Thursday, May 30, 2013
Enter the world of J.G Redfern’s Hecatomb, a novel that I have been reading and re-reading over the past couple of weeks. A certain appeal about writing for me is the ability to sink into a book with any order of chapters that I choose, and this collection of 100, yes 100 chapters, provide a beautiful and demonic barrage of “buried memory” ignition for the reader. With jarring cerebral cortex vignettes of human behavior past, present, and future, suspicious actions and reactions take place in surreal slaughterhouses, mortuaries, seedy bar bantering, cheap religious devotion, and blissful character confusion. 221 pages of easily digestible eavesdropping on the corners and getaways we inhabit.
The novel conjures up a Venn diagram of my own life: checking out girls while failing Latin in Junior High, driving back roads aimlessly(with bottle in tow) as a teenager, and crashing into re-enforced glass as an adult trying to establish maintain romantic relationships while continually investing in my own seediness. In looking at the definition of Hecatomb and reading the blood soaked scripture, my own life has had a severe sacrificing of victims in order to appease the sleazy compulsions that keep me alive.
The dreaded feeling of slaving to the bar for a 6 a.m. opening to avoid the shakes and bad recollections of the night before while having profound conversations with the morning comers is captured perfectly in the atmosphere of self-deconstruction and violent flirtations with reality and the unreality.
Redfern’s writing style is gritty commentary and surrealism in a powder keg that pours easily like a box of cheap wine. This red wine is of the highest caliber and always maintains a relationship between the author and reader while allowing free thought to formulate the ideas and societal study of the novel. J.G. has been in correspondence quite regularly with me and is one of the super talented authors I have come across in the exploding world of digital publishing.
Let yourself go and pick up the book here
I will leave you with an excerpt from this modern toxic masterpiece- Kevin McG, Fear & Loathing, LB
She carried it into the garage along with a twelve-dollar bottle of wine and a six-dollar bag of double cheeseburgers. The dogs weren’t yapping and joyous around her feet as they usually were when she brought home meat. There were four of them: three dogs and the lady with the wine, the hose and the bag of meat. She double-locked the door behind her and stood there looking down on her best and only friends. They were all sitting up at attention and looking at her with raised canine eyebrows, heads cocked to one side, whimpering quietly. She stayed there for a lingering moment, looking down at them, her eyes heavy with the world and welling up.
“Are my babies hungry?” she asked as she always did.
Her dogs lamented a bit, trying to persuade her with quiet monosyllabic cooing and barely-audible howls, trying to convince her that everything was all right, but even they knew different.
“Yeah,” she sighed, “figures. You love me when you want something, you no good bitches.”
The dogs grew silent and stopped any vocalizations, dropping their heads downward, but continuing to look up. Then the youngest among the pack broke ranks, scampered up to her heels and began whining out a howling whimper.
“Oh, I’m sorry, my babies,” she said sincerely as she began unwrapping burgers and feeding her friends. Each got a sandwich and a rub on the top of the head and around the ears according to rank. As the three dogs worked their burgers, she set the bag on top of the dashboard and retrieved a roll of duct tape from a shelf above the washer and dryer. She slipped one end of a hose into the tailpipe and taped around the gaps. The other end, she routed into the cab. She rolled up the window, taping in crudely around the voids. She uncorked the wine and took a long drink. She sat down behind the wheel, closed her door, and opened the passenger door, saying happily, “Go for a ride? Go for a ride?”
The dogs scampered into the car, and she pulled the passenger door closed behind them. She gave them each another burger and started the engine. She drank the wine, and they ate the double cheeseburgers, and then, they all went to sleep.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
When I first came to California via Santa Barbra courtesy of a female acquaintance, I had only met “virtually” about 2 weeks before. I remember sleeping in a car on some nights and in a construction trailer once I began work, lifting these heavy ass fences for some bullshit condominium project. It was through rent-a-drunk and I was getting minimum wage. Eventually enough to cruise to Long Beach but at the time had befriended an ex-con at the job site. He showed me where to sleep on the site and where to cash my “end of the day” temp check while picking up 2 fifths of Gordon’s and a pack of Maverick full flavor smokes.
