It seems like it has been quite some time since I dipped into my past and talked about a band I really dug.
Today for whatever reason, I thought about a band I absolutely adored in the late 90s. The first time I heard of them was on a 1998 Vagrant Records comp/sampler called Five Years On The Streets.
The band I speak of is New Jersey’s Automatic 7. Does anyone remember them?
The album I became a huge fan of was their sophomore release titled Beggar’s Life. It was put out by Vagrant Records back when they were a indie punk rock label.
With major similarities to Face To Face, Jawbreaker and even Unwritten Law, I immediately became a fan the moment I heard their song “Broken Record”. I loved this East coast band with a SoCal feel but sadly fairly certain that I never caught them live.
From what I have gathered on the good ol’ internet, the band disbanded around 2001 but reformed in 2006. I will be honest, I have not thought about them since my early 20s, but I am stoked that for whatever reason I thought about them today.
Fun fact: Trevor Keith of Fact To Face actually joined the band briefly in 1997. Perhaps that is where some of their sound derived from. I am ok with that.
If you still hold on to the music from your past and were a fan of 90s pop punk rock, check these guys out.
So during this edition of Times Of Yore I wanted to talk about a band that is still around and is still putting out CDs. The band is without a doubt a mainstream act and many know them quite well. The band I speak of is Pennsylvania’s Bloodhound Gang (BHG). The comedic rap and rock mixing band has been a favorite of mine since the mid-nineties.
Sure everyone who knows the BHG is familiar with their hit tracks “Fire Water Burn” and “The Bad Touch”. Both tracks were hits all over the radio and basically helped the band achieve attention (well before Bam Margera included them in his fun). Where I am a fan of the albums that both songs appear on I actually would have to say that their debut full length album Use Your Fingers is my favorite.
Here is the part where I talk about that CD…
I found Use Your Fingers by pure accident. I was at a Half Price Books with my pal Mike one day just looking for stuff to buy. I remember I picked up a copy of the CD and just looked at it. There was a hot looking lady on the cover in small clothing eating a chicken leg that grabbed most of my attention. I looked at the rest of the CD and could not help but wonder to myself what in the hell I had in my hands. It looked like a punk rock CD of sorts and I decided it would be best to buy it before someone else did.
Without hesitation I purchased the CD but had to wait until I got home to listen to it seeing my car at the time lacked a CD player. I remember though the moment I hit the play button on my trusty Sony Walkman (that I still have to this day) that I became an instant fan. I had honestly not heard anything quite like it before. It was hip hop but punk rock with lyrics out of this world not to mention comedian Rip Taylor provided the introduction. Jimmy Pop, Evil Jared, Lupus, and Daddy Long Legs became heroes to my young ears.
I listened to the CD over and over and proclaimed them one of my favorite bands. I would sing along daily to songs like “Legend In My Spare Time” and the “Pretty When I’m Drunk” as well as their cover of “Kids In America” which I still prefer over any version to this day. I just loved the raunchiness of everything the band did from the clever lyrics and samples to the beats surrounding them. Within weeks I had a copy of their debut release Dingleberry Haze EP in my hands. I was a BHG fanatic.
Months later I saw a tiny add in Scene Magazine stating that the BHG was playing in town. I was convinced it was going to sell out so I went out and bought two tickets, one for me and the other for Mike. Boy was I in for a surprise…
I will never forget the night the Bloodhound Gang played the Grog Shop their first time. We got there early so the place was not that full but after time passed we started to notice that not a lot of people showed up to the show. Seriously there was like 8 people there including Mike and I…
The BHG took the stage and played like there was a full house. Mind you that show was years ago so I could not tell you the set at all but I do remember Jimmy Pop singing on the bar at one time. My other memory was when the band asked for volunteers to come up on stage for a contest. For whatever reason I kept my hand down but Mike raised his and they asked the kid with the mohawk (Mike) to come on stage. The game they played that night was a game of darts…on Evil Jared’s back. There were like 3 or 4 other people playing along and one by one they would throw a dart into the human dart board. Mike hit a bulls-eye.
I do not think the band was ready for that as the bulls-eye was drawn rather small on Evil Jared’s back but they still gave Mike a prize, a studded bracelet. I was jealous and honestly I still am. After the show the few of us who hung out got to talk to the band and joke around with them. They were super cool and even gave us some stickers and temporary tattoos.
That night was one I will never fully forget. Even if the outcome was horrible the BHG could care less and not even two years later they returned to the Grog Shop to a sold out crowd with Nerf Herder opening for them. I remember that night too especially when the band pulled me on stage to sing a couple verses from “Fire Water Burn”.
Almost 15 years later I still listen to Use Your Fingers and sing along as I did when I was just discovered them. I can not wait to see what they come up with next and even if they sell out the next venue they play in Cleveland I will always think back to the day when BHG played what seemed like more of a private show for me and my pal.
Back in 1984 a certain movie came out focused around a group of men who ideally remove people’s cars from their property once the owners failed to pay the bank what was owed. The movie, Repo Man, of course was not just about stealing back cars for the bank and had a twist of sorts including aliens, drugs, and also offered one of the best punk rock movie soundtracks to date. The movie is a comedic sci-fi cult classic to many and still to this day one of my favorite movies to watch.
Starring a young brat pack Emilio Estevez (The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, Men At Work) as well as Harry Dean Stanton (Cool Hand Luke, Alien, Escape From New York) the movie focuses on Otto (played by Estevez), a young punk kid with hippie parents and no plans on life. Soon Otto meets up with Bud (played by Harry Dean Stanton) who takes him under his wing into the twisted world of booze, drugs, hi speed chases, and of course hot wiring cars. Soon Otto is part of the repo crew and he is slowly discovering a sense of maturity.
If the movie sounds boring to you then maybe I should also mention the hunt for a certain 1964 Chevrolet Malibu from New Mexico driven by crazed old man who has something hidden in the trunk. I am not going to ruin it for you but I can tell you the contents in the truck emit incredible heat and also vaporize anyone who opens the trunk door to see the actual contents. With a hefty reward for repossessing the car no one will stop at trying to get it.
Add a crew of druggie punk rockers raising hell in the city, a girl who wants to help the said aliens, and the lady with the tin foil hand this movie really goes all over the place. This crazy trip through the mean streets of L.A. is one hell of an adventure.
One of the highlights during the film for me is to see punk rockers The Circle Jerks playing as a lounge act at a bar that Otto visits. The song they play is a slowed down version of “When The Sh*t Hits The Fan”. I also loved all of the generic food products in the movie. Beer is labeled “Beer” and chips are labeled “Chips”. So generic yet so perfect for the movie especially when Otto eats of an open can of “Food”.
The soundtrack to the movie was one of the first of it’s kind as it was full of punk rock songs from major punk acts of the 80’s. Featuring Iggy Pop, The Plugz, Suicidal Tendencies, and Black Flag just to name a couple the soundtrack was like no other soundtrack of it’s time and remains a classic to this day.
I had actually purchased the soundtrack on cassette when I just was a young kid before I even saw the movie. Seeing a soundtrack featuring Iggy Pop and the Circle Jerks was good enough for me. I eventually grabbed a VHS copy of the move and watched that movie over and over. It was really one of the first movies I repeatedly would watch. Once DVDs came out a good friend of mine bought me the Repo Man collector’s DVD tin box that includes the movie and the soundtrack on CD. Score.
This movie is not going to ooh and aah people who are looking for something serious. It is a comedy action sci-fi punk rock movie with no structured plot other than a bunch of hoodlums trying to get the car to get the reward. Punk music backing up a movie about repo men, guns, drugs, violence, car chases, and a surprise ending. Can a movie get any better than this?
Bringing back my little Times Of Yore entires, I’ve decided to take a break from the music and focus on a film I used to love when I was in high school.
The movie was called Gift. Does anyone out there remember this movie?
It starred Perry Farrell, of Jane’s Addiction fame, and his girlfriend at the time Casey Niccoli as well as included some Jane’s Addiction songs. The film focused on a semi-autobiographical drug-addicted tragic love story that involved mainly heroin and does not necessarily have a happy ending.
Watching the movie I knew that Perry Farrell and Casey Niccoli were an item in the early nineties. While the movie surrounded their love there were also heavy doses of fiction making for a wild viewing. I remember a lot of my friends getting confused after viewing the movie. I do not want to ruin anything so I will not metion the scenes that caused the confusion.
I should note that this was not intended to be a Jane’s Addiction movie and the band was only featured in a few scenes. The film created by Perry Ferrell and Casey Niccoli was more of a vision between the two lovers.
One part of the film showed a live cover of Sly & The Family Stone‘s “Don’t Call Me N*****, Whitey” featuring Ice T and Body Count. Seeing them on stage with Jane’s Addiction was, to me at the time, amazing (still is).
I also remember one of the lines said by Perry Farrell in the movie that was chilling to my ears:
“What would you do if you came home and found the person you loved the most in the world lying dead on the floor?”
At a day and age where I was turning from a teenager into a young adult, this movie opened my eyes to things never before I had thought of. Hardcore drugs, overdose, depression… I watched it over and over with my friends and sometimes alone. I loved the performances by Jane’s Addiction even if they were brief but more so I loved the art aspect of it as well as the performance and execution of the idea by a musician.
The story itself was less than what I needed as a kid trying to learn what love was all about. At times it was sweet to see the two in love and happy but towards the latter end of the film tragedy strikes and scarred my young eyes.
Sadly the VHS I obtained from Half Price Books for a only $7.98 collected dust for years and I finally rid of it thinking I would never want to watch it again. Wrong.
As luck would have it though it is coming to DVD. The film is scheduled to be released on DVD as part of the Jane’s Addiction box set, A Cabinet of Curiosities in April 2009.
One of my buddies sent me an email the other day asking for me to give him a name of a band that he might have overlooked in the past. Between him and I we have always appreciated all types of good music, punk being the favored. He was looking for something to listen to, something good and I knew the perfect band for him to check out, the problem was I could not remember the name of the band for the life of me.
Am I really getting that old that I can not remember the name of a band? In my defense there is tons of music out there for your listening pleasure…
Well I did remember the CD had a blue cover. That is a start. Not a good start, but it was something.
All last night I thought good and hard what the hell this band name could be. I kept thinking the band was called Bender or Bekker but nothing would come up when I searched online. I eventually just gave up and went to bed.
This morning I woke up with a record label stuck in my head. The label was aimed towards the punk rock bands and was called Hopeless Records. One thing led to another and soon I was on the Hopeless Records website and was searching for the catalog of CDs. I was not expecting to find anything on the site but suddenly my eyes focused on a blue covered album. Just when I was about to give up I found what I was looking for.
So Kevin, this is the band I was trying to tell you about and if you have already heard of them you should check them out again for the sake of me stressing out trying to figure it out.
Heckle was a east coast hardcore/punk rock band from New Jersey formed in the mid-nineties. The bands first release was a split release with their friend’s band called AFI. They released their first full length under the now defunct Wingnut Records in 1996 and not even a year later were picked up by Hopeless Records and released their second and final CD called Complicated Futility of Ignorance.
The thing I loved about this band is that they sounded like all of the SoCal punk rock I was getting into at the time. One of my friends told me to buy it randomly one day and I was glad I did. It more more melodic punk rock over a hardcore feel and was just easy to get hooked on. It was perfect for a guy like me who was addicted to Face To Face and Bad Religion.
I have to say I am stoked my friend asked me to find him a band to listen to otherwise I may not have found Heckle again. They were one of those bands that disappeared unknowingly from my music collection but will once again be reunited into regular play.
I was unable to find any videos for your entertainment but if you want to hear more about this band you can check out the following links: