Saturday, March 20, 2010

Creepy History From Pleasanton

From December 1997, San Mercury News. 
Crazy thing is I believe this was the little sister of a N. Sampson who I went to jr. high & high school. 

More info here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hottest Compare/Contrasts In Metal II

On the flipside, Landmine Marathon has a background from the D.I.Y. Hardcore scene of Arizona. Namely, guitarist Ryan Butler spent time in Unruh, Structure of Lies and even the Northside Kings. Landmine Marathon’s metal-archives photo show’s singer Grace Perry as one of five members. Instead of the usual Nightwish-y/Lacuna Coil-ish “guess the singer” element. Although, accusations of said silliness can also be pointed at groups such as Behemoth as well as a heap of male-fronted bands on Rock N’ Roll Confidential

Landmine Marathon began on Level Plane and moved a bit upwards to Prosthetic the label who for better or worse gave the world Lamb of God. It seems, Revolver wants to simulatenously promote Metal and Hard Rock music while also catering to the lowest common demonimators of marketing and “what makes money, bro”. I have no theories for this other than that’s the way the industry works and its double-standards therein.

Decibel, Revolver’s main U.S. Competitor, satrized this brilliantlly with their 2006 “Hottest Doods In Metal” featuring members of R.A.M.B.O. and Converge.

In conclusion are we as fans recognizing them and the connected question, who defines what “hotness” is? Why is it soley summed up as a visual? Again, I only questions no theories. This post on Grind and Punishment sums it it better than I can.

ENDNOTES: Strangest venue for the Halestorm's Fall 2009 tour: “Shrine Mosque in Springfield, Missouri. Calm down paranoid America, it’s just a Shriner’s mosque. You know the “wacky old guy 1920’s fez & cocktail, faux-Islam”.

Things I did at work

Yesterday I was thinking about my old job at the newspaper which I had for almost 11 years. Among the usual boring, stressful and altogether agonizingly dull tasks I had to do, I also did this:

* Drew hundreds of pictures & doodles
* Read stuff on Black Metal
* Read stuff on for KZSU research
* Posted & edited my reviews on KZSU’s Zookeeper
* Drank beer at a company meeting - only twice the cheap bastards!
* Made long distance, non-business calls
* Thought about girls & talked to one of 'em I met on Craigslist for about an hour
* Wrote bits for my zines
* Watched a bunch of sheep er, co-workers go upstairs to watch the update for the O.J. trial. I stayed away, ‘cause I had work to do and didn’t really give a shit at that point
* Ate too much food
* Petted lots of dogs
* Listened to & watched the baseball playoffs
* Read guitar, baseball and music magazines
* Read a bunch of non-work related books
* Read maps
* Told customers to “fuck off” under my breath
* Read the paper (never our own, it sucked)
* Read an alchemical interpretation of Goethe’s “Faust”
* Unintentionally cut myself (multiple times)
* Read lyrics, wrote shitty lyrics
* Copied stuff outta zines, other papers & books
* Wondered why my co-workers were so fucking stupid about the world around them (actually this was every day and almost every hour).
* Ordered tickets to Prog Fest ‘99
* Scowled at stupid yuppie bitches babies
* Wrote e-mails to friends
* Read my friend Gary’s e-mail review of 50+ Frank Zappa albums
* Filled out forms and faxed entry forms for a zine fest
* Drank too much Dr. Pepper
* Slept too long on my break or even sometimes at my desk
* Put my fist into a phone – multiple times
* Talked to my a couple of decent co-workers about: vikings, history, prog rock, B-movies, pro wrestling, beer, sex & metal.
* Learned dirty words in Norwegian

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hottest Compare/Contrasts in Metal

On the left is Halestorm who don't play Metal. However, the do play middle-of-the road/file next to Lita Ford/Headpins/Alaniya Miles drunk soccer mama rock The type Middle America loves it kinda just average at best, wallpaper-y loudish rock. While It’s not quite in the completely dreckful Papa Roach/Nickelback/Limp Bizkit spectrum. However, seeing all the usual promotional garbage attached in many ways makes them “just another we wanna make it big” band.

Their ad-laden myspace page carries the usual “we endorse/get get free shit from” variety (i.e. Gibson, Pro-Mark sticks, SIT strings) along with the nothing-actually-to-do with music of Monster Energy Drink and Vitamin Water. Oddly, within this Vitamin Water ad is a sponsored ad for yet another ad for: “The Music Fashion Project” where a be-fauxhawked” male model is er, hawking a generic ‘tribal tattoo’ -looking $33 (“normally $49" !?!) longsleeve shirt. The shirts are made by a company called "Teastain". Oddly, teastain’s site says nothing about “Charity’ and everything about:

“Unsatisfied with loud designs and over-the-top clothing, we took a stand. We decided to provide an alternative to the frenzied designs dominating the marketplace."


"...People should have a stylish alternative to the $90 t-shirt. Clothing should not distract from what is most important... the person wearing it. Thus, Tea Stain Clothing was born. Always remember, you are the most important part of your wardrobe!”

Hence an “alternative” to the “cutting edge(?)” of Ed Hardy/Affliction/Famous. The only link to a charity is on the widget’s far right corner which is for New Orleans Musicians Clinic. Obviously this is far more to do with pimping clothes than supporting chararties. It’s about as representative of this charity as Bounce Fabric Softer is for breast cancer. In short, you might as well say “welcome to the world of major labels”.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Tankard, Municipal Waste & keggers on NPR = WTF?!?

Of all places, National Public Radio took up writing about not only Thrash Metal but keggers!? It's at least a lot more interesting than much of "This American Life" or anything from "Car Talk" but still weirds me out considering the source. I couldn't image Terry Gross interviewing the guys from Tankard and discussing the finer points of the demo version of "Zombie Attack" and it's raw & punky, early Teutonic Thrash sound: "'ve been drinking a lot when you play this uh...'thrash metal, do you call it?...Tell me about that." Also, what the fuck is Alestorm doing in here? Horrible, horrible stuff. The kind of "Metal" your not-so-Metal friends point out to you and say "hey you like this stuff, huh? Hur-hur". Now I need a KQED tote bag to hurl in.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Few high school talent shows are this good

much less in Sweden...but Klass 9C sure as fuck went way out with Mercyful Fuckin' Fate's "Black Funeral"! Most school teachers and administrators would have a heart attack if the kids performed this tune that tells in first person tale of a Satanic sacrifice complete with the lines "Forget that whore". Hell, most of the STUDENTS at my high school would've spazed out over those lyrics or at least thrown moldy cheeseburgers & Copehagen cans at us.

Sure, their costume choices are odd with the 1977 punk rock version of King Diamond and their Denner & Sherman look a bit more like Adam Ant which reminds me...

I'd watch Klass 9C for 12 hours before I EVER watched 10 seconds of any of those hack talent shows on TV. These kids might've wanted to be big stars at the time but the point is their naive genius lives on through the magic of technology.

"Now hail Satan - Yes HAIL SATAN!"/"Da-diddily ponk rock-Da-da-diddily ponk rock!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More Early 90's Flashbacks

Awhile ago, I was looking for a tape. I grabbed this mix tape my friend Kirsten made in 1994 (most of it is from 1990-92). The tape has a bunch of Nirvana demos. Tonight was the first time I've really listened to Nirvana in I dunno...14 years? I discovered them through KZSC with their killer song "Negative Creep". More about station here I caught the last half of the song one night. I though "Who DOES this?!?...Damn, this is AWESOME!" While I've heard them sporatically in recent years - Noteably my friend Bill on KZSU playing a bootleg version "Teen Spirit" with Kurt telling the audience it's just a rip off of Boston's "More Than A Feeling" which they also play a few bars from.

My friend Kirsten was the only person I ever knew that was in the Sub-Pop collector's club. She was also the only one I ever knew that liked Bang Tango , Sisters of Mercy AND Mudhoney. Her & I were friends from the SJSU's radio station, KSJS. I met her in September '91 she was wearing a Nirvana shirt just right before they blew up all over MTV. I told that I liked them too. It was hard at first to find people who liked the same music as me. Not so much at the radio station but the gangsta rap lovin' (mostly) white jock/wannabe frat boy contingent in the dorm wasn't exactly receptive to say, Dinosaur Jr. much less Napalm Death or Japanese noise.

Kirsten was into all of the other Seattle & Sub-Pop bands (even Pearl Jam and Mother Love Bone....yeesh!) and we talked about that a lot. At the same time she was also into a lot of what the station was playing: The Pixies, KMFDM, Foetus, Ride, Lush, Swervedriver and a bunch more. She was a lot fun to be around while we never dated we got to hang out a lot at the station and at shows. She wore Doc Martens and had long straight hair which she usually dyed black or various shades of red & purple. Not that I gave a crap about being trendy or "hip" but she was ahead of the curve on that whole thing. Oddly enough, the very practical clothes worn by punk & metalheads - i.e. Docs and flannel shirts did become trendy, "hot commodities" for jocks and trend zombies. We got to hang out a bunch of shows at the Cactus Club, Marsugi's - which I went to about 3 weekends in a row and One Step Beyond.

Back to the tape - as part of the Collector's Club, Kirsten got a lot of rare b-side tracks in her collection. She wrote me a list of them: Unsane, Fluid, Urge Overkill, and Flour

She also had the very awesome "Another Damned Seattle Compilation" which was all Seattle area bands covering songs by The Damned. (Ex: Love Battery, The Fluid, Gas Huffer). I heard this album in between bands at the amazing 5 band bill of
Quicksand/Gray Matter (D.C.)/Hammerhead/Melvins/Helmet. While not perfect (as in far too many wannabe AliceinPearlGardenPilots bands) San Jose shows in '92-'93 usually even played good music in between bands. I heard most of the Pixies "Trompe Le Monde" one night at Marsugi's, the Cactus Club would put on the ld Target videos on their overhead video monitor in between bands. You could sit at the bar and watch Black Flag and D.O.A. Even better, my friend Matt once saw a Target Video of MDC circa 1982 the same night he was went to see MDC in 1992! To think in that in the land of ultra lounges and "every 4-6 months there might be a show worth seeing" there used to be quality live bands playing at least 2-3 times a month. Sometimes on the same night and across the street from one another. That said, Kirsten & I were part of the same 20 people that went to (almost) every Sleep show in San 'Ho.

Anyway, the Coffin Breakcover of "Love Song" is killer. Very close to the original but still with a few variations. Check out their song "Kill The President" poppy & sarcastic as fuck. Bush the elder is on the cover of the 7". Then "Just Say To Religion" is not that far off from early Corrosion of Conformity. Their Sabbath cover "Hole in The Sky" is pretty ace, too. Any band that can rip it up on Sabbath and The Damned covers has my approval.

The rest of tape is filled with Urge Overkill and Afghan Whigs (more on them later).
Urge Overkill started like a Big Black-type of band - big harsh percussive and often punishing (their first EP is suuuper rare). They later turned into a pretty straight up hard rock/power pop band. If you hear "The Kids Are Insane" you'd swear the vocalists was Gene Simmons. And hell, "The Candidate"also sounds like KISS if they had Neil Young's Crazy Horse backing them. I forgot about somewhere around '94 when they did the dodgy song for the so-so Tarntino movie "Pulp Fiction". Really Urge was a friggin' arena rock band with a smaller budget not a bad thing, for the time but this era did give way to utter kack like greenapplequickstep and Paw.

The Afghan Whigsstuff was really good. Like Urge Overkill, their first release is really dirty and unkempt very unlike what they later evolved into. Kirsten gave me 5 tracks from "Congregation" (1992) and "Gentlemen" (1994) which is mid-paced, swaggery but laden with catchy chourses. Lyrically they were pretty much about drugs ("I'm Her Slave") and random shit "Turn On The Water" (I think it might be a drug OD reference) which had a crazy video of the band sitting in a bathtub while flooding an apartment. The song is pretty loose and funky. The rest is often in the similar direction. Good stuff that's got a decent amount of staying power.

Kirsten & I had a Media Studies class with Professor Baran. Baran was always a fun professor. He had a really thick Boston accent which sometimes was hard to figure out. He knew how to entertain the class often to the point of going over the edge.
In his smaller classes he would often tell severely un-P.C. jokes about Polish & Italian people.

Professor Baran: (Towards girl in the front row of class):
"Are you Italian?"
Girl: "Yeah..."
Professor Baran: "Oh, I thouat so...I kin call by yah mustache!"
Class: "Ohh...! Whoah!"
Professor Baran" "My motha's Italian!"

Having said that he always told the person he was joking. Still it was a bit out of order I'd say. Suprisingly, there were no students that railed against him or called for his firing. Now if this was UC-Berkeley or UC-Santa Cruz things would've been a shit storm of speech codes. I loved that SJSU wasn't really uptight yet in general people weren't bigots either. I became way more aware of the world going to school here. Yet it was considered a "3rd rate" after the more prestigious Stanford and Berkeley.

Kirsten & I were in a class of about 200 people. Prof. Baran used a 48" TV to show videos. For the section on "Violence & The Media" he had us watch "The Simpsons". "I only showin' ya this 'cause I know it's infAMitive for yah!" He joked. (It's the episode where Marge complains about "Itchy & Scracthy"). During that winter semester I saw a lot of shows at the San Jose's best "hole in the wall" club - Marsugi's. I got hammered with Kirsten & her lovely lady friends on kamakizes while watching the Seattle punk band Zip Gun & the San Diego kinda-grunge band, Olivelawn. The latter did their semi-hit "Hate Makes The World Go 'Round" later covered by local power-poppers, Overwhelming Colorfast. Marsugi's was the size of a cheap but decent sized apartment. The stage was a scant 4" off the ground. Think Thee Parkside cut in half. Lots of bands played here: Gwar (who sprayed their red "blood" everywhere), Mudhoney and even some band whose name rhymes with "bin-ana".

Kirsten & I continued to see each other at shows and around the station in this time. We ended up having some friends in common and made mix tapes of the various Nirvana bootlegs & Melvins stuff we each had. (At one point I had 4 different Nirvana bootleg singles). She ended up dating and eventually marrying, Jon, a who was the production director at KSJS. He was also in our friend Jody's band - Jennifer Rambles On. Looking over my live show list, I saw Jennifer Rambles seven times between December 1991-May 1993. I didn't even like their vocals much (kinda bordering on Smashing Pumpkins) but the combo of Jody's bass and Jon pounding drums made them really worth watching.

I fell out of touch with her after she graduated in the first half of 1994. In the early 2000s I read a few things about her & John's band Andalusia. The weekend of 9/11/01. I saw them play at the Works Gallery on North First Street in downtown S.J. They played a great show - often ethereal tracks that moved from introspective to full on loud-ass jams. They played with a bunch of video projections showing "Un Chine Andelou" and "Freaks". I caught up with them a lot and also a few months later I got them booked on KZSU's Wednesday Night Live. I tried contacting them a few weeks after that since they lived nearby but their website hasn't been updated since November 2003.

Monday, March 1, 2010

MTV Basement Tapes Bands

When Jersey Shore was just a location for dickbags, MTV used to play this stuff called music and moreso they even kinda, sorta helped a few bands "make it". Even if it was for a few months in the checkerboard/rising sun-muscle shirt year of 1983. We'll start off with the show intro & some pud-pop from Screen Test. Followed by some short clips of bands that only help reiterate the Hardcore/Punk attitude against "that wave-o shit".

In a Seattle area zine about 12 years ago, The Melvins were joking about "all those great Seattle Rail" Later on Buzz of the Melvins mentioned that Rail did a side project with Ronnie Montrose called Monorail. Apparently there are no Monorail recordings but my friend Big Chief on KZSU will break out the Rail LP every once in a blue moon. This is the tune that won 'em over:

By Thor, it's a pretty cool Angel/Triumph-like sorta heavy pomp rocker. Unfortunately, they never gigged or did a split with 1984's winner, Trak who had this "barely past puberty" mix of The Babys/April Wine & The Osmonds(!?) And really, are you still a "basement band" if you're doing a video on MTV and recording for EMI?

Anyway, more searching gave way to this equally obscure band called Hostage.

Sounds like early Dokken mixed with Malice & Keel and maybe even a super-early Skid Row. Very L.A. but OK sound produced by Bob St. John who did some platters of crap for Extreme & those "Now That's What I Called Music" drink coasters, a few years later. Skinny-tie pop was also represented by President and lest I forget these Memphis weirdos, Dog Police:

Sounds suspiciously similar to Sparks' "Mickey Mouse". Now here's the Moderns - "Serve and Protect" envoking, as several bands in the 80's had - the "computers as dystopian future" theme:

I'll spare you the 1985 Basement Tapes with guest host Billy Crystal and the late Reagan-era Rockers Against Drugs ads.