Monday, February 18, 2019

The Avengers and Mudhoney -- Feb. 9 at The Ritz, San Jose, CA

Mudhoney, top, Avengers, below, in San Jose. (All Andy photos)

By Reject Girl

Shuttered storefronts as all retail dies, one tiny square of toilet paper that comes out of a dispenser in a public toilet, and more rampant fascism everyday equal crummy stuff we have to deal with these days. In a plethoric multitude, many things are constantly changing for the worse. That’s why it’s nice sometimes to go to a show and see bands that have been around a long time and still kill it. 

At this point in your life, you might suffer for 2 days from a hangover and have all kinds of adult crap to worry about, but still seeing 2 amazing bands that have their shit together and are brilliant live is a treat. 

I’m talking about seeing the Avengers and Mudhoney in San Jose on Feb. 9 at The Ritz.  And I don’t mean this in a creepy, cheesy nostalgic trip piece.  You couldn’t pay me to go back to my wasted teen self in the '90s when Mudhoney first appeared on my radar. Definitely though, hands down I would go back in time to 1977 though to see the Avengers and so many other punk rock bands that came out of SF. Who wants to build that time machine?  I’ll race you to a not-shuttered Home Depot to buy some supplies! Stomp on the gas for THAT fucker! We NEED shows and bands like this now more than ever.

The Avengers, featuring original guitarist Greg Ingraham.

From the second Penelope Houston stepped on the stage, great things kicked off. Her voice was as strong and incredible as always, the band tight and locked.

With the very sad passing of James Calvin Wilsey, the original bass player, in December, I’ve been going back and listening to the pink album a lot lately. Those songs were so good, which they played nearly all of in their set, opening with “We Are the One.”  With Danny Furious on drums and Wilsey on bass, and Penelope’s vocals, they wrote great songs and the live stuff is awesome. He isn’t the drummer now, they have the drummer from Pansy Division, who has serious wattage.

The punk rock that came out of SF was all so different and stood out, and the Avengers were no exception. “We Are the one,” their first EP, was released on Dangerhouse in 1977. Thus was their only release while the band was together, with Avengers aka the pink album released in 1983, compiled by Danny Furious. It was out of print forever, although at one point Penelope sold it through her website. Hearing those songs brought to life is always worth it.

The Avengers and Mudhoney playing a show together was perfect. “Car Crash,” “Second to None” and “The End of the World” were all excellent. Of course they closed with “The American in Me,” which is never a bad thing. “Paint it Black” was loud and a crescendo. It was a great set. God bless the Avengers. That’s all I can say. 

A trio of Mudhoney pics.

Mudhoney. These guys have been killing it since 1989. Frontman Mark Arm and guitarist Steve Turner were first in Green River in 1984. Two members of that band went on to be in another famous Seattle band I shall not mention...Mudhoney has trudged it out over the years putting out really good records with well-written songs. 

They opened the set that night with “Into the Drink,” full of fuzz and noise, which was perfect. Mudhoney was loud and raging for nearly 2 hours, as they played “Hey Neanderfuck,” one of my faves, and also “Judgement, Rage, Retribution, and Thyme,” and a total highlight of the evening, “FDK”, both from 1995’s excellent “My Brother the Cow Album.” 

At one point, the guitar tech moved Mark’s pedals out of the way and he became Iggy personified in stance, just taller: singing, which was a treat.  Total Stooges influence apparent. Mark Arm also plays slide in a super destructive manner, which adds to their overall distorted sound. 

Besides lots of punk rock, it’s obvious Mudhoney were influenced by '70s rock, given that they are from the Pacific Northwest and their age. You gotta keep in mind they most likely had an ear to the ground before punk happened, aka 1977.

“Paranoid Core,” “Touch Me I’m Sick” and “Suck You Dry” were also included.  It was a great set really spanning all of their albums. “21st Century Pharisees” was pre-encore, ending with Mark Arm’s screaming and at times guttural vox, along with Steve Turner’s guitar feedback. The band was tight as hell, with Dan Peters pounding away all night on drums -- he is one underrated drummer, in my opinion. Bass player Guy Maddison also delivered, really interacting with us in the front and bringing out all the bass in the songs. Original bassist Matt Lukin left in 2001. 

