Tag Archive | the Queers

That Screeching Weasel Doc Might Never Come Out

What We Hate, the documentary on Chicago punk legends Screeching Weasel originally slated for release this year, is being shelved until further notice thanks to a heap of srs dramz that’s developed between the filmmakers and their principle subject, singer Ben Foster. Foster published a post on the Screeching Weasel Facebook page Tuesday afternoon stating that the folks behind What We Hate are “bummed out about the film” and refuse to complete it if the controversial singer retains the final cut approval he was allegedly granted in April of last year. Several hours later, a response post appeared on the What We Hate Facebook page indicating that the film cannot be completed because Foster’s attitude as of late has become severely counterproductive (“We are no longer allowed to speak with him directly…”).

It should be noted I was first alerted to this story via a pop punk message board, because I am a thirty-three year old man who regularly reads pop punk message boards. I am not proud. But I digress: What We Hate’s official website remains up with no mention of this social media donnybrook, so who knows, maybe the lawyers are already hard at work trying to avoid Lawsuit City.

Seems like the filmmakers made a serious boner granting Benzo final cut, especially after he went rock ’em sock ’em robots on those two women at SXSW. Did they think they were dealing with a rational human being at that point? Ben’s entire band quit on him a week later. On the other hand, I was never entirely convinced that assault episode wasn’t some massive publicity stunt, and no one’s vetted these filmmakin’ folks, and it’s super easy to vilify Ben Foster because he reformed Screeching Weasel without Jughead and he punched two women and he’s been consistently talking shit about everyone on the face of the earth since the day he was born.

If you want my advice, What We Hate filmmakers, just cave in to whatever silly demands Ben has right now, and in twenty or thirty years you can make a documentary about how shiteous it was making this documentary (you know, like Taylor Hackford did with Hail! Hail! Rock n’ Roll). Or, I don’t know, go make a documentary about the Queers. Their singer owned a fucking sea food restaurant. Now that’s interesting!

Twenty-Five Other Essential Punk Albums

A companion/reaction piece to Rob O’Conner’s recent listicle for Yahoo. Robbo hit all the biggies, but hey, listen, there are all these others. Entries are not numbered because I simply jotted titles down as I remembered them. I couldn’t possibly rank these fine works.

The Gits – Frenching the Bully

Quoting myself: “The Gits…bashed out sharp barre chord combinations with a bluesy twist that perfectly accentuated singer Mia Zapata’s deep, gutsy attack…1992′s Frenching the Bully was a diamond drill of raw nerve, one that ground its targets into a fine gruel.”

Adolescents – Adolescents

Is there irony in a seventeen year old singing “I Hate Children?” Yes, but only if you’re over twenty. The Adolescents offer sneering SoCal skate punk with the occasional detour into airy, soaring melodiousness. More sensitive than the Circle Jerks, but just as worthy.

FEAR – The Record

Posturing, theatrical, totally laughable when it isn’t legit frightening. The only thing weirder than Lee Ving’s opera singer-meets-redneck vocal style is Philo Cramer’s demented guitar work. “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” might convince you to hide under the covers all week.

The Queers – Don’t Back Down

This record defines the Queers aesthetic (beer + girls + Johnny Ramone + Mike Love) just as well as any other. The production is flawless, though, and Joe King never wrote better heart-poking anthems than “Number One” and “Love, Love, Love.”

Reagan Youth – Volume 1

If you can’t beat ’em, confuse ’em. These peace punks attempted to deflate white supremacy/neo-nazis by latching on to corresponding imagery. The results were mixed, but they wrote some classics (“Degenerated,” “Anytown”) and that guitar sounds gloriously like a vacuum cleaner.

Crucifucks – Crucifucks

Doc Dart unleashes his inner toddler, throwing a tantrum over all manner of authority while his band mates whip up churning, dissonant noise. Interspersed between the songs are Dart’s various phone entanglements with law enforcement—which prove equally enthralling.

Adrenalin O.D. – The Wacky Hi-Jinks of Adrenalin O.D.

Pushing hardcore to the brink of utter blurriness. Goofball humor takes the edge off (“Rock n’ Roll Gas Station,” “AOD vs. Godzilla”). The song about hating Trans Ams might be subterfuge, though. These guys are from Jersey.

76% Uncertain – Estimated Monkey Time

Another one that leans metal but retains its cred. Contains the best (and perhaps only) hardcore punk song written in favor of curbing dogs. And how can you dislike any album boasting a song called “Monkey Jam” that features record scratching?

Replacements – Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out The Trash

Raucous Americana punk that masks genius songwriting and arrangement with shambolic, self-deprecating noise. No question these guys would eventually rule the indie rock wastelands. Crown jewel of the Midwest.

Cramps – Songs The Lord Taught Us

The seamy underbelly of rockabilly is nothing if not punk. Lux Interior was walking catharsis wrapped in leather, and the Cramps were living, breathing sex. You’re not from the right planet if you don’t like at least some of Songs The Lord Taught Us.

Dickies – The Incredible Shrinking Dickies

Helium-voiced basket case convinces Iggy Pop’s drug dealer to write songs about conquering or being crushed by social anxiety. The results gave Billie Joe Armstrong and his friends a nice template to work with fifteen years later. They also cover Sabbath and it is awesome.

Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward

That spunky girl from your middle school grew up, went off her meds, and recorded a playfully violent collection of songs that occasionally reference Robocop, zombies, and friendship bracelets. Like, OMG, she will fucking cut you, bitch.

Guitar Wolf – Missile Me!

The lowest of the lo-fi, Guitar Wolf turn everything up to eleven and end up sounding like they’re trying to outplay a space shuttle launch. It’s charming, considering their musical style is pure 1950s motorcycle rock. A helmet may be required, but it won’t protect you.

The Vandals – Peace Thru Vandalism

In which sacred cows—Elvis, your mother—are grilled up over a flame of particularly crude racket. “Anarchy Burger” continues to reign as perhaps the truest expression of the “a” word in the genre. I don’t remember Crass ever telling people to piss on cheese.

Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster

Burgeoning roots punk. Very heart-on-sleeve. The whiskey-worn vocals of a young Mike Ness bring it all home, even when he’s yawing about the same societal norms other bands have taken to task. The yearning title track should have been an FM radio hit.

GG Allin & the Jabbers – Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be

GG was way tuneful before he was King Gross Out, and Always Was is that fact’s invigorating testament. On the real: “I Need Adventure” and “Unpredictable” are at least as good as better than anything the Dictators ever did.

Black Randy & the Metrosquad – Pass the Dust, I Think I’m Bowie

Notorious San Fran rabble rouser tries injecting some tight-ass funk into his new wave, which only serves to underscore the drugginess his Pass the Dust outlines. You’ll feel like you’ve been awake all night after listening for only three minutes.

Bad Religion – Suffer

Watershed moment for the “modern” sound of punk. Perfect harmonizing in place of snot, erudite observation in place of unfiltered rage. Makes a great case for book learnin’. And you can still probably gleam the cube to most of this ish! Thrash on, library card bros!

Rosemary’s Babies – Talking to the Dead

One of the few horror punk band outside the Misfits worth serious investment. They reject work, school, and religion in favor of bondage, necrophilia, and blood lust—and you believe them. May not actually be possessed, but certainly disturbed.

Antidote – Thou Shalt Not Kill

Just the most livid New York hardcore. Eight songs, nine minutes, but hey, it’s not a contest. However long this is, you won’t forget the palpable sensation that Antidote are not fucking around. See the militant and white hot “Something Must Be Done” for absolute proof.

Suicidal Tendencies – Suicidal Tendencies

Best song protesting romance (“Won’t Fall In Love Today”). Best song protesting the mental health system (“Institutionalized”). Best censorship (“I Shot Reagan” altered to “I Shot The Devil”). So furious you can’t even follow it at times but completely delicious.

Dwarves – Blood Guts & Pussy

The Dwarves began as trash punk dedicated to satisfying the id. You can call it low brow, you can call it depraved, but you can’t call it boring and you sure can’t call it weak. Filthy sex maniacs obsessed with prescription drugs need a soundtrack too.

Sonics – Here Are The Sonics

Quoting myself again: “America’s first true punk band, the Sonics played…so loudly [that] every single instrument on their records had a beautiful natural distortion…did any other pre-Iggy white guy scream as satisfyingly as lead Sonic Gerry Roslie? You can feel [him] in your tailbone.”

Badtown Boys – Date With Death

The B Boys were ahead of the ’90s pop punk pack by about five years. They’re big in Germany, but they should be even bigger here. Screeching Weasel without the guilt? Sure. “Dee Dee Took The Subway” is oddly romantic for a song about a junkie on mass transit.

McLusky – McLusky Do Dallas

All the angry punk bands of the Bush years were actually just one band in Wales. Overflowing with bile, jagged hooks, and a decidedly sour charisma. Still, they could be pretty cheeky sometimes–see “The World Loves Us And Is Our Bitch.”

Lookout! Records: 1987-2012

Lookout! Records, the California-based independent record label that helped usher in the modern era of pop punk as we know it via such bands as Green Day and the Queers, has closed down after twenty-five years of operation. Somewhere, the laces of an anonymous teenager’s black Converse high tops have become irreversibly knotted out of frustration and sadness.

Founded in 1987 by friends Larry Livermore and David Hayes, Lookout! Records quickly aligned itself with San Francisco’s East Bay punk clique by issuing discs from that scene’s giants (Crimpshrine, Operation Ivy, et al). The signing of a nascent trio named Green Day in 1988 would prove to the be label’s wisest business decision; when that group exploded onto MTV seven years later, their first two efforts for Lookout! became an unexpected revenue goldmine. Of course, by that time, Lookout! Records had also cemented its reputation as the underground’s premiere purveyor of pop punk, having released pivotal albums by such melodically-inclined outfits as Screeching Weasel, the Queers, and the Mr. T Experience.

Things behind the scenes at Lookout! were not always as upbeat as the records they pressed; a legal kerfuffle nearly broke out in the mid-’90s after Screeching Weasel front man Ben Foster began publicly taking Livermore’s business ethics to task RE: the group’s 60/40 contract (which in fact favored the band). At the brink of lawyering up, the label decided to simply re-sign Screeching Weasel to a contract where everything money-wise was clearly spelled out. Around the same time, Larry Livermore sold his stake in the company, although he would always remain the figure most closely associated with that iconic eyeball logo.

Livermore’s departure marked the beginning of Lookout!’s decline as new management had apparent difficulty handling monies. Dodgy bookkeeping was the complaint most often leveled at the label as one flagship act after another jumped from Lookout! to competitors such as Asian Man and Fat Wreck Chords. Such maneuvering always hurt, but no blow proved bigger than Green Day’s July 2005 decision to pull their first two albums from their former home over alleged unpaid royalties. Lookout! Records would never fully recover from the defection of their poster band (and only seven figure generator); just a year later, the label ceased issuing new releases to focus on selling their storied back catalog.

Lookout! Records was to me in the ’90s what Stax was to kids in the ’60s. It was just a goldmine for all who loved snot-nosed Ramonesy junk. They released the three best Queers albums (Beat Off, Love Songs For The Retarded, Don’t Back Down), the two best Screeching Weasel albums (Boogadaboogadaboogada!, Anthem For a New Tomorrow), every Donnas album I’m embarrassed I don’t own, the only Mr. T Experience album I wasn’t embarrassed to own (Everyone’s Entitled To Their Own Opinion), and the best-sounding thing Furious George ever recorded (the Goes Ape! EP). I can’t think of another record label I ever consciously, or even subconsciously, pledged my allegiance to like that.

That said, it would be a stretch to say it’s a shame Lookout! is finally folding after x amount of years. They had a nice little dynasty for probably three times longer than they thought they would. Also, if you’re sitting on two Green Day records and you still can’t manage to pay Pansy Division on time, well, your business license should probably be revoked anyway.

Then again, what do I know about running a record label? Diddly squat. I just snap up what they poop out. Who knows, maybe a couple of those Pansy Division albums cost several million clams to make.

Ten Songs The Roots Could Have Played For Michele Bachmann Instead Of “Lyin’ Ass Bitch”

Maura Johnston at the Village Voice wrote a piece about the Roots/Michele Bachmann controversy today, the gist of which was basically, “Hey, why didn’t they play that Megadeth song ‘Liar’ instead of Fishbone’s tune what unnecessarily insults gender?” Maura has a point, and it’s great to see such a super hip music journalist pay service to one of Megadeth’s more obscure numbers. Yet I can’t entirely sanction “Liar” because it’s a smear against founding Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland that goes off the deep end by attacking every member of Poland’s immediate family. And I quote: “Your sister is a junkie, gets it anyway she can / your brother’s a gay singer in a stud leather band.”

Hey, we understand you were totally cheesed off, Dave Mustaine, but who cares if Chris Poland’s brother fronts/fronted a Village People revival act? What does that have to do with Chris hawking your equipment for drugs? Besides, didn’t you blow Megadeth’s advance for Killing Is My Business on crack cocaine? Let he who be without judgment cast the first stone, you son of a carpenter.

But I digress. There are scores of less sexist/gender offensive songs about liars the Roots could have played as Michele Bachmann trotted out to make nice with Jimmy Fallon. Here are ten of those songs.

1. Rollins Band – “Liar”

There’s no arguing Hank’s untruther classic would have been vastly more recognizable to the viewing audience than Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.” Also, who wouldn’t want to hear ?uestlove’s Henry Rollins impression? Who wouldn’t want to see that normally rather subdued cat rip his shirt off and writhe around on the polished floors of Studio 6B, unleashing all the torment of his inner coffee house poet?

2. Sex Pistols – “Liar”

I don’t think we’ve ever learned who Johnny Rotten is railing against in this one. Couldn’t have been Thatcher—she didn’t take office until over a year after the Sex Pistols broke up. Since I’m a hot dog-eatin’, baseball-lovin’ American, I’ll jump to my most logical conclusion of Richard Nixon.

3. Yngwie Malmsteen – “Liar”

I was just as surprised as you to learn any Yngwie Malmsteen song had lyrics or singing. I thought his career was just one continuous thirty year guitar solo. Turns out no, Yngwie actively employs someone to yelp between his hot licks. Middle-aged Sam Ashe employees would have known this one.

4. Bikini Kill – “Liar”

“You profit from the lie, you profit from the lie” seems like an apropos refrain for any politician.

5. Queen – “Liar”

I think Freddie Mercury was contractually obligated to say “Mama” in every song he ever sung. This one’s a little different from the rest as it’s coming from the perspective of the liar. That Queen, always so introspective despite their flamboyant fashions.

6. The Replacements – “Shut Up”

The ‘Mats could have proven a dicey selection, for Bachmann hails from the same general area as Paul Westerberg’s legendary outfit (Minnesota). Do you think she’s heard enough of their material to recognize it? Ah, if she has, I bet she’s more on the Don’t Tell A Soul tip than anything pre-Slim Dunlap. It’s hard to suggestively eat a corn dog to anything off Sorry, Ma.

7. Three Dog Night – “Liar”

Granted, it’s not much of a jazzy TV show entrance theme, but that chorus really gets the point across, doesn’t it?

8. Rocket From The Crypt – “Return Of The Liar”

Actually, this should be what NBC plays every time Leno makes his “Tonight Show” entrance. OOOHH, DISS.

9. The Queers – “You’re Tripping”

People don’t use “tripping” enough in this particular context. Seems like it kinda burned out after 1991. Everyone said it back then. Yo, White House Chief of Staff John Sununu be trippin’! At any rate, the Queers seem to nail Bachmann and her line of thought rather bluntly here (“Can’t you see? / This ain’t 1943!”). Plus, Joe King would have earned like a twelve cent royalty check he could have used as a down payment on some heroin. Now that’s what I call supporting the arts!

10. The Crucifucks – “You Give Me The Creeps”

And the final word goes to Doc “23” Dart: “If you’re so fucking clever, why is everyone laughing at you?” “You Give Me The Creeps” would have been totes worth it just to see how many publications would censor the name “Crucifucks” the next day. I can almost taste FOXNEWS’s stiff discomfort (it tastes like jerky). Gutter punks would have hailed the Roots as the new Crass and Jimmy Fallon as punk rock television Jesus. Can you imagine a world where Jimmy Fallon is even cooler than he is now? It’s a world where Jon Stewart never even existed (UPDATE: Jimmy Fallon has apologized to Michele Bachmann for his band’s little indiscretion; guess he’s not as revolutionary as we thought).

Ben Weasel Wrote A Song About The Time He Punched Ladies

“Carnival of Schadenfreude” was posted to the Screeching Weasel Facebook four days ago. Sample lyrics:

“Here in the Carnival of Schadenfreude
Everyone’s acting like they’re so annoyed
Looks like my name is mud
I can’t help but ask ‘So what?’
I’m trying to make a buck, not friends…

“Deep in the ugly heart of Texas now
They called it a battle of the sexes—wow!
It all seems a little fake
I can’t seem to catch a break
My gosh and for goodness’ sake it’s silly…”

At least Ben’s staying in character. No clue who’s actually in Screeching Weasel now (the Queers?), but this song is the titular cut from a forthcoming EP. By the sounds of it, the lyrics above will be the only aspect worth debating.

Finally, A Song That Puts Dave Navarro’s Goatee In Its Place

From the Bugs (featuring Queers bassist Dangerous Dave on vocals)—“Dave Navarro’s Goatee Fucking Sucks.”

Now someone just needs to write a song about the gap between Flea’s teeth. That fuckin’ gap, always struttin’ around like it owns the place!

Unsolicited Queers Review

The Queers
w/ Kepi Ghoulie, the Colytons
Asbury Park Lanes

So it’s 2008 and the Queers are still at it. I went through a long period where I actively denied they ever existed, probably between 1999 and three weeks ago. I’m not sure why. Maybe part of me was mad they never got the recognition they deserved and I felt like they were embarrassing themselves by continuing to play and make records. Maybe I was still holding a grudge over Joe not laughing at the hilarious Van Halen joke I made when I first met him. Who knows. As you could probably guess, I get weird about bands sometimes.

At any rate, I woke up a few weeks ago and I thought, “God damn it, the Queers were / are really fucking important to me. I’m going to stop pretending they never existed.” I’ve been spinning their discs night and day ever since (I also wrote this totally bitchin’ Crawdaddy piece about them). Last week, I went to go check the Queers out live at Asbury Lanes in New Jersey. I was gonna go see them on a boat here in NY the night before, but I bailed for fear of getting sea sick.

I showed up as opening band the Colytons were ripping through their nasally set. They sound pretty close to Screeching Weasel; in Screeching Weasel’s absence, I can accept this. The Colytons are from Australia. How they ended up touring boats and bowling alleys with the Queers is beyond me. The Internet? Text messaging? It’s gotta be some modern technology what got them to the States. Anyway, the Colytons—I approve.

Turns out I’m guilty of not really paying attention to the Groovie Ghoulies when they were around. I always thought their singer Kepi was a girl. Thus, I was fully expecting the second opening band, Kepi Ghoulie / Kepi the Band, to be fronted by some kind of woman-type creature. Imagine my surprise when this scrawny dude walked on stage wearing a shirt emblazoned with “KEPI” and then announced that he was, in fact, Kepi Ghoulie. WTF, LOL, LBJ. Kepi’s new band was typical sub-par pop punk yazz punctuated by the singer’s wacky presence (he cracked numerous jokes about the gentrification of once-decaying Asbury Park).

The interesting thing about this concert was every band used the same drums and amplifiers, and they all sounded great…up until the Queers. As soon as Joe and the boys (still that guy from John Cougar Concentration Camp and some new yutz on drums) took the stage, the lead microphone stopped working and the snare drum was making some weird scratching noise. The fellas were clearly not amused, but they waited patiently while the tiny sound guy ran to and fro the stage in something of a panic. Eventually, King Queer had enough.

“Fuck it,” Joe said. “We’ve had worse.”

With that, the Queers launched into “No Tit.” Overall, their set was a highly rockin’ affair. They only played two “ballads”—“Teenage Bonehead” and “Like A Parasite.” Everything else was straight up punk. Joe was exerting medium energy, but the band still sounded good. Well, as good as a band can sound with microphone problems and some weird scratching noise on the snare drum. They nailed the tunes that really counted. “Steakbomb” in particular was pretty hot. Also, “Love Love Love” and “You’re Tripping” made my balls explode.

Original Queers singer Wimpy Rutherford was in attendance, and you better believe he got up there with the boys to bark out some nasty jams (“We’d Have A Riot Doing Heroin,” “Fagtown,” “Monster Zero,” etc). I’d never seen Wimp live before. He comes off as a pretty disturbed guy. By that I mean I could see how maybe as a kid this guy really was kicked out of the Webelos. I don’t think I’d be comfortable leaving my offspring near him.

For their grand finale, the Queers tore through a few classic Ramones tunes with Kepi Ghoulie returning to the mic. It’s always a treat to hear the ‘Mones, even if there’s some six foot tall longhair drunkenly doing the Jitterbug next to you (people in New Jersey are weird). I was kind of hoping the Queers would bust out a Black Flag song or two, as former Flag singer Dez Cadena came out for these punk rock proceedings. They didn’t. Maybe Dez said to them, “Hey, don’t bother playing any of my old band’s songs, ’cause I’m not gonna sing them.” Or maybe they didn’t see him there. Who knows.

On a side note, I’ve been called out before for mistaking lesser punk rockers for the mighty Dez, but there was no question this time it was him. He was wearing a big sandwich board that said, “Yes, I am Dez Cadena, ask me about Rollins.” No, really, I’ve seen pictures of the guy recently and I’d swear on six Bibles and a copy of Crazy that this was him.

Final Grade: Three dirty Converse sneakers out of four.