Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Living-room rock: 1984 style

Kurt, left, and Andy live at Redondo.

By Andy

Senior year, beer and a living room waiting to be rocked.

That’s how things rolled on a Saturday night in Redondo Beach, Calif., sometime in 1984. John’s parents were gone for the weekend and a bunch of friends were on the way to partake in some partying.

We had spent the day bashing out some songs written on the spot in the garage and figured, let’s rip into ‘em for that evening’s entertainment. Let’s bring those punked-up jam-session anthems into the area where the older folks usually discussed the topics of the day and kids did their homework. Maybe the Christmas tree stood in the corner at one point.

Well, we were there to put our stamp on that room, crank the amps up and blow some life into that space.

I’m sure we weren’t the best band on the block, but who cares? A live group and some beer make things just right in my book. And we probably started to sound alright — even awesome — when many beers went down the hatches of our guests. I’d like to think so, anyway. (And yes, there was at one time, another band in John’s neighborhood; he played bass with ‘em and I sang their cover of “Drastic Actions” by Bad Religion.)

On this night, John hammered on his four string, I tried my best to make the guitar sound decent and Kurt — who cruised over after working his shift at the local market — yelled through an LA Kings megaphone that John grabbed from his bedroom. Did we have a drummer? I can’t recall. It’s all a blur now, but I know it was a blast.

That living room was our concert hall. The night was ours.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

After 38 years, 7 Seconds hangs up their boots

Cat Rose photo from Seattle in 2014

"I've made friends and bonded with people over 7 Seconds tunes and lyrics ... and I've argued with people over the hardcore versus rock tunes. But in the end, we always agreed that 7 Seconds is a vital band -- and a formidable crew."

— Andy, There's Something Hard in There 2014 story

And now, the band has exited the punk-rock slam pit, according to leader Kevin Seconds' Facebook post on March 20 ... Farewell to -- 38 years.

Here's Kevin's words (on behalf of the entire band):

I had hoped to never ever have to make this announcement.

In fact, I vowed to never do it because, in my heart of hearts, I figured that, as long as Steve, Troy, Bobby and I love playing our songs for people and as long as we are physically and mentally healthy, 7 Seconds would probably just go on forever until we couldn’t anymore.

None of us ever wanted to make a ‘we quit’ announcement to our friends and fans.

None of us ever wanted to do reunion tours or comeback albums.

Well shit....

I’m here to very sadly and regretfully announce that the band is officially calling it a day and will not be doing any more playing shows or touring in the future.

First and foremost, our brother and drummer Troy Mowat has a fractured C-6 vertebrae and a torn rotator cuff and has struggled with some nerve damage in his neck and wrists for some time.

All of this causes him tremendous pain and greatly affects his stamina and mobility.

He basically needs to stop playing drums, at least, for the foreseeable future.

Besides that, our brother and bassist Steve Youth continues to struggle with his own medical issues, most notably, blindness in his left eye due to cataracts which has contributed to bouts of of depression and anxiety and is affecting every aspect of his personal life.

He has also greatly struggled to maintain his sobriety since the death of he and I’s mother in December 2016 and is currently seeking detox/recovery help.

So basically, we’re a great big and old punk rock mess and the 4 of us can’t really find a way to clean ourselves up or work around the rubble enough to play out as a live band....

Those who have worked closely with us or who have followed us throughout our 38 years know how dysfunctional we can be but we always managed to pull our shit together at just the right time.

This time around, the reality of being middle-aged, working class, not terribly relevant and not being able to bounce back from injuries and personal problems has become a weight just too great for us to bear and all signs finally point to retirement.

No more band member replacements or even temporary fill-ins.

7Seconds is Steve, Troy, Bobby and Kev.

Pretty much always has been and will be.

Admittedly, 2 years shy of a 40 year anniversary has me feeling a little down but there are more important things than milestones and the health of my band brothers and family trumps everything else at this point.

When the time came, I never wanted for us to do a big retirement tour but I had hoped we could at least have a big hometown (Reno) show before we took ourselves out.

That’s not going to happen.

We’ve informed our amazing and longtime booking agents - Margie/Do It Booking in the U.S. and Snoopy/M.A.D. in Europe - that we’re officially done which means, first and foremost, that we won’t be able to do our last Punk Rock Bowling show in May or our Europe run in June.

There is so much more to say and so many people we’d love to thank but for right now, that’s it.

We’re done.

We love and thank each and everyone of you for everything.

Kev, Steve, Troy and Bobby of 7Seconds

Monday, March 19, 2018

DOA’s Joe Keithley running for Burnaby, BC mayor’s seat

Joe Keithley live with DOA. (Cat Rose photo)

In the latest punk and politics news, DOA’s Joe Keithley has announced via his Instagram page that he’s jumping into the ring for his local mayor’s seat. Perhaps his slogan should be Hardcore ’18.

Here’s his statement:

“Today I'm letting people know that I am running to be the Mayor of Burnaby, my hometown. I am running for the Burnaby Civic Green Party. I am going to fight for grassroots democracy where everybody's voice is heard! I will put a stop to the heartless Demovictions that are a disgrace to Burnaby, BC and Canada. The Burnaby Greens will work towards making Burnaby a greener and more sustainable city. We will also do whatever it takes to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion.”

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Holy Grove makes a 'Safe Return' to Seattle | Cat Rose photos

Holy Grove, top, and below. (All Cat Rose photos)

It's always a solid time when our friends Holy Grove come to town, and this past Friday in Seattle was just about as good as it gets -- on and off the stage.

Once they plug in, the intensity grows as each King Kong-sized riff growls in your ears. Andrea's gut-wrenching vocals take you on a journey through a full range of emotions and along the path to your own personal Valhalla.

Holy Grove ranks high on the must-see list -- we believe you'll be better off for it.

Sharing the stage at the Substation in Ballard were Into the Storm, Black Bone Exorcism and Oceans Fade.

Catch Holy Grove on the road:

MAR 18
Old Nick's Pub
Eugene, OR

MAR 19
Jub Jub's Thirst Parlor
Reno, NV

MAR 20
The Dive Bar
Las Vegas, NV

MAR 21
The Tower Bar
San Diego, CA

MAR 22
5 Star Bar
Los Angeles, CA

MAR 23
Caravan Lounge
San Jose, CA

MAR 24
Cooper's Ale Works
Nevada City, CA

MAR 25
Blue Lamp Sacramento
Sacramento, CA

Cat Rose photos:




Sunday, March 11, 2018

From The Dils to Ford Madox Ford, Chip Kinman is keeping it real | Interview

Ford Madox Ford with Chip Kinman in the middle. (Courtesy of Chip Kinman)

By Andy 

Be real. Be honest. Be glad you weren't a fuck-up.

Those are words of wisdom that Chip Kinman has to offer at age 60 while reminiscing about his uncompromising past and present musical efforts -- which tread both rambunctious and tamer paths -- and his live-to-the-fullest existence.

On a recent Sunday morning from the confines of his home in Burbank, Calif., Kinman's voice shot out over the phone with edgy and passionate sparks and feelings that placed you right alongside the man on his journey through The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird, Cowboy Nation -- and now his punk-rocked blues outfit Ford Madox Ford.

After taking some time off from playing in a serious band and to get married, Kinman returned with Ford Madox Ford in 2016.

His wife said, "Make a record, do it, it's in you, it's what you are. So, I did, yeah!" he noted. "I'm not really trying to make it, cuz I've already made it. I've made it on my own terms.

"It feels really good. It's an interesting point in life. (Brother) Tony and I, we've never been like the reunion kind of guys. I don't think anyone who listened to The Dils said, 'Man, I can't wait til these guys are 70, this shit's gonna be really good.' Man, I just can't imagine that," he added with infectious laughter.

So, the guitarist/vocalist has started anew with Ford Madox Ford -- which recently released its debut album, "This American Blues," on Porterhouse Records  -- and he's just as fired up as ever, especially since he feels he's still got something to offer.

Although Tony is not a member of the band with his younger brother like was in the Kinmans' former groups, he contributed to the album in the producer's role.

"It's OK not having him on stage. I know he's there in spirit and I always kind of carry that around with me. I just can't discard the Chip-and-Tony thing, and plus I've still got a relative in the band, Dewey Peek is my son, so it's still a family affair," Chip said of the 21-year-old guitarist. The band also includes S. Scott Aguero on drums and Matt Littell on bass.

Throughout their career, the Kinmans delved into songs in the punk, country, synth-noise and cowboy veins, and now the blues are in Chip's blood.

"I don't think the record is necessarily unprecedented, like it's a whole new direction of the blues, but it's real, it's good, and I think I've carved out my own little space," he said. "Just to do it is rewarding, whatever happens after you do it that's completely out of my hands."

Ford Madox Ford. (Deb Morrison-Littell photo)

It's an autobiographical record and Kinman hopes a song like "Dark American Night" can connect with listeners, "cuz it's kind of about America at the crossroads, certainly where we're at."

He added about his songwriting process:

"I try to keep it succinct and to the point, because if you're gonna be writing about your life, you better have a fucking interesting life. If you want anyone to listen to it. So a lot of it really came from the inside -- I dug down deep to make the record. It may be a flop, but it won't be a failure."

Kinman stressed that he didn't want to make a record that sounded like an old guy trying to recapture his past. The Carlsbad, Calif., native feels he's successfully continued his musical movement from the early days to the present with Ford Madox Ford.

Although it must be odd for Peek to be playing in a band with his dad, Kinman said that it's strengthened their relationship and he's glad to have welcomed his smart and talented son into the fold.

"Because he's a great player, because he has good instincts, that's why he's there. I'm not trying to just give him a handout. I believe in him, I believe what he's brought to the band is good and important. I'm really proud of him," Kinman said of Peek.

Kinman said the other guys are fun to be around, too, as is evidenced in their gigs and a cross-Canada tour -- which began with a grueling but laughter-filled drive from Burbank to Montreal -- last summer.

Peek has added a dose of humor to the situation with Kinman forming this new band 60 years into his life and 41 years after The Dils blasted their political punk onto the scene.

"He calls all the old-guy bands 'black T-shirt bands.' And I really didn't wanna make the 'black T-shirt band' record, cuz I've heard some contemporary... and I won't bother to name... but it just sounds like, 'Well, you're kind of trying to play like you used to, but you're kind of not doing it, so what's the point, you know?' Do something real, and that's what I do," Kinman said.

That's not to say that he's not giving a nod to the bands that influenced him during his life. Groups like the Who, New York Dolls and others are part of his lyrical reference points that crept into the record with the line, "The kids are absolutely not alright," and on the song "Images of My Generation."

Kinman's having a blast playing shows, reconnecting with people and sharing stages with old friends like the Dream Syndicate and newer bands.

"Plus, I still love turning that amp up and going for it," he said.

Tony was an invaluable wizard in helping the guys put the album together and he's even played a song or two with them at gigs.

"Tony's got great ears and he's really smart and he's got a really clear vision. He was able to get to the real performance. Tony's always been brutally honest with me: one of his most famous quotes is, at rehearsal once, we played a song, and he said, 'Well, Chip, that was pretty good, now make it sound like music.' Oh, my god," Chip said, laughing away again, and adding that after Peek laid down 15 guitar tracks, Tony would remember exactly where the top ones were on the tape that best connected with the song and implemented them into the Ford Madox Ford musical landscape.

Tony, left, and Chip Kinman, right, with Ford Madox Ford. (Courtesy of Chip Kinman)

So what about the band name? Kinman has never read the English novelist's books (he lived from 1873-1939), but saw him unkindly mentioned while he was reading Ernest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast."

"That's a fucking cool name, who names their kid Ford Ford?" he said. "It just kind of stuck with me and when it came time to name the band, in the grand tradition of bands named after people, there it is, Ford Madox Ford."

I noted that it's almost guaranteed that no band will ever double up on that moniker, so they're solid in that department, as we both chuckled.


From "I Hate the Rich" with The Dils to "Amanda Ruth" with Rank and File and beyond, the Kinmans have dug their hands into copious musical styles.

They've also maintained a tight relationship that would make most brother bandmates envious. Their musical and personal trek is far from perfect, but it's been, well, real and honest (certainly worth a repeat mention in this context).

"We've had our ups and downs -- a few guitar smashes over each other's heads, that sort of thing (laughs), but nothing too radical," Chip said. "Cuz we had a vision and we really enjoy playing with each other, so our relationship's always been good. Nothing really weird, no weird Everly Brothers stuff or those guys in Oasis. We've always been close."

On growing up in Carlsbad:

"Before we started playing music together, of course I was always his little brother, you know he kind of didn't want anything to do with me. But when we started playing music, he realized in Carlsbad there was really only like 4 or 5 people who liked the same kind of music -- who liked David Bowie and the New York Dolls and the Velvet Underground -- so we kind of gravitated toward each other. We weren't into Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan and that bullshit."

