Columns - "If You Die, and Go to Hell, Who Cares?" 07.14.00

Quick introduction...this is my column that will run in the August issue of MRR (#208). I'm going to start posting my columns here, around the middle of the month. As usual, if you'd like me to write about your band's record, some stuff you've put out, or your zine or whatthefuckever, send it my way. My address is at the bottom.

Leave it to me to drive over an hour to see a show and fall asleep right before the band I came to see plays. Fuck. Friday morning, I got a new copy of the List, (a list of all the shows going on in the greater Bay Area)., LES SEXAREENOS, I notice, are playing in Sacramento that night. They're also playing the next night in San Francisco. Feeling adventerous, I decide to go to the show in Sacramento instead of just motoring across the bay to see them at the Covered Wagon (where I've yet to see a really good show). Going to Sacramento will help ease my overwhelming desire to go on a road trip and to spend some time in a small town.

It's about an hour drive. I leave at 8, pulling up to the Press Club right at 9, just when the show is supposed to start. The first band, the GREEFS, takes the stage at 10. They're a color-coordinated jangly pop band who obviously like the Hi-Fives--a lot. After their 7th song (with at least three more songs to go), I head outside, stand around, then go to sit in my car.

Going to a show by yourself is never that fun, but it's especially unexciting when you go to a show in a town where you don't really know anyone. Of the few people I know in Sacramento, I don't know their phone number. So, I'm in Sacramento, sitting in my car like a jerkass and then it happens.

I fall asleep.

Though I don't think it's narcolepsy, something is wrong with me. Sometimes without warning, out of nowhere, I fall asleep. It's like I get unplugged. Boom. I shut down and nothing in the world can keep me away. So now I'm in Sacramento, sitting outside a club, sleeping. What a wild, wild life I lead.

About 40 minutes later, I hear an organ. It pulls me out of sleep. I wake up startled. Fuck! The Sexareenos are playing! Fuck! I jump out of the car, go inside and dance to their last three songs. They're great, as good as I thought they'd be, but I'm kicking myself still for missing most of their set.

They packed up, I got in my car and drove back home.

What did you do last weekend?

In addition to their LP on Sympathy, LES SEXAREENOS have a single on Sack of Shit. I haven't heard it yet, but supposedly a copy is on its way to me soon...

Last month I totally missed the GIMMIES 7". After I wrote my column, I went digging through the new arrivals at the MRR HQ, looking for stuff to write about for a 7" of the Week thing I'm doing on the Blank Generation. Well, the GIMMIES 7" (K.O.G.A. Records/Kikusui BLD. 6F/5-30-2 Daizawa/Setagaya-ku/Tokyo 155-0032/JAPAN) caught my eye. I put it on and was immediately hooked! This Japanese band have that destroyed Mod/Power Pop sound that's running rampant throughout their country. Think the RAYDIOS, or closer, think FIRESTARTER... which reminds me, did I mention the Mangrove (ACP BLDG 3F-B/4-23-5 Koenji Minami/Suginami-Ku/Tokyo, JAPAN) comp, Ad-Vice in my last column? Well, eve if I did, it's worth another mention. People have been abuzz about FIRESTARTER (3/4 of TEENGENERATE) since their inception. Here, for the first time, you can hear three of their songs--and they're GREAT!!! "Johnny Moped Was Right," is the stand out. But the CD also has three songs each by: INTIMATE FAGS, RADIO SHANGHI, ZYMOTICS and PRIVATEWAYS. The songs are good, but would have been better as a set of singles. You know how some songs just stand better on a single? Well, most of these fit into that category. After listening to this for a while, the songs start to drone. Still killer.

Back to the GIMMIES. Two songs, "Till You're Down/Sixties," with that blown-out angular guitar attack and solid, totally catchy rhythm. They're one of my current favorites, based solely on this single...and that's part of what makes 'em so good. You've heard me blab on about how one of the best things in the world is a perfect little single. Two songs that just bowl you ever. Play one side, flip it, play the other and continue doing that until you start to worry about wearing down the grooves in the record. This is one of those records. Oh, and as if it needs to be said, it sounds best when played REALLY loud.

After trying to track down a copy of the GIMMIES 7", K.O.G.A Records sent me a package (THANK YOU!!!) of some other 7" and CDs they've put out. TREE BERRYS 7" is more straight-up Pop, with sharp, jagged guitars that sound as Mod as these three guys look. PIGGIES ' Mrs. Dunn 7" is four songs of pretty standard pop-punk (think Mutant Pop) with gritty distortion. The song "California Beach," stands out thanks to the female vocals. NUDGE 'EM ALL's 3-song It's Time e.p. doesn't really do it for me...the more I listen to the batch of stuff K.O.G.A. sent, the more I realize that Japan has just as many mediocre bands as any where else. Most of the really good stuff filters over here to the U.S., giving us a skewed view of what's going on over there. That said, the production on all these records is killer, and all these bands are way better musicians than most bands in the States. Or at least it sounds like they fucking care about the music they're making instead of just doing it just because. Before I go off on one of my "Just because anybody can start a band, it doesn't mean they should" rants, I'll stop here, saying thank you to K.O.G.A. (who also sent me two SWITCH TROUT CDs that are full of hot, distorted instrumentals) and get the GIMMIES 7"!

Can you believe yet another live RAMONES bootleg has come out? Yeah, me too. But what's really unbelievable is that this one is actually good! It's true. The sound is great and they rip through 12 songs in true RAMONES fashion. Recorded in 1976 at the Starwood in Los Angeles. Set your skepticism toward live bootlegs aside and grab this while you can.

The DIALTONES are one of the busiest bands around at the moment. With a new single on NOW! Records (1615 Sixth St. NE #2/Mnpls., MN 55413) called With the Dialtones It's Always a Double A Side, these Germans serve up two more hot DEVIL DOGS-like rock 'n' roll. "Back In the City Tonight" is a sweaty, outta breath stormer, while "Take Me Back (To My Baby Tonight)" is a slower, swaggering song, in line with the LOOSE LIPS. Meanwhile, Radio Blast Record has just released a DIALTONES 12" e.p.called ShortSharpShock. I haven't heard it yet though.

The MEASELS may have the distinction of being one of the first bands to commit a GORIES cover to vinyl. Their smart-looking single on What Else? Records sounds as good as it looks. Their cover sounds amazingly like the original (maybe a little cleaner) and the flip side is another smoking organ-grinding pounder.

New Life Shark Records in Germany (the label who brought you CHINESE TAKEAWAY) recently released the long-awaited single by the PART TIME POSERS, who feature two members of Chinese Takeaway. In saying that the Posers do more of the same Takeaway-type stuff, I'm giving them a huge compliment. I think Chinese Takeaway were largely, over-looked. Hopefully the same thing won't happen this time around. The CD version includes two extra songs. New Life Shark also just released a single by the SOLD OUT SWEETHEARTS (limited to 500 copies) that's got the same snarling sing-a-long catchy style that's become the mark of New Life Shark.

Bloodstains Across the World #2 and Killed By Death #33 are both out now and what piss-poor quality! Seriouslyl, the only reason you should get these is if you're some kind of archivist or an idiot completist (such as myself). The song selection is okay, nothing to knock you outta your Chuck Taylors, but what really gets me is that the covers are just folded over photocopied pieces of paper. Come on! What the fuck?!? Adding insult to injury, these go for the normal $11-$14. I could overlook the shoddy quality artwork (which is a crucial part of any good record) if the records cost about half what they do. But they don't and it sucks.

Hey! Did you pick up the GIZMOS CD Gulcher Records recently released? I hope so... for those of you who are interested, Hate Records in Italy just released a single with the outtakes of "Muff Divin'," "Pumpin' To Playboy," and "Mean Screen." They're limited to 500 copies, so get a move on! If you're someone who works in front of a computer all day, you can help make the day go a little smoother by listening to the Gift Wrapped Crap internet radio station. Scott Bass plays a great mix of old and new punk, obscure and well known stuff. For a week, beginning July 16th or so, Paul R. is playing all old, never-before comped Dutch Punk, which is sure to be a treat you DON'T want to miss!

Also, be sure to head over to Slippytown, where you can download a few GIZMOS goodies (and also buy the CD if you haven't done so).

On July 14th, Handsome Dick Manitoba and Jayne County let bygone be bygones and performed a duet at the Squeezebox in New York City. If you've read Please Kill Me, you'll remember the chapter about the now-infamous scuffle between Manitoba and County. County also performed a mini-tribute to her old band, WAYNE COUNTY & the BACKSTREET BOYS.

R.I.P. Dept: Rik L. Rik recently passed away at the far-too-early-age of 39. He had been battling brain cancer for 6 months. Rik was in F-WORD, one of the earliest Orange County punk bands, who influenced later bands such as the ADOLESCENTS, RED KROSS and SOCIAL DISTORTION. Despite F-WORD's short life as a band, Rik continued performing solo throughout the '80s and '90s. Recently, Rik had been working at Pierce Brothers Funeral Parlor.

I mentioned this earlier, but I'm doing a 7" of the week thing for the Blank Generation. Basically, I gab about a 7" each week (good or bad) for about 300 words, and then do a few shorter reviews of other mentionable 7"s. I'm trying to offer a good mix of reissues and new stuff, bands first releases on new labels as well as household names on bigger labels. If you want me to review your 7", send it my way. I'll write about it here in my column too.

One last bit of self-promotional bullshit. I started an email newsgroup for collectors and people interested in old Killed By Death punk, as well as new stuff of the like. To subscribe just send an email message with your address in the body to:

That's it for this month. I'll see you at the Las Vegas Shakedown! * PO Box 11906/Berkeley, CA 94712/USA

© 2003