Wednesday, September 28, 2016


   This one has been a tough one to get around to writing and going into it right now, I'm not even exactly sure what I'm going to say. Our friend Barker Gee took his own life in Conway, Arkansas on June 21st this year and I'm still waiting for him to pop out of the bushes with that big dumb grin on his face and say "haw haw!! GOTCHA!"....and just walk off smoking a cigarette like nothing happened. To say that it's devastating to our community of friends is the understatement of the year. I hate it so much.
   I have too many stories to share about Barker. They're all darkness and light. Some of them are side splittingly funny. Others are so crushingly sad that if I think about them too much, I can't do anything but cry. He had a spark that is rare for the people you meet in this life. (I've now been sitting here staring at the screen for 20 minutes with my fingers on the keyboard thinking about everything....every interaction...and I just don't know what to say, still.)
   Once, our old band NEON PISS was driving up to Portland to play a show. I was driving and Barker was in the back seat asking if he could smoke in the car again (no). The mix tape I made was playing when "Tabletop Hop" by THE YOUNG MEN came on. Barker yelled "Whoa! You put this on your tape??!!? Hell yeah!" When the guitar solo - his guitar solo - came on, he yelled "Turn it all the way up!!" I did and he played air guitar to it. The whole thing was so ridiculous and endearing and we all just laughed like idiots.
   THE YOUNG MEN was Barker, Jamie, Ren and Skip. They started after BENT OUTTA SHAPE split up and (predictably) did not get the respect they deserved following the foot print that BENT left behind. Barker put this tape out years after the band split up and it's a bunch of stuff they never got around to releasing. The tape includes 10 songs from "The Chris Pierce Sessions", 3 songs I know very little about and their 4 song demo. "Alabam'" from the demo is easily my favorite song about my home state written by someone who never lived there.
   HUFF STUFF MAGAZINE was a short lived Oakland band featuring Barker on guitar and vocals, Stevo on bass and Brad on drums. One time, Barker called me and asked if I had ever listened to their demo tape. I said "Yeah....once." He said "Well, listen to it a few more times. We need you to play drums for us at Thrillhouse tonight." I did listen to it some more but  then I showed up too late and missed the entire show. I heard that they just grabbed someone from the audience to play. Regardless, through the repeated listening, I realized that the tape is excellent. You can still order their LP here. At a recent memorial for Barker, I noticed that almost every time I paid attention to what was on the stereo, it was the HUFF STUFF record.
    At some point while NP was still a band, Barker took off to New York to get clean. While he was there, he started playing some music with Aaron Cometbus and was supposed to get some dude from FUGAZI in the band too. I don't think that ever happened, but he sent me an email one day telling me about what he was up to on the East Coast. He sent me an mp3 of his new band and said "Don't ever let anyone hear this!!" Sorry Barker. Someone already put this song online anyway.
   I'm including the NEON PISS LP. 45. demo tape and weird "rarities" CD that we sold at our last show because I realized you can't download it for free on our Bandcamp page. I don't know how to log into that page anymore, so here's everything for free. Also included is the rough mix of "Siege Mentality" off of our LP. I threw this one in because Barker whispers "There is no God"during a break in the song towards the end. On the LP, it got mixed really far down, but on this mix, it's pretty prominent. It's one of my favorite things on the LP because it was an off the cuff thing that Barker decided to throw in without really talking to us about it. There's also a practice space recording of a later song that never got fully worked out that Barker wrote. (haha! I just remembered that this song is already included in the rarities CD. Ooops!)

From John No's piece about this video in the memorial zine edited by Janelle Hessig: 
"Barker cracked an egg into the pan as the camera rolled and it had TWO YOLKS - Which is always freaky but of course it happens from time to time....then he cracked the second egg and it had two yolks AGAIN! This time, we were like "Holy shit!" and started laughing pretty hard so his cigarette fell into the pan. He left it in there, kept cooking the eggs and lit another cigarette and then put that one out into the pan. Barker ate most of it and promptly puked."

Barker at Kurt Cobain's house. Photo by me.

Alex Turner for finding the things I don't have.
Caitlin Kelly for repressing the YM tape for the memorial and being a perfect angel.
Barker Gee for being such a singular, weird, engaging and loving human freak in this world. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

WOTZIT - Demo - Tape - 2016

    Believe or not, sometimes I don't have a story or the reference points or the "members of" list or anything to go on. Every once in a while, I just get a tape that makes me stop what I'm doing and pay attention. This is that tape. Sometimes, I just think "What if Fred Frith played guitar in a punk band?" and this is what I think about. This is the band's second tape. They're from Tokyo.

Find other stuff by the band here 

Friday, September 23, 2016

MICHELLE HILL - Demo - CDR - 2006

   I used to live in a punk house in Chattanooga, TN where we had a house rule that the first person to wake up every day had to either play BLACK FLAG's "Nervous Breakdown" at top volume or EXCESSIVE DEFIANCE's classic EP "Yo Dicknose, Eat A Dick Straight Up, Yo" on the wrong speed. At the age of 23, this was (usually) kind of funny and not a bad way to start your day....whether it was 6 am or noon. Years later, I lived in a not-exactly-punk house in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco and there was a period where my roommate Gaybob seemed like she had her own house rule of waking up every day and blasting this Michelle Hill CD in the kitchen while making coffee.  Sure, I liked these songs too, but by that time, I was 33 years old and really liked sleeping. I would get woken up by Michelle belting their voice into my head, usually accompanied by Bob's, and get SO annoyed. I have a hard time telling people how to live their lives, even when it impacts my, I would lay there and just listen to it....and find that I really liked the songs a lot and the CD was pretty I could usually just fall back to sleep. After a while, my other roommates were following suit and this was the usual soundtrack to our kitchen at any given time.
   Up until one week ago, that was the only times I had ever heard these songs, but I get to hear Michelle's voice pounded into my head all the fucking time now (albeit in a different context) because we're in a band together.
    Michelle recorded these songs at their house back in 2005 or 2006 and put it out on this CD-R in an edition of 30. Michelle apologizes for playing a banjo on one song. The songs are mostly led by an acoustic guitar and layers of their strong ass vocals. There are songs about loneliness and risque odes to inanimate objects. Two extra songs recorded in 2008 were sent over to be added to the download. "366 Days of Night" was written on a leap year and Michelle said that when they played it in a backyard in Olympia, WA, a dog howled along during the howling part. "Sexy Guitar Love Song" has to be heard to be believed and contains some of my favorite lines of all of these songs.

Michelle currently sings for SILENT ERA and has also played in TULSA, HONKY HORN & BAD MOUTH, SLEEPWALK and THE SLITS (touring guitarist)...and is also one of my best friends.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


   This is not the first appearance of YOUR HEART BREAKS on the blog. For more info, you could look here or here or even here (kind of). This was my first introduction to the band though and I would blast it through my headphones while walking around in the cold of the small Midwestern college town where I used to live in 2004. I didn't know Clyde (the main songwriter and core member) that well then, but I agreed to quit my job and roadie for his other band for a month anyway. Sometimes I look back on that trip as a mistake, but most of the time I know that it wasn't because it solidified our friendship in many ways that might not have happened otherwise.
   On the tour, I would sit behind the merch table while oogles talked to me about their dog or people handed me a beer or a college student would hand me a check for a few hundred dollars. I would sell their band's music and sometimes people would pick up this YHB CD. I'd sit there and try to sell them on it while they looked at me skeptically. "Yeah, it's this broken hearted queer pop, it's not, it's not on Plan-It-X records....yeah, I know that Rymodee from THIS BIKE IS A PIPEBOMB is listed as a member but he only plays the harmonica on one song for about 45 seconds...but, anyway, YOUR HEART BREAKS is this really cool...huh? Yeah, I know Rymodee and his band..yeah, they're really, I don't want a CD-r of your folk punk bedroom project...yeah, I've toured with, anyway, this CD is like this cool pop band and....oh, yeah, there's a beer store right down the street. No, I don't have any extra beer for you but a tall can is only like $1.50 over there...okay, thanks, bye."
    Most of the time, kids would buy this YHB CD after seeing that Rymodee played harmonica on it and after I explained that he only played for a minimal amount of time. I would sit there and hope that they would get past that. I liked to imagine that we were coming into some of these small towns like Goldsboro, NC (where the band was asked to not use "curse words" at their show)  and passing along this nugget of queerness into a deeply religious military town. Like, maybe they listened to the words and discovered some new shit about themselves and didn't feel so alone. Maybe they started their own queer pop band and helped marines come out to each other while realizing that it's not really a bad thing to be gay around a bunch of really fit men. Maybe it helped them realize that they needed to get the fuck out of that town and never look back. Or maybe they just filed it away in a pile and never listened to it again.
   I like these songs a lot. I'm pretty sure it's the only time anyone has sang anything about the band NEW BAD THINGS.

YOUR HEART BREAKS is still a very active band and only gets better. 
Clyde made an amazing movie called Torrey Pines and he'll be touring the US with it this fall and winter. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

IT GETS WEIRDER - Tape - Compilation - 2015

   Olympia, Washington. Love it or hate it. For whatever reason, it's a small town that brings up a lot of different emotions for people, but I've rarely met anyone who feels indifferent about the place. I myself have been on both sides of the wall at different points in my life. Once, I went there for a week just to lay on a couch while it rained.
    It's gotten a lot of attention in the past because of K Records or BIKINI KILL or whatever-the-fuck and now they're maybe getting a lot of attention because of G.L.O.S.S. or K Records or whatever the fuck. I've come around to liking the place again (and I have for years now) but I'm not about to pack my bags and move on up. I think it gets a bad rap, but imagine fighting to live your life in new and interesting ways while being somewhere small enough to see real, actual results. I'm not saying it's easy by any stretch of the imagination. I'm mostly telling you this convoluted shit to bring light to the fact of all of the hard work that my friend Meg and a lot of other hard workers do in Olympia. They helped to open the Interfaith Works Overnight Emergency Shelter, which is a shelter for people living on the streets of Olympia. I can't get into the details of the whole thing because I don't really know them. What I can tell you is that I went to a party at the shelter while a hardcore fest was happening 2 blocks away and all of the interactions I had there were so genuine, real and positive that I had to walk around the corner at least 5 times and just fucking cry. I know it's not like that all the time and I know it's a lot of hard work and I just wanted to point that out. Going back over to the fest felt like a step down, even though I would literally kill someone to relive that CCTV/BIG ZIT/VEXX show again.
   Also, I like eating tater tots at the Reef...a diner downtown that has burned down like 2 or 3 times.

   Oh yeah, there's music here. This tape was compiled by Sadie (G.L.O.S.S./DYKE DRAMA) and Joey (a true genius/madman who is responsible for most of the sick recordings you like from Oly) to showcase the myriad of punk shit coming out of the basements and dives of this small town. I love that this tape is truly all over the map of's not just hardcore or pop-punk, but those things are there too. I think my favorite discovery from this tape is DEFACEMAN, who I'd never heard before...just true fucked, chaotic, messy, brilliant beauty. I want to hear everything by them now. Other heavy hitters featured here are VEXX, GAG, G.L.O.S.S., BROKEN WATER, CC DUST and NASTI. The entire tape is worth your time though and provides a perfect glimpse at all the new shit going on there...or at least what was happening in 2015. Some of these bands have broken up already. Get into it.

I don't think this tape is available anymore. 
I took a long break from the blog for many reasons and one of them was archiving makes me feel weird now. That's all I'm gonna say about it, but I'll keep doing it for the time being.
If anyone in the Bay Area wants to give or sell me a functional cassette console, please get in touch. I had 4 break in one week.
Thanks to Alex Turner for digitizing this one.