Sunday, December 4, 2016

Monsters, metal and mayhem: Ghoul and company creep into Seattle

Ghoul's Cremator. (All Andy photos)

By Andy

It was a thrash-metalist's dream gig.

Five pulverizing bands -- Ghoul, The Plot Sickens, The Crüd Güns, Misuse of Power and Kömmand -- and a ravenous crowd made for a boisterous evening at El Corazon in Seattle last Friday.

From start to finish, hair and fists flew through the air while bodies bashed in the pit along to the tunes with influences that plowed forth from the skullbashing metal/hardcore lands of Celtic Frost, Slayer, DRI, Gwar, etc. You know, the heavy shit.

Best part of the night was when a stage invader during Ghoul's monster-sized set grabbed one of the band's stage props -- a pick-axe -- and prepared to wield away. Cremator the bassist stopped the fan from having his way with the axe as the band played on. It was all in good fun, and hey, at least the fan gave it a shot, you know?

Creepsylvania came to life during Ghoul's set with characters like Mr. Fang, The Mutant Mutilator and more taking the stage to mess with the crowd and spray fake blood and other fluids into the mass of metalers. One of the monsters was so huge that a security guard had to use a flashlight while helping push the beast through the exit door after its turn on stage.

A classic night with Ghoul songs like "Graveyard Mosh," "Gutbucket Blues," "Death in the Swamp" and more providing the soundtrack.

Photos by Andy:


Clown spray

Crowd member gets Ghouled with green ooze.





Saturday, December 3, 2016

RIP, Micky Fitz of The Business

Micky Fitz photo from a promo poster for "The Truth The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth"

By Andy

"Be yourself and you'll rule the day."

These words always ring true for me on The Business song "Never Say Never." And when sung by Micky Fitz, they make you want to stand up, shout and be proud of who you are. It's a crucial anthem, a pertinent song and one that everyone should possess in their musical arsenal.

When word spread that Fitz died on Dec. 1 after a long battle with cancer, I was gutted. We had lost one of us. He was 57.

Cat and I were fortunate to witness the Lewisham, South London Oi! unit live three times, and at each gig we were mesmerized by Fitz's energetic performance. With head held high, arms strongly held wide and a gleam in his eye, you could tell that Fitz was "all in" -- for the band and for the crowd -- and you were swept up in the moment. Watching Fitz made you feel confident in yourself, like you could tackle anything that came your way.

RIP, Micky.

"Micky was a man who spoke his mind - he was always quick with a joke and three steps ahead of you in a conversation. He was also one of the best mates you could ask for," reads a Facebook statement from The Business.

The Business message continues: "Everybody you speak to in the punk scene has their own Micky Fitz story, some of them more flattering than others as Mick didn’t pull any punches. He didn’t care what anybody thought of him and he always did things his own way. That is the thing about true characters - they have rough edges, they don’t fit into any box and they can be near impossible to deal with from time to time, but that’s what makes them so unique, it’s what makes them iconic, it’s what makes them special.

"There will never be another Micky Fitz.

"Our thoughts are with Mick’s family at this time, especially Kim and Jamie who have always been by his side through thick and thin.

"Finally thank you to Micky, for being relentlessly Micky Fitz, much loved and much missed.
Micky has requested no flowers. If you would like to do something to remember him, please make a donation to Cancer Research in his name at"

Photo courtesy of Derek Plank

Peter of Peter and the Test Tube Babies wrote on his band's Facebook page:
"It breaks my heart to hear the sad news about Micky Fitz dying. Like everyone else in our community i loved him and i for one am finding it hard to keep it together. Raising a glass to you Mick as i write this. What a fine bloke you were and how greatly you will be missed. A true punk legend who will never be forgotten because of the great songs The Business wrote, the way you performed and the outstanding all round man you were. I will miss you greatly and the tears are starting to well up. You were a legend Mick and you always will be."

On the Agnostic Front Facebook page:
"Our deepest condolences to the family of one of our heroes and a lifetime friend, RIP Micky Fitz ... Loud, Proud, & Punk!!! Nothing better than The Business!!! Our voice of a revolution... You will be truly missed but never forgotten!"

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Life as a Circle Jerks bassist and beyond: 'The Prodigal Rogerson' / Book Review

By Andy

At the age of 14, I first encountered the Circle Jerks at the Starwood in Los Angeles. It was a night I'll never forget.

As we entered the club in April of 1981, I was both elated and petrified. It was my first punk gig and I didn't quite know what was going to transpire inside those hallowed walls. TSOL tore it up in the opening slot and then the CJ's -- my favorite band of the moment -- took charge and further etched their way into my being, this time in the crucial live setting.

They surged forth with a blistering and chaotic set. And no one was more enthralled with the on-stage activity than wild-eyed, bass-swinging and pogo-stick-like performer Roger Rogerson.

That night, Rogerson was equal parts energy and unpredictability -- and that's what made the CJ's so stellar. It was hardcore to the hilt.

While every member of this intense all-star team of punks was mesmerizing, it was Rogerson whom you eyeballed the most, because you didn't know if he would leap into the crowd, gouge his bass into the stage or crash into his amp or Lucky Lehrer's drumkit.

And now, 35 years later, Rogerson and the CJ's jumped back into my head with the arrival of "The Prodigal Rogerson," a 96-page, well-researched and -written gem from J. Hunter Bennett via Microcosm Publishing. It's set for a May 9, 2017 release, and readers can pre-order the 5x7-inch book at

I powered through this book on Thanksgiving morning and after polishing it off in a store coffee shop, slipped it into my jacket pocket while my wife and I hit the aisles to select our goods for the day. I kept patting my pocket to make sure it was still there. If it did tumble from my jacket and someone snagged it, they'd have a hell of a reading journey ahead of them.

On the cover, there's Rogerson, bass strapped on and tossing a menacing look stage left with a message underneath him: "The Tragic, Hilarious, and Possibly Apocryphal Story of Circle Jerks Bassist Roger Rogerson in the Golden Age of LA Punk, 1979-1996."

The door to the Starwood opened in my mind again and I was itching to see what was going on inside this book.

I remember when Bennett informed the crew that this book was in the works and it got me thinking about how much I didn't know about Rogerson, except that he died at age 41 from a drug overdose in August of 1996, and from Jeff Turner's writing in his book "Cockney Reject" about Rogerson wielding his drugs, booze, gun and mayhem when the Rejects played in Los Angeles in 1985.

What you'll find in the book is that "facts" and viewpoints from the 17 interviewees frequently vary when each subject comes up. Rogerson was a mysterious man and therefore, you've got to just go with the flow while reading and try and piece his story together for yourself -- if you can.

It's an entertaining, heartbreaking and maddening read. You'll learn about how the Circle Jerks formed, ruled the day and then crashed and burned (with Rogerson stealing the band's van), along with Rogerson's tumultuous journey from military man, to musician, to family man and beyond while battling drug and alcohol abuse and mental issues along the way.

According to sources -- including CJ's members, friends, a twice ex-wife and stepson -- Rogerson experienced reams of highs and lows and was both caring and troublesome at different times in his life.

Part of Rogerson reached for success, but substance abuse constantly veered him on the path to destruction. He couldn't put the pieces of his fractured life together. He perhaps wanted more than he was able to handle in the music realm, where not everybody can fit into the rock-star mold filled with drugs and bedlam.

"The guy was sometimes an obnoxious pain in the ass. A lot of uncool stuff that he did," said Lehrer in the book.

"I loved his zest for life. Roger taught me so much about living. I had a pretty dull existence. He just opened up all kinds of new doors for me," said ex-wife Susan Robards.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

OFF! and Plague Vendor live in Seattle

OFF! (All Cat Rose photos)
Plague Vendor.

By Andy

What more can you say about OFF!? You've gotta get up close to fully experience the band's brutal barrage of tunes. Meet the makers face to face. Your body has got to be buzzing, throbbing -- as if the music has ripped its way inside and is hammering against your bones. It's the real deal.

Sirs Keith Morris, Steven McDonald, Dimitri Coats and Mario Rubalcaba entertained us to the max at El Corazon last Thursday.

Openers Plague Vendor -- hailing from Whittier, CA, the home of the old Flipside fanzine -- were ideal tourmates for OFF! Creepy, crawly punk that tore across the genre's spectrum with a ferocity and groove that would have placed the band firmly into LA's Masque scene or later the club Scream landscape.

Brandon Blaine was an elastic frontman, twitching and twisting his way through the set while maneuvering his vocal cords from a whisper to a scream within seconds and eyeballing the crowd with an intense stare that could smash mirrors. As his bandmates plugged away behind him, Blaine put his dancing shoes to the test while swinging his arms so wildly as if they might pop out of their sockets.

Here's Cat Rose's photo offerings from the night:



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bully, Broadway Calls set the stage for the Descendents

Bully bathed in light. (All Cat Rose photos)

So, before the Descendents ripped it up at The Neptune in Seattle last Thursday, Bully (think Sonic Youth meets Bettie Serveert) and Broadway Calls (anthemic pop-punk) opened the show, which they also did the night before. Two solid bands to warm up the sold-out gigs.

As a bonus, Bully turned out a blistering cover of X-Ray Spex's "Oh Bondage Up Yours!" complete with a snarling singer and saxophone. Top notch.

Here's Cat Rose's photos of the bands: