The Hollow Points – The Black Spot


The Hollow Points

The Hollow Points

The Hollow Points
The Black Spot
Producer: Duane Peters
Released: February 15, 2005
Disaster Records

Matty McKinney – Vocalist/guitarist
Ben Early- bassist
Ben Colley – drummer

1. Never Say Die (1:59)
2. The Sickness (4:17)
3. Hooks & Sink-Her (2:59)
4. Rope’s End (3:01)
5. Telltale American (3:26)
6. Bereaved (2:46)
7. The Black Spot (3:41)
8. The Hemingway Solution (3:40)
9. Sleaze of Seven Seas (2:43)
10. My Misfortune (2:40)
11. No Cure for Me (2:47)
12. The Sky Turned Black (3:11)
13. Charcoal Tears (3:02)
14. Pieces of Eight (2:38)

The Seattle-based Hollow Points left me wondering what they were before listening to them. With a name like Hollow Points, I thought they were a 1990’s hip-hop band. I had the album for about six months before putting it on. I finally get around to it, then the first song comes on, and . . . I hate the vocal. I turn it off, and don’t get around to listening for another month or so, same thing, not liking the first song, but track two is really good, sounds like a different singer, then track three sounds different from the other two, and so on. The singer really has quite a few sounds, but as the album goes on, they fall into that group — that listened to too much Social Distortion, and Rancid. Good, but not incredibly original.

The Hollow Points formed in 2002. Vocalist/guitarist Matty McKinney, bassist Ben Early, and drummer Ben Colley released the 2004 Annihilation EP through Dirtnap before signing with Duane Peters (of Duane Peters Gunfight, and professional skateboarder), and his Disaster label for their 2005 album, The Black Spot. In January 2006, they added a second guitarist Will McCarthy.

Lyrically they’re more “politically” aware than the average band (with the exception of Bad Religion), sardonically pledging “allegiance to country exchange and foreign labor,” paying homage to Ernest Hemingway’s suicide. The use of the Spanish guitar and maracas in Pieces of Eight and My Misfortune really gives them an unusual “flare’.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

The standout cut is The Sickness, and Hooks & Sink-Her.

If you can find it, buy it.

On to the story . . .

In November or December of 2009, I was bored. I had been out of work for a little better than a year, and every job I landed is a sit down at a desk for 8 to 9 hours a day job. In order to support a family I take these jobs, but in the back of my mind, I always saw myself doing something like the guys on American Chopper, or Monster Garage (minus the massive amounts of extramarital affairs). But I have no mechanical skills. I can change tires, and perform a shitty brake job. That’s pretty much my auto skills.

But back in the ‘70’s, I was a skateboard whiz. With my Dad’s toolbox, I could change trucks, wheels, bearings, and strip grip tape in a matter of minutes. So, one morning I told my Wife I wanted to get tools to build skateboards. She was cool with it. She asked if I had any idea how to do this? Nope, not a clue. OK. In all actuality, I saw what I wanted in my head, but not sure how to get the result.

My Wife bought me between $75.00 and $100.00 in gift cards for Home Depot.

So, I bought the following:

1. Ryobi 120 V 0.3 Amp Detail Sander
2. BLACK & DECKER 4.5A Variable Speed Jig Saw
3. BLACK & DECKER Smart Select 12v Drill
4. And lots of sandpaper.

So, I got to work, and created a template (long piece of paper, half size) traced it onto the wood, flipped it, and traced to the other side. I hand drew and painted six of them.

In January, I bought the wheels and trucks (Independents) for the board I wanted to keep and rode it. Shitty. I originally made the board 10 and ½ inched wide, and 32 or 33 inches long. It was like riding a fucking plank. So, back in the house, I created a new template, making the board 31 inches long, and 9 inches wide, and creating a curvature above the back wheels, making the board in a goldfish shape (almost).

Skull and Roses

Skull and Roses

I put the board back together, and the ride was perfect. I had a local shop do the grip tape, and assembly. I’ve been riding every night since January. I’m not quite ready for a skate park, but a lot of the feel has come back.

Skate Pool

Skate Pool

After I built the initial six, I immediately had people put dibs on all of them, but one. So, seeing that these would be moderately popular, I created a site to hawk them. For the hand-made boards I charge $20.00 each (Essington Skates), and soon afterward I created three boards that will be mass-produced (Zazzle Store).

