Featured Posts

NEW MRR T-Shirt — Two Partied Out?

  The latest and greatest in the Maximum Rocknroll lookbook, now available on our webstore! Based on an original flyer ...

Read More

Don't Look at My Face

MRR Radio #1511 • 6/26/16

Amelia ANOK4U2 brings you some old, some new, some high on glue... Ladies & Gentlemen, How ...

Read More

DOXX (photo by Pelluco Fernandez)

New Blood! SLUR, FUSSY, DOXX, AND CRUMB

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

Read More

MRR Radio #1510 • 6/19/16

Layla demonstrates the healing power of gentle strums with added neural input from Grace Intro song: ALMOST ...

Read More

A selection of rare records from our collection!

MRR Archive and Database Fundraiser – Two More Days!

As MRR enters its 40th year, we are undertaking our most ambitious project ever: creating a comprehensive ...

Read More

Record of the Week: Aye Nako The Blackest Eye EP


October 14th, 2015 by

AYE NAKO – “The Blackest Eye” 12”

Brooklyn’s AYE NAKO are back with their first release since their 2013 debut LP Unleash Yourself. I know that the band wanted to change their sound after that LP in an attempt to distance themselves from the “pop punk” label and even went as far as talking about releasing a hardcore EP. (I’d love to hear that since “Good Grief” from their demo is still one of my favorite songs of theirs). Instead of hardcore, they went in a completely different direction and delivered a lush, dense, guitar heavy, indie-shitstorm (that’s good) that recalls some of the melodic sensibilities of the best SUPERCHUNK stuff and the guitar noodle-ry (that’s a word) of TED LEO. I don’t use these band names to imply that they’re using these well-worn roadways as a blueprint. I use them as a signifier that AYE NAKO knows their history, they know what the fuck they’re doing and they build on those who have come before them to create their own new beast that is theirs to tame (or not tame) as they see fit. The whole presentation feels like a step up from the band’s previous record, which was no slouch but had moments that felt rushed or not quite fully-realized. There’s no wasted space here. The lyrics dig deep into thoughts on sexual abuse, race, the quagmire of eternal self-doubt, the fucking total-realness of never-ending white supremacy and the insidious ways that it continues to sustain itself. In a music scene that cannot stop focusing on white skin and cis-gender bodies, this record is unapologetically queer, defiant and brown. Plus, it has a lot of sweet hooks. All of these things are important. All of these things are good. I can’t wait to hear what they create next. (Greg Harvester)
(Don Giovanni)



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.

Read the rest of this entry »



Reissue of the Week: MERCENÁRIAS Demo 1983 LP


October 8th, 2015 by

MERCENÁRIAS – “Demo 1983” EP
There is probably no band like MERCENÁRIAS. This 3/4 femme Brazilian band, better known for their late ’80s post-punk repertoire, made an extraordinary first recording that seems out of time and place. Totally weird, awesome, and fierce: peculiar gruff vocals that predate grindcore layered over angular choppy rhythms making it sound like someone took a chainsaw to the rock song and assembled the hacked up pieces back together with lots of sharp edges sticking out all over the place. They were definitely ahead of their time with irreverent and unapologetic lyrics taking a shit all over patriarchy and scandalizing audiences (the song “Honra” never made it onto their recordings until now). The story in the booklet of sending a talent scout running after hearing one of their songs reminds me of the philosophy of Spain’s VULPESS, active around the same time, who got a TV program shut down in Spain for performing a song called “I Like Being a Slut.” Nice packaging with a semi-bilingual booklet in English and Portuguese containing old flyers, pictures, and lyrics. This is an important piece of Brazilian punk history and crucial international punk artifact with a renewed relevance in 2015. (Lena T)
(Dama da Noite / Nada Nada)

 



Threat by Example. An interview with Martin Sprouse by Martin Sorrondeguy.


October 6th, 2015 by

This originally ran in MRR #291/Aug ’07. The 25th Anniversary Issue which you can order here

All photos courtesy of Martin Sprouse.

OK, Martin, why don’t you start off by talking a little about yourself—tell me who you are and how you first got into punk.

