Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dan Lactose, Shigeru "Shiggy" Sato & Tankcrimes' Scotty Heath On SPAZZ LIVE AT CBGB JUNE 29, 1997: A BENEFIT FOR EL PUENTE YOKOHAMA


Above, you'll see a flyer for an infamous mixed-genre show at CBGB's billed as HARDCORE 1997. Said flyer for a June 29, 1997 gig explains, "This IS the actual band order, so be there early! CB's... usually START ON TIME!!!" and lists the night's performers/genres: "SPAZZ (West Bay HARDCORE Mayhem, first tour ever!) Braid (A damned EMO band on tour from somewhere?) MONSTER X (Ebullition's only real HARDCORE band.) The Get Up Kids (Another wretched EMO band on tour.) HEMLOCK (HARDCORE? DEATH METAL? At least it's not EMO!) 97a (New Jersey HARDCORE, with a brand new record, too!) Ethel Meserve (Hmm... More EMO still?)" It's crazy to think bands as different as SPAZZ, Braid, and The Get Up Kids were all featured on the same bill for a 3:00pm gig at CGBG's, but, I guess, times were different and it's an awesome piece of Punk/Hardcore-adjacent to see nearly 24 years later. Last week, amidst The COVID-19/Coronavirus global pandemic, Japanese bar/venue/Spanish restaurant El Puente Yokohama shared a previously unreleased recording entitled SPAZZ LIVE AT CBGB JUNE 29, 1997: A BENEFIT FOR EL PUENTE YOKOHAMA. Like most venues, restaurants, family-owned bars, and the like, this is an extremely difficult time for El Puente to continue bringing in a revenue stream, amidst world-wide closures and shut downs, especially, without government backing.


Scotty Heath at Tankcrimes (@tankcrimes) explains, "all proceeds to keep the doors open in the new world, whenever that may be" and affectionately refers to El Puente Yokohama as "Tankcrimes East." Referring to long-time owner Shigeru "Shiggy" Sato, Scotty says, "Shiggy is one of the greatest and EL Puente is a key player in the Japanese DIY Punk/Metal scene." Shiggy lived in San Francisco, California for a period of time in the 1990's and has taken a wide array of American bands on tours across Japan. Scotty Heath add that Shiggy's "bat/live house, El Puente, is the Yokohama hub of their country-wide DIY network." We could see there was A LOT more to the story here concerning HARDCORE 1997, CBGB & OMFUG, SPAZZ, Tankcrimes, and El Puente Yokohama... so, we reached out to Dan Lactose (SPAZZ,) Scotty Heath at Tankcrimes, and El Puente Yokohama's Shiggy in an effort to learn a bit more. You can read Dan Lactose, Scotty Heath & Shiggy's commentary below. SPAZZ LIVE AT CBGB JUNE 29, 1997 is now available on El Puente Yokohama's newly-launched Bandcamp page, along with BUTCHER ABC: Live at Obscene Extreme Aftershow, RYDEEN's "MARVELOUS," and El Puente Benefit Compilation Album Vol​. ​1-2. Any and all support for El Puente Yokohama & Shiggy is greatly appreciated.


Dan Lactose on how the CBGB's line-up came together: "Honestly, I have no idea. I do know that Hemlock was on the bill because they were friends of ours... Also, Monster X."

Dan Lactose on 1990's mixed-genre shows: "Not really in The Bay Area, at that time. I'm not sure about NY. I wasn't interested in [Braid or The Get Up Kids] so, I just walked around the neighborhood and hung out while they played."

Scotty Heath on cross-continental friendship: "I don't think the story here is so much that SPAZZ played with Get Up Kids in '97, so much as it's about real friendship across borders, through Underground Punk music and people coming together to help each other. The live set could have came from any of 100 gigs. It's a fun detail that this particular set was a mixed-bill with a bunch of notable bands at a much more famous and notable club."

Dan Lactose on meeting Shiggy: "Shiggy traveled with SPAZZ & Slight Slappers when we toured Japan in 1998. I believe, I had met him earlier when he lived in [San Francisco,] but the Japan tour was when we really forged our friendship. The guy who, initially, brought SPAZZ over ended up being really hard to deal with. Maybe, it was just me? I think, he was under the impression that SPAZZ was a Straight Edge band, but once we got there and I met the SS guys, we (me and Leech) just started partying with them. At one point, there was a huge miscommunication and both bands got really bummed out. Shiggy stepped up on his own and straightened it out and explained to us what was happening. That's the kind of guy he is; he looks out for everyone."

Leech (These Bastards,) Shigeru "Shiggy" Sato & Dan Lactose

Shiggy on meeting Dan Lactose & SPAZZ: "Dan! Yes, that's correct! SPAZZ/Slight Slappers tour in 1998. I still remember clearly! [Dan] & Leech drunk heavy with Seiji and crazy Yuki and late for meeting place. That time, we didn't have [cellular] phones, so we were [panicked]! What [happened]?? haha... Then, after this tour, we often hang out! Dan named [Brain] Squeeze for my Hardcore show event. It is still going since 2008. Scotty & Tancrimes made Brain Squeeze bigger in USA! Oh, Slight Slappers gave me their demo and Seiji & Kubota's former band demo for [an] El Puente benefit. That's another amazing track!"

Dan Lactose on SPAZZ's Japanese exploits: "Haha!! Oh, man, that was a CRAZY night! Seiji put a Japanese/English Dictionary in the center of the table and started pouring us beer and sake! Yuki made us spaghetti! We stayed up all night laughing. Boy, Michy was P*SSED the next day! That was fine with me because Leech & I got to ride in [Shiggy's] your van... Also, that trip to Japan was the first time I ever flew in an airplane! No sh*t. 14 hours straight. Totally insane. And, then, Max [Ward] got taken by customs when we got there and we didn't know where he was. Leech & I had to go retrieve his luggage, which included his snare packed in a giant box between records he brought to trade."


Dan Lactose on how SPAZZ LIVE AT CBGB came together: "Chris [Dodge] had sent a bunch of tapes to Dan [Hashthrash] (Kill That Cat) to digitize while back. In April, Shigeru [Shiggy] sent us all a message asking if we could contribute a track or two for a benefit compilation he was putting together. SPAZZ started talking and figured we would try to do something a bit better than just give him a live track or something previously released. Chris suggested contacting Dan and [he] sent me all the SPAZZ material he had digitized, so far. I picked the CBGB set because it had the best balance, as far as the mix, plus, I figured it was a pretty infamous gig and just being "Live at CBGB" makes it kinda special. I sent it over to my homie, Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound Mastering and, as usual, he knocked it out of the park by dialing it in way beyond expectations. He really transformed that original tape rip. I, also, asked Marky [Mark Reategui] from Tankcrimes, if he could help me out with the graphics, since I no longer have PhotoShop and wanted it to look sharp. Shigeru didn't know about any of this, by the way. Max sent it to Shiggy and, I think, (I hope!) it surprised him!"

Shiggy on SPAZZ LIVE AT CBGB: "Dan!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you very much for everything! What a great story! I was more than surprised! Shaked! I couldn't understand what [happened] when I got material from Max. What!!!!??? This is more than special. I almost "love" Coronavirus, which made this happen haha. Not only myself, all my friends and people who love SPAZZ, Power Violence, [and Hardcore] are huge surprised and become so happy! Thank you and friendship forever! One of the most beautiful moments of my life. Even [though the] Corona situation is no good, still more happy! That's most important!"

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #11: The Hanson Brothers' John "Johnny Hanson" Wright (Nomeansno/D.O.A.)

The Hanson Brothers - Gross Misconduct Cassette "Hockey Cards" (Alternative Tentacles, 1992)

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!

The Hanson Brothers (no, not THOSE Hanson Brothers!) were the first Hockey Punk/Puck Rock band we ever heard about, long before we fully understood what hockey-infused Punk/Hardcore was... widely known as a "one-off" project of Nomeansno, which ultimately pumped out three full-lengths, one live album, a 4-way split with Anti-Flag, The Automatics & J.F.A. and countless EP's and singles. Spearheaded by founding members and real-life brothers John & Rob Wright, or Johnny & Robbie Hanson, The Hanson Brothers featured a rotating cast of players from their main band, Nomeansno. The Hans took their name, and partly their personas, from cult favorite 1977 Hockey/Comedy film Slap Shot featuring a troupe of rink-rousing bullies known as The Hanson Brothers. Both Nomeansno & The Hanson Brothers "hung up their skates" and went into retirement in 2016. John Wright would go on to produce albums for D.O.A. Victims Family, and The Showbusiness Giants. Today, John Wright, along with Marcus Kolb, is part of the artist collective behind Berlin-based artist Frank Barnes' animatronic Robot Rock "band" COMPRESSORHEAD; Wright acts as the vocal coach for robot "player" and lead singer Mega-Wattson. The Wright Brothers opened up their own brewpub/bar, The Wildwood Public House, in Powell River, British Columbia, Canada in early 2019. We recently spoke to John Wright himself, via email, who admitted to us, he hasn't "watched hockey since The Canucks lost The Cup to Boston..." and hasn't had "TV, Internet, or even cell phone service for the last seven and a half years!" Read our Puck Rock-centric conversation down below the break!


Sincerely,

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor



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

John Wright: Well, I got into Punk Rock at the end of seventies in what was to become a very great West Coast music scene. D.O.A. were my first Punk Rock experience in Victoria [British Columbia, Canada] in '79. They, basically, invented "Hardcore," though, I would say it was The Neos from Victoria that really invented the version of "Hardcore Punk Rock" that became the signature sound and speed and intensity we associate with Hardcore music. So many great bands came out around here, at that time. I was hockey fan as a kid, as most Canadian kids were, of course; but, I guess, when Pat Quinn took over The Canucks, I really got back into it as an adult.

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

Wright: In the mid-eighties, as Nomeansno and avid Ramones fans, we took it upon ourselves to write some Ramones-style Punk Rock [songs] for fun and as they were fictitious "brothers," we thought we would do the same, Canadian-style. So, it had to be all about hockey, beer, and love gone wrong and when you combine that with the classic hockey movie Slap Shot; brothers and Hansons were synonymous! Then, it took on a life of its own.


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

Wright: Without losing a sense of humour here, I am not too modest to say that we managed three full-length albums that perfectly captured the innocence and intensity of pure Punk Rock and old time hockey. Our second release, Sudden Death, originally on Virgin Canada, was remixed and released again about 10 years ago. It encompasses it all and with the improved mix, it was all the more bone-crunching. However, the first, Gross Misconduct, on [Alternative Tentacles] is the classic and [My] Game on Mint Records is the icing on the cake, the one with the accolades.

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

Wright: Well, we put out [Johnny Hanson Presents...] Puck Rock, Vol. 1-2 and they have a great line-up of bands. Not all hockey-themed, but all worth checking into.


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?

Wright: We continue to have offers, but not sure we will lace 'em up again. We managed to play in four decades, but not sure we will match Gordie [Howe], who, of course, played professionally in five decades.

06. How did your relationship with D.O.A. & Joey "Sh*thead" Keithley initially start? I've noticed there are numerous Hansons/D.O.A. releases, including the Beat 'em, Bust 'em / Can't Hide The Heino 6-inch, "The Enemy" from Stomp 'em, and 1993's Loggerheads, which you played on and produced.

Wright: Apart from being a fan, as we grew up in The West Coast scene, eventually, our paths crossed professionally and in '86, Nomeansno played with D.O.A. for 10 shows in The States when our tours crossed paths and from that, we ended up playing quite a few shows with them, including a long American Tour in '87 and our first tour in Australia in '93. And, yes, I produced two D.O.A. records, 13 Flavours of Doom (1992) and Loggerheads (1993) and and performed on one other, The Black Spot (1995.) It was in '87, when I had to sub in [on] drums for three shows, that I was "officially" entered into the D.O.A. Family Tree ha! Keep your head up, COVID has a mean elbow...

Moor Jewelry Return with Punk/Hardcore-indebted True North Full-length & Bob Sweeney-directed "Look Alive" (Don Giovanni Records)

Moor Jewelry (CREDIT: Bob Sweeney)

Moor Jewelry—sometimes, known as "Moor X Jewelry"—is a collaborative Philly-based project consisting of Camae Anywa (Moor Mother) and Steve Montenegro (Mental Jewelry.) Don Giovanni Records released Moor X Jewelry's debut collaborative EP, Crime Waves, back in June 2017 to both widespread critical and fan acclaim. Prior to Crime Waves, two early Mental Jewelry tracks, actually, appeared on Moor Mother's 2017 album, The Motionless Present, released on UK-based The Vinyl Factory; one of those formative tracks, "Big Crime," would end up re-appearing on Crime Waves and the other, "Remember," remains a Motionless Present-only exclusive. Moor Mother has since shared a solo album, Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes (2019) on Don Giovanni, as well as six appearances across Zonal's 12-track 2019 Relapse Records album, Wrecked. Together, Moor Mother x Zonal, additionally, released non-album cut "On The Range" as part of [adult swim]'s 2019 singles series. Additionally, Mental Jewelry produced three tracks included within Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes. Earlier this year, Camae Anywa's other other band, Irreversible Entanglements, essentially, a Neo-Jazz quintet, released Who Sent You? on International Anthem Recording Company/Don Giovanni Records. It appears as though, Mental Jewelry has remained largely inactive since Crime Waves' release.


Last week, with no prior announcement, Moor Mother & Mental Jewelry, seemingly, returned out of nowhere with their second proper collaboration. Again, released in conjunction with Kingston, New Jersey-based Don Giovanni Records, Moor Jewelry's True Opera was issued digitally, as well as on now-sold out limited edition cassette. However, in stark contrast to its predecessor, True Opera is a noticeably more Punk/Hardcore-leaning than Crime Waves, which was, admittedly, more Electronic/Experimental-based. True Opera's contained tracks were largely more improvised in the recording studio during two marathon sessions with Mental Jewelry playing drums/bass and Moor Mother providing guitar/vocals, who were later joined by drummer Philip Price (Kayo Dot.) "We grew up going to Punk shows and playing in Punk bands," Steve Montenegro explained to Don Giovanni. "We missed the energy of playing instruments live together. On a computer, everything is accounted for. This has all of the imperfections and flubs—it's more of a direct conduit," Montenegro continued. "I think—at least for me, for people my age—there was a shift away from Punk Rock. At a certain point, you started getting into other music. Now, I'm like, "Crass was right about everything.'" Moor Jewelry's True Opera is now available from Don Giovanni Records, as well as Bandcamp. Bandcamp will, again, be waiving their cut of sales in support of Indie artists/labels for 24 HOURS this upcoming Friday, May 1, 2020.

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Aquabats! Share "Pajamazon!" Music Video with Famous Friends & PJ-clad Fans from Kooky Spooky... in Stereo! (Fearless Records)


The Aquabats! are a decades-long standing musical institution, who have flirted with Ska, New Wave, Punk Rock, Pop Punk, and Synth-pop stylings across five studio albums, one compilation album, one soundtrack album, two EP's, one live album, and miscellaneous recordings. The Aquabats! are widely know for their comedic personas, in which they're portrayed as crime-fighting superheroes. Their current line-up consists of founding members The MC Bat Commander & Crash McLarson (otherwise, known as Christian Jacobs & Chad Larson,) along with keyboardist/saxophonist Jimmy The Robot AKA James Briggs, drummer Ricky Fitness AKA Richard Falomir, and guitarist Eagle "Bones" Falconhawk AKA Ian Fowles. Jacobs is one of the co-creators of popular live action/puppet educational, musical children's television show, Yo Gabba Gabba!; with The Aquabats! he's produced a number of similarly-minded shows, including The Aquabats! Super Show! and most recently, a crowd-funded web series called The Aquabats! RadVentures! Prior to joining blink-182, drummer Travis Barker was famously a member of The Aquabats! appearing as The Baron von Tito from 1996-98. The MC Bat Commander was recently featured within Taylor Morden's excellent documentary, documentary Pick It Up! Ska In The 90's, wherein he spoke extensively about his decades-long involvement with both The Aquabats! & Yo Gabba Gabba! Earlier this month, The Aquabats! announced the sheer existence of their sixth studio album, Kooky Spooky... in Stereo! their first full-length since 2011's Hi-Five Soup!


So far, The Aquabats! have shared two singles from the as-yet-to-be-released album, "Skeleton Inside!" and "Pajamazon!" Self-described on Bandcamp as an "energetic, eclectic album [that's] prime Aquabats! with all of the variety, quirk, and fist-pumping Rock you can handle!" Coinciding with the current state of the world, amidst this new "normal" that is The COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandenic, The Aquabats! cast The MC Bat Commander Signal out to their stir-crazy fans: "Whoa! Look! It's the #PajamazonChallenge! We're all staying inside in our PJ's, so make the most of it! Post a video of you goofing in your pajamas to our new song, "Pajamazon!" with #PajamazonChallenge and tag @theaquabats and it'll be like we're all hanging out together! Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok... wherever you want! Tell you what, we'll give a SIGNED copy of our new Kooky Spooky vinyl, a Kooky Spooky T-shirt and a Skull Bat patch to our favorite one! PLUS, if you use the hashtag and tag us in your (horizontal) video, you could end up in our upcoming music video! Woo!" Over the weekend, we were treated to the final product, The Aquabats! "Pajamazon!" music video, which features the band, along with a gaggle of PJ-clad fans, and a few familiar faces, including Tony Hawk, Rick Thorne, Drake Bell, Steve Caballero, Steve Jones (Sex Pistols,) The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' wailer Dicky Barrett, Paul Frank, Chris Shary, and Lori Herbst. The Aquabats! Kooky Spooky... in Stereo! will become available digitally Saturday, June 20, 2020 on Fearless Records. Plus, The Aquabats! assure, CD, vinyl, and merch bundle pre-orders will ship as soon as this whole mess is over!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Damu The Fudgemunk & Raw Poetic Recruit Legendary Jazz Saxophonist Archie Shepp for "Learning to Breathe" (Redefinition Records)


Long-time collaborators Damu The Fudgemunk & Raw Poetic (AKA Earl Davis & Jason Moore) have teamed up once more for a new collaborative album for Damu's NJ/DC/CA-based label, Redefinition Records. For said album, Ocean Bridges, Davis & Moore have recruited prolific Jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp, along with a seven-piece band, for a unique hybrid Hip-Hop/live Jazz experience. Damu The Fudgemunk's band assembled for Ocean Bridges consists of Archie Shepp on tenor/soprano sax & Wurlitzer electric piano, Raw Poetic supplying vocals/raps/lyrics, guitarist Pat Fritz, Aaron Gause on Wurlitzer electric piano & synthesizer, Luke Stewart providing acoustic/electric bass, Jamal Moore on tenor sax, clarinet, bongos & percussion, and drummer/percussionist Bashi Rose. "We were graced with the once-in-a-lifetime experience to record with the mighty Archie Shepp! Never could I imagine!! Never did I know that I'd be prepared to take on an opportunity as such, but I'm blessed in several ways," Music Before Persona (@damuthefudgemunk) shared within a recent Instagram post. Yesterday, Redefinition Records unveiled lead-off single, "Learning to Breathe," which introduces the album's swinging Hip-Hop/Improvised Jazz sound.


Raw Poetic's conscious lyrics are on-point, as always, atop Damu The Fudgemunk's band and their Improv/Free Jazz stylings accentuated by a wailing tenor sax solo from Archie Shepp himself. Accompanying "Learning to Breathe"'s single release, Damu has shared not one, but two music videos: an official music video produced, shot, directed, animated, and edited by Stephen Knox and an Extended Mix with in-studio/behind-the-scenes footage from the making-of Ocean Bridges. Additionally, there's, also, a 4-minute mini-documentary/short film dubbed "Learning to Breathe" Single In-studio Promo, which reveals Raw Poetic is, actually, Archie Shepp's nephew! It appears as through Damu The Fudgemunk has been in a collaborative mood over the last few years, having collaborated with Blu, DOOM & Insight, Roc Marciano, and Flex Mathews, as well as Raw Poetic on a number of occasions. Damu & Raw Poetic's most recent collaborative effort, MOMENT OF CHANGE, is a concise Name-Your-Price 8-track EP. Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic & Damu The Fudgemunk's Ocean Bridges will become available Friday, May 22, 2020 on Redefinition Records. "Learning to Breathe" is now available for purchase, streaming, or download on your preferred digital streaming platform.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Alchemist Shares Previously Unreleased Cuts with Action Bronson, DOOM, Roc Marciano & Mobb Deep's Prodigy (Instagram Live Set)


It's almost a bit hard to believe that in 2020, The Alchemist & MF DOOM haven't released a full-length project together. Although, it appears as though they have a few mutual friends/collaborators in Earl Sweatshirt, WestsideGunn, Madlib's brother Oh No, and Egon from Now-Again Records. So, it doesn't seem entirely unlikely or 100% out of the question. However, the average fan may not be aware, DOOM & Alchemist have, in fact, worked together on a number of occasions on a couple lesser-known one-off tracks: "DOOMSAYER" was briefly released as part of DOOM's mysteriously scrapped THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES series for [adult swim] in 2017 (a Young Guru-producer version was released in 2012) also, in 2017, Alchemist produced "2STRINGS" from WestsideGunn & MF DOOM's super-limited edition WESTSIDE DOOM Griselda Records/Daupe! 12-inch.


Then, without much prior notice, Alchemist jumped on Instagram Live this past Monday night for an impromptu set full of neck-snappers. Honestly, we didn't even hear anything about it until Tuesday morning, when okayplayer ran an Elijah C. Wilson-penned feature. "During an Instagram Live on Monday night, Alchemist played a number of songs he has produced, some of which have never seen a proper release," Wilson explains. okayplayer hosted a number of video clips captured and shared by Twitter user αμμΩ™ (@ammofr) which featured unreleased Alchemist-produced cuts boasting rhymes from the likes of Prodigy (Mobb Deep,) Roc Marciano, and, of course, DOOM himself. While all three mysterious cuts sound great and we hope to hear them in proper officially released form one day... the untitled cut with DOOM is of particular note.


Its instrumental may sound oddly familiar and that's because it's the same beat Alchemist used on Action Bronson's "Terry" from MR. WONDERFUL (2015.) Oddly enough, the "DON'T HURT ME AGAIN" refrain remains in-tact within both versions, which I just always assumed was Bronson adlibbing. For both versions of "Terry," Alchemist incorporated an array of samples culled from Asha Puthli's "Let Me In Your Life," Mountain's oft-sampled "Long Red," The Emotions' "I Like It," and Slick Rick's "Teenage Love." One thing is for sure, Alchemist's cuts with DOOM, Roc Marciano & WestsideGunn all sound great and, fingers-crossed, we still get to hear all of these in properly released form one day. Marciano's manager, JAZZ (@JAZZUNGang) Replied to Twitter user @STONELOVE__ posting about Alchemist & Roc's unreleased joint, simply stating, "You don't have no idea what's in store.. wait for it..." For comparison's sake, feel free to re-familiarize yourself with Action Bronson's "Terry" below. Shout-out to Blunted Soul, who captured and uploaded Alchemist's "Unreleased 2020" cuts with DOOM, Action Bronson, Prodigy & Roc Marciano from Monday's Instagram Live set.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #10: D.O.A.'s Joey "Sh*thead" Keithley (Kings of Punk, Hockey & Beer)


D.O.A. 1994: Jay Scott, Brian Roy Goble, Matt Johnson & Joe Keithley (CREDIT: Colin Price)

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!

D.O.A. is a Canadian Punk/Hardcore band who are often credited with coining the term "Hardcore" on their sophomore album, Hardcore '81. D.O.A.'s current line-up consists of founding member Joey "Sh*thead" Keithley, Paddy Duddy & Mike"Maggot" Hodsall. Although, past line-ups of D.O.A. have included Randy Rampage, Chuck Biscuits (Black Flag, Danzig, Samhain,) Brian "Wimpy Roy" Goble, Ken "Dimwit" Montgomery, Jon Card (SNFU,) Dave Gregg, Ken "Kenny Hanson" Jensen (The Hanson Brothers,) Floor Tom Jones, Harry Homo, John Wright (Nomeansno,) and more through their 42-year career. D.O.A. have often advocates for those without a voice and have played benefits for Rape Relief, anti-racism, Rock-for-Brains, anti-globalization, OXFAM, First Nation's rights, anti-censorship, and environmental causes, amongst many others. Film-maker Scott Crawford is currently hard at work on a documentary entitled Something Better Change set to chronicle frontman Joey "Sh*thead" Keithley's rise from Punk/Hardcore pioneer to City Councillor in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada and Chair of The City Environmental Committee, as well as campaigns for Mayor and The Green Party. For this latest installment of Guts of The Ice, we were fortunate enough to land an interview with Councillor Joe Keithley, which you can now read below. D.O.A.'s eighteenth studio album, TREASON, is now available on their own label imprint, Sudden Death Records.


