Category Archives: Reunion

Return of… Minneapolis Punk Legends the Suicide Commandos


Long-overdue second full-length slated for May 5 release on… the revived Twin/Tone label, which is “forced back into existence.” Boy howdy!

By Fred “Blurt Archival Geek” Mills

Once upon a time there was a ground zero punk combo called the Suicide Commandos: Straight outta Minneapolis, the trio foreshadowed that ‘burg’s subsequent explosion as one of the key Amerindie scenes—think Husker Du, Soul Asylum, Replacements, et al. They only notched a pair of 45s and a full-length, 1978’s Make A Record (issued on Pere Ubu’s Mercury-distributed Blank Records label), earning critical kudos across the globe and going on to become a key artifact of punk, but, as with many similar indie avatars of the era, ultimately bit the dust.

Yours truly was honored to have had the proverbial critical front row seat at the time, though, as the punk fanzine I contributed to (and eventually published), Biohazard Informae, covered the band during its initial run. Wait… did I just write “initial run”?!?


Indeed. The news recently arrived that, against all odds, the Suicide Commandos are on the verge of gearing back up. The members, of course, went on to other pursuits—fans with long memories will fondly recall bassist Steve Almaas and his post-SC proto-Americana combo Beat Rodeo—and it’s been aeons since the name “Suicide Commandos” was uttered aside from discussions about the early Twin Cities scene and the stray one-off reunion gig. But here’s the news:

“[The Suicide Commandos are] readying their first new studio album since the 1978 Blank/Mercury debut, Make A RecordTime Bomb has many of the hallmarks of the band’s original oeuvre, their fast, punky, brainy, fun and often funny rock n’ roll sound – The Ramones meet Eddie Cochran meets ZZ Top – but adds a catchy, pop-ish slant and a modern production flare that brings a freshness to the entire proceedings. The first vinyl pressing will be a limited, numbered edition of 1,000 copies. (It will also be issued digitally.)

Time Bomb was produced by the Commandos, primarily recorded in their hometown at Master Mix Studios by Kevin Bowe (Jonny Lang, Paul Westerberg, Dan Wilson) and mixed by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Let’s Active, The dBs) at Fidelitorium Recordings in North Carolina. Though there had been reunion shows over the years, the band hadn’t felt compelled to record again. Why Now? you may ask.

“Guitarist Chris Osgood tells us, ‘After Tommy Erdelyi died, Steve pointed out that The Ramones were all gone and we were all still here, and that we should make a record.’ The group’s New York City-based bass player, Steve Almaas, adds ‘The time was right. I had a couple of songs I thought would sound good with Chris and Dave. Once they started coming up with material, it inspired me to write a few more. Also, in this modern age, it’s much easier to work long distance. That really helped make this possible.’

So far no plans for touring have been announced, but let’s just get to the May 5 release date first. (Local Minneapolis events include a listening party at the Clown Lounge/Turf Club on May 5th and an in-store at Treehouse Records on the 6th.) Oh, and if you noted the subhead above, you probably felt your pulse quicken: the equally legendary Twin/Tone Records label—yeah, that label, the one that gave the world the ‘mats—is also returning from the grave to do the deed. It’s the first record since the Suburbs’ 1994 album Viva! Suburbs! Welcome back, Peter Jesperson and Paul Stark. We’ve missed ya.


Grown Ass Men in Sneakers, Riding the Little Diesel, for NC Show


Putting the “L” back in both legend and Little Diesel… And the “P” back in both punk and The Pump…

By Fred Mills

Attendees at the recent Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh, NC, were treated to quite a show by the legendary Television, and it was made even more special because the opening act was NC’s Sneakers, that Winston-Salem-spawned/Chapel Hill-reared, group of pre-punk era Tarheels who would later turn into random members of the H-Bombs, dB’s, Secret Service, and Let’s Active. Go HERE and HERE to see just a few of our friend’s comments and photos of the Sneakers set.

Now word arrives that Sneakers, along with W-S ’70s-era compatriots Little Diesel, will be appearing at Durham’s Motorco venue on October 20. Rather than proselytize – you can read some of my observations on a number of the musicians elsewhere on the Blurt site – allow me to simply direct you to what Motorco is saying in regards to why you might want to consider picking up tickets and making the road trip. See ya there, kissy boys, and don’t try to tell me that you can’t attend simply because love is like a Cuban crisis….


