Thursday, August 30, 2012

Re: Bad Brains, Homophobia, and Dave Dictor: somebody help me!

I've got a massive brain itch that needs scratching: help me!

I vividly remember seeing documentary footage in which MDC's Dave Dictor and others discussed the Bad Brains' homophobia and treatment of revered, departed punk singer Randy "Biscuit" Turner of the awesome Austin punk/ funk combo the Big Boys. I thought, up until this week, that the film where that discussion took place was Paul Rachman's enjoyable documentary American Hardcore, which I caught prior to its release at a press screening; the film devotes considerable time to the Bad Brains, and has some very fun stuff from Dictor in it, who briefly discusses being out and gay in Austin. I was revisiting the film last night, however, and to my surprise - there's not a whiff of it. At first I thought maybe it was attributable to a difference between the press screening and the DVD release - because films do get changed, for various reasons - but Paul Rachman assures me via Facebook that the film didn't deal with the subject. Canadian filmmaker Reg Harkema, who happens to have seen the same press screening of the film I did, doesn't remember one way or the other. But if it wasn't American Hardcore... what bloody movie was it? How many documentaries have I seen that even MENTION the Bad Brains, or have Dave Dictor interviews... let alone both?

If you don't know the story, see here and check out MDC's song, "Pay to Come Along." Some members of the Bad Brains have since distanced themselves from their past erroneous ways...

Mind you, my memory doesn't always serve. I was convinced for years that I'd seen a cartoon appearance of Timothy Leary in a Howard the Duck comic, to the extent of bugging various skeptical comic book store clerks about it, but no matter how many issues of Howard the Duck I thumbed through, I never did find the section. Then I happened to ask a fella named Eamon(n?) who does designs for horror and SF films in Vancouver, and he immediately pointed out that the scene I was looking for was in Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams. How I got Howard the Duck in there is anyone's guess. Maybe I just READ about the Bad Brains homophobic outbursts on the internet and somehow projected the knowledge backwards into my memories of American Hardcore?

Can anyone help me on this? 

Chris Arnett interview: The Furies and Duvallstar to play Pussy Riot benefit Sept 7th

Arnett meets Duvall, photos by bev.davies, not to be reused without permission

The Furies' Chris Arnett has played gigs with Siobahn Duvall and Duvallstar a few times now, and thinks she's utterly great - but had no definite plans when we spoke for the Straight to repeat the show-stealing collaboration on "Sonic Reducer" a few years ago at Richards on Richards, when they play in the same lineup September 7th at the Pussy Riot benefit at Iron Road Studios. It was a lot of fun seeing them do that song together, and totally delightful to discover that bev had captured the moment. When Chris and I spoke on the phone, we also talked about Arnett's pursuit of a PhD in Anthropology, and, of course, the new Furies' material that he'll be showcasing at the gig. He described "Prince Vlad," mentioned in the Straight piece, as "a recycled Furies tune from - fuck! - 35 years ago, and we never played it live, but we’ve got some recordings of it with Jim Bescott playing. So I’ve re-vamped it, so it’s kinda a riff on Vlad, the vampire, sucking Russia dry, blah-blah… but yeah, just something to have fun with, and it’s just kind of a rockin’ crazy tune. It starts out with this Valykyrie kind of beginning and then fuckin’ kicks off - because I like hard rock and roll and punk, and I’m really lookin’ forward to doing it again." 

The rest of my conversation with Arnett ran as follows:

AM: Been a long time! Do I gather you’ve been busy with your studies...?
CA: Yeah! I went through all my comprehensive exams shit this spring, written and oral examinations, which is a big chore - so I got over that, and I’m at the dissertation stage, so I can focus on more interesting things, like music and writing this dissertation, which is going to be a book - on post-contact Salishan rock painting - rock art. From rock and roll to rock art, it’s something I’ve been interested in for years, and it’s one of the reasons I went back to school, to kind of put all this data together with some rigour attached to it.

AM: Are there letters I should be putting behind your name, at this point?

CA: No, no, not yet. I still got a ways to go.

AM: It’s a PhD you’re working on?

CA: At UBC - the Department of Anthropology. So that’s fun. 

AM: I think you told me when last we talked that the Furies were going to be doing some studio stuff.

CA: Yeah, I’ve been demoing lots of material. I’ve got about 30 songs, but I’ve honed it down to about an album’s worth. The show’s given us a good impetus to get it recorded and out. Hopefully this year - I wanted to have an album out this year, but John (Werner, Furies’ bassist) works long hours in the set industry and Taylor (Nelson Little, the drummer) is the same - they’re both working guys.

AM: What’s the new album?
CA: The working title is, End of the Baktun

AM: A "back tune?" Is that something you do on a guitar?

CA (laughs): No, no, it’s a totally esoteric reference to the Mayan calendar. This is what 2012 is about - it’s the end of a baktun, which is 144,000-day period.

AM: I see.
CA: Conjured up by the elites, right? I’ve got a new song called “2012” that we’ll debut at this show, and it’s sort of a comment on the ‘end of the world’ kinda bullshit.

AM: How do I spell baktun?

CA: B-A-K-T-U-N. Maybe put a line over the top of the U.

AM: A line over the U? Okay (not within my capacities). So I guess we say the new album will be out for sure by the end of 2012, if there's a reference to 2012 in the title!

CA: Oh yeah, I want to get it out, one way or another, whether it’s just online - but I want to have a vinyl thing out, with some crazy cover.

AM: Cool. Any other comments on Pussy Riot? (See the Straight link above for more on that)

CA: It’s just so brilliant and inspiring when three young women in the space of a small performance can call so much attention to huge issues.This is something as an anthropologist that I’m interested in.

AM: It's surely the most effective protest against Putin that’s ever happened!
CA: Yeah! And it’s non-violent, y’know? They’re not donning balaclavas and gunning people down - it’s something totally different, and it’s inspiring women there, because that’s a harsh regime - all these state regimes are harsh. They’re confrontational, they’re patriarchal, and women are oppressed. And it’s amazing, in Russia, that they fought a bloody revolution in which millions were killed to get rid of this bloody church, and it’s in there like a cancerous fuckin’ thing… You know what it reminds me of is the Pistols, right when they kinda hit the scene, before punk became commodified like it is today, back in the day. [Arnett refers in specific to the timing of the release of "God Save the Queen" and the mocking Thames performance that accompanied it, which you can read about here]: "Oh my God! The Queen’s Jubilee! This is outrageous!" I remember the furor, even in sleepy Kitsilano, amongst my hippie older friends: “this is shocking, they’ve really crossed the line!” But they set something in motion, and I just love it - and they had the good music to go with it, too!

