Wednesday, November 30, 2011

SHITBOY FROM OUTERSPACE - Live At The Tip Top - Tape - 1994

    SHITBOY FROM OUTERSPACE was a 1-2-1-2 style hardcore band from Huntsville, AL that specialized in playing 10 minute shows that left behind broken shit and blood. At their first show ever (also at the Tip Top), their singer Joey broke a bottle over their guitarist's head to start off their first song and knocked him out. I think that was also the end of their set.
  They came along at a beautiful time in the northern Alabama punk scene, when it seemed like everyone was starting to do something musically exciting and invigorating. While some bands were playing post-punk, surf or pop-punk, SFO played a style of spit-in-your-face blasts of punk where the songs rarely lasted over 1 minute and usually didn't contain many more words than "Fuck you!" Enjoy this thrashed tape of their 7 minute set (includes 5 songs and lots of banter) at The Tip Top in Hunstville, AL, a place that deserves its own entry one day.
                     Download SHITBOY FROM OUTERSPACE
   "This song is called 'Iconoclast' and it's about being a fuckin' reject" yes!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


    I have already discussed my long term obsession with this band, so I will spare you the gory details. As I mentioned before, Mike Wiebe made me a 90 minute tape of songs by the POTENTIAL JOHNS back in 2000 and I took the tape on every road trip or tour I went on until I lost it somewhere in Phoenix, AZ in 2006. I will go as far as to say that I felt like I had lost a piece of myself. I probably sent Jeff (the sole songwriter and person playing every instrument on these recordings) some long, rambling email whining about losing this tape and how much it meant to me. When I got home two weeks later, there was a package waiting for me containing this CD, other CD's full of home recordings and all of the MARKED MEN albums. Needless to say, I was beside myself with happiness and my roommates had to suffer through hearing this man's voice through my walls for the next year.
   This CD is 33 (one of them is repeated) untitled songs recorded on 4 track during the 90's in Texas. Some of them were re-recorded later and appeared on records. Many of them were only passed around on mix tapes and through the internet. All of them are pure pop genius.
                          Download POTENTIAL JOHNS
re-uploaded 2013

Monday, November 28, 2011


   When SWORD OF THE ANCIENT was a band, I could not describe their sound to anyone and the present day still finds me at a loss for words. It's more no-wave than no-wave. It's like the absence of waves. It sounds like a clanky bike with half-flat tires dragging empty tallcans  through the barren streets of mid-city New Orleans. At times, they almost sound like they're on the brink of falling apart, but still completely in charge of their trajectory. Insistent. Serious, but not taking it all too seriously. Three women serenely singing and screaming their fucking heads off to a discordant, yet alluring, cacophonous wail. One guitar. One cello. One drumset.Ten songs. For months, I used to wake up in my attic room and listen to "Lose A Few Problems" every day before I got out of bed in the morning. Maybe you will too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME - "Deathfuckers" - Tape - 2002

   The only time I ever saw STOCKHOLM SYNDROME was when they thrashed through an insanely fast, no breaks (or brakes) 10 minute set at Mission Records in SF.The 15 people in attendance nodded at them enthusiastically afterwards and filed out to the corners of the building to drink more cheap beer or do more drugs. It's a shame. They were on fire and deserved more of an insane reaction, like those kids in Mexico City in the opening scenes of Beyond The Screams.
    STOCKHOLM SYNDROME was around for a short time in the Bay Area and left behind this tape and a7" of their style of No-Slow-All-Go hardcore thrash. They featured members of YOUNG OFFENDERS, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, KILL THE MAN WHO QUESTIONS, SPAZZ and many, many, you know it's great. This tape is a non-stop 10 minute raging blast of insanity, just like that live show. Enjoy tearing apart your room and running down the street screaming.
                       Download STOCKHOLM SYNDROME
   Thanks to Anandi for loaning this tape for digitization..

Saturday, November 26, 2011

DOOR-KEYS - "Oddities" - CDR - 2006

                                         Photo by Ben Rains
 In 2006, I was on tour with ONE REASON and HOT NEW MEXICANS. The DOOR KEYS had hit all of the same towns about a week ahead of us and they left notes and presents for us in a lot of the towns. One of the presents was this CDR. I think it was originally intended as a gift for HOT NEW MEXICANS, but at the end of the tour I found the CD under the seat of our van after HNM had already left town. Their loss, your gain. The first two songs were recorded for a split 7" with ADD/C that never materialized (unless I totally missed it somehow) and shows the band belting out their mid-tempo, Midwestern basement pop to the best of their abilities. As far a s I know, these songs never made it onto any releases. Tracks 3 and 4 are taken from the 2006 Boxcar Books Rock N Roll Prom, which is a show that happens every year in Bloomington, IN and benefits the bookstore as well as The Midwest Pages To Prisoners Project. It's a really fun event where local musicians form cover bands for the prom and get to play in from of 300-600 people. For this event, 3/4's of the DOOR KEYS joined forces with Leah (from PUPPY VS DYSLEXIA) and Alex (from ETIQUETTE) to blow some minds covering PATTY SMITH. On tracks 5 and 6, the same lineup got together and covered JEFFERSON AIRPLANE. The thing about the DOOR KEYS (and friends) is that they can really play their instruments well and their singer Daun is usually belting out some next level shit as it is, so when you hear them play "White Rabbit", you can tell they're not fucking around...but even if they are fucking around, it still rules...which brings us to the last 4 songs. The DOOR KEYS, for some strange reason, decided to play a local show covering FEAR, which is incredibly out of character for them. It would be like if LOS CRUDOS covered BARRY MANILOW or if EARTH covered songs by ANAL CUNT. Anyway, it sounds like they practiced these songs for about 10 minutes before the show and then blazed through their set by relying on pure attitude. Sample quote: "Did you say show me your balls?! I don't have any balls, I'm a fucking girl!"
                      Download DOOR KEYS

   Chris and Matte now play in LANDLORD and are on tour as I type this. Go see them! Chris also plays guitar in another band with Daun called FAT SHADOW. I'm not sure if their bass player Greg is playing in a band at this time, but he is one of the funniest people that I have ever met in my life. If you want to download every album by the DOOR KEYS, as well as the members past and present projects, then look no further.

Friday, November 25, 2011

LIFE DURING WARTIME #7 - "Punks Against War" - Tape - 2003

   George Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in early 2003 and activists in San Francisco organized a protest to shut down the city. I wasn't there, unfortunately, so it's hard for me to write about this and give an accurate description of what happened. Luckily, my good friend Erin Yanke was there and documented the protest as it happened. Her interviews take place in a squatted building near Market and Van Ness in downtown SF. The vacant former pot club was taken over during the protest to act as a place to organize, relax, eat free food, get away from cops and plot your next move in the shutdown of the city. They even had door people to watch the front so that when the cops inevitably raided the building, they could be stalled and most everyone got out the back door without harm or arrest.
                             photo courtesy of Anandi
   On side two, Paul Curran interviews people in the streets about their motivation behind getting involved with this protest and about how being punk has influenced their political ideologies. I think it's important to hear these stories of past struggles and learn from them to influence how we can do things better in the future. This protest brought out thousands of people and shut down the entire city for the day. It's really inspiring to me.
                 Photo taken from Basetree of protesters on Powell St.
                                 Handiwork by Lee Wonder
Updated 2014

   Erin Yanke still occasionally does zines (audio and written) and is sitll hard at work with her weekly radio show on KBOO in Portland, OR.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

HIDDEN SPOTS - Demo - CDR - 2005

                               Photo taken from the Black Cloud,
    I was fucking buuuuuuummmmmmmed when the JACK PALANCE BAND broke up all those years ago, but my sadness was soon erased when I heard that most of those guys had started this new band. I had no doubt in my mind that this band would be just as good, if not better than JPB. When I got this demo, I could see that they were well on their way to becoming my new favorite band and when they dropped their LP "Hundred Million Voices", they really sealed the deal (for the record, I hate that cliche. It just came out. I apologize.).  This demo is their first five songs and lays the groundwork for the brilliance that is to come. It picks up where JPB left off, yet it finds the band more focused, more optimistic, older, wiser and a little haggard in all the right ways. Five songs, catchy as hell, pop sensibilities and powerful. They've already finished recording their 2nd LP, so if someone would put it out already, that would rule.

Updated March 2014
  Cover art and lyrics included in download. I didn't post it because I really don't like the cover and didn't want to see it when I looked on this blog. Sorry Ryan. Everything else you've done for the band has looked great!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

UKE OF PHILLIPS - "This Is Gutter Country" - Full Gallop #9 Audio Zine - Tape - 2002

       When this tape came out back in 2002, it was glued to the inside of any tape deck in my vicinity for a solid year (and is still on regular rotation). It's a collection of songs made by UKE OF PHILLIPS and friends that were recorded between the years of 1996 and 2002, showcasing everything from gutter country to folk songs to field recordings to stabs at punk songs to dirges to running around the room while singing to everything imaginable in between. These songs were recorded on a variety of analog devices in basements, bathrooms, bedrooms, warehouses, fields, hallways, walk-in closets etc, etc, etc.... The opening song "House a Home" has one of my most favorite unintentionally perfect recorded moments of all time, when a train rolls by in the background. The other performers on this recording are responsible for IMPRACTICAL COCKPIT, COUNTY ZSHEP AND ME,  this blog and many many others. 90 minutes. 48 (or so) tape cuts off at the end of "50,000 Mile Stare" so that's what you get. This tape is beautifully ragged and addictive.

Updated Feb 2014

   The other cool part of this tape is that the original version came with Dan's (Uke) zine Full Gallop, where all of the lyrics were written out in india ink and he told you where the songs were recorded. It provided a glimpse into the inner workings of the people involved and made the project whole. It seems like a crime to not include it, so I am offering it as a separate PDF download. Enjoy

Updated Feb 2014

    Selections from this tape will soon be appearing on an LP, put out by German label Unwucht Records. The ever morphing entity of UKE OF PHILLIPS still survives today in the form of VILLAGE OF SPACES, who just put out a new LP and still includes one of my top favorite artists, Amy Moon!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


    I'm trying to think of what I could possibly tell you about CHEESE-ASS CHRIST from St Mary's GA (don't even act like you know where that is). They were a pissed off punk band that sang about stupid skinheads, stupid lowriders, stupid war and...uh...neutron soup, whatever that is. They had that crazy treble-y 80's production that only sounded good when it was done by bands that are over 20 years old. They had an anti-senior citizen song that had the inexplicable line "Soon, we'll all be chicken people!" I later found out that their singer Joey, referred to old folks as "chicken people" for some reason. Speaking of Joey, he sang in this nasally whine that wasn't affected at all. He really talked like that all the time and it soon became his signature in his later bands THE SLACKERS and JOEY TAMPON AND THE TOXIC SHOCKS (half of CHEESE ASS CHRIST was in J.T.A.T.T.S). I asked my good friend Harry to tell me a little about the band. He played bass for them when he was 13 years old and here is what he had to say:
  "Recorded summer of 1990 in Welaka, FL. just South of Palatka.  We had to drive twenty minutes out of town to get a pizza. The studio was at this wild, stoner-rock, hesher-esque dude's house, who did not participate at all in the recording process. He showed us how to set the levels and deserted us to return to his house with his stoner buddy to get, uh, stoned (i reckon). He did have really great comparisons for things... The second night we ate microwave pizzas from the IGA that he said tasted like the bottom of a shoe with dog poo on it. (that, of course, is not the best one, but is the only one I remember because Dave, the drummer, kept repeating it.) There was a machine gun guitar that we really wanted to use, but it didn't work (I once had a photo of me playing it). 
So, Neil (the guitarist) pretty much figured all the technical shit out, you know, levels, stupid phaser effect on "Underground Babylon," etc. I remember a lot of that weekend cause it was a new experience and I was 14 and straight edge, of course, so... Not drunk, unfortunately. Dave, our drummer, was the biggest Rush Limbaugh fan, it was really annoying. I rode to the spot with him from Saint Marys, and, when he wasn't listening to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, he was listening to Rush Limbaugh and telling me how intelligent he is. Actually, I really don't understand why Dave was in the band; he's a total republican and he had a low rider truck with a booming bass system. Anyway, our only show ever was a total catastrophe. We drove all day to Melbourne, FL. To play to a bunch of thrash kids. Chokehold is the only band name I remember, other than ours, obviously. At one point we thought Joey was going to be pummeled for wearing a "fight racism" shirt. But it turned out that the skinheads there were SHARP's (which, to me, just meant that they weren't openly racist, just openly classist). Highlights of the trip were Joey punching a sandcastle version of the Sphinx in a local mall and it crumbling. We played very bad because Dave kept stopping because his hands hurt from driving, is what he said."
   There you go...the legacy of CHEESE-ASS CHRIST. Members of this band went on to play in the aforementioned bands as well as ADD/CRICE HARVESTER565 BURNOUTS   and a whole pile of others. In a surprise 180, Joey later found the Lord and now preaches the gospel in Alabama.  

Updated 2014

Monday, November 21, 2011

DIRTY LOOKS - Demo - Tape - 2005

   I only got to see DIRTY LOOKS once and it was at their "last" show (nevermind that they went on a West Coast tour a few months later). They fucking rocked the shit out of a cramped house show in Brooklyn, flailing and wailing. They combined three quarters of BENT OUTTA SHAPE with the awesome, powerful voice of Gaybob from BEER GARDEN to make some crazy pop noise reminiscent of DEAD MOON, THE GITS and even HUSKER DU at times.
   This tape isn't the best representation of them (and the sound quality is traaaashed, probably due to the tape they used) and you should do your best to track down their 7" or their split with BOSSY. You won't be disappointed. If you are disappointed, get a clue.
    Half of this band is now playing in a new great band called PURE JOY. I had the privilege of playing in DIRTY MARQUEE with Gaybob for a couple of years. Members of this band are also responsible for THE YOUNG MEN, SCENT OF HUMAN HISTORY and THE BABIES.

Updated Jan 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2011

CARRIE NATIONS - Live - 2004

    I remember playing a show with CARRIE NATIONS at a house in Athens, GA some years back and thinking "yeah, they're pretty okay". Then, by the next time I saw them, it seemed like they had turned their Badass Meter up to 10. They were playing the songs from their LP "Be Still" 100 times faster and tighter than they had recorded it and they had a handful of new songs that were even better. I had the pleasure of going on tour with these fine young gentlemen a couple of times and I watched them every single night of tour, up front, singing along and sharing the mic. The one night I tried to NOT watch them was when they played Plan-It-X Fest to 600 people in an old theater in downtown Bloomington. Everyone else running the show wanted to see them so I agreed to work the door since I would see them every other night. During a lull in activity, I walked into the theater to see how they were doing and the entire fucking theater was singing along with my favorite line of theirs..."I KNOW I CAN NEVER DIE!!". 600 people! I backed out of the theater doors with tears welling in my eyes. I can't really explain it, but it was just too much for me to take. At that moment, they were the best band in the world...completely untouchable. The next day, I watched them play to 20 people in a living room in Ann Arbor and they still played as if there were 600 people there. The day after the tour ended, I sat in my room missing them and listening to their record over and over.
   CARRIE NATIONS were super serious about the music they were creating but had this way of making you think that they were joking around the whole time. They weren't. Sure, they would tell inside jokes between songs and confuse kids at the show but afterwards they would let people in on their jokes, share their beers and make sure everyone was happy.
    A short time later, I lived in a house with most of the band and they were on the verge of breaking up for various reasons. I told them they really needed to record their new songs, but it was obvious that it just wasn't happening. I think a few things got recorded, but nothing ever got finished. It was a sad time and it was hard to watch the band break up.. All that is left over (that I know of) is this live set from late 2004. They played a show at the 40 Watt in downtown Athens, GA and rolled out a bunch of their new songs. Luckily, someone was recording it off the board and now we have this decent live recording to remember them by.

EDIT 11/21/11: This file is now an mp3 file as opposed to an .ogg file. Thanks to Rurnt for the tip and the help!
   Enjoy this one 30 minute track with no editing, no song titles and plenty of dead air and banter. Great sound quality!

     Top picture by ??? at Matt Tobey's graduation party in Michigan. This pic by Kristen at the Hoover Dam.


   There's barely any information with this release. No song titles. No lyric sheet. No fanfare. Just a quick 4 song demo from a hastily assembled band that may or may not still exist. I'm not even sure if they've played a show. The four songs are solid and exhibit a confidence that comes from playing in accomplished bands for years. That's all. Just listen to it. It's great.
                         HARK HOW THE BELLS
  Features members of RVIVR and SONGS FOR MOMS.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

CASTLE DANGER - "Levels 1-4" - Tape - 2000 (?)

     CASTLE DANGER played a sparsely attended show at the all ages space in Chattanooga, TN back in 2000 (or so) and blew our fucking minds. No one actually knew what they sounded like before the show. Then, they melted our faces off with expertly executed proggy insanity riffs that sounded like the world being attacked by rabid dinosaurs with lasers for eyes. Really. Afterwards, I bought their tape, met these three insanely friendly guys and loved life.
   This download is just one track since it's mostly just one long 12 minute song split up into 11 movements. The names of each part are as follows:
Wolf Serpent
Rapids / Serpent

Features members of ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?, TIGERSHARK and the first drummer of MUNICIPAL WASTE (when they were a joke, on their own terms)
                      Download CASTLE DANGER

   And now if I can take just a moment to tell you about their drummer, Jonny Z...I guess I met him at this show, but the details are pretty hazy. I didn't really get to know him until a couple of years later. You know that feeling you get when you meet someone for the first time and you can just tell that they're a fucking badass? That's how I felt with Jonny. He played drums like a maniac, always had a smile, always had some good conversation on hand and was usually doing something to help others out, such as organizing activist events and putting together the Bizarre Market.. He was on a particularly aggravating tour one time where none of his bandmates could hide their frustration, but he still remained positive and even tempered. The two of us got jacked on Vietnamese coffee on 6th Street in SF and proceeded to walk all over the goddamn city, talking one million miles an hour to each other. So much fucking fun. So full of life, so inspirational and he had so much to give to this world. That's why it's so hard to believe that he is not IN this physical world anymore. I don't even want to talk about why he's not alive (if you want to know, it's right here). It's just so unbelievable. Still, to this day, I'll wonder when one of his bands will come through town and then I's not gonna happen. Jonny would probably feel weird that I'm talking about him so much, so I'll try to do what he would do, which is deflect the attention elsewhere. Be sure to tell those special ones in your life that you appreciate them while you still can..This life, while unpredictable, strange and scary, is also full of outstanding people who will make you wish you could live forever.
    Now, as an attempt to end this on a positive note, here are some buck wild videos I just found that correspond to this tape.

 If that doesn't work, I'm sure there are some videos of kittens online somewhere.

RUSSIAN TSARLAG - "Let Your Dreams Touch Air" - Tape - 2007

    When I lived in Indiana, I used to tell people that RUSSIAN TSARCASM (this band's former name) was my favorite local band, which was true. One day, I realized that I didn't even know if Carlos (the brains and braun behind this project) knew how to play any instruments at all. You see, RUSSIAN TSARCASM was more of an experience and performance than a sonic onslaught. Sometimes, it could be dangerous, like the time Carlos jumped into piles of broken glass and ran into the crowd screaming and bloody. It could be confusing, like the time he just sang along to a recording of a toddler singing accapella. He was swinging a hammer the whole time and at the end of the song, he smashed some glass bricks with cassettes taped to it. Afterwards, he said "I have some tapes for sale" and he tried to sell the bits of broken cassettes to people. Once, RUSSIAN TSARCASM played 12 shows in one day in 12 different outdoor locations. I only went to the last one and it consisted of a shirtless Carlos being dragged around by his legs while I ran after him and spit on his chest. Another time, he played a show in a basement for 24 hours straight. I went to it about 16 hours into the show and he was in the basement alone chanting in a pile of glass with a steak taped to his chest.
     After saving his money from working at a Rally's drive thru (Carlos said he took the job so he could see how "normal people" lived), he took a logical step for once and moved his weird ass out to Providence, RI. It created a void in the Bloomington noise scene that could never be filled. Carlos changed the name of the band to RUSSIAN TSARLAG and actually started playing instruments It was mostly Carlos playing a stand-up drumset and singing his songs which brought new meaning to the word "minimal". He put out some tapes and an LP or two (I can't keep up). One of his LPs featured a BEACH BOYS cover song and it was paid for with a grant...which basically means that the state of Rhode Island paid for some weirdo to interpret Brian Wilson.
     This tape is hard to explain and I'm not going to try. Fuck it.
                                  RUSSIAN TSARLAG

Thursday, November 17, 2011

50 MILLION - "3/14/05" - CDR - 2005

   I know I say this a lot about different bands, but 50 MILLION really is one of my all time top favorite bands. I'm still baffled by how they made it out of the 1990's Mission punk scene alive with most of their major organs still intact.
   50 MILLION is a core group of two brothers named Wade and Shell who have been playing music together for...uh..a really long fucking time. Wade used to play in a band called CORDUROY back in the 90's and he asked Shell to play 2nd guitar in the band. Before it could ever happen, the band broke up and the two brothers set out to continue writing songs together. A lot of the early recordings are beautifully fucked up, heartbroken pop songs recorded on 4 track. Sometimes they sent each other unfinished songs through the mail between San Francisco and San Marcos, Texas...and the other brother would finish it. They ranged from the aforementioned pop to experimental noise to soundscapes to audio dramas to loud metallish dirges. Along the way, they picked up friends to round out their sound and put out a handful of 7"'s and a couple of albums. They even formed a one-off band with HICKEY and recorded each other's songs (found here) They went on tour with a shotgun, drugs and machetes, but still somehow managed to come home in one piece even though they had a habit of getting into fights everywhere they went.In the early '00's, they recorded a double LP tentatively titled "The Song Remains Insane", which is still unreleased. A record label (which shall remain unnamed) said they would put it out if the band would shave off the "noisier" parts and just leave the pop songs. The band refused and the recordings are probably still lingering around somewhere in the Mission District. I've heard a lot of it. It's really good. Someone should put it out.
   This CDR is 4 quick songs recorded on a 4 track in 2005 and it includes the completely unfuckwithable pop song "Sunday to Monday". On this release, they stick mostly to the pop side of things. Even though the two brothers live about as far apart from each other as two people can while still living in the same country, they are still, somehow, a band in some form. Apparently, they just recorded some new material with their dad (Wade Driver), who is a professional square dance caller. I can't wait to hear it.
                                     50 MILLION!!
Updated September 2014

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RVIVR - Live - Tape - 2008

    I met RVIVR'S guitarist/singer Matt years ago when he played with his old band, LIFE ROCKS at a house in Chattanooga. I didn't like his band at all, but we had a great time drinking whiskey, screaming and running down the street. I had not seen Matt in a few years and actually didn't have high hopes for his new band, but I was pleasantly surprised about how great they were when I saw them play at Thrillhouse Records back in 2008. I got this tape from them after the show and Matt said "That's not really the best recording. We'll have better stuff soon". He was right. It's a muddled (but loud!) live recording from Olympia that they made just for the West Coast tour that I saw them on, before they put out their first 7". So, there's your warning.
  Since this tape, RVIVR has put out a whole slew of records and toured Europe twice. They've seemed to attract quite a backlash lately for various things...mostly for not being quiet about their politics or by funding one of their tours through Kickstarter. I don't agree with some of their methods, but I also don't think they are the enemy. We have bigger things to worry about than getting upset over what a small little band from Olympia does. I just saw them a few nights ago and they were still great. Instead of 20 people in the room, like 2008, it's closer to 200 ...and they sing in tune now.
                   Download RVIVR Tape

 Buy RVIVR Records...but really, buy the MUTOID MEN Record

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TWAT SAUCE - Tape - 2011

   TWAT SAUCE's new bass player Morgan told me that she was kinda bummed out that every time someone mentioned their band, they also had to talk about how much the band got drunk and partied. Well, taking just a cursory look at their Facebook page reveals that they are drinking beer, shotgunning beers or doing beer bongs in 90% of their photos. I'd rather talk about that than wonder why they are shopping at Wal-Mart and wearing American flag shirts.
   This tape picks up where the first tape left off, but shows the band getting tighter, better and more rockin'. I got to see them a couple times earlier this year and they are a force that should not be fucked with. Also, they just recorded new stuff that will appear on a split LP in the near future with Chattanooga's own GHETTOBIRD...and they are drunk.
                    Download TWAT SAUCE


   Tones From The Underground posted a great story and a link to some of Lance Hahn's lost four track demos on their blog. Lance Hahn was a pop genius who was taken from this world way too soon and is missed by thousands of people from all over the world. There will never be another person like him. His music will live on for eternity.

Monday, November 14, 2011


    The folks over at MRR have been raving about the Raw Ponx crew since they first graced the Bay Area's presence a few years ago. For those of you who don't know about these punx, they are a loose crew of Latino punk kids from the East L.A. area who put on shows (just about anywhere from a backyard to under bridges) and play in a slew of great bands like RAYOS X, TUBERCULOSIS, and DRAPETOMANIA to name a few. I've always thought "yeah, those bands are pretty fucking good", but none of them ever blew me away until just recently. I went to see RAYOS X, LA VOZ and GENERACION SUICIDA at El Rio in SF a few weeks ago and it was a fucking great show. RAYOS X took forever to set up, but once they started I forgave them. Totally blazing, driving punk. You can find more praises of them (as well as their demos) here. LA VOZ didn't really do it for me, but GENERACION SUICIDA made me jump up and down and made this fucking Gringo wish that he knew Spanish. They are playing some total LOST KIDS/MASSHYSTERI/GORILLA ANGREB style of punk and they do it well. I wish that the tape was as good as their live performance though.
                   Download tape here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

VOMIT SPOTS - "I Want To Bowl" - Tape - 1989

    One of the first punk bands that I ever saw was THE CRAMPS, but one of the first totally DIY punk bands that I saw was THE VOMIT SPOTS. They started around 1986 in Mobile,AL and were sorta skate/thrash, sorta crossover punk. They kinda remind me of a more tame DRI or COC.  They put out a 5 song 7" in 1987 (coming to this blog one day soon) and then put out this tape in 1989. I played this tape numerous times throughout my middle school and junior high school years. It's totally the kind of thing that would appeal to a teenager growing up in Alabama in the late 80's/early 90's.: dumb lyrics, partying in Hell, thrashy shit, guitar solos and more. The best song, obviously, is "I Want to Bowl" which is catchy, fun and has a crazy drumbeat carrying the song that still confounds me to this day. THE VOMIT SPOTS brand of humorous, infantile punk is such a product of the 80's dumb thrash what I really find the most confounding about this whole thing is that they are still playing shows 2-3 times a year!! No shit! Take a trip down to Pensacola, Florida or south Alabama if you want to hear these songs live and in person by the actual human beings who wrote them.
   In the early '90's, Birmingham had a huge contingent of racist skinheads who generally sat around in the forest shooting guns, recruiting impressionable kids and talking to each other about their stupid racist bullshit. They didn't really go to punk shows too much. For some reason, in 1993 HBO took notice of their leader Bill Riccio and decided to make a documentary about him and his followers called "Skinhead USA: Soldiers of the Race War". Throughout the documentary, some of the kids mentioned punk or listened to it, so HBO decided that they should film these bald wastes of flesh at a punk show. At the same time, I decided that I should go see THE VOMIT SPOTS at the all ages space, Frankie's Down Under on the south side of Birmingham. Guess who was there?! Lots of skinheads! HBO film crews! I think HBO paid THE VOMIT SPOTS for appearing in the documentary with a huge bag of french fries (side note: my 14 year old self took one of the fries and said "I'll cherish this moment forever" a'la Riff Randall from Rock N Roll High School, but no one really got it and no one gave me that classic look that Dee Dee gives her in the movie. I had that french fry until 3 years ago.) Now, THE VOMIT SPOTS are many things: childish, sort of sexist, and insensitive, but they are neither racists nor nazi sympathizers. They protested the filming at their show and insisted that they be filmed denouncing the beliefs of the white power boneheads in attendance. HBO agreed but the band's tyrade was left on the cutting room floor. The SPOTS reputation was tarnished and they were kicked off of shows and labeled as racist sympathizers for years to come. It's not an easy thing to shake off when you're born and raised in Alabama, since people outside of the south already assume that you're a racist just because you grew up there. I should know. Whenever I tell people that I grew up there, it's usually followed by the other person saying "Oh....weird...." and then they either change the subject or ask me if it was really racist (and in extreme circumstances, they ask if we had paved roads there...seriously.).
(Go to 4:50 to see the clip from the show. I'm somewhere in there getting bashed around by some huge fuckhead with an SS tattoo.)

   Unfortunately, that documentary wasn't the VOMIT SPOTS only stumble. Not long after the movie, they released a cd that showed them going in a more (gasp) funk-rock direction, but listening to "Plain White Wrapper" on this tape let you know that this was in the future for them anyway. Just listen to this tape and act like the 90's never happened.
THE VOMIT SPOTS during happier times on cable access television, when they had an extra percussionist.


(inflammatory statement about wishing harm upon the life of someone who calls for the death of other races removed by Blogspot)

Saturday, November 12, 2011


   THE MANHANDLERS came into being in Chattanooga right around the time that I started leaving town all the time, so I only saw them once or twice in their short existence. Sure, they only had five songs, but they made up for their lack of songwriting with an overabundance of attitude, charisma and sleazy charm. Carey (from THE DRILLER KILLERS) usually played her guitar with no pick, which left her hands bloody and scarred.  If no one could find Brontez (later in the swoon-worthy YOUNGER LOVERS) when it was time to play the show, he could usually be found making out with the cutest punk boy in the room or getting naked and dancing on the bar. Harry (from ADD/C) provided the busiest bass lines imaginable for these songs. Kristiana (not in a band right now, but a very proud mother) was probably trying to channel the spirit of Mia Zapata through this band. Handsome Ed (now playing bass for ASSHOLE PARADE) taught himself how to play drums and banged the shit out of the set with the tree trunks he has for arms. Five songs. All great. No filler.
                   Download MANHANDLERS

Friday, November 11, 2011

ONE MAN RUNNING - "Stress" - 7" - 1992

   My partner, Anandi put out this record on Kirbdog records back in 1992, so I asked her to write this entry, but she said "I have nothing interesting to say about it." I said "There's gotta be, why did you put it out? Where did you get the money? Maybe an interesting story about the band?" Then, she told me this:
   "My friend Tracy needed to get from Santa Rosa (where we lived) to Sebastopol (his parents house), but he didn't have a car and was afraid to get caught driving since he was taking his driver's test the next day...he only had a permit. So, he stole his friend's car and I drove him to Sebastopol, even though I didn't have a license and had never driven a car before. Well, we wrecked the car. The owner of the car got pissed and wanted to be paid for the damages. Neither of us had any money to pay for it. My dad had been holding onto some money that my grandmother had left for me to use for college. It was only a couple thousand dollars and that wasn't enough to pay for college anyway, so he gave it to me to pay for the damages. There was still some money left over and I decided that I should put out a record. I didn't really know ONE MAN RUNNING that well, but I liked their band and they didn't have a record, I put this out for them."
    ONE MAN RUNNING existed for a short time in the small town of Arcata, CA. Their only recorded output appears on a demo tape (found here), the Can Of Pork compilation (on Lookout Records) and on this 7". Their songs are simple and poppy, yet insanely fucking addictive. They have that same tinny sound that alot of late '80's/early '90's Bay Area bands seemed to share (think: CRIMPSHRINE, OP IVY, CRINGER). I can't drive down the 101 through Humboldt County without singing the line "Smokestacks and treeeeeees!" in my head (or out loud).
   A digital version of this appears at the end of a FIFTEEN cd, but I put this up on my blog so that you don't have to endure the pain and embarassment caused by actually owning any music by FIFTEEN.
                        Download ONE MAN RUNNING

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SHOTWELL - Live at UN Plaza and on the Radio - Tape - 1999

   I pulled this unmarked tape off the shelf (see below) and thought "What the fuck is this?". When I popped it into the tape player and pushed play, it all came back to me. Depending on who you ask, SHOTWELL is a San Francisco legend that should be as recognizable as the Golden Gate Bridge or some sloppy punk band from the Mission District. They started as SHOTWELL COHO back in 1994 and (depending on who you ask again) continue to exist to this day. A live Shotwell show can either be the best thing you've ever seen or depressing, frightening and dangerous. They are always the best when they are playing out on the streets of SF (literally on the streets using a generator for power) in the middle of the day or playing a protest. Once, I played drums for them on the back of a flatbed trailer being pulled down Mission Street during a "Punks Against War" parade. It was one of the most fun shows I've ever played.
                   (photocopy of a photo by Paul Curran)
    This tape starts off with SHOTWELL playing "Half the Truth" at a Stop the NATO Bombing protest at U.N. Plaza in SF, where you can hear the crowds of protesters chanting and Jimmy making fun of Marxists. They only managed to play 3 songs at this show. During the first song, everything broke. Then, they played "Half the Truth" and then they tried to play an Avengers cover, but someone cut the power on them. I have the Avengers cover somewhere, but it's probably unmarked in a pile.  The next 4 songs are from a live radio broadcast...maybe on the college radio station in Davis, CA...I'm not really sure. There are some good, classic Jimmy rants between songs on this recording, but unfortunately it cuts off after 4 songs. Enjoy...or don't..or complain like a baby on a messageboard about the sound quality.
                        Download SHOTWELL Live

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ONE REASON - Two Unreleased Songs - 2008

   ONE REASON was a band for a good, solid 10 years and I was happy to play bass with them for the last four years of their existence. If I was posting their first album (which the other members of this band would hate immensely), I would tell you all about how this band began, but since we're starting at the end, I guess I'll just tell you that part. We spent the better part of a winter ('07-'08) in Indiana trying fruitlessly to write a new album. Most practices ended with us playing half of a song that we didn't feel that good about or just covering SPRINGSTEEN, REPLACEMENTS and HOT NEW MEXICANS songs. I broke my input jack by laying face down on the floor while playing some of the songs. It wasn't going well. As spring was peeking its ugly, sunny head out, we emerged from Lexie's (drummer) dank ass basement with only two songs...and one of them was only a minute long. Not knowing what would happen with the final results, we headed out to Mike Bridavsky's studio in the rolling hills near Nashville, IN and recorded these two songs ("The Hospital" and "Christmas and Thanksgiving"). We hit the record button and banged out these songs while looking out a huge window at the sun setting behind the hills. Then, the songs got mixed and they sat there while we all went our separate ways. One of them might have appeared on a compilation, but I'm not really sure. I do know that they have been on the internet for a while and I liked playing them a lot when we were a band.
  Now, here's a bunch of old pictures of us....
             In my backyard in Indiana. Pic by Richrd, I believe.
         At Plan-It-X Fest in 2007, I believe. Pic by Ben Rains
 Teaching tagger kids how to spell "Government" in Indiana
  Posing with hundreds of dollars in Mississippi. At the time, none of us knew how to play dominos, which is why it looks like a 3 year old set it up.
                in Baton Rouge, LA. Photo by Chris George.    
    Lexie is now playing drums for DEAD DOG, who are on tour (and in the Bay Area) right now. Go see them, if you know what is good for you. Ginger is playing guitar in TRAVELING and bass in GOOD LUCK. I play drums in NEON PISS and bass in BLACK RAINBOW.

                               That's all folks!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

IMPRACTICAL COCKPIT - "Get Obvious" - Tape - 2001

   I have previously sang my praises about this band, so I will spare you the excess typing this time. This tape adds a second guitarist (Stella), gets weirder, more jammy and puts up the freak flag. I saw them play a house show in New Orleans during this period and I told them they sounded "like the ocean". I still stand by that and you can take it however you want. This one contains some of my favorite songs by IPCP, including "We've Been Sent to Destroy", "Rewritten" and "Wonderful Death" (try to listen to that one at 2 am in a dark room and not get freaked out).
   Selections from this tape were released on a split LP with Gainesville's NUCLEAR FAMILY in 2003 or so. Smoke some weed or drink some weed milk (or don't) and put this on your headphones.
Updated 2013

Monday, November 7, 2011

THE JAWAS - Discography - 1994-1995

    THE JAWAS came into my life to spit out 2 7"s and a compilation track. Then, they quietly vanished from the Huntsville punk scene. Besides being a great teenage punk band, the members of the JAWAS really helped me out a lot when I was 18 and living in a car. Their drummer Matt, let me sometimes sleep in the barn behind his parents house, which is also where they practiced (and is also where I photographed them for the cover of their 2nd 7"). Their bass player Andrew, would give me food at his parent's house when I ran out of money. I briefly played bass for their jokey metal band CRACKSAW at one show at the Tip-Top Cafe. Enough about me though. This is about them.
   My old buddy Seth wrote this about their first 7" on his blog and I don't think I could do a better here is what he said along with the cover art, drawn by Matt's brother (1st grade).
"The Jawas were very much an anomaly in Huntsville at the time. While everyone else stuck with 3 chord punk rock, The Jawas were sporting heavy metal influences, playing jangly weird chords and in retrospect were even a bit experimental considering the Huntsville scene was hardly one enriched with a great deal of variety. Oh, and people loved the shit out of them. A Jawas show was always packed. Drummer Matt Bakula (The Peeps, 3D's) was prone to wearing a giant bull skull with horns over his head while playing drums, shirtless, with a pentagram painted on his chest. The kids ate it up. This seems like it was one of the first releases on Huntsville's Nation of Kids! label in what I'm thinking was probably 1994. I was in the 11th grade, and it seemed like every punk inclined teenager I knew was rocking this shit in their car on the way to school. Bakula's little brother Patrick did the cover art who was then like 5 or something. He's all grown up now, had a band called Circuit Pop (who is brother drummed for), now plays in the Dastardly Do-Nothings, and makes me feel pretty fucking old.

As far as the tunes themselves, listening now, it's a little hard to describe. These guys were blending thrash metal ("Bionic Bitch") with hardcore punk ("Mocking U") and smoothing it all out with some catchy hooks that had everyone singing along. It's a little punk, a little metal, but definitely not punk-metal. But then, when I think of punk-metal, I think of like early Goo Goo Dolls and all that awful shit Roadrunner records was putting out in the late 80's. Some of the quieter, janglier moments have always reminded me of Sonic Youth or early Nirvana. Most of all, I think this record is a shining example of what can happen when a bunch of kids haven't yet learned the "rules" about playing music and writing songs yet - henceforth, they've got no blueprint to follow, nor do they have to try to hard to venture into left field. A lot of the ideas on here still sound brilliant to me. For example the extended drum stick interludes between parts in "Master Plan." It's great for the same reason a lot of these old punk records are great: It's unreasonably angry, paranoid and overtly nihilistic in that blissfully sheltered way that only high schoolers can be, but also pretty goofy at times and never forgets to be fun."

         Thanks Seth...I just want to add that "Master Plan" is the perfect song that I wish I wrote as a teenager and "Mocking U" shows a maturity beyond their 16 years of age.

   After that first 7", they appeared on the Nation Of Kids 7" compilation, which compiled the best Huntsville punk bands of that era (you can also find that comp on Seth's blog). Their song "Pointless" picks up where the first 7" left off and it made me think that the JAWAS were well on their way to becoming the best punk band in North Alabama (i know that seems laughably easy to an outsider, but Alabama had some majorly great shit going on in the mid-90's.
    For their 2nd and final record, the boys took a serious turn in their songwriting direction and seemed to favor playing faster, sloppier punk. I still loved it, but it kinda seemed like they weren't even trying that hard. "Guy Cut in Half" and "Express Lane" are both solid as fuck, but the other two songs either seem like they were written on the spot (and the band hadn't really learned how to play it) or they are so mired in misogyny that it's ridiculous (which I chalk up to them being teenage boys and growing up in the south...that is not to excuse it).

   Pretty soon after that record, the JAWAS called it a day and sailed on towards their 20th birthdays. Nowadays, Matt is playing in a few different musical projects like PINE HILL HAINTS, THE COUNTER CLOCKWISE and more. I believe their guitarist Mark is playing in a musical project with Matt. A quick internet search leads me to believe that singer/guitarist Donnie is happily married with kids. Andrew is still out there touring and recording, trying to top his teenage accomplishments with some band called AGAINST ME!
  Download includes all of the record covers, inserts and even an interview with the band from the Virgil Grissom High School newspaper. Why do I have this?! I didn't go to their high school!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

HORRIBLE ODDS - "Underground" - Tape - 2002

   THE HORRIBLE ODDS wrote these songs alternately between my front porch in St Elmo (Chattanooga) and a dingy bedroom in North Chattanooga where it was so cold that you could see your breath inside the house. Then, they somehow made it to New Orleans to record these songs, even though none of them had a car and half the band didn't even know how to drive. Then, they played maybe five shows and went their separate ways...or to be fair, their drummer Iggy, went back to California and the rest of them continued playing in their band, THE JACK PALANCE BAND. Somehow, these eleven songs perservered throughout the last nine years and not have lost one bit of their stamina or charisma. This has been the soundtrack to Fall for me for the past nine years running. I dare you to listen to "October" and not have it running through your head for the rest of the day. All of these songs are hopeful, triumphant and perfect.
   Ten of these songs later appeared on an LP that came out on Onion Flavored Records that is still available right here. Eric, Mike and Buddha are still playing together in HIDDEN SPOTS. HORRIBLE ODDS drummer, Iggy Scam was last seen in a squat in Daly City, trying to invent a tree that sprouts tall cans of Schlitz.
                           HORRIBLE ODDS CITY   
Updated 2013
Thanks to Anandi for (unknowingly) loaning this one out for download. Someone stole my copy in 2003. I know who you are and I am still mad at you.

MRR RADIO #1269 - 11/6/11

    No rotting, low quality tapes or long ramblings about some southern band that  you don't care about today. I just wanted to post a link to the Maximum Rock N Roll radio show that I DJ'd, along with Rob and Vicente. It's my favorite show that I have been on thus far. Very diverse and lots of fun. Check it out.
        Stay tuned for Maximum Rock N Roll!!