More Live Shows. Woo-hoo.

Uploaded two awesome live shows at the internet archive-

Black Flag  - Live at the Jockey Club in Newport, KY, 1986.

Recorded during the last tour with Anthony Martinez on drums and C'el on bass, this is one of hell of a set. Consisting mostly of songs from their last two LPs, they tear through the set with a dynamic ferocity that completely transforms these songs into something I wish they could have recreated in the studio. This set is definitely a rager, and probably my favorite Black Flag show that doesn't feature the classic five-piece lineup.

(Click on the Rollins pic to get it.)

The second show is a Red Cross set from Wilson Park in Torrance circa 1982. This is the only live early Red Cross recording I've ever been able to find online, aside from some snippets of a live show on Jeff McDonald's old Redd Kross podcast. If anyone knows of any other live Redd Kross recordings from their punk days, hit me back!

(Click on the flyer to get it.)

With regard to the above, this San Pedro punk book is looking for a publisher. Be sure to give 'em a look see on Facebook, or you know, find them a publisher:

(Click on this pic to get to their Facebook)


Front-Country Camping Hell.

Barring the Southwest, summer finds visitation at national and state parks at its peak as our public lands get all the love and attention they deserve from a public eager to experience the outdoors. Despite this eagerness, in a nation with an addiction to convenience and material comforts, “experiencing the outdoors” doesn’t really involve much besides posting up in a $10 camping chair just outside of your SUV or mega-trailer, which just happens to be parked near some woods/the desert/ a beach, etc. Sure, I find this style of engaging the outdoors deplorable, but by now I’ve worked and camped in such a variety of front-country campgrounds on public and private lands that I begrudgingly accept it as the norm.

Besides, most of these folks are just looking for a little relaxation and quiet away from their urban and exurban enclaves, right? You’d think so, but I’ve also experienced plenty of the inverse- those types of people who are generally looking to eschew self-reflection in favor of inflicting their shitty behaviour upon others in the outdoor setting. With that, here are my top three examples of the worst front-country camping experiences I’ve had with those types of people.

1.) BLM land just south of Zion National Park.

Anyone familiar enough with Zion might be familiar with this campground. If you want a cheap (i.e. free) camping experience that’s within 20 minutes of the park, this is a pretty well known spot. Keep in mind that the wild west nature of this bargain camping free-for-all can easily turn into your worst nightmare, as I came to find out one night.

That particular night a few friends and I were bedding down in anticipation of 5 am start time for a backpacking trip through the Zion Narrows the next day. We got there a little late, and didn’t really get to sleep til midnight, so we were already incurring a bit of a sleep deficit for the next day’s trip. Soon enough, it’s around 3 am, and we’re waking up to a whirlwind of about 5-10 vehicles, many of which are trucks with loud diesel engines, parking within 10 feet of our impromptu campground. Following that, around 40 people just start spilling out of these vehicles, hitting the ground running by achieving all measures of obnoxiousness. I’m talking shooting off paintball guns, shooting off flare guns, playing music, and generally yelling and chasing each other around.

As far as I could tell, a family of speed freaks had planned their family reunion for that night and happenstance had unfortunately brought us to bunk down on the very spot of their gathering! And there we were, 4 of us larvaed up in our mummy bags in the middle of this shit show, feeling like a wagon train of assholes had encircled us- couldn't they at least put us out of our misery by paintballing the fuck out of us? At that point, it would have been a welcome reprieve from the mind-blowing shitfest of insanity that was preventing our necessary beauty sleep.

Needless to say, we didn’t get much more sleep that night, but it didn’t really hamper the next day’s activities much, unless you count the part where, sleep-deprived and testy, I unloaded a barrage of curse words at my friend in the shuttle bus the next morning.

2.) San Simeon State Park, San Simeon, CA.

