Monthly Archives: March 2006

It’s supposed to be fun, remember?

Sending out a whole lotta love to the Eagles of Death Metal, who are actually only a few days away from getting their sweet asses back to Seattle. It’s been far too long since the Chop Suey show/Easy Street WS in-store, and even longer since the Placebo opening dates way back when.

If you’re not familiar with ’em, here’s a new interview on Blogcritics that’s a damn fine introduction:

Their new video is a hoot, too: reminds me of the ZZ Top videos of yore:

They’ll be rolling into town opening for the Strokes next week, but if you don’t have/don’t want tickets to that, have no fear. They’re doing a free in-store at the Easy Street on Queen Anne next Monday, April 3, at 9pm.

I guarantee you will have fun. It’s pure rock that makes it scientifically impossible for the human body not to dance. Period. I’m all for anyone who helps the world remember that rock’s supposed to be fun.

I’ll be racing back from the airport to make it — see you there?


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The Henry Rollins Show premieres this week

A show that I’ve been waiting impatiently for is finally returning in its revamped form, beginning this Saturday: The Henry Rollins Show, on IFC. I’m not a huge fan of movie review shows, and this is the only one that’s ever caught my attention and compelled me to keep watching.

Yes, IFC did have a show with Henry that aired monthly last year, called “Henry’s Film Corner”. Apparently, they’ve tweaked the format to include musical performances by a cool variety of folks, and more time for Henry’s spoken word, (which is always welcome here), and have upped it from a monthly show to weekly. I do hope they’ve kept his friend Heidi for on-air appearances, as watching her keep Henry slightly off balance was always massively fun.

The debut episode this week will include an interview with Oliver Stone, and a live performance by Sleater-Kinney — footage of which IFC has kindly added to their website for your viewing pleasure now:

Live performances by John Doe, Jurassic 5, Ben Folds, DCFC,and others are shown briefly in the preview video on that page. I’m so damn thrilled that there’s finally going to be a TV show in America that will allow musicians to play their entire songs and not worry about content or replacing swear words. It’s about fucking time!

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The Return of the Flesh Eaters

I’ve been madly wishing that I could attend this year’s ATP since I heard that Mudhoney are curating part of it. One of my favorite announcements about it was their urging of the reformation of the old line-up of Flesh Eaters, whose record “A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die” seems to be the starting point of so much of what I listen to, both old and new.

Now, I’m madly jealous, because the folks of San Francisco (and a few other places) are getting a sneak preview as the band warms up for ATP. the SF Chronicle ran a good article today about the whole cool thing…check it out:

Back in the Flesh

Sylvie Simmons

Sunday, March 26, 2006


now part of stylesheet


The Flesh Eaters in 1981: After 25 years, John Doe, Bill ...

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Chris D., the founder and front man of renowned Los Angeles punk band the Flesh Eaters, has always had a thing for folks who come back from the grave. The last time he was in San Francisco, in fact, was for the 2004 Another Hole in the Head horror film festival, where he was premiering a movie he wrote, “I Pass for Human,” about dead junkies hitting up old druggie friends for a posthumous fix.

D. (who never uses his full name, Desjardins) has another visit coming up — April 5 at Slim’s — and it again involves a resurrection. He’s planning to perform the Flesh Eaters’ famed 1981 album “A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die” with the lineup that recorded it and which hasn’t played together in 25 years: Dave Alvin, Bill Bateman, John Doe, DJ Bonebrake, Steve Berlin. Each of them has a thriving solo and/or band career (Blasters, X, Knitters, Los Lobos) making it a veritable L.A. punk supergroup. Their individual commitments are one reason Slim’s is one of just four shows they’ll be playing, three in California and one in England, before breaking up again.

The person behind the current revivification is Mark Arm of Mudhoney. The Seattle band was given the job of co-curating All Tomorrow’s Parties, Britain’s hippest rock festival. Arm, a big Flesh Eaters fan (Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees is another) set about persuading Chris D to reform that particular classic lineup, as opposed to the dozen or so other Flesh Eaters rosters that have included the likes of Stan Ridgway of Wall of Voodoo, Annette Zilinskas of Blood on the Saddle and the Bangles, Jill Jordan of Castration Squad and Tito Larriva of the Plugz.

The Flesh Eaters, like their better-known counterpart, X, first formed in 1977, playing their first gig that same year at L.A. club the Masque. The music was hard and dark, with lyrics that were equal parts American junk culture and dark-night-of-the-soul blues sung in a torn-throat voice. Like a lot of the better L.A. punk bands, their sound was informed by intellect as much as primal energy.

D. is a film school graduate and was an English teacher and a regular writer for the respected punk fanzine, Slash. When Slash formed a label, he became its house producer, recording groups that included Dream Syndicate and the Gun Club, plus his own band when he wasn’t busy breaking it up. In 1984, it looked as if he’d put the Flesh Eaters to rest for good after forming a band, Divine Horsemen, with his wife, Julie Christensen.

“With the Flesh Eaters, there was always a part of me where I didn’t want to do it anymore,” he says, “because there was always too much anxiety associated with it — not about being onstage, but all the organization, making sure that everybody turns up to rehearsals and sound check — and there were always too many other things I wanted to do with my life. With Divine Horsemen, I was willing to do it 100 percent because we were really trying to do something that was accessible and yet not compromise.”

Then in 1988, when the marriage broke up, the band did, too. D. made a solo album and one with a group he called Stone by Stone, but it sounded so much like his old band that he renamed it the Flesh Eaters. Since then there have been intermittent albums and even more intermittent shows.

In 1997, after starting work on a new Flesh Eaters album, he quit to go to Tokyo on a grant from the Japan Foundation. D., who had taken a job at the American Cinematheque as a film programmer, was working on an encyclopedia of Japanese extreme cinema — a huge opus still in the making. Meanwhile, a shorter book, “Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film,” containing interviews with Japanese directors and actors, was published last year.

D. also was writing horror films, including his directorial debut, “I Pass for Human.” It was produced by his then-girlfriend Lynne Margulies, who made the 1999 documentary “Andy Kaufman’s Really Big Show.” The “Human” soundtrack includes songs that appeared on the last Flesh Eaters album, 2004’s “Miss Muerte,” plus music by Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds, Lydia Lunch and others. Once D. gets clearance from all the musicians involved, he’s planning to release the movie on DVD.

As for the latest Flesh Eaters reunion, D. says there hasn’t been much time for rehearsals. But he’s not worried. “Everybody is such a pro — they always were, even 25 years ago — and everything was so easy. I know these guys are going to come in there and it’ll fall into place really quickly.”

As for the guy who might be punk’s most reluctant front man: “I haven’t been singing live lately,” D. says, “so I’ve really been singing a lot in the car to all the songs we’re going to do.”

So if you happened to be stuck on Hollywood Boulevard and find yourself next to a car in which a dark-haired, solemn-faced 50-ish guy is roaring “See You in the Boneyard” at the top of his lungs, you’ll know who it is.

THE FLESH EATERS: 9 p.m. April 5 at Slim’s, 333 11th St., San Francisco. Tickets $15. (415) 255-0333,

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Hal, the Wonder Coyote

I’ve always loved coyotes, but damn, I admire the hell out of this one — go Hal !:

He’s one tourist city officials hope WON’T be coming back.

A wily young coyote made the most of his visit to the Big Apple, at one point leaping over an 8-foot fence as he led dozens of police officers on foot and in a helicopter on a merry chase in Central Park before being captured Wednesday.

“For a coyote to get to midtown, he has to be a very adventurous coyote,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Officials said the tawny-colored animal, nicknamed Hal by park workers, was about a year old and weighed about 35 pounds. Hal proved to be quite adept at avoiding capture, jumping into the water, ducking under a bridge, and scampering through the grounds of an ice skating rink after authorities thought they had him cornered Wednesday morning.

Hal was caught near Belvedere Castle, close to 79th Street and Central Park West, around 10 a.m. All the while, news helicopters hovering overhead tracked every turn in the chase, and it was broadcast around the country. Benepe said a NYPD officer shot the animal with a tranquilizer gun at close range.

The hunt began Tuesday afternoon when Benepe, among others, spotted the animal in the southeast corner ofglitzy Fifth Avenue( before he leaped over a fence and disappeared. Authorities said he had been hit by a tranquilizer dart, apparently to no effect.

It’s unclear when Hal first arrived in the big city, but the first sightings of the animal came early Sunday.

Hal is only the second coyote ever to be spotted in Central Park, Benepe said, the last being seven years ago.

Interestingly, Benepe said both coyotes strayed into the same area, the Hallett Wildlife Sanctuary. “It’s an area closed to people and dogs, so it’s a good place for a coyote to hunt for birds,” he said.

While coyotes don’t usually present a threat to people, Benepe had warned that park visitors should keep their dogs leashed to protect the pets.

The coyote may have wandered into the city from Westchester County, or perhaps swimming across the Hudson River from New Jersey, Benepe said.

Asked to speculate why a coyote would venture into Central Park, Benepe said, “It’s an immature young coyote … at that age they’re frisky and curious to explore the turf.” It’s not the simplest of journeys, either, Benepe said. “You either have to swim or cross a railroad trestle used by Metro-North and Amtrak that runs along the Hudson under the George Washington Bridge and then goes through a very wooded area.”

Hal was recovering from his capture, Benepe said, who paid him a visit. He said the animal would be taken to an upstate wildlife facility “as soon as he is ready to be transferred.” Coyote sightings in urban areas are nothing new, but the creatures don’t usually venture into the concrete jungle of New York City. The coyote that found its way to Central Park in 1999 is now kept in the Queens Zoo.

“It’s very unusual to have them in Manhattan,” Benepe said.

But he said it probably wouldn’t be the last time, as wild animals of all kinds are increasingly seen in developed areas. He said the department would think about working with the city Department of Health to develop a protocol.

In suburban Westchester County, coyote sightings have increased rapidly since the 1970s.

In 1997, 15 sightings were noted, but many encounters are no longer even reported — unless they involve the loss of a pet. The animals generally shy away from people and no attacks on humans have been recorded, but several pet dogs have been snatched from back yards by the predators.

Officials fear that as the coyotes settle into a suburban existence they may lose some fear of people. The state and Cornell University are planning a five-year study that will include attempts to trap and tranquilize coyotes in four Westchester towns.

“We used to say, ‘No, you don’t have to be worried.’ We’re not saying that anymore,” said Gordon Batcheller, a biologist with the sate Department of Environmental Conservation.”

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New Band Alert

I got the lowdown on North Twin a few weeks back, and what I’ve heard so far sounds damn promising, so I thought I’d spread the good word.

They’re making their debut at the Tractor this Wednesday night (March 22).

Truly looking forward to hearing what these songs sound like live and in person.

Ballard Avenue misses you, so stopping by the Tractor to check out this show might be the perfect way to make amends, no?

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The future is unwritten

Ever have one of those flashbacks that’s very specific, and you’re not sure why or where it’s coming from? I just had one that made me realize that time is dissolving, and yet things past are closer than I could possibly remember.

Twelve years ago today, I was living in London, a week away from moving back home (and none too happy about it). One of my friends was flying back home that very day, and after a farewell party the night before and protracted goodbyes from all of us that morning, he headed off to Heathrow. It was too quiet, too boring after he left, but we all chided ourselves for feeling so sad about him leaving, since we’d be seeing him stateside in about 10 days. What could possibly happen?

I was just heading out to the South Bank when our phone rang, telling us to turn on the TV, which we ran downstairs and did. We learned that some sort of surface to air missle had been fired at a Heathrow, but that it had missed its intended target (uh….a plane), and had skidded across the tarmac and come to rest. It was such a bizarre, foreign thing for our small group of ex-pats to be watching, as we’d never seen such a thing happen — who’d do such a strange thing? The BBC, as always, covered the event thoroughly and yet went back to normal programs with a knowing, studied and comforting nonchalance that they admirably maintain to this day (which is why I went home and immediately turned on BBC America during the London bombings last summer, refusing to have any part of the scare tactics foisted by domestic news networks: people are scared enough, why should the news source scare them even more?)

Anyway, our friend eventually got to a phone and was able to call and say he was fine, and 7 hours later, he and everyone else were allowed to leave the airport and we finally saw him at the end of the road, dragging his bag back to the flat from the tube station with a bemused and shell-shocked expression on his face. We all went to the pub, talked about it a bit, and then had a relaxing and fun pint-filled evening, much like we’d had just a night before. No worries, no dread.

Why the hell did I remember this today? Not clue, except that the date — March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day — is the same. That said, I’m sort of glad to remember all the same. It reminded me of a much more naive time in my life, where we (as individuals and Americans) felt invincible, that no such thing could happen to us. I will admit, that I’m probably a bit more aware of what goes on around me when I’m out and about, and I’m hella nervous about bags left unattended anywhere and find the owners immediately due to my time in the UK, but for the most part, I hadn’t really changed until a day in September a few years ago, and specifically when the “war on terror” started. I knew that I’d never have that kind of foolish naivete again. Don’t miss it necessarily, but instead I find myself a little more angry every single day that instead of working to minimize the potential for you or I or my pet fish to get blown up, we simply blow up others (Operation Swarmer, I’m looking at you) and call it prevention, when in reality, it’s exactly the damn opposite.

Perhaps, what I’m missing most of all as I remember a day 12 years ago, is that sense of directness and almost brutal honesty that this is what happens in the world, and we find a reasonable way to deal with issues, and we keep on living. What happened, that it seemed so much easier then to just take a breath and keep on living a normal life despite the known dangers, because that’s life? I want that back, and I will have it.

The past is gone, and the future is unwritten.

Or hell, maybe this all came up because I’ve seen too much of about V for Vendetta in the past few days? Go see it, by the way. No, it’s not a direct copy of the comic, but it’s thought-provoking for sure. And for those of you who want no thoughts provoked, it’s a fine popcorn flick, too.

Me? I plan on blowing all of this thinkiness out of my noggin with a nice, loud dose of this band this evening, live at the Croc. If you’re in Seattle tonight and not at that show, well hell, I don’t want to know ya.

From the Easy Street in-store March 7:

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New Band Alert

I got the lowdown on North Twin a few weeks back, and what I’ve heard so far sounds damn promising, so I thought I’d spread the good word.

They’re making their debut at the Tractor this Wednesday night (March 22).

Truly looking forward to hearing what these songs sound like live and in person.

Ballard Avenue misses you, so stopping by the Tractor to check out this show might be the perfect way to make amends, no?

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