Columns - "If You Die, and Go to Hell, Who Cares?" 11.15.00

Mimi sits on the other side of the room, stunned, arms wrapped around her stomach as if she were sick. "How could anybody vote for Bush? I'm horrified." He hasn’t won yet, but even that it’s such a close race is scary.

I was sure Gore was going to win and do so fairly easily. Echoing Mimi's sentiments, I couldn't fathom any thinking person casting a vote for Bush. One of my faults is my naiveté, my too-trusting nature. I'm a sucker and get bit every time.

Mimi says if Bush wins, we'll have to move out of the country. I'm not protesting. Don't get me wrong, I realize Gore is a fuck, Bush is a double fuck moron. So I'm now accepting any job offers in countries other than the USA. No, really, I'm not kidding.

To get my mind off how incredibly stupid Americans are, I'm going to go soak my head in some hot rock 'n' roll. Melt my brain before it's too late. As far as brain melting goes, I usually turn to the STOOGES. The guitars have a wonderful numbing effect. Tonight I need something a little more. I need HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE. Proud To Be Idiot Records (via are zovo 17c/37125 Verona/Italy/ delivers the latest from HFOS, a split 7" with the SPIDER BABIES. Both will satisfy your craving for loud and fast, but for me, when I have a choice, that choice is always HENRY FIATS.
Fuck, I sound like a beer commercial.

What the fuck is up with hipster ex-hardcore kids catching the '77 wave? The EXPLOSION come to mind. They have a new 7" on the notoriously wealthy hardcore label, Revelation. Since when did Revelation give a shit about punk rock? Maybe they smelled the money. Maybe all the suckers stopped eating up all that "mature" post-hardcore bullshit. In a few years maybe you can trade these EXPLOSION singles for the latest model Jetta or whatever...if the market for punk revivalist holds strong. What pisses me off most about the EXPLOSION is that their music is fairly good. They're a band I really want to not like.

Did you read Mr. Scott Soriano's column in the December issue of Maximum Rocknroll? It's almost eerie. For the past 6 or 8 or 12 months, I've been ranting to Mimi about the same things Scott mentioned, about punk rock as a sinking shipping, pointing out how big distributors like Revolver and Mordam rely much more heavily on Hip Hop and artsy Indie Rock to pay the bills. Scott coherently explained why it's a good thing punk rock is bottoming out. However, I don't think it's bottoming out quite as much as he does. I see it as a major division-the big ticket punk acts and Warped Tour bullshit dwarfing the real deal, bands playing in basements, small clubs, living rooms, where ever they can. Anyway, read Scott's column. It's good, as usual.

Don't tell Ken from Dirt Nap (PO Box 21249/Seattle, WA 98111) that punk's going the way of fat laces and rational thinking. His latest offering is a single by a band called the VULTURES. This single suffers from that peculiar problem of coming off as being too staid and starched. They lack a certain spark of spontaneity that would otherwise make any BOYS/EATER fan wet themselves. My prediction is that after they're around a little bit, they'll loosen up (and maybe they are real loose live) and earn the rights to the coveted tight striped shirt.

A lot of people say Sam McPheeters is crazy and his column in Maximum makes no sense. I think he makes lots of sense, actually. Does that mean I'm crazy too?

I'd like to offer a warm welcome to the new coordinators at MRR-Mike Thorn and Andrew Scott. Mike has been here a little while and already is doing great things with the magazine. With Arwen, Mike and Andrew at the helm, MRR is going to again be a dynamo.

I'll mention that Andrew also started a label right before he left his hometown of Chicago. His first release is by the DON'T CARES, Swedes with whom you should already be familiar. This record has four burn-a-hole-in-your-trouser songs that make me think of what it's like to watch a plane fall out of the sky while you're taking a piss behind a dumpster in the middle of the afternoon. Or, I guess the back of the record does a little better job of giving you a taste of what to expect:
"play loud, irritate your neighbors, drink too much coffee, think about how your life sucks, buy a six pack, and then pretend you're in Stockholm drinking Pripps beer in the park with the DON'T CARES...don't you feel better now?"
Yes, thank you, I do feel a little better. Contact Andrew c/o MRR (PO Box 460760/San Francisco, CA 94149) to get a copy for yourself.

Maybe I already mentioned the Munster reissue of the FLAMIN' GROOVIES debut 10" Sneakers. If I did, I'll mention it again, it's worth it. Besides being awesome musically (sorry, no snotty, sneering punk, no denim jackets, no Chuck Taylors...these guys might actually be mistaken for hippies!), the package is great. This thick gold vinyl record comes with a giant poster advertising a long-past show (that was actually just right down the street from where I live now) and a few smaller handbills. Buy a copy now knowing that, even if you hate it now, you might like it in a year or two or three. It should be noted that the GROOVIES originally put this record themselves, way back in '69.

New from Rave-Up! These Italians have been working overtime to bring you quality reissues of long lost punk. This time around we get: the TAZERS, the PENETRATORS and a split LP from the CONTENDERS & the BACKSTABBERS. The GRIM/KONE BAND LP has been delayed. While a lot of the Rave Up releases are padded with archival live songs, the best material on these remains the originally released singles, comp tracks and LPs. Some of these reissue LPs are for punk historian types only. That said, I think what Rave Up (via Montecuccoli 13/00176 Roma/Italy/ is doing is pretty awesome. I love that they're all on vinyl, the liner notes are good (if not great) and the whole idea behind it (and that it's been pulled off so thoroughly) is incredible. Hell, the bands are even getting paid! There's a novel idea.

Did I tell you the one about how my day job sent me to New York, put me up in a sheeshy hotel right on Times Square, all for that scourge of a (non) music event known as CMJ? It's true.

Besides getting a free trip to New York City, having my editor take me out for an expensive dinner, and having former MRR coordinator Sean Sullivan pull me around in a rickshaw, there were two stand-out parts of the trip: --Wowsville Records. Back when I was thinking about opening a record store in New York, I got wind of a Spaniard moving to the Big Apple to open a store. He did and it's fucking amazing. Seriously, Wowsville (125 2nd Ave/NYC, NY 10003/646-654-0935) is much like the same record store I would open. They have all the latest reissues/bootlegs as well as the current crop of the best (and worst) in punk rock 'n' roll. This place has obvious ties to Munster, as I saw records and shirts in the store that I've only seen for sale in the Munster catalog. It's a must visit if you're in the area. Lately I've been more interested in flipping through used records and was left a little less than satisfied with New York in general.

--Better than any of the bands that played, as part of the film part of CMJ, they showed Vinyl, a documentary by Alan Zweig. What is it a documentary of? Your favorite topic and mine-record collectors.

Though the movie winds up mostly being a vehicle for Zweig's mid-life crisis, ultimately, it proves to be engaging and entertaining. As a record collector, watching this movie made me feel incredibly well adjusted. Among the highlights of the film: a guy who had been collecting since 1942. His wife took all his records as part of the alimony payment; the collector who collect every record, indiscriminately. This gentleman can tell you the track listing (with artist) of every K-Tel compilation; the guy who threw away 2,000 LPs, just so no one else could have them...there are many more. It's worth seeing if you get the chance, though as a low-budget affair I wouldn't expect to see it at your local multiplex anytime soon.

At the end of the weekend in New York, a nagging question haunted me: What's the fucking point of CMJ? People actually enjoy going to that horror show? I guess that falls in line with the logic of why Bush, a cocaine using frat boy who gets off on executing people is favored to be the next president.

Hey, if Bush does become president, at least punks will have another easy target. Think of all the great anti-Bush songs bands can (and should) write. It'll be like 1984 all over again. We can all even get mohawks and shit. Great.

Did you get that SHIFTERS LP on Green Hell (or the CD on Radio Records) I mentioned a month or two ago? I don't know about you, but I can't stop listening to it. It's more addictive than hot dogs and White Castles and probably better for you.

Ugly Pop Records (2 Bloor St West/Suite 100 Box 477/Toronto, ON/M4W 3E2/Canada) jumps into the reissue ring, bring the DREAM DATES and STATICS 80 back to life. The DREAM DATES "Moans on the phone/Heartattack rhythm" 7" carries a heavy STOOGES/HEARTBREAKERS thunder with a touch of glam. STATICS 80 show a bit of a split personality on this single. Two songs recorded in 1980, one is a muscle-flexing pre-Hardcore crunch, the flip might make you think of TEENAGE HEAD. Both 7" are limited to 600 copies. Simon from Ugly Pop also warns that he's got some early-80s hardcore releases in the works, including RAW POWER's Screams From the Gutter LP.

I don't know where they came from or how many are out there, but while at Missing Link Records in Indianapolis (one of the best record stores in the Northwest Territory), I ran across bootlegs of the ELECTRIC EELS 7" and the HOLLYWOOD SQUARES 7". I suspect they're the second round of boot-a-likes, like the batch that came out about 4 months ago. These are expensive (between $6 and $10 each), but are way cheaper than the originals. Most likely, other boots of out-of-print singles are floating around.

Not that the official TURBONEGRO website isn't adequate, but the US Site has some cool stuff not on the official TRBARCHIV, including tablature for you guitar hacks. Check it for updates on the much anticipated re-launch of the Turbojugend fanclub.

Did you see that the REGISTRATORS have a new 7” out? This one is on Broken Rekkids and is considerably slower than even their last album. Two songs with the same unique rhythm and twisted, trashed melodies, but slowed down to the speed of a CARPENTERS song.

At the other end of the musical spectrum, the SUPERHELICOPTERS offer the gods 10”s of pure blown-out bliss. Think the OBLIVIANS/REATARDS way gone noise with the thunder and intensity of the BASEBALL FURIES. Good fuckin’ shit. (Manuel Wastl/Steinweg 26/93059 Regensburg/Germany/

I was gonna write about the DAVID PEEL AND DEATH 7” on Hate Records, but really it’s fairly lackluster, a cool historical type thing though. Recorded in ‘79 with Mr. Wayne Kramer on guitar and the notorious David Peel singing. You’ll get it (or not) regardless of what it sounds like.

There's a new comp out called Neighbor Annoyer. I don't know shit about it yet, other than it culls material from 1978-82.

I mentioned the comp Shielded By Death (Incognito) a few months ago. I'm mentioning it again. Lots of Conneticut area bands pounding away, live at the Lit Club. I've actually given this record ample time on my turntable. Nothing really knocks me out of my chair, but it's overall a good comp, especially given some of the turds that've been shit out in the past year.

Dionysus' reissue division, Bacchus Archives has been doing a helluva job filling in the reissues from old SoCal punk. Their latest offering is by the DOGS. Get it, 'cause the DOGS fucking kill!!!!!!!!!!!

Lately, I've developed a strong taste for old New Zealand punk. Thus, I'm fucking flipped that our friend from down under, Simon Kay of Crawlspace Records, is putting out a comprehensive LP of HENCHMEN material. Here's the lowdown: It's on Raw Power Records and is limited to a scant 350 copies. It includes their first 7" & 12" singles, as well as four unreleased songs, recorded for what was supposed to be thier 2nd LP. If you haven't learned that the only place in the world where you can get Detroit thunder outside of Detroit is in Australia/New Zealand, this record will wake your ass up. Get it while you can: Simon Kay/PO Box 7127/Wellesley St/Auckland, New Zealand

The last thing I have to say this month is that the PINKZ fucking rule. They recently toured the west coast with the REAL KIDS and jeeezus fucking christ! These girls are absolutely stunning. Really, get their debut single (Radio Beat/PO Box 8198/Bellflower, CA 90707) while you can. It doesn't come close to matching their live show, but it's good start.

I’ll leave you with these parting words, taken from Peter Bagge’s brilliant review of the rock ‘n’ roll experience museum thing in Seattle:
“The best things in life are dumb.”

PO Box 11906/Berkeley, CA 94712

© 2003