Friday, October 28, 2011

An early Halloween with The Damned

The Damned's Dave Vanian live in Seattle. Vincent Price anyone? (Andy photos)

Happy Halloween weekend, punkers and goths.

Before launching into "Wait for the Blackout" from The Damned's "The Black Album" last Thursday night at the Showbox Market in Seattle, guitarist Captain Sensible noted that singer Dave Vanian penned some songs on that album that may have inspired the goth style.

Spot on Mr. Sensible, and thanks for the night.

The band -- rounded out by Stu West on bass, Pinch on drums and Monty Oxy Moron on keyboards -- ripped through its first album and then "Black," and added "Melody Lee," "Love Song" and "Anti-Pope" from the equally brilliant "Machine Gun Etiquette" album to close out the evening.

The energy level was so high during that final trio of songs, maybe they should have rolled right through "Machine Gun" and into "Strawberries," both There's Something Hard in There favorites, as well.

"Phantasmagoria" took the goth thing even further ... so maybe next Halloween we'll get some of that.

"35 years ..." Vanian mused during a break between songs with a shake of the head, referring to the band's lengthy and glorious existence.

Old age... be damned.
Vanian and Sensible

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sham 69's back on track with Pursey on vocals

Original Sham 69: Jimmy Pursey, second from left. (Courtesy photo)
Jimmy's back. That's right, Jimmy Pursey will return to his spot at center stage as singer of legendary punk band Sham 69 Oct. 29 for a gig at London's Electric Brixton.

All the original members (Pursey, Dave Parsons, guitar; Dave Tregunna, bass; and Mark Cain, drums) will be ripping through such classics as "Borstal Breakout," "Angels with Dirty Faces," "If the Kids Are United" … you get the picture.

We wish we could be there… Andy did see them once in the late '80s at One Step Beyond in Santa Clara, Calif. They mainly played subpar tunes from their "Volunteer" album, but they pulled out "Borstal" (twice!) and "Kids" for the small crowd. Pursey gave Andy a nod and a finger point while he was rocking out in front.
(Suicidal Tendencies played the gig, as well… weird mixture, for sure.)

A few years ago, Sham came to Seattle with another singer, but we boycotted that one … sorry, but it's gotta be Jimmy on vocals for us.

We heard from a record shopkeeper in Salisbury (a town near Stonehenge) during our '93 trip that Jimmy was sporting a holier-than-thou attitude around the London area about being involved in the original punk scene.
Try and find someone from that era that isn't proud of what they've achieved and feels they deserve some credit.

Sham spoke up, rallied the youth together and wrote some of the most memorable punk anthems ever, so that's just fine with us.

Allegedly, the band got Jimmy back on vocals due to popular demand -- brilliant! 

“Being asked by so many people to do a gig is heartwarming,” says Jimmy on the band's Web site, “but feeling and wanting to be back in the best live punk band in the world is heart pumping.”

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mudhoney: freewheelin' in Seattle

Cat photos last night from Mudhoney at Neumos in Seattle. Coolpix shots, instead of the usual digital slr ones.

Funny one--- not photoshopped!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Here come the Replacements: Actually, a Seattle all-star tribute at the Comet Tavern

Guy wearing a vintage T-shirt at the Comet. (Cat and Andy photos)
Henry was in town last night -- the real Henry Rollins, signing copies of his new book in the Seattle area, over in nearby Lake Forest Park.

At the packed-to-the-hilt Comet on Capitol Hill, there were no Replacements sightings, but a local all-star tribute to the beloved Minneapolis indie rockers would have made Westerberg, Stinson, Stinson, Mars and Dunlap proud. There were punks, drunks and plenty of 'Mats tunes from all eras to satisfy the City Arts Festival crowd.

Guys in the crowd rock out to Replacements tunes.
So, let's hear it for members of The Fastbacks, The Cops, Hearts Are Thugs, Virgin Islands, Cataldo, Concourse d'Elegance, Black Whales and more -- you punched your ticket as honorary Replacements for the evening.

Overheard at the gig: One guy telling a friend, "I can't wait ..... I can't hardly wait." One gal saying about one of the artists, "He fucked that one up" ... as if Westerberg ever got it right.

Hearts Are Thugs, featuring Greg, top, and guest Kurt Bloch, below.
In honor of the Replacements festivities, here's a pair of reviews Andy wrote for the San Jose State University newspaper in 1989 during the "Don't Tell a Soul" era.

Click both to enlarge. Sorry for the spacing problems on the bottom one.
Promo shots from the Cat and Andy collection.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Charles Peterson: Bringing the Seattle sound to life behind his camera lens

Some Charles Peterson photo action from a pair of Sub Pop releases.

By Andy

While growing up in the Los Angeles area, I attended many raucous punk gigs in the early to mid-1980s and always kept an eye on the work of local photographers like Ed Colver, Glen E. Friedman, Ann Summa and the Flipside and Ink Disease crews, among others.

Colver unleashed hundreds of killer shots, including an astounding one of a stage diver backflipping through the air over the crowd on the back of Wasted Youth's "Reagan's In" album. Friedman always came through with some of the best and rowdiest Black Flag and Minor Threat shots, and his "My Rules" photozine back then was essential perusing. And Summa is responsible for one of the most intense shots of the Bad Brains' HR and Henry Rollins raging together while sharing vocals at a BB's gig while my brother, Ed, intently watches from stage right.

Up here in Seattle around that time, Charles Peterson was cutting his teeth with his camera at gigs. After taking some subpar shots of Seattle power-pop band the Heats at the Mural Amphitheater and at some other gigs, Peterson's friend, Verna, invited him along to watch her band practice one day in the city of Bothell (about 10 miles outside of Seattle.)

"It was in this little room and she was singing into this Elvis-style microphone -- like Johnny Rotten did," said 1982 Bothell High grad Peterson, noting that, with camera at the ready, he nailed some solid shots. "I went, 'This is what it's all about!' You've gotta be right by the band, and be very intimate to get those kinds of photos."

In 1987, Peterson published his first shot for Sub Pop Records on Green River's "Dry As a Bone" record. One of his most famous pictures of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain a few years later -- surfing the crowd with ripped jeans and picking his guitar -- is blown up huge to adorn a wall at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle.

"It's really fun -- and it's flattering," Peterson said of the attention he's garnered. "My dream was always to be a fine-art photographer, like Robert Frank (and others), and to make a book and put it on the shelf alongside theirs. And I've done that -- it doesn't get much better than that." (He's published several books of his rock photos, including "Screaming Life" and "Touch Me, I'm Sick.")

Soundgarden, Nirvana, Tad and L7 record pics by way of Peterson. (Cat collection, here and above)

Peterson is known for his action-packed, sometimes partially blurred black-and-white shots taken with a wide-angle lens. Now age 47, his work is in the spotlight as Nirvana's ultra-breakout album "Nevermind" notched its 20th anniversary Sept. 24.

As a youngster, Peterson first became fascinated with photography when he watched his uncle develop film and peruse the prints in the laundry room of his grandparents' Bothell home. While at Bothell High, Peterson took photos for the school newspaper and yearbook and penned a controversial review of local band, The Fags, for the paper -- the Catamount -- as well.

Later, the University of Washington grad documented the Seattle scene by unleashing his photos of Mudhoney, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Tad and more long-haired, guitar-slinging wild men to the music world via Sub Pop releases.

However, the crowd played an important role in making those photos scream, captivate the viewer, give the music an all-inclusive feel.

"The Seattle audiences were entertaining. I didn't want to just get a head shot of the lead singer. I wanted to get the experience, make you actually feel like you're there," Peterson said of either shooting the crowd alone or while raging with the band near the stage.

The way he composed his photos at certain angles made it seem like there were more people at the gigs than actually walked through the door: "I'd take the photo and make it seem like it was larger than life when it probably was 50 of your drunken friends going crazy.

"I like the composition part of shooting," he continued. "The way my eyes and brain work together -- I'm constantly composing with or without a camera."

There were some nights, however, when Peterson didn't take his camera to Nirvana gigs, which could have produced more pictures for fans to dig on and net him some more income, he laughed.

But sometimes other photographers are there to get the job done, like the Colvers, Friedmans and Summas of the world. Like many of us music fans, Pennie Smith's classic shot of Clash bassist Paul Simonon smashing his bass into the stage on the cover of the band's legendary "London Calling" double album is etched in our minds. Same goes for Peterson -- she's one of his favorite rock photographers along with Bob Gruen and Jim Marshall.

Peterson doesn't photograph many bands nowadays, but makes his living off of licensing his classic photos, his books (including one on breakdancing called "Cypher") and by taking on commercial shoots with Bing, Adobe, Dr. Martens and more. He lives in Seattle with his wife and 2 1/2-year-old son.

When reacting to seeing his Cobain photo dominating an area at the EMP, he said, "It's somewhat similar to the trajectory a lot of the bands have taken."

In the case of Pearl Jam, its members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard graduated from playing small gigs and being photographed in a bathroom while with Green River, to headlining massive concerts worldwide. Peterson reunited with the band last month to photograph its concert in Vancouver, BC.

Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994, comes up in the conversation again when Peterson discusses some of his favorite photos, taken in the late '80s at Raji's in Hollywood. At the close of Nirvana's set on a twin-bill with Tad, Cobain dove backwards into Chad Channing's drum kit while Peterson fired away with his motor drive attached to the camera.

"It was one of those evenings when everything clicked -- I got so many pictures of both bands that night," he said. "The band was on, I was on... That picture of Kurt has become so (iconic) because it really represented what they were about, what grunge was about."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

We agree with George Carlin: You need a place for your (punk and metal) stuff

By Cat and Andy

The late, great comic George Carlin is one of our favorites and he liked to talk about "stuff."

"That's all I want, that's all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? ... That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time," he said.

We at There's Something Hard in There have a lot of stuff ---- and here's some more of it:

* Small 23
Back in the mid-'90s when we first got the tape of "True Zero Hook" ( which was obtained as a promo cassette from a Big Drill Car gig at Berkeley Square), it quickly became one of my (Cat's) "go to" selections on late-night listening sessions. We did not have these matches and beer key chain back then, but I could have used the opener in those music endeavors in the accompaniment of beers, and the matches for lighting candles or whatever...

* Manitoba's
This business card reflects a sack full of memories. Whenever we get to New York, this is a must-hit spot for us. Dictators singer and ringleader Handsome Dick Manitoba is usually there... one time, he and some buddies sang some a-capella songs at the top of their lungs. Another time, Cat visited with Jayne County, who was DJ'ing.

Manitoba, Dictators rock the Crocodile in Seattle, (Cat Rose photo)

Also in the main photo, this Fastbacks matchbook celebrates their '95 tour with Pearl Jam, the Go-Go's guitar pick comes from the band's recent Seattle concert, the Estrus matchbook was up for grabs at Fallout Records in Seattle and the Circle Jerks-named Golden Shower of Hits was a short-lived record store in the Greenwood area of Seattle.
In a November 1995 San Francisco Chronicle story, Fastbacks guitarist Kurt Bloch mused: "It'll be fun. I've never played an arena rock show before. But I saw enough bands in the '70s to know how it's done. I can be like Ted Nugent or Jimmy Page, or Rick Nielsen. . . . It'll be fun to get to pretend I'm a rock star."

Lulu of the Fastbacks in July 2011 in Seattle (Andy photo)
* Monster Magnet
When Andy brought this classic mobile home (which he received from A&M Records after reviewing some albums for the newspaper), it was a hit at the place we lived at the time. Our abode (which we called the Greenhouse) was set up more like a bar with a pool table in the living room and a full wall of music paraphernalia and other ephemera. It fit right in.

* fIREHOSE/Battalion of Saints
While Andy checked out fIREHOSE with the Honor Role guys at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica in '86, they procured these "baseball cards." Couldn't find a Mike Watt one, though, but that's OK.
As for Battalion of Saints, no band Andy knew of had business cards in the early '80s, so this was fun to have and flash around every so often to those in the know.

* Venom/Slayer/Exodus
This gig at the Hollywood Palladium in April of '85 was not only raging, but it also resulted in Andy finding perhaps the most apropos item ever on the dance floor afterward: a metal pentagram. Can you scream, "Black metallllll!?"

Venom's Mantas at the Hollywood Palladium. (William L. Tuck III photo)

Cheers! A Dusted Angel beer koozie.