RSN Playlist 1

Tom Waites Gives Henry Rollins Advice

Some kids dream of becom­ing a rock star. Oth­ers just do it. Start­ing out as some skin­ny kid who talked his way to becom­ing the local road­ie for a few Wash­ing­ton DC bands, Hen­ry Rollins took the chal­lenge and best­ed him­self, not only becom­ing the bulked up lead singer for sev­er­al hard­core punk bands, includ­ing the local Minor Threat and LA’s Black Flag, and his own Rollins Band, but after minor roles in Hol­ly­wood film, he then land­ed on his feet as the host of a cable talk show.
There was great music ahead. There was crap music to whack past as well. And while I had already throt­tled deaf ears among the Yip­pies of Atlanta, I knew I’d run into anoth­er hard wall soon­er of lat­er in DC. Know­ing my instincts for self-regard and what­ev­er it is about my whacked sense of social peck­ing order (none) that attracts trou­ble, it would­n’t take long.
One of the perks of becom­ing one of the elite at some­thing is that you get to meet almost any of the elite at any­thing else whom you wish to meet. The post­ed short animation—The Bare­ly Ani­mat­ed Adven­tures of Hen­ry Rollins: Tom Waits Story—created by Joz­abad, gives us a look at two such elites meet­ing and shar­ing them­selves. We think you will find it hilar­i­ous, and thank Joz­abad for his own cre­ative efforts.

But this RSN entry is actu­al­ly about my own rela­tion­ship to Mr. Rollins. First, a lit­tle rumor mill grist to get us start­ed. When I came upon the DC scene from Cor­pus Christi by way of Atlanta in the fall of 1983, I had heard of noth­ing of the bands or the per­son­al­i­ties that roamed the bar­ren streets of 1983 Wash­ing­ton, an urban waste­land that was bare­ly a city, with only two neigh­bor­hoods not rolling up come dark, George­town and Adams Mor­gan, but our sto­ry takes place between 7th & E Street NW and 9th & G Street, NW, down­town. Although about five years old­er than most of the charis­mat­ic lead­ers of the under­ground scene, I had only decid­ed to infil­trate the punk domin­ion the past year or so. So, although I had the gay and new wave dance scenes of Cor­pus Christi and the punk and gay scenes in Atlanta under my belt, I knew I had a lot of study­ing and many bands to expe­ri­ence before I knew how to nav­i­gate among the char­ac­ters I would face in the com­ing years, plot the topog­ra­phy, and maybe, just maybe, escape with my life if not my dig­ni­ty. There was great music ahead. There was crap music to whack past as well. And while I had already throt­tled deaf ears among the Yip­pies of Atlanta, I knew I’d run into anoth­er hard wall soon­er of lat­er in DC. Know­ing my instincts for self-regard and what­ev­er it is about my whacked sense of social peck­ing order (none) that attracts trou­ble, it would­n’t take long. True to the pur­pose­ful sol­dier spir­it in me, it did­n’t.

dcspaceNev­er a syco­phant but quite com­mon­ly a fierce defend­er of what­ev­er line of equal­i­ty or truth it is that I think is right among equal cit­i­zens, under­ground or oth­er­wise, it nev­er takes long before some­one else with a dif­fer­ent opin­ion strikes a blow metaphor­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise.

The Four Horse­men of my own expe­ri­en­tial apoc­a­lypse, a bat­tle­ground also known as DC Space and the 9:30 Club would be artists and musi­cians Rene the Fist, Jared Hen­drick­son, Bruce Merkle and our mus­cle of the hour—Henry Rollins, all excel­lent artists, all for­mi­da­ble agi­ta­tors, all friends first before they became foes.

Except­ing Rollins.

I can’t say that we were ever friends. I was intro­duced to him by Jack who insist­ed at a WUST show dur­ing the Mus­tard Years, fol­lowed by a quick hand­shake, a sub­mis­sive gri­mace and prob­a­bly a lin­ger­ing brow stand­off. By this era I was already in the begin­ning stages of beer bloat, and every­one in the hall that night knew that Right­eous Rollins just did­n’t roll that way.

I spent my first year in my new city, my new scene buy­ing up copies of Max­i­mum Rock & Roll, Flip­side, Tru­ly Needy, and any small­er local street fanzines I could get into my hands. I even cre­at­ed my own street zine called SAMPLEX, but it was decid­ed­ly more bent to the social­ly-taint­ed word and image than any empha­sis on local or nation­al punk bands.

mzi.mgrnrdoz.170x170-75But my first con­fronta­tion with Hen­ry Rollins had begun back in the Skin­ny Years on a packed house night at DC Space (writ­ten in low­er case in real­i­ty, I pre­fer to adhere to most stan­dard Eng­lish ren­der­ings because I usu­al­ly can). This was a spo­ken word event. In fact I have nev­er seen Rollins per­form on stage, and frankly I do not think this small omis­sion of fan authen­tic­i­ty makes me a bad per­son. As I write this now, I some­what regret not ever hav­ing seen Rollins in Black Flag. No doubt he was a mon­ster on the stage. I don’t specif­i­cal­ly recall that I blew any oppor­tu­ni­ty to buy a tick­et for Black Flag dur­ing those years, but I prob­a­bly did.

