milestones and straight up business
by More Betty
With a 30-year career of prolific output and touring, the Melvins are overwhelming to say the least. In a modern sense, the 30th anniversary in America is marked by a diamond, known as one of the hardest substances on Earth. If this sonic yield is a metaphor for their musical affluence, then this track record of ground-breakers and heavy-hitting collaborations is akin to one of the two circumstances necessary for the formation of these diamonds. That is, under intense heat and pressure deep in the Earth's crust; appropriate surroundings for these sludge rockers.
“We usually do between 80 and 120 shows per year, touring is part of the deal. That is how we make a living,” says Buzz Osborne, founding guitarist, adding, “it’s been like that for a little over 20 years.” The other condition for this mineral formation is from the intense impact of a meteorite. Brace yourselves appropriately, for the visceral properties of their live show does just that. “We really have no contemporaries, nobody is doing what we're doing,” he says.
This round they are touring as a four-piece with Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, Coady Willis and a different bass player because their normal bass player is on maternity leave. Jeff Pinkus from Butthole Surfers will be joining them. Also, the tour support is Honky, featuring Crover, from the Melvins. Buzz calls it an “inbred tour.” With an extensive history, this is their business. “We did it till we could make ends meet on the road,” explains Osborne with astute authority. “My advice to young musicians is to not lose money,” he says. “If you are going to do something that loses you money, then you are going to quit and that’s the end of it.” The same goes for making records.
Their latest album, Everybody Loves Sausages just came out this spring 2013. It features 13 tracks and recordings with guests such as Mark Arm, Jello Biafra, Scott Kelly and Clem Burke. This album includes songs by Queen, Roxy Music, Fugs, David Bowie and Venom. “A tribute to the bands that people might not have realized that we were influenced by,” says Osborne. “Then we have tribute 7-inches coming out for Everybody Loves Sausages, a little 7-inch with an extra song on it.”
These collaborative tentacles have also reached out to legendary U.K. grinders Napalm Death and this split release is expected out any time now. The “Napalm” side being a cover of a Cardiacs song, which Buzz assures us “turned out really well.” This project and series of collaborations came from their live record a few years ago, called Sugar Daddy. “We took each song of that record and made a split with another band that we liked, it didn’t matter if the band existed or not,” he explains. First two were with the U-Men and the Cows. Since those bands have broken up years ago, they will be releasing previously recorded material. They also worked with bands like Mudhoney, Butthole Surfers, Fucked Up, Off and more collaborations to be announced. “I like projects,” say Buzz.
A new album coming out in the fall called Tres Cabrones. “Which is me and Dale our original drummer, the Melvins 1983,” he says.
They do not stop. “You have to evolve or die like the dinosaurs,” he states firmly. “I hate stuff when they say things like the ‘good old days.’ I don’t believe in that. Why look backwards when you can look forwards. I am not into what happened yesterday. I am about what is going to happen.”
And look forward to the sonic impact of the Melvins at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver August 19th.
The Final Chapter
Ink September 5th, 6th and 7th onto your wrist and prepare for a raging 72 hours as FOAT and CHARGED//DISTORTED present the final edition of this West Coast punk event, Distort Vancouver Fest.
Unquestionably, the event organizer’s appetite for “Scandinavian punk” fuels Distort and this is conclusive with MOB 47 on-board for this instalment. “One of the first Swedish bands to take on what DISCHARGE created all those years ago, but mixed it with the speed of American hardcore, (ie. DRI, CRUCIFIX, etc) creating something totally insane,” explains Foat. “Hence, raw fucking mangel. Members have been active in such classic Swedish hardcore bands as CRUDITY, DISCARD, one of my all time favourite d-beat bands. More recently, DESPERAT featuring Jocke from D-takt & Ra Punk records. Which, every punk should check out,” he emphasizes. On the bill and that label are WARVICTIMS, ELECTRIC FUNERAL and PARANOID. The last count was thirty bands booked for this fest and with that another highpoint is SUICIDAL SUPERMARKET TROLLEYS, described as “ridiculous beer drinking British punks!”
The eight consecutive fests have cultivated networks. “I will say, over the years, some life long friendships have formed because of the bridges of certain cities/regions of the punk community being built.” Not only has this event brought notice and energy to this city, but also exposed folks to bands they would otherwise not catch live. “I think Distort put Vancouver in league with bigger punk scenes on the coast, and a must stop for any bands touring the West Coast. This was one of the reasons I started doing the fest in the first place,” he says. CHUCK NORRIS was a part of the early fests and this year they will be playing their final show. “They were the first band I put out a record for, they let me roadie for them a bunch, and are dear friends, who helped shape my ideals of punk. It just makes sense for the band to die with Distort,” says Foat.
