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The Black Lips, Starcrawler and Timmy’s Organism Throw and Get Thrown at The Regent Theater

Stage Diving, Sex on Stage, and Masks Rule

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Black Lips brought the toilet paper and opener Starcrawler cleaned up the accolades at The Regent Theater.

Timmy’s Organism was in keeping with the punk-themed night with an interesting if not completely bizarre performance that included blue paint on the frontman’s face, a blond-haired-mask and silver cape on the floor. They’re worth checking out.

Black Lips put on a bone-crushing show at The Regent - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Black Lips put on a bone-crushing show at The Regent – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The headlining Black Lips never fail to bring the stage divers, but the people jumping were bigger than usual this time around. Some of the many leapers ended up on the floor or squishing smaller people in the front.  The carnage is a good reason to have a stage-dive weight limit.

But it’s all part of the fanfare as the Atlanta-born band has endured the afflictions of many punk bands — personnel changes as well as the ups and downs of a fickle music industry.

Black Lips – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cole Alexander, on vocals and rythm guitar and Jared Swilley on vocals and bass have been around since 1999, enduring the toilet paper being hurled on stage as well as the occasional accidental tumble into the pit.  They are complimented by Jack Hines on guitar and vocals who was with the band in the early 2000s and then again from 2014 until now and Oakley Munson on drums and Zumi Rosow on sax, both of whom came on in 2017.

Jumpers about at Black Lips show at The Regent – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band has been faithful to Vice Records and its 2014 album Underneath the Rainbow hit No. 143 on the Billboard 200.  Its latest is Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? also on Vice Records.

The band played some of their classics and mixed in some new cuts.  On the set list, which was so mangled it can’t be printed: Raw Meat, Smiling, Scab, New Direction, Rebel Intuition, Occidental Front, Family Tree and more.

Starcrawler’s Arrow de Wilde – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Starcrawler opened for The Black Lips and put on a performance that left mouths agape as front woman Arrow de Wilde threw herself — and the crowd — into a frenzy. Included in the act is the singer-cum-mental patient look, autoeroticism as she has no problem touching her own body parts in public, stage-lying and visits into the audience.

Starcrawler – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

In the case of Starcrawler, not only is the song a good punk song, the performance is outstanding. Arrow de Wilde with her wide-eyed gaze and bone-thin appearance is the ultimate front person, she takes on an androgynous presence and slams the audience with her wild physical act.

Starcrawler – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Henri Cash doesn’t fool around either, leaping sky high and his half of the aggressive act takes on a whole other, but complimentary tone.  Drummer Austin Smith should be applauded for driving the wild sound and keeping the energy high.

REVIEW: Dead Kennedys Bring Life to Classic Punk Performance at The Dive Bar in Las Vegas

By ALENA LIM

When it comes to Dead Kennedys, I know everybody in the punk rock industry is familiar with them. Their single, “Holiday In Cambodia,” which was released during the early 1980s from the album Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, was the first song from this band that caught my attention.

Why did this song had so much meaning to me? It was because my family were former refugees of that horrible holocaust. It meant a lot to me that Dead Kennedys revealed the horrors and reality of the event that took place during the late 1970s through their strong and powerful lyrics .

East Bay Ray – Photo by Alena Lim

‘California Uber Allies’

Another one of my favorites would be their first single that they released in 1979 from the same album called “California Uber Allies” which refers to the California state Governor name Jerry Brown. This song was kind of dedicated to him, expressing his views on his vision of America. Although there had been alternative versions of this song that has been recorded more than once, the original version shall always stand out the most.

The Dive Bar was packed with fans up to the point where I was unable to move at all. Tickets were sold out as everybody was excited to see these legends perform. The lead singer, Ron ‘Skip’ Greer delivered a promising performance through a series of unpredictable body movements, series of psychotic facial expressions while spreading his raw energy of punk, this is what it was all about! It didn’t matter that we were sweating our asses off while struggling to stand upright through the crazy hard-knocking mosh pit.

Ron’s Energy

Ron had so much energy, I was literally having to wipe my face of his saliva multiple times. That’s how much energy he had. Ron empowers the fans next to the stage by maintaining constant physical interaction with the audience as well as literally being ‘in your face.’ While I watched the people go crazy, cheering for every member of Dead Kennedys on that stage, I was very happy to see this moment. Ron ended the show by walking off the stage and going through the audience during his last song, “Chemical Warfare.”

The majority of Dead Kennedy’s albums were released throughout the 1980s such as Plastic Surgery Disasters w/ In God We Trust Inc. released in 1982, Frankenchrist in 1985, Bedtime for Democracy in 1986, and Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death in 1987. Later, Dead Kennedy’s released an album Mutiny On the Bay in 2001 and Live at the Deaf Club in 2004.

Klause – Photo by Alena Lim

‘Too Old for Punk Rock?’

During the show, Ron spoke to us about how he almost couldn’t make it because he was tired. He was touring for the past 20 days and says he’s getting too old for Punk Rock, then tells us we’re too old for it as well, jokingly of course. He was happy that he was able to make it.

There was talk of wanting a reunion with the original singer, Jello Biafra. Due to the legal battles and problems Jello has had with the former members in the past, Ron said he feels it will never happen. I spoke to a fan who says that it’s not the same without Jello. Of course, ANY band is never the same without their original members. The reputation and history of Dead Kennedys has always been kept alive all these years while they were still touring. They are still very much ALIVE and always will be!

D.H. Peligro – Photo by Alena Lim

Dead Kennedys Tour

Dead Kennedys will be touring throughout parts of United Kingdom between June 19 through 26. They will be at the Echoplex in LA on July 20, Brick by Brick in San Diego on July 21, House of Blues in Anaheim on July  22, and Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks on July 23.

You can find their tour date information on their Facebook page or their official website deadkennedys.com.

1. Band Members: Ron “Skip” Greer [Vocals]; Klause Flouride [Bassist/Vocals]; East Bay Ray [Lead Guitarist]; D.H. Peligro [Drums/Vocals]

2. Band originally formed: San Francisco, CA in 1978

3. Genre: Punk Rock

4. Location of performance: The Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV

5. Amount of crowd: Full House

6. Set list of songs: Forward To Death, Winnebago Warrior, Police Truck, Buzzbomb, Landlord, Jock-O-Rama, Kill the Poor, MP3 Get Off the Web, TDTF, Moon Over Marin, Nazi Punks, Calif Uber Allies, Bleed for Me, Viva Las Vegas, Holiday In Cambodia, Chemical Warfare.

 

HAMMONS REVIEW: Woolly Bandits and The Weirdos Bring Old Style Punk Back to ‘Destroy All Music’

Sweet But Wild Reunion at Echo

By CRAIG HAMMONS

After being held captive by my Uber driver I finally made it to The Echo for the long awaited homecoming of Hollyweird’s own premiere punks, the Weirdos.

I missed the opening act Dirty and His Fists, but maybe that was a good thing. Tonight was also going to be special as it would market he reappearance of the mighty Woolly Bandits.

Christa Collins Brings It

The Woolly Bandits are a high energy get up off your ass rock and roll garage band led by the majestic dynamo Christa Collins. A lot of Woolly Bandits fans were here tonight and ready to rock.  The crowd let it be known by giving them a thunderous round of applause as they took the stage.

They were like a rocket ship taking off as they ripped into their opening number, “Woman of Mass Destruction,” from their album of the same name.

I had no idea of what was going on behind me as I was front and center on this rock and roll ride to partyville.

The Woolly Bandits captured the crowd – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Hard to Forget You’

The band was stage tight and well-rehearsed as they roared through song after song before getting to “Hard to Forget You,” which was the second song KROQ’s Rodney Bingenheimer played on his farewell show last Sunday night.

Christa prowls the stage like a panther who was just released from her cage. She is a mixture of Iggy Pop and Wendy O. Williams. She shakes her tambourine with a fierce vengeance and interacts with her bandmates and the audience by demanding a good time is had by all.

Rik Collins plays the bass like his fingers are on fire, guitarist mark bellgraph rips through every song like a man on a mission and tonight’s show had a keyboard played that added an extra layer to each song. Rik then joins in on vocals for “Bomp Shu Bomp,” a toe tapping shimmy shaker. The Woolly Bandits know they have a job to do and waste no time.

Christa Collins rocked the Echo – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Shear, Intense Energy’

They deliver song after song with shear intense energy you can feel it in your rock and roll shoes. They went right into “Watch Your Step,” which let the keyboard player drive while Christa steered. Next was one of my favorite tracks, “I’m a Bug,” in which Christa sings “I’m a bug, I can’t get no love.” The Woolly Bandits raised some hell tonight. Let’s hope they don’t stay away so long and come back to kick out the jams.

A break in the action was needed before I get back into my punk time machine and head back to 1977 for The Weirdos. I have to give a shout out to The Echo as their staff is professional, cool, friendly and the bartenders are fast and mix a good Jack and Coke.

Rockin’ Reunion – The Weirdos are punk to the core – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The Weirdos

After a pause on the patio I made my way back in only to find the place packed full of punk rockers reado to see the Denney brothers get their punk on. The Weirdos were packing clubs like the Whisky in 1977 and tonight was no different.

They came on stage like no time had passed and gave the fans a wide array of songs from “It Means Nothing,” to “Happy People.”

The Woolly Bandits – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Helium Bar’

John roamed around the stage singing and staring into the audience lie he was ready to rumble and Dix pretty much played like it was “Helium Bar.” “The Weirdos showed us why they were one of the best punk rock bands from the era by still playing with abandoned passion and attitude.

They did “Destroy All Music,” and made all the punks and rockers happy to be in the house tonight. Now where did I park my time machine? I need to get back home!

PREMIERE: The Dollyrots Debut Video, “Other Trucker” on California Rocker, Duo to Play Roxy Theater

Punk-Pop Duo Plays CA Gigs with the Buzzcocks

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Dollyrots debut the new video for their song, “Other Trucker” right here on CaliforniaRocker.com. It’s a fun, upbeat tropical-toned pop tune, check it out here exclusively:

June 29, 30 at The Roxy

The husband and wife punk-pop duo of Kelly and Luis are gearing up to play four California dates with the Buzzcocks. They’ll be at The Roxy Theatre on June 29 and June 30, on July 1 they’re at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco and July 2 they play Blue Lamp in Sacramento.

The band’s 2016 live album/DVD Family Vacation: Live in Los Angeles bowed at No. 15 on Billboard’s Heatseekers album chart. Barefoot And Pregnant earned The Dollyrots their first chart appearance, peaking at No. 7 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers.

The Dollyrots put on a great show – Photo courtesy Chris Barber

Dollyrots Album ‘Whiplash Splash’

Both chart appearances were preceded by successful crowdsourcing campaigns through  the popular app, PledgeMusic. This followed the group’s 2012’s self-titled LP, two albums on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records, and a 2004 debut through the Lookout!/Panic Button Records.

In the meantime, Kelly and Luis have had two kids and take them on the road with them, touring all over the U.S. Along the way, they pick up more fans and even a new players in the band or two. A recent guest on drums was Rikki Styxx from The Two Tens.

Whiplash Splash is available on iTunes

Dollyrots ‘Whip’ It Out

The punk-pop husband and wife duo just released their sixth studio album Whiplash Splash and hit Billboard’s Heatseekers and Top Independent Albums first week out. Whiplash Splash is available on CD, limited-edition aqua-blue vinyl, and digitally on the band’s very own Arrested Youth Label with distribution via MVD Entertainment Group.

The Dollyrots’ signature sound shines through on the fan-funded new album, produced by the band and longtime producer John Fields. Here’s another video by the punk pop duo, “Jump Start This Heart” off Whiplash Splash.

 

California dates:

June 29  at TheRoxy – Hollywood, CA

June 30  at TheRoxy – Hollywood, CA

July 1 at Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA

July 2 at Blue Lamp – Sacramento, CA

After 17 Years, Fans Still Catch a Wild Show by At The Drive In and Pals Le Butcherettes at The Shrine

ATDI Touring for Album, in•ter a•li•a

By DONNA BALANCIA

At The Drive In should rename themselves “At The Dive In,” because 17 years later, the band is still slamming a phenomenal physical and inspiring performance.

Cedric Zavala by Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala leaps off drum riser and then into the crowd many times at The Shrine – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Wild, Physical Show by ATDI

At The Drive In took its wild show to The Shrine, as frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala leapt, dove and crowd-surfed his way into the hearts of his devoted fans. He looks good and sounds good and the show was impressive.

The band is touring with its first album in 17 years, in•ter a•li•a

Crowd surfing with Cedric Bixler-Zavala - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Crowd surfing with Cedric Bixler-Zavala – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

in•ter a•li•a is First Record in 17 Years

At the Drive In was formed in 1993, and has been known for a post-punk style and seemingly carefree presentation. With frontman Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodríguez-Lopez, Jim Ward, bassist Paul Hinojos, and drummer Tony Hajjar, ATDI put out three studio albums and five EPs and then broke up in 2001.

At The Drive In frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala envisioning a landing spot – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Breaking Up, Getting Back

The album, Relationship of Command, released in 2000, is considered a classic. After the breakup, Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López formed The Mars Volta. Then ATDI got back together in 2012.

But one thing the band never lost is its faithful devotees, who came to see their favorite band play. Last summer it was the Palladium that was packed with fans and last Saturday it was The Shrine that was at capacity. The band missed one or two shows on the tour for unknown reasons, but it appears Bixler-Zavala is taking no chances this time around.  There are vaporizers and water on stage for the dynamic frontman, who between huge jumps would come back to inhale and drink.

Teri Suarez AKA Teri Gender Bender backstage with agent Robby Fraser – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Le Butcherettes

Teri Gender Bender and Le Butcherettes were the opening act, and this band never fails.  It’s amazing that Le Butcherettes can drive the crowd into a frenzy whether it’s 100 people at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach or thousands at The Shrine.

Le Butcherettes: Teri Gender Bender, Alejandra Luna and Riko Rodriguez-Lopez – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Adaptability is Key for Musicians

“It’s a talent she has, she’s adaptable to any situation,” agent Robby Fraser of William Morris Endeavor told CaliforniaRocker.com “She’s extremely talented.”

For the bands, it’s on to Mexico City before ATDI heads overseas and Le Butcherettes keep the crowds at home happy.

 

Koffin Kats Take Their Impressive Rockabilly Punk On the Road After Hot Whisky A Go-Go Show

New Album is ‘Party Time In The End Times’

By ALENA LIM

This is the first performance of a Rockabilly-style group that I have ever seen and I was impressed. Koffin Kats was formed in June 2003 and like any other band, they started off playing gigs in bars and other small locations. Koffin Kats played at The Whisky A Go-Go last week to a packed house.

Some of their music relates to the bad things that happened in our world as well as stuff that’s fiction. The band released their first album Koffin Kats during the first year they began playing, then Inhumane in 2005, and Straying From the Pack in 2006.

Koffin Kats rip it up at Whisky A Go-Go – Photo © Alena Lim for CaliforniaRocker.com

Koffin Kats History

Vic, the lead singer and stand-up bass player starts off the show with inspiration, strong energy, and great vibe followed by Tommy Koffin as the lead guitarist singing by Vic’s side. Eric Walls who has been their first drummer from the beginning has been an important part of their group. Eric was replaced once before by another person for personal reasons, but ended up getting back in touch with the group to begin writing their fourth album called Drunk In The Daylight in 2008. Since the release of that album, Koffin Kats were starting to be recognized and had the opportunity to start touring in Europe while their reputation has already been growing.

Detroit born and bred, the Koffin Kats are hitting the road – Photo © Alena Lim for CaliforniaRocker.com

The Whisky Show

These guys threw one hell of a show at the Whisky for almost two hours. They continuously remain upbeat and extremely active. You will find Vic spinning and twirling his double base instrument. He doesn’t just play it, he dances and embraces his instrument as much as the band embraces the music.

It’s a physical show with Kats climbing the bass – Photo © Alena Lim for CaliforniaRocker.com

Vic’s Bass

Vic “lifts weights” with the instrument, he stands and sits on it, or just merely lays it on top of Tommy’s head. Tommy’s style of playing would make the crowd jump while Vic’s “Elvis” voice gets the room abuzz with blazing excitement. I was never the kind of person to fall head over heels for a musician the way you find girls “go gaga” over Elvis, The Beatles, or Michael Jackson. Seriously? But this band made me feel that way, I enjoyed the Koffin Kats so much, I almost lost my breath, and I mean that metaphorically.

Koffin Kats: A blend of Punk and Rockabilly – Photo © Alena Lim for CaliforniaRocker.com

Check Out New Record

They are currently touring in Northern America. You can find this band Facebook . They’ll be back in Detroit on May 21, Germany on July 9, and Cleveland and New York in August.

Their first official self-released album called Party Time In The End Times on Koffin Kats records is now available. Check out their other additional albums and merchandise at www.koffinkatsrock.com.

Band members: Vic Victor: lead vocals, upright bass; Tommy “T-Bags” Koffin: guitar, vocals; Eric “E Ball” Walls: drums, vocals. Koffin Kats at the Whisky a Go-Go on May 7. Genre: Punk/Rock/Psychobilly

Le Butcherettes Cause Havoc at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, Support At The Drive In at The Shrine Saturday

With Video of Le Butcherettes and ATDI from Kimmel

By DONNA BALANCIA

Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes is one of the best rock and roll performers of all time. It’s as  simple as that.  Anyone who saw the show at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach on Wednesday night would agree.

Teri of Le Butcherettes – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

People can agree Teri’s one of the best women rockers out there, yes, but her work does not need to be qualified by gender.  After all she is named Teri Gender Bender.  And her music and performance will blow your head off.

Mainly Teri is the ultimate badass performer, who puts on a show for the ages.  There isn’t even anyone to compare her to.  Teri revs up the audience the second she stomps on stage in her red heels and green fatigues. And then she strips down to her red party dress and the pace picks up.

Favorites on the set list contained “Henry,” “The Leibniz Language,” and “Dress Off,” from Sin Sin Sin and “Mallaley” from A Raw Youth.

The Butcherettes support At The Drive at The Shrine on Saturday – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Alejandra Robles Luna, who is also from Mexico, is quickly becoming the darling drummer of the crowds. Several fans jumped on stage after Le Butcherettes’ Wednesday show in Long Beach to get a photo with her. Alejandra’s drumming is such a frenetic pace that it’s hard to imagine. She has the talent and style to rate with the tops in punk rock class.

Le Butcherettes at Alex’s Bar – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Riko Rodriguez-Lopez is a faithful and strong force in the band.  He has a reserved presence that helps keep the band’s heart beating at its steady and exciting pace.

Teri, who would be fan favorite from among all the rockers we’ve reviewed, appeals to everyone. As beautiful as she is, she’s not threatening to women and she’s got the guys’ attention because of her musicianship, her heart and her physical abilities.  For both genders it’s easy to see this impassioned musician is channeling something beyond anger, fear and rage when she’s on stage.

Teri enjoys the fans as much as they enjoy her – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Check out the classic Le Butcherettes album, A Raw Youth, on Le Butcherettes’ Bandcamp page

For TICKETS to At The Drive In at The Shrine Expo Hall.

But her off-stage persona is another story. As soon as she crowd-surfs off the stage and wraps up her show, Teri hangs out with her fans, most of whom tell her anything and everything.  She enjoys chatting with the faithful followers and it’s obvious she gets a lot out of the conversations.

Teri electrifies any room she plays – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The show at Alex’s Bar was a warm up for the Shrine Auditorium show opening for At The Drive In, with whom she’s enjoyed a longtime friendship. Musicians from At The Drive In and Le Butcherettes are label-mates at Ipecac Recordings, Mike Patton’s company.

It could be supposed that Teri’s outrageously creative works are unharnessed, much in the way most of the artists on the label work. The bands on the label — like Eagles of Death Metal, The Melvins and Crystal Fairy — have in common the innovative style needed to keep the music business alive.

Teri Gender Bender: Breaking all the rules – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Le Butcherettes are leading the charge in this regard.  The band has played a range of different venues and in various positions, not only opener but also headliner. And it’s worth repeating: Go see Le Butcherettes.

The crowd clamors around the stage where Teri of Le Butcherettes plays – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

A local Long Beach band that has been a favorite, Asi Fui, opened for Le Butcherettes.  This avant-garde synth group appealed to the punk crowd on a range of levels. Asi Fui has some cool songs, great musicians and a front woman who rips. Band members are Tatiana V on vocals and bass, Jacob C on synthesizers and keyboards, Ryan R on the drums and Miguel V on guitar.  We expect more great work from this group.

And a note on Alex’s Bar. The place has really established itself to be a true player in the Southern California punk rock scene. Not too many venues hold this distinction.

British Punk’s Prolific Colin Newman: The Band Wire is Not Just Some Heritage Group from The 1970s

The Drill Fest by Wire Packs the Echo

By JOHN NORRIS and DONNA BALANCIA 

Wire held its Drill Fest at The Echo and Echoplex, and it was a rare opportunity to see some of punk’s originators tell it like it is.

Judging by the attendance at the fest, which ran over three days and included performers like Mikal Cronin, Bob Mould and of course headliner Wire, it’s easy to see punk is very much alive today. Or it’s making a “curated” comeback at the very least.

The Pink Flag Guitar Ensemble – a roaring finale – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Drill Fest is not just Wire playing on tour, founder Colin Newman told CaliforniaRocker.com.

“Drill is curated by the bands,” Colin said. “It’s just another aspect of what the band do.

Colin Newman: 'Being influential is a double-edged sword' - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Colin Newman: ‘Being influential is a double-edged sword’ – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Wire: Not Re-Living The Past

“The importance is it’s partly to us,” Colin said. “One of the things about Wire is we’re not doing the heritage circuit. We’re not trying to relive our past. It’s about us making connections to other artists, not necessarily younger artists, but artists of different genres, with different ways of working and in a way it’s putting ourselves in a situation and saying this is what we are, we’re not just some band from the ’70s living off our past.”

Great musicians curated at Drill - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Great musicians curated at Drill – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Newman On Being ‘Influential’

Wire has been so influential to so many bands, but that’s an interesting conundrum, Colin said in typical fashion.

“It’s a double-edged sword, really,” Colin said.

Why?

“Because you don’t like everything that you’ve influenced,” he said. “But everything influences everything else in music. Music is a dialog.”

Musicians and friends - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians and friends – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

That dialog connected this weekend as the crowds at the Echo and Echoplex appreciated the music of many favorites.

Among those who hit the stages were:  Malka Spigel (Minimal Compact), Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (Luna), Jason Falkner (The Grays, Three O’Clock, Jellyfish), Jessica Lipstate (Noveller), and Jess Labrador, and Shannon Sky Madden (Chasms).

Not just 'Part-Time Punks' The Drill is the real deal - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Not just ‘Part-Time Punks’ The Drill is the real deal – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Other friends and players on hand included Rafe Mandel, Caroline Borolla, Geoffrey Halliday, James Hamblin, Stefan Nelson and Sandy Yang. Wire is Robert Grey, Matthew Simms, Graham Lewis and Colin Newman.

 

 

The Orwells, The Walters and No Parents Take No Prisoners in Physical Sets at The Regent Theater LA

Three Strong Bands Prove Punk Still has Legs

By DONNA BALANCIA

When The Orwells play a show, it’s more like a PE party.

Friends, fans and strong opening bands are the name of the game here and there are no disappointments.  The songs are good, the show is physical and the fans have a great time. The Orwells are touring to support their new album, Terrible Human Beings.

No Parents - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

No Parents – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The show at The Regent Theater last night was no different as punk performances were the order of the night and the fans loved every minute of three solid sets.

The Walters – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

You’ve got everything here — new punk music, fun performances and cute guys — and no shortage of girls on hand in the audience. After getting a load of the guys in the bands it was no suprise there were so many young women.  But The Orwells, The Walters and No Parents didn’t fool around and got straight to work.

 

Check out our review and additional photos at EastCoastRocker.com

 

 

See more at EastCoastRocker.com

Wire, One of Rock’s Founding Punk Bands, to Play Echoplex This Weekend During Drill Fest

By DONNA BALANCIA

Wire will hold its Drill Fest at The Echo and Echoplex tomorrow through Saturday, and the legendary band will celebrate the release of their new album Silver/Lead.

Wire is one of punk’s founding members, and has been the influence of many of today’s bands. Wire members are Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Robert Gotobed, Margaret Fiedler McGinnis and Matthew Simms.

Performers set to take the stage at The Echo are Bob Mould, Mikal Cronin + string and horn ensemble, Julia Holter, Mild High Club, Wand, Laetitia Sadier, Fitted, Part Time Punks, Howardamb, Once and Future Band, Chasms, Alina Bea, Noveller, Slows, The Pinkflag Guitar Orchestra.

Check out the WIRE Facebook page.

For Passes and DRILL Tickets go here.

Get tickets to Drill here.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Chip Kinman and Ford Madox Ford Debut the New Vid for Bluesy Tune ‘Expect It’

By DONNA BALANCIA

Check out the exclusive video from Chip Kinman and Ford Madox Ford, called “Expect It.”  The video makes its debut right here on CaliforniaRocker.com.

Chip Kinman and Fdmdxfd - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

A Cool Video

Kinman, the well-known wild SoCal punker who rose to fame with his brother Tony in bands like The Dils and Rank and File, is at it again. This time, Kinman is working with another “kin” of his: His son, Dewey Peek.  On bass is Matt Littel and drummer is S. Scott Aguero. The video was directed by Rez Hat.

‘Collapse and Nothingness’

“The song ‘Expect It’ is about collapse and the complete nothingness that follows,” Kinman told CaliforniaRocker.com. “We had a great time making the video, a lot of beer and tacos, North East Los Angeles, dontcha know. It was filmed with a rare Swedish camera that makes everything look like TV in the Seventies, which is what life should be like anyway.”

Chip Kinman - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Chip Kinman – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Ford Madox Ford brings a bluesy sensibility to punk and will be taking the great stage at the Echo Wednesday night opening for The Meat Puppets.

Kinman has had his share of innovative bands, predominantly known for The Dils, and Rank and File. As for Ford Madox Ford, Kinman says it’s a fun and new style.

“We’re the only band that plays punk and blues at the same time,” Kinman said.

Check out “Expect It” here. Go to Fdmdxfd Facebook page for more info on the band. Wednesday’s show at the Echo is sold out.

