Tuesday, January 9, 2018
This article first appeared Jan. 9 in The Los Angeles Beat.
By Bob Lee
One of the recurring themes in the movie D.O.A.: A Right Of Passage, filmed in 1978 in a semi-aborted attempt to document the Sex Pistols' American tour, is the frequent accusation that punk rockers are all in it for the money. Longhairs from record companies tut-tut the punk rockers' bad behavior and declare "This is not a viable form of music in America," and thus has no reason to exist. One member of the Greater London Council gives "money" as the sole reason why punk rock exists. (The city authorities of LA were more philosophical on the topic.) Even the poster for the film shows a punker girl about to get run over by a Rolls Royce with a safety pin through the wheel. Considering that the film's whole existence is at the pleasure of High Times editor Tom Forcade, who insisted on making a Sex Pistols movie despite the Pistols' record label refusing him access to the band and the shows, it's easy to question just who was really in this thing for the big bucks.
But even if the film lacks focus or even any understanding of its topic, it happens to be pointing the camera at some truly great shit much of the time. Besides the Pistols footage -- which is blistering, if amateurish-looking due to the stealthy shooting conditions -- there are fierce performances by X-Ray Spex and the Dead Boys [and Sham 69] that rank among the best moments captured from that era. There's a long interview segment with Sid and Nancy in which he can't stay awake long enough to answer a question, and she can't stop babbling long enough to let that register. Is that funny? I'm not sure, although I remember reading about Richard Hell getting obsessed with the idea that any time you laugh at something, it's because an emotion has died. He was pretty punk, but he's not in this movie.
And it's a shame, because I bet he would have been in it if anybody had asked. Then we could have had footage of the Voidoids instead of the charmless and talentless geeks known as Terry and the Idiots, whose music is terrible, and whose storyline has no function other than to pad out the running time. Considering how many incredible artists were operating at peak excellence in 1978 and would have likely jumped at the chance to be in this film, the fact that half of it is wasted on boring filler crap kind of pisses me off. There would have been nothing easier to make a great movie about, than punk rock in early 1978. D.O.A. misses that mark by a long shot, but its best fifteen minutes are still savory enough to justify owning it. Extras on this edition include long rambling interviews with Punk Magazine editor John Holmstrom and photographer Roberta Bayley, talking about the New York scene and telling stories about the Pistols tour.
Monday, January 1, 2018
|The Weirdos (All Cat Rose photos)|
That's what we grasped onto with The Weirdos, Saccharine Trust, The Great Sadness and Leaf Blower on tap Dec. 23 at a first-rate outdoor gig in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District.
Red Channel Radio's A Very Weirdos Christmas extravaganza also featured DJs Keith Morris and Pete Weiss. Bonus points go to the cheerful barkeeper, whom we dubbed REO-SquireWagon to match his bushy hairdo. Also, you can't beat having Germs drummer Don Bolles making the scene.
It had been a while since we checked out bands in DTLA, having attended gigs at Al's Bar what seemed like eons ago. This sprawling arts space was the perfect backdrop for the gritty tunes of some of our old and new favorite bands.
Here's Cat's photos from the night:
THE GREAT SADNESS
Friday, December 22, 2017
Here we are again, showcasing some of Cat Rose's top photos for the year. Tough to narrow it down, but here you go.
|The Second Hand Suits|
|Thee Perfect Gentlemen|
Saturday, December 16, 2017
|Richard Brown of The Proletariat in Seattle (Cat Rose photo)|
A bunch more band interviews for 2017 and a slew of insightful quotes.
Check 'em out:
Richard Brown (The Proletariat on the band's start in the 1980s)
"Back then, a lot of people thought for some reason, and I can understand why they would think that, is that we were kind of like telling people what to do and what to think. We never wanted that, we just wanted to throw our shit out there... 'What do you think of this idea?' The whole thing was always like an open discussion with our fans. Somebody said once, most of the hardcore bands, they're very preachy, whether it's straight edge or whatever they do. We're not really a true hardcore band and we will not preach, that's the last thing we wanna do."
John Haggerty (Pegboy)
"It's always great when you go places, especially far away, and they're really into what you're doing and they say, 'Your music has changed my life for the better and made me happy, given me hope' or something. I get that every now and then and that really means the most to me."
Bryan Migdol (Panic/Black Flag, American Waste)
"It instilled in my morals to work hard. If you're gonna write good songs and you're gonna have a good band -- a tight band -- you've gotta rehearse."
Chaz Matthews (Cheap Cassettes)
"I like loud guitars and catchy melodies. That can mean Rick Springfield, Muddy Waters, Big Star or the Cramps- and everything around, above, below and between. I do admit that the sounds and visions of the late '70s and early '80s seem to pop up in what we do a lot. The Replacements and the Jam are very huge deals to all of us in this band."
Anthony Navarro (Second Hand Suits)
"To be preachers of the gospel, you have to really give your entire being to the gospel of booty shakin' -- the rock and roll dance party. You can't just try and preach the gospel without being the gospel, so you have to turn into a completely different person on that downbeat."
June Coryell (The Sellwoods)
"Just a good time. We've got the Viking! (only name given, on bass), he's the one that really puts on the stage performance. The sweat flying everywhere, the horns, everything."
Celeste Bell about her mother, Poly Styrene
"My mother has been a huge influence on me. She supported my song writing and performing from the beginning; giving me lots of valuable advice as well as warnings of the pitfalls of the entertainment industry; especially the risks there are for young women in which is still very much a predatory and sexist industry."
Jeff Smith (Hickoids)
"I like to play, I like to show off. I'm too old to start over with another band name. I try and leave people with something they'll remember -- good or bad."
Grant Lawrence (The Smugglers about their stellar gig with The Muffs, Chixdiggit and Needles//Pins in Vancouver, BC)
It was incredible! I was still worrying about people showing up even the day of the show! To see 1,000 people in the room from all over North America / the world, not to mention our hometown, was very very gratifying and humbling. It took a TONNE of work to pull it off, but it all came together somehow.
Earthdog (Silver Screams)
"If you believe in it and feel good about doing it, then keep doing it as long as it is fun for you. Even if others may say you are wasting your time. Creating something on your own is never a waste of time."
Mike IX Williams (EyeHateGod)
"Well obviously it feels fucking great man. I was a goner, I was having multiple organ failure due to my liver being completely toasted, so fighting my way out of that vicious gang war and living to tell the tale makes life all the much more enjoyable now. One of the things always in my mind when I was sick for ever how many or so years, was surviving to play music, write music, hear music and just live music as I have been my entire life..."
Evan Foster (The Sonics, The Boss Martians, Dirty Sidewalks)
"It means everything to me (playing with The Sonics). I'm up for the challenge-- and every single night that we go out there, I try to bring it harder than I did the night before. That's kind of a Martians thing, we've always been known for ... if it's 10 people or 10,000 people, you gotta go out and do it like you mean it, because if you don't, you can't expect anybody else to get on board and support the band."
Jonah Falco on Fucked Up's "Hidden World" LP
"When I think about where I was when these songs were written, I usually find myself sort of cringing or muttering something to myself, and I'm so much more comfortable as a player and a person now so it's really nice to sort of like conquer those insecurities. Definitely thinking back of being in the studio and getting upset about tuning or structures or have something that's supposed to happen-- it all seems really petty and really see the bigger picture now with these songs. It's not only that, obviously, time helps you evaluate things, but I do appreciate being able to draw back in on myself and everybody else."
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
|Fu Manchu live in Seattle. (Cat Rose photo)|
Today, the Fu Manchu guys geeked out while perusing Rush's Instagram page.
Well, that's because the powerhouse San Clemente, Calif., foursome is on the damn thing.
The page notes that Rush's Alex Lifeson supplied his guitaristry to the new Fu Manchu song, "IL Mostro Atomico," which clocks in at 18:08 and inhabits the entire second side of its new album, "Clone of the Universe." Fu Manchu will unleash the seven-song record on Feb. 9 on its own At the Dojo Records.
Rush adds that the closing track -- which is broken up into four sections -- is the exact length of its epic six-section journey, "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres," which owns the whole of side one of that album.
According to drummer/percussionist Scott Reeder's blog, Fu Manchu's management arranged for Lifeson to play on the mammoth tune.
When Lifeson was available, they sent the tracks to the guitar maestro, he performed his wizardry and fired the tracks back to the Fu Manchu guys. They were stoked beyond belief, of course.
Fu Manchu delivered the blistering title track of the new one to fans on its recent run of West Coast gigs and people welcomed it with pumping fists into the band's catalogue.
“We are excited to get out and play this stuff, especially 'Il Mostro Atomico,'" said guitarist/vocalist Scott Hill in a press release. “We think it’s some the strongest music we’ve ever done. We really love the overall sound of the album and having Alex (Lifeson) play on it is just incredible. It gives it that special validation for the idea that we had to try something like a side-long song.”
In true punk-rock fashion, there's a song on the album that clocks in at just 2:05 -- "Don't Panic."
The band -- which also consists of guitarist Bob Balch and bassist Brad Davis -- will play a heap of live dates all over the globe in the new year:
9.Feb - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour
10.Feb - San Diego, CA - The Casbah
2.March - Paris, France - Le Trabendo
3.March - Hengelo, Netherlands - Metropol
5.March - Berlin, Germany - Festsaal Kreuzberg
6.March - Copenhagen, Denmark - Pumpehuset
7.March - Oslo, Norway - Rockefeller
8.March - Stockholm, Sweden - Debaser Medis
10.March - Helsinki, Finland - Nosturi
11.March - Riga, Latvia - Meina Piekdiena
13.March - Warsaw, Poland - Poglos
14.March - Prague, Czech Republic - Klub 007
15.March - Vienna, Austria - Arena
16.March - Budapest, Hungary - A38
18.March - Zurich, Switzerland - Mascotte
19.March - Bern, Switzerland - Dachstock
20.March - Munich, Germany - Hansa 39
21.March - Wiesbaden, Germany - Schlachthof
23.March - Hamburg, Germany - Markhalle
24.March - Cologne, Germany - Bürgerhaus Stollwerck
25.March - Haarlem, Netherlands - Patronaat
26.March - Leuven, Belgium - Depot
27.March - London, England - 02 Academy Islington
1.May - Phoenix, Arizona - Rebel Lounge
3.May - Dallas, Texas - Curtain Club
4.May - Austin, Texas - Barracuda
5.May - Houston, Texas - White Oak
7.May - Atlanta, Georgia - Vinyl
8.May - Raleigh, North Carolina - Kings
9.May - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
11.May - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Underground Arts
12.May - New York, New York - Bowery Ballroom
13.May - Boston, Massachusetts - Brighton Music Hall
15.May - Cleveland, Ohio - Grog Shop
16.May - Columbus, Ohio - Ace of Cups
17.May - Detroit, Michigan - El Club
19.May - Chicago, Illinois - Bottom Lounge
22.May - Denver, Colorado - Streets of London Pub