Category Archives: Guest Blog

Blog On: Invasion of the Yuppie Punx featuring Pete “The Electric Grandmother” Faust

Two of my favorite people in life had the chance to hit up this years Riot Fest Chicago in, you guessed it, Chicago.  Pete and Mary Alice were gracious enough to share their experience with me and all you crazy readers out there.

Riot Fest, for those of you who may not know, is basically a 5 day punk rock Lollapalooza.  Instead of me listing all of the bands here, I felt it best for a busy guy like myself to post the concert poster of it:

Pete, aka The Electric Grandmother, has been a good friend of mine since the days when I was young.  We have always shared a true love for punk rock and even if he keeps telling me over and over that punk is dead, I know he is not speaking of the punk that binds our friendship so strongly.

Please enjoy Pete and Mary Alice’s hilarious and heartfelt story/review about the time they left Ohio to see some classic punk rockers play out in Chi-Town.

Thanks guys for the share!  I turn it over to Pete now:

It’s Friday morning, and we’re about to get breakfast at Wendy’s in the Columbus airport.  Two young ladies are waiting in line with us, one with green hair and one with pink hair, both decked from top to bottom with authentic punk rock garb.  “You guys going to Riot Fest?” I asked them.  “Yeah, which night are you going?” the green-haired girl responded.  “Um,” I swallowed.  “All three nights.”  After breakfast, as I walked with our laptop slung over my shoulder, hand in hand with my beautiful well-dressed wife, I realized that we had officially become yuppie-punks.

Who’d of thought?  Not me, but then again I never picture myself in the future, I just do a lot of planning ahead. It wasn’t careful planning, but an uncharacteristic spur of the moment idea by my wife and I to go see our beloved Screeching Weasel in Chicago at the 2009 Riot Fest.  Those who know my wife Mary Alice know that she only travels in style, and since I’m lucky enough to be attached to her, I travel in style by proxy.  Here’s me getting punk rock in our hotel room:

And here’s my wife showing everyone how a hotel robe should be worn:

After an exciting trip to the newly renamed Willis Tower, we ventured downtown to the Congress Theater for the first of three Riot Fest nights.  The doors opened at the venue at 5:30 PM, and we left our hotel room at 7:45, as we were only interested in seeing the Dead Milkmen, the fourth of five bands scheduled to perform that night (told ya we were yuppies).  Being that we hail from Columbus, the land of late-starting shows, we figured we’d be there in plenty of time – not so.  When we arrived at the Congress, the Milks were already 10 minutes into their set.  We were a bit disappointed, but not crushed since we’re hardly Dead Milkmen aficionados.  We found out later that we had missed them performing “Punk Rock Girl,” but did manage to catch “Bitchin’ Camaro,” as well as a few other well known singles that poseurs like us enjoy.  The staff at the venue seemed really cool, and the crowd in attendance made us not feel too old to be there.  There were lots of people there in their 30s and 40s, interspersed with the kids that were born after the Dead Milkmen were formed.  We left before the Murder City Devils came on, because we’re old and don’t like to watch bands that we know nothing about.  All in all, we were at the venue for maybe 45 minutes.  Such poseurs.  We went back to our fancy hotel and drank until bedtime.

The girls who we met at the airport said they were going only to see Cock Sparrer, a 70s/80s-era Cockney-Oi!-Working Class-Skin-Et Cetera band who reform occasionally to do Oi! things on stage.  We managed to catch Cock Sparrer on Saturday, as we had made sure to leave early to catch NOFX, a longtime favorite of ours that has enjoyed a listening renaissance with us in the past year.  We made sure to go to the venue’s upper balcony while Cock Sparrer performed, as we wanted no part of the inevitable skinhead roughhousing that was to occur below.  We ended up enjoying the band on many levels, and they seemed like cool people. They were nice bald guys in their 50s, who were just there to perform British working-class anthems for a bunch of rich American kids, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Even if that Oi! stuff isn’t my thing, I still enjoy watching a crowd sway and wail and “Whoaaaaa” to Sham 69-style boot boy music.  My wife kept laughing at the similar thematic elements in the bands songs, i.e., “This song’s about working!”  (Seriously, they have a song called “Working.”)

Cock Sparrer from the balcony

Sorry it’s so blurry, our camera sucks.  Look at that well-lit guy at the bottom, that’s weird.

Following the Sparrer was the NOFX.  I had seen them perform only once before in 1996, and they were the exact same band – which is a good thing.  Fat Mike took the stage wearing Joker makeup, a la the late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.  Following some intro music and a few minutes of self-deprecating jokes, the band launched full speed into the classic “Linoleum,” and the crowd went batshit crazy (as did we).  The band then proceeded to hammer through their (45-60 minute?) set in maniacal fashion, only occasionally interrupted by the trademark crowd-baiting banter from Fat Mike, which included his teaching a 12-year old audience member the definition of “Felching.” It was very cool to see all the characters that we’ve come to know from viewing NOFX: Backstage Passport multiple times, not just the band, but the wacky road/tech guys that work with them.  Our favorite is Kent, who Mary Alice got a picture of while working the sound board (see below).  The entire set was superb, except for their closing lip-sync dance number to Avenue Q’s “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.”  I wouldn’t call it un-funny, just wasted time where they could have played more songs.  Perhaps the funniest moment of the weekend occurred after we left the venue.  A school bus was parked out front to haul some of the crowd to an after party.  People out front were laughing and taunting them while they hung out of the windows of the bus, and the bus crew were yelling back in turn.  As we were walking down the street to catch a train back to our hotel, the school bus passed by with all the punks hanging out of the windows, making horrendous noise and yelling at people on the street.  Right before the bus left our sight, we saw the emergency roof on the top of the bus being opened by someone, who then stuck there head out into the night air.  Never had I seen such a hilarious and encouraging sight.  Watching it made me feel like a teenager again, and gave me hope for the future.  Poor bus driver, though.

Fat Mike aka Cokie the Clown


Sunday night found us at a cool little restaurant having dinner with an old friend before heading to the Congress to see the one and only Screeching Weasel.  Much like the Dead Milkmen on Friday, the Weas were not the headlining band, so we knew we had to get there with plenty of time to spare.  After leaving the restaurant, we were under the impression that we were very early to see the band; we were not.  As we walked up to the balcony to watch what we presumed to be one of the first bands of the night already in progress, my wife turned to me and asked, “Does that sound like Screeching Weasel to you?”  I said with utter blind confidence that it didn’t, then ran out to the seating area of the balcony, only to see grumpy frontman Ben Weasel singing about a girl named “Cindy,” who currently was having a problem with methadone.  I turned in horror to my wife and stared blankly.  “WELL C’MON!” she shrieked, and we bolted down the stairs toward the venue floor.

Mary Alice had the good sense the ask a merch guy how long they had been on, who shrugged and offered that they maybe had been on five minutes.  Now normally this kind of situation would make me crazy, and I would not be able to get over how we missed the beginning of their set.  But once we stepped on the floor and saw the band under the lights, it didn’t even matter anymore.  Sure I’d been drinking, but I was still instantly sobered (ouch, sorry) by the sheer magnitude of it all.  Here was a band that I had been following with only my ears for 14 years, and suddenly their songs were coming to life before my eyes.  I had never seen Ben Weasel or Dan Vapid (the only two classic/recognizable of five band members anymore) move around before, and I was just mesmerized.  I’m not usually that much of a fan-boy geek, but I couldn’t help it.  The songs being performed were my life, and represented so much of the life my wife and I have made together.  During one of the last songs, my wife and I turned to each other and kissed amongst the surrounding mass of humanity.  At that moment she and I were the only ones there, and band was performing just for two lovers.

Now that you’ve barfed, I’ll just say that it was a great time.  The staff and crowd were getting irritable and stressed after three chaotic nights, Mary Alice was underwhelmed by Screeching Weasel’s performance as it compared to NOFX’s the previous night, I really had to pee after their set, but none of it even mattered.

We were all that mattered.

Announcement: Greg Ginn In-Store Performance at Blue Arrow Records 9/15

Here is some exciting news!!!  Matt at Addicted To Vinyl and I have decided to stop battling one another and joined forces in putting on a free pre-show performance featuring an amazing musician.

I’ll pass it over to Matt to explain:

A long time ago in a galaxy not really that far away….

Setting the scene: On a random Monday afternoon,  Pat the Producer forwards an email my way with an opportunity attached to do something with Black Flag founder and SST Records owner Greg Ginn.

Currently on tour with two of his projects, Jambang, and Greg Ginn and the Taylor Texas Corrugators, Ginn will be at the Beachland Ballroom on Tuesday, September 15th for a low-dough gig  in the Tavern.

Once we found this out, Brian and I put our heads together and decided to do something cool!

Prior to the Beachland show, Addicted to Vinyl and Broken Headphones are pleased to present a free special in-store performance at Blue Arrow Records and Books with Greg Ginn and the Taylor Texas Corrugators that will start at 7pm.  Ginn will meet and greet with fans after the performance, and then we’ll all head over to the Beachland to rock it up with the Corrugators and Jambang!

Here’s a few Ginn stats for ya:

–  #99 on the list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time, according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

– Founded SST Records in 1978, an influential label responsible for a wide variety of releases, including albums from The Meat Puppets, The Minutemen, Husker Du, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and Bad Brains, just to name a few.

– Since breaking up Black Flag, Ginn has recorded a few solo albums, and has performed with the bands HOR, Fastgato, The October Faction, Gone, Confront James, EL BAD, Mojack, The Texas Corrugators, Jambang, and also played bass with Tom Troccoli’s Dog.

Enough with the stats, let’s rock!

Here’s a recap of the details:

WHAT: Greg Ginn & The Texas Corrugators, in-store performance

WHEN: Tuesday, September 15th at 7pm

WHERE: Blue Arrow Records and Books, 16001 Waterloo Rd. (down the street from the Beachland)

COST: FREE!  Come hang out with Greg Ginn, and then make your way over to the Beachland for a great low-dough night of rock and roll with Ginn, the Corrugators, and Jambang!

We promise that a rip-roaring good time will be had by all, and you’re provided with the additional benefit of having a good reason to go hang out at Blue Arrow Records and Books, the latest and greatest reason to visit Cleveland!  Fox 8 News just featured a nice story on Blue Arrow recently – check it out below!


Thanks Matt!

Now I would like to note something about Greg Ginn right quick just before you all start grabbing your entire SST catalog for autographs and making mental notes of all the questions you want to ask him.  I asked Greg if he would be interested in doing an interview about his punk history and asked to talk about influences from other punk acts out there that got him to where he is today.

He politely informed me that he does not care to talk about the past but prefers to focus on the present time and future.  I can completely respect his decision to deny a chat about the past so don’t be surprised if the former Black Flag front man does not care to discuss his punk history.

Greg is more concerned about his current projects and I completely understand why he prefers not to talk about an era he is no longer involved in.  Greg is no longer a punk rocker but more of an amazing musician and has put together some really interesting bands.  Think rock, jazz, and jam.  I can not wait to see him live.

The pre-show should be a lot of fun so come out and then check him out at the Beachland!

Thanks to Greg Ginn for agreeing to do this little event as well as Matt and Pat for pushing the idea.  Major thanks to Pete at Blue Arrow Records for allowing us to invade his store for a few songs.

The Mosh Pit

So has it come to this?  Have I run out of things to write about and now have to reply on my friends?

Heck no, I’m nowhere close…

I do however have some great friends, some who have some great writing abilities and asked me recently if I could share some of their work to my reader.  Of course they had to bribe me to agree to it.  Kidding, I was happy to accommodate their requests.

My first guest blog comes from a long time friend named Frank who was actually at that Clutch show that Matt and I hung out in the lobby for.  He, at one time, wrote for the indie 90’s Cleveland music magazine Bottomline as well as contributed to  I am really be able to share some of his work on my on my site and really got a kick out of this one, so with out further adieu….

by Frank Soltysiak (aka The Punisher)

Since the dawn of civilization people have used music to express their emotions. For those with less musical skill, dancing to music was the tool of expression. Throughout the passing of time dancing has evolved and changed with the different types of music. Music and dancing have always been used to express the feelings of the specific time and culture. Swing dancing was a counter-measure to express a feeling of rebellion toward an oppressive society during World War II. During the 1960’s and 70’s, the rhythmic swaying movement was used to express the feeling of oneness with the earth and the usual drug-induced feeling that went along with the psychedelic music of the period. Music and dance evolve with the time.

In the last twenty years, music has begun to express an aggression that had not been seen before. This musical transformation was the antithesis to the hippie generation, and began to express the discontent and discomfort with the “Peace, Love, Dope” generation and the sudden popularity of disco. This musical transformation took the form punk rock. And the evolution of the dance led to what is now known as “Moshing”.

With the emergence of Punk Rock in the late 70’s, it was only natural that a new form of dancing would follow. The bands such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Ramones spearheaded this underground musical movement. With this music, a dance known as “The Pogo” emerged hand in hand. The Pogo, a simple movement of jumping up and down and twisting the hips while in the air, provided a dance for a music that had been thought to be undanceable. Following in line with the Punk movement was the Hardcore movement.

Bands such as Black Flag, Fear, Bad Brains, and the Circle Jerks were among the headliners to this new, more aggressive form of Punk. With this added aggression came an increasingly aggressive dance. This dance was known by many names such as “slamming”, “skanking” or “strutting”. This dance followed a very loose guideline and a tight geometrical form, the form of a circle. This dance held a carnal disorganization, physical danger, and an excessive code of community. Punk and hardcore music did not hold close to the musician/fan division, as most of the pop bands of the time followed with an almost biblical dogmatic devotion. Punk shows held true to a belief of equality between the artists and the fans. The fans of punk would inevitably make their way to and on the stage with the artists themselves. This revolving door of fans on the stage let to spatial confrontations. This was the first form of the Mosh Pit and Stage Diving.

The dangerous dancing was first spotted in the Los Angeles punk scene. The dance was well documented in the movie “The Decline of Western Civilization”. This pre-mosh-pit-slam dance slowly made its way across the United States and landed in New York City on a day that lives on in the minds of the punks of the day, in 1981 when Black Flag made its first appearance in NYC. This concert was marred with blood and fistfights. New York City once again held a place of prominence for the Punk/Hardcore scene, with the emergence of “slamming” and stage diving on national television, with the showing of the band Fear on Saturday Night Live, brought to the stage by John Belushi, and fan of Punk rock and the club, CBGB’s, a noted punk club. Following this time of underground punk prominence came short time period known as “The Crossover”.

In the mid-80’s came a time known as the Crossover. The Crossover fused together the Hardcore scene and the thriving Metal scene. The metal and non-punk fans began to join the thriving underground punk scene and vice versa. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer led the metal side of the crossover, and with this crossover of music, came the crossover of dance. Metal dance before this time was confined to the elementary “head banging” that left the feet stationary and the head and neck moving. With the crossover, slamming and stage diving pushed themselves into the hierarchy of metal. The metal slamming increased the aggression and brutality, and diminished the feeling of community. And from all this history came what is now known as “THE MOSH PIT”.

What was and what is are slightly different. The feeling of community has resurfaced and become law in the Mosh Pit. There is still the aggression and brutality that there once was, but the inflicting pain upon others is less important than releasing ones own manifestation of tension. At least this is true for most.

Metal and Punk and every member of that family have always been scene as the bastard child of music. Metal was something that the Musical Patriarchy would admit to screwing up on and producing, but it was nothing that could ever be bragged about. There are now members of the metal community that cannot be considered pure, or true believers in the music or its unwritten message. These people have come into the scene for many reasons, whether it is the new popularity, the instant release of aggression, or just on another attempt to find a companion. These people have come to the pit that used to hold commandments so pure and so idealistic that they would have made the Mother Theresa blush, and they sully it with their ignorance and simply impotence.

It is the responsibility of all true fans of all metal members, whether it be hardcore, new, alternative, etc, all true fans must realize who these vagrants and nonbelievers to all that metal is are, and then we must rid our temporary homes, the concert clubs and music establishments, we must abolish their presence from anywhere that holds our presence. So with a sorrowful heart, the profiles of these “infiltrators” has been established and must be memorized by all fans, in order to bring emotional greatness back to the community that we call our own. The profiles that follow are not to be taken lightly, because these vagrants can do more damage than good.

1. Carl Lewis– This type of person is a devious individual, content on causing physical pain to singular people, one at a time. This type of person is usually small in stature as well as in intellect. The Carl Lewis lacks the intestinal fortitude for a prolonged time span in the Pit, so he is usually very hard to catch, but is always easy to spot.

The Action of the Carl Lewis; the Carl Lewis is a cowardly character. His action as noted, is to cause pain to singular individuals one at a time. The Carl Lewis is the type of person that takes a ten yard sprint into the middle of the pit, only to hit one unsuspecting mosher, and then the Carl Lewis flees, after taking one look at the carnage that he has recklessly and senselessly caused.

2. Napoleon– This type of person is small in stature and in self-confidence. The Napoleon is someone in the pit for one reason, to reassure himself that he belongs where he is for the night. Being that there is no height requirement to get into the pit, this individual has no problem entering the pit, but due to his small height and build, he is easily ignored. His build and height might cause one to see him once, but once he is seen, he is easily ignored, and once ignored he finds it his mission to become the center of attention once again.

The Action of the Napoleon; The Napoleon as stated is a cowardly character. Due to his lack of height and build, he feels that it is his need to impede the progress of the pit, by standing in the epicenter, the middle of the pit. He uses his lack of height in order to aggravate other members of the pit, and to catch members of the pit in lower areas of the body than one might not find acceptable. The Napoleon is not a very dangerous nuisance in the pit, but his lack of size and the excess size of the chip on his shoulder can cause large problems in the pit. Be cautious of the size of his mouth and the amount of bragging that might spew if the Napoleon lands a cheap shot.

3. The Pusher– The Pusher is the most cowardly of all the types. The Pusher lacks both the testicular fortitude to enter the pit as well as the intelligence to stay far away from the pit. The Pusher is a person of average build and size, which might make him hard to spot, but the large forehead and the dull look in the eyes might cause anyone to stare. The Pusher is not one that you will see inside the action of the pit, but rather on the fringe of the pit just out of reach.

The Action of the Pusher; The Pusher’s actions are very simple. The Pusher looks for a member of the concert that enjoys watching the pit. This member might be waiting for his or her time to enter the pit, or the member might be abundantly content simply watching the action. The Pusher spots this unsuspecting member of the concert, waits for the moment of extreme aggression within the pit, and then shoves that unsuspecting member from behind into the pit, where his or her unawareness causes much unwarranted pain. The Pusher’s actions are by all extents the most cowardly, but unfortunately not the most dangerous.

4. The Grabber– The Grabber is a type that is not cowardly by the traditional definition, but is by moral standards. The Grabber is not dangerous by the traditional definition, but is by moral standards. This type does not use the pit for what the traditional member does, the release of tension and aggression. Rather this type uses the pit in order to further his perverted fantasies of being a peeping tom and a groper.

The Action of the Grabber; The Grabber is a sick, perverted fellow that prays on the unsuspecting nature of the female pit member. The female pit member the shows the ultimate courage and strength to be put on top of the pit and crowd surf is the target for the Grabber. When these beautiful vixens are stretched out on top of the crowd, the Grabber uses his grubby little paws to cop a cheap feel off the unsuspecting female. What the Grabber lacks in definitional cowardice and danger, he more than makes up for in perversion and lack of respect for the opposite sex and all the concert members as a whole.

5. The Girlfriend– The Girlfriend is the second most dangerous of all the types. The terrible part of all that is the girlfriend is dangerous, and the reason for her danger are not even actions of her own. The cowardice of the Girlfriend is immeasurable. The cowardice is not due to her entering the pit. She should be given all the same credit of any other member to step into the pit. The cowardice is in the action that takes place outside of the pit.

The Action of the Girlfriend; The Girlfriend is a very courageous female that enters the pit with all intentions of upholding the commandments and excelling the dominance of the pit. But somewhere in the middle of all the action, The Girlfriend forgets one of the most important commandments, ALL THOSE THAT ENTER THE PIT ARE EQUAL IN THE EYES OF THE PIT, and somehow figures that she, due to the fact that she is a female should be treated differently than all the other members. And somehow and sometime, the female has her own ass placed into her hands, and does not appreciate it very much. After this takes place, the girlfriend vacates the pit and reports to her Boyfriend. She points out some unsuspecting member that might or might not of been the aggressor (which is no infraction) in the pit. The Boyfriend then goes and does his chivalrous duty by taking up for his girlfriend and attempting to hurt the supposed transgressor. The Girlfriend is quite dangerous and should be considered for the anti-pit-member that she is, beccause it is both cowardly and dangerous when she gets her ass kicked to go and get her boyfriend to kick the ass of whomever kicked her ass.

6. The Meathead (a.k.a. The Frat Brother)- The Meathead is the most dangerous of all the types. The title does in no way imply that all Meatheads, aka The Frat Brother, are members of a Greek Fraternal Organization. The Meathead, along with being the most dangerous of all the types, is also the least welcome of all the types. The Meathead is not a true fan of the music or the art in the pit, but rather just a fan of carnage and unwarranted pain. The pain that he will try to inflict upon unsuspecting members drives the Meathead. He has no need for the music, but just the reenactment of any drunken brawl that he has been in, because he feels unworthy of all the other members unless he is a member of an unwarranted fight. He doesn’t know why people are in the pit. He doesn’t know what the pit is for. All the Meathead sees is the aggression and the brutality, and simply assumes that those feelings are related to brawling.

The Actions of the Meathead; The actions of the Meathead are simple; his actions are nothing that should be in the pit. Cheap shots, along with no thought regarding the safety of the members, which completely goes against the commandments of the Pit. It is essential to either educate this individual or simply remove him from the pit.

These profiles have been compiled to help all members of the metal family to realize who is not worthy of being a family member. Metal is metal because of the mentality. Metal is metal because of the brutality. And metal is metal because of the responsibilities that all the members hold to make it the most brutal, and the most aggressive, and the most dangerous. Blood might be spilled. Skin might be cut. Bones might be broken. But these are all the reactions to the decision of the member to walk into the pit. Walking into the pit does not give anyone free reign to forget about the commandments and seek out a person to hurt. The Pit is about expressing ones own aggression and tension and oppression. That simply means that all enter the pit at their own risk, knowing the commandments that have been set down since the beginning. All those who choose not to realize those commandments and understand the community, will be asked to leave or will be escorted out by the community themselves. The Pit is The Pit, it lives, in breaths, and it governs itself. Those who ignore the commandments of The Pit, must suffer its consequences.