1-MRR needs a truck. The one they have that someone donated three thousand years ago died... If you have one you don’t need you could get some kind of tax deduction situation happening. Intense. Or if you are a reclusive millionaire who is desperately thinking of how you could reconnect with your true punk self, start by donating a truck! Or a working Xerox machine that isn’t a piece of shit! I mean it’s tax deducdable! What’s stoppin ya.
2-Cleveland’s Screaming is a documentary about early 80s Cleveland (and Akron) hardcore. I was talking about it with Carl (who handed in his MRR keys this month; I guess the Japanese Oi comp CD he had to review this month was the nail in the coffin for his epic years of shitwork) .. and his first question was “How much Pagans footage?” to which I would say: not much! And while Pagans footage is always a positive I think this documentary is refreshing and awesome for a number of other reasons. Firstly it’s about a small group of kids, mostly working class who made their own scene in the decaying post industrial landscape that was Cleveland in the late 70s/early 80s. Kids who’s parents were laid off from closed down auto plants rather than the children of diplomats and professors, which makes it more compelling for me at least. It’s definitely footage from a world that hasn’t been documented and written into the ground, buried by footage of old men reliving their teen years (which seems to be what some of them do for a living) and ending with the assertion that punk/hardcore died as soon as they stopped caring about it. Seriously I think this is the first document I have seen on early 80s Hardcore than doesn’t have anyone dismissing what happened after they got cynical and jumped ship. The other best thing about this was the fact that all the shows happened in the backroom of a local tavern that resembles a rec room, you know wood panelling, no stage etc... So every band that plays looks like they are playing the same show, also: amazing Dicks footage! Just for like one minute (bc they were defs not a Clevo band) but it’s so fucking intense and proves that they were the greatest. Dicks hate police.... Anyway my favorite band discovered was the Urban Mutants, totally raging hardcore with a girl singer.
Danielle is more in the style of Tobia/Look Back and Laugh than um Spitboy (totally can’t think of girl fronted hardcore bands right now) which means: totally dreamy and raging! Also when they talked about how there wasn’t a stage so they would climb up on top of the door jam to stage dive... Sometimes watching documents of times past can turn into one long boring parade of self satisfied talking heads cleansing their bloated egos, and reaffirming what mythic warriors they were in the pit/in the van/on the streets. I liked this one because the participants seemed like genuine freaks who were saved by hardcore, who were able to create their own lives and good times because of the discovery of the underground. The kids in the audience were obviously just as important to the scene as the kids on the ‘stage’, which to me is what separates punk and hardcore from whatever else, fuckin indie rock grown folks music. People talked about how kids from San Diego/Southern California would move to Cleveland and expect the pit to be a total jock fest and act accordingly, and how Jimi from Zero Defex would school them on Clevo pit ettiquette. (Which was really different in the early 80s to say an Integrity show circa 94-mixed genders, aggressive but not violent, actual slam dancing not windmill/rice pickin aggro-jazzercize sausage party style) I really liked watching the punk girls in the pit because they either had crazy 80s Farah Fawcett mall hair, or mohawks/skinheads-nothing in between. See I am deep like that. Anyway, tons of crazy footage of Zero Defex, Spike in Vein (my favorite band from this era) The Guns, Urban Mutants, Agitated, tons of bands... More from the New Hope comp era than the Pagans era you know? Cissie said that you can download a tape of Urban Mutants stuff from the internet but I was unable to actually make this happen, so if anyone manages to do this mail me a CDR and I will make you a killer mix. Interestingly the only person in the entire doc who claims that punk died is my room mate and Zero Defex guitar hero Tommy Strange who wanted me to ask of you two things 1: if you know where Danielle of Urban Mutants is currently at he would like to get back in touch with her 2: He is currently putting on bi-monthly benefits for an organization that raises money for refugees of the Iraqi war. I can’t find his email and this column is so late already but if you write him c/o the MRR address I will pass on any correspondence to him.
Also Martin is trying to organize a screening of the Chicago punk doc, You Weren’t there, so if that goes well maybe we can do a MRR sponsered screening of Cleveland’s Screaming. The dude who made it has a blogspot: clevelandscreaming.blogspot.com and there’s a bunch of rad footage on you tube too. I think he’s still looking for distribution so if you are into that you should contact him. Brad (the guy that made the movie) not Tommy that is.
3- Outraged are my favorite live band right now. There actually haven’t been that many shows recently, I think I wrote about the last show I went to in my last column. (also featuring Outraged, and a Martin band, the one at this show was N.N. who Hubb’s likes better than Needles, the Martin band from last column’s Martin band/Outraged show. I am on the fence. Both rule and need to play more shows.) I did not go see the Naked Raygun reunion. Not sure exactly why, but sometimes I like bands to stay the way they are on record and in my head instead of ‘imposters on reunion tours’ to quote the Monorchid’s ‘A Was for Anarchy” not that Naked Raygun are imposters. But. The endless debate: is punk a museum object/aging relative to be cooed at and paid endless respect to or something we need to take back and make our own. Fifty words or less. Sometimes I don’t want to see legends recreating something I missed out on for my consumption. That was one of the things I liked about the Clevo doc, it was kids making music for themselves, reaffirming what punk is and will always be and why it will never die. There will always be some band like Outraged who bring raging hardcore to their cental valley farm community and made their own scene instead of just waiting for touring bands to pass thru town.
4-we have mice and they will perish
5-Also: The box o reagan memerobilia that was on the floor of MRR last time I was there. Collected over a period of many years in preperation for his demise! Newspaper clippings about his scum bag antics in Central America, the Middle East and in the fuckin Midwest factory towns like Cleveland. The 80s calendar of him zombie like, iconic and hollow eyed, astride a horse at his ranch; whoever put that little masterwork together wrote a simpering essay about how Reagan’s Ranch was in fact AMERICA and how it was somehow more important that any presidential library. Got me to thinking that that was pretty much true, the image of Reagan had more weight than any of his amoral policies to most of America, a symbol of a mythical idea. Plus: Rich People Are America! And why read a book when you can gaze lovingly at a wax work of a human being melting in the California sun onto a horse that has been underneath him since his B Movie days and is probably still there now rotting in the rivers of blood and genocide that his reign helped perpetrate.
6-Punk and credit cards and how the last person you would suspect of it has entire tours and record collections paid for via never paid off plastic. It’s strange to think that the entire American economy is built on and rests so precariously on credit. I am attempting to get out of debt right now, as it really freaks me out that people (including myself) maintain a lifestyle that they can’t actually afford because of credit. I mean I work a job that pays just over minimum wage and live in one of the most expensive cities on earth, so theoretically I should not have bought that Effigies “We’re Da Machine” I saw for 12 bucks yesterday because I know by the end of the week I will have to pay for my groceries with a credit card. I remember a friend putting out numerous records with his credit card, in the mid 90s, DC no wave stuff like Cranium and Ayler’s Angels and how it totally blew my mind that he was $10,000 dollars in debt yet still he spent. I mean I am nowhere neear that, but I kind of want to be able to continue to live the lazy non careerist lifestyle I am living without the shadow of owing money to shitty financial insitutions hovering over my brains. Not very interesting true, but on my mind nonetheless.
7-I need the Shop Assistants LP. Anyone?
8-Why does The Wards’ song Weapon Factory continuously get stuck in my head?
9-Per my last column, in which I casually dismiss Charles Bronson of being worthy of inclusion in the new book by the Fucked up and Photocopied dude... (it’s titled Punk is Dead, Punk is Everything, and yes at the reading in SF the author/compiler declared that punk was in fact dead so... hmm. Old dudes! Get over it! Just because you don’t know about things anymore doesn’t mean they don’t exist.) I got called on this assumption in the place online in which I put these columns after they are published in the magazine (whatwewantisfree.blogspot.com) because a certain someone claims that Charles Bronson were in fact more worthy of inclusion in the above mentioned tome, than say Scratch Acid because they created art out of boredom in a positive way, whereas Scratch Acid just created boredom out of boredom. (Directly quoted from the mouth or fingers I guess, of Ethan Swan: ‘Scratch Acid is people drowning in their own boredom and Charles Bronson is people overturning their boredom and being radical about it.’) Firstly, musical taste is personal, and political screamo to me does not match the burnt taste in the mouth Scratch Acid offers. Yes I am irritatingly PC in a lot of ways probably, but this doesn’t mean I like bands just bc they are ‘wimmin’ or don’t like bands because their values do not match mine. I tried really hard to like Spitboy when I was 14 but found myself entirely unable to do so. Their music is resoundingly horrendous. But I am sure we shared similar values in regards to feminism etc etc
Tommy Strange and I had a conversation in the kitchen just now about how he was at Negative Approach and the Necros first shows ever, in thee ancient olden days, and how though he liked the music he could never get that into them because they wouldn’t dismiss their huge skinhead following. For me, though context is important, e.g. I am not one of those people that hearts the first Slrewdriver record or anything, BUT I do like music that was created by people that I would probably not enjoy hanging out with/having a conversation with about their politics/ morals/ love lives etc etc, Intent is important but music that means nothing to me cannot be saved by shared values.
Case in point: I completely dismiss the entire genre of Anarcho punk/Peace Punk (ie Anarcho Pie, c.f Oi Polloi) because I hate Crass. Their music irritates me so much I am unable to take seriously any of their followers. I think the scene they created is rad and inspiring etc, though it is a bummer that ultimately they were responsible for the gross hippie rave scene that took over the UK and destroyed any possibility of a punk underground existing in the same way it does in Europe or the US because all the ex punks are too busy takin E and dancing in fields and warehouses. (Not to say the punk underground doesn’t exist, just that it’s no way close to the same level as it is here and I blame Crass and Ravers both for this situation.) The only band of this genre I can get behind is Rudimentary Peni, their music is disturbing and fucked up and wrong in ways I like and can identify with. Also bear in mind I have not actually heard most anarcho bands, even legendary ones like Golnar’s favorites Zounds, but whatevers. I don’t like listening to the ABC of moral values for hippies in different smellier outfits and have not much interest in investigating further when there are three billion types of music that do interest me that I don’t know enough about. So. I happen to like and think Scratch Acid are more worthy of inclusion in washed up old punk’s art books than The Locust or Charles Bronson. I mean c’mon.
10-now is the time. When is the truth.
Oh and Scott Moore esq. wanted never to be mentioned in this column again. ‘Bitch Please!”
Also: Cani- Guai a Voi 7”.
If you wanna write me write c/o mrr I seriously don’t even write my friends back though. Ugh. I am probably more likely to respond to comments on the stupid blog of my old columns I mentioned: whatwewantisfree.blogspot.com But maybe I will make myself a dutiful penpal. Sorry dudes.