Friday, July 06, 2007

Justice: Oh How We Laughed Video

Here's the Justice music video I filmed, edited and directed for school. I'm not really 100% satisfied as the color correction is a total failure and there are a lot of shots that I couldn't use because you could see either the Black Pro-mist or the donut reflect. But I'm more satisfied about this thing than I am about all the other school related stuff I have made the last two years. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

"I walked the streets the other day"

It seems as if there are finally some new and fresh bands popping up again over here in Belgium and the Netherlands that are actually pretty good. Some of those bands are Vogue (who rerecorded their demo yesterday, as well as a 7"), The Reactionaries (featuring members of Dead Stop, Justice and Restless Youth) and the Dutch band Union Town. Be on the lookout for all these bands, because they are better than your average punk or hardcore band.
I will be spending some blog space on both Vogue and The Reactionaries some day soon, but for now I will urge you to at least check out the MP3s of Union Town by simply clicking here. Be prepared for some late DC influenced hardcore meets Dangerhouse hardcore and mid-paced late '70s with great Dave Smalley influenced vocals. If you like what you hear try to get a hold of their demo, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, March 23, 2007

How do you do? I don't think we've meet, my name is Alec and I'm from Minor Threat!

I just found out that the guy that's asleep on the Minor Threat EP isn't Ian Mackaye, but his brother Alec. I always thought, just like most of you I guess, that Ian was the guy so tired he fell asleep at a show. I even think I remember having read this in Dance Of Days. I'm not 100% sure about that though.

Anyway, Henry Rollins had this to say about the picture:

That’s Alec MacKaye, Ian’s brother. I was standing there when that photo was taken. He was such an interesting guy. Alec and I were roommates in the summer of ’80 for a few weeks. Alec had the bunk bed. He would come in at like at 10 a.m. and say he walked to Bethesda and back. He would go in that outfit—the jeans and trench coat. And he would walk through the simmering D.C. stewpot in that outfit, and get to the show early and just pass out. That picture was taken either between sets or when he’d arrived early to the gig and caught a nappy-nap.

Check out some more great pictures taken by Susie J. Horgan along with little comments by Henry Rollins here. Or buy the book Punk Love here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Beer Cup! Yeah!!
Here's a scan of the order form for Murphy's Law merchandise that was included with the Back With A Bong lp. I read somewhere someone wanted to see a scan of this, so here it is, whoever requested it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"The body is deteriorating every day, you can’t get too attached to it"

These are the alien beggar kids: They started to get dressed in the morning but came up with a better idea. They used razors, an axe, hatchets, anything they could get their hands on, and turned themselves into skinheads and Mohawks. Sure they look tough, but let’s get things straight: Being a kid in 1986 ain’t as much fun as you thought.
The Cro-Mags have known this for years. Their solution is musical and brilliant in its simplicity. Blend hardcore with the sexual powers of heavy metal and add some punk rock to be true to their roots. The Cro-Mags are the extraterrestrial sewer workers of hardcore. If it’s possible to be down to earth and orbit it at the same time, they’ve been there. While other bands are looking for new ways to say the same old thing, the Cro-Mags speed-sing simple, lyrical songs with a simple, non-lyrical message. One message: Being a kid sucks. Period.
Sounds like fun? Well, it’s a lot like playing sandlot baseball in Lebanon. But in rock culture the definition of ‘fun’ comes up for renewal every couple of years. The angriest musical message ever sent was the one punk rock gave to the hippies: “We hate your idea of fun.” Punk rock gave you a place to go when your parents were getting into Studio 54. But when rock ‘n’ roll grew up, how the hell could a kid rebel respectably when his parents were hanging out, smoking pot, and listening to the Clash? It is the action-reaction theory of evolution: One generation’s idea of fun is always the next generation’s poison.
The Cro-Mags have their own ideas. Three of the band members are Hare Krishnas. They are vegetarians and, for a bunch of non-smoking, non-drinking herbivores, they look pretty good. Unless you happen to hate tattoos, in which case they look healthy but scarred.
The band arrives on time. There are five of them, two of whom –Harley Flanagan and John Joseph- are twins. Equally tanned, attractive, muscled, shaved, and tattooed, they are the same height and finish each other’s sentences. Usually they agree. Onstage, you can tell them apart because John is the lead singer, and Harley plays bass. Offstage, it’s harder. Doug Holland, lead guitar, looks like John and Harley, but without the tattoos. Parris Mitchel Mayhew (known to friends as Kevin) appears to represent the preppie faction of the group. He stands taller than the others and has hair. Mackie, the drummer, also has hair and always look unhappy.
They are, by rock star standards, well-behaved and soft-spoken. Nobody squirms or tells ‘in’ jokes. They bring their own Perrier, answer all the questions, and don’t all talk at once. They don’t make comments about the interviewer’s legs just because she happens to be a girl, and they’re a rock band. They are, in a word, mellow. But onstage they play such angry music.
“It’s not angry,” John protests in a barely audible voice. “Maybe people think that because there is a certain energy associated with it that is physical and aggressive.”
“Yeah,” Harley agrees, “but we have a message. There is a certain amount of frustration in our lives, but we feel we have ways to deal with it.”
“Some people go to clubs, do cocaine, and listen to demonic metal to get out their frustrations. It’s negative. Hardcore kids come to a show, slam and stage-dive with their friends, and feel better. There’s hardly any frustration on the dance floor. If there is, it’s someone who has a lot of negativeness in them, but basically it’s all non-violent.”
“Still you appear to be afraid. You’re always telling the kids to watch out.”
For the first time they all talk at once. “No!”
“I just don’t want them to come up and unplug me in the middle of a song,” Harley says.
“Recently, people are getting a bit sloppy. I just have to tell them to watch out for the equipment. It does get chaotic, which is why the energy has to be real. Outsiders can’t make the distinction between the fans having fun and the ones that are negative.”
“Yeah, outsiders just get scared,” Doug adds. “But people want more violence at a hockey game.”

Q: Who invented hardcore?
A: Probably the Russians.
Q: What do hardcore kids and Russians have in common?
A: Whenever you see either group having too much fun, you worry.

John and Harley insist that church devotees attend their shows, which I find hard to believe. I make a mental note to look for them at the next show, but since skinheads and Hare Krishnas resemble each other, I realize that I have to look hard.
The Cro-Mags’ devotion to Krishna caused problems over the packaging of their first album, The Age Of Quarrel. They selected a painting from The Bhagavad Gita, the bible of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, that depicted acts of lust, violence, and drug abuse (rock ‘n’ roll and religion coming together again). Originally chosen for the jacket cover, the painting was moved to the inner sleeve because Profile (the band’s record label) decided it was too controversial. To add insult: The painting was altered to soften its effect. The band was angry and insisted that the album be shipped with CENSORED stamped in large letters across the painting.
Krishna and hardcore? It seems implausible. But glancing through the concert ads from the Village Voice I noticed another hardcore band that calls itself Krishna Madness. Given the action-reaction theory, it makes sense that these kids would be involved in a religion that opposes drugs and promiscuity rather than embrace all the things rock music has stood for in the past. The average age of a hardcore musician or fan is 15. This would put his parents at close to age 35. The Rolling Stones are older. The idea of Mick Jagger prancing around in drag while Keith Richards shoots up is enough to make any kid rebel.
“It would take a long time to explain,” says Doug, “but being a devotee is in part a result of seeing all your friends dead from drug overdoses. For me it is an answer.”
“Everyone is looking for answers to their questions,” says John, “It’s tough in this city. You have to meditate wherever you are. I was into reading a lot of books about philosophy. When I was hanging around the Bad Brains, they attracted a lot of Hare Krishnas. I read those books, and I felt that this philosophy mixed devotion with serious, intense philosophy and explained why even bad things happen. I started hanging around with devotees. Now we go to meetings every Sunday.”
“I resented a lot of our friends who are devotees at first,” says Harley, “but then I started to know them better. I believe in God, and I can associate comfortably with anyone who does. The religion preaches being positive about anything that happens to us.”
“Everywhere we go we hear things about our friends,” says Doug. “Like two people we knew hung themselves. When we go onstage, we try to think positive. Sometimes things can go wrong, but that is our karma. We’ve grown up seeing people around us dying, killing themselves with drug overdoses. We try to have a message, for ourselves and these kids. The message is the same as our religion: Be positive.”
“Yeah, a lot of people we knew were bugging out,” says John. “Taking money to buy crack.”
“I get frustrated,” says Harley, “and the only time I can really relax is if I relax my mind, chant, play this music, and meditate.”
And on Sunday nights they play mind wrenching, insane hardcore rock ‘n’ roll, and sing songs about how everything sucks.
Perhaps if a lot of people sit around and complain loudly about how bad things are, how we’re a bunch of pagan heretics, and how the world is going to end from all this horror; if everyone agrees about it, the experience could be “positive”. People might feel better knowing that they’re not alone. The experience could almost be religious. It could be a Cro-Mags show.
“I have no proof that it’s true,” Doug finishes, sensing my scepticism, “but I had my lung punctured by a Catholic priest. I was in the hospital, and the priest came to give me last rites. He held my arm out and left it hanging. The strain in my arm, I felt it, left a hole in my chest.”
“But,” Doug is quick to add, “it wasn’t his fault.”

Chris Williamson owns the Rock Hotel, which promotes the Cro-Mags and other hardcore shows all over the country. He loves the stuff. Williamson wears shorts and sneakers backstage, classic attire for a hardcore fan. He runs in circles, stopping for a minute to make a point. He speaks to you assuming that you already agree with him, which makes it easier to agree with him.
Williamson points out to the video monitor, ablaze with the opening band onstage. “This,” Chris says, and I nod in agreement, “already sounds too soft to us.”
He happens to be right. This music is an addiction. The louder and faster and rawer you get it, the more important those things become to you senses. It numbs you to anything else. All the Cro-Mags mastered other kinds of music –Doug was a blues guitarist and Mackie is an accomplished studio drummer- but the energy just wasn’t there in anything else they played.
“Hardcore was born as a reaction to punk and music from the UK and has to be called a truly American creation,” says Chris. “Although it was originally an East Coast phenomenon, I believe that the West Coast is finally falling under the incredible power of hardcore especially after seeing the Cro-Mags totally blow away everyone who witnessed their recent West Coast shows.” The Cro-Mags’ blending of hardcore and metal (metalcore) is unique, and the experience is devastating with slamming, diving, and stage storming –critical mass energy, and it’s overtaken the American musical scene.
The music is also a drug. A Cro-Mags show is not a Hare Krishna prayer meeting. It’s more like the Quaalude of the ‘80s. L’Amour in Brooklyn, New York, is traditionally a heavy metal rock club. On this night the battle lines are drawn. You can tell who’s into what around here by what they wear and where they stand. Hardcore fans are up front where they can slamdance and chickenfight. They have shaved heads, wear active sportswear, and sometimes go shirtless revealing well-muscled bodies. Heavy metal kids hang back –way back, where no one can step on their high heels, rip their spandex, or slamdance on their well-sprayed hairdos. The hardcore section smells like sweat, the heavy metal part like VO-5.
With things so divided you’d expect half the club to be bored half the time. But as the Cro-Mags open, John goes into an epileptic fin onstage, twisting into contortions that suggest a hardcore Joe Cocker. Everyone is wild. Clenched fists and the horns, the heavy metal hand sign, go up at once.
These are the toughest fans, even though they don’t know how to dress. Deviate even momentarily from the established hardcore format, and they’re finished with you. Forever. “That,” Doug points out, “is because they come here to relax.”
The Cro-Mags slow, then speed up tempos. It’s rush hour: John and Harley run the length of the stage like they’re in a marathon. Doug hangs back, playing the great leads that require intense concentration. Parris just about smashes himself.
When it’s over, everyone is spent. Fans file out quietly. They are even quiet outside, as they walk home or hang out on cars near the club. But you can’t help being afraid. They really look awful.
Though the music is quite repetitive, the fans are touchy about what they want to hear, and these guys are actually decent musicians. (Most hardcore bands are composed of kids who never even graduated high school, much less took a music lesson).
The Cro-Mags say they don’t get bored playing hardcore. I look around the room, taking a sight poll. Mackie, the unhappy looking one, shrugs. “I do.”
What, then, is he doing here?
“Well, I am happy as long as I can play other kinds of music. I like hardcore, it’s the only thing where the kids can jump around and be part of the show. But I am locked into a certain format, and it can be boring. But the energy in this is great.”
“I mean, we play gigs where kids break their arms,” says Harley, “kids have come up to me and said, ‘Man, you guys were great. I had such a good time, look, I broke my arm.’” To the Cro-Mags, all that matters is that the music is good, releases frustrations, hurts no one, and isn’t illegal. And as long as the kids don’t slamdance naked on public beaches, western civilization is safe.
Too bad things had to change. In the ‘60s there were just two kinds of music: rock and Joan Baez. Apparently nobody could stand her, but everything else was considered listenable. It was sort of like being a kid and having your mother insist that you eat all your liver because starving children in other parts of the world would be thrilled to have such a nice dinner. The hippies listened to everything because, in places like Poland, there were hippies going to bed hearing Perry Como.
There was less to listen to, so no one avoided Cream because Clapton played blues or laughed at Hendrix when he played just plain metal. Hendrix became a legend to guys who wouldn’t be caught dead at a heavy metal show today. But back then it never occurred to anybody to complain. No one ever noticed that when the Beatles played Shea Stadium they had become “too commercial.”
Then, again, maybe it’s good that things changed. Maybe rock doesn’t need any supergroups. Obviously, with so many classifications and with fans reluctant to listen to new groups that fall outside of their specific musical preferences, the best success any band can hope for is cult status.
As for the Cro-Mags, they’ve succeeded in raising your conscious and are preparing for a 50-city tour with Motörhead. If you’d like to be a fan but feel that you are too old, can’t stand hardcore, or just simply don’t remember how to have fun, the band advises you to attend one of their shows. “People always ask me,” says Parris, “but the only way I can describe it is to say, ‘you gotta see for yourself.’ Get there early, because the shows are always crowded. Wear sneakers.”
Is great commercial success in this band’s future?
“Success for a rock band,” Kevin concludes with conviction, “means surviving.” You can say pretty much the same for a kid in 1986.
Days later we are sitting in Doug’s New York East Village apartment, which is furnished modestly and is very clean. The bathtub is in the kitchen. He glances around with pride. “To be able to work and buy things and have a roof over my head gives me something that these kids need. I work a day job because for the first two years we made no money at all.”
What about the tattoos? Well, only John and Harley have them (you don’t have to get tattooed to be a Cro-Mag or a fan). But when you do something so permanent to yourself, don’t you wonder what you’ll feel about it in 20 years? You might be real sorry.
“The body is deteriorating every day,” John tells me in his best I-Play-Hardcore-So-I-Am-Calm-Now monotone. “You can’t get too attached to it.”
“Yeah,” agrees Harley, who’s a tattoo artist in his spare time. “If I thought I’d live forever, I’d worry about it. But for now the worst thing is when you think of something you’d like to draw there, but you’ve run out of space.”
A recent Cro-Mags show at New York’s Ritz. Skinheads bang heads with Hare Krishnas. Everyone has fun. Richie, the Ramones drummer, known for playing faster and louder than anyone around, is in the audience, applauding the show.
“Great, huh?” a Ramones/Cro-Mags fan with a Statue Of Liberty hairdo exclaims.
“Yeah, really great,” says Richie, “but it wiped me out. I guess I’m too old.”
“Don’t worry, Richie,” the fan reassures him. “It’s supposed to make you tired. Besides, you’re not too old till you can’t go to shows anymore.”

