Category Archives: Blurt The Most Fucked Up Thing

THE MOST FUCKED UP THING I’VE EVER SEEN: The Blakes

Blakes

In which the Seattle band sees blood spatter and butts paddled.

 BY SNOW AND GARNET KEIM

 We began touring using the Book Your Own Fucking Life manual and online community (www.byofl.com) to navigate ourselves around the country. We played anywhere and everywhere, from a roller rink in Katy, TX, to a house space in Portales, NM, a private catholic school in Shreveport, LA, a dorm in Pocatello, ID, and a collective in Birmingham, AL. It didn’t matter where as long as we were moving, having fun and playing good shows.

 It wasn’t glamorous by any means and many nights were spent in the van with a 40-ounce and a can of sardines. Occasionally things got so bad we would wait behind grocery stores until the deli food prepared that day was discarded and usually that was dinner. (We discovered most grocery stores have to throw out any food in the deli that didn’t sell that day.) So, we would wander in on a given day around 8:00pm when the deli closed trying to reason with them to just give us the food because we were going to get it anyway. Unfortunately more often than not the conversation would always devolve to something like “We’d like to help but it’s policy, you know?”

 So while our egos may have been bruised, we managed to get by and stay fed through some very difficult times. During that period, one incident I recall distinctly was in Fort Worth, TX – a punk show hosted by the teenage son of a wealthy Texas judge. It’s worth noting that also on the property were caged purebred wolves, an arboretum and a huge barn where the show was to take place.

 The most notable name on the bill, as I recall, was a band call ANS (pronounced “anus”) with hardcore punk numbers, ripe with idealism and riddled with frustration: “Abercrombie, Abercrombie, Abercrombie army wants you!” and that sort of thing. One of the show goers, a kid who was also in a band that performed, had a fondness for cutting his chest with razorblades while he screamed out his teenage angst. All well and good, except this time with ANS performing he became rather overly enthusiastic, almost to the point of insanity and, with his razors, went deep.

 I’d stepped out of the barn for a drink and next thing I know is there is an ambulance beside us! The kid with the razors had sliced very deeply across his chest and stomach and also along his forearms and biceps and had lost a massive amount of blood. While everyone was thrashing and pumping their fists and enjoying the show no one had seemed to notice. Finally at some point the loss of blood must have started to seriously affect him and the ambulance was called. Suffice to say, he made it and we were all happy about that!

 Another memorable event from around the same time period occurred in Frostburg, MD. Frostburg is small college town in the foothills of Maryland right near the border of West Virginia. It’s quaint, or at least that is how it appeared to us, from the outside.

 It was a cold night and the venue was the Regal Beagle. A dive bar, but a step up from most of the venues we had played so far. The show went well and afterwards the locals who were involved with setting up the show invited us to an after-party at a friend’s house. Being late, I was tempted to hunker down and try to get some sleep but it was 20 below zero; sleeping in the back of a panel van would have been next-to-impossible.

 Inside, the party had begun to get lively due to some more folks arriving with missing teeth and homemade moonshine in mason jars. Garnet and Bob had already sampled the hooch and so I needed no encouragement and could benefit from a pick-me-up to right myself from the bitter cold of the van. It went down like fire and made your head feel light and foggy.

 The host was becoming concerned that we might wake the upstairs tenant and suggested we retire to the basement or shall I say, padded basement. Now here is where it got weird.

 One girl was standing on her head while trying to take shots. Then there were these two guys who were wearing these big, black, punk rock belts with metal studs. They decided to remove their belts and start whipping the ass of another girl who was in a spirited mood. It sounded painful but she didn’t seem to object and, on the contrary, appeared as if she enjoyed it.

 It kind of then caught on and a few of the other girls wanted to give it a go. The girls seemed to be having so much fun, one of the guys volunteered to be whipped as well. All the while this was going we were trying to make small talk, drink our beer and generally not pay much attention. That was when the revelry makers seemed to collectively realize that they had an out-of-town band in their padded basement, who had probably never experienced this type of good old fashioned hillbilly fun.

 Someone in the room started to chant “The Blakes! The Blakes! The Blakes!”

