American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986


Frank Agnew, Jonathan Anastas, Phil Anselmo, George Anthony, Mark Arm and more
American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986
February 20, 2007 – Sony Pictures
Directed by: Paul Rachman

Over the years I have seen many, many “punk films.” The bulk of these flicks are throw-away. Cheap junk created to make a buck. Or if they’re not cheaply done, there is absolutely no way in which to relate to them. They just don’t seem to hit on a piece of the scene that I remember, that is until American Hardcore came out. Prior to this, I thought the best movie of the genre was The Filth and The Fury, but I think American Hardcore sneaks into first place.

Based on Steven Blush’s book American Hardcore: A Tribal History, Paul Rachman’s documentary chronicles the underground hardcore punk years from 1980 to 1986 (hence the title). Interviews and rare live footage from artists such as Black Flag, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and SS Decontrol.

The history of hardcore –the tougher, faster, and more politically minded stepchild of the 1970’s punk movement that arose in the 1980’s is examined in detail in Rachman’s documentary. Rachman’s cameras careen across the United States to trace the movement’s beginnings in cities like Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York, and interview the musicians that helped shape its sound and impact, including Jack Grisham, Henry Rollins, Greg Ginn (in a surprise interview), H.R., Ian MacKaye, and many others.

Hardcore’s violent reaction to the Reagan administration and the mindset of middle-class America is also detailed in performance footage clips, and flyer reproductions, which do much to dismiss the popular opinion of hardcore as nothing more than mindless rebellion. Some fans may find the omission of certain bands a considerable oversight (The Misfits and the Dead Kennedy’s are only mentioned in passing), but for most devotees, American Hardcore will be vital and essential viewing.

The DVD contains deleted scenes, bonus performances, commentary by Rachman and writer Steven Blush, and a gallery of photos from photographer Edward Colver, who covered the hardcore scene in detail. These extras are a movie unto themselves. Great stuff, the clips of Lisa Fancher add a bit more legitimacy to the film.

If you don’t have it, go buy it.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars




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The Bloody Mess – Rock Circus Mountain Rock


The Bloody Mess Rock Circus
Mountain Rock
Deathangel Absolution Records
Producer: Rikk Agnew

Bloody F. Mess – Vocals
Andy Friend – Guitar
Christopher T Baggins – Bass
Rich Psonak – Drums

01. Oregon Mountains
02. Junk Male
03. Iggy Pop Doesn’t Stage Dive Anymore
04. The Honeymoon’s Over
05. Spidarlings
06. Kali Yuga
07. O.C.D. Is Killing Me
08. Mending Fences
09. The Bluest of Blue
10. Can’t Take No More

This is an impossible album to categorize. After I listened to the first track I thought I had them figured out, Oregon Mountains has a heavy Motorhead vibe and I thought that’s what the album was going to be. But no. This album seems to have every musical genre under the sun, hardcore, Goth and metal. And along for the ride are their friends Rikk Agnew, Paul Roessler, Richie Ramone and Don Bolles.

Bloody F mess singing in punk rock bands back in 1983. Based in Peoria, Illinois for many, many years, bloody spent years touring the Midwest and East Coast, doing talk shows on TV, and playing with bands such as Naked Raygun, AOD, GG Allin, the Dead Milkmen, and many punk and rock bands along the road. In 2011 Bloody moved to Medford, Oregon.

He formed the bloody mess rock circus with bass player Christopher T Baggins and guitarist Andy Friend. The band toured the United States, bringing a very high energy and chaotic stage show to every city they performed at. The band went down to Los Angeles to record Bloody’s 30th-anniversary album, which is titled mountain rock. Produced by Rikk Agnew of Christian Death and Adolescents fame, the album also has guest appearances by many of Bloody’s friends, including Richie Ramone of the Ramones, Don Bolles of The Germs, and Paul Roessler of The Screamers/45 Grave.

Bloody is currently working on his spoken word album, which will be released soon on the records Ad Nauseum label out of Hollywood California

If you don’t own it, go and give it a listen.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

Years ago, there were a number of shows on the Sci-Fi channel that played “real” videos of monsters or supernatural occurrences that viewers caught on film. If I remember right, it was mostly blurry Big Foot tapes or and the occasional flying saucer and/or hubcap flying behind a cloud.

So, one day there crazy idea/prank popped into my head . . . I’ll go to Mexico and catch the Chupacabras!

I first told my sister-in-law that I needed her to come with me to Mexico. She would be my cameraman (or camera person). Now the most crucial part of this project? My wife.

You see as part of the capture of the elusive Chupacabras or as he’s known to his friends: Chupa, I would have my wife dress up as sheep and walk around a Mexican farm yelling, “Baaaa,” until Senor Chupa swoops down for the attack and my sister-in-law would film it and I would rush in and bag Chupa.

The problem is, no one knew if I was joking or if I was serious. My sister-in-law cracked up, but my wife was pissed. She said, “You wouldn’t save me. You’d let the Chupacabras kill me.”

Now death never entered my mind. Just the possibility of seeing her run around on a farm yelling, “Baaa,” killed me.

I don’t know if I could have caught the Chupacabras or how much the Sci-Fi channel would have paid me, but the wife’s reaction alone was worth me pretending to keep the project alive for over a year.




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Violets & Vitriol by Christiaan Pasquale


Violets & Vitriol
Written by: Christiaan Pasquale
Publish date: June 2, 2016
Pages: 181

I’m not a big fan of poetry, so I will oftentimes scroll through, but I made a point of buckling down and reading the entire book and not just pick and choose. His definite strong points are his stories. The first stories in the book are stories you will think about long after you’ve moved on to chapters two, three and four, In The Milky Madness of Dusk, and Full Bladder-Empty Gas Tank and Eyeball is especially strong.

Some authors try to guide you, gently, into their story. Possibly, dropping bread crumbs in hopes that you’ll follow them into an enchanted land. If you read Violets & Vitriol, Christiaan Pasquale will grab you by the scruff of your neck and force you to look at a part of life that you thought only existed in the movies.

One aspect of the book that is worth attention is the world it depicts. The book is set in Los Angeles. You wouldn’t know the film industry or more broadly, the entertainment industry existed. No one here is an actor, would be an actor, singer, dancer or screenwriter. For that matter, no one is a cop or detective. The people are lower class whites who are often European immigrants or their children who wound up in Los Angeles instead of Cleveland. There are no New York strippers, Midwest farmer’s daughters or Okies. You only get one glimpse of the rich, near the end of the book. This isn’t the LA of Beverly Hills. It’s ham on rye country. In other words, it’s Los Angeles as you usually don’t see it in fiction or movies, especially those covering the time period of the book.

If you don’t have it, buy it.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars




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Time Again – Darker Days


Time Again
Darker Days
Released: February 19, 2008
Hellcat Records
Producer: Mike Green

Daniel Dart – Vocals
Elijah Reyes – Guitar
Oren Soffer – Bass
Ryan Purucker – Drums

01. Day Like This – 2:00
02. Soon It Will Be – 2:46
03. One Way Or Another – 1:56
04. Lines Are Faded – 2:33
05. Darker Days – 2:34
06. Lucky – 2:06
07. Montreal (Street Kids) – 2:00
08. Lookin’ Back – 3:08
09. Movin’ On – 2:25
10. You’re Goin’ Down – 1:17
11. TV Static – 1:55
12. Shell Casings – 2:25
13. Gonna Get Mine – 2:13
14. Outcast – 2:45

I reviewed Time Again’s album The Stories Are True back in January of 2010, and the responses were less than stellar. Check these out:

“I don’t care how ‘real’ a band is, stick them in front of a camera and they’re all preening divas dripping faux attitude. Rockstar thing, I guess.”

“Best Clash tribute band, ever.”

“They are a blatant Rancid rip-off band. That is the truth and I am sticking to my guns. I fucking love Rancid!”

So, needless to say, I was hesitant about reviewing this album. I actually enjoyed The Stories Are True. I’m a Tim Armstrong fan and enjoyed his singing on that album. This album, Darker Days, sounds less like The Stories Are True, and somewhat, directionless.

I need albums to grab me right away. If it’s a punk album give me that quick kick in the ass if it’s a rock opera/concept album at least give me something that makes me want to pay attention, and listen again.

So the problem with this album is: it sounds like Time Again, but not a real good Time Again.

If you don’t own it, go and give it a listen.

Rating: * ** one out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

As I write this, Christmas is over by a few days.

As friends, and family pass on, and friends move, the holidays can be quite a bitch to go through.

One of my biggest issues – going way back, has been spending the holidays with other people’s families. From the mid-1980’s or so, I’d date someone, and split my day with my family, and the family of whatever girl I was seeing.

I know it’s arrogant, but nobody does Christmas right, but your own family. One year we had my Brother’s girlfriend, and her family down from Seattle. And our gift giving was re-arranged to their liking. As kids, my Mom put no rules on how we opened presents, or in what order, etc.

Now, the girlfriend’s family had a definite order. After everyone showers, and eats breakfast, everyone sits in a circle and opens one present, passes it around, checks it out, and so on like this.

Growing up, my Brother and I would go at the gifts. . . it was a free-for-all. My Mom sat patiently, opening her first present an hour or so after our ape-shit antics.

And some days we didn’t even think of breakfast until 11:00 or so.

Now that I’m married, I spend my Christmas’ with my Egyptian in-laws, and it’s way different than what I grew up with. The few constants are this: We will be watching the Lakers game, at least one person will cry (reasons vary), there will be plenty of screaming (positive and negative) and lots of overeating.

No matter how many twists, and turns your life takes there’s nothing better than the Christmas’ of your youth before you were actually paying for the gifts yourself.




Misconceptions of Hell is available now:

Punk Rock Swap Meet Featuring Rikk Agnew, The Boxheads, Navanax, Infirmities, Liquor Locos, Fatal Error, & For Sale – LIVE


Punk Rock Swap Meet
Featuring Rikk Agnew, The Boxheads, Navanax, Infirmities, Liquor Locos, Fatal Error, & For Sale
Knights of Columbus Council 3601, Canoga Park, CA
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM

This was one of the most entertaining afternoons I have spent in a long while. It was an all-star show mixed in with a swap meet (I guess you figured out how it got its name), with a bit of a family reunion mixed in. Records, T-shirts and paintings all for sale at reasonable rates.

For Sale went on first and put on a real good set. Good old-fashioned punk rock.

The second band of the night was Fatal Error. They were a great straightforward punk band. The crowd loved them. I dug them too.

The third band of the day was Liquid Locos. They are a really enjoyable band. Great set.

The fourth act of the day was Infirmities. I had seen them live once or twice before. The band puts on a great show. Nothing half-assed here, a real 1980’s underground punk-rock feel to their music.

The fifth band of the day was Navanax. Nowadays, it’s rare to see a band that can maintain that kind of energy level throughout their entire set. Most tend to die down mid-set.

The sixth act of the night was The Boxheads. Nothing half-assed here, a real 1980’s underground punk-rock feel to their music.

The Rikk Agnew Band provided an all-star set, members Rikk Agnew (Guitar, Vocals), Greg Watson (Bass), Sam Hare (Guitar), Dwayne Lyin (Guitar, Keys), Justin Parnell (Drums) and Gitane Demone (Vocals) were in top form. They did a great job of engaging the crowd. All their hits were played, including my favorite, Kids of The Black Hole!

In between bands I got to hang out with Chris D. of The Flesh Eaters. We were both signing books. This, by far, was the best evening I have spent in a long time. If you were there you had fun if you weren’t there – you wish you were.

The next Punk Rock Swap Meet is scheduled for January 28, 2017, come one out.




Misconceptions of Hell is available now:

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