Gang Green – Preschool

07
Jan

Gang Green

Gang Green

Gang Green
Preschool
Label: Taang! Records
Released: 1989, Re-released 1990
Produced: Lou Giordano

Chris Doherty – vocals, guitar
Bill Manley – bass
Mike Dean – drums

1. Sold Out – 2:04
2. Terrorize – 0:48
3. Snob – 0:28
4. Lie Lie – 0:37
5. I Don’t Know – 1:03
6. Rabies – 1:27
7. Narrow Mind – 0:44
8. Kill A Commie – 1:08
9. Have Fun – 0:54
10. Selfish – 4:48

I never paid attention to Gang Green when I was a youngster, I didn’t have much of a disposable income, actually, no job at all (until I was 17 ½), and so I only bought what I loved. And occasionally, I would buy a single from someone I had never heard of.

Gang Green was always on my list of bands to check out. TAANG Records have done an incredible job of compiling all these recordings and putting them together so that you get a great overview of their powerhouse music.

Even if you don’t dig Gang Green, if you liked 1980’s American punk, you’ll dig this style, the slow intro’s that burst into buzz saw vocals, fun stuff. Preschool contains material previously released on their Sold Out 7″ EP, and stuff from two compilations: This Is Boston, Not L.A. and Unsafe At Any Speed. The EP was recorded from July, 1981 through March, 1983 in Boston. Released in September of 1997. All ten songs clock in at a blistering fourteen minutes and one second. All in all, a fun listen check them out.

If you get the chance to get a copy of this, go get it.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

Sometime in 1981 I saw somebody wearing a pair of creepers for the first time. I thought they were the coolest looking shoes I had ever seen. I had to get a pair. Later that night I saw the guy who was wearing them out in the parking lot, so I asked him how much his shoes cost and where he bought them, he kind of looked side to side and said they were a bit under $120.00 and he bought them at Let It Rock on Melrose Ave. I almost fudged my shorts! $120.00! I was 15 years old, no job, single parent household, fixed income – I’d never get these shoes! The guy then told me that Let It Rock sold used pairs also; I could probably get a pair for $30.00. Used, no problem, did they smell?

Creepers

Creepers

Anyway, after a month or so I had $15.00 saved, and convinced my mom to drive me to Let It Rock and we’d buy the $30.00 pair of creepers. We get there and they tell us that they have never carried used shoes; mind you since I first saw these shoes I had close to 15 people tell to go to Melrose and get the used shoes. Now I find out they never existed. Damn lying-ass punks! The sales lady tells us that the cheapest creepers they have cost $75.00. So, I do my best to convince my mom that this unemployed, broke kid deserves a $75.00 pair of shoes. The selling point is I could pay for $15.00 of it. No go, 15 minutes later we were driving back down Highland headed towards the Valley.

About a month later a shop opened in the Sherman Oaks Galleria that carried rockabilly clothes and they stocked creepers. I went to see a movie at the Galleria one weekend with some friends, and discovered this store. All their creepers were $10.00 to $20.00 cheaper than Let It Rock.

Next day at school the local poser-patrol, a girl named Leslie (I’ve mentioned her before) came up to me and went into a rant about me being at the Galleria, and only posers go there, and how I’d be the biggest poser in the world if I bought creepers at the Galleria. I dismissed her with a comment about her and the horse she rode in on, and as I walked away, she yelled threats of the beatings I’d take from the Suicidal Tendencies gang.

So, I hatched a plan, if I told any and everybody, who asked, that all I want for my birthday, and Christmas is cash I could afford these shoes by next year. And that’s what I did, and shortly after Christmas 1982 I bought a pair of black suede creepers with a rounded front and a buckle across the top from the shop in the Galleria for $65.00. They were $55.00 when I first spotted them, and after six months they raised the price.

$65.00 is the most I have ever spent on a pair of shoes. And the downside of this is midway through my senior year of high school I had outgrown them. Shortly before graduation, I sold them to a rocker kid who dug the look of them.

My creepers and my leather jacket were my prized possessions, and I had to part with both things due to growth. Maybe Chinese women are on to something with this foot-binding thing.

 

 

Born Frustrated is available now: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Top 10 Punk Films

31
Dec

As we close out the decade, I’ve been reading more and more top 10 lists, so I thought I would give you my top 10 punk movies/DVD’s of the moment. So, for the whiners, I know, I know you’re going to say “Dude, I can’t believe you left off KTEL Presents Bob’s Bung-Hole’s Video Classics, their video Parking In The Gimp Spot was a frickin’ classic!” Guess what? My list, my picks!

