Friday, May 18, 2018

Dischord 5 - Minor Threat - 'In My Eyes' & a 3-week break from the blog

Recorded - Aug. 1981
Released - Dec. 1981

Ian MacKaye - vocals
Lyle Preslar - guitar
Brian Baker - bass
Jeff Nelson - drums


In My Eyes
Out Of Step


Guilty Of Being White
Steppin' Stone

I really want to take a moment, before the blog goes on hiatus for a few weeks, to thank anyone who has been reading this, following it, commenting on it, etc. It takes a little while for these types of projects to gain some steam, but the response so far has been really great. I've enjoyed doing this, I've gotten one out per week, which has been my goal, and I have every intention to keep going.

However, I am off to pursue my own musical endeavors. I will be hitting the road and going cross-country for the next few weeks, which will make doing this blog totally impossible. I will use the last part of this entry to do some self-promotion and list tour dates. If you live anywhere near where I'll be playing, it would be great to meet you, talk Dischord and whatever else, have a few drinks, etc. After the main post, I'll post all those details. For anyone else, I plan on being back in action over here sometime during the week of June 10th.


I think for any of us who discovered Minor Threat a bit after the fact, our experience with the first two Minor Threat EPs, the 'Filler' 7" which we covered back a couple of posts ago (Dischord 3) and the record we're discussing now, were as a collection, either on the self-titled compilation (Dischord 12) or the complete discography (Dischord 40). For me, it was the cassette version of Dischord 12 which came out in 1987 (or, as I call it, "Punk rock year 2"), that first introduced me to the early Minor Threat EPs.

It's not that I didn't know that 'Filler' and 'In My Eyes' were two separate releases, I just never experienced them as separate entities. So talking about these releases as the separate records that they actually are is almost like separating Siamese twins.

'In My Eyes' was recorded two months after the release of 'Filler' and released in December of that year (1981). The record was also a split release with Limp Records, a label from Rockville, Maryland, who apparently ceased to exist shortly after this release. While Dischord did most of the legwork and production, Limp helped with some of the financials. Unlike other split releases, Dischord did not use the usual fractions in the catalog number.

Like all the records we've covered so far, the record is over in mere minutes, in this case four songs in under 8 minutes. While this is still very much the same band that released the 'Filler' 7" a few months earlier, it's hard not to compare this to the Teen Idles 7", recorded only 11 months earlier, and not be completely blown away by the progress that MacKaye and Nelson had made musically.

The three original songs on this record are all hardcore classics, which have been played millions of times over P.A. systems in between bands at shows and have been covered endlessly.

There was a straight-edge band from Boston who took the name "In My Eyes", who were active in the late '90s and released a couple of records on Revelation. The song itself was covered by Rage Against the Machine.

"Guilty of Being White", a song that was already controversial to begin with, was covered notoriously by Slayer for their 'Undisputed Attitude' covers/punk LP, where they altered a key lyric from "Guilty of Being White" to "Guilty of Being RIGHT". Slayer thought it was funny. Ian MacKaye was mortified.

The relatively epic "In My Eyes" launches the record, and begins with a 30-second intro started by a descending Brian Baker bass line. Rather than just start the song immediately, a tension is built, there is a brief calm (and if you listen closely, you can hear some direction going on in the background), before the verse kicks into full gear, musically punctuated by Jeff Nelson's tom rolls. There is clearly an advancement of songwriting skills compared to earlier works.

There is also more creativity in the lyrics. While the general theme of advising against abusive substances remains in place (the target seems to be cigarettes, at least in the first verse), rather than a sermon, the lyrics almost act as a conversation. The type of conversation a friend might have when trying to sell a hard truth to another: "You tell me you like the taste / You just need an excuse / You tell me it calms your nerves / You just think it looks cool".

The second verse goes deeper, and gets into the psychology of people who use their self-loathing in an attempt to bring their world, even their own friends, down with them: "You tell me that nothing matters / You're just fucking scared / You tell me that I'm better / You just hate yourself / You tell me that you like her / You just wish you did / You tell me that I make no difference / At least I'm fuckin' trying / What the fuck have you done?"

It's a powerful lyric, punctuated by a question that has become iconic and has felt like it has rippled through the ages. More than a question - it's a challenge.

The lyrics overall expose the hypocrisy of what people will say or do to justify behavior that they must know is self-defeating. MacKaye wastes no words in calling it out.

"Out of Step" is a return to more primitive roots. No fancy songwriting, no lyrical innovations. Just a straight-forward, ready to chant anthem: "Don't smoke / don't drink / don't fuck / At least I can fucking think." This is not the last time we'll hear Minor Threat record this song.

"Guilty of Being White" is the Minor Threat song that has been met with the most controversy. The surface level perception not helped by the Slayer cover. Fundamentally, the song is about not being judged, or perhaps more concretely, not being convicted, for crimes and atrocities that may have been committed by one's ancestors. Where I think the controversy lies is that MacKaye, who is only singing from his own experiences, happens to be as a 19-year-old white male, a demographic that probably won't garnish too much sympathy from anyone who is complaining about being persecuted because of that. But the point is valid, and can certainly be generalized beyond white youth. Had MacKaye widened his scope, the song probably wouldn't have generated that controversy, and the song probably wouldn't have been half as famous. "Oh, I'm sorry / For something that I didn't do / Lynched somebody / But I don't know who / You blame me for slavery / A hundred years before I was born / Guilty of Being White".

The record ends with a cover of the Monkees' "Steppin' Stone". Minor Threat wouldn't be the only punk band to think to cover the song. The Sex Pistols did it a few years earlier. The song sounds like it was recorded off a transistor radio, and the song, already pretty punk rock for its age, gets a hardcore treatment come chorus time. It's a cool cover, not essential.

After the release of 'In Your Eyes', Minor Threat would take a hiatus for a few months. Lyle Preslar went off to college, and during his absence, some music was made by the others.

In February 1982, Brian Baker would record with Government Issue, playing guitar on the 'Make An Effort' EP. It would be (I think) the only G.I. record Baker played on during his brief tenure.

MacKaye and Nelson would continue their musical journey with a one-off band and record recorded in November 1981, but not actually released for another 10 years. We'll hit that at Dischord 50.

Minor Threat would reconvene, with a bit of a line-up change, and would go on to release, in my opinion, one of the high watermarks in all of hardcore. But we'll get to that shortly.




