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Maximum Rocknroll #382 • March 2015

Maximum Rocknroll #382, the March 2015 issue, features our annual Year-End Top Tens! MRR reviewers, ...

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Randy and Mark at Mike "Bay Bay" Scibetta benefit in Richmond, VA (photo by Amelia)

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Mystic Inane at the Spitfire, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2014. (photo by Beau Patrick)

Monday Photo Blog: Three mo' from Beau Patrick Coulon!

Beau Patrick Coulon checks back in to the Monday Photo Blog with three more shots, one looking ...

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The average height of a dandelion is 5.3 inches

MRR Radio #1437 • 1/25/14

“That might be tall for a squirrel, but I wouldn’t say that, generally, it’s tall.” How ...

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Read a Book! Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote SCUM (and Shot Andy Warhol)


December 11th, 2014 by

valerie_solanas

Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote SCUM (and Shot Andy Warhol)
Breanne Fahs
The Feminist Press

Review by E. Conner in MRR #380

Valerie Solanas is a strange cultural icon. She is perhaps most often used as a derogatory warning for young women: “the wrong kind of feminist.” In an age of combating #womenagainstfeminism with cupcakey bullshit and Kathleen Hanna documentaries, this lack of historical accuracy and nuance is detrimental. We require Valerie to be represented as what she truly was: a fiercely intellectual militant feminist who died poor and alone because this world kills people like that.

Personally, Valerie is of interest to me in charting these people, the controversial, difficult women that are forgotten and discarded. Even among them Valerie is not alone is her abandonment. The great failures are Valerie Solanas, Lee Lozano and Shulamith Firestone. All attempted to straddle art and politics, all chose madness and obscurity in lieu of becoming washed out in the limelight. Nuts to the Steinems!

In April I visited New York City and was lucky enough to attend a release event at NYU for this book. An intimidating panel included Avital Ronell, Lisa Duggan, Karen Finley and the author, Breanne Fahs. As the panel went on I slowly realized what was happening. I was in a room full of (mostly) beautiful, smart women repeating the word “shit” over and over. I like to think this was the utopia Valerie imagined so long ago.

I understand that in even articulating that idea I’m doing exactly what everyone has ever done to Valerie’s work. I project my own desires into the intricate complications of her life, art and work. We exist in this place where refining women (and other complicated people) into flattened figures is the norm. Is it even possible to tell a story of history in a way that isn’t problematic? It’s so riddled with the afflictions of opinion and memory failure.

Fahs is a delicate biographer. She fills in nuance without betraying the subject. She’s compassionate and holistic. What is produced feels dense. While it’s not a totally critical history, it is one that demands an active participant. The story of Valerie’s years in New York’s Lower East Side, culminating in her infamous act, are bookended by the brutal years that created and destroyed the human being. It’s perhaps not fair to conceptualize a human life as a flickering light with a crescendo.

When one regards the tragedy of Solanas’s life it’s too easy to conjure pity and rely on that as some accurate representation of her total legacy. The truth is Valerie saved us. She undeniably produced a cultural crack-up. The burgeoning feminist consciousness raising movement would have been nothing without her. While so much organization was vulcanized at the time of her arrest, theory too owes her a great debt. Shulamith Firestone’s conceptualized “Smile Strike,” from the far more validated The Dialectic of Sex was preceded by Solanas’ call for the death of niceness. Modern theoretical feminism and queer theory still look towards SCUM for guidance. Kathi Weeks’ “non-work” recalls Valerie’s “un-working.” Sara Ahmed’s “feminist killjoy” and Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman’s beckoning towards an academically sanctioned queer nihilism all have foundations in SCUM.

There has been a tendency to regard Valerie as an accident. She is often removed or distanced from revisionist feminist history. While it’s true that she never did fit in with the publicized movement, she does not deserve to be forgotten. Valerie was as much of a disruption to the slide into co-opting radical feminism towards liberal reformism, or as it’s been suggested, just a disruption in general. Her personal effect on the lives of some of the most cherished minds of this movement is not to be undermined. The correspondence with and testimony of Ti-Grace Atkinson, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Florence Kennedy, Shulamith Firestone and Robin Morgan are all included, finally cementing Solanas in her place among them.

A legacy like this deserves a considerate articulation. Fahs took ten years to write the book Valerie swore she’d write herself. This kind of care for Solanas’ life is uncommonly kind when you consider the treatment Valerie’s work received the second anyone else got their hands on it. All of it has been stolen, lost, edited, misspelled, withheld, hidden, and destroyed.

Even now, the bulk of Valerie’s surviving work (SCUM Manifesto) is printed and distributed largely by the anarchist-publishing house AK Press. Every few years another edition comes out with another forward written by a different person. The most recent edition touts notorious Marilyn Manson fan Michelle Tea’s take on the manifesto. Ms. Tea, once a young radical dyke poet, is now the editor of a popular hipster motherhood blog. While the lesbian mother could be one interpretation of Valerie’s demand for “complete automation” it still feels something like failure. And where does the money go?

Valerie Solanas is an attempt to map the great sources of the paranoia that were Valerie’s downfall. Like any young woman, her sexuality and psychic body were mangled early on. Part of the map of Valerie’s life is strongly situated in the way she defined and declared her vision. Fahs uses Valerie’s own words whenever possible. It’s rather exciting for any Solanas fans out there to get to eek whatever they can out of the quotes from Up Your Ass, various interviews, college newspaper articles, and correspondence that Fahs had access to.

These kinds of considerations are partly due to Fahs’ background in Feminist Studies and Psychology, a very important distinction in the overall tone of the book. Fahs is careful to include the reputation and conditions of not only the institutions that Valerie landed in after shooting Andy Warhol, but critically traces her movements through schools, the hospitals where she gave birth to at least two children, residential hotels, jail cells, collective meetings, diners and beds. You see this complicated figure moving about truly alive and conscious, wading through the same shit as all of us.

I finished the book on the train headed to work. I got off two stops early and rode my bike to the place Valerie died. Alone in a hotel room (and never wanted once) for at least five days. The front of the Bristol Hotel is collaged with handwritten notes regarding hotel policies and notes to UPS drivers. A historical site plaque bulges from the wall. It neglects to mention the two most famous residents, Valerie and Richard Ramirez, aka the “Night Stalker,” notorious serial killer/rapist and Satanist.



Create to Destroy! Blindead Productions


December 10th, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

Blindead Productions in Sweden has been a serious supporter of punk, and continues to distro the best releases throughout Europe. You may know Krogh from SEX DWARF tours, Distortion Faith zine, his label, or maybe you had a beer with him at the last Varning from Montreal fest. Here is Krogh of Blindead Productions…

What is Blindead Productions? Is it just you who does it?
Yeah, it’s just me. There was a period somewhere around 2002 when we tried to be two people, but it didn’t really work out. Not because we had any problems, it just didn’t last too long. So, with the exception of one year, it’s been me running the show since 1997.

Blindead_infekzioa 7

Blindead Productions is a label dedicated to the music I love — hardcore punk. Vinyl mostly, and some messing around with tapes lately, but the main focus is vinyl. Would be fun to do some sort of book sometime though.

What does “Blindead” mean?
Well, the initial meaning or idea behind it was that we’re already dead, we just don’t know it as the system won’t let us see it. You know, keep us in line, feed the machine, etc., etc. Then it hit me that MISERY has their song “Blindead,” which is an excellent song, and so I rather lie and say it’s an homage to that song. The idea I guess is the same, as the theme of that song isn’t too far off from the idea I had behind the name.

Tell us about Distortion Faith.
This is the zine I do together with Jocke from D-takt & Råpunk. Björn from SMRT Records was also involved in the first five issues but had to leave because of other commitments and lack of time. So far we’ve done six issues and the plan was to have a seventh out in January. That won’t happen because none of us have had the time, but the zine will return sometime this spring, I will make sure of that.

I love doing this zine as I’ve allowed myself not to care too much. Of course I want it to be good, but while in earlier zines I have set up “rules,” I now don’t care if an interview is three questions long or 30, as long as it has at least some content. I promised myself not to do any reviews, but I’ve ended up doing a few anyway and have a few more lined up, but it will not be a recurring thing — done that to death earlier and I pretty much hate it at this point.

Blindead_warcollapse 12

What was ALP tapes? How many different names have you had? Were you a distro or a label first?
ALP Tapes was the very first thing, back in 1997. It started out as something that was supposed to be the label for my band’s demo. The band never recorded anything and I soon realized I’d rather be a label than a musician, so the name stuck for a while and I released ten tapes (nine home copies and one pro printed). Towards the end of ALP Tapes I also had the record label Resist the System, where I released the first CROSSING CHAOS 7” in 2000.

It was when I merged the two that Blindead Productions was born, in 2002. It started out as a label, but very soon became a distro as well — trading tapes and then later on vinyls and some CDs.

