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MRR's first fest in almost a decade! Still Not Quiet on the Western Front fest ...

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MRR Radio #1480 • 11/22/15

Amelia, Amanda & John Khan bring you the very best in punk with the jingle ...

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Mollot (photo by Mackenzie Burgess)


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

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RIP Dickie Hammond (with HDQ)

MRR Radio #1479 • 11/15/15

This week Matt and Lena play mostly new stuff they're digging, as well as a ...

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Reissue of the Week: HEX Poison In The System: The Demos LP

Reissue of the Week: HEX Poison In The System: The Demos LP

HEX – “Poison In The System: The Demos” CD If you liked your punk, the UK ...

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Blast From the Past: John Morton

October 12th, 2015 by

SPECIAL JOHN MORTON EDITION! Below you will find an interview that James, the impresario behind Violet Times did for Maximum Rocknroll in 2011, if you want the authentic newsprint feelings you can grab the issue #337 right here.

Since this majestic interview took place a few exciting developments in eels/mortonia have developed that the psychotic minds that are drawn to such ideals might want in on… x___x have a new record coming out! ON the illustrious SMOG VEIL label… Someone unearthed a live JAZZ DESTROYERS set which you can listen to here, fans of Dave E vocal stylings rejoice! You can also send off for John Morton art via his amazing website. I drink coffee out of an electric eels mug daily and it has increased my satisfaction twenty-fold. You can get a post card set! You can also read a great interview that Alex Ratcharge, MRR columnist and arts issue editor, did with John Morton for Ugly Things here.


There’s been much written about the musical exploits of the early 70’s Cleveland, Ohio band known as electric eels (yes, lower case as per lead vocalist Dave E’s intention) over the years, some of it true even. The band deservedly looms very large in under-the-counterculture sound circles and I strongly encourage anyone reading this to seek out their music, read about their exploits in a pre-punk world if you haven’t already done so. The liner notes to the 3×10” vinyl offering on Scat Records “Those Were Different Times” are a great place to start, w/ plenty of other stuff out there to read as well. One could even be justified in calling them the very first ‘punk’ band, whatever that means- if nothing else they remain to this day one of the most intense sounding and unique. After all of these years, it very much still is artastic.

In honor of his inclusion in the Violet Times curated art show, Foggy Notion, I decided it would be a good time to find out about some of band leader John Morton’s other little-known doings over the years, specifically his visual art and other music he’s done post- eels.


MRR: I’ve been told that only about 100 people total ever saw electric eels, would you agree and care to elaborate on their reaction/s, if any? Especially at the two Columbus, Ohio shows, pre- Extermination Night, where the other performers Mirrors & Rocket From The Tombs would at least be of a non-mainstream music making mindset, also making their own music of a sort not yet known or accepted by the mass ear. What about the non-members of those bands, just ‘regular’ audience members- who the heck were they, why’d they show up and what’d they think? (not presuming you know why they were there, etc. but just saying)

John Morton… 100 sounds like a plausible number. Our fan base, consisted of persons made up of people (who like people) who knew us, such as Bradly Field, Charlotte Pressler, other like-minded band people, such as Dan Didonato and Peter Laughner, at least understood what we were attempting. Family members such as Jill Marotta & Michele Zalopany, well they had to like us.

Our first gig was August of 1974 at the Moonshine Co-op in Columbus. We had the power pulled on us (I’ve heard that that is not a unique occurrence with punk bands, but there were no other “punk” bands at the time.)

We opened for “Hard Sauce” fronted by Jamie “Little Bit of Soul” Lyons. Jamie had one of the best set of pipes I ever heard. Davey and I were arrested that night. I remember every detail. Dave E. wore a trench coat festooned with rattraps, and I wore a safety pin jacket. Jamie bailed Dave E. out of jail. Our career? All downhill after that.

We thought the eels were going to be a huge success on a par with David Blowie (meant affectionately). WE WERE NOT!

I am gratified that we’ve had a modicum of post mortem success.

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Reissue of the Week: Reatards

September 17th, 2015 by

REATARDS – “Grown Up, Fucked Up” LP
When this record was originally issued by Empty Records back in 1999, it felt like the REATARDS had already been around for a decade, at least (their first single is from ’97). The band seemed to jump into existence already in “mature phase,” which is the benefit of having a true maniac creative like Jay crafting your songs. It’s great to now slide back into the shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty pile of emotional bile that the best REATARDS tracks evoke, and realize the ability it confers, upon first needle drop, to discern fake punk from the real thing. It’s always going to be present on this record, the best full-length Jay Reatard ever pulled off. So, it still holds up as one of the ten best punk LPs of the decade, and the best ’90s party bummer LP I own outside of the BAD TIMES LP, and hey! Look who’s all over that fucker too. (Ryan Wells)

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

August 25th, 2015 by

C.C.T.V – “Quiet” EP
The coolest record of the year so far at least to these ears, total nervous frantic post-punk created in the furtive fertile NW Indiana scenery…The songs are tightly wound fraught invocations of the indignities of modern life, anxiety and paranoia, everything sounds like it was recorded on a boombox at the wrong speed adding to the strange feeling of otherworldliness, like walking through a dead mall full of fake plants and broken ideas. It’s perfectly retro, really sounds like a recently excavated secret basement from the 1979 New Wave/punk collision, but it’s from now, and is fresh yet eternal. The sputtering drums and stumbling bass with that sick dollar store guitar sound, while the coolest vocalist lists her demands and concerns. It’s just so fuckin rad, like SU TISSUE fronting DEVO at their most hardcore…I think it sold out, but a repress is on the way. (Layla Gibbon)

Blast From the Past: Xcentric Noise

August 4th, 2015 by

this ran originally in MRR #339

by Andy “Shesk” Thompson

I’m listening to the Beating the Meat LP from 1984 to get me self in the mood, but it really pisses me off every time I hear it… It was a great compilation, a culmination of the stuff I’d done to date, all the excitement of receiving the tapes, the tape-to-tape duplicating, the stupid sound effects, the letters, the DIY!! When I went into a studio with the quarter-inch tape to put it together (Angel Studios near Hull, with Steve Larkman the engineer — I’m sure he thought I was nuts), I paid about £240. I designed the cover and wanted to do the usual inner sleeve — since packaging was always well important and far more interesting and exciting than a two-track single in a plain sleeve — but I had no money and accepted an offer to release it…and was ripped off, struggled to get any copies, the cover was just turned orange and had no inner sleeve, it never looked or felt right — and yet sounded amazing! There was no communication and it took ages for me to get back my costs for the studio, which only happened because I knew the guy at the distributor Jungle Records and he felt guilty, ’cos he knew I was on a loser. I managed to get a few copies off him, too, but not many. I dunno how many were actually made or sold.

And for the record, I made nothing from Beating the Meat and was forever pissed off that all those years had been hijacked!! Just one of my many regrets, but at least it got the bands heard again around the world! Please have it for free (download via mediafire.com) ’cos I’m not re-releasing it, not that I ever got the master tape back anyhow. I’ll be happy you just at least hear all the bands on it, ’cos that’s all Xcentric Noise was about — trying to pass on some of the excitement I was feeling, spreading this amazing music with message and passion and screaming anger and everyone doing it yerself! It was just so energising….


shesk_oldI first got into punk about May ’77, the moment I first heard it. I was only fourteen years old, previously had liked T. Rex and Sparks and some Bowie. I remember going into school the day after seeing a newspaper with the Sex Pistols in it, and talking music with my mate Mu. He said, “You’d love punk — listen to John Peel.” Bang, it was instant — a real slap in the face. My tranny radio and the pillow were my friends for a few years after that, and definitely the best part of the day! I guess maybe I’d finally found somewhere I felt I could belong, somewhere outside the norm.

I grew up in Little Weighton, England — a village with no streetlights, pretty cut off from the world. I guess I didn’t fit in with the norm, a kinda loner but with friends, the weird one, and the only one really into punk down our way. But ’cos I played football pretty good, I didn’t get fucked around, just the piss-takes like normal. They never got punk rock! I just ended up doing stuff all the time in me room while always liking and supporting the underdog (Hull City / Norman Wisdom [RIP] / Newport County); I was anti-injustice, anti-apartheid and anti-poverty, and I hated pop music, disco and shit soft rock crap.

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Blast From the Past: Kleenex

July 9th, 2015 by

This interview originally ran in MRR #324/May 2010, now sold out
There’s no sense in hiding the fact that Kleenex/LiLiPut (K/L) are my favorite girl punk band. There’s hardly even a reason to qualify them with “girl” and “punk”, as they made more amazing, wild songs than most bands ever will. In just a few short years during the late 1970s-early ‘80s, they shredded apart the rules for how punk was supposed to sound, and how feminists were supposed to look. And it was danceable. At that, K/L always seemed so free to me, existing in some alternate universe where all girls had instruments and record collections, and were determined to start bands. Their music is long out of print, save for Kill Rock Stars’ double-disc anthology from 2001. As their popularity and influence still grip new generations, KRS has once again unleashed Swiss vibrations across the globe. March brings a new CD, live footage, plus a DVD of their tour document, Roadmovie, and clips from Swiss television performances. Additionally, the original anthology will be available on wax for the first time as a 4-LP box set later in May. I hope summer will bloom new bands as a result! Founding member and bassist, Marlene Marder answered some questions for MRR from her home in Zürich.
Intro & Interview by Jess Scott

MRR: A while back I bought that Kleenex diary from you. It’s incredible! A little gift straight from the bins… as if your responsible aunt was saving each magazine clipping along the wild ride. A couple of things strike me about it: There’s a great mix of handwritten zine-type stuff, but also a fair amount of traditional, mainstream, and critic stuff. Did those two forms of documentation seem like different worlds at the time?
Marlene: No, there was this zine-scene and compared to the commercial music magazines, which followed the new music, maybe made it was more serious?

MRR: Can you clarify a bit? Were the commercial magazines serious, or..? Which did you like being featured in more?
Marlene: Difficult to say. It was great to see the magazines in stores; it made it kind of official. The zines were great too, and it felt more familiar, fan-made.
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