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Love and Rockets: Punk flyers by Los Bros Hernandez
03.13.2017
10:31 am

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Jaime
 
Los Bros Hernandez (Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario) have been a force in the world of comix ever since they began publishing Love and Rockets, their seemingly endless trove of stories inspired by the Chicano punk scene in and around Oxnard, California (or “Huerta”) in 1981. Love and Rockets has long been a key touchstone for the SoCal punk scene, even inspiring the Bauhaus offshoot way off in England to appropriate the comic’s name.

Gilbert and Jaime were the most prolific of the siblings. Both of them were into the punk scene, but Jaime was more into it, and he also stuck with the scene longer. In an interview with Chris Knowles, Jaime credited the DIY ethos of punk with inspiring their own decision to self-publish:
 

In the beginning, we didn’t know what kind of audience we would have, or if we would have an audience. At the same time, we were like, “Well, fuck it, we’re going to do it anyway. We knew this was good. We know these stories are worth telling. So, we’ll get there without your help.” I was cocky enough to pull it off! You know, the whole punk do-it-yourself thing was also because it helped me grow up a lot. I mean, it wasn’t just the music scene, it was just… I just saw the world in a big scope for the first time, and I was 18 to 21, those years, so it was just very eye-opening, and I’m glad it happened at that point.

 
However, Jaime eventually got disillusioned by the inevitable conformity that hit the punk scene: “I’d be watching a band, and all of a sudden, I’d be pushed from behind, and I’d look, and there’d be this wall of guys, just because I wasn’t wearing the same boots they were wearing. That’s when it just wasn’t fun anymore, you had to watch your back!”

Jaime and Beto’s enthusiasm for local punk bands led the two of them to design the occasional flyer for acts like Fear, Dr. Know, Youth Brigade, and Angelic Upstarts.
 

Beto
 

Jaime
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
United States of Horror: Hardcore hip-hop militant metal anarcho-punk band arrives in time for Trump
03.10.2017
01:37 pm

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Music
Punk

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Yesterday I got a call from my pal Adam Starr, a VP of marketing at Caroline. Adam was a big Crass fan when he was young, and the whole ethos behind what they did and their style of anarcho activism was very appealing to him and to his credit, he’s remained a vegan to this day. (I was lucky enough to see Crass live—one of their final shows—when I was 18 and I always hold this over him. I’m bragging about it right now, in fact.) When he called me up raving about a new band he was working with, Ho99o9 (“Horror”), he described their music as “hardcore meets hip-hop” (which made me wince, I must admit, fearing the worst of what those words conjure up) and then he said that one of them has a Crass tattoo and that they seemed to be heavily influenced by Crass in various ways.

At that point my interest was definitely piqued and I said “Yeah, I wanna hear this.” Ho99o9 didn’t disappoint. Just the opposite. Blunt to the head (interpret that however you wish) and with a multi-layered message of militant resistance to the shitshow of current American life. Thought-provoking, and very cool, but also unabashedly fun and notably creative.

Ho99o9—theOGM (Jean) and Yeti Bones (Eaddy)—seem to have an innate understanding of punk iconography and why logos and imagery is so important for fans to connect with a band’s message on an emotional level. The visual side of their image feels fresh and authentic and they look like very modern rockstars. The sound of their new album United States of Horror (via their own Toys Have Powers imprint distributed by Caroline) puts me in mind of the Boredoms, Skinny Puppy or Brainiac at their most abrasive and yes, Bad Brains, although I hasten to add that I say this because both bands are bone-crushingly intense, not because of anything necessarily “Afro punk” related, although there is that, too, naturally.

I asked a few question of Ho99o9’s Yeti via email.

Dangerous Minds: During Occupy Wall St. there were so many people asking who “the Bob Dylan of Occupy” was going to be, or at least expecting some new sort of protest music to arrive, but that kind of thing can’t be forced. Now with Trump that same question is getting asked and along come you guys with a new single (and video) that feels like it speaks for a lot of people and channels the angry energy that people are feeling in 2017. Congrats, that ain’t easy to do.

Yeti: It’s not easy to do…. correct, but at the same time it’s not that difficult to do either: Speak your mind, heart, use your voice for what you believe in and how you express your feelings, whether that be something positive or negative. Our music is emotional, dark, chaotic, abrasive, fun, uplifting, and straightforward.
 

 
So tell me, how do two young black guys from NJ gravitate towards Crass of all freaking bands?!?

Yeti: Crass’ message was very strong, for a cause, for a fight and they stuck to it, meant what they said and said what they meant. Not your average punk band talking about beer, girls or doing drugs—anybody could talk about that—but what are you doing to better your community, youth and way of life?

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Too much junkie business: John Cooper Clarke on ‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’
03.10.2017
08:34 am

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Drugs
Literature
Punk

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John Cooper Clarke at Thomas De Quincey’s grave (via BBC)
 
“Are you aware, my man, that people are known to have dropped down dead for timely want of opium?” This, one of the great all-purpose sentences in the English language, has lost none of its utility since it first appeared in Thomas De Quincey’s 19th-century drug memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. If you don’t have a personal valet to try it out on, see how it works on your boss, or when you get to the front of the line at Baja Fresh. Tapping the back of your left wrist for punctuation when you get to the word “timely” drives the point home, I find.

In this episode of the BBC series The Secret Life of Books, John Cooper Clarke, punk poet of Salford and quondam dope fiend, takes viewers on a literary journey to the bottom of a bottle of Mother Bailey’s Quieting Syrup. Though Clarke doesn’t use Alexander Trocchi’s phrase “cosmonaut of inner space,” I can’t help thinking of it when he pits dopers’ rights to the sacred disorder of their own minds against the depredations of capital:

De Quincey used opium to explore his dramatic inner world. To my mind, he was a visionary in a utilitarian age. In the early days of the Industrial Revolution, the qualities of vigor, productivity, and strength were valued over opiated idleness. And then there’s De Quincey, living like a secular monk in the tainted monastery of his own mind.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
When Vince Clarke met Wire
03.09.2017
07:25 am

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Music
Punk

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Dome’s fourth album, ‘Will You Speak This Word’
 
Just like in the Judgment of Solomon, Wire broke up neatly, splitting in half. Robert Gotobed drummed on Colin Newman’s first three solo albums, while Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis put on their suits and “big tube heads” to become Dome.

Though they primarily recorded as a duo, Lewis and Gilbert had some interesting collaborators, such as Daniel Miller and Russell Mills, the artist who later designed the cover of The Downward Spiral. On “To Speak,” the nearly 20-minute composition that filled the A-side of Will You Speak This Word (a/k/a Dome 4), they were joined by Vince Clarke, then in Yazoo, late of Depeche Mode; Deb Danahay, Clarke’s onetime girlfriend and founder of the Depeche Mode and Yazoo fan clubs; novice saxophonist Terrence Leach; and folk violinist David Drinkwater, who now plays guitar in “Norfolk’s biggest ceilidh band.”

In Everybody Loves A History, the first Wire biography, Gilbert and engineer Eric Radcliffe suggest their main reason for inviting Clarke to the studio was that he knew how to play a Fairlight:

Bruce: Eric and Vince Clarke had formed some sort of partnership, and they were wizards on [the Fairlight], but it still had a lot of teething problems. We had several demonstrations of what it could do. It was a complete mystery to me and Graham.

Eric: I asked Vince if he’d come in, and play over a track because there was something missing.

Bruce: It consisted mostly of sampling Deborah Donahay’s [sic] voice and reconstructing it. It was an experiment.

Terence [sic] Leach was a friend of someone at the Waterloo Gallery, and was learning to play saxophone. David Drinkwater was someone who lived where Angela and I lived in Barnet. He’s a folk music fanatic, and played fiddle. Graham and I felt we would quite like the texture of a real violin, that we could manipulate. We asked him to go through his entire repertoire of violin sounds, plus his favourite licks. We simply manipulated the sound on tape.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘All Day’: Daniel Johnston sings with the Butthole Surfers, 1987
03.03.2017
09:53 am

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Drugs
Music
Punk

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A Texas Trip, the wonderful 1987 compilation produced and recorded by the Butthole Surfers, was the first release on the group’s Latino Buggerveil Records. Like the label’s second release, Double Live, it’s highly recommended if you can find an affordable copy, and just like the title says, it is a trip: a psychedelic audio tour of the Surfers’ Bloodrock-damaged Southern milieu.

There was Steve Fitch, later immortalized on My Album By Me By Steve Fitch, singing “In The Neighborhood” in his impossibly deep voice. (All I know about Steve Fitch, I learned from the handwritten liner notes to A Texas Trip: he was born in the same town where surgeons operated on President Reagan’s butt, and 30 years ago, he could be reached at Kobe Steakhouse in Nashville, Tennessee: (615) 327-9083, now the restaurant’s fax line.) One of the two songs submitted by the terrifying Dallas punk outfit Stick Men With Ray Guns was the definitive version of “Kill the Innocent,” and the Surfers themselves contributed “Flame Grape,” later to become “Jimi.”

Daniel Johnston gave Latino Buggerveil “Don’t Play Cards with Satan” and “Grievances,” and the troubled singer-songwriter joined the Buttholes on the disorienting, nine-minute drone and percussion jam that closed side one, “All Day.” Again, the liner notes don’t exactly, ah…

THE BAND WAS PLAYING a SONG, THE SINGER WAS HAD BEEN SINGING AWHILE THEN DANIEL WALKED IN THE ROOM AND STarted singing THEN THEY BOth STARTED SINGING Together and all the otheR THINGS ©1987 SECOND HARVEST

Several years later, during the brief, post-Nevermind craze for quality, Buttholes guitarist Paul Leary produced Johnston’s major-label debut (and major-label swan song), Fun.

Listen to “All Day” after the jump, plus Gibby Haynes’ interview with Daniel Johnston. Acid comes up…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Tesco Vee of The Meatmen auctioning off rare vintage toys from his ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ collection
02.28.2017
03:46 pm

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Amusing
Music
Punk
Television

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The great Tesco Vee of The Meatmen sans his giant inflatable penis.
 
Perhaps it was his time teaching elementary school for a few years while working to get his zine Touch & Go off the ground that got Tesco Vee interested in collecting toys. Maybe he’s just a big kid himself. Whatever it was, during his lifetime Vee has amassed a rather large array of collectibles that include everything from ABBA dolls, to anything to do with Satan and Red Devil toys. And then there is Vee’s affinity for stockpiling vintage television related-toys such as plastic artifacts created for Get Smart, The Munsters, and The Addams Family. But these things somewhat pale in comparison to Vee’s collection of Man from U.N.C.L.E. toys which the man who still has (and uses) his wide variety of inflatable penises on a regular basis, says may be the largest of its kind in the entire world.

In a 2014 interview, Vee mused about buying a building where he could open the “Tesco Toy Museum.” There he could showcase his collection of the atomic age fun he’s been collecting since the 80s. Vee is pretty serious about his toy army and sticks by the motto “if it comes in a box, it stays in a box.” Though the reason Vee has decided to sell off 24 toys associated with his Man from U.N.C.L.E. stash isn’t clear, the fact is that he is selling it. So if one of your teenage dreams was to own a toy that was once owned by Tesco Vee, then this is your lucky day, punk.

A quick peek at eBay tells me that pristine Man from U.N.C.L.E. memorabilia is highly sought after and items such as a handheld pinball game based on the show can sell for a couple hundred bucks. All of the items up for grabs from Vee’s own basement are available to bid on over at Hake’s Americana & Collectibles including a super rare Man from U.N.C.L.E. Target Set that was originally sold through the 1965 Sears Wishbook. Zowie. I’ve included a few images of my favorite items from Vee’s auction below. Happy bidding!
 

A puppet based on actor David McCallum’s portrayal of Agent Illya Kuryakin on ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’
 

‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Attache Case circa 1965.
 

‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Halloween masks for Napoleon Solo (played by actor Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin. Made in 1966. 
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Johnny Depp ‘speaker dives’ to Agent Orange in the punksploitation episode of ‘21 Jump Street’
02.24.2017
09:40 am

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Punk
Television

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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!
02.22.2017
12:40 pm

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Music
Punk

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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
02.20.2017
11:25 am

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Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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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’
02.17.2017
12:08 pm

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Music
Punk

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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
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