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Semicids Don’t Do That

4 Mar

It’s easy to disrespect later 80’s hardcore; hell I’ve done it more than once here at PS RECON. This stems from an adolescence watching the halcyon days of ’81 – ’83 SoCal hardcore punk unfold from afar, over the handlebars of a Schwinn Scrambler, ensconced deep in the suburbs. When I came of age to actually participate in it, I found that – voila! – it was fucking over. Early scene figureheads had moved on to different musical terrain, and the new crop of hardcore bands were merely trading on past glories. In comparison to what that first RED CROSS EP had sounded like to my 11 yr old ears at the dawn of the 80s, the HC of my teens seemed blandly formulaic and self-righteously rigid, a pale ghost of what had come before.

But regional differences still counted for lot back then, and what defined mid/late 80’s hardcore in SoCal didn’t necessarily way out in the MidWest. The college towns of Bloomington/Normal, Illinois once had a thriving HC scene with their own identity and trajectory, blossoming later and utterly distinct from anything I grew up near. Outta this time & place once sprung a great little band called THE SEMICIDS.

THE SEMICIDS came to my attention when I roomed next to their gtrist Max Deutsch in the UCSB dorms in ’89. While I had always thought of myself as “punk”, it was probably in my own mind only. Max, however, was the real thing – the living/breathing, walking/talking kind. He was in a hardcore band who played dozens of gigs in poolhalls and rec rooms thoughout central Illinois. He risked ridicule & physical harm by proudly wearing his JOY DIVISION t-shirt out to MANNEQUIN BEACH gigs, and tried to sell the NAKED HIPPY LP to anyone who’d stand still. He walked with a swagger, had a half shaven, mop-like hairdo, and quickly sussed that most of the beachtypes surrounding us were totally full of shit. True to punk, he was also really smart.

I was knee deep in NICK CAVE/SWANS/LYDIA LUNCH worship at this point, but Max’s music pulled me back to fast and furious things I’d grown up with reading Flipside a few years earlier. We sulked together, fried together, even FUGAZIed together – before going our separate ways a year later. But we’ve kept in touch ever since, and I eventually got to meet SEMICIDS Brad & Ed (both great guys) when passing through the midwest in ’91. As I’ve always fondly remembered those times and the wildass HC recklessness exhibited on THE SEMICIDS lone recording (the Recess demo cassette from ’89), I decided to throw Max some questions about them now faraway days.

1. Just what is a SEMICID, who comprised this band, and how did it all come together?

‘SEMICID’ is ambiguous, referring to either a brand of vaginal suppository contraceptive, now discontinued, or else a member of the mid to late eighties punk rock band, SEMICIDS, now discontinued. The band was composed of Ed Young-v, Max Deutsch-g, Brad Christensen-b, and Rob Reed-d. Post-‘89, Phil Karnatz played g for a year or so. Brad and I (Max), friends since junior high, decided to buy guitars and start rockin’. At that point we called ourselves CONSTANT PAIN, after an early PUSSY GALORE tune.

We looked around for a drummer and singer. A guy from my high school’s marching band gave drums a go, but wasn’t nearly fierce enough. We ended up posting a ‘seeking drummer’ flyer and Rob called. He was older (26) and had studied percussion in college a bit. He was a fantastic drummer, and easily adapted to the demands of playing fast, loud, and mean. As a bonus, he was living in a dilapidated building in downtown Bloomington where we could practice and store our gear. We met Ed through our close friend, Dave ‘Hongfoid’ Hungerford. Ed was a badass punk, the type the jocks and preppy fucks were scared of. Since no one was scared of Brad or me, and since he could yowl and scream like his head was going to pop right off, he seemed like the perfect front man. And he was.

2. Who were you guys modeling yourselves after? Certainly not your fathers.

Not our fathers, no. Brad and I listened to hardcore punk rock and liked many of the DC bands of that era, MINOR THREAT, GOVT. ISSUE, etc. We also listened to BLACK FLAG, and some of the other early SST punk stuff. The REAGAN YOUTH lp got played to death. And I had the PUSSY GALORE ‘Feel Good About Your Body’ 7”, which I thought was just dandy. We covered tunes by WIRE, BLACK FLAG, CIRCLE JERKS, and JOY DIVISION, as well as some ridiculous song by AGNOSTIC FRONT. Brad and I were also in to rap: NWA, PUBLIC ENEMY, RUN DMC. Ed had more expansive tastes. He was a punk and listened to plenty of punk rock proper (GERMS, STOOGES, etc.) but went through a LA glam phase (via the NEW YORK DOLLS) and also liked 60s/70s garage rock. Rob had interests in jazz and rock bands such as CAPT. BEEFHEART. Another local band, NAKED HIPPY, was a major influence. We opened for them a lot, and we loved them. Several NAKED HIPPY gigs from the 80s still rank as the best live gigs I’ve ever seen.

3. For the benefit of us costal types, please give us a brief snapshot of the Bloomington/Normal Illinois HC scene circa ’88.

B/N was just far enough away from Chicago to grow its own music scene. There were great punk bands, namely SEMICIDS and NAKED HIPPY. IMPETIGO, ARMAGEDDON, and METAL KILL were kicking up heavy metal dust. There was a college rock, new wavy outfit called THAT HOPE. There were plenty of venues, really. A bar on the college bar strip (B/N is home to Illinois State University), The Gallery, booked punk/metal stuff fairly regularly. The building we practiced in, the Eddy Building, had a cooperative performance space called Electric Coffee and we played there many times. We would fairly regularly play with bigger bands that came through town. We also played out in many of the surrounding towns and cities—Peoria, Champaign/Urbana, etc.

The scene was pretty a-ok, looking back now. Lots of kids were down with the music and it was rare to play to a small crowd. There was (and still is) a great head shop/record store called Mother Murphys that doubled as a hang out for us punks. On the down side, there was something a touch redneck about the B/N scene that was distasteful to me. For example, there were kids in the scene in Peoria who were openly gay, but out our way, that could get your ass kicked. With that exception, the B/N punk scene was just the place for outcasts and losers it was supposed to be.

4. Your cassette has alot going for it: a powerful singer, a trippy jazzoid drummer, some great gtr/bass interaction and a bunch of cool post-MINOR THREAT tuneage. Hell there’s even some cool accidental U2-like harmonics thrown in there to boot. Who or what gave you the idea this would be a winning sonic combo?

The cassette recording is muddy—way too much low end. Live there was plenty of feedback and more trebly, distorted guitar noises. Still, I’m happy to have the tape and some aspects of it still put a smile on my face. I think Ed, Brad and Rob sound pretty damn good, actually. As for crafting the sonic combo, well, it wasn’t really a matter of craft. We plugged the instruments in and tried to play them as fast and loud as possible. It was punk as can be in terms of musicianship.

5. Best/worst live gig you guys played? Please, spare no detail.

The best show was at Illinois Weslyan University with NAKED HIPPY and ARMAGEDDON in probably 1988. We were finally comfortable with our sound/songs and we were confident and animated on stage. There was a large crowd of supportive fans who got whipped into a violent frenzy. What could be better? And NAKED HIPPY was on fire. There were no bad shows.

6. A few of you guys were pretty heavy acid eaters (no names mentioned). What was your take on the prevailing straight edge ethos at the time?

Brad and I identified with the straight-edge scene at first, but Ed and Rob would have none of that malarkey. Brad and I eventually came to see the error of our ways and lost all of our straight edges, becoming amorphous, drug-addled blobs. I think it appealed to us at first because the straight edge ethos emphasized the music over other elements of the scene, and we were adamant about punk as music as opposed to, say, a style of dress. But the edge kids were pricks, mostly. Congratulations, you’re square, and you want everyone else to be square or you’re gonna beat em up. Fuck you.

7. There were other, non-SEMICID people I’ve heard you reference in the past. People with names like Up Chuck Chow. Now’s the time to pay tribute to the little people without whom it wouldn’t have happened.

At a show in Champaign, Il., Chuck wore just boxers and a cape and leaped and danced around wildly during the performance of our song, ‘Man of Steel’. At one point, he stopped and popped Ed square in the mouth. This significantly enhanced our punk rock credentials. He is hereby thanked for this, and for various other SEMICIDS-centric behaviors. (This has been a carefully guarded secret for decades, but now’s the time to let the cat out of the bag: Chuck = The Dude of Steel. There, I said it. What a relief.)

Besides introducing us to Ed, Dave Hungerford influenced our collective musical taste by buying many, many records, punk and otherwise, and blasting cassette recordings of them while we cruised the dangerous streets of Normal, Il. in his powder blue Ford Fairmont. Also, he used to yell at me for tuning my guitar too carefully at band practices. That was helpful. Smilin’ Dan Malin, drummer for NAKED HIPPY, served as roadie on countless occasions and was a consummate fan.

7. Tell us a story about BLOODY MESS & THE SCABS we don’t already know.

What in the world would you know about Bloody and his SCABS, London-via-SoCal boy? He once left a message on my parents’ answering machine. Bloody (in a gravelly, Lemmy-from-MOTORHEAD sorta voice): “Yes, hello, this is Mr. Mess calling for Max, please have him call me, Mr. Mess, at 555-5555. Once again, Mr. Mess calling for Max. Thank you.” That freaked my parents’ shit. I once saw him piss on an adoring fan at a house party in Peoria. That freaked my shit.

8. What brought about your demise?

I left for college in California, as you well know. The SEMICIDS carried on for a time with a different guitar player. Most recently, Ed was playing in a great rock-n-roll band, THE RESINATORS. Brad and Dave Hungerford played together in TRAILER PARK DEATH SYNDROME, with Dave on vocals. In college, Brad played bass with 4 INCHES OF DESTRUCTION. I sat in my dorm room twanging away on an acoustic, dreaming of the good old days. I still do a little of that, but not in a dorm room. Briefly, Chuck Chow and I played together in a band called WIDTH. We were extremely talented, and very clever lyrically, but literally no one else seemed to think so, not even our very close, musically inclined friends. We played one show, in the room of the studio apt we shared in S.F., to two neighbors in our apt complex, who came over on the promise of free drinks.

9. A few of us heard some of your CCR-inspired, riff-oriented tunes you were working on, ca. ’89. Sounded cool to us at the time! What happened with that?

Glad you appreciated that stuff. I don’t know what happened with it. It just faded into the woodwork. But I can still put together a nice guitar riff. Move to HK and we’ll start a band.

10. Finally: what are you up to these days, musically speaking?

I read PSR religiously. What more do you want from me?

———-

THE SEMICIDS – “El Camino” (Recess demo, 1989)

THE SEMICIDS – “Madness” (Recess demo, 1989)

This Is Not My Destiny

17 Sep

I don’t wanna drown in American Society (photo: Ed Colver)

Like a lot of of kids, I first heard this line sung by EDDIE & THE SUBTITLES at the beginning of the 80’s on Rodney Bingenheimer’s Sunday night KROQ show. And truth be told, it left me feeling pretty damn, well, scared. Was society really a death trap? Was adult life really this grim? I was only 11, but apparently it was. The minimalist 1/2 tempo HC riff, 1-note OC beeline solo, monotone vocal holler, and crunching gtr finale made this something that could’ve only emerged from a neighborhood dominated by cookie-cutter, post-war track homes and ugly dingbat apartment units. But the trench-warfare refusal stance of the lyrics and overarching fatalistic tone is something that I still haven’t shaken.

