October 14, 2003
Producer: Gil Norton
1. Drain the Blood
2. Dismantle Me
3. Die on a Rope
4. The Gallow Is God
5. Coral Fang
6. The Hunger
7. Hall of Mirrors
8. Beat Your Heart Out
9. Love Is Paranoid
10. For Tonight You’re Only Here to Know
11. Death Sex
The Distillers first came together in late 1998 when Australian-born guitarist Brody Dalle met bassist Kim Chi and the two bonded over their love for playing punk. They proceeded to recruit Detroit guitarist Rose Mazzola and drummer Matt Young.
Signed to Epitaph Records, the band issued their self-titled debut in April 2000. Sing Sing Death House appeared the same year, but was re-released in early 2002 thanks to the sudden popularity of “Seneca Falls.” By now, Kim Chi had left the group to join Exene Cervenka in her band, the Original Sinners. Ryan Sinn stepped in to replace her; Matt departed to join Chi while Mazzola left during the height of “Seneca Falls”. By summer 2002, The Distillers were composed of Dalle, Sinn, and new drummer Andy Granelli; joint American dates with No Doubt and Garbage were planned for later that fall. Guitarist/vocalist Tony Bradley joined The Distillers in time for the recording of their third album and major-label debut, Coral Fang, which was released in 2003 by Sire.
Granelli left the band in early 2005, moving on to play with Darker My Love, and by summer, Sinn had exited as well, later joining up with Angels and Airwaves. Despite rumors, The Distillers, now just Dalle and Bradley, denied that they were breaking up, instead simply going on hiatus. In 2006, the two remaining members formally announced the band’s disbandment and went on to form Spinnerette together.
Coral Fang was the third and final album by The Distillers. Released on Sire Records in 2003, this record marked their major label debut. It peaked at #97 in the US and #46 in the UK.
Rating: ** * two out of three stars.
On to the story . . .
Back in either July or August of 1997, I met an older guy who went by the name of Harley. He was an old biker. He looked like the mountain man from The Oak Ridge Boys. Long gray beard, long salt and pepper hair, it was hard to make out his age, late fifties, early sixties, who knows.
Anyhow, I met Harley within a week or so of getting to Pitchess Detention Center – East Facility in Castaic, California. He was the second in charge of the “white car.” The head guy was a dude named Red. Red was a shoeshine, so he was never around. He was always buffing the officer’s black boots.
In Red’s absence, Harley oversaw all the day-to-day drama amongst the whites, or as we were called the “Woods.”
Harley was originally sentenced to nine months at Pitchess, but told the judge he wouldn’t be attending any meetings when he was released nor would he pay any fines. So, they gave him an additional nine months, then asked if he cared to reconsider? He told them to fuck off. He did the entire eighteen months.
Harley never wore anything, but the issued pair of orange pants, maybe some socks. At some point over the prior couple of decades ole Harl was involved in a serious knife fight that left a massive scar from his belt line up to the center of his chest. Looking at his stomach it made you think of a mountainscape in an old painting, all the lumps and crevices.
Harley took a liking to me, for whatever reason. I think he liked that I would read. A bulk of the whites that came through there were pretty sucked-up guys that were on meth. Then they would dry out, eat and then turn racist.
I didn’t care for the whole race trip.
Anyway, Harley had one book he was proud of, the M edition of the encyclopedia. That was his pride. He told me after a week or so that I could read it when I wanted to, and every day, he would come by with some tidbit from the newspaper, one day there was an article about Phil Tayor from Iron Butterfly. Turns out Taylor disappeared in 1995, and one afternoon while Harley and I were locked away Taylor’s body was found at the bottom of Decker Canyon. Harley spent a good forty-five minutes telling me he was murdered for his ability to time travel. I listened, walked away and tried to forget the conversation.
A month or so later, and the bulky white guy in the next dorm was upset about the amount of time I spent around black people. I was a barber, so I was forced to work with one Hispanic guy and one black guy. Then we were forced to bunk side by side. Anyway, this guy Tommy thought I should have requested a transfer to get away from people of color.
Talked to Harley about it, and he said he would help me move bunks, I said I didn’t want to move. He seemed puzzled, I said these other barbers were cool to me, and Tommy was an asshole.
Harley withdrew his encyclopedia offer, and we rarely talked after that. Harley was deep in the race thing.
Misconceptions of Hell is available now: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb