Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Quotes of Note

Carrie Akre with Goodness last January in Seattle. (Cat Rose photo)

Lots of interviews again this year and loads of insightful and humorous quotes.
Here's a few of our favorites:

Goodness' Carrie Akre about returning to the stage to sing a tune with Candlebox (who were on tour together in the '90s) in front of some guys who heckled her earlier that night:

I feel like it was extremely cathartic. And that's the thing about being in music, too, is you kind of gotta love a little bit of that crazy and conquering. You gotta love it as your experience and your war stories. You gotta put it somewhere in your heart.

Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley discusses Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister:

He's just a badass. Everyone from Gene Simmons to Sid Vicious were just wet puppets compared to Lemmy. Not the best, but the loudest, not the most technical, but will smash your face with sheer brute force. The epitome of a rock and roll bass player. Untouchable and unfabricated, unapologetic and quite frankly one of my ideal role models.

The Muffs' Kim Shattuck about conquering on-stage nervousness:

Is it worth it to get this nervous about something that's fun? I wrapped my head around the fact that I'm just not gonna get nervous ever again... never ever, ever, ever, ever again. I couldn't take it anymore. And it worked out well when I was doing the whole Pixies thing because the manager kept trying to make me nervous, just saying things to me that were really obnoxious, like, 'Oh, billions of people are going to be watching you, so you better be perfect.' And I'd be like, 'Good thing I don't get nervous then' ... whatever.

Corrosion of Conformity's Woodroe Weatherman on writing songs:

You gotta put those twists in there. When you're learning it, some of it seems a little hard to grasp sometimes, but once you get it in your head, it's like, 'OK, I'm in the groove now.' Especially some of Mike's riffs, man, he tosses some doozies out there that can be hard for me to get a hold of sometimes. But that's part of the challenge -- if everything was 4-4 and the same three chords, I guess we would have already gave up a long time ago.

Orange Goblin guitarist Joe Hoare about his musical guilty pleasures:

I really, really love early Elton John -- you can't get much better than that for the time. I love The Beatles, I love anything that's got a good musical hook. I draw the line at Katy Perry, but I'm a real sucker for a good sing-along song, whether it be acoustic or whatever. There's quite a few there. I probably wouldn't mention a lot of them because I don't want to get lynched. For me anyway, I can't constantly listen to real heavy rock all the time -- it will drive me mad. I even had classic FM in the car today, it's just classical music. It was one of those days, the kids were screaming. I enjoy (music) like that, as well -- real calming, relaxing music.

Necros/Laughing Hyenas' Todd Swalla drums up these thoughts about the Who's Keith Moon:

It’s hard to describe in words the epic proportions that come to mind when one talks about the drumming of Keith Moon. You can talk about the manic prankster and chemical intake, but what really stands apart is his playing. Pete Townsend always made a point of describing his playing as going forward as opposed to left and right like most drummers, and this is oh so true.  Many have tried and no one really comes close if you think about it, not even myself, Ginger Baker or Dave Grohl.

Steve Miller of The Fix on playing gigs in the early '80s:

It had to be loud, it had to hurt, and we loved the volume in our own ears.

Zero Boys' Paul Mahern on the band's recent album "Monkey":

I hope that fans of the old stuff will like this record. It is certainly coming from the same place -- it's just 2014 and not 1982. I think the melodies are tight and poppy, the guitars are full of hooks and the rhythm section is spot-on amazing.

The Adolescents' Tony Reflex about Little Richard:

From the moment I heard the wail of Little Richard and saw that crazy hair, I was in. Little Richard’s voice,  the catchiness and double entendres and the wild, over-the-top performances appealed to me as much when I first heard him as it does right now. I think he’s one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time.

Stiff Little Fingers' drummer Steve Grantley about playing with Jake Burns:

Jake and I are first and foremost friends. We are mates and would seek out each other's company whether we were in a band together or not. We go right back -- through good times and bad. Playing with Jake is a pleasure because he's serious, but not pretentious. We work hard and then have fun. He's a lazy git when he writes, but it's always worth the wait.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Rikk Agnew | Top guitarists series Part 3

Rikk Agnew on tour. (Courtesy of Rikk Agnew)
By Andy

If you dig through our record collection and find The Adolescents' "Blue" album, the vinyl is pretty tattered and it won't play the whole way through without a plethora of skips.

