Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Papsmear- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 86 Demo

        Keeping that same theme of stupid fucking band names, aside from Dwarf Bitch can you get any stupider than this?  Summer's Eve? Also pretty stupid.  Once again some good thrash from dudes who know don't know shit about P.R. or maybe they just don't give a shit.  I'm inclined to believe the latter.

        I was a stuck up punk rocker when these guys were at their peak and I specifically remember not liking these guys only because they weren't punk enough in my book.  They're blatant thrash metal.  I couldn't be bothered with that hesher shit.   I wasn't stoner.  I wasn't into breakdancing or hip hop.  I was into something all together different. That's what it is to be young.  And hip. 

        I was standing in front of the club Soundstage and someone had spray painted on the wall facing the club entrance "Papqueers Suck."  I thought that was really funny standing in line wearing my punk clothes with all these other punk nobodys.  Metal was for losers, I thought as I stood united with the "crew" none of whom I really knew.  We sure looked the part standing in line to go see TSOL on their "Revenge" tour!  If you've heard that album then you'd understand how funny that last sentence was.        

        Now that I'm an old man I gotta say Punk sucks.  Metal forever!  Hey now I'm an elitist guy for metal!  That's what it is to be an aging hipster.  Pretty ugly.  And so tonight this album fits my mood.   

        They were a good band.  Maybe they're still around?  You do the research.  I'm not sure if I like them as much as Pestilence but in some ways I like em more.  The reverb drenched 80's production is the best!  I love that shitty sound.  To me it's pure evil!  Drums were recorded in a pit in hell.  Even though Papsmear don't appear to be influenced by his Satanic majesty.  I don't have the lyrics but looking at the song titles you can tell it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.  

       They're definitely in the same league as other cool thrash metal from that era like Prime Evil, Whiplash, Pestilence, or At War. If you know of any other bands that are in this league post them in the comment section.  I'm only discovering all these bands retroactively since the internet got me hooked.

       I'm only including the first demo here because it's been re-released and if you want to hear more you should be a good citizen and buy the whole thing.  You know how these disclaimers go.  Thanks again to Jeff Murphy for hooking us up.  
Love the half shirt dude.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Exhibit A: The Party Vid w/ Dwarf Bitch & Catapult!

       This was a party at Jen/Kate/Andrea's house.  Later on Andrea moved out and Barb moved in.  Andrea had nipple rings.  I'm not sure if she still does but that's beside the point.

       Fun show.  This was among Dwarf Bitch's first few shows.  At the time Ron Constantine was the drummer.  Keep your eyes/ears peeled for the Iron Maiden cover towards the end of their set.  I always liked the three piece.  Nothing beats the power trio!  

        This party got out of hand but remained peaceable.  Hmmm.  Could it be because it was on the East Side?  I don't know I'm just saying.  Also playing this party was the band Catapult and some other band I don't remember.  After the cops came and the bands stopped there was a piƱata filled with candy, stickers, and drugs busted open.  It was almost broken by Pesto the rockstar dog which you'll see in the vid.  That dog sure got around.  I was gonna say that bitch sure got around but I'm not trying to piss anyone off. 

         Speaking of pissing people off, I'm including a clip here that I didn't want to put on youtube because it shows the majority of the people at this party smoking reefer getting drunk and acting stupid.  In a good way.  Still, I never wanted to incriminate, or implicate people in the court of internet opinion.  You know what I'm saying.  I used to think this video would be of interest mainly to people who were there but it's entertaining in it's own right.  Good sample of what each band did live.  Much thanks once again to Greg Stokey for smoking so much weed.      

       Hey here's the video I made for Dwarf Bitch!

The song is a live version of "Stumble" my favorite song of theirs.  I probably should have used the studio track for the vid.  Didn't happen.  Instead you get this music video using audio from that practice.  Ain't it a hoot!  I've also included the full practice from which I culled the music vid.  Clever eh?  Well not really.  Let the music do the talkin. 

       Catapult was an awesome band.  This video helps to solidify their place in Las Vegas underground music history along with the two 7" records and at least 2 demo tapes.  A classic song starts the beginning of their set.    

      So yeah.  Party on.  If you were captured doing something stupid in this video and you don't want it to get out for fear of losing your government job as a dog catcher or whatever, please don't ask me to take it off.  Just don't tell anyone about this link.  And they'll never know.  Our secret.   

Sunday, February 14, 2010

SPAZZ live at Pabco Road, Las Vegas, Nevada May 1997 VIDEO

       The late 90's gave rise to a subgenre known as PowerViolence!   If you are familiar with that term then you know about SPAZZ.

       To me it's the only band under the PowerViolence banner worth listening to.  I'd describe the style as ridiculously fast hardcore bordering on grind but with more changes.  Grindcore seemed to overplay the novelty of blast beats.  With bands like Spazz they at least threw in an interesting variety of blast beats.  It's still punishing brutality but there are enough changes happening to keep it interesting.  

     Aside from that the standard elements are in place.  Barked, monotone vocals, tough guy pissed off kinda stuff with a hint of straight edge politics.  At least this is Wikipedia's definition.  A definition that sounds like shit.  And for good reason.  Many of these Power Violence bands were crap in my opinion.  Take Infest for example.  I never saw any pictures of Infest but for some reason I picture the singer as a fat guy.  According to legend Man Is the Bastard was the first band to coin the term PV.  Yet another reason to think the genre is crap.  But wasn't Inhumanity considered Power Violence?  How about Charles BronsonPalatka?  All good bands.  It's a fruitless endeavor to try and walk through the genre maze.  All I know is that first Spazz record La Revanche is unfucking believable!   

       SPAZZ is one of the few bands from that time period who still sound exciting to me.  We were super lucky to have them come through Las Vegas on their first (only?) US tour.  La Revanche in the pinnacle of what that genre could achieve in my book.  But they also put out more split 7" records than Jesus Christ.  Ridiculous speed and menacing power but also the funniest jokes and samples I've ever heard in relation to brutal extreme music.  

       They were among the few bands at the time who found the missing ingredient in the brutal music puzzle.  Humor.  Every band with an ounce of destructive elements in their sound were steadfast in their serious devotion to all things ugly: Satan, murder, gore, serial killers, beheadings, or in the case of PowerViolence bands politics or Veganism or y'know whatever, I could never find it in me to care honestly.   SPAZZ bypassed all that shit by writing songs about random shit grounded in reality and a love for brutal music with funny ass samples and interludes.  Not that I give a shit what SPAZZ had to say either.  Who cares what anyone is saying in extreme music?  I can't understand a goddamned word and I make up my own words anyway because in most cases I'm usually disappointed in what they're trying to say.  The fact that SPAZZ's music was so funny is what made them so great.  I've played it for people who don't care for loud music and they were entertained.  So that says something right?

       Even on my first listen of their LP "La Revanche" I thought it was as good as Carcass "Reek of Putrefaction."  That's how bowled over I was!  I still stand by that first impression.  Unrelenting!     

         Chris Dodge played bass.  An interesting guy, also a former member of STIKKY!  I think guitarist Dan Boleri went on to make hip hop.  Also very cool.  To me the drummer of SPAZZ was the centerpiece of the band and watching him is the most entertaining part of this video.  Back then he was known as Hirax Max Ward because of his love of the band HIRAX.  Bonus point for that.  The way he eviscerates those drums with such precision is mind blowing!  

        SPAZZ was one of the bands who were there to pick up the pieces from what was left over from the "hardcore" aesthetic.  It was speed, simplicity, and aggression, with a smiling face ready to pull the rug out from under the serious but laughable tone which had set up shop in this kind of music.  It was a real punk move but I wouldn't call it punk.  It's not as limiting as grindcore, and it has nothing to do with Death Metal.  It was SPAZZ.  And it was the most fun that could be heard in the late 90's underground.  So glad I got to experience them live.  And I'm glad you will be able to do the same now. 

Download this clip or watch it on youtube below.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pestilence & Horde of Torment demos

       Pestilence was one of the few local bands from the 80's that seemed to make a big splash outside the Las Vegas valley.  I heard talk about their demo making the rounds in tape trading circles at that time and people were really psyched on them all over the world.  Yet again another band that put out a classic demo that never made it to vinyl, but I think this was later released on vinyl.

        Pestilence is such a generic name it was a little surprising that Pestilence would later change their name so as not to be confused with any other Pestilenceses in the world.  I'm sure by now there have been hundreds of bands named Pestilence maybe thousands.  In point of fact there was a band from Holland who had the same name and they later took up the mantle of the one and true Pestilence once this Pestilence relinquished the name.  I heard  the Holland guys and wasn't impressed.  This Pestilence will always be the true Pestilence in my book.  American Metal reigns supreme over those Euro trash posin dirtheads!  Anyway, they later became Horde of Torment.  Which again is a pretty stupid fucking name.   

         It's quality Thrash Metal.  And no, it's not Death Metal, it's not Speed Metal, and it's not Crossover Hardcore.  It's impossible to describe these guys without making mention of Metallica or Exodus maybe even Slayer but they don't have the same brutality that Slayer exhibited.  It's Thrash.  Well put together with lot's of heart.  Great guitar licks and the singer does a good job spouting aggression with a snarl that keeps this squarely in the metal militia.

         I never did see them play live but I was among the throngs who heard this demo and was surprised they were from Vegas.  They later moved to So Cal?

         Since I'm not too schooled on their story I did a search and found a great interview with Horde of Torment conducted by Laurent Ramadier from Snakepit magazine which is full of stories about desert shows they played and other experiences in Sin City.  The pics you see here were taken from that site.

         On a side note I have to say Snakepit magazine is probably the best metal magazine I've ever read.  This guy Laurent from France appears to be completely obsessed with the "TRUE" Metal scene in it's entirety.  I read a review he gave of the recently reissued Papsmear discography and he drops Vegas names like Lethal, Substance D, and 5150, as well as other bands I didn't even know existed like Voluntary Manslaughter and Fallacy.  Pretty cool to think there's a weirdo out there who will still document and celebrate scenes as obscure as those that have remained dormant for as long as these have.   I can only imagine how many hours a day this guy listens to Metal. 

         Listening today these tracks still got power.  I remember how we felt a bit let down by their sound when they changed their name to Horde of Torment.  I'm still feeling that way.  Horde of Torment was more traditional metal sounding with less of the kick in the balls thrash sound that Pestilence had.  It's still good just not as out of control which is what I look for in this style.       

        Thanks again to Jeff Murphy for sending these demos along.  A few live tracks are included with Pestilence thrashing it out at The Club which was located on Valley View and Charleston.

       I'm really bad with names but Jeff Murphy clued me in: Pestilence was: Kevin Leonard: Bass/Vocals, Ahrue Luster: guitar, Scott Savich: guitar, and Joey Capabianco on drums.  Horde of Torment had the same line up with Tim Montijo on drums instead of Capabianco.     

Your Mother live at Pabco Road Video

       Your Mother!  Again a terrible name.  But it's written in stone: the worse the name the better the band.  They are from San Francisco but don't hold that against em.  Another amazing performance at Pabco Road out in the desert on the East side of Las Vegas which was host to the cream of the crop for underground bands over the years.  Probably the most consistent "venue" in Las Vegas, Nevada back then.  Unless you liked the crap that played at the Huntridge.

       I'm not sure if Your Mother is a band anymore but they are still alive as individuals so keep your eyes peeled.  Super poppy hardcore with hooks galore and funnier than shit.  Please take note this is not Pop Punk.  It's somehow Pop Hardcore Punk.  If that makes sense.  Or if it makes a difference?  

     Totally entertaining show and the death kneel for my hi8 camera.  I shot this show as a rare Las Vegas rain began to fall.  It was a light sprinkle so I figured what could go wrong?  Well my camera effectively died that night.  You can see this as the tape starts to fuck up really bad at the end.  Later on this camera got stolen by a crack head.  Little did he know it was fucked up so the jokes on him eh?

       At the beginning of the tape you will notice a dumb ass in a huge truck trying to scale the large hill at the side of the Pabco "stage" area.  That seemed to happen at every show.  Sometimes they'd get stuck.  Sometimes they'd get free.  Go USA! 

       These guys were perhaps the funniest band I ever saw at Pabco.  Not counting the nazi version of Fuck Shit Piss.  Ouch.  Do yourself a favor and download these clips and show them to your girlfriend for Valentines Day.  

Your Mother PART 1
Your Mother PART 2
Your Mother PART 3
Your Mother PART 4

     Don't want to download anything?  Watch all these clips on youtube dude!

Monday, February 8, 2010

American History (abridged)

       I've labored under the illusion that I am a filmmaker for some time now.  In all honesty I'm a student of film.  I've got a lot to learn. 
       I am posting this film for Amy Carrelli.  She helped me to produce American History (abridged), a film that makes me cringe when I see it.  It's bad.  Real bad.  And I thought it smart to hide it away and pretend it didn't exist.  But it is a gross disservice to her and the hard work she did in helping me put this film together by keeping it under wraps.  I will be forever thankful for her efforts.  
      This film... I have a hard time putting it into words.  I'm a fan of Jean Luc Goddard, the Marxist French New Wave director.  I wanted very much to make an arty polemic of the American psyche with parallels to his work.  You can see right off I'm going in a bad direction with those types of lofty aspirations.  But I went for it!  With Amy's help, and the help of some great people, as well as a small grant from the Nevada Arts Council, we went off into the desert to shoot this film.  Which does have some interesting visuals at least.   

       Using many of the character traits of American mainstream and historical symbols I tried to make sense of a country that is filled with flaws as well as hope.  This film is marred by so many sweeping generalizations it's quite laughable in retrospect.  It's overwrought with symbolism and blind optimism but here's the gist of the film:  

       I scratch the surface of all the traits of American society which I could see through my narrow window, wherein each trait is metaphorically killed by the succeeding generational ideal who are in turn killed by the next generation.  These traits, or ideals, or whatever I was thinking, are a combinations of events, values, or social movements which lead to the America we know today.  The idea that these forces in history are killing each other is just a symbol.  Even though they die on screen their presence is supposed to paint the illusion that their effects are still felt.  The knife is hope in the next generation which is taken from the body of the preceding generation.  Each generation needs to kill what happened before them but the effects of the past are still being felt.     

       We start with Religion.  Puritan values, which we can agree are warped and unhealthy, extend all the way to talk shows airing today across the country.  The certainty of a people who believe they know god, and therefore truth, is a dangerous thing.  It's colored by the notion that we who know god can kill and rape the savages because we know the truth.  This concept is "killed" metaphorically by the traits of Republicanism.  A belief in the righteousness of the state and the idea that democracy is the one true way towards a greater society while also creaking under the weight of horrendously overlooked issues of inequality.  Specifically slavery.  Which leads to the South and Civil War "killing" the values of Republicanism.  I portray the South reveling in the power of individualism as the theoretical basis of the Civil War.  Something many still believe today, conveniently forgetting the implications of the slave issue.  The end result of the Civil War?  Individual liberty doesn't mean shit when it goes against the inner workings of the true basis of political power, economics.  Leading to the Industrial Age.  Where capitalism truly flowered into what it is today.  The birth of corporate power. Represented by the Railroad which helped to foster the Manifest Destiny. 

       After completing the film I began to wonder if I might have been too hard on the failings of the labor movement.  Being a current union member I wonder if I was hard enough.  In any event I think it's a bad idea to bash unions when they are already on the ropes.  The unions of today are a shell of their former selves and do more to damage their reputation then they do to usurp the reins of control from management to make life easier for the working man.  Years of corruption isn't addressed in the way it should have been in this film.  Instead I place the blame on the working man which was a mistake.   Today the socialist is still a pariah in America which is the dumbest bullshit ever.  The uneducated masses are still shaking in fear that communism will steal their individuality not realizing that unity is the only way to stand up to power.  The alternative to socialism is everybody fucking everybody else over.  Um.  There's way too much shit going on in this film.   

       Labor is killed by Nationalism which is basically World War Two.  The event that pushed America into it's current position of power and prestige bringing us into the misguided concept of America as the world's police.  That issue is bottomless and I won't even touch it here because it's so obviously fucked.  
       Civil Rights I portray as a double edge sword.  While Civil Rights had major triumphs I'm convinced that it's great promise still appears unrealized.  In the film Civil Rights unfolds into a codified politics of correctness instead reality.  Too simplistic but I think it's an issue that is still divisive and counterproductive today.  
       Finally ending with the corporate mentality of progress where corporations are seen as the parents of society providing comfort, direction, but ultimately empty meaning to a population desperate for some sort of meaning.  Later generations who may dream of hope are easily pushed away by the powerful machinations of a force that can not be confronted easily by individuals.  That's what we got.  Individuals content with their video games and snack foods who may not believe in a world outside that bubble, or may not be able to confront those truths.  Meanwhile corporate power assumes it's mantle in the power structure only tightening it's grip on the reins of power without shouldering the same amount of moral responsibility that the rest of humanity must face.  

       The soundtrack and location of the film are supposed to be metaphors for the emptiness of the rhetoric.  They sure do their job as the film is ultimately sterile, lifeless, and empty even though it is filled to the brim with ideas.  

       It was a tall order for one film to try and dissect the psyche of "mainstream" America and the history of a continent all within 11 minutes.  Doomed to fail from the start.  I knew it was a train wreck  once the script was done but I really wanted to see it collide.  I wanted to see the blood on the walls, casualties, survivors, dead bodies and all.     

       It's self indulgent, self absorbed, and despite my best efforts to be unbiased, it's preachy, stereotypical, and reeks of an agenda.  That agenda being that America is bad.  Misguided.  Full of itself and headed for it's final days as a world power.  This film was made in 1999.  I was a fool to think I was revealing some truth about America at that time.  I was oblivious to the fact that these truths I thought I understood were actual truths not characters in a film.  To think how pissed off I was at the actions of our government at that time.  What a crock of shit.  It blindsided me when Bush was elected shortly thereafter and all these elements took on a twisted sinister and very real face in the actions of the Bush administration.  I went from being angry to being stunned.  

       Upon making the final edit I hid it away, never screening the final cut.  I felt impotent and hid myself away.  My life was taking the shape of a cliche.   Looking at my younger self who appeared to know everything and that as I grew older I found I knew less and less.  To say it was humbling is an understatement.  I still don't like this film.  It destroyed my inclination to create and It would be years before I would pick up a camera.  It would be years before I could write again.  It's no coincidence that the film I made after this one was the barest simplicity of the Simples series.  And that film wouldn't be done until 2007.      

       I'm so glad that Amy pushed me to post this film.  It's like standing naked in front of the world for me to share this film.  To me this film is like a child who thinks his shit doesn't stink.  It is a lesson.  
       An interesting side note:  every now and again I see car commercials shot in that same desert location.  Brilliant.