 Oh, shit I thought! Two of the guys grabbed Garnet first and held him while another guy and girl started putting the belts to him. We were way outnumbered, so Garnet took it good humouredly with the expectation that a swat or two and this whole thing would lose its excitement. Next Bob was grabbed and while he squirmed they held him fast and walloped him.

 I realized then that that this was my moment to escape! I dodged for the stairs, one the guys tried to block me but I was quicker and ducked him and scrambled up the stairs then out of the house and into the van. It must have been ‘out of sight, out of mind’ because nobody followed and nobody bothered me for the rest of the night.

 I guess I opted for the 20 below after all. The next morning I was informed that after some 15 or 20 wallops, things settled back to a relatively normal state. With sore butts, hangovers and hope for the future we ventured on to the next night.

 The Blakes’ eighth album Art of Losses departs from their signature blend of garage rock and power pop to incorporate Brit-pop and synthpop influences. Rest assured, however, that it’ll still kick your ass until it bleeds profusely – and leave you with hope for the future of rock ‘n’ roll. Check out the video for the single “Narwhal” below and visit them at www.theblakesband.com where you can pick up the music. 

  THE BLAKES – “Narwhal”

New Best Kept Secret: Love X Stereo (South Korea)

Love X Stereo 1

Latest pick of cool emerging artist in our ongoing collaboration with Sonicbids.

 By Fred Mills

 The BLURT staff put our heads (and ears) together and we have the latest pick for our Blurt/Sonicbids “Best Kept Secret”: it’s Love X Stereo, from Seoul, South Korea. This makes our 22nd BKS selection since commencing the program of spotlighting new and under-the-radar artists back in 2008.

The group is described in its bio as “an electro rock band… authentic electronic music based in alternative and punk rock from the ‘90s. With its free use of synthesizing and effects, Love X Stereo’s music is danceable. And despite the fact that many genres aside from K-pop are being completely excluded in the harsh environment of the Korean music industry, its consistency in creating well-produced, visionary music continues to attract global attention. By infusing alternative music with electronic elements, Love X Stereo is creating a fresh new style of music that is continually gaining great respect from both sides of Korean independent music scene; rock and electronica. Its music often confuses Korean audiences who isn’t always accustomed to absorbing new sounds, but it definitely takes center stage in the expat community (in other words, foreigners living in Korea) thanks to their impressive live performances and memorable song-writings.”

Indeed, one readily detects everything from Smashing Pumpkins, U2 and My Bloody Valentine to classic ‘60s girl-group, spacey ‘70s Prog and poppy ‘80s nu-psychedelia in the band’s sound – check, for example, signature track “Soul City” (aka “Seoul City” for a sleek sample of the impressive instrumentation and vocalist Annie’s sensual croon.

 Annie

  We’ll have an interview with the band posted to the site shortly in which we let them fill you in on all this and more. Meanwhile, check out their official website or Facebook page for additional details as well as song samples. They’re one of the good ‘uns, trust us.

 Love X Stereo:

Annie – Lead Vocals, Keyboards and Synthesizers
Toby – Guitar, Backing Vocals, producing
Sol – Bass, Backing Vocals
Young Hoon Jang – Drums

***

Bands, go to www.sonicbids.com/blurtonline to submit and have us review your materials for feature consideration.

 

>Our November ‘08 Best Kept Secret: The Handcuffs, from Chicago.

>Our December Best Kept Secret: Black Swan Green, from Brooklyn

>Our January 2009 Best Kept Secret: stephaniesI­d, from Asheville

>Our March Best Kept Secret: Polly Mackey & the Pleasure Principle, from England

>Our June Best Kept Secret: Wiretree, from Austin

>Our August Best Kept Secret: Bulletproof Vests, from Memphis

>Our November Best Kept Secret: The Vivs, from Boston

>Our January 2010 Best Kept Secret: The Public Good, from D.C.

>Our February Best Kept Secret: Dirty Dancing, from Austin

>Our April Best Kept Secret: Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents, from Boston

>Our June Best Kept Secret: The Rebel Set, from Phoenix

>Our August Best Kept Secret: Alice Austin, from Los Angeles

>Our October 2010 Best Kept Secret: Doug McCurry, from Charlotte

>Our January 2011 Best Kept Secret: Drunken Prayer, from Portland

>Our April 2011 Best Kept Secret: Preachers Son, from Dublin, Ireland

>Our June 2011 Best Kept Secret: Butter, from Durham, NC

>Our August 2011 Best Kept Secret: Dark Circles, from Nashville, TN

>January 2012 Best Kept Secret: The Glimmer, from Australia

>May 2012 Best Kept Secret: Wolf Ram Heart, from Columbus, OH

>November 2012 Best Kept Secret: Sons Of Hippies, from west coast, Florida

>February 2013 Best Kept Secret: Bonesetters, from Muncie/Indianapolis

THE MOST FUCKED UP THING I’VE EVER SEEN: The Howlin’ Brothers

THE MOST FUCKED UP THING I’VE EVER SEEN - The Howlin’ Brothers

In which weird-ass bus drivers risk death for all aboard – and everything turns out okay?

 BY IAN CRAFT

 Last summer we were on a tour with a terrible bus driver, not that he was a bad guy – on the contrary. He was a hilarious guy. But I don’t think he had slept more than two hours a night since he started driving 30 years ago.

 Several times we wondered what was happening up there that would be causing the bus to be frolicking and bouncing so badly. Mostly I think it was the lack of interest in driving and more focus on talking on the phone and CB, as well as eating sunflower seeds. As we sat in the back lounge we noticed a tractor trailer getting too close for comfort then to our surprise we hit him at 70 miles an hour. We were just outside Chicago and traffic was thick like gravy; no place for shenanigans like that.

 That didn’t stop us, though. Neither did a stop sign. There were several moments of sheer terror when he ran over a stop sign like it was just what you do at stop signs, and that’s cool. As we plowed into the semi he screamed, “You wanna buy the motherfucker, motherfucker?!”

 In his defense, it was a nice ride. Somehow we managed to make it to Chicago and had some awesome shows. Needless to say, we knew where we stood as precious cargo to be treated with nothing but professionalism and safety, minus the safety and professionalism.

 This brought up some war stories from the rest of the crew. As we careened down the road, swerving from lane to lane and beyond, my buddy came walking up from the back of the bus right in time to get slammed into the cupboard. As he came out of the bathroom covered in piss from the bumpy ride, he started telling me this story. 

 He had seen the bus driver, who was supposed to be driving the bus, playing a unique game of Tag – the bus-driving version. Apparently the object of the game is to put the bus in cruise control and try and run from the front of the bus all the way to the back lounge and touch the wall, then run back to the wheel. Of course, if you win all is well and good and nobody knows the difference. Lose, and everyone dies in a bus crash. Pretty amazing what people will do to stay awake on a moonless prairie night.

 I must admit, driving many late nights and long hours in the van, there have been several times where the lull of the road and the blur of the lines makes you wanna fall fast asleep. There isn’t much you can do about it – once that sleep gets a hold of your eyes, it’s a slippery slope. To think of ways to keep your self awake is no new thing but it does make you wonder just how do these professional drivers do it. Our hats off to you all!

 Some good times were had and some hilarious stories were told, but the most fucked up story is when one night, one of the guys on the bus came up front to use the bathroom and noticed the bus swerving dangerously. The driver, while talking on the phone, eating and checking his CB feeds (much like our own driver on the current trip), attempted to reach out across the jump seat for his coat.

 Somehow he was distracted and fell face first down the stairs, feet in the air, head down by the door, completely stuck and fucked. The bus was just wildly driving itself. This was the scene that our buddy happened upon. Nothing like a bus with no driver to help expedite that early-morning piss!

 Luckily he was plucked from his imminent death. The driver recovered the wheel and they rolled happily down the trail. Ah, what fun it is to ride on a giant steel diesel death trap thru this great country! Hallelujah and amen to all that.

 ***

  The Howlin’ Brothers released Howl on Brendan Benson’s Readymade Records March 5 (www.thehowlinbrothers.com).  It’s reviewed here (http://blurtonline.com/review/the-howlin-brothers-howl/) at BLURT, and you can also watch a video from the album, below. Meanwhile, the group is on an extensive North American tour right now (tour dates at that link) which will include a stop this Wednesday, May 8, at 6pm at our companion business Schoolkids Records of Raleigh, NC (https://www.facebook.com/schoolkids), so come on down if you are in the neighborhood!

