July 29, 2010

The Batusis

When you've been around for as long as Cheetah Chrome and Sylvain Sylvain, people often forget that you can still kick ass playing that Rawk And Roll. The ex Dead Boy and the ex New York Doll have combined forces to roll out The Batusis - a band that shows they've still got a long way until they're gonna hang up the guitars.
Depending on how into the old Batman TV show will gauge if you recognize the name reference- The Batusi was the dance that the drugged up Dark Knight (well, he wasn't so dark back in the technicolor 60's) performed on an episode.

Their new self-titled ep features four songs and is a must have for any fans of the old school en why cee sound. Two instrumentals bookend the disc: "Blues Theme" (the old Davie Allen & The Arrows classic from the biker flick "Wild Angels"), and "Big Cat Stomp" (which could be for a future sequel!). Both tunes are fuzzy and nasty, like a tarantula crawlin' on some strippers teat. "What You Lack In Brains" is certainly NYC era 1975, with Sylvain taken the lead vox (even a little NY Dolls-ish "whistle"). And Cheetah takes a star turn with "Bury You Alive" - gnarly toonage and mean old lyrics for sure.

I got to see the band ( with Sean Koos (ex-Blackhearts) on bass and Lez Warner (of the Cult) on drums) in Brooklyn (aka Satan's areshole) last week and they did not disappoint. Playing the ep songs live brought a new dimension to them. Additionally, classics from the Dolls (Trash), the Dead Boys (Sonic Reducer), Johnny Thunders (I Wanna Be Loved), the Velvet Underground (Femme Fatale) and some other nuggets helped round out the set.

Bottom line - ass kicking punk rock and proof again it is not better to burn out OR fade away.

July 26, 2010

The Importance Of Being RUSH

Ever notice, nobody really talks shit about RUSH. Most big bands have their haters, and in the circles I sometimes travel in, anything non Punk is looked at askance. However... NO ONE TALKS SHIT ABOUT RUSH!
I think it's because at the end of the day, they've never really done anything to piss anyone off. They are apparently very cool guys who are not adverse to poking fun at themselves. Their epic rendition of "Take Off" with Second City TV's "Bob and Doug". Their embracing of all things South Park. The whole "bro-love" thang in "I Love You Man". Their goofy videos during their concerts.
Plus... THEY FUCKING ROCK. Man do they FUCKING ROCK! Even back when Geddy Lee was screwing around with synths in the 80's, they still FUCKING ROCKED.

OK, ya got - 2112, "The Spirit Of Radio", "Tom Sawyer", "Free fucking Will". Geddy Lee- FENDER BASS. Neil Peart - MANY DRUMS (and the second coolest mustache in rock history (firs place is Greg Norton of Husker Du). Alex Lifeson - GUITAR. In fact, how many bands can you think of where the guitar player is the least known/popular guy in the band?????
Aside from the uber awesome "Behind The Lighted Stage" DVD that was recently released as a history of Rush, they are also releasing 2112 as a Rock Band or Guitar Hero or whatever those fake music making games are called. So, all the little kids are a-gonna start digging Rush. And of course, when they become teenagers, they will never get laid. Oh well, a small price for THEM to pay!

I saw Rush Saturday on a beautiful night at an amphitheater on Long Island. A full moon sat over the stage, shining over the Atlantic Ocean. It was a totally sold out show (14,000 freaks) plus standing room tickets were sold for $175!!! In these days of no band able to sell out- I give you Rush. We got very lucky as we got to the venue with no tickets and there were dozens of people looking and no one selling extras. We figured, worst case scenario, we would just party in the parking lot and listen to the music (as it's an open air facility). Right as Rush was taking the stage, we got lucky and got tickets for under face value ($40!!!!) in row 85 million. 
However, we were dead center and despite our high altitude seats (and consciousness), were able to see and hear everything perfectly. The soundfield at the venue tends to punish those to either the far left or right, as it is an open air amphitheater. No worries for us. The sound was so clear and bottom heavy that every time Geddy made a run, or Peart was pounding the drums, it felt like my chest was going to explode.
The premise was a "Time Machine", with some really funny videos interconnecting the show. The first set started with "Spirit Of Radio" and then featured mostly newer tracks (post 1985) except for "Subdivisions" and the Ayn Rand anthem "Freewill".

The second set opened with the full album performance of "Moving Pictures"- for those non Rush folks... that's the stuff that's always on the radio (Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Red Barchetta etc). Than some "2112" , "La Villa Strangiato", and a reggae-ish (yes- Rush playing reggae!) "Working Man". Oh yeah, "Closer To The Heart" was also played (I guess for the 7 girls in attendance!)

Three hours of solid performance, tightly played and, for three 50 something guys, I couldn't imaging people half their age playing tighter, louder or better. As I watched the show, I remember thinking how lucky we were to find tickets, but even more so, how lucky we were to even have Rush still kicking out the jams.

And to those of you who aren't convinced... go eat a bag of donkey dicks.

July 22, 2010

Get In The Van

Rereading Get In The Van; Henry Rollins diary of his days with Black Flag. It's highly recommended to all you kids who romanticize the first wave of d.i.y. hardcore/punk.

Sure, American Punk can be traced back to the Stooges and of course the late 70's NYC scene. But those bands largely had record company support.

The early 80's bands like Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks (on the left coast), Reagan Youth, Kraut, Minor Threat (right coast) and the Necros, Effigies, Big Boys (flyover states) didn't have the largesse of corporations to fund their records and tours. Most of em were on indy labels run by the bands themselves.
And life was bitch tough, both on the road and at home.

Rollins' book is chock full of self loathing, hatred towards cops and BF's fans and audience (many times they were subject to abuse from their crowd) and frustration. His book reads like a horror story, as each night brings more aggravation, pain and struggles.

I was around back than, and can certainly empathize with BF's troubles. "Back in the day", ya young whippersnappers, we used to get shit from teachers, cops and our parents for being into the scene. I remember one of my dickhead English teachers in High School threatening to fail me because I was wearing a Ramones shirt. It wasn't all Hot Topic and Warped Tours back then. And the shows were violent. This whole crowd surfing/moshing ritual that happens at any alt-show got it's start back then, and it was more like a riot than a dance. One time at a Minor Threat show I stage dove and knocked myself out. Rollins was actually one of the people carrying me off the floor when I regained conciousness.

At no point in Get In The Van do you ever get the feeling that Rollins was having any fun at all. Their tours in Europe were particularly harsh with no money, no place to stay, bitter cold and ultra violence.

It certainly didn't help that Black Flag were the most relentless, aggro-musically inclined mutha's out there. And Henry, leading the band with that feral look in his eyes and bare chest was like adding gasoline to the fire. I was at several shows in the NY area and there were ALWAYS fights. Additionally, Henry was the fourth lead singer in BF's history and the band was leaving Punk Rock behind and playing more and more sludge core. Between the new direction in music and being labeled as sell-outs, it's amazing they weren't killed.

I had several occasions to interview and also informally talk to Henry back in those days. Despite his "don't fuck with me" swagger, I always found him to be extremely gracious and thoughtful. In fact all the guys in Black Flag were pretty cool (though Greg Ginn was a little insular). One of my fondest memories was my dad telling me that someone named Chuck Dukowski was on the phone for me.

Anyway, if you haven't read it yet; Get In The Van is a great read tht will gove you a real understanding of your Punk Forefathers. And if you have read it, take your copy and smack some little nuevo-punk upside the head with it.

July 20, 2010

10 Percenters ~~!~~

Here's a great picture courtesy of my pal Jon. It shows a stupid moron wasting their time protesting affairs that are none of their business. And a very wise person to their right. For those of my readers that are not puh-ree-va-ledged to live here in the land of "freedom"; it might seem bizarre (if not completely appalling) that people are wasting their time with anti-gay sentiment. I mean, Argentina just legalized it! It's legal in Iceland for chrissakes (and they have an awful lot to answer for considering they exported Bjork). Yeah, we have a handful of states where it's legal as a "union", but as far as I'm concerned; anyone who wants to be married to another person should be allowed to. After all, marriage is an institution, and anyone crazy enough to wanna be married belongs in an institution anyway!

Hey... why isn't our fearless leader just taking charge of this already? It's not like he's going to win over the great unwashed anyway?

You would think that with the real problems we have in this country (ie: a complete environmental holocaust, a war, a recession, Justin Bieber), that people would have better things to do than try to tell other people where and how to get off. I know people who know people who know people who know Jesus. And Jesus ain't amused by this "hate thy neighbor" shit.

July 18, 2010

I've Got The Straight Edge

The new job is no longer so new- almost 4 months. The results? Learning the ropes, closing in on some deals (lord willing) and less stress. Much less stress. The negs: My ass is getting fatter from sitting on it all day, I haven't been to the gym in forever, and my vices are getting much much vicier.

Well, what's a poor middle class family provider to do? It's time to get straight. Time to hit the gym every day and have the term 4:20 only refer to the time of day. I must have put on 15 lbs in the last few months and I am not pleased. Nor am I pleased by the cough I am developing and the sore throat.

It's fun to have an addictive personality... it's even more fun when you can channel it into positive results. When I was on the dole, I was hitting the gym for two hours each day. I was running 4 miles and banging the weights big time. I had all the time in the world of course. That is, when I wasn't looking for a job (and as Saint Westerburg sez: "The hardest job is finding one").

It's time to get right again. Yecch.

July 14, 2010

Words Of Wisdom

"At least I'm fuckin' trying
What the fuck have you done?

i. mackaye/minor threat

"You know the man you hate?
you look more like him every day

p. farrell/janes addiction

"Stop wasting your time, there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you"

j. strummer/the clash

"I hate music
It's got too many notes"

p. westerberg/the replacements

July 9, 2010

Bands I Just Don't Get

Your old pal Nazz has never been one to swim downstream with the other fish. However, sometimes I find myself swimming upstream.

Here are some bands that I just cannot get into. I am not posting anything from any of em for obvious reasons. However, just for shits and giggles, if you click on each band name, you'll get routed to a "surprise" video.

Radiohead - I will grant that "Creep" and "Paranoid Android" are classics. And the whole "pay what you want" thing was cool. However, the mass adulation that these fey imitations of early 70's Pink Floyd escapes me. I find myself completely bored by the wan, precious toonage. Is there a drug that I am not aware of that makes these guys interesting? And Thom Yorke's solo stuff leaves me cold. Crack a smile every now and then, guys. It might help.

The Hold Steady - America's critical darlings? The music is rather rocking, but Craig Finn's vocals completely run roughshod over the backing instrumentation. This band reminds me of going to a bar and having some asshole next to you singing the wrong lyrics out of key. And not in a good way either. The only explanation I can think of is the old line about Elvis Costello: "critics like him because critics look like him".

Pavement - Feh. Slacker music. These guys are just too smug and pleased with themselves. I listen to these guys and the energy just drains out of me. I guess I just don't dig that lo-fi stuff.

The Pixies - Agreed, they have a few good songs ("Tony's Theme", "Debaser", "Wave Of Mutilation" come to mind). But the blind adulation that The Pixies have received for that "soft-hard-soft" approach is baffling to me.

Genesis - Didn't like em with Gabriel. Despise them when Collins fronted the band. Prog rock turns into Top 40 mush.

and here is something to mess your minds up completely!!!!!!!!!!

July 7, 2010


madness is sanity,
ignorance is intelligence,
lies are trust,
to obey is to be free

July 1, 2010

Skag Heaven

Hey kats and kittenz, my band is playing in Satan's own arsehole tommorow (aka Brooklyn, NY USA). Yep, the mighty Caterwaul Of Sound will be doing what we do best... drinking; oh yeah... and playing GONZO GARAGE RAWK. With an open bar for the hour preceding us going on stage!!!!!! That is the recipe for trouble. As is Missus Nomad accompanying me and apparently some ex girlfriends from my college years might be in attendence. Hmmm... women, alcohol and emotions - THAT'S a recipe for trouble! Or Rock n Roll!
And, as an added bonus, your humble host will be opening the show (despite protests from the rest of the band) with a bass only rendition of the overture to Rush 2112 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey- I had a request for Squirrel Bait... so here is SKAG HEAVEN. For those of you who don't know who Squirrel Bait is- I would describe them as Motorhead sounding pre-pubescents from America's heartland (aka Kentucky). Some of em later developed into SLINT - math rock. Hmm....

Davey and I saw them way back 'round '86 or so. We were expecting some Nazareth/St. Vitus looking satanic mofo's and instead 5 fresh faced teens take the stage and melt everyone's ears. At one point I pissed off the guitar player by yelling out (in homage to Jerry Garcia) "the fat kid rocks". He gives me the old stink-eye and goes, "so I'm the fat kid, huh?". Then of course they went back to rocking.

Have a bitchin' holiday weekend!