Symbol Six, Soul Trash, Off By An Inch – LIVE

08
Oct

Symbol Six, Soul Trash, Off By An Inch
Harper’s Theater, Tarzana, CA
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Admission $5.00
Time: 8:30 PM

This was one of the last shows of the “Liquor Store Tour” that has taken Symbol Six, Soul Trash, and Off By An Inch from San Francisco on February 16, 2011, up through Oregon, Washington, and a few dates in Canada, and finally wrapping up in San Diego, CA on March 3, 2011.

Best way to sum up this tour so far is from a Facebook posting Symbol Six vocalist Eric Leach put up on Saturday, February 26, 2011:

“After 12 show in 11 days, 2600 miles, 1 arrest, 1 water pump valve, lots of new friends and an amazing adventure, Symbol Six, our brothers Soul Trash and Canada’s Off By An Inch are here in L.A. tonight at Harpers in Tarzana. Come and join in!”

Anyhow, I did my usual, contacting all my Valley punk friends to see who wanted to go, and hang at the show, but everybody was at home trying to stay warm on this freezing-ass evening.

I had never seen Soul Trash, or Off By An Inch, so I was sure I would be in for a cool night of new music. All the bands had a fully stocked merchandise area in the club; I got a couple shirts, stickers, patches, and Off By An Inch limited edition EP. Side note: the next morning stickers and patches were stolen by my Son.

I had been to Harper’s Theater back in October or November of 2010, and due to lousy promotion on the club’s part there were only 20-something people, but on this night it was packed. If you got up to get a drink, by the time you got back to your table it was full.

The first band up was Off By An Inch. Off By An Inch are from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. And they were good, very energetic skate-rock. I dug their set, short, but fun!

In between bands I usually go to hang out with some of the guys from the bands, but the way their tour is set up the instruments are all stored in this massive NHRA trailer, and people are buzzing around to the stage then to man the merchandise, it was hard to get in, and get the down-low on the tour.

The funniest thing that was said that night was when Taz Rudd, guitarist from Symbol Six, saw me walk in he said “I just want you to know that it wasn’t me that was arrested on tour.”

The second band to the stage was Soul Trash. Their sound was good clean garage rock/punk, and the vocals were somewhat country with a pinch of rockabilly, not a bad sound.

The third and final band of the night was Symbol Six. If you haven’t seen these guys before, go. Every one of their songs is worthy of being a single. This tour has turned them into a frickin’ Sherman Tank. I’ve seen them many times over the years, and they have never been tighter, like . . . stop on a dime tight. Tighter than an ant’s a-hole.

Their set was definitely the highlight of the night. I got a cool little shout out in the middle of their set, nice ego-boost.

One of the best parts of the set was as they were about to launch into the song Dog Days, from their Monsters 11 album, they called Soul Trash, and Off By An Inch to the stage, and everybody, including merchandise people, rushed the stage. So everybody that could fit on stage, took the stage and belted out the loudest, raunchiest version of Dog Days I’ve ever heard.

Now you know every show I go to I end up seeing some crazy shit somewhere, and I have to pass it along, kind of like a punk rock TMZ. So, right as Soul Trash is midway through their set, three of four bleach blondes come walking into the place with silicone parts to spare. They are only in tank tops, black underwear, and knee-high boots. Anyway, they set-up a table in the back of the club with their pictures available for autographs. I guess they were wannabe porn stars or something. Everybody glances over, but nobody says anything. This is funny, because they are really trying to get attention.

So, after Symbol Six finishes with Dog Days, which could’ve been their final song of the night, the crowd is screaming for more, so Eric Leach calls the tallest of the bleaches. And says, “You want attention? Come on up and entertain.” So, they launch into Problems, by the Sex Pistols, and again the crowd is so pumped they are running up to his microphone, and to sing along, and all the while the “porn-star” is doing a pole-dance type routine on the stage.

 

 

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

Idle Worship: The Photography of Edward Colver – SHOW

01
Oct

Idle Worship: The Photography of Edward Colver
Lethal Amounts, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, September 20, 2014

I was talking to my friend Jay a couple of days ago. He’s a great person to talk to when I’m stuck on a topic to write about. He remembers every show he went to, who was there, every record he bought, where he bought it and most of the time where the album ended up (if he kept it or sold it).

Somehow we stated talking about Edward Colver. I said I hadn’t seen him since the last signing we did and how I’ve been meaning to meet up with him for lunch and something always pops up (he’s busy, I’m busy kind of thing).

Somehow the conversation turned to all the albums and magazines Edward photographed and then I said to Jay, “I wonder how much of the punk scene I’d actually remember if none of these photos ever existed?”

I mean all the classics had his photos, Damaged, TSOL EP, Circle Jerks (first two albums)? The list goes on and on, but if his photos weren’t there would we have such great, vivid memories of this era?

Jay pointed out that there were other photographers, but having Edward shoot your band was like finding the golden ticket in a chocolate bar. You would look cool and be preserved for all time.

The Idle Worship exhibit has been postponed a few times, originally scheduled for July, then August and finally September – it was definitely worth the wait.

The night before the exhibit I received an email from Colver’s assistant, Kate, asking if I was coming and if so how many people am I bringing? So, I shot a text to my buddy Dave Diamond (Soul Trash/The Freeze) and asked if he and his wife, Jennifer Diamond (Murder City Nights Podcast) wanted to go. So, I replied back with a definite “Yes” for the three of us. After an hour on the 101 Parking Lot we get to Lethal Amounts, and the line to get in is around the block. Luckily, Kate put our names on the list. We hurried in, despite pissed looks from those still in line.

Idle Worship is a collection of Edward Colver’s captivating photographic works. For over 35 years, Colver has been one of the main documentarians of the Southern California punk rock scene.

He was visible at every punk show within a seventy-mile radius from downtown Los Angeles to Riverside County. He was trusted, so his photographs were a part of what was going on rather than being the images of an outsider merely observing.

The key thing that makes this exhibit, not just a “punk” exhibit, but a great exhibit, is all the photos seem to tell a story. Even shows we were at seem that much better through Mr. Colver’s lens. He saw things that we didn’t.

His photos of people you never really thought twice about, Colver had a way of making them interesting.

I currently have Colver’s book, Blight at the End of the Funnel on the table in the living room. Friends and family thumb through it with great interest whether or not they were into that punk thing.

 

 

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

Usual Suspects Issue 7.5

24
Sep

Usual Suspects
Issue 7.5
Penguin Press

The Usual Suspects is a zine that I only heard of recently. Through a friend of a friend kind of thing I was introduced to author Dave Gurz. Gurz is the writer of two eBooks, You’re Gonna Die Out There and Subterranean Emerald City Blues. I was lucky enough to read both books and became a regular reader of his blog, The Sun Burns Cold.

Anyway, Gurz and I have been rapping back and forth since November of 2012, and one night and he mentions that he used to do a zine when he was in prison. So, years later Usual Suspect is back.

The thing I like about Gurz’ writing is that while it’s about music, it isn’t. Music is the theme that runs through it without being the focus. If you’re a fan of punk, you get what he’s saying without him beating you on the head screaming, “I’m a punk rocker.” The same goes for his stories. He writes about street life, not the kind kids nowadays live. There’s no, “I’m mad at mom and dad so I’m staying at Bob’s for the next three days.” It’s more like homeless and penniless. The key thing to Gurz’ writing is though he strolls down memory lane and visits some pretty horrible memories, you never feel like he’s bragging or boasting. There’s never that whole, “I’m the baddest motherfucker in the world!”

You feel like it’s a combination of church confession and major self-evaluation. He knows what he’s been through; he shares, but needs the reader to know I’m not a lighter version of 50 Cent trying to make cash off of my bullet wound.

