3 recent books on Punk Rock & Hardcore Music…

Book looks…Have been off from watching film for a bit to catch up on some essential reading. All three of the following I already have extreme knowledge of but time makes memories fade, so you kind of have to get reacquainted with the subject matter. Reading Roger’s book “My Riot” was a bit of a revelation. I never spoke to him way back then. I saw Agnostic Front play a few times. Never knew enough about the people in the band to form solid opinions on them. There were a ton of “rumors” of course… After reading My Riot, many of my ideas about him were pretty much unfounded. He had a rougher life than I but strangely in a weird way we both had similar paths heading into the NYHC scene. (I didn’t know he grew up much of his young life in the same area of NJ as I did. Talking about taking the PATH train into NYC, brought back a lot of memories) It is a solid autobiography that is eye opening to say the least. Actually, there is an event he describes in the book that I showed up to mere moments after it happened. I wasn’t happy about that night… AY YI YI!

Straight Edge: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History is the 3rd oral history by Tony Rettman. I had no idea this book was being made as I have really spoken to him since the NYHC hardcore book came out a couple of years ago. I am so close to the subject matter, I was really interested to see how it was put together. Previous attempts at books on Straight Edge were so lackluster but Tony knows how to do this documentary style well.
It covers the history and concepts of Straight Edge bands from the humble beginnings in Washington DC to the worldwide movement it has become today. I knew/know so many of the players here, I was looking forward to what they had to say. Wasn’t “surprised” by too much and there really was a lot of new info on some bands I only corresponded with back them (mostly the California bands). I detected very little BS here as much of what was said I remember as true. Again, there are many situations discussed that I was there for so…. There are also many photos culled from private collections that were never published and so many flyers from shows that even I haven’t seen. It’s a great book that belongs on your music history shelf for sure.

My Damage by Keith Morris is an in depth autobiography from the former singer of Black Flag and Circle Jerks. Another book I didn’t know existed until a few months ago and I was very happy to get a copy in my hands. Other than a few facts, I knew very little about the front man of two of my favorite bands of all time. he talks in detail about his upbringing, entry into the LA punk music scene and how his first two bands came to be. His telling of things is a very interesting point of view and I learned quite a bit of how “it went”. He doesn’t hold back and has regrets on some of things he has done in his life. I read this book and wonder how he is still walking among the living.

If you have any interests in old punk and hardcore music, all 3 of these books are high recommends from me. Now, let me get back to some movies….


My Riot https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072F5DLXH

STRAIGHT EDGE: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History https://www.bazillionpoints.com/product/straight-edge-a-clear-eyed-hardcore-punk-history-by-tony-rettman/#

My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DWWCBEK


Guest Post by Jason Beatty: John Carpenter Seattle show review June 14th 2016


When I saw Jason’s photos from the recent Carpenter concert, I wanted to know more and asked if he could write a show review to share his experiences about it. Since this tour wasn’t coming this way to Atlanta, I had to imagine it through the photos Jason took. Check out the future dates here: The Official John Carpenter home page

I had been looking forward to this show for awhile and had splurged on some really nice seats in the beautiful and historic Paramount theatre in Seattle WA. No openers, and the show started on time! John Carpenter and his band (Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies, Scott Seiver, John Spiker, and John Konesky) opened with the “Escape from New York”main theme song, which I had expected. Executed perfectly, this was a great way to open the night up. Next was the main theme from “Assault on Precinct 13” which has always been a personal favorite of mine, that simple drum beat and the low end synth line are possibly even more memorable than the “Halloween” theme!

Next up were two cuts from his last years album, “Lost Themes”, “Vortex” and “Mystery” which wouldn’t have sounded odd if they had been on “Halloween” or “The Fog”. Speaking of which, was the next track he played. “The Fog” was never my favorite John Carpenter movie, I’m less familiar with the soundtrack, but I really need to revisit it apparently. Following that, the next song was easily the funnest and campiest of the evening; All the musicians played a very familiar blues riff, and proceeded to put on sunglasses and launched into “Coming to LA” from “They Live”. Everyone was cheering! It was nice to see that Carpenter and Co. weren’t taking themselves too seriously or that the evening was going to be a completely sombre affair.

The band then paid homage to Ennio Morricone by playing “Desolation” from John Carpenters greatest work by far, “The Thing”. Seeing the scenes form the movie in the background while the band played on, I remembered the feeling of dread and isolation the soundtrack added to what was an already terrifying film.

After that, another new song, “Distant dreams” off of the “Lost Themes II” album. Ive owned this album for awhile, and while Ive always thought the songs were good, for some reason, the selection of the tracks made me feel that the tracks sounded more “slick” compared to LTI, something about it hadn’t quit clicked with me, but hearing the material live really changed that for me, in this setting, they had more power and less polish.

One of the moments I had been waiting for was being able to hear “The Pork Chop Express” from “Big Trouble In Little China”. Carpenter expressed how much fun he and Kurt Russell had making this film together, and apparently the crowd felt the same way. I LOVE this soundtrack; it’s cheesy, over the top, and just like the movie, it remains the funnest movie in his long career.

“Wraith” and “Night” from LTI were next, sequencing and arpeggiators galore, the two songs wouldn’t be out of place in a dance club, and were the perfect transition to the “Halloween” main theme song. At this point, John Carpenter addressed the audience: “All my career, I’ve made horror movies, I love horror movies, and horror movies will last forever”! The crowd roared and then that familiar eerie keyboard played while Jamie Lee Curtis ran from Michael Meyers on the screen behind the band.

Lasting before the encore was the main theme for “In the Mouth of Madness”, I’m not as big a fan of this soundtrack, but again, live, it was really well executed and suitably darker. Does this soundtrack warrant another listen? Possibly.

For the encore, “The Prince of darkness” was up first. Despite it being relatively later in his movie making career, this soundtrack has always sounded much more closer to his earlier compositions; minimal synth lines, creepy ambient atmospheres, lots of dread. I have long sung the praises of this soundtrack, and it’s easily available now due to a repress of it on Death Waltz records…..

“Virtual survivor”was next from LTII, and while I enjoyed it, I was wanting more classic material at this point, seeing as this was the encore, so naturally, he played another new one, “Purgatory”, which again, I liked, but was hoping for more older material.

Last song of the evening was from “Christine”: “Christine attacks”. I had forgotten what a great soundtrack this was, I hadn’t really explored it much, but the following day after this show, I found it on Youtube, and have been enjoying it immensely. Reminds me a lot of the Tangerine Dream soundtracks of the same time.

The whole evening was maybe an hour and fifteen minutes tops. I’m sure everyone their had ideas of what they would have liked to hear, and material that he skipped that might have been played (Halloween III for me, the “Silver Shamrock” theme is the best!), but when you have a career as long and storied as John Carpenter, you really have to stick to “the hits”. I went home satisfied with the selection, and this was a night I won’t ever forget. Now that I’ve seen John Carpenter and Goblin, I just need to cross off Fabio Frizzi and the triptych would be complete!

Follow Jason on Instagram: Jason Beatty!

YOUTH CODE Show Review May 14th 2016 Center Stage Atlanta, GA

As many people know, I have been following Youth Code for a couple of years now, ever since my friend Javier told me about them. Since I’m a fan of hardcore/punk and industrial/electronic/ebm music, it was a no brainer to liking them after seeing many of the live videos online. I missed them on their last outing here in 2015 but this time I was determined to see them play. Luckily, this show fell on a Saturday evening even though a show start of 11:30 pm is normally when I’m in deep REM. So I had to adjust my schedule to make this happen. A couple of days ago, I found that the show promoters decided to combine Youth Code and Baroness (a band they are touring with) with other bands in the Center Stage facility as part of the Shakey Knees fest. Like WTF? For somebody like me, who really only wants to see one band, who knows where they would put them on the bill. Thankfully, Youth Code are powerful with the social media thing, thus I tweeted out to them and asked if they knew when they were actually going on. Still opening but at 11:15 pm sharp and on Center Stage itself (Not the Vinyl or The Loft venues there), due to this change up.

Night arrives and already having my ticket, I get over there. There wasn’t that many people online as of yet, so I was wondering how many people were actually interested in this show. I have never been in the Center Stage part of the facility, so seeing the HUGE place (similar to Atlanta’s Tabernacle in size), I thought it would be weird Youth Code playing and only a few people actually come in. I was glad I was able to sit down for this, pretty nice seating with a good view of the stage. Youth Code came on and you could tell even from a distance, they weren’t too happy with the setup. But as Black Flag would say, no matter how many show up, they came to see YOU, so you have to bring it every time. Bring it YOUTH CODE did. I have seen many live sets of theirs on You Tube, so I kinda knew what to expect but seeing it in person was on a whole other level.

They concentrated on tracks from their new record, “Commitment to Complications” and I was glad to hear “Anagnorisis” which is my favorite song on there. Initially, it was thought they were only going to be able to play 3 or 4 songs but the show promoters let them keep adding a couple more. As the set went on, they just got more and more motivated with Ryan dancing behind his elaborate machinery and Sara just moving all over the large stage. I don’t like industrial acts who just stand there. With YOUTH CODE having deep hardcore music roots, they bring that style to presentation. There were fans in the crowd, but nobody was giving back what the band was putting out. Shame as I have seen some very motivated folks during their live sets I have seen on video. In the end, I was hyped up and loved it.

I went downstairs afterward to buy a couple of their well done shirts (which I would find out later were designed by Sara). I wanted to see if I could catch them before I left. A little later Ryan was around and talking to people. Being my buttinski self, I went and introduced myself, to at the very least say thanks for a great show. He actually was a very cool person and we ended up talking a bit about the show, their band, old/new hardcore bands, veganism and our backgrounds. I am still surprised when people know the hardcore music fanzine HARDWARE I did with Brett Beach in the 1990’s, he actually did. Missed seeing Sara but next time I will try to make that happen. A very cool experience to end a nice evening. I rarely go to shows anymore, I am very glad I didn’t crap out after hearing the situation the show promoters were creating. Hopefully, they will play a smaller venue the next time which I feel suits them better. But yeah…..do check out YOUTH CODE at the earliest opportunity.


YOUTH CODE interview with Post-Punk.com

Over the last couple of years, Youth Code is a band I have been following. While my overall interest in “music” has waned over the years, sometimes it is unique bands such as Youth Code that bring me right back in. Heavy, dark raw industrial sounds with a hardcore/punk edge and of course best played LOUD! Thankfully, I will finally get to see them in Atlanta. Check the tour dates, pick up the latest (and older releases) and be prepared for an experience.

New interview about the current record:

Their new record “Commitment to Complications” is available here: Dais Records