Friday, 30 October 2015

Travel report: Thisclose in America part 3


The journey to Appleton was a long slog, the majority of which I spent absorbing Dee Snider's memoirs, which I found, like many rock memoirs feature about 5 years of interest and then many 'anecdotes' which are bread and butter to the rock'n'roll plebs such as ourselves (You had to drive your own tour van Dee, oh the humanity!. Anyway, I've read worse and it passed the time, which was considerable, and it was with great relief that we pulled up at the venue in Appleton.

Active Minds - Appleton

The gig was again in a suburban house in which the living room had been converted into a concert room, there was a spread of food waiting for us and various refreshments of an intoxicating nature were provided for the boys, overall the sort of personal welcome that was needed after a lengthy shift on the road.

The gig itself was not jam packed busy, but it was one of my personal favourite gigs of the tour - the classic small town appreciative audience who are really glad to see, and host, something different in their town. From the welcome we received on arrival, the crowd made up of older scenesters and young kids at their first ever gig, the mixed bill line-up which mixed punk, hardcore, metal and grind, to the teenage kids we crashed with, all the pieces were in place for a top nostalgia fueled punk night!

Special shout to Razorfist - banging speedmetal group who opened the evening.


Well, definitely a different beast, a big town with a big scene, Top nosh up at the 'Hard times' vegan cafe before the gig, I had a classic 'biscuits and gravy' breakfast, the biscuits being more like a savory scone, delicious!

The gig itself was ok, a much bigger audience than Appleton, but a pretty static responce, and from the stage of the warehouse venue I could see that there were as many people again sitting around outside while we were playing which really sapped my energy for the performance. Active Minds got a better response but overall it was a quiet night. As the gig worked towards its conclusion a wild thunder storm descended upon Minneapolis, leaving us loading the van in the pissing rain and sleeping in a house with no electricity, which was kinda fun bumbling about in the dark, reminded me of the winters growing up in the Scottish countryside, falling asleep in candlelight.



The final date, and another slog, it was early evening by the time we reached the venue. Feelings were as expected for the last night of a tour, sadness and relief. The venue was a small room just off a busy shopping area where Nibbler, the Active Minds lads and myself found a nice Thai restaurant for our dinner, with Thrones tracking down a legendary Chicago deep-dish pizza.

being hairy somewhere outside Chicago

The crowd was sizable enough, certainly an improvement on the 5 or so who turned up to see the Wankys here in 2010, and those who had made the journey out enjoyed both ourselves and Active Minds, allthough our own performance was far from our best, end of tour blues perhaps?

After the gig we tried to visit downtown Chicago but ended up getting a first hand experience of the city's bypass which was unbelievably busy as we crawled round it at 1 in the morning on a Saturday night.

And that my friends, is it. Our flights home were delayed and we spent an age dossing about Chicago airport, but as Dee Snider learned latterly, that's all part of the game at the bottom of the rock'n'roll barrel - Ow!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Interview: See You in Hell

Long running Czech hardcore monsters See You in hell will be heading over the ocean in a few weeks to rock our South East Asian cousins with their furious burning spirits sound so I shot them a few questions to see whats up. Their current LP 'Jed' (Poison) is an absolute rager and I'd urge you all to check (czech!?) it out on their bandcamp - Ow!

1) Hi Filip, so see you in hell will tour SEA soon, what can the Asian punx expect from their Czech cousins?

Yeah, the tour starts in 3 weeks! Needless to say, we are quite excited about it! Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian punx can expect nothing more and nothing less than 20-30 minutes of ass-kicking, high-energy, raw hardcore/punk with lots of gang choruses (in Czech language, so its little difficult to sing along with us, sorry, haha!)… and obviously some alcohol and spicy food over-consumption! Also last, but not least they can expect a bunch of old fuckers in their early 40s, who are still excited about touring all over the world thanks to the international network of friends! I mean, back in the 90s when I started to correspond with people from this part of the world and traded tapes of my previous band MRTVA BUDOUCNOST with them (Jimbo/Broken Noise + PARKINSON, Pat/SPECOPS + APPARATUS, Eddie/Forum zine etc.), I would hardly ever imagine to be able to visit South East Asia! And now it looks it will happen quite soon, which is still little crazy to me! Being a long-time fan of hardcore/punk from all corners of the world and being somebody, whose number one heroes are called Luk Haas or Tim Yohannan, being an avid reader of zines like Mangelslakt or We Are Gonna Fight (which both focused a lot on S.E. Asian D.I.Y. punk scene and which both sadly ceased to exist), having a solid collection of tapes and vinyls from this part of the world (like the now quite rare THE BOLLOCKS and OPPOSITION PARTY EPs), this really makes me happy to be able to do this tour! Thanks esp. to Ci Chaan, Pat, Shaiful and Deden for making this happen! Check out the FCB event of the tour here:

2) See You in hell is a well travelled band, with Japan, Europe and America both north and south under your belts, could you tell us a bit about these travels, what have been your key experiences of the punk scene worldwide, what things surprised you the most and please tell us about some of your favorite gigs.

Punk belongs to punks, not to businessmen and if the people are both excited about D.I.Y. hardcore/punk and well-organized, then touring the world with your band can be an amazing and often life-changing experience, which you will remember forever – and you don’t need any parasitical managers, agencies, sponsors, major labels, big festivals and similar bullshit. One of the aims, when we started SEE YOU IN HELL back in the 1999, was not only to make some fucked up noise and to express ourselves in the lyrics, but also to be an active part of hardcore/punk scene, incl. organizing gigs and tours for other bands and yeah, touring abroad with our band as well. This dream is definitely full-filled since we toured Europe five times (incl. two UK visit w/Scotland being the high-light every time – cheers to Zina, who worked hard to bring not only SEE YOU IN HELL, but also good number of other bands from Czech to your shores!), Japan twice, Brazil twice and U.S. twice as well and always brought back a great memories and experiences from these travels. And also new friendships – f. e. it was always awesome for us to organize gigs here in Brno for bands we originally met on our tours in faraway. Travelling often makes you to think hard about your daily boring life-routine back at home and however stressful the touring sometimes is or can be, it actually allows you to step back and re-think/re-evaluate...

Since we played so many gigs all around the world it is hard to say what surprised us most or which gigs were favorite. In general I would say that our Japanese tours were insanely good just thanks to the sheer number of ass-kicking bands we played with, thanks to the hospitality and good organization skills of Japanese punx. But Brazil f. e. ruled hard as well, esp. the first tour, which we did in part w/RATTUS and also thanks to partying w/the crazy tour promoter Fabio and the general laid back mentality of the country. Many gigs of our US tours were good too, esp. the Midwest ones and the final basement gig of our first tour in Boston was one of the best we ever played. South Europe back in 2008 w/SHEEVA YOGA was great too – Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Italy etc. Of course we played some kind of not totally usual spaces on these tours – like inside the boxing ring or in sex shop in California, under the bridge in Brazil, in squatted University classroom in Greece, in record shop in Japan... It is hard to high-light just one key experience, well it is utterly impossible, so let’s just say that one of the key experiences is to meet and hang out with people you corresponded with for long time ago (like with Kawakami/DISCLOSE in Kochi a year before he died) and to play with many of your favorite bands in their home-turf – some of these bands you would never see live otherwise. And obviously also to see the foreign countries not as a tourist, but to see it more through the eyes of an ordinary folk - thanks to the hospitality of local hardcore/punx… this sometimes includes staying in or visiting some parts of the cities, which are “no go zones” for tourists, haha... but this makes it even more interesting! 

3) As an old school zine fanatic (you zine has been going like 20 years?) I know you have a keen interest in collecting and recording information about punk, past and present. Why is this archive work so important to you?

