Thursday, December 04, 2008

SMOKING MENTHOLS AND EATIN' KOBE BEEF NEVER TASTED SO GOOD -- AN AFTERNOON MEDITATION ON PUSSYGUTT AND STORY OF RATS Despite my undying love for the Virgin Prunes and the sporadic donning of black eyeliner before I head down to the local Key Foods, I'm not that 'dark' of a guy. Although I'm obviously down with the drone, Sunn and all their followers never made sense to me. It just seemed they took a great sound and dumbed it down for metalers and other mouth breathing types by adding alotta horseshit to it. Whenever I see a black record cover with silver ink, I usually fall asleep by the time I have a chance to laugh at the band name and/or record title. Hey...whatever floats your rod in the water and puts asses in the seats, I guess.

When and if I do throw some sounds on in this bunker these days, it's usually something I'm familiar with and/or something that doesn't require too much listener/sound participation. Alittle A.F. when the tub needs a hard scrub, some Dusty when some wine is being sipped and spilled, etc. New vibrations don't get too much spin time 'round here, but once in awhile someone will slip me something they think I'd like and I throw it on and by god, they're right to think I'd dig it. Such is the case with this double LP entitled 'Sea of Sand', a collaborative effort between Boise, Idahos' Pussygutt and Seattles' Story of Rats. I was firstly taken with how beautiful the package was. A jet black gatefold with paste-on artwork that must of been glued on by the most OCD person in the universe; totally immaculate. The sounds that take up both these slabs are certainly heavier than a two ton turd, but it's an effortless vibration that seems to just naturally permeate from the sound. The first record in the set sounds like it was one continuous jam spread out between the sides. For most of it, the amps humm and purr as if they themselves (not the humans in the room) are actually waiting for the riffs and drums to kick in. When they do show themselves, they're perfectly brief and direct and burrow back into the clouds of roar to await their next outing. Since I didn't look at the clock once while both of these sides heaved mighty grey smoke from their surfaces, I'm supposing this record must be good.

An actual violin played like it actually should be played opens Side C while field recordings of dry leaves crunch off in the distance. Somewhere down the line (Once again, I lost track of time) strings ring open and randomly hang/float, making me think more of the Dead C. than former members of False Liberty in bathrobes. Side D is heavy, slow and minimal but in a pretty engaging way. It might be that my ears are tuned differently, but when I hear this slow sludgy thing done right, I envision the songs that closed out both Infest 7"s going on forever like I wished them to all those years ago. Somewhere in all the strumming and clanging, in comes the ringing of bells and the quacking of ducks in the far distance and the record is over.

It's been awhile since I've actually got lost in a record; let alone a double set. These people have actually put together a record that's an experience; something you can't just make the bed and sweep the floor to. Put it on, sit down and take it in, chief.

P.S. -- Do not handle this cover after the eating of greasy foods. You'll just ruin it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

SOME OF MY FAVORITE STOLEN THINGS PART ONE...The quote below was stolen from Ronny Little's Barebones Hardcore blogspot. The interview was posted back in '05, but it was ripped off by me circa now...

Porcell -- One of the first times I ever went to CB's was to see Agnostic Front (before United Blood was out), Death Before Dishonor (Mark Supertouch and Mike Judge's first band), Balls (Don Fury's band) and Skinhead Youth (Alex Cause For Alarm's skinhead band with Raybeez on vocals). I took the train in from my nice upper middle class whitebread neighborhood and let me tell you, that was the sketchiest, scariest crowd I had seen in my life at that point. I was practically the only kid in the pit with hair! Skinhead Youth came out and played racist songs like "Black Plague" and had a song about fag bashing, which they dedicated to Harley (who wasn't even in the Cro Mags at that point but was somehow still the star of the scene). I was like "I'm not in the suburbs anymore man!" While DBD was playing, I was moshing and I felt something hitting me repeatedly in the back of the head. At first I thought it was random elbows until I turned around and saw Jimmy Gestapo in construction gloves staring me down, I guess he didn't like my skater cut. Then AF took the stage, and for some odd reason Matt Dillon (of "There's Something About Mary" fame) was in the crowd, he was all punked out like a poser with a trenchcoat, boots and a bandana around his head. AF dedicated a song to "that f'ing faggot Matt Dillon who better get his ass back uptown if he knows what's good for him!" Needless to say, he left. AF were so incredible, people were losing their minds singing along, it was all these sketchy inner city kids who lived on the streets and you could tell this was all they had, it was intense. Then to top it off, as I was exiting, a guy named Tony Ultraviolence beat up a skinhead named Steve Hate with a wine bottle, splitting his head open. High school seemed really boring on Monday morning.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Although I don't know how to feel about his twee version of 'Society Suckers', I gotta admit Walter Schreifels hit the nail on the frickin' head here with this quote of his I stole off the Radio Silence site --

'Hardcore is American folk music at heart, celebrated and imitated around the world, like Levi’s, Coca Cola, Airports and Spaceships. It’s influence continues to be felt not only in music but in art, fashion and graphic design. Ian MacKaye is our Woody Guthrie, Agnostic Front our Carter Family.'

Right on N.D!!!

On a non-Hahdcaw note, the new season of Russell Brand's Ponderland started a few weeks ago over the pond. Hey...I guess I'm a moron 'cause I still find the guy funny, even with the Adam Sandler connections and crank calls and huge hair and all. Here's a lazy YouTube link to a good 'un --

And that is all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Above -- A huge Tom Trocolli's Dog fan poses a question to Joe Carducci last night at the Spoonbill and Sugartown book store in totally gay Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Just thought I'd drop by and let you know about a few things a brewin' (if you care) I did my part in getting the word out on Joe Carducci coming to Brooklyn to read. Check out all I done did here --

and here --

An article I did up on the A7 reunion going on at the Knitting Factory next month will be running in the Voice the first week of December. In the past week I got to talk to Johnny Waste, Jerry Williams, Jimmy Gestapo and Jism from Ism for the piece. Wudda life!

Check out the new 'Icons' issue of Swindle for an interview I did with Penelope Houston. They don't have the piece on line, but you can order from their website if you live under a rock and can't buy it near you –

What else...what else...The Detroit Hardcore article that ran in Swindle last year is being turned into a book. I have signed my life away to a certain publisher and I have to deliver in a years' time or I will be subjected to listening to End of a Year and Whirlpool until my ears bleed. Anyone out there who thinks they got something that'll be good for the book and wasn't used in the article, get in touch.

That's all I got for now. Just wanted you guys to know how great I am.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sometimes when I'm bored, I will still listen to new music and try to evaluate it. I find the task to be mind numbing and pointless. Who cares what I think and why should I write about the few records I purchase these days? I'd rather sit here and ponder on the second season of '30 Rock' now that it's on DVD and wonder why Tracy Morgans' character seems so called in and distant from how great it was in the first season. Just mutterings of stupid sayings and catch phrases. I'm not saying the whole shebang is a dud. Quite the opposite, but it just don't feel like the first time, Mr. Foreigner. We all know second seasons are hard to work with, just like second albums. You're expected to top your first offering whether or not it blew the roof off the sucker. I read a quote once by Bruce Springsteen that read something about how easy it is to create when no one is paying attention and you're wishing they were. When 'they' are paying attention, you wish they weren't so you wouldn't be so hung up on pleasing 'them'. Who knew the king of the boss liquid was so plugged in. I wonder if he said that before or after losing his 45 of 'Mountain of Love' in Landaus' bunghole. Oh my! Snarky rock critic references! I certainly have come full circle to eat my own tail, haven't I? Anywhos, I guess some people got their second album right; so right it muted the first one out of the water. Let's see....there's 'Traffic' by Traffic...'Put The Music in it's Coffin'...'Bryter Layter'...I'm sure there's more, but I got a bucket of chicken in front of me I wanna dig into.

I'm old and slow and I just gotta hold of the second seven inch by Swinehood from Sweden and it certainly don't go up in the leagues of the records mentioned above (I'm not that bored...c'mon) but I played it more than twice and contemplated bringing it along when I was asked to D.J. a wine and cheese party Mind Eraser played the other week. Internetting tells me there is some sorta Brainbombs connection here, which would totally thrill me if I got into Hardcore through Floorpunch and just discovered saying the 'N' word can make me feel real naughty. Shit...will I be this nasty when 'the kids' finally pick up a copy of 'Child is Father to the Man' in a dollar bin? Hmm....hopefully by then I'll be too submerged in a fog of sausage makers and the green, green grass of home to care. We'll see. But yeah, this Swinehood stuff sounds pretty legit in it's nasty ass sound. It's hard not to sound studied when playing mean spirited Punk Rock in 2008 (I just discovered that fact actually!) but the shit's got the same feel as that Brainbombs stuff. Not necessarily in sound, but in the 'I think these guys might be serious' feeling that shot down your spinal column the first time you heard 'Lipstick on my Cock' or maybe even 'Megan's Gyspy Eyes' (totally unrelated I know, but the Koop pays me a saw buck a mention if ya didn't know) They/he/whoever is Swinehood gots a new seven inch out, but I haven't got a hold of it. I MySpaced the fucker asking how to get a hold of it and he ignored me like the sellout hippy I am. Eh...I'm sure it'll show up in two years time in someones' distro here in the states while I'm trying to stuff a rabbit into a sausage maker. I'll never know the ending!

Alot of words and phrases get thrown around these days...'Maverick'...'Hockey Mom'...and, most of all, 'Shit-Fi'. As a fan of some of the lousiest Hardcore recordings of the eighties, I'm down with appreciating the sound that has been so easily sown up into a catch phrase, but I think something's got lost along the way. I severely doubt when the Shitlickers or State Children walked into the studio on that fateful day they actually came out and said to the engineer 'Yeah...could you make us sound as lousy as possible? Could you replace that drum set with wet cardboard and tin foil? Oh yeah...also...could you stick a switchblade into my guitar amp's cones? Thank you so much' These recordings were done on the cheap 'cause these guys hadda lack of coin due to cider addiction and other such things. If they had the chance, I'm sure they would of wanted it to sound like a million bucks. For a generation of people who have got the full Lama discography downloaded to their laptop to 'try' to sound shitty is gross to me. This is obviously not a diss towards the website or that Stuart guy or anything like that, so please stop right there.This is just an observation of some shit I have listened to recently when I've been down at the local teen post selling outdated Juji Fruit to ClockCleaner fans, OK? There's no way you can stop the kids, so let 'em ape everything instead of getting gnarly and inventing some new game to fuck up the oldsters. If they're gonna ape anything, why don't they dig on this Van Sac single some nice person did up recently. Apparently this was a demo of some post Anti-Cimex thing from '86 that the Distort label outta Wallington, New Jersey (what?!?) found in a dustbin somewhere and decided more people needed to hear it. Wow...wudda noble effort. As expected, it's total Discharge worship recorded real shitty, which is worth at least five bucks anyway you slice it, but the thing I find real intriguing here is the vocalist who sounds like some drunk off the street making up words as he goes along. Whenever his brain is dry, he just lets out a string of laughter. Twisted beyond the usual 'D-Beat' stuff (my teeth grit as I type that phrase) of both the past and present, this is one to reinstate some faith in turd recording. Only 200 pressed apparently, so jump on it you sexy mouth breather, you.

Damn, this is going on for awhile! Kinda wish I ate that chicken before I started on this...Speaking of studied, I got this Obliteration seven inch sitting here too. Now, before I start, I want you to know when I say 'studied', it's not a bad thing. Personally, I always thought it was how you studied that made the difference. You can be a nerd and ask alotta questions and get things down pat and buy a shitload of expensive records and ask more questions and then think you now know exactly where to put a distorted bass break or a violin scrape or whatever. could just buy the expensive records, listen to them, absorb them for a year or two and let it fly. That's considered studying too, ya know. It's the difference between Matt Valentine or No Neck....Wooden Wand or Chasny...lemme stop before someone threatens me to a slap fight. So, Obliteration is some members of some big named current Hardcore bands doing up their BritCore tribute, complete with a shitty xeroxed sleeve (there's two to choose from!) and song titles like 'Fascist System' and 'Megatons'. Yeah, it's pretty over the top, but when it boils right down to it...fuck sounds choice. Echoed-out vocals, power mower guitar know the drill. It still seems weird to me that someone has to make a record like this; a record that looks and sounds a certain way. At one point in time, people just put out records like this, period. Do you get my drift? Nonetheless, I'm glad someone is putting out a record that looks and sounds like this. I dig it and that is that.

OK...I can't take it anymore. I need to eat this chicken. Everyone buy the Radio Silence book and don't listen to anything I write or say. I'm a just a handsome dude who is never content and flies off the handle too much over shit he claims he doesn't care about. I could go on more about bands I've never heard and how much I hate them, but again...I got the chicken here...

Props to those who wish this was a joke....

Friday, August 29, 2008

YOUNG, DUMB AND FULL OF FEAR OF WOMEN Above is a younger version of myself somewhere I most likely shouldn't of been at my age. Dig the Bodies In Panic graffiti slighty obscurred in the background! I have no idea why my right eye looks like it was sown shut, but it could of been because I talked too much smack about either Chronic Smog or Neurotic Impulse. I really can't recall at this codger like moment in my life. Thanks to Ken Salerno for digging this image up and reminding me that once upon a time, I was actually much smaller.

200LBU TOP 5 AS OF 8/29/08

1) Bread 'n' butter pudding at the Blue Pig Tavern in CMNJ
2) Pale Saints - 'The Comforts of Madness' (4AD)
3) Red Eyes - 'Demo '02' (self - released)
4) Tornado Dog at Hot Dog Tommy's in CMNJ ('Big Bad' style of course!)
5) Underwear Jones - 'Nude Renaissance Faire Blues' (WFOT)

Friday, August 22, 2008

CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THE BUCK IS COOKIN'???Finally, a fucking new release worth giving a shit about. On September16th, Lindsey drops a new jam named 'Gift of Screws' and I couldn't be more excited. Fuck all your pre-meditated faves in faggy Donovan hats and bow down to the OG one-man band weirdo. Expect live appearences, talk show things and all such bizz. Can't wait to see the man on the tube and what have you. Should be a great time just to be alive.

On a completely unrelated note, how come no one told me about this Garage D'or label re-releasing all the Reflex tape comps on CD? It says here on the Kill from the Heart site that these things have been out since 1997? Where was I? More importanly, WHERE WERE YOU? In the words of Sir Ian MacKaye 'Thanks alot, friends...'

I was always curious about these tape compilations Bob Mould did up on his label in the early 80's and now (better late than never) I can check 'em out. A mish-mash of dumbo thrashers, art punkins and various uncatagorizable unknowns rub ashy Midwestern elbows on both the discs, 'Barefoot and Pregnant' and 'Kitten'. I can't say these discs have given me any answers to any of life's questions, but I can say they've made me grin here and there...which is something.

The 'Barefoot and Pregnant' one starts off with some tracks from the pre-Soul Asylum Loud Fast Rules. They are neither loud nor fast, and they certainly do not rule. I mean, Jesus...this shit makes 'Runaway Train' (George Wendt mix) sound like Straight Ahead. The super underappreciated duo of Rifle Sport and Man Sized Action turn in some great live tracks of their off - kilter Midwestern meets Manchester style while this Lou Santacroce fellow sticks out like Harry Chapin at a Suburban Mutilation gig. Mecht Mensch got some decent live cuts and then there's the unknown-to-me Red Meat who might be my favorite out of both the discs here. Let's just say if you could teleport them to 2008, there'd be a pretty vicious slap fight among the new weird punkers on whose new weird punk label was gonna release their single in an edition of 300.

The 'Kitten' one seems to have abit more Hardcore damage than 'Barefoot..' with lots of one-off generic types taking up most of the space, although Tom Hazelmyers teenage thrash act Todlachen sound totally hot, dumb, fast and fumbly (all my favorite things!) Supposedly they recorded a 7" for Reflex back in '82 that never saw the light of day. What the hell? Unleash those tapes Mould or I'll play 'Man on the Silver Mountain' at you 'til your butt and ears bleed. I remember those Ground Zero and Willful Neglect records being pretty cruddy when I was kid, but their tracks on here aren't so bad. They are not as great as the Todlachen ones, but they have that same crumbly generic thrash feel and sound pretty inspiring blaring out right now. Inspiring enough to track down their records again? Hell no! For now, they sound dumb, young and scarred of girls and that's AOK for this time of the morn. Red Meat make another showing on here and stick to their disturbed throb thang and sound pretty fucked in the process. The Huskers tracks on this one are choice and unheard. 'Drug Party' is just silly and 'It's Not Fair' ends with a long feedack drone that would make you think Surface of the Earth landed somewhere on your deck. For the Todlachen tracks alone, you should own this.

Until then, all I gotta say is 'Sticky toffee pudding'.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

DIS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE JUG IS PLUGGED FOR TOO LONG...The word ‘bitter’ has been thrown around to describe me in the past few months and I gotta say I’m more than a little teed off about it. I’m certainly paranoid…but bitter? Isn’t anyone allowed to just be bored anymore? Most new sounds that people recommend don’t move me, plain and simple. I know right now your licking your lips waiting for me to rail off a list of disapproved one-manned flavors of the month, but I’m not gonna give ya that satisfaction. If ya dig ‘em, good on ya. Buy up all the cassettes and seven inches and whatever and be happy as a pig in plop (sic) I’ll be content with turkey stew, a cold shower and repeated listenings to ‘Going Blank Again’, thank ya very mooch.

And, speaking of ‘Going Blank Again’, it is true that I’ve revisited my shoe gazing past these last few months. Records by Prince Valiant hairdo sporting types that were traded in for Free Jazz rarities all so long ago have been re-bought, downloaded, re-issued, re-packaged and re-evaluated like the vulgar pictures they are. Never content with simply enjoying something, I have tried to delve deep into my brainbox as to why now I’ve rediscovered this plop at this particular time. I wouldn’t say it was nostalgia, ‘cause I don’t really remember those post-core neophyte pot smoking days to be all that great. My nineteen year old self in a Gap purchased stripped shirt didn’t really bring out the best of my bulk, so I was always left high ‘n’ dry after the Boo Radleys shows waiting for my ride while my compadres scored phone numbers, drugs and saucy parking lot encounters. Maybe it’s because the music doesn’t necessarily confront me. It could also be the fact that those records are a familiar sound. I know exactly what’s coming next, like a movie watched dozen of times on cable TV during your summer vacation. But in all this familiarity, I’ve discovered some bands I had no clue on that I feel like a downright dumb fugg for never knowing about then. How did I live without knowing about The Pale Saints for instance? A saddening embarrassment washes over me at the thought.

So, a few months ago I was trolling through T.J. s’ blog when I saw him mention a duo outta Baltimore named Rosemary Krust who apparently self proclaimed themselves to be new school shoe gazers. ‘Hmm…sounds interesting’ I said to myself as ‘Celia’s Dream’ unfurled itself outta the laptop. I quickly (and virtually) sent some scratch out to the land of Omar and waited to see how shiny these Krusts’ shoes were. When I got the package of gear a few weeks later, I was more than happy with what I got, but not for the reasons you might think. This was not the bump-free ride of cloud discovery I was expecting. If these guys are gazing at anything, it seems it would be out of a grimy attic window down to a desolate beach where a lone skin bather reads ‘The Insulted and Humiliated’, walks in circles from time to time and counts the crashing waves. Unlike most of the four track brigade clogging the underground these days who use their lack of prowess and recording funds as a crutch rather than a place to explore, Rosemary Krust seem to create their own world out of their limitations, which is what it’s all about in the first place…right? The CD-R that documents their first two weeks of playing together, titled (surprise, surprise) ‘The First Two Weeks of Rosemary Krust’ is abit more noisy and baleful than some of these later recordings. It sounds like Katherine Plummer and William Hardy (the two that make up R.K.) are both discovering and destroying their equipment to make that dusty carpet appear to be ridden into oblivion. A cloudy take on Teenage Jesus and the Jerks’ ‘Orphans’ is thrown in to prove the point of shrouded nihilism on the bands’ part and ‘The First Two Weeks..’ is over.

The seven inch which I believe they self-released sometime last summer, tells a great story of which I’m still trying to figure out the ending. Most of the tracks are such short snippets of slow mo-ed fragile thought; it’s hard to get a grasp on them before they drift off into the ether, which brings you back to try and catch ‘em again and again. The definite ‘lead’ track off the disc is ‘Blank Stare’. Stripped of the effects-laden cocoon it inhabited on the ‘First Two Weeks…’ CD-R, the track is a bare boned declaration adorned with perfectly simple hooks and vox. Is it cool to
mention some parts remind me of The Swirlies? Are The Swirlies cool to mention?

And then a few weeks ago, I received a new full length CD-R in the mail from these two entitled ‘Slow Light’ which was released on the Spleen Coffin label. I was in the middle of a pain in the ass move out of my apartment, so I put in it a box somewhere and remembered to remind myself to listen to it when I wasn’t so bogged down with boxes of records and feelings of rage towards bug eyed pillow case wearers. So a few days after a grueling session of carting some twenty-one boxes of records up a combined total of three flights of steps, I felt I was ready for ‘Slow Light’. As expected, it was just the sorta soothing and disorienting balm I needed after such laborious tedium. Loops of tapes and tapes of loops have seemed to work themselves into the duo’s repertoire and make me feel submerged in a sea of sound not unlike a gnat in vinegar. Interspersed between all the abstractions are potent, simple tunes that might seem abit dreary and limey damaged…BUT SO WHAT? I’m a dreary fuck and I love limeys. Mitchell and Webb…Richard Treece…Peter Cook…Garry Bushell…name me a limey I don’t love and I’ll show you my stunned face. To think this thing will fall into obscurity due to it’s miniscule run (an edition of 45?) is sort of a bummer, but maybe (just maybe) that means it won’t fall into the hands of some ding dong with an agenda and it’ll just exist as is. Quite a concept.

All these discs come wrapped up in hand done covers and the whole bit and the look and feel of ‘em will hopefully give you (read – me) hope in sonic humanity in this day and age of dickless ding dongs that I don’t even know nor care for anymore.

Oh yeah, you probably already heard about this, but just in case…check out the itinerary for Byron’s ‘No More Bush’ tour. Looks like it could be enough of a good time to lock up the bobcat in the barn and come on out. The Philly show will hopefully behold the debut reading appearance of Tom Lax. Inside sources say the guy is trying to wrangle out of it, but I think if all you die-hard Siltbreeze fans send in those postcards and photos of yourself wearing your homemade Pink Reason ponchos, he’ll just HAFTA do it.


FRI AUG 1, 7:00 PM sharp
Artifacts 21st Century, 28 North Maple Street. Florence MA 413-320-9480

Zaika/Jack Rose/Valerie Webber/50 Foot Women + Axolotl/Byron Coley/Matt Krefting/Dredd Foole/Thurston Moore

SUN AUG 3, 7:00 PM sharp
UAG Gallery, 247 Lark Street, Albany NY 518-426-3501

Zaika/Jack Rose/Valerie Webber/50 Foot Women + Axolotl/Charles Plymell/Kate Village + John Morton/Wovoka/Byron Coley + Ziamaluch

MON AUG 4, 8:00 PM sharp
PA’s Lounge, 345 Somerville Ave. Somerville MA617-776-1557

Jack Rose/Valerie Webber/50 Foot Women + Axolotl/Byron Coley/Kate Village + Bill Nace/Sunburned Hand of the Man/Damon Krukowski/Bobb Trimble

TUES AUG 5, 8:00 PM sharp
Café Nine, 250 State Street New Haven CT 203-789-8281

Zaika + Paul Flaherty/Jack Rose/Valerie Webber/50 Foot Women + Axolotl/Byron Coley/Matt Krefting/Bill Nace + Jacqui Ham

THURSDAY AUG 7, doors open 9:00 PM
Velvet Lounge, 915 U Street NW, Washington DC 202-462-3213

Zaika/Jack Rose/Valerie Webber/50 Foot Women + Axolotl/Byron Coley/MV+EE+ special guest tba

FRIDAY AUG 8, 9:30 PM sharp
Tarantula Hill, 2118 West Pratt, Baltimore MD 410-945-7825

Charles Plymell/Zaika/Jack Rose/Valerie Webber/50 Foot Women + Axolotl/Byron Coley/Roxie Powell/MV+EE

SATURDAY AUG 9, doors open 7:30 PM
A secret location in Philadelphia 215-694-5861

Charles Plymell + Mike Watt/Zaimph/Tom Carter + Willie Lane/Jack Rose/Valerie Webber/50 Foot Women +Axolotl/Byron Coley/Tom Lax/MV+EE

MONDAY AUG11, 8:00 PM sharp
Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, NYC 212-219-3132
Charles Plymell/Zaika + Loren Connors/Jack Rose/50 Foot Women + Axolotl/Valerie Webber/Byron Coley/Gary Panter/MV+EE

And until then…PHHTTT.

(Is all that enough to quailify to be mentioned on the Six Organs site again? I really hope so)

Friday, May 16, 2008

In celebration of watching the greatness of Mr. Brannon sporting bi-focals while hunched over the lyric booklet of ‘Total Recall’, I am ‘printing’ the full interview I did a few years back with Pete Zelewski, original bass player for Negative Approach and founder of The Allied, the early 80’s Detroit Hardcore band that time forgot but nerds didn’t. One day when I’ll be wearing diapers involuntarily (unlike now) their slim recorded output will make it out to the Punk Rock public. For those who are actually familiar with their mighty Oi! tainted roar, dig in and enjoy this in-depth Q&A. For those who ain’t, read on and imagine.

200LBU -- Give a brief description of how and where you grew up. If you didn’t grow up in the Midwest, where did you grow up and what lead you to this area? Do you think the environment you grew up in was one of the factors that got you interested in Punk.

Pete Zelewski --I grew up in a very middle class suburb of Detroit called Grosse Pointe. Life in Grosse Pointe was probably like a million other soulless suburbs throughout America, which was the perfect breeding ground for me to engross myself in punk rock. I always felt like an outcast in High School and the local community and found that by submerging myself in music, art and writing I could just about survive the normality of the local life. Punk Rock not only gave me an outlet to vent my frustrations (through music, bands and fanzines) but also an identity that was unique to me at the time.

200LBU -- How did you first become aware of Punk Rock?

PZ -- I was into music long before I discovered punk rock mainly due to the influence of my older brother. There was always musicians hanging around my house and it was natural for me to follow in the same direction. Although my brother was more into traditional rock, musically I was always drawn to bands that were less on the mainstream side of things. One summer a cousin came to visit from London and for the first time I was exposed to all sorts of bands that were happening in the UK punk scene at the time (The Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Clash, The Ruts etc.). Although I used to read about punk in magazines like Creem, for one reason or another I never took them seriously. Out of curiosity I bought the Sex Pistols ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ and from the moment the needle hit the turntable I was hooked. It was the calling I had been waiting for and from that point on there was no turning back. Within a week I cut and dyed my hair, ripped up my leather jacket, learned a few guitar chords and formed my first punk band called ‘the Sleeves’.

200LBU -- What were some of the first Punk records you got? What are some of your favorites out of the lot that inspired you to start bands, etc. What records prior to being aware of Punk do you think factored into you getting interested in Punk.

PZ -- The most liberating thing for me about Punk Rock was that anyone could do it (and anyone was welcome). One of the most influential albums for me before hardcore was ‘Rocket To Russia’ by the Ramones. As a struggling guitarist I managed to learn the entire album in a weekend while my older brother and his friends painfully spent weeks learning chord progressions to Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. Since I had no set agenda musically I was very open-minded and would buy anything that looked interesting (The Jam, Eater, Sham 69, The Clash, The Buzzcocks etc.). What I loved most about punk rock at the time was that visually the records were often as exciting as the music on offer. I was very into art at school and found the imagery used in record sleeve design very stimulating. This inspired me not only musically but also the fanzine graphics and gig poster design I later was heavily involved in.

200LBU -- Describe what the Midwest music scene was like at the time before you guys started playing out. Name specific bands and clubs and what kind of ‘scene’ went on there and how you felt about it. What were the bands (prior to the HC explosion) in your area that you thought were doing something viable and inspired you to start playing music.

PZ -- Before the hardcore scene evolved there really was no scene to speak of in Detroit. Because of licensing laws (I was 16 at the time) it was almost impossible to see bands in the few clubs that had punk rock on offer. The punk scene at the time had more of a new wave slant and consisted of a few places like Bookies, Nunzios, The Red Carpet and a few irrelevant others. In the early days, myself and John Brannon (NA singer) would go to check out local Detroit bands like Coldcock, The Mutants, The Sillies who were all ‘supposedly’ punk rock. We found it very disheartening, and if anything, it made us more determined (by their lack of conviction) to start a band that was relevant to kids our age.

Through our never-ending search for good music we luckily befriended a girl called Larissa Stolarchuck who sang in a band called L7. L7 were a huge breath of fresh air for us and the only Detroit band we could take seriously at the time (not hardcore but very uncompromising in their approach). We took every opportunity to see them live and became real fans. Larissa also wrote a fanzine called ‘Anonymous’ which certainly inspired my fanzine writing later on. Larissa was a very interesting person and highly knowledgeable musically and responsible for introducing John and I to the Necros.

200LBU -- How did you find out about the west coast Punk stuff? Slash? Flipside? Where did you find those magazines in the Midwest? Did you do a lot of mail order? What record stores out there stocked this stuff?

PZ -- It will come as no surprise that my musical influences in most cases laid on the other side of the Atlantic so at the time I wasn’t aware of Flipside or Slash. I used to travel about 50 miles to Ann Arbor (a small college town in Michigan) to buy the New Musical Express and Sounds just to read about British punk rock. If the NME wasn’t in stock I would pick up anything else that might look interesting and slowly I built up a huge collection of fanzines, which helped to further expand my musical knowledge with what was happening outside of the sterile confines of the Detroit music scene.

200LBU -- Did you skate? If so, how did you get into that and how did you find out about pro skaters like Alva, Adams, etc. How long were you skating for before you found out about Punk? How do you think skating and the HC scene worked together? Through HC, did you meet any of your skate heroes? If so, which ones? Any good stories?

PZ -- I always found it odd (and still do) between the connection of skateboarding and punk rock. Before my punk days I was heavily addicted to skateboarding and used to spend months on end at the local skate park. I was really into Tony Alva and all the Dogtown skaters and even got caught by the police one summer for spray painting ‘Dogtown Skates’ on a local shop wall. When I discovered punk rock, skateboarding just seemed so irrelevant and I immediately swapped my board for a guitar.

A few years later a friend who was still into skating told me I had to come back to the skate park because all the skate kids had cut their hair and were full into punk rock. Because finding local punks my age was the equivalent of discovering life on Mars I went straight over there in the hope of finding some like minded band mates. I was slightly disappointed with my discovery when I realized that most of the skate kids had very little interest in music (Devo was a favorite amongst them?) and were really just using punk rock as a way to emulate their skate heroes in California.

200LBU -- How did you get to know Tesco Vee? What was the first time you met him? What records/mags/cultural things did he turn you onto?

PZ -- Tesco was a great guy and hugely influential to the Midwest hardcore scene. We were introduced to Tesco shortly after we met the Necros. Touch and Go was the Midwest hardcore bible at the time and very well respected in the underground American music scene. Because of this status whenever Tesco wrote about a group it was instant publicity. He conducted the first ever Negative Approach interview (in a toilet) before we even played a gig and our popularity just seemed to grow overnight. If anything he made us feel like a band worth listening to and really gave us the confidence to push on. Tesco was never really a big fan of the Allied, but I always respected him because he gave us a fair hearing and wasn’t so quick to judge us like many others from that scene.

He was also highly knowledgeable musically (never limiting himself to just hardcore) and had a huge record collection (the only one to rival Barry Hensslers’), which as a record nut, I was in complete awe of. Through his fanzine Touch and Go we were exposed to all sorts of West Coast and Washington D.C. music that most of us would never have had the chance to read about.

200LBU -- How did you become aware of the slam dancing/stage diving ritual of Hardcore? Did you read about it? I know this sounds like a totally retarded question, but I’m just sorta curious of how you found out about it.

PZ -- The whole slam dancing thing was very a west coast thing and I was completely unaware of it until I first saw Black Flag (with Dez on vocals). The Necros were obviously well into it and the moment Black Flag hit the stage the floor exploded with slam dancers with elbows and fists flying in every direction. It was never really my thing but it certainly helped to make hardcore gigs a real spectacle.

200LBU -- When and how did you guys get to know the kids in the D.C. scene?

PZ -- The Washington D.C. connection happened through Barry, Todd and Corey from the Necros. They were well into the whole D.C. scene long before us and exposed us to all the great music that was coming out of the area. We first met the D.C. kids when Minor Threat played a gig to about 30 kids in a bar in Windsor, Canada called the Coronation Tavern. Seeing Minor Threat live for the first time was an experience I’ll never forget and certainly in my top 10 gigs of all time. At the time John Brannon and I just formed Negative Approach and we quickly realized that if we were going to be taken seriously as a hardcore band in their league we had some serious work to do.

200LBU -- What do you remember about the following bands --

PZ --A joke-ish band fronted by a guy called Davo (I think). If my memory serves me correct Harold used various members of Youth patrol as a backing band. Never my sort of thing but always very humorous. Frontman Davo took some great photos from the early Freezer days some of which I used in my fanzine, the Real Threat.

200LBU -- Youth Patrol

PZ --Youth Patrol were one of the earliest hardcore bands along with the Necros and Negative Approach. I have vague memories of myself playing guitar for them in the early days but left after forming Negative Approach. OP and Graham who later joined NA were both members of Youth Patrol. Their singer (Spike) also played bass in the first line-up of the Allied. For one reason or another no one ever took Youth Patrol as serious as they did Negative Approach (they were a few years younger) but they weren’t a bad band considering they were all about 14.

200LBU --Bored Youth

PZ --Easily the most underrated band from the Detroit hardcore scene. They weren’t technically a thrash/hardcore band but they had a real style of their own and hugely influenced me when I put the Allied together. Musically their songs were slower than the bands at the time and they definitely had an English influence to their sound mainly due to singer Rob and drummer Fred being huge Eater and Sham 69 fans. Having said that lyrically they were in a league of their own and sang songs, which really hit home about what life was like being a teenage punk in Detroit (check out their song ‘Outcast’). Their singer Rob Michaels was a good friend and a great guy. He sang for the Allied for a short time when Bored Youth broke up but left the band to attend college.

200LBU -- English Oi! Music played a big part in the early Midwest scene. How did you become aware of these bands? What was your interpitation of these bands? Did you find the idea of English music to be exotic? How much of the English skinhead ideals come into play into play in the Midwest scene?

PZ -- It’s hard to deny the fact that the English Oi bands had a big influence not only on the Allied but also on quite a few of the hardcore bands. I was an avid reader of UK magazines like NME and Sounds so even before my introduction to hardcore I was used to reading about bands like Sham 69, the Cockney Rejects and Blitz. Although the similarities between the Oi bands and the US hardcore bands are few, the common link, which really brought them together, was the whole chanting thing with everybody in the crowd singing along. The Necros used to cover Sham 69’s ‘Rip Off’ and it would always get the whole crowd singing/chanting along which also started having the same effect on their other songs. I never limited myself to just buying music from the US, so although bands like Minor Threat and the Necros were a big influence, I was also checking out all the new Oi bands from the UK. I remember sitting down with John Brannon after hearing the first Blitz single and we were completely blown away by it. We then bought the first Oi album and immediately fell in love with the 4-Skins and even covered ‘Chaos’. Although Negative Approach weren’t an Oi band we were without a doubt heavily influenced by it.

To be honest I think we were all too young and naive to really understand the political agenda of a lot of those English Oi bands. For me it was just great, raw explosive music and although I was aware of some of the extremist views of a lot of the bands (SKrewdriver being one) I tried my best to ignore it. Although I considered the Allied a punk band first and foremost we unfortunately started attracting a following that were hugely into the Oi/skinhead thing. In a naive way they took the skinhead thing far too serious and the level of violence at our gigs was really starting to escalate. It made no sense to me how Sham 69 used to sing ‘If the Kids Are United’ and here were a bunch of skinheads beating everyone up around them. I hated all the violence that surrounded the scene and without a doubt it was one of the main thing that made me turn my back on it.

200LBU -- Tell me how Negative Approach formed

PZ -- John Brannon and I lived in Grosse Pointe just streets from each other and went to the same high school. We were both the only punks in Grosse Pointe (and complete outcasts) at the time and struck up a relationship instantly. At the time I was playing bass in my band called the Sleeves and John was in a band called Static. Static were very glam punk in the vein of the New York Dolls and the Stooges and I was doing my best to be Paul Weller with my band the Sleeves. Although musically we’re on opposite sides of the fence it was inevitable that we would end up in a band at some stage just because there was no one else around like us at the time. We started hanging out and going to gigs more frequently and eventually, through meeting the Necros, discovered hardcore.

From that initial meeting with the Necros (and seeing Black Flag live) we both knew instantly we wanted to form a hardcore band. John had put a lot of work into Static and was hesitant to leave but listened to my advice and followed me in our first musical venture by forming Negative Approach. We recruited a local skater Rob McCulloch on guitar, who I had met through some skate kids and we brought along an odd Iranian drummer named ‘Zuheir’ to keep the beat. Before we knew it we had a band name, six songs and we started spray painting ‘NA’ all over Detroit!

200LBU -- What were the first NA shows like? What was the reaction?

PZ -- It’s got to be said that John Brannon as a front man was really the star of that scene. He was the sort of guy who was always meant to be on stage and came alive because of it. In our early bands (Static and the Sleeves) we probably never played to more than 20 people but as soon as NA was formed we instantly started attracting a huge die-hard following. John thrived on this and all the crowd participation/chanting and really transformed himself into an amazing front man.

The early gigs were explosive and with each one we played there would be another 30 or so kids in tow with NA stencilled on their shirt or jacket. We never expected to be in the same league as the Necros or Minor Threat but the support we were getting was very strong and so instant we literally moved into the hardcore premiership overnight. What started out as a cool name written on a wall was now a band that was turning into a real force in the Midwest hardcore scene.

200LBU -- How long were you in NA?

PZ --Probably about a year. John and I were still great friends but musically we were really drifting. Although I loved the impact we were having in the scene I was concerned there was no room to develop musically. I was getting really bored with the 30-second songs and full on thrash approach. At the same time I started getting into the Effiges from Chicago and Iron Cross from Washington D.C. who seemed more in tune with where I was coming from musically. Since the scene was really now starting to take off I also felt it was a great time to produce my first fanzine (Real Threat). Although I always loved playing music my first love was art/photography/journalism and I just saw this as a great chance to get my fanzine started (something I had always wanted to do). It felt like a good time as any to leave the band and I called it a day. John was disappointed but cool about it and immediately they had more like-minded band members in the shape of the OP and Graham from Youth Patrol. Although I was proud of forming NA and steering John in the right direction the new band members really turned them into what people know them for today.

200LBU -- When did you decide to form The Allied? What was the reason behind it?

PZ -- I felt very stifled by the music I was playing in Negative Approach (hence my departure) and after I got my fanzine (the Real Threat) going I felt the urge to start playing music again. Although the music scene in the Midwest was traditionally very diverse, the new bands starting up seemed to lack any really originality and this inspired me to form a band that didn’t follow the hardcore/thrash rule book. Influenced by bands like Iron Cross in Washington and The Effigies in Chicago I had a clear idea what I wanted to do with the Allied and enlisted Doug Bashaw on vocals who also shared my views. I loved the energy of hardcore but I wanted to slow the pace down and in a way offer an alternative to what my peers were doing. Although we had a healthy following I was always surprised by the negative reaction to the band just because we were trying something different.

200LBU -- The Allied seemed a bit more into Brit punk than the other Midwest bands. I mean, NA covered Oi! bands and stuff, but you guys seem to have this legend around you that you were more Brit influenced than the others. Was this a conscious decision?

PZ -- You can’t ignore your influences, and for better or worse, my musical influences were always rooted deep in British music. From the Stones and the Beatles, to the Clash and the Jam to my current favourite bands like the Arctic Monkeys and the Kaiser Chiefs my musical tastes have always predominantly resided in the UK. Naturally when I put NA and the Allied ­­together my musical influences came across in our sound. Having said that it was never a conscious effort to sound British, and lyrically we sang about the same issues most teenage punks sang about and not about being on the dole and drinking in pubs (we were all straight edge anyway).
It always amazed me how the British influenced tag went against us. We were constantly being accused of not supporting local bands, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. It was precisely because of local bands like the Necros that I had the confidence to put a band together that reflected my true musical tastes.

200LBU -- What were some of the most memorable NA and Allied shows?

PZ -- For me it had to be the Freezer Theatre gigs. I spent years going to punk shows in Detroit and the attitude towards anyone under 18 was always so negative it was so refreshing to have the Freezer, which was a place where we made the rules. When hardcore bands used to play, there was sometimes as many as 6-7 bands on the bill. You would be in the crowd one minute and the next you were on the stage. To me this was what punk rock was all about.

200LBU -- In the American Hardcore book, author Steven Blush makes some accusations that The Allied wanted to be the American version of Skrewdriver. This isn't true, is it?

PZ -- This was really disturbing when I first heard his comment. I have never met Steven Blush but he obviously knows very little about the Allied or me to come out with nonsense like that. To publish such a strong statement without even bothering to contact me (or any of the other band members) in the first place is just irresponsible journalism.

For the record, The Allied had no political agenda and, at the end of the day we just four middle class suburban kids playing punk rock. Obviously printing the truth about us wouldn’t have been exciting enough to help shift copies of his very inaccurate book.

200LBU -- Why did the Allied break up?

PZ -- I left the band in late ‘83, which really resulted in my complete exit from that scene. I was involved in the scene from day one and my life was completely absorbed in everything to do with it for 3 years. Although the early days were fantastic (when we were all united) the scene was really starting to divide as things progressed. The hardcore bands were becoming more and more like heavy metal bands (I detested heavy metal) and the violence that was surrounding the scene was really getting out of control. I just took a step back one day and realized I had very little in common with most of the kids involved. Punk rock to me was always very liberating but I found the close-mindedness of a lot of those kids very difficult to stomach.

Regarding my departure from the Allied, I spoke about it with Allied singer Doug Bashaw at length, and although disappointed, he completely understood my reasons for leaving. There were no hard feelings; it was just that I needed to move on. Coincidentally, I only found out recently that they continued as a five piece for another three years (with members of the Displaced) after I left the band.

200LBU -- When was the 1st NA show?

PZ -- The first Negative Approach show was at a party in the basement of Todd Swalla (Necros drummer) in Maumee, Ohio. We had only been together a few months and were completely un-rehearsed but it was an amazing gig. Both John and myself had been in bands before and were used to having NO audience participation (except people throwing things at us) but this gig was completely different. All the Necros and their friends got right behind us with their support which really helped to calm our nerves (we were very nervous). It was that kind of support that really helped to install confidence in us as a band.

200LBU -- Talk about your fanzine Real Threat and what inspired you to do it. How many issues did you do? What were some memorable reviews or interviews that were in there?

PZ -- Although I was always in bands in one form or another I never wanted to pursue music long term as my real passion was always art and design (I’m a graphic designer today). Playing music was always secondary to me so getting the Real Threat off the ground was a big ambition of mine. My inspiration came from all sorts of UK fanzines like 48 Thrills, Sniffing Glue and Ripped and Torn, which were sent over from a cousin of mine in London. These fanzines to me really represented the DIY ethics of punk rock. After the hardcore scene started taking off I started getting into local fanzines like Anonymous, Touch and Go and most importantly the Smegma Journal which Barry Henssler used to publish. Barry taught me the art of photocopying, letrasetting (a primitive form of desk top publishing) and exposed me to a whole range of US/west coast fanzines, which I was completely unfamiliar with. The Midwest scene needed another fanzine to document what was happening and I also saw it as a great opportunity to write about bands a lot of the local kids would never have been exposed to.

I loved the whole fanzine process and was amazed at the reaction I used to get from kids all over the world. To this day I still have the original letters from all sorts of Real Threat readers including Thurston Moore, J Mascis, GG Allin and Mensi from the Angelic Upstarts.

Because producing a fanzine in 1981 was very time consuming (no Apple Macs, no internet, no email etc) I only ever published two copies of the fanzine. The third issue was just about finished (with an enlightening interview with Ian Mackaye) when I left the Allied, which also shut the doors on the Real Threat.

200LBU -- What was the Midwest’s problem with T.S.O.L.?

PZ -- Henry Rollins and the whole Black Flag crew had a big impact on hardcore, and when he left SOA to join Black Flag, a whole new macho attitude seemed to creep into the scene. There were stories of Rollins doing push ups and pumping iron before Black Flag shows and a lot of kids from our scene also adopted this macho stance (myself excluded). TSOL were notorious for wearing face makeup and this was something no self-respecting hardcore band was supposed to do. For everything great about the hardcore scene it was backward attitudes like this that really showed how narrow-minded some of the thinking was. I always found it slightly ironic how a band like the Misfits (who funnily enough also wore face make-up) were completely idolised in our circles whereas TSOL were despised. I personally never liked TSOL, not because they wore make-up (that I didn’t have problem with) I just thought they were a dreadful band.

200LBU -- How did you guys stumble upon the Freezer theatre? Describe the place as vividly as possible. Who was the initial person who found it? Who was the main person who booked it? When did it start having shows? How long did it last? What were the most memorable shows from there? Describe the space the best you can.

PZ -- I actually played at the Freezer a year before the hardcore gigs started. I wouldn’t say I discovered it but I certainly played a part in getting hardcore bands to play there. When I was playing bass in my first band the Sleeves we found it impossible to get gigs locally because of our ages (we were only 15/16). One night I attended a Rock Against Racism gig at Wayne State University and hooked up with a promoter who also ran the Freezer and I talked him into letting my band the Sleeves play at their next show. Because Rock Against Racism was big with punk bands in England (and I was wearing a Brigade Rosse t-shirt – to look like Joe Strummer) the promoter put us on the bill without even hearing us. We played our first gig at the Freezer with all sorts of Reggae, Soul and Calypso bands. We used to cover (very poorly) Junior Murvin’s ‘Police and Thieves’ and also the Slickers ‘Johnny Too Bad’ and that was enough to get us several more gigs at the Freezer with the RAR crowd. I also helped John Brannon’s first band Static get a gig there but the politically correct audience didn’t take to John rolling around the stage on broken beer bottles and smothering himself in toothpaste (Static had a song called ‘Toothpaste and Pills’)

Once we met up with the Necros we told them about the Freezer and Corey (being the shrewd business man that he was) made a few calls and the next thing we knew there was a gig with about 7 hardcore bands on the bill.

The Freezer itself was nothing more than a deserted shop front stuck in the middle of the Detroit’s Cass Corridor (very dangerous and run down area of Detroit). The club itself would hold about 150 people and was without a doubt the home to Midwest Hardcore. We graffited the walls, built the stage and turned it into a place of our own. My most memorable gigs from that time were at the Freezer (especially supporting Minor Threat the night it was closed down) just because it felt like home to most of us.

200LBU -- What was the first show you guys went to see out of the Midwest area (NYC, etc.) What did you think of it? How was it different from what was going on in the Midwest?

PZ -- Washington D.C was the first place that I played outside of Michigan (besides Ohio) and their scene was very different from ours. Because they were really the originators of hardcore there was almost some snobbery to how they treated us. I wouldn’t say they were rude (quite the opposite) but we were always made to feel like predators on the wrong turf.

Chicago was quite the opposite and a scene I felt far much more comfortable with. We befriended the Effigies and their manager John Banham soon after I formed the Allied and they really took us under their wings. They supported us when most people from our own scene turned their backs on us. We were huge Effigies fans (my main inspiration for forming the Allied) so to play with them and some of the other great Chicago bands like Naked Raygun and Six Feet Under was a real honour. I still consider the Effigies to be the best band from that era and although I listen to very little hardcore today those Effigies records just have a timeless feel to their sound that proves what a fantastic band they really were.

200LBU --How did you feel once you left the Midwest and found out people knew who you were and knew your songs? Were you surprised?

PZ -- Completely surprised! Funnily enough it still happens to this day. The biggest shock came a few years ago when I was at a White Stripes gig in London and I met up with Ben Blackwell from Detroit’s Dirtbombs. He told me their guitarist (and most of the band) were big Negative Approach fans and they even did a Negative Approach cover at their soundcheck! It was just hard to believe that a band I helped form over twenty years ago still had some relevance today. At the time we thought the band would last about the duration of one of our songs (30 seconds) but somehow we’re still talked about today.

200LBU -- What kind of impact do you think the Midwest scene made on the HC scene back then? What kind of impact do you think it made on culture in general?

PZ -- If you talk about American hardcore you can’t deny the influence and impact the Midwest had on it. Each scene in the US was very different but I do think the bands from the Midwest certainly had a uniqueness that wasn’t displayed in some of the other smaller scenes throughout the country. With bands like the Necros, Negative Approach, L7, Violent Apathy, The Meatmen and the Allied they all had something different about them while still retaining loyalty to each other and the scene around them.

Although I didn’t agree with all the attitudes that surrounded the Midwest Scene (which were quite sexist and very homophobic at times) at the end of the day it gave many kids the opportunity to look outside the small insular communities they came from and to help them develop ideas of their own to branch out and move forward. To me that’s what punk was really all about.

200LBU -- How do you feel about the legacy the Midwest scene has left? What do you think it was about the Midwest scene that left such an impact? Do you even consider it a legacy?

PZ -- I’d say a legacy is a bit of strong word to describe what we left but if we had some impact, and influenced others to do something equally creative, then that can’t be a bad thing. My only concern is that I feel kids today should be looking forward not backwards musically and concentrating on developing a scene or musical style that is unique to them (like we tried to do). Punk to me was all about youth and change and progression and it would be great to see another movement which is as exciting as what was happening with punk/hardcore in the early 80’s.

200LBU – Will any of the recorded output of the Allied ever see the light of day?

PZ -- It was unfortunate that the Allied never released any material in our day. Our John Kezdy produced ep on Ruthless Records never saw the light of day mainly because I left the band shortly after the recording. I’m not one to get caught up in anything nostalgic (certainly never a reunion) but it would be good to release those tapes just so people can make their own minds up about the Allied. A lot was said about the Allied (some good, plenty bad) and I’d prefer to let the music do the talking so that people can make their own minds up about the band.
It has taken me over two years to compile all the early recordings (and live DVD footage) including the John Kezdy produced Chicago sessions and it’s only a matter of time before we release something. We’ve had a few record labels approach us and we’re just deciding the best way forward to get a comprehensive package out there to as many people as possible.

200LBU -- What have you been up to since you left the Allied?

PZ -- During my time in Negative Approach and the Allied I never saw playing music as being a long term thing for me. Although it was fun at the time it was always really just a stop gap for me before I left Detroit and embarked on my real creative passion which is art and design. Once I left the Allied, I concentrated on getting out of the Midwest and eventually moved to Europe and settled in London (where I still live today). I studied design and I now work as a graphic designer in both print and web, which is now the main focus in my life, which doesn’t leave time for much else. I do still play guitar although these days it’s more likely I’ll be playing jazz and blues standards as opposed to anything by Negative Approach. I have been in several bands since my punk days (and done some solo acoustic work too) but right now I’m more interested in building up my vintage guitar collection than I am in playing guitar on stage again.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

AMERICA'S HARDCORE INTERVIEW ON THE DOUBLE CROSS SITE (DONE BY ME OF COURSE) If you told me when I was sixteen I would interview Kurt Loder when I got older, not only would I have not given a shit, I wouldn't believe you. If you told me when I was sixteen I would eventually interview Danny Slam, the vocalist for America's Hardcore, not only would I have shat my britches, I wouldn't believe you (I sense a theme here)

For those who are not Hardcore nerdboys, lemme tell ya that AHC are certainly the most underrated/unknown band to emerge from the early 80's SoCal Hardcore scene. They were an interesting band as they seem to be one of the first (if not THEE first) SoCal 'Core units who were dipping more into the well of the Midwest and D.C. sound rather than apeing anything from their own know...the area that more or less 'invented' the whole shabang. They managed to chuck a few songs here and there on a few Mystic compilations and even got to make shirts that members of Minor Threat eventually put on their backs when they got back from tour (Check the back cover of the 'Salad Days' 45) The summer my brother started taking me to Hardcore shows, it seemed every band I saw had AHC stickers plastered on their gear. I distinctly remember Die Kruezen having one on their boombox. They were always one of those bands I wanted to know more about.