I think his name was Eddie, for all I know he was on the run and buying time, just like me. One night while I was planning to escape the ungodly site of Oprah’s mansion and overwhelming displays of wealth, I smoked a joint with Eddie and drank myself wildly into the drink. He told me that in Santa Barbra, any plant in the world could grow and having that kind of adaptability was total freedom. I was staring into the clear night sky and just gazing on the stars and thinking, that’s crazy man, I’m sitting in the tall grass looking at the California sky without a care in the world for where I will go next or what came before this moment. I guess it’s true what they say about California weed, or maybe the highness is being totally free to breathe in the night and go wherever you want to. This subtle memory leads me to the dirty luster of Erica Case, music rebel and role model for a new generation.
Erica Case is back after last years sophisticated punk/pop rock outing of “Gimme Some”. In fact, she was featured in our first issue after I stumbled across this Southern Belle of Punk Rock n Roll on Sound Cloud. What I love about Erica is the way she transitions vocal notes in a unique fashion that is all her own, whether it’s on one of her home recordings or studio outings. A sultry connection of melody is firmly intact with this young woman and her vicious musical assaults that consist of her guitar, keyboard, and vocal hammers of bitter sweetness. A complaint I have with other female singers in this genre is blatant Gaga imitation and the James Hetfield like screamers, doesn’t get me going.
Her latest outing takes advantage of the “full album” phenomena that is rampant on YouTube, which I love. Most concrete walkers use their smart phones as their primary portal to music, entertainment, fashion, and personal connections as they walk out the door every day. Online heavy music site, NME, has carried her own version of the Ramones classic and life altering, for some of us, Road to Ruin from the frenzied year of 1978. All tracks are worth many listens. To really sum up this experience, get in bed with "I Just Want to Have Something to Do", "Don't Come Close", "Go Mental", and "It's a Long Way Back".
After my complete disgust with the Billboard Music awards, sorry folks but none of that shit counts as fucking music in my book, I came across Erica’s path again. Unlike other artists out there, this girl rocks like there’s no tomorrow, wears her heart on her sleeve, and really doesn’t give a damn whether you care for it or not. That’s my kind of lady. Sweet Southern Venom oozes through these covers while staying true to the original compositions of the late great Ramones. I think I need to arrange a trip to Tennessee again and soak in the subterranean skyline.
Visit Erica at her Facebook page and I tell her I sent ya, maybe she’ll spike your drink...
ROAD TO RUIN: PLAY NOW
Summer Issue is under construction right now and here's a sneak preview of the cover.
Kevin - Fear & Loathing in Long Beach
Monday, April 22, 2013
Susan Surftone is no stranger to our proceedings here. Her new album “Too Far” redefines surf guitar for a new generation with a sexual bombast of guitar slinging and Watusi beats that makes one hunger for a dangerous and lustful summer. With go- go dancer extraordinaire, Seana Steele and the precise smash-bop of drummer Steve Kravac, this release gets your inhibitions feeling loose while filling the libido with plenty of edgy surf-pop damaged soundscapes. The synergy of sunshine and dark night clubs lights up the murky alleyway in the world of Susan’s song structures that rock and shake with a fun and sinister swagger. I am desperately seeking more bands like this in 2013.
“Start Again” has a psycho-syncopated beat with a bouncy chord pulse to numb your problems away in. The infectious riffing and aloof sense of direction get this reviewer’s motor fired up. “Rock Candy” and “Navy Grog” give a darker, unassumingly menacing bite to them and provide a great way to introduce yourself to the Surftone experience (if you want to jump in the deep end without feeling how cold the water is first). Fuck caution, it’s almost summer, and this psychedelic trip of modern surf dance will hold you hostage, whether you like it or not.
The band interlocks with some very tasteful odes to new wave and power pop, not to mention some overdriven British Invasion stylings for good measure. Instrumental records are meaningless nowadays for the most part BUT this one has had my pulse on overdrive from over a week of non-stop airplay on my headphones. The punk influenced title track, “Too Far”, is my personal favorite as it just snakes around the eardrums with its addictive detonations of troubled melody.
The new record is coming in July of 2013, so I want you to be “in the know”, as I’m sure Susan and Seana are coming to a city near YOU to finish what they started. On Susan’s site you can hear her new track “Navy Grog” and check the latest happenings. I fully endorse this surf-rock damage courtesy of Portland, Oregon. If they lived in Long Beach, I would be hanging out in their garage every night listening to rehearsals. Who knows? They would be a welcome addition to our wild city’s personalities and independent talent.
