Wednesday, November 22, 2017

L7 shoves their way into our life

Our autographed copy of the L7 documentary. Thanks to the "L7: Pretend We're Dead" crew!


To coincide with the dvd release of the stellar documentary, "L7: Pretend We're Dead," here's one of our L7 stories that came to mind while we were watching it in Seattle a few months ago. Our friend Phil (RIP) would surely dig on this film.


By Andy

When Phil first heard the blistering intro to L7’s “Shove” blast out of the speakers, his eyes sparkled and a shit-eating grin formed on his face.

His hands moved slightly, already figuring out the riff. He turned to me and nodded his head. Yes, this song would be a crucial one for us when the drinking and rocking commenced in our upstairs apartment on 5th Street in San Jose, CA.

It was all Cat’s fault. She’s the one who brought L7 into my life in the early ‘90s via a cassette tape of the band’s raucous first two offerings. “Bite the Wax Tadpole,” “Snake Handler,” etc. … fuck, yeah. But it was the really brain-gouging stuff on “Smell the Magic” that pierced our ears and punched our guts to the hilt.

Nothing was safe in that apartment when L7 roared throughout the front room. Once, Phil was so moved that he took a hammer to the figurines of a mini Nativity scene that sat on the window sill.

Another time, the cops barged in because we were unleashing L7 at a deafening volume that bothered the neighbors. Phil mouthed off and that perturbed the men in blue. We all got a tongue lashing, of course.

Later, when Phil had “Shove” ready to roll on his guitar, he cranked up the volume on his amp and I sat nearby banging the crap out of a snare drum that sat on a milk crate. We both screamed the vocals — we never found out if we pissed the neighbors off that time. We even recorded our “session” for playback to Cat and other members of our coterie. That tape is long gone, maybe the victim of Phil’s hammer on a beery night.

Cat had already witnessed L7 in the flesh at several gigs in Hollywood and at UCLA and she proudly told us of her adventures. Lucky.


One of Cat's flyers from back in the day.

But it would soon be time for all of us to head to San Francisco and check out the mighty L7 at the Nightbreak on Haight Street just a few months after “Shove” plowed its way into our lives.

After draining a few beers at the bar, we took our spots up front, wedged against the stage as L7 prepared the onslaught. As the band raged, the crowd surged forward, packing us in even tighter at the front. A few songs in, one of our friends waved an imaginary white flag and was taken into a side room to rest among some bean bags until we retrieved her later.

The band and crowd soldiered on.

Phil’s evil grin emerged when “Shove” finally knifed forth at our welcoming, battered ears. Arms flailed, kneecaps bashed against the stage and screeching voices filled the air. It was pandemonium. It was delirium. It was fucking L7.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Chrome, Blitz and their cohorts keep the Dead Boys alive

Cheetah Chrome in Seattle. (All Andy photos)


By Andy

There wasn’t a piece of baloney in sight.

As I entered the small dressing room, Cheetah Chrome was hunched on a bench and perusing his phone messages. It was a moment of solitude for the axeslinger of the legendary Dead Boys, probably something he didn’t get much of when, say, he was waiting to take the stage at CBGBs back in the day. No yelling, no broken bottles… no lunchmeat, snot or spit hanging from anyone’s shirt or mouth — just a man and his phone.

Chrome looked up when I approached him, we shook hands and I proposed an interview for this blog. He said we could speak after the show and I nodded OK and went back inside the Highline in Seattle to watch the opening band, The Drowns. (Dreadful Children and Wiscon also geared the crowd up for the headliner.)

The interview never happened since we were lost in a sea of elated, sweaty and drunken faces after the band — also featuring original drummer Johnny Blitz — leveled the crowd with the incendiary numbers from their debut album, “Young, Loud and Snotty,” which is celebrating its 40th year on this planet.

The current version of the Dead Boys also features guitarist Jason Kottwitz, bassist Ricky Rat and rambunctious singer Jake Hout (from “zombie” Dead Boys tribute band, the Undead Boys). They recently released a re-recording of the debut, titled “Still Snotty: Young, Loud and Snotty at 40.”

