Category Archives: Music History

Archie Shepp Quartet: Revolution (Live in Copenhagen Oct. 19 2016

Holy crap! What a treat to find this in my inbox…lord knows we need this right now, figuratively and literally. Living Jazz musicians from the old days are very rare right now and we’re losing these greats at a blinding pace. This is the real deal…and when’s the last time you saw someone bust out a proper ‘Hambone’?


Keith Morris “My Damage”(Instore)

517dzmysyul-_sx329_bo1204203200_

I’ve never seen Black Flag or The Circle Jerks…or OFF! even, but when I lived in LA I was lucky enough to run into Keith Morris a bunch of times. It was almost always in a record store, whether at Bleeker Bob’s on Melrose or when I worked at a small record store on Sunset Strip or at a Pasadena Swap meet and he was almost always with Bob Forrest (Thelonious Monster). We talked about all sorts of music and I was always impressed with his depth of knowledge about a wide variety of genres…Bob too! We never talked about any of his old bands or the short lived Hollywood punk scene heyday which centered around The Masque, a bomb shelter rehearsal space that had some legendary shows, the earliest punk shows, run by Brendan Mullen. I was just as lucky to get to meet Brendan as well at a Punk Rock Bar B Que I attended with Chris D. around 96 or so. Brendan did a dj set of old jazz 78’s! Spectacular! Anyway, Keith was always a blast to talk to, high energy and his enthusiasm for music always came through.

What I’m really happy to see is that these Hollywood OG punks are all releasing their perspectives on the scene in written form. Alice Bag’s Violence Girl,  John Doe’s Under The Big Black Sun and My Damage by Morris, all recently published, are welcome and much needed perspectives on such a short lived scene. A handful of these artists were able to maintain a prolonged ‘career’ of playing music after the initial wave imploded scattering most of these bands to the 4 winds. Keith’s perspective is unique also as Black Flag were from Hermosa Beach and pretty much considered outsiders in the Hollywood scene but the sheer rawness and purity of their music endeared them to Brendan Mullen who considered them his favorite band, so they were sort of honorary members and rightly so.

Following is a video of Keith reading from some of his book, which seemed like a bit of a task as he kept jumping from the page to a more natural telling of the story and it was cool to hear his voice and his perspective this way. I look forward to reading this one.

Available via Da Capo Press


The video is by Louis Elovitz who has a ton of great LA/Hollywood Punk related videos on his vimeo channel. He has video he shot in the old days as well as new happenings by people from the original scene who are still active.

KEITH MORRIS

” My Damage ” release
skylight books hollywood
aug 26 2016
a PUNK SCENE film by
Video Louis Elovitz LApunk13.com
MY DAMAGE: THE STORY OF A PUNK ROCK SURVIVOR.
Keith Morris is a true punk icon. From Black Flag and the Circle Jerks to OFF! and FLAG no one else embodies the sound of Southern Californian hardcore. Over the course of his forty–year career, he’s battled diabetes, drug and alcohol addiction, and the record industry. MY DAMAGE is a look at rock ’n’ roll through the lens of someone who has shared the stage with just about every major figure in the music industry and appeared in cult films like The Decline of Western Civilization and Repo Man. It’s a Hollywood story from a native’s perspective. MY DAMAGE is Morris’s streets, his scene, his music—as only he can tell it.

Keith will be joined by his co-author Jim Ruland for a spirited conversation.

 


Alice Bag (SF Clips)

Alice Bag 2016

FullSizeRender (12)

If you’ve seen The Decline of Western Civilisation by Penelope Spheeris, then you are at least aware of the late 70’s LA Punk scene, parts of it anyway.

One of the things I took away from studying this scene when I was a teenager, was the sheer eclectic nature of the bands that formed and developed around that time under the ‘punk’ banner. You had The Germs, X, The Blasters, The Screamers, The Mau-Maus, The Flesh-Eaters, The Weirdos, Alice Bag Band (The Bags), The Gun Club, Circle One, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, TSOL and many more! None of those bands looked alike or sounded alike at all!

I could go into this more, but I’ll let someone who was there talk about the diversity of the og LA scene (76-77) which really centered around Hollywood before it spread to the burbs . This recent interview with Alice Bag gives a better perspective, here’s an excerpt:

“First of all, I don’t think The Decline of Western Civilization shows the scene I was part of. I don’t think that was the mission of that film to depict the early L.A. punk scene, because by the time Penelope Spheeris was filming it, punk was already spilling out into the suburbs and taking on different flavors. One thing she captured in the film was the growing hardcore scene. And I think that hardcore scene brought with it a lot of white male energy that wasn’t present in the Hollywood scene. And she showed that shift. And if you look carefully at the film I think you can tell which were the bands that were part of the early scene because they were quirkier. They were not quite what is considered punk nowadays. The images and sounds and behavior [of punk now] were not associated with the early punk scene. It was open-ended and inclusive — as long as it was different from mainstream, it would fit into that scene. So that’s why what you see in documentaries doesn’t gel with what you hear people talking about from the early scene. And I’m talking about ’77, ’78, even the summer of ’76. People were coming in from glam then — it was a transitional year.”

From: Alice Bag Billboard Interview 6/24/16 


A New Book and a New Record

Violence girl

After 40 years of being essentially underground and operating under the radar, still in music and in other realms such as activism and art and education and Feminism (important stuff largely ignored by the mainstream) she has emerged with a new book and a new record

Alice Bag record.

I was lucky enough to make it to her SF show at The El Rio to witness firsthand what to me has become a lost sound. There is a distinctly raw yet fluid delivery with diverse elements that embody that classic LA punk sound such as Rockabilly and that 60’s girl group sound mixed with some garage punk elements, abstract brooding dirges as well as all out blistering pogo punk beats and Johnny Thunders guitar solo bends all mixed together tastefully, never too much of one thing, add a heartfelt performance and socially conscious and very relevant lyrical content and you have the best of the best here. Great show, great band, see for yourself:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Alice Bag SF 2016 (Clips)

All pics and video by Jeff K. 2016

A bit of a side note:

One of Alice’s guitarists, who is also on her new record, is an old LA friend of mine Sharif D. and he has a new band called Sex Stains and they will be releasing an album soon too!

FullSizeRender (14)
Hanging with Sharif!

PLAYING WITH HEROES

Another really good read below from one of the drummers Alice has on her album, Candace Hansen. Her experience really resonated with me as I had a similar experience in the mid 90’s when I was tapped to join an incarnation of The Flesh Eaters who also came out of this early wave of LA Punk bands. It’s always a bit surreal to think that I got to play in a band that at one point or other contained members such as Bill Bateman and Dave Alvin (The Blasters) John Doe and DJ Bonebrake (X) Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) as well as some collaborations on Divine Horseman work by everyone from Exene (X) to Texacala Jones (Tex and The Horseheads) Kid Congo Powers (Cramps, Bad Seeds, Pink Monkey Birds, Gun Club) Jeffrey Lee Pierce (Gun Club). I can totally relate to Candace’s experience in becoming a part of a history that influenced us immensely as kids. It’s such an honor and we are very lucky to have had this experience.

Candace’s OC Weekly Article:

PLAYING DRUMS FOR ALICE BAG CHANGED MY LIFE

Punk Out!