Black Flag – Everything Went Black

16
Apr

Black Flag
Everything Went Black
1982
Produced by Black Flag

Keith Morris vocals on tracks 1-9
Ron Reyes vocals on tracks 10-14
Dez Cadena – lead vocals on tracks 15-24
Greg Ginn – guitar
Chuck Dukowski – bass
Bryan Migdol – drums on tracks 1-9
Robo – drums on tracks 10-24

01. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie
02. I Don’t Care” (written by Morris and Ginn)
03. White Minority
04. No Values
05. Revenge
06. Depression
07. Clocked In
08. Police Story
09. Wasted (written by Morris and Ginn)
10. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie
11. Depression
12. Police Story
13. Clocked In
14. My Rules
15. Jealous Again
16. Police Story
17. Damaged I (Ginn and Cadena)
18. Louie Louie (written by Richard Berry)
19. No More (written by Dukowski)
20. Room 13 (written by Ginn and Medea)
21. Depression
22. Damaged II (written by Ginn and Cadena)
23. Padded Cell (written by Ginn and Dukowski)
24. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie
25. Crass Commercialism (Black Flag)

Everything Went Black is a compilation album by Black Flag. It was released in 1982 by SST Records. The compilation comprises early songs recorded before Henry Rollins became the band’s vocalist in 1981, and was initially released without the group’s name on its cover, due to their lawsuit with MCA/Unicorn. Instead, the names of the group members were listed on the first release.

Not a whole lot to say about this album, it’s damn near perfect.

If you don’t have it, buy it!

Rating: *** three out of three stars

On to the story . . .

About a month ago I worked in a factory constructing frames. It was busy work, lifting fixtures that needed to be attached to the frames, etc.

The day started real early, I was out of bed before 5:00 everyday, and not loving it.

Anyway, after we would clock in, they had this old grouchy Hispanic guy that would lead a stretching session.

He wouldn’t announce it, he just bellow, “Uno, dos . . .” He would hold different poses, bending his fingers back towards himself, then squat and each pose he would yell one through ten in Spanish. And I mean yell. God forbid you were in the restroom when he started, instant laxative.

After fifteen to twenty minutes of this he would instantly stop, turn around and start working on his frames.

My first day there I did the routine. Then went to lunch at around 10:30ish. Clocked back in and boom “UNO, DOS, TRES, CUATRO, CINCO, SEIS!” It turns out the stretching sessions were twice daily.

Scared the crap out of me. Now, about once a week I wake in the middle of the night I swear I hear numbers being shouted out.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Discharge – Live In Preston

09
Apr

Discharge
Live In Preston EP
1980
Produced by Discharge

Cal (Kelvin Morris) – vocals
Tony “Bones” Roberts – guitar
Roy “Rainy” Wainwright – bass
Terry “Tezz” Roberts – drums

1 – Realities of War
2 – Fight Back
3 – They Declare It
4 – Ain’t No Feeble Bastard
5 – War’s No Fairytale
6 – Where’s Our Freedom

I don’t know when I got this one, or if it’s a legit release or a bootleg. On the back it says only 230 copies were released, but I went to look it up on a Discharge fan site, but I don’t see it listed. The artwork on the cover is the same style as all their legit releases from that time period. So, who knows.

Back when this came out I was strictly a Los Angeles guy, I only listened to L.A. stuff, and then I got the Misfits Walk Among Us album (New York/New Jersey); then I picked up the Punk and Disorderly album from Posh Boy (I thought the girl on the cover looked like my Uncle’s girlfriend, at the time, Tracy), and that started my love affair with the second wave (or third or fourth) of British Punk (including Oi). Blitz, GBH and some Discharge. Some days you need this kind of adrenaline rush.

Realities of War
“War is a black hole to avoid.
The realties of war are so disturbing
They declare it, but they don’t hear cries of fear.

War is a black hole to avoid.

Mutilated corpses, charcoaled flesh
Litter the battlefields
But their dead bodies are not to be found.

War is a black hole to avoid.

War is a black hole to avoid.

The realities of war are so disturbing
They declare it, but they don’t hear cries of fear.

War is a black hole to avoid.

Mutilated corpses, charcoaled flesh
Litter the battlefields
But their dead bodies are not to be found.

War is a black hole to avoid.”

