Friday, December 22, 2023

How Minor Threat shaped a young punk's life

Your scribe in 1982. (TSHIT archives)

By Andy

And just like that, another crucial piece of my persona arrives at the front door.

For the last 42 years, critical and life-altering musical offerings from Dischord Records have been wedging their way into my sturdy hands via the United States Postal Service. Whether it's from the mail carriers in Redondo Beach, San Jose or Seattle, I'm always thrilled to have a fresh record from Washington, DC, in my company so I can slot it into the ever-growing collection.

This time, it's another Minor Threat seven-inch EP, the three-song "Out of Step Out Takes," which were recorded by the band's powerhouse five-piece lineup in 1983. Hell, they were already as raucous and formidable as they come, but the fiver action took them to an even higher echelon of the hardcore scene.

While I fully embraced the stunning, raw, belligerent and thought-provoking songs that were being heaved my way on the early EPs, the "Out of Step" journey was an even further satisfying one. It was definitely more power-packed on the musical front (including slices of melody paired with the dual guitaristry) and more personal and relatable than before in the lyrical realm. 

"Out of Step" locked in just right for me as a junior in high school. I thought everyone should hear it since it was one of the most essential records that had ever crossed my punk path. I told guitarist Lyle Preslar so, and received an affirmative nod of the head from him at a gig at the Rollerworks venue in Chatsworth, CA, in 1983. I tried to get non-punk schoolmates on board with the record because I thought it had musical elements that they would appreciate, but had miniscule success. One time at a party, I popped an "Out of Step" tape into the stereo and was stoked to hear it blasting throughout the house. That lasted about two minutes, but at least I gave it a shot, right? Always give it a stab, I say.

So, when firing up the stereo on a recent day to listen to previously unheard versions of "Filler" and "In My Eyes," along with "Addams Family" (part of which made it onto "Out of Step" to close out "Cashing In"), I was riveted. New but old -- and always a treat to have some Minor Threat careening off the walls. My parents probably weren't happy with all the hollering literally barging through my bedroom door back then, both from Ian MacKaye and myself singing along, of course, but that was me beginning to make my way in the world. 

Minor Threat and copious other bands were my tour guides to growing up, speaking up and telling people exactly what I thought of them and learning to deal with tough situations. They had a massive effect on me then and still do to this day. Listening to them now still makes me boil over inside about what irks me in this world, but also gives me the confidence to attack the day and make the most of it. (I often find myself shouting inside, "What the fuck have you done?!" and other Minor Threat lines when traversing my life path alongside those lame-os that I cannot relate to.)

My wife, Cat, is right there with me on the Minor Threat lyrical and musical assault and we often crank their records while playing darts or pool and are still amazed at what that band unleashed and accomplished during its three-year existence. Early on in our relationship, Minor Threat was surely one of the key bands we spun on the turntable and its records will always be close at hand come tune time. 

Minor Threat also provided bonding experiences with others who "got it." I think of those people often and they came barreling back into my mind when the needle hit the groove on the new release. 

My brother, Ed, of course, gets top billing for bringing punk records into our home, connecting us with Henry Rollins and lighting a fire in me to tag along with Ed and his buddies at gigs. Sure, I got pummeled witnessing bands up front in the war zone, but was also able to share the mic with MacKaye in person at several chaotic and mind-bending Minor Threat gigs. 

Pal Mike journeyed with me while he wheeled his Camaro to an epic gig in San Diego in 1982 that featured Minor Threat, Husker Du, Battalion of Saints and Men of Clay. BATS six-string shredder Chris Smith (RIP) will always reside in my mind for informing me about that show a few weeks earlier after they ripped it up at Bob's Place in LA. The Minor Threat sticker on my flannel caught Smith's eye, so I'm fortunate that my outfit came in handy that night.

My friend since high school, John, was always there with a smile when we blasted records by Minor Threat, Negative Approach, SS Decontrol, Articles of Faith, Die Kreuzen and heaps more in our bedrooms and patiently awaited for the weekend to come so we could attend wild gigs and chat with band members to see what was happening in their scenes. We were quiet guys, but we became more outgoing by taking an immense step in the social direction. 

My dad, mom and sister -- Ed, Ginger and Kristin -- always encouraged us to be ourselves and carve our own path in life, whether it be in the punk realm or wherever we roamed. Dad gets serious props for coming to the rescue when our yellow Gremlin crapped out on the way to a Minor Threat gig in '82 in the San Fernando Valley and handing off the keys to our green VW van so that Ed and I could make the gig. After learning of that story later in life, MacKaye said my dad was a good dude for letting us travel forth on the 405. Dad also drove me to a Husker gig in '83 in Huntington Park, met the Husker guys out front and gave them the nod of approval to get me home in one piece that night.

And we mustn't forget the tumultuous Minor Threat Dancing Waters show in 1982 that had us all piling on top of the stage to squeeze every ounce of energy out of that night. Chriso, Doug, Mike, Kevin, Hank, Marla and others will spout forth wide-eyed recollections of that evening, for sure, and there's a live tape to prove how gnarly things got within the walls of the San Pedro venue. My boldness level was off the charts that night as I was determined to position myself near the action. Small I may be, but I crammed myself right in there. Never be denied. 

A few years back, my friend Erin's daughter asked me while we all dined at the fabulous Cha Cha Cha in San Francisco what it was like to observe Minor Threat in the live setting, and I happily described the intense and visceral experiences that have firmly stuck with me to this day. 

Minor Threat is an imperative part of my being, and they've certainly brought out the best in me.

Ian and Lyle from 1982 at Dancing Waters in San Pedro, CA. (Mark Acosta photo)

Minor Threat San Diego '82 setlist. (TSHIT archives)

Monday, December 18, 2023

The Kids, Tommy & The Commies and Clean Lines in Seattle / Cat Rose photos

The Kids in Seattle. (All Cat Rose photos)

By Andy

Yes, this is rock n' roll (!) the way it should be hammered out on a Friday evening at the Clock-Out Lounge in Seattle.

Led by Belgium's The Kids (class of '76), the punk n' roll extravaganza on Dec. 8 also featured solid rippers Tommy & The Commies from Canada and Clean Lines from our own Emerald City.

On The Kids front, Ludo Mariman (guitar, vocals) has plugged away with the band from the start and Luc van de Poel (guitar) entered the fray in '78. In 2012, Ief Vanlommel joined on bass and Tim Jult wedged himself behind the drum kit.

What a fuckin' brilliant night it was! The band and crowd rocked and rolled, fists in the air, voices raised in full during The Kids' raucous set. We're already awaiting their return to our city of supreme rockness.

Here's a plethora of Cat Rose photos from the gig:




Thursday, December 7, 2023

Brujeria leads the pack in Seattle/ Cat Rose photos

Brujeria in Seattle. (All Cat Rose photos)

When you require some metal, grindcore and Tex-Mex punk to get copious heads a-bangin' and grins a-flowin' on a Friday night, you, of course, dial up Brujeria, Piñata Protest, No/Mas and Rat King. It's a no brainer, right? Substation in Seattle was the place to be on Dec. 1 for the rip-roaring festivities. Things were raging on stage and in the pit for this one. We even spotted a trio of dudes engaging in their required stretches before the gig to get in tip-top shape for the madness to come. 

Here's some killer Cat Rose photos from the evening: