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Create to Destroy! Mike Warm


February 11th, 2015 by

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I know Mike Warm from booking DEFECT DEFECT (RIP) when they played NYC a few years back and a shared community with mutual friends. I was obsessed with his food stand, Grilled by Death, at the old Blackwater Records location in Portland, OR. It was the best — I think my favorite offering involved almond butter and agave? I ate a lot of Grilled by Death when given the opportunity. I have not gotten the pleasure of eating Mike’s falafel yet, but I will be hitting up his Falafel House food truck next trip to PDX. Here is Mike Napkin on “striving to survive causing least suffering possible” to animals while feeding the punks and many more lucky persons.

MikeWarm_image_Slabtown

Where are you from and what was your first punk show?
I’m from the suburbs of San Diego, and my first punk show was all local bands: EVERREADY and CARTER PEACE MISSION at an all-ages space in Poway called Hangar 18. JON COUGAR CONCENTRATION CAMP were on the bill but canceled because the singer got his tongue pierced and couldn’t sing.
What a wimp! So, what bands have you been in? Bet you never dropped off a bill after getting your tongue pierced…

I played drums in the MINDS, the OBSERVERS, LAND ACTION, BLOODBATH AND BEYOND, ARCTIC FLOWERS and DEFECT DEFECT. There have been others but the ones I listed made records. My first band was called NAPKIN which I started with some friends at age 11, but we were together (learning our instruments) for seven years so the name Mike Napkin has stuck in some circles. I am not in an active band these days, but I’ve been talking with friends about getting something else started.

I always wondered why you were called Mike “Napkin.” So, how’d you start feeding punks?
I guess I got started feeding punks as a regular thing when I started Grilled By Death at the old Blackwater Records. I’d always like to cook and talked for years about opening some kind of food-selling operation in Portland. I was inspired by street vendors like the tamale lady who always shows up selling delicious and cheap tamales when you don’t realize you’re hungry, and by punks around the world I saw doing a similar thing at shows. Whether a box of homemade tamales or premade sandwiches on the merch table, or elaborate meals from huge squat kitchens in Europe, I always got stoked when I saw someone slinging food at punk shows and I wanted to follow suit.

Tell us about Grilled by Death…did you only do it at the old Blackwater Records location?
When I learned that Keith was opening an all-ages show space in Portland I told him about my idea to sell food at shows. He was into it, so we set up a little sandwich stand in one corner of the place with a couple cheap panini presses and a mini fridge. Being a fermented foods nut I made my own sauerkraut for a veggie Reuben, and since I was teaching myself to bake bread at the time, I endeavored to make all the bread from scratch. I learned a couple hard lessons doing that, and burned myself out a bit. But I had a small crew of willing volunteers who picked up some of my slack and kept us serving as often as possible until the building sold and the space moved. By the time the second Blackwater location was taking shape I had started making other plans.

MikeWarm_image_2

Is everything you make vegan? Are you vegan?
I’m not vegan, nor even strictly vegetarian to be honest, though do I eat that way the majority of the time. I make a conscious effort to minimize the cruel or harmful practices I’m supporting when I buy food, but to me that doesn’t always mean abstaining from ingesting any and all animal products. But since the impact of my own personal eating choices make a much smaller impact than the choices I make as a business owner, I am committed to serving a vegetarian menu. Grilled By Death was veggie and Falafel House at Slabtown was entirely vegan.

I’m glad you have a conscience and are making the efforts you do without having to label or restrict yourself. I commend you, Mike! Why do you think vegetarianism and veganism important in punk?
Punk to me is about creating the world you want to live in, in defiance of our fucked up greater culture and its norms. And the world I want to live in is one where humans aren’t the only lives deemed valuable, and where kindness prevails over cruelty. Strive To Survive Causing Least Suffering Possible, y’know? I know punk isn’t the same for everyone, but for those who feel similarly, the tenets of veganism are an awesome introduction to the ills of the common western civilized diet, and the many creative and delicious ways a person might avoid them.

What happened to Falafel House? What’s Slabtown?
Falafel House at Slabtown was a step up from slinging paninis in the corner of a punk space. This time I subleased the kitchen of a local punk bar called Slabtown and ran a legitimate, licensed operation serving scratch-made vegetarian Middle Eastern food. We were open seven days a week and I had an awesome staff of three or four people who helped me retain some degree of sanity. People largely seemed to enjoy the food and we received an uplifting amount of praise for what we were doing, especially as the business gained steam and we got better at it. Sadly, Slabtown closed its doors in November 2014 and Falafel House is on hiatus while I put together plans for the next step.

Where do you think your next location will be?
I’m going to open a Falafel House food cart, most likely in one of two potential locations in North Portland. I don’t want to say more until the details are sorted, but I’m excited about either option.

How’d you go from just having a George Foreman grill to a restaurant?
Baby steps. I still have a hard time defining myself as a restaurant owner because I think that title implies a job bigger than the one I’ve yet taken on. I was very lucky to start my business in arrangement with an existing bar because it reduced the necessary investment to a manageable amount of time and resources. I couldn’t have opened a restaurant from the ground up when I started Falafel House. Don’t get me wrong, I busted my ass, but I had training wheels.

Grilled By Death!

Grilled By Death!

Did you do it alone?
Definitely not, I’ve had a lot of help, from people who gave me chances like Keith at Blackwater, and Doug the owner of Slabtown, all of the bartenders there, friends who helped pick up my slack at Grilled By Death, the rad staff at Falafel House, my awesome partner Kari, and all of my friends who’ve helped in lots of big and small ways.

How has the punk and vegan community in PDX supported you?
I’ve been lucky in the support I’ve received from punks and vegans in this city. I had complete strangers from the vegan community step up to organize events that brought me great business on otherwise slow nights at Slabtown. A huge amount of our business was generated by word of mouth, thanks to people spreading the word about what we were doing. Some of the best support I’ve received has come in the form of well-timed compliments. Just when I’m daydreaming about quitting to start five new bands and go on tour for the rest of my life, someone will tell me “dude I had your food at Slabtown last week and it was awesome,” and I’m completely reinvigorated.

Are you friends with Eiji from DSB who does Vespera’s Falafel in Tokyo? If not, you should be!
I’m not, but if I’m lucky enough to visit Japan again I absolutely intend to stop by his shop and I hope to connect with him.

He’s the best! I think what both of you are doing is really cool, it’s funny how falafel and punk go hand in hand all over the world. Did you really have bingo night at your old location?
Oh yeah, definitely. The bar dabbled with hosting bingo on slow nights from time to time with mixed results. But then some motivated customers took it upon themselves to coordinate and advertise a monthly “Vegan Bingo Night,” and it became quite successful.

What are your new and improved plans for your food truck?
A lot will be different when I’m operating a food cart instead of a bar kitchen, and I expect to face a whole new set of hard lessons. While there were many benefits to operating my business in tandem with Slabtown, I do look forward to the simplicity of operating completely autonomously. I’m getting those training wheels off and I’m excited and a little daunted by what all that will mean.

How can we help and support you during this transition?
I would love to hear from people! And when Falafel House reopens, come check it out!

Any last words?
Thanks MRR!



Create to Destroy! Beach Impediment


January 28th, 2015 by

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Mark from Beach Impediment is holding it down in Virginia Beach, VA, with his distro and record label. He has released some serious ragers like GAS RAG and has more in store for us. Read on, punx…

Where in Virginia are you located?
I currently reside in Virginia Beach, which is basically the most south eastern portion of the state. I lived in Richmond for many years but moved back to VB a while ago.

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

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

How’s the scene there?
Over the years the area has spawned some great bands that usually get overlooked by people from elsewhere for a slew of reasons but it is what it is. With that said, the majority of what goes on in the Virginia Beach area circa 2015 isn’t my thing, really. People that are into metallic modern hardcore and beard metal would probably love the gigs that I see advertised around town. I’ve even listened to some of the bands and most of them are coherent and nifty at what they do I’m sure, but it just doesn’t capture my attention or do much for me at all. I’m more of a fan of hardcore punk, hence I find myself making the 100 mile trip to Richmond when I can since tours in that vein seem to go there on a regular basis due to various factors.

Nonetheless, there’s a scene that’s been in Virginia Beach as long as I can remember and I’m thankful for the people and bands that make it all the more killer. For instance, my favorite band from VB at the moment is RHDP — when people ask me what’s the best band in my hometown that’s the one I point them to. The name stands for “Red Horse Drunk Punk.” It’s an homage to the Filipino beer that the Filipino gentlemen in the band like to drink and they play hook laden punk rock and roll with lyrics in Tagalog. In my opinion they are the area’s diamond in the rough, I think the 7″ is awesome and all but their live show is worth checking out should it come near you. Whenever I venture out to see them they floor me! I feel like a lot of people will inevitably overlook them due to coming from a shithole like VB and all that but I dig them. I’m grateful for bands like them that make the area not suck as much.

BeachImpediment_MercyKillings

I love RHDP, I reviewed their demo tape for MRR. I was blown away! So, Beach Impediment — what kind of name is that? Are you trying to be cute or something?
Haha, not in the least! I actually got that from a song title by the band FRONT LINE. I’ll elaborate more on the release I did for them later, but I always liked the play on words ever since I’d obtained a dub of the original demo they did and noticed the name of the song. It gave me a chuckle. Then when I did the release I got a hold of the lyrics from the singer for layout purposes and thought they were awesome and on point.

Basically, a beach impediment is the acknowledgement that you’re a defective person from a defective area. It’s a cesspool of a town full of an odd mixture of transient weirdos that came here due to the presence of both the plentiful seasonal jobs and a large military presence, and folks that are legit lifers that were born there and fully intend to die there without bothering to experience much else of what the planet Earth has to offer.

The area flourishes in the summer due to the tourist industry and dies off pretty abruptly in the winter when all the tourists go back to New Jersey or wherever they came from. The people that are left behind are all fucked up morons that hate and fear one another, making the area their toilet with the greatest of efficiency. I’ve never thought very highly of my hometown or the people that inhabit it but it’s where I’m from for better or worse and I embrace the certain charms that come along with it all. I’m not ashamed to have been stricken with my own beach impediment and when I needed a name for the label that’s what came to mind.

Tell us about your distro…do you just do it online? In person? Why are distros important?
Yeah, it mostly operates online, for the few locals I know that are into what I carry I usually give them a heads up via text or email should they wanna meet up and grab some stuff. I know that most areas with culture and whatnot have actual brick and mortar record stores that are keen to the kind of stuff I carry, but that’s basically non existent in my neck of the woods so I make myself available to any locals that wanna meet up and grab some records when our schedules mesh. Sometimes I even barter!

Anyways distros are nifty, I’d always seen them at shows and such when going to gigs in the late ’90s/early ’00s, and that was how my friends and I would score the lesser known punk and hardcore records we’d read or hear about since the record shops in VB obviously wouldn’t be stocking that kind of stuff on the reg. My fondest distro memories revolve around when I first moved to Richmond about a decade ago and caught wind of Hardcore Holocaust. For those not familiar, it was a killer label that also ran an insane distro inside of a warehouse in the Jackson Ward part of town. They’d throw gigs there as well, such a cool spot. Anyway, I’d ride my bike down there on payday, bang on his big-ass iron door till he popped his head out of his third story window, go up a bunch of stairs, then partake in buying a bunch of wild-ass records that I still own and love to this day. I feel like he might’ve occasionally set up the distro at shows as well — I don’t know, my memories are kinda hazy. I’ve never encountered anything like that place before and probably never will again. Anyways, that place ruled, cheers Jay!

Distros come and go, I suppose. So, would you consider yourself to distro mostly “hip hardcore”?
I’m not entirely sure what would fall into that category. I try to do trades with friends labels when I can and buy some titles here and there but I’m also comfortable with that fact that I don’t wanna run a huge distro because I simply don’t have the time or space to “do it big,” as they say. Distros like Feral Ward, Sorry State, Grave Mistake and others I’m probably forgetting seem to have the big dawg distro game on lock down as they do a stellar job keeping very in depth and diverse distros, so I’m perfectly fine with leaving that to the professionals. With that said, I do try to grab records that I personally enjoy and wanna help with the spreading of and, when I can, I like to get international releases because shipping is such a pain in the ass these days. I feel like that was always my priority early on because originally I didn’t wanna do much of a distro at all, but I really liked the idea of making hard to obtain international titles easier to nab for folks over here.

BeachImpediment_BP_cover

You started releasing records in 2011? Tell us about the FRONT LINE EP…
So, like I said, growing up in Virginia Beach/the greater Hampton Roads area was just kind of weird for the lack of a better word. Within a three hour radius there were cities like Raleigh, Richmond and Washington, DC, that had rich and vital hardcore punk histories. As a teenager I loved discovering releases like 1981: The Year in Seven Inches, for example, that were chock full of not only various records by a slew of bands all on one CD but that had cool liner notes, lyrics, scans of original layouts, and all of that jazz. I appreciated that Dischord preserved those recordings in that format and, naturally, I began to wonder as to whether or not my hometown had anything like that going on at the time since the aforementioned cities had some killer shit going on. A big tip off was the back of the CD booklet for that release has a list of shows the TEEN IDLES played in their short existence, one of which was at a venue in Norfolk, VA called Taj Mahal. I thought that was fucking wild that they’d come down this way to gig and it got my gears turning even more in regards to researching about the beginnings of hardcore punk in the area.

After digging around and pestering record store employees that were in the know about such things I discovered the band GOD’S WILL from neighboring Norfolk. They did one 7″ that was released after they’d already called it a day that didn’t sell very well at all, hence stock copies could often be found in local dollar bins at the time. It was an awesome thing to discover, but again, I had to dig a bit more. Fast forward a few years I’m out of high school and living in Richmond, VA, and have the fortune of meeting older guys that had been in bands like WHITE CROSS, HONOR ROLE, GRAVEN IMAGE, and others. One of them turned me on to FRONT LINE, which was essentially half of GOD’S WILL but far more ripping and frantic. The only official release they’d ever made it onto was a compilation by the name of The Master Tape Vol. 2 that had come out on Paul Mahern’s Affirmation Records and had featured bands like MECHT MENSCH, NO LABELS, ZERO BOYS, along with a ton of others.

I’d found out about some other local acts here and there but FRONT LINE was by far the best of all of them. I’d be on tour with my old band and every now and then I’d get to chatting with some other dorky hardcore enthusiast like myself and the subject of GOD’S WILL and/or the lost FRONT LINE demos would come up at some point. I got the idea in my head a couple years before actually doing it that I wanted to do some kind of legit reissue of that material. Thanks to the internet and some cool older local folks I was able to track down the surviving members of FRONT LINE and release what was originally intended to be their first EP before the band ultimately imploded at the end of 1982. It was a great experience and I decided to keep doing more releases after since I dug it so much. Also, I made a friend out of the whole thing as well, the singer Andre is a solid dude with whom I enjoy drinking a beer every now and then. I love that release, very glad I did it.

Have you ever done a repress?
I’ve done a few here and there, I prefer to ask the bands first and get their feelings on it. I’ll never repress if they don’t wanna. For example, the FRONT LINE EP was cut off at 1,000 copies per the band’s request. I did two pressings of 500 on that. I could’ve sold way more due to the demand it was getting, but I respected their wishes and chewed it off at that. But yeah, I guess the most repressed releases I’ve done have been the GAS RAG records.

What records have you released that have sold out really fast?
The releases that sold the quickest would definitely have to be the FRONT LINE EP and both the GAS RAG Human Rights EP and Beats Off LP. BLOOD PRESSURE as well, those went pretty quick. Alas, due to Record Store Day I am still waiting for the repress on that one.

Yeah, Record Store Day has delayed one of my releases, it’s the worst when pressing plants bump your release for like, a limited Record Store Day Green Day record. Who do you use to master, press and do sleeves for your releases?
I’ve been all over the place really, but for sleeves Imprint down in Florida has been my main go to over the years. As for mastering of the tunes, I believe Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound Mastering holds the record for mastering the most Beach Impediment releases. Pressing plants I’ve used have been a mixed bag as I’ve done it at a few plants like Rainbo, EKS, A&R and some others.

BeachImpediment_VI_split

I love Imprint. How do you wind up choosing who you release? Do you get approached by bands?
I do get approached every now and then, sometimes I get those corny mass emails from goregrind or ska bands that usually just go straight to the recycle bin but I do try to give everything else a listen that is obviously somewhat in line with what I release and am interested in. I’m not a big label by any means nor do I have the intent to flood the market with records by every band that I dig, so I obviously just go with what I dig the most. Someone asked me recently as to whether or not I’d known the bands I release before I do records for them and on most of them it was people I’d already been acquainted with. I’d met pretty much all of them through my old band WASTED TIME; first time I met Zach from GAS RAG was when WT gigged Albany and I found him half naked in a closet, kicked it with Chris from IMPALERS when we gigged Chaos in Tejas in 2010, I knew Jon from HASSLER via gigging with BRUTAL KNIGHTS, and so on and so forth. I’ve met some cool folks and I’m more than happy to assist them in spreading their music around. On the flipside, I’ve never met anyone from DESPERAT (well, I guess I met 3/4 of them via MOB 47 when they played Richmond but I was plastered and don’t quite remember much) but I was tickled to do a US press of their EP and I certainly hope to see them sooner rather than later. Basically, if its shit that I like and I have the bread along with the spare time to make it all happen I’ll more than likely release it.

What are your upcoming plans and releases?
I finished off 2014 with the release of the MERCY KILLINGS Snuffed Out EP and I’ll be starting 2015 with the release of a compilation by the name of HARDCORE: GIMME SOME MORE that will have exclusive tracks from S.H.I.T., PEACEBREAKERS, IMPALERS, MERCENARY, VIOLENT END and AJAX. I’m hoping to have that out late winter/early spring, we shall see. After that, depending on how slow the band members are at recording the tunes along with how slow the pressing plants are due to whatever ridiculous record store related holiday they think up next, I’ll be assisting in the spread of some more killer punk here and there. I can’t announce all of them yet but here are some that have already been referenced/hinted at:

EEL 7″
VAASKA 12″
DESPERAT 12″
ABSOLUT/PARANOID split 12″ (split release with Brain Solvent Propaganda)

How can we best stay up to date on Beach Impediment?
I’m horrible at updating the blog which is beachimpedimentrecords.blogspot.com and a couple years ago I made a Facebook page which can be found at I’ve been known to post a few distro updates here and there. People can just email me at beachimpediment {at} gmail(.)com and I’ll send them customized label updates with a picture of my lazy-eyed cat. Or if ya really wanna excite me, send me a letter via snail mail to PO Box 8335, Virginia Beach, VA 23450 and I will mail you back. Apologies in advance if you can’t read my chicken scratch. Any other questions, comments, or concerns can be sent via email or snail mail.

Any last words?
Cheers for the interview! The label has just entered year four of its existence, many thanks to all who have supported it thus far.



Create to Destroy! Agipunk


January 21st, 2015 by

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Agipunk is an Italian stronghold for punks in Europe or punks touring Europe. Between a label, distro, and van/touring services, they have our basic punk needs covered. I asked Mila to do the interview but after many months, I got a surprise response from Koppa. Don’t worry, this interview is Mila approved! Both Koppa and Mila are old friends who co-run Agipunk with the help of a large underground network I like to refer to as the punk mafia. Here is Koppa of Agipunk…

What is Agipunk?
Agipunk is a DIY punk hardcore crust label/distro/booking/van rental/way of life!

agilogo

How did it start?
It started back in the early ’90s and, like many DIY labels, the reason it was born was because somebody needed to release the records of their own bands and decided the best way to do it by themselves. Then, you know, you trade your releases with similar ones, and here we are, a new distro is born. Of course there were (and there still are) principles behind what we do, so we only carry certain stuff and not everything because we don’t support any form of sexism, fascism, and shit like that, so basically all the bands we release records for and distribute have something to say that we agree with. I personally got involved in Agipunk in 2006 and since then, many many great things happened!

Who runs it now?
Me and Mila.

What was Agipunk’s first release?:
Believe me, we don’t know… it was probably some record co-released with a hundred other labels, like some DDI 7” or some compilation…

What do you have in store for upcoming releases?
Oh yeah, by the time I’m writing, we have many releases planned for the next months: REMAINS OF THE DAY BOTH LP’s reissued, HORROR VACUI second full length, WRETCHED official singles collection LP, DEATHRAID new LP, PERMANENT RUIN new LP and more that we’ll announce only when it’ll be 100% confirmed. We just released the new INSTINCT OF SURVIVAL Call of the Blue Distance LP and, a couple of months ago, DOOM Corrupt Fucking System LP.

Any new releases you just got in to distro?
Well, like I said before, by the time you’ll get this interview, we’ll be probably opening some boxes with the new stuff inside… Oh, we just got 100 copies of both the new HELLSHOCK Low Man in Yellow Cloaks 7”, WRETCHED La Tua Morte Non Aspetta LP and WRETCHED Mai Arrendersi 7”, so this makes us the only label to officially distribute those two records in Europe as no one else has them here.

Maybe someday Marco at Radiation Records will get you the Primitive Pact 7″s I shipped over. I am glad Mila is able to pick up records in the USA more easily now, makes my life a lot easier. Do you do a lot of distribution of US releases?
Trading records with US labels is turning into a nightmare because of the high postage rates. Due to this fact, it’s getting harder to import stuff from the states, but we keep on trading records with certain distro/labels like Blackwater, Ebullition, Punk N Vomit, Aborted Society, Haunted Hotel, etc.

Agipunk_1

How has the rising cost of shipping affected your business besides making it more of a pain to deal with the USA punks?
We’re actually pretty lucky because we have a way of shipping stuff around the world called M-Bag which is pretty cheap compared to what other countries spend for. So it’s not that traumatic for people who wanna order records via mail order. Sometimes you spend more in postage than in records if you buy abroad. The only bad thing is that M-Bag doesn’t work in countries like Brazil and Canada, that’s why we basically don’t have any business going on with those two countries. This M-Bags thing gives us the chance to keep the prices of some imported records still pretty low and affordable.

MRR uses M-Bag to ship in bulk internationally. It’s like a secret version of media mail that USPS offers but won’t talk about. How do you support US bands going on tour in Europe?
We book tours for free (we’re not an agency that wants to be paid for booking shows) and we rent ‘em our vans and backlines. We have very cheap rates compared to our colleagues in Europe and this might be the reason we’re always receiving a lot of requests. Then we’re pretty well known around Europe, so almost every night we get sleeping places and food and drinks for the bands so that they save a lot of money. We play in bands as well and know how hard is to tour, so we try to help as much as we can.

Where do you usually have bands tour in Europe?
Almost everywhere. The countries we always hit are: Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland. Sometimes we go to Scandinavia, sometimes in the Balkans, sometimes in Spain, Portugal and France, sometimes in the UK.

Do you think it’s unfair a lot of bands skip Italy when touring?
Well, Italy had a very bad reputation in the past. In the ’90s/first half of the 2000s, the political activism affected somehow the musical scene. Don’t get me wrong, but it was happening pretty often that bands were coming from abroad for shows and they were getting paid shit money and they were given shitty food and horrible places to sleep just because being punk meant give all the entrance money to some benefit the bands had no clue about and, at the same time, being punk meant being dirty and party till morning like there was no tomorrow…

Luckily things have deeply changed, but still Italy has some problems in offering shows in the middle of the week because people have to work hard since there’s no flexible job down here. I personally booked hundreds of American bands in my life, and I think they’ve always had a good time because I know when a show’s gonna suck, so I warn a band about it. Then, it’s their own risk…

What do you have to say about that?
They should try at least once with the right promoters and then they can judge.

What bands have you been in?
KONTATTO (since 1998), CAMPUS STERMINII (since 2002), GIUDA (2007/2011), NOIA (2010/2012), DEATH FROM ABOVE, HORROR VACUI. I’m starting a new band soon and I’m definitely forgetting some bands I played with… Mila was in DDI, GIUDA and KOMPLOTT.

Agipunk_5

You’re good as the frontman of HORROR VACUI — it was a great show with VIVID SEKT on Halloween night here in Oakland. Please come back! What’s it been like touring in the USA?
Fucking killer! I don’t dislike touring Europe, but USA. is the best place we’ve ever been. Shows are so energetic!!! I love hanging out with the punx when I’m there, I love PBR (well, that’s a lie, but once I’m drunk it’s fine), I love the landscapes, I love the food. I would move there right now! Some people say touring the US is exhausting — too many hours wasted in the van, useless basement shows, big loss of money, etc. Bullshit! Basements shows are simply the best, if you play good, the punx support you buying a lot of merch at the table (in Europe they buy way less than in the States) and people are more friendly in general than in Europe.

What’s the best advice you can give to punks wants to do what you do?
Just be honest, don’t rip anyone off, don’t think about gaining money (because you won’t…), support DIY ethic, remember punk is a network of friends and the best way to let your “business” go is to treat everybody in a friendly way because that’s the only way we can resist (and exist). Making enemies sucks and makes no sense. Punk is collaboration, not competition. Those who think punk is a battlefield were to shows muscles and prove they are the best in the world and kick everybody’s asses, and bring the best bands and release the best records, work 24/7 because they rule, well, just got it all wrong and should realize themselves they’d better quit a scene that doesn’t have anything to do with them…

How can we best stay up to date with Agipunk?
I’m constantly updating the website every time we get something new in distro or when we get a new release, so if you keep an eye at our website (www.agipunk.com) you know what’s going on down here. Then we have a Facebook page — when there’s something urgent to promote (a show, a tour, a release or just some new stuff in distro) we post all the times.

Any last words, punk?
Well, it’s always difficult to end an interview, so I’ll close with some Wretched lyrics that inspired us since the beginning: “MAI ARRENDERSI, MAI FINIRE”. All the best to you and the rest of the Maximum Rocknroll staff. Never Surrender!

www.agipunk.com
Need a van & driver for touring? CLICK HERE



Create to Destroy! with Larry Livermore


January 7th, 2015 by

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I met Larry Livermore through Mike Berdan in Brooklyn right before I moved to the MRR HQ to be the distribution coordinator. It was one of those, “Oh, you have to meet Larry”-type meetings. He had some funny stories about what it was like living in the old MRR HQ with Tim Yo and was definitely a wealth of history for early Bay Area punk. Whatever your opinion of Larry is, from Lookout Records to his involvement with MRR and Punk Planet magazines, few of us can touch the volume that he has contributed to punk over the years. And after 30-plus years, he’s still at it. Here’s Larry Livermore…

Would you consider yourself infamous?
Is that better or worse than being famous? I don’t even know anymore. I think it depends on who you ask.

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What were you doing before punk? I want to see those hippie pictures…
Well, I was always involved in some subculture or another. First I was a greaser and a teenage hooligan, and then, after narrowly escaping prison a couple of times, decided to become a peace-and-love hippie and take a lot of drugs, and then later a glam rocker. But at least in the early days of hippie, before the hairdos and the beards and the self-absorbed delusions got out of hand, there wasn’t as much difference as you’d think between us and the punks of a couple generations later. We were scruffy squatters getting by any way we could and trying to destroy society. Sound familiar?

Where’d the name Livermore come from?
From a mediocre — okay, bad — pulp novel I wrote in 1979 about a nuclear accident at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. People who’d read the manuscript (it was never published, so don’t bother looking) started calling me Lawrence de Livermore (my birth name is Lawrence) to make fun of me, and later, when I needed a pseudonym because so many people were mad at me about Lookout magazine, I turned it into Lawrence D. Livermore. Dropped the D after a while, and then at Gilman, Jesse Michaels and some of the other smart alecs started calling me Larry instead of Lawrence, thinking it would wind me up. Well, the joke was on them, because I’ve been Larry Livermore ever since.

You’ve done a lot in punk — why do you think you have accomplished so much and still continue to do so? Is it a DIY attitude? Perseverance? How have you stayed active for so long?
Done a lot? Maybe. Accomplished a lot? It’s probably too soon to tell. DIY? Well, it was never a religion or an ideology with me, just the way it was. My friends and I were weird enough that no one was going to do stuff for us, so basically if we didn’t do it ourselves it didn’t get done. And how have I stayed active? What else am I gonna do? There’s never anything good on TV.

Tell us about Lookout magazine.
Lookout magazine started as sort of a community newsletter when I lived in the mountains of Northern California. But it turned out that the community didn’t appreciate having a newsletter, especially since I wrote pretty openly about the marijuana cultivation that was at the heart of the local culture and economy. So after a group of angry hippies threatened to burn my house down if I didn’t stop writing about stuff like that, I switched my focus more to music and punk rock, which resulted in my finding a whole new audience in the Bay Area and other urban centers, especially among MRR readers. Learning how to make and distribute a xeroxed zine (I later switched into a newsprint format, thanks to some help and advice from Tim Yohannan) helped me learn the skills I would need when Lookout evolved into a record label.

What was zine culture like back then and print media? How was it used in punk?
As you can probably imagine, it was much, much bigger in those pre-internet days. It was the main way word got out about bands and records and shows and venues. Because of that, there was a huge variety of zines. Some, like MRR and Flipside, tried to cover the whole spectrum of punk-related activities, while others specialized in certain aspects of punk culture, and still others were strictly personal, focusing on the individual writer or writers’ experiences, feelings, and ideas. It was a rich and creative time for that sort of publishing, because for a brief time we had the advantages of new technology like cheap xeroxing and photo reproduction without the competition that would come a few years later from the internet.

What do you think of the shift from print media to internet culture?
I often joke about the MRR letters column being the internet message board of the ’80s and early ’90s because of all the arguments that would rage back and forth there. Lookout magazine’s letters column was much the same way. The difference was that while now you can post a snappy comeback in a matter of seconds, back then it would be a month or two between replies. That gave people more time to think about what they were saying, and also made it less likely that the argument would descend into the mindless hate-spewing that characterizes so many internet disputes.

That being said, I’m not at all anti-internet, even though it can be a bit mind-boggling how rapidly everything has changed since the mid-’90s. I think it must be a little bit like the transformation that happened 500 years earlier, when the printing press came into widespread use and made reading and publishing accessible to the masses instead of being confined to the elite. Then, just as now, people were soon complaining that printing lacked the soul and substance of hand-lettered books, and how it was now possible for any old schmuck to publish any old garbage. But on balance, I think most people would agree that printing turned out to be a good thing for people and civilization, and I believe history will render a similar verdict on the internet. As a person of a certain age, of course, I’ll always be a bit nostalgic about the era of the printed book and zine. But time moves on, and we have to, too, unless we want to get run over by it.

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The Lookouts (and friends) at Gilman. From left: Kamala, Todd Wilder (of Stikky), Jesse Michaels, Marshall Stax (below), and Larry (photo by Murray Bowles)

Tell us about Lookout Records. Why start a label?
My typical answer is that everything on the radio and on the commercial music scene was so awful that I realized if I ever wanted to have any decent records, I’d have to make them myself. That’s still basically true, but probably at least as important was the sense that something amazing was happening in the East Bay and at Gilman Street and that someone needed to document it. Having learned through Lookout magazine that it was possible for even a doofus like myself, using easily available and affordable technology, to reach thousands of people all over the country and the planet, it seemed like a logical next step to move from print into music.

What was it like getting sleeves made and pressing records back then in the Bay? Were you able to keep it local?
We had to get our records pressed at an outfit called Alberti, in Southern California. It was an independent, family-run company that the majority of the West Coast punks used in those days. The people who ran it were into the art and science of making quality vinyl; they weren’t just commercial hacks. Sadly, they’re no longer around. Our LP jackets — also following the lead of other local punk labels like Mordam and Alternative Tentacles — were printed by a company called Ross-Ellis, in Canada, who I believe are still in business today. When it came to 7” sleeves, those were mostly done at my favorite 24-hour copy shop just off Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, where I had a hook-up with the manager, and where I also ran off thousands of copies of Lookout magazine before it went newsprint. Most of our other printing — things like catalogs and LP inserts, lyric sheets, stuff like that, was done locally.

How do you think you contributed to that specific scene in the Bay? It’s pretty crazy that so many of those bands went on to become as big as they did.
That’s kind of a chicken-or-egg question. There’s no way Lookout would have become so successful without the incredibly vibrant and thriving culture that sprung up around Gilman, but I think it’s safe to say that we also, whether for better or worse, helped bring Gilman and the bands that came out of there, to the attention of a much wider audience.

There’s a book called Free Spaces: The Sources of Democratic Change in America, by Sara Evans and Harry Boyte, which I’ve often cited as a partial explanation for what happened at Gilman. The book theorizes that for marginalized cultures to thrive and develop, people need a place where they can gather and work undisturbed and unobserved by the prying eyes and manipulating fingers of the dominant culture.

Gilman was just such a place: pretty much anyone could come there, start a band or an art project of some sort, and find, if not a receptive, at least a supportive audience. But for at least the first couple years, almost no one knew about it except for other punks, artists, and weirdos. Because we had that little mini-world to operate in, we could develop our own ideas and expression without giving much thought to what the outside world might think or not think about us.

You were involved with the early days of 924 Gilman?
Yes, pretty much from the start, though I’d have to point out that we never called it “924 Gilman.” It was the Gilman Street Project at first (I still have the original t-shirt), then “Gilman Street,” then ultimately just plain “Gilman.” The “924 Gilman” name came into use after Tim ended Maximum Rocknroll’s involvement with the club and a new group of people took it over.

How’d you get involved with MRR?
I’d been listening to MRR Radio since the late ’70s, and reading the magazine since it started publishing in 1982, and I’d submitted a couple things about my band and my zine. But I didn’t meet Tim until January of 1986, when Aaron Cometbus introduced me to him at a show at New Method in Emeryville (YOUTH OF TODAY and VIOLENT COERCION, in case you’re wondering). Tim and I hit it off pretty well, both of us being veterans of the 60s scene, and I did a couple more articles and interviews for the magazine (one memorable one with ISOCRACY, for example) before Tim asked me to do a regular column starting in the spring of 1987. The following year I moved into the MRR house on Clipper Street, but that only lasted a few months.

What did you cover in your column?
My MRR column was like a miniature version of Lookout magazine, which meant that I wrote about anything and everything. I was pretty big (and still am) on environmental causes, which Tim was not so keen on (“It’s just a bunch of yuppies who don’t want their views spoiled,” he once said), but I also wrote about mainstream and punk politics, gender and sexuality issues, the never-ending debate about what was or wasn’t “punk,” DIY vs. commercial ethics, violence at punk shows, basically whatever came to mind at any given moment.

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Create to Destroy! Hardcore Victim


December 31st, 2014 by

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I know Yeap from him fronting PISSCHRIST and KROMOSOM as well as his killer label Hardcore Victim. Here is Melbourne, Australia’s Yeap for Create to Destroy

What is Hardcore Victim?
A DIY HC punk label, to put out local bands and friends’ bands from the overseas.

Where are you located? Do you think being in Australia has given you more access to Japanese bands?
Melbourne, Australia. I have many punk friends in Japan from the years of trading and band touring. The geographical positions of our countries definitely make it easier for us to visit each other.

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The In Giu Sotto tape was a ripper! Hearing that for the first time was a memorable moment and I remember playing it for tons of people. How did you wind up doing that cassette? 
I released that tape to help promote ISTERISMO’s first Australian tour. It’s a burner!! I still listen to it a lot! Maybe I should do a repress?

You should totally repress it! What was your first release?
TEARGAS debut 7”. I never really planned to do a label. But they had no one to put out the record. Loving this band and wanting to share their shit with other punks was my motivation to start a label.

What releases do you have coming up?
SCABEATER EP, ISTERISMO 2nd 12″, R.I.P FUCKER, and others soon.

Where do you get your releases pressed? What about sleeves?
I get my releases pressed at United in the USA, or sometimes Samo Media with the help of Havoc Records. The covers are done at Imprint.

I love Imprint — they do a solid job and they are on top of their shit. Is it easier to release cassettes versus vinyl?
It’s easier to release cassettes but expensive to post. But tapes you can sell cheaper and can do smaller runs…so I guess it balances out. Perfect format for new bands. I recommend!

Do you think it is more expensive in Australia to have a label? How do you fund your releases?
Yes it is, because of the ever-growing price of postage. But in order to keep the price of wholesale low, I only have a portion of my releases (that I can sell) sent back here. I had some money that I used to fund the first few releases. Now the cash I get from each release funds the next.

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How do you distribute your records?
My releases are distributed by Havoc, La Vida Es Un Mus, and Punk and Destroy, mostly. All the records are pressed and sent to Felix and he sends the designated quantities to the other parties and me. The rest get sold in the USA. Felix Havoc has been the backbone of this shady operation. I can’t thank him enough.

Do you do individual orders or just wholesale?
I only do wholesale at the moment because I’m very busy. Family life, band, daily life!

Do you distro or do you just have a label?
I just have a label. Sometimes I get a bunch of copies of trades, and I sell it to my circle of friends.

How do you feel about trades? Do you do trades internationally?
I trade when I like the stuff I’m trading with, but only in small quantities. I think trades are important, as a punk. It helps build bridges and communication in the punk scene.

Any last words?
Thanks for the interview! Don’t wait for a label to pick you up — do it yourself, punks!!

How can we best stay up to date on Hardcore Victim?
Read MRR and zines and keep digging those distro crates!