The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page
Volume 9, Number 1, Issue #78
508 - 825 Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1K9 604.734.1611 www.thenervemagazine.com email@example.com
13 BLACK MOUNTAIN
The Don (a/k/a Editor-In-Chief and Publisher) Bradley Damsgaard firstname.lastname@example.org
Wiseguy (a/k/a Music Editor) Adrian “Paying the Mortgage” Mack email@example.com
Shotgun (a/k/a Film Editor) Michael “Wanna Touch Tips?” Mann firstname.lastname@example.org Launderer (a/k/a Book Editor) Devon “Wedding Planner” Cody email@example.com
10 Best and Worst of 2007
After drinking all the bottoms of the beer bottles at last year’s staff Xmas party, Ainsworth promptly accused us of being rude and quit.
Plaster Caster (a/k/a Cover Design/Photo) Toby Bannister
Our ever popular rundown on what we loved, what we hated, and why we never get tired of the word ‘douche’. - The Nerve Team
And you thought the guy on the left was hairy. Von Bentley gets drunk with Hagar the Horrible and his Bear club. - Dave Von Bentley
7 Peter Stampfel
The Holy Modal Rounder and probable genius on all the exciting new work he’s doing with his butt. - Allan MacInnis
5 Cinema Sewer
Stump porn is probably the least offensive thing discussed in this interview with the great Robin Bougie. - Dave Bertrand
6 Meth Teeth
Fire Insurance (a/k/a Advertising Rep.) Spontaneously combusted, how ironic.
What, no mention of shit-dicks or watersports? The Nerve must be losing its edge. - Jenny Charlesworth
4 CAN CON 21 Hatchet 6 Apocalypse #F’’
The Kids (a/k/a The Interns) Sold into slavery
Printed in Canada. All content © Copyright The Nerve Magazine 2007. Est. 1999
Surveillance Team (a/k/a Photographers) Femke Van Delft, Miss Toby Marie,
The Nerve is published monthly by The Nerve Magazine Ltd. The opinions expressed by the writers and artists do not necessarily reflect those of The Nerve Magazine’s publisher or its editors. The Nerve does not accept responsibility for content in advertisements. The Nerve reserves the right to refuse any advertisement or submission and accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, chinese sex slaves or artwork.
10 Year In Review
Weapons Cleaner (a/k/a Article Editor) Jon Azpiri, Terry Cox
Out-of-town Connections (a/k/a Distro & Street Team) Toronto: Brayden Jones et. al. Montreal: Douglas Ko Calgary: Mike Taylor Edmonton: Freecloud Records, Bob Prodor Winnipeg: Margo Voncook Regina: Shane Grass Vancouver: Mr. Plow, Stiff Josh Victoria: Jono Jak,
We blow a premature load over Vancouver’s band of destiny. In the Future, everybody will be blowing their load over In the Future. - Patrica Matos
9 Amon Amarth
The Henchmen (a/k/a Design & Graphics) Kristy Sutor, Laura Jeffries,Toby Bannister
The Muscle (a/k/a Staff Writers) AD MADGRAS, Cowboy TexAss, Chris Walter, Stephanie Heney, Adam Simpkins, Carl Spackler, David Bertrand, Waltergeist, Ferdy Belland, Dave Von Bentley, Devon Cody, Dale De Ruiter, Johnny Kroll, Andrew Molloy, Cameron Gordon, Brock Thiessen, Filmore Mescalito Holmes, Jon Braun, Jenny Charlesworth, Allan MacInnis, Jeff Topham, TC Shaw, Robyn Dugas, Steven Evans
7 Peter Stampfel
Sections 04 15 18 20 22 23 23
Cheap Shotz Live Reviews Album Reviews Film/ DVD Books Crossword Comics The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page
Cheap Shotz 2007 - Really Just a Numbers Game Inside the Numbers
Nerve Contributor of the Year Ferdy Belland 15 Articles 36 Reviews Runner Up Dave von Bentley 5 Articles 64 Reviews Honourable Mention Allan Macinnis 11 Articles 24 Reviews The Review King Chris Walter An astonishing 74 reviews (he also wrote 6 articles on his friends’ punk bands) We’re not a total sausage party Jenny Charlesworth 12 Articles 5 Reviews Stephanie Heney 44 reviews I’m afraid of musicians so i’ll hide behind my computer and write mean reviews award: filmore mescalito holmes 63 reviews Adam Simpkins 43 reviews (he actually did one article but it doesn’t count as it was one of eight articles on Lou Barlow in the Nerve this year). Who is Johnny Kroll? Aside from being a jerk who some angry band subscribed us to Guns and Ammo, he is also one of the above writers. We’ve included his reviews in the totals. If you really care, feel free to go through every issue of the Nerve to find out. Number of Nerve readers who have heard of a single album filmore mescalito holmes reviewed in 2007: 0. What the fuck’s a Male Model Machine 12”? David Bertrand’s official nickname The Franchise Shortest lived recurring column Getting to Know You. A column where we tracked down people from our writers’ past and asked for embarrassing stories was doomed to failure from the get go. The column
was cancelled when Mann suggested an interview with Mack’s ex-wife.
Most shameless Nerve handjob Aside from the Festival of Guns cover? Did we run another review of one of Chris Walter’s books this year? Tied with Bertrand interviewing Robin Bougie. Most hillarious recurring Nerve office joke Changing Dale de Ruiter’s name to Dale de Fruiter Most hilarious traumatizing of an intern Mack breaking the ice with new intern by asking her if she gets high? Mann following up by telling her his theory how touching dink tips will be “the new high-five” in a few years. Intern does not come back the next day. Trendiest Acts on the Cover of ‘07 (in order) Justice (March) Animal Collective (September) Klaxons (April) Magnolia Electric Co. (August) Lowest pick up rates ‘07 (in order) Justice (March) Animal Collective (September) Klaxons (April) Magnolia Electric Co. (August) Lowest neckline ‘07 Samantha Laserson Black Mountain’s Year End, featuring Stephen McBean and Jeremy Schmidt Favourite album of the year: 2006’s Altar by Sunn O))) and Boris (2006?? – ed) Most memorable gig of the year: McBean: “We haven’t played it yet, but I have a feeling it’s going to be the All Tomorrow’s Parties show, just because the line up is insane. Even though we’re, like, tired and close to death.” Favourite band of the year: McBean: “The Hospital Bombers. They’re from Holland. They’re pretty sweet.” Favourite food of 2007: McBean: “Schnitzel! What is it, Béarnaise? I had it this morning.” Not-so-guilty pleasure: McBean: “I’m not really into the whole guilty pleasure thing. Basically everyone just listens to guilty pleasures nowadays. [From the background, someone says “Lily Allen”] Oh, Lily Allen? No, but that’s just good. That’s the thing, though. If it’s good, it’s just good.”
Schmidt: “We listen to pretty different stuff on tour. We seem to like hip hop every now and then. We were listening to Jim Jones recently, that’s pretty good. We [also] like the Wu-Tang, Ghostface, Method Man.” For our full interview with Stephen McBean, please turn to page 13.
Johnny Kroll’s Christmas Wishes, ‘07! OK, look, first off, a note to the Top Drawers: first, you don’t play the fucking blues solo in “Hoochie Koochie Man” with a goddamned major scale, you white suburban morons. Shawn Meehan: just because you made our cover doesn’t mean your awful band doesn’t still reek like an old Cordova whore. Vancouver’s DJ scene: you still rip off (sorry, ‘SAMPLE’ - as in stool sample) real music made by real people into an annoying sonic barf that only appeals to plastic minds fucked on E. Jason Ainsworth, you still are truly the Man Who Matters - we miss you; please come home. Crystal Pistol: enough, already. Ani Kyd: keep those magazine subscriptions coming; I haven’t received Redbook or Oprah yet. So many people who need a sound national thrashing in the alternative press, and not nearly enough type-space to slap all of you across your repugnant, talentless hipster faces and bring you back down to gutter level with the rest of us. Let’s see how many of you I can piss off in 2008. Fuck you, and Good Night. - Johnny Kroll
Johnny Kroll, he might get alot of shit confused, but the kids love him.
Stiff Josh, he don’t wanna go to rehab, he say no, no, no!
This is Scott Gray, distribution manager for Exclaim magazine. I am just writing to ask whoever is in charge of distribution to please inform your delivery drivers that it is not appropriate to drop magazines on top of our magazines or on our single tier racks. It’s ok to put Nerve on the bottom shelf of our two tier racks if it helps you out and makes the outlet tidier, but please remind your distribution team that when sharing a rack, it’s most considerate to defer to the owner of the rack. Thanks very much for your time and this consideration and
all the best to Nerve and its staff. Best wishes, Scott Gray Exclaim Distribution Manager Hey Man, we hear ya. But believe me, you DO NOT want to mess with Mr. Plow or Stiff Josh. We keep telling them how to do shit, but it’s like trying to pry a baby out of a lion’s mouth, fuggettaboutit. Then again, our readers have made bolder statements.... Ed. n
Lost and Found CanCon
But Vancouver needs you-u-u-u!” Barely under my breath, I replied, “It sure has a funny way of showing it.” To a lesser degree the same goes for all of Canada. When given the opportunity I will leave; it could be the only way to build a name for myself. This mindset might make my writing this column seem hypocritical, but there are things I do love about Canada. One day I’ll name them for you. On this topic of escape, today we focus on an item that allows the outside world to seep into Canada. One can be a tourist and not have to travel far for their experiences. Through exclusive arrangement with Air New Zealand. Hei Tiki Records of Vancouver presents The Maoriora Maori Jet Set (HT 1063). The Maoriora Maoris makes their culture safe for you, the close-to-home tourista! And
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with this document, you don’t even have to venture outside of your home to catch their show! Did Hei Tiki release anything else? I know not. This particular album was found in an unnamed dollar bin. I have turned up nothing in my research but look forward to one day hearing releases HT 0001 through HT 1062, and more. Hei Tiki. Vancouver had quite a Tiki culture; there was a Trader Vic’s up until about 10 years ago, the Waldorf has preserved its large amount of historic paintings by “the father of Black Velvet painting” Edgar Leeteg, and the bar still occasionally open up its three Polynesian rooms to serve watered down pricey drinks.Vancouver was quite a happening city. There is still no finer port for Culture Bleed with today’s worm turned towards bland homogenization. The cover of this record shows the group in traditional robes and face paint mixed with supper club attire against a hewn psychedelic back drop. That captures it. The liner notes are rather absurdly apt, “Dig the vibrations, eh? Okay let’s take a TRIP, a dramatic halucinatory (sic) TRIP through a time tunnel into the past world of Polynesia, a world embracing today’s hopes and great expectations... Join the Mauriora Maori Jet set in MINDBENDING the younger generation through the music media of the TRANSEUPHONIC ONIONS who accompany
us on this album.” A seemingly disparate hodge-podge of styles holds and congeals smoothly through its intentional side one and two disparity (it would never work on non flipping formats such as compact disc). Side two, though not our focus, shall be noted. Recorded “Live from the Down Under Club,Vancouver” (Rolf Harris did a live album here as well), this side is comprised of traditional Maori numbers mostly sung in high level Glee Club harmonizing with Westernized guitar accompaniment tethering it to the ground. Almost, if not all of the group is of Maori lineage. The Maori people originally came from Polynesia to become the first settlers of New Zealand. The word Hei
about “A Million Stars”, a grand schemata where, after they fall away, love will prevail. A strike from a fuzzed out guitar opens track two; yeh-yeh soft psych elements have crept in to add to the group vocal arrangements. The ear pleasingly boisterous “Spirit Everliving” tells of the spirits residing in things and the most important spirit of all: love. There is no album like this. Exotica music was like a deceptively square precursor to psych connected through post-war affluent malaise. Psych and exotica connect here, even on the anti-Flower People number “What do the Flowers Think”, a treatise on how the Flower People are selfish by being grubby and picking the flowers without ever once thinking of the flower’s feelings! One would think that such a message would cause a bad vibe bump in the album, but it’s delivered with a goodnatured ribbing. These songs are a unique permutation of sunshine soft pop, a sub-genre that can sound fairly innocuously pleasant at first to subversively let all manner of wild elements creep in. Almost all of the numbers on side one are originals. The Mauriora Maoris are from a time when one had to back up the ability to entertain with versatility, which they do while effortlessly mixing styles and providing a cultural history! If you know anything about this record please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org n
The word Hei Tiki means a carved pendant of a fetus form that is believed to have the powers of fertility. Tiki means a carved pendant of a fetus form that is believed to have the powers of fertility. Side One has the immediacy of small pressed records, an intimate connection, yet it opens on a grandiose sweeping scale of the almighty vocal “Ahhhhhhahhhhh” with strings set against a folk rock arrangement, Beatlesy bass, organ. A winsome female vocal comes in singing with a kind of longing
By Robert Dayton
Cinema Sewer!! Robin Bougie talks stumps, dumps, and JAMIE GILLIS’ SHIT COVERED COCK
By Dave Bertrand
Miss Moser has the ability to eat logs of shit, and drink Big Gulp cups of whizz with zero gag-reflex whatsoever unique, astounding, and one of the defining callingcards of the mag, are.... well... for example, the back cover of issue #12 has a disheveled, junkie-thin girlie, on her knees, naked, masturbating in front of a computer screen moaning “Daddy....” Some cartoons are funny, some are sexy, most are just naaasssty. But wait wait wait – you’re WRONG! I was wrong! Cinema Sewer is not mean-spirited female degradation, overthought academic hmmm-hawing, or a condescending chuckle, a la MST2K. It’s more like one overgrown teenager’s boundless fringe-film enthusiasm gushing out his ears and spoogin’ all over our giggling faces in a possessed frenzy to make us share his joy. With witty words, a tender heart, an open mind, and a really big boner, Robin scours the scuzziest of cinematic back-alleys – the difference between Robin and other trash-geek writers being that he really, truly wants everyone’s weird-ass story to be told and does not judge. He’s like the friendly neighbourhood pervert! So clamp down your inner conservative, and ENTER THE SEWER! This filthy ensemble collects the best of issues #1-12 of Cinema Sewer (all out-of-print!), lettered
in Robin’s trademark hand-written block type. Plus assloads of new stuff too – it’s eight years’ worth of Robin’s cum, sweat, and brains in a big bound softcover from the best damn publishing house in the galaxy, UK’s fabulous FAB PRESS. SEE INSIDE: Lolo Ferrari, the Artificial Woman! The all-puppet porn film Let My Puppets Come! Pussyface and the Texas Dildo Masquerade! Japanese Nudie Superhero, Kekko Kamen! Thora Birch’s porn star parents! An interview with “ultimate sick fuck” Jamie Gillis! Women Raping Men at the Movies! Prepare to veer wildly between curiosity, arousal, disgust, laughter, horror, disbelief, embarrassment, confusion, and uncontrollable glee. Such is the power of Cinema Sewer. Witness this little Bougie questionnaire, to get an idea:
be Miss Long Jeanne Silver. She was born without a foot on one of her legs, and when she lubed up that stump and began waving it around at her co-stars, you just knew some orifices were going to be pummeled into oblivion. My wife Rebecca exclaimed, “It looks like a plucked chicken wing!” Ha ha ha! I’d like to know what happened to Long Jeanne. She dropped out of porn in the early ‘80s after starring in just a handful of movies. She was pretty awesome. Aside from producing a Biblically-themed porno film (The Cumming of Jizzus!!!) and the book, what else is goin’ on? I’ve got the last six issues of Cinema Sewer in stock, a very funny 28 page adult comic I did with Maxine Frank called Maximum Superexcitement, the illustrated diaries of a prostitute friend of mine called My Secret Cockupation, my all-new party mixtape Retard-O-Tron Vol. 2, and the book. Gosh, did I mention
the book David? I did a book. Fuck, I want people to check out this book. It honestly is the best thing I’ve ever done. That is years of my life in there, man. I put my heart and soul into that damn thing. I’m just SO happy it’s really out! I can hardly believe it. See how happy Bougie is? That’s what reading Cinema Sewer is like, all the time. Don’t matter if we’re talking about Nazisploitation, The Ping Pong Club, or Jamie Gillis’ shit-covered dick. n Bougie-related books, zines and stuff are available in Vancouver at Pulp Fiction Books and RX Comics on Main St. Videomatica,The Comic Shop and Zulu Records on West 4th Ave., and Magpie Magazine Gallery on Commercial Drive. Oh! And check out: www.cinemasewer. com and http://bougieman.livejournal.com for more gritty movie/comic grossness. photo by maryanovich.com
’m a proud trash film junkie. Curling up to watch The Candy Snatchers, reading jaw-dropping anecdotes about Terror On Alcatraz – such are my favourite nerdly passtimes. But still, it was a long hard road to diggin’ local hero and cartoonist Robin Bougie’s Cinema Sewer magazine, a sporadically published, lovingly hand-crafted ode to porn, filth, and weirdness in the anus of the film industry. The heavy porn slant is off-putting, and the very graphic cartoons speckled throughout every issue, though
