Symbol Six, The F@gz, Smart Patrol – LIVE


Symbol Six, The F@gz, Smart Patrol
Poor Kids Mansion
Saturday, March 19, 2011

This was by far one of the coolest shows I’ve ever been to. This was held at the Poor Kids Mansion ( It is an incredible three-story mansion, in a part of L.A. that I normally wouldn’t venture to.

One of the flyers said the show starts at 7:30, so I got there a few minutes early, and the street was, like, a series of military bunkers. Barbed wire on every other fence, pit bulls wandering up, and down the block. I drove to the end of the block, to do a u-turn, and when I got to the end, I saw a guy passed out in his truck, I couldn’t tell if he was dead, or just lit up. In the driveway just past the truck-guy, was two “gangstas” with forty-ouncers, and some kind of “hardware” stashed under a sweatshirt. I did my u-turn, and parked on the complete other end of the street.

I got out of the car, locked up, and started up the hill towards the Mansion, about six-feet from the car the above mentioned pit-bull is sitting in the middle of the street, eyes locked on me. Something about the stare of that kind of dog, it drains the manhood out of you, I was trying to figure out how to get up the street without being mauled. I walked a few feet the dog walked a few feet. I stood behind a car, trying to figure out whether to go back to my car or book to the house, just then a little black SUV pulls up, the dog runs for it, I run to the house (yeah, I’m a major wuss). The doors to the SUV open, and it’s two girls, I think to myself, “What an asshole, I’m hiding inside the gate of the Mansion while these two girls are going to get maimed.” But as soon as the doors open the pit-bull is wagging its tail, and jumping up and down. Damn, I didn’t know it was friendly, I’ve seen too many episodes of “Caught On Tape.”

I was told to ask for Phillyp once I got to the place, I ask one big guy who was at the gate, he tells me to go around back.

The amount of property at the Mansion was unbelievable. They could’ve built two more houses. The place overlooks downtown L.A.

I find Phillyp, I introduce myself, and he says “You’re Mike E.!” I was taken completely off-guard, I could only say, “How do you know?” To which he replied “I’ve got the Internet, I’ve seen you around.”

About, twenty minutes, or so later, a girl, named Bird, hands me a cell phone, and says “It’s George Anthony from Battalion of Saints, you should interview him!”

So, I talked to George Anthony.

(Much different than when I tried to interview Keith Morris: “So here’s what’s gonna’ happen…………….Michael U can call me @ xxx-xxx-xxxx & we’ll set up a time & day & U can buy me breakfast or lunch! Be good! Keith.”)

A little while after I talked to George, I got to meet Mike Vallejo from Circle One. And I got to rap with him in-depth about John Macias, the rumors, and facts, etc.

As a fan-boy this is all too cool to me.

Anyway, shortly after meeting Mike, all the bands start arriving, and all the PA’s are set up.

The first band to play is a group called Smart Patrol. The band does really cool Devo covers. The band was good, the only problem was the PA. One minute you would only hear the band, the next minute it would be only static-y vocals.

I felt for the band, because they were good, but the audio was really bad.

On the original bill Scattergood, and The Rikk Agnew Band were scheduled to play. I’m not 100% sure of the details, but it seems that the two bands merged, and formed The F@gz.

This time the band was pretty decent sounding, with Rikk Agnew sitting in on drums (what can’t Rikk play?!), but the feedback was destroying the vocals.

I walked around to the back of the stage to watch Rikk pound the skins, the guy is amazing.

The last band of the night was Symbol Six. If you are one of three people left on the western seaboard that hasn’t seen them, or if you’re one of those whiney “old-school punk rockers,” that hate any band that has aged, or doesn’t do the exact same set-list they did in 1982, . . . well here’s a word of advice” get you shit together, and go see them.

The show started late, somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30, so Symbol Six didn’t go on until 11:00ish.

Within one or two songs the backyard had turned into a full-fledged slam-pit. The stage was only a foot or so high, but it didn’t stop the fifteen or twenty kids from hopping up there, and diving off.

Once Symbol Six torn into the songs from their Posh Boy EP, the place exploded. Watching all the energy of these kids made me want to join the pit, but my old ass refrained.

Of the songs on their latest album, they have, about, four or five of these tracks have that Motorhead-vibe that, most of us came to love on the Ace of Spades album.

Once the kids started slamming they didn’t let up, the whole set was nuts like that. The craziest part of the pit was when Hawaiian-looking guy came stumbling into the pit with a cowboy hat crafted out of a 12-pack box (yeah, a cardboard beer box), and tried to slam. He was spilling his beer everywhere, and when he tried to stage dive he knocked over Eric Leach’s mike stand.

The bass player from their recent West Coast tour, Pat asked him to mellow out. The cowboy started yelling at him, and challenging him to a fight, when Pat wouldn’t take the bait, cowboy threw his beer at him, missing him by ten feet, but hitting Symbol Six guitarist, Mark Conway, mid-song. Mark, unfazed, didn’t miss a note.

My overall assessment, great night!



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Operation Ivy – Energy


Operation Ivy
Label: Lookout!
Released: 1989

Jesse Michaels – lead vocals, backing vocals on Bad Town
Lint – guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on Bad Town
Matt McCall – bass, backing vocals
Dave Mello – drums, backing vocals

1. Knowledge
2. Sound System
3. Jaded
4. Take Warning
5. The Crowd
6. Bombshell
7. Unity
8. Vulnerability
9. Bankshot
10. One of These Days
11. Gonna Find You
12. Bad Town
13. Smiling
14. Caution
15. Freeze Up
16. Artificial Life
17. Room without a Window
18. Big City
19. Missionary

Energy is the only studio album by the American ska punk band Operation Ivy. It was originally released only on vinyl and cassette in March 1989 through Lookout! Records (LK 010). It was remastered and re-released on CD by Lookout! Records in 1991 as an eponymous release with an additional 8 tracks from the band’s Hectic EP and the Maximum Rocknroll double 7-inch compilation Turn It Around! Energy has been cited as one of the most important albums of the ska punk genre.

Hellcat Records re-released the original album as a 12-inch LP picture disc in 2004, and in 2007 re-released a remastered version of the self-titled CD.

In 2006, Energy was ranked as the highest rated punk album of 1989 and 6th highest rated ever on Sputnikmusic.

Hellcat reissued the original album again with a digital download code on April 18, 2012.

Operation Ivy originally intended to record Energy at 924 Gilman Street but because of problems, they set out to record at Sound and Vision in San Francisco, California in January 1989. As did Hectic, Energy had outtakes that were later put onto the album Unreleased Energy. Energy has been said to be more mature and less hardcore than Hectic.

Energy is widely regarded as a pivotal album of ska-core. Many artists have covered the songs on Energy (and Hectic); including the tribute album Take Warning: The Songs of Operation Ivy. Split Lip’s 1996 compilation album Archived Music for Stubborn People: Songs You May or May Not Have Heard Before included a cover of Unity. Goldfinger covered the song Smiling on their live album Foot in Mouth (2000). Millencolin covered the song Knowledge for their “Skauch” EP. Green Day covered the song Knowledge for their Slappy EP, and they continue to play the song at live performances (even pulling audience members on stage to play instruments).

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

I was talking to my buddy, Dave Diamond, yesterday about how different things are nowadays. I know everyone complains about how things have changed, people have changed, etc. For the most part I roll with it and try not to bitch too much.

The thing that popped into my head yesterday was jobs and more specifically job security. Growing up in the 70’s if you were 30, 40 or 50 the job you had was more than likely the job you retired from. A little ceremony, a check, handshake and a gold watch.

Now, it seems, most of my classmates are back in college trying to find a new career. We (my classmates) are all on the down-slide to 50 and are trying to figure out what we want to be and most of us are spinning 4, 5, and 6 plates to stay afloat.

I’m not good with politics, but I’m not ignorant enough to say it’s all Obama’s fault either (my apologies to any ignorant people reading this . . . oh look Pokémon is on!)

Somewhere between the 70’s and now people stopping being people and became cogs in these companies and while the companies keep pumping out product a lot of us are flapping in the wind.

While Walmart doesn’t want to pay for Health Insurance, McDonald’s doesn’t want to pay minimum wage and Chick-fil-A doesn’t want to feed or employ gays we still have families to feed.

I guess what’s scariest about this is at, almost, 50 I sometimes feel as confused as I did the day I graduated high school. It’s this big, “Where the fuck do I go now?”



Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today:

Sex Pistols – Live At the Longhorn


Sex Pistols – Live At the Longhorn
Label: (Bootleg)
Released: 1978

Johnny Rotten: Vocals
Sid Vicious: Bass
Paul Cook: Drums
Steve Jones:

1. EMI
2. Bodies
3. Belsen Was a Gas
4. Holidays in the Sun
5. No Feelings
6. Problems
7. Pretty Vacant
8. Anarchy in the UK
9. No Fun

Sex Pistols live at the Longhorn in Texas, January 10, 1978. This was their only tour of the U.S. A classic show with bass player Sid Vicious. A Great historical document. This is the show where Sid cut himself up with a bottle, and bled all over himself.

Only one problem . . . the sound quality isn’t very good, and I listened to it a few times, and I don’t think they plugged Sid’s bass in. It’s a kind of dirty flat sound.

Rating: * ** one out of three stars

On to the story . . .

I was on a date back in the summer of 1996 (Thursday, August 22, 1996). I had lost touch with the punk scene, with the exception of pulling out my copy of Dance With Me once a year, I wasn’t paying attention to the scene at all. Then one evening in August of 1996 I find myself up on Universal Hill A.K.A. City Walk, and I bump into about 100 kids, all of whom look like they stepped out of a time machine from 1977. Mohawks, leather jackets, studded belts, Doc Martins, Creepers. It was wild. So, feeling very nostalgic, I walked up to one of the kids and asked what was going on? And the wanna-be-roughneck said “The Pistols, man. They’re back.” I thought he was pulling my leg. I hadn’t seen any signs in front or anything.

A short bit later I checked with the box office and the show was sold-out. So, I hung out in front until they had let the crowd in, and security mingled on down the path up towards the Amphitheatre, and I hatched a plan. I told the girl I was with that if we went through the bushes on the right-hand side of the path we could cut through one of the small stadiums (the Water World attraction) in the Universal Studios Tour and we’d end up parallel to the right side of the stage and the stage entrance. In other words, we’d be able to hear the whole set, and if anyone opened the side door, we might be able to see some of the set.

This whole plan took a bit to execute, so we didn’t get to see or hear the opening act.

But I am happy to say we heard the bulk of the Pistols set. The side door never opened, so I didn’t get to see them, but I heard the whole set. I jotted down the songs I heard, but it’s been over eleven years, so I don’t know if I have the set list in the right order, but these are pretty much all of the songs I heard:

1. Bodies
2. Seventeen
3. New York
4. No Feelings
5. Did You No Wrong
6. God Save the Queen
7. Liar
8. Satellite
9. (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone
10. Submission
11. Holidays in the Sun
12. Pretty Vacant
13. EMI
14. Anarchy in the UK
15. Problems



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Earth Dies Burning – LIVE


Earth Dies Burning/Zoogz Rift
Lhasa Club, Hollywood, CA
Friday, March 16, 1984
Admission $5.00
Time: 9:00 PM

Matt Karlsen – Vocals
Jeff Karlsen – Keyboards/Guitar
Brad Laner – Keyboards
Spencer Savage – Drums

Bored Teenager
Fish Sticks
Another Six Year-Old
Bowling for Food
60 Minutes/Duck, and Cover
Mr. Blue
Psychotic Reaction

This had to be one of the hardest pieces I have ever attempted. It’s especially difficult when you were friends with the members of the group (one of them) and you want to accurately retell the story. So, let’s start at the beginning: I ride to Hollywood with two guys from school, Glen and Jacque. It’s about a twenty minute to thirty-minute ride, and we pull up, and Matt Karlsen, Earth Dies Burning’s singer, is outside talking with the different people making their way into the club.

Right before I step into the place Matt asks me to show him some Michael Jackson moves to do mid-set. So, I do this weird move that I saw on MTV, and Matt duplicates it. With everyone off of the street and into the club, Matt tells me that they are going to cover Lou Reed’s Heroin, and right before going into the track he’s going to announce Reed’s passing. To which I reply “I hadn’t heard that.” Matt just smiles and says “No, but this is Hollywood, they’ll really be bummed out.” With that statement you know what to expect from Earth Dies Burning. Intelligent, but just a bit different than all the rest of the “alternative” groups in Los Angeles at the time.

So, we make our way into the Lhasa Club, on 1110 North Hudson, a pretty small club that left us standing throughout the set. Earth Dies Burning comes on at a few minutes after 9:00pm and sure enough, in the middle of one of their songs Matt does some extravagant Michael Jackson dance move, with the leg kicking up in the air. I don’t know what was more entertaining what was on stage or the audiences’ reactions.

Anyway, the set starts to wind down and Matt launches into a speech about a “very influential musician who died today, Mr. Lou Reed.” And again the crowd looks dumbfounded. The two guys I rode with looked over at me and just muttered, “Oh Shit, I didn’t know.” I didn’t tell them the truth until we were back in the car. Earth Dies Burning played for about twenty minutes, great set, and then the club pretty much emptied out after them.

The people I rode with decided to take off right after Earth Dies Burning finished. So, we missed Zoogz Rift, but in case you’re interested here’s a bit I was able to dig up on him:

The Trouser Press describes Zoogz Rift as “an iconoclastic original” who is “as imaginative and stimulating as he is irritating and vitriolic.” Rift was influenced by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart as well as Salvador Dalí and Ayn Rand. Zoogz Rift began his recording career with the album Idiots on the Miniature Golf Course, released by Snout Records in 1979. His long-time collaborators include Richie Häss and John Trubee (the latter being famous for the songshark tune, “A Blind Man’s Penis”). Rift released several albums through SST Records during the 1980s. Keyboard Magazine, in a special “Experimental Music” issue, described Rift’s album The Island of Living Puke as “moments of outstanding free-form rock, sandwiched between scrupulously obscene interruptions.”