I started with my first zine already back in 1991 and my current zine (30 issues out so far, 31 out in early 2016, hopefully with our S.E. Asian tour report!) called Hluboka Orba goes strong since 1993. Well, I am not sure if publishing schedule of new issue in every 1,5 – 2 years can be described as “strong”, haha! My interest in zines and books (I wrote and self- published one as well – about the history of hardcore/punk in Czechoslovakia before 1989, it is called “Kytary A Rev” = “Guitars And Screams”) goes back to late 80s, when I first read about punk rock in official Czechoslovakian music press BEFORE I even got a chance to listen to it. And as a 13 year old metal head this immediately made me super-interested and willing to find out more about this style, which is musically even more brutal than heavy metal and lyrically not so dumb… So written word is still super-important for me and that’s also one of the many reasons why I still publish the zine and why I buy basically every zine in Czech, Slovakian or English language (and sometimes also in other languages), which I came across and which has something to do w/DIY hardcore/punk or radical politics… Zines are also a great and almost ever-lasting documentation of certain times, in fact I would say that one of my fave free time activities is just to go through the huge collection of zines I collected in last 25 years and pick up and read some of them from cover the cover – this includes the killer 90s/early 00s UK zines such as Riot, Hell And Damnation, Ripping Thrash, Attitude Problem, Noise Fest, Aversion, Raising Hell etc.!

4) You have told me in the past that you are a big fan of tour reports (me too, that's what inspired me to start a band in the first place!) What is it that excites you about them, can you think of any report that really inspired you to get your band on the road?

You put a bunch of wild punk rockers in the (often fucked up) van or on the plane and send them on the road to abroad for couple of weeks – to places they have never been to and to the hands of people they never met personally… to countries with often quite different culture from their own… add some crazy characters, some alcohol and/or drugs consumption… Of course one of the most appealing parts of the tour I already discussed above – you escape from your daily fucked up routine (job, family obligations etc.) for couple of weeks… now, the question is, why do you need to escape from it, when more sustainable solution would be to change this routine at home... Well, it is not always (or rather mostly) possible as we all know. Other exciting things were also already mentioned – to meet people you knew till now only through mail, to see bands you never saw live, to see the countries you would hardly see otherwise… When we are on the tour we mostly don’t give a shit about tourist stuff (well, except the drummer), mostly due to time/money restrictions and also maybe since most of us are little lazy in this… we prefer more to hang out with local punks. I will never forget some crazy after-show uchiages in Japan, the drunken chaos of House Of Crust in Edinburgh or after party in Bristol in the house of Totters from DUMBSTRUCK, some of the parties in Brazil, when we hanged out with people from LOBOTOMIA or ARMAGEDOM… We are still ready for more experiences like these! I published dozens of tour reports in my zine (one of the best ones was S.E. Asian tour report of KRUPSKAYA written by their guest bass-player Skulda, who will go with us as well as roadie now) and read even more, many of them inspired me to get my band on the road for sure, but it is hard to high light just one… But speaking about our upcoming tour I have to say that the tour report of CODE 13 written by Felix Havoc in couple of his separated MRR columns was one of the best I ever read. They went to Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia some 15 years ago – back then, when most of communication still went through old school snail mail and when the touring circuit in this region was just coming to existence. Add to this the Felix super-interesting, detailed and in-depth style of writing and D.I.Y. punk as fuck attitude (and the sheer fact that CODE 13 ruled hard! Sadly this band is kind of forgotten now, which is simply not fair!) and you get one of the best tour reports ever written! In fact I sometimes toy with the idea to translate it from English and to print it in my zine in the future, but I would definitely need some photos and flyers from this tour – hopefully I will find some in Malaysia and Singapore when I will be there since Felix was unable to provide any when I asked him. And no ass-kissing, but I really liked your tour report from the 1st US WANKYS tour, which you published in your Ploppy Pants zine! Also I need to add that for tour report to be interesting to me the writer has to be excited about hardcore/punk (which includes writing also about the other bands they play with – not only about his/her band) and being in general interested in the scenes and countries visited. And if the band takes some experiences from the tour back home and applies them, then even better (like to provide food, drinks and sleeping place for touring band – esp. the Americans should take an important notice!). 

5) Whats up with See You In Hell - the last LP Jed is a ripper, really building on the Japanese style hardcore sound you introduced with Utok - will you continue to work in this style or have you more twists and turns planned? Any recording or release plans at the moment?

Thanks, I am happy to hear you like the record! In fall of 2014 we self-released 2 songs flexi to celebrate 15 years of the band’s existence (ltd. to 330 copies, we have last few copies) and right now we slowly write and practice new songs for possible upcoming 4th LP (maybe out in the fall of 2016?). Those new songs are more or less in the vein of the “Jed” LP material, so you know what to expect, right? No, there are no plans to change or style at all. Also for May of 2016 there are some more or less vague plans for Scandinavian tour (Sweden, Norway and Finland), this is the last part of Europe where we didn’t toured so far, so we hope this will happen finally!