The band was started in 1977 by the twin Roberts brothers Tony “Bones” (guitar) and Terry “Tezz” (drums). Originally a more straightforward, style punk band, Discharge had been knocking around in a few different incarnations before Clay Records owner Mike Stone moved to their stomping grounds of Stoke-on-Trent, England in 1979. Stone, a former Beggar’s Banquet A&R guy and manager/producer of the Lurkers, was impressed by an intense live show and signed the band onto his label. With singer Cal, and bassist Roy “Rainy” Wainwright, Discharge recorded their first EP Realities of War in 1980 with Stone producing. Clad in studded leather jackets with soap-spiked hair, Discharge embodied the dirty sound they made. The band knocked out two more singles before the end of the year, and then released the masterful 12″ EP Why? in 1981. On this release Tezz was replaced by new drummer Bambi.

Unfortunately the Live In Preston EP suffers from really poor sound quality, almost like someone snuck a tape recorder into the concert hall under their jacket, but if you know the songs they’re recognizable. The only reason to hold onto this is the unreleased track “Where’s Our Freedom.”

If you don’t have it, borrow it from someone, and then give it back after a listen.

Rating: * ** one out of three stars

On to the story . . .

A couple of years ago I took my son to the Farmer’s Market in Studio City, they’ve got pony rides, a petting zoo and train rides. We kill a morning, and he has a great time. The first time I took my son, we were standing at the pony rides, I was there for a while, and a guy comes up and stands next to me, he starts taking pictures of his kid on the horse. After a bit I look over, and it’s Mark Mothersbaugh, the singer for Devo, or in my son’s demographic the composer for the Rugrats cartoon. Anyway, we went back a couple Saturday’s later and again just as we were passing the pony rides Dave Grohl came up his with wife, and kid. In case you don’t know who Grohl is, he was the drummer for the Washington, DC punk band Scream, and then the drummer of some little band called Nirvana, and finally the singer and guitarist for Foo Fighters. And along the way he got to play with Pat Smear.

Every once in a while Foo Fighters will pop up at this club not too far from me in Tarzana, called Paladinos, for a surprise show, a pre-tour warm-up kind of thing. I’ve never seen them, nor have I been to the club, but I saw an ad for the place a while back in L.A. Weekly, or some similar magazine and it stated “Thursday’s Are Punk Rock Night.” I am curious, but whose version of punk? Mine, or today’s generation? I brought this up to a guy I used to work with, about my being hesitant on going. His response was I should go; the kids would respect me being an older guy, and still being into the scene. I disagreed. Back when I was going to shows in the early part of the 80’s, the older guys in the crowd, sort of, weirded me out.

Who knows, maybe one Thursday night I’ll drag myself out of the house and see what this “new” punk night is all about, and maybe I’ll bump into Dave Grohl and we’ll talk about the pony rides.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Joey Briggs – Politics, Touring, And Self-Loathing

02
Apr

Joey Briggs
Politics, Touring, And Self-Loathing
Label: Northeast Records
Released: August 20, 2010

Joey Briggs- vocals, guitar, bass, drums

1. So Let Down
2. 37 Cents
3. Classify
4. Bottom of A Beer

While poking around online to gather more information on this EP, I ended up reading that the song 37 Cents has been floating around for some years. Joey did a video for it back in 2008. It created quite a stir on You Tube during the 2004 election, the video received over a million hits.

The vinyl version of this EP is limited to 500 copies. But you can get the digital version from iTunes.

37 Cents is the standout cut, and would at home on a Briggs album, all four are cool. I usually hate punk solo albums. Especially from groups I dig. They go from screaming about everything from anarchy to the kids having rights, then you buy the solo album, and you get folk tunes about the roses being always brighter over the septic tank (insert sounds of vomiting here).

While there are “folkish” tunes here, they don’t lose the overall Briggs spirit. And one thing that always trips me out about Joey Briggs’ lyrics and/or vocals, he seems to always find a way to work in the word “Fuck” into, even, the slowest songs, and this EP is no different. Which seems to make it that much more shocking.

It’s an enjoyable listen.

If you find this go, and pick it up.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

A little while back I took my boy to Costco with me to develop some pictures I had taken over the last six months. A bunch of punk shows. The Briggs, Mau-Mau’s, and Symbol Six, and so on. I can get darn near one hundred pictures printed for inside of twelve bucks, so you can’t beat the price. So, I upload my pictures into this monitor, and choose size, glossy, or non-glossy, one set or two, etc. Finally, I finish, print the receipt, and go to the counter and pay.

Now, we have an hour to kill. We wander over to the TV’s and watch about twenty minutes of Iron Man 2, my boy explaining to me the fine points of Iron Man’s armor, and why Whiplash never stands a chance. Those of you with kids know this isn’t really a conversation, you sort of zone-out and nod, “uh huh, oh yeah,” and an occasional “really?”

Then we start walking around, check out the books, DVD’s, and assorted bullshit. Finally I remember we need shampoo. Normally, I wouldn’t stand in one of Costco’s monster lines for one item, but I needed to kill time.

My Boy wanted to be in charge of placing the item on the conveyor belt, so he reaches up and he places the shampoo on the edge of the conveyor belt. He looks up, and smiles, as kids do, and I say something like “Thanks, you’re a great helper,” or “Great job!” No sooner do I say that, then this older fat guy behind us lets out a loud sigh, and reaches over my kid, slams down a grocery divider (what are those rubber things called?), I pull my Son away, because now he’s slamming his boxes down. I say to my kid, “watch out, not everyone pays attention to what they’re doing.”

After the fat guy is done pissing, and moaning, and slamming his groceries, he looks at me, and says “Motherfucker, you don’t care about anybody, but yourself.”

For a half a second, my jaw dropped, sometimes I’m ready for the confrontation, but this was a lazy Sunday in Costco with my boy. I wasn’t prepared. So, I turned to the guy and said, calmly, “What was that again?” He turned, and looked the other way, much like a dog that has been caught chewing your shoe.

So I stood there stunned for a minute. Got my bearings, and the “Bad Mike” kicked in. I leaned over, and whispered “If you say shit like this to people, you better make sure you can back it, you fat fuck.”

He gave me this condescending sneer, says “you fat fuck, nice.” Rolls his eyes, and says “or what?”

I smile at him, and say quietly “I’ll be outside, and within a minute you’re going to be face down in the parking lot.” I don’t like people who go into details, like “first, I’m going punch you in the throat, then kick you in the nuts, real talk, homie!’

So, I just say the “face down” bit. He says to the cashier “Excuse me, Michelle, can you please call the police, and your manager, I’ve just been threatened.” The cashier who had been rolling her eyes at this guy’s grocery slamming exploits a moment before looks at me startled. I smile back at her, and nod my head. Letting her know that I did indeed threaten this puffy bag of cottage cheese.

I paid for my stuff waited for whoever was coming for me. Then a manager came by, and asked me what the problem was. I ran down the situation, waiting in line, slamming groceries, got called a motherfucker, cursed the guy back, he sneered, I threatened. The manager looked at me, then my Son started telling her about Iron Man (by the way, I was so quiet, that my boy never knew there was a problem).

Stunning me, the manager said “Sir, I can see how being cursed at in front of your child can make you very angry. And I want to apologize that you had to put up with that here at Costco. We will be talking to him before he leaves.”

I thanked her, and for a second debated hanging out, and waiting for the fat guy, but my Son had more Iron Man stories, and didn’t need to see me whip somebody’s behind.

So, I got my pictures, and we went to lunch.

The reason people like this bother me so much is this: People who have never had their ass kicked don’t know how to act. You know the people I’m talking about, the older, upper middle class couple at the restaurants that shit all over the bus boy, “Why did you refill my water, I hate water, are you stupid?” Or the nouveau riche that berate their housekeepers, “Rosa, are you an idiot? I told you no starch!”

Get your ass beat a few times, and it changes your whole approach to people. You think twice before mouthing off. This guy in Costco had never been beat down. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to help him. Hopefully, he’ll find somebody with more time to help him out in the very near future.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

The Koffin Kats – Born of the Motor

26
Mar

The Koffin Kats
Born of the Motor
October 22, 2013
Sailor’s Grave Records

Vic Victor – Lead Vocals & Upright Bass
Johnny Kay – Guitar, Vocals
Eric “E Ball” Walls – Drums

1. All Of Me Is Gone 03:11
2. Under A Blue Sky 02:39
3. Giving Blood 03:38
4. Born Of The Motor 02:08
5. Devil Tales 02:26
6. The Collector 03:39
7. This Heart (Stays On Ice) 02:24
8. Twist Apart 03:01
9. The Team 02:50
10. Goodbye Blues 02:42
11. It’s Real 03:35
12. Gone To See The World 03:04

I don’t know a bunch about the whole psychobilly/rockabilly scene. So, when I got this I wasn’t sure what I’d write, but if you like bands like Volbeat, Social Distortion, Tiger Army and that style it won’t be too hard to listen to this. Pretty solid for a three-piece band.