SNEAKERS: Before The dB’s and Let’s Active, there was Sneakers! Stamey, an icon of indie pop, and friend Mitch Easter began to explore recording techniques in Winston-Salem, NC, during their youth. In 1976, Chris and his band, Sneakers (including drummer Will Rigby, with appearances from Easter), released a single on Stamey’s own Carnivorous Records. The sessions were engineered by Don Dixon, who would eventually produce bands like R.E.M. (with Easter) and The Smithereens. Stamey & Rigby would go on to form The dB’s and Easter would reappear in Let’s Active—but the Sneakers single remains vital in not only independent record history, but music in general. [Above photo by Larry Tucker, from the Hopscotch show]


LITTLE DIESEL: In 1973, when most of teenage Winston-Salem lay intoxicated by the sound of mellow southern rock, one select group of insouciant, incendiary Reynolds scalawags took a sharp left turn, clutching Mott the Hoople and New York Dolls albums and started LITTLE DIESEL, the Twin City’s first punk rock band. Fueled by cases of Mickey’s, LITTLE DIESEL took their audiences hostage and exposed them to anarchic rock heretofore unknown in these parts. Bob Northcott’s stylized and soulful vocals were augmented by a formidable dual guitar fusillade from Tom Eshelman and Peter Holsapple and underpinned by bassist Phil Thomas and powerhouse drummer Will Rigby. The die was cast, and the legend was born. If you saw the band then, likely as not you’ve never forgotten it. And now 43 years later, the original LITTLE DIESEL reunites for another show, opening for NC legends SNEAKERS OCTOBER 20 at MOTORCO in DURHAM NC. The snarling attitude and powerful sound is intact and revitalized, and LITTLE DIESEL rises again. [Above photo from Holsapple’s blog]



Videos: Misfits w/Glenn Danzig at Riot Fest


Denver has all the luck….

By Barbi Martinez

They said it would never happen: a Misfits reunion. Or at least one involving both classic-er ‘fits vocalist Glenn Danzig and bassist Jerry Only. The latter was awarded, via a lawsuit in the ’90s, the right to use the name, and it would be an understatement to say that there has been considerable friction between the two. It’s been over 30 years since they played together.

Never say never: they did indeed reunite, if only for a day, to play the Denver Riot Fest this past weekend. We’ll have a wrapup of the festival here at Blurt soon, courtesy our man in the Mile High City, Tim Hinely. Meanwhile, here are some video clips that have already surfaced of the Misfits’ performance; hopefully some higher quality ones will turn up soon. (By the way: listen to some of the “comments” made during the first clip below.)


Legendary NC Band the Fabulous Knobs to Reunite Only 27 Years Later


The Triangle was a much smaller musical place in the early ‘80s. Above: the band back then.

By Fred Mills

In 2016 there are scores of nationally and internationally acclaimed bands populating the North Carolina Triangle area (Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham)—it’s a given that in any given year there will be a breakout release from a combo. But I’m here to tell all you youngsters ‘twasn’t so in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s; in fact, you could pretty much count the number of groups making and performing original material on two paws. With that duly noted, my memories of that time remain vivid, and I trust that my peers who were also on the Triangle scene at the time feel similarly. (Raise your hands if you remember the H-Bombs, old-timers…)

As it turns out, one of the key bands from back in the day is apparently hatching a long-overdue reunion in August: Raleigh’s Fabulous Knobs, originally made up of Terry Anderson (Drums), David Enloe (Guitar; he passed away in 2007, sadly), Jack Cornell (Bass), Debra DeMilo (Lead Vocals), Keith Taylor (Lead Guitar), Dave Adams (Keyboards). You can consult the Return to Comboland blog for the back story; suffice to say that while they only left behind a couple of records, their live shows were the stuff of legend, as they were essentially the Triangle’s answer to the Faces and the Stones, with singer Debra DeMilo coming off as a cross between Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Pat Benatar.

According to Raleigh’s News & Observer, the Knobs will appear Aug. 13 at a multi-band concert dubbed Groove In the Garden. Writes Josh Shaffer, “Decades after their scene dissolved, long after they took careers as florists, painters, nurses and respiratory therapists, the surviving Fabulous Knobs will resurface to rock again for the first time in more than 20 years. Put them in a room together, all pushing 60, and they conjure a grittier Raleigh up all night.

