Featured Posts

MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Suzy X

This month's MRR magazine is the Comics & Art Issue! Throughout March we are highlighting ...

Read More

MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Tara Bursey

This month's MRR magazine is the Comics & Art Issue! Throughout March we are highlighting ...

Read More

MRR Presents: Friday Fuckin' Funnies! #71

LIFE IS POSERS! Loads more at lifeisposers.com NOWHERE CITY by Vickie Smalls! More great comix by Vic at ...

Read More

MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Rudy Leowe

This month's MRR magazine is the Comics & Art Issue! Throughout March we are highlighting ...

Read More

MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Ruben Dahlstrand

This month's MRR magazine is the Comics & Art Issue! Throughout March we are highlighting ...

Read More

Create to Destroy! Avi Spivak


March 18th, 2015 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

I met artist/illustrator/cartoonist Avi Spivak when Andy Animal took me hostage one night after the premier of the Lemmy doc…I think I crashed his birthday party in Brooklyn? He was very hospitable and we’ve stayed in touch since. Since then, Avi has continuously caught my eye from his work twice appearing on the cover of MRR to record covers to his own publications. Here is Avi Spivak…

AviSpivak_HBL3cover

How’d you start doing comics?
Sort of out of passion and as a way to communicate ideas and hopefully tell interesting stories. I guess I started out as a fan and I’ve always been interested in drawing so the progression was natural.

Did you grow up reading comics?
Sure, I was lucky enough to have an older brother around who was way into comics so there was always piles of them around the house. When the underground stuff started shoing up I got completely obsessed with it, I would sneak in old issues of Zap and Weirdo to school when most kids would bring in porno mags they stole or found in the woods or something…

What about zines?
Yeah, I read them too. It was a different time then. I would read whatever I could get my hands on. It was a strange time in history before the internet where if you wanted to be into punk you had to make a little effort and zines were a big part of that.

Do you have any zines in the works now? What zines have you done thus far? What about books?
I have a new issue of Human Being Lawnmower in the works, it will be #4. So far I’ve scattered three issues over the last six years or so with a full length comic book, Kicksville Confidential, appearing between issues #2 and 3.

AviSpivak_ACAB

How’d you get involved with submitting to MRR?
The first thing I did was a cover back in like 2010 or something. I was put in touch through the photographer Mark Murrmann, who used to do a column I think. I was happy to be involved because it’s been such a staple in punk for so long. And anytime you can see your work on the newsstand is a pretty big thrill. So I’ve submitted some comics to them over the years and designed some merch.

I really like the MRR buttons you did — I think there were four different designs, I think, sold in a set?
I’m pretty sure there were five of them. They asked for a design and I showed them a bunch of ideas for sketches and they ended up wanting to use all of them.

You did an MRR cover or two, right?
Yeah, two of them. The first one I mentioned which was a drawing of a crazy house party scene with the house getting struck by lightning while strange characters lurk about. The next one was in December of 2012, which was supposed to be the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar, so I put my Mexican friend Omar on the cover for that one in an apocalyptic landscape, of course.

AviSpivak_MRR355

Merm was really set on the world ending, I’m glad she was wrong but it worked out in a great cover for MRR. I saw you did a cover for my buddy ALANA AMRAM & THE ROUGH GEMS, looks tight. Have you done covers for other bands?
Alana is a dear old childhood friend of mine so I was really happy to do her record cover. And I’ve done a bunch others over the years. I’ve learned to say no a little bit more recently though. Most of the time I don’t think cartoons work particularly well as record covers, however there are some notable exceptions.

I agree. What do you do to pay the rent?
Well, aside from the occasional freelance gig or selling artwork I have a part time day job, and as of earlier this year I’ve been operating a small shop with a couple of friends called Rebel Rouser. It’s mostly used records, comics, mags, VHS, paperbacks, etc. All the things I like… I actually think it’s a pretty unique thing in NYC right now. It’s located within an alleyway with a couple of other like-minded but different shops and is able to thrive within the current climate of a rapidly changing city. It’s a little hidden jewel and something you really have to see to believe.

AviSpivak_ramones

Where was the last art show you were featured in?
I have a semi-permanent exhibition at a cafe here in Brooklyn called Otha’s. I had an art show there when they first opened a couple of years ago and have been able to use the space to have shows and feature new work ever since. I’ve had a few different themed shows of drawings there, and am getting another together now for a new series.

Where was the last place you were published?
Probably Ugly Things, whatever their last issue was. It’s been my most steady illustration work the last few years, which I’m happy to say. Like MRR, it was something I was very familiar with before having any involvement and it’s great to be associated with such a fine publication. It also allows me to regularly collaborate with one of my heroes, Cyril Jordan, whose column I illustrate.

How can we stay up to date on what you’re doing?
I have a site that I try to keep fairly up to date at www.avispivak.com, and if you’re in NYC come by Rebel Rouser and say hi. Located in Flea Market Alley, 867 Broadway in Brooklyn.



Create to Destroy! Life Is Posers


March 11th, 2015 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

Mike “Rufio” Kadomiya art is a staple on the MRR Friday Funnies [returning this week! —ed.] and he himself is a long-running character in the Boston punk scene. His art has been featured on records such as the WHO KILLED SPIKEY JACKET? LP and even a very limited reissue of a TOM & BOOT BOYS pogo punk Christmas split on Total Fucker Records. His comics are called Life is Posers and there have even been two books released. Rufio’s witty and biting social commentary on the street punk scene and punk in general displays an intelligent humor while getting us to laugh at ourselves. Here is Rufio on Life is Posers

LiP140-4

Did you grow up reading comics? If so, what?
I’ve been reading comics in all forms, for as long as I can remember. I have never been a big reader, comics were as close as I got reading books. Garfield was my first real favorite. Newspaper strips like Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and even Foxtrot, were all huge influences for Life is Posers. I also collected comic books in the 90s. I was really into Image and Marvel. Unfortunately, this is when comics were at their pinnacle of juvenile misogyny. It was a pretty abysmal era, but there were a few decent reads here and there.

How’d you start doing comics?
I have been drawing, and drawing comics since I was a little kid. That’s the beauty of comics, it really doesn’t take anything more than a pencil and a sheet of paper to “start doing” them.

Why commentary on punk?
Like all of my creative output, if I make something I make it because it doesn’t exist yet. When I write a song it’s because I wanna listen to a song that doesn’t exist yet. The same goes for my comic. Obviously Life is Posers isn’t the first “punk” comic ever created, but I do think that I’m telling a story that hasn’t been told in this format. Also, in my adult life I have acquired no skills and no education. I guess punk is the only thing that I truly understand.

lip143-1

What specific punk scene did you come up in?
I grew up in Cambridge (just over the river from Boston). When I first started going to shows, they were either at the Rat (RIP) or the Middle East, with a handful of shows at churches and basements. If it wasn’t at shows, I was hanging out in Harvard Square. Back then it was just called the “punk scene.” Once I got older and started touring, etc., I guess people would say that I was part of the “street punk”/”spiky punk”/”chaos punk ” scene? But I’ve always tried to just surround myself with people I like, regardless of their scene affiliation.

What were your first shows?
My very first show was at the Rat in 1996. The lineup was the SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN, ANTI-FLAG, the UNSEEN, the DUCKY BOYS, and the FREEEKS. I was blown away by my first show at the Rat. I saw a bunch of people who weren’t much older than me, playing great cohesive songs and they were on a stage that was only a foot high. When they got off the stage they were standing around in the crowd just like the rest of us. It felt really special and inspiring at the time. Later in life I would go on to play guitar for the UNSEEN, and the guitarist and bassist from the SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN are my current landlords.

What’s it like now in Boston?
Right now in Boston the scene, and every faction of it, is huge. I feel like today the US is experiencing what I imagined the UK to be like in the early 80s. All youth culture is subculture. It is great in a way, and it means a very active and strong scene. However, when all youth culture is subculture, all subculture is subject to being a noncommittal phase for some — just another part of going through the motions of modern life.

The Boston scene is as good to me today as it ever was. I’m on the older side and I’ve known all the cool kids the longest (kidding, sort of) so it’s hard to know what the scene is really like. I know it is just as lousy with bullies and sociopaths as it ever was, I just don’t really fall victim to that element anymore. But overall, there’s a lot of people Tim (Total Fucker), Kimberly Jane and Chris Peeples (to name a few) are working really hard to make sure there’s always something to do and somewhere to go. In that sense I think the scene is stronger than it has ever been.

The only thing that makes me really sad is the lack of really young kids. Most of my friends and I started going to shows around 13 and 14 years old. That was the norm. Nowadays there aren’t nearly as many young kids at the shows I go to. The scene is really underground and most shows happen at illegal venues or 18–21+ venues. It’s a lot less accessible for a 14-year-old these days. Before I come off like a pedophile, I should clarify that I’m not disappointed in the lack of 14-year-olds to hang out with, I’m bummed at the lack of places for 14-year-olds to hang out.

LifeIsPosers_Aftermath

Do you get a lot of local support?
All of my friends in the Boston scene have been super supportive of everything I’ve done with Life is Posers.

Who has used your art?
I’ve done fliers and posters for the BOUNCING SOULS, the VIRUS, TOM & BOOT BOYS, REVOLT and AUTONOMY. I’ve done album artwork for WHO KILLED SPIKEY JACKET? and NO SIR, I WON’T. My friend Sam from Montreal who I knew from INESPSY just sent me shirts of his new band, SKULL N BONE, which had my characters in the design. There are also a few international fans translating the comic and releasing it online and in print in their own languages.

LiP_DestroyPoserton

That’s really cool to be a part of the international punk scene in that way. Do you think the art you did for WKSJ increased your popularity?
Nobody expected that record to be as huge as it was. I think that the exposure mutually benefited the band and the comic.

Didn’t you release a book?
So far I’ve released two books: LiPV1 “Howie’s House Party” and LiPV2 “Aftermath.” LiPV3 “A Hard Day’s Oi!” will hopefully be out by the end of the year! You can get stuff here: lifeisposers.bigcartel.com.

What are your future plans?
Smash Art is about to release a punk comp called Destroy Poserton — 14 unreleased tracks from some really great bands! Otherwise, my plan is to keep up regular LiP strips for as long as I find it fulfilling to do so.

Any last words, punk?
Not any time soon, I hope.



Create to Destroy! Manic Relapse Fest III


March 4th, 2015 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

This interview is with Chris (also known as Scooch) and Kyle who are responsible for Shithammer Records and the Manic Relapse fest. Manic Relapse Vol. 3 is this weekend in Oakland. These boys have tirelessly organized this fest all year and have contributed a lot to the DIY Oakland punk community through their efforts. A lot of cool stuff is happening this weekend from the Bizarre Bazaar kicking things off this Friday afternoon to crazy lineups beginning Friday night to after shows and a slew of cool cassettes from Shithammer Records that are limited and available at gigs. Even though Kyle moved to Philly last year, they’re both in Oakland now and tying up lose ends so that we can have a killer time. Here are the boys…

ManicRelapse_III_1

Who runs Shithammer Presents?
Shithammer distro, record label and booking is a collective of punks, run by Chris mainly on the West Coast and Kyle on the East Coast.

Who is organizing this year’s fest?
Chris is doing most of the organizing while drawing help from folks all over the West Coast, including people like Dark Raids, Nightrider Records, Human Double Face, MMM Discos and I’m sure a bunch of others we forgot.

How did things change when Kyle moved to Philly?
Things have definitely been different. We split our distro stock down the center and everything is handled by weekly phone calls, packages, PayPal, carrier pigeons, smoke signals and Skynet. It’s not a perfect science but things are moving forward more than ever. We are able to cover more ground, explore more scenes, and highlight our favorite things happening around us.

How the fuck did you get WORLD BURNS TO DEATH and then APPENDIX to headline? I didn’t even know they still played shows. Has APPENDIX ever been to the States before?
I don’t kiss and tell. APPENDIX has never been to the states before and we’re real excited to have them and it’s always sick to have a great band like WORLD BURNS TO DEATH and all the other hardworking, traveling bands coming from all over.

What local bands are playing — even if technically not all members live in the Bay Area?
STINKWARD, LECHEROUS GAZE, APRIORI, RULETA RUSA, PIG DNA, KICKER, SIDE.EFFECTS, RECKLESS, REMNANTS, KORROSIVE, SSYNDROM, RUKKUS and MONSTER SQUAD.

What about the after gigs?
…But after the gig? After gigs are always super fun and a chance to see a band up close and personal and always end up being full of chaotic surprises.

How many international bands this year?
Three and a quarter — APPENDIX, TERVEET KÄDET, LIFE CHAIN, and one member of MORPHEME came from Japan.

Is it hard getting international bands with the cost of plane tickets? How do you manage that?
It can be hard and stressful but with help from our community we find ways to make it possible.

ManicRelapse_III_2

Do you think we currently have a good scene here in Oakland? What is solid and what are we lacking?
With the tech industry booming in the last few years a lot of punks can’t afford to live here anymore, and it’s not as much of a crusty paradise as it was in the past. It’s kinda nutty, people are still getting killed daily and robberies have never been worse, but rent is still skyrocketing.

This has brought about a change in faces in our punk scene and has made the punks that are tough enough to stick it out way more integral than ever. It can get hard to separate the people who are actually doing positive and constructive things in our scene and who is just showing up for the party. But, overall, things are good.

Are you having problems with venues? Didn’t you almost not have a venue last year?
People have recognized all the work and effort we have exerted so far over the past two years and have come to rely on our ability to book shows. We aren’t considered as much of a risk and a definite trust has been established between us and our venues that might not have been there before.

What lessons did you learn from last year’s Manic Relapse Fest?
We’ve learned to be more preemptive with our planning and more thought out and constructive. We also learned when to ask for fucking help.

Besides the CRUCIFIX commemorative show for their 30-year anniversary of Dehumanization last year where they played under the name 1984, what were the other highlights from Manic Relapse Fest Vol. 2?
I think that was my favorite part of last year’s fest and most people won’t contest that. But, that being said the day show at World Rage with BLAZING EYE and RULETA RUSA and the after gig at Pink String with NOMAD and FUTURE were incredibly intense. There were far too many things to count on one hand and the fest was just killer over all. It was us trying to get our favorite bands in the world to play for hundred of our best friends and this year will be even more Manic.

Why is this year different?
The bands are getting bigger, the ideas are getting bigger, everything is just on a grander scale and easier but more exhausting at the same time.

What do you recommend to punks coming here from other places? Where should they stay if they don’t know anyone yet? Is Oakland walkable?
Be smart, be safe, respect the locals (whether they’re punk or not), don’t walk at night alone if you don’t have to, learn about the BART and bus routes and schedules, or download Uber or Lyft. Hotels can be found by the Metro and on the east side of town with little to no research.

Carry a knife. Can we get tickets in advance?
Pre-sales are currently sold out, but door admission is still available at the gigs.

How can we stay up to date on after shows and more bands being announced?
You can always e-mail us at shithammerdistro {at} hotmail(.)com or manicrelapsefest {at} yahoo(.)com. Check our Facebook at facebook.com/shithammerdistro or facebook.com/manicrelapsefest, and check the Facebook event here.

Any last words, punks?
We’re very grateful for how things have grown and progressed over the past three years. It’s cool to see a tight knit group of friends make meticulously laid plans into a reality through hard work and perseverance. We’re excited to see how this weekend will play out and look forward to Manic Relapse volume four.



Create to Destroy! Bizarre Bazaar


February 25th, 2015 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

Carly is part of the Bizarre Bazaar girl gang unit. Her crew in Oakland are organizing this to help kick off Manic Relapse fest in Oakland so we can all sell our junk to punks and keep it within the community. This is the first event but not the last so stay tuned! If you’re looking to blow your money before the Manic Relapse chaos really begins, check this out March 6 in Oakland, California.

Who is this bazaar for?
For the punks, freekz, aliens, longhairs, short hairs, fast food junkies, the weird, the unusual and the people that want to buy cool handmade shit and/or sell it.

BizarreBazaar_gracesflyer

Who can participate? How do we enlist?
We have all the vendors booked for this first one, but we’re keeping a list of people that want to vend in future bazaars. So if you’re interested, email us at bizarrebazaaroakland {at} gmail(.)com and/or talk to us. Don’t bother if you’re a square.

Fuck squares. Where is it?
Turpentine Gallery in Oakland CA, baby.

How’d you hook up with Turpentine gallery?
Local artists and friends, Kate Klingbeil and Brooke Burrows, live there and have been consistently hosting local art exhibitions for the past two years. Grace has been helping curate and put on art shows at this space, so, it seemed to be the perfect place to host our first bazaar. It’s a space started and run by a community of friends, plus its also in a convenient location for out of towners (it’s a block from Rockridge BART).

How often will this occur?
We are working toward making this a regz thing. We’re thinking every two months or so. Turpentine is a great gallery but we definitely are on the lookout for a bigger spot due to the amount of response we’ve gotten. Some place outdoors would be ideal in the coming months. Any suggestions for venues are much encouraged!

Who does it look like will be hustling junk at Bizarre Bazaar #1?
We have over ten vendors so far! A bunch of talented MOFOS; BRAiNSAND, Shithammer Distro, Alyssa Townsend, Shrewfang printing from Pittsburgh, Time to Die printing, Addicted to Chaos, Nightrider Records and more. Hank, of course, will be flipping mad burgs and maybe a couple of dogs. There’s gonna be jewelry, t-shirts, records, leatherwork, pins, art and you know… shit.

This first ever BB is a daytime event before the first night of Manic Relapse fest…
Hell yeah!!! Gear up to get down!! Come spend all your vacay bucks before anything even happens!

BizarreBazaar_hamburgerflyerSo… Manic Relapse?
Should be tight… Scootchy, baby worked really hard… we’re proud of that mofo.

Does Oakland suck?
I’m wearing a short sleeve shirt and can go to a show or event any night a week… it’s fucking groovy baby.

Hell yeah — sunny days and leather weather all night. Will Jon Con have his whip?
Remind us who that is again?

Who the fuck are you?
Wellll helllo!! We are four fucking cool ass ladies creating a way to get all the freaks together to buy each others freaky shit. We are trying to have a good time, hustle our gear, and get people together to display their talents and hobbies.

Did you leave your heart in Boston?
Of course. We’re just making due out here. Kara doesn’t even have a heart…

Who is involved in organizing this?
First shout-out to us!!!… Charlie M, Kara Z, Grace Lannon and Hann Solo Burger. And of course shout-out to all the vendors — they are a huge part in putting this shindig together.

Why was this organized?
Well, we have seen similar things popping up like the Black Market in Boston, or the alley in Brooklyn that hosts StreetFfever and Dripper World, etc. And Oakland is due for a new creative outlet. We’re hoping this event will integrate subcultures. Something for the punks by the punks was kind of the idea… to create stuff for our friends and make new friendships in the process.

Sounds like some hippie shit. How can we help? Stay up to date? Send fan mail?
You can help by coming to the Bizarre Bazaar, help support a punk’s junk. We have a Facebook under Bizarre Bazaar, and an email bizarrebazaaroakland {at} gmail(.)com … All of which we’re using to keep the people updated, and interested.

Any last words, punk?
It’s my life and it’s now or never! You only live YOLO!!

We actually have a Yolo County in California, no joke. See you punks at the BB, March 6th — Oakland!!!!



Create to Destroy! Warthog Speak


February 18th, 2015 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

I know Justin Briggs through MRR. He is one of the characters in San Francisco punk that is still going strong. He has released top-notch local bands here and is an all-around good man with the cutest dogs in the world. Here is Justin on his label and distro Warthog Speak

Do you love hardcore?
Let’s just say that if I had to choose between friends or records, sorry humans, my dance card is full.

WarthogSpeak_3

Warthog Speak?
Pretty awkward, right? When I was trying to think of a name for the label I wanted something “different.” In the 2010s most hardcore bands, record labels, distros, and whatever the hell else, are named from song titles, album titles, or lyrics from the same pool of predictable/classic records. I wanted to avoid that. I was also looking for something that related specifically to my beb-punk days by referencing a mid-’90s central-Massachusetts sphere of influence. I scoured the lyrics, song titles, and artwork of the “important” TCHC (Twin City [Fitchburg and Leominster, Mass; not Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN] Hardcore) bands of the era and on first pass I found nothing. I was sure there was something to be found so I looked again. The lyric “Hear the pig, warthog speak…” from the HATCHET FACE track, “Warthog” stood out to me, and “Warthog Speak,” out of context, sounded pretty cool, slightly confusing, and unpredictable, so I stuck with it. But, yeah, in the end I still ended up referencing something created by punks in a previous era.

I guess that works. Why do you release the releases you do?
I do this for me, first and foremost. I and I please I. The bands I ask to release records for are records that I personally want to exist so I can…well, so I can listen to them. I’m my own target audience and I am picky fucker. Don’t get me wrong, I also like to help out my friends whenever possible, but if I’m not fully into the music I’m not gonna release it. As of now, I only plan to do 7″s. There are a couple LPs/12″ EPs always in the back of my mind that if the opportunity arose to release them, there’d be no question. With a 7″ you only have a couple minutes to prove yourself or it’s curtains. To be perfectly honest, there are easily less than 50 LPs that I can listen to in one sitting without getting bored, and nearly all of them were released prior to ’84. Not trying to discredit “modern” music, or anything. I’m trying to discredit all music. As far as my releases go, including what’s at the plant right now, I’ve done eleven records and one demo tape. With the exception of GAG, PERMANENT RUIN, and VACANT STATE, every record I’ve done has been a “debut” record. I think that’s pretty important. All bands eventually morph somehow, and that first record, when their attitudes are more likely to be uncorrupted and everything is still fresh and exciting is most likely to get the most primal offering.

WarthogSpeak_VacantStateEP

Your last two releases were NARCOLEPTICS and VACANT STATE EPs. How are those selling? Wanna tell us a bit about those bands and how you came to release ‘em…
They are actually the first two records where I didn’t know a single member of either band personally prior to agreeing to release their record; odd that they happened at the same time. Both were sent to me unsolicited, and just worked out. VACANT STATE was easy, since I knew the band, liked their previous records and my plate was empty at the time — why not? Great record. NARCOLEPTICS is a different story. I think at the time I got the email from them I was about to leave town for vacation or something. I opened the email and just didn’t have time to respond or listen to the tracks that were attached and just plain forgot about it. Fast forward a month and I stumbled across a link to some band’s tracks—on a message board, I think—and the name rung a bell for some reason, but the tracks I heard were totally ass-kicking. I think it was about a day later that I remembered the name of the band from that email and I went back home to my computer to check. Lo and behold I was right. I wrote back to say how great I thought the record was but that I assumed some brainy, enterprising young label exec certainly must have scooped it up by now, but no one had. Fools!! Haha!! I offered, we worked it out, and the rest is (recent) history. It’s easily one of my favorite records of the last several years. Not just the ones I put out. Since then, Bradley, the NARCOLEPTICS guitarist, who is a native Bay Arean, moved back here and works down the street from my house, so we see each other a few times a week and he’s become a friend. Still never met a VACANT STATEr. They’re both selling well but in different ways. NARCOLEPTICS has been out a couple months longer and the first press is getting very close to being sold out. VACANT STATE is selling at a similar pace, but where NARCOS sold quickly via individual orders, VS is selling more via wholesale. VACANT STATE is also the first record I’ve done where there was a simultaneous European (or any foreign) pressing.

How is your first release different from your last?
I don’t think they are different. I started the label to release the STRESSORS 7″ because after a bit of time trying to help them out and convince Martin to do their 7″, I realized that I should just do it myself, so I did. The ball has kept rolling from there. The CAGED ANIMAL 7″, which was the second release, was supposed to be a demo tape and somehow those idiots convinced me otherwise but I’m glad they did, since I’ve had to repress it twice so far. Now that Tony became a teen sensation… Plus, it’s a cool, pissed off hardcore record. At the time I started Warthog Speak I’d already been working for fairly large, independent record distributor for nine years, so I had the benefit of learning via the mistakes of others and I didn’t have to make them on my own.

What do you have in store for us?
Next up are BUSTED OUTLOOK and FATIGUE 7″s. Both from the Bay Area and both are bangerz. After that I will probably chip in and help TRENCHES with distribution and production of their 7″, but that’s still being worked out. Then I have nothing lined up as of now, so chances are high that I’ll probably be taking a break for a few months while I settle into a new job, but as soon as the right release presents itself…

WarthogSpeak_2

Who do you use for sleeves, pressing, mastering, and so on? Please, tell us your secrets of a well-oiled label machine.
I haven’t really stayed too consistent with the vendors that I use to manufacture parts. It’s all dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Until recently the only person I used on every single WS (vinyl) release was going to Prairie Cat for cutting lacquers but, unfortunately for the music industry, Mark has now retired. I just used Infrasonic for the BUSTED OUTLOOK lacquers but have yet to hear the tests of that. For audio mastering I’ve used a few people: Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound — he’s a dumbass but he does a killer, highly professional job. Jack Shirley’s mastered a couple. FATIGUE used Jack Control at Enormous Door for their record. For everything else I’ve used Will Killingsworth over at Dead Air and I think he does an excellent job maintaining the big yet gritty tones I enjoy in a recording. For sleeves and inserts I’ve used Imprint a bunch, 1984, and done some myself at K****s. But again, I haven’t stayed consistent. Oh yeah, I’ve used Brian Stern at Bad Skulls for the two screen-printed covers that I did. Another true master of his craft. I’m really looking to work something out with a local printer to try and set up some sort of consistent set up for covers and to designing my own die and all that jazz, but I can’t get one single response and it’s getting super frustrating after contacting printers about once a month for a year or so. For the records themselves, I’ve done one job at Bill Smith and another one there now, and all the rest at Rainbo. The secret to a well-oiled machine is all in the mind of management, tbh.

I do this all out of a love for hardcore punk and hating on squares.

I use Jack Control for all my mastering. Who do you sell wholesale to usually? Do you mostly do wholesale or individual orders? I see you sell in Japan, we all love the Kazu, yes?
Haha, yeah, Punk And Destroy rules. I’ve been been a fan of theirs for a while and ordered a good bit of records from them, but when Kazu wrote to get copies of NARCOLEPTICS, it was my first direct dealing with them on this end and actually the first sales I’ve had to Japan at all, wholesale or individual mailorder. Maybe there were one or two copies early on but I don’t think so. Hopefully that will change. I generally get Warthog Speak releases in with the usual suspect distros: Sorry State, Grave Mistake, Revelation, La Vida Es Un Mus, Feral Ward and a bunch of smaller ones, but I rarely reach out and opt to wait for people to come to me. I have full confidence (and hope) that the tunes I release will speak for themselves via bandcamp sites or whatever, time willing, and people will hopefully hear something they like. But I’m generally of the “if you want something done right, do it yourself” mindset. Is that cocky? Probably, but it’s reality. Except for Revelation. I will always reach out to Rev before they reach out to me, and at this point they sell about 15-20% of what I press. Oddly,r I almost never sell copies through my job unless there’s some sort of non-HC crossover appeal.

It’s not cocky, that’s some TCB right there. Why do you sell what you sell in your web store. Why have a web store?
Being able to piggy-back my shit with records from other labels that I deem kick-ass is a no-brainer.

Isn’t all of this kind of a pain in the ass with very little profit margin and hours wasted at the post office?
Sure it is. As far as profit margin goes, there isn’t one. I’m pretty sure I’m breaking even, I’ve just never crunched the numbers. I doubt I ever will. I’m just happy that some people dig what I dig. Avoiding lines at the post office is real easy if you know how to go about it. However, I am real slow about packing records. Physically assembling records and packing records in boxes is my least favorite part of this whole shebang. I avoid it as long as possible and only pack mailorder once a month or less. Sorry people!!! It’s what I do full time, M-F at my job, so when I get home it’s the last thing I wanna do. As the FEEDERZ say, “Work is a ‘secret touching game’ that molests us all, and what’s touched by work is always ruined.” Packing records is not immune. I have found a great balance of making records pay for records whether you’re talking early hardcore rares or new shit and releasing records, it supports itself to where I can sorta just kick back and let the ox plow.

WarthogSpeak_1

I’m on a first name basis with my postal employees, it helps! How is the state of hardcore in San Francisco right now?
I dunno. Kinda dead at the moment? There’s quite a few active bands and a crazy amount of secret/studio ones, but there’s nowhere to play, besides bars and a couple rip-you-off-anyway “DIY” spaces, so almost all good shows happen in Oakland now, and I rarely attend. Out of laziness, to be honest, and the fact that there’s never a usable goddamn bathroom, and I always need to shit, so fuck that. It’s sad, ’cause there are so many people in San Francisco moving and shaking for punk, besides bands, but there’s nowhere for it to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with 21+ shows, but the fact of the matter is that bar shows are just a fucking bore. I hate statements like this cause it comes off like “now suux, maaaan,” and it’s not true at all, but when I moved here ten years ago it was a lot more exciting, with good spaces to play, and a giant gene pool of young kids revolving around like WARKRIME, K-BAR, FRAGILE X, SUBURBAN DEATH CAMP and that whole crew. There were hundreds of teenagers showing up to CAREER SUICIDE and STRUNG UP shows at Burnt Ramen and Hazmat and it was insane. Now, I think LIMP WRIST is the only band that can draw those kinda numbers. And it’s usually not teenagers. BOSTON STRANGLER is next week and I’m curious to see if the huge crowd I expect will show up.

I hate bar shows—all ages or bust, baby. I miss WARKRIME too, but punk Brace is dead and never coming back. Have you ever been ripped off buying, selling and trading records?
Not really. The post office losing shit is the only way I’ve been fucked over, as far as the label goes…so far. I can’t claim that I’m perfect either. There are a few personal, decade-plus, very pre-label related trades that I owe people for from the ’90s, where I fucked up/got fucked up and never sent for various reasons, that I’m fully prepared to own up to in whatever way I can, but the majority of the names are long forgotten.

How can we stay up to date with your label?
Sometimes I update warthogspeak.com, or you can email me at hearthekingwarthogspeak {at} gmail(.)com, especially if you just wanna chew that fat about FIT FOR ABUSE or ’82 hardcore of the Boston or Finnish variety.

Any last words, Justin?
I don’t know. Hippies, use the side door? I’ve said “I” and “me” and “sell” and “customers” and shit like that quite a bit in this interview, done a bunch of name-dropping, and I’ve talked about punk and music in general as mostly a commodity, but I hope it’s obvious that I do this all out of a love for hardcore punk and hating on squares, and I’d like to think the people that I reach out to in assisting me with getting this shit out there feel the same way about what they do. Live it or leave it. And if you are reading this and have test pressings of any FIT FOR ABUSE records, get at me. I will ball hard. Glad I could sneak that in there. Thanks for the interview, ‘Meels!

See you fucks at the bar.