Sunday, July 31, 2011

Seattle's Quickie: punk with plenty of pop

Quickie bassist-vocalist Lou Trez rocks his pearly whites. (Andy photos)

Quickie are a shoe-horn-type band. The Seattle pop-punkers can wedge their feet into nearly any situation.

The trio fits nicely on MC5 axeman Wayne Kramer's 2001 compilation "Beyond Cyberpunk" alongside tracks by Dee Dee Ramone, Pere Ubu, Richard Hell and the Voidoids among other heavyweights.

They did the run-and-gun thing by playing 40-plus mini-gigs in one day in Seattle-area cafes, pubs and clubs to set a Guinness World Record Sept. 30, 2010. We hung out at one of our classic joints, the Monkey Pub, to be part of the action ... but, unfortunately, that was one of the places cut from the list due to their ambitious schedule. In the end, they earned the gold medal in the musical marathon.
Here's a video:

Joe Wolf shows the Jet Bar crowd how it's done.
Their Quickie-style, Ramones-meets-Undertones tuneage has been featured in movies and TV series, and their "Bikini Barista" video has notched about 130,000 views worldwide via You Tube.

There's Something Hard in There friend/bassist-vocalist Lou Trez, guitarist Joe Wolf and drummer Kelly Lichtenwaldt are now shooting for a spot on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show in a nationwide voting event. Check out the band's Facebook page for info:!/pages/Quickie/235631446618

And, as witnessed on Saturday night, the Quickie men can unleash their upbeat vibe to a tipsy crowd at a dance club/sports bar/restaurant called the Jet Bar in a Mill Creek shopping center.

If there's anything these guys can't do, let us know.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

No Labels: Putting Raleigh, NC, hardcore on the map ... call it 'No Core'

Wayne Taylor of No Labels. (Bobby Hufnell photo)
No Labels in action. (Marti Wilkerson photo)

By Andy

"We didn't have any real motives to start the band. We just wanted to be hardcore punk rock stars."

So, with tongue firmly planted in cheek -- I think so! -- pummeler of drums Reed Mullin describes his band No Labels in a handwritten interview delivered to my Redondo Beach, Calif., home from his pad in Raleigh, N.C., in 1983.

Years later, his other band, Corrosion of Conformity, found blazing success on both the punk and metal scenes (and they're still putting the BANG in head-bang today) .... so it appears our man Mullin was right all along.

I got on board with these guys while scrolling through an issue of Maximum Rock and Roll in '82 and spotting an ad for the "No Core" compilation tape. I jumped all over it, sent my $2 to the NC address and soon received my tape. I was riveted by the early COC style of Black Flag meets Black Sabbath. No Labels was a fave of mine, as well, with their straight-forward yet quirky hardcore style. No Rock Stars and Colcor were great, too, with their punk stylings.

Mullin kept me in touch with the NC scene with fliers, demos (A Number of Things, Stillborn Christians) and magazines. I secretly wished I could move there because I felt I was part of the scene. No kidding.

With No Labels, Wayne Kerr's (real last name Taylor) energetic vocals grabbed you from the start and took you into the band's world of lyrically tackling: "The hypocrisies and unpleasant or mindless side of 'punk,'" Mullin explained, adding that they also wrote about, "Oooh meaningful things like compromising one's actions for dumb reasons or people changing and about how your body is just a shell that holds your actual existence."

The band formed in March '82 with Mullin on drums, Ricky Hicks on guitar and a few other guys who didn't last long with the unit. Enter Taylor on vocals and Woodroe Weatherman on bass (you might know this dude as COC's guitarist) and the band got rolling, playing with everyone from local bands to Husker Du, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, DRI, Suicidal Tendencies and Faith. They also played out-of-town gigs in Richmond, D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Baltimore and NYC.

One DC show, in particular, would have a lasting effect on Mullin and spur him to write the lyrics to "HarDCore." The song used DC as an example of any scene one might encounter where punks "maybe had some 'holier than thou' disease," Mullin said.

The lowdown: "When I went to DC for the first time to see a show (UK Subs), I didn't have a 'different' hairstyle and dressed pretty normally. Anyway, I was really excited being in the East Coast's 'punk Mecca' and tried to meet people. Everyone I talked to was really snobby. Well, when I came back to Raleigh, and being in a 'hardcore punk rock band,' I decided to write a 'harDCcore punk rock' song. The song (is) more of pointing out the few 'territorial morons' I met."

The band's sound was a potpourri of hard-edged punk/metal delights: Minor Threat, Articles of Faith, Circle Jerks, Joy Division, PIL, Gang of Four, Discharge, Void, Black Sabbath, Rudimentary Peni, Stillborn Christians and old Iron Maiden.