Read my old interview with Arnett about the Furies' backstory here, and - check this out - read Ferdy Belland's "guest review" of the Richards show pictured above, here! See y'all at Iron Road on the 7th!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Metallica by bev.davies

Over Chinese food prior to the Metallica concert, bev.davies explained to me that she likes her name to appear in lower case at all times, just like wendythirteen. Howsaboutthat, I never knew! (I mean, I knew she did it that way herself, but not that she wanted others to follow suit). She says the period between bev and davies is optional but is thinking of asking everyone to follow this format re: non-capitalization. I would like to apologize for having mistyped her name all these years, and to further apologize for not going back through past blog entries and correcting myself. Henceforth, however: she shall be bev.

Anyhow: bev took some very cool Metallica photos the other night. You can check them out - and see Robert Trujillo's white socks - here. For some reason, her favourite of the photos she took - illustrating one of those really upsetting images I mentioned below - didn't get used there, so bev has sent it along. I mean, for anyone at all claustrophobic, spending seven or eight minutes contemplating people struggling inside coffins is not a comfortable experience! I will remember those images (even moreso with bev's help) for a very long time indeed. Creepy shit!

The Metallica 3-D movie shoot: a skeptic's report on The Full Arsenal

I attended the $5 Metallica 3-D movie shoot "concert" last night, more out of curiosity than passion; as I say below, I've never really liked Metallica, but some part of me has heard so much praise for the band that I've always half-suspected I was missing out on something, compelling me to listen to their albums occasionally, hoping I might get them. I wanted to put this feeling to rest for once and for all - to either emerge a convert, or feeling that I had at least done justice to the experience of considering them, so I could think no more on this band.

While I did enjoy bits last night, it is the latter conclusion that I reached, somewhat to my relief - I can ill-afford $40 Metallica t-shirts, which seems to be a key part of what being part of the "Metallica family" is all about; admission to the clan is not cheap. No wonder, either: last night's show was a very expensive spectacle, a celebration of wealth and excess which started at midway to overwhelm the music, almost like they were compensating for some perceived lack (the building of the statue of Lady Justice was, in particular, unnecessary and distracting and kind of silly, with the apparent subtext being, "this band has far too much money"). My friend Blake correctly predicted that they would topple the thing before "And Justice For All" ended, unfooled by the illusion they tried to create that the pieces were at all heavy or dangerous (he guessed it was foam rubber, probably correctly). It's possible I was too busy futzing with my cellphone camera - I kind of hate how compulsively and frequently I found myself taking photographs - to really appreciate the effect. Maybe it will work better in the movie...

There were, however, some very effective and interesting bits of stagecraft, too - the simulated warfare (done with the sound of helicopters, explosions, pyro effects, and lasers) before "One" was rather terrifying and apropos of the song, like the band wanted us to have the experience of being underneath an airstrike. Thanks for that, Metallica - I've always wanted to know how it feels to cringe in fear from falling bombs and napalm, and now I kind of do. If that wasn't taking things too far, there was also a video of people trapped in the enormous overhead "coffins," pounding hysterically, trying to get out, throughout the song "Cyanide," which was rather over-the-top in the "unnecessary nastiness" category; the woman "in" the coffin that we had the best view of did an excellent job of simulating total terror, writhing, screaming, hammering on the lid. How it was meant to augment the song is anyone's guess - it was like Metallica were staging a sort of unsubtle mind-war on their audience - but it was definitely a powerful, upsetting image...

There were ample delays, as warned - including a few unscheduled ones, one of which seemed to involve an apparent spat, though between whom I cannot say: a song fizzled, with Hetfield taking off his guitar rather abruptly and Lars storming off, making exaggerated shrugging gestures, saying into the mike, "I'm only the drummer," to communicate his disgust at something I for one had not perceived in the slightest; his ego, apparently, has become part of the show. (No doubt this scene will be edited out of the final movie, which is fair enough: the world already has one warts-and-all Metallica movie, and as great a documentary as it is, we certainly don't need another). It was odd throughout to watch Ulrich drum, in fact, as he seems to have evolved a very expressive, theatrical style that is all about making his experience visible to distant audience members; while any given photograph of him probably looks cool as hell, such a performance would look rather foolhardy, I suspect, in a small club (though who knows, maybe he's just a naturally expressive guy; he's no more expressive than Bison's drummer, though you get the feeling that Matt is expressing his actual feelings about playing, rather than putting on a show for people. There's something really strange about someone simulating, for show, the playing of intense rock music, while actually playing intense rock music; I bet Ulrich could win an air-drumming contest hands down). Because Lars was the static member, his drumkit turning at times but always being stage centre, he was somehow the heart of the experience; otherwise, the stage was so huge - comprising, basically, the entire floor of Rogers Arena - that it was almost like the band wasn't playing together, each off in their own little world with their own private 3-D movie camera. Not many bands perform on stages so large that you can't keep all of them in your field of vision at the same time, such that you lose track of what they're doing and then have to strain to spot the individual members; there was a bit of a "Where's Waldo" effect, as I tried to see during solos where Kirk was, or keep abreast of what James was doing; the only person you reliably knew how to find was Lars.

Speaking of Metallica's members, it was kinda fun to see Robert Trujillo from Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves - both bands I listen to much more often than Metallica - down there on the stage as the new bassist, wearing his white athletic socks and high-top sneakers. As Blake observed, he looked entirely like a California skate punk, as opposed to the other members, clad in cool-guy black. It was an enjoyable incongruity. I considered calling out "Suicidal!" but it seemed somehow inappropriate...

Though it sounds like it would have been welcome, I confess - ingrate that I am - that I didn't stick around for the "stage malfunction"/ collapse which supposedly led to them doing a few songs in "garage mode." It's telling that the band would need to create a narrative excuse, at this point - so huge has the spectacle around them become - to simply behave like a normal rock band, low-tech and gritty and real, and presumably no longer standing dozens of yards apart - but it would have been entertaining to see. One wonders what they would look/ sound/ feel like if they played The Rickshaw - if they would actually be vastly more impressive, up there on a small stage, working as a unit, bereft of the spectacle - or if minus the illusion, there's really not that much there to get excited about?

While briefly I did get into the spirit of some of their songs, impressed at the energy they could generate amongst a crowd so large, and appreciating the precision of their music - which sounded great, and involved an elaborate overhead speaker set-up that was much less upsetting to the gut than the low-frequency assault that I was exposed to seeing Slayer and Rob Zombie at Rogers, a few years ago - by the time "And Justice for All" closed, I had had enough. We stuck it out for one more song after that, I think. Still, glad to have gone; it's not every day I get to observe this huge-arena mode of rock, plus I can now safely put Metallica to rest: if seeing them last night failed to really move me, I'll never be joining the gravy train, and can concentrate on other things.

Y'all want to see a truly powerful rock band that doesn't require lasers, pyro effects, or foam rubber to make their point? Where the band is actually playing together because they want to make music together, and not because it provides them (and their corporate controllers) millions of dollars in revenue? Where the music is the thing, and not the aura of illusion, spectacle, splendor, and power around it? Then - REALLY - you should come see Swans on September 6th at The Venue. Now *there* is one powerful, genuine, and fucking HEAVY rock band. Metallica is greasy kidstuff by comparison. 

Odd, long, rather personal dream: disaster in progress

I do not know if this is a particularly meaningful or interesting dream, but I remember a much longer chunk than I usually do, so I'm relaying it.

I was with someone else, who, at different points in the dream may have been a friend of mine, but towards the end, definitely became my father.

We were in a strange town. Someone else was with us, but I forget who. We had been drinking, but ran out of supplies, and came to a grocery store, to buy orange juice and other necessities. The person who was either my friend or father started to flirt with a girl who worked at the store. They began to make out, at the back of the store. I tried to get them apart so we could pay for our groceries and leave, but instead, they actually lay down on the floor, took off their clothes, and proceeded to have sex. Myself and the other person with us tried to run interference, standing between where they were and the customers in the grocery store, hoping no one would notice. I vividly remember as one woman asked me a question ("where do I find the lemonade," or something) and then saw over my shoulder what was happening, her face changing, me still trying to block her view; but she got a good eyeful, then ran to the front of the store to complain.

There was an eruption of activity and store clerks came rushing to the back to stop what was happening and fire the girl who worked there. I shied away from the scene and went to pay for my groceries. The checkout stand was, somehow, outdoors on a film shoot. As I was standing in line to pay, a black actor that I've actually seen in some movies - he might have been one of the assassins in Scanners - was pretending, as part of his role, to stomp a snake to death, after which he was fighting with someone or such. As he moved to another part of the set - basically a big dirty field - I looked to see that no animals were harmed, and was delighted to see this large black snake, a beautiful animal, crawling off on the ground. There was a hole in the ground - almost a tunnel - and it crawled into it and away.

I went to pay for my groceries, putting the basket on the checkout, and was just taking a jug of milk out, when there was suddenly a rumbling and everyone stopped and looked around. We were on the side of a mountain, and very conscious that an earthquake could lead to an avalanche. I began to run from some perceived danger, found myself - still clutching the milk - on a mountain road, and saw that there was a gigantic tree rolling towards me. I leapt into the forest and was running like hell, cradling the milk. The log came crashing into the forest, crushing smaller trees as it came, and rolled closer and closer, huge - then suddenly hit something, bounced, went end-over-end, and came down vertical in front of me.

I remember thinking, as I walked down the mountain, that it was good that I had the milk with me, in case I got lost. I do not, for the record, actually drink milk - the taste of it sickens me.

Somehow after that we got back to the room where my mother and another relative, I think, were staying (there was some weirdness about a TV and a sign in the foyer, and some complication about opening the door, but I don't remember these details so well). I told my mother and the relative what had happened, and that I wanted to play a recording of a song I wrote about the experience, while it was happening. (Apparently I'd had a tape recorder with me and was singing throughout the earthquake). My father - he was now definitely my father - expressed skepticism about my doing this, and I threatened to tell my mother how the story really began, if he didn't let me continue. (For the record, to my knowledge, my father was entirely faithful to my mother for the nearly-52 years of their marriage, right up until his death). He backed off and I played the tape, but towards the end the sound of me singing was overwhelmed with noise and the sound of panicked people screaming and such - the sound of the disaster in progress - and I squatted closer to the tape recorder so I could decipher my words over the screams and rumbles. 

I suddenly looked at the milk jug and felt guilty - we were drinking stolen milk! My father reassured me: don't worry, in this case, they'd understand. If it was a large supply of some massively popular drug, maybe not. "Yeah, like Oxycontin," I said. (I have not actually done Oxycontin). 

He then told me he wanted to show me something. He lifted a flap on some sort of stage or platform, and underneath were several consumer products, unopened, and a note he wrote saying something about not buying things from certain countries, because they contained contaminated metals. There was a list of countries, and some sort of big toy hockey game or such that was among the taboo items, and I guffawed inwardly that my father subscribed to such an absurd conspiracy theory - it was apparently a really foolish conspiracy theory of the sort that flourishes among the deeply uneducated, ill-informed, and disenfranchised, with a smidgen of racism in it, to boot. I felt contempt, but said nothing.

Oddly, on waking, the first thing I remembered about the dream was that my father had been in it; I generally like his visits in my dreams. This is a rather unflattering one, though. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why do I dislike Metallica?

I mean, for some people there's an obvious answer to this, but not me.

It's true that I've come to consider the band long after their peak. To recap, I disavowed metal through much of the 1980's and 1990's, siding on the other side of the metal/ punk tribal division, rejecting crossover, and even not enjoying certain albums (now regarded as classics) by SNFU, DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, and Bad Brains because they were "too metal" for me. I was pretty stubborn about this, thinking that these things somehow mattered. Previously, around age 13 and 14, I'd had a brief period of metal worship, getting a key peek at certain artists at crucial moments in their career: I saw Mob Rules-era Black Sabbath, with Ronnie James Dio singing; I caught Priest on the Screaming for Vengeance tour, Maiden on Number of the Beast and Van Halen on the Diver Down tour, AKA "Lock Up Your Sheep." I saw a host of opening acts for these shows like Krokus and Fastway and Saxon and Kickaxe. I'm pretty sure I saw the Blue Oyster Cult twice. I even owned Anvil's first album when it had just come out. But around 1984 or so, with the rise of hair metal and a growing, angry tribal division between punks and headbangers out here in the suburbs, I disavowed pretty much all of that stuff except Motorhead, which seemed okay for punks to like, and the first three Blue Oyster Cult albums, and maybe Alice Cooper's not-so-metal album Killer, which comprised the entirety of my metal consumption from about 1985-2008, unless you count accidental exposure to System of a Down at the Fuji Rock Festival I attended. It's not that I listened to punk exclusively through those years - since I also went through periods of obsession with free jazz, avant-garde music, noise, dub, old-timey, and various varieties of indy rock and pop; but metal remained far from my door, as the music of the unwashed and unenlightened, music for stupid people with too much testosterone. It was only after falling in love with Bison BC - a band I only checked out because I knew of Masa Anzai from the Vancouver free jazz and noise scenes - and then plunging headlong into late-period Motorhead for my first Lemmy interview a few years ago that I began to wonder if I'd been missing out. Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen's documentaries helped a lot as well, serving as the perfect "noobie's guide" for someone who missed out on so many exciting and creative developments in the metal camp. I've since gone back and listened to Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Sepultura and so forth for the first time, and discovered much that delights me (or at least has held my interest).

The thing about Metallica, though, is that they were the one band friends of mine tried to play me when I was still deep in my anti-metal phase; said friends were convinced, based on their own respect for the band, that I would like them, but I remained resistant. Hell, I even remember one of the guys in my high school trying to convince me to check them out. Metallica may still suffer from the judgments I imposed on them then, which were never a factor with bands like Slayer and Sepultura and so forth, because I was completely ignorant of their music until recently, couldn't tell "Roots Bloody Roots" from "Angel of Death." The "holy shit, this is actually pretty good" reaction I felt when hearing such songs for the first time was totally denied me with Metallica: I already had an opinion in place, blocking the way to the glories beyond. It might just be sheer prejudice and snobbery on my part, a judgment I somehow cannot quite update, but there it is; maybe I don't like Metallica because I am still in the grips of the past. Maybe it's all just me.

That's still not to say that there's not a good reason for my past dislike, however. What leftover anger I have with metalheads is there for cause. Back in the day, the headbangers were too stupid, violent, and reactionary to recognize a potential underclass ally in us punks, and too damn eager to have someone even further below them in the pecking order to beat up on, all the while considering themselves rebels. James Hetfield, whom I know not at all, seemed to me then, as a teen, like the sort of person who I came to hate and regard as an enemy - exactly the type who might have beat the shit out of punks in high school (or at least the one I went to); while he seems a decent (if somewhat, uh, controlling) man in the Some Kind of Monster doc, it's still all too easy to imagine him as a teenager, leaping out of a Camaro with his friends to pummel some kids with spiky hair walking peacefully along the sidewalk, calling them "faggots" as he hits them. (This may seem harsh - Hetfield may well have NEVER participated in any such actions - but the guys who did that sorta thing actually did LOOK kinda like the Hetfield you see in old photos, you know? The association isn't entirely accidental). I can easily insert a youthful version of him amongst the crowd of longhaired stoners smokin' up in a park by my high school, dressed in their long-sleeved Led Zep t-shirts and plaid fleeces, who pelted me with rocks one afternoon when I walked past with dyed hair and a fauxhawk, listening to The Exploited on my shitty little tapedeck. It wasn't just a matter of us punks being elitist snobs who thought we were better than everyone else: we were that, but we also regarded the headbangers as assholes for a reason. Out in suburbia, they were a far greater threat to us, and a far better servant of the status quo, than the cops, and there are prejudices in me against the headbanger-type as I knew them that persist to this day, regardless of how much things may have changed.

This might all be totally unfair to Hetfield, of course, that I lump him in with the 'bangers. I don't know the guy at all, after all. All the same, at least some of his values are revealed in the Berlinger/ Sinofsky documentary, and they don't endear the man to me very much. Nevermind the constant bickering and general dysfunction on display in the film - which takes you past a certain eye-rolling contempt for the band to a place of surprising sympathy, as their troubles mount; the segment that disturbs me is actually when he's seen happily showing off photos of his vacation, hunting bears in Russia, early in the film. While I can have some respect for a certain variety of hunters - people who hunt for food, who are sincere outdoorspeople, who are deep in the lore and craft of it - the idea of rich people going out and bagging a bear for the fun of it, because they can, is kind of incomprehensible and vaguely revolting: buying the experience of killing an animal, for its own sake, seems only a few steps above buying the experience of killing a human being. Like, there could be a Headbanger Hostel movie with James Hetfield on the poster in a leather smock, holding a power drill, and it would make perfect sense (it's actually not a bad idea for a horror movie...).

But you know, I don't think I like Glenn Danzig much as a person, either, from what I've seen, and I still listen to his music, so that really can't be the whole of it, can it? And it's not that I was that keen on Napster; I have quite a bit of sympathy for the anti-file sharing camp, actually (mostly thanks to long conversations about it with Gerry Hannah, in fact). It's sure not that I have rancor for Metallica's "Bob Rock sellout" phase, either; I'm much more pissed off about certain bad Payolas songs than anything Bob Rock did with Metallica, and in fact, I like some of their Rock-era pop songs (such as their rather fresh and engaging version of "Whiskey in the Jar") more than a lot of what I've heard them do on those of their so-called classic albums that I've made myself listen to (Master of Puppets and And Justice For All, neither of which much moved me; yes, folks, I have never yet sat down to Kill'Em All or Ride the Lightning in completion, since I figure if I don't like THESE two albums, why would I like THOSE two?).

Is it, then, that the band's lyrics really don't interest me - that I associate them with a reactionary, conservative, war-obsessed streak in our culture, all too masculine, all too violent, all too unenlightened? That even their best songs, while obviously technically deft, all sort of sound kinda identical? (That would make it hard for me to explain my fondness for several other bands that the same might be said about, actually; it's not like there's a lot of variety on display on your average Cattle Decapitation album). Is it that there's something curiously flat and grim and greyly unilateral about their music, a lack of joy, play, fire, or variety that makes it quite confusing to me why they're so successful? Or do I simply resent like hell anyone who can become rich and massively popular making what I regard as status quo music, while bands I revere and respect (like Swans, playing the far smaller Venue on September 6th) are at best cult tastes, playing far smaller shows, drawing far less attention? I mean, the artist formerly known as Doc Dart of hardcore favourites the Crucifucks - a truly subversive band, compared to Metallica - is living in a boarded-up house outside Lansing, feeding raccoons; Lars Ulrich, on the other hand, owns at least one massive Basquiat painting, proudly on display above his sofa, and God knows what else. Where is the justice in that? Yet I actually like Doc Dart's voice a LOT more than I like James Hetfield's - and for those of you who only know Dart's insane screeching, check out his later pop songs (like this one) for a surprising treat...