As I mentioned in the preamble, this is the last post for a few weeks. I will be hitting the road starting this coming Monday.

My band, Two Man Advantage, will be playing at Punk Rock Bowling this year. Specifically, the club show on Saturday, May 26th at Fremont Country Club with Subhumans, The Unseen and Bishop's Green.

After PBR is over, we'll be doing a 5-date west coast swing:

Tuesday, May 29th - Time Out Lounge, Tempe, AZ
Wednesday, May 30th - Navajo Live, San Diego, CA
Thursday, May 31st - Characters, Pomona, CA
Friday, June 1st - The Union, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, June 2nd - Bender's Bar, San Francisco, CA

On the way out west, and on the way back home, a spinoff of Two Man Advantage, Robbieitis, which I'm doing with two of my Two Man Advantage bandmates (playing stuff that is entirely different than what we normally do - which has been fun and refreshing) will also be playing some gigs:

Tuesday, May 22nd - The Fremont, Des Moines, IA
Sunday, June 3rd - Silver Dollar Club, Elko, NV
Monday, June 4th - Back Alley Pub, Great Falls, MT
Tuesday, June 5th - food truck festival at the Gateway Mall Parking Lot, Bismarck, ND
Wednesday, June 6th - Palmer's Bar, Minneapolis, MN
Thursday, June 7th - Moe's Tavern, Chicago, IL

Maybe I'll see some of you on the road.

If not - I'll be back with the next post the week after I get back.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Dischord 4 1/2 - Necros - 'I.Q. 32'

Recorded & released - 1981

Barry Henssler - vocals
Brian Pollack - guitar
Corey Rusk - bass
Todd Swalla - drums


I.Q. 32
Youth Camp
Peer Pressure
Race Riot


I Hate My School
Past Comes Back To Haunt Me
Public High School

This answers a question I was posed when I first started doing this blog: "Will you be handling the Dischord split releases?" Yes...yes I will.

The Dischord catalog is peppered with releases that were shared with other record labels. As catalog numbers for these records, Dischord uses fractions or decimals, which makes it nice and easy to trace these records chronologically with the rest of the Dischord catalog.

Release "4 1/2" pairs Dischord with Touch & Go Records - the first of two split releases with that label (can you think of the other one? cheating).

Touch & Go Records, based out of Chicago, evolved out of a fanzine done by Tesco Vee (The Meatmen) and Dave Stimson. Like Dischord with Washington, D.C., the early years of Touch & Go Records were spent documenting the emerging Midwestern hardcore scene.

Like biological evolution, where species that look vastly different from each other can be traced back to a common ancestor, Dischord and Touch & Go trace different roads that hardcore took. The early hardcore of the late-'70s and early-'80s wasn't drastically different from region to region, but it's evolution into more complex styles took different paths. Whereas a label like Dischord can take you step-by-step from bands like Teen Idles, S.O.A. and Minor Threat to Fugazi, Touch & Go could take you from The Fix, Necros and Negative Approach to The Jesus Lizard.

Necros, a band I've always affiliated with Detroit, were actually from Maumee, Ohio, a suburb of Ohio in the northwestern corner of the state. A 75-minute drive north up I-75 would, however, get you to the Motor City.

Necros would have the distinction of being Touch & Go's first release - the hopelessly rare 'Sex Drive' 7", released in 1981, with a pressing of a mere 100 copies. Of all the records I've covered in this blog so far, each one of which is rare and valuable, 'Sex Drive' is the rarest of them all. Using Discogs as a guide, it's been sold only once, and went for $2875 (and didn't even have the insert).

However, thanks to the internet, you can hear high quality versions of all these records, and a record that would have been impossible to have even heard a decade or so ago, is now available within a few clicks.

'Sex Drive' sounds like Detroit. Unlike the early Dischord releases, which blatantly held a middle finger up to traditional old rock 'n' roll, the Necros embraced it. I'll admit I don't know much about the Necros, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that these guys grew up on a healthy dose of garage rock. 'Sex Drive' sounds like something Iggy Pop would have been a part of had he been born 15-20 years later. On the title track, Barry Henssler channels Iggy with a subtle twang when he sings, "All I want is more, more more..."

But whereas 'Sex Drive' is primitive and raw in every way, the record at hand, 'I.Q. 32', is more developed. Ian MacKaye's production won't be mistaken for Bob Ezrin, but at least it doesn't sound like it was recorded on a boombox in the back corner of the practice space.

There is a development of the garage punk style started on 'Sex Drive'. Songs like "Peer Pressure", "Race Riot", "I Hate My School", "Reject" and "Public High School" still sound like the same band that recorded 'Sex Drive', but have learned how to write better songs. While these raw, mid-tempo songs are pretty well played and well written, they're not half as exciting as the other songs on this record, perhaps played less competently, but at a more furious speed. "I.Q. 32", "Wargame", and "Past Comes Back To Haunt Me" are striking in contrast to the slower songs. Barry Henssler can barely keep up, which only adds to the chaotic, train-off-the-rails feel of these songs, none of which stretch past the 50 second mark.

My favorite song is the one that combines the two elements, and that would be Track 2, "Youth Camp", whose verses are hooky and confident, but come chorus time, and don't blink because you'll miss it, the band goes into hyperspeed and you're not quite sure if they're going to land on two feet. I also dig the overdubbed "guitar solo", which is more like a couple of random notes - it feels like the start of something that never really gets going.

Lyrics are always the most genuine when you write about what you know and what you live. There is a running theme throughout the record of feeling like an outcast by all that surrounds you, in your society, in your school. That feeling of being different and unrelatable.

"Midwest, Midwest, time to go. / I'd stay, but it's so fucking slow. / Stupid people's all I know." - "I.Q. 32"

"My every move is judged by the court of my peers. / When the sentence comes, it confirms the worst of my fears. / They know I'm different, that I'm not like them. / They won't accept me for the way I am." - "Peer Pressure"

"I hate my school / My teachers are insane / The kids are all fools / All my work's down the drain / Why don't you all leave me alone / All I wanna do is go home." - "I Hate My School"

"I would rather stay at home / In my room & all alone / It's times like this I feel so bad / Why am I always sad?" - "Reject"

Taking redneck racism head-on also must have come from some first-hand experiences:

"Youth camp for the KKK, It's the American way. / Youth camp for the National Front, When white rule is what I want." - "Youth Camp"

"They'll never sit down & talk about their problems / Just wanna fight & create more of them / Whites call 'em names directly to their faces / They say 'Hey nigger go back to your own places'" - "Race Riot"

Since the Necros will not be a part of the Dischord story going forward, just a brief sum up of what happened from here.

The Necros would go on to release the 'Conquest for Death' (1983 / Touch & Go) and 'Tangled Up' (1987 / Restless) LPs, along with a few 7"'s and live albums, and the one release I do actually own, the split 12" EP with White Flag, 'Jail Jello' (1986 / Gasatanka), which I bought for a $1 and have maybe listened to once.

Bassist Corey Rusk would leave the band after 'Conquest for Death' and would go on to run Touch & Go Records. I can only guess that there may have been some sort of falling out between Rusk and his old band. I can't think of too many explanations why the Necros releases that came out on Touch & Go would be allowed to go out of print.

Drummer Todd Swalla would go on to play in a few bands, most notably, the Laughing Hyenas, with a post-Negative Approach John Brannon.

Vocalist Barry Henssler would go on to dig even deeper into those heavy rock roots, fronting Big Chief, who released a few records on Sub Pop in the early '90s.

A big reason for doing this blog has been to discover records and bands which I've never explored too much before. The Necros have been in my consciousness for decades, but I never really took the time to listen too much.

I'm not looking to be the historian or the music critic. Just somebody who wants to dig into these records and find an emotional connection. If I had first listened to this 7" when I was 13 years old, I'd probably feel much more connected to it than I do listening for the first time in my early 40s.

But, one of my closest friends, Aaron (who has been commenting regularly on these posts), does have that connection, and, at its best, those stories are the essence of what I hope this blog to be about.

Aaron & I met in 1991 as freshmen at Hofstra University. We were roommates through school and have been playing in bands together for over 25 years (Humstinger, Quarters, The Judas Iscariot, Kether, Hudson Falcons, Two Man Advantage...did I miss any?). I've probably logged more hours talking and playing music with Aaron than anyone else. So I hand over the mic to him to take us the rest of the way:



My buddy Derek had a 78 Nova that smelled like shit and the driver's side seat belt, which was broken, had several feet of loose slack that would never retract. The car didn't smell like shit because Derek was a chain smoker who was addicted to fast food. It reeked because the ribbons of useless seat belt fell out of the car once and landed in a pile of steaming dog offal. The stench was permanent, even after years had elapsed.

We used to love to cruise in that car because it had a solid tape deck, despite the car's other obvious limitations.

I had a mix tape with the Necros 'I.Q. 32' EP (Dischord #4 1/2, Touch and Go #3) on it, and we used to listen to it while racing around the housing tracts in our dead-end rural and suburban trailer parks and neighborhoods in Western PA while bashing mailboxes with baseball bats, stealing mail, and engaging in all manner of mayhem that attempted to assuage the bored teenage angst that was part of life growing up in a hick town.

The Necros were the perfect soundtrack for this...we all related hard and fast to these kids, because they were just like us. I knew firsthand their misery of growing up in Maumee, Ohio, because, hell, we were only 3 hours further east, but the social terrain was the same. The Necros hated growing up where they did, and it was obvious. Often their lyrics were like a mirror of my own experience dealing with asshole jocks, backwoods racist cops straight off the farm or the high school football team. While The Necros were never much to speak of in terms of technical playing wizardry, (though they would become considerably better at their instrumentation for later offerings like 'Conquest For Death', eventually metalling out for 'Tangled Up'), their lyrics were the quintessential archetype that represented hardcore as a suburban phenomenon, and a logical extension of the urban punk that came before that.

It is no surprise that Dischord was quick to partner with Midwestern kin of similar mindset (radically progressive lyrics against provincial, red-necked racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. at the height of the conservative revolution birthed by the Reagan Era).

Corey Rusk of The Necros had a big hand in running Touch and Go Records, the Midwest equivalent of Dischord, and a collaboration was logical, after Touch And Go Fanzine (predating the label of the same name) did early interviews with Minor Threat. Ian Mackaye would produce 'I.Q. 32' and see to its joint release.

The record is over before it starts, (9 songs clocking in at under 10 minutes) but the overall sound is a dramatic improvement over the extraordinarily rare 'Sex Drive' EP released very early in the band's history. While not as furiously fast and overtly violent and pissed off as Negative Approach or The Fix, Barry Henssler's vocals are snarky, snotty, and fierce in a pubescent way. Like Minor Threat, the band lacked all was pure, simple, and direct. You don't need much more when you are 15 and just aching to pour your aggression into something.

I loved my Necros mix tape, which contained everything they had put out up to that point, including the split with White Flag, but not 'Tangled Up' because it hadn't come out quite then.

Eventually the vinyl came my way in the summer of 1989, through a record trade with Chip from the late 80s Minneapolis hardcore band, Blind Approach. Our little straight edge band Upper Hand had opened up for them in Pittsburgh one night. He and I struck up a conversation about records. He had brought a bunch of records on tour with him to trade and sell. I had just returned from Some Records in New York and came back with two copies of the lamentable Project X record. He was willing to take his somewhat annoyed bandmates an hour out of their way into the sticks east of Pittsburgh in order to carry out a late night trade on their way to their next show.

"What do you got?", I asked.

When he offered 'I.Q. 32' in exchange for one of my newly acquired Project X records, I almost choked on my Pepsi. (No booze for my straight edge teenage self!)

The deal went down in their van outside my house...I believe I also gave up Blitz's 'Never Surrender' in the deal, but it's a deal I would still do today.

But nobody trades records anymore, do they?



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dischord 4 - Government Issue - 'Legless Bull'

Recorded July 1981 - Inner Ear Studios
Released Sept. 1981

John Stabb - vocals
John Barry - guitar
Brian Gay - bass
Marc Alberstadt - drums


Religious Ripoff
Rock & Roll Bullshit
Anarchy Is Dead
Sheer Terror


Bored To Death
No Rights
I'm James Dean
Cowboy Fashion

As I was discovering this new world of underground music in the mid-80s, I came across bands by chance more than anything else. There was no YouTube or iTunes or Spotify to go give a band a quick listen. MTV, as much as it was an avenue for discovery for so much music I love, didn't touch too much punk beyond the Ramones or The Clash.

I had my local record store, Island Sound, with it's Punk/Hardcore section, so I'd buy records pretty much randomly out of that or at the suggestion of the cute girl with the green hair (an early crush - and she rarely steered me wrong).

I also bought a lot of records by mail order, flipping through the pages of Maximum Rock n Roll, Flipside or Forced Exposure. That was the most exciting because there was the anticipation of that package arriving in the mail.

There was an ad in one of those zines for the new release by a band called Government Issue. The album was 'You'. The cover art was interesting, and so I mailed out a few bucks for the cassette. A few weeks later it arrived, with a promo poster, which hung on my wall for years.

The 'You' album is one of my favorite albums of all time. It was a lucky find, but that album made me a fan for life. Each song was incredible and fairly complex. Peter Moffett's drumming on that album is about as good as it gets. I no longer have the cassette (why I'm not really sure) - but I do have a test pressing, which is pretty neat.

As I dove into the G.I. catalog, I was quick to learn that not all their records were as musically developed as 'You' or its follow-up 'Crash'. 'Boycott Stabb' was the second G.I. album I owned (which I do still have on cassette), which is an entirely different animal. An earlier more primal punk rock record, but still filled with great songs.

The only time I ever got to see G.I. was December 11, 2010, at The Black Cat in Washington, D.C. with Set To Explode and my old friends The Goons opening up.

It was a one-off reunion show of the 'You' line-up (the best one in my opinion) of core member/vocalist John Stabb and long-standing guitarist Tom Lyle, along with the monster rhythm section of J. Robbins and Peter Moffett. It's one of the best shows I've ever been to and well worth every hour of the drive down I-95.

G.I. did get together to play a few more shows, none of which I was able to go to, with original guitarist John Barry, before, sadly John Stabb, the only member who was in the band from beginning to end, passed away on May 7, 2016, at the age of 54 after a battle with stomach cancer. Stabb was a member of the Daghouse message board and always brought interesting posts and thoughts to that community. I always enjoyed interacting with him on the few occasions I was able to.

Government Issue was one of the longest running D.C. hardcore bands, their decade-long lifespan spanning, and existing, entirely in the 1980s (not including the occasional reunion shows years later when nothing new was actually written or recorded).

I wanted to write a little bit about G.I. if only because for such a long running and popular D.C. band, very few of their records actually came out on Dischord.

Where Government Issue and Dischord intersect is at the beginning for both band and label. The fourth release for Dischord was Government Issue's first (not including an earlier demo), the incredibly rare 'Legless Bull' 7", for which you will need to shell out several hundred dollars, if not more, to own.

Along with Stabb were original guitarist and bassist, John Barry and Brian Gay, who would not continue on with the band past this first 7", and drummer Marc Alberstadt who would be with the band for the better part of its existence, up until 1986's self-titled record.

The evolution of G.I. through the 1980s really parallels hardcore's own evolution during that decade. From hardcore's primitive, primal, raw roots, to the addition of melody and some complexity, to being accessible enough to be heard on at least college radio or MTV's 120 Minutes. While hardcore itself went through that evolution (although hardcore in its original form has always existed simultaneously, to the present day), few bands stuck around long enough to make that transition themselves. The Replacements and Husker Du are pretty good examples of bands who started raw and raging and ended up somewhere completely different. I would argue that G.I. is also an excellent example of such a band, although unlike either of those two bands, much of that musical evolution could also be attributed to the evolution of the line-ups involved. Unlike those two bands as well, G.I. never achieved any real commercial success.

Listening to 'Legless Bull' and the final LP, 1988's 'Crash', back-to-back, you would never think these two records were made by the same band. But listening to the G.I. catalog from start to finish, the transition makes total sense. Each record seemed to add an element to it that eventually led to the final two records, which are anything but the raw and simple hardcore found on the earliest releases.

'Legless Bull' is a pretty cool slice of early D.C. hardcore. It is not the monument that the first Minor Threat 7" is, but I'd say an improvement over the Teen Idles & S.O.A. records. 'Legless Bull' mostly stays safely within the confines of early hardcore without a whole lot of rule bending, but the performances are pretty solid, especially from drummer Alberstadt.

Some songs go by in a bit of a flash, but there are songs that definitely stand out on this one.

"Rock & Roll Bullshit" starts out with Stabb doing a mocking imitation of drunk rock 'n' roll dudes...."Kickass rock & roll man....". While taking the piss out of Van Halen and Supertramp seems obvious for its time, similar to what Teen Idles did to the Grateful Dead on "Deadhead", G.I. goes a step further and rips on two of punk rock's own icons - the Ramones & The Clash ("I used to listen to the Clash / Now they suck like all the trash / The Ramones used to be a hit / Now they're just a pile of shit"). I can't help but wonder what they would have thought about their own musical journey as a band if they could have peered into the future.

Similarly, in the very next song, "Anarchy Is Dead", an attack is made upon Crass ("Groups like Crass still believe in it / That's why their music's fulla shit / It's music, it's just sermon / Groups like Crass are all just vermin").

Musically, "Bored to Death" might be the best song on the record and, in fact, was re-recorded several years later in 1985 for the "The Fun Just Never Ends" LP. A straight-forward mid tempo song, but hooky all the way through.

"Sheer Terror", closing out side one, is where G.I. does venture outside of the obvious. A slowed down, repetitive dirge of a song which speeds up, briefly, come chorus time. "Sheer Terror" would get several makeovers over the course of the band's career, showing up in new versions on the 'Make an Effort' EP ('83), 'Boycott Stabb' ('83), and I think at least one later appearance as well.

Overall, a pretty strong, if not ground-breaking, start from a band that would just keep getting better and better.

Spotify has a tremendous amount of G.I. "Live Bootleg"'s and the earlier shows from 1981 and 1982 feature quite a bit of live material from the first 7", but even later shows still featured "Bored to Death" and "Sheer Terror" in the sets. Even the official live album, 'Strange Wine' from 1987 airs out "I'm James Dean".

In the band's final years, several shows scattered between 2012 and 2015, original guitarist John Barry was back in the fold, so audiences got treated to a whole bunch of 'Legless Bull' era songs. The final show I'm aware of, 7/18/15 at the Acheron in Brooklyn, featured seven songs from this 7".


From time to time, I will be soliciting some commentary from close friends who I know may have a real emotional attachment to some of these records that I might not.

I've known Vinny Segarra since 1992. We played in Humstinger together for a year or so but have remained close friends ever since. Vinny ran a label that released about a dozen or so records over the first half of the 1990s, which included some real gems.

Vinny is also the biggest G.I. fan I know and I asked him to do a a quick write-up for this one:

Let's face it, the D.C. scene was, is, and always will be an Ian/Minor T/Fugazi town. The three shadows have loomed large over the city for almost 40 years. Think about that. Back in the mid 80's when I was getting into hardcore, Minor Threat were one of the "big three" in the country, let alone D.C. (along w/the DK's and Black Flag), and they were already gone for a couple years.

Personally, I always put Minor Threat to the side because the one band for me were the GI's. By the time I got around to finally buying 'Make An Effort' off Bleeker Bob's wall, they were already a "post hardcore band". BUT, they still had the power, and the riffs.

I'm not a musician so I don't give a shit how well you play the drums, rattle the bass, and bang out the guitar shit. If you can't write a riff, you're dead to me. The GI's were the Sabbath of early 80's hardcore. The crew i started going to shows with liked the GI's, but they weren't anyone's favorite. They were my favorite.

Always pushed to the margins in '81 (pick your band), '86 (Dino Jr, Sonic Youth, Husker Du) but John Stabb and Tom Lyle kept putting out great release after great release. Let's not forget. And the reason Jeff asked me to write this is because it all started with the 'Legless Bull' ep. Jeff is going to write something stellar about it, he'll dissect the production, the writing what have you. and no one can write like him. He should be doing it more often. Fuck Jeff, what took you so long to do something like this?

I'm just going to say that from 1980 - 1989 (when I saw them @ the Pyramid w/20 people, it was one of their last shows) there isn't one band in "the scene, any fucking scene" that held the underground flag higher than them. Some bands have put out debut EPs as good as 'Legless Bull', not too many have put out better ones. But Jesus Fucking Christ what a record to kick out the jams for the first time.

Kids, put it this way, every time I hear 'Legless Bull', I wish i had an older sibling or kid down the block that was into this stuff 38 years ago to show me the light.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dischord 3 - Minor Threat - 'Filler'

Recorded April 1981 - Inner Ear Studios, Arlington, VA
Released June 1981

Ian MacKaye - vocals
Lyle Preslar - guitar
Brian Baker - bass
Jeff Nelson - drums


I Don't Want To Hear It
Seeing Red
Straight Edge


Small Man, Big Mouth
Screaming At A Wall
Bottled Violence
Minor Threat

I'm not even sure I know where to begin when talking about records like these. I'm talking about records that have gone into the history books, have been hailed as all-time classics, and have been written about endlessly.

There has probably been more written about Minor Threat than any other band on Dischord, with the possible exception of Fugazi. I can point you to Michael Azerrad's essential "Our Band Could Be Your Life", which devotes about 40 pages to the history of Minor Threat. There is Scott Crawford's 'Salad Days' documentary from 2014, and Paul Rachman's 'American Hardcore' from 2006, based on Steven Blush's book. All of these are recommended and will give you far more insight into the history of Minor Threat than I could ever hope or want to.

From my point of view, Minor Threat are in the upper echelon of the most important American hardcore bands, joining the ranks of Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains and The Misfits.

Among those bands, Minor Threat formed the latest (1980) and broke up the earliest (1983). They had the fewest amount of releases, in fact, their entire body of studio work can probably be listened to in about an hour. They are also the only band in that list who do not have a modern day presence in the live arena, even if in some totally bastardized form.

But Minor Threat weren't a band that needed to hang around too long, or put out record after record, or engage in reunion shows that would have earned its members a small fortune.

What Minor Threat brought to the table was a higher level of musicianship (even if we're not exactly talking about the most complex of musical styles), songwriting chops, the ability to write incredibly hooky, yet ferocious songs, and lyrics which showed a deeper introspection than before.

This first Minor Threat record, which I've titled 'Filler' because that's the title that I've always grown up with, although I've also heard it titled 'Bottled Violence' and simply, 'Minor Threat', stays mostly true to the simple songwriting conventions we've seen before: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, end. Although, "Screaming At A Wall" does insert a breakdown part and the song "Minor Threat" even includes a pre-chorus. Baby steps in songwriting advancement, but steps nonetheless.

Every song on the record features hooks and anyone who knows this record simply needs to scan the song titles for the song to immediately pop into their head. "I Don't Want To Hear It" is both incredibly melodic AND filled with piss and vinegar.

Lyrically, we also seeing a reach inward rather than a punch outward.

Although "Filler" might be directed at Teen Idles guitarist Geordie Grindle, it's not specifically stated and can be interpreted as being towards anyone who has been twisted around by manipulative forces.

"Bottled Violence" is a continuation of S.O.A.'s "Lost In Space", punishing commentary on tough guy drunks just looking to fight.

But "Straight Edge" is something different. Rather than being a direct critique on inebriation, it is a promotion of a lifestyle not involving intoxicants. Rather than screaming at you to not do something, it's screaming at you to perhaps try something different. "I'm a person just like you / but I've got better things to do."......"Always gonna keep in touch / Never want to use a crutch."

What "Straight Edge" does that "Lost In Space" and "Bottled Violence" didn't do is create a term for the lifestyle - "I've got the straight edge", and so, singlehandedly, the song created a classification - a subset of hardcore that still exists. A branch of hardcore that promotes clean and healthy living, but, unfortunately, also has the stigma of violence attached to it.

MacKaye has spoken about this song and the movement it generated. In an interview I heard recently (not sure when it was recorded), MacKaye makes it clear that he never intended to start any type of movement with the song. In fact, the song was about individual choice, which is antithetical to the entire idea of a "movement". It's clear he's uncomfortable with the idea that people used this song to start something which often resulted in violence....stories of straight-edge hardcore kids knocking beers out people's hands and much worse.

I can't close out the discussion without a mention of the cover - also iconic in hardcore history and which has been aped by so many others. The photo is not of Ian MacKaye, as I think many probably believe, at least at first, but rather of his younger brother, Alec, who will we meet up with as he also fronted some great bands whose records would be released on Dischord.

Unlike the first two Dischord releases, we do not need to have a sense of history to fully appreciate this first Minor Threat record. It is the first record in the Dischord catalog that only needs to look upon itself for its legendary status.

BANDCAMP - Minor Threat - 'First Two 7"'s' (this first Minor Threat 7" are tracks 1-8)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Dischord 2 - State of Alert - 'No Policy'

Recorded Dec. 1980-Jan. 1981, Inner Ear Studios
Released Mar. 1981

Henry Garfield - vocals
Michael Hampton - guitar
Wendel Blow - bass
Simon Jacobsen - drums


Lost In Space
Draw Blank
Girl Problems
Gate Crashers


Gang Fight
Public Defender
Gonna Have To Fight

With their second release, Dischord moves from being a vehicle to document the Teen Idles' brief existence, to becoming a label with the intent to document the D.C. hardcore scene. There is a big difference between a label that releases just one record, and a label that releases two.

That second release is the one and only release from Washington D.C.'s State of Alert, probably better known by their initials, S.O.A., the No Policy 7". To be more specific, this is the only S.O.A. release during their time together as a band, as Dischord will, 34 years later, release a pre-7" demo. We won't be getting to that one anytime soon.

S.O.A., similar to Teen Idles, were a short-lived band, formed out of the ashes of an earlier band (The Extorts, whose vocalist, Lyle Preslar, we'll be meeting up with shortly), and is far better known for what the members of this band would go on to, rather than what the band itself produced.

Jacobsen and Hampton will go onto The Snakes, Hampton will also go onto The Faith and Embrace, and Blow onto Iron Cross. We'll be visiting all of these bands in the future.

But, first and foremost, S.O.A. features the recorded debut of Henry Rollins, at the time still going by his birth name, Henry Garfield. Like Ian MacKaye from the Teen Idles, Rollins would go onto become one of the iconic figures in American hardcore. Unlike MacKaye, however, Rollins' fame would eventually transcend hardcore, or even music in general.

Since this blog is about personal reflection, this seems like the ideal time for my punk rock origin story.

I was aware of the Ramones and the Clash via MTV growing up. While still in elementary school, I had bought the first Ramones album and "Combat Rock". I never associated either album with being "punk rock". I didn't know what punk rock was back then. As a young kid, my cousins had played for me a Sex Pistols song, and I entirely rejected it.

My local record store was Island Sound in Merrick, New York. From the time I was in 5th grade, I used to bike up there every weekend and spent pretty much all of my paper route money on records. Hard rock and metal, the heavier and more extreme, the better.

But one day, probably a bit before my 13th birthday back in 1986, a new t-shirt for sale caught my eye. It was the image of a smiling puppet holding a knife. Above the image in big, block letters - "BLACK FLAG". Underneath the image, "My War". I remember staring at it. I was captivated and I absolutely had to hear whatever this band was offering.

Ron, the owner of the store, who had watched me grow through my early musical evolution, and had guided me towards many of my favorite records, led me to the only two Black Flag cassettes he had behind the counter - 'Family Man' and 'Slip It In'. I bought both of them. Ron, not thinking I'd like them, offered to refund my money the following week if they turned out not to be my thing.

When I got home, I immediately put on 'Family Man', and out through the speakers came the voice of Henry Rollins, "Do you want the family man or do you want the swingin' man? You choose."

And that was it, I was as captivated by the poetry coming through my speakers as I had been that 'My War' t-shirt image, as I had been by the 'Family Man' and 'Slip It In' album covers too.

This was something very different, something far darker, more realistic, raw and visceral than anything I had listened to before.

After a few poetry selections, "Armageddon Man" came roaring out of the speakers. I loved it. 'Family Man' is a bit of an odd gateway into hardcore, it's even odd for a latter day Black Flag record, since it's half spoken-word and half instrumental, and even "Armageddon Man", the only song on the album that has both words and music, is essentially a spoken word piece over top an instrumental piece, if that makes any sense (and it will if you listen to it).

'Slip It In' is the more traditional album of the two, and I loved it just as much. It fulfilled my need for heavy and aggressive music, but with a certain emotional depth that I just wasn't getting from my metal records.

The following week, back to Island Sound. No - I don't need my money back - what I need is more of this - whatever "this" is. I was pointed to the "Punk/Hardcore" section. Huh? This is punk rock? It's somehow not what I had envisioned. But after that, there was no turning back.

I am, without apology, a Henry Rollins fan. As much as I love early Black Flag, Rollins brought a delivery, a heft, a certain psychological darkness and heaviness that the early singers just didn't capture. He even brought it to the material in which he had no writing involvement. I put the 'Damaged' versions of those songs up against anything recorded by the earlier singers that you can hear on 'Everything Went Black'. There's just no comparison between the Rollins version of "Damaged I" and Dez Cadena's version. One is a noisy punk rock song that quickly wears out its welcome. The other is a statement of purpose - "My name's Henry - and you're with me now."

Rollins Band was the first band I ever saw at CBGB (well, technically I guess that would go to Tool who opened) - June 1992. I've also seen him do several of his spoken word performances, and have always found him to be thought provoking. I'm also currently watching Season 2 of 'Sons of Anarchy' (SoA?), and as an actor, Rollins has also played interesting roles and delivered.

In the end, I think that's what Rollins excels at if nothing else. He never had the greatest voice, but he has the gift of delivery - he makes you believe it - whatever "it" may be. I'm a fan - and that is why.

The 'No Policy' EP itself opens with a crash, all hands on deck, all at once, with "Lost In Space", an early no-frills, in your face anti-drug statement.

The record continues on, 10 songs in total, only two of which go past the minute mark, and only just barely. Each song blazing along at a similar fast tempo, similar simple chords, and similar, simplistic rhyming lyrics: "War goin' on / Inside my head / Can't get to sleep / I'd rather be dead" ("Blackout"); "There's a war on the street, whatcha gonna do? / There's no choice, they've turned on you" ("Riot").

The EP is repetitive, but I appreciate the all guns blazing from beginning to end feel of the record. But I've listened to this about a dozen times this week, and the only songs I ever truly remember are the opening track, "Lost In Space", and "Public Defender" on side two.

What these two songs have, that the rest don't, are hooks. I love hardcore, I love metal, I love dark, heavy and aggressive music. But for me, I still need hooks. Something that wakes up my ear - an interesting combination of chords, a soaring melody, an interesting rhythmic change, etc.

What 'No Policy' has in aggressive spirit, it lacks in songwriting. "Lost in Space" and "Public Defender" both have hooks in different places. In "Lost in Space", it's the verses that are memorable. In "Public Defender", it's the chorus ("Man in blue, coming for you / Siren's red, you're gonna be dead").

But the rest of it just blends a little bit too much together for me. Perhaps the one other exception being the final song, "Gonna Have To Fight", which I think continues to demonstrate an English punk influence that I know a lot of the early Dischord bands drew from.

Hampton's guitar solos often out atonal even Greg Ginn, although without any of the musicality (check out the solo, if you can call it that, in "Draw Blank").

Additionally, Jacobsen's drumming is often clumsy to the point of distraction. What S.O.A. went for was fast, tight, 45-second-long songs, and Jacobsen just doesn't keep up most of the time. Ivor Hanson, also later of The Faith and Embrace, would replace Jacobsen, but I'm not sure there's any recorded documentation of that final line-up. Hanson's drumming may have been a great improvement had he been in the band when they recorded this.

The cover is a treated version of a live photograph, with Rollins in a pose I don't normally associate with him: singing upwards rather than in a crouch.

Let's not be too hard, though, this is a pretty fine slice of fast, aggressive, simple hardcore for its time, even if it is a bit unmemorable. Rollins delivers the words, even if he's not capable of the poetry that would later come to him, in the convincing fashion that I've always known him for.

The story from here is a famous one. Rollins driving up to New York City to see Black Flag during the Dez era and joining the band onstage for "Clocked In" before driving back to D.C. in time to open up the local Haagen Dazs. Rollins was later given an invitation to try out for the band, an invitation he accepted and an audition he passed, followed by his move to the west coast. Where on the timelime this is in relation to the end of S.O.A., I'm not so sure about. But what I am pretty sure about is that, with or without the Black Flag intrusion, the band members each needed a change of scenery to take it the next level.

BANDCAMP - State of Alert - 'No Policy'

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dischord 1 - The Teen Idles - 'Minor Disturbance E.P.'

Recorded Sept. 1980 - Inner Ear Studios
Released Dec. 1980

Nathan Strejcek − lead vocals
Geordie Grindle − guitar
Ian MacKaye − bass
Jeff Nelson − drums


Teen Idles
Get Up And Go


Fleeting Fury
Fiorucci Nightmare
Getting In My Way
Too Young To Rock

We start at Dischord 1, the answer to dozens of trivia questions. The first, but not quite only, release by The Teen Idles, although the only release by the band during its existence, but, wait, even that isn't quite true.

This first release for Dischord Records is certainly not its greatest release, but arguably, it's the most important, not because it was first, but because it was the singularity - the Big Bang - the impetus for Dischord coming into existence.

There's a lot to say, so let's back up, or, rather, let's zoom out and then zoom in as we get further along.

They say that history is written by the winners. When it comes to American hardcore, I'd say that history is written by those who were able to document it. Even the best band in the world will eventually be forgotten if they're never documented aurally. Live experiences can only be passed down through stories, but you can throw on a record and enter a time machine.

The book 'American Hardcore: A Tribal History' by Steven Blush is, appropriately, segmented by region. A trained ear can, blindfolded, identify the difference between hardcore bands from New York, Boston, D.C., Texas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Even scenes close in geography, such as Orange County and Los Angeles, or New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, had their stylistic differences.

The historically better-known scenes had the benefit of record labels that primarily were there to document what was happening in that specific region. If I say "In-Effect", you might shout back "New York". If I say "Xclaim!" or "Taang", you say "Boston". If I say "SST", you say "Los Angeles". If I say "Alternative Tentacles", you say "San Francisco". If I say "Touch and Go", you say "midwest" (Ohio/Michigan/Milwaukee/Chicago).

If I say "Dischord", you say, "Washington D.C."

Those who ran these labels no doubt loved music from other regions, but they found a purpose in documenting THEIR scene, THEIR hometown - because major labels certainly weren't going to do it. This was creating a product for sale where the product was more important than the profit, and the profit only necessary so that the label could turn around and release even more records.

The Teen Idles were four kids from Washington, D.C. who formed in 1979. All four members were teenagers when the band formed, and still teenagers when the band broke up only one year later.

The name of the band is a clever play on "Teen Idols", and while the "Teen" part is true, these teens were anything but "idle". In fact, with the benefit of knowing history and all that transpired in the decades since the band existed, one of its members did, in fact become an "idol" for many thousands, if not millions, of punk rock kids, even if that idolatry was the last thing he wanted.

Of course, I am speaking of Ian MacKaye, who, along with Jeff Nelson, had already done some time in a band called The Slinkees, a band not too well documented, although I seem to remember a practice tape circulating in my (brief) tape-trading days in the early '90s. Some Slinkees songs would go on to become Teen Idles songs and one of those songs, "Sneakers", appears on this E.P.

Aside from some band experience, and massive inherent talent, in Nelson and, especially, MacKaye, the band also had the good fortune to grow in a scene that had already been set into motion, and featured one of the most important hardcore bands, Bad Brains, before they would make the move up I-95 to New York City. Bad Brains being a band who blasted out the fastest, most aggressive hardcore for its time, while easily switching gears into reggae and dub, all with the musical ability of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. What that must have been like for a young band such as the Teen Idles to watch and take inspiration from, I can't imagine. They didn't try to emulate the Bad Brains, and that's probably a good thing. Know your limits. Even today, very few punk bands have the level of musicianship that the Bad Brains did.

This band of teenagers, again, hardly idle, made their way to the West Coast, in a time when booking DIY tours was still in its infancy, no doubt following a path blazed by Black Flag.

Shortly after returning home, the band broke up, and found themselves with $600 in the piggy bank. The decision of what to do with that $600 changed everything.

Sure, an easy decision could have been for each band member to take $150 and move on. Probably a decision many bands would have made. But instead, the band chose to spend that $600 to document their band's existence, even though the band itself would cease to exist. Hence, the birth of Dischord Records. Profits from the sale of their E.P. would simply be reinvested to make even more records. Sales were certainly made, and 180+ records and 38 years later, Dischord still exists. As I said at the start, this is an important record.

It's an impressive piece of entrepreneurship and also is demonstrative of what our relationship with records was in 1980 compared to now. It seems hard to imagine a band breaking up in 2018 and only then going to record music for people to own going forward. Records are no longer the important vehicle for a band - the live show is where it's at these days. Music in its recorded form, has become a worthless commodity, if we're talking commercially.

In the pre-internet age, everything was about the record. Records grew and lived their own lives. Tours were there to support the purchase of records. Now, records have become an afterthought, and are there to sell tours. The entire business model of the music industry has reversed upon itself, and the DIY punk community hasn't been immune to that. We have eschewed art, and records are where the art lives and breathes, in favor of being content to simply see our favorite bands in a live environment, and leave them there on the stage as we hit the exits for home. I still feel like the live show is my reward, my payoff, for knowing these bands through their records. I'm not sure that's how most people view the live experience now, but who knows.

I have yet to discuss the music itself, even if its importance pales in comparison to everything else that can be said. But since the music exists, let's deal with it.

This record was made at a time when the rules of hardcore were still being developed, but there were certainly blueprints in place, and the Teen Idles record doesn't venture too far from those boundaries.

As I've listened to this record several times across the week, I began to feel a real difference between the two sides of this record. Side One feels more accessible and somehow less mature. In the band's theme song, the lead off track, you can squint and feel a Ramones influence, musically and lyrically. Of course, "Teen Idles" ends with one future icon thanking another, the "Thanks Henry" that Ian gives the shout out to (first studio shout out on a record? maybe) is, of course, their roadie Henry Garfield, who the world knows better as Henry Rollins. We'll be seeing him real soon.

"Sneakers" and "Get Up and Go" continue with the speedy and upbeat feel, with Nathan barking a quick "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8" in the middle of "Get Up and Go", another reminder that the Ramones were probably a major influence.

I've always felt that "Deadhead" was a bit of a misstep and I've never felt the "Casey Jones" butchering was all that funny or clever. Punks and hippies, I've always felt, had a certain common bond in their subcultures.

Side B, however, is what began to grow on me as the week went on. Whereas the first side was upbeat and controlled, the songs on Side B felt darker, a sense of chaos underneath. In "Fleeting Fury" we hear the first appearance of the Jeff Nelson drumbeat we would become more familiar with in Minor Threat. "Fiorucci Nightmare" and "Getting In My Way" feel like two parts of a whole, the transition between the songs being almost completely imperceptible.

All of the songs are commentaries from the perspective of teenage kids, but whereas the songs on side one celebrate, in a sense, being a teenager (which of course includes giving a middle finger to the older generations), the songs on side two seem to display a more pessimistic attitude, a looking forward that isn't idyllic.

There's a big difference between "Put on your sneakers and be a kid / Why don't you try and have some fun / Put on your sneakers and be a kid / You're not fooling anyone" ("Sneakers") and "My vision's clouded, the sun is dark / I've lost my way, I've lost my mark / Chased by something in another way / Hoping to see the light or another day" ("Getting In My Way").

The record closes out with an incomprehensible live song, "Too Young To Rock". This wasn't Kiss 'Alive'....this was someone holding a boombox in the back of the club. You couldn't come up with a starker contrast between this and mainstream corporate rock.

The song opens with an audience chant that reminds me of the beginning of the first Exploited record, before the band blasts away at chords that are entirely illegible. But this song is what gave the 7" it's title, like the band name, a play on words - 'A Minor Disturbance' ("Minor disturbance, stopped at the door / Not new to you, 'cause it's happened before"). Lyrically, a reflection of the E.P.'s cover, another iconic image, the "X"'s on the hand that clubs would draw on underage kids, a symbol that those kids would own and take for themselves.

The record is a snapshot of youth and all of its frustrations. Feeling idle, as if those older view you as having nothing to contribute, seems to a major theme. The record itself destroys that entire notion.

The record is legendary and it's valuable (like REALLY valuable, you may need to refinance your home to purchase one if you're fortunate to ever come across an original copy), but only because we know what the record means symbolically, and what some of the members of the band would go onto in future years - from teenagers, to young men, to, now, middle-aged men on the brink of their 60s.

Strejcek and Grindle will soon fade into the background as we continue down this journey, while Nelson and MacKaye will remain focal points, the two of them being the owners of Dischord Records and playing together in one of the most legendary and influential hardcore bands ever. MacKaye, specifically, will be a partner through this entire ride.

Dischord has been kind enough to share their entire catalog on Bandcamp, so at the end of these things, I'll be providing the link since after all this discussion, it'll be nice to relax and actually listen to these things.

As always, my grand hope is to generate discussions - so please feel free to use the comments to add your own thoughts, add to the history, tell me where I'm going wrong, etc.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Blogging Dischord - the head of the trail

I need to get this out of the way now. I appreciate the English language and the rules that go along with it (i.e., grammar). It kills me every time I look at this blog and see that in some depleted mental state, I called it "12 Notes Is Enough" rather than "12 Notes Are Enough". It bothers me - it'll always bother me - but what's done is done.

So here we stand at the head of a long trail. The pathway is laid out as we go chronologically, or, more accurately, numerically, through the Dischord Records catalog. Some of the path will be very familiar, some vaguely familiar, but like all hikes - the most fun will be on those parts that aren't familiar at all. We'll find some tasty berries along the way, and probably some poison ones too.

What I hope this can be, on a personal level, is a feeling of accomplishment and development of writing. I'm not a professional writer and I'm in awe of those who are. Being a musician, it might be odd that I find it exceedingly difficult to write about music, and those that have that particular gift, I salute you.

I certainly hope to discover records not before heard or revisit those I've listened to a couple of times and filed away - for better or for worse. I will give each record more than a fair listen. The only way I know how to truly absorb music is to sit with it for awhile. I've never quite understood how those who write for monthly music magazine can somehow review dozens and dozens of records in that short time span. I'm sure all of us have learned to absolutely love records that just didn't connect on first listen...or second....or even third.

I have no time table for these posts, but I hope not to work on a geological timescale.

In a broader sense, I'm hoping this blog will act as a repository of sorts...a reference. A place that people will eventually find as they look to the internet for discussions about these records. My hope is that this is interactive, where conversations and reflections can be aired in the comments section - and I will certainly do my best to respond there. I will touch upon records that mean far more to you than they do to me - records that you're more knowledgeable about than to me - and I want this to be a place where you can feed your inner record geek and let loose about the records you love and those you hate.

What this isn't going to be is a Wiki for Dischord. As I mentioned in the intro post, I haven't read the books or seen the documentaries (yet). I don't want to feel like I need to hunt down every last historical detail about the bands or the records or how many pressings and blah-blah-blah. That exists already and it's easily found by opening up a new tab on your browser and doing the Google thing.

With that said, I certainly welcome those details. I welcome being corrected. I'd certainly more than welcome if anyone actually involved in these records found this and used it as an opportunity to tell their story. I mean, how great would THAT be?

But for now - it's let's get started on the journey.