Tuesday, July 30, 2013

[Past-Blast] [Blank Generation-July. 2001]

Reviews from Blank Generation originally published in July 2001 Note: Images added to certain reviews for cosmetic purposes in 2013
Jane Speed 
Becka...gone but not forgotten
Pic from Blank Generation nterview courtesy of Joe Domino
"Are Those Prescription?" CD
So, like, here we go. I have a lot to say about this band because they really fucking knocked me for a loop. I don’t know how to do anything different than to start at the beginning. And this is going to be a while so get comfortable. Grab a glass of ice and some generic Cola. Sit with me. Rot with me. Rock with me....
Getting phone calls… I’m in The Socials. I AM a 'social'. True slaves to low waves… Sometimes those waves are high… We’re playing shows. Getting out there… Selling candy, making money… Other times the waves are low
. It’s a barren worm infested (i.e. DUNE) desert. No one wants us. No one likes us. Everyone is like, "Social Who?" Cosmic battles for the spice.... No big deal… I’m fine with it, really. I learned, just as the other Socials, to take it as it comes. I play in The Socials, and make music, and release that music because I want to. IF people like it, good for them, if people hate it, BETTER!
So "Morte" from Kill the Hippies calls and ask for The Socials to play "PP Envy’s" birthday party. Of course those names aren’t their real names. They are used to protect the innocent. If you learn their 'real' names then good for you buttercup. Until then, have fun on the bottom, and believe me, YOU ARE on the bottom.
PP Envy was having one of her favorite bands down from Massachusetts called Jane Speed and both her and Morte thought The Socials would fit in nicely on the bill. Morte said something along the lines of, "I think you will really like this band. They have keyboards and are pretty Neoteric."
Boom! He said it. That was all that was needed to get me interested. And really, you NEVER have to twist my fucking arm to get my ass up to Kent, more specifically The Mantis Gallery. This trip makes it the Seventh time The Socials have graced the Mantis Gallery’s stage and this time it’s just one day after the reunion of Akron’s own Rubber City Rebels. The stage was lined in chopped up tires to fit nicely with the Rebels whole schtick.
Jenny [front] & Cailin [back] concentrating...
Pic from Blank Generation nterview courtesy of Joe Domino
The day of the show arrived. We armed ourselves with guitars. Amplification… Drums… 12 packs…and nourished ourselves with "Fast Food." Fast food for fast people. The Socials are returning to Kent. Kenny (on Broadway) was long gone, to the coast of The San Frand-a-sisco. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss him. I did. I missed him terribly. I would have broken down and cried if we hadn’t had a three-hour phone conversation with him the previous night. You might say I am crazy. You might call me a lot of things that may or may not be true. You might call me hippie but I truly felt Kenny’s presence with me as I floundered around The Mantis Gallery, which, with the tires lining the stage and so, was looking HOTTT! It looked as if there is a rebirth of my most favorite venue to ever visit, and it was even looking like the floors were being swept and the bathroom! Maintenance! The bathroom was actually the cleanest that I have ever seen it. Yes, the Kinko’s made Socials sticker is STILL in the broken shard of mirror that rest on the back of the toilet.
Kim on keys
Pic from Blank Generation nterview courtesy of Joe Domino
You know, I don’t really mean to write about The Socials that much in this review. I think I am just doing this because you see, members of Jane Speed and Monster Attacks (more on them later) were vital in leading us, The Socials, to probably playing one of the best shows in our existence. We were dead on in our delivery. Eleven songs, finishing with our new signature hit "Slaves to the Low Wave", but being urged to do two more. We don’t really like to play more when asked because we like to leave people wanting more. But we, The Socials, did what we did for Monster Attacks, Jane Speed, our close friend (whose hand smells like a carnival) Rob, and of course we can’t forget Kill the Hippies and PP Envy’s Birthday! Because of who they were, and how great they were, we played on! It was the greatest gift any band could give another, a song. An ounce of creativity… Pound of sweat… Jane Speed’s set, and The Monster Attacks’ set before them, and the mere presence of Kill the Hippies and Rob FUELED US! We played two more songs on top of our planned eleven, then The Jerry (Socials drummer) puked. Adrenaline overdose. The last show Jerry puked at we did four extra songs with two of those songs being repeats. The Celina, Ohio crowd didn’t care that they wanted more and got a bargain’s worth. Jane Speed asked for more… Monster Attacks asked for more… Kill the Hippies asked for more, and Rob asked for more… What else can I say? Thank you!
So, here you got Jane Speed. They were getting ready while Monster Attacks assaulted the stage. I spy two keyboards. I spy a drum set. I spy a bass. I point down to the two keyboards and give the thumbs up hand sign to their keyboardist, who later told me she thought by the way I was carrying on during their set and acknowledging her keyboards beforehand I was some sort of veteran keyboard player. Me, Shawn Abnoxious, a 'veteran' at anything? Hell, I remember at one point in their set I was urging them to play keyboard with just their index fingers in a rapid motion back and forth and such because that’s how it’s supposed to be done according to the International Doctrine of New Wave Ethics (Section four, sub paragraph C).
Both me and, Socials ally, Andy were hooked right from the start. More post-riot grrl action i.e. Le Tigre, except Jane Speed was more humble. It sounded as if any minute that Jane Speed were about to collectively implode. Their sound was raw, basic but yet enthusiastic and relentless. To the point, Jane speed is to the point. It comes across like artillery strikes deep within no-mans land. Hands down… Surrendering… Ka-boom! Jane Speed has taken the ethics of the riot grrl "thing" and has created something with their sound that’s survivable. You take Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, gene Defcon and the aforementioned Le Tigre and combine the eerieness of Siouxie and The Banshees, the rawness of The Screamers, and the dance-ability (yes, I Said DANCE-ABILITY back there! Mark it on your calendars! Call MS NBC! Call Dan Rather and tell him he's a FUCK!)… You take all of that and boom, or should I say ka-boom, you got yer Jane Speed. Definitely neoteric… Definitely definite… Morte was right.
From start to finish, Jane Speed got my undivided attention. I heckled them alongside Andy Assault Rifle about how they should play "Magazine Love" by the Screamers and at times Andy and I were singing "Vertigo", "Mensch", and other random Screamers tunes in-between Jane Speed songs. Jane Speed's front replied back several times about how stupid we were and how much we sucked and ya know what? She was right! Andy and I were stupid! We did suck!!! We were only listeners. We were only there. Compared to Jane Speed, everyone else was miniscule. Nothing… Jane Speed was about the moment. About the second… About the keyboards, bass, drums and vocals… They did what they did and did it from a place where they had no idea who the Screamers were. They heard "something" about (the mighty) The Fuses, and also heard something about (the mighty) The Uniform, and were absolutely dumbfounded about (the mighty) Morphius Records (who released that awesome and memorable Fuses/Uniform split LP) that exist right next door to their hometown! Hell, it’s quite possibly Morphius' fault too. The fine folks at Morphius SHOULD have been hip to the Jane Speed by now and should already be releasing their records.
The truth hurts. Jane Speed SHOULD HAVE been touring to support a fucking LP, not a fucking six song CDR. Don’t get me wrong, don’t get the wrong impression by what I say. I heard Jane Speed this night for the first time, and if I had the ability I would sign the fuckers up for AT LEAST an LP. Bands like Jane Speed come out of nowhere and knock me for a loop. They leave a trail of blood in their wake. They deserve attention. They deserve attention. They deserve your fucking moment asshole!
Becka [front] & Jenny [back] wailing
Pic from Blank Generation nterview courtesy of Joe Domino
This is a six song CDR. Self released beautification. The songs on the CD don’t hit as hard as the band does live.... That’s a problem with most bands anyway. I bet two weeks after recording these songs Jane Speed were rocking five times as hard. How do I know this? Because I saw it first hand! If you absolutely hate what Le Tigre is doing with their sound then you will not be ready for this recording of Jane Speed. If you are getting into Le Tigre then this is right up your ass like my screaming fist.
"Are Those Prescription" is nervous pop. It’s neoteric…mild in comparison to their live bite. What’s important is what Jane Speed will be. I told them that in me, they have a forever-fan. They’re a screaming fist rig
ht in my teeth! I don’t think they believed me, but what’s a piece of shit like me to do? I don’t have a wide vocabulary and I choose to latch myself to bands that defy description.
I’m asking you to trust me here. Walk with me through the minefield of modern music and we will emerge on the other side unscathed. Ready for a New World? Listen to the nu-classics as they set you ablaze.
Join me in welcoming Jane Speed to the ranks of The Neoteric Punk/Wave.
PS: By night’s end, members of Jane Speed promised that they would look around for The Screamers at their local record store. The End? (SAB)
(Jen Kaminsky 39 Chester St. Apt. 1 Allston, MA. 02134)

Read the Interview Joe Did HERE

Monster Attacks "Raw Material Production" LP
Weather Update from Cincinnati: The searing June heat has given way to strong thunderstorms, which moved through earlier this evening. The temperature has dropped making the non-air conditioned environment of my, "compound", bearable.
Elvis had his Graceland. I have my Manor.
You have to be ready for anything nowadays. There’s a lot of shit out there that’s just hidden, just below the surface, and teeming with danger. You never know. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN…
Like I seen this guy walking, who I thought was a member of The Jane Speed since he got out of a van that had a U-haul trailer attached to the bumper. I call him over and introduce myself to him and chat a bit about our bands and scenes. I ask him if he goes to that Boston Public School, and if he ever runs into Alley McBeal, and even though he didn’t make the connection at first I took liberties in telling him that yes, WKRP in Cincinnati is STILL on the air in Cincinnati after all this time.
Despite the fact that WKRP in Cincinnati is a FICTIONAL show, meaning its created or "made up" or whatever the kids are calling it these days, on Television Studios (i.e. "I Love Lucy"), people around the United States FAIL to think twice when they inquire with me about the validity of the show. I have had many people actually believe me when I am like "Yeah, it really exists, and it is on the air, but Johnny Fever isn’t doing to well these days."
What you, the UN-Cincinnati Native, may not know is that WKRP in Cincinnati actually is loosely based on a REAL radio station called WEBN, which evidently use to be considered a experimental station with the choice of their hard rock format back in the seventies. This station was Cincinnati’s OFFICIAL rock and/or roll station that was so popular that if you were to travel in the abandoned Cincinnati subways, all the way to the infamous "Bomb Shelter" terminal, you would find 'WEBN' graffiti sprawled on the wall next to 'Class of '83 ROCKS'. Nowadays WEBN is a Jacor Station, which is one of the largest Media conglomerates in the country, but still retains their rowdiness stature and popularity because they fail to bleep out profanity in Limp Bizkit songs. Yeah I know.... BORING PUSSIES!
Fucking pussies! Remember that guy Mojo "Elvis is Everywhere. Elvis is Everything" Nixon? Well, he is a morning talk show host here in Cincinnati. Jacor owns his pathetic ass like they own office furniture. They keep trying to coach him into being a funny, kind of Howard Stern, but he is just a gool ol' run of the mill flannel T-shirt wearing hesher. They put Mojo Nixon on in the mornings! Now even I know that he isn’t a morning person. Run into Mojo around six PM and I bet he is a hoot. At six AM the fucker is still wishing for the pillows. Good ol' Jacor. Pussies…
Anyway, let’s get on with it. Enough of this Ben-Hur/Gladiator mega-lo-mart battling. I’m tired of the constant squabble with big business. They are pussies. Let’s let the dying dog die. When the worker’s revolution hits, I am going to be all Pat Sajack on it and shit. Ice in my eyes. Ice on my wrist. Bling (bling)!
So I rapped a bit with Robert, one half of this two-man duo. I sit around for a bit and knock back some beer in The Jerry’s Millenium Falcon (I call my Car 'Gobo’ and he calls his van The Millenium Falcon). I’m all charged up because as soon as I spy a longtime Kent ally, Rob (the same Rob with the Carnival hand I talked about in the Jane Speed review), and he’s talking some crazy shit about buying me some Steel Reserve because he knows what I drink and he wants to support the arts!
I mean FUCK, it’s like I’m fucking Charles Bukowski and shit. I travel from my humble town and there are people ready, willing, and able…to support the arts! FUCK!!!!
Robert and I just talk about crazy shit. Like there was a DANGEROUS meningitis outbreak in Alliance, Ohio, which is only about 20 miles away from Kent. When I first got off the expressway in Kent on the road heading through downtown Kent to the mantis Gallery, I went into a Duke Gas Station to buy some 12 Packs. There was a long line and three 12 packs were pretty heavy, but when I got up to the counter I asked "Hey, did you all get that whole meningitis thing figured out up here?"
The situation in Alliance apparently got so severe that they had to ship in vaccine from all over the country and administer it to thousands of people. I was reading the newspaper headlines on one of the local papers and it was talking about a teenage girl who was found covered in bleeding sores all over her body by her mother who in turn called the ambulance. As they were carting the girl away she told her mom she loved her and that was the last thing the Mom ever heard her daughter say because she fucking died. So when I get asked to play the Mantis Gallery no epidemic, nor rain, sleet, or snow will keep me away. Ironically enough, I instantly remember the last time we (The Socials) were asked to play the Mantis; snowed all the way from The Cincinnati suburbs to The Mantis Gallerys front door! Snow, sleet and white-knuckle driving the WHOLE 5 hours. Since Alliance was in the neighborhood and all, and even Cincinnati local news was talking about the meningitis outbreak and it’s impact on the city, I figured asking about the whole deal wasn’t a big situation. "Hey, did you all get that whole meningitis thing figured out up here?"
"That was in Alliance", the cashier responds. Then bitchingly replies, "This is Kent." Here’s the thing. I live in Fairfield, Ohio. Fairfield is a Northern Suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Fairfield isn’t even in the same county as Cincinnati, but for all intents and purposes, despite the fact it’s a twenty-minute drive to Downtown Cincinnati, I consider my hometown Cincinnati. Now with the close proximity of Alliance to Kent, and I’m talking 20 ROAD miles, not "air" miles (because I live about 24 "road" miles from the outskirts of Cincinnati’s official city limits), I figure Kent and Alliance were one and the same. But I guess not all parts of Ohio share such brotherhood as we do here in Southwest Ohio. I mean FUCK! I was concerned for the citizens of the Ohio Empire AS A WHOLE, not just some Alliance fuckers. I love my state, and have a lot of state pride. I saw this one lady pour out a cup of coffee into the bushes at a Rest Area on this very same trip and I was yelling at her from The Millenium Falcon telling her to not do such a heinous act because Ohio is MY state and she shouldn’t fucking litter like that and disrespect MY state. This, coming from a guy who used to drive around throwing empty 40 ounce bottles at pedestrians! But hey, I’m not heartless because just when I started getting good at it and was landing empty Weidemann forty’s at the next consecutive step of speed walkers, I stopped. I decided I didn’t want to kill anyone because throwing a glass forty ounce bottle from a car going 40 MPH would surely do more damage than throwing a Strawberry Pie at them (I got good at that too).
Think about it… The description that I regurgitated to you from that Kent newspaper... Does that really sound like a meningitis case? I’m no sorts of fucking disease specialist or anything. I’m a Rock Journalist. It sounds as if this girl had something other than meningitis. It sounds to me like some sort of Ebola thing going on. Now I saw "Outbreak"; so I do know something about Ebola. It sounds to me like this girl had that- blood, sores, death… Yep, Ebola!
So what really went on? Sounds like a cover up if you ask me. Was this so-called 'meningitis outbreak' REALLY an outbreak of meningitis? Was it something worse and more widespread then they originally thought, then they originally REPORTED? How many really died and what REALLY caused the outbreak? Lotsa hard hitting questions for a review of a record, eh? What can I say? I’m Shawn Abnoxious doing it for the kids because the kids are being lied to. The kids are being told something that is not completely true. The Truth is out there, and whereas I might not have all the answers, I do have a very creative imagination, I’m not afraid to ask the uneasy questions, and last but not least, I hold a position with Blank Generation. That’s it! I can use Blank Generation as a vehicle for my wide range of Conspiracy Theories! Next up: The REAL reason why my satellite TV cuts out at about midnight to 2 AM.... You will be surprised!
So Monster Attacks takes the stage. Fucking art damage. Fuck yeah! First off, you hear a drum machine, rhythm machine, or synth, or whatever the kids are calling those things nowadays, plugged into a small amp and making the same series of sounds through each of Monster Attacks songs; eeeeeeee-ewewewewew-eeeeeeee-ewewewewew-eeeeeeee ewewewewew-eeeeeeee-ewewewewew-eeeeeeee-ewewewewew.... Monster Attacks is a two-man act. The aforementioned Robert plays bass and sings frequently and the other piece is a pretty phenomenal drummer. Their live show borders on performance art because at one point they both quit playing, climb as high as the current venue allows with the various amplifiers surrounding them and shit, strike a pose and hold it for several seconds then, just when I think they are going to dive into the drum set or something, they just reverse their climb and pick up playing where they left off. Fucking art!!!!!
Andy Assault Rifle was there again. Heckling… Giving Monster Attacks shit for no apparent reason. Saying stupid shit like shouting, "You play the bass" to the bassist over and over and over... In essence becoming part of the show. Monster Attacks feed from people like this, and at one point, at a particular songs end, Robert turns from facing the drummer (he plays the majority of the set with his back to the crowd) and sez, "Thank you" to those watching on. The drummer reiterates, "He means that a lot" and repeats it several times while both him and Robert take a moment before continuing. "He means that a lot.... He means that a lot... He means that a lot." Andy repeats him word for word, action for action. The drummer thanks Andy at his set’s end for participating. Fuking art! 100%!
So I got this LP and thought the songs would be totally different because it honestly looked like Monster Attacks were improving their whole set. Well, much to my amazement, Monster Attacks actually have an established structure to their set. This LP is just as strong and just as powerful. Musically Monster Attacks bring a lot of strange comparisons to mind. The Minutemen. Gang of Four. Wire. Man or Astroman. Monster Attacks are Lewis & Clark about their music. Every chord, every beat, is a treat to the ears, truly Neoteric.
Monster Attacks has to be one of the most awesome spectacles I have ever witnessed. Their set was inspiring. Monster Attacks proves that nowadays, there are people out there pushing definitions and restrictions to their breaking points. Pressure tested… If it doesn’t crack, try harder!
Monster Attacks are Underwriter Laboratory tested and rated for maximum results.
Note: DIY hand screened covers… I got Blue/White and mine still smells of lethal fumes. Good times! My LP also came with several small comic books. (SAB)