Well, here is my first non guest column for MRR. I guess should write about my highly mystical entry into the mysterious world that is punk rock, but uh, I kind of don’t feel like it? It seems like it’s the hazing ritual for all new columnists here however. I understand the purpose of it, as some kind of introduction to random new columnist’s weird quirks and drunken teenage car park puke- it-up-stories but instead I have decided to write about random things I like about living in San Francisco? Or maybe just random things I like? What about if I just insert a sarcastic comment about the life changing effect Jimmy Pursey had on my life? That would probably be enough right. Or maybe something about walking along the Brighton seafront with Jon from Huggy Bear, in the late 90s of course talking about Jimmy Pursey modeling for Comme Des Garcons, that fashion label. The main thing I am going to use this column for, apart from increasing my street-team-style attempts at getting Golnar an all girl Scandi-beat army (If you want to sign up, are female, AND like Scandinavian hardcore particularly the sounds that emanate from Finland, contact me or Floyd ASAP) …is to outline the rad and inspiring things that are, uh, rad and inspire me? An extended and endless top ten with epic descriptions of the pain and suffering that elevated said things to the ‘rad and inspiring’ heights that they have reached. How am I writing a column about writing a column? So lame. I totally feel like a kid with a paper due though. AT ANY RATE.
One of my favorite musical genres is teenage bedroom/basement music. I interviewed Craig from God is my Co-pilot many years ago, and he was talking about how as a kid in the 70s he had first heard about punk via the written word, ie he read about it before he actually heard any music. When he finally heard the Sex Pistols he was super disappointed because he was expecting something that would shatter music forever, and it was basically just destroyed 50s rocknroll... I guess nowadays in the land of post ironic dudes in flares and douchebag 70s jockrock mustaches who just wanna play bar-rawk’n’roll maaaan the idea of destroying rocknroll is very pleasing to me, and I kind of wish the Sex Pistols had been more sucessful in that regard. I am super sick of gross gentlemen who resemble the jock assholes in Dazed and Confused populating the streets of my town in perpetuality; why do retro hipster people have to dress like the jock jerkoffs and secretary bitches of the past? So weird... but anyway my point was that I like the music that people made in the 70s and early 80s where when you listen to it you get this feeling that they were blown away by the notion of punk, just the idea of total freedom from the rocknroll canon. Obviously a lot of the initial fire and idea of punk came from the rediscovery of the trashed out sounds of 60s garage bands, so most of the intial wave had that as their aesthetic... hence the aforementioned destroyed rocknroll feel. But what I love is the totally insane almost terrifying music, made by the people who would never have played music if the music scene had continued to be dominated by mustached arsewipes in tight pants who wailed their cocaine demons out on their $10,000 guitars or made bassface as they thumped out another 50 year long slap bass solo. Punk was for the people, to paraphrase Patti Smith, the girls and the geeks, the queers and the maladjusted, true outsider music. I like also listening to bands that think they are making ‘normal’ rocknroll but are actually clearly operating using quite different brain chemistry and are quite unable to do ‘normal’ anything at least musically. Below I have detailed a few of my jams, I am not a masterful record nerd and I am sure I have some of the details wrong in regards to some of these records and bands, but I wanted to write about them anyway in my bogus introduction column... because fuck record nerds. Total shitsystem. Right now and always I am consumed by teenage bedroom/basement music. Music that is cohesive in it’s totality, that creates new worlds and that’s exclusive and inclusive too somehow. Like this band made these sounds and you could never do it the way they did but you could definitely do something. And you should.
UNIT 3 were a synth-punk band from LA, featuring their 8 year old daughter Venus on vocals, the UNIT 3+ VENUS 7” ‘Beer’ is perhaps one of creepiest/most awesome 7”s ever. The music kind of reminds me of the SCREAMERS, old synths played to death, with an 8 year old girl intonating over and over “Beer isn’t good for you, I don’t like beer” on the A side and, “Blue is my color...’ on the B side, and somehow making it sound like she’s singing about your future doom. It’s way more disturbing that anything Slayer or any of those Norweigian prison death bands combined have put to tape. Their ‘brother’ band was MAD SOCIETY, which featured an 11 year old boy on vocals, they also have an amazing 7” you should seek out. It’s more straight ahead So Cal punk, but the vocals are fucking terrifying and insane, almost too much to take but fucking great. I met shitworker Shane White because he overheard me talking about UNIT 3 + VENUS and couldn’t believe I had heard of them, he used to go see them all the time apparently... I think they ‘happened’ after the initial LA punk explosion, maybe more in the hardcore bonehead era? Which I think is cool because the way all the art punk people from that first generation of LA punks talk about that later era is as if it was just a million Shawn Sterns beating the shit out of each other, and the idea that this crazy 8 year old girl fronted music existed in tandem with TSOL is fuckin rad.
I can remember the first time I heard the Void side of the Faith/Void split clearly, thinking that it was pretty much the best record ever at the same time as trying to figure out how they sounded so amazing whilst falling apart. I think that is pretty much my favorite kind of hardcore, not many can do it, probably only the Neos 7”s come close... What is it that separates VOID from all the shitty bands that can’t play that have made unlistenable records? I mean Bubba Dupree is pretty much the best name ever in general, and the first two and last two songs on that split are just untouchable. Perfect suburban basement music, rage and frustration that makes no sense and is ridiculous and awesome at the same time. If you know about any other bands in this genre that are not bogus seriously send me tapes! My friend Brett made me a tape of the two RUTTO 7”s, an old Finnish lady fronted punk band who kind of remind me of VOID in some of the above mentioned ways. He called them the Finnish FRUMPIES, I guess because of the screamed out girl vocals, but I think they are more hardcore sounding, the music collapses in on itself, the singer is furious and doesn’t care at the same time. I would totally skate to this.
What else? Well obviously there’s the RAINCOATS the ultimate secret bedroom band, I am sure you have at least herad the first LP?? Total instinctive music that sounds like it had to exist or the band members would surely have expired. Hopefully there will be a feature on the Raincoats/Rough Trade scene in these pages in the next few months. My mum met Gina Birch at a memorial show for our friend Andy who was killed in a bike accident, she remembered her bc my teenage band played the first RAINCOATS reunion show, at any rate the point of that anecdote is that the RAINCOATS are all still best friends, (except for Palmolive who is a crazy Christian,) but how rad is that? I mean the music sounds like it was made by a secret society of girls, and to know that over twenty years later that same secret society still totally hang out together? That makes me psyched to grow old and stay punk. Obviously the Slits peel session and demo totally fall in this category too, I am kind of ambiguous about their reunion, who knows why? They have the daughter of one of the singers from Rip Rig and Panic doing backups, which is kind of cool... That era of music always makes me nostalgic for my childhood, the early 80s in West London were an amazing time to be alive. Or maybe just shorten that to ‘growing up in West London was the best.’ Chasing reggae soundsystems with my friends, skating at all the random 70s bowls, discovering the Rough Trade record shop, the random mix of British working class and Jamaican and Portuguese culture... Before Maggie Thatcher wiped out the dole and attempted to wipe out working class culture entirely and make England a land of upwardly mobile opportunists and speedily sinking desperation on the faces of those who were unable to ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ or whatever...
I kind of get the same sense living in San Francisco, where there are weird old bohemian types who have lived in the same apartment for like 40 years surrounded by an archeology project in the works of books and records... Except I feel like that culture is getting wiped out by straight upfree market yuppie doom merchants. I read this rad interview with PINK SECTION, an old SF punk band from the late 70s that you should totally check out if you like lady fronted punk, where the singer talked about living in an apartment in the North Beach and only having to work one day a month. Can you even imagine?
I guess I meant to write about all the music that has shaped me as a human, and am not sure if I have done that successfully here. I mean I missed out HUGGY BEAR who totally changed my life, Plus there’s the English DIY culture side of teenage bedroom music, bands like the DESPERATE BICYCLES and the HOMOSEXUALS that you can probably check out on those MESSTHETICS comps that Hyped 2Death put out.
Anyway here is an eternal/right now only top ten of falling apart but world creating music:
1-Kraut/Matinee 2- Kikeiji/plastic love 3-Huggy Bear/Rubbing thee Impossible to Burst 7” 4-Void/Faith split 5-Frumpies/ all 7”s 6-Raincoats first LP 7-bedboys/L'Indifferenza Uccide 7” 8-RUTTO 7”s 9- Rappresaglia/Attack 10-Mika Miko demo tape.
Other things I am into right now include: 1-underground cave formations, 2-walking thru Golden Gate Park in the fog to the windiest shittiest but raddest beach, like walking onto the set of a 70s dinosaur sci-fi movie 3-pizza, 4-anne briggs,5- productive summer 06 6-the Townes Van Zandt documentary Be Here to Love Me 7-W.A.S.T.E.D (we all skate til everyone dies= skate summer 06!) 8-Irma Thomas 9-the Eccentric Soul comp 10-Dr Alimantado Best Dressed Chicken In Town LP
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