Sincerely,

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor




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

Joey "Sh*thead" Keithley: I saw [Bachman-Turner Overdrive] wearing Canadian football league jerseys in 1986 and the idea occurred to me to amalgamate Punk and hockey. All of us in D.O.A. played a lot of hockey when we were kids and we continued to play "beer" league hockey as adults. I thought hockey is perfect, it's just like a band: I'm the singer, so I will be The Center, the bassist and second guitarist will be The Wingers, and the drummer is The Goalie. The next step was to form a team, so all the D.O.A. guys and friends and roadies formed The "D.O.A. Murder" Squad and squared off against teams from TV and radio stations and local newspapers. We always played the games as benefits for The Vancouver Food Bank. So thus, Hockey Rock or Punk Hockey was invented; we played 15 of these benefit games over the years and only lost once. It was funny, Bad Religion kept talking about how their team was the best, so one time, they came to Vancouver and they teamed up with SNFU. Well, we beat them 13 to 1. After the game, we laughed our [guts] out.

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

Keithley: The one to look for is: D.O.A. - Kings of Punk, Hockey & Beer. It's a 14-song comp. you can get at Sudden Death Records.

Nomeansno, D.O.A. The Goops & The Joykiller Show Flyer (date unknown)

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

Keithley: Well, certainly The Hanson Brothers. Good band, but they did not have much of a team. We beat them pretty badly, as well.

04. 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?

Keithley: Sudden Death Records has just released D.O.A.'s 18th studio album. It's called TREASON. Again, available at Sudden Death Records. D.O.A. is touring all the time. We have played 4,500 shows on five different Continents over the last 40 years.


05. Would you mind talking a bit about the story behind/making-of the music video created for your cover of Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" from 2009's Kings of Punk, Hockey & Beer?

Keithley: Yes, we were recording the song in 1986 for the album True North, Strong & Free and the word on the street was that we were recording ["Takin' Care of Business."] I was at home and the phone rang. The voice on the other end said: "Hey, this Randy Bachman. I hear [you're] recording one of my songs." I thought it was a roadie playing a joke, so I told him to "f**k off" and I hung up. The phone rang again and it was Bachman. He said, "Hey, don't hang up. This really is Randy Bachman!" So, we met and he came on stage with us a show and played ["Takin' Care of Business."] So, when we shot the video for ["Takin' Care of Business,"] we asked to play The Coach. He's a good guy.

06. How did your German-only "Beat 'em, Bust 'em" B/W "Can't Hide The Heino" Saw Blades series split 6-inch with The Hanson Brothers originally come about? What was your relationship with The Hansons (Nomeansno) like at the time of its release in 1997?

Keithley: The single came out on Empty Records (Germany,) who Sudden Death was working with, at the time. Always been good friends with the Nomeansno guys (Hanson Brothers.) Back in 1979, The Wright Brothers had their first Punk Rock experience at a D.O.A. show in Victoria, where Chuck Randy & I challenged (from the stage) a bunch of lunkheads [who] wrecking the show. The lunkheads ran off and the event left a big impression on those guys. Then, in 1986 and '87, D.O.A. took Nomeansno along as support on their first [North] American tours. They are great guys and The Hansons were a cool extension of that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Ray West Recruits Zilla Rocca for Quarantine-recorded Rowhouse Whispers EP Featuring ALASKA & Shane Great (RED APPLES 45)


Since the start of Nation-wide self-quarantines about a month ago, Bronx, New York producer and multi-instrumentalist Ray West has been steadily recording and self-releasing projects on his imprint, RED APPLES 45. For Week #1, RED APPLES treated terribly unsuspecting fans/onlookers to West's WALTER PPK EP, an Instrumental Hip-Hop split with fellow producer Giallo Point. A week later, saw the release of STRESS RELIEF, which features Dynamix emcee Junclassic alongside Ray West across a Name-Your-Price 5-track EP. Week #3 marked the surprise-release of Ray West & Eloh Kush's IMPETUS EP featuring guest emcees Glorious, John Robinson, ID4Windz, and Jahbaton. We've been playing close attention and intently listening to April's RED APPLES 45 releases... although, we have to admit, Week #4's teased drop definitely intrigued us the most: this past Friday, April 16, 2020, saw the release of West's Rowhouse Whispers. For this latest release, Ray West recruited his frequent collaborator and fellow dad Zilla Rocca for a sprawling 7-track EP. Prior to Rowhouse Whispers, Ray West previously produced "Spy vs. Spy" from Zilla Rocca's '96 MENTALITY. (2019) as well as "Drunk History" from Future Former Rapper (2018.)


"We have been building and had mutual respect for years now. Since I have been in the house with this pandemic and have so much time, I reached out to Zilla to do an to and he was ready," Ray West told The Witzard, via email. "This came together real naturally. It was effortless on my part. Everything went down so smooth... mixes, beats, art... Zilla [was a] super-pro, knocking out, like, a song a day. We knocked this whole thing out in under two weeks," West continued. However, Ray West & Zilla Rocca aren't exactly alone on their Rowhouse Whispers EP; they've recruited Zilla's Cargo Cults partner-in-rhyme ALASKA for "Doobie Brothers" and Shane Great offers up an EP-closing remix of "88 Style." One of our personal favorites from the EP is "Revolution #36," AKA "Wu-Tang Is My Beatles" wherein Zilla compares his own admiration for RZA, GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa & Cappadonna for his dad's love for John, Paul, George & Ringo. Zilla Rocca, ALASKA & Curly Castro recently recorded a Live from The Liner Notes-themed episode of their Call Out Culture podcast centered around the making-of this EP. Ray West & Zilla Rocca's Rowhouse Whispers is currently available on a Name-Your-Price basis, via RED APPLES 45's Bandcamp page. Zilla Rocca's first proper beat tape, fittingly titled Don't Drop A Beat Tape, Zilla, is now available on Three Dollar Pistol's Bandcamp, as well.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Witzard's Quarantine Jams YouTube Playlist Featuring Remotely-recorded Music Videos from Our Favorite Artists... Stuck at Home!

ARTWORK BY: Chris Shary (@chrisshary)

Here's a collection of remotely-recorded/filmed music videos and performances created by our favorite artists (and their fans!) We'll do our best to keep adding to this playlist until things get back to normal. This video playlist currently features selections from Urian Hackney (ROUGH FRANCIS,) Liberty & Justice, Goldfinger, blink-182, Two Minutes to Late Night "All-Stars," Light The Lamp, American Football, Neck Deep, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Scott Bradlee, Naeem FKA Spank Rock, Tankcrimes TV's Scotty "Karate" Heath, and Puddles Pity Party. Stay safe out there, my friends, and WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

Friday, April 17, 2020

ROUGH FRANCIS & Converge Drummer Urian Hackney "Goes Viral" with Cardi B Coronavirus Mash-up/Drum Cover (The Witzard Interview)

Urian Hackney for Paiste (CREDIT: Luke Awtry)

Urian Hackney is a Vermont-based drummer, engineer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and skateboarder. Hackney's credits include Lake Superior, Libido Reign, Maneuvers, Caroline Rose, Western Terrestrials, and Wild Leek River. Urian Hackney has filled in for Converge drummer Ben Koller on multiple occasions and plays full-time in his own band, ROUGH FRANCIS. Consisting of three brothers and two of their close friends, ROUGH FRANCIS was originally formed in 2008 as a tribute to their father and uncles' 1970's Proto-punk band, Death. ROUGH FRANCIS are currently prepping their third full-length album, Urgent Care, for release in early May. Although, amidst the global Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic, Urian Hackney has made a bit of a name for himself online as a result of his topical remixes/drum covers.

Last week, we first heard about Hackney's work when Scotty "Karate" Heath from Tankcrimes (@tankcrimes) Tweeted about "the Cardi B Corona Hardcore jam on Instagram by ROUGH FRANCIS guy." In fact, Colin Hanks, whose parents, Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, were recently tested positive (and, eventually, negative) for Coronavirus, posted said video to his Instagram, along with the Comment, "This helped me today. Maybe, it will for you, too..." With a little digital sleuthing, we stumbled upon Urian Hackney's own Bandcamp, Instagram, and YouTube pages, which include a few similarly-minded drum covers, mash-ups, and remixes. We reached out to Urian Hackney, who agreed to take part in an exclusive interview for The Witzard, which you can now peruse below. We know these are dark, uncertain times for all of us and, maybe, Hackney's covers will help brighten your day, too!


Sincerely,

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
WASH YOUR HANDS & STAY INSIDE!


I. Where in the world did you get the initial idea to transform Cardi B's recent "CORONAVIRUS!" meme into a 28-second Bad Brains-style Punk/Hardcore ripper?

Urian Hackney: Her voice inspired it, really. I always thought her talking voice is hilarious and boisterous to the point where she could be a "Punk" singer. I tracked that whole thing in, probably, five minutes and had no expectations for it to receive the attention that it did.

II. How did your similarly-minded "Britney Spears Toxic FT Urian Hackney" remix/cover come to fruition?

Hackney: I took [an] Instagram Poll to see what Pop artist to make into a "Punk" artist and that suggestion got the most Likes.


III. What does your typical recording process entail when arranging a one-man remix/cover of songs from contemporary artists, such as Cardi B, Britney Spears, or Mariah Carey?

Hackney: I arrange the music to a raw vocal track. Not much different than Electronic mash-ups, but, instead, with real instruments.

IV. Aside from the current state of the world at large, what exactly inspired you to record an updated rendition of Nirvana's all-too-relevant "Stay Inside" from Nevermind?

Hackney: As an engineer, I study records I like and I try to replicate/mimic them to expand my personal recording vocabulary. I've always really been into Nirvana and wanted to take a crack at re-producing the sounds on Nevermjbd. Most of the experiments I do in that manner never get heard and are personal projects. I thought this particular song came out pretty good, so I changed the lyrics to be relevant with the [times] and released it.


V. Your latest cover of The Damned's "Smash It Up!" features Tony Hawk on vocals(!) along with Riley Hawk, Keegan Hawk, Kady Hawm, Calvin Goodman, Rose Hackney, Jules Hackney, Bobby Hackney, and Horace Wallace. How did this sprawling Hawk/Hackney Family collaboration come about, especially, amidst a global pandemic!?

Hackney: Me and Tony have been talking music for a while and he reached out to me about doing a song with his family and him. He ended up buying a small interface, so he could record his vocals and his kids playing to make it happen. It, actually, came out awesome and he and his whole family are super-awesome and talented.


VI. We recently saw your band, ROUGH FRANCIS, released their latest single, "Deathwire," to streaming platforms. What can you tell us about this release and when can we expect to hear an accompany full-length project?

Hackney: As a band, this is, probably, our favorite and smoothest recording to date. My friend Kurt [Ballou] (Converge/Godcity [Recording Studio]) drove up to Vermont from Massachusetts and tracked us at our bass player, Dan [Davine's] studio in two days. (Dan is, also, an engineer.) There's another single dropping on 4/20 and the full album gets released on 5/1.


"Britney Spears Toxic FT Urian Hackney" (Original Photo: Murray Bowles)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #9: D.D. Hextall, Jimmy The Con, Nikki Stixx & Jeremy "J.J." Justice (The Hextalls)

The Original Hextalls Line-up: Devin, Nikki & Troy (SOURCE: The Hextalls)

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!

D.D. Hextall, Jimmy The Con, Nikki Stixx, and Jeremy "J.J." Justice are a band of merry misfits better known as The Hextalls. Formed in 1998 in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, The Hextalls have played extensively all over Canada with bands like Dillinger Four, D.O.A. Guttermouth, CHIXDIGGIT! SNFU, Groovie Ghoulies, and Riff Randals. The Hextalls' name itself is a reference to beloved Flyers goaltender and, eventually, General Manager, Ron Hextall, who, also, played with The Quebec Nordiques and The New York Islanders. However, in 2003, D.D. Jimmy, Nikki & Jeremy moved apart, while the members pursued other things, like American girlfriends, school, and other projects, such as marriage (Nikki & Jimmy got married!) A few years later, in 2007, The Hextalls re-formed, both geographically and musically, resulting in some touring and more records: Call It A Comeback, Get Smashed, Rock You to Sleep, and Play With Heart, all released back-to-back between 2008-15. We were fortunate enough, after numerous attempts... to reach out to The Hextalls' frontman Devin "D.D." Hextall, who, after a bit of friendly cross-checking, was able to wrangle up Jimmy The Con, Nikki Stixx & Jeremy "J.J." Justice for a full-band interview. The Hextalls, additionally, took it upon themselves to compile a rather mysterious 13-song Spotify playlist simply entitled "bing," which appears to consist of Jock Jams-style classics and rink-rousing Hockey Punk essentials.


Sincerely,

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor




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

D.D. Hextall: I was born in Canada and we had a television that only got two channels. Saturday nights were a big deal. I grew up on the 80's [Edmonton] Oilers every Saturday night. I got into Punk Rock because it's the best-sounding music of all the musics, by far, and, also, because "f**k the system" makes perfect sense.

Jimmy The Con: I used to watch hockey with my grandpa. He was a tough son of a b*tch; the kind of guy who, when he needed more room for his family, jacked up his own house and dug a basement. I looked up to that man and he watched hockey, so I watched hockey. I got into Punk Rock when my brother introduced me to Samiam as a teenager. And, then, [Green Day's] Dookie came out and everyone was into Punk Rock. Oh, and Rise Against was in one of the Tony Hawk['s Pro Skater] video games.

Nikki Stixx: We did have a great little scene in Kamloops [British Columbia, Canada]! I don't like hockey.

Jeremy "J.J." Justice: I never knew anything about hockey, aside from collecting cards for a hot minute in the 80's. I just met The Hextalls through Nicole and wanted to play music in that style. My introduction to Punk was my older sister taking me to see The Smalls at an all-ages venue when I was 12; Kamloops had a pretty great live music scene back then.


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

Hextall: From what I remember, nobody else in the band thought naming our band "The Punkrockers" was a good idea. Ron Hextall was my favorite all-time hockey player.

The Con: Devin did it.

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

Hextall: I wouldn't recommend anything to anybody who likes Punk or Hardcore music. Except check out a band named An*l C*nt. Specifically, the Three's Company theme song.

The Con: Samiam - Astray, Rise Against - RPM [Revolutions per Minute,] Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come, and check out NOBRO because they WRECK live.

Stixx: Listen to Jeremy?


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

Hextall: I remember one of The Leftovers guys wearing a Tuukka Rask T-shirt with the arms ripped off. It was pretty hot. His arms weren't even anything to freak out about either. I mean better than my arms, for sure, but not like Big Poppa Pump or anything.

The Con: Other people write songs about hockey?

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?

Hextall: We are currently separated in different countries, due to "the impending end of the world." After that's all over, we can, hopefully, record this song I have about swimming. Jeremy tells me there's a part that goes in opposite time of regular music; I'm looking forward to recording that.

The Con: I'm pretty sure my future plans involve surviving the present Pandemic; then, playing one note at a time, as quickly as I can, so that J.J. stops whipping me. Oh, and, maybe, some back-up vocals, if Dev & Nikki let me out of my box long enough.


06. Have you ever received any type of feedback from either Ron Hextall himself or any current/former Flyers players?

Hextall: Leah Hextall messaged us once, before she was a big TV star. We were featured in The Hockey News once for a one-pager, after someone there heard our song about Sergei Bobrovsky. Jeremy's dad cleaned Mark Recchi's teeth. Maybe, even [Jarome] Iginla's. I don't think he mentioned ever doing Rob Brown's.

The Con: I'm sure Ron is a busy man.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Streets Return with Tame Impala-assisted "Call My Phone Thinking I'm Doing Nothing Better" from None of Us Are Getting Out of This Alive Mixtape (Island Records)


The Streets was a long-running musical project of English emcee and multi-instrumentalist Mike Skinner. Skinner was active as The Streets from 1994-2011 and released five full-length albums, one mixtape, an EP, and countless singles. However, following mass of amounts of critical and fan-acclaim, Mike Skinner suddenly decided to dissolve The Streets in 2011. It, then, fell to the wayside as one of his former projects, along with Grafiti and The Beats. Since the dissolution of The Streets, Skinner stayed relatively active, sporadically releasing music as The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light, The D.O.T. Tonga Balloon Gang, and, simply, as Mike Skinner. I can still remember diving around in my car, as a 16/17-year-old with my "little" sister (then, about 12-13) listening to The Streets' "Fit But You Know It," both of us expertly rhyming along every word is terrible faux-Cockney accents. A few years back, when I first created my Spotify account, I put together a fairly comprehensive, ever-evolving playlist featuring "Fit But You Know It," along with a bunch of other Streets stand-outs and Skinner-affiliated projects. Below, you'll see our 113-song Streets playlist, now titled Mike Skinner & The Streets (Mike Skinner Ltd.) to help you re-familiarize yourself.


To widespread surprise/bemusement, Mike Skinner quietly released two new tracks, "Burn Bridges" and "Sometimes I Hate My Friends More Than My Enemies," on streaming services in 2017, both credited to The Streets. The following year, Mike Skinner & The Streets went on two sold out UK tours, ushering in a full-fledged The Streets reunion; Skinner's current Streets line-up includes Kevin Mark Trail, Wayne Bennett, Robert Harvey (The Music, The D.O.T.) Cassell The Beatmaker, and, of course, Mike Skinner himself. Now, a few years later, Skinner has announced the first full-length Streets project since 2011's tandem releases, Cyberspace & Reds/Computers & Blues, fittingly titled None of Us Are Getting Out of This Alive. Billed as an officially released "mixtape," the self-described "Rap duets album" boasts a feature on every track, including the likes of Tame Impala, IDLES, Oscar #Worldpeace, Rob Harvey, and Chris Lorenzo. According to a press release, None of Us Are Getting Out of This Alive was originally planned as a TONGA/Tonga Balloon Gang project, however, "as night moved to day, and day moved to night, it... just didn't happen." Yesterday afternoon, along with the mixtape announcement, The Streets released the first music video/single from said project, "Call My Phone Thinking I'm Doing Nothing Better" featuring none other than Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker. None of Us Are Getting Out of This Alive is now available for pre-order and will become widely available Friday, July 10, 2020 on Island Records/679.

Monday, April 13, 2020

MATAMOSKA! & Friends Share Remotely-recorded Quarantine Cover of Ska Pioneers The Specials' "Monkey Man" (Soundcloud-only Release)


Over Easter Weekend, MATAMOSKA! (@matamoska) posted a rather cryptic message on Instagram, which simply read: "[soundcloud] exclusive only." along with a Monkey Emoji and hashtags "#matamoska&friends" and "#thespecials." It took a little while, but with some earnest digital sleuthing, we soon stumbled upon MATAMOSKA! & Friends' cover of The Specials' "Monkey Man" uploaded to multi-instrumentalist and mixing engineer Esteban Flores Valenzuela's Soundcloud page. According to Facebook, MATAMOSKA!'s core line-up consists of Flores on keyboards/backing vocals, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Jose Padilla, drummer Richard Sanchez, bassist Hector Rivera, trumpet player Ivan Lopez, trombonist Robert Verdugo, and tenor saxophonist Jovan Loera. We first heard about by way of their amazingly-titled 2017 album SKALLUMINATI released on limited edition cassette through Illinois-based In The Lake Records. Next we heard from MATAMOSKA! they were releasing their Band Geek Martians 7-inch EP—featuring covers of Voodoo Glow Skulls' "Band Geek Mafia" and The Misfits' "I Turned Into A Martian"—on Steady Beat Recordings in July 2019. Unfortunately, MATAMOSKA!'s Voodoo Glow Skulls/Misfits covers have never been released digitally, but it's definitely worth tracking down a copy of Band Geek Martians on 7-inch wax!


But, back to "Monkey Man:" yet another cover expertly executed by MATAMOSKA! & Friends, "Monkey Man" was entirely recorded remotely from self-quarantine/isolation. Said recording features MATAMOSKA!'s own Esteban Flores, Eddy Rodriguez (Una Mas,) and Jose Padilla, along with musically-inclined friends Jon Bravo (Mr.Kingpin, Rude Kings,) Travis McKayle (The Bad Ups,) Curtis Irie (The Bandulus, Irie Idea,) Alexis Briseño (Inspector, Skapital Sound,) Gil Simo (Katzu Oso,) Heath Schlatter (The Operators, Circle City Deacons,) and Cristian Riquelme (The Operators, Circle City Deacons.) Flores tells us, before these suggested world-wide self-quarantines started, MATAMOSKA! were in the process of recording a new album... but, "since this virus broke out, my band decided to put a break on this and figure out a way to keep content out and have fun, while we are stuck at home." A one-time staple during MATAMOSKA!'s rehearsals and live sets, Esteban Flores says, since the band's "foundation is built upon friendship and unity, this felt like the best time to get in touch with everyone we care about and interact with them, via music." Plus, let's just admit, who doesn't love The Specials/The Special AKA!!? It appears as though MATAMOSKA! intend to continue releasing remotely-recorded digital-only content from quarantine for as long as this lasts. As a small underground/D.I.Y. band, MATAMOSKA! just ask, if you dig "Monkey Man," please, consider supporting the band directly by buying some of their merchandise.


MATAMOSKA! & Friends - "Monkey Man" Credits:

Esteban Flores (MATAMOSKA!) - Drums/Piano/Organ/Background Vocals
Eddy Rodriguez (MATAMOSKA!, Una Mas) - Bass
Jose Padilla (MATAMOSKA!) - Guitar/Lead Guitar/Lead Vocals
Jon Bravo (Mr. Kingpin, Rude Kings) - Background Vocals
Travis McKayle (The Bad Ups) - Background Vocals
Curtis Irie (The Bandulus, Irie Idea) - Percussion
Alexis Briseño (Inspector, Skapital Sound) - Alto Sax
Gil Simo (Katzu Oso) - Trombone
Heath Schlatter (The Operators, Circle City Deacons) - Trumpet/Background Vocals
Cristian Riquelme (The Operators, Circle City Deacons) - Background Vocals/Toasting

Mixed By: Esteban Flores
Produced By: Jose Padilla & MATAMOSKA!
"Monkey Man" By: The Specials (1979)
Mastered By: Jon Mireles at Audiomech Productions


Friday, April 10, 2020

F*CKED UP's Jonah Falco & Mike Haliechuk Form MASTERPIECE MACHINE with POWER TRIP's Riley Gale & Announce Debut 12-inch (Triple B Records/Quality Control HQ)


So, we recently told you about Jonah Falco & Mike Haliechuk from F*CKED UP's other band, Jade Hairpins... well, now Jonah & Mike are back with yet ANOTHER other band, MASTERPIECE MACHINE. Not entirely unlike Jade Hairpins, it appears as though MASTERPIECE MACHINE was birther from F*CKED UP album sessions; although, this time, in addition to Jonah Falco & Mike Haliechuk, they've recruited a third member for MASTERPIECE MACHINE, Riley Gale from POWER TRIP. "Jonah & I were in the studio for two years writing the last F*CKED UP album, [Dose Your Dreams] and ended up with tons of music that didn't fit on the album. We had these two specific songs that sounded huge and aggressive, so we wanted to carve them off into their own project," Mike Haliechuk recently told REVOLVER. In stark contrast to both F*CKED UP & POWER TRIP, MASTERPIECE MACHINE—at least, from their debut single, "Rotting Fruit"—MASTERPIECE MACHINE appear to harness an almost Industrial-leaning sound, reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry/Pailhead (with Ian MacKaye,) and White Zombie/Rob Zombie.


Earlier this week, Jonah Falco (@jonahjonahfalco) mysteriously Tweeted "Something churning..." along with a short video, which included the text "MASTERPIECE MACHINE," "DEBUT 12" COMING SOON" and "ROTTING FRUIT LETTING YOU IN ON A SECRET." Now, it has been revealed that MASTERPIECE MACHINE's debut single, "Rotting Fruit" B/W "Letting You In On A Secret" will be release din both physical and digital formats on Triple B Records/Quality Control HQ. Triple B is currently offering a number of 12-inch pre-order options for S/T, including Highlighter Yellow with Blue, Red, Orange Splatter, Red/Blue Swirl, and Standard Black, while Quality Control HQ's Big Cartel page still lists the 12-inch as "Coming Soon." Although, we're only getting a 2-track 12-inch/digital single, at this point, it appears as though Jonah Falco, Mike Haliechuk & Riley Gale are all interested in recording a MASTERPIECE MACHINE full-length, once time allows, of course. MASTERPIECE MACHINE's "Rotting Fruit" B/W "Letting You In On A Secret" 12-inch will become available on Triple B Records Wednesday, April 15, 2020 and two days later on London-based Quality Control HQ. Jade Hairpins released a new single of their own, "(Don't Break My) Devotion" earlier this week, as well, and their debut album, Harmony Road, will be released Friday, May 29, 2020 on Merge Records.


Members of F*CKED UP & POWER TRIP have coalesced to create the throbbing musical beast that is MASTERPIECE MACHINE. Imagine the pounding the drum of Psalm-era Ministry with flashes of Nine Inch Nails, massive Rock riffs, cinematic electronics, and Post-Hardcore influenced vocals. "Rotting Fruit" B/W "Letting You In On A Secret" is their debut 12-inch single. In this chaotic world, Industrial-influenced music seems more relevant than ever, as it channels the unstoppable wheels of a mutating mass of electronic and biological matter lurching towards an unknown destination.

Singer Riley [Gale's] love of comics led to a collaboration with celebrated comic artist and animator Lale Westvind, known for critically-acclaimed works, such as Grip, Hot Dog Beach, and Hyperspeed to Nowhere. Lale's art for "Rotting Fruit/Letting You In On A Secret" perfectly captures the aforementioned musical qualities as technological chimeras made up of biological matter cruise a desert landscape seemingly without purpose, while simultaneously racing towards the future head on.

- MASTERPIECE MACHINE (@masterpiecemachine)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Two Minutes to Late Night, Marissa Nadler & Members of Cave In, High On Fire & Mutoid Man Share "Reelin' In The Years" Cover (Steely Dan)


First and foremost, Steely Dan are great, but I can assure you, you've never heard them like this before! Here, we have a remotely-recorded Heavy Metal-tinged cover of Steely Dan's infectious 1973 single, "Reelin' In The Years" from their debut album, Can't Buy A Thrill (1972.) It was all orchestrated from self-quarantine by Two Minutes to Late Night's own Jordan Olds AKA Gwarsenio Hall/Doctor Mayor and Drew "Hollywood" Kaufman AKA Diet Hellboy. Two Minutes to Late Night's Facebook page describes the how as "a Heavy Metal-themed talk show featuring a corpse-painted host and the world's best House Band, Mutoid Man!" According to Stereogum Senior Editor Tom Breihan, Mutoid Man's Stephen Brodsky, also, leads Cave In and drummer Ben Koller plays with Converge & All Pigs Must Die. Last month, when these self-quarantine recommendations first started happening, Two Minutes to Late Night (2M2LN) and some musical friends posted a remotely-recorded cover of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Dare to Be Stupid" from his 1985 album of the same name. 2M2LN have previously orchestrated covers of Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy's Song" & "The Boys Are Back In Town," Hot Chocolate's "Every 1's A Winner," Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown," Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher," and more. Now, the Two Minutes to Late Night crew have returned with yet another similarly-minded cover!


This time, "Reelin' In The Years" features throughout from Nate Garrett (Spirit Adrift,) Lance, The King of Black Metal AKA Comedian Dave Hill (Witch Taint, Valley Lodge,) Chris Maggio (High On Fire, Wear Your Wounds,) Stephen Brodsky (Mutoid Man, Cave In, Old Man Gloom,) Marissa Nadler (Droneflower,) Nick Cageao (Mutoid Man,) and, of course, Gwarsenio Hall himself. It is, indeed, a Heavy Metal-leaning stomper, which duals as, yes, as rippin' cover of America's favorite Soft Rock/Adult Contemporary duo, Steely Dan. 2M2LN's "Reelin' In The Years" cover was edited together by Drew Kaufman, mixed by Bryan Batiste, and composed by Jordan Olds. Host Gwarsenio Hall & Drew Kaufman explain, "Hot Milk! We got a bunch of musicians to cover [and] to turn a Steely Dan zinger into a mosh legend from the comfort of their own bedrooms! This is our second bedroom cover made with the support of Patreon. With so many musicians stuck at home with no outlets, we're going to keep producing these style videos and use the Patreon to give some money to everyone who has a part in them." So, if you like what you hear here, you can head on over to Two Minutes to Late Night's YouTube page to either support their Patreon page or to find links to support the individual performers' artist pages.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #8: The Boils' Greg Boyle & Eric Endrikat (The Orange & The Black)


The Boils at Wachovia Center, 2006-07 (SOURCE: DAVE "Sausage" Walling)

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!

The Boils are one of the most revered Hockey Punk/Oi! bands here on The Eastern Coast of these United States. The Boils were originally active from 1995 to about 2008 and have since reunited for a number of "one-off" shows in 2012, 2017, and as recently as 2019. They were once featured on the Vans Warped Tour and toured with the likes of The casualties, Oxymoron, Forgotten, Dead Empty, and Lion's Law. Through the years, The Boils' various line-ups and iterations included Greg "Boil" Boyle/Spider-Greg, Dave "Sausage" Walling, Jon "Johnny! Boil" Boyle, Warren "Correct" Andersen, Mike "TheBoss" Bardzik, Jeff Berman/Divided Heaven, Bert "The Unfillable" Stranix, Eric Endrikat, Mike "Mikey" McKee, and Chris Endrikat. Following The Boils' dissolution around 2008 after their Flyers-sanctioned Hockey Anthems; The Orange & The Black EP, Greg Boyle, Eric Endrikat, Chris Endrikat, Mike Bardzik & Warren Andersen went on to form a similarly-minded Oi! band called THUNDER & GLORY, who released three projects between 2013-17. Often referred to as "the longest-running Boils member, who never appeared on any recordings," Eric Endrikat was, also, in a short-lived band with Greg Boyle in-between The Boils/THUNDER & GLORY called Battledriver. Endrikat is currently an active member of two Philly-based Punk/Oi! bands, Legion 76 & Sweet F*ck All/F.A. Dave "Sausage" Walling from Six Feet Under Records linked us up with both Greg Boyle Eric & Endrikat, via email and you can read our comprehensive Guts of The Ice interview below.


Sincerely,

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor



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

Greg Boyle: Hockey came later for me than Punk Rock. I grew up watching football with the family and with friends. So, Punk Rock was something that came along in middle school/high school. In middle school, I heard some Dead Kennedys, Dead Milkmen, [and] some Sex Pistols. I had already been into Slayer, Testament, D.R.I. [and] Megadeth, working my way through all that. But Punk was unknown to me. And Dead Kennedys-type stuff blew me away. Sex Pistols, I feel like I just listened to them 'cause, like, I was supposed to, it was part of the Punk 101 training course. But even as a kid, I never really thought much of them.They're sorta like, "poster" Punk to me, there really isn't much in there. Around the same time, I feel like The Clash is much more relevant. And, of course, the first wave of real Punk/Oi! bands, The Business, C*ck Sparrer, Ramones, Blitz, Exploited, CRASS, Conflict, Misfits, an' all.

Years later, The Boils covered "Submission" for a Radical Records [Sex] Pistols covers comp. [Never Mind The Sex Pistols Here's The Tribute]. We blew it. Our cover was NOT good. But there were some quality songs on it: Niblick Henbane, Showcase Showdown, Lower Class Brats, Submachine... damn, I wish we hadn't blown it. Oh well.

Eric Endrikat: So, for me, it was the opposite. I grew up playing hockey and didn't get into Punk until middle school and, then, really started getting into that world when I got to high school. I went to a small private school for middle school, so outside of my brother and a few friends, I didn't really know too many people who were into Punk. After middle school, I went to a public high school and that really opened things up for meeting people, who were into the same stuff and, finally, being able to go to shows. I think, it was freshman year when I first went to a real record shop; I think, Noise Pollution and I bought the Harry May 7-inch from The Business and I Wanna Be A Punk from Blanks 77.

My parents' record player got a lot of use after that. My friend, Jack, gave me a copy of a Boils record, at some point, after I found out that this sh*t existed locally. Philly bands like The Boils (obviously, before I joined the band) and Violent Society blew my mind. I ended up starting a band with Jack and my brother, Chris. We were recording with Mike Bardzik, at the time, and that was really my entrance into, eventually, joining The Boils. Wild times joining a band like that at 16/17-years-old. Greg, Mike & [Dave] Sausage definitely taught me a lot and that built the foundation for the other music I've been able to play over the years. Haven't laced up my skates in years, but the guitars and records are still getting some use.


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

Boyle: It took a while. In the early days of The Boils, my brother, Jon, played drums. In the family, he was the "hockey guy." I never really embraced it the way I did football. But, eventually, thanks to him, I developed enough of an appreciation for it that we wrote the song "Bullies" for our album, From The Bleachers, about the old school Flyers team from the 70's. We had started having more fun with our lyrics, mixing sports/drinking lyrics in with the traditional social/political-type messages we had adhered to in previous releases.

Local sports radio started playing "Bullies," had us on for a few interviews, and Flyers' management contacted us to write a song for the team. When we did interviews for it, I had to defer to my brother and our drummer, Mike [Bardzik], when hockey questions came up, as they were the true hockey fans. I was just sorta winging in from a casual fan [standpoint]. We got free [tickets] for a few years, which was pretty awesome. But the best moment for me was drinking with Wayne Simmonds at a strip bar under The El in North Philly.

Endrikat: I wasn't in the band when [From The] Bleachers or Hockey Anthems were written, but I joined right before Hockey Anthems was released. I played a few shows and, then, jumped into doing the music video for "The Orange & The Black" with the rest of the band. I still have never seen the video, which is, probably, a good thing because I remember having a ridiculous haircut back then. After that, The Flyers asked us to do the music for one of their TV commercials for the "Back with A Vengeance" campaign that they were running. The songs were only a minute long and it was, basically, Greg just saying, "back with a vengeance" over and over, but seeing the final product, which was players getting laid out on the ice with our music playing, was pretty great.


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

Boyle: Great question! From The Bleachers (2005) would be my only recommendation, released on TKO Records. It was recently pressed on vinyl by Six Feet Under Records. It was when we found our groove; definitely, the mix of Oi!-type stuff, Street Punk, short/fast bursts of Violent Society-styled Hardcore Punk was on-point. That album is near-perfect with a few tracks I could shave off, but, damn, there's, like, over 20 songs on it. You might be into World Poison (1999,) if you really like us; originally, released on Cyclone [Records] and, then, later, re-released on Thorpe Records. Pride & Persecution (2001) was an album that, originally, was gonna be released on Cyclone, but they went under after The Boils/Oxymoron/Forgotten/Dead Empty tour.

So, TKO released it with some track variations from the one that was almost released on Cyclone. Then, Six Feet Under released the original version on vinyl, I think. All in all, I would pass on Pride & Persecution, although Sucker from [Oxymoron] might argue with me that "New Majority" is worth the album alone. When The Sun Goes Down (2002) was our debut on Creep Records. It's OK. It laid the groundwork for us, at the time, when it came out. There's some good and bad 7-inches, the split with Violent Society (1996,) probably, the best. I always liked the Disorderly Conduct split (2000,) but, I might've just really been into their side of it. We did an EP around the song we did for The Flyers games, "The Orange & The Black."

Endrikat: Uh, say, Greg... was it "PUNK" Rock or "PUCK" Rock? Blew, blew, blew it. I have to agree with Greg, though, From The Bleachers would be my pick, too. Hockey Anthems is a fun one, but, I think, Bleachers is a better representation of who The Boils are, while still covering sports.


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

Boyle: I always felt like Two Man Advantage was the real deal with hockey-type Punk music. Dropkick Murphys (DKM) did "Black & Gold," but, really, let's be honest, the song isn't that good. I love those guys, they're family, but, let's be real here, it's not one of their better songs. And because of The Murphys, Flyers management made us put an accordion in our song. So, that's where they really aggravated us. But, when we had our meeting with The Flyers, we were allowed to leave to call our lawyer, which we didn't have, so I just called Matt [Kelly] from DKM for advice.

Endrikat: Two Man was always the go-to for me. Everyone should, also, probably, go find a copy of "The Penalty Box" by Dave Schultz.

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?

Boyle: Pretty inactive, although, we never had an official "break-up." Some years ago, we switched gears and played as THUNDER & GLORY, releasing a 10-inch [Living In The Crossfire] on Contra Records & Longshot Music. I have a few things to deal with in life, so, band stuff is, probably, on hold for some time. But, with THUNDER & GLORY we had started a YouTube channel (Battledriver Music) and I'll be posting some Boils [videos], and other [videos] I have from bands we played with, so, Follow us if you like! Updates on new [videos] will be on the THUNDER & GLORY Facebook page.

Endrikat: My brother and I talked Greg into agreeing to a Boils show last year, but that's, probably, the last one for a while. Like Greg said, we never really "broke up," but we moved on. THUNDER & GLORY was and still is a great project, that 10-inch is one of my favorite records that I've been a part of. Life got busy for all of us, though, and we haven't really had time to do much. Hoping that things can start back up, at some point, and we can get back into the studio.


06(A.) Can you walk us through the scenario of how "Bullies" from 2005's From The Bleachers led to your Flyers-sanctioned Hockey Anthems EP and "The Orange & The Black?"

Boyle: Sure, we did "Bullies" for From The Bleachers just as a fun thing to do. I sent the CD to WIP Sports Radio here in Philly, to the morning show, where they did a lot of stuff tied in with local people active in the sports community. They ran with the song, playing it on-air, and inviting us to interviews in the studio. Flyers marketing was listening and Angelo Cataldi, who we owe a big debt of gratitude to, linked us up, and The Flyers had us down for dinner and talked to us about writing a song ("The Orange & The Black") specifically for The Stadium.

They did several reviews of the song, we did it a number of times, but the final version was something we felt good about playing live. They had us play at the stadium once, it didn't go well. We played in some bar in The Stadium during intermissions and let's face it, Punk Rock, especially, the type we played, isn't really for mainstream appeal. The crowd loved "The Orange & The Black and our cover of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds [Done Dirt Cheap"]... but, otherwise, "Blood On The Fields," "Dominate," "Bed of Whiskey"... they didn't like it.

And, yeah, they, probably, should have had [us] play Bon Jovi covers or something. The crowd looked at us like they were very unhappy. It wasn't good. But we got free Luxury/Box tickets for a couple years, it was nice. We ate a lot of chicken tenders and drank a lot of drinks. It was great. But, then, the third season, we showed up and our seats were regular seats in The Nosebleed Section. We got the hint, they were tired of us. But they still play the song, which is nice. If they ever win The Cup, maybe, we'll get invited to play the parade, that would be really nice.

Endrikat: That show at The Stadium was rough. They definitely didn't fully understand that we weren't a cover band, so us filling the requested two-hour set didn't really work out. In addition to "Dirty Deeds," we played "Nice Boys" by Rose Tattoo and "You Can Get It If You Really Want" by Jimmy Cliff, at least, five times each. It was a fun drunken night, but was, probably, best to leave the music for the wins.


06(B.) As life-long Flyers fans, how has it been having your song "The Orange & The Black" repeatedly played Home Games post-win since 2007?

Boyle: It's great. My Pop-Pop, who passed away in 2019 at 99-years-old, a World War II vet of Iwo Jima, always enjoyed hearing it over the television. It was the best thing with all of this. I like hearing it over the TV, it's good.

Endrikat: It was crazy to be able to walk into a band and get to experience all of that. I just wanted to play Punk Rock; didn’t really expect any of that to be a part of the equation. It's nice to hear they're still using the song, I still get texts from my friends about it when they’re at Home Games.

06(C.) So, did Eric ever appear on any officially released Boils recordings? Or should fans just seek out post-Boils bands, Battledriver and THUNDER & GLORY to hear Eric on the axe?

Endrikat: I was never on any official Boils records, just mostly played live. We did record a bunch of music for a record that never got released. Only a few of those songs ever got finished, though, and we released them as a four-song demo under a new band name called Battledriver. That one doesn't exist online, as far as I know, but we should, probably, get it up there, at some point. Battledriver didn't last too long and that, eventually, morphed into THUNDER & GLORY, which is what we have been concentrating on most since The Boils went on hiatus. Other than that, my other main band is Legion 76. That one has definitely occupied most of my time over the last few years.

Boyle: So, Eric & I had recorded what would have been the full-length follow-up to From The Bleachers, but we bailed on it and never finished it. Four of the songs that would've been on that Boils full-length became a one-off demo we did under the name Battledriver (I later used the name for my YouTube page, as an homage to the lost project.) It was a four-song CD that barely made its way out of Philly. Eric & I, then, went onto to do THUNDER & GLORY and Eric's main focus ever since has been his own band, Legion 76... Cheers and thanks for the questions and, especially, for the interest in having us!

Greg Boyle, Eric Endrikat & Mike Bardzik, 2006 (SOURCE: Eric Endrikat)