Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Positive Bands and Straight Edge at FFF Fest 09

Positive Bands and Straight Edge at FFF Fest 09

By General McPeace, September 2, 2009

7 Seconds, Youth Brigade, and Gorilla Biscuits are set to play this years Fun, Fun, Fun Fest. These bands belong to the straight edge category of punk rock. Straight Edge bands rail against the evils of alcohol, drugs, smoking, and in some cases promiscuity. Straight Edge bands set themselves apart from the stereotypical nihilistic youth associated with punk rock. Straight edge enthusiasts’ were known for drawing great big X’s to their hands. Now X’s are often a used by clubs to distinguish who is allowed to consume alcohol.

These bands represent to distinct flavors of Straight Edge. First, 7 Seconds and Youth Brigade define the West Coast style. They worked to create a positive ethic for their fans. They accomplished this through a very strong Do It Yourself attitude. Youth Brigade’s label, Better Youth Organizations “BYO,” has a great catalog of bands. 7 Seconds is a long survivor of the punk rock road. 7 Seconds was often described as the punk version of U2. At one point in their career, 7 Seconds blended reggae, another musical style that clashed with the Straight Edge message, to give punk a new “World Beat” feel.

Gorilla Biscuits represents New York Straight Edge. This style of Straight Edge is tough, hard, and full of attitude that is only built from surviving in New York City. It is every bit what you would expect from the scene the created Agnostic Front and the Cro-Mags.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


NOVEMBER 7 AND 8, 2009

By General McPeace August 26, 2009

Behold, the filth of Red River returns for two days in November. Organizers of the FFF Fest completed their leaks and this year’s line-up is announced. The list of bands, musicians and comedians include:

7 Seconds, Alaska In Winter, All Leather, Altercation Comedy, Astronautalis, Atlas Sound, Bankrupt and the Borrowers, Beta Player, Black and White Years, Brendon Walsh, Brian Posehn, Broadcast, Buraka Som Sistema, Car Stereo (Wars), Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Chelsea Peretti, Coalesce, Coliseum, Cool Kids, Crystal Antlers, Crystal Castles, D.R.I., Danzig, Dead Confederate, Death, Destroyer, DJ Nu-Mark, Face to Face, Flipper, Foot Patrol, Fuck Buttons, Fucked Up, Gorilla Biscuits, Growing, GZA / Genius, Hannibal Buress, Harlem, Health, James Husband (Of Montreal), Josh Fadem, Kid Sister, L.A.X, Les Savy Fav, Low Line Caller, Lucero, MC Chris, Melt Banana, Metallagher, Mika Miko, Mission of Burma, Moonlight Towers, Neon Indian, New Movement Comedy Group, Nick Thune, Nightmarchers, No Age, Of Montreal, Off With Their Heads, Pack of Wolves, Peligrosa All-Stars, Pharcyde, Rat King, Ratatat, Red Sparowes, Reign Supreme, Royal Bangs, Russian Circles, Shearwater, Shonen Knife, SSION, Strange Boys, Street Dogs, Sugar and Gold, The DJ Melee, The Jesus Lizard, The King Khan & BBQ Show , The Laughing, The Riverboat Gamblers, The Roller, The Underground Railroad to Candyland, This Will Destroy You, Times New Viking, Todd Barry, Torche, Vega, Whitest Kids You Know, WHY?, Yeasayer, Young Widows, and Youth Brigade.

In the weeks leading to this festival, I plan to preview the punk bands on the list and add some tales from shows past.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Subhumans

The Subhumans

By General McPeace

August 21, 2009

“Drink, Sex, Cigarettes
Ford Cortina household pets
Bombs? War? Famine? Death?
An apathetic public couldn’t care less”

The first time I heard the Subhumans, I was hooked. The music had everything I could ever wish for in a band. They weren’t the fast/angry anarchist of Conflict or the avant-garde Crass. Their sound was cunning, witty, ska- infused lyrics about politics and religion. The Subhumans filled a special place in my collection of records from the U.K.

If you don’t own a Subhumans record or want to return to your punk roots, then it is great to know that this music has been re-mastered and reissued by Bluurg Records.

Singer Dick Lucas continues to expound on his favorite subjects: religion and politics. You can read and catch-up on his thoughts by visiting his blog at His other creative outlet has been his art. To view this expression you can visit his gallery at

“All is quiet all is dead
The city has melted
The sound has penetrated
Through our heads
The world has ended
the gas is gone
It killed the people now the mutants live on”

As one of the mutants I thought you might like another perspective on the Subhumans so I’ve included NPR’s music critic’s story on the Subhumans.

The Subhumans' Timeless Hardcore Punk
by Milo Miles
August 20, 2009

The Subhumans are a political punk band from Britain who were first active in the 80s, but whose back catalog of six albums has now been re-mastered and released in the United States. Although the musical setting has changed dramatically from those days, the Subhumans sound more timeless than old hat.

The group proves that not all overlooked excellent music is a so-called lost gem — sometimes they're hidden in plain sight. The Subhumans were active from 1980 to 1985 and their records were never rarities, just very hard to find in the United States, where they never got much traction in their heyday. However, being vintage punks missed by the U.S. guarantees nothing — a UK group called The Adicts is by far the most long-lasting punk band with original members ... but that's the most interesting thing about them.

The Subhumans, on the other hand, will remind you why people were knocked out by punk in the first place. They deliver short, sharp shocks of fury and anguish, but like the best of the breed, they're angry in a funny way or funny in an angry way, as when they sing "Mickey Mouse is Dead."
In their first release, The Subhumans were an early example of British hardcore punk, a style that stripped the sound down to its basics in the manner of the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. The goal was to attract crusaders and purists, the only ones alive in a dead world of lies. The closest American parallel might be the group Minor Threat. The Subhumans' shouter Dick Lucas, guitarist Bruce Treasure, bassist Grant Jackson and a drummer known only as Trotsky hammered away at themes of mental disease, murder, oppression with every breath and love as a disaster. But they also offered a welcome British perspective with rants about class structure, work, money and the evils of meat in a song that ends with the perfect line: "It's the family butcher, lock up your family!"
The Subhumans hit a peak in 1982 with their first LP, The Day the Country Died, which is full of clever snaps of melody, rhythm and wit. Those who prefer the punk straight up should also check out the earlier Subhumans sides collected on the descriptively named EP-LP.

The Subhumans themselves began to defy one of the commandments of hardcore punk: They evolved and became more elaborate. There were a few dead ends and blind alleys, but The Subhumans wound up their first incarnation with the 1985 album Worlds Apart, their most varied and reflective, including sighs about apathy and ex-teenage rebels. It ends with "Powergames," a song by purists, all grown up to warn that purity itself is something to guard against.

The Subhumans have reunited a few times and are still semi-active today. Still, they did their best job of blowing down complacency as youths with brains on fire. In the 1990s, the roars of hardcore punk could sound dated. But by now, the commitment and conviction of The Subhumans sounds like a call to arms waiting to be heard again.



EMOS Austin, August 15, 2009.

By General McPeace

The heat blazed past one-hundred degrees yet again. A dark porch covered by a tin roof filled with people eager to watch a show reminiscent of 1983. Mohawks, shaved heads, spiked hair were all visible. Jackets (yes jackets) and t-shirts advertise allegiances to punk bands of the eighties rather than the commercial realm. Tonight was a time-warp. No giant, plush tour busses are parked outside the club, just vans and a small RV.

The stellar line-up was enough to bring the geriatric punks (like myself) and the new blood out to pack EMOS from front to back. The line outside EMOS moved slow but steady as the crowd paid the $20 cover or $20.43 for the “discount” advanced purchase ticket including service fee. How would this show rate in the old punk pricing-scheme of $4 for a local show, $5 for a local show plus an out of town band, or $8 for the “big” touring-band show.

The music started before most of the crowd entered the club. Total Chaos, the second band, played an energetic set while the bodies flew around the pit. Total Chaos’ sound and feeling is more like an English anarchist band than a So-Cal band. Celebrating a couple decades of performances, and showing their real roots, Total Chaos recognized local punk bands between songs. Total Chaos could have played longer, but a tight schedule had to be maintained to get through the remaining bands.

When a tour has this many bands that could head-line the show, it is difficult to set the order. Did the bands play a game of rock, paper, and scissors to determine the line-up? Could you see Lee Ving bringing a hammer to the game as his trump card? Here’s how it went down in the R.V. before the show…

Casey Royer from D.I. says, “hey Total Chaos, I hear there’s going to be a protest at the Texas Capitol tonight, can you check that out for us?” The R.V. door slams shut as Total Chaos rushes out on a reconnaissance mission. The other bands sit at the table. The smoke in the R.V. is thick. They count together, “one, two, three.” Casey casts paper stating “I choose rolling paper.” Mike Palm of Agent Orange casts scissors. “My scissors cuts your rolling paper.” Boom! Lee Ving slams his hammer on the table shouting “I don’t care about you, F-you! We go last.”

So that’s why D.I. played next. With Casey at the helm, the vocal antics did not disappoint the crowd. He discussed punk, politics, and drugs So many D.I. songs come attached to a story. These interludes brought context to the stories that are older than many in the crowd. These lessons were absorbed by all. The dense (not mentally) crowd heated EMOS to the level that just standing still produced sweat. D.I.’s set ended too early. D.I.’s set included the highly anticipated “Johnny’s Got a Problem” and “Richard Hung Himself.”

Next, the trio from Orange County brought their surf punk waves to Austin. A fortunate few were able to catch a wave and crowd surf. Mike dedicated “To young to die” to that crusty old punk Les Paul. Agent Orange played the posh hits and a Dead Kennedy’s cover while the wilting audience was sprayed with water. The wet floor and crushed beer cans made the pit a bit more dangerous. Again, the clock proved to be the enemy, ending Agent Orange’s set before fully satisfying the audience, leaving the desire to have a little more Agent Orange.

Fear, a band known for antagonizing and taunting audiences, worked their way to the stage. The theme for Fear’s set was established before playing their first song. Lee took a survey of beer drinkers. There was a near consensus of beer drinkers. The excitement and anticipation built-up as more people pushed their way towards the stage. By the end of the first song, the tone for Fear’s performance was set. Lee stopped the song to admonish everyone from throwing things on stage and warned the crowd that Fears set would end if it happened again. Fear soon returned to the theme with a series of beer inspired songs. Fear established the need for beer, then having a beer with Fear, and finally having another beer.

If you would like to see highlights from this show, some videos are available on YouTube:

D.I. (talking)-
D.I. “Amoeba”-
Agent Orange “Secret Agent Man”- Agent Orange “To Young To Die”-