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.

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

22Jul/120

SPP Video Magazine Vol. 1 iss. 6

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

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

6Apr/116

Sorry Ma…it’s the Replacements…

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

I'm not sure if I heard "Johnny's Gonna Die" or "Gary's Got a Boner" first. Yeah, I got into the Sex Pistols in '78 and Blondie not too long after, but then I went into high school and northern Montana didn't really offer up any more punk rock. '81 passed without a hint of the Replacements reaching my ears. Sure, there was a brief moment in '83-'84 when some kids from California played some Black Flag for me, but it wasn't until '85 that I met my punk rock guru...finally destroying any possibility I would be a normal Republican guy.

This fella was a strange looking character, my guru. He had near white hair, which was shoulder length, I suppose they'd say, but...it was shoulder length all the way around and he somehow hair-sprayed it into a helmet-like piece every day. I'd heard about him on campus, helmet head did this, helmet head did that...what the fuck is his problem...what's with those mirrored glasses...blah, blah, blah. KGLT was his realm...he had a radio show from midnight to 6 AM at the college station, but he also worked at Stromboli's Pizza, which is where I asked him about his freakin' hair.

Turned out he was a punk rocker. I was a metal head at that point, but "Subterranean Jungle" changed that forever. Sure, I had brief relapses when "Reign in Blood" and "South of Heaven" came out, but my life has been predominately influenced by punk rock, punk thought and punk culture since I met that weirdo. Thank god! When I hear the shit my friends from home say, believe and listen to, knowing that could be me, I thank the non-existent god(s) for Hyyppa...and every record he owned or played on KGLT. He was, and still is, one of the most intelligent, friendly and free-thinking people I've ever met in my life...cheers to Helmethead!

So, in some of these old tapes...I used to record those radio shows...I'm finding really old Replacements stuff, and it's got a completely different vibe than most of the other punk of the time. I have a really hard time understanding what it is, but there's an underlying hopefulness, a touch more reality and a spirit of fun that just rises through the Replacements songs. Even the real melancholy stuff doesn't sound hopeless. This is a rockn'roll band turned hardcore by influences of the time...these are kids who aren't feeling the despair of the working class under Reagan and Thatcher. Sure, they've seen drug use and violence, but those are peripheral to their true experience...and I'm glad. Sometimes I prefer feeling hopeful.

So, "Sorry Ma, I Forgot to Take Out the Trash" opens with "Takin' a Ride" and just rips from there. The band was amazingly tight, considering the fact that Tommy Stinson was all of 13 when they formed. The rest of the band were 19-20 years old, but I always hope younger readers will see there is not some magical age where you're suddenly qualified to play. Tommy is no better or worse than the rest of the band...he's just a great bass player who happened to be 13 at the time.

Hyyppa had this in his pre-burglary collection...not sure if it disappeared then, but I recorded this album to cassette and played it until there were large spaces on that 1/8" tape that had no magnetic shit left on them...absolutely one of the greatest albums of the 20th century...and one of the greatest bands to play rock music. Their "maturation", as many called it back then, consisted mainly of Paul Westerbergs penchant for slow, bleeding hearted ballads that still carried a current of rebellion under their sorrowful surface. They never "made it" in the sense that Green Day and Nirvana did, but they got some pretty heavy rotation with their "Bastards of Young" video. Somehow their MTV success validated this music I was bringing home to my siblings and their friends. But, even as the Replacements challenged conventions and pushed into unexplored territory, they were creating a breeding ground which would soon be inhabited by a whole new form of music....the bane of my existence...alternative rock. It really sucks that that's how I'll remember the influence of these groundbreaking souls, but I don't blame them, I'll continue to blame those now forgotten, sell-out Alt.Rock artists of the mid '90's.

There's a pretty cool Replacements website out there at colormeimpressed.com and an unchecked MySpace page for your limited listening pleasure.

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Replacements%20-%20Sorry%20Ma/03%20Customer%20The%20Replacements.mp3] Replacements - Customer Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Replacements%20-%20Sorry%20Ma/11%20Shiftless%20When%20Idle%20The%20Replacements.mp3] Replacements - Shiftless When Idle Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Replacements%20-%20Sorry%20Ma/10%20Johnnys%20Gonna%20Die%20The%20Replacements.mp3] Replacements - Johnnys Gonna Die Link source