Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ARROTZAK - Tape - 2016

    Upon arriving for our last show of tour in Zarautz in the Basque Country a couple of weeks ago, our band was tired, kinda sick and frazzled. After playing close to 30 something shows, mostly in a row with only 2 days off, it's a little hard to feel excited about another punk show.....but we were and the Basque punks did not disappoint. Our host Juanma told us that the venue would have dinner ready for us in a few minutes, but if we ate then, we would miss the first band and something about his tone helped convince me that we would be making a huge mistake by doing that. (sidenote for punks from the states: If you've never toured Europe, every venue, every squat feeds you dinner before your show and this simple act makes such a huge difference in the day to day brain decay of tour. The US could learn a thing or 5 from punks there) So, we held off on dinner and I'm glad we did. When ARROTZAK played their first song, something was off. It didn't feel right. I was starting to doubt Juanma, but the members of the band adjusted the amps, moved a drum or two and -- BAM -- way better! They played the kind of punk that I'm sick of describing...the kind of punk that you can't make sound good on paper (or a screen) but still sounds so good when it's done right in front of you. Melodic and gutsy and wonderful.
   When they finished their set, our band ran upstairs to scarf our food and get back into the show before MANAGAITZ played their first song, who were also great.
    This ARROTZAK tape is a couple of years old and features a different singer (and maybe even a different drummer). The live set was better, even though this tape is great but I hope they record some newer stuff soon.

Yes, someone made matchbooks for our show. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

WHITE TRASH SUPERMAN - Rough Mixes - Tape - 1994

   Just how many times can one write about a forgotten band from the 90's and still pass themselves off as a sane individual? I gave up on passing myself off as that at least 20 years ago, so who cares? Recently, my old friend Jack unearthed this recording and digitized it to share with me. He said that the tape just had "Marsh" written on it in sharpie (Marsh played guitar in WTS). Jack thinks that this tape was mailed to him by the band when they were trying to get shows in Alabama back in the early 90's. When I played the first song, I immediately recognized it as "Clock" off of the band's self-released cassette from 1994, but it sounded different. I soon realized that it was maybe a demo version and then I got goddamn giddy as fuck when I found that this version didn't fade out like the "official" version and went on for another 2 minutes and included an extended chorus!! No really, I was jumping up and down in my room like a teenager when they did the extended chorus. It was so ridiculous that I laughed at myself. 
   Next up is "Wheaties" from their two song 7" and I'm pretty sure it's the same version. After that is the unfuckwithable "Couldn't If I Tried", which contains the exact same musical track with a slightly different vocal take. It doesn't diminish from the greatness of this song at all. Many well respected punks-of-a-certain-era of the 90's have named this song as the best punk song from the 90's and I will not dispute that. The tape ends with "Can Man", which has an almost identical bass line as "Wheaties" and I've never understood that. I think this might be a slightly different take than the "official" version but I can't really tell.
    I understand that I didn't tell you anything about what they sound like, but I've just talked about this band a lot and I love them and I'll let you figure out the details. You can read more about them here

    I have not been updating the blog much in the last year, but I intend to change that. I just went on tour throughout Europe and talking to people in person in places like Greece, Basque Country, Serbia and Poland (among many other locales) helped me remember what a large impact music has on people's lives. People had really thoughtful and interesting things to say about the music on here.  Knowing that someone far, far away from me is listening to my friend's band from 1994 who didn't have the resources to make more than 10 tapes is a really incredible thing. 
   And as long as I'm here, I wrote a zine about the 1979 Portland punk band Ice 9, which includes interviews with 2 members of the band. You can order it directly from me at Remote Outposts

 Thanks to the people who continue to support this blog, near and far. I hope you're still finding things that you enjoy. And I hope White Trash Superman doesn't take me to the people's court. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


"I'm still nervous,
I ain't been broken,
I'm still churnin' and burnin' inside
and I can't stop smokin'
I'm pissed off, pissed off, pissed off
It's just the way I am"