Detroit’s outlaw rock ‘n’ roll misfits, The Koffin Kats, released their seventh studio album, Born of the Motor, this past fall (October 22nd), through Sailor’s Grave Records.

With Born of the Motor, The Koffin Kats continue their classic storytelling style, but with their most real, most personal lyrics to date. “Life is hard… life is uncertain – that’s something everyone understands. It’s not where you start or where you end up, it’s how you LIVE your life in between that matters,” says vocalist Victor.

Both a sonic homage to their resident city and its blue-collar legacy, and a metaphor for being hard-wired towards hard work and persistent ambition, The Koffin Kats charge forward waving a proud flag soiled with blood, sweat and whiskey-defying the decay and chaos that has stained their city in recent years.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

Living in close proximately is rough. Whether you’re in an apartment or condo or a townhouse, you’re stacked right up on somebody else and there is a real good chance that they’re assholes.

How do I know this? Simple, I have lived in many apartments and studied the native people that lived there. In my forty plus years on this earth I have had one set of neighbors that were great. A Hispanic family that were all hard working people and the best part – extremely quiet. They could be having a raging birthday party and you wouldn’t hear a peep. This equals great neighbors.

Over the years my wife would usually be the friendly, outgoing neighbor and I’d just nod and keep my distance. Why? I have found that if both people were friendly, most, apartment dwelling neighbors interpret this as “Oh, they’re cool. We can bump our raggedy ass music until three in the morning, they won’t mind.”

So, I also gave the impression that I was unapproachable. It worked most of the time. Then I got a bit older and something happened, I got a pinch nicer. Either that or marriage beat me down to a bloody nub. Whatever the reason it has become harder to exude that “I’m mad and crazy,” thing twenty-four hours a day, it’s hard.

No with my dad it was the opposite . . . in a way. He mastered the ability to turn it on and off. A great example when his last long-term relationship ended, he packed up and moved a few blocks from the end of the earth to Lake Elizabeth.

A week after my dad moved in and he had done some painting and put in carpeting he bumped into his next-door neighbor. He smiled and nodded. The neighbor started with “The place was a wreck can’t wait to see what you’ve done.” Then she started to walk to his front door. My dad stopped her and said, “Whoa, we’re not that kind of neighbors. I see you, I’ll wave, maybe say “Crazy weather we’re having,” but that’s it. You stay in your house, I’ll stay in mine.” And that was it.

Now me on the other hand I’ve been a bit nicer to the neighbors at our townhouse complex and honestly, I regret it. For example, every time I pass my Persian neighbor he stops me to talk and it’s always like this:

“My friend, you hear man at five o’clock morning?”

“Did I hear man?”

“Yes, smoke cigarette?”

“No, I didn’t hear any cigarettes.”

“I pay hundred tow-sand dollar for house.”

“OK, sounds like a lot.”

“And man smoke five o’clock morning.”

“Um, ask him to leave?”

Yes my friend, I punch face.”

See if I just scowled when I moved in I wouldn’t be stuck for twenty minutes with this shit.

But I keep on trying to be a pleasant neighbor.

A young, twenty-something Hispanic guy moved into the complex a month or so back. Nice quiet hipster kind of guy. Rain or shine he wears his ear-buds, beanie and neck-tie that stops mid-chest.

I see him everyday, I nod, and he smiles and looks down. So, after a week or so I started to wonder if he could talk or if there was something mentally wrong with him.

Then I got an answer. One day my son and I took a walk to the corner and on the way back my hipster neighbor was sitting out in front of the complex smoking. Pretty much all he does morning, noon and night. Sit outside and smoke.

Now, my son, when we walk, is in an action movie. I walk; he’ll run up ahead of me, throw some punches and then hold his fist up in victory. I don’t know what he’s playing, but he’s exercising, so I don’t sweat it.

This day as we walk past Mr. Short-Tie, my son is running, possibly doing some Ninja moves, says, “Looks like you’re having fun.”

I’m shocked; I didn’t think the sucker could talk. Unfortunately it popped my son out of his anime action world.

I asked my son what the guy said, my son said, “He wants to know if I’m having fun.”

“Are you?”

“No, I’m battling.”

“Sounds good, carry on.”

Neighbors, who needs the weirdos?

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Los Issues, Sylvia Juncosa, Hellbat, and BAMF – LIVE!

21
Mar

Los Issues, Sylvia Juncosa, Hellbat, and BAMF
Cafe Nela, Los Angeles, CA
March 14, 2014
Admission $5.00
Time: 9:00 PM

I hadn’t been out to a club or seen any live music in about four months when I got a text from a female friend asking if I wanted to come out to a show. Hey, being that it was the day after my birthday and since each year since getting married has been a concentrated effort on some people’s part not to celebrate my birthday, I thought, “Fuck it, I’m going.”

Now to get to this club I had to take three or four freeways, 405 to the 118 to the 5 then hop the 2. Jesus Christ. I finally get off the freeway and I drive up and down Cypress a half a dozen times. There’s this big ass tree out front and I can’t find a number, then I flip around the block and hit a one-way street. Fuck.

One big plus is there is parking on the street (once you find the place), which is much cooler than the Redwood, where you pay five bucks to park and at the end of the night you find a homeless guy having relations with your car’s tailpipe.

Once I get to Café Nela’s door I notice the guy at the door looks a lot like the old doorman for the above mentioned Redwood. So I ask, he says, “Yeah.” Then I tell him a story of the last time I saw him and what he was doing.

In July of 2013, I went to the Redwood to see A Pretty Mess. This short little guy who looks like the construction worker from the Village People comes in drunk, noisy and talking shit to his friends. What? This can’t be Mike! These seem to be all the classic signs of a Napoleon-complex. Anyway, as the night wore on this little fella kept annoying the doorman, he would yell at him, then slam-dance into him. Finally the doorman would lift him up and toss him onto the stage, and then he’d throw him against the wall. After twenty minutes of this his friends took him out of the club.

The Café Nela doorman looks at me and nods and says, “Yeah, those situations are tough. Management doesn’t always have your back.” I look and say, “How do you mean?” He says, “They don’t let you hit these guys in the jaw.” I hold in my laugh and say, “Wow, that’s rough. Ah, try to stay away from my jaw tonight.”

Before walking away to jaw safety, I ask the doorman where would be a good place to hang out until show time (the show starts at 9:00 and I got there at 8:30)? He said there was a decent El Salvadoran restaurant next door, but the really good food was on the corner (by corner he meant six blocks down). A Mexican food-truck?!  So, I ask what every white man should ask when being told about a truck “on the corner,” is it safe? Is it restaurant-quality or am I going to be hugging the toilet for the next three days? The doorman assured me that it was great.

Walking back to the club (after experiencing the truck “on the corner”) I see my female friend at the El Salvadoran restaurant next door. She introduced me to her date, I shook his hand and he looked at the floor real quick. Boys and girls this is called “showing your hand.” I felt like I was obligated to say, “I’m not here to steal your woman, I’m saying Hi.” I didn’t, I smiled and went back to the club.

I saw sound-man Nubs Gutmacher at the front entrance of the club and he made my announcement, “Oh this is Mike Essington, he writes good books.” Shit that’s better than carrying an American Express.

I paid my five bucks and walked into a great soundtrack being played by Nubs. First Black Flag’s Louie Louie, a few other local tracks, and then Black Flag’s Damaged 1, 2 or 3 (I don’t know). The walls were cover with various Dave Markey events, The Year Punk Broke, We Got Power, etc.

And Nubs was doing a great job with the sound.

The first band up was Los Issues. This was the band I’ve wanted to see for a while. The drummer, Billy Caldwell, was the former vocalist/guitarist for Million Kids and I always enjoyed their shows. A very cool garage feel to these guys (and gal).

The best way to sum up Los Issues is to describe them as a punk band with a metal flair; kind of like if Rob Halford joined Black Flag. Vocals for Los Issues were great and the bass player was a beast, he played and punched the shit out of his bass. Billy Caldwell provided a tight rhythm section (with the beast) for the vocalist/guitarist. They were a really tight three-piece.

Next up was Sylvia Juncosa. Now I’ve seen Sylvia play before, so I was a little familiar with her sound. And guess what? She and her three-piece band were better than the last time I saw her. Sylvia plays a very cool bluesy sound. If you haven’t seen her before, definitely go next time she’s playing locally.

After Sylvia’s set I cut out (sorry Hellbat, and BAMF). I was feeling a little out of sorts so I headed to the market and picked up stuff for the boy’s lunches for the next week and a quick stop at the local Jack In The Box for their mystery meat tacos. Yep, good way to start the birthday weekend. Yay me!

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