Columns - "Friday Night at the Death Club" 04.26.00

Missiles of the Midwest, and We're Pointing Them Straight at You!

We hate everything you do. The past month has been something else around here. Drunkenness, car wrecks, injuries, and great punk rock shows. It's got me thinking about the state of affairs here in my rusty Midwest headquarters, and I realized that the attack has already begun. The Clone Defects rolled into Kent, Ohio for a show at the Mantis gallery with the Cock Spaniels and Kill the Hippies. A great, riled crowd turned up, and the boys fucked shit right up. I stood in the crowd watching them, and just starting laughing maniacally. There were hardly any cameras there, no video, no big label people, no bar (Just a bunch of coolers sitting all over the place filled with ice and beer), no leather pants, no fucking attitudes- just a pure, rocking Midwest show. One of the best shows I've been to in a long time, and I've been to shows all over the country. So I'm wondering to myself, when the fuck people are gonna' wake up to the No-Coast? I was talking to the Clone Defects' singer Tim about this, talking for a Rock Action interview I was doing for the new issue; so I asked:

Why the fuck is it that bands that don't mean a piss are picked up by these supposedly "underground" labels these days, and really challenging and punk bands are ignored because they don't have liberty spikes or wear bondage trousers, or kick it with leather pants and leopard print and a T-Rex songbook?

"Because that's New York, LA, SF, and out West where the sun shines." Tim answered. " T-Rex rules, but I don't wanna own the songbook. Maybe real punk rock like from the '70's is still futuristic music. Pussies can't handle it, and neither can the stinkin' labels."

New York, LA, and San Fran have dominated the punk rock scene for a long fucking time- as long as I can remember. Most of my favorite bands though (and I'm talking recently, for now), are from places like Austin, Nashville, Tokyo, Germany, and especially places like Cincinnati, Detroit, and other bastions of Midwest punk rock. Lately though, I've really been taking a chisel to the surface, and have dug up older stuff like Eddie and the Wolfgang (Battle Creek, Michigan), Human Zoo (Cincinnati), The Lips are Back (Battle Creek), Latin Dogs (Battle Creek), breaking out my old Destroy All Monsters stuff (Detroit/Ann Arbor), not to mention all the old Kent/Akron bands like Sockeye, Boy In Love, more popular bands like the Rubber City Rebels (Akron- no doi?!), modern bands like Kill the Hippies, the old Cleveland bands like the one Alex P. Keaton was in with Joan Jett(seeing if you're paying attention(it's too bad Justine Bateman got on all those pills and they had to kick her out)), to one of the only ones people outside of the Midwest will "condescend" to bring up- the Pagans. And it became very clear to me- the battle started years ago, and if that battle comes down to killer, nasty bands, we are decidedly winning it.

The Faithful Handiman; I thought You Were the Candyman.

But as even the Coast motherfuckers will admit that it should be about that (punk rock music), we all know it ain't, and the "underground" punk scene is in the worst shape it's been in for a while because of it. It's come down to labels selling a product. It's come down to labels hitting the target with one band, and then 10 more clones of these bands start popping up. The labels first cream themselves, and then haphazardly start revving up the hit machine, rapidly putting out worthless fodder from bands who will be forgotten about in a year. Sound familiar to you? Isn't that just what the major labels do, and have always done? When bands like Nirvana, REM, and the Replacements hit in their respective cities years ago, and more recently Green Day, Rancid (Who didn't bite, but have to admit they did some serious nibbling (I know, who gives a shit, but I making a fucking point, dicknose)), the buzzards swooped in and signed anything that they could get their grubby little beaks into that resembled the aforementioned. They then tried molding these bands to fit into their idea of what "it" should sound like, pursed their lips when the records didn't "take off", then sent them packing- lovely, guys. Now, it's shit like Libertine (themselves- take that shit somewhere else, fellas), Bombs and Stitches rip off bands, rip off Rip-Off bands, and Sweden crap that I don't want to hear that floods the "underground" market, and they then go as far as to flaunt the fact that they want to use the UNDERGROUND as a stepping stone to blow-jobs! And everyone used to wonder why the major label issue was such a big stink for so long.

It's because that shit is fucking beat. All this shit is beat. This is supposed to be about danger and taking chances. Running an underground punk rock label is supposed to be about releasing music that is killer that wouldn't get released otherwise. So actually, the "underground" labels are doing their jobs, in a way. No one would release this shit otherwise- because it sucks ass! Even the major labels (that these bands are trying desperately to get on to get their "message" of eyeliner and heavy metal to the "kids"(the only people naive enough for them to even attempt to address)), that promote Tyrese (Who has a 30' image of himself hanging in Times Square and you don't Mr. and Mrs. Ego), know shit when they see it. Like my Dad always says, "If it looks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it's probably a duck". Duck off!

Missiles of the Midwest Flying, People of the Midwest Dying.

We know everything you do. And if you do it anymore, you're gonna' be dead and burning on the floor. I've recently been spying all of these great reviews for a band from Detroit called the Piranhas. The funny thing though, is that I've had a copy of that for a year, figuring that as per usual, no one was going to catch on, and he or she would be doomed to obscurity. And in actuality, despite these good reviews, they are, and they have been. Doomed! Essentially though, the No-Coast kids have known about this band for a while. Their "Attack" 12" is the best record to come out this past year, if not the past five. So the "coasts" finally start catching on. Sorry, but you missed the boat- they're done. Like remember that one time you all went all apeshit over the TKO's, while everyone in the Midwest was laughing at you because the band had been broken up for a while? You lose again. Southern California- you need that shit shoved up your noses, like with Smogtown. Now you're trying your best to ruin 'em. You guys just can't catch a winner, especially if it ain't right in your backyard. San Francisco? They know where they stand. Besides a couple of killer street bands up there right now, it's pretty pathetic, but don't worry! You all still shit on New York. Gag me with a spoon! Is there a good band in New York right now? I'm asking for serious. The Dictators are getting old, gang. You can't expect the Bronx Bombers to stick up for your sorry asses forever, now can you? What, the Ramones are getting back together? Puhleeeease! "Drink toilet water, suck assholes, and eat your sister's pussy!"

Short Run? Yeah, It'll be a Short Run to Get to the Door, but We'll Catch You, and Kick You In the Fucking Dick!

Tech-wars! CD-R's! They're cheap, like we are, so I didn't foresee a problem. The new Cock Spaniels came out on CD-R. Eric, Cock-Span guitar player was like,"Dude, I don't care, but people are bitches. They'll bitch". It's started, too. Not to be condescending- I’ll just explain really quickly what we're talking about- burned CD's. Like dubbing tapes, but on the home computer. You get it. They're throwing a hissyfit in punkland. Why? Check the new MRR. MRR says they will review them in the "demo" section only. Ridiculous! Believe me, I could get into this for an hour, but I refuse. Why? Why what? Why is it ridiculous? It's ridiculous because MRR, and all of these bigger underground labels are an establishment. They don't want this. It enables bands to bypass them. It's creating an underground of the underground. They're scared. They're not worth a shit anymore, and everyone knows it. They don't want change, because they're comfortable. This tech enables people to put shit out without having to press up 1000 copies. This would help out good bands immensely. We all know that good bands have to wallow, if you will, in obscurity to ever see the light of day, while shit bands get some money flashed at them cause they dress like girls (or are actually girls), and suck dick. It would help out the smaller labels that are paying out of pocket to put out music that they believe in, and don't care about anything but the possibility of breaking even for their efforts- charging the music all of you faggots should be listening to at you (no offense to gay kids- you have more style anyway). Even putting out a 300 run of a 7" will cost you $400 after you get some covers made up, and send out samples to distros and zines. So you've got $400 worth of shit tied up with the distros, and even if they're straight up with you, you don't get that money back until they sell (I'd like to thank Underground Medicine, Alternative Action (Finland), Incognito (Germany), and at least the slow moving honesty that is Subterranean for their help. They pay you for what they buy.

Not a difficult concept. Skull Duggery- where's my fucking money, bitch?). The established underground are keeping you ignorant to all of the cool bands that are out there, working at restaurants, and rocking on the weekends, and sometimes the weekends which cost them jobs which make them have to drive to go "rock" the next weekend with no insurance, until they get pulled over, and get paid $50 for a show that cost them $200 in the end. That's why it's so weak right now. And to those of you running labels and shit that are comfortable, putting out one thing a month and keeping the shit avalanche tumbling- fuck you! If the underground music tyrants can't be toppled, who can? They are ripe! Let's pick 'em.

Missiles of the Midwest Crying, We Hate Everything You Do.

I've caught a bunch of shit from people this past month over my last Blank Gen. column, a bunch of shit off of bands for my lines of questioning concerning interviews (I guess because I don't consider an interview a fan letter (get your ass kissed somewhere else)), shit over a couple other columns I've done recently, and "shit" like that. I can't say that I don't care. Definitely, it would be a false stance if I claimed I didn't. If I truly didn't give a fuck, I'd keep my breathtaking "opinions" to myself. So I'm trying to "express" instead of "impress"? You're just gonna' have to handle it. The sitch would be different if I felt that I was going out of my way to piss folks off, but I ain't. It's just that people have thin skin, shitty bands, zines, attitudes, and have no clue. Telling the truth doesn't make me cynic, motherfuckers. I'm simply trying to be helpful. God, I'm sorry. I don't mind butting heads with people over this, though. That's why I bother with this business. The last battle station of modern, street level culture, riots, kisses, puke, and for once, a poetic degeneration of those that found someone to stand alone with. "That's the way I like it baby, I don't want to live forever."

Don't forget the joker,

c/o Rock Action
10825 Springfield Rd.
Poland, Ohio 44514

P.S.- Rock Action #6 will be out June 1st, so start the $2.50 flood, or don't. What happens if you don't then, is you miss interviews with Smogtown, Clone Defects, Commies, Piranhas (regarding their demise), columns about girls being forced to look hot, Muppet fucking, and a general Midwest rampage.

© 2003