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Johnny Depp ‘speaker dives’ to Agent Orange in the punksploitation episode of ‘21 Jump Street’

Though a bit late in the game in 1987 to achieve the same sort of classic punksploitation TV status held by the likes of the Quincy and CHiPs “punk rock episodes,” the “Mean Streets And Pastel Houses” episode of 21 Jump Street did give us Johnny Depp in a Discharge “Protest and Survive” t-shirt slam-dancing to a Flock of Seagulls-looking dude lip-syncing Agent Orange songs.

As embarrassing as this sort of thing often tends to be, credit is due to the producers for almost actually capturing a realistic punk-show vibe.

In the episode, Depp’s character goes undercover as a punk rocker to investigate a rash of vandalism being committed by rival bands/gangs “Klean Kut Kids” (KKK, get it?) and “Your Friendly Neighbors.”

A young Jason Priestly plays one of the gang members.

Jason “Wattie” Priestly
The episode contains classic “hello fellow kids” lines like “Ever done any speaker diving?”

The “band” in this episode, “Klean Kut Kids,” mimes to three classic Agent Orange songs from the Living in Darkness LP: “Too Young To Die,” “Everything Turns Grey,” and ” A Cry For Help In A World Gone Mad.” The song “Bloodstains” is also briefly heard.

This was about as “hardcore” as network TV got in 1987…

Watch it, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Maximum Lute Jams? Hear your fave punk and metal classics like never before!
12:40 pm


Dawn Culbertson

Lutes aren’t rock n’ roll, everybody knows that. Lutes are the stuff of medieval folkies. Lutes are for the Incredible String Band or Gentle Giant, not Black Sabbath or Van Halen. At least, that’s what I used to think… and then I heard Dawn Culbertson.

A reclusive but active member of Baltimore’s folk, baroque, and classical scenes for decades, Culbertson was a composer, performer, and radio personality, who hosted an overnight classical music program on John Hopkins University’s radio station for over a decade. She played bass in an avant-garde big band and played lute on the weekends at local restaurants in Baltimore. In 2004, at the still-tender age of 53, she died of a heart attack. She was twirling the night away at a waltz event at the time. If you’re gonna go at 53, you might as well go out dancing.

While she will be surely be fondly remembered in her native Baltimore for her tireless work promoting folk and classical music, to the rest of us, she will remain the undisputed master of what she liked to call “punk lute.” Shortly before she died, Culbertson began performing covers of popular punk and metal songs on her instrument. They are collected on a long out of print and highly sought-after 2011 cassette release, Return of the Evil Pappy Twin. “The Evil Pappy Twin” was her punk lute alter-ego. We all have one. Accompanied by her plaintive, unwavering vocals—a kind of bored monotone drone that really is punk-as-fuck—these magical covers breathe new life into crusty old nuggets by DEVO, Van Halen, The Ramones, Black Sabbath, the Stooges, Sex Pistols and more, turning them into doomy outsider ballads from the outer edges of sanity.

I honestly like most of her covers way better than the originals!

Check out Culbertson’s desolate take on “Iron Man” below, and listen to the rest of Return of the Evil Pappy Twin here (I can’t embed it).

Further proof that punk is a state of mind, not a costume.

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
GG Allin is (still) dead, so all we have left is noise rockers Cock ESP

What if I told you there was a 90s band still in operation who have one hundred albums out? I mean, none of them are even remotely listenable, but that’s still pretty impressive, isn’t it? It’s true. Not only that, but they’re also bloodthirsty maniacs, with a decades-long love-hate mostly hate) affair with their audience. Every live show from, say, 1995 onwards has been a chaotic display of grinding noise, cross-dressing, live sexacts, self-mutilation, fist-fights, erotic wrestling, eye-gouging, tooth extractions, and non-stop ecstatic dancing. And they only last three minutes. Their name is Cock ESP (really, what else could/would they be called?), and if they’re not your new favorite band, you must be some kinda fuckin’ dummy.

This shit is normal in Minnesota.

