Posts tagged ‘punk rock’

February 28, 2015

Women’s History Month


These are some of the women who have influenced me most—be it my career path, my self image, my spirituality or my aesthetics.

Left to right, top row:Exene Cervenka, Erykah Badu, Patti Smith, Rickie Byars Beckwith, Erica Jong

Left to right, bottom row: Jess the Militant Baker, Dorothy Kilgallen, Annie Leibovitz, Norma Shearer.

August 20, 2014

Jay Adams 1961-2014

VCR_dogtown cover

100 Percent Skateboarder (forever)

Last week, while doing my morning social media rounds,  I noticed a photo posted on  Facebook by actor and punk singer Brandon Cruz of himself with legendary skater Jay Adams. I didn’t think twice.  Adams has been on my friends list for years and tends to either post or get tagged in photos on a regular basis. Soon enough, though, I found out it wasn’t a normal day. At least not on Facebook, not in Southern California, probably not in Hawaii and definitely not in skating circles.  Adams had passed away from a heart attack. He was only 53.

Only 53. The same age as my mom when she died. The same age I will be in two years. The older you get, the more death you encounter. The more death you encounter, the more you tend to think about your own mortality.

In 2002, I wrote an article for VCReporter about some discord among the ranks involved with Stacy Peralta’s documentary film Dogtown and Z-Boys.  It was a complicated situation involving big money, old wounds and differing opinions.  I had exclusive access, and three days to get it to press.

Intense as it was,  the story remains a career highlight for me. Of all the people I spoke with at length (I imagine I logged at least 20 hours of interview time), Jay Adams was by far my favorite. He was working at Black Flys  in Hawaii, , and had to periodically put me on hold to help customers. What struck me most about him was his authenticity which was immediately noticeable. He really didn’t want to talk to me, but he knew his input was important. He was probably the only one who DIDN’T have an agenda.  His humility and candor were refreshing. There was no bullshit with him. No ulterior motive.

I was not a stranger to skating culture and had spent a good amount of time with some of the old school pioneers, most notably Tony Alva (after the story published and went viral, Thrasher magazine incorrectly referred to me as an “Alva confidante”), but for some reason I’d never met Jay, so it was especially exciting to have a chance to speak to the enigmatic, notorious and baddest of the Dogtown bad boys. For all his woes, his battles with drugs, time spent in prison, broken relationships, etc., there was an innocence about  him. He was a good man dealing with the consequences of bad decisions and hard living. He didn’t have the best start in life, but he became a champion and a hero—on and off the pavement, in and out of the water.

I can’t claim to have really known Jay Adams, yet I miss him. He was a one in a million man in a world that needs a new kind of math. But, for all the tragedy he endured (and some that he undoubtedly caused), his death is not tragic. Granted, he was relatively young, but life was really, really good. He was sober, he was strong in his faith, he was deeply in love with his wife, solid with his kids and riding the best waves of his entire life in Mexico. It’s all any of us can hope for in the end.

Nearly a week later, stories, condolences, photos and memories continue to flood his Facebook page, and when I see the updates in my feed, it seems like he’s still here posting messages of hope and candid pics of his lovely wife. Then I remember.

There might not ever be another Jay Adams, but there is plenty of room for more champions and heroes.

To quote the many who knew and loved him: “Rip in peace, Jay boy.”



January 12, 2014

Thurston Moore’s favorite songs

thurston moore

Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore revealed 38 of his favorite songs and while many of them are what you’d expect, there are a few surprises. Moore, or anyone associated with Sonic Youth is somewhat of a sacred cow in music. You have to sort of get behind them or you’re basically a fool. A charlatan.  (Whatever). A few of the songs from his list are also on my own list. (I may be cool after all). A few artists seemed out of left field. He definitely has his pet genres: glitter, no wave, So Cal punk, early British punk, “grunge,” and folk . . . didn’t see that one coming.  The fact that he listed a Beach Boys tune but left out anything by The Beatles feels a bit pretentious/trendy. There is a school of thought that The Beach Boys had a bigger influence on pop music than The Beatles. I respectfully disagree. Actually, I think it’s total bullshit, but everyone’s entitled to his opinion.  He also named a Youth Brigade song which made me literally go, “whoa.” And the Bush Tetras. I forgot all about that band. Whether or not I think Moore’s “choices” are a tad self-conscious, listening to them made me nostalgic. Where are The Germs of today? Or the Hendrix. Or even Nirvana? Who’s setting precedents in music anymore? To quote another great artist in its day: Nothing’s shocking. But I wish it was.

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December 27, 2012

…………………..2012: A List………………

(Hope you don’t get seasick) p.s. it’s all local


Cassettes were all the rage this year. Massenger was my favorite band.

Recorded Music
The Pullmen
D on Darox and the Melody Joy Bakers



Live Music
Wussy at Zoey’s
Pangea at Indie West Fest
The Pullmen at Bombay
Kapeesh at Red Cove
Alexandra and the Starlight Band at Zoey’s
Miguel Garcia & the Vaquetones at Yolie’s
OFWGKTA at the Ventura Theater (for the sheer spectacle of it)


Outstanding film! Bob Forrest actually remembered me from the old days.

Bob and the Monster at Indie West Fest


Shenanigans at the Scavenger Hunt. (Appropriately, I stole this photo.)

The Local Rock Picnic
86 Scavenger Hunt (I was a secret weapon. Plus, I sacrificed my son’s innocence. See pic.)
Westside ArtWalk

comics comics

Comics and Comics at Hypno Comics

Comics and Comics at Hypno Comics


I purchased one of these pieces from Sean Tully. Can you guess which one?

Sean Tully at The WAV
Stacie Logue’s guerrilla bluebirds
Paul Lindhard’s gateway to Ventura
Evan Ames’ and Lauren Mosinka’s yard sale
Everything at Sylvia White Gallery
Michael Pearce at Carnegie Art Museum
Art of Autism at Westside ArtWalk
MB Hanrahan’s Scabenue Calendar


End Transmission: The Life and Death of the People’s Radio

September 20, 2012

VCReporter Best Of 2012: A few unfit for print and a couple others

Tabitha spits out her yogurt at Chill.

These are my personal picks. Categories not fit for the publication, but appropriate enough for this blog.

Best Remote Location For an Impromptu Punk Show
The End of Perkins Street in Port Hueneme
Punk rock has always been relegated to dark places on the outskirts of nowhere, so what could be better than a parking lot, across from a sewage filtration plant at the end of a very long street adjacent to a neighborhood you don’t want to find yourself in at night?

Best PR For Ventucky
 Tabitha Takes Over: The Chill Episode
Um, like, how are we supposed to keep the floor clean AND help customers AND text our friends at the same time?  What’s a  dry cappuccino? What are repeat customers? What’s market research?

Best Facebook Troll
Jody Lotus
Denied, reported, deleted.

Best Comeback From Bureaucratic Assault
Green Art People
Proof that organic tastes better and community works.

Best Place to Find an Obscure Used Tire in a Pinch
Avenue Tire
Nice people, fair prices, saved the day.

Best Pirate Radio Station
KSSR: The People’s Radio
The shit.

Best Phone Call From a Musician Pitching a Story About Himself
The man who insisted he was the “best oldest living legendary saxophone player with a regular gig at Rusty’s in Oxnard.
A phone call so good, I kept note of it on a post-it for six months.

Best Rapper to Put Santa Paula on the Map
He said it on the Internets so it must be true.

May 10, 2012

Free Pussy Riot!

The true spirit of punk rock is alive and well and living in Russia.  Three members of the Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot (though two of them deny the affiliation) remain in prison, charged with “hooliganism” for their acts of protest, including a performance inside a Russian Orthodox church where they prayed to the mother of Jesus to get rid of Putin.

The women face seven years for their acts of protest which usually include taking over public spaces, dressing like sexed up Teletubbies and cranking their amplifiers.

Anyone know where I can buy a brightly colored ski mask?

March 14, 2012

New crimes: moshing and other forms of “expressive dance”

Being old school, I still consider the term “mosh” the way I think of Ron Wood as the new Rolling Stone.  (That’s right, I was “moshing” before it was mainstream–call me a hipster.) Back when I was one small vein in the throbbing mass of meat and mischief that seemed to expand with each hardcore (again, refer to your old school punk rock glossary) show at the Olympic Auditorium, there was a certain code of conduct everyone followed. Today the pit seems a bit more, uh, energetic than in years past, or it’s just the change in perspective that comes with age and achy joints.

Anyway, it seems that aggressive moshing and  similar forms of “expressive dance” have gotten on the Boston PD’s last nerve, so it’s cracking down, vowing that “dance- floor mayhem will not be tolerated.” In the cops’ cross hairs is the House of Blues in advance of a Flogging Molly run for St. Patrick’s Day.  Yes, I too can imagine the possibilities when you add Flogging Molly fans to St. Paddy’s in BOSTON, but is all this enforcement really necessary?

What say you?

October 30, 2009

Biscuits Lives!

As far as I can tell, Chuck Biscuits is not actually dead. It was an evil hoax, perpetrated by an unknown entity. It looks like he doesn’t even have cancer.  Though, like many others, I bought it like a bag of bagels at the dollar store, the whole occurence wasn’t totally without merit. It prompted me to listen to some great old punk rock, something it’s rare for me to do of late. And that made me smile.

October 29, 2009

Goodbye, Chuck . . .

In less than a month, yet another key figure in the early ’80s So-Cal punk scene has passed away. Chuck Biscuits, the bombastic, powerhouse drummer who played for D.O.A., Circle Jerks (in video above), Black Flag, Danzig, Social Distortion and surprisingly, Run DMC, passed away Oct. 24 from throat cancer. He was only 44 years old.

In many ways, Biscuits was the Keith Moon of punk rock: unbridled, goofy, boyish and frenzied. His drumming on Social D’s White Light, White Heat, White Trash, made it stand alone as the most balls-out energetic record in their catalog.

He will be missed.

October 15, 2009

Legendary L.A. punk promoter is mourned by many

“When Brendan started the Masque, it was a pure act, creating a place for people he liked, to do their thing, have fun and get wild, no salesmen allowed.”– Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Flea’s is just one of a rapidly growing collection of memories and tributes popping up in newspapers and on social networking sites, since Mullen’s sudden death earlier this week at Ventura County Medical Center. He was here traveling through the central coast with his long time girlfriend when he suffered a massive stroke.

Mullen founded L.A. punk rock flashpoint the Masque, booked music for years at Club Lingerie and authored a number of important books chronicling elements of the late ’70s to mid-’80s L.A. music scene (We Got the Neutron Bomb: the Untold Story of L.A. Punk, Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs, Live at the Masque: Nightmare in Punk Alley and others).

Beyond his many accomplishments, the Scottish-born music promoter and archivist/historian was by all accounts a dear man who impacted many people’s lives with his generosity and kindness. He was sincerely passionate about music and devoted to supporting it however he could.

And the stories are quickly amassing into quite a volume. From journalists and bloggers, such as Robert Hilburn, Kristine McKenna, Chris Morris, Kevin Roderick, Lisa Derrick (a friend who was with Mullen at the end), Nancy Rommelmann and Greg Burk to scene icons Tequila Mockingbird, promoter Carmel Conlin, film maker Modi Frank and Julie Christensen (Divine Horsemen, Leonard Cohen), nearly everyone has something to say about Mullen because nearly everyone who knew him, never forgot him.

I was not so fortunate, though I’m quite sure our paths crossed as Mullen and I traveled the same circles or, rather, I orbited the periphery of his universe. Many of the bands that were beloved to me, got their first break from Mullen, most notably the Plugz and the Chili Peppers (I’ve got my own stories about those boys.) I owe a debt to him, as so many of us do. Were it not for is vision, his chutzpah, his heart and soul, my life, and to some extent, my identity, would be quite different.

Cheers on you Mr. Mullen, until next time.

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