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."
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!"