THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU
DECEMBER 07 - JANUARY 08
Supa Gangsta (Extraordinary Gentleman)
For The Hell Of It
Broken Safety 2
In Stores December 11th
In Stores Now
In Stores Now
In Stores December 4th
SNOOP DOGGY DOG
The Chronicles Deluxe (Death Row Classics)
Greatest Hits Deluxe (Death Row Classics)
Includes a CD with 12 classic tracks and a DVD 10 classic videos
Includes a CD with 16 classic tracks and a DVD 8 classic videos
In Stores Now
In Stores Now
LITTLE BROTHER Get Back In Stores Now
BIZARRE Blue Cheese & Coney Island In Stores Now
FOR MORE INFO HIT US UP AT STREETTEAM@KOCHCAN.COM
PERCEE P Perseverance In Stores Now
DJ ENVY & RED CAFÉ The Co-Op In Stores Now
8BALL & DEVIUS
Walkin’ Bank Roll
The Vet & The Rookie
In Stores Now
In Stores Now
SHOOTING GALLERY 8 TO THE POINT WITH HENRY ROLLINS 10 21 AND UNDER WITH CHUCK D 12 INKSPLOITATION 14 21 AND UNDER WITH OTEP 16 TALES FROM THE EAST SIDE 22 ABORTIST RANK AND FILE 30
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The Apocalympics are upon us and the city’s new Gang Task Force is a tad too late: According to the VPD and the rest of the 2010 Olympic® squad, our streets are contaminated with just a minor fraction of the notorious MS-13 street gangs that are predominately centralized in Southern California. Comparatively speaking, our ameliorate drug laws are a warm welcome to the slew of young Hondurans filtering through Vancouver ...if they make it. A treacherous journey begins in their homeland venturing north all the while enduring pain and suffering from police, accidents involving freight trains and rival gangs. Locals seem to have an impression that the “Blinged-out Vatos” on the corner are having a heyday. Trust us; that pair of Nike’s may be the first he/she may have ever owned. The women are not too far off either. Like a scene out of the docu-drama “Mi Vida Loca” the girls also pack heat, attitude and take no shit from anyone. With such a thriving drug culture in Vancouver, it is a formal invitation to those who lay in wait. Two types of dealers circle the downtown core which the press fail to mention that bring the semi-sophisticated dealer who has “worker/addicts’ holding and peddling the dope, accounting for all the money and in return receiver on average “1 on 10-14” meaning for every 10-14 rocks/spitballs of coke or heroin he she sells, they get one. By the end of the shift (which can last up to 16-18 hours) they have smoked their pay before they‘ve even finished. Distraught, broke, tired and sick, they seek out the next dealer on the block to get a chance at losing their lives….all over again. The other is the “Mule” - generally a Honduran male, who is forced to pack about 60-80 rocks (wrapped) in his mouth and stand “further” from the big boys, usually around the Pigeon Park area at Hastings and Carrell. This is by far the lower grade cocaine and is frequently cut with heroin in order to keep the user coming back specifically to said dealer, who in turn reports back to a gang leader/administrator of sorts. So in the end the goal is to move up Hastings, move up in rank, move up in the world (as they see it), raise the quality, raise the stakes, and ultimately raise the price… of life. In 2010, let the games begin.
photos Ara Shimoon and Debbie Mazurek
2007 CALGARY TATTOO CONVENTION
E. S. Day Editor-in-Chief
Our Monthly Chart Compiled from The Blood, Sweat & Fears of our Staff.
We Take An Album and Dissect It Track By Track. The Results can sometimes be… well, messy.
1. Easyride - Burlap (Visionary) 2. No Fuss Remix – Red 1(Killawatt) 3. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Ian Dury & The Blockheads (Stiff) 4. Get off My Log - MILK(American Recordings) 5. All The Way Down – Mondo Generator(Suburban Noize) 6. I Must Be Dreamin’ – Cheap Trick (Polygram/UMG) 7. Lefleur Leflah Eshkoshka The Fab 5 (Duck Down) 8. One Life – Raggadeth (Attic) 9. Roughneck Roughness - Spade Ghetto Destruction (Volcano) 10. New York – The Prodigy/Dirtchamber Seesions (XL)
Our Monthly List of Interview requests… and the people who told us to go fuck ourselves. THIS MONTH:
Vancouver’s Ninjaspy has brazenly broken the mould of what traditional “Canadian” Loud music should sound like. As a matter of fact, I can’t even begin to their discuss their debut album, produced masterfully and impeccably by Garth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers); he has obviously seen the originality factor and talented musicianship amongst a trio brothers (Literally. The “Triad In Blood” as they are also known). This 3 piece menace to the ears of society are geared and primed to invade and conquer. Self-coined Skankore…you’ve been warned.
Vince Neil.(currently playing 6 song sets on the Casino circuit. Talk about a gamble. Even the MILFs are mad. Mullet Molesting Martyr Vince Neil, tells ABORT Magazine- he would rather wear his little pink outfit from the Theatre of Pain tour, than talk to us about his overpriced piece-of-shit boat cruise.
Now that’s a sinking ship. So is his hair. Good luck with all of that. Perry Farrell: On his recent (half-filled to capacity and could have used the coverage) Commodore show in Vancouver. Everyone sing along: “Perry Perry bo-berry, fa-fanna-fanna fo fairy, me my moe merry… fuck you.”
GFYS Nov.2007 1. Getting “Dinged”. The credit union takes a stab at this coy ploy, through goofy gimped up ATM users, who are excited about saving $1.50.after paying a yearly Membership of $500 Go fuck yourself 2. Bloggers who try to invent the 45th sub-genre of Heavy Metal. You’re are better off inventing a new safer form of meth from your Mom’s knock-off perfume collection. 3. All the fcuking (sic) sweatshirts with “fcuk” on the front. Brand or no Brand “I wish I had an original thought in my head” would be a more appropriate slogan. 4. Strangers who ask us for a cigarettes when we are actually smoking a joint, all the while wearing big-ass headphones and obviously not able to hear their cancer causing request 5. Chuck Klosterman. The world’s most critical music critic. A man who bought his way into the publishing world under the guise of a writer. You’re a fucking twit. and your glasses don’t suit your face. Also, quick question: Why did you put out books? (FYI Stylus just died. Paste should go next)
1.Defecating On What’s Left of Our Child – 4:47 -Well right of the top we have a rollercoaster ride ready to jump on, and with no operator manning the controls god only knows where your going; a perfect entrance into the world of Ninjaspy. All out - balls out- metal/funk hardcore, and without warning, I might add. 2.Subartic Trickery- Straight bass slap-pound-punch-kick-kill. Thanks. We needed that. 3.Hit By A Cement Mixer – 4:48 – Hate using the name Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley, but Joel Parent really does shine through in implementing his viva la vocal prowess. Emotional, brooding, haunting. 4.Love Poem II – 2 :18 - Sorry guys, will appeal to some – not to all. Not filler by any means 5.Out of Tampons – 2:59 – Believe it or not, the title actually represents a nod to the environment, ladies – leave the boys alone, they’re on your side. Chorus will be an instant live favourite. Chantable, moshable, delicious. 6.SOS From the SOS – 4:23- Ska-dafied Skate anthem if you want it to be. Fishbone would be proud. 7.Pure Sketch 4:01– Extremely mature – Sing-along stuff maybe even a bic-flic into the air at the shows. Can’t blame ‘em. 8.Circle Pity 2:57– Sorry, can’t play it. Nope. Can’t even listen to it . Too good. How about this? If I put this on the speaker system at the office, I will kill everyone in here today. Worth going postal for. By far the best track on the album. Those motherfuckers. 9.haTed – 3:17– Full throttle track , nose-diving airplane soundtrack. Plus, after this you’ll want hit the ground and burst into a ball of flames. 10.Evolution of The Skid - 2:58 I would have to say that I was thrust into the opening sequence from Inspector Gadget the moment I hit play. Insanely infunktious chorus, this hook-laden song would certainly give the bands peers a shit-scare A Modern day Mr. Bungle and almost as polished. Keep in mind - only a trio. Brilliant. 11.Submission-3:24 Would it be safe to say that this is a radio friendly track – almost throwing back to the Seattle sound ala Alice in Chains? Non-intentional mind you. Catchy as fuck nonetheless. 12.Dot Calm Down-3:23 One of the older tracks , the raw nature of the musicianship again blankets the chart-happy chorus and saves the song from becoming a Dearly Departed track Ninjaspy.net By. E.S Day
NAS PHOTO: PAUL MICHALOWSKI AND TOBY SHUCH MONDO GENERATOR PHOTO: SARAH HAMILTON
SWOLLEN MEMBERS: MAD CHILD PHOTO: TOBY SCHUCH
HUMAN ABSTRACT PHOTO: TOBY SCHUCH K-OS PHOTO: TOBY SHUCH
LITTLE BROTHER PHOTO: SARAH HAMILTON TOMMIE SUNSHINE
TO THE POINT
WITH HENRY ROLLINS
The man with the plan, Henry Rollins, has embarked on another speaking engagement tour and engaged in conversation with ABORT’s E.S. Day during a quick check in from the road.
E.S. Day: With your IFC show doing exceptionally well, it’s safe to ask the obvious: What’s your fave episode to date? Henry Rollins: The one where The Stooges were the band and the guest. E.S. Day: What can we expect see/hear on the 2007 Spoken Word tour? Are we going to be introduced to a new enlightenment…Rollins style? Henry Rollins: I will talk about recent travel I have done and probably my ailing country and its endless war. E.S. Day: If Henry Rollins could raise the dead, who would he resurrect? Musician first, then author. Henry Rollins: Hendrix, Thomas Wolfe. E.S. Day: The Henry Rollins Band - tour, record, both? In addition, will Canada see the light of Henry’s Musical day once more? Henry Rollins: I have no music plans at present. E.S. Day: Your reaction to the recently announced Misfits 30th Anniversary Tour? Henry Rollins: I hope it’s good. E.S. Day: Most anticipated date on your upcoming speaking tour? Henry Rollins: They’re all important to me. They all make me nervous. E.S. Day: We recently reviewed the Hubert Selby Jr. Doc. How much of an influence was he on your music or writing as an author, if at all? Henry Rollins: No influence on the music. E.S. Day: Favorite Charles: Darwin, Dickens or Bukowski? Henry Rollins: Darwin. E.S. Day: Next up and coming young (unsigned) act - your recommendation. Henry Rollins: I don’t know of one. E.S. Day: Anything we should know about Henry Rollins in 2007, that we don’t already (other ventures, books, films etc.)? Henry Rollins: Not really. I have the shows coming up in the USA, Europe, and some other travel dates. Past that, there’s nothing booked. E.S. Day: Thanks Henry Henry Rollins: Thanks. Catch Henry Rollins his show on IFC.
ABORTIST SNEAK PEAK Josh Taylor - New York
own Truth, Justice and the International way.
