Monday, April 21, 2014

Sleepcrawl with State Song

State Song
( LP/DL)

True. I feel uncomfortable with the sub-genre of 'shoegaze-rock'... I noticed right away that Sleepcrawler was, in fact, shoegaze/rock but if you were to flip through my records and CDs you would be genre-twisting to find even a small percentage of appropriate titles that could be safely classified as shoegaze... Perhaps Soul Sides "Trigger" (Dischord, 1988) or maybe even the seminal Rites of Spring "S/T" (Dischord, 1985). Post-Hardcore... Emo... Screamo... It's a fucking mystery to me, but I know it's out there.

Jerry Dirr, Phratrys head-honcho, even acknowledged my reception of the record right off the start (see Fig.1). So I approached Sleepcrawler with little to no stress. I had nothing to loose.

Right from the start of Sleepcrawlers first track,  "Burning Girl" captured me. I soon found myself turning up the volume knob and when side one was finished, the record was flipped and I found myself captivated by that side too. 

On Sleepcrawler State Song deliver a great listen promoting deep, emotional and introspective thoughts. Dare to call it passion...  It's the kind of record you get lost in... Each song building up to the next song and the next song builds upon that and then you can just adjust accordingly from there on. Sleepcrawler is  the soundtrack to something bigger, jams steeped in heavy cryptic allegory and symbolism of a post 9/11 world fueled by paranoia, isolation and hopelessness. The gratuitous use of piano is risky but it works on Sleepcrawler. At the same time this record gives your ears and a underlying but shining beacon of hope that seems to find its place just under the surface. State Song wield contradiction as a weapon and your own psyche as the ammunition... There's a war out-there-- a war that is not only on the physical level but on the mental side and I dare (also to say)-- a spiritual level. Upon repetitive listens Sleepcrawler sounds as if it may be a concept album which is ok-- like the 'bigger picture' against the 'bigger picture'

The release show for Sleepcrawler is on April 26th with Mallory at The Northside Tavern. A listening party will take place earlier on April 22nd at The Listing Loon.

Label: Phratry Records

RIYL: Radiohead ( on Ok Compiter), Fourth Wife, New Order, Emo, 

MFJD: "Burning Girl"

Figure 1

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Great Mess in the Three Midwest!

I don't want you to read this... I want you to believe this! I propose that there are currently, in existence, not just one Great Midwest, but THREE Great Midwest! Here's the evidence that supports this.

Exhibit A.

Bloodstains Across the Midwest LP

Although Discogs cites 1994 as the release year for this compilation, another record of a rare few that really changed everything for me, It took until 1996-97 before it finally found its way into my hands. Bloodstains Across The Midwest brought me my first exposure and knowledge of Cincinnati pioneers The Ed Davis Band as well as The Customs-- my local Cincinnati punk-rock heritage. Ultimately though, Bloodstains defined to me what the 'Midwest' was not only as a region, but a force!

Firstly, let's take, for example Kansas smart-guy band (because every smart person wears glasses right?)  The Embarrassment... Are they a Midwest effort? Kansas? Really? Isn't that the prairie that that little house sat on? Well, sort-of (it's complicated) but I'm gonna let them be included as Midwest as later evidence will support. Besides, "Sex Drive" is a great track! Embarrassment are a great band. If they are Midwestern, I wanna be Midwestern too.

Another point of contention from Bloodstains is Louisville Kentucky's inclusion of the End Tables. In no other follow-up evidence does the case for the Bluegrass State exist for being considered a Midwestern state. My case, however, is ultimately for me to decide. Why you ask? What gives me the authority? Simply enough, I'm writing it. My writings, my rules!

So, I will allow Kentucky's inclusion into the Midwest because lines MUST be drawn somewhere. In concession for this decision my apologies to Pittsburg's Bloodstains inclusion, The Five... You have a great song on a great compilation but the whole state of Kentucky has more of a 'midwest feel' than the Pittsburg in my definitions. Your shit out of luck and no, none of the vicious bullshit NFL cliche rival stuff between our cities means squat to me, so don't blame that. Pennsylvania is one of the original colonies. What makes the Midwest a Midwest extends beyond what an original colony offers.

Exhibit B.
The Northwest Territories 1783-1803: Midwest Rising

To further understand my case for multiple Midwest, you must first understand The Treaty of Paris (1783) which generously awarded territory post-revolutionary war known today as Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota to the fledgling United States of America. This area was actually the first officially federally-owned land as property of the Congress of the Confederation; the first 'real' United States government! Back then though, this area was known as the Northwest Territories and remained so until Ohio became the 17th state brought into the union of the United Stated in 1803.

Sub-Exhibit B.1
The identity of the Northwest Territories was dissolved into the short-lived Indiana Territory as Ohio became a state and later chopped up into even smaller pieces, bit by bit, until 1858 when Minnesota was finally entered into statehood as it is today with previous help from not only The 1818 Convention, which awarded more land to the US that would eventually become Minnesota, but also included provisions related to The Louisiana Purchase which completed Minnesota as we know it today

Sub-Exhibit B.2
The region known previously as The Northwest Territories--  although not known in any form as an official 'Midwest' (yet)-- by 1803 had congealed as one and was on its way to being a full-blown region. However, that was fixing to change. Shit gets weird in the Midwest and it also moves fast. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 drastically increased the over-all-size of the United States and gave the new state of Ohio and much of the short-lived Indiana Territory it's first identity of being mid-anything. 

Exhibit C.
Which Midwest... First, Second or Third?

Referring back to wikipedia-- which is just as good of any other source when it comes to 'history'-- the modern Midwest is acknowledged to include not only Ohio and the entire Northwest Territories but also included a considerate chunk of what was once acquired through the aforementioned Louisiana Purchase. 

These states would include not only the aforementioned Ohio but essentially created Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan PLUS land that would later become Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota-- all states that would be classified as 'Midwestern' but hey, aren't these Great Plains states? Well, sort-of...

An arguments FOR eastern parts of Colorado to be included as the part of the Midwest was made via Wikipedia but to me it just doesn't hold-up... Inclusion of eastern Colorado stretches my loose expansive boundaries that you may remember from earlier that were stretched to include Kentucky but excluded Pittsburg. My willingness to drop Pittsburg in exchange for the whole state of Kentucky makes more sense dispelling eastern Colorado as not Midwestern. It feels like an appropriate decision.

The Debris' Clause
Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know what your saying... Nebraska? The Dakotas? I don't feel like scouring my collections of Killed By Death type compilations to really point out poignant bands in these Wikipedia declared Midwestern states exist, but I must put forth my Debris' Clause. Debris were from Oklahoma and scratched the mid-seventies itches of what would become known as proto-punk. If Debris could be active in 1975 Oklahoma, then surely there was something happening in Nebraska or the Dakotas! It just has yet to surface but trust me, it will sometime because us weirdoes are everywhere.

Still yet, there are considerable differences from state to state, from area to area. Ohio itself is ripe with traditions and dialects from the Northwestern portions of the state to my home in Ohio's awesome southwest. Just call Kenny (from Youngstown) and talk to his Satanic-ass for about ten minutes... Then call someone in the other Ohio, me... There's flavor and flare with each. Seriously, don't call me but bug Kenny (message me for his phone number).

I've never personally been farther north than a border-hugging gas station and their impressive cheese display in Wisconsin... I've never been to Minnesota or even Michigan. Things are different from place to place, in Ohio's case from sub-zone to sub-zone... So I'm sure different areas of the great Midwest would agree in slight differences. The Ohio brand of Midwest isn't the same Midwest as what Chicago has, nor what Minnesota has compared to Chicago or Cincinnati. Now, who wants to draw some lines to rectify this? I wanna to draw some lines!

Without further adieu, no more words no more chatter. Me, you and another visual... Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Great Mess of the Three Midwest!

Read more about The Northwest Territories

Read more about Bloodstains Across The Midwest

Thursday, April 17, 2014

[Past-Blast] Crimson Sweet Interview [April. 2001]

Interview from April 2001 Conducted at The 40 Watt Zoo

Crimson Sweet - Neoteric regulars from New York City with both boots undone. This interview was conducted before their appearance with The Dynamite On! and The Socials at the 40-Watt Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio April 21st, 2001. Just one week after a citywide curfew was lifted due to the famed "Cincinnati Riots."

The Crimson Sweet is:
Rooster Booster (RB) Vocals, "V-Army" General.
Rich Lathers (RL) Drums, Backing Vocals.
Robbie Kongress (RK) Bass, Backing Vocals.

BG: Even though I know the story of how you became The Crimson Sweet let’s go through it again for everyone who doesn’t, everyone who will be reading this one for the first time. Let’s start with how you all came together. Was it an ad in a magazine or what?
RL: No, we all knew each other from school.

RK: We met in the schoolyard.

RB: Literally.

RL: We [Lathers/Booster] hooked up with Rob, who we already knew [to Rob], when did you move there [NYC]? I don’t know…

RK: About ‘96.

RL: OK, so we’d been there for a couple years.

RK: No, I was there before you.

RL: Oh you were?

RK: In ‘94…

RL: So we met around the same time… And uh, we knew Robbie Kongress and knew his reputation…

BG: A lady’s man!!!
RL: So we hooked it up. We were all in the same city at the same time so we got it together.

 BG: And the name Crimson Sweet... Booster?

RB: It’s named after a watermelon I have attempted to grow every summer since I was eleven. It takes a sandy soil and I haven’t managed to grow one bigger than a softball.
BG: But is it good?

RB: Fuck, it’s great! It’s the best watermelon on Earth.

BG: Because you grew it!!!!

RB: That’s right!!! [laughter]

BG: Now I wanna talk about Foil Beach, your third release. The first thing I noticed is the SLOW GOLD ZEBRA label name. Is this your own creation?

Pause… Uncomfortable silence, just mere blocks where there was active rioting a week earlier.

RB: Yes.

RB & RL: NO! [laughter]

RK: She sez yes, but she means no!

BG: What’s up with that?

RL: Anything she sez…

RB: Is not true! Cause I’m "Rooster Booster!" Booster of Roosters…

RL: Can we go "off record" for a second?

BG: Yeah, I won’t print whatever you don’t want me to print. [Note: You must outright lie to get "the good stuff." I hate to be all "IBM" about it (business is business) but FUCK, I’m a "journalist"].

RL: It’s a totally fake record label! When kids ask us, "Oh, are you guys on a label?" It’s what we tell everyone so… I guess you can print whichever you want, whichever story you like. It’s that we always say, "Oh yeah…we’re on this little label in New York…it’s called Slow Gold Zebra. They don’t really have national distribution, but it’s just a bunch of really nice people who are helping us out, which is…"

RB & RL: It’s us! [laughter]

RL: It’s true, we’re helping ourselves out!

BG: Now why won’t you let me print that?

RL: Ah, you can print whatever you want!

BG: Damn right I am! [laughter]

RK: Truth be known…gets to the bottom of the story!

BG: I’ll learn... I do what I want, you know?

RL: We can’t begin to hide the truth from you, man!

BG: I... I... I can do what I want!

RK: You can blow it all up as a giant empire…or you can lay it all bear.

RB: Mega-Empire… Ghetto offices…

BG: I made a local band [The Syphilitics] sound like homosexuals! That they makeout every night in a local park called Mt. Storm Park. I did that!

RB: You can do that to us if you want…

RL: Power of the press, man!

BG: So, Slow Gold Zebra is your own creation.

ALL: Yes.

BG: Since you named Foil Beach SGZ3, are we safe to assume your first seven-inch was SGZ1, and your second SGZ2? [Note: After another in-depth inspection, the SGZ monikers are CLEARLY marked. Small, and sorta out of the way, but yet marked!]

ALL: Yes.

BG: Now is this something you are going to expand on in the future, or is this something you guys are not going to try and do anything with it?

RB: I think were probably just going to keep it around so we always have something to put releases out on. Cause even if we did something for another little label, it’s always nice to have something of your own.

BG: Are you afraid this might hurt your chances with other labels? Like, "Well, I got this really great CD in the mail, BUT they already have a label!"

RB: No.

RK: I think a lot of the smaller labels bands tend to stuff on a lot of different labels; so unless you are like on a major or something they know there’s no "exclusive"…like a few good bands will do stuff on Junk, Yeah Its Rock or Empty…

BG: That’s a good answer. That’s a good answer. That’s a REAL good answer.

RB: Plus it’s a good excuse to use Zebra Stripes. [laughter]

RK: And the name Slow Gold Zebra…

RB: I made this nice little zebra…

BG: What the fuck is a Slow Gold Zebra? Is it a form of zebra I haven’t heard of or haven’t caught onto yet? What does Slow Gold Zebra mean to you, Crimson Sweet?

RB: Well, we use to have this rehearsal space that was the Ghetto, and it was an hourly rehearsal space, and the guy who ran it was just awful. He would be like, "I think I will charge you $16 an hour instead of $12" or something like that. Or you would get there and he would be like, "Aw, I booked somebody else in your space" and he would be like, "Sorry guys."

BG: Is that some "New York" business there?

RB: No. It was his personal business… I don’t want to slam all of New York that way. This was his business.

BG: Cause I’m saying, like, that’s bullshit!

RK: It’s just one guy.

BG: Ever thought about knifing him? Pull yer Hook!

RB: We got there once, we were going to record… He poured fresh concrete so we couldn’t get to the space. He’s like, "Sorry guys." So we would always say, "Sorry guys."

BG: I thought you could use your levitation abilities to go overtop the concrete… "EEEEeeeeEEEEeeeeEEEEeeeeEEEEeeee!"

RL: Rob tried but um, there was… There was a…

RK: "Disturbance."

RL: A negative Ion Storm!

BG: [laughter] A "Negative Ion Storm?"

RB: So that’s were SGZ came from. And we were like, "Sorry Guys" isn’t really a fascinating…it sounds like too much of a inside joke…

RL: So the first releases were SGZ 001 and 002, but it was really Zeitgeist SGZ, but then we had to come up with something…

RK: And we liked Slow Gold Zebra, cause it just sounds…

RB: It sounds great! I would love to have a Slow Gold Zebra.

BG: It does sound great, in a way…

RB: Yeah.

RL: Exactly!

BG: What’s the best thing about self-releasing your own releases? Is it having control like, "This is going to go as far as I want it to" or, "No one else is going to fuck us over!"?

RB: [talking to herself] What should I say? I guess the best thing is the control. You get to design everything! You know what I mean? Like, EVE-RY-THING!!!! Then of course the worst thing is you can…

BG: Well that’s what my next question was.

RB: You can… If you, like, get a bad printer, which of course we don’t… We have a great printer. But if you get a bad printer you really have no recourse because you are just a tiny fish in the sea but…

RK: You do have complete control over your stuff.

RB: Your design, your sound, your look, everything! Which is great. It’s beautiful, in a sense!

BG: Do you think you could be bigger if you have a "real" label?
RB: Oh yeah! Of course! We would be tons bigger! You know what I mean? Anybody would be. If a label has distribution then you’re bigger. The bigger the distribution the bigger you are.

BG: But you get more gratification out of, like, doing things yourself?

RB: Yeah.

RL: Definitely, but we’re only three people, so our distribution consist of every town we play in we go to the four cool record stores the next day and try to sell it to them. Which is great, and it’s fun, and it gets our record out there, but somebody else could do it. You know, with a phone call! It could be a lot less work!

BG: How many records did you sell out of in Cincinnati of your releases? I want this to go down in this fucking interview.

RK: [laughing] We sold three!

BG: Who sold those three?

RK: Shake It! Records with…

RB: Shake It! Records SOLD OUT!

RL: Because of…

RB: Shawn Abnoxious!

RL: The great support we get!

BG: I can sell three fucking records! What does FOIL BEACH offer that’s different from your seven-inches? I know! Because I’m a fan, but I wanna know what YOU think it offers as opposed to the other seven-inches.

RB: Besides five new songs…

RK: I think it’s a different sound. It’s a little less uh, "garagey" than our first two singles.

BG: "Garagey" meaning production?

RK: Yeah, production. Not "Garagey" in terms of the way the songs are written. The songs are more produced or whatever, but it’s still, I don’t know, I think it’s…

RB: More produced in terms of like, you know…

BG: You think it’s more "Lewis & Clark." Meaning, you know, more "explorative?"

RB: [laughing] What?

BG: [whispering] I came up with that.

RB: I like that!

RK: You can use that… I dunno…

RL: We almost called the record "Lewis & Clark."

RB: But we just decided to call it Sakaguwea.

RL: And then, when the gold dollar came out we knew we were fucked! So we called it FOIL BEACH… Third choice… [laughter: all around]

BG: What do you think it offers that’s different?

RB: I’m trying to think…

RK: I think it’s our best release so far.

RB: Yeah, I really like it. For me, what it offers, and this is kind of a shameful thing to admit, but this offers the first time I didn’t write the lyrics on the spot. Usually, we would be going to record and I would be fairly unprepared, and I would try to think about what I was going to say there, and I would do it there and I wouldn’t be…I wouldn’t be as confident or whatever, because I just made the shit up. So this time we knew what we were doing and it came out a lot better.

RK: The songs are more varied.

RB: Yeah! A wider variety…

RK: There’s a wider variety. It’s all Crimson Sweet’s sound, but there’s a bigger breath of different styles.

BG: Lathers?

RL: Um, I think we approached this more like a project, and before it was just sort of like trying to do recordings of songs we had, and this was more about… We got a friend of ours, JZ Barrel to produce it, and we had dates where we were going to record it, and we went into it more focused. Like, let’s try to make a cool record! As opposed to just sort of playing our songs while a tape machine was on.

BG: Do you think FOIL BEACH is a turning point for you as a band?

RB: Turning point from vinyl to CD! [laughter]

BG: Is it the end of an era? Because when I listen to FOIL BEACH I listened to the first two seven inches, then when I reviewed the CD then I listened to the CD and I felt like you made a big leap! Do you feel that way? Like you made a leap as a band?

RB: I did.

RL: I think so. We’re getting better all the time so it’s definitely, like, you know, we get to show that off a little bit more on FOIL BEACH.

RK: We’re more focused.

BG: Do you think more confidence comes through?

RK: Yeah.

BG: Yeah, that’s what I think too. Just making sure I ain’t full of shit.

RK: Nah, Yer on it! [once again, laughter all around]

BG: The first track, it has me baffled. It has me baffled! Because it’s called "Queen City VA."

RK: Oh yeah, we want to set the record straight on this…

BG: Is this song about the "Queen City" meaning Cincinnati, because Cincinnati is also called "The Queen City", and our veterans hospital, or some place in Virginia?

RL: There’s been a lot of controversy over this.

BG: Well, let’s clear it up!

RB: [to Rob] Take it!

RK: Let’s just say this now, for Blank Generation. "Queen City VA" is referring to the Cincinnati Veteran’s Administration Hospital.

BG: They’re pretty harsh.

RK: Yeah… The real deal. Dr. Sue is someone we know. She works there, so the song’s written for her. And that’s…that’s what it’s about.

BG: The line, "Open your hands and let the bullets fly"…

RB: That is about a guy (that actually sort of veers away)…about a guy who was a friend of Rich Lathers in his youth, who recently, is in his late forties or early fifties…by the time we wrote that song he went into the hospital in his hometown and went up to the front desk, signed away all his organs and shot himself in the mouth and he killed himself at the front desk of the hospital.

BG: I wanted this to be a happy interview… There goes the happy interview!

RB: That sucks because he left all his kids behind, and he left his wife behind, but before he went he signed away, he signed away his entire insides!

BG: So he "opened his hands"…

RB: So it was a very generous move.

BG: "And let the bullets fly!" That’s pretty fucking depressing.

RL: It’s bizarre because, like, you’re killing yourself, but it’s, you know, he was a super nice guy and being generous as he can right up until the end.

RB: It’s sad.

BG: Sheesh!!!… OK…

RB: Sorry about that! We meant it as a tribute to him.

RK: We do it every night onstage... Killing ourselves, but it all for the fans.

BG: Like I heard someone say, "After every listen of FOIL BEACH they walk away reborn." I don’t know who said that… "Foil Beach", the song! Where you going with this song? Is there a deep meaning here? Like the "suntan" part…it freaks me out.

RB: The "Space Tan?" [laughter]

BG: When you talk about sugar…that freaks me out. I don’t know where the song is going.

RL: It’s a freak-out song!

BG: I want some direction! I want other people to be directed with the song. I don’t want them to be scared. I want people to be right there! So, let’s talk about it! Talk about it! What’s it about? Let’s clear it up!

RB: [To RK & RL] Do you guys have anything to say? It’s a space fantasy.

BG: Planet Foil Beach?!!

RB: OK, it’s a space fantasy… What else is it? It’s a…

RL: Sugar Space Fantasy!

RB: A sugarcoated space fantasy!

BG: Mmmm sugar! Makes things taste sweet!

RB: Nothing is really hotter than metal when it gets heated up.

BG: I work with metal.

RB: See, you know that! There you go! A screw factory! You know that!

BG: Metal is very fun to work with.

RB: I’m trying to think if I can shed any more light on this. The whole thing kind of made me feel sick to my stomach, in a good way, when I thought about it; so that’s why I wrote it.

BG: That’s one of my favorites! I listen to everything on my headphones now…

RL: So you can get the good stereo separation!

BG: It’s just… It just attacks me.

RB: I like to think about the lost salt mines a lot.

BG: It’s fucking great! Now "The Law!" OK now… Bear with me… Cause you know I know you, but you know we don’t spend the night at each other’s house and watch cartoons in the morning; is this song revealing your anarchist leanings? This doesn’t seem to speak too highly of The Law.

RB: It’s not really the idea of The Law as people. Do you know what I mean? Like, as a… I don’t like the idea of - because somebody is a policeman, or somebody is judge, or something like that they are necessarily a bad person. It’s just as bigoted…

BG: Do you believe you are your own law ultimately?

RB: Well, in an ideal world people would be his or her own law, but I also don’t believe… You know I’m not an anarchist. So I can’t say, "Yeah! That’s the answer!" You know what I mean? [laughter]

RK: They’re bastards!

BG: Yeah, those guys [anarchists] are assholes! They ruin everything! Can’t fucking eat hamburgers around them or nothing!

RL: I know man!

RB: So I guess that’s just, pretty much, one part of the song. But I guess it’s more just the idea that just because someone sez it’s so or…

BG: Yeah, there’s a lot of anger in that song. I would think that that song would be playing during the Cincinnati Riots.

RL: I can see a little reflection of the riots in there, definitely. Break the law. Fuck the law! It’s about Laws on every level.

BG: Did you know about the Cincinnati Riots? What do you guys think about it? Let’s get your opinion right here!

RB: Yeah, we were following it on TV while we were on tour. Oh man!

BG: For clarification purposes we’re like four blocks away from where it became "kill whitey." What do you feel? Lil’ bit scarred?

RB: I feel sad for Cincinnati.

BG: Outside of Cincinnati did it seem like a race thing? Did it seem like the cop killed the guy because he was black? Did it seem ironic that the rioters turned to attacking white people on the streets?

RL: Everybody’s getting the short end of the stick. I mean, yeah. You have to draw racial lines, but in this instance its probably pretty much the same as economic lines.

BG: I see it as more of a class thing. Like profiling, like they think they could pretty much count on pulling a certain someone over and catching weed on them.

RL: There’s corruption there and there’s corruption on the other side. It’s about, I dunno, it’s about oppression.

BG: Does it scare you being four blocks away from it?

RK: No. [Note: Rob is a Cincinnati native]

RL: I’m not scarred.

BG: Of course, you’re with me!

RK: That’s right! Johnny Castle! [laughter, for a third time, all-around]

BG: Johnny Castle! YESSS!!! That’s something good to say there… I’m hitting all the songs because I think this release [Foil Beach] is REALLY worth promoting. [Note: "Johnny Castle" is an alias of mine, and it’s also Patrick Swayze’s character from Dirty Dancing]

RL: We’re proud of it.

BG: Alright, "You’ll Sleep When I’m Dead." I don’t know if you will like what I have to say about this.

RL: Fire away!

BG: I’m getting a dominatrix feel. Like a sadomasochism feel from it.

RL: Well THAT’S interesting...

BG: Now, you know… What do you want to purvey with that song? What do you want us to get?

RL: I always thought of it was more just of a sort of like annoying someone as hard as one can. I’m really into annoying people. I don’t know if any other members of the band…

BG: Annoyance is an art form.
RL: That’s what I think that song is about. I dunno…

RB: Uh, I’d say so. Yeah. Definitely…

RK: Extreme agitation!

BG: So you weren’t thinking "8mm" when you wrote it or anything? [Note: Movie starring Nicolas Cage and Juaquim Phoenix]

RL & RB: No, no, no!

BG: You guys think Juaquim Phoenix is sexy?

RL: I don’t know who he is.

RB: I don’t think that I do, but I can’t remember. I think not.

RK: I don’t believe he is sexy.

BG: I’m thinking he’s sexy. I’m thinking he’s sexy.

RB: Ok, we will check it out.

BG: I’m not "Lewis & Clark" about that though, so it’s not like I’d kiss him or anything if he was here.

RB: [laughter] No, no, no… Understood!

RL: No, no! You’re not signing anything tonight. [laughter]

BG: Alright, "Lost Planet"… It seems to me a lot of people would be turned away by this song. A lot of people that aren’t TRUE Crimson Sweet fans. Like if that was the first Crimson Sweet song some people heard they might be turned away from you. Is that true? Was it a bold thing to put that song on this release?

RL: We don’t really think about songs on those terms. We write them because that’s what we are doing. And uh, you may be very right that someone who dug the first release… Maybe it wouldn’t turn them on, but…

BG: I love that fucking song!

RB: I love it.

RK: I stand behind it 100%! I think it’s one of our best songs.

BG: What if you turn people away?

RK: That’s OK!

BG: What if people are like, "Fuck Crimson Sweet, man! That fucking "Lost Planet" Song! Fukkin’ A! Fuck them! I’m never listening to them again!"

RB: [laughter]

RK: On the other hand, there might be five people who get into it, then wouldn’t have liked the other stuff, so you just gotta write for yourself.

RB: And God knows man, I mean there’re 50,000 bands out there that I’m like "God damn, this shit sucks! I’m not listening to this anymore." You know what I mean? So I don’t have anything to say about it!

BG: So would you be more impressed to play in front of a million people and five people liking your stuff and the rest completely hating it… Would you say that you were successful?

RB: Oh yeah!! Worthwhile!

RK: If those five people sincerely liked it that’s more important.

RB: If you, yourself who wrote it and liked it, that’s all that matters. It’s fucking great if anyone else likes it…

RL: It might make for a pretty messy show with the remaining 999,995 people…

BG: There would be some people naked in a fucking pond somewhere…

RK: I would just hope those five people were really big and up front… [everyone laughs]

RL: Yeah, that would make the show more fun…but…

RK: We’re going for mass!

BG: I think that song is real adventurous for you guys. Like I… I think it comes out and sez, "You’re with us, or you’re against us." It’s drawing a line…


BG: Yeah.

THE JERRY: Hey dude, you gotta come and hear the new line up of The Caution Horses…

BG: Is someone playing my bass?


BG: If they fucking play slap-bass I’m kicking their fucking ass!

THE JERRY: It’s Backstage James! He knows the rules! [Crimson Sweet laugh]

BG: Alright… My last question is - what’s in the future? I mean, [sound effect: A can of Miller High Life opening Skishhhhhh] COME ON!

RL: More of everything, man!

BG: More tours?

RL: More tours. More records.

RK: More records!

RB: King size watermelon growing on my balcony!

RL: We do all this shit ourselves, so as long as we’re upright we’re going to just keep on rocking!

RK: We would like to do some more singles, do a full record. We haven’t given up on vinyl!

BG: Have you talked to anymore labels or anything about that?

RK: We haven’t really…

RB: No.

RK: That’s one of the things were gonna see what happens with this release.

RL: The initial press from FOIL BEACH has been really good and it’s a little bit… I think the press will be coming from a farther field, so we’re hoping that might get us a little attention.

BG: How many were pressed of the CD?

RK & RB: Five Hundred.

BG: How many have sold to date?

RB: Were down a lot…

RL: There’s probably a hundred left.

RK: Four hundred gone!

BG: That’s fucking amazing right there!

RB: It came out in Ap-… No, at the very end of March! March 31st…or like the 26th was the CD release.

BG: You have anything else you would like to say to anybody? Now would be a perfect time.

RK: You can always check out what’s going on with us at, or write us.

BG: Before you go, do you think Joe should be sad about Dale Earnhart dying? What do you think about Joe’s "involvement" in the XFL? Do you think he has a chance at getting a job in the XFL?

RB: I don’t know who he is.

RL: Who’s Joe?

BG: Joe Domino! Joe "Frenchy" Domino...

RK: The editor of Blank Generation!

BG: You know, he likes the XFL and he cried when Dale Earnhart died.

RK: Well the Intimidator still has a son so… Maybe Junior can continue.

BG: You wanna tell Joe some words of condolence?

RK: Joe, I think the XFL is on its way out, but Dale Jr. will be running around the track for years to come!

RL: I think, in my understanding of the media analysis, I have heard of the XFL, the reason it’s going to work is because people who like soap operas like soap operas, and people who like football like football, and so there’s not really a crossover there.

BG: You like ‘Days of Our Lives?’

RL: Uh, I like my stories! [laughter from e’ryone]

BG: Who is your favorite character on Days?

RL: Uh… Chadwick!

BG: Who in the fuck is Chadwick?

RB: He doesn’t have a TV…

RK: He doesn’t even have a TV. He’s off the grid!

BG: Off the grid! I commend that. [Note: "the grid " comment, not the lack of TV. Bless the saints of primetime]. Booster, you have any comments? Like to tell Joe you’re there for him?

RB: I’m sorry that that guy died of whiplash, if he was yer hero, cause that’s just about the shittiest way I could imagine to go.

BG: What a pussy huh?

RK: Ohhhh!!!! I would have had the head restraint system going!

BG: I think he crossed some lines in the sand. Got involved in some things he shouldn’t have…

RL: Are you talking about the Mafia?

BG: Dale Earnhart MIGHT be involved in some sort of "Mafia" thing, I’m not sure… Call it what you will. He is in the Witness Protection Program! I mean he hit a wall!!!!