My very first exposure to punk was in 1977. My next-door neighbor was an art student, and he became punk overnight—like crazy Sid Vicious punk—overnight. I had just seen something about punk on the news, and all of a sudden one day he shows up—he’s got a punk rock girlfriend, a Sid Vicious look head-to-toe, messy hair and spiked jacket and harnesses and boots—the whole Vivenne Westwood type of thing. They looked amazing, like the most outrageous thing in the world. He played some music for me; I didn’t understand it at all. I was just a skater kid, and I was just thinking, “That is the most fucked up thing I’ve ever seen.” But it was also cool, because he was the nicest guy in the world. This had to be ’77. So that was my first exposure, and I had a positive impression of it, but I didn’t understand it at all. It was just too crazy. And I was probably just a little too young to get into it, you know? Later on, when hardcore came out in the early ’80s, it all made sense. It was kind of connected through skateboarding. Punk and hardcore kind of fused for me, being young and in Southern California where everything was happening. It was like, “This is it!”

1982

1982

Where did you grow up?

San Diego.

You got into hardcore when hardcore pretty much started, so what was your first show? What was that experience like?

It was a local San Diego show, just San Diego punk bands.

Do you remember who played?

No. I remember seeing Black Flag early on, and that was life-changing. It was crazy. Southern California was really violent at the time, but we were young, so it all kind of made sense, but at the same time it was really sketched-out, you know? So it had this crazy energy, really exciting, really underground, really small, really young, youthful, violent. Rebellious in all the right ways. You know, when you get older, you over-think everything, everything’s theory and process. This was full-on energy, Southern California hardcore punk rock. It was scary too, but in a good way. It just defined you immediately. Everyone that you were friends with didn’t like you anymore, you know, because you were a “punk rock faggot.” I think that was my name for most of the rest of high school.

1984 Leading Edge crew

1984 Leading Edge crew

When did you start Leading Edge zine—how did that come about?

A couple of us who grew up together, we all got into punk and hardcore about the same time. It just sort of happened; it was very spontaneous. We weren’t really the fucked-up kinda kids, we were all skater kids. We didn’t really become the stereotypical early-’80s punk rock asshole guys. We immediately became friends with people that put on the shows, we started reading the little underground xeroxed fanzines, we became friends with the bands. It became a natural extension for us to do something. We’d go to LA and get these fanzines from all over the place and that’s how you’d learn about everything. So immediately, it was like, “We should do it,” once we started going to LA. We started Leading Edge in like ’82 or ’83. It was a while after we’d seen some shows. The first issue must have come out the summer of ’83.

Why did you do it?

Just to do our own thing. It was obvious to us…’cause San Diego had the military there, so a lot of punk guys were in the military, it had the violence, a lot of drugs, a lot of fuck-ups, y’know? It just had a bad reputation. There were a lot of fights in LA, but there were twice as many fights in San Diego. It just sucked. Out natural extinct was not to be a part of that. We didn’t want to be the stereotypical SD “Self-Destruct,” “Slow Death,” fight-starting, maybe shaved-head, junkie thug, beating everybody up. None of that had anything to do with us—but we liked the energy of the hardcore scene. There were also a lot of young hardcore bands that weren’t part of that; younger bands that weren’t doing stupid shit, but still playing really fucking great hardcore. They kind of identified with us and vice versa, and we started a fanzine that would represent that, while at the same time respect all the other stuff that was going on. I wasn’t just focused on skate punk or straight edge punk or positive punk, we were covering bands from all over.

84 interviewing Tim for L.I

84 interviewing Tim for L.I

Read the rest of this entry »



Read a Book! A Wailing of a Town


September 25th, 2015 by

A Wailing Of A Town: An Oral History of Early San Pedro Punk and More
Craig Ibarra
344 pgs • $20
End Fwy Press
endfwypress.bigcartel.com

