Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Found an old board recording of The Clutters from September 12, 1997 when we played the Gold Dollar in Detroit ... we're nimble as always, pretty well blasted and blasting through each number like an underwater fistfight, not our finest hour, but there is a good take on one of guiterrorist Ramirez's songs, a heavy outlaw number called "From Here To There" that we used to play all the time but never got to a studio. It's up now on the Clutters Myspace page.

I remember this particular night, the Clutters opening for Two Star Tabernacle and Easy Action ... I found the flier for this show reproduced in a book about the White Stripes because apparently Jack White was playing drums for Goober at the time. I don't recall that, but what I do remember is the joint emptying out halfway through Easy Action's headliner set to watch a vacant building behind the Gold Dollar go up in flames. EA joined the rest of us in the parking lot after they wrapped up, quietly drinking and considering the inferno -- standing next to John Brannon as the city burned was a quintessential Detroit moment for me.

Tyson and I have held preliminary practices for a hard country band lately, scoring ourselves a father/son rhythm section and drafting J. Blacktree for the voice. We tank up at the Tin Hat and then holler at each other for a while ... so far nothing that anyone else should have to listen to, but it's good to be loud again.

PS. Now that I consider it, I think you gotta see Easy Action, too ... sorry, guys. But seriously, this band is for real. "There's no pension plan for rock and roll," sez Brannon. "This shit for life."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More photos from our show at the Skylark available if you check out Tyson's Flickr page. Check out the radiant look on my face as we debut the new lineup. Finally, a reason to smile.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008


Face it, you don't have anything going on today, so shut up and watch the Marx Brothers in Horse Feathers ... see them declare war on cops, educators, prohibition, organized sports and everything else, spreading more anarchy than any puny two-bit mohawked numbskull. At 3:40 Groucho launches into the greatest protest song ever written, "I'm Against It" (not the Ramones tune, but that one's righteous in its own right).

We had a fine showing yesterday for Xmas, more than in most years -- the weather eased up a great deal, but plenty of folks' official plans got scuttled nonetheless, so I had to deal with people all day long (thanks a lot, nature). I drank too much and ate too little, so the day was a total success. Unfortunately, the VHS copy of Silent Night Deadly Night Part 3 (the best installment of the series) I rented wouldn't play, robbing our guests of a true Christmas miracle. See you all next year, and not a minute before.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

As with every year since Lori and I moved to the Left Coast, we celebrate this most obnoxious of holidays by opening our doors to anyone with nowhere to go, or somewhere to go that they'd rather avoid. Christmas doesn't mean so much to me ... like New Year's Eve, the desperation to feel something that other people are apparently feeling drives many a good man out of his/her head, and it's a cliche even to bring it up, but the commercialization of the season makes me sick. To all of you who sincerely believe that Jesus Christ is mankind's saviour and mark the holiday by celebrating His birth, I wish you the warmest of holiday wishes ... for those of you decorating your house with plastic holly, cellulose tinsel and spray-on frost, I say leave me out of it. None of us need any more toys, and we already have the Fourth of July for celebrating America's withering dominance over the global marketplace. Check the tag on your festive Santa hat ... it's made in China out of flammable materials because they hate us.

That said, I welcome anyone in earshot to our house anyway, even if you think I hate you. We got plenty of liquor and candy and I just rented the entire Silent Night, Deadly Night series (well, except for Part 2, which is a total ripoff composed of flashback scenes to the original), so it's gonna be a riot. You haven't lived until you dig Mickey Rooney as "Joe Petto" the evil toymaker in Part 5, we got Clint Howard as slave to a coven of witches in Part 4 and just wait til you see what the great director Monte Hellman (Two Lane Blacktop, Cockfighter) does to the series in Part 3: You Better Watch Out! (I elaborate windily in this Allmovie.com review). We live in the Green Lake neighborhood, right by the Green Lake, so give me a call for directions, or email me for my phone number, or ask someone else. Or don't worry about it ... the weather is awful, and really, Christmas is just another day and it only has the power to oppress us if we let it. But because of all the pressure, some of our friends might feel lonely, and that is just obscene.

The Skylark gig came off much better than the Blue Moon, in that we were allowed to perform. For most of the day I didn't think it would happen, for although much of the ice on major roads had melted off, anything less traveled caused our Scion to spin and slip like a cat on buttered glass. And where it wasn't a solid slick there were great chunks of packed snow to dodge -- certain sections of the city are like a war zone. But the management didn't cancel and neither did we, so we played a ragged first set to no one (sorry, Summer and Andrew were there, but you know what I mean), which I felt fine about. I couldn't relax enough to enjoy myself, but that's usually the case no matter what I do, and I made it home alive and sober. So fuck all y'all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Nuff said.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Well, I am proud to say that The End Times' reputation as Seattle's hardest band still stands, with no others even coming close ... the region has been hit with some Michigan-style heavy weather that this puny city struggles to withstand and comprehend. Since apparently salt is illegal out here, the roads are treacherous, as much for the layers of ice that remain as novice drivers with no idea how to navigate on slick streets (see illustration). As I'd crowed about in earlier posts, the band had negotiated a spot at the historic (some Beats visited once about fifty years ago) Blue Moon Tavern to unveil our latest girl singer Abigail on December 18, an appointment we took seriously, and we braved the elements to make our destination. As usual, bravery led to disappointment and disillusionment ... the bar was still open, but the other acts lost their nerve and cancelled by phone, the soundman decided to blow off the night and we didn't learn about it all til we arrived. We toasted our accomplishments regardless. After all, we booked it, we advertised it and we made it, so the seal has been broken and our first show is officially out of the way. Performing is only a tiny part of the equation. As a once-funny man once said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up."

We'll do it again next Tuesday at the Skylark Cafe. The weather threatens to hold and even worsen, but we have no plans to concede.

PS. Happy Birthday, baby.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Maybe it's just the hangover talking, but I'm revisiting the Beatles' Hard Days Night LP today and finding it refreshing like a cold Coca Cola on an upset stomach. As a youngster (pre-drinking age) I used to listen to the Beatles all the time, because when you're young you haven't yet learned that they're the most consistently overrated pop group in history ... when you don't know anything yet it's easy to let pompous baby boomer rock crits convince you that they singlehandedly invented psychedelia or the rock opera, or that their cultural relevance is still as strong as it was back in the self-important 60s.

But this fawning, yawning chasm of obsequity eventually drove me away, as did the constant exposure to the Beatles catalog via radio and TV commercials, songs played so many times that they eventually faded into the background, as stimulating as Muzak. Jim Diamond taught me to appreciate the Hamburg-era Silver Beatles noise, when the Fab Four were gobbling amphetamines and blasting Chuck Berry tunes til they were hoarse and finger-blistered (those murky old bootlegs are hot, and Lemmy says they were great live at the beginning, so it must be true), but I got tired of the Beatles as a phenom long, long ago ... there have just been too many great bands with songs that equal or better the Beatles (Big Star -- nuff said) to keep slavishly playing those records. I don't have that kind of time.

But I'm currently finding new excitement in Revolver and the aforementioned HDN sountrack, both of which feature gems too perfect to completely ignore. A couple decades have passed since I last cared, so I guess my palate has been cleansed and I'm ready to hear those songs anew. But I haven't been wrong about my prejudices, far from it. Is Sarge Pepper still an insufferable ego trip that did more harm than good? You bet. Are the Monkees still way more fun to listen to? Absolutely. Is Paul McCartney still the biggest pussy in the music business, and is anyone who follows his career beyond the late 70s as big a pussy as he is? Indubitably. But that isn't gonna stop me from playing "I'll Cry Instead" on repeat all day long today just so I can hear John Lennon holler "I'll show you what yer lovin' man can do." That is a fucking moment.

Friday, December 12, 2008

L to R: Malcolm, Bon, Angus

Thanks to Kerri for taking photos of a recent End Times dress rehearsal ... I'm looking downright Nixonian in my middle age. We hit the studio again last night and completed three new demo tracks, which one can hear here.

"Eye On The Storm": I wrote this while living in Chicago, facing facts for the first time in my life. Giving in is the only freedom.

"To Fail With Grace": I wrote this a few weeks ago for Abi to sing, which she really does. A seasoned loser counsels a novice in the ways of the world.

"Got Caught Waiting": I don't remember when I wrote this, but I do know I was loaded at the time. They say someday it all catches up with you.

Thanks again to Conrad for allowing us to pay him for his services. We'll see any interested locals at the Blue Moon next Thursday.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yesterday a new neighbor in our apartment building knocked on our door to introduce himself and let us know he was planning a small party next Monday, so if the gathering got too loud to not hesitate to say so. As he was a stranger, I regarded him with suspicion and doubt until he left, at which point I realized that he was only doing what every respectful neighbor should do in such circumstances … what have I become? What the hell is wrong with me?

Well, it’s no excuse, but my nerves have been shredded as of late. I’ve been sleeping badly, plagued by vague nightmares in which the only threat is dread itself. Plus this cast in my mouth is killing me … the surgery itself and its aftermath was relatively painless, the torture comes from having stiff plastic wrapped around my teeth and adhered to the roof of my mouth. My tongue is raw from constant exposure and eating is difficult, which for someone like me with a sporadic appetite equals malnutrition. Work at the office is oppressive, moreso than usual, so I’m doubting my worth as a productive adult and despairing of spending the next twenty years (if I’m lucky enough to live and remain employed that long) in fluorescent cubicles. Lori aside, the band is the only thing I feel confident about – we sound great and we look great and I don’t care who disagrees with me. After so many long months of worry over The End Times’ future, this strength buoys me. But I still feel like biting someone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What's that? Yeah, I noticed too. It's all a big, stupid mistake and I'm really angry about it. Let's just ignore the whole thing, okay?
The End Times' initial recordings were made at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit, MI on 7-07-2007. Jim Diamond officiated. Five songs were pressed into CD-R form and distributed casually, but earned airplay on local station KEXP 90.3FM nonetheless. We have just learned that these recordings are eligible to be chosen as one of KEXP's "Top 90.3 of 2008," in which listeners may vote for as many as ten 2008 releases to be judged as the top ... well, you get the idea. If you're the type of person who goes in for this kind of thing, I certainly encourage you to click this link and give The End Times a running start at being roundly defeated by a bunch of bands I've never heard. After all, you cannot lose if you do not play.

In related news, The End Times return to Egg Studios on Thursday to continue documenting the new lineup. I'll let you know if anything happens.

Monday, December 08, 2008


OK, so like I was saying, I joined Facebook for some reason and within days was friendsterd by a couple dozen people who date back to my early 20s, a time of great enjoyment and strife for me that took many years to reconcile. Some folks I'd been in constant contact with since leaving East Lansing, MI, others I hadn't spoken to or even thought of in years, and then the photos started coming ... everybody apparently had cameras back then, I don't remember that part, but the deluge of memories has been jarring for me. Aside from the shock of comparing old and new versions of friends I'm still in touch with (when you see people on a regular basis, you don't quite see them age) and being faced with people I was once close to but now have no feelings for, there was the narcissistic thrill of gazing upon myself at such a vulnerable stage of my life. For better or worse, my personality took root in East Lansing and that's where I became the person I'd continue to be, so looking back to that age repels and attracts in equal measure. I was in as many places as I could be back then, so I figure in a number of photos, drunk, sober, on stage, at parties, with friends and enemies alike, and for some reason I seem to be wearing the same two shirts in all of them.

I was in a band then called El Smasho, and as we were the loudest thing going at the time, we ruled our backyard for a year or two. We released three 7" singles, played every fucking weekend and took out of town gigs whether it made sense or not (we went down really well in Flint, but otherwise crickets). We were at it for three years and change, a huge chunk of a person's life when that person is only 24 years old and doesn't have anything to compare it to ... the band set me on whatever path I'm on now, and while I cringe at many of the decisions I made then both social and artistic, there's nothing I regret. Looking back, I think I can say that El Smasho were a great band that wrote some pretty lousy songs ... on a good night we were enormous, but each of us wanted the band to do different things (except Tim, he just wanted to play drums) and we all had different ways of spending our free time, so it sputtered to a close in 1994.

These are the best of the El Smasho-related photos that have been recently Facebooked. So many doors I thought I'd closed, so many conclusions I thought I'd drawn ...

Gettin' serious at some co-op party. This photo ran on the front cover of the MSU newspaper's Welcome Week edition one year ... less a statement of our local popularity and more about having good friends who ran the rag.

Early attempt at "attitude." Utterly retarded.

Practice space.

El Smasho was protected onstage (and off) by The Smashettes, at first a trio but gradually a duo of broads far tougher than any of us pansies. Yes, they looked great, but they seriously earned their keep at crowded basement shows, standing in front of the band with their baseball bats and deflecting bodies when the energy of the pit got too strong. They were as much a part of the band as any of us, and we once pulled out of a show with a restrictive door policy that refused to admit the girls as bandmembers. After they quit, there wasn't much of anything left.

Early press shot. I had the flu that day.

Our first recd, featuring "Clown In The Family," the only song the four of us wrote together, and "Red Devil," the only song Brian and I wrote together.

Second release, with "Notorious," which I never thought much of back in the day but now recognize as a true teenage blues classic ... "I know I'll never stop loving that girl/But I hate her too much to be her friend." That's a great line, Tom.

Final vinyl. "Foster Brooks" might be the first honest song I wrote. With lines like "You fucking bitch, you put a spell on me" and "I'll marry anyone who wants me," I'm clearly taking a proud stand as an angry, confused, immature time bomb waiting to explode on someone's front door step at four in the morning. But my music is still my only revenge ... I have a few copies of this one left if you need one.

The Dave Hill often joined us on stage to showcase his own anarchic style of performance art ... that is, HIS LIFE.

Tom and me onstage at the 1993 MSU "Homegroans" show, a local rock fest that drew some 500 souls ... probably the peak of El Smasho as both a creative and a financial venture.

Terri and Brian onstage at the same gig.

Tom Deja and his hammer, same gig.

May I take a moment to point out that this is a pure, totally non-ironic action shot? I REALLY BELIEVED, MAN. I still do.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Me at the height of my powers. Thanks for capturing the moment, Kathy ...

Friday, December 05, 2008

This is how I remember the early 1990s ... me hugging girls I'd only vaguely recall fifteen years later, Tom Potter smoking as much as humanly possible, and Mark Deming effortlessly being the coolest motherfucker in the room. Oh, and Soren was there too.

Within the hour I'll be strapped to a chair with knives in my mouth. I'm having grafting surgery to repair some gum recession, so if over the next few weeks you see me in the street (yeah, right, like I'm ever out on the street) and I don't give you a warm smile and stop to make small talk with you, well, this time I have an excuse. I'll have an oral bandage over part of my front teeth, so til it heals, mouth movements will be minimal. I've had this procedure before for a different part of my mouth, they cut out a chunk of my upper palate and then sew it in where its needed ... sounds nightmarish, but with lorazepam and nitrous oxide it's actually fairly pleasant and passes before you know it, and then they give you vicodin as a consolation prize. I filled up the Ipod with surgery-appropriate music (Stackwaddy, Electric Banana, Venom, Blue Cheer) and I can't wait.

I promise more skunky old photos stolen from Facebook in future posts as I gain the strength to face my past ... the nostalgia in that place is often overwhelming.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I was in a deadly mood this morning until "Alcohol" by Gang Green came on my Ipod ... I am always cheered by lyrics like "You got the beer/We got the time/You got the coke/Gimme a line." I'm glad I haven't been given the same alcohol vs. sex ultimatum that Gang Green apparently faced back in 1985, but it's always heartening to see young people who are willing to make sacrifices for their principles.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's the latest thing to lose your mind to ... Wayne Billy, a father/son "drum solo augmentation" band from Eureka, California. Listen now, because in twenty years everybody on the radio is going to sound just like this.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Drive-in auteur Al Adamson cobbled Hell's Bloody Devils together in his usual waste not, want not spirit, and even if the result is more incoherent than his other patchwork productions, it's brawling, brainless fun nonetheless. It is easy to see how indiscriminating audiences might be fooled by the assemblage of cool spy thriller and hot-blooded biker fantasy; if one isn't paying close attention (not unusual at drive-in theaters), Adamson's ruse is nicely spliced, with team player Vicki Volante serving as a bridge between the separate stories to simulate cohesion. However, producer Samuel M. Sherman has lovingly restored the full version of Hell's Bloody Devils for DVD release after over 30 years in limbo, and modern audiences watching the film in their homes without distraction will immediately see the seams strain. Aside from Volante's character, the titular biker gang and the Nazi counterfeiters have no interaction whatsoever, and the cyclists' sleazy activities (including LSD orgies, rape, and motorist abuse) exist only to pad time and add exploitation value. That said, Adamson was a director who could always substitute energy for logic, so Hell's Bloody Devils is as vigorous as it is nonsensical, with a great music score that buzzes with fuzz guitar and spy-theme clich├ęs. Along with Volante, the cast is classic Al Adamson stock company, with Robert Dix as a biker named "Cunk," Kent Taylor as Nazi royalty, Broderick Crawford and Scott Brady as the FBI, Greydon Clark and Gary Kent as thugs, plus John Carradine as a bird-shop owner with secret information for the hero. KFC icon Col. Harland Sanders' cameo ("Isn't that the best chicken you've ever tasted?") was exchanged for free lunches for cast and crew over the course of the shoot, proving Al Adamson to be an early pioneer in the now-pervasive art of product placement, a cinematic crime far worse than exploiting the public's taste for sex and violence. FRED BELDIN

Friday, November 21, 2008

This is the greatest.

Phil Spector and Boyce & Hart guest star on I Dream of Jeannie ... "Out and About" sticks cellos into bubblegum and takes a strong stand against boredom, giving voice to tween rage with lyrics like "Stayin' in day out and day in/Wishin' I was outside playin'" and "Magazines are torn and tattered/Runnin' out of reading matter." I'm gonna start a band just to cover this song.

You can watch the whole episode on Hulu. Totally essential.
Not the best or worst birthday I've endured, but certainly stressful in its own peculiar way ... the absence of one digit from an address caused my workload to triple at the office, and a family member's illness across the country threw a pall over the day that never completely lifted, even as I forced myself through a pint of Jack Daniel's and stuffed myself with pie (that was one of Lori's gifts to me, a different pie every day for the entire week). We had a productive End Times practice, after which Abi and I ate crabmeat and lemon tarts (that sounds like a euphemism, but it isn't) and discussed the nature of reality, or something, I don't really remember. Lori bought me a USB turntable to convert vinyl LPs into MP3s, so if I can figure out which plug to stick it in I might be able to finally share with you some of my rarest records, such as Evangelist Bobby Stanley & Family, Hypnosis for Weight Control, Snake River's "Cat Trap" single and Dracula Presentation Record. Give me, what, like a month?

Noelle (pictured above) visited Lori and I last weekend, so that served as a pre-birthday party for me. We three enjoyed a relaxing few days, marred only by a hit-and-run accident that the girls were involved in near Ballard ... nothing to worry about, no injuries and merely minor damage to the car, but the fact that someone clipped Lori trying to pass her and never turned back sure blackened our outlook for a while. Luckily, by the next day the sun was back out and Noelle and I were drinking in the afternoon and talking about sex and cocaine like usual, so everything turned out fine.

NOTE: The illustration used for this blogpost does not represent the actual auto accident that Noelle and Lori lived through. The damage to our black Scion was minimal compared to the white whatever-it-is Noelle is posed beside -- this photo was stolen from her MySpace page for purely thematic reasons.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Say hi to Abigail. She's the new singer for the End Times, a recent graduate from Evergreen who left the Capital City for the sad, aging starlet that is Seattle and somehow found her way to Tyson and I. We recently recorded a few demo tracks which you can hear here, on our MySpace page. They came out very nicely, and we're to debut publicly at the Blue Moon Tavern on December 18th (my wife Lori's birthday, no less -- thanks, baby!). Abi still needs the perfect black dress (don't we all?), but she's otherwise ready to jump in feetfirst.

Abigail, the daughter of two United Church of Christ ministers, is a practicing pagan and student of shamanism and bellydancing, which conveniently relieves me of the task of making up some sort of amusing backstory for her. She's been performing her own songs publicly since she was 14, and her last project was a metal band, so she knows how to do those death metal throatgrowls (again, Abi, this is just a little too easy). She has some of her own songs up for grabs on her MySpace page -- I suggest you start with "Nightingale for Grandpa," that's the hit.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lori found this ad on YouTube yesterday ... not only will you lose weight, but you'll become a different race.
I feel great today. No other news to impart. I’m guessing a full night’s sleep is to blame, along with an overall leveling of karmic energy … the universe shines on me and I accept its affection with humility. Thursday evening the End Times heads back to Egg Studios for a quick session with Ethylester #3, and this round could be the charm. Abigail had big shoes to fill, but they’re already a little tight on her … she snapped into place with Tyson and I with surprising speed, and while we still have plenty of work to do, I’m more confident than ever that we’re back on the road. We debut publicly in December ... more on that soon.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A redheaded girl sat next to me on the bus this morning, put on her IPod, placed her hands in her lap and started playing a very small, inconspicuous air guitar to whatever she was listening to. Nary a word nor even eye contact passed between us, but I think I had a crush on her for about three blocks.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My wife, in the future. Well, the near future, anyhow.
Despite my election day cynicism, I must admit that I found President Obama’s acceptance speech to be moving, honest and downright presidential. This is the first time in my adulthood I’ve believed that a top-level politician was telling the truth, or at least the truth as he sees it. Of course, watching a man through a television screen is no way to judge his character. So Obama still has to prove he can live up to all these hopeful feelings he’s generating, and sure, it’s very possible that he can. But he’s no Lincoln yet. Let us keep our eyes clear and let history decide what kind of pedestal to place him on.

In the meantime, for those of us who voted that way, don’t get smug. Half the country voted the other way, and their feelings are no less valid than ours were when Kerry lost. America is still evenly divided and until we learn to accept the existence of opposition and stop trying to stamp it out, nothing will be accomplished.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

If you haven't already, don't forget to Vote NO today. Obama or McCain? Seriously, can you even tell them apart? Scratch out their names and write in "NO." You know the whole thing is stupid, right?

Reject the premise. Don't ignore it, IGNITE it. Declare your dissent. Take the first step toward freedom by openly deriding a corrupt system. Let the USSA pretend to count everybody's vote and announce a pre-determined winner, but make sure they know that the people are getting hep to their con. Don't ever forget, everything anyone ever tells you IS A LIE!

Fuck the whole fuckin' thing. Vote NO.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This is a good idea. Caffeinated Lip Balm.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gerard Damiano died.

Few would argue that Damiano was one of cinema's great artisans ... the film that made his name, Deep Throat, is listless as erotica and depressing as comedy, but The Devil In Miss Jones stands as the gold standard in existential pornography and he also made the first puppet-themed XXX film (Let My Puppets Come), so let's hail him for his successes, shall we?

While we're on the subject, my soul sister Noelle recently started a food-related blog called Simmer Down! to document the recipes and restaurants that make up her life. As everyone who knows me knows, I don't care for food, I find it a nuisance and subscribe to the Richard Hell theory of eating being an addiction no better or worse than heroin or cigarettes ... if I could get my nourishment from liquids and pills I would be perfectly happy just eating a handful of marshmallows every few hours or so. But check it out if you're not like me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Got fuckin' lit last night at Tyson's birthday party and left my flask behind, the leather & chrome bottle I got from Mike R. years ago in Chicago. The old lady and I stayed later than usual and weren't even Detroit sober, so we left the car and enjoyed a crisp, brisk walk home at the end of it all. This morning I made the walk of shame to pick up the car, although in the haze of my hangover I probably still wasn't in prime driving condition. It was an exceptional party in that I actually knew at least 40% of the people in the room at any given moment, so it was a very comfortable place to drink Rebel Yell and tell lies. I had a good enough time that the hangover is the best of all possible hangovers, productive in the way that a cough can be, the emotionally purging type that makes you feel like you actually accomplished something by getting so loaded. I believe I did.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Deming on Dolemite

From the All Media Guide blog. He quotes me at the end, because he just can't help hisself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just uncovered a treasure trove of early-80s Lansing/Michigan hardcore punk videos on YouTube. Crucifucks, Meatmen, Necros, Negative Approach, Violent Apathy, even Army of God! Sorry, no Fix.

I posted a few of my favorites on Frenzy of the Visible, but they appear to all come from this guy in Texas who attended MSU "back in the day" and monitored the basement scene with a Public Access TV show called SYNTAX. Anybody remember this guy? I didn't move to Lansing til 1986, so I missed the city's hell-raising hardcore heyday. Anyhow, he's selling DVDs of this stuff, and I'm weakening.
Lori made a similar announcement on her blog, but in case you aren't hip, our home phone number (the one what ends with 4583) will be shut off on October 27th. So don't use it. My cell phone number will suffice from now on ... shoot us an email if you don't have it, want it, think you need it, etc.
The Baseball Furies - GREATER THAN EVER
The Baseball Furies might actually be dangerous, but they're more likely to hurt themselves than anyone else, and Greater Than Ever sounds like a shopping cart full of broken bottles hurtling down a steep hill, hilarious and terrifying at the same time. The Furies' brand of blithering hate-boogie is an uneasy compromise between the proudly amateurish pop of first-wave '77 punk and the hedonistic swagger of coked-out cock rock, played at a bristling speed of pharmaceutical origin. Unlike most neo-garage ne'er-do-wells, the Furies aren't just bragging about their debauchery in song, they're digging into the compulsions that fuel these excesses and exposing the steaming, stinking innards for the straight world to see. Abstract rants about proudly squalid lives and paranoid revenge fantasies are slobbered forth while spastic, slashing riffs struggle to escape the rock-solid backbone that keeps the whole mess intact. "I Hate Your Secret Club" is a white funk temper tantrum that gives the finger to the world's elite, "Archenemy" slows the tempo but not the intensity for some righteous New York Dolls riffing and "Antenna Attempt" declares the band's philosophy through broken couplets like "I want the world and it's mine to take it/If not so then I'll violate it" and "End of mission is death if I fail/I gotta de-program radio." It's not easy to capture psychosis live on tape, but the Baseball Furies truly sound like they've been kept awake for days in a locked room and let loose in a crowded bar for a binge of frightening proportions. FRED BELDIN

Monday, October 20, 2008


Rudy Ray Moore died early this morning at the age of 81. I had the good fortune to interview the man himself for The Stranger last year, a dream come true for me, but once I got Moore on the phone it was clear that this was no longer the brash, loudmouthed comedian known to me from classics like Dolemite, Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son In Law and Avenging Disco Godfather ... he sounded as old as he was, a tired 80-year old man who didn't seem overly excited by the prospect of his upcoming tour ("If they book me, I will go out"), so my article instead focused on his status as a living link to the ancient African oral tradition he borrowed (ahem) his best-loved routines from, performances which inspired a host of modern hip-hop artists.

I recommend Moore's masterpiece Dolemite to one and all, regardless of age ... it's a clumsy, profane ego-trip of a film that sweats funk from every pore and is guaranteed to lift any sagging spirit. These days his films are relatively easy to find in your average video store (check the cult or action sections), but his behind-the-counter XXX comedy records are more rare ... luckily, WFMU posted MP3 versions of two Moore LPs, The Cockpit and Sweet Peter Jeeter, so if you haven't yet experienced the surreal, aggressive comic stylings of this African-American cultural treasure, put your weight on it already.

UPDATE: Turns out that dolemite.com has a number of R.R. Moore LPs streaming for free ... the adventurous listener should start with The Rudy Ray Moore Zodiac Album, featuring an utterly pornographic appearance by Lady Reed (you may just learn something).
This weekend was fine. I ate an entire box of Crunch Berries over a 24-hour period and watched several Starsky & Hutch reruns, proving that I am finally living the lifestyle I dreamed of at age ten. Lori and I shopped for amplifiers Saturday morning -- I was seriously interested in a few models at a particular Shoreline store but got spooked once the employees started blasting The Blues Brothers soundtrack. Sunday brought a satisfying End Times practice with our latest girl singer Abigail, who now resides safely in Seattle (fresh out of Evergreen/Olympia) and is ready to forge ahead with Tyson and I into a stark tomorrow. We also closed a deal on a new practice space for some of our louder ideas, so percussionists of all disciplines are encouraged to contact us. The rest of the weekend was spent listening to Slayer’s “Disciple” on repeat at top volume.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've invested a great deal of time lately to the careful study of the 20-volume strong Metal Museum compilations currently available thanks to the largesse of this guy what calls himself MenegoSoft. Each represents a different HM sub-genre and taken as a whole the set serves as a comprehensive introduction to the extreme metal world. For the past week it's been the soundtrack of my life, apart from attending a Pillow Army show a few days back (who sounded downright twee in comparison, believe it or not) ... my hours have been spent examining the often subtle but always certain differences between the various styles of metal, differentiating between Black and Pagan, Viking and Folk, Death and Brutal Death.

As heavy as I may be, most of this material flew beneath my radar ... as a rule, metal musically concerns itself with instrumental dexterity and compositional virtuosity, while I tend to seek out crude simplicity and improvisational inspiration. I'm moved more by the repetition of the groove, and metal has progressed so far beyond the building blocks of Sabbath and Motorhead that it's essentially bluesless, owing more to European classical traditions despite the brutal sensuality of its approach and the Afro-American origins of its basic instrumentation.

I also appreciate that metal is one of the rare popular musics that routinely addresses religion as a theme. Perhaps most would imagine HM to be a godless world, but a denial of god is still a religious argument, and embracing an alternative belief system like Satanism is still a search for meaning through a higher power. Most fascinating to me is how a trio of stooges like Venom, with their ludicrous Z-grade horror histrionics and amateur riffsmithery, can inspire a generation of new bands to turn fanciful devil-worship fantasies into actual church burnings, and then take the rejection of Christianity further into a celebration of ancient pagan values and their pre-Christian heritage. From drunken Limeys snarling in spandex to Norwegian teenagers studying history books ... a long, strange trip indeed.

Some of the bands you'll enjoy if you explore this vast K-Tel of Metal ...

VIKING METAL: Thiasos Dionysos, Mnegarm, Folkearth, Borknagar and Moonsorrow

BLACK METAL: Burzum, Behemoth, Immortal, Gorgoroth and Lord Belial

CHRISTIAN METAL: Stryper, Jeruselam, Bloodgood, Barren Cross and Die Happy

PAGAN METAL: Rhymes of Destruction, Natural Spirit, Hel, User Ne and Butterfly Temple

DEATH METAL: Torture Killer, Decapitated, Nunslaughter, Pungent Stench and Blood Freak

BRUTAL DEATH METAL: Born Headless, Prostitute Disfigurement, Necrotorture, Goregasm and Amputated Genitals

Plus NWOBHM, Doom, Speed, Thrash, Glam, Avant Garde, Progessive and Folk Metal ... even Industrial and "NuMetal" if that's yer bag. They ain't mine -- I skipped those two and didn't have the energy for Symphonic Metal either, so let me know if I'm really missing anything.

Friday, October 17, 2008

NSFW. More Carey Burtt films screening at Frenzy of the Visible, right now! I know, I'd never heard of him either. This tutorial on mind control is the best one, and not as dirty as what I just made you sit through.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Your new favorite band ... DEATH SS.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here's another find that helped me cope today: THE ESKIMO'S, a fab gear/grotty beat group from Greenland circa 1966. Great guitar solo, inscrutable vocals and authentic teenage rhythms, check it out.
You robbed me of my sleep again, and I'm paying the high price of having known you. But there will come a day when I get drunk on your blood. Cross the street if you see me coming.

Aside than that, things are looking up. The End Times start rolling again next week, other promising projects beckon beyond the horizon and I just got word that I'll be receiving a birthday visit from the drummer of Scarlet Oaks. Stimulant consumption is down as a rule, although today, with my eyes heavy and only defiance to propel me, all bets are off.

But rather than indulge the urge to rage, I will seek solace and regeneration through Judee Sill:

Thanks, Judee. Sleep well.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Enjoy the antics of Sooper Hippie, the Soular System and Fruitman, all characters from the late-60s Harvey Comics series Bunny, courtesy of learning2share.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Deming hipped me to this ... Herschell Gordon Lewis' column on the direct mail advertising business, an area in which he's celebrated as an icon. Why do we care? Only because he's an exploitation film icon as well, a mere sideline for a man who spent his entire adult life in the advertising game.

For years I've been fascinated by H.G. Lewis and his film work, which includes the 1963 proto-slasher Blood Feast. The first to reduce horror cinema to its basest, most pornographic elements and make a bundle in the process, Lewis spent a decade or so pumping out cheap, violent drive-in product like The Gore Gore Girls, Two Thousand Maniacs! and The Wizard of Gore, overcoming his indifference to pacing and coherence with sickening butcher shop special effects and a peculiar flippant tone amid the savagery.

Lewis also took stabs at the biker genre (She-Devils On Wheels), juvenile delinquent dramas (Just For The Hell Of It), children's fare (Jimmy, The Boy Wonder), even rock & roll films (Blast-Off Girls). I could not in good conscience recommend any of these films to the casual viewer, but they're in a class all their own, amateurish and crass, made only to turn fast bucks thanks to outrageously overblown ad campaigns ... still, Lewis' sardonic wit and intelligence seeps through nonetheless, making his filmography as strangely personal as it is cold and calculating.

After retiring from film in the 1970s, Lewis, who owned and operated an advertising agency during his years as a director, went on to revolutionize the direct mail marketing business. What does society do about a man responsible for not only the proliferation of slasher films but junk mail besides? There has to be retribution at some point, right?

Our first cabin.

The view.

Not welcome.

Stop yelling at me!

A big slug.

Some folks have to be told.

On the ferry ... this wasn't what we thought it was.

Pics by Lori. These are my favorites, perhaps she'll post those that she prefers at some later date.

Our first cabin on Orcas Island was perfect, utterly private even though there were neighbors close by all along the beach ... of course, this was the place where I experimented with complete caffeine withdrawal, leading to a sullen, withdrawn Thursday without any appreciation for the coziness of my surroundings. Luckily it rained all weekend, so we had no choice but to sit inside and read anyhow (mostly Roger Ebert's inspiring Your Movie Sucks and Legs McNeil's oral history of the pornographic film industry The Other Hollywood). The next day brought a headache intense enough to require a run to the gas station for a medicinal Red Bull -- it worked like a charm, and I spent the rest of the weekend limiting my caffeine beverages to two a day, maybe a third of what I usually enjoy, so while I didn't clean myself out for a full four days, I did get a handle on the extent of my addiction.

Cabin number two was actually a trailer home gussied up with some cheap plywood and plopped down amongst many other rickety structures against a dramatic backdrop of steep cliffs and powerful windswept waters. I relaxed and my mood lightened ... this joint had a beautiful clothing-optional outdoor hot tub/sauna center which the old lady and I were lucky enough to occupy without anyone else horning in on our nude antics. Dusk fell as we luxuriated in steam surrounded by dense forest. But as I said, the rain persisted throughout our stay, so the rest of our time was spent driving up and down the island roads avoiding the deer or merely reading and eating in our "cabin," a bag of marshmallows at my side.

I feel refreshed, yet still in the full bloom of my sloth. Perhaps tomorrow will bring a spark for moving toward fulfillment of one ambition or another.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I know I have some friends who'll be interested in this news (and some who probably already heard about it from more direct sources), but according to the Goner Records bulletin board the Gories and the Oblivians will both reunite next summer for a pair of US gigs (Detroit and Memphis) and a European tour. My pants aren't exactly wet over this, since there are no West Coast shows planned, but for neo-garage purists this will be the show to arrange summer 2009 around. Get your sideburns trimmed, fellas.

For you youngsters who don't know, the Gories begat the Dirtbombs, and the Oblivians begat the Reigning Sound. That's the simplified, shorthand version, anyway, you can do the rest of the research on your own if you're interested.

Dear Metal Inquisition ... you enrich my life in ways that I can't even express. The photo above is a perfect example. It feels like a foot rub. Thank you.

My ex-girlfriend (and current first wife) Lori and I are retreating to Orcas Island for several days to do nothing. I'll be attempting to kick a vigorous caffeine habit, swearing off an assortment of stimulants in a quiet, undemanding location where I can sit and stare blankly at the water for as many hours as it takes. I do not expect to be completely successful ... I'm sure I'll be buzzing it up again at the first sign of stress once I return to the straight world, but my consumption is such that my system requires a reboot. Our restful rented cabin should afford a chance to detox without demands, so swearing off won't be the nightmare it might be if I still had to deal with city buses, purchase orders, ringing phones and all the fucking assholes around me that pass for "friends" ... uh oh, it's starting already, sorry about that. I'll see you all on the other side.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Help Me...I'm Possessed has the logic of something written by children, but its wealth of psychosexual kinks renders it unfit for youngsters. The plot manages to meander and remain utterly static at the same time, and leans heavily on genre-standard whippings, beheadings, and dismemberment for its cheap thrills. New lows in low-budget special effects are reached whenever the mad doctor's monster (which looks like a mop dipped in cranberry juice) attacks the hapless, gore-spattered cast members. Exterior "castle" sets appear to have been shot at a putt-putt golf course; flimsy stage flats painted with rectangles suggest sturdy stone walls. Screenwriter and star William Greer gnashes his teeth and seethes with bad vibes in a truly jarring performance as the mad Dr. Blackwood. Much of the cast is professionally adequate, even if none of them seem to know what's going on. Pierre Agostino is suitably creepy as a mute, one-eyed chauffeur, and might be better known for his work with cult director Ray Dennis Steckler in Las Vegas Serial Killer and The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher. As seedy as it all is, Help Me...I'm Possessed is so unrelentingly unusual that it never gets dull, and every five or ten minutes some new absurdity takes this wildly colorful spook show into a deeper, weirder place. Those in search of unique cinematic experiences should keep an eye out for this worthy obscurity, which also goes under the amended moniker The Possessed. FRED BELDIN

Friday, September 26, 2008

Museum of Idolatry

The voice behind this blog, Chris Rosebrough (who also runs the Extreme Theology website), pulls no punches in exposing the blasphemies that modern Christian churches commit in the name of fundraising and pew-filling. He's as offended by the hypocrisy as any secular skeptic, but the perspective is very different and makes for a bracing read.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where else but Missoula, Montana can you find a company that makes serious weaponry for battling zombies? Zombie Tools can outfit you with the proper blades for the upcoming apocalypse of the undead. Julie says they aren't kidding, not even a little. If you really love me, you'll get me the Urban Bone Machete for my birthday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who's In There? The Mysterious Saga of AFTERBIRTH

I got this record for a song back in the Gay Nineties. Etch Magazine editor Norman Bates bravely chose to "go digital" and sold his comprehensive collection of hardcore seven-inchers, and I got first crack. I remember nabbing a choice Flipper single, a pair of rare GG Allin recds and this bizarre item by a Tawas City, Michigan band called Afterbirth.

Words fail me when I try to describe this decidedly amateur high school punk/metal act ... they're clearly shooting for that GG/Mentors/Boom and the Legion of Doom schtick, but my guess is that these were good kids goofing, not future lifers. Surreal toilet humor, adolescent in-jokes, willful obnoxiousness and rhymes that aren't just forced, but pummeled into place -- Afterbirth sound bratty when they go for evil, and menacing poses in the family rec room don't help matters.

I was inexplicably thinking of this record today, did a quick search and found that Terminal Boredom covered Afterbirth last year, a good article about this mystery plus MP3s for the curious. Anyone with an anthropological bent to their music choices should investigate.

Monday, September 22, 2008

OK, I'm not so hip to internet viral sensations, so maybe this is something everybody else has already seen and forwarded to each other (I found it through Metal Inquisition), but Sonseed provided me with a great deal of pleasure yesterday morning ...

Apparently it's sweeping the nation, thanks to Doug at Dougsploitation, who not only posted the decades-old videotape on his blog but also endured baffling accusations of fraud from folks who found this Christian ska band too amusing to be true. Check his blog for the whole story, plus a great collection of vintage TV Guide magazine graphics and sleaze film reviews.

Today is the first official day of Fall and I couldn't be happier. Summer 2008 was the worst, and I'm glad to be rid of it. Some great things were born among the turmoil, but I've always been an Autumn person. Dead leaves, grey skies, cold wind and my birthday, that's where it's at. The End Times Organization is slowly getting back on its feet and the Blacktree Singers 7" record has been approved by upper management, so the world doesn't look quite so pointless anymore ... still utterly pointless, no doubt about it, but at least I'm back to sharpening my weapons.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Psychedelic Radio Promos

I can't recommend this collection of counterculture-baiting adverts hard enough. The Jefferson Airplane shilling for Levi's, the Iron Butterfly urging hippies to try Ban Roll-On, plus Coca Cola spots from the Easybeats, Troggs, the Left Banke, the Vanilla Fudge, Bee Gees, Moody Blues ... they're mindbending enough to make you suspect fraud, but word is they're genuine, and they're not a drag, I repeat, not a drag. It's reassuring to know that youth culture leaders sell out their own kind no matter what generation we're talking about.

"The world would be an empty, shallow place without Stretch Levi's." Thanks, ChrisGoesRock!

UPDATE: Turns out there's another six volumes of this stuff out there. If you think you can absorb any more, check the July 2008 archives of Chocoreve, a great music blog stuffed with heavy obscurities.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Richard Pryor and the Pointer Sisters are unstoppable in this clip from one of my favorite movies, Car Wash. Blessed be the tithe ...
In case anyone is interested, I found an adult book store on Aurora Avenue here in Seattle that actually sells adult books. Along with the standard DVDs, dusty toys and inhalant drugs, they also stock a vast library of sexually-explicit paperbacks, all between four and seven dollars. They appear to date back to the 90s and earlier, a few crumbling titles well into their late twenties. If anyone is looking for a copy of A Thing For Latinos, I can hook you up. Email me a want list and I'll do what I can. They also have several racks full of pornographic VHS tapes, most lacking the protective/decorative boxes -- this only makes them seem dirtier, and a handful are clearly homemade dubs, which promises all sorts of illicit and inadvisable thrills.

Anyways, my birthday/Christmas shopping for the next year is already done.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Tyson Lynn on Al Green.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

This is the greatest. Fresh-faced teens cover the Dead Kennedys at the school talent show. Totally adorable.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Lorna (Lorna Maitland) is growing tired of her husband, Jim (James Rucker), after only a year of matrimony. He spends his days toiling in a salt mine and his evenings studying to become a certified public accountant, and their home is a run-down shack in a boring little town. Worse still, he has never satisfied her as a lover, and Lorna is aching to experience more from life. On the day of their first anniversary, Lorna is attacked and raped by an escaped convict (Mark Bradley). Though she resists at first, the act awakens her frustrated sexuality, and she brings this dangerous stranger home for more illicit pleasure while Jim works. Meanwhile, Jim's slovenly bachelor co-workers — Luther (Hal Hopper) and Jonah (Doc Scortt) — taunt him out of jealousy for his beautiful wife, trying to inspire suspicion in his heart. Jim trusts Lorna and defends her honor with his fists. When he returns from work early with a battered face, he discovers Lorna's indiscretion, and the result is tragedy.

Russ Meyer's minimalist morality tale Lorna was a drastic change from the colorful nudie-cuties he had based his reputation on. After the adult film marketplace became flooded with cheap copies of his own groundbreaking The Immoral Mr. Teas, Meyer adjusted his approach and filmed this stark, black-and-white story of frustration and adultery. The director made the most of a small cast and a low budget and ended up with a bristling melodrama that simultaneously exalts and condemns the lusts of the flesh. The raw, unbridled action is commented upon by a fiery-tongued preacher (played by screenwriter James Griffith), an omniscient narrator who appears only to cast aspersions upon the sinners. No one is innocent here, even the cuckolded husband who has turned a blind eye to his wife's obvious needs. The cast is serviceable, though Hal Hopper stands out as the leering, insatiable Luther (a year later he returned to work with Meyer, doing an even more extreme job with a similar character in Mudhoney). The director continued in this dark, sweaty territory for the next few years, eschewing humor and color for violence and noir. He finally perfected this style with the snarling Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and afterward returned to color films, gradually adding strong doses of broad humor to his cartoonish burlesque shows. FRED BELDIN