Where do you get your records pressed and tapes made? Who do you recommend in Europe?
The Distortion Faith tape was done in England somewhere, Jocke had the contact and I can’t remember. I took care of printing the covers. As for vinyl, I’ve mostly used GZ, but for the WARCOLLAPSE 12” I went with Flight 13 and I will go with them again for the upcoming KRONOFOGDEN LP. I also tried out Mobineko for the HUMAN POWER 7” but I wasn’t very happy with them. Cheap, but not too good. That’s the only place I wouldn’t recommend, other than that I’ve been happy with both GZ and Flight 13.

Where are you in Sweden and what is the scene like? Any bands we should keep an eye on?
I live in Arvika, a small town where absolutely nothing happens. It’s very close to the Norwegian border and I guess Oslo is the closest big town, but I’d rather go to Stockholm to hang out and watch bands.

What was your most popular release?
Hmm, I don’t know. The Distortion Faith comp tape sold out extremely fast, but we only did 250 copies of that one. I guess the KRONOFOGDEN 7” went over really well, at least here in Sweden, but also abroad. I guess some others have been pressed in more copies, but also with more labels, so…

Blindead_kronofogden 7

What are your current projects?
I’ve been putting together the cover for the KRONOFOGDEN LP and making sure Lenny’s drawings fit the sleeve template, and the next step is to finish the insert. Got the mastered tracks just the other day and it’s gonna be a fucking great record! Other than that, I’m still trading and selling the latest release, the INFEKZIOA 7″, to as many places as possible.

Why are zines, tapes, labels, and distros important to punk?
Because they’re easy to do? I mean, you can spend a lot of money printing a zine, but you can also find a cheap printer or copy it yourself. If you have the will to do a zine you can. The same goes for tapes — you can pretty much do everything in your own living room, or go more “professional.” It’s up to you. Labels are less important, I guess, as bands can take care of this themselves, but I’m glad people still want me to put out their records. Distros are important to help keep prices at a decent level and a place where lesser-known bands can get their stuff distributed as well. Keeping prices low is getting harder and harder though.

How did you get into punk and what makes you stay?
I guess I got into the softer style of punk through more mainstream channels and early bands for me were DIA PSALMA, ASTA KASK and EBBA GRÖN. With MOB 47, NO SECURITY and SKITSYSTEM I knew I was hooked for life. EBBA GRÖN, MOB 47 and NO SECURITY are still today, 17–18 years later, three of the best bands I know. What really made me stay is that all of a sudden I was involved in the music I loved, not just a fan — that was really powerful for me.

How can we stay up to date on your releases and projects?
The best way is to check out the website at www.blindeadproductions.com, where I keep info up to date. If you want to go through social medias or newsletters or whatever, you’ll find the info on that there as well. There’s also blindeadproductions.bandcamp.com, where you can check out at least ten full releases, and soon we’ll add the full INFEKZIOA 7″ there, plus a few from the upcoming KRONOFOGDEN LP.



Reissue of the Week: DEATHWISH Tailgate 12″


December 5th, 2014 by

Death+Wish

Finally, one of the truly mythical, long-lost giants of American…nay, world… hardcore is unearthed from the sweeping sands of time. In December of 1983 this Boston hardcore powerhouse recorded seven songs with Jimmy Dufour at Radiobeat Studios in Kenmore Square, with the intention of mixing three songs — “Tailgate,” “Break the Chains” and “Condemned for Life” — for airplay on local college radio. They did just that. In 1989 those three songs ended up on vinyl via a semi(?)-legit 7” on the Armory Arms imprint, and again in 1992 on a much-less-legit repress on Lost and Found, along with the four unreleased tracks, assumed to be lost for good in a dumpster following the shuttering of Radiobeat. Noooope, this one jerkoff seems to have had ’em the whole time, knowing full well that the band was looking for them. They did eventually get ’em back, thank fuck. Anyway, DEATHWISH played within that classically Boston realm of nasty, first wave straightedge hardcore, fitting seamlessly alongside the bulldozing power of SS DECONTROL, IMPACT UNIT, DYS and LAST RIGHTS. With the huge guitars that Radiobeat was known for, the remix job here by Don Zientara (MINOR THREAT, et al.) sounds incredible. I highly suggest that if you think this record is just another attempt to milk American Hardcore’s glory days for whatever it is they are milking it for, you rethink that and cop this record ASAP. In my humble opinion, this material seeing a vinyl reissue is about as important as any other record that will come out in 2014, and I find reissues counterproductive and boring. RIP, Jordan Wood. Now we can all hold our collective breath until progress on the DXA record kicks back up.
(Disclaim)



Create to Destroy! ABC No Rio


December 3rd, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

My first punk show ever was at ABC No Rio, a DIY and punk institution in New York City’s Lower East Side. I volunteered and booked ABC No Rio hardcore/punk matinees for a few years. In the process, I got to know Steve Englander as the glue that binds No Rio together and keeps it running as a community comprised of many collectives, like the zine library (with all the first MRRs), punk matinee shows, the darkroom and so on.  Working within a collective is hard enough, but overseeing several while maintaining a building — well, let’s see how he does it and get some insight into running this DIY space that has held true to its beliefs for several decades. To donate to ensure ABC No Rio can keep DIY alive in dark times, please click here! Here is Steve Englander of ABC No Rio…

abcnorio_entry_1980

ABC No Rio front entry, 1980 (photo by Jody Culkin)

What is ABC No Rio?
ABC No Rio is an arts center on New York’s Lower East Side. It was founded by artists with a commitment to political and social engagement, and we try to stay true to those values today. Programming here breaks down pretty much into public events and our facilities and resources. Events include exhibitions of visual art, our Saturday hardcore/punk matinees, our Sunday evening series of free jazz and improv concerts, and readings, performances, screenings and other events. No Rio facilities include a zine library, a darkroom for black-and-white processing and printing, a screenprinting shop and a computer center.

How does it resemble its old self in 2014?
Personally, I would say not at all, but that one’s really tough to answer as there have been many successive generations of people that have passed through ABC No Rio. I guess it depends on whose version of the old ABC No Rio you mean.

What is ABC No Rio primarily used for now?
I don’t really think there is a primary use now. In the past there was what I’d call “signature” events that sort of defined ABC No Rio. From its founding to the mid-’80s it was visual art; from the mid- to late-’80s it was performance art; after that, spoken word and performance poetry and anti-folk; in the early- to mid-’90s on it was punk and hardcore; in the mid-’90s it was more political and street protest oriented, and tied to the squatters movement on the Lower East Side.

For the past fifteen years or so though, I don’t think you can say there is any signature activity that defines ABC No Rio. Nowadays it is different things to different people. It’s one thing to some kid coming to a punk show who’s just started a band, and something different to a retired public school teacher coming to a poetry reading. It’s one thing to an activist banging out posters or t-shirts in the print shop, and something else to a European traveler visiting the zine library. It’s one thing to a musician who’s been regularly coming to COMA for years, and obviously something else to some bar-hopper who stumbles into an art opening.

Is it considered a “community” space?  And for what community?  I understand the LES resembles itself but little these days…
Some people do consider ABC No Rio to be a community center, and sometimes we do refer to ourselves that way. But now I don’t think “community” is limited to the geographic area in which we are positioned. I think it’s more about a community of shared values and commitments and ideals. Anyone can use our facilities and attend events here, and even propose events. But we still hold on to this idea of being politically and socially engaged, and tend to attract people that feel that’s important.

You’re right, the Lower East Side has changed so much in the past 30 years. We think the neighborhood has changed much more than ABC No Rio has! When ABC No Rio was founded, many of the people doing things here and coming to events here lived on the Lower East Side or in the East Village. That isn’t the case anymore. People are coming from all the boroughs, even from all over the greater metro area, like Long Island and New Jersey. We serve the City as a whole, and not just our neighborhood.

New mural by Dasic Fernandez, 2014 (photo by ABC No Rio)

New mural by Dasic Fernandez, 2014 (photo by ABC No Rio)

Is ABC No Rio 100% volunteer run?
Yes, a collective of volunteers runs all ABC No Rio projects and programs. I don’t know if any other institution that operates in a similar way on as large a scale and scope.

What is your capacity at ABC No Rio?
I am the one sole full-time salaried staffer. My title is director, but in practice it’s a lot more like traffic cop! Ultimately, my job is to make sure the volunteer collective members have what they need for their projects. I oversee ABC No Rio administrative matters and I’m our point-person for dealing with the City. I also report and make recommendations to both the No Rio Board of Directors and the collective, prepare financial statements and proposed budgets, and present updates on program development, fundraising and the project to build our new facility.

How did the punk/hardcore shows start on Saturdays?  Was it a reaction to the sometimes violent and often sexist/homophobic Sunday matinees at CBGB?
Yes, the Matinee at No Rio did begin as a response to the violence at the CB’s matinees. The idea was to create a welcoming space in the scene for young people of color, young women, and gay and lesbian youth. However, the early days of the matinee probably deserve an interview of its own, and there are better people than me who can talk about that!

Why is punk important at ABC No Rio?
The ethic of DIY is a defining feature of ABC No Rio. I think that’s why the Matinee originally found a home at No Rio, and then the commitment of the punk collective to working in that way continued to impact No Rio over the following decades. Sort of a powerful feedback loop. Also, there’s always been a sense of community among the volunteers working on the Matinee, a sense of being part of something. People do come and go, but it seems that sense of community stays.

Read the rest of this entry »



New Blood! GONGFERMOUR, DEEP CREEPS, SOCIALITE and PRETTY HURTS


November 20th, 2014 by

MRR magazine’s new-band section “New Blood” is now a regular feature here on maximumrocknroll.com! See below for info on how to submit. Now, get to discovering some killer new shit…

Gongfermour logo

Band name:
GONGFERMOUR

Date & location formed:
We formed in Omaha, NE, in May 2011 with Dinghaas on guitar/vocals and Dave Diction on synths/vocals. Currently in addition to the founding members we have Sean on bass and Rat Think on drums.

Reason for forming:
We wanted to start a punk rock band with synths, who we felt were lacking in our local scene as well as in the global punk rock world. We felt we were on the same page in musical influences and needed a catharsis for our angst.

What are your lyrics about?
Sexual frustration, the dehumanizing working world, struggling to resist conformity as you hit your 30s and confronting stupidity

How would you describe your sound?
A nice mix of DEVO, the Dickies, Sparks, Big Black, Killing Joke and the Lords of the New Church. Some songs are angry and aggressive while others are more quirky and upbeat.

Gongfermour

Gongfermour (photo by Jason Husak)

What’s in the future for this band?
We’re currently on hiatus until the new year when Rat Think adjusts to being a father. We plan on releasing a split EP with our friend/shared member band Buggy Lewis and the Rabbit Grenades in March. Hopefully more out of town shows and a small tour of the Midwest will be in the works.

Links and contact info:
Gongfermour Facebook page

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Band name:
DEEP CREEPS

Date & location formed:
September 2013. Boise, Idaho.

Reason for forming:
Longtime friends that rip.

Deep Creeps (photo by Ellen Rumel)

Deep Creeps (photo by Ellen Rumel)

What are your lyrics about?
Our drummer is a garlic farmer and our lyrical content is about issues related to community-based farming.

How would you describe your sound?
Weirdo Punk. Mutant Hardcore.

What’s in the future for this band?
We’re getting some studio time this winter, and planning a Northwest US tour in late March 2015.

Links and contact info:
creepsdeep {at} gmail(.)com
www.deepcreepsmusic.com
deepcreeps.bandcamp.com

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Socialite_DEMO_ART

Band name:
SOCIALITE

Date & location formed:
March of 2014 in Philadelphia, PA.

Reason for forming:
Jeff wrote some songs shortly after moving to Philly, and Ian wanted to do something hard and blown out.

What are your lyrics about?
Mostly my conflict with being an irresponsible piece of shit, mixed in with some other unimportant punk nonsense

How would you describe your sound?
80s Boston hardcore mixed with some slimy mid-tempo rock riffs. Plenty of stomp, plenty of spirit.

What’s in the future for this band?
Write more songs, record some of them. do some weekend trips and keep playing cool shows in cool Philadelphia. Life Is Cool.

Links and contact info:
stupidsocialite.bandcamp.com

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pretty hurts cover art

Band name:
PRETTY HURTS

Date & location formed:
End of 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

Reason for forming:
Having a band that plays dark and intense punk music.

What are your lyrics about?
Disappointment, irritability, alienation, teen-angst, nightmares involving spiders and hypnagogic hallucinations, creating some sort of movement… everyday stuff.

How would you describe your sound?
Dark and intense punk music.

What’s in the future for this band?
Consistently putting out music and touring. Maybe creating some sort of movement. We’ll see.

Links and contact info:
prettyhurts.bandcamp.com
prettyhurts {at} mail(.)de

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Do you have or know of an awesome new band? It’s easy to submit to be in MRR’s New Blood feature. Just send us the following info, and keep keeping’ it real…

1) Band name:
2) Date & location formed:
3) Reason for forming:
4) What are your lyrics about?
5) How would you describe your sound?
6) What’s in the future for this band?

Along with the answers, please send a band photo at least 600px on the longest side (with photo credits), a logo if you have one, and links and contact info for the band to: mrrnewblood {at} gmail(.)com