Thinking back I can’t remember this one ever not floating around in the chlorinated pool of my unconscious. I’m sure that it left a deep, bloody cleft in the heads of alot of other people too, maybe you included. And though I found an exit of sorts from this particular American Nightmare (me, I bailed for pastures overseas) this song is more about those who’ve stayed, and hence had to witness the ever-darkening economic/political landscape Stateside firsthand, day in & day out. In retrospect, this is one important fucking song for a certain strata of Americans, wherever the hell we ended up. It’s never redundant to cover this; today I give you five different versions.

1. EDDIE & THE SUBTITLES – “American Society” (from Fuck You, Eddie!, Frontier Records, 2008) Anybody else think the original LP from which this was taken (Skeletons In the Closet) is a little schizo? Parts of it sound like Kim Fowley doing badbreath rockabilly, others like a lounge singer belting out coked-up skinnytie powerpop, still others like some Syrian-American dude singing for THE CHEIFS. Thankfully, this new comp. CD boils off all the fat and focuses squarely on those recordings driven by bassist/singer Mike Patton and drummer Matt Simon. As such this could be viewed as the last real stand by Fullerton’s MIDDLE CLASS (with whom both Mike and Matt rocked) before that band sidestepped into bogue ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN territory. Even the home demo tracks included here are cool, showcasing the kind of suburban slow-punk exploration that vehement anti-hippie types could get up to on pot and hallucinogenics (if only my shitty teen psychedelic/punk band had sounded this powerful!). If you’re anything like me you’ll fucking love this CD.

2. L7 – “American Society” (from The Big One – City of L.A. Power, Flipside Records, 1990) Don’t even try to dis these gals. One of em (Suzi Gardner) moaned on BLACK FLAG’s big hit “Slip It In”; another (Jennifer Finch) blabbed on PAINTED WILLIE’s “My Fellow Americans” from their first 12″ EP – they’re fucking OG suburban HC, ok? Rather than bandwagoners trying to get with the Seattle thing, L7 was pre-Grunge Revolution, and so should be located within the constellation of post-REDD KROSS underground LA freakrock – think SYLVIA JUNCOSA BAND, Honey Davis-era ELECTRIC PEACE, THE NYMPHS, etc. etc. The distortion/volume/rage displayed on their first couple LPs is mighty impressive; if you ask me, this is a totally rad cover by 4 totally hot & powerful women.

3. MANIC HISPANIC – “Mexican Society” (from The Menudo Incident, BYO Records, 1995) Kinda – ok, ok: really – stupid for sure, but hey the dumb end of LB/OC is where these clowns (Steve Soto from THE ADOLESCENTS and AGENT ORANGE, Mike “Gabby” Gaborno from CADILLAC TRAMPS, etc.) most definitely wallowed in. I usually chuckle and grimace in pretty equal amounts during this one, but that’s just because I’m sorta bobo too. PS Recon takes no responsibility for the views/taste of the artists expressed herein.

4. LEAVING TRAINS – “American Society” (from Emotional Legs, Steel Cage Records, 2001) Taken from what may turn out to be the very last studio TRAINS rec – Falling James, prove me wrong! Late TRAINS were as inspired & contrary as mid-period TRAINS on SST, who were as challenging & heartfelt as any of the early, Paisley Underground-era TRAINS stuff. Which means I’d recommend the uninitiated dive in anywhere they damn well feel like. Those of you who thought James was only interested in things glitteringly Hollywood, do take note of this cover: clearly, he can recognize genius of the suburban type too. Oh and Maddog Karla (Ex-CONTROLLERS) plays totally bitchen drums on this one, racheting it up a notch in the rockin’ department. These guys/gals will always be favorites of mine.

5. LILLIAN FURNEAUX – “American Society” (ripped from a podcast put together by John Stabb[!], 2006) This lady’s solo cello versions of all your favorite Fullerton punk anthems first hit me as kinda gimmicky . . . but repeated listens get me thinking that she has spent some quality alone in a pitch black bedrooms blasting early HC punk loud as fuck, while hating life at a deeply felt level (clearly, the only reasonable way to get to know such music). I’m now imagining what certain SACCHARINE TRUST/MINUTEMEN songs might sound like done in a similar, chamber-pop fashion. Lillian, at some point do consider focusing your attention on bands from the South Bay, will you? Hear more of her stuff on her Myspace here.

Bad Breath To Your Ears, Pt. II

21 Jun

Ding! Ding! Round 2 of Bad Breath To Your Ears is about to commence, wherein we’ll listen to a stack of Grand Theft Audio CD releases and gab all about early 80’s SoCal hardcore, so you don’t have to. Read the first post here, place your bets, and take a seat . . .

Now don’t ever believe otherwise: half the time, it wasn’t the music but the violence (both real and imagined) surrounding this scene that really drew in the fans. I once met this soft-spoken, unassuming guy in Hermosa Beach who’d apparently just got out of jail for killing a guy with a skateboard. It was subsequently explained to me that this quiet gentleman had also once knocked out Mike Muir of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES on stage, with a single, well-placed punch. Now I don’t wanna sound flippant, but tell me: how much more hardcore can one man be? If this fella had been in a band, I’d have tried my hardest to sneak out and see ’em play. And I don’t think I’d’ve been the only one there.

But enough, off we go:

1. NO CRISISEverything + (GTA 018) – Fuckups from Huntington Beach who scored a minor Rodney B. hit with their piano-driven ”She’s Into the Scene”. Nothing else here sounds that radio-friendly, since usually these boys rammed their tunes home with a galloping CHARGED GBH approach (”1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4!”). Which ain’t so unbelievable, since GBH who were absolutely huge in SoCal then. They eventually matured a bit and developed a slightly countrified but still rollickin’ punk sound that probably went over well at Linda’s Doll Hut in the mid 80’s playing with guys like THE PONTIAC BROS. Nothing mindblowing here but this is strong and distinctive suburban punker stuff any way you wanna cut it.

Gossip: ok so a couple of em apparently spent some time with Darby Crash at Hollywood’s Skinhead Manor, and there’s one song here where the singer confesses to rummaging through the pockets of a recently-dead Darby for spare cash, before the coroner arrived on the scene. ”Where he’s going, you can’t buy a thing!” Now, who cares if this is true or not? Makes for great HC lore.

2. CIRCLE ONEAre You Afraid? (GTA 029) – I certainly was at the time – afraid, that is – what with guys like this on the loose. Singer John Macias was one legendary and feared motherfucker, known far and wide for his outta control aggression, gang following (”The Family”), and inconguent born-again Xtain beliefs. He even threw a security guard off the Santa Monica Pier – after which, he was shot & killed by SM police. It’s these sorts of extremes you’d only find in the HC scene at the time. But on to his band . . .

Well, I’m gonna be the first to say CIRCLE ONE weren’t all that together, musically speaking. They’re trying to do some kinda TSOL by way of MINOR THREAT thing, but their songs don’t stick, they aren’t compelling rhythmically, and John sings like a wannabe Jello Biafra (who would want to be Jello?). I always did dig the defiant, middle finger sentiment to “Highway Patrolman”, and the live stuff indicates their shows were probably all near-riots . . .but as rock, well, it just don’t stand up. Still: the backstory is just too compelling for me to sell this CD.

3. HUMAN HANDS Bouncing to Disc (GTA #027) – Just to confuse the issue Brian GTA went and reissued the HANDS, whose lineage dates back to the earliest SoCal (and Phoenix) punk rock stirrings. These guys ain’t hardcore, but they did help jumpstart LA art-punk playing downtown clubs like The Brave Dog to budding performance artists around the turn of the decade. The horn-rimmed glasses and stiff, collared shirts they’d sport matched their starched, pointed rhythms inch for inch. Plus, like MONITOR, they somehow managed to incorporate a goofy tiki aesthetic into their terse thing. This is totally ranking in an anxiety-provoking kinda way. Like THE URINALS, this makes my butt itch in the best possible sense.

4. RF7All You Can Eat (GTA 001-R #050) & All You Can Eat, Volume II (GTA 050) – Just great underclass HC rockin’ from Simi Valley, CA that even heavy punker types seem to overlook. RF7 stand at the self-loathing of HC: you know, guys who’d do drugs and beat off and cut their arms alone in dark rooms, and then rock the hell out to forget about how much they hate themselves (Henry Rollins did this more famously, only without the drugs). So it makes sense these guys would find god, and a Christian one at that.

But hey: here god’s totally tolerable, as the stakes are as dark and grim as found on any BLACK SABBATH or BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON record you wanna spin. These guys rock hard and will pummel yr ass 12 ways back to Sunday school. Never really meant to be heard except by their ugly NA brethren, if you’re looking for the real thing, you’re gonna find it here. The second vol. (including their Traditional Values rec in its entirety, which Byron Coley once praised as “the best US hardcore in a decade”) actually beats the first, but it’s all good. There’s some great old video clips of them and their buddies to be found here.

5. HYPNOTICSEveryone Gets Their Nanosecond of Fame (GTA 043) – antisocial creeps from Long Beach who kept mining a late-70’s punk-influenced borehole riff attack long after hardcore became de rigueur around them parts. Somewhat unusually, their ranks included a keyboardist – maybe this was the SUBURBAN LAWNS influence in/around LB? It didn’t leaven their sound as much as you might believe, since they chose to scream bad-taste songs about nazis, misogyny, phone sex, psychopathic murderers etc. Realistically, you’re gonna haveta listen to this one out of earshot of your wife/girlfriend. But since they don’t have the comedy timing of an ANGRY SAMOANS or FEAR, my no-longer young ears tire of this one pretty quick. Does this mean I’m a pussy? Betcha Joe Stumble loves em.

Bad Breath To Your Ears

11 Jun

OK so yeah I do have a somewhat guilty but tender affection for pretty much ANYTHING remotely tagable as early 80’s SoCal hardcore. I know, I know – alot of it just wasn’t all that together, musically speaking, and it’s no secret how freakin’ rigid the whole thing quickly became, but hey: as a kid, this stuff blew my mind in 100 different cool ways, the kinds of ways that’ve helped me navigate life (alive no less!) into my 38th year. I owe it one.


(Me, age 15, imitating Darby Crash)

It was when the South Bay suburbs exploded in 1981 (thank you very much BLACK FLAG) that I remember first hearing the word punk in reference to rock. And then – overnight! – hardcore became an irrefutable fact of teen (er, pre-teen) life. I’d start seeing it’s graffiti on the sides of buildings, I’d catch a few of it’s songs on Rodney B.’s Sunday night show, and invariably I’d spot it’s adherents sulking/smoking out in front of local 7-11 chain stores. And you either avoided it like the plague, or you were drawn to it like a moth to fire. Me, I love flames.

Yes: hardcore did attract all manner of idiot toughguys & fascistic meatheads. Skinnyass me, I once got chased halfway down Melrose Ave. by a bunch of skinheads (L.A.D.S. perhaps?) who were older, bigger, and waaaaaay drunker, slurring: “kid – what you asposed to be, a s-s-s-suicidal or something?” But no lie: HC was Thee Giving Tree from which all things remotely exciting, interesting, and inspiring fell in the suburbs during those dark days. And since suburbs constitute like, 95% of Southern California . . . well basically we all had to shut up and eat it, since bitchen subcultural options for the underage set remained mighty limited for years to come.

As a parallel-universe record collecting geek, I spent a lot of time sifting through all manner of punk and early hardcore detritus in the mid-80’s, and then . . . got bored with it all and moved on. But then the 90’s came along, and with em those early, Nuggets-like archival punk/HC comps (thank you Johan Kugelberg). Not long after, punker CD reissues began coming down fast and hard. By the mid 90’s, a manical freak named Brian “GTA” Sheklian began mining forgotten, second-tier HC types on his BOMP RECORDS distributed GRAND THEFT AUDIO label. He eventually released nearly 60 titles, and fully 1/3 of these focus on lost bands from LA and environs (which is where this post ought to’ve begun.)

Now, because I exhibit what might have once been called blatant localism, I’ve only ever bothered to check out those GTA releases by Southern California bands. And truth be told, none are what your average non-punker listener would call amazing; many are only semi-competent approximations of what others – BLACK FLAG, ADOLESCENTS – were carving out in more powerful/meaningful ways at the time. Yet all are totally fascinating to me, as they stand as rich time capsules snatched from a few of those narrow-world, cropped-haircut punk microcosms that flourished all around SoCal then. If you’re so inclined, they might just spin your aging ass too, like they did mine. Here’s a rundown of a few:

1. SIN 34Die Listening 1981-1984 (GTA 003-R #020) – This is most fun you’re gonna have in the HC set. SIN 34 were a West LA band notable for ushering drummer/amateur filmmaker Dave Markey (Desperate Teenage Lovedolls, The Year Punk Broke, etc.) into the scene. His presence in a band meant he got his camera close to lots of underground music dwellers at a time and place absolutely nobody else gave 2 flying fucks about documenting. SIN 34 were also one of the few to have a girl singer (Julie Lanfeld), and a rad one at that. She had guts, a sense of humor, and a one of those perpetually-stoned SoCal drawls that covered up for the fact she couldn’t actually sing – but then, what self-respecting HC singer could? Julie’s best bratty couplet: “Now BLACK FLAG is uncool, but you used to write it all over your school!” This CD collects everything NOT actually released on any of their records proper. That’s 36 cuts of demos/live/comp. material that’ll drive your parents up the freakin’ wall.

On a personal note, I used to date someone who was routinely mistaken for ex-SIN 34 singer Julie around the South Bay. Naturally, we both took this as a totally righteous compliment.

2. FUNERALHave You Seen My Leather Jacket? (GTA #037) – Forgotten Long Beach punkers who were dragged back into the jaundiced light via the inclusion of their “Waiting For the Bomb Blast to Arrive” cut on the Bloodstains Across California comp. from the early 90s. They plied a sound aligned with SOCIAL DISTORTION (moody, melodic punk) and they did it surprisingly well. Although Long Beach had its fair share of worthy HC punk bands in the early 80s (THE CREWD, SECRET HATE, etc.) it was a scene that was sadly overshadowed by the whole Huntington Beach/Edison High School thing a few miles down the coast. Which is a shame, cause these guys and their town clearly deserved more. Few articulated that baleful, apocalyptic suburban worldview better. Singer/gtrist Mike Martt went on to drunk-rock infamy playing with the likes of TEX & THE HORSEHEADS, THELONIOUS MONSTER, and THE LOW & SWEET ORCHESTRA, and still roams the backstreets of Signal Hill to this day.

3. RED SCARE1982-1988 As Promised (GTA 007-R #056) – You had to be fucking tough to survive as a woman on these kinda stages, what with all that testosterone a-flowing free back then. There’s a couple of live tracks on this thing that’ll give you an idea of the kinda BULLSHIT a woman-led band had to put up with on stage. But Bobbi Brat, the singer here, was most definitely up to the task. Her best lyric: “Can’t you see, little boy? I’ll only hurt you; because to me you’re a toy, I play around and desert you.” Although I can’t say this is classic hard stuff (it’s got that weird stiffness that comes with a drummer playing faster than he can reasonably rock) I have spun it alot, esp. when I used to drive deep into OC to meet psychotic Mexican-American vets as part of my last job ever in the States. So, I’m keeping this one. For what it’s worth, there’s a memoir of Hollywood streetlife floating around out there called Coloring Outside the Lines by Aimee Cooper that incorporates some old memories of Ms. Brat.

4. ANTIThe Hardcore Years 1980-84 (GTA #028) – Fairly rote HC with that polka-beat we all came to dread by the mid-80’s. A couple songs of this so-called peace-punk is all I’ll ever need (though I admit the bonus “anti parent” radio broadcast they’ve tagged on here is pretty hilarious). I wish they’d’ve expanded their sound a bit – but they didn’t, and so people promptly forgot about em. I do like the smudgey, howling singer though – it’s the voice of someone who dug smoking pot, which was a rarity in HC circles then. Their bassist Danny Phillips went on to be in a lame bottomwrung major-label, U2-ish act called EASTER in the late 80’s – please, please don’t post here about how great they were. Danny could be found working at Recycled Records in Hermosa Beach back then, always your best bet for scoring cheap copies of ANTI records at the time.

5. ABANDONEDLos Angeles, Motherfucker! (GTA #020) – Tony Adolescent was the main culprit here. And yeah, the spirit of the early ADOLESCENTS does shine through this thing, but in a nasty-ass, dark-alley TALES OF TERROR sorta way. Tony was clearly not enjoying his time in La Habra or wherever the fuck he was eeking out his existence at this point. This is not at all bad – but it’s grim, in that way only low-rent suburban LA life could be in the early/mid 80’s. I like this one, but it does make me fucking wince. Anybody ever see these guys play? Betcha they were simultaneously hot and a cheap, swift punch to the kidney.

———

More to come. I just gotta do the circle dance one time, ok?

Loud 3D

3 Jun

Hey: anybody out there ever seen this?

Loud 3D

It’s a slim, softcover volume put together in Dec. ’84 by Gary Robert, Rob Kulakosky, and Mike Arredondo (with help from the Maximum Rock N Roll crew) up in the Bay Area. And it’s filled with nothing but – get this: 3-D IMAGES of all your favorite hardcore bands!

3D glasses

Now I must’ve ordered it out of the pages of MRR sometime in ’85/’86. Cause I thought I was a punker. True HxCx, you know? Little did I know I’d eventually end up being one of them TIRED-ASS NEW-RO POSEUR HIPPIE GLAMFAG METALHEADS everybody moaned about back then.

BFsurfer

The book ain’t particularly relevatory, but you’re not likely to see a copy of it anytime soon. It’s got a few bands in it I listened to at the time – BLACK FLAG, DK’s, FEAR, MINOR THREAT, 7 SECONDS – and alot I didn’t (THE LEWD, CAUSE FOR ALARM, STRANGLEHOLD, and somebody named RIISTYTET, who were apparently Finnish). But it did suceed in making my buddy Bob laugh hard the other night (“shit, this guy’s middle finger is practically UP MY NOSE!”) as we talked about how bad that American Hardcore documentary turned out to be. Yep: I’m glad I kept it.

Olga DeVolga

I was always a Flipside reader myself. But you know: I tried really hard to get on board that Max R’N’R activist train in the mid-80’s, I really did. I bought an Augusto Sandino t-shirt that I wore to death. I listened hard to the SUBHUMANS record with that song about killing Mickey Mouse on it. I even went vegetarian! But in the end, I’d always be lured back to loud, rockin’ things with questionable/perverse lyrical content. Ah, well.

Ian MacKaye

Those MRR guys were probably well-intentioned. I went to college with a dude (called himself Jux) who eventually joined their team/army, and I can vouch for him, he was a great one. But the mag was kinda dry, the lack of color kinda draining, and not a joke in sight . . . it did seem they were asking just A BIT MUCH of their readership. And Flipside, well – they didn’t ask a goddamn thing of me, other than my dollar. And maybe, that I bring a sense of wild fun to the preceedings – which most people don’t NEVER ask of me to do. I still appreciate that warm invitation, 2+ decades on.

Jello