You just read an 1986 article about the Cro-Mags. I found the original article scanned somewhere online, but I don’t really recall where I got it from (if the person responsible for the scan happens to read this, on behalf of every Cro-Mags fan: Thank you!). I just typed the whole article and left it as it was, including the spelling. I think the article’s pretty funny, at times patronizing, at times naive and other times just stupid or on point. Reading this you realise how much times have changed concerning the relation between mainstream press and hard music. Oh yeah, this article was written by Annetta Stark and it appeared in a paper or magazine that I don’t know the name of.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

About Black Sabeth, Lcyries, Reglion And Lolopolosea

Here's a scan of an amazing Integrity interview I found back on my computer. I don't know what fanzine it's taken from and I don't know who scanned it, so no credit for you guys! Enjoy this piece of history and if you want to listen to the Die Hard demo while reading, you can download the demo below.

Here's the Off The Bat demo for you all to enjoy:

Off The Bat
Drilling Into Untouched Stone

Thanks to the Something I Learned Today Blog I came across an amazing site that hosts a lot of live sets by the ever great Dinosaur Jr. as well as other J Mascis bands. There's really a bunch of cool audio and video stuff to download. Just listen to Mountain Man from the Dinosaur (Jr.) debut and you think there's no greater song in the world (this is by far not true, but it's the feeling you get when listening to the song). Anyway, this is the site you all should download stuff from:
And here is another cool website about Dinosaur Jr.:
And the official Dinosaur Jr. website is only another click away: