23 Apr 2014

How minimal can you get? #74

Chris Knox
“When punk rock exploded, Knox was already a good bit older than its target market, so he was able to absorb what it really stood for — do-it-yourself authenticity, not spiky hair and Dr Martens boots.” Gary Steel

“It’s hard to imagine in the 21st century, with every other musician working from their home studio, but in 1979 there was only one way to record an album: In the often oppressive environment of a 'real' studio. It cost a bundle of cash, and an inexperienced group had to do everything the producer and engineer told them to do. It was an atrophied situation with the wrong hands holding all the power. Knox — with the help of Doug Hood and a few others — changed all that, when he took a 4-track recorder down to the South Island to get their essence on the go. Roger Shepherd formed a record company around the results of those recordings, Flying Nun, and the rest is history.”

Chris Knox – Face Of Fashion

20 Apr 2014

Beta Evers aka GitZe (Pervers / Deutscher Abschaum)

Originally posted May 19, 2010 
“Around 1980 I read about new wave and punk in music magazines and was fascinated by it. At the same time I discovered a radio show that presented underground stuff. Besides, the boyfriend of my older sister brought me tapes with music by Gary Numan, Siouxsie [and the Banshees] and Stiff Little Fingers. He was a very interesting guy and told me about punk/wave bands and interesting locations where to go. But, I was a kid of 12 or 13. Nevertheless I got caught up by all of this. The late 70s music of Gary Numan definitely gave me a huge 'wow'-feeling and changed my musical affinities sustainably especially stuff like 'Cars', 'Down in the Park' and 'Are friends electric?'. But, the idea to make my own music was definitely initiated by more or less unknown DIY-bands.”

GitZe as a sweet teen giving the middle finger
“Around my 15th birthday I founded my first band called Pervers. It was a punk/new wave/noise band in the tradition of those female German avant-garde bands existing between 1978–1982 like Malaria!, Östro 430, Carambolage and Xmal Deutschland. We were a girl trio and we used a guitar, drums, metal cans, electronic instruments and lots of distortion. I also appeared under the name Deutscher Abschaum (duo with one of the Pervers girls). With Pervers we had two releases on my own tape-label and two record releases on a punk and new wave label from Frankfurt called Zweckfrei.” Beta Evers

“Gaby 'R', GitZe and Vanessa Violence (aka Flizzer), were three very young and defiant girls from the area Augsburg (Bavaria), when they started to play together. In the beginning their band was called Deutscher Abschaum, but soon they re-named to Pervers. First they had also a male member, Ingo Riedl, but he left the band soon due to permanent fights with Vanessa Violence. They titled themselves 'Punkband', but their music sounded not like the typical German punk sound of the 80s. They were quite inspired by German experimental DIY bands (e.g. Hirnheimer, Familie Hesselbach, Einstuerzende Neubauten, Toedliche Doris, Geile Tiere, MDK). Apart from e-guitar, bass guitar and a snare drum they often used objects which weren't very usual for punk music those days (cans, metal objects, distortion/noise modules and an e-organ). Their lyrics mostly dealed with the 'shady sites of human existence'. They recorded two longplayer tapes, which GitZe distributed to underground recordshops in and out of Germany. They also appeared on various compilations (on different German labels). An offer for a release on the well-known german punk-label 'Muelleimer'-Records they rejected, cause of the sexistic attitudes of the label owners. After two years they released their first record, an 7inch EP with 5 tracks (at Zweckfrei Records, Frankfurt — in co-operation with GitZe's label S.U.F.F. — edition: 500 copies). After a positive review of that EP in the US Fanzine Maximum Rock'n'Roll they got some attraction in the US and were invited to come to New York for some gigs, but since they still hadn't the full age, it didn't happen. Vanessa left the band then, but Gaby 'R' and GitZe continued. After a while they did their second deal with Zweckfrei Records and recorded 5 new tracks — co-produced by Vill Love & Friends (Cem Oral, Can Oral, Roger Kobernuss) from Frankfurt — these tracks were published on CD-R after a while (title: We live in a cesspool). In 1989 they stopped, cause their musical preferences developed into different directions.” Joseffa Aggressiv

Pervers (Vanessa Violence, Gaby “R”, GitZe): arty urban misfit girls.
“The first EP was really rough stuff, recorded in bad quality in a cellar, but it found some attention after a positive review in the well-known US-punk fanzine Maximum Rock‘n’Roll. In 1989 both bands ended for various reasons. During the 1990s I didn’t make music, but started and finished two studies at the university, I wrote articles for the German Trust fanzine and organized some parties. After I had founded Kommando 6 (aka K6) in 2000, the wish became stronger and stronger to make music again. In 2001 I bought some equipment and began to produce as Beta Evers then.” Beta Evers

“We had all songs recorded on a tape. I had sent some promo tapes to fanzines / radio stations, as usual. Somehow Vill (Zweckfrei label, Frankfurt) got the tape, liked it and wrote me a letter to ask about a release. He went to small professional studio with the tape and there they told him the quality would be too bad and so he asked us to come to Frankfurt to re-record some of the stuff in better quality. He had a small studio with a 8-track magnetic recorder in his cellar. We only had a tape recorder at home. He also wanted to have some influence on the production alltogether. He was our co-producer, so to say. We had full control over the whole project and could say “yes/no” at any time, but the result sounded quite different to the original versions. It was still our stuff, just a bit different. We were satisfied anyway. Unfortunately Vill added massive FX (delay) to the recordings last minute — at the pressing plant; when I listened to the finished record I was shocked. I did never really understand why he did this. It remained a sore spot between us.”

“During the following years we had no contact to Zweckfrei Records, but all in a sudden Vill contacted me for another record. Our band was not in a very active mode at this time, because Gaby had become a mother, but we had lots of unreleased material and liked the thought to go to a studio in Frankfurt, because that was the plan of Vill / Zweckfrei. The recordings — with some guest musicians in the studio — were lots of fun and went well, but when it came to the realization of the release, we had different opinions. Vill wanted to make it a “bigger thing” than we liked it — promotion-wise and such — and also the cover he suggested was too “glam” for our taste. Once we phoned and discussed things again, Vill became very angry and suddenly hang up the phone. From that point we never talked again. He was obviously very disappointed that we did not want to follow his plan in all details, but we always did only things that we liked, otherwise we prefered to release nothing at all.”

Beta Evers aka GitZe
“The Godhead. Reminds me of Teddy and the Fratgirls or the Foams in the sense that one gets the notion that these must have been fun gals to hang out with or date. The timeless splendor of the arty urban misfit girl: Her goofy charm and no-holds-barred enthusiasm for all that she found weird, interesting or sexually appetizing. A toast to the art school weirdo outcast girls of the world: May they forever paint their room black or read Hermann Hesse to you in bed! The music is wild, out of control amateuristic slop goes from Electric Eels fuzzed out haterock to drumkits thrown down the stairs to minimal teen-angst and then back. Beautiful stuff. Got this in trade from Thurston Snore for some boring free jazz records back in the day. What a chump!” Johan Kugelberg

Pervers / Deutscher Abschaum German Superman EP (Zweckfrei / S.U.F.F. Records, 1985)

Pervers – Asozial

Deutscher Abschaum – The German Superman
Get it here.

* * *

Excerpts taken from an interview with Beta Evers in March 2014. It will be published in its full-length in the third issue of Making Waves — to be released soon.

Visit the official Beta Evers website here.

18 Apr 2014

How much art can you take? Pt. II

Really Red New Strings For Old Puppets EP (C.I.A. Records, 1982)

Really Red – No More Art
Get it here.

God And The State Ruins: The Complete Works Of God And The State LP (Happy Squid Records, 1985)

God And The State – Art For Spastics

Culturcide Year One LP (C.I.A. Records, 1982)

Culturcide – Consider Museums As Concentration Camps

16 Apr 2014

Irene Dogmatic (SST / The Beautykillers / The Kahunas)

“I got into punk because of being part of the 'scene' around the SF Art Institute in the late 1970s. There was a band called The Mutants, and I used to go to their parties, and started writing lyrics of my own. Someone suggested that I would be more likely to get those songs played if I had my own group, so I set to work to do that. I was involved with three different groups during the late 70s and early 80s. The only one which ended up with vinyl was SST. We performed a lot, and had an EP produced by Rough Trade. I became discouraged with the group though because I could never be heard (my lyrics) and one main members was slightly mad, so I quit. Then I formed a group called The Beautykillers. This was a very good group with lots of accomplished musicians. One of them went on to play with John Cale, Sparks and The Call, among others. Another ended up having a lifelong career in music in Europe. Another is a computer whiz, and still plays good guitar. The last group, The Kahunas, was more fun than accomplished. It consisted of four women and four men. One woman played trash can! We had fun and played a few gigs.”

The Beautykillers, 1978 (Irene Dogmatic is far left)
“I guess the thing that attracted me most about punk was that anyone could do it, and I lived in a loft, so we often practiced at my place. Also, at that time, there were lots of places in and around SF where you could perform without being famous or having to pay for the space or anything like that. I guess the only similarity to the hippy days was that the punk movement was the energy movement of the 80s whereas the hippies was the one of the 60s. Also the obvious rebellion aspect.”

“The early punk scene that I was part of was largely made up of students at SF Art Institute and their friends, although there were lots of other people too. Almost every sort of person you could think of, from those totally into the 'look' with piercings, weird hair and attire, to people who just dressed odd to perform, or who dressed normal and were more or less normal. There was a lot of drug use, and some people died as a result. I wasn’t close to any of them, but I knew of them.”

Irene Dogmatic in her glorious punk days. Anna Banana
“SST was a group in the late 70s. Probably 1978 or so. I can’t remember for sure how I met Susie [Henderson]. I may have put an ad in ReSearch, Vale’s magazine. I met Bobby [Vitaliano] thru Susie, and I think I met Matt [Markham] thru her too, but I am not sure. Ted [Falconi] was already on the scene.”

“SST played at The Mabuhay Gardens, The Berkeley Square, at parties, and to be honest that is all I can remember. Most of the so-called clubs that punk bands played at in the day were pretty much holes in the wall, or else restaurants or bars that they let you perform in at night. I think the first gig was at a party in Oakland, but I don’t remember much about it, except we were loud and everyone said they couldn’t hear the lyrics. The most memorable gig was in LA at an art space — don’t recall the name — for Mother’s Day. We drove down, stopped at the Madonna Inn on the way for a coffee, and Susie and I saw a UFO over Malibu Canyon on the way. At the gig I wore a dress with a doll in my stomach and cut open the dress and threw the doll at the audience as part of the act. Some girl caught the doll and was thrilled!”

SST, 1978 (Irene Dogmatic is far right). Rick Soloway
“I met Rick Soloway through the Correspondence Art Movement. He had taken photos of me before SST, and seemed like a natural to photograph the band. He also took photos of the band Pink Section, and another band which I think was called Inflatable Boy Clams. He has a big website, and has a lot of his photos posted there. We are still friends, and he is still a very good photographer.”

“The SST single was recorded at the studio of Tommy Tadlock, who had the connection with Rough Trade Records. He released it, I think, and I did the cover art and packaging. It was recorded in SF. I can’t remember much about the actual recording session. Tidal Wave Records was owned by Tommy Tadlock. I think Ted Falconi made the connection with Tom. Tidal Wave was Tommy Tadlock as far as I know…” Irene Dogmatic

“Super-inept hippie punk / DIY from California with lotsa early punk scenesters name-checked on the sleeve. Ted Falconi pre-Flipper on guitar.” Johan Kugelberg

SST s/t 7” EP (Tidal Wave Records, 1978)

SST – Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

SST – Autistic

SST – Empty
Endless thanks to Th Rockin' Rex! for uploading the whole 7" back in the day.

* * *

Excerpts taken from an interview with Irene Dogmatic in March 2014. It will be published in its full-length in the third issue of Making Waves — to be released soon.

13 Apr 2014

War is the health of the State

“War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties; the minorities are either intimidated into silence, or brought slowly around by a subtle process of persuasion which may seem to them really to be converting them. Of course, the ideal of perfect loyalty, perfect uniformity is never really attained. The classes upon whom the amateur work of coercion falls are unwearied in their zeal, but often their agitation instead of converting, merely serves to stiffen their resistance. Minorities are rendered sullen, and some intellectual opinion bitter and satirical. But in general, the nation in wartime attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal, which could not possibly be produced through any other agency than war. Loyalty — or mystic devotion to the State — becomes the major imagined human value. Other values, such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them.Randolph Bourne (1918)

Antietam Music From Elba LP (Homestead Records, 1986)

Antietam – War Is (The Health Of The State)

Danny & The Parkins Sisters ‎s/t LP (Modern Masters Music, 1982)

Danny & The Parkins Sisters – War
Get it here

The Red Crayola The Parable Of Arable Land LP (International Artists, 1967)

The Red Crayola – War Sucks

Dicks Peace? 7" (R Radical Records, 1984)

Dicks – No Fuckin' War

Omega Tribe No Love Lost LP (Corpus Christi, 1983)

Omega Tribe – My Tears

12 Apr 2014

Guerrilla gigs Pt. II: Live from the streets

Autistic Behavior (Philly, 1982)

Los Crudos (Chicago, 1993)

How minimal can you get? #73

Teen Anthems
“John William Davies is a British indie little genius better known as Teen Anthems, Steps Pistols or Supercute (he released a CD-single on Elefant Records under this last moniker). With these names he releases indie-pop songs, punk-pop and glitch-pop songs, usually through his own indie label, Sonic Art Union.Elefant Records

Teen Anthems Welsh Bands Suck 7" (Sonic Art Union, 1997)

Teen Anthems – I Hate Oasis (And I Hate The Beatles)

More info here.

8 Apr 2014

How minimal can you get? #72

The Fugs
“Before The Fugs First Album was released in 1965 on ESP Disk, it was briefly released as The Village Fugs Sing Ballads of Contemporary Protest, Points of View, and General Dissatisfaction on Folkways Records. If this original album title is not enough to help define who they are and what they do, imagine chaotic and raunchy music played with traditional, nontraditional and self-created instruments played with little or no care for rhythm or harmonization. This album is raunchy, disorganized, self-imposing and at times can barely be described as music. Yet, it’s beautiful. Underground Music of the 1960s

The Fugs The Fugs First Album LP (ESP Disk, 1965)

The Fugs – Nothing

More info here.