RL: That’s a good theory. I haven’t heard that…

BG: Same thing about OJ… I think he got involved in some drugs… He didn’t kill anybody… He got involved in some drugs… Owed some money and they said, "Hey, we’ll kill Nicole." And he was like, "No you ain’t." So they slit her neck and split that other guy’s neck and they said, "If you say a fucking word, we’ll kill yer kids!" Cause you know, he really likes his kids. So he went through all that court shit…

RL: Then he made the money on the book sales and that’s what he paid off the drug guys with?

BG: Who knows? But what I’m saying is I don’t think that crazy-ass did it.

RL: I’ve never met him.

RB: I liked the Samsonite Ads in the Seventies…

RL: Those were good.

BG: Samsonite? HERTZ!!!

RK: Hertz!

RB: Is that the ones?

BG: Yeah, jumpin’ over shit!!!

RL: Both took place in airports. Yeah, I could see the confusion.

RK: See, no TV again…

RL: Been on the road for a little while.

BG: Before we leave, have the warriors become kings? Have the kings become gods?

RL: By no means, but they’re all working REAL hard at it right now.

RB: [laughter] Whewwww! I was just going to say that, personally, I have become a beautiful butterfly!

RK: Aw…

RB: [hysterical laughter]

RK: I’m still a Slow Gold Zebra! Backwards psychedelic!

RB: Yeah, that’s what we’re really, what we have become is a pack of Slow Gold Zebras!

RL: I don’t know if anyone will care, but it was really kick ass… We played a show in Kent [Ohio] with fucking KILL THE HIPPIES, who also rock and when they played a show in New York, and their new CD was out, and our new CD was out, and they showed us theirs and on both CD printings are Zebra skins!

BG: Yeah! I caught onto that too.

RL: That was not planned!

BG: Maybe with the Socials next CD…

RL: I was just going to say…

BG: We might have sort of this "link thing" going on here.

And with that the Slow Gold Zebra Alliance is born! Crimson Sweet took the stage later that night and, once again, they amazed. When kings become gods where to next? Just wait and see!

"I know that everything dies.... But why can't you stay" - from "Lost Planet"

Crimson Sweet
POB 20506
Tompkins Square Station
NY, NY. 10009


"Self-titled" 7" EP (Slow Gold Zebra Records, SGZ-001) 1999. Out of Print.
"Robot Bus Driver" 7" (Slow Gold Zebra Records, SGZ-002) 2000. Only a few left!
"Can't Let Go" - V/A "In The Cole Mind - A Tribute To Dead Moon" (Last Chance Records, LC-006) 2000. Still available.
"Foil Beach" CDEP (Slow Gold Zebra Records, SGZ-003) 2001. Still Available.

These releases are available at all of Crimson Sweet’s live shows, as well as t-shirts and stickers.

Look to Vital Music Distribution’s web site ( for this merchandise too. The Dead Moon Tribute from Last Chance Records is available from their web site: (

If you are not all cyber and whatnot, you can throw some well concealed cash ($3 for the 7", $6 for the CD, European orders add $1 shipping please) in an envelope and mail it to Crimson Sweet for… THE GOODS!

BONUS: A complete, original haiku written in honor of The Crimson Sweet.

(Crimson) Sweet.
Naked tounges are the
beaten path of rightiousness
and the sonic dance.

By Shawn

Interview and Pictures by Shawn Abnoxious.

[Past-Blast] [Blank Generation- April. 2002]

Reviews from Blank Generation originally published in April 2002
Note: Images added to certain reviews for cosmetic purposes in 2014

Briefs "Love and Ulcers" 7"
I truly believe in my heart that The Briefs are fast becoming the new millennium equivalent to The Knack. Their brand of jerky punk/wave (Neoteric) styling (with emo sensibilities--Just kidding) really finds a home with me. "Love and Ulcers" is quite a strong track, in fact, much stronger than "We Americans", but I'm not complaining there.... I still see The Briefs as a band in transition and can't wait to see what the hits were offering me up next on this slab of vinyl. I STILL think they released a full-length too early and wished they would have spent more time in releasing really kick ass EP’s instead, but hell, I cant really blame them for moving so fucking fast.
You got to hit it while the hitting is good.
I know that sounded sick, and VERY Nascar-ish in its delivery, but I just woke up from a mid afternoon nap (I awoke per schedule at 4AM to work) and had this crazy dream that I was in ‘NAM, round '68 as close as I could figure, and a Victor Charlie Sniper (VC) picked off someone next to me. When I suspected the South Vietnamese soldier across the compound had something to do with it due to his emotionless face, I ordered him to ‘freeze’ and brought my rifle sight up to his face. He ran. I hesitated to shoot because of the politics involved in killing someone your supposed to be helping and all, but he was guilty BECAUSE he ran....
He took off running in the parking lot adjacent to the guard post. I ran with him to the spot where I first ordered him to freeze. I had a clean shot so I opened up with my AR-15 letting loose a four shot burst. The suspect fell dead right there in the convenience store parking lot.
Yes. I said ‘Convenience store’. Were convenience stores around in ‘68 Vietnam? I dunno....
So, The Briefs. Still keeping my interest post’ Hits era. Good job. Stars all around. (SAB)
(Dirtnap Records PO Box 21249 Seattle, WA 98111)

Epoxies "S/T" CD
I’m going to come out of the shut-in full-attack mode: If you don't understand concepts such as New Wave or The Neoteric Punk/Wave you might want to re-think your decision to read this review, or even consider buying this disc for your compact disc collection.
Compact disc collection.... That's some funny shit there. Laugh.
The full-attack mode continues, like that War on Terror; from way back in 1997, the build up ofOperation: Anaconda continues:
If you absolutely hate Berlin and/or The Missing Persons Please, for the sake of bunker buster’s everywhere, STOP here. Do not continue. Other than that, proceed.
The Epoxies, a band that I first heard of in a review from Horizontal Action, but yet the Epoxies are one of those kinds of bands that are a rare treat to find in any record establishment. I got this disc, it had just came in. It hits my ears like a home-made war meal. It's what I needed. It was first told to me that it's very X-Ray Spex-ish, but I dunno...
The Epoxies eleven tracks on this disc come at me like if Poly Styrene had written songs for a band consisting of members from Berlin, Devo and Missing Persons. You see, like on Germ Free Adolescents, This Epoxies disc is a reflection. The songs on Germ Free and the subsequent singles that the Spex did around that time were a self-described diary of 1977 according to Ms. Styrene herself. Just as Germ Free Adolescents was a reflection of its environment, The Epoxies disc is a reflection of theirs. I know this because the most common used word in Epoxies tunes is ‘you’. When you use words like ‘you’, normal deductions tell you, the avid Blank Generation reader, that you are witnessing a definition of reflection.
This disc is definitely the shit. One of the best this year so far. All the songs are intense and strike like a fucking Asteroid the size of a Volkswagen; not enough to be considered a planetary life-ender but non-the-less one of those asteroids big enough to change lifestyles. Enough to fuck up a whole city the size of Los Angeles.
"Stop Looking at Me"(HeliosCreed-bless The Epoxies)
"Walk the Streets"
"Stop Looking at Me" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Please Please"
"Molded Plastic" (GaryNuman-bless The Epoxies)
"Science of You" Listen to the nu-classic and let them consume you.
Those of you following my now 18 month long (and counting) stint as a member of The Blank Generation will know that when I say things as strongly as "This disc is definitely the shit" I fucking mean it. I mean, FUCK! I see nothing wrong with this disc as it plays.
That's not medium-rare.
That's RARE. Blood dripping, still breathing RARE!
The Epoxies are heart-felt. The Epoxies are plastic. The Epoxies have a half-life that will far outlive most attention spans. The Epoxies full-attack, like THIS is what should have been on the Valley Girl soundtrack.
So people will be like ‘What's up That 80’s show’ and shit about The Epoxies. Who Cares? We all are losing control and now we have a soundtrack. You like Devo. You like Missing Persons. You like Berlin (‘Pleasure Victim’ era). You like The X-Ray Spex. And all of that is NOT questions back there, dumbfuck. It isn’t please.... It's statements. It's commands. I have given up hope of Neoteric Conversions as of.... NOW.
Those converted have done so. Let the rest die in true Viking spirit! Blood-Eagles all around!
Now it's all about Neoteric Inquisitions; termination of the unbelievers. Home-made motherfuckers! As of... NOW. Let the Epoxies usher in a new era of Neoteric awareness. Throw away the handbook that was never issued.
Its all gotta end somewhere, but more importantly, its all gotta begin somewhere too. Here’s to a life of beginnings and endings. Subsequent mastery of destruction and re-birth. In the right hand, alpha. In the left is big brother, omega.
As of....NOW. (SAB)
(Dirtnap PO Box 21249 Seattle, WA. 98111)

Saint Cannabis "Live in Subherbia" CD
Yeah, I know... I have tolerated some bad band names in the past, but Saint Cannabis is one of the definite semi-finalists. The thing is though, knowing who sent this to me, and later as I read through the roster of songs on the CD, I knew it would be kick ass... And it did!
This is a live CD with eleven tracks; above average sound quality, featuring Robert Conn of The Pagans and most recently, the newly reformed, Cleveland based Defnics. What many might not realize is that people like Robert Conn have moved on with their life and ended up in places far, far away from where their deathstar was terminated. Robert found himself in Texas. Apparently he flies in for the yearly dose of Defnics, so it only makes sense that he has a band down in Texas too.... I see Saint Cannabis is the Texas version of The Defnics. In fact, off the latest Defnics 7" from Smog Veil Records, you have newer versions of "I'm Not Dead" and "51%." Almost half of the songs are covers ranging from Lou Reed to John Fogerty to The Pagans, but the real gems are the OTHER Robert Conn originals that I'm guessing are Defnics never recorded/leftover tracks; either way, they are pretty damn good and comparable to the newer Defnics sound.
If you are a big Defnics fan, like me, and liked the Smog Veil 7" a while back, you should definitely put this on your list to check out. Saint Cannabis isn't the first band I have listened to with a bad band name.... What was wrong with maybe just calling the band 51%? With a name like that you had some sort of association with The Defnics and when your out playing shows and getting pulled over by cops for traffic violations and he ask "What's the name of your band" You aren't setting yourself up for a DEFINITE search.
Each to their own, I suppose... I don't mean to focus on the choice of band name so much... It's just that I think a band's name is sometimes the most important part of a band and Saint Cannabis is a name that I feel doesn't accurately portray this bands sound. (SAB)
(Bill DeGidio 206 Sharbrook Ave. Conroe, TX 77385)

Sleepers "Seventh World" 7"EP
That one guy was in this know, that ONE guy whose name you see in liner notes and pictures of in books commemorating the west coast punk phenomenon... The kind of guy you read people like Penelope Houston remembering in a article here and there...and luckily, there're geeks out there keeping the flame alive.
So, with The Sleepers, dateline 1979, you got THAT GUY: Ricky William’s, fronting a band with a wide musical depth belting out brooding, heartfelt ‘I'm lying near death in a gas station bathroom floor’ numbers like "Linda" next to ‘smash store windows at random as a statement against society’ tunes like "Seventh World" and "No Time". Imagine, if you will, an older, more mature Negative Trend or F-Word mixed with Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Artistic and nihilistic.
The flame still burns....(SAB)
(Win Records)

...and you will know us by the Trail of Dead "Source Tags and Codes" CD
I got into Trail of Dead after seeing them on some show on the USA Network, I have long since forgotten the name of the program... Something to do with a farm or something... The ‘Dead played a song from their latest release at that time called "Richter Scale Madness" and it was pretty rockinand they destroyed their shit during the song and the crowd was looking at them with this sort of ‘What the Fuck’ look, like they didn’t know if they should rock their heads in a 2/4 beat, run for the hills, or join in the madness they were witnessing and so the next time when I was at Shake It Records located in beautiful Lil’ Gatlinburg wedged in-between a African Grocery that's been selling Pepsi 2 Liters for $.99 for about four months now and a greasy spoon restaurant called the Blue Jay (killer steak hoagie with AMERICAN! Cheese) their name popped into my head and before I knew it, that ‘self-titled’ CD (on Trance Syndicate) with "Richter Scale Madness" was cycling through my CD player.
I liked it so much in fact that I was LUCKY enough to find what I figured by some sorts of deduction in my mind, and STILL don't know for fact or anything, their FIRST (?) CD called Madonna in the used bin (Merge Records). I liked The ‘Dead.... They hit some soft spots....
So I stopped by Shake It records the other day and found this, the new ‘Dead release on a major label. It was blaring over the stores sound system and even though it sounded familiar, I couldn’t place who it was. By time the third song was halfway over I had already decided to buy it.
I asked JB who it was, blaring over the stores sound system. I'm not BAD of hearing, or bad AT hearing, depending on how you want it said. I recently had a hearing test at work where it was disclosed that although my elevator might have stopped at the wrong floor (more about that in coming installments of "Digital Block") my hearing shows up in the average range showing no loss of hearing. Me. Once again, ‘average’. I graduated in the top 51% of my class at high school. Just scraping by...that's what us average guys do I suppose....
So it's not like I couldn’t hear JB. It's just that, like I said, The stores sound system was, how did they say it back in 1993?.... Ah yes, BUMPIN! I asked who it was and I THOUGHT JB said something like Jason Handuoison and the Feds.
Cool name I thought. Sounds like a mix between Les Savy Fav, Sonic Youth and The Rites of Spring... A Shake It store clerk poked my mind for that last one. I couldn’t spit it out and my sentence was completed by another....
The JB hands me the new major label and you will know us by the Trail of Dead CD. I didn’t disclose how I misunderstood JB or anything. I shelled out the electronic cash (debit card), or E-Dollars as they will become known (and you heard it here, on Blank first: E-DOLLARS) and took the CD home and popped it in the CD player and rocked out. Watch out for that third track, "Baudelaire" it's a fucking doozy...makes me realize that Fugazi took more from Rites of Spring than they actually created themselves. The ‘Dead have a winner with me on this one. Yeah, this CD is a bit emo-shoe-gazer at times (Beautiful: Tears Run Down My Cheeks) but then again, those kids smell like the smell of future-city, so I'm just going to enjoy it while it last.
Boy-eeeee! (SAB)
(Interscope Records)

Tyrades "Stain on Me" 7"
Where to begin? Where should I start? Eh....
The Tyrades. Cool name.
Look at that Chicago address.... hmm, definitely in this Midwest missiles range. In fact, I think I recognize one of the guys on the backcover from another band I've seen in Indianna-apolis a while back, but I'm not too sure... What you have here is some pretty damn decent high end punk-rock that reminds me right off the bat of The Adolescents. That's a good thing for those of you taking notes. I mean, FUCK! The Adolescents wrote some pretty kick ass songs in their day, and I can hear a bit of The Tyrades in there. The first song is a rager, but I'm all about the second track. I just hope that a LP is to follow. I mean, FUCK! Come on!!! After The Intimate Fags debacle of an LP, which I was let down with, I sort of felt like I was watching a Cincinnati Bengals game where they come out of half-time with a two touchdown lead and end up loosing the game by two touchdowns. The Cincinnati Bengals: inspiring! Rip Off records is right on track with the Tyrades. I await more and I also realize I will get a Rip Off promo when hell freezes over.
Yours truly, (SAB)
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple Ave. San Bruno, CA 94066)

Columns - "Digital Block" 04.01.02
So there I was sitting at a ice cream parlor type table in a bar named Top Cats sipping my free beer. A band called The Wholigans, a The Who cover band, were absolutely murdering The Who song after The Who song while they kept explaining that they were doing a show without their lead singer and to "keep an open mind" when listening to their renditions.
I kept sipping my free beer in partial payment for being a member thereof the second band on the bill-- Zero Crag. Along with two close friends, Mike AKA "Microbe" and Andy AKA "Android" we formed Zero Crag in the summer of 2001. Zero Crag would be a second band obligation with my first being the bassist in The Socials.
This Zero Crag appearance would turn out to be our fourth career show even though Andy and I have played numerous shows with our other bands. We had played a basement venue the previous night to an excellent response. We were asked to play via Zachy lead vocalist/guitarist of Thee Shams. Zachy had booked a Athens, Ohio hotseat band called Geraldine but they ended up not being able to make the appearance.
So he got Zero Crag instead.
Microbe was to my right. I leaned over and slapped him on the arm to get his attention. I had something to say. The Wholigans had just decided to branch out and Murder some Elvis Costello songs by this time... Murder indeed.
"Hey Mike" I screamed so he could hear me over the music. He leaned toward me aiming his ear at where my mouth was to better hear me. "I have a new Zero Crag song title".
Song titles are my thing. To me its the first step in writing a great, memorable song. I come up with allot of Zero Crags song titles.
"What is it?" he screamed back.
"Its called ‘A Car with Tank Treads’ ".
I could see Mike laugh and go back to watching The Wholigans and how NOT to be in a band. The Wholigans finished the Elvis Costello song and as the few mindless drones that were already drunk enough began to clap I yelled out
"Play some Teenage Wasteland"
I continued. I figured I hadn’t been loud enough because I didn’t see anger on their faces yet. Of course each of you know what song Im talking about by calling it ‘Teenage Wasteland’ but FUCK, this was a The Who cover band.... The Wholigans.... I got louder as I continued:
"Teen..... Age......Waste...............Land"
(end prologue)
Hi. My name is Shawn Abnoxious. I’m banned from Top Cats....
Its not like I’m a trouble-maker or anything. Sure, I have dangerous friends that have done their fair share of dangerous things... Hell, those of you keeping score will know of my harrowed tales of past episodes of The Shawn Abnoxious Show where I haven’t used the best judgment possible in certain situations but I mean FUCK! Im human. Im going to make mistakes and I am glad to say I learned from them.
What I did to get myself and any band I am in from ever playing Top Cats again or hell, the banning even went so far as to include me EVER setting foot in the place again, I truly felt WASNT a big thing at all. Ms. Communication, my fiancée and personal manager said it in a way I could have never put it. Up there, on stage with The Shark (The Name of my bass), I’m coming from a creative place. Im taking myself seriously and when someone fucks with that, it pisses me off.
Zero Crag had played the previous night at a new Cincinnati basement venue called The Laundry Room. Theres no real viable venue in Cincinnati for regular punk bands to play-- or at least one that the city will let remain open and NOT continually hassle (see: The Void). Zero Crag as lucky enough to be asked to play Top Cats so we obliged. At The laundry room we played a packed house (literally, a house) and were riding high going into the Top Cats show.
Zachy Sham told us to show up around 10 and 10:30 PM. Its important you remember this....It was his logic that we should definitely be at Top Cats BEFORE the first band, the Wholigans play. It was understood that the Wholigans were to have arrived, set up their material, done a sound check, and done whatever cover bands do before they play; work on their moves or whatever... The Wholigans were to go on at 11PM sharp.
The Wholigans were ALLOWED to play until midnight. At that time Zach wanted Zero Crag to set up and play our set, not to run past 1AM. Thee Shams were to do as Zero Crag did previously; set up and play some rock and/or roll until Top Cats last call.
M and the Ms. arrived at the Zero Lounge promptly at 9:15 PM. At approximately 10 PM we left in two separate vehicles and by 10:30 had finished loading in our equipment at Top Cats.
As Zach had designed. Mission accomplished.
The Wholigans were just setting their levels, I supposed they were right on schedule to but they didn’t begin playing until well past 11 PM.
They played shitty cover after shitty cover; on and on and on and on and on and on and on....
and on...
and on...
We all thought they were never going to fucking end but at last they did and Zero Crag did as instructed; we loaded our equipment on the stage and began playing. We weren’t looking at watches. Our set wasn’t that long anyway.... We figured we had a hour to do our thing and banked on getting it done with time to spare. Time left over so Thee Shams could get two double zero two psychedelic on everyone a BIT more than usual.
The set we were playing pretty much mirrored the one we did the previous night except for a couple of changes. Began last year I have began taking a new approach to bands I am associated with and their shows. I have developed something I call A Partial System Acumen. This Partial System Acumen is a basic double sided hand-bill sized advertisement about a band with contact information, band BIOS’s line-ups, a set list etc.etc. The Acumen is designed to familiarize your bands listeners with your song titles and what your band is about. I figured the next day after a show, these Acumen’s will be found in jeans and purse pockets and people will be Reminded of you.... I also design them to be something that could be plastered on a wall with the cover of the Acumen coinciding with the bands set on the opposite side.
This particular Acumen told the story of how Zero Crag became known as Zero Crag and listed a short band roster and Acumen standard; a set list. I make about 60 Acumen’s per show and hand them out before the band plays. It was done at The Laundry Room the previous night, and it was the same deal at Top Cats.
People could hold the Acumen and follow our set as we played it. We took the stage and began our set. Twelve songs in 30 Minutes.
"Watch the Minutes Eingo"; a song about a kid putting a squirrel in a microwave for kicks... "E.W. Deployed and Associates"; art damage in our empires capital...
Taking a cue from Pat Slob, I kept repeating the fact that we were Zero Crag and we drink beer on stage and play rock and/or roll. Its a sort of inside joke involving a episode that The Android and a prank phone caller was involved in but none-the-less, Pat reminded me that it made him laugh so I kept saying it over and over in-between songs.
"Designed to Work", a song whose lyrics were adapted from an instructional sheet from a substance used to clean up industrial spills.... Current Zero Crag anthem: "Push Button Warfare"...
I continued stressing that Zero Crag was a rock and/or roll band and we drink beer on stage while we play rock and/or roll. The bartender let me have three drinks to take onstage so I had refreshments aplenty. I have a bad deal with getting cotton-mouth when I play. Nerves I suppose. As much as I was fooling and tooling, I really was drinking beer onstage and playing what I called rock and/or roll. I cant be held responsible if everyone dont agree with me and my definitions. I implore them to gear up.
"Pink Fuck"; I wanted it to be a band name for Ms. Communications side-project but it ended up being a Zero Crag song title.
Someone threw a beer can and I told them not to after one song. I proclaimed that we were not a punk band, throwing stuff was a punk thing to do and Zero Crag was a rock and or roll band and we drink beer onstage and play rock and/or roll.
A song about playing Ms. Pac Man; "Brand Neu New Wave War". a Zero Crag hard hitter. After War we decided to change things up and substitute "There Are No others" with "Angry Men on an Angry Planet".
I explained into the PA as Microbe tuned that we had played a basement venue the previous night and "those fuckers danced so dont you dare" then I called them pussies as we broke into "No Others".
Zero Crag was doing pretty good if I do say so. People were moving and responding to our set. A few people, for whatever reason which I figured was consumption of mass downers, really got into The Wholigans set. We kept their momentum up and allowed others to join in. Someone even did ‘The Worm’ across the floor in front of the stage.
After we finished "No Others" It appeared as though Android had some mic problems. I went to my mic to tell the sound man when I discovered my mic was also not working.
Either was Microbes.
A voice spoke as if it was god himself seemingly surrounding Android, Microbe and myself. it was the sound man. "yeah, thats it. You have to get your stuff off the stage for Thee Shams" and the house PA began playing shitty bar music.
The plug was pulled on us due to time restraints. We were over our halfway mark and heading downhill fast. Our last several numbers were pretty much bleeds (term of the industry) meaning that we went from one song into another as the song ended.
We stood in place in amazement. the Wholigans played to fucking long. They badgered and bruised up Who songs, treading over trodden ground for way too long. Zero Crag, a band who decided to drop any attempted and learned covers so we could focus on original music, had to pay the price. We were not told sorry. We were not given AT THE VERY LEAST one last song... We were turned off and told to make room.
I went into constant Nudnik mode. I didn’t need a PA for my bass amp. I push 130 watts out of a 4-12 guitar cabinet and combo Trace Elliot 15" amp. I have no volume problems so I just let The Shark feedback and every now and then I would hammer down on a note playing it as fast as I could to basically be an annoyance.
They fucked with me so I figured the least I could do was make EVERYTHING as difficult as possible on them. it got me the attention of a bar-bouncer thats notorious throughout the population of Cincinnati’s bands for being a real roughass. He liked to kick people out and push them around as much as possible while they were in the bar.
He came up on me and leaned against me deadening my strings. he told me that I was risking getting banned from the club as a band member and patron if I didn’t turn my amp off and get off the stage. He didn’t care about what was done to Zero Crag and truth be known, he probably had it in for me to begin with. Several comrades of mine had some run ins with this fellow and even as I was carrying in my equipment earlier in the evening as I arrived at Top Cats ‘ol thugy-guy himself told the doorman that I had a friend that was banned from the club and wasn’t to be allowed in.
The term "faggy" was used often in description. The Person he was describing was a close friend of mine. The way I see it, he wasn’t using this term "faggy" in a joking sort of way. the friend wasn’t banned either... He worked through some bitterness with the clubs owner who wasn’t on the premises.
I told the bouncer that I couldn’t do as he wished with him all up on me and shit so if he would back up, I would do as he asked. I reached around and turned off my amp. the bouncer gave me room and jumped down off the stage to go bully someone else around...
When he had disappeared into the crowd, I reach back around and turned back on my amp and re-started my noise. The Bouncer quickly ran up on stage and told me I was now OFFICIALLY banned for life from Top Cats.
"Do NOT test me sir".
"Fuck you. What is five plus two? I AM testing you"
He then let me know that I was risking physical ejection if I continued my present course. I was waiting for my answer. We were once again where we started. Him up on me deadening my bass, Me smiling.
"If you touch him I guarantee there will be five people on you before you realize it." Said a voice from the crowd.
It was Mark. Also known as "Timmy". One of the most prolific Cincinnati frontmen ever. Timmy led The Twerps back in their day. Sure enough, surrounding him were others. The bouncer, at Timmys suggestion, came down off the stage to talk to Timmy while I kept asking, well, really rather YELLING the question ‘Whats five plus two?"
"...It isn’t six".
"...It isn’t eight"
"Its seven" yelled out someone from the crowd....
"Hes a smart boy, dont help him. This is a test. Whats five plus two?"
"...It isn’t six".
"...It isn’t eight".
Then, Timmy told me to stop, pack up my gear and leave. Everything was OK, Stand down. Defcon 4, not 5, but 4; still aware of danger...He went up to bat for me. I known, and more importantly, respected him for years. I have reason to believe him in situations like this. I did as he asked.
I just wanted to leave. I had enough. I got me and any band Im in banned from Top Cats for life. Zero Crag was fucked with at a very creative moment for us WITHOUT justification. What was done, and how it was done was wrong. I lashed out, in defiance, the only way I know; Sonic-Cannonade.
I was stopped as I was loading out my equipment by the door man who tried his damnedest to convince me I was wrong and he was right for what Top Cats done.
Im not sure if he wanted an apology or what. Like, he wanted me to be like ‘Yeah, your right about all of this. Im sorry. Please dont ban me for life, I will be a good little sheep and kiss your ass’.
Smooch. Smooch. Top Cats was wanting a blow-job and a swallow to follow.
Android wasn’t upset at what I did nor the outcome. Nor was the Microbe. Zero Crag was united. I was told IF Zero Crag had shown up at a reasonable time before our set, Top Cats would have been more lenient with our situation. We SHOULD have been there at around 8:30 PM even though The Wholigans were not there at that time.... Android, who doesn’t own a vehicle tried to drop his drums off at 7:30 PM; a opportune time for him and Top Cats was locked up tight. No one from Top Cats called and told us when to be at Top Cats either. All we had to go off of was what Zachy Sham had told us (See, I told you that would come back up later...).
Now, I MIGHT be considered a rock-star, like I was alluded to by the door man for the number of shows that I have played, but my experience tells me that a 8:30 arrival time was too early to show up to this show.
I can honestly say that I believe I was trying to be goaded into starting a fight to give Top Cats a reason to fight, then call up the infamous Cincinnati Police department to lock me up.... Pitiful indeed. Little does the Doorman know or the bouncer but Im not only Shawn Abnoxious but Im fortified with plenty of B vitamins in a Zinc fortified Stress Formula that levels my once raging ass out.
I feel as if I didn’t do anything wrong except the whole bass noise thing... Action/reaction. I wasn’t apologizing for what I did. what the doorman was explaining to me was fine, I dont care what he thought was good nor bad about the night. I am mainly surrounded by people whose opinions sometimes are greatly different for me. Im use to being alone in my beliefs...
But I wasn’t alone. Zero Crag was STRONG and UNIFIED on this one. So I went home and sat around in my underwear strong in my convictions that Zero Crag played a great set and was ultimately wronged for what was done. So Im BANNED from Top Cats for life. To quote The Slobs: WHO REALLY CARES? A venue can ‘pull the plug’ on any band they want. After all, it is their place and all, but their authority; which really isn’t any kind of authority at all when you stop and look at it, ends at their doors.
Top Cats will not make or brake Zero Crag. We continue and move onward. As with lifes other battles, Im not asking for an apology about all of this. Im not asking for a reconciliation. What I ended up asking for is a promise that I will NEVER be allowed in Top Cats doors again; and ironically enough that was something the doorman couldn’t do for me. Go fucking figure. And Im considered the asshole to Top Cats in all of this. Thats funny. Laugh you "faggy" Mother-fucker. I said laugh.
One day, maybe even tonight as I sit and write this piece.... Im considering calling up my "faggy" friend to see if he is still hung over from the previous night or just plain hung... That same bouncer will meet someone that wont have restraint like me and will take their bass off or pull out their gun out and take things a couple of levels past where I left it. Me? I got Zero Crag practice this Thursday for another show at The Laundry Room basement.
"Hey Mike" I screamed. He leaned toward me better hear me. "I have a new Zero Crag song title".
"What is it?" he screamed back.
"Its called ‘A Car with Tank Treads’ ".
A car with tank treads. Overcoming barriers. Just a car isn’t a car. Its a car with tank treads. Overcoming barriers. Suprize. I wonder if my sub-conscious somehow didnt know what was going to happen before it happened.... All future telling; Nostradomus and shit.
"Dont tread on Me".
You just read A Car with Tank Treads, the second installment of Digital Block by Shawn Abnoxious. This story was based on true circumstances.
Contact me or dont:
 "Buy me a ticket to a sonic reduction......"