It’s obviously a long story, but the thumbnail version is that in 1993, Minneapolis power electronics noisemonger Emil Hagstrom teamed up with metal percussionist P.C. Hammeroids to form an even noisier metal percussion-slash-power electronics shithouse ball of hardcore lunacy. Insanely prolific from the beginning, the band released scores of records every year, many with humorous titles like Our Embarrassment Is Your Pleasure, Three and a Half Inches of Floppy Cock (released on a floppy disk, naturally), and Suicide Girls Has Ruined Porn For An Entire Generation. Most albums feature short bursts of harsh improvisational noise. Some feature slightly longer bursts of harsh industrial noise.Their most infamous release is 2000’s Monsters of Cock, a 5” vinyl single with 381 tracks on it, released simultaneously by a dozen different labels. Even five-second blasts of noise add up to a lot of work when you do it 381 different ways, man.

Hagstrom is the only original member of the band left, but he always manages to find a few new drifters, sociopaths or miscreants to keep things rolling. Cock ESP’s latest album, 2016’s Noise Bloopers, consists entirely of equipment malfunctions. For the past few years, the band has used wireless equipment on stage—they’re far less likely to accidentally hang themselves this way—but wireless noise boxes are constantly on the fritz, and even with a three-minute show they fuck everything up a lot. So they made a “worst of” album. It is completely indistinguishable from their other albums.

Cock rock for the now generation

Here’s the point: you are not as cutting edge as you’d like to be unless Emil Hagstrom has broken your nose at a gig or you own at least 38 Cock ESP albums (not 37, poser!). For better or for worse, they are as far out as you can possibly get. I mean it’s almost definitely for worse, arguably much worse, but GG Allin is still dead, so this is all we have left.

Watch these lunatics in action after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
The Black Flag tour machine grinds to a halt in ‘Reality 86’d’
12:08 pm


Black Flag

To support what would prove to be its last studio album In My Head, Black Flag did a full national tour in the autumn of 1985 and then basically repeated the process in the first half of 1986. For that second go-round—Black Flag’s last tour—they were joined by Painted Willie and Greg Ginn’s new side project Gone, which featured future Rollins Band members Sim Cain and Andrew Weiss. (Hard-hitting Cain was a sorely underrated drummer, while Weiss has production duties on several Ween albums on his resume.)

The drummer for Painted Willie was named David Markey, one of the founders of the punk zine We Got Power! and he took along a video recorder and took a copious amount of footage during the several months. By this time Kira was gone, replaced by C’el Revuelta, and Anthony Martinez had taken over for Bill Stevenson.

The result of Markey’s filming was an hour-long movie called Reality 86’d. The movie has enjoyed a contentious backstory. According to James Parker’s Turned On: A Biography of Henry Rollins,

The results of [Markey’s] on-off filming were edited together as the tour movie Reality 86’d—still unreleased, owing to the opposition of Greg Ginn, who owns the rights to much of the music featured in the film. (Ginn was invited to attend a private screening of Reality 86’d shortly after it was completed, but walked out halfway through.)

In 2011 Markey put the video up on Vimeo but today there is a notification indicating copyright infringement. Today it’s easy to find on YouTube and Vimeo.
Ginn and Rollins were the last gasp of the classic Black Flag impulse, and they were growing apart. Ginn was veering towards instrumental jam music, and Rollins was sticking to his harder ethos. In Parker’s book there is a telling anecdote, according to which Ginn had requested the construction of a box that could be fitted into the back of the tour van so that he could crawl inside and put on his headphones and just “be totally alone.” The split between Ginn and Rollins was accentuated by the presence of Rollins’ close friend Joe Cole, who wrote about this tour in Planet Joe, published after his tragic 1991 death at the hands of armed robbers in Venice Beach.

There’s an odd moment about a quarter-hour in when a shirtless Henry—although come to think of it, when was he not shirtless?—jokes in a swishy way about getting into rock to meet buff skinhead boyfriends. In the second half there’s a wonderful bit where a bunch of the guys sing the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” at the top of a picturesque mountaintop. This is followed up a silly rendition of John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” which is a good indication of their location.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Sex Pistols Number 1,’ the punk propaganda reel from 1977
09:36 am


Sex Pistols

Poster by Jamie Reid, via Recordmecca
Lordy, lordy, look who’s 40! Before The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle—before The Punk Rock Movie, D.O.A., Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and Rude Boy, for that matter—there was Sex Pistols Number 1, a “show reel” of the Pistols’ TV appearances compiled in 1977.

Julien Temple reused much of this footage in his features about the Sex Pistols, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle and The Filth and the Fury, but this is the movie that opened for the Pistols and the Slits at the Screen on the Green and was projected before the last show at Winterland. Russ Meyer signed on to direct Who Killed Bambi? after seeing it.

