Monday, September 26, 2016

OFF! is set for mini West Coast tour

OFF! in Seattle. (Cat Rose photos)

Get ready — OFF! is hitting a handful of West Coast venues in November with Plague Vendor.

Here’s what some folks (including a FLAG singer guy) have said about the band on our blog:

Ian MacKaye:
“Keith and Steve are serious veterans, and they were sort of the architects of that form with Red Cross and Circle Jerks, and the other guys are clearly -- Dmitri and Mario -- they're just great players. I think in terms of the form, I think they present it really, really well.

"A friend of mine once called them re-enactors, but it can still be really effective. I also believe that Keith, he's the real deal-- he's just not a bullshitter. And they've gone out and done the work-- they go and throw down pretty hard.”

Keith Morris:
“We're nothing more than a folk band. When you boil all of the flesh and the meat, the muscle and the skin off of the bones. When you're listening to OFF!, we're nothing more than a protest band, we're just a folk band -- but we're loud, we're obnoxious, we're in your face and we're angry about it.”

There’s Something Hard in There:
“OFF! is one of the most crucial bands out there nowadays.
They're a foursome unleashed with Ramones-Minor Threat ferocity and Minutemen-length songs. They're dynamic, passionate and humorous … what more could you wish for?”


Nov. 9 @ Slim’s, San Francisco
Nov. 10 @ The Ritz, San Jose
Nov. 11 @ Sweet Springs Saloon, Los Osos
Nov. 12 @ The Garage, Ventura
Nov. 15 @ The Boardwalk, Orangevale
Nov. 17 @ El Corazon, Seattle
Nov. 18 @ The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver BC
Nov. 19 @ Hawthorne Theatre Lounge, Portland

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stinson bashes and pops again

Tommy Stinson with the Replacements in Seattle in August 2014. (Andy photo)

When we saw the Replacements clumsily tear it up at Bumbershoot in Seattle in August 2014, bassist Tommy Stinson was having a blast on stage. He was making faces at Paul Westerberg and giving the stage a workout by stomping up a storm. He must have had holes in his shoes afterward.

So, after the ‘Mats called it a day after their reunion tour in June 2015, Stinson kept playing solo and with a band — and pretty soon we’ll have another Bash & Pop record to cram onto our music shelves.

Fat Possum Records will release the band’s sophomore album in early 2017, and Sire/Reprise will recharge the band’s 1993 debut album, “Friday Night Is Killing Me,” with a first-ever vinyl offering in January 2017.

Stinson unleashed a very animated message on the Fat Possum website today:

“You’re hearing it here first: A new Bash & Pop record is coming! Yep, that’s right! No shit! Since recording my last two solo records in a rather piecemeal way, I found myself longing to make a record in the same way that we made the early Replacements records: live, in the studio, as a band. The last record I really did that on was called Friday Night Is Killing Me.

Recording live with a band is the only way I know this to be done. As the life of this project developed, the elements of what make a band a BAND started to appear: The spontaneity, the solidarity, the piss, the vinegar, the good times and the angst. These are all of the things that I think make for a great rock n’ roll record; like a car careening helplessly off the road, only to be spared catastrophe at the very last second.”

Here’s a list of Stinson’s friends that have helped shape the new album:

Chip Roberts (one-400’s)
Steve “Sleeve” Selvidge (The Hold Steady, Big Ass Truck)
Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars, The Word)
Frank Ferrer (Guns N’ Roses)
Joe “The Kid” Sirois (The Mighty Mighty BossToneS, Roll The Tanks)
Cat Popper (Jack White, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Jesse Malin, Winning Instagram)
Justin “Carl” Perkins (Screeching Weasel, Obsoletes)
Tony “Tone Tone” Kieraldo (Played at The White House twice!)
Ryder Cooley

By pre-ordering the record via PledgeMusic, listeners become a part of the record-making process. People can buy the new record and purchase one-of-a-kind items, merchandise and experiences only available for a limited time. The cool trinkets include high-quality vinyl, cassettes, CDs and MP3s to instruments, lyric sheets, posters, framed photographs, and more.