That's a good thing.

It means that we spun that aggressive and melodic classic LP to its fullest -- and that was probably within the first year that we bought the Frontier Records platter when it was first released in 1981 and it immediately made a major impact on our world.

The tag-team, gutsy guitaristry of brothers Rikk and Frank Agnew helps put that album near the top of the all-time punk-rock heap. With songs like "Kids of the Black Hole," "Amoeba," "No Way," "Rip it Up," etc. within its grooves, all copies -- original or reissued -- of the "Blue" album should be ready to snap at any moment from constant play.

"It was and is the Orange County sound. Rikk is pure genius on guitar - Frank is no joke, either. They are like MY generation's Angus and Malcom Young!" TSOL guitarist Ron Emory recently told There's Something Hard in There.

So, here we've got Rikk Agnew on board with us for his top-10 guitarists' list, sent to us via email. Over the last 36 years, Rikk has also honed his six-string craft with Christian Death, D.I., Social Distortion, The Detours, 45 Grave and others... and currently the Rikk Agnew Band.

1. Jimi Hendrix - Jimi made me want to play guitar. I feel he guides my hands and provides me with a clear and powerful connection to the universal muse. I watched him on TV and had a spiritual awakening like never before or after. He taught me to become "one" with the instrument, To "make love" to it.

2. Jimmy Page - Jimmy influenced a lot of my writing (his sloppy approach to solos especially), how to use "silent breaks" in riffs for maximum dynamics, as well as single-note riffing.

3. Tony Iommi - Show me a rock guitarist who says he was not influenced even a bit by Tony and Black Sabbath, and I call LIAR! His dirging riffs were and always will be the epitome of HEAVY. When I was in a cover band, we wanted so bad to cover Black Sabbath songs, but I could never figure them out, until years later I was restringing my guitar, and as I twisted the key to tighten the low E, I accidentally ran into DE-TUNING DOWN. I think I might have cried.

4. Ted Falconi - I love his hit/miss go-as-I-may style. He most definitely has a very unique approach to playing, and it WORKS beautifully.

5. Sickie Wifebeater - Another mind-blowing guitarist who influenced my guitar "hand acrobatics."

6. Keith Levene - Very heavy influence on what I did on the "Only Theater of Pain" LP.

7. Brian James - His work on "Damned Damned Damned" and Lords of the New Church is epic. This man rocks anything he touches!

8. Greg Ginn - His fuck-all music theory attack on guitar is as nihilistic as it gets. Fuck keys, just bash that fiddle, kill it, angst, anxiety, it totally compliments the text of the songs.

9. Dr. Know - What an artist he is, from punk/metal shredding to clean reggae bursts. One of the best ever.

10. Me.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Down, Orange Goblin and King Parrot storm Seattle

From top, Down, Orange Goblin and King Parrot. (All Cat Rose photos)

Text: Andy; Photos: Cat Rose

King Parrot's Matt Young was on the loose.

It was as if the manic frontman for the punk/metal grinders from Melbourne, Australia had just escaped from the loony bin and was running amok, seeing what kind of trouble he could get into after being locked up for so long.

After a few songs, Young seemed to say "fuck it" to the several feet of space and a barricade that separated the band from the crowd. He leaped off the stage, barreled into the barricade, was soon on top of the helpless wooden structure and crowd surfing. All the while, he hammered out his vocals to the destructive beat, which was supplied by his equally energetic mates, heads riveting and faces demonically grinning as they attacked their instruments.

Every time Young returned to the stage, he was already looking for another way to leave it and CREATE SOME CHAOS. Soon, he was running around on the dance floor and singing, mugging it up for the drinkers near the bar.

Security couldn't keep track of Young at first, and when they did see what he was up to, the burly men swarmed the area and tried to keep things orderly. He was challenging the boundaries -- fucking cool.

THAT SET THE TONE for the evening of pummeling rock that was also spewed forth by New Orleans powerhouse, Down, and London, England steamrollers, Orange Goblin, last Wednesday at the Showbox in Seattle.

If your ears weren't throbbing by the end of the night, you clearly weren't close enough to the stage -- where all the crucial shit went down.

In the vocalist department, Down's Phil Anselmo and Orange Goblin's Ben Ward let their voices howl and growl as if this would be their last night on stage. Full effort all the way from the aggro Anselmo and the towering Big Ben, both of whom had the crowd raging and smiling the whole way.

Down's Pepper Keenan and Bobby Landgraf and Orange Goblin's Joe Hoare all gave their guitars a serious workout, and it's amazing that their fingers didn't snap off with all the INSANE RIFFAGE happening.

On the bass side, hair flew and hands gouged the strings as Down's Pat Bruders and Orange Goblin's Martyn Millard took the songs for a manic ride while drummers Jimmy Bower and Chris Turner glued the whole deal together as band members and fans raised their fists triumphantly.

Now that's a PROPER, SCORCHING gig for ya.

Photos galore below:




Monday, December 8, 2014

An Interview with Spot about his New Photography Book, 'Sounds of Two Eyes Opening'

Posted on Nov. 29 in the Los Angeles Beat 

By Elise Thompson

Most LA musicians know Spot from his years working as a sound engineer and producer for bands like the Minutemen, the Misfits, and Black Flag. A talented musician, Spot also played bass for Panic, the precursor to Black Flag, and Nig Heist, a comical and super edgy band that bordered on performance art. These days he is doing the acoustic guitar singer-songwriter thing and performed to a packed house at last weekend’s Punk Rock BBQ.

Something people may not know is that Spot was also an avid photographer, even working for a time with the Easy Reader, the South Bay’s free paper. Sinecure Books has just released a collection of Spot’s photography, which captures the dichotomy that was the South Bay in the '70s and '80s, a juxtaposition of hardcore punk bands and girls with feathered hair skating on the Strand.

“Sounds of Two Eyes Opening” is a 272-page hardback “printed on matte art paper, with 4-color black-and-white printing and a lay flat binding.” It is available at record stores, bookstores, and Amazon. A special slipcase edition with extras is available online from Sinecure.

Spot was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. (Interview after the break.)

Courtesy of Spot. Used with permission.

What years does the book span?

 I started taking photos in 1969. My first camera got stolen in ’72 and I didn’t get another one til ’76 when I was living in Hermosa and writing for the Easy Reader. Then it became photo-journalism. I lost my darkroom in 1981 when Media Art closed down. But all that damn musical punkin’, rockin’ and sockin’ had happened and I didn’t have time or facilities for photography anymore.

Mostly color or black and white?

 I primarily did available-light black & white. I was hugely into LIFE Magazine as a kid when they had some of the best photographers in the world working for them. Then in ’67 I saw the movie “Blow-Up” and I knew I had to try my hand at it.

What is our favorite place or subject to shoot?

 There’s no definitive answer for this. I never really chose a specific thing to shoot but I seemed to gravitate toward action. Mostly, I just shot what was there. I will say that, aside from the journalistic style, I’m a big fan of guys like George Hurrell and that era in the '30s when Hollywood’s film and lighting guys were creating a whole wide world of grayscale and depth perception. Nothing like that exists today and it’s impossible to duplicate it digitally.

When did you leave LA?

 I got out in 1986. I was sick of being stuck on the freeway and having to deal with everyone else’s problems. Had almost no time for myself. Went to Austin and had plenty of time for myself. It was great til all the Californians moved in and suddenly it was LA all over again. I’d had enough, sold my house and got out of there in early 2012. Been living on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin since. And, yes, on Nov. 10 folks up there do commemorate the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Do you still take pictures?

Only with an iPhone. Still got my old Nikon system tho. Maybe one of these days I’ll find a way to get back into it.

Are there any stories in the book?

 Other than the photos themselves? I have two essays in it and some notes, wisecracks and explanations in the back.

Why should people buy it?

 Cuz it’ll make me feel like it was worth all the sleep (and skin) I lost creating the images in the first place. It’s photos of things that no one wanted to consider at the time and, for a long time after that, no one seemed to care. And, honestly, it might help me pay the rent.

Courtesy of Spot. Used with permission.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ron Emory / Top guitarists series, Part 2

Ron Emory in the '80s. (Courtesy of Alison Braun)
By Andy

Just look at the above photo of Ron Emory.

I can't offer much more than this: He is a guitarist who is clearly passionate about his craft. (And he's a snappy dresser to boot.)

I had the pleasure of seeing him belt out songs with TSOL, Lunch Box and The Joykiller in the early '80s through the '90s. I was always mesmerized by his guitar playing on those early TSOL releases and wished I could sound that superb.

Here at There's Something Hard in There, we allow people to carve their own path ... and so Emory gets a top-15 list of his influential guitarists. We're just nice that way!

"Sorry I couldn't narrow it down to 10. The thing is, they all have a sound and style that is purely them. You know who they are after two chords," Emory wrote in an email. "They ALL (and many more) have molded me into the guitar player that I am."

15. Johnny Ramone - The Ramones 
When I first heard The Ramones, Johnny's straight-forward guitar playing gave me hope that I could someday bash out those same types of chords and create something out of it!

14. Billy Zoom - X
Calm, cool and full of style! First saw X at the Hong Kong Cafe in Chinatown in Los Angeles in 1979 .... Billy left a huge impression on me. Two brown Fender Combo amps and that Gretsch Silver Jet. Not to mention the silver leather biker jacket. But his playing and sound were what did it for me. Still looks and sounds the same 35 years later.

Billy Zoom with X in 2013. (Cat Rose photo)

13. Guy Days - 999
1950s Les Paul Jr. and a JMP Marshall - simple and to the point. Mega style points!

12. Keith Richards - The Rolling Stones
Since we are talking style here.... The way he places notes and chords in his songs is incredible. And the riffs for days! I was a late bloomer on the Stones bandwagon.

11. George Harrison - The Beatles
His chording and songwriting to this day blow me away. Every time I pick up my favorite little ukulele (1926 Roy Smeck vita uke), the first thing that comes out is "Here Comes the Sun" and it makes me happy. 50 years later and I'm still smiling. Thank you, George !!!

10. East Bay Ray - The Dead Kennedys
Having been East Bay Ray's guitar tech in the past, I studied his every move from behind his amp. What I found amazing is, Ray would play a total piece of crap guitar - every show it was a different one - yet it ALWAYS sounded the same ..... What I learned from Ray was .... "It's not the guitar or amp .... It's you." I have held that near and dear for a lot of years and try to abide by that. I just haven't figured out how to make a Strat sound like a Les Paul Jr. Ray knows!!!

9. John McGeoch - Magazine, Siouxsie and the Banshees
Never got to see Magazine, but listened to "The Correct Use of Soap" over and over when I was teaching myself to play. Got to see John play with Siouxsie at the Whiskey or Starwood several nights. I'm still trying to steal his sound from those shows!

8. Bob Andrews - Generation X
The songs off that first record were so good.... I still don't know how he made a Strat sound like that. Tight and tasteful. Oh yeah, they were like 17 when they recorded "Kiss Me Deadly." Give me a break!!!

7. Frank and Rikk Agnew - The Adolescents
Not only because Rikk is wearing a TSOL shirt on the back of their debut record, but because the way the two of them (along with the great Steve Soto on bass) created this angry, melodic, driving chaos with their instruments. It was and is the Orange County sound. Rikk is pure genius on guitar - Frank is no joke, either. They are like MY generation's Angus and Malcom Young!

6. Andy Gill - Gang of Four
Seeing Andy play live, I wasn't sure if he was having a seizure or what! But his choppy, sporadic, abnormal playing style was mesmerizing. (I tried to copy it on "Love Story.") Huge influence on me!

5. Bob Bogle and Don Wilson - The Ventures
Having learned most of my chops from "Learn to Play Guitar with The Ventures," I have to include them in my list. The way the two of them played together rhythm and lead was so outstanding!!! I've always had a surf influence on my guitar playing because of those two. And those records are great.

4. Jimi Hendrix
Again, a late bloomer on Jimi.... My friend Skatemaster Tate turned me on to Jimi in 1983. I love listening to "Axis: Bold as Love" with headphones... So great!

3. Pat Smear - The Germs, Nirvana, Foo Fighters
I cut my teeth on "What We Do is Secret" and "GI." The guitar riff on "Richie Dagger's Crime" is it! Pat currently just plays in the background of the Foo Fighters .... I wonder what they sound like without him? I owe a lot of my sound to Pat. I actually had a Germs cover band called Germ Warfare: It featured Nicky Beat on drums, Abbey Roads on bass, Dick Rude as Darby and me as Pat Smear. Pat came up to me after a show and said, "Ron, we NEVER sounded that good"!!! I'm still trying to sound as good as those records.

2. Joe Strummer/Mick Jones - The Clash
When The Clash walked on stage at the Santa Monica Civic in 1979, I knew that I wanted to play guitar. They were not like any of the rock bands from the '70s. I believed what they were saying and that they meant what they were singing about. Joe and Mick (and Paul) seemed to intertwine together so well: Joe's choppy guitar, Mick's single notes and those great bass lines are why I started playing!

AND ...

The Captain ...Cat Rose photo from April 2017.

1. Captain Sensible - The Damned
Listen to these two masterpieces: "Machine Gun Etiquette" and "The Black Album."
Enough said!

Now, without Jim Kaa (The Crowd) and Mike Rubin (The Accidents) taking time to show me my very first chords, not sure what I would be doing right now. So, to them I am eternally grateful. All of the above mentioned artists are what I still strive to be.... Just not there yet!

Emory in 2015. (Cat Rose photo)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bad Religion's Jay Bentley discusses influential bassists

Jay Bentley, as bear and regular guy. (Top photo: John Bollwitt; bottom photo: Courtesy of Bentley)

By Andy

When the debut Bad Religion EP hit my turntable in 1981, I was floored.

It spewed rage, melody and intelligence through its grooves and out of the speakers of a stereo that was already on its last legs - and I'm surprised now that it didn't fall to pieces when those six songs were finished. It surely would have been a victory for punk rock, right?

The sound was raw and powerful, the vocals were jarring and yet comforting at the same time. It was a solid blend of punk and rock - right up my alley; I reveled in the hardcore stuff in Los Angeles and beyond, too, but that Bad Religion EP was a go-to record.

And Jay Bentley's bass was killer, gluing everything together and giving "Slaves" a kick in the arse with a brief, driving intro.

I saw them live for the first time in 1982 at Godzilla's in the San Fernando Valley of LA alongside Symbol Six, Minutemen, Descendents and Sin 34.

A solid bill, of course, but it was Bad Religion that me, my brother Ed and a few friends were more stoked to see than anyone else. Bentley and crew were spot on that night and the tunes from the EP and "How Could Hell Be Any Worse" were finally realized for us in a live setting.

We'd see them a few more times after that and I was always drawn toward Bentley's side of the stage to get the low end firmly wedged in my ears.

So, here you've got Bentley in the present day discussing the bass players who had an impact on him. Read on:

10. Dee Murray - Elton John. His talent for finding the lines in a piano-led band are phenomenal. Elton had a pretty mean left hand, which freed up a lot of space in the middle of the fretboard that I think Dee used very tastefully. He may have been the first player I absolutely recognized as "refrained."

9. Berry Oakley - Allman Brothers Band. I know the Allmans were considered "southern rock," but when Duane was alive, they were the best, and maybe only, band doing what they were doing... justifiably the only good "jam band." I thought Berry was so good at keeping it together with two drummers and a slide-guitar player - very busy in the frets, but it never felt muddled.

8. Peter Hook - Joy Division / New Order. He changed the main focus of the "bass" from the low notes to high ringing notes. Everyone had gone there, but Hook STAYED THERE. Not that I would ever want to imitate that, but he made it possible for me to go there if I wanted. I remember distinctly the first time I heard them... "he can't do that, he cant do that! but he is doing that" and I still think about that to this day.

7. Bruce Thomas / Davey Faragher - Elvis Costello. We'll leave all the legal mumbo jumbo and personal issues out of it. They are both wickedly talented and have an ability to push and pull songs within the framework of Costello's guitar stabbings and Steve Nieve's organ. I think Bruce set the bar so high for what a "punk rock" bass player could be, and Davey, with his own credentials, stepped into that role seamlessly and in fact did some things on his own that were breathtaking. The entire "Delivery Man" album is perfectly executed.

6. Steve Soto - The Adolescents. There were a half dozen or so of us that stuck together early on to learn from each other. Steve had chops and could sing like a motherfucker. Another bass player stuck between two great guitar players, he found and played the most musical lines. Really taught me a lot about harmony between all the instruments.

5. Fat Mike - NOFX. Not really appreciated for his bass playing as much as his stage antics, Fat Mike has developed a style that is so unique it's almost impossible to duplicate. Since he is a songwriter, he gets to intertwine guitar and bass parts and make incredibly complicated parts seem effortless. He's also the only person I know who can make that goddamned Danelectro bass sound good!

4. John Entwhistle - The Who. Duh... good Lord, he just makes me want to quit.

3. Lemmy Kilmister - Motorhead. He's just a badass. Everyone from Gene Simmons to Sid Vicious were just wet puppets compared to Lemmy. Not the best, but the loudest, not the most technical, but will smash your face with sheer brute force. The epitome of a rock and roll bass player. Untouchable and unfabricated, unapologetic and quite frankly one of my ideal role models.

2. Paul Simonon - The Clash. Art student naively learns to play bass guitar in such a way that he makes it accessible for everyone! Fucking punk rock! Now add the cool factor and the whole package becomes everything I want to be. My de-facto target player when I'm in doubt.

1. Sir Paul McCartney - The Beatles. Most underrated bass player ever. Maybe the best ever. The absolute perfect union between guitars, vocals and drums. Don't care what anyone says, you're wrong... in my humble opinion. Sir Paul McCartney is ground zero for almost every bass player today, even though they wouldn't know it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sergie Loobkoff / Top 10 guitarists series, Part 1

Sergie Loobkoff  (photo: Joseph William)

By Andy

Sergie Loobkoff: The man with the low-slung Gibson SG -- lunging, swaying, grinning and riffing up a storm.

There are certain Samiam songs where you figuratively need a crowbar to pry the guitar melodies out of your head. You know the tunes: "Bad Day," "Dull," "Full On," "Did You Change" ... the list goes on.

For us mediocre six-stringers out there who feel we need to air-guitar to get in the game, don't even try mimicking Loobkoff. You will fail every time. Just fucking watch his reliable hands attack the strings, stand back and dig the show. You will win every time.

Loobkoff is and has been in other bands, as well -- including the mighty Knapsack -- but Cat and I have only seen him with Samiam in Northern California, Seattle and at The Ramones Museum in Berlin (acoustically there, and equally entertaining).

So, here we've got Loobkoff's top-10 guitarists that he sent our way:

Jimi Hendrix October 1968 TTG Studios in Hollywood/ Chuck Boyd / (c) Authentic Hendrix, LLC

1. Jimi Hendrix - His songs are over-exposed, so, nowadays, I rarely, if ever listen to him. It would seem odd to put him on the top of my list…but he is the smoothest, most effortless rhymic player. I think I watch more videos on YouTube of him than actually listen to his songs.

2. J Mascis - For 3 decades, I’ve never stopped listening to Dinosaur, the Fog or J solo. He is the greatest guitarist/singer/songwriter/drummer (at least in rock) for me. I go and see him every time the opportunity arises…even though he disappoints most of the time by improvising instead of playing his catchy recorded leads…and he usually plays so loud that both his tone and the band overall sounds shitty. Just saw him at Fun Fun Fun fest, though, and with a large PA /open-air, it was awesome.

J Mascis (photo: Tim Harvey Pekar Clarke)

3. Adam Franklin - I have loved Swervedriver since the late '80s…and when his recent solo records came out, it really revived my appreciation. I don’t think anyone has figured how to replicate obscure pedal-driven sounds live, as well. Really a master of unique tones and effects.

Adam Franklin (photo: Cat Rose)

4. Jimmy Page - Much like Hendrix, Zep music is sort of played out in my mind, so I don’t listen to it often. But every once in a while, I'm reminded why he was so great.

5./6. Thurston Moore/Lee Ranaldo - Neither of them would probably be thrilled to be considered as one entry…but Sonic Youth  singlehandedly opened my mind free of punk or metal. Guitar/bass/drums can be a conventional approach to making music and this duo knew how to make it sound unconventional.

7. Doug Martsch - Like Dinosaur, Built to Spill is still on heavy rotation after decades of listening.  He just comes up with timeless melodies with his instrument.

8. Chris Cheney - Most people in America don’t know the Living End…and if they do, they know one song ("Prisoner of Society"). But this guy is the perfect blend of a punk guitarist and Eddie Van Halen and Brian Setzer. I know that doesn’t sound too appealing…but he is fucking amazing. Great singer and songwriter, too.

9. Elliott Smith - He is probably not thought of as a guitarist as much as a singer/songwriter… and I know in the wide definition of the genre "folk," amazing guitarists are a dime-a-dozen. But for my limited knowledge of that world, he is the guy that I connected with. Call me a folk-rock poser, I can take it.

10. Anyone that writes amazing songs but isn’t necessarily a virtuoso at the instrument: That could be Beck, Noel Gallagher, John Lennon, Nick Drake, Bob Mould, the list goes on. I don’t give two shits about the metal technicians, or fusion or jazz finger athletes… it’s all about the song.

Bob Mould (photo: Cat Rose)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Samiam and Die Kreuzen -- vacation bliss

Samiam acoustic and Andy, bottom, at the Ramones Museum (Cat Rose photos)

By Andy

Hey there, Mr. Conductor, let's get this train rolling faster.


As Cat and I rode the rails from Tilburg, Netherlands, to Berlin in April 2013, we finally got an Internet connection and discovered via Facebook that one of our favorite bands, SAMIAM, were playing an acoustic set that night at the Ramones Museum in Berlin. We were still a few hours outside of our destination, but things couldn't move rapidly enough for us ... could we possibly make it to the gig or was it just an unreachable dream?

We couldn't sit still in our seats as we soaked up the views of the German landscape. One stunning sight was what looked like a Gothic church jutting out of a mountain as the fog hovered about. Spooky and cool.

Samiam awaited us and as we got closer to Berlin, we thought we just might pull this off.

When we arrived at the station, we bolted out to the street, hailed a cab to our hotel, quickly checked in, dropped off our bags, snagged another cab and we were en route to the museum. As we entered, we heard Samiam playing, nodded our heads and smiled at each other and jammed into the crowd for another great show from the Berkeley sons.

But let's not forget why we were in Tilburg.

When we found out that another one of our faves, DIE KREUZEN, were playing the Roadburn festival, we planned our vacation, pronto.

I hadn't seen the band since 1984 at a chaotic gig at the Cathay De Grande in Hollywood, so this would be well worth the wait. We packed into the small Green Room at Sunday's Afterburner gig amid the heaps of dry ice and flashing lights and watched the Milwaukee powerhouse in action. FUCKIN' GREAT!

Die Kreuzen at Roadburn (Cat Rose photo)

So, here you have a few videos we recently found from those gigs. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dangerhouse Records Night At The Echoplex - Live Review / Los Angeles Beat

Weirdos' John Denney (Elise Thompson photo)

Originally posted in the Los Angeles Beat on Nov. 12

By Bob Lee

The Dangerhouse Records night presented by Part Time Punks (with an assist from Frontier Records’ Lisa Fancher) at the Echoplex on Nov. 9, was one of the finest Old Punkers Nights in memory. These events, in which multiple participants from the good old days get their teenage bands back together, take place fairly frequently in LA, but the gathering in one place at one time of this particular crew felt special. During its three-year existence at the end of the seventies, Dangerhouse was THE essential LA punk label, documenting the earliest warblings of the Weirdos, X, the Dils, the Deadbeats, the Bags, SF-based kindred spirits the Avengers, and multiple others, providing the most concrete physical evidence of that particular space and time. (Frontier has reissued the catalog twice, most recently as a 2-CD set containing the complete run.) While the people on stage were mostly pretty up in years, there was an appealing refusal to grow old gracefully, or politely, on display.

Though the Alley Cats’ Randy Stodola was playing up a storm, the band’s set was hampered by a muddy, overly bass-heavy sound mix, and the members seemed to have trouble hearing each other.  Things improved slightly for the proto-hardcore Rhino 39 from Long Beach, playing its first gig in two decades. Opening with a cover of the Randoms’ “Let’s Get Rid Of New York”, they inspired the day’s first circle pit – how inappropriate for the period, why wasn’t anyone doing the Worm? I noticed that the manner of dress and hairstyle favored by Rhino’s guitarist was exactly the same as Black Oak Arkansas’, who I’d seen just two nights earlier.

The same can’t be said for the Deadbeats, who don’t look like any other band. One of the scene’s most singular and musically progressive acts, they rip me a new one every time I see them play. Their sound owes more to the Mothers of Invention than anything most people would call punk rock, and maybe because of that, they always leave a big impression at these gatherings. Their current lineup matches original vocalist Scott Guerin with drummer Joe Berardi, bassist David Jones, keyboardist Paul Roessler, sax player Tony Atherton and guitarist Harry Cloud, with occasional appearances by vocalist Nurse Heather Galipo. Guerin remains a charismatic frontman, one that doesn’t need a suit made of penises to draw attention to himself, but who will wear one anyway, because too much is never enough.

Nurse Heather Galipo of the Deadbeats, and below, Scott Guerin. (Bob Lee photos)

The latter half of the set included original Deadbeats guitarist Geza X, joining Guerin onstage for the first time since the early 80s. Looking adorable in his pastel dress, Geza started with his song about the Austrian artist Herman Nitsch, a “funny little man” who famously got the young-punk residents of the Canterbury Apartments to be part of a performance art piece from hell, involving crucified farm animals whose blood was poured into the mouths of the unsuspecting volunteers. He stayed on as the band went through much of their 70s catalog, reaching its high point with the iconic “Kill The Hippies.” This might be the OG LA band most worthy of rediscovery today – come and get ‘em, world.

It was the set by the Avengers that cut most deeply, at least for this writer. Coming off a week where reporting of current events was making me want to start drinking heavily, it was downright uplifting to raise a fist and sing along to “The American In Me,” to hear this song written ages ago that speaks very precisely to the moment we’re living in right now. It certainly helps that singer Penelope Houston and guitarist Greg Ingraham are both performing at a level that matches the intensity of the old recordings, joined by the capable and enthusiastic rhythm section from Pansy Division. They are just about perfect, playing all their best songs in the manner you want to hear them played. The appearance of original member James Wilsey for the final two numbers brought gasps from some audience members, given the guitarist’s recent health issues, and he looked fragile but overjoyed as he joined in on “Money (That’s What I Want)” and “I Believe In Me.”

Avengers' Penelope Houston (Elise Thompson photo)

The Weirdos made one of their increasingly rare LA appearances to close out the night with a tight, energetic run through most of their best-known material. They’re down to a four piece now, John and Dix Denney with bassist Zander Schloss and drummer Jeff Feidl, and while the absence of second guitarist Cliff Roman was noticeable, they’re still a potent force on stage. An over-amped cover of Love’s “7 And 7 Is” fit perfectly into their equally classic originals like “Life Of Crime” and “Solitary Confinement”.

I hear some people talk a lot about the futility of punk rock nostalgia, wasn’t all that supposed to be an alternative to the old guard, get us out of listening to the Beatles and the Stones for the rest of our lives? Well, sure. So is it ironic that the people who participated in it are here nearly forty years later playing their old songs? I don’t think so. At the end of the day we are human beings, our hearts soar when we sing the old songs, ones that meant a lot to us back in the old days, and still do. It’s the most natural thing in the world.  It doesn’t matter what our taste in music is. Joy is an increasingly precious commodity in this world, we should take it while we can.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Arch Enemy and Kreator: Seattle metal night

Arch Enemy, top, and Kreator. (Cat Rose photos)

So ... Arch Enemy and Kreator killed it last night at Studio Seven in Seattle. What more can be said?

Here's some Cat Rose images from the photo pit. (Huntress wailed, as well, but we arrived a hair too late to grab pics.)