Say 'cheese,' Dewey Peek - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Say ‘cheese,’ Dewey Peek – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

Matt Littell - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Matt Littell – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

Chip and Scott - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Chip and Scott – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

 

Tommy Stinson and Bash and Pop Promote ‘Anything Could Happen’ With Packed Show at The Troubadour

The Yawpers Open for Bash and Pop

By DONNA BALANCIA

Tommy Stinson and his band Bash and Pop are sittin’ on top of the world.

They wear high-class suits, play gigs at places like The Troubadour, and they even have the fans buying them “Bullet” drinks.

Tommy Stinson and Bash and Pop promote Anything Could Happen at Troubadour - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Tommy Stinson and Bash and Pop promote Anything Could Happen at Troubadour – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Tommy did a couple of appearances on the late night show circuit as well, all in support of the new Bash and Pop album, Anything Could Happen. Anything Could Happen is the first album from Bash and Pop in 24 years.

And Stinson is happy with the attention. After all these years, it’s probably something the guy’s entitled to, after all, he is the founder of The Replacements, arguably one of the best power-pop/ new wave bands around, and he’s definitely paid his dues.

And so have the fans.

Bash and Pop – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The packed house at The Troubadour was the embodiment of fan love, as the over-35 crowd came from near and far to make like sardines in the can. Even up in the rafters. They came to see Stinson perform new tunes as well as old, and even some Stones and The Who covers.

On the set list were “Friday Night is Killing Me,” “Tiny Pieces,” “Anybody Else,” “On the Rocks,” “Bad News,” set closer “Unfuck You” and covers like “The Kids Are All Right,” “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time,” by Marshall Crenshaw and the Stones’ “Midnight Rambler,” as well as “Anything Could Happen.”

Bash and Pop at The Troubadour in West Hollywood - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Bash and Pop at The Troubadour in West Hollywood – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Stinson looks good and interacts with the audience in an affable way. His punk-style haircut is grey now, but other than that, he’s still got the moves and the sense of humor to boot.

“Don’t forget to visit the merch table,” he reminded after the show. “We have T-shirts, albums and ‘Depends.'”

Bash and Pop - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Bash and Pop – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

C’mon Tommy, the crowd wasn’t all THAT old and in fact there were at least a good 50 people or so who were in the under-35 category. Either way, it’s OK. After all, Classic Rock is in again and on an evening like this, with Stinson on stage and fans showing the love, anything really could happen.

The Yawpers opened the evening and put on a great set, with surprise verve and energy that could launch a rocket. The Rockabilly alt-punk trio do a great job of keeping the audience on their toes, with them telling the audience to shut the F up even though nobody was hassling them.  The guitar work and drums were incredible, and these guys can make an average song sound like a hit.

Bash and Pop - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Bash and Pop – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

The Yawpers - Photo 2017 Donna Balancia

The Yawpers – Photo 2017 Donna Balancia

 

The Yawpers hassle the audience but play great music - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Yawpers hassle the audience but play great music – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

NEW: Rancid and Dropkick Murphys Tour – Five Calif Stops Include Avila Beach, SD, LA and Sacramento

‘Boston to Berkeley’ Tour – The Name Says it All

By JOHN DALY

Rancid and Dropkick Murphys have announced the co-headlining From Boston To Berkeley Tour which will make five California stops, including San Diego, Sacramento, Berkeley, LA and San Luis Obispo in August.

The Bouncing Souls and Jake Burns, The Selecter and Kevin Seconds, support.

“Rancid is looking forward to hitting the road with our brothers the Dropkick Murphys,” said Rancid’s Tim Armstrong.

Rancid and Dropkick Murphys go back a ways. In 1997, Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen found a copy of Dropkick Murphys’ original EP at a friend’s house. He gave it to his bandmate and Hellcat Records President Armstrong, who signed the band to his new label.

“It’s a long time coming with these two bands touring together,” said Rancid’s Frederiksen. “There is so much history between both of us that it should make for a great tour. We look forward to seeing all of our friends and family out there.”

Rancid started following the breakup of Armstrong and Matt Freeman’s Berkeley-based band, Operation Ivy. In 1993, Rancid signed with longtime producer, and label founder, Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion and Epitaph Records. Gurewitz stayed on as producer.

Rancid, comprised of Armstrong, Frederiksen, Freeman and Branden Steineckert, has stayed independent. They have their own independent booking agent, they’re on an independent record label, Hellcat/Epitaph, and they make their own t-shirts. The band releases its ninth studio album this year.

Dropkick Murphys are touring in support of their 11 Short Stories Of Pain and Glory album, released through the band’s own Born and Bred Records earlier this year.

The band founded The Claddagh Fund, a charity to help support addiction recovery as well as children’s and veterans’ organizations. Dropkick Murphys–Al Barr, Tim Brennan, Ken Casey, Jeff DaRosa, Matt Kelly, James Lynch– raise funds, mentor, and lend a helping hand with veterans, youth sports, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Dropkick Murphys have become ambassadors for their city. In Boston, it seems like everybody knows someone connected to the band whether by blood, friendship, or the time they shared a brew at a Boston Bruins game.

For more information on the tour check out The Dropkick Murphys  or Rancid pages.

 

The Alejandro Escovedo Band Takes Its ‘Burn Something Beautiful’ Tour to the West Coast

Escovedo and Jesse Malin to Play Federal Underground

By DONNA BALANCIA

Alejandro Escovedo has had an interesting career. He may come from the famous musical Escovedo family, but he’s punk rock through and through.

He’s worked with East Coast punker Jesse Malin for years, and the two of musicians — seemingly from different parts of the world — take the time to tour around and make music for music’s sake. Check out Escovedo’s website

Escovedo hails from a Mexican-American family via Texas, and Malin is a punk rocker from New York. But somehow the friendship and the music-making works. On Tuesday, Escovedo and Malin will play the Federal Underground in Long Beach. 

Escovedo and Malin’s tour launched February 16. In tow are a range of great musicians. The Alejandro Escovedo Band is comprised of Jason Victor on guitar, Shawn Peters on drums and Aaron McClellan on bass.

Throughout his career, Escovedo has worked with many people and has earned many distinctions including Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Performing in 2006.

His latest album, Burn Something Beautiful, which was released last October, highlights his talent. His musical gifts are revealed across a lifetime spent to faith in the hard work of life and music and its possibilities.

Escovedo and Malin play the Federal Underground in Long Beach on Tuesday. For tickets and more tour information go here.

Cheetah Chrome Snarls His Way Through SoCal Swing at Whisky A Go-Go and Alex’s Bar in Long Beach

Cheetah Band Brings Life to Dead Boys Songs, New Tunes

By DONNA BALANCIA

Cheetah Chrome and his band got the crowd going at the Whisky A Go-Go and they’ll probably light up Alex’s Bar in Long Beach in much the same manner.

Cheetah, known as one of the original Dead Boys is single-handedly keeping punk alive with his cool demeanor and enthusiastic interaction with the fans.

Frontman Jake gets air during Whisky show - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Frontman Jake gets air during Whisky show – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Let’s face it, Cheetah’s no stranger to change, as he has played in a few extremely well-known punk groups and has introduced a cast of characters to his audiences time and again.

This time, enter via flying leap, Jake from the Undead Boys who took over fronting duties on Cheetah’s current tour.   The frontman really knows how to grab and hold the attention of the crowd who ate up his every move.

Cheetah and his undead band swing through SoCal - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cheetah and his undead band swing through SoCal – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

It was hard to hold on to your spot on the floor as moshers took over the Whisky, colliding with everything and everyone in sight.

But Cheetah takes it all in stride and played a range of favorites and a couple of new tunes as well.  After all, this is a guy who was one of the original punks, and still today snarls his way through sets to the delight of the fans.

The band - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

On hand for this gig were some great friends of Cheetah, including Evita, Heather and Bruce Duff and his wife.  And we can’t forget to mention James Ames, his trusty roadie, who has a talent when it comes to creating cool punk clothes, all with the theme of each tour.

CHECK OUT THE CHEETAH CHROME VIDEO:

 

 

 

Ill Repute, The Grim, to Headline Punk Rock Swap Meet for Charity in Canoga Park Saturday

Punk Rock Swap Meet: Buy, Sell or Slam!

By JOHN DALY

Ill Repute and The Grim headline Punk Rock Swap Meet, the annual charity event tomorrow in Canoga Park.

Attendees are encouraged to “Buy, Sell or Slam” as the Knights of Columbus-hosted bi-annual gig and indoor swap meet celebrates its second year. It’s an all-in-one event open to all ages with seven bands and full bar with ID.

punk-rock-swap-canoga

Organized through Knights of Columbus, Council #3601, a seven-band strong showcase of punk rock that has to rival punk rock bowling as strange combination of events will be held at 21433 Strathern St., Canoga Park from 4 p.m. on. All ages are welcome, there will be door prizes and a raffle. Food will be available also.

Ill Repute, Naked Aggression, The Grim, Corrupted Youth, The Shermtones, Mother of Dissension and Bootleg Brigade will perform. Admission price is $10. Advance tickets are $8.

For vendor or general information, contact Bob Oedy at (818) 492-8690 or boboedy@yahoo.com

The Stitches, The Talented SoCal Punk Band that Out-Punks all the Rest: The California Rocker Q and A

The Stitches at The Viper Room - Photo Donna Balancia

The Stitches at The Viper Room – Photo Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Stitches are one of the best loved and most appreciated punk bands in Southern California.  The longtime punkers Michael Lohrman, Johnny Witmer, Pete “Action Man'” Archer and Craig “Skibs” Barker recently opened for The Dictators NYC at The Viper Room and stole the show. Johnny Witmer of The Stitches answered the important questions for CaliforniaRocker.com

CR: What is the best gig — or two — The Stitches ever played?

JW: So many good ones. I’d have to say in the early days (the mid-90s) at The Purple Onion in SF, and that show we did in London in 2013. The two shows we opened for Green Day were pretty interesting…

CR: Did The Stitches ever tour?

JW: Yes we did, and still do. We’ve been to Europe four times, and to to various parts of the country a many times as well.

The Stitches one of LA's most well loved punk bands - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Stitches one of LA’s most well loved punk bands – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

CR: Do you have any new music being recorded?

JW: We’ve had a new LP musically written for about 10 years now, but are still waiting for lyrics to be written. We will have a our Singles Collection LP (all of our rare 7-inch recordings, 1994-2010) released on Burger Records in 2017.

CR: What are the top selling records released by The Stitches

JW: 8×12 is probably our most famous record. We released it ourselves with no distribution, but still did really well. Twelve Imaginary Inches probably sold the most when it was released as TKO records had a good team back then.