“You can see our first show as Bash & Pop at the historic 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, and I could even crash your wedding and flaunt my ordained status to officiate it!” Stinson added.

Also, a portion of the proceeds of this campaign will benefit the Timkatec trade schools in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

“As you may know, there is still a dire need for us to help these great young people learn how to rebuild their fractured nation,” Stinson continued. “They desperately need any help that any of us can give, no matter the monetary amount. I chose this school after visiting their graduation in 2011 and seeing for myself what a big part of the long-term solution it is for the people and infrastructure of Haiti.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Digging into the '80s grave for Misfits memories

By Andy

All hell will break loose -- again.

Coming off their triumphant and ghoulish return to action at Riot Fest in Denver on Sept. 4, the original Misfits are no doubt sharpening the spikes on their outfits and their tunes to pummel the masses again at Riot Fest in Chicago next Sunday.

That's two Sundays. How does God feel about the devilish crew taking up his day?

Anyway, I witnessed a trio of Misfits gigs in 1982-83 in southern California and I'm delivering some memories of those events.

* Oct. 1, 1982 at Bob's Place in Los Angeles (61st and Broadway); with the Necros, Social Distortion and SVBD:

Since we knew Henry Rollins and Dave Claussen from SST a bit, me, my brother Ed and buddy Pat Hoed lurked around the Misfits' van with them as Glenn Danzig consulted with Rollins about songs to put on their setlist for that evening's show, which took place in a room above a liquor store in a sketchy area of LA.

Nearby in the parking lot, the Necros guys were hanging out and we chatted with them about their tour with the Misfits and Midwest hardcore, which we were huge fans of. Drummer Todd Swalla later manned the kit for the original Misfits' last gig of their initial run on Oct. 29, 1983 in Detroit.

While we hung with the Necros, our jaws nearly dropped to the ground as we watched Doyle and Jerry Only hoist their amps over their heads like toothpicks and walk them into the venue. No problem there, and I laughed out loud when I read the recent the Rolling Stone article where Only said he was looking forward to going home to write songs and lift.

The show itself was a blur of energy onstage and mayhem in the crowd with a small, but wild pit of slamming bodies and arms and voices raised during the sing-a-longs. There was no shortage of shouting "whoa-oh-oh's!" on this night. I remember Doyle scolding a fan up front for getting too close and whacking into his devilock.

Recently, Necros bassist Corey Rusk and I discussed that show, in which he played with his broken leg in a cast, and he was stoked that I remembered it and said it was quite an experience -- not only playing, but watching the cops fend off the locals, who apparently wanted to scrap with the punks in the streets. We were safe, but I can't recall if there was any violence.

* April 8, 1983 at Punx #4 in Los Angeles (4508 Western); with Circle One, Dr. Know and Regional Confusion (Crucifix didn't play):

The Punx #4 venue was on the third floor of an abandoned building in yet another rough-and-tumble area of Los Angeles. My friend John and I went for it and had a hard time locating the venue at first. We circled the block several times, and just when we were about to pack it in, we looked up and spotted some punks hanging a mattress out the window with the word "PUNX" scrawled on it. Yep, that's the place.

After parking John's car up the street, we hiked up the stairs -- chuckling and half-believing that bands would play here that night -- and entered the main room, which probably saw its share of wedding receptions led by cheesy singers back in the day (Danzig would soon give that stage a proper workout). The place was well-worn in and had some cracks on the walls and chipped paint everywhere, but who's playing fixer-upper handyman when the Misfits are in the house?

One kid was set on adding a plethora of new items to his wardrobe by purchasing three or four Misfits shirts, and putting them all on at once. Super padding for the slam pit, for sure.

So, Regional Confusion and Dr. Know blazed through their sets and then John Macias from Circle One (also part of the promoting team) jumped on stage to inform the crowd that the cops and locals were having words outside. Apparently, the locals wanted to fight some punks. But the show went on and Circle One tore it up, leading into another raucous Misfits set, during which SST's Claussen and myself went arms-in-arms with Danzig to sing the chorus of "Night of the Living Dead." Fucking cool. Robo's flashing Misfits logo on his drumkit was a nice touch, as well.

Getting home would take some time. Following the Misfits' set, the cops ordered the crowd to stay inside the venue while they tried to clear the area outside. As we peered out the windows onto the scene below, there were sirens everywhere and we wondered how long we would stay cooped up in the building. It must have been about 45 minutes or so before things were sorted out and we were allowed to leave.

* June 11, 1983 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium; with Black Flag and the Vandals:

This was a big evening since some of Black Flag's old singers were to rattle their vocal chords to the band's songs once again, setting the stage for Rollins' own set at the end. Old pals Ron Reyes and Dez Cadena gave it a go and stoked the crowd, but Keith Morris was a no-show. Rollins hammered home his portion of the evening with emotion and rage aplenty, as if dozens upon dozens of nails were being propelled into the crowd.

But the Misfits, you ask? Well, another stellar set that they played at breakneck speed like we hadn't seen before. Rapid-fire stuff, one song after another as if they were playing a crazed version of beat the clock. If there were a timepiece on hand, the band would have smashed it to bits, just like Doyle and Only did with their break-away guitars before tossing them into the crowd during different parts of the set. People scratched and clawed for those guitar bits while the guys grabbed new axes and continued the musical onslaught.

All was well that night outside the venue. We wrapped up another Misfits gig, which would be the last one for me until Danzig made his way onto the scene with his namesake band and played the Country Club in Reseda on Jan. 6, 1989. I was joined by friends Marie and Donald as the band tore through some Misfits songs that night along with tunes from their debut LP. It was killer, to say the least. As a bonus full-circle moment, Hoed was there, too, working for Danzig at the time.

* Other memorable Danzig gigs included trucking 14-year-old cousin Eric and friend Dave to see the band on Sept. 30, 1990 at the Edge in Palo Alto, and watching Danzig alongside Cat on Nov. 8, 2008 at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hey, Jimi: A visit to Hendrix's memorial

All Cat Rose photos

We were feeling the Jimi Hendrix vibe last Sunday, so we headed out to visit the rock icon's memorial at Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton, not far from our Seattle home. It was dedicated in 2003, stands 30 or so feet high and features a granite dome supported by three pillars. It's located at 350 Monroe Ave. N.E.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Mommy, Can I Go Out and REUNITE Tonight? / Misfits review

A reunited Misfits at Riot Fest. (All Chris Shary photos except where noted)

By Chris Shary

I’ve been to many Riot Fests over the past 5 years and I’m always impressed at who Mike Petryshyn (Riot Fest founder) manages to convince to reunite and play. Never have I been more impressed than this year’s triumph of managing to secure a Danzig, Only, Doyle reunion of the Misfits.  It has been whispered and dreamed of for many years, but when it was actually announced it just didn’t seem real. Knowing how volatile the relationship between Jerry and Glenn has been for a very long time, it was a crapshoot as to whether it would really happen or not, kind of “I’ll believe it when I see it”. If there was a chance that it was really gonna happen, then it was a forgone conclusion that I was gonna be there!

I’d like to take a quick moment to say for those of you who constantly complain that a band isn’t touring close to you, SHUT UP AND GO TO WHERE THE BAND IS PLAYING!!!!!! It has been said publicly that this is a 2-show-only gig (but who really knows). Having said that if they are indeed only playing 2 shows, why on Earth (AD) would you miss out? OK enough of my tirade, back to the review……

My show buddy Robert Taylor and I arrived in Denver (my old hometown) last Friday afternoon getting to the National Western Complex just in time to catch the always entertaining AQUABATS. The minute we got on site, the buzz from every band anticipating seeing the Misfits was palpable. It was almost like, “Yeah I know you’re watching us just to kill time until the Misfits play on Sunday”. The bands, the crowd, hell everyone it seemed were just waiting until Sunday night when the Misfits might play. Luckily there were some truly stunning bands who helped pass the time until Sunday in such a manner that at regular hour increments I sorta forgot what was coming…..sorta. I mean DESCENDENTS were so damn good Friday night that I could have left after they played and I would have been totally happy. Still, I wasn’t about to leave until the proverbial fat lady sang.

Saturday kinda breezed by with a double helping of the Lillingtons, the weirdly beautiful sore thumb that was the Meat Puppets and Against Me. Truthfully I wasn’t too stoked for making a full day of what Saturday had to offer. We cut out early to have dinner with my folks who still live in the Mile High city. I may have missed Sleater-Kinney, but I got to spend really quality time with my folks, so no complaint.

Sunday morning I woke positively giddy but equally anxious as the Misfits were not scheduled to play until 8:45 p.m. It was more hanging with the family and a quick trip to the recently opened Spirit Store to help get into the swing of things to come. We showed up at 6, in time to catch Bad Religion, who were on the same stage as the Misfits would soon be. Roughly half of the overall stage was made available to any band who was not the Misfits. The other half of the stage was the Misfits set. A huge black curtain separated the set from view of most of the audience. Being on stage during Bad Religion meant we could peer behind the curtain. In doing so, our excitement and anticipation soared!!!!

By now, you’ve probably seen images of the Misfits stage set up, but at 6 p.m. we had yet to see it. Feasting our eyes on the 15-foot giant pumpkins that were 3-D version of the ones Glenn Danzig drew on the cover of the Misfits “Halloween” 7-inch was pretty incredible. Among other things, I’m a set designer, and I gotta say, these things were legit and absolutely beautiful. I kept my eyes fixed into the black abyss that was adored with an endless array of Crimson Ghost faces, coffins and black speaker cabinets. It may have been be a little silly but come on, the Misfits have always been a little silly, that’s why I love them! Even still, seeing all of this equipment and props didn’t mean for sure that they were actually going to step on stage together and play a full set. It seemed pretty likely but not certain. Anyway as I watched a steady stream of musicians and record label folks take selfies in front of the wall of speaker cabinets, suddenly there was a movement from inside the inner most section of the stage set. There was a figure emerging from the shadows. It was a figure I recognized. It was Jerry Only. I locked eyes with Jerry, neither of us could contain our smiles, I gave him a questioning look and a thumbs up. He answered my inquiry with a nod and a returned thumbs up. It was as if he were saying, "Yeah it’s really happening and I can’t believe it either.”

Post Bad Religion, we managed to chat with a very lively London May (former Samhain drummer and frequent Danzig project bandmate). London seemed fairly certain things were progressing along well with the Misfits camp and it was happening…and soon! Turning from London I spied a Misfits set list already taped on a speaker cabinet. I didn’t want to look, I really didn’t. I wanted to wait until Christmas to see my presents, but the temptation was too strong. DAMMIT, I LOOKED!!! I couldn’t believe some of what they were going to play “Hybrid Moments”, “She”, “Bullet”, “NOTLD”, “Who Killed Marilyn”. I thought to myself, there was no way this was for real happening, and I was backstage!!!! Then the reality set in that they were certainly going to clear the entire backstage area, which meant Robert and I were going to be S.O.L. if we didn’t have a game plan of where to be at. I wasn’t going to be behind the stage or so far to the side or back that I couldn’t see well. We milled around trying to look busy and maybe catch a glimpse of the band, all the while trying to look cool and like we belonged in their entourage.

Finally the moment I knew would come came. A very polite security guy asked us to clear and when I asked him where he would recommend we go. The security suggested making our way through the crowd to the VIP are on the opposite side stage. Of course between us and this mythical VIP area was a sea of thousands of drunk and impatient punkers, metal heads freaks, stoners and regular families. There was no way we were going to make that trek and more importantly we didn’t want to. It was becoming more and more clear we had to move. Security opened the gate that lead to the massive sea of festival goers. We stepped out into the crowd one step, and just stopped. Any way we could go would be worse than where we were, right on the side of the stage by what was to be Doyle’s side.  We planted ourselves, bared the brief groans from the now pissy people who had been standing were we were now standing, for hours, and we assimilated. Countdown 20 minutes til Misfits….hopefully.

The crowd was oddly quiet and well behaved as we waited for the Misfits to take to the stage. I saw legendary music producer Ed Stasium pacing in the barricade area commenting to the effect that Glenn was quite nervous, and then the black curtain came down. Guitars that sounded just like the Misfits began humming and growling, and suddenly a monster-type voice proclaims, "I will eat you.” Yeah that’d be the Misfits, and they were now on stage, for real! The next thing you knew they began tearing into “Death Comes Ripping”. It seemed a very aggressive start to their just over an hour set. I was kind of shocking, like being pushed into a cold lake in the middle of winter. I don’t really think I was ready for it after all. Ready or not, they were playing and it was mind blowing!

 Glenn has been playing to primarily metal audiences quite regularly these past 33 years, and it shows. Glenn Danzig knows how to work a huge audience, and this audience was the biggest by far all weekend. Glenn seems very at home with the mindless banter and the "I can’t hear you” sorta remarks, but I think it’s what people wanted to hear. To the crowd's delight, he rarely stopped moving or posing. He belted out song after song and gave them the life they have been denied for so long.  He was indeed resurrecting some very old friends (or should I say fiends?) some that harked back to 1977. It was pretty rad to hear the variety of songs Danzig chose to perform. Rumor has it Glenn was fully in charge of putting together the set list and I gotta say it was a fantastic selection.

So let’s get right down to it. Nearly everyone I know who wasn’t there has asked me, “How was it REALLY?”. Really? It was great. Really. Can I be critical? Sure. To be critical, I think the drums were fantastic but muddy in the mix. Dave Lombardo allowed for the band to have a better framework than they ever had on record, without overplaying or overcomplicating songs. I think it was hard to distinguish between Doyle and second guitarist Acey Slade’s parts. I think the bass was a little low in the mix. I think they could have used DESCENDENTS sound guy Andrew Schornack to give their sound more bite. I think it would have been great if they didn’t stop between every song for Glenn to address the audience and catch his breath, but that’s just me being picky. These are minor issues, and in no way detracted from my overall impression.

Overall, the Misfits exceeded my expectations. I was cautiously optimistic, but I was half expecting some sort of Spinal Tap-type situation, where Glenn was stuck in one of the pumpkins, or Jerry got tangled up in his vest and fell over, but none of that happened. The 3 main dudes were lively and most surprising of all, happy and smiling most of the set. Doyle and Jerry traded sides constantly and Glenn made sure to give folks snapping pictures, plenty of great opportunities to capture some neat moments. All the show aside, the music was great. The songs have stood the test of time and seem very timeless, fresh even. Each player seemed at the top of their game, perhaps not totally gelling and locking up as a band who’s hot off the heels of a monthlong tour, but the same could be said for most every other band on the fest. They certainly didn’t seem rusty at all or out of touch with the songs. Jerry, as we expected, stayed pretty far from the mic, but did at one point fairly quietly say,”It’s good to be back.” He’s right, too, it was good to have them back.

Honestly, I’m still in disbelief that it actually happened, but I was there and while it was happening it was great. I was not wanting it to end, but sadly there was a firm 10 p.m. curfew that they had to stick to. The curfew meant that “Attitude” was cut from the encore, but it didn’t seem like a monumental loss at all. I heard almost everything I was hoping to hear, and seeing as they appeared to be so excited to be on stage together, it gives me hope that I’ll have the chance to see them again at some point. If you sat at home being critical of the band reuniting, perhaps you need to reconsider your stance on reunions. Great music is always great music and the Misfits made some really great music then and now. I would like nothing more than for them to record some new music together and to tour the globe, so others can have the sort of fun I had last Sunday. If that doesn’t happen, at least I know I was able to witness something Glenn referred to as “historic”, and I feel like that’s a fair word to describe it.

Robert Taylor with the stacks.

The list. (Robert Taylor photo, plus below)