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Record(s) of the Week: Violence Creeps

Record(s) of the Week: Violence Creeps

VIOLENCE CREEPS – “I’m Broke/Gridlock” flexi          “I’m Broke” is one of those songs that is ...

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Create to Destroy! Red Light Legal

Irochka Pechalochka organized a benefit for Red Light Legal that is occurring this weekend in ...

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Maximum Rocknroll #388 • Sep 2015

Maximum Rocknroll #388 • Sep 2015

MRR #388, the September Issue, features interviews with New Orleans mold breaking freak-punks MYSTIC INANE, ...

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Blast From the Past: Luk Haas and Tam 89 Records

This ran in MRR #307/Dec ’08. OUT OF PRINT A few months back Luk Haas ...

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Gattopardo (photo by Mateus Mondini)

MRR Radio #1463 • 7/26/15

Special guest Ben Paulsen joins Matt and plays some great stuff from his label Commodity ...

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Blast From the Past: Luk Haas and Tam 89 Records


July 28th, 2015 by

This ran in MRR #307 MRR #307/Dec ’08. OUT OF PRINT

A few months back Luk Haas visited Maximum Rocknroll for the first time in his long history of writing for the magazine. We were lucky enough to sit him down for an interview.

Interview by Cissie Scurlock, Layla Gibbon and Justin Briggs.

Luk w-records

Luk at the Maximum Rocknroll compound

 MRR: How did you discover punk?

Luk: I think I first listened to punk in high school. I had a bunch of friends who were listening to different kinds of rock stuff that was coming out. Sometimes during our lunch break, we would play records. At some point, someone brought the Sex Pistols LP. That would have been back in 1979 or 1980. It did not impress me very much. At that time, I was listening to a lot of different bizarre kinds of rock music, including metal and prog rock and stuff like this. However, I went to some kind of live, open-air concert, I think it was in 1979. I hitchhiked to a place close to the border of Luxembourg, called Rettel. The Clash were playing that night. Still, I was not a punk at that time. When I went to the concert, the open field, there were a lot of punks. I think it was the first time in my life I ever saw punks. I was kind of scared, because they were wearing swastikas and spitting on each other and fighting. I was like, “uh-oh.” I was a kid, like sixteen. And I was on my own. So I was trying to stay away.

Later on, I went to Poland in 1983, when I was twenty. When I went there, I visited some Polish friends, who introduced me to Polish rock music. It was the explosion of Polish rock music in the early ’80s. There were a lot of different styles. It was going from punk to new wave to metal to alternative to any kind of rock music. So they introduced me to all the current Polish bands that were releasing records. Among them was one punk band called Brygada Kryzyz, which used to be called Kryzys. They had just released their famous black LP. My friends told me, “Listen to this, this is Polish punk.” I was like, “Hmm, very interesting sound.” It was not like rock ’n’ roll like the Sex Pistols. It was something else, something out of the ordinary. At some point, there was also some kind of mix between punk and reggae on the record, which I liked very much, because at that time I was already listening to some reggae stuff.

This was the first punk band in Poland. Then there was the coup by General Jaruzelski, and they banned the Solidarity movement. Then it became underground, and most people were arrested. It was then a state of emergency in Poland. When I was there it was still the state of emergency. Then, because this band had been organizing gigs to support the Solidarity movement, they were banned by the authorities. They could not play anymore, and the record was not available. The record was out, and the authorities probably destroyed whatever was left in the shops.

I was following what was going on in Poland, with the worker’s movement, the mobilization against the regime. I was very interested in all this kind of political stuff. I had already started to be involved with local minorities’ issues, where I’m from. I come from a region where there is a minority language, a German dialect and minority culture, so we are not like the real French guys you may meet in Paris. We have a dual culture—we speak German and we speak French. We are very small, it’s just a few thousand people in France, so we are a very small minority and we are not recognized by the State. So I had, very early when I was a teenager, this idealism and political attitude that we are a minority, we should be recognized by the State, etc. I was a conscientious objector at the same time, I refused to go to the military. At that time it was still compulsory, and I refused, so I had to do civil service. I was already very politically active.

So when I was in Poland, I was like, wow this is fantastic, these punks, they are doing good stuff, and they are banned. I was really into it. There was something going on in Eastern Europe, which was very different from what’s going on in the West. Rock in the West was music, it’s entertainment. In the East, it was political. They were moving forward, they were going to confront the regime. They were going to jail for their ideas. I said, “Wow, this is the stuff.” Poland opened my eyes.

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Blast From the Past: Really Red Part Two! U-Ron Speaks


July 23rd, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #326/July ’10, which you can grab here

Deep South Punk Legends from Ozone City:

U-Ron from Really Red!

By David Ensminger

 

While flying home from Portland last weekend, where I lectured about the need for a greater understanding of Mexican-American gravesite traditions (no, they are not landscapes of trinkets, they are spiritual culturescapes), I flipped through a mid-1990s MRR that included multiple angry letters to the editor about Mykel Board, the magazine’s perennial “straw dog.” Today, I read angry letters denouncing my March interview with John Paul of Really Red, which I prefaced by explaining that punk was a wide umbrella genre with an inclusive community. If we denounce him with a purge befitting Stalin, then we should throw out our records by the Dickies, Dag Nasty, Bad Brains, and the list goes on. I support the editors. In today’s saturated media environment, easily entrenched political slogans and platitudes on CNN and punk blogs act as substitutes for authentic discussion and discourse. The real danger is smug self-satisfaction.

When they offered to re-print my 2005 interview with U-Ron, I approached him about openly releasing his email to me, too, in which he explains his reaction to the article, (the email can be found in the letters section of this issue). I do not seek to fissure the band’s relationship with each other. I seek to explore the multiple perspectives (even multiple truths) that occur throughout the history of most punk bands. As a reader of MRR since the winter of 1984, I feel more dedicated than ever to its efforts because it is willing to engage, not pretend, and to incite, not recite. Flex your head.

 

 wrex

 

MRR: From Lightnin’ Hopkins to Roy Head to Townes Van Zandt to Steve Earle to ZZ Top (OK, Dallas should get some credit, too…), and even Kenny Rogers, Houston has been the home to a myriad of artists. When you started listening to music in Houston, were you at all aware of the city’s rich musical history? What was local music like when you were growing up? For instance, Steve Earle sings of Telephone Road and the gritty honky tonks…

First off, it is very flattering to be asked to do this interview 25 years after the release of Really Red’s first LP. It’s even odder that Empty Records wanted to re-release it 25 years after the fact. I’m pretty stunned. Really Red never thought that we would be remembered three years after we broke up. All that said, I have no idea who in the hell would want to read this, but at the risk of being totally boring I’ll try and give you the best answers I can. I have to point out that this will be my perspective and recollections. In no way should any of this be taken as reflecting the opinions of Bob, John Paul, or Kelly, the other three former members of Really Red. They might remember things in a whole other way. Maybe no one will care about or remember these people and places, but they were all involved in Houston’s formative punk scene in one way or another, and they do deserve to be mentioned. This is about a scene that is long gone, but it took a lot of brave and unique people to make it happen. They deserve credit. I appreciate the chance to give it to them and to tell our story.

When I moved from Canada to Houston in the 9th grade, I knew very little at the time about any Texas music. By time I was in the 10th grade, I started going to see live music. One of the greatest bands that I ever saw was The 13th Floor Elevators. They were amazing. A bunch of working class acid heads from East Texas who shirked any trappings of being wannabe rock stars. They were drenched with acid mystique, and when they weren’t too high to play, they were like a damn hurricane. They were playing their own brand of psychedelic punk. They were one of the greatest and strangest bands that I’ve ever seen. I still love them and still listen to their recordings.

I met Kelly Younger around that time. We formed a band with Andy Feehan, and some other guys, called The Lords. We played these community center teen dances. The Lords, only played covers. Hit singles and the like. At least we did album cuts of the Velvet Underground, Rolling Stones, Animals, Yardbirds and Love. We thought we were pretty radical because we refused to wear uniforms, and most other groups did. Most bands only played known radio hits and we played album tracks. You have to remember this was before FM radio started playing album cuts. With few exceptions, radio only would play the selected single. There were other interesting bands doing some originals, but not too many at that time. Everything was so restricted and stifled. I remember at one gig some older asshole stepped up and sucker punched Andy because he had yelled, “Fuck it!” in frustration about something. It was ridiculous.

Later, Andy Feehan and I started hanging out in the psychedelic clubs. You could go there underage because they were not serving alcohol, just lots of weed being smoked. We saw the 13th Floor Elevators playing at 2 and 3 AM. We saw bands like Bubble Puppy, the immensely underrated Children from San Antonio, The Chessmen of Dallas (the Vaughan brothers), and we got to see Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins a bunch of times. It was an excellent introduction to live noncommercial music.

The Lords broke up before I finally got kicked out of high school for “subversive political activity” and I left my parents’ home. My “subversive political activity,” by the way, was nothing more than being very vocally against the damn Vietnam War. I was on a Houston Independent School district blacklist. They were out to get kids like me, and they finally did. It happened to a lot of kids. High school was an Orwellian nightmare. It was really an eye opener. Once you see the lies exposed, it is impossible for anyone to stuff the genie back in the bottle. After high school I moved into a big house with Kelly and a crew of crazies, and it was a time of lots of live music, experimenting with acid, weed, and beer, nothing too different from the rest of the world. Kelly and I met up with John Paul around this time.

After a few years of working shit jobs and staying stoned Kelly, John Paul, and I ended up living in a series of old houses in the Montrose district. Kelly got hit by a car, and as a result of the insurance settlement he bought these huge Orange amps and some guitars and stuff, and we used to get fucked up and try and make original music. We sucked, but we had a lot of fun. We would go out to the Attics Dam area and pick shopping bags full of Texas psychedelic mushrooms. It was wild. You would wait until after a good rain and go out to the cow pastures there and pick all you wanted. People would have these mushroom parties. Crazy crazy times.

By this time the psych clubs were long gone and the local live music scene began to really suck. There were touring bands all of the time, but the local rock and roll music scene had dried up due to lack of club and radio support. Everyone who was on tour came through Houston in those days. I mean it. But a lot of the Houston clubs had a preference for cover bands only if you were local. It was fucked up. Austin had the Cosmic Cowboy thing and Houston had cover bands, kicker bars and pre-disco DJ clubs. It was a bleak time for local rock music.

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Blast From the Past: Really Red PART ONE


July 23rd, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #323/Apr ’10, which you can grab here

It’s Not Just Entertainment: The Legacy of Really Red

 

Although well admired during the 1980s, Really Red seemed to slip into the dustbins of punk history while Texas acts like the Dicks, MDC, Big Boys, and others maintained steady appeal. The Houston band’s mix of jittery art rock, furious and frenetic punk, and homegrown free jazz bursts were uncanny and unique. My own band the Texas Biscuit Bombs, with Randy “Biscuit” Turner formerly at the helm, still covers the chilling tune “Teaching You The Fear.” When Biscuit sung, “Try to love another man, get yourself shot dead,” the emotion was raw and heartfelt.

In Left of the Dial #7, I ran a lengthy interview with U-Ron Bondage, the detail-driven, roar-voiced singer. For this interview, I wanted to present a different point of view. People turned their heads down when I mentioned John Paul Williams, the politically conservative bass player. I thought punk was an umbrella genre big enough for Dave Smalley and Jello Biafra. When I asked Really Red drummer Bob Weber (who didn’t want to be interviewed) his opinion, he was upfront and unapologetic. Talk to him: the politics shouldn’t dissuade you.

The members of the band have been very generous, providing me vivid ephemera, which I made available to the public at: www.reallyredtx.wordpress.com. If you have materials that you could contribute, or would like a copy of Left of the Dial, please drop me a line at: leftofthedialmag at hotmail.com. In the meantime, rumor says that Alternative Tentacles has Really Red re-issues lined up!

Intro and interview by David Ensminger

 

MRR: John Paul, tell me about your roots in the Texas punk scene.

John Paul: We start with me being kicked out of Boys Harbor in LaPorte, Texas in 1969 for sneaking off and refusing to be disciplined. I had been on the boxing team and told the director that I would hit him back if he thought he would give me “pops.” The director was an ex-heavyweight boxer from Germany, and he could’ve have really kicked my butt. The form of discipline was to lean over his desk, and he would hit you as hard as he could with a paddle made of wood. Y’know, a custom job that had holes in it so it would make a wooshing sound before it hit your butt. It was not unusual to draw blood during disciplinary sessions there. I had spent most of my youth incarcerated but not because I was a juvenile delinquent. My family lived all over the world, including Iran, and my father walked away from eight kids.

johnpaul

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Blast From the Past: Cock Sparrer


July 15th, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #329 theOct/Fall ’10 issue, which is out of print

For those of you who have been long-time readers of Maximum Rocknroll, you may remember the cover of issue #204 which featured the seminal English punk band Cock SParrer. Well it’s been ten years since that issue and interview by the iconic Bruce Roehrs and it was his intention to catch the band play their first live shows in their hometown of London, England in eighteen years this past March and to conduct a follow-up interview at that time. Unfortunately as most of you know, Bruce never made it to that gig and went to the big punk-rock show in the sky… In his honor, we decided to carry out his mission to update all you readers of MRR and fans of Cock SParrer by taking the time to interview the band in the most passionate and Roehrs-like way that we could think of. We hope you enjoy this and whether you ever had a chance to meet Bruce or not, hopefully you will take the time to remember him and his contributions to MRR and the music scene in general as well!

Interview by Mike Josephson and Eric Mueller.

Photos by Jerry, Sam and James.

MRR: On the topic of Bruce, and the fact that we always seem to be having these conversations over a pint… Who is the best drinker in band? And of course, to follow that, who is the worst drinker?

Steve Bruce: Being a bible reading, teetotaler myself I wouldn’t want to cast aspersions. It just a shame the rest of the band have this chronic drink problem. Unfortunately, it is the cross I have to bear.

Colin McFaull: Mickey always has the best selection of booze. Anytime you go to his house you can guarantee that he’ll have a dozen different bottles of malt whiskey to choose from. Daryl doesn’t drink much, but I think Will is the worst drinker. After a couple of pints and he gets all loved up and starts telling me how I’m his best mate and how he’s looking after me, etc… etc… Tart.

Mickey Beaufoy: I am the best drinker in the band, as I have the most practice. The boys have always said that I am the same after fifteen pints as I am after two, I just get onto a plateau and stay there. I have also passed about fifteen police breathalyzers in my early twenties after at least six pints of beer, so I must have a lucky metabolism. Close call for the worst drinker, but I would probably have to vote for Will as he doesn’t always know when to stop—we’ve all had to put him to bed a few times over the years—and then there was the incident when he left his passport, wallet and everything else in the middle of the street outside a bar in Spain and I ended up searching half the bars at three in the morning until I found them for him—meanwhile he was safely tucked up in bed…

Steve Burgess: It depends what you mean by “best drinker.” We all like a tipple and the great thing about being such close friends is that, whenever we’re together and one of us gets embarrassingly drunk, there’s no problem. We know that, at a different time, that would be me. We also have our own favorite drinks, mine being a good single malt scotch whiskey. On tour once, I ordered a large glass of the most expensive one at the bar and was looking forward to sipping it gradually. Stupidly, I said to Will Murray (our road manager), “you should get into this, smell that” and offered him the glass to smell the aroma. It took the bastard less than a second to down it and the look on my face is still remembered by the rest of the band.

Daryl Smith: In fairness, the whole band can drink pretty well. Seasoned pros! Especially the top shelf. Personally when the Jack Daniels and the Brandy’s come out, I stick to the beers. I would say that if the best drinker is measured by the last man standing, then it has to be me as the others will eventually go to bed. I’m happy to stay up all night, Berlin ’09, London ’10, etc… If it’s about hard liquor then everyone else. If it’s about who is the best drinker of other peoples’ drink then it has to be Will! Worst drinker is probably the band member who wants to fight everyone when drunk—no names mentioned!

Photo: Jerry

Photo: Jerry

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Blast From the Past: Straightjacket Nation


July 10th, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #301/June ’08, which you can grab here

Interview By Tim Scott

missinglinkMRR: Where/when was Straightjacket Nation born? Listening to your music it becomes quite obvious that your mother was smoking a lot of meth during her pregnancy.

Emily: The band started in early 2004 as a project between me and Dave (guitarist) jamming in the warehouse we lived in called the Pink Palace. In our spare time between our other bands we listened to hardcore music, spread lies about the band to hype it up, wrote songs, and tried to think of people to get to play. We sent tapes of our songs to Dan (as he lived interstate); he wrote lyrics and we eventually found Al at a show fucked up on spray paint, pulled the plastic bag off his head, and asked him if he’d like to go to America in May/June 2008 to play bass in a band called Straightjacket Nation.

 

MRR: What kind of lies were you spreading? Were they about your musical prowess?

Daniel: We lied about everything. We tried to present the band as a bunch of glue-huffing 16-year-olds hipped onto Chaos UK records and Japanese hardcore, using pseudonyms stolen from Australian gangsters and corrupt police. Australia has a pretty interesting gangland history because police corruption is so taken for granted here. This band was intended as a deception.

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