Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fum Fum Fum

In “strictly business, business never personal, I’m housin’ news,” last month was the first month in which we completely sold out of the magazine. That’s right, we have not a single copy of #307, AKA the December issue, left. We sold out on the day we got it, after shipping out all the subscriptions and distro orders. You can still get the issue from our distributors, (maybe try Last Gasp, or No Idea or if you do not live in the USA check out page 5, which lists all of our international distros) or from your local punk rock emporium (Vinyl Conflict, Extreme Noise to name a couple) or maybe try a newsstand near you. One of the reasons we are out of the issue is that a few larger scale distributors picked us up. So hopefully that will mean you can find the mag with ease at your local news mart.
In further MRR-related news we need scene reports. Write one! Right now!
Now! ONTO THE FASCINATING SHIT THAT I HAVE TO SAY THIS MONTH. In a top ten format! Bear in mind all of this was written with the Cro-Mags “Show You No Mercy” going through my brain on repeat. I think I have had this song in my head for over a week at this point. I am not sure if it’s a problem or what the cure is.

1. Right now I feel kind of INSANE as a result of eating a slice of pie for lunch and then some magical bar/cookie thing that our new distro coordinator Diane made for an extra nutritional dinner. Seriously since she has gotten here she has made some delicious cookie related treat almost every day, so in honor of the continuation of this most excellent tradition I am saluting Diane. (Feel free to sing that Husker Du song, though I have a feeling she hates it as much as I hate the song written by my nemesis Eric “slow hands” Crap-tron that features my name. Can you imagine a lifetime of being sung to by kreepy old dudes; ‘You got me on my knees Laylerrrrrrr’? I do not have to imagine this; I get to experience it on a frequency that would numb your brains.) Anyway, Diane gets the number one spot for being a rad human, making cookies, eating rice a roni, and riding SF hills on a track bike, but being nervous about driving our shitty Volvo over those said same hills. Plus she has broken the coordinator curse and actually goes to shows all the time and is already playing music with a bunch of people. The back cover of this magazine was art directed by our combined brains, natural disasters, punks, armageddon, apocalypse, know how we do.

2. My favorite record right now is the all California, all collected from cassette tape edition of Killed By Death, number 13 to be exact. It’s all killer no filler, which for compilation LPs is a rare feat, and the variety of punk covered ranges from post-Adolescents-Agnew-brother-radness (Der Stab) to the drag queen punk act, the Wasp Women, the stars of Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? featured in this very issue. How good a name is that for a punk band by the way? The Wasp Women emerged from the famed Angels of Light drag troupe, which was itself a splinter group from the Cockettes. I believe a dispute started because the Cockettes wanted to start charging for their show and the Angels wanted it to be free. Anyway there’s a pretty cool movie about the Cockettes you should check out for further investigative purposes. I guess in punk rock terms Tomata Du Plenty of the Screamers is the most renowned name associated with that whole scene, but if you investigate further you will uncover more secret histories. The Wasp Women song on the aforementioned compilation is entitled “Kill Me” and is a synth driven drama fest with a definite KBD feel (stating thee obvious but it’s true...) apparently featuring a member of No Alternative in the backing band. I have heard rumors that we have a complete Wasp Women tape somewhere in the vaults here, but I have a feeling it’s just a live recording from the movie. Other stand outs, for me at least, on this record are Castration Squad, a rad all girl band from LA that I guess at some point featured Alice Bag, Dinah Cancer from 45 Grave, Elissa from the Go-Gos, Phranc from Nervous Gender, and the woman who played Tanya Hearst in Desperate Teenage Lovedolls. And they only put out a tape??!! Huh? If anyone has a copy of this they would dub for me I would be super psyched. There’s a bit about them with rad fliers and an amazing manifesto on Alice Bag’s website ( Also dug the Blowdriers and the Tanks, in terms of rad lady punk, but seriously folks all songs rule on this... My only question is why is it that the best California demo in the MRR tape box is not on this comp? It’s by Juvinil Justice, who were featured in the first issue of MRR...Hmmm!
3. Sheer Smegma – Audio Suicide 7", AKA Teddy and the Frat Girls. This is the sound of total over the edge end times music, it’s not no-wave, there are no “waves” on this motherfucker. I did a little internet research and discovered that this was a family affair—some of the lyrics were written by a 13-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl for what was their mom’s band. Apparently the rest of the line up consisted of a 16-year-old girl on vox, a 20-year-old former debutante along with the wife of someone from the Eat. They hailed from early-’80s Florida and on that note when you hear this you’ll wanna cut your ears off and get a new pair or at least form a band. It’s the sound of bats turning themselves inside out. Or something. It’s obviously on another level to most music...
4. Seems Twice – Non-plussed 7". The Australian Urinals? It’s easily as rad and as uncatagorizable, got the same knowing/innocent combination, that simple yet fucked up quality to the music. What do you say about what may be the most perfect 7" heard this year so far?? Unfortunately it’s a two hundred dollar record. Someone needs to reissue this pronto.
5. Trying to play something from the We Got Power comp on the radio, and being told that the initial MRR review stated that this very act I was attempting was bound to be near impossible... 20 songs on each side! I wanted to play the Tar Babies but I think I played Mecht Mensch instead, shit happens yo.
6. The Death LP is finally getting released! And we are setting up an interview with the band for MRR. A while back I was consumed by this song “Keep On Knocking” that I’d heard via one of those collector scum MP3 blog-type deals. It was by a mysterious African-American proto-punk band from Detroit circa ’74. The music sounds like Detroit looks—crumbling factories, hard edged urban detritus—it totally captures a moment in time, a feeling, and it’s fucking rad. It’s not “punk” like a Ramones record is. It’s punk like a more street version of the MC5, meaning it’s genuinely exciting to listen to. I think proto punk as a phrase is thrown around a little too carelessly, used to describe music that is straight-up rock ’n’ roll in some cases. But Death is punk sounding. It sounds like the music that would score a riot or a car chase. When you listen to it you feel like something is going on, if that makes sense. It’s just got this rad, alive-yet-tense quality to it—total headphones music obviously.The rest of the LP is equally awesome, and I can’t wait to see what the packaging is gonna look like and to talk to the band.
7. Putting together this issue has been pretty exhausting. I did a lot of the interviews, transcribed them, edited them, and laid ’em out too, alongside all the other shit that coordinating MRR entails. But I am pretty fuckin psyched on it. It’s been super fun watching and rewatching all the classic and obscure punk movies mentioned within. We busted out a few soundtrack LPs and listened to many versions of “Richard’s Hung Himself,” ascertaining that the best version is on that Adolescents demos LP that came out a few years back. In more Agnew related ephemera, I am genuinely bummed that we do not have a copy of Rikk Agnew’s solo LP, All By Myself, in the collection. I first got into this record whilst living in Orange County, looking after my sick Grandma just after I graduated from college. Moving from where I went to school, a small coastal college town in the UK to the OC, was kind of a brutal transition. Riding my bike ’round town whilst listening to “OC life is not the life for me / Stupid little chicks and egotistic boys...” definitely helped.
8. V/A – Esta Sucia Cuidad Tape (Cintes Podrides) When Invasion were in town (not playing shows unfortunately) we got given these tapes, and I just got ’round to listening to mine, which was clearly a stupid move because this shit rules. Seriously another case where there isn’t a shitty band on the tape. So in short, Spanish punk is the best, Invasion made the LP of the year, so far, and there are a ton of bands on here that are so fucking good that need to put out records. Escroto De Rata rules, Residuos Electronicos make fucked up doom-time sounds, um shit, seriously this tape is just rad and you should form a million bands and make a tape comp to represent the scene in your town. The sound of the streets.
9. Total Noise Accord 7"
10. or layla at

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Urban Mutants

The worst feeling is walking along somewhere and being struck by the fact that I have been working customer service style jobs since 2002. The thought of all those “Can I Help Yous?” “Let Me Know If You Have Any Questions” piling on top of each other endlessly is enough to crush a girl. SHOP WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE. In the face of the total collapse of the “Western” service-based economy! What can customers buy? Is customer service a skill? What’s a customer to do in a time like this, when the people who were re-re-remortgaging their houses to buy mahogany and marble bedroom sets are now living in parking lot communities? I just wanna have something to do. I don’t wanna be buried in a pet cemetary...
Things that have been on my mind this month:

1. What if you are watching a band cover a song badly, on a shitty video tape, while there are a million other things you could be doing, and all you can think of is the fact that every single kid in the front row of the show is holding a camera, looking through the lens of a camera, or about to take a photograph. There is a crowd surfer stuck on top of the crowd; he can’t get down or move anywhere somehow so he’s just flailing around in a corduroy jacket with fake sheepskin lining, held up by sweaty children of the middle classes who are only able to experience things completely if they are also able to document them simultaneously. Like my mum always says, it’s not real unless it’s been on TV or captured on your video camera or whatever.

2. The way that ideas and movements are reduced to an aesthetic, a style, a haircut, or outfit. I don’t know what to say except design blogs, girls with Marianne Faithful haircuts, the craft revolution, and last but definitely not least, Back to the Land: the Urban Outfitters version. Forget wimmin’s lib, knit yr boyfriend a scarf and cook him up some stew for the cold months—and while you’re at it take a few photos of yourself lookin’ winsome for your fashion blog. Case in point: “Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say No.” There’s this photo of the Baez sisters, mid-’60s, sitting in a bohemian living room under the above slogan, in support of draft resistance. The first time I saw it I was horrified at the implication, and I still can’t figure it out. The more I think about it, the more the meaning shifts. Their serene yet secure expressions made me think that this was probably the first era that it was OK for women to publicly acknowledge that it’s OK to enjoy sex. Right? But then they are offering themselves as a reward to dudes who resisted the draft. Ladyprize. Yeah. Maybe you know about this already, but some hypster girls in Williamsburg, Brooklyn made a poster referring to the aforementioned with themselves looking whimsical and fey with the slogan, “Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say Obama.” Jeez. I got nothin’ to say about that at all.