Nerve: What’s the shittiest feature film of all time? Bougie: Without a moment’s hesitation: the Canadian-made 1989 travesty-against-mankind known as Things. For me to even begin to describe the banality and solid retardation of the plot would surely make you stop reading and go do something else, so I’ll spare you that. Just trust me. Treat its power of shittiness with respect. How about the nastiest porn star of all time? The honour would probably have to go to Veronica Moser. Sure, Bisexual Britney stuck a dead fish in her twat, the Amazing Ty can put bowling pins in her ass, and Bodil Joenson had sex with 250 pound pigs, but Veronica has a special skill that makes those vile acts seem kinda tame. Miss Moser has the ability to eat logs of shit, and drink Big Gulp cups of whizz with zero gag-reflex whatsoever. It’s frightening. I’m not really into scat porn, but even the scuzziest gals who do it often retch and look viled out by the experience.Veronica wolfs down poop logs like they were Oh Henry bars. It’s fucking gross, dude. I have no clue how much training one must go though to get to the point she’s at, but it must be a lot.” EWWWW!!! Anything maybe weirder, but less gross? One of the most unconventional porn stars would
CD/LP OUT JANUARY 22, 2008 RELEASE PARTY: JANUARY 26, 2008 @ THE RAILWAY CLUB www.myspace.com/thepackad
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We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund)
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APOCALYPSE “F” By Bill Mullen
is for fake, fraud and fucking so-called friends who (EDITOR’S NOTE: please note the change in by-line here.The ever quotable Philip Random has taken over this series and chosen to initiate it with a long-winded and arguably libellous denunciation of his predecessor and “former friend” Bill Mullan. We pick things up with his lone relevant accusation.) … the complete absence of Brian Eno’s name from last month’s lame missive. I mean, what kind of fallacious fiction in the name of apocalypse is Mullan trying to formulate here? Mr. Eno was not only right smack in the middle of it when glam rock erupted (care of Roxy Music’s first two and best albums), he also pretty much invented the entire genre of ambient music while lying in bed sick one day. On healthier days he found the time to resurrect David Bowie’s career via the production chair, hauling the thin white duke down off the cocaine monkey bars for three of his best albums (Low, Heroes and Lodger). And then there’s Devo’s first (and best) album, and the three best Talking Heads albums, not to mention his own innumerable solo and collaborative works. And this only takes things as far as 1980. Robert Fripp was another 1970s overachiever. Ambient co-conspirator of Mr. Eno, inventor of so-called Frippertronics, driving force behind King
Crimson, he was definitely the thinking man’s apocalyptic. And boy could he play guitar. Jimi Hendrix sought him out after a gig in May 1969 and said, “Shake my left hand, man. It’s nearer to my heart.” The King Crimson agenda was ambitious enough: “to organize anarchy, to utilize the latent power of chaos, and to allow the varying influences to interact and find their own equilibrium.” Or in layman’s terms: “to freakout without the aid of pot, LSD or any other drugs.” Which Fripp and ever his evolving combo proceeded to do for nine albums (in only five years), until he suddenly shut the operation down because “… the old world, characterized by large, unwieldy and vampiric organizations, is in fact dead, and King Crimson with it.” The attributes of Fripp’s brave new world? “Small, independent, mobile and intelligent units.” Was he onto something here, perhaps anticipating, decades in advance, the catastrophic flux that digital technologies are now wreaking upon the entire communications industry? Or was he just using big words to justify a need to go looking for new kicks? As a wise man once said, only his hairdresser knows for sure. And speaking of wise men, I must now quote my old friend, Peter Ferris from some long lost night in the 1970s. “Disco has about as much in common
Robert Fripp was another 1970s overachiever. He was definitely the thinking man’s apocalyptic
with funk as dog food does with a good steak. Now shut up and pay attention.” The event in question was the late night TV appearance (on ABC no less) of Funkadelic. And yup, there it all was; the Mothership in all its profound and absurd glory. Smoke, lights and actual spaceship, not to mention spaced out funk straight from the soul (the groin?) of deepest, darkest African America, all in the name of some wound up sci-fi concept that fused the cosmology of Sun Ra, the apocalyptic worldview of Rastafarianism and levels of psychedelic confusionism that can only be attained via quantum amounts of LSD … or so some loudmouth self-titled funko-lectual expounded
to me late some party night in the 1980s, a decade that never happened anyway. Eventually I got bored with his logic (and his breath) and hit the dance floor. As for Peter Ferris, the last time I saw him (his 50th birthday party), he too was drunk. But he made it work for him as he lead some middle-aged garage band through a shambolic take on the Flying Burrito Brothers’ “Sin City”. “This old earthquake’s gonna leave me in the poorhouse - It seems like this whole town’s insane - On the thirty-first floor, your goldplated door won’t keep out the Lord’s burning rain”. Hallelujah. n
Out of the Alley and Into the Bar
By Jenny Charlesworth
he term ‘Meth Teeth’ brings a lot to mind. Mostly the junkies of the lower east side who spend their days tweaking around, gnawing on garbage can lids and chattering their narcotic-enameled jaws. But it should also bring up something entirely different – a Portland-based folk band. And if it doesn’t, it certainly will after Meth Teeth’s west coast tour later this month and the coinciding release of their first seven inch out on Vancouver label, Sweet Rot. Speaking from his home in Portland, Meth Teeth creator and guitarist Mattey Hunter provides a little insight into how a self-proclaimed folk band could end up with such a grotesque name. “I thought about what would be a ridiculous name for a folkband – something totally not flakey,” he laughs. “I tried to change it once we’d been playing for awhile but people totally gave me shit, so it stayed.” Surprisingly though, upon actually listening to Meth Teeth, the bizarre name sort of fits. The twopiece (which will become a three-piece for the upcoming tour as the band temporarily welcomes a friend bored with business school into the ranks) may be inspired by the folklore of Daniel Johnston, early Beck and weird Bob Dylan, but the duo showcase a much more eccentric noisey sound. It’s a sound that merits comparison to several other notable weird lo-fi northwest bands, namely The Intelligence, A Frames, and The Hunches. “I was really into folk music and I’d always only been in strange post-punk bands so I tried
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to combine those and do something different,” explains Hunter of Meth Teeth’s beginnings. After starting out as an acoustic folk one-man act, he recruited Kyle Raquipiso to play drums for the project shortly after Raquipiso moved to Portland to attend art school, upon winning close to $6000 from Sub Pop’s “Loser Scholarship”. The addition of Raquipiso, who Hunter jokingly calls “The Golden Boy” for obvious reasons, apparently hasn’t really changed the structure of the music. As Hunter explains, “It’s just electric now, with blown-out drums.” As for their upcoming (likely) self-titled seven inch on Sweet Rot, Hunter makes it sound like the perfect follow-up to their demo, which he says happily, “came out even more blown-out and abrasive than we could have wanted.” The new record should hopefully be available when Meth Teeth come to town with fellow Portland noisemakers Reptilian Civilian, another band that took a more creative route in selecting a name – taking inspiration from an old man living on the outskirts of Portland who spends his days forging crystals to ward off giant reptilians from taking over the world. Hopefully those will also be available at the merch table eventually, too. n Meth Teeth play w/Reptilian Civilian Funhouse in Seattle, December 27, Pub 340 in Vancouver December 28 and Echoplex Basement in Bellingham December 29.
On guitar we got Meth, on drums, Teeth (not pictured Lesion on shakers, Paranoid Schizo on tambourine and Little Miss Spotless House on banjo.
Peter Stampfel Sticks His Ass in the Air New York folk icon sounds off on the Holy Modal Rounders, the Velocity Rounders, and strategies towards an obscure victory
By Allan MacInnis
n the recent documentary about the Holy Modal Rounders, mega-rep NY critic Robert Christgau enthusiastically proclaims that not one but two geniuses emerged from the NY city folk scene of the early ‘60s: Bob Dylan and Rounders co-founder Peter Stampfel. I’m not sure I’d go there, actually – I don’t think Stampfel is any more (or less) of a genius than, say, the late Dave van Ronk – but his idiosyncratic, psychedelicized hillbilly screech does make him my all-time favourite American singer (right up there with Charley Patton and Eugene Chadbourne), and I’ve long found his lyrics a delight. For a taste of how brilliant the now 68-year-old fiddler and banjo player can be, check out his recent “Stick Your Ass in the Air”, which you can hunt down on YouTube, performed a few months ago at a rare Holy Modal Rounders’ show. The performance is a tad rough, but even the humble Stampfel agrees on the song’s merits: “I really like the way it works. I’m extremely happy with the words.” He offers a laughing recitation over the phone: “‘Stick your ass in the air, stick your ass in the air, people, everybody stick your ass in the air/ If it gets too heavy, take a break and stare/ At all the other people with their ass in the air!’” Sounds like America (or Canada) to me. The lyrics were inspired by a bad song he was listening to on the radio – not “Ass Up” by Baracuda, note; Stampfel tells me the similarity is coincidental. “I think dance music can be absolutely fantastic, but whateverthefuck I was listening to, I found it deeply annoying. So I thought of something stupider: ‘You want to play how-dumb-can-webe, okay, I’ll play how-dumb-canwe-be!’... And then I was thinking of, actually, the beneficial results of shaking your ass, like, basically – ‘Shake your ass in the air, shake it round and round/ til the lame can walk and the lost are found/ Shake your ass in the air, wave it wild and free/ and you will bring confusion to the enemy!’” I’m thrilled to be discussing the song with the former amphetamine-crazed weirdo (now a family man, editor, SF aficionado, and parrot keeper). I’d recited these very lines, in delight, to Nerve music editor Adrian Mack the previous day. Adrian has his own association with sticking your ass up, based around his fictional tour-van narrative of his time as a boxer known as “The Toucher.” One of Mack’s supposed strategies to confound his opponents – Adrian swears that his bandmates used to believe this – was to get down on the ground and wave his posterior at them, a perfect illustration of Stampfel’s principle at work... though there seemed a homoerotic subtext that I left out when recounting the tale to Stampfel. He burst into laughter no less: “Fucking hilarious! I know what he means!” Fans can look forward to a forthcoming recording of the song with European avant-gardists Lukas Simonis (guitar), Nina Hitz (cello), and Scots percussionist Alan Purves, with whom Stampfel played after a screening of the Rounders doc in Rotterdam. Mark Bingham has plans to distribute this via downloads through Gallatin Music, not yet online. Purves, Stampfel reports, was “absolutely one of the most amazing percussion people I’ve ever fucking run into... Besides his drum kit, he has all these squeak toys; and he has this little whistle that you exhale into, and it makes one note, and you inhale and it
makes another note, like a one-note harmonica – this little wooden thing with a ball at the end, and you could stick the ball up your nose and it would stay there! It’s like a buttplug for the nose. And it makes music!” Then there’s the Velocity Rounders, Stampfel’s other new project, featuring former Holy Modal Rounders’ drummer – from their drug-crazed rock period – actor and playwright Sam Shepard. The band also features Shepard’s son Walker. Stampfel says admiringly of him that when he joined at age 17,
bottlecaps. I don’t have any Mongolian bottlecaps, so he chumped me, too, so he was really really happy! He’s, like, knowledgeable, and a multi-ass player,” presumably willing to stick his many asses up there, too. The Velocity Rounders, gigging as I write this, are “planning to record as soon as possible, when Sam has a week and a half window of opportunity, because we have way more than an album’s worth of material, and what I’d like to do now is just crank out shit like it’s 1964, when Dylan had no problem doing three albums a year and the Beatles had no
Whiskey, birds and a banjolin... shit don’t get sweeter than this. “he’d been playing banjo for seven months, and could do stuff that I can’t do after half a century.” Other members include John Cohen, of the New Lost City Ramblers, jug player and singer Betty Berken, and Pat Conte, a mail handler and self-described “amateur musicologist” whose passion for collecting was the subject of a 2000 CBS report, still online. Stampfel describes Conte as “a musical maven. He can listen to this oldtimey record with a weird-ass 1900 musical instrument, and he can say, ‘Yeah, right,’ and he’ll know how to tune it and what it looks like and how to play it.” Stampfel relates how Conte recently “found this really wild-ass, weird instrument, and he took it to this wild-ass-weirdinstrument expert guy, and the guy had never seen one. He chumped him, right? And also – I collect bottlecaps, and he gave me, like, six Mongolian
problem doing three albums a year. That’s what you did, you know? You went to the studio for two or three weeks and you made a fucking album. What’s the big deal? That’s the paradigm I’m aspiring towards, just coming up with a constant spew of stuff.” One thing Holy Modal Rounders fans cannot look forward to, alas, is a reconciliation between Stampfel and the other founding member, Steve Weber. As those who saw The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose when it played in October at the Pacific Cinematheque will know, a few years ago, Weber surprised his bandmates by opting out of playing the Holy Modal Rounder 40th anniversary concert on the west coast. The documentary includes heartbreaking footage of a stressed Stampfel calling New York long distance, asking police to check to make sure Weber is okay.
It’s like a buttplug for the nose. And it makes music!
It turns out that Weber is fine (if you don’t count his terminal irresponsibility and a degree of physical frailty), but he still refuses to speak to Stampfel. “He insists that I was the director of the documentary and purposely made it that way so that Weber would look bad. And he said this on his website, which is kind of annoying. The thing is that the guys who made that documentary did it on their own dime, and I didn’t tell them anything! There’s some things in there that I find really, totally embarrassing” – like when Stampfel “loses it” on Weber for having taken credit for songs that Stampfel wrote, which Stampfel realizes is the result of a “less malevolent than dysfunctional” quirk of his former bandmate. Stampfel is much more upset about the Holy Modal Rounders Live in 1965 disc. “It’s from the only extant tape of the (original) Holy Modal Rounders prior to our breakup in 1965. It was made in Detroit about a month before we broke up, and I found it in my dead mother’s trunk. I’d forgotten it existed, and I’d forgotten that I’d sent a copy to my Mom, and I was eating my heart out about the fact that there were never any live Holy Modal Rounder recordings from that period, because towards the end we were really fucking great, compared to how we were playing in 1963 when we started out. We owed an album to Jean Rosenthal of Adelphi Records, and he was up for releasing it. There was a party, and he was there, and Weber and his girlfriend were there, and we played the tape. After playing the tape, Weber and his girlfriend claimed that they didn’t hear it, and could they take it with them. This is just a very crummy, noiseful CD copy, without any kind of noise-freshening-up things at all, and they proceeded to give the thing to Bernard Stollman of ESP-Disk, who released it! I was like, ‘I don’t want you to do this! You’re stealing my dead mother’s tape here!’ And he said, ‘well, there aren’t any original songs on it, and I went to a music lawyer, and he said, basically, it’s finders keepers – it can be released by anybody.’ I could spend like a shitload of money to do something about it, but it would probably be to no avail. Naturally, neither Weber nor I have gotten a cent from him... I’m extremely mad about that album, I am, like, at a having-a-fit level of distress.” Stampfel is still able to register his happiness to hear that Weber has cut way down on his drinking, though. “He was saying, from what I heard, that he didn’t think he could perform sober, and I sent him an e-mail saying, ‘Well, that’s what I thought when I quit drinking, but it’s not true!’ I went to this AA meeting that’s all musicians and people in the music business. Here I’m surrounded by a hundred recovering alcoholics who had no problem performing and shit! So anybody could do it. Anyway, we’ll see – maybe he’ll heal.” Steve Weber could not be reached for comment. n
People wishing to order obscure Peter Stampfel or Holy Modal Rounders items are directed to http://www. myspace.com/peterstampfelmusic - he suggests Canadian residents add $5 to cover postage. And if you have a few really special bottlecaps to send on...
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page
Beer, Beards, and the Bible Belt Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth talks about the frustrations of eating soup, among other things
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are VIKING DEATH!
