IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #13.3
J Church und Honey Bear Newsletter Fuck it's hot Do The Icepick
We've got three new songs that will go towards the next album. It's the
early stages, but the plan is to learn 18 to 20 and from the recordings,
decide which 14 will be on the next record. Anyway, we probably won't
learn anymore until we get back from Japan. The three new ones are called
Bande A Part, Cosmonaut and New
Ho Chi Minh City.
Here's the track listing for the Cringer Live In Europe
video I mentioned in the last newsletter. Again, it's a board recording
with multi-camera editing from the Square in Harlow just outside of London.
The full set includes Pay To Play, Petrograd,
Cocktail Molotov, Despair Ends, Two
Friends, Play, If I Had Your Pen…,
Confession, Cottleston Pie, Hooked
On Junk, Burn Down The Forrest, Sword,
Signals. It's $10 ppd. and is a mail-order only item.
It won't be in any stores.
REBUILDING MY J CHURCH LIBRARY
It's been several years and I'm still in the long process of recovering
from the fire. I still haven't been able to replace half of the things
I lost not to mention much of the Honey Bear Records stock. But I am at
the point where I would like to at least begin thinking about replacing
all of the J Church, Cringer and Cilantro stuff I'm missing. Anyway, if
you've got spare copies of any of the following, I would really appreciate
CRINGER - Zen Flesh, Zen Bones original 7" (purple
and beige cover, yellow vinyl, Vinyl Communications)
CRINGER - Tikki Tikki Tembo LP (Vinyl Communications)
CRINGER - Time For A Little Something original
7" (orange and beige cover, Vinyl Communications)
CRINGER - Karin original 7" (red vinyl,
CRINGER - Rain 7" (Vinyl Communications)
CRINGER - Live In Europe 7" (Vinyl Communications)
CRINGER split EP w/ Holy Rollers (Shred of Dignity)
CRINGER split EP w/ Hopeful Monsters (Hippycore)
J CHURCH - Yellow, Blue and Green CDEP (Allied
J CHURCH - Amarillo, Azul Y Verde 7" (Munster
J CHURCH bonus live giveaway 7" from
J CHURCH - Alone At Night original 7" (red,
black and white cover with fold over, Honey Bear)
J CHURCH - No One Has A Future 7" (colored
vinyl, Damaged Goods)
J CHURCH - Turn To Stone CDEP (Damaged Goods)
J CHURCH - Tide Of Fate 10" (Damaged Goods)
J CHURCH - Precession of Simulacra 10"
J CHURCH - Travels In Hyper-Reality 10"
J CHURCH - Altamont `99 CD (Au Go Go)
CILANTRO - Empty Soda Can 7"
I'm not really expecting anything. Just some wishful thinking…
2004 "SOCIETE EST UNE FLEUR CARNIVORE" EUROPEAN TOUR DIARY
NOVEMBER 12th ARRIVAL
Lots of apprehension as we show up at Austin Bergstrom in the wee hours.
My old friend Chris from Travis Cut has dropped the ball on sorting out
our work papers. Historically, we're not the luckiest band when it comes
to border crossing.
We encounter our first problem in Chicago. It turns out that in the
last minute booking of our flights, David is on a different plane and
wont be touching down in London until the following day. Dave's a good
guy. He's our pal. But if I had to choose one member to travel on their
own through immigration and customs, he would be my last choice by a mile.
10:30 PM London Time. Ben, Chris and I whiz past immigration and customs.
After an £80 ride with a racist taxi driver, we are at Sean and
Ben's flat in South London. Some gossip, some power pop, The Office
Christmas Special… Next thing I know its morning and we're making
our way to the Gypsy Rose Café for bean on bubble and squeak. We
spend most of the day watching Arsenal smack Tottenham in the highest
scoring match I'd ever seen. Expecting a call from David at any moment,
we instead get a call from Graham who runs our website. He got a call
from immigration saying they had detained David and were not sure about
letting him through. Aside from this being a huge problem for David, all
immigration would have to do would be Google "J Church Tour",
find our first show and deport us all. Young bands, never underestimate
how dangerous it can be crossing borders with a load of gear and merch
and no papers. After a few hours of nail biting, we get the call: David
NOVEMBER 14th EXETER (Cavern)
We meet our first driver, Eike, in the morning. She's tired from driving
to London from Germany or somewhere. She seems pretty cool. We've had
some bad luck with drivers in the past. I bit a guy once for trying to
strangle me, but that's another story. Anyway, Eike seems pretty nice.
She's from the clan in Hamburg that I hold near and dear to my heart.
Sunday night in Exeter and this gig is a quaint affair. It's just as
well as we're fighting with the rental gear and jet lag. This is the first
of a couple of gigs with Reno Divorce. I'd never heard of `em. But they
were nice guys. They do that Social D meets Rocket meets Rev. Horton Heat
meets neck tattoos kind of thing. Their cover of Ace of Spades
led us all to write The Joker in Sharpie on our hands
as not to forget. "Toilet Paper, Milk, The Joker…" Exeter
is Annalise country, so I got a copy of the new recording, which is amazing
NOVEMBER 15th LEEDS (Packhorse)
We are live at Leeds so we had to do Parkas and Flags.
Montreal's Sainte Catherines played tonight and is even more powerful
than the last time. This gig was set up by The Collective as Becky and
Dave Crackle don't do gigs anymore. In fact, they don't even make it to
the gig as it seems they have a baby on the way. As Sean says, "Dave
did a fuck."
NOVEMBER 16th LONDON (Brixton Windmill)
London is usually a lot of fun but mostly because there are a lot of people
I want to hang out with here. The gigs, I dunno, it's like any big city
that sees too many bands. It's a lot of jaded sound guys and half-assed
promoters. The Windmill is tiny. But people are up for it and we get to
see some old friends. The sound is rubbish. This time it might be us still
not really getting along with our rented gear. This is our second and
last gig with Reno Divorce. Last we see of them, they are wandering off
into the night with a big bag of mushrooms.
At the gig we find out that there are no work papers. Not sure what
happened with Chris who was meant to sort them out. The result is we have
to cancel the next two days in Ireland and Northern Ireland. With the
trouble Dave's already been in, we can't risk leaving and re-entering
England without papers. It sucks to miss those gigs. But there are worse
things than having two days off in London. In fact, by not paying for
the Ferry or work papers we wound up saving a few hundred pounds. Still,
I would have wanted to spend it if it meant getting to play in Belfast
NOVEMBER 17th OFF
Went and visited everyone down at Rough Trade on Talbot. I spent the rest
of the day shopping for records, most of my time and money dedicated to
Record and Tape Exchange. God, I miss living in a city with loads of great
record shops. I hate Ebay more and more every day.
NOVEMBER 18th OFF
Christy Colcort showed up today! I hadn't seen her in years. Got to meet
her new guy, James, who seems cool. We caught up on some gossip and the
potential death of the video store she part owns that I worked at. It's
the end of days for video stores and record shops. Don't know what I'm
going to do with myself.
Everyone is off on their own devices. Ben and Eike are doing what often
happens in these situations. They're drug buddies at the moment so with
all this down time they become make-out buddies too. She's cool. I think
he's the only unattached member of the band. There's really nothing else
to do at the moment.
NOVEMBER 19th LIVERPOOL (Heaven And Hell)
Back on the road, we bring our sloppy little music and fruit stand to
"scary" Liverpool. Seems like every other band gets their gear
stolen here. But I've really only had the nicest times. It's cold and
wet but I like that. I like the subterranean feel of the clubs and the
The gig is sort of so-so no fault of the promoters. It sounds like it
wasn't confirmed until the last minute and they weren't able to do any
real advertising. I guess our pal Chris did a pretty half assed job on
this tour. Now I remember him sending a fax to Sean saying something like
"I'm fucked off with this."
At any rate, the gig is fun if not only for the opening bands that are
a lot of fun. The Unhealthy play some classic `80s thrash. Flamingo 50
are totally fantastic. Three-piece power pop, a spastic guitarist with
a great, unusual voice fronts the band with a natural feel for melody.
I can't believe I had never heard of them.
NOVEMBER 20th HIGH WYCOMBE (Roundabout)
I never really found out why we skipped Manchester and Glasgow on this
trip. Seems a shame as I love those cities and I don't remember ever having
bad nights there. Instead it's down to High Wycombe for a fun but tiny
little gig. We were back with Sainte Catherines here as well as some new
Crackle band and Mac from Travis Cut's new thing.
Spent most of the late night hanging out with the French Canadians listening
to Billy Joel and Ice T's Body Count.
NOVEMBER 21st LEICESTER (Charlotte)
This one was a bona fide dud. It's our second time here the last time
being around 1996 with Philly's F.O.D. Tonight it was ripping through
the set to an empty room. The few that were there were into it, so we
actually tore into one of our best, energetic sets. It's funny how we
play considerably better in the face of adversity. Normal shows? We turn
into automatons. Fifteen kids show up? We're actually pretty good.
