Bobby Steele – Interview

01
Aug

One of the coolest things about doing interviews is being able to connect and/or pick the brains of people I grew up listening to. This is definitely the case with Bobby Steele. Bobby was one of the pioneering members of The Misfits (he joined right after the Bullet single and his first release was the Horror Business single) and the founder of The Undead. Great guitar player and all-around nice guy. If you want to read more about Bobby pick up a copy of American Hardcore.

1. First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I’ve been a huge fan of yours for years. First off I wanted to ask you about your involvement in The Misfits. All the bio’s on the web list you with them from 1978 until 1980. You recorded six slabs of vinyl with them, (approximately thirty-five songs) did you write any of the songs?

No. Despite claims by others, Glenn wrote everything. The closest I ever came to ‘writing’ for them was suggesting the idea for LONDON DUNGEON, and offering the music that became WHEN THE EVENING COMES.

2. I remember there being a few different rumors about your departure from the Misfits:
1. You quite and/or . . .
2. You were fired to give Doyle a job.
Which, if either, is true?

After decades of speculation, it comes down to one thing. Jerry wanted to control Glenn’s band. Jerry is not even an original member – only Glenn is. Jerry needed to have someone to back him up on his ‘mutiny’, and he took advantage of Doyle in doing it. HE deliberately orchestrated things to make it look as if I wasn’t interested in the band anymore – telling me we weren’t practicing on days that we actually were, and using that to convince Glenn to get rid of me.

3. Who were, and are your influences, musically and personally?

That’s a tough one. It’d probably be easier to list who isn’t an influence. If you want just the top 5, in no particular order; it’d be The Beatles, Alice Cooper, Glenn, The Ramones and Jimi Hendrix.

4. Back in a time where most of the music being produced was extremely amateurish, you were pretty polished, and professional, what was your training?

I took guitar lessons from a guy who used to play on the old TV shows in the 1950s, and wrote method books for Mel Bay. Later, I learned that he wrote columns in guitar magazines – where Brian Setzer learned all he knows. In high school, I studied classical music theory – so I applied some of the ideas, in regard to dynamics, and how different frequency ranges had different effects in the mind of the listener. While most guitarists were merely playing on the two, or three lower strings, instead of full chords, I always played full chords.

5. I hope this isn’t too far out, here’s a bit of self-analysis. The question is what does Bobby Steele bring to a band?

Whatever the band calls for. I’m about making the music its best – not making myself shine in front. That was one thing I loved about being in The Misfits – I was in the background, just playing. Glenn had to deal with the frontman pressures.

6. Of all the many bands you played with (The Misfits, Undead, Times Square, Zero Prophets, Mourning Noise), who did you most enjoy playing with?

Again – that’s a tough one. I don’t think I can answer that.

7. Of all the recordings you’ve done in your career what slab of vinyl (or CD for the younger fans) are you most proud of or best represents your skills?

I’m really proud of TIL DEATH. I was able to really work on the songs for that one, and on most songs, I spent up to 24 hours mixing and remixing them. I’m especially proud of Thorn In Your Side – because I was able to duplicate the ‘Phil Spector wall of sound’ on it.

8. Thirty-six years have past (since your first recorded release) and the bulk of your early work is still in print. Does your influence on this younger generation of “punks” surprise you?

Absolutely. I knew it’d be big, but… WOW!!

9. Tell us about some of your more recent projects, The Undead and Mourning Noise.

Those aren’t very recent… Mourning Noise was in 1982/3. Steve and his crew were a lot of fun to work with. They were always cracking on each other. Currently, I play at church mainly; and I’m working on a musical.

10. How much of a part did you play in the visual direction of the bands you played in, and the overall art direction?

Since it was Glenn’s band – I just tried to do whatever he wanted. With The Undead, I tried to keep it ‘street’, with a good amount of spookiness – but always in a fun manner. I never take myself too seriously, so you see a lot of self-deprecating humor in the image.

11. Other than being in the incredible bands you were in, give us some of your greatest memories of being the punk scene back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Okay. I’ll leave band experiences out – to make it easier. One memory was going into one after-hours club in the summer of 79. It was run by the Hells Angels, and this summer, there were Angels from around the world in town. This one night, there was a party going on, and they’d gotten the DEAD BOYS to reunite for the night. For an encore, they did ‘Sonic Reducer’ – and were joined onstage by some Danish Hells Angels, and that little old man from the BENNY HILL SHOW.

12. 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 believed punk would catch on. I just expected it to be more of the real deal, instead of the candy-coated stuff being passed off as punk rock. I’d like to see more of the poor, struggling musicians making it – the ones with real heart.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGbикони

Panic Movement, Pretty Mess, The Black Widows, Rikk Agnew – LIVE

30
Jul

Hudley Flipside Presents:
Panic Movement, Pretty Mess, The Black Widows, Rikk Agnew
Weber’s Place, Reseda, CA
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Admission $8.00
Time: 9:30 PM

Every once in a while get the privilege to attend a show that is so perfect that you wonder if you’re going to get to see a better show. This was the first of a series of shows put on, and promoted by Hudley Flipside.

There was a nice healthy turnout. The feel of the joint was cool too. I didn’t feel like I was at a club, it felt like somebody said “Come on over to my house, I’ve got a huge living room, and I’ve invited my four favorite bands to play, and by the way, you get to eat dinner with Rikk Agnew.” Fuck yeah, I’m there!

Now, some of the best memories I have of shows always tend to be the stuff that happens outside of the clubs. The small talk, the drama, and friends you make, this night was no different.

I get a call from Rikk Agnew suggesting a get to the club early, around 7:00, and we’ll have dinner after sound check. I get there at 7:00, and Rikk and his band haven’t arrived yet. Within a couple of minutes Eric Leach, and Taz Rudd from Symbol Six pop-up. We spent an hour in the parking lot talking about everything from music to Taz’s time as a pro skateboarder. And to top things off Eric gave me a copy of their Poshboy EP in mint condition – still wrapped!

Around 8:00 pm Rikk arrives with his band of gypsies. Everybody greets each other, and the guys from Symbol Six leave to do an interview with the Poor Kids Radio show.

We go into the club, sit down and order dinner. Between 9:00 and 9:30 my brother gets there, this is the first time we’ve taken in some live music together in about 3 ½ to 4 years.

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.

In case you’ve never met Rikk Agnew, let me tell you, he has got to be the humblest guy in the world. A true gentleman. In the middle of his dinner, he would stop eating sign autographs, take pictures, and so not to mess up album covers he would ask if he should sign on the back. A really good guy.

The first band is scheduled to go on at 9:30. Well, Panic Movement (the first band) go on at about closer to 10:00. I had heard the name, but I had never seen Panic Movement live. These guys are great. The crowd was still fairly thin at this point, but the band played as if they were headlining The Staples Center. They also had a very cool tongue in cheek sense of humor too, not the Dickies over the top humor, but it definitely showed up in songs like There Goes My Freak. The vocalist, Benjamin Espinoza, came out with his face painted in the traditional ‘day of the dead’ style with a black, and red heavy metal style wig. But they delivered.

The second act is scheduled to go on at 10:15. Pretty Mess went on at about 10:45 or 11:00. I had heard their name, but I had never seen them live. This band comes with their own audience. As soon as the band arrived, they came with close to twenty people with them.

The band puts on a great show. Nothing half-assed here, a real 1980’s underground punk rock feel to their music. My only complaint is that the backing vocals are very Cookie Monster-like. Otherwise, Pretty mess provides an adrenaline-charged set with some power vocals.

Nowadays, it’s rare to see a band that can maintain that kind of energy level throughout their entire set. Most tend to die down mid-set.

After an extremely energetic set they closed with a monster cover of Blood Stains by Agent Orange.

The third band is scheduled to go on at 11:00. The Black Widows go on at about 11:30 or 11:45. Again, I had heard the name, but I had never seen them live. This band puts on a great show. If you haven’t seen them, here’s what to expect: four guys dressed in military black clothing, red shirts under their black jackets, and black stockings on their heads. This band is great. The one thing that took a minute to get used is . . . no vocals. This ripping, punk-funk, surf music, but no singing.

The Rikk Agnew band is scheduled to go on at 11:45. Well, Mr. Rikk Agnew ends up going on at about 12:00 or 12:30. If you haven’t heard of Rikk, you’ve been living under a rock for the last thirty plus years.

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, 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 Yur 2 Late, then they pause, and bring on a different bassist, and singer Shott Hoogland (former singer of O.C. legends The Mechanics) and perform songs like Chalet Time, and Lil’ Hitler. Then after a handful of songs, Shott leaves the stage, the first bassist comes back, and they continue with the Rikk Agnew set.

After Shott left the stage, guitarist Danny Kay set down his instrument, and launched into a killer version of Deathwish by Christian Death. If the crowd wasn’t already on their toes, this did it. Everybody was singing along, and waving fists in the air.

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.

Rikk’s last song of the night was the classic Kids of The Black Hole. Rikk chose the right song to bring the house down. This pumped the place up to the max. Midway through the song Dmess of Pretty Mess came onstage, and took over the vocals, it was awesome. As the song was winding down the house lights started coming on, so unfortunately, the night was over.

All I can say is Hudley put a great show, and was it a coincidence that it fell on Elvis’s, and David Bowie’s birthday?

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.

Of the tracks played . . . my favorites were: There Goes My Freak, Kids of The Black Hole, No Way, and OC Life.

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

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Generators – Excess Betrayal and Our Dearly Departed

23
Jul

Generators
Excess Betrayal and Our Dearly Departed
Released: 2003
Producer – Rich Mouser

Doug Dagger – Lead Vocals
Sir Doosky – Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Danny Damned – Guitar on “Skeletons,” Piano on “Thirty Seconds,” and “Dying in a Rock & Roll Band”
Don Osterberg- Bass & Backing Vocals
Dirty Ernie – Drums & Backing vocals

1. Roll out The Red Carpet
2. Skeletons
3. New Disease
4. Thirty Seconds
5. My Curse
6. Out Of the Shadows
7. Wasting Your Time
8. Dying In a Rock & Roll Band
9. Transmitter
10. Crawling On Top

The critically acclaimed Excess, Betrayal…And Our Dearly Departed is the fourth album by The Generators. It was released on April 6, 2003, on People Like You Records in Europe and Japan, and in the USA in December 2004 by Fiend Music. Excess. Betrayal was a musical turning point for the band, seeing a more complex, darker & emotional direction. After a short hiatus and line up change in early 2003, the band teamed up with long time producer Rich Mouser in creating one of the band’s most notable releases.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

Years ago my brother and I had a friend named Todd. Todd would hit on any girlfriend or female friend you had. On one hand he would say he was your friend, but there was this underlined animosity and jealousy. He would say how much he loved you, but at the same time he would take great pleasure in seeing you fall on your ass.

Over the years he has hit on all of my girlfriends and when he’d get nowhere with that, he would try to hit on their sisters. A few years back he friended my daughter on Facebook. She’s a smart kid, she can handle herself, but I did suggest that she unfriend his ass. Pretty sure she did. What the hell is a forty-something year old man have in common with an eighteen or nineteen year old?

When Todd was in grade school his mother got together with the babysitter (a guy my age). So, she had always taken great care of herself, pretty woman.

One night we were all hanging out and somebody brought up Todd’s mom. I decided to give him a bit of payback. So, I say, “Yeah, you’re mom’s a real good looking woman.” But for added effect I just stared off into the sky while I said this and made these little moaning sounds. It was pretty vile. I did this for about five minutes straight. The whole time Todd was yelling at me, “Mike, Mike, what the hell?! That’s not cool man!” Finally, I shake myself as if I was in a trance and said, “Oh sorry man, I don’t know what happened. My mind wandered.”

Todd got really red in the face and said, “Dude, that’s really fucked up that’s my mom.”

So, I topped it off, “Yeah, she’s hot.” Now, he seemed like he wasn’t sure if he wanted to fight or cry, “Dude, stop!”

I would do this for the next year. Every time Todd’s mom would get mentioned I would feign my trance and start the moans. I’m not sure here ever left me alone in a room with her ever again.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Mike E’s Top Ten of 2010

16
Jul

Mike E’s Top Ten of 2010

About a week or so back we did a readers poll of the top 10 of 2010, well. . . . I couldn’t keep my opinions to myself. So, with further ado here is my top 10:

10. Against Me – “White Crosses”

9. GBH – “Perfume and Piss”
Great political punk rock that everyone should check out!

8. Bad Religion – “30 Years Live”
I know some bell-end is going to bitch that I chose a live album, but guess what? I like it, so it’s on my list, chucklehead!

7. OFF!- “EP”

6. Johnny Cash – “American VI: Ain’t No Grave”
Ole JR should probably sit at number one, but I couldn’t put all the albums at number one, so . . .

5. Volbeat – “Beyond Hell/Above Heaven”
These guys from Denmark are hard to classify, death metal, rockabilly, and street punk all on the same album, all together you have a kick-ass album.

4. Joey Briggs – “Politics, Touring & Self Loathing EP”
A very clever, and original EP, it reminds you of The Briggs, but it’s also very different from The Briggs, go figure . . .

3. Your Arsenal – “Demo”
Great choruses and great vocals, shoot . . . it’s a great band.

2. Symbol Six – “Monsters 11”
Over the years I’ve had many, many albums given to me with the instruction “Give it another listen, it gets better.” I didn’t receive that instruction this time, but every time I listen to this album I like it more and more.

1. Street Dogs – “Street Dogs”
Street Dogs add one more passionate working class punk album to their already impressive catalog, fist-pumping sing-along, what more do you need?

Honorable mention: Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man, Motorhead – the World Is Yours, and Gaslight Anthem – America Slang.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Bad Brains – Pay To Cum

09
Jul

Bad Brains
Pay To Cum 7″
Bad Brains Records
Released: 1980
Producer – Jimi Quidd

H.R. – vocals
Dr. Know – guitar
Darryl Jenifer – bass
Earl Hudson – drums

1. Pay to Cum (1:33)
2. Stay Close To Me (2:29)

When it comes to the Bad Brains I am definitely in the minority here, never been a fan. Whenever they would come to Los Angeles everybody, including my Uncle, would rush to see them. Over the years I’ve gotten used to them, but other than a few compilations, I never owned anything other than this single.

In December of 1979, the Bad Brains recorded their debut single (Pay To Cum/Stay Close To Me) on their Bad Brains label, in New York, which was later included on the Let Them Eat Jellybeans compilation album. The band would later repress the single, and issue it without the picture sleeve (red and tan labels instead of the brown and white of the first pressing). Pay to Cum was recorded by Jimi Quidd who had heard the band play at a Club in New York.

The “A-side” to the single is Pay to Cum, while the flip side is Stay Close To Me, identified as “Side 1″. The original 7″ had no “B-side” or “Side 2″.

Pay To Cum
“I make decision with precision,
Lost inside this manned collision,
Just to see that what is to be,
Perfectly my fantasy.

I came to know with now dismay,
That in this world we all must pay,
Pay to write, pay to play,
Pay to cum, pay to fight.

And all in time,
With just our minds,
We soon will find,
What’s left behind?

Not long ago when things were slow,
We all got by with what we know,
The end is near. Hearts filled with fear,
Don’t want to listen to what they hear.

And so it’s now we choose to fight,
To stick up for our bloody right,
The right to sing, the right to dance,
The right is ours… We’ll take the chance.

A peace together,
A piece apart,
A piece of wisdom,
From our hearts.”

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

A few months ago my wife was driving home from a class. On the drive she noticed out of the corner of her eye a guy in a suit, driving a BMW, trying to get her attention. She glanced over and he is holding out his cell phone, displaying a photo of his privates (for those of you that are under-age and reading this). My wife cracked the window and hurled a few obscenities. This didn’t deter him in the least. He responded with, “Yeah, you like that?”

She sped off, cut a few corners and finally lost him. She walked in a bit frazzled and told me the story. Absolutely nothing I could do, but shake my head and wonder when and how this seemed like a good idea to guys?

I told you all that to tell you this: over the last month or so I’ve had a lot of new “friends” pop-up on my page. A number of them are women that work as pin-up models (car shows, magazines, etc) and I notice that, at least one will post daily, “I am married, I am not looking to “hook-up” please stop sending pictures of your penises.”

This floors me. The first time I saw one of these posts I, kind of, thought it was a joke. Like, “Who the hell would do this?” But now I read it daily.

So, the question is, is this a social media thing? I have a computer/cell phone so it’s easier to just show you my junk than attempting conversation? Or have men in general become more primal? The digital age flashing has become the equivalent of the caveman clubbing over the head thing?

I have never been great with the opening line thing with people I didn’t know. But it never occurred to me that whipping out a snapshot of the package was the way to go in polite society.

Whatever it is, something about seeing a woman with her hair fixed and a bit of make-up makes these primates lose their shit.

And I’m at a loss for ideas on how to fix a situation like this, short of slapping their moms for raising such vile pieces of crap. And that concludes my rant for the day.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

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