6) Please tell us a little about the regional comps which you help facilitate, why is it important for you to make these statements?

I was always into the idea of local scenes = networks of local bands, zine writers, gig organizers, activists etc. supporting each other and also I was always big fan of regional compilation records (you know the obvious titles). And I also feel a need to document this. Brno (and surrounding small towns/villages) had a great scene back in the early/mid 90s, but sadly there was nobody to document this on compilation vinyl, so in mid 00s when the scene was again in a great condition locally I felt the urge to do this.

“Spalte Brno Na Prach” (“Burn Brno To Ashes”) compilation LP was released in 2008, 300 copies on red/800 copies on black vinyl in cooperation of all 12 bands included + cooperation of Czech and Slovakian D.I.Y. labels. It includes a thick booklet w/Brno scene report in English as well. “Brno Stale V Plamenech” (“Brno Still In Flames”) comp. LP was released in 2012, 600 copies on black vinyl, again in cooperation of all (this time 14!) bands included and labels too. The booklet was even thicker this time including interviews {sadly in Czech only} w/all the bands + couple of Maximum RocknRoll scene reports from Brno reprinted – so English readers can be satisfied too. Some of the bands are same like on the first compilation, but there are many newer names as well.

It has to be said, that while I basically coordinated the release of both these records, they would never saw a light of a day without the help of other people – who did artwork, who did the interviews, who pressed the record, helped w/graphics etc.

Recently I was thinking about doing another Brno compilation, since in last three years there is a good number of new bands, but recently I lack the right motivation and time, but this may change in the future…

Also in early 00s I coordinated the release of “Dying Alive/Living Dead” comp. LP, which had raw hardcore/punk bands from all over Czech Rep., not only from Brno.

Obviously you can find more info about all these compilations on

7) OK buddy anything else you'd like to add throw it down here!

Thanks a lot for your interest! Now, when Ploppy Pants zine is dead and buried, I for sure totally appreciate to be interviewed at least for your blog, although the paper zine would be obviously better, haha!

Check out and

All photos by Murray Bowles ( taken at the final gig of SEE YOU IN HELLs 2nd US tour w/LOTUS FUCKER in Oakland in December 2013. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Interview: Headless Kross

Headless Kross have been championing Scottish underground rock for a number of years now and the quality of their output can be clearly seen in their progression and popularity. Here's a quick catch up with lead guitarist Tommy 'Clay' Duffin - enjoy!

Four years in, you've come along way since playing your second gig to an audience of me and 5 others at the captains rest - what have been your highs and lows so far, did you expect the success you have enjoyed?

Well, there is always the potential for playing a gig to 5 people (or less) although it doesn't happen all that often. Usually there's somewhere between 30 - 100 people at a show which, for an underground metal band that gigs regularly in their home town, is not bad going. We get some decent support slots with touring bands which is nice. That's all we ever hoped for so anything more is a bonus. Highs have been recording the last album, visiting Ireland four times, making a lot of new friends and maintaining friendships of old. There has been no lows, only highs.

It seems to me that you have spent time establishing yourself in several towns with repeat visits to crush the locals around Scotland and Ireland. Which countries would you like to invade next? Any tour gossip to reveal?

We only really play when we're asked to so we'll need to wait and see. England and Wales have so far been silent apart from a gig in the woods in the Lake District. We'd like to sort some shows out in that direction. No tour gossip other than the legend of the Slomatics toilet recordings from a flat in Edinburgh rumoured to be hidden in the grooves of their last album, Estron. If you put the needle down in the right spot....

As I understand your latest LP is a concept album about birds building a robot from sticks that then destroys the world. Did I get that right? Can you tell us more about tge messages contained within this theme?

The theme is nature reclaiming the earth from humankind, violently. The wooden robot stuff represents that. I'm sure Derek could tell you more. Derek?

Keeping with the subject of the latest LP, I understand you recorded at a different studio from your previous releases this time out, how did that work for you and were you happy with the results?

