Create to Destroy! Remote Outposts


September 3rd, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

Greg Harvester is a punk I met at the MRR HQ when I first moved to SF. I had no idea he did a tape blog or what he describes as “a barely functioning record label” until I saw an ad he’s put in Mothers News, a rag out of Providence, RI. So, I thought after Robert Collins’ Terimal Escape tape blog interview why not cover another MRR shitworker and keep the tape blog love going? Here is Greg Harvester (who you may know from NEON PISS) talking about Remote Outposts for Create to Destroy!

Greg in Iceland

Greg in Iceland

What are your ties to the East Coast? How do you know all these rad people like FUNERAL CONE?
I guess it’s mostly from traveling a lot throughout the years. Besides going to NYC, I never really paid too much attention to New England for the longest time. A really good friend of mine, Mike Leslie, is from Worcester, MA, and I started making my way there to hang out with him. Over time, I just kept going back and I’ve fallen in love with the whole region. There’s so many great people and bands, such as CLEANSING WAVE, SKIMASK, THE TERRIBLES and all of those Boston bands that people always talk about (rightfully so). Plus, I just love the season of fall and if I could spend every fall there, I could die happy.

How’d you wind up in San Francisco?
I originally moved here in 2002 from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I was living on a dilapidated houseboat. My time there had kind of run its course and I was ready for a change. My good friends in SF were starting a band called ALLERGIC TO BULLSHIT and they needed a drummer, so I decided to move out. The bass player, Cinque, and the singer, Ivy, were in town so I hopped in a van with them and a bunch of other maniacs and drove across the country with no money at all. I lived in a van on Alabama Street and at Mission Records (RIP) during that time. I left in 2003 to travel and do other stuff, but was drawn back here in 2008 and haven’t really wanted to leave since. I’m a fairly transient person, but this is the only place that has felt like home in years.

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How’d you wind up at MRR?
I hung out at the compound a lot in 2002 because I didn’t really have other places to go that were free. I did a lot of shitwork, like filing records, taking out the trash, doing the radio show, etc…. I did some book reviews, but they didn’t let me write record reviews because I told them that I hated all music, which was maybe true at that time. When I came back in 2008, I just showed up and insisted on being a part of the magazine again, because I want to be actively participating in print media…especially in a capacity that is so anti-corporate…for the most part…as anti-corporate as things can be in 2014.

Is the name “Remote Outposts” a reference to anything?
Yes. When I was first starting the blog, I didn’t think of a name until the last minute. At the time, I was obsessed with the idea of living in Antarctica (still am) and I loved this 1985 article from the Wall Street Journal about people losing their fucking shit while working there. The first line says, “It is Saturday night at one of the world’s most remote outposts…” I liked the sound of that. I liked that the title didn’t tie things down to any certain genre of punk or to anything at all, really. I guess that’s it.

Looks like you’ve been doing this since 2011. How has your “blog” changed since then?
I started the whole thing primarily to catalog and archive virtually unknown punk bands from the Southeast US, because that’s where I’m from…Alabama, to be exact. I think that, in my experience, some of the best punk has come from Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas and Georgia. Mississippi too, but not South Carolina. I wanted to provide the back story and sounds of a whole scene of bands who may have only put out one tape and may have only made 20 copies of that tape. I think those bands are the best shit, and I realized that I’m not alone in that thought. I wish that the majority of the blog wasn’t just my perspective or my experience, but that’s just how it happened. I try to get other people to write for it as well, but people are slow or flaky or just not interested and that’s fine. Over time, I archived most of the southern punk tapes that I wanted to, but I still have hundreds of other tapes. I think the only way it’s really changed is that I spend a little more time on the writing because I don’t want it to be like, “Hey, here’s a band from Gnawbone, Indiana,” and not provide context. I realized that people actually read it, so I try to make it interesting. Also, I decided recently to stop posting any bands who use crowd-sourcing in any capacity.

Has Remote Outposts always had a presence on Facebook ?
Not always. I’m not even sure why I started the FB page, but I realized that people pay attention to it. Its only purpose is to tell people there’s a new post, but they could just as easily sign up for an email alert and get it that way. Or just bookmark the blog. I try to update it pretty often. Whatever works.

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Why do you do it?
I think a lot of these bands are important. I looked at some music blogs before I started this and they didn’t provide a lot of context. It would just be a link to a download. I want to know the backgrounds. Where do the bands come from? How do they get by? Have they ever had to sell plasma to get gas money? Did they almost die from heat exhaustion while having to breastfeed their kids in a tour van in Mexico? Have they ever killed anyone? Were any of them placed in youth detention centers when they were growing up for trying to burn down their school? Besides that, a lot of music blogs I saw mostly covered metal or hardcore, which is great, but I wanted to also see the more melodic or noisy or arty or fucked up side of music being represented in some small capacity. Besides that, it’s fun. When it’s not fun I’ll stop.

How do you do it?
I’ve always said, “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing,” and I mean that. There was a cord at my house that I plugged into my stereo which allowed me to digitize stuff. I don’t know what that cord is called. I’m not trying to be elusive. I really just don’t know. My house got a free scanner on Craigslist and I use that to scan any art that comes with the tapes. I use Audacity and iTunes to make the MP3s and then host it on whatever file hosting service works, which has been a real learning experience that I don’t want to discuss publicly.

Have you made new friends doing this?
Yeah, I meet people while traveling who like it, which is very encouraging. I haven’t, like, met my best friend in the world or anything, but most of the interactions that have come from this have been really positive.

Where do you get your tapes? Do you get a lot from reviewing demos for MRR?
I already had a fairly huge collection because I just don’t throw things away. I still have mix tapes from my teenage years and a VOMIT SPOTS tape that I originally got in 1989. I also hold onto tapes that I review for MRR, but only ones that either blow me away or have a few indispensable songs on them. Some people have given me their collection to sift through rather than trashing them. Some bands mail me their tape because they like the blog, which is amazing to me. I always buy tapes from touring bands that I like. I’ve found a few of ‘em on the street and in free boxes.

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Not so much hardcore?
I fucking love hardcore. There’s a misconception that I’m not a fan of hardcore because I rarely cover it on the blog, but that’s just not true. I grew up on it and it’s still close to my heart. Also, the few times that I have posted hardcore on the blog, no one pays attention to it. BRAIN KILLER demo? No one cared. QUESTION? Nope. HARUM SCARUM? IRON LUNG? THE KNOCKABOUTS (Alabama’s first hardcore band!)? STOCKHOLM SYNDROME? Fuck it. Great fucking bands but I don’t think people read my blog for hardcore, because there are many other places on the internet that have that genre covered. Terminal Escape and Music Not Noize are much better outlets for that kind of stuff than me. Coincidentally, those are the only two music blogs I look at.

What is your punk forte, I mean like…what sub-genre of punk or genres do you mostly focus on?
I wanna just say “PUNK,” but the punk world has split off into so many sub-genres that I can’t (don’t want to) keep track anymore. Before I found punk, I stumbled into the world of performance art which was such a freak zone in 1980s Alabama. Because of that, I gravitate towards bands who are in true freak zones, whether they are arty, melodic, hardcore, drone-y, fucked up noise or whatever. That being said, I also love ultra-precise, no-fucking-around pop stuff like the MARKED MEN. I don’t care about grindcore. Is that an answer?

Zines?
I don’t even know what’s out there anymore. I like Asswipe, Cometbus, Spare Change and Absolutely Zippo, but honestly I’ve read Harper’s and journals more than zines in the last couple of years. I sometimes do a zine called Rice Harvester and another one called Disunderstood, which is just a journal of me writing down what I think hardcore bands are singing about at shows.

Tour stories?
So many. Two come to mind. Once, our van broke down in the South, so we left it at a mechanic with our roadie and just hitchhiked to our next show after sleeping on the ground in a gravel parking lot. The show sucked but we didn’t have to cancel it. Another time, I was in Jonquiere, Quebec, and the entire audience was on PCP. Our bass player quit mid-show because it was so fucked up, but we finished without her. At the end, the guitarist was passed out, dead to the world, and I had to carry him out like a little baby. On my way to the van, I had to dodge a dude who was crying and bashing himself in the head with a hammer, as well as a woman who was trying to make out with me. Oh, and in Budapest, Hungary, the audience ripped the pick guard and the bridge off of two of our guitars and then got upset when we couldn’t play any more. I’m afraid that I have stories like these for days.

That sounds very Quebec. Any last words?
Thank you. Look at the blog or don’t. Stay punk or don’t.

remoteoutposts.blogspot.com



Download from the Vaults!
Maximum Rocknroll #13 • April/May 1984


July 29th, 2014 by

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DOES PUNK SUCK??? Well, does it? We now travel back in time to 1984 to hear what Doc Dart, Tim Yo, Pushead, Allison Raine, and Frank Discussion have to say about punk’s future… Also included in this discussion from Maximum Rocknroll issue #13 — now available to download in its entirety here — are Glen E Friedman, Rev Nørb and many other punks from all your favorite bands and zines. It doesn’t stop there! This issue also features the WIPERS, COLERA, AMEBIX, NIHILISTICS, UGLY AMERICANS, SECOND WIND, and a devastatingly vast array of reviews and scene reports, ads for records that now cost a lot more than they did in 1984, and so much more! 

DOC DART/CRUCIFUCKS
I appreciate the opportunity to comment on a subject which is as perplexing as it is challenging. First of all, the labels which have been tossed (punk/hardcore) about in a feeble attempt to pigeon-hole bands and audiences alike, are a source of aggravations and alienation for me. There was a time when I didn’t mind and was sometimes proud of being called a “punk.” The music was new and exciting and the label at least set me apart from the mundane and often sickening mass of idiots that refer to themselves as Americans.

Now, more often than not, I’ve found myself confronted with an equally mundane and sickening mass of twerps, some of whom refer to themselves as “hardcore punks.” They are usually not in the majority at shows but their techniques of drawing attention the themselves borrow from some of America’s most inane traditions: football, fashion show, the Marines, and Quincy. It’s no wonder that people who might otherwise be interested in good music, or even starved for good music, often go away from “hardcore” shows wishing someone had warned them that the circus was in town.

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Doc Dart

For many people, music is a potential vehicle for social change. Obviously, it has thus far worked much better for the government than it has for positive change. My suggestion is that you mindless violent, fashion-conscious exhibitionist, whose prime motivation is to assert your “manhood,” please just frequent shows that showcase bands with your mentality (need I list some of them?), and allow the rest of us to transcend these ridiculous labels (such as hardcore), as well as your pitiful lifestyles. There would be much more support for a “scene” that valued intelligence, compassion, education, action, and most of all, creative music. I know of many people who would show much more interest (myself included) in something positive and ever-changing, as well as diverse, and free of labels that only serve to stifle and stereotype behavior. I’ve seen signs in a few cities that this is possible. Madison, Wisconsin, is a good example. As far as I’m concerned, “hardcore” is another word for stagnation. Can we call it music if it’s good? That would make it an even rarer phenomenon, but at least a growing one. It was the prohibition of good music that spawned our so-called movement; so why shouldn’t we claim ours as music, and dismiss the mainstream as “hardcore shit”? And anybody in your crowd that goes out of their way to act tough or to spend five hours perfecting their appearance could be encouraged to assume their rightful place among mainstream Americans with traditional values. Eliminate five ignorant twerps and maybe ten good friends will take their place. The ignorant will return when intelligence becomes “fashionable.” Don’t be misled in thinking that I have hope for the future, because I don’t, but how can anyone give up with so much at stake? Ever get the feeling you’re living in a cage and then wonder why everything outside is deteriorating faster than you?

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Tim Yo

TIM YOHANNAN/MRR
One of punk’s main thrusts was “anybody can do it.” But democracy often leads to mediocrity. If many hardcore bands now sound generic, should we be re-thinking our commitment to “democracy” and return to elitism in music, as some would like to see? Or should we say that democratizing music was just the first stage, and now that we’ve got  “a band in every garage,” let’s move on to stage two: quality and imagination.
This is the big hurdle: how to maintain the spontaneity and passion of garage music, while becoming more proficient musically, and while trying to break formulas of song structure and lyrical approaches. Hopefully, we’ll see more bands keeping the emotion, noise, and commitment of hardcore (the edge), while taking more chances in trying to surprise and excite us. Speaking of which, it seems to me that most of today’s bands are content to just entertain the audience. They play as if they were at rehearsal, song after song, with no room for spontaneity, just like the formula “rock” bands. Originality, and crowd interaction are the victims. In the earlier days of punk, the creative performance was stressed more, with the accent on both irritating and stimulating audience participation. Now, it seems that musical perfection is the goal, and bands want to merely satisfy the expectations of the audience, taking fewer chances, and turning punk into another consumer package, a “concert” to placate the masses.

The other major problem that I see is how punk/HC will be able to survive (at a grassroots level) the new corporate attempts to co-opt it. As “Rock of the ’80s” stations start playing SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, DKs, DOA, etc., and major labels start chasing punk bands, will those bands remember the sad tale of the CLASH? They elected to “go corporate” (in order to get their message to more people?), and now, seven years down the road, have the following to show for it: they 1) claim to be broke, financially; 2) are without a direction, proclaiming themselves “born again punks,” yet showing an abysmal lack of knowledge of what’s been happening in punk since they lost touch with their roots (indie clubs, indie promoters, indie labels, indie zines); and 3) are without a sense of integrity, having been thoroughly “used” by the very corporations they sing against, and make rich. Punk’s ability to maintain its integrity and maintain its commitment to the alternative scene will be the real determinant of its future.

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Pushead

PUSHEAD/JACK OF ALL TRADES
The worst aspect of the punk/hardcore attitude/lifestyle is alot of the people got involved to be an elite few, to claim it as something that was “their baby,” different than whatever everyone else did. By that factor, it gave them confidence and strength, and some took it too far. So when the interest grew and others got involved, it became apparent that some didn’t want the “new crew” to come in, for it was their “scene,” so they soon dropped out and criticized the “image” which they felt everyone was acting out. Sure, during that time they made rules and regulations about “their ” idea of what should happen and how it should be done, and laughed at others as they laughed at themselves, only to soon become what they were laughing at. I thought everyone was supposed to share a common belief for a certain progression. But when you let your disbelief in those who enter the “attitude” rival your own, and then get angered, whose revolution is it? When society can market the hardcore product, make money off the rising phase, and the disbelief between the people involved, all these factions lead to the end of another revolution. So how can it be such a threat when some of the people involved are so selfish? Myself, I’m sadly disappointed at my friends who had such positive attitudes, but got so upset by certain negativities in their scenes that they quit, instead of continuing their positive voice and fighting their negative, as they just didn’t care any more. Thanx for nothing. You let yourself down.

I’m sadly disappointed at my friends who had such positive attitudes, but got so upset by certain negativities in their scenes that they quit, instead of continuing their positive voice and fighting their negative, as they just didn’t care any more. Thanx for nothing. You let yourself down.

The strength grows. Through my associations, I have discovered a strong “positive” force who are willing to learn, create,and seek a better tomorrow. Some people have their faults, which can be dealt with, but some breed ignorance. Those people who whine say things “rule,” take advantage, or use violence to show their lack of confidence in themselves, should look at what they were doing. I find that most people who are guilty of this sit on their asses all day with their mouths flapping and their minds stagnating. Too bad. I hope you really accomplish something by your insecurities! The way you dress has nothing to do with whether you’re hardcore or not; it’s what you think and how you act. I’m not talking about socially accepted or “proper” mannerisms, either. It’s your lifestyle. Do you agree with the situations “they” get you into? Will you sit on your arse forever?? Think about it. It’s up to you. Come out from your silence.
 Lately, this magazine has opened up a giant communication line throughout the world. I’m very happy that I am part of it. I do not get paid and I don’t expect payment. It is my creative part that I can contribute. What about you? People slag this magazine and Tim Yohannan especially. Why? Do you know? Tim’s interest can unite more than the bitching of one. His participation abounds; only your negativity will tire him out. If MRR becomes big it’s because there is a desire for it. Next time you bitch I hope you have something behind you beside the chair you sit in. I’m not talking about your macho brute force either. I’m talking about your ability to create.Make your effort, show your hardware, come out from your silence, and then we can work together! Thanx to all who share the same attitude, to those who take the time to write and pass the word. It’s your world. Is it shitting on you or are you shitting on it? To save the world, must you destroy the people? Think about it.

ALLISON RAINE/@ STATE OF MIND, SAVAGE PINK ZINE
Being an ancient veteran of the scene at 21, I have followed and been a fan of punk/hardcore and its legions of splinter groups for nigh on six years now. When I was 16 or 17 and attending every show even remotely associated with punk with enthusiasm bordering on hysteria, I couldn’t understand how the scene vets of those days could skip a show or complain that “things just weren’t as cool as they used to be.” When I first took an interest in punk, it was because I couldn’t relate to the lame stuff I heard on the radio. I found the primal pogo beat of the RAMONES’ “Teenage Lobotomy” much more fun and stimulating. As time passed, I became (largely by influence of the music) more—er—”politically aware” and therefore more interested in music that made a statement about the world we live in. The merging of two things important to me, natch. Although my musical tastes are wide-reaching, this is what I had close to my heart. But the whole excitement that punk has held for me all these years is that the only difference between the audience and the band is that the band got up on stage. Or is it?

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A phrase being tossed around a lot these days is “generic thrash.” Those with the most years invested in the scene are the prime offenders, being jaded after years of listening hundreds of punk bands bang away at the same four chords. There’s nothing wrong with being bored with it, but there is something wrong with condemning it. Fuck if I’ll be the one to tell someone they’re not musically proficient enough to hold my interest. There’s nothing wrong with striving to be innovative or different, but neither is there anything wrong with having enough enthusiasm to jump up on stage and just do it! By putting down bands for being “generic,” we are only throwing the scene into reverse and heading back to the days of guitar heroes. This should not be allowed to happen, and all bands that are giving it a go should be encouraged and nurtured by us all.

Well…all bands?

This brings us to the next point—where the scene is headed socially and ideologically. Besides musically being fresher and more energetic, one of the things that has kept me involved these many years is that it has not fallen into any of the cliched, sexist, racist, or otherwise negative ruts that the wonderful stuff we hear on radio or see on MTV has—yet. For me, the most disappointing trend in punk currently is towards sexist, nationalistic, and otherwise backwards trends. Quite a few of the bands playing this stuff claim that it’s a joke or that it’s all in fun. Well, why aren’t they making fun of white, heterosexual healthy people like themselves (for the most part)? I don’t think that’s funny at all. But even that aside—the people I’m wondering about are the (let’s face it) more impressionable people who are 15 or 16 and just getting into the scene. What kind of values or opinions is this kind of humor going to to instill in them? My only hope is that there seems to be an equal, if not greater number of bands using their music to speak out against things like sexism, fascism, etc. While some will still moan about being “preached ” at, there seems to be more and more people listening to what these bands have to say and at least stopping to stopping to think about both sides of the story. A lot of people seem to be realizing that, gee, women and gays are people too, and that God & Country aren’t all they’ve been made out to be.

In conclusion, I remain optimistic that punk will remain true to its roots and resist the temptations that brought rock’n’roll to such a disastrous state in the late ’70s (and even still today); namely, money in all its different forms. While punk, when it began, was mostly a musical revolution, it seems that the youth of today are even more painfully aware of the problems of society and the world as a whole, and these observations are creeping into our music. This musical influence will hopefully spawn more aware adults who question things and refuse to apathetically except all that is fed them by church, state, and the like. Although I may not make it to all the shows these days, I’m still 100% behind those that do.

FRANK DISCUSSION/FEEDERZ:

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To download a complete PDF of MRR #13 and other back issues of MRR, go to the MRR Webstore!



Create to Destroy! NYC’s C-Squat:
Homeo-Empathy 9th & C


July 10th, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

Bill Cashman is an all around great guy (like, give you his last dollar and make you smile kind of guy) who also painstakingly creates very dense and elaborate zines filled with collage and intensity. This time the project was obsessively focused on the history of the squat-gone-homestead-co-op where he lives, C-Squat in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The history of the Lower East Side is rife with punk and punk rock attitude, from the squatters to the Tompkins Square Park riots to the Diggers to anarchists and just plain anarchy. There is a lot of history, but within the punk scene there are a lot of conflicting memories. So Bill decided to sidestep controversy and just stick with the slightly embellished historical facts of the building itself. This zine focuses a lot about the history of the LES, including squatting of course, but the social ecology piece entitled The Struggle for Space is an amazing resource for that specific movement, as is former MRR contributor Fly, who is currently working on her history book Unreal Estate. Additionally, the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation recently ran the piece about the zine in the article Examining a Building’s Past, Punk Rock Style. Here is Bill Cashman (or W.D. Bickerknocker) of Homeo-Empathy 9th & C zine…

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What is C-Squat?
It’s a punk house. Formerly a long time squat, currently a homestead, and future: unknown. As one of the graffiti scribblings on one of our walls accurately decrees: “This house is an emotional megaphone.”

Is this question a point of contention?
Everything here is a point of contention.

Why does the zine focus on the building versus the more “punk” history of the place?
I dunno. Mainly I guess because it’s weirder? I wanted to do a history of the building I live in and starting with the “punk” or squat history would’ve been like starting in the middle. I’m sure the rest of the history is going to come from someone else but I wanted to do something that maybe other people weren’t going to try to dig up. Plus, I wasn’t up for the task of sifting through a sort of squatter Roshomon just yet. But to tell the entire story of one LES building and what was happening immediately around it over the course of 100+ years, you don’t just get a snapshot of one single recent evolving identity – it sort of becomes a zine about the story of the whole neighborhood that has been steadily changing around it.

By the end of the all that research, the project was no longer just about history but to me it personally became just as much about current-day subversion. This is a place where a lot of people have a set idea about what it is, what it could be, or what it’s supposed to/should be…or why it sucks because it’s not like this or that anymore. By writing a zine about the building and not even going into the years of that one identity – it kind of indirectly shows that (for better and for worse) things inevitably can and will change. Just like the Lower East Side being forced to change all around it, a lot of that change sucks but other things I can’t wait to see change. Also, by taking away the distraction of the most obvious things, it’s like writing about another place that you are not involved in, which makes writing about it a bit easier.

14 years ago there was a song written about this place, called “Homeo Apathy 9th & C,” which on the bad days is still a pretty accurate title to sum up life here. I wanted to flip that script so I called the first part “Homeo-Empathy 9th & C.” It may be a more ironic and less fitting title, but what I meant behind that word swap is an example of some kind of alchemic wish for better days, whether for the physical building or for the people currently in it. Whether the building moves on as a punk house, or some people move on, or everyone gets evicted and it becomes a regular “low income” apartment building… as long as it still stands — it will go forward as someone’s home. So that’s the history that I wanted to dig up — one of the building, # 155, not just its/our current collective identity. I just so happened to leave the most interesting, entertaining, defining, and important part out for now…because it deserves its own chapter.

Wow, that sure was a long answer, huh?

How’d you wind up making a zine on the place?
I was at a NEGATIVE APPROACH/ANTIDOTE show in Brooklyn and a woman named Rain Chacon came up to me at the bar. She asked if she could buy me a drink because she wanted to hear how things were at C-Squat. She used to hang out there in the ’80s and wanted to hear how it was doing. I invited her to an art show we were doing and when she got there, she was real confused because she said that this wasn’t the same C-Squat building that she knew back in 1984. And she didn’t mean that in an “I’m so old school — C-Squat just ain’t the same, maaaaan” kinda way that I hear all the time – she meant this was an entirely different building. My friends that were around who have lived here for like 20 years didn’t believe her. They said she was confused … one even said she was a “liar” right in front of her. So Rain and I wanted to make a jokey, comical zine about two buildings with the same name that were at the same intersection ; one more with skinheads and NYHC kids and the other more “crusty” anarcho punks. We never got to do it because she suddenly and tragically passed away.

After that, I knew I wanted to make a zine about lost histories…or, if not “lost” histories, then at least ones that were previously unknown to me and my neighbors. I dedicated the zine to her but the result was really different then what we originally planned. It wasn’t so much about the building that was once across the street but it turned into being about lost stories of our house, our block, our intersection, our neighborhood. Instead of 1984 it covered the mid-1800s to the mid-1980s, but meeting Rain at that show was the initial spark.

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Can you give us a brief history of the building?
I’ll just sum up the years that the zine covers (mid-1800s to 1986) so absolutely no one has to buy one. Everything you never wanted to know about #155, all in one paragraph:

Built in 1872, paid for by pickle merchants, it was intended to be a tenement building that would cram 16 immigrant families into small rooms throughout its four upper floors. However, it didn’t meet code of the day so it became all light businesses in every room. There was a pickle shop in the storefront with cigar makers and all kinds of tailors on the upper floors. Then between 1896 and 1914 it was a five story union hall that had a saloon that hosted illegal gambling and held meetings for Republicans, Socialists, religious groups, and striking union workers. Some people moved in but it soon became a warehouse for bottles. In 1959 it was completely renovated by a real estate group that retroactively made it a tenement for the first time ever, just in time for all the shit to hit the fan in the Lower East Side. The landlord eventually cut essential services before eventually abandoning it, then there was a fire, and due to in-rem foreclosure, the city took over in 1978. Some of the tenants stayed on and it was squatted for a few years…mainly Latino and black. They ran an illegal “after hours” social club which had a bar, pool tables, and sometimes had bands play. This was all until about 1984/85, then the place was cleared out, locked up, and left abandoned for a number of years.

How long have you been hanging out at See?
I first went there in 1999. I met this lovable old beatnik guy named Hassan (Jerry Heiserman) on the corner of 10th & C. He was one of the great “dandies” of his generation…you should interview him, he’s 1,000 times more interesting. Anyway, I asked him where C-Squat was. He said if I bought him a beer he’d show me where to go. I remember that this was the first beer I ever bought. I was still in high school and was straight edge at the time. I was surprised that I didn’t even get carded. I handed my new guide his new cold beer and he walked us precisely 15 to 20 steps south and opened the door: here ya go kids, have fun! Read the rest of this entry »



Videos of the Week: Leningrad punk pioneer Svin


July 3rd, 2014 by

To go along with the piece he and Tommy Dean wrote in the new issue of MRR, Alexander Herbert sent us some videos of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) punk progenitor Andrei “Svin” Panov. Pick up MRR #375 for an in-depth look at the life and work of Svin…

Svin (photo by Valery Potapov)

Svin (photo by Valery Potapov)

This is one of our personal favorites. This is Svin in the middle of a set expressing his typical indifference and distain for his role as a “punk rock icon” by singing one of his songs on an upper balcony behind bars to the crowd below while they are piling out like sheep. The lyrics he is getting them to chant go like this:

The bullet flew, hit me in the chest
But I saved on a spirited horse
Commissioner got me with a sabre
Bleeding on the horse I fell

Chorus:
Hey, my black horse!

Hey steel rifle!
Hey, dense fog!
Hey, dad, chieftain!

Without one leg, I came from the war
Tied my horse I sat my wife
But soon came to me Commissioner
Unhitched the horse and stole my wife

Its important to note that his song is very down-trodden Soviet-esq in that the words are old, but it deals with the Commissars. Andrei “Svin” Panov singing the “Comissar” acapella, written by Mikhail “Solidnyi” Tinkel’man. Video used with permission from the AU and Svin digital archive at www.svinpanov.ru

AU at the 6th Leningrad Rock Club Festival, 1988 with Valery Marozov, Evgeni Titov, Dima “Donkey”, and Andrei “Svin” Panov, 1988. This is a classic, guys, in which Svin plays with his two bands, AU and then Arkester AU (АРКЕСТР АУ) later. It’s a stadium setting, so his interaction is limited, but he still unbuttons his pants :) Used with permission from the Svin and AU digital archive at www.svinpanov.ru

Arkester AU At the Zenitovskii Festival #2, Club “Jam” St. Petersburg, 1998. Used with permission from the Svin and AU archive at www.svinpanov.ru

 



Create to Destroy! The Katacombes


June 11th, 2014 by

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Janick Langlais was willing to take time to answer my questions about the Katacombes in Montreal, the venue she is a part of. I’ve looked up to Janick since seeing her band AFTER THE BOMBS when they played a Crust Massacre gig in Brooklyn years ago. Shortly there after I wound up in Montreal at her fest, A Varning from Montreal II, which was a blast! You may know her from her slew of previous bands, prior venue work in Montreal, her annual A Varning from Montreal fest, or her most recent band where she was singing in TRUNCHEONS. Whether you know her or not, she is worth knowing. Here is Janick…

Where are you from?
I’m from Montreal, Quebec, Canada

What was the first punk show you ever went to?
BARF (Blasting All Rotten Fuckers) and a bunch of other local bands in a high school basement back in 1989 with my sister.

anasazi stage dive on janick

How did you start booking shows?
I started booking show when I started L’X, my first venue in 1998, but I was already singing in bands for a few years prior to opening L’X, so I knew the basics of booking shows and when I joined Led By The Blind in 1998 I had the chance to put my skills to the test by booking my first US tour… and totally by telephone!!! It’s probably hard to picture today with the internet and all…haha.

Have you ever gotten shit for being a woman or had people not take you seriously because of this?
Well, I was lucky to have been “punk raised” in the ’90s where values were shaping our daily lives, not fashion, and guys in the scene were making more room for women to participate in building the scene. I was also lucky to be involved in a collective like L’X, surrounded by great friends and people that were (some still are) in the scene at the time. There were not really any women booking shows back then, at least not that I was aware of, so I kind of learned on the spot observing people that were involved booking gigs.

So, yeah, I don’t remember getting shit because I was a woman, but I guess I might’ve felt a bit apart and sometimes like some people were not taking me very seriously — but these people are long gone today, ha! Also, being part of the scene, being myself in a band and knowing a lot of people already made it easier, I guess, because people knew me. The one thing that was annoying I’d say was that with my name people either thought I was Yannick from Tragedy or that I was a guy, anyways (with my hoarse voice) hahaha…

When did you start a venue?
After travelling and living in Europe for a year I was really inspired by the punks and the DIY ethics and how they were organizing their own gigs and such. So when I came back to MTL in 1997 I got back to getting involved in a project of putting up a live venue, a project I started before leaving for Europe in early 1996 with a dozen of friends. The venue was called L’X (like mentioned above) and we opened in May 1998. We ran it until we got kicked out by the University in 2004. Then I continued with my friend Claudie, who was also working at L’X, and we wrote a business plan and all that jazz — it was pretty intense. After two years of hard work we were ready to finally open the Katacombes, which we did on November 3rd, 2006.

kamikazee screammmm and crowd color

Was it always where it is now?
No, we got kicked out again in the summer of 2009 (the story of my life, haha) by some real estate promoters who wanted to gentrify the area. We found another space a couple of blocks north of the old location, which was a good thing ’cause it really wouldn’t have worked out to be pushed away, let’s say, in the east part of town.

How does the community support it?
Since the community knew us from L’X, most of the neighbors were okay with it, but there were other people that weren’t too keen about it. We had to do a bunch of meetings and even radio interviews to talk about the project and smooth out stupid prejudices and fear of the punks opening up a new space downtown. It was a hard battle but we did it and now even the cops like us because there never were any problems…not bad for a punk venue…haha!!! As far as the punk community is concerned, I think people are happy to have a space they can relate to and that understands and welcomes them without prejudices and that sounds good.

Do you hire punks?
Punks mostly, a couple of metal heads or people with similar values, but 98% are punks!

How did you get the money together to start your own business?
Claudie and I didn’t have a penny of course, haha, so, like I said ,we had to write a business plan to get some financing from the city and we also got a loan from the Canadian Foundation for young entrepreneurs.

Is it stressful? What’s it like having to deal with government permits, etc?
Yeah, it was stressful because you never know if you’re going to be granted the money or if you are doing all this work in vain. But most of all we felt like we were getting a bit too deep into the “machine” dealing with legal stuff, permits, government representative, city officials and all. But we told ourselves we knew why we were doing it and we came to the conclusion that the results were more important than the way to get there. Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t think we “sold out,” at least to me we did what we had to do to have a space of our own and keep putting up shows and keep the punk scene alive and I’m damn happy we did. I have to mention that Katacombes is a working co-op so it made it a little easier to get financing than, let’s say, a private enterprise.

What events do you host at the club?
We mostly host shows anything that’s alternative and underground so punk, metal, goth, deathrock, post-punk, alternative rock, electro, industrial and some folk. We also host a few DJ nights, like POMPe Night, which is a queer electro/disco/punk night every month, as well as MINIMALE Night, which is a minimale/synth/post-punk/deathrock night that is also a monthly event. We even have stand-up comedy shows once in a while.

Truncheons

Truncheons

What bands have you been in?
My first band was TEMPER TANTRUM (1993, NYC – all girl band, we didn’t last long enough to play shows), 86’D (1994, NYC — also all female band, I replaced Tamika for a year or so then moved back to MTL Kendall took over the vocals), FIERCE (1994–1996), PCP (1997, Holland), LED BY THE BLIND (1998–2000), HELLBOUND (2000–2004), AFTER THE BOMBS (2004–2008), TRUNCHEONS (2011–2013)…to be continued

Any good new bands in Montreal (besides SEX FACE)?
PROXY, METALIAN (metal but fucking awesome!!), ABYSSED (they are a bit more metal à la VENOM), DEKODER, COMPLICATIONS, MALOKIO, SEPTIMO CONTINENTE, TALK SICK, DETHFOX, KONFRONT, BLUDGEONED, DEAD FUTURE…..and more…

Tell us about Varning….anything in store for 2014?
A Varning From Montreal Festival is a festival I put on for the first time in November 2007 to celebrate Katacombes’ first anniversary, and it became an annual festival. I really wanted to bring more international DIY bands to Montreal and make it a crazy weekend where everyone from around the globe that you know would be there and we’d all hang out together! Varning will be back again this year in November, precisely on the 6th, 7th and 8th, but the line-up is not 100% confirmed. But I can give you hints: there will be bands from Japan, Italy, Usa, Canada and Mexico. Keep your eyes open for the complete lineup TBA very soon that will be put up here.

What advice do you have for people thinking of opening their own venue?
First of all make sure you do not mind not having a life..haha… but seriously, it takes a lot of passion and time and dedication to run a venue and if this is a hobby it might not be for you. Second, I’d say try to find the best location and cheap rent (which is hard to find), be patient and make sure you can get all the right permits at the location you want to establish your business. Get well informed on different structures available (non-profit, coop, private business). Also, make sure you have the right competences, if not learn the basics and/or surround yourself with friends or people that do (e.g., accounting, financing, booking, promoting) and believe in yourself…because anything is possible!!!

How can we stay up to date on Katacombes?
You can follow us on Facebook through our page at COOP KATACOMBES or you can visit our website: www.katacombes.com

Any last words, punk?
DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU CAN OR CANNOT DO…JUST BE!!!