Without David Hayes you would not have East Bay punk rock from the ass end of the last century as you remember it (or how it was for that matter). As of a few weeks ago the latest manifestation of his Very Small Records has solidified (or metastasized) into a three headed Mecha-King Ghidorah. The big news is the release of many hundreds of classic tracks on BandCamp from the label. That means lots of songs by Schlong, Elmer, Nar, Lizards, Plaid Retina, Sewer Trout, Logical Nonsense, Pounded Clowns, and Horny Mormons; and deep cuts from Jawbreaker, Nuisance, Buzzoven, Pinhead Gunpowder, Spitboy, Tit Wrench, Econochrist, Samiam, Sleep, Screeching Weasel, Soup, Fuel, Sewer Trout, Blanks ’77, Strawman, The Automatics, The Rhythm Pigs, Melt Banana, Voodoo Glow Skulls and many, many more. You can also get: the vintage “Race Mixing Is Cool” Hoodie in five sizes; the Very Small Records Punk “Discography” MP3 DVD Data 3.52GB 1986-2003; or – for seemingly much less money than buying them separately… if you are OK with a Large Hoodie – both together. Take a day and go hang out with these hella cool oldies, cheese.
There are a few strains of inquiry and activity that have been common to my work in Wow Cool, DeptEx, and the Brown Cuts Neighbors that may not be super obvious, given that much of the result is performance, music, zines, comics and such. When pursuing these obsessions with various collaborators we had a pretty clear idea of what we were digging at but had not much of a sense that there were very many others out there with the same interests. Like magic, in the last decade or so, the maker movement and psychogeography emerge, and it’s like, “oh, yeah, that”. After some two decades of walking, digging and documenting, much of the work in the area of what would be labelled psychogeography that had been done by Jason Martin, James Kopta and myself still remains unreleased. Separated geographically from the subject of our obsession – Schenectady, New York and its regions – any sort of substantial document of this research seems ever more distant. Every couple of years Jason and I, and whatever accomplices we rope in, descend on the increasingly unfamiliar homeland to wrest the secrets from a corner of town not yet explored. But this post isn’t about us, it’s about a man named Nick Papadimitriou, who has been an unexpected inspiration to re-engage with this material. His home is the former county of Middlesex in England.
John Rogers’ film looks at the city we deny and the future city that awaits us. Leading London writers and cultural commentators Will Self, Iain Sinclair and Russell Brand explore the importance of the liminal spaces at the city’s fringe, its Edgelands, through the work of enigmatic and downright eccentric writer and researcher Nick Papadimitriou – a man whose life is dedicated to exploring and archiving areas beyond the permitted territories of the high street, the retail park, the suburban walkways.
Walking continues it’s march towards becoming a criminalized act and Deep Topography has emerged – thanks to Nick – as a better term for much of the activity that was called psychogeography, before that term expanded its meaning past sense. Nick’s is an unique and wonderful voice; and his is the one that has given us this more useful term for our obsessions. He’s recently released a book that explores the North Middlesex/South Hertfordshire Tertiary Escarpment or Scarp with his unique and poetic take to this method. A trailer for it is below. It’s description does its job well.
Nick Papadimitriou has spent a lifetime living on the margins, walking and documenting the landscapes surrounding his home in Child’s Hill, North London, in a study he calls Deep Topography.
Part meditation on nature and walking, part memoir and part social history, his arresting debut is first and foremost a personal inquiry into the spirit of a place: a 14-mile broken ridge of land on the fringes of Northern London known as Scarp. Conspicuous but largely forgotten, a vast yet largely invisible presence hovering just beyond the metropolis, Scarp is a vast storehouse of regional memory. We join the author as he explores and reimagines this brooding, pregnant landscape, meticulously observing his surroundings, finding surprising connections and revealing lost slices of the past.
SCARP captures the satisfying experience of a long, reflective walk. Whether talking about the beauty of a bird or a telegraph pole, deaths at a roundabout or his own troubled past, Papadimitriou celebrates the poetry in the everyday. His captivating prose reveals that the world around us is alive and intrinsically valuable in ways that the trappings of day-to-day life lead us to forget, and allows us to re-connect with something more authentic, more immediate, more profound.
This has been an interesting new year… hell, an interesting week – for me, certainly – but also for the music industry. It’s possible some other things and people were affected by various other events as well. You know… maybe. Let’s see… Wow Cool turned 25, Alternative Comics will celebrate its 20th anniversary later this year, we started to move into additional space at the Wow Cool/Alternative Comics offices last Sunday – we’re on two floors now, I became the principal of an alternative school today (hey, shit happens), we signed a couple fairly big deal contracts that I’m sure you’ll hear about soon, Wow Cool returned to regular wholesale operations with a modest offering (a much larger one is due in April), and, in a fit of insanity I actually committed to drawing a new comic project. What follows is a seemingly random selection of links and thoughts on recent events that I’ve tried to connect as cleverly as James Burke.
This all started with a visit to the music page on the Danger Man website. Hosted there is an amazing assortment of songs featured in, or related to the 1960s British spy series Danger Man (AKA Secret Agent) starring Patrick McGoohan. Mio Amore Sta Lontano, High Wire, It’s a Lie and the unused version of the Prisoner theme by the Ron Grainer Orchestra are all under-heard classics. It’s a playlist you can easily leave on a loop all day.
Closer to (our) home, San Jose’s long running and most awesome of all record stores ever Big Al’s Record Barn will soon be shutting it’s doors – just one of many local businesses in an old building that is scheduled to be torn down to be replaced with more condos and strip malls. Dan Vado’s SLG headquarters on Mission Street is also slated for the wrecker’s ball, but they have found a new home in the rapidly growing Alameda district.
In other comics-land transitional news, the long-running Comics Buyers Guide is ceasing publication after a 42 year run. If I can dig up the necessary files and back issues, I will be posting a couple things from my few contributions to CBG here soon.
I doubt that Bill Drummond is dancing on tabletops in glee over all this sudden shortage of retail space for physical units of recorded music, but it’s safe to say he wouldn’t be surprised by it. OK. Who is? Nonetheless, he had his own fun (I think I mean pissing) in the modern music distribution swimming pool (sorry, I mean cloud. It’s cloud now, right? Oh well, there goes all that…) Just over 20 years ago, his group the KLF – at the height of pop music success – suddenly deleted their entire catalog of music. In the last few hours these tunes suddenly appeared for sale digitally, only to be removed shortly after.
Wow Cool was paid a visit by CNN in mid-1994 for a feature on the venomous werewolves of Generation X and their sinister plan to devour the sad old hippies and their filth. It was called Boom or Bust? and originally aired on Sunday, August 14, 1994. Baby Boomer Culture withering under the wave of the DIY Baby Busters in their Buster Browns with a staple gun in their hands and hate in their eyes. It was a bloodbath. Keep your eyes peeled for cameo appearances by many of your favorite zines, including King Cat, Cometbus and Dylan Williams’ Horse. Can you name them all?
Three young women are being detained by Russian authorities for allegedly performing a protest song in a cathedral as part of a feminist punk group “Pussy Riot”. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich were arrested in March 2012 and charged with “hooliganism”. Yesterday the pre-trial detention of the three Pussy Riot members was extended until January 2013. If found guilty, they could be jailed for up to 7 years.
Brand new zine in the shop – the long running Fluke drops it’s tenth issue with cover art by Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole, Any Empire). Steve Schmidt, Jason White and Matt started Fluke fanzine in North Little Rock, Arkansas in the summer of 1991. 21 years later and they finally hit double digits! this new issue has an interview with Burt Taggart of the Big Cats and Max Recordings label. Also interviewed are Mystic Knights of the Cobra and Alex the Russian (with a cameo by Angel Nova of the Phenomenauts) while at the kerPUNK! fest in LONDON!! Corbett Redford (Bobby Joe Ebola & the Children MacNuggits) interviewed Emily’s Army! Anna Joy Springer (BLATZ) talks about her new book in her interview. There is more cool stuff as well, but we’ll save that as a surprise to you. Get yours now.
In other news:
You are invited to burn away several hours of your life on the long vertical climb that is the first-person adventure Against the Wall. Get the full scoop on Rock Paper Shotgun. For being only an alpha build of a game this is some seriously engrossing stuff. Falling never felt so good.
I’m going to my first San Diego Comic-Con International in a bit over a decade this July and am catching up on the best way to go about such a thing with Tom Spurgeon’s beyond comprehensive annual roundup on The Comics Reporter. If you’re going, you should too. Oh, and if you want to carpool down from the SF/SJ Bay Area and want to split gas money or want to split a room in San Diego, please contact me. Otherwise I’m flying down and staying near Lego Land. You’ve been warned.
Please go and read “We Have Been Here Before: The Creator’s Bill of Rights” by Chris Roberson. Chris recently announced he was quitting the corporate comics slave state and has much more to say that makes much sense. I think we’ll be seeing a bit more of the history of the Creator’s Bill of Rights from the people that were there in the coming days and weeks. If not, I’ve got plenty of that stuff lying around and a working scanner.
You like glossy photos of Tom Hart and Matt Madden teaching kids about comics?Here’s your fix of more on the School of Visual Arts (SVA) website. We have a few books recently added to the shop by both of those fellas you may want to check out, including Tom’s Daddy Lightning and both issues of Matt’s A Fine Mess.
Erin is my hero. Go listen to her awesome Life During Wartime radio show, which she’s been co-hosting for over 15 years. The shows used to be released on cassette back in the ’90s. This is the video of the week over on Maximum RockNRoll, where Erin and I are both fairly lazy contributors.
Back in 1994, while on zine tour for Andy’s Chair #3, I crashed on John Porcellino’s couch when he was living in Denver, Colorado. Shortly after that, while still on the road, I did this strip, in a crude imitation of the King Cat style. It was printed in my tour zine puppydoglove.
Anyway, the real reason I’m dredging up this bit of history is to let you know that – after a 13 year gap – Wow Cool is once again offering King Cat Comics and Stories to the world. All currently in-print issues of King Cat that do not have their contents collected (or are about to be) will be available from Wow Cool. So, that means we have issues 69-71 in stock. John will be putting out King Cat #72 very soon. That, and the previously published King Cat collections will be available from Wow Cool very soon. The book he illustrated for the National Film Board of Canada about skipping out on suicide – The Next Day – is also available right now.
With Phoebe Gloeckner, Jessica Abel, The Hernandez Brothers, James Sturm, and Joe Sacco, plus a host of comics scholars and educators! Saturday Oct. 8 – Sunday Oct. 9
PITTSBURGH, PA Pittsburgh Indie Expo
I was looking for something else and found this. Since I and many other of the 90s Berkeley zine and mini-comics scene have been deep in the nostalgia zone for not the best reasons lately, this seemed a little more interesting than the last five times I found it instead of what I was looking for. These were quarter-size letter (mini-comic) sized flyers that were left on the back counter at Berkeley’s Comic Relief when I was the zine buyer, sometime around 1994-1995. As far as I know, that post was originated by Josh Petrin and was also held by Dylan Williams and Janelle Hessig in the mid-90s.
From 1993. Never before seen! Punk zine goes video with live performances by Doc Hopper, Nuisance, Drop Dead, Slave State and Lumpen Proletariat (Ottawa)!
Pay a visit to Reconstruction Records with Peter Ventantonio of Sticks & Stones! Tour Albany, New York’s Tulip Fest with Andy, Paul and Jason! See the members of Huasipungo scowling in back of ABC No Rio! Special appearances by Sam Henderson and Human Lard Dog!
Sadly this version is not the best quality. The raw footage was shot on VHSC… I want to go back and capture from that or the VHS dump of it. I did this edit on a crappy system at the old Schenectady public access. It chewed up the video and jumped at every edit. grrr. I was so disappointed that I never released it, and it was only shown a couple times. The encoding to get it on the web didn’t do it any favors either.
Additional camera by Darryl Kahan. Believe it!
Andy’s Chair was a punk and comics and such zine created by Marc Arsenault. There were three regular print issues and a tour zine half issue called puppydoglove released between 1991-1995. The second issue included the Sounds of Suburban Dance compilation tape.
Poster for the Nuisance & Doc Hopper show that was taped for the episode.
Cindy Crabb has just sent us a communique to announce that she is funding part of the printing on the latest collection of her popular Doris zine with a Kickstarter project. Her first collection Doris: An Anthology 1991-2001 is still available. The Encyclopedia of Doris is due the end of July, 2011. Between now and then Cindy’s band the Snarlas will be on tour. Check your local listings.
I started writing Doris zine in 1994, giving it mostly to strangers on buses. I wanted to break down barriers and break open secrets – the serious secrets and the simple ones. I have published the zine once or twice a year now, and it is distributed internationally. The Doris Encyclopedia is a book of the past 9 years of Doris, plus plus stories and articles that appeared in Maximum Rock and Roll, Slug and Lettuce, and other zines, including top secret zines I put out under a pseudonym. Subjects include: boating down the mississippi, coming out, farming, punk, girl gangs, overcoming shyness, survival, love, history, family, travel, ecological politics, building things, creating things, and way, way more.
Printing costs for the book are 14,000. I have 6,000 saved up, and have borrowed 4,000. I’m hoping I can raise the rest here on Kickstarter. The book is scheduled to be printed in the end of July!
Found randomly while repacking for Wow Cool’s move to new offices in San Jose. I have no recollection of drawing this. Readers of Maximum RockNRoll over a certain age (before internet comment troll-ness) will possibly find this pretty funny.
As of this Wednesday, I have officially rejoined the ranks of Maximum RockNRoll‘s crew of shitworkers. Yes, that is the official job title. I was a zine reviewer, shitworker and occasional illustrator for MRR in the middle 1990′s. I earned some notoriety for the occasional death-threat for my more scathing zine reviews and also re-introduced mention of John Crawford’s comics, which earned me a place as a character in the Queen of the Scene comic strip (More rambling about that episode here.). My first post is on the pretty seriously neglected exhibit of original art by Love & Rockets’ Jaime Hernandez in San Jose at MACLA. For reasons unknown, the gallery failed to promote the show much to the comic book or punk rock worlds.
Anyway… San Jose is the 10th largest city in the US of A, and despite the sad fact that you are never far from some warped American version of Ska here, the place is still pretty damned punk (as in rock). I’m going to attempt to pry open that neglected world with my camera and typewriter (oh, sorry, computer). You got something punk-ass awesome going on in the south bay? Please let me know. I will also be getting in some bits on DIY punk music practical goodness (like, is it really worth it to boil your bass strings?), real-life urban homesteading experiences, and maybe some digging into punk/hardcore history that I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of in various parts of the country over the last quarter century.
Previously I’d been filing these sort of posts under the category “Andy’s Chair” on this blog. A sort of continuation of my 1990s print and video zine of the same name.
Above all, I want to try to (re-?)discover what the hell is punk all these years on.
Dear Jesus was a hardcore punk fanzine I produced between 1989 and 1992. There were four full issues, and a mini-issue I made 50 copies of and sold at one show in 1990. Everything is included in this collection. The anthology totals 140 pages, with a new intro, color cover, and sturdy velo binding. More work by Sam is available on BuyOlympia.com.
These five issues include interviews with Jello Biafra, Richie Birkenhead (of Underdog & Youth Of Today), Doc Dart (this is the piece that led, 17 years later, to my Vice Magazine profile “The Troublemaker”), Econochrist, Lifesblood, CBGB owner Hilly Kristal, Ian MacKaye, Maximumrocknroll, Mike BS (of ABC No Rio), Mykel Board (of MRR), Nation Of Ulysses (pictorial), Nausea, Neanderthal, No For An Answer, Revelation Records, Rorschach, Soulside, Supertouch, artist Seth Tobocman, Swiz, and Tit Wrench. This collection also includes articles on the first Gulf War, punk in Latin America, an extensive Born Against tour diary, and many, many painfully opinionated reviews. Dear Jesus was one of the most consistent hardcore punk zines to document the early 1990′s ABC No Rio scene in New York. If this is a historical period that interests you, then this is perhaps something you will want to own.
It’s not a big secret that I am a huge fan of Nuisance. I booked them twice for shows in Western Massachusetts. Once at a spectacularly disastrous warehouse show in Florence (at the Arts & Industry building, now home to Ecstatic Peace/Father Yod, then the home to Wow Cool, Al Columbia and Sebadoh); and again at the Majestic Theater in Easthampton. The Majestic apparently burned down in 2007. The Arts & Industry show had a small getting busted by the cops problem which eventually cost me 50 bucks. I have several blurry black and white photos of the warehouse show and full video of Nuisance’s set at the Majestic (as well as some of Doc Hopper and Beef, who opened). I wrote about these shows a bit in Andy’s Chair printed zines numbers 2 and 3. Those photos and video are very likely to show up online sometime next year. In the meanwhile, today’s gem showed up online… coming to me somehow or other through the facebook. It’s a demo tape from 1987(?) with 5 songs. They are: Your House, Brighter Flower, Censorship Song, Waiting Room, and Days Of Sun.
So… you’ve read Rip It Up and Start Again, and Simon Reynolds follow-up Totally Wired, and are ass-deep in post-punk lore and legend and spend your days wandering the record stalls humming “She Is Beyond Good and Evil” by the Pop Group. And you start to wonder… “Can I plunge any teh further down thee rabbit hole” Oh yeah. Oh yeah. You really can. Somewhere while digging up some background for my few bits on the late Peter Christopherson the other day (see previous post), I stumbled across the impossible time-sink of a music blog Kill Your Pet Puppy. I was looking for a copy of the fanzine by CRASS, Toxic Grafity, and discovered KYPP. Strangely, or not so much, the worlds of CRASS and other anarcho-punk goings on, were not so far separate from the industrial goings-on by G. P’Orridge and crew. The signs are clearly visible in street art of that era and later. Further digging led me to find that M’Colleague at Maximum RockNRoll, Paul, had flagged it for blog of the week a few weeks back. It’s hard to encapsulate the wonders to be found within KYPP… You just need to dive in.
In the meanwhile, speaking of the Pop Group… I would love to see this full documentary – “Mark Stewart – ON/OFF – Pop Group to Maffia”. I contacted Monitorpop to try to find out what had become of this film, but have heard nothing back yet.
UPDATE: I somehow failed to mention that The Pop Group have reformed, and are playing two shows on the last two days of 2010, with Sonic Youth in Manchester and London. More info, photos, video and a history of the band are on the Pop Group’s site.
I have certain fascinations, passions, interests and obsessions. Always having a camera in my pocket means I now take thousands of photos related to them. Sometimes the meaning can only be demonstrated in sequence or juxtaposition. Most of the time they just sit undisturbed on a flash card or hard drive. Lately my love of language and advertising has been getting pretty aggressively scratched at random by things around me. Sometimes you need to look closely, at other times they are screaming so loud in your face that you are likely to ignore them. Draw your own conclusions.
Alternative Meat - a section in the frozen foods aisle at Whole Foods