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 email@example.com.
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?
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.
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’
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 (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
7ZaP7P__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
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"?
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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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.
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.
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.
@YQZ]RZ__PY,WM`X^ By Danger Coolidge
hen Joe S. Harrington of The Boston Phoenix called Matrimonyâ€™s Kitty Finger â€œthe great lost Riot Grrrl album,â€? he wasnâ€™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€™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€™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€™s Riot Grrrl poster band Bikini Kill. Ultimately, though, whether or not Kitty Finger had an influence on Riot Grrrl is fairly irrelevant. Itâ€™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€™t together
that long - about a year maybe. An all-girl combo except for drummer Michael Oâ€™Neill, the line-up was Sybilla Vassali on vocals, Polly Williams on fuzz guitar, Dani Marich on guitar, Zeb Olsen on bass and Oâ€™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€˜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€œElvis Superstarâ€? 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€™s strangely acerbic yet sultry vocals. The languid cover of the Scientistsâ€™ â€œFrantic Romanticâ€? 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€™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€™s voice as well as the lax pop stylings of the band. â€œWhirlpool Headâ€? is a B52s-meetsButthole Surfers deal sung by guitarist Polly. â€œMister Popstarâ€? is a mere sketch of a song where Sybilla gushes sarcastically, â€œOh, oh, oh, Mr. Popstar!â€? She avoids revealing the identity of her muse by posing the rhetorical question, â€œOh my god, how many have I got to choose from?â€? But then, two tracks later, on â€œPete Songâ€?, she could not be more blunt as she repeats â€œI Donâ€™t Love You Anymoreâ€? in a haunting lament believed to be about Lubricated Goat guitarist Peter Hartley. Stripped-back highlight â€œCome Back Babyâ€? 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€œRefrigeratorâ€? is a strange one with shades of Stu Spasm about finding your lover in the supermarket freezer, â€œmarked frozen goods.â€? 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€œgothicâ€?, 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€“ both are simply part of the same lineage. Also Matrimony, it must be said, had very little to do with the strong â€œthird waveâ€? feminist rhetoric that would sit at the fundamental apex of Riot Grrrl. Though they were (Oâ€™Neil aside) a band of gorgeous, independent vixens, and Kitty Finger is undoubtedly loaded with empowering female symbolism - the artwork incorporating Sybillaâ€™s exposed chest on the cover being Exhibit A - Matrimony were in no way militant about their gender. The song â€œPrickâ€?, for example, with its refrain of, â€œI need a prick thatâ€™s a real hard pleaser,â€? would probably not have gone down well in Olympia, Washington or Washington, D.C. circa-â€˜92. Not limited by any dogma, Matrimonyâ€™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€™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€™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
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€“ and if there was a cheaper solution to an oily rag, theyâ€™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€™t. Here's a story about one of the things that didn't. In 1964 Lewis was looking for a â€œsecond featureâ€? 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€œThe picture that comes complete with a 10-foot-tall monster to give you the wimwams!â€? 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€œGo, You Monster, Goâ€? theme song (â€œYou may come from beyond the moon / But to me you're just a goonâ€Śâ€?), the obnoxious narrator (actually the voice of HG Lewis) blurts, â€œWhat you are about to see may not even be possible within the narrow limits of human understanding!â€? 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€™s the worst picture ever made. But considering Rebane went on to make a heap of stink-bombs, including 1975â€™s The Giant Spider Invasion (poorly disguised VW Beetles as giant spiders? Herbie Goes Arachnid!), his evaluation is about as valid as Elvis Presleyâ€™s driverâ€™s licence. Here is Part Four of my never-ending interview with Herschell Gordon Lewisâ€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€™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€™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€™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€™s Hall of Fame. Showing his expertise is not limited to any particular realm, in 1988 he even had a book published called Everybodyâ€™s Guide To Plate Collecting.
Another title I really love, though I havenâ€™t seen the film, is Sin, Suffer, and Repent (1965).
Like Monster A Go-Go, thatâ€™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€œThat wonâ€™t work anymore, weâ€™ll make up a movie that has someone giving birth to a baby.â€? Thatâ€™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€™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€™s takings while the second feature just got a flat amount of money. And invariable, if you didnâ€™t control both halves a theatre would tell both producers, â€œOh your film was the second half,â€? 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€™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€™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€™s uniform but then it came back as a captainâ€™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€™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€œThe Worldâ€™s Tallest Man.â€? 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€œLow, Hite and Stanleyâ€?. 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€™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€™t know what this movie was all about either! Anyway, itâ€™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€™t really care. They went to a theatre owner and said, â€œHere is your show for the next week, itâ€™s Moonshine Mountain.â€? And the theatre didnâ€™t care because usually at that time the first picture would go on and it really wasnâ€™t quite dark yet and cars were still coming in, Iâ€™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€œYou've Never Seen a Picture Like This - Thank Goodness!â€? Certainly. â€œAn Astronaut Went Up, A Something Else Came Down,â€? 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€™t, there certainly wasnâ€™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€œYouâ€™ve got enough leader here for the next ten movies.â€?
Itâ€™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€œYou must go and see this movie,â€? thatâ€™s showmanship. Iâ€™ve always felt that showmanship is superior to just the raw dumping of dollars that goes on in Hollywood. Iâ€™m reading books where directors are shooting seventy takes a scene. I think thatâ€™s obscene. I donâ€™t believe in shooting rehearsals and I certainly donâ€™t think anyone ever walk out of a theatre because of a ragged pan. Not that Iâ€™m advocating amateur productions, Iâ€™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€“ youâ€™re bringing back some ancient memories here â€“ he said, â€œCan I order a print direct from the lab?â€? I said, â€œSure Harry.â€? 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€œHarry, didnâ€™t you notice that about fifteen minutes before this picture is over the flash on the screen saying The End?â€? He said, â€œWell there was all this stuff going on before the front titles, I didnâ€™t think anything of it when it kept running past the end titles.â€? 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€™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€œJust out of curiosity, how does Blood Feast end?â€? Blood Feast is a seven-reel picture by the way. So I said, â€œWell it ends with the guy in the back of a garbage scout, heâ€™s ground up into hamburger meat.â€? He says, â€œNot on my print.â€? I said, â€œWell whatâ€™s it on your print?â€? He says, â€œMy print appears to be a repeat of reel five.â€? I asked, â€œDid anyone yell and scream and complain?â€? He says, â€œYeah, one guy, we just gave him something at the refreshment stand and that calmed him down!â€? 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€™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€™s fearless and he has my profound respect â€“ not that it means anything to him.
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Dr. Logan, or his brother? (Monster A-Go-Go)
tâ€™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€™s debatable whether it even qualifies as a film - more like a cinematic sci-fi abortion. The â€œplotâ€? concerns American astronaut Frank Douglas (Henry Hite â€“ Worldâ€™s Tallest Man) who has mysteriously disappeared from a space capsule after it crashed back to earth. Due to some faulty â€œRadiation Repellantâ€?, 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€™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€™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€œAdditional Dialogueâ€? under his pseudonym Sheldon Seymour) pipes up to inform us that unbeknownst to his fellow scientists, the dead Dr. Loganâ€™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€œantidoteâ€? designed to return him to human form. All of a sudden, however, Loganâ€™s laboratory has been trashed and the monster is on the loose again. Of course, you donâ€™t actually see any of the destruction or the daring escape - you just have to take the Narratorâ€™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€™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€œAs 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€˜Douglasâ€™ 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€? 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€™s only mainstays, Colonel Steve Connors (Phil Morton). The Narrator says, â€œWith 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€? As the shock of such a crappy finale starts to sink in, the words â€œThe Endâ€? 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€™ve really lost is a couple of clusters of brain cells and seventy-minutes out of your life.
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
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.”
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
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
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…
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Pic: Rod Hunt
Jazz-era Massappeal: (LtoR) Randy Reimann, Sean Fonti, Dave Ross, Brett Curotta
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.