Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lucky 13 from 2013: Photo Year in Review


Here we go... Cat Rose photos galore from some of our 2013 gig outings. Enjoy --- and Happy New Year!

We're looking forward to some new gig action in 2014!


Orange Goblin

Die Kreuzen

Holy Grove



Black Flag



Exene and Eddie Vedder

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quotes of Note, 2013

DOA's Joey "Shithead" Keithley. (Cat Rose photo)

We surely covered the bases this year here at There's Something Hard in There central.

Here's some key quotes from our interviews:

* DOA's Joey "Shithead" Keithley on what's kept the band going for 35 years:
DOA is really held together all these years by many rolls of gaffe tape (laughter).

It's really a political philosophy, I guess. One of the big things about DOA, there always had to be a sense of camaraderie, being friends with the other people in the band. My philosophy really is just to get up there and try and enact change. One that I really take as my example is one of my heroes would be Pete Seeger. That guy has been going at for a good 70 years doing great things for people from being an activist, to being a great songwriter, to teaching people music, reviving folk music at various times. Just doing a lot of really, really cool stuff with his voice and his banjo and his ability. So if I can end up doing a quarter of what he did, I think I'd be doing really, really well.

* Jerry A., Poison Idea: 
I just recently in the last 10 years or so, got into having little dogs. I fucking love dogs, man, they're so loyal, they're cute little things. I might write a song about fucking loyalty, you know? It's just shit that pops up. I'm not gonna write something like, 'Me and You and a Dog Named Boo,' (laughter) but I might write something with the theme.

* Carol van Dijk, Bettie Serveert: 
Playing live shows is a very emotional thing for us, because the songs are emotional. We interact and feed on each others' playing, as well.
People have asked me why I often close my eyes while singing… well, it’s because a lot of the time I can see the "story" behind the lyrics like a movie playing in my mind. As if it was projected on the inside of my eyelids.

Bettie Serveert's Carol van Dijk. (Courtesy of Sjors-Schuitemaker)

* Martyn Millard, Orange Goblin:
I saw Pink Floyd twice, both of them blew my mind. I saw Floyd when I was 12 at Wembley Stadium, in 1987 at the 'Momentary Lapse of Reason' tour. My dad took me. I knew who they were, and my dad was into Sabbath and Floyd and Yes and all this prog stuff, Atomic Rooster and stuff like that, so he said, 'You're going and I'm taking you.' And he kind of marched me in almost. Wembley Stadium, there's a soccer pitch, and they had a dog track to race dogs, and then a wall where the seating were. He took me in and stood me on the wall, I was only 12, and said, 'I'll see you afterwards.' And it blew my mind, it really was just incredible.

Orange Goblin's Martyn Millard. (Cat Rose photo)

* Kraut's Doug Holland on opening for the Clash in 1981:
Donny (Cowan)...was banging the chick in charge, no, no...He had a fine relation and she was a great asset. Not only did she get us in every night, she gave Mick Jones our demo...which Mick loved! He asked, 'Are they Nazi?'...NO!!!...'Sure! put them on the bill.' The show was the first time ever anyone of us played in front of people. It was all a dream...One that will stay in my heart forever.

* Paul Mahern, Zero Boys:
I was really obsessed with recording equipment. As early as probably 13 years old, I would go to the news stand and sit (and read) the recording magazines and fantasize about big boards and tape machines and equipment. And that was always more important to me than learning how to really play an instrument or become a virtuoso musician.

* Big Country's Jamie Watson on Stuart Adamson:
To be honest, Stuart used to play guitar and I would always watch him and say, "Oh, man, he's a great guitar player," but when they were recording at Rockfield, Stuart would sit and play the Playstation and computer games with you. He preferred to do things like that than going out and socializing as much. He liked to sit and have fun with the children. When we took days off, he took us out to the theme park with my mom and dad and his kids, and we all went out to this place called Alton Towers and we went round and spent the whole day there and hired a car. Just pretty much having a laugh-- him and Callum (Stuart's son) were great at cracking jokes together. So, we all miss him.

* Jason Farrell, Red Hare:
My style of guitar and the songs I would write in each of these bands has had a lot to do with the equipment I was playing at the time. It's brutal trying to play fast metal riffs on super thick stings.... I thought maybe I just couldn't do it anymore. But one day on a lark, I strung up my old SG with some 9's in regular E tuning and there it was again; the perfect weight and tension... the bounce-back and butter for fast "chubb-chubbs."

Red Hare's Jason Farrell. (Andy photo)

* Diesel Boy's Dave Lake on filming the "Freaks and Geeks" episode:
We had a blast that day. Compared to our usual unglamorous life on the road, being on a TV set was awesome. There was food (all you could eat), someone did our hair, people wiped the sweat off our brows in between takes and everybody watching us went totally apeshit while we played. I remember sitting at lunch with Jake (Kasdan) and eating with him while the rest of the crew looked on totally perplexed, trying to sort out just exactly why the punk band was sitting with the director.

* Brandon Cruz (ex-Dr. Know, Dead Kennedys singer) on seeing old friends and places:
You can go there again, there's no rules with punk rock. It's probably why so many of us were into it and are still into it and are still affected by it, because it gave us this freedom to just kind of start something new and try something different.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Top gig: Circle Jerks and TSOL, 1981

Courtesy of

By Andy

Why not dive in head first, right?

You've only got one first punk gig, so you might as well go with the Circle Jerks and TSOL at the legendary Starwood on Santa Monica Boulevard in West  Hollywood.

At age 14, just a freshman in high school, I was primed for some live action from two of my new favorite bands. My brother Ed, two years older than me, had already dipped his combat boots into the sea of punk gigs and he brought me and one of his friends along on this Tuesday night adventure on April 21, 1981.

I've got to admit, I was a bit scared to walk upon this punk terrain, which I'd heard was pretty rough-and-tumble. Would I be welcomed? Would I make it out unscathed?... ha ha

I'd already envisioned the brilliant chaos in my mind while listening to the Circle Jerks' "Group Sex" LP and TSOL's first EP. I was going through with it.

Since it was a school night, we had to convince our parents to let us out of the house. Do you say you're going to a rowdy punk gig in Hollywood? Hell no. You do inform them that you'll be attending a Major League Baseball game pitting the California Angels against the Seattle Mariners at the "Big A" in Anaheim. The M's beat the Angels, 3-0, on that night, and we made sure to catch the score on the radio on the way home in case we were grilled about our evening.

So, we get to the gig, and while we waited for the line to form, some drunk or strung-out guy wearing pink satin pajamas danced out front and was chased around by a handful of punks. If my memory serves me correctly, he was also on the receiving end of a few punches, but nothing too damaging, and he ran away up the alley.

While in line, I noticed one girl with part of her head shaved and bits of hair perfectly forming the Black Flag bars. I pointed it out to Ed, who said to not speak of it because of the Circle Jerks/Black Flag rivalry that was in the air after Keith Morris formed the CJs after leaving Black Flag.

As I took each step toward the front of the line, I was excited and nervous all at once about what would soon happen inside the club.

When we made our way into the tightly packed concert room, I left Ed and his pal on the dance floor (which would soon see plenty of crazy action), and strolled off by myself and stood behind the railing that split the floor in half. Safety, I thought, but not too far away from the bands. I had to ease in to this new world.

TSOL came on and killed it, playing the tunes I dug like "Superficial Love," "World War III" and more. Singer Jack Grisham sported white makeup on his face and was quite the showman: equal parts rage and sarcasm. He taunted the crowd with finger pointing and screams, but later flowed around the stage, offering a silly dance and smile. The anger quickly returned, though, as the band played at a frenzied pace and the crowd bashed along to the beat.

Before the Circle Jerks began, one woman standing next to me asked if I was OK, and I said I was fine. Maybe I looked nervous, who knows?

When Morris and the CJs hit the stage, I was definitely energized. I mouthed the lyrics to myself and patted my hand against my leg, but remained behind the railing. I was amazed at how the band raged while playing so tight. Guitarist Greg Hetson and bassist Roger Rogerson jumped up and down and drummer Lucky Lehrer shredded away with a wild look on his face. Morris had his usual beer in hand and was as manic as I thought he would be on stage -- turns out my grade-school buddy Tony Ford (who often collected the donations at church sporting engineer boots and a leather jacket) was right.

To top off the CJs' set, Ed hopped up on stage, ran across it and dove into the crowd during "Paid Vacation." That was the best part of the gig, for sure -- it was more gnarly than anything Angels' first baseman Rod Carew could achieve that night.

Courtesy photos

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Top gig: Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, MDC, Zero Boys, The Detonators -- 1982 at Alpine Village, Torrance, CA

From the TSHIT collection.

The Barn at Alpine Village in 2015. (Ed Nystrom photo)

By Andy

You couldn't have scripted a more stellar Saturday -- or any day for that matter.

Like most summer days of my youth, July 3, 1982 featured a bodysurfing session at the beach, this time in South Redondo with a few pals.

As the waves rolled in over the several-hour session that afternoon, I took my share of nice rides and my body took a pounding copious times, which meant that I was getting the full experience of tangling with the ocean.

Hanging out at the beach was a crucial part of our youth and we never wanted those long days under the sun to end. However, sometimes those days were time-killers as we were filled with anxiety -- nearly jumping out of our skin -- thinking about what the night would bring.

And, oh what a night (thanks Four Seasons) we had in store.

We were finally -- finally! -- going to see Minor Threat, our favorite hardcore punk unit from Washington, DC. They had canceled a previous tour and broken up, but they were back in full force to give the Los Angeles area a dose of ferocious, in-your-face tunes from the Nation's Capitol. We were primed, to say the least.

And, oh yeah, the Dead Kennedys, MDC, Zero Boys and The Detonators were also on the bill. Talk about a blockbuster!

My brother Ed, myself and a few others piled into our yellow Gremlin for the quick ride from our North Redondo home to Torrance, home of the sprawling German shopping bourg Alpine Village, which featured The Barn, our gig spot for the evening.

We knew this place for its baseball batting cages (I once broke an aluminum bat while connecting on a 90 mph pitch there in my senior year of high school) and its cheesy commercials that ran at halftime of the "Soccer Made in Germany" broadcasts on UHF TV. Welshman Toby Charles announced those games, and we always loved the way he pronounced teams like Borussia Monchengladbach and his sayings, like, "He takes another bite of the cherry!" when the player scored a rebound goal. (Cat and I ventured to Germany last April to witness a Monchengladbach match in person -- a dream come true, but I digress...)

Our punk orators on this night would be Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, Dave Dictor (MDC), Paul "Z" Mahern (Zero Boys) and Mike Mooney (The Detonators).

Key comments before the bands began had to be, "How the fuck did they get this gig here?" .... and "Who the fuck cares." Right?

So, we had Redondo Beachers The Detonators opening and they tore through songs off their walloping, Stiff Little Fingers-like "Emergency Broadcast Systems" LP. Bassist Bruce Hartnell would take over vocals a year or two later and would act as a mentor of sorts to me during my band Sorex's run.

Next up were the Zero Boys from Indianapolis, Ind., a fantastic, raging punk-pop band that we heard on Maximum RocknRoll's radio show. "New Generation" was the tune we knew and we pushed our way up front to sing along with Paul Z, who I remember sporting black-and-white checkered slip-on Vans -- fuckin' Spicoli-style, man.

Zero Boys setlist from the TSHIT collection.

MDC were new to us, but it didn't take long for baldheaded Dictor and crew to get the crowd moving with tunes like "John Wayne Was a Nazi," "Corporate Deathburger," "Dick for Brains" and many others from that crucial first LP. I remember some pretty violent slamdancing going on during that set, but our friend Mark managed to sludge his way up front to take some pics. (I don't have access to them now, but I recall them looking cool.)

Minor Threat tore it up, of course. However, this was a rare occurrence when I couldn't weasel my way up front because there were so many people there and no openings for me to make it to the promised land. I watched from the middle of the crowd and dug it, but was also a bit pissed that I couldn't get the full effect of their tunes from the front. Oh, well, but that wasn't the end of the Minor Threat road for me as I saw them three more times on that tour in San Diego, the Valley and San Pedro. Those intimate gigs are highlights of my punk-rock life, for sure.

I've never been a huge DKs fan aside from the first LP, but Jello and his boys always satisfy live. Killer musicianship on stage and pure chaos in the crowd is what you get, and how can you not be stoked on that? I distinctly remember Jello diving into the crowd during one song, and as he was being carried by the sweaty throng, he never missed a word as he passionately sang into the microphone. A job well done.

A few years later, my friend Winston and I hit up The Barn to watch an early morning World Cup soccer match with the local German men. It was an interesting scene as we sat in a small room tucked away upstairs, eyeing the TV and drinking bottled beers.

After the match, I walked around the place and stood near the front of the stage and recalled that evening when Minor Threat came to town.

Alpine Village in 2015. (All Ed Nystrom photos)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

One Kim, two Kims gone: Pixies dismiss Shattuck

Kim Shattuck will no longer be playing with the Pixies. (Sean T. Rayburn)

Here's the deal: Kim Shattuck has been sacked from her duties as the Pixies' touring bass player.

On her Facebook page yesterday, Shattuck wrote: "Super disappointed to learn that my time with the Pixies ended today. Amazing experience. Looking forward to focusing my attention back on the Muffs and our upcoming new album. All the best to everyone."

Shattuck replaced original bassist Kim Deal in January 2013 and played her first gig with the band on Sept. 6 in Los Angeles. Shattuck currently sings and plays guitar for the Muffs and previously played bass for the Pandoras (1985-90).

According to a Dec. 9 press release, Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle, ZWAN, The Entrance Band) will be joining the Pixies as touring bassist for the North American, South American and European summer concerts.

“We are really looking forward to playing with her on these dates,” said drummer David Lovering. “Working with different bass players is very new for the band, but we’re having a great time doing it.”

The band's upcoming North American tour is set to begin Jan. 15 in Toronto. There are already six sold-out shows on the 33-date tour.

The band recently completed a 17-date, sold-out European tour, which began in Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 1 and finished with a pair of dates at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, England, on Nov. 24-25.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ron Reyes' tenure as Black Flag's singer is over

Ron Reyes with Black Flag in Seattle on July 19. (Cat Rose photo)

Black Flag's recent Australian tour -- titled "Hits and Pits" -- was probably less hits and more pits for singer Ron Reyes, who announced on his Facebook page today that he's no longer a member of the band. (He also gave us permission to relay this information to readers.)

Reyes wrote that on the final date of the tour on Nov. 24 at the Capitol in Perth, Greg Ginn's right-hand man Mike V -- who also sings for Ginn's Good for You -- walked on stage with two songs remaining, took the mic from his hands and told him to leave. He added that Mike V sang the remaining two songs.

While it may have been an odd way to end things, Reyes noted that he feels a great sense of relief that his time in the band is over.

Reyes said he saw the writing on the wall from the outset of the band's reformation in January of this year. Things didn't click fully music-wise and he feels the band fell short in delivering Black Flag-worthy performances.

There's a lot more to the story, like band discord and the whole Black Flag versus Flag thing.

You can read his note on our Facebook page:!/permalink.php?story_fbid=615710081823077&id=203462809714475

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Top gig: Dead Kennedys and the Germs, 1978

Courtesy of

In a new segment, we asked readers to reminisce about their top gigs. The most raging, eye-opening, influential outings that they've experienced. Here we go:

By David Yohn

It was Nov. 1978. I was in the Navy and had just been transferred to Mare Island, north of San Francisco.

I was in love with the Ramones and The Clash and Blondie and Siouxsie and was just digging this new band called the Sex Pistols.

One of my new Navy buddies said he was going to SF to see Dead Kennedys and I said "I'm in!" and went along.

It was my first time at The Mab. The show started out awful. When we arrived, some local band whose name I can't remember opened and really sucked. The club was hot and stinky and dirty. I thought I had made a big mistake.

Then the Germs played a short set that really peaked my attention. I knew of them from reading about them, and even though their set was short and Darby Crash was obviously stoned out of his mind, they rocked.

I had a couple beers and we waited while equipment was moved, then DK hit the stage. FUCK. They absolutely blew my socks off and I became a life-long fan. They played a long set and it was the first time I had seen so much stage diving. The pit was intense.

After that show, I must have seen them perform 100 times in every dive in the SF Bay Area and also at places like The Whisky in LA. I bought everything of theirs I could find.

I was so sad when the Mab closed. Years later, I ended up managing college radio station KSJS in San Jose and we made punk music part of the format. I was able to bring Jello Biafra to do a spoken word performance at San Jose State and took him to Original Joe's afterwards for dinner. He is an intense dude off stage as much as on! But it was the '78 show at the Fab Mab that turned me into a hardcore fan for life.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Metal nite in Tacoma: And headbanging for all

Barefoot Barnacle bassist.
Czar headbangers.

By Andy -- Cat Rose photos

When people pack tight into the band alcove at O'Malley's Irish Pub in Tacoma, WA, everybody needs to stay alert.

Even the cook.

On Saturday night, four metal outfits had attendees thrashing and headbanging in the small space, which is situated in one corner of the sprawling pub (patrons were shooting pool, chucking darts and hobnobbing throughout the rest of the establishment). We were like a hockey ruffian banished to the penalty box.

It wasn't a bad place to be on this occasion.

So, the cook, you ask? Well, after he prepares meals in the kitchen, he has to carefully walk through the metal crowd to deliver his creations to folks throughout the pub. Many times, I thought a plate of onion rings or a French dip would bite the dust, but the man was obviously a seasoned veteran in avoiding any cuisine crashes.

However, much beer was spilled and one pushing-and-shoving instance during Mahnhammer's set brought the security man away from his door duty and into action to break up the scuffle.

Highlight of the evening was the Czar singer yelling at and flipping off an overhead lamp that inexplicably came on during their set in the semi-dark area. Not sure what he was singing about, but the lightbulb clearly took the brunt of his rants. The soundman came to the rescue, hopped on stage, balanced himself nicely while reaching for the bulb and twisted it out. He received a round of applause.




Pee Wee and Barefoot Barnacle

More Cat Rose photos:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jerry A. and Poison Idea are still the 'Kings of Punk' / Interview

Poison Idea's Jerry A. in Seattle. (All Andy photos, except where noted)
By Andy

Who knows what the person who coined the phrase, "There's a first time for everything," was thinking about.

Certainly not what I experienced on a recent Friday night.

Jerry A. from Poison Idea and myself are standing face to face in the backstage bathroom at El Corazon in Seattle. He smiles and sits on the edge of the shower tub and drains the last drops of his Pabst Blue Ribbon tall-boy can. He turns to face the toilet, knocks the seat down and offers me a resting place in what now is presumably his office — just like The Fonz in "Happy Days."

So this is where we're doing the interview, I thought. I chuckled to myself, stared at the friendly, beefy vocalist for Portland's legendary, incendiary punk band and began to poke through my list of questions. (I actually wrote them out beforehand, another first; I don't know why, I guess I was expecting to be intimidated and wanted to keep my thoughts on track.)

Twice during our interview, people knock on the bathroom door, peek in and then turn back, giving us our privacy.

After we finish, Jerry A., 49, and I walk out the door and various band members in the adjoining room laugh about us doing the interview in there.

"Ah, we were just fuckin'," Jerry A. sarcastically says with a smile and rise of one eyebrow. He pats me on the back, bids me farewell and I'm on my way back down the stairs en route to tell my tale to Cat and our friends.

Here's what we gabbed about before the Poison Idea gig with the Dwarves, Toxic Holocaust, Toe Tag and the Insurgence:

--- 'Kings of Punk' is gonna be re-released on Southern Lord coming up... what is it about that album that you think still excites people after all these years?

Well, I had to re-listen to it because they gave it to me to write the liner notes, and I really honestly haven't listened to it since it came out. Cuz, I (originally) listened to it and was like, 'Ehh,' it's alright, I thought we just kept doing better records as they came out.

But you go back and listen to this first shit and it stands up to stuff that's still out today. You know, they've got this Hot Topic punk rock shit they call punk rock, because it looks -- whatever -- they say it's more of a uniform than actually pissed off attitude that's mad. (But our) songs are really good, they just hold up.

'Kings of Punk' album cover from 1986.

--- Are you excited playing those songs nowadays still?

Some of the topics might seem really dated. I've lived and learned. The anger's still there.

--- And (people) still go mad for it. (Some of the crowd) is a new generation of people that obviously weren't there to see you guys the first time around.

Yeah, and that's cool cuz every year there's a new batch of 18-year-old kids. And that's fine, maybe they can relate to something that we wrote about then.

I was taking a bus, actually, to one of our shows. And these guys pulled over, like, 'Hey, we're going to the show, get a ride.' I didn't know who they were and I jumped in the car, and they're playing something, and I go, 'This is fucking good, what the fuck is this?' -- and it was Poison Idea (laughter).

--- I heard that you guys have some new songs in the hopper, is that right?

Yeah, well we just wanted to stay busy. We just spent years just fucking around, having different priorities. Basically cleaned all the drug addicts out of the band, one way or another. Unfortunately, some died, some went to prison, and then the ones who didn't go that way, we just said, 'We gotta get our shit together.' I still drink, one of the guys in the band smokes pot, I think, but this is the priority -- the music's first. And then if you wanna have a drink later, that's fine.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've always wanted this. This music is what makes me happy, it's what wakes me up, so we just wanted to stay busy and we started writing new songs. We got the 'Vegetable' back (on guitar) from 'War All the Time,' 'Filthkick,' 'Getting the Fear'--- and he's like, 'Oh, this is great,' and he just came right back where he left off, he's like a big kid.

--- What are you writing about nowadays?

Every song that we have is something that really happened. You can pick any song and I'll tell you the story behind the song. They're little vignettes of personal experiences and what happened. As you grow and learn and stuff, different things in life happen. Some people write books about heartache, mistrust, betrayal, frustration, and it's all there.

I just recently in the last 10 years or so, got into having little dogs. I fucking love dogs, man, they're so loyal, they're cute little things. I might write a song about fucking loyalty, you know? It's just shit that pops up. I'm not gonna write something like, 'Me and You and a Dog Named Boo,' (laughter) but I might write something with the theme.

Just write about what you know -- and if you don't, you're lying. And people can tell.

Unfortunately, we come from a really dark place, and all the songs are really fucking dark because that's what we chose to ensconce ourselves with and live that fucking life. When you do that, shit goes crazy around you.

--- So on that note, 'What Happened to Sunday?' Do you remember what that song was about?

That's just a blackout song from days at a time. One of the last shows we play at Satyricon, we were playing and I woke up behind the drum set. I fucking looked up and I'm like, 'Are we in Texas? Where the fuck are we?' I'm looking around, I didn't know where I was, and we're on stage playing. I wake up, it's like confusion -- that's not good. It's not good in life no matter what you do. But especially, people pay to see this thing? This fucking circus on stage? It's seriously like watching somebody die on stage.

--- Was it just alcohol?

At that time, it was everything, drugs, everything. I went into a fucking coma when I had to stop doing anything for a week, and then I woke up in a hospital and they said, 'You have everything in your system.' They were naming the shit off... everything except marijuana. (They asked) why didn't you have (that)? 'I'm trying to get a job,' and they didn't think that was too funny.

So, I don't do that anymore, because you can't. I haven't done any drugs for 18 months. (He shaped up after an incident in 2012, when he had three toes removed from his right foot as a result of treading on broken glass and slicing the bottom of his foot while drugged out in Portland. His leg swelled up and became infected.)

--- Well, let's go back to a simpler time (laughter), what kind of music did you grow up on as a kid?

Just everything, the rock and roll that was good. I used to read Creem magazine, that was a great publication-- they would tell me all that shit about the Stooges.

I liked rock and roll. My mom said when I was a baby, I was singing Beach Boys shit before I could talk, I was actually doing the harmonies. But I really didn't like the Beach Boys until I got into Brian Wilson years later.

Then, music was not so much escapism, I was a little kid, I was 9, listening to Queen, Roxy Music, Sparks. Stuff like that was glamorous, I could be glamorous in my bedroom listening to this great music. Or I could be heavy listening to Sabbath -- and I was dangerous.

Or when the Ramones came, I actually saw them on their first tour of the West Coast, when I was in seventh grade cuz I was going to concerts all the time. My first concert was Three Dog Night when I was 8 -- and I walked behind the drum set, it was festival seating, and I just was like, 'Wow! This is great!'-- this is when they were heavy. After that, it was BTO, the Doobie Brothers, ZZ Top in the early days. It just piled up and I never stopped going to concerts.

When I left home early when I was 15, because I got into punk rock, then I started scalping tickets to shows cuz that's how I made my money and survived. Invested a hundred bucks in Peter Frampton tickets because I knew it was gonna sell out, and I started selling 'em and got my money back plus my rent -- rent was like fifty bucks.

I think it crashed on Yes in the round. Because I bought all these tickets to Yes, I thought it was gonna (sell out) and I couldn't even give 'em away, man, I was stuck with all these tickets and I went in and I was like, 'No wonder people didn't wanna fucking buy these tickets-- this is horrible.'

I was in a punk band still and I was like, 'This is fucking insane. Time's are changing, man.' I could spend a dollar fifty and see the Wipers, right there, I could stand right next to 'em or I could spend twelve bucks and see Yes in the round -- with lasers!

So punk rock -- just the attitude, the music, the energy, the power. Everything about it woke me up.

At the time I saw the Ramones, I was a huge KISS freak like most idiots at that time were. And I would go to the store and wait for the new KISS record every fucking day, I think it was 'Rock and Roll Over' at that time. It fucking came, and I got it, and I ran home, and I was so excited and I put it on and I sat there and I was just like, 'SHIT! SHIT!' (in disappointment).

I was looking over at my Ramones records and going, 'This is it.' It was the changing of the guard. Overnight, I took my fucking shirt, cut my sleeves off, cut my hair off and that was it. And then started getting the shit beat out of me all the time (roaring laughter) -- for being a fag. But it was worth it.

--- What makes you happy nowadays?

Just being busy, staying alive. Knowing that I'm not on borrowed time, but got another chance. Lot of close calls.

--- What makes you angry?

It's the same shit that always has. The 1 percent of this population running the world. And seeing the kids not eating and homeless, and the system throwing them back to their family and getting abused and getting tormented and having no fucking future and no school and no program to take care of them. And the cycle just keeps getting repeated.

You see this sad, heartbreaking insanity.

--- So if record collectors are pretentious assholes, what do you collect? You mentioned dogs, is there anything interesting, like little glass figurines?

Right before Tom ('Pig Champion' Roberts) died, I was homeless for a couple years. Poison Idea was on hiatus and I'd squat, and I pretty much sold everything. Got divorced from my wife, lost everything. And once I got back on track, I got my shit together and stopped doing drugs, I wanted to start getting all those things again-- I wanted that Finnish punk rock record that I really love, the Lama first album. And then I got the Tex and the Horseheads records that I threw away and I got the Detox record that I wanted.

It was weird, because I always had my Germs singles, even when I was fucking homeless. I had those at my brother's. Me and Charley ('Myrtle Tickner' Nims) the bass player were at a homeless shelter once, and this kid said, 'Hey, we were gonna sell this, but if you would sign it.' They had a fucking 'Feel the Darkness' in their backpack, that was the only CD they had... 'If you sign this, maybe we'll hold onto it.' And I was like, 'Yeah, dude, fucking stay strong, brother, thank you so much.'

--- It follows you ...

It's cool. It's great seeing actual punk rock kids with big Poison Idea things on their back, like fighting with some religious guy on the street. Screaming at him, you know? It's great. I love it. They're full of piss and vinegar, and they should be -- that's what you're supposed to do when you're a kid.

When you're old, you're supposed to collect dogs (laughter) and listen to old punk rock.

--- You can do 'em both, you become more well rounded as you grow older.

Not only collecting that shit, but now I'm getting into crazy shit that I never liked before like Beefheart, his first couple records, and Howlin' Wolf, and all the Chestnut and all the old Sun stuff, the old rockabilly shit, 'Dock' Boggs -- that Appalachia, bluegrass, hillbilly music, whatever you call it.

Music still transforms me. It gives me the same feeling I had when I was 9. I listen to it and it makes me happy. It's like a shower of feeling going over you and it's just so energizing. It saved my life before and it's still keeping me alive.

Rounding out Poison Idea's current lineup, from top to bottom:
Eric 'Vegetable' Olson, Natalie Lucio, Jeff 'The Duck' Walter and Flesh Gordie (photo by Dante Torrieri / Useless Rebel Imaging)