October 2009

A Real Interview w/ Different Names and Places (Part Two)

Arguably, the most important job at the Rookery is door-guy. Conspicuously centered on the table where these would-be bouncers and band wranglers sit is a plastic bowl serving to collect donations for touring acts. There’re surely evenings where proceeds are scant, but occasionally, an out of town act can make a decent haul. “Sightings [a band from Brooklyn] made about fifty dollars less than what the Empty Falafel promised them,” Caruso says, “which was a solid amount in the first place.”

A Real Interview w/ Different Names and Places (Part One)

There’s a small, cordoned off tent city after walking through an unmarked green door and mounting that steep mass of steps which serve as the only entrance to the Rookery.

On evenings when the DIY venue, located at Eastwood and Mayfield, hosts shows, there’s a table of foreingers greeting guests, taking donations and inviting new comers to join the e-mail list. After congenial chit-chat with the transplanted midwesterners, finding a seat on a couch or a conversation with a stranger isn’t too difficult either. But once the music begins conversation becomes an afterthought, if not simply impossible.

The Leftovers: They're an Australian Band

Being able to pin one’s notoriety on a single 7 inch released almost thirty years ago is a pretty impressive thing. It, of course, doesn’t assure anyone’s monetary compensation or even mental well being. That said, though, it seems like Brisbane’s the Leftovers have amassed a critical following that finds no problem mentioning them in the same breath as the Saints, who hail from that exact town.

A Dan Sinker Interview...Part 02

DJC: Why is Cell Stories going to work better or differently than Punk Planet?

DS: Punk Planet was on top of the world. There weren’t a lot of people to partner up with - they just didn’t exist at that level. With Cell Stories there are tons of people who’ve been at this longer than I have, are incredible writers and have an incredible amount of knowledge.

DJC: Cell Stories came out of something – the fellowship. So, did Punk Planet come out of some other project?

A Dan Sinker Interview...Part One

Responding to a perceived need in punk, Dan Sinker and a few cobbled together volunteers began Punk Planet during the mid ‘90s ground swell of independent music. The magazine covered the music associated with the sub-culture, but also tangential political issues. Suffering financially and ultimately ceasing publication during the aughties, the rag’s absence left a void in the market place – at least according to Sinker.

Cessation of publishing, though, found Sinker arriving in academia. Meeting in his office, replete with just a few too many concert posters on the walls, the professor dealt sincerely with his past and passions while snidely deriding a few of his peers.


DJC: How’d you wind up being a professor at Columbia College?

Johnny Thunders: All Solo Like...

Drawing crowds during three distinct decades would usually point to some general success and positive experiences. Johnny Thunders pissed it away, though. It all went down the tubes – or into his veins. Or nose. Or whatever. He left a slew of music behind, though. And while some of it’s utterly incredible – I’m thinking of the two albums from the New York Dolls – there’s some stuff that’s just passable and only for the fanatic. Yeah, Gang War (which also included the MC5’s Wayne Kramer) had its moments, but wasn’t priming Thunders for stardom. Fame, though, was probably a dream that he discarded well before his death in 1991.

F.U.'s vs. Liberal Nonsense

I’ve been thinking about Maximum Rock ‘n Roll too much of late – obviously. And part of that has been as a result of the sway that an editor or publisher wields over the bent of a publication. The personality of a honcho, his or her political beliefs and even personal views on stuff that shouldn’t necessarily be inserted into a publication, but can still surface. For good or not, Tim Yo – whose overwhelmingly positive influence on punk shouldn’t be disregarded – voiced a whole buncha personal and political stuff in the pages of MRR. Some of it seemed really well informed and other times it just appeared that he was working hard to be confrontational.

MRR: An Open Application (Part Three)

7. We need to know a little about your personality. Do you consider yourself shy or out going? Independent? Are you a loner type? Are you comfortable dealing with a lot of people? What are you like when you are mad? How do you think your friends would describe you?

I’m an odd amalgam of each of those things. I just moved to Chicago and have had to go out and find folks to hang out with – I knew three people when I got here. At the same time, though, I’m as likely to sit in my room for two days and read a book as I am to goto shows.

I taught kids for a few years, so interacting with a large group of people, assigning tasks and the like is more than familiar to me.

MRR: An Open Application (Part Two)

4. What would you want to change about MRR? Be specific.

The two main things would be the layout as well the way that the columns/features are handled.

The columns are regular draw. You guys sporadically feature some sort historical component: a look back at a band or scene that was an important component in helping punk arrive where it is today. But if there were a regular space for a feature like that, I think that it’d help keep readers coming back on a monthly basis.

Antipodes: The Pin Group

I really like words and I got to learn a new one as a result of reading about the Pin Group. Antipode is a British vernacular word that refers to folks in either New Zealand or Australia. There’s some long taxonomy, but that’s less interesting to know than the word itself.

Regardless of how Brits referred to ‘em Roy Montgomery (guitar), Ross Humphrey (bass), and Peter Stapleton (drums) comprised the Pin Group, which formed during the early ‘80s and only lasted till around ’84. In that time, though, the band was able to record a clutch of songs that would seemingly inform the kiwi acts that followed on Flying Nun Records in the coming years.

The Professionals: PostPistolRock

As entry into whatever punk is there aren’t too many other better places to start than the Sex Pistols – ok the Ramones, but who else after that? Those two bands do really define the genre to folks that don’t have a real grasp on the music, what it is or where it came from. And that’s understandable. But considering that the Sex Pistols only had a single full length album – the soundtrack to The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle kinda counts, but not really - it should have been a reasonable assumption that Steve Jones and Paul Cook would go on to form a band. They did. And it was called the Professionals. It was good, for the most part.

Jay Reatard: This Weirdo Sitting in the Bushes (Part Two)

DJC: Was that a watershed moment?

JR: Who knows if he wouldn’t have written back, I’d still be in a band that was trying to sound like Rancid…Kids just don’t have punk records fall into their lap. It’s a process of discovering music through things that are more accessible. It’s a system of rivers, where it keeps getting smaller and something branches off into something else…I turned down a major label deal to be on Matador [Records]. I could be signed to Universal Records if I wanted to be.


DJC: They make Indiana Jones.

And Lil Wayne. I went to their office, and I was just walking around thinking, ‘Who is that guy?’ I know everyone in here…It was funny, it was an experience.


DJC: Where are the offices?

Jay Reatard: This Weirdo Sitting in the Bushes (Part One)

Releasing music with no less than six bands over a decade points to the song-writing proclivities of Jay Reatard (née Jay Lindsey). Working in almost as many sub-genres of punk as different bands, Reatard has crafted a career and persona of an unabashed loud-mouth who refuses to bow before genre restrictions, cultural trends or record labels.

Slowing his pace of recording only to tour over the last three years, the singer and guitarist moved from underground adulation to broader recognition, even winding up on MTV News at one point.

All of Reatard’s recordings and recent successes, though, haven’t made navigating the music business any more hospitable. Speaking from his Memphis home, Reatard remembers his past, and talks about heading to Hollywood.


The Dead Milkmen are (almost) 30

Up until yesterday, I don’t remember voluntarily putting on a Dead Milkmen recording since I was 18. On the way to some college related orientation deal in the ‘burbs of Clevo, whatever compilation tape I’d availed myself to was blasting “Punk Rock Girl.” And that was really the only song that held any sort of cache for me at the time.

Able to appreciate the rolling bass lines on other tracks, the more aggressive offerings were still what drew me in. But since the band is appearing at Chicago’s Riot Fest this weekend, I figured that I needed to brush up on some history and track down some (digital) copies of those albums. It was a wise decision.

The Subhumans: No, the Dudes from Canada

Probably ever single mention of Vancouver based the Subhumans at some point refers to the Brit band of the same name. It’s certainly not because of any aural similarities, although both do rule in completely different ways.

The Canadian band though has ties to Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label as well as some shifty eco-terrorists up there in the northwest. I suppose someone in or related to the UK band blew something in political protest, but Gerry Useless got popped for plotting to rip off an armored vehicle in order to finance future disruptive endeavors.