“Prosperity Gospel” from 2018’s “Digital Garbage” album and earlier, also from the same record’s opener, “Nerve Attack” were also amazing. They have never put out an album that sucked. They have kept it going without disappointment, and it was clear at the show. The guys closed that night with covers of Fang’s “The Money Will Roll Right In” and The Dicks’ “Hate the Police,” which they are known for doing. It ruled. 

Mudhoney set the fazer on destroy that night and succeeded. I was happy to be part of the wreckage, and I think the rest of the audience that night would probably agree.

Reject Girl has been a dj since 1996 at KFJC 89.7 FM in Los Altos Hills, CA. She loves punk rock, especially the old-school stuff, spinning and collecting vinyl, and going to punk rock gigs where noisy destruction is the MO.

***Extra shots, Mudhoney in color and the Avengers in BW:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Chip Kinman gets The Dils back in action

Chip Kinman and The Dils. (Martin Wong photo)

By Andy

So, The Dils -- a longtime favorite of the There's Something Hard in There staff -- bashed their way back onto the scene last month. Fronted by Chip Kinman and rounded out by a pair of dynamic lads in their early 20s, they performed at a benefit for Save Music in Chinatown at the Grand Star Jazz Club in Los Angeles alongside the Alley Cats, Rhino 39 and Neko Neko.

A day later, they trekked down to San Diego -- not far from where Chip and his brother Tony (RIP) got things rolling in Carlsbad some four decades ago -- to knock some tunes out again at the Casbah Club. Tony passed away from cancer at age 63 in May of 2018.

Next up on the docket are gigs at The Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver, BC, on April 5 and at Alex's Bar in Long Beach on March 16 with Mike Watt and the Missingmen, Tex and the Horseheads and The Last.

The Vancouver gig will be a tribute to Tony and will also feature Three O'Clock Train, Wasted Strays, Ron Reyes and more. The bands will perform songs by Three O'Clock Train, Ford Madox Ford, Cowboy Nation, Blackbird, Rank and File and The Dils.

I spoke with Chip in 2018 about his career in music and checked in with him again via email regarding The Dils' activities.

***How did the Dils shows come about?

Ford Madox Ford was offered a show for the Casbah's 30th anniversary in San Diego. Our drummer wasn't available so my son, Giuliano, guitar player for Ford Madox Ford, suggested The Dils play the show!

***Who's idea was it to play and who else is in the band besides you? 

For 40 years, I've been saying no to a Dils show, so I figured 40 years of no is a good reason to say yes. Giuliano Scarfo plays drums; he's only been playing for about 2 months - PERFECT! His childhood friend, Brian Melendez, plays bass. They're both 23 years old, and that's important for obvious reasons.

***Had you and Tony ever talked about reforming? 

No. It didn't make sense because we were always making new music. We never really looked back.

***Why is now a good time to do this? 

A couple of days before Tony died, he told me, "you can rattle my bones." So it felt like he wanted me to do it and I had his blessing.

***How did the shows go and what were the reactions from attendees? 

The shows went great! Sold out and the crowds were a mix of old and young punks. Everybody knew the songs and the band was simply shambolic and stratospheric. Giuliano and Brian can really play punk rock... it is a young man's game, after all.

***How did you feel being up there singing those songs? I'm sure Tony's spirit was flowing through you and in the air....

It certainly was. A large portion of the audience were wearing the Tony 19 "We do as we please" T-shirt, and that was nice to see. It feels great playing these songs. It's always a good idea to go back to basics.

***What's next?

Omnivore Records is putting out a compilation of unreleased Chip and Tony songs from all of our bands; Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird, Cowboy Nation. There is a live Ford Madox Ford record coming out. I'll be putting out a Chip Kinman solo record - can't mention the label yet. Doing an exhibition of all the flyers I've made over the last 42 years and playing shows!

The Dils setlist from the LA gig. Featuring Brian Eno, Zeros and Velvet Underground covers.