Angry Samoans – Inside My Brain


Angry Samoans
Inside My Brain
1980 – PVC Records
Producer Lee Ving

“Metal” Mike Saunders – vocals, guitar
Gregg Turner – vocals, guitar
P.J. Galligan – guitar
Kevin Eric Saunders – guitar
Todd Homer – bass guitar, vocals
Bill Vockeroth – drums

1 – Right Side of My Mind
2 – Gimme Sopor
3 – Hot Cars
4 – Inside My Brain
5 – You Stupid Asshole
6 – Get off the Air

I first heard about these guys right about the time Inside My Brain came out. There was a big deal made out of their insult song to KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, who later sued them, called “Get off the Air.” It got them plenty of buzz around town. I have to admit I bought this when it came out, and hadn’t listened to it until about six months ago, I thought it was all right back then, but I don’t care for it so much now. It’s kind of like the Dickies and the Ramones all rolled up in one package, with a pinch of Lee Ving’s arrogance thrown in for good measure. This album just so happens to be produced by Fear’s Lee Ving.

Get Off The Air
“He can’t read baby he can’t talk.
He’s L.A.’s favorite punk rock jock.
Glitter bands and Bowie’s cock,

Are his ideas of new wave rock?

You’re a fuckin’ piece of shit now Rodney.
I don’t think you’re so hot.
You make me laugh with those clothes you wear,
And those stupid teeth you’ve got.

Get off the air!
Get off the air!
You pathetic male groupie, you don’t impress me.
Get off the air! You fuckin’ square,
You’re just a jerk as far as I can see.

8pm Rodney’s on the air,
He’s beating off in Joan Jet’s hair.
Christmas eve, what’d ‘you got,
Four solid hours of power pop rot.

You’re a fuckin’ piece of shit now Rodney.
I don’t think you’re so hot.
You make me laugh with those clothes you wear,
And those stupid teeth you’ve got.

Get off the air!
Get off the air!
You pathetic male queer, you don’t impress me.
Get off the air! You fuckin’ square.
You’re just a jerk as far as I can see.”

Formed in August 1978, in Van Nuys, California, the Angry Samoans were one of the original Los Angeles punk bands, along with Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, X and the rest of the bands that made up the first wave of punk.

Leaning toward the humorous side of punk in the same way as the Dickies, the Samoans songs featured titles such as “I’m A Pig,” “My Old Man’s A Fatso,” and “They Saved Hitler’s Cock.”

Following two EPs, and one album for Bad Trip, they laid low for some time, before re-emerging in the late 80’s via Triple X Records.

Saunders released a six-song solo EP as Metal Mike in 1991, before reuniting with Vockeroth to perform under the Angry Samoans banner.

Rating: * ** one out of three stars




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TSOL – Dance With Me


Dance With Me
1981 – Frontier Records
Dance With Me
Producer Thom Wilson

Jack Grisham – vocals
Ron Emory – guitar
Mike Roche – bass
Todd Barnes – drums

01 – Sounds Of Laughter
02 – Code Blue
03 – The Triangle
04 – 80 Times
05 – I’m Tired Of Life
06 – Love Story
07 – Silent Scream
08 – Funeral March
09 – Die For Me
10 – Peace Through Power
11 – Dance With Me

If I were to create a list of my desert island top ten punk albums, ala Tower Records Desert Island Discs, TSOL’s Dance With Me would sit at the top of this list.

I wrote this review back in February of 2008, but couldn’t find the right way to describe this. My brother and I once had a conversation about not wanting to loan people certain albums we had grown up on, for fear that the other person’s reactions would be negative, or they just wouldn’t get it. When you’ve listened to an album for twenty plus years, there is more built into it than just some good songs. Who you met along the way, trips you made, everything that had happened to you in the last two decades – those songs came with you. That’s why, since 1981 only one other person has listened to my Dance With Me album. A few months back, I sent a copy for my brother. Once he got it in San Diego (where he was living at the time) he called my place, and my wife picked up, and my brother tells her “Mike sent me a CD with songs about doing the freaky with dead people.” Like I’ve said for years, Code Blue was done in a very tongue-in-cheek way, but unless you’re familiar with them, you could be shocked. Another reason this album stayed hidden until I moved away from home.

I hate to admit it, but when I first bought their, now classic Poshboy Records EP, with the songs “Superficial Love” and “Abolish Government,” I didn’t dig them so much. I was still into the garage sounding hardcore that bombarded you with excessive feedback, and ridiculous shout-outs at the beginning of the songs. So, when I put on the EP, I discovered they could play their instruments, and Jack could sing. There were tempo changes and vocal arrangements – who needed that? So, I traded the EP to my Uncle Rick for something or other. About a year later I picked up Dance With Me, and loved it, I guess my musical tastes had evolved because this wasn’t your typical Hardcore album. After seeing TSOL live several times, and getting hooked on the songs from the EP, I went back and picked it up – AGAIN!

TSOL blasted onto the scene in 1979, with white face paint, and blazing anthems, they were a shot in the arm for the scene. The release of their first EP enabled them to open for bands like The Damned and The Dead Kennedy’s. By the summer of 1981, the band released Dance With Me, on Frontier Records, which propelled them to the top of the California punk scene, and had them to headlining 3,000 plus seat venues, like the Hollywood Palladium, with bands like Bad Religion, Social Distortion, and the Adolescents opening.

I have to admit to loving the lyrics on this album. The lyrics for Silent Scream were written as if Jack had somehow channeled Edgar Allan Poe:

This is my favorite album of theirs, it’s a punk masterpiece. The music is raw, catchy, and full of life. Get a copy of this album for someone who doesn’t own it, they will thank you. I always come back to this one. Did I gush enough? Did I make it clear that I liked their album?

Todd Barnes, the band’s drummer, died on December 6, 1999, of a brain aneurysm at the age of 34.

If you don’t own it, go and buy it, stop reading! Go buy it.

Rating: *** three out of three stars




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Regan Youth, 13 Scars, Dust Angel, Union 13 and Child Abduction – LIVE


Regan Youth, 13 Scars, Dust Angel, Union 13 and Child Abduction
Los Globos, Los Angeles, CA
November 10, 2013
Admission $10.00
Time: 7:00 PM

I’d been waiting for this show for a long time. The guys from 13 Scars have been buddies of mine since I saw them back in April of this year. Great punk band, every person is this band pulls their weight, top notch musicians.

As an added bonus I was going to get to meet writer David Gurz in person. We’ve been buddies for about a year, but being he was living in Erie, PA we hadn’t met face to face. Dave was lucky enough to get out and tour with these bands from the very first date. So, he saw all of these bands night after night as well as a night with the Subhumans in Pomona.

Another friend of ours (or Dave’s) writer/blogger Marius Gustaitis was also hanging out. Dave had turned me onto Marius’ blog about six months earlier, good stuff.

So, I guess I should start reviewing the show, huh? Well, this particular Sunday night everything went wrong. I was hoping to meet up with the guys before the show for lunch or something, then some committee or something my wife is a part needed an afternoon meeting. She went, and I’m stuck at home. No lunch. Then she had a class 6:30 to 9:00 so I’m pacing a hole in the floor. I don’t go out much anymore, but when I do I want to see everything. All the bands and all the shit inside and outside.

As it was the wife got home and I sprint to the car with my box of books. The show was billed as a show/signing for the chapbook Dave and I did together. So, he was at the merchandise table with no books to sell until I pulled up.

I finally got there between 9:45 or 10:00, I probably would’ve gotten there quicker, but my GPS kept timing out while searching for a satellite. I’d get around the block from the joint and I’d get “searching” every time I’d try to refresh directions. You know the stress you feel being late and not knowing where the hell you’re going? Well, that coupled with the fact that I’m not the calmest dude in the world anyway.

I pull up in front of the club . . . finally. The line out front is a long line of people that are booted and suited for the next episode of Estudio2. The tightest Lycra and pointiest shoes know to man. I was going to freak out, then I got Dave on the phone, he came and got me. Turns out this club is, like, three stories, one is a bar, another is a Hispanic dance club and one is a punk/music club. Imagine the marketing team behind this. Better yet the Sesame Street song comes to mind, “One of these things is not like the other.”

I walk in and 13 Scars are finishing their last song of the night. Shit.

I lug my box of books to the merchandise table, give Dave 20 or 25 copies of the chapbook, get introduced to Marius Gustaitis, say “Hey” to Shawn Durand of 13 Scars and he’s feeling shitty he’s on tour and his mom had just been admitted to the hospital in Washington, he’s feeling a bit helpless and stuck. Then I say “Hey” to Brad also from 13 Scars.

I find a place to plop down and unwind for a second and then Brian Fritts, guitar player from 13 Scars comes over and buys a copy of Last One To Die, coolness!

Then a band called Child Abduction comes on. Shit, I got nothing here. Some white guy in a pink Speedos and dreadlocks is singing with another singer with a huge Mohawk. I can’t make out what they’re saying or when one song starts and another ends. Sorry, not my thing. I will say this: they had a pretty decent size crowd, once they left the stage they seemed to have taken the crowd with them.

The next band up was a band I never heard of before called Union 13. They had a very familiar sound to them. They’d start a song and you’d swear it was a Circle Jerks track, then it would veer off and be something else. Then the next song would start and I’d swear it was Wasted by Black Flag then it’d turn out to be a totally different song. Midway through the set Dave tried to pry Marius and me off of the couch and into the pit. He gave a convincing argument, but we weren’t moving.

A little side note, the first band of the night, Dust Angel . . . I missed them altogether.

The final band of the night was Reagan Youth. I want to say I was never into them. Not because I thought they were bad, but as an L.A. guy I just never got into the East Coast scene. I have to admit they kicked ass. A really good solid set. The whole band was tight and seemed to be enjoying every second of their stage time.

After their set, I took all of my unsold books back to the car, then came back to say, “Adios” to the bands. Reagan Youth back to New York and 13 Scars back to Washington.

The whole night, once I got there anyway, was fun. I hung out until everybody loaded out and prepared for the trip home. As far as my trip home . . . hit the 101 freeway go a few miles and it’s a dead stop, cars backed up like a parking lot, I do a crazy four-lane lane change and take the streets home. Takes an hour, but it’s not like the wife is concerned when or if I get home (that’s married life folks). Hopefully next time 13 Scars come to town I’ll be able to get there much earlier.

On to the story . . .

I’ve been taking my son to this little barbershop in Van Nuys for about five or six years. When I first started taking him a young woman ran it by herself. She didn’t speak much English, but she adored my son and called him Papi and gave him candy while she cut his hair. He liked going there.

After a year she sold it and two ladies bought it, redid the place and with short skirts and low cut blouses they drew lots of people to the shop. But again, they always remembered my son and little details that he told them, what video games he was into, what grade he was in and most importantly . . . they called him Papi. He liked going, so we went. Eventually, I had them cutting my hair too. Slowly, the shop grew and they added two additional barbers.

They gutted the shop and made it look more high-end. I kind of enjoy the old fashioned dank old barbershops, but that kind of shop is dying out.

Anyway, one day my wife found a new shop, somewhat close in Reseda, on Groupon. Haircut and razor trim for $10.00 or $15.00. She printed out the deal and gave it to me.

So one Saturday morning after we had gone to breakfast and ran our errands I headed towards Reseda. The shop, Blades, is located on Tampa and Vanowen. A few blocks from the West Valley Police Department and a few doors down from Weber’s Place.

My son and I walk into the shop and you know that thing that happens in comedy movies when someone who wasn’t invited to a party walks into the party? The record scratches and then stops? This is exactly what happened. I walk in, everybody is talking, laughing, and several TV’s are on, three or four different sporting events on. I walk in with my son and everyone stops talking, the TV’s are muted and everyone stares. Finally, the “head” barber walks up and says, “What’s up man?” Normally, I would’ve walked out the door, but the haircut was already paid for. So, my answer was, “Um, I’d like a haircut.”

Apparently, Blades is an African-American barbershop and they don’t see many people of my hue.

The head barber calls over this female barber who was a little masculine, tattooed head to toe and seemed very angry at me for being there. She snatched the Groupon printout from me, headed towards the back room (to verify it on the computer I assume).

Came back, pointed to her chair, I sat, she put the drape over me then just stared (again I assume this was my cue to tell her how I wanted my hair cut). From the moment I walked in she was mad-dogging me.

She does most of the haircut, then she stops, then points at my neck (again, no words), and I was getting a little irritated. I said, “Maybe, we could use words.” Instead, she signaled first a straight line, then a “U” shape (I assumed again, it meant do I want a straight line or a rounded line in the back). I said, “Fine, straight line.”

She finished up and got out the straight razor. I put up my hand and said: “No, thank you.” I had visions of her “accidentally” removing one of my ears.

She put the razor back, put the mirror in my hands and did that chin nod (again, I assume, meant “Check out the nice haircut.”)

I looked it over, front and back and honestly, it was a good cut. She didn’t like me, didn’t want me there, but the cut was good.

I gave her back the mirror and said, “Looks good.”

She pulled off the drape and pointed to the door. I went over and got my son off his chair and mumbled: “All righty, then.”

My next haircut was with the women that call me, “Papi.”




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Feral House Punk Books Part 2


Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story
September 27, 2011- Feral House
Written by: Alice Bag

Alice Bag’s memoir is less about the first wave LA punk scene that she was such an integral part of and more about family, growing up, finding yourself, and testing your limits. A discursive book written in short chapters, “Violence Girl” is a quick read, even though it’s more than 300 pages long. Alice’s voice shines through — a thoughtful, confrontational, sometimes confused, but rarely cowed woman. Alice goes from being an awkward teenager with an Elton John obsession to being the lead singer of the seminal punk band, The Bags. Along the way, she befriends and bemuses a bevy of LA scenesters like Kim Fowley; doomed, nihilistic Darby Crash of The Germs; the women who would become The Go-Go’s; Patricia Morrison, who co-founded The Bags and would go on to be in both The Gun Club and influential Goth act Sisters of Mercy; even Tom Waits makes a cameo. But the book is more than a name-dropping trek across the glittering landscape of late-70s Los Angeles. It’s about struggling with family and faith, it’s about reconciling ambition with reality, and it’s about how punk rock’s DIY ethos helped a young woman define herself and claim her place in the world. While many in the early punk scene burned bright and died young, Alice Bag seems made of sterner stuff. Near the end of the book, readers get a glimpse of her post-punk rock trajectory — she travels to Managua, Nicaragua at the height of US meddling in Nicaraguan affairs and finds a country stripped to the bone and surviving on little more than willpower and pride. I wish this section of the book had been longer, and I would have enjoyed hearing more of the tantalizing anecdotes she only hints at. That’s what I take from this book: Alice’s voice. Wise, wry, funny, bold, and honest, it’s a voice I wanted to spend more time with.

The proximity of the East L.A. barrio to Hollywood is as close as a short drive on the 101 freeway, but the cultural divide is enormous. Born to Mexican-born and American-naturalized parents, Alicia Armendariz migrated a few miles west to participate in the free-range birth of the 1970s punk movement. Alicia adopted the punk name Alice Bag and became lead singer for The Bags, early punk visionaries who starred in the Penelope Spheeris’ documentary The Decline of Western Civilization.

Here is a life of many crossed boundaries, from East L.A.’s musica ranchera to Hollywood’s punk rock; from a violent male-dominated family to female-dominated transgressive rock bands. Alice’s feminist sympathies can be understood by the name of her satiric all-girl early Goth band Castration Squad.

Violence Girl takes us from a violent upbringing to an aggressive punk sensibility; this time, a difficult coming-of-age memoir culminates with a satisfying conclusion, complete with a happy marriage and children. Nearly a hundred excellent photographs energize the text in remarkable ways.

If you don’t have it, go buy it.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

Disco’s Out…Murder’s In!: The True Story of Frank the Shank and L.A.’s Deadliest Punk Rock Gang
November 10, 2015- Feral House
Written by: Heath Mattioli and David Spacone

The mind simply spins at the thought of “Disco’s Out… Murder’s In!” It isn’t hard to imagine the controversy it will create. The book is full of unsavory characters consisting of brutes of the lowest level, and the kicker is, they’re just kids! They inhabit the world where the sun refuses to shine. The authors’ ruthless account of these wretched lives is so brutally honest, it almost hurts to read. The prose has the immediacy of a screenplay. It’s uncomfortable.

Famous for its revolutionary aspects of musical, political, sexual identity and consumerist ideas, punk rock also has its lesser-known gangster ethos as well, explained here by players in the various punk gangs.

The Los Angeles, Orange County, and South Bay punk scenes, populated by blue-collar kids who responded to the violence and aggression of punk songs and shows. A number of them formed punk gangs that got into beatings, drug dealing, and murder. Among them, no gang was more notorious than La Mirada Punks, or LMP.

Says LMP chieftain Frank the Shank after getting arrested by police for murder: “After having my hands in so much bloodshed over the years, I most certainly had it coming. I deserved whatever I got.”

Unexpectedly Frank was bailed out of prison by his father’s friend, a mob gangster.