   I don't believe in heroes or idols, but if I did, Fred Cole would be the closest thing I would have. Of the few times I hung out with the guy, I can tell you that he is the real deal. He cut his own masters for his records at his house on a lathe machine that was used for the KINGSMEN'S "Louie Louie". Also, he built that house out of salvaged material. When the music industry failed him, he just became more independent and did his own thing until they came looking for him. I once drank pints of Jagermeister with him and then he got in a van at 2 am and drove to Ohio. He got a tattoo of his own band on his fucking face. Along with his wife Toody and his friend Andrew, he co-fronted the best band ever and played some of the most magical, cathartic shows I've ever seen in my life. As a rule that has not failed me at any point in my life....


   It's simple, it's real and it works. The discography of Fred Cole acts as it's own story that I don't need to tell you. Seeing Fred Cole play live in any setting also told it's own story. As Fred and Toody got older, every show became more special and had so much nuance. At solo shows, Fred would slyly tap the mic stand to act as Andrew's missing snare hits and look up. He would sing a sweet line about Toody and quickly tap his boot against hers. After 50 years of marriage and at least 30 years of hearing these same lines in songs, you could still catch Toody trying to stifle a smile as it leaked out the side of her mouth. I don't know what I can say that you're not gonna read or hear anywhere else, but Fred was real and magic. I try not to be sad about it, because death is part of this deal with life and he lived a good one. He left behind a whole catalog of music that we can all enjoy for the rest of our days here. 

DEAD MOON with Daun, Shannon and me.

   I co-hosted this 2 part radio show on Maximum Rocknroll with my friend Alex, two days after Fred passed away. Part one is a scratching of the surface of his career...everything I could find besides DEAD MOON. If you keep digging deeper, you'll find so much to hang onto. Part 2 is nothing but DEAD MOON for over an hour....a lot of their "hits" and a lot of deep cuts. Please enjoy.

It's like a broken smile
A step apart that gives you style
It doesn't need explaining 
You know it's fall when it starts raining
It's just the way it is.

Friday, September 22, 2017

APPARITION - Demo - Tape - 2017

   There's a floppy haired maniac who lives in Athens, GA and I've known him since our bands crossed paths in 1995. Every time any of his bands puts out a new thing, he gets in touch so he can send it to me and every time, it's exactly what I need in my life at that moment. APPARITION is no different. Full throttle, no fucking around, insane, throw-everything-down-the-stairs-over-and-over-and-watch-it-break style hardcore!! Shit is dark. The perfect soundtrack for consuming the everlasting horror that is our daily lives.

Every breath that I take 
Of this planet's stupid air
Makes me nauseous.

I don't update this site often now because I think writing about music so much has kept me from actually feeling the music. You know what I mean? 

Friday, July 28, 2017

JOKE - "Joke For USA" - Tape - 1993

    Bands like to bill themselves as "inept", but then you hear their tape (bandcamp/8 track/cloud shitter) and they seem to keep it together. It seems like they know how to play real chords. Maybe their drummer can clumsily make their way through a basic time signature for the entirety of a 45 second song. Maybe their drummer even has a drum set!! Alabama's JOKE is clearly inept. and can barely cover any of these bases and that is why I love them. They didn't even know how to play the right chords to their cover of FANG's "The Money Will Roll Right In". Hell, they didn't even know how to approach RORSHACH's "Clenching" (much less spell their name right), so they just made up their own music and sang RORSHACH's lyrics over it. Their original songs are an utter train wreck. Don't have a drum set? Take an old person's walker, duct tape some cowbells and metal to it and hit it with a stick. Don't know how to record your band? Get a cassette at K Mart or tape over your grandpa's sermon on a broken boombox. Play anywhere. Don't follow the script.
     JOKE split their time between Madison and Huntsville, AL in 1993. They consisted of Freud Reia on guitar/vocals and Joey Tampon on drums/vocals. They lasted long enough but not that long. That's about all I know. Joey went on to play in THE SLACKERS, JOEY TAMPON AND THE TOXIC SHOCKS, THE 3D'S, THE RADIOACTIVES and more. Freud later played in THE PERFECT HUMAN EXAMPLE and THE CRIMINALS.

Thanks to Jack Saturn for holding onto this tape, digitizing it and sending it over.

RIP Freud Reia

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


   Sometimes, the tape is just there and you have no information. You listen to the tape over and over and over, but still wonder if the people listed on the cover actually made the music presented on the  cassette that you hold in your hands. I still don't know. When you're a teenager, music comes around pretty often that blows your mind wide open. As you get older, it still happens but not as often. I sat on a beach once, well into my thirties, and watched people involved with this project play music that truly melted my mind in a way that I hadn't felt in ages. This tape isn't in that realm, but it hints at the possibilities contained within the players presented here....if it's really them.


Friday, March 17, 2017

BEER GARDEN - Complete Discography - 2002-2003

   Today's post is brought to you by Gaylen, who sang for the raging Brooklyn punk band, BEER GARDEN back in 2002. She sent over the tracks for their first demo to be posted for the birthday (today) of their late guitarist Dan. I decided to include their CD and a comp track as well to round out the discography. Thanks to Gaylen, Ella, Bobby and Dan for making all of this music. Here's Gaybob to tell you the rest. 

   Last year I called Dan on his birthday. the same number he's had since I met him in 7th grade. He was my brother's friend so I instantly hated him by association, but he was so fucking funny that it quickly dissipated. Dan was honest and brutal in his humor. We threw him a benefit show when we found about the ALS diagnosis, and it was like a NYC punk high school dropout reunion. People I hadn't seen in years came out of nowhere. Dan brought people together across social circles and music scenes. He got on the mic at one point,

“I went to the doctor today. He told me.... I'm still alive”. 

   That's Dan. Raw, honest, funny, and not giving a shit about how you might feel about it. He didn't want anyone to feel bad for him, to talk about him or memorialize his life like he was already dead. We were kids from Brooklyn before Brooklyn was hip. We would talk on the phone, long shit talking sessions, on landlines, the age before cellphones. We'd meet up in the “city”, sit on park benches, by the river, wherever we could find to go with no money. Drink on stoops and sneak into parties. My nostalgia for this time, this long gone city, is so intertwined with Dan, our friendship and our band, Beer Garden.

Dan, taken by drummer Bobby before leaving on the Lazer / Beer Garden tour.

    Beer Garden was based out of the backyard of ABC no Rio, where we hung out, nearly every Saturday, drinking, fighting, dancing and being wild teenagers. We had all been in a few bands before, but didn't have a rigid concept of what a band should be. It was still exciting. Our shows often erupted into impromptu dance parties, Dan free styling over Ella's bass lines. After the shows, outside, Dan would sing acapella, and his voice blew everyone away. We went out on tour with The Lazer after being a band for about a year. We were so ignorant of people and bands around the country. I remember being in awe that there were other fuckups and weirdos, like us, and sharing that with Dan. He listened to music constantly on that tour...to stay sane.

   Thanks to Rudi for saving this recording, our first demo. The lyrics feel embarrassing, but I think the guitar playing is classic Dan. Straight forward and solid. A lot of people turn up really loud when they play and drown everything out. Dan never did that. We usually didn't have equipment for shows so the sound was always reliant on what we could borrow but his playing was so solid. He had said he wanted to be remembered as a guitar player. So here it is.There's so more to say but it all comes out wrong. Dan was out getting tattooed when I called on his birthday. I left him a message. It's still hard to believe I can't call him this year.

Happy birthday Dan. We miss you.