NOVEMBER 22nd BRIGHTON (Free Butt)
Actually, the gig got moved to somewhere that wasn't the Free Butt. Some
place over a pub that I don't remember the name of.
Brighton is a great town. I love the food and the boardwalk. Gigs are
always cool here too. Tonight is no exception with a packed out tiny room.
It was a happy way to end a stressful time in England.
We picked up Ingo, who booked the tour. He's going to take over most
of the driving on the continent. He's a cool guy. He used to be in But
Alive but now does tours for a lot of different bands including a lot
of the No Idea groups. He's my age which is a relief.
IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM
CABARET VOLTAIRE - Live YMCA 27/10/79 LP
The so-called industrial scene always fascinated me. Reading about the
wild confrontational gigs, the mysterious manifestos and philosophies
of the different groups, seeing the often minimal imagery, it was very
appealing in the way someone like Gang of Four was appealing even before
you heard them. But most of that world didn't do much for me once I'd
listened to it. Rather than finding something avant-garde, it often sounded
either like simple noise and feedback later over-analyzed or rudimentary,
non-commercial new wave which at the time seemed like the complete humiliation
of all that was good about punk rock. Only three groups made a real impact
for me: SPK, Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire.
Cabaret Voltaire was the least important to me. Maybe it was because
they were from Sheffield so it was harder to find info about them. Maybe
it's because they didn't have the same sort of communiqués as the
other two. I don't know. Maybe it just seemed ridiculous for a bunch of
ex-punks to name their group for the birthplace of Da Da.
Once I did begin to explore them, I loved everything I heard. This live
album, their second full length, captures everything that seemed urgent
about them. The bootleg quality seemed to make it more exciting. The band
goes from hypnotic beats to full on charges to wall of noise breakdowns
without transition. The mixture of loops and sound collages come together
best in the final track Baader Meinhoff, a tribute to
the RAF founding members. The live version of Nag Nag Nag
is taken beyond any pop format while working within the parameters of
the original single from `79. There's also a Velvet's cover though you'd
never know it. This record is as important as Mix-Up
and the early singles in deciphering the band's philosophy.
PRIMITIVE CALCULATORS - s/t LP + 7"
If you're lucky enough to come across this vinyl, grab it up. It sort
of came in under the radar a few years back and now it's impossible to
find. Stuart, David, Denise and Frank from Australia were mad, making
a beautiful noise very reminiscent of the first few albums from the Ex.
With a blast of atonal guitars and hyper, though non-hardcore, speeds,
these folks inadvertently rendered groups like Dawson and God Is My Co-Pilot
a lot less relevant than we thought. The limited production values give
this whole undertaking a strange garage feel. When I say that I mean like
they were working like DIY scientists in the garage coming up with something
outside of nature. The song titles suggest that they may have even aspired
to new wave glory. Do The Icepick, I Can't Stop
It. If that's the case; we have another happy accident not unlike
the first Raincoats LP or the first Flying Spiders album.
The accompanying 7" is actually a much better recording though
without surrendering the raw power. The main benefit is that the fantastic
vocals become a much more important element adding another dimension to
these unknown heroes and heroines of skronk and droll.
(A Slow Drama)
PUDDLE, THE - Live At The Teddy Bear Club LP
The Puddle is one of the great, lost punky bands from New Zealand. I
never would have heard this if a couple of the folks at Flying Nun hadn't
forced me to buy it when I was visiting them years ago. Nine songs recorded
live in less than perfect situations, it's great. I've always loved the
philosophy behind the four track recordings that Flying Nun used to get
behind. It was almost like documentary filmmaking. You just need to get
the information out there in whatever format you can. The drums bleed
like crazy. The vocals merely suggest the melody. Ambient noise can often
be a lead instrument. These aren't the engineers you expect to see profiled
in Tape Op.
But it's great and this live record is the confirmation of a lot of
that. The Puddle for the most part wrote catchy pop punk songs much in
the vein of the first few singles by the Clean. But their approach was
even looser owing something probably to Jonathan Richman or at least the
Television Personalities and the Pastels. Live, it's either gonna come
across as beautiful pop music as is the case on "Monogamy" and
"Give Me All Of Your Clothes" or it's gonna become another kind
of animal with the melody de-emphasized in trade for fastness. It's not
really that fast or furious. But they're sure trying to get there. It's
fun and personal and it's like a bootleg that is really trying and you
can't help but cheer for it.
(Flying Nun Records)
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