E.S. Day: In Mista Chucks eyes, what happened to the original rapcore, and I mean when you guys obviously did your thing with Anthrax, that kicked it off, and I’m not talking Limp Bizkit, Korn, but like Dog Eat Dog, Gravediggaz, Urban Dance Squad before that “Nu Metal” thing came out, what do you think happened to that? Do you think it was the majors got a hold of it and fucked it all up again?
E.S. Day: You like that? That’s an Olympus. My mother bought me that. (laughs)
Chuck D.: I think the majors’ rules might have fucked it up. Think of it like “aw man this stuff is just not moving units.” And I think once it becomes the end all be all factor on whether someone should cut records or keep on cutting records or performing, I think it becomes troublesome. I think Public Enemy we tour with X-Clan in the United States and its not based on… you know, Public Enemy we don’t tour to promote a record. We tour cuz we tour and a record comes out along the way. X-Clan is actually touring with us and they actually have a record, but it’s important to always understand that you’re doing the tour thing cuz that’s what you do. E.S. Day: Talking about the rapcore from back then I’m going to name five artists, you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. The Goats…
21 AND UNDER
Chuck D.: Wow. Totally overlooked E.S. Day: Proper Grounds. Chuck D.: Lost in the cracks.
WITH CHUCK D
E.S. Day: Tha Hard Corps.
Rap’s fire-breathing dragon Chuck D. has changed the face Hip-Hop more than once and lived to watch it turn in its grave . Activist, speaker and the structured voice of Rap pioneers, Public Enemy, he goes one on one with ABORT’S E.S Day to talk about Canadian Hip-Hop culture, Billy Preston, ringtones and Oreos®. PHOTO BY WALTER LEAPHART E.S. Day: E.S. Day here, sitting with the one and only Mr. Chuck D from Public Enemy on the Devil’s Jukebox and we’re gonna bang out some quick ones.
and focus more on touring and “merch” sales to generate revenue instead of relying on CD/mp3/ringtone sales?
E.S. Day: How’s it going Chuck?
Chuck D.: The CD era is over and the ringtone area is based on programming and all the areas of downloading is based on programming so those things are buying them out, but really, seriously… I tell all artists to develop your art, morphing it into an act. The act is something that, well… me and my lady we gonna go out, we wanna sit there; we wanna have a good time…
Chuck D.: Wassup E.S.? E.S. Day: With the state of Hip-Hop becoming increasingly agitated, do you feel that this applies more or less to the American music-buying public? Chuck D.: Yes, it definitely applies more to the music buying public in America because America is attracted to violence, it’s built on violence and especially because for the black community talking about violence towards the black community it becomes a fascinating, real life movie looking for an outside… looking in. What people fail to realize is that this has side effects for everybody, you know… especially after fifteen to twenty years. It’s not just like oh man, the black kids were influencing their friends to buy it. You know, I mean younger people, if they actually believe some of these things, there could be some issues that make them like, pathologically following. E.S. Day: Alright, and on that note do you think that African-Canadian youth and/or Canadian hip-hop culture itself is deterred from taking in the marketing ploys of the big 4 [labels]? Chuck D.: Canada’s more about music; yes they are. I think there’s maybe two different growing dynamics with the black demographic in the neighbourhoods and the rest of Canada, but we have to look and understand at this state of the game now that Canada and the music scene is moving at the same speed as the rest of the world… and that’s important to recognize. E.S. Day: I don’t know if it gets recognized though. Maybe people in the game who understand it do, but… Chuck D: I think, you know, seriously if you’re waiting for a mass response of anything, you kinda overlook what’s already a positive response that already exists. My thing is like, why do we always have to respond to mass response, instead of counting what we have? That’s why people say count your blessings. Instead of complaining on what you don’t have…count your blessings on what you do. E.S. Day: Where does Chuck D. see the future of Hip-Hop going or ‘music’ for that matter? Chuck D.: Years ago I thought it would be a million labels and a million artists so they got MySpace and YouTube now. I think, when it comes down to hip-hop, I think the hip-hop artists of the world that will gain world-wide respect. Just like soccer is and the world where the artist who knows at least two to three languages might be able to speak to more people. I mean, you know, American art is what makes them the best if they only got one language. E.S. Day: Do you think new up and coming artists, no matter what genre, should try
E.S. Day: …And be entertained. Chuck D.: Oh yeah seriously, you know my girlfriend, she likes the opera or a play like “Phantom of the Opera.” I go with her and I’m totally entertained although I might not be into “the thing,” but I know that I appreciate the passion and the effort.
Chuck D.: Uncertain. E.S. Day: New Kingdom. Chuck D.: .Innovative. E.S. Day: .Smokin’ Suckaz Wit Logic. Chuck D.: Let me find the words… um… ahead of it’s time. Now the answers to all those bands in question is the fact that I don’t think the format at that time fit their visions. E.S. Day: They were all a little ahead of themselves, all of them. Chuck D.: Right now, you come out with a credible album, does it fit the format? Is that the format of this time with people listening to sixty seconds worth of ringtones? E.S. Day: Everyone who reads our magazine hates ringtones. Chuck D.: Ringtones don’t give you a break, they don’t give you a second chorus or shit.
E.S. Day: What were you recording then?
Chuck D.: I gotta get me one.
Chuck D.: Apocalypse ‘91, like on the run. It was mix it and record it and hurry up and get to the gig and Andrew, you know…
E.S. Day: (laughs) Props to Mom. If you had the power to raise the dead, who would you pick musically?
E.S. Day: Jesus its been that long already, that’s like ’91.
Chuck D.: James Brown. (laughs) Am I crazy for that?
Chuck D.: Yeah, its like fifteen years ago man… “sixteen” years ago.
E.S. Day: No, that was kind of obvious once I heard you mention Sly, nothing wrong with that. Chuck D.: A Ray Charles and James Brown concert would be very enjoyable right about now. E.S. Day: I had “Hot Pants” on this morning… not me personally, the song. (laughs) Chuck D.: (laughs) …I had a good thing I had to tell you man. James Brown…Ray Charles…oh yeah yeah yeah, you know that when people like that pass away they take a large amount of soul and funk with them. E.S. Day: Oh for sure, you can’t get that…no, no, no, there’s no replacements. Chuck D.: Burn that shit. That shit is out.
E.S. Day: What was your fave non hip-hop tour of your career? Chuck D.: U2… and I would say, you know, Anthrax was the best! E.S. Day: You still get along with those guys? You talk to Scott Ian and all? Chuck D.: There’s no reason not to get along with them. E.S. day: That was the shit. When that came out, fuck, it fucked everyone up. (laughs) Chuck D.: That was a great tour feeling wise, performing wise. Yes, great, great tour.
E.S. Day: I find that the best Rap to ever come out of Canada has always been through indie releases. Why do our US neighbors consistently grasp for that platinum plaque and continue to sign bad Major label deals with a horrific marketing department, and waste most of their careers?
E.S. Day: Who haven’t you shared the stage with that would make you star struck?
Chuck D.: The black community, you know, they watch BET and they listen to what’s called urban radio. What the fuck is urban radio? Before black music was called black music, because we’re black people and black music came out of us saying, “well this is a talk to each other” and saying “hey, this is where we come from, this is what we need.” But once corporations bought the radio stations they took the word urban so they could say that, you know, black is not the thing that owns it. The other thing about it you could knock the word black out and replace it with urban which signified the ownership ain’t black and it ain’t for black people: it’s for our sponsors.
Chuck D.: I tell you straight up, lemme see…
E.S. Day: We are already sick of “Hip Hop Is Dead” rants. What do you think is dying right now besides my list of questions? (laughs)
Chuck D.: It’d be two songs… “The Long and Winding Road” by Ray Charles, not The Beatles. Um… erm…
Chuck D.: (Laughs) Hip-hop is dead by now as I interpret it, as just a situation where in 85% of the records the topic is death and also 85% of the records are talking about things dying. Now hip-hop will still move and it might even move forward, but it’s like 9/11 is dead. E.S. Day: (laughs) Zombie rap.
Chuck D.: Ray Charles and James Brown. E.S. Day: Someone current? E.S. Day: That you haven’t played with. (laughs) Chuck D.: Wow… there’s a lot of people we haven’t shared a stage with, but I tell you to do a tour together… Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, we never played together. E.S. Day: If you went before a firing squad and your last meal request was replaced with a song what track would it be? (laughs) Blindfolded with headphones on.
E.S. Day: James Brown (laughs) Chuck D.: I’m trying to think… I can’t think. E.S. Day: He thinks he doesn’t think, he is Chuck D. Chuck D.: Fight the Power maybe.
Chuck D.: It’s zombie. It’s zombie now.
E.S. Day: Ok, wicked. Have you seen “Before the Music Dies?”
Chuck D.: Sly Stone.
E.S. Day: Will Rapstation.com and Slam Jamz always be a portal for indie Rap & Hip Hop?
Chuck D.: Yes, great movie, fantastic. I recommend it to everyone. Great documentary.
E.S. Day: Same question but an artist we don’t know about yet, like an unsigned artist?
E.S. Day: Will New Media ever have a standardized form of delivery or be consistent evolving entity?
E.S. Day: How about the opening scene with Billy Preston, Ray Charles “Agent 00 Soul!”
Chuck D.: I wouldn’t say unsigned, but on my label Slam Jamz you know I’m just totally enthralled by the abilities of Crew Grrl Order. All female rap squad that is the first all female rap squad in fifteen years and they’re opening up tomorrow night in New York City so I’m excited about them cuz they really developed their act. And, you know, it’s easy to make music that happens to do the right things, but to make an act you have to consistently work at it.
Chuck D.: Mp3 is the compression of choice and what people got to understand is that all mp3 is a compression, knock down something that you dig into something that you can dig and put a lot more onto. That’s the kind of unbeatable compression online. As far as visuals are concerned… mp4, but you know Quicktime and Flash and all that stuff are great.
Chuck D.: Yes indeed and I would just like to be able to get Rapstation and maybe Slam Jamz into doing more for indie.
E.S. Day: Who’s Chuck D. listening to right now- old school? Chuck D.: Um… right now… Solomon Burke. You know I’m a Stax, Motown, Atlantic junkie, increasingly I find myself dipping more into late 50s early 60’s and that transition of soul.
E.S. Day: What about… now don’t get mad at me, what about Deadly Venoms though? Chuck D.: Deadly Venoms, I wanted them to exist, but they exist in, I guess, maybe a couple studio recordings. E.S. Day: They did have one hard track though, but they were riding on the Wu thing weren’t they? Chuck D.: But that’s fine. I think it’s like they never were seen and they never really came to fruition as a group. I waited; I wanted Deadly Venoms to happen. You know there could be more female groups in hip-hop just like there could be population in Canada. E.S. Day: What is the scoop on the PE comic book series and should we assume a message will accompany the visual vasectomy? Chuck D.: (laughs) There’s always a message in a P.E. comic, it takes on a life of its
E.S. Day: Who would you like to see come out of retirement (musically)?
E.S. Day: The last time I saw you guys was on a really screwed up bill, or actually I don’t think you even got over [the border] because first I’d been into the Indica too much… Chuck D.: (laughs)
E.S. Day: Explain to our readers & listeners, how P.E., or more importantly the music industry as whole, can help with fighting HIV/AIDS and I don’t mean just prevention and awareness but towards finding a cure –or are we just for another falling head first in to another pharmaceutical money pit?
E.S. Day: But you were billed with Sisters of Mercy, Warrior Soul and Young Black Teenagers, now that’s a fucked up bill. That was before it was a marketed thing, it wasn’t all “well lets put it all together,” these bands were doing things and everyone wanted to see it together. It wasn’t a Lolapolooza thing.
Chuck D.: I think the importance… and this will have to happen over a longer period of time, the importance of music and musicians is to be able to point out the people doing real things at real times, and people actually going into the realms of science with a vigor and a hunger that the more that you kinda like nod your head to people being intelligent you have a brilliant chance of creating doctors and scientists who have the fabric to make changes in this world based on their intelligence and we as musicians have to point to them…(pauses) That’s a
Chuck D.: Love and hate is the same emotion, so we knew that presenting that was not going to be a package that would automatically work. “Wow its gonna automatically work.” I think it was, “great, let’s try and make it work.” E.S. Day: Did you like that tour? Chuck D.: Yeah I was recording an album at the same time.
Chuck D.: Oooh! Shit! (Hi-fives E.S., then shakes his hand then a half -hug and then watches E.S. turn back into ….a music lover, and for 30 seconds – his bitch) E.S. Day: (laughs) Agent Double O Soul, nobody can fucking move like Billy Preston before he got the ‘fro going… Chuck D.: The mohair suit… E.S. Day: And before he got into the dope. He was fucked up, that was the shit right there. Don’t get me started on Billy fucking Preston. Alright? um… (laughs) Chuck D.: (laughs) E.S. Day: Don’t get me started (laughs). Sorry. Anyway…my father was a Jazz musician, I grew up with funk my whole life so instead of talking funk I’m gonna shut my fucking mouth. By E.S. Day
Rob Dukes - Exodus exodusattack.com Mitch - Suicide Silence SuicideSilence.net
Mike - Suicide Silence Suicidesilence.net
to be a video, and if so who directed it? Otep: As a matter of fact, we are filming a video for ‘Confrontation’ this weekend! It is the same director that I’ve worked with on most every video; his name is Paul Brown. I’ve worked with him on “Ghostflowers,” I worked with him on “Warhead” and “Buried Alive,” and so we’re really excited. We’re actually gonna be doing videos for “Confrontation” and “Breed” in the same day. Abort: Speaking of videos, we did an interview with a gentleman named Thomas Mignone (video director for Otep, Mudvayne, Superjoint Ritual and Sepultura’s classic “Roots Bloody Roots” among others) about six months ago. Does that ring a bell?
After a label change-up, line-up rearrangement and other obstacles, singer/songwriter and poet Otep Shamaya has come out on top of her game once again, to shatter the myths surrounding her group Otep, the ever-changing face of the recording industry and has no qualms about letting people know who she really is.
Otep: Absolutely! Abort: Nothing but praise for Otep! Any chance of working with him again? Otep: Oh, sure! I love Thomas; he’s an incredibly creative director, and I think he and I see eye to eye on a lot of things. It would be a remarkable alliance for he and I to work together again. Abort: I noticed that some of your lyrics might point towards an older metal listener like myself, but at the same time you like to utilize social networking (MySpace, etc.) in order to get your point across. Do you find that some of the younger people using these networking sites don’t get your point, and just focus on the pictures and video?
Read on as she discusses on the phone from L.A., her views on touring , her love of Hip-Hop, and why she thinks the Metal community does not do nearly enough for the fight against HIV/ AIDS.
Abort: E.S. Day here for Abort Magazine, how are you? Otep: Doing very well, thank you. Abort: We had already featured your album when you were on a different labelwe’ll leave it at that--which brings me to my first question: Now that you’re on a KOCH, are you having more of a hand in the band’s career than before? Otep: I guess so! In terms of working with the new label, the biggest difference that I see is just how responsive and how involved they are. I don’t think much has changed on my end; I’m still the fire starter on this side. It’s just nice to actually work with a label that is so passionate about the band. Abort: We’ve noticed that KOCH seems to really be behind this album. We had it quite awhile ago, when it was on a different label, and we actually ended up pulling the review from our site and the print version for the simple reason that it would not have been available to your fans. It was our album of the month, but we had to pull the review, so we’re happy that it’s out again! Otep: I can handle any sort of obstacle that
comes along; it gives us the opportunity to use our logic and reason to find a way around it. But being stagnant and being paralyzed throughout this process was really difficult for me. I can always identify with the fans who were so frustrated and so enthusiastic about the new record, and I am just pleased beyond measure that we’re able to get this behind us and now we’re looking forward. Abort: I’ll tell you what would please us beyond measure: if fucking Otep would come to Vancouver! How come you never come here?! Otep: [laughs] You know what? That has everything to do with our former label. Abort: So it’s nothing to do with the border? Otep: Well, we did get into one issue with the border. I don’t really know what it was, other than... Abort:...yeah, they’re assholes! That’s the problem. Otep: That’s it! They were searching our bus like crazy, and they were really focusing a lot of effort on me, and I thought for a moment that perhaps all of that Bush
bashing that I’d been doing had somehow filtered over into Canada. Maybe I’d been blacklisted, I had no idea. It turned out to be a really difficult time, and I remember right around that same time other bands that were trying to go over were having difficulty getting in as well. In the end, they were just trying to charge us a bunch of fees that our label wouldn’t pay, so we had to turn around, go back home, and cancel the show. It was a really big letdown for us. Abort: You’re not the first to say that. Otep: It was so surprising because we were so excited and we didn’t expect that kind of resistance. It was really disappointing, but hopefully we won’t encounter that again and we’ll figure something else out. We’re really in a good place now--with the label, within the band, with this new record that we’re so excited about--and we just want to play! We just want to play music. We’ve never been to Canada, and we really want to play there. Abort: I really hope you guys come here, and hopefully there won’t be any confrontation at the border. Speaking of confrontation, [the song “Confrontation”] was on our Headphonica chart a couple of months ago, and we were all over it. Is there going
Otep: I’m not sure that age has much to do with it as much as that here’s just too much information. There’s people that I’ve met who are much older, and they just want to come out and drink a beer and rock out. Then there are some who are interested in the lyrics and all of the hidden messages that they can find. It’s always remarkable to me just to see the different ways that music affects people and what is meaningful to them about it, whether they just want to rock out or to attach themselves emotionally to it, or if there’s something spiritual about the song that they find a connection with. Abort: We find Otep to be extreme, both lyrically and musically, and at the same time this magazine is also into hardcore hip-hop--and when I say hip-hop I don’t mean 50 Cent….more like old Public Enemy, old Wu-Tang, and M.O.P. How much of an influence does hardcore rap play in Otep’s writing process? Otep: It does [have an influence]! I’ve been listening to, I think, one of the best hip-hop records of all time, which is “Liquid Swords” (Genius/GZA), and it’s just an amazing album from start to finish. Words matter to me, the stylistic delivery of words matters to me, philosophy matters to me, so that’s what I think the appeal of this style of hip-hop is. It’s about music from people that have something original to say, and they want to say it with style and make you think while you’re listening to what they’re saying. Those things are important to me,
inspire me, and get my wheel turning, so that’s why that music’s important to me. I don’t really listen to a lot of heavy music; it’s not something that appeals to me creatively because I don’t find a lot of singers in that world that really move me.
Abort: In between touring and festival appearances, do you think we could see Otep Shamaya coming to Canada to do the spoken word thing? Maybe that’ll get you across the border; a pile of books instead of a microphone.
Abort: There’s a lot of garbled stuff out there right now.
Otep: There’s a lot of things that I hope to accomplish before I depart this life, and that’s one of them. I’ve performed Def Poetry on HBO and that was a lot of fun, and it was an honor, but to do something else in my own way, to be able to deliver it in my own way to audiences would be really nice.
Otep: Yeah, there really is, and I can’t latch myself onto any of the music or the messages or the lyrics. I don’t close myself off, I like listening to anything and everything that inspires me. I think that’s my job as an artist, to seek out inspiration, so I listen to everything from The Doors, to Radiohead, to Slayer, to Slipknot, to Wu-Tang, Biggie, and even classical music. Abort: I think it’s important for the fans to know that too; that they shouldn’t limit themselves to one genre of music, or one of the fourty-five million subgenres of heavy metal. Otep: The one thing that I think is lacking in music is a sense of originality, and I think that most bands just try to copy something that they’ve already seen, which is already a copy. A copy of a copy of a copy, and it just keeps getting lighter and lighter and lighter until there’s no substance to it. It’s nothing. We’re having the same sort of thing that happened back in the glam days. That’s what it feels like to me. But then what happened after the glam days there was an influx of really good music, with good songwriters; a communal aspect of art and dissidence. So hopefully something like that could happen again. Abort: That didn’t last too long, and I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s too bad that the industry at the time slept on anything that could’ve had a prominent role in the way that people listened to music. But if it didn’t have those initial sales, the longevity factor went out the fuckin’ window, which is a real drag. Hopefully Otep and “The Ascension” will bring that back. This album is incredible and we’re still pumping it even though we’ve had it for quite awhile. The album drops October 30th, which is the day before we have a Mr. Henry Rollins here for his spoken word tour. That brings us to the next question: how is your spoken word thing coming along? Do you plan on doing a tour like that and maybe even hooking up with another spoken word artist? Otep: The spoken word thing is coming along marvelously, and we’re actually featuring a version of the record that contains a spoken word performance that I did and recorded myself. That’s exclusive to iTunes, and I think it’s really cool that they asked for something exclusive and it was my privilege to be able to share that with them. I’m a big fan of Henry Rollins, so that’s really awesome. I think in January or so, sometime early next year, I’m looking to get into the studio to start trying to organize all of these writings and recordings that I’ve been doing for a year now into something that’s actually a cohesive record. It could be pretty soon, and I’m really excited about it.