Zoogz Rift booked the UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation) in 1993. He left the promotion in March of 1994, but returned in May of 1995 to become Vice-President, alongside founder Herb Abrams. After Abrams died in 1996, the UWF promotion closed and Zoogz was left without a job. The show provides a weekly assessment of WWE and TNA promotions, with Zoogz giving insight on wrestling issues. His famous rants on the show include the pushing of former WWF superstar Warlord, and his fascination with possibly training 60-year-old Vince McMahon to become a main-event wrestler. With Zoogz’ former experience in wrestling, he claims he can train any man, via the techniques of the Golden Crab, as stated in Episode #3 of Puke-A-Mania. Puke-A-Mania videos are available via YouTube.

However, Zoogz returned to Puke-A-Mania on December 4. In that episode, Rift he again made claims to his “brother” Captain Lou Albano. Albano and other “relatives” apparently shaved Zoogz’ beard when he fell asleep after Thanksgiving dinner. He then challenged Albano to a match, to determine the “Greatest Wrestler of All-time.”

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

The copyright on the flyer is retained by the artist J. Eucharist.



Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today:

Top 10 Punk Compilations


Top 10 Punk Compilations

Number 10
Tooth And Nail
Label: Upsetter Records
Released: 1978

I remember seeing this at my Uncle’s place when it first came out. It was the first L.A. or West Coast punk album I ever saw or heard. So, I’m including it for sentimental reasons. Mostly rough, and melodic L.A. punk rock, Germs, Flesheaters, Middle Class and Negative Trend stand out. Classic compilation.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 9
Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three
Label: Sanctuary Records
Released: 2002

I dig Henry’s new version of Rise Above, Chuck D’s (of Public Enemy) intro brings a new level of intensity to the track. The track smokes. Rollins really stepped up his game, this is the best I’ve heard him in years. And he did it for a great cause.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 8
Let Them Eat Jellybeans
Label: Alternative Tentacles
Released: 1981

Let Them Eat Jellybeans “17 Extracts From Americas Darker Side,” is one of the first compilations of underground music from the Bay Area, and the original release included an insert of all of the punk bands known to be playing in the U.S. and Canada at that time. The first side of the album features songs by a number of bands that formed the canon of the Frisco hardcore punk in the 1980s, while the second side features more of an art rock sound.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 7
Cracks In The Sidewalk
Label: New Alliance Records
Released: 1980

Contains the Black Flag track Clocked In.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 6
Rodney on the ROQ
Label: Poshboy Records
Released: 1980

I originally bought this to complete my Flipside magazine collection (a free issue inside), but was stoked to hear some of the very best songs ever written – “Bloodstains” (Agent Orange), Amoeba by the Adolescents, The Circle Jerks doing Wild In The Streets, and Black Flag doing No Values!

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 5
The Decline of Western Civilization
Label: Slash Records
Released: 1981

I remember when this was first released; I had the movie poster on my wall, and the soundtrack in constant rotation on my turntable. I believe it was scheduled to open at the Nuart Theatre; I picked up their newspaper listings that came out every month, at Licorice Pizza. I had the date circled, and I was raring to go. A week before Decline was to open my Uncle Rick offered to take me. Here’s where I get bummed: my Mom tells him “No.” I wasn’t, quite yet, fifteen, and she reminded me that I had to be seventeen to see it, and she mentioned a few recent police riots at the local shows. I tried to plead my case, and my Uncle promised to look after me, but still “No.” As it turns out the police were outside the theatre when the movie let out, and a small-scale riot did, indeed, ensue; so Mom was right.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 4
Total Noise
Label: Total Noise Records
Released: 1982

I bought this at Moby Disc in Sherman Oaks in 1982. It was my first exposure to The Gonads, and Dead Generation. Stand out track: Blitz – Voice of a Generation!!

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 3
Punk and Disorderly
Label: Poshboy Records
Released: 1982

Great collection of music, I never understood why the Dead Kennedys were on here though, maybe to help boost American sales? Anyway, great stuff. Stand out track: Blitz – Somebody’s Gonna Die!

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 2
Public Service
Label: Smoke 7 Records
Released: 1981

Like most of my record collection back then, I picked this up at Moby Disc. I saw the ad for it in Flipside in early 1981, and it was a chance to add some more Bad Religion recordings to my collection. I don’t remember if this was first or the Bad Religion EP was, but I ended up owning both. Another reason I bought this was the Circle One tracks.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 1
Someone Got Their Head Kicked In
Label: BYO Records
Released: 1982

BYO’s very first release, and classic punk album, Someone Got Their Head Kicked In is still one of the best comps around. Some of L.A.’s “mega stars” and some newcomers share this record; mostly melodic punk rock/hardcore. It includes some of the all-stars like Social Distortion, and Bad Religion, bands like Aggression, and The Joneses steal the show.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

These are my choices, I’m sticking to them.



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