“’Debra said, ‘Why don’t we do this?’ said drummer Terry Anderson. ‘And I said, ‘Yeah. Before we die.’

“Anderson joked that at their reunion show in August, they’ll keep the old folks entertained. But I’m going to guess the kids put the iPhones back in their pockets for this show, where their hands will be too busy waving in the air.”

Welcome back, folks. And thanks for the memories. (Below, watch a rehearsal video of the band that the newspaper posted online,)

Hell Freezes Over (and Lift To Experience Reunites)!


All hail Denton….

By Uncle Blurt

I was driving to Canada earlier today (hallooooo, Vancouver!) as part of my decision to both avoid the rest of the primary season and score some of those awesome cheap Canadian meds my email and tweeter thing keep telling me about. And it came across the airwaves: Texas legends the Lift To Experience is getting back together. Holy fucking shit.

Come June, in London at the Southbank Centre to be specific, the Meltdown Festival will happen once again, June 10-19, and no less than Elbow’s Guy Garvey will be curating it: the dude coaxed LTE to get back onstage for the first time in a decade and a half.

According to The Quietus:

The cult band, made up of Josh T. Pearson, Andy “The Boy” Young and Josh “The Bear” Browning, will reunite for an exclusive one-off show as part of the festival. The band will also mark the 15th anniversary of the release of their double concept album The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads with a re-release of the album later this year via Mute. The band formed in 1996 and informally disbanded early last decade.

Josh T. Pearson, Andy “The Boy” Young and Josh “The Bear” Browning will reportedly all be on hand, although with the trio’s history of instability, who knows? For those of us in the know, however, this is a huge deal – YYYUUUUGGGE, in the current parlance. You can bring yourself up to speed if you are NOT in the know via the iconic group’s Wikipedia page, or simply grok the Lone Star fullness, below. If the first track doesn’t bring you to your knees, you simply are not sentient…

Miracle Legion Reunite; Reissues, Tour in the Works


Plans include to see the entire catalog newly available on digital.

By Fred Mills

Miracle Legion: that name strikes a particular chord among a subset of indie music aficionados, both of the ‘80s college rock stripe the ‘90s alternative era. A few years ago BLURT paid tribute to the band, in fact, along with frontman and cofounder Mark Mulcahy. But the band split up in ’96 in the face of a frustrating affair with their record label, with Mulcahy moving on to acclaim as a solo artist and with Polaris (of Pete and Pete TV show fame). Meanwhile, his guitar-slinging foil and cofounder Mr. Ray (Ray Neal) also went solo but eventually seemed to dip off the radar.

Against all odds, the band is getting back together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the M.L. swansong, 1996’s Portrait of a Damaged Family. They plan to reissue the album on vinyl on April 16 for Record Store Day and then will tour the U.S. and the U.K. in July and Auigust. In addition to Mulcahy and Neal, bassist Dave McCaffrey and drummer Scott Boutier will be on hand to help resurrect the group’s classic part-jangly/part-revved-up sound. Below, list to a live acoustic version of the track “Homer” from the Portrait album.

They also plan to reissue the entire back catalog digitally as well via Mulcahy’s label Mezzotint.

 “Getting back with Miracle Legion was something I never thought about,” Mulcahy said, in a statement. “We always lived by ‘never say never,’ and so this is some perversion of that shitty motto. Even when we were together, there were many, many times I hated it so much I couldn’t think it would last another day.

“We finally drove ourselves off a cliff, and I thought that was it. However, you didn’t see us die, and now we have crawled back up the mountain towards insanity once again. Damaged but operating. I give us a 50/50 chance. Thank you all for watching.”

“I’ve always had a feeling of unfinished business,” Neal added. “The wrong business won the first time around. There is still more to do. I’m excited for Portrait to have a proper release. I don’t think many people knew it came out the first time. I’m not sure I did! Unfortunately we never toured or did anything with it. We were all lost.”

Lost, but found once again, Mr. Ray. Speaking as a veteran of numerous M.L. shows back in the day (I have the bootleg tapes to prove it), I cannot wait.


Portrait Tracklisting:

Side A:

You’re My Blessing



Say I Had a Lovely Time

I Wish I Was Danny Kaye

The Depot

Side B:

Madison Park

Accidentally on Purpose


Good for Her


Gone to Bed at 21


Tour Dates

July (US)

7.13 – Columbus Theatre, Providence RI

7.14 – The Linda, Albany NY

7.15 – Bell House, Brooklyn NY

7.16 – The Ballroom at The Outer Space, Hamden CT

7.17 – The Sinclair, Boston MA

7.21 – Iron Horse, Northampton MA

7.22 – Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL

7.23 – Codfish Hollow, Maquoketa, IA

August (UK)

8.16 – The Hope and Ruin, Brighton

8.17 – Òran Mór, Glasgow

8.18 – The Deaf Institute, Manchester

8.19 – Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, Wales

8.20 – Oslo, London


Guided By Voices Reunites? Sorta; Robert Pollard Solo LP Incoming, Too


Above: Pollard could not find that vintage Magnet Magazine coffee cup he was given in Philly all those years ago.

By Uncle Blurt

Is it Guided By Voices if Robert Pollard says it is? Of Course It Is!

While March 4 marks the Fire Records UK release date of Pollard’s new solo album Of Course You Are (hear the blisteringly great lead single, below), Pollard will reportedly launch a “new-look” GBV this year comprising some old, some new, some borrowed, and (maybe or maybe not) some blue members: Pollard, Bobby Bare Jr. (guitar), Kevin March (drums), Nick Mitchell (guitar), and Mark Shue (bass).


As Consequence of Sound reports, “Calgary’s Sled Island Festival today announced its initial lineup for 2016, and Guided By Voices tops the bill. What’s more, a new GBV record in said to be in the works.”

Well, all right then! Time to take up smoking cigs and chugging cheap beers again. As one of my New Year’s resolutions I’ve been hoping to ditch my diet this year. See you in Calgary…

Belly To Reunite, Plan Tour + New Music



Belly up to the bar!

By Barbi Martinez

Tanya Donelly, of Breeders/Throwing Muses fame, has announced that she and her Belly bandmates (presumably  Tom Gorman, Chris Gorman and Gail Greenwoo, will reportedly get back together this summer for tours of North America and Europe. They will also be releasing new music, reports Pitchfork, although no details have been disclosed yet; one would imagine that a followup to  1993’s Star and 1995’s King will be described as “long awaited.”

UPDATE: Squirrel Nut Zippers Reunite; Key Members Not Invited



UPDATE 12/7: Ex-SNZ member Maxwell did tweet to us following our below post with a couple of relevant clarifications:

Hello friends! To clarify: Katharine was very much invited and turned them down flat. Also, that pop dose thing is shitty.

And in response to a reader query about what the reunion comprises:

Yeah. It’s Jimbo and The Drummer. Everyone should understand that Ken Mosher was the heart of the band.


“I was never asked,” notes co-founding member Tom Maxwell.

By Blurt Staff

Although the mid ‘90s so-called “swing revival” is justifiably regarded as a rock history footnote, one band did actually stand out amongst the zoot-suited dross: NC’s Squirrel Nut Zippers, who were a high-energy Americana band at their core, touching on numerous styles that yes, did include swing and big band, but also delved into vintage blues, Dixieland, bossa nova and more. As we all know, the group had some massive hits (c.f. “Hell”), but then things ended badly amid acrimony and lawsuits. Intermittent activity followed, along with an ill-fated reunion circa 2007-08, with a subsequent live album, Lost At Sea in 2009 (read a somewhat dismissive commentary from called “How Bad Can It Be?”). Since then, not much from the Zippers camp, though, and all the players have gone on to their own respective projects.

Hardcore fans never forgot, however, and in mid 2014 a few cryptic postings to the band’s Facebook page (“Hey ya’ll. Been quite awhile. There have been some recent tremors in the otherwise still geology of SNZ land which could indicate movement of a danceable nature.”) hinted that a new reunion was on the horizon. Then protracted silence again. But early last month that FB page was updated with a profile feature and yet another cryptic message (“Things are brewing…”), accompanied by the same message at the just-reactivated SNZ Twitter account. Good news for fans?

