Time Again – Darker Days

18
Jun

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: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

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

13
Jun

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?”

“No.”

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: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Punk History – The Early Years Vol. 1

11
Jun

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: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Vol. 1

04
Jun

Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Vol. 1
1984 – Gasatanka Records
Released: 1984
Producer Various

1 – Dickies – Gigantor (Live Cleveland Agoura) – 2:23
2 – Government Issue – Religious Ripoff – 1:07
3 – The Freeze – No One Is Ever Coming Home – 1:22
4 – White Flag – Question of Intelligence – 2:35
5 – Kraut – Flossing With an E String – 1:40
6 – F – Attack – 2:50
7 – Plain Wrap – Meat between the Treads – 0:08
8 – Flag of Democracy – Madhouse – 1:45
9 – TSOL – Suppose They Gave A War – 3:38
10 – Adrenalin O.D. Me Three Bunch – 2:09
11 – Scream – Fight – 1:33
12 – The Undead – In Eighty-Four
13 – FU’s – Warlords (Live on WERS FM Boston) – 2:30
14 – Black Market Baby – Total Waste – 2:48
15 – Psycho – Master Race – 1:17
16 – Gay Cowboys in Bondage – Domestic Battlefield – 2:44
17 – Borscht – Suburbia – 1:34
18 – ASF – Big Women – 2:35
19 – G.B.H. Give Me Fire (Live At Perkins Palace, Pasadena) – 3:15

One of the “unique” elements of this comp is that it has a little spoken intro before each track done by the band. It serves as a kind of time capsule of sorts. You hear opinions on the different aspects of the “punk scene” at that time. Individuality (GI), patriotism (TSOL), violence at shows (Psycho), feminism (ASF), and the scene itself (Borscht) is all covered. Of course, the best bands are the ones who don’t care about any of this (FU’s and Black Market Baby) but it is funny hearing all of these little snippets today.

The first song is by the Dickies – Gigantor a fun song, no doubt. The ninth song is by the great (not with this line-up) TSOL – What If They Gave a War and No One Came: This song is the reason I got rid of this album. When I picked this up I was told/guaranteed that this was Jack Grisham singing on this track. The song is incredibly bland, and overall crappy, but I thought “no problem, Jack is experimenting, but after owning it for almost a year I found an old fanzine article about Joe Wood singing and picking the song, the album was gone by morning. The nineteenth song is by Charged GBH – Give Me Fire unfortunately it’s not as good as the studio version.

If you don’t own it, go and pick up TSOL’s Dance with me album, other than the Dickie’s track, everything else is garbage.

Rating: * ** one out of three stars

On to the story . . .

A couple of years after this album was released I lucked upon a job as a teller at a bank in Reseda, across the street from The Country Club, and Bebop Records. I worked there for about a year, and in the beginning I would small talk the customers until we had a meeting and the management said we need to kill the chitchat so that we could speed customers in and out and we’d get some bonus based on the most transactions per week. I think they made this decision shortly after I had Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs at my window for about twenty minutes talking about Welcome Back Kotter, and a cable movie (Angels of the City) he was directing.

Anyway, a week or two after we had the meeting, Lee Ving comes walking into the bank, looks around and then comes up to my window. But every time I started to go beyond “How would you like your bills?” I would get the eye from management. So, over the course of a year I waited on Lee Ving, but never got to rap with guy. It was kind of cool, to find out that he lived in my area, Reseda/Van Nuys.

 

 

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

TSOL – Thoughts of Yesterday

30
May

TSOL
Thoughts of Yesterday
November 10, 1992
Rhino/WEA

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 personal 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 finished 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.

 

 

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

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