Thursday, September 29, 2011

California Discord Fest-The Vortex/House/Riff Haus, L.A./Montebello/Fullerton CA 9/24-25/11

This fest was one of the most long awaited for shows of the year. Just hours after it started it became one of the most talked about, controversial concerts in California (let alone punk) history. I bought my tickets over four months ago and I think they had been available for six. Yet, kids were still crying that they sold out three weeks prior to the show. Three of my friends took buses and trains up north just for this one. And I know people who came even farther than that Arizona, Canada, and even the UK!). Many people were super excited for this 2 day fest full of Crust Punk, Grindcore, Powerviolence, D-Beat,and more. After busing it there we sat and waited. My buddy Kyle and a few other people threw this fest all by themselves.

                                                            DAY 1
While we were sitting and waiting to get in, we saw some dude dressed as a zombie with fake blood, that chest piece thing, and make up. At first we thought he was just a silly concert goer. Out of nowhere he went inside the building and screamed at the top of his lungs and then left. Two minutes later he goes on the stage,and as it turns out, he's the singer of the first band, Deminishing Device. They're from OC and play pretty good punk mixed with metal. After their short set, I am now a fan. Their fanbase is Crossover Thrash, old school Hardcore, etc.  And it was cool of them to give out free demos. Check em out Crossover fans!

Up next was Holokaust, A D-Beat band from Riverside, CA. From what I heard this was supposed to be their last show. They played a really good short set, and were really happy when people applauded for them. I'd really love to see 'em play again (for a longer set) but I doubt its gonna happen now. Check out their LP Into The Void Of Oblivion. Really good LP and I'm sure they would be missed.


Up next was a Sludge Metal act,  Destroy Judas. Sludge metal is not my thing. They have members of Phobia, Dytopia,and Evildead. My friends liked 'em. I didn't dig 'em (not that they weren't good, just don't dig the music genre) If you love sludge,check em out

Destroy Judas
Up next was Bacchus from Ireland. Crust Punk. Pretty good stuff. They have an EP "Attica". Check that out. Nothing else to say except they were great live.

Then was one of my favorite local bands, DIS (Destroyed In Seconds). Since last time I reviewed 'em(back in Feb) they've gotten a new singer (actually recently) a guy who was the singer of Panties and The Dolemite Project. Instead of being more on the D-Beat/Crust side the vocals were more Grind now. Still a great band. Former singer Mike Fisher was there on the side supporting his ex band mates. He said he loves how they are now ,and honestly believes they're better. I really liked Fisher's vocals but this new guy was pretty good too. But last time I saw DIS, Mr.Fisher almost threw a mic stand at me which made me kinda scared of him and made me think he was a mad man. Since then then I've talked to him and he's a really nice cool dude. He's actually starting a Powerviolence band now so I'll be on the lookout for that. DIS still rules. Listen to their album (with Mike)  Critical Failure.

Then came Diatribe, an Anarcho-Hardcore band. Many people dug 'em and some stupid kid kept getting the microphone to do Beavis and Butthead impressions. Pretty good.

Finally it was time for one of the bands I was very excited to see. Resistant Culture is a Native American Crust Punk band. All members are Native. The lead singer started with a big flute and played a little solo with it. While he was playing they were playing Crust music in the background. It's very unique how they do it. They played a great set which I and the rest of the crowd enjoyed. The singer would be going to his Grind voice then to his Native American howls while using maracas. Really cool. Check them out if they come to your town and listen to their album, Welcome To Reality. It's that good. Also the lead singer/Guitar player is also in Terrorizer.

Resistant Culture
And then the shit hit the fan. Though the promoters had the proper permits, paid the Fire Marshall,and did the other stuff, the LAPD still decided to shut the show down. Kids were pissed. Some were dumb enough to fight with cops, others threw stuff at the people who were trying to calm the kids down. It was just a big fucking mess and they sent us home. We waited as the rumors began circling that some bands were gonna play at an address (different ones were passed around). We didn't buy it. After an hour of waiting in a friend's house for legit info, it was posted on Facebook that the address was correct and it was in the damn city I live in. They just said Magrudergrind was playing (the main band I wanted to see tonight,and who I missed last year for going late to a Scion show). We rushed over there, it was a house. As soon as we got inside we found out Magruder just played. FUCK!!!!!! Well my day got shittier.

Lucky Transient was next. And here they were doing another LA house show. This time the place went insane (they played in a living room) and people were crowd surfing and running into walls. Another great set from this female fronted Grind band from Oregon. Check em out! I hope to see 'em again soon.

Theories played next and they did a legit job. I heard some Black Metal influence and people dug 'em. I hope to see them again soon as well.

After begging Magrudergrind to do another set, they said they couldn't (they were nice about it) and the bands were done. We walked home, read the info for tomorrow, then slept. I have mixed feelings about this day. It wasn't the bookies fault at all. It was all the police.

                                                              DAY 2

So they moved it to Riff Haus in Fullerton. Riff Haus is a tiny place that was obviously too small to fit everyone. Luckily they let the bands have two sets. One was at 1pm and the other was at 6:00. It was the only place they could get for the show (kinda far) but I was able to make it. The lame part was that the venue let kids who didn't have tickets pay $10 for admission. They could get in and ticket holders couldn't if there wasn't any room. (Oh well. I got in) And another change was that they only let the three headliners of Sunday play, Rattus (main headliner of Saturday, also their last show). We got there, it was crowded, and I was excited to know ACxDC was able to open it up since they were supposed to play the show that day anyway.

ACxDC played. My friends from San Jose really wanted to see 'em. They played the same short set they played on Thursday and it was great again. It was kinda of weird seeing them on a stage though. I bought their exclusive shirt for the fest which was an Infest ripoff.

SET (Also from Deafheaven show):
No Fly Zone
Turtle Power
Jokes On You
Fuck It Dood...Lets Go Bowling
Milk Was A Bad Idea
TShirt Time
We Kill Christins
Up next was Finland's Rattus. I don't think they've ever been to America. And this was their last show ever. The majority of people who went the first day went to see this band. They play good ol fashioned punk. All lyrics are in Finnish. Kids went super nuts for them and they played a really great set. They decided to play early since they wanted to leave for an American hockey game (ay they want to see some sightings, plus they had plans). Anyhoo I'm glad that I went to the early show since they only played the first show (2nd one they had Exhumed, sucks ). So you'll never see these guys again. Download their discography. Pretty good stuff.

Rattus from Finland
Setlist of Rattus (in Finn)

Up next was a reunion set from sludge band Mange. Once again I apologize,I couldn't get into it.

Last Halloween, Ghoul played a show in a warehouse in LA. That show got raided as well, so I was excited that I finally got to see these guys. They were setting up. They left, came back with potato sacks on their heads (and fake blood on em). They play Crossover Thrash with Death Metal vocals and a hint of Grind. They started and people went even more crazy then they did for Rattus. There were stage dives, huge circle pits and one big painful kick in my knee. During their show, random monsters suits came out. One of 'em, a giant robot, couldn't get on stage. Another monster dropped his maske off while getting off stage... Funny stuff. The band also ripped open a fake chicken and threw the blood at us. I really recommend you check out their album Splatterthrash and see 'em live. A 
really fun band to see.

Ghoul's Setlist
Last but not least was the headliner, Rhode Island's Powerviolence badass's Dropdead. Their opening song started and it went even more brutal than Ghoul's set. The whole time I was trying to keep my balance while people were stage diving and the whole damn place was a pit. I fell down, but sang along with he rest of the crowd. Most people (including me) paid for the 2nd day to see these guys. They didn't disappoint. Dropdead is one of the craziest Powerviolence bands I've ever seen live. I'm glad they headlined this show. They kept playing and people kept asking for more and more. They played an amazing set.

Dropdead and their setlist
Overall it was a show I will never forget. Bad times, good times, and fun times. This was one of the best shows of the year. Once again the failures were not the promoters fault, it was all LAPD. And fuck the guy that called the cops on the Riff Haus just for getting kicked out for drinking and smoking. Thanks to him all show there are canceled.

Kids don't ruin the little we have! Stop destroying your own damn scene.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deafheaven-Bow and Sorrow, Los Angeles., CA 9/22/11

Since the (temporary?) closing of the Blvd, LA hasn't thrown many shows. Deafheaven, Lake Of Blood, and Duke Nukem Forever were on their 3 day tour and were in to play LA. Luckily they played in a very narrow bar in Downtown. It fit around 40 (maybe more) people. Luckier still, not many people showed up, even though Deafheaven is pretty popular.

While waiting outside, so were most of the bands. Guy finally opened the door, and let us in. I got there at seven, and DNF didn't go on til nine. Duke Nukem Forever (no not the video game) are a powerviolence act from San Francisco. They don't have a facebook page or anything so they're pretty underground. Everyone including me are crazy about 'em so I'm glad I finally got to see 'em. They started and I couldn't hear the vocals. People kept telling them they couldn't hear their vocals but the singer said he couldn't do anything about it. So it was pretty much an instrumental set. I was kinda bummed by this since they fixed the microphone right after they finished. People still moshed and stuff, and liked it. I need to see 'em again ASAP. Download Here! Always bet on Duke!

Duke Nukem Forever

Next was a new Black Metal band named Lake Of(or Ov) Blood. The singer was this really big guy with a great BM vocals. They are the type of band that has its really good and it's really bad moments. At times, me and the rest of the crowed head banged and really liked the music. Other times we stood there bored looking at eachother. Overall it was a-ok set. If you like depressive Black Metal without the Kiss make up and upside down crosses, check em out. Download Eps!

Lake Ov Blood
I know you guys are probably tired of me reviewing ACxDC all the time. But their 2nd EP just came out after 7-8 years after their first one that I've told you to download over 69 times! Anyhoo, they started and as always the place went fuckin nuts. They played all their new songs plus two old ones. I sang on the mic during "Milk Was a Bad Idea" and was getting pushed all over the little place. After crowed surfing and getting hit by a bass guitar, it was over and once again it was fun as fuck. The new EP is actually about Movies/Tv shows like: Anchorman, The Dark Knight, Big Lewboski, etc. And if you dont think its the best release of 2011....I will fight you,that's no lie. LISTEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suddenly it got super crowded for Deafheaven. They are another depressing Black Metal band, or as they are called around here; Hipster Black Metal. They took forever to set up but the wait was worth it. They started playing  and people were crowding the singer who, tho he ain't in a Satanic Black Metal band, looked scary and pretty possessed. He didn't need corpse paint to look creepy. Their songs are very long. Though I hate that about most bands that do it, I really love this about Deafheaven. So they played four very powerful emotional songs. Though it sounds very cheesy and lame, its true. People were crowd surfing and the lead singer made everyone lift him up for about 3 minutes. It was a very powerful performance and I recommend them to all of you. Listen to their album, Roads to Judah. You might like it even if you don't dig Black Metal.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Song of Which Was Written and Lost: Procrastination

Found on the stage at the Hull Avenue Tap in Des Moines on Sunday night: The hand written lyrics to a song.

(Click to enlarge)


                                                            I just spent all day today
                                                            Puttin' off until tomorrow
                                                   Everything I should have done yesterday
                                                     Still there's one thing I know for sure
                                                   If they didn't bolt the toilet to the ceiling
                                                           Then I'm standing on the floor
                                                           And it's another rainy Monday
                                                            And I need to do the laundry
                                                     But there's rattlesnakes in my basement
                                                             And the flute players dead

                                                                  (Author unknown)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

BD Interview with the Legendary Nick Saloman

Nick Saloman is a giant in the world of music. I suspect he may be the first person to tell you he's not, brushing the notion off with a wave of his hand and then moving on again about his business. The evidence is out there, however, and all one has to do is open the ears to find out. Nick is the driving force behind The Bevis Frond. Sometimes the band is comprised of just him, sometimes a few other guys coming in to lay down some drums or guitar, and other times it is a full band.

The music of The Bevis Frond is an incredible experience to listen to. You get everything from mind melting, psychedelic excursions down the rabbit hole to brilliant guitar driven pop and ballads that will stay in your head long after the album has quit playing. Nick has worked and collaborated with an astounding number of legends and luminaries in the pantheon of psychedelic music. This goes to prove that he has a place among them. As a guitar player he is one of the best. You can name any 5 people you want as to who you think are the greatest guitarists ever, and Nick Saloman can walk among them. I could wax hyperbolic all night about Nick and The Bevis Frond but there's an interview to get to. Nick was kind and gracious enough to talk with us here at the BFD, about whatever we asked him. We greatly appreciate the effort and time that he took out of his days to answer the emails, so without any further ado, Ladies and gentlemen.....Nick Saloman.

Nick Saloman
Nick, you've made a lot of music over the years. Were you brought up in a musical environment?

Yes. My Mum was a really great pianist, as were both my aunts. My maternal granddad also played piano and apparently had his own little jazz band in the 20's and 30's. Sadly I never really got on with him. I always found him to be a very dour and miserable guy...that's what jazz will do for you. Anyway, my Mum taught me to play piano when I was about 5, but I was already into The Shadows and Johnny and the Hurricanes, etc., and just longed for a guitar. My Dad split with my Mum when I was 5 and he moved abroad, but one visit when I was 7, he brought me an acoustic guitar from Germany and that was that. The piano was history. Mum booked me some basic guitar lessons, and by the time I was 10, I was pretty good (for a kid). She was also quite a cool Mum, and she took me to see The Beatles for my 10th Christmas present. So, yes, I had a very musical upbringing.

What was your first band?

I played some shows at my Primary School and entered a Mime to The Beatles contest at The Swiss Cottage Odeon with some mates when I was 11. But I'd say the first proper band was a 3 piece with a couple of schoolmates when I was about 15. I was on guitar, Ray Flores was on bass, and Bill O'Brien played drums. Initially we had a guy called Charlie Webber on vocals, basically because his elder brother played organ in a real psychedelic band called The Geranium Pond, and if we were lucky we could borrow some of their equipment. Unfortunately, despite looking like a cross between Brian Jones and Davy Jones (aged about 15), Charlie couldn't sing, and I ended up being singer. we played at local youth clubs and the occasional party. Our set comprised covers of Hendrix, Blue Cheer, The Doors, Cream, more or less all the stuff we liked. Initially, the band was called The Museum, but my schoolfriend Julien Temple (now a famous film maker) said he thought that The Bevis Frond was a much better name. I don't know where he got the name from, but we became The Bevis Frond Museum. It didn't last very long because Bill O'Brien, who was much too good for the likes of us, got an offer to join a local band with his cousin Gary Grainger called The Confusion. Gary ended up in Strider, and eventually played guitar in Rod Stewart's band.

There are lots of stories out there about what it was like to be young, playing rock 'n' roll in the mid to late 60's in England. Guys like Mick Farren and Keith Richards, just to name a few, have told and written about their adventures in that environment. What was your experience?

Well, those guys are a bit older than me, and were experiencing real life, real gigs, making records, etc. I was 15 in 1968 and playing in schoolboy bands, so it was a bit different. However, I lived right in Central London, so I could walk to places like The Marquee or The Roundhouse, and I was really into the music scene, so I just about caught the end of the 60's I guess. My mates and I used to go and see bands all the time, but we were a bit naive. A couple of the lads got into hallucinogenics, but I never did, pretty much because I wanted to take note of what all the guitarists were doing. I suppose I was a bit of a nerd like that. I spent all my money on going to gigs and buying records. I was in 'Swinging London' aged about 16, seeing bands, getting off with girls, playing football, etc., etc., and I have to say that it was a really fantastic few years, but by about 71-72 the music had more or less faded away into glam rock prog.

Freakouts, and all points in between. Who are some of the influences on your sound, and in particular your guitar playing?

Phew, that's pretty hard to answer because there are so many influences. I was first influenced by rock 'n' roll, and I'd have to cite Hank Marvin of the Shadows as my first guitar hero. Then The Beatles came along, and then The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Small Faces, and all that raucous British Beat stuff. But then I saw Hendrix on Ready Steady Go and he just left everyone else standing. I loved Eric Clapton, Peter Green, but I didn't think they were in Hendrix's league. It was around then that Steve Webber (of The Geranium Pond) started playing me things like The Grateful Dead, Blue Cheer, Jefferson Airplane, and I really got into the West Coast bands. I guess my favorite was Country Joe and The Fish, Savage Resurrection, Mad River, Clear Light, The Steve Miller Band, SRC, HP Lovecraft, Spirit, but mainly Country Joe. Barry Melton was a big influence. Ollie Halsall of Patto was one of my all time favorite guitarists. I think I saw Patto about 30 times! Latterly, I'd have to say Greg Sage of the Wipers re-opened my eyes to the possibilities of feedback and long solos. I was also really impressed by The Damned's 'Machine Gun Ettiqette' album. As far as songwriting goes, you can't beat The Beatles now can you? Lyrically, I was very influenced by the late David Ackles, who demonstrated how you could be really brutal and poetic at the same time. I loved Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, early Richard Thompson. I thought Country Joe was a great songwriter too.

How did The Bevis Frond come to be?

I'd been playing in bands and doing solo stuff throughout the 70's into the 80's without any success, and I was nearly 30. I figured that I was never going to get anywhere with my music. In 1982 I had a bad motorbike accident. The council had dug the road up and hadn't properly filled it in properly, and I was riding home from playing football one night. I just went straight into this unfilled hole in the road and broke my ulna, radius, elbow, and a couple of toes. I had multiple cuts and bruises and I ended up in hospital for 3 months. I had several pins put in my left arm, lots of stitches, and to this day my arm has very restricted movement. For a while it looked like I'd have to give up playing guitar, but after a year or two I managed to adapt my playing style to the limitations. I got some compensation for the accident, bought some recording equipment and recorded a load of tracks with me playing all the instruments.

Eventually I had enough stuff for an album, which I released basically as a vanity project. This was 'Miasma. Well, much to my amazement a few people liked it and it sort of became a bit of a minor underground success. Then I started being asked when my next album was coming out, and I remember realising I was on to something, so I did another record, and another, and another....I then started being asked if I wanted to do some gigs, which really took me by surprise. I put a band together with Ade Shaw on bass, Rod Goodway on guitar and vocals, and Martin Crowley on drums.

I'd played in bands with Martin before, and I'd met Rod and Ade through a mate called Phil McMullen. Rod and Ade had both been in a band called Magic Muscle, and Rod had fronted a 60's beat group called The Pack, while Ade had gone on to play bass for plenty of 70's bands, most notably Hawkwind for whom he replaced Lemmy. We did our first show as The Magic Bevis Muscle Frond supporting Hawkwind at The Brixton Academy. Soon I was being offered European dates, so we just became The Bevis Frond and set off on a Euro Tour in 1990 I think. And I guess that's pretty much how it all started.

You've written a vast amount of songs over the years. How do you go about writing songs?

Well, I’m very lucky in that it just comes naturally. I really don’t have to think about it or make any kind of effort at all. I started writing songs and music when I was about 9, and it just developed from there. I sit around twiddling about on the guitar a lot, rather like someone idly having a cigarette, and before I know it there’s a tune coming out. Then I sing along to it, usually complete gibberish, till I hit on a line or two that sound interesting, and I build the lyrics that way. I rarely have any idea what the lyrics are about till I’m halfway through them, then it kind of falls into place. It doesn’t take very long, maybe an hour or so. When it’s finished I’ll play it through a few times to see if I like it. Usually it’ll end up in the bin, but if it’s a good one, I’ll record a basic acoustic demo. If I still like it after a few days, then I’ll record a proper demo, and that’s about it really.

How did working with Twink on the Magic Eye album come about?

I met Twink through Ade. In the late 80s Ade, Rod Goodway reformed Magic Muscle, and Twink ended up drumming for them. I always loved the Pretty Things, Tomorrow etc, and Twink was a legendary figure to me. So Ade introduced us to each other and we got on really well. We did a few loose gigs together up in Colchester where he lived then, and decided it would be fun to do an album together. I have to say recording and playing with Twink was extremely easy and quick. He’s a great drummer and musician. After the album came out there were a few problems with the finances, but eventually that was all sorted out amicably. The last I heard he’d become a Muslim and changed his lifestyle drastically.

