Thursday, January 12, 2012

PUNKY ROCKIT - 2 7"s - 1994

   I think it was my friend, Angie who first stumbled across this 7" at American Beat Records in Birmingham, AL back in 1994. I probably listened to it in her room or she put it on a tape for me. The details are all fuzzy. What I do know is that we both became kinda obsessed with this Portland band and their record was on constant rotation either in her room or blasting out of the factory speakers of my Ford Festiva. She also ordered their 2nd 7" straight from the band and it showed up broken in half (it's okay, they sent another one). It was just as good as the first one and we learned that the band had already broken up. Our hopes of ever seeing them were dashed on the rocks.
    PUNKY ROCKIT (yes, I even thought the name was pretty bad when I was 17) were a punk band from Portland who were flagrant supporters of animal rights, feminism and DIY. Some of them lived in the Powerhouse, a punk house in the northeast part of town that did house shows. I'm pretty sure that the band barely ever played outside of the northwest US since they were only a band for the year of 1994. Their sound is kind-of hopelessly mired in the mid-90's to me. It just sounds like 1994. Songs like "Smoke", "Running Out" and "In the Chair" are super catchy and jump-around-the-room basement punk. That is really all the information I have about this band, since I didn't really know them.
    My old band, RICE HARVESTER used to cover "Running Out" at every show and no one besides a handful of our friends knew or cared what it was. We played it at a show with a member of PUNKY ROCKIT's new band (SHARKS KILL) and all of the Portland people on that tour were completely dumbfounded that some pop-punk band in Alabama had ever even heard that song. RICE HARVESTER reunited a few years ago to play one show and we threw that song in to the set unannounced. It seemed useless to even tell anyone what it was since no one ever knew it in the first place. After we played, our friend (Goddamnit) Pat said "Whoa, I can't believe you guys covered a PUNKY ROCKIT song." Finally, after all these years, one person that wasn't already close to the band knew that song.

   One last thing about the band. They were adamant about talking about their politics in their record inserts in a way that I found engaging and enlightening as a teenager. It seems like if you openly discuss your politics as a band (or even just a regular old human) these days, a lot of people are quick to jump back at you and tell you why you're fucked up for doing so. (This happened in the 90's too. It's just more prevalent now due to faceless messageboards and the security of not having to actually look someone in the eyes while saying completely horrendous bullshit.) I think it's important to tell people why you're a feminist, why you're an anarchist (even with all the negative connotations that the media dishes out about them) and to discuss the problems of homelessness. Folks are quick to put others down as being "P.C.", but really, what the fuck is wrong with actually giving a shit about other humans and animals? I don't understand why anyone finds it threatening to their way of life, but lots of people do. Don't be afraid to discuss your politics. Do it even if you don't think anyone is listening. There's a chance that there is a teenage boy in Alabama who is looking for something more out there, who is completely uncomfortable with the status quo of male privilege, who doesn't know if there are other people in the world who feel the same way that he does and there's a chance that he will find your record and realize that he's not alone.

My friend, Angie, who you may remember from the beginning of this post, started experimenting with lino-cuts around the same time as getting these records and this is one of the first ones that she did.


Angie said...

I have a story to tell you one day about that extra copy I have. Oh man did we obsess over this record!!!

veganboyjosh said...

wow. been a longtime follower of the Outpost...

i got both of these records in an ebay lot with 4 other records from the same time period/genre, but had never heard of them until the ebay auction came under my radar. i got them for a song, but knew of Campground Records and the others in the lot, so figured they had to be good.

i'm ripping them into mp3's right now, and go to google the band cos they're freakin' good. lo and behold, here they are.

small world.

/of to check out Sharks Kill