Hope Show 102 – the lowdown

Jello

This weeks show

The Dead Kennedys have been such a huge part of my life. Like so many other bands that fit into my invisible memoirs Jello’s troubadors have always been close to my heart.

I remember my brothers buying Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, the vinyl kept getting played. We dissected the songs and wondered did they really want to ‘Kill The Poor”. Of course they didn’t and as my horizons broadened and the tunnel vision glasses of world politics were removed the Dead Kennedys played a part in assisting my global understanding. My globalisation was American hardcore in the form of the DK’s and Bad Brains and Minor Threat – Spanish history from the Ex, Central and South America from the Clash – british politics from Crass, the Redskins, three johns and new model army. Personal politics from Flux of Pink Indians and how to conduct business from labels like Alternative tentacles.

That is why a book like Michael Foleys review of Fresh Fruit is vital or Alex Ogg’s synopsis of the same record . They are talking about my education and expanding on it.

Of course Jello is still playing and is in Dublin this week. IN celebration of his gig this weeks radio show is a compilation of some of his bands. You could be have a lot of shows considering the amount of records Jello has been involved in but I wanted to take a selection for this week show. Enjoy
niallhope

Rebellion Festival 2015 Review Day 4

Rebellion Day 4 Another day of highlights New Model Army Probably the band that I have seen the most, as well as a band whose albums and songs I have looked to for inspiration for almost 30 years. At Rebellion a snippet of a documentary about the band as shown, followed by a Q&A with singer, Justin Sullivan and art-work designer, tattoo artist, author and one, manager of the band, Joolz Denby. She described the process of managing musicians/creative people as not just herding cats…but herding headless cats! And that is the crux of the inter section of art and commerce….by both of their admissions, Joolz and Justin have no head for money….their focus is naturally on creating art and expressing themselves. The film looks great, although getting the human first-hand version of the story was even better. They are a disarmingly honest pair of modern troubadours…and it was interesting learning how the decision by Malcolm Gerrie from The Tube to put an unsigned independent band on the show changed the band’s fortunes. Every artist needs a break. I look forward to taking time. To watch the film when it is released next month…so much to be learnt for New Model Army. The Avengers and Penelope Houston were another eye-opener. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that The Avengers were one of those bands I knew I should listen to…yet never had! They were fantastic on the main stage. Tuneful, dynamic, exciting, vibrant and with so much to say about youthful possibilities and challenging orthodoxy. And this was a female-led band from San Francisco in 1977!!! It is funny how history coalesces around big names and chart bands….the strivers, the innovators, the pioneers get undeservedly forgotten. That is why a festival like Rebellion is so enlightening for me. The Q&A sessions are a big part of how I learn the secret history of punk. Theorem Peneople spoke about how small yet innovative and exciting the early SF punk scene was…and this was all pre-Dead Kennedys. To her, thee were no barriers to entry…anyone could do it regardless of class, colour, sexual preference etc. It was fascinating to learn how before the ‘codification’ that came with hardcore….punks rock was an open canvas! The Q&A is naturally enhanced by a good moderator…and the ‘battle of the Dead Kennedys authors’ hosted by Andy Higgins was fantastic. Alex Ogg’s book is, quite simply, one of the best books I have every read about music. It is funny and heart-breaking and full of lessons, not jus tab out the music industry and cultural files, but also about art, creativity, collective action and the law, I bought Michael Foley’s book, and have not read it yet but it promises to be excellent, covering the political and social context to the band in the tumultuous times of late 1970s San Fran. Foley spoke about how the band emerged from a highly politically city where young people were taking an active…and creative…stance in the democratic process. As a historian he placed this activity in the context of other social movements and concluded how the pivotal Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables album was one of the key documents/artefacts from American youth of the era. That is a remarkable legacy for a band who were formed with the idea of: ‘imagine if Crass were funny’, I felt very privileged to be in a room listening to Higgins, Foley and Ogg speaking with such knowledge and insight about the band. I only wish they had longer to discuss it. Ignite They were new to me…that exciting tight passionate intensity of the Revelation bands. Quicksand always have a special place in my heart. Anyhow, Ignite had plenty to offer musically and in terms of advocacy. The singer urged people to get involved in the political process and democracy. perhaps the legacy of the Avengers and the Dead Kennedys survives and thrives! He urged the audience to think about. The consequences of war, the reality of migration from war-torn places, and also about the conservationist group, the Sea Shepherds. In one of the most shocking moments of the festival, he dedicated the band’s next song to them and it was Sunday Bloody Sunday. Yes, a U2 cover by a tight and talented post- hardcore band!! And guess what? It worked. They pulled it off….dragging an 80s MTV staple into the punk present. It was surprisingly great…..the song really invigorated by Ignite’s classic up-to-date punk rock vision. And it made sense because punk has always been able to draw from its neighbours…to recombine different music in different ways and make something fresh and new. And here was a youthful and exciting Californian band who were inspired by One Way System as well as Peter and the Test Tube Babies….and also found something in early 1980s U2! I don’t think any band in Ireland could openly admit to being influenced/inspired by the UK punk of the class of ’82 and play a U2 song without ridicule..or ridiculing it. Good on Ignite for their open hearts and open minds…they inspire me and make me feel that the future of punk is in great hands. And that is important when both Justin Sullivan and Penelope Houston spoke today about how in 1980-1982 punk began to have rules and restrictions placed on it…it was ‘codified’ as Penelope said….and here’s to the rule breakers….The innovators..long may they bring excitement to punk, art and life! Other highlights Snuff….one of my fave bands….a band I saw countless times back in the day…and here they were….with new members, granted, yet still playing barmy, brilliant, playful, tuneful funny and exciting songs….hooray for trombones and punk rock! Roy Ellis Always a highlight…..ska from a pioneer….fun fun fun. John Langford The soundtrack for young Niall McGuirk…and a big part of the soundtrack of my youth too. Very inspiring to listen to his songs about democratic struggles in Wales in the 1800s, as well as his songs about gamblers, outlaws and do men who didn’t ‘walk the line’. He played a song he wrote with The Sadies (who opened for Treble Charger all those years ago in Toronto) as well as X-Ray Style by the great late Joe Strummer, and even Waco Brothers and a Mekons’ song! Another pioneers at the crossroads of punk and so much more… Carly Slade No disrespect to all of the other acts that I saw over the 4 days…but this was the voice that stopped me in my tracks…incredibly beautiful. I only saw a little of her set with Josh Chandler Morris, but that was enough to make me want more….it didn’t sound like punk rock..maybe Americana is how it would be described…and maybe that made it very punk rock at the punk rock festival!! And finally….the night belonged to TV Smith the quintessential punk troubadour….getting hoarse by the end of the weekend yet still leading the singalong with veins on his neck bulging and his skinny frame straining in tie-dyed outfit. A prefect summation of all that is great about the Rebellion festival punk rock and music!

Dead Kennedys – fresh fruit for Rotting Vegetables – the early years

Dead Kennedys
Fresh fruit for rotting vegetables
By Alex Ogg
PM Press
SKU: 9781604864892

fresh fruit for Rotting Vegetables

This is not a book about the Dead Kennedys career. It is more a tale of how they got together, recorded and released one of the iconic punk rock albums. The story of such a now fractured band requires a lot more discussion

Fresh fruit was different to so many other records at the time as there was no major record label providing financial supports. This was a band that were taking the shock aspect of punk and putting a positive message forward. The book charts the formation of the band as their early singles were released. The first two being “California über alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia”, both having raging guitar hooks, intelligent lyrics and breakneck rhythm. The story behind the controversy of the artwork and Biafra’s onstage antics is given great detail. How the album came about and the involvement of cherry red and subsequent setting up of alternative tentacles is included. All necessary components to the make up of the dks

Most of us now that the band did not finish on a good note or certainly the trajectory since their finish has not been a mutually happy event for the members. However it is good to see that not getting too much exposure here as that can be the sequel. For now we can read about one of the greatest albums of all time by one of the most innovative bands ever. We can get an idea of America at the time, the punk scene and the socio economic environment.

It is quite obvious, reading between the lines, that vocalist Jelllo Biafra, has a completely different outlook then guitarist east bay ray on pretty much all matters Dead Kennedys relating. It is hard to see what tale is fiction and what one isn’t but the fact is the record came out with those songs and we have been able to listen to them for years. The dead Kennedys had such a huge influence on music and this is summed up by the many quotes at the end from people like actor Elijah wood or slash from guns and roses or dave grohl from foo fighter/nirvana. The effect this album has had is phenomenal and is most worthy of the written word too

Another thing the book offers is a reminder of how great the artwork of Winston Smith is. It is reproduced here as are many of the fliers and posters of the day. Considering the author was involved in the art of punk book that came out over a year ago it is no surprise now has teamed up with once again with russ bestley to ensure that the words are accompanied with the relevant graphics and it’s all packaged very well

If you have ever listened to a punk roots and enjoyed it ten you should have a read of this

niallhope

dks logo

Rebellion 2014 – Day 2

Rebellion 2014 day 2

I eased into the second day listening to Peter from paranoid visions talking about punk in Dublin in the 80s and their link with Steve Ignorant

I had a quick listen to the city saints and their brand of Swedish street punk. Nice to hear them singing about people on the streets and the skins in the arena were having a good time

“Punk rock came along and gave me a sense of freedom, of where I belong” sang caf in the acoustic room. Straight from the curragh to the winter gardens

Steve pottinger is the people poet, he writes from the heart and has a way with words, unlike me!! He writes about rebellion and Blackpool and Wilko Johnson like he’s just hooting the breeze with ya. Check him out

The theme for my next fanzine will be around womens participation in punk rock but rebellion has a good representation (but still minority for the majority species) Meg and nog are a female duo in the acoustic room. They are deserving of your attention for that reason alone. Nina and Phil from healthy junkies were up next playing some nice acoustic version of what I think are their songs

The crows are a five piece with dual female vocals complemented by three acoustic guitars with a folky sound. Pretty cool set

Off for some more poetry then. It’s such a great feature of this indoor festival. Venues pop up around each corner and in the corner of the art exhibition Kath reade was sharing her words with us

Alex ogg and russ bestley spoke eloquently on Alex’s new book on dead Kennedys the early years. Alex wants to document one of the most important records ever made, fresh fruit for totting vegetables, and russ made it look great. They collaborated previously on the art of punk and the end product is fantastic. I love the literature room as we get to hear so much about our punk history. I wish these were taped and available online. It’s great to hear people’s stories. There was so many questions I wanted johnny wah wah to ask but he may be having a long day

Guida are Italian skins, oi sounding with a more rocking feel. Good singalong sound

The notsensibles have all that energy and their quirky punk pop sound gets the crowd moving. Bizarrely at5 on a Friday afternoon there’s hundreds of people engaging with the band

I walked in as department s were finishing is vic there! Remember that one?? Still a great sound

Pauline Murray is from that era too. Well know for being the lead singer of penetration but less known for her own releases. It is heartening to see her sill playing. She ran into technical difficulties which only aided her shynes and the packed acoustic room couldn’t assist her in any way

Tv smith certainly isn’t shy. Full of energy, I honestly don’t know how he does it. Backed up by the bored teenagers he bangs out the adverts hits and then some. Full of power and always a highlight on the festival

Dickie Hammond arrived into the venue about 8 hours before going on stage. I saw him come in. He picked a seat in the acoustic room and pretty
much sat there all day. Drinking. The man has pedigree, being guitarist orf leather face and HDQ but its a shame to see him like this. A real shame

The fits are hometown heroes. My guess is many cities have such bands. Played back in the day, recorded a few songs but never really got out of the city Maybe Blackpools defects. Only thing is the singer is the sole remaining member. A lot of bands at rebellion remind me of football teams. They exist with different lineups every season. The fits are no different. Good tunes though.

The dictators paraded their new bass player to the audience. I could go through most bands here and the punk family tree would shine. Anyway I didn’t want to be introduced to the members of dictators from the stage. You are people we are people, that’s punk. Anyway they kind of rocked out but not my punk

Culture shock have amazing songs there’s a reason why they are favourites here and that’s the songs. Ska punk at its best and dik, like Charlie harper just doesn’t age. He looks as he did when subhumans played Dublin in 1984. Amazing

So Blackpool is home to George formby gigs and the pukes have taken his spirit and given it the punk rock treatment. Punk rock ukelele musi, playing all your favourite clash, ramones and dead Kennedys songs and ukeing them up. It looks like an anarchic mess on stage which adds to the atmosphere as 14 people mostly armed with ukelele bring us these classics. Great stuff, get their new album too drunk to pluck, if you can.

Last acoustic troubadour of the night is Patrick Fitzgerald but he didn’t make it. Ah well Attila the stockbroker continues his set to keep us going. Ukelele but not the pukes, poetry but not Steve pottinger. Who else could write the line “you wrote the soundtrack to my life commandante joe” he was hoping to talk to strummer as two 80 year olds someday but joe left us early. We still have his songs and memory and Attila remembered it tonight

I have many fond memories of the men they couldn’t hang gigs in ireland. They seemed to constantly visit at a time that I could travel to gigs. Kieran would drive to drogheda or wherever and we would sing along to political guitar based folk songs. We believed fascists were evil and the miners were righteous. Not a lot has changed in our beliefs but how the world has in the intervening 30 years. Great to see a big crowd happy to see them tonight. I only got 30 minutes though as I had some sightseeing to do

I have been visiting Blackpool since coming over on family holidays as a kid. I have been to pleasure beach, Bloomfield park, all the piers but had never gone up the tower. Until tonight. The membranes decided to play a gig on top of Blackpool tower and despite the allure of Reagan Youth in the empress ballroom I couldn’t turn it down. I have been to gigs on some strange places but none like this. Black pools major tourist attraction. The tower itself is a huge complex with many venues but the membranes went straight to the top. All 150 metres up there. A 2 inch glass floor allows you to see the while way down, not one for those concerned about heights. What a setting though. I arrive as evil blizzard are on stage. Masked and dangerous. The 3 bass players, drummer and occasional synth make some racket. Part public image limited but so much more intense. A small room overlooking the whole of Blackpool suited their sound.

And then the membranes came on, with guitarist Nick Brown, who was in the creation days of the band. It’s an assault on your ears, an aural landscape as I perused, from on high, the attractions I had been to previously. Blackpool is john robbs home town, here he was playing on top of the tower that haunts its landscape. As a teenage punk he would have seen it in the distance each day as he grew up in a place he needed to leave but a place always close to his heart. The small room was enveloped in noise this was death to trad rock at its finest 30 years after they tried to kill it off

What a journey

Niallhope