And the name No Labels? "Our singer thought up the name while pulling the stripe off his Nikes. That's all," Mullin said.

The interview.
I missed out on the No Labels live experience, but when Taylor and Hicks traveled with COC together once to LA, I asked for a No Labels reunion, at least one song, but it wasn't to be.
You can read more about No Labels and the NC scene in Brian Walsby's fifth Manchild book, titled "Rabid Pack with Sirens Howling." There's plenty of cool cartoons, pics and interviews in there. To order: 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Singing along with The Lewd, The Freeze and Social Unrest

J. Sats Beret and The Lewd in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., a few years ago. (All Andy photos)
By Andy

Who cares what some smart-mouthed, dyed-hair punk kid thinks when it comes to a pleasant record-buying experience.

The place: Recycled Records in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

The year: 1982

The record: The Lewd's "American Wino"

I was anticipating the record's release, snatched it out of the L bin right away, and then continued perusing the stacks for more solid slabs of vinyl one Saturday afternoon. However, the aforementioned guy -- whom I'd seen around and who always gave me the evil eye for some unknown reason -- spotted me with the record, and when his buddy mentioned that The Lewd album was out, he groaned, "Big deal, they suck." (Good one, real words of wisdom.)

Maybe I was deemed uncool by this lad because I sported my natural brown hair (it was a bit spiky, though, since I've got a cowlick), but, hey, I donned an Adolescents T-shirt and knew my punk rock. Maybe it was a "I'm-more-punk-than-you thing," but I wasn't having any of that ... I liked The Lewd and soon I would be in my room blasting that record, and loving it.

Guitarist Bob Clic and Sats.
That ICI Records offering still rules today, complete with J. Sats Beret's gurgly vocals (my friend John and I always had a good time mimicking his delivery) on a host of tunes with both dark and humorous lyrics matched with more rock song structures that defied the hardcore speed demons of the day.

On "Beyond Moderation," how could you not help but smile at the line, "Don't be a wimpy powder puff, Too much is not enough"? "Polluted Brain" chipped in with, "I'm not playing with a full deck, I am not a total wreck, Don't know why my mind's on void, Don't ask me I'm not Sigmund Freud." And "Dressed in Black" was a ray of sunshine: "Smoke-filled skies block out the sun, As I greet oblivion, Upon my brother I turn my back, I will always be dressed in black."

Weird thing is that, a few months down the road, I had a nice exchange with my nemesis from the record store. While the crowd was thrashing about at the front of the stage during a Redd Kross gig at the Bijou Theater in Hermosa, we both looked at each other, grinned and banged our heads in unison.

Cliff (Hanger) Croce with The Freeze in Seattle.

Cliff (Hanger) Croce of The Freeze is a short-story writer. A punk lyricist of the highest order.

When John and I snagged the "This is Boston Not L.A." compilation in 1982, we thoroughly dug the speed and wildness of bands like Jerry's Kids, Gang Green and the F.U.'s -- and, of course, the Proletariat's marching beat and insightful lyrics stuck with us, as well -- but The Freeze closed out the album with eight mid-paced punk gems.

The songs were fun, the lyrics didn't tread any new ground, but they were worded in such a way that you gained somewhat of a different perspective on things. A plus for an aspiring journalist like myself was the words were written in full sentences and in paragraph form, giving it a story feel.

In "Broken Bones," Croce offers:
"The broken bones begin to mend and bruises slowly fade. I feel perversely satisfied thinking of the friends I haven't made. I've since taken up karate and I've bought myself a gun. Next time they want to beat up a punk I'm going to have myself some fun."

"Time Bomb" starts with, "Boredom Boredom dulls my senses, so I activate all self-defenses. The world won't offer sympathy, they'd just as soon get rid of me. But I'm a time bomb."

Last year, we saw The Freeze for the first time at the Funhouse in Seattle and it was a long time coming to see Croce in action, all wide-eyed and fuming about his daily occurrences.

Creetin K-OS leads Social Unrest in Seattle.

When Tim Tonooka from Ripper magazine sent me a mixtape in 1982, Social Unrest's "Making Room for Youth" was one of the standout tracks. The pride of Hayward, Calif., razor-sharp vocalist Creetin K-OS led the way on the band's English-punk-sounding tune that fit in well on the tape with the Battalion of Saints' rock-styled songs and the Zero Boys' power-pop-punk. (Husker Du, The Fartz, The Lewd, Crucifix, The Necros, The Meatmen, The Fuck Ups and The Fix rounded out the brilliant cassette.)