If you know how to read and/or like to read, grab a copy of Usual Suspects, I did.

For a copy contact the author at: https://www.facebook.com/DavidAndrewGurz

On to the story . . .

Years ago I worked at medical health insurance company. I worked my ass off at this company, but I was lousy at the politics. So, I would submit a ground breaking idea, they would use it and never credit me. I would confront them they would play dumb and I’d rebel.

Somehow in my young and dumb mind I thought I’d win. Ultimately, after three years I was let go in a massive downsizing. Like a lot of young idiots, I had the mind-set of, “They can’t let me go, they need me.” Sadly, we are all replaceable.

While the bosses were, mostly, douche-bags, I met lots of very cool people. And dated far more women-folk than I should have.

One of the people I met at my years at the company was a Hispanic man named Louis. Louis, I believe, was from Spain and was impeccably groomed. Beard, hair, suit, you name it, he was a classy guy. Louis worked his way up in the company and ended up being the supervisor of the claims support unit.

Despite very different backgrounds, we hit it off. My sense of humor didn’t offend him much.

Anyway, I didn’t hang out with Louis much, as he was married with two pretty young daughters. He was usually homebound. Then one day after work he asked if I was going to the Happy Hour? Down the street from the job there was a Red Onion (which I played a drunken game of pool with Kelsey Grammer) and every week someone from the job was throwing a party, someone’s birthday, someone’s last day, someone was getting married, somebody got a hair-cut . . . you name it, we drank to it. So, I was surprised when Louis asked. I said, “Yeah, I’m going. You?” He said, “Yeah.”

I didn’t ask Louis at the time, but I could tell something was up with him. The next time I saw him was at a house-warming party (it was really an apartment) for this girl Marlene (I think that was her name), who was the subject of much gossip herself for hooking up with a co-worker at a drunken Jacuzzi party a few months before. Anyway, Louis comes to the house-warming with his wife, who is a very nice woman, but very withdrawn. I got the impression she didn’t speak English and was shy.

Louis’ wife hadn’t left his side all night, nor did she talk. She nursed a beer and smiled and nodded. After a few hours she startled us all by getting up and whispering, “Where’s the ladies room?”

Almost an hour goes by and someone asks Louis, “Where’s your wife?” Everybody headed towards the bathroom and all you could hear was a faint, “Help.” Turns out Louis’ wife used the restroom and went to leave and the doorknob fell off, locking her inside.

The next hour was spent trying to find tools or a screwdriver of some sort. Finally after two hours the apartment manager provided us with a pair of pliers. Everybody took a crack and finally, we got the door open. Louis’ wife emerged very embarrassed and asked to leave immediately.

On the next year I would Louis at almost every happy-hour thrown. I was never sure if it was that he was a cool boss and wanted to be “one of the guys” or that he didn’t want to go home. One of these happy-hour’s I got pretty buzzed and let my supervisor know what I thought of him. He had been riding my ass for months trying to fire me. But I did my job perfectly. So, he started writing me up if I came back to lunch one minute late. To keep my job I would bring my lunch and eat it at my desk. So, at this particular happy-hour I plopped down next to him and asked him, “Do know how I’m able to put up with your shit day in and day out at work without walking out the door?” He looked concerned, and then shook his head, “No.” I continued, “Because I know that outside of work I could beat the fuck out of you, and there isn’t a thing you could do about it.” Then I smiled. My boss shot back his drink, then stood up and left. I took my drink and wandered off for the next person to talk shit to.

About a year after Louis’ wife got locked in the can, I invited him to a party at my apartment, I extended the invite to whoever he wanted to bring (I meant wife).

Louis shows up to my apartment an hour or two late with a girl, I think her name was Ellen. I thought nothing of this since everybody at this company carpooled. Anyway, I gave them each some beer and showed them where the chips were.

I’m meeting and greeting for the next couple of hours, when it hits me that I haven’t seen Louis in hours. I ask a couple of people if Louis had left? No one knew.

I wander around and walk into my room to find them dry-humping on my futon (Hey, it was the ‘90’s, OK?). They looked shocked; I left and shut the door.

They stayed in my room until almost everybody had left. Louis shook my hand and said, “We’ll talk on Monday.” I smiled and said OK.

So, on Monday we meet in a conference room he says, “I would appreciate your confidentiality.” I tell him, “No problem.” I had no intention of screwing his life up. But I did wonder, “What happened to the family man?” Over the next few weeks he and Ellen took every lunch and break together, so even without me telling, everybody kind of figured it out.

Once I got laid-off I never say Louis again. Despite his romantic issues, he was a nice guy.

 

 

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

Top 10 Punk Movies

19
Sep

Top 10 Punk Movies

Number 10
The Decline of Western Civilization III
Studio: Spheeris Films
Director: Penelope Spheeris
Released: 1998

In some ways this film is a bit better than the first Decline, in that there is a stronger message (homelessness, and the lack of true political impact the initial 1980’s Los Angeles punk movement had), but the first Decline will always have a sentimental place in my heart. Performances by four bands were filmed: Final Conflict, Litmus Green, Naked Aggression and The Resistance.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 9
Punk Attitude
Studio: IFC Pictures
Director: Don Letts
Released: 2005

Originally shown on IFC, which I missed, this was released on DVD soon afterward. This has become one of my favorite films.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 8
Punk’s Not Dead
Studio: Aberration Pictures
Director: Susan Dynner
Released: 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.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 7
Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
Studio: Vertigo Films
Director: Julien Temple
Released: 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.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 6
The Decline of Western Civilization
Studio: Media Home Entertainment Nu Image Films
Director: Penelope Spheeris
Released: 1981

Performances and interview footage of Black Flag and the Germs make this film a classic. Also performances by Fear and the Circle Jerks serve as icing on the cake.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 5
End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Jim Fields
Released: 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.

Magnolia Pictures also put out the Bukowski documentary, edgy company.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 4
Another State of Mind
Studio: Time Bomb
Director: Adam Small
Released: 1984

I remember hearing about this when it was being filmed, but it never played anywhere that I could find, so this classic had to wait over twenty years before I could watch it. I picked it up this past weekend on sale at CD Trader in Tarzana.

It’s a good film with cameos from John Macias from Circle One, Keith Morris from Circle Jerks, and of course Social Distortion, and Youth Brigade. Unfortunately Mike Ness isn’t always sober so you miss out on anything too profound, but Shawn Stern’s opening dialogue is very cool, very punk in a nutshell.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 3
The Filth and the Fury
Studio: Fine Line Pictures
Director: Julien Temple
Released: 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.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 2
American Hardcore
Studio: Sony Pictures
Director: Paul Rachman
Released: 2006

This is the best documentary on punk I have ever seen. They put a heck of a lot of research into this, but like all things on this genre . . . things get left out, no Misfits or Dead Kennedys, but otherwise a real good piece on the American Punk scene.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

Number 1
Fight Club
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: David Fincher
Released: 1999

This film, once you get past the basic violence, and get into the message – it’s 100% punk. The whole concept of stripping everything down, and doing away with corporate America (blowing up TRW, coffee chains, corporate art, etc.). It takes a couple of viewings, but it’s all there. Great flick.
Rating: *** three out of three stars.

These are my choices, I’m sticking to them, but I’d love to see some comments.

 

 

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

Joe Carducci – Interview

17
Sep

For years I had heard about Joe Carducci, author, song writer, screenplay writer and for a time, quarter owner of the infamous SST Records. Carducci is a definite jack-of-all-trades that for whatever reasons our paths never crossed, but I always wanted to rap with the guy and through the technology of Facebook I tracked him down.

1. First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. What was your position at SST? When did you become a partial owner, when did sell your share, etc?

Everything was very informal then. My sense of things was confirmed when I read Black Randy in Brendan Mullen’s book, We Got the Neutron Bomb, describing the early L.A. punks being seized by “missionary zeal”. If someone as perverse as he would call it that then I know I’m not fooling myself. I think late baby boomers had had their expectations for music raised incredibly high by the music right up to before they picked up instruments in, say, 1974. Suddenly everything went bad and rather than giving up on music and becoming painters the opposite happened. Greg and Chuck saw on their first tours in 1980-81 that when a record shop had Black Flag records they had got them from me at Systematic. So when I told Greg in July 1981 that I’d come down to L.A. and run their label for them they figured I could do it. I wanted to be in L.A. for my writing and as long as I had a place and food it was fine by me; I didn’t come down for one-quarter ownership or even a salary. I just didn’t want to waste my time. But by 1983 we got serious about registering the four owners and that was more about me having to write checks when they were on tour and having to have things legal in order to license records overseas and register copyrights etc. By the end of 1984 the label was functional and we were important enough to our distributors to get paid quick enough to pay the studio and pressing and printing bills. So Mugger left the Black Flag tours in late 83 and he hired D.Boon’s sister-in-law Jeannine Garfias to do mail-order, and I convinced Ray Farrell to move down from San Francisco to do promotions. Before than we had band people filling in at the label: Boon, Watt, Spot, Henry, Dez, Robo, Dave Claassen, Bill Stevenson, Byron Coley and others in a pinch. Just as I was leaving more people were coming in as paid employees: Naomi Petersen, who’d been our photographer since 82, Jordan Schwartz, Mike Whittaker, Linda Trudnich, Kara Nicks. I trained Rich Ford, who’d been in Chuck’s band SWA, to run manufacturing in early 1986 and then was out in March.

2. How did you manage to not just survive but also thrive in the extreme SST environment?

I’d guess you’d say I have a writer’s personality. I’m from a large family, half Italian but some people might think you’d be voluble, fun, etc., but I’m not much fun. I mostly just do the work I need to do. I’d say I figured out in late high school that writing what I want to write was going to take a while to master. I mean my screenwriting, but it goes double with regard to writing prose in the books or the blog since I never really expected to do that kind of writing, and probably wouldn’t have, had I been able to get scripts made earlier. But as regards SST, I fit in because the early punk era was full of people who leveraged the hippie era to do what they wanted and we generally respected that about each other. I was like those guys only minus even the limited partying they did.

3. What led your decision to leave Los Angeles and pursue writing once again?

Well it was nine years worth of the music scene split between Systematic and SST. Systematic needed SST and its touring bands to sell records at that level, but SST needed radio to sell enough records to warrant the amount of work done on those records. So the only further music biz thing I might’ve done was radio to see it through, break the logjam. But otherwise Black Flag was done and new bands post-1982 or so weren’t as interesting – the frontier had closed basically. The straight import-distributors all started labels signing up generic bands (goth, roots, synth, hardcore…) and the culture got taken over by college bands, completely different from the drop-out bands that invented it. But mainly I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to write by then so I wanted to get back to that and see what I could come up with.

4. What was your first exposure to punk rock?

I think it was hearing KROQ in 1977 playing “Sheena” in rotation and running ads for Ramones “Leave Home.” I heard that song and the short clips of the heavier 2nd album tunes enough that I got into it. I understood it as stripping the Black Sabbath power back to a 60s garage simplicity. I didn’t run across any of the Hollywood punks when I was there but I bought the first issue of Slash at Peaches and looked over the 45s they had. I moved to Portland in September 1977 and started buying the New York bands’ albums and then picked up the LA and UK singles through working at Renaissance Records which became Systematic Record Distribution.

5. Other than being at SST, give us some of your greatest memories of being in the punk scene back in the 1980’s.

Well it was earlier than that, up in Portland in 1978 when the first local punk shows were being put on and bringing a small number of interesting people together. It was a hippie town pegged to San Francisco and the Holy Modal Rounders but one time I was closing the record shop and the last couple customers were going to get a pizza so I went with them, we stopped by another record shop picked up a couple more of the punk rockers and then ran into more before winding up at the restaurant with about a dozen kids, it was a scene! And they sat us in a back room. Otherwise, it had to be going on short tours to Arizona or up the coast with Black Flag had to be the coolest thing I did, especially when it was Greg, Chuck, Dez, Henry, Robo, Spot, and Mugger. I moved to the Meat Puppets van once from Seattle to Vancouver and the MPs were smoking pot until they snapped to 3 miles from the border. I never smoked pot so I wasn’t really conscious of the things they had to worry about. But we made it through the check point okay. And in LA in 1982 when BF toured Damaged, I went out with the Descendents to the weekend gigs they were just getting all around town on the basis of their first album – they didn’t draw a lot yet so you got to watch and listen to them with about 25 other people who couldn’t believe how good they were. Then in 1983 the Minutemen were getting to play around Hollywood a lot and if BF was touring D. Boon would pick me up on his way to Hollywood and then since he was usually going off to party after the gig, I’d grab a ride back down to SST with Mike Watt. So just being able to talk to those guys about music and media and art and politics. When Black Flag was in town the same went for them. On Wednesday nights at SST in Redondo Beach in 82-3 we’d know the L.A. Weekly would be in at Music Plus on P.C.H. so often Greg and I would walk down Grant to Aviation to P.C.H. to get a copy to see who was playing where that week.

6. Who were/ are your influences, musically, writing and personally?

I first liked stuff I heard on AM radio (WLS and WCFL in Chicago): Paul Revere & the Raiders, Tommy James & the Shondells, The Standells, Davie Allen & the Arrows, The Hollies, Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix Experience… Then FM radio and album buying: Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Soft Machine… For writing I guess the first things I liked when my dad forced us to read books was Jack London, and Pierre Boulle novels. I think of Dostoevsky as the gold standard. In high school read a lot of Anthony Burgess, B. Traven, Ira Levin, and later Cornell Woolrich, Barry Sadler, and recently Michel Houellebecq. I don’t read a lot of fiction anymore. The culture probably needs a Jack London revival right about now.

7. I hope this isn’t too far out, here’s a bit of self-analysis. You’ve been in the music world for over thirty years as a label owner, and PR writer, so the question is what did Joe Carducci bring to SST?

Well SST had its own thing going on. I liked how they related to punk rock as rock music, rather than some anti-rock thing. So it made sense that Black Flag would find a way to tour. I bought records from a lot of American bands and only Black Flag seemed determined to take their music on the road. The political influence of British punk or the drug cool of the earlier 70s bands seemed to keep the rest waiting for something to happen, either the revolution or getting signed to a major. So what I brought was mostly just I was able to stretch the money and keep records in print better and better and get the drive wheel of the business rolling with some momentum. The label Greg wanted was more as a label for the stuff they liked but didn’t have interest from real labels. He expected that “Damaged” and future BF releases would go out thru majors and by rights they should have. But MCA and the industry at large was so retarded by rock radio’s disinterest that SST came to be more the kind of label I had wanted when I was up at Systematic. The major labels couldn’t imagine that a Black Flag might have a better shot at breaking through than a band like X or The Dickies or the New York bands. What happened instead was Metallica and then Nirvana breaking through the imposed retardation by Lee Abrams, Jan Wenner and other criminals.

8. It’s been more than twenty years since you first published Rock And The Pop Narcotic: do you feel that any of the more recent books that chronicle aspects of the SST/underground era of the 80s have contributed as positively as your book did?

I read a bunch of LA oriented stuff when I was working on by book about SST and Naomi Petersen, Enter Naomi, in 2006-7 but basically I don’t read much music stuff now. I have too much to read for work on a film book and other stuff. My impression is that there are a lot of good music memoirs, stories of individual bands, and history but probably not much about what happened to contemporary music – writers must just accept it as a given or they’d be covering television or videogames.

 

 

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

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