Monday, November 24, 2008


Hey... if any of you are still following, I finally succumbed to your demands and re-uploaded all of the stuff i've posted here. All the downloads below are once again active. Sorry it took me so long. Hopefully, I'll get some more stuff posted up here again soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm just noticing that the links to the things I'm posting don't stay active for long. In fact, nothing is available except for the last post. I'm working on a way to keep these up, but in the meantime, if anyone wants any of it, let me know and I'll upload it.

Joey Tampon and the Toxic Shocks

Joey Tampon the Toxic Shocks - S/T 7" [Recess Records, 1997]

Joey Tampon's is a name that's already been mentioned here, will come up quite a few more times in this blog, and is by far one of the most enigmatic figures in Southern punk of the early to late 90's.

Joey was a staple of the Huntsville punk scene for the whole stretch of the 1990's, playing in too many bands to count, including, but not limited to: 15E, The Slackers, Shitboy from Outerspace, The Radioactives, The 3D's, The 45's, Puddle, and probably a bunch more I'm forgetting or don't even know about.

Joey is probably most notorious for his eponymous outfit Joey Tampon and the Toxic Shocks - a snotty, minimalist DIY punk trio featuring Neil Delbaccio on bass (Burning Radios, The Wops), and Greg Addison on drums (The Grumpies, Rice Harvester, Jarvis). A quick google search shows the legacy of this band is alive and well, the centerpiece being this self-titled 7" released on the ubiquitous Recess Records. I recall them touring extensively, piled inside a Ford Festiva with their gear strapped to the roof. During their live shows, Joey often wore a self-styled full body tampon costume while playing. Their songs were based on pretty traditional punk themes of the day. When Joey wasn't griping about the fashion choices of undesirable others ("Duckheads are for Fuckheads"), or the oppressive wrath of Johnny Law ("Magnum P.I.G."), he was raging against the machine with anti-authoritarian, anti-conformity, anti-corporate rants like "Everything's a Product" and "I'm Not Going to Kill Myself For You".

Musically, the Toxic Shocks had a solid bassist, and one of the best punk rock drummers in town, but the defining characteristics of their sound was derived from the fact that Joey couldn't play the guitar for shit. This coupled with his signature nasally yelp results in a reckless, slapdash kamikaze collection of minute long anthems that are surprisingly inventive at times. Speaking on song length, Joey is an incredibly economical dude. Like his previous band The Slackers, Joey managed to squeeze no less then 5 songs on each side, making a total of 10 in the 11.5 minutes allotted.

After the band broke up, Joey started exploring his love of surf and garage rock with bands like The Radioactives and The 3D's. Shortly after the turn of the century, Joey Tampon - a man with the word "fuck" tattooed on his body at least 3 times - did a completely 180 transformation, became a born again christian, a hardcore republican, and eventually a Baptist minister. Maybe having a kid changed him just that much, or maybe it's just switching one dogma for another, but I wouldn't expect to hear anymore punk rock out of Joey Tampon. Though apparently, he's really into bluegrass music now.

The Grumpies

The Grumpies - S/T 7" [Shredder Records, 1997]

I'm istening to this 7" right now, and thinking the Grumpies are just as awesome to me know as they were to me in 1996. Given that most of you were not going to see the Grumpies - particularly the shows in Huntsville - around that time, then you have no frame of reference, and so I'll do my best to iterate to you just how awesome this band was to the vast majority of punk rock fans in the area at that time: um... we fucking loved them. We went to every single show they played (and they played all the time), I wore out several copies of their demo cassette in my car (I still have a 3rd generation dub, recorded over a copy of the Neville Brothers' "Yellow Moon" that is barely playable), and over 10 years later I'm still spinning this 7" on heavy rotation.