Well, fast forward to nowsville and lo and behold, I'm interviewing Danny Slam of AHC for the beyond excellent Double Cross site done by my old buddy Tim McMahon and his faithfull sidekick, Gordo. It's up there right now and the link to the site is right over there on the right with all the other links. If there's any difficulty in finding it, please call the nurse so's she can snuff you right now once and for all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

IF YOU HEAR/SEE SOME DOUCHE NAMEDROP 'MANIAX' IN A MONTH OR SO...YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BLAME/SHOOT ME... In the annals of Punk Rock history, there are bands upon bands who are the Hardcore equivilent of 'one hit wonders'; bands from outta nowhere who had that one cut on that one compilation that set both your body and imagination on fire. Even though the sound of that one song was great in itself, the nerd in you had to ask (to no one else but yourself of course) 'What else did they have up their sleeve?'My personal Hardcore annal (guh whuh?) heaves with such names as Hostile Youth, Shit S.A, Double Cross, B.I.U, The Conservatives, Crankshaft and (of course) Demented Youth. On the tipity top of that teetering list is Fresno Californias' Maniax who supplied us with the beyond classic anthem 'Off To War' on the beyond classic 'Not So Quiet On The Western Front' double LP compilation in 1982. For nigh on twenty five years now, this track has intrigued the fuck outta me. Althought the sentiment of the song fit the time and place it was plunging from, the sound was a broadcast entirely of its' own. With the buzzsaw guitar dipping in and out of the 'mix' while a barely pubescent vocalist drones on and on recieting the words 'Off To War' over and over again, this wasn't your average young kid thrash-o-thon for sure. I always wondered if their other songs were this disorienting and wonderful. Well, I need not wonder no more! Maniax vocalist Gregg Mitchell has finally found the time to share with us the 'lost tapes' of Fresnos' youngest early 80's Punk band and it's every thing I've dreamed it would be and more. 34 tracks of bedroom recorded early teenaged Punk Rock anthems about dead dogs, posers and having a crush on Wendy O. Williams. Are they using an air organ on track 29? What the fuck? THE MOST ESSENTIAL AND NEEDED POSTHUMOUS PUNK ROCK RELEASE OF OUR CENTURY AND I MEAN THAT. Even though I really hate how nothing of the past is left to the imagination anymore these days, I gotta say my brain is exhausted after twenty something years of wondering what those other Maniax tracks sounded like. Thanks for the rest, Gregg.

I know for a fact that raw foods enthusiast Chris Freeman has a few copies of this Maniax CD rotting away at the Fusetron compound. Bug him to sell you one. He's over there to the right in the linkage department.

And right now I'd like to say the only dude writing about music right now that I trust and respect is Chris Corry. Some of you might know CC as a member of Mind Eraser or F.Y.A. Some of you might know him as the mind behind the excellent bid hardcore blogsite. Me? I just know him as the only dude right now who sets my mind rotating with his insights into Hardcore and Punk (Kinda like Country + Western) He sometimes worries me at how much he cares and disects things on two levels. On the first, I worry he might just be spending too much time losing himself in his own world of cataloging numbers, matrixes and demo tapes. Don't become one of those guys! On the other, he's got me sitting here wondering if I missed something along the way as far as all the demos and seven inches I considered 'secondary' in my days of Hard 'Yore'. 'Did I miss something as far as True Colors or Fit of Anger goes?' I ask myself sometimes after waking in a cold sweat. Unlike the recent crop of kids who wanna write about Punk Rock from some sorta self-made thrown where they suck all the fun outta the situation with their text paper like analysis of the illegibilty of politics in Punk Rock or whatever drywit fuck concept they shat out this week, Chris keeps it down to the magic sounds and how they zapped his brain. When he does analize the situation, he does it with humour and insight. Dig on the boys' review of the Hellhammer boxset at the Shit-Fi site and lemme (and he) know what you think. Here's an unfancy link to the piece --

Linkage to Chris' normal blog over there to the right with the Fusetron link you should use to buy the Maniax CD mentioned up there. Dig on it!

Until next time, buy whatever records the other blog dudes tell you to buy and keep up with the scene and wake up in a year to the same thing...only slighty different. The whole process will kill time before you eventually die. In the words of co-worker and resident insane Jamacian Daniel Smith 'Wudda life!'

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ROCK WRITING IS OVER! (IF YOU WANT IT TO BE) 'Music columnists are imbeciles waiting for some of you screwballs to just fuckin' end it by slamming a lamp over their thick skulls crushing their craniums once and for all. The few who would actually be worthy columnists are too clever to ever actually take part in the charade.' -- Uncle Jim

The above quote from the 'Uncle Jim' persona of whatever Bishop brother maintains that side name/project were the truest words about the mastabatory cul-de-sac known as 'music journalism' I had ever read in my time of cookie eating. Trouble is he had it printed it in a publication that's the very fucking example of what he's writing about. The second issue of this Bixobal magazine gives late 90's mags like Halana and Opprubium a run for their money with it's humourless, friend wrangling pointlessness. Review upon unchalleging review of Wire approved improv pooh dominates the bulk of this rag while Richard Bishop (how many 'cred' points is that guy worth to the editors?) rattles on again about traveling around in India. When this guy starts keeping journals on being kidnapped and forced to work in a sweatshop in one of the countries he loves so much, maybe I'll be interested. You know what would be real interesting? Reading a diary Richard kept on AN ACTUAL JOB he's held down in his life. Aside from a rather touching and informative obit about Charlie Nothing done up by Keith from No Neck, this thing comes off like a mid-afternoon wank session with sandpaper in your palm. I see from the inside cover these guys have started a record label as well that serves up 'limited edition' records by all their improvising/noodling/cacophonous contributors. Boy, do you guys know how to make friends! Shit rags like this are the very reason I bide my time these days listening to the same five records over and over and never leaving the house. Are the editors of this mag 'here' for the music? Or do they publish this thing just to rub proverbial elbows with guys who should be (at least) supermarker managers at this point in their life. My brain barely agitates to come to a conclusion on that one. Now where are my back issues of Not For The Weak?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

200LBU'S SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST SHOWCASE!!! (LAST MINUTE) Sorry for the late notice, but I just thought I'd let you all know we have managed to throw down with a last minute showcase at that cavalcade of lost souls and sleaze merchants going on this week in Texas known as South By Southwest. Like all good blog nerds, we here at 200LBU have thrown countless artists to the wayside once more than fifty people had finally heard of them. They are all meaningless fodder to us as we tell everyone how great their new limited to five three inch CDR sounds while secretly listening to Everything But The Girl 'Best Of' CDR's burned and compiled by our nieces. Luckily, we have secured a venue in haphazard fashion down there in the land of Marching Plague and the Bang Gang to showcase our new crop of here-today-gone-tomorrow favorites. All the following bands will be performing this Saturday at The Chain Drive at 504 Willow Street in Austin at 2 a.m. Be there or be considered not relevent! The line-up is as follows --

STUBRETTH -- The hottest hipster Black Metal group going on today. They have never actually played an authentic Black Metal show nor actually gone to a Black Metal concert as a spectator, but that's not the point! The point is they have more CDR's of Greek Black Metal bands than you do! Who cares if they don't even own a copy of 'Sin After Sin' ? Their new CDR entitled 'From The Loins of Falsities and Flossies' will be on sale at the show.

WARNING FART -- Blazing 'old school' thrash that sounds like a cross between PTL Klub and Stukas Over Bedrock. Rad! Remember -- The 50's are now the 80's and the future will be never! Release on No Way Records imminent.

GOOP "I" -- You want mystery? You want elusiveness? You want non-commitment? Than the one manned Goop "I" is for you! We felt intrigued when Goop annonymously sent us his debut CDR 'The Cold Breaking Wind Feels Like Hot Rain'. We felt even more intrigued when he sent us numerous annonymously written e-mails asking us what we thought of his CDR and then we were totally intrigued when he bought off the rest of our Jandek vinyl collection for a mere $5000. This guy is so sensitive and forlorn, he might not even make it to his in-store appearence before the gig! Poor, poor pitiful him.

CINDERBLOCK DONKEY PUNCH -- In the past few years, most hardcore Power Electronics fans have complained how their beloved noise had become diluted and weak, but luckily Herbert Jamittinn (A.K.A Cinderblock Donkey Punch) is here to rescue the genre from the clutches of these new jack perpetrators. Speaking from his mothers' basement (which he rarely leaves) he says, 'Domick Fernow and all of them have taken it all and made it all 'Tiger Beat'. Fuck that!'. Herbert will be bringing the noise to our South By Southwest showcase for all the loser misogynists who fell in love with this sound all so many years ago in their mothers' basement. His latest cassette releases 'Shit Slot', 'You Broke My Heart, So I Broke Your Hello Kitty Collection' and 'My Father Was Very Distant and That's Why I'm The Way I Am' will all be for sale at the show.

It's gonna be one helluva show. Hope to see you there!

ALSO -- I will be leading a panel discussion on Friday afternoon entitiled "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! -- The History of Assholes in Music'. Hope to see you there too...asshole.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

'...I AIN'T GAY OR NUTTIN...IT'S JUST I LIKE READIN' QUEER BOOKS IS ALL...' ‘They’d come into it because they thought ‘What’s got coloured hair?’ They were looking for things that were fashionable’. – Mark Perry
The Wire January 2000

It was a sad day in my young life when I came to the realization that the very foundation on which I staked my whole life was a teetering and stinky pile of horseshit. ‘Punk Rock’ (that is the 1976 definition of the words) when it really boiled down to it, was more or less some vehicle for some carrot topped halfwit to sell a box full of torn t-shirts to a bunch of rich kids from the London suburbs. I think the idea finally hit me halfway through the snooze fest that is ‘England’s Dreaming’, that oh-so-exciting pile of pages written by the rockinest Grandma in ole Blighty, Jon Savage. It certainly didn’t make what Punk inspired any less of itself, but it still saddened my tiny twenty year old head to think something as earnest and close to my heart as Minor Threat was drawn from something that was all about ‘Pose, pose, pose’. I pretty much settled on the fact that Punk’s initial spark rested on getting over on someone to make a buck. What a bummer.

That idea sat in my brain for awhile and bobbed around in my gray matter here and there, but it floated to the front again whilst reading ‘Berlin Bromley’, the Punk memoirs of Bertie ‘Berlin’ Marshall, the flaming side mouse to Siouxsie, Steve Severin and the rest of the Bromley contingent. If there’s one person that defines the consciously vacant poser of King’s Road fashion of ‘76/’77, it’s this guy. If you go by the quotes on the back of the book (‘…A remarkable record of a defining moment in musical history’) you’d think you’re getting the lowdown on Brit ’77 action in all its glory. Instead, you get breakdowns on what was worn the first time Berlin went to see the Sex Pistols. The actual music? You’re gonna hafta consult someone else on that, lovey. But fuck, I guess cheesecloth is the defining moment of this music. Here goes that bummer headache again…

‘It’s a lot better now than it used to be. When it started it was all the art college lot, now it’s working class kids. You’ve got the Upstarts, the Rejects and us, just kids playing for the kids. And you don’t have to buy a thirty quid pullover or hang around the King’s Road anymore.’ -- Peter Chinhead
Sounds 7/5/1980

If you strip this book of having to do with anything remotely about music, than I’d say it’s a naughty little read full of mindless decadence written in the style of someone who IS there just for a cheap thrill and maybe a quick butt load of splooey. Soon after ‘discovering’ Punk, Berlin left his safe home in Bromley and became a rent boy lying in beds and man-doing everyone from National Front skins to Fat British businessmen with flatulence fetishes. Even though he never touched her, he caught crabs from Nancy Spungen (wudda honor!) and cryptically reveals that Stevie Jones and Cookie might have been doing one another. A book crammed with posing, sulphate, man love and catty wordage, ‘Berline Bromley’ is a fun, quick read that’s sorta like eating a Turkey and Ice Cream hoagie or a night out on the town with Lady Boys; easily regrettable but too much fun to pass up.

Friday, February 08, 2008

200LBU'S 'BAND TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2008' Turkey Tips (pictured above) are a newly formed duo that are --

A) Groundbreaking
B) Mesmerizing
C) Wholly original
D) All of the above

They recently came to the attention of --

A) Dusted Magazine
B) A friend of Dusted Magazine
C) Someone from Dusted Magazine who was eavesdropping in on a conversation of someone from Pitchfork while he was sucking the privates of a contributor to Arthur Magazine for one-of-a-kind hippy hairtips
D) All of the above

Their debut LP will soon be released on --

A) Load
B) Troubleman Unlimited
C) What's Your Rupture?
D) All of the above

And it will be entitled --

A) 'Neck Zit Serenade'
B) 'Personable Man Servant'
C) 'Who Blew A Load In The Toad of Baskerville?'
D) All of the Above

They will be going on tour this Spring with--

A) Airel Pink
B) Blank Dogs
C) Robedoor
D) All of the above

Followed by a huge feature about the band in --

A) Arthur
B) Dusted Magazine
C) Pitchfork
D) All of the Above

Written by --

A) Doug Mosurock
B) Doug Mosurock
C) Doug Mosurock
D) All of the Above

They will be quoted as saying in the article --

A) 'Yeah, Thurston totally loves us'
B) 'We've been really into these movie soundtracks from Bologna that someone from Gang Gang Dance really turned us onto'
C) 'This hairstyle? Some guy from Arthur turned me onto it in exchange for some head'
D) All of the above

In a year from now, they will be bigger than --

A) Brightback Morning Light
B) Xiu Xiu
C) White Magic
D) All of those bands everyone loved a year or so ago who now can't get paid to urinate in public.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

PART ONE (IN A HOPEFULLY CONTINUING SERIES)As I gaze upon my record collection, ravaged and raped by both age and thieves, I can’t help but notice how numb I feel. If ten years ago you would have told me a decent chunk of my vinyl would be floating somewhere in the nether regions of nowhere without a culprit in sight for the crime, I surely would of broken down in tears. Right at this very moment, I could care less. There seems to be no time in my day when I’m pottering around the apartment and stop and think ‘Damn! I really wish I could hear that Acting Trio record just one more time!’ Where as most of my big-ticket items were snatched, the ones that no one would be caught dead listening to stayed behind. Surprise, surprise…

And I’m thankful for that. For these dud records are the ones that I derive immense pleasure from; these are the ones no one would wanna come over and listen to. Guilty pleasures? I think not. I don’t believe in that sorta shit. You either dig it or you don’t, and if you don’t wanna hear it, stay offa the bus. Let’s say (…fer example…) I pulled out this fifth album done up by The Cockney Rejects titled ‘The Wild Ones’. Even people with no back-story on these louts would look at this thing and find it fishy. As some of you might know, these guys were the poster boys for the whole Oi! thing-a-muh-bob of the U.K. in the early 80’s. No matter what anyone might tell you, those first few singles by the Rejects still stand up, especially when you got an Afternoon Penis leading a room in the chorus of ‘Oi! Oi! Oi!’…lemme tell ya. But even before the Hardcore wagon would really pick up steam in the states, The Rejects were already trading boots and braces for leopard skin prints and B.C. Riches. Stories say The Rejects were fed up with being falsely associated with the right winged thugs rampant on the Oi! scene and decided their way out was jumping on the last crest of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM for you winners out there) I recall peering endlessly at the cover of this record in the racks of my local malls’ ‘import’ section when it came out. I was all of ten or eleven years old, but I knew of The Rejects and their jams and being a junior Anglophile, I was intrigued as shit over the whole skinhead thing I was reading about in my older brothers’ copies of the NME. Where the covers of their past albums showed The Rejects clowning around and mooning the camera, this one had this real posh looking photo of the guys posing in front of London Bridge (that is London Bridge, right?) Two out of the four members had hair past their ears and the drummer (Keith Warrington, formerly of Angelic Upstarts) had this real foppish rock star stance going on with his hand of the back of his hip plus (PLUS!!!) he was wearing an American football jersey. What the fuck was that? I was confused even further when I flipped the cover over and saw still shots of the guitarist Mickey Geggus wearing leather gloves and a leather jacket with no shirt underneath. Their vocalist had changed his name from ‘Stinky Turner’ to ‘Jefferson Turner’. Guess he wanted to class himself up. Can’t really impress a heavy metal babe with a name like ‘Stinky’, can you?

For some stupid reason or another, I bought the fucking thing. I remember looking at the song titles on the back cover (‘Way of the Rocker’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream’, ‘Victim of the Cheap Wine’) while walking up to the counter and thinking it must be crap, but I wanted to know for myself if it was crap or not. Well, let’s just say I really found out for myself how crappy it was. It was disappointment once the needle hit the record. . The opening lyric of the record was ‘I don’t worry/I don’t care/I get out of bed and I comb my hair!’ That pretty much did it for me. The second song had this horrid chorus where the whole band went ‘Doot doo doo/Doot di do/Do-do!’. To my puritan punker ears, it just sounded like lame Heavy Metal riffs while Stinky (oh…excuse me…Jefferson) did some horrid Bon Scott imitation. I believe it sat around collecting dust for a few years until it was traded in at some store in my teens.

About three years ago, I found the record again and bought it just to remind myself how crap it was. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment who can’t hold onto money…please help me. But this disc elicited a different reaction some thirteen years later. Time certainly didn’t make the actual record any better, but it did add some sort of unfathomable element of fascination to it. Having taken in enough NWOBHM records as well as a shitload of lousy ‘Crossover’ records in my teens, I could hear this record as a very strange and desperate cry for help. By the mid-eighties, there were enough Brit Punkers trying to go Metal that it was pretty common to see your heroes latest record adorned in a cover that looked like a Greenslade record. But this record was recorded in 1981; way before Discharge would write thirteen minute long opuses about heroin addiction and have H.R. heave bags of smelly garbage at them. The Rejects were in a sea by themselves going metal while The Exploited and Chron Gen ruled the U.K. charts. ‘The Wild Ones’ is as single minded in it’s pursuit of riffs and glory as any third tier underground British Heavy Metal record of it’s time, but the (dare I say?) charm of it lies in the fact that these guys ain’t too savvy on their instruments. The riffs are generic as hell, but they cut to the bone hard as the football Jersey sporting Warrington tries desperately to keep up. Producer Pete Way (of UFO) tries to mask all the unsightly holes in the sound with tons of reverb, but it’s a lost cause. And strangely, all the things I listed above are the reasons I pull this record out time and time again. As an artifact, it stands by itself in its timeframe. It would be four years down the road until anyone would have to suffer through the endless piles of shitty records Punks would make with dreams of zit faced No Cal longhairs moshing very clumsily in their heads. If anything, this is the record DYS wish they made in 1985 (and that’s saying a lot) From now ‘til the end of my time, it’ll be a fave to pull out to annoy, confuse and entertain the kids, which is the least I can say for (fill in this blank with whatever band is on your nerves this week)

Ta for now!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm not sure if anyone still looks here for anything, but I figured it would be the easiest way to let the free world know one of my all-time favorite films is finally somewhat available. When and if it'll get to DVD, who knows...for now, here is a link to it in the unfanciest way possible...

My best of '07 should be up on Terminal Boredom some time soon and maybe a few other things spread out here or there. I'll let ya know...