Flagpolers – Demo July 2012 digital

F1Mick, of the Flagpolers hit me up to give them a listen and I was stoked because they didn’t suck. Nothing worse than having to tell a guy all his hard work and effort was wasted, and that perhaps he should look into a career at something menial. Then again, who the fuck am I, just some faceless doofus who likes “some” music and has an opinion (like an asshole, everyone has right). In the case of the Flagpolers (not too sure about the name of the band, must be some kind of an inside joke), from the getgo they go full steam ahead and rock hard. My first response to Mick was, “The dual vocals really stand out to me and I like how you guys are melodic and catchy, but still have that abrasive hardcore edge.” Nothing too earth shattering as far as what I had to say, sometimes I’m not very deep, but this is not some sophisticated band like their fellow country men Rush, no need for fluffy big words, these guys are straight and to the point. No granny gears gears for these guys, they skip right ahead to 5th gear, burning rubber the whole way.
imageThe guitarist can really crank out the chords, high speed Johnny Ramone-esque, and the bass stays right there pounding along with him like they’re neck and neck in some drag race. The drummer doesn’t waste any time with fills and frills, he reminds me of the drummer for ZZ Top but on speed. As I said though, what makes them stand out to me is the dual vocals, that trading off then singing along type of thing, think dueling banjos in Deliverance, it only serves to make the band seem like they’re going even faster.  We’re not talking grindcore, power violence, blistering fast, Flagpolers, do it old school style with new school flavor (hahaha).
imageHere’s how the guys describe themselves, “Rough Hooky Punk Rock from Vancouver, Canada. Made up of 3/4 Irish Immigrants and a Famine Dodger playing Punk in the same vein of Leatherface, Guns n Wankers and snuff.” Never heard of those bands, but these guys are probably fucking better anyway. Something really solid about Mick, is that he comes across as very down to earth and just one of the good guys, the kind that every scene needs plenty of if it’s going to thrive. Invited me (and the 9 other blogger he asked to do a review) to stop by and stay with him if I was ever up Vancouver way…I’ve always wanted to do the Seattle/Vancouver thing. The first song gets right to it and is probably my favorite…
“Retentioncon”

“I’m at square one
in a job i said i’d never do again
it’s like I was time punched
some things similar alot very different
this was not my intention
I planned to escape to work that betters me
this isn’t retention this is retroactive continuity
Talking to bastards
isn’t quite the craic that it’s cracked up to be
taking the blame while standing rigid behind corporate policy
somebodies listening if i lose it they’ll have evidence on me
and when they catch me i’ll blame retroactive continuity
somethings not right here
someone must’ve wrote this in to mess with me
is this my life or is this retroactive continuity”

Good stuff Maynard! They’ve got a Facebook and a Bandcamp (embedded below)…

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=458318352/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/transparent=true/

…a buddy of theirs did a real nice job putting this vid together for them, the footage is of them “when we were touring north a bit”…

Happy Holidays

Solstice_revolving_earthToday is the Winter Solstice, quite possibly one of the oldest holy days or days marked on a calendar. It’s cold here on the high plains and rolling hills of Northwestern Kansas but not unbearably so. Shit, as long as the wind isn’t blowing like it usually is, the cold doesn’t bother me. These days we only think of seasons in terms of the level of comfort they provide, as opposed to an agricultural compass or defining our place in the universe. Everyday is a tobacco day for me (probably what will kill me) but I think I’ll have one for our ancestors who really felt today was important.

IMG_NEWMade the paper again, far right, in case you didn’t recognize me with my stache and bein’ my jolly ole self at a 100 pounds over my fighting weight…hahaha.  We really appreciate the money from these guys and it does serve the people we work with, but who the hell would name themselves after Columbus. There must be a thousand saints in Catholicism, any one of those would be a far better choice as a patron of their fraternal order. Donations are donations though and these guys have good hearts, the money will be used help people out. I’m just glad that in this day and age of medieval greed and selfishness, that people are still willing to help a guy out sometimes.

KrampusWith Christmas around the corner and in the midst of other holiday celebrations, I find myself less than enthusiastic about the industry. But even as the megalomaniacal multi-corporations would sell you straw from the original manger if they could find it (better off getting it after Christmas though, when it’s on sale), I know that the average Joe is out there making a buck in the process so he can take care of his needs and maybe those of some loved ones as well. I get sick of so much of it, but my wife is a big time player in the game, so I go along for the ride (we watched The Polar Express for the 100th time, but I secretly love the movie anyway). We do lights, the tree, cards, presents, feast, family, charity, church…the whole nine yards (“nine ladies dancing”). I think the best part of it is recognizing family and friends. Everybody ought to pick some time of the year to have a time to reflect, to celebrate the here and now, make plans for the future, some kind of personal inventory, hell, a guy could do it year round if he wanted to.  Seems like that is a fairly universal thing among human beings and certainly predates recorded history.  I’m torn about the whole story of Jesus’ birth and wonder if it’s even important as far as his root message, he never talks about it during his ministry.  But you can’t have a guy this important just walking in from nowhere.  I get into stuff like that, going back to my college days studying religion and philosophy.  There are a couple extracanonical books that develop more childhood stories in the form of The Infancy Gospel of Thomas and The Infancy Gospel of James, if that stuff interests you too.  But I digress (that’s a very sophisticated word, it makes me feel cool using it), where was I?  Oh yeah, Christmas…

santaHoliday joke from my Grandpa (a fitting one presented to you by his recovering alcoholic Grandson)…
With the holidays upon us I would like to share a personal experience with you all about drinking and driving after a “social session” with friends.
Well, this past Friday, I was out on a post-Christmas evening with long-lost friends. I had a few cocktails, followed by a handful of glasses of vintage red wine. Despite the jolliness, I still had the sense to know that I was over the limit. That’s when I decided to do what I have never done before: I took a cab home.
Sure enough, there was a police road block on the highway but, since it was a cab, they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident.
This was a both a great relief and surprise because I had never driven a cab before. I don’t even know where I got it from and, now that it is in my garage, I don’t know what to do with it.

My old friends in Dengue Fever did a seriously beautiful rendition of a Christmas classic…
“Little Drummer Boy”

Hardcore HolidayAnd just to give a nod to Krampus, acknowledge dualities and a hearty bah humbug, from the Hardcore Holiday comp, one of my favorite bands…
Killdozer – Oh Little Town of Deathlehem

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…bastards.

Dissecting Table – Why 7″

DTTime for a little pre-Christmas uncharacteristic harshness. Dissecting Table is a relatively new discovery for me, sometime during my escapades educating myself in the general Industrial genre several months ago. Must’ve been one of the few blogs or forums specializing in Industrial music that I was following at the time. I made my Brother Sang a mixed CD of some of the music in that genre that I had run across, since he was the one who first exposed me to it, way back when. He responded by telling me that he really liked two songs of the 20 or so on the CD, one of those was by Dissecting Table. That song came off their/his first release, a 7″, from 1986. I had looked up the band/guy on Discogs, who describe the band as “the exclusive brainchild of Ichiro Tsuji, who is also the head of the UPD Organization label,” and that first 7″ is pretty pricey. I did discover that his 2nd 7″, released 11 years later (the guy has 5 pages worth of releases on Discogs), had a remix of that same tune and was much more affordable. Picked that bad boy up and was blown the fuck away. Having listened to a lot of his other stuff, this is some of his harshest, yet most cadenced compositions, he’s got quite the variety of sounds, tending more towards what some would define as noise. I prefer this brutal stuff, it’s akin to some of my favorite stuff in the genre, namely early SPK (the first several 7″s, side one of Auto Da Fe). Angry, desperate, Cookie Monster vocals (I have no idea what he saying, and really even what language it’s in), backed by hyper electronic mayhem. It’s a non-stop assault.  Only 700 of these bad boys pressed, most of his releases are very limited, some less that a dozen made, but I highly recommend going to his UPD Organization to see if you can’t support him and pick up some hard copies for yourself. For further listening, tending towards the less rhythmic, noise side of things, check out his Soundcloud. Get to it…

Why
Camouflage (New Recording Track)

UPDLike the old days round here, felt like that just was not enough of this out of this world excellent artist and composer.  Here’s that 1st 7″ (the rip is not mine, as I said I can not afford this thing, but some other nameless forgotten soul did the world a service and ripped it for us) “Ultimate Psychological Description” in all of it’s savage ferocity…

