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WOW what a show: Epicenter reunion…this weekend!

WOW what a show: Epicenter reunion...this weekend!

Epicenter Zone "I was there..." The Epicenter Zone was a "punk project" on the east side of ...

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Blast From the Past: Thrillhouse Records

Blast From the Past: Thrillhouse Records

This ran in MRR #297  which came out in February 2008, you can grab it ...

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Record of the Week: Black Time

Record of the Week: Black Time

BLACK TIME – “Aerial Gobs of Love” LP All hail BLACK TIME, architects of the brutal ...

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Especie Fallida (photo by Chihiro Yoshikawa)

New Blood! ESPECIE FALLIDA, CRIMINAL WAVE, and DEFIANT TEEN

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

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Maximum Rocknroll #387 • Aug 2015

It’s time for Maximum Rocknroll #387, the August 2015 issue! Philadelphia's SHEER MAG discuss livin' in the city ...

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Report: Four Dead After Tragedy at DOOM Show in Chile


May 4th, 2015 by

Eyewitness account from Santiago, Chile
April 26, 2015

Please donate to help cover the funeral and medical bills resulting from this tragedy at this link or at tinyurl.com/helppunks

olla común

olla común

The Doom show on April 16 will mark a before-and-after point for the punk scene in Santiago. No one expected a customary rush on the door to result in four dead and over a dozen injured. Lots of people are grieving. There is a lot of blame-seeking. People are worried about the future of the scene. Although there have been many (often conflicting) accounts published in Spanish, only trickles of information have come out in English. As a gringo who doesn’t speak Spanish natively, I have tried my best to piece together an overview from other published accounts, conversations with trusted friends, and my own first-hand experience. The most important thing to take away is that there are STILL people in the hospital who need financial support. Please go to the following website to support the families of those who died and the people left with incredibly high medical bills: tinyurl.com/helppunks

Everyone knew the Doom show was going to be big. In the days leading up to the show, I had a lot of friends talking excitedly about it, while in the same breath complaining about the door price: 15,000 pesos (about $25 USD). Some very basic background about punk in Santiago: punk is BIG, most punks are poor, and they don’t like to pay a lot for shows. It’s pretty normal to see a crowd of punks haggling for a group price at the door. Lots of people I know were talking casually about showing up early and seeing if they could get in for free by means of avalancha. La avalancha – the avalanche – is a tactic utilized here to get into big shows without paying. People gather near the doors of a show, and at an opportune moment they rush the door, forcing their way past the bouncers and/or cops. All stadium-size punk festivals, of which there are a few every year, have avalanchas.

Benefit show from the 26th

Benefit show, April 26th

On the night of the show, I got to the club about an hour after door time. Nevertheless, there was a crowd of seventy, eighty, a hundred punks out on the sidewalk. Some had tickets and were just drinking with friends before the bands played. Some were waiting for the right opportunity to rush the door. Others were just waiting to see what would happen, eyeing the eight or so skinhead bouncers with uncertainty. At one moment, a group of about four cops passed through the crowd to talk with the bouncers. They didn’t get to talk for long though, because a steadily growing barrage of insults, bottles, and other projectiles started to rain down upon them. The cops took off and things calmed down, although every now and then someone would throw something towards the bouncers.

In the crowd, a punk tried to fight a metalhead who had just arrived. It looked like they had some prior beef. People pulled them apart, but when the metalhead went to turn in his ticket, the punk attacked him again. This was right in front of the bouncers, who were all taken off guard. At this moment the crowd rushed the doors and pushed the bouncers back. This was la avalancha.

DOOMshowTragedyInChile_SolidaridadPunxProximos

The club is subterranean, and the entrance has a wide staircase that leads down to a landing. The bouncers retreated to the landing, and started to beat back the crowd with bats, pipes, and tasers. I couldn’t see the violence very well, but I could tell something was happening down below. The crowd at the front recoiled back, smothering and suffocating some of the people in the avalancha. I don’t know how long this went on for. It felt like a long time, maybe thirty minutes? But it could have been shorter and just felt long. Eventually, the desperation of the folks at the front got communicated to the rest of the crowd, who moved back and opened up a path for bodies to be carried up to the sidewalk.

When the crowd opened up, what I saw was horrible. There were over a dozen bodies, unconscious and injured, all over the landing. Lots of blood and lots of water. Friends I trust have told me that the bouncers were hosing people down with water and shocking them with tasers after they were soaked. People were trying to resuscitate the folks without pulses. One by one, most of the injured were carried up the stairs to the sidewalk. Some punks got into the middle of traffic and forced a city bus to stop. A number of the injured were loaded onto the bus and taken to the hospital, while some refused to move and just wanted to remain on the sidewalk.

At this point I decided to finally enter the club and look for the friend I had come with. Inside, lots of different stories were already circulating about what had happened on the street above: “Somebody died, man.”

“The cops came and they’re rioting up there.”

“It was weird, when I got here there was a bunch of shit on the stairs and I just walked in without having to pay. What happened?”

Read the rest of this entry »



Kim Fey/Kim Fern 6/7/73 – 4/20/14


May 3rd, 2014 by

It is with deep, deep grief and sadness, and some rage at the world that I write to tell Maximum Rocknroll of the passing of Kim Fey, known to most in this community as Kim Fern. She passed away early on the morning of April 20, 2014, surrounded by her husband, family, and her best friend.

Kim FernProvidence, Rhode Island

Kim Fern, Providence, RI, June 1998 (photo by Jon Soucy)

Kim had melanoma, which appeared about six years ago, went in remission, and came back about six months ago.

Kim was a well loved, respected, and complicated person with courage to speak up, and to stand up to judgement without letting it get her off track. She published Fern zine for at least 15 years, sang in ELEVENTH HOUR CONFESSION and other bands, traveled and toured extensively, and then moved to and settled in Portland, OR. She was a pioneer in the small ways we all can be, one of the first to go to school, get a career as a teacher, and have the courage to leave it behind because it was unsatisfying. She started a non-profit bike shop, North Portland Bike Works, in 2002 with friends who would become family, and was always there to advise other punks on the weird intricacies of the business world, and being a good boss and business owner. She was one of the first people in our community to buy a house and learn the struggles that come with that, as well as the struggles that came with our changing place in Portland from community members to community leaders.

Kim always remained present, strong, with an open heart and an incredible amount of spirit. She took seriously the duty to live life to its fullest. She appreciated what she had seen and done, and let those experiences open more possibilities. Upon getting her diagnosis, her zest for life grew stronger. Throughout the past six years she lived her life for every single moment. She never gave up the fight, and once again gave us an example of how to live, and how to die. She will be always remembered with love and respect, and much missed.



Stevie Stiletto R.I.P.


June 18th, 2013 by

Alberto Rivera was kind enough to send this obituary for the late Florida punk legend Stevie Stiletto.

Ray McKelvey, a.k.a. Stevie Stiletto (photo by Julie Beasley)

Ray McKelvey, a.k.a. Stevie Stiletto (photo by Julie Beasley)

Stevie Stiletto, the better known and public face of Ray McKelvey, passed away at home, on March 24, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. He had been sick with cancer.

On the surface of it, Stevie’s story is a rock and roll cliché of bad habits, bad luck, and poor timing conspiring against him, but the greater truth is this: Ray and/or Stevie, never quit.

Widely acknowledged as Jacksonville, Florida’s first punk rock band, Ray formed Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades out of frustration. Tired of listening to records from New York or the UK and reading about his favorite bands performing elsewhere, Ray went DIY before it even had a name, and started his own movement out of the stubborn swamp grass better known as North Florida.

With various incarnations of bands he toured the US And Europe, playing with pretty much everyone. The Ramones, The Dead Kennedys, Iggy Pop, Black Flag — the list goes on and on.

In the mid 1990’s he was scooped up in the frenzy created by punk breakout acts Green Day and The Offspring. But Green Day and The Offspring were anomalies; the only ones from that time to have any notable mainstream commercial success. And Stiletto, along with all the other acts eagerly signed a year or two before, were unceremoniously dumped.

It was at this time that I personally met and played with Ray. About a dozen shows in all. Warm, funny and engaging, his stories seemed almost mythical. Yeah, I slept on East Bay Ray’s couch for a week or two, I think it was in ’84…” or “Dee Dee (Ramone) an’ me were looking for someplace that was open to get a new tattoo…”

In 2009, a documentary called My Life is Great: The Stevie Ray Stilletto Story was released. Filmed by former Jacksonville area resident and longtime fan Kevin Dunn. Dunn is presently working as a college professor in upstate New York. Dunn presents an honest and unflinching look at Ray’s immense talent and oftentimes his deeply flawed shortcomings.

Bands would fall apart, and he would start another one immediately. One band bailed on him, and with shows scheduled, he picked another exisiting band and they backed him so he wouldn’t have to cancel.

Ray was an unflappable and headstrong entertainer. And in the punk community, one of those guys that everyone has seen at some point. Somewhere, Ray’s laughing as he smashes cans of shaving cream with his celestial hammer.

-RIP-



John Holmstrom Remembers Arturo Vega


June 11th, 2013 by

ramonesArturo Vega, one of the most influential visual artists in punk rock — as the designer of the Ramones iconic and much-copied logo, and artistic director for the band for their entire history — passed away in New York City aged 65 on Saturday, June 8th.

He famously described his thoughts on the creation of the Ramones logo:

I saw them as the ultimate all-American band. To me, they reflected the American character in general—an almost childish innocent aggression…. I thought, ‘The Great Seal of the President of the United States’ would be perfect for the Ramones, with the eagle holding arrows—to symbolize strength and the aggression that would be used against whomever dares to attack us—and an olive branch, offered to those who want to be friendly. But we decided to change it a little bit. Instead of the olive branch, we had an apple tree branch, since the Ramones were American as apple pie. And since Johnny was such a baseball fanatic, we had the eagle hold a baseball bat instead of the [Great Seal]’s arrows.

We asked John Holmstrom — the founder and editor of Punk Magazine and cover illustrator for the Ramones albums Road to Ruin and Rocket to Russia — to share some of his memories of Arturo. We are very grateful to John and GODLIS for taking the time to share their thoughts and photography of their old friend during this difficult time.

Arturo Vega at CBGB, 1977 photo ©GODLIS

Arturo Vega at CBGB, 1977 – photo ©GODLIS

“One of the reasons I was so fascinated by the Ramones was the fact that they had an official Art Director. At the time I was still just an aspiring artist, fresh out of art school, and I thought that since this band had the smarts to hire someone to make their posters, t-shirts etc. was so very cool. I also liked his work a lot—that early poster of the leather jacket with the eagle belt buckle was a very interesting image, so different from your average rock ‘n’ roll art at the time. It was stark, bold, minimalist…

The very first Ramones poster by Arturo Vega

“I think I became aware of his art after I got to know the Ramones better after I published the first couple of issues [of Punk Magazine]. So although he wasn’t a direct influence, he was definitely an artist whose work I admired and respected. There was a bit of a rivalry because he didn’t like the cartoon look that I brought to their record covers, but I never wanted to be The Ramones Art Director, which he loved so much. His stage banners, t-shirts, logo design, album cover artwork, and so many other contributions to what made the Ramones cannot be minimized. Like his friend Curt Hoppe said to me earlier today: “The Ramones emblem is as recognizable a work of art as the Mona Lisa.”

Ramones Logo designed by Arturo Vega

“But his loft on East 2nd Street–wow! He had his paintings on display, hundreds on Ramones t-shirts in a huge closet, and Joey and Dee Dee lived there. And it was almost on top of CBGBs, so when they would perform there, they’d often hang out at home, then walk downstairs into the club and play their set, then go back upstairs. Arturo was kind of supporting them in those early days, so in a way there might not have been the Ramones without his support.

“Over the years, Arturo became more of an employee of the Ramones and less the fine artist he was after the 22 years-plus he worked for the band. He is one of the few people who worked with the band over their entire career, but for a few years afterwards he continued to handle a lot of their merchandising.

“He was just beginning to come into his own as an artist–he recently held a major, career retrospective in Chihuahua, Mexico, his hometown, where he was also working to try to get kids interested in art and away from the drug gang culture. He seemed to be much happier than he was as the Ramones merch guy.

“I am hearing endless stories about what Arturo did for many, many people–small favors, big favors, a helping hand, financial assistance, connecting people with each other, etc. etc. He was a very generous person and a fun person to be around and so an awful lot of people miss him.”

—John Holmstrom, June 10, 2013

Interview with Arturo Vega on Fringe Underground

The Guardian obituary



For Sarah Kirsch…


December 6th, 2012 by

UPDATE: There will be a Memorial Celebration of Sarah Kirsch’s life on Sunday, January 6th @ 924 Gilman St. Also, money is still very much needed and being raised here to cover a wide range of expenses for Sarah and her loved ones during this difficult time.

Sarah Kirsch passed away peacefully yesterday, December 5, 2012. She had been gaining much strength in recent weeks in her continuing battle against Fanconi Anemia. Close friends and family were together with her at her passing and we are now mourning this utterly devastating loss.

Nothing I can say in this setting can do any real justice to the impact Sarah Kirsch had on my life and the lives of so many others. She was by far the most inspiring person I have encountered in my brief time on this Earth. She was also my best friend. The experiences of that friendship, and her direct impact on my life, shaped who I am today more than any other person. She had a presence and a spirit that will be well remembered, and I will carry it with me forever.

In the truest sense, Sarah was ahead of her time, almost as if from another galaxy: her talent, vision, creativity, empathy, values, compassion, dedication, humility and unrelenting passion for life — all were truly unsurpassable, and there is no one who I could imagine holding those qualities in greater quantity, and with as much natural force, as Sarah did.

Sarah once wrote, “I believe in people. That deep within the most beaten down of us there is a will to survive, an instinct to rise above.” Though she always put her concern and belief in others first, Sarah herself had that same will to the very end.

Just this past Sunday she and I were sitting in her living room, our guitars plugged into our mini Honeytone amps… It was the strongest I had seen her in months, and it was just like our semi-acoustic songwriting jam sessions of old: playing songs over and over and over again, sharing our ideas about different parts, and singing along together. It gave her strength that day, and I’ll never forget how she laughed while we were playing from nothing more than simply how good it felt to be playing those songs with renewed confidence and excitement.

I will miss her more than anything, and my life really and truly will not be the same without her…

— Spencer Rangitsch, December 6, 2012.

Also, Robert Collins wrote in his Terminal Escape blog:

Sarah was more than a guitarist, was more than just a mere inspiration, and even though we didn’t see each other often there was an instant void. I can see the absence on the faces of friends feeling the same thing. When Sarah did things, she did them right. No fanfare, no flag waving, no celebration – just quiet determination and pure conviction. That is her influence, and to me that is her legacy. The records are great (seriously, all of them), but the impact is so much more personal and so much more intense than a few good riffs…even when the riffs are as good as these. It’s the genuine look in her eyes that tells you that everything matters, that you matter, and that what you do is important and to never stop fighting. And to never stop smiling, though I confess that one is pretty tough to pull of today. While her musical legacy is primarily associated with her life spent as Mike Kirsch, Sarah’s personal legacy transcends both gender and sound. Few people in the world of DIY hardcore have been as influential, even as important as Sarah. It’s an impact I honestly doubt she was fully aware of, and a level of genuine respect attained by only the most worthy…these are the things we should say to our friends while they are alive, but rarely do. Never stop fighting.

Sarah Kirsch bandography:
The Skinflutes (guitar and backing vocals, 1988–89)
Fuel (guitar and vocals, 1989–1991)
Fifteen (second guitar on s/t 7”, 1990)
Silver Bearing (vocals on split LP with Moss Icon, 1990)
Pinhead Gunpowder (guitar and vocals, 1990–1994)
Sawhorse (guitar and vocals, 1991–1992)
Navio Forge (guitar and backing vocals, 1993)
John Henry West (guitar, 1992–1993)
Sixteen Bullets (guitar and vocals, 1994)
Torches To Rome (guitar and vocals, 1995–1996)
Bread and Circuits (guitar and vocals, 1998–1999)
Please Inform the Captain This Is a Hijack (guitar/vocals/samples/beats, 2000–2003)
Colbom (guitar and backing vocals, 2001)
Baader Brains (guitar and backing vocals, 2005–2010)
Mothercountry Motherfuckers (guitar and vocals, 2010–2012)

Here are links to a few more pieces on Sarah Kirsch:
http://terminalescape.blogspot.com/2012/12/torches-to-rome.html
http://prankrecords.blogspot.com/2012/12/sarah-mike-kirsch-rip.html
http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shookdown/2012/12/rip_sarah_kirsch.php
And this excellent one by Nate Powell:
http://seemybrotherdance.blogspot.com/2012/12/in-memory-of-sarah-kirsch.html

Torches To Rome interview from MRR #162, Nov 1996 (click to enlarge)

Feel free to leave comments here or share stories and memorabilia with Spencer (srangitsch {at} gmx(.)net) to be collected for a memorial page to be posted later.