Larryland Memories

Spy Rock Memories, Larry Livermore, released by Don Giovanni Records, 2013.

Spy Rock Memories, Larry Livermore, released by Don Giovanni Records, 2013.

In a recent interview on Style.com, Vivienne Westwood, the clothing and image-maker behind much of 1970s iconic punk and politically-inspired fashion, was asked if the political action that motivated her during the first wave of punk was still a part of her life. Westwood was specifically speaking of her current campaign to call attention to climate change. While she has called the punk movement sans political aspirations and a fashionable marketing opportunity, she responded, “It’s exactly the same motive that causes me to have this interest as what motivated me for punk. It’s the same thing. Justice. Everybody should have a fair deal; everybody should have the chance to life in this world. If we were evolved as human beings, we would hopefully be able to alleviate suffering in the world. So my motives come from the same cause.”

Westwood in a way, reminds me of Larry Livermore, author of a new book entitled Spy Rock Memories available now on pre-order by Don Giovanni Records and due out on June 4th. Livermore, like Westwood, was heavily involved in shaping the punk community, albeit in Livermore’s case, of the East Bay in California that was worlds away from Westwood’s London movement and almost a decade after the first wave of punk. Westwood and Livermore are about ten years apart in age, but both were influenced positively and negatively by the Hippie Movement that they rejected and regard punk as a somewhat failed and certainly nihilistic movement. On the other hand, both are very much into the world that surrounds them and aren’t afraid of expressing their views on that world in an acerbic manner that both inspires and infuriates. If Spy Rock Memories is any indication, Livermore is also dedicated to the ideas of justice and a fair deal for everyone, particularly when it comes to the environment.

I should mention from the beginning that Spy Rock Memories is not a tell-all book about any of the bands from the East Bay that Livermore worked with at their beginnings (Green Day, Screeching Weasel, Operation Ivy, et al). There are plenty of passages about those bands throughout this tight, concise, 244-page memoir, but the bands and music comprise a secondary story to a slice of social history from California’s landscape and Livermore’s intertwined life with it as an editorialist, musician, and record impresario. Spy Rock Memories is more a tale of a man and the land that he fell in love with–along with memories of bands you might love or hate.

I first spoke with Livermore in 2009 when I asked him a question about punk rock archives after a talk for the oral history book on East Bay punk, Gimme Something Better.  I’m an archivist (i.e., someone who takes care of “old stuff” for history and research) and I had a farfetched idea of creating an East Bay-centered interactive archive around…well, Green Day, among others. The book whose talk I had come to was packed with interviews of people who were deep in the music and life of the era and the panel included Silke Tudor, one of the authors (the other being Jack Boulware), as well as four of the book’s interviewees, including Livermore, writer/musician Aaron Cometbus, musician Jennifer Blowdryer, and journalist A.C. Thompson.

Mind you, I didn’t know all that much about the music of the East Bay until 2009. I’ve found, however, that when you work in an archive or fall in love with any subject, knowing everything about that subject initially is inconceivable. In fact, no one knows anything at first; we are all clean slates until exposed to new circumstances. It’s the discovery of experiences gone past, of times, people, and places that is always the most thrilling. I’ve been fortunate to hear a few of Livermore’s stories in person regarding Green Day and a bunch of other stuff, too. Goodness knows, he can talk up a storm. He’s a walking oral history and you’ll do yourself a favor by grabbing a copy of Spy Rock Memories for your own, particularly if the East Bay’s music and landscape are  close to your heart.

Larry Livermore, author, Spy Rock Memories

Larry Livermore, author, Spy Rock Memories

Spy Rock Memories sends you back into a very specific period from 1980 to 2002. Part social history, part memoir, part lost horizon, Livermore’s charming way with words, expressions, and humor throughout informs and infuriates. He writes like he talks, in precise sentences and few words that he pens in this volume are superfluous.

The book primarily is about a place: a mountain area near Highway 101 outside of Laytonville, California. Spy Rock, where Livermore ultimately settled, is located off of a mountain range called Iron Peak. It’s isolated and rugged, and if you look up Iron Peak Summit with thoughts of hiking and camping in mind, MountainZone.com explicitly states: “If you value your life, hike somewhere else from May through November.” There’s an outpost called Lookout Tower where someone is stationed to, well, lookout for forest fires. It’s the backwoods of Northern California that few have visited, let alone, lived. When Livermore first arrives, Laytonville, twenty-five miles away by rugged road, is–in Livermore’s view–a backwater, hillbilly, pot-growing, good-old boy and hippie hamlet that pretty much stays that way except for the addition of big logging, big marijuana, and big mowing down of what captivates Livermore the most: an untouched landscape of nature. As time goes on and he settles in, Livermore brings his punk aesthetics (or orneriness, maybe), into the mix and sets up a perfect storm of punk, rock, and country music lifestyle clashes that ends in an ultimately losing attempt to bestow some punk ethos on the mountain.

“A man could die up here if he wasn’t careful,” writes Livermore, and being that I’m a Detroit inner-city girl, I believe him. There are no modern conveniences such as gas, electricity, or heat pumped in from utility companies. It’s a firewood-chopping lifestyle or bust situation, and the land needs taming in order to live in harmony with it or die trying. It’s where Livermore learns to tame himself and is torn between a life of nature and a life of punk rock music and political writing as he starts a newspaper, The Lookout, a record company, Lookout Records, and a band called The Lookouts, too.

In Livermore’s world on Spy Rock, danger comes from all sides, particularly from a community where the drug trade feeds and destroys families, homes, and land, and the peace of the mountain itself. Livermore lovingly describes the beauty and the dangers of living there. Scenes of survival and idyllic landscape are punctuated by sounds as subtle as wind chimes or as nerve-wracking as an Apache helicopter searching for marijuana fields. Through this backdrop, Livermore introduces a cast of characters that he describes mostly in sketches and limited detail. This memoir is certainly from Livermore’s point of view and he seldom delves into the motives of those of whom he writes. Why did Udo, the man Livermore bought his newly-built house on Spy Rock from, sell it to him at the drop of a hat? Or what exactly did the townspeople write in the Laytonville Ledger after Livermore, in a letter to the editor, describes downtown Laytonville as an “unattractive rural slum with few redeeming qualities” when trees are mysteriously torn down for no discernable reason except for what Livermore thinks is someone’s idea of “orderly parking lot management.” While details like this are sometimes missing from his point-of-view, it doesn’t take away from the descriptions of place and people.

For music lovers reading Spy Rock Memories, there are several compact stories interspersed throughout the book that you’ll certainly enjoy. For instance, you’ll read tales of how The Lookouts were initially formed with his then-girlfriend, Anne, and after her inevitable departure from the mountain, joined by two local kids, 14-year old Kain “Kong” (son of Udo) and 12-year old Frank III (nicknamed Tre as a kid and eventually known as the drummer of Green Day, Tre Cool). The parents of these kids become Livermore’s closest friends on the mountain. Livermore speaks of his bandmates and their families with heartfelt sentiment, along with Livermore’s family who lives across the mountain, including his niece (visual artist Gabrielle Bell, who provides subtle comic illustrations of the mountain throughout the book), his nephew, their mother, and his “Aunt” Olivia.

Here’s a a short Youtube Playlist of Lookouts songs for your listening pleasure
 Story; California (Mendocino); That Girl’s From Outer Space; Kick Me in the Head, Wild; Mendocino Homeland
Lookouts "One Planet One People" cover

Lookouts “One Planet One People” cover

The Lookouts aren’t as well-known as some of the other bands Livermore and his initial partner, David Hayes, signed to his off-the-cuff label, Lookout Records, which, after a series of agonizing events–namely, money problems– folded in January 2012. (Livermore left the label in 1997.) Green Day, Screeching Weasel, Operation Ivy, Pansy Division, The Avengers, the Mr. T Experience, Neurosis, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and Akaline Trio, are only a few of the bands that rotated in and out of Lookout Records’ roster over twenty-five years. Band formations, shows, breakups, and artistic turmoil are presented from Livermore’s viewpoint, sometimes with a sneer (as in the case of Ben Weasel attending Laytonville’s Rodeo), sometimes with sadness and anger (as in the case of  Sweet Children changing their name in the middle of a record printing or Operation Ivy suddenly breaking up) and sometimes with hilarity (all I’ll say is: Camp Winnarainbow). But, back to The Lookouts…their songs are hilarious and pointed, with 12-year Tre Wright learning to drum and singing with his pre-adolescent  voice (which kinda sounds like his singing voice now, only more…pre-adolescent), Kain providing newly-learned intricate baselines, and Livermore expressing every punk angst known to man. As Livermore writes on the bio at the Lookouts Fansite, “even several years down the road, [the Lookouts] were never noted primarily for their technical skill, but we did manage to get a good bit better.” Many of their songs are all about California and very head-banging. I found myself wanting a Lookouts soundtrack playing in the background while reading the book.

Livermore delves into his departure from Maximumrocknroll (MRR)the DIY zine that became a standard of the punk underground, and his clash with the even more acerbic and legendary punkmaker, Tim Yohannon, head of MRR. Theirs was a tumultuous relationship, and Livermore is a lot more gracious in his description of their parting of the ways than a lot of people would have been in the same situation. Gilman Street, the “cultural community center” of music located in Berkeley, CA is also mentioned and all in all, it’s a nice personal recap of days gone by.

But…back to that mountain.

Spy Rock Memories works best when Livermore talks about the mountain and its environment and heartaches, which end up being many. After twenty-two years, he finds himself away from the place for extended periods of time, which causes the land to overgrow and the house to deteriorate. He comes to the agonizing decision to sell Spy Rock, packs up the house–and in a knife-in-the-heart scene to an archivist–burns what remains of his life’s ephemera. Though he leaves the house behind, he’s still a bit haunted by the memories of it.

Vivienne Westwood, in the same interview mentioned above from Style.com continued her thoughts on punks and politics by saying, “I’m not sure if other punks at the time were doing it [politics and punk] for the same reasons [justice]. A lot of them were doing it to have a great time and look good.” From this short volume of Larry Livermore’s Spy Rock Memories, it’s clear that Livermore didn’t want to have only a great time and look good (though who doesn’t want those things), but he wanted to make a difference in the world as well. May we be so lucky that our motivation stems from the same cause.


The First Annual Catalpa Festival Comes to Town

New York City is not known for its music festivals. Sure, we have a lot of concerts here in the city year round, but festivals, not so much. Festivals usually occur outdoors over the span of two days and require large and open spaces from which to run. There’s not many open spaces in NYC except for Central Park in Manhattan, Randalls Island tucked away between Queens and the Bronx, Governors Island in the middle of New York Harbor, and Prospect, Commodore Barry, and Wingate Parks in Brooklyn. While there are a few exceptions here and there, these spaces are pretty much it in the city that are readily (for the most part) accessible to the public.

The recent CBGB Festival in New York and Brooklyn utilized a different festival pattern: it wasn’t contained at one space, but spread over many small venues. The Governor’s Ball held its second annual two-day festival this past June on Randalls Island, the same day as a smaller and grittier one-day festival, Punk Island, occurred on Governor’s Island (not Ball!). The Afro-Punk Festival occurs every year at Commodore Barry Park, although the 2011 festival was cancelled due to hurricane. (Afro-Punk this year occurs August 25-26.) Outdoor shows happen at the Waterfront at Williamsburg, Prospect Park (Celebrate Brooklyn!), and Wingate Park (Public Enemy with Salt-N-Pepa on July 30), but these latter concert spaces nor fledgling festivals can compare to Chicago’s Lollapalooza or Indio, California’s Coachella… yet.

This year marks a new entry into New York’s up-and-coming festival scene: the First Annual Catalpa Festival that’s being held this weekend (July 28-29) on Randalls Island. The headliners are The Black Keys and Snoop Dogg, with support from TV on the Radio, Matt and Kim, Umphrey’s McGee, Girl Talk, and Matisyahu, among others. In addition to the two stages, there’s also a Reggae Stage curated by High Times Magazine, headlined by the High Times Cannibus Cup Band featuring Ros Droppa with a full slate of other reggae bands performing as well.

The festival is put together by an Irish dude by the name of Dave Foran, who acknowledges that “NYC is a graveyard for musical festivals” and he’s right. He was recently interviewed on Billboard.biz and his rationale makes sense:

Billboard.biz: What was your inspiration for Catalpa and why bring it to New York?
Dave Foran: Bringing Catalpa to New York was trying to fill what, in my eyes, is a void for a large, well-done, comprehensive destination festival in New York. It’s one of the best cities in the world, and it doesn’t really have a festival to call its own…But what I’m trying to put together, if it’s done right, will have longevity. Essentially, it’s trying to establish something substantial that isn’t really here and is calling out to be done.

Time will only tell if his festival becomes a mainstay in a city that seems to be adamantly opposed to them. Festivals in surrounding areas of New York haven’t been too successful, but maybe Foran’s vision of not only bands, but “experience” may be a key in a city that likes things just a little weird.  So if  you get tired of music during the two-day festival, you can go and get yourself hitched to a stranger at the “Frisky’s Church of Sham Marriages,” or check out the Arcadia installation of military scrap art and other art installations, or the Silent Disco Tent. If you’re a big spender (which, believe it or not, a lot of  people in NYC aren’t), there are VIP passes complete with food, or a cabana with a hot tub and bottle service, too. If you’re not into that, the slate of music should be satisfying enough.

Catalpa Festival – Saturday, July 28th (Click on image to view)

Catalpa Festival – Sunday July 29th (Click on image to view)


I Do Declare, It’s “Oh Love.”

First impressions:

Did not expect a slow song, even though I’ve heard it before at Webster Hall Studio. I don’t really remember the songs I heard that night. Thank you very much.

At least one lyric is straight out of the Who.

It will sound pretty awesome in an amphitheater of people singing along.

I’ve heard there’s a lion costume in the video… should be interesting how a lion in costume fits with a slow, slow, song.

So far, the sentiment toward it runs the gamut of “I love it” to “I hate it.” I’m in middle, leaning towards like. I’ve only heard it once, though.

What do you think?

 


CBGB: Living On, Despite Dying

“its over. let it go.”

“What’s next, a CBGB theme park in Orlando?”

“Please….Let it R E S T in Peace”

CBGBS Facebook Page Commenters

Reviving the Spirit

CBGB’s Festival 2012 “Spirits” Poster

I’ve heard the grumbling over the Interwebs and spreading throughout the streets of New York and Brooklyn. The cries of the punks (paraphrasing): “sell-out,” “it’s dead,” “NYC and CBGBs throwing a concert in Times Square… a commercial miasma!” and so on and so forth. The comment backlash began immediately after a May 7th, somewhat out-of-the-blue, Festival-announcement article in the New York Times, with a subsequent May 8th article in Rolling Stone. The gist of comments posted on the Rolling Stone article boiled down: the Festival is a blatant commercial ploy.

It’s possible that that’s the mindset behind the four-day event that starts today in Manhattan and Brooklyn, though Lisa Kristal Burgman, the daughter of CBGB legend, Hilly Kristal, after wrestling control of the brand name in a fierce legal battle following the death of her father in 2006, seems to have made sure to sell the rights to people with former vested love in the club itself. Sure, my brain screams that it’s another death knell in NYC’s neverending march toward clean-cut oblivion, but heck, it’s like everything else in this town. We won’t even talk about the CBGBs movie currently filming in Savannah, Georgia, of all places, either. For better or worse, CBGBs is a commercial product and holding any type of festival in New York City automatically equals a hell of a lot money spent, lost, or earned. But here’s the bottom line: at least the organizers are giving it the old college try, maybe for the love of money, but probably also out of love for the passed-on spirit of CBGB. I’m willing to see what the festival brings before I pronounce it dead on arrival.

You Can Never Go Back

CBGB will always live in the hearts of those who frequented the now-defunct building located at 315 Bowery in the heart of what used to be the grimiest, grittiest, most “real” part of New York City known as The Bowery. Intermixed with the “real” New York of the Bowery (where you can still find people splayed drunk on the ground), are fancy restaurants, apartment buildings, and hotels where lowly NYers like me can’t — and never will — afford dinner let alone an apartment or night’s hotel stay. For those of us who remember the Bowery and CBGB as it was, we miss not necessarily the grime or crime (it’s still plenty dirty though much safer), but the spirit of independence that seems to be dying with each closing venue or flophouse on the Bowery, the East Village, or Lower East Side. There’s too many closed places to mention, but two good blogs that capture both the overall changes in NYC and the East Village are Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York and the EV Grieve. EV Grieve’s by-line reads: “Here, you’ll find things that you may or may not be interested in about the East Village and other parts of New York City. Appreciating what’s here while it’s still here. Remembering what’s no longer here. Wishing some things weren’t here that are here.”

CBGB Old School

All I’m Hoping for is a Heartbeat

Starting with Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s (yes, I know, some will scoff and say it all started with Rudy Giuliani), the city began a cleanup from the accumulated blight of three centuries of existence and moved toward what it is today: a Disney-fied playground for the rich. The bandshell of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village was vanished and the park beautified in the late 1980s, beginning that area’s overpriced tenement real estate craze. The Meatpacking District‘s S&M club, The Vault (aka The Manhole, and the Hellfire Club), shut down and slaughterhouses turned into Fifth Avenue-type clothing stores. Times Square’s porn palaces ended in movie megaplexes and Broadway got a facelift away from bulb-powered billboards to huge plasma screen displays all over the goddamned place, but at night, it’s a beautiful sight to behold, if you look up long enough to gaze at the displays without wanting to punch a tourist.

There’s a constant pull between the old and the new, but it’s always been like that in New York City. In 1898, when the city consolidated its current area as Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island, Brooklyn lamented its being swallowed up by Manhattan, and 114 years later, people still bitch about Consolidation. NYC is a place — for good or bad — that constantly remakes itself every couple of generations.

Today, the old CBGB’s space is a high-priced John Varvatos clothing store. Socks go for big bucks, and the cost of a jacket? Fudgeddaboutit. Whether John Varvatos loves music or not (which he obviously does as many of his publicity campaigns include rock stars such as Green Day)… thats, just… wrong, in the eyes of not only me, but others as well. No offense to Varvatos himself, but when the battle between Hilly Kristal and his landlord ended in the demise of the club and the Varvatos store moved in, it felt like a knife slicing through the heart, the end of a spirit of independence, of a connection to the poor and the punks, and an ironic twist of angst was left that’s difficult to let go of, even years after CBGBs closed.

Green Day in John Varvatos

Since you can’t go back to the old days… and really, if you remember what the Bowery was like in 1985, the year I moved to NYC from Detroit — drug infested, dangerous, and just plan nasty — what is there left to do? You can either let CBGB die a noble, final death and still make money from the brand profits alone… or you can create a giant festival in the name of CBGB, in the heart of New York (and Brooklyn) and attempt to infuse some spirit back into that once independent club on Bowery, if in name only.

I was discussing this on Facebook and a Native New Yorker friend wrote: “CBGB’s never represented anything to me other then a nasty hole in the wall that smelled like Port Authority. Sure a LOT of great bands were fostered there, but the mystique around it has to do with the Energy, the Time and specific Place fusing perfectly [emphasis mine]… [Today’s CBGB has] GOT to be sincere, in it for LOVE, not some concept of success — maybe not PUNK ethos, but certainly one for any kind of REAL Authentic expression, however it manifests.”

CBGB’s old haunt has died, Hilly Kristal has died, and maybe New York has died, too, but if CBGB’s was worth it in the first place, isn’t it worth breathing life back into it and hoping to find some heartbeat of authentic expression? I believe it is. So I hope, despite a strange and somehow lackluster slew of bands listed for the festival, that I’ll hear somewhere, a faint heartbeat of the old Bowery and CBGBs.

CBGB Closed


Is This Blog On??

Tap, tap, tap… Testing, testing, one, two, three… is this blog on?

Hello, Green Day Mind readers!

It’s been a “long time no see” situation here on the little old blog called Green Day Mind. You may or may not be following me on my very active Twitter account (and thanks if you are!) but frankly, the blog has gone stone cold silent since December. I can hear the sound of tumbleweeds across these here pixels, for sure. I mean, what was there to talk about? Has anything happened in Green Day land in the last few months? Hmmm… oh yea… this epic trilogy thing called “Uno!” “Dos!!” “Tre!!!” coming out from Green Day beginning this September 2012 and continuing to January 2013. I guess there is something solid to start talking about! I mean, I’ll leave all of the important stuff to the Green Day Authority and GreenDay.com. This little blog here is a specialty site, mostly posting about Green Day, but also branching out to other bands as well.

Green Day “Uno” Banner from GreenDay.com

Now that there’s solid albums coming out (dates are set, the tracklist for the first album released, and some summer/fall tour dates happening in Europe and at least one here in the United States), we have the date of July 16th to look forward to when the first song from “Uno!” entitled “Oh Love” will be released upon the public! Oh yes! Can’t wait!

I’ve read that a theme runs through the three albums, primarily the before, during, and after of a big party or celebration, and the emotional highs and lows that come from celebrating just a bit too much. You can read the most recent Rolling Stone interview on the trilogy at Green Day Authority here.

DOS! banner from GreenDay.com. Click on the link for the teaser!

Green Day has put out multiple 30-second videos while they’ve been in the studio, including the little gem for “Tre!” below. This clip is my favorite for two reasons: I’m very much looking forward to some drumming action from Tre Cool first of all. I have no idea how the writing credits “drum out” in the trilogy, but I suspect that this album will let us really get a taste for Tre’s wide range of drumming skills. I read awhile ago that he had been in Cuba taking lessons and sitting in on drumming sessions with Cuban masters and I’m looking forward to hearing what he’s learned. Plus, I just miss his wacky face.

TRE! Banner from GreenDay.com

The second reason is a little more personal… There’s a super quick segment in the video from Green Day’s Halloween show at Webster Hall Studio that me and one of my favorite super people, David Burgos, are in that includes another super guy, Michael Esper from “American Idiot on Broadway.” In the segment, Esper crowd surfs over both of us, and there’s an awesome shot of David surfing like the pro he’s becoming, too.

Green Day teaser for “TRE!!!”

I know, though, that’s not why you’ll enjoy this clip so much!

Stay tuned for more on Green Day as well as a few other things in the works. I will be at the first CBGBs Festival beginning this week (July 5-8) and will post on the Music and Film Conferences there and some music that I’ll see. In addition, I will finish my post on the KERPUNK Festival from January 2012 (yea, it’s a little late), and will also introduce you to a band I met along the way called Mad Anthony from Cincinnati, talk about my love for The Dopamines, and tell you all about Larry Livermore‘s “The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore” shows at the Knitting Room in Brooklyn last week.

Until then, thanks for sticking around!


Punks for Punks — Help for Punks Held in Aceh

Group of punks held after concert in Banda Aceh - Photo Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images

Christy C. Road posted a link on her Fan Facebook site the other day to a BBC News story regarding a group of 64 punk kids who attended a punk benefit show raising money for orphans and were subsequently rounded up for “re-education” in the Indonesia province of Aceh. You may remember this area for a number of reasons: a devastating tsunami flattened the landscape in 2004, which led in part to an easement of decades old hostilities between the Acehnese of the province and the ruling government in Indonesia’s capitol of Jakarta. Indonesia is a predominately moderate Muslim country, though the province lends itself to a stricter observance of Sharia law. Aceh province (whose capital is Banda Aceh) has a form of autonomous governing since peace was made, but the province is still part of the larger Indonesia. I only know a little about the societal and governmental functions and structures of Indonesia and it hasn’t popped up on my radar in a long while, probably since the tsunami, in any focused way.

The punk kids in question appear to be your normal concertgoers and street kids trying to get by, who listen to music, have mohawks, piercings and tattoos, take baths infrequently and are “punk.” The group rounded up is not just from Banda Aceh: one man interviewed traveled from Northern Sumatra (Aceh is also located on Sumatra) to attend the concert and was worried about losing his job since he’s being held in custody for at least ten days, though not being charged with a formal crime. Reading through several stories and links since seeing the original post on Facebook yesterday, a number of theories could be forwarded in regards to why they are being rounded up, forced to shave their hair, and undergo a ritual “bathing away the punk” dip in a local river including the result of Sharia law and a show of strength in “morality” or to deflect from a drug scandal currently involving the police of Aceh. Maybe the scandalized police will have their hair shaved off and suffer a ritual “bathing away the crooked” dip in the local river, too. (I have a feeling their punishment will be far worse.)

Whatever the reason, there’s a group of kids who went to a punk show and are now being detained by the police in their country for doing so.

Aborted Society Records posted a link to this 5-minute journal on Jakarta’s punk scene and the Indonesian band Marjinal:

“Punk in Indonesia” Report on GlobalPost.com by Maria Bukkalapulo and Ayumi Nakanishi

The kids detained are still undergoing “re-education” and will be held for at least ten days for those who live outside of the province and longer possibly for those who live in the province. The Facebook page “Punks for Punks: Demand the Release of Punks in Aceh” is calling for the Indonesian government to force the mayor and police of Banda Aceh to let the group go with no more of the re-education program in the ways of being more like everyone else around them. As an autonomous governing entity within Indonesia, this might be difficult for the government to do.

In the meantime, Aborted Society also started a “Mixtape for Aceh” campaign, wherein they are asking people to create cassette tapes of music to be sent to Aborted Society, who will then get the cassettes to kids in Indonesia. Cassettes are still widely used in the country, but according to the Mixtapes for Aceh site, CDRs in envelopes (not jewel cases) are also welcomed.

The most interesting report I’ve seen on this so far is from the December 13th Jakarta Post, “Aceh ‘Punks’ Arrested for ‘Re-education’,” which has a couple of articles linked to the post as well as some good comments regarding the punk scene in Indonesia. Reading comments led to articles recalling similar actions by the police in the non-Shariah-law city of Jakarta. Several commenters on this and other articles note that this story was deemed “newsworthy” by a wider, international audience only because Aceh is connected to a stricter and hardline interpretation of Muslim law, which makes for spicier headlines then “Dirty Punks Arrested in Jakarta.”

Here’s a primer from Human Rights Watch on “Policing Morality: Abuses in the Application of Sharia in Aceh, Indonesia” on what’s been happening in the province.

Dying Scene has noted that several bands are doing a compilation release called “Punk Aid: Jakarta Calling” and are looking for more bands to be on the hardcore compilation.

Here’s a link to photographs posted by the Guardian UK.


I Heart Honah Lee: “Life Won’t Let Me,” Asbury Lanes, NJ and the Charleston, Brooklyn 2011

I began writing this back in June 2011, after Honah Lee had their CD release party at Asbury Lanes this past summer. I got stuck in a writing slump for a number of reasons, but I’ve jump started a little in the last week due to some extreme Green Day fan weirdness, which I will have to relate one of these days. Sigh. But, as I love Honah Lee to bits and pieces, I wanted to finish this post off before I wrote anything else. I said awhile ago that I would, and so I am. <143

Honah Lee Release Party Flyer - Asbury Lanes, Asbury, NJ - June 17th, 2011 -- All Honah Lee posters by Anthony Catanese

I haven’t been up to writing lately. For those of you who visit Green Day Mind for new stuff on Green Day and the band’s side projects, other bands and musical adventures, sorry that I’m lame. Several issues and incidents including a health concern overwhelmed me these last months and American Idiot’s closing here in New York wiped me out! I’ll write about the end of American Idiot… one of these days, as Pink Floyd would say. It was a slightly traumatic day, and no, not because the show closed, but that certainly is a part of the story. It was blazingly hot that last day of American Idiot on Broadway in NYC, April 24th, 2011. The temperature one day was freezing, and the next day, “ho as hell.” I got dehydrated and fainted across the street from the St. James, in front of the Phantom of the Opera, and had to go to the hospital by ambulance where I got seven stitches in the emergency room because I smashed my head on the sidewalk, thereby prompting me to miss the matinee. When I came to, I swore that someone had walked by and randomly curbed me! Um… not so good times. I made it back to the evening performance of the final show and subsequent concert, but the day wasn’t as fun as it should have been. Thanks forever to David and Jaymee and Val who helped me that day. I will be forever grateful. (And sorry about all that blood on the hoodie…)

That head-meeting-sidewalk incident came two months after getting a black eye at the last Frustrators show that I attended at the Phenomenauts’ Command Center in February 2011. Both incidents knocked my mojo out of whack, and were a little embarrassing. Not only did I need to heal from the head injuries but I also had a scare about my thyroid (yay for no cancer!) and for me, it takes some time to heal from acute embarrassment! Some say it’s only rocknroll, but there is that part of me that says, “What the fuck, rocknroll?” There’s more to the story, but I’ll have to save that tale for one of these days, again, as Pink Floyd would say.

Speaking of Pink Floyd, did you catch Roger Waters and David Gilmour’s performance earlier this year of Floyd’s classic, “Comfortably Numb,” when Waters toured Pink Floyd in London? It was my theme song for a bit this year, and if you haven’t seen the performance, you should! Rogers and Gilmour rarely perform together and may never do it again. “Comfortably Numb” is one of my favorite all-time songs and the album it derives from, The Wall, is both a classic LP and one of the best adaptations of a rock-record-turned-musical-movie ever made. I saw Pink Floyd back in the 1980s at Nassau Coliseum and God was in attendance at the show. Or, at least, I think I saw him.

“Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd with Roger Waters and David Gilmour – O2, London, May 2011

Luckily while recovering from my head injuries and acute embarrassment, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits came through town twice–once for a show at Lulu’s in Brooklyn on June 7th–and then later in September for a crazy successful show put together by Mike CM (or Chickenman) at Tommy’s Tavern in Brooklyn that included acoustic sets by Bobby Joe, solo gigs by Mikey Erg and Franz Nikolay and PEOP’s Fly, and bands Devastation Wagon and Bobby Joe’s tour mates from out West, the merry men of Sherwood Forest, Tornado Rider, complete with cello as stringed guitar. It was a great night, though it would have been nice if Mike had been at his own show. Alas, he had some issues and fell off of the planet for a bit. He’s on the mend now and I’m hoping for more shows from him if he wants to still do it. Mike seriously knows music and the eclectic lineup he put together at Tommy’s oddly worked and was ripping fun.

I’ve seen a bunch of bands in addition to Bobby Joe and Honah Lee since the end of American Idiot including Social Distortion at the Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ, the Foo Fighters, the Pogues, Fucked Up!, The Cro-Mags, Dear Landlord, the Dopamines, Against Me!, Dengue Fever, TV on the Radio, Fishbone, Frank Turner, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Screaming Females, Japanther, Girl in a Coma, White Wives, Declan Bennett, the Atom Age, and three boys from American Idiot making their currently nameless band debut, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I also caught a Halloween show put on by a little band called Green Day in a little room in Manhattan called Webster Hall Studio. I went to Baltimore’s Insubordination Fest in August and saw a ton of great bands there, and witnessed Emily’s Army’s debut on the Insub Pop Punk Circuit. They put on a great show and taught those mean old pop punkers a few lessons on how to pop punk it. All of these bands helped with the mojo, but seeing Honah Lee regularly throughout the year injected me with doses of irreverent Jersey, sorta like a Jersey form of B12 or something, shot in the butt. Or something.

I’ve seen Honah Lee ten or more times this year (yes, I know, there’s something wrong with me), including Asbury Lanes on June 17th, a few of their other shows at the Mill Hill in Trenton, the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, the Loop Lounge in Patterson, and twin nights at the little basement venue of Williamsburg’s Charleston Bar on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. I traveled to Jersey to celebrate my birthday in March with these twerps, but of course they went on last at 1:00am and I had to catch a 1:27am train back to Brooklyn. I heard three songs and missed my birthday toast. Boo. In other words, I heart Honah Lee. I mean, how can you not heart these four crazily demented, but lovable, faces?

WE ARE BOLDLY GOING NOWHERE FOLLOWING A DREAM, AND PROUD OF BEING NOTHING IN THIS BROKEN MUSIC SCENE

Honah Lee (Tim Hoh, Jim Graz, Joseph Wolstenholme and Anthony Catanese) is a catchy, fun, loud, live band. Tim’s nasally-thin trumpet of a lead voice combined with Dim’s rock guitar licks and Jim’s bass and Tony G.’s drum rhythm section is a steady groovemaker when they get to revving and in Tim’s case, roaring. “Gimme something with a badass tempo” says their song, Bobby’s Dead, and I agree. I’m quite fond of the way these guys roll out their backbeat. I always expect to scream out some lyrics whenever I see the guys, as I’m fueled by that deceptive and steady rhythm just below the surface and lyrics that touch basic human chords: the futility of trying, even if you can’t give up; desires noted but not acted on; “don’t be me, cause I ain’t shit,” and whatever other rage within that needs tempering by a cheery attitude of desperate fun. It’s a little cathartic.

In general, “Honah Lee’s” songs are rhythms and lyrics that most listeners will embrace on the spot. If I still had my meaningless job at that publishing company, I would have blasted ‘I Hate My Job’ each and every day on my way to work. The song is almost a rallying anthem in which the masses can unite, but ultimately as Tim shouts ‘You gotta do it if you wanna get paid’. “Honah Lee” sings about what is universal. These guys would have been writing songs about girls ten years ago. Now, they write about the monotony of work and the general ambivalence that we all feel towards life at times.The Real Musician – Review of Honah Lee/The Plurals Split EP, “Lick It.”

Honah Lee, First show at the Charleston, Sometime 2011

we play along like there’s nothing wrong, yea, we make it look so fucking fun… don’t. be. me… cause I ain’t shit”

Don’t Be Me

Honah Lee - Loop Lounge

It’s neat to see Honah Lee’s audiences grow since that epic show at Don Hill’s back in February 2010 when Honah Lee and the Mystic Knights of the Cobra opened for the Foxboro Hot Tubs and only a handful of people in the room knew their name. Prior to and since that show, they’ve consistently built an audience and constantly play gigs all over New Jersey and surrounding areas. It’s even more neat hearing audiences sing along with them.

Honah Lee / Bobby Joe Ebola

Honah Lee’s twin shows at Brooklyn’s tiny basement venue, the Charleston–about the size of Trenton’s Mill Hill–in the heart of Williamsburg, USA have been laid back and relaxing, whether hanging on the Charleston’s comfy outdoor seating, inside at the long bar, or downstairs in the basement music venue. The Charleston’s small performance space is outfitted with an outsized speaker system that can blowout musicians and audience alike. At that first show, Tim knocked his beer over during the first song. It puddled at the band’s feet and leaked through the holes in his shoes. The crowd was small, but the band gave it their all and won them over, despite the crappy sound and loss of beer. I was happy that they were playing in Brooklyn and the crowd had a good time. What more do you need?

I was wondering… what you gonna do, what you gonna do? Can I hang out with you, say I can hang out with? … I don’t want to know what’s on your mind… there’s just nothing to do

I Was Wondering

Honah Lee / Statues of Liberty

This second time around at the Charleston on Friday, 12/3/2011, the band’s sound was clearer and cleaner, no beer was spilled, the crowd was thicker, and most of them were there to see Honah Lee, which is pretty great since it’s only their sixth or seventh time playing in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including that epic show at Don Hill’s. Nicole M-W and her husband Anthony J-M-W (who I saw perform as lead singer in a smoking-hot Rage Against the Machine tribute band earlier this summer) and Cathryn, who I’ve met on fleeting occasions during the stage production of American Idiot, were there, along with some of Honah Lee’s New Jersey friends and New York fans. Not The Bees!, a New Jersey band that tours on the local circuit with Honah Lee (one of four bands on the Charleston bill) filled out the front area of the audience, so there were more than a few people who knew the songs. Probably the best moment came during Honah Lee’s song, Leave It To My Goddamn Brain, when Tim admonished his lyrical antagonist to… well, “fuck you”… with the crowd answering in support built on a steady uptempo beat, ending in a shared chorus and accompanied by their best middle finger salutes.

Honah Lee / Sports Bar / Atom Age

Nothing will beat the Honah Lee CD release party sing-a-long at Asbury Lanes back in June, though, except maybe the day when I see them play larger rooms. Why? Because almost everyone knew the lyrics to their songs and were more than willing to scream them back in abandon at the band, egged on by the driving rhythm section and teased by rock riffs. I can honestly say that this night was a highlight of my entire summer, and the gritty splender of the Lanes and beautiful Asbury Park made a perfect backdrop for exercising some demons. Good times, good people, good screaming.

The Queers / Honah Lee

I’d only been to Asbury Park one other time, a quick trip to catch Social Distortion’s show at the Stone Pony earlier in May 2011. This time around, my friend Liz and I rented a room at the Asbury Berkeley and ended up in a beautiful suite on the quiet, i.e., non-Honah Lee-staying, side of the hotel. We had an expansive view of a never-ending crystal blue Atlantic Ocean and the restored Asbury Park Pavilion. We got to town around 6:00, explored the Boardwalk, marveled at the ocean and the architecture, went back to the hotel for a minute and then off to Asbury Lanes.

Honah Lee / Cryptkeeper 5

Asbury Lanes is a bowling alley turned band venue, with a stage nested in the lanes, a solid sound system and ample dance floor. The Plurals, an outstanding trio from Lansing, Michigan, was on the bill that night, with Lakeside Drive, Radio Exiles and Communication Redlight. Honah Lee went on last with a full audience of hardcore HL fans, friends, and family who knew almost every damn word to the songs. The resultant (slightly intoxicated) singalong ended ultimately in audience members storming the stage as someone ran by in a taco costume. Or was that a hot dog costume? I don’t remember.

“Coca cola drives me crazy. Sex and cigarettes all night. I’m a liar like, a priest, the messiah, I’m insane.”

Sex N’Cigarettes

Honah Lee / The Plurals

Honah Lee’s simple, heartfelt lyrics and chords are tinged with touches of irony and a little ennui; simple, singable choruses invite the audience to “scream it out” with them. (Although Tony, the curmudgeonly drummer, says he hates it when the audience sings along. I don’t know if he’s serious, he hates everything.) I know a few people who don’t like Honah Lee, comparing them to Weezer and such (as if that’s a bad thing), but I just don’t get it.  Weezer is certainly an influence, but so is Screeching Weasel. In fact, Honah Lee has a song coming out soon in Ben Weasel’s defense. Pop-punkers tend to dismiss them for one reason or another, and that’s their prerogative. Whatever the reasons, Honah Lee may not move mountains, but it was way neat seeing them move the V.F.W. audience in Somewhere, New Jersey this summer, cause when Honah Lee gets into a groove, their melodies flow well and Tony keeps a badass tempo behind guitarists Tim and Dim, and bassist Jim rips some deep, moving basslines. Tim encourages the room to drink (anything), always raises his glass in a toast to the audience, and off they run. Looking at that room of people in Asbury was amazing, as the crowd sang with the band, and more than a few antics broke out. They have a solid rapport with their audience.

Fuck responsibility, I don’t want to do a goddamn thing, but sit on my ass, and watch tv, drink some beers, and smoke some weed… LIFE WON’T LET ME… YOU WON’T LET ME… TIME WON’T LET ME… AND LIFE… WON’T… LET… ME…” -

-Life Won’t Let Me

Honah Lee / Beardo the Man

Honah Lee work their asses off playing music, promoting their shows with well-crafted flyers, booking gigs, recording tracks, criss crossing New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, and other States to play. Yea, they may be strange, but it warms my heart to see a group of guys work hard despite the odds by “BOLDLY FOLLOWING A DREAM GOING NOWHERE,” even in the face of this “BROKEN MUSIC SCENE.” I’m hoping that one day they’ll be as big as Bieber… haha, I kid… but I would like to see a whole mess of folks in an audience screaming their lyrics back at them in a mad dance. I’m not sure how big a “mess of folks” would be, but the moment itself will be a solid, fun time of musically shared zeitgeist, some antics, and a beer or two.

I’ve lost my heart I’ve lost my soul I lost myself in the…. rock and roll….

Loss for Words

-

Fifteen Years of Tim Hoh

On a slightly sad note, after seeing the band off from their Charleston gig on Friday, the boys made it back to New Jersey, and the next day, the band and their lovely wives, fiancees, and girlfriends all went to their friend’s wedding. Everyone had a mirthful time celebrating the nuptials. Towards the end of the night, Tim, who has been known to go off and take a leak in the woods, found himself off the side of a cliff instead of an expanse of soft, dewey, grass, and hurt his back in the subsequent 12-foot drop. He has to stay off his feet for a little bit, and according to their Facebook, the band will have to cancel a few shows in the next weeks, but hope to be back before the end of the month.

Next time Tim, go to the men’s room.

You can hear the album, Life Won’t Let Me, on their Soundcloud.

All Honah Lee flyers courtesy of Anthony Catanese. More flyers here.

Photo of Honah Lee from album, Life Won’t Let Me by Michelle Lawlor

“Bobby’s Dead” – Honah Lee at Asbury, June 17, 2011

*Filmed by me, not a videographer…

“Gimme something with a badass tempo… gimme something that will stick in my head… gimme something with some real emotion… ya give me something so I know I’m not dead…”–Bobby’s Dead


Bring Me the Mojo: Bobby Joe Ebola and the “Ring Around the Bullshit” Tour!

Hello there, Green Day Mind blog readers!

First off, I’m sorry that my posts have gone a bit quiet lately. Truth to tell, I’ve lost a bit of my blog-mental-mojo lately with various things here and there that come along with the bullshit of life since American Idiot on Broadway closed last month, and the posts to the blog will more than likely be a little infrequent until someone or something brings my mojo back to me!

May Mojo Bringing

Until said mojo-returning time, I have some mojo-boosting to look forward to during May, including seeing the Dirty Pearls at the Webster Hall Studio (May 11th), Dear Landlord at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn (May 12th), and then Honah Lee in Brooklyn at the Charleston (May 13th), as Honah Lee celebrates the upcoming release of their new album. Hopefully I’ll survive three straight nights of rock and roll so that I can head to the theater the week after to see Derek Jacobi in the sold-out Donmar Warehouse production of King Lear at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Tempest by Target Margin Theater at HERE. The Donmar Warehouse and Target Margin are two of my favorite theater companies, and though I’ve seen productions of both Shakespearean plays a billion times, I can watch a good Shakespeare production any time of the day or night. I was also lucky to see Michael Esper and an old schoolmate of mine, Matt Servitto (he played an FBI agent in HBO’s The Sopranos for years), in Tony Kushner’s new play, Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures at the Public Theater. Esper and Servitto are in pivotal supporting roles and they are great, as is the production in general. It’s a very heavy show, mixing family misery with a dose of labor history and a father’s announcement of his impending suicide, but through the heavy there are some excellent laughs, a sharp script, lovely set, and outstanding performances. And Esper is shirtless for a bit in the show, so… MOJO BONUS!

June Mojo Bringing

Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits Tour Schedule May-June 2011

Bobby Joe Ebola, Cheesequake, Dog That Bites Everyone - Lulu's, June 7th

Then June brings some fun California mojo back to the New York area in the form of Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits! Bobby Joe’s Corbett Redford III and Dan Abbott are hitting the road again, with their “Ring Around the Bullshit” tour from May 13th to July 6th (though the tour goes through July 29th), starting off in California with stops in the Metro New York area in New Brunswick, NJ (The Alamo on June 6th) and my very own borough of Brooklyn at Lulu’s on July 7th. The above graphic has the tour dates but check out their constantly updated Facebook event page for tour venues and last minutes updates and changes. Make sure you catch them for a down-to-earth good time when they come near you.

Redford and Abbott are two of the hardest-working musicians out there. Not only did they finish up a week with the Frustrators touring back in February with a bunch of great bands, but they’ve been working non-stop on shows as well as on 13 videos to each of the songs from their 2010 album release, F. The first of the videos came out a few weeks ago… and was immediately banned from Youtube! That should indicate to you the level of provocative imagery that the first of these videos (the first being the song “Poly,” below) will bring you for the other 12 releases. Stay tuned to their Facebook page as well as their homepage, BobbyJoeEbola.com for more videos.

Bobby Joe Ebola - ¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse

Especially for this “Ring Around the Bullshit” tour, the duo are re-releasing their 2000 album entitled, ¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse, a collection of 30+ songs including a few live tracks. The original version came with an special art book that’s being reissued as well, with art by Jon Carling, who did cover art for F, Robert Eggplant of Absolutely Zippo, and Jason Chandler of the Frustrators, among others.

I love this album! I snagged a copy of it during their NYC tour last year, and it’s in heavy rotation on my iPhone. Every song is worth a sing-along as Bobby Joe sings songs of turtles losing their home (“Mr. Turtle”), psychotic girlfriends (“Psychotic Girlfriend (The Smurf Nazis)”), dentists who provide meat for Iams and Purina (“Root Canal”), the joys of college and not calling your parents (“Money for Books”), loving drugs that call me “potato” (“I Love Drugs”), and, “You Don’t Have to Die Alone”… so when you die a violent death, take someone with you… . The album is completely irreverent, funny, over-the-top and musically satisfying. I’ve never seen the art book that comes with it but with all of the artists that appear in it plus the additions to the disc, I’ll have to buy a new copy of the set when they hit Brooklyn in June.

Here’s a press release about the re-issue:

¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse

“The dark and cerebral classic 2000 album now reissued for the first time with its original 40 page ‘art book’! This brick of awesome also features some new art inspired by the album cataclysmic tone, B-sides, an unreleased MacNuggit radio performance from Canadian station CITR, recorded October 19th, 1999 AND never before reprinted buttons & stickers from the tense and bygone era this opus came out.

The art book contains illustrations, paintings, collage and more from many artists including Jon Carling, Moses Saarni, Fermin Mata, Robert Eggplant (Absolutely Zippo), Julia Booze, Dylan Blackthorn, Christopher Murdoch, Jason Chandler (The Frustrators), Baby Deer (Fleshies), Caoimhe Über Alles and even some doodles by the band members!

Come to think of it, all of this great stuff in the next few months is sure to bring me the mojo! I’m looking forward to it. I hope everyone has a great couple of months, and I hope to see you at a show!


American Idiot on Broadway Closes, but We Have Every Second

American Idiot on Broadway

American Idiot Song List - Berkeley Rep Run

American Idiot on Broadway closes tomorrow, April 24, 2011, after 400+ performances. What a long, strange trip it’s been and a pleasure watching the show develop from Berkeley to Broadway and move on to the silver screen. The last chapter from album to Broadway to screen is in the works, with Tom Hanks producing, Michael Mayer on as director, and negotiations happening between Hanks’ Playtone Productions, Universal Studios and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for his screenplay Milk, and writes the HBO show, Big Love.

The movie is still in the negotiation phase, but if I were a betting woman, I’d say a movie adaptation of American Idiot will happen sooner rather than later. In the meantime… the Broadway show is closing, and while a part of me is greatly saddened, another part of me is satisfied with the fun and successful run. Broadway shows close, it happens all the time.

In my mind, the show experienced its closing when Billie Joe, Michael Esper, John Gallagher, Jr., Christina Sajous, and Stark Sands left the company in February, especially when Esper, Gallagher and Sajous left and they were in the original Berkeley cast.  I was lucky to see Van Hughes play the role of Johnny a lot since John Gallagher, Jr., left. I  love John, he’s the most amazing human being on earth, but I’ve had a great time watching Van play Johnny over these last few months. While I think that Hughes is a solid replacement for Johnny’s role, I miss how fast Christina could whip around and hit that high note in “Extraordinary Girl” while spinning in the air; I miss Stark’s amazing voice and stint as Tunny; and I miss Michael Esper’s heartfelt melancholy as Will on that damned couch. Don’t get me wrong, Justin Guarini, Declan Bennett, and last night’s Will, Jason Kappus, have been great, but Michael… Fucking… Esper… sigh… will always be Will to me. As the Frustrators say… “all good things… must end,” and a year’s run on Broadway is a hella long time for a show in B’way years.

Endings bring new beginnings, and for John Gallagher, Jr., it brought a role in the critically acclaimed, Jerusalem, which I saw in previews recently and quite enjoyed. I haven’t gotten to see Michael Esper in Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide yet at the Public Theater, nor Mary Faber in How to Succeed in Business or Sajous in Baby, It’s You yet, but I will… once AI closes and I have cash again. While there are new adventures to bring on, I will never experience again a Broadway show like American Idiot. First of all, I’ve never been heavily invested in Broadway’s life as an experimental theater student back in the day, and frankly, there hasn’t been a show that has caught my attention on Broadway like American Idiot has…. and never will again. Of course, being that I’m a Green Day fan, the show has an extra special touch to me, but being that I’m also a huge fan of theater though not of the Broad Way, it has helped me to appreciate it a little more though I will sadly, never fall in love with the Great White Way.

Every Second

Back in the day, when I was in theater school at New York University, I did a play that was a in classroom-workshop for three months and then performance for two weeks called Danton’s Death, directed by Anne Bogart. It was an incredible time for me and my fellow actors, just learning our craft, and one of those periods of time were you work on a show or project for many months and  your fellow performers and co-collaborators become a family, with a rich, tight bond. Many of the people from this show drifted away after many years, but we’ve managed to say hello here and there and cherish every second of that time we spent together.

Dogtags by Abbey Fox. Photo by Michelle Lawlor, Lucky 17 Photography

Billie Joe posted a really lovely Tweet last night about the nature of seconds over the next four shows to closing tomorrow night at 7:30 PM in New York City on 4/24/2011… and it reminds me of those Pinhead Gunpowder dogtags that Abbey Fox made so long ago with the saying, “Every Second.” For the cast and creators of the show and those of us, whether near or far, who have grown to feel like American Idiot is a family, of sorts, it will be a sad time indeed to see this phase of life end. All I can say is thanks, Broadway, for making it possible. Thanks for all of the good times, excellent music, hi-jink shenanigans, fucking up of Broadway, introduction of awesome actors, musical gigs from the talented cast as well as their voices singing Green Day’s songs, Billie Joe’s introduction to theater (may he come again in another show or write one!), and all of the St. Jimmies, and of course, Green Day itself for creating those very seconds that will be missed. Missed but not forgotten, even as they fade away into memory.

I won’t say goodbye, I’ll just say, bon voyage until the next creative phase comes around!

Green Day Mind American Idiot Post Highlights and Green Day Authority Podcast

Podcast 37 - American Idiot Musical Broadway Finale, now for The Silver Screen with Guest, Green Day Mind!

The Green Day Authority invited me onto the podcast earlier this week to talk about the Broadway show as well as the upcoming movie. Here’s the link, if you’d like to listen in: Podcast 37 – American Idiot Musical Broadway Finale, now for The Silver Screen!

New York Daily News article on the Greenday.com site - Click for full article, that interview from the early 1990s were Green Day talks about their musical, and hot pics of John and Rebecca!

Here’s some blog posts that I’ve written over the last year about the Broadway opening, the American Idiot talkbacks, etc, in case you want to relive those seconds. But first… My favorite seconds… my blog being mentioned at the American Idiot talkbacks:

Green Day Mind mentioned at American Idiot talkbacks, September 2010

I also quite enjoyed being in the New York Daily News with Mike Chickenman and Nicole Gary so long ago, before the show opened, which made it onto GreenDay.com, too!

The Complete Archive of posts that mention American Idiot on Broadway.

Next Stop: Broadway?

Idiots On Broadway

American Idiot On Broadway Preview and Opening Weeks

Theater Talk with Armstrong and Mayer

Broadway Billie Joe Makes His Debut On Broadway and London Billie Joe on B’way Flashback Moment

A Week With An American Idiot – Idiot University

“But I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive like suicide…” Original Goodnight New York Lyrics

My initial reactions/critique of the show from Berkeley can be found here, here, and here.

American Idiot Banner by Violeta


Do You Know Your Frustrators? – Contest Winners

"Gabriel! Your "Griller" CD is coming your way, baby! SQWARK! Does anybody else see that pink bunny up there, or have I just been drinking too much lately?" - Zombie Stanley by Art Tedeschi

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering if you won a contest or something. I won’t keep you waiting, so let’s get right down to it.

Thanks to everyone who entered! I know that the questions were a bit frustrating, but hey, welcome to my world!

Winners: Gabriel Bernard and Marisa Graham!

Only one person correctly answered all twelve questions and he was also the first person to send his answers in. Literally… The first person. It probably isn’t fair that he won since he runs his own Frustrators fan website and knew all of the answers. Congratulations, Gabriel Bernard! You win a CD that I am pretty sure you already own!

"F" - Released October 12, 2010 - Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits. Baby Goat of Rock Photo by Corbett Redford I, 1942. Cover design by Jon Carling

The second place winner is Marisa Graham. Marisa took the photograph that appears on the back album cover and insert to the Frustrators’ 2000 EP, Bored in the USA, taken at the band’s second-ever live performance, at 924 Gilman. It’s probably not fair that she won, either, but Marisa was the first person to answer eleven of the questions correctly as well as the second person to enter the contest.

Marisa’s only incorrect answer was to Question #11: “What is the name of the upcoming album by Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits that lead singer Jason Chandler designed the album cover for?” Marisa answered F, which was released by Bobby Joe Ebola last year on October 12, 2010, on Silver Sprocket Records. The album that Chandler (lead singer of the Frustrators and graphic artist) designed the cover, CD, and booklet art for, Meal Deal with the Devil! is Bobby Joe’s upcoming album and book release due in mid-2011. (See below for more!) Sorry about that, Marisa! But, on a bright note, you won what you wanted… the Frustrators bag. Congratulations!

Prize #2: Frustrators Felt BackPack Bag

A shout out goes to Crystal S. who was the only other person to answer eleven of the questions correctly, but unfortunately, I have nothing else to give away but my sincere thanks for taking the time to enter the contest! Unfortunately, your answer to “Did the Frustrators play their first ever live gig at 924 Gilman?” was incorrect. See below for the answer!

Gabriel and Marisa, send me your mailing addresses at greendaymind@gmail.com and I’ll send your items out as soon as possible. Or just wait until I email you, one or the other!

Dang, that was frustrating! What is this? School?

And here’s the answers. I have to say, it was great fun looking this stuff up! But then again, I’m a nerd…

1. The Frustrators have four songs/EPs/Albums on the Adeline Records label. What are the four Adeline numbers of these recordings?

Griller - AR 046

Might as Well... Can't Dance - "Trout" - AR 008

Achtung Jackass - AR 020

Bored in the USA - AR 005

The Frustrators have four songs/EPs/Albums on the Adeline Records label. Each record released by Adeline is numbered in the Adeline logo by the order of release. The numbers for the Frustrators releases are: Griller AR 046, Achtung Jackass AR 020, Bored in the USA, AR 005, and Song #6, “Trout,” appeared on a Adeline showcase album entitled Might as Well… Can’t Dance, AR 008.

2. The band had two potential names before settling on “The Frustrators.” Name one of the potential names.

This was the hardest question because it’s not readily found on the Interwebs. In fact, I had to ask where to find it! But I did try at first. Kinda. Sorta. Anyway, here’s the bebo.com inteview posting from The Frustrators to find the answer.

Where did you guys get the name The Frustrators?

It’s funny about the name. At first we wanted to call ourselves “the Ropers.” It is such a great name. It brings to mind all kinds of good things, like cowboys and Three’s Company (that show with Suzanne Sommers, the landlords were named the Ropers). It was cheesy. We liked it. But we found out there was a band signed to Velocity Girl’s label in DC already named “the Ropers.” Ooh, we were pissed. So then we came up with “the Regal Beagles,” which was the bar in Three’s Company. And we had them put that name on the flyers for Backyard Believers [the venue of the band’s first show], and then we found out there was a ska band in LA with that name! So now we were frustrated. And that is where the name came from.

The answers, the Ropers and the Regal Beagles are from a television show that I watched a lot back in the day, Three’s Company. In fact, I think I got most of my life’s philosophy from this show, which is really, really weird. The show’s plot entailed three roommates, Janet Wood, Chrissy Snow and Jack Tripper, two women (one bombshell blond, Suzanne Sommers and one brunette everywoman, Joyce DeWitt) and one man (John Ritter, one of the funniest guys on the planet, RIP). The three mixed-gender roommates lived together because of the cheap California rent and hung out at the local bar called the Regal Beagle. The show ran from 1977 to 1984, a time when men and women who weren’t married or related were beginning to openly share homes as roommates. If you weren’t married or related, you were living in sin, even if everyone had their own bedrooms! Their landlords were Mr. and Mrs. Roper. Mr. Roper (classic comic genius Norman Fell) was opposed to a mixed-gender living arrangement if the man was straight, so Jack had to constantly pretend that he was gay in order to satisfy Mr. Roper’s rental requirement. Mrs. Roper (the wonderfully wry Audra Lindley, seldom without a drink in her hand) loved her dopey, but cheap husband and liked the tenants, and she knew that Jack was straight. Jack also had the heavy hots for busty and blonde Chrissy. Believe me, hilarity ensued. It was a show full of classic comedic pratfalls, subterfuge, innuendo, double entendres, and boobs. Ah, the 70s.

All in all, I’m glad that the potential names, the Ropers and the Regal Beagles, were out of commission because The Frustrators is the perfect name for the band, and I totally get where their sense of humor comes from. Oh and yea, cowboys, too.

3. Name the Frustrator who sculpted the zombie version of Stanley the Chicken which appears on: the cover of the Griller 7″ vinyl, inside the CD fold-out, and on the t-shirt worn by Mike during the tour? (See the t-shirt on Mike)

Zombie Stanley - Sculpture by Art Tedeschi - Courtesy of the Frustrators

Mike and Stanley - Photo: Kerry Harris

Art Tedeschi, drummer of The Frustrators, is a former makeup artist among other professions, and sculpts and does life casts for fun. He sculpted the zombie image of Stanley the Chicken. In fact, it’s called… Zombie Stanley! If you’re wondering how it was made like I was, Tedeschi was found in his corner of the bunker and asked. He says that: “It was sculpted by hand with stone clay, I used clay tools to do any detail work, then painted with water-based paints and finally, it was fired in a kiln! He is the Zombie Stanley!” Tedeschi went on to to say: “I used to go to all the make-up trade shows in LA and got to meet some cool professionals. I even modeled for the make-up artist that ran the dept. for Buffy the Vampire Slayer teevee show. He gave me a vampire forehead and when I wore it outside, no one seemed to notice. That’s LA for you.”

Needless to say, when he mentioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I swooned. Best teevee show ever.

The sculpted head is pretty amazing, and the details and coloring are nicely done! I did not ask what the inspiration was for the Zombie Stanley sculpture. I figure that I’d leave that to the Frustrators themselves to explain one day, but there is a slight resemblance to a certain bass player…

Griller EP Special Vinyl Cover with Zombie Stanley

4. Which two Frustrators members played with Green Day on an episode of Mad TV?

Terry Linehan Performs with Green Day on Mad TV

The two Frustrators members who played with Green Day on MAD TV were Mike Dirnt and Terry Linehan. Jason White was on tour with the Influents during this performance and Terry stepped in for him. Linehan is part-owner of a bar located in Providence, RI called the Scurvy Dog. Arrgh! Pirates! Go in and have a drink if you’re ever in the nabe! Terry is also in a band called Hope Anchor. They recently were featured on a compilation album of cover songs called, Failed Tribute Bands and have a pretty awesome version of “Stand By Me” included [Direct LINK to song track here]. I was listening to this compilation celebrating the 100th release of the independent record company, 75orLess, and there are some gems on it! The download is free, so check out Hope Anchor as well as the other local bands that appear on the free download.

5. The animated cartoon character in the tease leak to the song, “Prettiest Girl” has a name. What is it?

Joy McQueefy

Joy McQueefy, Punk Princess! Find her on Facebook, where she occasionally gives out punk beauty wisdom such as:

Joy’s Punk Princess Beauty Secret #2 — Discounted white-label Japanese cosmetic contact lenses that say they’ll make your eyes look bigger and show up at your house in a crushed box wrapped in newspaper are TOTALLY WORTH THE PINKEYE LADIES!! I looked awesome for a few minutes there, and will do it again just as soon as my stupid antibiotics run their course.

6. What year did their first live performance take place?

They partied like it was…. 1999!

7. Did the Frustrators play their first ever live gig at 924 Gilman?

The cover of “Bored in the USA,” shows the Frustrators at their first-ever show performance… but it’s not taken at 924 Gilman. The first-ever live performance by the Frustrators took place at an outdoor vintage car event called the Backyard Believers, a week or so before the Gilman show, which took place on August 20, 1999! The answer to this question is found in the link below, though the Backyard Believers part was a bit more difficult to track down on the Internet. The Wayback Machine Archive of the Frustrators old website had to help me with that one.

The Wayback Machine Archive has links to two photos of that first show, but the links are dead. Pictures for this gig’s show might be lost forever in the bunker, back in the days of actual film!

This passage is from an interview that Lis Booth of “PunkGlobe.com” did with JasonC last year:

The big photo on the back of “Bored in the USA” was from that [Gilman] show. I think Gilman was our 2nd show, and maybe the first one where we called ourselves the Frustrators. … I just Googled it, yes indeed it was our 2nd show and the first one where we used the name “The Frustrators.” It was in 1999. At that show we handed out hand-burned copies of our unmastered “Bored in the USA” which had just been mixed. It was our first indoor show so it was nice.

8. What two legendary and well-known venues besides 924 Gilman did the Frustrators play in 2001?

The Fillmore in San Francisco and the Troubabour in Los Angeles. The shows were for an Adeline Records showcase. The Frustrators were on the bill with several Adeline bands, including The Influents: Jason White, Bill and Greg Schneider, and Willie Samuels. An archive of old postings at Greenday.net and a list of past shows at the Influents website helped with this one.

9. From which European country does a rock surf band named “The Frustrators” come from?

If you hear talk of the Frustrators touring around in Europe, make sure it’s the Frustrators from California! There’s a surf rock band from the Czech Republic who share the name, “The Frustrators.” Sadly, it’s unlikely that the first and true Frustrators will ever tour in Europe, so if you find yourself at a Frustrators show in the middle of a landlocked, former Eastern bloc country with awesome beer and limited available surfing, you are probably hearing the surf rock Frustrators of the Czech Republic and not the ironic pop-punk Frustrators of the East Bay. Check out the surf rock Frustrators at their Bandzone.cz site. They aren’t bad!

10. Within the last week, The Frustrators posted Youtube videos on their Facebook page of several young bands covering Frustrators songs. Name one of the bands, the country that they come from, and the song that they covered.

There were four cover songs (two acoustic solos and two band recordings) that were featured on the Frustrators’ Facebook last week. One of the bands were Loudstuff from Italy. The other was The Razorblades from Brazil. Both bands performed “I Slept with Terry.” It’s nice that they support these young bands from around the world. If you have a cover of a Frustrators song, whether solo, acoustic, with a band, in your pajamas, whatever, send it to them at their Facebook page.

Loudstuff – Italy – I Slept with Terry [Starts about 5:30] – 2009

The Razorblades – Brazil – I Slept with Terry – 2009

11. What is the name of the upcoming album by Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits that Jason Chandler designed the album cover for?

Meal Deal with the Devil- Bobby Joe Ebola and Children MacNuggits - Design by Jason Chandler, Horrible Comics 2011

Meal Deal with the Devil- Bobby Joe Ebola and Children MacNuggits - Design by Jason Chandler, Horrible Comics, 2011

Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits will release their upcoming recording Meal Deal with the Devil! later this year. The cover features Chandler’s characters, “The Flies.” Kinda adorable. From what I understand, there’s a comic or graphic book that goes along with the album. Combined with the storytelling genius of those Ebola dudes, Corbett Redford III and Dan Abbott, and Chandler, it should be pretty awesome. I can’t wait to hear and see what these guys have cooked up for us!

Meal Deal with the Devil will be released in mid-2011 on Silver Sprocket Records and I think that Bobby Joe Ebola is gearing up to tour this summer. Don’t miss these guys if they pass through your town! Keep up to date with news from them at their website. Bobby Joe Ebola is currently working on videos from their album, F, released last year. Photo stills posted on their Facebook page from the video shoots range from mimes in a bar to psycho pig-snout human butcher demons. Hmm! Check out the video to their release from last year, Freaky Baby, from Funny or Die.

The answer to this question comes from a press release at Silver Sprocket Records as well as a blog posting from yours truly, Green Day Mind.

12. Name one other band that Mike Dirnt has recorded with that is not Green Day, the Network, the Foxboro Hot Tubs or the Frustrators.

Everyone who entered the contest sent in the name of the same band that Mike Dirnt has recorded with: Screeching Weasel. You can view the DJ Rossstar video below, starting about 2:30, for more bands that Dirnt has recorded with.


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