SUSAN SURFTONE SITE
FEAR & LOATHING LONG BEACH
interview HERE with Susan & Seana
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
First off, The Stitches were the band that set off the 90’s into the 2000’s punk revival on the underground circuit, prompting bands to release 7”s that lived in the middle of nowhere, myself included, and created an excitement that had not been felt in a long time. What motivated you to start the band and why do you think the effect was like a musical drug induced explosion across the underworlds of the U.S and Europe?
First of all, I didn’t start the band, I joined it. I answered an ad that they put up in the record store (Underdog Records). We voted “The Stitches” in as the name off a long list of ‘potentials’ and played our first show about a month later.
-The Exploding Fuck Dolls had played their first couple of shows (with Duane singing) and the opportunity seemed right. They were really good, but the ‘scene’ at the time sucked pretty bad- I hated most of the bands that were playing regularly at the time, the clubs they played in and the people who went to them. I would get thrown out of every gig I went to- meathead jock bouncers and pony-tailed promoters didn’t seem to dig what was goin’ down…just their disposition alone was enough to prove their retardation to me, but to throw someone out who was spending good money on their overpriced drinks solidified my beliefs…so, I figured if I was in the band that was playing that night, not only could they NOT throw me out, but they’d have to give me all the drinks I wanted and pay me some $ on top of it. Basically, they were gonna fuel the fire that was gonna burn down their club…
As the premiere band from this genre, with major press publication coverage that seemed non-stop, what made you decide to avoid signing with a major label and streamline the sound for mass appeal like so many did at the time?
-The only reason I started Vinyldog Records was because nobody else wanted to put out our records. There were certainly no major label offers coming our way..I’m pretty sure our sound was as streamlined as we could possibly get it ha ha - we set out to write mid-tempo powerpop songs and what made it to record was as close as we could come…
Do you think the bands that kind of commercialized “crash and burn” punk with melody killed the momentum this scene had? Did this lead to oversaturation where bands were more concerned with putting on safe and sober stage shows with merchandise being the main focus? It felt like every band from the revival period had turned into a hoodie sweatshirt.
-Damn, I dunno…I’ve heard some stories about bands starting because of the opportunity for $ to be made in merchandising…I don’t think people tone down who they are to put on a safe and sober stage show, I think it’s just who they are- safe and sober people. We have Stitches hoodies available on our website www.thestitchespunk.com
Are the Stitches still together and will there ever be another album of original material?- We’re still together and we play about once a month locally and try to get at least one out of state regional tour in a year…dunno if we’ll ever write another album’s worth of material- we haven’t even practiced in 9 years. The only time we get together as a band anymore is to play a gig.
What was the motivation behind The Stitches Do the Jet Set? I heard the band was met with major opposition in this endeavor. Personally, I love the art/electronica damage of the record. What would you say to fans that were wondering, “Why can’t they just do 5 or 6 new tunes and throw in a couple of covers”? Is the writing process time consuming for the Stitches or is it not an issue??
-Skibs came across an electronic drum kit and we motivated to use it. He picked it up during the decline of our band practice nights- I could rarely make it to practice and they had a handful of songs in the works that never got set to lyrics. I think they got bored of playing the same shit and started fuckin’ around with the electronic drums..We purposely played ‘The Jetset’ at a show in Huntington Beach where we knew the reaction was gonna be bad- the crowd threw chairs and bottles, some of ‘em threatened to beat us up ‘if we ever played that shit again’…it was perfect.
-We recorded it just to record it. We put it out because we recorded it. I wonder if those fans ‘that were wondering’ like Flipper…
What bothers you the most about current “punk” bands and what bands outside the genre do you enjoy. Do you find it limiting when people decide to “live in a genre” forever? Some people and artists have a nasty habit of being frozen in time, why do you think this happens. Is the time of everyone’s lives their twenties and then you just give up and settle down?
-I’m pretty much out of the loop when it comes to current punk bands- I don’t get out much. I like the Regulations records. We played with a band in Austin called the Flesh Lights that I liked..uhhh, yeah. Honestly, everything bothers me about everybody. I have to make a conscious effort every day to try an’ not let other peoples’ existence bug the fuck outta me..