 

[Photo Credit: Joshua Black Wilkins]

THE HOWLIN’ BROTHERS – “HERMITAGE HOTSTEP”

THE MOST FUCKED UP THING I’VE EVER SEEN: Henry Wagons

The Most Fucked Up Thing I've Ever Seen - Henry Wagons

 

In which our hero tells a tale of “Unwelcome Company” on a Melbourne stage.  

 BY HENRY WAGONS

 I was trying to keep calm, reclining in the green room backstage at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, Australia at our hometown CD launch in 2009. It was a full room and the crowd were savagely drunk. I could tell they were soaked when Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” came on the house stereo and it prompted a 1,000-person strong sing-along. They sounded revolutionary. I was excited to go on, but also a little on edge about the whole situation. The one portly blonde security guard backstage looked sluggish on a stool in the corner of the room and was slowly eating chicken out of a bag, spreading it all over his cheeks. He was a mess.

 It was time to go on. As I expected, it was a dangerously ravenous reception. I felt it was not necessarily because our fans wanted to see us particularly, but because all the bright lights and noise had finally kicked in, providing thrills to the shitfaced, like drawing moths to a flame. It seemed like I was on the set of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” video. Let’s be honest, it was awesome.

 We started. We wanted to keep the crowd hyped, keeping this frenzied momentum up, so we kicked the show off by playing an old fire and brimstone evoking single from an earlier record called “Man Sold.” It went mental.

 The first verse went well. It was surreal. Actually, it was the opposite, it was quite hyper-real. It was as if everything went into HD. I noticed one of the guys from the front row creep up on stage with a can of beer in his hand. He danced, flailed and swayed behind me in amongst the band. It was ok. I guess it was fun to watch for the audience. I was happy to run with it. When the first chorus kicked in, he came up and clumsily joined me on the mic, clawing at it.

 It was at this point I started to wonder how much chicken was in the security guard’s bag and how long it would take him to get through it. He was nowhere to be seen. When I started to kick back into the second verse, the man took a grab at the mic, smashing it into my teeth. It hurt, but after a quick check with my tongue I knew my chompers were intact. By this stage the man had taken the mic and started to drool/scream randomly into the mic, and the crowd started getting restless, and this was only the first song! I remember hoping that chicken must have been damn good to be keeping security at bay.

 I realized I had to take matters into my own hands. I grabbed the mic and pushed the guy off the stage. It was a clean, Miyagi-esque ‘wax off’ type motion. I saw him hurtling back towards the crowd. At that point his feet became tangled in a mic lead and he tripped over a monitor and flipped and his head started hurtling towards the hard floor beneath the stage. Fuck.

 Things slowed down at this point, and I saw him slowly fall to the ground landing straight on his neck. If I had a chance to strategically place the guy in as awkward a fall as possible, this would have been it. His head buckled under his own weight and he collapsed limp on the ground as the thick crowd parted around him. The band played on and all I could do was finish singing the second verse, looking down at him hoping for a sign of life. People who were there said the look on my face was tell-tale.

 In the moments that followed, I have never been happier to see someone come at me with fists flying! He got up after three very long and limp seconds and was obviously immediately possessed by red line fever, wanting to punch me out, trying climb back on stage. Luckily, people up the front held him back and my blonde security mate finally kicked into action and mildly escorted the man out of the building, feeling full with a radiant, post-chicken glow.

***

 Henry Wagons’ latest EP, Expecting Company?, is out now via Thirty Tigers. The spooky, seven-song platter consists mostly of ghost-town duets with folks like Alison Mosshart, Robert Forster and Jenn Grant. Unlike a mic to the choppers, every last one of these Cash-on-pills nuggets is welcome – to say the very least. Wagons does admit to writing much of the EP in an altered state, by the way. He was, in his words, “delirious with a bad fever and maimed due to a light bulb exploding in my hand.” Hmm… seems like there’d be a fucked up story to go with that…

 

HENRY WAGONS – “Unwelcome Company” (featuring Alison Mosshart

 

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