Includes their demo, "Coming After You" CD and a compilation track. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

SPECTOR PROTECTOR - Demo - Tape - 2002

    Imagine, if you will, a San Francisco between booms. The year is 2002. Friends are squatting buildings on Market Street. Punks Against War pulled a float down Mission Street to protest the war while SHOTWELL played on the flatbed trailer. Phil'z was still a corner store that sold beer and vegetables and was not a world renowned, one-cup-at-a-time coffee tastemaker. Right around the corner from Phil'z, near the corner of 24th and Shotwell, SPECTOR PROTECTOR was writing their first songs in the drafty backroom of a first floor flat. Our paths crossed a little bit, but they were part of the scene of synth, darkwave and goth that I only flirted with on the periphery. Sometimes, my band would play on the streets or in record stores with their contemporaries (THE VANISHING, VERONICA LIPGLOSS & EVIL EYES, PHANTOM LIMBS), but that's about as close as we got, besides sleeping on their couch and talking over coffee in the morning.

   On this first tape, SPECTOR PROTECTOR plays minimal bedroom synth, punctuated by light guitars and some singing. The effects are chill and throbbing. The same could not always be said for their live performances....they were more chaotic and decidedly unchill. Download and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

PEDRO SAYS HI - "The Creep Over" - Tape - 2011

Once I was terrorized by everything
But now I don't fear anything

   The last time I wrote about PEDRO SAYS HI, this tape had been recorded but didn't exist. I wasn't sure if it ever would exist, but now it's been out for a few years. I basically said everything I could say about the band in that previous post, besides that I feel a weird eternal bond with this band and the people associated with it through trauma and just plain weird-ass living. 
    We still don't talk about the hard parts of this band or the all of the terrible shit that happened (in print anyway) because what we do is actually secret and well, it's still fucking hard. You can never tell the whole story because sometimes, it's not your story to tell. I can say that I will always feel privileged to have spent any amount of time playing music with this stellar group of fine human beings. 

I saw Hell
And it was beautiful
So just breathe in the fumes
And suck on the doom
And learn to enjoy 
This eternal pain

    Leah (our guitarist) recorded this tape in 2011 in Chattanooga, 4 years after the demise of the band and 7 hours away from where we originally lived. Crab Jackson (vocals / guitar) couldn't put vocals on it until much later and it didn't get mixed and released until 2014. Let's Pretend  was bold enough to release a tape by a band who had broken up 7 years prior and had no plans of ever reforming (follow that link to buy a tape). Thanks to the 40-75 people who ever saw us and the 15-20 people who cared about it. We're gonna come back and murder you all. 

Open your mind and let the pain crawl in
Open your mouth and watch the fun dissipate
Open your eyes you'll see your friends walking away
Open your heart and let the pain crawl in


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

SHITTY DARKNESS - Demo - CD-R - 2011

    These stupid little CD-R's are not built to last and I found this one rolling around in the bottom of a filing cabinet, all scratched up but still playing perfectly. SHITTY DARKNESS barely caused a blip during a brief tenure in their hometown of Athens, GA, serving as a pit stop between the bands CARRIE NATIONS and WADE BOGGS. Ian wrote these songs after (and during) the demise of CARRIE NATIONS and brought them to his new band PILLOWFORT, which maybe kinda morphed into SHITTY DARKNESS. They recorded this demo and then (I think) Ian broke the band up, only to have all (or most) of these songs reappear as WADE BOGGS songs a short time later.
   But if we get past hazy facts and just get into emotion, these songs are sooo catchy in their raw pop presentation. It reminds me of why I (and you) was up front at CARRIE NATIONS shows, screaming the words on the verge of tears. Put these songs on your stupid digital device, walk to the top of the tallest hill in your town while listening and see if you're not walking faster and feeling like a wet hundred dollar bill once "Senior Citizen" hits your ears. (If you don't have hills in your town, just walk downtown and glare at people until someone tells you to go away. If you don't have a downtown, walk into the field and scream these songs until your voice goes hoarse, even if you don't know the words). After all that, walk yourself over to Athens, GA and ask Ian what songs he's writing now. If he comes up empty handed, tell him the world needs his music now and always. (it's true, Ian.)

If you need more music by this guy (you do), he was also one of the responsible parties for WELCOME HOME, NEMO.