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Page 6 – THE FRONT BIT Starring Rupture, ROFL, Frank Rizzo, Matrimony, Great Punk Shits III, and the unreal Lancelot Link And The Evolution Revolution. Page 14 – CHESSHIRE Rick Chesshire blows the lid on the emo menace. Page 16 – THE DEVIL WEARS CLODHOPPERS IV Part four of a never-ending interview with trash cinema legend Herschell Gordon Lewis. By Mil Mascaras. Page 20 – MISSION OF BURMA Nancy Reagan’s head on one of the undisputed platters of the year. By Audrey L. Carpetbag. Page 24 – MUNICIPAL WASTE On the piss with UNBELIEVABLY wasted boogie-boarding thrashers Municipal Waste. By Nutso Ward. Page 28 – MASSAPPEAL Australian crossover pioneers back to have fun again. By Danger Coolidge. Page 34 – NASHVILLE PUSSY OZ TOUR DIARY Rockin’ our stages and bathroom stalls - The Pussy run riot Down Under. By Ruyter Suys. Page 40 – SLAYER Metal royalty comes to UNBELIEVABLY Bad. Kerry King on Christ Illusion. By Matt Reekie. Page 42 + 43 – UNBELIEVABLY awesome BEN BROWN CENTRESPREAD Killer Massappeal handbill art from back in the day by our guest cover artist Ben Brown. Page 44 – THE MUMMIES PART II Part two of an UNBELIEVABLY uncooked interview with exMummies leader Trent Ruane. By Owen Penglis. Page 46 – SOME GIRLS San Diego spaz hardcore side-project pissing off punters on their first visit to Oz. By Edward Rooney and George Peterson. Page 52 – THE HOLY SOUL EURO TOUR DIARY Sydney swamp kids get burned by promoters in Belgium, mobbed by fans in France, and other such UNBELIEVABLE touring stories… By Owen Penglis. Page 56 – THE THAW Chillin' with ultra-awesome all-girl Sydney trio The Thaw. By Owen Penglis. Page 60 – COMETS ON FIRE Psych rock existing outside of space and time. By Esther Valdez. Page 64 – HELLFEST 2006 A visit to one of the premier European extreme metal festivals, Hellfest 2006 in France. By Mar Garvey and Rod Hunt. Page 68 – UNBELIEVABLY Opinionated CDs, 7”s, Films, DVDs, Books and ‘Zines reviewed. Page 82 – MY FAVOURITE FREAK Freak of the week: Rondo Hatton. UNBELIEVABLY BAD Issue #4

UB is proudly excreted by : Von Helle - 10 Unwin Street, Bexley NSW, 2207 AUSTRALIA Editor : Danger Coolidge Layout : Faye Kinnitt Cover Design : Ben Brown Text : Owen Penglis, Matt Reekie, Mil Mascaras, Sir Dugless, Augury L. Carpetbag, Mar Garvey, Rod Hunt, Ruyter Suys, Nutso Ward, Edward Rooney, George Peterson, Esther Valdez, Rudi Moore, Dan Stapleton, Clown-fynder General Photography : Rod Hunt, Mel Gathercole, Nashville Pussy, The Holy Soul, J. Bennet, Bum Arrafin, Liv Ingram, Ali McCann, Kelly Davidson, Ed Goralnick, Liz Reed Illustration : Ben Brown, Rick Chesshire, Glenn “Glenno” Smith, Angelica Von Helle Printed by : AviVa Print, Ashfield (www.aviva.net.au) Thanks : Our UNBELIEVABLY supportive advertisers, all the contributors, weed growers Australia-wide, Jay @ AviVa Printing, Glenno, Nik Tropiano, Brian McDonald, Dave Jiannis, Dave Batty, Graham Nixon, Go Badge Co., Pete Whitehorse, Jacko Devilcunt, Jay Blurter, Kami, Ben Ralph, Stu Olsen, Angie, Angus and Phoebe, and loyal UNBELIEVABLY Bad readers everywhere. Send all material for review to : UB c/o Von Helle HQ 10 Unwin Street Bexley NSW 2207 Australia For advertising rates please email unbelievablybad@optusnet.com.au.

UNBELIEVABLY BAD is published every now and then. All material contained herein is copyrighted to its owner. Please don’t reproduce any part of it (except the bits we’ve stolen) without asking first. The opinions expressed in UNBELIEVABLY Bad are almost definitely those of the publisher and editorial staff, but you never can tell sometimes, so don’t jump to any conclusions, okay?


D

ear loyal, if somewhat overly critical UB reader, The following is a quick run through of the mistakes from last issue, many of which have been pointed out by members of our informed, observant, vindictive readership… On the CD disc artwork, the word “Unbelievably” is spelt incorrectly. On the front cover, there was a colour malfunction whereby all the band names came out looking similar and were hard to distinguish from one another. On the Contents page, the Dead Walk! article is credited to Osama Smith when it was written by Luke Logemann. Also, in the credits panel the word “Thanks” got changed into some Chinese lettering. Page 10 saw another font malfunction, this time in the caption box where “The Nuns” text overlapped onto itself. This also occurred in the caption boxes on pages 73 to 75. The cutout CD cover doesn’t fit a standard jewel CD case due to a slight reduction in our page size by our printers. For best results try photocopying at 110%. On page 44, the name “Klaus Flouride” is spelled incorrectly. On page 50, the word “Philadelphia” is spelled incorrectly. Page 64 has the same font problems as page 10, only more pronounced, with the word “Fucking” in the title of the Refused article squashed up onto itself. On page 70, the Fire Witch CD review mentions that they’re a side-project of Goat Witch. It’s actually the other way round - Fire Witch is the main squeeze and Goat Witch a bit on the side. I also bagged out one of their “repetitive guitar lines” when, in fact, the band don’t even play guitars. In the Gallucci You Wrecker! CD review I said twenty-year old diepunkdeath played guitar and sang. It’s actually his 17-year old brother, Josh, who sings and plays guitar. diepunkdeath is the drummer and he’s 22 not 20. On page 80, in the review of the Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Straightjacket Nation split 7-inch, I said The Pagans’ “Boy Can I Dance Good” and The Saints’ “I’m Stranded” were “aging punk tunes,” inadvertently inferring that they sound old. Very sloppy work indeed. “I’m Stranded” will still sound like a sharp smack to the chops long after we’re all dead and forgotten in the ground, and I apologise to Sir Edmund Kuepper if I implied otherwise. Thanks to everyone who pointed out these shortcomings. I really wish I could promise this issue will be better, but as you’ll soon find out, it isn’t. Danger Coolidge

inally insane. ir share of the crim . fa its ed ct tra at s , music ha d the twist s through to GG Allin usic after going roun From Jerry Lee Lewi the greatest artists ever to make m GRAHAM Here’s a selection of BOND English rocker IVOR CUTLER Graham Bond technically a rocker, but a certified Not WESLEY WILLIS a was one of nutcase all the same, Ivor Cutler was

Burger-loving paranoid schizophrenic lord of the Casitone, Wesley Willis paid homage to the things he loved and cursed the things he hated in songs that he claimed helped quiet the voices in his head. He believed the ideal pop song length to be two minutes and fifty seconds, and he wrote and recorded over a thousand ditties during his life – mainly about his music al heroes and bestiality. Filmmaker Daniel Bitton ’s 2003 documentary Rock And Roll Daddy is essential viewing. Diagnosed with Chronic Myelo genous Leukemia at the end of 2002, Wesley died from internal bleeding on August 21st 2003. R.I.P.

ROKY ERICKSON

Having pioneered psych/ garage rock with the 13th Floor Elevators, in 1969, Rocky Erickson (real name Roger Kynard Erickson) was arrested in Austin, Texas for possession of a single marijuana joint. Threatened with a ten-year prison term, Roky pleaded insanity and was sent to the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane k therapy and oshoc electr to cted subje was he where 1972, he formed the in ed releas When ents. Thorazine treatm n had inhabited Martia a ed claim band The Aliens and later Gonna Miss Me by his body. A documentary called You’re last year, which was director Keven McAlester was released rt in twenty years. conce ngth full-le first s followed by Roky’

DANIEL JOHNSTON

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dian Glaswegian poet, music, painter, come and UK cult figure championed by The l Beatles and John Peel (R.I.P). A surrea performer, Ivor was spotted on TV by Paul McCartney and invited to appear in The Beatles’ 1967 film, Magical Mystery Tour ctor. as Buster Bloodvessel, the bus condu e Later that year Beatles producer Georg Martin produced Ivor’s album Ludo at Abbey Road Studios. Of his many eccentricities both musical and otherwise, Ivor was said to carry chalk around with him to draw circle faces around any dogshit he came across. Ivor died on March 7th this year, aged 83. R.I.P.

Johnston writes songs Suffering from bipolar disorder, Daniel dark themes, and sings them for with a disturbing blend of naïvete and Captain America and an unrequited love sings about Casper the Friendly Ghost, in a tentative, high-pitched warble. He in the wake of Jeff Feuerzeig’s fame to shot tly recen l Danie taker. d an under “Laurie,” a girl he met in college who marrie or’s Award at the 2005 Sundance Film ton, which won the filmmaker the Direct documentary The Devil And Daniel Johns recently begun performing again. just only took a turn for the worse and he’s Festival. Not long after this Daniel’s health

the founding geezers of UK rhythm and blues, an innovator, and prop er off his melon too boot. His band, the Graham Bond Orga nization - featuring the futu re Cream rhythm section of Ginger Baker (drums) and Jack Bruce (double bass) - mad e a couple of powerful reco rds before disbanding in ’67 as Bond’s mental and physica l health crumbled. He exhibite d symptoms of what toda y would be called bipolar diso rder: erratic, manic episode s, wild mood swings, and peri ods of intense depression. Hindered by a drug addictio n, his post-Organization wor k was heavily focused on the occult. Convinced he was the son of Alistair Crowley, on May 8th 1974 Bond dived from the platform at Finsbury Park tube station into the path of an approaching train. He was 37. R.I.P.

SYD BARRETT

Syd Barrett (real name Roger Keith Barrett) helped founder Pink Floyd in 1965, writing the best songs on their debut album Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967). Suffering from mental problems, drug use and catatonia, Syd left Pink Floyd in r Full Of Secrets. 1968 before their second album, A Sauce ap Laughs and After two solo albums in 1970, The Madc s council flat in mum’ his of rity obscu the to Barrett, he fled mous acid anony an as days his Cambridge where he lived and diabetes, casualty. Also afflicted with stomach ulcers of sixty. R.I.P. Syd died on June 7th this year at the age


7ZaP 7P__P]^ ?Z /LYRP] shift from “save the animals” to “butcher everything now”, as he similarly morphed from Mr. Sheen to “Gus Chamber”, easily provoked the most controversy, and continued to do so as the band ploughed the same territory over the next decade or more. Initially worthy of some comedy value (particularly on the song “Ruling Class Punks”) the anti-PC, Aussie yobbo shtick grew tired in about the same amount of time as it must have taken the boys to conceive of it. It certainly failed to sustain itself over the next 40 or so releases as Rupture mined their gore obsessed, crust riffs to the hilt on releases such as Cunt Of God, DEAR UNBELIEVABLY BAD, Boys, Nuns, Beer Bottles 'n Cunts As a sleepy hillside suburb on the outer fringes of an and Get Fucked, Cunt. Although the already glorified country town (Perth), you could have band, in their quest to step on the been forgiven for thinking that Kelmscott was a far from toes of P.C.-niks everywhere, avoided happening place in the late 1980s/early 1990s. However, racist diatribe, they certainly didn’t reading your article on Angus McDeth made me realize spare the feelings of women, as Gus’s that there had obviously been more going on than anyone side-project with The Rape Apes would clearly realized at the time. suggest. Eventually shifting to crude Antiseen/ Just around the corner from where McDeth would have Mentors style rock, Rupture’s slew of material been beavering away, elements of Kelmscott’s tiny hardcore only ground to a halt when Gus Chamber went scene (numbering no more than 10 souls and replete with the way of his heroes GG Allin and Darby Crash, its own metal, crust and straight edge factions) were laying dying under questionable circumstances in 2001. down their own series of concept albums on a trusty boom On a wholly unrelated tangent to both box. Named after and dedicated to some poor unfortunate McDeth and Rupture, I wouldn’t be surprised fellow alumni from Kelmscott High with terrible acne and to discover if there hadn’t been a few neo-Nazi no dad, the albums made for hilarious listening until the boneheads pumping out their own hateful tunes realization dawned that the subject was a real live person in Perth’s southern outer suburbs as well. The and that the boys were posting him the tapes. Australian Nationalist Movement (ANM) operated Future projects for the Kelmscott crew also lost their out of Gosnells during the late eighties under humour over time. After moving down to the inner city, the helm of Vietnam vet Jack Van Tongeren Andrew Sheen initially sang with Anarcho-crust-by(a member of the so called “Aryan master race” who numbers band Controlled By Fear, who released a few strangely is of Indonesian descent himself) with a few core tracks on comps and maybe even a tape or two. members residing in neighbouring Kelmscott. The ANM’s Tiring of the apparently stifling confines of the Perth creative endeavours largely consisted of pathetic attempts “peace punk” scene, and no doubt sick of handing out lyric to provoke a “race war” by bombing Chinese takeaways, sheets (mandatory at the time since all that grinding only pasting up racist posters exhorting Hitler and stabbing and served to obscure the ever important “messages”), Andrew fighting Aboriginals/Asians/lefties/punks/each other. The and guitarist Matt split off to form the notorious Rupture Perth cops didn’t bother to take any action, until the ANM’s with Andrew’s old Kelmscott mate, bassist Zombo. warehouse robberies and fire bombings became too high Rupture made an immediate impact on the admittedly profile - although a local “Dial-A-Ninja” line did put a inward looking local and international hardcore scene, crimp in the racists’ style. with a demo tape which featured painstakingly pieced Hopefully any of the “master race” rock that may have together segments from the band’s enormous collection been committed to tape in those years will never see the of splatter films (no mean feat in that still pre-digital age light of day. But who knows what other musical atrocities of home recording). Andrew’s lyrics, which had made the may remain lying around the attics and garages of Perth’s Darling Ranges? Yours, The Bugler Rupture [Dear Bugler, I was pretty speechless when I got your letter in the mail - mind you, I was half drunk at the time and I’d just punched three quick billies. I was barely aware UB readers could tie their shoelaces, let alone string this many coherent sentences together. Well done mate, last issue’s prize pack is yours. Keep on Buglin’.] --------------------Angus McDeth

G’DAY UNBELIEVABLY BAD! Here is one lucky-feeling bastard writing to you hoping to win some Unbelievably decent shit, even if only the Slayer Haunting The Chapel CD. You see… this one is an unbelievably high-ranking frash favourite of mine, and the only copy I got (I only just realized) is on the end of a TDK D90 along with the Hard-Ons/Stupids’ More Cheese EP and Danzing on the other side! And the D90 just don’t count as “own-a-copy” unfortunately. Please send to [address withheld]. Great mag, about time! Cheers, Glenno [We’d love to send you Slayer mate but The Bugler’s already got it.] ---------------------

THANKS FOR SENDING #3. I loved the Mutantes interview and thought the DKs and Mummies pieces were excellent. Ian [This is the second postcard message Ian McKaye has taken the time to drop us. It’s hard not to sound like a namedropping twerp about mentioning it, but the reason I wanted to is because, well, basically, what a cool cunt! Maybe when I become a living legend I’ll start sending notes of encouragement round to people - until then, who can spare the time?!] ---------------------

HERE’S THE PHOTO OF YOUR POSTER IN OUR DUNNY. Hope your mum’s proud! Cheers, J Ward [Thanks for sharing J. If anyone else would like one of these posters (unframed) for their dunny, feel free to get in touch.] ---------------------


! ! N I W

In an effort to encourage better communication between you – yes, you, the cool cunt reading this – and us – yes, us, the sad cunts who couldn’t come up with anything funnier than this half-arsed spiel – we’re prepared to resort to bribery. What better incentive do you need to send us a letter – yes, a real hand-written letter, not a text or email or some bum chum myspace backstabbing best buddies bullshit – than this mega prize pack containing a bunch of the coolest product around, all personally recommended by the wankers at UNBELIEVABLY Bad.

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20 QUESTIONS North Shore thrash bands ROFL and Frank Rizzo recently issued a split EP entitled The Crash That Ended In "E". Here's a shit split interview to go with it...

Frank Rizzo 1. Who invented hardcore? Who really gives A! 2. Who will destroy hardcore? Who really gives A! 3. Why do Frank Rizzo even bother? Boredom. 4. What is the greatest movie of all-time? Um, well, The Jerky Boys. It was the main inspiration for the band even starting. 5. What is the stupidest tattoo you’ve ever seen? A Tweety Bird playing a flying V – Pegazus guitarist.

ROFL 1. Who invented hardcore? Ian McKaye. 2. Who will destroy hardcore? I doubt anyone can ever destroy hardcore, there's too many pissed off people that wanna yell and abuse you with music, whether three people turn up to watch or not. But realistically hardcore's destroyed already because of softcore people who have seen hardcore as a nice bloated source of success and proceeded to suck the life out of it and are currently spouting it back at us as a pissweak manufactured joke. 3. Why do ROFL even bother? We have fun, laugh at people, get off our fuckin' dials, tell people what we really think, and they have gone out of their way, often having paid to listen. On top of it we subsequently get paid, so it's a cheap night for us and usually get free alcohol. 4. What is the greatest movie of all-time? Spirited Away - it can teach everyone something valuable about life. And it's too hard to decide on one greatest movie. 5. What is the stupidest tattoo you’ve seen? Dano our guitarist's self-inflicted coffee mug on his thigh. It's also the coolest tattoo I've seen. People should ask him about it. 6. Describe the biggest musical low you've ever had. Probably the afternoon BBQ backyard show in Brisbane. We were fucked over on acid and alcohol from the night before and I was hanging off the clothesline for support with an energy level ranging from nil to one percent. Dano later fucked his guitar lead and was doin' some wild air guitar. Also worthy of note were the chickens roaming everywhere pecking at the bowl of hooch. Punk’s Picnic, also during the day, was probably our shittest show ever. We don't do matinees very well. 7. If you had a time machine and could go back or forwards in time, what gig would you most like to attend? A reunion show I put on in the future with Fallout, Magnacite, Open Wound and Stamanech 6.40. Chuck Forward Defence on the bill too. Oh, and Frontside with Adam drumming. 8. What was the first song you ever wrote and how did the chorus go?

6. Describe the biggest musical low you've ever had? Being shafted by venues and pimps. 7. If you had a time machine and could go back or forwards in time, what gig would you most like to attend? Dimebag’s finale. 8. What was the first song you ever wrote and how did the chorus go? “Glazed and Confused”. No real chorus but it’s fast and about whales! Haha! 9. Why did the crash have to end in E? See ROFL’s response for this answer. 10. What (or whom) does Frank Rizzo hate most? Mincing, Maybelline, mascara-wearing, hairspray-loving, metallic puke-core, girly jean-wearing he\she bands! Another fucking fad that will be gone sooner or later!!! 11. Who should be running the world? RIZZO for PM!! 12. What song is most likely to leave you bawling your eyes out? Any song by a band that falls into the answer to question # 10 – tears of sheer laughter!! 13. Avenged Sevenfold – please explain? N/A. 14. What is the best covers band you’ve ever seen? Jet. 15. Why does heavy music continue to influence children to kill their parents? Does it? Misinformed journos may have something to do with it if so… 16. List the following in order from the best cartoon show to the worst: a) Jetsons. b) Wacky Races. c) Huckleberry

ROFL

I'll get Micko [drums] to answer this question, as I was only hired as a temporary replacement for Paul Shirkstar after ROFL's initial inception. 9. Why did the crash have to end in E? Because Grant the drummer of Rizzo said it had to. Originally it was going to be called Rehab Is For Quitters. But I think because the split song was intended for ROFL to ring out on an E chord and for Rizzo to pick up off that to complete the song. Grant then decided to incorporate that into the title. I don't actually know if the title has something to do with the crash dummies on the artwork, or if the dummies are in the artwork because of the title. I also don't know if Grant intended any underlying themes with the E, such as me and Dano being completely fucked on them whilst recording in Grant's presence, or not. 10. What (or whom) does ROFL hate most? ROFL as a collective I'd say hates all the scum that wallow in ignorance and/or due to their selfish outlook constantly make others lives a misery. Or maybe that's just me… nah, they probably agree. 11. Who should be running the world? Bill Hicks. For obvious reasons. 12. What song is likely to leave you bawling your eyes out? “Mad World” by Tears For Fears, or Gary Jules, depends which one you feel like listening to. 13. Avenged Sevenfold – please explain? Are they some sort of dogshit new "hardcore"?

Frank Rizzo

Show d) Herculoids. Herculoids e) Roger Ramjet. Ramjet Hound Show. Wacky Races, Jetsons, Roger Ramjet, Herculoids, Huckleberry Hound. 17. What is the ultimate mood-destroying party-killing album? Roy Mustaka – I Love Australia. 18. What is the greatest Manowar song of all? You mean those loincloth wearing muthafuckers….? 19. Who have been the greatest influences on Frank Rizzo’s fashions? What is fashion? 20. Who is a stupider cunt, John Howard or Kim Beazly? They both smoke a mean pole!

14. What is the best covers band you’ve ever seen? I think the only good covers band I've ever seen was Splitting Head's Left For Dead cover band. Rad Beligion from Newcastle would be awesome but I always miss them play. The best song covered I've ever seen would be This Is… covering “No Spiritual Surrender” by Inside Out. 15. Why does heavy music continue to influence children to kill their parents? Because maniacal Christian fuckholes love sticking their filthy unwanted noses in other people’s affairs. And due to fact that they are ignorant simple Christian folk with no sane grip on the complexities of the world and the different ways everything can coincide, they jump to outlandish, narrowminded conclusions. So instead of seeing the point that kids that kill their parents listen to heavy music, they just see a fact in their mind, that people who listen to heavy music kill their parents. Whether heavy music existed or not, these kids still would've killed their parents. If my answer's too long I grant you free will to chop it all you like, but I just wanted to mention the hoo-har about the animals in tanks in Iraq listening to Slayer whilst gunning motherfuckers down. Well, I'm not excusing anything, but if I was faced with the situation where I had to gun cunts down in a tank, I'd more than likely pick “Reigning Blood” to blare over the cockpit radio. 16. List the following in order from the best cartoon show to the worst: a) Jetsons. b) Wacky Races. c) Huckleberry Hound Show. d) Herculoids. e) Roger Ramjet. Roger Ramjet. Jetsons. Huckleberry Hound. And I've never seen the other two. Some stoner in the background is yelling that one of the options should've been Transformers. 17. What is the ultimate mood-destroying party-killing album? Umm some fucking piece of shit RnB album that gets played too often, like umm, I don't even know, let’s say Usher or some cockeye like Justin Timberlake usually upsets the party's applecart. There's certainly nothing rhythmic or bluesy about that codswallop. 18. What is the greatest Manowar song of all? To be frank with you, I know how a few Man-O-War songs go, but not the names of them. Now, Slaughter, “Eye To Eye”, that’s a song that'll urinate all over any song Man-O-War has to offer. 19. Who have been the greatest influences on ROFL’s fashions? Bands that we like's shirts. Nintendo game shirts. And whoever makes loose fitting jeans that don't hug your balls too much. ROFL is against clothes that figure-hug the nutsack too tightly. 20. Who is a stupider cunt, John Howard or Kim Beazly? N/A


Great Punk Shits ess.

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VOX POP

HORRORCOMIC

Grunge is a dirty word these days, and with good reason, Candlebox and all those other be-shorted longhairs saw to that... but in the beginning it weren't like that, honest, it were a mire of garage, punk and inept heavy rock that groups like Mudhoney were peddling. And compared to what was going down elsewhere, it sounded pretty damn good - drunk, fucked-up, no good music that is wonderful when done right. If any band can be fingered as a precursor to grunge, it's probably Flipper, but more pointedly, it's probably Vox Pop, who go as far as sounding like a Mudhoney outtake on this, their best tune (even though th' toon was recorded in '78). A seven-piece group featuring hip LA punk scenesters like Don Bolles (Da Germs, 45 Grave) and Jeff Dahl (Angry Samoans), Vox Pops’ “Cab Driver” is a vicious grind that ups the noise ante of “tunes” like The Germs’ “Forming” and pushes the sound into the total sludge zone. It's the kind of musical seasickness that few groups have matched since. Darby Crash actually croaked that Vox Pop were the worst band he'd ever heard, and I really don't think you can get a better recommendation than that.

Horrorcomic were really too old and unfashionable to ever succeed in the punk rock business, even though they were there front and centre in England '77 (which is, incidentally, the title of the B-side of this single ), and they released some wonderful, pub-soaked, punky stuff. For me, "I Don't Mind" is a classic piece of punk era stupidity, a sleazy bit of noisy tosh that has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Similar to the Depressions, Horrorcomic eschew politics for simple boy/girl, groin grind action, going as far to suggest that the guy doesn't mind what goes down as long as he gets his leg over and her boyfriend doesn't find out. You're left thinking that he's got no chance with this bird and that he's gonna have to go home to his bedsit and beat himself senseless. Think Count Bishops, Radiators From Space, Radio Stars and all those other pub rockers who safety-pinned themselves up so they could sneak into the punk club through the back door. Fuzzed out guitar, rudimentary leads, chugging rhythm section and a cheekiness that echoes across the ages!! Some fool has released the entire, hitherto unreleased, Horrorcomic album on CD and if you don't buy it you're a square who's just taking up space on this crowded planet of ours.

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TAPEWORM Æ7gZV`Bn;VXZÇ

Horrorcomic

I know little about Tapeworm; they're one of those wonderful regional US (Connecticut if you wanna get specific) punk groups that sprung up like maggots writhing on the rotting, post-Pistols garbage pile. Featuring a truly inspirational Chuck Berry-style riff and howled punky vocals, this is one of those songs that doesn't let you care what the singer is babbling on about (which is basically that this tough guy could break his

own face if he wanted to but won't have his heart broken by some chick). The band is tight, the singer sounds like a demented fool and the engineer is so busy panning the vocals and lead break left and right in a completely insane manner that he's forgotten to really include much in the way of bass or drums. Who cares, the guitar is a guttural drone and the muffled rhythm section sound tight from behind four feet of cotton wool. Best part is when the singer howls "FUZZBOX!!!!" just as the lead break kicks in. Terminal stupidity wrapped in a blanket of ultra cool.

AUTHORITIES Æ>=ViZ8dehÇ

Real fast, real crazy...the Authorities are probably closer to hardcore but their love of substance abuse and their sneering lyricism have firmly endeared them to the denizens of the GPS underground punk rock research bunker. First off these are some of the best punk rock lyrics ever, funny as hell and a simple message that we can all relate to, (if you're reading this and you don't hate cops then you are a fuckin' narc, so piss off, fascist). The band is tight, not too fast, the guitars buzz like pissed off mosquitoes who've been dining exclusively on the blood of speedfreaks and the rhythm section keep it simple and effective. The singer has a certain Jello-ness to his thing, but without the whining intellectualism, and the lyrics are so simple and funny that you can't help but laugh. He hates cops because, "They are all fucking piggers, they got little moustaches, they sleep where they want," and then goes on to relate the sad tale that, "we were doing nothing wrong, we were only shooting up and along come the cops and they say put em up!" What a fuckin injustice! So next time you are in a back alley mainlining Ajax and the man comes up and gives you some street-hassle, stand up proudly and sing the words to this wonderful song whilst the fascist bully boys rain down blows with their nightsticks. You might get hospitalised and/or incarcerated but your pride will be fully intact.


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hen Joe S. Harrington of The Boston Phoenix called Matrimonyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kitty Finger â&#x20AC;&#x153;the great lost Riot Grrrl album,â&#x20AC;? he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t too far off the mark. Certainly there are stronger connections to that subsequent American feminist rock movement than just the mere fact that Matrimony were a grungy femme-powered rock band with primitive musical ability and a frontwoman who could gargle punk razorblades and make it sound like a sweet out-of-tune lullaby. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s well recognised that Matrimony bassist Zeb Olsen and her brother, Kitty Finger co-producer Stuart Olsen, played in the band Viva Knievel with one of Riot Grrrlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chief instigators, Kathleen Hanna. This was in 1990, a year after the release of Kitty Finger and just prior to the formation of Hannaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Riot Grrrl poster band Bikini Kill. Ultimately, though, whether or not Kitty Finger had an influence on Riot Grrrl is fairly irrelevant. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s simply a wonderous fucking album. And to her credit, Kathleen Hanna, now fronting Le Tigre, has helped increase its profile at every opportunity. In 1997 she persuaded the Kill Rock Stars label to re-issue Kitty Finger on CD in America (which has since gone out of print), and has been known to talk about Matrimony onstage when playing shows in Australia, encouraging Australians to find out a bit about our own forgotten rock past. Formed in Sydney in late-'88, Matrimony werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t together

that long - about a year maybe. An all-girl combo except for drummer Michael Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill, the line-up was Sybilla Vassali on vocals, Polly Williams on fuzz guitar, Dani Marich on guitar, Zeb Olsen on bass and Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill on drums. In early 1989, after playing a handful of shows at places like the Evil Star in Surry Hills, the drummer of The Cannanes, David Nichols, offered to bankroll the recording of a Matrimony album, which resulted in this trashy fuzz pop masterpiece. Recorded and mixed at Fatboy Studios, Rozelle over two days in June of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;89, Kitty Finger was a hastily cobbled together production overseen by a threeman team of Stu Olsen, Anthony Keena and Matthew Bright, with in-house engineer Cameron Howlett pulling the sounds and handling the mix. Opener â&#x20AC;&#x153;Elvis Superstarâ&#x20AC;? introduces many of the elements that define the Matrimony sound - a loose, thudding primal drumbeat, indiscriminate rudimentary lead guitar, punkspirited bass and rhythm guitar, all dominated by Sybillaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strangely acerbic yet sultry vocals. The languid cover of the Scientistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Frantic Romanticâ&#x20AC;? is a stand out on Side One. With Sybilla delivering two separate vocal tracks for added looseness, it has a slow-down, seductive quality that Kim Salmon never fathomed, and the fact that she doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t switch the gender of the song and keeps it about a girl, makes it bite even harder. Side Two is the stronger side, kicked off by a title track displaying the fragile side of Sybillaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s voice as well as the lax pop stylings of the band. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whirlpool Headâ&#x20AC;? is a B52s-meetsButthole Surfers deal sung by guitarist Polly. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mister Popstarâ&#x20AC;? is a mere sketch of a song where Sybilla gushes sarcastically, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh, oh, oh, Mr. Popstar!â&#x20AC;? She avoids revealing the identity of her muse by posing the rhetorical question, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh my god, how many have I got to choose from?â&#x20AC;? But then, two tracks later, on â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pete Songâ&#x20AC;?, she could not be more blunt as she repeats â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Love You Anymoreâ&#x20AC;? in a haunting lament believed to be about Lubricated Goat guitarist Peter Hartley. Stripped-back highlight â&#x20AC;&#x153;Come Back Babyâ&#x20AC;? is just Zeb

playing fuzzy walking bass and everyone else clicking their fingers as Sybilla delivers the finest vocal of the whole album, while closer â&#x20AC;&#x153;Refrigeratorâ&#x20AC;? is a strange one with shades of Stu Spasm about finding your lover in the supermarket freezer, â&#x20AC;&#x153;marked frozen goods.â&#x20AC;? Embodying the DIY aesthetic of punk, Matrimony were not refined musicians, nonetheless they conveyed a depth of emotion not normally heard outside the realms of the underground. Without being dark or particularly â&#x20AC;&#x153;gothicâ&#x20AC;?, they bought into the thrift-store fashion ideals of the darker sub-cultures, and Lydia Lunch was both a musical and philosophical influence. Sound-wise there are undoubted similarities to the future forays of Bikini Kill and other Riot Grrrl groups, though this is a phenomenon comparable to The Saints making proto-punk in the mid-seventies parallel to, yet with no knowledge of, the Ramones â&#x20AC;&#x201C; both are simply part of the same lineage. Also Matrimony, it must be said, had very little to do with the strong â&#x20AC;&#x153;third waveâ&#x20AC;? feminist rhetoric that would sit at the fundamental apex of Riot Grrrl. Though they were (Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neil aside) a band of gorgeous, independent vixens, and Kitty Finger is undoubtedly loaded with empowering female symbolism - the artwork incorporating Sybillaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exposed chest on the cover being Exhibit A - Matrimony were in no way militant about their gender. The song â&#x20AC;&#x153;Prickâ&#x20AC;?, for example, with its refrain of, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I need a prick thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a real hard pleaser,â&#x20AC;? would probably not have gone down well in Olympia, Washington or Washington, D.C. circa-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;92. Not limited by any dogma, Matrimonyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s music, lyrics and image were just reflections of them as people. With their guitars and rock attitude they were not rejecting the male species but empowering themselves. [Just as an aside: If one really wanted to draw further parallels to Riot Grrrl, Kitty Fingerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cover artwork and inner sleeve design also deserves consideration. A mix of handwriting and cut and paste elements, it seems very much a forerunner to sections of the Riot Grrrl fanzine, started by members of Bratmobile with Kathleen Hanna in the early nineties to publish their pussy-power manifestos.] Kitty Finger was made in the middle of â&#x20AC;&#x2122;89, but Matrimony had split before the year was out. Not only did they slip through the cracks of the mainstream, they slipped by most of the cool crowd too, known and adored by only a small handful of people even today. While several of the members went on to play in other bands (most notably Zeb with Mesmo, Mothra and Smoke, the latter also featuring Dani), Sybilla died tragically from a heroin overdose in 1992. R.I.P.


LEI<8C98E;J=IFD=8EK8JPC 8E; #1: Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution (Lancelot Link Secret

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n all-chimpanzee rock group playing groovy sixties psychedelic bubblegum, The Evolution Revolution are the only band we could’ve possibly chosen to kick off this new series on Unreal Bands – bands that are so unreal they never existed in the first place (‘cept on TV or in the movies or some other form of non-reality). Starring in the greatest television show ever put into production, the early-seventies all-chimp extravaganza Lancelot Link Secret Chimp, the band was fronted on guitar and vocals by none other than Lance Link himself. Lance does the greatest impression of playing a Fender Strat ever attempted by a monkey (making realistic chord shapes with his simian fingers and all), but his lip-synching leaves a lot to be desired. Lance’s girlfriend, Mata Hari, is on tambourine, and some other cool and crazy apes make up the rhythm section on keys and drums. The Evolution Revolution’s psychedelic video clips were normally shown in between Lancelot Link episodes, introduced by Ed Simian, a chimp doing an Ed Sullivan impersonation. Occasionally, though, they would feature in the actual plotlines, playing gigs at local haunt The Coconut Grove, where they got the dancefloor going bananas – literally! In one episode, the band plays coded rock songs as a way of delivering messages to fellow secret agents in the audience. With tunes like the single “Sha-La Love You”, the kickin’ rad “Kissin’ Doll”, and the fantastically titled “Superstatic, Instamatic, Electric Vibrations”, they absolutely fried the Partridge Family with their wild electrified bubblegum sound. Obviously not recorded by chimps, the songs were mostly written and sung by Steve Hoffman, a hitherto unknown singer/songwriter, with session musicians providing back-up. The music of The Evolution Revolution is tied closely to that of late sixties group The Grass Roots, who enjoyed minor success with songs like “Temptation Eyes”. The 1970 self-titled Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution LP was released on the same label as The Grass Roots, Dunhill/ABC. Produced by the label’s A&R man, Steve Barri, many of the session players used had also features on The Grass Roots’ recordings. Indeed, it was Barri who originally gave the Lance Link crew the first single “Sha-La Love You”, which had been rejected by The Grass Roots at the demo stage. Bubblegum at its most primitive, you'll go ape for The Evolution Revolution.

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erschell Gordon Lewis is a classic exploitation film director. Guys like him and Ray Dennis Steckler and Ted V. Mikels and many others of that generation survived on the smell of oily rags â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and if there was a cheaper solution to an oily rag, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d go with that. If there was any way imaginable to save a buck while making a picture, these guys would try it. Sometimes things came off, sometimes they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. Here's a story about one of the things that didn't. In 1964 Lewis was looking for a â&#x20AC;&#x153;second featureâ&#x20AC;? to accompany his latest film Moonshine Mountain as a double bill to play in drive-ins. Having worked sporadically as a cameraman on a film by Z-grade director Bill Rebane called Terror At Halfday, which had been in production on and off for three years before eventually being scrapped, Lewis was able to purchase the abandoned footage from which he tried to cobble together some kind of film, any kind of film. Monster A Go-Go was the unfortunate result. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The picture that comes complete with a 10-foot-tall monster to give you the wimwams!â&#x20AC;? was one of the taglines used on the poster, a statement that seems almost coherent when compared with the film itself. After starting off with the killer â&#x20AC;&#x153;Go, You Monster, Goâ&#x20AC;? theme song (â&#x20AC;&#x153;You may come from beyond the moon / But to me you're just a goonâ&#x20AC;Śâ&#x20AC;?), the obnoxious narrator (actually the voice of HG Lewis) blurts, â&#x20AC;&#x153;What you are about to see may not even be possible within the narrow limits of human understanding!â&#x20AC;? Yeah, and getting to the end of the picture may not be within the narrow limits of human patience. Monster A Go-Go is most recognised today for being mocked as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on US cable channel Comedy Central. Once he saw the finished product, Bill Rebane was utterly disgusted and to this day insists that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the worst picture ever made. But considering Rebane went on to make a heap of stink-bombs, including 1975â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Giant Spider Invasion (poorly disguised VW Beetles as giant spiders? Herbie Goes Arachnid!), his evaluation is about as valid as Elvis Presleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s licence. Here is Part Four of my never-ending interview with Herschell Gordon Lewisâ&#x20AC;Ś

Monster A Go-Go is a great title. Your films have the kind of titles that just make you want to see them, like She-Devils On Wheels (1967), Just For The Hell of It (1968), Boin-n-g (1963), This Stuffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll Kill Ya! (1971); was that where a movie idea would often start? Yeah, but sometimes during a shoot a title would change to something else.

Some films also received alternative titles so they could play the same areas twice. The best one for me was the alternate title for This Stuffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll Kill Ya!, which was The Devil Wears Clodhoppers! Who came up with that one? I did. We had that on a couple of occasions. In some places, instead of Blood Feast we had Flesh Feast. And the Gore Gore Girls had an alternative title too [Blood Orgy] thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still on some prints.

MARKETING BY HG LEWIS Completely aside from his reputation as the Godfather Of Gore and one of the most unique auteurs of the 20th century, Herschell Gordon Lewis is known in marketing circles as one of the best copywriters in the game. Author of 27 books including The Complete Advertising and Marketing Handbook, Sales Letters That Sizzle, How to Make Your Advertising Twice As Effective at Half the Cost, and the classic On the Art of Writing Copy, he has also contributed to many trade publications and is a columnist for Multichannel Merchant. A much sought-after speaker for audiences all over the world, in 2003 Herschell was inducted into the American Direct Marketing Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hall of Fame. Showing his expertise is not limited to any particular realm, in 1988 he even had a book published called Everybodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide To Plate Collecting.

Another title I really love, though I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seen the film, is Sin, Suffer, and Repent (1965).

Like Monster A Go-Go, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s another situation in which I became an unwitting partner in making a movie. A fellow I knew got a hold of this film made during World War II which was designed to keep soldiers from contracting venereal diseases, sexually transmitted diseases. He had this film and he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;That wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work anymore, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll make up a movie that has someone giving birth to a baby.â&#x20AC;? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where Sin, Suffer, Repent came from. We took out some footage and put in some other footage, there was nothing to it at all. We shot the whole thing in one day.

The Porridge-Faced Assassin (Monster A-Go-Go)


How much time did you spend putting Monster A Go-Go together?