IMDB credits Temple and soundman John “Boogie” Tiberi as the film’s directors. In England’s Dreaming, Jon Savage sheds light on what that actually meant, and how Number 1 came to be:

After the EMI sacking, McLaren began to assemble news and performance footage of the Sex Pistols for a possible short film. ‘Malcolm asked me to get hold of these bits of footage from the Anarchy tour to make a show reel,’ says Tiberi. ‘He had this idea to sell the group as a visual act. We were very aware of the group’s potential to get fired from record companies, and TV was a new direction. That’s why I was there, knocking on the door.

Number 1 was all re-filmed. It was very early days in home video technology. The only place we could get the Grundy programme was from a Country and Western promoter whom Sophie [Richmond, Glitterbest secretary] had phoned up to record it. Julien Temple did the refilming, he shot the video image on to film and edited it into chronological order at film school, overnight, and we showed a cutting copy the next night. It was very stirring stuff, propaganda-oriented.’

The brilliance of Number 1 was in replaying the media’s curses with a mocking laugh. The twenty-five minute short tells the story of the scandals from the group’s side, cutting supercilious youth presenters, pompous chat-show guests, mealy-mouthed academics, with simple, stark footage of the group playing and talking. It closes with ‘God Save the Queen’ playing over speeded Pathé footage of Royal Circumstance Past. The final shot pans from the glittering coach to sweepers . . . shovelling horse shit.

Watch it, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The Devil’s Jukebox: Why Big Stick is the greatest rock n’ roll band OF ALL TIME (if you ask me)
10:31 am


Big Stick

The more I think about it, the more I’ve come to realize that Big Stick might be the greatest rock n’ roll band OF ALL TIME. I mean, I can’t think of anybody better. Could the Beatles write a song as visionary as “Do Not Rape My Sister At the Municipal Pool” or as nuanced as “Girls on the Toilet”? Well, even if they could’ve they certainly fucking didn’t, I’ll tell you that much. Big Stick did.

Big Stick slithered up from the NYC art-rock underground in the mid-80s like brightly colored lizards, worlds apart both stylistically and sonically from the noise-damage darlings of the junkie punk scene they emerged from—Pussy Galore, Reverb Motherfuckers, White Zombie—or their high profile big mean daddies in Sonic Youth, the Swans, or Foetus. Sure, they were just as druggy, and probably even snottier than their deathtripping brethren, but they had style, and a sense of showmanship long abandoned by the then-reigning Feedback Mafia. Sorta like the more playful, less genocidal version of Jim Thirlwell and Lydia Lunch, John Gill and Yanna Trance were a live-work-fuck-kill together couple who brewed up their crazed sonic schemes in their very own secret headquarters, explaining little and revealing even less. They performed wearing elaborate masks, and all known press photos were similarly mysterious affairs, shrouding their true identities in a veil of feathers and wigs and antlers. It was crazy but sexy, and the secret-squirrel gag was the perfect compliment to their bizarre cut and paste electro-skronk.

The music that Big Stick played simply did not exist before they did, and whether directly or otherwise, their dizzying, junkdustrial, urban warfare psychedelia was the seminal first step in what became a whole host of so-hip-it-hurts rock sub-genres in the ensuing decades. Their abrasive pastiche of distorto-punk guitars, drawling slacker-rap, and cheapjack drum machine beats was pretty much the blueprint for the electroclash movement that made Satanic superstars out of Peaches and A.R.E. Weapons. The concept of a two-man (or woman) primitive blues-punk racket, pioneering when Big Stick did it, is now a guaranteed recipe for at least fifteen minutes of rock radio-baiting success. Disco punk was their thing too, way before Electric Six took a trip to the gay bar.  If being a dozen years ahead of your time was at all profitable, then Gill and Trance would be zillionaires by now. But it’s not, is it?

More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Honey Bane, the teenaged punk wild child who sang with Crass and Killing Joke
09:59 am


Killing Joke
Honey Bane

The other day I was crate digging through some 45s when I was confronted with something I used to own, but had not thought about in many years, the You Can Be You EP record by Honey Bane that you see above these words. It was put out on Crass’s record label in 1979 when Bane—who’d already done a stint at the St. Charles Youth Treatment Centre in Essex—was a 15-year-old teenage runaway.

On You Can Be You‘s three tracks—the presumably autobiographical “Girl On The Run,” the menacing “Porno Grows” and “Boring Conversations”—she’s backed by members of Crass who are pseudonymously billed as Donna and the Kebabs. A year earlier she’d put out another record via the Crass Records imprint—well at least half of one, it was split with Poison Girls—with her punk group Fatal Microbes, who included Poison Girls leader Vi Subversa’s kids Pete Fender and Gem Stone. (Both later became members of dayglo punk group Rubella Ballet, another Crass-associated act.)

The Crass connection is where my knowledge of Honey Bane more or less began and ended. She was the sort of person famous more for being a “wild child” in the gossip columns of the British music weeklies like Melody Maker, Sounds, and the NME than for her actual music. Googling her today I see that the following year—after self-releasing an amazing single called “Guilty” on her own label (listen below)—Bane handed Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey, who was then doing A&R work for Zonophone, a demo tape and he signed her and became her manager. This seems, at least in retrospect, odd, as her Zonophone labelmates would have included groups like Angelic Upstarts, the Cockney Rejects and other sorts of early Oi! skinhead bands who seem a bit of a stark contrast when compared to the UR anarcho-punks she’d previously been associated with.
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Never too young to rock ‘n’ roll: The third grade punk of Old Skull
10:09 am


Old Skull

There’s been much ado—countless articles, TV appearances galore,  a whole movie even—about pre-teen rockers Unlocking the Truth. Which is fine and all, but what if I told you there was another band, decades before, that were even younger, sold more records, toured extensively, and rode a wave of minor rock fame all the way to high school? It’s true. And if Unlocking the Truth knew what happened to ‘em after the band broke up—a saga much grimmer than your average episode of VH1’s Behind the Music—they’d find new hobbies.

Old Skull formed in Madison, Wisconsin when a couple of punk rock dads—Vern Toulon (Missing Foundation) and Robin Davies (Tar Babies)—decided to recruit their sons into the lucrative world of indie-rock. Toulon’s kids JP and Jamie handled guitar/vocals and keyboards respectively, and Davies’ stepson JP pounded the skins. They “wrote” songs about hot dogs and AIDS (most people assume Toulon senior composed the music, but the truth is lost in the mists of time) and bashed ‘em out with impressive energy, if not finesse. Which was fine, I mean, it was hardcore punk made by kids who were in the third-grade.
Naturally, given their age and the general wackiness of the times, Old Skull got snatched up to a label (Restless Records, one-time home of Flaming Lips, Slayer, Mojo Nixon, Fear, W.A.S.P., etc), who released their first album, Get Outta School, in 1989. The pint-sized punks were nine and ten years old by then. They got written up in major mags like Rolling Stone and Newsweek, toured with Flaming Lips and GWAR, made a (low-budget) MTV video, and achieved about as much fame as knucklehead kids playing wonky skate-punk possibly could.

And that was pretty much it. After the drummer was grounded for a month by his parents, the band shuffled the line-up around and took a stab at a (slightly) more mature sophomore album, 1992’s CIA Drug Fest, but by then nobody had the patience and the novelty had worn off. We were all doing the grunge thing at that point. The band broke up and the kids turned into teens and went on with their lives. Sorta.

In the 90’s, the Toulon brothers’ mother died in a train accident. Dad—who had been reduced to panhandling on the streets by the turn of the decade—died of alcoholism in 2001. The orphaned sons rallied and performed as Old Skull in 2005, but death continued to stalk the clan. JP died in 2010 after struggling for years with a drug habit. His brother Jamie took his own life a year later, the victim of chronic depression. And that was the bitter end of Old Skull.
There’s probably a cautionary tale for any pre-teen rock bands out there, although I’m assuming shaky parenting had a hand in the mess that ensued. Still, Old Skull deserve some kinda accolades. It’s not easy being a midwestern punk rock star with a record deal and a lengthy touring itinerary before you’ve even kissed a girl or learned your times tables.
Check ‘em out, after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Members of Crass, the Pop Group, Killing Joke, PiL, and Current 93 are the New Banalists Orchestra

Mark Stewart titled the 2012 solo album he made with Kenneth Anger, Richard Hell, Tessa Pollitt, Keith Levene, Gina Birch, Factory Floor, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Youth, et al. The Politics of Envy. A proper dialectician, he prepared the way by singing about the “Envy of Politics” on 2011’s Mammon, a six-track digital album by London’s New Banalists Orchestra.

The orchestra appears to be the musical component of the New Banalists group founded by Stewart and the artist Rupert Goldsworthy. The Bandcamp page says only that the New Banalists “formed an orchestra to proclaim [their] manifesto”—which is refreshingly concise, as manifestos go, and seems to be slightly different in each iteration:



Rupert Goldsworthy and Mark Stewart’s beautiful logo for the New Banalists
On Mammon, Penny Rimbaud and Eve Libertine of Crass, John Sinclair of the White Panther Party and the MC5’s management, David Tibet of Current 93, and Zodiac Mindwarp (“The trick is to tough it out, sailor”) of the Love Reaction espouse a bohemian, psychedelic anticapitalism over music by Youth of Killing Joke and Michael Rendall, some of which will sound familiar to fans of Hypnopazūzu. Ex-PiL guitarist Keith Levene and the late cannabis kingpin Howard “Mr. Nice” Marks are on there, too.

After the jump, watch the ad for Mammon and then stream the whole thing…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The Stranglers’ secret recordings as Celia and the Mutations, 1977
09:06 am


The Stranglers
Celia and the Mutations

During the summer of ‘77, the new wave band Celia and the Mutations released its first single, an update of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Mony Mony” backed with a cover of the Stranglers’ “Mean to Me.” Celia was a new face, but there were clues to the identity of her backing band: that Stranglers tune on the B-side, for one, and the distinctive sounds of Dave Greenfield’s keys and JJ Burnel’s “Barracuda bass” on the actual record itself, not to mention the ads in the music papers that paired Celia’s face with the same image of the Stranglers’ silhouettes that was printed on the back of the record sleeve. In fact, these were not so much clues as a series of billboards, blimps and skywriters announcing the Stranglers’ participation; I think that, if you were a Stranglers fan, it would have taken genius to miss the Mutations’ true identities. “Yes, we know!” the ads screamed over the outlines of Cornwell, Burnel, Greenfield, and Black. “But who is Celia?”

Celia Gollin’s discography is easy reading. Just before the Mutations, she and Brian Eno were credited as the vocalists on Gavin Bryars’ “1, 2, 1-2-3-4” from Ensemble Pieces, a 1975 release on Eno’s Obscure label. Then there are the two Celia and the Mutations singles, and “the rest,” in the words of Albion’s ever-living poet, “is silence.”

Gollin came in contact with the Stranglers through their manager, Dai Davies, Burnel says:

Dai Davies came up with the idea of us working with Celia and to lend our kudos and musicianship to this girl he was trying to push. He wanted me to write songs with her, one of which featured Wilko (Johnson) too.

Sounds profiled the Mutations in July, after writer Chas de Whalley witnessed their performance of “Mony Mony” during a Stranglers gig at the Nashville. De Whalley gave Celia’s last name as “the Tolkienesque Gollum,” and reported that Davies had discovered her singing “camp cabaret” in a Chelsea restaurant, where she was accompanied by Kilburn and the High Roads’ keyboardist, Rod Melvin. Davies:

She was mixing Marlene Dietrich songs with Kinks and Velvet Underground stuff. And she sounded so polite and English and proper that I thought it would be really great to see her singing in front of a nasty dirty rock band like the Stranglers. The contrast would be incredible.

But if we credit the comments section of this discography, years later, Davies told a different story to the Stranglers’ fan club magazine, Strangled:

She was a make up artist who had done the band’s make up for one of the albums. The Mutations idea wasn’t as successful as we hoped, but we did a new Mutations which consisted of Terry Williams the drummer from Man, Wilko Johnson and Jean-Jacques [Burnel].


Make-up artist was one of the professions listed in the Sounds profile; that checks out. But who knows what to believe anymore, in the “age of computer”? Could up be down? ¿¿¿Could future be past???

The “new Mutations” Davies refers to above recorded Celia’s second and last single, “You Better Believe Me” b/w “Round and Around.” The change of personnel might explain why the A-side is credited to “Celia and the Fabulous Mutations” and the B-side to “Celia and the Young Mutations.” But who knows what to believe anymore, etc.

After the jump, hear both sides of Celia and the Mutations’ thrilling debut from 40 summers ago…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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