Monday, December 28, 2015

RIP, Lemmy: 'Born to lose, lived to win'

Lemmy with Motorhead at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles in the 1980s. (ALISON BRAUN photo)

By Andy and Cat

As we drove by the The Rainbow bar and grill on Sunset Boulevard this Christmas day, we glanced over to see if it was open.

Perhaps Lemmy would be inside, playing his beloved video poker game and tossing back a cocktail.

We were set to pull into the parking lot, but the place was closed, and we moved on up the road.

The spirit of Lemmy Kilmister will forever be a part of that Hollywood landmark dive and stages worldwide, where his rough-and-tumble band Motorhead left its mark. His gloriously raspy voice and buzz-saw bass lines are etched into our brains, just like the iconic snaggletooth symbol and memorable band logo is stitched onto countless metalists' denim vests via patches, emblazoned onto beer-soaked T-shirts and tattooed onto headbangers' bodies.

Today, we all received the heartbreaking news that Lemmy has died at age 70.

• Motorhead's official Facebook page reads:

"There is no easy way to say this…our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made it’s way down the street, with his family.

We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please…play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD. Have a drink or few. Share stories. Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT.

Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, 1945 -2015

Born to lose, lived to win."

• Tony Iommi on BBC's Midlands Today show:

"I think Lemmy is the epitome of rock and roll, you know, he's always lived a wild lifestyle. It's the old thing: Sex, drugs and rock and roll, and he really lived that life -- and he loved it."

• From Metallica's Facebook page:

"Lemmy, you are one of the primary reasons this band exists. We are forever grateful for all of your inspiration. Rest In Peace.
Endless Love & Respect, 

• Ozzy Osbourne's Facebook page reads:

"Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today. He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side."

We will always remember Motorhead absolutely crushing it at the old Ballard Firehouse in Seattle in 1999. It was so fucking loud that we thought the windows were on the verge of breaking... you could see them vibrating! You could feel the roar of the music and Lemmy's lightning-charged vocals in your bones. It was perfect. It was real. Unforgettable.

RIP, Lemmy.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Quotes of note for 2015: Girlschool, Bl'ast! and beyond

Kim McAuliffe of Girlschool in Seattle. (Cat Rose photo)

Here we go again -- quotes of note from our 2015 articles. Thanks to all the artists who participated and we hope to see you all soon.
Cheers, Andy and Cat

Kim McAuliffe, Girlschool
"Funny enough, when I was having to write for the new album, yeah, I'd be sitting out in the garden going through stuff. We didn't get anything (inspiration) from the trees or anything. I'm not that hippy-ish."

Vic Bondi, Black Theory
"Because my daughter is learning to be a musician, I keep telling her there's three stages of musicianship: stage one is learning how to play your instrument and getting good at that; stage two is learning how to play with the other guys; stage three is learning how to play with the audience, and being able to work off that vibe and generate that energy with something completely new... and at the Teenage Time Killers show, that was 'TV Eye.'"

Pete Stahl, Goatsnake, on the Teenage Time Killers show:
"I'm a punk rocker, man, so I like to turn it around sometimes -- twist it up, fuck it up. I wasn't really getting the vibe I wanted back from the people and so I was like, 'Let's just do it again.' It kind of threw the band for a loop and I think they thought I was joking."

Clifford Dinsmore, Bl'ast!, on recording with Chuck Dukowski and Dave Grohl:
"I remember Chuck, he was just like, 'Dave, Oh my god, I didn't realize you could play drums like that.' And he's like, 'Well, Chuck, I grew up learning to play drums to Black Flag records. C'mon.' It was cool, old friends, to have that kind of weird musical chemistry come about after all these years. We've been around each other's music forever, but we never really jammed together."

Ian MacKaye on Minor Threat songs:
"I also miss playing tackle football and I miss grinding in a pool. The same way I might miss singing those songs, but that's the way it goes. I miss sitting on my Mom's lap... that's the way it goes. That's life. So the thing to do is not try to find someone to be my Mom and sit in their lap, but rather whatever it was that I gleaned from that experience, find a corollary or a parallel or something that now can seed that same kind of energy in whatever form it would manifest today."

Mia Coldheart, Crucified Barbara, on writing "Lunatic #1":
When Mia's not fronting the band, she rides horses and spoke with Jens Fredricson two years ago at a clinic in Sweden. Fredricson explained how he changed his way of training with Lunatic to reach the top.

"It doesn't matter if it's horses or music, his words were really inspiring. So when I got back home from this meeting with him, and I just had all the words for this song. So the song is actually about having a teammate -- it could be a band or your best friend or someone who is on your side and make you reach your goals," she said.

Scott Crawford, "Salad Days" filmmaker, on the Washington, DC, scene:
"I knew that it was really special. Obviously, that period of time was huge for a lot of people, including me, and the music really meant a lot and it was a big deal, at least in my mind," he said. "It wasn't really until the Kickstarter campaign until I realized that maybe I was on to something.
"If I had it my way, I'd do a documentary on every single band that's in the film. The whole experience has been so satisfying on every level -- and therapeutic (laughs)."

Henry Cluney, XSLF
"We play the songs raw and as energetic as they used to be...hopefully people enjoy it!"

Billy Ledges, Mad Parade
** What did punk rock mean to you in the early days and what does it mean to you now?
"So much. I felt like I had no direction, I was young at the time when it came out and it was like I had this feeling ... and I still get this feeling, if it's done right, that the music basically spoke to me in a sense that said, 'Hey, we accept everybody. Come over and hang out with us. We'll take the misfits, we'll take the rejects, the square pegs in the round holes.' Whatever it might be. It was welcoming."

Michael Essington, author, on writing:
"In the very beginning, it was a bit therapeutic. Things I had bottled up, pedophile neighbors that want to hire me to do their lawn then expose themselves to me. I had forgotten this stuff, then slowly, but surely stuff comes out and into my books. I have, over the last few years, tried to be a little more sympathetic when writing about family. In the first book, I tended to blurt out anything I thought about people. Now, I’m trying to see their point of view a bit."

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hammerbox, Gits and others perform at benefit for James Atkins

Hammerbox, top, Gits, below. (All Cat Rose photos)

Text: Andy; photos: Cat Rose

It was a night you never wanted to end.

Emotions were flowing, there were smiles a-plenty and the tunes -- oh, the tunes -- tied the special evening all together perfectly. All the music put forth was from the heart, and people soaked it all up and put their thoughts, vibes and funds in the right place.

This was a night to support James Atkins, who is battling esophageal cancer.

"We've gotta take care of our own," said primary benefit organizer and guitarist/vocalist Ben London from the stage prior to Alcohol Funnycar's set Friday evening at Chop Suey in Seattle. Gretta Harley and Carrie Akre also provided lots of support in setting up the event.

Hammerbox bassist Atkins wasn't able to perform, but he was present at the sold-out benefit. With a grin on his face, he watched from a reserved section adorned with couches and close friends as his former band cranked out a batch of songs in his honor in the headlining slot.

When reunited Hammerbox singer Akre pointed at Atkins and asked if he was enjoying himself and if the band was playing well, he raised one arm in the air and gave a nod of approval. Akre smiled and paused for a bit, letting that touching moment linger, before leading the band into another tune. Along with Akre, Hammerbox featured original members Harris Thurmond on guitar and Dave Bosch on drums. Fiia McGann (Goodness) took over bass duties and nailed Atkins' parts.

The band's 10-song set featured "Hole," "Hed," "Blur," "When 3 is 2" and other standouts.

"Everybody's been so happy and that's what matters," Thurmond told the crowd in between songs.

Added Akre from the stage: "It's been an overwhelmingly wonderful night and we're proud to be here."

A second show took place on Saturday afternoon, and according to London, they raised more than $17K for Atkins over the weekend.

You can visit Atkins' funding page at

It was a reunion for many attendees on Friday, from band members (of their own groups and other bands that shared stages, beers and special bonds with) to gig-goers, who showed up night after night to support bands like Hammerbox, the Gits, 7 Year Bitch, Alcohol Funnycar and Coffin Break in the '90s in Seattle.

One woman was overheard asking a guy at the show: "Do you remember me?" They shared a hug and reminisced about the old days.

So, yes, you see the Gits mentioned above ... It's true, they reunited for this benefit with Rachel Flotard (formerly of Visqueen) on vocals. Flotard brought the spirit of Mia Zapata (RIP) with her emotion-packed vocals and energy, and the crowd ate it up during the six-song set: "While You're Twisting, I'm Still Breathing," "Another Shot of Whiskey," "Seaweed," "Social Love, "Guilt Within Your Head" and "Second Skin."

Guitarist Joe Spleen (Andy Kessler), bassist Matt Dresdner and drummer Steve Moriarty's eyes were locked into each other's during the impassioned set.

Toward the end, their thoughts turned to Atkins.

"It's a good feeling. We're gonna help James get through this," said Dresdner to the crowd.

On Zapata, Flotard noted: "It's been a powerful thing to learn and sing these songs, and think about the woman who sang them and how important she was to all of you (loud applause) and to the men behind me. So, thank you and we love you James."

Prior to the Gits' set, 7 Year Bitch singer Selene Vigil-Wilk took her turn on stage and belted out some songs from her former band while backed by London, AFC bassist Tommy Bonehead and drummer Jason Finn (Presidents of the USA, Love Battery).

Vigil-Wilk smiled and slithered her way through the set, which featured "The Scratch," "You Smell Lonely," "Crying Shame" and "Knot." The enthusiastic crowd was with her the whole way.

AFC rolled through its set and engaged the crowd with solid tunes like "Aggravation," "Red Wine," "Shapes" and a host of others from their catalogue. Rob Dent pounded away on drums, as he did with openers Stag, which also featured London on guitar. London gets a special award for notching a hat trick during the evening.

Coffin Break was also in the house and plugged away at tunes like "Someday Maybe," "Kill the President," a stellar cover of Husker Du's "Diane" and more. Rob Skinner (bass/vocals), Peter Litwin (guitar/vocals) and Dave Brooks (drums) were spot-on, and a couple of our Facebook friends from afar were stoked that they were back together for the show.

Harley, formerly of Maxi Bad, played solo with electric guitar in hand and a powerful voice to draw in the crowd. She displayed some of her own solid tunes and tossed in a nice cover of Soul Asylum's "Sometime to Return."

With singer Steve Mack out front kicking and dancing away, Stag got things moving with their infectious rock set laced with tons of melody. "Elegant Man" and "These Times" were standouts from the crew, which also features John Randolph on guitar and Pete Everett on bass.

A memorable evening, for sure.

** Cat Rose photos below: