Create to Destroy! Earhammer Studios


October 1st, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

Greg Wilkinson is an integral part of the Bay Area scene, which is fragmented and has its own scenes but is definitely connected. He looks like a wizard and he is easy to spot — you’ll know who he is when you see him. At his Earhammer Studios, Greg records bands from all the facets of the local scene. I thought I’d interview him for Create to Destroy as he recently recorded a band for my label here in Oakland. Here is the Evil Wizard of Rock…

What bands have you been in?
Current bands: BRAINOIL and DEATHGRAVE; and former bands: LAUDANUM, LANA DAGALES, I WILL KILL YOU FUCKER, PHT, CHRONICLES OF LEMUR MUTATION, JOHN THE BAKER AND THE MALNOURISHED NOTHINGS, GRAVES AT SEA (for a short stint), and many others…

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Who has recorded your bands, past and present?
Dan Rathbun, Noah Landis, Kurt Schlegel, Mykee Burnt Ramen, and myself (most recordings I’ve been involved with engineering).

How did you start recording bands?
To make a long story not too unbearably long, in my early teens I had a Magnavox stereo with an instrument jack. I would dub a bass line or something with a mic onto a tape. Then put that cassette into the play side of the tape deck and record that and another layer onto another tape on the recording side. Then switch tapes and add more. Obviously, this sounded pretty much like a wall of crap, but it was enough to pique my interest.

Then, I think it was in ’92, I wound up with a Yamaha 4-track cassette recorder I borrowed from a friend of the family. Soon after, I was hooked and convinced my band at the time (a short-lived band called HOLLOW that did nothing) to purchase a Tascam 4-track. A year later I ended up buying a Tascam 8-track, which I would use to record not only my own bands demos but some friends bands as well (mainly recording in my parents house, friends houses, garages, or whatever we could find).

The machine was used and abused aimlessly recording demos, mainly of bands I was in. This lasted a good grip of years until ’98. At the time, I was in LANA DAGALES, which was a two-piece project. We decided to go to school for recording. We were living in Jackson Street Studios, a defunct rehearsal space in downtown Oakland, at the time and therefore jammed a lot. By this point I was becoming really disenchanted with the limitations of the machine. Accessing better gear would really help LANA DAGALES stay DIY while achieving documentation to our liking. During this time, we tracked demos on the Tascam for EXIT WOUND who was comprised of Jason of STORMCROW and LID TOKER, Rubin of CRUEVO, Jake of BLOWN TO BITS and NEUROTOXICITY and Melony. INSIDIOUS at the time was Jensen of IRON LUNG, Sal of ASUNDER, Jason, Seth of SKAVEN and DESTROY JUDAS and Melony.

In the school, we tracked our second demo, which became our first 7″. In ’99, as an alumni, I was granted access to the school’s facilities and recorded the FLESHIES and BRAINBLOODVOLUME (pre-LAUDANUM). Shortly afterwards the school disappeared, which is a fascinating story in itself. I then began tracking at Burnt Ramen on Mykee’s 1″ Tascam while building up a setup of my own in a painfully slow fashion. Eventually, by the time Earhammer started, there was a decent amount of bands I had the honor of working with.

What was the first band you recorded and where? What equipment was used?
My own band, called GENISORE, I believe was the first actual band I recorded that played shows and made tapes. The aforementioned 4-track and cobbled-together mics of the cheap-to-free variety.

How important is mastering for vinyl?
Extremely!!! Can’t emphasize this enough!

I feel the same. It drives me nuts when things don’t get mastered properly — it sounds like garbage! What advice would you give to someone wanting to start recording their own bands or bands in general?
The awesome news is getting a decent recording setup requires less space and sounds way better than it did in the early ’90s (or even the early ’00s) in the base level market. As the old adage goes, “Just get out there and do it!”  Never forget that learning is mostly discovered through failure. Your first recording will most likely be like your first guitar riff. Somewhere between horrible and passabl,e but in no way a waste of time and effort. It’s a building block. Don’t be disappointed if it isn’t a masterpiece. If the recording comes out bad, you will have at least learned something to apply to make a better run the next round. Too many young engineers believe too strongly in post-production, which is dangerous. Crap in will usually turn into crap out. So if it doesn’t sound right before pushing record, there won’t be too much you can do to improve the sound. The best result you can hope for is, “Well, at least it’s not as crappy as before!”

What’s the best way to sound proof a room and get the acoustics right? Does this matter?
It does matter a lot, but there are books about this subject as it is a very complicated issue to tackle. Budget (tuning a room can run thousands and thousands of dollars), available square footage, proper tools, and knowledge are all factors that can get really expensive, especially when done properly. On the slightly affordable side, YouTube has tons of lessons on building diffusers that work pretty well, for DIY communities to help control reflections in your room. Soundproofing requires mass of different materials and space (like building a wall inside a wall is a common example and more high end places even get into suspending rooms). Read the rest of this entry »



New Blood! LILAC DAZE, GRUMP and WEBCAM TEENS


September 18th, 2014 by

MRR magazine’s popular “New Blood” section 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…

Band name:
LILAC DAZE

Date & location formed:
We became a band in December of 2012 in Frederick, MD.

Reason for forming:
Evan and Matt had been in bands together since they were 14 years old and were in between projects at the time. After receiving a book on Riot Grrrl, Patti began learning bass and started jamming with Evan and Matt. Within a month, the band gained momentum and started playing house shows in our hometown.

Lilac Daze

What are your lyrics about?
All three of us contribute lyrics to the band. We usually write about anything from the trials and errors of growing up, finding happiness, and maintaining relationships to guinea pigs and beer.

How would you describe your sound?
We play jangly alt rock with a crunch. Our songs are largely influenced by the music we grew up on. We incorporate elements of punk rock and ’80s and ’90s alternative rock mixed with modern up-and-comers. We filter out all the bullshit and leave you with pure goodness, like a Brita filter.

What is the future for this band?
We plan to continue releasing music, and want to tour more and meet cool people. Hopefully Matt won’t have to make pizza 5 days a week.

Links and contact info:
facebook.com/lilacdazeband

lilacdaze.bandcamp.com
lilacdazeband {at} gmail(.)com

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grump logo

Band name:
GRUMP (questions answered by Marshall)

Date & location formed:
Grump formed in February 2013 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cody and Ian had been jamming a bit before then, but I’m pretty sure it was February when Luke and I joined.

Reason for forming:
Boredom, I guess. I don’t know, same reasons anyone starts a hardcore band—not really anything better do to.

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What are your lyrics about?
My lyrics are mostly just free association of whatever I’m thinking or reading about at that time. I collect lines in a notebook and try and jam them together based on a related theme. The usual tropes—alienation, thought control, etc.

How would you describe your sound?
Chorus pedal punk weirdocore.

What is the future for this band?
We’ve got a short tour of Eastern Canada planned. After that who knows. Maybe a record or something, more touring. No concrete plans yet.

Links and contact info:
grump.bandcamp.com

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WebcamTeens_logo

Band name:
WEBCAM TEENS

Date & location formed:
We formed in Tallahassee, FL and played our first show in August ’11 at the Farside Collective, which was a DIY spot some of us in town helped to open and run for a while (RIP).

Reason for forming:
We started playing together after other bands some of us had played in broke up for one reason or another. We’re all at different stages in our lives, but being in a band with your friends is a good constructive release for lots of pent up shit that we all deal with, the rigors of life, nothing unique.

What are your lyrics about?
Our songs are about crooked politicians and leaders, life punching your ass in the gut, nothing making sense ever, motherfuckers who like to hear themselves talk and talk and talk, scenelords, drunk punks, the end of the world dance party, our creeping technological doom, bad business arrangements, spinning your wheels, killing yourself, the importance of saving yourself, and letting go of everything. Most of them rhyme.

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Webcam Teens (photo by Kate Decosmo)

How would you describe your sound?
Fast and straight ahead. But we’re on some now you see us, now you don’t shit. Tesco Vee fronting a sped-up Feel the Darkness era Poison Idea.

What is the future for this band?
Hopefully pressing wax and writing new shit. Contact: Our first demo/EP tape was released on Spirit Cat tapes. Our songs are free at webcamteens.bandcamp.com.

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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 is 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



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

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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 »