I had read, of course, much glit­ter about the Hen­ry Rollins ver­sion of pun­ish­ing high octane ener­gy on stage in belt­ing out the lyrics to such punk clas­sics as My War and Rise Above. I’d also read in var­i­ous street zines and rags that he was also a nasty play­er in pub­lic in choos­ing to make a point of step­ping into fam­i­ly restau­rants and oth­er luke­warm venues which always some­how includ­ed snarling at any­one who dare com­mit the unpar­don­able sin of star­ing and whis­per­ing among each oth­er or in stunned silence at his buff tat­tooed uber self with a per­func­to­ry, “What the fuck are YOU look­ing at?” or some­thing sim­i­lar to nuclear flash and blind. Not polite to stare? How about not polite to bel­low at strangers? Giv­ing as good as he got? Hard­ly. He was­n’t the only punk rock­er who delight­ed in this type of pub­lic rebel­lion, but I always found that type of behav­ior stu­pid and unjus­ti­fied, and felt it MY duty to draw the ire of these types to myself, bone­head to bone­head, so to speak.

To be con­tin­ued…

Concrete Blonde’s Snappy Beginnings

Snap­py begin­nings? Watch this snap­py video from 1986. Pow­er pop with Con­crete Blonde’s edgy young Johnette Napoli­tano as she first ices the deck then skates right through not a few of us old coot dance punks still prowl­ing about. For those who remem­ber those grin­ning days with a bit of sweat on our brow, let’s just say, this group’s Still in Hol­ly­wood is just a tease for what’s to come in the ear­ly Nineties…

Any­body not chew­ing the cud knew by then that girls could rock like Elvis and right from the start, they were as punk as they want­ed to be. But I’ll be hon­est, I did­n’t dis­cov­er Con­crete Blonde until some­time in 2003 when I first launched Radio Sce­newash and I think it was Andy Cor­ri­g­an who gave me a stack of CD’s which includ­ed the sound­track of the David Lynch 1997 film—Lost High­way.

Gray Nos­trils

Adam Lazzara

Taking Back Sunday Is Adam Lazzara

“I hate the word rock star. All that shit in the 80s died there and it needs to stay there.”
—Adam Laz­zara
Pulling back the gen­tle cur­tain on Tak­ing Back Sun­day, one is always quick to notice that Adam Laz­zara is the force behind the ris­ing from the noisy hard­core punk scene to the nation­al rock stage through the steady band’s com­bi­na­tion of pop-punk mod­ern rock and straight-up pop. Let’s just say fif­teen years of earn­ing stripes, and evolv­ing a sound rather than sim­pling toss­ing in the tow­el has begun to pay paid off.

The band was found­ed in 1999 by Eddie Reyes. Reyes was already a vet­er­an of the NYC music scene, and took part in numer­ous projects that kept him in the game. After record­ing their ini­tial epony­mous EP, a Tak­ing Back Sun­day shake-up brought bassist Laz­zara to lead vocals mic. Seems to have been a smart move.

orig-89890In the music record­ing indus­try, the line-up shuf­fles, the scan­dalous fir­ings, the defec­tions, the tran­si­tions, the unex­plained exo­dus, the exo­dus for pro­fes­sion­al rea­sons, and the glo­ri­ous and inglo­ri­ous reunions are each a nat­ur­al part of the often cut-throat busi­ness. Almost goes with­out say­ing.

Tak­ing Back Sun­day has not been immune to these group effect bod­i­ly func­tions. Dur­ing the 2006 Taste of Chaos tour (for which Tak­ing Back Sun­day was head­lin­ing) Fred Mascheri­no, who had joined Tak­ing Back Sun­day in 2003, returned home due to fam­i­ly com­mit­ments. His fel­low mem­bers of TBS were forced to con­tin­ue with­out him, sup­port­ed onstage by mem­bers of Saosin, Anti-Flag and Under­oath. He nev­er came back, but when ready to return to work he start­ed his own projects. Oth­ers came and went.

Now Laz­zara, after ten years of fronting TBS, has gone solo and acoustic with a bane­ful tune—Because It Works.

To be con­tin­ued…


The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon Mooks The Replacements

My lat­est obses­sion is hear­ing and fol­low­ing the renais­sance of 1970s-styled rock poets and musi­cal­ly inno­v­a­tive bands win­ning the hearts and minds of music tick­et buy­ers every­where. Among the classi­est of these bands is The Gaslight Anthem, and Bri­an Fal­lon is their poet lau­re­ate.

In 2008, The Gaslight Anthem released The ’59 Sound LP, their sec­ond album which alert­ed music fans and crit­ics alike that some­thing new was pulling into town…


The Gaslight Anthem

Their first effort, Sink Or Swim, was a crack­ling hint of what was to come, but the album sound was rougher with jar­ring gui­tars, irreg­u­lar beats more rem­i­nis­cent to met­al which roared over the poet­’s lines than a group hell bent on crank­ing out some new code, but crit­ics nod­ded in agree­ment that this band had some­thing spe­cial, some­thing worth notic­ing.

New Jer­sey rock fans knew there was some­thing there as the TGA fan base grew, some­thing that would remain there, even as they sharp­ened and clar­i­fied their deliv­ery sys­tem. When the more pol­ished break­through sec­ond album came along, huge seg­ments of both the old school clas­sic rock and post-punk rock­er nation were eas­i­ly hooked. The Gaslight Anthem rose to star­dom quick­ly. With The ’59 Sound many said a new Spring­steen had been announced. Even­tu­al­ly it became rumored that the Boss him­self was an avid fan, as he was spot­ted in the audi­ence of increas­ing­ly grow­ing crowds. Yes. Most of the lads even hailed from the same back­yard palace of New Jer­sey, New Brunswick, a mere half hour from beach­side Asbury Park. Soon they would share the same stage. Also in 2008, the band cov­ered “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” for the John­ny Cash trib­ute album All Aboard! A Trib­ute to John­ny Cash. Bri­an Fal­lon has stat­ed sev­er­al times that with­out The Replace­ments there would be no Gaslight Anthem, as they are heav­i­ly influ­enced by them, espe­cial­ly their song “Left of the Dial”.

Paul West­er­berg, of The Replace­ments once wrote a song, an acoustic bal­lad. When he played it to the rest of the band, it was met with silence. “Save that for your solo album, Paul,” Bob Stin­son said. “That ain’t the Replace­ments”. The track remained unre­leased for years. West­er­berg real­ized his tough­est audi­ence was the band itself, lat­er say­ing, “If it does­n’t rock enough, Bob will scoff at it, and if it isn’t catchy enough, Chris won’t like it, and if it isn’t mod­ern enough, Tom­my won’t like it.”

There’s no doubt that Bri­an Fal­lon and his group is assem­bled with those same sen­ti­ments in mind.

To be con­tin­ued…

Josh Ritter’s ‘The Beast In Its Tracks’ Balances Bitter With Sweet

Josh Rit­ter’s ‘The Beast In Its Tracks’ bal­ances bit­ter with sweet (review) (via The Plain Deal­er)

The Beast in Its Tracks, Josh Rit­ter, Pyth­eas Record­ings “The Beast in Its Tracks” is an aching­ly beau­ti­ful album about the process of mov­ing on from one love to the next. Ober­lin Col­lege grad Josh Rit­ter han­dles the bit­ter (“Hope­ful”) and the sweet (“…

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The Pixies Talk New Music And Kim Deal Departure

The Pix­ies Talk New Music an Kim Deal Depar­ture (via Wall Street Jour­nal Dig­i­tal Net­work)

On Sep­tem­ber 3, alter­na­tive rock pio­neers the Pix­ies released their first new music in over twen­ty years. In this excerpt from a longer inter­view, band mem­bers address ear­ly crit­i­cism of their new music, as well as the sud­den depar­ture of bassist Kim…

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Indie Rock Band, Claire On A Dare, Brings Rock Opera Back to Music Scene With New Concept Album

Indie Rock Band, Claire On A Dare, Brings Rock Opera Back to Music Scene With New Con­cept Album (via Press Release Mon­key)

Lust, pow­er, des­per­a­tion and betray­al are all part of Sanc­ti­fied, a rock opera, Claire on a Dare’s lat­est indie project which is cur­rent­ly rais­ing funds to pro­duce an album that fus­es music and the art of sto­ry­telling. “Claire on a Dare presents…

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Merlin Media Launches Chicago’s Only 24-Hour All-News Station

Mer­lin Media Launch­es Chicago’s Only 24-Hour All-News Sta­tion With FM News 101.1 (via PR Newswire)

NEW YORK, July 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Mer­lin Media, a new mul­ti­plat­form, mul­ti­me­dia com­pa­ny, today launched FM News 101.1 as Chicago’s only 24-hour all-news sta­tion. When­ev­er lis­ten­ers tune in to Chicago’s FM News 101.1 they will expe­ri­ence cred­i­ble…

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