IT'S A LIVING
BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #14.2
J Church and Honey Bear Records No Winter? East Of 35
NO NEWS IS NO NEWS
Nothing new to report. I just wanted to get this out to finish up the
Japanese Tour Diary.
Remember, I've still got the J Church/Plungers split 7" and the
J Church/Minority Blues Band split 7". They're $3.50 each ppd. You
can PayPal me at honeybearrecords@....
Don't forget my solo show for SXSW. Should be funny at least. Freebeer
Vulcan Video (south store)
112 W. Elizabeth St.
SXSW Saturday March 18th
NOON SHARP (that's when I play anyway)
I'm also still Ebaying a ton of stuff. Check it out. I'll keep it going
as long as I can.
2005 "CRUEL STORY OF YOUTH" JAPAN TOUR DIARY PT. 4
JUNE 3rd Tokushima (Crowbar)
Tokushima is a weird little town. I'm sure there's cool shit to do. But
I've never found it. There's a little mall that is fairly deserted even
on a Friday. Everything seems to be closing down. Still, I'm an ignorant
American and enjoy pondering the many shops and bakeries near the club.
The club we're playing at tonight is a cool new place where Tomo from
I Excuse works. I'm not totally sure who does what. But he seems to be
some sort of stage manager. George, who played bass in Minority Blues
Band tends bar. It's a pretty cool atmosphere. It's a nice clean place
with a room to crash upstairs, Euro style.
It's a little weird tonight as all three ex-members of Minority Blues
Band are at the show. They didn't seem to be talking to each other. I
guess the break up was pretty bad. Nobody wants to go into the specifics
of why they split. Actually, Yumi and George seem to get along. That's
just another piece of the puzzle. Spalding looked like he was there to
sell me an insurance policy. He said he was getting together a new band
more in the style of Jets To Brazil. I'm not totally sure if that's a
good or a bad thing. I'll wait and see. Regardless of the situation, I
really like all three of them and was very happy to see them all.
Tomo and George have a new band together called Kiss Of Love. Knowing
those two, I knew I was gonna love this band live. They definitely play
at the breakneck pace that Tomo is most comfortable with mixing it with
a lot of melody. I guess that's been part of the overall sound in the
Snuffy Smile world. Giving the band even more character is a crazy (in
the good way) girl singer. She jumps around and flops back and forth both
crazed and engaged. I can't wait until this band gets something on record.
Drift Age and the Because are both really hot tonight. They both benefit
greatly from the good sounding PA in this little punk club. It's a real
smooth show as we are really gelling at the moment as well. I can't believe
the tour is almost over. We try to stay up and party for a while. But
eventually I start feeling the life drain out of me and I hit the sleeping
room upstairs. I love being able to go straight upstairs from the gig.
It's like when a European squat gig is really good.
JUNE 4th Osaka (Saomai)
Visiting Time Bomb Records is always a painful experience for me. There
are about a million things worth getting and all just a few thousand yen
more than I care to spend. How many Stalin books do I need (considering
I can't actually read any of them). So many 7"s that I never knew
existed. So much Japanese hardcore on vinyl. It's all too much.
We didn't come to Osaka on our last trip to Japan. Our shows here have
been pretty hit-or-miss as far as turnouts. I'll be the first to admit
that I'm usually a little disappointed with our shows here. I don't know
why. I'm usually happy just to be in Japan. It's just that Osaka is so
big and probably the second most famous city in Japan that I have higher
expectations. Hey, it's raining too. Awesome.
There are a couple of cool shops near the venue. Since I didn't blow
my wad on records, I can at least check out some cool little
Godzillas. With "Godzilla: Final Wars" being out over here,
been a lot of cool promo stuff including reissues of all the different
Godzillas in miniature form. I got the one from "Godzilla Vs. The
Monster" which is probably my favorite. I also check out a used book
store which has loads of porn (as seems to be the case everywhere
here) but there are also some cool photo books. I get a book about
current criminals at large. Sort of their equivalent of America's Most
Wanted. Interesting pictures. Now I'm officially broke.
I spend a little too much time dawdling. I keep forgetting how early
shows start here. When I walk in, I Excuse are just starting up.
Tonight is our last night with them, which is a shame. I really like
these guys and I think they are excellent as a trio. I wish we could
do more stuff with them. To be honest, I feel that way with all the
bands we meet here. I don't want to stop hanging out with the Because
or Drift Age or the Urchin for that matter.
If touring with the Urchin was the "pop" part of the tour,
half with the Because and Drift Age is the "rock". The Because
just a huge wall of amazing sound with implied melody and complexity
not unlike what Husker Du was like live. You can hear the melodic
essence. But there's this amazing wall of sound propelling the whole
thing. In some ways they remind me of Fuel or Pitchfork live.
A lot of the same can be said for Drift Age though they focus a lot
more on a raw energy that comes from being totally synched. Man, that
bass player pounds the strings with his whole body lunging into the
beat. Between the two bands, a lot of strings get broken which says a
lot. I play very hard (that's not just talk) and I rarely even change
The little room is packed and Chris is really going off tonight. It's
hot as fuck and cramped as hell, which sounds horrible. But for our
kind of band, it's a totally ideal situation and it seems like Chris
is really feeling it. I like playing in the band and I have a certain
amount of confidence. But tonight is one of those nights where I feel
like, shit, we really are a fucking good live band. It felt like 1997,
which is a really dumb thing to say.
My pal Hiroko was at the show. She was going to be hanging out with us
after the show. I think she was maybe planning on crashing wherever we
crashed. But the plans changed and we ended up driving back to Nagoya
that night. It would have been nice to really hang out, but we at least
got to catch up over some late night noodles before hitting the road.
That's sort of what tour is all about. You maybe get to see most of your
friends for not nearly enough time.
JUNE 5th Hachioji, Tokyo (Match Vox)
Ah, it just feels like it's already over. We've got a big Tokyo show.
But it all just feels like it's over. It's a little sad. At the end of
a tour like this you really never know if you're ever going to make it
back. Will we ever get back to Tokyo? Will we ever get back to London?
Will we ever get back to New York? You might think, of course, J Church
will defo go back to those cities. But who knows? I could always die.
We could put out a real shit record universally despised. I don't know
which would be worse.
Brown Trout are on first. Fuck me, are there any bad bands in Japan?
don't get it. Really amazing sound with a deep Huskers meets Moving
Targets thing going on. You can't fucking beat that especially when
you see the giant stage and massive sound system. Totally incredible.
We finally get to see the notorious Blotto. It's like the capital of
Japan is Emeryville, because this four-piece exemplify everything we
know and love about the old Bay Area pop punk sound. They're great.
They kind of out-Crimpshrine Crimpshrine if you can believe it. They
even do an old Cringer cover that sort of freaks me out. I mean, we
could never actually play that song live
I had been making fun of Peace of Bread's name ever since I heard we
were playing with them. I mean, it almost makes sense. Right? C'mon,
don't make me over explain it! They're called Peace of Bread for
fuck's sake! So I felt like a dick when they turned out to be totally
fucking amazing! Featuring possibly the tiniest girl in the world
playing bass, every song was a perfectly harmonized pop masterpiece.
They were so perfect you just want to give them a hug (and I don't
hug). I can't wait to hear their single.
I'm really gonna miss Drift Age and the Because. Both bands were
really great every night. Plus I had a great time hanging out with
them. It's hard to really connect with bands here like you do in the
states. Aside from the obvious language barrier, it takes some
drinking to really get them to loosen up. I often feel like I'm just a
few inches outside of a really funny joke. So it's great when we can
really enjoy the company of a group like this. How does Yoichi keep
finding these groups?
I don't really know what to say about tonight's show. I don't know if
it was our best show ever. But it really felt that way. I even chipped
another fucking tooth! Again, that sounds awful (and it hurts like fuck)
but it's sort of a badge of honor at punk shows. It's so great to have
almost all of our friends in Japan all here at this one gig. I saw every
member of Drift Age and the Because do a stage dive at one point or another.
It was so great I almost felt like we should just go ahead and split up
the band because I couldn't imagine a more perfect final gig.
June 6th Tokyo shopping and drinking
We had lunch in Harajuku of all places with Drift Age and the Because.
It was really funny. It was a pretty decent Italian restaurant. But it
was all super fashion kids all over dressed up like they're out of the
pages of Gothic Lolita or something. After that experience I went with
Yuka from the Because over to Snoopy World. It's nice that at least one
other person wants to do something silly like look at giant 20 foot tall
Snoopys. After that we drove over to Shinjuke to check out a new anarcho
type info shop. I got some cool Japanese patches and badges. I don't really
wear that kind of stuff. But it all looked so great and I wanted to help
the cause even if just a little. It was a cool place to chill out before
the bands had to start driving south. It took a little out of the blow
of saying goodbye.
After grabbing up some more records (Stalin reissue 7"!) over at
Allman, I head over to Shimokitazawa to catch up with Mole, Useke, Yoichi
and Ben. Not surprisingly, we hit a bar not too far from Yoichi's place.
They all get beers and I maintain my reputation for lame, girl drinks
by getting a Kahlua Coffee. There are incriminating photos of me in Tokyo
from over a decade ago drinking Fuzzy Navels and Sex On The Beach
This, of course, turned into a little drinking party with Massa and the
drummer from Blotto eventually showing up followed by Chris and the guys
from Hammer. Finally Kaori pops in and the gang's all here. I switch to
some sort of Lychee cocktail and it's off on the A Train to Shitface.
I love Japan. I love the punk scene here. I love the Snuffy Smile bands.
I love bands like Hammer. It's all so positive and fun. I almost feel
like things are getting better.
IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM
ARMY OF JESUS - Prosperity Heath Finance Wealth 7"
I doubt that's really what they call this record, but it's the closest
thing to a title I could come up with. Well, the band that used to be
the new kids on the block here in Austintatious, strike back with a second
record in one year. There's even a third one coming. That makes them more
prolific than J Church, Storm The Tower and Signal Lost combined! It's
time for the other Austin bands to start getting their shit together!
Army O' Jesus! What's not to love? I love this record. In fact, despite
the short time span, it's actually a lot better than their excellent debut.
It's fast. It's tight. There's a more interesting rhythmic structure to
the vocals. Plus, they've got my favorite song of theirs here: Self
Help. I dunno. That song just has a groove. It swings. Fuck, I don't
know what I'm talking about. It's a great song. One of those classic moments
in hardcore like when Government Issue discovered open chords, right?
Did you know that drummer Matt is also a great guitarist? Did you know
that guitarist Hans is also a drummer and has a one man band? Fuck
those guys, right? I hate people that inherently can do anything. I
feel like a someplace lower on the evolutionary chart.
They got the covers all nice and silk-screened but, hey, this ain't no
emo shitburger. There's that indefinable classic punk aesthetic at work
here all the way down to the crooked ass (but cool) insert. It's cool
even if they did steal the song title East of 35 from me. (bsdrecords@...)
PEDESTRIANS, THE - Future Shock LP
Yeah, I know we all think girly girl is really cool and Jordan is a hilarious
drunk and they're all nice guys. That doesn't mean they know how to make
a great album, right? Nice guys finish last, okay?
Why are you even reading this review? If you follow J Church stuff,
you probably already own and love this amazing record. If you know
anything about me, you know I love this band. God, you're still
reading this! Why? You know you love it.
Okay, so you know I'm pals with the Peds (as I like to call them [I've
actually never ever called them that]). You also may have guessed that
I think this is a truly fantastic punk record that takes me back to a
simpler time. It's cool. But in the interest of fair play in
journalism, I'm gonna try to think of every thing I don't like about
Number 1, no mylar bag? What's that all about? Punk vinyl is supposed
to come in a plastic bag. It makes it instantly look vintage! You
always make sure your 7" has a small hole and you always make sure
have the plastic bag with no lip. It's standard punker practice!
Number 2, fuck yellow, right? I am so mad at that color. Did you know
that we did a whole gross of yellow J Church shirts for our tour with
Storm the Tower and DFI? Yeah, kids weren't that psyched for the
yellow shirt. Now that color when associated with punk just brings
back sour memories.
Number 3, oh, I don't know. It's too short. I mean, it's not too
short. It's perfect. But it leaves you wanting more. But that can be a
I can't trash this record. I love it. Go buy it. (residuerecords@...)
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