IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #13.96
J Church and Honey Bear Records - Shocktober!!! - Fear Is A Place
NEW VINYL ON HONEY BEAR RECORDS
Like I mentioned I the last newsletter, I've got three new titles coming
back any day now from the pressing plant over in New Zealand.
The titles are as follows:
J CHURCH - Trick Or Treat Feedback And Distortion
(HB024 LP) Live at Pitzer College.
J CHURCH - The Personal Document (HB025 LP) Live at the
Crawlspace in Chicago.
CILANTRO - Sexy Sadie (HB0
Everything is limited to 20 copies. The LPs are $17 ppd and the EP is
SOME HOPE AND SOME DESPAIR
Of course, the new issue of my zine would be done before the three new
records arrive... Yeah, Some Hope and Some Despair #8
is now out. This issue features a lot more of the reviews and views that
I love wasting my time writing. It's also got tour diaries for our US
and European tours of 2004. Six interviews in this issue featuring The
Because (Japan), The Husbands (SF), Liberty (UK), Radio 4 (NYC), Rudimentary
Peni (UK) and X-Cretas (UK). It's $3 ppd as always. You can either get
it right from me or via AK Press who distro most of the back issues too.
NEW J CHURCH SPLIT EP
We've got a new split EP out with the Plungers from New York. I guess
it's everywhere `cos everyone keeps telling me they've seen it. But I
don't have any copies of it yet. I'll let you know if I end up with some
It's Ebay time again. I've been extremely busy both working on stuff
for the next album and writing my book. As a result, I haven't had the
time to update the website in months. As a result, I'm putting some records
up on Ebay. I do regular auctions to help pay the bills. Mostly I've been
selling old used DVDs and crap. But I'll have a bunch of J Church stuff
up. Some rare stuff too. If you wanna check it out, just do a music search
Issue #9 of David's zine, Meat Market, is also out.
It's got his tour diaries from that last few things he did with the band.
You should write him and check `em out. If you get my zine, his zine and
Ben's zine, I wonder if the tour diaries would all synch up… You
can reach David about the zine, DFI or whatever at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE FESTIVUS TOUR DIARY 2004
OCTOBER 28th New Orleans
As much as I like the idea of the Fest, this little mini-tour is a pain
in my ass. I've got so much shit to do at home with work and the book,
I'm really having a hard time getting into the swing of this tour. With
a big tour in the not too distant past and a major one not long enough
in the future, a long weekend in Gainesville is a bit of a bummer.
We've had mostly good luck in New Orleans. We've had awesome weird shows
in funky theaters and crazy big ones with Propagandhi and Avail. This
time, it's a more typical little punk space. Up on the second floor, there's
a vocal PA, a kitchen and various carved out spaces the locals call bedrooms.
It's cool. These kinds of places can be really welcoming.
We're playing with our San Diego buddies Vena Cava who are also heading
to the Fest. They're a good band, but I also really like their approach
to the whole band process. There aren't enough groups out there willing
to do the shitty leg work. These folks will go anywhere. You know, I think
I first met April forever ago when I was in Cringer. We were pals with
the Dissent guys and I think she was in that group for a while. She's
It's hot and it's muggy. We escape the punks and relax at Tom and Staci's
spacious digs. I think I an actually relax now.
OCTOBER 29th Gainesville
Why is it so, so very hot? I find that I'm spending all of my time walking
up and down the little area between the clubs. I don't really know that
many people here. I know a lot of people vaguely. I'm on the wagon at
the moment, so it's all a little weird. It's kind of like being back at
"Holidays In The Sun" in Morecambe. This seemingly normal town
has been taken over by the punks. It's funny to observe.
Went to the vegan hooters for our free meal. The place is actually sort
of like an indie Sabarro's, except there are a bunch of tattoo-mania girls
working here. Everyone local seems to dig this place and the pizza is
pretty good. We run into the cats from Mates of State, who are now with
child. I got a copy of their movie. I love, love that band. I can't wait
to see them tonight.
I hit the baseball card shop and get a few Red Sox I needed. Really cheap
Luis Tiant. I've got all the Bill Lee's I need. But I still love stumbling
across one of his cards. If it's cheap enough, I'll buy it anyway just
The club we're playing is really crowded, which is cool. But I'm short
and can't see anything. There are three or four more bands before us and
the place already smells a little pukey. That's cool. It's punk. I'm in
a fighting mood. The fact that the crowd are loving Toys That Kill, Grabass
and fucking whoever makes me wanna kill. I don't wanna just play tonight.
I wanna win! The fact that the sound guy was kind of a dick to us only
Shit, it was a lot of fun. It was a great time. David almost did get
into a fight. Someone through a towel up onstage and he freaked out. It
was sort of a hilarious and anxious over-reaction to the kind of thing
that happens at shows all the time. Crazy, crazy, crazy.
We're crashing at Var's place tonight and tomorrow. His animals are sort
of freaking me out. I'm afraid of most things on four feet.
OCTOBER 30th Gainesville
I am feeling a little less than human. Only got a couple of hours of sleep.
It's alright. Days like today are meant to be fucked and surreal.
Walking and walking and walking. I got up early with Var and Jennifer.
I don't know why I wanted to get there so early. I just thought I could
find somewhere to vanish before the crowds descended. But there are already
people meandering around. I guess there's some country thing going on
during the day. I dunno.
I mostly stayed at the old Covered Dish today, as it's nice and air-conditioned.
I can't really take the heat today. I got to see Fifth Hour Hero and True
North who were both great as usual. I even bumped into Aaron Elliot. I
didn't even know he was drumming for This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. We were
both a little relieved to see each other. It's weird being surrounded
by 10,000 people none of whom you can talk to. We did some catching up
and then I got to see him play. It's funny, I've probably seen him drum
in half a dozen different bands. For a guy who has a very, very unique
style, he can really fit in playing with anyone.Went back to Var's for
sleep. I'm dead to the world. Fifth Hour Hero are also staying the night.
I'd really like to stay up and chat. But everyone is way too tired.
OCTOBER 31st Athens
I like Halloween shows. If I had my way, we would play every Halloween.
But it never, ever works out. In 1984, I had one of my best nights seeing
REM play Hawaii on Halloween. Bands should go out of their way to play
that night. I guess it seems only appropriate that my first time in Athens
would be on this day.
Transmetropolitan is a nice place. We had a great meal at the restaurant
downstairs and the upstairs room where the bands play reminded me a lot
of a pub gig in England. No were a great thrash duo and Carrie Nations
were as catchy as their great records. We were sloptastic as the sound
was sorta rough in the room. But there were a lot of people and it was
Did a little walking around between the bands. Not much going on tonight
in this little town. I wish we had time to do more exploring during the
day. We never really get to see anywhere…
NOVEMBER 1st Shreveport
We did a radio show here. It was another night where the noise was actually
becoming noise and the crappy sound was making it more and more likely
that this set would turn into a feedback improv. The live room at KLRU
is pretty small and you can't really get that many people in there anyway.
It was fun. I got a bunch of free post cards that I'll find some use for
later. I could've lived without loading up the stairs in the rain…
The guy that set the show up was really great. We went back to his place
and had some great food. He's one of those guys that I really wish I had
kept in touch with. It's so hard for me to keep in touch with anyone from
the road. It's complicated and I'm horrible at keeping little pieces of
paper with numbers and names on them…
I'm gonna add Shreveport to the list of towns that I hope we go back
to and one day conquer. Now it's time to load up and drive home. No fun.
Long overnight drive back to the city. Liberty is in China. No point in
going home after all…
IN THE J CHURCH VIEWING ROOM
I'm gonna stick with reviewing some horror flicks for the month of Shocktober...
SENTINEL, THE (dir. by Michael Winner)
I was 10 years old the first time I saw this film and I swear it helped
shape precisely what I like in certain horror films. A totally lost classic,
this film is an artifact from a different time. I make a point of watching
it at least once a year and I still find it quite effective.
Cristina Raines, who I also loved in Nashville, stars
as a world famous model looking for an apartment in Manhattan. She moves
into a beautiful old building. But the combination of being alone and
unpredictable flashbacks to a traumatic incident in her teens (a suicide
attempt as a direct result of walking in on her father having sex with
two prostitutes) start pushing her into unreality. As she gets to know
the other occupants of the building, they all turn out to be pretty eccentric
(exhibitionist Eastern European lesbians, an old man who throws birthday
parties for his cat, a blind priest who never leaves his room).
Visions of her dead father and unexplained noises in the house complicate
her ability to completely define what is real and what isn't. Strange
occurrences and her own psychosis seem to be propelling her towards one
event with a Polanski-esque dread that pays off with a great final sequence.
It's worth noting a couple of things about the cast. First of all, there
are a lot of great people in this film, some working at their peak and
others very early in their careers. Chris Sarandon, John Carradine, Jose
Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Sylvia Miles, Burgess Meredith, Eli Wallach as well
as fresh faced Christopher Walken, Jerry Orbach and a young Beverly D'Angelo.
You also get an unknown Tom Berenger, William Hickey, and Jeff Goldblum.
The other thing, that was something of a controversy at the time, was
that in order to depict a gateway to hell, Winner hired actual human "freaks"
to play Hell's inhabitants. Like everything else in the film, it's very
I don't know what happened to Cristina Raines' career after this. I guess
I don't remember the movie being any sort of hit. But she was great in
t his and Nashville. I would have loved to see more.
SESSION 9 (dir. by Brad Anderson)
It's so rare that I see a contemporary horror film that I like. Everything
these days looks like someone who specialized in MTV videos directed it.
Impatiently fast edits, stupid WB style acting, all style over substance.
Sometimes the soundtracks are the worst parts with their nouveau metal
or over-produced hip hop bullshit. It makes you wonder, how did a film
as solid as Session 9 get made?
Writer and director Brad Anderson has vision. They guy had previously
done the amazing indie romantic comedy Next Stop, Wonderland
which was one of the best films of 1998. He managed to capture one of
Hope Davis' greatest performances. Philip Seymour Hoffman is fantastic
as well. So I guess it's not too shocking that this film doesn't have
your modern horror clichés and feels more like Kubrick. In fact,
his use of color and framing make each scene seem like a beautiful painting.
The story is that of a group of guys who clean out asbestos for a living.
Their latest job is an old abandoned mental institution. Half of the price
of admission is right there in the location. Danvers Insane Asylum is
left almost as the found, overgrown, falling apart, and still totally
grim in it's sprawling size and gothic design.
The story starts getting complicated, as there is a constant feeling
of other presences from the start. Paranoia is inevitable as little bits
of evidence speak to the former inhabitants life causing introspection
by the group on their own unhealthy interaction.
Peter Mulan, who was great in Ken Loach's My Name Is Joe,
brings a lot of depth to the main character. You can tell this guy has
a lot of pain that he carries around with him while still being a good
guy and decent boss. David Caruso, Josh Lucas and Brendan Sexton III are
very believable as different cogs in the team hierarchy.
The pacing of this film is perfectly timed to give you enough of a pause
to really think about what might have happened without getting too slow.
It's a `70s horror film made with `90s technology. The underrated Larry
Fessenden also has a small role in this, even further validating this
unusually eerie experience. Is it possible that even one person at Universal
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