Distort is certainly an undertaking between three “active” bands, monthly shows, a label, a life and a full-time job. “I think my mission has been accomplished. Vancouver has one of the most thriving punk scenes in the world,” he says, “I can't credit it all to Distort, as there are many punks who make this city fucking awesome. I think it's time to see some younger blood do something similar. Maybe not take on the burden of Distort, but to do their own thing. No matter what, I will ALWAYS be involved in punk, for better or worse, till I fucking die.” And what’s next? “Next summer for the first time in nine years, I will do jack fucking shit! I’m really surprised I’m not bald yet from all my stress, and that's why I keep dying my hair,” he laughs. But this is not the end, still busy with the DIY, practice space and his label, CHARGED//DISTORTED is about to release, the KOSZMAR LP along with RUST AND MACHINE Records.
Surveying this vast collection of handmade event posters, flyers and tickets, they hold their own not only as a record but as “Punk Art.” Foat has created many of these but also credits, Jersey, Laura Lint and Zach from SPECTRES and who is also co-founder of Distort. “I’m just a mega nerd about flyers. These are the documents of amazing or shitty nights. I always put the year on them so punks can remember. I love looking at old flyers on punk house walls, and remembering that time in my life, and the shows I’d go to, and the bands I see.” With the indefinite life of digital content, this handheld artifact has an even greater significance. “I think this get's lost in 2013, I see less and less flyers, and it really bums me out. On top of it all, DIY flyers, posters, and tickets just look cool. And though others will disagree, fuck Photoshop. It is killing punk art! And yes, artwork has almost as much to do with punk as the music,” he adds and, “this is why, while records are being pressed in fewer numbers these days, vinyl will never fucking die, despite the Internet.”
Further kudos and thanks go out to, David and the Astoria, as well as WENDYTHIRTEEN. “But maximum appreciation goes out to all my friends, bands, labels, promoters, and venues that supported Distort and me over the years,” he says and, “I’ve been definitely in the hole, but I’m not complaining. I knew what I was getting myself into, and it's worth it.” A series of shows, fundraisers will lead up to the fest.
“Actually, I can honestly say I am very excited about all of these bands playing the last Distort. So many raging riffs and friends I would gladly take a bullet for from a buncha areas of the world!”
DISTORT VANCOUVER FEST VOLUME IX will be early September at the Anza on the 5th, WISE Hall on the 6th, and the 7th at the Astoria, and keep your ears up for pre/post/night/day/hangover shows put on by friends.
- More Betty
life and new breath
by Heath Fenton
The band Life Against Death (LAD) is much like a volcano. Sudden explosions and rapid destruction can move foundations to new landscapes with greater views and wider horizons. Through their ten years of existence, LAD has gone through sixteen different members. The latest implosion occurred when long-time members and partners Brett Roothless and Mya Mayhem went their separate ways, leaving the band in a barren wasteland. But Roothless had other ideas. To him it`s always been about the music. “I’ve always looked at music as an addiction. I have no choice but to do it. I figured if I am going to keep playing music then why should I start another fucking band.” So he dusted himself off and began the process of assembling today’s version of LAD.
The first piece was an old friend and ex-band mate Scott Free, who would be enlisted to play drums. Free had toiled with Roothless in an old band called The First Day and he actually was the original singer in an early version of LAD. Next part would be bass stalwart Steven Huston from another old band of Roothless’ called Last Plague. The only task left was the process of recruiting the elusive lead vocalist.
Enter Twitch from Joyce Collingwood. She had never done the vocal style that would be required to step into an extreme thrash metal band like LAD. But she was more than game and she even went out of her way to approach them herself about the vacant position. “After I heard something had happened I went down to the bar and ran into the bass player at the time and got the scoop from him,” she says and adds, “He told me that Brett was keen on just continuing on and finding another singer. So after a couple of beers deep, I said, 'I’ll sing for you guys!'”
Two years later with a hefty gig list and some new songs under their belt, the next step was to hit the Hive Creative Lab studio and record with engineer Jesse Gander. The result is nine songs and and a 22-minute juggernaut that will be released August 31. The album runs the gamut of what LAD was built on: extreme metal, old school thrash ideologies and wild aggression. “This is not about reinvention, it’s a continuation,” Roothless explains. “Every line-up of this band has sounded a bit different but it will always sound like Life Against Death.”
Join Life Against Death August 31 at Thrashers a.k.a. Funkys for their record release show!
by Jason Kolins
Weighted in hardcore punk and crossover, these veteran locals have already made a big impact. “The city was, and still is over run by elitist crust bands, and we wanted to do straight-up, no-bullshit hardcore,” says guitarist and vocalist Mikey Jak. Even in a small amount of time, it’s no surprise that the group has quickly become a force to reckon with working with a sound in the “vein” of Black Flag, The Accused, Verbal Abuse and DRI.
Back in 2010, Mikey Jak and their second guitarist and vocalist, Ben Lightning, came up with the band idea but finally hit jam room this past January. Aaron Foster on bass and Matt Fiorito on drums round out Legion Of Goons.
The word on the new super group quickly turned heads with the combined impressive resume of former bands like Death Sentence, The Excessives, Scum Element, Surrounded By Idiots, Seamen, Powerclown, Burnside Brawler, The Shivs and so on.
Attacks of dual lead vocals, rapid-fire riffs and a pummelling rhythm section command their fast and catchy songs. Both live shows and recordings flow with intensity. Eight songs were recorded in June at Vancouver’s House Of Payne Studio with Adam Payne. It features a cover rendition of “Plastic Bomb” by Poison Idea. “One of the best songs by one of my most influential and favourite bands,” says Jak.
Their lyrical content touches on things we all go through every day, situations, issues and people that piss you off, “definitely things that people can relate to,” Jak describes. The Vancouver Island transplant explains that between the serious lyrics, there is also the balance of more “tongue and cheek” humorous songs like “Lost A Bet To Boba Fett”, which is about the notorious Star Wars bounty hunter. Another called “Reptilian Brain” is written from the point of view of an alligator.
Look for an upcoming vinyl release and summer shows, plus a Vancouver Island trip and hometown show in September with the legendary Death Sentence. The boys are keeping themselves busy and also hope to hit the road to Alberta and the Prairies by fall. Believe the hype!
The Goons join Toronto’s BUNCHOFFUCKINGGOOFS at Thrashers a.k.a. Funkys August 3 and The End Of Summer Thrash Fest, all ages/bar show August 23 at Olympia Pizza, Surrey.
Biltmore Cabaret - July 09 2013In the Biltmore's dimly lit den of electronic playlist worship, Bob Log somehow plays four ipods at once. Instead of searching menus, pirating music, and spinning knobs, Log found himself stomping three foot pedals, asking us for drinks and furiously plucking his Silvertone “Growler” guitar.
Tasked with opening for this spectacle were Vancouver's “the Beladeans,” a talented five piece with two outstanding records and a flair for classic bar blues anthems. They barreled through their set with bravado and charisma, ending on a high note with a rousing cover of "I ain't drunk, I'm just drinking" well before midnight. Immediately following this was the noisiest sound check imaginable, as Log sat testing his works with the sound techs testing for his newly expanded electronic performance.
Chinese Cultural Centre - July 20, 2013
Black Flag's reunion of the Jealous Again era beckoned diversity. It was a who’s who of Vancouver's older punk scene, metal heads and, surprisingly, a healthy crew of ener-getic minors. First up: an excellent female three-piece Vancouver band called Lié. Splendid angular punk riffs and captivating call and answer vocal trade-offs.
Electric Owl - July 16, 2013
Excellent to see Electric Owl hosting some heavy hitting metal bands and with Hoopsnake on the opening slot you knew there was gonna be some weight.
I arrived just in time to see Vancouver’s own Bison BC tuning up and gearing down. This crews' namesake is very appropriate. They are like a herd of bison galloping along the plains. When they play, the ground shakes, you can hear the rumble from miles away, and they destroy everything in their path. They were an obscene mass of sweat, hair and bovine riffage. If you have not had a chance to see Bison BC live, really go and do yourself a favour. They are hands down, the best live metal band this city has to offer. They even enticed us with a new tune that foreshadowed what will sure to be a pummeling new release in the near future.
It's tricky to be in this business of being the booking coordinator of a venue without receiving both the kudos or blame of how any given night turns out.... I do my best to try to book the venue according to whatever else heavy is going on in the city.... Invariably, as hard as you try to book in advance and list your show genre early, almost always some other promoter or venue will book against you.... This is progressively getting worse with former hipster haunts suddenly lauding the punk and metal subcultures ... I guess they realize we're hearty drinkers with an abundance of bands to fill a night of live music...