We went to Skyhammer Studio in Cheshire and recorded with Chris Fielding who has worked with the likes of Electric Wizard, Witchsorrow, Hooded Menace and loads of other bands in the field of very heavy rock. We just wanted to go somewhere where we knew we were in safe hands as we had spent so long putting the material together and rehearsing it, we just needed a change of scenery and to put it all in a different context than our rehearsal room. It worked out really well. Chris is very laid back and easy to get on with, knows his stuff and has some great studio gear.

Many of your concerts and tours are supporting fellow bands from the heavy end of the underground spectrum, can you tell us about some of the bands you have been playing with, any joint gigs or tours coming up in the near future?

We've played with Slomatics from Belfast a lot. They've been really good to us, getting us over to Ireland so we always repay the favour. Other Irish bands we're into are War Iron, Wild Rocket, Venus Sleeps, Gummidge, Kuebiko... loads of others. Grey Widow from Brighton are really good, we played with them in Edinburgh the other night. They should invite us down to Brighton, that'd be a nice weekend away.

The band obviously takes its name from the 1989 Black Sabbath LP, one of the much maligned non Ozzy/Dio era records. Personally i think there are some gems outside the golden years of the Sabbath back-catalog but which of these records do you lads reckon need a second spin?

Headless Cross is pretty good. I like Dehumanizer, the kind of "Classic Dio-era Reunion" if you will. I need to go back and listen to them all again. There's definitely some diamonds in the rough.

The eternal closer - anything you'd like to add, shove it in here!

Thanks for taking the time to interview us, here's the internet stuff.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Interview: Hellripper

When I first heard the Hellripper EP I was blown away forst of all by how good it was and secondly that this smoking band was from within our own shores. If you dig bathory, Motorhead, Abigail, Toxic Holocaust and the gang then get ready to get ripped, ow!

the one man blackmetal bedroom band is no new thing so what inspired you to pick up your guitar and let Hell rip, espeically since you are involved with 'real' bands as well?

Well, the idea for Hellripper had been around a while before I started Rats of Reality. There was just simply a lack of people I knew that would be interested in playing this type of music. So I thought I may as well just do everything on my own to get stuff released.

I've seen names of 80's groups such as Bathory and Motorhead linked to your music but the first band I thought of was Toxic Holocaust, am I on the money there or way off the mark? As a 'younger' fella in the scene do you find that you take much influence from contemporary acts such as Toxic Holocaust or is it the old 80's classics that continue to fuel the riffage of the metal youth?

Nope, completely right. Toxic Holocaust are a huge influence on me as well as all of Joel Grind's other bands/projects he has going on. Bathory and Motorhead are also big influences on me. I do listen to a lot of 'newer' bands and maybe that is because I didn't grow up with bands like Bathory and Venom but as long as it's good music, I don't care when it was made. Bands like Midnight and Toxic Holocaust although not what you would call “new” bands are among my favourites.

'metal punk' is certainly a niche genre in Scotland, is that what inspired the 'bedroom' nature of hellripper? Are there any Scottish bands you rate, metal, punk or otherwise?

Well when I started doing Hellripper, I wasn't really involved in the music scene here in Aberdeen, so didn't know many people that even liked bands like Toxic Holocaust or whatever nevermind people that would be willing to play stuff like that. But there seems to be a lot of both metal and punk bands in Scotland although not many combine the two.

Scumpulse, Godhole and NNGNN from Edinburgh are all great. Absolutist and Boak from Aberdeen too. There are a lot more but those are my favourites off the top of my head.

When we chatted at Crammond we talked about the difficulty to find quality gigs in Scotland as a metal band, do you have any thoughts on how this situation could be remedied?

Yeah, it seems that some people involved in the punk and metal scenes only want to book bands that stay exclusively within those genres. For example, with Rats of Reality, we've been turned down gigs because we were too metal or too punk to fit in with the other bands. Of course, not everyone that is into one genre is into the other but in my opinion a little crossover is always nice just to make things a bit different.

Everyone loves a good list - give us your top three current metal punk releases and why we should check em out and your top three classic releases and why they remain so influential.

Current Albums

1. Midnight – No Mercy for Mayhem: In my opinion, the best metalpunk band out there at the moment. Although I prefer the debut, this album is not far behind.

2. Scumpulse – 'By Design EP': A great band from Edinburgh that mix 2nd wave black metal with crust. They have a new album on the way I believe.

3. Whipstriker/Bastardizer – 'Strike of the Bastard': A great split featuring 3 songs from each band. Whipstriker from Brazil release a lot of great stuff on a fairly regular basis. Whipstriker offer a sort of Venom-influenced style whereas Bastardizer offer a thrashier approach similar to the likes of Nocturnal or Desaster.

Classic Albums

1. Sabbat [JPN] – 'Evoke': Sabbat from Japan are one of the best black/thrash bands ever in my opinion. They are one of the most consistent bands too. None of their albums disappoint, however their second album 'Evoke' is my favourite. There's just so many amazing riffs present and the sheer aggression mixed with the clear NWOBHM influence creates an album that in my opinion is one of the most evil-sounding records I've ever heard.

2. Mercyful Fate – 'Melissa': It was tough to choose between this album and 'The Oath'. The sheer amount of top-quality riffs present on this album as well as the vocals of King Diamond make this an instant classic. The album feels really theatrical because of the vocals and due to the ever-changing riffs. The songwriting present on this album is second-to-none.

3 Venom – 'At War with Satan': Most people would think that due to the sound of Hellripper, if there was any Venom album I would choose then surely 'Black Metal' would be the clear choice but no, 'At War With Satan' (the title track) is a masterpiece. The songwriting on this album combined with the slightly cleaner production than is present on their previous albums makes this my favourite Venom album.

whats next for the band, i see you have another split due soon, any plans beyond that, will we see you opening for Anthrax at the Cathouse next month?

I have a split with Batsheva from the US that has just been released and a split on the way with Kriegg and Acid Cross both from the US (both very good metalpunk bands). A split with death metal band Fetid Zombie is also due in the near future and I will be contributing a cover of “Filth Bitch Boogie” by TANK for a tribute album early next year. A full-length is in the process of being written but I have no idea when that will be complete/released.

There are plans to gig with Hellripper although I'm not in a rush to do so at the minute due to being busy with my other bands. So unfortunately, no I will not be supporting Anthrax next month. Maybe next time though!

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Friday, 11 September 2015

Travel report: Thisclose in America part 2


getting ready to rock the house

The journey to Buffalo was really chilled out and a great chance for some chats with Donkey Dan and the Active Minds guys. The venue was an old house where the living room was set up like a venue with a stage and full PA. There some great bands on the bill with both Lotus Fucker and Gas Chamber opening up for us. Gas Chamber need a special mention, they are a noise/grind hardcore outfit that make some pummeling sounds, they even have an extra dude with an enormous home made noise making machine! The gig was really heaving and the audience were pretty wild for both ourselves and Active Minds with fireworks getting thrown around in the crowd during our set - certainly not like anything I've experienced before!

nice digs
Afterwords we stayed with the promoter out in the countryside, a really cool house in a beautiful spot, it felt very American.


so much water it just comes out white on the camera!
We arrived at the venue around 8pm as we had taken a detour to check out Niagara Falls (hey, when in Rome right?), however unlike most nights on this trip so far the gig really did start at 7pm or something so not only had the support bands already played they had actually packed their stuff up! Luckily most of the crowd had hung around, and after setting up quickly we plowed through a slightly shorter set which went down pretty well with the 40 or so folk who had waited patiently for us. With the gig finishing early I had visions of a nice early night - no such luck. The reason the gig finished early was because there was another gig in town that night, The Virus, so we drove over to that gig, watched another 3 bands, played some darts, and finally got to bed around 3am, after listening to a bit of English Dogs with Dusty back at his gaff.

a tasty ass pizza
We spent quite a bit of the next day hanging around in Pittsburgh, there was a delicious wholefoods place with lots of vegan options near Dusty's house and we also went also had the all American favourite tater-tots as an afternoon bar snack. The food coffin for the day was well and truly nailed shut however with an amazing vegan pizza bought in a shop across the road from the previous nights gig, if only I'd known! Maybe they could post me one over...


stop in the name of in love believe
We had a couple of free days in Detroit and took the opportunity to relax and check out a few sights including the famous Fisher Building (very cool), the beach (always a favourite), the Motown studio house (nice!)  and the new Terminator movie (bad comedy).

The gig itself was another hot one, with a good crowd, but myself and James kept getting electric shocks from the microphone while we were playing, and we had to stop a few times which sapped the energy of our performance a bit. The highlight of the gig was Spanish group Sudor who played some excellent early 80's hardcore and really shook the house down. The gig finished so late I think we had only 5 or 6 hours sleep before we had to get up and get back on the road

some more top tunes.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Travel report: Thisclose in America part 1

A brief look at our tour round the USA in words and pictures, part II to follow, Ow!


Big crowd and hot response. Venue was a night club and we played on the floor. Some cool support bands including Beach Mover and Rawfilth. Lotus Fucker smashed it with their new line up, young and hungry (except for Donkey and Mickey Malone obvs), and they played a cover song of xSAXONx for me and Nips which was really special- love those guys! Dethfox are worth a special mention as well straight up Rudimentary Peni worship which was a lot of fun. Vegan hot dogs for sale outside, so I paired a couple up with alcohol-free beer to make a start on my US beer gut.

Baltimore is pretty run down in places and its easy to see why so much stuff is kicking off here, rich poor divide is startlingly evident from neighborhood to neighborhood.


Crustier crowd, small bar/club with shitty PA. Human Mania and Dethfox opened the gig, good bands, good sets. Smaller crowd but good response despite mistakes from us. Gig ran on a bit late so the crowd was smaller for Active Minds but they had a great reaction from those left over and played a few encores.

Best experience of the town was hanging with a local gadgie outside the gig. The lad must have been 18, mussing a bunch of teeth, smoking like a chimney and was strolling around topless at 10.30pm just seeing what the craic was. He thought Scotland was in Finland and showed me some videos of Finnish jack-ass on his phone. nice kid.


Sweat box Discharge themed (you could buy Cal cocktails at the bar) venue for the kick-off night of the Philly punx picnic 2015 - cool! lots of really noisy dis-bands including one with a couple of ex-Lotus Fuckers - nice to see a familiar face! We played pretty badly, mistakes in most songs, but I think we got away with it, crowd was digging it anyway.

But after the gig we went to a local bar,me and Dan had a $4 Chinese take away then we played some jenga with our pal Katie from Boston who had joined us for a few days. Band digs were clean and full AC, I actually had to sleep with jammies on, and we had a chance to do laundry in the am, clean sock bliss!


Only real 'basement' show of the tour, a really small basement in a suburban area - we had to set the merch up on top of the PA mixing desk and hang the t-shirts behind the drums! Went a wander to get some space and so missed the first band but got to shoot the shit with a couple of local punks and Jimbo outside the local store, slamming a bottle of my tour tipple O'Douls alcohol free - ow!

Neutron Rats were great, cool to see band I'd seen last time I was in the states still killing it. We played next, small crowd and weird 'space' we did our best to rip it up despite the water leaking into the basement because of the now torrential downpour raging outside. Active Minds got their set cut short by the cops turning up which was a bummer as one super-fan from the 80's had traveled 6 hours to see them or something crazy like that.

We crashed with a lad  who was into old UK bands like External Menace and The Threats - cool! I found a nook behind his sofa with the AM boys and zoned out from the drinking session drone.


It took a long time to get here so I made a start on the Dee Snider autobiography I picked up in Albany for $5. Once we found the venue we headed to Veg Galaxy, a vegan restaurant which had been bigged up by Catie and Nibbler as thee place to eat. The food was ok but we had to choose in a rush and have it take-out because we we in a rush (turns out of course we wernt!) so I don't think I got the full experience (except the killer price tag!).

Active Minds rocking the gallery!

The venue was an arts space where a PA had been set up in one of the rooms, so no fancy lighting or stage. Lotus Fucker joined us again and tore it up opening the gig, cant wait to bring these kids to Scotland next year, then we ran through our set, plenty mistakes but the crowd were digging it which lessened the blow. After us Active Minds and Peacebreakers played - missed them both because I was yacking with the promoter Eric about 1980's Discharge, a conversation we continued until about 3am.

