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MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Tara Bursey

This month's MRR magazine is the Comics & Art Issue! Throughout March we are highlighting ...

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MRR Presents: Friday Fuckin' Funnies! #71

LIFE IS POSERS! Loads more at lifeisposers.com NOWHERE CITY by Vickie Smalls! More great comix by Vic at ...

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MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Rudy Leowe

This month's MRR magazine is the Comics & Art Issue! Throughout March we are highlighting ...

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MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Ruben Dahlstrand

This month's MRR magazine is the Comics & Art Issue! Throughout March we are highlighting ...

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Formerly a section in MRR magazine, "New Blood" is now a regular feature here on maximumrocknroll.com spotlighting new bands from around the ...

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Interview: artist Brett Hunter

December 8th, 2013 by

Brett Hunter‘s art is as distinctly Carbondale, IL, as The Lost Cross House or post-show night lake swimming. His artwork is everywhere in town — from punk house walls, to light posts, to boutique stores, to large music venues. Somehow between writing, recording, and touring relentlessly with his bands, The Copyrights, The Heat Tape, and Dear Landlord, he finds the time to make a ridiculous amount of quality art and live off of it. He makes fliers, large sized paintings, t-shirts, shoes, sunglasses, you name it. I’ve been a huge fan of his work since I first saw it just over a decade ago. He’s a huge inspiration to me and a lot of people in our shitty little town because he proves that you don’t have to move away to a city in order to live off of what you love doing — being weird and working hard is all you really need.

by Ray Martinez-Suburbia


When I first met you back in 2002, you were primarily known in town as a musician who did some occasional flier art. Even then your art had a very distinct style, one that you’ve obviously elaborated on and honed over the years. Did the music come before the art, or the other way around? When did you think, oh shit, I’m an artist? Or have you even ever thought of yourself that way?
I don’t think of myself as some great important artist, but I’ve come to realize that it is what I am meant to do, and will be my life’s work. I’ve always made art, pretty much my whole life. It was very encouraged when I was a kid. I didn’t start playing music until I was 17, so the art definitely came first. But, I guess I really didn’t think, “Oh shit, I’m an artist,” until Bollman asked me to paint one of the window boards at Lost Cross. That was probably around 2002 — he made these boards to fit in the windows when there were shows, so that “the pigs” couldn’t see or hear all the fun we were having. I had never really painted anything that wasn’t on cardboard or paper at that point, and had never really sold anything, or shown work, or any of that stuff. He just knew that I was into drawing from fliers. The board turned out great, and I realized I could paint with cheap paint on cheap plywood, with three or four colors straight out of the tube, and make a surprisingly effective image. I had an art show at a coffee shop about a year later and started selling paintings. I’ve pretty much been doing the same thing ever since.

You’ve been using a lot of the same motifs in your art over the years, almost in phases. I remember a lot of babies and variations on the Old Style logo; now there seems to be a lot of eyes and text, and of course the obvious self-portrait style references. How did these different motifs develop? Have the changes been conscious?
Most of the themes or repeated images just came out of unconscious scribbling in my sketchbook. Then, looking back afterward, I could pick some images from those scribbles and use them in bigger paintings. Over the years I’ve come to realize that once I start thinking about something too much, or at all really, it ruins the whole thing. This goes for songs as well as paintings. Recently, I’ve embraced the idea of “effortless action,” just clearing my head and letting things happen without thinking about them. I just decide to make a song or a painting, get an initial idea, start working, and follow through. I like to get things done all in one day, never stopping to second guess myself. I work much better that way. You can learn a lot about yourself by going back and looking at what you unconsciously created.

As for text, I always grew up around American folk art. My grandparents liked to drive around and visit these weird self-taught artists all through the ’90s. They collected works from a bunch of different people — Howard Finster and Dow Pugh are two of my favorites. A lot of these pieces have strange messages on them, sometimes covering the entire piece. This was a big influence on my work. I can relate to these people because I have no real training but feel compelled to make things always. I consider myself to be a folk artist. Maybe “neo-folk” artist, ha ha.


As much as some people like to pretend it’s not true or that it’s total bullshit, punk and art have always gone hand-in-hand. Before punk became a lifestyle, it was an aesthetic. How much influence did punk art have on you and your own art? Were there any album covers, or even stuff like t-shirt designs that blew you away when you were younger?
I’ve always been a sucker for the shocking images from Black Flag and Dead Kennedys album covers — Pettibon and Winston Smith. I like it that they even freak out punks as well as squares. I mean, a cop with a gun in his mouth that says, “Make me cum, faggot”? Amazing. I like it when people try to be offensive and shocking; it makes me laugh. I like art to be ridiculous, mine included. Unfortunately, it’s hard to sell a painting of a naked kid trying to sell the freshly severed head of a naked man to another naked man. When did penises become offensive anyway? People even seem offended by breasts lately, or nudity of any kind — what the fuck? Squares everywhere, even in punk.

I mostly use nude figures in my paintings, because I feel like adding clothing adds unwanted stigma… Positioning the limbs to cover the “privates” seems really fucking lame to me, so I just put the dick in there, ya know, where the dick goes. That’s how I found out that the whole world hates penises.

Considering you are, in fact, the resident artist in all the bands you’ve been in, why is it that you’ve only done three record covers — The Copyrights’ Make Sound LP and the Dear Landlord/Chinese Telephones split 7” in 2007, and The Copyrights Learn the Hard Way LP in 2008, which was old art recycled for the cover. Have you done any shirt or sticker or miscellaneous other art for any of your bands?
I guess it’s because I never felt like I could just do whatever I wanted. All of the input and criticism from band members bummed me out and blocked me up. Also, I’m just not that good at graphic design stuff. I’ve had several t-shirt designs that I did that flopped because, frankly, they totally sucked. I think my “do it without thinking” philosophy doesn’t work for that kind of shit. Lately I’ve gotten into drawing electronically, on my tablet thing; that might make for some cool designs. I do all of the t-shirts and record layouts for The Heat Tape. I feel like I can do whatever I want with that band.

When Chinese Telephones and Dear Landlord went on tour together back in 2007, it was the first time I ever saw you selling non-band related art at shows. It was screen-printed self-portraits on large pieces of wood with different colorings and text painted over the repeated design. No band name, or logo, just pieces of art. You were selling them at totally affordable prices too, something like $20. Was this the first time you tried selling your art on a tour? And what made you think of doing that?
I did that once before, on the same kinds of boards, all the same size but different images on each one. It was for a tour with Groovie Ghoulies. I guess Kepi Ghoulie gave me the idea to sell art on tour. I was in a crazy hurry to get a bunch of pieces together before tour, and it took forever. I decided to make it easier the next time by including a screen-printed outline and minimal painting. This also made it easier for me to let them go for a minimal price. I sold a handful, probably gave more away. It was great to get 20 bucks in my pocket every couple of days. I remember Lauren from The Measure (SA) bought one, which was flattering. I haven’t brought art with me on tour since then, really. It was always awkward trying to fit my stuff with the band merch, and I felt like everyone just found it annoying. It took up space in the van and I was always freaking out about everybody else fucking them up. I recall roadie extraordinaire Lew Houston drunkenly cramming a stack of my paintings in the van as if he were stuffing pizza boxes in a trash can. He apologized in the morning.


I know that you’re not the first weirdo artist in your family. I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your grandfather and his art and how that has influenced you. What has your family thought about the stuff you do? I’m curious as to what a parent’s reaction to a near life-size self portrait of their son with a droopy eye and a hammer dick would be. Read the rest of this entry »

Create to Destroy! Thrillhouse Records

October 31st, 2013 by

My first San Francisco show was at Thrillhouse Records in early 2011. I went with the fabulous Martin and then-MRR coordinators Layla and Mariam. The place was magic from first sight—a record store front and a show space in the back. They also do shows in the basement! The place instantly feels like home and has that gritty DIY punk spirit oozing from the walls. I talked to Fred to get an update on our favorite local, all-ages San Francisco record store/sometimes show space…


When did Thrillhouse happen?
Well, I guess that depends on what you mean by “happen.” We found the building in August of 2006. It was a complete wreck—super gross and moldy, the electricity was fucked, broken pipes, you name it. We bartered with the landlord to give us two months’ rent for free so we could fix the place up into a livable condition. He was very firm on renting the place out “as is” (i.e., he didn’t want to lift a finger). After a month and a half we fixed most of the problems and built rooms in the place. At that point we moved in, and started to get to work on opening the record store, which opened in January of 2007. Then we went to work fixing up the basement and started throwing shows there around March of 2007.

How long did you talk about it before it became a reality?
Actually not all that long. In the fall of 2005 I started my masters program for History at San Francisco State University. Up until then, my plan had always been to go as far as possible in school. I had been talking about PhD programs with my professors. My ambition was to teach on the college level and write (but I was gonna publish a lot of my stuff in zine form, thought that would be really cool). Anyway during my second semester I got really burnt out. The workload was insane, I couldn’t catch up, I was constantly stressed to the limit. And in addition to all of that, school was basically forcing me to drop out of punk. I didn’t have time to go to shows, find new records, or even read an issue of MRR (oh, the horror). I felt like I either needed to drop out of school, or make peace with dropping out of punk. Be a punk or be an academic. I choose to be a punk. But, I told myself that if I was going to drop out of school that I need to actually do something big. Make it worth it. I was already in crazy workaholic mode. So when the idea of Thrillhouse came to me, I started working on it right away. About six months later I was signing a lease.

Thrillhouse punx!

Thrillhouse punx!

Where did the name come from?
Okay, yes, it is a Simpsons reference, but here’s why…  I really wanted the name to have the word “house” in it because, in addition to being a record store or whatever, it was my home. It was the house me and my friends lived in. So there were some ideas like “Flophouse Records” or “Madhouse Records”—shit like that. But while watching a Simpsons episode, there was a scene where Milhouse called himself “Thrillhouse.” I suggested it as a joke to my friends and they all thought it was cool. And what really won me over about the name was that it was extremely original. One-of-a-kind kinda names. There’s a million places called “the Babylon” or “the Fort,” but nobody calls anything “Thrillhouse.”

All these rich people are flooding our town. All the degenerates are getting priced out, but at least we’re still here keeping things dirty and gross, keeping San Francisco a place that’s still punk.

Can you explain how Thrillhouse works?
Basically it’s an all volunteer, not-for-profit record store. It’s open every day from noon to 8 p.m. It’s mostly punk, but with some other stuff that falls into punk’s orbit. Like we carry STOOGES records and VELVET UNDERGROUND, shit like that. We have a lot of used records that are a long ways away from punk, but we focus all our new music buying to mostly punk records. For the longest time we were just trying to get ourselves out of debt. It was a slow road, so all our money went into that and fixing up things around the store, the house and the show space. Not to mention buying more and more records. So the whole “not-for-profit” thing was almost like a joke, cause it was like, “What profit?” But now we’re actually there, and it’s getting time to decide what we’ll do with the profit. Probably try to expand our operations, put out more records, build a community screen-printing workshop in the basement, stuff like that. Maybe even get a pinball machine for the shop. I don’t know what we’ll do…

You mean, no one is paid?
Nope, no one. Not me, not nobody. All the money that comes in is reinvested into making the space better. Maybe putting out some records, and other cool stuff for the community. Sometimes I think I’m an idiot for having poured in hundreds or even thousands of hours into a project that hasn’t given me a penny in return, but when I sit back and think about it, I’m real glad I’ve done it. ‘Cause in the past seven years since we’ve opened, San Francisco has gone through an enormous change. All these rich people are flooding our town, and the old dirty spots are closing and being replaced with these clean, slick, posh boutiques and restaurants. All the degenerates are getting priced out of town and moving to Oakland and elsewhere. San Francisco is becoming a different place. But at least we’re still here keeping things dirty and gross—a stain on the city—and having a spot the degenerates feel welcome in, keeping San Francisco a place that’s still punk.


Who has volunteered the longest?
Aside from myself, that would be Wade Driver. He’s held down his Tuesday shift from almost the beginning. I think he started working that shift only a few months after we first opened. He’s an awesome dude. Plays in the band APOGEE SOUND CLUB right now but in the past he’s played in 50 MILLION, THE HICKOIDS, CORDUROY, J CHURCH, THE REACTION, OFF THE PIGS…the list goes on, too many to name.

How do you volunteer?
Just talk to me. A lot of people will just walk in and ask about volunteering, or they’ll see me at a show and mention they wanna grab a shift. Others can email us — our email address is on our website at thrillhouserecords.com. We don’t do Facebook or anything.

How can you afford to keep your record prices so fair?
That’s just from being an all volunteer spot. There’s no one at the end of the line trying to make a buck off this place. So because of that we look at our pricing and think, “What’s the least we can charge for this and be okay?” Whereas most businesses would instead think, “What’s the most I can charge for this and still be okay?” It’s just a different mentality and because of that our prices are waaaaaay cheaper than any other record store in Bay Area or elsewhere.

Has Thrillhouse changed as the demographics of San Francisco change?
Thrillhouse hasn’t changed but the city has definitely changed around us. Like I said before, everything is richer and cleaner. I guess we may have gotten dirtier. Perhaps smellier.

Do you still do monthly shows?
No, not at the moment. We’re taking a break. When we first started we did weekly shows, and it was awesome, but a really draining, physically and psychologically. After a bit, we got some attention from the police so we cooled it off and started doing monthly shows. About two months ago we were contacted by the San Francisco Entertainment Commission saying we didn’t have the proper permits to have live shows, so we’re taking some time off and trying to figure out our next step. But to be honest I don’t mind taking off just a little bit of time. I’ve been cleaning up random puke and dealing with passed out strangers for the last seven years. It’s okay to take a few months off and let other folks deal with that for a minute.

What was the last show at Thrillhouse?
SOURPATCH, KITTEN FOREVER and CRABAPPLE played last July. Haven’t had one since.

What was the first show at Thrillhouse?
Well, it turned out to be HEY GIRL, LES INCOMPETENTS, FENCE FIGHTER and CHIN UP MERIWETHER, but it was supposed to be SEX VID. Everything was all set for the show, but then on the morning of the show, I went downstairs only to find the entire basement flooded in sewage. Our sewage pipe broke and every time someone flushed the toilet, it sent all the mess onto our basement floor. I spent the entire day with a plumber figuring out how to drain the basement, fixing the pipe and then cleaning the place up. I think we bought about ten gallons of bleach and poured it over every inch down there. That night while all my friends were rocking out to SEX VID at some house in the Mission, I was picking up human turds with a shovel. Definitely one of the grossest day of my life.


What percentage of door money goes to the bands who play?
All of it. Every penny goes to the bands. And since we don’t turn anybody away for lack of funds, there are generally a lot of pennies at the bottom of our money box. Our policy has always been that every show is “pay what you can” with $5 as the suggested price. But we’re also not over idealistic (stupid) about the reality. We all know there’s always gonna be a pile of oogles at every show who pretend like they don’t have any money, even though they are walking in with a 12 pack. Generally, when I’ve worked door I’ll say, “Okay, I totally believe you don’t have any money, but if you wanna just open up your wallet and show me that there’s no money in there, I’ll let you in for free.” Nine out of ten times they’ll change their story and say, “Well, I do have money, but I need it for other stuff,” etc., etc. It’ll take some talking, but you can usually get some dollars from them for the band. Although when we have a band from overseas I’ll take a more extreme approach. In that case the show will either cost (a) $5 or (b) a lock of your hair. And I’ll sit at the door with a pair of scissors and I’ll say, “Oh, you don’t have any money for the band from Japan? That’s totally cool..lemme just take a chunk out of your hair and we’ll be square.” Almost every time they’ll somehow come up with $5. But there’s definitely been plenty of crusty kids who are totally okay loosing some hair to get in for free. Only once did a skinhead show up to one of these shows claiming to be without money. I had to think fast so I said, “Okay it $5 or…uh…a sleeve off your shirt!”

Any future plans?
Yeah, we’re gonna release another By Any Means comp tape. We did one for 2013 and planning another for 2014. The idea behind the tape is to make a comp tape of Bay Area bands who are active and doing cool stuff right now. So if someone from out of town (or whatever) is curious about what’s going on in the Bay right now, they can check out the tape and have a pretty good idea. But there’s also this thing where the Bay Area punk scene is massive. There’s so many punks, so many bands, and so many different scenes out here, that you won’t even know about great bands that are outside of your scene. Like, you’ll have heard the band name, but not know what they sound like. So for this tape, we try to collect a lot of different bands from different scenes, and put ‘em all together.

Aside from that, we’re trying to put together a screen printing workshop in the basement that will be free and available to everyone, with help available to first time users. The idea being that we can have a place where bands can come in and make shirts or posters or whatever. But really anyone that has any kind of project is more than welcome. We have also been talking with Lydia over at MRR about having punk movie nights on the regular. There’s a few records we might be putting out, and there’s a bunch of other stuff we have down the pipes, but it’s still just in the “talking about it” phase.

How can we help support Thrillhouse?
Just by coming in and hanging out. Stop by when your band is in town or whatever. And if you don’t live in the Bay Area, and you’re not planning on visiting any time soon, maybe just spraypaint “Thrillhouse Rules” somewhere in your town. Bathrooms and sides of buildings are great, but pretty much any flat surface will do.

Go visit Thrillhouse Record at 3422 Mission Street in San Francisco… Keeping SF punk!

Video of the Week: Last Fast Ride

October 11th, 2013 by

San Francisco’s public TV station KQED recently aired Last Fast Ride: The Life, Love and Death of a Punk Goddess, the 2011 documentary about Insaints singer Marian Anderson, and they are making it available to watch online for a limited time — through November 5 only! Watch it here, and read Rotten Ron’s 2011 write-up of the film below.


If you’re not from the Bay Area you may or may not remember Marian Anderson. She was the super outrageous and controversial singer of THE INSAINTS in the ’90s. She almost got Gilman shut down for sticking a banana in her vajayjay and other sordid sexual acts when the douchebag ex-drummer of the DKs called the man. She also had a torrid relationship with Tim Yo, who she loved dearly till the end. I just know her as one of my few bestest friends and I loved her dearly. One ex-girlfriend even used to refer to her as my mom. I was in a band with her and lived with her when I moved to Hollywood, taking me in when I had no place to go. Anyway, the movie is fantastic. Along with fellow Marian pal Nick, we drove all night to make the film’s premier at Sundance, resulting in us getting pulled over and detained for two hours while drug sniffin’ dogs were sicked on our ripped apart rental car. She would have loved it. Fuck the pigs! Great and heartfelt interviews with Tim Yo(!), Lint, Daniel from the Insaints, the dude from the Offspring, and love of her life Danielle Bernal, along with all of her friends. Narrated by Henry Rollins!?! I cried my guts out and so will you. A woman who rose from sexual and physical abuse, who wasn’t bitter but loving and protective as hell to those lucky enough to call her their friend. Don’t miss it.

MRR Radio #1348.5 • 5/16/13

May 16th, 2013 by

MRR Radio is a weekly radio show featuring the best DIY punk, garage rock and hardcore from the astounding, ever-growing Maximum Rocknroll record collection. You can find the MRR Radio podcast, as well as specials, archives, and more info at radio.maximumrocknroll.com. Thanks for listening, and stay tuned!

THIS EPISODE: Brooks Headley came to town on a Bobby Soxx pilgrimage and demanded to do the radio show with Layla, so here’s a bonus mid-week episode of MRR Radio!


Intro song:
KAOS – Satovi Bez Kazaljke

Bobby Soxx with friend

Brooks keeps givin’ you the fear
DEEP WOUND – Time to Stand
FEAR – Now Your (sic) Dead
WHITE CROSS – Pink Flamingo
BLITZ – New Age
BIKINI KILL – Carnival

Layla picked selectively and randomly, here are the results!
CONSUMERS – Existential Baby
A.D.’S – Living Downtown

Brooks demonstrates the depth of Texas
DICKS – Pigs Run Wild
MYDOLLS – Soldiers of a Pure War
BOBBY SOXX – Scavenger of Death
FOAMS – Paint Me
TEENAGE QUEERS – Christian Rat Attack

Layla provides some instruction on falling apart violently
MD – Existience Sie Nicht
THE MEDIA – Getting High
MECANO LTD – Face to Face

Outro songs:
NIHILISTS – Combat Stance / Murderers in Blue

Top Tens from MRR #360 • May 2013

May 9th, 2013 by

Every month (ha!) we post our reviewers’ monthly top tens from the previous issue of Maximum Rocknroll. This one’s from MRR #360, May 2013.

Mariam Bastani

Mariam Bastani

Will Blomquist

Will Blomquist
V/A-Not So Quiet on the Western Front-2xLP
V/A-Land of Nod-LP
V/A-You Can’t Kill Me, I’m Already Dead-LP

Mitch Cardwell

Mitch Cardwell
EGO SUMMIT-The Room Isn’t Big Enough-LP
BLACK AND WHITE-We Like Noise/No Reply-45
VILLAGE PISTOLS-Big Money/Strawberry Fields Forever-45
FRIENDS OF DOROTHY-To Perverted for Sex-EP
V/A-Land of Nod-LP
BUREAUCRATS-Feel the Pain/Grown Up Age-45
POINTED STICKS-What Do You Want Me to Do?-45

Robert Collins

Robert Collins

Layla G

Layla Gibbon
HARD SKIN-Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear-CD
EXCON-Bronzer EP
AVON LADIES-Combat Shaman-EP
BLACK AND WHITE-We Like Noise/No Reply-45
EGO SUMMIT-The Room Isn’t Big Enough-LP
GLAM-Veneno en Sus Flechas-12″
RED HEX-Shoulda Known/Down in the Dirt-45

Dan Goetz

Dan Goetz
V/A-Not So Quiet on the Western Front-2xLP
V/A-Land of Nod-LP / VILLAGE PISTOL-45
MINDSET-Leave No Doubt-LP

Greg Harvester

Greg Harvester
PURPLE 7-12″
AUTONOMY-Altar of Apathy/Grave Realities-45
AUTONOMY-The Art of Work in the Age of Digital Reproduction-LP
PEEPLE WATCHIN’-Somethin’ ta Tell Ya-12″
1981-Faster and Forward-EP

Kenny Kaos
UNRELEASABLES-I Hate My Nazi Girlfriend-EP
NEON BONE-Quits the Band-EP
BLACK AND WHITE-We Like Noise/No Reply-45
THE FOUR SLICKS-Four on the Floor-LP
THE BAD DOCTORS-Spit It Out/Twilight of the Idols-45
BUREAUCRATS-Feel the Pain/Grown Up Age-45

Carolyn Keddy
RED HEX-Shoulda Known/Down in the Dirt-45
THE KICK-LP + 45 / VACATION-Candy Waves-EP
WALLRIDES-Cops Are Pigs/Hopeless Situation-45
CATHEDRAL GHOST-Shake It Out/Time Passes…-45
BLACK AND WHITE-We Like Noise/No Reply-45
BOY-I’m Weird-EP
THE FOUR SLICKS-Four on the Floor-LP
POINTED STICKS-What Do You Want Me to Do?-45

Sam Lefebvre

Sam Lefebvre
EGO SUMMIT-The Room Isn’t Big Enough-LP
1981-Faster and Forward-EP
RED HEX-Shoulda Known/Down in the Dirt-45
ZRU VOGUE-Nakweda Dream/Cumulonimbus-45
AVON LADIES-Combat Shaman-EP

Ray Lujan
TESTORS-Together/Time Is Mine-45
VERONICA FALLS-live / CH3-live

Kevin Manion
(for real this time!)

Kevin Manion
AVON LADIES-Combat Shaman-EP
DOUBLE NEGATIVE-Hardcore Confusion-EP
EGO SUMMIT-The Room Isn’t Big Enough-LP


GLAM-Veneno en Sus Flechas-12″
EX-HUMANS-Anofeli Epiviosi-LP
AUTONOMY-Altar of Apathy/Grave Realities-45
AVON LADIES-Combat Shaman-EP
ZRU VOGUE-Nakweda Dream/Cumulonimbus-45

Fred Schrunk

Fred Schrunk
TESTORS-Time Is Mine/Together-45
PENETRATORS-Teenage Lifestyle/Rock ‘n’ Roll Face-45
FILTHY GAZE OF EUROPE-Domestic Accidents/On Fire-45
BIZARROS-Complete Collection 1976-1980-2xLP
FUTURO-Sair de Mim-EP

DefiantPoseZineTop Ten Zines
Black Pelican Photo Issue #1
I Am What I Am #1
Defiant Pose, Flyers Edition
Punk Flyers #3
City Invaded by Rats #5
Raw Damage #1
A Hole in the Rubber
Positive Creed #17
Manufactured Wars
PHL 2012