Wednesday, 1 July 2015

xC-60x Vol VI - Motormix

Like most motor-freaks the Glastonbury show from last weekend has been playing heavily on my mind and I've found myself listening back to all their classic LP's, not only great music but fantastic memories. The only obvious answer was a mixtape of motorclassics to keep their glory days fresh and not allow the dark mood of their twilight days take hold of my memories.

"We are Motorhead, and we're gonna kick your ass!"

click the cassette to stream or download

  1. The Hammer
  2. White Line Fever (7" version)
  3. I'll Be Your Sister (Zeke)
  4. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers (ZZ Top)
  5. Turn You Round Again
  6. We Are The Road Crew (live)
  7. Speedfreak (Hellacopters)
  8. Snaggletooth
  9. Orgasmatron (BBC Rock Show)
  10. Love Me Forever (Beyond Black)
  11. Love for Sale
  12. Lost in the Ozone
  13. I Aint No Nice Guy (acoustic)

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

New Blood Scotland - a very quick look at 4 current scottish hardcore groups

Here's a series of short interviews I pulled together last year for MRR, looks like they didn't run this piece so I thought it'd make sense to get it out there while it still held some relevance. Enjoy and share around!

- The text is a bit tiny but if you choose to view pic in a new tab you can see the page full size.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

he didn't want to live forever, but apparently he is - motor-comebacks through the ages

There was a time when I ate, slept  and shat Motorhead. At age 14 I had a photograph of myself with mutton chops added in biro pen pinned up next to the mirror in my bedroom so that every morning I could look at what I aspired to. At the age of 15 I got a tattoo of 'old snaggletooth' on my left arm (my mum made me get it without the Iron Cross). By the time I made it to my 16th year I was ordering Jack and Coke in pubs and was the proud owner of No Remorse on tape with the leather cover. By 17 I was losing my virginity whilst listening to said copy of No Remorse. By 19 I owned a Motorhead toilet seat made for me by my best buddy. And then, slowly but steadily I drifted away from Motorhead. the nail in the coffin for me was the album Hammered. Whilst there was certainly a shift in style with the departure of second guitarist Wurzel in the mid nineties, to my ears the albums leading up to Hammered still hold their own, but everything after that has just blown over me, unless I found myself laughing at it rather than with it (Smiling Like a Killer for example).

Anyway, getting back on track, i had no idea Motorhead were playing Glastonbury this year, I thought they only cancelled gigs now rather than play 'em, so was actually really excited when I saw their name pop up on iplayer - banging night in I thought! However, as I'm sure any motorfan of old will agree, their performance was far from stellar, in fact it was pretty dire, with Lemmy sing in the wrong places, sometimes even singing the wrong words and the tempo of many well known numbers being dropped to a snails pace. Is it time for them to call it a day? I know Lemmy won't give 2 shits what I think, but based on the Glastonbury performance I think I'll stick to my memories and the early LPs.

Anyway, why brood on the negative when we can rock out to the positive with a look at some of the more successful comebacks Motorhead have smashed through over the years.

1. We're shelving your LP, now piss off!

As any hardened Motor-fanatic knows the Motorhead discography does not begin with the rough and ready diesel sniffing punk rock self titled debut on Chiswick but with the altogether more 70's vibe of On Parole.Originally recorded within the year of the band forming, On Parole was shelved by the record label (United Artists, who must have kept Lemmy on from his Hawkwind days) and din't see the light of day till '79 when it was released (with that awful 'rock files' sleeve) to cash in the bands then success. Having their LP binned by the label really put the breaks on Motorhead and they were almost for throwing in the towel when they got the offer of recording time to lay down a single for Chiswick, recording time they used to lay down most of what would become the first album proper. The rest is history of course, but their determination got them over the first hurdle and on their way. 

I. Who doesn't love the Beer Drinkers 12" they recorded at the same time, what a banger!
II. Larry Wallis plays guitar on the first LP, not Fast Eddie, he was also in UFO for a short stint, what a legend!

2. Another Perfect Day

As is well documented (and a story repeated by so many other groups) after enjoying a cracking run of hits with both the Ace of Spades and No Sleep Till Hammersmith LPs the band took a fall. Their follow up album Iron Fist was cursed in many ways. The rushed songwriting and unfinished feel to many of the songs leaps out the speakers (compare the weaker Iron Fist numbers to the Ace of Spades 'demo' tacks which are floating around) and opting to have Fast Eddie mix the LP, whilst probably leaving them with more money in their pockets to keep their various habits trucking along adds to the overall poor sound of the LP. Additionally the album came out after the band had embarked on their supporting tour and regarding the records cover Lemmy himself once commented "I don't remember calling the album Plastic Fist". Tensions within the bands ranks came to a head during the American leg of the years touring when Fast Eddie threw in the towel and left Motorhead for good.The band quickly got Brian 'Robbo' Robertson of Thin Lizzy fame in to finish the tour, but with Fast Eddie gone the classic line-up was no more. If the band was to make a comeback it would need to be spectacular.

Well Robbo stayed with Motorhead to record their next LP (before ultimately heading back to the pub and obscurity), and to my ears it is one of their best, an absolute stone cold classic, Another Perfect Day. There are so many catchy songs on this record, the band are really on fire. On the supporting tour the band played a set heavy with cuts from the current record at the expense of some of their more well known hits, a decision which probably didn't help them regain lost ground or momentum but a decision which definitely showcased the quality of the APD tracks. Robbo stepped up to the plate and once again Motorhead avoided being consigned to the rock'n'roll dustbin.

I. Lemmy was 5 years older than I am now when he posed for this photograph, do topless 38 year olds sell records? Even when i was 14 I thought it was a bit weird "they've forgotten to put their t-shirts on..."

II. The b-side of the above single is a non album track, and also a serious neck wrecker, Turn You Round Again.

3. Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me Goodnight - Overcoming the Epic Years

Between 1990 and 1992 Motorhead recorded two of perhaps the most controversial records in their catalog, 1916 and March or Die. These records were Motorhead's first foray into the world of the major label and featured as one might expect liberal amounts of studio polish, Grammy nominations and, as a first for the motor-crew, some full on ballads. Unsurprisingly these records divided opinion at the time and continue to divide fan opinion. Despite the odd mix 1916 remains by all accounts a pretty bang-on LP, and whilst lead single The One To Sing The Blues is no Ace of Spades there are plenty of Motor-classics hidden within the grooves, albeit among some rather odd numbers (Nightmare/the Dream Time) or the odd duffer (Angel City).On the other hand, March or Die from 1992 is almost universally considered to be one of the 'Head's worst LP's, remembered chiefly for it's iconic cover art rather than any of the music contained within and the fact that a horrid cover of Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever was the promoted as its lead track just added to the album's bad mojo. Unsurprisingly this lackluster effort failed to either keep the old guard happy or attract a new audience to the band, things were not looking good for the Motor-boys.

However, as we all know, the comeback kings were not ready to throw in the towel just yet. They solidified their line-up, found a new label (although signing with a German techno label might not have been the smartest thing they ever did) and got back to Basics. The result was 1993's Bastards, a full on banger of an LP, and whilst certainly demonstrating a clear shift toward a more chunky 'metal' sound in places the band were once again delivering the Motor-goods, even the inclusion of the anti-child abuse ballad Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me Goodnight doesn't bring down the mood of this return to form LP. Motorhead in the 1990's is certainly a different beast from that of the late 70's and early 80's but is rock solid in its own way with Bastards paving the way for a series of hard-hitting, hip-shaking records (Sacrafice, Overnight Sensation, Snake Bite Love). The late 90's might not have been Motorhead's most commercially successful period but they certainly turned the corner in terms of making great records.

Check out that roadies mullet and sport sock combo - 1993 - Ow!

I. During the time Motorhead were with Epic records Lemmy wrote 4 songs for Ozzy Osbourne including one of his mega hits Mamma I'm Coming Home, the royalties from which have allegedly been enough to play Lemmy's rent for the rest of his days. 
II. Apparently Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me was originally meant as a song for Page 3 model Samantha Fox but her management were having nothing to do with it - Motorfox woulda been cool no?

Friday, 26 June 2015

xC-60x Vol V - Road Warrior Revisited

It seems I'm not the only one who is 100% committed to the original Mad Max film and my main man Al at from the mighty At War With False Noise records has kindly donated an entry for the xC-60x mixtape series featuring a selection of tracks which represent his feelings when watching the film, mixed up with some choice dialogue, what a beezer idea Al, thanks so much!

Hope you all enjoy it as much as i did, right on!

click the link to listen / download the mix

THE KICKS - Return Of The Action Man
NURSE WITH WOUND - Mutiles De Guerre
WHITEHOUSE - Rock And Roll
AMEBIX - Drink And Be Merry
THE FALL - Hard Life In The Country
SUICIDE - Ghost Rider (live)

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Tap into America!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Mad Max: The End of the Road

Theron and Hardy should really have their names switched round on the billing

The internet, and the movie press at large, is full of praise for the smash-hit of the summer Mad Max Fury Road. This high stakes adrenaline rush rollercoaster movie invites us into a dystopian vision of the future where we follow out protagonist, Furiosa, as she first travels back to where she came from, and then decides she was better off where she started. This whirlwind 3D extravaganza full of dazzling special effects, expert stuntwork and Hollywood beauties will keep you chowing your popcorn for the full duration. Yes this re-imagining, dare we say re-birth, of the Mad Max franchise firmly re-establishes the story of Mr Rockatanski for the 21st Century.

would you rather see Max do this...
...or this?

Well, if by re-imagine we mean a focus on the spectacle over substance, and by re-birth we mean disregard to any known plot threads, then yes we can say Mad Max is back. Max the bystander, Max the man out of time, Max the superhero, Max the one dimensional cartoon. Gone is the everyman driven to the edge, the working class hero, and in his place is a smirking placeholder, ready to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire ad nauseam.

the trash has arrived to ruin your peaceful life

There is no denying that stuntwork and no frills action are a cornerstone of Mad Max enduring appeal, but the foundation is a strong, character driven plot, reflecting the simple, violent horror of a society on the edge of collapse. The Toe Cutters biker gang feel real, their threat was imminent (many of them were actual bikers wheeled in (literally) as extras). Johnny the Boy, Bubba Zanetti, Cundalini. Where once believable, motivated characters walked, now a production line of identikit pale faced villains throw themselves over the top of the trenches, where once drama and action walked hand in hand, now hyperbole and sensationalism keep both hands firmly on the wheel, and where once we were offered empathy we now just stand and stare.

True horror - your wife and child murdered

As an exercise in blunt entertainment Mad Max Fury Road certainly kept my bum on the seat, but the legacy of the Mad Max I know so well has been left in the desert dust. When comparing the two films I cant help but think of this scene from Mad Max:

"If your gonna waste the Bronze you gotta do it big!" says Johnny the Boy

"You just don't have the style, do ya chickenshit" retorts Bubba

End Notes.

Tom Hardy does a pretty good job of filling Mel's leathers.

I laughed out loud in the cinema when i realised the crazy world MMFR is set in would supposedly have come to be within say 15/20 years of there having been a 'normal' society. (Max claims he had been a cop, assuming he is in his mid 30's and everything went pearshaped almost as soon as he left polis school....)

Notions that MMFR is feminist come purely from the fact that Charlize Theron's character is pretty much the main character. I'm not sure what that says except Miller was trying to broaden the film's appeal? Likewise what do the scantily clad models do but pull wee laddies back for repeat views? Oh yeah they help create a realistic vision of a dystopian future etc etc etc...

Thursday, 21 May 2015

4298 in 2015 - a return to the ploppy pants

As many of you will remember I spent a ot of year writing about people shitting their pants, well last Christmas I got my comeuppance. this article was orinially printed in Maximum Rock 'N' Roll in 2014.

Greetings punk rockers of the world, gather round and make yourselves comfortable for I have a tale to tell. It is a story that has been several months in the making, and I’d like to say this is because of the time I’ve spent mulling the topic over, perfecting the exact words I would use to successfully enunciate my sorry tale, but the truth is I’ve been doing the best I can to forget the entire sordid affair for as long as possible.

For nearly ten years I produced the hardcore fanzine ‘Ploppy Pants’. The zine itself went through various phases, from the non-existent content and light interviews of the early issues, through a period as an international hardcore journal, before taking on an almost per-zine approach in the final issues. But throughout this varied history there remained one constant, an obsession with people shitting in their pants. Tales of others soiling their knickers first appeared as a response to interview questions, but the notion obviously struck a chord with my readership and it wasn’t long until I was receiving two or three letters per issue from some poor soul who wanted to tell the world about their very own dung-hamper disaster.

The zine quickly became known for its humorous scatological content, and many punks would buy Ploppy Pants solely to laugh at the embarrassing recollections of underwear mishaps gathered within. It was certainly an aspect of preparing the zine which I personally enjoyed, safe in the knowledge that my own bowels have always remained in full working order no matter how far I had travelled or how many beers I had a drunk. This complacency was to lead to catastrophic consequences.
Christmas 2014 and I am on tour with my band xSAXONx across the South East Asian sub-continent, 2 weeks of concerts spread over Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, twelve gigs in total. This would be the second time I had visited this part of the world and I was looking forward to catching up with old friends, playing with some great bands and of course sampling the delicious local cuisine.  South East Asia is an absolute goldmine of delicious vegan food, which is freely available almost everywhere, from fancy restaurants to street hawkers, twenty four hours a day. This last point was a particular boon to us as since we were performing every night, sometimes coming off stage well after midnight, and so were often looking to eat in the small hours of the morning. Almost every night we would descend ravenously en-mass, usually all the bands who had performed plus half the audience, on some un-expecting street vendor who would set about frying a large wok’s of rice in earnest. This is how we ended every day in Indonesia, eating a tall plate of rice, tofu, tempeh and vegetables lathered in some kind of spicy sauce. I don’t know about the rest of xSAXONx, but I certainly felt like a king.

Despite my elated mood on our fourth night on tour, it was sat in the humid darkness, upon a Yogjakarta backstreet,  that I was to leave any notions of regal ambition, and soon the only throne I would resting upon would be the luckily chanced upon porcelain glory of a western toilet. From this moment forward I was to spend six weeks basing every decision I took upon its proximity to a toilet. I had contracted a nasty case of salmonella. This lovely fellow first raised its head on our flight between Indonesia and Malaysia, “too many chillies last night”, I thought after my third or fourth visit to the cramped AirAsia inflight ‘cludgie’. I had no reason to suspect anything else; it was after all still coming out solid. Little did I realise when I laid down my head that evening that I was about to enter a whole new world self-realisation.

It came first in the night, waking in a hot sweat, every muscle in the vicinity of my ass screaming “Bombs away!” I managed to get to my feet, but that wasn’t good enough, by the time I made it to the bathroom my pants were well spread with a yellow paste. I then proceeded to violently empty my bowels until I was only passing something resembling well diluted orange juice. To appreciate this situation better I need to describe the bathroom. In most Asian homes there is no ‘toilet’ or ‘shower’ as you probably recognise these terms. Instead there is just a large bucket of water, a tap, sometimes a little hose, and a hole in the floor. When you need to go you squat over the hole, and you use water from the bucket to clean yourself up. I was shaking with fever and sweating from the heat, and during this twenty minute ordeal I could barely keep myself upright. It was with great care that I narrowly avoided falling into my own excrement several times. I returned to my corner of the room where we were sleeping a spent and broken man.

When I awoke the next morning I had again left a little deposit in my grundies and decided the best plan of action was to buy some more underwear before the evening’s concert. My friend and host, Matt Norr, took me to his local shopping mall, and after a few quick stops at the public toilet I was standing in a queue waiting to purchase some replacement boxers. The gods that deal with matters of a toilet visiting nature were obviously in a particularly jovial mood that day, and as I stood boxers in hand I felt a warm stream begin to pass down the back of my legs and onto my sandaled foot. I quickly bolted to the previously visited public conveniences and found myself their prisoner for the best part of an hour as I waited for Norr, first to find me, and then to bring me replacement pants and shorts.

The rest of this first day was spent running back and forward to toilets and resting, with my only serious exertion being our performance at the Chaos in Ruma Api festival. This twenty five minutes of leaping about was enough however to ensure that I once again had a sleepless, pantfilling night, including a desperate run for the bathroom where I managed to leave a trail of brown blobs in my wake. Imagine for a moment you have just shat to exhaustion, your head is swimming, and now you must crawl along the floor cleaning up more of your own mess. Humble is the word that leapt most readily to my mind.

The most humbling experience was yet to come however. The following day we returned to the Ruma Api venue, where xSAXONx were again to perform. We were billed to play earlier in the festival line-up this day and I was looking forward to getting it over and done with so I could go lie down and dream of flushing toilets and bog roll. I could feel that I was on the verge of an accident as we took to the stage, and so made the decision to stand stationary front-centre; it felt like any sudden movement would cause an eruption. Of course this being a hardcore concert meant I didn’t have a chance. The crowd, suitable warmed up by the earlier groups were ready for some Scottish hardcore thrash and it was inevitable that one of them would eventually grab me and pull me into the dancing throng. The fight back to the stage was desperate and I was seriously panicking, but with difficulty I made it through our entire set disaster free. Almost in unison with the final strum of the guitars however the charge of the brown brigade came forth in full force and I quickly found myself squatting above the venues ‘luxurious’ hole in the floor, naked and soaking with sweat from being on stage mere minutes earlier. I shat, and shat, and shat, and it was almost ten minutes before I was tidying up my bum with the little hose. It was then, just as I went to pull up my shorts (my boxers having been thrown away in frustrated disgust) that I realised that my flaccid cock and balls were also coated in shit. This was almost too much for me to handle, I had gone from the top of the world mere days earlier, to the my current predicament: no control over one of my most fundamental functions to the point where even the crown jewels were no longer sacred. This was truly one of the most humbling experiences of my life.  The icing on the cake was upon returning to the backstage sofa which xSAXONx had commandeered as home for the evening. Sat contemplating life, the universe and my arse a local girl came up and started firing into me big style, all I could think as I answered her questions was “If only you knew!”

I suffered through the rest of our tour without re-filling my pants, but every time the turds would begin to turn solid again, I’d no sooner be back to throwing cups of dirty soup down the toilet. This continued upon my return to the UK and in the end I had to take two weeks off work as I could not perform my job whilst needing to run to the toilet every thirty minutes. There were a couple more bedtime accidents and by the end of January I was becoming increasingly frustrated, unsure if my bowels would ever return to normal. By early February however, I’m happy to say that things were all back in order, with one or two solid trips per day keeping me regular. The whole business gave me a brand new insight into the stories and recollections I had printed in ‘Ploppy Pants’. On the one hand, I think you cannot truly appreciate the horror of an uncontrollable bowel until you have suffered one yourself, but on the other I can see why so many people wanted to look back and laugh in the pages of my zine at the out of character experience of their ordeal.
In conclusion then, If you are planning to travel to South East Asia anytime soon, keep an eye on what you’re eating, it may the last thing you want to willingly eat for a long time!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Thisclose - live 2014

2014 saw Thisclose playing throughout the UK and making a visit to Dublin to shake the kids down, this video commemorates the One Foot In The Grave New World Tour

Friday, 1 May 2015

Ruin live at the 1in12 club

Very chuffed to come across this video today, a full set from the short lived Scottish/English hardcore smashers Ruin, another awesome band featuring the dulcet string thrashings of Brian 'Brains' Curran.

If memory serves Ruin joined with Cobra the Enemy to play at the 2005 Glasgow Punx Picnic - a legendary afternoon of chaos in what is now the decidedly hipster-fied surrounds of the 78 - can you imagine this lot smashing through a set in there these days!


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Thisclose - LP release show Saturday June 13th.

back where it all started