With a few Dead Bob shows coming up this week (and Nomeansno reissues taking place via Alternative Tentacles, who have recently announced Wrong preorders), I've been helping a friend on a project, putting a Nomeansno interview (with Rob Wright and Andy Kerr) into the world from a cassette that has gone (mostly) unheard and unpublished since 1989. It's a pretty great interview, recorded at a peak period for the band: Nomeansno had, in the months prior, released Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed and The Day Everything Became Nothing and -- in trio form of Rob Wright, John Wright, and Andy Kerr -- were gearing up to go into the studio to record Wrong, their most famous album, which would come out in fall of that year. It's quite a delightful listen; Rob and Andy seize on Adam's questions and run with them, perhaps stoked on the energy of the upcoming show, interacting with each other as much as with him (John, fronting Dead Bob at the Pearl tonight can be heard loading into the venue and may contribute a small quote or two, as well -- it's not always easy to tell those Wright brothers apart based on voice alone!)
Rob -- who retired from rock in 2015 -- is not doing too many interviews these days (though we gather that he did speak to Jason Lamb for the new "oral history" of Nomeansno, due out in January; you can also read my old interview with him here). So this is your chance to hear him tip his hat as a bassist to Lemmy Kilmister, to explain what "Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed" is about, and to talk about the early history of Nomeansno...
...but more to the point of this article, here's your chance to meet the man who conducted the interview, Adam Kates.
Adam was writer/ editor of a 1980s Toronto zine called Going All the Way, which featured articles on both hardcore bands and skateboarding. Only two issues were produced; the Nomeansno interview was for a planned third issue, but things fell apart before it could see print (pictured are recent reprints that Adam has made; Adam doesn't have much of an internet presence, but occasionally does check into Facebook if you want to reach out to him to acquire copies or catch up; and yes, he was on hand to see Random Killing, featured in issue #1, when they opened for the Dayglo Abortions a few months ago, and gave them a copy of the zine they are in!).
Later, Adam would move to Victoria, where, among other things, he interviewed Dave Dictor of MDC for Offbeat, then to Vancouver, where I first met him at a Grant Hart show at the Lamplighter back in 2005; we'd later meet again at a Bob Mould show -- here he is showing Mould his Hüsker Dü tattoo.
Adam's a sincere enthusiast for punk rock, though we don't overlap in all things, since I was exposed mostly to Vancouver and California punk here on the coast, while in Toronto, besides local acts like MSI (More Stupid Initials, as photographed by Adam below), he was seeing touring bands from New York, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, and so forth. We met a couple of weeks ago over dinner at the Sunrise on Commercial -- an unpretentious, under-rated Italian restaurant -- to talk about Adam's history and some of the bands he's caught and/or shot (photos of Adam are by me; photos taken by Adam were cleaned up with the help of Bev Davies. Thanks, Bev!).
After that, I put a second edition of the fanzine. This was 1986, 1987. It looks so beautiful! People take it for granted, they think it's so easy to do a fanzine, but actually... it's tangible, it's in your hands, you can feel it. It's a very good thing. And I was the CEO. I paid for it. I put out a poetry book with a close friend name Spencer Mack, but it doesn't fall into the category of Going All the Way. It wasn't music-related at all.
Anyways, getting back to the politics, I never got into extreme politics -- extreme straight edge, extreme drinking... We were influenced by a lot the women on the scene who were into feminism. A lot of the women in the Toronto punk scene, really really, without them, you couldn't have had a very good punk scene. There was Jill Heath, there was Lou-Ann Voskins, there was Fran Grasso -- she used to come to shows. She helped put out the two books, Tomorrow is Too Late, which I have, by Derek Emerson, Shawn Chirrey and Simon Harvey, and I have the heavy metal book they put out, Eve of Darkness. I have a lot to say about those people; they're very great people, and I'm totally sorry that I never got involved with [those books], but that's the way the situation was at the time; I didn't get involved on the internet so well, I couldn't get involved. But they did such an amazing job. I believe that Derek got an award for putting out that book, and was in NOW Magazine. You saw it. It's a beautiful book, it's just as good quality as Blush did with American Hardcore.
AK: I moved to Victoria in November of 1992, spent seven years there in the punk scene, saw
Assück at the Fernwood. I think they played at the Fernwood... a lot of bands played Victoria, but it wasn't for me. Victoria had nice people but was too small-townish for me. It's kind of a Sleepy Hollow kind of town, kind of the London, Ontario of the BC.
AK: Yes! They were all friends of mine. Jake and Sean Ravi and Yared Grinstein, he played drums for them, and then they went onto MSI. I have photos! Nobody else took photos of that band.