IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #13.95
J Church and Honey Bear Records - Fall Cold Front
Stranger Things Have Happened...

 

NEW STUFF

I've got three, count `em, three new titles on the way. That's right, three new titles are coming out on Honey Bear. It's truly a banner year for the label. First of all, the long awaited third live LP is on the way. Trick Or Treat - Feedback And Distortion (HB024) is on the way. Once again, it is a live LP limited edition to 20 copies only. They are almost all sold out already. Get in touch if you want one. If you already paid, you may want to reconfirm your mailing address just to be safe.

I've also got The Personal Document (HB025) coming to save some time. That's right. No waits between live LPs. This one was recorded live at the Crawlspace in Chicago on our first trip ever there. It is also limited edition to 20 copies. To order one, it is $17 ppd. as the price of sending stuff to and from New Zealand (not to mention the fact that it costs a fortune to just do 20 copies) has become astronomical. Add to that a dollar that just keeps on fucking up… These records are already a labor of love. I don't want them financially costing me a fortune as well.

Lastly, I've got the second Cilantro 7". It's also limited edition with 20 copies of this cover of Sexy Sadie. The seven-song EP will be $7 ppd. It's perfect for everyone out there that prefers the acoustic stuff on J Church records. For those of you who don't remember the first EP some years ago, Cilantro is my four-track, bedroom band. I'm gonna start working on a full-length LP as soon as I've got a free moment.

To order any of these titles, please Pay Pal me at honeybearrecords@hotmail.com or yahoo.com.

 

LET THE TRIBE INCREASE

As many of you know, I'm in the final stages of my book about anarcho punk. It's been a long road, but I just got a postcard from Penny Rimbaud about the Crass chapter and that will be the last thing that I work on. The title is Let The Tribe Increase and is still being serialized in Maximum Rock N Roll. Stalag 17 are in the latest issue.

 

AUSTIN CAN'T READ

I like Austin. But I hate Austin. It's not Texas. But it really is Texas. I used to really love San Francisco. Especially now that I don't live there, I can say that. But when I lived there, my friends and I would mostly talk about what a crappy place it was. People would visit and say things like, "San Francisco is so cool. You must love it here."

The only way I could reply would be with a litany of complaints about how fucked the city was. Let's face it: every city is fucked. Inequity and injustice are integral to the urban experience. You put a few hundred thousand people in one place and you're gonna run into a lot of very stupid and greedy people. I had my complaints. But I loved San Francisco. I just knew it well enough that I felt I could say what I felt. It was like I was so confident in the good parts of the city, I didn't at all feel threatened and even enjoyed ripping the city apart. At the same time, if you didn't live there, you couldn't say shit. You know the saying "no-one gets to beat up my little brother but me". It's that mentality.

In Austin, that sort of love doesn't exist. People here are fucking totally uptight and insecure about scrutiny of their city. It's like they've spent so much time fighting the Texas stereotypes (which, I assure you, are mostly true) that their version of civic pride is this sort of humorless self-defense that doesn't have much leeway. They actually don't want you to mess with Texas... But I don't give a shit.

Fuck Austin. I live here too. I've lived here for years and I don't give a fuck about your psychotic inability to separate a personal attack and one on the great unwashed of Austin. After some discussion with a few folks here I've decided to make at least one concession: Texans are not inherently stupid. No, they're just ignorant and somewhat illiterate.

I work at a video store in Austin. It's hardly the coolest video store I've ever worked at (and that's a sad reflection on me) but we do have sections for Wong Kar-Wai, Nagisa Oshima, UFOs and Troma. Still, at least once a day and often more, we get people coming up to the counter with a DVD box in hand asking "Duz thyis haiv soobtytles? I doan wanna have ta read..." Wow. Say that in any other video store that I've ever worked at and we would have mercilessly mocked you until you left the building. The very idea that they would "have" to read, like it's a chore, is crazy. Like their braining is saying "Oh man... words... I hate words." Jesus Christ, go back to the trailer park and put down the DVD box with the pretty colors. "Matt Daymun doan make me read!" I really need to find a job without any human contact...

 

N THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM

DOOMED, THE Live at Reading 27/07/78
DOOMED, THE R.C.A. 1978
DAMNED, THE Live at the Whiskey 07/09/79

As the story goes, the Damned split after Music For Pleasure came out which was both a critical and commercial disaster. Rat Scabies quit the band and attempted suicide. Eventually Brian James quit as well. Soon after, the band regrouped sans James and Lu with Captain Sensible moving over to guitar and a slew of bass players sitting in including Lemmy from Motorhead, Henry Badowski of Chelsea and eventually Algy Ward of the Saints.

Live at Reading is a 10 song recording of the Badowski version of the group. The audience recording is pretty rough, but it's a great way to hear rudimentary versions of Anti-Pope and Second Time Around. Not quite the breakneck speeds of Machine Gun Etiquette. Instead you get some great punk rock. The set opens with their great rendition of Teenage Dream, the great punk hit that never was. I don't know who the White Cats were but I wonder what their other songs were like. Great renditions Problem Child and New Rose plus some cool covers here including Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne of all things.

I'm not totally sure who is playing bass on R.C.A. but it's a pretty good sounding live record. You get another great version of Teenage Dream this time better sounding despite the slight fading in and out during the second verse. This isn't a fantastic sounding recording. But the vocals are so clear it almost seems like a board recording. Even the bass sounds great. There's a great version of Problem Child with Vanian really pushing his voice. Looking At You is great too.

This live set from the Damned was part of their comeback. Having regained the name and with Machine Gun Etiquette just around the corner, the band are at their most chaotic. Clearly wasted, they keep goading the crowd with the sarcastic ("I heard Tom Verlaine played on this stage once. God, I'm impressed.") to the constant barrage of "fuck off and die". The kind of antics you would later expect from the Replacements were in full effect including spontaneous, crap covers like Do Ya Think I'm Sexy and changing the words from "Ballroom Blitz" to "Great Big Tits". It's a raucous audience recording that still seems powerful propelled by one of the group's best rhythm sections of Scabies and Ward.

These records are basically everything you would want from bootlegs of the Doomed/Damned. This is was one of their greatest periods just before Machine Gun Etiquette put them back on the map. They were fierce and crazy live. It's a great chance to see the raw energy that spawned that fantastic third studio album.

 

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