Ok, let's start things off right! From D.R.I.'s master of bass, Harald Oimoen, comes a new book titled: "Murder In The Front Row" . It's a photographic "time machine" of the early thrash metal scene in San Francisco, both Harald and Brian Lew's photography from this age of the true underground features some of the greatest names of thrash.
Along with the outstanding imagery (over 400 color and b/w!), this 272 paged hardcover comes with firsthand accounts from not only the photographers Harald and Brian, but also from folks like Ron Quintana of Metal Mania, Gary Holt of Exodus, Alex Skolnick of Testament, and Robb Flynn of Machine Head!
ThrashHead asked Harald about what the book meant to him and he said:
"The book I just finished putting together with my old metal Brutha Brian Lew Came out Amazing!! It was incredible to go thru all my old 35MM negatives and trip on all the great times we had here in the thrash capitol of the world...San Francisco!!
The book is a lifelong dream for me & I can't wait to see the reaction to it!"
There you have it, this is the real deal from a man who not only was there at the beginning, but is still laying it down. If you really want to see what it was like outside the context of magazines and studio shoots, the images of bands before they became gods, the faces of the kids who had a dream to conquer the world, you will find them in this book...don't fug around man, score it today!
And speaking of our bud Harald, he and the boys from D.R.I., the crossover masters themselves, are gonna be kicking out the jams with the likes of Overkill at the Metal Unite Us Festival in Mexico City this Saturday (17th) at the Circo Volador AV. De La Viga #146 (telephone: 5740-9012 and 5740-3485) for $600 pesos, show begins at 6 p.m.
If you're lucky you can bag some tickets at the Circo Volador cultural center's door or through ticketmaster.com.mx ! Also, tonight's is Mexico's "el grito" (the cry) when everyone gathers in town squares around the country to celebrate the beginning of the revolution against Spain, independence day is actually the 16th, but rather than get into a long story, tradition has this country celebrating on the 15th, which means this is gonna be one hella festive weekend here, independence day celebrations, then some thrash to top it off.
A friend of ours Sarah over In Da Pit, told us about a small DIY Canadian punk/metal label just gettin' started, Moshpit Tragedy, who has a "pay-what-you-want-even-nothing' download concept", sounds cool already doesn't it...? Why not mosey on over there and check 'em out.
Another social machine bud Tony over at BloodWorm Brand gave us the heads up on a black metal band outta New England Named Autolatry and told us that both BloodWorm Brand and Autolatry are working together to release this band's follow up to their debut "The Hill" sounds cool, and we'll be on the lookout. In the meantime, why don't you folks have a listen right NOW?
You know what? While we're laying down some music, here's a couple more, just a few from one of our favorite Labels Tankcrimes...it's not news but why the hell not? (and besides if you don't have the Obsession Ep from Obsessor, git it right here, right now cause it's free!)
Also, this is an added treat, MDC's David Dictor, whom we interviewed just prior to our maiden voyage, was interviewed by Rozine , an oldschool style DIY publication which is very difficult to score if you're not in the loop, only a little more than 100 copies were printed with this interview and we obtained permission to run it here.
Huge thanks to Roz and Dave! Interview by Roz of Dave Dictor.
ROZ: Give a brief history of MDC.
DAVE: A brief history about a band thats been doing it thirty years ... well okay ...we started in Austin Texas as the Stains in 1979/1980. I grew up during the Vietnam War and was eventually politicized by it as well. As well I grew during the Beatles, sixties AM radio days, and what later became known as classic rock. This rock turned into arena rock and after a while it really lost its intimacy. Going to these rock events with ten to twenty thousand people eventually became dreadful to me. I haven't been to a show like that in decades. At the same time, the class of 1977, really was excellent. Elvis Costello, Blondie, Patti Smith, The Ramones , Devo, the Runaways, Talking Heads and on and on, it was really great to watch it all happen. I had drifted down to Austin,Texas as a big Willie Nelson fan and thought I had some songwriting talent for that genre of music. Trying to meet music people, I quickly gravitated to the punk bar Rauls, right on the college strip just 150 feet from my house. I found the young New Wave and Punk scene much more fun, assessable and encouraging towards my creative urges. Early on it was The Huns and The Skunks, eventually The Big Boys and The Dicks. I wanted in, I wrote John Wayne Was A Nazi and tried to give it away and Ty Gavin of The Next said " you do it Dave". It was great advice, I met Ron Posner and we started doing a band called The Rejects. It eventually morphed into The Stains when our female singer left us.
Then, in 1980/1981 we started meeting touring bands like Black Flag, Fear and DOA and realized that "doing it yourself", was the deal. Before that the deal was to play locally, work on a demo, wait for the word to get out and pray some big label hear about you and back you. The early American punk bands realized nobody was gonna back us like the Clash or Devo. So it was just left to us to write our friends in other cities and get in a van and go ... There were about 20 punk and what became hardcore cities where underground, independant bands could get gigs. From there , 1981/1982 we hooked up with the Dead Kennedy's, Minor Threat, Reagan Youth and others. Writing each other letters sending each other our first singles and tapes. It was very exciting. Our first tour was the summer of 1981 to the west coast. We were blown away by the energy and the numbers of people taking part. We decided to move to San Francisco in 1982 and never looked back. By 1983 we were playing five thousand people shows at the Olympic in LA. with Discharge and the Subhumans, And then free outdoor shows with Rock Against Racism with The Bad Brains in New York City and eventually Rock Against Reagan with DRI, The DK's, Reagan Youth The Dicks and so on. The Rock Against Reagan Tour in 1983 was about 35 shows basically sponsored by the Yippies. They were free, politically motivated shows held on many state capitol steps and public spaces of one sort of the other and fused punks with regular activists and various progressive people. These were fun fun heady days. I thought punk was gonna conquer the world and it did as a fashion and then later as a music thang but I thought politically it would do it much quicker. We would defeat Ronald Reagan and the military industrial, multi death corporation/complex. Maybe seeds of our movement was in there as a tiny bit of the Obama Movement. But in the mid 1980's punk and hardcore broke into twenty different scenes old school punk, hardcore morphed into political versus nonpolitical, punk speed metal like DRI and COC to homocore like Pansy Division, then riot girl, grindcore and eventually crustcore and so much more in between. MDC was firmly into the politically aware hardcore punk world. The punk scene was very splintered. Though we would play with anyone that wasn't a Nazi.
The punk movement story goes on and on, many scenes rose and then receded. The nature of the scene changed a lot from 1989 through 1992. Melodicore with NOFX and eventually Green Day, Op Ivy and a lot more poppy punk stuff and less and less hardcore music. Hardcore in NYC morphed into hatecore which was anti-political and kinda tough guy oriented ( think Cro-Mags) which was not what we were at all, though our music's were both hard.. The MDC fell apart pretty good between 1994 and 2001 performing maybe 50 gigs all in all and releasing just 2 seven inch singles and a couple songs, here and there, for compilations. Drugs really slowed us down as jail sentences and the addiction lifestyle just sapped a lot of momentum. I completely cleaned up in 2000, moved to NY where my parents lived and slowly put things back together with a new lineup backing me up. Eventually, one by one, all four originals ( Ron Posner, Michael Donaldson , Alschvitz) made it back together by 2004 and we released a new album (Magnum Dominus Corpus), toured Europe for 2 months. The next year, 2005, we did a 88 day US tour. We have been playing hard since, releasing songs on a few eps and racking over a 100 gigs a year ever since. Sadly our original bassist, Mikey Donaldson, passed partying in Europe 2 years ago and we have been joined by bassist Mike Smith and soon then added a second guitarist Russ Kalita. And here we are in Portland, Oregon and currently planning Hawaii and Japan for the near future.
ROZ:Talk a little about your latest tour/recording.
DAVE:Well this year the five piece MDC did 2 long US tours racking in over 90 shows. We recorded a 7 song split record, with the Restarts from the UK, and it's supposed to be out any day now. We did a Marijuana love song called Maryjane For President and we're real proud about that. Some of the songs are on our MySpace.com/mdc web site so check it out and tell us what you think. We still sing about doom and gloom but we also try to add new angles with our humor and references. We are working on a video with Mike Laztra who has recorded and taped Poison Idea, Resist and loads of others. I just took a break so stuff is moving slow as well we are at the point of our lives where parents are more and more frail. Our parents literally live on 3 continents. Some of us are going through some heartache so we are moving slow right this month. We have some nice shows with Propagandi from Canada and they are great folks and we look forward. About this year's tour...ahhh well New York City at the Cake Shop with Faggot was my favorite, SF with Verbal Abuse and LA with Naked Aggression were big fun, but also Flagstaff and Albuquerque. San Antonio and New Orleans were great. Miami was big fun at Churchill's. Buffalo's Mohawk Club was friendly and cool. Chicago always is good, but Lawrence, Kansas and Denver at the the Blastomat were unexpectedly GREAT! The Blastomat was the gem find of the tour...it is the closest thing to the cool modern day DIY ideal. The kid's running everything collectively top to bottem ... And on this little September run we did, Omaha was great, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa too were great. I love the surprise hot spots.
ROZ: You have talked about punk changing in the 30 years you've been a band? Talk a little about the reaction to MDC then vs. now, if there's a difference.
DAVE:You could write a college paper on this. Really of course ... back in the day it was so fresh... you get a less excited and the crowds are more jaded but that's to be expected. MDC was more monster ( attendance wise) with crowds as well. But for me, as longs as people keep coming, feeling inspired by the music and we can at least earn something I think we will continue. It's exciting to see people go off and react to your music. Hard to get that feeling from anywhere else in life.
ROZ:What's the favorite show you've ever played?
DAVE:Well there have been many fave's...MDC in 1983 at the Rock Against Reagan (RAR) in Washington in front of the Lincoln Memorial with the Dead Kennedy's was very exciting. In San Francisco at Dolores Park at another RAR show with the DK's again was great. Whoopie Goldberg was the MC host and the Contractions played as well. Playing with Minor Threat in NYC back in 1982 were special shows. We were a part of the Holidays In The Sun in the earlier part of this decade. It was a fun old party with lots of old and new friends. Last year we played with The Subhumans in LA and in San Diego ... and they are great old friends. We played together with the Dead Kennedys in the UK back in 1982.Actually both these shows were very GREAT! It seems really nice when we share events with dear friends from old bands.
ROZ:What's your favorite MDC song or album?
DAVE:I really love Chicken Squawk cause it's got that appeal to consider vegetarianism in a sweet, fun way. You may not be able to stop a war or racism but you can certainly stop eating meat. If I wasn't doing what I was doing I might be working for PETA or something. I really believe humankind will have a hard time finding it's soul and ever have peace on earth till we start truly considering our fellow earthlings.
ROZ:How important, to you, are politics in punk?
DAVE:Obviously very important but it doesn't mean that every band should do it or that most every emotion I have has politics involved.
ROZ:How is it being mostly sober?
DAVE:Well it's actually very cool. I spent so much of my life using ...Literally from age 13. It's nice to be totally clear, remember most everything I do and who I meet. To perform as clear as possible. My audience deserves it as well as I deserve it. Of course I cleaned up at 42 years of age so I am NO holy roller and I get it that people like to get wasted and want to lose themselves. Life has a lot of pain and people want to lose that feeling. I really relate to that. I am just really glad to have that end of my life is over.
ROZ:Who are some of the most influential people you've worked with over the years?
DAVE:Early on Gary Floyd of the Dicks was such an inspiration. He was so out as a freak in such a cool liberating way. He is so inspiring and so witty and sarcastic. He sang with Sister Double Happiness and the Black Kalima. He is top friend on my My Space site. Feel free to check him out. Obviously working with my own guys Ron, Al and Mikey from MDC. Russ and I collaborate well in the new lineup. I worked with Tom Roberts (Pig Champion) in the late nineties and he was a great soul. Writing songs with him was so very easy and felt so good. We did that Submissives album start to finish in like a month. It is a sadder less special world without Tom. I never have worked with them but I am crazy for Lou Reed and for Bjork.
ROZ:Future of MDC?
DAVE:The future is now and we got tour plans for Japan and Asia in the works and a real thorough European tour idea. I want to play the Baltic States and deep into Eastern Europe ... Portugal and Greece as well. Also l believe in videos and their continuing proliferation. I think there is gonna be 500 TV stations and available to 10's of millions of hungry viewers worldwide on a small almost pirate level. I want to be there with our art. See you around everybody and be well.
And that rounds out our show for today, hope you enjoyed it, don't leave your empty soda pop cups and popcorn buckets on the floor and please leave the theatre in an orderly manner, thank you.