copyright Brian Walsby 2013!
Punk meets Peanuts on comic artist Brian Walsby‘s official Facebook page lately, and the results are both funny as well as good looking. There’s Black Flag‘s iconic sleeve for their Damaged LP – but hasn’t pretty much all their sleeves turned out to be iconic? – the Sonic Youth Goo album sleeve above, and (my fave) Linus doing Flag’s My War.
Usually a freelance cartoonist as well as a musician, Brian has made tons of work for various bands like The Melvins and Seven Seconds, plus zines like Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll and Flipside to mention just a few. Check him out on Facebook as well as his official website here.
copyright Brian Walsby 2013!
Well, this weekend turned out to be one of those amazingly creative and stimulating affairs that I just love to experience. First off a good friend decided to give me a good kick in the butt, insisted that I enjoy life at least once a month and dragged me away from the computer Friday evening for some mucho needed (and appreciated!) rest and relaxation with pizzas and taking the full plunge into the Walking Dead tv-series. I know the damn thing has been running since 2010, and pretty much everybody I know has been telling me how it’d be right up my alley, but I’m a stubborn, stubborn man that insists on doing everything in his own time. I made a mental note of checking it out “some day” early on of course, and now I’m glad I finally popped down some $$$ for the first season on DVD.
The hype was true and my friends were right to tell me to check it out. I liked how the creators managed to make such an improbable scenario so human at the same time (not too surprising though as the producer/director is Frank Darabont who directed The Green Mile.) Instead of going crazy and cover the screen with splatter (that fits good and well within the 80 minute format of a movie) they focused on the true horror of the story and made something that actually struck me as one of the sadder series I’ve seen. Like the old saying goes: in an Apocalypse it’s the survivors that damn their fate. Kick-ass show, although as someone who experienced the anti-horror hysteria of the 80s it was pretty damn surreal seeing the same concept being a hit TV show 30 years later. I’ll get into season 2 later on.
Saturday was one of those wrap-everything-up-and-move-on-to-the-next-project kinda days. I finished up all my parts for The Norliss Tapes upcoming It’s Halloween EP leaving Staffan to finish up the remaining bits for what now looks like will be a five-track record. It’s funny how he and I just keep riffing off of each other and what began as “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we did one Halloween-themed song to give away for free?” ended up as five songs that just came from brainstorming and sending each other various sound bytes to work with. I love it and gotta admit that it’s the first time I experience this sorta thing with a collaborator. Five tracks and there’ll be a couple of surprises thrown in (vocals!) so make sure you check it out in the next couple of days.
Finished with the songs I finally got around to remix and remaster a couple of tracks from my old hardcore project Gå Vidare till Norrmalmstorg. Swedish for “Advance to Mayfair” off the Monopoly game – both a kiss-off to rich kids as well as an ironic statement to how commercial we thought we sounded - the band was more interested in just pummeling an audience than setting new land speed records that is so common (and clichéd) in the genre, especially these postmodern days. Taking our inspiration from early Black Flag we mixed it with Motorhead and Black Sabbath in order to create a sound that was truly uncompromising – loud and heavy with a pure adrenalin delivery.
One session saw us recording a total of 14 songs in one day with a guy that had the typical less-than-cooperative Swedish engineer attitude of “I don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, I don’t understand what you’re trying to achive, so I’m just gonna be arrogant all day and ignore every request you might have – or at least question it. But I do expect to get paid when it’s finished of course.” The session tapes remained unmixed and unreleased with the exception of a feeble attempt on my part of trying to remaster an existing rough mix about two years ago (with less than satisfactory results). Anyway, early Sunday morning I finally had the opportunity to sit down on my own and just unleash the punch-in-the-gut oomph I always knew this band had. It took roughly 12 hours of work, but the seven-track EP Blästrad (Swedish slang for being extremely drunk somewhat equivalent of “hammered”) is available via the band’s Bandcamp here. All members have heard it and are really happy with the results (me included), so how about a sample track:
Well, here’s a nice project due to be released in 2013: Scott Crawford and Jim Saah‘s Salad Days: The Birth of Punk Rock in the Nation’s Capital - a documentary focusing on the Washington, DC hardcore scene of the early 80s. Featuring interviews with tons of scenesters like Henry Rollins (S.O.A./Black Flag), HR (Bad Brains) and Dave Grohl (Scream) the pair is now looking for production funds via Kickstarter:
As we finish up the pre-production phase, we need your help. Your donations will offset the upcoming costs of editing, animation, graphics, mastering, color correction, sound editing, travel and more.
Pledges range from $10 (receive an autographed postcard) up to $3,500 (the filmmakers promise to build a shrine to you in their living room, plus other perks like a free DVD, t-shirt, poster etc.), so check it out here and write some encouraging words on their Facebook here.
UPDATE: Yeah, well, I just had to join in on this. The trailers look great, and there’s an amazing line-up of people being interviewed so I’ve got a good feeling about it!
Well, I guess the saying that goes something along the lines of you should never make plans because life takes its own routes anyway is pretty damn correct. Having my only week off until X-Mas I was looking forward to just sleeping late and then finish up The Norliss Tapes Herz und Liebe EP, instead I started off Saturday morning with dropping a half-full cup of coffee on my damn computer keyboard pretty much frying it – hence my lack of posts – and once that was sorted out my damn back problems had me pretty much turned into a vegetable on account of the painkillers being pretty strong stuff.
Anyway, I’ve decided to skip the pills in order to be able to think straight again, so there’s more posts coming soon. Black Flag‘s Wasted is an amazingly primal piece of music. If you haven’t heard it, give it about 56 seconds:
I already written about my pal Troy and his Five Questions With… series on The Bigfoot Diaries blog (and more recently their giveaway of cool postcards). I did one back in 2010, but my favorite so far is when he got hold of vocalist Keith Morris (OFF! ex-Circle Jerks, Black Flag) and got some nice, beefy answers to his questions. More recently (actually posted yesterday) he got hold of legendary drummer Russel Quan of The Mummies fame. Albeit a bit short, it was kind cool to read, so check it out here.
So, I pretty much spent all weekend finishing up the sleeve for the upcoming third installment of Dead by Mono‘s garage-compilation No Way Out! with The Misfits keeping me company on iTunes. I love this band and along with Black Flag, Flipper, Circle Jerks, Poison Idea and a few others they were one of those US hardcore outfits that really stood out – soundwise and creatively. Their debut Static Age is just an amazing album filled to the brim with classics such as We Are 138, Hollywood Babylon, She, TV Casualty etc. etc.
Anyway, yesterday while finishing up the six-panel poster – as always the CD sleeve folds out into a nice, full-color poster – I decided to not only write about the usual stuff on my blog this week, but to add a couple of their songs as well. Let’s start off with one of their classics, and for you movie trivia buffs – name that movie that apparently inspired the lyrics!
Yes! I stumbled across this just out of dumb luck on YouTube and decided to post it before the weekend comes: Henry Rollins reading his much-appreciated Get In the Van – on the road with Black Flag. A compilation of his tour diaries starting with him joining hardcore’s most influential band back in 1981 up until their break-up in 1986. Everything is here. The ups and downs of touring as a punk band as well as personal reflections about life and the “scene” in general.
This book (and this audio version) is highly recommended for anybody that ever tried to get out there and make something out of their lives, maybe on their own terms or simply just trying. Plus it gives a really good insight to the realities that all struggling bands out there have to face – especially the completely insane scenarios they had to deal with back in the 80s. There’s really no need to be even remotely interested in punk/hardcore to appreciate it (although it does help when it comes to bands, people and places mentioned) and if you got approx. three hours to spend you should definitely sit back and have a listen.
Black Flag’s debut album Damaged is a classic and after The Stooges‘ Fun House one of the most aggressive pieces of music from the 20th century. Check it out:
Well, a lot more peeps are checking out this blog after Ox Fanzine hit the streets, so I thought I’d remind that you can find my portfolio on Facebook as well. Join up Sellergren Design – Art is the Enemy here. I received my copy in the mail yesterday and boy is it a beefy issue! As always it was crammed with interviews, columns etc. and it’s gonna take me a while to read through the whole thing. Check it out!
In other news, OFF! just released their first video from their coming second album (sorry, have no idea what the title is) and it’s yet more of the classic HC sounds you’d expect from ex-Black Flag and Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris. Directed by Richard Kern himself it’s pretty cool and I can’t wait until the CD/LP hit the streets!
Well, I doubt anyone within the underground community missed out on these guys, but I’ll post this anyway simply because they rock. Keith Morris (ex-Black Flag, Circle Jerks etc.) teamed up with members from Rocket From the Crypt, The Burning Brides and Redd Kross to form OFF! – a band that to put it simple decided to ignore what happened with Punk Rock since 1981 and ended up with something that weirdly enough sounds fresh in 2011! Their first full length (entitled First Four EP’s) is hands down an amazing release, offering sixteen classic early HC blasts in less than twenty minutes. There’s been rave reviews all over the place but to add my own two cents; this is what the Circle Jerks second album could’ve sounded like!
The album can be found pretty much all over from online shops – even on Amazon – and they’re touring Europe – including Sweden! – this fall so make sure to check them out! And in case you need a incentive, check out the clip of their show at House of Vans here. My pal Troy who runs the Bigfoot Diaries blog recently interviewed Keith, so check it out here.