Monster A Go-Go was not a movie that I made. The story of Monster A Go-Go is that there was a fella called Bill Rebane, R-e-b-a-n-e, who started to shoot a movie with the strange title, Terror at Halfday. It was named after this small town out of Chicago, about 400 miles out mind you, that nobody had ever heard of called Halfday. I felt that title made no sense at all. Rebane was shooting and stopping and shooting and stopping and on some occasions I was his cameraman. He would keep running out of money and then heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have to stop until he could promote some more funds and shoot some more. So Rebane had exposed 80,000 feet of film - black and white, thank god. I was convinced there had to be a movie in there somewhere and I needed a second picture to play as a double feature with Moonshine Mountain (1964). In those days, in drive-in theatres, they would play double features and the first film got a percentage of the nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s takings while the second feature just got a flat amount of money. And invariable, if you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t control both halves a theatre would tell both producers, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh your film was the second half,â&#x20AC;? so both producers would get a lesser share. The solution was to control both pieces. So I needed a second piece to go with Moonshine Mountain and here was Terror At Halfday, so I bought all that footage up and I thought there was a movie in there and there wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. We shot one thousand feet of telegrams being received and feet walking and all these crazy little bits and pieces to try to make it come out okay, but it made absolutely no sense at all. One of the problems I thought was funny was that there was an army officer in the film and Rebane would rent his uniform each time heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d shoot and the uniform would go back to the shop in between times. So at one point the fella had been in a colonelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s uniform but then it came back as a captainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s uniform, and no one seemed to notice. I thought we should have had a scene in the film where he was promoted to colonel and then demoted back to captain for doing something terribly wrong. But the funniest part was that Rebane had an actor in there who in the early scenes was bald. But because the thing took so long to make, somewhere along the line this fella had bought himself a hairpiece. So when we edited it together I thought maybe we could have him be his own brother. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what else to do! It was perfectly clear to me that the only way to sell this movie or at least have people understand that I knew what the hell I was doing was to campaign it as a satire, which is what we did.

Was there a script you could work with when editing the thing? I never saw the script. Even though I was Bill Rebane's cameraman a number of times when he was shooting it, I never saw the script. But I knew a few things about it. The actor in there was a fella named Henry Hite, H-i-t-e, who was billed in the old Vaudeville days as â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tallest Man.â&#x20AC;? Henry Hite was about eight-feet tall, and in his dotage his ankles were so gone he could barely walk because of all the weight pushing down on his ankles. But in his salad days there was a Vaudeville team called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Low, Hite and Stanleyâ&#x20AC;?. Low was a midget. Hite was Henry Hite, and Stanley was just a normal fellow. But Stanley died and the act broke up, which I could never understand because he was obviously the most replaceable of the three. So I came across Henry Hite, who was certainly a nice fellow, but who didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite understand why the world had passed him by. He was living in a fairly modest hotel on Rush Street in Chicago and could not have been more cooperative. But he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what this movie was all about either! Anyway, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s certainly a monument to amateurism.

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Did you have to show it to a distributor first or were they okay with taking anything?

We showed it to a distributor but we showed them the package. We sold Moonshine Mountain and we let Monster A Go-Go come with it as a second half. So the distributors didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really care. They went to a theatre owner and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here is your show for the next week, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Moonshine Mountain.â&#x20AC;? And the theatre didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care because usually at that time the first picture would go on and it really wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite dark yet and cars were still coming in, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m talking about drive-in theatres. In conventional theatres Moonshine Mountain played alone.

Was Monster A Go-Go ever reviewed anywhere? I hope not!

The poster screamed: â&#x20AC;&#x153;You've Never Seen a Picture Like This - Thank Goodness!â&#x20AC;? Certainly. â&#x20AC;&#x153;An Astronaut Went Up, A Something Else Came Down,â&#x20AC;? I forget what the campaign really was but it was tongue-in-cheek from top to bottom.

Was there no other way to market the thing? No, there wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, there certainly wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. I felt taken. Because I had laid out cash money for what I thought was a film, and there was no film in there. Rebane had exposed so much film, we were laughing about it. My editor said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got enough leader here for the next ten movies.â&#x20AC;?


Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing that you could come up with a concept to get it played in a theatre.

A couple of the more engrossing scenes (Monster A-Go-Go)

At the time we had no cable, we had no satellite, we had no video cassette, we certainly had no DVD; we had no secondary distribution at all. We were competing for theatrical release with major company motion pictures. So it was a matter of living on our wits. It was always my opinion that any schmuck can aim a camera, but to have people, not just come to see the movie, but to say to someone else, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You must go and see this movie,â&#x20AC;? thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s showmanship. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always felt that showmanship is superior to just the raw dumping of dollars that goes on in Hollywood. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m reading books where directors are shooting seventy takes a scene. I think thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obscene. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe in shooting rehearsals and I certainly donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think anyone ever walk out of a theatre because of a ragged pan. Not that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m advocating amateur productions, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m advocating entertainment over finesse. That is probably heresy to a lot of people in the business.

Have you ever heard of anyone asking for their money back after seeing one of your pictures?

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the time and the picture was a smashing success. I had a distributor in Charlotte, North Carolina â&#x20AC;&#x201C; youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re bringing back some ancient memories here â&#x20AC;&#x201C; he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Can I order a print direct from the lab?â&#x20AC;? I said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sure Harry.â&#x20AC;? So when we got this print back after its run all the black and white was in one chunk and all the colour was in another. I phone him, I said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Harry, didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you notice that about fifteen minutes before this picture is over the flash on the screen saying The End?â&#x20AC;? He said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well there was all this stuff going on before the front titles, I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think anything of it when it kept running past the end titles.â&#x20AC;? And apparently nobody complained!

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What was the last film you walked out of wanting your money back?

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They wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ask me anyway. This is a strange business; let me give you an example. We were playing at a group of theatres in Mid-Western United States called Central States Theatres and they wanted a print of Blood Feast and we had the laboratory to send the print directly to them. They opened the movie on Friday. Some time Monday I had a phone call from the manager of one of their theatres saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Just out of curiosity, how does Blood Feast end?â&#x20AC;? Blood Feast is a seven-reel picture by the way. So I said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well it ends with the guy in the back of a garbage scout, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ground up into hamburger meat.â&#x20AC;? He says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Not on my print.â&#x20AC;? I said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s it on your print?â&#x20AC;? He says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;My print appears to be a repeat of reel five.â&#x20AC;? I asked, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Did anyone yell and scream and complain?â&#x20AC;? He says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yeah, one guy, we just gave him something at the refreshment stand and that calmed him down!â&#x20AC;? You see, this is why producers become cynical. I remember we made this picture called Daughter Of The Sun (1962) and it was a nature camp picture where all the action scenes were in black and white and all the nature stuff was in colour, which was a remarkable achievement at

something was really awry with his attitude towards filmmaking at that point. People reach a point, if they are successful enough, where they feel that they are invulnerable and cannot make a mistake. And that is when they begin to make mistakes. Since my films were always based on mistakes I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have that cross to bear. I suppose I kept thinking about the man who Herschell's promo shot made 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), he is up there with Orson Welles and other giants. At the Academy Awards this year they gave a special award to Robert Altman, and I felt, of all the directors I could think of, he certainly was an innovator. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fearless and he has my profound respect â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not that it means anything to him.

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REVIEW

Dr. Logan, or his brother? (Monster A-Go-Go)

MONSTER-A-GO-GO (1965)

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tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s common in films for a voiceover narrator to have the first and last word of the picture, but very rarely is the narrator the actual star of a film. Then again, Monster-AGo-Go is not like other films. In fact, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s debatable whether it even qualifies as a film - more like a cinematic sci-fi abortion. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;plotâ&#x20AC;? concerns American astronaut Frank Douglas (Henry Hite â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tallest Man) who has mysteriously disappeared from a space capsule after it crashed back to earth. Due to some faulty â&#x20AC;&#x153;Radiation Repellantâ&#x20AC;?, Douglas has turned into an oafish radioactive beast with porridge stuck to his face who appears to be killing people by turning their blood to powder. As a crack team of scientists and military men at the Space Agency Astrophysical Laboratories in Chicago conduct one of the most convoluted, pathetic and downright boring investigations in the history of paranormal homicide, the radioactive Douglas (appearing onscreen only in quick flashes) attacks a boozed-up couple making out in their car. He then wastes a nosy scientist called Dr. Logan who was busily carrying out some further pointless research. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about here that Monster-A-Go-Go performs some kind of seismic backflip whereby the storyline suffers a tragic prolapse and roughly 70% of the main cast are trapdoored outta there, never to be seen, heard from or spoken of again. The film jumps forward eight weeks in time, with several new

scientists carrying on the investigation in the (unexplained) absence of their colleagues. As if on a mission to redefine the word perplexing, a new Dr. Logan pops us - no, not the guy the monster killed only a few scenes ago, but his brother. Both Dr. Loganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s are played by the same Vladimir Lenin look-alike, but you can easily tell them apart because one is completely bald and the other one has a wig on. Confused? Who isn't?! Our friend the Narrator (HG Lewis performing â&#x20AC;&#x153;Additional Dialogueâ&#x20AC;? under his pseudonym Sheldon Seymour) pipes up to inform us that unbeknownst to his fellow scientists, the dead Dr. Loganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brother, also called Dr. Logan, has had the radioactive astronaut/monster locked up in a storeroom for eight weeks and has been feeding him an â&#x20AC;&#x153;antidoteâ&#x20AC;? designed to return him to human form. All of a sudden, however, Loganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s laboratory has been trashed and the monster is on the loose again. Of course, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t actually see any of the destruction or the daring escape - you just have to take the Narratorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s word for it. Already running on empty, the film reaches new lows as it attempts to give the impression of a military strike against the monster via a interminable sequence of stock footage of police, military and fire personnel as the Narrator tries in vain to explain what the bloody hell is going on. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not already suicidal, having watched this far, what happens next will surely have you reaching for the chewable

cyanide. Without warning, just as a couple of the science guys are hot on the trail of the monster down a sewer tunnel, the bastard Narrator delivers the weakest cop-out in cinema history, bleating: â&#x20AC;&#x153;As if a switch had been turned, as if an eye had been blinked, as if some phantom force in the universe had made a move eons beyond our comprehension, suddenly, there was no trail, there was no giant, no monster; nothing called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Douglasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to be followed. There was nothing in the tunnel but the puzzled men of courage who suddenly found themselves alone with shadows and darkness.â&#x20AC;? What the fuck! There was no monster after all! You mean I just sat through the most vexing and tedious non-film ever made for nothing! The film grinds to a complete halt as Dr. Logan Mk II hands a telegram to one of the castâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only mainstays, Colonel Steve Connors (Phil Morton). The Narrator says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;With the telegram, one cloud lifts, and another descends. Astronaut Frank Douglas, rescued, alive, well, and of normal size some eight thousand miles away in a lifeboat, with no memory of where he has been or how he was separated from his capsule.â&#x20AC;? As the shock of such a crappy finale starts to sink in, the words â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Endâ&#x20AC;? flash up accompanied by go-go music. At this point you just need to keep calm and realise that things will eventually return to normal and all youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve really lost is a couple of clusters of brain cells and seventy-minutes out of your life.


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Mission Of Burma. Clinton Conley interview by Audrey L. Carpetbag.

could go on and on about this band, but many have already been here before me, and much has already been said. But fuck it… this group of artistically minded individuals from Boston in the state of Massachusetts, USA is a band that has stood the test of time. Their music is testament to the worth of the often undervalued punk/DIY ethos of the early eighties era they came out of, while the albums they put out today are just as potent and provoking as what they released over twenty years ago. We were unbelievably beside ourselves when bassist, vocalist and founding member of Mission Of Burma, Clinton Conley, said he’d be stoked to talk about the past, present and future of his band. Mission of Burma formed around 1979 and were constantly referred to in the same sentences as bands like Black Flag, The Minutemen, Minor Threat and the like. They played loud, very loud. They were unprecedented. They influenced many people. They broke rules. They wrote new rules. These were exciting times.

‡‡‡ BACK IN THE DAY ‡‡‡ What was it like being a musician and being in an environment that was literally exploding with new and unheard of sounds? “There will always be exciting stuff happening, good bands and interesting music. But I guess some eras are more exciting than others and we were very fortunate to be around during that punk super-nova, when the world of rock was being destroyed and re-created,” Clint says, somewhat humbly referring to his involvement in the punk movement. “It was terribly exciting back then; there was new stuff and new sounds coming out every week strange, never-before-heard-of music - it was intoxicating.

It has been said a zillion times at least that Mission Of Burma “rewrote” punk music. How do you feel about this statement? Do you believe it’s true? “No, not entirely. We were intent on creating our own sound; originality was our goal, certainly.” One listen to the Burma’s 1980 7-inch, “Academy Fight Song”, and you see that this was a group dripping in originality. They boasted the complexities of free jazz, but also the simplicity of tasteful discordant pop, marrying both sides together with the proto punk heaviness of the MC5 and Stooges. “During the seventies I was into Iggy, Velvet Underground and The Kinks, but I was branching out into free jazz,” Clint explains. “Stuff by Miles [Davis], Ornette [Coleman] and [Archie] Shepp.” But it was that rock and punk flavor that had really captured Clinton. “I had grown up outside New York City, so I had been going to the clubs since I was in high school. I was seeing the New York Dolls, Wayne County and being there when that morphed into the CBGB scene with bands like Television, Talking Heads, Ramones, etc.” Along with vocalist Roger Miller’s modern classical music training, another factor that set Mission Of Burma apart was that they were one of the first bands to employ a relatively new concept called “tape manipulation” into its sound. Using quite primitive technology by today’s standards, co-founder Martin Swope would record the band’s live performances on the fly, then loop, warp, reverse and manoeuvre the sounds back into the mix. Mission Of Burma stood to rally the existing methods of the punk movement without ever losing its strength and veracity. No doubt it seemed fitting in their earlier years that the tag “Art Rock” was slung around the band’s neck, to try and describe them.

Is art rock a reasonable description? “It probably is,” Conley reasons. “Although none of us was an art student per se, we spent a lot of time looking at art and hanging with artists or reading art magazines and trying to act like we understood certain fashionable critical theorists. I sometimes think we were actually a closet prog act in punk clothing.” Mission Of Burma’s first EP, Signals, Calls and Marches, came out in 1981 and birthed the band’s most well-known song, “That’s When I Reached For My Revolver.” The following year saw the arrival of the Vs album – widely regarded as their finest work (though both releases are equally are as brooding and volatile both musically and lyrically as each other). “It’s hard to say what the deep structural underpinnings are to the music we made back then,” says Clint. “There was obviously a certain oppositional, antagonistic stance in our music - a sense that we were fighting against a massive immobile cultural blob. At the same time, there was excitement, wonder and joy at seemingly discovering new territory, even if the world didn’t seem to care. It was a very small insular universe we lived in back then.”

‡‡‡ THE BREAK ‡‡‡ In their prime - by all reports - Mission Of Burma were an unbelievably loud band. It’s ironic then that that legendary volume was partly responsible for their original demise. By 1983 vocalist/guitarist Roger Miller’s tinnitus (he now wears earmuffs), coupled with a growing frustration at their lack of recognition, saw the four original members split and go their separate ways.


MISSION OF BURMA Conley recalls: “We had a hard core following, small, but highly concentrated, made up primarily of writers and other musicians and they kept our spirits up. But certainly the world at large didn’t have much interest in what we were doing. And that includes the so-called punk and new wave world.” Is it true that you needed to escape music when Mission Of Burma called a hiatus in 1983? “It gradually came over me that perhaps it was time for a new chapter in my life. I had other talents that I thought I might tap into. So I went off to graduate school, became a journalist, got married and had two beautiful girls. Lot’s of good stuff. “I feel fiercely proud of the music we made. But it isn’t too hard keeping a perspective on the fact that we mean nothing to most of the world at large, most of the music world, even most of the indie-underground world. But we were inculcated early on in the limited appeal of our music. But that’s not a bad thing, necessarily.” What made you want to get back into music? “There are many reasons, but the primary one for me is that I felt I had to start writing music again, just out of the blue, after over fifteen years. So I started a new band, Consonant, with Chris Brokaw from Come and Matt Kadane from Bedhead and New Year. So that musical gene had been switched back on, as mysteriously as it had been turned off.” Rock journalist Michael Azerrad’s chronicles the histories

Mission Of Burma (LtoR): Clint Conley, Bob Weston, Peter Prescott, Roger Miller

DISCOGRAPHY

1979: “Academy Fight Song”/ “Max Ernst” 7” (Ace Of Hearts) 1980: Signals, Calls and Marches 12” EP (Ace Of Hearts) 1982: “Trem Two” / “OK/No Way” 7” (Ace Of Hearts) 1983: Vs. LP (Ace Of Hearts) 1984: The Horrible Truth About Burma live LP (Ace Of Hearts) 1987: Self-titled 12” EP/CDEP [Recorded 1979] (Taang!) 1987: Forget Mission Of Burma LP/CD [Recorded 1979-82] (Taang!) 1988: Self-titled LP/CD [Compilation] (Rykodisc) 1990: Let There Be Burma double LP/CD [Euro comp of Taang! Releases] (Roadrunner) 1993: Live At The Bradford [Filmed in Boston, ‘83] VHS 2004: Four Hands EP (Matador) 2004: “Dirt”/ “Falling” 7”/CDsingle [Tracks from Four Hands EP] (Matador) 2004: ONoffON double LP/CD (Matador) 2004: Accomplished: The Best of Mission of Burma [Compilation] (Rykodisc) 2004: A Gun to the Head: A Selection from the Ace of Hearts Era [Compilation] (Rykodisc) 2005: Snapshot EP [iTunes only - WFNX live-to-air] (Matador) 2006: The Obliterati double LP/CD (Matador)

they were actually enjoying it; so much so that they had started writing new material. By the time 2004 rolled around, Burma had cast any dubious thoughts aside. Far from being a revivalist outfit content to play the songs of the past, they seemed for all intents and purposes a dangerous new band bubbling with fresh and potent ideas. The inspiration was practically pouring out during the recording of their powerful 2004 comeback release, ONOffON. I asked Clinton if he or other members of the band thought that their reformation would be met with anybody deeming it a “cash grab”. “It probably did cross our minds at some stage, because rightly or wrongly, our reputation was based on us being pure. Whereas now, we were being offered more money than we’d ever made the first time around. But ultimately, we felt like the music was really the driving force behind our decision to play again.” Justifiably, now in 2006, they’ve released their third fulllength LP. The Obliterati picks up from where Vs left off 24 years ago and takes things further. Clinton refers to it as “a continuation, not a reinvention.”

‡‡‡ THE OBLITERATI ‡‡‡ It seems to take the world almost twenty years to digest and catch up with every record you release. “I don’t know how to explain it really. I think the fact that the songs we wrote back then still seem to resonate with people is a wonderful thing. Perhaps because the songs weren’t particularly rooted in a “punk” mentality they haven’t dated as badly as they might have. I am extremely proud that the music seems to still work. I think we wrote good songs, and that is, sadly, rare, even among bands that have an interesting sound and the proper attitude and angle of attack. It sounds old-fashioned, but where is the song? What is it that will make me want to go back and back and back to a piece of music? Am I sounding like Barry Manilow...? Perhaps.” How does The Obliterati rate against your previous work? “I think it's our best record, period.” Though obviously of the same ilk, The Obliterati doesn’t tend to hold back its ferociousness like previous Mission Of Burma releases. Where Vs dripped in a nervous state, as if anxiously waiting for a brooding cavalcade of undersold strength and pop to hit, knowing that when it hits it’s going to hit with force, The Obliterati seems somewhat contrary, laying waste to suspenseful introductions. Lyrically, it seems the opposite again, with a more playful and less selfimportant approach that wasn’t there earlier. It’s a clash of the unknown and the uncompromising.

Pic: Kelly Davidson

of several underground rock groups such as Black Flag, The Minutemen and Big Black in his acclaimed book; Our Band Could Be Your Life. The book features a chapter on Mission Of Burma. “It was extremely flattering to have been included in that roster of bands, many of whom were our musical heroes and have been far more successful than we had ever been,” Clinton says. And it was around the time of the book’s publication in 2001 that the “musical gene” in the whole band was inexplicably switched back on. Bob Weston from Shellac stepped into Martin Swope’s place behind the tape decks, and Mission Of Burma started playing shows again. Not only were they playing shows,


“I used to be attracted to thinking I was really deep and complicated and dark. But now I’ve realised I am a simple creature.” – Clint Conley

Am I way off the mark in thinking there is a more relaxed political and socio conviction to this album? “You’re not way off, though I don’t think there is any less socio, political energy in the record,” offers Clint. “We have loosened up from our more austere early presentation. You see, speaking for myself, I used to be attracted to thinking I was really deep and complicated and dark. But now I've realised I am a simple creature.” The Obliterati is a very commanding album, and, like all Mission Of Burma albums it’s on the second listen that the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Are there any particular standout tracks for you on the new album? “There are moments that stand out. I like the intro to “2wice”, and my neck gets the hair raising treatment when I hear Rog's fuzz kick in to the chorus of “Spider”, Peter's singing at the end of “Let Yrself,” and all of “1001 Pleasant Dream”. I guess I could go on. Weston did a superb job of capturing and creating ferocity on this record.”

‡‡‡ ON THE ROAD AGAIN ‡‡‡ It’s no shock really that Mission Of Burma are quite accustomed to the whole live thing. Be it on the stage or in front of it, in one form or another, they’ve seen their fair share of smoke machines and tour vans. And while we’re on the subject of gig memories, Clinton has quite the interesting story. The year was 1965; our hero was a ten-year old NJ suburban kid reviewing a gig for his school newspaper. The headlining act were a band called Myddle Class. He writes

the review, hands in his paper and gets questioned on the spelling of the headliner. Fast forward to the early eighties, where he is in conversation with a friend and somehow the topic of the Myddle Class gig in ’65 comes up. He’s asked what he thought of the first on band on that night. “No, nothing really,” is his shoulder shrugged response. His friend nearly falls over himself… The opening band was The Velvet Underground - it was their first ever gig! Although the show is one Clinton dubs, “The most historic event I ever witnessed,” he actually has no recollection of it. How is it to be on the road again, touring? “Playing live has always been a deep and joyful experience. It doesn’t hurt that our audience is much bigger, and actually happy to see us when we show up, because that wasn’t always the case. It is a brand new thrill for us to see people who know the words, who request songs, who seem so grateful that we are doing what we are doing, like it's some mercy mission or something. It's quite humbling actually, you feel like thanking them. We didn’t get any of that first time around.” What sort of reaction did you get the first time around? “From crowds that weren’t familiar with our stuff, the reaction was bafflement, boredom, and eventual non-presence.” Are you seeing any faces from the early days? “Some, for sure. But it seems the audience is getting younger the longer we hang around. Maybe we’re just getting older?”

‡‡‡ NOT A PHOTOGRAPH ‡‡‡ As humble as Clinton is about his band’s ethos and nature, their achievements certainly didn’t go completely unnoticed. Dubbed once by The New Yorker as, “The most criminally under-sung band of the 1980s, ”and applauded by loyal fans and critics as a group simply “too far ahead of their

time,” there was never any shortage of recognition in certain circles. Seems like a reasonable idea then to expose this “under-sung” band to the masses. And what better way to do so than through the medium of film. In 2002, filmmakers and long-term Burma fans David Kleiler Jr. and Jeff Iwanicki, along with producer Eran Lobel, set out to document Mission Of Burma’s rebirth on film. Like the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s D.I.G, the filmmakers were given full access to the band, and not too much was left on the cutting room floor. “I haven’t seen the Brian Jonestown Massacre film yet, but yes, we were followed around for a long while,” admits Clint. “It was a little weird, but perhaps weirder still that we got sort of used to it. It didn’t hurt that the camera people were cool, some of them old friends. It is flattering to have someone invest that kind of time and treasure into documenting one's story.” Are you happy with how Not a Photograph turned out? “It made me feel proud of the band's accomplishments and fondness for my colleagues. It almost offsets the embarrassment of watching oneself on the screen, pontificating and wearing bad clothing choices.” Was there much left out of the final cut that you didn’t want people to see? “The filmmakers shot a ton of footage, so I don’t know what they left out. There was certainly nothing that we demanded to be left out.” What was the inspiration behind making the movie, why do you think it was done? “I guess Eran Lobel and his people thought it was a good story – 'The Most Influential Band that You Never Heard Of' reunites for two gigs and then disappears again back into silence. Of course, we went and wrecked their storyline by hanging around.”


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eer-bongs, boogie boards and broken bones is the Munici pal Waste live experience in a catchy littl nutshell. This rowdy fourso e me from Richmond, Virginia are her e to some old school values into instill the youth of today; to teach kid s can be a religious experie that crowd surfing nce, to show them the difference between good stage-dive technique and shitty stage-dive tec hnique, and to complete the crossover that many of the pioneers who influenced them failed to totally achieve. With their two full-length albums, 2003’s Waste 'Em All and 2005’s Hazard ous Mutation, Municipal Waste have revived the spir it and further blended

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the styles of all those great eighties punk, metal and hardcore crossover ban ds; DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, SOD, Nuclear Assault, Slayer, Sacred Reich, Corrosion Of Conform ity, Anthrax and many others. Not only have they delivered authentic thrash for the kids to experie nce, they’ve also won the respect of the har dest of old hard heads. Even Anthrax/SOD legend Sco “Hazardous Mutation is the tt Ian said recently, closest thing I've heard to that mid-eighties DRI/Ex odus crossover thrash sound. That record absolut ely rules.” In August this year Munici pal Waste trekked down for their first Austral ian tour (and their first ever venture south of the equator). Before their show at the Annandale in Sydney I cracked open

steoid Wast

a few beers and talked a whole bunch of shit with MW singer Tony Foresta, guitarist Ryan Waste and bassist Land Phil. Dru mmer Dave Witte (also of Discordance Axis, Melt Banana, Burnt By The Sun and Birds Of Prey fam e) about interviews being bor mumbled something ing it out. It was probably a goo and chose to sit d thing; these three were enough of a handfu l as it was. Listening back to the rec ording was an ordeal, trying to decipher everyo ne’s shouts above everyone else. At times it seemed like there were four conversations going on at once – and there was only four of us in the room! This is how a rowdy free-for -all with Municipal Waste goes down…

Unleash The

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s d i o e t Wa Unleash The Wasteoids

and that Australian show so far You’ve only played one there. up dy row get to love was in Brisbane, they e. Tony: Brisbane was awesom of injuries and stage-dives. lot a , man wild was Ryan: It then they both jumped and ing, sing ple peo Tony: I saw two t of me then went straight fron in t righ actually collided mid-air down head-first. e-dive contest, which is Ryan: We had our shitty stag e our stuff back and have mov just we bit, a something we do e-dives. stag st wor the people come up and do dive. ng if you do the crappiest Tony: We give you a beer-bo . won she so and Ryan: This girl broke her arm some shit. Tony: She dislocated it or be. Ryan: Hyper-extended may ded! to dislocated to hyper-exten Phil: It went from broken . died arm her k thin what, I Ryan: Actually, you know ng for girl, when she was competi Tony: Oh man, that same icade and fell barr this on up bed clim crappiest stage-dive she up. on my leg and fucked me backwards and almost fell ing wild and hurting gett ple peo ing see like We Ryan: ple while I’m playing, seeing peo themselves. I’m just laughing . face hit the ground on their

Municipal Waste. To ny Foresta, Ryan Waste and La nd Phil interview by Nutso Ward. Phot os Gathercole. Illustrat by Mel ion by Glenno.

h you? tralian beer agreeing wit To what extent is the Aus VB]. his to nts [poi f stuf this Tony: I like it. I like ap shit man. Ryan: Yeah, we like the che %]. r, like this is pretty strong, 4.9[ bee r nge stro have You y: Ton ap shit in America. We che the than e mor .9 t’s Ryan: Tha s ally, our drummer, Dave, love like quantity over quality. Actu the good shit. use e drinking this XXXX stuff beca Tony: Up in Brisbane we wer get this hardcore shit…” let’s it, on X’s got it’s look we’re like, “Oh the ‘gold’ shit!” Phil: I was like, “Let’s get eone were drinking on it and som Tony: Gold, yeah. But then we g. ethin som or es lass the for it was told us it was a girl’s beer, like k our face we’re gonna drin in it put you if is, fact Ryan: The ! man rs seu it – we’re connois gine of countries now so I ima You’ve travelled to a lot erent beer. diff of lot you have tried a ium so many countries man. Belg Ryan: I’ve gotten drunk in r. bee r thei e ks mak is the best, where the mon r here. popular Belgian beer ove Stella Artois is a fairly too. es Stat the in r ove that Ryan: We get pe. first beer I ever had in Euro Tony: That was actually the

gium’s version of VB. I think Stella is like Bel ap shit. che r thei it’s h, Yea n: Rya else. gold compared to anywhere like is r bee shit Tony: Their when you’re blind drunk? How do you play shows k my eyes closed. I play drun Ryan: I can play this shit with k– drun gs son the w kno we drunk, and fast. We write the songs It’d be too good if I was k. drun n’t was I if d weir it’d actually be world. ht be the best band in the sober. If I was sober we mig

is this w Wave of Crossover”; Your bio mentions a “Ne big enough to justify being it wave in fact new, and is called a wave as such. ng kids now coming out with Phil: There are a heap of you thrash bands. I ds are starting to play this shit. Ryan: I think it’s cool that ban y because funn it’s but , them ng enci don’t know, maybe we’re influ went w what’s influencing us. If they a lot of them don’t really kno d… Dea Evil Vio-lence and and listened to old thrash like re this backlash against metalco Tony: It seems like there’s us touring of half a and year t pas the now. Not too much, but in up. thrash bands just ripping shit we’ve been seeing some little a breath of fresh air It’s ds. ban sh thra y bab e Ryan: Littl . from the metalcore crap man


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s d i o e t Wa s s a a e e l l n n U U Pic: Mel Gathercole

e, Ryan: The older the better, dud stache, like balding, long-hair and mou that’s the real shit right there. , Tony: We get indie rock kids ks… pun of lot a ks, pun , ads metalhe ly Ryan: Drunks that don’t real they rage know what’s going on but hard… just Tony: Homeless people that wander in…

it’s ible for that, maybe not, but Tony: Maybe we’re respons e four or five aus bec e, ther out it’s t leas just good to see. At years ago it wasn’t. ple rs ago, I mean, the older peo Ryan: It died out twenty yea tell what our influences can You . from ing com it’s know where young sleeve, so hopefully these are, we wear them on our we didn’t that ise real and too ds kids will get into those ban our own twist on it. invent this shit. We just put that ng to bring back sounds Is Municipal Waste tryi generations and r nge you e som on lost have been by others? ignored for a few years rk es come out of the woodwo Ryan: I’ve seen the old dud t reminds Tha ut. abo in’ talk I’m t wha and go, “Fuck yeah, that’s r old I hear forty and forty five yea me of high school.” When that shit. love I day, my es mak it , guys say that by forty year olds in white Tony: I love getting hugged the real shit. t’s Tha sneakers, that’s my shit.

bill of Tonight you headline a while staunch hardcore bands you next week in Melbourne like you play with metal bands, one crossover completely from side to the other. e of Ryan: We like a diverse rang different of lot a to n liste and ic mus this shit. Someone once said, “Is d?” a metal band or a punk ban you man. and it’s like, we’re foolin’ y shit craz h muc so g win thro re We’ it. r iphe dec ’t can at you you

early ncing act that all those The crossover was a bala ion struggled with in a ros Cor and seems pioneers like DRI ause of the times. There commercial sense just bec regards to mixing genres with red bar to be no holds eighties. fairly segregated in the these days, when it was now and so er bett little a on gets e Ryan: I think everyon sover that’s what those early cros that’s what’s cool. I guess in say them rd hea n, I’ve bands were trying to do. I mea ted to unite metalheads and interviews and stuff, they wan punks. lot ount that the scene was a Tony: You gotta take into acc more violent back then. e somewhat pussy scene thes Ryan: Yeah, we do have a and that’s on, g goin ts figh y man days, like you don’t see . actually a good thing man and gets old. If you had to tour Tony: Yeah man, that shit ws… sho the at ting figh people were all

y fights at our shows and Ryan: We don’t see too man ple injure themselves, but peo we’re proud of that. We see doing it. they’re smiling while they’re med, everybody is stoked. bum gets ody nob h, Phil: Yea man that shit was leg my e brok Tony: It’s like, “I to me at a show and go, “I up e com awesome!” I had a dude ed here,” cked out last time you play had all my front teeth kno it. like he was stoked about you’ve seen at a show? What is the worst injury h knocked out is always the r Phil: People getting thei teet gnarliest. York. at one of our shows in New Ryan: A bouncer got stabbed e and the bouncers ienc aud the into out e polin We threw our tram someone was in New York City and so took it away immediately. It ” this. over bed stab gettin’ was like, “Okay, someone is Then d was chanting “Bullshit.” Tony: Everybody in the crow they were trying to and out e dud e som ed the bouncers pull of them out a knife and fucked one beat him up and he pulled up. He’s in gaol right now. pit broke his arm in the circle Ryan: In Sweden, this kid t going till the end. kep and g slin a in arm and he just put his ed dude. Like, we’re not stok Tony: His arm was taped s… when people break their arm Ryan: Little bit stoked. l story later. Tony: At least it makes a coo hurt themselves… Phil: I don’t want people to comedy, yes. Ryan: But for the sake of ry relatively free from inju So do you manage to stay ? yourselves crowd , we throw shit out in the Ryan: We get hit in the face us. at k bac t and it gets thrown righ us. ent that gets injured more than Tony: It’s mainly our equipm shit. my on ping step love rs herfucke Ryan: My pedals man - mot or on a stage that’s not floor the on play we if es Tony: Sometim kit. gh straight through the drum that tall the crowd will just plou a play gott has y Ton . shit and r ove Ryan: Amps get knocked not on are that ws sho of play a lot defence the whole time. We you’ve gotta guard your , nce defe ing play it call stages and we shit while you’re playing.

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ardous Repka’s cover art for Haz I wanted to talk about Ed back to a me took just it it saw I Mutation because when ms with classic artwork. time of some classic albu that thirty thrash LPs that I own Ryan: I’m going on about for. ork artw Repka did the just judge a record on that Tony: Yeah man, you could knew what it was going to a kind artwork, like you already sound like. about half the bands just by Ryan: I seriously found out and it jumps out at you, if art the at look their artwork. You genre. If you’re playing the with s it’s on an LP, I think it goe it. e a hav the artwork to match thrash metal then you’ve gott him as well. I heard he get to ng timi ect perf was Tony: It Glasper this thrash comp that Ian was painting again, he did Ian put me and ed] ash Thr Be Or put out in the UK [Thrash down. ’t take me long to hunt him in contact with him. It didn ork artw “My me, him he told Then once we got a hold of he knew a brutal combination.” So and your music would be ted for wan we t wha of idea ic bas it would work. We had a the cover. into the concept. I was just Ryan: But he dug so deep r mutants falling out all ove with k truc h like, “I want a tras ng out of the falli ants mut the are y the place.” He’s like, “Wh or the truck can’t contain them truck? Is there too many that He ?” city the r ove n k and take have they taken over the truc t that I was amazed. dug so deep into the concep dude’s house looks like? Tony: I wonder what that guy crouched over like Ryan: I kept imagining this tching, drooling… ske er corn dark a huddled into own blood. his in was t draf Phil: The first

s d i et o

s a e l n Pic: Mel Gathercole

Pic: Mel Gathercole

Municipal Waste: (LtoR) Tony Foresta, Land Phil, Ryan Waste, Dave Witte

T h leas

after I had it all over my chin even puked all over ‘em. I think up ing com re we’ ple peo it and the show and I didn’t realise h, great show dude.” “Yea g, goin e anc dist r thei to me, keeping lled horrible it smelled. I’ve sme Phil: I can’t describe how . foul ing fuck was that but puke a lot of times before e about ords, how did that com Signing to Earache Rec there? go to t wan you did and why Ryan: Money. Tony: Shitloads of money. , just kiddin’ man, we do this Ryan: Capitalist thrash. Nah t our arse, that’s the only way shit on our own still. We bus . shit this off we can survive on reasons, but for me the reas Tony: Everyone has different tour all we like ing, tour of sick was I was just better distribution. the best way to chug a rd stores all across the US and Have you got any tips for time and we would go to reco the l ? ing play l trying to attack our old labe not I’m rd. beer-bong while stil reco our we’d never see just about cally basi it’s but us for job Tony: Commit. t because they did a grea n your throat. Someone was ple that can’t hear it. Ryan: It sounds gay but ope getting your music out to peo the first song and I the on t nigh last ng r-bo bee the Earache logo looks on way feeding me a the r like I bee the And n: king Rya ly focusing on drin that early Earache of lot a to ning totally lost the riff. I was real liste up on artwork. I grew whether I should be focusing ble thing for me. and so I asked the crowd shit and so it’s an honoura yells, “Drink the riff!” guy e som and riff the or r the bee label e’s early shit too but the I grew up on all Earach rs. You guys are part of the -story beer-bong. two a d trie n eve yea ’ve I heard you sucked for quite a few in… our drinking. and making it cool aga Ryan: We get creative with revamping of the label If we’re es. plac of ple cou a in ed you saying that. ate reci app I , nks Tha Tony: That has happen n: Rya w it on the ony someone will just thro Phil: I’m just stoked to be playing a place with a balc tiis. for it Mor as into l rs labe bee e ring sam pou t over and star in’ drink. Tony: He’s got motherfuck people to just wander by and do ds ban y man how , wings man wings? onstage? you know got motherfuckin’ Have you ever vomited e one s at We were at the Earache offic Ryan: Shit, I vomited ten time d crow by. the flew r ove just all he and and elf day once on mys t to 2001: Municipal Waste EP Ryan: The first time I wen and kept playing. ial Unit ruc w/C it Spl 2: 200 . I’m like, “Where’s Mortiis? che Eara Phil: It smelled horrible t mouth 2003: Tango & Thrash spli Bring me Mortiis.” Tony: This girl puked in her Trip Acid ad w/B it. of d win Phil: He was attached to the when she got round. ind beh All girls e 'Em te som e ceiling with his head turned 2003: Was Ryan: There wer here. ted vomiting. Tony: He just flew out of now 2005: Hazardous Mutation me taking pictures who star of vomit. tion reac in cha a sing cau I was

sic covers for Death, he Repka did all those clas lear Assault, Vio-lence, Massacre, Megadeth, Nuc es… Gat did Possessed’s At The y gatefold. I have all those Ryan: Yeah, with the four-wa ed and I’m honoured to nam just you ds ban the albums by . shit our have that guy do

ka cover, because for me What is your favourite Rep it’s Death – Leprosy. that [Ryan sticks out his left Ryan: There you go, look at uncoloured Leprosy tattoo]. e som awe an al reve forearm to o the readers out there: tatto for but tape on You can’t get that ork. I also artw ka Rep in’ ripp Very . of Leprosy on left forearm ile of Civilization, the old sen like Evil Dead’s Annihilation getting blistered from is e yon ever and ch bea dude on the It’s a good album too. radiation. I think it’s classic. didn’t Over [Nuclear Assault], and Tony: My favourite is Game X. NOF love I e, som awe t’s ? Tha he do NOFX's S&M Airlines

MUNICIPAL WASTE

DISCOGRAPHY

Wa

on the beer or ng si cu fo be ld ou sh I r he et wh d ow “I asked the cr – Ryan Waste !’” ff ri e th k in ‘Dr s, ll ye y gu me so d the riff an of Stand By Me. Sounds like a scene out . Tony: It was exactly like that everyone was bummed , hing laug was one No Ryan: ly Cheese Steak, it was Phil a had just out because I had black puke. Phil: It was gnarly. Jäger, Whiskey… Dave took Ryan: I had drunk Tequila, rs so I had some fourteenbee y fanc had me to a bar that all day. So at the show I king drin n dollar beers; I had bee before “Terror Shark”, intro think I gave this long-winded that’s gonna fuck you rk sha a ut abo g’s son is like, “Th ing into the crowd and was play up…” Then like, I jumped you get. I that burp that got I and and then I got back up g let it out, so I just start doin couldn’t hold it in, I had to h, blugh, blugh. Then blug like, e ther and here s little one and I saw these kids kinda I looked into the front row of like, “I’m gonna get some was I looking at me and so , kids k pun little five ut abo got these kids up front.” And I Pic: Mel Gathercole

s

Unleash The

pal Waste record gonna So what’s the next Munici sound like? getting shitty on purpose. Ryan: We’ve talked about

ut have made threats abo Yeah, I know you guys nded like Boston. sou t tha ing eth som ng doi Ryan: We like Boston. ing from the heart but I’m not saying it’s not com y’know… like mid-paced rocker album, Tony: We’re going to do a it just then but fast get to g every song you think it’s goin doesn’t.

you? to do that, though, are You’re not really going did. we if l coo Tony: It would be t r the fuck we want, how ‘bou Ryan: We can do whateve copy us. that. And the kids will still


tion by Ben Brown.

nger Coolidge. Illustra t Curotta interview by Da

Massappeal. Bret

1988, at a time when they he first time I saw Massappeal was in fully-fledged merchants were just starting to hit their straps as nctive Ben Brown flyer of Aussie crossover. You’d see that disti uncing Massappeal anno s, pres t artwork in the shops or in stree s like S.U.X and band core hard s band shows with all kinds of -Ons and Hellmen, thrash bands like Terrible Virtue, punk bands like the Hard ld-be pop bands like Ratcat. Slaughter Lord and Mor tal Sin, even wou the first “hardcore” record I ever Nobody Likes A Thinker (1986) was the time, but I fell under the spell of at l bought. I was mainly into thrash meta g Mor tal Sin at an under age show Massappeal after seeing them supportin r speed, their power, their energy, at Sutherland Entertainment Centre. Thei thing was beyond anything metal had their volume, their attitude; the whole thrown up for me at age thirteen. 12-inch the next time I had some I grabbed the Nobody Likes A Thinker s over the years as they developed money, and saw Massappeal many time skate thrash into some kind of flipped their brutal sound from fast, abrasive Brett Curotta has difficulty defining rist out mutant hardcore hybrid that guita far ahead of ever ybody else they even today. Basically, they ended up so widespread indifference in 1994. eventually lost touch and split up amid tta (guitar) and Randy Reimann In 2002 the core members, Brett Curo that weak-arse Mother d to support Henr y Rollins when he and aske g bein e after band the ed reviv als), (voc defence of the West Memphis III. Sinc k Flag to raise money to assist the legal and g arsin rehe ng, writi been Superior band covered the songs of Blac have eal sapp keeping a rhythm section together), Mas then (despite their usual hassles with n. retur recording songs in preparation for a full on vocals, bassist Kevin McCraer, and nt line-up – Curotta on guitar, Reimann r, though, were a couple As a taster of things to come, the curre e Together Festival in June. Even bette Com 's Park Luna at ce aran appe an e drummer Peter Allen – mad a bill at the Schoolgirl Firing Squad. I saw them open of secret shows under the name Moscow since show first on, ROFL and a few other bands; their Empire Hotel supporting Twin City Facti of grey, d stran odd the and s of age in receding hairlines bers, October 2004. Though they showed sign num new of le coup a in threw rted them. They even large clearly that old thrash magic has not dese the from rs old classics, and drew appreciative chee which stacked up quite tidily against the powerful return. eal's sapp Mas to ess witn bear to early and dedicated throng who’d turned out turns out for their fans. There’s a veritable cult that Massappeal inspire deep dedication in tly ironic sligh It's sale. on puts handise the band ever y show and buys up ever y bit of merc never be 'd they that fact the on play cal eal is a cyni considering that even the name Massapp even today. popular. The cult, however, is growing icipal Waste, the rage thanks to revivalists like Mun r With thrash hardcore and crossove all ’s legendary 1986 rds, reco two first eal to reissue their the timing couldn’t be better for Massapp ented with masterpiece, Jazz. Remastered and pres Nobody Likes A Thinker and 1989’s huge plus for the liner notes and the usual kerfuffle, reworked artwork, unseen photos, new heighten the and ent plim and live tracks, which com old diehard fans is all the bonus demos ralian punk releases. enjoyment of these two fundamental Aust sappeal ago with Brett Curotta to discuss Mas long too not t nigh one pub I sat down at a ed away walk I D-90 cassettes and several beers later, past and present. One and a half TDK of it… half the only is This a bloody excellent inter view. with a slight stagger in my boots and

T


Pic: Rod Hunt

Jazz-era Massappeal: (LtoR) Randy Reimann, Sean Fonti, Dave Ross, Brett Curotta

MASSAPPEAL DISCOGRAPHY

a bunch of their shows and even though they had idiots showing up, they were still a really good band. That’s the one thing you’ve gotta give ‘em - even though there was all that crap that went with them, live, they were a great band.

You were a surfer before 1986: Nobody Like A Thinker EP you were a punk, right? 1987: Bar Of Life 7” and Me life. whole my surfed I’ve Yeah, 1989: Jazz all my mates used to go in contests and 1991: The Chrysalids 7” all that growing up. I was part of a strong 1992: The Mechanic club at Manly and we used to travel up and down the coast to the different surf 1994: The Zesty Charismatic clubs and go in contests. Then I went Personality Chamber EP [live] Why did you come over to Indonesia for a couple of contests 1994: Nommo Anagonno home? and I was in Bali and it just so happened 2006: Nobody Like A Thinker 2-disc I went surfing! Two to on continuing was mine of mate a that later, the surf [reissue] years come. to want I Europe and he asked did contest came back again 2006: Jazz [reissue] So my mum lent me some money and and I went down to that’s how I ended up over in England. Cornwell to see friends of We’d happened. all it how weird It was mine and I bought a board off one of the guys and that been down in Cornwall for a surf contest and I thought October a girlfriend and I went to the Canary Islands I’d head up to London for a week and try to see for a holiday and I went surfing and by that Christmas I some shows before I came back. I stayed in a hotel was back. My biggest piss off about coming back was the ran that chick Australian this and in Paddington that I was totally into Crucifix and I was playing their it and whatever or work any place asked if I was doing record, Dehumanization (1983), all the time before I turned out her boyfriend was a painter and decorator left and then after I got back they went over and played and he just asked his boss if I could get a job and the England about two weeks later. But it was cool being I tomorrow.” work to come “Sure, like, just was guy back because the local pub, the Mosman Hotel had years. two ended up staying there for become a bit of a punk gig and the bar that was there – they totally ruined this pub – had this really good What bands were you seeing over in England? venue next to it and everyone from that area, Manly, That was ’82, so we were just starting to get bands more the Seaforth, Mosman, would hang out there. A lot of the Discharge Exploited, The Pasti, Anti like to used we guys I knew were going there, guys from the beach, Australia in Back aggressive second-wave. and then you had all these punks from the area and see good bands at the Manly Vale Hotel or we’d travel then you had a whole bunch of bands or people who across the Harbour Bridge to go to shows at the Civic a Vigil-Anti, ended up being in bands. It was a pretty unique thing Cult, n Progressio Kelpies, see and [Hotel] Aberrant that happened. One of the most popular bands that Griffiths’ Bruce on lot of the bands that were used to play there amongst us punters was Grong Records compilations. But within a week of being in Grong, from Adelaide; they were just insane. The early London I’d seen The Meteors, UK Subs, GBH, Angelic going was I Psychotic Turnbuckles gigs were pretty incredible as there. on going was what is this Upstarts well. The local bands at the time were Execution Mask, week. a out three and four nights Certain Death and Decontrol, which had Victor [Levi] who went on to start Ratcat with Simon Day. What were some of the more memorable shows from your time in the UK? How did Massappeal get together? The Punk & Disorderly shows at the Lyceum, I Randy [Reimann – vocals] and Kevin [McCraer saw the second and third of those. I saw a lot of good – bass] have a better idea of what went on but I think I bands. Discharge, I saw Bones’ [guitar] last gig and met Darren [Gilmour - drums] at a Hard-Ons gig and he Pooch’s first gig. I saw the first Broken Bones gig had a Verbal Abuse T-shirt on and at that time all the as well, which was only six or eight songs but I still ed”, “Decapitat was song American bands were coming through so I’d gravitate stand-out the remember towards anyone who was into this stuff. Just before which later became the big single. I saw Crass support I left England I had seen Dead Kennedys, then Black The Exploited, which was a big deal because there Flag and then Bad Brains and that was the end of had been the whole peace punk thing and the Oi! factions the between on going English punk as far as I was concerned. Seeing Dead aggro and thing punk Kennedys and also MDC, who came over to support and Wattie [Buchan] from Exploited apparently phoned them in 1982, it was totally different to all the English up Crass and said, “We’re playing at the 100 Club…” stuff. MDC were like full-on thrash hardcore, short you know, trying to bring everyone together. Seeing songs, and they just looked like normal dudes, they Crass was a standout because they were pretty fulldidn’t have all the Mohawks and all that. I think I felt on. The thing is, everyone bags Wattie and goes on an affinity with that because I was just like, “Hang on, about The Exploited and the punk thing, but I went to

here’s these guys in jeans and T-shirts up there being more full-on than all the guys in the fucking get-up.” Then in February Black Flag came over and they just wiped the floor with everything. I was totally into Black Flag then. I realised there was something else going on with these American bands and I started going to Rough Trade Records and asking for the American bands and I was buying all these 7-inches. Obviously there were a few people in London who were into this stuff and I remember Rough Trade had this one crate of American imports and new shipments would come in all the time. Black Flag were incredible, seeing them was like a lightning bolt. Then a couple of months after that Bad Brains came over and it was just like, “Fuck, this English shit is a fucking joke.” The American hardcore was just so much faster and heavier and more aggro, but when I came home everyone was still into the English stuff back here. So it was a personal thing for me, like I made up these cassettes of all the 7-inches I’d bought and I got Ben Brown [The Hellmen] to drawn me up some cover artwork. It was called The Septic Yanks and I used to flog it for five bucks. It was just me bootlegging all my 7-inches, but it turned on a lot of people. So I met Darren and all of us in Massappeal basically met at Hard-Ons gigs. I first saw the Hard-Ons play with Vicious Circle at the Bondi Lifesaver and after that we used to see them all the time around the area. I don’t remember much of this, but I think I first saw Darren at a Hard-Ons gig with a Verbal Abuse T-shirt on and then, at a different HardOns gig, Darren saw Randy with a Suicidal Tendencies shirt on, or something. Randy was in some band with Kevin out at Canley Vale and then Darren said, “Do you want to be in this band I’m doing with Brett?” I remember the first rehearsals were done in the wake of DRI just releasing Dealing With It (1985). That was full-on, short songs, hardcore, and that was one album


that blew us all away and at the first rehearsal the whole idea was to do a DRI-style song. I still remember I taped it and afterwards I went up to this guy’s flat in Mosman and was playing it to Tony [Good], who later was in The Hellmen going, “Listen to this.” I was really proud. It was obviously different to what was going on in Sydney at the time. There was more going on in Melbourne from what I can gather; there was nothing really here. In Melbourne you had Civil Dissident for a while, Vicious Circle were going. Vicious Circle’s early gigs in Sydney were a big thing for everyone here. I remember they were doing a Terveet Kädet cover, “Outa maa”. So they had a full-on underground European influence, Alby [Brovedani] and Dave [Ross] and all those guys were into that. So there was an immediate connection between us and the guys in Melbourne. There was no Internet so everyone was writing letters and tape trading and that’s how we found out about a lot of stuff. Actually, the main inspiration behind getting Massappeal together was that we’d heard that Alby from Vicious Circle was talking about bringing out Youth Brigade from the States. And for us in Sydney, we were going, “There’s no fucking bands suitable to play with Youth Brigade,” and so that was the instigation to get Massappeal together. The thought was already there, but that was the catalyst to do it and do it now and get it done. Youth Brigade never came out, but Vicious Circle came up and did a gig at French’s on Oxford Street and I don’t know how it came about but we got asked to support them. We had no bassplayer at that stage, so our first gig was no bassplayer, six songs and about fifteen minutes long. I still remember getting up onstage and the place was full of punks, skinheads, whatever, it was packed because Vicious Circle had a good rep by then. There was a new feeling about things, it seemed like there was new people coming through and not that whole Civic Hotel crew, who were starting to fade away. It was younger people getting more into European and American influenced stuff because by then the records had started to filter into stores here. I remember we were setting up at this gig and people up the front were laughing at us, going, “Where’s your bassplayer,” and we go, “We haven’t got one!” And they were like, “You’re fucking joking?” We were like, “Well, we got asked to play.” They were all laughing, but I remember within about a minute we’d wiped the smile off everyone’s face. I’m not sure whether they were shocked or impressed, but I know there was no more laughing after we started playing. So after that gig we got Kevin, who was a friend of Randy’s, in on bass.

a booklet that, again, I had Ben do drawings for. It was like four pages and we’d staple them up and put them in all the record stores. Fucked if I know why I was doing that, the band had never played. How did you get affiliated with Waterfront Records? At first we got asked to play with The Eastern Dark in the Waterfront shop, because they had started to put on Saturday afternoon shows. The recording of that show is on the new reissue of Nobody Likes A Thinker and I put it on there because there are songs on there that

the second time we did it. Something happened on the first one where it didn’t work out, I think something happened to the tape, and so I had to go back and redo the “session”. The remastered version I reckon sounds different, it sounds clearer, that’s maybe why you heard new nuances in the coughing that you didn’t hear before. It was all ad-libbing. I was over at Ben’s flat with my ghetto blaster and everyone was just going on with the whole carry-on and rigmarole. The guy talking about, “You’ve got to taste it…” and all that, he’s a mate of ours who we haven’t seen for a while, but he had the whole spiel goin’ on about “wax paper” and all the rest of it. It was Yartz and Ben and Simon [Jones] who did all the talking. Simon is the guy whose head is on Ben’s cover art for Jazz. I didn’t smoke pot, so I was just sitting there recording it all.

“Just before I left England I had seen Dead Kennedys, then Black Flag and then Bad Brains and that was the end of English punk as far as I was concerned.” – Brett Curotta

What were the shows like just prior to recording Nobody Likes A Thinker? I remember we’d been playing for a little while and Tim Pittman, who was either managing the Hard-Ons at the time or doing their live sound, became interested in booking us. We booked a gig at the Yugal Soccer Club with The Hellmen and an early version of Ratcat and Tim said, “You might want to go and have a look outside.” And there was a staircase there that went downstairs and there was a queue going down the stairs from the paying table and out into the street. There was obviously something going on that we didn’t think was going on, a bit of a word of mouth thing. Like, we did weird stuff like the Deadheads T-shirt was out and about before we’d even played a show. And we had our lyrics printed up in

Because “Deadheads” is obviously an anti-smoking song. Well Poles [Andrew Polin], the drummer from Ratcat, he wrote the lyrics to the song. He wrote some of the lyrics on the first record and I wrote some - this was really before Randy started writing stuff. So later on Randy started writing and got better at it and eventually Poles stopped being a side-writer for us. “Deadheads” was like, Poles came over to my house with the lyrics and we were in my bedroom and I am playing guitar, like, I can’t even play, and we just came up with that basic, most inane riff you could think of.

Pic: Rod Hunt

It’s one of those classic fast hardcore songs where there are too many lyrics for the singer to possibly sing in that amount of time so you get abbreviations of lines. There’s the line, “Oh shit who had the last cone?” and it comes out like, “Who shit the last cone?” Yeah, Randy is trying to squeeze it all in. But if you read it, the lyrics are so well written. It’s bullshit how Poles wrote that. And this is from someone who smoked and knew what he was doing and was able to turn it around and go, “Look, I know I’m being a fucking idiot doing this,” and was actually honest about it. He could step outside and see all the crap that went on with it. The thing is, everyone loved it, everyone laughed at it, and no one really took it as an “anti” thing. Some people maybe thought there was that whole straightedge angle there but it wasn’t really. It was just Poles sticking up a mirror to himself and a lot of people related to it because they knew someone like that or they knew they were like that themselves.

we never properly recorded. It was recorded just with a ghetto blaster sitting on the counter of the shop. So we did the show and as we were packing up I think either Frank [Cotterell] or Steve [Stavrakis] from Waterfront came up and said, “We want to put a record out by you guys.” So that was November or December of ’85 and we did the demo the following March and then the following August or September we did the actual recording and then Nobody Likes A Thinker came out about a year later. Waterfront released it at the same time as the Hard-Ons [Smell My Finger] and the Spunkbubbles [“Metal Wench”/“Treat Me Good” 7-inch] and they had a poster with all the releases on it and it was just this cool thing. People were like, “Ah fuck, there’s something new going on.” Waterfront were a young label and a they had a new shop and they happened to come across a few cool bands that were happening at the time and so there was a lot of interest there. There was reviews in the Sydney Morning Herald and everywhere. I was listening to the reissue of Nobody Likes A Thinker and the funny intro bit of “Deadheads” stuck out more than it ever has and for the first time I tried to imagine that bit being recorded. All the pot smoking and all the carry-on was done at Ben’s place with a bunch of mates. That’s actually

Another song that maybe tied in partly with some people’s idea of straight-edge was “Pissed On Life”, but when you looked at it, it was more about moderation than zero tolerance. That was the thing, people were going, “Oh there’s the pot thing and then there’s the drink thing,” but I just wrote that song about a girl I was seeing at the time. She was just drinking too much or whatever and she was young and I was just like, “Come on!” I don’t write lyrics anymore and haven’t done since then, but I just assumed that’s how you wrote - you see something going on and you write about it. Obviously this thing was affecting me because it was affecting my relationship with this girl. I mean, I still went out with her for another ten years, but it was one of those things we went through. Was it like, “I wrote this song for you baby, it’s called ‘Pissed On Life’?” I don’t know if she even actually knows to this day that that’s what it’s about.


But it was written quite universally and I’m sure many teenage kids related to it, even the opening line, “We are the pissed youth, of today…” “We are the pissed youth.” That’s a good little line isn’t it? The thing is, I think people can relate because everyone does it. That’s why I used to look upon the whole straight-edge scene as being pretty bizarre. To tell you the truth, less people carried on with all of that back then than what’s going on now, or in the same way that it’s going on now. Like, if you told me twenty years ago that that whole carry on would become what it has now, with kids walking around with crosses on their hands and shit… The way I always looked at, the people who were all militant straight-edge and used to go on about it, it was like a little umbrella for all those people to hide under and clamour to each other; like a group hug. A little umbrella to protect weak little individuals so they could all get under there and go, “Hey yeah, it’s us.” I’ve always wondered why they

would turn something like that into a cult. I used to hear about Al [Barile], the guitarist from SS Decontrol going to gigs and smacking bottles of beer out of people’s hands; I used to read that and go, “What the fuck?” Then the next minute he got into metal, fucked off the whole scene and took up jet ski driving. It’s like, so you weren’t really into it anyway, you just went on a little berserk straight-edge rampage knocking beers out of people’s hands, a little phase you went through. Then it’s like, “Hardcore is dead now, I’m playing rock,” and you make an AC/DC-influenced record that everyone thought was shit and then you fuck off music entirely and buy a jet ski. How did you find out about the jet ski thing? I heard an interview with him. In the early eighties [Antony] Bross from The Hellmen was living in LA with my brother and they used to tape this radio show, which was hosted by this guy Adam Bomb who was in the Nip Drivers,

Relapse On The Reissue

An UNBELIEVABLY Bad interview with Relapse Records owner Matt Jacobson, a man with the good taste to be reissuing Massappeal’s Nobody Likes A Thinker in America.

Firstly, how does someone who lived on the other side of the world find out about a band like Massappeal? Under what circumstances did you first come across them and what attracted you to them? That is a really good question... it has been so long I am not sure how I first heard them. I have had the Nobody Likes A Thinker 12-inch since I was in high school. Fucking great stuff. I was also into a demo band from Australia called SSDC. I think the Massappeal sound, attitude and artwork together made it stand out. I love the Nobody Likes A Thinker record. I imagine not too many copies of Massappeal's records made it overseas when and how did you acquire the records? Well, again I am not totally sure as it has been so long but I most likely got the LP at this great record store in Denver, Colorado (where I lived in high school) call Wax Trax Records. They always had tons of great imports. Did you know anyone else who was a fan? Just some of my friends... either they turned me on to it or I turned them on to it. Did you ever see Massappeal play live? No, I wish that I could have! How did the idea of reissuing Nobody Likes A Thinker come about? Well, for years I had been interested in reissuing it... I love the record and I like to reissue things that I love... We have done a numbers of reissues over the years including Cryptic Slaughter, Repulsion, Sundial, Pentagram, Broken Bones, Dead Horse and a few others. So for some time we were trying to track down the band and one of the guys that worked at Relapse a couple years ago knew some folks Down Under and started asking around... he got a email address and we started talking about the reissue. It has taken a while to get everything lined up but I am psyched that the reissue will be out soon. How do you think the recordings hold up? I think they hold up great. With that said, I have dug them for over fifteen years so I still hear them the same way I did back then... it is hard for me to say personally how people hearing it for the first time might perceive it. Why is it a good idea to reissue this record now, and who should care? Well, I think any time is good because I want people to hear it... I think any one that is into eighties hardcore punk should love it and I think that a lot of other people could dig it too.

an LA hardcore band. But he used to get everyone on his show, I’ve still got the tapes, like St. Vitus and Lee Ving and the guys from Fear, two shows of El Duce from The Mentors and that is just fucking hilarious. So one show had Al from SSD on it and Adam asks, “So what are you doing,” and Al was like, “I bought a jet ski,” and this was like ’83 or ’84. That’s when I thought, oh right, after you’ve traumatized kids at shows, were you really into it anyway? Obviously Ben Brown's artwork for Nobody Likes A Thinker is a synonymous with Massappeal, when did you first meet Ben? Ben was one of the guys down the beach. Ben was in my brother’s year at school, so they were all three years younger than me. But we all surfed together and we were in the same surf club and we all knew each other from the pub or whatever. Ben was drawing on boards and drawing on people’s T-shirts, all that crazy monster shit. I’ve still

Chatterbox On The Reissues owner Nik Tropiano An UNBELIEVABLY Bad interview with Chatterbox Records Jazz. on re-issuing Massappeal’s Nobody Likes A Thinker and

attracted you to them? Under what circumstances did you first discover Massappeal and what Scratches. It was my There use to be this amazing record shop in the eighties at Newtown called ll vinyl and fanzines. Now education. People go to Uni to learn, I went to Scratches. It was wall-to-wa to steal lunch from the it is some fucking food shop in Newtown. I will never eat from there. I used me and go purchase a school canteen everyday and I would save the lunch money my mum gave meant indie, not bands 7-inch vinyl after school from the Australian indie section. Let me add, indie for me. I would close on major labels disguised in indie sections. That section was like a lucky dip I did, I would put it back my eyes and pick at random any record, if I didn’t have it, I would buy it. If entered my hand. The and do it again. One afternoon at Scratches, Massappeal’s Bar Of Life single Hard-Ons records Thank You artwork looked awesome and I remembered noticing the band’s name on to my mum lists. I went home and played it and the rest is history. The next day I lied Nobody and said I needed extra money for some reason I can’t remember and bought Thinker. Likes A Thinker When was the first time you saw Massappeal play live? preceded After getting the records I noticed in On The Street (Sydney street press that Media) that Massappeal were playing at the Lansdowne Hotel. Back then, being Drum Media for some underage, I had to wait for All Ages shows, but I could get into the Lansdowne and reason. Massappeal blew my fucking mind. Brett’s guitar sound was so obnoxious were so fast loud, the true essence of punk rock. Randy was this nut on stage and they I’ve - true brilliance. I think this was Bar Of Life-era, but it’s too long ago to be specific. seen far too many Massappeal shows in my life - I was a fucking stalker. What was the most memorable Massappeal show you ever saw? exists. It was at Burland Community Hall in Newtown, another place that no longer band It too is a restaurant now that I will never eat at. Anyway, there was this new there. from Seattle called Mudhoney that were causing a stir and they were playing act. This is way before the grunge explosion and Massappeal were the main support degree. To this day I have never seen a support act blow a main act off stage to this us Aussie’s Mudhoney played great, but Massappeal were untouchable. To me it was like to our saying, “Go fuck off home you stupid yank arseholes and how dare you come the energy was country and try and share the stage with us.” It was just so powerful and exaggeration). insane. I staged-dived probably twenty times during Massappeal’s set (no are better Massappeal were one of those bands where you could say, “Hey, our bands their ground than what’s coming out around the world.” Massappeal records could hold and most times blow next to any Black Flag, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, etc. record, their fucking records away. about? How did the idea of reissuing Nobody Likes A Thinker and Jazz come you kidding? I grew Brett emailed or rang me and asked if I would be interested. I was like, “Are if he would like to release up on those records, they changed my life!” It’s the same as asking my Dad a fanzine called What's Up a Rolling Stones album. Masssappeal are my Rolling Stones. I once made and Massappeal were in my first and only issue. How do you think the recordings hold up? when those They hold up stronger and more intense now than they ever have before. Seriously, like an atomic bomb has records came out, sure they were fast and furious, but compared to now it’s Pussy (what a fucking hit. The other month I was making a compilation CD for Karen from Nashville back to the name dropper cock I am, ha ha) and I included “Balance” from Jazz. Listening and obnoxious than compilation CD, when “Balance” came on it was so much more fresh, intense and Massappeal anything else on the comp. I even had Refused on the compilation, who I adore, the element of danger just sounded more vicious. My problem with most of the music today is that are still cutting is gone and is far from cutting edge. Things are just too safe. These recordings is the element of edge and sound fresher than ever. The other thing that many bands are missing been intense, fast or a song. People are brutal, etc, etc, for the sake of it. Massappeal may have being pop. whatever, but they had songs. Just as memorable as a Ramones song without care? Why is it a good idea to reissue these records now, and who should happy man Firstly, I care and that is good enough for me to release them. I can die a Also, it’s knowing I released two albums that carved my way of life and gave me happiness. shirt, they should very important to know your background and to the kid wearing a Converge their own backyard. know about a band doing it fifteen years earlier and, more importantly, in as significant to Massappeal are part of our national heritage when it comes to music - just was a form of music Australia as the Koala Bear. Last of all, it’s important to show that hardcore (not all) is that was probably 95% punk and 5% metal; where today a major part of hardcore loads of tuffy 100% metal and 0% punk. Massappeal wasn’t about being tough and having “We have noticed stickers. Randy at the Come Together Festival this year stated it perfectly: and the lizards.” It was many bands are looking all tough and that, but this song is about the sun the greatest comment in punk rock history.


Have you sold more T-shirts than records? Piles more; the T-shirts paid for the records. That’s where we made some money. The shirt still sells well. We’ve seen photos over the years of people wearing it. One of the best was a cover of Sounds Magazine with James Hetfield [Metallica] wearing one. I’ve got no idea how he got it but it sorta got around. When it was licenced to Acme, we got a dollar a T-shirt, that was our royalty. They were doing Midnight Oil and The Angels at the time and so they saw the potential probably more than we did. I’d hate to think what Midnight Oil were getting. But anyway, seven or eight thousand T-shirt sales later, that was the money put towards recording Jazz. Were you always accumulating new material or was the stuff on Jazz written in a specific block of time? We were just writing and writing and writing and I suppose if you want to hear the progression from Nobody Likes A Thinker to Jazz it’s in Extra Jazz, the extra vinyl 12-inch that came out with Jazz. This is why we released it as two different things; we regarded the songs on Jazz as the new songs, whereas the Extra Jazz songs were older songs left over from the period just after …Thinker. When I listen to Extra Jazz there is actually some really good stuff on there and we want to go back and do a few of those longer metally songs. The earlier line-up with Kevin and Darren and then with Tubby [Wadsworth], who was our drummer on the Bar Of Life single, probably had more to do with the Extra Jazz stuff. While Jazz was done more with the newer line-up, Sean [Fonti – bass] and Dave [Ross – drums]. We probably just mutated into whatever we were going to do. I have no idea where we were coming from with Jazz. Even doing an instrumental like “Damage Zone”, I have no idea where that came from. I was still listening to Black Flag and in fact, I think maybe it had really clicked how good they were because I was now playing guitar. When I saw them live I was more just focused on the gig itself. And the most noticeable thing about the band was Chuck [Dukowski], the bassplayer, who was just psycho, and Henry [Rollins – vocals]. I can’t remember much of Greg [Ginn] on the guitar because he was on the other side of the stage so I think it was later on, after I’d started playing guitar, that the whole thing clicked. You’ve gotta look at what they were doing at the time, which was pretty unique. It wasn’t even hardcore. DRI or SSD, that’s hardcore, but what the fuck Black Flag was, I have no idea. They were just coming from somewhere else and I got totally immersed – I’d go to sleep at night listening to them, a cassette player

James Hetfield of Metallica

Pic: Rod Hunt

got stuff that he did back then that people had and I just kept. I know some other people did do artwork for us and there is an early version of the stylized Massappeal logo done by another mate of ours, Scott Needham, who is now a well-known skate and surf photographer. But Ben had done that lyric booklet I mentioned and he would’ve done some flyers so it was just natural to get him to do the artwork for the record. But we never thought it would come to be regarded as being pretty iconic. Like a lot of that shit, you just do it, it happens, and before you know it people are still going on about it twenty-something years later.

"you just do it, it happens, and before you know it people are still going on about it twenty- something years later .” – Brett Curotta

next to my bed playing live 'Flag bootlegs. But people used to ask us what kind of sound it was on Jazz and I always said it was a more “rocky” sound, as opposed to thrash - that was one word that we used, rocky. I know Randy hated that, but I just didn’t know how else to describe it. I know we slowed down and it’s probably got a bit more of a groove to it – I’ve got no idea. Tubby should probably be given more credit for bringing that rock or metal style to the record, because we were always on at him to play faster. He was more of a rock player, even to the point where he had a real problem making his fast snare hits loud enough. In the end he was using a tom as his fucking snare. So there was no calculation behind any of it. You could look at it and think there was a lot of thought behind it but there wasn’t, you just go in and do it, you don’t even think about it. Is Jazz the best Massappeal ever did? No, the last album, Nommo Anagonno (1994). I don’t even own that but I heard some songs on your MySpace page and I really want to get it, I think I’d lost interest by then. It kinda surprised me but Tim Pittman even said he didn’t have it as well, so I think that just shows you at that stage people weren’t even listening to what we were doing. We had mutated and that was when the whole New York tough guy thing was coming back in. Bands like Toe To Toe were coming up playing this “true” hardcore style and we were off listening to Treponem Pal and playing gigs with The

Young Gods. So obviously we were the old guys losing it and the new thing was Sick Of It All or the early Revelation Records stuff, which I couldn’t stand. I remember being in America and Maximum Rock And Roll and Flipside were saying this was the new shit and so I went to Zed Records in Long Beach and they had the first half a dozen Revelation Records 7-inches and so I grabbed them – thank god I’ve still got them because they’re now worth a packet – but I remember getting it and going, “This is just fucked, I’m not into this at all.” New York has a lot to answer for – they fucked up a lot of genres. It all started to get too metal. Some older Massappeal fans might say that you got too metal. Probably. But the Nommo… album, I’d say is just more bent. I don’t even know where we were at headspace-wise. The biggest letdown about all our records is the sound of them. We were fighting to get a good sound all the time. You’ve gotta think about the time and the bands that were around and no one had any idea how to record that stuff here. With Jazz we had saved the money and Tim [Pittman] said, “You should go to 301 Studios, you’ll get a great sound,” and Mortal Sin had recorded their first album [Mayhemic Destruction] there and they actually suggested we get John Darwish to do it. So that’s where that came from. But it’s all guitars and there’s not much bass there. But then, from one extreme to the other, The Mechanic album is just a fucking nightmare. It has to be re-mixed, the whole thing. That’s not coming out until it’s remixed. For me, these reissues of …Thinker and Jazz are a no-brainer, I know there will be interest and they will sell a reasonable amount. But the main reason I want to release these two is so that I can correct the last two. Hopefully this will create another wave of interest and I can get the bucks to then go and remix The Mechanic and do it properly because for me there is a good record in there just screaming to get out. The sound is just a joke, it sounds weak, thin, sanitized, it’s got no balls to it at all; it doesn’t even sit in the progression of the band. I think we need to get the tapes and take it back to the basic sound and amp it up, boost some things here and there, and it will sound good. Hopefully these two reissues will do well and I will get to fix the last two records. Then again, it’s taken us four years to get these ones out so that could take a while. As I said in the intro, there is a heap more of this transcript so if you’d like to read the rest please get in touch and I might be swayed to run some more in UNBELIEVABLY Bad #5. Maybe I’ll call it “Fun Again”? Hit me up at unbelievablybad@optusnet.co m.au and tell me an old Massappeal story or something.


While in Australia back in July, Nashville Pussy partied hard with the locals, did drugs with members of Rose Tattoo, and even managed a few gigs here and there. Guitarist Ruyter Suys kept this UNBELIEVABLY debauched tour diary.

Blaine [Cartwright – guitar/vocals] had just finished two consecutive tours of Europe; nearly a month with Nashville Pussy and another three weeks with Nine Pound Hammer. He spent twelve hours at home in Atlanta before we flew to Australia. We met Karen [Cuda - bass] in LA airport and promptly celebrated by getting drunk and taking sleepy pills for the long-ass flight. We ran up a one-hundred dollar tab at the shitty Chili’s Express at LAX before boarding the plane on Monday to arrive the next Wednesday in Sydney. Blaine was so out of it a stewardess accidentally spilt an entire cup of scorching hot coffee all over him and he leapt from his seat swearing only to sit back down and immediately fall back asleep. Thank god and the devil for drugs. We were starving and plane food is always worse than it promises, so Blaine went to some fast food burger joint in Sydney Airport and we were reminded how dull Australian food is; like Canadian food with less salt. Hot sauce has left the continent or never even made it over here. Though we barely understand the currency - Australian food is expensive! We met Gareth, our keeper/tour manager and baby sitter, and hopped on the next plane to Adelaide to get our new time zone down by drinking. Blaine and I slept until the soccer game with Ronadinho at 4am, while Jeremy [Thompson – drums] and Karen went to the pub to watch some white guy get his ass kicked by some Aboriginal guy in a boxing match - Danny Green VS. Anthony Mundine. Apparently the whole country was watching because there was a line up and it cost ten bucks just to get IN the bar. After the match was over the fight spilled into the street, but this time the Aboriginals were arrested and taken away by the cops. Unlike the boxers, these guys didn’t get any money - they just went to jail.

'IG&5#+).' 2%.4!,'%!2 We are used to playing on our own, apparently extremely rare, vintage equipment in North America, and we have our own gear stored for our European tours as well. Using rental gear anywhere is always a hassle. We had new everything every single night; new amps and cabinets and even new drums and hardware, so for us these soundchecks were painfully long and tedious. We hate soundchecks and avoid them if we have any choice, but with new and weird gear, you don’t have an option. Jeremy had to retune new drums every day of a three-week tour (even in New Zealand and Japan as well).

the letter and we took their message to heart. Gig time - this is the Australia we remember. Nearly 800 people paid the steep Australian entry to see us. This time we watched nearly all of Electric Eel Shock and they were jaw dropping. The drummer played naked with two sticks in each hand, stopping to pick up a fourth if he dropped one. As well, he had a huge sock on his cock earning him the nickname “Giant”. These guys love some metal and the singer announced that they had seen Nashville Pussy and that we are, “REARRY REARRY ROCK N RORR.” They climbed on top of the bass cabinet and raced their guitars around the stage like motorcycles playing a bunch of classic metal songs and stealing riffs from the ones they didn’t play. They ended the set by asking the audience, “Do you know who you are? I know who I am. We are all Electric Eel Shock!” True, we were all Electric Eel Shock. In true Japanese form, and to Jeremy’s relief, Giant wiped the drum seat clean of his naked ass-sweat before Jeremy took the stage. They did so well we gave the audience an extra fifteen minutes to drink and remember they came to see us. As usual, the rental gear was squirly, so, despite a soundcheck, Blaine had to fix my freaky amp while the audience cheered him on. After that, the show was flawless – one of our best ever. This calls for a celebration – so we headed to Billy (Walsh – ex Cosmic Psycho)’s bar, just a few feet from the AC/DC street sign – which would look perfect next to the Calle AC/DC sign I have from Madrid.

'IG'$!9 -%,"/52.% We check in at some schmancy hotel and, in search of spicy food, we each individually all find the exact same Indian curry restaurant at the end of a huge public market. It was perfect. We get back to our swonky hotel to find the rooms cleaned and a bottle of Shiraz with a cute little card from the management offering the standard thanks for picking their hotel and yada yada and have a great show. I kept Pic: Rod Hunt

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Adelaide is like a classic Middle American town in Missouri or something. Electric Eel Shock from Japan were our opening band for this short Australian stint. Our hotel was so close to the show we just walked to the gig and managed to miss every note of the opening band’s set. Anytime the hotel is that close you can count on us not getting out of bed until ten minutes before we are supposed to be on stage. After a three-week vacation from Nashville Pussy, it felt great to be back onstage. The audience felt it too. They were the classic Nashville Pussy audience; punks and rockers, diehards and virgins, everyone ready and happy to have a good time - with that beautiful smalltown love that we made it to play their town. “Why are you playing Adelaide?” they ask. “Because you’re here,” we answer. Some kind soul gave Blaine a tab of X and we couldn’t possibly entertain sleep in any fashion so Blaine and I took to the streets while Karen and Jeremy slept off their pub fight night. We met up with some of the audience for drinks on the street patio in front of some yuppie neon strip-joint jerk bar. The security is all dressed up to go to a wedding but instead they waste their time asking people like Blaine to take off their hats just to go to the pisser. We learned that hats block the security cameras from seeing your face… and soon they’ll be outlawing hair as well. We hit some crappy 4am drunk food café and headed back for a few hours of sleep before our plane to Melbourne. So this is the Australian winter? No one even brought a jacket, let alone needed one, but I hit the OP shops in the morning and bought a cool studded denim jacket and fake leather one for AUD$15.

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first bassist for Rose Tattoo. We tried to call him and tell him something really important, but he wouldn’t pick up at 4am the bastard - so instead we left a heartfelt and I’m sure very audible message for him for when he woke up.

Pic: Rod Hunt

We know Billy’s as the Ding Dong Lounge - it might have another name [Cherry Bar?], but it has always been packed with super cool rock ‘n’ rollers as far as I know. We’ve been there twice, each time after our own shows so as far as I’m concerned that place always kicks ass. Last time our old bassplayer nearly broke the bar by trying to dance on the glass top. This time the Aussie audience has grown in terms of hot and cool chicks; all of them buying us drinks and swapping stories. I spent the majority of the evening talking to a gaggle of the coolest ones in the bathroom – the most intimate room in the house. I had switched my Italian cowboy boots with one of the coolest chicks who had these confederate flag boots she’d bought in Spain. I would have traded permanently on the spot had I brought yet one other pair of shoes with me. But hey, gotta pack light. Another bathroom hottie was a child of legend, I was told by the flock of rock chicks, her father being Ian Rilen, the original “Bad Boy For Love” and

I looked up to see Blaine being led to the stall by yet another hot ass Melbourne chick. He saw me, and, with a “what could I do” look on his face and a wave, he was gone behind the closed door. Just as the bathroom girls are questioning me I hear him say “Oh fuck, this is speed, oh well....” We’d have a long night ahead of us. One-thousand drinks later, Billy has long since snuck off from his own bar, as is his style, and Gareth has corralled us off the dancefloor and into waiting taxis to take us home to our fancy beds. We tried to sleep by renting one of the most depressingly terrifying and realistic hostage movies, but luckily we only had a few hours before our plane left to take us to SYDNEY! I have to reprise page one.... on the first day, Blaine slept off his flight from Stuttgart to Atlanta to LA to Australia, while me, Jeremy and Karen got taken to the Zoo by Gareth! This is a drastic alteration from the patented Drive-By Tourism we utilize worldwide. I have personally seen the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty no less than twenty five times each and have never been up either of them, so a day at the Zoo is truly a rarity for us. Finally, something we can tell our moms about. Okay, we have seen these creatures on TV and on Australian fridge magnets but in person there is nothing cooler than a Wombat, a Meercat colony or a non-cartoon Tasmanian Devil running around in circles!! What is with this country that all these awesome critters seem to be either crossed with a dog or a pig somewhere down the evolutionary line? Karen fell completely in love with the Wombat – they are huge and fucking hilarious, especially when you are jet-lagged and sober. He was rolling around in the dust and snorting and hopping in one spot showing off for his giggling audience. Even with the sign that said he’d bite your fucking hand off, we just wanted to pet his fuzzy little butt.

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Karen and Blaine sleep at the hotel while Jeremy and I sacrifice both food and sleep to do a non-interview with local radio guy Jack Shit, who opts out of the interview coz we were not “prepared” to do something a-capella or acoustic. We’d been asked nearly a month earlier and told them straight up; Nashville Pussy has one rule (I think AC/DC has it too) and that is; “DON’T PLAY ACCOUSTIC.” We’ve turned down opportunities to play on national television in the States, “Unplugged” as they call it, mostly because the hosts’ think it will be “funny” or “wacky”. Despite our extremely witty lyrics and general Joie De Vivre, we are not a clown act. Our ten-second exchange with “Simon”, aka Jack Shit, involved him asking what we had prepared, like we were auditioning for open mike night. Rather than risk genius, “Simon” decided to decline. Now who’s the pussy? Too bad for him, I know Jeremy was ready to fart the national anthem and I was going to tell my Nashville Jack Shit story. Now no one will ever hear it. Back at the infamous Annandale Hotel! Glorious, as always, you can smell the history, literally. We even know what to eat here! This time the noodles in the back are accompanied by a guitar magazine interview while we suffer through a live White Stripes DVD. The Annandale show was fucking fantastic! Off The Hook good! Packed to the back, just like last time, only this time

Pic: Rod Hunt

even though Lemmy’s stories of the Russian Mafia confiscating their bus and gear and holding it for ransom is pretty convincing too. So I’m jawing it up with Mr. Cool Dude for like an hour before I finally ask him, “Who’s this band you play with?” And he answers me like a slap in the face “THE TATTS!!” Perfect – we find the coolest guy in town AND he plays for ROSE TATTOO!!! Damn we’ve got good taste, what could be better? After the cool bar closed and Blaine drained all the rock from the room we were desperate for more. We found ourselves in a much cleaner but lamer bar that didn’t even let us rock ‘n’ roll ragamuffins in the main area but told us to go upstairs where Billy Joel was blasting over the speakers and there wasn’t even smoking allowed. The most rocking thing this place played all night was Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” but we tried to make the best of a boring situation. After a little talk and a lotta drinks, Tatts bassist, Steve, and Blaine get offered some coke and they sneak off to the bathroom. A few lines were laid out on the toilet paper holder and Steve was telling Blaine how much he liked Karen and how she reminded him of Suzi Quatro. Blaine pointed out that Suzi’s hero was James Jameson from the Motown. The second he said his name, some Oriental bouncer was standing over the stall like Spiderman barking into his little-Madonna headset to his superiors, shaking his head at the boys’ partying. Fair game; I guess they looked like dealers. But they explained it was only medicinal and if the bar was better we wouldn’t need drugs at all. They got kicked out and we all followed, except for Jeremy, who we figured had just got bored and left but who somehow missed our dramatic exit and spent the night trying to find either us or our hotel. Luckily, there was a much more fun Tranny bar waiting for us; where the men are men and so are the women. One of the shim’s asked us to join him/her for a game of pool, but we were so scared we declined and just spent the night watching “its” ass. He wasn’t quite a woman, but not for the lack of trying. The most telling part was in the women’s bathroom - the toilet seat was always left up. As the sun was getting angrier and the music getting shittier, we hit the streets, as our plane left in an hour. On the overflowing garbage can in front of the club someone had left a pair of calf-high, higherthan-hell-heeled, white leather FUCK ME boots. They fit me, so I took ‘em, wondering what circumstances led to them being deserted in the wee hours. They were dubbed the WHITE TRASH Boots and I wore them around the airport to the surprise that one, I could walk in them just fine, and two, people at airports treat you way different when you are dressed like a hooker at nine in the morning - way better I might add.

Pic: Rod Hunt

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they built a little bridge for me to Angus-hop from the stage over to the bar for quicker drink service during the show - how sweet; whiskey delivery made quicker. The audience was extra awesome. There is something truly justifying about playing in Sydney, just knowing that the “Seedies” cut their teeth on stages like the Annandale and that Angus developed his “stick and move” method of stage dancing dodging bottles in pubs like this. It does my heart good – especially when the drinks coming at us are being passed and not thrown. Our previous gig here we had the honour of playing “ROCK ‘N’ ROLL OUTLAW” with none other than The Late Great Pete Wells, who turned every knob on the amp up all the way before he’d even plugged in. We played it again this night in his honour – rock ‘n’ roll misses you Pete! A great fucking show is always followed by a great fucking party. Blaine was asked to DJ the Rock N Roll Motherfucker Bar, and we’d sold a shitload of merchandise so we decided to celebrate by taking up some girls' offer to procure drugs. This had been visibly absent from our recent festivities and celebration seemed to be at hand, so we agreed. Once the delivery was complete we realised that the high prices in Australia are not just for food and gig entrance. It is the most expensive country in the world to buy cocaine. The price started at AUD$400 then wound up being more like $200, but still... We’ll never do that again, but we had it, so what are ya gonna do! Blaine saved the disco with his funk!!! We had been escorted into the upstairs VIP room full of stuffed shirts so we immediately exited back to the action as Blaine had the room rocking. Everyone was so loose and the joint was jumping, even our record label head was on the floor doing “The Worm” and breakdancing with Jeremy. We meet the coolest guy in the world, who looks like a biker and has some hot-ass super chick on his arm. We exchange rock ‘n’ roll war stories deep into the evening as he has just returned from playing with his band all over Russia. He insists we “have to go,” even though Motörhead told us “Never to go!” This guys’ tales of touring Russia by train sound romantic, Pic: Rod Hunt

I can totally see where the Tasmanian Devil got his animated image – all he did was run in circles making crazy sounds like it was the most important thing in the world. He didn’t spin through any trees as we’d been led to believe though. A kangaroo tried incessantly to steal Jeremy’s map of the zoo for no les than five solid minutes – we got it all on video. I thought I was gonna pee my pants we laughed so hard. Some jackass had stolen a monkey from the zoo that month, so Karen has to wait until she can steal herself a Wombat. Reprise continued, Day One... arrival at the Airport. This time it was smooth as hell. Lots of cute airport security dudes chatting us up strangely intrigued by the name Nashville Pussy. I hand out sexy stickers and talk guitars with one of the officials while they officially wave us through. Last time our plane set down in Cairns, QLD after coming in from Japan before continuing onto Sydney and we had to remove our stuff for the plane to be cleaned. I asked, “If I walked straight out that door, what kind of wildlife would I find?” “Mostly cats and rats,” came the answer. “Some rats the size of cats.” We stayed in the airport. On returning to our freshly-cleaned plane, I was already past the gate when Blaine was stopped by this burly, tattooed steward who said the guitars weren’t allowed on board even though we’d just brought them from the cabin. So Blaine just handed them to me and said “Go!” Our first encounter with Aussie hospitality was this guy, obviously pissed at having such a shit job, telling Blaine, “Don’t push me mate.” He looked like he meant it, but I was already on the plane with our precious guitars. Once we landed finally in Sydney we had the standard Aussie search for bananas and other contraband. One security dude’s job was to ask every passenger if they had SARS. “SARS? Got any SARS?” Okay, back to…


Everyone in Sydney warned us, “Don’t go to Brisbane,” and, “They’re ten years behind the times,” “Stay in Sydney,” etc, etc. No one bothered to tell us that Brisbane looks like and is very close to a place called PARADISE! We had the most amazing hotel on Kangaroo Point with a view to die for. The weather was perfect; hot but not too hote could even work on a nice Australian winter tan naked on our balconies. We actually managed a few hours sleep before our show. Aptly, it was a Sunday and we played at The Rev, an old church converted to the new Church of ROCK!!! This show too – rocked!! Brisbane rocks – don’t let anyone from Sydney tell you any different. After the show we met an American from Arkansas who was stranded in Australia coz he’d accidentally killed an old woman in a car accident. He took Blaine, his Aussie friend and his girlfriend into the bathroom to do some “K” – Ketamine; cat tranquilizer; or elephant tranquilizer, depending on how much you do. The audience in Sydney was right, Brisbane IS tens years behind the times. We’d done this years before, in Florida, but that drug was replaced by the much more effective and fatal “G”, so we were ecstatic to find it again anywhere. Blaine did too much and slipped into what they call a “K hole”, where evidently it makes stepping ONE STEP up to the toilet absolutely impossible. Blaine disappeared into the bathroom finally with some record store chick with a camera around her neck and a Dixie Chicks shirt on. After giving her a bump of “K” she had to walk Blaine back to the couch where he proclaimed “K” to be “better then being dead.” They sat together sinking into they couch and Blaine, stoned, wouldn’t shut up about the Dixie Chicks and how much trouble they got into in the States by saying something slightly bad about the President being from Texas and how that embarrassed them as Texans. The patriotic American audience turned on the Chicks and so on and so on… At some point this chick took off her Dixie Chicks shirt and threw it at Blaine. He still doesn’t know if she was flirting with him or just trying to get him to shut the hell up about the fucking Dixie Chicks, who we don’t even like. But I wear it all the time now – thank you Brisbane.

We partied with a sexy Six Ft Hick till the bar closed and the “K” told us to GO HOME NOW!!! We pounded on the closed door of the bar until Jeremy and Karen joined us on the outside and into a cab to take us to bed. Thinking it must be at least seven in the morning and we had only a few hours to take yet ANOTHER FUCKING PLANE FLIGHT back to Sydney - we were amazed to find the “K” gave us an entire evening in just a few hours. It was only 3:15 am and we could actually get a proper night’s sleep on our last day.

Pic: Rod Hunt

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!$)/3!533)%3 Sydney again, no gig!!!! We have our traditional record company honeymoon meal. Chatterbox Records has to prove to us how cool they are in sheer amounts of wine and delicious and weird Thai food. They take everyone out, including the infamous Dave Batty who was “responsible” for Nashville Pussy ever coming to Australia in the first place – even though Jeremy still beats him at Knifey Spoony. We manage to drink at least fifteen bottles of wine, which requires at least one more trip to the liquor store during the meal. And we manage to spend as much of the record label’s money as possible in that short amount of time, even finally eating Kangaroo (which is quite delicious and certainly worth swerving for). We retire to yet another bar to drink more and listen to the broken jukebox. Blaine, the consummate DJ, filled the jukebox with money, but it was one letter off and every time

we played “Bad To The Bone” it played Janet Jackson instead. Chatterbox truly proved their cool by taking me to an all night XXX sex shop where they bought us all friendly toys for our long lonely nights on the road. Karen hadn’t got to hug a Koala yet so we picked out a little vibrating one. We’d been on the road a whole week so it was suitable to get Jeremy a pocket pussy. The label was even so kind as to get Blaine some Big Boob magazine and I got myself a new Rabbit – hopefully because I got this one Down Under it will last a little longer than the one I bought in Canada. I found out the difference between Rabbits and Tasmanian Devils. Rabbits fuck for only two minutes and Tasmanian Devils can fuck for two hours! Now, promise our moms won’t see it!!!!


Oh What Fun It Is To Sing

A Slaying Song Tonight Slayer. Kerry King interview by Matt Reekie. Ilustration by Glenno.

I

’m waiting for almost ten minutes listening to the most lacklustre and tedious hold music in the history of teleconferencing. But I’m waiting for Kerry King, so I must endure. I tell myself it’s just one tiny elevator muzak interlude before I get to speak with one of the pioneers of really, really fast and heavy music. When King finally materializes on the other end of the line he quickly blames heavy traffic for the delay. He manages to avoid any sort of apology, and I'm too much in awe to ask for one. His tone of voice, while not exactly surly, is not exactly brimming with joy either. It makes me pine for the sweet sound of hold muzak. But then I think to myself, who were you expecting, Spongebob Squarepants? This guy is the guitarist from Slayer for fuckssake! King keeps his answers brief and to the point. He’s a straight shooter who does not like to be drawn into talking a lot of shit for the sake of it. And to be fair, the music on Hell Awaits (1985) and Reign In Blood (1986) and Seasons In The Abyss (1990) speaks well enough for itself, thank you very much. This interview took place just as Slayer were preparing to unleash their brand new ninth studio album, Christ Illusion…

The new album has been a long time in coming, can you explain the way Slayer works and why you’re a band that prefer to take your time making records? Well the last one (God Hates Us All) we toured three and a half years for. Then we put the boxset (Soundtrack to the Apocalypse) out, we put two DVDs (War At The Warfield and Still Reigning) out, American Recordings went through a different distribution company and so that held things up. There is always a big story with every album; it’s certainly not laziness, just a whole lot of things that get thrown at you. Usually we’ve got the record company saying, “You guys have gotta get a record out, c’mon man, what are you doing?” This time it was backwards, I don’t know what the hold up was but we were trying to get things happening earlier and just not getting anywhere. We were like, “Let’s go man, we’re ready.” So what was the hold up? I don’t know? I don’t know what the hold up was man, I never figured that part out. Christ Illusion shows the band are determined to stick to your own style; how much experimentation are you comfortable with? We’re not really about experimentation. We just want to go in, nail the tracks, nail the sound quality and roll with it. We want to get all the kinks worked out before we get into the actual studio so not much happens to the songs at that point.

How do you feel about the influence Slayer has had and continues to have, is that something you can acknowledge and be happy with? I’m happy with it but that’s not what drives us. We just like to come up with killer tunes and to extend our career and still be relevant. Some bands put out records that are not only not relevant but they just fucking suck; we’re not about that. Hardcore bands are even ripping off Slayer riffs these days when those scenes used to be quite separate. Well in the beginning punk and metal was separate too and we kinda ended that. In the beginning Jeff (Hanneman – guitar) was right into punk, I didn’t get it until a few years later. I was into metal singers and punk didn’t really have singers they just had people that barked at ya. It took me a while to figure it out, “Oh, they like it like that. That’s what they’re TRYING to do.”

SLAYER DISCOGRAPHY 1983: Show No Mercy 1984: Haunting The Chapel EP 1984: Live Undead (live) 1985: Hell Awaits 1986: Reign In Blood 1988: South Of Heaven 1990: Seasons In The Abyss 1991: Decade Of Aggression (live) 1994: Divine Intervention 1996: Undisputed Attitude 1998: Diabolus In Musica 2001: God Hates Us All 2002: War At The Warfield DVD 2003: Soundtrack to the Apocalypse boxset 2003: Still Reigning DVD 2006: Christ Illusion

Do you feel sympathy for young bands these days who have to come along after Slayer and other bands have explored most musical extremities. I think it’s probably more imperative to be creative to get your own sound. When we came out and did our thing there wasn’t anything else around to compare it to. But now there’s tons of bands. But I think the key to being, I don’t know if popular is the word, but you have to be unique. If you sound like somebody else, somebody else is probably doing it better than you.

I suppose a lot of what music is about now is appropriating different styles whereas Slayer were out to create a new sound, is that fair to say? We were interested in being unique. I remember in the beginning it was about being as far away from the typical LA band as you could be. Those were bands like Ratt, Mötley Crüe, and after them, Poison. We saw all these guys dressing up like chicks and we didn’t want to do that so we did everything we could to be the opposite. And I think that’s what pushed us to the extremity we ended up with. In terms of influences, what were the big inspirations behind the Slayer sound originally? Well I was into Venom, the first two albums [Welcome to Hell - 1981 and Black Metal - 1982] big-time. Motörhead was another big


Slayer circa Seasons...: (LtoR) Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, Tom Araya, Dave Lombardo

influence. Jeff was into getting punk, mainly west coast punk in the beginning but later the east coast stuff. But Slayer was from that fusion of the British metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with a punk vibe and attitude, I think that’s where we ended up. The first four albums were recently reissued… And you know what, I’ll bet you they get reissued again. Every time they change distributors the new distributor demands the back catalogue. Get that in the article somewhere because it’s not like we keep reissuing this stuff to get the bucks. Every time they go to a different distributor they get reissued. Do you continue to be influenced by new music or do you have the same old bands you like? I’ve got bands I like but no other bands can influence us now because we’re totally established and we sound like what we sound like. But if we’re at home not touring I still go out and check out bands. I’m at the (LA) House Of Blues all the time if it’s a big metal month. Metal Blade Records has got a band I like called Demiricous, they sound just like us. People are like, “Why do you like them, they sound just like you.” I’m like, “Well, they could sound like other crap.” I went and saw them when they played in Hollywood and it was awesome. If the whole band was as dedicated as that singer (Nate Olp) they’d be unstoppable because he just gets onstage and blows your balls off. Lyrically, the themes you explore have focused more sharply on the hypocrisy of Christianity, why has it developed like that? It’s probably because the last album was called God Hates Us All and I couldn’t just stay there and say, “Okay, I can’t NOT do better.” Every time you have to outdo yourself. We’ve said so many harsh and abstract things that it gets harder to one-up yourself. What is the most harsh and abstract thing you say on Christ Illusion? There’s a lot [laughs]. That song “Cult” has the lines: “Religion is hate, religion is fear, religion is war. Religion is rape, religion’s obscene, religion’s a whore.” It says, “There is no fucking Jesus Christ there never was a sacrifice.” That was the first song I wrote for this album and so I set the standard high. The song “Jihad”, what is that about from your understanding? Jeff did that. He wrote about 9-11 but he wrote about it from the terrorist’s perspective. Which I think is interesting. Everybody under the sun has gone and done a 9-11 song so initially I was like, “Why the fuck would you want to do that?” Then when he told me about this perspective I thought, well that’s a great idea. Being in the band we’re in, we’ve always gotta be the bad guy or talk about the bad guy. You don’t have to side with him but for us you’ve gotta throw the perspective out there because, well, for one thing, other bands don’t. It seems like the Muslim faith is a much more touchy subject than Christianity. Yeah well at least we didn’t bag on those guys. Totally. You would've be doing what Salmon Rushdie did with the book The Satantic Verses and basically putting your life at risk for your art. I think with us it’s just provocative ideas, things that make

you think about stuff in ways you may not have thought about it before. I think that’s where we come in. Is the fundamentalist Christian movement gaining power, or at least is that your take on things? I’m not sure, I think people are trying to be more freethinkers and I think people aren’t just saying, “This is how things are.” I think people are trying to make up their minds for themselves, I think they’re questioning what their parents have forced onto them, it seems like there’s more free-thinkers these days. When you come to one of our shows and you’ve got seven thousand people screaming “God hates us all” back at you, it’s pretty cool. There are many bands like As I Lay Dying and Norma Jean infiltrating the heavy music scene and preaching the word of god, what do you think of that? I think it’s cool if people believe in whatever the hell they want to believe in but I don’t think it’s cool for a person onstage to preach about organised religion to thousands of people across a tour. The audience is very impressionable and they could say, “This is how it is because he says so. I look up to this person so I should think like that.” It puts you in a position of power that you may not even know you have. What about going the other way, though, and trying to incite an audience? I don’t think we’ve ever been a band that says, “Make a pit here,” or, “Let’s tear this place apart,” because our audience doesn’t need that kind of provocation; they’ll do it anyway. And if you egg them on then you become part of the problem. I’m all about people coming along and having a good time but you don’t have to egg them on. We realised early on that if you egg them on they might do something they wouldn’t normally have done. The end result of that stuff I suppose is the murder of Dimebag Darrell, which I’m sure is something that would play on your mind occasionally. We were on tour when that happened and we had eight days left and security got stepped up, just because management freaks out and everything. Just because something happens everyone wants to prevent it from happening again, I understand that, but the day it happened I said, “This was a one-off fluke thing.” This guy was just a nutbag who unfortunately succeeded in what he was trying to do. I couldn’t see that there was going to be open season on big guitar players or anything.

What kind of stuff do you do away from the band to occupy your time these days; do you still have the snakes and all that? Actually I got out of the reptiles for a while, I got out probably around '98 or '99 because it was taking too much time away from the band! And you know, if you look at our last two records, I wrote most of them, so I was right to take a break from reptiles. But recently I got back in but on a more reasonable scale. At one time there I had over four hundred animals around the place, so you can see how my time got wasted. But I kept all my knowledge about breeding from the first time and this time I have about fifty snakes and it’s all high-end stuff so to be breeding them is worth my time. Last question; do you still get royalties from playing on that Beastie Boys record? Nah man, that was a one-off, I did that for like a hundred bucks! Dumbest thing I ever did. That was just when we were recording Reign In Blood and they were recording Licensed To Ill and who woulda known? I would have a different zip code today if I got royalties for that.

“I like Demiricous. People are like, ‘Why do you like them, they sound just like you.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they could sound like other crap.’” – Kerry King


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by Owen Peng

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ROM BEYO ND THE CRYP T , KEYBOARDIST/VOOCALIST T RENT R UAN E DELI VERS MOR E ON THE LIFE AND DEAT H OF T HE M UMM IES - HOW TO MAK E RECO RDS , TOUR E URO PE IN TRUE B UDG ET R OCK STYL E , AND AVO ID THE . VERY REAL M UMM IES ’ C URSE

You covered some pretty obscure songs - where did it all come from, especially in the pre-internet days? Stuff like A. Jacks and the Cleansers’ “Stronger Than Dirt”, the Rockin Ramrods’ “She Lied”, and “Big Boy Pete” by The Tidal Waves? Yeah, the Internet really did change a lot. At the risk of sounding like the stereotypical Luddite (which I am), things were definitely harder before. I mean, you actually had to physically look for things in the real world. Pouring through the phone book in every town you drive through while on tour (or even on weekends) looking for record stores, thrift stores and guitar shops. Kids today can Google just about anything, and with eBay, they can buy it too – and all without ever having to leave their houses. There's also an indescribable thrill in shoplifting that you just don't get by using stolen credit cards online. Anyway, some of our material came from comps, and some of it came from finding records at local swaps or even junk stores. Then we had folks like Todd at Telstar Records, or Tim Warren from Crypt sending us tapes with stuff they thought we ought to cover; stuff that hadn't made it out onto comps yet. Even the whole business of putting out your own records was some kind of “secret and mysterious thing” that only real record labels could do. Bullshit. That was one of the great things about the scene up in Seattle. People were actually doing things - on their own. So when we rolled into town the first time with our first single in hand, it was completely normal to them; whereas back home, it was some kind of amazing thing that we “had a record out.” In the Bay Area, it was as if there was some kind of epidemic fever that made everybody retarded. All you had to do was a little research,

find a record plant, send them a tape and some money, and done! You had a record. All your own, no one telling you what songs could be on it, or what the cover should look like. Hell, we didn't even have the covers made by the record plant for the first couple of singles. It was cheaper to have them printed here in town, and we could get away with cover like “Food, Sickles & Girls”. We cut, folded and glued each one of the sleeves for the first two singles by hand. We were cheap bastards, but we always passed the savings onto the people. That's the Budget Rock way.

With your own material, did you feel you had a lot to live up to based on the covers you were doing? As much as I like garage music, there's really not that much to live up to. I can write shitty songs as good (or bad) as the next guy.

You did a little time in Untamed Youth and the Phantom Surfers around 1992. Was this after The Mummies first called it quits?

Yeah, I'm on the Untamed Youth's Live In Las Vegas album on Estrus. And I recorded the “Sophisticated International Playboys Theme” / “Sea & Shore” single for them. There was a spell where I was playing in both the Youth and the Surfers simultaneously. My stint with the Surfers started back in 1990, while The Mummies were still around. We did a couple of tours of the Northwest (i.e. Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, etc.) with the Surfers as support, and I did double-duty on at least one of those tours - but because I am so damn ugly, it was always behind a goddamned mask.

Was there much of a story to the end of the Mummies, or did you all just decide to go your separate ways? Believe it or not, the band split because of a really stupid argument that happened on the flight back from New York, after playing (what we thought was) our last show (before we got back together to do the European tours). We had recorded a whole new album's worth of material and had been planning on releasing it when we got back home. This was January, 1992. The problem was Maz [Kattuah – bass] wasn't on all the tracks. We had been fighting an awful lot during this time and he had taken off during the recording “sessions” to go to some slot car event that was happening in Arizona(!), thinking we couldn't continue without him. We did anyway. A friend of ours, who was a bass player in another band (which shall remain nameless) filled in and we finished the last of the tracks. Anyway, to this day, it is a really ugly mess and there are constant threats of lawsuits or just plain ass kicking if the album ever comes out (and it's been 15 years now!). By the way, this is the first time I've ever disclosed this info. Scoop for UNBELIEVABLY Bad!


 J < @ D D L D I’ve heard you’re somehow involved in the computer/IT world now. Is this a lesson to people in this about no matter how cool your garage band is, you’ll have to get a real job someday?

Well, if you're making a living by being in a band, that either means you're never going to “get anywhere,” or your band's inane enough to appeal to enough people to keep the money rolling in. “Working bands” fall into the first category. These are bands that make an honest living schlepping gear across town night after night, playing clubs, parties, restaurants, wherever. The latter group is made up of “famous” bands. The numbers work against you there, my friend. Think about it: what would it take just for everyone that lives in your neighbourhood to like your band - like it enough to repeatedly pay to see you perform and buy your records? Right. Your band has to be shitty enough to appeal to masses of people who have their taste in music, film, art (or even their general knowledge of news, current events, politics, etc.) set by commercial, corporate-run media. The thing about The Mummies was that we were just in it for kicks. We knew we were never going to get anywhere, so we never fooled ourselves into thinking we should take any of it seriously.

Do you still play music at all? I occasionally fill in on guitar in a string band with one of the guys from [R.Crumb’s] Cheap Suit Serenaders. Marches, fox trots, waltzes, Hawaiian tunes - that sort of thing. I've always been into pre-war music (as in WWII, not Desert Storm), and after I got the rock ‘n’ roll thing out of my system, I only listened to that type of music. Over the last couple of years, though, I've slowly been able to stomach some rock ‘n’ roll again - mainly seventies English pub rock.

How did you guys cope on your tours of Europe? Got any tips for finding places to sleep, etc? Don't pay for anything. Get some rich kid to pay for everything, drive your shit around, set up shows and feed your ass. And stay away from German psychobillies (or English ones for that matter). We stayed with some psychobilly guys in Frankfurt once and one of the dudes had actually killed someone. Come to think of it, we stayed with some other dude in Belgium who also killed someone (though he wasn't a psychobilly). Sometimes you get stuck in queer lodgings on the continent... Anyway, the German dude always carried around a really big fucking hunting knife, and used it in restaurants instead of the silverware provided. Fucking savages.

Why are most of the people asking for a Mummies reunion sweaty old collector-type guys? Does this ever have a chance of happening?

You ever seen the old horror flick, The Mummy? You know how those assholes (a.k.a. “explorers”) exploit the “savages,” bust into that tomb, steal a bunch of shit, wake up the dead guy and piss him off? What happens to them all? Yeah, they get all fucked up for stealing shit and being dicks. That's called payback. When we were playing, we stole a whole lot of shit from clubs. I mean a lot - microphones, cables, stands, monitors, alcohol, and yes, money. It's sort of like a

reverse Mummy's curse (because this time The Mummies were doing the stealing). That is the reason why our curse isn't as fucked up as what those fuckers have to deal with in that movie. It still sucks though. I mean, how would you like it if the only people who will ever come see your band reunion are fat, virginal, bearded record collector fucks?

What happened to the Budget Rock hearse? First of all, it was an ambulance - a 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance to be exact. Purportedly the same make/model/year used to transport whatever was left of JFK to the hospital. Anyway, after the band broke up, it was getting to be a pain driving that shit around town just to get groceries and I ended up leaving it in the lot next door to the old Budget Rock headquarters. Okay, now here's where it gets totally crazy. I get this phone call one day from this English guy who's interested in buying the thing. He leaves this message on my answering machine, and I'm playing it back and thinking the voice is totally familiar, but I just can't place it. It's not [Billy] Childish, and I play the damn thing over and over again... Anyway, long story short, it was Ian fucking Dury! Thinking it must be a joke (because I’m pretty sure he wasn't in the best of health at this point, and like, what the fuck would he want with the Mummymobile anyway?), I return his call and tell him I'd be willing to part with it, but

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that the shipping would fucking kill him (no pun intended). He insisted he was still interested, mumbled something about JFK (I suppose he could've been mumbling something about the UK and not JFK, but it was impossible to tell given his fucked up Cockney), and we basically closed the deal. Didn't make much off it, as I felt bad he was going to have to shell out big $$ for a container and shipping to England. Anyway, I didn't believe it was really him back then, and I still don't. Alls I know is that I got a wad of dough wired to me and I shipped that shit off to Blighty.

A friend of mine was telling me about this time he was recording with George Drakoulias and he bought a Mummies bootleg video somewhere and took it into the studio; they all hung out and watched it. He then overheard George calling up Rick Rubin and saying: “Hey Rick, have you ever heard of this nineties band, The Mummies?” “Yeah yeah, that singer, he could be a rock star.” “Yeah, he sings great!” So can we expect a Trent Ruane solo album with Rick Rubin sometime soon? Who's Rick Rubin?

But wait, garage monkeys, there's more! Tune in to the next issue of UNBELIEVABLY Bad for the final instalment of our shocking Trent Ruane interview, the total anti-climax known as, Fuck the Mummies – Part Three!!!


Some Girls.

Justin Pearson interview by Edward Rooney and Geor ge Peterson.

Intro by George Peterson. Photography by Rod Hunt .

T

here we were; a couple of rejects from the cast of Ferris Bueller, stumbling round the backstage area of the Come Together Festival, vainly searching for a decent place to conduct an interrogation. We had our intended victim, JP, with us. He seemed as incapable of finding a quiet, comfortable spot as us two retards. Shitty June weather had been howling around Sydney’s Luna Park all day, so outdoors was out of the question. Instead we took the soft option and occupied a corner of a very noisy dressing room that Some Girls were sharing with three other bands. Next best bet was the toilet. JP is from San Diego, as are the majority of Some Girls. For the uninitiated, Some Girls is a part-time pummelling machine comprised of dudes from a variety of other bands. JP plays bass; Give Up The Ghost frontman Wes Eisold is on vocals; Charles Rodwell of Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower is on one guitar, while new kid Nathan Joyner recently replaced founding member Rob Moran (of straight-edge legends Unbroken) on the other. On drums is San Diego recording engineer Sal Gallegos III. Sal isn’t really in any other famous bands, but he makes up for it by hitting harder, faster and louder than all the other guys.

JP has been in a multitude of bands dating back to the early-nineties (Struggle, Swing Kids, The Crimson Curse, Holy Molar), but his main gig for the past decade has been with notorious noise/art/grindcore crew The Locust. JP is a serial collaborator and certified sideproject junkie. Last year he played on Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner’s Headwound City project album with Locust drummer Gabe Serbian and members of Blood Brothers. The rest of JP’s waking hours are dedicated to co-running his label, Three One G. Since 1994 the label has provided the perfect outlet for JPs pathological collaboration habit, not to mention the noise-making habits of his many friends. So far Three One G has released records by Blood Brothers, Antioch Arrow, Cattle Decapitation, Black Dice, Melt Banana, The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower, Arab On Radar and more. Just recently they delivered an awesome V/A tribute to Australia’s very own Birthday Party called Release The Bats, the second in their “Through The Meat Grinder” series after 2002’s Queen tribute. Some Girls used Three One G as a stop-gap in 2005, issuing the EP The DNA Will Have Its Say through the label after their 2004

full-length debut, All My Friends Are Going Death, had come out on Deathwish Inc. Early this year, however, Some Girls followed The Locust onto Brett Guerewitz’s Epitaph Records for their second full-length effort, Heaven’s Pregnant Teens. Recorded by ex-Fudge Tunnel guy Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta, The Locust), Heaven’s Pregnant Teens is a merciless brute that deserves to be put up on criminal charges for attempted everything. Psychotic guitars chop away with a hyperreal relentlessness, maintaining a breakneck intensity as they flash from blinding complexity to crude blasts of feedback to brutal moshcore riffage. The rhythm section delivers a hail of blows that would make Sugar Ray Robinson proud, dancing and darting with fluid precision yet packing each and every strike with untold power. Eisold’s savage screaming is the stuff recurring nightmares are made of. Sticking to short, fast songs designed to work you over in the quickest time possible, Some Girls make a complete mockery of the backlash from “fans” who’d assumed that switching to Epitaph meant compromise.


Despite being backed into a corner with a tape recorder pushed into his face and two sweaty out-of-it dudes slurring questions indiscriminately at him, JP claimed to be enjoying his first Australian visit. He spoke fondly of his time in Melbourne (old romantic notions about The Birthday Party apparently). And soon he would be up onstage at Come Together having a fine ol’ time antagonizing Sydney. In a devastating 20-minute set, Some Girls became the talking point of the whole twoday event. Many among the audience simply stood there slack-jawed in bewilderment and bemusement. Others - like myself and my salivating sidekick, Ed - stood there slack-jawed in awe, watching Some Girls hack through about fifteen savage and spasticated tracks in a little over ten minutes. Some Girls divided the audience with an almost razor-like precision. The tension in the air was stifling, the antagonism levels rising off the scale. Halfway through the set they had to contend with local boys After The Fall testing their equipment on the adjoining stage to their right. During one brief break in between songs, Eisold remarked, “We’ll just wait for the band on the stage next to us to finish soundchecking…”

With the whole thing threatening to derai l, Some Girls abandoned the short songs and plunged into their final number, the infern al “Deathface”. A song that uses repetition and brain-searing monotony to get its point acros ends with all the members screaming the s, it word “Ape” for about ten minutes. The Come Together organizers, however, didn’t take kindly to “Deathface”. It obviously came as a bit of a shock when they found out they’ d invite a punk band to a punk festival, so they quickly rectified the situation by removing Some Girls’ microphones and shutting off the PA. It was later claimed the band had played over their allotted timeslot, which was obviously a lie conc octed to justify the heinous sabotaging of their set. With no lights or PA, Sal Gallegos conti nued to pound his drums ad nauseum, as the rest the band went about stirring up more shit. of Eisold was sneering at the crowd, flipping them off and encouraging a hail of projectiles onto the stage. He attempted to run onto After The Fall’s

side of the stage but was herded back by angry roadies. JP was so excited he mooned the crowd, showing the kids exactly what he thought of their patronage. Then Eisold hoisted JP up on his shoulders (still with his arse hanging out), and danced around as Gallegos continued to slam away accompanied by a chorus of boos from the black-fringed peanut gallery who had taken Some Girls’ bait – hook, line and sinker. Rodwell then attempted to muscle in on some of JPs exhibitionism with a second full moon before a stampede of glowvested security guards stormed the stage and dragged the band off. BEST SET ENDING EVER! I heard it got even heavier offstage, with punches thrown and the police threatening to temporarily detain the band over a broken nose allegedly sustained by an audience member who copped a full water bottle in the face. The band reckon it was one of their best shows ever. Anyhow, never mind the bollocks… here’s JP.


George Peterson : Does it feel strange that you got to come to Australia with Some Girls when The Locust haven’t even toured here yet? Justin Pearson: Yeah, I don’t know why people won’t book us here. We’ll see if that changes. I would like to do it. Ed Rooney : Has anyone approached you? No. We’ve even approached people and they were not into it. Since I’ve been here, though, a few people, like promoters even, have asked me and I’m like, “Call our manager.” Everyone else in The Locust is mad at me for being here. But I think the reason Some Girls could come is that Chuck (Rowell) and Wes (Eisold) have both been here before, with Plot (To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower) and Give Up The Ghost, so they have some contacts and that makes it easier. Ed : Do you think the band is known more because of Wes and Give Up The Ghost than The Locust? Definitely. Ed : I would’ve thought it was more through the Locust connection. I don’t think so. Maybe in some ways now that both bands are on Epitaph, but prior to that it was all about Wes, I believe. I wasn’t even on that first Some Girls record, they recorded that stuff and I joined later. People ask me about the lyrics and I can’t talk about them because he is the one that writes them. George : Who runs ThreeOneG; you couldn’t possibly do it because you’ve got too many bands on the go? I own it with my best friend Allysia (Edwards). It’s funny because Sal (Gallegos) from Some Girls is the third partner now. But Allysia, she pretty much runs it, she does the real dirty work, and we also have a fourth person that works with us.

“If I had a choice between putting the

material online for free or selling it I would say sell it because we’re broke and I’m poor and I have to sell my clothes and records and I have to hustle to pay the mortgage.” – JP

George : It’s all happening. Sort of. It’s not happening financially. We’re having problems with our distributor, we’re suing them and all this shit; it’s a mess. George : This is your distributor in the States? Yeah, Lumberjack, they’re fucked man. They bought out Mordam and they just dissolved it and all the key employees were fired and all the others like bit the bullet and split, and it just went to shit. Ed : How has digital downloading affected ThreeOneG, I know you go to a lot of effort with packaging, are people still buying packages? It’s hard to say because… like, I am fairly computer literate but I’ve never downloaded music in my life. I’m not opposed to it but I just want to own an actual CD and not just have a file. We get cheques from our distributor for downloads, so I’m sure it helps bands to some extent, but I know it hurts if people aren’t buying CDs. It’s not cheap to record a band and make a CD. It’s a big thing for me to have to shell out five or six thousand dollars of my own money, and then to have it all over the internet before I can even get to sell one copy. Ed : Do you think kids download it straight away and then go and buy a copy once it’s out in stores? A lot of that has to do with the band and if they’re on tour and stuff like that. Like Cattle Decapitation, their first two records were on ThreeOneG and they’re on tour all the time so those things are always selling. I don’t know, a lot of people have a stance on downloading but I just don’t. People say it helps your band get bigger but honestly if I had a choice between putting the material online for free or selling it I would say sell it because we’re broke and I’m poor and I have to sell my clothes and records and I have to hustle to pay the mortgage. Ed : People probably have this perception, because everyone knows The Locust, that you guys are rolling in money, when in reality that’s not the case. Yeah. We don’t get royalty cheques except from Epitaph. Our whole other catalogue we’ll probably never see anything back from. It’s a weird business. I think we’ve fucked our lives up doing this. What am I going to do now, I’m thirty, I can’t go and get a career, this is what I have to do. It’s a weird thing.


burying it underground for two weeks and then digging the reels back up and then mixing it - it could’ve been the best thing ever!

JP DISCOGRAPHY 1992: 1992: 1994: 1994: 1995: 1996: 1996: 1997: 1998: 1998: George : The Birthday Party tribute (Release The Bats) has just come out, what's the idea behind doing those “Through The Meat Grinder…” tributes? It was mainly from being on tour with The Locust. We would always joke around like Bobby (Bray) and Gabe (Serbian) would be saying, “Carcass is the Led Zeppelin of death metal.” So then they’d name the Rolling Stones of death metal and The Beatles of death metal and all that. So then we started talking about obscure bands covering other genres of music and we were always huge Queen fans so the Queen thing got started. Then, after that came out, Allysia and I were looking for another band to do a tribute record to and it took a couple of years for us to come up with the idea. In retrospect, I look at that Queen record and it’s so frickin’ weird. I didn’t think it was that weird at the time but now looking back at it I’m like, “That was pretty weird.” But it made sense to us. The Birthday Party one is the same. There are a few other tribute records that I would like to do but they’ve already been done. I would really like to do a Devo one but there is already a Devo one. Ed : But there’s no good Devo ones. But I don’t even want to go there, somebody already hit that idea. No one thought of Queen, no one thought of Birthday Party. I’m curious to hear what Birthday Party think of it. I heard that Brian May got a hold of the Queen one and I thought we were going to get sued because I don’t think we do it by the books, I’m sure we don’t, because we’re so small. We only sell a few thousand copies. I would like to know what they think though. I’m sure Brian May was probably like, “This is shit.” George : You seem to have a strong attraction to the eighties, like I tend to write them off completely… The eighties sucked the first time around, they totally did. You know, you’ve gotta pick and choose little things from there. The typical retro eighties garbage is garbage y’know. George : Production techniques were so bad in the eighties. Oh yeah, but I think all those eighties production techniques were garbage but at the same time people were trying to push it so I give them credit in that regard. You know, people were recording shit and then

1998: 1999: 1999: 2000: 2001: 2001: 2001: 2001: 2002: 2002: 2002: 2003: 2003: 2003: 2004: 2004: 2005: 2005: 2006: 2006: 2006: 2006: 2006:

Struggle - S/T 7” (Ebullition) Struggle - Split 7” w/Undertow (Bloodlink) Struggle - S/T LP (Ebullition) Swing Kids - S/T 7” (Three One G) The Locust - Split 10” EP w/Man Is The Bastard (King Of The Monsters) Swing Kids - Split 10” EP w/Spanakorzo (Three One G) The Locust - Split 5” w/Jenny Piccolo (Three One G) Swing Kids - Discography CD (Three One G) The Locust - S/T 7” (Gold Standard Laboratories) Crimson Curse - Both Feet in the Grave LP (Three One G) Crimson Curse - Split [square] 7” w/ The Festival of Dead Deer (Three One G) The Locust - S/T LP/3” CD (Gold Standard Laboratories) The Locust - Split [puddle-shaped] 7” w/Arab On Radar (Gold Standard Laboratories) The Locust - I'll Be A Monkey’s Uncle [remixes] double-12”/CD (Gold Standard Laboratories) Crimson Curse - Greatest Hits CD (Three One G) Struggle - One Settler, One Bullet [Anthology] CD (Ebullition) Holy Molar - Live At The San Diego Metropolitan Correctional Center [live] 7” (Three One G) The Locust - Flight of the Wounded Locust 7” EP/CDEP (Gold Standard Laboratories) Holy Molar - S/T 10” (Three One G) The Locust - Split 7” w/Melt Banana (Gold Standard Laboratories) Holy Molar - The Whole Tooth and Nothing But The Tooth double-3” CD (Three One G) The Locust - Plague Soundscapes LP/CD (Anti/Epitaph) Holy Molar - Split 7” w/Ex-Models (Three One G) The Locust - Follow The Flock, Step In Shit EP (Three One G) Some Girls - The Blues 7” (Deathwish) Some Girls - All My Friends Are Going Death LP/CD (Three One G/ Deathwish Inc.) Some Girls - The DNA Will Have Its Say 7”/3” with clear outer ring CDEP (Three One G) The Locust - Safety Second, Body Last CDEP (Ipecac) Headwound City - S/T 10”/CDEP (Three One G) Some Girls - Heaven’s Pregnant Teens LP/CD (Three One G/ Epitaph) Holy Molar - Dentist The Menace DVD (Three One G) Holy Molar - Cavity Search 7” (Three One G) Ground Unicorn Horn - 7" (Three One G)

George : As a label guy, what do you look for in a band to sign – I know you’re saying that stuff doesn’t sell that well but it seems like you have pretty high standards considering the bands you’ve released so far… Well, the bigger bands like Blood Brothers, when we dealt with them they weren’t on a major label. Those guys are family and I love them with all my heart and by chance that record is our biggest seller because they got swept up by a major, so I’m glad that we got to put it out and I’m glad that it sells like crazy. For me, all of the bands on ThreeOneG, even the bands that I’m in, those are my friends and that’s what’s really important. This is a family to me. It’s a community and it’s part of our culture and it all makes sense and it all fits. There were times where, for instance, when we put out that Love Life single - I had met Katrina (Ford) and Sean (Antanaitis) before and I was a fan of their biggest bands, I loved Jaks, and I knew Anthony (Malat) from Universal Order of Armageddon. So when we were approached about doing this EP it wasn’t like Love Life was this band that we totally knew, but we knew what they were about, so it made sense. But for most of the bands on the label it’s all of our friends and people that are part of our community. People are like, “Well how do you put out Cattle Decapitation and then you put out Orthrelm or Love Life, they are so opposites?” But to me and my friends it makes sense. For instance, I’m putting on a show when we get back from this tour, Quintron and Some Girls, which makes sense to me but probably shouldn’t happen in the real world. Ed : So will people still come out for the show? Oh, it’ll sell out and be so much fun. San Diego is a pretty eclectic arts community. It’s a really strange place to come from. It’s really conservative socially and politically but I think that leads the way for people to be absurd and push the envelope. Even when I was a little kid, when I was fourteen and fifteen, I remember going to the Che Café in San Diego - it’s kinda like the staple venue in San Diego, it’s where I saw some of my first shows. I would go to the Sunday “All-You-Can-Eats” that they would have and see Heroin play. And then after Heroin would be a threepiece jazz band and I would eat a shitload of spaghetti and it was everyone that was friends and stuff. George : I was going to ask how you thought the scene in San Diego had evolved since you first started playing in Struggle. It’s weird when people ask me about something like a scene because it’s so general and vague and so big. This is like a community and of course in fifteen years it’s changed, but with the world changing everything’s changing. But it’s always been, from the beginning you could go to shows and see this band Tijuana Know, like this Salsa kinda band or I don’t even know what they were, they’d be playing with Crash Worship or Pitchfork, which later on became Drive Like Jehu. Seeing Crash Worship and Pitchfork together is crazy. So it was a mix of music and I’m glad I grew up with that. In Struggle, we were really young and I don’t know if it holds up musically, but I think later on when we all started evolving, especially with The Locust, we were just like, “Let’s just be absurd, who gives a shit.” I think we were one of the first bands to use synthesizers in that kind of music, like weird thrash with blast beats, no one had done that at that point.


Pic: Scott Smallin

The Locust

“There was no fucking way The Locust was going to be on Epitaph; they put

out Pennywise and all that stuff!” – JP

And at the time people were like, “This is shit,” but we were like, “This is fun, who cares?” When I was in Struggle and that whole era, that was the time of Ebullition Records and Downcast and all these stern political bands and I think that’s why Antioch Arrow came about. They really opened people’s eyes because they were just like, “We don’t give a fuck. We’re just gonna go apeshit and we’re not going to sing about anything important.” But what they did was really important because they really were about community, like really hands-on spray-painting and handpainting their record covers, they were really down-toearth, but they showed everyone how to let loose. Antioch Arrow was really a segueway for everyone that was in Swing Kids. I don’t want to say we shed our political ideals with Swing Kids because I think we were still a very political band. In Swing Kids, man, that was a brutal time where you had the Rodney King riots and the first Gulf War started so people really needed to be political. We just weren’t overtly political, like let’s put a burning flag on our

record cover. We already did that shit and it didn’t really have the same impact that it used to have. The world changed and we were just kinda going with it.

Ed : I think what you’re saying about the message needing to change because the world is changing is spot on. It’s like this thing with The Locust and Some Girls taking a firm stance against Clear Channel, that’s a big entity that a lot of people are not paying attention to. It’s really up to the artist to deliver a message. For instance, The Locust did this tour with The (International) Noise Conspiracy and I think they’re hypocrites. They were spouting off these Communist and Socialist ideals yet they were all white upperclass privileged kids from a very wealthy country. For one thing it’s nice that they’re educating people, but for another thing to see the singer wear a T-shirt that says “Soul Brother” is culture theft. What a fucking moron for wearing a shirt like that. When we would

play with them they would say all this shit about the current trite politics of the time and we would just come out and say, “We’re The Locust, we oppose the US war in Iraq,” and then we would play thirty minutes and stop. We don’t need to fucking talk to everyone. Everyone knows the war on Iraq is shit. Ed : Is it the same every night though, like a shtick? The same shit. I looked at especially (vocalist) Dennis Lyxzen’s career and I remember seeing him in Refused when they were on Victory and they were wearing baggy clothes and they were hardcore dudes and then all of a sudden, oh, what’s this stuff, they look like Antioch Arrow and Nation Of Ulysses - they just stole everyone’s shit. Then with T(I)NC, the motherfucker was ripping off Ian Svenonius (The Nation Of Ulysses, Make-Up, Weird War) again. Even Ian wrote him a letter and said, “Hey, I’m ripping’ off James Brown man and you’re ripping me off so you should just chill out,” or whatever. My friend, Jose Palafox who was in Swing Kids with me, him and Mag from Yaphet Kotto were over in Sweden on tour and they ran into him wearing this Soul Brother shirt and Mag’s black and Jose’s Mexican and they were just like, “What the fuck are you doing man? You cannot wear a shirt that says Soul Brother.” These people are succeeding by stealing other people’s culture. I remember when that Refused video from The Shape Of Punk To Come came out I was like, “What the fuck is this?” This shit looked just like Antioch Arrow only with tons of amps and lights – it looked just like Antioch Arrow. I don’t know; it’s weird to see that shit. I remember Antioch Arrow playing with broken equipment doing the same shit but better. Even now, all this metalcore and MySpace and eyeliner hairstuff is becoming huge. It’s becoming a commodity, when there were all these artists that paved the way for it. George : I was going to ask about you playing on the Headwound City record and if it felt like Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was trying to score cred off your sound? No, I love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I have so much respect for them… This is a really good question. I think that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one of the most punk bands ever, even if just for the fact that they took The Locust on tour with them and were ridiculed. People in the NME were like, “You’re shit for bringing them on tour,” and they were like, “Fuck you, they’re our friends.” They respected us musically and personally. The first time I met Nick he was like, “I gotta pick your brain about death metal.” I’m like, “You?” So the thing is, ThreeOneG put out that Headwound City record and we could’ve been cheesy and put a big sticker that says, “Featuring Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,” but we


Some Girls: (LtoR) Nathan Joyner, Wes Eisold, Sal Gallegos III, Justin Pearson, Charles Rodwell

don’t want to do that because it cheapens your record. Who cares who we are, we made a record, you either like it or you don’t. It got a lot of hype for no reason, people were like, “Here's a band of all these other bands, I gotta check that out.” And people were criticizing it and praising it before it was even close to anyone hearing it. That sucks, but whatever, it doesn’t matter. It was so much fun to play with those guys and it really clicked and that’s all that really matters to us. I could’ve put a sticker on the cover [mentioning the various members’ other bands] and probably made a lot more money y’know, but that’s not how we do it. George : I remember Some Girls not being happy that Deathwish Inc. put a sticker on the cover of All My Friends…, but then Epitaph did exactly the same thing with Heaven’s Pregnant Teens. I wouldn’t compare ThreeOneG putting out the Headwound City record to what Epitaph did because Epitaph had a lot more at stake. If ThreeOneG was a larger label we would put a lot more promotion into the release which may have been grounds for something like that. But for us to put it on an EP that we just did for fun, you have to be more tactful with that stuff. I think the Epitaph thing was different. Maybe I say that because I’m on it and I had to deal with it but I think it could’ve been worse. We got the new releases from Epitaph the other day and that CD by that band Vanna had a giant sticker like, “For fans of Atreyu and all this other shitty music.” That just really bummed me out. I love Epitaph but the fact that it was Christian hardcore… George : What’s the best record label in the world? I don’t think there is one label that has everything good. But I would say that Epitaph is one of the best labels, just because I have dealt with them so I know how they work. They put out tons of shit music, but I understand Brett Gurewitz on a few different levels and they’re sincere. I was so opposed to being on Epitaph, there was no fucking way The Locust was going to be on Epitaph, they put out Pennywise and all that stuff! I was like, “No way!” But Brett was just like, “That’s cool, I understand we have really different tastes and whatever but I’m really intrigued by you guys.” He just wanted to be friends and so we developed a friendship. And then at one point we were like, “Alright let’s just do this,” because he really supported us. Even when the Some Girls record came out, we were in Texas and he called us to wish our record a happy birthday. That is so cool. So since being on the label I’ve discovered they’re really honest, they pay well, they treat us well, and sure, there is a lot of shit bands on the label but at least I can stand behind Sage Francis and Noam Chomsky and Nick Cave and almost the entire Anti Records roster.

George : You did well getting The Locust onto (Epitaph offshoot label) Anti as opposed to Epitaph itself since Anti has a more respectable roster. That was the thing, The Locust was like, “We will not be on Epitaph, only on Anti.” They’re like, “No, we want to change Epitaph so we’ll have you guys be on both labels.” It was so hard. It was months and months of just the four of us in the band debating whether we could even do it. We didn’t want to compromise, no matter how much we were accused of selling out. I can see why people might think that we sold out but the reason we did it was because we thought about it and said, “Aside from the shitty records they put out, it’s about who they are as people and their business practices.” On a political level, they’re great, that was what was really important, that was why we said, “We’re gong to deal with them.” We were on GSL, I mean they put out some turds too. They put out turds, and didn’t pay us! Epitaph at least pays us. But I don’t know which is the best label in the world. I don’t know if there is one. Ed : Are you a fan of Brett’s music? I loved Bad Religion when I was a little kid. When I was like fourteen I asked him for his autograph. We had just started Struggle and I told him about my band, so I’ve kinda known him since then. Bad Religion, all of their Headwound City

stuff is pretty much the same. I like his other band Error, I think Error is cool, I really think that band’s rad. Ed : Have you told Brett that you got his autograph when you were a kid? Yeah, we talked about it. I’ve done some weird shit. Like when I was twelve I smoked pot for the first time with Kerry King. I lived in Phoenix and he lived there at the time and one of my best friend’s older brother’s was a drug dealer, I don’t even know what he sold, probably only sold weed or whatever. So we went to this party, we weren’t even supposed to go and my friend’s older brother was like, “You gotta get out of here.” But there were these hesher girls there going, “You guys are so cute!” I was twelve, I wanted to be Sid Vicious, I guess I might have looked kinda cute. But anyway, they let us stay and the next thing you know I’m smoking weed and getting drunk and I was like, “This is fucking awesome.” But I was so fuckin’ scared. I just went on tour with Fantomas and Dave Lombardo is the drummer and I was telling him this story. Dave’s a total stoner, he’s always asking me, “You got weed?” I’m like, “I don’t smoke weed dude. But, hey, listen to this story!”


!1.+ /+1(

'

In May this year Sydney swamp rock quartet The Holy Soul hit Europe for the first time. Drummer Owen Penglis kept this UNBELIEVABLY Bad tour diary.


+ (

J>)7O->7BED/KH/7ED;  "H7D9; Oops. A skilful turn of driving sees the van hit a pole in the hotel car park. We embark to Chalon Sur Saone, a small city two hours South of Dijon. Saving our beans for the panel beater, or whatever the French equivalent may be, we avoid the fucking expensive French freeway and take the country roads, past the picturesque vineyards that people talk about. If we weren’t so afraid to be spoken to in French we may have left the van to explore. Chalon Sur Saone is nearly closed – it’s a public holiday commemorating the moment France was liberated in WWII. While I hunt around for an internet café, Trent, Sam (bass), and Jon decide that my German parka will get us beat up - advice which I happily ignore. We play the wine cellar in Dum Dum Bar, drink, before retreating to the bar owners’ beautifully historic art-deco apartment. Here we talk, eat cheese, drink wine, and are very civilised with our ultra-cool hosts until they begin melting the strongest hash I’ve ever sniffed. Jon falls first, passing out on the tiled loungeroom floor, hitting his head hard enough for us all to get up investigate the loud cracking noise.



J>)7O–.;DD;I "H7D9;

%

guess the Holy Soul are a band who’ve vaguely succeeded despite themselves; a group that prove if you fumble around in the dark for long enough you’ll eventually get a hold of something. Through a strangely misshapen goodwill bond with the Australian quarter of Mudhoney, bassist Guy Maddison, the Holy Soul are wilfully invited to tour Europe with the well-aged “grunge” combo (who really always were a garage rock band). With a bunch of borrowed money, little sense of direction, and a handful of Xanax to pass the flight, the Holy Soul take off, soon to find ourselves in Paris. We have a bunch of our own headline shows to complete first before teaming up with Mudhoney in Amsterdam.

J>)7O-,7H?I "H7D9;

When touring without work permits, you need to keep your paperwork to a minimum – don’t even try to write a date in a diary or it’s straight back home for you, bucko. With that threat lingering, and 50 Holy Soul T-shirts stashed on our collective persons, the four of us concoct vaguely believable stories and split up. As you can imagine, we feel quite silly when, as we attempt to leave Charles De Gaulle airport terminal, we discover there are no customs whatsoever. Hours later our instrument and van-rental guy, Seetz, arrives in what will be our tour transport van. Seetz is probably in his early thirties, 6’7” with a tightly shaved red crop and a long goatee. Despite his distinct appearance, Seetz would probably be unrecognisable without some kind of Dwarves T-shirt on. I figure we can believe in a guy who feels so strongly about a band as to wear the shirt over the top of the matching tattoos. Breaking the ice as we drive from Paris to Amsterdam, he brags of knowing [Dwarves guitarist] He Who Cannot Be Named’s real name. He wouldn’t tell it to me.

J>)7O– CIJ;H:7C 0>; *;J>;HB7D:I After a lap of the city, Seetz dumps us in Amsterdam to find the venue for tonight’s show – Die Diepte (The Depths). On the way we see a guy get socked in the nose outside a supermarket. It’s a tight, dirty bar run by a tight cross of Lux Interior and Iggy Pop, and we’re told you can’t leave equipment in the van parked near the place - located on the edge of the red light district - ever. After finding the bar, the newest Holy Soul gang member, Jon (guitar), and I inadvertently wake the owner up. In broken English his housemate tries to explain that our host is finally asleep after a three day amphetamine blitz. Lux-Iggy overhears us, crawls out of bed, takes a huge gulp of vodka from an open bottle on the sink, and introduces himself. I didn’t quite catch his name then, and I’ve still got no idea. We take a walk around the block, giggle at the aging prostitutes in windows and the dealers standing around the corners of the canals, chanting “cocaine, cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy pills, ecstasy pills.” We get on stage (well, the floor in the corner) around midnight. Iggy-Lux refuses to let us leave sober. As driver for the night, I hide a few of his wellintended shots in various places around the bar. We make it back to our accommodation in Utrecht – a 20 minute drive South – getting ourselves lost only a few times on the exit ramps. We stock up on maps for the impending drive to Dijon in the morning.

J>)7O– ?@ED "H7D9;

We weren’t prepared for France, but we seemed to make it through just fine. It wasn’t too far, and the show was near mishap free. Dijon is a beautiful city, much older than anything in Australia. The bar for the evening is called Deep Inside. The actual venue itself is in the wine cellar, and on the wall above the stairs sits a Fosters drum kit! Afterward we’re shown to the local equivalent of an Ibis Hotel along with our French rockabilly support band. Trent (guitar/ vocals) and I stay awake as long as possible to assist the support band with their dilemma that bounds easily over the language gap - being unwilling to act as smugglers, the group need to smoke or otherwise dispose of the brown, sticky, matchbox-size mass of hashish in their hotel room before their trip to Italy the next morning. I offer assistance, and Trent disappears after walking in on the singer in the toilet. I stick around smoking and pretending to understand the rapidly bludgeoned French the band members seem to be speaking.

We rise eventually and embark for Rennes, a seven-hour drive to North Western France. We’re warned that the people are crazy here, but figure the French are liars. The people of Rennes are generally fine, perhaps just a little bored with their quiet university town. Accommodation-less for this evening, I find the number of the promoter for the next show and contact him on the cusp of town. He agrees to put us up and we drink in the 16th century town square for the evening.

J>)7O–.;DD;I "H7D9;

Seb, our host, promoter for Rennes, and owner of the only cool record store in town is a funny guy. He lives his strange mix of rock music all the way to his misspelled “Get rythm when you get the blues’ tattoo.” We sleep on this 37-year old’s floor while he tries to nail a 20-year old he picked up at the show earlier in the evening. As he confides loudly to us “I hope she does not yell like this if I get to fuck her,” while his awesome housemate Pierro (that’s the hip way of saying Pierre, y’see) explains that in France they call the “easy” girls “cock garages; there is a lot going in and out, you know,” as he shows me again how to assemble a European two-paper joint with hash. Tracking back to the show itself, it was absolutely wild. The greatest show the Holy Soul have ever played. Trent gets the number of the support band’s female singer, but fails to understand exactly what she’s saying when he calls her a few days later. The audience were a mix of the strange French. Any person with a regard for “rock” music seems to be there - from the students to the local Nazi skinheads – and we sell the place out. By the end of the set the audience will not let us leave the stage. Sam gets hassled by the skinheads and gets his nuts grabbed. Trent gets given a block of hash. I drunkenly block the advances of persistent French girls (nobly thinking all the time of the girlfriend who would ditch my arse soon after my return). Jon looks after the merch desk and drives us home. Well, steers us through the mob that surround us when we try to leave! I’m not kidding. Those crazy/bored Rennes inhabitants tried to mob us. Seb absolutely loves Australian underground rock music, and we later hear how he almost cried when Spencer Jones gave him the cowboy hat he wore on the cover of Fait Accompli. Like most French, he too considers Spencer the real leader of the Beasts of Bourbon. No one here takes Tex that seriously.


J>)7O–/EC;M>;H;  "H7D9;

With no accommodation for the night we figure we can make the nine-hour drive to Belgium and see the Black Lips play. We don’t make it and sleep in the van outside a French field.

J>)7O–79>;D #;HC7DO Waking up cold and pissed-off in the back seat (Trent and Jon stupidly decided comfort was in the BACK of the van with the equipment, and Sam lay across the front, somehow avoiding a handbrake to his spine throughout the night), we slowly embark as the sun rises. Making our way across the country to Aachen in Germany, nearly an hour East of the border, we mostly avoid actually shelling out for the pay toilets. It’s some guy’s job to clean the toilets and collect .50 Euro cents from you as you enter. If you don’t got the change, you pee in the cold, buddy. We make it to the bar early and nap in an internet café before meeting with Charly, the proprietor of Hauptquartier. His English isn’t quite of understandable standard, but he covers his shortcomings with sound effects to illustrate his intentions, which makes for confusing dinner conversation. This will be our last show before meeting up with Mudhoney and playing large venues. The Hauptquartier is a cozy Tiki bar in the middle of the bad Turkish part of the city. Everyone who comes is friends, and they keep a tab of each customer by name at the bar and make them pay upon leaving. Large joints are passed around the audience at all times and onto stage, and I’m sure it’s not as a result, but we do sell a fair bunch of merchandise. I know it must seem like we'd become serious grass smokers by this point of the tour, but the stuff just seemed to follow us around. Every promoter and bar owner had it and wanted you to smoke it. The European form of hospitality is perhaps amongst the greatest in the world; every night you will be fed, paid a guarantee, bestowed with more drink than you could want, and always given a bed to sleep in, which does put shame to the Australian touring circuit of two drink tokens and $2.50 per payer. Even the local bands get treated just as well, especially around France and Germany.

J>)7O–CIJ;H:7C 0>; *;J>;HB7D:I We awake to find Charly bouncing around his apartment in a pair of underpants and a Polizei T-shirt, trying to translate the radio news and mock crying for the plight of the German population. We laugh with Charly for a while and soon travel back to Amsterdam to find Melweg, the venue for the first Mudhoney show of the tour. Having so much grass in Amsterdam really makes the idea of grunge appealing to the kids of the city. We find a huge rider with plenty of food in our own dressing room (wow, there’s even a shower, which I put to use, I figure I ought to wander backstage in a towel for once in my life). We pack what we don’t eat into the van in preparation for the next couple of hungry weeks. Mudhoney are tired from hosting the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival the previous evening and don’t really want to chat. They loosen up the next night and prove to be fine gentlemen. Leaving via Amsterdam's narrow laneway system, I get myself called “Babylon” by the local “coloured” kids and their very white friends. We laugh all the way back to our temporary home at a bar/venue/rehearsal space in Utrecht called dB’s.

J>)7O–#HED?D=;D 0>; *;J>;HB7D:I We drive three hours Northwest to Groningen, close to Seetz’s hometown. He comes along especially to inspect the van damage, and notes that it’s real gonna cost us. The venue, Vera, has hosted the greatest crummy rock groups in the world – I spend hours drinking their Dutch chocolate milk, staring at the walls of previous posters bragging the likes of the Scientists and the Mummies, right up to The Drones and our very own tour-booking pals Digger & The Pussycats. We spend the night at the home of a cool independent local promoter named Robert. He and his US girlfriend, Kimberly, take the exhausted group of us to a pizza joint, insisting it’s the best pizza in the world. Admittedly it was pretty fucking good, just not at 3am when we need to be waking in three short hours to drive to Copenhagen. The two try pretty damn hard to convince us not to take this show, to stay with them and get some sleep. I lament missing the Black Lips a few nights previous to Robert, who’s booking their European tour - he correctly labels me an idiot.

J>)7O–EF;D>7=;D  ;DC7HA We decide to take the ferry from Germany to Denmark with the van to save a few dollars on the alternative bridge toll. The ferry briefly passes through international waters, which allows for tax-free alcohol and tobacco products for a very short part of the trip. The crack driving team of Jon and I (Trent can’t drive manual, and bassplayer Sam doesn’t drive) make it to Copenhagen in time for a very short soundcheck. Upon arrival I get questioned by an older lady, she was probably in her mid-fifties I’d guess. She finds out we’re the support band and I, confusedly, ask her where we load in. She asks me to sign some papers and complains that we were three hours late. It later transpires that she’s a deluded autograph hunter, performing her task in the most joyless manner possible. Another similarly aged autograph hound finds us before we make it into the venue. After a little worry, we find out that a “buy out” dinner means the venue give us money for food, so we take the opportunity fill up on the, uhhh, bagels in the rider and save the money for petrol, which we desperately fucking need. In Denmark fourteen year-olds can buy booze and get themselves fucked up before a show, which they do very well for us. The poor kid who spent our set yelling for “Touch Me I’m Sick” gets himself kicked out minutes before Mudhoney actually play it.

J>)7O–#;DJ ;B=?KC

Midnight hits, I turn 23, and have a thirteen-hour drive ahead to make the Gent show in Belgium (Gent is the name of a city, pronounced and sometimes spelt ‘Ghent’). Little did we know, the Belgian promoter would prove to be a prick of the highest order, and if I could recall his name I’d print it right here in bold type*. Sir, you are a cock garage. We make the drive, are moderately late for soundcheck, and find that we’ve been bumped down to first support. I don’t let this trouble me, and, deciding to make a night for birthday cheer, I begin to drink. Thankfully this somehow helped me keep my cool when, upon leaving the stage, the promoter informed me that he was not obligated to pay the Holy Soul. Recounting the story to Sam, who passed it along the chain, Mark Arm (he of Mudhoney) overheard and opted to personally solve the problem and ensure we made some money, even opting to pay us out of their own pockets for the night. Mark Arm (guitar/vocals) don’t drink, Steve Turner (guitar) does a little, Guy (bass) does, and loves to recount stories of his time in Sydney living at the Cleveland St. “Graceland” house with his ex-Lubricated Goat compadres, while Dan Peters (drums) stays drunk throughout the tour, enjoying solace from his fulltime stay-at-home Pappa role. I meet up in the foyer with a guy called Ramses, our accommodation for the evening. He’s not a healthy character - his skin is a splotchy shade of grey and he constantly slurs. He’s also the cook at legendary Belgian garage club The Pits, and has photos of himself with the collective penii of Digger & The Pussycats.

J>)7O–,7H?I "H7D9;

We make Paris on our own and find the classic and crumbling venue Elysee Montmatre, a short walk from the Moulin Rouge. I take a walk and bump into Steve Turner outside the Sexodrome and hear Dan’s gone missing, presumed drinking somewhere. We take some time out with Guy to visit Notre Dame, and spend a lot whole lot more time talking about life in the eighties Sydney music scene. In Europe there will generally be a different promoter for each country; in Paris we get a cheap French guy, spending his time complaining to us about numbers and costs while we try to avoid the nu-metal support band, who share our band room His cheapness is somewhat cemented after his friends, the nu-metallers, drink all the water. I ask the promoter politely for something for onstage and he refills all the empty bottles he can find in the garbage and assures me Parisian tap water is fine. Sure, it’s not so bad. After waiting around to follow the support bands back toward the hotel (they stay out ‘til 3am to talk with friends, including one particular American arsehole who assures us that we “haven’t toured until you’re riding in a 16 seat bus.” His band is called


“Uncommon Men From Mars”; if you wish to discuss this matter further you can find him there). The promoter gets us one more time, booking the cheapest hose-down hotel to be found an hour and a half out of the city. Sure, we got free accommodation and food, so I shouldn’t be complaining?

J>)7O–6KH?9>  /M?JP;HB7D: We wake for a four-hour Southeasterly drive to Zurich, Switzerland. Digger & The Pussycats have warned us to be honest with the Swiss border patrol – they WILL count your merch, and they WILL tax you on your sales as you cross the border to leave. We reach the border and the bored, gun-toting guard decides not to bother stopping us. We pass through and promptly lose ourselves. Mapless, we follow our standard routine of finding a hotel and procure a free map with directions from the usually English speaking staff. We travel across the city to find the venue, Rote Fabrik, arriving late again. It’s part of a huge industrial area, a dingy outside to a converted seventies squat; inside, an ample venue space run overprofessionally by the ex-squatters who were finally given the estate by the Swiss government. During the course of our pre-show dinner in the squat restaurant, we’re constantly reminded that Kurt Cobain had sat at our very table. Actually, they wouldn’t stop mentioning it. We make the collective decision to watch Mudhoney from the front of the audience for the final show, and have a blast watching increasingly angry security guards attempting to keep the energetic under-18s from their first failed stage-diving attempt. The landings are spectacularly bone breaking. With absolutely nowhere to stay in this expensive city I sit behind the merch desk with the Mudhoney driver/merch guy and upstanding touring gentleman (whose name I desperately wish I could recount), in an attempt to cover the pricey hostel we’ll soon be stuck in for the night. I eventually make enough money and we find ourselves in the foyer of the Swiss YHA equivalent, while I briefly revise my “no hostels, ever” policy. Inside we meet a group of pain-in-the-arse American college tourists and sell them another CD to cover beer at the all-night hostel bar, listening to their stories of being pain-in-the arse students, highlighted by their being requested to “fuck off” by a priest after “nailing an 80-year old woman in the head with a piece of pastrami, dude” in a food fight on a train. Dude. With our Mudhoney portion over, we relax with thoughts of the last-minute show two hours North in Mannheim, Germany. My sleep tourettes is moderate this evening – it’s not something I’d ever been aware of until the rest of the group recounted how they were being sworn at all night by my fast-asleep self. Fuck shit piss.

J>)7O–)7DD>;?C  #;HC7DO I return the room keys to reception and pretend the rest of the gang has left the room they’re still yet to wake up in. Afterward we take some time out to attempt to wash our stinking clothing, while I finally break down and wash my parka, which has caught some kind of increasingly dank stink over the course of travels. We fail to make much progress ripping off the washer/dryer combo. We spend our remaining few francs on chocolate at the border and find ourselves detained by the guards. After sitting in the van for a half hour whilst checking over our papers, the border patrol let us leave without explanation, and more importantly, without checking the contents of the van. We soon make the industrial city of Mannheim via the pay toilet system and find ourselves billed for a “quiet” show. Ingo, the owner of the club, serves continuous drinks under his “Opium smoking not permitted” sign, suggesting I play the drums “Digger & The Pussycats'-style.” To the uninitiated, this involves the easily-lugged-via-tram-system set-up of snare, floor-tom, and cymbal. Everyone loves Sam (guitar/vocals) and Andy (drums) in every small rock bar in Europe, without fail. I decide afterward that I need to make the six-hour drive to Utrecht to revisit the greatest record store I have ever entered – Da Capo.

J>)7O–1JH;9>J 0>; *;J>;HB7D:I Forcing the other reluctants to rise, I feel guilty and drive the whole way in our depreciating transit van, making the store with half hour to spare. They don’t feel compelled to open from Sunday to Tuesday, and we’re sitting on Saturday afternoon. I blow my remaining money on bootleg vinyl reissues and super-cheap out of print 7-inches with happy regard. With a night off, we drink the remaining beer we’d liberated from bandrooms across Europe whilst cheering on Finland in Eurovison. They win, and we try to drink the rum our cheapskate French promoter left behind, finding out a day later it serves a better purpose in cleaning marks off of the van.

IJ)7O–1JH;9>J 0>; *;J>;HB7D:I Our last show of the tour finds us back at dB’s. Over the tour we’ve made their empty office block our home on the most of off days, finding that it’s easier to ask a fellow in their onsite bar (it’s a practice space, bar, venue, and band accommodation set up) for grass than a cigarette. We’re offered beer for 1 Euro when we’re not playing and all decide La Chouffe is the number one all-time beer, making most Australian beers seem far more urinary than ever before. dB’s proves to be the quietest show of the tour. Die!Die!Die! from New Zealand make a last minute appearance as the first support; proving they will happily put on their stage act for a full-blown festival crowds, or just myself and the sound guy. The following two support bands consist of bad local Rancid-style “punk” groups. We move no merchandise, and meet Seetz to return the now beat-upon tour van.

D:)7O–$EC;

We return to Australia with an album release pending in France, having only had to spend one night sleeping in Vienna airport. I guess that equals success. *The company name is “Democrazy”. Pricks!


g N I L L I CH In The Thaw. Steph,

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ated screams and a more time, with less punctu ce. whole lot more spa ), Kathy (bass), and Kat The Thaw - Steph (guitar d photos, and their only ban e tak lly (drums) - don’t rea inute, single track EP release so far is a sixteen-m ight they’re supporting Ton EP. Lee entitled The Bruce gham in Newtown, and the Hard-Ons at the Sandrin make our interview ld cou we if they asked politely miss anything. n’t did y the so ds ban between and take discussion in ce pla et qui We search for a interviewer, writing this the girls’ toilets. As a shitty the group speak over as rk wo d back makes for har on most answers... each with eager agreement

The

e m Na When did you guys start playing? Kat: We went to school together. Kathy: Yeah, we went to high school together.

How old are you all? Kat: We’re nearly 22. Kathy: I’m 21. Steph: I’m 21. We went to school and we were in the same music class together. I guess we were the only people who were into stuff that wasn’t on Video Hits. Kat: So we would go to Homebake and we would go to shows at Dee Why Youth Centre. Kathy: And try to go to All Age shows and stuff.

Where did you guys find inspiration to start The Thaw? What kind of records do you listen to? Kat: Oh, that’s hard. Steph: I guess when we first started mucking around in high school, we weren’t doing it seriously, we just kind of liked Magic Dirt and Kittie… Kathy: …It’s kind of embarrassing now. Steph: …some really horrible bands. Kathy: Really dodgy bands. Steph: The only good band we liked was Magic Dirt. Kathy: We still do. Kat: We wanted to be loud and really punk rock. Steph: But these days I guess we listen to some other stuff. Kat: Lot’s of different stuff – anything that’s good. I think you guys have slowed down since you started. Kat: What? Kathy: Oh really? I reckon you play less. Kat: Oh, more space?


e

The Thaw: (LtoR) Steph, Kat, Kathy

Yeah, more space, that’s right. Kat: Heaps of people say that. I think we’re experimenting more with sonic textures, they’ve been described as… Kathy: …that was someone else’s words. Kat: People have been saying that ‘cause I think as we’ve got more control over our instruments we didn’t have to just thrash anymore. We could actually go, ‘Oh wow, you can play it soft or loud.’ Now we have four volumes to pick from. Kathy: We can make different sounds and we got more confident with pedals and electronics like Theremins and stuff. You guys are pretty militant about not having photos taken, not really doing interviews, not really being represented or having a website… Kathy: Oh no. Kat: We have a blog site [www.thethaw.blogspot.com]. Steph: I guess we want to keep it as pure as we can, and not to sound wanky, but we want it to be about the music. Kathy: Yeah. Steph: And not about… Kathy: …how many friends you have on MySpace. Steph: So I don’t think it’s important if somebody knows what we look like for them to want to come to our show; I guess that’s where it comes from. You are also unconventional in regards to your releases – releasing one track that’s 16 minutes. Kat: We’ve got a new demo coming out which will be ready, it’s recorded, it should be out by the end of the month. Kathy: ...Or around then. Kat: It’s gonna be on tape first, and probably CD after. People are asking for CDs. Steph: It’s heaps different. The new demo tape is gonna be six songs. Kat: …and then one long fifteen-minute jam song on the other side… Steph: …I guess “Bruce Lee” for us is this big coming of age song or something… we can play for how long we want. Kat: You don’t have to have a verse and a chorus and a verse and a bridge. You can do what you like. [A conversation then ensues about a member of a notable Australian band who was watching The Thaw at a recent show...]

I played with [said notable Australian band] a little while ago and they still owe me money. Kat: That’s shit. People who don’t pay up, that’s so annoying. Steph: An artist deserves.... Kat: ….to get paid. There’s this really awesome group called SCOOTER (a self-described Anarcho punk girl collective in Sydney), and they organise female dominated gigs. Their whole thing is that no matter who you are, if you get up onstage you deserve to be paid. It’s always cheap to get into the show, it’s like $4, but because they don’t spend money on

pole posters and all that stupid bullshit that you don’t really need, all the money goes to the act. Whoever’s playing on the night, they split it by however many performers there are and everyone gets the same amount of money. It’s such a good principal to instill in people instead of saying, “Oh, you’re the opening act, you can have 1% of the money (when that won’t even cover petrol to get to the show). And because I’m so good I’m going to take all the rest of the money.” Kathy: Which doesn’t always happen, but sometimes. Kat: SCOOTER are awesome and there should be more collectives like that, there are lots of people who have that attitude toward music. I’d feel uncomfortable going to a SCOOTER show. Kat: Oh, you shouldn’t! Kathy: You shouldn’t. Kat: They’re so nice. Kathy: The people that organise it are so sweet. Kat: I know it might seem intimidating for a man, but it just makes you understand how a woman feels every time she walks into a pub. Well, we are at a Hard Ons show tonight. Kat: But, it’s unconscious – people don’t think about it but... Steph: Our new song is about that - the new song with the Theremin. It hasn’t got any lyrics yet but it’s about how just by virtue of being a female, every time you walk down the street you feel oppressed by the male gaze. Guys just look at you and feel they can make you feel like shit by just staring at you. Kat: It’s okay for them to just obviously look you up and down and you notice and you see them and they’re like, “Yeah, whatever – I’m checking you out, that’s alright ‘cause I’m a man and I’m allowed to do it.” Steph: It makes you feel uncomfortable.

Kat: Or they think it’s okay to drive down the street and whistle at you, and it’s not really a compliment… Kathy: It’s discriminating. Steph: There’s nothing wrong with appreciating a person’s beauty, their aesthetic beauty. I do that, but I don’t go (simulates an ogling male). Kat: For the virtue of the tape, Stephanie is giving a sleazy glance. It’s a generalisation, obviously, but it does happen enough to feel uncomfortable. If you walk down the street in a short skirt… not even a short skirt. If you walk down the street in your pyjamas, people are like, “Ohhhh.” Steph: Every second girl I know has had some guy flash her, or some guy wank off on the train… Kathy: …checking out her arse or something. It’s just wrong, it’s really fucked. Steph: So, that song is pretty angry. It hasn’t got vocals but it’s pretty angry. Kat: Yeah, it’s pretty angry already and it’s getting angrier. Steph: I think we’re becoming better… Kat: …at expressing emotion through songs. So I guess, when you’re younger, when you’re starting… regardless of age, when you start to experiment with music you tend to make a song and ascribe a feeling to it afterwards. Whereas I think we’re getting better at saying, “This is what we feel,” and letting that come out in the music. You’re getting increasingly political in your messages, why do you feel a need to do that? Steph: I think we all feel the same way. We feel like we’re in this privileged position ‘cause we’re onstage and all these people are staring at us and going “What do they believe in, what is this song about?” Then they’re listening to us and if they like us they’re going to be more receptive to what we have to say, so I think it’s important that we get up there and talk


"I think it's important that we get up there and talk about stuff other than our boyfriends." - Steph about stuff other than our boyfriends. I think we’ve always been political people, but it’s only more recently that we’ve felt… Kat: ...we’ve felt comfortable articulating that, and we’ve felt comfortable standing onstage, and I think we’ve got a lot more confidence in ourselves, in our own intellect, and our own views on things. We’ve felt comfortable saying that and putting it across without feeling embarrassed about how we feel, or scared that someone’s going to disagree. What’s that famous quote, “The frontline is everywhere.” It’s kinda cheesy, but it’s true. It’s not cheesy, it transcends cheese, and it’s true every time; if you make people think about things, I would like to think people aren’t naturally malicious and they don’t want to subjugate and dominate other people and other beings. I’m sure there are some, but the majority of people who come to a show, especially shows that are in different venues, that aren’t just mass produced big theatrical things, they’re often quite receptive to those ideals anyway. It’s always good to challenge people, but even if they disagree with you, you make them think about it, and about why they disagree with you.

Kathy: You bring about debate, which is a very good thing. Kat: We spend a lot of time debating within ourselves so I think that’s also helped ‘cause we argue a lot. Do you think you can really promote debate if you’re onstage telling people when they’re in the audience forced into a spectator position? Do you think some people feel they’re being told what to think? Steph: I guess you kind of get scared of that. People use the word “preach” which I think is… Kat: …over the top Steph: But, if you’ve got something that you can leave them with, get up there and say it. And if someone thinks differently, I don’t know, I think we’re approachable. I love it when people come up to us after shows and talk to us about what our songs are about. Kathy: You can take the instance of, for example, being vegan - something that’s really important to us.

Are you all vegans? Kathy: Yeah. There’s no campaigns about being vegan, there are small campaigns that Animal Liberation and other really great groups run, but they don’t have that same sort of big budgets like the meat industry. Kat: “Eat meat, it’s natural.” Kathy: I think every small thing that we can do to promote that in no way even comes close to 1% of what they do. Like every sitcom features people eating steak. It’s always normal to go down to Macca’s and get a Big Mac – that’s the kind of thing we really need to challenge. I would like to think we are not standing up there and telling everybody, “Look, stop eating meat, it’s just really bad okay, so just stop!” I’d like to think that we’re a bit more articulate and presenting more of an argument, rather than “This is what we think about it, and you should take that on board and either argue against us or agree with us.” What kind of stuff inspires you to write Thaw songs? Kat: Lots of things, like we’ll read something in the paper about in New Delhi at the moment they’re trying to change the law so that now a woman doesn’t need four adult males to corroborate her story if she’s been raped.

People are kicking up this big stink because they think women are going to start making stuff up. Just horrible stupid things like that that are happening in the world all the time and it’s, “Oh my god, what can I do about that.” There’s only so much a person can do, and if you can make one person aware of the issue then that’s something good. Do you think you can change things from the stage? Kat: I hope so. How? Kat: I think one by one, and it’s the kind of thing that grows. If you tell one person and they tell someone else, and someone else, and it spreads. So by promoting awareness, you hope to cause change? Kat: Well, hopefully if we create enough awareness in our communities people will start to be proactive and get involved in campaigns together. Letter-writing campaigns putting pressure on our foreign minister and pressure on our government so that we, as a nation, say to New Delhi, “This isn’t okay and the way you’re treating women is not alright, and we don’t want to deal with you.” Trade sanctions are one of those particular ways you can help with that sort of thing, or just diplomatic pressure in general. We have no delusions about changing the world; we want to do other stuff to fix up this mess we’re in, in the future, after uni. This is one way of doing that. Does you have any aspirations? What do you plan to do next? Kat: We’re just taking it step by step I guess. As long as we’re having fun and making music that challenges us and is interesting to us and is important to us that’s the main thing. Hopefully it’s important and interesting to other people too. Kathy: We’re putting our energy into our next recording and releasing that and playing more shows, and stuff like that. Steph: A lot of people say we go should tour the States, and we didn’t even think of that. It’s casual and it’s fun – we don’t want to rule the world. Kathy: …And go on world tours and talk to Bono. Kat: ‘Cause we’d get on so well!


r e. Ethan Mille ir F n O ts e m Co z. Esther Valde interview by by J. Bennet. Photography

I

n years to come when they listen back through history to all the best albums from every year, 2006 will throw up something of an anomaly in the form of Comet’s On Fire’s Avatar. Undoubtedly one of the finest albums of this year, Avatar doesn’t necessarily sound like a “now” record. It could be from 1969, or it could be from 2069. These rootsy, jazzy, psychedelic stoner jams conjure up feelings of nostalgia and futurism all at once. Comets On Fire have obviously drawn most of their influence from the way distant past, but what they’ve spat out is akin to a caveman inventing space travel. Avatar is quite possibly the best psychedelic rock album made since the late sixties, but fans of Comets’ more obscure back catalogue will need time to adjust. More tuneful, mature and traditional, it sounds like a mere distant cousin of its predecessor, Blue Cathedral (2004). Some might call it middle-of-the-road, but to do so would be to ignore Comets On Fire's greater ambition on Avatar - they are trying to transcend the traditional, not get played on AM radio. They've gone back to the roots in the hopes of creating new strains, and in doing so they've sprouted a brilliant album that will hopefully propel them beyond the cult status they’ve been nurturing since their inception in 1999. A potted history for anyone who just came in… Formed in Santa Cruz, California by singer/guitarist Ethan Miller and bassist Ben Flashman, Comets issued their petulant debut album in 2000, a selffunded, self-produced, self-released and self-titled vinyl-only effort. 2002’s more ambitious Field Recordings From The Sun EP solidified their reputation for lengthy, noisy, experimental, psychpunk rock jams, and they were lured to Subpop as part of an effort by the label to become cool again.

Their masterful Subpop debut, 2004’s Blue Cathedral, provided Comets On Fire with a muchdeserved breakthrough, garnering critical acclaim and winning them a healthy worldwide fanbase. Made by the same line-up as Blue Cathedral – Ethan Miller (guitar/vocals), Ben Chasny (guitar), Noel Harmonson (Echoplex), Ben Flashman (bass) and Utrillo Kushner (drums) – Avatar had much to live up to in the eyes (or ears) of Comets fans. While the band’s first three records featured spaced-out lead vocals by Miller treated through Harmonson’s vintage Echoplex reverb unit, on Avatar the frontman unveils his real voice for the first time. Singing white man’s blues with a slightly smoke-torn throat, Miller’s vocals are undeniably powerful, adding another dimension to Comets’ already devastating sonic arsenal. The album veers from swinging, bluesy explorations to piano-laced prog power balladry, to hypnotic tribalism, to whatever the hell Comets feel like playing. They have this knack for providing an aroma of a certain influence, but you can never put your finger exactly on it. Maybe it sounds a bit like Hendrix with Sun Ra, or The Doors with Fela Kuti, or the Allman Brothers with the MC5, or a billion other lame comparisons I could come up with that still wouldn’t do it true justice. I suppose you’ll just have to go hear it for yourself. The following interview was done with Ethan Miller just before Avatar’s release. A very friendly and open guy with plenty to say, he naturally gives a great interview…

[STOP PRESS: It’s just been announced that Comets On Fire arrive in Australia for the first time March 2007. I wouldn’t like to call you an imbecile for missing those shows, but I’m gonna have to if you do.]

What kind of response have you had to Avatar so far, it seems like it’s been pretty positive, even though it’s not released yet. This is the first record we’ve ever done that has had any kind of pre-press like this, so I don’t really know how to feel about it quite yet. The press has been nice so far. It’s always nice to see just how people feel about it once it hits the streets and, yeah, so far people seem to dig it. I thought we did a good job. Is it regrettable that people are going to straight away look at the differences between this and Blue Cathedral, as opposed to what makes this one so great? No, I mean, I don’t know what the critics or writers will do, maybe there will be some hang ups with that kind of thing but it doesn’t really bother me. I hope that most people just put on the album and let it affect their heart and mind as it is, for what it is. I guess you can’t help but think about the past a little when you listen to a band’s music, and that’s cool, but I think we made it different enough that it’s sort of hard to compare. I think it will beat those kinds of comparisons. Did the band discuss what you wanted to do, the direction you wanted to push in? No, there were no actual discussions about making the kind of record we did. Comets work as a communal thing as far as songwriting and stuff, we don’t have one songwriter that brings everything in and says, “This is how we do it.” A lot of bands have that but we try to work as democratically as we can and as a community


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UIF!QBTU!CVU!JT!OPX!EFBE!BOE!JUÖT!TVQQPTFE!UP TPVOE!MBSHFS!UIBO!MJGF"Ô!Ñ!FUIBO!NJMMFS as much as we can and in that way, for better or worse, it takes us a long time to make a record and the record goes under a lot of our own critiquing to try and shave off all the fat and extra shit. So when we finish a record we feel like we’ve nailed that thing down to the point that it’s a highdensity thing. And also, letting the band as an entity create the record, we’re often surprised with where things end up. I think we certainly surprised ourselves with this one. I thought we did when we made Blue Cathedral but there were certain visions that I had about Blue Cathedral that didn’t end up that far off the mark. But with Avatar I guess I didn’t expect it to sound like this. It’s refreshing for us and I hope it’s refreshing for other people too. Is there much intellectualising of your sound when you’re shaping the songs? Usually someone will bring a riff in, usually me or (Ben) Chasney (guitar) will bring a rock riff in and Utrillo (Kushner - drums) usually deals with bringing in piano stuff. So we’ll bring in a riff and the band will jam it out and try and get the feel for it and see if it feels like an honest thing and if it’s got our feel and our groove and everyone is into it and can work with it then we start putting pieces together and bringing other

riffs and hooks in. We might jam a whole night on one riff to see if it works and to see if there’s something in there. But if we intellectualise anything it’s usually if we feel that something is not working and we need to correct it. Sometimes we’ll try and talk intellectually about it and be like, “Y’know this isn’t working because of this or this feeling or whatever.” Generally, since we’re a rock band, there doesn’t need to be a lot of talk about whether something is working - that’s usually something you can feel. It’s such a unified vision and also quite idiosyncratic at the same time – how much compromise goes on in the creation? In having a communal group, there are obviously a lot of creative complexities and social complexities that go in to running an operation like that. There’s definitely a lot of different veins and complexities to why things turn out the way they turn out so I could only guess that sometime, somewhere, somebody compromised a little bit. If I feel like a certain part of a song is not the greatest but everybody else feels like it’s a really great thing then it’s very fucking possible that I’m wrong. You have to say, “I trust these guys

and they all say it’s a great part and I’m the only one who feels like it’s cheesy.” In a dictator situation you can only please the dictator and in a democratic situation you can only ever partially please some of the people some of the time. There is no perfect world. Do you listen to psychedelic stuff for inspiration? Probably not a ton of psychedelic stuff. We draw our inspiration from places that don’t have as much to do musically with our outcome. Like for me, when we were doing the Blue Cathedral album I was listening to a ton of Leo Kottke and Bert Jansch and Led Zeppelin bootleg albums, which I don’t think expresses itself on Blue Cathedral that much. But I found most of my inspiration from that and like Woody Guthrie and folk stuff and I think even though I went and did different things to what any of those people do, that’s where I tried to draw energy from. I think that’s the way we worked on this record too. I know the band was listening to a lot of Fela Kuti and a couple of us were getting into Steely Dan and I was getting super into Crosby, Stills and Nash and stuff like that. Paul Simon and vocal harmony shit I was into and I suppose you can see that I went and did vocal harmony shit on the record, so that’s not that huge of a stretch. But it wasn’t even about the vocal harmonies it was more like, how can I take energy from Paul Simon and relate that to this rock jam we’re trying to write here? I think that’s a lot more interesting than trying to take the energy from one of Sabbath’s jams and put it into your own stoner rock or heavy metal jam. It’s like, why the fuck do you even need to look at them if you already got that riff? Why not see what other energy you can find, see what happens if you try and put in some of Sandy Denny’s energy or Archie Shepp’s energy or some shit like that. We’d rather put that into our Sabbath-y riff and see what kinda crazy mutation that makes. Maybe on the surface it will still sound real heavy to people and they’ll still get off on it in a Sabbath-y way, but there will be that little undercurrent of like, there’s something weird about that, there’s some weird little breeze of something else there that totally tweaks my mind when I hear that.


Is progression any kind of aim for the band or just making good music? Both, I hope. I hope the band progresses, and in progress I mean, I was talking to the Comets’ guitarist Ben Chasny the other day and he was saying that he believed all the great bands that he loved don’t move down a linear path of progression forward. Y’know, start heavy, then get softer, then become pop heads, then break up after a coke addiction in the late eighties. Ben was saying the bands he relates to and the way he feels about himself and Comets On Fire was that there’s this core, an essence of a band, and everything moves out from that centre. Each album is just kind of like a sunburst off that centre core. It’s not a case of like the next album comes off the tip of the last sunburst - each album should be a sunburst off the other side of the centre of your core. I think that might be true about the way Comets move. Because we’re always trying to outdo our last album or make a different album in that Beatles model. You got Rubber Soul (1965), you think you’ve nailed down the Beatles and then you get Revolver (1966) in your hand, you throw it on and you’re like, “Fuck, man, I had no idea.” And the Beatles never stopped doing that, never stopped foolin’ ya. You can’t turn your back on those records. In that way we want Comets to progress so that you can’t trust us to be what you had us nailed down as. I think that’s something most bands should aspire to if they want to keep trying to make music and be creative and stuff. But on the other level, we also try to let the muse go and just do what’s good. We didn’t try to make a softer album or something like that we just tried to follow what seemed right and natural for us.

Comets On Fire: (LtoR) Noel Von Harmonson, Ethan Miller, Utrillo Kushner, Ben Flashman, Ben Chasny

What is the best description for what Comets On Fire do that you’ve read or heard? Oh man, I don’t know. Y’know, once in a while I read what I think is a great description of us and I think, “Goddamn, that’s great.” But then I’ll be like, “Is that true or is that just an ego stroke and I’m just stoked on it?” It’s great to read that stuff but then you say to yourself, “Am I really a rock god? I don’t think so. Maybe that’s false and I’m just really happy somebody wrote that.” So all of that’s just all of that; that’s just the way you describe things. People have to use labels and I do it too when I’m telling people about friends’ bands and whatever or bands that I love. I start using huge descriptive words and relating them to other records that I love and probably if I were a critic and was writing a review, the band would hate to read all these references and have them categorized in all these creative ways. People do that to us and I try to take it all with a grain of salt; the good and the bad. It’s wonderful to have good press and it always hurts a bit when you get bad press, but for your ego’s sake I think each one should be taken with a grain of salt and appreciated for what truth lies in it. You recorded with Tim Green (The Fucking Champs, ex-Nation Of Ulysses) again – why Tim? Well, you know, being a band that doesn’t make a million dollars we need someone like Tim. You read about the Stones for instance, the recording of the Let It Bleed album and someone

gets asked, “How long did it take to nail “Honky Tonk Women” or “Brown Sugar”?” And the answer is, “The Stones just went in there and they jammed it out for fuckin’ forty five days and on the forty fifth day it���s like, ‘Goddamn, they just nailed it!’” And you listen to those songs and it’s true, they’re fucking perfect and you’re like, “Goddamn, how do I nail a perfect recording like that?” You do it with millions of dollars. They basically jammed in the studio until the studio did not even exist around them. There are no time pressures, there’s no money pressures, and they are just as comfortable at that point as in their jam space or anywhere else. Most bands don’t have that kind of money and it’s fuckin’ weird trying to make music for this robotic machine, this dead machine. You’re trying to transfer this living, breathing organism of music that you’ve created onto this crazy dead contraption that’s going to transfer it into this dead medium and then you put out this disc of music that once existed in the past but is now dead and it’s supposed to sound larger than life! Isn’t it fucked up when you think about it in those terms? The trick of recording is to make that dead thing seem as lifelike as possible. It’s just like the movies; through trickery and through good technique and through spirit and heart and suspension of disbelief, you can make it seem bigger than life. Not just good enough to be a living thing but beyond it, exactly like Hollywood. They have a tiny little model of a shark and then when you see it on the screen it’s fucking bigger than a real shark and scares you for the rest of your life. So that’s what you’re trying to accomplish. And all that shit is a crazy, complicated thing and it’s hard to work that magic. Part of the basis for making all that happen is trust in the guy that is behind the curtain there in Oz making all that shit spin. And Tim is a hell of a technician and he’s someone we have a lot of trust in now and he’s someone who we’ve been through some shit with. He was right there beside us when we transferred our first album, that I recorded on four-track in a garage, onto disc. He helped us get that happening so we could put it on vinyl and release it ourselves, so even at that point he was fully supportive of us and right there helping us out and doing shit and we were fucking nobodies. Now we’ve got budgets to make records with. So it’s about friendship, trust and being on a journey together. It’s about putting some miles under your feet together and there is a real bond and that’s a super important thing when you’re trying to make some magic happen.

COMETS ON FIRE

DISCOGRAPHY

2000: Comets On Fire (vinyl only) 2002: Field Recordings From The Sun 2003: Live In Europa split (live) w/Major Stars 2003: Bong Voyage 2003: Comets On Fire CD (reissue incl. 6 bonus live tracks) 2004: Blue Cathedral 2005: Split w/Burning Star Core 2006: Avatar

You made Avatar at Prairie Sun Studios, where, as the website claims, “the rural setting offers serenity.” That was part of why we went there. We wanted to get away from the city and get away from our lives for a week. We did the basic tracking there so we were up there recording and staying in the cottage there for a week. There was chickens running around, it was a fucking chicken farm and the studios were converted chicken coops.

I know a lot of Link Wray recordings were made in a converted chicken coop. There was tons of people, we looked into it and there was some really famous people who had recorded in chicken coops and so we were superimpressed by that. It was cool on that level, but also we could get up in the morning and it was quiet. There were just a thousand birds chirping in the trees and like wildflowers around and all of us have been living pretty hyped-up lives in the city and so I think for its end there was a peace and a calming effect of being out in the countryside to just focus on doing this thing. You are singing more on Avatar, like a singer and everything, why did you want to do more of that? Partly ‘cos of the stuff I’ve been getting into, y’know, all of a sudden I started hearing all these harmonies on records and it was just something that started striking me a lot in music – be it really tight


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SFDPSEFE!JO!DIJDLFO!DPPQT///!!XF!XFSF TVQFS.JNQSFTTFE!CZ!UIBU/Ô!Ñ!FUIBO!NJMMFS harmonies like Crosby, Stills and Nash or really loose harmonies like Neil Young or Cream or (Bob) Dylan; you know the way he harmonises is really loose. It was like the use of vocals was something the Comets hadn’t experimented with yet and that was another way I felt like the vocals could be another effect on this album that could be used to make it radically different from the other albums. The one place we hadn’t trod yet was beyond the secrets and details that lie in the encrypted Echoplex vocals on our other three albums. So I felt there was a whole world of my vocals behind that wall that we could open up to make this album different. Was there any apprehension in exposing your voice? I guess there is a little apprehension about how Comets fans will take it. But at the same time I feel like we’re sort of at this point where Comets fans are probably a bit like Neil Young fans in the way that like they're ready for anything. They’re ready for Greendale dude. Not that! I mean in the early realm where it’s like they know what we’re doing and people expect us not to deliver the same record again but to surprise them and to do things that they may not be initially comfortable with. Some might get the new album and be like, “Hey this isn’t Blue Cathedral! Goddammit!” I think everybody wants that. Imagine when Led Zeppelin IV came out and then the next record comes out and you’re like, “This isn’t “Stairway To Heaven”.” But after a while you realise, well why the fuck did I want a repeat of that anyways, that’d be fuckin’ bogus.

Yeah, I think the kind of band you are dictates that the kind of fans you’ve got would be disappointed much more by another Blue Cathedral. That’s what I’m trying to say, thank you for summing that up. Feel free to sum up anything I’m struggling with. What plans have you got for touring now? We’re doing east coast and west coast of the United States and then Portugal Spain, Scotland, Ireland, UK and we’re just nailing down the final plans to get over there and play in Australia and New Zealand. We’re trying to base it around the Big Day Out festival and see if we can do some of that. Well the people putting together the Big Day Out don’t have much of a clue judging by the last couple of line-ups. Oh really? It’s not exactly All Tomorrow’s Parties, y'know. Nothing really is. It’s mystifying that All Tomorrow’s Parties is All Tomorrow’s Parties as it is. How do they keep doing these crazy line-ups and stuff? Do you feel like there is more of an accepting community for Comets On Fire now than when you first started, like since the ATP thing and all that? It seems like there is now a global community of bands who recognize goodness in each other as opposed to genre styles or whatever?

I think when we go to those ATP festivals and hang out with other bands and shoot the shit and drink together and talk about music, I definitely feel like… Like, people have asked me, “Do you guys feel like you’re part of a community of west coast psych bands?” and I’m like, “No, I don’t even know any other west coast psych bands.” Then when you’re at ATP you’re hanging out and shooting the shit and it really does feel like a big community of all different types of people that play all different kinds of music. So those ATP things have been pretty incredible but they happen in England so I don’t know what kind of impact they have on the US and stuff but they’ve been incredible for us. The trend of older bands playing their “classic” album live in its entirety was one thing that started at ATP and went worldwide. Yeah, that’s true, you’re right, I never put it together like that. There’s no doubt that underground music is a little less underground these days. I don’t give a fuck, I think that’s great.


s e f l HCelils s on, Franc the “Extreme Music” summer Bonjour and welcome to HELLFEST! Joe Le Taxi and croissants… festival from the nation that brought us tography by Rod Hunt. Words by Mar Garvey and Rod Hunt. Pho

Part 1: By Mar Garvey

H

ELLFEST 2006 played host to what seemed like most of the top-notch “extreme” bands in the world. Bands included; Motorhead, Dead Kennedys (yes, you heard right and we’ll get to that later), Obituary, Entombed, Celtic Frost, Arch Enemy, Agnostic Front, Cradle Of Filth, Most Precious Blood, Madball, GBH, Zyklon, Raised Fist, Saxon, Danko Jones, Devildriver, Black Dahlia Murder, 36 Crazyfists, Nile and Ringworm to name but a few. After we read the line up and figured out we weren’t doing anything on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of July, my photographic assistant and I thought, fuck it, we’ll go. Our journey started out with a “budget” flight to France from Ireland. The 60 Euros return meant only one flight a week, and that was on a Saturday morning. So we missed Friday’s antics, but after the not-so-budget flight from Australia to Ireland, the more Euro saved for beer and baguettes the better. This year’s festival was held in a pretty town called Clisson, an hour on the train from the airport. In Clisson we were told the festival grounds were a short car / mo-ped ride (or a long walk) from the train station. With a minimum two wheels required and not one between us, the only option was the long walk, and fuck me if that didn’t end the adventure before it began. We weren’t even halfway there and I didn’t care if Lemmy was getting head live on stage with his bass shoved up his motor; I needed a lie down and a cold beer. But our spirits soared when

we heard a loud voice over a PA that sounded festivally. And sure enough, round the next bend we saw “Entrance Presse”. Jackpot! We rummaged for our ID and magazine accreditation to be able to claim our press passes. Turned out all you needed was a pencil and a camera phone. But we did get pretty bracelets with “Presse” printed on them. I still wear mine. The set up was basically a huge field with the mainstage at one end and the smaller stage at the other. Concrete bleachers were located near the mainstage and underneath the seats was a big sports hall. But “Jocks Out” this weekend because it housed the “Extreme Markets”. You could get anything from a tattoo to a T-shirt. It was probably a safe bet to stick to a tee rather than risk the chance of Hep C, but at least the choice was there. With food and beer stalls galore, queues were at a minimum - fucking fantastic. We made our way to the campsite, and after wrangling with poles and canvas for half an hour we headed off to catch Raised Fist. What a class act these Swedes are. Precise, razorsharp hardcore. Even though it was kind of early in festival time, they played to a decent crowd. The only shitter about the festival gig is the short sets, so before I knew it, it was au revoir Raised Fist and bonjour the metal bands on the line up, which Rod will fill you in on later because I nipped off to the bar to get some biers in before Agnostic Front and Motörhead. On my way, I passed the small stage where I overheard, “If you don’t get in the pit you’re pussies and I hope you get no pussy tonight!” It was a fair call


h h h

te 2 0 0 6 from Devildriver’s Dez Fafara, and gets quote of the festival. Whether it got the kids who jumped in the pit any pussy that night, I never found out. By the time Agnostic Front came on the lovely balmy evening had taken a turn for the cold side and it took three hoodies to warm my polar ice caps. AF are a band I’ve had a great association with. Anyone who can greet a crowd in pigeon French and still look tough, has gotta be tough! Their set was mainly old school, old school, from Victim In Pain and the thrashier Cause For Alarm. After thirty minutes or so Roger Miret’s vocals seemed on the verge of collapse and got a little hard to take. But I guess you’ll have that after twenty four years of HC screams! By 12:30am everyone on the grounds had made a beeline for the mainstage for the last band on Saturday’s bill, the mighty Motörhead. A lacerated larynx shouted out, “Good evening, we’re Motörhead and we play rock and fucking roll.” That you most certainly do, Lemmy. They covered classics like, “Metropolis”, “Killed By Death” and of course, “Ace Of Spades”, and threw in a couple of newbies from this year’s Kiss Of Death album. They’ve been at this lark for 30 years and Lemmy is still one of the coolest motherfuckers in town. It was nigh on 3am by the time we stumbled back to the tent, and the bar at the campsite was still serving food and beer - now that’s how to run a festival. Metal grunts and growls rang out all over France it seemed, until about

10am the next morning. Some sons of bitches had even found some actual metal pipes to beat on. Oh, and beat they did. They took turns and there was no shortage of beaters. The only thing I was short of was a gun and some bullets. Rod left early for a metal breakfast, which he’ll no doubt give you the low down on. I decided that a lie-in and a little bit o’ rockabilly for lunch would be a better way to start my day. At about 2pm off I went to see Demented Are Go! on the small stage. Real life nut job and frontman, Sparky, looked absolutely fucked! Duane Peters could be nominated for Woman’s Weekly Man Of The Year in comparison. It only added to the performance of course and their blend of psycho rockabilly went down well with a surprisingly big crowd for that hour of the day. Other highlights of the Sunday were, New York-core Leeway, who I thought were long dead; the gigantic Mad Sin; very surprisingly GBH, who played a ripper, not at all the cringe-worthy Billy Idol-esque disaster I’d imagined they’d be. Madball’s Freddy Cricien announced it was time to cut “Le bullshit” and called out for us all to be one family, united in hardcore. Word. Before I knew it, it was time for the last band of the festival, the reformed, newly fronted Dead Kennedys. It goes without saying that Jello Biafra’s boots are a tough pair to fill. Relative unknown Jeff Penalty, former drummer with Ralphus and Vaz Hoil, was the man chosen for the filling by the remaining original band members. Turns out they made a bloody good choice. It was really bizarre watching this guy with the Jello warble in his voice and the Jello jitter in his legs doing a really good job with Jello’s songs! He had the cheeky grin and the cock-suredness of a man that knew his place was with the DKs. He reminded me a little of Bouncing Souls frontman


Greg Antonito. I felt dirty, but I liked it. no more When we could drink no more and see once again by sleep to lulled , night a it called we bands the metal howls of the campsite. ng up and The next morning we awoke to folk packi wear, some looked heading home. Most looked the worst for d and smelt as as they had on the first day, while I looke d and thought, good aroun d looke I ant. eleph fresh as fucking ng bags, empty bloody luck to the cleaners. Tents, sleepi of every shade beer kegs, bottles, chairs, tables and le shit route back to scenic the on ed decid We field. the ed cover erie and patiss a au, chate a in took and the train station French non? munched on croissants as we strolled. Tres with festivallers. The tiny town’s train station was packed Two hours train. next the for hours al sever wait to We had second one and h Frenc in ent ncem annou in there was an rm ran for two later everyone that had been on the platfo , do we follow buses outside the station. It was one of those By the time we nts. mome panic put stay we do or the crowd , they were buses the of one on es chanc our decided to take n. A train came gone and we were left in the deserted statio festival adventure, two hours later. And so ended our French . Fin. mend recom ly erved unres can I ture an adven

Part 2: By ROD HUNT

T

left by my his is where I attempt to fill in the gaps there Yes, . crime in er partn vin’ tal-lo not-so-me the three was a shitload of metal on offer over n’t able to make days at HELLFEST (but sadly we were up offered line killer The day). first the for it there n, while on Clisso to trip a g makin for tive plenty of incen to see are got we bands the of holidays in Europe. Many never will. yet to tour Australia, and some probably country I soon discovered that France is the only s who bloke head metal find you’ll I’ve been to where ed like girls unselfconsciously sit with their legs cross

and kiss each other goodbye (okay, only sometimes). Not that there’s anything wrong with that.. . You just don’t see much of it at Metal For The Brain, that’s all! I also found that the French like to stare. A lot. I thought I must have had shit on my face or something, until someone more experienced in the ways of the French, Miss Garvey, explained that I better get used to it. It at least means that if you see some one wearing a cool T-shirt, you can feel free to take a good hard look. Speaking of which, the award for best T-shirt seen at the festival goes to the bassist from Swiss masters of intensity, Knut, with his black “Tom Araya Is Our Elvis” shirt, featuring an upside down cross (of course). Trivium were one band I was curious to see after we arrived on the Saturday and I was more impressed by than I expected to be. These days they seem to be more Metallica circa ‘86 in look, and even in sound at times (on newies like “Detonation”, complete with Hetfieldesque vocals), with less of a metalcore influence. Not a bad thing, in my book. Black Dahlia Murder are some brutal sounding, entertaining fuckers. Pure heads down , At The Gates-inspired death metal, fronted by the most unlikely looking yet monster-voiced vocal ist. Baring his flabby torso, dressed only in lurid shorts and wearing glasses, it was like Revenge Of The Metal Nerd.


English outfit, Capricorns, served up some killer instrumental, sludge-laden metal. Canadian trio Danko Jones were one of the few rock ‘n’ roll bands on the line up, but still seemed to go over well. Even if most of the dodgy in-between song innuendo from their sharp tongued frontman seemed to be lost on the crowd. Sporting a stylish looking black eye patch, it turned out that it wasn’t just for show. Extra points for not letting an eye injury stop him from playing HELLFEST! Long running Norwegian black metallers Satyricon looked a little out of place playing on a sunlit (even though it was 7pm) outdoor stage. That’s one of the pluses of the Euro summer, it doesn’t get dark until late, almost 10pm. While debate rages over whether these Norwegians are still “true” black metal or not (what with the more mid paced, rockin’ sound of their later albums, signing to Roadrunner and winning a Grammy in Norway), the crowd loved ‘em and so did I. Just try not to bang your head to a song like “Now, Diabolical”. Funnily enough, while corpse painted vocalist Satyr did his best to throw his iciest stares the audience’s way, any sense of menace was undermined by their fruity looking bassist, with his bass up around his neck. I was half expecting him to bust into a bit of funky slap bass action. The unintentional laughs kept on coming later that night, with Helloween and Saxon. I realise that both of these long-serving bands are well respected, but I fail to see what the big deal is. The best thing about German metallers Helloween was the massive inflatable pumpkin that arose from the stage at one point. Saxon were part of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal), so you’re meant to kneel down and worship them, but for me their brand of “heavy metal thunder”, as they called it, was just plain dull and plodding. Though the audience sure disagreed, when it came to both bands. So what the fuck do I know? Cradle Of Filth came across like something of a one trick pony - overblown extreme metal that impressed at first but got boring very quickly. I’ve seen them before and the thing I still like most about these Brits is the acidic humour of their pint-sized frontman, Dani Filth. Arch Enemy, on the other hand, offered memorable, anthemic songs and the sound (and this was on the smaller second stage), was near perfect, as it was for most of the bands throughout the festival. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such top-notch sound at an outdoor festival (or maybe it was just the good European beer fooling me into thinking that). On the third and final day, Prostitute Disfigurement from the Netherlands kindly provided a very fucking loud early morning wake up that could be clearly heard over at the campsite. Anyone fancy some grindin’ death metal for breakfast? Carnival In Coal are a French outfit that I just couldn’t get my head around, with their whacky, disjointed and quirky brand of extreme metal. On the other hand, a welcome new discovery for me was French metallers, Gojira. They drew a huge crowd to the mainstage, serving up some utterly punishing death metal, yet with a unique twist.

Impressive stuff. Hatesphere are a band I also knew little of, but I was knocked sideways by the Danish quintet and their vicious thrash ‘n’ death fuelled attack. Back at the smaller stage, a bunch of hardcore bands blasted out back-to-back fifteen-minute sets, including Vancouver’s melodic HC kids, Go It Alone and San Francisco straight-edgers, Allegiance. We also saw Boston’s Guns Up! and their brand of heavyweight HC go head-to-head with the outright venom of Panic (who had their Circles EP released in Australia recently, thanks to Resist). Entombed, playing the mainstage in the evening, went down like a cold French ale. Vocalist LG Petrov knocked back the booze and growled his way through everything from the old (“Revel In Flesh”) to the new (“When In Sodom”), with a shit-eating grin plastered across his face the entire time. Now trimmed back to a quartet, things only fell flat when they attempted to tackle a song like “Left Hand Path” – the outro just doesn’t work with one guitar. Nile delivered the goods, with their ferocious and blasting death metal, drawing a packed crowd to the second stage. Norway’s Zyklon were absolutely crushing. Boasting two former Emperor members in guitarist Samoth and drummer Trym, you’d expect something fairly impressive from the fourpiece, and they didn’t disappoint, offering relentlessly vicious technical death metal.

Obituary and Celtic Frost are two bands I grew up listening to but never thought I’d actually ever get to see live. The boys from Tampa, Florida, got off to a shaky start late on the final night, but eventually found their feet. Hearing stuff off their 1990 album Cause Of Death, like “Chopped in Half” and “Turned Inside Out” was incredible. And John Tardy’s voice was as monstrous live as it sounds on their albums. The only downside was that the onstage vibe between the band members was icy; I couldn’t help but get the impression that offstage they’re probably not exactly the best of mates. Celtic Frost, a band who had an obvious influence on Obituary, played next, but ironically on the smaller stage, in front of a lot less people. It was hard to believe it was happening at the time, standing in the photo pit just a few metres away from vocalist/guitarist Tom Gabriel Fischer (aka Tom G. Warrior). Along with original member Martin Ain (bass), a new drummer and a second guitarist, the Swiss band have returned after a fifteen year absence, with a new album, Monotheist. Around midnight, they opened with two classics, “Procreation (Of The Wicked)” and “Dethroned Emperor”. The newer tracks are different again to their earlier work, yet still as bleak and doomy in the oppressive atmosphere they create live. Forty-five minutes later (if only they could have been allocated a longer time slot) they closed the second stage with another killer old song, “Circle Of The Tyrants”. People who live in Europe or the UK probably tend to take outdoor summer festivals featuring music of the heavier kind, like HELLFEST, for granted. As you would – there’s plenty to pick from. But for anyone from Australia, there’s obviously nothing like it at home that’s comparable. So get yourself over to Europe one summer and take in one (or two). The only drawback is that it’ll make just about everything on offer at home pale in comparison… END.


.L`_TZY% /LYRP] .ZYNPY_]L_PO 1-2-Seppuku

BnDWhZhh^dcL^i]?ZgjhVaZb:E 8]ViiZgWdm$B<B Consisting of three guitarists and a drummer, Sydney instrumental four-piece 1-2Seppuku (Seppuku being the ritual form of suicide practiced by members of the Samurai class) submerge you beneath waves of ambient doom riffage before casting out fragile lifelines of delicately plucked guitars and lightly kissed cymbals. Produced by local sound master Jonboyrock (Front End Loader, Decoder Ring, Further, Grand Fatal), all three tracks on this debut EP run over the five minute mark, with centerpiece “Christina Ricci VS Mira Sorvino” pushing nine minutes. There are no vocals or lyrics to speak of, just hypnotic rhythms and crushing riffs that try to fill the gap left by the lack of bass. Yeah, okay, My Obsession With Mogwai and Isis may have been a fitting alternate title, but the handle these young kids have on noise augers well for an epic future.

dubbed on. Once it gets going, however, many of these sound issues either disappear or become irrelevant, as Tom Gabel’s songwriting exerts its authority. It’s funny how minor details like fidelity become less important when you’re singing along at the top of your lungs. Smacking of obligation, with sound ailments up the arse, this live disc is far from an essential purchase, but I’ve still been giving it a decent flogging.

The Assassination Collective

;^\]i½Dg6hh^b^aViZ6cY9^Z GZkdaji^dcVgnI^bZh A Melbourne “super-group” of non-superstars including ex and current members of Baseball, Remake Remodel, Jihad Against America, The Stabs, The Adults and others, The Assassination Collective show just as much guts as grey matter on this raw, emotional, politically-charged

1-2-Seppuku

three CDs, a DVD, a 176 page book and a poster. Compiled by his father and producer, Börje “Boss” Forsberg, the CDs contain a hefty selection of this supreme Swede’s tunes both solo and with the mighty Bathory, while the DVD delivers several rare clips and interviews. The cover artwork painted by Kristian Wåhlin (it was to be the next Bathory album cover) packages the thing up in exquisite splendor. Elsewhere, though, clunky design touches bring the tone down – most notably the track list information, which is a dilemma to read. The selection of tracks is solid, utilising picks from every era, and encompassing the vast array of styles that typified Bathory’s output - from haunting Nordic acoustic ballads to flat-out, paintstripping Viking black metal. While it includes the “hits” as well as a few rare dark treats such as covers of Sex Pistols, The Beatles, Motörhead, Sabbath and KISS, the sequencing of the tracks leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not chronological, and it’s far from logical. In fact, the flow of these comps is so stilted I suggest Boss should’ve just went with alphabetical order! Still, Quorthon’s genius overshadows any minor gripes a mere mortal such as myself might have. Diehards will own this already. For the merely curious, I can’t recommend Blood Fire Death (1988) highly enough.

The Black Lips

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Pic: Liv Ingram

The Black Lips make an album so effortlessly amazing it shoots straight up in my top five of all time. It usually takes a record thirty years to reach this mark, so I don’t know what the fuck is going on. Is it that this band sound like a gritty, juvenile Monkees? Or that their don’t-give-a-fuck production makes this the best sounding garage-pop record since... fuck, did any sixties garage groups actually make great whole albums? Well, the Black Lips sure did. [Owen Penglis]

Quarthon (R.I.P)

considered among the best this experimental post-hardcore/art punk/thrash/spazcore/noise rock behemoth has yet produced. Evolution schmevolution - Young Machetes rules.

Bored!

H$I IV`Z>iDjiDcNdj BdgZ 6[iZgWjgc WARNING: Steer Clear If You Don’t Like Riffs! Dave Thomas’ finesse-less mob of flannelette-wearing Geelong rockers Bored! show off the nice new Lindsay Gravina remastering job that’s been applied to their unkempt self-titled EP from ’88 and the riff-a-riffic Take It Out On You mini-LP from ’90.

Blood Brothers Against Me!

6bZg^XVch6WgdVY/A^kZ>cAdcYdc ;ViLgZX`8]dgYh$H]dX` This live disc was the golden handshake that allowed Against Me! to make the major label jump from Fat to Sire/Warner with a clear conscience. As fans will be aware, Against Me! are not exactly all about the hi-fidelity. But even so, there’s some dodgy shit going on here. Mixed by Jawbox legend J. “You’ll-never-work-in-thistown-again” Robbins, the first couple of tracks are quite disorientating due to an uneven and inconsistent mix. Since the audience plays such a huge part in any Against Me! show, the punters at London’s Mean Fiddler on this particular evening were given a separate mic. While that’s great for adding atmosphere to the recording, sometimes the audience track is mixed up almost as loud as the band - the cheering sounds almost

seven-track debut. While their bio reckons they banded together with the aim of bringing about “the type of revolution that inspires people to create,” it’s clear from the first listen that rocking fucking hard is also high on their list of priorities. With screeching girls and screaming guys busting blood vessels over an arty, swampy punk rock base with keyboards, the impassioned delivery and aggro attack perfectly matches the tone of the pissed-off politicised lyrics. Fiercely passionate punk rock that’ll have you throwing Molotov cocktails at cop shops in sheer delight.

Bathory

>cBZbdgnD[Fjdgi]dcWdmhZi 7aVX`BVg`$G^di Issued to honour Bathory leader Thomas “Quorthon” Fosberg, who went to Valhalla in 2004, this boxset features

There was a huge jump in style between Blood Brothers’ underground hit Burn Piano Island, Burn (2002) and their last-up effort Crimes (2004). It’s fair to say many thrash fans were turned off by all the whinnying and emoting and playing of pianos on the latter effort, but I for one thought Crimes represented an amazing progression for these Seattle spazzies. Now we come to Young Machetes, and the biggest surprise here is the lack of surprises. It actually took a while to get used to, not because it’s so different from Crimes, but because it’s so similar. Having said that, it didn’t take too long for these fourteen tracks to start to ingrain themselves into my frazzled psyche. Though overall Young Machetes lacks the spark of inspiration that fired the previous two efforts to such dizzying heights, songs like “We Ride Skeletal Lightening”, “You’re The Dream Unicorn”, “Spit Shine Your Black Clouds”, “Rat Rider” and “Huge Gold AK-47” can still be

Pic: Rod Hunt

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Throw in a few rarities and a ten-page booklet and the money should be practically falling out of your wallet. The liner notes include excerpts from a European tour diary penned by one-time Bored! bassist Tim Hemensley (R.I.P) first published in the very great Melbourne zine Resistant Harmony, whose editor Scotti Henthorn runs Afterburn Records, who put this CD out. Anytime is a good time to listen to classic Bored! tunes like “Little Suzi”, “Motherfuckin Motherfucker” and “Mr. 10%”; but as the years go by they just seem to grow in vitality. Seems only a matter of time before Bored! undergo the typical renaissance where they posthumously get all the respect they’ve been owed for eighteen years. A few more decent reissues like this, and the ARIA Hall Of Fame awaits.

The Chuck Norris Experiment KdajbZKdaiV\ZD[[I]Z=^e

Six Swedish delinquents all called Chuck, The Chuck Norris Experiment is a project featuring members of stoner crew Rickshaw and pompous black metallers Tiamat, among other bands. The singer sounds like he wants to be Ian Astbury and play arenas, but instead he’s stuck with Gluecifer’s less inspired cousins. The band claim their debut album came together in the space of ten rehearsals and the whole thing was tracked live. Six of those raw tracks (including their hometown cult hit “Senorita (Lookout)”) are tacked onto the end of this more polished second album, Volume! Voltage!, released through Melbourne garage label Off The Hip. The rawer production of the earlier tracks, not to mention the untamed nature of the songs themselves, show up the sterility of the new material. They’re not going to change your outlook on the universe, but if you like the idea of Turbo ACs-meets-The Cult then you need to undergo the Experiment. I hate the fucking Cult.

Blood Brothers

Comets On Fire 6kViVgHjWEde$Hidbe

Darlings of the All Tomorrow’s Parties set, Comets On Fire follow-up their much-lauded Blue Cathedral album of 2004 and prove themselves to be the duck’s nuts in modern psychedelic rock. Instead of trying to take their already weird sound further afield, COF have come back to a more familiar, dare I say, more traditional place. If Blue Cathedral was like an uncontrollable acid freak out, Avatar is like watching the sun rising gloriously the next day. Psychedelic rock music infused with the experimental spirit of free jazz greats Albert Ayler and Sun Ra, Avatar is the kind of album the MC5 would’ve made in collaboration with Fela Kuti and Crosby Still and Nash; or possibly even Cream if they didn’t have such utterly vile taste. Comets have traced most things back to the root, and it’s amazing the way they are able to use so much of what was considered progressive in the late sixties and make it still sound that way forty years post. At first the earthier approach seems like a bold step backwards, but as you explore it more in-depthly you begin to realise Comets On Fire have actually taken a great leap forward, into song. They’re touring in March. Don’t tell anybody but I already jerked off a few times just thinkin’ about it.

Converge

Cd=ZgdZh:e^iVe]$H]dX` Having established a name as one of the leading forces in modern hardcore and metal, Converge continue to lead from the front on their seventh studio album No Heroes. After cracking it big with the 2001 masterpiece Jane Doe, they seemed to suffer a slight backlash upon the release of their last-up effort, You Fail Me (2004), their first for Epitaph. While it’s an accepted thing that Converge are always looking to push the envelope with each new release, You Fail Me (obviously as a reaction to the extreme intensity of Jane Doe) perhaps drifted too far from the things that made the band great in the first place. On No Heroes, however, they set the record straight. Instead of starting up fresh battles on too many unfamiliar fronts, Converge simply take stock of their existing arsenal and unleash it at full force upon your ears. Reinstating the kind of gut-wrenching intensity, vocal extremity and metal riffing terror that forged their reputation on pre-Jane Doe albums like When Forever Comes Crashing (1998), No Heroes supersedes everything else as the quintessential Converge release.

Curse Ov Dialect LddYZcIdc\jZhKVakZ$B<B

How most Aussie skip-hop crews sleep at night after rhymin’ about keepin’ it real all day, I just don’t know. Originally there was Grandmaster Flash, NWA and PE rapping to express their exacerbation at life in the ghetto. Twenty-plus years later and we’ve got middle-class Australian’s spouting about how much, “I Love Fridays”. One of the only Aussie hip-hop groups with any sense of real purpose is Curse Ov Dialect from the western suburbs

Converge

of Melbourne. Comprised of members from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, they throw down views on race, politics, ethnicity, history and religion over the freakish, xenophobekilling turntable terrorism of DJ Paso Bionic to produce a strange brew of highly original hip-hop. While other local artists reminisce about their first pair of Nike Hi-Tops, Curse Ov Dialect’s August 2 remembers: “When I was young I hid my legs from the sun, could never understand why my body was tanned… God gave me this brownish colour, made it hard to blend in with the others.” The slicker and slightly less inspired follow-up to their acclaimed debut Lost In The Real Sky (2003), Wooden Tongues still offers plenty to groove to and even more to think about.

Daughters

=ZaaHdc\h=nYgV=ZVY$G^di Complex and emotional, dark and schizophrenic, Daughters from Providence, Rhode Island amp up the

Daughters

insanity levels even further on their second “full-length” album. Running twice the length of their short and savage 2003 debut Canada Songs, Hell Songs is a turbulent yet succinct 22-minute trash grind skullfuck with toilet humour titles like “Boner X-Ray” and “Crotch Buffet”. It’s astonishing that humans can even play this stuff, let alone remember all the parts. Fast and fractured, jagged and robotic, Daughters threaten to derail at every twist and turn. I can’t tell how they’re doing it (whether it’s string bending or whammy bar or smoke and mirrors) but the guitars have a quite freakish malleability as they move at lightening speed to create a kind of indescribable psychotic vibrato. At times you’d almost believe the record was being played on a turntable with a warped belt at 150rpm. Sure to annoy the fuck out of loads of people, vocalist Alexis Marshall uses a drunken and drug-fucked early Nick Cave style of ranting and raving, babbling incessantly almost in defiance of the wobbly yet tight mathy chaos erupting all around him. Better have that spare arsehole ready, you're gonna need it.


.L`_TZY% /LYRP] .ZYNPY_]L_PO :X]dZhD[I]ZEVhiHjWede$Hidbe At their live shows, Dead Moon light a candle, plonk it down on drummer Andrew Loomis’ wax-covered kick drum and play sweet punk rock till the wick on that sucker has burnt out completely. Then the gig’s over. Or sometimes, if they’re having a particularly great night, they’ll light another one and keep playing till that one burns out. Leader Fred Cole (vocals/ guitar) and his wife Toody (bass) have been at this rock business for almost twenty years now, humping their load from town to town, with no bullshit ideals about making it big. Echoes Of The Past is recognition of Dead Moon’s candle burning, punk rocking ways. Fred handpicked this forty nine-track, two-disc retrospective for Subpop, spanning material from the ’88 debut In The Graveyard right up until 2001’s Trash And Burn. Having amassed an impressive body of work, it’s only sad diehards that would have all of this. I own a couple of albums, but to hear the scope of what Dead Moon were capable of is something else. May Fred Cole always find a reason to plonk down a candle and rock. Dead Moon bring the eternal flame back to Australia in March. Consider Echoes Of The Past compulsory homework for before they arrive.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring

:YYn8jggZciHjeegZhh^dcG^c\ 9gde`^X`$H]dX` The full-length debut from Melbourne’s pure punk rockers Eddy Current Suppression Ring is also their first time on compact disc, having only released vinyl and cassette up until now. I call them “pure” because the way they play seems so automatic, instinctual and uncalculated. Playing garage punk comes as naturally to these guys as vomiting. With stiff, sharp, rhythms giving them a lively spring in their step, they draw from the energy and spirit of sixties garage and late-seventies punk, more so than any individual riffs or chord progressions. Consistently upbeat and never boring, this 11-track stormer gathers momentum as it goes, with the second half boasting most of the highlights. “Precious Rose” is a Radio Birdman Living Eyes-era thumper with frontman Brendan Suppression’s raw, uncultured vocals grating over the top. Keyboard-laden “Insufficient Funds” is an uncouth garage belter with a touch of Devo, with lyrics concerning matters of day-to-day survival to which a poverty-stricken scumbag like me can really relate. While “Winter’s Warm” is one of the great garage rock ballads of all time. Here's a new band even jaded old Saints and Birdman fans can believe in – all hail Eddy Current!

Einstellung

L^c\hD[9Zh^gZ8]ViiZgWdm$B<B Boasting members of notable English noise/industrial bands Godflesh, the Wimpletoads and Grover, Birmingham-

Terminate & Fuck”, “Kill The Police”, etc. Also included are a couple of country-style songs, which are said to be the last ever recordings made by GG, backed by The Carolina Shitkickers, which featured Jeff Clayton of Antiseen on scrub board! The best of these is the tragically catchy, “I Wanna Fuck The Shit Out Of You.”

Dead Moon

Grim Reality

IdI]Z9ZVi]HigV^\]iJe

Pic: Ed Goralnick

Dead Moon

based quartet Einstellung certainly has the credentials to inject some life into the oftenstale instrumental rock scene. The band stop short of true inspiration on their debut album, Wings of Desire, but they’ve succeeded in carving themselves a distinctive niche all the same. There are several competing strands of influence – the aforementioned industrial tones; the thick stoner riffage of Sabbath; and the minimalist structures of Phillip Glass or, more obviously, Mogwai. Combined, these sounds make for an intricate and persistent record. The band takes its time, drawing out themes and moods across the LP’s hour-long duration; channelling the warmth and pollution of summer in the Midlands to create a truly English sound. This is definitely a warm-weather record, the more delicate passages recalling the mellow guitar tones on Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins. But there’s also a sinister edge, hinting at the untamed metal power these players possess. Album number two should be interesting. [Dan Stapleton]

Genghis Tron

9ZVYBdjciV^cBdji]8gjX^Va7aVhi This is some insane shit. Like seriously, Dillinger Escape Plan-in-a-straightjacket insane is what it is. Genghis Tron’s overt blending of textures and styles is sure to put them offside with anyone still clinging to the idea of genre purity, but they are sure to find a place in the hearts of those openminded souls with a voracious thirst for evolution through calamitous cross-pollination. Recorded by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, this is the young Poughkeepsie, NY trio’s debut full-length after last year’s Cloak Of Love EP. Dead Mountain Mouth emits an evil noise with severe personality defects. Taking in extreme metal, techno, math, disco, emo, grind, ambient, jazz and noise – it’s music for thinking men to lose their minds to. Fans of Agorophobic Nosebleed, The Locust, Mr. Bungle/Fantomas and any harsh keyboard noise grind terror might really enjoy the impact of Genghis Tron. I’m not so sure the flatmates or neighbours will dig ‘em though.

GG Allin & Antiseen BjgYZg?jc`^Zh I@D$GZkZgWZgVi^dc

Scum punks unite! Here’s a real meeting of the superminds – GG Allin and Antiseen together, showing how few collective brain cells it actually takes to play rock ‘n’ roll. Featuring the original 1991 full-length collaborative LP and other recordings made up until GG’s death in 1993, this is exactly what you’d expect – crude, rude, misanthropic and proud. The titles are just as anti social as the music: “99 Stabs Wounds” (obviously a shitty play on the title “99 Luftballons”), “Rape, Torture,

Einstellung

To many old hardheads, acting tough, having big, tattooed biceps and getting around in tanktops is still a pretty important prerequisite for appreciating hardcore. Those kinda guys will be stoked at the prospect of a walk down memory lane with the loveable lads in Grim Reality. Grimmers were a late-nineties Melbourne tough guy HC crew with big shorts and even bigger attitude problems. Frontman Dimma loved to promote a bit of the old ultra-violence and generally perpetrate the kind of harder-core-than-thou image that Roger Miret and all those dicks used to go on with. Though sadly the lyrics are not reprinted in the 16-page booklet for this discography through Jay Blurter’s Straight Up label, Dimma backs off slightly from the hard line stance in the liner notes, saying: “I don’t know what anyone elses take on GRHC is/was whatever…[sic] But as far as I’m concerned it was never meant to be taken THAT seriously.” In keeping with the meathead spirit, there’s spelling mistakes all over the artwork, including “United Forces”, their S.O.D cover, which is listed as “United Forced”. Guaranteed to put hair on your chest, this is for Aussie HC enthusiasts and thick-necked fans of Ag Front, Madball, Toe To Toe, et al.


Huntsman

Jaws

>iÉh?jhi;djgHdc\h:E B^hh^c\A^c`$H]dX` Melbourne’s Missing Link label enjoys a proud history going back to The Birthday Party and Laughing Clowns, but a recent revamping has seen them begin to build an exciting new legacy. Since the back half of last year they have released some cracking local records – Terror Firma, Agents Of Abhorrence, True Radical Miracle, etc. Huntsman are their first Sydney signing, and, though they’ve been on the scene a while now, they recently shuffled their line-up to settle on a three-piece arrangement starring larrikin tour manager Brendan “Bruz” Newnham (ex Toe To Toe, Last Nerve) on guitar/vocals, Adrian Shapiro (ex Muta) on bass and Irrelevant’s Mick Anderson (ex Last Nerve) on drums. With Hot Water Music as a strong influence, they play a tough brand of modern punk with slight post-HC leanings. The nice vocal melodies on two of the tracks, “So Jaded” (ironic title) and “You’ve Got Nothin’”, don’t really do it for me, but on the other two less listener-friendly tunes, “Get In Get Out” and “My Crime”, Huntsman prove they can rock as hard as anyone.

Isis

>cI]Z6WhZcXZD[Igji] >eZXVX$H]dX` I felt like I knew In The Absence Of Truth after just one listen. Aside from the fact that Aaron Turner (guitar/vocals) was singing more as opposed to growling, and the heavier sections were getting fewer and farther between, on the surface it seemed like the sound of Isis repeating themselves. Still, there is something very comforting about the warm blankets of doom riffage this bunch of bearded Bostonians provide, and so I happily gave it a few more spins, and then a few more. Now here I am, months later and I’m still discovering new shit in it. At 65 minutes, Isis have left themselves plenty of scope to explore, and for that reason it’s a difficult album to focus on for the entire duration. With the average track length around seven minutes, I tend to zone out during the more self-indulgent passages - but then, I could say that about parts of Oceanic (2002) and Panopticon (2004) as well. Featuring many moments of genius (nine minute closer “Garden Of Delight” is everything great about Isis in one song) and just a few flat spots, In The Absence Of Truth represents a progression towards more palatable ambient post-rock sound, which was not altogether unexpected.

Jaws

HadlBdi^dcHj^X^YZ:E 8dbbdc7dcY$H]dX` Arguably the best band among Perth’s quite diverse HC scene, Jaws play a fast and tough style of old school ala Dag Nasty. Dishing out eleven blasts in just under thirteen minutes, opener “Freedom Of Choice” is 35 seconds of seething anger and semi-automatic saliva with a little blues lick snuck in for shits and giggles. “Spoon In Mouth” is a bleak, mid-paced moshfest that leads into the standout, “I Did This All

Myself”, a tweaked punk onslaught with savage chugga-chugga verses, a classic chorus and Scandinavian rock guitarwork. At just 19 seconds, “Say Or Do” hardly finds time to get worked up about much in particular, unlike the succinct 40-second “Rearrange”, which kickstarts Slow Motion Suicide’s more generic old school second half. The production job is perfect, making the band sound clear and punchy enough without sacrificing any of their inherent savagery. Obviously aware they had one of the standout local releases of 2006 on their hands, Jaws went and iced their cake extra sweetly by commissioning cover artwork from the incomparable Glenn “Glenno” Smith.

Jenny Piccolo

9^hXd\gVe]nI]gZZDcZ< Featuring former members of Mohinder and future members of Makara and Yaphet Kotto, Jenny Piccolo were a littleknown three-piece grind/spaz/hardcore group from Santa Cruz, CA named after Joanie’s unseen friend in Happy Days. Closely affiliated with San Diego grind art noise purveyors The Locust throughout their existence, Jenny Piccolo get their complete discography issued by Three One G Records, the label co-owned by The Locust’s bassist/vocalist Justin Pearson. Boasting every EP, single, split and compilation track, the disc’s centerpiece is Jenny Piccolo’s one and only album, 2000’s Information Battle To Denounce The Genocide. Swinging from power violence to grindcore to hardcore to screamo, fans of Some Girls, Crossed Out, Charles Bronson and The Locust might have found themselves a new favourite.

Legends Of Motorsport

Massappeal

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I've been eagerly awaiting this debut, full-length from Melbourne's brownnote bandits Legends of Motorsport (Brockie R.I.P.). The Beef With Cheese EP (2002), which preceded the latest EP, Mess It Up, is amazing - joyously crazy, heavy, and in my Aussie Top 50. So it was a relief when the new EP rocked my face (so hard). All the bottom-end is still there, but the bass sounds are much cleaner than previous releases, which would be my major criticism of this fine slab of drivin' music… that and the fact that maybe there is too much cheese on this beef burger? I love this band, but it has been pointed out to me by a more lactose intolerant loved one that this album has a big oozing cheese factor, especially with songs like “Brunswick Girls” and “Stoneage Woman (with Manchild)”. A suggestion was made that Richard Fyshwick’s vocals sounded like that dickhead from Custard (there's that dairy again!). BUT I SAY NO! It’s only a few tracks that grate the cheese... The many highlights include the massive opener “Free Radical Oxygen Cells”, which must slay the dancefloor live. Essential car stereo tracks are “Totally Extreme”, “Drivin’” and “Take To The Road”. Legends of Motorsport are exactly that - fuckin' legends at writing songs about cars, and sometimes sexy girl business, but mainly cars and junk. If you love the new EP, you’ll love the album... so buy in that order [Clown-fynder General]

I was more pumped than Paris Hilton on home video when I heard these two classic releases by Sydney hardcore band Massappeal were being remastered and reissued. I’ve only ever owned them on vinyl, so just to have them on CD is cool enough, but extra tracks and extended liner notes make the deal a whole lot sweeter. 1986’s essential skate thrash debut, Nobody Likes A Thinker, has been expanded to accommodate a whole extra disc of bonuses including ‘87’s Bar Of Life 7-inch, ‘86’s Young Dumb and Naïve demo (featuring early versions of many …Thinker tracks), as well as two live performances - six tracks from a raw Waterfront Records in-store in late ’85 and fourteen tracks from when Massappeal supported DRI at the Old Canberra Inn, ’87. This mass of early recordings helps show the band’s development, from petulant, generic beginnings, to the progressive, metal-tinged hardcore sound they would explore on 1989’s Jazz and beyond. Originally issued as a double LP with the bonus “Extra Jazz” platter, the thirteen collective Jazz tracks fit easily onto one disc, with no extras deemed necessary. More than a couple of mere historical artifacts, these two Oz punk classics put most of what’s around today to shame. Massappeal aren’t on the cover for nothing you know. Get out and buy this shit, right fucking now.


.L`_TZY% /LYRP] .ZYNPY_]L_PO Mastodon

They spent their last album reflecting on life inside in the belly of a whale, now Mastodon journey across a gigantic mountain in search of a crystal skull. Even just the idea of it is so ludicrously pompous that only a band as mighty and powerful as Mastodon could pull it off. If you’ve read all the chatter about how Blood Mountain is like the best heavy record made in a decade, you better start believing it. At times it just sounds like great meaty metal to drink beer and BBQ dead animals to. At other times it’s off in another solar system, or indeed, back up on that Blood Mountain hunting for ogres and dwarves and chewing on tripped out tree roots. Branching out from their stoner prog metal nucleus, Mastodon encompass a dazzling array of styles across twelve epic tracks. Produced by Matt Bayles (Isis, Botch, Blood Brothers), Blood Mountain sets a new benchmark in major label metal. Awesome.

(1994) and Stag (1996). Core Melvins duo Buzz Osbourne (guitar/vocals) and Dale Crover (drums) grew sick of perpetually changing bassplayers, so (after the last guy Kevin Rutmanis acquired himself a smack habit) they simply co-opted the members of dynamic Seattlean duo Big Business, bassist Jarred Warren (ex-Karp) and drummer Coady Willis (ex-Murder City Devils). Together the awesome foursome have made the album Stoner Witch fans wish every Melvins album would be. It’s possibly their straightest effort since the very early days, and (rather ironically I might add, considering Willis and Crover are banging on a mutant double-drum kit) it also contains very few of their trademark lengthy drum fills, as King Buzzo’s guitar happily hogs the spotlight. If The Melvins had played it this straight all along we’d no doubt be sick to death of them by now. But coming after years of experimental noodling and trilogy album concepts these heavy grooves are more than fresh enough to savour. Welcome back Melvins fans.

The Melvins

Mikaela’s Fiend

The Melvins release so much stuff it’s easy to get blasé about a new record, but A Senile Animal is a fine return to the kind of albums they made during their midnineties peak – Houdini (1993), Stoner Witch

A pair of young kids from Seattle who deliver a ferocious whirlwind of noise, Mikaela’s Fiend have discovered new ways to ruin their hearing and they’re keen to share them with

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The Melvins


Miss Violetta Beuregarde you. Offering very little respite from chaos, this dynamite duo don’t believe in lyrics or vocals - hell, they don’t even believe in song titles. We Can Driving Machine features eleven completely instrumental and completely nameless noise rock explorations. Sounds kinda like DFA79 humpin’ with Merzbow. Seventeen-year old drummer Donnie Shoemaker is like an octopus with ‘roid rage, while the guitarwork of Chris Ando is pure aural punishment. Whitney Houston once sang, “I believe the children are our future...” And you wanna know something; For once I reckon the toothless crack whore was spot on.

the sound is built. And, while this really works for them in front of a hyped-up audience eager to get stuck in some deep grooves, on record the lack of dynamics makes for a challenging listen. The basic aesthetic is for bassist/vocalist Liam Andrews to lock in with drummer Rohan Rebeiro and repeat a single rhythm over and over again while guitarist Ben Andrews makes bludgeoning attacks in and around these unstoppable grooves. It’s like Gang Of Four stuck on a loop with Shellac jamming over the top. Cancer (so named because of Liam’s life-threatening battle with Hodgkin’s Disease a few years back) barely deviates from this same formula, and it’s fair to say it’s not going to be a style that clicks instantly with a lot of people. Still, you’ve got to admire them for trying to take it somewhere.

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In 2001 Boston’s Mission Of Burma were inspired to reform and make ONoffON, the unexpected but not unwelcome follow-up to their seminal 1983 debut Vs. Now the Burma “comeback” continues with The Obliterati, a discordant post punk/indie rock masterpiece that rightfully takes its place among their best ever work (and near the top of the pile of best albums of 2006). If you’re not familiar with the sound, it’s an almost indescribable blend of indie rock, post punk, art rock, off-kilter pop and avant garde; as much in love with loud guitar squelches as skewed melody. With the band’s chief songwriters Peter Prescott (drums/vocals), Clint Conley (bass/ vocals) and Roger Miller (guitar/vocals) throwing down gauntlets to one another, the melodies on The Obliterati are the most appealing they’ve done, while overall the songs rock harder as well. I love this album in ways the Karma Sutra won’t dare show you. If you’ve only ever heard the name Mission Of Burma but never taken the time to check them out, now’s as good a time as any.

My Precious

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Miss Violetta Beauregarde

DY^Egd[VcjbKja\jh:i6gXZd IZbedgVgnGZh^YZcXZ Sounding like Peaches playing Blood Brothers covers on ice, Miss Violetta Beauregarde is one incredibly noisy lass. She seems very violent and very demented, real Lorena Bobbit material. At her website, www.violettasucks.com, she says, “I used to play with a toy keyboard I bought from a Chinese man in a street market. The Chinese wanted me to pay 20 euros but I gave him 10. Chinese men are good people and you often run good businesses with them. I also love to eat beef meat at their restaurants even if I know it’s not beef. Well dog meat is gonna be okay too.” Miss Violetta Beauregarde scares me a little bit. Actually, she scares me a lot. She’s an Italybased Swiss-born girl who seems to take great

My Precious ("Ronny Years")

pleasure in damaging your peace of mind via some extreme audio violence. Odi Profanum Vulgus Et Arceo (a popular Latin saying which loosely translates as “I hate the vulgar rabble and I spurn them”) is for people who love harsh, violent, screaming electro noise stuff – yeah, all five of you dudes out there.

My Disco

8VcXZgCjbZg^XVaI]^Z[$Hidbe The debut full-length from heavily name-dropped Melbourne trio My Disco dispenses with much of the complexity of their earlier EP Language Of Numbers (2004) in favour of a more Spartan approach. If you’ve seen them live over the past year you’ll know the sound they’ve adopted. Hypnotic is one way to describe the robotic, angular, earnest basslines that form the foundation upon which the rest of

As the title suggests, this is everything My Precious has ever released, a complete overview of “The Ronny Years” (I dubbed them that after original drummer Ronny, who left just prior to their September 2005 Australian tour and played on all twenty of these tracks). Running in chronological order, it starts with 2003’s untamed self-titled debut, remastered to sound slightly punchier than before. While there are some classic My Precious tracks among the early stuff (“Dark Light”, “For Virgin’s Sake”, etc.), the latter material is really where it’s at. Three tracks from 2004’s split with Japan’s Gauge Means Nothing and three tracks from last year’s split with Queensland social justice advocate Steve Towson show not only the brilliance of the band, but the consistency of their writing. There’s one song here I didn’t previously have, a compilation track called “My Life Is Weird”. I really want My Precious to come back and tour Australia again one day so I implore you, please buy this CD.

New York Dolls

DcZ9Vn>iL^aaEaZVhZJhId GZbZbWZg:kZcI]^hGdVYgjccZg That the New York Dolls could release a new album in 2006 is either fucking fantastic, or fucking perverse. Maybe both? “First studio album in 32 years” is not a term that gets bandied about on stickers stuck on the front of CD cases too often. But I suppose the record company wanted to at least give some kind of warning to little kids who might accidentally pick it up in HMV only to be confronted by a wide-mouthed middleaged scary man wearing a midriff singlet and projecting the same Mick Jagger-impersonation he carried on with as a teenager. How can a band hope to be vital after thirty-two years out of the game? It can’t. So don’t get your hopes too high. I know Dolls fans who are overjoyed with this, and others who are disappointed. I’m neither here nor there. I wasn’t expecting much, so no expectations were shattered and no tears were shed. I felt the same way about the new Radio Birdman album and I’m approaching the new Stooges with the same amount of cynicism. What a cunt I am...


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Spencer P. Jones Secret Seven

Radio Birdman

OZcd7ZVX] 8gn^c\Hjc$GZbdiZ8dcigda Respect: It can take a lifetime to earn and a second to lose. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why the temptation mustâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been there for Radio Birdman NOT to make a new record. I know I cringed when I heard they were planning it. But thankfully Birdman donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give a fuck about what I think, nor about any of that â&#x20AC;&#x153;legendaryâ&#x20AC;? bullshit that has been thrown around them since their demise 28 years ago. Playing the old hits at revival shows simply wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cutting it anymore; they owed it to themselves as creative musicians and honest humans to do something new. Zeno Beach doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t try to ride on the coattails of past glories, nor does it vainly attempt to escape from under the long shadow cast by the legacy. For that reason it succeeds as its own stand-alone entity. It explores areas the original Birdman never would have, and expands on the original sound in a way that reflects what the old diggers in the band are into these days - which is way more honest than trying to uphold an old outmoded ideal. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exactly sound cutting edge, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plenty more righteous than most other old codgers could manage.

ROFL / Frank Rizzo

I]Z8gVh]I]Vi:cYZY>c:hea^i:E 9>NDg9^Z A split of awesome spastic jackhammer thrash hardcore from a pair of groups from Sydneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s North Shore, both with a dual vocal attack and a love of funny soundbytes. ROFL eat up the first six tracks of the disc in just about that many minutes, kicking off with the spaz grind rock of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Plz Add Me To I.C.Qâ&#x20AC;? and ending with the cutting critique on pit culture, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hardcawâ&#x20AC;?. The more unhinged and unfriendly sounding of these two bands, ROFL are obviously fans of Infest, Charles Bronson and the like. ROFL and Frank Rizzo join forces on the track â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Crash That Ended In Eâ&#x20AC;? before Rizzo bring it on home with a slightly straighter take on thrashcore. A bit more cultured musically than ROFL, Rizzo deliver thrashy hardcore mixed with the many moods of Mike Patton, their vicious dual

screams relating tales of internet promiscuity and homicidal cross-dressing maniacs.

Secret Seven

IV`Z>i7VX` I]gVh]HiZVYnHncY^XViZ I scored this from Normann at Singapore label Thrash Steady Syndicate in the same package as the new My Precious CD (youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a champ Normann!). Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d never heard of Secret Seven before, but I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be forgetting them in a hurry. This is tightas-fuck fastcore from a Singapore five-piece who steadfastly uphold the old school values in songs like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Go D.I.Yâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Way It Wasâ&#x20AC;?. A 20-track LP (with 15 previously released bonus tracks and an enhanced video component), most songs run between forty seconds and a minute. Secret Seven didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to cover Minor Threat, so they wrote â&#x20AC;&#x153;Salutationâ&#x20AC;?, with the words: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Positive lyrics, catchy but simple chords / Minor Threat never bores / We love Minor Threat / Still love Minor Threat.â&#x20AC;? It sounds lame on paper - you really need to imagine a dual-vocal hardcore crew screaming it at 100kmph. Recorded by Singapore sound guru Ah boy (My Precious), this features top-notch production, and the gold foil band logo on the front cover adds an extra touch of class. Do you trust me when I tell you somethingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s genuinely THE shit? If so, email Normann for ordering info at thrashsteadysyndicate@hotmail.com. This will set you back a measly AUD$10 or so.

Smash â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Grab

E^\h9^Z>c=di8VghHZa["GZaZVhZY Sydney Anarcho thrash punks Smash â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Grab donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like the police very much. Aside from the none-too-subtle album title and the cover art with a cop car on fire, one dead giveaway is the track â&#x20AC;&#x153;We Support Police Brutalityâ&#x20AC;? and its chorus: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We support police brutality / Do what you can to cause a fatality / Gun control, we push it all the way / Especially when we are blowing cops away.â&#x20AC;? Other targets attracting the hate of Smash â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Grab include heroin addicts (â&#x20AC;&#x153;James St. Junkiesâ&#x20AC;?), the fat

>bbdaVi^dc6bZa^dgVi^dch/ &..*"'%%*Hedd`n$B<B Roguish Beasts Of Bourbon guitarist Spencer P. Jones is (along with Roland S. Howard and Kim Salmon and others) a forebear of The Drones and The Holy Soul and Six Foot Hick and The Mess Hall. Someday someone is going to release the definitive Spencer collection including his work with the Beasts, The Johnnys, Olympic Sideburns, Cuban Heels, Cow Penalty, These Immortal Souls, The Escape Committee and all the others, and solidify his folk hero status once and for all. Until then, hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a collection of outtakes gathered over a ten year period recorded with a wild selection of backing bands and line-ups. The list of musos is fucking impressive, from fellow Beasts Tex Perkins and Brian Hooper to drummers like Billy Ficca (Television), Danny Peters (Mudhoney) and Timmy Jack Ray (Powder Monkeys), second guitarists like Dan Luscombe (Black-eyed Susans, Paul Kelly) and Mark Arm (Mudhoney), bassists like Guy Maddison (Lubricated Goat, Mudhoney) and Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes), keyboardists like Kiernan Box (Augie March) and Matt Heydon (Jimmy Barnes, The Sailors), not to mention a guest backing vocal appearance from Renee Geyer on a rap version of the Beastsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bad Revisitedâ&#x20AC;?! Fuck this is worthy.

Spencer P. Jones

Terrorizer

9Vg`Zg9Vnh6]ZVY 8ZcijgnBZY^V$Hidbe When the original Terrorizer album, World Downfall, was unleashed through Earache in the late eighties, me and my dodgy mates thought it was just about the greatest thing since the self-made orgasm. Now, more than a decade and a half later, guitarist Jesse Pintado (having been chucked out of Napalm Death for rumoured alcohol and substance abuse), throws together a new line-up of Terrorizer with original drummer Pete Sandoval (Morbid Angel) and issues a follow-up to World Downfall that puts most of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hardcore and metal bands to shame. With clearer production than its predecessor and a touch more metal about it, Darker Days Ahead still sounds very much like the Terrorizer of old â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a classic-sounding grindcore record. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Blind Armyâ&#x20AC;? is the spitting image of World Downfallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Corporation Pull-Inâ&#x20AC;?, while â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dead Shall Rise V.06â&#x20AC;? is literally a retelling of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dead Shall Riseâ&#x20AC;?. If this hadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve come out in 1991, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d probably have been disappointed that it was so similar to World Downfall. As it is right now, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just what an old metalhead needs. Sadly, a week after the release of Darker Days Ahead, Jesse Pintado died of complications relating to a diabetic coma. He was 37-years old. R.I.P.

True Radical Miracle

8dX`gdVX]ZhB^hh^c\A^c`$H]dX` A Melbourne quartet featuring ex and current members of Baseball, Whitehorse, George W. Bush (is there any Melbourne band formed in the past few years that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feature at least one member of one of these three bands?!) and others, True Radical Miracle are creating a kind of bowel-rumbling, teeth-grinding, heavy form of experimental punk rock with a blood and thunder attack. Too distinctive and diverse to be summed up easily, their sound carries shades of Harvey Milk, Head Of David, Big Black, feedtime and such. The follow up to the Taste The Rainbow (2004) tape and the Some Songs For Shame EP (2005), Cockroaches is a visceral 13-tracker that repeatedly hits you down low in the gut. Set apart by the harsh dry growl of Mark â&#x20AC;&#x153;Groverâ&#x20AC;? Groves (also of Whitehorse), True Radical Miracle find beauty in the repetition of abstract rhythms and strange guitar noise as they power through a selection of bullocking noise rock songs. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not pretty, and nor is it meant to be.

Various Artists

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Pic: Liz Reed

Pic: Bum Arrafin

cats in power (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Slaughtered Tyrant Bastardâ&#x20AC;?) and fashionable punks (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stab A Scene Queen To Deathâ&#x20AC;?). Musically itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s loose, fast, old school punk ala Concrete Sox, Septic Death, Deviated Instinct and the like. If theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d taken the four best tracks off this and released them on a 7-inch, Smash â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Grab would be going down in history. As it is, Pigs Die In Hot Cars can get a bit bogged down in the same aggro crust punk style. A cover of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tied Downâ&#x20AC;? by SF punk pioneers Negative Approach planted towards the end revives interest for the anti-nuke finale, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Terror Of Lucas Heightsâ&#x20AC;?, with lyrics about â&#x20AC;&#x153;deformed children born with gills!â&#x20AC;?

DIY crusader Steve Towson continues his good work with the release of a CD-R compilation featuring many of the punk and hardcore bands he has made contact with on his travels


throughout Asia. A hand-numbered CD-R (I got #06) encased in simple photocopied artwork, the package reflects the raw and cheap nature of most of these recordings. Then again, with the equipment and budgets some of these bands are working with, it’s amazing they sound this good. Featuring fourteen bands in all, the material varies from metalcore to thrash to experimental hardcore to punkabilly. UNBELIEVABLY Bad favourites My Precious provide the strongest track here with “Astrid” from their 2003 self-titled debut, closely followed by fellow Singaporean thrashers Recover and their track “My Refusal” from their 2004 self-titled debut. If you’d like to sample the sounds of The Asian Underground (and why wouldn’t you?) contact CrimInAll Records via their website www.ciarecords.net.

Various Artists

IVaZh;gdbI]Z6jhigVa^Vc JcYZg\gdjcYKda#'&.,,"&..% ;ZZa$H]dX` There are some good compilations of classic Aussie punk stuff around (Do The Pop, Alternative Animals, Inner City Sound, etc.), and almost all of them have been compiled with care and attention to detail. But Tim Pittman goes further than anyone. The way he puts together a double compilation borders on a new kind of religion. His devotion to getting it exactly right, at least in his own mind, is a fanaticism little seen these days. Volume 2 in his Aussie singles tracks series Tales From The Australian Underground delves into some of the more obscure sections of the vaults and extends up until 1990. If I see another nostalgia cover of Mojo with The Clash on it I think I’m going to start a white riot. It’s great that local efforts like this and Clinton Walker’s recently issued Inner City Sound are evening up the score for our local punk heritage against the much more lionized scenes from America and England. Let’s face it, with Radio Birdman, The Saints, Birthday Party, Laughing Clowns, Hoodoo Gurus, Scientists, Primitive Calculators and other pioneers on here, we’ve no need to kowtow to anyone.

The Veebees

8gVX`Jh6cdi]VDX`Zg Many bands have claimed to have formed out of a love of beer, but few could claim the amber fluid being an inspiration on quite the same level as The Veebees. There doesn’t seem to be much else behind their motivation for existing. The front cover artwork features a quaint illustration of a piss-sinking truckie cracking open a VB from behind the wheel of a big rig. On the inside is an even better drawing of The Veebees playing on the back of a flatbed truck to a mob of rowdy pissheads. Two cows humping on the side of the road lowers the tone even further. Musically, lyrically and philosophically The Veebees follow the teachings of the Cosmic Psychos. Song titles like “Drive Thru Bottlo”, “Bashin’ The Bishop” and “4 Days In Fyshwick” are not exactly about solving world peace. But with all hope for humanity virtually lost anyway, it could easily be argued that songs about getting blotto and jerking off are more relevant than anything. Extra points awarded for recording this in Fyshwick, ACT – porn and fireworks capital of the nation.

Vegas Kings

9ZVYBdcZnBZgZCd^hZ$B<B When did Vegas Kings get so violent? Last I’d heard from this bassless Brisbane trio they were playing a form of swampy Drones-inspired blues on their debut album For Those Who Came In Late (2003). But instead, their second album brings some head-stompin’ goodtime punk ‘n’ roll. Sounding like a stripped back Six Ft Hick, Dead Money displays its solid Hick credentials with guest appearances by Hick guitarist Dan Baebler and vocalist Geoff Corbett (Baebler also designed the striking cover art). Other names now droppable by Vegas Kings include co-producers Loki Lockwood (The Drones, Digger & The Pussycats) and Chetley Weise of The Immortal Lee County Killers. The only thing I can’t cop on here is the crappy version of “Loose” that closes the thing - if you’re gonna cover The Stooges you better come up with something pretty special, not pretty below average.

Zeke

Wolf Eyes / Grey Daturas I]Z7aVX`EaV\jZhea^i:E =ZVi]ZcH`jaah$Hidbe

A split EP issued to celebrate Seattle noise group Wolf Eyes’ first Australian visit, this couples the prolific trio together with Melbourne improvisationalists Grey Daturas, who supported them on all dates. Wolf Eyes kick it off with five tracks all called “Post Civilization Muzak”. Comprised mainly of distortion, delay and feedback, there is a lack of subtlety (and an apparent lack of effort) that makes it easy to fathom how this band have amassed several hundred CD-R releases in only a few years - it sounds like all the stuff that made me stop listening to noise music over ten years ago. Grey Daturas easily steal the show from their more fancied US counterparts, at least showing a desire to tinker around with tone, texture and dynamics. With only one band out of two making a proper effort, this is far from the essential memento it could’ve been. Add that to the fact that Wolf Eyes’ actual performances on the tour were quite forgettable, and you have to wonder why this band are carrying so much hype around. Grey Daturas should have saved their songs for something better.

Pic: Ali McCann

True Radical Miracle

Wolf Eyes

=jbVc6c^bVaHjWede$Hidbe I had gone cold on Wolf Eyes (see above review) since seeing them live a few months back on their first Oz tour. They looked oh so cool in their leather jackets drenched in couldn’t-give-a-fuck attitude, but in the end that just made their half-arsed noise display seem worse - like they’d gotten all dressed up just to disappoint. As someone who owns their breakthrough “hit” Burned Mind but has found very little time to delve into the endless universe of Wolf Eyes’ CD-R output, I began to see them as a band who understood very little of subtlety. But Human Animal proved me 100% wrong. Starting off quiet and sparse, with only the odd sporadic sound, they show impressive poise in allowing the noise to twist, shift, build and unravel gradually. When they do bring the digital delay-assisted bassy bowel-shake (as they do most wonderfully on evil-minded closer “The Driller”), it makes an infinitely heavier impact. Human Animal, like Burned Mind, is proof that when Wolf Eyes make the effort (again, see above review) they are an undeniable noise force. Most of the time though, seems like they couldn’t be fucked trying to justify the hype.

Zeke

HjeZgHdjcYGVX^c\PGZ"^hhjZR ;aViIgVX`ZgPGZ"^hhjZR GZaVehZ$G^di Anyone see Zeke live when they last came out? Lucky you didn’t blink huh? I’ve been hanging to see that blur go by again ever since. Sadly, though, they had to cancel their scheduled 2006 Australian tour after bassplayer Kurt Colfelt was refused a visa application by the US authorities for being of dodgy character. So I guess we’ll just have to make do with these two early bellringers by the Seattle speed kings, repackaged and re-issued by Relapse, who are expanding out into all kinds of areas these days - reissuing Massappeal in the States as well as other cult stuff like the soundtrack to classic blaxploitation flick Dolemite (1975). Zeke’s first full-length album, Super Sound Racing (1995) comes off the starting line like a dragster on rocket fuel, hurtling full-pelt from go to woah in an explosion of thrash rockin’ ecstasy. Flat Tracker (1996) keeps the pedal to the metal for another twenty adrenaline-charged bursts of ball-to-the-wall punk rock (with the emphasis on the rock).


.L`_TZY% ;WPL^P 4RYZ]P .ZX[WP_PWd Bad Brains

Holy Molar

If you only ask Santa for one DVD this XXXmas, it’s gotta be Bad Brains Live At CBGB 1982. One solid actionpacked hour of the Rasta hardcore legends culled from four hours of footage shot across three consecutive nights starting on Christmas Eve 1982, it is a mind-blowing snapshot of the times. Kicking off on the Friday night and running through chronologically to Boxing Day on the Sunday, the sound and images get increasingly better as the nights roll on, while the band and audience get progressively wilder. Why don’t crowds cut sick like this anymore? Drummer Earl Hudson has only just begun pounding out the familiar beat that kicks off “Big Take Over” on a transparent drum kit when punks start skankin’ all over the stage, an early indication of the craziness to follow. Playing material from their 1982 selftitled debut and the earlier Black Dots recording, as well as newer tracks that would later appear on ‘83’s Rock For Light, it’s not difficult to see why Bad Brains are discussed in such reverential terms by those who saw them. By the end they’ve got the whole place going absolutely bananas, as they close the three-day festival with the indomitable “Pay To Cum”. Why this wasn’t released before now, Jah only knows.

With current and ex members of The Locust, Some Girls, Heroin, Antioch Arrow, Charles Bronson, Swing Kids and others, Holy Molar are a crack team of extreme dentists making a noise akin to having all your teeth yanked out at high speed. Seeing them at work is not a pretty sight. This DVD from the San Diego keyboard-laden spaz-punk sideproject serves up an assortment of chaotic live tracks filmed on camcorder at different shows during the band’s peak active years circa 200102. Expect crazy spastic keyboard noise and even crazier audience antics. One punter gets up and rolls himself in a disgusting old piece of carpet only to be walked all over by singer Mark McMolar and other members of the band and audience. A separate portion of the disc entitled “Mitchapalooza” sees the madcap medicos playing at some rich kid’s birthday party, subjecting a bemused bunch of his snobby pimply-faced teen yuppie friends to their unholy noise. With the band dormant for many years, this DVD release pre-empts the first new music from Holy Molar since 2002 with a new seven-inch, Cavity Search, probably in stores by now.

A^kZ6i87<7&.-'BK9$BG6

=dlIdHjgk^kZ6h6c>cYZeZcYZci 6gi^hiBK9$BG6 A 60-minute doco subtitled How To Survive As An Independent Artist, DIY Or Die doesn’t really get into the nuts and bolts of it all as much as it provides evidence of a variety of independent American artists working in different mediums who have done it, and are continuing to do it themselves. Ian MacKaye, Jim Rose, J.G. Thirlwell, Lydia Lunch, Mike Watt, Richard Kern, Ron Asheton and others offer insight. The extra features menu contains additional footage of some of The Dwarves

Bad Brains

the key interviewees as well as others like Steve Albini, who didn’t make the cut because his opinions aren’t aligned with the hard line DIY philosophy espoused by the film. “I see music as something like skiing or painting…” Albini says. “Very very few people should expect to do it as a career... If it’s a passion first and foremost you will enjoy it and it will be valid. If you expect it to be your job as well, eventually I think you will come to resent it in the way that most people resent their jobs.” While DIY Or Die is intent on glorifying DIY as total non-participation in the system, Albini seems more realistic.

The Dwarves

;jX`NdjJe6cY<ZiA^kZBK9$BG6 “Asking which Dwarves album is the greatest is like asking which one of the Olsen twins is the sluttiest.” That’s the frank assessment of one of the Dwarves’ scumbag fans prior to the start of their first ever DVD, a multi-camera affair filmed late 2004 at the Continental Club, New York. With a dodgy shot-on-video look about it and sound that just passes as halfway decent, Fuck You Up And Get Live exceeds the standards of the average Dwarves fan by a considerable distance. The “Sextras” menu includes five video clips, split screen alternate camera views for a few of the songs in the live set, and a touching video tribute to guitarist He Who Cannot Be Named set to a hip-hop beat.

GG Allin & The Murder Junkies

IZggdg>c6bZg^XV/A^kZ&..( BK9$BG6 Beyond punk rock, beyond rock ‘n’ roll, beyond most things that pass as “entertainment”, GG Allin lived and died. He was an abscess on the music world, a human pestilence

whose only mission was annihilation. Yet in the same way as my mad uncle Bill will watch old war footage of Hiroshima being fucked over, or the bulldozers at Auschwitz, I love to marvel at this once destructive rock 'n' roll force from the safety of my lounge room. Filmed in 1993 just before GG's death, Terror In America offers the clearest sound and pictures of GG in action I’ve ever seen. It’s three separate shows, each filmed in their entirety by a single camera. The best is the final one from Austin, Texas, which is shot from up the front in the pit, where the sound is total dogshit but the violence is at its peak. Ever seen the damage a human Howitzer can do?

The Hellacopters

Isis

8aZVg^c\I]Z:nZ>eZXVX$H]dX` Most people would think you were a bit weird to want to watch couple of hours of footage of bearded men with their eyes closed banging their heads as if in a trance while jamming on ten-minute riffs. But those people fail to appreciate that Isis fans are a bit weird. Most of them probably bought this the day it came out and have watched it every day since. And who could blame them? Clearing The Eye is the kind of package every band would strive to deliver if DVD releases were not treated

<ddYc^\]i8aZkZaVcYLVgcZgK^h^dc In full-flight, The Hellacopters are a rock band par excellence - blistering Detroit-via-Scandinavia twin-guitarmageddon. Away from the spotlight, however, they’re a rather dull pack of Swedes. That’s a critical observation the makers of Goodnight Cleveland have failed to make, and as such this is left floundering in backstage boredom just itching its pants off for some sweat-soaked rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’. Shot during the last ten days of the Hellacopters’ 2002 US tour, it’s a well-made travelogue that struggles due to a lack of action, not to mention a lack of rock. There is one full version of “Toys And Flavors”, and tiny grabs of several other tracks, but it’s not enough to relieve the tedium of watching the Hellacopters doing their laundry or sitting around in hotel lobbies doing sweet FA. A self-indulgent and uneventful road doco; unless you like the Hellacopters for their good manners and dress sense, save your dosh for the next time they tour.

Isis

Pic: Rod Hunt

DIY Or Die

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The Meanies

Teaserama JbWgZaaV

by the labels as simply as an easy way to rort a quick buck out of a band's dedicated fans. It features a variety of live material from as recent as 2005 and as far back as 2001. The undoubted highlight is the complete set filmed at the Annandale, Sydney on their 2003 in Australian tour. I say that not out of some nostalgic notion because I was there, but because it’s the most intimate and visually stimulating of all the different performances featured here. In fact, it’s even more awesome than I remember it. If you ever so much as had a mother’s cousin who once heard from a neighbour’s best friend that Isis were a great band, check out this DVD now. Who cares if people think you’re weird?

The Meanies

I]ZBZVc^ZhBVYbVc$6K8]VccZa It was hard to avoid seeing The Meanies back in their early to midnineties heyday, when they’d frequently make the trek up to Sydney from Melbourne. At first me and my mates would go see them at the Lansdowne or Annandale or wherever, but few years later they had built up such a following they could sell out the bloody huge Phoenician Club (R.I.P) on their own. Along with Tumbleweed, they ruled the national All Ages punk scene at that time, and (following on from the pioneering work of the Hard-Ons and Massappeal) were one of the first local punk bands to twig to the massive potential of merchandise. Musically they weren’t doing a hell of a lot that you look back now and think, “Wow, revolutionary!” But leader Linkie Meanie (vocals/guitar) could still write the fuck out of a pop punk song, and if it wasn’t for them Frenzal Rhomb would probably have never have heard of The Ramones. This DVD contains a doco on the band, exploring their origins, existence, demise and resurrection. It features interviews with the members as well as a variety of their fans and peers including Kram (Spiderbait), Bill Walsh (exCosmic Psychos) and Jay Whalley and Lindsay McDougall (Frenzal Rhomb). Also included on the disc is a passable live set from ‘94 as well as all the Meanies clips dating right back to the all-time classic, “Gangrenous”.

The MC5

@^X`DjiI]Z?VbhBK9$BG6 There is an inspirational documentary out there somewhere called The MC5: A True Testimonial which has been kept in limbo since its 2004 theatrical release due to the fact that MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer refuses to clear the rights to some of the songs. Until those legalities are cleared up, the definitive documentary of The MC5 will sit on the shelf gathering dust while other, inferior (but nonetheless fully authorized) DVDs try to milk a few bucks out of the Detroit proto-punk band’s legacy. This one was compiled from archival footage shot by noted MC5 documentarian (and manager John Sinclair’s wife) Leni Sinclair, and edited by Destroy All Monsters guitarist/vocalist Carey Loran. Basically it’s a psychedelic mash of images of the MC5 from the late sixties cut to an assortment of live and studio recordings. Nostalgia buffs and real died-in-the-wool ‘5 fans will enjoy this kaleidoscopic barrage, but even with a measly thirty five-minute running time, I still found it easy to get distracted by other things (and I’m the kinda pathetic geek who has all three albums on vinyl and CD plus a whole bunch of bootlegs).

R.I.P Rest In Pieces I]Z6giD[?dZ8daZbVc 9^h^c[dgbVi^dc$Hidbe

Rest In Pieces is a documentary made ten years ago about one very intense dude, American painter and performance artist Joe Coleman, whose idiosyncratic artworks feature complex imagery and wording. Often his paintings contain a variety of portioned-off “sub-scenarios” relating to the main subject, kinda like paintings within paintings - gigantic, comic-like jigsaw puzzles. While Coleman’s art is alive with colour, his inspiration comes from the ultra dark side of human existence – serial killers being a particularly attractive muse. He claims all of his art is about catharsis. And maybe that’s the reason there’s a scene of him scalping and hacking up a dead body in the morgue with a saw? For me though, that, and biting the heads off mice in his performance

art pieces can all seems a bit contrived - like shock for the sake of shock. Subtlety is a big part of why his paintings have more power than his performances. The finite detail of his brushwork is shown up wonderfully in the “Opera” section of the special features menu of this DVD, a rare close-camera investigation of the surfaces of his canvases. You’ll be riding the pause button all the way.

The Stooges

A^kZ6iI]ZAd`ZghZ;Zhi^kVaBG6 Having already released one fairly average DVD since their reformation, The Stooges give it a second crack and manage to outstrip the previously released Live In Detroit (2003) in every way. But that’s not to say Live At Lokerse doesn’t have its sore points. While Live In Detroit was a fairly quaint, almost dated production, this is extremely well put together, with a host of strange visual effects and fast editing techniques. The sound quality is very good, bringing out every nuance of the magic the reformed Stooges are capable of conjuring. The main problem is the over abundance of arty-farty filters and the ceaseless editing flourishes. The filmmakers were obviously a couple of French trippers with a firm grip on how to create amazing visuals but no sense of when to stop. By the time Iggy and the lads are grinding out “Dirt” in the back half of the set, the special effects become so much you have to look away for fear of an epileptic seizure. Bettie Page

I was a bit fucked off that whoever packaged this DVD version of Teaserama emblazoned the cover with the line, “The Notorious Bettie Page stars in…” Couldn’t they have said the Voluptuous Bettie Page, the Gorgeous Bettie Page, the Iconic Bettie Page…? If you’re gonna start calling Bettie Page “notorious” what adjectives will be left to describe Chopper Read? Bettie was the girl next door in a bondage outfit who became an eternal “it” girl decades after she really was “it”. These days you get young sluts outta primary school girls blowing goats on the internet; but Bettie and the other lasses in Teaserama don’t even take off their granny undies. You’d have to be really hard up or just plain perverted to even crack a fat over these marching girls gone wild. Porno fans will spare a thought for their poor old grandfather when they realise this was the standard of wank fodder he had. Notoriously tame!

The World’s Greatest Wrestling Managers LL:$H]dX`

WWE Home Video is pumping out titles like the diarrhea out of Alan Jones’ mouth, but rarely do they hit upon an idea as awesome as this. World’s Greatest Wrestling Managers honours those fast-talking, crowdbaiting heroes of the sport; the guys you just love to hate. From the early pioneers of management like former hard man “Classy” Freddie Blassy (R.I.P) through the all-time greats like “Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart, The Grand Wizard (R.I.P) and Capt. Lou Albano, this delivers some choice vintage footage from the golden age of the turnbuckle. One of the big things the WWE lacks these days (besides dignity) is the fantastic interviews that were conducted out back by Mean Gene Okerlund and Gorilla Monsoon (R.I.P). That stuff was more entertaining than some of the matchups. And nobody ruled that domain like the Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (born Raymond Louis Heenan, aka The Weasel). With a sharp intellect, an absurdist sense of humour and a natural flair for making an audience want to beat seven shades of shit out of him, “The Brain” was a god among managers. He deserves his own DVD.


-42 >.=009 /,920= Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen (1969) Just like the internal combustion engine and hardcore porn, the “all-midget” movie was an American idea that the Germans took to another level. When discussing the strangest movies ever made, the name of director Werner Herzog is up there for both quality and consistency. From bizarre dramas like The Enigma Of Kasper Hauser (1974) - a forerunner to our own Bad Boy Bubby (1993) - to big budget epics like Aguirre: The Wrath Of God (1972), Herzog wallowed in the dark, often unexplainable side of human existence. Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen (Even Dwarfs Started Small) might not necessarily be his darkest film, but it’s definitely his most unexplainable. Starring an entire cast of midgets and dwarfs, this black and white German-language cult classic is set in some kind of prison (or asylum) at Lanzaronte, one of the volcanic Canary Islands. The precise details of how and why the little people came to be there (and exactly who the person keeping them captive is) are sketchy. The most that can be fathomed from the opening sequence is that there is an enquiry being conducted into why a riot took place on the island while this unseen “god” figure was away somewhere. The story is then told in flashback, as we see the beginnings of a mini revolution. Inside one building is an unnamed bureaucrat/dictator/bossman type (played by Pepi Hermine) - basically, he's the midget who has been left in charge of all the other midgets. He has got another little guy called Pepe (played by Gerd Gickel) tied up to a chair and is interrogating him. This sparks a revolt outside, as the rest of the angry German midgets start running amok.

French cinema critics probably blow their wads drawing parallels between the failure of society and the decrepit, nightmarish midget world Herzog created in Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen. But I prefer not to read too much into the symbolism and just go along for the ride. And what a hell of a ride it is. It’s funny, scary, violent, puzzling, moving and goddamn demented. If I wanted to sound like one of them French wankers I’d probably say something like, “It's as gorgeously grotesque as life itself.” There is not much of a plot. It’s basically just tiny folks with helium voices destroying everything in sight and having a ball of a time. The onscreen chaos seems to build in unison with your confusion as these short-arses go ballistic - staging a cockfight, pouring gasoline in flowerpots and setting them on fire, tying a monkey to a crucifix, tormenting some poor blind midgets, and having a massive food fight. Towards the end, some bright spark ties down the steering wheel of a jeep with rope and puts a brick on the accelerator. The little people then duck and weave in and around the driverless car as it does endless 360s around a vacant lot. They love to get rowdy.

One pocket-dynamo called Hombre (played by Helmet Döring) can’t stop laughing. A camel goes to sit down, but somehow gets stuck in a position halfway between sitting and standing, which causes Hombre to lose it completely, and he basically laughs all the way to the end. If the whole thing sounds bizarre, that’s because it is. But that’s not to say some of the weird goings on didn’t have particular resonance for Herzog. He told Rolling Stone Magazine in 1979, “…the camel kneeling… it’s so pathetic, it moves me. And I only know the camel has to be there. Without the camel the film is nothing.” Animals were obviously harmed in the making - mainly chickens and midgets. In fact, Herzog put his cast through such terror and torment during the production, after shooting wrapped he jumped into a field of cactuses and let them film it as payback. Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen is not so much regarded as a trash classic as much as an art film. Anyway, it’s all trash to me, and this berserk “little” gem is near the very top of the heap.

Modify (2005) You think your parents were pissed when you came home with your lip pierced? How do you think the mum and dad of the guy who sliced his cock in half feel? Get inside the twisted minds of those individuals who get off on tattooing, piercing, slicing, branding, scarring, stretching and just generally fucking with their bodies in Jason Gary and Greg Jacobson’s engrossing and just plain gross documentary, Modify. “Woah, dude, why the fuck are you doing that to yourself!” is probably a common reaction when most people see a guy like The Lizardman (real name Erik Sprague), or the even freakier Stalking Cat (real name Dennis Avner), who desperately wants to perfect his look as a half human, half tiger. The crazy sonofabitch has even got experts working on retractable claws! This doco is not about eyeliner hardcore kids with sleeves of trust fund tattoos. It’s about the genuine hard men of the sport; guys like the Godfather of the “Modern Primitive” movement, Fakir Musafar, and piercing pioneer Jim Ward. It’s definitely not one for the squeamish.

Nacho Libre (2006) Even though I kinda knew Nacho Libre was going to be pretty B-grade, it still had three huge drawing cards – it starred one very funny bastard with a rock ‘n’ roll heart, Jack Black; it was made by one of the most tweaked new writer/directors in cinema, Napoleon Dynamite mastermind Jared Hess; and it had a plot revolving around the mad world of masked Mexican wrestlers. Those three ingredients pretty much guaranteed I’d like this film up front; but there can only ever be one Napoleon Dynamite, so I wasn’t expecting much. I got burned years ago by Kevin Smith on Mall Rats, having loved the fuck out of Clerks, so I always go into second features by comedy directors with a certain trepidation (Note: I’ve since come to love Mall Rats on DVD, but seeing it the cinema upon release was a deflating experience). But I’m pleased to say Nacho Libre matched my lukewarm expectations, it being a very enjoyable, though not overly hilarious Hollywood Bgrader. If nobody told you beforehand, you’d still pick it as the handywork of the same guy who made Napoleon Dynamite. The same kitschy production design is back in all its overstated glory, the cinematography looks like a 16mm student film, the acting has that dorky innocence about it, and the main star has a ridiculous curly mop. Even Pedro (Efren Ramirez) shows up in a cameo!


QZ] ]ZNVTY¨ MZZVbZ]X^ Going Underground : American Punk 1979 - 1992 <Zdg\Z=jgX]VaaVOVd$9jaXZiIdbZh

An excellent account of author George Hurchalla’s experiences of American punk from 1979 to 1992, Going Underground is well researched and reasonably well written, with photographs and handbill images on every one of its 300 fact-packed pages. Crammed with information and anecdotes about Mike Ness, Keith Morris, Jello Biafra, Gary Floyd and about a zillion other important and not-so-important figures of punk, Going Underground offers a thorough insight into the evolution of the phenomenon.

Hurchalla tries to give intelligent reasons for how and why things evolved the way they did. He admits to certain biases in his Forward, and, as with anyone, he has better knowledge of some scenes than others. Nonetheless, his book’s scope is impressive, filling in many historical gaps in an attempt to prove that everything great about American punk didn’t start and finish in New York, LA or DC. Australia’s mideighties punk scene scores a mention due to the fact that Hurchalla was once a student of our universities until he was “ejected for overstaying my visa and participating in nefarious activities.” In several pages dedicated to his Oz experience he mentions the Hard-Ons, Trilobites, Celibate Rifles and others, but reserves his biggest praise for Happy Hate Me Nots. Going Underground is enthralling, exhaustive and worth every cent.

Neil Young

Neil Young Nation @Zk^c8]dc\=VgY^Z<gVci

Happy Hate-Me-Nots

While I do own about five of his records, I’ve never been a huge Neil Young nut. Neil Young Nation author Kevin Chong is more than a Neil Young nut; he’s a Neil Young nerd. He confesses to being a member of the Neil Young Appreciation Society and is one of those dorky gotta-have-every-lame-demo-andCrazy-Horse-live-bootleg guys. The thing is, he’s such a damn good writer he makes you almost want to become a Neil Young nerd too.

Chong travels with a few mates through Canada and the USA checking out popular Neil Young attractions, discussing Neil with random people (a few of whom have actually met him), and undergoing the kind of mild mid-life crisis thirty-year olds go through. There are so many ways this book could have sucked, but Chong does brilliantly in combining insights into Young’s life and work with his own road-trip travelogue. Containing many facts about the early career of the stoic singer/songwriter, the book is just as much about Chong, his friends, driving, Canada, America and growing old with style as it is about Neil Young. It’s nostalgic, and sentimental in a blokey sort of way, but shit the guy can write.


/LYRP] BLcTYR =TOTN`WZ`^ Agents Of Abhorrence

8dkZgiAdWdidbn.ÇB^hh^c\A^c` Melbourne’s Agents Of Abhorrence are one of the most imaginative grindcore bands in the world. Blistering, precise grind with crazy time signatures and stop/start bits, they’re like a less academic Naked City, or The Locust stripped bare. In my language, clear 9-inch vinyl translates as pure love. This platter features the original duo - guitarist/vocalist Ben Andrews (My Disco, Blarke Bayer, Clann Zú) and drummer/vocalist Max Kohane (Far Left Limit, George W. Bush, Terror Firma, ABC Weapons) - with guest Justice Yeldham vocal appearances by Mark “Grover” Groves (True Radical Miracle, Whitehorse), and Grant Johns, who has since joined Agents as a full time member. Side-A delivers ten tracks of blinding avant grind dominated by discordant guitar abuse, blazing stick work, wild screams and low down death growls. Side-B features just one long track, “On Ice”, which tries to rock out before droning on with space-age noises for a while then finishing with a flash of fast hardcore. Also out now from Agents Of Abhorrence is a split 7-inch with Iron Lung (with the great Jacquie from Schifosi and Terror Firma guesting on vocals), as well as the Character Dissection 3-inch CD, which is their first official release as a trio.

The Dead Walk! / Jungle Fever

Hea^i,ÇGZh^hi$K^eZg9ZVi]AdX` This split is the shit. Newcastle’s Dead Walk! hit vinyl for the first time with now Sydney-based Adelaidians Jungle Fever - two local hardcore bands who don’t take themselves too seriously. The Dead Walk!’s side of the cover art has a killer photo of a couple of cops modeling contraband complimented by a phat graf-style band logo in blue. The inside cover features a wicked live shot where singer Luke Dolan looks like he’s busting some Ultimate Warrior style flair in a tinsel wig and a pair of budgie-smugglers. Two of TDW!’s three tracks are offcuts from their awesome debut full-length, We Prowl The Streets (the best of the pair being “Life’s Blood”), while the final track is album opener and live favourite “The Ghouls”. Known for their tacky merch design, Jungle Fever strive to keep gaudy eighties awesomeness alive, with cover art that resembles a cask of West Coast Cooler. Jungle Fever’s four tracks (including an fine cover of Straight Ahead’s “We Stand”) boast a tough, old school hardcore sound, with moshworthy closer, “Overload”, bringing a couple of thrashier riffs and a wah-wah solo-to-fade.

Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device A^kZ>c7Z^gji,Ç9jVaEadkZg

The second 7-inch from the Justice (aka Lucas Abela) featuring more of his glass-eating noise terror, both sides were recorded in Beirut, Lebanon a couple of days apart during his all-conquering 2004 World Tour. Without the visual aspect of the breaking glass and the flowing blood, any audio recordings can only hint at the whole Justice experience. But still, there’s no doubting his live manipulation of sound is astounding. Starting off with blowing sounds on the glass, he adds more and more effects, using different mouth shapes and positions to pull a variety of highly idiosyncratic noises. As you can hear when comparing the two vastly different sides, he is also an imaginative improvisationalist. I recommend you see Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device soon and buy this 7-inch off him afterwards as a memento. When he finished playing the UNBELIEVABLY Bad launch in Melbourne back in July he was wiping his blood-soaked face with these singles and flogging them off for a fiver each. Bet you’re spewin’ you missed out there.

Mindsnare

H$I,ÇH]dgi[jhZ Australia’s most respected hardcore band, Mindsnare have inspired sing-alongs and provoked mayhem in moshpits for longer than most Parkway Drive fans have been out of nappies. And, as they get old older, they just seem to get faster and more brutal. While they've always been much more than a mere “hardcore” band, with elements of grind, death metal and rock ‘n’ roll blended into their sound (I reckon singer Matt Maunder could match it with the most frightening black metal screechers – the guy sounds possessed), the two tracks per side here represents the thrashiest shit from Da ‘Snare yet. But rather than being a cash-in on the current thrash boom, this self-titled effort is actually the realisation of an idea going back years. It was an aborted “concept” 7-inch called The Gasman (a fond nickname given to Maunder) which was supposed to be released through Shortfuse in 1998. In typical Mindsnare fashion, here it is, eight years later. Kicking off the Side-A, “Hangover From Hell” is awesome rockin’ hardcore brutality as you've come to expect froom Mindsnare. “Tear Me Down” is only slightly less brilliant. Side-B begins with a cover of “Terrorain” by skate artist Pushead’s old sludge punk band Septic Death, and concludes with the welltitled finale, “Total Overload”.

Mindsnare

The Mint Chicks 6ci^"I^\Zg&%Ç-)I^\Zgh

An awesome idea for selling unsold copies of an old EP, The Mint Chicks and their mates at New Zealand website/label 84 Tigers combine to deliver this special limited edition “Variant Cover” version of Anti-Tiger 10-inch. The cardboard sleeve is plain white with a fullcolour “Spot UV” image of a zombie with old Rhodes organs as his body. The rest of the cover, front and back, has been hand-drawn by one of the members of the band. My copy has art by singer Kody Nielson; it is number 42 of 84 copies (exactly halfway!); and it’s absolutely delicious. The effort these guys have put in is astounding. Kody’s brother, guitarist Ruban, has even made up a photocopied A4 insert that explains, “This is a handmade piece of artwork and as such is subject to the hazards of such an object – e.g. Ink will fade, Letraset may flake, etc… A very small price to pay for a handmade, limited to 84, individuallynumbered, signed 10-inch vinyl record?” To a complete dork like me, absofuckinglutely.

Pisschrist

IdiVa;jX`^c\E^hha^X`Zgh,Ç :cYaZhh7adX`VYZh While many bands shy away from classification, Melbourne crusties Pisschrist just love to glorify the fact that they play “d-beat” hardcore on a steady diet of tofu. Hilariously, the A-Side of this new six-tracker is called “Side D-Beat” while the flip is “Side Tofu”! Recorded over a year ago and issued by Queensland label Endless Blockades (love a GISM reference), this is the follow-up to Pisschrist’s equally worthy debut S/T 7-inch and continues their legacy of low down, fast, thrashy, grinding, crusty The Scare

vegan d-beat perfection. Though some of the angry lefty lyrics growled by vocalist Yeap are kinda generic, in particular irony-free opener “Apartheid” and the hippy HC call for reason “Yet We Close Our Eyes” , on the other hand you have the absolutely top-shelf “Hellfare Welfare”, about getting addicted to the dole. Two tracks, “Manusa Bangsat” and “Pencemar Minda”, are sung in Malay. You might not know exactly what Yeap is screaming about, but as he emotes “Pencemar Minda, Pencemar Minda, Monopoli Kerajaan Propaganda!” you know he’s pretty pissed-off. A far cry from the Beatles singing “She Loves You” in German, that’s for damn sure.

The Scare

Æ>[>Éb8]d`^c\BV`Z6HXZcZÇ$ Æ&'-9Z\gZZh>c9Z"9Z"9ZVi]KVaaZnÇ ,Ç7adlWVX` It’s been pretty quiet on The Scare front of late. Mainly ‘cos they’ve buggered off to seek their fortune in the cold, damp, depressing English midlands. Very little was said publicly about them ditching keyboardist Trad Nathan just before they jetted off, but for some the move left a bitter taste in the mouth. But let’s face the facts, The Scare have been pissing people off since they started, so I doubt any additional resentment is going to worry them too much – no negativity is bad negativity. This single was the Queenslander’s first release in the UK via the barely known but (I’m told) hip magazine, Blowback. The B-side, “128 Degrees In DeDe-Death Valley”, was the standout on The Scare’s 2004 debut EP, Masochist Mimes. While the A-side, “If I’m Choking Make A Scene”, was the lead track from their EP of last year, Vacuum Irony. It will be good to see The Scare again when they return home briefly from the motherland in October. Then I can decide whether their absence has made my heart grow fonder, or not.


?SP /LYRP]Z`^ BZ]WO :Q >PWQ;`MWT^STYR Betty Paginated #29

lll#WZiineV\^cViZY#Wad\hedi#Xdb ED7dm6&)&)HnYcZnHdji]CHL&'(* :bV^a/YVc]ZaZc5^Y^m#Xdb#Vj Cost: $10. Format: A4 size. 68 pages - b&w w/ 4-col cover.

Betty Paginated has reigned as Australia’s best zine for many many years now, mixing wrestling, spunky chicks, reality TV and other pop culture elements relevant to the life and loves of editor Dann Lennard and his wife Helen Vnuk. Returning after a quite long-ish layoff, this is the first issue in about a year and is mostly dedicated to the couple’s latest adventures holidaying in North America. They are both fine writers, with a good sense of offbeat humour. They are also extremely cynical, so dumb Americans make easy fodder for their keen wit. The cover image, taken via camera phone, is of Dann being strangled by the guy who provided the hands of Tony Curtis during the killing scenes in the 1968 film The Boston Strangler. That’s the kinda random, quirky place BP is coming from a lot of the time. I got jealous reading about their exploits in Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago; “zine heaven” according to Dann. And the story about them driving 1000 miles out of their way so Helen could visit a bar called Vnuk’s, was very entertaining. Elsewhere in this issue Dann explains why Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is “the greatest movie ever made in the history of cinema (and will remain so for several millennia to come).” Last time I had a beer with Dann he was threatening to make the next BP, the big number 30, his last one ever. Every night since then I’ve prayed to the lord Bettie Page he wasn’t serious.

Can I Scream? #1 - 2

lll#bnheVXZ#Xdb$XVc^hXgZVbo^cZ ED7dm(+%(LZhidc8gZZ`68I'+&& :bV^a/bV^aXVc^hXgZVb5\bV^a#Xdb Cost: Free. Format: A5 size. 48 pages - b&w.

A Canberra-based “hardcore” zine featuring many cruddy bands (you know those hardcore bands that sound like metal bands formed by kids who grew up on the Spice Girls but claim to love Iron Maiden yet consider themselves hardcore because their fringes flick over to one side?) and presented using your typical gothic design elements and Ye Olde English fonts, Can I Scream? in a way reflects the sad craving for uniformity in the modern hardcore scene generally. However, in spite of all the clichés, it's quite well-assembled, and at the very least the editors should be commended for the job they’re doing in exposing local and lesser-known international acts. One gripe I have is that issue #1 made the promise that issue #2 would have stuff on Pisschrist and Artimus Pyle, but Pisschrist weren’t

in it at all, and Artimus Pyle only had their EP reviewed – lame I tells ya! For a cost of nix, though, I suppose you’d have to call the whole thing a bonus - especially if you live in the ACT and have freshly-inked neck tattoos.

DNA #1 - 107

lll#dobjh^XWdd`h#Xdb ED7dm+%'Cdgi]6YZaV^YZH6*%%+ :bV^a/VcnWdYn5dobjh^XWdd`h#Xdb Cost: $3. Format: A5 size. 52 pages - b&w.

Australia’s longest running and worst looking fanzine, DNA is the lifelong obsession of Adelaide punk fan Harry Butler. While at one stage in the eighties Harry was typewriting, photocopying and stapling like a madman, churning DNAs out monthly, nowadays a new issue is a rare and welcome occurrence. With texta-scrawled cover art that always looks like it was done as quickly as possible, I’m willing to wager Harry’s intricate musical family trees take about ten times longer to complete than one of his covers. With very few illustrations or photos to speak of, the news, interviews and insights are enough to keep you engrossed. Many recognised legends of the Australian underground have graced DNA’s pages - Stu Spasm, Charlie Tolnay, John Scott, John Murphy, Russell Hopkinson, etc - some of them several times over. But equally vital are Harry's writeups on even more obscure names such as The Dagoes, The Brats, Head On, Depression, Blood Sucking Freaks, Fear & Loathing (his own band) and many others. I recently discovered Harry’s website, www.ozmusicbooks.com, where you can buy the entire set of 107 issues of DNA for the bargain price of AUD$160. It’s a rare insight into South Australian underground music by the irrepressible Mr. Butler, whose opinions may have not made him the most popular guy around Adelaide, but whose contributions to documenting the scene over the past twenty years are virtually unparalleled.

Foffle #24

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history of one classic Aussie group from the sixties, everyone from The Loved Ones and Easybeats to The Black Diamonds and Purple Hearts. Aside from rock ‘n’ roll, Ian digs into other aspects of Aussie culture such as television shows, Australian Rules football and naked celebrities. He also loves lists, and will often feature a random list like “100 Songs About Australia”. Lately he has taken to basing his front covers around a list, as with issue #24’s awesome “50 Years Of Australia’s Worst TV Shows” 14-page extravaganza. Intelligence and humour and a rock ‘n’ roll agenda, Foffle is one of the toppest zines in the world.

Give Blood #1

bnheVXZ#Xdb$\^kZWaddY]VgYXdgZo^cZ ED7dm&)%(8VadjcYgVFA9)**& :bV^a/\^kZWaddY]VgYXdgZo^cZ5\bV^a#Xdb Cost: $5. Format: A4 size. 52 pages - b&w.

The kid that does Give Blood, Chris James, is a reason to have faith in the future. He’s in the middle of doing his HSC yet he takes time to put this zine together and to tell “the kids” in his opening few pages that “not many bands are original in this scene.” The “scene” he speaks of is of course the currently flourishing hardcore scene. From the Sunshine Coast, Give Blood puts to shame a lot of simiar zines that have been running for years. Chris' selection of bands is a mix of locals and internationals, with Converge, Samsara, Bane, Jesus Wept, Against and Her Nightmare all included in issue #1. Writingwise I feel like Chris could edit his mostly correspondence-based interviews a touch more to make them a bit more readable, and also I’d recommend he sharpen up his reviewing style and get off the fence (this is hardcore bro, rip and fucking tear, do unto others before they do it unto you, and all that good backstabbing stuff). Whinges aside, this is a very fucking slick first issue. I’ll take as much blood as you can give thanks Chris - just don’t fail those exams!

Cost: $4.50. Format: A4 size. 64 pages - b&w.

It’s indicative of how shit Sydney is that not one store in the whole city sells Foffle. And yet, ironically, it’s also a lucky thing that I’ve been shielded from the brilliance of this retro pop culture zine - otherwise I might not have even bothered starting up UB in the first place. From the focus on sixties, seventies and eighties nostalgia, it’s clear an older head puts this together (that would be editor Ian D. Marks), yet the enthusiasm is almost overpowering. Every issue features an in-depth illustrated

Pardon Punx #2

lll#bnheVXZ#Xdb$eVgYdcejcmo^cZ :bV^a/ejcmTo^cZ5]dibV^a#Xdb Cost: Free Format: A4 size. 34 pages – colour.

I sent some copies of UB to Pardon Punx editor Alex Tselios and she emailed me back saying, “I got your zine in the mail last night! It’s really awesome!!! I haven’t read it all, but I bought it to work to read on my lunch break. Just so you know… when you get mine… it really IS shit and I have no access to any good printing equipment! So don’t judge me… ha.” No worries Alex, I won’t.

Pee #37

lll#eZZgZXdgYh#Xdb ED7dm'(-BVgYZcH6*%,% :bV^a/o^cZ5eZZgZXdgYh#Xdb Cost: $9.95. Format: A4 size. 60 pages - b&w w/ 4-col cover (bonus CD).

Punk-a-riffic Adelaide publication Pee has ditched the distinctive art stylings that had become a distinguishing feature of every cover in favour of a new look involving a single live photo of some angry tattooed bloke yelling. Beyond the cover, the overall design of Pee has become more consistent over the past handful of issues, and issue #37 is the best yet - very tidy work indeed. This particular issue is slightly more expensive - up from the usual $6.50 - to compensate for the extra cost of the highly impressive 26-track CD, Pee Approved Volume 3. As you’ve come to expect, the comp is professionally put together featuring album tracks from many locals and a smattering of internationals; everything from Matchbook Romance to Comeback Kid to Some Girls. The mag has interviews with Bleeding Through, Silverstein, Latterman, Prevail, Emery and various other bands I could rarely give two fucks about.

The Sharp End #3

bnheVXZ#Xdb$i]Zh]VgeZcY[Vco^cZ ED7dm''.-I^c\VaeVAEDFA9)&,( :bV^a/i]Zh]VgeZcY[Vco^cZ5nV]dd#Xdb Cost: $5. Format: A4 size. 52 pages - b&w (bonus CD).

Well-designed and jammed full of stuff, Queensland hardcore /metal zine The Sharp End has the potential to be selling way more than its current 100 hand-numbered copies (I got #32/100). Issue #3 has features on internationals like Biohazard, Job For A Cowboy, Ion Dissonance and Dead To Fall, locals like The Daylight Curse, Provoke and The Rivalry, and (like Pee Zine often does) comes with a free label sampler CD. Editor Sean Dawson has brought The Sharp End a long way in only three issues. And now with former-In The MEANtime (R.I.P) editor John MEANtime onboard as a contributor, it’s on its way to being up there among the best music zines in the country. To get there, however, I feel it has to deliver more substantial, less stilted interviews. Emailing off twenty questions to a band and publishing their answers doesn’t always cut the mustard. And when every single interview in the zine is like that, it can start to get tiresome. Dudes sitting at their computers typing out answers they hope will make them sound cool to the kids, is actually not that cool.


#nd4o

Ro Hatton

R

ondo Hatton was a horror movie star who didn’t need any make-up. Blessed with the most wonderfully hideous face, he was utilized by Universal Pictures in the 1940s, his signature character The Creeper being a prime example of Hollywood’s penchant for equating physical deformity with evil. But Rondo Hatton wasn’t evil, just slightly bitter that a hatful of arseholes could beat him in a beauty contest. Rondo was born Davis Elkins in Hagerstown, Maryland, USA on 1930: Hell Harbor April 22nd, 1894. Growing up an 1938: In Old Chicago otherwise normal child, some time 1939: Captain Fury around his late teens he was tapped 1939: The Big Guy with the ugly stick. He began to show 1939: Hunchback of Notre Dame symptoms of Acromegaly, a condition 1939: Moon Over Burma whereby the pituitary gland produces 1940: Chad Hanna abnormal amounts of hormones resulting in extra growth of the 1942: The Cyclone Kid hands, feet, nose, chin and lips. 1942: The Moon and Sixpence While serving as member of the 1943: The Sleepy Lagoon American Legion in World War I, 1943: Ox-Bow Incident Rondo’s abnormal skeletal growth 1944: Johnny Doesn’t Live Here intensified, resulting in extreme Anymore facial deformity and eventual 1944: Pearl of Death hospitalisation. The malfunction is 1944: The Princess and the Pirate caused by a benign brain tumour 1945: Jungle Captive in the anterior pituitary gland. It’s not a fatal condition (anymore), but 1945: Royal Mounted Rides Again one that grows more pronounced 1946: Spider Woman Strikes Back over time. While claims have been 1946: House of Horrors made that a mustard gas attack 1946: The Brute Man during the war prompted the onset of Rondo’s Acromegaly, this appears to be nothing more than a tall tale hatched in some shameless Hollywood press agent’s office. After spending a few years in army hospitals, Rondo settled in Tampa, Florida, became a newspaper reporter, and got married to a local girl. In 1929 he was assigned to cover a story about film director Henry King, who had come to Tampa to shoot a film called Hell Harbour. Enamoured with Rondo’s striking facial features, King put him in the film and urged him to come to Hollywood with the promise of more work. In 1934, after his first marriage had failed, Rondo married his second wife, Mae Housh. With work in Tampa scarce due to the depression, in 1936 Rondo and Mae set off for California to find Henry King. Rondo was cast in the director’s next film, In Old Chicago. Despite somewhat limited acting ability, for the next few years Rondo appeared in various flicks, playing evil sidekicks, pirates, hunchbacks, thugs and the like. Most famously he was one of the contestants in the “ugly man competition” in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), which he lost to star Charles Laughton. In 1942 he was cast by Victor Fleming (Wizard Of Oz, Gone With The Wind) in MGM’s big-budget adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat, but

RONDO HATTON FILMOGRAPHY

just as filming was nearing completion Rondo the was cut altogether. Over fifty years later, when truth of Rondo’s retrenchment came out, that led revea ix Mann Eddie exec MGM former the request for his removal had come from ng lead actor Spencer Tracy. “Hatton was steali ix said. every scene and Tracy got sore,” Mann Rondo’s big break came in 1944 when ck he was cast as The Creeper in the Sherlo of Holmes film Pearl of Death. Like many the his roles up to that point, Rondo played ly (in ghast his But e. stoog ish ogrebad guy’s to a good way) performance endeared him who many, including Universal Pictures execs signed him to a seven-year contract. and The studio was cranking out B-movies er. saw a franchising opportunity in The Creep Rondo would make four films for Universal, including two as The Creeper - House of ) Horrors (1946) and The Brute Man (1946 - both directed by Jean Yarbrough. The Brute Man was Rondo’s first full starring role, but sadly it proved to be his last ever picture. Rondo never got to enjoy heart his moment in the spotlight, dying of a s attack on February 2nd, 1946, two month e. before The Brute Man’s cinematic releas

The Creeper was laid to rest at the American Legion Cemetery in Tampa, though the legacy of his phenomenal face lives on. “Creeper-type” characters continue to pop up in comic books and films even today, and then there’s the annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards (www.rondoaward. com). A fan-voted award for horror movie excellence, the actual “Rondo” award statuette features a miniature version of the bust of Rondo seen in House Of Horrors. Universal Pictures has often been accused of gross exploitation in the casting of Rondo Hatton in the movies, and it’s believed that Rondo resented the roles he was given. But seriously, with a melon like that, what did the dude expect? He wasn’t exactly Cary Grant. And besides; those Creeper films, the posters, stills and assorted ephemera have immortalised that face in a way a face like that deserves to be immortalised. Otherwise, Rondo would’ve died just another anonymous ugly shitkicker, equally as bitter, only less famous. Next time you’re feeling down and someone asks, “Why the long face?” Think of Rondo, realise how lucky you are, and get the fuck over yourself.



UNBELIEVABLY Bad #4