Accomplishment
I Get My Slogan
Silent Violence
Camouflage

Jeff “The Leftoverking” Langdon – interview

rrr_still2Jeff “The Leftoverking” Langdon (not to be confused with the Canadian figure skater, Jeffrey Langdon), band mate and long time friend, I’ve always called him “Jefe”. He is well described by St. Francis of Assisi, “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” For as long as I’ve known him he has been a laborer, craftsman, AND artist. House painter, guitar maker, silk screener, musician, painter, sculptor, photographer, blogger and probably one of the finest examples of a down to earth human being there ever could be.  Rhondapolooza had this to say, “One entirely crazy mofo who treads sure-footedly along his artistic path.  Often he zigs when I’m predicting he’ll zag, and that’s *exactly* what I love about his photography.”  I’m thinking we met sometime in ’87 or ’88, my memory’s hazy, but I know he was dating a wonderful woman, who to this day is his wife and mother of his children. She was a fellow student and dorm resident at Humboldt State University. Several years later, in the early 90’s he was the guitar player (principle song writer) for a band I sung in, Grout (man that band was killer, so ahead of it’s time and so much better when I left and Jeff took over vocal duties). The guy has been in a million bands (not just as guitar player and vocalist, more recently, drummer as well) and has a solo project that has been off and on again for some time now. A few of these bands I have shared here, The Hitch, The Fire Demons, Splinter Cell and the Leftoverking. Unlike most guys who have talent and creativity oozing out of their pores, you know, the self absorbed type, Jeff is the working man’s artist, so down to earth he may be like Tolkien and somewhere in Middle Earth.  As our mutual friend Sang put it, “s truly polymathic.”  I just have admired the guy for as long as I’ve known him, always been like “holy shit, you did that” and figured it was time to put him on the stand, or as I put it to him, “be like a seagull scavenging at a landfill.”  Jeff’s landfill is filled wit many treasures.

Grout – Big Truck
The Hitch – Tongue In Cheek
Fire Demons – This Job Sucks
Splinter Cell – EBT (Eureka Bicycle Tweakers)

Ya know thinking about it Jeff, we’ve known each other for 25+ years, but for the life of me, this burnt out brain has done away with the memories of our meeting.  Do you remember the circumstances of how we met and what was going on with you at that time?

J: when I first moved to Humboldt, I had connected with my high school friends who were already living there.  My buddy Sebastian Elrite was lifting weights with a group of dudes from HSU for fun, and told me about some guys who would jam during the weightlifting sessions who needed a guitar player.  So i showed up to the Flesh House (your house) and started playing with Sean Phillips, jon ?, and cain (who had been the bass player from the lookouts).  We were pretty horrible from what i remember, and loud.  After each practice we would go upstairs from the basement garage, and you would be there sitting on the couch, watching mash with the tv cranked up to full volume so you could hear it.  That’s how i remember meeting you.

EDIT:  Now that you mention it, you guys did a really loud, harsh cover of Nirvana’s “Negative Creep”.

You are a man who wears many hats, with your hands in all kinds of different pots, how would you describe yourself?

J: Jack of all trades, master of none!  I guess mainly I consider myself and artist, whatever form that art takes is up to what excites me at the moment.  At home am known as mainly a fartist.

You are a fellow music lover and you’ve never let genre hold you back, I’m curious about what was your earliest exposure to music and how did it evolve?

J:  I grew up in a house full of four teenage girls in the mid sixties so some of the first music I heard was definitely the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, the monkeys, stones, and Cat Stevens.  Stuff like that.  My folks were older and listened to mainly show tunes.  My dad liked western music (Johnny cash, Marty Robbins, etc) but never listened to it much as my sisters and mom mainly ruled the radio and turntable.  I can relate to that now as I can’t really enjoy my records in my house either.  My two little girls are not really into black flag, or the butthole surfers…  ha ha.  Full circle.

Is there any music you don’t like?

J:  Top forty of any form does not really float my boat, but I have always been pretty open to different listening experiences.  So I guess I don’t really like top 40 pop, or country much.  I pretty much cringe when I hear that stuff.

I know you’ve probably seen your fair share of bands over the years, what was the first memorable show (or feel free to list several)?

Seeing the who and the clash at the Oakland Coliseum was a huge deal for me, but sitting so far away from the bands, there was a certain disconnection there.  I think seeing punk bands in small clubs up close and personal was pretty moving and influential to me.  Black flag, and Dead Kennedys were eye openers.  Or I should say ear openers.

Are there any particular bands that have had a lasting impact or have shaped you as a musician today and why would that be?

J: I have to say that I was majorly influenced by the Who as a youngster.  I remember seeing the footage of them smashing their instruments on the Smother’s Brothers show.  I think that was the first time I ever saw anger and negative emotion expressed in music, and it was pretty liberating.  I think that influence had carried over into the punk movement, and drove a lot of people of my generation to create heavily driven music.

What made you pick up a guitar (or was that even the first instrument you played)?  Can you remember the first time you played in front of a live audience?

J:  My folks and sisters say that I grabbed an acoustic guitar of my dad’s, and jumped up on the fireplace hearth and started rocking out when i was like three or four years old.  I think they were listening to Elvis at the time.  I took guitar lessons a few times as a kid, but it never really stuck.  My best friend from grade school and I took lessons from a nun.  When we were in junior high, we went to guitars unlimited in Menlo Park California and purchased used electric guitars together.  We ditched the nun, and found a guy named Rick Neil who would teach us rock and roll songs for a dollar a song.  Then we took off with it.  The most memorable time I can recall playing in front of an audience was in high school.  I played in a mod band called the Meek.   We got gigs at a bar in San Francisco called The Sound of Music on Turk Street.  It was quite a novelty to be underage, and get to play and be served in a bar.  That was a different time.  We played originals and covers of sixties R&B songs, and bands like the Jam, the Who, the Kinks, and Small Faces.  I remember playing The Sound of Music, and getting heckled quite a bit, but one night there we played the song Shout, and the crowd really got into it, and sang all the responses.  It made chills go up my spine, and I guess I will spend the rest of my life trying to re-create that moment.

The Leftoverking is your solo project of sorts, where you do all of everything (writing, instruments, recording) in creating your own tunes, a sort of studio one man band deluxe.  How did you come up with that name, what’s it all about, and have you been active in that project lately?

J:  I had written a song when I was playing in the Hitch called the Leftover King.   It was about eating leftovers.  Back then I never touched a computer, and was not involved with the internet.  After I graduated from HSU, I got a hand me down computer, and I started messing around with it making art, messing with music on it, and my first email address name I picked for myself was the Leftoverking.  I was leery of the web and wanted to be a little anonymous.  So that’s where that came from.  I have not been very active with writing and recording music at home these days.  The kids take up most of my energy around here.  I do on occasion record other bands still, usually at their practice spaces, but have not recorded any solo stuff for some time.

Leftoverking – Cape
It’s all about Splinter Cell music wise right now for you (or is it?), from what I’ve heard you guys have done some work on a new release, what’s the story there?

J:  We did record some songs this year at my house.  We had a window of like three days while my wife and kids were out of town.  So far one song has come out of that recording, and I think you already have it (Can The Baby Reach The Meth?)  turns out our guitar player was sick the whole time and was not really feeling it while we recorded.  It’s pretty evident in the recordings.  (ha ha)  So I think we are going to have to do it over again someday.  Plus we have a few new ones to add that we have been working on.

Did you have anyone you looked up to, or who sort of showed you the ropes in life or art?

J:  My Dad was pretty influential.  He was a painter.  I guess that’s what got me interested in art to begin with.  I remember as a family we would go to the beach with little squares of old paneling, and a bottle of Elmer’s glue, and make mosaics.  Always something creative going on.  Other than that, I have had many art teachers from high school through my college career that were inspirational to me.

When did you become serious about doing art, what medium was it and how did that lead up to where you are today?

J:  I was really into art in high school.  I had a great teacher who encouraged me.  I went on to junior college, and eventually SF state studying art the whole time, but I guess I had doubts  the whole time about the legitimacy of being able to make art for a living.  Those doubts are still with me today, as I make my living as a housepainter, and not a painter of pictures.  I am honored that you think I am an artist Justin, but i afraid the rest of the world does not share your sentiment.  (haha)  I did lots of cartooning when I went to Foothill College, and that was fun, but I also got into lots of trouble doing it.  Humor can be dangerous.  When I left there for SF State, I was into painting and got exposed to printmaking.  When I came to HSU I pretty  much stuck to printmaking, and in particular got really into stone lithography.  Pretty much no one does stone litho anymore.  Not even at HSU.  It’s gone, a lost art.  Maybe in New Mexico there a few still doing it.  I used a lot of solvent.  Not very eco friendly.  Those days are gone.  I always seem to be pushed into a new medium for one reason or another, and these days it’s photography.  In my whole college career I never touched a camera once.  I felt like it was a cheater’s way to create an image.  Now I see it differently.  So I have been having lots of fun playing with that.

As your art has grown, your taste in it must be ever changing too (or not).  Are there any artists that inspired you and that have stood the test of time, what made them so special?

I guess there are some artist’s who’s work I have always admired.  Maybe never to imitate, but just to look at and think, “wow, that’s cool”.  Van Gogh, Aguste Rodin, Cindy Sherman, Raymond Pettibon.  I don’t know, there are so many that I enjoy.   Here in Eureka there are so many talented folks who’s work I enjoy too.  One of my favorites is painter Jesse Wiedel.  His work has that same kind of messed up quality that Pettibone has, but in color, and even weirder, as it relates mostly to the Humboldt brand of natural freakiness that surrounds us.

There was a really killer documentary about the ever dynamic Humboldt music scene called Rural Rock and Roll, what was your part in that?

J:  I was the poster child for it.  The guy on the cover and the intro.  That was about the extent of my involvement.  It’s a cool documentary though, as it showcases the variety of great bands that are hiding out in a place like this.  It was made by Jensen Ruffe, a guy who went to HSU and played in bands here who now works for MTV.  I think he edits real world and shows like that.

What new stuff spins on your turntable?  Who’s hot in the Humboldt scene right now?  Who would you like to see on a dream bill at say the Alibi?

J:  Lately the newest stuff on the turntable is a 7″ from a band that played here called the Gap Dream.  Believe it or not I bought a cassette from them too!  A Burger Records artist.  Pretty cool stuff.  What is hot in Humboldt right now are dj’s.  They pack the houses these days, and sadly live bands can hardly draw a crowd.  I can’t explain it, but that’s how it is.  It’s a little frustrating that a guy playing his ipod plugged into a p.a. garners more interest and better pay than an actual performing musician or band.  It makes me wonder what the point of even playing is, other than I still have a good time doing it.  Dream bill at the Alibi?  Hmm.  Sometimes I think it would be cool to have all of the ex members of the Hitch play with their respective current bands, but that probably will never happen.  They only allow two bands on a bill at the bi.

Any advice you have for the young artist/musician that might be coming up into it all these days?

I guess I’d say, if you are serious about making a living at art or music, be serious.  Otherwise, you’ll never make it.  Oh, and maybe have a backup plan,  like being a janitor or something.

Any future projects in the works, where are you headed man?

Right now I am putting together a photography show of multiple exposures for the near future.  I have all my prints made, and need to hunker down and make some frames and mats next.  Uhh.

Any additional words of wisdom?

The Specials song keeps popping up on the ipod, “enjoy yourself.”  seems like good advice.

Thanx Bud!

Unter Den Linden – The Lost Tapes

UDL-TLTMy buddy Bjorn did me a solid (not the first time either), because he knows I really dig his old band Unter Den Linden, and set me up with their “Lost Tapes”. We’ve done UDL before HERE, along with his current band Pilleemandjoonks. PDJ, Who are very much worth mentioning, as I put it previously, “some pretty modern almost poppy stuff that is really soulful and I’m a sucker for anything that’s got a saxophone in it.” Here’s a couple of the most recent tunes from them…
“Krigaren”

“Lynch, David”

I really like Bjorn’s voice in both PDJ an UDL.  If you haven’t heard of Unter Den Linden and you refuse to go to that previous post, as Peter at KBD put it in his posting of their Motstand i lader 7″, “One of the best swedish HC bands ever. Way underrated or maybe just forgotten because they refused to wear the punk “uniform”?” This time around we have a nice selection of live stuff from the almost 5 years the original band was around, there’s two hardcore styled tunes (tracks 4 and 6), the rest are mostly post-punk-ish, Joy Division-esque (a band I have read them compared to) type stuff.  But this is not Joy Division, they were contemporaries, and there was this sound back in the early 80s that bands are still trying to duplicate.  I asked Bjorn to give me a lowdown on the recordings…
* Att döda ett barn (to kill a child) From May 24 1980 ,Malmö our 7th show
* Vända inåt ( Introvert) same as above
* Arabenrein ver 1 and Crim Passionell From Nov. 26 1982 Tvärreds Bygdegård (far out in the bush). These songs are unique. We played them only once except for that we made a new arr. of arabenrein for our second album (Utom våra liv; Except for our Lives)
*Acceleration + The radiator from Apr 8 Club Zig-zag; Lund
* Starfighters + Kicks from March 2 1985 K.O.B Berlin Germany. one of our last shows. We played only 5 or 6 after this one. Then we broke up.

udl_BenPix

The first two tunes are these long jams, that do not bore, and for not being around for a long time at that point, the band is really together, these guys aren’t weak on their instruments.  I’m not usually a long song guy, but I think these two are my favorite on the whole tape.  All the songs rip though on here and, as I said, if you’re more of a hardcore type guy, check out tracks 4 and 6.  All in all a very enjoyable tape…

Kickar

Starfighters

Radiatorn

Acceleration (Lund)

Crim Passionell

Arabenrein ver 1

Vända Inåt

Att döda ett barn

udl