The Stitches - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Stitches – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

CR: Any significant band changes?

JW: Not really. We’ve been the same members since 1994 except for drummers. Our second drummer, Skibs, is now our fourth drummer, and he’s been with us this time since the 2003 or so. We recently added Jim Kaa (from The Crowd) on second guitar last year (so Mike’s not the oldest guy in the band anymore)…

CR: Who writes the music?

JW: The Action Man, or myself usually write the music. Mike usually writes the lyrics.

The Stitches - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Stitches – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

CR: What are the topics you discuss in your music?

JW: It used to be about drugs, and prostitutes, but now 2 guys are sober, and 4 guys are married…

CR: Any upcoming gigs?

JW: We’re booking for 2017 now. We’ll play some local gigs, plus we’ll be in the Midwest, Texas, SF and the NW. Hopefully Europe again soon as well.

Ross The Boss Friedman: Dictators ‘Amazed’ By Influence on Young Bands – California Rocker Interview

The Dictators NYC Perform at Viper Room Nov. 11

Ross the Boss Friedman, founder of The Dictators talks new music, tour and music biz with California Rocker editor Donna Balancia

CR: What kind of influence did The Dictators have on music, Ross?

RTB: The Dictators influenced so many bands. Our original fans all became band guys, they went on to form bands. It’s like a family tree: Monster Magnet, Stone Temple Pilots, Turbonegro, Helicopters and Nomads, all these bands were mentored by us. When you’re hearing songs and you hear the riffs you know our influence.

Ross The Boss Friedman says Dictators NYC are busy - Photo courtesy Dictators NYC

Ross The Boss Friedman says Dictators NYC are busy – Photo courtesy Dictators NYC

CR: What’s the legacy of The Dictators?

RTB: You know we were too punk for metal and too metal for punk. It makes us feel amazing that people go to school on us. A good percentage of the people who come to see us are band guys.

CR: How is the band doing these days?

RTB: Really, we’re better than ever. We just did a tour. And I was in Europe with the new Ross the Boss Band. The Dictators NYC did 21 shows in 22 days in Europe recently.

The Dictators NYC are legendary around the world - Photo courtesy of Dictators NYC

The Dictators NYC are legendary around the world – Photo courtesy of Dictators NYC

CR: Why the new name?

RTB: I renamed them Dictators NYC as a matter of respect. I insisted on it. We want to let everyone know it isn’t the original lineup. Daniel Rey, the Ramones producer and Dean Rispler on bass. We wanted to have some sort of closure and respect for the old lineup.

CR: Why do you like California?

RTB: I’ve always enjoyed California, it’s really spread out, I love California. I like Northern California and I like the San Diego area.  My sister lives there. As far as New York, I’m Giants, Mets, Rangers and Knicks. There are tons of transplanted New Yorkers in Califiornia. They’ll say, ‘Hey Ross I went to Dewitt Clinton High School!’ It’s a small world, it’s big, but it’s small.

RTB: In California, we’ve been made to feel very welcome over the years. The fans are great everywhere. I’ve been in the music business since 1975, I’ve made 31 records. The new “Ross The Boss Band” has been doing well.

supply-and-demand-dictatorsCR: What’s the key to success?

RTB: I’ve been playing professionally for a long time and every time it amazes me — If you play your heart out you can’t lose, people pick up on that. The Dictators play 150 percent; we don’t care if there’s 10 people or 10,000 people there.

CR: Anything new?

RTB: We’ve written a new song and it’s a single called ‘Supply and Demand,’ a story about the new band. The demand is there and we’re gonna supply it.  Dean produced it, he plays bass, he played with a lot of bands like Murphy’s Law. We have this new single, and we’re working on new music.  And with my new band we’re working on a new CD, we don’t have working title yet.

CR: What are you guys like in concert as Dictators NYC?

RTB: The band generally performs all its hits, including “Next Big Thing,” “Weekend,” “Tree Tub Man,” “I Stand Tall,” “Stay With Me,” “Let’s Twist.” You gotta give the people what they want.

Dictators NYC

The Dictators with Handsome Dick Manitoba continue to draw crowds – Photo courtesy Dictators NYC

CR: How has the music business changed since the 1970s?

RTB: Music has become an impossibility. You’ve gotta play live. People have to come see you live. Certainly the money end has been stolen by the record industry. If you don’t have a live thing, forget it. Every single night you have to play your ass off. A lot of young bands are. You can make money at the gate, on merch, you can sell your stuff. You have to be hands-on. You have to be willing to expect the word ‘No’ as an answer from a lot of people.”

CR: How was it for you guys when you started out?

RTB: When we first came on, they said, ‘Whoever signed these guys should be shot. What is this wrestling hamburgers, cars and girls, what is this insanity? Why the leather jackets?’  Then all of a sudden they said it was ‘Punk Rock.’ Then The Ramones came out. All of a sudden, it was ‘The Dictators influenced us.’ MC5, Flamin Groovies, Iggy and the Stooges all had their roots in punk.

CR: What’s gonna happen on Nov. 11?

RTB: We’re gonna play a mind-blowing show, you’re gonna be happy as shit and you’re gonna hear the best.

 

The Dictators NYC “Supply and Demand” in Barcelona

Video courtesy of BilligPeopleBooking
 
Joey Ramone Joins The Dictators for ‘The Kids Are Alright’

Video courtesy of Harold Kramer

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