IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #14.6
J Church and Honey BearRecords – Satsuki Sickness – Hello, it's me...

  

J CHURCH ON THE ROAD

With a little luck, our new album on No Idea will be out soon. It's called The Horror Of Life. Loads of new stuff. So to promote it, we are gonna start off with a West Coast Tour. I don't know all the details yet as many things are still being sorted. But I can at least give you a rough idea…

June 13 - Austin
14 – Las Cruces (University House)
15 – Phoenix (The Phix)
16 – San Diego (Ken Club)
17 – Los Angeles
18 – San Francisco
19 – San Francisco
20 – Portland
21 – Seattle (Funhouse)
22 - ?
23 – San Francisco
24 – San Pedro

It's getting there...

  

SANDY RULES

My pal Sandy just got back from a trip to Vietnam. I've never had the chance to go, but I've always dreamed of going there. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to go see the Cu Chi Tunnels. I don't know why. But they are just so emblematic to me for some reason. They loom large in my subconscious. They're a mysterious and dreamlike part of revolutionary aesthetic. I don't know why. They're pretty cool.

Anyway, a few days ago I get a little parcel from Playboy. I'm thinking, "man, is someone playing a practical joke on me again?" Seriously, it happens all the time. It's cool. I can take a joke. Then I remembered that Sandy works at Playboy. I open up the little envelope and in is a fucking cool medallion from Vietnam. The art depicts a soldier with a rifle coming out of the tunnels. It also says something in Vietnamese about Cu Chi and Ho Chi Minh. It's so cool! Made my fucking day!

  

SEISHUN ZANKOKU MONOGATARI US TOUR 2005 part 3

July 6th – Lawrence, KS

Haunted Kitchen? With last night and tonight, we must be in the scary name part of the tour. Haunted Kitchen, what debauchery have you seen in the past? Another cool punk house, this one has much more of a crusty / traveler bent to it. The people here are all really cool and the basement is nice. We keep hearing stories of a totally wasted Signal Lost show where Stan got loaded and totally lost his shit. I can't really imagine it. I think we may be the one and only band they've ever put on that wasn't total Thrashasaurus Rex. It was very cool of them to do a show like this for us.

Oh God!!! I just remembered that one of the crusties there was missing a foot. I'll say this; the man was definitely NOT properly cleaning or dressing the wound. Fuck, it was just this gross ass, bloody nub sticking out of his pants. I guess he had hurt his foot a while back and just never dealt with it and eventually the whole thing just went septic. He fucking kept the foot in a small barrel of formaldehyde. That's some fucking bullshit.

July 7th – Oklahoma City, OK

We got some great Ethiopian food in downtown Lawrence. There are a lot of cool places to eat on the little drag. I always like checking out that record store up on the second floor. It's always cool and the folks there seem nice. I couldn't find the Patton Oswalt CD I wanted but I did get a book on Manuel Ocampo. The girl that rang me up gave me a cool discount too. It's a perk of being in a band. But I always feel a little weird when someone hooks me up. I always expect to pay and I would hate to think that there are people out there that think I would expect some sort of deal just for being me.

The Conservatory in Oklahoma City is decent little cabaret-looking venue. Connected to a cool little record shop, we spent a good part of the night going back and forth. The store is chaos in the kind of way that excites most record nerds. It's what you would hope for. There are some real finds if you are willing to spend the time digging under shelves and in backroom piles of vinyl. I was still able to buy quite a few things only slightly exceeding my tour budget.

The show was cool. It wasn't amazing and it was hardly packed. But there were enough people that it was fun. We're at that stage of tour where we are in our stride, so it doesn't matter to me who is there. It's just good to play.

July 8th – Denton, TX

We drive overnight to the 'burbs of Dallas where the Pfeffer's emanate from. It's the same kind of generic American nowhere that my folks left Hawaii for. His mom wasn't expecting us and freaks out a little. But it all turns out okay and we sleep in the picture perfect living room of my Sears Roebuck nightmare.

It's been a while since I've spent any time in the 'burbs, a weird landscape that nothing in my childhood prepared me for. What do you do in these towns? Against Stacy's vocal objection, we go to the local multiplex that's been fully outfitted with neo-fascist police towers overlooking the parking lot. Justin, Ben and Stacy get high in the van and we are by far the weirdest of the weirdoes here. So who knows what the cops are looking for... probably Mexican's trying to illegally cross into Plano.

Revenge of the Sith is loud and that's all that really matters. It's not a good movie. But when you're doing the big theater thing, it can be any old crap. As long as it's air conditioned and loud, any chimp can be entertained for an hour and a half. There is actually one part of the film that I genuinely really liked and it's when they go aboard the rebel Blockade Runner. I'm a total nerd. It reminds me of the sets in the original Star Wars which is sort of what I miss the most about the more recent trilogy.

Anyway, the show is cool. It's at a pizza place where you play in the basement. There are a lot of bands, and they're all worth checking out. Fighting Dogs? Is that what they were called? I think its Philly folks. They were a real treat, as I didn't know anything about them. Really powerful like Rambo on a good stereo with a graphic EQ. It's cool when you see a band in a totally overworked genre like grind doing something innovative without sounding too quirky or corny.

