Excuse the dust folks, I am trying to find a new layout for the blog that I like. So far, I think keeping it simple is going to be the way I go. I have a few other ideas up my sleeves, so we shall see what happens.
Last September, the cool peoples over at American Laundromat Records released a very deserving tribute album for the Repo Man soundtrack. I have had this album since it was dropped and will admit that I do not listen to it enough. Hell, I remember when I got the original soundtrack on cassette at Record Revolution on Coventry when I was a kid. Needless to say, I am very well versed in this soundtrack.
For anyone who remembers the classic 1984 Alan Cox 80s punk cult sic-fi movie, many can agree that the soundtrack that backed up that movie was just amazing. Having created a tribute album for this iconic soundtrack was just a brilliant idea by American Laundromat Records.
I know I have spoken on this release in the past, but it deserves a repeat mention. I love the Those Darlins cover of Iggy Pop’s “Repo Man” (shocking, I know). I probably should also mention that Polar Bear Club does a spot on job with Black Flag’s “TV Party” too. I was very impressed to see Black Francis and Mike Watt each get to take a stab at some classic cuts later on during the release.
I can’t say I dug all of the covers, but overall the tribute is just as entertaining as the original soundtrack. Perhaps I just can’t shake the idea of having someone cover the Circle Jerks.
Overall, this tribute to a classic soundtrack I feel has been slept on by many. If you remember how great the original release was, I really think you should give the tribute a try. Classic tracks by modern bands never sounded so good, and now I really have a hankering to watch the movie. I hope to hell that no one ever tries to re-create that gem.
I’ll admit, I am not one for tribute albums and never really have been. There are a couple of exceptions out there (Bad Religion’s tribute from SPIN Magazine is one of them), but overall I just turn my head away usually when I hear the term “tribute album”.
Today was one of those days I changed my mind about a certain tribute. Earlier today, I heard about a tribute album and rather than ignore it, I got excited. I got really excited.
American Laundromat Records announced today that they would be releasing a tribute for the soundtrack to the 1980s cult classic Repo Man. Having a tribute featuring modern day bands cover classic late 70s / early 80s punk rock tracks from one of my favorite soundtracks to date has the potential to be seriously awesome.
Maybe it is because I adore the movie so much that I like this idea, or perhaps the fact that Those Darlins are covering the title track for Repo Man originally performed by Iggy Pop. Come to think, it could even be because Polar Bear Club is covering Black Flag’s “TV Party”.
Regardless, this is one of those “exceptions” I spoke of earlier in regards to tribute albums, and I have already put in my pre-order for the CD that drops September 18th.
Why did I pre-order so early? Check this out (taken from ALR’s website):
All pre-order customers receive a 6-panel CD eco-wallet featuring original artwork by revered rock poster designer Lonny Unitus (Melvins, Decemberists, Willie Nelson), bonus promo pin, album preview prior to release date and, while supplies last, an official Little Trees’ royal pine tree-shaped air freshener which were featured in the film — “you find one in every car… you’ll see” (Miller to Otto).
Did I mention the CD pre-order bundle is only $10? Click HERE to pre-order one for yourself. See the track list below.
While you are at it, click HERE to check out a post I did in 2009 about why I like Repo Man so much.
“Repo Man” – Those Darlins
“TV Party” – Polar Bear Club
“Institutionalized” – Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
“Coup d’Etat” – New York Rivals
“El Clavo y la Cruz” – Black Francis
“Pablo Picasso” – The Tellers
“Let’s Have A War” – Mike Watt
“When The Shit Hits The Fan” – TBA
“Hombre Secreto (Secret Agent Man)” – Matthew Sweet
“Bad Man” – TBA
“Reel Ten” – Weekend
I knew the plug was going to get pulled the moment he announced to the crowd that they were told they could only play 5 more minutes. That’s why I grabbed my camera and took that terrible video. I wanted to capture the moment shit hit the fan, and I did. I just discovered the Spin.com has used the video in one of their posts.
Prior to that announcement, I was finally starting to get into the set, granted the band just played “Vampira”. I will not lie, they could have sounded way better. I am sure there was a multitude of factors that resulted in what I heard. It was windy as hell out and the equipment was heavily used all day , but there is no doubt in my mind that the band’s techs were not satisfied with their sound check. Not only did the asshats do an impromptu sound check while the Murder City Devils were still playing (dicks), but they also had that extra 45 minutes before Danzig went on stage.
One of the whole reasons I went to Fun Fun Fun Fest this year was to check out the Danzig Legacy. I was so hoping to hear “Hybrid Moments” and maybe even “Hollywood Babylon”, but we all know that was not the case. Instead I heard heard Danzig, including 2 mediocre songs, some not so good sounding Samhain, and you know what happened after…
Plug pulled + Temper tantrum on stage = Me leaving and getting awesome vegan pad thai in downtown Austin.
Danzig make $100k that night and never finished his set. The fans were all disappointed, and I was too. Face it, we were all standing in front of the Black Stage to hear Misfits songs and nothing else. With the time limit, one would think that Danzig could scrap one part of his set and focus on what people really wanted. I felt worse for Doyle who probably just caked all that make-up on his face before coming out on stage.
Don’t worry, I did not want to tear off my Misfits tattoos and stomp on it after what I saw. Hell, I am still a fan and always will be. I was just pissed that Danzig was acting like a diva but also knew that I had 2 more days of Fun Fun to look forward to. Perhaps the Misfits, the REAL Misfits, were never meant to be resurrected. I do not care what Danzig has done for the music world, all I know is what I saw was unprofessional and beyond rockstar. He was given fair warning of the time limit, did not want to even play, and then pulled his shit. You know what? I’m done talking about it. Maybe if the Danzig calamity happened Sunday night I would have a different “Attitude” about the weekend but it was only night one.
I was already in a great mood after seeing Murder City Devils and Russian Circles take the stage Friday night. Saturday I got to see Hot Snakes and The Damned (both were mind-blowing). Sunday I saw Eyehategod, Kid Dynamite, Cannibal Corpse, HUM ( amazing) and eff’n Slayer. I also throughout the weekend saw Major Lazer, Diplo, Childish Gambino, Big Freeda, Spoon and Del The Funky Homosapien.
There was one quick performance though that just made me happy to be a part of the entire weekend. While my friends and I were walking across Auditorium Shores to check out a veggie hot dog eating contest we noticed that there was a band covering Misfits songs on one of the main stages. We all stopped dead in our tracks and literally ran to see what the hell was going on. We caught the end of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’s set where Leo and friends were performing their Misfits cover band TV Casualty. It was awesome, it was funny, and it sounded awesome. The four songs that Leo and crew played made up for the bullshit Danzig stirred up Friday night.
I’ve been to a whole bunch of festivals in my time. This years Fun Fun Fun Fest was the best one I have ever been to and I was only at maybe 1-1/2 of it. I missed all of the early shows due to other things going on in Austin like eaten grub or getting a sweet tattoo (stay tuned for that). I was ok with missing a couple of the acts as the main ones were in the evening. I got to see MCD, Hot Snakes, and HUM all in a weekend. How cool is that?
This is not a review. This is me declaring how much fun I had last weekend. Great music with the greatest of friends, old and new. Throw in the sweet motor-boating I did on a healthy rack right before Slayer and, my friends, I may have had one of the best weekends ever, in fact, I know I did. Thanks Austin. Thanks Fun Fun Fun Fest. I wish it was last weekend all over again.
Every once in a while, I’ll have a day where I feel like I am just getting too old to love what I love. I wonder if I should turn it down a notch.
Face it, a lot has changed in 20 years since I was an adolescent teenager just looking for my piece in life. I picked my crowd, chose my music, and did not have one single regret about any of it. Hell, I still don’t.
For those of you who really know me, you can see that not much has changed with me in two decades. I dress the same, act the same and listen to a lot of the same music I did back when I was a teen.
Still, every once in a while I just feel like I am starting to slow down. Then I think about the bands that have carried me along my punk rock path who are still alive and kicking and suddenly, I stop feeling sorry for myself. These bands I speak of have been around as long, if not longer than my appreciation for music has, and year after year they release new material and tour. They’ve aged, become family oriented, made sacrifices and still are able to do what they love to do the most.
Then there’s little ol’ me feeling sorry for myself… I should kick my own ass right now. I should be stoked I haven’t lost my own roots and continue on with what makes me who I am.
One of those bands I speak of is Cali’s Swingin Utters. An O.F.W.C (Original Fat Wreck Chords) band, the Utters decided to drop an all new album last year called Here, Under Protest (check out my review HERE)after a 7 year hiatus. They may have taken a time out and done their thing for a while, but they jumped right back onto their 20 year career without missing a beat proving age does not mean a damn thing and it’s all about the attitude and passion, you know the things that make you happy.
I got to see the Utters last year at a small (read: tiny) venue in Cleveland last summer and had an absolute blast. I felt like a kid all over again. I was happy to be hanging with good friends while surrounded by great music. It was a reminder to me that it does not matter how old you are or feel, you are who you are and never should question or change that.
Recently I had the chance to chat with Darius Koski, one of the bands vocalists/guitarists of the Utters. Darius was kind enough to answer a few questions for me:
BHP: I guess the first question would be, what took so long to drop new a Swingin Utters album?
D.K.: Raising our kids, working, some of us not interested in touring anymore… it was part burnout, part apathy, and partly just kind of losing track of time. We sat down and talked about what we wanted to be: a band that played long weekends here and there, mostly in California, and didn’t do much recording; or more like the band we used to be, which was a touring band that came out with records every couple of years at least… so we chose the latter.
Whose idea was it to throw in Orson Welles saying “here under protest is beef burgers” at the beginning of the first track on Here, Under Protest?
That was Spike’s idea. We’re kind of obsessed with “Celebrities at their Worst” CDs.
Was there a lot of material in the last 7 years previously written that was to be used on the new album or was this all newer songs?
There were a few older ones… “Kick It Over”, “Good Things”, “Time On My Own”, “Blindness Is Kind” and “Effortless Amnesiac” were written maybe 5-6 years ago, and “Heavy Head” was, for the most part, written about 20 years ago–I kind of messed with that one a little bit, with the lyrics and melody, etc. but it’s basically the same song I wrote back then.
Seems as if everyone took turns writing songs this round on the album more so than past releases. Can we expect to see that as a trend to continue with future releases?
Sure! We don’t really plan stuff like that, but I always encourage people to write. I know Jack’s writing a lot right now, and has a lot of stuff waiting around to be finished; I’ve got a load of stuff, and Johnny does as well. I need to work on Spike a bit, and then we’ll all have some songs on the next one. I think that’d be great, to have 4 different writers on the next one. It’s usually mostly me and Johnny.
How did it feel to get the band back together and on the road last year for a more long range tour?
It’s been great, and I’m really happy we’ve started up again. I’ve missed it. It’s a lot harder now that we’re older, though.
I am sure hitting the road these days is a lot harder now that you have a family. Are they cool with you touring?
My relationship with my wife has always incorporated touring–we got together while we were recording Streets of San Francisco, and went on our first US tour 2 months into our relationship, so we know the drill. My kids have gotten relatively used to it as well, but it’s a little bit tough for them at times I think. My wife’s got a lot more shit she has to do when I’m gone as well, so that sucks for her, but we manage.
Here, Under Protest was an impressive release. I was stoked to hear another folk jam thrown in towards the end of the album. Have you guys ever thought about just dropping an all folk-heavy album?
Not at all, really… That’s what me and Johnny started Filthy Thieving Bastards for.
So when can we expect a new Filthy Thieving Bastards release?
As soon as the Utters decide to take a little break. We’ve got plenty of songs for an album.
What’s going on with your solo material?
Not much. I need to work on it. I need to do something with those fucking songs.
20 years on the scene… Wow, seriously that is impressive. Did you think you would last this long?
Never really thought about it, but it’s pretty crazy that we’ve lasted this long, been as successful as we’ve been. Just to put out a record was a big deal for us, so we’re pretty lucky.
I know you have said in other interviews that you really do not listen to a lot of new punk bands these days. Is there anyone that has caught your ear lately?
Punk-wise, I like the Spits (not new, I know), Modern Action, Sharp Objects… I think the Cobra Skulls are good… Off With Their Heads.
What are some of your all time favorite punk bands?
Black Flag, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Generation X, Stiff Little Fingers, the Clash, Ramones, X, Wire… I don’t know about a million others. Those come to mind pretty quickly…
What is the term “punk” to you these days, if anything?
Just doing what we know how to do, living our life… I don’t know. I’m punk rock, but I’m not a preacher. I don’t really like talking about “punk rock” and how it “changed my life”, or anything like that. As far as being any sort of real movement, or being “shocking” or anything… I think those days are over. It’s just about doing/saying what you want, DIY, etc.
Was there any certain time that you think back to in the scene that you will never forget? Maybe a favorite show?
Just the early days of our own band. Those were really fun times. Ahhhhhh, to be young again…
How did you get Jack from One Man Army / Dead To Me to jump on board with the band? I think he is a great fit.
I just waited for him to disband One Man Army, then I asked him. I knew he’d say yes, because we’d talked about it… I just didn’t want to be partly responsible for ending One Man Army or anything… He was done with the band and it seemed like he was kind of looking for a way out, but I wasn’t gonna be the one to give it to him! Yes, he’s a perfect fit.
Any comments about Ben Weasel’s blowup at this year’s SXSW?
I think he sounds like a little piece of shit that needs to be punched in the fucking face. I’ve always kind of thought that, though.
What’s next for the Utters? Can Cleveland expect to see you return soon?
I’d love to be back in Cleveland sometime next year, maybe in the spring? We’ll be back soon. Europe in September, some Dropkick (Murphys) dates in October, and a little Texas/west coast thing in November. I’d like to record again within the next year as well.
Royer is most known as the front man of D.I. as well as was the original drummer for a little band called Social Distortion.
A few years ago I was lucky enough to interview Royer for Blogcritics.org. No, we did not share needles….
It’s actually kind of sad as he stated in the interview I did with him that he “wised up” when I asked about drug addiction. Read on if you would like, I really enjoyed interviewing this guy. He has a ton to say and held nothing back. I hope he gets out of his funk.
Remember when punk was not glorified and when the scene was almost forbidden?
I know it may come to you as quite a surprise, but punk has come a long way over the past 20 years. A lot of bands today credit the founders of the genre many feared when first created. D.I. was there when punk was growing. You may have never heard of them but I can tell you this, they are punk.
I had the opportunity to chat with Casey Royer, the founder of the punk band D.I. and also the only remaining member of the twenty something year old band. He was also once of the original members of Social Distortion, bet you did not know that. (If you did, props to you.)
Here lead vocalist Casey Royer takes some time to give me some excellent answers to some questions I have been pondering since I first put D.I.’s latest release On The Western Front into my CD player.
Where have you guys been? And what have you been doing to keep occupied throughout the years?
We haven’t toured internationally since the mid ’90s so, never breaking up, we’ve been playing west coast shows solely. All the members, past and present of D.I. are still based in Orange County [California]. To keep occupied, I surf, play music, and try to set a good example in this confused world.
We also did a Monster Garage episode with the awesome Jessie James; whose favorite band is D.I. We played the Song “O.C. Life” while Jessie Built a Flying Car. As well as [featuring a song in] Tony Hawks Skate Video 2.
You’re one of the pioneers of the 80’s punk rock movement, what obstacles got in your way throughout the years?
Early on, our parents and teachers thought we were freaks, a dangerous sub-culture that was consuming the children, us. Then, the police battling punk by arresting as many people as they could for any violation they could think of. Then the pop-punk movement that ignored the old school punk style with punk looks but soft musical context.
I know Mike Ness [Social Distortion] suffered with a drug addiction that almost
ended his career; did you incur any experiences like this?
When Mike and I made up Social Distortion in 1976/77, in my bedroom at my parent’s house, pretty much all of us were experimenting with drugs. Luckily, I didn’t hit rock bottom before I wised up. My advice… hard drugs will ruin you and your music, unless you live in Amsterdam. Then you will write good music, but die young.
What brought you to disband Social Distortion? Was it really because of original guitarist Dennis Danell’s inability to play?
Mike and I were jamming for a couple years with bass player, Mark Garrett (RIP), with Rikk Agnew on guitar, and Tom Corvin singing. With a couple personnel changes, Mike wanted Dennis to play guitar. Dennis didn’t know how to play guitar, Rikk and I played well and were ready to play gigs, so we joined the Adolescents when Tony Adolescent asked.
So did you leave Social Distortion to pursue the Adolescents?
You have to understand, no one really was famous or trying to achieve rock and roll fame, so the decisions we made were pretty off the wall. A total disconnected new world that we ruled. Mike and I split up and I became the singer of S.D. for about a year with some early D.I. guys in 78. Even though Mike and I were the first S.D. I did make up the name so I went with it. I broke up S.D. and formed the Adolescents with Rikk Agnew. A new S.D. with Dennis Dannel (RIP), Brent Lyles RIP, (replaced by John Mauer) came about in 79; Social Distortion II… A whole new chapter.
What was it like growing up in the OC [Orange County, California] when punk rock was just starting to rise?
I was a junior in high school and it was the coolest movement you could ever imagine. A bunch of creative, upper-middle class, wasted youth terrorizing southern California. All of our parents had good jobs, living the American Dream, a perfect medium to facilitate a bunch of wild kids to do their thing. Hiding behind the middle-class facade with our parents in denial.
How was D.I. conceived?
A friend of mine, Steve Roberts and I jammed the first D.I. music at a place called Brea Beach in 1980. It didn’t re-surface for a few years after, when we practiced behind the pawn shop.
Have you worked with any other bands over the years?
Yea, I played in Agent Orange for a summer at the Hong Kong Café in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Also, Slayer covered a couple songs I wrote, “Richard Hung Himself” and “Spiritual Law”.
What kind of music are you most into?
Classic punk and a little classic rock.
How did you hook up with Suburban Noize records?
I’ve known Brad X and Lou-Dogg since the late 70’s when they were in a punk band called Doggeystyle. We have run into each other periodically throughout the years. When Daddy X heard that we had a new CD available, he immediately came to us with a deal. Knowing Brad personally, like a brother, I felt that it was our duty to join the ranks of Suburban Noize. I feel, even though we have different styles of music, we both
have the same beliefs and convey the same concepts.
You’ve done a couple of songs with the Kottonmouth Kings in the past, any plans on collaborating with KMK again?
We did some tracks on their recent release, Cloud Nine. The future… ? Who knows the sky’s the limit
Any plans for a tour in support for the new release?
Yes, of course. We plan to tour the US, Europe, or anywhere else they’d let us play. We’ve toured Europe a few times before, and have always received great response.
What’s it like being in the scene for over 20 years? How do you feel about the punk scene today?
It’s kind of weird, punk used to be fresh, dangerous, and violent, then it turned trendy and fashionable with watered down music and lyrics. The true old-school hard core still lingered underground in a non-popular, powerful way only to re-surface 20 years later. Weird.
In the 80’s punk movie Suburbia, you played “Richard Hung Himself” an Adolescent cover. Who’s idea was it for you guys to cover that song?
First of all, “Richard Hung Himself” is and always will be a D.I. song. I wrote the song while I was playing drums for the Adolescents. We never played it live and it wasn’t released on vinyl until 2006. Let me put it this way, in the Adolescents, we played the song for 20 minutes, twice. D.I. has played it for 20 years.
What was it like being behind the camera? Was it more improv or a live show? Was there a lot of takes of your performance during filming?
It was easy being behind camera because they told us all to just be ourselves. There was a script for all the parts in the movie, but all actors and band members fell victim to improv. They shot our performance about 2 or 3 times during filming.
What’s it like to play the movie at home and see yourself on screen as a young punker?
The same as it was when I saw it for the first time. I feel I have never had the chance to grow up and look at myself as old. Being a punk rock singer has locked me into a 20-25 year age bracket, and I can’t get out.
On you latest release On The Western Front, is the song “Punk Rock Suicide” about anyone in particular?
The song is about all the musicians who have given their lives to their musical scene with no regard to their social stature or political persecution. When we lost the Ramones, Joe Strummer, Sid Vicious, Dennis Danell, Brent Lyles, and so many other great artists of the underground, it makes one realize that we don’t seem to appreciate true dedication.
They will be missed but never forgotten.
How long did it take you and crew to record On The Western
About a year. We hop-scotched all over Los Angeles and Orange County, drum tracks in one studio, guitar tracks in a different studio, vocals, mixing, I’ve gone cross-eyed.
Will D.I. continue to put out new material?
Yes and a lot of it. We already working on the next CDand we’re having the best times of our lives. With Clinton Calton, guitar; Eddie Tatar, bass; Joe Tatar, drums; and Chicken on guitar, I feel we have the potential to go further than any punk band has gone before. And with Suburban Noize behind us, nothing can stop us. Check it out… www.diunderground.com.