The Grumpies were from Starkville, Mississippi. Their singer/guitarist Jayson (last names are often neglected to be mentioned in punk rock liner notes) was formerly in White Trash Superman (posted on this blog a few weeks ago). Their bassist and second singer Amy, told me once at a show that she had been playing bass approximately six months before joining the band [debate could be raised here on whether females are naturally better musicians, or that the best punk rock is performed by amateurs]. They also had a drummer named Vince who was mad man on the skins. At one point, Vince left or was fired from the band and Greg of Huntsville's Rice Harvester/Toxic Shocks fame joined up with them.

What you'll soon find out, if you're not listening already, is that The Grumpies sound something like if the Chipmunks (featuring one Chipette) got amped up on coffee and amphetamines and played cute, quirky and ultra catchy punk rock at warp speed. In fact, most people I've played this band for were convinced I was playing the record too fast. Having seen them live more times than I can count, I can attest that the record is just fine. They're voices are really just that high.

As a bonus, I'm adding this video I found on a Grumpies fansite:

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Crumbs

I have to firstly apologize for the lapse in updates. Things have been a little crazy as of late - plus I'm notorious for starting up projects and neglecting them. But I'm forcing myself to make a post tonight.

The Crumbs - I Fell in Love with an Alien Girl... [Recess Records, 1995]

It seems like I had heard of Miami's The Crumbs long before I actually heard them. They played Huntsville (with the Slackers, I believe) but it was on a school night and my jerkface parents wouldn't let me go. I read reviews of this 7" well before I was able to buy it. I really liked the titles of the songs, the band name, the artwork, and pop punk* in general was the shit I lived for, so I decided I liked it long before I bought it and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Once our local record store (Sunburst, R.I.P) got in stock, I was among the first to snatch it up. Well, it didn't live up to all that I'd grown to expect, but I still listened to it on repeat, ad nauseum. Singer Raf Classic sometimes sounds like a deaf Turkish immigrant straining to shit a melody. But the songs are very solid, and you kind of get used to it.

*I should point out for the younger generation that the pop punk of over a decade ago is a slightly different animal than what most associate with the term now. I'm speaking more of bands such as The Queers, Screeching Weasel, and The Mr. T Experience who employed a much thinner production quality, much simpler arrangements, many many nods to the Ramones, and gave us just a little more attitude than your Blink 182's and Good Charlottes and Paramores. Don't get me wrong, they still sang about some whiny shit. There was plenty bitching and moaning and longing for all the girls that neglected to mirror their affection and admiration. They were just a hell of a lot more punk rock about it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Slackers

The Slackers:
Where Were You in '92? (Fay-Get Records, 1994)
Circle A Your Day - (Nation of Kids, 1995)
Split with Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot (House O'Pain, 1996)
+ 1 Bonus track

I don't have the greatest explanation as to why, but it seems no band truly epitomizes Huntsville's concept of punk rock like The Slackers. Maybe it's because most of their members were crucial components of so many other important bands, or that their style and attitude mapped out the template we'd see in most other bands after them for several years to come.

Either way, at the time, you could not have convinced me there were any cooler four guys on Earth aside from these chaps. On the front lines you had the prematurely balding, righteously outspoken, homemade tattoo gallery and bassist/singer Joey Tampon (15E, Shitboy from Outerspace) whose comically nasal outbursts were glued together with the barnacle encrusted, gravel filled, razor blade gargling vocal chords of Heiko Schrepel whose snarling growl was tailor made for this band. On guitar, you had a very young Robert Daniel (The Peeps) who occasionally chimed in on vocals, and like Schrepel and Tampon, seems to have shared a good bit of writing duties. Of course, holding it all down on drums was Matt Seward, brother to Andrew Seward of Against Me!.

Lyrically, The Slackers covered all the hot button issues of the day. Every tune was an unrelenting attack on figures of authority, the pompous bourgeoisie, conformity, society on the whole (but most especially in the South), poseur punks, and of course, those fucking audacious, fancy pants, limousine-riding, money making rockstars (which is semi-ironic considering Heiko went on grace the Vans WARP Tour and Hot Topic stores across the country as the bassist for One Man Army). Semi-irony aside, these dudes sing it with a burning, urgent conviction and enough "fuck you!'s" to make for a pretty entertaining drinking game.

As it usually works in punk rock, the game is all about instant gratification - or at least "ASAP" gratification. You start a band because you want to play shows and put out records. So as soon as you know 4 or 5 songs, it's time to get on stage and into the studio - which explains why so many of the first E.P.'s by these bands are really sloppy. That's probably the case with "Where We You in '92?" which I would guess was definitely not recorded to a click track. But with "Circle A Your Day", they're starting to get the hang of it, and by the time their last recordings came out, they were a pretty tight band - not to mention economical. The Slackers wasted not an inch of vinyl, cramming never less than 4 songs on a side. For the most part, this is their whole discography aside from a few other compilation tracks and 9 or so unreleased songs that NOK! was later selling as part of a box set. All together, they equal up to about half an hour of music.

The bonus track here is (again) from Recess Records' "Play at Your Own Risk, Vol. 2". Rumors around this time were that The Slackers were in talks with San Francisco punk staple Lookout! Records about putting out a record, but the band's demise came when they ventured out to San Fran - a one show tour - to play that coveted mecca of all things punk in the 90's - Gilman Street. Legend has it that they were kicked out and banned as a result of Robert repeating an offensive lesbian joke throughout their set. I'm not entirely clear on the details or exact cause of this next incident, but according to a story Joey told me while we were on tour together as The 3D's, there was an altercation and they ended up leaving a scared and teary-eyed Heiko behind in Oakland, California, and traveled all the way back to Alabama without him. The band played their last show at The Tip Top Cafe shortly after, having members of the audience come on stage and sing in place of Schrepel (I used to have this on video tape but loaned it to Joey and never got it back).

Matt Seward moved away to go to school at Montevallo. Robert Daniel was playing with in the Peeps at the same time as The Slackers and continued doing so afterward. He started a short-lived rock n roll band called The Deadlines, replaced me as the guitarist of The 3D's, and now plays with The Counter Clockwise. Joey "Tampon" Tacon started many more bands, including The 3D's, The Radioactives, and Joey Tampon and the Toxic Shocks before finding Jesus and becoming a Baptist minister. Heiko came back to Huntsville briefly to get some clothes, sell off the remainder of his possessions, and moved back to California for good. As mentioned before, several years later he was on the WARP Tour as the bassist for One Man Army. According to his Wikipedia page, he's now playing with U.S. Bombs.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

White Trash Superman

White Trash Superman - Couldn't If I Tried b/w Wheaties (We Did It Ourselves Records, 1994?)
I don't know a whole lot about White Trash Superman besides the fact that I love this record, their singer/guitarist Jayson went on to form The Grumpies (who'll be covered later on), and they came from the college town of Starkville, Mississippi.
I only saw WTS once sometime in the summer of 1995. They played a pizza shop called J. Gregry's (Jack, didn't you guys play this show?) and I remember then being not quite simple, fast, or sloppy to be what most in Huntsville at that would consider "punk rock". I recall my friend Trey saying something to me in that respect and saying something back at him like "Yeah... I think this is like... 'indie rock'"

One night, probably more than a year later, I was cleaning out my car to find someone (still not sure who, but if you want it back, sorry!) left this in my back seat. Side A sounds like Dinosaur Jr. on a pop punk binge. It's a song that beckons to be listened to repeatedly and will remain in rotation inside your head for days to come. Side B starts out slow, sounding a hell of a lot like Pavement before picking up the pace to morph into something more along the lines of Superchunk.

With a little research, I was able to snag their other 7" "Punk Rock Hero" (which is in this in the file you're downloading) off their Myspace where you can also get these tracks. Although, i recommend you download them here, as i've got them all tagged with cover art and all.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot

Lunch Box [House O'Pain, 1995]
Split with The Slackers [House O'Pain, 1996]

Nashville's Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot hold a special place in my heart, as they're the band that sucked me into this whole damn subculture. I happened upon them at random tagging along with some friends at a show Huntsville's Tip Top Cafe sometime in '94 or so and they blew my poor sixteen-year-old mind. Four grown men in a ridiculous, half asses attempt at cross dressing, playing bone crunching punk rock without an ounce of seriousness to be found. Their frontman sometimes pretended to be (and later actually became) a professional wrestler, they had songs about Billy D. Williams and all kinds of other random shit. It was pretty prime stuff for a teenage boy, and teenage boys they got. Their shows were fucking packed with slam dancing, pubescent punkers trying to break each other's necks in the pit. Up until that point, it was probably the most fun I ever had in my life.

As far as their history goes, I don't know much. I know some of the singer Cat and guitarist Donnie were originally in a band called Rednecks in Pain, and their former drummer Chris has played in bands like Asschapel and Booby Hatch (also with Donnie on guitar) since. But to aid those thirsty for more trivia, I found this online...

A band from the same mid 1990's Nashville hardcore scene that produced Salida, Spider Virus, and Martian Tourist Trap. This group became known for their absoutely legendary live shows. At the high school that I attended, anyone who had actually seen one of these shows was revered and asked awed questions by his or her peers. On at least one occasion, their male drummer played a show clothed only in a Catholic schoolgirl dress made entirely out of raw bacon. The band often threw bottle rockets into the audience and once boiled a guitar onstage. Like much of the rest of the hardcore scene from that time period, though, this band eventually fell into a pop culture black hole, never to be heard from again.

The first record here is part of the "Lunch Box." A box set that contains the 7" you get here, as well as a second, completely random 45 they probably got from a thrift store (mine is "Listen, My Love" by The Highlights). It also came with a little xeroxed booklet, a napkin, a spork, and a voucher for some free Fun Girls trading cards.

The second is a split with Huntsville's The Slackers. We'll get into The Slackers later, but it seems by the time this came out, the Fun Girls weren't playing around Huntsville so much anymore - or their popularity had begun to wane. Either way, it's good stuff.

I really, really, really wish I could include their first 7" Hi Doll! with this. Way back when I bought it, they gave you the option of getting it on cassette. Being that I was just going to dub the record onto a tape and listen to it in my car anyway, I thought that seemed like the sensible option. Apparently, I wasn't thinking much about my future music blog in 1995.

Maybe it was their Music City roots, but Nashville punk bands seemed to pour a little more quality into their recordings and their musicianship was always a bit tighter. Despite my deeply rooted punk beginnings, having a Bachelor's degree in audio engineering often plays a part in causing me to cringe when i hear some of these old records... the cheap microphones, no reverb, no compression, bad mixes. But in that respect, these Fun Girls recordings are definitely a nice break.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Trying to spread this out as best I can over the South, it's time we moved on a little more East to Atlanta. This is actually the only vinyl I have from around those parts. The Atlanta scene rarely made the drive over to Huntsville, at least not in my day. In fact, I'm kind of straining to think of more than one or two ATL bands that came to town except for Subsonics. I never had the pleasure of catching them when they played my town, but my band The 3D's had the honor of opening for them at the Star Bar in Atlanta circa 1998.

I first heard of this record after reading a review in Alternative Press when I was in the 9th grade. I bought it a few months later when I spotted it in Sunburst Records. Side A is a jangly retro rock n roll jam that sounds something like if VU-era Lou Reed was a little more into meth than heroin. Side B is a cover of Richard Hell's "Love Comes in Spurts" and doesn't sound too far removed from the original.

As for the history of the band, I don't know much. Singer/guitarist Clay Reed and
drummer Buffi Aguero have been the mainstays of the band with revolving bass players throughout the years. They've got something like 5 full lengths, and according to their Myspace, they're still playing around. So if you dig this, I strongly encourage you to check out the rest of their catalog, most especially the CD Follow Me Down.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Jawas

This seems as good a time as any to mention that since I am from Huntsville, the majority of the content on this site will revolve around the North Alabama punk scene circa years 1993 - 1998. It's the one I grew up in, and will always remain nearest and dearest to my heart. That being said, it was rather a challenge deciding who to spotlight first. So again, I just went with what I felt like listening to at the moment, and that ended up being The Jawas.

The Jawas were very much an anomaly in Huntsville at the time. While everyone else stuck with 3 chord punk rock, The Jawas were sporting heavy metal influences, playing jangly weird chords and in retrospect were even a bit experimental considering the Huntsville scene was hardly one enriched with a great deal of variety. Oh, and people loved the shit out of them. A Jawas show was always packed. Drummer Matt Bakula (The Peeps, 3D's) was prone to wearing a giant bull skull with horns over his head while playing drums, shirtless, with a pentagram painted on his chest. The kids ate it up. This seems like it was one of the first releases on Huntsville's Nation of Kids! label in what I'm thinking was probably 1994. I was in the 11th grade, and it seemed like every punk inclined teenager I knew was rocking this shit in their car on the way to school. Bakula's little brother Patrick did the cover art who was then like 5 or something. He's all grown up now, had a band called Circuit Pop (who is brother drummed for), now plays in the Dastardly Do-Nothings, and makes me feel pretty fucking old.

As far as the tunes themselves, listening now, it's a little hard to describe. These guys were blending thrash metal ("Bionic Bitch") with hardcore punk ("Mocking U") and smoothing it all out with some catchy hooks that had everyone singing along. It's a little punk, a little metal, but definitely not punk-metal. But then, when I think of punk-metal, I think of like early Goo Goo Dolls and all that awful shit Roadrunner records was putting out in the late 80's. Some of the quieter, janglier moments have always reminded me of Sonic Youth or early Nirvana. Most of all, I think this record is a shining example of what can happen when a bunch of kids haven't yet learned the "rules" about playing music and writing songs yet - henceforth, they've got no blueprint to follow, nor do they have to try to hard to venture into left field. A lot of the ideas on here still sound brilliant to me. For example the extended drum stick interludes between parts in "Master Plan." It's great for the same reason a lot of these old punk records are great: It's unreasonably angry, paranoid and overtly nihilistic in that blissfully sheltered way that only high schoolers can be, but also pretty goofy at times and never forgets to be fun.

They put out a second 7" called "A Guy Cut in Half," but for whatever reason, I never bought it. As I recall correctly, their singer/guitarist Donnie (forget his last name - and all my Google searches just came up with message board discussions about Star Wars) moved to Florence and got heavy into Hardcore. Their other guitarist Mark Massey I would see around Huntsville for years to come, but never really saw him play with anyone else. Drummer Matt Bakula later fronted the ska/punk Huntsville super group The Peeps, and surfy garage band The 3D's (which included myself on guitar). He's now got a band called The Counter Clockwise and plays washtub bass in The Pine Hill Haints who just put something out on K Records. Bassist Andrew Seward is probably the most recognizable of the 4 as he's been playing with major-label political punks Against Me! for the last 5 or 6 years.

Chickenhead Won the War Today

Chickenhead: Everything Must Go! E.P. (4 1/2 Fingers Records, 1993) + 2 bonus tracks

I was slightly too young to have actually been aware of Miami's Chickenhead when they were around, but I heard many stories from the older kids in town in the years that followed. Their shows and antics were somewhat the stuff of legend. Singer Chuck Loose - later of The Crumbs - allegedly set himself on fire during their set. I was later a big fan of their guitarist Iggy Scam's (Onion Flavored Rings, The Hidden Resentments) zine SCAM!, so one day when my friend Jason was selling his records for rent money, I hesitated not from snatching this up from him.

This record is about as raucous, rambunctious, sloppy, and reckless as punk rock gets. It's kind of like if Black Flag got drunk on cheap wine all the time and stopped giving a shit so much about politics and focused a little more on breaking shit, looting, and other general chaotic and (self) destructive behavior. Short and sweet, these tracks all crash and burn in just under a minute yielding maybe about 6 minutes of music total. With just a little research, I found out that Recess Records has rereleased this gem, so I encourage any of you who dig it to buy it here for only $3.

As a bonus, I've thrown in two extra compilation tracks: the song "Young Fidel" from Lookout! Records and Kill Rock Stars joint compilation A Slice of Lemon, and "Ruin Your Day" from Recess Records Play at Your Own Risk, Vol 2 box set which you should still be available from Recess (also includes Black Fork, The Crumbs, Quincy Punx, and The Slackers).

As far as I can tell, the only thing missing here is their split CD with Los Canadians, Mutiny in Miami, which seems to be out of print these days. However, if you're still itching for more Chickenhead, check out what I found on You Tube:

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Larry Brrrds

It was hard to decide where to start first on this project. I've got lots and lots of mid 90's regional punk rock vinyl in my collection to cover, but I decided to go with the first thing I was itching to hear: The Larry Brrrds. There isn't a lot I can tell you about this band, because there isn't much I know or was able to glean from the internet. What I do know is this:
They hailed from Dayton, Ohio, they had 3 members, they played some bad ass poppy, sloppy punk rock, and I when I was 16, I quit my job at Hardee's to go see them open for Buzzov-en (sadly, i wound up getting high and not even going to the show). The Larry Brrrds played Huntsville once or twice more, but I was never able to check them out. I did, however, snag every record I found of theirs which totaled up to the three we have here. This, I'm sure, is by no means a complete discography. I know that they have a full length CD out there somewhere, and I wish the hell I owned it and/or knew how to find it (that being said, I haven't really looked that hard). I've zipped up these 3 in one convenient zip file [unlike most music blogs I've seen, that's how I'm going to do things. It's annoying to me to have to download multiple zips with only 3 or 4 songs each].

"Eastown" 7" - This, as far as I know is their first release and it was the first I bought way back in 1994 or so. I had just gotten my driver's license and recall spending a few lonely nights listening to it on repeat while driving about aimlessly. It's a one-sided disc with only 3 very short songs. It's much simpler and more conventionally pop punk than the rest of their stuff... not bad, but not exceptionally good, either. Guitarist J.P. Sinister handles all the vocals and pretty much sounds like a frog being strangled in the studio. It's a little rough to get past at first, but the songs are solid and do well to make it worth listening to.

This one is a split EP with a band called Lynnard's Innards. 4 songs, all very awesome, all very short, and all a more mature continuation from "Eastown". There are no credits on this thing, so I don't know which member has decided to join is as co-lead vocalist, but I'm sure as hell glad he did. Sinister's gutteral croaking is now much more tolerable when complimented by (who I'm going to assume is bassist) Lucky Millions, whose pipes are well above par from your average punk rock crooner.

This one has no title, so I'm guessing it's just self-titled. I'm not sure where this one falls into on their timeline, but it's the third and final record I bought of theirs. Side A contains what are probably two of my most favorite punk songs of all time. They're fast, melodic, ridiculously catchy, and make me wish to hell I myself was in a punk rock band right now. Side Two is good, but is powerfully overshadowed by the first and pretty much the reason I had listened to it maybe twice before I just now digitized it.

Bonus Track: This is a very haphazardly assembled compilation* that features a bunch of punk rock bands of varying notoriety (Propaghandi, Less Than Jake, F.Y.P., and even Huntsville's Themack) covering television theme songs from the 70's and 80's. The Larry Brrrds are heard here performing a rendition of the theme from "Fame".
* No booklet is included, just an apologetic, xeroxed slip of paper alerting the buyer that he/she can write for a copy. It also includes a bonus 7" with one song accidentally recorded at 45 rpms while the rest are at 33 1/3.

Download the whole mess here from Sendspace (i don't have any webspace, and until someone offers to let me use theirs, this will have to do - also, if this link has become inactive, just email me and i'll fix it).