On this wild night, the Dead Boys were in top form and the crowd ate that shit up. One guy to my right — as I was getting pummeled at the front while snapping photos — was nearly jumping out of his skin and blurted out, “Stiv would be proud!”

Yes, Mr. Bators, while his body rests in peace, his fellow evil boys are raging in his memory.

Here’s my pics:
























Tuesday, November 14, 2017

One-two punch: Fu Manchu and Mos Generator | Cat Rose photos


Fu Manchu, top, and Mos Generator. (All Cat Rose photos)




Two vans packed with rock gear and solid dudes are certainly better than one.

First, gripping their sturdy hands on the wheel as they tear up the road, and then around their instruments and sticks come gig time -- that's what it's all about. All aboard, and give the blacktop and rockers in the club a heavy-duty effort.

That's what Fu Manchu and their partners and purveyors of all things mammoth sounding, Mos Generator, did on their recent five-day run up the West Coast and into Canada.

We and our formidable crew of Seattle and Portland hellraisers checked out the Emerald City stop at Chop Suey last Saturday. Here's Cat Rose's photographic offerings:


FU MANCHU





























MOS GENERATOR

































Friday, November 10, 2017

Corrosion of Conformity roaring to go with new album, ‘No Cross No Crown’

Corrosion of Conformity in Seattle. (Cat Rose photo)


It’s been a while, right?

After a 12-year hiatus from recording with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan, the venerable and brawny original Corrosion of Conformity trio of drummer Reed Mullin, guitarist Woody Weatherman and bassist Mike Dean have the frontman back in their clutches to bestow upon us a new album, “No Cross No Crown.”

The rock will roll when the album is released on Jan. 12, 2018 by Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

With Keenan back in the fold, the band toured for a year, kicked into the recording process about 10 or 11 months ago and blasted this one out in about 40 days during that timeframe. The last Keenan-fronted COC album was “In the Arms of God” in 2005.

Once again, John Custer was in the producer’s seat to help whip the album into shape in a North Carolina studio.

The 15-song set includes the walloping “The Luddite,” “Little Man” and “Forgive Me”  interspersed with melancholy guitar interludes like “No Cross,” “Matre’s Diem” and “Sacred Isolation.” (New song "Cast the First Stone" below.)





According to an Earsplit PR release, the album’s iconic title comes from a recent tour stop in England.

“We were playing this old church from like the 1500s that had been turned into a performing arts center,” Keenan recalled. “The dressing room had stained glass windows and one of them showed this poor fella being persecuted. Underneath it said, ‘No cross no crown.’ So I just took that idea. We’re not trying to be on a soapbox, but we used it as a catalyst to write songs around.”

Keenan is stoked to be part of the COC steamroller again.

“It’s an honor to be back out there and have an opportunity to do it again in a real way and not some washed-up reunion thing. Even before we wrote the record, we were out there for a year seeing there was a demand for it and that there was a void that we could fill,” he said in the release.




Sunday, October 29, 2017

Record roundup: All over the musical map on this journey



By Andy

*** In the documentary "We Were Feared," which tells the gritty tale of the legendary club the Cuckoo's Nest in Costa Mesa, CA, Love Canal guitarist Eric VonArab gets some screen time. He and his pals know their stuff, wrangled with each other in the pit and devoured a crucial slice of OC punk. On this album, they take those experiences and heaps more along the way and mold them into that classic style that permeated the Nest. Love Canal pummels your speakers with their roaring anthems that would have fit in perfectly with the scene back then and resonate now with the force of a million stomping engineer boots alongside raging guitars and sneering vocals. (Hostage Records)


*** We've seen Sir Coyler and His Asthmatic Band in Seattle a few times and they've thumped and rumbled their way onto our favorites list. This single provides blasting, stomping rock in the grand Pacific Northwest tradition of the Sonics and Mudhoney and a ton of others. It rocks, it rolls and you need it wedged in your ears posthaste. (Pig Baby Records)


*** Javier Escovedo's latest record is just about as good as it gets. It full on rocks in spots and then lays back just right with the pensive tunes you need after hammering away in the vein of The Zeros, where he cut his musical teeth in the early punk days. With songs like "This Side of Nowhere" and "Gypsy Son" holding the heavy reins and "Searchin' for You" and "Just Like All the Rest" taking the easy-going route, you should be all in with this release. (Saustex Records)


*** The Cheap Cassettes kicked out a hunk of their Plimsouls-inspired rock and roll on Friday night in Seattle and they gave "Worse N' Better" off this two-song tape a whirl about midway through the set. Guitars swung, heads bobbed and hips shook... just the way it should be for stellar tunes like these. (Rum/Bar Records)


*** Um, yeah, the Side Eyes are definitely a band people should have on their radars if they're into tracing rock roll lineages. Vocalist Astrid McDonald surely knows what she's doing at the forefront of this ripping band since her parents showed her who had the beat and how to stand in front of poseur. It's basic stuff that carries on the family and punk tradition with swagger and humor. We caught McDonald and guitarist Kevin Devine joining forces with Redd Kross on stage last December in Santa Ana on a cover of The Eyes' "Don't Talk to Me." Not sure if Chargo was there, but her influence is all over the Side Eyes. (In the Red Recordings)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Mould, Bondi team up again at stirring Seattle gig

Bob Mould bathed in the stage lights in Seattle. (All Andy photos)

By Andy

Whenever Bob Mould and his Husker Du bandmates rolled into Redondo Beach, CA in the early '80s, I was always armed with many questions.

What were they up to writing-wise? What gigs had they played? What bands were hot at the moment that I should take note of? Do you wanna play some basketball or jam in my garage? (OK, so that last bit never transpired, but I did ask my parents.) On the band front, my teenage mind would always come away filled to the brim with a ton of groups that I wanted to check out.

One of the bands that was at the forefront was Articles of Faith, a Chicago group featuring razor-blade-voiced Vic Bondi, who was said to challenge listeners both musically and lyrically. Mind-opening and -bending stuff, I was told.

I was all in... and my friend John and I soon got in on the AoF action via the "Charred Remains" compilation tape and their EPs.

Producer Mould and AoF teamed up on the band's "Give Thanks" and "In This Life" albums, which are crucial platters that add a pop to the old record collection.

So, last night, the two shared a stage again -- for the first time in 28 years -- this time in a solo setting and they have proven to be just as vital musicians as ever. These are the guys who stoked my musical fire back in the day and I was glad to part of their reunion and await what they'll be firing our way next.

At the Crocodile in Seattle, Bondi went six- and 12-string acoustic and tackled some AoF songs ("I've Got Mine," "Remain in Memory," "In This Life" and "What We Want is Free") and other gems from his vast catalogue. It was intense and moving stuff. He growled, smiled and sweated it out under the lights, and set the stage perfectly for Mould.

Like Mould did later, Bondi briefly reminisced about their friendship and how thrilled he was to be playing together again. Mould noted that he had fun working on the AoF albums and that people should seek out and dig into Bondi's records.


Bondi belts it out.


When it was Mould's turn on stage, he unleashed his sonic barrage of electric guitar and gritty vocals on the smiling and head-bobbing crowd for the next 75 minutes or so. He had to battle with his pedals at the start to get his sound solidified, but once all the cords were locked in, he grinded out one crucial tune after another that spanned his entire career.

In an emotional moment, Mould spoke about his former Husker bandmate Grant Hart, who recently passed away from cancer. He said that Hart was a great man and to honor him, Mould flowed into Hart's "Never Talking to You Again" that segued into "Flip Your Wig," the stellar Mould-Hart trade-off vocal song. I found myself singing the Hart parts to myself while eyeing the fans, who were all caught up in a stirring, inspirational night of rock and roll.


More Seattle pics and video clips at end: