3 weeks ago
send vinyl, tapes and zines for review to:
P.O. Box 2572
Olympia, WA 98507 USA
email mp3's, links, photos and flyers to: firstname.lastname@example.org
send vinyl, tapes and zines for review to:
tobi vail P.O. Box 2572 Olympia, WA 98507 USA
email mp3's, links, photos and flyers to:
At the record store, fifty-one year-old Billy looked and sounded great -- he did about a half dozen songs and turned the chorus of his most famous single "A New England" into a sing-along. "I don't want to change the world. I'm not looking for a new England. I'm just looking for another girl." From my vantage point, beyond Bragg, several young women sang with delight, but I wondered if the protagonist's perspective -- the guy in the song -- was perhaps lost on them, when, in this era, the idea of being able to change the world has been relegated to unrealistic, while the concept of participating in a re-structuring of society has been set aside for immediate comforts. "I don't want to change the world. I'm not looking for a new England. I'm living with my folks, looking for a cell phone plan."
If it's possible to detect the difference between lower case and capital letters in aural communication, I got the impression people were singing "I'm not looking for New England" -- the region north of New York state or the white clam chowder as opposed to the Manhattan red. A place on a map and a bowl of soup are easy, tactile associations -- a new England is a more complex prospect to grapple with. Please pass the Rand McNally's and the Tabasco.
Or maybe it's that thing that happens when the sound of a song becomes synonymous with its purpose. Lyrics turn into agreeable noises to be chanted without connecting them to the words -- their actual, undeniable and important meaning. Seems to me that the song's purpose was to foist an average youth, circa 1983, into our awareness, to expose a vignette of apathy within the human condition -- not to celebrate the guy's decision to opt out in favor of finding a new girlfriend.
We need new political songs to add to the ones that may become diluted by becoming popular. The friendlification factor has a way of putting intention and meaning on the back burner.
..I have finally managed to come by an MP3 of Porno Grows, which many of you have been requesting I put up here.
I hope you enjoy the nostalgia, also many of my new friends, this may be your first time.This song was from the ep I made on Crass Records when I was 15, however I was 12 when I wrote the lyrics.
Let us now observe a moment -- not one of silence, but preferably one of pure crashing joy -- to commemorate the passing of the Go Team. After five years and a bunch of cassette releases, the Olympia, WA threesome broke up this past September, following a cross-country tour. Founding member Calvin Johnson shrugs it off with a simple "Oh well, five years is pretty long for any band." But for me, having the Go Team break up is kind of like meeting this great friend at the beginning of the summer, and then having him or her move away a few months later.
The Go Team got compared to Beat Happening a lot, largely due to the obvious similarities: Calvin plays in both bands, both recorded for the K label, both hailed from Olympia, and they both cranked out their songs with an infectious, hey-kids-let's-play-band enthusiasm. But there the similarity ends, for as good as Beat Happening are (indeed, one of my very favorite bands), they have never come anywhere near the depth and diversity of the Go Team. Part of it might be due to the revolving-door lineup changes, and myriad guest stars, on each release. Each song sounded completely different. One moment they were crashing through three-chord slices of pure pop, the next moment it was several guitars interlocking and creating a quiet tension, followed by crushing, near-industrial textures.
The first Go Team project, Recorded Live at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, was literally a tape of construction sounds as recorded by Calvin, who lived across the street from the theater as it was being built. Your Pretty Guitar, with Calvin and Steve Peters, and Donna Parker Pop, with Calvin and Tobi Vail, were more song-oriented. But it was Archer Come Sparrow, released early in 1989, that really turned my head around toward the Go Team--pure, direct and utterly addictive, all for less than half the price of a CD.
The only time I got to see them live, in September of 1989, was a rock experience like few others. For this tour, the lineup was Calvin, Tobi and Billy Karren, who were already onstage by the time I made it to Maxwell's. Calvin was plucking out a simple, tinny guitar line, staring the crowd down underneath his K baseball cap. Billy was wailing away on rhythm guitar and Tobi was hitting the skins with abandon. Three very distinct personalities at work hare. Tobi and Calvin then switched places, which all three members would continue to do in between nearly every song, and things really kicked into high gear. They seemed to be playing as hard as they could, fueled by adrenaline as much as what could have been sheer nervousness. At other times, they were on the verge of falling apart completely, but amazingly stayed in control. Calvin recited Black Flag lyrics before careening into the final song, which was highlighted by Calvin and Billy throwing down their guitars and dancing wildly. Twice. And finally it was over. It all added up to a performance that not only blew away headliners Yo La Tengo, but every other band I saw in 1989. Absolutely incredible.
Ya girl Shay-Nutt had a chance to catch up with the Inglewood bread group "Pink Dollaz". This group is trully new to the game and when I say new I really mean new. Starting the group less than 6 months ago these ladies have gain major recognition with over 3 millions myspace plays and millions of youtube views the fans want "Pink Dollaz" With hits like "Tastey", "Never Hungry" and my new favorite "Don't Need Know N*gga" these ladies are sure to make an impact on this new movement they call "Jerk Music". They're currently getting ready to shoot their first video to "Never Hungry" under the leadership of LanceAlot Management. The girls are currently seeking "the right deal" and with radio play and the fans demand i'm sure thats not that far away."
Underground refers to music that has a different purpose and orientation than mainstream bands. Keeping underground as an ongoing description illuminates that there is an under to the over -- a distinction that implies motivations other than money and fame. To reduce underground to a description of current trends diminishes its potential power. I guess there are now indie bands on major labels, diluting the reason there were indie bands. Indie is now a genre where previously it was a stance. Maybe we'll have "undie" bands in the mainstream and the history of underground culture will likewise fade.
I guess touring is harder now but I also think maybe it was always pretty untenable. Unless you're the hot band of the moment, its pretty ridiculous proposition. Four or five people hauling gear around in a van hundreds and thoudsands of miles to perform something that, by its own design, can be made by anyone (i.e. "punk"). The big diffrence now is that so many bands are touring all the time and that so many have promotin, tour support, and publicity or are internet savvy (i.e. phenomenon bands like "Wavves") in a way that some of us are not. But yes, the punk politics have disappeared but the inherent cheapness of that scene is still with us (i.e. everyone wants everything for free).
The history of the word indie continues to fade. People who hear it, and use it, forget that it meant independent from major labels. Now indie is mostly a description of a sound, like alternative is a description of a sound rather than an alternative to how the music industry operates. Alternative was a description of the way bands operated -- putting on shows, working with a label to get your music out as opposed to being a rock star on a major label with staff to handle such details. Both these terms -- indie and alternative -- have been assigned new meanings that relate to the descriptions of the sounds associated with them. I'm sure if there were "undie" bands it would almost immediately turn into something to do with underwear. Bands would play in their underwear. Calvin Klein would start making music videos in its newly formed record label division. The history and meaning of underground culture would no longer be there when the word "undie" is used. I don't believe people think about independent culture, independent from major labels and corporate concerns, when they hear the word indie. Grunge is a sound and a look -- perhaps a city and a handful of bands. Indie is a political stance whose history is being replaced by a sound, a look and an era.
Well, from what I've seen, there's not too many people out there in our predicament (parents of two/ rock n' rollers) but I know of at least one couple here in town that does, but they're at least ten years younger. Without the added chaos of small children, I would say touring is easier than ever. You can post flyers on the internet instead of mailing them or hoping people will post them in their towns and you can make flyers easier, faster and in color (ooh!) without having to know someone at the local copy shop. Most of the booking can be done online as well so you save on all of those long distance phone calls from hand written wads of paper your friends lent you from their last tour. I'm especially fond of the option of burning a CD demo in 20 seconds versus dumpster diving old cassette tapes, covering the holes up and recording over them so you'll have demo's to sell at the show. We used to get the occasional customer that would return saying "that demo I bought was all psycho Christmas rap songs".
I've been really surprised to see bands on tour with van rentals that have GPS systems. That was completely unheard of ten years ago. Think of all of the combined hours of lost punks driving around on the wrong roads. For those without GPS, there's always google maps which will give you the exact directions, and weather.com to tell you exactly what to expect weather wise and what the road conditions are. Basically, anyone who complains about tour being hard in this new century is either riding a donkey with an amp on their back or they just have no idea how hard touring USED to be.
The only thing different for Josh and I, and any other parents out there rocking together in a band is that you have to have someone to watch your kids while you're away and you have to work with their school schedule too. Even our drummer Steve, has a teenage daughter so we're a pretty unusual band as far as responsibilities go. The van is too small to bring anyone but us at the moment so luckily, my mom has gone beyond her call of duty in taking the boys while we attempt small tours. She can even call us on our cell phones should the need arise, oh what I would have given for one of THOSE 15 years ago when we broke down in the scalding hot Arizona desert!
"The idea of women empowering themselves by becoming sexual objects is backward. It seemed brilliant at one point, but it had really bad ramifications. Things lose their context so quickly."