This time around we had the good fortune to be situated in a campground across from a family of 20 that decided to just plop half of their material belongings into 2 RVs and 6 trucks, and then post up like they were trying to recreate the lifestyle of the Romani gypsies. I should have known we were in trouble when we got to the campsite late at night only to hear all of them throwing out endless “I Love You, Johnboys” to eachother before drifting off to sleep. Yeah, I'm the kind of person that finds that troubling.

The next morning consisted of 5 kids endlessly screaming and running around as soon as the sun came up. At some point there was a lot of yelling back and forth between two adults about personal breakfast preferences. While this might seem like pretty light fair as far as camping experiences go, the cherry on top of all this was waking up to the sound of- I shit you not- a family singalong of the song "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by 60’s one hit wonder, Steam.

3.)Macks Canyon Road, Spring Mountains, NV.

This most recent occurrence of abhorrent camping etiquette was consequently the inspiration for this lengthy diatribe/public service announcement.

As Macks Canyon isn’t a typical front country spot- a dirt road in the mountains that doesn’t typically get too much traffic- I was taken aback by this particular instance of front-country camping assholism particularly because this spot is usually pretty quiet and remote.

It was around 5:30 am when I woke up to the sound of a loud, idling diesel engine somewhere within the vicinity of our campsite. At first I thought that the RV I’d seen parked near the highway the previous night had stupidly ventured into the woods near our area. Still half-asleep I brushed it off hoping it would be gone soon. Finally after an agonizing 10-15 minutes, the engine shut off and I tried sleeping a little more. Failing that, I took a brief hike down the road and came back to the campsite within 2 hours.

In all my experiences camping in the various districts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, what happened next turned an annoying situation into an bafflingly absurd anomaly. The loud, idling diesel engine made itself known again, but this time it was accentuated by the sound of what I can only assume was a Time Life “70’s Funk Hits” CD blaring from the same vehicle. 30 minutes later, I finally caught sight of the massive pickup truck this bizarre soundtrack was emanating from. Its back tires appeared to be stuck in a self-made foxhole as its driver was stubbornly gunning the gas pedal with no abandon, desperately trying to get his truck unstuck. In the process, all kinds of dust and engine noise were rumbling through the forest, as some of the most notable funk hits of the 70’s simultaneously continued to pummel away at my senses. After about 15 minutes of smashing down his gas pedal, this idiot finally managed to get himself unstuck, and got the hell out of there.

After he bailed, I walked over to assess the damage. I was surprised to see the surrounding vegetation was still intact, though his tires dug some pretty deep notches into the dirt road. However, investigating the area of the clearing he’d been parked in exposed another unexpected scene- this dude just left all his shitty toilet paper chillin’ there to blow around in the breeze and get caught up on the vegetation.

So- to sum up this situation- basically, at 5:30 am this asshole drove up to this remote spot in the woods, sat there with his engine idling, doing who the fuck knows what, and waking us up in the process. Then at some point he took a shit while jamming out to KC & The Sunshine Band, left his shitty toilet paper strewn about, and then left a trail of destruction behind while navigating his truck out of the foxhole he created. And considering that he was trying to maneuver his truck to go downhill in reverse, the foxhole was pretty unnecessary given the fact that gravity would have done the job anyway. All of this within a span of 2.5 hours. Wow.

I sincerely hope that recounting these contemptible examples of shitty camping etiquette will give you, the potential front-country camper, more thought regarding your own behavior, and the behavior of those around you. If not, well, then I hope you suffer the fate of a particular family that I witnessed camping at Lake Tahoe in 2006, who, after leaving their shit thoughtlessly strewn about everywhere, had their entire campsite overrun by two bears. This found them holing up in their camper all morning while they watched said bears tear their belongings to shreds and eat all their food. It was awesome, and somewhat akin to a funny scene you might see in an animatronics-based Disneyland ride, ala The Jungle Cruise.

So, just remember-
When front-country camping, mind others (humans and non-humans) and don’t be an asshole.


Ya ever heard of the Krinkles, man?

The heat of a southern Nevada summer isn't quite conducive to any sort of behavior that warrants enjoying the outdoors, or life in general, for that matter. Tantamount to a northern winter, sitting inside is mostly the only way of life for those 3 1/2 excruciating months, barring access to a large body of water, and maybe even a kayak or some other water vessel if you're lucky enough. Otherwise, the only reprieve from this hellish time of the year is to get to higher ground, which is exactly what I do.

Back in June I embarked on a little trip to visit my pal, Nate, in Logan, Utah. About one day into my stay in Logan, I realized I'd misjudged northern Utah's climate based on a previous visit I made during a cool, stormy September of last year. Not only is Utah also hot as balls, but day time is about 3 hours longer there than in Vegas. Thus, you're about 20% more inclined to say fuck it all and stay inside and cry (or nap). Despite that debilitating fact, plenty of legit hikes were still embarked upon while visiting this beautiful region.

With that, here are a few panoramic pictures I assembled from various areas I visited and/or hiked in around central and northern Utah. Click on any of the pictures to make them gigantic. Bigger pictures, better detail, better quality of life.

(Grey sandstone columnar formations along the roadside, Nebo Loop Scenic Byway)

(Looking at the tail end of the Wasatch range, Nebo Scenic Loop Byway)

("Hell's Kitchen", conglomerate sandstone hoodoos in a small amphitheater formation similar to Bryce Canyon)

(Mt. Nebo, southernmost and highest mountain in the Wasatch range at 11,928 ft)

(Bear River National Migratory Bird Refuge, looking eastward at the Wasatch Range)

(Looking down at a huge, awesome beaver dam built along a creek near the Temple Fork Sawmill trail)

(Taken from a random t-post that was asking to be used for a self-pic)

(Ground view of the same beaver dam. The uphill trail to the left was made by the beaver's repeat trips to an adjacent aspen forest to retrieve wood)

(Somewhere near Pika Peak- Nate, the "Restoration Ecology Kingpin" of Cache Valley, UT looking down upon his empire. Check out his awesome restoration ecology blog, Perceptible Changes.)


SST Records' Overkill - The Lost Years

Per my usual internet boredom regime, the other day I was searching for obscure live shows of whatever musical obsession was racking my brain. That day it happened to be Overkill, SST's first true punk/metal hybrid band. Initially, my curiosity was piqued after investigating their contribution to Metal Blade Records' "Metal Massacre II" compilation, where they deliver a fairly whack version of their song "No Holds Barred". A superior version of the song also shows up on their posthumous SST LP "Triumph Of The Will". The Metal Blade version seemed glaringly mediocre in comparison to the version on "Triumph Of The Will", especially in the lyrics department. A little bit of research gleaned that their lead singer at the time of this recording was Scott Kidd, an adept L.A. metal singer, but definitely one who lacked the punk edge that former singer Merrill Ward brought to the table. Further sleuthing brought discovery of two gems-

- This detailed bio. Yeah, it's clearly written in the style of a heavy metal dunce, but you gotta hand it to them for the details.

Both are a pretty interesting addendum to an early SST band whose history is barely documented, though probably for good reason as their post-Merrill years don't seem as interesting. If you're not familiar with the "Triumph Of The Will" LP, get familiar. It's an underrated classic amongst SST fan geeks, and for good reason. Early 80's So Cal hardcore and Motorhead have never been blended as perfectly. It's the record Jeff Dahl's Powertrip wishes they could have made. Though, the Reign Of Terror single certainly gives Overkill a run for their money. (Speaking of which, here's an Ed Danky [Würm/Powertrip/Reign Of Terror] interview from 1983 in which dude claims Reign of Terror were on SST, who apparently funded their single.)

Also, if metal ain't your thing, there' always the first Overkill EP (click the pic)-


Los Autenticos Shapis

(Los Shapis posing with tall glasses of chicha, a traditional Peruvian alcohol which is made with corn that has been fermented after having been chewed up and spat out- it's an acquired taste.)

Upon release of their first single, 1981's "El Aguajal" ("The Swamp"), Los Shapis blew up to become one of Peru's most popular cumbia groups. Along the way, they supposedly also popularized the term "chicha", which was then coined to retroactively describe the brand of cumbia played by many Andean groups who had infused their cumbias with elements of Peruvian huayno, and 60's garage/rock.

This video for "El Aguajal" nicely encapsulates Los Shapis' celebratory vibe as juxtaposed within the plight of Peruvian reality- according to scarce internet sources, this clip actually comes from a Los Shapis full-length film of some sort.

Filled with many similarly warm-sounding chicha jams along the lines of "El Aguajal", the entirety of their first album, "Los Autenticos Shapis", is definitely worth searching out.

Despite my appreciation for Los Shapis, my true motivation for giving them a blog shout-out is said album's top-notch artwork, which absolutely floored me upon first discovering it, and always leaves me smiling whenever I think about-

Yes, this shameless Peruvian re-appropriation of the Ramones "Road to Ruin" LP is indeed the actual album artwork for the "Los Autenticos Shapis" LP!

If you're interested in checking out other similar chicha or Peruvian cumbia jams, La Cumbia De Mis Viejos is a great blog with tracks compiled by some Peruvian folks who aim to keep the sounds of old Peru alive, so you know it's legit- http://lacumbiademisviejos.blogspot.com/

While we're at it, another great blog to check out is Super Sonido - http://supersonido.net/
Super Sonido seems to be run by an American DJ who specializes specifically in older Latin American music which would remain mostly unheard of in the states if it weren't for his globetrotting to various locales in order to hunt down rare records. While it's updated pretty sporadically-if at all, anymore- its archive still holds a wealth of awesome jams.

Particularly worth checking out in relation to this post would be his post on Los Destellos, an amazing Peruvian cumbia band from Lima who somehow got lumped into being called a "chicha" band- http://supersonido.net/2009/06/28/los-destellos-enrique-delgado/

If you're interested in exploring the history of chicha music beyond
scarce internet sources and my half-assed overview, I remember reading a great chapter in this book which specifically details the cultural and socioeconomic history of chicha music within the context of Lima's history-



A dog, its last breaths drowning in the heat of the summer, experiencing death at the hands of Las Vegas traffic. A good samaritan, stopped in the middle of traffic, nurturing the dog's last living hours, despite the heat and her own possible death at the hands of terrible drivers. Myself- I'm a passerby -sympathetic, but not enough to stop and help. Here I am, hours later, still thinking about it.


"The Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below..."

Thanks to the SST Blasting Concept page I was just introduced to the Modivation website, an online portfolio of SST associate Modi Frank's film-making achievements. In addition to the interesting/funny Rollins-related material on the site, there are plenty of videos and short films related to the X/Blasters L.A. roots rock camp. Of course, the most intriguing of all of these would be Bad Day, a western short-film Ms. Frank co-wrote with Exene Cervenka, who also acted as the film's cinematographer. The cast includes John Doe, Chris D, Dave Alvin, and Kevin Costner. I have yet to watch the damn thing, but considering my intrigue with L.A.'s 80's country/roots rock scene, it's on my summer to-do list.

That said, my real interest lies in another video on her site - Dave Alvin's version of "4th of July". Of course, most people are familiar with X's version of this song. My own deep familiarity with X leaves me more stoked on the demo version of this song, which is a little more rootsy and less over-produced, as featured on their anthology. What do I mean by that?Well, thanks to the parlance of 1980s recording techniques, some of X's most underrated, and poignant post-1983 material suffers from a sound that is the exact antithesis of the vibe they're trying to convey. That is, the downtrodden working-class Southern Californian vibe that is vividly expressed in their lyrics, and usually so under-represented within country music, is unfortunately offset by the "big" production values that ruin so many albums recorded in the 80's- a lot of this has to do with reverb, reverb, REVERB! Thus, the whole "See How We Are" album seems more like a remnant of major label misjudgement than a proper roots/country music statement on the bleakness of Reaganomics. Regardless, as with most of the "See How We Are", I understood what they were trying to do and was still a fan of it.

After clicking around and watching different videos on the Modivation site, I was ecstatic to find a more stripped-down version of "4th of July" by Dave Alvin, the man who penned it originally. Of course, considering his close association with X, I wasn't surprised that this version existed, however I was very surprised at how different his version sounded- more roots/country-rock oriented than either of the familiar X versions. Despite his major label affiliations, I think his lesser successes beheld him to a less-overproduced standard, hence his superior version. On top of that, the video Ms. Frank made captures exactly what I'd always imagined the lyrics would correspond to- your typical working-class So Cal/Southwestern apartment complex. Considering how little this archetype is represented within country music, I fucking love this video. I hope you do, too.


The Saga of Dream Team II as Told by a Recovering NBA Fanatic (or Like 9/11, I Never Forget!)

I’m pretty sure half the reason I enjoy following the NBA is for "tele-novelismo" that encompasses the sordid behind-the-scenes story arcs of the players' lives. This isn’t a new realization at all, but it didn't occur to how absurdly deep my knowledge was until I shared this Dream Team II photo with a friend the other day. With just a quick 10-20 second glance of this photo, each player’s face brought to mind a story, a scandal, or some kind of fall from glory. The fact that I could recall each one with such instant brevity was somewhat astonishing... or maybe embarrassing. Either way, suddenly I felt that much closer to understanding how the mind of Dustin Hoffman’s “Rain Man” character functioned.

That said, here are those rapid-fire memories, supplemented with fun internet links!

During the summer of ’94, after playing hoops with a kid who owned the Kemp DTII jersey, I begged my mom to buy me LJ’s Dream Team II jersey. It was the only time I ever made my mom splurge on some kind of expensive clothing item for me. After that I was relegated to whatever closeout NBA jerseys I could wrangle up at the nearest Ross Dress-4-Less, including a Bobby Hurley rookie-year Kings jersey (ouch!) and a Chris Weber Golden State Warriors jersey.

While Catholic guilt has me feeling like a little jerk for begging my mom for that damn jersey, I soon realized it was actually the most cost-effective jersey purchase ever. Since Magic Johnson wore the same number on the first Dream Team, you could switch it up and tell your peers you were sporting a Magic Johnson jersey, which I was prone to do. Essentially, it was two jerseys for the price of one! Brilliant! Thus my accountant mother should be proud of this purchase.

My one NBA career-related thought regarding Larry Johnson, however, corresponds to Alonzo Mourning. A few years after parting ways as teammates on the Charlotte Hornets, they would face each other in one of the nastiest, most gully playoff rivalries ever, between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat. During one of the most brutal moments from that series, Mourning and LJ got fucking crazy and tried to swing on eachother. The fight ended with Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy trying to break up the fight and inadvertently creating one of the most memorable NBA Playoff moments ever.

Note Van Gundy, in the background, desperately running to stop them.

Note Van Gundy in the foreground, trying to stop the fight by desperately clinging on to Alonzo Mourning’s leg, looking a lot like a small child throwing a tantrum because they'd rather not go to school.

Isiah Thomas. Nobody likes Isiah Thomas. The end.

Seriously, though, dude was snubbed from the original Dream Team due most of the players involved hating him, as Scottie Pippen and Clyde Drexler recall in this brief interview-

Even worse, his post-NBA career has been muddled with terrible coaching stints with the Pacers and Knicks, and an infamous trainwreck of a stint as President of Basketball Operations with the Knicks. His time managing the Knicks saw them devolve into a NBA joke, a team who lacked chemistry but had an abundance of egotistical, overpaid players (see: Stephon Marbury). Oh, don't forget about the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by a Knicks executive which had him settling out of court for a couple million. Ouch, dude.

I have no interesting memories of Steve Smith, or "Smitty" as everyone endearingly refers to him. He was always a solid All-Star player who kinda bounced around from team to team, spending his best years with the Atlanta Hawks, doing his baller Steve Smith thing. He was just kind of like Mitch Richmond, in that he carried his team but never got superstar famous. As I understand it, he actually got a championship with the Spurs in the early 2000s. Now he’s an on-air analyst for TNT’s NBA programming, and I guess he runs a charity as well. Legit dude.

Shawn Kemp is the NBA’s reigning king of fathering illegitimate children, which certainly gives new meaning to his nickname, Reign Man. Also, dude’s infamous for squandering a great career on (one can only assume) lots of nachos, weed, Miller High-Life, and cocaine.

Also, he notoriously showed up high-as-shit to his Cleveland Cavaliers team photo shoot:

(Okay, I can’t substantiate that claim at all, but this infamous Kemp picture doesn't help prove otherwise.)

Tim Hardaway hates gay people. In 2007, when asked how he would feel about having a gay teammate he told a radio show host the following,
”You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known," Hardaway said. "I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

He has since apologized, recanted, and now advocates for gay rights, but still, that shit really killed Tim Hardaway for me, which sucks considering dude was 1/3 of my favorite Golden State Warriors team, the legendary RUN TMC:

(Dudes were also intense Cosby fans.)

Dan Majerle, assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns, and owner of "Majerle’s", a chain of bar and grill restaurants popular in the metropolitan Phoenix area.

I don't think they serve the Thunder bar.

In 2008, Majerle’s former Phoenix Suns teammate, Kevin Johnson, was elected Mayor of his hometown city, Sacramento, CA. Here he is with the former King of Sacramento, Arnold Schwarzenegger... or is that Dan Majerle!?

He also runs non-profit that lost their Americorps funding for mishandling Americorps funds. Hmm.

Joe Dumars’ post-NBA career is the exact inverse of his former Pistons teammate, Isiah Thomas. Dude has been the President of Basketball Operations for the Pistons since 2001, and has been ridiculously successful up until the past two seasons. He singlehandedly orchestrated everything that made the Pistons the dominant Eastern Conference team of the mid-2000s. I personally hate the Pistons, so that couldn’t have been more infuriating.

As a Pacers fan, I (irrationally) cast blame on Joe Dumars for this.

Yo, did you hear about the time Dominique Wilkins engaged in fisticuffs with a former NBA referee who claimed Wilkins owed him money?

No!? Well I’m pretty sure this guy did!

Much like Shawn Kemp, Derrick Coleman was also afflicted with a love for nachos, and drinking and subsequently threw his career in the shitter after disowning exercise and hard work.

However, unlike Shawn Kemp, and despite earning Rookie of the Year honors, this dude never took any of his teams very far, and he is frequently looked upon as having overall one of the most disappointing NBA careers in the history of the league. (Hence the name and theme of the discontinued blog I took the above image from, The Derrick Coleman Awards.)

Hey, remember when Shaq had funny little sideburns as pictured above? I do.

Yeah, Shaq’s pretty run of the mill in terms of being a scumbaggy sports star who cheated on his wife a bunch. But did you know this dude was embroiled in some weird four-way love melodrama that involved his ex-wife banging Gilbert Arenas, while Shaq was involved in some tryst with Arenas’ wife, who also happened to be Shaq’s former personal assistant? Sadly, I do know this.

Reggie Miller, a true basketball great, my favorite player ever, and, like any rich, divorced 40-something, a dude who likes to party hard with young, attractive women.

Well, it looks like too many repeat viewings of Bill Bellamy’s “How To Be A Player” finally caught up with him.

Basically, he was harassing some rich neighbor guy’s fiancé who he found immensely attractive. In turn, rich dude used his riches to have this banner flown over a beach in Malibu, where Millers lives. Classic.

As for Mark Price, I hear he’s quietly shooting free throws somewhere.

Oh, and he’s also the titleholder of “Whitest NBA Highlight Video on Youtube”. Soul Asylum? Seriously?

Your 1994 USA FIBA World Basketball Championship Team!