Symbol Six, Rikk Agnew, Bombay Snakes – LIVE


Symbol Six, Rikk Agnew, Bombay Snakes
Tarzana, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, June 21, 2013

A week or so back when I was doing the book signing I was told that Symbol Six and Rikk Agnew were going to be playing a show/backyard party in the Valley soon, but for whatever reason I forgot.

Luckily my friend Gerry posted a picture of the start of Rikk Agnew’s set and I was able to make a call or two and get to the place just inside of 15 minutes. Caught the last part of Rikk’s set and see all of the Symbol Six and Bombay Snakes sets.

The first act of the day was the always great Rikk Agnew Band. Rikk did his regular set with songs like No Way, and Your 2 Late, and then they pause, and bring out singer Gitane Demone (former singer of Christian Death) and perform his latest track I Can’t Change The World.

Now, the second act of the afternoon, Symbol Six, one of the few bands that played back in the eighties that seem to have more young fans than the older throwback crowd.

Symbol Six’s last three or four shows they have been working as a four-piece band, which surprised me – as far back as I can remember they have been a five-piece . . . anyway, being critical guy I focused extra hard on guitarist Tony Fate’s six string work. And I hate to say I couldn’t tell the difference. He is all over the frets make that bad boy bleed.

The final band of the, now, evening was Bombay Snakes. I don’t want to say they were a pop-punk band, because that has a heavey negative connotation. So, I’ll say they were a really good punk band with a pop flair to their choruses.

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 good, Nubs Gutmacher had the boards under control, and I had a clear view of the bands. My overall assessment, a great afternoon.

At the end of the night I got to stand outside and talk to both Rikk Agnew and Gitane Demone. Gitane told how much she liked my book, I need to send them the second one. And I told Rikk what a great musician he is.

This is my favorite part of going to shows. Meeting and/or talking to people I grew up digging. No matter how old I get there is always this fan-boy part of me that comes out around certain people.

Fun night.



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

The Bloody Mess Rock Circus – Mountain Rock


The Bloody Mess Rock Circus
Mountain Rock
Deathangel Absolution Records
Producer: Rikk Agnew

Bloody F. Mess – Vocals
Andy Friend – Guitar
Christopher T Baggins – Bass
Rich Psonak – Drums

01. Oregon Mountains
02. Junk Male
03. Iggy Pop Doesn’t Stage Dive Anymore
04. The Honeymoon’s Over
05. Spidarlings
06. Kali Yuga
07. O.C.D. Is Killing Me
08. Mending Fences
09. The Bluest of Blue
10. Can’t Take No More

This is an impossible album to categorize. After I listened to the first track I thought I had them figured out, Oregon Mountains has a heavy Motorhead vibe and I thought that’s what the album was going to be. But no. This album seems to have every musical genre under the sun, hardcore, Goth and metal. And along for the ride are their friends Rikk Agnew, Paul Roessler, Richie Ramone and Don Bolles.

Bloody F Mess has been singing in punk rock bands since 1983.  Based in Peoria Illinois for many, many years Bloody spent years touring the Midwest and East Coast, doing talk shows on TV, and playing with bands such as Naked Raygun, AOD, GG Allin, the Dead Milkmen and many other punk and rock bands.

In 2011 Bloody moved to Medford Oregon.  He formed the Bloody Mess Rock Circus with bass player Christopher T Baggins and guitarist Andy Friend. The band toured the United States, bringing a very high energy and chaotic stage show to every city they performed in. The band went down to Los Angeles to record the Bloody 30th Anniversary Album, Mountain Rock. Produced by Rikk Agnew of Christian Death and Adolescents fame, the album has guest appearances by many of Bloody’s friends including Richie Ramone of the Ramones, Don Bolles of The Germs, and Paul Roessler of The Screamers/45 Grave.

Bloody is currently working on his spoken word album which will be released soon on the records Ad Nauseum label out of Hollywood California

If you don’t own it, go and give it a listen.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

Years ago there were a number of shows on the Sci-Fi channel that played “real” videos of monsters or supernatural occurrences that viewers caught on film. If I remember right it was mostly blurry Big Foot tapes or and occasional flying saucer and/or hubcap flying behind a cloud.

So, one day there crazy idea/prank popped into my head . . . I’ll go to Mexico and catch the chupacabras!

I first told my sister-in-law that I needed her to come with me to Mexico. She would be my cameraman (or camera-person). Now the most crucial part of this project? My wife.

You see as part of the capture of the elusive chupacabras or as he’s known to his friends: chupa, I would have my wife dress up as sheep and walk around a Mexican farm yelling, “Baaaa,” until Senor Chupa swoops down for the attack and my sister-in-law would film it and I would rush in and bag chupa.

The problem is no one knew if I was joking or if I was serious. My sister-in-law cracked up, but my wife was pissed. She said, “You wouldn’t save me. You’d let the chupacabras kill me.”

Now death never entered my mind. Just the possibility of seeing her run around on a farm yelling, “Baaa,” killed me.

I don’t know if I could have caught the chupacabras or how much the Sci-Fi channel would have paid me, but the wife’s reaction alone was worth me pretending to keep the project alive for over a year.



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

Time Again – Darker Days


Time Again
Darker Days
Released: February 19, 2008
Hellcat Records
Producer: Mike Green

Daniel Dart – Vocals
Elijah Reyes – Guitar
Oren Soffer – Bass
Ryan Purucker – Drums

01. Day Like This – 2:00
02. Soon It Will Be – 2:46
03. One Way Or Another – 1:56
04. Lines Are Faded – 2:33
05. Darker Days – 2:34
06. Lucky – 2:06
07. Montreal (Street Kids) – 2:00
08. Lookin’ Back – 3:08
09. Movin’ On – 2:25
10. You’re Goin’ Down – 1:17
11. TV Static – 1:55
12. Shell Casings – 2:25
13. Gonna Get Mine – 2:13
14. Outcast – 2:45

I reviewed Time Again’s album The Stories Are True back in January of 2010, and the responses were less than stellar. Check these out:

“I don’t care how ‘real’ a band is, stick them in front of a camera and they’re all preening divas dripping faux attitude. Rock star thing, I guess.”

“best clash tribute band, ever.”

“They are a blatant Rancid rip-off band. That is the truth and I am sticking to my guns. I fucking love Rancid!!!!!!!!!!!”

So, needless to say I was hesitant about reviewing this album. I actually enjoyed The Stories Are True. I’m a big Tim Armstrong fan, and enjoyed his singing on that album. This album, Darker Days, sounds less like The Stories Are True, and somewhat, directionless.

I need albums to grab me right away. If it’s a punk album give me that quick kick in the ass, if it’s a rock opera/concept album at least give me something that makes me want to pay attention, and listen again.

So the problem with this album is: it sounds like Time Again, but not a real good Time Again.

If you don’t own it, go and give it a listen.

Rating: * ** one out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

As I write this, Christmas is over by a few days.

As friends, and family pass on, and friends move, the holidays can be quite a bitch to go through.

One of my biggest issues – going way back, has been spending the holidays with other people’s families. From the mid-80’s or so, I’d date someone, and split my day with my family, and the family of whatever girl I was seeing.

I know it’s arrogant, but nobody does Christmas right, but your own family. One year we had my Brother’s girlfriend, and her family down from Seattle. And our gift giving was re-arranged to their liking. As kids, my Mom put no rules on how we opened presents, or in what order, etc.

Now, the girlfriend’s family had a definite order. After everyone showers, and eats breakfast, everyone sits in a circle and opens one present, passes it around, checks it out, and so on like this.

Growing up my Brother and I would go at the gifts . . . it was a free-for-all. My Mom sat patiently, opening her first present an hour or so after our ape-shit antics.

And some days we didn’t even think of breakfast until 11:00 or so.

Now that I’m married I spend my Christmas’ with my Egyptian in-laws, and it’s way different than what I grew up with. The few constants are this: We will be watching the Lakers game, at least one person will cry (reasons vary), there will be plenty of screaming (positive and negative), and lots of over eating.

No matter how many twists, and turns your life takes there’s nothing better than the Christmas’ of your youth, before you were actually paying for the gifts yourself.



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

Symbol Six, Rikk Agnew, Barrio Tiger, A Pretty Mess – LIVE


Symbol Six, Rikk Agnew, Barrio Tiger, A Pretty Mess
5 Star Bar, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, June 7, 2013

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Symbol Six record release show last night, and had the privilege to share a table with Edward Colver. Sold a bunch of books and met some great people, but as I do this I’m still observing the room, making mental notes and taking pictures because by the end of the week the show will be reviewed for Strange Reaction.

Over the years I’ve weirded out more than a few bands, I’ll be sitting in the corner, backstage watching band members fight over drink-tickets. When they ask why I’m sitting there, I tell them, “This is where the action is.”

Well, last night as I’m manning the table I had two funny incidents worth mentioning, first, I had a guitarist come up to the table and pick up one of the Last One To Die postcards that I had leftover from 2011 and says “Oh my god, you know Mike Essington?”

I said, “Yeah.”

He said, “A couple of years ago on a tour, Rikk Agnew said this was the greatest book.”

I said, “Yeah, he’s probably right.”

He said, “I want to buy one, is he around to sign this.”

I said, “Yeah, I’m here.” He shook his head and tried not to be so enthused.

The second incident was with a young twenty-something year old, who was three sheets to the wind. He wanted to buy something, either he was short on funds or didn’t want to attempt to count so he decided to buy a copy of a magazine one of my books was reviewed in. I brought three different magazines. Instead of just picking one up he did this “Eenie Meenie Mine Moe” thing that lasted about five minutes. I watched the whole time as he pointed to one magazine, then the next and then next. It was entertaining. For all his effort I gave him two magazines for the price of one.

The show itself was an insane line-up put on by Symbol Six to celebrate their new release, Dirtyland on Jailhouse Records. The show was a combination of record release party and book signing party.

Based what I saw on Saturday night and previous experiences, Christian Death fans are a group unto themselves.

About four years ago I was doing flyers and event pages for Rikk Agnew and one of his fans from his Christian Death work texts me and asks if he could bring Rozz. I didn’t immediately get what he was talking about, so I said, “Yeah, bring whoever you want,” because I didn’t really care who he brought.

Then he texts back, “I bring Rozz everywhere with me in spirit, but only special events do I bring his physical being.”

Now I’m getting weirded out, “What the hell are we talking about?”

“I own Rozz’ ashes.”

“OK, why?”

“Doesn’t everyone want to own them?”

“Um, yeah sure. Bring the ashes.”

“Want to know how I got them?”


Then on Saturday, June 7, 2014, (the day of the show) as I was sharing a signing table with Edward Colver (previously mentioned) he was approached by three Christian Death fans that were eager to have him sign a few copies of their Record Store Day copies of the Christian Death single. They place their clear plastic purse on top of my books, then spilled beer on my flyers and spent about a half an hour interrupting as he was signing for other people. Once he signed their singles they sat at the bar and batted their eyes at me for the next forty-five minutes.

Being the “Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky” that I am, I smiled and said to myself, “Please leave.”

The first band of the night was A Pretty Mess. There are so many bands nowadays that want to bring back the early 80’s punk vibe, and in all honesty, almost none of them deliver. A Pretty Mess is one of the few that has that raw danger to them. They aren’t a retro 80’s punk band, but they have that edge to them that the early L.A. punk bands did. Dee Skusting is the ultimate front person, whether she’s belting out vocals that could make paint peel and coffee nervous, she controls the stage. At one point the brought Mr. Rikk Agnew onstage to play with them. Awesome set.

The second band of the night was Barrio Tiger. Somehow over the years I’ve always missed these guys. Well, they were worth the wait. Real good band. I look forward to seeing them again

The third band of the night was the always great Rikk Agnew Band. Rikk has always had this amazing ability to drop in on a band, and sprinkle his magic guitar dust on them and allow them to make the one great album of their career, and then he’s off to the next project that grabs his interest. Adolescents, Christian Death, and D.I., did any of them put out anything great after Rikk? I didn’t think so.

Rikk does his regular set with songs like No Way, and Your 2 Late, and then they pause, and bring out singer Gitane Demone. (former singer of Christian Death) and perform I Can’t Change The World.

Watching Rikk play is awesome in itself, he has this style of fingering the fret board that’s really cool. He’ll be holding the strings, then he will flip his hand over the top, as if to finger-tap, but he doesn’t. He’s merely holding the strings, and playing the chords a different way. It’s so fast, and effortless, good stuff.

Now, the last band of the night, the band that has stripped James Brown of the title of “Hardest Working Man (Men) in Show Business,” Symbol Six. They are one of the very few bands that played back in the eighties that seem to have more young fans than the older throwback crowd.

Symbol Six with some kind of eerie musical introduction that made Edward Colver turn to me and say, “This doesn’t sound like Symbol Six.”

And then faster that you can turn from the Spice channel to Desperate Housewives when your wife walks in the room, Symbol Six steamrolls into their modern off of Dirtyland. And again everybody is singing along, and pumping their fists, but this time it’s everybody who is about ten years younger than me (that is if I was 35, it’s my story . . . I could be 35).

Much like all Symbol Six shows, as soon as they hit the stage the front row fills up with photographers, and people with video cameras.

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 good, clear view of the bands, and I had fun. My overall assessment, this one is for the record books!



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

Punk History – The Early Years Vol. 1


Punk History – The Early Years Vol. 1
Liberula Barriguda
February 2007
Producer Various

1. The Stooges – Search and Destroy – 3:29
2. New York Dolls – Personality Crisis – 3:43
3. The Heartbreakers – Born To Lose – 3:02
4. Patti Smith – Rock N Roll Nigger – 3:26
5. Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop – 2:12
6. The Dictators – Two Tub Man – 3:33
7. Rhino 39 – Take Your Medicine – 2:47
8. The Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the UK – 3:31
9. Blondie – Hanging On the Telephone – 2:21
10. Eddie & the Hot Rods – Teenage Depression – 2:58
11. The Runaways – Cherry Bomb – 2:19
12. The Clash – White Riot – 1:59
13. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Generation – 2:44
14. The Damned – Neat Neat Neat – 2:42
15. Vibrators – Judy Says – 2:13
16. Wire – 1 2 X U – 1:57
17. The Stranglers – Get a Grip On Yourself – 4:03
18. Boomtown Rats – Lookin’ After No. 1 – 3:10
19. The Jam – In The City – 2:19
20. The Saints – I’m Stranded – 3:33
21. Talking Heads – Psycho Killer – 4:21
22. The Boys – First Time – 2:22
23. The Motors – Dancing The Night Away – 3:14
24. Alternative TV – Action Time Vision – 2:31
25. Sham 69 – Borstal Breakout – 2:06
26. Penetration – Don’t Dictate – 2:55
27. The Adverts – Gary Gilmore’s Eyes – 2:14

As I write this it’s the thirtieth anniversary (a little over) of the Never Mind the Bullocks album; they performed a show at the Roxy here in Los Angeles, but ticket prices shot up to $250.00 or more through the agencies. Needless to say I didn’t go.

I dig the Clash and, of course, the Sex Pistols tracks. I can do without having to ever hear the Damned’s Neat Neat Neat ever again.

White Riot
“White riot – I wanna riot!
White riot – a riot of my own!
White riot – I wanna riot!
White riot – a riot of my own!

Black man gotta lot a problems,
But they don’t mind throwing a brick!
White people go to school,
Where they teach you how to be thick!

An’ everybody’s doing,
Just what they’re told to!
An’ nobody wants,
To go to jail!

White riot – I wanna riot!
White riot – a riot of my own!
White riot – I wanna riot!
White riot – a riot of my own!
All the power’s in the hands,
Of people rich enough to buy it!

While we walk the street,
Too chicken to even try it!

Everybody’s doing,
Just what they’re told to!
Nobody wants,
To go to jail!

White riot – I wanna riot!
White riot – a riot of my own!
White riot – I wanna riot!
White riot – a riot of my own!

Are you taking over?
Or are you taking orders?
Are you going backwards?
Or are you going forwards?

White riot – I wanna riot!
White riot – a riot of my own!
White riot – I wanna riot!
White riot – a riot of my own.”

Joe Strummer, and Mick Jones found a way to write about racism without actually saying a thing. They sort of danced around it, and stayed vague.

If you don’t own it, go and pick it up – buy a used copy. It’s a good time capsule of the first wave of British and New York punk.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

At the beginning of 2007, I bought the DVD of American Hardcore, and as I watched it I was surprised at how funny Jack from TSOL was, he stole the movie. Then I started to remember all the crazy Jack stories I was told back in the ‘80’s. One of my friends back in high school was a girl named Stef C., and Stef was always able to attend many more shows than I was. I don’t know if it was cash or transportation, but I didn’t attend as many shows as I wanted to. Anyway, Stef relayed two crazy Jack stories to me, the first one was at Godzilla’s, a club in Sun Valley, CA, Jack was walking around with a slight limp (the limp was faked), and when Stef asked him what was wrong he said he got his “privates” caught in his zipper and almost had them cut off, but he was able to get them stitched back on. Then said “would you like to see?” To which Stef replied “No thank you,” or so she says.

The second Jack story Stef told me was of Jack walking around a club one night arm-in-arm with Rozz Williams of Christian Death, telling everyone that Rozz was going to get a sex change and they were going to get married soon afterwards. The guy always had a wacky wit, and half the time people were stuck – never sure whether or not to believe him. He’s still a charismatic dude.



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

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