-I listen to all kinds of music- I’ve got a few records..music is good to people and it’s very subjective- it’s not for me to judge what music and/or ‘type of music’ does for other people. Personally, I get bored with just one genre. Besides, there’s so much more out there to listen to..
-Ah yes, the ol’ “frozen in time” phenomenon..I went to my 25 year high school reunion a few years back and had the oddest experience. First, let me say, I was pretty pissed I spent money to attend this shit can event- I forgot that I absolutely hated high school and everything about it- especially the people. Second, a little history- I was 4’11 and 98 lb.s when I graduated. I rarely went to school. When I did, I was high as fuck and usually just went to sell stolen Polo shirts and LSD. I had 2 friends- stoners that I’d blow grass with at lunch- and a handful of sympathizers– that I could relate with. 1 friend died on graduation day and the other- well, I wish he had too..So, I go to this lame ass reunion and the “frozen in time” phenomenon is the life of the party- “I was the best…”, “remember when I….” & “…back in the good ol’ days” were king. I think it’s fear that runs it, if you get down to the center of the issue. People, by nature, are scared of change. Most people get their identities from what other people assign to them- not too many folks get to make one of their own. In their youth, people have a bigger social life and therefore get validation on their given identities more often. As they grow older, have kids and start to settle down, they don’t get their egos caressed as often and their identity gets a little lost. There’s certain times, sounds, people, images, etc…that can spark a memory of who they think they used to be and they cherish it as “the best times of their life.” It really is a ‘nasty habit’, as you say- it’s a tough habit to break as well. David Bowie’s ability to reinvent himself….something to be admired.
Do you find copious amounts of drugs and alcohol to be the portal to getting to the essence of truly explosive band that emotionally connects with their audience while rattling their nerves at the same time??
-Pretty good contradiction there- ‘drugs and alcohol’ & ‘emotionally connects’.. I don’t think it’s necessary, but for a good ‘punk’ show, confrontation, recklessness, destruction, a complete lack of respect and the imminent threat of violence, seem to be what works best…in my book, at least. Drugs and alcohol can help people drop their inhibitions enough to access that, if they have trouble getting there on their own.
In what ways have you changed since the band started and what are your aspirations as an artist and performer? Will Mike ever go solo or join another band?
-Next February, I’ll be 20 years older, I have a wife, 2 kids, 2 dogs, a 9-5 office job, a mortgage and a station wagon. The suits I wear on a daily basis have less holes and bloodstains on them. I’m not as angry, as often. I rarely go out to see other bands play unless The Stitches are playing with them. I buy a lot less records. I haven’t been thrown out of a club, gone to jail, dyed my hair, been beaten up, drank booze or done drugs in over 10 years…I’m as fuckin’ square as you can possibly imagine- you can cut glass with the corners of my life.
-ha ha- ‘Solo’- that’s funny. I don’t have the time to join another band- even if I did, I don’t know if I would. Besides, at this stage of the game, I see no reason why The Stitches would break up- we have a lot of fun together, it certainly doesn’t take much time or effort -we never practice and don’t give a fuck if it doesn’t sound perfect when we play live- and people still come out to our shows. When we go outta town, it’s like four old friends getting together for a fishing trip- we pile in the van and laugh the entire time. I love those guys…
There’s a tendency for bands to “sloganeer” and tell people what they already know, which to me is really annoying and exhausting, how do you feel about bands with a “message”?
-Isn’t there a ‘message’ of some sort in all music? I guess it would depend on the ‘message’ they were throwing out? Maybe I don’t fully understand your question? “I play in a band called The Stitches and we hate bands with a message!”
Who are your top 3 bands and women of all time that represent your taste as an individual?-Here are my top 3 bands WITH women of all time that represent my taste as an individual:
1) Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
2) The Shangri-Las
3) The B-52’s
…and if you’re gonna throw out The B-52’s on a technicality, then please replace them with Elastica. Thank you.
As always we’re in the middle and beginning of issues and like to keep things fresh on our blog, make sure to say hi
BOOKMARK us at F&L LB, and thank you Mike Lohrman….
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The subject of this week’s review comes courtesy of Texas, I can’t think of a better place to make dirty music permeate from booze soaked barroom floors. I was thinking to myself the other day, man this whole music thing is getting a bit stripped and raw, like fast, to a welcoming audience (for once), kind of like depression era music. Well, no shit man, we are in a depression and Churchwood’s latest offering of “2” lets the sounds of confusion and blues country swamp fry your brain like it’s going out of style.
The band itself, like so many have tried to do, managed to land a spot on the infamous “Sons of Anarchy” series at a time when getting “song placement” to shred a bare existence seems relegated to Modest Mouse sound alikes doing it with enough extra protection to avoid unwanted pregnancies in the Vampire Diaries crowd. I’ve been examining and soaking in the latest release this past week which has been filled with many Long Beach hiccups of indecision and turmoil. THIS is where the party is at if you’ve got the ears and reckless soul for some backroom hustle with a loose bumping n grind.
The track “Duende” kicks off this outing with an MC5 inspired rhythmic cacophony, Highway 61 grittiness, and the vocal urgency of Hank Williams drowning to death in his own vomit. “Keels Be Damned” follows this one up with Texan Goth Country Vibe. It’s always an awesome listening experience to hear cool musical experimentation that doesn’t pride itself on pretension but uses emotion and moodiness to dictate its slightly unfocused shape of aural pleasure.
“I have a devil in me” pretty much sums up the swamp you’re taking a midnight swim through in “Churchwood 2”. When listening to the entire epic of this full length, MC5’s “Skunk” keeps pulling at me as a starting point listening wise for the uninitiated. The proceedings end with the haunting and gritty pseudo balladry of “New Moon”. The intro riff and chording are quite great, flowing with the breeze of contact high smoke and the mental imprint of condensation rings left on the wooden bar from long days of hard drinking and contemplating the meaning of the outside world’s annoyances and nuances. –K.M
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LONG BEACH SITE
The Summer Volume is starting to get itself underway and outrageous ideas are welcome, as we’ll be staying in Long Beach for the long haul. Feel free to drop by the F & L LB site and send a message through the contact section. I’ve almost lived one year through my new literary debacle, let’s seal the coffin and make sure the party keeps going where civilization meets the wild. cheers
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Long Beach’s own “Wrong Beach", a Fear & Loathing in LB favorite, surprises the world with their catchy as hell and incredible new video for “Dark Robot". Vocalist and creative guru AJ Ransdell produced this modern work of video mayhem with odes to classic sci-fi and vintage music television. This aggro blast reminds me of the decadent 1980s and its MTV stepchild(when it was playing actual music) would actually run cool videos from the Angry Samoans, Naked Raygun, Pegboy, Big Black, and other indie punk legends.
The band itself is a tribute and psychic appendage to the legacy of Southern California PUNK ROCK left behind by such notables as D.I, The Adolescents, Germs, and just about every band on the classic “American Youth Report” compilation. It comes as no surprise that Mr. Rikk Agnew (member of many of those greats along with his fellow co-conspirators) is grinding the power chords of pulsating punk evil in this band while recapturing and expanding upon what past members did before. By totally using the technology of 2013 to direct and produce their own video, this ravenous punker of a short film is gaining an incredible response we have not seen in the YouTube charts for a REAL PUNK band in a long time, unless you consider metal/emo “punk”, which I do not or ever will. Just call it what it is!
Rikk’s “All by Myself” has been one of my favorite solo albums of all time and with the addition of AJ’s razor sharp and world weary vocals, the song does not disappoint and only serves as living proof that aggressive music recognizes zero boundaries. I suggest everyone checks out the Wrong Beach tunes as the onslaught is just beginning!
I love hearing a band rip it up as I ponder what the seedy underbelly of Southern California has in store next for those of us watching the economy collapse and the human race deteriorate with blazing sunsets, condom, & needle-strewn beaches, replete with broken bottled alleyways to ensure dangerous outings at all times. Not a bad time to be alive as it’s a pleasure to actually watch modern Rome burn to the ground. Oh yeah man, we’re gearing up for volume 4, be sure to check our past issues at the site. Wrong Beach interview in our Fall debacle of literary insanity.
Wrong Beach Facebook