IT'S A LIVING... BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #10.3
J Church / Honey Bear Records Newsletter
Late Spring 2002 - Was It Polemically Sent?
MORE SOLID STORM THE TOWER DATES
Storm The Tower are hittin' the road soon. Hopefully I'll have their
7" done in time for the tour. I'll be sending them out with some
other Honey Bear Records stuff to sell. Any ideas?
Here are the latest tour dates. See them or miss out in a big way.
5/23: austin, tx @ james nunez's house w/ the oath
5/24: ft worth, tx w/ ...of death
5/25: memphis, tn @ diy memphis
5/26: nashville, tn @ septic tank
5/27: asheville, nc @ a park?
5/28: greensboro, nc @ ryan saulsbury's house
5/29: richmond, va @ hardcore holocaust warehouse
5/30: college park, md @ wmuc
5/31: philadelphia, pa @ funrama
6/01: nyc @ abc no rio
6/02: boston, ma @ ?
6/03: providence, ri
6/04: ? day off maybe
6/05: reading, pa @ bass|mint
6/06: pgh, pa @ roboto
6/07: ann arbor, mi @ michael h topper's house w/ bg and 40s of camo
6/08: columbus, oh @ legion of doom w/ bg, off minor, bbq, and weed
6/09: mnpls, mn w/ amdi petersens arme
6/10: chicago, il
6/11: ? maybe columbia, mo
6/12: st louis, mo
6/13: tulsa, ok
6/14: okc, ok
6/15: dallas, tx
NEW CD OF OLDER / OLD-NEW MATERIAL?
Yeah, it's looking less and less likely like we'll get it together to
have a new album out this year. I'm busy all Summer. If we do manage to
record it in the Fall (which is what we're hoping) it still won't materialize
until next year. Probably… I don't know.
In the meantime, I'm putting out the first of maybe a few different
CDs of unreleased material I've been meaning to get around to. Some of
the songs are old demos that never got re-recorded. A lot of it is from
singles that never actually materialized. There are also some newer things
involving unfinished recordings that I went back and added guitar or vocals
or bass or sometimes a combination of those things. It should come out
at the beginning of the Fall and it will be called Palestine.
Listening back over the recordings, I'm really pretty happy with it. Recordings
range from 16 track to 4 track, which is sort of our zone. We get up into
24 tracks and things tend to go pear shaped.
Here's an interesting blurb you may have already seen if you get e-mail
from AK Press. I think it's reason enough to call our next record Palestine.
Ariel Sharon in his own words...
"I don't know something called International Principles. I vow
that I'll burn every Palestinian child (that) will be born in this area.
The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man, because
the Palestinian child's existence infers that generations will go on,
but the man causes limited danger. I vow that if I was just an Israeli
civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him
suffer before killing him. With one hit I've killed 750 Palestinians (in
Rafah in 1956). I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arabic girls
as the Palestinian women is a slave for Jews, and we do whatever we want
to her and nobody tells us what we shall do but we tell others what they
- Ariel Sharon, current Israeli Prime Minister, In an interview with
General Ouze Merham, 1956
RADIOHEAD? A TRIBUTE? A BOOT?
I guess there is a big time bootleg floating around called Fake
Plastic Creeps - A Tribute To Radiohead and our version of Creep
is on it. I've never seen it, but would love to get a copy. I guess it
also features Anthrax, Hazeldine, Tears For Fears, Duncan Sheik and Alanis
Morissette. What the hell is the world coming to?
Please take the time to check this
And I find this
a little more than upsetting…
WHEN GOOD BANDS GO BAD AND YOU FIND YOURSELF LIKING THEM
It happens all the time. Some people call it selling out. Some people
think the band just ran out of ideas. Others think they've become self-indulgent.
But really, there are a million reasons why most bands don't take the
Ramones "arc" of challenging songwriting. This isn't really
any attempt to explain why bands do it. It's not even a sociological analysis
of punk rock bands having a mid-career artistic crisis. "Holy shit,
we're just the Knack with different costumes!" Nope, I've got no
answers. Maybe this is just a plea for understanding.
Yeah, I know. I used to be one of those guys. I used to be the angry
rocker kid PISSED about The Game by Queen and the third
LP in Sandinista. I was that guy. I felt fucked over.
When I was a kid, my family moved around a lot. I wasn't a military
brat. But I could relate with parents that were basically nuts. By the
time I turned 18 I had been through five different schools and lived in
seven different towns. That may not be a lot to some people. But I did
find it hard constantly having to make new friends. Blah, blah, blah…
Same old sob story. But it really seemed like the whole fuckin' world
was against me and the one thing I had were my bands. When they changed,
it was like being deserted all over again. Sound stupid? You betcha.
But now I'm the old guy. Shit, I'm in no position to dictate to a band
what to do in their creative process. I sure don't listen to what people
tell me. If I went by that J Church poll I did a year ago, I'd have to
put out an all-acoustic album next. Hmmm…
So, I don't think anyone can guess why bands suddenly decide to artistically
rediscover themselves. Who even knows by most people bother to start bands?
I'm constantly fascinated by musicians and their desire to play music
no matter how mundane or pointless the endeavor. Maybe if I can find any
sort of consensus I'll know why I keep playing music and for once in my
life have some sort of direction. A plan even…
For a while, I found myself giving bands props for making a commercially
suicidal change in direction. My life as a musician has unwittingly been
based on that principle, so I need the company. Maybe you can relate.
Maybe people relating to my consistent strategy of commercial suicide
IS the principle my world is based on. Hmmmmm…
At the time of this strange revelation of forgiveness, I found myself
saying things like "well, Metal Machine Music is
probably bullshit no matter what anyone says. But, hey, I RESPECT Lou
for doing it" or "You gotta give Bad Religion credit for trying
something new with Into The Unknown though it does sound
like the Steve Miller Band. Am I right? No?"
But after moving to Texas I found myself getting into an even stranger
area. Maybe it was because I wasn't working at first and had way too much
free time on my hands. I don't know. I found myself not only having new
sympathies for these bands and their altruistic musical garbage, but actually
finding some meaning and value to these once un-listenable records.
So, it's confession time now. Hmmmmmmmmmm…
I like the second and third Generation X albums. What can I say? Running
With The Boss Sound is a great Mott the Hoople-ish rock song.
Total anthem. Friday's Angels is great pop. Heaven's
Inside is as good as anything on Polyvinyl today. I mean, I love
Ready Steady Go. But I can't help but like the other
records. And what the hell is wrong with Dancing With Myself?
Nothing, that's what.
Oh, it hurts. But I really like the three albums by Eric Burden and
the New Animals. Yeah, the most shamelessly idiotic lyrics and liner notes
you'll ever see, I know. How can you title a song Yes, I Am Experienced?
For shame, Eric Burden, for shame. Shit, it's such a cliché. But
I really have found myself loving the band and therefore loving the tunes.
Their version of Paint It Black might actually be inspired!
I even dig San Francisco and get a little misty for my
city by the bay when I hear it.
That's not good enough? How about this? You like the Jam? I do too. I
love `em so much, I can totally understand how Paul Weller made the transition
from that band to the Style Council. My Ever Changing Moods
is as good as anything by the Jam. Ditto for Shout To The Top
and Speak Like A Child. If you ever get a chance to see
any of their videos, I recommend it. It shows how funny they were and
how they weren't nearly as stoic as they seemed.
I've got you up against the ropes now. Time to finish you off. Not only
do I really dig the Sabbath albums with Dio. I fucking LOVE the album
with Ian Gillan. I'm not gonna deny that I love Sabbath AND Deep Purple
equally. I do. So that album was like when Spider Man was helping out
the X-men. Yeah, same thing. Zero The Hero is heavy as
fuck and Trashed may actually be my favorite Sabbath
song. Sad but true.
IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM
OMEGA TRIBE - Make Tea Not War CD
The much-anticipated retrospective CD of Omega Tribe is finally here
and delivers in a big way. All of the beloved tracks from their EP and
LP are collected in chronological order to give some idea as to the band's
thought process and musical evolution. Also included is the original (and
I think superior) version of Nature Wonder similar to
how it appeared on the second Bullshit Detector compilation.
For those unfamiliar, let me backtrack a bit. Don't go searching under
google as you'll only come up with the meathead alterna-rock-poseur band
that for some reason adopted the same name. The real Omega Tribe were
part of the late `70s / `80s anarcho punk scene in England. One of the
most popular bands to come out of that scene, their records were know
to chart well what with their upbeat melodic music separating them from
much of that scene.
This compilation shows how quickly a band can develop in a supportive
scene. From great, though rudimentary Ramones-like riffs to great washes
of pop music with a variety of influences, the music on this record isn't
as static as many other reissues of this type. In fact, a lot of it still
seems really fresh, cliché as that may seem.
(Rugger Bugger Discs PO Box 357 London SE19 1AD UK)
OZZY OSBOURNE - Blizzard Of Ozz CD
I'm not sure what to make of this to be honest. The original version
of this is one of my favorite records of all time. You think you know
me? You know nothing! I know a lot of people would like me to write this
as if Blizzard were a guilty pleasure. It's not. I think
this record is as fresh and as relevant as any punk record, any side of
Exile On Main Street, any Velvet Underground record.
I liked Black Sabbath as a kid. My Aunt (who hung out with bikers during
the `60s as a teen) gave me her copies of Black Sabbath
and Masters Of Reality when I was in grade school. I
dug it. I was a rock kid in a world of disco and pop music. But Sabbath
were just one of many bands I was into.
Having said that, I didn't necessarily expect anything from Ozzy's first
solo record when it came out. I was too young to have the kind of false
importance I put on things like an artist's legacy and talent, etc. But
the first time I heard Crazy Train I knew it was something
Maybe I'm just being nostalgic. I hope not. I really believe that this
is a great pop record that happens to be augmented by my favorite guitar
playing on any record since Hendrix. Not only are the solos incredibly
accomplished, they are done with such vitality and verve that you feel
yourself smiling along with Randy Rhoads as he tears down the fret board
not in some self-gratifying show of strength and dexterity. But by using
his uncanny abilities he finds his own path and is ecstatic in sharing
the gift. It's beautiful and as great as Diary Of A Madman
was it just never soared as high despite much higher production values.
This new CD is great. You can't deny the songs or the original performances.
The only real drawback is that Ozzy couldn't get the original rhythm section
to agree to release it. So his current band had to go into the studio
and rerecord the tracks. It's a bit weird. The bass sounds especially
new school metal. It does detract. But the rest of the mastering is fantastic
bringing out some of the guitar playing that was originally lost in the
mud of a relatively low budget recording.
SEA OF TOMBS - s/t LP
Are you one of those people that thought the worst thing about Blue Cheer
were the vocals? I've got an album for you. Instrumental `70s rock as
played by emo-esque philistines? Not really.
Number one myth about Sea Of Tombs It's a "jam" band.
No way. There are no raging full on solos. Nobody takes turns blasting
through verses over and over. There's some sort of structure on each song.
There are directions and angles and decisions being made. The loose nature
of a lot of the guitar playing is too unassuming and unconscious to be
thought of as solo work. In fact, it's so, I don't know, "relaxed"
that if I didn't like it so much I would say he's either a bad guitar
player or a lazy motherfucker. He's neither really. His style of playing
complements the music making for a broad sound pastiche. The noodley guitar
playing is in itself a drone pattern as viewed under a microscope. It's
Can… Sort of…
Number two myth about Sea Of Tombs It's "retro" bullshit.
While this record is full of lengthy quotations of other artists and there
are more than enough references to other things, to call it retro would
imply that they were neo-ists. I really can't think of a time that there
was music quite like this. Instrumental, fuzz rock with sustained guitar
meanderings? As a sidetrack maybe but not as a band's singular direction.
I mean, this record isn't supposed to last or anything. It's a good
solid diversion and a fun oddity to distract you from all the boring middle
of the road punk rock and hardcore and it's dulling effect.
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