Yet another punk related oral history. Can the collective punk bookshelves take another addition to the seeming endless array of “I was there” sprawl? Has punk overtaken the hippie nostalgia frenzy? The answer to both of those questions is yes! I would put this book up with Lexicon Devil, another oral history about SoCal punk, as one of the best encapsulations of the mechanics, dysfunctions and excitements of a punk scene I have read. A Wailing of a Town shows the other side of the coin. The kids who didn’t run away to Hollywood, but rather stayed in their working class Southern California harbor town and made their own music and constructed their own idea of punk and community out of what they had. Lexicon Devil was ostensibly a biography of Darby Crash, but it somehow felt more like Crash was the fulcrum for a sprawling documentary report on the growth, power and dysfunctions of LA punk. This book is an oral history of San Pedro punk, and D. Boon, the city’s favorite son, ends up being the heart and soul of the narrative. Where previously published punk oral histories have put across the hip/cool actions of the cognoscenti (Please Kill MeWe Got the Neutron Bomb, etc.), this one really communicates the true inspiring and powerful force that is getting caught up in underground DIY and making something on your own terms.

While I was reading this someone asked me if it was “a Minutemen bio”—since clearly nothing else of note happened in Pedro punk in this person’s mind! One of the cooler aspects of the book is that while the Minutemen rightfully get a huge chunk of the chapters devoted to their sound and ideas, the other people who shaped a scene are given as much weight, from supportive non-musical punkers who were there to witness events or took on the background shitwork through to the wild performance artists. You really get a sense of how the San Pedro take on punk emerged from the town and how it was shaped by the different economic and geographic realities. The different voices and perspectives in the book—the macho nihilistic surf jocks, the feminist working class women of color—all give this work a true feeling of representation, and make it a fun and wild read.

The fact that the Minutemen were one of the guiding forces of the Pedro punks meant that people looked at them as examples, and as a result started their own weird bands and made their own record labels that only put out their friends’ weird and/or generic bands. It was a constructive and encouraging scene, despite endless harassment from cops and jocks and angry anti-punk locals. The feeling that you get from listening to the Minutemen, the rough and tumble warmth in with the cold hard truth, really reflects the scene that they came up through and helped invent. On the evidence of this book, the creative, expressive and radical power embodied by their sound, from the crazed inventive music through to the impassioned lyrics, the needs of the working class and the power of Coltrane are endorsed with equal authority, shaped the San Pedro punk idea as one quite distinct from other Southern Californian scenes. Speaking of which, the chapters on Saccharine Trust are easily worth the price of admission. Paganicons is one of the wildest and most interesting LPs SST ever released, and despite the fact that many punks now revere Saccharine Trust, it still feels like they somehow haven’t gotten their due. It was really inspiring and sometimes hilarious reading about how they formed and the ideas behind the songs, the evolution of the band and their disparate poetic, Dada, No Wave and be-bop based influences.

Punk is a visual and visceral culture, and this book does a great job of putting across the aesthetics, the sights, scents and ideas of the random assortment of people that were drawn to it. The flyers, the fanzines, the insane apartments that intentionally resembled surrealist hamster cages…They had shows in the infamous repurposed Church featured in Decline of Western Civilization I, a German themed village hall that sounded like a weird Euro-Tiki bar-like space complete with a rotten waterfall and ski lodge like ambiance, a repurposed theater which also had avant-garde dance classes. You get a sense of the danger from violent audience members imported from Orange County and aggressive anti-punk locals and of course, the cops, all of which is such a part of the narrative of Southern California punk. You also get a sense of the creativity and resourcefulness of the Pedro punkers in figuring out how to work around all that aggression and darkness and make a scene work.

This book is one of the best accounts of punk I have read, the interviews and excerpts are exhaustive and cover the nihilistic and constructive, the intoxicating and the mundane. Its somewhat homespun aesthetic is misleading; this book was masterfully edited by Craig Ibarra. So many perspectives and takes on different events weave together to create a powerful, emotional narrative, it was an unputdownable ride—I read this from cover to cover in a mad consuming frenzy, but had to leave the last few chapters, the ones about D. Boon’s death, to read when I was alone at home, as I knew it would be devastating. It was. Reader, I wept. Unlike most artifacts from the past where it seems like all the cool stuff happened without you, in some other untouchable dimension, A Wailing of a Town ultimately makes you want to create something new and worthy in your own town and scene.
—Layla Gibbon