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Maximum Rocknroll #13 • April/May 1984

July 29th, 2014 by


DOES PUNK SUCK??? Well, does it? We now travel back in time to 1984 to hear what Doc Dart, Tim Yo, Pushead, Allison Raine, and Frank Discussion have to say about punk’s future… Also included in this discussion from Maximum Rocknroll issue #13 — now available to download in its entirety here — are Glen E Friedman, Rev Nørb and many other punks from all your favorite bands and zines. It doesn’t stop there! This issue also features the WIPERS, COLERA, AMEBIX, NIHILISTICS, UGLY AMERICANS, SECOND WIND, and a devastatingly vast array of reviews and scene reports, ads for records that now cost a lot more than they did in 1984, and so much more! 

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on a subject which is as perplexing as it is challenging. First of all, the labels which have been tossed (punk/hardcore) about in a feeble attempt to pigeon-hole bands and audiences alike, are a source of aggravations and alienation for me. There was a time when I didn’t mind and was sometimes proud of being called a “punk.” The music was new and exciting and the label at least set me apart from the mundane and often sickening mass of idiots that refer to themselves as Americans.

Now, more often than not, I’ve found myself confronted with an equally mundane and sickening mass of twerps, some of whom refer to themselves as “hardcore punks.” They are usually not in the majority at shows but their techniques of drawing attention the themselves borrow from some of America’s most inane traditions: football, fashion show, the Marines, and Quincy. It’s no wonder that people who might otherwise be interested in good music, or even starved for good music, often go away from “hardcore” shows wishing someone had warned them that the circus was in town.


Doc Dart

For many people, music is a potential vehicle for social change. Obviously, it has thus far worked much better for the government than it has for positive change. My suggestion is that you mindless violent, fashion-conscious exhibitionist, whose prime motivation is to assert your “manhood,” please just frequent shows that showcase bands with your mentality (need I list some of them?), and allow the rest of us to transcend these ridiculous labels (such as hardcore), as well as your pitiful lifestyles. There would be much more support for a “scene” that valued intelligence, compassion, education, action, and most of all, creative music. I know of many people who would show much more interest (myself included) in something positive and ever-changing, as well as diverse, and free of labels that only serve to stifle and stereotype behavior. I’ve seen signs in a few cities that this is possible. Madison, Wisconsin, is a good example. As far as I’m concerned, “hardcore” is another word for stagnation. Can we call it music if it’s good? That would make it an even rarer phenomenon, but at least a growing one. It was the prohibition of good music that spawned our so-called movement; so why shouldn’t we claim ours as music, and dismiss the mainstream as “hardcore shit”? And anybody in your crowd that goes out of their way to act tough or to spend five hours perfecting their appearance could be encouraged to assume their rightful place among mainstream Americans with traditional values. Eliminate five ignorant twerps and maybe ten good friends will take their place. The ignorant will return when intelligence becomes “fashionable.” Don’t be misled in thinking that I have hope for the future, because I don’t, but how can anyone give up with so much at stake? Ever get the feeling you’re living in a cage and then wonder why everything outside is deteriorating faster than you?


Tim Yo

One of punk’s main thrusts was “anybody can do it.” But democracy often leads to mediocrity. If many hardcore bands now sound generic, should we be re-thinking our commitment to “democracy” and return to elitism in music, as some would like to see? Or should we say that democratizing music was just the first stage, and now that we’ve got  “a band in every garage,” let’s move on to stage two: quality and imagination.
This is the big hurdle: how to maintain the spontaneity and passion of garage music, while becoming more proficient musically, and while trying to break formulas of song structure and lyrical approaches. Hopefully, we’ll see more bands keeping the emotion, noise, and commitment of hardcore (the edge), while taking more chances in trying to surprise and excite us. Speaking of which, it seems to me that most of today’s bands are content to just entertain the audience. They play as if they were at rehearsal, song after song, with no room for spontaneity, just like the formula “rock” bands. Originality, and crowd interaction are the victims. In the earlier days of punk, the creative performance was stressed more, with the accent on both irritating and stimulating audience participation. Now, it seems that musical perfection is the goal, and bands want to merely satisfy the expectations of the audience, taking fewer chances, and turning punk into another consumer package, a “concert” to placate the masses.

The other major problem that I see is how punk/HC will be able to survive (at a grassroots level) the new corporate attempts to co-opt it. As “Rock of the ’80s” stations start playing SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, DKs, DOA, etc., and major labels start chasing punk bands, will those bands remember the sad tale of the CLASH? They elected to “go corporate” (in order to get their message to more people?), and now, seven years down the road, have the following to show for it: they 1) claim to be broke, financially; 2) are without a direction, proclaiming themselves “born again punks,” yet showing an abysmal lack of knowledge of what’s been happening in punk since they lost touch with their roots (indie clubs, indie promoters, indie labels, indie zines); and 3) are without a sense of integrity, having been thoroughly “used” by the very corporations they sing against, and make rich. Punk’s ability to maintain its integrity and maintain its commitment to the alternative scene will be the real determinant of its future.



The worst aspect of the punk/hardcore attitude/lifestyle is alot of the people got involved to be an elite few, to claim it as something that was “their baby,” different than whatever everyone else did. By that factor, it gave them confidence and strength, and some took it too far. So when the interest grew and others got involved, it became apparent that some didn’t want the “new crew” to come in, for it was their “scene,” so they soon dropped out and criticized the “image” which they felt everyone was acting out. Sure, during that time they made rules and regulations about “their ” idea of what should happen and how it should be done, and laughed at others as they laughed at themselves, only to soon become what they were laughing at. I thought everyone was supposed to share a common belief for a certain progression. But when you let your disbelief in those who enter the “attitude” rival your own, and then get angered, whose revolution is it? When society can market the hardcore product, make money off the rising phase, and the disbelief between the people involved, all these factions lead to the end of another revolution. So how can it be such a threat when some of the people involved are so selfish? Myself, I’m sadly disappointed at my friends who had such positive attitudes, but got so upset by certain negativities in their scenes that they quit, instead of continuing their positive voice and fighting their negative, as they just didn’t care any more. Thanx for nothing. You let yourself down.

I’m sadly disappointed at my friends who had such positive attitudes, but got so upset by certain negativities in their scenes that they quit, instead of continuing their positive voice and fighting their negative, as they just didn’t care any more. Thanx for nothing. You let yourself down.

The strength grows. Through my associations, I have discovered a strong “positive” force who are willing to learn, create,and seek a better tomorrow. Some people have their faults, which can be dealt with, but some breed ignorance. Those people who whine say things “rule,” take advantage, or use violence to show their lack of confidence in themselves, should look at what they were doing. I find that most people who are guilty of this sit on their asses all day with their mouths flapping and their minds stagnating. Too bad. I hope you really accomplish something by your insecurities! The way you dress has nothing to do with whether you’re hardcore or not; it’s what you think and how you act. I’m not talking about socially accepted or “proper” mannerisms, either. It’s your lifestyle. Do you agree with the situations “they” get you into? Will you sit on your arse forever?? Think about it. It’s up to you. Come out from your silence.
 Lately, this magazine has opened up a giant communication line throughout the world. I’m very happy that I am part of it. I do not get paid and I don’t expect payment. It is my creative part that I can contribute. What about you? People slag this magazine and Tim Yohannan especially. Why? Do you know? Tim’s interest can unite more than the bitching of one. His participation abounds; only your negativity will tire him out. If MRR becomes big it’s because there is a desire for it. Next time you bitch I hope you have something behind you beside the chair you sit in. I’m not talking about your macho brute force either. I’m talking about your ability to create.Make your effort, show your hardware, come out from your silence, and then we can work together! Thanx to all who share the same attitude, to those who take the time to write and pass the word. It’s your world. Is it shitting on you or are you shitting on it? To save the world, must you destroy the people? Think about it.

Being an ancient veteran of the scene at 21, I have followed and been a fan of punk/hardcore and its legions of splinter groups for nigh on six years now. When I was 16 or 17 and attending every show even remotely associated with punk with enthusiasm bordering on hysteria, I couldn’t understand how the scene vets of those days could skip a show or complain that “things just weren’t as cool as they used to be.” When I first took an interest in punk, it was because I couldn’t relate to the lame stuff I heard on the radio. I found the primal pogo beat of the RAMONES’ “Teenage Lobotomy” much more fun and stimulating. As time passed, I became (largely by influence of the music) more—er—”politically aware” and therefore more interested in music that made a statement about the world we live in. The merging of two things important to me, natch. Although my musical tastes are wide-reaching, this is what I had close to my heart. But the whole excitement that punk has held for me all these years is that the only difference between the audience and the band is that the band got up on stage. Or is it?


A phrase being tossed around a lot these days is “generic thrash.” Those with the most years invested in the scene are the prime offenders, being jaded after years of listening hundreds of punk bands bang away at the same four chords. There’s nothing wrong with being bored with it, but there is something wrong with condemning it. Fuck if I’ll be the one to tell someone they’re not musically proficient enough to hold my interest. There’s nothing wrong with striving to be innovative or different, but neither is there anything wrong with having enough enthusiasm to jump up on stage and just do it! By putting down bands for being “generic,” we are only throwing the scene into reverse and heading back to the days of guitar heroes. This should not be allowed to happen, and all bands that are giving it a go should be encouraged and nurtured by us all.

Well…all bands?

This brings us to the next point—where the scene is headed socially and ideologically. Besides musically being fresher and more energetic, one of the things that has kept me involved these many years is that it has not fallen into any of the cliched, sexist, racist, or otherwise negative ruts that the wonderful stuff we hear on radio or see on MTV has—yet. For me, the most disappointing trend in punk currently is towards sexist, nationalistic, and otherwise backwards trends. Quite a few of the bands playing this stuff claim that it’s a joke or that it’s all in fun. Well, why aren’t they making fun of white, heterosexual healthy people like themselves (for the most part)? I don’t think that’s funny at all. But even that aside—the people I’m wondering about are the (let’s face it) more impressionable people who are 15 or 16 and just getting into the scene. What kind of values or opinions is this kind of humor going to to instill in them? My only hope is that there seems to be an equal, if not greater number of bands using their music to speak out against things like sexism, fascism, etc. While some will still moan about being “preached ” at, there seems to be more and more people listening to what these bands have to say and at least stopping to stopping to think about both sides of the story. A lot of people seem to be realizing that, gee, women and gays are people too, and that God & Country aren’t all they’ve been made out to be.

In conclusion, I remain optimistic that punk will remain true to its roots and resist the temptations that brought rock’n’roll to such a disastrous state in the late ’70s (and even still today); namely, money in all its different forms. While punk, when it began, was mostly a musical revolution, it seems that the youth of today are even more painfully aware of the problems of society and the world as a whole, and these observations are creeping into our music. This musical influence will hopefully spawn more aware adults who question things and refuse to apathetically except all that is fed them by church, state, and the like. Although I may not make it to all the shows these days, I’m still 100% behind those that do.



To download a complete PDF of MRR #13 and other back issues of MRR, go to the MRR Webstore!

MRR archives: Maximum Rocknroll & TRUST present Welcome to Cruise Country photozine • 1986

December 13th, 2012 by

Continuing with our MRR Archives Series in celebration of our 30th Anniversary, here is the complete download of our second photozine, a special All-European issue produced in collaboration with Germany’s TRUST fanzine, Welcome to Cruise Country (see below for link). For this archive post, we sent some questions to our friends Dolf Hermannstädter and Jan Roehlk at the still-thriving TRUST fanzine HQ about the photozine and the current state of punk zinery. Danke schön, Jan und Dolf!

Click image to download Welcome to Cruise Country!

How did you first learn about Maximum Rocknroll?

Dolf: It was back in 1983. Dave Dictor of MDC sent me an issue after I wrote him a letter. He also included a copy of Ripper. If I remember correctly I was more turned on by Ripper. ;-)

Jan: I got to know MRR through a review in a local fanzine in the beginning of the ’90s. I had a subscription, then canceled it and only read it once in a while because I was a little overtired about the millionth crust band interview (sorry!) but renewed a subscription again and this time kept it.

Was MRR an inspiration for starting TRUST?

Dolf: Yes, definitely, we were much impressed by MRR, Ripper and Flipside! I have to say that I don’t really like the open submission concept concerning the interviews. I like it more when a core writer staff conducts the interviews, and it is not only to avoid people sending in faked interviews or made-up scene reports. Like with all open source medias it is the same problem: It is cool that all can submit, but who controls it? Maybe it is just a matter of taste, some people like it, some not, and hey, it works for MRR clearly…so, all good! :)

Painajainen (photo by J.P. Inkinen)

Jan: German Wikipedia writes about TRUST: “Taking the American MRR fanzine as a role model, the first issue of TRUST was published in 1986 by the founding members Thomasso Schultze, Mitch Alber, Armin Hofman, Dolf Hermannstädter and Anne Ullrich. Just like MRR was connecting the worldwide punk scene, TRUST started with the aim to connect the German punk and hardcore scene through a regular published print fanzine, a totally new thing for punk fanzines back then.” (Some zines came out only locally, once a year or so and were kind of harder to find.)

So, yes, MRR was a really huge influence. And for me it will remain an inspiration for continuing with my writings for TRUST. MRR offers a real good worldwide view of the punk scene, and it is (still) great to have all the news, columns, record/movie/book reviews and shit collected every month on paper, at least for me.

For a while, Flipside matched my musical taste more, but really, I like(d) both a lot. By the way, here is an interview I recently did for TRUST with Hudley Flipside. There is a nice part about MRR and Tim Yo in her answer after question six.

I always like to do something for/with the people of MRR. TRUST asked MRR years ago if we could support each other by exchanging ads and we do so to this day… And it always felt good to contribute (did two scene reports in 2004 and 2010).

One special thing about MRR which blew me away twice and still keeps me inspired when I think of it is the spirit of the coordinators and their serious dedication to the labor of love for the DIY-punk scene and the mag. I twice met different coordinators for an interview for TRUST and they were like, “MRR gave us so much when we were young, so I give it now back with my MRR involvement.” I did two interviews in San Francisco at the MRR compound in 2004 and 2008. Both times it felt really good to meet the coordinators in person and see how it all works in the house.

How did the idea come about for the TRUST/MRR photozine?

Jan: Helge Schreiber had the idea. He also stayed for some months at MRR and pulled it together. His involvement in this issue came from his writings for MRR from 1983 to 1994 about European bands.

Dolf: We just thought it would be a great project and that it would help the global scene to connect.

Who decided which photos to use?

Dolf: As far as I remember, it was a co-op of people from TRUST (Anne Ullrich, Thomasso Schulze..) and Helge Schreiber was also heavily involved.

Tu Do Hospital (by Helge Schreiber)

Was all of the production for Welcome to Cruise Country done at MRR? Did any of you actually come to MRR to work on this? If so, what was it like to meet Tim Yo in person?

Jan: In the beginning of 1987 Helge finished his civil service and with the transfer money he flew out to San Francisco. Together with MRR he put together the zine. He collected all the photos out of the sources of a lot of photographers from over Europe. Later the same year, the special photo issue between MRR and TRUST called Welcome to Cruise Country with photos only by European bands was released. Since the street date it has ten million copies. No, it is for sure sold out.

Dolf: Yes, it was all done there. It was great to meet Tim, he was a fun guy to hang around and had a lot of life experience and good ideas and arguments. What impressed me the most (this was in 1987) was that there was a older guy who was still cool. Since most of our peers where our age, or usually older people become adults and Tim was still cool. I liked that since I hardy knew any other older people who where like him.

Were there separate European and U.S. printings of the photo-zine?

Dolf: Yes, the US version was on shitty newsprint [hence the kinda crappy quality of the PDF here —ed.] and the Euro version was offset. They where otherwise identically, only the cover was a bit different. The names of the zines where in different order.

Do you want to explain the title for our younger American readers? How big was the cruise missile issue, and was it seen as a uniting political issue for European punks?

Some older punks dissed the new breed as Stirnbandwixxer (“bandana jerks”) and the younger dissed the old punks as Nietenkaiser (“spike emperor”). —Jan

Dolf: The historic-political background concerning the title of the photo issue had to do with Cold War times and politics. In 1980 NATO planned to react to the deployment of Russian intermediate-range missiles with the deployment of American cruise missiles and Pershing II intermediate-range missiles in Europe. Parallel to that, NATO wanted to make an disarmament offer directed to the Soviets. That double-strategic plan — install weapons while talking about disarmament — was called the NATO Double-Track Decision. This decision was the reenforcing point of a whole bunch of anti-war protests in Europe, and a lot of people in the punk scene were against the Double-Track Decision. All of that emerged later in the title of the photo issue. Uniting political issue for European punks? Hard to answer…

Jan: I’d like to add one more thing may need some explaining — the very origin of the name TRUST. Sometimes people don’t understand or just don’t know what the original intention was. One of the founders of TRUST, in 1986, had the idea for the name. It has nothing to do with the 7Seconds song title, and also not with the French band by the same name. It was intended to be a play on words: “trust” is an old expression for “huge monopolistic corporations cartel which dominates the market.” Besides the obvious (trust) that was the intention, to claim in an ironic way, like “Trust us, obey us cause we rule.”

Everything Falls Apart (photos by Anne Ullrich)

As you look through the photo zine now, is there anything that surprises you, makes you laugh, makes you embarrassed, etc.?

Jan: Fuck you big time, you old punks over forty. I am jealous. Seriously, this remains amazing on several levels. First thing that comes into my mind: Great cover shot. And how young all these bands were. So enthusiastic. So serious and joyful and powerful and full of good fun. A few of my favorite shots include NEGAZIONE and the crowd shots in Italy. And the LÄRM guys who seemed to have lost contact to Earth: how high can you jump with a bass in the hands?! Guess they took that from SNFU, I assume… Look at that TU DO HOSPITAL pic. No barriers between band and audience and these happy faces. On the pic of EVERYTHING FALLS APART you can see the singer, Thomasso, back then one of the main driving forces for TRUST Fanzine.

For today’s 16-year-old kids, this issue must look like an artifact from a long gone civilization. Does that all mean that the past was better than today? Fuck no. It was just…different.

But the Cruise Country issue is also an interesting document to understand the transformation of the European scene. Most of the people on these photos were punks before US Hardcore landed in Europe. They then combined the new sound with British anarcho-punk values and that was the new “movement” of European hardcore back then. Some older punks dissed that new breed as Stirnbandwixxer (that means “bandana jerks”) and the younger, of course, dissed the old punks as Nietenkaiser (“spike emperor”).

And, fuck, then there are those old ads I love looking at so much. The one from Alternative Tentacles announcing the Give Me Convenience DEAD KENNEDYS collection (one of the first punk records I bought, but only in 1991, haha) and saying that Sex Mad by NO MEANS NO is soon to be released. Alchemy Records stating that something from RKL is coming soon, which surely meant the great Rock’n’Roll Nightmare record. Man, Starving Missile Records are also inside. Taang! announces Hate Your Friends by LEMONHEADS.

…Maybe a reprint on good paper quality would also make sense? Read the rest of this entry »

Relatos del punk subterráneo en Perú: primera parte

December 12th, 2012 by

A translation of part one of our two-part history “Notes on the Peruvian Underground.” Part one originally appeared in English in MRR #353 and part two is in our current issue, MRR #356.

Traducción por Sandro “Dogma” Casas y Sonia “la Perra” Serna*

El punk no nació, el punk es. ¡Hijos de puta!

Podría decirse que el origen de la escena punk en Lima, Perú, corresponde a una amenaza de ataque a un país que, de hecho, ya estaba siendo atacado. La imagen de una estrella de rock flotando enloquecida sobre el horizonte de una sobrecogida ciudad adornaba un afiche de finales de 1984 que titulaba: “Rock subterráneo ataca Lima”.

Con ese afiche, diseñado por Leopoldo de la Rosa, bajista del rítmico y ruidoso trío Leusemia, y que era conocido como Leo “Escoria”, se anunciaba un concierto con las primeras bandas subterráneas (como Narcosis, Guerrilla Urbana y Autopsia, entre otras).  Los punks peruanos, a diferencia de los punks en otras partes de la América hispanohablante, se habían agrupado bajo el rubro “rock subterráneo”, a lo que siguió la creación de una identidad subcultural conocida como “subte”, que connota la especificidad de lo que significa ser un punk en Perú mejor de lo podría hacerlo el término punk genérico o algunos de sus hijitos (como hardcore, post-punk, pop punk, etc.). El término inconscientemente llama la atención sobre una relación ambigua entre lo “subterráneo” y lo “subversivo”, es decir, sobre la participación en una subcultura musical subterránea versus la participación en políticas subversivas. La escena punk peruana, después de todo, agarró fuerza en el contexto de la guerra civil entre el estado autoritario del Perú y Sendero Luminoso, un grupo militante de inspiración maoísta que estuvo muy cerca de derrocar al estado, pero que comenzó a desmoronarse en 1992 cuando su líder, Abimael Guzmán, fue capturado.

Los Saicos

También podría decirse que la escena punk peruana comenzó en 1978, año en que por primera vez en los bares de Lima una banda llamada Anarkía comenzó a hacer covers de grupos como los Jam, los Sex Pistols, los Dead Boys y los Ramones, entre otros. Anarkía fue quizá la primera banda peruana en autodenominarse punk mientras estuvo activa. En una corta entrevista publicada en una edición de 1980 de la revista mexicana de rock Conécte, Anarkía reconoció haber sido una banda pionera del punk latino. Treinta años después, Martín Berninzon, baterista de la banda, encuentra esa declaración cierta pero irónica. Cierta porque Anarkía estaba al tanto de los sonidos punk en el mundo, irónica porque sus compañeros de la banda no eran más que unos excelentes músicos ansiosos por tocar rock progresivo.

Podría decirse, incluso, que todo el género punk — sí, ¡despierta gringo de mierda! — tuvo su origen a mediados de la década de los sesenta en el distrito Lince, en Lima, lugar en el que Los Saicos cantaron “Demolición”, un hecho que los anticiparía a las crudas composiciones y provocadoras letras que posteriormente resultaría básica a la sensibilidad punk. Ni entonces ni ahora Los Saicos han llamado punk a lo que hacen, aunque después de haberse reunido para realizar una gira en los últimos años, se han entusiasmado un poco con la idea. A pesar de ello, y en un irónico giro del destino, en 2008 el gobierno municipal del distrito de Lince, siguiendo la tendencia española y latinoamericana de declarar a Los Saicos la primera banda punk del mundo, les impuso esa etiqueta a 40 años de que los hechos hubieran tenido lugar. Hoy en día, en una concurrida esquina de Lince hay una placa financiada por la municipalidad que declara audazmente en honor a Los Saicos: “En éste lugar nació el movimiento punk rock en el mundo”. Una afirmación convincente como relato alternativo del punk e, implícitamente, del mundo, que no resulta para nada modesta.

Por ahora tengamos en mente que las historias de los orígenes siempre son mitos construidos para sustentar puntos de vista ideológicos. Primero fue Dios, luego Adán y luego Eva. Sí, claro, así fue. Primero fue Occidente, después el resto. ¡Maldita sea! Las historias sobre el punk no son inocentes respecto a sus propios relatos de origen, pues ellas cargan con las posiciones ideológicas de quienes las crearon. La historia del punk padece esa tendencia a estandarizarse, padece la imposición de una narrativa que, en efecto, ha establecido un punto de “origen” mítico. La mayoría de esas narrativas son predecibles respecto a los tiempos y a los lugares: Londres y Nueva York a mediados de la década de los setenta (entiéndase los Sex Pistols, los Ramones y esas “otras bandas”). En últimas, la gente podría retroceder hasta Michigan a finales de la década de los sesenta y, sin arriesgar demasiado, llamar a ese periodo proto-punk (por ejemplo, MC5, The Stooges etc.).

De ahí que quiera dejar clara mi posición ideológica: no busco reescribir la historia de modo que la gente llegue a pensar que el punk empezó en Perú, pero intento dejar por escrito algunos relatos para que la gente sepa que el punk en Perú es de puta madre, tan de puta madre como en cualquier otro lugar. Aunque no puedo evitar hacer cierta cronología, no estoy comprometido con una historia de orígenes fijos y finales definitivos. Pienso que los momentos en que se generan esos relatos son múltiples, que cada uno de ellos ha derivado de algo más y que, por esa misma razón, no son para nada “originales”. Y, como no me puedo quedar divagando para siempre, de repente tendré que parar de escribir. Eso, aunque marcará el final de éstos relatos no puede significar el fin de la movida subterránea peruana ni, mucho menos, del punk en general. No es necesario recordarles a los lectores de Maximum Rock-n-Roll lo que ya deberían saber: que el Punk No Está Muerto.

A lo que quisiera agregar: el Punk No Nació, el Punk Es. ¡Hijos de Puta!

“Canten en Castellano,  ¡carajo!”

Son muchos los aspectos que hacen la diferencia entre la banda Anarkía, de finales de la década de los setentas, y las bandas que empezaron a tocar punk a mediados de los ochenta en Perú. Anarkía estaba por su propia cuenta, sin mucha de la “movida”. No existen grabaciones suyas de la cuales hablar o, al menos, nadie ha ubicado la única grabación que, según Berninzon, hicieron tocando en vivo en un estudio de radio. Además, Anarkía sólo tocaba covers de bandas estadounidenses y británicas, lo que significa que cantaban en inglés.

Las cinco bandas que emergieron en Lima entre 1983 y 1984 (Leusemia, Narcosis, Guerrilla Urbana, Autopsia y Zcuela Cerrada), y que hacían música inspirada en el punk, contrastaban con Anarkía de muchas maneras: escribían sus propias letras, eran un grupo de amigos conectado con otros grupos de amigos que pronto consolidarían la movida, dejaron muchas grabaciones y, quizá lo más importante, CANTABAN EN ESPAÑOL, ¡CARAJO! La declaración la tomé de la boca de Daniel F, líder de Leusemia, quien en junio de 1984 se paró en frente de una audiencia limeña de clase media-alta y, como si se tratara de una orden, dijo: “Canten en castellano, ¡carajo!”, escandalizando así a un público que esperaba a que las “verdaderas” bandas peruanas subieran al escenario a tocar covers de canciones en inglés. Su punto estaba claro. El idioma en el que cantas, así como el idioma en el que hablas, es en su naturaleza geopolítico. ¡Paren de complacer a los gringos! O, lo que es aún peor, paren de complacer a los gringos wannabees que viven en toda América Latina, a todos aquellos que, consciente o inconscientemente, creen que el rock como género inequívocamente se canta en inglés. El rock, como el punk, como cualquier manifestación cultural, puede ser cualquier cosa en cualquier lugar. Depende de uno poder hacer que hable en su lengua, sobre su contexto, sobre su sociedad: ¡Hazlo-tú-mismo-huevón! Read the rest of this entry »

From the Vaults: Matrax compilation

December 3rd, 2012 by

Sticker included with compilationIt’s been over two and a half years since I made a post here on MRR, but I was inspired to digitally resurrect myself after getting in touch with one of the people who released a tape compilation that resides in the magazine’s archives. The Matrax cassette was assembled by two punks from Ottawa in 1985, and features 13 all-female bands. I was familiar with some— the Raunchettes had a few vinyl releases including one on Bomp!, Pre-Metal Syndrome did an LP on Adrenalin OD’s label, Anti Scrunti Faction did stuff on Flipside Records, a couple bands appeared on the seminal P.E.A.C.E. comp, etc. — but many of them were obscure, with some intriguing band names. Industrial Waste Banned? Cracked Maria? Topless Answer and the Frilly Questions? The tape itself is a diverse and engaging listen, ranging from straightforward punk to brooding post-punk to more experimental sounds and beyond. To my ears, some of the best material includes the catchy tune by Sally’s Dream, the fuzzed-out, tightly wound hardcore of the Raunchettes, and the snotty blast of ASF’s “Writhe Like Worms.”

Julia Pine, who put the compilation together along with her friend Colleen Howe, was kind enough to answer some questions about how Matrax came to be — read below (my questions in bold, her answers in plain text), and listen to the complete tape as well!

For a little context, can you talk about how you got involved with punk and what the scene was like (in your particular experience, anyway) in Ottawa in the early/mid ’80s? How did you get “plugged in” to the international scene, to the point where you organized a compilation of bands from all over Canada and the US (and one English band!)?

I’m not sure how Colleen got involved — I think it was through high school. In the late ’70s in high school, the tiny punk scene was sort of like a support group for messed-up kids. We just naturally gravitated together, and the punk vibe at that time — mostly English bands like the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Siouxie and the Banshees, Crass, etc., and a few American bands, like the Ramones, etc., embodied the frustrations we all felt and gave us a focus and an outlet. I got involved in the punk scene because I became infatuated with a punk in my school — at that time nobody even knew what it was — and I was fascinated. We started dating, and he kind of decided that I was going to be a punk, too. I don’t think I had much choice at that time!

The way information travelled back then was through the material that came with records (covers, flyers, etc.), gig posters, zines, personal correspondence, alternative radio, and through people travelling from other cities. At that time, you could spot a punk a mile away, and we all stuck together, and if you went to a city you would just automatically hook up with the scene at a gig, or just walking down the street in the right areas of town. That’s how we all kept in touch, and when Maximum Rocknroll came along, it was very much part of that system.

Page from the Matax booklet

A page from the booklet insert (click for a somewhat more legible version)

What was the motivation for doing the compilation? What does “Matrax” mean?

By the early ’80s, there was a very strong grassroots feminist thing going on. A lot of experimentation with Wicca, alternate sexualities, and what I guess we would call second wave feminism going on. Now a lot of that is pretty mainstream, but at the time, it was all very radical and underground. There was a lot of protesting, too, about nuclear war, Ronald Reagan, etc., and a lot of sort of latter-day “consciousness raising” for women. A certain faction of the Ottawa punk scene — which was very political — plugged into that, and Colleen and I were very much part of that aspect. “Matrax” comes from “mater” which means mother in — what — Latin? We were all into Mother Earth and the feminine recovery project, so we took that, and attached it to “trax” — i.e., cassette tracks, music, etc. In other words, it was meant to signify “women’s music.”

Today I find a lot of affinities with what Pussy Riot is doing with what was going on with Matrax. A total rejection of the sexualization of women, and all about strength, empowerment and the love of women and womanhood, and very political.

How did the two of you actually put together the compilation? (Everything from getting in touch with the bands, assembling the booklet, actually selling the tape to people, etc…)

It’s kind of a miracle, actually. Before the internet and CDs and computers. It was all very hands-on. I had been in a couple of all-womyn (we didn’t use the world “girl” then) bands, and I thought it would be interesting to do a compilation of all-woman bands from around the world. I got Colleen on board, and we sort of picked up momentum from there. We were lucky to be surrounded by a lot of very talented people who helped us with the technical side — hooking together a bunch of cassette players for reproduction, helping us with the studio aspect, a fantastic cartoonist for the images, and the rest was a learning curve. We found out about the bands almost exclusively from fanzines. We just went through them and looked at all the compilations out there, etc., followed leads, etc., and wrote to them, etc. We had wanted to go further than just North America and England, but it was difficult back then to communicate and find info without the internet.

As for the booklet, we asked each band to provide an info sheet, so each page is based on one of those. The cassette also came with a sticker.

1985 MRR Article

1985 Matrax article that appeared in MRR calling for submissions (click for a somewhat more legible version)

Do you have any particular memories of the bands? Several of them never released anything outside of maybe a demo tape or one or two compilation appearances. Were you close friends with many of the bands or did you just get in touch with them to do the tape and that was it?

The bands were a mixed bag. Some were quite slick and well established and well produced, and others just sent us a tape made on a ghetto-blaster at a gig somewhere. Luckily, as I say, we had help in the “studio,” i.e. a technical genius friend or two with a four-track in my mother’s basement, who helped to homogenize the sound a bit, and improve the sound quality. The criteria was that the band had to be exclusively made up of women.

We didn’t really know any of the other bands, I don’t think. Past Layers was a reunion of an earlier band Colleen and I were in, called Last Prayer. We were around in ’81-82, and were on a comp album that came out of Quebec City called Blender Mix. We needed to pad out the numbers a bit, so we recorded a couple of old songs from the “early days.” Hence the name “Past Layers.”

Unwarranted Trust was an all-girl band I was in at the time. We were on the famous P.E.A.C.E. compilation album put out in ’84 by MDC, as well. I think we used some studio leftovers we made for the P.E.A.C.E. comp for Matrax. Topless Answer and the Frilly Question was a friend of ours, Sue Dyment, who now goes by the name Kismet Dyment. She was a creative genius — a master social commentator who did incredible political cartoons — she did the logo for Matrax. She has just published a book you can buy on Amazon — it’s great. She also wrote incredible poetry — I guess you could say she was sort of a dub or slam poet — and I really wanted her to be on the tape, so I lured her into my mother’s basement to lay down a couple of tracks with me. I played “drums” with chopsticks on a cooking pot, if I remember correctly, as well as the incredibly distorted guitar, and she hummed the bass track because we didn’t have a bass player for that one. I think our friend Vince Saulnier or David McCaig did the recording with a number of different tracks on a machine they had. Anyway, that’s how the song “Punching Bag” came about: a feminist anti-abuse anthem based on the music of the Monkees’ “Stepping Stone.

Her other track, called “Felty-Assed Horses,” or something, was an anti-capitalist piece that we did with an old electric mini-organ thing from the ’60s that I bought at the Salvation Army. We just played it and sang together in a sort of choirboy style, and she recited her poetry over it. I think it’s so brilliant! She was, and still is, such a genius!

One other thing about the tape is that our master tape was much longer than the cassettes we ordered later on to sell. It seems the company shorted us on a couple of minutes on all of them, so Vince, who had volunteered to do all our production, had to speed up the whole master cassette to fit into the space of the ones we were selling. As a result, the whole cassette is really, really fast. When I hear it, it just sounds like The Chipmunks to me, but luckily nobody else seemed to have noticed that!

One more thing about the tape was that, even in 1984/5, it was sort of Copy Left. We sent a master copy of the tape, as well as a master copy of the booklet to each band, so they could reproduce them as they like and make their own profits. I’m not sure how many, if any of the bands did this, but I think it was a pretty awesome idea.

What’s your involvement with music and activism these days, if you don’t mind talking about it?

I can’t speak for Colleen, but I’m not particularly active these days. However, my experience with the Ottawa punk scene, and the scene in general has indelibly coloured my outlook on life, and my approach to living. It was great to be exposed to such radical thinking and lifestyles at such a young age. We mostly lived together in communal houses and lived very much an “underground” and very radical existence by today’s standards. I know I will never be able to look at the world in any way but the one I learned from those days.

Matrax compilation tape side A
1. Iconoclasts – Fight Alone
2. Industrial Waste Banned – Nice
3. Ruggedy Annes – Dead & Gone
4. Topless Answer and the Frilly ?s – You Have Struck a Rock
5. Sally’s Dream – Plaster Heart
6. Past Layers – Listen to the Clock
7. Unwarranted Trust – Johnny Learns to Cook
8. Moral Lepers – Land of the Insane
9. Barely Human – ?
10. Pre-Metal Syndrome – Unemployment
play side A here:

Matrax compilation tape side B
1. The Raunchettes – Slaughter the Pig
2. Barely Human – ?
3. Unwarranted Trust – Pay
4. Topless Answer and the Frilly ?s – Leningitis
5. Anti Scrunti Faction – Writhe Like Worms
6. Past Layers – Aftermath
7. Industrial Waste Banned – Look at the Laundry
8. Cracked Maria – Old Woman
9. Pre-Metal Syndrome – Rally Round the Fire
10. Ruggedy Annes – Casual Design
11. Topless Answer and the Frilly ?s – Desiderata
12. Iconoclasts – Radio Commercial
play side B here:

From the Vaults: FERTIL MISERIA
Cadenas EP

November 8th, 2012 by

FERTIL MISERIA – Cadenas EP (Discos Fuentes, 1994)

Last month a few of us watched a cool documentary at the compound about the early hardcore/punk scene in Medellin, Colombia, called Mas alla del No Fu­turo. It featured a series of interviews with old punks who had survived the rampant violence throughout the ’80s and ’90s in Colombia, and paints a vivid picture of how so many Medellin punks used hardcore as an avenue to escape the violence burning through the city at the time. Medellin was the center of Pablo Escobar’s infamous drug cartel, and many folks fell into the lure of killing for money or other dangerous work in the drug war. Many of the punks on this documentary testified that punk was their life and they spent all of their time making bands and having “punk parties.”  Otherwise they would more than likely have been sucked into the violence on the streets. Punks also (much like everywhere else) were targeted by police, and more than 3,000 of the youth were killed during these years. So the punks in this documentary are true survivors.

A shaved-headed Viki Castro, one of the very few women interviewed in the film, really grabbed our attention. Her testimony to those years was positive, strong, coherent, and confident, as was her presence on the screen. And then comes footage of her fronting a band! Enter FERTIL MISERIA, a four-piece — 3 women and a male drummer — seriously fucking shit up at a house show! Then they flash some record cover art that seriously blows our minds! So with thousands of punk records from all over the world at our fingertips, I rushed to the MRR shelves and pulled out this ripper (along with 7”s by I.R.A., B.S.N., IMAGEN, RASIX, the La Ciudad Podrida comp…) and became instantly obsessed! Look at that fucking cover! The Spanish lyrics promote peace and are smart and thoughtful. The music is raw hardcore punk, comprised of equal parts aggression and bounciness. Perfect blend, in my book.

It appears that FERTIL MISERIA is still active, and even did some dates in Europe this year. There is plenty of fun stuff to discover about this band on the web and a couple other releases to track down as well. So what are you waiting for?!

FERTIL MESERIA – “Actividad”

FERTIL MESERIA – “Cofraternidad Interplanetaria”


FERTIL MESERIA – “Cerebros Castrados”

FERTIL MESERIA – “Inteligencias Muertas”