When we woke up Eric took our Dunkin Donuts order and got us 'breakfast' in - legend! Check out his fanzine its really good

Some of the killer bands we played with on this stretch of the tour:

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Gig report: Crammond Island of Punk 2015

Another year, another Crammond, great mix of bands, everything running on time, no violence, good summer vibes!

Apart from the bands highlights included Jam from Gluerash singing Van Halens 'Jump' but changing the words to "Jam, my name is Jam, oh oh oh oh oh my name is Jam", the new line up of the Happy Spastics and some banging acapella renditions of Anthrax standards 'Indians' and 'Caught in a Mosh' on the bus home. Nice one Greg, smae again next year please, ow!



early crowd


The Signal

Mr T 34

Cramond Fixture pt. 1

Cramond Fixture pt. 2

Some Gadgies

Active Minds making use of the back stage area


Active Minds

Active Minds 
Active Minds

Soo Ma Roo Ya Kun!

Happy Spastics




Friday, 7 August 2015

xC-60x VOL VII - Asian Mix

a killer night!
Through playing in bands I have had the honour of visiting several countries in the 'South East Asian' corner of the world, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and The Philippines, and the pleasure of playing with many of the best contemporary punk, hardcore and metal bands from these different nations. This post was inspired in particular by a concert in Yogjakarta, boxing day 2013, where we shared the stage with the fantastic Exhumation, and I was positive Headkrusher had played also, but according to the poster I am mistaken on that! Certainly the quality of performance and musicianship on show from the majority of the acts left the impression of a strong and diverse scene where metal, hardcore and noise acts of equal caliber could confidently share a stage together.

This post is not however going to be a look at the Yogja scene (but that is an expose that has mileage) instead I am presenting an hour's worth of 'Asian' heavy metal for your aural pleasure. I say 'Asian' because it seems more than a little ignorant to lump acts from s many culturally and historically different nations together under one banner but for the sake of  covering 'music from those places where they eat a lot of rice that you might not of heard of' I have lumped it all under the'Asian' banner - no offence intended!

The mix is a mixture of current bands I was aware of already, others recommended to me by friends in Indonesia and Malaysia, in addition to several bands I discovered through researching the web. The mix is in no way meant to represent a definitive statement of 'the best in Asian metal', merely some cool tunes pulled together to put the spotlight on a corner of the world that deserves more international attention - give it a spin and check out the bands that get your toes tapping!

xC-60x VOL VII - Asian Mix

1. Atomicdeath - Bestial Pain (Malaysia)
2. Bloodshed - Ilusi Sebuah Mimpi (Indonesia)
3. EdanE - You Don't Have to Tell Me Lies (Indonesia)
4. Head Krusher - Street War (Indonesia)
5. Kamimaze - DewaAngin (Indonesia)
6. Lobotomy - We Are Conqueror (Malaysia)
7. Magneisum - Tell Me (Japan)
8. Nightwolf - Satanik Metal Fucking Hell (abigail cover) (Malaysia)
9. Nuclear Strikes - Megastorm Eyes (Malaysia)
10. Paganfire - Wreaking Fire and Death (Philippines)
11. Sabbat - Mions Hill (Japan)
12. Vault - Victim Of Pain (Malaysia)
13. Snaggletooth - Burning Bridges (Singapore)

click the tape to download or stream the mix:

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

xC-60x Vol VI - Motormix

Like most motor-freaks the Glastonbury show from last weekend has been playing heavily on my mind and I've found myself listening back to all their classic LP's, not only great music but fantastic memories. The only obvious answer was a mixtape of motorclassics to keep their glory days fresh and not allow the dark mood of their twilight days take hold of my memories.

"We are Motorhead, and we're gonna kick your ass!"

click the cassette to stream or download

  1. The Hammer
  2. White Line Fever (7" version)
  3. I'll Be Your Sister (Zeke)
  4. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers (ZZ Top)
  5. Turn You Round Again
  6. We Are The Road Crew (live)
  7. Speedfreak (Hellacopters)
  8. Snaggletooth
  9. Orgasmatron (BBC Rock Show)
  10. Love Me Forever (Beyond Black)
  11. Love for Sale
  12. Lost in the Ozone
  13. I Aint No Nice Guy (acoustic)