The list of amazing musicians and bands that you've played with is pretty impressive. What was it like to work with legends like Country Joe and Arthur Lee?

Unbelievable! Remember these are guys whose records I listened to when I was a 14 year old kid. I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that I’d actually end up playing with them. Country Joe is a really nice bloke, very down to earth and funny, and of course one of the greats. Over the years since we met in the late 90s we’ve kind of drifted apart. Not sure why. There wasn’t anything to put my finger on. He just sort of stopped getting in touch, and so did I. Quite a shame, but that’s the way things go sometimes. I’d be only too pleased to hook up with him again, but who knows? Working with Arthur Lee was somewhat different, as he was a lot more out to lunch than Joe. He was very nice, and performed amazingly well. He got on stage, and it was all there, but on a personal level he was a bit removed. Like I say, a really nice guy, but I played with him for two consecutive days, and on the third day he’d forgotten we’d ever met!

It's been some time since the last Bevis Frond record. Have we seen the last of Bevis Frond?

Yup, my new album (the first for 7 years) is due out on October 10th. It’s called The Leaving Of London, and it’ll be available as a CD, double vinyl, download via i-tunes. Then we’ve got some shows planned, but alas, nothing in the USA. I don’t have a label out there, and without some kind of tour support, a tour isn’t viable. I suppose I could do some solo stuff maybe, but nobody’s asked me, and besides, I always feel it’s not quite as good as doing the full band experience.

Is there any unreleased Bevis Frond stuff in the vaults?

Yeah, loads. I tried working out just how much recently, and I reckon there’s enough decent stuff for about 5 or 6 albums. Plus a whole lot more stuff that I don’t think is very good.

Talk about the band that you are in along with your daughter, Debbie Duveen and the Millbanks. It's different from what you've done in the past, but great stuff. Very soulful vocals. Will there be more from this band?

Deb is a brilliant singer. She came up through musical theatre. She starred in her own one-woman show about Judy Garland. She even had the title role in a major tour of ‘Little Voice’. I always hoped she’s want to do some rocking stuff, so when she felt she’d like to have a go, I was delighted and wrote a load of songs specifically to suit her voice. I was kind of like the Jewish mother who wants her son to be a doctor. A bit tragic really. Well, the album came out really well and we’ve been gigging round small clubs in London over the last year or so. At the moment that’s slowed down a bit. I’ve got my own album coming out shortly, and the subsequent gigs as well. All the other members of the Millbanks play in other bands, and it’s been really difficult to pin down dates when everyone’s available at the same time. She really needs her own dedicated band, but she’s got a demanding day job, and a new man in her life, so her time is pretty full at present. That’s not to say there won’t be more. In fact, I hope there will. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Bevis Frond December 1989

You seem to have had a pretty interesting life. Will you ever write a book about it?

No, not really. I do get this question asked a bit, and I always feel that I’m not well known enough to justify a commercial project. At best, The Bevis Frond/Nick Saloman is a little-known cult figure, at worst nobody’s heard of me, and wouldn’t give a fuck. My mum was a successful novelist, and I reckon I’m quite a good writer, but I don’t think I’d really want to spend too much time writing a book all about myself and how important I am. That’s really for someone else to do isn’t it, but then again, who’d publish it? You have to be a bit of a celeb to be worthy of a publishing deal, and I just don’t think anyone in publishing would be interested. I might be wrong I suppose, and the publishing world might be experiencing an upsurge in demand for books about unknown 58 year old psychedelic musicians (if that’s indeed what I am), but I somehow doubt it.

I would again like to thank Nick for his time and kindness. Be sure to do yourself a favor and pick up the new Bevis Frond album (cd, mp3, whatever) when it's out. Heck, just pick up anything the guys been associated with musically, Bevis Frond, Scorched Earth, Magic Muscle, whatever. I have yet to be disappointed by a single thing this guy has put out, and considering the amount of stuff, that's saying a lot.

(Interview by Shep)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Story of a Song: Rainy Day Women 12 & 35

Well they'll stone ya when your trying to be so good...

Bob Dylan's so called pot anthem, Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 was written in a time when the 1960s generation gap was nearing it's widest. The sudden rise of the marijuana culture stirred controversy, confusion and paranoia into the America melting pot and parents and politicians viewed it as some sort of evil epidemic that had a stronghold on American youth... Way more so than it is today.

By the mid '60s, marijuana had only recently become a household word, and it's effects were being widely exaggerated and slanted by the press. When Dylan released Rainy Day Women as a single, it was less than a year after he had shocked the folk music world by "going electric." The faithful in that crowd had already turned against him, admonishing his decision to plug his guitar into an electric amp. Now they had more fuel for their fire, and as hypocritical as it was from many in the fan base, the backlash against marijuana from the press became another means to justify their animosity towards him. Meanwhile on the other side of the fence, rock and roll was flourishing. Dylan released Blonde on Blonde in March, and Rainy Day Women shot up the charts peaking at  number two.

Always a jet setter, Bob Dylan left the folk scene to fizzle behind him as he and his newly acquired electric sound forged ahead. This didn't stop many from the folk music crowd from attending his concerts, however. They came in droves and some actually did stone Dylan on occasion, pelting him with rocks from the crowd while he was on stage.

They'll stone ya while you're ridin' in a car...
About this time the U.S. government had deemed marijuana's notoriety to be a threat to the integrity of our country. The Viet Nam War was gaining fast momentum in 1966 and young people across the nation were stepping out from being under the shadow of authority. If there was ever a time in our history when the American youth were leaning towards rebellion, it was then. Vice president Spiro Agnew realized this, and hit 'em where it hurt the most; by calling on the FCC to stop radio stations from playing what he called "drug music."

Remember that in the '60s personal music wasn't as transportable as it is today. 8 Track tape players were just coming on to the scene, and the portable style wasn't widely available to the mainstream public.  Most people listened to their music on vinyl, and record players weren't necessarily a medium that could be toted around easily. That left the radio airwaves... And Agnew felt that if he could control what the people were listening to, he could limit the influence that such a powerful medium might have on a young society. He provided his list of "drug songs" to the FCC and instructed them to prohibit public radio stations from playing them.

As a result, two very predictable things happened: The American youth revolted, and the national media went haywire with it.

Dylan took such a lashing from the American and the British press for the controversial lyrics in Rainy Day Women that he suddenly became public enemy number one in the eyes of parents across the United States and Europe. Here was this shaggy haired kid singing with a liberal view of society and literally telling their children that "everybody must get stoned."

Parents hated him, the folkies hated him, and the only people who seemed to like him were the rock and rollers.

While the studio version of Rainy Day Women is played with a rousing and playful ensemble, and with Dylan giggling through much of it, in 1966 he defiantly told an angry crowd in London that, "I never have and never will write a drug song. I don't know how to. It's not a drug song, it's just vulgar. I like all my songs. It's just that things change all the time."

So... How did this song really come to be?

Well it could be that Bob Dylan was referring to being physically stoned, as he was from unhappy folk fans during his concerts, or, we can believe what  Howard Sounes’ book, “Down The Highway” tells about the the studio recording. According to Sounes, Dylan, who didn’t like to have too much contact with the musicians on the album, and preferring to keep their focus intact, finally approached the band and told them he “wasn’t going to record the song with a bunch of straight people.” This lead to the prompt consumption of several joints and a strange, green-colored drink from a local bar known as “leprechaun cocktails.” If Sounes's account is indeed true,  Rainy Day Women 12 & 35 was recorded under the influence of marijuana and alcohol.

But, does that mean that the song is actually about marijuana?

Of course we'll never get the straight answer from Dylan. He has fueled speculation on all sides of the issue, and has never given a definite answer to the question. In 1966 at the height of popularity for this new song, Time Magazine said that "Rainy Day Woman" was slang for a joint. Dylan never confirmed this or let on that it wasn't. He even made a claim once that while he was recording the song, two females happened to come into the studio to get out of a heavy rain that was falling. As the story goes, Dylan correctly guessed their ages to be 12 and 35.

This has never been founded as fact, but wouldn't you think that these two girls would have come forth about it? Once again we are only left to guess what his motivation really was...


Is "Rainy Day Woman" really slang for "joint?" Check out Waylon Jennings's original ballad and see what you think. (Substitute the word "joint" for "Rainy Day Woman.")

Oh rainy day woman
I've never seem to see you for the good times or the sunshine
You have been a friend of mine, rainy day woman

That woman of mine she ain't happy
Until she finds something wrong and has someone to blame
If it ain't one thing it's another one on the way

I woke up this morning to the sunshine
It sure as hell looks just like rain
But I know where to go on a cloudy day

Oh rainy day woman
I've never seem to see you for the good times or the sunshine
You have been a friend of mine, rainy day woman

Always the same, never complain
Tho’ the times got be tough
It’s not right for you
What can I do?
I can never think of givin’ you up

Oh rainy day woman
I've never seem to see you for the good times or the sunshine
You have been a friend of mine, rainy day woman


As far as what motivated Dylan to write Rainy Day Women and what it is about, I am guessing that the answer lies on the surface. With many Dylan songs, people spend a lot of time trying to decipher the words and find the hidden meaning within his lyrics. With this particular song I am going to step out on a limb and say that  there are none... What he is implying in this track is exactly what he is saying. Everybody must get stoned.

It was 1966, after all, and there was a lot to be motivated about when it came to stepping out of reality...

Could it be that maybe, just maybe... By not committing to one particular story, and by fueling the fire and agreeing to them all, Bob Dylan is actually stoning us?


Yeah.... Just like they said they would.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Repulsion-The Roxy, Hollywood CA 9/10/11

After missing a ton of Scion free shows (The Accused, Phobia, All Pigs Must Die, etc) I couldn't miss this one. It had the perfect fucking line up! The headliners were grindcore pioneers Repulsion, who I also saw last summer for free, New York hard core punk rockers Murphy's Law, and the band that's taking the world by storm, Cerebral Ballzy.

About a month or two ago, while watching Family Guy on Adult Swim, they showed a music video(which they never really do unless its Dethklok) of Cerebal Ballzy. It featured a kid in a Generation X t-shirt who was talking with a bunch of kids, yelling at the camera, "Don't tell me what to do!" I was so amazed, stunned and excited I called my girlfriend right away and told her to turn her television on. She missed it cause the song was only a minute long. But holy shit did I get into these guys! I got their first and new self titled album... FUCKING BRILLIANT. Punk Rock is back in hardcore. They remind me a lot of the Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, and other old skool bands.

So after getting in line my buds and I waited impatiently for Ballzy. They opened the curtain and the lead singer, Honor Titus came out in full force. There are hardly any frontmen nowadays that has the stage presence like singers had in the old days; ones that you can never forget. Titus is surely gonna be rememberd for his. I saw similarities to Darby Crash (Germs), HR (Bad Brains), and even Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. While singing in every one's faces he jumped off of the stage onto the floor to sing from the mosh pit. He did this three times! Two other times he just ran into the bar, got up on a chair and screamed. Kids were jumping everywhere and moshing hard. One kid even had to get carried out by  ambulance! Titus unplugged the mic so many times due to his eratic behavior, I'm sure he messed it up. They didn't wanna get off the stage so they played longer than any first band should. That's how insane they are. If you love old skool/new or any type of punk rock or hardcore, GET THIS ALBUM. You will not be disappointed, you will love it and you'd beg Cerebral Ballzy to come to your town to fuck it up. Album/Songs/Videos/Show/Band of the fucking year.

Cerebal Fuckin' Ballzy

Now, due to Ballzy not wanting to get off the stage, hardcore legends Murphy's Law had the a really short set. The curtain went up and a two-year old boy was singing on the mic. Very cute indeed. The the band came in with a Ska beat. Then it went to hardcore and the kids were moshing. Singer Jimmy Gesstapo (yep same one from Grand Theft Auto 4) kept praising LA punk bands like FEAR, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, and others. He said if it weren't for these bands, there would be no Murphy's Law or LA punk Warped Tour shit either. After playing 5 songs, one with the Spongebob theme, they were out. I'd totally love to see 'em again if they played longer or headlined. They rule live, but this show didn't give 'em justice. Listen to self titled Murphy's Law if you haven't heard the punk rock classic.

Murphy's Law
Last summer Repulsion played at a free festival. Now at The Roxy, they were playing another free summer show. They have a rowdy act ,and they are one of the founding fathers of grindcore, so of course I had to see 'em. When they started the place was finally crowded and I was quickly shoved to the side. The place went freakin' nuts. Towards the third song I was uncomfortable, so I got on stage and jumped off. Luckily I was caught. They played most of their only album, Horrified (GET IT!) and a Venom cover. This time they had a female guitar player, which caused me and a bunch of other dudes to whistle like crazy. I found out she was also in a band named Cretin, but when she was in that band....she was a dude! Still, Cretin rules, and she rules even more for playing in Repulsion now.

After all the stage diving and moshing,everyone was sore. Repulsion put on another crazy show. How crazy, you ask? Once again the ambulance came to pick up a bumpy head. Repulsion,after all these years,are still fuckin amazing.

Over all, all three bands were amazing. It was a great way to officially end my Summer. Go listen or try to catch 'em live.

Guest Post: Take a Walk with Shonny Constant

So I'm a mailman, right?

A civil servant. A grunt. A bug. I crawl about, day after day, on a schedule so defined that my rote pattern of existence could be represented on a graph. If you knew my routine, you would be able to track me down without issue roughly eighty percent of the time...although who would want to, right? 

Right. I walk. It's what I do, and nobody is much interested in a walker.

Yet here I was, deviated from my pattern on a clear, starless summer night, shadowing an intoxicated transgendered woman through the vacant spaces of Detroit. A woman who I'd only just met, and barely so at that.

The night had started off rocky, a few pleasant drinks with one of the beautiful Oliver Sisters and her friend Courtney Kostrick, a cool rogue of a dude that didn't let on at the time that the band he plays upright bass in, The Goddamn Gallows, were bloody incredible, have toured the country relentlessly, and released a ton of great music...juxtaposed with a chance encounter with Lars Fredericksen and his crew, who's Oi side project, The Old Firm Casuals, I was downtown to see at The Shelter, a dim, smallish club in the basement of Saint Andrews Hall, a thousand capacity joint where most big alternative acts cut their teeth on the Detroit leg of their early touring careers. That part? Not so much. Perhaps I wasn't wearing the right uniform. Perhaps the timing was just wrong. Whatever it was, the moment had been icy, and seeing as I'm a sweaty palmed fanboy at heart, that had been a real bummer.

Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit
Bruised inner child aside, we eventually made it into the club. The scene was yet undeveloped, people trickling in slowly, over the night as they do. There was a band onstage. Bad Assets. I liked what I was hearing-raw street punk, reminiscent of early Eighties hardcore. Sort of second wave CBGB kind of stuff that emerged after the pop culture fallout of The Ramones and Blondie had left their indelible mark on rock and roll. They were fast, loud, and raw. I recognized the guitarist, who dropped a dap on me while I struggled to remember where I'd met him before. That would eventually work itself out, involving a story containing a great Celtic Punk band from Quebec called Farler's Fury. My apologies to all involved, and those of you whose interest I may have piqued, but to go into that would be to digress to the point of no return. Another time perhaps.

So yeah, Bad Assets. These guys sounded good. And while they played, in came Jenna. Jenna Talia. I'd never met her, as I mentioned above, but I knew Miss Oliver was very fond of her friendship, so I looked forward to meeting her. After all had transpired, and even until now, I'm still rain-checking that one.

Jenna had started the party before she showed up at the club. I have no idea with what, or how hard, and I won't be so irresponsible as to speculate, but she was tipsy at best. Ripped at worst. By the time Hobo Gangbang had their set rolling (sorry, I've got nothing in the way of flavor text for them) she was agitated, and starting to cause a ruckus. First it was a chair she plopped onto the stage, next a table. Jenna isn't dainty, and she was drawing the wrong kind of attention that eventually got her thrown out. I was indifferent to the removal. I'd enjoyed the chaotic, entertaining sidebar she created, but it was pretty obvious what the outcome would be in terms of removal. Just another night at the Rock and Roll show. Until I realized how long Miss Oliver, who'd gone to see to Jenna, had been gone...

I went outside to investigate. There's a smoking ban in Detroit clubs, so there was a motley band of rowdies behind the building. My peeps weren't among them. Off to the side, obscured by a dumpster, I found them. Jenna was out. Incredibly out. Looking dead out. Miss Oliver was in a state of great distress-she'd later apologize for that, although she had no need to- as Jenna was non responsive. The peanut gallery was catcalling and mocking in a manner that was beyond crass and enflaming the situation. We needed help. Thankfully, one noble soul eventually stepped forward, a move that took some gumption considering the climate of the moment, and found us a pulse before calling EMS.

In Detroit, emergency services are painfully slow. In this case, they were slow enough to allow Jenna to come to, find out they were on their way, and in a fit lacking much grace attempt to gather her bearings enough to flee the scene. Miss Oliver was beside herself, trying to ignite some gentle flame of communication to no avail. Jenna moved, Miss Oliver was too unsure to follow. One party had a friend and a club show to see, and one was stumbling into the streets of Detroit, which aren't nearly as dangerous as you've heard, but not nearly as safe as I'm letting on. I had a choice to make. Stay with the beautiful Oliver Sister, or plunge out into the clear, starless Summer night...

I walked, it's what I do.

Maybe I was trying to impress Miss Oliver. Maybe I'm just a too nice guy in a too ugly world. Maybe I was hoping to have a story to tell in case I was afforded the opportunity to write for a burgeoning blog site (Thank you, Mr. Church!) Not sure. I hadn't been afforded the time to consider that part of it. Maybe you just need to embrace the impulse to walk in a different direction once in a while.

Miss Oliver is still beautiful.

Courtney Kostrick and the Goddamn Gallows are touring in support of a recently released album on Farmageddon Records. If you like the idea of raw, irreverent, Americana, find their music on Amazon or iTunes. I haven't talked to him since, so I have no reason to tell you that I love their music other than that it's bloody excellent.

Bad Assets sold me a shirt and gave me a demo that I listen to incessantly. I understand they're working on an album. If you like street punk, keep your radar humming for these guys.
I still have nothing more to add about Hobo Gangbang. By no fault of their own, that part of the evening got lost in the fog of war.

Old Firm Casuals were incredible. To see Lars play that close up was a transcendent experience for this fanboy. Their music is available for download or through Oi! The Boat Records. I also understand that Lars was a gentleman after the show, patiently meeting with everyone who had the inclination to remain into the night. I reckon I forgive him.

Lars Fredricksen
Jenna Talia was ultimately OK without my intervention. She sings for a band called Glitter Trash. Their first raw, first gen punk inspired full length "Wreckage" lays bare the emotions of their frontwoman. Do a search, you'll find them. The album is really, really good if you like really, really real.

I'm Shonny Constant. I play in a band called Detroit Perfect, nurture an infant record label called Disruptor, hope to write more for Bigfoot Diaries, and walk.

One Love.

(Entire text written by Shonny Constant)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Stutterin' Jimmy & the Goosebumps: Howllelujah Vol. 1

This article was originally published for  The Ticket - Des Moines Edition, another blog I am associated with.. The idea of publishing it here is to bring even more awareness to this great new act out of Des Moines. -Troy

It's the middle of the night in the swampy forest and I am afraid for my life. The half moon does little to light the area around me as I am entrenched beneath a canopy of brush huddled up with my back against the trunk of a black willow tree. My senses are in over drive as I listen hard for sounds of danger... The rustling of water to my left has me concerned, as does the ancient stillness of the air itself. But what really has my attention is the baying of the wolf hound... Once a cry in the far distance, it continues to draw closer and closer to where I am huddled.

It's not a common howl. There is a shrill to it's mournful wail, as if it is a warning of bad things to come. As I grow more and more fearful, I wonder if the wolf has been persecuted or injured. The cry doesn't seem to come from a wolf that has been separated from a pack and is looking to reconnect. This howl is more menacing than it is lonesome, and aside from the occasional rustle in the water, it is the only thing in the forest that is making a sound.

A howl... And three minutes pass.

Another howl, this time much closer...

Four minutes later another howl, even closer still...

And so forth.

I feel that this beast can sense my presence just as I sense his. With each cumbersome wail, I know it wont be long until this monster is right on top of me... What can he want? It's as if the devil himself has sent this creature to snatch my soul!

Suddenly the wind picks up out of the east. It doesn't escape me that this is also the direction that the wolf's howls seems to be coming from... It's blowing hard against the canopy of trees, snapping limbs like fragile sticks of glass. I have to squint my eyes and turn my head from the debris that is crashing against my face and the rest of my body. I have no alternative but to move to the west side of the tree to use it's trunk as a barrier from the wicked storm that has suddenly collapsed upon me. The wind continues to blow harder and faster and with each increasing knot there comes a darker shadow of dread... It's an evil gale and everything unholy... That's unmistakable. It's suddenness and unrelenting power digs deep into my being, as if it is reaching for my soul. It swirls and taunts me, as if it is a prelude to something sinister and wretched. It is beckoning me... Or maybe it's a warning. There is nothing sacred to call upon that will save me now...

Suddenly it stops, and the swamp is extremely quiet.

Completely unnerved, I stand up and move a few steps forward. Where did that wind come from, and where was it going? I thought to myself.

Suddenly I felt the sense of dread all over again, but this time it ten times worse. Fear took me to a level of shock and I felt myself unable to move. A slight warm draft was blowing on the back of my neck but I knew it wasn't the summer breeze sneaking in from the south. I bristled as the howl rang out... Immediately behind me and loud enough to drown out the whistle of a freight train.

I stood frozen in fear as the wolf showed itself to me. The canopy above me was gone, a victim of the fierce wind that had just blown through. I could see that this beast was the size of a horse and it's raven colored fur looked blueish gray in the moonlight that was now provided to me. With balls of fire in it's eye sockets it approached me and stared into my eyes, into my soul. ... I stood, unable to move.

I cringed with extreme fear as it seemed to smile at me just as it's mighty jowls snapped for my neck...

I layed in my bed for a few minutes unable to move. I immediately knew that this had been nothing more than an awful dream, but I wasn't quite ready to accept that notion entirely. The imagery was so real, as was the feeling of absolute terror. It was as vivid as anything I had ever imagined before, and it seemed to hold purpose... What could have triggered such a supernatural apparition? According to my digital alarm clock, I had been in bed for just over an hour. I'd fallen asleep to a new CD I acquired by Stutterin Jimmy and the Goosebumps called Howllelujah Volume 1. The irony of it's name didn't escape me as I tried to gain my composure.

It wasn't the first time I had listened to the CD. I probably listened to it in it's entirety 10-12 times in the 48 hours in which I had it in my possession. As a five song EP, it's pretty short as far as time goes, but it packs a very powerful punch. It's opening track, Westward Winds waste no time in showcasing Jimmy's haunting voice and lyrics, taking you into his black and white dream scape with imagery of the most lucid nature. This remorseful ballad spills Jimmy's struggles into our ears like a bucket of paint that has been knocked over in the grass, and just as you reach out to grasp it, it's snatched away in a windfall of dust. And that's it... It'd make the perfect soundtrack for a dream.

The light hangs on the street
And through the trick of the mind
I saw you in the corners of my eyes
As you walked on by
I tried to call out your name
But you don't hear me no more
But here comes the thunder
Here comes the westward winds
Here comes the thunder
Here comes the westward winds

Darren Mathews, who managed to steal time away from his normal projects, Thankful Dirt and The Lamplighters, plays a slide guitar on this track that is riveting and dangerous and as blusterous as the wind itself. It lends itself to this song like a snowflake lends itself to winter. His guitar is equally as haunting as Jimmy's voice and lyrics, and the combination of both is inter dimensional. This track which is the longest on the EP at just over five minutes, is the perfect introduction into Jimmy's mind and his music. I was aware that there were demons in Jimmy's past... I just didn't realize that they were still writing songs in his head.

My girlfriend said that Stutterin' Jimmy "bridges the story telling tradition and the musical tradition." I couldn't agree more. As unique as it is, his sound hails from many influences. The next track on the EP is the only song that wasn't written by Jimmy. "Old Fashioned Morphine" sounds as if it came out of the cotton fields in the late 1800s, but it was actually released in 2004 by Jodie Holland. It's catchy lyrics have long been a standard in Jimmy's live performances when he has played around the Des Moines area, and I recognized it right away. Again, Darren's slide guitar is played masterfully, and it is a perfect compliment to Jacob Berhow's acoustic guitar. Jacob comes from a long line of Des Moines bands, most recently Jacob County and the Damaged Goods and Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers. I ran into him last weekend outside the House of Bricks in Des Moines, and he seemed very happy to tell me that he was now a part of Jimmy's band. Darren and Jacob are two of the greatest guitar players ever to come out of Iowa, and it's a beautiful thing whenever the two of them get together. Vikenti "EZ" Belovson's bass and Joe McGuire's drums lend perfect rhythm for this boisterous marching beat.

Stutterin' Jimmy (seated in car) with the Goosebumps
(Photo by DMI Photography)
And then there is Jimmy's voice. These vocals seem to come up through his soul from the ground he is standing on. His voice on this track, in harmony with the voice of Crystal Fields (Cleo's Apartment) make for a very lively version of this song. The original has a few more verses to it, but I like Jimmy's rendition much better. Near the end of the song when he howls out the lyrics... You get a sense on how he came up with the name, The Goosebumps.

The next track, "500 Miles" features Erik Brown (The Maw, Thankful Dirt) on trumpet, Deb Daniels on bass, and Sam Allyn playing guitar, slide guitar, and drums. Erik's trumpet is a perfect compliment to Sam's slide guitar and it never ceases to amaze me how good a trumpet can sound in the rock and roll genre. This song is the perfect example of that, as is the next track, "Oh Captain."

"Oh Captain" again features Erik's trumpet, this time in a more vigorous fashion. It surrounds Jimmy's voice in perfect Louie Armstrong fashion as Jimmy sings, "Jesus take me home!" Sam lends his keyboard skills to this track , and also guitar and backing vocals. This is a personal favorite on the EP. Knowing Jimmy and recognizing his spirituality, this song seems to epitomize what Jimmy is all about.

The EP closes out with the subtle toned and auto-biographical "Hymn of Rebirth". It's Jimmy lamenting his past and reaching for a brighter future. It's something that we all have gone through, and few are able to put it to beautiful music as Jimmy has. "Hymn of Rebirth" should be played at graduations, marriages and funerals...It's message speaks to everyone and it needs to be shared.

This Sunday House Records production is outstanding. It's amazing to me to know that this CD was recorded in a basement studio. Kevin Moll did an exceptional job in mixing the tracks and it was engineered perfectly. Hats off also to Flynn at DNR, who mastered the album. Hats off especially to Stutterin' Jimmy for bringing this album to the light of day. As far as local musicians go, there are not too many who are as kind and deserving as he is, and this album is a testament to his righteous virtues. Despite it's small size, it is one of the finer albums to come out of Des Moines in a very long time.

I know that we all have demons. And I think that my own were speaking to me through the horrifying dream I had. As I layed awake I realized that my nightmare didn't come as a result from listening to Jimmy's EP, it merely lent itself as a fabrication to what was real in my own soul. Howllelujah Volume 1 does conjure up dark imagery, but in no way should it be reflected as being a "dark" album. It's goodness is what makes it Jimmy's, along with the truthful attitude in which it was written, and the proficiency of his human spirit to overcome the obstacles in his life.

Jimmy asked me if I wanted him to tell me about the "spirit" of the album and I said no. Having seen him play live numerous times, I was well aware of the spirit that he was putting into his life and music. This album encompasses that, and provides a gentle reminder that we are all capable of conquering the demons that keep us pinned down.

Look for Howlelujah Volume 2 next spring.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Interview with Dave Deibler of HOLS

Even before I turned twenty-one, I had an agenda. As soon as I was old enough to legally step foot in a bar, I was going to drive as far as it took to to check out the band that everybody was talking about at that time, House of Large Sizes.

Cassette tapes were still all the rage in 1989. I think CDs had been invented by this time, but they weren't in large circulation. Most local studios found it easier and less expensive to put a band's music on the cassette format as opposed to the compact disc, and most bands were prone to hand out demos to the people who showed up for their shows. I'm not sure if that's how he actually was able to obtain it, but my friend Mark had a copy of the House of Large Sizes 1986 EP on cassette, simply titled, House of Large Sizes.

HOLS 1986 debut EP

We would spend hours together cruising in his Chevy Cavalier listening to this tape over and over... Getting lost on back roads, Cruising midnight highways... I was only about 20 years old, but I knew that as soon as I was old enough, I was going to find a bar that HOLS was playing in and see them live.

Shortly after I turned twenty-one in March of 1989, HOLS was scheduled to play at Gabe's in Iowa City. Living a mere 90 miles to the west, in Newton, Iowa I thought nothing of jumping into Mark's beat up Chevy and heading east. It should have been a very memorable trip, but honestly, I have very little recollection of how that night went down. I know that having just turned twenty one and being new to the bar scene that the whiskey was tasting especially wonderful... And I do remember sweating profusely in the upstairs of Gabe's stomping around and slam dancing (what we called it before the word "moshing" was invented). But I am a bit fuzzy on any specifics after that, and I honestly couldn't even tell you if we ended up staying Iowa City that night or if we miraculously made it home...

I've always been a fan of House, but sadly, have never owned any of their music. I would hear them from time to time on the college radio station KUNI, or maybe through a friends cassette boom box, (In particular my pal Robb was, and still is a huge fan) and I always had the respect for what they were doing and the music that they played. The band is made up of husband and wife duo Dave Deibler and Barb Schlif, and Brent Hanson. They are still writing songs and even play live once in awhile when the urge is there. MTV's first movie production, Joe's Apartment featured a main character (Jerry O'Connell) who wore a House of Large Sizes T-shirt. Years later, the same tee was seen in an episode of Drew Carey. The band has been awarded a star that was put on the building at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, and has continued to keep a strong following despite the fact that they have only played a handful of gigs in the past few years.

One of these stars belongs to HOLS

I caught up with Mr. Deibler through email, and was able to ask him a few questions which he graciously answered.

Please tell me about HOLS in it's infantile stages... How the band was formed... Your first gig, etc?

UNI students. Very small musical community in Cedar Falls. Dave Berg and I had a class together. I considered him to be in the band before I actually asked him!

Were you married to Barb before the band started, or did you form a band together, fall in love, and then get married?

Barb and I went out before HOLS, married in '90, so 4 years after the band started.

What term would you use to describe HOLS?

Rock and Roll.

While you and Barb have been solid members throughout the entire life of HOLS, you have gone through what... 4 drummers? Why do you feel that the drum stool been such a hot seat in your band?

No "hot seat" syndrome. Berg was in for 6, John for 2, Munn for 5 or 6, Brent for +10. Long, long periods of time in "rock" years.

What record are you most proud of releasing, and why?

Hmmm. Probably "One Big Cake". The first one is always the sweetest.

What was a major defining moment of your tenure with HOLS... Do you have one single memory that sticks out as your favorite?

Lots, really. Probably playing and doing well at 7th St. in Minneapolis. Getting a star on the side of the building. I use to live there and saw the Replacements and a million other killer shows. That meant a lot to me. Playing with and hanging out (a bit) with heap Trick was fun. Meeting and working with Joe Carducci and getting to hear some cool Minutemen stories was also great.

It's not easy being a travelling rock and roll band... What are some of the most memorable hardships you endured while on the road?

Being broke on a long drawn out under promoted tour can really separate the men from the boys. I've been both.

What's the story behind HOLS and the movie, Joe's Apartment?

The prop department called me and asked for some shirts. I sent them. Only regret is that I should have made them pay for them. Same tee is in the Drew Carey show.

What are you doing these days musically? In general?

Dave and Barb onstage

Is there any chance that HOLS will ever reform and do another tour?

HOLS will probably get together every couple of years for a while. Tour? No. It's all for fun now. No financial requirements attached.

Ok just for fun... Do you have any "guilty pleasures" in your CD collection?

I don't make that separation. I am a huge AC/DC fan. A lot of people would consider that "guilty" I think. I have a pathological love for the drummer. Currently I am obsessed with Grinderman and PJ Harvey. I don't trust people who don't have a few "skeletons" in their CD collection. If you only listen to music that Pitchfork recommends I think your missing the point.

Hypothetically speaking, you have a son who is turning 16 tomorrow and for his birthday, he wants you to buy him a record that will change the way that he thinks about music forever... What is the ONE record you would buy for him?

I wouldn't. I'd let him pick it out. I run into a lot of kids who are living out their parent's musical tastes. Fuck that. Really. There is so much great music being made right now. My hope is for my son to have a passion about whatever he decides is his "thing", you know? Live by example. That's what kids, I think, really respond to. Want your child to appreciate music? Listen to it. Enjoy it. Play it.