Ach, I don't really know, you know? It actually troubles me a bit that I can't get into Metallica, that I can't even understand what other people get out of their music. There aren't many bands I don't like that I've sat down to listen to repeatedly in the hopes I will someday figure it out, you know? It's not like I keep returning to classic Bon Jovi hoping the plank will fall from my eyes. Hell, there's lots of rock and pop out there that I have no trouble understanding, without being in the slightest interested or feeling like I might be missing out. I don't feel disturbed by my total lack of interest in Nickelback, or Lady Gaga, or any of a billion acts; I think I get why people like them, I think I understand the pleasures to be had, and I'm simply unmoved. Yet it actually bugs me that I don't respond to Metallica, like it may actually be a shortcoming of MINE, and not that band's, that's getting in the way. And it's just weird, too, insofar as I've become quite a metal fan lately. I listen to Slayer and Sepultura (and Mayhem and Cannibal Corpse and Cradle of Filth and Arkona and Melechesh and Lair of the Minotaur and Burning Witch and Morbid Angel and Amon Amarth and...), and in all cases I think "yes." I listen to Anthrax and Megadeth and think, "okay, interesting, even if I don't much care." Then I try Metallica and I go, "no, sorry, I DO NOT LIKE THIS MUSIC. I really don't." And then I wonder if there's something wrong with me, if some irrationality or incapacity on my part is blocking my access to a truly great rock band, which people keep assuring me Metallica is.

Hell, I'm willing to work on it. Since it only costs $5, I'm going to go see the band live tomorrow night to see if finally I will get it. I will report my reaction, as time allows, in the comments section below. I would either like to like Metallica, or at least know decisively why I don't, and the chance to see them live and settle the matter once and for all is simply too compelling to pass up. Either I emerge from tomorrow's concert a Metallica fan, or I emerge feeling like I have put the matter to rest and never need listen to them again.

Or else some thuggish metal fan like the ones I went to high school with reads this, takes umbrage, and beats the shit out of me, in which case I may not emerge at all. You never know, at a metal show... There are still an awful lot of stupid, violent people out there...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nuts! Re: Korean version of German Zabriskie Point DVD

Is anyone else out there attached enough to Antonioni's Zabriskie Point that they would do something as extreme as to order the cheapie Korean version of the German DVD in the hopes that it might restore the proper soundtrack to the ending of the film, which is supposed to end with a reprise of the Pink Floyd "explosion freak-out" but in the US DVD instead has this really sucky Roy Orbison song that the studio imposed on the film? Well, DON'T BOTHER, folks - I got mine today and immediately stuck it in my player and skipped to the last chapter, and there it is, as Daria drives away: that sucky Roy Orbison song.

Pussy Riot solidarity and benefit, Metallica for $5

My total lack of enthusiasm for blogging at the moment should be apparent. Sorry, folks.

But for anyone checking in here, note that there's a Pussy Riot "solidarity show" that I won't be at on Sunday, all day at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Poster above! Bev tells me Ron Reyes is involved, somehow, but I don't see Piggy listed - not sure where he pops up.

An actual benefit (proceeds to Amnesty International) is going to happen Sept. 7th at Iron Road, but I'll have more on that later...

In other news, as y'all no doubt have read elsewhere, Metallica is offering tickets to their 3D concert shoot on August 27th (Monday) for a measly $5 a head. I find Metallica a bit hard to swallow - from the Berlinger documentary, I get the impression that they're a kind of grand-scale celebrity carwreck, warped by money and fame: it ain't ALL Bob Rock's fault! But they are nonetheless a historically important band who have their moments of greatness... For $5, I'll go see Metallica, sure.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

RIP Tony Scott

Jeezus: Wikipedia are saying Tony Scott died earlier today of an "apparent suicide by jumping," at age 68.

I'm stunned. I've said for awhile that I considered Tony Scott the more interesting of the Scotts; his older brother Ridley (whom I abused at some length for Prometheus, here) gets far more respect and adulation, but I'm personally far fonder of the younger Scott's honest genre fare, which he made with considerable gusto and inventiveness, which few people publicly acknowledged. True, many of his films are awful - his Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 remake was both unnecessary and embarrassingly bad, and Top Gun is only fun if you queer it; others of his films are so reactionary and unenlightened as to be flat-out offensive, like The Last Boy Scout. Still, however you feel about any one of his films, they're never without an impressive degree of craftsmanship, and almost always have a flavour to the cinematography and editing that is recognizably and uniquely his own (it is actually far easier to tell by the look of one of his films who the director is, as opposed to his older brother, who, whatever successes he's had, has little in the way of a distinctive visual sensibility). They're not all stinkers, either: Scott made several films that I have considerable fondness for, including The Hunger, True Romance, and Enemy of the State, all of which are worth seeing at least once. People who liked last year's Source Code should take a look at his Deja Vu, as well (not an entirely successful film, but certainly a respectable, smarter-than-average Hollywood thriller). No clue yet as to why he would kill himself - I guess that the story will emerge that he had a terminal illness or such that he didn't want to surrender to. All the same, my condolences to those who cared about him, or admired his films; Hollywood just got a little duller today, something it can ill afford to do...

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I visited Vancouver Island last weekend, went for a late night swim under the stars, and was delighted to see (as I'd been promised by the person who brought me there) actual bats swooping around over the surface of the water. As some of you may recall, earlier this spring I went on a late-night recon mission into the Maple Ridge countryside to see if any bats could be found; I saw none, and subsequent internet research showed that bats have been undergoing a massive population crash comparable to what's been happening with bees. Apparently the bats of Vancouver Island have been spared this phenomenon; what's more startling to me is that I'm pretty sure I just saw a bat in Maple Ridge tonight, flickering past me as I walked back to my apartment. Looks like there are still some bats around, folks! Take heart!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Viva Pussy Riot: Russian punks get two years' prison time for protest

Respect and admiration goes out to Pussy Riot: I don't know if they thought all along that they'd see jail time for their prank - if that was a result they consciously embraced from the outset - but given that they've been sentenced to two years' imprisonment (for making "devilish movements" in church!) it sure seems like they've succeeded in showing the world just how limited freedom of speech and expression is in Putin's Russia, which, ironically, they would not have done had the charges been dismissed or such. They've also shown the power of punk to still stir shit up, gotten worldwide press for their cause and their band, and struck a real blow against Putin, who seems disturbingly like the "old boss" of Soviet days. So good for them! Not sure punk has ever been used so effectively as a weapon of protest, actually, and since that's what the genre was designed for, these girls deserve nothing but respect and praise - if there were an internationally-minded Grammy for "best use of punk rock in a political protest," they'd win for sure. The only downside is that I don't imagine two years in a Russian prison will make for a very pleasant vacation - here's hoping they emerge unscathed (and remembered!).

Now what would be really cool is if every other punk band in Russia staged a protest in church praying for Pussy Riot to be released. Check out some of their music here - also a new anti-Putin song by them, cleverly edited by The Guardian to images of their protest and trial, here.

Where can I get me a Pussy Riot album, anyhow...?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

David Cronenberg's Secret Weapons

My friend Dan Kibke pointed out recently that Stephen Thrower had written online about an obscure-but-important David Cronenberg film, Secret Weaponsmade for TV in 1972; though the link Thrower provides won't work in Canada, I'm watching the film presently on Youtube and finding it very interesting. As Thrower says, Secret Weapons bridges an important gap in Cronenberg's filmmaking, between the experimental, non-narrative Stereo and Crimes of the Future and the narrative features that commenced in 1975 with Shivers. The film has some striking images, despite its obviously miniscule budget, an interesting electronic soundtrack, and - most exciting for Cronenberg enthusiasts - features a performance by Ron Mlodzik, a very compelling actor Cronenberg used several times in the early years (anyone know if Mlodzik is still alive?). Also, for those, like myself, interested in the challenges posed to Cronenberg's cinema by Robin Wood, the film has some provocative discussion of the political loyalties of Cronenberg's protagonist, who works for the forces of authority while sympathizing with insurgents, and refusing to pledge allegiance to the authority he serves... Going to go finish watching it now, but thanks, Dan, for pointing this stuff out (and to Stephen Thrower, by extension). I have an article upcoming on the politics of Cronenberg's early films... I'll point it out here when it sees print!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Last Minute Meatmen Addendum!

Wow, there's actually a ROCK VIDEO for "Highest Power" - pretty priceless!

Tesco Vee mini-interview on cover tunes, car commercials, and Judas Priest

You folks realize that advance tickets for The Meatmen show tomorrow night are only, like, $7, that today's the last day to buy'em, and that they're going to be more expensive at the door, right? Got mine at Scrape - they might still have a few, or try Red Cat, or... I'm spinning some craziness from their last album, Cover the Earth, as I type this. The band covers Thin Lizzy, BOC, Motorhead, Fear, The Fugs, Black Randy, Roky, Jerry Lee Lewis and ABBA, and does a version of "Motorbikin'" that trumps Chris Spedding's original. There's even a hugely entertaining cover of GG Allin's "Highest Power" on the disc (y'all know that GG once called Tesco a poseur, right? Read the response in Mark Prindle's interview with Tesco here - RIP the Prindle Record Review site, by the way; Prindle mothballed it last year! Lotta very entertaining reading on it).

Anyhow, speaking of cover tunes, I asked Tesco during our talk for the Straight (see also here, here, and here) about cover tunes and more. Thought I'd type out a bit more of that for y'all!

Have you ever had your songs hijacked in a way that you disapproved of? Like, say, Ian Mackaye wasn't very happy with what Slayer did with "Guilty of Being White." So has anyone ever taken a Meatmen song and covered it, maybe without noting the irony...?

Uhh... no, I don't believe so. I mean, I would be flattered if anyone did that! I did not know that Slayer did a Minor Threat song.

They did a couple, I believe. They had an album of covers, too. They changed one of Ian's lyrics to being "guilty of being right," which Ian was, I gather, really not very happy with. They say they're being ironic as well, but it's Slayer, so...

Yeah. No, I can't honestly say. A lot of the bands that would cover me are not going to make the mainstream, certainly. My wife's always lamenting the fact that none of my jingles have made it on car commercials, because you can get, like, $80,000 for five seconds of music for a commercial... but alas, "Tooling for Anus" and that kinda think aren't going to make it on a Volkswagen commercial.

Or "Blowjobs Ain't Cheatin'."

Yeah. I don't think so...

Talking about covers, I have Cover the Earth here. How many of these songs are going to be in the set?

Actually, none of those songs on there will make it in the set. But we do do a few covers. We do "World Up My Ass" by the Circle Jerks, because that's going to be on a tribute CD that's comin' out. And we actually do a Judas Priest song - but we don't always play that, only on special nights. And then we do the Venom's "Evil In a League with Satan," which has been a staple of our set for [a long time], and we do "Alcohol" by Gang Green, which is technically a cover but we've been playing it for so long we kinda consider it one of our songs, now.


Nope, we don't do that any more.

Aww. Let me ask you about Judas Priest... one thing I notice, going through the Touch & Go book, here, is that, other than a few Venom reviews, it's almost all punk, with almost no mention of metal. And I know for myself, when I was growin' up as a young punk, the sort of tribal division between punk and metal was a big deal. At one point I even sold off all my metal, disavowed it... you ever do anything like that?

Not at all. I've always maintained the full spectrum of what I liked. There was that moment when Metallica and Venom kinda popped up, and the speed metal thing, and Venom just seemed like a perfect band to feature. I was still buying Van Halen records back then, and listening to them, but we certainly weren't going to review them. I don't know exactly what my mindset was. There was no format, per se, obviously, because it's just a scattershot blast of reviews all over the place, it didn't matter what it was [including a review of U2's Boy! Though the vast majority is either UK punk and "new wave" or North American hardcore]. We didn't purposely exclude metal, but I can't say why there isn't more of it in there.

By the way, what Priest song are you doing (if you do it)?

We do "Hot Rockin'."

"Hot Rockin'!"

You ever seen the video for that one? It's, like, in a shower.


Like, in 1980, if anybody still didn't get it that Rob is gay... they're really stupid!

Right, right. I love "Breaking the Law," if you do a queer reading of it.

Oh yeah.

It's total transgression. Or "Hell Bent for Leather."

You could take every Judas Priest lyric and realize there is a gay connotation to it. Like, "Delivering the Goods." "Between the Hammer and the Anvil." Think about that one!


...and we continued on from there. Yes, it's true, I actually don't find some of the more extreme of Tesco's ventures into the politically insensitive funny - even if he doesn't mean it, I just don't get off on cringing - but there are whole delightful albums worth of Meatmen material that doesn't bother me in the slightest - even songs that get a little close to MY bone (so to speak). Lest this all seem to be degenerating, I will say nothing here about the thing about beating off while watching videos of yourself beating off (don't worry, that link is just to a Meatmen song); but eventually the full interview will be online, and we did talk about that (guess which one of us has actually done it?).

See y'all at Fortune Sound Club!

Strange dreams of Alfred Hitchcock

In the dream, I was attending some sort of odd experiential-training program, where a group of people, in a house, were bullying and analyzing and probing each other, in the hope of making elementary school teachers out of each other. I felt myself an outsider, with little hope of success; the other teacher-trainers had been persecuting me, no one seemed to understand what I needed, and I was at my lowest point, convinced that I should just drop out of school and forfeit my deposit. I decided, to get me through the night, to watch a DVD - one of many that I'd brought: The Son by the Dardenne brothers. No one else was around; I had some trouble finding the DVD, and then couldn't get the school computer to work to play it, so I was going to watch it on a somewhat old fashioned TV (placed in regard the rest of the room, it seemed, like the TV we used to have in the place I grew up, as a child). Sitting by the TV, about to place the DVD in the player, I was surprised to see (the ghost of) Sir Alfred Hitchcock enter the room. He told me to buck up, made some comments about movies today - he snapped a home-burned DVDr in two, to show his contempt for downloading - and was in the process of giving me spiritual advice when my sleeping brain realized I was late for an appointment and woke me up. I don't remember anything else in the dream, but Hitchcock's physical presence and voice were very tangible elements. My dreaming brain usually isn't good with getting details like that right, but in this case....

I really do have to go, but how can I not mention the Cinematheque's ongoing Hitchcock series after a dream like that?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Free Pussy Riot!

Ah, Russia - still sending dissidents to the gulag, after all these years. That's exactly how it's going to look if any member of Pussy Riot sees jail time... visit to help!

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Dicks, Sister Double Happiness, and Gary Floyd: some post-Pride Week queer punk and roots music for y'all

I guess I'm one day late for Pride Week, but y'all know that The Dicks' Kill from the Heart and These People albums (as well as the "Dicks Hate the Police" single) have all FINALLY been reissued on vinyl, right? (CDs of the full-lengths also include bonus tracks). If there's a more confrontational queer punk song than "Saturday Night at the Bookstore," about the glories of the guy-on-guy gloryhole, I've never heard it; we presume that the singer, Gary Floyd - yes, the same Gary Floyd namechecked by the Butthole Surfers - is baiting various straight punks in the audience in that live recording with his offers of fellatio, and this seems about as gutsy a move as the guy could make in those very homophobic days (if I ever get to interview him, I need to know if he was ever assaulted while performing this song, or as a result of it; surely the answer is yes. It also might be worth asking if he ever picked anyone up with it!). I gather from Mike Usinger that performing in a dress was a feature of Gary's stage shows, back then, too, and there are photos online of him in full on Divine-like drag in 1980. The Dicks also crossed some pretty daring lines with "Little Boys Feet," but had tons of more straightforward punk political songs, too. A favourite of mine is "Executive Dive," which finds the singer simultaneously gloating at and identifying with a businessman about to commit suicide; I also love the bluesier "Sidewalk Begging" (not on Youtube, save as part of a live set from 1985) and "Dead in a Motel Room," being one of those rare people who prefers the (San Francisco-recorded) These People to the earlier, more hardcore Texas-recorded Kill from the Heart. And of course, "Dicks Hate the Police" became a semi-hit for Mudhoney...

Anyhow, fond as I am of The Dicks, I felt like a bit of a dick myself to discover a few months ago that Gary and Dicks' drummer Lynn Perko had been recording through much of the late 1980's and early 1990's with the band Sister Double Happiness, completely ignored by me. I had heard of them, of course, but the name suggested bouncy bubblegum pop, and I took no interest, not realizing who the singer was, or that the band, far from bouncy pop, were performing a sort of grunged-up take on blues and roots music, with an occasional taste of The Dicks in the background, as one finds in the lyrics to "Ain't It a Shame." I've been playing catchup, and finding all sorts of amazing songs - favourites so far include "The Whipping Song," and the dark, powerful "Waiting for Anyone," which is a great example of just how powerful and expressive Floyd's voice can be. It's a more commercially accessible music than The Dicks made, but it's still challenging and rewarding stuff (there's an entertaining Electronic Press Kit viewable on Youtube, with footage of Gary singing, by the by). And now that I've caught up with Sister Double Happiness, I'm turning my interests towards the full-on folk/country music of the Gary Floyd Band - for instance, here, singing "From the Darkness Into Light," or here - a clip Gary recently posted on his Facebook page, doing "Wild Side of Life." There's an article on No Depression about how the band had a period of success in Germany while American audiences were completely ignoring them, which says a lot more about how lame audiences are here than it does about the music of Gary Floyd...

Anyhow, I'm in a space where I don't know why I'm blogging or who I'm blogging for, but for anyone paying attention, spend some time with the links here, eh? These are pretty vibrant slices of American music... My best regards to Gary Floyd! 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Sorry, Anvil!

I had great fondness, when I was 13, for Anvil's "Metal on Metal," but much as I admire their longevity (and am happy they're getting more recognition these days), I'll be at the Rickshaw on Sunday to see one of the opening acts, Vancouver metal band Titan's Eve. Straight review of their new CD Life Apocalypse here, Youtube clips can be sampled here... Skullhammer sounds pretty damn good, too!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Jeffrey Dahmer, Dead Kennedys, Melechesh: a few notes to keep you occupied

Happy Pride Week, folks! Since I've got nothing else remotely gay to share, the best queer themed movie I've seen lately was Dahmer, with Jeremy Renner; he gives a great performance (looking oddly at times like Rainer Werner Fassbinder), which we gather was the reason Kathryn Bigelow selected him for The Hurt Locker. If you've missed this'un, the film - which is actually very sensitive and non-exploitive, and will likely be more satisfying to queer audiences than horror buffs - implies that if Dahmer had grown up in a society more accepting of homosexuality - if he hadn't been so conflicted about being gay - he would have killed no one. 

That's not quite the tack taken by My Friend Dahmer, a very provocative graphic novel written by someone who knew Dahmer in high school (a preview of the opening pages is viewable online here). A fast, compelling read, it offers a glimpse of Jeffrey Dahmer as a redeemable, tortured, but not entirely unlikeable teenaged misfit who was allowed to slip through the cracks. As someone who grew up weird and stifled in the suburbs, who got up to some strangenesses of his own (never on JD's scale!), I can identify with Jeffrey Dahmer far more than I'm comfortable with, thanks to these particular aesthetic experiences. Aren't the suburbs rad? Isn't art great?

Speaking of art, the Dead Kennedys are coming, with new vocalist Skip McSkipster (their third, post-Jello; see him with the band here, opening with a weirdly non-updated version of "California Uber Alles," as if Jerry Brown were still relevant. Jello, of course, updated that song to take in Reagan and then Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it's my fervent hope that, if his political bids ever bear fruit, he will some day have cause to write a version about himself). They play October 2nd at the Commodore - an ambitious booking, if you ask me. Having seen the DKs at the York Theatre back in the 80s, and having been fortunate enough to have caught Jello Biafra live twice in recent years - see here for a concert review of his last Vancouver appearance, with great photos from Femke van Delft and Bev Davies, or here for his new song - I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want to see someone singing his lyrics in his place, especially knowing that all this is happening against his wishes; there's some basic does-not-compute, here, for me. I can only imagine going to see this show as a kind of Jello-bashing move, but in that case - if one really doesn't respect the guy - why would you want to see ANYONE perform DK's songs? And isn't punk supposed to be about authenticity? Isn't there something weirdly inauthentic, fake, foolish about the DK's touring without Jello...? I'd just as soon go see Doug and the Slugs performing without Doug...

Dead Kennedys promo shot, 2008: I wonder which lead singer the guy in green is?

Then again, I'm a bit of a tribal animal when it comes to punk rock loyalties, so whatta I know? Pretty good interview with East Bay Ray here, and his new song is here, with his other band, The Killer Smiles. He DOES have a pretty cool guitar tone; I presume that song is directed at Mr. Biafra, though I haven't given it a close listen. Funny to think of it: I probably would go see a show by East Bay Ray and the Killer Smiles! (Or the three former Kennedys performing under any other name, doing original songs; that could actually be kinda cool).

As for upcoming concerts that DO excite me, there's Melechesh, who will be opening for Septic Flesh at the Rickshaw this fall. appears to be down at the moment, so I can't tell you when that is. If you like creative, heavy rock (and like the idea of a cross-fertilization between metal and Middle Eastern culture), click their name for a real treat. 

Hope y'all are havin' a good summer! That's going to be about all from me for awhile, I have stuff to do, though I may link to other interviews elsewhere that I'm workin' on. Stay cool...

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Foreskins of the world unite!

I gotta shake my head here. There's a group of uncut men who are going to participate, presumably with their willies out, in the Pride Parade, hoping to get some attention to their cause (Foreskin Pride, anti-circumcision). The article in the Straight has drawn some very heated comments from one poster who feels that the foreskin people (whom said poster seems to presume are all straight) are trivializing the event to bring attention to their penises. This seems very, very wrongheaded. I say that if a cause like this can bring straight men into the Pride Parade, where they'll be marching with their peckers out alongside their queer brethren, it's a good thing! Any protest march I've been in always has its splinter groups - I've attended a couple of anti-Iraq-war demonstrations and there were always people clustering under their own little banners ("Free Palestine," that sorta thing), which hardly hurt the main thrust of the march. The Pride Parade is the biggest parade in Vancouver - it can deal with what we presume is a tiny group of men with an agenda of their own.

Besides - they'd look pretty funny joining in an anti-war demonstration...

The Meatmen in the Straight, plus Tesco Vee on ABBA

Tesco Vee by Ryan Holloway, not to be reused without permission

Did a two-fer on the upcoming Meatmen show August 9th at Fortune Sound Club. The main article is here, but there wasn't room to mention the massive Touch and Go 'zine anthology; the presence of Vancouver bands in the book and a 1981 scene report from one Margrette A. made it suitable for a Music Note, which is here. Thanks to Mack and Mike for helping make that happen!

Among other things that I couldn't squeeze into my wordcount was the question of Tesco's ABBA enthusiasm. It was one of the first questions I asked him:

AM: Is your interest in ABBA sincere or ironic?

TV: It’s absolutely sincere. I’m not one of these bandwagon-jumpers, I’ve been listening to them since I first heard the lilting strains of “SOS” and “Waterloo” back in ’74. That wasn’t exactly in my wheelhouse - ’74 was more about Thin Lizzy and Grand Funk and Montrose, but I was immediately taken, I was, like, “what is this, it’s different than anything I’ve ever heard. It’s pure pop majesty,” and I was hooked from day one.

AM: That’s quite beautiful, knowing that about you. And it also kinda undermines some aspects of you.

TV: Yeah, exactly. It’s like - yeah, I know what you’re saying. People are like, “you’re not serious,” but yeah - I’m absolutely serious.

AM: They have really sweet melodies and harmonies.

TV: Absolutely they do.

AM: And they seem very sincere.

TV: And they sincerely made a whole lot of money, too!

AM: Did you ever get to interact with ABBA?

TV: No, not at all, nothing, but they’re in my heart, and they’re in my record collection, and I’ve got a whole lot of ABBA stuff. I’ve got a big standee in my office, from, like, ’76 I think it is, and all sorts of collectables. Someone in New Orleans actually found a pair of ABBA clogs in a trashcan in, like, 1994, and I traded them, like, six t-shirts for it. They’re proudly displayed, and any of the girls that come over, they gotta try them on: “oh my God, ABBA clogs.” And ABBA dolls - Matchbox put out ABBA dolls, and I got’em all.


So you heard it here, folks... bring your rare ABBA merchandise (preferably still in the box: Tesco is a serious toy collector) to the Fortune Sound Club on August 9th for the first-ever Vancouver appearance of the mighty Meatmen!