After a tumultuous hurricane swept through Houston and almost endangered the Visual Vitriol collection, I can breathe a bit easier again since the water only came within a few feet of my door, and a month has passed, so I can re-focus on all my efforts.
First, I was able to an entire evening with MDC a few days ago. One, I was able to mingle and document Al Schvitz, who is one of the last old school drummers on earth: his style is a flashback to a time before the heyday of homogeneity (tons of metal-doused bass drum, perfectly cued tom tom patterns). He exists in the blurry continuum between Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Mitch Mitchell, and himself … with family roots way back in NYC downtown music. For years, I have studied his licks, and thankfully, he now has a book almost out, on the the same imprint as Dave Dictor, to shed light on his career and MDC itself. Long live the Schvitz man.
The entire MDC set was explosive — the rickety bar was a surging earthquake of emotion driven by propulsive new/old tunes: Al was the beatmaker king of the limber punk-jazz forays, Dave was the tribal leader/dance hero/soapbox firestorm/circus maestro emitting tough street poems of the heart and mind, all played out in fiery tunes that shifted effortlessly from 82 to 2017, from Reagan’s covert death squads to Trump’s coded language insurrection! They even played “Borrowed Time” from the early 1990s, and I charged the mic for “Radioactive Chocolate,” “Kill the Light” and more … Why is America so straight and me so bent?
Make sure to read my brand new interview with the kitten-hearted firebrand hardcore hero Dave Dictor here in the Houston Press. I appeared alongside him at Vinal Edge for a book event (he read the first portion of his memoir) and MDC acoustic set (featuring the classics, plus an Agression tune!) on Oct. 6, which was free and all ages. The funds we raised from book sales and beer donations, $250.00, went to a local, LEED-certified, no-kill animal shelter.
Opening for MDC, the world’s premier politico hardcore band packing chops aplenty, is a difficult undertaking, but the Elected Officials, whose intense global punk perspective infuses every second of their ferocious musicality, which resembles portions of everything from Septic Death and Poison Idea to the Subhumans, False Prophets, and classic ’82 punk, left the crowd a broiling mess-heap of sweat, pile ups, and gesticulations, but singer Sophie Rousmaniere has the most elastic facial contortions I’ve seen in years — comedy and horror and anger and spite — completely mesmerizing!
Thanks to the crew at Razorcake for reviewing the new album by my artcore band No Love Less in Issue #100, with punk hero Mike Watt! We are heading to Austin soon to play the Punk Women 2 fest with Screech of Death, Texacala Jones, and more, so this is a cool reminder of our Texas weird-punk strengths.
Next up, I was lucky to both see and interview (Bill Stevenson, at least) the Descendents, where I stretched over some dude’s head to capture their dizzying, effortlessly meld of mushy heartache, teen goofiness, spasms of caffeinated joy, occasional politics, keen adult observation, surf-core prowess, punk blasts, and much more, like 1982 and 2017 collapse – time itself was a mirage; there had been no years between (EB White would say), well except for the gray hairs on me and them! Their last album Hypercaffium Spazzinate was sublime — chock-full of grinding hooks and surging tempo changes, smart and lively lyrics, dizzying drums, touches of nostalgia and protest, and heartache too.
So, be sure to check out my brand new interview with Herculean, dexterous, brainiac drummer Bill Stevenson, whose chops are singular and unmatched, as is his production work as well (200 plus credits!). We talk about Grant Hart, hurricane relief, their new album, and much more! It is here.
Next month, watch out for the release of my book Punk Women 2, which will be 13.00 ppd. anywhere in the states. We are also celebrating it with two parties — one in Houston and another in Austin. So, check back for more details at the beginning of November!
Last, but not least, I would like to thank Alyssa Mercante, the author of “Goths, Punks, Queers, and Gamers,” a paper that delves deep into the subculture and referenced several of my passages from Visual Vitriol. Though I was able to read it a few weeks back, the link no longer works, but be sure, all you scholars, especially those concerned with contemporary queer culture in the digital age, to check it out.