Saturday, December 31, 2016

#3waySteve: McDonald goes all out with the Melvins, Redd Kross and OFF!

Steve McDonald with OFF! in Seattle in November 2016. (Cat Rose photo)

By Andy

A few songs into OFF!'s set, singer Keith Morris turned to bassist Steve McDonald and inquired: "I hope you've been pacing yourself tonight. How do you feel?"

The towering, floppy haired one sported a goofy look on his face, let go of his four-stringer for an instant and flashed a double thumbs up.

It was McDonald's third appearance on stage that night, Dec. 27 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA.

And this was the most raucous one. First, he sludged through an hour's worth of Melvins' tunes, then popped through a Redd Kross batch of covers from the "Teen Babes from Monsanto" album (played in full and then some) and then it was time to go OFF!, punk-rock style.

McDonald was fired up from start to finish, stomping his lanky body around stage left, leaping and leaning toward the crowd while contorting his face and flicking his tongue along the way. It was as if he was a spunky 11-year-old kid all over again and plucking his bass for the first time. It was a blast to watch him roll through his hat trick, trifecta... #3waySteve as noted on the Redd Kross Facebook page.

At the end of Redd Kross' set, there were three McDonalds on stage: Steve, brother Jeff and Jeff's daughter, Astrid, who sang on a cover of The Eyes' "Don't Talk to Me," an early LA punk gem composed by Go-Go Charlotte Caffey, Jeff's wife and Astrid's mom. Astrid also performs the song with her group The Side Eyes, whose axeman Kevin Devine joined the crew on stage to supply some tasty guitar licks.

For each band, McDonald donned a different KISS-logoish T-shirt: BASS for the Melvins, STEVE for Redd Kross and PUNK ROCK for OFF! He wore silver shoes at the start and then finished with sneakers, and his feet were probably still tapping and rattling the ice cubes during a well-deserved foot soaking later.

And, believe it or not, he'll do it again tonight at Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown, CA.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Lucky 13 Top Photos for 2016 | Cat Rose

Holy Grove

Cat Rose worked the hell out of her camera this year, wedging her way up front to capture tons of bands in action.

Here are some of her top images for 2016. Enjoy and happy new year!



The Crosses



Plague Vendor

The Monkeywrench


Selene Vigil

Saint Vitus



Friday, December 9, 2016

Quotes of Note for 2016

Bill Stevenson of the Descendents in Seattle. (Cat Rose photo)

When we started this blog six years ago, we were mainly using it as a vehicle to tell our stories of punk/rock past and present. That's it... gather around the campfire and shoot the shit.

Soon, we started expanding and interviewing bands, which has generated some of the best feedback from readers and some of the most fun, insightful and inspirational moments for us.

Here's another round of Quotes of Note culled from our interviews for this year, which either took place over a meal, a beer, a phone call or an email.


"The (best) reward for me, personally, seems to have come from when something that we wrote that was very personal to us specifically, had a way of resonating with someone else. Even if that thing didn't happen to them, they could feel what we were talking about and they could tell that it was genuine, they could tell that it wasn't a made-up song. And it somehow maybe helped them get through some maybe tough period they were having because they felt comfort in knowing that maybe somebody else had similar feelings or a similar hardship or whatever it is."

-- Bill Stevenson, Descendents

"It's like 'Lights Out' by the Angry Samoans, hey let's write a song about poking our own eyeballs out, except 'Stealing Office Supplies' I'd like to think actually does have a message in addition to the humor, which is companies taking away people's health insurance and benefits and cutting their wages and treating them like shit, and so the very least you could do is steal a couple pens or a staple remover. Rebel in your own little way."

-- Ben Merlis, Surprise Vacation

"So RUDI were in on the ground floor when punk broke – unlike glam  - this was the first time we could identify with and be involved in something that we were a part of and creating ourselves. It was a great time to grow up – and it really changed my life and my outlook on things. Here in Belfast, punk had a really positive impact in the main. Here it wasn’t a pose and initially, at least, the ideas behind it were fresh and exciting."

-- Brian Young, RUDI

"At this point in our lives, we've all been through personal challenges and issues, so in some ways the lyrics are probably are more meaningful now. I think the overall vibe, and I think Shawn (Brown) would say (about the new lyrics), it's sort of a positive spin on the world and how we see the world. It fits pretty well with the personalities of everybody in the band."

-- Colin Sears, Dag Nasty

"I have been playing in Bad Religion for 23 years and we play a lot. It's basically the same thing except for I don't know the Dag Nasty songs as well. So it's more of a challenge, because I'm actually going like, 'What the fuck's next?' The Bad Religion thing is totally fun, I get incredible joy out of it, and the Dag Nasty thing is very similar. I'm having a good time getting the drug that I am looking for."

-- Brian Baker, Dag Nasty

"(Music) was the one thing that I could get into and crawl into and immerse myself into to forget about what a bad day I'd had at school or outside of school or whatever. It makes me think back to those times. Actually, I wouldn't change anything because I might not have what I have had I not done what I did, which was move away from Rockford and then pen these songs with my friends."

-- Daniel Kubinski, The Crosses, on Die Kreuzen songs

7 Year Bitch in Seattle. (Ben London photo)

"What struck me is that they (the songs) were very honest, they were very real. It's our experiences. People experience tragedy or loss or a relationship... I'm not gonna sit here and cry all day. I'm gonna go hit something. There's a lot of raw emotion and energy in it."

-- Selene Vigil, former 7 Year Bitch singer, on the band's songs

"(Mia Zapata had the) ability to express human experience in a way that everybody could connect to. The lyrics to 'Cut My Skin'... I remember listening to a cassette tape of them before we moved out to Seattle. This is while we were all still at Antioch. I remember thinking, just listening to the certain lyrics and the way that she sung them, just having this feeling like she understood and was able to emote these universal things."

-- Valerie Agnew, former 7 Year Bitch drummer, on The Gits

"We just had zero expectations. I've struggled for a long time to find the right people to play in a band with and I had laid out of playing in bands for six or seven years prior to this band just cuz I was so frustrated. The process of finding people, and then I think I just wanted to write songs that we were all proud of. The fact that we've had the opportunity to do more with the band than I ever anticipated or expected ... I remember thinking it would be cool if we could play a couple shows and play with bands that we like, and we've been able to do much more than that, which has been surprising and awesome."

-- Gregg Emley, Holy Grove

"I wanna give people an escapism. I want people to say, 'I'm going out to go to a show, and I'm going to forget pretty much about everything that maybe has been weighing me down for the week.' I wanna give people that sense of, 'Goddamn, I'm glad I didn't say home.' I think that the lyrical content really matches the music, because the music builds and there are moments of  hills and valleys, and that's why I think that I can be more creative and actually tell a story or really use my personal tastes in folklore and fantasy and can make it maybe a little bit more accessible and still keep people (guessing) what's coming next. I want a level of unpredictability, but I want people to know that they're in good hands."

-- Andrea Vidal, Holy Grove

"It was something in the air that night. We wrote the song 'Empress Rising' on our first rehearsal and two lights broke. So I guess something was going on."

-- Thomas V Jäger, Monolord

Monolord pummels Bellingham, WA. (Cat Rose photo)

"I am having the most fun I have had since maybe later period Slip or when I was in The Forgotten. We have been a band for barely over a year and we have been quite fortunate with what has happened to us. Starting The Defenders was just an idea that has become a reality. It has been so much fun playing with my bandmates. We all get along really well. I mean, we might have a disagreement, but we are all pretty level headed and just don't take it too seriously."

-- Ken Helwig, The Defenders

"I've never not been able to tell Kerry (Martinez) exactly how I feel about stuff, or when something's really bugging me. I was always and still am always able to talk to him about it. He understands. We made a deal a long time ago, that if we're single when we get old-old, like in our 80s, that we're gonna move in together and spend the rest of our lives. Neither one of us are going to go out alone."

-- Spencer Bartsch, Shattered Faith

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Monsters, metal and mayhem: Ghoul and company creep into Seattle

Ghoul's Cremator. (All Andy photos)

By Andy

It was a thrash-metalist's dream gig.

Five pulverizing bands -- Ghoul, The Plot Sickens, The Crüd Güns, Misuse of Power and Kömmand -- and a ravenous crowd made for a boisterous evening at El Corazon in Seattle last Friday.

From start to finish, hair and fists flew through the air while bodies bashed in the pit along to the tunes with influences that plowed forth from the skullbashing metal/hardcore lands of Celtic Frost, Slayer, DRI, Gwar, etc. You know, the heavy shit.

Best part of the night was when a stage invader during Ghoul's monster-sized set grabbed one of the band's stage props -- a pick-axe -- and prepared to wield away. Cremator the bassist stopped the fan from having his way with the axe as the band played on. It was all in good fun, and hey, at least the fan gave it a shot, you know?

Creepsylvania came to life during Ghoul's set with characters like Mr. Fang, The Mutant Mutilator and more taking the stage to mess with the crowd and spray fake blood and other fluids into the mass of metalers. One of the monsters was so huge that a security guard had to use a flashlight while helping push the beast through the exit door after its turn on stage.

A classic night with Ghoul songs like "Graveyard Mosh," "Gutbucket Blues," "Death in the Swamp" and more providing the soundtrack.

Photos by Andy:


Clown spray

Crowd member gets Ghouled with green ooze.





Saturday, December 3, 2016

RIP, Micky Fitz of The Business

Micky Fitz photo from a promo poster for "The Truth The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth"

By Andy

"Be yourself and you'll rule the day."

These words always ring true for me on The Business song "Never Say Never." And when sung by Micky Fitz, they make you want to stand up, shout and be proud of who you are. It's a crucial anthem, a pertinent song and one that everyone should possess in their musical arsenal.

When word spread that Fitz died on Dec. 1 after a long battle with cancer, I was gutted. We had lost one of us. He was 57.

Cat and I were fortunate to witness the Lewisham, South London Oi! unit live three times, and at each gig we were mesmerized by Fitz's energetic performance. With head held high, arms strongly held wide and a gleam in his eye, you could tell that Fitz was "all in" -- for the band and for the crowd -- and you were swept up in the moment. Watching Fitz made you feel confident in yourself, like you could tackle anything that came your way.

RIP, Micky.

"Micky was a man who spoke his mind - he was always quick with a joke and three steps ahead of you in a conversation. He was also one of the best mates you could ask for," reads a Facebook statement from The Business.

The Business message continues: "Everybody you speak to in the punk scene has their own Micky Fitz story, some of them more flattering than others as Mick didn’t pull any punches. He didn’t care what anybody thought of him and he always did things his own way. That is the thing about true characters - they have rough edges, they don’t fit into any box and they can be near impossible to deal with from time to time, but that’s what makes them so unique, it’s what makes them iconic, it’s what makes them special.

"There will never be another Micky Fitz.

"Our thoughts are with Mick’s family at this time, especially Kim and Jamie who have always been by his side through thick and thin.

"Finally thank you to Micky, for being relentlessly Micky Fitz, much loved and much missed.
Micky has requested no flowers. If you would like to do something to remember him, please make a donation to Cancer Research in his name at"

Photo courtesy of Derek Plank

Peter of Peter and the Test Tube Babies wrote on his band's Facebook page:
"It breaks my heart to hear the sad news about Micky Fitz dying. Like everyone else in our community i loved him and i for one am finding it hard to keep it together. Raising a glass to you Mick as i write this. What a fine bloke you were and how greatly you will be missed. A true punk legend who will never be forgotten because of the great songs The Business wrote, the way you performed and the outstanding all round man you were. I will miss you greatly and the tears are starting to well up. You were a legend Mick and you always will be."

On the Agnostic Front Facebook page:
"Our deepest condolences to the family of one of our heroes and a lifetime friend, RIP Micky Fitz ... Loud, Proud, & Punk!!! Nothing better than The Business!!! Our voice of a revolution... You will be truly missed but never forgotten!"

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Life as a Circle Jerks bassist and beyond: 'The Prodigal Rogerson' / Book Review

By Andy

At the age of 14, I first encountered the Circle Jerks at the Starwood in Los Angeles. It was a night I'll never forget.

As we entered the club in April of 1981, I was both elated and petrified. It was my first punk gig and I didn't quite know what was going to transpire inside those hallowed walls. TSOL tore it up in the opening slot and then the CJ's -- my favorite band of the moment -- took charge and further etched their way into my being, this time in the crucial live setting.

They surged forth with a blistering and chaotic set. And no one was more enthralled with the on-stage activity than wild-eyed, bass-swinging and pogo-stick-like performer Roger Rogerson.

That night, Rogerson was equal parts energy and unpredictability -- and that's what made the CJ's so stellar. It was hardcore to the hilt.

While every member of this intense all-star team of punks was mesmerizing, it was Rogerson whom you eyeballed the most, because you didn't know if he would leap into the crowd, gouge his bass into the stage or crash into his amp or Lucky Lehrer's drumkit.

And now, 35 years later, Rogerson and the CJ's jumped back into my head with the arrival of "The Prodigal Rogerson," a 96-page, well-researched and -written gem from J. Hunter Bennett via Microcosm Publishing. It's set for a May 9, 2017 release, and readers can pre-order the 5x7-inch book at

I powered through this book on Thanksgiving morning and after polishing it off in a store coffee shop, slipped it into my jacket pocket while my wife and I hit the aisles to select our goods for the day. I kept patting my pocket to make sure it was still there. If it did tumble from my jacket and someone snagged it, they'd have a hell of a reading journey ahead of them.

On the cover, there's Rogerson, bass strapped on and tossing a menacing look stage left with a message underneath him: "The Tragic, Hilarious, and Possibly Apocryphal Story of Circle Jerks Bassist Roger Rogerson in the Golden Age of LA Punk, 1979-1996."

The door to the Starwood opened in my mind again and I was itching to see what was going on inside this book.

I remember when Bennett informed the crew that this book was in the works and it got me thinking about how much I didn't know about Rogerson, except that he died at age 41 from a drug overdose in August of 1996, and from Jeff Turner's writing in his book "Cockney Reject" about Rogerson wielding his drugs, booze, gun and mayhem when the Rejects played in Los Angeles in 1985.

What you'll find in the book is that "facts" and viewpoints from the 17 interviewees frequently vary when each subject comes up. Rogerson was a mysterious man and therefore, you've got to just go with the flow while reading and try and piece his story together for yourself -- if you can.

It's an entertaining, heartbreaking and maddening read. You'll learn about how the Circle Jerks formed, ruled the day and then crashed and burned (with Rogerson stealing the band's van), along with Rogerson's tumultuous journey from military man, to musician, to family man and beyond while battling drug and alcohol abuse and mental issues along the way.

According to sources -- including CJ's members, friends, a twice ex-wife and stepson -- Rogerson experienced reams of highs and lows and was both caring and troublesome at different times in his life.

Part of Rogerson reached for success, but substance abuse constantly veered him on the path to destruction. He couldn't put the pieces of his fractured life together. He perhaps wanted more than he was able to handle in the music realm, where not everybody can fit into the rock-star mold filled with drugs and bedlam.

"The guy was sometimes an obnoxious pain in the ass. A lot of uncool stuff that he did," said Lehrer in the book.

"I loved his zest for life. Roger taught me so much about living. I had a pretty dull existence. He just opened up all kinds of new doors for me," said ex-wife Susan Robards.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

OFF! and Plague Vendor live in Seattle

OFF! (All Cat Rose photos)
Plague Vendor.

By Andy

What more can you say about OFF!? You've gotta get up close to fully experience the band's brutal barrage of tunes. Meet the makers face to face. Your body has got to be buzzing, throbbing -- as if the music has ripped its way inside and is hammering against your bones. It's the real deal.

Sirs Keith Morris, Steven McDonald, Dimitri Coats and Mario Rubalcaba entertained us to the max at El Corazon last Thursday.

Openers Plague Vendor -- hailing from Whittier, CA, the home of the old Flipside fanzine -- were ideal tourmates for OFF! Creepy, crawly punk that tore across the genre's spectrum with a ferocity and groove that would have placed the band firmly into LA's Masque scene or later the club Scream landscape.

Brandon Blaine was an elastic frontman, twitching and twisting his way through the set while maneuvering his vocal cords from a whisper to a scream within seconds and eyeballing the crowd with an intense stare that could smash mirrors. As his bandmates plugged away behind him, Blaine put his dancing shoes to the test while swinging his arms so wildly as if they might pop out of their sockets.

Here's Cat Rose's photo offerings from the night: