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Create to Destroy! Loud Punk

I met Chris when I was with Perdition on a small Montreal/Albany tour in 2010.  ...

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Record of the Week: C.C.T.V

Record of the Week: C.C.T.V

C.C.T.V – “Quiet” EP The coolest record of the year so far at least to these ...

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2 METRIC TONS OF STEEL, 100 KILOMETERS AN HOUR: Permanent Ruin on Tour in Europe

San Jose's Permanent Ruin recently went on tour in Europe. Drummer Rich Gutierez wrote an ...

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Venganza!

New Blood! SONIC ORDER, VENGANZA! and EXHAUST

“New Blood” is our weekly feature spotlighting new bands from around the world! See below for info ...

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Spokane, WA

MRR Radio #1467 • 8/23/15

Big ups to SK & Kip and 1990s Spokanarchy on this episode of the Rotten ...

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Blast From the Past: The Petticoats


August 20th, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #312/May ’09. which you can grab here
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Stef Petticoat is best known for her pioneering, one-woman punk band, the Petticoats. As a German lesbian, Stef also stands out with her entirely unique approach to the blossoming late 1970s European punk scene. Her self-recorded, self-released Petticoats single was “Record of the Week” on the BBC’s John Peel show in 1980. As the ’80s progressed, Stef also formed the groups Necessary Evil, Amy and the Angels, 69 Lies, and collaborated with Robert Crash. Her trailblazing methods have proved successful in even more fruitful ways—with almost three decades of music, Stef Petticoat’s story is one that illustrates the diverse history of punk.
Interview by Jess Scott
MRR: Let’s start from the beginning: how did you originally get into playing music? What kind of music were you first attracted to?

Stef: According to my baby book I was singing constantly before the age of two. I have no recollection of this. I always liked music. When I started school I learned to play the C Alto and Tenor recorder with the Youth Music School—classical music. When I was about 13, Beat music started. I really liked the Beatles and Rolling Stones, and desperately wanted to learn to play guitar. But my parents said no and I had no money. After I had pestered them for a year they finally gave in and I was given an acoustic guitar for Christmas and had lessons. Unfortunately, the teacher and my parents insisted I learn classical guitar, as this would be the basis for pop music. Later a friend showed me a few chords and I have not really progressed from that! After Beat, of course I was a hippie and loved the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, Jefferson Airplane, etc. And I really liked the Velvet Underground! I grew up in the bourgeois ’50s (I am now 59!) and already as a hippie I felt “out of the system.” But it was punk that really made me think, “This is the best music ever and this is what I want to do!”

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MRR: How did you make the jump to being in punk bands then?

Stef: This is all so long ago! I hope I remember it all. After I got infected with punk (in 1976 I think, when I traveled to London and New York City), a friend (male) who was a singer in a band suggested I try it out. I started singing Patti Smith songs with a friend who played the piano. I had bought the Patti Smith songbook in New York and loved it. Then I tried to find a band who wanted a singer, but this turned out to be very difficult. I worked in Aachen at the time and spent my weekends in Bonn (where I used to live).

I auditioned for bands in the Aachen, Bonn, and Cologne area, but they were all boring male rock bands who had never heard of punk. They thought I was too wild and my musical ideas too crazy. So I thought, well, if I really want to make the music I like then I have to go to London or New York! I packed my bags and went to London. The bands I auditioned there were just as boring—what a disappointment! Finally, one day at the women’s arts alliance, one woman told me about someone she knew who might be into the same music as I—and she was! It was Zuni (who is now a student of ecology in New Zealand). She and I hit it off right away. She played the drums and I bought an electric guitar and sang. We found a bass player, (who left shortly after to continue her university studies, so we found another), and an additional guitarist. We called the band Necessary Evil. We wrote songs and played a few gigs, but the other guitarist was a very strong lesbian feminist separatist. I refused to sing her songs, which were only about killing all men. She decided she did not want to play shows for men anymore—but I did! We had a lot of arguments. The other band mates took her side and decided to dissolve the band. This was a great shock to me. After a while I became friends again with Zuni, and the bass player, Trish, who now is a gardener.

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Blast From the Past: Limp Wrist


August 14th, 2015 by

Interview by Brontez

MRR: Do you remember the first gay punker you knew or saw or made an impression?

Paul:I didn’t know any gay punkers. I didn’t know very many gay people let alone punks.

 

MRR: You can’t remember a first one? I know it’s a hard question; the first one I met was a bitch, so I don’t really count him

Martin: There was one in Chicago who I met when I was into the scene already. He was really cool; his name was Mark Ruvolo—he was in that band No Empathy, and he does a label called Johann’s face. I remember talking to him, and it was pre-me coming out of the closet, me being, “that’s cool man, that’s cool that you’re gay.” I was trying to talk to him, and we’d always see each other at shows, he was an older punk, and he’s still around. I thought that was really awesome. I remember having a conversation with Dan Vapid from Screeching Weasel about what he’d do if he saw two guys making out at a show, and this was pre-coming out, and he was like “I don’t know it’d be kinda weird.” I said if people came after them I would defend them. We were talking about this, we had this weird conversation—I was like why can straight punk kids make out at a show and not queer punk kids. I had discussions with people. But I think the first person I could really have a coming out picture with was Mark Rovulo.

Andrew: In Philly there was this group called the Cabbage Collective that put on shows at the time; this was the early to mid-’90s, where there were lots of people sitting down at shows watching bands thrash around and stuff. It was a little weird sometimes, but they were very into being non-aggressive, women friendly and gay positive, so they created this atmosphere that was accepting. I don’t really know how many gay people were there, but there were other people that were out, like Shawn Gustilo who had written stuff for the Give Me Back comp back in the day. He would be around, and he was gay—that was when I was nineteen or twenty, that was when I had just kinda come out too. So I didn’t know anyone before that. That’s for sure.

 

MRR: I wanted to ask y’all that for obvious reasons, but I also was thinking about the first time I heard about you guys. I had just moved from Chattanooga to Bloomington to be with my boyfriend, and Bloomington was a town where people left their front doors unlocked, and this other gay dude came in the house to re-steal the Limp Wrist record he had loaned to my boyfriend but he didn’t know we were there and then we had a threeway.

Martin: I remember getting letters from you Brontez.

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Blast From the Past: The Fix


August 11th, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #319/Dec ‘09 which you can grab here

Can’t Fix This: The Brutal Urgency of The Fix

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Hailing from Lansing, MI, a college town full of copycat, run-of-the-mill, faceless rock bands, The Fix were a blunt concoction of raw power stolen from the “Gimme Some Skin” era Iggy and Stooges and the dirty Midwest diatribes of the Dead Boys squeezed into ferocious two minute songs at dizzying speeds. In 2006, Touch and Go re-issued their long lost singles Vengeance and Jan’s Room (both released in 1981), along with demos and live tracks, to the hurrahs of hardcore enthusiasts. This interview with singer Steve Miller, who is now a journalist, took place in September in Houston, Texas by David Ensminger.

 

MRR: Did you see the Fix as carrying forth the legacy of proto-punks like the MC5 and Stooges?

Anytime you grow up in a place like Michigan, it’s just part of your life. You’re used to being weaned on bands like the Stooges and the MC5, so it’s more cultural than it was musical. If you are going to play music, it’s probably gonna have an element of that stripped down, unpolished feel to it. Plus, you’re going to shows. In a lot of areas, people had to wait for the Ramones to come through to really start the bands. The saying was, the Ramones would play a town, leave, and five bands would spring up in the next few months. It seemed like in Michigan we had been going to see shows at these raw-ass places since we were kids, so when you did get around finally to starting a band, it was part of your spirit – that raw edged, beat the shit out of your instrument kind of thing. So, it was really pretty natural.

 

MRR: Were those people around at all still?

When, we started, it was about 1980, so yeah, Destroy All Monsters (Ron Asheton) was playing around, I believe the bassist from the MC5, Michael Davis, was in that for a time. So, you’d see these guys. Obviously, they were sort of heroes to us since we were little kids, so we might say something, but it wasn’t like you were going to go, “Dude, you were sweet in the MC5” or something like that. You’d just see them and say, hey, that’s the dude from the MC5. I remember doing a show in Ann Arbor and seeing Ron Asheton there. Everybody knew him. We wouldn’t talk to them much.

 

MRR: Did you travel much to see shows?

We lived in Lansing. When I was a kid, we traveled to Detroit all the time There was the Masonic Theatre, the Ford Auditorium, and earlier on the Michigan Palace. I remember seeing T. Rex and ZZ Top at the Michigan Palace during the Fall of 1974. We showed up, and we saw T. Rex open. We were all there for T. Rex, and ZZ Top came out, and they had cowboy hats on, and we were like, “Fuck You.” We left. That was the kind of shit we were up to. But yeah, you’d go see Blue Oyster Cult in a small place half-full. All that raw shit would come through. So, we traveled all the time. But by 1980, not so much, because a lot of that arena rock shit was pretty dead.

 

MRR: Do you remember any leftover student radicalism during that time?

Nah. We were getting into that 1980s kind of thing. Two of the guys in the Fix were students. Craig was the kind who would spout a slogan once in a while. We’d all look at each other and say, “What the fuck did he just say?”

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Blast From the Past: Eddy Current Suppression Ring


August 6th, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #296/Jan ’08, which you can grab here.

Even in this modern age, it took about a year after their first LP was released for word about Eddy Current Suppression Ring to really hit the shores of the North America and Europe. They’re a band Aussies clamor about, throwing around heavy comparisons like X (the Australian band), the Victims, the Scientists, the Saints. By the time those in the Northern Hemisphere caught on, Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s early singles had gone out of print and their debut LP on Dropkick Records was scarce…until a repressing allowed the rest of us to catch up and judge the merit of the hype. The album lived up to the “You gotta hear this” noise and was followed by a heavily anticipated US tour. And by all accounts, the Australians delivered the goods. Great live band to match the excellent records. No doubt their album will make a number of Top Ten lists for 2007 and eyes and ears will be focused on what’s coming next from Eddy Current Suppression Ring.

This interview took place with the singer, Brendan Huntley, at a taqueria in the Mission District, just hours before he was due to return to Australia. Brendan returned to San Francisco for a few days of R’n’R after the short US tour. Hopefully they’ll be back again soon. Interview by Mark Murrmann, with Mitch Cardwell, Dulcinea, and Stacie and Rich from Dropkick Records.

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MRR: So why did you abandon your band in America?

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Blast From the Past: Trash Kit


August 3rd, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #326/July ’10 which you can pick up here

I’ve read about bands being described as Afro-beat, Post Punk, but they end up sounding like a shitty ska group or a Joy Division covers band. These two genres (Afro-beat and post punk) can lazily be used to describe Trash KIT; but I think these genres can and do represent the best aspects of the group. The first time I came across Trash KIT was when the group opened up for the band I played drums in—Black Time. Being a cool jerk, I was upstairs drinking beer and missed what was a short-lived, two-piece incarnation of the group. From then on people kept telling me how good Trash KIT was; so I went down to the next gig. There I found short songs, beautiful melodies, harmonies and rhythms—oh man, the rhythms! With the odd donk of the djembe drum thrown in and when it all got too smooth, some angsty yelps. Needless to say, I was hooked and have now seen them many times. The songs are getting more familiar in my mind and the rhythms and harmonies constantly invade my thoughts. So I managed to get hold of Rachel Aggs (guitar, violin and vocals) and Ros Murray (bass) to answer some questions and spread this great London band to whoever wants to listen. (There are two Rachels in this band in case you get confused…)

Interview by Mr. Stix

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MRR: Due to the internet there is now an excess of hassling patrons online. They invite ten thousand to a Facebook event or get you to vote for their song on the Smirnoff Rock Chart. Do you agree with this aggressive marketing?

Rachel: We’ve been really lucky so far with “promotion,” like not needing to do it at all, so I don’t know. I feel sorry for bands that are duped into signing up with totally bogus agents, etc. But it’s easy for me to say because we never really needed or wanted to!

Ros: No! I’m not on Facebook so I don’t understand it and don’t have to worry about it, but it also means that I miss out on lots of fun things too.

MRR: You are putting an album out on Upset the Rhythm. How did this come about, taking into consideration your lack of excessive blogging or rock chart votes? Or are you guilty of the aforementioned contemporary sins?

Rachel: We gave our souls to Upset The Rhythm Records right after the first time they saw us play Yes Way. Yes Way was this amazing mini festival they put on at a disused car showroom in south London called Auto Italia. James from Pheromoans and Sex Is Disgusting Records saw us play our second ever show and told Chris [from Upset The Rhythm] that we should play. This was still only a month after our first gig so we didn’t get much of a chance to “promote” ourselves, it’s been a year since then and we’re going to have an album out soon so the Upset The Rhythm promo machine is getting into gear! We’re loading the biggest guns they got!!

Ros: Chris and Claire heard us on MySpace and asked us to play Yes Way, and then they asked us to do the album…

MRR: Originality seems to be a big buzz word in the music business. However, everyone (the cool people) knows you start by borrowing from your influences. I believe yours are proudly displayed on your sleeves. But you also mix it up a bit by having a djembe drum as part of your consistent drum sound and a violin thrown in on one track replacing the guitar. How did this transformation take place? Or was it a ploy to get into the post-punk, Afro-beat demographic?

Ros: Rachel can reply to this better, I just play bass.

Rachel: [laughter] Well I can’t claim we’re doing anything “new,” but I hope trash kit would never sound pre-meditated or contrived because it’s always felt very natural. We knew we wanted to start a band where Rachel [Rachel Horwood, their drummer] played awesome drums; drums are what it’s all based around. Rachel had only just started playing, but I knew she was going to get really good really fast and I wanted drums to be like the lead instrument in the band. The name trash kit comes from an article I read in Shotgun Seamstress by Osa (an amazing violin player) from New Bloods, it’s a zine about punks of color and had this totally inspiring article about street drummers in DC who use trash cans as drums.
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