10_mayor_of_the_sunset_strip

10. Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003)

Now, I’m aware of a director’s ability to manipulate emotions through different editing techniques, and soundtrack changes, so when I watch these flicks I try not to be influenced by these things, and try to concentrate on the subject, but in this case, I don’t if it’s the directors doing or if it’s just Rodney Bingenheimer’s life – this was a sad and depressing film when it didn’t need to be. The man led a life most people would be envious of. His “girlfriend” only saw him as a friend, his family seems horribly uncomfortable around him, and his “assistant” appears to “betray” him. Sad stuff.

09_we_jam

9. We Jam Econo – The Story of the Minutemen (2005)

This virtually a who’s who of the SST world. Even if you weren’t a huge Minutemen fan, it’s a very good film, and a nice stroll down memory lane.

08_joe_strummer

8. Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007)

I really love the Clash, and any and all information on these guys I eat up, but the campfire narrative could have been left out. Otherwise, very informative.

07_punkattitude

7. Punk: Attitude (2005)

This is a decent flick. Unfortunately, too much time is spent on “no wave.”

06_american_hardcore

6. American Hardcore (2006)

This is about the best documentary on punk I have ever seen. They put a heck of a lot of research into this, but like all things in this genre. . . things get left out, no Misfits, but otherwise a real good piece on the American Punk scene. My only real complaint is the complete bias towards Boston bands, both in the book and movie.

05_thefilthandthefury

5. The Filth and the Fury (2000)

This was the best documentary on punk I had ever seen until American Hardcore. These guys were great.

The little commentaries from Billy Idol and Siouxsie Sioux really help create a fuller story. Good stuff.

04_ramones

4. End of The Century: The Story of The Ramones (2005)

Though I don’t truly believe these guys were “punk” by the definition I had growing up, they did play good stripped-down rock and roll, and the film is good. The scenes about Joey’s girlfriend being taken by Johnny, and Johnny basically saying he didn’t care about Joey were heavy.

03_dogtown_and_zboys

3. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2002)

If you don’t see this as a punk film, well . . . . sorry. These guys epitomized the punk vibe a few years before punk broke here in L.A. I still dig these guys (and gal, sorry Peggy).

02_byo

2. Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records (2009)

I was never a massive BYO or Youth Brigade fan, but this truly entertaining and informative. I have a new appreciation for these guys.

01_punks_not_dead

1. Punk’s Not Dead (2007)

What can I say, it’s great? They cover the entire history of punk, and then try to connect the pieces from the Sex Pistols to the Green Day/Sum 41 era, all without telling you what punk is and what’s not. I’ve watched it two or three times to try and absorb all the information. It’s good, and thorough.

Honorable mentions (these movies were released a year or two prior to the start of this decade, or were just not good enough to make the top 10): Fight Club, What We Do Is Secret.

 

 

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Devil’s Night Out

23
Dec

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Devil’s Night Out
Label: Taang! Records
Released: 1989, Re-released 1990

Dicky Barrett – vocals
Nate Albert – guitar
Joe Gittleman – bass guitar
Josh Dalsimer – drums
Tim Burton – saxophone
Tim Bridewell – trombone
Ben Carr – Bosstone

Jimmy Gestapo – guest vocals on track 10
Davey Holmes – Keyboards
Vinny Nobile – horns

1 Devil’s Night Out
2 Howwhywuz, Howwhyam
3 Drunks and Children
4 Hope I Never Lose My Wallet
5 Haji
6 The Bartender’s Song
7 Patricia
8 The Cave (Cognito Fiesta Version)
9 Do Somethin’ Crazy
10 A Little Bit Ugly

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are like a strong cup of coffee, there will be no nodding off when listening to this.

Devil’s Night Out is the debut album by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. It was first released in 1989 by Taang! Records. It is regarded as the first ska-core album (if you are into labels). A Little Bit Ugly is a fun sing-along with Jimmy Gestapo (the lead singer for the New York based Murphy’s Law) singing on this duet.

Two extra tracks available on the Japanese version, Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love and Enter Sandman; they were previously available on the Where’d You Go? EP.

As I write this, my brother has taken ownership of this album. All in all a fun listen check them out.

If you get the chance to get a copy of this, go get it.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

In 1982, shortly after the income tax deadline my Mom, keeping with her annual routine of getting us one surprise, for my Brother and I, said I could get a black leather motorcycle jacket. It was something I wanted for a few years, and I called everybody in Southern California, got prices, locations, lay-a-way information, and my Mom used her hard-earned tax money to get me decked out.

April 1982, Sears Roebucks, Northridge, CA; $75.00 (before taxes).

Man, going to school that next day I was the coolest thing on the planet. Everybody wanted to do something to the jacket, paint it, add spikes. I waited for so long to own a jacket like this, I was afraid of f’in’ it up. So, one weekend I went to an army surplus store in Reseda and got silver stars to put on the shoulders. I had seen some old pictures of Brando in The Wild One, and he wore them like that. It was subdued, but cool.

Mike E.

Mike E.

I wore that jacket damn near everyday. I had more memories with that jacket than I did with most girlfriends, accused of stealing comics books from American Comics in Studio City (I didn’t), jumped and almost pummeled for a murder attempt on former Mayor Tom Bradley in Los Angeles (I was looking for a map in my pocket), great jacket. In 1994 I went to put it on, and it didn’t fit. Like a marriage that had run its course I had to get rid of it, but it was heartbreaking. One afternoon in early 1995 I sold it to a used clothing store in Canoga Park.

I am attaching a picture of myself shortly after adding the stars to the shoulders, if the hair looks funny . . . there was a strict “no hair spiking” policy for a while in my house. So, I’d spike it on the way to a club or at a friend’s house.

 

 

The Voids – Sounds of Failure, Sounds of Hope

16
Dec

The Voids

The Voids

The Voids
Sounds of Failure, Sounds of Hope
Label: Doctor Strange Records
Release Date July 10, 2007

Adri – vocals
Mike – drums
Chris – guitar
Ruby – bass guitar

01. Money and Music
02. Bad Dreams
03. Suburban Boredom
04. Disconnected
05. Fear
06. Grasping Hands
07. Are You Happy?
08. Romance and Heartbreak
09. Take It Back
10. Undone
11. Violent Nights
12. 24 Faces

Vocally, and musically The Voids sound like a hybrid of 1980 L.A. Hardcore with a twist of Devo influence. Musically, the group is really good, but my only problem with this album was the vocals, Adri sounds like Bret Michaels from Poison trying to sound like Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys. The seventh track Are You Happy, is a Regan Youth cover.

If you get the chance to get a copy of this, go get it.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

Back in July of 2009 I hopped a train for San Diego to attend the San Diego Comic-Con. Talked to a bunch of people. Rapped with David Finch, the artist of the latest Disturbed album covers. Stuff like that. Henry Rollins didn’t appear this year.

David Finch

David Finch

The absolute highlight of the four-day trip was hanging out at Taang Records on 5th Avenue. The owner, Curtis gave us a punk history lesson like I had never heard, played us a bunch of old singles (Victims – Annette on Plan 9), and gave us run down on how he started the Taang label, and how the shops came to be. Great shop, if you’re in the area, stop in and check the place out.

 

 

Electric Children, White Flag Down, Demerit, Inazuma, Threeway, The Hi Z’s, Raul, Dirty Eyes, A Pretty Mess, Brainspoon, Ghetto Pussy, Million Kids, Sassafras, Gary 84, Caustic Cause, Symbol Six – LIVE

09
Dec

Flier

Flier

Electric Children, White Flag Down, Demerit, Inazuma, Threeway, The Hi Z’s, Raul, Dirty Eyes, A Pretty Mess, Brainspoon, Ghetto Pussy, Million Kids, Sassafras, Gary 84, Caustic Cause, Symbol Six
The Redwood, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, August 27, 2011

This show was supposed to be part of the Sunset Junction festival, a festival that has gone one every year for the past 34 to 35 years. At the last minute Los Angeles City Council vetoed the permits, thus cancelling the entire festival. Who can blame them right? In this economy who needs basic things like entertainment? Not only was it cancelled, it was cancelled just days before the start of the festival. Big surprise, as local government always goes out of its way to help the local citizens.

So Wednesday or Thursday prior to the show the information of Sunset Junction’s cancellation hits the web like a bomb. Aside from the Spark Plug Magazine show I’m about to review, there were hundreds of other bands that were left with their nuts swinging in the wind.

This might have happened if anybody else was organizing this thing, but Mr. Billy Caldwell (of Million Kids) Editor In Chief (aka HNIC) at Spark Plug Magazine decided that “No show” didn’t mean shit to him. So he made some calls (and possibly some threats) and the show moved a few miles, but otherwise didn’t miss a beat.

When this show was first announced there were a couple of bands that I was interested in seeing right off the bat and they are: White Flag Down, Brainspoon, A Pretty Mess, Million Kids and the Los Angeles steamroller known as Symbol Six.

A few days before the show I find out my wife has a family baby shower that she already RSVP’d to. Way the hell out in Castaic Lake. Well, fuck me in the goat ass! So after a bit of poking around (like how I worked goat ass and poking around into the same paragraph?) I found out that Symbol Six wasn’t going on until 6:00. My wife’s baby shower starts at 12:00 and ends at 4:00. I’m starting to freak; do I take my 7-year-old or be a responsible dad and wait until she gets home? Well, I caved in and was responsible. An old friend from up north offered to car pool and wasn’t available to hit the show until 4:00ish. So I bug the wife and tell her to get back home before 4:00. She gets home at 3:45, I leave at 4:00 and luckily the show started an hour or two late, so I walk in catch A Pretty Mess starting their set.

A Pretty Mess

A Pretty Mess

Here’s the thing with A Pretty Mess, vocalist/guitarist Dee Skusting is one of the most charismatic front people/persons I’ve seen in a long time. I saw them back in January of 2011, and they are very polished and very professional. They’re going to be big.

Brainspoon

Brainspoon

Next band up was Brainspoon, with the always fun to watch Michelle Balderrama. Balderrama is the hottest female to pick up a guitar since I went through puberty watching Nancy Wilson of Heart. Brainspoon was tight and had a pretty cool 70’s rock vibe going.

Million Kids

Million Kids

Million Kids with Billy Caldwell came on after Brainspoon. I’ve seen Million Kids two other times and have to say each time they get better and better. This time was no different. Good stuff. Highlight of the show is their balls out version of Wild in the Streets and .Boom goes the Bomb or summertime from their new album don’t Threaten Me with A Good Time!

Sassafras was next. Not my cup of tea just noise. Much like an ADD kid hopped up on sugar then shown where the pots and pans are kept.

Black Beverly Heels were a no show.

Gary 84

Gary 84

Gary 84 came on and did a decent set, nothing super, super memorable, but good.

Next up were Barrio Tiger who did a real good tight set, and then Caustic Cause. Remember how I mention the ADD kid? Well, Caustic Cause is an ADHD kid.

Doggystyle was supposed to play, but the rumor floating around was the singer and bass player beat the hell out of each other and canceled their appearance. Oh well.

Symbol Six

Symbol Six

Almost a year to the date, give or take a week, was the first time I ever saw Symbol Six live (September 3, 2010). It just so happens to be the same exact venue. And it just so happens that ended up being the twelfth time I’ve seen them in the past year (you do the math).

To say Symbol Six gets better every time I see them would be putting it lightly. To put it bluntly, they don’t belong in clubs. They’ve outgrown most of the venues in L.A. Where do I predict the next step on the musical cog for them? I’m not sure, but over the years I’ve seen many bands from the early Los Angles punk scene come back and many of them are just decent nostalgia acts. As nostalgia bands they are no longer, truly, functioning. No new material, no nothing other than collecting, sometimes, a bigger paycheck than they did the first time around.

The sad thing is some of these original L.A. punk bands are not the original band, everyone is dead and the new drummer is the third cousin of the second drummer. It’s sad, but the younger generation getting into punk doesn’t know the details, they download some “obscure” single and go see the band and they’re happy.

The huge difference with Symbol Six is the music. Shortly after they came back, they wrote twenty or thirty new tracks, recorded a new album and after a year of seeing them I still haven’t heard all of their music.

At this particular show there were two or three kids that were going ape-shit from the second Symbol Six struck their first chord. Then they went into a, previously mentioned, unreleased song called Viva and the crow lost their shit. If you were in the front of the stage you were either slamming or you got slammed into. It was wild. Billy Caldwell did some fine slamming with the crowd, made my old-ass consider jumping in for a minute.

The dual guitar assault of Taz Rudd and Mark Conway is like the punk rock equivalent of K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, just a complete wall of noise. Now, never make light of Symbol Six’s rhythm section. Phil George on drums is amazing; he has to be one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen. And keeping that back-rhythm tight with Phil is bassist Evan Shanks (no not a prison reference). Last, but not least is Eric Leach, man of a hundred voices. You think you know a singers capability after seeing them so many times, but I heard a snippet of a new recording Symbol Six is doing and honestly, it sounds like a different guy.

The show got started a bit late so by the time Symbol Six was done it was close to 9:00. Kind of funny, considering I’m usually arriving at clubs at around 9:00.

If you were there you had fun, if you weren’t there – you wish you were.

Only regret was I missed White Flag Down. I’m bound to catch them soon.

 

 

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