Friday, September 21, 2012

BLAST AWAY! Notes about the Cincinnati Basement Scene 1996-99


   I wrote a version of what follows and sent it to a comrade-in-arms in hopes that he would expand on the subject matter and that some sorts of snowball effect could happen and this piece would be built upon and eventually some sorts of large(r) scale project documenting all the far-out times during the burgeoning Cincinnati Punk Rock basement scene of the mid-late 90's... Maybe, maybe not I suppose... That particular comrade in question wanted nothing to do with this effort. So then I sent this 'start' to another comrade from the trenches, someone who was there all Back-In-The-Day™ and shit... Then to another and another... Each with the same results. Maybe those times aren’t nostalgic enough for them yet to relive in hindsight, or maybe I’m too nostalgic for my own good. I’m not sure which, if either, it is. In reality (the terrible, terriblereality), both may be wrong to a certain degree. Maybe those times weren’t really times at all or maybe, just maybe... the story is still being written.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure.

            None-the-less those times were times indeed, at least for somebody (if even for just me). This 'piece' or effort or whatever the kids are calling it these days, probably wont become the introduction to a book or anything else on a large(r) scale like Eric Davidsons’ WE NEVER LEARN book, but I wish it would (but seriously, I actually used the full word 'probably' back there-- what have I become?) But that’s all ok too... These/Those times were great. By no means are the goodtmes over I feel I think (I hope). Many more adventures await me and those who surround me (you know who you are-- consider yourself warned), but I felt as if way-back then I was part of something great, something bigger, and something special. Maybe it was just me... I may be wrong about it, I can admit that. No shame in being wrong... Being wrong is still being something after all. Acknowledging the possibilities if being wrong also acknowledges the possibility that I am 100% right too. If I learned anything from being involved in the punk-rock scene as a whole, nothing is about anything more than what you make or made of it. In fact, anyone can realize that sometimes the end is just a beginning; just as any beginning is something else’s end. Nestled here in a strange social spot remembering bands like THE SLOBS, THE LONG GONES, PINCUSHION, ARCHIE & THE PUKES, THE TWERPS, THE SYPHILITICS, GERIATRIX! THE MORTALS THE HYPOCHONDRIACS or SNOTBOY '77 (or just plain SNOTBOY to you newer fans) and looking at new bands like WEAKNESS, HOMEMADE DRUGS, WHITE WALLS and countless others (Cincinnati is packed with great bands)... Things seem to be growing (or at least maintaining) and interest seems to he deepening... Still, after all this time. Putting it simply enough, those times, as uncertain as it seems even now, were a blast!

I hope those weren’t the best times I will ever see.

Shawn Abnoxious
September 2012

Notes about the Cincinnati Basement Scene 1996-99

     There never really was a 'beginning' in the classic form of what a beginning is, or should be. No grand event, no big bangs, or trumpet call. No grand significant moment to herald in what would rise and become something bigger... or was there???


     Likewise, there was no big ending to tell you that everything was over and that what had come as a flash, finally went out with a poof! There was no big grand finale or ceremony telling you that you have finally reached the end. The rides over... Please exit to your left in an orderly manner.

     Is it even over? Done? Complete?

     Of course not.

     There are still fringe elements gathering in the danky basements (and other elsewhere’s) that might just as well be places with populations that feel as if maybe (just maybe) they are part of a witnessing of a certain kind of greatness that the enemy (everyone else) don’t deserve or understand nor will they ever!

     This, whatever you wanna call it, is special...

     The fight isn’t over! The battle continues! Those basements are bunkers where the battle verses complacency and normality will be waged. It, one again whatever you manna call it, will never be over. The battle changes, there’s new battlegrounds... but it will never be over.

    Never mind. Asking if it was over was a silly question to begin with.


     You’re left with memories and times of events and happenings that you recall like war veterans recalling their wars, battles and campaigns.

     Crazy times.

     Wild times...

     Crazy, wild and dangerous times.

     There was something to be learned in those earliest basements on Glendora, Parker Street or McMillan and even more lessons on Warner Street, The Dick House or The Flora House. They could almost be battlefields in a war that both sides appeared to have won and also lost simultaneously. Many of those stories almost sound made up when you catch yourself telling the tales. Sometimes listeners will just give you that "Yeah, right" look and you can’t really say that you don’t blame them. If you weren’t there yourself, maybe you wouldn’t believe it all happened either.

     Yeah, someone’s bangin' in the bushes... Yeah, those bushes with all the garbage in them. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

     That is raw sewage coming up from the drain. So what? It's just raw sewage. Dancing is dancing no matter where it is.

     He smashed a bottle over his head and is bleeding everywhere AND he has aids? A bottle? His head? Blood? Everywhere? Here come the cops.

      "My last beer is always for me" he said while reaching into his pocket and sub sequentially brandishing a switchblade.

     The pigs are here (again).

     What’s all that paper laying all over everywhere? Oh, its copies of the latest zine, THE NEUS SUBJEX that was handed out for free. The Neus Subjex: Litter Waiting to Happen!

     That’s just a sample... A verily small tip of a bigger iceberg that is already ripping your ship to shreds. Don’t even bother with the lifeboats. You are doomed. Take a deep breath and just enjoy the sinking...

     Before you could realize it, you were wrapped up in something that you knew was special and exciting. A bigger something or other that you didn’t know was special at the time. Sometime in-between the beginning that never happened (or you didn’t realize was happening) and what you got now (whatever you wanna call it) you find yourself rubbing through a thick beard with sore hands surviving a freak car accident with your car in a swimming pool and the news cameras framing you up nicely holding your waterlogged dry-cleaning that (for whatever reason) you managed to somehow, someway, magically retrieve intact.

     There you are....

     Standing next to the submerged car, scratching your head, playing your role for the cameras superbly and sticking to your wild story that not only seemed to be holding up, but held superbly after all. You survived. You are a survivor. There still some song to be sang yet.

     So sing your song. Sing it loud. Sing it strong.

     Somewhere in there, back there, around there... That one place, that one time, those particular circumstances... Not knowing exactly anything from anything else, you took a direct hit.

     You took a BLAST FROM THE BASEMENT and things will never be the same again.

     I, we, they (choose your weapon) haven’t been the same since.

     As long as punk-rock has existed in Cincinnati or elsewhere and as long as punk-rock will ever exist anywhere, there will always be basements, back rooms and other forms of dilapidated structures of every imaginable kind hosting the weird, the outcast and subversive elements. No, the abstract will survive. The Rebellion will endure. This weekend in Cincinnati... No matter which weekend it is, in some basement there is action. There is noise. There is survival. There is song to sing.


Thursday, September 20, 2012




11 Years ago today*

      at this exact time

I failed to fill-up

      my gas-tank.

My co-workers were right.


The End.



Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Double the bacon Randy*


In the head or in the bed...

We're going all-in

and we arent planning

on coming back out ALIVE!

*Randy America, Terror-Eater

The Randy America Thrillogy (Part 3)

They ARE watching!

Because they are scared.

You scare them.

You threaten them...

You are there enemy.

And they are your enemy.

Double the bacon a second time...


*To Be Determined at a Later Date. Thanks! -MGMT

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Review Prelude #1
On final approach to writing this bit I am faced with a dilemma just as I sit down to type these very words. Am I going to include the ‘*’ in the CD’s title, as it appears in a verily shallow attempt to cover up the word FUCK? Or am I going to uncover and expose the word, as the commoners know it? Fuck it. Now you don’t wanna offend someone with a last name like American… It sounds as if he may have a large army and be itching for a fight… With a name last name like ‘America’ you expect a fucking energy drinking in one hand gun in the other gun nut sporting a Russian made firearm previously boxed up for storage that hasn’t been fired in years, but asking for ‘release’ all the same. So, I will be true to Randy America, and myself…I will do both.

Review Prelude #2
This prelude was included for no outright reason than to just include something that could be here, making two preludes, which would be much like a double cheeseburger, except with words about music… So there! I never found more satisfaction from firing any weapon like I have an AK-47, one of the finest weapons ever made. I just want everyone to know that I have friends with lots of guns with verily large magazines that can kill a motherfucker dead.

Now. Let the review begin.

Self-proclaimed shut-in, Randy America lashes out on F*UCK VISION in a target rich environment. Lots of opportunities, lots of bullets. The battle is never over. The war has just begun. The production featured on F*UCK VISION have is amazing. Taking matters into his own hands, Randy gave …THWART! The lowdown willingly “So I bought some bad ass software, learned how to use it somewhat and recorded the whole thing in my basement. I did all of the instruments and vox, mixed it etc. I used this super cool drum software on all of the tunes except 2,3,4,5. And on those tracks I had the drummers e-mail them, so that I didn't have to leave the house.” Me? I listen to a majority of music with ear buds these gloriously pitiful days. That way I can play music as loud as I can and drown the ‘real world’ away. Right off the bat from the start I’m instantly reminded of earlier times driving around in a blue two-door cavalier filling my ears with whatever I could. Much of F*UCK VISION sounds remind me of when I initially discovered SCREECHING WEASEL with Randy America nodding heavily toward 80’s refined power-pop new wav-ish edge mixed with slight tinges of jean jacket heavy metal… F*UCK VISION is ripe with muscular hooks (I stole ‘muscular’ from Rolling Stone Magazine who stole it from some unknown, undisclosed Blogger) and commercialized bitter-sweetness (there Rolling Stone, take ‘‘commercialized’ in exchange). F*UCK VISION is verily punchy; head-noddy and solitary ‘Fuck yeah’ fist-in-the-air. I will admit, I had no idea who exactly this Randy America was… I suspected that he was ALSO a re-emerging 90’s punk native. From some band that did some records that I proly end up having somewhere. Sure, with time, google and other nosy inquiries I could ‘discover the truth’ but that’s no fun! I decided that I would take Randy America for Randy America, not Randy America EX-WHATEVER... Randy’s songs titles scream themes to me. I think there is a bigger picture with F*UCK VISION than originally thought. Is this a documentation of something, a moment in time ala X Ray Spexs' Germ Free Adolescents? It could be... Right now I don’t know. You get barely fist deep in this fucker and early on you begin seeing a bigger picture… In here… Somewhere… I hate feeling like there’s a message and I’m not 'getting it'. Maybe its one of my personal character flaws coming out... The bigger picture of F*UCK VISION and how it relates to 2012 punk-rock (whatever they will call this era in the coming years) is out there. You just gotta get deep. F*UCK VISION isn’t just another something for me to listen to, its an assignment, a message to decipher, decode and figure out. On some ditties like the theatrical "Cronat Gold" I’m reminded of Queen or Iron Maiden (jean jacket metal). On other tracks you can see Screeching Weasel type sing along choruses like on "Too Many Times", “Sunrise Song” and personal favorite, an ode of drowning in waves of nostalgia (?) “Brickfield Nights" I don’t even know what, or where "Brickfield Nights" is or were or maybe still are, but by songs end, I’m even missing them. Its on the ballad "American Gypsy" where you can hear the perfect amalgamation of the slight metal and Weasel influences and everything seems to click even if you cant put it in words, trust me, it ‘clicks.’ Stepping into a scenery and time that never existed and devouring a Bastard DC (two Burger King Whopper Sandwiches made into one gigantic bastard of a meal with an extra slice of ‘grease’ bread as an extra treat), Randy eagerly expands on the meaning behind what F*UCK VISION truly means. “It's a nod to this guy Jay Reatard who put out a record called Blood Visions, combine that with my absolute disdain for anything PC and how everyone gets offended these days so easily, and then add in the fact that it is a totally confusing title. You get Fuck Vision! Swearing, confusion, perfect!” There is life beyond… No, I’m not talking all ‘religion’ on you or anything but you just can’t be satisfied with the end. The end is just a beginning for something new. F*UCK VISION, like it or not does tell a story. It documents and acts like a soundtrack to the last several years of Randy’s life. Things move forward. There’s only and end if you want it to end. Wherever Randy is from, or whatever he did (I still choose not to research his name and get the skinny) it all doesn’t matter. On F*UCK VISION Randy is moving forward. You, loyal …THWART! Reader and avid music listener can go with or die against. I’m not the only guy that has friends with firearms ya know…

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