Old School

Old School

I like the look of the mass-produced boards, but there is something to be said for working on something with your hands, the cutting, measuring, sanding, and drilling (no, I’m not talking about a porn movie I did). There is a feeling of accomplishment that you can’t get from sitting at a desk nine to five.



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Chris Walter – INTERVIEW


Chris Walter

Chris Walter

I heard about Chris Walter’s writing a few years back. I was on a forum that was dedicated to “Outlaw Writers.” All the usual suspects were there, Eddie Little, Edward Bunker, Bukowski and Hunter. I spotted a post from some guy that said something like, “How in the fuck could you leave out Chris Walter?” So, I had to search for his books. Found one – the title escapes me – and I was blown away by how well he wrote, smooth and polished. Based on the post on the forum I was expecting a complete knucklehead, the whole, “Yo, I busted a cap in da fool.” No, Chris writes about dark and gritty things that most people would like to wish away, but he does it with finesse.

1. First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I think one of the first things I wanted to ask you was how to you go from a punk kid struggling with addiction to an author of twenty-four plus books?

One book at a time, of course. It was much easier to write after I gave up drugs in 2001. It’s tough to write when the dealer is holding your laptop as collateral.

2. In many of your books, Chase the Dragon, East Van, etc., you write about homelessness, prostitution, and addiction. How much of this is from your imagination and research and how much is first person experiences?

Most of it is from experience, sadly. I’ve been homeless before, but was able to couch surf until something better came along. I would have been on the street soon if I hadn’t gone into detox. Shit was really nasty, and then my girlfriend got pregnant. My son was 5 months old when I went into rehab. Best fucking thing I ever did. I was off everything, booze included, for more than 15 years. I drink a bit now, but not to excess, and my life is perfectly manageable. Hell, it’s awesome.

3. You have written four music biographies. How do you start these, are you approached by the bands or are they bands you are interested in?

I generally approach the bands I feel are worthy. So far, they’ve all been Canadian bands, but I make branch out to the USA or Britain. Maybe my next bio?

4. What was the first book you published and were you happy with the result?

I was pleased with my first book Beer, but I can barely look at it now. I had no idea how to write in those days. I wish I could buy back every copy of that book and burn it.

5. Of your books, which are you most proud of and why?

I don’t know if I’m actually proud of any of them, but Mosquitoes & Whisky, I Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk, East Van, Boozecan, and Liquor & Whores are among my favourites. I also like Kaboom, which never sold well. I wish more people would read that one, but whatever.

6. Who were, and are, your influences, literary, and personally?

Everyone from John A MacDonald and Ian Fleming to John Steinbeck, Irvine Welsh, Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby Jr, Donald Goines, Tony O’ Neill, and Tom Wolfe. Tons of others…

7. Do you find the realm of social media a much better way for readers and authors to connect? What do you think the drawbacks are in terms of lack of “face-to-face-communication?”

Social media has been a very helpful tool to sell books, but I think authors lose a little of their mysterious appeal when they allow themselves to be caught up in the bullshit drama. I try to stay out of it, but it’s hard not to argue with people who think the world is flat. Social media makes you realize that most people really aren’t very smart.

8. What was your first exposure to punk rock?

I sort of eased into it with bands that came earlier, like Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls. I was ready for the Sex Pistols when a friend got Never Mind the Bollocks for a Xmas present in 1978. The person giving the gift thought that my friend and his friends would hate it, but she was WRONG. We loved it, especially me.

9. Which artist, band concert, and/or show had the most impact on your life?

So many, so hard to say. But a band out of Winnipeg known as Personality Crisis raised the bar so high that I was able to watch any punk band after that and not be totally blown away. They were the band to beat, but few, if any, ever did. Man, they were great.

10. Our last question, rather than complain about the current state of punk rock, my question to you is: do you find it strange or maybe amusing how incredibly accepted punk is now?

I always had the feeling that punk would become more popular than it was. I was actually a bit surprised that it didn’t get even bigger. I’m glad it didn’t though.

I’ve seen lots of bands that had more energy and sounded better than bands like Nirvana or Guns N Rose or Oasis and so many others. The popularity of punk is always rising and falling, but a core group still exists and that won’t change until the last old punks die off.

Eric Leach – LIVE


Eric Leach

Eric Leach

Eric Leach
Bar One, North Hollywood, CA
Monday, May 23, 2016
Time: 9:15 PM

Eric Leach

Eric Leach

Eric Leach performed his set, at around 9:00. I stayed for the whole set and let me tell you I was very impressed. He was a natural up there with his guitar, just making small talk and jamming. The overall feel was that of a coffee house in New York back in the 1960’s. A bunch of people together that wanted to hear the music. Not like most clubs nowadays, a bunch of lunkheads wanting to be seen.

I have to admit while Leach was tearing carrying out his gear, a second act, a guy and a girl hopped on stage and started playing. They were one of those acts that Simon Cowell might say, “I liked the guitar strap, have you considered a lobotomy?”

Initially, when I heard that Leach was going to put out a solo album, I have to admit I wasn’t overjoyed. I have, over the years, listened to many fine singers leave their band to partake in a little “vanity project.” I am rarely happy with the results. I enjoy Rancid, but wasn’t crazy about Tim Armstrong’s solo album (and I’m sure he’s absolutely devastated to hear this) and then Greg Graffin of Bad Religion (who I haven’t followed much since the 80’s) put out a solo album that had my dog contemplating suicide.

The album is pretty damn good, in case you haven’t heard it. Now, imagine how surprised I was when I heard he was going to do some solo shows and they would be fifteen minutes from my house. I had to go.

The crowd was full of punk rock alumni, members of White Flag Down, Go-Go Riot, Jenna Syde and The Watchers and Man-Wray.

This was definitely an evening well spent.



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No Control, Sidekick, No Advisory, Symbol Six, Killroy, Guttermouth – LIVE


Symbol Six

Symbol Six

No Control, Sidekick, No Advisory, Symbol Six, Killroy, Guttermouth
Weber’s, Reseda, CA
Sunday, December 19, 2011
Admission $12.00
Time: 8:30 PM

I was hanging out with record label owner a while back and said label owner was telling me about this quirk that Tim Armstrong, of Rancid, is said to have about going to shows. He (rumor has it) doesn’t like to be out in public. He’ll be invited to shows, he’ll decline, but if he’s harassed into going, he’ll show up, say “Hi” to everyone, excuse himself to go to the bathroom, or get a drink, and no one will see him for the rest of the night. When the label owner was done with the story I didn’t see anything wrong with that. I’m pretty much the same way. I’m not agoraphobic; I don’t like being thrown into crowds of people I don’t know. All through my 20’s I’d show up at a party, then say “Hi.” And I’d be gone before someone could finish ½ a beer.

In a nutshell, that’s me. I dig the music, I like the people, but I just don’t dig going out. But this was the wrap-up show for the three-day Golden Voice Anniversary shows. And Eric Leach (Symbol Six) had called me; I think he could feel I was going to flake, so he broke it down:

“How many Sunday shows have you ever gone to?”


“So, you can make it to one.”


“You were starting to be a pussy.”

Now, if this was a movie, I would’ve hung-up in tears, only to be consoled by my wife, Salma Hayek (I can cast my movie however I like). Then we would launch into a scene that wouldn’t make it to the theaters with an NC-17 rating. But this is real life, so I hung and told the wife “I’m going to see Symbol Six on Sunday.” With not even a PG scene to follow.

No Control

No Control

The first band up was No Control. I compare this type of punk rock to the way the UFC has evolved. I know what you’re thinking: “Mike how in the hell are you going to connect punk rock to the MMA?” Well, here it goes . . . At the beginning of the UFC, everybody had different skills. The Gracies wrestled, and people like Tank Abbott punched, then after a decade or so, everybody had the same skills. Modern L.A. punk is much like this. Most bands sound like the best of Social Distortion and Bad Religion. I’m not knocking them, it’s a decent sound. But it’s a far cry from when I’d go to a show and see Black Flag, Nig Heist, Christian Death, and 45 Grave on the same bill.



Sidekick came on next and sounded, somewhat like Bad Religion.

No Advisory was next and sounded, somewhat like Social Distortion.

In between bands I sold two more copies of my book, LAST ONE TO DIE, to Symbol Six drummer Phil George and buddy Kathy Fox.

Finally, around 10:30 or 11:00 Symbol Six hits the stage. This the first time I’ve seen Symbol Six with the addition of new guitarist Tony (from The Bell-Rays and The Black Widows).

Symbol Six

Symbol Six

Here’s the thing, the band is amped, I’m amped to see them, but the shit gets a bit fucked from here. Eric Leach is wailing on the vocals, but his mike is turned down so low on the board it sounds like he’s underwater. And as the band struck its first chords the house DJ left his music playing. So, Symbol Six is playing, but the ass-hat leaves Devo’s Mongoloid playing for another minute and a half or so.

Symbol Six

Symbol Six

So, this is not frustrating enough, then the cabinet of lead guitarist Taz Rudd’s amp starts shorting out. He’s playing his leads, and then there is nothing but a major humming sound throughout the place.

Symbol Six

Symbol Six

One of the band’s friends is running back and forth trying to figure it out and it gets better, then worse, then better.

Symbol Six

Symbol Six

Leach was trying to motion to the guy at the control board to turn up the vocals, (mind you, the three bands that went on first sounded fine), but the guy does nothing. I guess he was waiting to turn Devo back on.

I went and saw Rikk Agnew and Pretty Mess here in January. Hudley Flipside promoted the show, and everything is perfect. Whoever promoted this, really fucked over Symbol Six. I’m not one for conspiracies, but damn the band wasn’t even offered Vaseline first.

After their set, I left. All things considered, Symbol Six played the songs off of their EP, and some new stuff, but it was difficult to hear it all. But what was audible was kick-ass.

The funny thing about Weber’s is it’s less than a half a block away from where my dad used to live. So we spent many years skateboarding on the street where Weber’s is located. Brings back all kinds of memories, like the place I had my first “legal” drink.

If you have a chance to see any of these bands, go. You won’t have a chance to sit down, nor will you want to.

All in all, a great show. The PA was wonky, clear view of the bands, and I had fun.



Born Frustrated is available now:

TSOL – Thoughts of Yesterday




Thoughts of Yesterday
November 10, 1992

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

1. Peace thru Power
2. Property Is Theft
3. Word Is
4. Abolish Government/Silent Majority
5. Weathered Statues
6. Thoughts of Yesterday
7. Superficial Love
8. Man and Machine
9. No Way Out
10. World War III
11. The Apartment
12. Talk about Living
13. Tender Fury: Big E’s Night-Move
14. Tender Fury: Statutory Story
15. Tender Fury: Kill Cindy
16. Tender Fury: What We Got
17. Tender Fury: Running Around Again
18. Tender Fury: Let It Go
19. Tender Fury: Mercy Ride
20. Tender Fury: Look Back In Anger

Thoughts of Yesterday 1981-1982 is a 1987 compilation release from True Sounds of Liberty originally issued by Posh Boy this is the 1992 CD reissue by Rhino, which includes bonus tracks from Tender Fury featuring Jack Grisham on vocals.

Formed in 1978 in Long Beach, California, T.S.O.L. originated as a hardcore band, developing from earlier bands Johnny Koathanger and the Abortions, and SS Cult. Later on, Vicious Circle would form and T.S.O.L. would take a brief hiatus.

Featuring the lineup of vocalist Jack Grisham (who has been credited as Jack Greggors, Alex Morgan, Jack Ladoga, Jim Woo and James DeLauge), guitarist Ron Emory, bassist Mike Roche, and drummer Todd Barnes, the band’s first release was a harshly political eponymous EP featuring tracks such as “Superficial Love,” “World War III” and “Abolish Government.”

After their debut 5 song T.S.O.L. EP in 1979 and 1980 they released Dance with Me. They later signed to independent label Alternative Tentacles, for which they released the Weathered Statues EP and the Beneath the Shadows album, which featured, for the first time, keyboard player Greg Kuehn.

Amid personnel turmoil, Grisham, Barnes, and Kuehn all left the band in 1983, with Joe Wood and Mitch Dean joining on vocals and drums respectively. This new line-up released three albums on Enigma Records, touring globally to support each album, and united a world audience with Change Today? in 1984, this continued the post-punk direction and ended this era with Revenge in 1986 and Hit and Run in 1987. All three albums featured a more polished production, keeping punk and hardcore tunes.

If you don’t own it, go and pick it up.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

This is my metaphor for the current punk scene. By now everybody knows how if you pop up into the “scene,” no matter how talented you are, there will be people who will say (behind your back), “He wasn’t around in the beginning, “or “No one has ever heard of him,” etc.

And all the old (most of them anyway) punks, get bent out of shape at the newer bands, “Rancid is just the Clash recycled.”

This is what it’s like: remember in junior high, if you were a bit of an outcast when you hung out in a little click. You had your little section of the lawn to sit at and complain about the popular kids? Then one day a new girl comes over. She’s shy and wants to sit with you. You’re delighted to have someone to complain to about the “popular kids.”

Then one day you see her in class talking to a popular kid. In between classes you ask her to come and hang out in your basement and play Dungeons and Dragons. She can’t, she’s going to the mall with a few of the popular girls from school.

Guess what? She’s the scene.



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