Thursday, May 28, 2020

Members of The Darkness, The Donnas, Flogging Molly, Gogol Bordello, My Chemical Romance Quicksand & More Join Forces for COVID-19 Relief Single As #ROCKFORHOPEPROJECT

By now, we're all gotten mildly "used to" social distancing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE,) missing out on birthdays, anniversaries, and everyday life milestones we all take for granted, nearly everything being indefinitely cancelled, cabin fever, etc. It's all become strangely "normal" and abnormal all at once, but we're all doing our part each and every day to beat this thing... even celebrities. We're sure you've seen a number of televised remotely-recorded concerts to help raise funds for our frontline workers. Most of these have been great, but some have been pretty cringe-worthy and seem a bit phoned-in, as if they feel required to do/say something during these trying times. Case in point: back in March, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot and he famous friends' oft-parodied rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine." Eric Slick (Dr. Dog) even recruited some Indie Rock/Hip-Hop buddies to cover a similarly-minded tongue-in-cheek rendition of blink-182's "Miss You" and Colin Young (NUDIE MAG) enlisted a bunch of his Hardcore/Punk friends to record a cover of Smash Mouth's "All Star." Well, we promise, if you've managed to reach this far... this modern day celebrity charity single is well worth your time! Last week, Gogol Bordell guitarist/Hey Guy frontman Boris Pelekh released a single, with a bunch of Punk/Indie Rock friends in toe, credited to #rockforhopeproject or simply, ROCK FOR HOPE.

Pelekh and his band of merry misfits have have assembled a remotely-recorded cover of "I Believe In Miracles" from The Ramones' 1989 album, Brain Drain. ROCK FOR HOPE consists of charity organizer, producer, film editor, and sound mixer/guitarist Boris Pelekh, vocalists Justin Hawkins (The Darkness,) Frank Turner (Möngöl Hörde, Million Dead,) Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today,) Eugene Hütz (Gogol Bordello,) Tom Higgenson (Plain White T's, Million Miler,) and Brett Anderson (The Donnas,) drummer Michael Miley (Rival Sons,) guitarist Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance, Frank Iero & The Future Violents,) and bassists Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas (MUTEMATH, Pink Dust,) and Nathen Maxwell (Flogging Molly.) "ROCK FOR HOPE was inspired by my mom, who's in her mid-sixties and a staff nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian [Hospital] in Queens," explains music director and project organizer Boris Pelekh. "Her hospital became a central hotspot of the pandemic in New York City and her unit was re-purposed for COVID-19 patients. The situation was growing more grim by the day, so it became very difficult for me to isolate at home and not try to help somehow. I decided to muster up a bunch of friends from other bands to come together, virtually, and lay down a hopeful and anthemic Punk Rock song."

"Our goal is to raise everyone's spirits and help raise funds for a charitable organization that's on the frontlines fighting for our well-being. I picked one of the most timeless Punk bands from Queens and their song couldn't be a better fit," Pelekh continued. ROCK FOR HOPE have partnered with Partners In Health (PIH,) which is a global health organization restoring social justice by bringing quality health care to the most vulnerable around the world. "PIH is uniquely positioned to respond to COVID-19, leveraging deep experience in treating infectious disease outbreaks and responding to emergency situations around the world. They're launching a comprehensive effort to support this response across its network of supported countries around the world to contain and control the spread of the virus, ensure that patients are provided with dignified care, and demonstrate to the world what aggressive action in vulnerable settings can achieve. More than 88% of all our funding goes directly to our sites.'" LOUDWIRE recently ran a premiere of ROCK FOR HOPE's "I Believe In Miracles" in conjunction with its wide release last week. If you're interested in supporting Partners In health's charitable cause for those affected by COVID-19 can donate, via Boris Pelekh & #rockforhopeproject's recently launched GoFundMe page. ROCK FOR HOPE's "I Believe In Miracles" is now streaming exclusively on YouTube.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #15: Pat Society Curates Rink-rousing Playlist (Violent Society, Battalion Zośka)

Pat Society Pictured with Bernie Parent (Flyers, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Blazers)

Not entirely unlike Wrestle/Wrassle Rap or Basketball Rap, there's, apparently, a whole sub-genre of hockey-themed Punk/Hardcore—oftentimes, referred to as "Puck" Rock or Hockey-core. Yes, I've been a die-hard fan of Punk/Hardcore for 15+ years and I, too, only first heard about Puck Rock within the last few weeks. Although, once I started diggin' around, I discovered about 10-15 bands at the forefront; this was, then, gradually narrowed down to 10 "front-line" bands, which will be chronicled here over the course of coming weeks. The "top-scoring" bands we selected include: Crippled Youth, SLAPSHOT, The Hanson Brothers/Nomeansno, Two Man Advantage, The Boils, D.O.A. THE ZAMBONIS, Pansy Division, The Hextalls, and THE RAMOMS' "Gritty Is A Punk" flexi-disc. We sent out a short 6-question interview form to all of the aforementioned bands, received some back, heard a few choice words, and still have yet to hear from a few more. We'll be running those interviews, as well as features, profiles, etc. in the coming weeks. EDITOR'S NOTE: be warned, while I'm a casual hockey fan, I DO NOT claim to be an "expert" on the sport, nor will I EVER claim to know "everything" about hockey-themed Punk/Hardcore. Now, let's just try to have some fun and learn more about the sub-genre together!

Pat Society is a Philly Punk scene veteran, who has been releasing fast, furious, and politically-driven Punk/Hardcore for 25+ years. Society is/was part of Violent Society, Cranked Up! and Battalion Zośka and works for Creep Records' sister label Violated Records. Additionally, Pat Society has produced records for The Droogettes, The Oppressed side-band Fatal Blow, Infant Mortality, Deceptacons, and his own newly-formed band, Battalion Zośka. The latter's 2019 self-titled debut boasts contributions from Neil "Newts" Newton (Angelic Upstarts,) The Boils' Greg Boyle & Eric Endrikat, and Dez Cadena (Black Flag, The Misfits,) as well as members of both Violent Society & Combat Crisis. Society produced NJ Street Punk band The Parasitix's debut full-length, No End In Sight, due out Friday, July 22, 2020 on Violated Records. Pat Society tells The Witzard he enjoys "hockey, football, soccer, Punk Rock, cooking, travelling, etc." via text message. Although, he's lived in the Philadelphia area his whole life, Pat is, admittedly, a Vancouver Canucks fan, somehow. Pat Society actively plays in two hockey leagues as a defense and a wing and admits he's been a hockey fan since 1981 when he attended his first game. Wayne Gretzky, Pavel Blue, Ron Francis, Sidney Crosby, Trevor Linden, Dale Hawerchuk, Illka Sinosalo, and Pelle Lindbergh all rank amongst Society's favorite players. We reached out to Pat Society after Greg Boyle suggested it and he was kind enough to curate a YouTube playlist full of Hockey Punk favorites and rink-rousing classics exclusively for Guts of The Ice.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor

01. Two Man Advantage - "Skating Down The Ice"

Pat Society: "Two Man Advantage was a band I met when we played with them on Long Island, NY at one of their first gigs. I became great friends with them and they have done a lot of records since then."

02. D.O.A. - "Give 'em The Lumber"

Pat Society: "D.O.A. are the hockey kings and this song is pretty funny; about [smacking] someone over the head with a hockey stick."

03. The Vandals - "Change The World with My Hockey Stick"

04. The Misfits - "I Wanna Be A New York Ranger"

05. Lummox/The Cretin (Dayglo Abortions) - "Hockey Fight"

06. Les Dales Hawerchuk - "Dales Hawerchuk"

07. The Hanson Brothers - "A Night Without You"

Pat Society: "Hanson Brothers took their name from The Hanson Brothers in the hockey movie, Slap Shot."

08. Goldfinger - "Wayne Gretzky"

09. CHIXDIGGIT! - "(I Feel Like) (Gerry) Cheevers (Stitch Marks On My Heart)"

Pat Society: "CHIXDIGGIT! If you remember Cheevers' mask, this song is pretty funny. He used to put stitches on his mask for every time a [puck] hit him in the face."

10. S.N.F.U. - "Cancer Sticks & Hockey Sticks"

Pat Society: "S.N.F.U. used to have a "hockey rivalry" with D.O.A. They would play each other in the old days."

11. The Boils - "Bullies"

Pat Society: "I remember Greg Boil writing these Hockey Punk songs. I was like, "what the Hell are you doing, Greg?" And, then, people ate it up... so much for what I know."

Pat Society Pictured with Stéphane Richer (Devils, Canadiens, Lightning, Blues, Penguins)

12. Violent Society - "Times of Distraught"

13. The Misfits - "This Magic Moment"

Pat Society: "I grew up listening to 50's and 60's [music] from my dad and when this song was recorded by The Misfits, I instantly loved it... the Project 1950 LP is so great for a cover album."

14. Circle Jerks - "Rock House"

Society: "Under-rated Circle Jerks song they will never play..."

15. Battalion Zośka - "80's Kid"

16. 7Seconds - "Happy Rain" (7-inch Version)

Society: "This song was on the Out The Shizzy record... this is a totally different version."

17. Infant Mortality - "Toxic Huff"

Society: "From the deepest bowels of Wilmington, Delaware. The greatest band you never heard. I produced this track with my buddy, Arik Victor."

18. Cranked Up! - "Get Out"

19. Social Unrest - "Good for You"

Society: "Old school Bay Area Hardcore... I love it."

20. The Exploited - "The Massacre"

Society: "From my favorite Exploited album [The Massacre]. I love the drumming on this; brutally fast."

21. Battalion Zośka - "Heather"

22. OFF! - "I Don't Belong"

Society: "Best band in years..."

23. Pidżama Porno - "Twoja generacja"

Society: "Great Polish Punk band [you] should check out."

24.The Sods - "No Pictures"

Society: "Great band from Essex, UK."

25. Violent Society - "Totally F**ked"

Pat Society Pictured with Marcel Dionne (Red Wings, Kings, Rangers)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Japanese Jazz Fusion Trio Nautilus Return with Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" Cover & New Keyboardist (Rucksack Records/The Find Mag)

Nautilus are a Funk/Jazz/Hip-Hop trio hailing from Tokyo, Japan. Their current line-up consists of drummer Toshiyuki "Toshi" Sasaki, bassist Shigeki Umezawa, and keyboardist Mariko Nakabayashi. Nakabayashi joined Nautilus earlier this year when long-time keyboardist Daisuke Takeuchi parted ways with the band. We've previously showcased Nautilus' expertly executed covers of the Beastie Boys' "Root Down," "Tears," a dual cover of both DJ Shadow's "Organ Donor" & Giorgio Moroder's "Tears," The Stylistics' "People Make The World Go Round," and De La Soul's "A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays" now re-titled "Rollerskating Jam Named "Sundays,'" which incorporates elements of The U.M.C.'s "One to Grow On." Primarily instrumental-based and released on limited-run 7-inches, when necessary, Nautilus have recruited additional musicians/vocalists to provide additional embellishments across their covers.

For example, "Root Down" features German vocalist Fleur Earth and the B-side of "Rollerskating Jam Named "Sundays'" features a remix from German producer glueset, as well as rhymes from Canadian emcee Abdominal and additional embellishments from Japanese songstress Kei Owada. Additionally, Nautilus have previously covered Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner," Gil Scott-Heron's "Lady Day & John Coltrane," Roy Ayers' "We Live In Brooklyn Baby," and Bob James' "Nautilus" from which they take their name. All of the aforementioned releases have either been issued by Japanese imprint Palette Sounds or German-based Agogo Records in conjunction with DJ Oonops' sub-label Oonops Drops. Now, Nautilus have joined forces with The Find Mag founder Danny Veekens' new label venture, Rucksack Records, for their latest cover. Nautilus' instrumental Jazz Fusion/Soul-Funk rendition of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" will appear on their upcoming comp. Jazzvolution Chapter Three: The Final Round.

It appears as though "Ain't No Sunshine" was recorded by Nautilus prior to Daisuke Takeuchi exiting the group because, according to The Find Mag, it's performed by Toshiyuki Sasaki (drums, synth,) Shigeki Umezawa (bass,) and Takeuchi (electric piano) as recorded/mixed by Naoki Hayami. "Japanese trio Nautilus made this cover of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" for Jazzvolution Chapter Three. Sadly, their tribute track is more fitting now after the Soul legend passed away in March, months after this cover was made," Danny Veekens explains within a recent feature on The Find Mag. In addition to Nautilus, Jazzvolution Chapter Three: The Final Round boasts contributions from The Expert, Marcus D, Dexter, A Cat Called FRITZ, Vice beats, Dr. Dundiff, BudaMunk, WYL, Kazumi Kaneda, Soul Supreme, The Natural Yogurt Band, and Kid Sundance. Nautilus' nearly 6-minute cover of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" is now available on streaming platforms. Jazzvolution Chapter Three: The Final Round will be released in full Friday, June 5, 2020 on Rucksack Records/The Find Mag.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

With The Quickness #5: Illustrator & Musician Glenn "Glenno" Smith's (Mainly) Australian Rock Selections Playlist [The Witzard Interview]

SOURCE: Glenn "Glenno" Smith (@glennoart)

"Glenn "Glenno" Smith is an art mercenary, paying the rent in Sydney with his wonderful wife Gina and the beginnings of an army of vengeful cats. He spends most of his time drawing wizards for Doom bands and spikey lettering for bands that don't care if the text is legible or not. He teaches illustration, plays in a band called CHINESE BURNS UNIT, and can be found sitting in position at his desk most hours of the day. Glenno is also making inroads into the dysfunctional world of fine art, curating, and exhibiting in a vain hope to seem legit and adult... not to mention gathering cult-sized numbers of Followers, via Instagram. Consider his refreshing Kool-Aid at #glennoart [@glennoart,]" reads the ABOUT THE ARTIST section from Bizarrism, Vol. 2: The Revised & Expanded Edition By: Chris Mikul with Illustrations By: Glenn Smith.

I believe, we first heard about Glenno Smith's artwork, via a post on Chris Shary's Instagram, but, of course, now, we can't seem to find the post in question. Regardless, Smith is an "Australian illustrator and sometime musician," according to Discogs. He's played music with CHINESE BURNS UNIT, LAWNSMELL, STITCHFACE, a reunited SPLATTERHEADS, and most recently, HELLEBORES. In addition to his own musical exploits, Glenno Smith has designed imagery—albeit, both official and unofficial—for a gaggle of artists, including Tegan & Sara, The Bronx, Hard-Ons, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Lightning Bolt, Jay Reatard, Doomsday Festival, HELLEBORES, Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd,) Municipal Waste, Snoop Dogg, Rank Sinatra, and more. We've been emailing back-and-forth with Glenn Smith for a few months now and decided to enlist him to curate a (mainly) Australian Rock-based playlist for the latest installment of With The Quickness. Additionally, we conducted an interview with Glenno himself about all this music, artwork, and remaining creative during quarantine. Below, you'll find all of that greatness complimented by a bunch of Glenno's original artwork, plus, an additional YouTube playlist of Australian Rock "deep cuts" not included on Spotify.

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Australian Rock Enthusiast

I. What inspires your unique style of artwork? It seems to often blend gory Metal-tinged imagery against more cutesy, whimsical characters, which is great!

Glenn "Glenno" Smith: "Cute-ality." I like the idea of innocent things being [malevolent]. My favourite art as a kid had always been the laboured-over detailed stuff you'd see in 2,000 ad comics (Simon Bisley) ...and, then, I searched—H.R. Giger, Albrecht Durer, Dan Seagrave, Pushead, Ed Repka, and Geof Darrow—a lot of artists that participated in the Heavy Metal & Punk scenes. I'm a huge fan of [linocuts] and woodcuts and that has lead me towards beautiful/horrible Japanese stuff, like the Yōkai artists, both Manga and Ukiyo-e. I tend to draw what I'm asked to do (it's a job and a way to get by—I feel very lucky to be doing this) but when I'm left to my own devices, I try to push my next drawing to slay the last one—technique needs to improve and innovate some new way of drawing into each piece, so I can stay enthused.

II. How did your latest project, HELLEBORES, initially come together? Who's in the band and what is each members' role?

Glenno: I met my wife, Gina, at art college in the early 90's and we formed a band called LAWNSMELL. It took 20 or so years for us to get romantic, married, and in this new band... I suppose, it's an extension of the LAWNSMELL thing—it's very sentimental anyway you look at it—I play guitar and Gina sings most of the songs. We are joined by Jonny T. who is, also, in my other band, CHINESE BURNS UNIT, on bass—Jonny is a major Pop junkie, like myself. Evan completes the 4-piece—he's played in some of my favourite bands: Obat Batuk, Amateur Drunks, and recently, Boom Boom Kid.

SOURCE: Glenn "Glenno" Smith (@glennoart)

III. What might you cited as some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence when creating your art, music, etc.?

Glenno: I have time, space, and a burning ambition to create. It's not always been this way, but when you work from home, I can partition time into work stuff, fun stuff, and grab my guitar at will. I am always sketching riffs or ideas and get back to them, if the spark yields something worthwhile. There is nothing in particular that influences me—Gina's lyrics have meant I have a skeleton of a song to flesh out, which helps—art just happens, if you let it; time and space. It's, also, cool living in Australia. This place is sort of isolated and art isn't really something that is fostered or appreciated locally, like it is in larger populated countries with longer enlightenment histories. It gives us an edge to the art/music from here and we are left to make our own opportunities.

IV. Now that HELLEBORES' debut has been properly unleashed, what else are you currently working on or prepping for release, be it musically or artistically?

Glenno: We have four songs recorded with another seven or so to be worked up—we rarely play, so we aren't over-playing these songs before we get them recorded—this can be both good and bad, but it gets done. Over-thinking things is the death of simple stuff. We are shooting a film clip on Friday, which is something I've never really done—should be fun! We were to tour Japan with my other band, CHINESE BURNS UNIT, but, then, the plague hit. New CHINESE BURNS UNIT record is half done, as well—I really like the songs on it, so far.

SOURCE: Glenn "Glenno" Smith (@glennoart)

V. How would you say HELLEBORES differs stylistically from your past musical projects, CHINESE BURNS UNIT, LAWNSMELL, STITCHFACE, SPLATTERHEADS, etc.?

Glenno: Firstly, SPLATTERHEADS were one of my favourite bands when I was a teenager and through luck and enthusiasm, I ended up putting out a live record for them and playing bass in a re-formed line-up—all the other bands, I've written most of the music for, so you can hear my Pop [tendency] in all that output. I have never considered myself a musician, but I am, somehow, musical and it's this style from ignorance that keeps me fascinated with song-writing. You can know too much. The best example is when people say that The Ramones wrote songs that anyone could write because of the pure simplicity and their sense of humour. They have never been bettered. No one has come close. They weren't overwhelmed by the infinite baggage of musicality that the musical Jedi seem to struggle with and end up in dead-ends and over-played, clever bullsh*t. The Ramones can only be described as The Ramones. They are an element, like gold or oxygen to me. Somedays, I get a buzz from writing a song that writes itself. It's magical that this tune, made up of all the run-of-the-mill, available chords just showed up—and even better that I've had such great friends in my bands to make these occasions available on vinyl as tunes.

VI. Who are some of your favorite bands/musicians you've been fortunate enough to design artwork for and why for each?

Glenno: I'm just going to list them—all those on this list are great friends and make great music: Hard-Ons, SPLATTERHEADS, The Meanies, Pod People, Bloodduster, The Chills, Conquest for Death, Bored! Stompin' Riff Raffs, Electric Wizard, Insect Warfare, Frenzal Rhomb, D.R.I. Acid King, Tegan & Sara, Hammerlord, Violator, Cough, Church of Misery, Cosmic Psychos, Nunchukka Superfly, Dr. Colossus, Propagandhi, Rose Tattoo, Canine, Scrotal Vice, Spermbirds, The Bronx, Clowns... the list is a lot longer, but this will give you some idea—some of these bands, I contacted after designing something, simply as a fan. That is real joy when it gets used. Most of my favourite artists, when it comes to Rock "N" Roll stuff, do the best art for the bands they love—Chris Shary is a prime example of that.

SOURCE: Glenn "Glenno" Smith (@glennoart)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Zilla Rocca & Pecue Join Forces for Collaborative 1996-inspired Blends/Remix EP 96 Ways I Made Out (Three Dollar Pistol Music/Sole Imperial)

So, The Witzard regulars may recognize the artwork/overall style displayed above to be that of one Patrick "Pat" Quinn AKA Pecue Design or simply, Pecue. Quinn previously designed the "top-billing" movie poster-sized feature artwork for our Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique 30th Anniversary All-around Breakdown (PB30) last year. Basically, I just gave Pecue the idea to take inspiration from one of my personal favorite Beasties lyrics, "I'mma Die Harder... like my kid, Bruce Willis!" and he just ran with it, incorporating elements from the Paul's Boutique cover, the iconic Capitol Records Building, Willis' beloved character John McClane, and, of course, the Beastie Boys themselves. Not only is Pecue a Philadelphia/South Florida-based designer, but he's, also, a producer in his own right; having released a slew of instrumentals, remixes, and the like on his own Bandcamp page, as well as on his newly-minted imprint, Sole Imperial, each accompanied by original one-of-a kind artwork designed by Pecue himself.

"Last year, I dropped my album, 96 MENTALITY. and a few months later, my fellow Philly Rap nostal-jack Pecue dropped his instrumental/remix record, '96 Native," Zilla Rocca explains within a Bandcamp description. "We've been mad cool for years, but I didn't know he had a deep love affair for 1996 until his record dropped," Zilla continues. It sounds like Zilla Rocca & Pecue had been planning to do some sort of tie-in/cross-promotion for each other's 1996-inspired records and, now, nearly a year later, we have their collaborative 96 Ways I Made Out EP. Essentially, Pecue took two tracks from Zilla's 96 MENTALITY. and remixed/blended them together with two instrumentals from his own '96 Native. So, now, "Spy vs. Spy" + "63rd St, El Stop" = "Spy vs. Spy" (Pecue Remix) Feat. Vic Spencer and "Live from The Driver's Seat" + "Back On The Block" = "Live from The Driver's Seat" (Pecue Morey's Piers Remix.)

96 Ways I Made Out T-shirts Designed By Pecue (Sole Imperial)

96 Ways I Made Out EP is filled out by three additional 96 MENTALITY.-era CD-only loosies and remixes boasting features from Zilla Rocca's own Wrecking Crew/Career Crooks & Call Out Culture/Cargo Cults affiliates. We're treated to appearances from s.HaBiB, Wally Clark, ALASKA, Blockhead, Small Professor, and Vic Spencer (again) on "Side B" of 96 Ways I Made Out. Additionally, it sounds like Zilla Rocca is still planning to release projects with Career Crooks, Cargo Cults & Midnight Sons, with Small Professor, ALASKA & DJ Chong Wizard, respectively, throughout the remainder of 2020. Zilla Rocca & Pecue's collaborative 96 Ways I Made Out EP is now available to stream, purchase, or download directly from Three Dollar Pistol's Bandcamp page. Both 96 MENTALITY. & '96 Native are still available on Bandcamp, as well. So, if you're diggin' what Zilla & Pecue have cooked up together, we would strongly suggest checking out the originals!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #14: OFFSIDE REIDARS Frontman Jari Mikkola & "Game Day" World Premiere (The Witzard Interview)

Not entirely unlike Wrestle/Wrassle Rap or Basketball Rap, there's, apparently, a whole sub-genre of hockey-themed Punk/Hardcore—oftentimes, referred to as "Puck" Rock or Hockey-core. Yes, I've been a die-hard fan of Punk/Hardcore for 15+ years and I, too, only first heard about Puck Rock within the last few weeks. Although, once I started diggin' around, I discovered about 10-15 bands at the forefront; this was, then, gradually narrowed down to 10 "front-line" bands, which will be chronicled here over the course of coming weeks. The "top-scoring" bands we selected include: Crippled Youth, SLAPSHOT, The Hanson Brothers/Nomeansno, Two Man Advantage, The Boils, D.O.A. THE ZAMBONIS, Pansy Division, The Hextalls, and THE RAMOMS' "Gritty Is A Punk" flexi-disc. We sent out a short 6-question interview form to all of the aforementioned bands, received some back, heard a few choice words, and still have yet to hear from a few more. We'll be running those interviews, as well as features, profiles, etc. in the coming weeks. EDITOR'S NOTE: be warned, while I'm a casual hockey fan, I DO NOT claim to be an "expert" on the sport, nor will I EVER claim to know "everything" about hockey-themed Punk/Hardcore. Now, let's just try to have some fun and learn more about the sub-genre together!

Upon publication of our extremely well-received Guts of The Ice ##6: Two Man Advantage's Spag Shares Hockey Punk Records accompanied by Drunk Bastard's own HOVID-69 (Hockeyvirus 69) Playlist, we noticed a Comment that piqued our interests, to say the least. It read: Great post! Here's our brand new Hockeycore band... and our first music video," with links to Bandcamp & YouTube pages all credited to Offside Reidars. Needless to say, we don't always, admittedly, see such Comments posted to The Witzard right away... but, coincidentally, soon thereafter, @spag69 posted a Comments of his own on one of Offside Reidars' Instagram posts, which read, "Check it out Puck Rock from Finland @sharpcheddar856." So, with Spag's stamp-of-approval, I knew I had to check these guys out and soon "skated" into @offsiderediars' DM's on Instagram. OFFSIDE REIDARS are a self-described "Beerleague Hockeycore" band hailing Rovaniemi/Lapland consisting of three players from legendary beerleague hockey team, Reidars: lead singer/guitarist Jari Mikkola, bassist/vocalist Juha Tuiskuvaara, and drummer Jari Körkkö. Mikkola says, "COVID-19 ended the hockey season and our beerleague way too early and that sucks, but our band's first mini-LP is coming out soon... and we're really excited about that." OFFSIDE REIDARS' self-titled mini-LP will be released digitally and limited edition 12-inch vinyl Friday, May 29, 2020 on Hiljaiset Levyt/Roku Records. Below, you'll find our comprehensive interview with OFFSIDE REIDARS' Jari Mikkola, along with the world premiere of "Game Day."


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor

01. How did you first get into both hockey and Punk/Hardcore music?

Jari Mikkola: I have enjoyed watching hockey since I was a little kid, five or six. I have, also, played hockey since I was a little kid, but I never played in a club or team. I've always played outdoors, "pond" hockey, or whatever you call it. In Finland we call it "beanie" hockey because outdoors, you rarely wear a helmet; the original and, probably, the best form of hockey. I got into Punk Rock around [the] late 70's-early 80's. My older brother was [into] first generation Punk in [the] late 70's, so I heard most of the stuff really early. For me, the whole Punk thing started seriously with Dead Kennedys, The Exploited, Bad Brains, Discharge, and from Finland, Lama & Terveet Kädet. But never forgetting the earlier greats, The [Sex] Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, etc. The energy of Hardcore Punk was, and still is, really addictive. I started my first Punk band, Aivoproteesi, in 1982. I have been in bands ever since, touring all over Europe and releasing records. None of the bands have been mainstream or very "commercially successful"'s always been more about lifestyle and attitude. I think, it's more or less the same with the other guys in our band. We are all old Punks and have been in various bands. Except the other two are 10 years younger that I am haha. I think, our bass player, Juha, played hockey in a real junior club for some years as a kid. Bands we have been in include Aivoproteesi, Greenhouse AC, Yhteiskunnan Ystävät, Polttoitsemurha, Desert Planet, and Los Mogulos.

02. What made you decide to combine hockey and Punk/Hardcore stylings through music?

Mikkola: It was my idea to start this band and it came quite naturally. Why not combine the two of my favourites: Punk and hockey? And in my opinion, Punk Rock, or Hardcore Punk, is the "musical" equivalent of hockey. Fast, sweaty, and [adrenaline]-filled. I introduced the idea to two of my beerleague teammates, guys that I knew were Punks and musicians, in May 2019 at our hockey team's season ending party, so we are a "new" group. We all play in a really cool beerleague hockey team called Reidars. We have a lot of musicians and media professionals [on] the team. We have always done game advertisements and funny videos, acting like a real professional team, but mostly just online (our website and social media) and just to have fun. I've made the music for most of our team's videos and that, also, guided me towards the idea of starting a hockey-related Punk band.

03. For fans new to the "Puck" Rock/Hardcore sub-genre, which release(s) from throughout your discography would you recommend starting out with?

Mikkola: Well, so far, we have only released two songs, "We will remain!" & "Gamesaver" on Bandcamp (and most of the streaming services.) We, also, made a music video for both songs, you can find them on YouTube and Facebook. Our first physical release is coming out soon; it's a 12-inch vinyl with eight tracks. The tracks will be available, also, on streaming services. We are really pleased how it all took form finally... the songs are good, the production is good, and it's on vinyl! We are, also, releasing a new music video when the record comes out.

04. Aside from your own band's music, what other hockey-themed groups, releases, singles, etc.would you recommend, as well?

Mikkola: D.O.A.'s Kings of Punk, Hockey & Beer definitely. Anything by The Hanson Brothers or SLAPSHOT. I was on tour with Nomeansno in [the] 1990's with my previous band, Greenhouse AC. That's the first time [I] heard about Hockey Punk (i.e. Hanson Brothers.) The term "Hockey-core" we found on a 7-inch EP from 2000 by a Finnish band, Rebound.

05. If still active, what are the future plans for your band? If currently inactive, do you have any immediate plans for any special re-issues or a proper reunion/comeback?

Mikkola: We are very active at the moment, but we don't have any major plans. Our band has not played any gigs yet, so that might be happening in the future (when this damn virus thing is over!) Let's see how it goes. If the album goes well, that might give some directions to the band. We will [always] play hockey, that's for sure! Here are more links: Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo.

06. So, what can you tell us about your upcoming debut mini-album/EP you've been teasing on the @offsidereidars Instagram page in recent weeks?

Mikkola:We started to write the material last summer and our first "goal" was to release a 7-inch vinyl single as DIY without any label. But we just kept on writing songs, as they came out quite easily, and, then, we thought of a 4-track EP. But more songs kept on coming... we would have, probably, ended with enough material for a full album, but we decided that eight tracks on a 45 RPM 12-inch vinyl is the best format. Mini-LP's are usually great... all killers, no fillers. All the songs on the record are simple, good Punk/Hardcore Punk songs with influences from all the good Punk we have liked and heard in nearly 40 years. The lyrics are little stories from a (beer league) hockey player's point of view, small scenes and situations that we have experienced or, at least, felt. And not forgetting the Punk attitude in general, you know, f**k the system and all the idiots haha.

We started the recordings at our rehearsal basement [in] early January this year. Our bass player, Juha, is quite experienced in recording. All tracks were recorded in five sessions. Then, I did the mixing, I have, also, some previous experience on that. After mixing, we decided to hire a real professional for mastering. And, then, we idiots realised that this whole thing, probably, needs some financing... we contacted some old friends, who run small Punk/Indie labels, played them the material, and two of them decided to participate. So, it will be a joint release with Hiljaiset Levyt & Roku Records. Basically, it's still all DIY, the labels came in so late; but without them, we would not have a 12-inch mini-LP, probably, just that single... so, eventually, [it] all turned out really well.

Except for this virus thing, it ruined one part of the original plan. Our hockey team, Reidars, has played every spring for years a hockey tournament with like-minded beer league teams participating from all over Finland. The tournament is called [the] "Rockhockey SM" Tournament (SM stands for "Finnish Championship" in Finnish [abbreviation], not what you think...) Our original idea was to sell loads and loads of the vinyl at that tournament to the drunken players of other teams... but as all events this Spring, [our] tournament was cancelled. Damn. But, luckily, the labels that are now releasing the record have quite good distribution, also, I think, we can get records away from our hands anyway.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

hate5six Shares Youth of Today "No More" Music Video Edit Restored Directly from VHS Master Recording (Revelation Records)

Youth of Today - We're Not In This Alone CD Booklet (Revelation Records, 1997)

Youth of Today (YOT) are a Straight Edge Hardcore hailing from Danbury, Connecticut/New York, New York and originally active from 1985-90, 1994, 1999, and 2003-04. Founding members Ray Cappo & John "Porcell" Porcelly re-formed YOT with bassist Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand,) and drummer Sammy Siegler (Side By Side, RIVAL SCHOOLS) in 2010 and have been moderately active ever since. Youth of Today are oftentimes credited with helping establish the "Youth Crew" sub-culture of Punk/Hardcore, along with popularizing both straight edge and vegetarian/vegan lifestyles. YOT's seminal albums Break Down The Walls, Can't Close My Eyes, and We're Not In This Alone all released between 1986-88 on Wishing Well, Positive Force & Caroline Records—all of which have since been re-released on Revelation Records—are critically-acclaimed, widely-beloved, and helped shape the genres in their earliest aughts.

Youth of Today's most recent release, a 7-inch titled "One Night Stand," was issued by Revelation Records for Record Store Day 2019 in a number of multi-colored variants. It was, seemingly, recorded in 1989-90 and features a cover designed by Sammy Siegler in homage to both The Partridge Family's David Cassidy and Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen" 7-inch. Youth of Today are still actively touring (well, not currently) and, fingers crossed, still recording music together, but today's feature harkens back to a fan favorite lifted from 1988's We're Not In This Alone. So, "legend has it," Sunny Singh at hate5six recently acquired a VHS master copy of YOT's "No More" music video directly from Dave "Sausage" Walling (The Boils, Damage, Blacklisted) at Six Feet Under Records. "Youth of Today's 1988 "No More" was one of the defining moments that brought vegetarianism, veganism, and Animal Rights into the Hardcore community discourse. This music video, directed by Dan Nicholes, is cited by many as the catalyst for re-thinking their place in the food chain," Sunny Singh wrote on Instagram & YouTube.

Youth of Today - "NO MORE" VHS Tape (SOURCE: @hate5six)

"While this video has circulated on The Internet for many years, to my knowledge, this is the first and only direct-from-master digital conversions in existence. I was told only five copies of this tape were made: one was sent to Sally Jesse Raphael, one to Phil Donahue, and this is a third that recently ended up in the hands of Dave Sausage from Six Feet Under Records, who, then, allowed me to digitize and restore the footage," Sighn continued. Adding that "this is truly one of the craziest [Hardcore] artifacts I've been able to work on." We've recently exchanged emails with Sunny Singh directly, one of which you can read below in mildly edited form. hate5six's newly restored and re-mastered edit of "No More" is now available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube. Youth of Today's back catalog is available directly from Revelation Records in a number of formats, as well as digital streaming platforms.

"Dave [Sausage] acquired the tape from a friend, who won it off eBay in '97 or '98. Dave reached out to me a few weeks ago about wanting me to digitize/restore/upload it. He stopped by this past Monday and I ended up converting it the same day. I spent a few hours working to clean up the footage. I was, initially, going to leave it as-is to be true to the media, but opted to re-master. This involved EQ'ing and compressing the audio and using iZotope RX to remove some of the high-end hiss that is present in VHS. I, also, removed some of the visual VHS artifacts using NeatVideo and by applying some sharpening. VHS tends to experience upwards of 20% signal loss due to magnetic remanence decay after one or two decades, so the fact that this tape from 1988 came out as clear as it did was a blessing."

- sunny hate5six // one man op (@hate5six)

"Y" is for Youth of Today from ANOTHER PUNK ABC BOOK (SOURCE: @hecreative)