Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Music Reviews: Sutured Psyche - "Bastard Nation"

"Bastard Nation" is the title of Sutured Psyche's newest album. It's got some great things going for it, and a couple so so things going for it. 

The pro's and con's are broken down this way. On the upside, it's 6 songs of strong metal meets punk infused music. The music is super charged and crunchy made possible by focused musicians.

The guitar duo of Adrian Mann and Ryan Reilly really shine with power chords that will crush your skull. Mann and Reilly really keep you on the edge with their speed and versatility as musicians. They MAKE this record really worth checking out! 

The rhythm section of bassist Brian O'Callaghan and (former) drummer Kurt Heist keep it knuckled down with the right amount of bottom end on tracks like "Trickster, Part 1" and "Invocation". Every great guitar duo needs a talented rhythm section to glue it together. And O'Callaghan and Heist do that well.  

Singer William "Doctor" Paimon has a melodic throaty vocal style reminiscent of Glenn Danzig. Deep, menacing and dark is how I would sum up Paimon. I think with some time this guy could be a really good singer. 

My only real issue with this release is the production value. I feel Paimon's vocal are TOO raw here. Maybe with some tweeking this could be a vocally superb (to match the musicianship) album. 

It's raw and very much a DIY album, which isn't a BAD thing necessarily. Lots of bands have taken the raw power DIY approach and made good on it. Think Misfits, Black Flag and Dead Kennedy's for example. But I feel that with a good mixing, with the proper producer that could bring out the very best in Paimon's vocal ability, this band could be unstoppable. 

You don't need 20 years of classical vocal training in order to be a great singer. And I think Paimon is on the right track to becoming a damn good one. With some time I feel Sutured Psyche could really be a driving force in the Chicago music scene. The music's good, don't get me wrong. It just needs a little more studio work in order to make take it to the next level.

All in all, good first album. I'm looking forward to seeing this band evolve with time. They HAVE the talent. They just need a little more studio assistance.

Track listing:

1 - Invocation
2 - Steven
3 - Trickster, Part 1
4 - The Leap
5 - Clarity
6 - Anything

3 ½ stars out of 5

Monday, August 29, 2011

Interview With Punk Globe Magazine Founder Ginger Coyote

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Ginger. You started the famous Punk Globe Magazine back in 1977 at the peak of the punk revolution. Back then did you ever think you would still be doing it some 30+ years later? Or that punk rock, as a genre, would still be as vibrant and influential as it is today?

Ginger Coyote: If I could turn back time! I would date a foetus...Since I was a child when I first started doing Punk Globe I had no idea what I would be doing the next day let alone years down the line. Punk Globe was created to put a smile on people's faces and make them forget about the hassles of life. That may account for the longevity. I knew when the term "Punk Rock" was first used during the disco era that it was going to become history. But probably no to the degree it is now. I am proud to have been a trailblazer for all the people who now can have crazy colored hair and wear wild clothes without a second glance. When we were doing it we were getting stuff thrown at us. Could not go into certain restaurants and bars and were constantly being harassed by the police. Back in the days of cut and paste I had taken the layout for a new issue of Punk Globe to a Copymat in San Francisco. I had Rubber Cement and a pair of medium sized scissors in my bag. There was a Police Sweep and I was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. I got bailed out of jail almost immediately from the crew at The Mabuhay Gardens. I had bright purple hair I knew that was the reason I had been popped. Well Herb Caen who wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle had it as the lead item in this column the day I went to court. When I arrived people were pointing at me and I could NOT find my name on the docket. I was informed my case had been dropped. I asked how they all knew about it and then replied you were the lead story in Herb Caen.  Herb Caen during that era in San Francisco called the shots in San Francisco. He was extremely beloved and  a well respected writer. He also got alot of perks from writing his daily column. Herb had mentioned I was carrying sewing scissors and was on my way to a sewing bee. I was pretty nervous about the charges so I thanked Maude that Herb had the power he had and most importantly that he liked me.

                                                                   Ginger w/Bebe Buell
CM: Punk Globe has survived for so long when other mags like Punk and Sniffin Glue bit the dust. What do you think makes people keep coming back to Punk Globe?

GC: I truly believe that with tenacity also comes respect. through out the years I have received alot of encouragement from people with whom I really respect and also got alot of support from the bands and people that I knew more casually with whom I had supported in Punk Globe. When I started Punk Globe there was only one other punk zine and that was Search and Destroy, it was way to serious and they only supported a handful of bands in the Bay Area leaving the other bands with no outlet for press. I have never felt punk was about being in a clicque so that was the main reason for doing the magazine when I did. For a year it was xeroxed but did get out every month sometimes only 50 issues but it was an outlet...I have a copy of the first copy of the xeroxed issue with Lenore Real Cool Chick and Crime on the cover. I do not have any of the first years  issues. I'm sure that quite possibly one of the folks that have been featured on the TV Show "Horders" may have a few of the first years issues. Then in August 1979 I went newsprint. Chris Coyle, the manager of SVT, suggested looking for a printer in China Town because they were cheaper. I found a cool printing company called Grant Printing right in the heart of China Town. The owner of the print shop was Florence Fang she was heavily involved with City and relations with the people in China Town. Her sons became involved with  politics in San Francisco and one of them took over publishing The San Francisco Examiner after the Hearst family sold it. Here is a funny story, a couple years ago I went back to San Francisco to play a show. I have lived in Hollywood for over 10 years. I was in China Town shopping and my friend bought something glass that needed wrapping, the clerk pulled out some old newspaper to wrap it in and it was old pages from Punk Globe from 25 years ago. The Punk Globe then went on to heavier stock white paper and was printed at SF Litho. Then it went to the internet only.

                                                                                           W/Dee Dee Ramone
CM: Do you remember the very first interview you worked on for Punk Globe?

GC: I interviewed Lenore Real Cool Chick who was 79 years young and the band Crime together.

CM: Over the years you have worked with and hung out with some legendary people including Jayne County, Joey and Dee Dee Ramone, Andy Warhol, Joe Jackson, Mick Jones and Sylvain Sylvain. Was there ever a time when you got star struck when meeting someone famous?

GC: When I was younger of course I could not believe some of the folks I became friendly with. I was definitely star struck. However with age comes confidence and I am not as star struck as I used to be. But when I saw Kathy Griffin on my flight on Southwest I got excited. I also have met many of the Reality Shows like Big Brother, Daisey Of Love, Survivor, and Amazing Race and I get excited meeting them. My pal Pauley Perrette who is Abbie on NCIS also loves the Reality Shows Big Brother and Survivor.

                                                                      W/Sylvain Sylvain
CM: Former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra used to write record reviews for you under the name The Taste Police. What was it like working with someone as outspoken as Jello?

GC: I can handle Biafra. When he did the reviews it was when the Dead Kennedys were touring alot so he could not do a monthly column. But he did come through, he was a pleasure to deal with.  We were very close during the from 78-85 so we never had any problems. He also had a great sense of humor. Once we were driving home from the Farm in San Francisco...This was after he ran for Mayor and Herb Caen was mentioning me alot in his column...We are driving feeling no pain and we get pulled over by the cops. When they saw who was in the car they asked us for our autographs and never thought about a drunk driving test. We were so fucking lucky!!

                                                                                                        W/Liv Tyler
CM: When Punk Globe became an online magazine in 2005 did it open itself up as a whole to a wider audience that may not have been able to get their hands on the actual paper copy when it was being pressed?

GC: I hate to say this but it seems that printed media is a thing of the past. Circulation for magazines like Vogue and Newsweek are dwindling. Anymore almost everyone in the world has access to the Internet and that reaches more more people than the best distribution company can do.On the stats page with host Gator it has a list of Countries that have clicked on the Punk Globe site. I have read names I had not heard for years. It is amazing...Japan, England, Spain, Brazil, Argentina,England, Ireland,Italy, Germany are all a given. But Countries like Laos, Croatia,Turkey, Jordan,  Vietnam, China, Ghana Uruguay  to name just a few amaze me.

                                                                                                W/Joey Ramone
CM: Besides working with Punk Globe, you're also the singer for White Trash Debutantes. You and the band have toured the world with acts like the Ramones, Rancid and Green Day. What is the band up to at this time?

GC: Not quite the world yet! We did tour with the Ramones but we only played shows with Rancid and Green Day.  I feel blessed with all the tours and places I have gotten to pay and see. Being on the Jerry Springer show because we had a 84 year old band member named Punk Rock Patty helped spread the notoriety of the band. We were also in the Nation Enquirer a couple of times which helped expose the band to many people. But when I invited fallen Olympic Skating Star Tonya Harding to join the band we were seen all over the world. We were interviewed for radio shows, magazines and newspapers all over the world.. We had a publicist that was setting appointments for the interviews.. I remember  someone in The Congo doing a radio show with us. These days we just play when it strikes our fancy. If we were offered a recording deal we would love to record and tour. But for right now we are content with playing a few times a year!

                                                                                  White Trash Debutantes live
CM: Are there any plans for a WTD record or tour in the near future?

GC: Our next show is October 28th at The Blue Star in downtown Los Angeles...I know Duchess Desade is on the bill. I am hoping Death On The Radio with Mary Powers from American Idol #9. Mary is an amazing singer and so very sweet. Brad Davidson from The Wipers has a good band called Phantom Ratio. We love having Josie cotton join us doing "Johnny Are You Queer". Bebe Buell, Vitamin C, Jonathan Gries, Judy Tenuta, Tim Armstrong,  Joey Ramone and Debbie Harry have all joined us on stage.  Billy Gould  from Faith No More and Margaret Cho have been members of the band at one time.

