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June 2024: About




Pink Floyd was a big part of my teenage years. , for example, took up an awful lot of my time and attention for a while. There is really no other band like them.

Like many people, the first of theirs I really remember is “Money” off of . That guitar solo is just a full-on ripper, and it is so fun to play air guitar to, as well. I have this memory of there being an air guitar contest during my freshman or sophomore year at Deer Valley and I think I entered the contest but chickened out after watching some of the actual guitar players (good, bad, or otherwise) show it could really be done.

When I discovered there was a lot more to Pink Floyd than or …, I was pretty stoked. After perusing a lot of their earlier material, I found from 1967. It quickly became my favorite album of theirs and today, I’ll tell you why.

One thing I realize when I listen to is how much influence that one has over a lot of the more psychedelic music that I love, whether it is The Damned and similar punk rock-style stuff or some of the post-punk, noisier stuff like Alien Sex Fiend. The Syd Barrett led Floyd was definitely on a different wavelength than most, if not all, if their late-60s counterparts.

It seems like they also helped give birth to some of the cool European prog bands like Can or their English counterparts, Henry Cow, who I am still getting to know (and love). I may have a lot more homework to do here, but the sounds I hear on are not like anything else from that era and when you listen to the Floyd records that came after, it feels like they are missing Syd Barrett a lot.

This was the only record that Barrett was the main songwriter for Pink Floyd. David Gilmour had not yet joined the band but would soon step as Barrett got more and more out there. Now, I happen to love what Syd Barrett did in his short career. As a teenager, I thought he was the most interesting part of Floyd but didn’t realize how limited his time in the band truly was after they started making records.

There was and is a mythos about Syd Barrett. For me, the LSD side of things was intriguing as I was a big fan of that particular drug in the 80s, but I also genuinely like his style of songwriting. It’s very unique. I love the way he just did his thing.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn has these wonderful moments of tripped out psychedelia including the opening track, “Astronomy Domine.” I was certainly hooked the first time I heard this over at my friend, K.J.’s house. I also happen to love the Voivod cover of it, too. There is a lot going on in there and it’s full of delicious head candy. Shut your eyes, turn it up, and let it take you to space.

“Lucifer Sam” is also a lot of fun. We toyed with covering it in the early days of The Father Figures. I don’t remember us every really getting past fiddling around with the main riff, but it could have been epic. Definitely one of my favorite Floyd songs.

While I’m not a huge fan of “Matilda Mother,” I enjoy “Flaming” and “Pow R. Toc H.” quite a bit. I like the weird spaciness of both of them. I would love to have that ear for creating songs with that much space in them. Listening to this makes me realize how busy my songs can be.

Not that there isn’t a lot going on, but Pink Floyd were masters of everything having its space in the mix. “Take Up Thy Stethoscope” is more my territory. It’s a Roger Waters song, so that might explain it a bit. One thing that this particular song reminds me of is how damn good Nick Mason and Richard Wright are at what they do.

Now, “Interstellar Overdrive” is one of those songs that will rip your brain out under the right circumstances and then feed it back to you in slow, tiny bites. What a great opening riff. Like “Lucifer Sam,” the main riff is so fun to play. It deconstructs itself into a full attack on the synapses, hence ripping your brain out, but with the right speakers or headphones, this one is a blast. Melvins do a pretty good rendition, too.

“The Gnome” is classis Barrett and so Is “Chapter 24.” Trippy, weird, and inventive. Wright kind of rules of “Chapter 24,” too. “Scarecrow” is another jag down the Barrett wormhole and then he pulls out the weirdo pop on “Bike.” I can’t help but grin at this one. Barrett is definitely not for everyone, but that’s okay. I’ll be writing about at some point this year.

Grab some blotter and pop this one on. “Tune in, turn on, drop out,” as Timothy Leary once said.

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June 2024: Welcome
June 2024: Welcome




Part two of getting high on my own supply: .

After the relative obscurity that followed the , my band, Hillbilly Devilspeak, focused on playing gigs for the next few years. Eventually we added a fourth member, Mr. Smith (AKA Trent Pittard), who played in a Chandler-based band, Unthinkables, that we really liked. We had become friends and it seemed like it would be a good thing to add him to the band.

For me, I was hoping Trent would help out with writing songs and add some extra vocals. As much as I loved the idea of the Speak being a power trio, I felt like we could be better as a four-piece. We had a shitload of songs, so recording a full-length album was inevitable. Trent helped make that happen.

As we got the songs together that we decided to record, we arranged for my pal, Alex Newport, to come back to town and twiddle the knobs again at Blue Sky Studios where we recorded the first EP. Because of limited time and funds, we knocked out the eight tracks that make up the CD pretty quickly.

We practiced a lot in those days, plus we played a lot of shows, so we were very tight. I think you can hear that on the CD. I have to say I’m really proud of this one. It’s my second full-length record and for the most part, I think it holds up pretty well.

It starts off with “Casa Bravo” which may be the best, true punk rock song I ever wrote. It got us our one gig at Gilman Street, and I still love playing to this day. The lyrics, unfortunately, are still true. I’ve always been keen on writing about politics and lies.


Tax the rich by granting opportunities

feed the poor with a mouthful of lies

I can’t be a part of your majority when real morality is what you despise

Chorus: Now, show your colors/ This is America/Land of opportunity/Home of the brave

When the government controls the class war by supporting those with more than they need

Our tax dollars pay for mediocrity

under the weight of so much greed


I live in America

so why should I complain?

I’m told I have the right to, but I do it in vain

So, I’ll question authority

until the day I cannot

If it’s blood they want

it’s blood they’ve got

Don’t look away when opposition faces you

Look those bastards right in the eye

Your opinion counts if you believe it’s true

Don’t follow others just so you get by

The drums and guitars on “Casa Bravo” turned out great. Trent and Terry “The Great” Ciarlino got really good at playing off each other. EJ Trbovic (AKA The Boy) did some incredible work in the studio over that first day where we tracked almost all of the songs.

Alex was big on recording things as live as possible and with our limited budget that’s what we could afford to do. Thanks to EJ for being on it. I haven’t thought about those days for a long time, but we were in there together doing our thing and it was great.

“Stemmed It” was next, and it is just a short, punk rock blast about suicide. I don’t remember it being about anyone in particular. I read a lot and, at the time, was watching a bunch of people I knew going through some rough stuff with drugs, so I was probably worried about the fact that I thought people I loved were committing some long form suicide. I remember Ciarlino being particularly fond of this one.

“Head Cleaner” is another favorite of mine that we still play. It’s simple and pretty brutal. I had watched the film, , with Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman, and liked that it referred to hitmen as “Cleaners.” I coupled that with the cassettes you would get to clean the heads of your cassette players, and voila! A song title was born.

The lyrics are about the struggle of being yourself in a sea of people that want you to be like them. I love how the guitars sound on it. Hat tip to Mr. Newport. EJ is also just killing it on the recording, too. Over the years, we’ve made a few minor tweaks to it here and there, but it sill remains pretty true to this recorded version.

“Brains” was one that we had been playing for a few years. Ciarlino had taped this great sermon off the TV about being “Brainwashed by the word of God.” He looped this part about needing to “be brainwashed” that went “But you know what we need sometimes, we need to be brainwashed. Our brains need to be washed.” It’s perfect.

Alex had given me an Alesis Quadraverb that he had used for guitar effects on one of the Fudge Tunnel records and I used one of the settings he made to get the gnarly vocal sounds. At the time, I had a whole rack of effects and I dialed in some crazy sounds and delays to use. It was really fun to manipulate the vocals in the studio there at Blue Sky. I went a little nutty. It’s another super simple riff, but it works. We still play this one a lot, too.

Track five is “Chew Well.” Oddly enough, a lot of people really liked this one. It was a little softer than most of our stuff and made for a nice palate cleanser on the CD and live. It was one that was inspired directly by a news story I read about a meth head who stayed up too long and thought he was a lion. The guy ended up attacking his mother and biting her enough to do some significant damage.

I enjoyed playing this one a lot. We have played it here and there in the last five years, but not recently. We could do it pretty well, I think, with Liam in the band. In typical Hillbilly fashion, it is basically one riff that we play loud and quiet and then speed up a bit while I tell the story of the “lion” stalking his prey.

“Glad” comes next. Trent sings the main vocal part on this one. It is a riff that we came up with after he joined the band and it is about my disappointment in not being selected to join a band I had tried out for so I wrote the lyrics, “I’m not bitter because I’m better than you.” Over time, though, it became about a lot more than just that disappointing experience and I added the speech over the noisy middle part.

That speech is another one aimed at some of the folks in my life who were struggling with various forms of addiction in those days. Trent sings it so well that I don’t miss singing it myself, but I still feel a great deal of emotional release when we play it. Liam has been playing The Great Ciarlino’s part lately and doing a great job of it.

“Glad” is a song that a lot of people have come up to me over the years and said how they could identify with it, too. That’s been very gratifying. I think all of us have felt this way many times, probably…but I’m not bitter at all anymore.

“Polanski” is about Roman Polanski. I think it came from talking about the acclaimed/reviled director at practice one time and I just started scat singing about him when we were working on the riff. I always liked the riff because it is not super easy to play, but it allowed me to stretch my fingers out a little bit.

“Rosemary’s Baby’s so nice/You can’t do that one twice.”

I’ve always been proud of that particular lyric. The Great Ciarlino is on fire here, too.

The last ‘official’ song on the CD is “Mistake” and that’s one that Trent and I collaborated on. I don’t think we’ve played it more than a couple times live, if at all. Maybe at the CD release show. Lyrically, I like it a lot. I remember sitting at the kitchen table in the apartment I lived in with my ex-wife in Ahwatukee with Trent figuring out the lyrics.

We figured out a pretty nifty way to sing it together and have a little call and response on the chorus. We tried to get philosophical with the lyrics and when I’m listening now, I don’t remember what we were trying to say here. It’s a pretty cool riff, though.

The eight songs that we recorded at Blue Sky go by pretty fast, so we decided to add a few demos that Alex had recorded with us previously that sounded pretty good. The first of the four is “Koresh.”

I had written “Koresh” in 95 or 96 after Waco had happened and I saw a news thing on the national news about a young lady who had gotten pulled out of the Branch Davidian compound by her father prior to the assault. She was interviewed or testified before congress, and it was a pretty harrowing story.

Sure, there were a few liberties taken with the lyrics, but it is pretty true to what she shared on the TV. It’s another simple, yet effective song. Ironically, even though I sing “You want to finger my pussy,” in the song, a lot of women really like it. I think maybe because I sing from the young lady’s perspective and people aren’t used to a male doing that.

It’s a powerful song, too, in its way and we still play it.

The next ‘bonus’ track is “Second Cousin.” This one was kind of a joke song at the time that I would not be super comfortable playing now. It’s about a man having sex with his black second cousin. I suppose I would get cancelled for it now, but it was actually a running joke between Alex and I about this whacked out doll he got for me on tour when Fudge Tunnel was somewhere in the south.

At the time, though, I thought I was being outrageous, and I probably was. We played “Second Cousin” live a lot. Ciarlino’s guitar work on it is pretty bad ass, as is the Boy’s drums. We were weird dudes and we played weird music.

Track 11 on the CD is “Rodman Vs. Soul.” I had a dream about Dennis Rodman and David Soul one night and it became a song. I also inserted a bunch of stuff about the film, and some other basketball references. What I really like about the song is the bass riff. It was noisy and cool.

I had a pretty cool reverb on my voice for that one. It’s funny, as I listen to these songs for the purpose of telling you this story, I can remember how I had all the different settings on my effects for each song. This one was a combination of a couple of reverbs, and I think a little bit of gate.

EJ played a pretty cool beat on “Rodman Vs. Soul,” too. I feel a lot of love for him and Ciarlino for being willing to go on these dark journeys with me. At the time I wrote this one, I was in the midst of years of sobriety. As I take the sober journey again, I find my desire to get weird with music coming back. What does that mean?

The last track is called, “Karen…You’re Lip-syncing Again.” It’s about Karen Carpenter and it is not particularly nice. It’s kind of a blatant Butthole Surfer rip off, but I love it, too. It’s this big noisy bass riff with some killer drums and guitar over it. We played it live a good number of times. It was part of a period in the early days of Hillbilly where I had a lot of songs that were people’s names.

We had “Adrienne Barbeau” which I don’t remember at all but was a crowd pleaser. We also had one called “Junius Wilson” that I remember liking a lot, too. I had watched a video of The Carpenters where they were blatantly lip-syncing, and the lyrics just grew from there. They are pretty mean.

Damn. I was horrible on this one. What was I so pissed off about? In reality, many things, but I also have a pretty dark sense of humor a lot of the time. Just another reason I could get cancelled, I suppose.

After we had it all done, I knew what I wanted the cover to be. I had gotten this 9x13 black and white photograph of an old vaudeville performer who was a blond woman with blue eyes who did blackface. Today, I don’t think I would have used it for the cover, but we were weird and kind of fucked up, so we figured, why not. There were only a few comments about it, too, back then.

The back cover art is from a book I got in the 80s that I can’t seem to find now, but it was called Taboo or something like that. It had a bunch of weird stuff in it and I stole images from it a lot. It looks like something Winston Smith might have drawn, but I don’t think it was his.

My friend, Blake, was making CDS in those days and he manufactured them for us but didn’t get them to us in time for our CD release party at Hollywood Alley, so we had a show that was celebrating the CD without there being any CDs there. Typical Hillbilly.

I am proud of it, though.

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picasso trigger bipolar.jpg




One of the cool things about being in the music world is getting free stuff sometimes. Back in the mid-90s when my buddies, Trunk Federation, were on Alias Records and my friend, Alex, was engineering records for Alias on a regular basis, I would get CDs from them of bands they thought I might like. Some of these bands I listened to a lot.

One such band was Picasso Trigger. I liked their CD enough to go out and buy another EP by them, , as well. I listened to a lot in 1995 and 1996. It has a great energy to it.

Picasso Trigger had a really cool sound. Singer Kathy Poindexter has one of those voices that just sounds good to me. It’s hard to explain except that she has the type of voice that just works for my ears and the way she attacked a song made sense to me. I bet she was fun to watch perform live.

Couple Poindexter’s voice with the great, skronky guitar sound of Darlene Connor (AKA Lisa Cooper) and you have the most interesting parts of Picasso Trigger right there. That’s nothing against bassist Samuel Minto and drummer Johnny Williams, but if you took away Poindexter and Cooper, Picasso Trigger wouldn’t have been much to write home about. The mix was definitely done in the ladies’ favor.

Bi-Polar Cowboy is chock full of goodness, though. It’s noisy and a charming kind of punk that has no real “pop” aspect to it. “The Towel Song” is kind of a perfect example of this. It’s super noisy and, for most, probably off-putting, but I love it. “Narcon Milkshakes On Sale Today,” is also reminiscent of a band like Cherubs to me. There is a noisy sense of humor on this record.

I think this is why I liked this album so much. There is certainly a Texas weirdo style happening here. Good punk rock with a whole lot of “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. “Fried Fish and Cole Slaw” is another fun one. All 1:18 of it.

You know, I sold Mintu a little short earlier. His basslines are not too bad at all and I have to believe he adds a lot of vocals to the band, too. “O.C.S.” is good weirdo punk, too.

I remember wishing that we (Hillbilly Devilspeak) would catch the ear of Alias after listening to this record. We weren’t anything like a lot of the other bands on the label, but there was nothing indie rock about Picasso Trigger. There was hope, I suppose, after digesting for a few months.

Picasso Trigger is another one of those bands that I feel like no one really knows about. After seeing Guitar Wolf and Hank Condor the other night play to a packed Rebel Lounge, I think Picasso Trigger would be super popular now if they were a new band.

‘T-Rash Soundtrack For A T-Rash Heart” is another rocker. Good call and response vocals. ‘Jiminy Slim” comes next and I really like it, too. Straight up punk rock and no one remembers this stuff. None of these songs get a lot of listens on Spotify. That’s a bummer.

“Riot Grrls Taste Like Chicken.” I should really post a link to this song.

I’m going to just enjoy this record now.

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June 2024: Welcome
COP a mind.jpg




There is a funny thing that happens sometimes to me now when I’m listening to a song or album, and I realize how much influence it has had on me. Some of these influences could be heard almost immediately and others it has taken a long time for me to realize just how much someone else’s work has seeped into my brain. Over the years, there has been a few funny occurrences of this, too, in the practice room.

Years ago, I was sharing riffs at a Hillbilly Devilspeak practice and our drummer, Shane, said, “You’ve been listening to Hammerhead, haven’t you?” The riffs I was bringing to the band were copycat Hammerhead riffs. I learned that I could not listen to Hammerhead on the day of a show or practice because I would morph into Hammerhead-mode.

There were times during The Father Figures, too, where the bands we were listening to would seep into our collective consciousness. It’s easy for this to happen. Sometimes you go with it because the idea is good enough that you say, “who fucking cares” and keep playing the riff.

One of my all-time favorite records, aside from the last 155 of my all-time favorite records, is some excellent punk rock from the Bay Area and it has had a tremendous influence on me. Christ on Parade’s A Mind Is A Terrible Thing has been a favorite for a long, long time. It was a bit of a Holy Grail record for me for a little while, too.

I first heard it while hanging out at my buddy Craig’s apartment and I thought it was the coolest record, but I couldn’t find a copy anywhere until a few years later in Berkeley. I searched and searched, though, for four long years. I remember being at a Circle Jerks show in 1989 and a guy there had a big Christ on Parade patch on the back of his jacket. I flipped out and tried asking him about it, but it was too loud.

My Christ on Parade obsession was unrequited for a longtime, but once found its way to my house, I listened to it a lot. As I do so now, I realize how much of an influence it had on early Hillbilly songs. Christ on Parade had a lot of weird, note-y riffs and I have a penchant for writing those kinds of riffs.

I know the record so well that I eagerly anticipate the beginning of each song when the previous song ends. One of my favorite moments on it is the beginning of the penultimate track on the A side, “Twenty Years.” The intro part is kind of haunting and cool and is something that I have really gravitated towards for thirty plus years.

One of the best things about Christ on Parade is the lyrics. There was a lot of thought put into them. I had hoped to talk with them about this about fifteen years or so ago when we were scheduled to open for them, but they ended up cancelling. I had so many questions.

The opening track, “Teach Your Children Well” is a prime example of intelligent punk rock. A lot of what they were saying here is still completely relevant today.

“The power that they have is the power that you give/They take advantage of your ignorance and control the life you life/The process the people like they process the food/they process your children while they’re being schooled.”

There are many different themes about growing up and bucking the system and/or the need for some people to feel like they belong to the mainstream. This is yet another reason why I gravitated toward the band. That and their ability to borrow from Subhumans without making it obvious. “Pressure to Succeed” sounds very similar to songs off of

The whole of side A is fucking great. “TV Media Mass Murder Celebrity” is another one that could easily have been written today. These dudes were onto some sort of universal vibe in those days because they can’t be too much older than I am.

“Nothing to Live For” is another great punk rock song and it flows into the equally rad “Rock and Roll Armageddon” and the aforementioned “Twenty Years.” The last song on side A, “Everyone’s Crazy” is another barn burner. The opening of “Everyone’s Crazy” is a bit of an interview with Charles Manson. I remember hearing this for the first time and losing my mind.

I never got to see them live, but I can imagine they ripped.

“Stupid Questions (Not To Ask)” is another one that I love off the of the rocking B Side. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the excellent keyboard work on A guy named Brett Carroll did the keyboards and he has also played with Neurosis and now, apparently, a reformed Steel Pole Bathtub. On “Stupid Questions…” Carroll’s keyboards kind of take it over the top.

“Doctors” has excellent lyrics, and the riff is nutty and brilliant. This one is definitely near and dear to my backwards riff loving heart. I can understand why Neurosis wanted Carroll to join their band after thinking about how he did the outro, too.

The whole thing is just superb. I feel like a broken record here, but it’s really surprising to me that Christ on Parade wasn’t bigger than they were. Their output is just excellent.

“Dead Meat,” “Lifesucker,” “Power,” and “Old Mac Donald’s Farm” end the record in fantastic fashion. “Power” is another one that has a Subhumans feel to it, but Doug Kearney’s vocals separate it from sounding just like them. Kearney’s work, along with Noah Landis, on the record is great. I’m not sure who sang what, actually, but all the vocals are great.

This is a top 10 punk rock record for me.

Damn. That’s a bold claim.

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June 2024: Welcome




Patting yourself on the back is dangerous. You’re very likely, at least at my age, to injure or aggravate a shoulder in doing so. It’s best just to smile and nod knowingly to yourself.

If I’ve learned anything from this process, I have a diverse musical taste and that’s a nice thing to have. In the early to mid-1980s, I was listening to a lot of different stuff. I don’t think I would have given myself a lot of credit for that then. In fact, I was worried that I was some sort of poser.

In high school, I was under the impression that the coolest people tended to listen to just one type of music. How dumb is that? A well-rounded taste in music makes life better. I guess, maybe, when you’re a teenager, you don’t have any real urge to make life better except when attempting to have sex.

Maybe skateboarding, too.

Like most people who were 14 and into music, the Thompson Twins were on my radar.In 1983, I became aware of them because of the song “Lies” which is a great pop/new wave song. When came out the next year, I got a cassette of it. I could have bought it or it might have been a gift, I don’t remember, but I do remember enjoying the heck out of it.

Into the Gap is full of catchy, pop gems and the best part is that several of the ladies I was interested in as a freshman and sophomore were fans of the Thompson Twins, too, so there was something to talk about. I suppose “Hold Me Now” was my favorite, but I also really liked ‘The Gap” and “Day After Day.”

The latter of the two, “Day After Day” has this super funky bass line over some very non-rock and roll percussion. It’s almost like Oingo Boingo, XTC, and Talking Heads had a little new wave baby. Probably just a splash of Talking Heads, but you probably get my drift.

Listening to the record takes me back to being 14. It’s wild, and I know I’ve mentioned this before, but some of these records that I loved as an early teenager are really a form of time travel. I can close my eyes and see my room on Charleston and 47th Avenue. I can even picture pushing the eject button on my little console stereo so I could slide the cassette tape into it and hit play.

“No Peace for the Wicked” is another solid pop song. I’m not going to go so far as saying that I really like all the songs, but the middle of the recording is pretty great. I don’t know if it will make it into my regular rotation again anytime soon, but stranger things have happened.

I don’t want to forget going a bit further into “The Gap.”

I didn’t know until earlier today that the Thomspon Twins had taken an extended holiday in Egypt when they decided to just be a three-piece and fired the other members of the band. Not that I was surprised that they had been a five-piece, and maybe even a sextet for a while, but I have always thought of them as a trio.

“The Gap” has a decidedly middle eastern flavor to it that I’ve always liked. The bass line has this little edge to it, but it’s also very much a Morris Day and the Time bassline, too. If you don’t believe me, listen to the two bands back-to-back.

“Sister of Mercy” reminds me of being on the dance floor at Tommy’s not knowing how to dance to this song. Was it a slow dance number or did you do a slow disco-ish boogie? Who the fuck knew.

Time travelling. Again.

June 2024: About




In 1984, my mom was sharing an apartment on 28th Street and Osborn with my Aunt Julie. Ben and I would be there on the weekends and for weeks at a time during the summer. During that time, we met a kid our age, same year in high school as me, named Eric.

Eric and his family lived upstairs and pretty close to us. I think he and Ben struck up a friendship first, but I joined in soon after. He was super cool and, if memory serves, they had moved from Milwaukee or somewhere nearby. Eric was going to Camelback, but when we first met, neither Ben nor I was going there yet.

Being a black kid from Wisconsin, Eric knew about a lot of music that Ben and I didn’t know about, but one artist we had in common was Prince. Ben and I listened to a lot of Prince with our moms as one of them had the album and we listened to that a lot. Eric was a huge Prince fan, too, and when came out that summer, we were all over it.

I’m guessing that Eric, Ben, and I went to see (the film) at least five times together if not more. I think he got the record before us but would bring it down to our apartment and we would listen to it, as well. I think we turned him on to a few things that he ended up liking, but for the summer of 1984 and into the fall, it was all Prince, all the time.

I certainly didn’t mind. and are great records. I can still sing most, if not all, of the lyrics to the songs on , although I’m not sure when the last time I watched the movie was. I doubt I’ve watched it in 20 years. The record, though, is a different story.

“Let’s Go Crazy” is a great opener. There is some great guitar work on there. I love that line about someone asking Eric Clapton what it was like to be the greatest guitar player in the world, and he reportedly said, “I don’t know. Go ask Prince.”

The thing about is that every song on the record is fucking good. There are some that don’t capture my attention like they did when I was 14, but even at the album’s least interesting moments, it’s still just as classic, rockin’, and full of glittery soul.

“Take Me With U” hasn’t held up as well as some of the others, but the arrangement is crazy good. “The Beautiful Ones” is still gorgeous. I used to wonder what it would sound like if Jane’s Addiction covered it. I think they could have done a killer version of it at the height of their powers. They definitely have similar songs (Think about “Then She Did.”

As a fourteen-year-old boy when it came out, “Computer Blue” seemed so raw and sexual to me. I loved this part of the movie. All of us red-blooded horny toads did. But, of course, then came “Darling Nikki.” That song is pure sex. I would have liked to have heard Bauhaus or Tones on Tail cover it.

“When Doves Cry” is another one that just straight up rocks. Even with the keyboard part that segues out of the great opening guitar riff, at its heart, it’s a giant rock and roll song. That’s one of the great things about Prince’s music. He had a great sense of multiple genres. That’s what makes a great songwriter.

I didn’t care much for the movie part around “I Would Die 4 U” but over the years, the song has grown on me. It’s solid pop, for sure, but I think the words kind of lost me back in the day. I feel kind of the same way about “Baby I’m a Star.” It is the closest thing to filler on the record.

About six years ago, I was teaching social and emotional learning at a school in the Washington District and one of the teachers and I decided to play some music together for the students. They requested that we play “Purple Rain,” so we did. I never thought about covering Prince before (or after) that, but it was a lot of fun.

Such a great song, the title track, and even though it is kind of sad, it ends triumphantly. For a song that is almost 9 minutes long, it made it to number two on the Bilboard charts. That’s amazing. Could people have the attention span for it now? I doubt it.

I should probably watch the movie again, but I’m scared. It probably didn’t age well.

Long may our memory of the greatest guitar player of all time. Viva Purple.

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June 2024: Welcome




While on the subject of records that pleased the hell out of teenage me, I have to visit a place I haven’t visited in a long, long time. Yesterday, I talked about the friendship between Ben, myself, and our neighbor, Eric, that blossomed in 1984. Thinking about him and the days really took me on a trip down memory lane.

As teenage boys are wont to do, the three of us talked a lot about girls. Eric, as I mentioned, was already going to Camelback and Ben and I wouldn’t get there until the fall semester of 1985. Ben started at the beginning of the year, and I started in December. I had forgotten how nice it was to have a few friends there already, one of which was Eric.

While I could never get Eric to a punk rock show, he did go to Tommy’s with us every once in a while. We shared a lot of music and a lot of stories about high school life. Our friendship was easy and real. There was comfort there.

Eric would tell us about the young ladies at Camelback and, to be honest, before I got there, I was often curious if he was exaggerating about his success with them. As it turned out, he was a very honest dude. The ladies really did seem to love him. I wished some of that luck would rub off on me, but I wasn’t very smooth at all.

He took us to a pool party at a swanky house in a very well to do neighborhood during the summer of 1985 and it was very interesting to get a glimpse of some of the people I would be going to school with a few months later without them knowing (or caring) who the fuck I was.

Here were a couple of punk dudes showing up with Eric, who was definitely not punk. He was also the only black dude at the pool party. It was around this time that he introduced us to a record we would listen to for much of the next year. He might have even talked the host of the pool party to playing it.

UTFO was a Brooklyn-based rap band that was pretty new at the time, and they put out a self-titled album in 1985. Prior to the full-length coming out, they had released the cassette single, “Roxanne, Roxanne” in 1984. Eric loved it and the next thing I knew, Ben and I were listening to it, too. Ben got the full-length, , based on “Roxanne, Roxanne.” It was probably the first rap song that I really liked, but mostly because of the early diss track response, “The Real Roxanne.”

That was my jam. I think I even bought the album on cassette, too, but I can’t remember for sure.

At the time, I knew all the words to both of them and as I listened to it the last couple of days, I realized I still know most of them. Now, for the rest of the album, there were some other moments that put a smile on my face. “Leader of the Pack” is a pretty fun little song and the guys in UTFO definitely were good at word play.

Most of the rap music I really enjoy is similar in style to UTFO, but I don’t think I ever gave them a whole lot of credit. It’s almost like that part of my life got put into a little box and was forgotten. The wordplay was definitely more positive than negative and the only thing UTFO would probably get ad-cancel-monished for these days is some of their lines about girls being heavy or ugly, but even these, compared to other acts of the era, were pretty tame.

The most striking thing to my ears is how simple their tracks were compared to rap I was listening to in the early and mid-90s. The scratching, which I remember thinking was so interesting, dare I say, “Fresh,” at the time, was so limited. A lot of the basic sounds were repeated from song to song, too.

UTFO was interesting because the three rappers that made up the band, Kangol Kid, Doctor Ice, and Educated Rapper (along with DJ Mixmaster Ice), kept things funny and flowing well. They were mildly self-deprecating and would rip on each other a little, but ultimately came off as supportive friends who looked out of each other.

They had “Roxanne, Roxanne,” too. It was a clever song about a new girl in the neighborhood who really wouldn’t give them the time of day. It’s a pretty funny song. Apparently, it started one of the first real diss track wars in the early rap world.

In “The Real Roxanne,” Elease Jack rips the lines from “Roxanne, Roxanne” to shreds and takes turns taking down each of the four member of UTFO. There is a line I love in there:

“I said, ‘Me, the Rox, give up the box’ so you could brag about it for the next six blocks? I said, “Sheeee, you must be crazy, you’re goin’ too fast, Doctor I don’t know where your hands been last.”

I don’t know if I had ever heard anyone refer to a vagina as “a box” before then so I thought it was funny as hell. I know diss tracks are still happening, but none of them will be as funny to me as this one. I was tickled as hell yesterday when I listened to it closely for the first time in well over 30 years.

Sadly, two of the dudes from UTFO have since left this mortal coil. I learned that from looking at their Wikipedia page. Punk rock swallowed me up in 1985, so my rap days were short, but I will always have an affinity for UTFO.

I don’t know how often I will return to this record, but it was definitely one that made my teenage years more interesting.

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June 2024: Welcome




When I met Ian Mackaye, I had no idea how much of an impact he had already made on the music world, nor the impact he would have on me. We were able to talk in a way that I felt like was just a couple of dudes talking. He was cool like that.

About a year before we (Religious Skid) opened for Fugazi, Mackaye partnered with Al Jourgensen of Ministry to make Pailhead. In 1988, they released . It’s just six songs, but when I got it in 1990, I was stoked on it. Somebody had played “I Will Refuse” for me and that was it. I had to have the CD. It wasn’t until later that I got the EP on vinyl.

Anyway, you might think the pairing of Jourgensen and Mackaye would be an awkward one, but apparently, they got along like gangbusters from everything I’ve ever read about it. They seem to come from two different places when it comes to partying, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised the Mackaye didn’t give a shit about that. He didn’t care that we were partying when we played together.

“I Will Refuse” is kind of an anthemic song. Not to confuse it with the track called “Anthem” that is also on the EP. It’s kind of big and burly and the combination Mackaye’s lead vocals and Jourgensen’s backing vocals is excellent. I also happen to love Paul Barker’s bass line on the song.

You know, when you hear the bass line, you know you are in for something that is going to go a bit above and beyond. Bill Rieflin’s drumbeat is ominous at first with just a kick drum and some ticking and tacking on the hi-hat. The anticipation just builds in the pit of your stomach and then, “Whammo,” the song takes off and never lets up.

The guitars are like a buzzsaw. As Mackaye shout/sings the lyrics over top of the guitars and Barker and Rieflin driving it home, it just fucking rules. Not to take anything away from the other five songs on the CD (the vinyl has just four songs total), “I Will Refuse” is just killer. If this was the only song they ever did together, Pailhead would still be at the top of my wish list for a live show to see.

Luckily, they did the half dozen songs. “Man Will Surrender” and “No Bunny” are both kick ass, too, as is “Anthem” and “Ballad.” Heck, even “Don’t Stand In Line” is great. All six tracks from the CD are well worth a listen.

On a bright note, Ministry played the Americana Ballroom in the early 90s and they played “I Will Refuse” that night. It was epic.

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June 2024: Welcome
No Volcano Rub Dag.jfif




There are moments when you feel good about helping someone do something. Sometimes it is something small but can have a big effect on someone else’s day and other times it is something big that impacts people’s lives for a while. Being of service to others just plain feels good. At least for me. I can’t speak to how others feel about it and evidence shows that a lot of people don’t know the joy of being kind or serving others.

Today’s record is one that I had a hand in even though I wouldn’t expect any album credit. When Jeremy Randall, who is an almost irreplaceable guitarist left No Volcano, Jim Andreas reached out to me about possible replacements. I gave him two suggestions and one of them stuck.

Bill Goethe has been one of my best friends for almost 40 years. He also happens to be a killer guitar player. I thought his personality might mesh well with Jim, drummer extraordinaire and knob twiddler, Chris Kennedy, and bassist James Karnes (formerly of the great Les Payne Product), and I was right. Even though Bill and Jeremy have very different styles when they are just letting it loose, Bill is one of those guys that will work his ass off to get a song right. I knew he would be able to pull off the old No Volcano stuff and be great at helping them make something new.

In 2019, they put out . It was the first thing that Bill played on, and he brought a bit more rock and roll to the No Volcano party. In talking with both Jim and Chris, and I think James, too, it was evident that everyone was really happy with what Bill added to the mix.

For me, I love the record. I’m super fond of all the No Volcano stuff. They are one of those local bands that is just a cut above most other bands, for me, and it’s a shame more people around the world don’t know about them. They are also doing their thing, their way, and I have a ton of respect for that.

Jim’s lyrics are among the best I’ve ever listened to in this life. I’ve been a fan for 40 years and a friend for about 30, so it gives me great pleasure and pride to write it. On Jim is up to his usual greatness and even utters a perfectly placed “F” bomb. I remember being so giddy the first time I heard “Mover,” the song in question.

In addition to the consistency Andreas brings to the songwriting, Chris Kennedy’s drums and production are also always on point. He did a great job of mixing the rawer sound of Goethe’s guitar into songs like “Extrovert,” which kicks things off with a bang and “Logged In,” which is a great track three.

As a big baseball fan, I’m always curious about the third and fourth songs of a record. For some reason, I need albums to have a really strong three and four hitter, just like a good baseball team. “Logged In” might be my favorite track on but it is hard to pick just one.

The band got a great little guest stint from the rad Lonna Kelley on “Golden.” Her voice really compliments Andreas and I hope they collaborate again. It’s a short song, but it is like a warm embrace from an old friend.

Another favorite of mine on the CD is “Rocket.” It’s a bit slower in tempo for much of the song, but it has this hopeful bridge about love that makes me smile. No Volcano are the kind dudes that you just sort of have to root for. When they are happy, I feel good.

One of the things I happen to love about is that it is a really hopeful record and there is a lot of raw, yet healthy emotion on it. Andreas opened himself up a lot on this one. As his friend, it’s great to hear him put his heart on his sleeve and let the universe know that he was ready for what was coming next in life.

I wish other local artists would allow themselves to be as vulnerable. Phoenix is a town with lots of talent running around inside it. No Volcano sets the bar high for the rest of us.

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June 2024: Welcome




As I said when I wrote about another one of their EPs, when I fell in love with the Butthole Surfers, I fell hard. It was an obsession and I quickly realized there was a community of likeminded weirdos out there who were also searching for the elusive records. Now, this one, today, was not one of the elusive records, but it was an important one for me.

One of the things I love the most about the Butthole Surfers is there really isn’t a recipe. They have a sound, of course, but they also deviate from it a lot. As a band, they were often all over the place and I love that about them. When I first picked up this record, which is only four songs, I had no idea what a wild ride I was in for.

Cream Corn From The Socket Of Davis came out in ’85 which was a couple of years before I first listened to them. I immediately fell further in love with them when I heard “Moving To Florida.” I think the line about “Carving White Castle sliders out of India’s sacred cow” was what did it for me. There is also something absolutely jaunty about the way the son unfolds. The music just sort of unfurls itself then repeats and repeats a few more times.

Then chaos.

I was so stoked when I saw them for the first time in 1989 and they played “Moving To Florida.” I have a bootleg recording of that show, which was at a place called The Underground and they rendition is pretty fucking flawless. Say what you want about the Surfers, but if you have seen them live, you cannot argue with the fact they were an amazing live band.

In a way, “Moving To Florida” is quintessential Butthole Surfers. There are great and irreverent lyrics from Gibby Haynes, Paul Leary is masterfully fucking up the guitar in ways that only he can but it sounds amazing, and the drums from King Coffey and big and bouncy. I learned recently that Leary also played the bass on this recording, too. I had no idea.

The band followed up “Moving To Florida” with “Comb.” The second song on the A side is one of the Surfers’ songs that only a true fan will dig into and enjoy. For those who found “Moving To Florida” to be kind of weird and out there and noisy, “Comb” is a mind blower. It’s essentially five minutes of what sounds like a looped drum beat and noise.

Talk about chaos.

The Butthole Surfers invented their own kind of chaos. They are the type of band that you aren’t going to find a lot of covers of their songs. Only a few bands have tried to do them justice on a recording and very few have succeeded.

“To Parter” is a favorite of mine looking across the whole catalog. It’s super noisy and the guitar part sounds backwards. I love it. The lyrics are great, too. Listening to it reminds me of sitting at the counter top in my studio apartment on 7th Avenue and Earll. It was a studio apartment and had a built-in counter that was part of the dividing wall between the kitchen and the main room. I’m sure some of the residents ate at theirs, but I mostly sat and did bongs and listened to music. I also typed my papers for school there, too, so it wasn’t all nefarious things.

It was also the home for my answering machine. I guess I thought I was important enough to need one. I probably paid way too much money for it. But I digress….

I sat there, though, and listened to this EP pretty darn loud a lot. The B side is excellent. After “To Parter” is a song called “Tornadoes” that is short and sweet compared to the other three tracks. It is reminiscent of several other Surfers’ tracks that make up their more punk rock side. There is a certain level of melodicism in “Tornadoes,” though, that transcends punk rock

When I got the CD of , the songs from were included on it, too. They fit with those songs really well, but I have to believe that they are the strongest of the 13 tracks on that CD. I’ll probably write about that record one of these days.

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June 2024: Welcome




Few albums have been as instantly shocking to me as by Killdozer. This was an impulse purchase hastened by reading a write-up in a magazine. Probably Flipside, but it could have been something else. The name, “Killdozer,” was instantly attractive to me. The music, though, I guess I have to say I was not quite ready for it in 1986.

  • starts out with what I now find to be a very humorous song called “King of Sex.” The song itself is pretty simplistic. Killdozer has a big, pulverizing sound and singer/bassist (who doesn’t love a bass player who sings?) Michael Gerald has a very unique singing style and voice. He just sounds like someone you don’t want to fuck with. “King of Sex” was intimidating to me when it first came out of my speakers.

Akin to Flipper, Killdozer doesn’t try to blow you away with dazzling musicianship or fast songs. They just bludgeon their way through and after you get past Gerald shouting at you, there is the realization that these guys, which include the Hobson brothers, Bill (guitar) and Dan (drums), really can play a little bit.

I finally embraced once I listened to the aforementioned Flipper on the compilation in 1988. Hearing Flipper reminded me that I had this weird record in my collection with two boys on the cover, so I went back and dug in again. I was now truly ready for Killdozer.

There is a lot to unpack on Lyrically, you have to really pay attention to what Gerald is sing/shouting/screaming at you. His lyrics are pretty fucking brilliant on this one. To be honest, I hear something new in there every time I listen. The guy really excels at painting a pretty dire picture of life.

“Going to the Beach” is a perfect example of this. Gerald sings about going to the lake and kind of makes a list of the things he is going to do there. It doesn’t sound particularly appealing and it is punctuated by a really melancholy bit of guitar noise by Bill Hobson.

I think I was initially pretty confused by the nightmare-ish aspect of songs like “River,” too. The song sounds like the background music of an awful nightmare. I think it is the violin work on the song by a lady named Jessica Noll. She really laid into the weirdness.

One song later, though, and the riff is way less scary. “Live Your Life Like You Don’t Exist” is one of my favorites on I like how the band just milks the main riff for a long time and then it sort of dies before morphing into a weird, talky bit. You listen to and just shake your head. This is the mark of an interesting record.

“Don’t Cry” could easily be a Flipper song and, come to think of it, lots of Flipper songs could easily be Killdozer songs. If anything, Killdozer is a bit more melodic in odd places. “Don’t Cry” kind of reminds me of watching a boxer who is clearly beaten but won’t go down. He or she just keeps throwing punches as their face continues to swell. You want it to be over but you can’t turn away.

I love the cover of “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young & Crazy Horse. There are a ton of good covers by Killdozer on their records (including the super fun from 1989. I have to wonder if Neil Young ever heard this cover (and thanks to ChatGPT I know that he did and he liked it). I would have guessed that he wouldn’t have cared for it, but Neil Young is always full of surprises.

Killdozer could have easily mailed it in from here, but over the years, I’ve grown to like the B side of just as much as the A side. “Gone to Heaven” is another one where I dig Gerald’s vocal delivery. He’s a bit less gruff at the outset and it lulls you into a false sense of security. Then Bill Hobson delivers a bunch of feedback layered guitar skronk that is truly worthy of one Neil Young. Great stuff.

“Revelations” is a cool, dirge-y riff that kind of takes the blues out behind the shed and dresses it up like a perverted circus clown. Listen to it and tell me I’m wrong. “Burning House” is a direct challenge, I think, to the listener to stay strong in the face of Gerald clearly attempting to melt down on tape. Get it? “Burning House”/melting down.

Spend enough time with Killdozer and your sense of humor changes.

“Big Song of Love” is fine moment of Dan Hobson and Gerald linking up really well to provide Bill Hobson a chance to kind of take wing. The lyrics are also great.

“I was born in South Dakota/I was born on the wrong side of the fence. I was born under a mossy stump and I was born and I was left for dead.”

“57” is another kind of unnerving one. Something about it reminds me of the sounds a large group of people might make if they were having tremendous pain inflicted on them. Don’t take it the wrong way. I love it, but it does make me uncomfortable.

I love Killdozer, though. I wish I could have seen them live.

June 2024: About




I always wanted to be a bass player and I’m glad that I finally got off my ass and did it when I was about 23. I’m not one for hero worship when it comes to musicians. I have people I admire and who inspire me, but if there was one musician that I did kind of worship, it was John Entwistle from The Who.

My fondness for The Who extends beyond Entwistle, of course. Their songs would be littered in my top 100 songs and one of the great things about them is that they were great for a long time. Even in their more recent stuff, I found things I really liked.

Pete Townsend is one of the all-time great guitar players and great songwriters. Roger Daltrey is a powerhouse of a vocalist, too, and Keith Moon. Damn. What can you say about Keith Moon except, “Wow.” Four virtuosos came together and made history.

But Entwistle, for me, was the most special of them all. I could never replicate his bass style in a million years and that’s okay. I’ve never wanted to copy him. I just love listening to his powerful yet nimble basslines.

The Who created what I consider the best live album of all-time with Live At Leeds. I’m trying to remember when I fell in love with it, and I can’t. It feels like I have always loved it, to be honest. When I got the extended version around 1999, I couldn’t believe how much more I loved it.

The extra songs brought a new life to a trusted, old friend, and it became one of my most played records for a good decade.

Initially, the song that really drew me to Live At Leeds was the cover of Mose Allison’s “Young Man Blues.” During high school I happened to see the Isle of Wight Festival footage where The Who just tore that song a new one. In fact, I started telling people that I thought the Who invented punk rock at that concert. They were just so vicious.

“Young Man Blues” is pretty fucking great on Live At Leeds. This recording was from 1970 (and I think Isle of Wight is right around then, maybe ’71) and it slays. On the original version, The Who go right into “Substitute,” then “Happy Jack” then “I’m A Boy” right out of “Young Man Blues” and it is just so stellar.



After they tear through those songs, “A Quick One, While He’s Away” happens and I think I would be happy if that was the only song I could listen to for the rest of my life. Truly. As much as I love “Young Man Blues” and “Magic Bus” on this record, “A Quick One…” is just a song that I love listening to any time. I bet there were days in the early 2000s where I listened to it about five times.

Again, these guys are/were virtuosos. There is not a bad moment on the original Live At Leeds or the Expanded Edition. I love the lesser-known songs at the beginning like “Tattoo” and “Fortune Teller.” I also love the hits as they are packaged here, too. It’s a great version, for example, of “My Generation” and the opener, “Heaven and Hell” is nothing short of magnificent.

This one is further proof that time machines need to happen.

For years I told people that my favorite band is The Who if I have to choose just one. Just like Jaws is my favorite movie. I can choose, I suppose. I love a lot of bands, but The Who are the ones I choose for my favorite.

They barely beat out The Damned most days, but there are a lot of similarities between the two, at least in my eyes and ears. If you listen closely, you can hear Entwistle, Townsend, and Moon creating punk rock on Live At Leeds.

Disagree? Bite me.

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June 2024: Welcome




At first listen, I thought to myself, “These guys listen to a lot of Jesus Lizard.”

Was I correct in this assumption? No.

Back in 2014, I got a chance to interview the singer of Pissed Jeans, Matt Korvette, before they came to town to play a show at the Crescent Ballroom. I asked him about being compared to the Jesus Lizard and his answer surprised me. According to Korvette, no one in Pissed Jeans owned a Jesus Lizard record.

15 years later, though, I don’t hear their album in quite the same manner that I did back in 2009 when it came out. I thought they sounded like the Lizard quite a bit and I had conversations about it with my buddy, Alex, who produced the record for the Allentown, PA band. Now, I just hear a great, heavy, noisy band doing their thing.

Pissed Jeans are loud and abrasive and use a certain type of distortion on the guitar and bass that is reminiscent of Jesus Lizard, for sure, but so many of the good noisy bands who have come out in the 21st century, ape the Lizard, too. Why wouldn’t you?

King of Jeans stands on its own merit, though.

I like coming back to this one here and there because it has great energy. I mean, this is one of my favorite genres to listen to, but I think what picked up on about Pissed Jeans that made me want to start favorably comparing to other bands I love is the way they attack a song. is basically a workshop on how to attack a song.

Some bands do this better than others. Some bands make love to a song, and that’s great, but for me, I like a band to look a song square in the eye and say, “let’s fuck some shit up.”

Case in point, “Lip Ring” is just a banger. It’s well into the CD and track one on side B, but it could have easily been the opener or the clean up hitter (see my baseball theory about albums from a few blogs ago if you care – or dare). It’s three minutes of heart racing and brain bracing. Don’t ask me what Korvette is singing about, but it really doesn’t matter. His lyrics just sound cool.

This is something I appreciate about Pissed Jeans, actually. I could look up the lyrics, but why do I need to? Korvette uses his voice like another instrument, and I like it when bands do that. I do that a lot myself. Often, for me, the words don’t have a ton of meaning, but I like the way they sound in concert with the bass, drums, and guitar.

“Dominate Yourself” is another on that is deep in the record that I like a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I like the early part of the record, too, but when there are no weakmoments, I just tend to call’em like I see them.

King of Jeans is one of those records that might make you feel like you need a shower. Kind of a good, gritty film that makes you feel dirty after watching, King of Jeans has that same kind of impact and affect. I suggest turning it way up. Blow your hair back a bit.

It seems like a blink since I heard from Alex about Pissed Jeans. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years. Where does time go. I thought for sure there would be other opportunities to see them, but it’s never come up again.

Or I just couldn’t make it. I can’t remember.

The show was incredible, though. I remember being blown away by both opening bands, Gay Kiss and Lenguas Largas, too. Pissed Jeans were a sight and sound to behold in 2009. I definitely need to check out their new record, . Maybe it will make the list later in the year.

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June 2024: Welcome



I’ve told this story before, but it needs telling again. In 1986, my buddy, Mark, tried really hard to get me to listen to Minor Threat. I wasn’t having it, though. As a dedicated party guy, the idea of listening to a straight edge band seemed absolutely foreign to me. It also just seemed wrong.

How could I support this band that was anti-drinking and anti-drugging? Blasphemy.

The honest thing was, I hadn’t ever given them a chance because of my misperception that the band would hate someone like me because I wasn’t a straight edge. How dumb was I? If I would have just gotten on the internet and read about them, I would have known that they could give two shits about what I was or wasn’t into.

Of course, there was no internet to hop onto in 1986 and by that time, Minor Threat was already long broken up and the dudes in the band were off doing other things. Like Ian Mackaye sings in “In My Eyes,” and I’m taking this out of context from the song, but he sings, “Don’t you fucking get it?” I ask myself this question today.

Clearly, I didn’t.

Then one day, he put them on anyway and I loved what I heard. For a while, I stuck to my guns and continued to publicly disavow them, but secretly, in my heart of hearts, I wanted to hear more. I was pretty vocal, too, about not liking them. How could I do a complete reversal. How could I admit that I claimed to hate a band that I had never listened to at all.

Ahh the days of teenage hypocrisy…how I do not miss you. There is nothing more freeing than honesty. I came clean with Mark and stopped dissing Minor Threat. He made me a tape.

In 1989, they released their entire discography on a CD, and I snatched it up. I’ve got a few different pieces of Minor Threat vinyl now, too. I don’t have to be ashamed about liking them anymore. In fact, living the straight-edge life these days feels pretty good.

The irony is not lost on me today.

I have to thank Minor Threat, too. The reason I love the band Wire is because of Minor Threat covering “12XU” which was probably my favorite song off the discography when I first got it. If I had never heard the song, I might have waited a lot longer to discover Wire’s brilliant, .

“Small Man, Big Mouth” is another favorite from back then. It got me quite riled up many times. “What the fuck are you fighting for” gets me going every time. The song packs such a punch in less than a minute, much like “Straight Edge.”

I think “Stumped” is great, too. It’s kind of one of those ‘when is a song not a song’ moments of studio brilliance that just works. Note to future self: play the riff during a soundcheck and see if people catch on. It’s just kind of silly and fun and it sticks out like sore thumb when most of the other tracks just seem so angry.

Speaking of anger, I happen to believe that Minor Threat did angry punk as well as anyone. Their songs had meaning behind them that was inherently positive most of the time, but the had legitimate gripes for such young dudes. There were brains behind Minor Threat.

Sure, some of their focus was on dumb decisions other people were making, but not all. “Look Back and Laugh” is about the pain of growing up and growing apart, for example, from the people you think are your friends. I borrowed a little from this in The Father Figures’ song, “Transparent.”

I hope that kids will continue to discover Minor Threat for years to come. Hopefully there will be some dude or dudette out there like me who gets passed their misconceptions about the band and just enjoys the music because Minor Threat fucking rips. There is a ton to share, too. The discography has twenty-six tracks of goodness and since it came out there have been some demos and live stuff that have been released, too.

“I’m taking a walk on the yellow brick road,

only walk where the bricks are made of gold
My mind and body are the only things I've sold
I need a little money 'cause I'm getting old”

From “Cashing In” which is still the best song about selling out ever.

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June 2024: Welcome




Like a lot of people, the movie brought my attention to Nick Drake. I guess I can also blame Volkswagen, too, because they used “Pink Moon,” the title track of today’s record in a commercial in 1999. His story is tragic, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.

I had a tough time choosing whether to write about or . I like them both very much, but I had to go with the former because I listened to it first. It’s just the way I am.

First and foremost, I find Drake’s songs to be extremely beautiful. I enjoy the way he plays the guitar, too, which makes me think that someday I might be able to do a poor man’s version (in terms of guitar playing talent) of this style on my own.

To be honest, the first time I listened to I was prepared to hate it. I thought “Pink Moon” had to be a ‘one-off’ type of thing where the rest of the record was going to suck, but instead, Drake sucked me into his world rather quickly. I started listening to his stuff quite a lot.

There is a very personal aspect of Drake’s music. I tend to listen to him on my own. I don’t know if I would ever put on in a social situation or spin any of these songs in a DJ set, for example, unless I wanted people to chill the fuck out. is super chill.

“Place To Be” just sort of swims in my head after “Pink Moon.” I think the whole thing kind of flows into itself like a river of melancholy sounds and plaintive vocals. Drake had a wonderful voice.

I love how Drake makes these simple tunes way more interesting by adding in extra notes here and there. Some people might be annoyed by this, but I love it. Some of my bandmates, I won’t say who, chastise me for doing similar things. The last track on “From The Morning,” incorporates this element to a wonderful conclusion.

This is one of those records that I sit here and think about and it occurs to me that I really wish Nick Drake was able to see what I have written. In a way, this whole exercise has been me writing love letters to the records that have influenced and enhanced my life. I wish he could know that “Things Behind The Sun” always makes me feel better. Even though it is a sad sounding song, the lyrics are fucking great and echo a lot of what I believe about life.

The first verse goes like this:

“Please beware of them that stare

They'll only smile to see you while your time away

And once you've seen what they have been

To win the earth just won't seem worth your night or your day

Who'll hear what I say”

I interpret the song as saying to avoid being judgmental or envious and just be yourself. What little I know about Drake has led me to believe that he struggled with doing this for many years. I think a lot of people spend way more time worrying about what others think about them instead of worrying about how just to practice happiness and seek joy.

The simplicity of “Know” is another wonderful moment on I really enjoy how Drake kind of plunks away at the riff and towards the end of the song it gets a bit more agitated. The emotion behind it is palpable.

I’m putting it out there to the universe right now that I would like to do a cover of “Harvest Breed” at some point with a band. Just saying…

Towards the end of the record, “Parasite” and “Free Ride” have this mix of exasperation and desperation that reach down into your soul. “Won’t you give me a free ride?” Drake asks. I wish someone would have been able to help him find the ride that would have saved his life.

I wish someone would have heard you calling, Nick.

June 2024: About




I bought my copy of by JFA at Zia in 1985 for $2.99.

The song “Preppy” had been on my radar for a few years, but it wasn’t until I was 15 that I got clued in enough to start buying records and going to shows. My whole world changed, and to this day, the decisions I made in 1985 keep impacting my life. was a huge part of that.

“Kick You” was the perfect choice for the first song. Even though it is a full-on revenge song about getting a chance to kick someone when they are down, it blasts into your consciousness with a confidence and power that made me proud to be a budding young punk from Phoenix.

JFA has always been something of a point of pride for me, even before I had any connection on a personal level to members of the band. They were ours, as I have written many times, and that was enough for me. It helps a lot that is a great record. I once dubbed it the second most influential Arizona punk rock record, but I may have been wrong on that.

I’ve wanted to write this entry for a long time and was planning on it a few weeks ago, but when Michael “Bam Bam” Sversvold died, I just couldn’t bring myself to write it. I don’t think I ever really focused on the drums on previously. As I listen now, though, I hear his youthful brilliance.

When the record came out, I think Bam must’ve been getting very close to his 18th birthday. There is a moment on “Walk Don’t Run” where the drums are just completely in control of the flow of the song, and you can almost let the other parts of the song just kind of melt away.

It’s kind of the same on “Baja.” I don’t know that I had ever really given Bam the credit he was due for bringing the JFA surf songs to life as much as he did. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in the studio on the day when Bam did all these songs. If I remember correctly, this recording was a brisk one and the band laid these tracks down in just a matter of hours.

Kudos, my friend, I fucking miss you.

The Father Figures did a cover of “Skateboard/We Know You Suck” a number of years ago and it was great fun. I love hearing Michael Cornelius doing backing vocals on the “We Know You Suck” track. This whole record still gets me going.

For a long time in 1985, I thought “Too Late” was “TWA.”

Brian Brannon has a very unique vocal style and I’ve stolen from it many times. I know there are lyrics to the songs because I’ve read them and sang some of them, but sometimes it is just a barrage of Brian’s voice. He helped me understand that the way you delivered the lyrics was just as important, sometimes, as what the lyrics are…and if you forget the words sometimes, you can just go Bobaba style and blend them together.

My favorite song on has always been “Guess What?” I love the whole feel of that one, especially Michael’s bass line opening. I don’t know how many times I’ve played that during a soundcheck. We also recorded it as a bonus track on one of the last two NSK records and put it on one of the AZPUNK compilations.

I also really dig Michael’s bass line on “I-10.” It fucking rules. He’s just flexing on this one and showing why he was the best bass player in town at the time. He’s probably still the best bass player in town. I’ve shared this before, but one of the main reasons I wanted to play bass was this record.

If I had been more inclined towards guitar, I could easily say the same thing about Don Redondo’s (aka Don Pendelton) riffs. The guitar on sounds great and Don is one of my all-time favorite punk rock guitarists. Even if JFA hadn’t been from Phoenix, I have no doubt that I would have still gravitated to them.

What a treat for punks around the country to have been able to see JFA live over those early years in the 80s. I know I loved seeing them play and still do. See you in August at the show.

(Sadly, due to injury, the August show was cancelled.)

June 2024: Feature
phleg camp.jpg



For my birthday, I think, in 1993 or 1994, Alexa got me a subscription to Alternative Press. When she ordered it, and this was pre-internet so she talked to someone on the phone, they asked her what kind of music I liked so they could send me some music to listen to.

Based on what she told them, they sent me Phleg Camp’s .

For years, I just had that CD to go on. I tried to learn more about Phleg Camp and even found an address at one point and wrote them, but never heard back. I knew they were from the Toronto area and had put out the CD on Cargo, and that was it

I played the hell out of the CD after I got it. I think one of the draws for me was that no one I knew had heard of them or had any idea about them at all. It was noisy and cool and beautiful to my ears. Phleg Camp was doing what I wanted to do, and it gave me a lot of inspiration.

You can pick up a copy of on Discogs for pretty cheap, usually, and it’s well worth it. Fans of a great bass sound will dig the fuck out of this record. It’s big and bouncy and has just enough roughness around the edges to make you think of Kevin Rutmanis (Cows/Melvins/Gaswar) or David Wm. Sims (Jesus Lizard).

The guitars are also suitably noisy and angular. Lots of bendy stuff going on that makes the ears happy. Phleg Camp were a three piece from what I can gather, and they made the most of their gear, for sure. Everybody in the band could play.

I shouldn’t ignore the drums, either. Since this was recorded at Steve Albini’s place, Chicago Recording Company, I’m curious what input Albini had on this record. He is not credited with it, but people do seem to mention it when talking about their favorite albums he recorded. This explains a lot.

Ya’Red Fair Scratch does sound like Albini’s work. I’m not concerned enough with the actual stats, though, to keep looking. If he did, great. If not, great. It wouldn’t make me like the album any more than I already do.

I’m not sure that I have a favorite song on this record. I also don’t have a least favorite song. It’s not a terribly long record and the songs do flow really well into each other, so it’s more of an overall experience for me.

There are times on where I can just shut my eyes and go to another place entirely in my brain. This is a wonderful quality in a recording. Sometimes that other place is 1993/1994.

“Ya’Red Fair Scratch” has this long-extended part where the band just holds on this, I can’t even call it a riff, just a repeated blast of a note towards the end that creates tension so beautifully. When the sparse lyrics come in for a bar or two, it just sounds huge even though the lyrics are way down in the mix. I have to admit that now that I know about the Albini connection, it’s all I can think about. That part is super Albini-esque.

“Easy Star” has a David Wm. Sims’ bass line on it at first and then it just sort of blossoms into something much more melodic. I think that is another of my favorite things about Phleg Camp. They come up with these weird melodies and countermelodies in their songs on and your brain can either try and keep up or just let go and take it all in.

I can’t recommend this one enough to those who like the noisier, heavier, stranger stuff. It used to be difficult to find out here in the wild west, but with the internet’s mystical powers, you can get one today.

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June 2024: Welcome




In honor of my mom’s birthday, I’m going to write about a record that we enjoyed together a lot when I was younger. I would visit my mom on the weekends and for extended summer visits until I moved in with her during my junior year of high school. One of the best memories I have of those times, though, is driving around with her (and sometimes my Aunt Julie and cousin, Ben) listening to whatever music we were digging at the time.

Mom had a Honda Accord for a while in the early 80s and it had a pretty nice stereo in it. Music sounded really good in there and we would turn it up and sing along with a lot of different things. As I think back, I feel very fortunate that both my parents really like music and encouraged me by example to do the same.

In 1983, one of the biggest songs in the world early in the year became a favorite of ours to listen to while we were out driving around. Released in January that year, the Eurythmics’ album, , had a huge hit with the title track and we listened to the cassette of this record a lot. Annie Lennox’s voice was something special.

I had kind of forgotten about how amazing she is as a front woman until I saw the reunited Eurythmics perform on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction show on HBO. She still commands a stage like a prowling tiger and sounds amazing. I regret never seeing them in concert.

Dave Stewart is like a mad genius when it comes to catchy riffs and terrific arrangements, too. Again, I forgot this as my growing musical interests took me away from bands like the Eurythmics during high school. As the band’s popularity increased, my interest decreased, but I still listened every once in a blue moon and have a few of their records in my vinyl collection now.

The thing about that makes it memorable is how cool it sounds beyond Lennox’s amazing voice. There are sounds going on here that seemed so new and fresh for the time. They still sound great, too.

Right after the title track, for example, is the song “Jennifer.” It’s just haunting. Lennox sounds great, but if you really listen, Stewart programmed some really cool sounds into the song. I remember this being probably my favorite track on the whole thing back in the 80s. I’ve always been a sucker for girls with green eyes and in the song, “Jennifer” has green eyes.

I was finishing up eighth grade at the time we were really listening to this a lot, and I remember feeling like I was kind of cool for liking a new, hip band. Eurythmics were definitely something a bit left of center at the time. “Somebody Told Me” is a good example of this, too. It kind of slinks into your brain and takes up residence for three and a half minutes.

“Love Is a Stranger” is also a great song. I realized as I was listening over the last few days that I still remember the lyrics pretty well. Many of the other tracks sounded very familiar, but I had lost the connection with the words over the last forty years.

The bookend of “Love Is a Stranger” is “This City Never Sleeps.” I have to believe this song inspired a lot of the mid-to-late 80s 4AD bands. It’s a slow burn and shows off how well Eurythmics doubled (and tripled/quadrupled/quintupled) down on the strength of Annie Lennox as a singer. She did all the vocals on the record and she/they sound great.

I’m glad I revisited this one.

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June 2024: Welcome




When you grow up without a lot of disposable income but a desire to grow your record collection, you get creative. I would go to Zia Records and look for the orange tags. This meant the records were used and you could usually get them for $2.99 back in the 80s. Often, they were in great shape, and you just had to carefully peel off that annoying sticker if you wanted to pretend you paid full price.

I would scour the bins in the mid-80s looking for bands I knew or albums that looked like they might be weird or punk or both. This led me to a lot of cool things and if you looked through all the bins, you might even find used records people had stashed thinking they would come back when they had the cash and snag them.

My memory wants to say that I found today’s record that way, looking through a completely different letter in the alphabet, but it was almost forty years ago when I bought by the Minutemen for $2.99. I can’t say for sure, but I remember being really surprised to find what was a pretty new record at the time in late 1985 or early 1986. I had heard how great they were, but I hadn’t really heard them yet. It was a win-win.

There is an anticipation that comes from putting the needle on a record for the first time. I get very excited about it, even when I have a pretty good idea of what is going to come out of the speakers. With the Minutemen, I didn’t have a clue. I just knew that people I knew who had good taste liked them a lot.

Three-Way Tie (For Last) doesn’t have an A or B side or even a side 1 or 2. It has Side D. and Side Mike. There are four songs by D. Boon on the record, five by Watt, four covers, and four songs by Mike Watt and Kira Roessler.  

“The Price Of Paradise” is not a typical punk rock song, but then again, the Minutemen are not a typical punk rock band. I was pretty taken aback by the sound of “The Price Of Paradise,” but I liked it. It is a pretty protest song, and I would quickly come to realize that Boon, who had just died when I got the record, was a man with a lot to say.

Of all the Minutemen records, is probably brought up the least. I can understand why. I have other favorites from them, for sure, but being this is the one that introduced me to them, I have a special place in my heart for it that goes beyond nostalgia.

There are some great covers on the record, for one, that make it almost instantly familiar no matter how long you go between listens. The cover of “Lost” is cool and interesting (thanks to the pauses), but back in the day I was not privy to the mutual love and affection felt between Watt and Cris Kirkwood. Now I listen to that cover, and it impacts me very differently.

Side D., if you take away the “Lost” cover and the “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” cover, is super political, which I love. “The Big Stick” is a fantastic, as is the third D. Boon song, “Courage.” I also like the Watt/Roessler song, “Political Nightmare,” too.

“Courage” has this great acoustic break down that D. Boon played over this cool, twisty bassline by Watt. What a tremendous loss it was when Boon died in that accident in the Arizona desert. Something tells me that had D. Boon lived, there would be about 30 more Minutemen records.

“The Red and The Black” is a blistering cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s song from 1973’s that kicks off side 2. While it sounds like the Minutemen, they stay pretty true to the original. It’s a scorcher, though, and one of my favorites.

Much of Side Mike is pretty damn rockin’, actually. “No One” lets Boon and Watt get a little heavy and funky over George Hurley’s typically excellent backbeat. Hurley doesn’t get nearly enough credit in many circles when it comes to Minutemen songs. He’s not super flashy, but he’s solid as hell and can bang with the best of them.

“Stories” is short and sweet and beautiful. This one is another Watt/Roessler collaboration and the middle of a nice little troika of songs by the one-time married couple on side Mike. “Ack Ack Ack” by the Urinals comes next before the record closes out with a couple more Watt songs, a Boon song, and a Roky Erickson cover (“Bermuda”).

Most of side Mike is pretty short and sweet so it tends to just fly by when you listen to it. The pleasant passing of the songs is pretty nice, actually, and the Minutemen have been welcome company the last few weeks as I work on tiling the shower in our bathroom.

I’m so glad I took a chance on this record. It opened the door for a lot more great music from both the Minutemen and Mike Watt. I’ve been very fortunate when it comes to Watt. I have stories to tell. Good ones.

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June 2024: Welcome
wire silver-lead.jpg




As an interviewer, it is amazing when interviewee really turns the tables on you in a good way and does something completely unexpected. This doesn’t happen very often but when it does, it'

In 2017, I was working in Tempe for these insane people. That’s another story all together, but as a freelancer, sometimes I would have no choice but to schedule interviews during work time or, in this case, on my way to work due to a significant time difference. It also had to be a skype call because it was overseas.

I was used to using skype in those days although I’m quite curious if skype is still even a thing. Most of the time, it was just used like a voice call and the interviewee did not have their camera on. In March of 2017, though, I got a few surprises.

When it was time to join the skype, I was cruising on the 202 towards Tempe. The traffic wasn’t too bad as I didn’t start until 9, but there were a few cars. That didn’t stop me from working my phone and joining the skype call with Colin Newman of Wire.

To my surprise, his camera was on and there he was. He figured out (he might use the term “sussed it out”) I was driving and insisted I pull over. He didn’t want to be responsible for my untimely death. For those of you who read this on a regular basis, I talked about this a couple months ago when I wrote about Pink Flag.

As I mentioned then, he was very curious about me and ended up inviting Bobby and Michael to their show, too, they did on the tour supporting the record I want to talk about today: .

Fans of Wire are used to hearing the different sides of the band on their recordings. To their credit, no two Wire records sound exactly the same or use the exact same style. The band evolved continually, and while it was probably disappointing for many Wire fans, me included, that they never did another record in the same style as Pink Flag, it is a small gift that they put out so many other great records.

Admittedly, having such a cool personal connection with Newman, I was probably more included to dig Silver/Lead when I first heard it, but seven years later, I continue to enjoy it even more every time I listen to it. I would also venture to say that it sounds like what you might expect to hear if you were to say, “The guys who made Pink Flag have grown up.” It’s definitely got a mature post-punk vibe.

Most of the tracks are very mid-tempo. Not too slow and definitely not fast at all, but there is power there. It all revolves around a tension that builds within the songs but also in the album itself. Silver/Lead is definitely a slow burn that culminates in a ridiculously good title track at the end.

I would venture to say that the song, “Silver/Lead” is my favorite on the album most days. “Short Elevated Period” is also really great. It reminds me of the early 80s and could have easily been a song from a montage scene in a cool John Cusack movie. If you’re listening, Mr. Cusack, check it out.

The thing that you can take to the bank with Wire is that their records are going to be good. If you don’t like them right away, give them a few listens, and they will grow on you. Silver/Lead

is not particularly flashy or bombastic, but it just keeps going period and when it is over, you want more.

And how cool is it to be able to take your bandmates to a show and have a fucking legend come hang out with you and talk for 20 minutes before the show. We all felt pretty damn cool after that. I hope it happens again.

June 2024: About




I keep a running document of these writings and prior to today’s entry, I have mentioned Mudhoney 18 times. It feels like I have already written about them, but I’ve only used them as a reference. When historians look back at the music of the late 80s, 90s, and 2000s, they will undoubtedly see the huge influence of this band.

As I have shared a lot of the last 35 years or so, I love Mudhoney. Before I had ever heard them and had only read about them in magazines, I thought the name was brilliant. Then, when I started really reading about them, everything that was written about them said how amazing they were (and still are). I had to get some Mudhoney in my life and started scouring the local record shops for them.

The first Mudhoney music I got was the EP, This was another used CD score from Zia, but it wasn’t $2.99. Being that they were kind of an “It” band at the time, I think the used EP was almost full price, but I had traded my buddy, Bob, weed for Zia credit, so it only cost me maybe the price of a gram of some super seedy crap (by today’s standards) I had laying around.

Giddy, I couldn’t skate home from Zia fast enough so I could throw the six-song EP in the CD player. Even the cover looked cool with its strange-angled live shot done in a blue filter. I was holding grunge history before people really talked a lot about “grunge.”

It was probably a week before I took the CD out of the player after that initial voyage. The guitars sounded so cool and Mark Arm’s voice was the perfect mix of punk and rock and roll. The guy can inflect such attitude in a song. You just know he is sneering.

The real fun is listening to these tunes now. The band definitely evolved from where they started when this was originally recorded back in 1988. A song like “Need” sounds like rudimentary Mudhoney at this point, but it still packs a wallop. The combination of Arm and Steve Turner on guitar is just so thick and bassist Matt Lukin and drummer Dan Peters are so locked in.

There is also a real darkness around these songs. Considering Arm and Turner’s previous band, Green River, was named after a series of killings, I never really thought about how the early Mudhoney lyrics are pretty dark in tone. These were young dudes making some music that sounded kind of simple at the outset but is really quite sophisticated considering how much impact it has had.

If had never come out, there would be a lot of bands that never existed, and a lot of established bands would have never embraced the fuzz as much as they ended up embracing it.

“I got a mouthful of dirt and a handful of charms/I got a rusty old spade, don’t care who I harm.”

“Mudride” just blew me away when I first heard it. Turner’s guitar textures during the verses is just killer. That opening line just grabs you, too. “Mudride” has a really proper use, too, of dueling wah wah pedals. Noisy and delicious, “Mudride” still makes the little hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

Not to exclude tracks two and four, “Chain That Door” and “No One Has” respectively, because I fully dig them, I just like “If I Think” and “In ‘n’ Out of Grace” a ton more. In terms of the former, it was a go to back in the day when I was having girl problems. There is something super comforting about the way Arm delivers this one.

“If ‘n’ Out of Grace” might be my favorite Mudhoney song. It’s just a straight up ripper. It’s also one of those songs that is kind of like a blue print for how to play proper grunge music. I probably put this on fifty mix tapes, too.

I definitely have more Mudhoney stories to tell.

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June 2024: Welcome




Rapeman is my favorite Steve Albini project from back in the day. As much as some of the Big Black stuff is amazing, it’s Rey Washam’s drums and David Wm. Sims’ bass that sets Rapeman apart. To put it succinctly, the three of them created a formidable fucking band.

It was in the early 90s that I discovered them, some three or four years after they had disbanded and Sims went on the Jesus Lizard and Washam started rocking out with Helios Creed, Ministry, Lard, and the wonderful Daddy Longhead. It is an understatement to say there is pedigree when it comes to Rapeman.

Two Nuns and a Pack Mule is the only full-length they put out and it is a barn burner.

The version I have on CD also contains their first release, the EP, so there is even more flavor to go around. It packs a wallop right off the bat, too.

“Steak and Black Onions” could have easily been a Big Black song, but then you realize there is a human being playing the drums. That human being is probably the greatest drummer in the noise/post-punk/heavy music world. Washam pounds the shit out of the drums and comes up with amazing beats.

The combination of Washam and Sims is just devastating and then you add Albini’s buzzsaw guitar and ‘angry man’ vocals and it is just perfect. I remember being so stoked when I finally found the CD. I had been looking for a while. In fact, now that I think of it, I think it might have been a gift from my friend, Alex.

Either way, I was happy as a little clam to have it in my possession and listened to it often. It was definitely an influence on what I wanted to sound like in the early days of Hillbilly, but we never really got too close to this. Ciarilino’s guitar style was decidedly different from Albini and I wasn’t even close (nor am I still) to being in Sims’ league on bass.

I’ve already gushed enough about the drums, but “Up Beat” is a good example of how powerful Washam can be. When I listen to the song, I feel like the band is trying force the song into my body and won’t take no for an answer Hence the name of the band, I suppose.

As a person who worked hard to stop sexual violence for much of my professional career, I am not a huge fan of the band name, but I also understand they were thumbing their nose at the music world establishment and not advocating for rape. I’m no stranger to belligerent band names. I suppose, in a way, Pinky Tuscadero’s White Knuckle Assfuck is probably even more offensive to most.

A song like “Kim Gordon’s Panties” is another good example of how to create something that has an almost beautiful, yet noisy sound, that will also piss people off because of the name. Nowadays, you can’t really expect to get away with a song title like this and it wasn’t much different in 1988. Either way, though I love this song. It sounds so great.

Dissonance is fun to play with and listening to a band like Rapeman just let me know that it is quite all right to go for it. Speaking of dissonance, the cover of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid” is noisy and kick ass. When I first heard it I decided I would be fine if I never heard the original again and I happen to like ZZ’s version a lot.

“Trouser Minnow” is a hell of a lot of fun, too. Entertaining as fuck and the way Albini switches gender roles in the lyrics is brilliant. The guy was really good at fucking with people and why wouldn’t excel at it when you had such a bad ass rhythm section.

It’s too bad that Rapeman never got to have another day in the sun. I bet they could have come up with three or four more great records. I mean, all three dudes went on to make some great, great music, but a little bit more from them as a unit would have been nice.

All killer and no filler. Rapeman for the win today

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June 2024: Welcome
son of crackpipe beno.jpg




Friendship is a wonderful thing.

In the early 90s, I was lucky to meet my friend, Alex, after he married my friend, Christina. Alex is from England, so the odds of us having the friendship that we’ve enjoyed for over 30 years now would have been pretty long if he hadn’t have met Christina. When he came to Arizona for the first time, it was kind of a no brainer for us to get together. We have a lot of similar tastes in music and my girlfriend at the time was Christina’s best friend.

We definitely hit it off and I went into a lot of detail with this in the blog from 3/17/22, so I apologize, Steve, if this is a repeat for you. I think you’re the only one who has been reading the blog consistently since then. I also apologize to anyone else who has been following along for that long, as well.

I guess it was just a natural thing to do for us to make a little band. We both like Big Black and we figured we could do something with a drum machine much easier than finding a human to do the job. We were also never a proper band. We made music when we could because he was traveling a lot in those days because of Fudge Tunnel.

Mainly, though, we just wanted to have fun.

This should be obvious because of the name. We didn’t take anything seriously with this project except that it was really fun for us to do. I think we enjoyed hanging out so much and the process of creating the songs was relatively easy for us, too. We were really going for low hanging fruit here.

It was a lucky thing that Dave Ryley, Alex’s bandmate, had BGR Records and decided he wanted to put out our Son of Crackpipe stuff. Sadly, I think we ended up kind of bankrupting the label because we really wanted to have vinyl records of both the 10” EP and the 12” LP. Nobody bought a lot of vinyl in those days and it ended up biting us on the ass.

We were going to do a two-week string of shows in the UK and Germany in 1995, but the label couldn’t afford to have us do it after the records didn’t sell. As it was, we only played live once and that was in 1995, I believe, too. The show was at El Rancho De Los Muertos which was a warehouse in South Phoenix close to where the baseball stadium is today.

We wrote about ten songs. 7 of them are on the LP and three are on the EP. The EP features “Mary Poppins” which was our song that was built around the idea of having a cover that showed Julie Andrews with her top off. My friend, Jeff, was pretty good at doing photoshop early on and he took Andrews’ head from a still from Mary Poppins and put it on her body from a still from SOB where she took her top off.  

The B side of that one has a song that we did to use up the rest of the tape. I read a book review from the New York Times for one track called “Out of Control” and the other was a noisy thing called “Blinded.” It’s strange to see them on sale for $50 or more on Discogs. When I do see one for relatively cheap, I often buy it so I can give it away from time to time.

I’m pretty proud of this one, to be honest. We set out to make a Lo-Fi record and we did just that. People seem to like it, too.

Now the LP, on the other hand, was not as well received. We made the CD all one track because we were dicks. Dave seemed to like being part of fucking with people, too, but I’m sure in retrospect, we would have all been a little nice to the listener.

The liner notes are pretty funny, I guess, but we were definitely fucking around quite a bit and thought we were way funnier than we probably were. It does tickle me now, though.

I listened to the record for the first time in a long, long time recently and was not horrified by it at all. I fondly remember making it, too. Dave gave us a small budget and we got it done out at Blue Sky for cheap. Using a drum machine was easy, at least for me, as Alex did all the programming. I was not very good at it or patient with it.

There are some fun little nuggets on there, too. “Rapidinha” is a fast one so we used the Portuguese word for “Rabbit Fucking” as the title. “Pogo’s House” is about John Wayne Gacy.

“Enema Johnson” is a tribute to EJ from Hillbilly Devilspeak because he described a band we were watching as a “Dancing in the sand” kind of band. We turned that into a lyric:

“Dancing in the sand/waving my flag/Isn’t life grand?”

We also added a part where we changed “Isn’t life grand’ to “Do you like bread?” Listening to it reminded me that we were just having fun. That’s what music should be, I think.

There is some gallows humor on the record, too, with “Rescue Ranger Amputee.” I’m guessing we would get cancelled for more than just having Julie Andrews’ boobies out now, but who cares. You have to really look for this record as it does not seem to be on the internet anywhere. That’s almost a point of pride for me.

“Truth Serum” is a cool song, though, and “What Now” is like 19 minutes of us wanking on our guitars without using a single sample. I played the whole thing and so did Alex. We had nothing to prove, I suppose, except that we could do it.

Life was not what I would call easy back then, but we certainly had fun.

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June 2024: Welcome




I think I was 13 when my neighborhood friends, Kevin and Mark, came back from their summer visit with their dad and had turned punk.As I’ve mentioned before, I had no reference point for this and had only heard of the Sex Pistols (and probably the Ramones). They had a few records, though, and one of them was the first soundtrack. It left an impression, but it wasn’t until the first time I saw the film that I could really put it together.

A few years later, someone I knew had a VHS copy of the movie and I got to see it. By then, I was definitely beginning to figure out that punk rock and new wave and all things kind of off the beaten path were my stuff. In the film, though, Germs hit me hard.

It was around that time, maybe three or four months after, that my buddy, Matt, taught me that the security goal posts (remember them?) that were on the sides of the doors at the Tower Records near Christown mall didn’t work. You could fill your pockets with cassettes and as long as no one saw you, there would be no beeping when you walked out. One of the cassettes that made its way out of that store in my pocket was by Germs.

Talk about being overwhelmed by a record.

To me, there was nothing quite like the Germs. They oozed an attitude and clear disdain for the listener on that felt a little, no, a lot different from much of the punk rock that I had heard at the time. The songs on the soundtrack had also had a unique feel, but seeing the band do their thing wild and kind of brutal.

Maybe it was because I had stolen the record, but there was a bit of danger that I felt whenever I listened to that was just a little different than many of the other early records I had. Oddly enough, this didn’t make it a record that I listened to a lot. It kind of had the opposite effect. I would listen to when I needed to go to a darker place in my head.

As I type this, I’m wondering if it makes sense because describing how made me feel back then is difficult. It was one of the first records I had that made me feel like I was truly doing something that was wrong or subversive. Most of the other early punk rock records that began my collection made me feel like I was doing something right.

“Lexicon Devil” is the easy choice for the best song on the record. It’s great. When I hear it, I hear a band that did not give a fuck rocking out at the top of their game. It’s still so damn powerful and I can feel the push and pull of emotion inside of me in a similar way as I did almost forty years ago.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I appreciate several of the other songs just as much. For one thing, what you hear on is also a band that is really learning to master their instruments. Pat Smear’s guitar work inspired literally tens of thousands of punk rock guitar players and Jimmy “Don Bolles” Giorsetti’s drumming is on fucking point.

Over the last seven or eight years, I got to spend a fair amount of time with Don and he’s a hoot. One thing that is for sure, though, is that man can play the fucking drums. I don’t think he spends a lot of time behind a kit anymore, but getting to watch him play up close is a treat.

I also tend to love that he just sort of decided he was going to go to LA and be in the Germs. That is a tale that needs to be told more often, I think. It’s kind of like EdfromOhio just deciding that he was going to go to LA, find Watt and George Hurley, and be in a band with them (firehose).

Back to the songs, though… “Media Blitz” has proven to be quite prophetic over the years and is noisy and great. I’m also a big fan of “Manimal,” too. “Riche Dagger’s Crime” is a punk rock classic, as well, and I’ve been partial to “The Other Newest One” for a while now, too.

The thing is, captures what I wanted and needed from punk rock as well as any band has. I’ve never gotten to wrapped up in Germs lore but hearing a few stories from Don and picking things up here and there (plus I need to read the What We Do is Secret book), I enjoy the mythic proportions of their story. More to come on , too.

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June 2024: Welcome




As stated in yesterday’s post, had quite the impact on my musical taste. As I sit here getting ready to write about Fear’s , I can’t help but wonder if my early path into punk rock would have been different had heard a different compilation first. My early affinity for Southern California bands had to be because of hearing

While all of the bands who are featured on come off as subversive and, to my 13-year-old self, thrilling and scary, I have to admit that I was taken with Fear mostly due to the blatant attack on humanity featured in songs like “I Love Livin’ In The City” and “I Don’t Care About You.” Just the cussing alone was enough to pique my interest in those days.

Luckily, both of those songs graced I’m trying to remember how and when I first got a copy of it. When I look into my brain for answers (scary as it is), I see a handwritten cassette tape, so someone must’ve taped it for me or loaned it to me to tape. Usually, I’m better about this but admittedly, I’ve had a tempestuous relationship with

There were times, for example, that I would have told you that beyond the two songs I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago and “Let’s Have A War,” there were no good songs on There were also fleeting moments, early on, where I might have professed that Fear was my favorite band. When I examine this now, I see it from such a different angle.

As a teenager, I didn’t understand this record.

I’m not sure I quite understand it now, either, but life and experience have helped me to view it in different ways. I love that Fear do their own thing. Lee Ving is a unique dude and a hell of a nice guy, too. I’ve been fortunate enough to play a couple of shows with him over the years, as well as share a few beers and have some pretty good conversations.

Fear, live, is a great thing. They also sound great on the recordings. When I was younger, though, some of the songs didn’t really resonate with me. I didn’t understand how a band could do a song like “I Love Livin’ In The City” and then do “New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones.” They seemed so alien from each other.

Now I know that Fear was adventurous and willing to follow their whims because they could play. Ving was also older than a lot of the other bands, too, and had a little experience in the music world before getting into punk rock. I didn’t realize this until later on, but that perspective helped me embraced fully.

There is a lot of irony in Ving’s lyrics and some of that was lost on me at first. Fear was offensive, which I loved. As I look back on those days, if a band could offend my parents, I was down for it. There is a lot about that will make you think and that’s a good thing.

“Disconnected” was one that confounded me as a 15-year-old, but now I think it’s pretty brilliant. I have to believe that Nomeansno were Fear fans. I hear a lot of similarities. Especially on that particular song.

The other thing that I have really grown to appreciate is the drumming of Spit Stix. As much as Derf Scratch and Philo Cramer added to the lineup, the drums are spectacular. Fear’s music just drives along like a fucking muscle car and that’s because of Stix.

Sadly, none of the times that I got to play with Fear included Stix on drums. Nothing against the dudes who played those shows, but it would have been rad to watch him up close. I don’t know how many more opportunities I might get to see them, but I’d like to see the band again and say “Hi” to Lee.

One thing, though, is that I will listen to more often, I’m sure. It’s pretty fucking great. When I get my time machine, I’ll go back and leave myself a note and let 15-year-old me know that it’s okay to embrace things that don’t seem to fit in the box.

June 2024: About
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Few bands were as important to me in my teenage years as The Smiths. I know I am not alone in this, and it continues to this day. I love that kids are still discovering the band after all of these years. It says a lot about the power of Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke, and Morrissey when they were working together.

I struggled to decide which of their records to start with as there are three that I want to cover this year. After thinking about it for a bit, I just let it go and figured that when the day came, I would choose one, so here we are. We are setting the way back machine to 1986 for

Ultimately, I think I chose this one so I could brag about seeing this tour at Mesa Amphitheater in September of 1986. I will never forget that day and still have the ticket stub. I had been up to teenage shenanigans the night before and had worked all day at Sears before heading out to the show. At one point, I laid down on the grass and just listened.

That didn’t last long because the set list contained many of the songs that kept me going during difficult times. The Smiths have been a go-to band for me for almost forty years now and still are. If I need a change in mood or something to keep me in a particular state of mind, they have been there for me through thick and thin.

As a music fan who gets very attached (and loyal) to certain albums, I kind of felt like I was cheating on my favorite Smiths’ records when came out. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but it was just a little bit different than the albums I had burned holes through during the previous couple of years.

When Joyce’s drums kick in at the start of the record, I was hooked, though. Marr sounds so big, too, when the guitars come in. It’s just fucking brilliant. I can still hear it as they did it live 38 years ago, too. The place lost its collective mind.

“I checked all the registered historical facts…”

What a great start to a wonderful line. I love Morrissey’s lyrics and singing along with him for the last five decades has made my life a better thing. He may be a trainwreck of a human being, but as a singer, he’s a favorite of mine.

I used to use the Smiths as my vocal warm up while I was driving to gigs I’m singing along right now as I type. Don’t ever let anyone tell you can’t play an instrument and sing (or type). You just have to do it.

Like they were wont to do, there is a lot of different emotions on This is something many bands simply can’t pull off. From the rockin’ yet melancholy sound of the title track to “Frankly Mr. Shankly” you get a delicious mood swing that shifts again into “I Know It’s Over.” The Smiths were not afraid at all to take us on a rollercoaster ride and that’s why teenagers love them. The Smiths might embody what adolescence truly feels like better than any of their peers.

Speaking of “I Know It’s Over,” what a beautiful song. “It takes strength to be gentle and kind” is probably a line that Morrissey should revisit. What he’s talking about, though, was so impactful to me going through different teenage break ups and feeling the world was coming to an end.

Maudlin is a fun word to write. Not so much to say because, well, no one says it much anymore, but the middle of is a master class in it. “Never Had No One Ever” speaks maudlin fluently. Even the riff is terrifically wistful.

Andy Rourke is one of my favorite bass players. He’s the kind of bass player, though, that I would never try to emulate. I don’t have the time to learn his riffs, but I love them. I’ve tried to learn a few here and there and it never goes well. The guy was great and I’m sad I never got to meet him.

“Cemetry Gates” is a good example of his dexterity. It gives way to “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” which is just an asskicker of a song. Talk about playful lyrics. “Now I know how Joan of Arc felt” is a great line.

The lyrics continue to be great during “The Boy With the Thorn in his Side.” This is another one that just captures what it feels like to think that no one understands you. Morrissey expressed these things so well.

“Vicar in a Tutu” is great fun. Marr creates this wonderful western sounding background that must’ve been a blast for him to create. It is certainly a blast to listen to on this beautiful June day.

The Queen Is Dead ends with two more excellent songs. “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” and “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” are two songs that have stuck with me over all these years. Even though the record is not my “go to” Smiths record, I am never bummed when I do choose it or the songs come on randomly.

“To die by your side…the pleasure and the privilege is mine.”

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June 2024: Welcome
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I’ll be honest here. I got the Giorno Poetry Systems record, , because of the Butthole Surfers. It’s a very good reason, actually, to buy this compilation, but there are a few other bonus benefits.

I got it first on cassette tape. I think I found it a Zia, but could be wrong, and then I got the CD a bit later. A few years ago, I got it from my friend, Nate, on vinyl, so I have the trifecta. It is safe to say it was never on an 8 track.

This was kind of like the Holy Grail for me for a bit. I don’t remember how I became aware of it, but in my quest to have everything the Butthole Surfers ever released in the late 80s and early 90s, I had to have it. I searched high and low, too.

For years, whenever I would go into a record store, I would search through the compilations. This helped me find a bunch of other cool stuff, but I often left disappointed. When I finally found it, I lost my mind a bit.

“Boiled Dove” is probably my all-time favorite Surfers’ song, too. It’s everything I ever wanted from the band. It’s weird and great sounding and the lyrics are awesome.

“Imagine your father was naked and you had just fallen through the ceiling into a room full of soft, moist eyeballs.”

This might be the greatest first line of a song ever.

When I heard these words the first time, I knew I was hearing the Buttholes at their finest. Gibby Haynes can sometimes be quite the poet. The music is excellent, too. “Boiled Dove” by itself is worth price of this comp.

The rest of the tracks come in a varying level of crazy and interesting. There is a pretty cool noise track by Einstürzende Neubauten. I have to say that I’m way more familiar with their name than their music, but whenever I listen to this track, I always think to myself that I want to check out more.

Diamanda Galas checks in next with some wailing that does not suck. I have heard more of her stuff over the years and she’s always pretty intriguing. I don’t know if her music could be a daily driver for me, but I love musicians who lay it out there and go for it.

William S. Burroughs is up next with the “Words of Advice” track. It’s a slightly different take than the one on , but it’s always good to hear Uncle Bill.

As for the rest of the album, it doesn’t suck, but there isn’t a ton of goodness to write home about, either. The Swans song is pretty underwhelming and on Side B, the Jon Giorno Band and Chad and Sudan are the most interesting tracks. Tom Waits, Chris Stein, and Nick Cave all make contributions, but they really don’t do too much for me. This compilation is worthwhile for your collection because of the Butthole Surfers.

Tell me I’m wrong.

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June 2024: Welcome
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This one is for Dave.

The first person I knew who championed Primus was Dave Cookus. At some point around 1990, Dave started touting this weird band. He would play the cassette tape he had whenever someone would give the okay at a party or over at the apartment he lived in.

At first, I wasn’t so sure about the band, but they started to grow on me. was a very interesting record with an interesting sound. Once I got past my initial aversion to bassist and lead singer Les Claypool’s odd sound and vocal delivery, I was hooked.

As I look back on this today, I’m so glad that Dave was adamant about how great Primus was and will probably continue to be. He was the first person I knew to own any of their music, and if I remember correctly, he had a Primus t-shirt that looked like it was already old and well-loved when he first got it.

“To Defy the Laws of Tradition” gets your attention right away. It starts off with a nod to “YYZ” by Rush then proceeds to show why Primus has developed a huge and devoted fan base over the years. It would be impossible to adequately describe the bass playing in words. I don’t know of anyone who plays even similarly to Claypool.

When it comes to skill on the bass, Claypool has very few peers in the world of rock and roll. I would have loved to have talked with John Entwistle of the Who about Claypool. Both are right up there when it comes to having their own style and how they ruled the bass.

One area where Claypool differs from other bass players who have all the technical skills to make the bass do all kinds of amazing things is that as a songwriter, he never lets his technical skill get in the way of the song. When the bass needs to be powerful and pump the song along with an extended groove, he does that.

This is one of the things I love the most about Along with Claypool, Tim “Herb” Alexander on drums and Larry “Ler” LaLonde are both monster players, too. The songs are super interesting to listen to but also just rock the fuck out when they need to do so. The band never steps all over their talent. They just give the songs exactly what they need.

“Groundhog’s Day” has a really easy feeling to it for much of the songs, but then it gets huge for short blasts of power and groove. You’re two songs in and have already been schooled in the ways of noisy, funky, power trio ass kicking. There was also another lesson learned in those first two songs, too.

Primus has an extensive bag of tricks, but through the first two songs of you get a real taste for the many shades of the band. This isn’t a dig or a bad thing. They continue to be incredibly creative with their art, but they are also fine with showing their hand early. That’s confidence.

“Too Many Puppies” has a super hook. It was also the song that stood out to me first, mostly because, as mentioned, I wasn’t initially sold on Claypool’s vocals. The song is very catchy, though, and when I listen now, I don’t have those same feelings of “What the fuck is this guy doing?” or “Is he a Muppet?”

You have to admit that Claypool could have been created by Jim Henson.

“Mr. Knowitall” kind of epitomizes the Muppet theory. I could see this being performed on Sesame Street although it would be in a different key and sound much happier. Maybe , actually, with Chef in there somewhere.

I always liked the title track, too. “Frizzle Fry” is such a great example of LaLonde and Alexander’s chops. Both of them really shine on this track and Claypool kind of hangs back a bit and lets them shine.

“John the Fisherman” is another great song from It was probably the first song I recognized as a truly cool Primus song. It set the stage for the follow up, really well. It’s so heavy and bad ass. The bass tones are amazing.

I have other favorites on the record. “The Toys Go Winding Down” and “Speghetti Western” are both cool. I also like “To Defy,” but that’s probably because the title is the type of title that always gets my attention. I like to follow the rules, but only to a point. Then it becomes a game.

I’ll always think of Dave, though, when I think of Primus. Thanks for that, CooCoo. I will miss you forever.

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June 2024: Welcome
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Sometimes a band name catches your eye or ear, and you have to check them out. As I have mentioned, I used to frequent Eastside Records in Tempe, Arizona when I would wait for traffic to die down before I headed home after classes during the week. In the store, I would over hear the guys talking about different records and I would make mental notes about things that sounded good.

Usually, I would wait and ask Geoff about different things because I knew him the best, but Mike and Ben were cool, too. All the guys at Eastside knew their shit and it was a good place to kill some time, for sure. I think it was on one of these trips that I heard someone talking about a band called Eyehategod.

At first, I thought they must be “I Hate God.” This was bold, I thought, but when I did my research, I couldn’t find them in the “I” section. I was flummoxed, admittedly, and thought I had misheard the name. Maybe it was the name of the record, I thought, and I put it out of my mind. There were enough bands to be found at Eastside to not have to worry about just one with a great name.

A couple of years went by and Eyehategod came into my attention again. This time, I read something in a magazine about them and realized my mistake with their name. It wasn’t a new magazine, just something I was reading at a friend’s house, and I learned about their 1990 record, . It sounded right up my alley.

The first thing that struck me about it when I found a copy at Zia was the heaviness of the CD. It was sludgy and heavy and sounded mean. I liked it immediately. The band sounded as if they were trying to meld the elements of hardcore punk and a Melvins-ish slow, burning power and I just sank my teeth right in.

I’ll also be very honest here and say that I’ve never felt the urge to learn much about the songs or their words or titles. I just put that sucker on and went for it. Over the years I owned the CD, it was a go to record for me to put one when I was in the mood to hear something heavy and evil. I shared it with people who I thought might like it.

I even shared it with my son, Ryan, when he told me he wanted to hear something that was heavy and mean. I hoped he liked it so much, but he gave it back to me. It wasn’t for him, I guess, and that’s okay.

At a party, though, in 2006 someone relieved me of the first CD I had picked up. I went to grab it off the shelf one day for the ride to or from work and it was gone. I wasn’t super surprised by this as it is a great record, and it wasn’t super easy to find in those days. I picked up another copy and all was well. I hope whoever decided they needed it more than I do is happy with their choice.

As I mentioned earlier, I really dig how the guitars work together. One of the guys, and I’m not going to pretend I know their names, plays the super heavy stuff and the other seems to be on a different trip. A lot of the time, the song will be marching along and then, underneath the main mix, there will be a guitar riff that brings in that early 80s hardcore punk element.

“Pigs” has an element of this that I like. I’m probably overstating it a bit. Eyehategod is not some jazzy band, but it’s something I have picked up on all along. It feels like the guitars want to go in different directions, to me, like one wants to go faster but doesn’t. Maybe it is the songs themselves. They are at war with themselves and what happens is beautifully heavy and rad.

I did see Eyehategod once in New Orleans and they were really fucked up. It was right before Halloween in 2000 and they were playing with High On Fire. Maybe it was following High On Fire or they were really wasted, but it was not their best evening. High On Fire blew them away. It was still fun, though.

A few years back, maybe six or seven, I interviewed Mike Williams, too, for a show they were supposed to play here. It ended up getting cancelled, so I don’t think the interview ever ran. I should dig that up and maybe follow it up. Maybe I should run it here.

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June 2024: Welcome





For those of us growing up and learning about music that was different than the stuff on the radio, having Placebo Records in our backyard was a godsend. This label was so influential on my youth and musical taste that I’m still realizing it to this day in new ways. Other than putting out some of my favorite music in EP and LP format, Placebo also put out three excellent compilations.

The first one that I wrote about was actually the last one that came out. can be read about here at the ErgMis in my post from May 19. Today we will learn about , the 1982 compilation that was the first entry. Let’s begin…

Now, as you may have already surmised from reading previous entries, I didn’t listen to this in 1982. I was unaware there was such a record as I’d like to think I would have liked it a lot, even then, because I was discovering all kinds of cool music thanks to Urgh! A Music War, early MTV, and friends who were bringing records to the neighborhood. Alas, though, it was years later before I first heard it.

I can’t recall the first time I heard Amuck, but it was probably in 1985. Someone, Bill or Jerry, had it and we listened to it a few times. I remember thinking that I liked the second compilation better, which is called . I will dive into that one later, but now that I’m older and have a better perspective on things, I don’t know if I could really pick a musical favorite. I have sentimental favorites, though.

For example, my sentimental favorite from is probably “Bottles Neck” by Victory Acres. They were probably the first of these bands that I saw live. I could be wrong on this, but it seems right. I feel like they played one of the first shows I saw back in 1985.

Back in the day, I also liked the Soylent Greene track a lot. It was punk rock and even though I liked “Bouncer” by JFA, the Soylent Greene track stood out a bit more to me. Both of them kind of represent the kid I was in those days the best, but only sometimes, if that makes sense. I wanted to be so much more than a ‘typical’ punk.

The Meat Puppets track on here, “Unpleasant,” is fun, too. It’s noisy and aggressive and shows a side of them that hasn’t probably been seen since the early 80s. Those guys could have done a great hardcore record if they had wanted to do so, but I’m also glad they didn’t because it would have made them something they aren’t. Well, maybe Derrek would have liked to make a hardcore record. I’ll have to ask him someday.

Amuck is such a great snapshot of what was happening in Phoenix in the early 80s. You’ve got some cool stuff like Precious Secrets, which had Johnny Precious on guitar and vocals. I’ve heard so many stories about that guy that it burns me up that he died. Drugs are fucking terrible.

International Language’s track, “Long Journey to Nowhere” and Knebnagauje’s “Annex” are both terrifically strange and inspiring. Back in the day I wouldn’t have felt this way, but today I would love to make this kind of music with some likeminded individuals. Back in the 80s, I would have told you that you were crazy if you suggested I could do something like this.

I think is something that all youngsters looking to make some strange, different noise, should have to listen to before they have their first jam session. It lets you know that there are many flavors in the pantry, you know. Just reach in and pick one.

“Pepperoni Ice Cream” by Killer Pussy is fun and ridiculous. I fucking love it. There is an air of ridiculousness to several of the tracks. I’ve discussed this with a lot of people over the years, but the influence of , which was a kid’s TV show that was on in Phoenix for about 35 years, is all over

The thing about that early scene of creative folks in town is that they were warped by the heat, the lack of any pervading culture, and a silly TV show where anything and everything was fair game. How lucky were we to be exposed to something like Wallce & Ladmo in a place where retirees came to play golf and people with bad lungs and arthritis thought they might thrive again.

There is a lot of noise too. It’s not random, though, but purposeful noise. I never realized until about ten years ago that a lot of these folks were taking what Devo was doing and adding influences like Stockhausen and Can into the mix. Brilliant stuff from Tone Set, Destruction, and Dali’s Daughter happening here.

I would be remiss to ignore the Paris 1942 and Sun City Girls tracks. Both are a ton of fun to listen to for me. I’ve heard the stories of both of these songs from the people who made them, and it makes it so much more enjoyable. Someday there will be a documentary so you can hear these stories, too. It’s going to be great.

Enjoy your Sunday and listen to Amuck

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June 2024: Welcome
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