unplugged their guitars, and none of them flinched. For a few moments only Marko could play and sing. The rest of the band began sorting through the snake of wires until suddenly there was bass, then some guitar and then it all came back together and started to gel into something a bit weird.

I don’t drink or use drugs, but I spent the last ten minutes of the Acid Baby Jesus set in a near out-of-body trance. The beat, the volume, the reverb, flange, sweat and vocals all built into a great transcendent noise that swept me into a meditative state of awareness. I began moving back away from the band to see how the rest of the audience was doing and found a bar full of punk people completely tuned in to a deep psychedelic, garage punk experience. It was quite possibly the most intensely mystical, musical experience I’ve ever had.

Their sound is not defined by psychedelic, garage or punk…those words hint at what they do, but when you are with them live you’ll understand that they reach into another level, something other-worldly. The band was really wiped out afterward. We talked about the possibility of meeting up at Austin Psych Fest, then said our goodbyes at around 2:30am. The full moon lit the snow covered mountain pass as I drove through listening to the ringing in my ears.

...and now, my next installment of super dark video from the show (please buy me a decent camera:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/1281325" height="200" iframe="true" /]

6Mar/121

LOSERLIST69: The Sacramento Punk Super Archives

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Loserlist69I was looking for internet posts about of the Spits show I attended in Sacramento and accidentally stumbled into a really cool vault of Sacramento punk artifacts, past and present, called Loserlist69. The archive is the work of a very dedicated man named Ken Doose.

The tagline reads:
SACRAMENTO PUNK ROCK -Faded old pics, crusty flyers, show listings, stickers, record reviews, interviews, and various other assorted things that relate to the past and present Sacramento punk rock scene and other interesting places.

I really don't have the time to do this justice right now...but it's an awesome task he seems to have assigned himself and I'm glad to have found it. Maybe one day I'll run into Ken and we can do an interview...until then I'll be browsing through the archives of LOSERLIST69.

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Dicks/lifetimeproblems.mp3] The Dicks - Lifetime Problems Link source

29Feb/120

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" /]

18Jul/110

Sucked Into The Blackhole

Posted by saturnword

Blackhole is a very interesting hardcore band from Missouri. One of the screaming voices of today's youth and heralding the DIY ethic of their forefathers, their 2011 release "Keep Out" is sure to satisfy veteran fans of the genre. To this band's credit though, they don't stick to straight hardcore in their songs; there are some interludes of thrash influenced breakdowns and bass solos. An example would be "Homospirituality" which is more metal than punk musically. The track starts out with this amazing clear rumbling bass that took me off-guard when I first heard it. That was the last thing that I expected from a hardcore band and the song is the longest on the demo to boot, coming in at three minutes and some change.

On the other hand though, there are some songs that are definitely straight hardcore like "Cornered" which is short, aggressive, simple, and straight to the point. Lyrically, it's a little hard to explain so I'll just post the lyrics for "Homospirituality" for you to get an idea of the kind of topics this five song demo covers.

Pray for yourself in these trying times. Pray to your sudafed, oxi's and prescription meds. Maybe they'll help you ease the pain inside. From being born into suppression, of spiritual impression. The callus building machine they call church. Full of generalizing terms, for generalizing people. Faith is no longer for the individual. Your religious conventions can't explain how I feel inside.

Sucking at the river of life, through this broken straw.
Just as the laws of the pharisees were created, so are these boxes they have instated. This relationship was never personal. When every step is forever planned I can't get out of this box you've put me in. Sit on the top with your chain, padlocked shut.

I won't be your fish to catch. Won't be your sheep to heard.
Keep your line and crook away from me, save your breath I don't need your words.

I am the product of your systematic spirituality, that failed troubleshoot flowchart. Take me off your rosters, I'm not coming back. You always claimed this was about compassion and understanding. This was really only about turning me into something you can understand. There are no words you can say to describe how I'm feeling. None of these conventions can place the state of my soul.

You can buy their stuff here.

[play-button:http://domesticgenocide.com/audio/Cornerd%20mix%20042611.mp3] Blackhole - Cornored Link source

[play-button:http://domesticgenocide.com/audio/HomoSpirituality%20mix%20042611.mp3] Blackhole - Homospirituality Link source

4Jul/112

Jungle Juice

Posted by saturnword

Fucking hardcore punk is alive and kicking. Spotlight is Jungle Juice, a band from Arkansas aka the middle of fucking nowhere, bringing hardcore with some of the most scum laden sleazy bass riffs that I’ve heard in awhile. For a perfect example, check out the fifth track, “Salvation” featuring CT from Rwake doing vocals on their upcoming album “Bastard Sessions.” Expect angst and anger lyrically with the perfect vocal style to express it raw and unfiltered. “Riverside Blues,” the last track, is where the vocals shine the most with the ferocity of a banshee in heat.

I live amongst the scavengers
who’d pick apart the bones of their brothers.
Mindless fucks
with no sense of value for a human life.
They’ll suck you in,
Pull you down, rip apart your ‘soul’.
Left with sense of being saved,
But deprived of your common sense.

This album is short, fleeting and powerful. Enjoy the ride when it’s finally let loose for all to behold.

[play-button:http://domesticgenocide.com/audio/03%2003%20One%20Hitter%20Quitter.mp3] Jungle Juice - One Hitter Quitter Link source

[play-button:http://domesticgenocide.com/audio/05%2005%20Salvation%20ft.%20CT%20of%20Rwake.mp3] Jungle Juice - Salvation ft. CT from Rwake Link source

2May/113

Love Your Chainsaw

Posted by saturnword

Before the all girl grunge acts and riot grrrl, there was one particularly memorable band from London that was known for their misanthropic female vocalist and raw music. Daisy Chainsaw was composed of Katie Jane Garside, guitarist Crispin Gray (real name John Orion), bassist Richard Adams and Canadian drummer Vince Johnson. Their live performances were the talk of journalists who cited Garside as quite the mental case due to her antics on stage which included, but was not limited to, drinking juice from baby bottles and drilling doll heads. Today I will be highlighting their debut album, “Eleventeen,” which was released in 1992.

As someone who was first a fan of Queen Adreena, Garside and Gray's reunion project after Daisy Chainsaw dissolved, the differences in sound and vocal style is quite jarring. First, there aren't any sweet vocals to contrast with the harsher style in this album; she still has great range using various intonations to accentuate the prevailing emotion in the songs. An example of this is the first song on the album titled, “I Feel Insane,” where it starts out with her laughing like a mentally disturbed person and in-between lyrics she makes indiscernible noises to stress that notion. Lyrics are screamed or sung softly with a violent undercurrent waiting to break free during the next verse. That's basically how every song is done with obvious differences based on each one's atmosphere.

The instrumentals are a mixture between noise and punk rock. Very chaotic and aggressive guitar work, solid rock drumming, and audible bass the holds them all together. Though most of the tracks sound more punk than noise, there are four songs that do break that mold. First being, “Natural Man,” which is sung by a male band member and it has only a very bluegrass acoustic guitar playing to accompany the vocals. Second is “Use Me Use You,” which is close to an eerily abstract, but beautiful, noise track. The last two, “Waiting For The Wolves” and “Everything is Weird,” are very relaxed, bordering on serene, and whimsical rock songs. There is an unidentifiable quirky sense of humor that shines through in every aspect of those two and I'm very much in-love with it.

Despite that, there is one song that is the star of the album for me. “Hope Your Dreams Come True” starts out as a very slow and sexy song. It builds up at a luxurious pace to a very anti-climatically peaceful segment that ends abruptly in short lived chaos and release at the song's end.

There is no set lyrical theme to this album, but if I were categorize it, I would say that it is very introspective with references to human interaction on a social level. Nothing political or especially gruesome, but the perspective they provide is definitely insightful. With that said, you're just going to have to give this a listen yourself to see what I mean!

[play-button:http://domesticgenocide.com/audio/Daisy%20Chainsaw%20-%2001%20-%20I%20Feel%20Insane.mp3] Daisy Chainsaw – I Feel Insane Link source

[play-button:http://domesticgenocide.com/audio/Daisy%20Chainsaw%20-%2004%20-%20Hope%20Your%20Dreams%20Come%20True.mp3] Daisy Chainsaw – Hope Your Dreams Come True Link source

[play-button:http://domesticgenocide.com/audio/Daisy%20Chainsaw%20-%2005%20-%20Natural%20Man.mp3] Daisy Chainsaw – Natural Man Link source

[play-button:http://domesticgenocide.com/audio/Daisy%20Chainsaw%20-%2008%20-%20Use%20Me%20Use%20You.mp3] Daisy Chainsaw – Use Me Use You Link source

13Apr/116

Interview: Dave Rave and Cups von Helm pt. 2

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

American Devices: 25 Year Retrospective

OK. Dave walked off for a bit to schedule his interview at KVMR in Nevada City, California and Cups and I are sitting at the dining room table talking...(Link to part 1)

Cups: Are you recording?

EDPR: Yep...

Cups: You mean right now? No, it's not recording right now?

EDPR: I've got 17 hours of tape...or whatever, whatever digital file...

Cups: 17 hours...and we've been at it how long?

EDPR: One hour and eight minutes.

Cups: God! I don't know if I can go another 16 hours.

EDPR: Whatever...you gonna wuss out on me? So, while we're waiting for Dave why don't you tell us the story about when you went to New York...

Cups: When I went to New York?

EDPR: Yeah, one time you went to New York...

Cups: There were a couple of times I went to New York, but there was this one time I remember, I was walking down the street with Rick and my good friend I haven't talked to in a while, Eric.

EDPR: That's a good question...are you still friends with these people that you used to be in a band with?

Cups: Yes!

EDPR: So you guys didn't split on bad terms?

Cups: No, no, not in the least...

EDPR: So it was all because you were moving to the states?

Cups: Yes. They thought I was quitting the band, but I said, "no, I'm not quitting, I'm just moving...I'm still a member of the band"..."Well, you won't be able to play with us"...

EDPR: You're still a member of the band?

Cups: (long pause) Well, if you want to mince words...

EDPR: Alright, so you're in New York...with Rick and Eric...

Cups: Yeah, we were with other people, too, but the three of us were walking along and we'd been brown-bagging it all day, you know, meaning that we're drinking all day, just beers, so we had a nice little glow to us and we're taking in all the romantic, you know all the, everything New York has to give you. All the people on the side of the street, you get to one corner and wait for a light to change and start talking to a person, if they wanted to talk to you, but usually they'd tell you to fuck off...whatever. But there's always people selling stuff on the street, so we're walking around looking at everything, taking it in when we came across this one guy. He's got his stuff on the ground, but then he had these playing cards and they were hermaphrodite playing cards, you know.

EDPR: Hermaphrodites...so these are men with breasts...

Cups: ...or women with pricks, whatever...one or the other, they're supposed to be both, right?

EDPR: Right, they're hermaphroditic...

Cups: Yeah, yeah, "Oh my god, a whole deck of playing cards!"...and we all sort of saw it at the same time and for some reason we all were fighting about this, he only had one deck. I guess we all reached for it at the same time and we couldn't figure out...

EDPR: ...who was going to pay for it..

Cups: No, no, we all paid for it, or, I forget who paid for it...that wasn't the question, it was who was going to acquire ownership...and I think we all saw it at the same time and we all wanted it. Because, oh my god, this is something special...if there's anything you're going to get in New York...I'd never even seen them, I never even knew they made these things. I had never seen a picture of a hermaphrodite in my life before that...suddenly, here's a whole bunch of 'em and we're like, "Look at that one, look at that one!" This is before Photoshop, right, so I mean...

EDPR: So they're real..

Cups: Yeah, they must be real, so we ended up splitting the deck three ways, and we're doing that and we're walking up the street, you know, and we couldn't fight over each individual card, so we shuffled the deck and just split it into 3's, made sure everybody had at least as much as everybody else and we're all looking at them and then, as we're walking along the street and there's this big building, whatever it is and we ran straight into Joey Ramone!

EDPR: What? You ran straight into Joey Ramone?

Cups: One of us ran straight into him, I mean bumped into him, literally. It was the side door of some place, I don't even know what it was. Rick's bobbing and weaving with the poetry he has in his mind mixed in with all the brown-bagging he'd been doing all day and he can't believe it's Joey and he's holding these cards. I guess Eric said something to him, I'm not sure and then I went up to Joey, I had this idea, for some reason or another I wanted him to sign one of the cards, but since I was a little bit slower than Joey, at that particular point, I said, "Joey, can you write..." and then Joey said to me, "Yeah, I can write!" (Dave bursts out laughing) I was going to say can you write your name on there, but I couldn't figure out how to ask him! Could you put your autograph on there...can you write...yeah, I can write...and I showed him the cards and he took a card off and then he signed it, right, maybe he didn't even give it back to me, because I don't even know where it is. Then, there are these girls, they're in a big black stretch limousine, it was there, well, maybe it wasn't so stretch, maybe it was my imagination, I know it was black, couldn't have been white. Then we see the girls, they must have been puny because they're going (high pitch) "Joey, Joey, Joey, come on Joey", you know, they had like these little voices. So, that was either one thing I experienced in New York or I just made it up....because I can't find those hermaphrodite cards anywhere!

DR: (laughing) Who cares if it's made up, it's true!

Cups: No, but I had a signed hermaphrodite card from Joey Ramone! Where is it? I'm kicking myself in the head...wouldn't that be one of the most precious things, but of course, I can't remember what I did the rest of the night...

EDPR: Precious in a sick kind of way...

Cups: Not so sick...it's inquiring minds! It's like, your going down and it's like, "Oh my god, look at those playing cards!" it's just like, that's New York for you. I was trying to ask Dave, "What's the thing with New York?" But, New York is vibrant, I'll answer the question the way I wanted him to...it's vibrant, it's just like, the characters in New York from one corner to the next corner, whether it be a grandma of 89 years-old, she's got so much friggin' character, I don't know what it is. Why?

EDPR: Everyone from the grandma on the corner to the hermaphrodites on the playing cards are all characters...

DR: It's a city of characters, man...it really is, totally...

Cups: I think New York shapes you...

EDPR: Do you think New York shapes the world?

Cups: Shapes the east coast anyways...I don't know about the world...

EDPR: I mean, what do you think the repercussions of what you were doing in the late '70's were on the rest of the world? Once it starts hitting, you know, Husker Du coming out of Minneapolis, you've got all these bands coming out across the United States, southern California that are basically emulating the stuff that you guys were doing, right?

Cups: Who really gives a shit?

(Cups and Dave are having quite a good laugh over that one...I must remain earnest...)

EDPR: All I know is, you guys were ten years ahead of me and the stuff you guys were doing shaped my life...

Cups: Oh, you gave a shit...ok...I guess I don't know...

DR: It's hard to say, you know, I think when your just trying to play a gig, you're just making the best music you can make, right. You don't always realize all the implications...we're just going to go down and have some fun tomorrow, somebody might see that show we play and think, "Wow, I didn't know that could be done in this modern world". It might even mean more now than it did back then. You know what I mean, every time you do something it means something.

Cups: I gotta tell you one thing, though. Back when I was playing with the Devices, I was more on the kind of sense that I wanted to play music for the audience. Rick was more about fuckin' 'em up, more about giving them what they didn't want. So, we'd write songs with a hook and he'd write something in to tear that hook apart so he could watch them on the dance floor dancing and then all of a sudden awkward...

EDPR: Not dancing...

Cups: Yes! (Cups starts dancing) and then they bend and they don't know what to do! "What, what? What's wrong...what do we do now?" and then they're just standing there and then they're just about to walk away and we go back to the hook...but eventually, I mean, how many times can you play that song? "Oh, you're gonna play that song again, you ain't getting me on the dance floor!" But he used to do that all the time...he liked it and I used to have, well, not big fights with him, but I would just go, "Come on, Rick, let's just do a song that, you know, just play." No, never.

DR: Yeah, that's not the way the Devices were, but you know that was legit. People were doing all different kinds of things. You had everything from the Ramones, which was a great rockn'roll/pop punk to the Devices, which were not straight forward, they were bending the music. I think that's what made that music interesting...punk rock interesting. You had that wide range of people doing different things and making it valid...as long as it was what you want.

EDPR: People were exploring what the boundaries might be..

DR: Yeah...

EDPR: So, now...nowadays, do you think, I mean, I know there are people that are still doing that, but do you think it's as prevalent as it was in that time period?

DR: Boundaries? Like still breaking boundaries?

EDPR: Or are all the boundaries gone?

DR: No, everybody that comes from each generation hears differently. They'll make new rules. Miles (Heather and Cups' son) is going to hear it differently and when he gets to playing music he'll make his own rules. He'll take everything he heard from us and he's going to make it his own. He'll make his own version of punk rock or whatever he likes and it'll be revolutionary and there will be a whole new set of rules. We'll be like, "No, that's not the way it was done!", but he won't care what we think, he's gonna make it his own way...and that's the beauty of it.

EDPR: (To Miles) Do you give a shit how we think it should be done?

DR: He's already making his own music already. He was singing all weekend, he plays whatever chords he wants in his own style. It's like the Velvet Underground all over, man! I love it, I do! I think it's all there for the attack.

EDPR: It's good to see kids with the...you can talk out loud Miles...

Miles: Goodnight...

EDPR: OK, for Dave...I have a question from one of the contributing authors of Punk Retrospective, from Cribs, he's a Canadian. He's a big fan, by the way. He called you "legendary". So, here's his first question...Was there a sense of camaraderie in the Canadian scene, like, did the Shakers and Teenage head hang out with D.O.A., the Forgotten Rebels and the Viletones, for instance?

DR: Well, in the beginning days, the Viletones and Teenage Head were two of the starting bands, so there was a healthy competition. Rebels came a little bit later, again, a little healthy competition. There was always a camaraderie because we were the only bands...

EDPR: What about when Deja Voodoo came in...

DR: That was a little later on...in the 80's.

EDPR: So, in that beginning thing there was competition, but friendship?

DR: There were friendships, I mean, I remember Nazi Dog...

(Another goodnight to Miles)

DR: I remember, we'd all be hanging out, but there was competition between the different cities, we were Hamilton, they were Toronto. Hamilton had a whole other world, than Toronto did. Montreal had its world. Vancouver had its scene. Just in the way the Dead Kennedys were different from the Ramones, you know what I mean. But I always try to keep an open mind and listen to everybody and take what you like. There were bands in Toronto I didn't particularly care about, and bands in Hamilton I didn't care about, but we'd try to always go listen to them. Anybody you do have an affinity with you try and start a camaraderie with, it was good. Then, when a new band would come up, some of them didn't want to be friends with you and some of them you wanted to be friends with. You became friends...I used to love going to Montreal, because it's a great city, so I always enjoyed it. A great city to hang out in, the bands were good, lot of good guys there. So depending on where it was...I mean, New York was its own world, so back in that time those people really were hard to be friends with.

EDPR: Cliquey?

DR: Yeah, there were always cliques.

EDPR: So, do you think that was happening in every city?

DR: Yeah, sure, there was a clique in every city and when the band came in they'd say, "Prove to me that you're good." You know, there'd be a whole bunch of naysayers, and then you'd play and they'd say, "Ah, you're ok." It was a bit intimidating, in a way.

EDPR: Were you playing with Teenage Head during either of the riots?

DR: Not the...well, which riots?

EDPR: '78 and '81...one is in a film, Last Pogo: 1978 Horseshoe Tavern

DR: Oh, the Pogo in Toronto, no, I wouldn't have been at that, I had my own band by that time.

EDPR: So, you were sitting in the recording studio, playing on every album, basically...

DR: Yeah, at first they played with us. Hamilton was a closer camaraderie because it was a smaller city. We all played with each other...

EDPR: You weren't out on tour with them?

DR: Not at the beginning, but I did go on the road with them, I did go at times, even back then.

EDPR: Another Punk Retrospective contributor, LastofmyKind wonders if there are any almost finished demos or early stuff from back then...

DR: Oh yeah...

EDPR: ...and if there are any leftover songs from the first three...

DR: ...albums? Yeah...there's a few...

EDPR: ...and he says he would love to have a listen to it...so, maybe you could leak some of it?

DR: You know, there's "Wake Up, Shut Up", which never came out, and there are a couple others, umm, "Jet 45"...there's some songs that didn't, what else was around? Yeah, there were definitely songs...

EDPR: I had read that Gord had a bunch of unreleased stuff and was thinking about releasing it?

DR: Yeah, that'll happen in about 2090...

EDPR: The last time you saw him was about 2008, you guys played together or 2009?

DR: Yeah, I played with him at the Grey Cup two years ago...

EDPR: You're still friends with pretty much everyone that's still around?

DR: Yeah, the band, we're in a small city, so when we go home everybody sort of knows each other and, you know, he works at the guitar shop of the guy that promotes my shows and I know Chris Houston, he works at that guitar shop. When Heather and Carl come in, they'll run into people, too, right?

Cups: It's a city of rock stars, I'll tell you, Hamilton...

EDPR: How big is this place?

Cups: Hamilton?

DR: It's about a half a million?

Cups: It's about a quarter bigger than Grass Valley...

Heather: No...

DR: No, you know what, if you took the whole city, but the real downtown, west end, it's probably about 300,000...

EDPR: Wow..ok, here's kind of a bastardization of another question from LastofmyKind, he says...You guys were all from the same neighborhood, same high school...were you listening to the same stuff the other kids in the school were listening to?

DR: No.

EDPR: I mean, obviously there's the influence of the Flamin' Groovies, but what were you primarily listening to that led to the formation of the Shakers and Teenage Head, and did that change over the first few years when punk really started coming around?

DR: Pretty well the same things Carl was into, but that wasn't common music at the time, the Dolls, Iggy, [play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Dictators/dictators-bloodbrothers-05-stay_with_me.mp3]Dictators and then eventually the Ramones, when punk started coming in. We also liked the bands from Britain, the good ones that came over, so, everybody was sort of tuned into the same radio station or the same bunch of records, didn't matter where you were from. It was only small groups of people in each city were listening to the same records...isn't that right? There weren't that many people in Montreal listening to what you were back then?

Cups: Didn't you just tell me the other day you were a big Yes fan when you were back there?

DR: Yes?

Cups: Yeah, Yes fan...

DR: I, well, um, we were, god...we went and saw Yes, King Crimson, too...

Cups: I'm just joking...yeah, King Crimson...

EDPR: Here's the thing I think my two two friends from Canada that are asking you these questions want you to say is...Flamin' Groovies were frickin' awesome...

DR: Yeah...

EDPR: Dave Edmunds..

DR: Dave Edmunds was definitely awesome...

Cups: ...he's a big fan of Dave Edmunds...

EDPR: Gene Vincent

DR: Nick Lowe, I still like Nick Lowe...

EDPR: The way they, or I, feel is that you were reaching back into the '50's and pulling up everything that's good about...

DR: Yeah, Gene Vincent. Well, you see, because what happened was everybody listened to what was current and then the Flamin' Groovies were a band that were again, not everybody was listening to them, they were a cool band. Then what happened is all the records from the '50's started getting revived around the mid-'70's, so we started hearing Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Elvis...and then Robert Gordon came around, he was a rockabilly guy, but he was in the punk era...

EDPR: Carl Perkins...

Cups: Eddie Haskell from Leave It to Beaver...

DR: Oh, definitely...

EDPR: Beaver to Bieber

DR: ...and then Peter Case's band, the Nerves...

EDPR: Oh, yeah, the Nerves!

Which is which?Cups: I can't believe that nobody has taken a picture of Justin Bieber and Leave It to Beaver and put them next to each other...do that for the interview...Cups says I can't figure out which one is who...I keep on getting them mixed up!

DR: Leave It to Bieber!

Cups: I think that's where he got it, I bet his name's not really Justin...it's probably like, John Beaver...we can't call him John Beaver, we'll have to change the whole family...

EDPR: Uhh, next question...furthering that last one, Heather is pushing me along...from Cribs...and actually, you've probably already answered a lot of this, but...

DR: Go ahead...

EDPR: What were you listening to in the late '70's that influenced the Shakers and the Dave Rave Conspiracy? Do you have any plans to re-release "Valentino's Pirates" again, last was 2001, and the Shakers debut?

DR: Yeah, we're gonna do both. At that time we listened to Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Squeeze, uh, you know, Shakin' Stevens, the guy out of England, he put out this cool rockabilly stuff, Robert Gordon, the Stray Cats, when they started coming out...listened to all those records, everyone liked those ones. As well as the punk stuff, the Ramones were still making great records, all of 'em, you know, Clash, they were all making good records at that time.

Cups: But I thought they all died? The Ramones, aren't they all dead?

DR: ...all dead...now, but he was asking about '79...

Cups: Oh, '79...

EDPR: I'm jumping through time here, Carl...

DR: So, yeah, it was all those bands, plus we were listening to all the new punk bands that were coming up from, you know, like L.A. So there were a lot of good bands, that was a fun time, it was good music actually. Even Cheap Trick had some good records...

EDPR: Oh yeah, even the commercial rock was okay at that point, it seems like...

DR: Sylvain Syvain made some great records, Johnny Thunders was making great records, David Johansen, they were all making records, solo records, they were all good, we loved them all.

EDPR: Alright, ummm...

DR: Dwight Twilley...

EDPR: Who?

Cups & DR: Dwight Twilley, remember they had that one record, "I'm on Fire".

EDPR: What about Conway Twitty?

DR: Yeah, I like Conway Twitty...

Cups: He's an old school guy...he's down there with the truckers...

DR: Johnny Cash...

Cups: Who's the old country guy down with the truckers?

DR: David Dudley

Cups: It's like, I'm "Two Six Packs Away" from my babe...

DR: That's right...

EDPR: OK, I have a question and I want all of you Canadians to answer in unison...all three of you, Heather, Carls, Cups, Carl, Dave...is there one Canadian artist that everyone in the United States should know about that we don't know about?

(stuttering, mumbling...)

EDPR: He's like the core of Canada...

Heather: I know, I know!

Finally, in unison: Stompin' Tom!

EDPR: What is it about Stompin' Tom?

DR: Oh, come on...

EDPR: OK, what's the best song Stompin' Tom ever did?

Cups: Oh, the french fry one, "Ketchup Loves Potatoes", he wrote a love song about french fries loving ketchup. Then he wrote another about the The Moon-Man Newfie (The Man In The Moon Is A Newfie).

EDPR: What I've heard of him, he sounds like American country, like a Johnny Cash...so, how is it these three punk rockers from the old days are in love with Stompin' Tom?

Cups: Well, he's a folklorist, you know, he used to travel and he writes songs going up and down the coast from one side to the other. He wrote songs about every province and a lot of cities...he wrote songs about Canada and he wrote them with compassion and honesty. He was funny...great patter, great showman. He played in the hotels by himself, just him, his guitar and his beat. He'd bang his one cowboy boot into the stage. I think this is how the story goes...he was playing one hotel, he was playing there so much the hotel owner thought he was going to wear a hole in the stage, because he always liked sitting in the middle of the round stage. Stompin' Tom told him, well, I gotta keep a beat, so the hotel owner gave him a plank to stomp on and then he got another sound off the plank. Then he started traveling with a plank. When I saw him live, he'd come out with his black hat, take it off and wave it at the crowd with one hand, and in the other was the plank. He'd slap it down and they'd mic the board, which meant they were basically miking his heel...so that was Stompin' Tom.

DR: Like Carl was saying...each song was individual to each area, he was like a Chuck Berry, writing about the Canadian experience.

EDPR: Were there other folklorists like him?

DR: Well, he's the major one...

Cups: Well, you don't forget about Lightfoot...

DR: Yeah, Gordon Lightfoot, but he wrote a lot about America, too.

Cups: Yeah, but Gordon Lightfoot never got a laugh out of me, I mean, you can't put on one of his records and start laughing and have a party like you can with Stompin' Tom.

DR: Yeah, Gordon Lightfoot didn't have humor like Stompin' Tom, Stompin' Tom had humor...

Cups: Just like the Ramones...

EDPR: I might just do a dot, dot, dot about this section...but it's pretty amazing that the two of you, coming from different sounding bands would each have members that feel this pull towards a man that doesn't really have anything to do with that type of scene...you know a punk scene...

Cups: Oh, Tom was a punk...in his own way he's a punk. He loved everyone but he was hard...We love our Stompin' Tom!

EDPR: OK, so now I have a couple more questions for Dave, from the columnists, and to me they almost sound disrespectful...

DR: That's ok, go ahead...I can take it, I've been disrespected my whole life...

EDPR: Since the Shakers had a similar sound, but didn't have the notoriety, do you think Teenage Head was helped by the two riots? Horseshoe and Ontario Place, and the punk label, even though they became pretty commercial? So, maybe it's not...

DR: Oh, I don't think that's disrespectful...I mean, they both were two different styles, I think what it was is Teenage Head had a little heavier guitar sound and as a result I think they could cross more boundaries. You could be a guy who liked punk and like Teenage Head, but also, don't forget, at that time there was still a big hard rock, like you could like Triumph, for example and like Teenage Head, because they still had that drive, a pumpin' drive. Teenage Head was more like a new wave band, like a new wave Dave Edmundsy kind of thing. Actually, the Shakers did better in Europe, as imports, like when I was in Italy year a guy was telling me how much he loved them...

EDPR: What do you think the major difference in the sound was then? I mean, yeah, it's the guitar, more distorion...

DR: Yeah, Teenage Head had that, and both had the rockabilly, but back in those times there were still a lot of rock bars, and Teenage Head could do that anywhere in Canada, and still can.

EDPR: By doing covers?

DR: No, no...by doing their own stuff. See, their songs were getting played on rock radio. Teenage Head could still get the headbangers and the punkers, and in the long run that's why Teenage Head outlasted the punk revolution. They could go to Edmonton, go to Calgary, Winnepeg...all the towns and do that rockin' thing. So, if you didn't like punk rock at all, you could still like Teenage Head.

Heather: Yeah...

DR: They transferred into the rock world where a lot of the other punk bands in Canada couldn't. Gordy Lewis was a very good guitar player. He could transfer that Iggy thing into main stream...that's a talent to be able to do that. The way the Stones could do it, how they could take Chuck Berry and make it bigger than Chuck Berry. Teenage Head could do that same thing, they could get that riff.

EDPR: I've heard that some of the opening chords to Teenage Head's songs are as well known as the Canadian anthem...

DR: Yeah, right...so, that's a big part of Teenage Head's sound, I understand it, I played in both bands so I can see the energy that both bands brought. We brought more of a rockabilly, fun, dancing kind of thing, so a lot of our fans were girls, where they had guys, as well as girls. So the guys could hang out on Gord's end of the stage and the girls could hang out on Steve's end. With the Shakers, we could always get girls, because we were playing more of that Dave Edmonds, Squeeze, Ramones...you know, we could bring all of those elements in. We weren't a riff band.

EDPR: The strange thing to me is, it seems as time progressed politics became a bigger part of punk, but it never seemed to with Teenage Head, or most Canadian punk until D.O.A. or Subhumans and then even more so with bands like Propagandhi. What is your feeling about politics in rockn'roll?

DR: Well, one of the reasons it didn't effect Canada as much is because it's a different world. We're a smaller country. The only politics, really, was in Quebec, because of that separation.

EDPR: Were there punk bands on either side of that Quebec separation?

DR: Well, Mickey, the guy in the Rebels sort of had in him a political thing, but it was more ironic than it was serious. So it was all a tongue in cheek point of view. Our world, really, you have to remember it's a small country, we only really had one major market we were playing to and that was Toronto. Some of the Toronto bands that stuck around there did get a little bit political, but it was more the political, like womens' rights, and maybe like feel good kind of political, or political correctness...like Parachute Club had "Rise Up, Rise Up" and it was sort of like more gay anthems, they sort of took that in the mid-80's, that whole equal rights, gay rights, more that kind of thing instead of political rights. That was one of the problems with bands we had, because you have to remember who we're playing to. Say one night we might be playing in Hamilton, and we have a certain audience, then Toronto, the next place we'd play was a place nobody's ever heard of called Hagersville, which was as big as...how many people would you say Heather?

Heather: 800 people...

DR: 800 people in that town...and they were basically farmers...and they really wanted to hear the Allman Brothers. At that point, what we were doing, they hadn't even heard of Elvis Costello, yet, or Squeeze, or any of these bands. So, we were coming in there playing this kind of music and they're looking at you like, "Where's the boogie rock, baby?" You see, Teenage Head could sort of get away with that, because they had that hard guitar and the sound was more familiar...they could hear a thing in it. Then, after playing Hagersville, you're in Port Dover, think about these places, I mean, that's even smaller...

EDPR: OK, so here's what I want to hear from you right now. I want to hear from you guys, just being kids, to your interest in music and this splintering off into you being the Shakers and them being Teenage Head and then you coming back together. How that all happened, because it's really unclear on the internet. It's almost like you're this guy who was kind of their pal, but they did all this stuff, and then you came in later and destroyed the band...

DR: Well, that's probably a good way to put it.

EDPR: Well, that's how it's out there...

DR: That's probably good...

EDPR: You think so?

DR: Probably to some degree. Nah, I think what happened probably was that the band had a core audience, it was a punk rock audience, in the beginning, and then from there it got mainstream, like the band got more popular and reached outside the punk audience...and then it lost the initial spark of the punk days and, umm, what ended up happening was, then, if I put it correctly...

Heather: It was the singer...

DR: Yeah, and so, the band...Heather was there, she remembers all that stuff probably better than I do, because she was...well, maybe you don't, we probably remember the same thing. But, what ended up happening was they were doing that thing at the same time I was doing the Shakers. Teenage Head could, because of that sort of thing of the groove that they could get into, they could reach a mainstream audience, but as they moved on lyrically the band changed. The band, in the beginning, was writing about what was in front of them, which was partying...and so then, in the Shakers thing, because it was hard to break out of that, at that time, umm, the environment that we were in, when you break out of...really what we should have done was go to England right away, and Europe right away, but we had no idea, because there was nobody telling us anything, what to do. When we finally made the break in that band, to where it was successful, the guitar player quit the band...at this...as the moment was starting to happen, so the band never got a chance to really connect with that. It's as if Johnny Ramone quit just as they put out their big album.

EDPR: Or like when Ian Curtis hung himself the night before the big U.S. tour...

DR: That's right, yeah...and then Teenage Head had a tragedy in them, too, Gord Lewis got in a car accident. So, if you take that backdrop, the market for what we were doing was still very tough to break and if you look at Teenage Head, being now commercial, because the radio stations are playing them, when we all joined forces we just tried to do the best we could do to bring the energy back...and, for a couple of years it was pretty good. Then the rot set in, because of just inertia, really, and the singer got tired and the drummer got tired and they left the band. So, they looked at me and said, "Can you keep the band going?" and I said, "OK". So, I kept the band going, until, you know, we made a final record, which people seemed to like...and then we'd done our time and it was time to move on...but, then they regrouped after that and continued on and really never made any more records after that, they just played those first three albums until Frank died.

EDPR: So, then, why would you take the blame for that?

DR: Well, it's better me...

EDPR: Better you than them?

DR: Might as well. Why not? You know, I don't care, I don't mind taking the blame. You know, it's ok.

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Dave%20Rave%20Group/10%20Love%20Fades.mp3] Dave Rave Group - Love Fades Link source from Dave Rave Group - Everyday Magic

So, that's hour 2...the conversation about the demise of Teenage Head will continue in the next installment. I've read some interesting, sometimes contradictory, bits on Facebook regarding the trip to New York Cups was talking about...maybe interested parties would like to jump in and comment here?

Below is a link to the American Devices: 25 Year Retrospective complete with explicit lyrics...Amazon is too cheap to drop an image of the sleeve in, here's what I have:
American Devices: 25 Year Retrospective

Buy directly from the American Devices here! For more "specialized" requests e-mail Rick Trembles at ricktrembles@hotmail.com ...I'll add more Devices songs as they become available...

Collectible American Devices @ GEMM