Maybe. Yesterday (Dec. 5) co-founding member Tom Maxwell weighed in at his blog with a lengthy, very personal, essay, detailing why he will not be present for any Zippers shows—in short, he was not invited.

Wrote Maxwell, “When I talked to [band drummer] Chris Phillips about it on the phone, a week or so ago, I told him that I had put my sword down, and could go out with the band joyfully and with an open heart.” Recall that Maxwell had been part of the aforementioned legal woes, roughly 20 years ago, suing other members of the band for back royalties, with the lawsuit eventually being settled. So in Maxwell’s opinion, time had healed the wounds for him at least, and he would be looking forward to going out and performing the band’s songs, of which several of their hits were originally penned by him.

Apparently Maxwell’s desire to be part of the reunion has been rejected:

“I’m sorry to say I won’t be joining the Squirrel Nut Zippers on the tour supporting the 20th anniversary of the Hot album next year. This will put me in good company: Katharine Whalen, Ken Mosher, and Don Raleigh won’t be there either. The fact is, I was never asked. None of us met in person, or sat in a room together to vibe it out, as I suggested. I just got a text telling me it wasn’t going to happen….

“The band that might come through your town next year celebrating this milestone for the Hot album will call themselves the Squirrel Nut Zippers. They might also call it a reunion, if shame has abandoned them. You should go see them, if you like. There will be a lot of musical talent on that stage, as well as a fair amount of hokum. It just won’t bear much resemblance to that brief and dazzling spark that once characterized the group.”

As the “Things are brewing…” appears to be all that the official SNZ camp has put out thus far—the website repeats the phrase once again, with no additional news updates or even links on the homepage— there hasn’t been a response to Maxwell’s missive yet. Stay tuned.

Maxwell, incidentally, published a book last year about his time with the band. Go HERE to read our review of it, as well as an interview we did with him around the same time.

BOB DYLAN – 1965-1966 The Cutting Edge

Album: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: 1965-1966 The Cutting Edge

Artist: Bob Dylan

Label: Columbia/Legacy

Release Date: November 06, 2015

Dylan 11-6
The Upshot: It’s Dylan. Any questions?


Considered by most Dylanologists to be the definitive period in the Dylan’s nascent development, the mid ‘60s found him moving at stratospheric speed in an evolution that took him from starry-eyed folk troubadour and populist hero to an influential and revolutionary rocker. The three albums produced during that narrow span of time — Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde — become one of the most significant trilogies in modern musical history, forming the backbone of a career that would change the sound and tone of rock forever, and with it, our very cultural fiber.

Happily then, this latest installment of Legacy’s Bootleg Series shines a light on the creative process that brought these remarkable efforts to fruition. Available as a two disc, six disc or multiple disc set, the latter of which purportedly includes every note recorded in those spirited sessions, 1965-1966 The Cutting Edge offers a fascinating insight into Dylan’s creative process. Tempos are slowed, lyrics changed and songs altered spontaneously as he dabbles with the songs like a scientist quizzically pondering an axiom or equation, looking for a better way to perfect a theory. In Dylan’s mind, even perfection can be improved upon. The brilliance is his work is apparent from the first takes on, but hearing the variations enhances the appreciation even more, suggesting that no matter how the material might have turned out, iconic status was otherwise assured regardless. And that’s assuring in itself. Bob’s genius led his muse in a multitude of unforeseen directions, but inevitably every one of them mi8ght have yielded the same success.

That said, the changes from take to take are often subtle – songs sped up and slowed down and then settled somewhere in between, a word changed here and re-added there, a phrase delivered one way and then switched back, or in some cases abandoned entirely. It’s fascinating to hear Dylan and the studio musicians shifting through these arrangements with such apparent ease, taking familiar songs such “Desolation Row,” “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “Like a Rolling Stone” (in this case, given an entire disc of early takes) as they attempt to uncover what will become an iconic interpretation. Likewise, the studio chatter adds to the mix, as Dylan talks to, and sometimes spars with, producer Tom Wilson. The sessions were often stormy, but the conflict brought about remarkable results, and for all the challenges the participants faced, Dylan’s confidence was never in doubt.

The book of text and photos that accompanies the six disc set is excellent as well, always as essential element in these official bootleg offerings. Anyone with any interest in history ought to make this edition a necessity.

DOWNLOAD: “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Mr. Tambourine Man”