3. Reading an interview with a band that started out because the roadie of another band used to sing one song on stage with them each night, so they told him he should have his own band... and he did! But this interview is ten years after the fact, and he of course states the obvious—hardcore died in ’92 when he lost interest and the best thing that’s happened to hardcore since then was the Gorilla Biscuits reunion. To be honest with you, I have never really “gotten” Gorilla Biscuits, but I wonder about that song “Cats and Dogs” sometimes. I mean, if the best thing that’s happened to hardcore since ’92 was the GB reunion, then how does it feel singing that song as a man in your 40s? Also, the best thing that happened to hardcore since ’92? GB reunion? Really? What about the internet? Amazingcore? Ebay Gold? The Reagan-band revival followed by the Crossover™ revival? Also teenage thrash fans armed with Vile and Chronic Sick MP3s? Vegan straight edge longsleeves that reappropriated corporate logos? Krshna beads? Per-zines? Myspace Crust? Apathy? Hardline? ENDTIMES.

4. In further news on the ongoing investigation into the true mutant sound, The Power of the Spoken Word Language of a Dying Breed LP fits the bill nicely this month. Hailing from Nebraska in thee early-to-mid-’80s, the band sounded like Flipper trying to cover Rudimentary Peni—how could I not be totally consumed by this? And you too? Total claustrophobic, fucked-up hardcore that changes shape as you listen to it, not like anything else. It’s been compared to Spike in Vain, the Cleveland band, which I can see only in that it comes from a similarly skewed perspective, but I am not so sure in terms of the sound. I know that fairly recently there were still stock copies of that Spike in Vain record if you wanna do your own compare and contrast... And for true empirical comparison, has a downloadable version of the Language of a Dying Breed LP if you wanna check it out. Also been psyched on a similar era band, New England mutants The Scam. I played the 7" on MRR radio a few weeks back, and have heard word that there’s an unreleased LP about to be reissued. Am actually not too clear about what the deal is with this band; the music is hardcore and it’s got that thing that Void has where in lesser hands it would merely be inept metal, but somehow it’s the transcendent sound of true malcontents. It’s hardcore, exactly how I like it. You can’t go wrong with the Hieronymus Bosch-styled art on the 7" cover, too...

5. Turboslut may be the absolute worst band name of the year, and in places it gets a little Heavens to Betsy cutesy rage rock; riot grrrl vs foxcore style if you want the rock journo music tags. But when they are on it, they have this total Nog Watt mutant-girl sound that’ll make you wanna start your own Manson family. All lady-made tuff, gnarled-up thrash tapes can be gotten here:

6. Got sent the Sisters LP and have been listening to it; makes me think of dank Northwestern times, Fake Train and Kotton Krowns. It’s definitely a good sound for paranoid times and insular winters. Parts Unknown.

7. The issue after this one will be the Punx in Film issue. What’s your favorite punk movie? Favorite punk moment in a movie? I watched part of the Mike Leigh movie Meantime featuring a very young Tim Roth as a reserved slow younger brother, a similarly very young Gary Oldham as a skinhead, and Phil Daniels (Jimmy from Quadrophenia!) as a grotty casual. I had to translate most of what was said as my viewing partner was unable to understand the cockney accents prevalent throughout. Seeing the language and landscapes of my youth on the big screen is always compelling—the pebble-dashed council estates, the dark pubs and slimy parkas. How ugly ’70s and ’80s Britain was; Thatcher’s doom, crushing brains and spirits. The way in which one woman managed to get the working class to hate itself; thusly noses were cut off to spite faces. The last time I went back to London, it was such a different place—you know, organic cafes everywhere. What was particularly mind-blowin’ were the former squats converted into condos in Hackney. Victoria Park, I hardly knew ye! I was trying to picture kids breakdancing at youth club discos in council estates, reggae soundsystems, and playing tag, jumping roof to roof on parked cars—and instead got fashion stylists living in former council flats, glamorizing a past they never inhabited.
It’s funny that when I was a kid I could never get into the Clash, yet as soon as I left London and moved to America I got this instant and obsessive nostalgia for them. Their music suddenly came to embody my youth, and my idea of London was colored so totally by their sound. I saw this movie Don Letts made, with The Slits, where Ari Upp runs round Picadilly Circus taking her clothes off in inappropriate places, ending up at an all-nighter reggae party, probably somewhere in South London. I don’t know. London doesn’t exist anymore—it’s just an idea, a memory, a council estate upbringing with a resourceful free-jazz-loving single mum.

8. For some reason Vice magazine got a hold of my zine and reviewed it. I got a bunch of random emails from confused kids and pushy oblivious PR people. I didn’t respond to any of them. Chris asked me why I print my email address in here even though I never write anyone back, and I don’t know the answer to that question. I do write back sometimes! I also have none of my zines left, but Wendy at does. She also has a zine that Raymond Pettibon made especially for her that you should get whilst you can.

9. It’s been said before but yeah, we can take tax-deductible donations! If you are sitting on piles of unwanted cash and you wanna help us continue onwards and upwards, get in touch. (Preserving, maintaining, and continuing the record collection! Pesky printing bills! The continual publishing of the very magazine you currently hold in your hands.) Email for more info.

10. Our new distro coordinator Diane is moving out here next month, technically next week, which’ll be awesome, and will also be the first time in MRR history that every coordinator position is held by a woman, with Cissie and myself being thee content coordinators now.

I have not read Flowers in the Attic or Helter Skelter or seen any of the Gremlins or Back to the Future movies. is where these columns reside on the web. I am here: layla at

Friday, October 10, 2008

Punk Does Not Owe You a Living/Alive with Pleasure!

Punk Does Not Owe You a Living/Alive with Pleasure!

I think the best thing I have listened to this month has been the last song on side two of the Beef People 7" that came free with Artcore zine. Mutant teenage shitbag sounds from mid-’80s Virginia outsiders; includes sounds of a paper cutter as well as melting brains, doomed times, and the true sound of youth hardcore damage... As a kid I spent a good portion of my time making tapes at random dudes’ houses. Sitting on living room floors, C30, C60, C90, GO! Putting Septic Death next to Rites of Spring, Mekons next to Necros, just consuming vast histories of music, finding one thing that resonated maybe, then using that as a key to figure out a way into other similar bands and sounds. The Fury 7" leading to Swiz and so forth. DC to the Midwest to Boston; you know the drill. One of the first records I got obsessed with upon becoming a shitworker here was The Left Hell 12" which was recommended me as a contemporary band of the Revolution Summer sound and scene, and the first thing I thought was “if only I had heard that record as a kid.” But back to the mutant sound...
I have and have always had this obsession with finding bands that represent that total miscreant sound as exemplified by the aforementioned Beef People song. Just to get that feeling continually… The first time you heard Die Kreuzen or Void or Neos; there must be a million mystery bands out there that will give a girl that feeling, right? Right? I think I already talked about Malefice and United Mutation. There’s Media Disease, too... I dunno, I have this weird tape loop in my head of my voice harassing collector scum endlessly since my youth: “The song Explode by Void is my favorite thing ever; what else is there? What else???”
One thing I was thinking about in regards to the above incoherent ramblings is that now random music nerd girls don’t have to go to said dudes’ houses to make tapes anymore—the internet opens a world up that definitely didn’t exist when I was a kid. Just the access to music you would never have heard of unless you were involved in some crazy tape trade with a Swiss punk circa ’82... Speaking of which, have you seen the new book, Hot Love: Swiss Punk & Wave 1976-1980? It sounds like a very specific book in terms of subject matter—I mean, Swiss punk? Really?? And this is a huge tome, more than mere coffee-table book—it’s the size of a fucking coffee table.
When you think of Swiss punk, maybe Jack and the Rippers comes to mind, Liliput/Kleenex too, but is that enough to justify buying a $69 object that’s just about the size of a phone book?? It’s way more compelling than more “conventional” punk books about less specific scenes. Aesthetically it works like a more minimalist Fucked Up and Photocopied, with tons of zine and flier reproductions, but also old shirts, homemade bondage footwear, and yes, actual interesting interviews, some with bands and people you’ve never heard of and probably never will get to actually hear! And it doesn’t even matter. The roundtable with Marlene from Lilipit/Kleenex, Sylvia from Mother’s Ruin, Sara from TNT, Marie from The Bastards, and various female fanzine editors was unsurprisingly one of my favorite parts of the book. The subtext of the discussion doesn’t revolve around the trials and tribulations of being a woman in punk. It’s just about being a young punk, about discovery and disgust, degenerate parties and disrupted political rallies, which was kind of refreshing in the face of endless wimmin in rock boredom. So many rad photos; the one of Marlene in a Bazooka Joe t-shirt, leopard pants, and Jean Sebereg haircut... Also I had no idea that Ramona from The Mo-dettes was Swiss; there’s an incredible interview/oral history that covers her move from Geneva art school troublemaker to London punk scenester. That sounds trite; we’re talking nazi stage invasions, redneck attacks in OC bars, and the story of one of the coolest girl punk bands of that era. The Mo-dettes 7"s are fucking great—sarcastic pop-edged punk that isn’t overly arty or sanctimonious.
Hot Love sums up the random adventure that is punk: pictures of scummy practice spaces, dada-vomit fanzine excerpts, endless random anecdotes and ephemera. I think it’s being marketed in an art-world context (I picked up a copy at, which is weird maybe, considering the very particular subject matter, but not really in terms of the general aesthetic of the book. It just covers so evocatively and eloquently what it means to be a punk, in a way that’s less glass-covered exhibit and more “We did it, why don’t you??” It’s difficult to write about an era of a subculture and depict it without being dismissive of what came after or dogmatic about how things should be, and this book makes you feel part of a continuum rather than reading about something that you could never achieve.
I am gonna do some sort of a History Lesson Part 2.5 in regards to some recent and not so recent all-girl punk discoveries. Secret code message to thee ladies: Tape these records. Start bands.

1. The Nixe were an all-girl band from Utrecht in the early ’80s, formed initially in reaction to their boyfriends starting a punk band. They produced a 7” with hand-made covers and were on a live comp LP that I think I’ve played on the radio. In fact, I know I played it on the radio; Golnar told me she went out and found a copy of it and formed a band as a result. Just to fill you in on the type of music that awaits and what it’ll do to you! Their sound reminds me of The Mo-dettes; it’s less polished and more rambunctious however; not quite as crazed as, say, Kleenex; rawer and less artsy. Just to reference the same three bands over and over and over!! For all eternity! It’s how I do. The 7" is incredible—a total explosion of fierce yet bratty intensity. The MRR copy is in a red envelope with a black scrawled cover, no lyrics, no images, no band info... Finally having an entire LP (gatefold!) available with all of the above, so those without eBay millions can have access to the jams, is the best... It’s on Polly Maggoo Records.

2. Chin Chin were from Switzerland. They were around post-Hot Love—a mid ‘80s band I think. They’re definitely on the more sweet pop/punk end of things, but not like C86 indie-pop style at all—they are distinctly punk, they actually kind of reminded me of a less saccharine Go-Go’s... The songs are really catchy, much less ‘difficult’ to listen to than most music by art school girls from the same era. I sound dismissive maybe, I don’t mean to be, it’s a killer 7” but I guess right now I am searching out more mutant fucked up music and this isn’t that. The “hit” is “Don’t Want To Be Prisoners,” which actually has a watchable video if you use the power of the internet. I am not sure what else they have out, but that 7” is worth seeking out

3. Nog Watt were fucking raging Dutch thrash with the best hardcore girl vocals I have heard (sorry Sacrilege fanz.) The Fear 7" may have some of the coolest, genuinely creepy packaging ever—some for-real Manson-girl-style-now. I really, really want this record. I wanna hear No Pigs, too, which was the drummer Ingrid’s other band, just because it’s a killer band name and if it’s half as good as this... Which is to say this record is kind of perfect; someone needs to reissue it so random teenage girls in boring towns can hear it and realize the possibilities that being in an all-girl hardcore band can offer. Like, I honestly feel Riot Grrrl would have been ten times more interesting musically if girls had gotten into Nog Watt rather than Sleater Kinney. Seriously. Maybe Nog Watt and The Raincoats or whatever… I dunno I just don’t get why there aren’t hundreds of rad weirdo girl bands like this, maybe there are. Where are they? I have this theory that Sleater Kinney made girls into indie rock fans instead of making them wanna make their own sound. Nog Watt is the answer and the question.

4. The Nurse—Japanese hardcore. There are two flexis and the first one is the best. The band is rockin’ full on Siouxie style on the cover; the music is tough and relentless. It’s really heavy without being a formulaic hardcore or metal record, just the coolest sound, like the aural equivalent of a sneer. I dunno how to really describe it except to say that all you need is this and the Nog Watt and you’re ready to start your own fuckin’ secret society of girls... Do it! Kreepkrawl style.

Top Ten Jams
1. Outlets – Best Friend 7"
2. Cro-Mags – demo boot 10"
3. Marginal Man – Identity 12"
4. Rain 12"
5. Beef People – “Industrial Jelly” (the song)
6. Tar Babies – Respect Your Nightmares 12"
7. Abgas 7” (now THIS is Swiss punk-endtimes collapse in on itself stylee)
8-10. Shit, I dunno. Mexican aggro-synth. Busy boredom. Pizza.
layla at

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

in another place in another time

This month has mostly been spent working on the very item you are holding in your hands. What to say about that? A sarcastic comment about the columns of MRR degenerating into people's per-zine diary doom... I am not sure if it has been formally announced yet, but I will be taking over from Justin as content coordinator in November. We have hired a very capable and awesome distribution coordinator to take over from me, Diane, who will be moving here from Brooklyn. I am looking forward slightly nervously to this new role at the mag, I have been a shitworker here for close to five years and am excited to have a bigger part in the shaping of the content and general direction. That sounds like a spiel from a cover letter, what can I say? What can I say! (The Shawn Brown version though...)

Top Ten for the end of time!

1. When someone asks you to move to a strangely cheap Brooklyn basement and form a band inspired by the first Meat Puppets 7", should you have agreed to that situation right then?? Does the song “In A Car” make you want to exist in some other place instantly?? Right then! In an instant instance! A fucking explosion of... the feeling of endless possibility enclosed in a 7". It’s hardcore before the reduction set in and it sounds like a million things you can’t explain and shouldn’t even have to! What is enough to make one want to quit a job, abandon ship, and take aim for some mysterious basement? Somewhere that kids used to hang out and sneak cigarettes on stoops now taken over by the dreaded yoga mom doom merchants... I guess I’ll stick with nega-times on the SF streets. Those are true signifiers of the end times you know; baby boutiques and craft supply stores, cupcake bakeries. Crochet me a noose, craft revolutionaries! Or perhaps a fourth wave feminist treatise on your Danish modern design blog indicating why endless consumption of niceness ’n’ lifestyles is a viable alternative.

2. The only music I have been listening to this month has been the doomed, mutant, vengeance-filled sounds of Malefice and United Mutation. Too much weight on my mind, until I found a copy of the aforementioned Meat Puppets 7" for cheap because the guy thought that it wasn’t worth anything being that it was not the SST version.... When I first moved here and knew no one I used to slouch around the fanciest parts of town, where the light is always golden and hits the socialite mansions and tech billionaire villas at the most nostalgic, synthetic ’70s soap opera angle. Listening to Void bootlegs or X Los Angeles and staring in at showcase living rooms that have never been lived in, trespassing on golf courses and so forth. This activity was dropped in favor of hanging out with actual human beings, then that was dropped for walking out to the ocean, which was in turn dropped for working a million hours at MRR. A truly all-consuming situation—it’s hard or rather impossible to convey how much your life revolves around the magazine as a coordinator. Walking manically round Pacific Heights listening to Rorschach Protestant feels like playing hooky because there are layouts that need takin’ care of! Distros to contact! A mail room to clean, stacks of back issues to reorganize, interviews to conduct/set up... Bad debts to collect!

3. Other random things that have arisen; a text from RJ to say he picked up The Girls 7" for twenty bucks... The Girls were a proto synth/doomed art punk band from Boston who released one 7" on David Thomas from Pere Ubu’s record label... I say proto-synth because while clearly there are some synths at work the music is more like a furious Pere Ubu “Cloud 149,” Clevo-punk-damaged-drone than anything akin to what The Normal or Nervous Gender were doing. The song “Jeffrey I Hear You” is supposedly about the death of the singer’s twin brother and a subsequent haunting. Listening to this otherworldly 7" with that back-story in mind adds to the eerie fervor brought forth by the sound. Apparently the keyboard player works at a record store in Boston and still has copies of the 7" he will sell to interested parties... Not sure what the exact deal with that is, but I do know this is totally worth hunting down, the cover is scratched-out black and white, an eloquent expression of the manic times contained within! I played it on the radio and Golnar made me fade it out because it creeped her out too much! Is that a good sign?

4. Probably the coolest thing this month was walking in on the Bruce Roehrs led Pierced Arrows interview, and talking to Toody Cole about playing bass and how being a musician totally transformed her sense of herself. I think the tape cut off most of what she said before we noticed it had ended (in fact I know it did since I transcribed most of the interview), but it was super inspiring listening to her talk about how she's gotten more confident and comfortable in her own skin as she's gotten older... A true triumph in the face of a society that writes women off as they grow. I made a bunch of my London friends buy the Lollipop Shoppe/Weeds reissue that came out in Europe in the early 2000s and then forced a Dead Moon show on them to encourage total indoctrination. This test failed; while the greatness of the LP was duly noted, they were somehow unable to recognize the truth, urgency, and honor in the Dead Moon sound, and wrote ’em off as olde-tyme, bar-rock boredom. While I can see how this error of judgment arose, it was still disheartening to see such greatness and power dismissed. The Coles to me represent how to do exactly what you want to do on your own terms whatever the cost—how to make your own life, your own idea of music and existence. It’s true freedom, forging one’s own path ruthlessly in a ruthlessly dull world. Pierced Arrows contains the urgency of the Rats alongside the timeless Dead Moon ideal, creating a sound for those with the ears and the desire to understand the value of such a combination...

5. I would also like to give honorable mentions to the Communal Living 12" by a mysterious band whose name I cannot mention...

6. F, the band from Florida that Sound Idea reissued a few years back, and The Randoms’ Dangerhouse 7"... more of the soundtrack to frustrated anxious times!

7. In new music, for now, I salute the current Homostupids switch from skull to cat music. The Mentally Challenged 7"s have been also consistently over played. Music for the troubled is always the way to go esp. when it’s done right...

8. Last month Cissie mentioned the fact that we are working on some theme issues: a film issue (deadline Oct 15th!), a print media issue (deadline Dec 1st!), a queer issue (no deadline set yet!) and a health issue (deadline Nov 1st.). MRR is what you make it, as is punk rock/DIY in general, duh. We have a lot of cool interviews and articles lined up for the magazine, but if you have an idea or something you want to contribute, please do! Get in touch if you need guidelines. If you live somewhere that hasn’t had a scene report for a few years, why not cover it yourself?
Also, we know our current website kind of sucks. We have had a redesign in the works for a ridiculously epic amount of time, which will eventually include a database of the entire MRR record collection with links to record reviews from the mag. This is a monumental task obviously, and the new website will be up long before this is completed... I am also hoping to create a database of the MRR zine and tape collection. Speaking of which if you are an older punk with demo tapes that you no longer care about, zines or fliers that have lost some of their meaning, we would love to have them for our collection. Please get in touch! Like it says at the front of the magazine we can take tax-deductible donations through Indy Arts and Media...

9. old columns ’n’ shit on thee web

10. layla at—that’s an email address! Write me! I am kind of a shitty correspondent. Just a word of warning...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This is a Sharon Cheslow interview I did a while back for Chimps/MRR

1-Where did you grow up and how do you think it affected what you do?

There are two parts because I grew up in two places: first in Los Angeles until I was 6 and then in the Washington, DC suburbs.
I was born in Los Angeles in 1961, and I was exposed to all the great folk and rock and roll that was happening in the '60s. It was in the air - on the car radios, in the stores. My parents liked folk and jazz and some rock and always had music around the house - my dad listened to records a lot and my mom liked to sing. I found out recently that my parents went to hootenannies while in LA and went to one in the late '50s in Idyllwild, CA with Pete Seeger and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee. They saw Dylan in '64 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. So their love of music was passed on to me, especially protest music.

We lived in a bunch of LA neighborhoods, but the one I remember most was an ethnic, artsy area near the Wilshire/Fairfax Jewish area. We lived there a couple of years. At that time, the Holocaust was still very fresh in peoples' minds and there were a lot of survivors in LA. I remember my mom took me to the Jewish grocery store and one of the clerk's arms had a number tattoo. I asked my mom about it and she explained that the woman had survived the concentration camps. You don't really see this outside of cities like LA and NY, and a lot of the survivors have died so it's not even that common anymore. It really had a deep affect on me. I heard the phrase "never again" a lot, which meant that each individual had a responsibility to make sure that nothing like the Holocaust ever happened again.

Because of the legacy of the Holocaust, my mother made sure I was raised within a Jewish community. So most of the people I knew in LA were Jews. I was very dark skinned, and one time at the beach a kid called me a nigger. When I asked my mom about it, she told me it was a racist word for blacks. My parents were pro-civil rights. My mother went to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. speak at UCLA (where she'd graduated college), and took me with her. I was too young to remember it consciously, but it entered my mind. It would have been around '65.

We moved to the east coast in late '67 after both my mother's parents died and my father got a job with the Dept. of Transportation in DC. We lived in Silver Spring, Maryland for a year and then moved to Bethesda - both were suburbs right outside DC. It was a huge culture shock because Jews comprised only 3% of kids in my school. Someone called me a kike and once again I had to ask my mom what the word meant and once again she had to teach me about racism. It left me feeling that I didn't fit in. I simply withdrew and focused on being happy on my own - I was into art, music, math, science and nature. So I was never bored.

It was strange to go from a school with almost all Jewish kids to one with barely any. The kids thought I was weird enough being from LA and liking rock and roll! I couldn't find any kids in my elementary school that listened to rock until 5th grade, and by that time I was listening to David Bowie! I was Beatles fanatic and basically spent a lot of my free time in my bedroom listening to my Beatles records and playing Beatles songs on my guitar. I only found my rock friends after I performed in front of the entire 5th grade - singing and playing guitar - and a couple of people revealed they listened to rock too.

Looking back I don't know why it was so weird to like rock and roll, other than that most of the kids in my school were raised very conservatively and very Christian and perhaps it was considered devil's music. I think another reason is that rock became equated with being anti-war and also pro-black. For my parents to be against the Vietnam War in LA was not a big deal. But I think things were more divisive in DC. My parents went to the opening of the movie "Hair" and someone drove by and egged them as they stood in front of the theater. It was politically motivated. I went to the Human Kindness Day concert in '75 with Stevie Wonder and a race riot broke out. It was a really crazy atmosphere.

DC was just very, very conservative and paranoid and angry at that time. Nixon and Ford were presidents, and DC was dealing with the aftermath of Watergate, so that explains part of it.

2-How did you discover the underground/punk?

I found out about underground culture through reading about the Beatles in elementary school. I used to spend a lot of time in the neighborhood library, looking up articles on the Beatles in the reference room. I discovered Yoko Ono that way. She opened up this whole world of avant garde and experimental creativity to my young mind. Through her I discovered Fluxus and Warhol's Factory. A high school poetry teacher turned me on to the Beats.

I was an avid music magazine reader and found out about the NY punk/CBGB scene in Creem and Rock Scene in 1975. When Patti Smith's Horses came out, I read a write up in the Washington Post. In 1976 I started listening to WGTB - a free-form radio station out of Georgetown Univ. - and first heard NY Dolls and Patti Smith. That same year my family took a trip to NY to visit relatives and we walked around Greenwich Village. I saw all these punk looking people and was instantly captivated. What's funny is that a high school friend of mine played me the Ramones when their first record came out and I remember I didn't like them at all! I liked the artier stuff. The first NY punk band I saw live was Talking Heads in '78. Seeing Tina Weymouth play bass was magical - she was very reserved and petite on stage and it was the first time, except for seeing Linda McCartney perform with Wings, that I saw a woman playing in a band. I didn't like Talking Heads after their first couple of records. But that Talking Heads show is when I first started documenting what was going on through photography. I had a photography teacher in high school who encouraged my creative pursuits.

I'd have to say that it was the music magazines and fanzines that really exposed me to punk. They captured the ideas and energy through writing and photos. I found out about UK punk through reading NME and fanzines like Sniffin' Glue. I also loved LA and SF punk through reading Slash, Search & Destroy and Flipside. These were available at Yesterday & Today Records, which opened in '77 in Rockville, Maryland about 10 minutes from Bethesda. I had access to a lot of these publications through working there on and off from '79-'82. Skip Groff, the owner, would go on trips and bring things back for me. I would read the zines as if looking for some secret code that would open up the world that matched what was in my imagination. It was really like that at that time. There was this sense of an entire new consciousness - a new sense of freedom, a new way of writing music & listening to it, a new way of looking at gender, a new way of creating community. I was stuck in suburban Bethesda, envisioning a scene in my area like the scenes I read about in the zines.

3-Was Chalk Circle your first band? How did you meet each other and what made you want to do a band? What were your influences musically maybe but also anything in a more abstract way? How did you fit in with the DC hardcore thing and were there any other bands that were your peers that were more arty/messed up that have disappeared to the sands of time? What was the best show you ever played?

Chalk Circle was my first band. I wrote songs with my best friend Stacy Taylor in junior high but we never played out. Aside from my 5th grade solo performance, I performed solo in high school for a Jewish youth group at my temple, doing a cover of the Kinks' Lola to shock them! This was before I'd ever heard the Raincoats version. I did it because I loved the way Patti Smith played with gender in her cover of Gloria.

Anne Bonafede, Chalk Circle's drummer, and I met each other through the small circle of DC punk kids that hung out at Madam's Organ shows and parties and record stores around late '79/early '80. Some of the kids were friends through Wilson High School, a public DC school where most of the Teen Idles and Untouchables went. Anne went there with Jeff Nelson, Teen Idles' drummer, who was her boyfriend. I spent a lot of the spring of 1980 hanging out with Anne, Jeff, Nathan Strejcek, Henry Garfield, Ian and Alec MacKaye, Vivien Greene, Danny Ingram, Cheryl Celso, Bert Queiroz and Eddie Janney. It was a great time. We all loved the Bad Brains. And we loved UK and California punk. I could tell that the community I'd envisioned in my head was happening in reality, and that was very exciting.

Besides Yesterday & Today, we hung out in Georgetown where a lot of the DC punk kids worked. Two of DC's first punks, Danny Ingram and Bruce Buelken, worked there. Henry was manager at the Haagen-Dazs shop in Georgetown. If my memory is correct, Anne and Ian both worked at Haagen-Daz for a while. Ian also worked at the Georgetown movie theater. So for a while the DC punk scene was centered in Georgetown when we weren't at shows. Kids would spend a lot of time walking into various places to hang out with friends and people got to know each other that way. It's not the kind of place you'd expect punk kids to develop a community because it was a wealthy neighborhood with a lot of boutiques. But a lot of the DC punk kids grew up or went to school in Georgetown or nearby, and I guess it was easy to get jobs there. Some of the punk kids went to private high schools like Georgetown Day or Duke Ellington School of the Arts. It was odd for me because part of my life was in Bethesda, part of it was at University of Maryland (starting Fall '79), and part of it was in DC.

I discovered a lot about 20th century art movements once I got to college because I took a lot of art history classes. I switched majors a few times, but basically I studied art history, aesthetic theory, film studies and english. I remember reading about Dada for one of my art history classes and thinking punk had a lot in common with it. I saw punk as more than just a style of music - I saw it as a life style, a youth movement and an art movement all in one. So I tried to read as much as I could about earlier cultural movements to get inspiration. In '81 I bought the Situationist International Anthology as soon as it was published, and that had a huge influence on me. My film history professor was Robert Kolker, who taught independent and international cinema. His film classes were where I first learned about feminist theory - he used it to discuss films by Jean-Luc Godard, Maya Deren and Marguerite Duras. I found out recently that he graduated from Columbia University in 1969. Columbia at that time, along with colleges such as UC Berkeley, was a hotbed of radicalism. Students there were part of the New Leftist revolutionary time period which involved a lot of Marxist and feminist thought. So I guess you could say that Chalk Circle was indirectly influenced by the New Left.

Before Chalk Circle played out and had a name (which I took from Bertolt Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle), we consisted of me, Anne and Cheryl in 1980. Cheryl was at all the punk shows and we thought she was cool because she lived by herself in a studio apt. in downtown DC and had a real job, so she didn't have any parents to answer to! Anne still lived at home and I lived at home when I wasn't living in my college dorm.

Mitch Parker who went on to GI wanted to play with us, but he wanted to call the band Mitch and his Bitches so we said no. Henry was almost in the band but he ended up doing SOA instead. Bert Queiroz from the Untouchables rehearsed with us for a bit. We didn't play out until 1981 - the main lineup was Mary Green on vocals & guitar, me on guitar & vocals, Anne on drums. We went through a string of bass players - the first was Jan Pumphrey.

Anne and I met Jan and Mary through Nathan and Danny - both of whom were in Youth Brigade by that time. Mary and I wrote songs together - she wrote most of the lyrics and I wrote most of the music, but we collaborated a lot. After Jan, the bass players were Sally Berg for one show, then Tamera Edminster (aka Tamera Lyndsay). We met Sally and Tamera because they worked at the 9:30 Club. Anne and I went to shows there a lot.

We wanted to do a band because we loved playing music and listening to music. We saw all our friends playing in bands and we wanted to do it too. We saw girls from NY, LA, SF and London playing in bands and they gave us inspiration and courage. We loved the energy and attitude of punk which about just putting yourself out there and doing something productive. We wanted to be socially aware and active rather than passive consumers. We actually only played out four times and all four shows were a blast. We opened up for the Velvet Monkeys for our first two shows and then got support from the older art punk crowd - like Nurses, Half Japanese, Tru Fax & Insaniacs.

As the DC hardcore scene became more macho and less about a tight-knit group of friends, we found greater support with this older group of people. We always thought of punk as having no rules, but when hardcore became more popular there developed a code to which Chalk Circle didn't adhere. Nonetheless, Anne and I loved hardcore and went to all the shows. We went to all the Minor Threat, SOA, GI and Youth Brigade shows and loved to dance. But as the dancing matched the music, we danced so hard that we came home with bruises all over our bodies! Even though the dancing was not intentionally violent, it stopped being safe for girls - a lot of guys wore chains and studs and didn't realize their own strength when they rammed into people. This was the precursor to slam dancing. As the scene became more focused on thrash - ie. loud, fast rules - Chalk Circle didn't fit in so well. Our music was influenced by a lot of music besides hardcore, especially post-punk, no wave, funk, pop and '60s rock. I was listening to a lot of hard bop jazz at the time. Anne and I would drive around DC late at night after shows with the windows rolled down, blaring jazz on the radio.

I loved Anne's drum style. Jeff Nelson taught Anne how to play thrash beats but she made up her own style. She played cymbals sparingly. We felt we had more in common with bands like Red C, with Toni Young on bass, who had a reggae influence. I loved a lot of the bands that evolved out of hardcore that weren't generic thrash sounding and had a more experimental approach, like Red C and Toni's other band Peer Pressure, Nuclear Crayons, Hate From Ignorance, Fungus of Terror, Deadline, Void, Faith. I also really liked art punk bands like Velvet Monkeys, Half Japanese, Chumps, Tiny Desk Unit, Tony Perkins & the Psychotics. Chalk Circle fit in somewhere in the middle of all this.

Once I became friends with Colin Sears, he introduced me to all the younger hardcore kids in Bethesda. These were kids with a similar suburban background, who were a few years younger and very open-minded. Colin had a great hardcore band called Capitol Punishment and we became friends after he, Mike Fellows and I saw the DC premiere of The Decline of Western Civilization.

It was through Colin that I met Chalk Circle's last bassist, Chris Niblack. Colin and I ended up in Bloody Mannequin Orchestra together after Chalk Circle broke up and then he went on to Dag Nasty. Chris went on to No Trend.

4-Why do you think DC had so many creative ladies but so few were in the 'seminal'/remembered bands? Obviously there are other aspects to punk that are as important as being in a band, but it just seems weird that like Dischord didn't put out many bands with women in them til the late 80s/90s... Especially seeing the Banned in DC book which has so many amazing punk ladies represented.

There weren't at the time, and still aren't, enough people in the underground or mainstream print and broadcasting media who were/are interested in documenting U.S. bands with girls, especially those with creative musicians. There is a certain narrative that gets repeated over and over. The only reason the narrative began to change in the '90s is because of riot grrrl and because of the efforts of a lot of people to rethink rock/punk history. It is difficult to change the narrative when it is entrenched as a certain story from the very beginning.

It was due to efforts of Chalk Circle and documentation such as Banned in DC that things changed in DC. In the early '80s, Ian told me Dischord didn't want to release Chalk Circle because our sound didn't fit the label's aesthetic. And I completely understand that, even though at the time it hurt since the scene was so small and tight-knit and we were all friends. But obviously his tastes changed by the time Fire Party or Slant 6 were around. And Dischord probably wouldn't have released them if it hadn't been for Chalk Circle or the efforts of women like me, Cynthia Connolly, Amy Pickering and Lydia Ely. Cynthia and Amy worked for Dischord, and the four of us were responsible for the mixed gender discussion group documentation for MRR's women in punk issue in the late '80s. If Chalk Circle had been around 5 or 10 years later, maybe we would have been on Dischord. Afterall, the Suture 7" is a split release between Decomposition and Dischord, and that came out in '92. I'm the kind of person who likes to focus on the positive, rather than the negative. So I'd rather look at the fact that change is often gradual and things are much better now than they were in the '80s. Bikini Kill were directly influenced by Banned in DC. I think documenting the creative efforts of women is really important, even if the underground or mainstream media don't catch on until years later. It is the documentation that proves what happened and what is possible.

The 1980s were too conservative to promote and sustain bands with women. There just wasn't enough support for female musicians, which translated into a lack of creative nourishment. Many women chose other creative avenues of expression that provided more nourishment, such as writing or photography or graphic design.

You have to keep in mind that just before Chalk Circle played our first show, Henry left DC to join Black Flag and that changed things a lot. The attention got put on the bands like Black Flag that were touring a lot. The bands that are remembered are the ones that toured. Chalk Circle never toured - there were too many obstacles. It was hard enough for guys!

I was involved in the U.S. hardcore scene through writing, rather than touring. Anne and I worked on one of the earliest DC hardcore zines, Now What?, published in 1981 by Sarah Woodell. Then I became pen pals with guys all over the U.S. through Colin's and my zine If This Goes On. There was this great network of fanzine writers who were also in punk bands, but they were all guys. My whole attitude was that I didn't want to be a groupie - I wanted to participate as an equal. I communicated with Thurston Moore who had just started Sonic Youth and did Killer, Barry Hennsler of the Necros who did Smegma Journal, Bob Moore who was in Rebel Truth for a bit who did Noise and ran the label Version Sound, and one of the guys from Jody Foster's Army who did Phenis. We all just found each other by reading each other's zines.

5-what's your favorite memory of being a young punk? anything! a show, a feeling, the first time you heard a record...

The memory that is seared into my heart and brain is this - watching the Bad Brains and Teen Idles rehearse in the basement of Nathan's house with Henry. March 1980. It was an uplifting, exciting, exuberant feeling. I remember thinking - this is day one of my new life because I've finally found friends I fit in with. I felt completely accepted by them. We respected each other and we stimulated one another. I felt completely connected and inspired.

Another great memory is of seeing the Mo-dettes at the old 9:30 Club at 9th & F in DC. It was so rare to see an all-female punk band. Chalk Circle were the only all-girl punk band in DC until Fire Party and Nike Chix came along in the mid-'80s. So I went up to the singer for the Mo-dettes after their show and asked her for advice on how to deal with being in an all-girl band. She said something to the effect of - "You can't deny you're all girls, but remember you're in it for the music".

6-I loved the thing you talked about at VC's BBQ which was something along the lines of noise being a way to stay creative and DIY without being in a rerun of the past as a lot of punks/ex punks seem to get tangled up in... Instead of seeing punk as a musical idea/style of dress I have always thought of it as an idea of possibility and freedom, DIY etc, rather than a set of rules, and I think of your music and art as being so linked to this. How it's possible to stay fierce and brave and new and underground without seeming like a boring guy at a bar telling the same black flag anecdote over and over... if that makes sense!! do you wanna talk about your relationship to the underground scene and music and how you keep your sense of adventure in regards to music...

Yes, this makes sense. Thanks! I believe exactly what you said - that punk is an "idea of possibility and freedom". In my mind, punk is part of a lineage that stretches back through the 20th century that encourages freedom of expression through the means of everyday life. And it goes even farther back to a time when there were no rules about how art or music was supposed to be made. In other words, I see what I do in within a wider context. I have a creative practice that is a daily exercise in exploration, experimentation, discovery.

I'm interested in what I can do as an individual to engage other people. Noise is one avenue for this because noise is DIY and experimental. Actually, I was into noise back in the '80s and at that time it was seen as an extension of punk. When I was in Bloody Mannequin Orchestra, we opened up for Einsturzende Neubauten. We were all part of the same group of underground musicians. I liked noise when it was first evolving into industrial music and I was super into the NY noise scene in the early '80s. So I see a continuum with noise that has evolved from early punk to what it is today and it's mutated and transformed a lot.

Sonically I connect with noise because I like the way it makes me feel. It's actually very soothing and comforting! I love the feeling of being able to let go and lose myself in the moment that sounds are being made. It's similar to the energy I felt with punk. In these moments, the body takes over and responds to the sounds or the music even as the mind is working to conceptualize what's going on. It's a very visceral way of expressing various states of mind. That's what keeps things fresh for me. I also love narrative and sometime noise is too abstract for what I'm trying to express, especially when these ideas relate to what is happening on a larger social or political level. But at the same time, working abstractly challenges me. I usually have an idea first and then I choose how I'm going to express it. It usually comes from improvising in some way.

One of the things I like about collaborating with so many different people through Coterie Exchange is that I see how we all like noise or punk, in their broadest definitions, and integrate them into our own work in various ways. One of the original ideas I had behind Coterie Exchange was that it would be a vehicle for like-minded people to collaborate together, regardless of musical background and regardless of location. I wanted to bring together people from various regional scenes in order to facilitate a dialogue through working together. It just so happens that most of the people I know work independently - we're all pretty committed to the DIY concept. But I wouldn't rule out working with someone who wasn't underground.

I've always been very broad-minded and I love a lot of different types of music, art, film and writing, so when I think about being creative I try not to limit myself much. Often I'll play with the conventions of different genres to explore various ideas.
7-what were your favorite records when you were 17? what about now?

Hmmm, when I was 17 it was 1978-79, my senior year in high school and first year of college. It's hard to remember because all my LPs are in storage. But what I vividly recall is that 1979 was the year everything changed musically because punk was evolving into post-punk. '79 was also the year the Germs' GI came out and that blew my mind. In trying to list my favorite records, I realized I have way too many to name. I love music and I've been buying records for 35 years, so what can I say? So I'm going to take the challenge to ONLY list ones that were my favorites back when I was 17 AND nowŠand that I actually owned.

> In no particular order:
> all Beatles
> Who Sell Out, A Quick One, Happy Jack, The Who Sings My Generation, Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy, Who's Next, Tommy, Quadrophenia - Who
> Power to the People/Touch Me 7" and Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions - Plastic Ono Band
> Wild Life - Wings
> For Your Love and Having a Rave Up - Yardbirds
> The Kinks' Greatest Hits and Something Else - Kinks
> Them - Them
> Love is All Around - Troggs
> Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
> Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan
> Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Goldrush - Neil Young
> Gloria/My Generation 7" and Horses - Patti Smith
> Marquee Moon - Television
> Blank Generation - Richard Hell & the Voidoids
> The Clash - Clash
> Another Music in a Different Kitchen - Buzzcocks
> In the City and All Mod Cons - Jam
> I'm Stranded - Saints
> Action Time Vision 7" - Alternative TV
> Crossing the Red Sea with - The Adverts
> Cut - Slits
> Hedi's Head EP (Swiss version) - Kleenex
> Mind Your Own Business 7" - Delta 5
> Kerb Crawler EP - Au Pairs
> Fairytale in the Supermarket 7" - Raincoats
> Teenage Jesus & the Jerks 7"s
> GI - Germs
> Tooth & Nail compilation LP w/Germs, Flesheaters, Middle Class, Negative Trend
> Babylonian Gorgon - Bags
> We Are the One EP - Avengers
> Ack Ack Ack Ack EP - Urinals
> Pink Flag - Wire
> Entertainment - Gang of Four
> Live at the Witch Trials - The Fall
> Unknown Pleasures - Joy Division
> early Rough Trade 7"s and A Trip to Marineville - Swell Maps
> Heart of Darkness/30 Seconds Over Tokyo 7" - Pere Ubu
> Cyclotron/Agitated 7" - Electric Eels
> Psychedelic Sounds of and Easter Everywhere - 13th Floor Elevators
> No Way Out - Chocolate Watchband
> Barrett and Madcap Laughs- Syd Barrett
> Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure - Roxy Music
> Here Come the Warm Jets - Eno
> Space Oddity 7" - David Bowie
> Happy Together/She's My Girl 7" - Turtles
> Straight Up - Badfinger
> More of the Monkees and Head - Monkees
> White Light/White Heat and Velvet Underground & Nico - Velvet Underground
> The Stooges - Stooges
> Back in the USA - MC5
> 'Round About Midnight - Miles Davis
> Monk's Music - Thelonious Monk
> Giant Steps - John Coltrane
> I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You - Aretha Franklin
> Original Folk Blues - Elmore James

8-what's the best place you've ever lived and what was the best thing about it?
I have my most happy childhood memories from LA. In the '60s it was a great place for kids - because of the sunshine and beaches and open spaces. I don't think it's that way anymore because of the traffic congestion and urban development. I think I've always longed to recapture the sense of openness and freedom I felt back then. I had it for a while in the early '80s DC punk scene and also for a long time in San Francisco, where I moved in 1990. I've been back in LA since 2005 and it's been great reconnecting to my past, but my favorite city so far to live in has been San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Cool Tavern

Get Outta My Pocket.

Some time last year (I think) I swore I would not mention Mika Miko again in this column and I think I have been good to my word. I will use this moment to assert that the words Sex Vid will not reappear here unless they break up and form a hippie death cult or something. End times. Nothing personal obvs, more along the lines of overkill the sequel. Anyway onto the last rites. One of the things that has been most difficult to decide since becoming a coordinator here at the magazine has been whether or not to move into the MRR fortress. I live in a rent-controlled apartment in the Mission with awesome room-mates, including a former member of ‘80s Ohio hardcore greats ZERO DEFEX, who has lived in the house since time immemorial (hence the rent control.) We have a huge backyard and in the summer we have shows out there. The yard is super lush in terms of vegetation and foliage, succulents and vegetables and also irate yuppie upstairs neighbors. Super lush in terms of... There’s a deck on the 2nd floor, and when you are standing up there, it doesn't feel like you are in the Mission anymore somehow. Watching a punk band play in this setting on a summer afternoon is one of the best things about living in this town, especially when said setting involves one of my favorite bands. I set up a Sex Vid show on the 4th of July with Nodzz, Gun Outfit and Sisters. America’s birthday! A perfect day for paranoia, miscommunications, raging hardcore, bad vibrations, drugs shitty tattoos and a lame BBQ.
I couldn't figure out why exactly the day had this strange end of an era feel to it but it did. The neighbors next door were putting together an elaborate family BBQ oblivious to the future backyard sounds and I had extreme pangs of guilt for potentially ruining America's Birthday for them. I yelled over that we were having some bands playing in the yard. This grandpa aged guy said he loved rock'n'roll and that the bands had better be good. His family spent the entire show demonstrating why they are the best most relaxed good time neighbors ever, in direct contrast to the old man maniac that called the cops and threw rocks at Kevin from Crim Dam's head. The summoned cops showed up and obviously didn't give a shit about the show; a marked difference to later that night when the Mission was a mini police state with manic cop car drag races. Pigs hate fireworks but heart SISTERS. Gun Outfit have a killer drum section. Sex Vid is the sound of scraping the remnants of the night before out of your eyes, a twelve pack of Olympia beer and a Bla’st tape on the floor of your truck. Except they aren’t the sound of any of that exactly. Think about all the whiners that set up complaint lines because Sex Vid don’t sound exactly like that one band or that one other band I once mentioned. You know the sound of puking in a carpark at 3am or that-morning-after-feeling-only-the-night-before? Just mention my name in regards to the tragedy of one’s own inability to understand that a band can capture an idea or feeling of another band idea or the sense of buildings crumbling and shitty drugs without being replicant replicas. Nobody sounds like the VOID but the VOID; read a book, the internet is a tomb. I spent the last couple hours of the house show in my room listening to the first Dinosaur record super loud and feeling paranoid. I’m good at that.
It was day three of a five day show frenzy that involved two Lebenden Toten shows, Limp Wrist at Gilman and three Sex Vid shows that also conveniently coincided with my first ever new issue day by myself as distro coordinator. This is when we organize shipping out 5,000 copies of MRR and is the busiest time of month for distro. Good timez! I think that is the most frustrating part of the job; having to work while a million rad things are happening, or maybe more like going to a few of those million rad things with the heavy hearted realization that you’ll be up til the early hours working on the magazine then have to get up a couple hours later to go to your ‘real’ job.
One thing that's vaguely linked to all of the above if only in my head is the fact that No Age get free sneakers and weird random promotional sneakerhead shit from NIKE. Eat Skull were on some MTV special about the Portland DIY scene. Um I have a whole lot more to say about such matters, but not right now. This column is dedicated to doom not coherence. Wretched Indigestion. Hubbs and I went to see the original hardcore line up of Melvins, which was and would have been a dream show for the 16 year old me. It was marred slightly by the 'pro-sound/pro-equipment' feel of the setting and of the sound, but seriously SO FUCKING RAGING. It was part of the Great Mime Artiste Jello Biafra's 50th birthday party and the only reason we went was because my friend Andy was playing bass for the Melvins/Jello so it was free. I wonder if Melvins get free sneakers from Nike. OG line up Matt Lukin dunks. Matt Lukin’s legs.
Some random hardcore bro came up to me and said my house was gonna get fucked up during the Sex Vid show, so I got super paranoid and did not make fliers and made it disappear from the internet circles of circularity. Anyway. My house did not perish and neither did I. Nothing bad will ever happen again. Funeral pyre style. Sexual Video have a 12” coming out at some point. SEXVIDSEXVID.

1-Lebenden Toten live at Thrillhosue. Easily the most connected to the sound at a show I have felt since maybe seeing Look Back and Laugh at their peak. Just that total involvement in the sound and situation sense.
2-The first Nurse flexi. Sure I have blathered about it before in this column but seriously: so good, all girl early/mid 80s punk from Japan. I definitely have played it on the radio so check the MRR archive.
3-I Hate Danger-Bikini Kill
4-Interviewing Raymond Pettibon.
5-Kitchen Floor Haircuts
6- Radiopuhelimet- Pian Pian LP
7-Swiss punk book! It be expensive but holy shit, the ultimate coffee table book for sure. So beautiful and epic. Also the Chin Chin- Don’t Wanna be a Prisoner 7”. Amazing lady punk that’s like um, Ama-dots tryin to play Go Gos, but Swiss! So rad.
8-Chanel's back up vox on the new Limp Wrist 12". Also the last two songs.
9-Sick Things 7"
10-Homostupids Cat Music 7"

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Summer Jams
1-Death-Politicians in my Eyes/Keep on Knockin.
Death were an African American proto-punk band from early '70s Detroit; clearly you can't go wrong! I like this better than MC5; it's nastier and the riffs are fucking catchy and tough as shit. Sound of the streets, hard stares and back talking good times. I listened to it on repeat for an hour when I first got it so... will... you. You can download this from the Chunklet website. Or numerous other punk orientated forums and message boards. Or pay zillions of dollars for their 7" on ebay.

2-Maniax-we got sent two copies of this CD and each one instantly had numerous people's initials all over it (Can I review this? Can I?) Not sure who won that battle but me and Martin drove round town dropping off issues of the new MRR at record stores whilst singing,'Wendy O! OH! I love you so' (Can I be Yr Butcher Baby?) I already played another song off of this on a MRR radio show where I got in trouble for going over the time limit. Maniax! Teenagers from fucking FRESNO circa 1980, they played shows at the Mab, they got played on MRR radio when Tim n Jello n them were in charge, and were also on the Not So Quiet... comp. Most of the music contained within as far as I can tell is boom box recordings, the CD is 45 songs long, and maybe you aren't ready for that amount of this style. Maybe four or five here and there would be perfect if you aren't equipped for the reality of teenage times in a shitty town. BUT COME ON!! Wise up. This just exemplifies the genius of bored youth in the face of a New Idea, when kids reclaimed music from the tomb of 70s pop radio and Rolling Stone mag. I am sure there were a million bands like this in 1980, this is so charming and ridiculous and awesome and you need to get it together and get this. Also: Can someone interview them for MRR?? Like right now?

3-General Interest Demo- Sarcastic like an older brother who's always one step ahead but still annoying. I like the guitar sound, it reminds me of something I can't think of, like KBD kreepy melodics mushed up with Monorchid or Metamatics even?? It has this post punk influenced DC sound, and then a sharp-witted beach hardcore thing (which is an incongruous reference I know) that reminds me of a weird combination of all of the above. Bass is deep n dumb. Dunno. My writing on the subject of this tape is troubled but I personally would send off for it; I did even! It's snotty and funny and smart and there's nothin wrong with that huh? (4 bucks? 3 bucks? 59 Mytle St Somerville MA 02145)

4-Martin scored the Kalashnikov 45 for a typical Martin-style $20 bucks. "Oh this Betong Hysteria 7"? I found it in a box in an alley behind the showspace etc etc etc" Anyway whatever the story of his big score, he played this for me and I was totally blown away. The singer's voice is incredible, initially it reminded me of a less Exene'd out Mai of Gorilla Angreb, her voice is so much more restrained and cooler sounding though and I am aware I liken WAY too many lady singers to Mai. This is such a great 7”, I am not sure if it has been Bloodstained across Denmark or Killed by Death or anything, but someone should just fuckin reissue it! Just ruling awesome Danish punk with the best kind of lady punk vocals. This just in from Shit-Fi productions:
“Layla, I could've sworn I heard Kalashnikov was getting reissued, but that may not happen due to everything in KBN going haywire after Ungdomshuset was evicted. There was apparently a second Kalashnikov 7" recorded at the time, which never made it past test pressings (or something like that). I think there's a later record that is wave. Members were also in another band called Diarre before Kalashnikov who were on a tape comp and released a demo ltd to something like 25 (which no one has). Diarre is extremely killer raw, simple punk. One song is called "I Hate the New Romantics"! “

5-Silla Electrica will have a 7" out, at some point this summer, courtesy of one half of the Kill Test record label, ie Golnar, not sure what the name of her new endeabour is. I already raved about the demo, not sure where you can get a hold of one at this point, so just wait for the 7”. The duelling male/female vocals with a RAW Spanish punk vengeance style will make you spit blood for weeks. Total frayed at the edges frenzy, parts of it made me think of like the Tyrades trying to play Rappresaglia, but as if garage rock as it is now didn’t ever exist. It’s kind of got the violence of the Tyrades thru the filter of some Italian classix, but is way more street somehow than Tyrades!! You know, if you like punk rock that would sound good whether it came out in 79 or 08 make sure you get this record dudes! No contact info but I will pass it on when I get it! Spanish punk for you thoughtful trashed types.

6-Brilliant Colors are from San Francisco, the last time I saw them play was at this accidental all-girl bands show at the Knockout, with a band with the worst name; Schmool and Grass Widow too. Schmool kind of sounded like Y-Pants but I am not sure they would have ever heard of that band. They had nurse/insect costumes on and were very young, and initially the costume wacky factor made me wanna old lady it at the bar. I am glad I didn’t because the music they made was truly strange and out of sync in a compelling awesome way. They brought to mind Y Pants because the music was kind of creepy but also full of wonder rather than the void-like fury of the no wave…Also kind of Slits demos style, great Palmolive styled drums, really wild and unrestrained sounding. Brilliant Colors have changed rhythm sections since I last saw them, which has made them less C86 shambolic and tighter, sharper focussed somehow. I got a definite Bats feel, maybe even The Clean; some New Zealand was stuck in their throats for sure, but also a total dreamy Shop Assistants wash of veiled threats. They were fucking great, and I am sure they have a Myspace but SF check them out live for sure! Even the hardcore kids were diggin on the sound. Grass Widow played afterwards and instantly created a ladypit of frantic girls who knew all the words. They reminded me of the New Bloods, that sing songy Raincoats feel with more of a post-punk angularity however. Grass Widow were the most popular band, people were freaking out, it was kind of like what I imagine watching Against Me would be like if they were an all girl band that sounded like Raincoats?! The fans were all singing along fervently and totally losing it like girls did at Sleater Kinney shows, but the fervent unison-ness of it all made me think of having to watch this horrific Against Me vid at a random party a few years back. They sound like a less world-beat/primal New Bloods, so I guess Raincoats-lite is the new girl band sound? Kind of cool if it’s true… It was a great show even if I was a little lukewarm on the headliners. It’s a rad feeling being at an accidental all-girl show, where every band was lady fuelled like it was no big thing, as things should be you know?

7-I stole the below from some email newsletter I get; read it and realize that we need to know what The Cardboards, the Shakes and Hans Brinker and the Dykes sound like! And also we need to see the Pittsburgh punk super 8 freak out too!!

“A program of transmissions from Pittsburgh featuring small gauge oddities, punk documents from the late 1970's, home movies, industrial films of heavy industry and selections from the George Romero nostalgia vault. Playing off a combination of home movies that perform celebrity, performance in the punk underground and role playing in the silent film, this program presents aural and visual interplays and turns the tropes of sensorial convention on its ear: a vampire film by deaf children, a punk documentary, sound problems on the Super-8 mag track, a silent work print version of a sound film. Featuring a variety of films I saw originally while living in Pittsburgh in the late 1970's and early 1980's, these works are seared into my memory as fantastic microgems of cinematic invention and sublime eccentricity.

Featured in the program:

Miss You, Natalka Voslakov, Super-8, 1979, 3 mins
Natalka's kids Zoe and Zoltan perform the Rolling Stones classic.

Nosferatu in WPSD, Super-8, 1979, 18 mins
A Super 8mm rendition of the vampire story performed by kids from the
Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf under the guidance of their
teacher Tippi Comden.

Debt Begins at 20, Stephanie Beroes, 16mm, 1980, 40 mins
Part fiction part documentary, with music by The Cardboards, The
Shakes, Hans Brinker and The Dykes.

The Beach Bunnies at the Electric Banana, Peggy Ahwesh, Super-8, 1980,
10 mins
Acting out at the punk club one night.

About Peggy Ahwesh

Peggy Ahwesh came of age with 1970's feminism, Super-8 film and the
punk underground. She works in film and video, is on the editorial board of Ediciones la Calavera, a book publishing initiative. Ahwesh plays music with Barbara Ess (from Y Pants!!) in the band Radio/Guitar. She teaches film and video production at Bard College.”

This along with a conversation in the kitchen with Justin has made me realize that we need to do a punks in the movies themed issue of MRR, covering shit like this as well as the more ‘conventional’ punker cinematic moments. If you have any ideas let us know! I am already thinking about that Chicago punk movie, the Cleveland hardcore movie, the Brazillian one, Joe Rees of Target Video… There’s also a crazy rad thing I saw once as a kid and never again since, called something like Girls Bite Back which had Slits, Mannisch Depressiv, Lilliput and other early 80s/late 70s Euro ladies. And of course Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains is getting a reissue this fall, there’s Times Square which I have never seen even, shit I only saw Repo Man for the first time this year! The Screamers movie, Population One, that for some reason Subterranean still has a bunch of on VHS and yet I never manage to get it together to have enough money to get one when I am in the warehouse…

8-Sex Vid-Communal Living. And the future that is July 4th weekend-three Sex Vid shows, one in my backyard with Nodzz, Gun Outfit, Sisters and Never Healed, then the next day Lebenden Toten and Needles, and the next day Limp Wrist-whole weekend’s gonna be a rager dudes! Run on sentences! Yeah!

9-- I am in my last two weeks of just being a general shitworker at Maximum before I take over from Martin as distribution co-ordinator in July. I don’t think I have ever been more consumed by the magazine; constantly thinking about it and talking about it to the point of being informed that I was only allowed to talk about MRR for three hours straight as a one time thing. Nearly everyone I have talked to that's slightly outside of the Maximum orbit has informed me that we should give up on print media and just turn the mag into a blog or something to that effect. Which is kind of disheartening. And ridiculous?? At any rate each medium has it’s functions and advantages, and I wrote out a huge impassioned argument about the importance of independent print media and was somehow unable to put it in here. It was kind of exhausting to write and probably even worse to read. MRR rulez. I think (know) I am the first distribution coordinator with a column, and hopefully now even though I am going to be working two close-to-full-time jobs at once I will still have things to write about beyond recounting hilarious hijinks at the bulk mail drop off.

10-write me punx. I am a lousy correspondent I warn you… layla at

If you are interested in distributing MRR distro at is where I put the old columns from here on thee internet…

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The only spam I get is prescription drug related and I don’t even know what the drugs in the email titles are or what they do. Cialis. Cialis. What is this. I don’t want to know. Cialis. Cialis. A week or so ago I saw THRONES play in SF, Joe Preston; bass scientist, technician of tension. I saw MELVINS support Nirvana when I was 13 and it kind of changed my life, Joe played bass, I did not know this then though. I only remember their hair cuts and the feel of the bass on my skin, total second layer of epidermis, noise so harsh and all emcompassing it would have crumbled colluseums, definitely made me reconsider the Sid Vicious bootleg T shirt I was wearing because MELVINS were way better than My Way. Got kicked in the face in the pit and had my life changed and thus went out and got the 1st Melvins record I could find, the one with the Flipper/Alice Cooper covers on it. Such a rager. The first time I saw Thrones I tried to convey to Joe the effect this show had on my brain and demonstrated the true fixated nerd that I am, he still remembers me from this conversation even tho that was probably ten years ago. Jeez. Anyway new THRONES set is like a birthday pony ridden through the post apocalyptic tundra, or more like a birthday without the pony. A ride without the post apolcalyptic tundra, or maybe actually no birthday, no ride, no pony, no tundra. Maybe if you know about cialis? Cialysis. Cianalyse it.
Next month you will see my name in the co-ordinator section of the masthead because I am taking over from Martin as Distribution co-ordinator. If you work at a record store, skate shop, zine store, art n craft empire, info shop, squat gas station, tattoo shop, distro hovel etc etc you should totally start carrying Maximum Rocknroll. It’s the magazine for shitty thinkers, indifferent ragers, political gas attacks and you. Carry it. No but seriously duds email me here: if you can think of a store or distro that would be interested in carrying the mag. I have been training under the watchful eyes of Uncle Mar and am really looking forward to taking over in July. If you live in the SF/Bay Area and would be interested in helping out with shitwork contact us poser. There are some vaguely exciting things happening in terms of what I will be doing with the magazine with which I will need help, and also we always need people to help out doing shit like green tapin, picking up the mail from the PO box, and other equally fascinating tasks.

In the midst of all of this I had to fly to England on two days notice to deal with Some Family Matters. I took the opportunity to bring home my early 90s hip-hop tape collection (Raekwon! EPMD! Many others!) find an OG copy of Wipers Youth of America for £5 and go see an exhibition of May ‘68 posters from the student/worker Paris uprising. Last time I was there it was because my mum wanted me to clear out my record collection from my teenage bedroom, I mailed about 2000 LPs and 7"s to SF and sold the rest at random record stores where people kept telling me that no one was buying vinyl in the UK anymore, which struck me as strange. It seems like 2nd hand vinyl is the one thing that would still sell, if only to nerd collectors now that CDs have been devalued by the MP3. I guess the UK is bereft of old vinyl obsessives? Though having seen Fat Bob from Hard Skin’s record collection I am not sure of the truth of that statement. I found that £5 Wipers LP in the ‘White Stripes/Garage revival’ section of the record store that someone from Swell Maps used to work at, which is kind of inexplicable. The catagorization that is. Garage revival?? Jeez. Also the New Model Army records were in the ‘CRUST’ section of the record store, along with a bunch of dodgy spiral tribe techno dreadfuls, can the punks please stop liking this shitsystem of a band? They had their own brand of fucking clogs! CLOGS! No! I saw many records I would have picked up if the dollar hadn’t been so worthless. Seeing an old insane looking early 80s comp LP with a bunch of classic Messthetics bands on it including The Tronics, for £30, which worked out at $60 for me, was a total bummer. Also there was an article in the listings section of the Guardian newspaper about Jay Reatard which claimed he was in a long line of American Hardcore Heroes such as Fucked Up. Really?? English people and their genres.
Other bummers:
1-The shambolic indie revival. Chapel Hill part V. Make it go away.
2-Mimimal Techno
3-Hippie dadrock jam revival music that just sounds like late 70s AM rock. At least channel Roky/Skip Spence rather than generic rock millionaires.
4-the word ‘chill’ used in contexts such as ‘we had a chill time’ ‘it was chill’ ‘he’s a chill dude’ etc etc also chill out music as a genre.
5-‘punk’ bands or bands with ex ‘punks’ who play shows/events sponsored by Nike/PBR/whatever. Also Nike’s new subliminal ‘unbranded’ advertising.

Top tenned

1-Venom P Stinger Live LP
2-Kikeiji-Plastics Love
3-The Lowrider mag from 82 with The Brat on the cover
4-Punk style from east LA in that era
5-Julien Stranger’s part in the Reason for Living vid.
6-Can-I Want More
7-Jay Boy by Kent Sherwood/Glen E Friedman. Pre Dog Town Jay Adams...
8-Subculture-I Heard A Scream LP
9-Shitty Laddes
10-layla at or

Monday, May 5, 2008

Music that Sounds Like Raymond Pettibon Drawings

One time when I was a teenage skate rat I tried to interview Ed Templeton for my zine only he thought I was hitting on him and wouldn't do it. If you knew me as a teenager (or even now) you would know that is the most ridiculous thing to think. I am the least flirtatious person on earth and I am such a champion nerd that I can launch into a 5000 word dissertation on the relative merits of late period Black Flag instrumentals with no notion that the dude I am talking to would way rather be um doing other things than listening to me demonstrate what a total dork I am. I used to hang out with this dude who looked at me incredulously when I said I would never be able to play the guitar parts on The Wipers' Youth of America. I mean for me the guitar sound on that record is kind of epic and mythic/ mysterious and thus unimaginable in the context of my mere hands. For him it would probably be a lazy evening's project. It's just a guitar part. It's just a studio trick. Except it isn't!
It's the sound of bad weather, bad drugs, paranoia, weird alien conspiracies, evenings alone, walks through isolated parts of town at the wrong moment in time. It totally evokes the North West- an isolated doomed, weather-beaten down/too many drugs genius sound. It's not something you can replicate with your hands, you could maybe make an approximation of, or maybe even an exact replica. But it would be wrong somehow. Even if you decided to do a band using the idea of that as your masterplan it would not sum up an entire paranoid universe that doesn't actually exist. Except in your head when you listen to Youth of America. Too many people wanna do a band like VOID and just make a bad metal douche sound instead. Or they wanna do a band that's along the lines of the Dead C and somehow they can't get the atmospherics quite right and instead of hexed transcendence you are very aware of the collection of devices connected to the guitar spread out on the floor, spoils of a pawn shop pedal spree. Meaning that there is some weird chemical reaction that separates the sound from the scene depiction of. Endless Re-enactments! Doomed to Dream!
Therefore no one should do anything ever again.
I want weirdo mutants not shambolic dudes who smoke a lot of pot and get a lot of ass and keep it on the regular regularly. I like having an idea of music and not having that idea ruined by actually meeting the musicians and finding out they're just regular folx, which I guess is me playing my part in upholding the myth of rocknroll. Basically I want music to be as it is in my head, not made by actual humans that participate in actual human interactions. Not too much to ask? Ho Ho HO. (YOU WILL NEVER MAKE A SOUND THAT'S AS LIBERATING AS THE GUITAR ON VOID'S EXPLODE! DON'T EVEN TRY! )
What is it about a person or a band or an idea that makes you want to create your own thing rather than just consume theirs? What makes you feel like a fan eternally stuck in the audience as opposed to the feeling that makes you think that you have something to contribute to what is happening on stage. That you could make your own weirdo version of it. Endless offshoots vs starry eyed worship. I like reading old Minutemen interviews because they were such dork fans, so obsessed and reverent and yet the music they made was a total irreverent celebration of this, they kind of turned being a total fan into this other thing. This joyful inclusive sound that makes the listener feel part of something worth investigating and yet very aware that what they are listening to is (a disruptive) part of rocknroll and thus in itself fanworthy. See also: first Meat Puppets 7". The music creates a world in which you are able to exist. But you have to also create your own thing to remain an active participant is the process, not a reproduction antique.
This is all connected. If you have been following my fascinating journey through life and thusly fervently reading these columns on a month to month basis you will know that I went to the Great Pacific North West for the Sex Vid 7" release rather than going to the upcoming punk rage fest, Chaos In Tejas. (Though I may still go to that? Um, probably not since it seems it'll ultimately cost more in the $400 range and I live more in the minus 400 dollar range) At anyrate, Olympia, the city of ghosts of former ideas and happenings; definitely was weird to be there in the context of Sex Vid rather than a Yo Yo a Go Go or Ladyfest. Felt way less frantic and run around and more weird and fucked up like a slowed down Wipers guitar part or driving round listening to Thrones in the end times.
We flew into Seattle and it was fuckin snowing, the airport had a weird sterile rock/zen garden that we sat in and watched the snow fall. I spent the flight reading this book, Enter Naomi, SST, LA and All That by Joe Carducci which Hubbs' lent me months ago. I was totally consumed by it to the point that I was one of those douchebags that reads whilst walking along, all the way to where Sam and RJ were waiting for us by the curb. Enter Naomi was written as a result of finding out two years after the fact that the SST house photographer Naomi Peterson had died. It works as a history of SST and Black Flag from an insiders perspective, Carducci was the Label Manager I think, but as it says on the subject line on the back cover "Music/Photography/Women/Los Angeles." While not quite a memoir, though it sort of is that too, it's more about the women of SST and the history of punk and how music and place and scene and scum bag geniuses make things transcendent and digusting at once. There were a few moments where I felt the depictions of the women were off; just felt like they were kind of cartoon 'crazy wild lady!' which is to say a little one dimensional. And I'm not saying that the women/girls of early LA punk/SST weren't wild, more that the characterizations seemed a little fetishistic/simplistic in certain places, but really that's kind of a minor quibble.

In using Naomi's life trajectory as his starting point Carducci creates a really refreshing way of covering familiar punk-rock-history-book territory, ie the Myth of Black Flag™. The book switches from biographical detail, of Naomi, of LA, of Medea, the woman that inspired Jealous Again, to all lower-case emails sent from other lost SST girls, and his own esoteric memories elicited from a certain photograph or flier. He details the exact manner in which Naomi managed to go from random punk girl in distress/potential groupie to scene photographer for one of the most important record labels in one of the least women friendly environments. You will lose a day to this book I swear. It works as a great companion piece to Get In The Van or the punk planet Flag interviews, and opens up another LA where the Bukowski antihero is a woman who doesn't quite get eaten by the scene/society but loses and gains something else in terms of identity and memory. The fliers and ephemera; photos, recording notes, press releases, post cards, diaries add to the collage like nature of the book. It's like a conversation rather than a broadcast if that makes sense and really opens up a world like the best books do.

I also read RJ's old Forced Exposures which made me rue the lack of great music zines, I know the internet, the internet, blah blah blah, but there's nothing as wide reaching, insane, creepy, funny and obsessive as that zine in existence now. That's a definite call to arms by the way. Half of Sex Vid live across from a place that sells Rippin' Tacos. RJ said he used to be vegetarian but started to feel the meat vibrations a few years back, which could the name of your new zine? Right? Super creepy. MEAT VIBRATIONS. Rippin Tacos is your fake OC Reagan band. We sat in on a SEX VID practise sesh minus Judd, which Hubbs' is bootlegging as I write this. $80 of ebay gold; imagine the NECROS trying to play INTEGRITY VOCAL TEST. Livin the Dream tapes. Also watch out for Sue's Meat Puppets 1st 7" Brooklyn basement scene explosion 2010 future. Heard some gnarly stories about a 20 yr old Iraqi war vet who is now an anti-war campaigner. Total annihilation. Sam's drums randomly smashed the back window of his car in the car park of the pizzeria where the show, which was free with Iron Lung and Sisters and ltd ed. ebay gold merch, was going to be in Oly. My best friend called me because she was walking home from attending a Boredoms show at 1am alone by the river Charles on the opposite coast and malevolent dark forms kept appearing from the shadows.
Of course Sex Vid were fucking great live-kids were doing flips off the pizza counter into the crowd and the new shit sounds incredible played in such circumstances, totally brutal brain damage LSD math genius disturbance. Heavy like late nights/early mornings/which is which? I liked Sisters a lot, but saw a lot of Evol/Sister replicants when I was a teenage grunge fan so wanted more from them kind of? Especially in regards to the dude that apes Thurston's voice so mechanically. He definitely needs to figure out how to not do that. Kanako's voice is super rad, though she only sang on one song and I really dug her Moe Tucker channeled thru Jesus and Mary Chain drumming style. Iron Lung also were great, like them waaaay better live than on record tho the new LP cover art is next level greatness.

Listened to lots of BATS LPs and 12"s, the Dead C White house 12" and bought some weirdo mid 80s battle of the bands/Cramps mutation shit-fi 7" with photocopied on legal paper cover with incredibly intricate autistic doom art that was moulding. Also heard more Ween hanging out with Sue and RJ than I did for the entire 90s and 00s combined. Bummerz. No sleep pretty much except on a dirty mattress in some junkie kid's apt in Olympia while a life long Petty Crime fan tried to get me to tell him something I couldn't figure out. (Petty Crime was my teenage artpunker band with aforementioned best friend)
Sex Vid will be playing my backyard some summer afternoon; SF's alright if you like saxophones/green drugs/feeling like earth.

1-CAMPINGSEX 1914 double LP reissue

2-Late period Black Flag on headphones
3-Suburban Lawns-Janitor

4-Nixe 7" and rumors of a LP discography

5-Breakfast Without Meat zine, the issue with the Black Flag interview

6-My future contains a Thera knitted Faith/Void scarf

7-The Brat on the cpver of Lowrider magazine Feb 82 Issue. NEED THIS, also the fact that The Brat are putting out a discog. With unreleased songs…. Dreamy!

8-Coffee in Seattle is delicious, coffee at Seattle airport is a shitsystem

9-Angry Grunge Dude #1: "You Have Great Thighs©"

layla.gibbon at (older columns I wrote are here)