Social Unrest were a bit of a mystery band for me, but I soon learned more when they released the seven-song "Rat in a Maze" in 1982.

... "And there's nothing to do -- enemy; To stop war games -- enemy; Nothing to do -- enemy; Because our leader is insane." K-OS's screams (even melodic in a gritty punk sense) gave the opening track "General Enemy" a kickstart that would last throughout "Red, White and Blue" all the way to the closer, "I Love You." That little yellow lyric sheet, complete with the Social Unrest logo, American flags and a pic of the band, was the perfect companion to the band's raucous sound.

When I enrolled at San Jose State University in 1987, a new buddy, Tim, noted that he roomed with K-OS's successor, Jason Honea, in West Hall the year before and they threw raging parties. I never saw the band with either K-OS or Honea at the singer's helm during those days, but we finally caught up with the band at the Funhouse -- again! -- last year with K-OS back in his frontman role.

And wouldn't you know it .... during "Making Room for Youth," I ran up front and K-OS put the mic in my face to sing along.
K-OS sports the Social Unrest logo.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rock & Roll Circus 5: 'Fifths of Fury'

The sign says it all. (All Cat Rose photos)
By Cat and Andy

As Vaporland plowed through its psychedelic-rock-filled and brew-fueled tunes on Saturday evening, an enthusiastic man tugged Andy by the shirt and said, "This is what Seattle rock and roll is all about!"

Featuring former Sub Poppers Ron Nine (guitar/vocals) and Kevin Whitworth (guitar) from Love Battery, Kurt Danielson (bass/vocals) from Tad and Garrett Shavlik (drums) from the Fluid, Vaporland -- along with Katie Scarberry (vocals) -- gave the crowd a blast from the past with its feet firmly entrenched in the present-day rock scene that proudly waves a Rock & Roll Circus flag at Darrell's Tavern in Shoreline.

Vaporland in action.

Fluid drumbeats.

 Danielson's throbbing bass kept the Vaporland trail blazing on this night, which also featured sets from Fan Fiction (roots rock), Megasapien (power pop), Dirty Sidewalks (shoe gaze) and Stag (almighty rock with heaps of pop), which unleashed its fifth Circus, titled "Fifths of Fury."

Stag: Steve Mack throwback, plus Ben London
Mr. Tambourine Man draws a laugh.

The Something Hard in There staff fired off a few questions to Stag's guitarist Ben London, who is the mastermind -- or ringleader -- of the Circuses (four at Darrell's and one at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas).

* How did the idea come about?
It was the perfect storm of a few things. I moved up to Shoreline in 2004 and while I like it, it was quite a change from living in Capitol Hill/Central District for 15+ years. Let’s just say there is not an abundance of bars and restaurants up there that I wanted to hang out in. Last year a friend turned me onto Darrell’s shortly after Dan Dykman bought it.. I fell in love with it the minute I walked in. It reminded me of a bunch of great Midwest bars I frequented or played on tour over the years.

I’ve always been really involved in the music community (I chair the Seattle Music Commission) and I decided that if I’m going to live in Shoreline, I need to support music up there, as well. You remember when people thought Ballard was a million miles away? Well…I do, and I know how that distance has eroded over time. I think the same thing is going to happen up north. The more places there are like Darrell’s, the more people might want to live up there.

So you take that, you mix in that Stag had just formed and the fact that I seldom want to watch more than a half hour of even my most favorite bands play, and boom…Stag’s Rock & Roll Circus was born!

Lian Light leads Megasapien.

* How do you feel they've gone?
I think they’ve gone awesome. My goal was to create a hybrid of a show and a party and I think we’ve accomplished that. The fact that we have five bands playing short sets, sharing a backline for quick a change over, and having a DJ spin cool records in between sets gives the shows the feel of a special occasion. The bands love it. Who doesn’t love playing to a full room? The energy is contagious.

Dirty Sidewalks.

 * What’s the atmosphere like? Darrell's ... a perfect spot -- what is it about that place that works?

Darrell’s is part of the magic. The room holds about 150 people, so we usually sell the place out. The stage is low and pretty small, so you’re pretty connected to the crowd. The room sounds great. Next time you’re in there check out the walls behind the bar. That’s carpet, not wallpaper. It really makes a difference. Dan is awesome. He takes good care of the bands.

With that being said, we took the show down to SXSW in March and I could see doing it in other places every now and then for a change of pace. The fun part is we can make it up as we go along.


Fan Fiction kicks it off at Circus No. 5.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Fastbacks Power-Pop it up at West Seattle Summer Fest

Kurt Bloch enjoys the crowd (all Andy Nystrom photos)
By Cat Rose

As we watched the mainly gently graying crowd pogoing along with Kurt Bloch right in front of the stage, we remembered just how damn good The Fastbacks are live.  We have not seen them play in over 10 years (they also have not played together in almost that long).

They reformed to jam at the West Seattle Summer Fest this weekend on July 8, 2011, after the lengthy hiatus and put some Cheshire-cat grins on people's faces. 

Kim Warnick

Lulu Gargiulo
Unfortunately, we were not able to get there until The Fastbacks played. Also on the docket, whom we sadly missed, were Stag, Red Jacket Mine, Cali Giraffes (Kim Warnick's new band) and Bloch's Thee Sgt Major III.  We did catch The Cops, who rocked balls to close out the gig.

With the original lineup of Bloch on guitar, Warnick on bass and Lulu Gargiulo also on guitar (whom Seattle rocker Don Blackstone calls "a butterfly of steel"), and current drummer Mike Musburger, they ripped the stage a new one. With their career from '79 to their last album from '99, they have a huge selection to choose from, all of which pleased the crowd (including us!) to no end.  There was one gentleman in particular that I noticed singing every word.

Mike Musburger clowns around on drums
After they played, I overheard people stating how much it brought them back to high school all over again.  Speaking of high school, there were also many teenage kids there along with toddlers of many of the original fans, who were sharing their past to the present.  Thanks for the reunion 'Backs!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Verbal Abuse is one Sick Pleasure

Slamming and diving to Verbal Abuse (All Cat Rose photos)
By Andy and Cat

Nicki Sicki and his crew of rambunctious East Bay California punks in Verbal Abuse are still shredding peoples' ears and threatening to damage their brains.

 We got a nice taste of the action when they trucked their way into Seattle last Sunday at El Corazon. Canada's equally rowdy Dayglo Abortions canceled, but we weren't to be denied some gutter rock with VA along with The Insurgence, Dreadful Children and The Triple Sixes on this 4th of July three-day weekend.

VA's Ed "Shred" & Geza
Twas a small crowd, but a hungry one ... and the VA boys mixed it up with the locals on tunes from their "Just an American Band" LP and more, including a rock-solid cover of Motorhead's "Speed Freak." Sicki and bassist Dave "Koko" Chavez, both from Sick Pleasure, busted out that old band's "Three Seconds of Pleasure" in addition to a new track, "Blacktop." 

Our pal, longtime East Bay punk Erin Mountain, who currently plays bass in Society Dog, shared some VA memories:
"The chorus to 'Worth a Try' hit home for me when I first heard it: 'We're all hanging out, pretending that we're cool. Talking about changing the world, but we're just breaking rules. But there is no other place that I would rather go, than skate around and get some beers and sneak into the show.' 

   "That was all I did other than school or whatever crap job I had, so it hit home. Then seeing them play, or running into them at random spots like o9 (9th Ave. skate ramp in Oakland) or other gigs, was killer. And they were always cool about it. It's cool to still see Dave or Nicki around. Dave is still playing bass and he's one of the best."

VA's Dave "Koko" Chavez

Sicki: A crowd-pleasing frontman

Jibo Barrow fires up The Insurgence

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dead White and Blue: Zombie Walk Seattle 2011

My favorite:  Gacy-esque Zombie (All Cat Rose photos)
By Cat Rose    

Horror flicks are our thing, and zombie movies are number one on that list.  We will see almost every zombie movie, and we also dig zombie books ("Breathers," "The Zombie Survival Guide", etc).  In fact, when we were first going out, I bought Andy a "Night of the Living Dead" T-shirt, which he still sports to this day.  So the Red White and Dead Zombie Walk in Seattle is not to be missed.  We were going for the Guinness World Record and ended up beating New Jersey, who previously held the title.  The final total on July 2, 2011, was 4,522, beating New Jersey by over 400 dead walkers, according to 

There was every type of zombie you can imagine, from zombie Jesus to a zombie pot-belly pig (which was adorable by the way).  Here are a few of our favorite pics.

One thing that our group of friends had to say was "what is up with the music?!"---I know that everyone seems to now associate zombies with "Thriller", but come on people, zombies have been around for decades before that.  In our opinion, the music should be more in the death- or doom-metal realm, horror punk, goth or at least creepy music like Goblin from "Dawn of the Dead" (the Misfits would be perfect).  Any of that would have been better than the uninspiring dance-type music they had on hand. It just goes to show that when in the masses, even zombies lack musical taste -- maybe they should just stick with the taste of brains.  Either way, it was still a blast.