The Dils. (Courtesy of Chip Kinman)

The Dils

"With The Dils, it was full speed ahead (like other punk bands), it was a lifestyle, that's all we did. You woke up, it wasn't like I'm gonna wake up and I'm not in The Dils until I go to rehearsal, I'm not in The Dils until I go to a show. You woke up and you're in The Dils. We lived in San Francisco, so it was really easy to have the feeling of revolution inside you -- musical, cultural and otherwise. Everything was new: the smell of roasting coffee was new, pesto was new, beatniks and poets who still lived in North Beach, that was new, Chinatown, all of that was new and all of that added to the sense of (cultural) revolution, like moving forward and this is real and I'm a young man and this is what I'm supposed to be doing. And that gave everything a real sense of urgency, a real sense of getting it done. And that lasted us for about a thousand nights, about three years and that was it. You always gotta know when to leave the party, and that's the trick."

Chip with Rank and File. (Courtesy of Chip Kinman)

Rank and File

After Tony decided to cease playing music, Chip moved to New York and started Rank and File. They soon moved to Austin, Texas, in 1980 and got Tony back in the game as their bassist.

"It was kind of the same thing, we were on a mission and we decided well, let's play country music. We heard a radicalness in Merle Haggard and Lefty Frizzell and Waylon Jennings that really appealed to our musical radicalness," he said.

They felt Austin was a good place to incubate, at first.

"We were welcomed with open arms and then were asked to get out of town," said Chip, noting that the Austin punk scene was very insular, and to the hardcore set, country music was the enemy, wasn't hip. "So we had a bit of a struggle, and luckily, a couple things went our way and we ended up on Slash Records."

They fought through some adversity to carve their own identity and reap success: "It was something different and something that set us apart, and Tony and I were always about that."

The rest

After Rank and File ran its course, the Kinmans started Blackbird, a two-member noise band with machines. Chip recalls a Los Angeles Times writer scribbling that Blackbird was either genius music or career suicide.

It turned out to be a bit of both, Chip said, adding, "Blackbird was a lot of fun, it was super loud -- it was such a barrage of noise and sound."

Cowboy Nation was next on their plate, an acoustic band with a snareless drummer. It was serious cowboy music in the John Ford vein. No fancy outfits or three-part harmonies necessary.

All Chip's bands have been fun and important to him and others at the time, he said.

And now, we're in the here and now, with Chip happily blazing away with Ford Madox Ford and welding his past and present together.

Kinman said he's acquired some wisdom over the decades and sees his life in the fullness of time.

If you can firmly grab "everything you do -- your relationships and your passion, if that happens to be music or whatever, writing blogs, then you can always hold your head up."

Chip, then and now. (Courtesy of Chip Kinman)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Thanks for letting us come over, Buffalo Tom

Buffalo Tom shred in Seattle. (All Cat Rose photos)

By Andy

As I walked into my pal Sean’s place sometime in 1992, he simply said, “Hey,” and flipped a CD my way. He knew I’d dig it.

He was right, of course, and soon the sounds of Buffalo Tom’s superb new offering, “Let Me Come Over,” were blanketing our ears and it would have taken a hammer and chisel to eliminate the grin that was plastered to my face.

I had some cassettes in my backpack, snatched one out of there and proceeded to tape the record for further inspection on my headphones back at my abode. It’s safe to say that “Let Me Come Over” would be a mainstay on my listening list for many years to come. It still is today, in CD form, and it still pricks up my ears and gives my mind a whirl like it did back at Sean’s pad all those years ago.

The musicianship and insightful lyrics are stunning and have helped lead me along life’s unpredictable road at times. Tour guides and faithful companions all in one.

Openers "Staples" and "Taillights Fade" still produce shivers.

I brought Cat along for the Buffalo Tom ride and we — along with Sean and others in our cool-music coterie — witnessed them live in San Francisco a few times. Upper-echelon shows, for sure.

So, 26 years later, there we were — Cat, myself and longtime fan Robyn — revisiting that old reliable friend, “Let Me Come Over,” played in its entirety during the second set of the band’s visit to Seattle’s Neumos club on Thursday. (The first set featured a smattering of old tunes like "Sunflower Suit," "Birdbrain," "Sodajerk" and more, plus a song or two from the band’s new “Quiet and Peace” release.)

Singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz was literally jumping out of his skin during the gig, which was drenched with energy and emotion from both band and fans. Bassist/vocalist Chris Colbourn at times gently swayed to the tunes, and at other moments swung his fist at the strings and leaned toward the crowd. Drummer Tom Maginnis kept the whole deal together with precise beats along with a satisfied grin — just like mine back in ’92 when Sean brought Buffalo Tom into my life.

Cat Rose photos: