Saturday, September 29, 2012

SUCKERPUNCH - Unreleased LP - 2001

   Back when I posted SUCKERPUNCH's demo tape, I was under the impression that they never recorded anything else. I've always loved that tape and wished they had more music out in the world that I could listen to. Fast-forward life to spring of 2012: RAG RAGE from Chattanooga came out to the Bay Area and their bass player, Chad gave me this CD-R of a full, unreleased SUCKERPUNCH album. Apparently, SP's drummer, Ben had passed it along to Chad to give to someone else, but Chad thoughtfully made a copy for me as well.
   On this recording, the band continually sounds like they are in a tug of war between post-punk and hardcore as filtered through southern living. Hardcore usually seems to win the competition, which is fine by me. There are flashes of 7 SECONDS, REAGAN YOUTH and TEEN IDLES here and there, but for the most part, SUCKERPUNCH's sound is their own. I think this whole album is great, but around the 12th song, it becomes unstoppable. Sixteen songs in all. No song titles listed. Fuckin' do it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

GYPSY - Demo - Tape - 2010

   I thought about just saying that the members of this band have also played in SHANG-A-LANGHIDDEN SPOTS and THE MARKED MEN and then just leave it at that. That's enough right? Well, yeah, probably....but I want to tell you something about their bass player, Joe and how he is an insanely nice guy.
   Once, I was driving across the country with my best friend, Anandi. We had driven all day and we were pretty wiped out. We got to Las Cruces and Joe said we could sleep at his house for the night. He invited us to go to his friend's birthday party across town, but we were way too tired to go. We said that he should just go and we can sleep in his living room. He opted to not go to the party and, instead, went and got a fancy 6 pack of beer for us to all share. We sat around his place and talked for a long time until we got too tired to keep our eyes open. It was a simple little thing, but he made us feel so at home and welcome in his place. Sometimes you can't ask for more than that when you're traveling. We appreciated it even more when we slid backwards into a ditch less than 48 hours later in a massive, freak snowstorm in the middle of Texas and then were stuck in a motel in a tiny town for the next 3 days. ( snowplows.)
   Their guitarist, Chris and drummer, Ryan are no slouches either. Chris has always set up shows in Las Cruces for any band I have been a part of. I met him years ago (early 2005, I think) when I saw his band THE ANSWER LIES play in a coffee shop in Cruces with TBIAPB. I've known Ryan since before the turn of the century. He used to be the manager of a skating rink and my band once got him in a lot of trouble when he let us practice in the rink after hours. I guess it turned out okay since he kept working there until they shut down years later. It was one of the better nights of my life.
   Anyway, if you like any of these guys' former bands, you will like this too. Jangly, melodic, upbeat and simply great. If you'd like to get a copy of this tape for yourself, please head over to Dead Broke and pick one up. As long as you're there, you might as well get the demo of Chris and Joe's new band, LOW CULTURE because it is equally as awesome.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

BLONDE AMBITION - "Down At Yogurt Park" - Tape - 2007

   I'm always bummed that I missed out on the short life of BLONDE AMBITION during their time as a band in the Bay Area. I was 3000 miles away in Indiana, living in a tiny little room and sewing contact mics into stuffed animals while they were out in California playing their songs in backyards and alleyways. Gaybob moved out from New York, where she formerly played with DIRTY LOOKSCRYBABY MACARTHUR and BEER GARDEN. She takes care of the guitar and vocals. She hooked up with Northern California native, Naomi who formerly played drums for the teen destruction group known as HEY GIRL. They're rounded out by the solid bass stylings of Mason. I'm sure Mason played in bands before this one, but I don't know what they are. I do know that she went on to play in the jaw-dropping band LIVID.
   Anyhow, the eight songs on this tape are short, to the point and vicious. Gaybob's unmistakable voice growls and screams over the whole thing as they play direct, fierce punk. In my opinion, a lot of the charm of this recording is that the rhythm section is fairly tight while the guitar fluctuates between solid and "I don't give a fuck". It's raw and cannot be tamed. The demo tape format was invented for bands like this.
   In addition to giving us this great recording, BLONDE AMBITION is also responsible for being the subject of one of my favorite photos of a contemporary band....
Live on top of Bernal Hill. Photo is believed to be taken by Tony Rojas.

      These days, Gaybob is back in Brooklyn playing with PURE JOY. Naomi is still destroying the drums in San Francisco and playing with CHER HOROWITZ (probably 5 other bands too). Mason played drums in ENDEMICS and guitar in LIVID. We lost her to L.A. for a little while, but now she's back and hopefully planning something exciting. 

and now some more photos.......

Thanks to Bob for the photos.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

REMAIN INDOORS - Demo - Tape - 2012

   Sometime around the dawn of humankind in negative 84 BC, Joey Ramone decided to invent punk after knocking himself unconscious from running full speed into a brontosaurus. His friends dragged him into a cave and had a pizza party while he recovered. When he awoke, he decided that all he wanted to do was play fast, three chord songs and sing about cretins. Soon, a lot of other weirdos started showing up wearing leather jackets, sniffing glue and being generally obnoxious. Some of them even shaved their hair into weird creations and tied shoestrings around their heads. Joey decided that all of these outcasts needed a place to live, so he opened the first punk house and called it The Ranch. Somehow, the place survived earthquakes, floods, scabies, staph infections, the black plague, mold, folk punk shows and tornadoes. It still stands today as a proud testament to the lasting longevity of punk and they still have shows in their basement.
    Okay, obviously that's all a lie, but The Ranch is a real punk house in Portland, Oregon and it has been around for quite a long time now. They entered a hibernation period for a while, but they are doing great punk shows in their basement these days and it's easily my favorite place to play when I go to that fine city. The house is populated by punks (duh) and has a practice space/show space in the basement. Of course, people in the house use the space to practice with their band(s), but one day the entire house decided to all start a band together and they called that band REMAIN INDOORS (Some readers may remember that I mentioned in the GROUCH article that I needed a REMAIN INDOORS tape. Their drummer, Henderson was nice enough to send it to me. Thanks!) Their members have done time in bands like DRUNKEN BOATTHE STOPSTHE CLOSET FAIRIESSHOREBIRDSUPSHIT CREEK and many, many more. So, you're already aware that these fools have a good idea of what they're doing. They play straightforward punk that has subtle tinges of that gloomy, almost-goth darkness that seems to permeate the northwestern punk scene. BUT, don't pull out your black nail polish and 48 eyelet stiletto boots just yet (actually, go ahead)...they keep it firmly in the punk camp but keep it gloomy enough to where you can put this on when you either feel like shit or wanna ride your bike in the sun all day. Unfortunately, this band only lasted for 7 short months before calling it quits. Is it awkward to live in a house with all of your bandmates after your band has broken up? I don't know. You can ponder that while you listen to this tape.

Re-uploaded Feb 2013

If you'd like to order your own copy of this tape from the band (which I strongly urge), please write to

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ADULTS - Vol III - Tape - 2012

   I'm a big fan of this band, as you can probably surmise by my previous write-ups of their tapes "Vol I" and "Vol II". On this third installment, ADULTS switch it up a little and start off the tape with possibly their first slow song ever, called "Amigo". From there on out, it's all breakneck tempos and staying true to their sound of a lost demo tape from some old classic band. They churn out 10 fucked up, straightforward, blown out, fast punk songs in less than 11 minutes. Not one song on here is a sleeper. Just download it and thank me later. Or really, thank the band. I'm just some clown with a laptop.

Download ADULTS tape
Updated 2013

   WAIT THERE'S MORE!!! The thing I liked about ADULTS when I first heard them is that they lived just across the bay from me and completely ruled but I had never heard of them. When I finally tracked them down and saw them play a show, they didn't disappoint. I met their singer, Matteo who I had previously corresponded with only through email. He had been nice enough to mail me their first tape before I even sent him any cash. Talking to him after their set, I realized that he's a really nice guy, a genuine fan of energetic punk and really excited about seeing this huge country of ours. You see, Matteo  isn't from this country but I believe that if people want to live in this country, then they should. He told me that he was going to roadie for his friend's band up to the Northwest soon and then take a Greyhound bus out to the Midwest. He said that he was really excited about the trip. Being someone that has taken the bus across this vast country a number of times, I didn't believe him. I said "It's horrible! You have to just sit on this fuckin' bus for hours, talk to creeps, look out the window at nothing and then they only stop at McDonald's to eat!" He smiled really big and said "I KNOW!! I want to do that exact thing!! I want to see the sun coming up over plains and I want to talk to strangers and I want to eat the crappy food and see what it looks like in the middle of nowhere America." He was so happy about this prospect that I was completely dumbfounded, but also I understood. When I went to the lonely, desolate border of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, I took pictures of the drab buildings sitting in the middle of nowhere. I was somehow fascinated by this entirely boring scenario that would cause any local to roll their eyes. The great part of this story is that Matteo made his way up north and then got on a bus going east. The sad, awful truth is that he was traveling on September 11th...a time when our nation's law enforcers decide to get really shitty to anyone who is not supposed to be in this country. Long story short (well, too late for that), Matteo got ID'd by the cops and they discovered that he was illegal. He is now sitting in a Federal detention center in Buffalo, NY and facing deportation. It's all so sad because he really loves it here and has made a lot of lasting relationships with people all over the Bay Area and beyond. Friends of his have set up a fundraising page to raise money for a lawyer to fight the deportation. If you can offer any help, get in touch with them. Follow the link to their site.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

COUNTY Z - "Graveyards and Grocery Carts" LP - 2002

   I was already a big fan of COUNTY Z's first tape when this LP came out, but I was not prepared for how this record would impact my life. That tape is really good, but the band seemed like they were at their peak performance when they recorded this. The moody, dark arrangements like "Betsy II" and "End Of The World" became even darker and more ominous. The more upbeat songs like "Liquor Store" and "Hysterical" became incisive, vicious and bitter. I don't know what was going on in the vast, humid, art-strewn warehouse in New Orleans where they recorded this, but they definitely did something right. It still remains one of my top five favorite albums to this day.
  I was lucky enough to see COUNTY Z play in a basement in Bloomington, IN during this period and it was one of the best shows ever. Less than a mile away, helicopters were circling and sports fans were flipping over cars and uprooting trees because their team lost (or won, I don't know or give a fuck) while 50-60 punks were dancing in a basement on the west side of town. Bloomington is usually a pretty "arms crossed" kind of town when it comes to punk shows, but that night, it seemed like the whole room couldn't stop themselves from dancing like crazy. I'll never forget it.
COUNTY Z at the Hi-Ho in New Orleans. 2002

    Naomi plays violin, guitar and sings in the band. She is now playing in MOTHER OF FIRE, which is a little similar to COUNTY Z, but more sprawling and epic. Ryan plays bass. I see him from time to time walking around SF and I always mean to hang out with him more, but I am terrible at hanging out unless it is convenient to me (this is why I am a bad friend). Forrest played the drums and now he is a father. I will always love this band.
COUNTY Z at the Hi-Ho in New Orleans. 2002

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DR DRE DEL - "Mic Of Defiance" - Tape - 1999

   In 1999, I was visiting friends in San Francisco and Ivy took me to the Hickey Hotel on 24th Street. It was a bustling den full of lovable freaks, assholes, musicians, artists, photographers and more. Like most of the inspiring and free-thinking enclaves of 90's-era SF, it was later evicted, whitewashed and stripped of any remnant of its former glory and it now sits anonymous and culturally barren atop a coffee shop that no one in their right mind would enter unless they long to sip lattes inside of a GQ magazine. But, I digress...While visiting the denizens of this particular abode, one resident named Aesop handed me this tape and said "You should check this out. It's a local Jewish rapper." My exterior self calmly took the tape and nonchalantly threw it in my bag while thanking him. Meanwhile, my interior self was running circles in my brain, exclaiming "Hey, your favorite drummer from your favorite punk band just gave you a fucking tape. Don't throw it around!" Aesop also showed me an 8x10 glossy picture of DR DRE DEL that made me think that this rapper could be his cleaner, smoother brother. Seconds after leaving the house, Ivy told me that DR DRE DEL was Aesop and that the DJ featured on the tape, DJ QUEENIE, was none other than Matty Luv. Both guys had formerly been 2/3's of the runaway train known as HICKEY, who had broken up the previous year. I don't know what was going through their heads at that point in their lives (literally, theoretically or pharmaceutically), but one can surmise that after years upon years of being in a band-turned-cult that took up mostly every second of their lives, these guys might want to take a break and churn out something ridiculous.
   If you are familiar with the output of the aforementioned gentlemen, you'll know that even the seemingly lighthearted, ridiculous, jokey shit has a lot of thought and effort behind it. If memory serves me correctly, Matty spent hours teaching himself how to sample beats and songs just for this project. No matter how scatalogical or sexual the lyrics got, Aesop made most of the songs on here insanely memorable by having an ear for a good hook. Starting off with the unforgettable "Dr Dre Del Is The Master", the duo sets the bar rather high in 56 short seconds with an unmistakable metal riff and flawless MC skills. From there on out, the tape is filled (i mean filled...48 songs) with fantastical imagery ("Fuck ALF"), still-relevant social commentary ("Make Room For Whitey"), typical shit-talking ("Fuck You Cecil" trilogy), a fucking RUDIMENTARY PENI sample ("Weird Ass Sisters"), fairly legit hip-hop ("Mic Of Defiance"), straight up awesome weirdness ("Smokin' Crack and Killin' Pigs") and so much more. If that doesn't work for you, DR DRE DEL also raps about his dick...a lot.
Picture of an ultra rare live performance.

48 songs. None are over 2 minutes.
Matty Luv passed away in 2002 and his musical accomplishments are too numerous to name. You can find more info about him here. Aesop is still killing it on the drums in the bands AGALLOCHWORM OUROBOROS and VHOL. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

ALIEN BOY - "A Zine About the Life of James Chasse" - By Erin Yanke and Icky A. - 2006

   Two of my friends, Erin and Icky, put this zine out years ago but it somehow eluded me until very recently. Erin gave me her last copy and I promised her that I would archive it digitally, somehow. So, here it is.
   James Chasse was a staple of the early Portland, OR punk scene back in the late 70's / early 80's. By all accounts, he was at every show, he made zines, played in a band called THE COMBOS and always had a kind word for all of his friends. He suffered from schizophrenia for most of his life and his parents even shipped him off to a mental institution when he was still a teenager. James (or Jim-Jim as many of his friends knew him back then) was a big inspiration to Greg Sage and provided lyrical ideas for some of the songs on the LP "Is This Real?" In 2004, James (who had no criminal record and was not suspected of any crime) was beaten to death by Portland police officers in front of a dozen witnesses. They tasered him repeatedly and broke 17 of his ribs. The death was ruled to be "accidental" and the officers involved were cleared of criminal wrong-doing and placed back on active duty.
   If any good can come out of this, the court case ruled that officers are now required to undergo a 40 hour training that prepares them to work with mentally ill people in crisis. I work with mentally ill people every day at my job and I wish this training was mandatory for all officers. I've seen people get thrown on the street and hog-tied just because they yelled at a cop. I barged between a client and 5 cops once because the cops were about to attack him for simply muttering "fuck you guys." (miraculously, that worked...I think only because we were in a house where I worked and not on the street). Police shot and killed a mentally ill man at a BART station simply because he was waving a knife around...and people were on the platform waiting for trains. This kind of training definitely needs to happen more often because cops are acutely aware that they can kill people and get away with it, especially if the person is "crazed", "homeless" or "aggressive". (also, "gang member" or "illegal immigrant" works as well).
    This download contains a PDF document of the entire zine (Thanks for the help, Kyle) along with an audio interview by Erin Yanke and a radio show about James' life that appeared on Circle A Radio. The zine contains stories and quotes by Greg Sage (of The WIPERS), KT Kincaid (of the NEO-BOYS), Jason Renault (of the Mental Health Association of Portland) and many others. There's also snippets of James' old zines as well as amazing pictures from the early days of Portland's punk scene. Thanks to Erin Yanke for giving me permission to put this all online.

For a lot more info on this whole court case and the aftermath, please check out

EDIT: 2/18/13: There is now a movie about the life and death of James Chasse which just premiered last weekend in Portland. You can find more info about it at

Monday, September 3, 2012

DUDE PARTY - "Some Guy Making Noise and a Bike Wheel" - Tape - 2001

   Once upon a time in Chattanooga, a group of women got together and had a party where men were not allowed because they just wanted to all hang out together. Down the street, a bunch of guys had a party where we all took our shirts off, drank beer and threw darts. A few days later, I started a band with my friends and for some asinine reason, we called it DUDE PARTY.
   Daniel, Harry, Billy and I started this band because we all wanted to be in a band that just simply went on tour. We were having problems getting our other bands to leave town, so we specifically started this band to make a tape, go on one tour and then break up. At practice, we would spend hours working on a song and everything seemed so intricate and difficult. At the end of writing the song, we would say "this song has so many's gonna be too long." Then, we would play the song and it would only last a minute because we would play it so fast.
DUDE PARTY'S first show at the Rear Entry in Chattanooga. Daniel's dad on harmonica.

   We recorded this tape in one night at our practice space in Chattanooga. Some of us were on trucker speed. Others were drunk. Our friend, Mike recorded us on a broken 4 track, got so stoned that he passed out and we had to press the "record" button ourselves. I was playing with a broken crash cymbal that was formerly owned by the ZERO BOYS. Someone stole it off the wall of a pizza place in Indiana. I wish that we had a better recording of these songs because I think that something is really there. We spent a lot of time writing these songs and were, for lack of a better phrase, "going off". This was a special time in my life and I feel lucky to have played music with such gifted people. 
    Setting up our one tour proved to be quite an ordeal since (understandably) no one was too excited to book a show for a band called DUDE PARTY. I feel like we had to win everyone over every night, which was fun...especially in the PC warehouse in New Orleans where we supplied 200 dumpstered beers and proceeded to rationally discuss radical gender politics all night with the residents. On that tour, Daniel decided that no one could bathe, which was fine until the point where we all got bored in the van and started drawing designs on each other's faces with permanent marker. We had a day off in Pensacola and it happened to be the same day that GREEN DAY was playing the enormo-dome in town. We decided to plug in to a light post and play a show in the parking lot as their show was letting out. I somehow ended up getting a free ticket to the show (meaning a scalper got sick of trying to sell it and just handed it to me) and watched them in utter boredom. It was so bad. As they were breaking their shit on stage, I ran outside to set up my broken drums. We played in the parking lot to a few thousand people walking by us, acting like we weren't there. It was bizarre. Some people thought we were trying to get noticed and signed to a major label. Other people threw money at us and Daniel made them take it back. All in all, it was just another night of tour. We packed up, dumpstered some filing cabinets, finished our tour, scammed some food at Cracker Barrel and broke up. 
   Daniel now lives in Chicago and plays in a new band with a name that I forgot. He also finds the time to make it back down to Chattanooga to play in his long-running band, ADD/C...with Harry. Billy is no longer a teenager and now goes by Bill. He plays guitar and sings in the band, FUTURE VIRGINS. I'm just a poor schmuck who writes a blog and plays drums in a punk band. I'm happy to say that I am still friends with these guys and they're still working on amazing projects.

Updated 4/2020

Saturday, September 1, 2012

GROUCH - "Fuck The World As Soon As Possible" - Tape - 2009

   I met Kyle when he came out to visit his girlfriend (my roommate at the time), Kyle in SF. The next time I saw him, he was the roadie for my band on tour for a few weeks. On that tour, we played with his band, GROUCH in Asheville, North Carolina. Solely based on his tendency to listen to metal in the van, I decided that GROUCH was a hardcore/metal band and I used their set time to catch up with old friends in the driveway of the house we played at. Within their first two songs, I was deep into a conversation outside about dead of those conversations where you can't just say "Oh, hold on a sec...this band sounds sick as fuk and I have to watch them." So, yeah, I figured out quickly that GROUCH was not a metal band and they were, in fact, playing exactly the kind of southern-influenced, hook-filled, melodic punk that I love more than anything...but I missed every single second of their set. It was my loss.
   GROUCH could easily be defined as simply "melodic punk", but that statement can be pretty loaded and tends to turn people off from listening. You know there's something else going on when the band members love listening to IRON MAIDEN, SLAYER, MOTORHEAD and GISM and somehow incorporate it into their songwriting in the most subtle ways. GROUCH is a step above most other melodic punk in the sense that you can tell they really mean it...they're cramming tons of hooks into each song and play with passion. Unfortunately, all they left in the world is this one treble-y demo tape. The band soon broke up as both Kyle and their drummer, Henderson moved westward to the Bay Area and Portland, respectively.
   These days, Kyle plays guitar and sings in NEON PISS, He also plays drums in the awesomeness known as DISPLEASURE. Henderson was the former drummer of SHOREBIRDS. His new band, REMAIN INDOORS was supposed to play a show with my band in Portland last week, but they broke up before that could happen. At least they recorded an awesome tape before disbanding (p.s. I need that tape.). Bassist, Chris has graciously let me borrow his bass almost every time I have been in Asheville to play music and he now plays in the long running band, KLS...a band that has been around for longer than he has been alive.

Updated Feb 2017

Thanks to Erick for the tape cover and to Kyle for the digital files. Also to Alex for last minute fact-checking.