Featured, Music

Invincible: Rest In Peace Tony Sly

How does one find the right words? For someone who admired and respected Tony Sly from a distance, the day has been part coming to terms of what has happened and part sheer disbelief. Almost two decades since I first came across No Use For A Name, the music Sly and his bandmates wrote still resonate greatly, and a small part of myself just wanted to do what I’m sure he had done for so long; write down and express the many things that brewed beneath the surface.

Leche Con Carne and their spot on Survival Of The Fattest were my introduction to the band and I was immediately taken aback by songs like “Soulmate” and “Justified Black Eye”, music that could be both urgent and accessible. Their music was and is a perfect blend of aggression and unrelenting melody. It’s my kind of tune.

I can’t profess to know much about him, but from his music I know that he had a daughter, liked Irish music and that he made many friends on the tour circuit. The latter easy to see with so many of his contemporaries expressing their sadness today, and it’s a pretty definitive list of bands I grew up with, loved and listened: The Bouncing Souls, Less than Jake, Face to Face, Strung Out, Bad Religion, The Ataris.

I saw No Use For a Name live twice. Once back in 99/00 at Slim’s in San Francisco when they opened for NOFX, and the second at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on their Keep Them Confused tour. Both shows were energized by Tony’s enthusiasm; no matter how long it seemed he’d been touring. And I for one, am happy I got to see some of my favorite songs performed from the best place possible; from the pit.

No one would ever call me a musician (one of the bands I was in back in the day covered “Straight From The Jacket” if that means anything) so I guess this is just from a fan. I never got to meet Tony, and I can’t imagine what his family and close friends are dealing with at the moment. But for someone who grew up on the other side of the planet, his music traveled across oceans and through borders and changed the life of some kid he never met. I don’t know why he died and I don’t really want to know, but I wanted to say thanks.

“Somebody get me off this lonely sad parade.
The differences a hundred miles, but a couple months away.
I’m saying hello just to say goodbye.”


The Swellers debut “Sleeper” video, tours UK

Fueled by Ramen melodic punk act The Swellers have unveiled the brand new video for the track “Sleeper” from their most recently album, Ups and Downsizing. The video details the band on the road, splicing together live footage, shenanigans and down time and can be seen above via a Kerrang exclusive.

After wrapping up a stint at this year’s The Fest 9, the band will head to the United Kingdom for a tour with Young Guns in November. They will also take part in this year’s Bouncing Souls’ Home For the Holidays showcase.

Ups and Downsizing is a great throwback album to melodic punk’s glory days, a recommended pick up if your mid 90s were spent listening to No Use For a Name. A limited vinyl edition of the release is available now via FBR.

Tour dates:
11/23 – Leeds, UK @ Cockpit w/ Young Guns
11/24 – Birmingham, UK @ HMV Institute w/ Young Guns
11/25 – Norwich, UK @ Arts Centre w/ Young Guns
11/26 – York, UK @ Fibbers w/ Young Guns
11/27 – Newcastle, UK @ O2 Academy w/ Young Guns
11/28 – Carlisle, UK @ The Brickyard w/ Young Guns
11/30 – Glasgow, UK @ Glasgow Garage w/ Young Guns
12/01 – Preston, UK @ 53 Degrees w/ Young Guns
12/02 – Manchester, UK @ Academy O2 w/ Young Guns
12/03 – London, UK @ Electric Ballroom w/ Young Guns
12/04 – Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2 w/ Young Guns
12/05 – Cardiff, UK @ Millennium Music Hall w/ Young Guns
12/06 – Nottingham, UK @ Rock City (Basement)
12/07 – Exeter, UK @ Cavern
12/08 – Bournemouth @ Ibar
12/09 – Tunbridge Wells, UK @ Forum
12/10 – Kingston, UK @ Fighting Cocks


Bouncing Souls lineup Home for the Holiday shows

New Jersey punk rockers the Bouncing Souls have announced the lineups for this year’s ‘Home for the Holidays’ showcase set to take place at the tail end of the year.

The 4th annual family fundays feature the Bouncing Souls taking residency at New Jersery’s Stone Pony for a 4-night stint of punk rock mayhem. Along for the ride this year are a massive selection of formidable artists including H2O, Strike Anywhere, The Swellers, The Menzingers and Adrenalin-fucking-OD(!) to name a few.

The Souls last released the full length, Ghosts On the Boardwalk, earlier this year. Prior to their hometown shows, the band will head down to Australia for a tour with Hot Water Music.

Dates, lineups, details:
Sunday, December 26

Monday, December 27

Tuesday, December 28

Wednesday, December 29

Tickets (including 4-night passes) can be purchased via Chunksaah.


Hey Suburbia What Happened to You?

One of the most imme­di­ate things you notice about Can­vey Island in the UK is its des­o­late, almost-lifeless vis­age. Adorned in the most bru­tal way pos­si­ble by a gar­gan­tuan oil refin­ery, it is a most fit­ting birth place for one of rock music’s most enig­matic, yet seem­ingly under­ap­pre­ci­ated acts in his­tory; prog­en­i­tors of punk Dr Feel­good. I watched Oil City Confidential and thought it was pretty great, but I couldn’t help but recall how depressing Canvey Island looked (and still does today). Much of the housing areas resembled what I can only describe as “suburban”- lifeless housing propped up together with little to no difference between them. Now I’ve never been to Canvey Island so I can’t tell you how suburban it really is but my immediate connection was that is reminded me of suburbia and how it once bred good music (in this case, Dr Feelgood).

Suburbia is home to the bored teenager encapsulated in Richard Linklater movies and better yet, Penelope Spheeris ones. Hours to kill and with little to do, they tend to gravitate towards basements and garages, talk shop about the cute girl who works at the cookie stand at the mall, and of course, get together with little to no music ability and start bands. Now, back in the very early 90s when my musical taste buds were growing, this was the most exciting thing I did on weekends- get my similarly inclined friends and “jam”. Influenced by great suburban bands like Screeching Weasel, we strung together the best three-chords we could muster and had a damn ball. To quote Fat Mike, “you don’t need talent just sing out of tune“, and that’s what we did. In the end, if you did just that, the “out of tune” part starts to sound a lot like “attitude” and that’s what made bands like Screeching Weasel great.

Fast forward to today and I’m getting this strange and unpleasant vibe that that kids would rather be crunk than punk. Suburban bands are sounding a lot less like Screeching Weasel, old Green Day, Operation Ivy, MxPx and more and more like 3Oh!3 and the Gym Class Heroes. And if someone can please explain THIS to me, that would be greatly appreciated.

Nonsense I say, nonsense!

They say “youth is wasted on the young” and as the decades pass, youth has found new levels of wasteful, seemingly displacing previous generations with unseen ineptitude. There are many factors contributing to the decline- youth culture is a lot different to what it was just ten years ago. The internet has influenced and shifted the way music is produced, marketed and sold, and it all comes at a varying cost to the soul of rock n’ roll. It’s complicated to explain but there is something about a truly genuine band that an adept listener can immediately connect to.

For instance, when you listen to the Bouncing Souls, there is a quality to them- musically and aesthetically- that one immediately associates with punk rock’s most basic ethos. Yes, they’re loud and they can be angry, but there is an intangible genuineness to it. Now you take an artist like The Pretty Reckless (fronted by Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen) and you see that she cops an attitude during interviews, wears leather and acts like a “rock star” while her videos are meant to be “offensive.” But you know, you just know, that it’s all very transparent in reality, manufactured from market analysis and yes, maybe a little bit of her deep seeded need to rebel. It is however, not genuine.

What makes an artist genuine? Well, it’s like pornography, you can try to explain or justify the many qualities, but  in the end, you’ll know it when you see it.

Let’s face it, if you grew up wanting to play Wembley Stadium instead of CBGB’s then shame on you. If you wanted your high school band to sound like Prince Kanye and not The Ramones, then shame on you. If you would rather buy jewel-encrusted necklaces instead of a leather jacket, then shame on you. If you would rather score a Top 10 hit instead of changing the life of a suburban kid then there really isn’t much left to say.

Attitude makes a wasteful youth a worthwhile one, but you’ve got to be honest about it.

Try and tell us our future’s at stake / we’re gonna slam dance on your grave / cause we don’t give a shit about tomorrow

Screeching Weasel – Hey Suburbia (from the album Boogadaboogadaboogada)