By Dave Von Bentley
ikings are awesome! Sure, they raped and pillaged Europe, but who hasn’t after a few Stein filled brewskies served up by a wench in a tit-tightening corset? Plus, the hats were adorable. It’s hard to stay angry at your raper when he’s wearing a good hat.Viking’s are also responsible for the Wunderbar. I’m not 100% on that info, but the Wunderbar is a damn good chocolate bar, and “wunderbar!” sounds like something a Viking would say after a brisk but satisfying round of forced coitus. Also,Vikings used to keep bearded midgets (known as ‘Gnomes’ - silent ‘g’) under their own beards (which explains the length), who would jump out during battle to stab the enemy’s shins. Who wouldn’t want to be a Viking? Sadly, the Vikings died out during the 11th century because, like Mom used to say, “You can only rape and eat the hearts of your enemies for so long”. Luckily, a revival of Viking culture is currently underway. Flava Flav wears the hat and bags himself tons of sluts; George W. has raped and pillaged Iraq, and he ain’t finished yet; and now Amon Amarth (the number one authority of Viking metal) had its Wrath of the Norsemen three-DVD set reach gold status in North America. This made it the perfect time to phone up my friend, Amon Amarth vocalist Johan Hegg as he prepared for the band’s headlining North American tour. Sadly, Johan was having trouble with the Swedish weather when I reached him in Stockholm. “It’s cold as hell here,” he says. “Well, not as cold as hell, but it’s snowing here. It’s terrible.” Mr. Hegg was actually tying up the loose ends before setting off to a place that strikes fear into the heart of even the bravest Viking. “I had to wait 45 minutes outside the US embassy today to get my VISA approved,” he sighs. “It’s been a blizzard all day but right now it’s shifting from snow and rain. So it’s not only snowing, it’s raining, it’s cold, it’s really windy and humid as fuck. It chills you too the bone.” Luckily, the first stop on Mr. Hegg’s tour is scheduled for sunny San Diego, where Amon Amarth will be supported by the USA’s own HIMSA and Sweden’s Sonic Syndicate. Originally, AA was meant
to tour with Decapitated, but a tragic accident scuppered things. While driving to Gomel, in Belarus, Decapitated’s tour bus collided with a truck carrying wood and drummer Witold “Vitek” Kiełtyka died three days later in hospital due to the head injuries he sustained in the pile-up. He was 23 years old. “I understand the only other one besides the drummer that was seriously injured was the singer,” says Hegg, softly. “As far as I know, he’s okay, even though he was in a coma. The last thing I read was he’s getting better but you know, it’s still tragic. I didn’t really know the guys that well. It’s still really sad to see stuff like that happen to a really talented band. It really makes you think of your situation. I mean, we’re on the road all the time and shit can happen at any time. We’re just lucky we have never been in any major accidents really. Knock on wood.” After becoming incredibly bummed out by that story, Hegg and I decided we should probably change the subject. “What’s your favourite beer, Johan?” I ask. “Any beer,” Hegg replies. “It actually depends on the situation really. Normally, when I buy beer to have at home I probably go with a Czech beer, but I’ll enjoy Guinness or Murphy’s or something bitter. It depends on the mood.” Hating the beer in my native land is a terrible burden to live with. Why is European beer so much better? (take notes kids) “That’s a lie!” thunders Hegg, as Thor himself strikes his hammer against the heavens. “There are some great North American beers! It’s just that the worst kind of beer rules the market there. Budwesier, and the Busch, and the Coors, and all of that shit. Meanwhile, you have awesome beer like Fat Tire. The only good major beer I enjoy is Sam Adams. That’s actually a beer I really enjoy. For the
life of me I don’t understand why Americans and Canadians drink light beer. If you’re going to drink light beer, then don’t drink beer (By Odin’s command!) The most common beer that I can enjoy in North America is Corona, which is Mexican. I can enjoy that with a nice slice of lime and some salt. But I’d never take it home with me.” Alright, enough of this silliness; we have pressing issues to talk about. Like, how long has Mr. Hegg been growing that massive beard of his, anyway? Hegg unleashes a laugh so monstrously loud that it scares the eight-legged horse Sleipnir away. Now Odin is pissed; that was his ride back to Valhalla. “If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that…” You’d probably have an unwanted nickel collection, Johan. Anyway, go on. “I actually started growing it in 1992. But I’ve had it long and then I’ve cut it, then I grow it back. But I’m not timing it or anything. Maybe I should cut it and see.” Does it get in the way of eating, feeding, or fucking? Hegg fires off another hardy laugh; the kind that comes from a Viking after his beard-Gnome tickles him. “Eating yes, but mostly it’s the moustache.You get sauce in the beard and eating soup with the beard gets kind of interesting.” I’m sure it does. I’m sure it does. Amon Amarth has played a ton of interesting shows, including one on a Viking ship built onto the stage for Germany’s Summer Breeze festival in 2005. “It was really fun to have something like that on stage,” says Hegg, “because all of sudden you had places to go instead of standing still.You could walk up the palisades, walk up the ship, and then walk in front of the stage.” Wouldn’t it be more difficult to perform? Answers Hegg, “It was easier than you think, but the only thing is you wanted to be every-
For the life of me I don’t understand why Americans and Canadians drink light beer
where at once.” Amon Amarth captured a few of its shows for the Wrath of the Norsemen DVD. Filled to the brim with content, it wasn’t planned as a three-disc effort, but, as Hegg says, “We wanted to give our fans lots of value for their money. We even did a special show that was two hours and 35 minutes. But we wanted to have shows from different aspects, like clubs, to festivals etc. Also, we wanted to have songs from almost all of our discography. We even did an extra special show where we played songs that we normally don’t play at all, just to get bonus material on there. So when we looked at everything we had, we figured out that is was going to be three discs.” It seemed to work out well for the band, since, as we speak, Hegg is actually staring at the gold record that he just received for Wrath of the Norsemen. Currently Amon Amarth is focused on touring and hasn’t written any new material for its next effort. In fact, after this North American tour, the band will be heading down to Australia on New Year’s Day, “hungover as fuck, probably,” and won’t be home until around February. On December 14th, the band will be at Scrape Records in Vancouver for an album signing, but Hegg says he might have a hard time making it there from a sojourn he means to take in BC’s own Bible Belt and my hometown of Abbotsford. With a laugh of such magnitude that Christians tremble at the sound, Hegg explains, “Yeah, the Bible Belt. I’m in Abbotsford that day because that’s where my sister lives. When I’m there, I’m hanging with my sister, so I don’t notice the Bible Belt thing so much. She originally moved to White Rock because she was working there, then she got a green card.” (much to the dismay of Lou Dobbs) From Sweden, to Valhalla, to Abbotsford... what a small world it is when you’re a huge Viking. Check out Amon Amarth when it raids your village this year. n Amon Amarth plays at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver on December 14.
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page
BEST AND WORST OF 2007
Best and Worst of 2007
Dale De Ruiter
Best Three Albums Battles - Mirrored. Allmusic.com claims that this band is the musical equivalent of Philip K. Dick. That’s the guy who wrote Total Recall and yes, this album is as awesome as a hooker with three tits. Kings Of Leon – Because of the Times. What’s that, three CDs? Pretty popular? Car commercial? I am not supposed to hate these guys yet, am I? Are they still cool? Because that “Camaro” song makes me want to do it. Hives - The Black and White Album.Yeah yeah yeah - it just came out, how can it be the favourite of the year? Well, I have been listening to it constantly and it is the Hives, come on. Hilarious side note: that song with the rap guy was one of the anthems for the WWE Survivor series. Anything that makes scenesters shit their pants that badly is so awesome it hurts. Best Concert Boredoms - Warehouse in Calgary. Why the fuck is one of their two Canadian shows in Calgary? Probably the only good thing that ever came of me moving to Calgary was I got to see these guys play. It almost makes up for the complete and utter lack of attractive available women. Best Local Band Tegan and Sara. Apparently they are listed as being from Calgary,Vancouver, and wherever else suits their fancy. Worst Local Band Hmm, I don’t really know any of them well enough to hate them yet. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year Gee, I sure miss reading about video games.
Best Three (LOCAL) Albums The Minimalist Jug Band - Thrift Stories (self-released) Al Mader is our funniest songwriter and a talented wordsmith, and this is a dark, ambitious, and engaging followup to his more spare For Crying Out Loud. Cool guest appearances, fuller “songs,” twisted lyrical insights (“Dead Man’s Pants,” f’rinstance). Great stuff, would appeal to fans of Outsider Music, Eugene Chadbourne, the Holy Modal Rounders, Hazel Adkins, Deja Voodoo, etc. The Creaking Planks - (no particular title, self-released) The Planks’ CDR is amusing, engaging, and has all the best of their live set, including covers of songs by Al, above. If the idea of hearing “Closer” by NIN – with its chorus of “I want to fuck you like an animal” – played and sung by a nerdy deadpan accordionist named Rowan Lipkovitz, with ukulele accompaniment and maybe a banjo, sounds entertaining, you need to hunt this CD down. Laughing gas for music geeks. The Rebel Spell - 4 Songs About Freedom (G7 Welcoming Committee online release) When the revolution comes, I hope knowing these guys (and gals) will save me from getting executed Best Concert (BY A LOCAL BAND) The Subhumans, Pub 340, September 29 (I think) I’ve always loved their songs, but I’ve never seen them have (or BE) as much fun onstage. A great night. Best Local Band The Dionysian Rapture Award 2007 finds us in a tie between the Her Jazz Noise Collective and Ejaculation
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page 10
Death Rattle. Her Jazz features Erin of Shearing Pinx and a rotating cast of female avant-gardist types; they make highly intoxicating noise (of an ambient and user-friendly sort, not the harsh electronic brain-drill variety), and have an agenda of getting more women into experimental music, which this city kinda needs. Ejaculation Death Rattle have, however, a much better name, and can produce equally blissful, ever-shifting fields of sonic weirdness (when equipment problems don’t get the better of them); they’re also funnier, kinda, and sometimes play with a bassist, which provides a very interesting anchor to their swirls. Both bands offer combinations of conventional instruments with electronic distortions, and make the most of it. See them live, if you can. Heather sometimes wears cute costumes, and I never would have figured Ross for red jockeys. Worst Local Band There aren’t any local bands that REALLY piss me off at the moment, and there’s no point sniping at decent bands who just happen to occupy musical niches that I find rather boring (the Manvils, say)… so Fake Shark Real Zombie are going to have to take the prize, for stepping on our photographer and being bratty gits doing nothing particularly original (their songs and live shows ARE actually kind of amusing, though, in a ramshackle way). Being a fan of Her Jazz, I was more let down by Shearing Pinx: much as I’d rather hear NY No Wave revisited than pointless NY Dolls recidivism, I found the one live set I’ve seen by them just a little too sloppy and throwaway.
Young in his God honest prime. Hogwash I say! Queens of the Sone Age - Era Vulgaris I love Josh Homme (in the most hetero way possible). I think every one of his albums have enough tweaks and changes that they sound fresh and new, which is rare in the climate of overproduced self-fellators. And I think Era Vulgaris sounds raw, but layered as fuck, never making me question what I’m listening to but still sounding fresh. It takes a few listens but you’ll get there. Soulsavers - It’s not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land Maybe it’s because I listen to an abnormal amount of metal that I’ve latched myself onto this chill affair. The Mark Lanegan voiced group is simply a slow placed, organic sounding, almost trip hop affair with gospel elements. Just listen to them, because I can’t get through to you how good they are. Best Concert Secret Chiefs 3 Best Local Band The Pack - I’ve never really been into the Vancouver “scene” but these girls are amazing. They rock out, but never stray
Best Local Band The Rebel Spell Black Halos Tranzmitors Alternate Action The Jolts Worst Local Band Hot Hot Heat - I don’t even know what they sound like, I just hate the way they look and the name of their band. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year Not showering me with whores and caviar for doing such a great job.
Best Three Albums Jesus! This was not easy, both because I didn’t blow my wad on every new release this year, and because three albums turned into 10. But here goes. Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam AC’s music can best be described as playful, and it doesn’t get any more playful than this. Do Make Say Think – You,You’re A History In Rust The lush beauty of this album gets me every time. My panties are wet just thinking about it. Dillinger Escape Plan – Ire Works The brand new album from these sonic bastards offers a few surprises and more than enough spastic art metal to keep me happily thrashing about. Brutal, complex and intense! Best Concert Arcade Fire w/St.Vincent, Deer Lake Park, May, 24 What bad things can you say about an outdoor show in front of a lake with the sun shining, beer garden blossoming and scads of tasty tartlets running around with a severe lack of clothing. And that’s just the immediate surroundings. The band was phenomenal and ever so gracious as well. Best Local Band Co-Pilots. Another hard choice to make, but I choose these guys because they’re original, they’ve been at it for a long time and they all play in numerous other high quality projects, such as Fond Of Tigers, Karen Foster, and Inhabitants. And they’re all super decent dudes, some of whom are from my hometown. Worst Local Band Black Mountain Not that they’re a shitty band by any means. I just don’t get how critics can get down on their knees and suck off a band that is rehashing a sound made popular in the ‘70s, when SO MANY decent groups are being overlooked and ignored. Biggest Nerve Douche of the YearWhat? I hardly know ANY of you people, so I’m in no position to fling mud. I’m going to nominate myself, because I’m new to these pages and my “nice guy approach” and collective ass kissing of my favourite bands is probably worthy of ‘douchedom’. I thought it would be funny to nominate Chris Walter but he might kill me, and I’d rather not anger the cranky old wanker.
Best Three Albums Tranzmitors - s/t They’re not even punk rock but they sure write a mean pop song. Why can so few bands do this? Vapids - The Point Remains the Same. I wish Vancouver would give the Vapids a chance because they fucking rule. Look for them at your local record store. Wednesday Night Heroes – Guilty Pleasures.Yep, punk rock. What did you expect? Best Concert Turbonegro was all right. SNFU at the Cobalt was also surprisingly fun, even though Chi Pig was the only original member.
Best Three Albums Grinderman – s/t Riff Randells – Doublecross The Busy Signals – s/t Best Concert Heavy Trash at the Plaza, November 18, 2007. Thank you Jon Spencer for gracing us with your god-like genius and all round restoration of my faith in rock ‘n’ roll. Please come back with the Blues Explosion. I should also mention here the total hilarity of Treacherous Machete at the Fairview supporting Rich Hope. What a great show, and how ridiculous to get thrown out just for dropping your pants onstage (that was the band, not me by the way). Iggy Pop won’t be playing the Fairview any time soon then. Best Local Band I declare a tie: The Starboys. Play more often you bastards! Thee Manipulators Worst Local Band My answer to this question got me in a heap of hassle last year so I’m not gonna go there again. It would involve me having to think of a local band that’s got the balls to take a bit of criticism without starting a petty hate campaign against me and threats of violence, and I’m sorry to say that that narrows the field somewhat in a place like Vancouver. So, whatever, I’ll say the Highballs, for the following reasons: a) Their sound just isn’t for me. b) I don’t believe in saying you like a band just ‘cos you know one or more of the members - musical taste is subjective, not an act of loyalty. c) My friends keep insisting on having birthday celebrations at their gigs, thereby forcing me to go see them play. d) They seem like real nice blokes who won’t turn on me just ‘cos of a). e) Hopefully neither will their girlfriends. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year Your printer. Seriously, do you *have* to use so much ink that just leafing through the paper leaves the reader totally covered in ink smudge? Stop being so cheap and get it done professionally. I understand that reading The Nerve leaves one feeling dirty but it doesn’t have to be so literal.
Dave Von Bentley
Best Three Albums Neil Young - Live at Massey Hall I know people having been shitting bricks about this concert recording finally being released and not living up too the expectations. I say hogwash! Yes, hogwash! It’s amazing, it’s simple and it’s Neil
far from the blues Worst Local Band The band that played at the Lamplighter on St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know their name or who they were, but they were the worst skate punk band in the history of cum. That night was bad enough when the chick I was with told me she was going there to check out all the cute skater boys and was clearly upset that I was even with her. I proceeded to drink so much that night (while this garbage band was playing) that later I was walking by The Bay staring at the bra and panty clad mannequins (naturally) and fell down a flight of stairs leading to the Skytrain... fuck that band, whoever they were. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year The one, the only, David Von Bentley. I’m not just copping out by not naming another member of The Nerve family. The fact is Dine Alone Records won’t talk to The Nerve because of me. Also, Metal Blade Records is on the verge of hiring a hitman to take me out. I’m hated by family, friends and strangers... I’m a douche.
Best Three Albums Air - Pocket Symphony. What a treat from a bunch of fags from France. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin. Beautiful folksy tunes with a voice of an angel. I can’t believe I just wrote that. The song “The General Specific” is the best single of the year. Menomena - Friend and Foe.Yeah, pretty good. I like the sax parts the most. Best Concert Daft Punk, Wamu Theatre, Seattle - My friend lost his shoe and I called my girlfriend a fucking bitch (now ex -girlfriend). God Bless America! Best Local Band Black Mountain - Wanking wanking wanking wanking wanking wanking (In the bestest way possible). Worst Local Band Fond of Tigers - Wanking wanking wanking wanking wanking wanking (In the worstest way possible). Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year We will have to wait until the Xmas party to find that out now, won’t we? Who’s bringing the blow? Wait, I am.
BEST AND WORST OF 2007
The Year in Review Funkadelic – Free Your Mind... And Your Ass Will Follow Best Three Albums (2007) A helluva year for Vancouver rock, so I’m staying local... The Pack – Tintype (see below) Grass City – Laid to Rest Big huge southern soul with three guitars, gravel throat, and Neil Young-goes-Doom Riffs bigger, slower, and gut-wrenchinger than a cross-dragging Jesus. Bison – Earthbound Best ever Vancouver metal band. SO SPEAKETH THE WIZARD. Best Concert Roky Erickson and the Explosives – Bumbershoot, Seattle Roky is overweight, prescription drugged, and obviously still kooky, but his thunderous voice of pure fire remains (“the great lost vocalist of rock’n’roll”, it’s been said)... I won’t ever forget his eternally gracious, childlike, and eerily robotic “Thank You!!” after each and every song, shouted with the gee-gosh spirit of a retarded child on Christmas morning.
own it yet. Best Concert Fe Fi Fo Fums / Boys Club / Suspicions / Master Apes at Pub340, September, 14. Nobody got naked but it was still pretty rad. Best Local Band Master Apes. Thank God a Canadian married that guy Nic. We owe the Master Apes to her. Well, sort of. Worst Local Band Crystal Pistol. Maybe an obvious choice, but really, come on. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year ME – for not having the balls to try to interview Roky Erikson even though I was with him for two days in the desert.
Best Three Albums SpreadEagle - Magnus Bestia. Nine songs to melt your face by. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam. Because it’s fun to be weird. Coheed & Cambria - No World for Tomorrow. Prog-rock that evolves in direct proportion to Claudio Sanchez’s hair growth. Best Concert SpreadEagle’s CD release party at the Plaza w/ Mongoose, Red Hot Lovers, and Whyte Hott. A triumph for East Van via Mission and a night to remember… well, it might have been if I could stop blacking out. Best Local Band The answer, of course, is onions…Or Mongoose. Worst Local Band Shocore.Yipes. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year I haven’t been around long enough to know about any major douches involved with The Nerve, so I’ll mention something remotely connected to the paper - SpreadEagle were fucking robbed recently! Loads of gear (including Boon’s bass), Rio’s tools (for Christ’s sake) and some other cool shit were boosted from Rio’s place in Mission. The whole thing made me want to puke fire. A total slap in the face to one of the city’s hardest working bands.
We all knew Roky could freak and split at any second – but he didn’t. And the audience was rewarded with a long and damn-near perfect set of wild and wonderfully weird rock’n’roll jewels. Heart-sweltering and heavy, it was magic. My girlfriend actually burst into tears. Best Local Band The Pack, no question. These two ladies exploded from the Secret Cave of Concealed Talent with muskets a-blazin’ and sabers a-rattlin’, reinvigorating this sleepy city with heart-pumping, jaw-dropping, from-the-gut two-girl blues, all honest, rock’n’soul fury with a raw energy so infectious as to reshape the lives of everyone they meet. Becky Black’s also probably the greatest vocal discovery this town’s ever known. WATCH OUT UNIVERSE. Worst Local Band Can’t say I’m too hot for Carpenter - skull-dulling single-tone radio cock, with a major stiff for John Cougar Mellencamp. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year The loss of Ainsworth. Nothing else even comes close.
Best Three Albums Sic Alps – Description of the Harbor Pretty much impossible to find due toan extremely limited pressing, but anything these guys commit to wax is worth the hunt. Tyvek - FAST Metabolism This is Tyvek’s discography in about 20 minutes and much better than what some bands accomplish in 20 years. (Of course, quite a lot of bands have done quite well for themselves in that time.) Pissed Jeans – Hope for Men It’s nice to see Sub Pop finally getting back to its roots. Now if only Tad and CSS would collaborate… Best Concert The Deftones – Commodore Ballroom, July 11, 2007. Despite all the lunkheads in attendance and my wet blanket of a +1, this sweltering and uncomfortable summer night was salvaged by Sacramento’s finest. Best Local Band Any group of reckless youths with misguided dreams and a lack of talent. Worst Local Band See above. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year I’ll take full credit.
Best Three Albums (1970) Josefus – Dead Man Sir Lord Baltimore – Kingdom Come
Best Three Albums LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver Deerhunter – Cryptograms The Field - From Here We Go Sublime Best Concert Woodhands, The Lamplighter, Aug. 7. Top-three things you could see at the Woodhands show: horn-rimmed specs, shirtless librarians (male), dancing Star Trek nerds. Top-three things you could hear at the Woodhands show: electronics, off-key R&B melodies, keytars. Overall effect: lovesexy electro insanity. Best Local Band JPNDRDS. Not yet sure about their live show, but this duo’s EP, All Lies, blasts out a wicked array of flailing drum patterns, dueling vocals, catchy-as-hell melodies, and lots and lots of noise. Perhaps these guys belong more to Best New Local Band than Best Local Band category, but regardless, noise never sounded so good.
Worst Local Band Shearing Pinx. No New York was all right the first time around, but in 2007, it’s just bringing me down. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year Any one of the three outstanding lawsuits will do.
Best Three Albums Alice Cooper – Easy Action. I wasn’t even alive when this record came out so it only seems fair that I get to include it now. Black Lips – Good Bad Not Evil. I wonder how good the movie they’re starring in is gonna be though… The Goodnight Loving – Crooked Lake. Kind of dumb I don’t
filmore mescalito holmes
Best Three Albums Pepe Deluxé – Spare Time Machine. Finland defied all odds and expectations by releasing the single greatest psychedelic rock album not to be recorded in the late ‘60s, thanks in large part to contributions from Husky Rescue. This is a happy catharsis. Venetian Snares – My Downfall. Aaron Funk returns to the form of 2005’s acclaimed Rossz Csillag Alatt Született with a bona fide sister piece. Taking more time to develop the tracks lends a more authentic orchestral air to the drill ‘n’ bass affair, not quite outdoing its predecessor so much as mourning its passing. Genius. Younger Brother – The Last Days of Gravity. Simon Posford (Shpongle) and Benji Vaughan (Prometheus) redefined epic with their sophomore full-length experience. In the process, they’ve proven trance is not just a catchy genre title. This could make a nun rave. Best Concert Galactic at the Commodore Ballroom. A five-piece funk band, with the legendary Stanton Moore drumming, jamming out live hip-hop with Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 and the Coup’s Boots Reilly emceeing? There’s nothing comparable. Best Local Band The Manvils. Greg Buhr is the greatest rock bassist ever not to wear women’s lingerie… or maybe he does. Either way, you can’t knock that guy’s hat off with a whisky bottle. Many have died trying. Worst Local Band Trevor Risk. The biggest sausage in Vancouver’s music scene today. For Trevor, music is just a fashion statement, to be used according to style purely as a status symbol. His brand of totally obvious, pathetically vapid electro makes all the lobotomized frat boys and neon pink skanks throw their feces about wildly as the only appropriate showing of appreciation. Here’s to voluntarily conforming. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year Probably letting me write more shit than last year. Have you no decency? For shame.
Best Three Albums Miracle Fortress - Five Roses. Kind of like Caribou’s fantastic Andorra only better and without all the attention. The Tough Alliance - A New Chance. The guy who runs this label babysat my blacked-out ass after I washed down a hit of ecstasy with a dozen pink martinis. I’ve worked with him and for him. Christ, another guy from this label does our distro in Montreal.Yet for some reason the way I heard about this album is through a glowing review on Pitchfork. Out of spite, I downloaded it from Pirate Bay and will leave
it seeding for a year. Take that assholes. It’s this year’s “Silent Shout”. Various Artists - Death Proof Soundtrack. Every time Tarantino puts out a movie, the soundtrack introduces me to about a dozen great songs I’ve never heard before. Best Concert Blonde Redhead - Melkweg, Amsterdam, July 4 If you wanted a local show, tough shit. I’m too busy flying around the world in my private jet to care about concerts in Vancouver. Never gave Blonde Redhead a chance in the past but they won me over and are now one of my favourite bands. Take that with a grain of salt though. Whenever I get high and go to a concert I have a tendency to proclaim the band I’m seeing my new favourite band. Best Local Band The Good News - Local stalwarts Trevor Risk, Natalie Vermeer and a few other people whose names I don’t know are Vancouver’s newest dance rock darlings. Try to resist running up onstage and pinching their adorable and rosy lil’ cheeks. Runners up are Danny Fazio and Robert Dayton’s band Hallmark. They would have won but I don’t know how to describe their style. They keep saying “melodramatic glitter rock” like that’s supposed to mean something to me. Worst Local Band 90% of Mint’s Roster. Does anyone buy this crap or are they in business because of poorly allocated government grants? I’m guessing it’s the grants. Honourable mention goes to The Doers. Popular with people who won’t admit to devouring every issue of the Nerve cover to cover, this band is my musical anti-boner. However, like Eminem in his final rap battle in 8 Mile, they pointed out their obvious flaws by calling their album Gaiety, taking away all the jokes I wanted to make about them. Genius. Biggest nerve Douche of the Year Adrian Mack’s ongoing tolerance of high-maintenance, crybaby writers. Seriously, y’all are bitches. Get over yourselves already.
Best Three Albums The Fratellis - Costello Music It’s been a really long time since I’ve heard an album this good. Try to be in a bad mood listening to it. Impossible. Iron and Wine - The Shepard’s Dog The foundations of my heterosexuality crumble each time I listen to this album. I blame Chris Walter. Not only is he unconventionally handsome, he also instigated my curiosity in a band capable of bringing out the sensitive sweater guy in a six-and-a-half-foot, fully tattooed, old and ornery punk rocker. I’m 5’9”, I have one piddly tattoo, and I drive a scooter for chrissake. I didn’t stand a chance… Amy Winehouse - Back to Black The best medicine for a man questioning his sexuality is a woman with a sexy voice. Sure, this particular woman looks like one of the broads you see on the corner of Hastings and Main, but if you close your eyes and listen, she’s buxom, black and beautiful. Best Concerts The Zombies The most gracious and graceful reunion performance I’ve ever seen. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Went there to see The Fratellis. They cancelled. BRMC played a two-and-a-half hour set instead. Blew my mind. Bought every one of their albums the next day. Best Local Band Rich Hope and his Evil Doers They almost slipped from my top spot due largely to the fact that they haven’t put out any new music in a couple years, but I went and saw them the other day for the first time in a while and punched myself in the mouth for even considering it. A close second has to go to Black Mountain. Trust me… you’re gonna lose your shit over their next album (due in January, by the way). Worst Local Band Hedley Second year in a row and still going strong. They’re so bad they make Nickelback seem good. Biggest Nerve Douche of the Year I wasn’t a big fan of the switch to the generic photo-andtext covers this year. Fair enough, most of them look pretty good… but they also look like just about every other free magazine out there. n
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PHOTO: TOBY BANNISTER
Black Mountain Future Perfect
By Patricia Matos
n the verge of releasing a new album next month,Vancouver’s Black Mountain should poise itself for another tidal wave of accolades. In the Future is an album too ridiculously good to fully comprehend at first. It unveils as an arsenal of meticulously assembled, yet freely executed songs that plunge the listener into a familiar haven of dense, eerie rock ‘n’ roll, where walls collapse around you to the blistering sounds of crisp, yet grinding guitars, and trembling vocals from both Stephen McBean and Amber Webber. This is the disarming nature of the Black Mountain experience. On the phone from the band’s European tour van, guitarist-vocalist McBean reflects on 2007, and the feedback the band has gotten as he crosses onto Netherlands soil. “It was really nice playing the new record,” he says. “No one was booing, or yelling out old songs. It was kind of what we wanted to do, to go out and tour and play music without an album to sell or whatever.” Well, not yet. On January 22, the band releases In the Future, its second full-length, and will likely begin another series of tours across North America and Europe. “Nowadays with records it’s kind of weird,” continues McBean, his voice a little fatigued from sitting on a bus for some eight hours straight. “Because people hear them ‘cause of the internet or whatever… they get around anyway before they come out, so it’s our way of playing the album first.” A few new songs have surfaced, namely the eight-minute-long epic “Tyrants”, which was previously posted on the band’s website. Having Black Mountain’s music available for free doesn’t bother McBean, so much as the lack of quality and timing involved in downloading an album prior to its release. “I guess it’s because we put a lot of heart and time into it,” he explains. “We hope people hear it as we intended, at least the first time. And we’re all big into the whole thing of album cover art and stuff.”
Royalties from the Spiderman 3 Soundtrack helped fund building the Black Cave. Speaking of which, the cover to In the Future is an optical illusion best studied under the influence of a clear and lucid mind, or one tinged with a toxic fog compliments of your current vice. Not that there is any such thing, but its not typical Black Mountain artwork, or what one would expect it to look like. “Jeremy [Schmidt, keyboards] did a pretty swell job on the cover,” McBean says with a laugh. “When I first saw it, I was like, ‘Cool! What the fuck is it? What does it mean?’” Actually, here’s another ‘what the fuck is it, what does it mean’-type question: what does it mean when Black Mountain shows up on the soundtrack album Spider-Man 3: Music from and Inspired By? What is it that inspired McBean and company to write and record its contribution to that particular action-packed thrill-ride, the luminous, acoustic-falsetto lament “Stay Free”? “The truth, or a good lie?” inquires McBean. “That’s one of those things where it seems funny, kind of like the Coldplay thing [the band opened for Coldplay for a series of dates in 2005]. [Producer] Dave Sardy kinda knew Matt [Camirand, bass] from his old band, or something. He got put in charge of putting the soundtrack out on his label and picking the bands.” Adds the singer, “I think only five of those bands on there are actually in the movie. I don’t know. I’ve only seen the first Spider-Man movie. We got a few Spider-Man dolls. I gave them to my friend’s kids.” Two-thirds through its current tour, or threequarters by Schmidt’s quick calculations, the band looks forward to some well-earned rest come Janu-
ary. But having seen their fair share of the bizarre, quaint and genuinely exciting, Black Mountain still seems as stoked to play shows in new cities every night, as much as the band would also like to get back home and relax. It’s a dichotomy that has served them well, as McBean describes the band’s work ethic as anything but rushed, especially regarding recording. “…With this tour, and the tour before, we’re playing stuff like ‘Bright Lights.’ …It was a Jerk With a Bomb song, so it’s, like, seven years old. It took a long time to get it right.” McBean doesn’t mince words or take for granted what he and his friends do as a second job, the main line of work for many of them being attendants at Vancouver’s safe injection facility, Insite. “I kind of can’t wait to get home and fiddle around with tracks,” admits McBean, “but we’re lucky to get to go to Prague and play our songs in front of 150 people. We feel lucky for it. It makes it fun. And it feels weird when you play in Italy or something, and there’s five or 10 Italians singing along to ‘Druganaut.’ It just breathes a different life into it. If we were just practicing, we’d die of boredom.” Despite being a deified “it” band from the West Coast, Black Mountain’s individual experiences have also lent themselves to a humble attitude and an ability to let the hype roll off their backs. “Most of us had been touring our whole lives,” notes McBean, citing the benefits of filling his band with seasoned musicians. “It made things a little easier, which was kind of nice.” McBean continues: “There’s good shows, there’s
When I first saw the cover, I was like, ‘Cool! What the fuck is it? What does it mean?’
bad shows, but reactions here… the way people react to music is totally different from country to country. From Spain to Germany, wherever, it’s strange… In every city there’s at least a few people where the music really meant a lot to them, and in a way it kind of made us a little teary-eyed. It’s kind of that way when you’re a teenager and you have a record… we tried to make a new record about a year and a half after the first record, but it didn’t seem right yet or focused enough, so we just left it and decided to record when it felt like the right time. I mean, we want to do it the right way as opposed to making a record just to put it out.” Commercial ambitions be damned! These folks just want to make some good rock ‘n’ roll and hopefully have you buy it, artwork and all. Their world won’t stop spinning if they don’t make it onto another smash hit movie soundtrack or crazy-awesome festival tour. McBean, Schmidt, Camirand, Webber and drummer Joshua Wells are evidently just as content to chill out at the nearest tea and pannekoek house, or ride their bikes - even if the latter makes Jeremy “look like Fozzy Bear,” according to McBean. And Black Mountain doesn’t have to necessarily be at home to feel at home. “Louisville, Kentucky is pretty rad and pretty homey. Just drinking beer and a bonfire in the back,” says McBean. “We kinda like Oslo, too. Glasgow has quite a homey feeling. It’s weird, even L.A. Maybe it’s because we know people there. There’s kind of a new L.A. brewing within the hell of L.A.” Admittedly, I will say the notion of talking to anyone from Black Mountain seemed petrifying as much as it was unbearably exciting. They’re all incredibly friendly and open people, albeit with a certain streak of freak quality unique to their music. They just happen to be on the cusp of a major musical explosion from nowhere in particular, except their own minds and instruments - whether they know it or not. n
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LIVE REVIEWS PINK MOUNTAINTOPS
- Live Special -
Birthday Celebrations WRITTEN BY: ALLAN MACINNIS PHOTOS BY: FEMKE VAN DELFT
Black Mountain / Climax Golden Twins / Mexican Power Authority Richard’s on Richards,Vancouver, BC Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thor / French Paddleboat / Tranzmitors / Vancougar / Weathered Pines Pat’s Pub,Vancouver, BC Friday, November 9, 2007
NARDWUAR & KEITH
THE RIFF RANDELLS
Destroyer / Pink Mountaintops / Riff Randells / Vote Robot / Dustin Cole Richard’s on Richards,Vancouver, BC Saturday, November 10, 2007 As the February release of their second CD, In the Future, approaches, Black Mountain, headlining the first Scratch 20th anniversary celebration at Richards on Richards, amply demonstrated that the last couple of years have brought them a new level of confidence and ambition. The excitement that these could be the birth throes of the next big thing in Canadian (and maybe even American) rock is palpable and justified. Amber Webber and (Scratch honcho Keith Parry’s roomie) Stephen McBean’s vocal interplay is increasingly haunting and classic. Amber seems to have tapped into something very powerful, opening up her mouth and delivering, at times, huge, wailing bellows of ghostly passion that perfectly complement McBean’s gravelly, rural junkie intonations. The band is unafraid to turn songs into jams of gargantuan proportion – even older material, like the already sizeable “No Hits,” got expanded to epic length - and their pulsing blasts of harder-edged stuff are utterly, scarily commanding. It should be awe-inspiring; they’re certainly setting out to be, and rock audiences need a bit of awe back. It still isn’t quite working for me yet, tho’. A skeptic (or maybe just a stubborn, elitist snob, trying to fortify himself against a populist assault), I gotta admit, two gigs into this new BM, possibly pointless objections keep popping up: “Gee, but this riff they’re repeating is kinda simple.” “Gee, they’re really counting on this extended quiet part to build tension, but it lost me awhile ago and now I’m just waiting.” “Gee, the synth is reminding me in disturbing ways of Rush.” “Gee, hasn’t this been done before?” “Gee, there’s a lot of dry ice.” I’m out of practice at arena rock, you understand: and surely that’s where this is headed. Perversely, I preferred McBean’s more minimal acoustic set as Pink Mountaintops on November 10, performing about half the set solo and half with Josh on percussion.You could make out the lyrics, for one (“carry your bodies to the grave/ let outside love guide the way”). Though the chord progressions were simple, the newer songs had the authenticity and intelligence – if not quite the originality, which may be unreasonable to request – of a young Neil Young. Seeing McBean smiling softly and just laying it on his sleeve moved me. Time to break down and finally buy one of their CDs; Keith tells me he prefers their debut to Black Mountain’s. The other main act on the bill that night was Destroyer. Objectively speaking, in terms of musical ambition, songwriting, and passion, Destroyer is vastly superior to the New Pornographers, with whom singer/songwriter/guitarist Dan Bejar sometimes collaborates. In this incarnation, on this night – because we gather Bejar is uneven – they exuded professionalism, and more than demonstrated that they deserve their fandom, offering world-class musicianship and a capacity to generate complex, pretty flows of popcraft that would build to intense peaks and get the crowd very excited. Their muscular drummer, with an oversized bass drum that suited his caveman style, was slightly difficult to get used to, but that’s not that big a deal: objectively, they’re praiseworthy as all heck. Subjectively speaking, tho’, their greatness was overshadowed by my annoyance at Bejar’s thin voice, his vaguely self-fellating manner, and what seemed grandiose, pretentious lyrical ambitions. Someone should stencil “I am not Bob Dylan” on his bathroom mirror. Hiring a vocal coach might help, too, because there were moments that suggested
he really CAN sing, when not whining portentously through his nose. Still, the vast majority of happy dancing crowdspeople didn’t seem at all bothered by these things, so fuck me. The previous evening’s headliner, Thor, I enjoyed far more, to my great consternation (does this mean I’d enjoy professional wrestling too, if only I gave it a chance?). With a giant inflatable Grim Reaper over his well-stocked merch table, Thor offered tales of heroism and adventure, going through so many mask changes in the half hour I beheld him that I lost track. He began with the horned helmet of his
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LIVE REVIEWS namesake Norse god, ducked under his cape to segue into a Mexican wrestling getup, went full-on-rubber with a giant Neanderthal samurai mask, then took that off and offered us his own 50-something face with shades on. From then on, masks were donned midsong and discarded at lightning pace (a Predator mask, a medieval torture cage mask, a skull, a gas mask – you get the idea). At one point, a “strange creature and his minions” (people in skeleton costumes) invaded the audience and Thor used his “magic wand” (I couldn’t see what he was referring to but I know what I hope it wasn’t) to hunt them down. He asked us to help choose how they should be slain – with his double-bladed axe, his longsword, or, of course, his hammer. It couldn’t have been more fun, even if he’d bent a metal bar with his teeth (which he sometimes still does). Songs mostly tended to glam metal; you can see Thor sing Sweet’s “Action” on YouTube, performed on Merv Griffin in 1976 with a younger, more musclebound, male-stripper-esque Thor blowing up a hot water bottle until it explodes at the song’s climax. I’m really not sure if there was a genius-level Shatneresque capacity for poking fun at oneself at work or if Thor is simply so guilelessly enamoured of musclerock and role playing that he doesn’t mind (or notice) the fundamental ridiculousness of it all, but I was vastly entertained, and can now visualize myself covertly buying Thor CDs in the same shaky way as I bought my first Playboy at age 13 (no, I don’t plan to masturbate to Thor; that’s not what I mean). The only thing more entertaining than Thor on Friday was the pissing contest between his inebriated legions of heckling, impatient supporters and MC Nardwuar as he tried to introduce the previous
I don’t have the space to apply the concept of Meltzerian ‘mereness’ to Vancougar’s music, and I refuse to review their considerable sex appeal… act, French Paddleboat. Nardwuar, never one to back down, leapt off the stage to confront them, mike in hand. When finally their charmless but sincere redneck insistence on chanting “Fagwuar!” and “Fuck Nardwuar! Thor! Thor!” finally proved insurmountable, Nardwuar
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brought Thor himself out to bring them to heel. Nardwuar is a pretty incredible human being; I finally got to express my awe and humility at his massive command of rock trivia, which he whipped out and showed us whenever he could. Those Thor fans didn’t stand a chance. Too bad, tho’, that the arsty ambient electronica of French Paddleboat, playing its first-ever gig, was weak enough that it was more fun for some to heckle them than listen to the music. I considered it myself, actually. The subsequent night’s Vote Robot, with whom FP shares a member, was more successful, generating clouds of shifting colour and texture from a vast array of gear that one could dream to blissfully. Alas, Richard’s on Richards is set up so that everywhere one turns, one is surrounded by drinking talkers, or talking drinkers; unless you were right up front, you could hardly hear them over the din. Though they’re not in the same league as Thor (for which I am sure they are eternally grateful), the Tranzmitors were by far the tightest, brightest, most energetic band of the second evening. Their best songs (“Look What You’re Doing,” say) rival the output of their idols, the Jam and the Undertones. I can never escape the feeling when I see them that I’m watching a Guy Ritchie movie about the mod revival. Nick looks like he’s going to whip out a machine gun at any moment. This is not exactly praise, however: at times their savvy and devoted manipulation of codes and affected UK accents create a barrier of artifice that I can’t quite get through. One admires their suits, their doubtlessly staggering record collections, and their cool gear (the keyboardist’s Acetone gets my vote for the funkiest-lookin’ instrument of the night), but I seldom felt emotionally engaged by their songs. A problem. I preferred Vancougar to both the Tranzmitors and the Riff Randalls – the girl group of the third show, whose energetic and earnest Runaways-era power pop had neither Vancougar’s charm nor the Tranzmitors’ chops.You got the feeling that when (tough, passionate
Vancougar vocalist and guitarist) Eden sings about being pissed at a boy, she’s grinding an authentic axe, using the vehicle of rock to really connect with her audience. The capacity to make that connection is not to be taken lightly, even if the girls aren’t stellar musicians. I don’t have the space to apply the concept of Meltzerian ‘mereness’ to their music, and I refuse to review their considerable sex appeal, but I actually own their first CD, and may well buy their next. Space prevents me from chastising the Climax Golden Twins at length for living too much in the shadow of the Sun City Girls, whom they can never equal, or to express my regrets at having missed Weathered Pines, fronted by cute Scratch countergirl Marissa (who danced enthusiastically through the Vancougar and Tranzmitors sets after she played – a far more logical reaction than my scribbling). Let me end, then, by thanking Keith Parry for all the cool music he’s exposed this city to over the years; he’s one of the most personable, least cliquish record store guys in the city, and I’ve learned a lot from him. Hard to believe it’s been 20 years! Happy Birthday, Scratch! n (look for Al’s interview with Keith Parry at alienatedinvancouver.blogspot.com).
Being half Sri Lankan, I could not help but hail to M.I.A. along with the other 200 brown girls at the show tonight. And M.I.A. was off the hook! No eyelashes batting, or lightbulb twisting submissive shit. M.I.A. proves that not all brown girls are waiting for arranged marriages. She stomped that stage, boasting her tachycardia-inciting, manic style, provocative political rhymes. M.I.A. (formally known as Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam) shook it hard. She wore a hot pink leopard print body suit, and sparkly booty shorts, sergeant hat and dark shades. Damn she’s hot! And clearly this guy in a green T-shirt thought so too. One song in, and he jumped on stage and quite literally attacked M.I.A.’s backup rapper, heading towards her. The bouncers tackled and wrestled him off stage. M.I.A. didn’t notice. If only he had waited two songs later, because when “Birdflu”, from the new album Kala, was spinning, M.I.A invited the Commodore on stage. Security was looking at her like, “WTF” -eyes bulging and fists ready- but she kept on screaming, “More people, more!” She had a party on stage! Hugging, picture taking, dancing, it was absolute insanity. At least 60 people enlisted on stage as the M.I.A army. Eventually, security managed to seize control and M.I.A said thanks, while DJ Low Budget commented ironically by hitting those little gun shot FX buttons until the stage was clear. So, the show was amazing and there were only two mis-timings between M.I.A. and her DJ; nothing that the Ketamine lollipop suckers would have caught. The encore was “Galang” and for those who still weren’t dancing - they didn’t deserve their tickets. If you were outside like these two Latin boys I met, scrounging for tickets, I’m so sorry you did not get in.You totally missed out, suckers! M.I.A. is my idol and a performer like no other. Plus her dad is a member of the Tamil Tigers. That’s hardcore! - Christina Paris
The Raveonettes / Gliss Richard’s On Richards,Vancouver, BC Monday, October 29, 2007
Dick’s On Dicks ain’t a great venue on the best of days, let alone a Monday after one of the biggest party weekends in Vansterdam’s social calendar. A pretty solid, if docile crowd formed anyway, and the strain was written all over their motionless faces. The opening co-ed threesome Gliss received only golf claps and select hoots. In all honesty, though, their brand of blatant post-Clash indie punk and alternative pop-rock wasn’t worth a whole lot more than that. For an LA power trio that all trade instruments, most of their songs sounded roughly the same ‘til buddy took a slide to his guitar and the rhythm dropped down to half-speed. A little wholesome variety is a good thing. Still wasn’t mind-blow-
ing, but they tried. I felt kinda bad for the Raveonettes of Denmark, especially after bassist Sharin Foo reluctantly commented around the end of their set, “We are withdrawn tonight. Can’t seem to snap out of it. Sorry.” Hey, guitarist Sune Rose Wagner made a couple mistakes over the course, and they could have put a bit more into a few songs, but it was just as much us as them. Most of the crowd looked like zombies for the first couple songs. Eventually, two jiving chicks touching the stage found the tribal pounding too much to bear, and they started heaving front row centre. At least a couple dozen followers quickly joined the lungetwitching at the front with scattered pockets and bizarre singles scattered throughout the 500 capacity building. They seemed to react more to the older tracks overall, but an elderly couple at least in their 70s was kicking it in the corner like they did back in the day the whole time the Raveonettes were on. Their music is like listening to a bunch of ‘50s songs played louder and faster, and obviously right up that demographic alley. Foo briefly paused to appreciate the scene before they launched into a Stereolab cover, but the buzz couldn’t keep its momentum. We were all burned out and pukey, but still applauded every song enthusiastically, and even mustered enough strength to properly cheer for an encore. Hopefully the band wasn’t too hard on themselves, ‘cause I think as good a time as possible was had by all. Just don’t book an after-Halloween weekend slot here again, guys. - filmore mesacalito holmes
Heavy Trash / PowerSolo The Plaza,Vancouver, BC Sunday, November 18, 2007
PowerSolo has the dorkiest-looking drummer I’ve ever seen (and that’s saying something), but in this case it only serves to make this truly weird trio even cooler. All ‘70s porno moustaches and gangly legs, the trio fires out some kickass psycho trash-rock that’s energetic, fun and dirty, and they constantly refer to the audience as “ladies”. Of course, you have to be Danish to pull this off, it’s the law. An even better fit to open for Heavy Trash than the Sadies, who did a great job last time around. Somehow the boys of PowerSolo manage to calm themselves down backstage to return as back up for the main act iself. Despite Heavy Trash being a duo, it’s hard to pay much attention to Matt Verta-Ray (former Madder Rose bassist and spitting image of Lloyd Cole), simply because he’s teamed up with Jon Spencer - no mere mortal, and without question the most toe-curlingly, sex-on-legs coolest man on earth. Tonight, Spencer is here to preach the gospel of rock ‘n’ roll (a mission, he tells us, that is fully understood for once by the customs official at the border). And although the congregation is thin on the ground, everyone leaves a convert. Heavy Trash’s unique blend of traditional American roots with a rockabilly slant and a full on punk attitude has everyone rightly mesmerized, and not for one second are we treated
to anything less than 100% sweat, showmanship and music coming right from their guts. The only thing missing from the entire proceedings was Spencer’s familiar howl of “I got tha’ blooooz!” Hopefully it won’t be too long before we once again get to hear that comforting sound, but for now, this was some preaching sorely in need in Vancouver. Where so many pastiche acts have managed to suck it right out, Heavy Trash sure put the rock back in rockabilly. - Stephanie Heney
HIM / Bleeding Through
Croatian Cultural Center,Vancouver, BC Friday, November 09, 2007 I decided to pump myself up before the show, telling myself, “This is going to fun. It’s going to be a good concert, Bentley.” I figured there’d be more hot lonely chicks here than at the clinic (where I normally pick up my lady friends). Arriving at the Croatian Cultural Centre. I realized I was wrong on both fronts. What I saw was annoying dudes spazzing out because their testicles hadn’t dropped yet, and teenaged sluts (I’m talking, like, 14 or 15) wearing ass-exposing skirts and fuck-me heels. Someone was going to get arrested for pedophilia tonight, so I just raised my arms above my head to prevent the touching of little girls. What a terrible way to start an evening. Luckily the first band started playing immediately. On the downside, it was mall death metal band Bleeding Through. Only a 13 year old couldn’t see through Bleeding, but luckily for these bloody stools, that’s precisely what the crowd was made of. Thank God Bleeding Through only played for about 40 mediocre minutes. It was about 8:40 and I wanted to leave, but because of my obligations to this magazine I was going to stay. Well, 9:15 came and went. In fact, at around 9:30, a dude came on stage announcing that a band member had been in an accident backstage; I knew that meant someone in HIM was either coming down from some kind of Finnish drugs, was too drunk to stand, or was banging one of the 13-yearolds. I was furious. My patience had really run out about 10:00 pm , which was 80 minutes since Bleeding Through left the stage. About to leave, I hear the little girls in the crowd scream. I assumed they all got their first period at the same time, but in fact the band was strolling on like nothing was wrong. I could’ve broken a few hymens with my fist at that point. I was pissed. So HIM, fronted by skinny-legged and Koolsmoking Ville Valo, kick it all off with their first single (“Passion’s Killing Floor”) from their new album PHOTO: FEMKE VAN DELFT
Commodore Ballroom,Vancouver, BC Tuesday, November 13, 2007
that no one liked. Besides starting off with a song that the crowd wasn’t really into, the light setup was ridiculous. It was a series of columns that shined directly in your eyes. I felt like I was going through the Ludivco Treatment the entire time. The mix for the band was garbage, with the keyboards either too loud or quiet, bass non-existent, and rhythm guitar so polished and quiet that it was almost pointless. The new songs went over the crowd like a lead zeppelin, but when they went back to their staples like “Soul on Fire”, the crowd loved it. Their set went on for almost an hour and a half, with nothing special going on the entire night. I think that HIM just didn’t care. If I was playing my music to children, I’d probably feel the same way, but that’s no excuse. It was truly a terrible night but at least I never touched any children inappropriately. I only touched appropriately. - Dave Von Bentley
PHOTO: DEVON CODY
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7” SPOTLIGHT Bogart!/Mongoose Stoked Not Choked! Meter East Van and Calgary collide on this white-hot slab of STI-free lasciviousness. Seven inches is scarcely enough to contain the corruption that comes careening out of side “B” (for Bogart!). Meisha Louie has at her disposal a dominant fuck of a voice that cuts to the chase and demands immediate obedience. I almost shit myself when I first heard “Cold Shoulder”. For a moment, I was convinced that Bogart! had taken out a contract on my sorry ass and was cashing it in…inch by painstaking inch. With any luck, my sphincter will heal in time for the next Bogart! gig here in Vancouver and I won’t have to drag this fucking donut cushion along for the ride. Flip the bitch over, and you’ve got the mother loving ‘Goose giving it to you just as hardcore - will the pummelling never end?? If you’ve ever had the good fortune of seeing these boys live, you’ll know that your Agnostic Front Warriors Nuclear Blast You know what this CD sounds like? Warriors sounds like Agnostic fucking Front, that’s what. When are Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma going to grow up and stop making so much noise? Never, apparently, and Warriors is just as heavy if not heavier than anything they’ve released to date. Agnostic Front fans will hate me for this, but I prefer Roger Miret and the Disasters because the Disasters are more melodic and the songs aren’t so samey. But again, that’s just my personal preference, and if you dig the skullcrushing hardcore of Agnostic Front then Warriors is your brand-new battleaxe. - Chris Walter
hindquarters almost always winds up in a sling. These kids know how to bring the rock-hell; they’ll even bring their own lighting! “New Man” gives you a damn good reason to go hit up your drunken uncle for a loan of his musty old Thin Lizzy collection. What goes around comes around, right? This album is aesthetically pressed on white vinyl and sounds huge! *The Nerve Magazine assumes no responsibility for eviction notices accrued over whimsical Wednesday nights blasting this recording in Renfrew Heights. - Edward Dinsley them was so Montreal like, two years ago. I always thought that They Shoot Horses Don’t They was this band and I thought they sucked. Then, at a drunken poker game, I heard this album and after getting cleaned right the fuck out by my money hungry so-called friends, I went home and downloaded one of the best albums I have come across in a while. I’m telling you, if Sub Pop doesn’t watch it, they are gonna be a half decent label again. Every song on Cease to Exist is at the very least super good. “There Is A Ghost” and “General Specific” are pop beauties which will win over the idiots (like me) and songs like “Marry Song” will win over the hopeless Rromantics (I JUST WANT TO BE LOVED!). Give this to your dying uncle, who you love but have never told. Don’t worry, he understands. - Fudge Rivers
some great work of art, yet falls flat in the process. Mostly, it’s because the premise of this one is just bad: a concept album about the 1950s with ’80s synths and drum machines as its main sources of instrumentation. Almost as ridiculous is the constant role-playing on Situation, where at one point, Buck 65 becomes a cop and repeatedly delivers the line, “Up against the wall sweet cheeks/spread ’em.” Sorry, but I’m just not into this. - Brock Thiessen DOA The Black Spot Sudden Death This reissue is decent example of laterday DOA recordings. This CD is an “unauthorized bootleg version” but I’m not sure what it has that the original release didn’t. Still, the songs are speedy and hard-hitting, making it a kickass eulogy for drummer Ken Jensen who died in a housefire while DOA was recording the album. Rest in piece, brutha. - Chris Walter Dusty Rhodes and the River Band First You Live SideOneDummy In terms of styles this is all over the place. First You Live is so incohesive and random in its styles that it almost sounds like a mixtape rather than a collection of songs from just one band, even though each style is done reasonably well. There are moments of bluegrass, alt country, trad rock (a la Humble Pie), modern rock (Kings of Leon with a higher pitched singing voice), low-fi indie, really dreadful and never-ending prog rock, and too many dalliances into comedy party band territory (think: the free credit report dot com advert jingle). No matter what your taste is, likely you’ll only like a couple of tracks on this album. Where the Eagles of Death Metal succeed in messing with lots of genres, here is a band’s failing, and if they decided exactly what it is they want to do and stuck with it, they might be on to a winner. - Stephanie Heney
and good old-fashioned noise. For 46 minutes, the band’s basslines creep up and down the neck in time with complex, shifting rhythms. The guitars bring a din of distorted strings and feedback, and a lone trumpet becomes the group’s dark and eerie vocalist. As a whole, this instrumental approach to sound translates into one gloomy, claustrophobic listening experience, which can verge on the uncomfortable at times.Yet as unpleasant as Inhabitants get on The Furniture, they are attempting to push some musical envelopes here - a good thing no matter how you look at it. - Brock Thiessen Japandroids All Lies Independent Sometimes the simplest formula is the best formula. Just look at Vancouver’s Japandroids: two guys, guitars and drums are all it takes to make them one of the city’s best new bands in ages. And while their setup may be simple, the same can hardly be said of the music. On the duo’s new five-track EP, All Lies, Japandroids, or JPNDRDS if that’s more your bag, soak their record in thick layers of flailing drum patterns, dueling vocals, catchy-asfuck melodies, and noise - lots and lots of noise. It’s true Japandroids’ draw on the work of previous post-something outfits like Wire, Aereogramme and Mclusky (whose track “To Hell with Good Intentions” is covered here), but Brian King and David Prowse only hint at their influences, adding enough to the rock template to keep things interesting. And rest assured that all this praise is not being made simply because the band is a local one. It comes because Japandroids are actually on to something good here - local, Canadian or otherwise. - Brock Thiessen
package. - Stephanie Heney Teki Latex Party de Plaisir EMI Taking a break from his role as “the fat one” in Parisian hip-hop/electro troupe TTC, Teki Latex joined up with feted producer (and native Canadian!) Gonzales to create an album that effortlessly cascades into the irreverently awesome as only portly Frenchmen can do. And like our friends in Chromeo, Latex has no shame in his game. So what if he cops the “Hotel California” guitar solo on “J’aime la Pop music” or throws flow worse than a drunk Biz Markie on “Les martins de Paris,” - l’hommeboy has no trouble pulling it off. (Granted, we are seeing this from the other side of the pond. Apparently respect for the TTC crew on home turf is waning fast). And while there is some extra filling thrown in to fill the pie, the powerhouse singles alone make this album worth checking out – if only to see if Dom DeLuise-chic is all its cracked up to be. - Adam Simpkins Lizzy Borden Appointment with Death Metal Blade I guess somebody wants to listen to Lizzy Borden’s thrashy glam metal. It’s like they want to be the Misfits but have even cheesier taste. There are so many moments on this record where it’s just musical wank offs, playing scales as fast as possible and singing the lame chorus in perfect harmony. Who is this for? It’s probably too heavy for old men holding on to their Motley Crue ticket stubs and it’s too cheesy for the new kids on the metal block. Maybe some gothy kids who live in the ‘burbs and love their parents would dig these ‘80s Sunset Strip rejects, but I don’t know. I just don’t see it. Maybe I’m just out of touch with the Reagan era glam metal scene? - David Von Bentley
Avenged Sevenfold Avenged Sevenfold Warner How am I supposed to take this band seriously? I’ve seen these guys on TV with their rockstar shades on talking about how awesome the ‘80s were... so clearly Avenged Sevenfold is a joke, even if they’re not in on it themselves. Example: the names that these cum fossils chose. On vocals we have M. Shadows (what lurks in the shadows? Usually a child molester, hence the ‘M’ in his name). On lead guitar we have - and I’m not making this up - Synyster Gates. What the fuck is a synyster gate, and why would you name yourself after one? On rhythm guitar we have the one and only Zacky Vengeance. Zacky? What a twat of epic proportions. Hopefully Homeland Security has this child rapist on a list. Then on bass you have Johnny Christ. Christ almighty, what a rebel! You sad turd burglar who found a way to offend suburban housemoms with your name, I salute you! The drummer calls himself The Rev. I’m assuming it’s supposed to be short for The Reverend, but come on.You’re in a band with a guy that calls himself M. Shadow; come up with a better ridiculous name like Shit Pisser or M.F. Clit. I guess I haven’t talked about the music, yet. Well, it’s metalcore. It’s for the kids. Technically skilled musicians who only listened to the most mainstream guitar rock possible and re-hashed it in their own way which never sounds original or interesting for anyone past the age of 17. Childish music from childish men with funny names. I think I’ll name myself Cock Huge and Hard the IIIrd. - David Von Bentley Band of Horses Cease to Begin Sub Pop All these bands with animal names in
Beirut The Flying Club Cup Ba Da Bing How long you can ride out a musical idea often depends on its quality. If it’s a great one, it could last a lifetime. If it’s just pretty good, perhaps only a few years, or in Beirut’s case, an album or two. For this Zach Condon-led project, the idea is to fuse Old World Balkan-styled sounds with modern pop sentiments, which Beirut’s debut, Gulag Orkestar proved is an interesting combination, indeed. Now on the group’s second record, The Flying Club Cup, they’ve continued to run with this formula, fleshing out Condon’s sound and sticking to now-familiar terrain. The songs may display more sonic variation - partly thanks to Owen Pallett’s (Final Fantasy) sting arrangements and vocals - and they’re a bit more grownup, but there aren’t any surprises here. And for now, this is fine; Condon’s songwriting still stand above most standard indie fare and the album will likely satisfy most fans’ appetites. By the time record number three rolls around, however, some new ideas may be needed if Condon hopes to keep this project an interesting one. - Brock Thiessen
Buck 65 Situation Warner Given the options of poet, fool or bum, I’d say to Buck 65 is the third: a bum. I find his delivery neither clever nor interesting, and personally, the gruff-and-tumble storyteller/rapper is a mighty tough sell. However, unfairly biased or not, I foolishly thought his latest album, Situation, could perhaps change this opinion. I was mistaken. Like Buck 65’s other efforts, his latest tries desperately hard to be
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Eskimo Joe Black Fingernails Red Wine Rykodisc So one of Australia’s biggest alternative rock bands has finally released its 2006 album in North America. Well I don’t see them making any big waves here and in my opinion that’s kind of a good thing. I know the alternative rock experience isn’t really for me, and to be honest I just grabbed it because it came with a DVD (I was thinking if I like it, then a DVD would be sweet). Sadly I didn’t like it. To me, all of this music sounds like the soundtrack to The Hills, but never good enough to make it to The OC. What I mean is it’s soooooooo fucking bland. I guess if I had to box kangaroos and wrestle crocodiles (like all Australians do), I’d want something a little dull to cool me down. - David Von Bentley Hard Money Saints Suicide Shift Revved Up How can you go wrong with rootsy rockabilly songs about cars and girls? The Hard Money Saints have what it takes to keep an old genre fresh, and that’s no easy job. Bust out that hot-rod Lincoln and take a ride on the rockabilly express. Like now, daddyo. - Chris Walter
Inhabitants The Furniture Moves Underneath Drip Audio Vancouver’s Inhabitants aren’t easily pinned down. But in a post-everything world, this is often the case with bands, or at least with those that are at all interesting, such as Inhabitants. Tying in both improvisational and pre-orchestrated structures, the group’s second Drip Audio release, The Furniture Moves Underneath, turns out a heady blend of jazz, post-rock
Jimmy Eat World Chase This Light Interscope No matter how you cut it, Jimmy Eat World’s latest is a truly embarrassing effort. On Chase This Light, the aging emo adults have shifted back to their earlier, more rockin’ template - not a bad idea considering how badly their last record, the introspective Futures, was received. But instead of some sweaty, inspired Bleed American-type tracks, the new songs sound as if they belong to some uplifting, but ultimately empty, Bon Jovi album. No soul can be heard here; just empty songs trying to pull on the heartstrings with cliché lyrics and sub-par hooks. Art wise, Chase This Light, is no gem either: the cover cheaply rips off XTC’s Apple Venus, the full-page promo shots of each band member are embarrassingly lame and the typography looks amateur as hell. At least the cheap-looking packaging is a fair representation of the substandard sounds that lie within. - Brock Thiessen
Johnossi Johnossi The Control Group BFFs John Englebert and Oskar Bonde make up Sweden’s guitar-drum duo Johnossi (it’s their names mashed together, geddit?) They decided to try music after their Playstation broke down and were faced with nothing to do. Officially formed as a band only in 2004 Johnossi rightly didn’t have to play at starving artists for long as it took them only four gigs to get signed to a label in their native Stockholm. A support slot on tour with Soundtrack of Our Lives and an excellent debut album has them now poised for greatness. Johnossi (the album not the group) is packed with genuinely talented trashy guitar garage-rock-pop without ego, and were it not for some serious over-polishing on the production side, could easily be compared with the White Stripes. The lyrics are clever but not pretentious and as well as being the real deal the band seems to have the whole
Corb Lund Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! Stony Plain Recordings Corb Lund comes from four generations of Canadian ranchers and cowboys and boy does it show. He is obsessed with all things equine, and when he’s not pondering his decisions to go into music rather than horsing, he’s just plain singing about horses. This is his fifth album (again with the Hurtin Albertans and Harry Stinson), and the focus is, specifically, the, er, timeless theme of the cavalry. Much as I want to tell you it’s excellent despite all that, I can’t. Armed with a weird and dull subject matter, Lund hasn’t done much better with the musical style. There are moments of Calexico-type dark country, but mostly, the tone is that of Godawful barnstorming party band: the kind of thing that goes down well at wedding shindigs. Despite having toured the world and wowed Nashville with his roots country, Corb Lund is definitely a musician for the smalltown dustbowl Prairies. - Stephanie Heney Methods of Destruction Red,White, and Screwed Index Entertainment Billy Milano has been the mastermind of this thrash metal punk influenced outfit since 1985. Milano is better known for fronting the side project band SOD (Stormtroopers of Death) which featured most of the members of Anthrax. Also, Billy boy is a guy who was friends with pretty much every thrash band in the San Francisco area during the early ‘80s, so he’s kind of a legend in a small circle. A really small circle. But in my opinion this guy is also a fat racist piece of shit. SOD’s first record was called Speak English or Die. The rest of his band thought it was funny, but Milano believed it. He’s a hateful man. That was a long time ago, sure, but MOD sucks right here right now. It’s like ‘90s
ALBUM REVIEWS thrash with a retard doing his shit-taking vocals. The way Milano belches out the lyrics makes them indecipherable, but who cares? Why would anyone want to listen to this shitty joke for 48 minutes anyway? - David Von Bentley Nifty A Sparrow! A Sparrow! Blocks Recording Club Nifty is essentially another side project helmed by Matthew Smith (formerly of Les Mouches with Rob Gordon and Owen Pallett) and he has gone from making folk noise to just weird shit noise. To term A Sparrow!.. as uncategorizable is an understatement, and in fact the best way to put it is: ‘file under weird shit’. A million samples thrown at a recording desk and some really long tracks later, this bizarre collection of sounds seems to be an experiment in being as diverse and unlistenable as possible. And it certainly succeeds on both fronts. While there is definitely room for some art noise in any discerning music fan’s collection, it certainly doesn’t need this endless drone of 15 minute tracks that irritate the crap out of you. In fact, you find yourself longing for it to end so you can take the CD out to the back garden and frisbee it into oblivion. - Stephanie Heney Jack Pedler Let’s Get Nervous Race Don’t you just love it when something new comes along and bites you on the ass? I sure do, and treats like this are the reason why I wade through the tons of detritus that floats my way every month. Straight outta Hamilton, Ontario, Jack Pedler has arrived to give you a solid kick in the head. Lets Get Nervous, with its infectious, no-nonsense approach and hard rocking manner, is just what you need to shake off the blues and get on with the day. I hear Forbidden Dimension, as well as, oh, I dunno, other cool rockers that I dig, ha ha. Except for one spaced-out track that comes straight out of left field, Jack Pedler will drive a tanker truck into your gas pumps and light you up like a Christmas tree. - Chris Walter Pentacle Under the Black Cross Ibex Moon Originally released in 2005 in Europe, Under the Black Cross has finally made it to North America... for some reason. I don’t know, but I just don’t think anyone out there is wearing this Celtic Frost wannabe band’s t-shirt. Pentacle has been around since 1989; a staggering thought, really. Three decades? When I listened to Pentacle, the year 1983 kept popping into my head. This record would have been ripper in 1983 and, well, if you’re a weird dude into old school death metal, Pentacle does it as well as anyone from 1983. The vocals are delivered much like John Tardy of Obituary, which gets really tiresome very quickly. The flat production is frustrating (couldn’t you turn up the mid on the guitars, fellas?), and none of the songs really sound distinct from another. This reissue does contain the Necrovore cover “Divus de Mortuus”, which is sadly the best song on the record in my opinion. This is just another European metal band that will just get lost in the shuffle. - David Von Bentley
is above reproach, I find this CD far too safe to be of interest. Turn on your radio and you’ll hear Puddle of Mudd right after Nickleback. - Chris Walter Puscifer V Is For Vagina Sony Music V Is For Vagina finds Mr. Stink Fist Maynard Keenan himself in an electronic and bass heavy arena that may leave some fans scratching their heads and others satiated as they wait for the next Tool CD to drop. Though far removed from the Tool canon, I find a number of the cuts are reminiscent of the more ambient and tribal vignettes one would find on any one of their albums. Dark, almost industrial and creepily sexy, Puscifer has offered up an intriguing soundscape that grows like a warm wet pair of vagina muffs. That being said, Puscifer also takes the prize for gayest album title of the year (even if tongue in cheek). In my opinion, the man who brought you Opiate and Undertow could have matched title for content, but instead we get a title that reeks of a high school prank. But don’t judge a CD by its vagina. This is great stuff and stays at the top of my “to do” list. - Nathan Pike The Riff Randells Doublecross Dirtnap The Riff Randells can be best described as Chixdiggit fronted by, er, chicks. Not only do the two bands share a similar style (well tread three-chord pop-punk), but also a bass player. Not content with just being the husband to Randell frontwoman Kathy Camaro, Cd’s KJ Jansen also takes care of low pitch duties on the band’s latest full-length release; but unlike the legendary Calgarians, the Riff Randells can’t do much with their bare bones arrangements. Doublecross whips by in just under 25-minutes and I’d be lying if I could remember any of its tunes afterward. Brief, punchy punk rock is all very fine and good, but without solid hooks it doesn’t add up to a whole lot. This, I do not dig. - Adam Simpkins Seether Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces Wind Up The only reason Seether ‘sold’ any records is because the band played the game and maybe got friendly with some label executives, who pushed Seether down the public’s throat in an effort to meet a quarterly goal. I know a certain segment of the radio audience for alternative rock is so desperate to hear the next Nirvana that they’ll attach themselves to anything that remotely sounds like it. Well, lead singer Shaun Morgan does his best impersonation of Kurt Cobain throughout Finding Beauty..., and ironically enough, the first single is called “Fake It.” As if you didn’t know, corporate radio sucks, there will never be another Nirvana (thank Christ), and Seether is about as valuable to my life as garbage bag juice (both stink and both make me sick). - David Von Bentley
is just wailing coupled with attempts at controversy calculated to be cutting edge; all so staged and designed that any rock ‘n’ roll is totally negated. Expect a line of cologne out this Christmas. - Stephanie Heney Skeletonwitch Beyond the Permafrost Prosthetic What makes a truly great thrash metal band is the ability to add melodic elements and sometimes melodic songs to the catalogue. It makes the actual thrash riffs that much better when they kick in and rock your iron clad balls. But it seems all of these modern thrash nuthuggers see is an opportunity to make the most relentless, non-stop thrash record possible. It takes away from the music when all of the riffs kind of blend together. It gives no room for your drummer to add anything more than the typical fast paced beat with the occasional cymbal crash. Then the bass player is always getting lost and is essentially pointless unless you’re playing live. But also now you hear nothing but the two types of screams; throaty and guttural. That isn’t hardcore anymore and it gets tiresome really fucking quick. Listen to Chuck Billy of Testament, he has pipes and the ability to call upon Satan to spew out devilishly deep vocals. Everything about thrash nowadays sucks and Skeletonwitch is part of the problem. Clearly they are retro-thrash influenced, but only take the harsh parts to create a record that is ear blistering annoying. Everything just ends up being one song. I believe Skeletonwitch is a monster from the Castlevania games, by the way. - David Von Bentley Thrice The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II: Fire & Water Vagrant Let’s get one thing crystal right off the bat: if you felt betrayed by Thrice’s last album (2005’s experimental Vheissu), you’ll want to give The Alchemy Index a complete miss. Actually, if you’ve been clutching Identity Crisis and The Illusion of Safety to your breast in hopes that these last bastions of post-post hardcore (?) may yet return to their roots, you might as well give up on Thrice altogether. For the rest of us: this is the Thrice we’ve been warned about. In the album’s opener, Ed Breckenridge intentionally drops the bass line in “Firebreather” behind the beat and coats it with a liberal slathering of thickas-shit distortion. The resulting dirge-like atmosphere gives the song an ominous undertone that does not sit at all well in the gut. This stand alone powerhouse track proves that Thrice can still dish it when the ire arises. The transition from “Fire” into “Water” is almost completely indiscernible. It’s as if the listener has been beaten into a coma and then carefully revived with the subtle ambience of “Digital Sea”. The production here is stunning and creates the audio equivalent of drifting in foreign waters with a head swimming in chemicals. Of course, a warm bath and a cold Colt 45 can do just as good a job. This album is a testament to the fact that there is, indeed, life after the Warped Tour…not that there’s anything wrong with that. - Ed Dinsley
RED CAT RECORDS 4307 Main St. Vancouver B.C.
TOP SELLERS Current Top 10 CDs 1) Beirut - The Flying Cup Club 2) Iron and Wine - The Sheperd’s Dog 3) Grizzly Bear - Friend E.P. 4) Band Of Horses - Cease To Begin 5) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand 6) Corb Lund - Horse Soldier Horse Soldier 7) Vashti Bunyan - Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind 8) Bonnie “Prince” Billy - Ask Forgiveness EP 9) Neil Young - Chrome Dreams 10) Buck 65 - Situation Local 1) Herald Nix - Everybody Loves You 2) Fond Of Tigers - Release The Saviours 3) Buffaloswans - S/T 4) The Clips - Matterhorn 5) Nomeansno - Wrong (U.K. Reissue) the Toilet Boys be fun live? Probably, but not without the pyrotechnics. - Chris Walter The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza Danza II:The Electric Boogaloo Metal Blade Before I start this review I want to make sure we all know the Tony Danza sexual manoeuvre.You’re not familiar? Well let me explain it kids. Imagine a boy having sexual intercourse with a lover from behind (boy or girl, I prefer to think of a girl). Well, right before the man doing the humping and bumping is about to blow his wad he says, “Who’s the Boss?” The natural response is to say, “You’re the boss, baby!” Then you donkey punch your partner and say, “Tony Danza is the boss, bitch!” With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza with their record Danza II: The Electric Boogaloo. I know, the name is nauseating and funny for a moment before it loses its novelty, but the TDTE is actually a really good technical grindcore band. When things are so manic like they usually are with grindcore, the production almost always ends up sounding like gobbeldygook with blood thirsty murder screams in the backround. Not with Danza. Everything is crisp and clear, with incredibly odd grooving guitar licks at their 6000 r.p.m. pace. I don’t think I’ve heard a better extreme metal band since Despised Icon, but Icon didn’t have an awesome southern twanged bonus song that was both country and eerie. So put on Season 1 of Who’s the Boss and realize that Angela was the real boss (and an Ice Queen bitch). - David Von Bentley
Start over. These Dollhouse people, they are very friendly and nice and this album is totally original and I can’t wait to see them live and maybe, just maybe make out with the singer unless I am too old. And sing “Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy with them again. - Fudge Rivers Woelv Tout Seul K Woelv’s latest album is a bit of a tough sell. Sung entirely in French, Tout Seul dans la Foret en Plein Jour, Avez-Vous Peur? (or “alone in the forest in the middle of the day, are you scared?” for those who failed French 9) demands a lot of the listener and provides little reward in return. While the language barrier is partly to blame for this, it’s more the musical obstacles that make this record a difficult one. The songs by Woelv, a.k.a. Geneviève Castrée, are dreary, to say the least, dragging along at a slow, arduous pace with few hooks or twist and turns in dynamic. Also, from a musical standpoint, Tout Seul deviates little from the minimalist guitar pluckings of last year’s Gris 10-inch or even the songs Castrée played live in Vancouver a few years back. Now to be fair, perhaps this album is just getting lost in translation on us unilingual English speakers, but even the best of lyrics would likely fall flat in this musical backdrop. - Brock Thiessen
Puddle of Mudd Famous Flawless Kinda hard to get past the Nirvana comparisons here, especially since one of these dudes even looks a bit like Kurt. Not that I know anything about music, but didn’t grunge fade away and die a long time ago? I dunno, maybe it came back again - no one keeps me up to speed on these things. If mainstream rock is your thing, then you’ll love Famous. Personally, though the musicianship and production
Semi Precious Weapons We Love You Fetty NYC’s Semi Precious Weapons is Justin Tranter, a designer and all round It-boy who has ‘done’ an album in the same way that an actress brings out a perfume. The band is a project for showing off Tranter’s style and product line and an obvious leap into a reality documentary series (it’s true) to garner extra exposure. He clearly has all the contacts he needs to give his musical career the jump up - George Marino mastered the record (AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Metallica), and executive producer is Tony Visconti (T. Rex, Bowie et al) - but the glam rock 10-track album is, in itself, not actually that good. There are a couple of songs that genuinely rock (single “Magnetic Baby” is one) but mostly this
Toilet Boys Sex Music Dead City Sex Music is a collection of unreleased material, demos, and mixes from an NYC glam rawk band that broke up in 2003 because they couldn’t use pyro effects in their stage show anymore. I dunno, man. If a living cliché such as Great White can go on without the flash bang then surely other bands should be able to. The Toilet Boys have all the sleaze and drag queen panache that you would expect from a group named the Toilet Boys, but there isn’t much here in the way of originality. The New York Dolls did this thing so much better than everyone else. Would
Vonnegut Dollhouse Ornamental Etherworld Independent What the hell kind of band would name themselves Vonnegut Dollhouse and who the fuck names their album Ornamental Etherworld? This band, that’s who. And when you listen to this album, it will become obvious that Vonnegut Dollhouse is the only name this band could have chosen. And Ornamental Etherworld is the only name this album could have had. It made me feel like an old man that just doesn’t understand the kids of today. The packaging and graphic design is fantastic and the arrangements (yes they have thoooooooose) are pretty and I kinda want to make out with the singer (the girl one). But, like I said, this music doesn’t put me at ease, and that is what, unfortunately, a man of my age needs in my music. I hope this isn’t coming off as a bad review.
Robert Wyatt Comicopera Domino Robert Wyatt describes his latest album as being about “the unpredictable mischief of real life,” about “humans and the things we turn to and looking for fun and stimulus and meaning and stuff.” And with these words, the 62-year-old Englishman does a pretty good job of conveying the basic message behind Comicopera - a dense, ambitious record that proves high art and pop accessibility can go side by side. Dividing Comicopera into three acts, this former Soft Machine songwriter delves into themes of love, loss, war and turning your back on it all. But as pretentious as this all might seem, the record is surprisingly not. In fact, you could just ignore the lyrical thread and enjoy this album on a purely musical basis. This is achieved through one seemingly simple - but in reality not so simple - feat: Wyatt creates an album that’s as much for the listener as himself, actually making Comicopera enjoyable and a must for those who appreciate forward-thinking music but could do without the self-indulgence. - Brock Thiessen
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page 19
Short Ends Frankenstein, Beasts and Eyes Wide What? Movie Pick of the Month
The Beast Must Die (1973) Dir: Paul Annett Dark Sky
Frankenstein (1973) Dir: Dan Curtis Dark Sky films
The days of the harmless fun horror flick seem to be waning, as more extreme levels of violence and psychological terror become the order of the day. I’m reminded of this as I finish viewing this 1973 re-make of Mary Shelly’s classic gothic tale, Frankenstein. Originally airing as a made for TV horror/ suspense movie series in the mid 70’s, this re-make faithfully recounts the story of scientist Victor Frankenstein’s dabbling in the world of creating and extending life in the name of science. Under cover of the night, Victor and his assistants gather and assemble a human form made from parts of the already deceased, eventually bringing life to this most macabre of recipes. As we well know, Dr. Frankenstein is moderately “successful” in his experiment, give or take a few accidental murders on the monsters part when the creature escapes and begins learning from his environment. The majority of his “wonder years” being spent hiding in a woodshed and mimicking the words and actions of the occupants in the adjoining house. This is one of the major departures from the many reimaginings of this classic tale, is the creatures’ ability to grasp and use speech effectively. In no time he’s speaking fluent olde English and discovering that he has feelings and desires. Just like any other undead mish-mash of body parts, our monster just wants some company. Growing frustrated with being an outcast and angry at his unnatural conception, he strikes a deal with the good doctor. If monster gets a girlfriend, monster goes away. If not, people die. So what’s a doctor to do? Looking beyond the clunky low-budget sets and, at times, questionable acting, I was totally drawn in from start to finish. Bo Svenson’s role as the endearing, yet clumsily aggressive and often misunderstood creature was excellent, providing humanistic charm and fodder for the emotions. Even though Svenson’s nonsensical makeup left him looking more like a retarded hobo who took a dive through a windshield, and Robert Foxworths over-eager performance as the secretive doctor with much blood on his hands, were more comedic than anything else, I was still impressed and consider this my favorite version yet, of this dark and creepy little tale. - Nathan Pike
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page 20
Dark Sky recently released a three-disc Amicus set (if you didn’t know, Amicus films are basically the poor man’s Hammer films). This set boasts Asylum, a Creepshow-like collection of mini-stories, And Now the Screaming Starts, a tale of a magical force that rapes a woman (no, it wasn’t David Copperfield) and The Beast Must Die, the real gem of this collection. The film begins unlike any film you’ve ever seen. An ominous voice informs the viewer that “This film is a detective story- in which you are the detetcive. The question is not ‘who is the murderer?’ -- But ‘Who is the werewolf?’ After all the clues have been shown-- You will get a chance to give your answer. Watch for the Werewolf Break.” After that you’re welcomed to the island of Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart), a rich, big game hunter who could possibly have the best distinguished rich man accent ever captured on celluloid. He’s installed a giant electronic grid on his island estate with the best cameras and microphones money could buy in the early 70’s in England. Tom has invited six people to his estate just as the full moon approaches. He knows one of them is a werewolf and he plans to kill the beast and mount its head in his trophy room. In typical Bond villain fashion, Tom wines and dines his guests while planning to murder one of them. He tries various means to out the werewolf by forcing guests to hold a silver candlestick, to which one guest responds “Why don’t you take your solid silver werewolf diviner and shove it.” The wolf eventually presents itself, kills off various house guests while continually eluding Tom in his stylish leather hunting suit. When the Werewolf Break comes can you figure out who the beast really is? You’ll have to pay attention because the clues aren’t overly obvious. I recommend having friends to over and gambling on the outcome. -Michael Mann
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) Dir: Stanley Kubrik Warner
Holy Crap, it’s been a tough eight years for Kubrick-ophiles. Dealing with the maestro’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, has been a clockwork douche ever since it first appeared in the summer of 1999. “There’s two and a half hours I’ll never get back,” a friend said to me recently, and you can hardly hold it against him. Eyes Wide Shut is a puzzle with half the pieces missing, from its seemingly insane central casting decisions right down to its ridiculous ad campaign, which promised something it never tried to deliver. And if it was nice to look at, gorgeous in fact, it was also deadly boring. On the other hand, there’s a conventional wisdom among Kubrick buffs that it takes about a decade for his movies to start yielding their secrets. Even 2001: A Space Odyssey received a critical hosing that doused the relatively smaller amount of acclaim it initially received. If that’s the case, we’re coming up to zero hour with Eyes Wide Shut. Much has happened in the world since the year 1999, and true to schedule, EWS is starting to make a lot more sense. It’s definitely started to get under my skin, largely because I think I’ve figured out one of its major themes. Surprise, surprise; it was right under our noses all along. Want me to tell you what it is? Of course you do, spaz! Okay then, but first, let’s hear what some other experts have to say. Tim Kreider’s great essay
Introducing Sociology got the ball rolling with this observation, shortly after the film’s release: “The slice of that world he tried to show us in his last - and, he believed, his best - work, the capital of the global American empire at the end of the American Century, is one in which the wealthy, powerful, and privileged use the rest of us like throwaway products, covering up their crimes with pretty pictures, shiny surfaces, and murder, ultimately dooming their own children to lives of servitude and whoredom.” No argument there. EWS is a fun-filled romp, just like The Shining, but Kreider is too wise a critic to join the cause taken up by a fraternity of internet pundits who clamour over the movie’s clear embrace of conspiracy theory lore. It’s impossible to ignore the references to Freemasonry, the Illuminati, and the occult in Eyes Wide Shut, although people do. The funny thing is, I’m actually proposing that those crazy online bastards haven’t gone far enough in their paranoid analysis, but we’ll get to that. Here’s what they see, and mainstream critics ignore: the opening shot of Alice, naked, framed between two Masonic pillars and beneath a pyramid/ capstone symbol; the Masonic crest on the building next to the costume store, Rainbow Fashions, above a second business called Under the Rainbow; the rainbow-spectrum lens flare that alights on the hooker Domino at one point; the pyramidal structures and luminous pentagrams that fill every frame; the spooky fucking eye that appears for a split-second on Bill’s back after the orgy (seriously! It’s at 1:30:18 on the DVD); the repulsive coldness of the sex; the marble perfection of the women, who are usually naked, often unconscious, sometimes dead; and the most important line in the movie, delivered at the Christmas party when Alice asks if Bill knows anybody. “Not a soul,” he replies. Seconds later, Alice is wooed - and becomes woozy - at the hands of the vampiric Hungarian, Sandor Szavost. His name is no accident. Here we have clear and numerous references to the occult, secret societies, the super-elite, and for those with the right book collection, something called Project Monarch. These are major destinations in conspiracy theory research. The first three are popularly known if not really understood, and the fourth refers to a mythical mind control experiment that allowed US Intelligence agencies to create sex slaves (I know, I know…). The rainbow references are rooted in the Wizard of Oz, which is important to the mythology of Project Monarch (you’ll have to look it up for more detail). This is bargain basement stuff for the sophisticated conspiracy theorist, but still, there is an old Establishment that lives in the heart of America’s National Security State - a political and financial ruling class - and there is an occult bent to their secret societies. And the Intelligence agencies that were formed and steered by these same people did and possibly still use brutal and sadistic mind control technologies. MKULTRA is the best known of these projects. Authors like Adam Gorightly have argued that MKULTRA was farmed out in the ‘60s to cults like the Manson Family, the People’s Temple, Anton Szandor LaVey’s Church of Satan (sorry, all you little Satanist dudes, your Top Cat was a spook!), the Process Church, and… the Church of Scientology. In the ‘70s, the codename for L. Ron Hubbard’s top secret base in Hemet, California, was ‘Over the Rainbow’. In the ‘40s, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was a practicing occultist. Whether he was also a Naval Intelligence officer or not, as is claimed by the CoS, his proximity to the US military/defence/intelligence community is well documented, most notably in his relationship with rocket scientist and Jet Propulsion Laboratory co-founder Jack Parsons. Together, the two of them attempted to manifest the Antichrist in an occult ritual in 1947. They were both disciples of Aleister Crowley, and members of his OTO Lodge. Crowley was a 33 degree Mason. Around the same time, the Mason and Skull and Bones infested CIA was covertly recruiting scientists, doctors, and spies from the tattered Third Reich (presumably to bring a little excitement to the office). Shortly after that, in alliance with Nazi science, the CIA turned its attention to mind control. Project Bluebird, Project Artichoke, MKSEARCH, and MKULTRA followed. Hubbard was busy perfecting his ‘tech’ at the same time, but things really began to dovetail in the ‘60s. By the ‘70s, when the Stanford Research Institute began its remote viewing program - itself an extension of mind control research - it was dominated by high level Scientologists. What is the current relationship between the US Government and the mega-cult Scientology? Fucked if I know, but it does seem odd that in spite of all the
ridicule and the open hostility, Scientology somehow manages to thrive, perpetually tightening its grip on America’s lucrative and influential entertainment industry among its other business investments. CoS seems much bigger and more powerful than a mere self-help club popular with an ever-growing number of Hollywood fruitcakes. Perhaps behind the cheesy Xenu cosmology that seems to wantonly invite ridicule, there’s something even weirder. And perhaps once you look past the tacky conspiracy theory references, Eyes Wide Shut is about Scientology itself. And perhaps it’s about that poor fucker in the starring role. If this is too nutty for you, then Eyes Wide Shut will remain a baffling and grating accumulation of wrong notes. And if it isn’t too nutty, it helps resolve the most grating wrong note of them all. I’m talking about the film’s astoundingly awful performance by its leading man. Kubrick being Kubrick, let’s just accept that this ultimate feature-length misfire by Tom Cruise is precisely what the director wanted. Remember, Kubrick made the poor little dummy walk through a door 90 times, for fuck’s sake. Then he apparently picked the worst take. That appears to be the strategy for the entire movie. And then Cruise - a successful but probably miserable and not very intelligent man, trapped in both his career and his mendacious public sexual persona - is made to sleepwalk through a film in which he singularly fails to get laid by a single woman (including a hooker). A gang of jocks in Yale letterman jackets even call him a fag.Yale is, of course, the home of Skull and Bones, which is apparently bound by a circle of mutual, sexual blackmail. Those future Presidents like to nail each other in coffins, I hear. It would seem that Tom Cruise was made to star in a film about himself; a mid-level servant to the elite; an apparently successful man caught in a web of sexual blackmail, with a virtual sex slave for a wife; a mindcontrolled actor pumped up from his television-sized talent by a powerful agency, who plays a doctor by flashing a stupid wallet ID and staring at women until
they emerge from their comas; a vapid man living a lie; a serf who might be allowed a little more access than most, but not much; a midget who finds the rainbow’s end by sneaking under, and who is then humiliated, threatened, sent back and given the unequivocal message, ‘We own you’. Much like Kreider said, but spookier. And depressing as fuck. The publicity build-up to Eyes Wide Shut promised an erotically charged examination of a marriage. And what we got was a baffling, dissonant, nonsensical, completely unerotic contemplation of the Cruise/ Kidman business arrangement, inside a multi-layered riff on the Intelligence/occult/mind control nexus that ate America. In other words, the repulsive background milieu of Scientology. And the final line in the film? Alice is quite serious when she tells her husband Bill that they urgently need to fuck. And so is Kidman, who separated from Cruise a little while after Eyes Wide Shut was released. He probably doesn’t know it – because he’s past the point of no return these days - but Eyes Wide Shut could well be Tom Cruise’s personal nightmare Traumnovelle. And Kubrick’s final fuck-you to a world he deplored. -Adrian Mack You can pick up the un-rated version of Eyes Wide Shut, available for the first time ever on DVD, in Warner Home Video’s Stanley Kubrick box set. Decide for yourself if our Music Editor is insane
ADAM GREEN’S HATCHET
By Michael Mann
ll Adam Green ever wanted to do was a make an extremely gory and entertaining Slasher film. So while toughing it and working a shit job in the film industry, he went and shot a trailer in Louisiana and put it online. A rather massive Internet buzz started and through that he was able to secure funding to make Hatchet, a throwback to ‘80s Slasher films like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. Every Slasher needs a loveable bad guy, the unstoppable beast in Hatchet is Victor Crowley, a deformed backwoods freak who roams the Louisiana bayou looking for unsuspecting tourists to kill in a plethora of creative ways (e.g. hatchet, gas-powered belt sander, bare hands, shovel). Equal parts marketing strategy and fanboyism led Green to cast a trifecta of Slasher legends including Robert Englund (Freddy), Kane Hodder (Jason), Tony Todd (The Candyman). Like all Slasher films from the ‘80s, Hatchet is totally ridiculous, a lot of fun and never takes itself seriously. After an eternity spent on the festival circuit, Hatchet got a theatrical release back in September. While Green may have achieved his dream, along the way he accumulated a gigantic debt and had a high profile battle with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the charming and anonymous group of old people who protect children from hearing the F-word or seeing a bare boob by coming with ratings for all films released in the United States. Nerve: What made you want to make a movie about a deformed and unstoppable killing machine? Adam Green: I was eight years old and my parents sent me to summer camp. I was having an awful time because it was like a concentration camp. It wasn’t like the movies. I thought there was going to be a lot of naked girls. They had this abandoned cabin and they told us this ghost story about how if we went there, Hatchet Face was gonna get you and that’s all they had to their story. It was really just the cabin where the counsellors had their orgies and did drugs. I had an older brother who had already shown me all the Slasher films. That night when we went to sleep the kids were talking about how Hatchet Face was gonna get us. I said Hatchet Face was this deformed man and his dad kept him hidden behind that cabin. Then the cabin caught fire and his dad came home and chopped down the door with a hatchet and hit him in the face. All these kids started crying and the counsellors threatened to send me home from camp. So for about 20 years I just sat on that story and waited for the moment to make my own Slasher movie. What do you like most about ‘80s Slashers?
I think it’s always relative to what people grew up on. I don’t find the 80’s Slasher movies to be exceptionally well-made films. I don’t think that they’re actually scary, at all. They’re just cool. What was cool about them to me was the villain and the mythology behind the villain and the creative way that the villain was going to kill you. Back then it was a magic show. I was always interested in how they did the effects. It didn’t scare me when I saw a knife go through somebody. It was more, mathematically, trying to figure out how they did it in my head. Then in the ‘90s we started with the whole PG-13 horror which was just a waste of everybody’s time. Then it was always a teen whodunit where at the end they pulled the mask off. And now, in 2000, we have two options. It’s either torture bullshit or it’s remakes. Let’s talk about the ‘torture bullshit’. It’s remarkable you were able to make a name for yourself without torturing any women on screen. All I did is make a fun movie. That’s all it is. It’s not groundbreaking. It didn’t re-invent the wheel. It’s not the scariest movie you’ve ever seen. It’s just massively entertaining and people walk out of it really happy. Borat is the only movie I can think of where the audience has been that loud. In a packed theater it was like a rock concert the way people would scream and cheer and laugh. That’s what made it effective. The torture stuff? The original Saw, should not be called torture porn. There’s no sex in it and there’s really no violence in it. It’s all implied, there’s nothing that gory, like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I thought Saw was a really clever film. Even Hostel, the original idea behind Hostel, was one of the most frightening things I’ve ever heard. I thought that worked. All the knock offs after it and the fact that every horror movie has to have that scene of someone begging and screaming, it doesn’t do anything for me. It’s not scary. It’s not entertaining. It’s just boring and misogynistic and I don’t care. Our gore in Hatchet outdoes anything that those movies ever had and is done with it’s heart in the right place.You’re not walking out feeling like your eyes just got raped. But even though you didn’t go the torture porn route, you still got hit with the NC-17. The NC-17 on Hatchet was completely political and had nothing to do with the film whatsoever. There’s a documentary out right now called This Film Is Not Yet Rated and those are the exact people I had to go up against. They’re even worse then the way they were
portrayed in that documentary. I wish that I had a video camera to tape the whole thing but they literally put a gag order on me and said you’re not allowed to talk about it. They silently threatened me by saying “you can cause a big stink about this but some day you’re going to make another movie and then wait and see what happens.” Why do you think you were singled out? Because it was an independent movie that went all the way. It’s competition for the studios and they don’t like that. As much as they say they support independent cinema and they love it, they hate it. It marginalizes their paycheques and it marginalizes what they do. If some idiot like me and my friends can go make a movie with no money and all the sudden it’s in festivals and getting a theatrical release... they don’t want that to happen. The movie they spent a $100 million on needs to make that money. They also do it because they can. They have to throw the gauntlet down every now and then to prove that they’re still in charge. In Hostel 2, if they want to cut off a guy’s dick on camera and feed it to a dog and tie women up naked, it’s fine. Because Quentin Tarantino can walk in and go “C’mon.” Actually a lot of the people on my panel judging me were from Sony. I even said “Why is it okay to torture women, to have people doing drugs, to have onscreen sex, swearing and homophobic remarks, all this shit you have in your movies? But I have a swamp monster chasing a bunch of comedians with a gas-powered belt-sander and killing them in a cartoonish way and it’s obviously fun... how can you say this is pornographic?” A few movies got hit with the NC-17 for violence this year. Saw 4, Planet Terror, Frontier(s) and Eastern Promises. It seems like the violence in those movies was way more extreme than the violence in Hatchet. Hatchet is like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. They even banned our poster. It was just a hatchet on a black background. They said it was too violent. Saw’s poster has pulled out teeth and severed limbs on their poster. 300 had people falling to their death with blood splatters all over the poster. That’s fine. We made about eight new posters and then submitted the hatchet one again and they said it was fine. They don’t know what they’re doing and [the head of classification at the MPAA] Joan Graves is Hitler. Everyone was really excited when the head of the MPAA [Jack Valenti] died this year. There were parties all over town. He was the most hated man in town and now she’s stepped
up and is trying to show that she’s more badass than he was.... The panel that you have to appeal to is all senior citizens. They haven’t seen a horror movie since Nosferatu. When I brought up Grindhouse, which to me was the same tone as Hatchet, they said they’ve never seen it. Well what about Hostel, what about Saw, what about The Hills Have Eyes remake? They all shook their heads and said they’ve never heard of those movies. I had no leg to stand on. And of course they’ve heard of those movies because some of those people work at the studios that put them out. So obviously you’re saying there needs to be some reform to the ratings system. Do we need one at all? I believe we need a ratings system so parents have a way to tell what their kid is going to see. However it needs to be rated G, PG, PG-13 and R. NC-17 does not mean anything. R is R and that’s it. Why is Hatchet any worse than Hostel? They can’t just look at the amount of frames where there’s red blood in the shots, they need to look at the overall movie and what the message is. Walking out of a movie like The Hills Have Eyes remake, which I actually really liked, where one girl is being raped, while a mutant is holding an infant in his hand and sucks on the mother’s tit till she lactates, shoots her in the head, bites the head of a parakeet, drinks the blood, runs off into the night with the baby while dad is crucified and on fire outside... no one was fucking laughing in that audience. It wasn’t funny. But that was okay.Victor Crowley ripping somebody’s arms off with his bare hands and blood flying 50 feet in the air like Kill Bill they were like “ oh no, no, no, you can’t do that.”... The MPAA will crumble, but it won’t crumble until someone who doesn’t need them goes after them. That’s the problem. Right now I’m starting out and I’m an easy target. Hopefully in 20 years they won’t car about me anymore and they’ll be after somebody else. That’s when I need to go after them. If Steven Spielberg started a big thing about how this system needs to be refined, something would happen. Why doesn’t he do something? With him, they made up PG-13 for him. There was a shot in a Friday the 13th where Jason punched into a guy’s chest and pulled out his heart. They said they would give him an X unless he got rid of that shot. The same summer, Temple of Doom, no problem. n
Anchor Bay is releasing Hatchet on DVD on December 18
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page 21
The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Troubled Rock Star By Nikki Sixx Simon & Schuster With the success of Motley Crüe:The Dirt, it’s easy to see how Nikki Sixx might have been tempted to repeat the performance. Either that or a canny publisher might have waved a truckful of money under his nose. Whatever the case, Sixx found time to put this thing together and it will probably sell as well or almost as well as The Dirt. However, since Sixx is putting profits from the book into a charity for runaway kids (though he doesn’t say all the profits) his motives are less clear. He says the book is meant to warn people about drugs, but it still seems as if he’s bragging about the massive amounts of drugs consumed, the large number of groupies fucked, and the millions of TV sets hurled from hotel windows. After all, isn’t that what people really want to read about? The interesting thing about human nature is that we just love to read about the
50 X 50 By 50 Cent and Noah Callahan-Bever Pocket Books Coming up from a family filled with hustlers and dealers sure can lead a child to get his priorities all bent. Such is the case of one Curtis Jackson, otherwise known as 50 Cent. Mother killed in a deal gone bad, hustling uncles that supply the then eight year old with crack so he can make himself money, and childhood games such as the hustler-glorifying “that’s mine” all contribute to a story that is as sad as it is a reflection on life growing up for an inner city black youth in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The whole theme of this dolled up autobiography is summed up in “Fiddy’s” most famous line “get rich
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page 22
destruction of our fellow human beings, and the heavier the destruction the better. The damage here is considerable, and when Sixx lies to his own diary you realize how fucked up he was. Since Sixx’s heroin addiction spanned only a relatively short length of time, it’s tempting to write him off as a lightweight, but when you have that much cash even a year or two can be a very long time.The Motley Crüe bassist probably flushed more drugs down the toilet than some addicts go through in their entire career.You see, along with the heroin, Sixx did more than his share of coke, which tends to make people a tad paranoid. The forty-dollar book, which is printed on glossy paper and lavishly decorated throughout with bloody syringes and skulls, is at times difficult to comprehend. Is it really about scaring kids away from drugs or is it a pissing contest? If it’s the latter, Sixx wins; if it’s the former, the book somehow misses the mark. Even when he describes shooting drugs with toilet water, the book has a glamorous ring to it. Not only that, but because the Crüe were such big rock stars, it’s difficult to find empathy for Sixx’s plight. At one point, he actually claims that he doesn’t want to be a rock star. Huh? Perhaps he’d rather be a drywaller. Is that it, WOULD YOU RATHER BE A FUCKING DRYWALLER, NIKKI? We can be sure that Tommy Lee, who also consumed enough liquor and drugs to kill most small countries, never wanted to be anything but a rock star. Midway, the book pauses for an ill-advised intermission where Sixx uses a half-dozen failed analogies to describe his problems like, “All I knew was music was the sails and I had to reach land, but they had tears in them the size of the Himalayas” and ”I was like the guy who throws the anchor off the side of the ship but forgot to attach it to anything.Your [sic] floating aimlessly on the Sea of Stupidity.” Any editor worth their salt would have told Sixx to pick one analogy and stick with it. Throughout the book, Sixx blames his addiction on his mother, who failed to give him the support and love he needed. Why can’t he just accept that some people are born addicts and some aren’t? Sixx still can’t accept full responsibility for his addiction. If you’re looking for a book that will scare you, pick up the Bible. On the other hand, if you’re looking for entertaining adventures about rock stars driving sports cars into trees, The Heroin Diaries is for you. - Chris Walter
or die trying” and ultimately the book reveals that 50 Cent, despite his stringent claims to the opposite, is really just frontin’ his whole persona. While the early part of the book gives an honest look into a kid’s life living in poverty on the mean streets of South Queens, the book eventually devolves into the kind of braggadocio that leaves you wondering whether Fifty is trying harder to convince himself or the reader of his own overinflated sense of selfworth and gangsta “realness”. By chapter two we’re well into Fiddy’s life of crime with section titles like “Gun Love”, “Knucklin’ Up” etc, and while all this might sound great in a novel of fiction, this is real life we’re talking about. Fifty seems to revel in this kind behaviour and chest puffing posture, but never once stops to ask himself if there might be another way to success than through a life of crime. One gets the impression that if mainstream success hadn’t come his way he’d still be selling crack to kids without a second thought. This is a fan collector’s book by all means, and though it looks and reads like it could be, this book is not for kids. Lushly packaged with fold out pictures and lyrics, double thick covers and bonus CD release pocket it is visually a pretty thing to look at, but it comes across more like a pop- up book about thug life than a true biography. Any seriously interested fan won’t be satisfied with the glossing over of the events that make up the man who is 50 Cent. For that you’d be better off with From Pieces to Weight by 50 Cent and Kris Ex. What’s creepy about this book is that while it presents a kind of “You can do it too!” attitude, it eschews any culpability or responsibility on the part of the individual. Need money? Sell drugs. Want power? Get a gun. Want street cred? Publicly dis your competition and get shot. Can’t say I’d advise anyone to use 50 Cent as a blueprint for success, but if you dig his music and want something to impress your homies with when they come over, this book will look good on the coffee table. Until they steal it to buy crack. -T. Steenhuus
By Dan Scum
Last issueâ€™s answers
The Nerve Dec./Jan 2007/2008 Page 23
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Published on Dec 1, 2007
The December 2007 edition of The Nerve was the final issue. It features articles on Black Mountain, Meth Teeth and Hatchet. Also features th...