“Too many people died at the hands of punk rock violence,” said Frank. “I got lucky, some didn’t. As an ultra-violent punk rock gangster, I admit my part in ruining the scene. L.A. punk was a magical moment of youth expression like no other. And the gangs ruined punk rock. I still have people telling me today that they quit punk because of LMP. I dig graves at a small cemetery just outside Los Angeles. What else would you expect from Frank the Shank?”

If you get the chance, give this one a read, it’s a good book, go out and get it. It’s a great snapshot of an interesting time in music.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars




Misconceptions of Hell is available now:

The Book of Rock Lists


Dave Marsh and Kevin Stein
The Book of Rock Lists
A Dell/Rolling Stone Press Book

I bought this book at a library sale about a year to a year and a half ago. I’d pack my four-year-old boy into the car and off we’d go. At this point everyone I know has been sent a book from one of these sales, my brother in San Diego has been sent a copy of A Million Little Pieces, and a few Hemmingway books, and my wife and son . . . I lost count. I have even sent my friend Jay a copy of Bukowski’s Post Office. At a buck a book, I can’t help myself.

Over the years I’ve, just about, bought every music book I’ve come across, from biographies on Ray Charles to Keith Moon, from Malcolm McLaren to Jimi Hendrix. So, when I was cruising the aisles at this book sale I came across this copy of The Book of Rock Lists by Dave Marsh, and Kevin Stein, I thought why not? A book like this fits into a category that a guy named Brian that I used to work with, termed bathroom reading. He was a bartender from the Bay Area, and we ended up working for a porn company, more on that another time. Anyway, we were talking about reading Bukowski, and he said Bukowski was perfect bathroom reading, meaning leave it on the toilet tank and pick it up every time you’re in there and you’re never lost as to where you left off and it’s simple fast reading.

So, in a nutshell, The Book of Rock Lists is that great bathroom reading. There were two punk related lists that I had to list here. The book was finished in 1980, but wasn’t published until 1981; with punk still in its infancy, there wasn’t much to be written. The writer, Dave Marsh was/is a writer for Rolling Stone and he’s best known for his many books on Springsteen, so his punk mentions are more tongue in cheek.

Here are the lists:


The chart position for each single follows the date on which it first hit that slot.

1. “God Save The Queen,” The Sex Pistols, June 4, 1977 (4)
2. “Pretty Vacant,” The Sex Pistols, July 9, 1977 (6)
3. “Do Anything You Wanna Do,” Eddie and The Hot Rods, August 13, 1977 (9)
4. “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes,” The Adverts, September 27, 1977 (18)
5. “Holidays In The Sun,” The Sex Pistols, October 22, 1977 (8)
6. “Angels With Dirty Faces,” Sham 69, May 13, 1978 (19)
7. “My Way”/”No One Is Innocent,” The Sex Pistols with Ronald Biggs, July 8, 1978 (7)
8. “If The Kids Are United,” Sham 69, July 29, 1978 (9)
9. “Top of The Pops,” The Rezillos, August 12, 1978 (17)
10. “Hong Kong Garden,” Siouxsie and The Banshees, August 26, 1978 (7)
11. “Ever Fallen In Love,” The Buzzcocks, September 23, 1978 (12)
12. “Hurry Up Harry,” Sham 69, October 14, 1978 (10)
13. “Public Image,” Public Image LTD., October 21, 1978 (9)
14. “Germ-Free Adolescence,” X-Ray Spex, November 4, 1978 (19)
15. “Tommy Gun,” The Clash, December 2, 1978 (20)

And now the second list:

Of Individuals – Bands Too Numerous to Mention

1. Stiv Bators (The Dead Boys)
2. Laura Logic (Essential Logic)
3. Tory Crimes (The Clash)
4. Lux Interior (The Cramps)
5. Johnny Rotten (The Sex Pistols)
6. Rat Scabies (The Damned)
7. Joe Strummer (The Clash)
8. Poly-Styrene (X-Ray Spex)
9. Ari Up (The Slits)
10. Sid Vicious (The Sex Pistols)

Now that I have given you the best parts, you may not need to pick the book up. Amazon lists were revised and re-published in 1994, so these early punk lists may have been removed. It was a fun book.

For all you “punk scholars,” these are not my lists, so before you start freaking “you don’t know shit, Dr. Know from Bad Brains has the best punk name in the fucking world.” I didn’t make these up. So, put on your helmet and stop licking the glass on your small bus and enjoy the article.

If you don’t own it, give it a read.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars




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