Abort: You’ve got a couple of new members in the band, correct? Otep: We do. The drummer (Brian Wolff) been with me for awhile, but we do have a new guitar player (Aaron Nordstrom), and I’m very happy to welcome him into our family because he is probably one of the top two most talented guitar players that we’ve ever had play in this band, and to top it all off he’s albino! He has a light sensitivity, so on stage with the lights shining on him he’s basically playing blind. He’s an amazing player! He’s precise, he’s passionate, he plays with emotion, but yet he rarely misses a note. I think that anyone that might have seen us play in the past has no idea what we have in store now; it’s evolved into a total assault on the senses. It’s really an amazing experience, and for me it is a seduction, like spiritual intercourse with my audience. There really is nothing like it at all. Abort: One final question before I let you go: Why do you think that the heavy metal/hard rock scene does not do nearly enough charitable work? Otep: I think most bands that have gained popularity recently are all filler, no killer. It’s all about image, and there’s nothing with substance about it. What do they care about anything important other than the celebrity and notoriety that they get by playing music? There are some bands out there that actually do... Abort: There are some. But there are a lot of metal musicians that have passed away due to HIV and AIDS; it’s never talked about, it’s not brought up, and I’ve only seen a handful of bands that might help either bring awareness or contributions to the cause like yourself. Otep: Like I said, I think it has more to do about them mainly caring about what they can get out of music instead of what music gives them; the opportunities that are given to us and the platform that we have to help a lot. We have a voice, we should use it for good things as well as our own selfish inclinations. E.S Day: Thanks for your time. Otep: Thank you. Otep’s “The Ascension” is available is stores now on KOCH Records.
Strung Out w/ Evergreen Terrace & I Am Ghost Oct.14/07 Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto. On.
Galactic Featuring Boots Riley and Chali 2na w/Lifesavas Thursday October 18, 2007 Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver BC Things got off to a nice early start with Lifesavas, who came out swinging at 9:15 sharp. Portland’s finest were one of the first shows I saw when I moved to Van five years ago, and the development of their skills is phenomenal. Insanely tight conversational back and forth flows, which to my ears are definitely the next level in rap - I mean, I can write pages of rhymes easy, but to get shit that tight with another MC? Much time and weed I’m sure. Vursatyl’s storytelling flow is immaculate, and Jumbo the Garbageman rocked rhymes as off the hook as the ten pounds of gold ropes swinging over his pink T-shirt. DJ Shines on the ones and twos displayed serious skills, subtly and continuously mixing shit in and out around the MC’s verses, scratching it up and keeping the mix nice and true school. The sound man was on top of his game too, with every syllable audible over the bumpin’ bass heavy beats. My appetite for true Hip Hop thus piqued, I was fully anticipating greatness from Galactic… Like I said though, no interview=honest review (not the bands fault, I know…), and from note one I was dreading mediocrity. It felt like all the gritty rawness of “From the Corner to the Block” (Epitaph) was some superficial studio gloss, and Galactic came out sounding like any late night talk show band of white funksters, immobile on stage in the posture of studio musicians. A dazzling light show was intended I suppose to distract from the lack of action on stage. Boots Riley’s opening salvo of lyrics was an unintelligible patter of syllables - I’ve seen ya three times now Boots, and I gotta say your live game sucks! All the eloquent intelligence of your lyrics is lost in your wooden delivery. I always considered you a rapper and not an MC anyway; I mean you admitted you don’t freestyle, and it’s obvious you can only deliver in the studio. A couple of dry instrumentals later (like a jam band without the jam…), and Chali 2na takes the stage to wild applause. A couple of classic Jurassic 5 tracks followed by his “Corner to the Block” collab had all the hipsters losing their shit and flailing semi-rhythmically. Chali’s got the voice for sure, and his booming live delivery way exceeded Boots’ incoherent clucking. I’m afraid Chali was underwhelming too though, with his signature quarter note downbeat flow eventually becoming mechanically repetitive and emotionally flat. Even with Vursatyl hyping the shit out of it, it still sounded, well, unenthusiastic and dull to this cat. Not like the packed crowd of hippies, hipsters and half-assed Hip-Hop heads minded at all. It seems simplistic, repetitive, derivative grooves are just what it takes to move the crowd. Fuck it, Lifesavas ruled and Galactic left me cold, so I headed to the Astoria for a “Thursday Ting” - dope reggae, dancehall and grime with no cover! Guess I’m just not feelin’ this funk. By Dave “542” McCallum
When on tour, things don’t always go exactly as planned. This night was no exception. Arriving at the advertised show time of 8:00pm (doors open at 7:00), I was surprised to find the first act (I Am Ghost) on the second-last song of their set. Although appreciative of the sparse turnout, the horrendous sound problems practically nullified a worthy effort. The venue itself is ideally suited for this type of event. A licensed balcony overlooks the madness below while leatherlunged, alcohol-fueled ne’er-do-wells do their best to disrupt the proceedings. Of course, with the decibel levels approaching 747 at take-off levels, this is all to no avail. Since I Am Ghost started too early, there was an exhaustive, inexcusably lengthy wait for Evergreen Terrace to appear. When they finally emerged, however, they made the wait almost seem worth it. By then (of course) the place started to fill up quickly as E.T’s furious pace got everyone in the mood for metal. These guys ripped through their set with efficiency and a no-nonsense delivery, resulting in the requisite mosh-pit ballet. E.T.’s frontman on several occasions mentioned how great it was to be on tour with Strung Out, obviously an appreciative fan himself. An interesting fusion of fans were in attendance, from mohawk-punkers to black-clad eyeliner-wearing gothrockers, to old school metalheads (still with the same clothes and noticeably balding long-hair), and of course, the skate shoe wearing new school set, all decked-out in their “vintage” value village duds. Also present were scores of seemingly available attractive young women who traveled in packs to ward off any goth-rock vampire attacks. The cavernous main floor was filled to capacity by the time the headliners Strung Out were scheduled to appear. Thankfully, a water and juice bar on the main floor was open; its popularity reflected by a dozy attendant and embarrassing sales. Clearly, this crowd prefers their beverages with a little more kick. Finally, with interior humidity reaching Miami levels, the masses whose chants of “Strung Out! Strung Out!” were about to be rewarded. The house lights extinguished, Strung Out exploded on stage to the deafening roar of approval from all at hand. Obviously seasoned veterans, they had the crowd worked up to a frenzy in seconds. The flawless performance was an inspiring display of musicianship and showmanship. You know how most bands can never match their studio stuff live? These guys are better live than in-studio and then some. So tight you would swear they were play/lip synching. Dozens of hysterical thrill-seekers hurled themselves on stage and off (or were hurled off by security). Despite the pandemonium, the band somehow manages to perform their songs with the precision of a surgeon. A quick step to the right to to avoid a body in flight during the guitar solo? No problem; just another day at the office for these guys. And soldier on they did, for on the Chicago stop of the tour, somebody stole their van and trailer, complete with all their stuff. To continue a tour under these circumstances speaks volumes about these guys’ character. True rock warriors. by Jimmy Lynch
photos: sarah hamilton
HIM w/ Bleeding Through Friday November 9, 2007 Croatian Culture Centre, Vancouver
Aesop Rock w/ Rob Sonic, Blockhead, DJ Big Wiz, DJ Signify and Black Moth Super Rainbow October 26th, 2007 Commodore Ballroom,Vancouver, BC
“I DON’T GIVE A FUCK!” The first words howled by Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through, one of the pioneering forces of the American hardcore and metal fusion, that now dominates an over saturated genre. They are clearly pissed off, and lucky for us, as this fueled one hell of a show. A slam-bang maelstrom of hardcore energy, with raw and brutal fury, Bleeding Through would have been a near impossible band for anyone to follow. They tore through favorites “On Wings of Lead,” “Kill To Believe,” and opener “For Love and Falling” with great precision, and a very full sound for a sold out crowd on Friday night.
The interview I had waited weeks for was suddenly not happening. Due to a series of miscommunications, all the brilliant and incisive questions I had prepared were just bullshit now. So I sat at home with the “Black Afghani” trying to numb my confounded expectations so that I could at least just enjoy the show. The crowd outside the Commodore was already hyped by the time I arrived around 10:30 and the room inside was packed Blockhead and Signify really failed to impress me in any way as I sat drinking in a dark corner, my beer heavily spiked with whisky thanks to a friend in the crowd. The mix was too muffled and the beats too clunky to draw us to the dance floor. Black Moth Super Rainbow (?) Seemed like an odd choice for an opener; a five (or six ?) piece funk band reminiscent of Galactic but on a bit more acid. I guess Aesop wanted to diversify the sound or some shit like that, or maybe he just didn’t want another rapper on the set…
Balancing out their bludgeoning attack were the highly effective dynamic of melodic vocals and the haunting black metal atmospherics courtesy of keyboardist Marta. The band also comes with a very humble outlook, knowing that the majority of the crowd had turned up to see the openers of the night. Schieppati, went on to say “98% of the people probably don’t know who Bleeding Through is…” although that was immediately overshadowed by the passionate screams and cheers of their fans. Bleeding Through was also quick to point out that the two bands sharing the stage were quite different, and that fans were probably expecting another rock band. He assured the crowd that they were not there to intimidate in any respect, but rather to unleash some good old metal for everyone to enjoy. In this, photo by: paul michalowski they succeeded.
Anyway, when Aesop took the stage with Rob Sonic I was already front and center, weaving like a motherfucker with a drink and a spliff. What can I say? As awesome live as ever I thought he’d be, Ace rocked a good long set of material from “Labour Days” to “None Shall Pass,” his voice as flawlessly fluid as it is on record, causing the visual imagery of his lyrics to form a thick swirling fog of meaning around the heads of the hypnotized audience. The darkness of his beats (produced mostly by himself and Blockhead) is offset by the somewhat cartoon-y vibe of his flow, and with corresponding visuals on the projection screens it was equal parts moody and whimsically weird. Aesop seems to create a whole other world with his music and his lyrics are like mini epic movies with the detail of a “Where’s Waldo?” drawing. Plus with the legit NYC boom bap behind him in the hands of DJ Whiz, Aesop Rock represented to the fullest for the dirty Def Jux sound.
This was indeed a tough act to follow, and unfortunately, HIM was really not up to the task. The Finnish rock act were greeted with rabid fans, nearly all sporting the patented “Heartagram” in one form or another. They clearly could not wait for the goth-tinged “Love-Metal” act to start their set, and were utterly thrilled, screaming at the top of their lungs when HIM finally hit the stage (and more so when frontman Ville Valo appeared). But alas, HIM could not match the sheer excitement and energy generated by Bleeding Through in their stage performance or the feeling put into the songs. Although backed by a monstrous rhythm section, and an excellent light show, Valo, looked somewhat strung-out, a-la Keith Richards, cigarette dangling from his lips and all, and seemed in a lull, with rather uninspired vocals (some bordering on Vince Neil incomprehensible and others screamed in over the top fashion). One of the stronger moments came when “Buried Alive By Love” was performed, with the fans helping to generate some of the lacking energy, as they belted out their share of the vocals. In the end, Bleeding Through stole the show, although the fans seemed just fine with being able to share an evening with HIM. By Andrew Johnston
Special thanks to Spectrum Events for making things happen (as usual). photo by: paul michalowski
By Dave”Corvid” McCallum
IAMX Monday, October 29, 2007 The Plaza Club, Vancouver BC As the lights dimmed upon the Plaza Monday evening, a chorus of violins began to pour out of the speakers, setting the mood for an evening of blessed-out grandeur. The promise was more than delivered upon as the Chris Corner fronted IAMX followed through with the high energy of electro-punk rock fury, and the melancholy of the greatest in ambient music. Former Sneaker Pimp Corner (sporting comic book inspired make-up, and a disco-ball flavoured top hat), along with his band-mates (equally dressed for the occasion) proved to have great stage presence. Tracks from both IAMX albums were performed, followed by a short break and a decent length encore to the small, but passionate audience. The set-list, which included highlights “President,” “Night Life,” “Spit it Out,” and “The Alternative” recalled the work of Depeche Mode, The Cure, and The Chemical Brothers in its own variation on synth-pop, electronica, and trip-hop. Thundering drums, a pulsating and relentless bass, melded with a heavily distorted guitar and ambient waves to produce a groove that the standing crowd could not help but move to. Corner was in top form, as his passionate vocals soothed, while occasionally trading off female vocals with bass player Janine, to create great dynamic effect. Top all this off with a tripped out light show (complete with black light, lasers shooting out at the crowd, and mesmerizing strobe) and surreal, slightly disturbing imagery projected over 3 monitors (hinting at the films of Lynch and Cronenberg). Overall, it is too bad that there was not a greater turn out to this event, as IAMX delivered a hypnotic show that could easily have won them a new legion of devotees. By Andrew Johnston
photos by: sarah hamilton, chris webber and josh fee
Dragonette Galore Mercury/UMG
The Jolts Jinx (EP) Haute Voltage Records Remember when punk rock was like a stiff drink in the face and not the “nearbeer” pop-punk concoction it’s now become? Bands like “The Damned,”, “The Dead Boys,” “The Ramones” and “The Stooges”, (or any other late 70’s punk band beginning with “The”) had fucking balls and knew how to kick out fast, furious songs of love, hate and betrayal without sounding preachy, whiny or contrived. Today’s new generation of castrated rockers seems to have missed the point of punk rock’s existence entirely, operating under the assumption that looking like everyone else and whining incessantly negates the need for style or substance.
Agnostic Front Warriors Nuclear Blast Records Divine heresy Bleed the fifth Roadrunner records Ex-Fear Factory guitarist and founding member Dino Cazares and co. have delivered a lean, driven, and brutal album with their debut, “Bleed the Fifth.” Though comparisons to Fear Factory are inevitable, Divine Heresy actually have more in common with modern metalcore acts like Bleeding Through; more chaos, less melody. Along with half-machine drummer Tim Yeung and vocalist Tommy Vext, Divine Heresy’s debut is a frenetic, testosterone driven affair. The drums rattle off like machine guns, the guitars tear through the mix, and the vocals are aggressive without being incomprehensible. Though there are occasional clean, melodic vocal sections, they’re mostly overshadowed by fist pumping shouts and mosh-friendly breakdowns. And while there is the occasional synth drone, the production is generally minimalistic, focussing on the guitar/bass/drums combo. Fans of Cazares’ work with Fear Factory might be put off by the unrelenting speed and lack of melodic sections, but Divine Heresy is a different creature with a different focus.
Ah, like a fresh breeze blowing across a corpse ridden heavy metal battlefield comes the new Agnostic Front album “Warriors.” Marching forth with weapons in hand and belting out some of their heaviest war cries to date, Agnostic Front continues to keep the hardcore/thrash fight alive and as vital as ever. Spawned in the early 80’s, (from the same New York Hardcore scene that gave us Adrenalin O.D., Murphy’s Law and Cro-Mags), Agnostic Front have been a voice for those who are ignored and must fight for what they think is right. Hardcore is and will always be socially driven music with a message and “Warriors” is no exception. Songs like “Addiction”, “Change Your Ways” and “We Want the Truth” prove positive that hardcore is as relevant today as it was twenty odd years ago. Hardcore is about the anthems too, the songs that inspire those of us who give a shit to chant along and truly believe in what we are listening to. The title track “Warriors” is a perfect example of this, a fist raising, head nodding anthem that will have you singing along before the band kick it up a notch and leave you “Black And Blue” with the next track, (aptly named “Black And Blue”).
Thank God for bands like Vancouver’s “The Jolts.” Armed with both style AND substance (and names like Joey Blitzkrieg!, Dr. Dylan Danger!, Lector Kurrentz! and GT Flare!, gotta love that!), these blue jeans and leather clad, swaggering reprobates have single handedly returned my faith in punk rock as a continuing viable musical genre. From the opening beats of “Caffeine Heartbeat“ to the last resonating note of “Jinx”, this five song EP and it’s fast, catchy, riff laden tracks (no fucking whining here!) will kick your ass and steal your girlfriend all at the same time; the two things punk rock was born to do. Well worth checking out especially if you are a simpering “pop-punk” fan who doesn’t know true punk from shit. Take a lesson chump. By Grimm Culhane
X-Clan Return From Mecca Suburban Noize records After nearly a decade long hiatus, and the passing of founding member Lumumba Professor X in March 2006, the greatest of political, black consciousness Hip Hop groups has risen again. Original MC Grand Verbalizer Funkin Lesson Brother J is joined by Ultraman Ra Hanna, ACL, DJ Fat Jack, Kumu M. Haynes and Master China on their newest release “Return From Mecca” with the message of the Red the Black And the Green still in full effect. After the coded shout outs of the intro, track two, “Aragorn,” starts the album off hard with a heavy organ based beat and Brother J’s engaging Old School flow, reminiscent of Chali 2na (who is featured on track 13 “Funky 4U”) - but more slamming. Other collabs include Abstract Rude and dudes from Kottonmouth Kings and Papa Roach. My favourite track is the closer “Culture United” featuring Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and Brother J kicking very fluent double time.
Unfortunately, the disc often seems too focussed on its own concussive barrages to really shine. The band play to their strengths--namely their rapid-fire, mechanical precision-but mostly shy away from any real experimentation. Aside from the rare quiet intro or brief synth flourish, the songs mostly sound pretty similar. That’s fine if you just want your ears caved in, but those looking for a little variety might find themselves burning out after the first few tracks.
Produced by Madball frontman Freddy Cricien, (lead singer Roger Miret’s younger brother), “Warriors” is Agnostic Front’s ninth studio album and one of their best! Something for everyone, this hardcore/thrash offering does cover familiar territory, but good familiar in the way of returning to the scene of a recent battle with arms raised in victory to plunder the mangled remains of the fallen oppressors.
The tragic exception to this rule, however, comes in the form of the final track, “Closure.” Sounding like a special gift to Theory of a Deadman fans, the song wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack of a b-grade comic adaptation. Maybe the band’s otherwise sharp focus is a good thing after all...
Still socially relevant, still a voice for the oppressed and still kicking some righteous ass, the release of “Warriors” shows Agnostic Front exactly where they belong, in the hardcore front lines of the fight for what is right. “Warriors” through and through.
It’s like that classic Chris Rock quote about conscious rap. It’s not that people don’t like it, they just don’t like conscious beats. While the heavy political and spiritual message of XClan may be too much for some, the beats (from a half dozen producers) are consistently awesome and often pretty fucking gangsta. Just like how PE were the heaviest shit back in the day while at the same time being the smartest, X-Clan demonstrate that culture is back, and it ain’t nothing weak.
By Calder Fertig
By Grimm Culhane
By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
The Canadian/Brit electro-pop outfit, currently touring with Sugababes, debuted their single ‘I Get Around’ to a disappointing chart performance. The darlings of underground pop critics and bloggers are, however, being championed by their steadfast fan base. The 80’s sex-sounds of this album are sweet, dirty and strung together with a decidedly campy music production. The sound carries the same thread throughout the album threatening to become boring after a third listen. If the album is an ironic statement to pop-overkill, going the route of Right Said Fred, then they hit it bang on and most likely have a future in electro-pop domination. And if not - well frankly, it’s a bit disappointing. Lead vocalist Martina Sorbara, a hot slut who will probably steal your boyfriend by doing kinky shit with him in the sack (see ‘Competition’), is both seductive and trashy and she’s letting all the boys know it. A definitive underground popelectro-goddess, some have claimed she is “the missing link between Gwen Stefani and Dita Von Tease;” she certainly capitalizes on her dirty-diva lyrics and sound. This woman obviously carries the band and will most likely go solo some time in the near future, joining the ranks of the above mentioned Stefani and (ugh) Fergie, if not turning into a promiscuous version of Kylie Minogue. Girls, you’ll wish you were her. And guys, you will have your hands in your pants for most of the running time. Just grab a sock before you pop it in. By Frankie Jacks Mower Not For You Suburban Noize Records Since exploding onto the scene in San Diego in the late 90s, Mower has done nothing but gain momentum, fans, respect and recognition. These guys have toured with everyone from GWAR (my favourite metal band), to Linkin Park, Staind and Deftones. Their latest album, “Not For You,” is some of the best new metal I’ve heard in a long time. Two raging vocalists screaming about everything that pisses them off and telling it like it is, while the guitars fire away full throttle. “Road Rage” vents aggression on all the idiots and assholes that think they own the road. “Undone” makes a good point, saying “The only rules we need to follow allow us to survive, to breathe, to feed and shelter,” and going on to point out that the laws the governments are creating are restrictive, deny us many of our freedoms and create nothing but contempt for authority. A few songs even have many more social and political statements to make than that. Mower have come up with an awesome, cleanly produced album. Mikey Doling’s production keeps things on track (no pun intended) and makes sure no one gets lost in the mix. Even though it’s only their second album, they sound like they’ve been at it for years (and they have).The album may be called “Not For You,” but if you like good hard rock or raging metal this one is definitely for you! By Jamie Horsley
Opeth The Roundhouse Tapes Peaceville Records Pioneers of Scandinavian Death Metal, Opeth have worked hard over the past 15+ years to defy even that genre specification with their own brand of experimental metal. Incorporating influences from jazz, progressive rock, blues, and even folk, (and damn near everything in between), their first live album, “The Roundhouse Tapes”, proves exactly what this band can do, play live, play loud and lay waste to all mediocrity in their path. The first thing you will notice about “The Roundhouse Tapes” is how “studio” this two disc set sounds. Its not until the audience reacts part way through the first track that one realizes this is fucking live! Recorded at the Camden Roundhouse, (hence the album name), in London, England in November of 2006, Opeth offers up a huge sample of what they do best. With such a wide variety of song styles in their repertoire, this album touches on nearly every genre Opeth find themselves crammed into. With not one single song less than eight minutes long, this is definitely Opeth in full effect. Highlights include “When” (off “My Arms, Your Hearse”), “Bleak” (off “Blackwater Park”) and the incredible “Night and the Silent Water” (off “Morningrise”) which will leave you with chills running up your spin. “Ghost of Perdition” is just flat out fucking phenomenal, resplendent with audience participation as they sing along with the chorus. Lead guitarist and vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt and the rest of Opeth have truly outdone themselves. This follow up to “Ghost Reveries” is in many ways the logical culmination of everything Opeth has done since their first album “Orchid” in 1994. Definitely not a “run of the mill” live album, this is one hour and thirty-five intimate minutes of pure progressive metal euphoria. By Grimm Culhane
Bishop Brigante It’s Fo’Twenty feat. Nate Dogg Bodog Music Even the hookmaster himself Nate Dogg (and Bishop’s reputation as a freestyle heavyweight) can’t save this little shit nugget from lameness. This is exactly the kind of derivative mimicry that is soiling the Canadian Hip Hop landscape with “West Coast beats and East Coast flow” that just happens to sound like a million other Dirty South anthems by way of Scarborough Ontario. WTF? I guess it’s about establishing legitimacy through conformity and not innovation, rocking the requisite bling and moneystacks, with the same breathless blunted flow as Mims, Belly, and all those other useless fucks. So “Roll up another Swisher let’s get high…” The greens as he says may be Westcoast, but true heads know that candy flavoured wraps only mask the taste of bunk weed and no amount of media limelight is gonna make this joint a banger. Look out for Bishop Brigante’s upcoming album “The Life of a Gambler”, featuring Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg, dropping soon.
Blaqk Audio CexCells UMG
(hed) p.e. Insomnia Suburban Noize
Anyone who has followed the careers of Davey Havok, and the rest of AFI, since their early work in hardcore punk is well aware that the band have not been strangers to musical mutation and progression. Blaqk Audio, however, the new side project by Havok (AFI’s frontman) and Jade Puget (the band’s guitarist), is a case study in musical experimentation gone wrong.
(hed) p.e.’s latest album, Insomnia, has a message and you need to hear it. As you open the album, the liner notes next to the CD proclaim in big, bold letters “SICK AND TIRED OF THE STATUS QUO WE’RE PISSED OFF AND WE’RE READY TO GO.” The phrase is taken from their song “Habeus” and sums up the core of what they have to say quite well.
Blaqk Audio is an electronica project, consisting solely of Havok handling lyrics and vocals and Puget in charge of synths and production. It’s an interesting idea, and should certainly be listened to independently of the work both men have done with AFI, even though a lot of the gothic sensibilities that band are known for are retained here.
Their sound is definitely rapcore; like rapmetal, but more hardcore and more rap with lots of punk and a few funk influences. They remind me a lot of ICP, but not nearly as funny. For short moments they sound a bit like Korn, but never near as whiny. A couple songs, especially “Comeova2nite,” just sound like gangsta rap, and don’t seem to say much more than gangsta rap ever does. They even do the screaming punk thing with “Habeus” and “C2GU.” “RTO” features Big B doing some funky down tempo rap for the verses and then the (hed) boys go punk for the choruses, which is actually a really cool infusion.
But “CexCells” just isn’t good. I get the sense that this record is fuelled by self-indulgence: with the legions of young fans hooked by AFI’s latest releases, there is a guaranteed market for whatever Havok might feel like recording. Think Euro-trash club techno at its worst, fused with Havok’s vocals at their whiniest. To be fair, Havok is a capable enough lyricist, but his delivery, which works well on a record like “Sing the Sorrow,” clashes with Puget’s melodies, which at times either verge on industrial, or remind me of the shitty raver techno they blare on certain rides at a carnival. I don’t doubt that this album will be praised for creativity and ‘breaking boundaries’ and so on, but maybe some boundaries are left well enough alone By Derek Leschasin Kottonmouth Kings Cloud Nine Suburban Noize In case you hadn’t guessed it, the “KK Clique” are the self-professed Kings of Weed Rap, “that west coast stoner clique”, representing for the “smokers, growers and tokers” around the world. It is nothing but blunts, bongs and vapourizers (and bitches and brews of course) for these glass eyed gaggerburners, spreading the message of universal permabake to all who will hear it. At 22 tracks, “Cloud Nine” covers a lot of musical ground, from Dre-inspired West Coast gangsta paranoia, to rapcore/metal, to straight up old school hardcore, to reggae, to acoustic ballads. Lead rapper D-Loc sounds like a less agile Eminem with competent flows and shout out hooks. The only major turd is the Willy Nelson tribute “Free Willy”- a little bit country, a little bit trife-crap. Honestly, it’s varied, it’s pretty bangin’, it’s got B-Real on it, and I’m sure they’re great live, it’s just that the whole weed thing is a bit gimmicky. Of course, that would have been like telling Johnny Thunders that the whole heroin thing is gimmicky, so whatever…
Just don’t get splattered…
Kottonmouth Kings are to weed what Necro is to horror, so if you want lyrics that are nothing but praise for the chronic, you’ll love it. Excuse me while I hack up some November lung butter and light another.
By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
In “Game Over,” they do the style switching thing again with verses being rapped to a wicked funk beat and a bridge that will have you chanting along and a chorus to headbang to. On top of the cool sound of this song, it’s probably got the most to say. They talk about why society is as fucked up as it is, pointing the finger at the government, the war, the media, Rosicrucians, Freemasons, and pop culture. The rest of the album is peppered with George Bush quotes, new clips and a lot of good insight. There are other songs with other messages, but I’ll leave you to discover them yourself - it’s more fun that way. What album of rebellion would be complete without some gratuitous sex? (hed) p.e. doesn’t disappoint there either. Kottonmouth Kings and Tech N9ne help out on “Wind Me Up,” and if you’re into what they’re talking about in “Mirrorballin,” this’ll definitely leave you ready for a bit of the ol’ in-out. While the sound of “Insomnia” is going to appeal to the punks and the rappers and even the metalheads, the message, ah the message is for EVERYONE! By Jamie Horsley Atreyu Lead Sails Paper Anchor Roadrunner/UMG A little more pop-ish, a little more rockish and last but not least... a little more gothic? Gothic? Yeah, kind of. Since releasing The Curse in 2004, it should come to no listeners’ surprise that Atreyu would go from a post hardcore/metalcore band to a pop punk band with bittersweet moments of arm flailing metal. I am actually fine with this; Lead Sails Paper Anchor makes for an easy, entertaining listen and I was happily surprised to see them experimenting a bit more with samples, keys and strings.
Now signed to Road Runner Records, with Hollywood Records covering America, this album and label change is a good indication of where Atreyu is going to be heading. Vocally more layered than A Death Grip on Yesterday, singers Alex Varkatzas and Brandon Sailer seem to share the vocal duties down the middle with Varkatzas much more melodic then screamo. The rest of the crew holds up well with some ripping guitar riffs and emotionally powerful breakdowns. Songs showing off the new direction of Atreyu would have to be Becoming The Bull, When Two Are One and Lose it. I wasn’t going to mention this but I have to, it’s just something that needs to be noted in case anyone actually ever reads this review. If you’re a band and you think it’s a good idea to cover Faith No More, please don’t. Don’t even fucking think about it. I don’t fucking care if Andy Wallace mixed your fucking album (he mixed this one!). It’s not noted on the disc itself and not to sure if this is supposed to be some joke or a special surprise, but this will bring those horrible childhood “surprises” you pay your shrink $350/hr to burn out of your head. By Mark “Mortimer’ David Iller Than Theirs Self Titled Embedded Music Now this is what I’m talking about - dirty, down-home dopeness from some seriously down to earth Brooklynites. Iller Than Theirs is MC’s Tone Tank and Krayo from BK’s infamous Nuclear Family (aka Nuk Fam), over beats by J. Howells Werthman and Snafu of Junk Science, and this is some of the realest, rawest, humblest and bumpinest shit I’ve heard in a while. Inspired by classic 90’s Boom-Bap, ITT stay true to their NYC roots without a syllable of fake thug posturing, focusing instead on the richness of human experience, you know – getting drunk, getting high, getting laid, rocking shows and keeping it “Ill”. The standout track is “The Same”, which deals with the gentrification and “Manhattanization” of Brooklyn through personal reminiscences and features Masta Ace, dropping in out of cyberspace to rhyme about “back in the day”. Both Tone and Krayo rock some seriously agile blunted gravelly flows, free of the cliché’s of those who fake the NYC accent and comfortable in their unpretentious everyman BBoy stance. The production is consistently dope throughout, full of soulful horns, funk bass, and gritty (but crisp) and classic sounding drums. The whole effort is really fucking musical, catchy hooks that stick in your head, beats that actually provide mood and flavour and not just head nod. ITT draw you into a world where it’s okay to be broke and hung-over ‘cause you know your bros are always there to pick you up. This is the record for chillin’ on the couch with the homies and the dogs, drinking coffee, liquor or both, hot-boxing the kitchen and doodling on napkins all afternoon. “Everybody wants ice but nobody wants to fill the tray…” – seems like Iller Than Theirs have filled the fuckin fridge and drinks are on them! They sure as hell better come to Canada soon By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
WHO: Baroness”Carrie” Von Reichardt, from the Treatment Rooms WHERE: London, England WHAT: Mosaic Artist/Designer/Visual Instigator WHY: Because as a man, you don’t have the gall or balls…she does. WHEN: I’m afraid we can’t tell you at this time.
The Baroness and Mr Spunky dwell in their home-cum-living art space, in Chiswick. 2006 saw the unveiling of the back wall of the property transformed with a 22ft x 6ft mural dedicated to the memory of Luis Ramirez, who was executed the previous year in Texas, a long standing pen pal to the Baroness. Responding to an advert in The Big Issue, requesting pen pals for inmates, the Baroness embarked on a life changing journey she could have never envisaged. For over seven years she has been writing to prisoners on Texas Death Row. What started out as an altruistic act, developed further as she discovered the tragic circumstances of the people who found themselves incarcerated in Livingston, TX. A visit to Luis Ramirez two days before his execution cemented her relationship with the people who’s lives have been forever shaped by the stigma of prison, the justice system and capital punishment. This summer, the Baroness returned to Texas, where she witnessed the execution, by lethal injection, of Ash. Accompanying her on the journey was renowned sculptor and musician Nick Reynalds, and Paul Blackwood of Punkvert. With Ash’s permission, Nick, reviving an ancient Egyptian tradition, cast a death mask of him directly after the execution. The final cast form will be displayed as part of a major exhibition planned for 2008. Uncomfortable, and always complex, the issue of state sanctioned murder will be addressed in the ‘Death Row Show’. The show promises to bring the reality of capital punishment into the public domain. Jake Chapman, Vince Ray and several death row inmates are amongst those confirmed in a growing list of contributing artists.
“A death mask, that’s what Kings have. Now I know I’m not trash. I am somebody.” Ash’s last words to the Baroness August 29th 2007.
Incorporating the journey to Texas, and the following art car parade, Punkvert are currently producing their second creative documentary, 402, in memory of Ash, highlighting the triumphant nature of the human spirit in the face of adversity. For his wife Linda and their two children it is a chance to honour his memory and ensure that his spirit lives on. Linda Amador will be flying from Texas to ride in the Tiki Love Truck at the third ‘illuminated’ Art Car Parade in Gateshead on New Years Eve. www.myspace.com/treatmentrooms
Captivity Directed By Roland Joffé Maple Pictures “To Saw with Love” Esteemed director Roland Joffé, who’s first two films (The Killing Fields, 1984, and The Mission, 1986) both garnered him Academy Award ™ nominations for Best Director, plummets to depths previously unexplored with his latest offering of “Captivity.” This entry in the “captureconfine-confound-and-crush” genre regrettably lacks both substance and originality, leading the viewer down a very well worn path. The Byrds Under Review MVD Visual The Byrds characteristic sound of three part harmony and 12-string guitar is thoroughly analyzed in the new DVD The Byrds -Under Review, set to be released date October 7. Such notables as Byrds bassist John York, Gene Parsons, Van Dyke Parks, and ex-Rolling Stone editor Anthony DeCurtis give a lively commentary on this highly influential band. Easily the most eclectic band of their time, The Byrds were always moving ahead while at the same time keeping a furtive eye on the past. The band grew in 1965 from a folk music tradition to quickly embracing and becoming involved in the exploding LA rock scene, influencing Bob Dylan, and inventing folk rock, psychedelic rock, and country rock along the way with its versions of Mr Tambourine Man, Eight Miles High, and Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The group was a factious unit as during its history it consisted of Jim later Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, guitar player extraordinaire Clarence White and other notables. So indirectly, Crosby , Stills , and Nash, The International Submarine Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Eagles evolved from and were influenced by the Byrds. The DVD has archival footage of the band as well as great stories about the group. Byrd bassist John York’s commentary is central to the DVD. York comes across as very knowledgeable and is not afraid to discuss the negative decisions that were made because of infighting within the band. His comments concerning future cosmic cowboy Gram Parsons are very insightful. York comes across as a very likeable person who is very believable on camera. One of my favorites, Van Dyke Parks, is also heavily featured in the DVD. Parks is a veritable encyclopedia of Americana, as well as a great musician and songwriter, having written music with the Byrds , as well as having co–written Smiley Smile with then Beach Boy Brian Wilson and Smile with ex Beach Boy Brian Wilson This DVD is very well produced and is a must have for any music fan. By William “Moose” Roberts
Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert) is an up and coming fashion model and cover girl in New York. Stalked and drugged by an unknown assailant, she awakens to find herself confined to a cell with no way out. She voices her dissatisfaction with her situation through good old fashioned pleading and screaming, but to no effect. Her captor subjects her to varied forms of psychological and sensory torture, such as forced viewings of videotapes of previous torture victims and, worse yet, past videotapes of her own interviews! The horror! Eventually making contact with Gary (Daniel Gillies), held captive in an adjoining cell, together they try to find out why they are being held. Shifty eyed horror veteran and character actor Pruitt Taylor Vince also makes an appearance in this film. Like the crucified figure tumbling down the Guairá Falls on the movie poster for his previous film “The Mission”, director Roland Joffé has certainly fallen a long way from his auspicious beginnings. Liberally borrowing from themes previously explored and dissected (literally to death) in films such as “Saw” and “Hostel” and grinding these themes into a fine powder (that subsequently blows away), “Captivity” has little, if anything, to add to the fine array of “torture-porn” videos available to the viewing public. That’s not to say “Captivity” is half bad… its ALL bad! Tailor made for the burgeoning “fake-snuff-film” auteurs of the world, the casual viewer is given very little to maintain their interest in this film. Instead, you may find yourself wondering what the title “Captivity” is actually referring to, the characters on the screen or the viewer forced to sit through this? By Grimm Culhane Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies (Special Edition) Directed By Todd Phillips MVD Visual When all the blood and feces have been wiped off the stage, what more can be added to the legacy of one of rock and roll’s most notorious front men? More footage! MVD proudly presents the re-release of “Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies.” Not simply a man, but a force of fucking nature whose name has become legend to legions of punk rock fans, GG Allin goes under the microscope in this 2007 update of the 1994 documentary (with more footage!) by director Todd Phillips (Road Trip, Starsky and Hutch). This documentary of punk’s most prolific purveyor of all things base and gnarly was filmed just before his death from a heroin overdose and is easily the best and most graphic
depiction of the rebel without a pause to date. Additional footage includes Allin’s unique funeral, exclusive interviews with Merle Allin and Dino Sex (GG’s brother and drummer respectively), a rare interview with GG’s Mom as well as an hour of previously unreleased concert footage and interviews with band members, friends, relatives, fans and foes alike. It doesn’t get any better than this, the most detailed and intimate footage of GG Allin the world will ever see. Considered the lowest common denominator of our society by some and an avant-garde artist by others, his was a life dedicated to extreme, antisocial behavior that virtually no other rock performer has matched, nor ever will. Cavorting with prostitutes, mutilating himself with sharp objects, physically and verbally abusing concert goers, performing naked, shitting on stage and throwing it at the crowd, shooting heroin, picking fights with the biggest guys in the audience and threatening to kill himself on stage, its all here. Praised for its brutal truthfulness, this film pulls no punches in portraying an American icon at the top of his form doing the basest of things. Like driving past a car accident, both fans and detractors will have trouble looking away as this documentary examines an artist who’s life (and death) was his ultimate performance. By Grimm Culhane Thin Lizzy Videobiography KOCH What is the enigma that is Thin Lizzy? Certainly, they are one of the most underrated bands to come out of the UK in the 1970’s. Known primarily for the song “The Boys are Back In Town,” the band at times seemed to be a group of individuals in search of a band. The Videobiography for Thin Lizzy, by Robert M. Corich, attempts to shed light on the enigma that is the band. Attempts is the key word, as the band in its heyday was dominated by a true innovator - Phil Lynott. Lynott, a rocker in the truest sense of the word, was also a great experimenter in the Blues, Jazz, and Celtic forms of music, as well as Western mysticism as in the Old West. Fools Gold, from the album Johnny the Fox, is as well produced and dramatic a homage to the Old West as you can get in rock music. The album Johnny the Fox is certainly the apex of Lynott’s fascination with early Americana. However great Lynott was, he was surrounded by players who were certainly among the most innovative in rock music, such as Snowy White, Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, Eric Bell, Gary Moore and Brian Robertson. Lynott , a heroin addict who could certainly teach Keith Richards how to get on one’s knees when looking for a fix, needed to be pushed by his contemporaries to produce his best work. In the end, drugs destroyed and ate away at his uniqueness. Most people never really got close to Phil Lynott. It is very ironic that the most insightful comments in the DVD come from his mother. Maybe mothers really do know best. Lynott’s solo career is not discussed in the DVD. As someone who is s very well versed in Lynott’s music and poetic lyrics, I certainly hope a more in-depth look at this unique individual surfaces . This DVD is not a great look at Thin Lizzy as it glosses over the surface of a great band. It seems as if it is pure product, and not much more.. By William “Moose” Roberts
Hard Rock Masterpieces Various KOCH This 4- DVD set, dubbed “Hard Rock Masterpieces: the essential albums of all time,” includes Deep Purple’s Made in Japan, Led Zeppelin’s IV, Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous and Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. This is an absolute must for the music connoisseur. Each disc runs just over an hour in duration, jam-packed with goodies the likes of which, until now, have been forbidden and hidden away from the prying eyes of foolish mortals. It gives the viewer a privileged glimpse into the lives of these artists at the pinnacle of their careers. There is unreleased material a’plenty from all the bands, which includes rare concert footage, interviews with original members, analysis and assessments from industry experts, and secrets, myths and mysteries of the forefathers of metal. Overwhelming at times from the continuous barrage of privileged information, it is indeed an intimate retrospective. Superlative in content to any previous release in this genre, the only flaw to be found is that the live material could have been longer. Otherwise, this DVD set is as essential to anybody’s hard rock music collection as owning a copy of AC/DC’s Back in Black. This unfathomable assortment of the crème de la crème of rock legends best works is sure to be a cherished possession of every hard rock music fan for generations to come. Deprive yourself of this at your own peril. Not to be missed. By Jimmy Lynch 20 To Life: The Life and Times of John Sinclair MVD Visual A thought provoking DVD with interesting comments and great archival footage of the sixties. After viewing the DVD several times, I am convinced that Sinclair is a second rate poet, a second rate musician, and a hanger on who was in the right place at the right time. His poetry and rants are cheap imitations of Lenny Bruce, while his musical forays are cheap imitations of Ornette Coleman, Pharoah Sanders, and Thelonious Monk. His being busted with two joints and subsequent sentencing of twenty years to life brought him to the attention of a true innovator and experimentalist - John Lennon. In hindsight, it seems that being busted elevated him to a unbelievale stature for one of such questionable talent. Now that the war in Iraq is still raging and very much in the world consciousness , I find it ironic that John Sinclair is living in Amsterdam; perhaps still in a sixties induced pot coma. The DVD shows that Sinclair has not moved forward since his heyday, and is living in a past that is over and is being over- romanced in countless DVDs and reissues. By William “Moose” Roberts
Shouts From the Gutter by Chris Walter Go Fuck Yerself Press It’s no coincidence that local Vancouver writer and tattooed punk rock aficionado Chris Walter shares a birthday with noted author Charles Bukowski; these two have much in common. Dissatisfaction with the status quo prompted both to communicate a vision of a reality ignored by most everyone. Their “everyman” approach to writing records the decline of civilization from the vantage point of someone hopelessly caught up in that same decline. Bukowski and Walter were similarly forced to share their literary styles and blunt language the only way they knew how, through self-publication and in underground magazines and presses.
MAD’s Greatest Artists - The Completely MAD Don Martin By Don Martin Running Press Book Publishers
MAD’s maddest artist Don Martin is finally commemorated with the release of this impressive new treasury of works entitled (strangely enough) “MAD’s Greatest Artists - The Completely MAD Don Martin.” Every piece of art Don Martin published in MAD™ Magazine from 1957-1987 can be found in this slipcased two-volume hardcover set. All the gag’s, color illustrations, sticker art and sound effect you’ve come to love (including SHTOINK, FLIBADIP, PAFF and FUNDORT) are here, including your favourite characters Fester Bestertester and Captain Klutz. At over 1000 pages and 25 pounds in weight, if you don’t herniate yourself laughing you’ll most definitely herniate yourself lifting the thing. Accompanying Don’s work is a veritable plethora of forwards, introductions, special notes, original letters, notes and sketches specifically commissioned for this volume and written by the likes of longtime collaborator Duck Edwing, cartoonists Gary Larson and Jim Davis, MAD editors Al Feldstein and Nick Meglin as well as Martin’s MAD men colleagues Sergio Aragonés, Jack Davis, Dick DeBartolo, Mort Drucker, Frank Jacobs, Al Jaffee and many more. Witness mans’ relentless relationship with nature as he is pit against a harmless banana peel in “A San Francisco Trip.” See the henpecked husband deal with an unruly pest problem “One Evening in a Bus Station.” Marvel as a condemned man turns the tables on his executioner “Early One Morning in South America.” This collection easily makes other collections seem like they should be at the curb waiting for collection. Its not surprising Don Martin received the National Cartoonist Society Special Features Award for 1981 and 1982 and was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame posthumously in 2004. His was a special talent the likes of which we may not see again. This is truly great stuff! “MAD’s Greatest Artists - The Completely MAD Don Martin” would make a welcome (insert holiday) gift for any MAD™ Magazine fan, Don Martin enthusiast or weightlifting third cousin allergic to chrome on your (inserted holiday) list. By Grimm Culhane The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal, Vol. 3 - The Nineties By Martin Popoff Collector’s Guide Publishing With an already impressive list of books to his credit, scads of written reviews that must reach from here to fucking Mars, (and back!), and one of the nicest guys ABORT Magazine has ever had the privilege of hanging up on, (twice!), the unstoppable editorin-chief of Canada’s most successful heavy metal magazine, “Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles”, Martin Popoff is back with his latest book, “The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal, Vol. 3 - The Nineties”. Ten years in the making, (since most decades are 10 years long when last I checked), this third installment of Martin’s incomparable Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal series is his most comprehensive yet. With over 3000 album reviews covering every heavy metal genre and sub-genre released in the 90’s, (as well as a 15 track CD of 90’s rarities), this guy is truly possessed! Who in their right mind has the time or wisdom to take on such a task? With 30+ years of musical knowledge, 19 published books to his credit, (at last count), a successful magazine under his belt and an arsenal of adjectives that would put even the most scholarly metal-head to shame the answer is simple, Martin Popoff. From Lee Aaron’s “Some Girls Do” to ZZ Top’s “XXX” and everything in-between, (along with more than a few you’ve never heard of before, but will end up tracking down because someone smarter than you recommends it), this is the ultimate guide to what metal you should, (and in some cases should NOT), be listening to from the 90’s. You may find yourself questioning some of the albums selected for this book as far as their place in the dysfunctional “heavy metal” family goes, but the sheer joy of reading Martin’s reviews and insights will make that a mute point. Quick, smart and hilarious throughout, Martin Popoff’s “The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal, Vol. 3 - The Nineties” is easily the only reference guide to 90’s heavy metal music you’ll ever need. By Grimm Culhane
Chris Walter’s latest book “Shouts from the Gutter,” (released on his own Gofuckyerself Press), is an impressive collection of short stories that range from hilarious to heart breaking. These tales are written from the vantage of someone who’s actually been in the gutter, stared hard into the face of oblivion and, having survived the ordeal, returned to shout about it to anyone who’ll listen and listen you should! This is extremely topical stuff written with a deep knowledge of his subjects and more than a little autobiographical content as well. Although not delving too deeply into any of his characters’ persona s, this doesn’t take away from the stories or characters in the least. Its the situations themselves that truly define the characters in these stories. Anyone trying to survive the daily Armageddon of Vancouver’s East End is fodder for Chris’ pen, as are disgruntled shopkeepers, hapless cretins, scheming pushers and junkies of all description. One unique and memorable story in this collection does manage to lift its head from the urban garbage can setting and transports the reader into the squalor and miss treatment of free-range clowns in a futuristic totalitarian circus setting. Sadly the lesson I gleaned here is that its sometimes easier to accept your fate rather than try and change it. This book sheds light on subjects and situations some people don’t necessarily want to see. Like turning over rocks on the beach, Chris forces us to watch as the creatures scramble to get under the next rock with fascinating results. I highly recommend “Shouts from the Gutter” to anyone with a social consciousness and a penchant for good story telling. By Grimm Culhane The Beats By Mike Evans Running Press The Beats is the title of a book that explores the period when the conservative sameness of late 40’s and 50’s America imploded and eventually exploded into the mid to late 1960’s anarchy and creativity. The Beats were artists, writers, poets, painters, musicians and an odd assortment of talented individuals who through experimentation and an attitude that since no medium existed for them to express themselves, invented their own medium. The book is a fabulous find. It is well written, well chronicled and well indexed: as well as having an extensive bibliography. Some of the Beats are well known to anyone who is familiar with the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Neal and Carolyn Cassady, and the true instigator of structured mayhem: William Burroughs. The photographs in the book are devastatingly good, and in actuality, perform a pictorial of the Beats that can rival any written insights eschewed in the writing. The Beats is in chronological order and it delves into the early lives of Kerouac and the other well known characters such as the Cassady’s, Ginsberg and of course - Burroughs. Much has been written about the aforementioned characters ; however, many more talented and influential artists were influenced by and influenced the Beats in return. Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Bukowski figure predominately. Davis and Gillespie actually played and wrote some of their ground-breaking be-bop syncopations based on the rhythms that Kerouac used in his writing William Burroughs, easily a maverick among a group of mavericks, figures predominately in the book. To this reviewers mind, Burroughs is certainly one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, not just for his wonderful innovative and realistic style, but also because of his being a major influence on the drug culture in the second half of the twentieth century The Beats always challenged themselves and always wrote and honed their individual crafts as if the works being created had an urgency akin to bullfighting. By William “Moose” Roberts
FILM REVIEWS The Mist Directed By Frank Darabont Dimension Films Go with what you know. A simple adage to be sure, but for director Frank Darabont going with what he knows has repeatedly turned into box office gold. What Frank knows is how to translate Stephen King stories for the big screen and he does it very well. Take his latest film “The Mist” for example. This is the third film Frank has directed from a story by Stephen King and their forth collaboration overall. The first two films, “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” were both major successes, but could he do the same with a story by King that doesn’t take place in a prison? The answer is a resounding yes! After a major storm thrashes a town in Maine (where else?) a creepy cloud of thick and unnatural mist rolls in the next morning enveloping the town. Scared and discombobulated, the townspeople converge on the local grocery store to assess the situation. They soon discover they are trapped, for the mist carries with it all kinds of horrific, otherworldly beasties just waiting to munch down on some screaming humans. Where did the creatures come from? An inter-dimensional rift? Military testing at the local base? Hell hath indeed come to “Fogtown” and as the world crumbles around them the townspeople are forced to face-off against each other before finding a way to survive this new and apocalyptic disaster. Thomas Jane (Magnolia, 61*) gives a pretty pedestrian lead performance as David Drayton, the artist and father who initially discovers the creatures lurking in the mist. His young son Billy, played by Nathan Gamble (Babel), is also fair to middling, but its Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock) and actor Toby Jones (Infamous) as Mrs. Carmody and Ollie respectively who clearly steal the show… until the special effects kick into high gear. Those you have to see to fully believe, phenomenal! Special effects aside, this is some creepy ass shit! King and Darabont’s collaborative efforts pay off yet again with this well crafted and genuinely scary film. Going with what you know sure pays off for some people, these boys have the box office receipts to prove it. By Grimm Culhane
Punk’s Not Dead Directed by Susan Dynner Aberration Films Those seeking the true grit and grander of punk rock and it’s infernal legacy need look no further than Susan Dynner’s new documentary, “Punk’s Not Dead”. Her extensive study of how punk rock has emerged from the underground to the mainstream is both an invigorating historic look at the genre and a condemning statement on an ignorant music industry. This veritable who’s who of punk rock contains both archival and new interviews with punk rock performers, music journalists, and others. Performances and behind-the-scenes footage includes The Ramones, U.K. Subs, Social Distortion, Joey Shithead and Mike Ness to name but a few. Punk rock is about rebellion, the honesty of anger, saying whatever the fuck you want and looking at the future with blood coloured glass in your eye. Punk rock isn’t about garnering praise or tapping your toe to a Nissan Pathfinder ad. Its a gun in your face held by an unpredictable foe, you never know if or when its going to go off. Yuppies dancing to Pennywise? The Offspring on MTV? Punk rock clothing sold at Macy’s? None of these things would have been remotely imaginable if it weren’t for Nirvana’s prophetic release, Nevermind. 1991 became the year to never mind. Never mind ignoring punk rock. Never mind avoiding corporate influence. Never mind the rebellion. It seems that the acceptance of punk rock as mainstream was only a generation away from it’s late 70’s roots, go figure. As Jello Biafra puts it, “The music was so intense it delayed the inevitable mass embrace. The music was too good not to.” With “Punk’s Not Dead” director Susan Dynner gives us far more than just an interesting history lesson, she gives us the heart and soul of what “being” punk rock is truly about. Punk is simple, punk is plain, punk is about getting to the root value of doing exactly what you want. Who doesn’t like that? By Grimm Culhane
War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death Directed by Loretta Alper & Jeremy Earp Media Education Foundation When war looms on the horizon and we huddle around our televisions soaking it in are we truthfully informed by mass media or are we victims of mass propaganda? This question is extensively explored in the new documentary by Loretta Alper & Jeremy Earp called “War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Narrated by Sean Penn and using excerpts from interviews and archival footage of such notables as Barbara Lee, Robert McNamara, Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson (to name a few), the facts behind how the US military uses the media to sell war to Americans are finally brought to light. From justifying war as a support of democracy to the altruism that dropping bombs saves lives, no stone is left unturned in this revealing and disturbing documentary that gets to the heart of how war is made acceptable when spun correctly. Propaganda is nothing new. While the media sets the agenda for war, stressing military perspectives before any fighting takes place, the modern military propaganda machine is finely tuned, working within and using the present media state to its full advantage. The media becomes “team players” with the military, running counter to the idea of independent media and perpetuating war as a rationale for peace. This media military mind set, making war virtually inevitable as critical analysis disappears, is based more on television ratings than it is on objectivity. At the same time military officials blow smoke to cloud the real issues, leaving out key facts and framing issues narrowly which the media simply regurgitates verbatim. The idea of a liberal media becomes non-existent when being “pro-war” means you are objective while being “anti-war” means you are biased. Hello Mr. Orwell! Based on Norman Solomon’s book of the same name (and with ample commentary from the author himself), “War Made Easy” exposes how the military and media package and sell war to the public with little regard for moral obligation while voices of opposition are silenced as “antiAmerican.” If the media doesn’t raise questions about the rush to war and simply supports policy is that not itself bias? Subsequently, this lack of accurate or even “honest” reporting does not allow the U.S. public to react knowledgeably. While the international press questions U.S. military and media claims, the national press questions nothing out of fear of exposing truths and being ostracized for it. This documentary is hopefully the first step in educating those who follow both the media and the government blindly, leaving the true nature of democracy twisting in the wind. Highly recommended! By Grimm Culhane