Signal Lost came up from Austin for this show. I love this band and wish we could play with them more often. Chris isn't really into doing double duty on the drums. So this is a rare show together. They're one of my favorite Austin bands along with Storm the Tower and Army of Jesus.

I love the Pedestrians. I can't believe this is the only time we've played with them. I finally get to see Cissie and Justin rock out. They are so great sounding and so refreshing. They're quintessential snotty punk rock sort of like Code of Honor or maybe the first Asexuals record but more raw and less prone to the pop stuff.

What a fun show. Even Thorn was out visiting from the Bay. We had a long drive back to Austin with Chris at the wheel, tired as hell. It gave me and Mike a chance to chat while Ashley and Stacey crashed out. Now it's back to work and all the stupid questions. I can take it from the fellow proles. But it's the too friendly customers who don't realize that they're fucking normals that bug me. How do you explain to someone like that why these tours even happen? You can't. There is such a small number of people who get it and can really appreciate it. If they really do get it, they're at least peripherally involved as they would understand the rewards and results. A week or so ago, this tour seemed like a pain in the ass. Now I don't wanna stop.

  

IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM

ARMITAGE SHANKS - Sing And Play Twenty Punk Hits Of The Seventies LP

These guys can fucking play. It's like they're taking the spirit of the Hamburg era Beatles and applying it to '77 punk. This record is full of the kind of punk you wanna hear down the pub with your friends. It's like they're playing them from memory as well. They don't get every chord right. But they play with such conviction and speed that it all comes together. From the hits (The Clash, X-Ray Spex, The Damned) to the somewhat unknown (Johnny Moped, Protex) to the totally obscure (the Killjoys, Alberto Y Lost Trio Paranoias), it's all fed into their punk wood chipper and comes out fantastic. (Vinyl Japan)

  

CONFLICT - Last Hour 12"

A lot of people forget that in the early '80s, there were two bands called Conflict. One American, one British, they both were mining similar political areas and similar musical approaches. As far as I know, this is the only 12" from the American band. Fuck, why won't someone reissue this amazing record?

Out of the unlikely city of Tucson, the band was made up of two asian-american women on vocals and bass and two dudes on guitar and drums. Musically, it was practically OC style hardcore with elements of LA's Wasted Youth, TSOL and maybe even Sin 34. It's great thrash, dead production, played like they're about the fall apart. That alone makes this record worth hunting down. But it's the crazy vocals and lyrics that put it over the top for me. Singer, K. Nurse, was singing about stuff that nobody was singing about in '82. Lesbianism, date rape, there's a lot going on here and it's all written about with a unique, imagistic style.

Man, I just love reading these old thanks lists. There's a long one on this record, but it's a lot of fun. From the obvious and cool like the Big Boys, Really Red, Battalion of Saints, Effigies, Government Issue, Scream, DOA, Channel 3, Die Kreuzen, to others lost in time like Civil Death, Double Cross, Constant Cause, Tunnel Dogs, etc. (Unjust Records)

    

CULTURE - Two Sevens Clash LP

Certainly one of the true reggae classics, this record is full of brightly produced catchy music. Along with the famous title track, you're also got equally great tunes like Calling Rasta Far I and Get Ready To Ride The Lion To Zion. It's sweet music with brilliant production and possibly the best record associated with Sly and Robbie.

But it is the title song that moves me the most. While this record is straight outta Kingston, the title track is the sound of London. On my first trip to London, I went wandering around Brixton. I was looking for cool shops, for tapes, whatever, right? I just remember walking around the markets and suddenly hearing this song coming over the speakers. It seemed like a perfect moment. It's probably got something to do with the Clash and the Slits. But I'm always gonna think of Two Sevens Clash as the soundtrack of London. (Lightning Records)

  

RUNDGREN, TODD - Something/Anything 2xLP

Oh, I Saw The Light! How can you go wrong with that song? Right? No? Fuck you guys. Look, I know he looks like your shitty uncle from Sausalito (maybe he is!) but he WAS cool and this record is the kind of thing that helps me remember that Bright Eyes is a fucking hack getting by on his Emo-via-Kelso looks and not on any degree of talent or relevance.

Todd Rundgren plays all the instruments on the first three beautiful sides. The songs are all mini-masterpieces of `70s pop. As often as he slinks into the singer/songwriter thing, he snaps up some silly little piece of unpretentious guffaw. Follow two moving love songs with a nerd's tribute to Wolfman Jack and you get the idea. The rock is evenly touched with r&b. For a totally contrived studio experience, it is amazingly funky at times. Oh God, don't let the carousel burn down!

By the time you get to the last side with the studio players, you've forgotten that this has been all Todd. The band side is loose and unedited creating the magic that hyper-real records like The White Album and London Calling had. You can even follow the incidental dialog in the liner notes. "If it's stupid enough, it's cool." I wish I knew all the subtext involved. (Bearsville Records)

  

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