Friday, April 26, 2013

Melvins Interview from 1993 Part 1

The Melvins were the first band I ever interviewed. This was from two places - first my old zine Marketing Ploy which I mentioned last time. The second source was KSJS - the San Jose State radio station where I was DJ-ing. I actually had an earlier opportunity to interview the Melvins about a year before at Club F/X in San Jose but our then music director sent me on a wild goose chase and I couldn't get into the club during sound check. Then I got so pissed off with the situation that I didn't even go to the show. Pisser that since I would've also seen Steel Pole Bathtub and Victims Family that night - which was a similar bill they did back in Fall of 1990 at UC-Santa Cruz. However, that school's bullshit "students only" policy stopped me from going to that show as well.

Flash forward to: Santa Clara, CA February 1993 and I'm very much into getting as many Melvins records as I can.  Granted, I got burned out on the band around late-1994 (also due to the dickish attitude of then-bassist Mark Detrum who I've heard has cooled down in recent years) when they did another interview with our station with my friend Gary. Anyway, they're still a very talented, original band that's stuck it out for a long time. And at least their stuff doesn't sound like Coldplay! Also, I have to thank them for being so cool to me then and for allowing me to ask a TON of questions! We were all just hanging out back stage after their sound check which was pretty incredible to see and sooooo rock n' roll. Especially to have your own "private show" with them jamming on "Night Goat" and a few other tunes. Here ya go:

I had to split this up because the formatting was somehow fucking up the order of pages. Also, Photoshop was being an asshole. More uploads of this later...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Late 90's zine tales & Cathy Ames - inteview

In 1998, I was attempting to put out a 5th issue of my zine Marketing Ploy. I did a small run of the first 4 issues since they were mostly just for friends. Although, the last issue published issue (Vol. 2/Number 2) got reviewed in Factsheet Five  and was supposed to be distro-ed by some guy in Colorado but that dude was a total rip-off. The article I wrote in the last issue "Torn Between Two Turnbuckles: Pro Wrestling: Then vs. Now" ended up in The 3rd edition of book The Zine Yearbook.

My article was alongside some interesting stuff like a Glen E. Friedman interview, a new technology in the workplace piece, and Mike Mannix's excellent "Bang your head to this!" (via Alice is an Island zine). His artcile dealt with masculinity and sexuality in the metal scene. A few months after the Zine Yearbook was published I met Mannix and editor of A.I.A.I zine/his friend Robyn. Robyn was also an occasional columnist in Heartattack zine - which was the 1st place I knew of that championed for better or worse) the then-underground metal-core and screamo, emo scenes. This was also going on around the time that KZSU was playing a lot of this stuff i.e. - Lifetime, Hoover, Converge, Cave-In  and so on...

 Although I only met Robyn and Mike once the way I met them is unforgettable. We were at Gilman Street and well, I can't actually remember the show lineup maybe that night. Uh, maybe something like Noothgrush/Deadbodieseverywhere and Benümb ? Anyway, I was standing next to Mike, Robyn and a German friend of theirs when I heard:

Mike: "what do you mean you don't like Accept?
German friend: "Nooo, they're terrible"
Mike: "c'mon dude - Balls to the Wall?!?...Restless and Wild"
Robyn: "Fast as a Shark"
Me: "Excuse me are you talking about Accept?"
Mike: "Yeah..."
(Talk goes into other Accept albums and WTF was with Russian Roulette and the Udo-less Eat the Heat?)

A few minutes later, Mike was complaining about the in-between band music which was some so-so pop-punk. He was shaking his head in disgust while making sarcastic remarks about said band to Robyn. I asked what band it was and he said "Discount". which just too poppy & saccharine for tonight's hardcore/grind & sludge lineup. I also found out that Mike had a record label called Ellington which released early stuff by Ire (who got airplay on Leia Organa's "From the Darkside" show on KFJC), Converge and Shadows Fall.

Summer of 1997, I was involved in the West Bay/Peninsula scene from making flyers and attending shows along with sometimes schlepping equipment for my friends "dork-core" band, Slobber. A number of the Slobber and other punk/metal shows were in the backyard of B Street Music in San Mateo. The backyard fit about 35-40 people and had a little stage set up. The shows ran from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. So, with Labor Day being the final one they booked a "mega-show" with 8 bands.

Made at Jungle Copy in downtown Palo Alto when I was on my lunch from my stupid-ass sales job.

Breakdown of the bands:

On Mars - Riot Grrl-ish punk from Redwood City, released a tape and were around for all of a month & a 1/2 ?
Lipids - San Mateo weird Minutemen-ish/almost prog maybe even new wave stuff?
Anti-Core -Demented Dadaist art-noise made by one loon from Jacob Ham and the other from Slobber.
Brick - Heavy AmRep/mid-paced rockin dudes from Fremont who shared members with...
Christian Prohibition - Rapid, sometimes messy power-violence-ish / heavy hardcore mix. I'm not sure if either them or Brick recorded anything. C.P.'s vocalist picked up the Examiner with the headline "Princess Diana dead from carcash" and said in his sarcastic voice: "oh I'm sooo saaad boo fuckin' hoo!" and then went into some song against churches.
R.W.S. - I'm not even sure if these guys had a proper acronym or what but it wasn't Red Wood Sity. They did silly power-violence/death-grind stuff that had titles like "Claire Danes" (this was during her My So Called Life-era) and "My Village was Attack by Vikings" followed by "My Village was Attacked by Emperor".  I saw these guys a few times later with Godstomper and with...
Cathy Ames - San Jose kids that were pretty damn ragin'! Fast & gnarly heavy hardcore that REALLY went under the radar. I was lucky to see them on this show as well with Godstomper and RWS a few months later in East San Jose at Musicians Warehouse (another short-lived South Bay D.I.Y. space). Their guitarist Alex was SUPER into Slayer and did a total Clark Kent into Superman transition as before their set we were talking and he was this mellow guy in glasses and an army jacket that was just talking about guitars and his fave metal bands. Then he got on stage and his hair went outward about a foot in each direction and out came the Slayer shirt and onward to headbangin' fury. OK, now here's the interview I did with them.

UPDATE DEUX: I saw Cathy Ames play for a 3rd time in Fall 1997 with some dull Pantera-ish band called Resin, Godstomper and Noothgrush at the Cactus Club in SJ. I last ran into Alex sometime around 2005 at a High on Fire show in San Jose. He told me that Fenny was in Seattle working at an art gallery. Prior to Cathy Ames bassist Pat was in pretty cool, raw punk band  called Charity Case. Alex was in the grind/death band Ragweed,  and the deathcore-ish before deathcore act, San Resina  - both of whom I saw in 2001 at the Silicon Valley Metal Fest (which actually ran 3-4 years in a row but unfortunately got overloaded with shitty "goregrind" bands). He's currently plays for SJ heshers, Beerijuana.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

More Favorites from 2012 - Live & otherwise

I spaced on mentioning that Cirith Ungol's "Servants of Chaos" 3xCD/DVD is ALSO on of my fave re-issues in 2012 as it runs from their trippy space rock via proto-metal of the late 70's-early 80's to their perfect HM songs from the mid-late 80's.

Anyway, I didn't get out enough this year but here's what saw & loved:

Voi Vod - Fox Theater, Oakland. Neurosis were good (and Yob was pretty medicore) Voi Vod just RULED!
Iron Maiden - Shoreline, Mountain Schmoo
Ghoul / Slough Feg / Gravehill - Tidal Wave Fest, S.F.
Dancer (SF) / Lenz / Apache / Terry Malts  - The Knockout, S.F.
Terry Malts / Apogee Sound Club / Light Brigade / C'est dommage at Thrillhouse Rec's, S.F. - Every band was fantastic and shows at this place are awesome.
The Yes Gos / The Mengs at Mardi Gras, Redwood City - The Yes Go's only had guitar & drums and ripped it up like an early Sub-Pop band. The Mengs did catchy punk without a lot of gloss. Only the second time I've been to a show and talked a LOT about wrestling as all three guys in the Mengs have at one point worked for BTW in Newark.
Godstomper / Backslider - Some dude's house, S.F. - BBQ & garage grind/powerviolence gig.
Acid Mother's Temple - Bottom of the Hill, S.F.
White Hills - B.o.t.H., S.F.
Warm Soda/King Tuff / (and yet again, Terry Malts) - New Parish, Oakland
Barn Owl /Trans Am / Wooden Shjips - Thrill Jockey Showcase, Independent, S.F.

Not a gig but a very cool in-store: Erkin Koray at AQ Recs.

Worst: Every good show I missed - a miles long list including but not limited to: Swans & Codeine.

Hilariously bad: 
Liturgy this past at the Thrill Jockey anniversary show. Gabber beats cranked to 11 & some guitars doing uh...something?

Other Live Events: 
"The Wrong Dick" - Film Noir parody stage play at The Dark Room, S.F.
"Asteroids" - stage play at The Dark Room, S.F.
Comedy Night at Artist Television Access - Lotsa comedians including George Chen who I've known for years but haven't seen 'em do comedy and he was quite good. Also, I made some girl laugh by adding on to a joke that one of the comedians said about doing Bay to Breakers and eating chow mein.

Films & TV: 
Last Days Here - Bay Area premiere at The Roxie, S.F.  Oh Bobby Liebling, whadda crazy life!
Lilyhammer - Funny, crazy and deals with a lot of the culture clash between "old school" New Yorkers and generally polite and cautious Norwegian society.
Norges Hergliste - Very cool idea of two brothers from Norway that go round the country finding everything from weird inventors to 50's collector obsessives to base jumpers to uh, some guy that can pull a car with a certain member.

Peep Show (BBC) - I didn't see every ep of That Mitchell & Webb Look but it seems no matter what these two are doing they're damn funny. The internal dialogues around the office & elsewhere I can REALLY relate to (though not the constant lying).
Classic Album Series: Black Sabbath - Paranoid, Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast, Motorhead - Ace of Spades.
Varg Venem - NOT a Black Metal thing but instead a fine, dark Norwegian detective show filmed in Bergen.
MST3K & Narduwar interviews - The gifts that keeps on giving.
Arrested Development - OK, I finally "get it" - it is funny and stays consistently good. Simple lines such as Tobias Funke saying "when  working in the business of show" always makes me laugh.
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret- Another David Cross show but why not? For some reason Will Arnett and Bob Odenkirk sound alike when they're raging and irrational but both are genius.
Metal Maniac! - A 2012 Metalsploitation schlok-fest made for about $100 and loads of Manilla Road can't go wrong with that.

Pro wrestling in general including the better side of WWE: CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and the indies: Sara Del Rey, Chikara & the like but more on that elsewhere soon.  The Oakland A's playoff run - they challenged the Tigers a lot more than the Yankees so that's something but I'm about 99.9% sure the team's future in Oakland is doomed. SJSU (American) football getting into a decent ranking - not bad for a commuter school.

New places of interest: 
Gaumenkitzel - There really needs to be more places like this where I can get a proper German pretzel
Gestalt Haus - giant beers & very comfy chairs & couches to sit on.
The Beat MuseumContemporary Jewish Museum - California Dreaming exhibit.
Oakland Museum of California's Exhbit on
Thrillhouse Records1-2-3-4 Go! Records - I love 'em both & wish I could go there every weekend but my wallet hates me.
Desert Museum of Palm Desert, CA - mountain goats, hirax (not the band in either case), sand cats, snakes, giraffes, jaguars and more!

Favorite Books I read: 
The Time of the Hawklords by Micheal Moorcock & Michael Butterworth (1976) - I typically don't read a lot of fiction these days but this story is a lot of fun. It's a sort of sci-fi story involving the members of Hawkwind at the time and Lemmy (pretty sure he was out of the band at this point but still neat to see him show up in this).
Commando - The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone - 4th book I've read on The Ramones and this one's also interesting to see where Johnny came from, his opinons on song writing, touring and personality clashes, baseball and so on.
Sputnik, Masked Men and Midgets - The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling by Ron Hall
Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and American in the Swinging 70's by Dan Epstein. Touches on nearly everything that made 70's baseball great. Especially in terms of breaking social and cultural barriers.
Ding Dong Daddy From Dingburg - Bill Griffith - Lots of Zippy the Pinhead and non-Zippy stuff as well.
The Beats - A Graphic History - Harvey Pekar (R.I.P.) & Paul Buhle - shows the complexities of their lives as well as underscores their significance
Crusin' with the Hound - The Life and Times of Fred Toote. Spain Rodriguez - Spain was a helluva artist and all-round bad-ass. These are all graphic stories on his & his friends lives in late 50's Buffalo that deals with racism, sex, violence and drinking all with fantastic art. Spain's another great we lost in 2012.

Atomic Elbow - Incredible mix of pro wrestling's past & present. More on this in the pit.
Chips & Beer - Sometimes I don't get Voetglin's writing but he's passionate about what he & his co-writers love and at times the take downs of hyped artists can be on target. Moreso, the super-detailed articles on Mercyful Fate and King Diamond history, NY Metal and in-depth interviews with Chris Black (Dawnbringer, Pharoah, High Spirits, Superchrist).
Maximum Rocknroll - 'Cause it's still pretty damn good even though I'll only ended up listening to about 5% of the records they review.

Podcasts (non-wrestling) 
The Smartest Man in the World with Greg Proops - Always have a lotta love for the Proop Dog. Especially great when he's able to talk a lot about the city and country he's in and not just to 2-3 cheesy jokes about it. Also, lots of talk about the 70's, history, politics, literature, and even an unexpected reference to W.A.S.P's "Fuck Like A Beast" (!)
The Dana Gould Hour - Dana Gould - Like Proops another long-time fave who I discovered originally on Live 105's Alex Bennett Show. Two gems: "It's easier to deal with the voice telling you you're no good if you just think of it said by Little Richard" and: (re: contemporary political debate) "it's professional wrestling with ties".
David Feldman Comedy Podcast - OK, it's not all comedy in fact, lately Feldman's been on a tear with monologues on the NRA, the corrupt policies of Amazon and so on. But more so, Feldman has also covered Hollywood stories of the past (i.e. - the show with the Steve Stollar author of Raised Eyebrows), plus Eddie Pepitone AND TV's Frank Conniff - count me in.
WTF with Marc Maron - the episodes with Colt Cabana (yeah OK that's about wrestling), Bob Zmuda (so's this one, kinda), Nick Lowe, Craig Ferguson, Tony Millionaire, Coop , W. Kamu Bell, and Tom Kenny  being baffled about "180 gram LP reissues of Iggy & the Stooges and The Ramones - they're supposed to sound like shit! I need the hiss and pop." 
You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes - I dunno what is about 'ol Petey but he just has this funny and interesting conversations with his friends that just remind me of a friend I would've had in high school. His laugh is hi-larious to me everytime. Can't explain it otherwise. Also, the ep. with Mike Burns you'll the meaning of "Double Dew - no ice!" 
Doug Loves Movies - Doug Benson & guests make a bunch of jokes on the cinema of the present and past - one of the best things you can listen to on a road trip.