                                                                 w/Joe Dallesandro, Iris Berry and Cloe Trujillo

CM: When you look back on all that you have achieved so far, both as a musical artists and a writer, is there anything you would have done differently? And is the best still yet to come for Ginger Coyote?

GC: Of course there are things that happened that I wish would happen again. Or that you could change what happened. When you are young you are thinking. You say things to people that comes back to bite you you. You also get  taken advantage of alot.
But that is life and you have to accept it. "You Take The Good.. You Take The Bad.. You Take Em Both And There You Have The Facts Of Life!! When The World It  Doesn't Seem To Be Living Up To Your Dreams..Suddenly Your Finding Out The Facts Of Life Are All About You!" No truer words spoken. I wanna start writing a book of my personal life and also do a Punk Globe Coffee Table Book. 

CM: This is the time in the interview where I have over the control to you. Would you like to plug your various websites or any bands you like?

GC:  The Punk Globe Website is https://www.punkglobe.com
 I do hope that  every one reading this interview will check it out... We also have a few Facebook profiles for Punk Globe.  I would like to thank all the people who work so hard to make Punk Globe happen. Especially Sharla Cartner the web mistress and Marc Floyd who does the great covers. All the writers, the sponsors click on their banners on the home page please and especially all the readers.

With White Trash Debutantes please check out our MySpaceYahoo Groups page and the Facebook pages to find out about what the band is up to. I would like to thank all the members for their dedication. Pauli Gray, Eric B, Chelsea Rose, Mike, Karla, Keith, Amy Talaska and  Aaron you all rule!
  I also would like to thank our supporters and fans. They have been so kind and loyal.

Of course I would like to plug my dear friend Kathy Peck and her non profit H.E.A. R.  Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers... When you feel you problems with your hearing, please contact Kathy first
.. She can clean your ears and run some tests that may help you not have to go through with expensive surgeries. She also does counseling. Another group I would like to plug is  Campaign For Care run by the fabulous Stacy Tuttle and her family.. They make sure that the homeless population in  the greater Los Angeles area get blankets, socks, rain gear and other necessities for being on the street. A special shout out to Pauley Perrette for her fight for equality for all and to overturn Prop Hate! She, Kathy Griffin and Cyndi Lauper have been very vocal about ending bigotry. Bebe Buell and Liv Tyler in their support for Cancer. Watch The Big C, Laura Linney is doing a great job to bring out cancer awareness. Pauli Gray and all the other folks who work with AIDS awareness. There are so many great people out there that are making a difference. Another friend, James Tracey, made me aware how important RENT CONTROL is and also Renters Rights awareness. Also watch Weeds because it is a kick ass show and Shane Botwin has your back.

Support music and comedy. Especially musicians and comedians who stand up for their beliefs. Jayne County, The Dixie Chicks, Cheetah Chrome, Henry Rollins, Siobhan "Shamama" Lowe,  Kathy Griffin, Lisa Lampanelli, Rosie O Donnell, Cyndi Lauper, Bill Maher, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg the list is endless. I think the world owes Saturday Night Live and Tina Fey a Nobel Peace Prize for helping prove what an idiot Sarah Palin really is. Lets hope they will have someone to do Michelle Bachman. A shout out to my favorite politician Bernie Sanders.

                                                                   w/Pauley Perrette
CM: Ginger, I honestly can't thank you enough for all you've given to the punk rock community AND society. It was an honor to interview you, and I wanna wish you the very best of luck in the future. Thanks so much for talking the time to talk with Critical Mass.

GC: Thank you for allowing me to go on and on . I want to wish you all the success with Critical Mass. We all need to support what we believe in and get our message out there. Because PEOPLE GOT THE POWER!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Interview With The Love Shots

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass guy's. You new album "Crooner" just hit the streets a couple moths back. And, I gotta tell ya, it's an amazing record! Is this the bands first release?

John Perrin: Thanks for havin' us! First official fancy shmancy label release, yes. There's also a self-funded EP we did in 2008 that we've been peddling around for a while now that helped us land our smoking hot record deal.

Rob Nelson: Aye. What he said.

Danny Graig: Yes, our first full-length.

CM: For new fans, like myself, can you give us a little history on the band? How did you guy's get together and how many years have you been playing out?

JP: I had met Danny through my girlfriend-at-the-time. He was doing a duo thing with her sister, Jenny. They called themselves 'The Dravens'. Rob had heard from a mutual friend of theirs that he was a dick (a biased opinion, of course). We got together, Jenny soon left, and we did about 2 shows as a Guitar/Drums duo. Think Local H, but crappier. Take it from there, Raaaab.

RN: Johnny left for a little bit (drafted into the KISS army) and Danny wanted to record a couple songs and I had an 8 track recorder, so we did a couple songs. I don't think we have em anymore. We did the EP at Gallery of Carpet not long after with our buddy Steve "The Jam Band Man" Jones on drums. Johnny came back shortly after. Turns out he wasn't made for lovin' them (or perhaps too much?).

DC: Me and Johnny started about 3 years ago as a two-piece, then Rob came on in and it's been us three ever since.

CM: I love how you guy's describe your sound as "death wop". But it actually FITS! Your mix of 50's doo wop with dark lyrical content is original and refreshing in a world where everyone wants to be the next Green Day and Blink 182. Are you guy's true fans of 50's rock n roll? And who are some of your musical influences?

JP: Interestingly enough, that was a joke I started putting on flyers and it kinda stuck. All three of us collect vinyl (Thanks to Chris for selling me a copy of Joey Ramone's solo album) and listen to tons of stuff. Danny's a gigantic Julie London fan, I'm a huge Amy Winehouse dork, and Rob's really into banjo music.
EDITORS NOTE: You're very welcome, John. I hope you're taking care of it....I miss it so.

RN: I loves the rock and roll. I actually got a Dion & The Belmonts 2xLP set that I've been obsessed with lately. That and Elvis' Golden Records.

DC: My top three artists are The Ramones, Julie London and anything pre-1960. I like anything that's good 'n catchy.

CM: I know the band opened for the Misfits a couple years ago. What was it like playing with a legendary band like the Misfits? And did the audience respond in a positive light when you played?

JP: That's the funny thing. We're pretty big Misfits fans (with Danny being the biggest), but it was kind of a disappointment. It's more of the Jerry Only show nowadays. The audience did not respond well.

RN: Heh. Well, knuckle bumping Jerry Only was pretty sweet.

DC:  Eh.

CM: Is there a primary songwriter for the band or do you all have a hand at songwriting?

JP: I always liked how the Ramones did it on their early records, so - All songs written by The Love Shots (Danny)

RN: I like how the Hives did it. Randy Fitzsimmons writes all of our songs, too.

DC: I write all the songs, but we work them out together as a band.

CM: Since you've been playing out for some time now, are there any plans for a mini tour around the Midwest?

JP: Actually, yes. Late October we'll be hitting the road - more info to come!

RN: Van or no van, we're gettin' out there. We have wheels on our amps.

DC: Last 8/9 days of October we'll be touring

CM: Besides the Misfits the bands also played with the Smoking Popes, The Tossers and Local H. Who are some of your favorite bands to play with?

JP: For me personally, the Smoking Popes. My brother was in a band called Colossal with Neil, so I had met him years ago. Rob and I have been listening to the Popes music for a really long time now, and have been super inspired by it. Having them be the nice guys that they are is just the icing on the cake. Out of all the bigger bands we've opened for, I think it'd be safe to say we fit the best with them.

RN: I'm with Johnny. Popes have always been one of my favorite bands and being able to play with them not once, but twice is amazing to me. I'm hoping we'll be able to do so more in the near future. The Dyes, a local rockabilly band, are also really fun to do shows with.

DC: I love the Popes. They were fun to watch and really nice guys.

CM: In the time you guy's have been playing out is there any memorable shows that stand out in your mind for either a good reason or bad?

JP: Our record release this past June was one of the tops for me. We played with the Smoking Popes a few months ago in Palatine, IL which was an insane amount of fun. Any shows we play with those guys have really good vibes. Clearwater Theater's a second home to us, and The House Cafe in DeKalb has amazing Grilled Cheese. Elbo Room sucks.

RN: Again, with Johnny on this. The release show was amazing. Tons of people and just a great atmosphere. Like I said before it's always awesome to play with the Popes. As for terrible shows, Danny and I did a show without Johnny once and forgot a tuner. We asked around and miraculously, no one had one... until halfway through the set. I think we spent more time tuning to each other during the set than actually playing.

DC: Our CD release was a great time, and anything at the late great Mad Maggies in DT Elgin was also a lot of fun.

CM: Is there a website where people can get in touch with you guy's and get up to date news on upcoming gigs, releases and merch?

JP:  www.theloveshots.com

RN: www.meatspin.com

DC: www.facebook.com/theloveshots

CM: Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass guy's. I really fucking dig the album. It doesn't leave the CD player for very long before getting tossed back in. I hope to check out a show sooner than later. I wanna wish you 3 the very best in the future. Tanks again guy's.

JP: Thanks so much, Chris!

RN: Thanks man, don't you go a changin'.

DC: Tits.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Music news: Red Hot Chili Peppers Stream New Album

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are streaming their new album "I'm With You" in it's entirety at iTunes. The album will be streaming from now until it's official street release date of August 29th.

The new albums features 14 new songs produced by longtime collaborator Rick Rubin. This is the first Chili Peppers album to feature new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer who replaced long time Chili's guitarist John Frusciante back in 2009. Head over and take a listen, and if you like what you hear you can pre-order your copy today. 

Track Listing:

1."Monarchy of Roses"  4:12
2."Factory of Faith"  4:20
3."Brendan's Death Song
5."Annie Wants a Baby"  3:40
6."Look Around"  3:28
7."The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie" 
8."Did I Let You Know"  4:21
9."Goodbye Hooray"  3:52
10."Happiness Loves Company"  3:33
11."Police Station"  5:35
12."Even You Brutus?"  4:01
13."Meet Me at the Corner"  4:21
14."Dance, Dance, Dance"  3:45

Monday, August 22, 2011

Interviw With The Legendary Tesco Vee From The Meatmen

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, TV. The Meatmen had a month long tour this part April, and have a few shows coming up in Michigan and Indiana between now and October. Are there any plans for another tour by years end?

Tesco Vee: Yes!  We are touring the East Coast Oct 19-30...doing 3 shows with Black Fag The Absolutely Fabulous tribute to Black Flag in Boston, Long Island and Brooklyn, and working on possible shows with Youth Brigade in Florida..this will be my first time back in Fl. since the 90's so stoked to get back down there...I still have quite a few fans in America's penis!

CM: The bands last album, Cover The Earth, came out in '09. Are you guy's working on any new material? Or are there any plans for a new release in the near future?

TV: Near future? No. But slowly but surely we are working on new stuff. We are trotting out a new song on this tour, the last song I wrote in 1996 before disbanding that line up. Its autobiographical in nature and its called 'Dinosaur' cuz I'm an old school punk from the Mezozoic era!  I have a bunch of songs in my brain. Everyone keeps telling me "people don't buy albums anymore"  but hey fuck all that. I still do. I know I still have one long playin platter in me.

CM: During the bands existence you've had numerous line-up changes, and even played with Brian Baker and Lyle Preslar from Minor Threat and Todd Swalla from The Necros. Do you see a possible "history of The Meatmen" ever happening where you could bring out some former members for a few songs from their time in the band? 

TV: History of the Meatmen? No..Its like having a bunch of ex girlfriends out there..some you get along with and some you just as soon not see anymore. Lineups change but as long as there is the Dutch Hercules steering this ship of fools, its still the Meatmen.

CM: You've always been over the top when it comes to live performances and songwriting. I mean, lets face it, some people just don't get it. Is it hard to get the band booked in southern states like say Alabama and Georgia due to bands outrageous live show and controversial songs?

TV: No actually I live for the slack jawed mouth agape responses in the hinterland. We play Atlanta, not sure about Alabama. Do people actually listen to music there that isn't both types, country & western?  I love to shock and offend. Not as easy to do in NYC. But even in places like Minneapolis you see those looks of mortification. Mission accomplished!

CM: When the band went on an 11 year hiatus between '97 and '08 what were you up to? Were you still recording music?

TV: No I thought I was done. Collecting old toys, riding Japanese rice rockets, being a family man..moved back to Mich in 1999 cuz the nations capitol was really starting to suck. Michigan is a great place to be in a band. The mitten has spawned many a classic combo and the Motor City is still brimming with players to choose from. The Clydes I got now just rule. I will pit them against any line up I've had. This ain't no lame ass comeback, this is the real deal! So get off your flattened out wheelchair butt and come out and see a show!

CM: With classic songs like Tooling For Anus, What's This
Shit Called Love?, and Crippled Children Suck is it hard to come up with new songs that will piss off the uptight America we all know and hate? 

TV: No, its a target rich environment out there..what with the new crop of zealots like Bachman and Perry...plenty of hate to go around...I callit Hate-Rock-Wack...you can burn someone at the stake but do it with moxy verve, and some verbal aplomb..keep em guessing "Is he serious?" "He cant be serious!" "I think He's serious!!!!"

CM: With Crippled Children Suck, French People Suck, and Camel Jockeys Suck already Meatmen classics, are there any plans for a fourth installment of the "Suck" series?

TV: Nahh! It would be easy but I'll stick with the big 3.

CM: What's next for
Tesco Vee? Ever consider running for President? I bet you would do better than the guy we have now!

TV: Ya know being a politician you need to be such a messed up prostitute, and have everyone hate you...hey maybe that would be pretty cool!  But they dig into your past and ya think I might have a problem there. I plan on doing the next best thing..becoming an ordained minister. Can you imagine the weddings and funerals with me presiding in full get up? 

CM: Is there a website you wanna plug where fans can get news on upcoming gigs and merch?
TV: tescovee.com has all the dates and the latest news and Meaty swag. I also also tweet. Also on Facebook ...buy my book, Touch and Go :The Complete Hardcore Punk Fanzine 1979-1983'. It be selling like hotcakes!  We're Still The Meatmen and You Still Suck!

CM: Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass, TV. It's an honor to get this interview with the man himself! I hope we get some new Meatmen tunes in the near future! Thanks again.

TV: Thank You!
  Always happy to flap my gums about the most exciting punk band on the planet...mine!

Music Reviews: Caves/Sundials Split

The new Sundials/Caves split is a fun twofer from a couple up and coming groups (and recent touring mates) that you NEED to hear. Sundials, a band who I have been extremely fond of since hearing their debut long player "Never Settle", hail from Richmond Virginia. And Caves, a band I was not too familiar with until this split, but excite me just as much as Sundials, are from Bristol, UK. Both bands have a jangly guitar sound reminiscent of the early/mid 90's alternative scene. But it's not old fogy music. It's modernized with honest lyrics, sing along choruses and a fun attitude, even if it gets a dark at times.

My newest favorite band, Sundials, kick things off with their song "Viking Funeral". The song clocks in at 1:29, but is effective with the Sundials sound, a mix of The Lemonheads and Cheap Girls that will have you hooked faster than you can say Evan Dando! The music is another mix of hard driving drums and bass courtesy of Carl (bass) and Cory (drums) along with singer/guitarist Harris' ability to keep you tuned into his lyrics, as simple as they may be. "There's gonna be some awkward questions. Stuff our family never mentioned" only to "Talk about it at your viking funeral". It's short, sweet, to the point and just a blast!

Caves closes this split with an amazing song called "Desperate Times". It's got a crunchy yet melodic sound provided by singer/guitarist
Louise Hanman. She's also a damn fine singer to boot! "Desperate Times" is aggressive and sweet all at the same time with a lot of "Whoa oh oh oh's" that will have you singing along. The rhythm section of bass player Jonathan Minto and drummer Dave Brent are just ferocious. They hold their own and this song together with tremendous musicianship. I need to check out more from this band. This song is a keeper. And if the rest of their catalog is as good, this will be yet another band to look out for in the future.

As usual, I want MORE from Sundials, and now Caves too! This split is a great way to end summer. It's just a fun record that will hopefully bring some much deserved attention to these 2 young groups. You can stream the songs now at the Kiss Of Death Records Bandcamp site located HERE. Check it out, buy the split and show some support for a couple great bands.

4 / 5 Stars

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Interview With Skip Long & Tim "Redd" Gallaher Formerly Of False Alarm & Nations On Fire

 EDITORS NOTE: Today Critical Mass is talking with a couple friends of mine who came of age in the early 80's hardcore scene in Central California. They both have great stories of what the scene was like then and the now legendary bands they got to play with. I hope you all enjoy this. It's "Hardcore 101" from a couple guy's who lived through it!

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass guy's. You were both in a band called False Alarm back in the early 80's. What was it like being in a hardcore punk band from California in the early 80's?

Skip Long: Thanks for having us C.M.! False Alarm was Redd on drums/manager, Skip (me) on guitar, David vocals and Nancy on bass. Redd bought a van, his parents put up with us playing in their garage for a long time! We were in Pacific Grove/Monterey California which is a tourist town on the central coast. We would have to drive the 2+ hours to San Francisco to see shows. Rarely did our town get any. When they did Redd would get us on most of them. Black Flag '83 (I think?) DOA, The 1st couple years were amazing just being in the hardcore scene. It really changed not for the better by the mid 80's. The American Hardcore movie did a great job capturing the feeling of it. Being able to see so many great shows with incredible lineups. Husker Du/Black Flag same show? That shit just doesn't happen anymore!

Tim "Redd" Gallaher: I was 15 or 16 when False Alarm started in '81. And prior to that in 1979 I had a year off from school from getting in to fights and other things, I use to go down to the record store and read "Punk" magazine. So in 1980 when California punk just started getting going I was ready to go. When I first brought home the Germs "GI" LP I know I had found what I was looking for and I knew that I wanted to play that kind of music. But it was Black Flag that lit the fuse.

CM: I know that back then punk wasn't as "accepted" in society as it is now. Did you's guy's ever have any run in's with the law? Or have gig's shut down at the last minute?

SL: Our 1st show we played was at Pacific Grove High School in '81 during lunch break! Not the greatest of ideas. I graduated the year before, Redd was still going then. The vice principal gave Redd the OK, we started playing and a barrage of food immediately came flying our way. We got in 3 songs before the principal came on the stage to stop us. Dave wouldn't give him the mic, then flipped him off as he was giving a talk to the crowd. The whole show lasted probably 5 minutes!

TG: No it was not accepted and I got in to a few fights for looking the way I did. And I did have a few scrapes with the law. Now False Alarm had the plug pulled on us a few times. We would get 3 or 4 songs in and they would shut us down. And if we did finish our set someone would have been hurt or something would have been broken. So whatever the outcome was we were told that we could never play there again. The only time this did not happen was at the Tool & Die or the On Broadway in S.F.

                                                                   Tim "Redd" Gallaher
CM: Did False Alarm ever put out any releases, whether it be a 7", EP or full length?

SL: We recorded a few shows, made a demo in SF, but never released any vinyl.

TG: We recorded two demos, 13 - 15 songs each time. And one we sold copy’s of "I.W.L.P.I.F." I still have the tapes and have been in the talks with 2 labels to put out a limited release, but both the labels have gone under.

CM: I can only imagine the bands you guy's must have either seen live or played with during this period in your lives. Are there any shows that really stand out from those years?

SL: Man there were so many. The Bad Brains, Fear at the Elite Club (formerly the Filmore West) Black Flag/Husker Du at the On Broadway. DOA, Circle Jerks many time, always great. The Circle Jerks at Bleaks Hall in SF stands out as my favorites. It was Redd and my 1st hardcore show in SF and they weren't carding for beer! A stand out in '83 would be playing at the Mabuhay Gardens. I can't even remember the lineup, but it was THE MAB!!

TG: Some of the bands that we played with that were high lights for False Alarm would be Black Flag, DOA, Scream, Government Issue. There were so many shows that I went to it is hard to say what stood out show wise, but if you can name a 80's hardcore band there is a 90% chance I seen them if they came to S.F. On a typical weekend I would go to the city on a Friday, catch a gig, then hit an afterhours gig, wake up on a floor somewhere on Saturday and do it all over again. '81 – '89 is kind of a big blur. There was a lot of alcohol and drug use for me. But I can say the bands that were always great were D.O.A., Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, Toxic Reasons, Minor Threat, I almost never missed a gig when they came to town.

                                                                         Skip Long
CM: After False Alarm there was Nations On Fire. What can you guy's tell us about the band? How did the band get started and are there any recordings documenting the bands existence?

SL: After False Alarm died there was EOTW (End Of The World) with Kevin Share on vocals and Bernard Godfree on Drums. Me and Nancy still on Guitar and bass. that lasted a couple years. Then Nation On Fire's 1st lineup. Redd Drums, me Guitar, Aaron Lead Guitar/Vocals, Kevin Bass. Aaron wrote most of the songs. Very pop. I remember opening for the CroMags and GBH. We came out sounding like shit playing pop (the best I could describe it was a punk John Mellencamp!). CroMags came out and blew the doors off everyone.

The 2nd lineup was me Guitar/Vocals, Redd drums, Chris Bass/vocals. Definitely a turn for the better, but a pretty weak bunch of songs. The 3rd lineup was Kevin joining on vocals. then Chris left and Kevin played bass and shared vocals with me with Redd on drums. We played a couple mini tours with MDC. The standout show was at Fenders Ballroom in LA. The place had a fire not long before and to my knowledge was condemned by the fire department. During the band after us (can't remember who) set, the police and fire department showed up to shut down the show. Broke into the kind of riot LA was famous for!

TG: Well False alarm was Skip on guitar Nancy on base, David vocals and myself on the drums. And Kevin wrote a bunch of the lyrics and he designed the bands 2 logos. We broke up when David moved off and went to school and that is when I started collage. But that did not last long for me. The school took a dim view of me drinking in class in the mornings. So Skip, Nancy and now Kevin on vocals with new drummer Bernie formed E.O.T.W. And I went on to play with the Insults when both those bands ended in late '83 -'84. Skip, Kevin on bass and I started up Nation On Fire and at about a year in we added Arron from Biohazard on lead guitar we played a bunch of gigs up and down the coast of CA, but split up do to personnel reasons. Kevin and Arron formed the Love Dogs. And Skip and I formed Que Sera Sera and both bands played some of the same songs. And there was a verbal agreement the neither could use the name N.O.F. After about 9 months Kevin asked if he could come back to the band. But since we had a bass player, Chris [from Connecticut], Kevin took over the vocals. At about that time we were really tight with M.D.C., and we started touring with them. We shared a van and equipment. They were really good guys that took us under their wing. At one point there was talks about putting out an EP on Radical Records so we went in the Old Wally Heider Studios in S.F. and heard Gary Creiman who recorded with M.D.C., FLIPPER and other S.F. punk groups. We knocked out 10 songs in  two 12 hour recording sessions only to have the project shelved when it was discovered that M.D.C.’s record label was being ripped off by Tab Rex Enterprises who the band worked with to put out the records. And at that point M.D.C. started paying off the bands on the label out of their pocket. SO we have one more unfinished project just sitting on the shelf and are looking for someone who might want to release some old punk from the 80’s.

CM: I've seen some of the flyers and hand bills and you guy's played with Bad Religion, MDC, Naked Raygun, Crimpshire, and D.I. among others. What was it like playing those shows with such legendary bands?

TG: Well let me start with yes, we played with some good bands like Black Flag, D.O.A., Bad Religion, Scream, G.B.H., Blast, Husker Du, M.D.C., Naked Raygun and way to many to list. But they were not legendary at the time. But for the most part just a bunch of cool guys in good bands. There was not much big headed ego maniacs running around at the time. Bands would network with each other, you gave out personnel phone numbers. It was much different back then. So when we played with them it was just another gig and a chance to make new friends and contacts.

CM: Was there ever a time when one of your bands played with a band you really looked up to, only to be let down by one of the guys in one of those bands being a real asshole?

SL: Can't think of any at the moment.

TG: I do not remember ever being let down by any band. Like I said they were just gigs. Some were better than others. And if anything, we were the dickhead assholes. The Monterey punks were a little more on the violent side than most in the early years. A lot of the S.F. punks at first thought we were H.B.’s, the notoriously violent kids out of Huntington Beach in the early 80’s.

CM: How do you feel about punk rock being so accessible and hip now? Do you feel the music has lost it's edge with bands like Green Day going top 40 and so called "punk" bands like Sum 41 and Good Charlotte?

SL: You can still go to small local shows where the energy and attitude is still there. I don't follow many new bands. I'll check them out if a friend recommends them. It's depressing to see bands with all the killer equipment, the best of everything, playing very formula punk pop. I look forward to seeing the bands I grew up with coming to town, TSOL, Circle Jerks(not anymore!) Adolescents.

TG: Oh let me say the M.D.C. song "Timmy Yo" sums some of it up. I dislike most of that crap that you would see on the main stage on a Vans tour. To me it is bubble gum punk.
And I think most of the band’s sound like a formula from what Bad Religion and Social Distortion have become witch I do not like and I crack up when I see all the Hot Topic punks out there.

There are a few old bands out there that deserve to be played on the main stream that most of the H.T. punks have maybe never heard of like D.O.A or the Dickies. Now there is still some good fairly new punk bands out there. Keith Morris’s new band OFF is one for example.

CM: If you could go back and do it all again, would either of you change the way you did things? Or would you do it the same way again?

SL: Shit, I don't know. Maybe learned to play guitar 1st! Try to get along a little better with a few band mates.

TG: Yes, I would do it all over again. Change nothing.

CM: Any words of wisdom to any young kids out there looking to form a band?

SL: You don't have to have the best gear. Meet new friends, have fun. If you are going to try to play shows have someone in the band that isn't afraid to make tons of phone calls and annoy promoters until they give in! Get a good practice room.

TG: Just play for yourself. Don’t do it to be famous, popular or to make money. Let your angst flow and you will be surprise at who you connect to. Yes, it is hard. But don’t give up. just keep it real and have fun.

CM: I wanna thank you both again for talking with Critical Mass and telling your stories of surviving the first wave of hardcore punk rock. Kids these days have it too easy. You're the elder statesmen of a dying breed. Thanks again guy's.

TG: Thanks for talking with us. I have stories galore and am always glad to share.

EDITORS NOTE: Here's an old False Alarm Show Review From November '82 from a show at On Broadway in San Francisco. Pretty cool read.

Government Issue, Scream, Capitol Punishment, False Alarm, Riot

by Dr. Music

Riot from Santa Cruz/Monterey area opened the show to about ten of their faithful supporters. Needs some work, but they could be good, keep at it! I just wish the lead singer would look up once in a while.

False Alarm from Monterey played next. What can I say, these guys are suicidal. They seem to have an aversion for playing in an upright position. The lead singer spent about 3/4 's of the time in the air and even tried to dive into a glass of water placed onstage. He couldn't fit into it though and ended up with quite a few cuts. False Alarm has energy that won't quit, ever! We should have more people with this kind of enthusiasm! Lots of Fun!

Capitol Punishment kept it going with more fast, rad tunes, one right after another.

Scream, from D .C ., played next and did they crank! Included in their set was this great rockabilly-ska-square-dance song that took everyone by surprise and got everyone dancing . More bands should take chances on new or different stuff. Don't worry about what people think, just do it!

Everyone got upset at G .I ., from D .C ., who ended the show, because they didn't look hardcore. Sky Stabb came out in this great pastel outfit with shades and they blazed out some great songs. No one in S .F . seems to want to have fun at shows or can see the humor in visiting bands that do.These guys were great but people would not allow themselves to admit it because they didn't look "right ". Don't go by appearance. Go by the music! FALSE ALARM.