Oct 19, 2011

Slew 09 - Northern California Late 80's / Early 90's

Slew 09 The Show // The Pics

The whole East Bay pop-punk explosion had it’s beginnings while I was dealing with high school in Appleton, Wisconsin during the late 80’s and early 90’s. At The Record Exchange, a used record shop that no longer exists, I saw records by Sewer Trout and Isocracy that looked cool and had funny song titles. I bought ‘em both and really liked the Sewer Trout record. It was on a small label called Lookout Records and I started noticing adds in MRR and Flipside for Lookout Bands. Then I saw The Mr. T Experience play in Green Bay. It seemed like every month or so some other kick ass record would come out on Lookout. The Operation Ivy LP Energy is a damn near perfect album. There was a poppier sound on these records that I hadn’t heard before since I was listening to Septic Death and DRI way more than The Descendents. It ended up being the perfect soundtrack for suffering through high school and college. What happened later after Green Day got signed and Rancid got huge sorta got me out of the whole East Bay thing but I look back at the music put out from 1988-1992 with fondness. We hope you enjoy it. - Mike D.

1. Operation Ivy: Soundsystem - Energy LP (Lookout Records, Lookout 10, 1989)
As I just said, this album is perfect. I had it on tape and I would play that shit on my walkman over and over again whenever I’d go on roadtrips with my family. As I type this I distinctly remember sitting on a beach at a lake in northern Wisconsin listening to Energy. All day I’d listen to my tape of it while reading the Stephen King’s first Dark Tower book. Everyone I knew went apeshit for this record and like Green Day’s - 39 Smooth, it seemed to be in almost everybody’s tape deck for like half a year.

2. Cringer : Retrograde - Time For A Little Something 7” (Vinyl Communications, VC-23, 1991)
I love the shit out of Cringer and miss the shit out of Lance Hahn. Not because I knew him or anything, it was just good knowing he was out there somewhere making music. Now that he’s passed away it’s one less truly good person in the world and that’s a little sad. No worries, I’ll just play some Cringer and it will all be fine. I mean...they put Winnie The Pooh and The Peanuts on their records for chrissakes. How could anyone be in a bad mood when they listen to Cringer.

3.Mr. T. Experience: I Love You, But You’re Standing On My Foot - Milk Milk Lemonade LP
(Lookout! Records, Lookout 49, 1992)
I would love it if I still had the t-shirt I got at the Mr T. Experience show when they came through Green Bay. It was black and white and I thought I was cool cuz the Mr T. Experience were more of an obscure band and everyone else had Black Flag and Circle Jerks shirts. I bought it while they were on the Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood tour and I got the record of the same name at the show too. After that record I bought everything they put out for quite some time until John Von left the band and started the Rip Offs. I don’t know why I stopped listening or paying attention, but I know everything up to and through their Love Is Dead LP is essential pop-punk greatness.

4. The Wrong: Drunk With You - Ethyl Merman Jism Spoon LP (Flux Records, FLX 1.2, 1989)
There isn’t a whole lot of information I could find about this band and I don’t think I ever really knew much about them. The Wrong had songs on a couple of old East Bay comps and my friend who worked at the Record Exchange told me to buy this. I don’t think I’ve played it in over 10 years.

5. Sweet Baby: Resuscitation - It’s A Girl! LP (Ruby Records, 1-25822, 1989)
I love this record. Nothing but songs about girls. Sweet Baby used to be Sweet Baby Jesus and i think Very Small Records put out one record with Sweet Baby of the Jesus variety, but I’m not really sure. I think the world would be a much better place if every man, woman, and child had a copy of this record.

6. Lookouts: Dying - IV 7” (Lookout Records, Lookout 47, 1990)
The Lookouts were Larry Livermore’s band. He’s the guy that started Lookout Records and was a total hero of mine when I was graduating high school. Tre Cool, drummer for Green Day, got his start in the Lookouts when Larry formed the band and couldn’t find anyone else to play the drums in the small mountain town that he was living in. I think Tre was 12 at the time. Tre went on to fame and fortune in Green day and Larry ended up selling Lookout Records. Larry is still writing, he wrote a column for MRR back in the 90s, and still plays with his newerish band The Potatomen on occasion. Check out what he’s up to at his blog.

7. Green Day: Paper Lanterns - Slappy E.P. (Lookout Records, Lookout 35, 1990)
Fuck, i just read Green Day has sold in excess of 65,000,000 records worldwide. I was 17 years old the year this E.P. came out and if I remember right it came out hot on the heels of 39/Smooth. That record was so damn good. Green Day was so damn good. I was too young to really know a lot about their influences, what they sounded like, or that in the next fifteen years they were going to become one of the most recognized names of modern music. We all just just knew that god forbid, if they ever got signed, everyone in the world was going to be a Green Day fan.

8. Sewer Trout: People Like Me - Songs About Drinking 7” (Lookout Records, Lookout 8, 1988)
Sewer Trout was one of the first two East Bay bands I ever listened too. I got this the same day I got Isocracy’s 7” (Lookout #5). From then on it was East Bay all the way. 23 years after I first heard this record I can still remember....
“coors for contras - beer for nazis
schaefer’s is cheaper and morally superior”
my first ever political boycott and one I still support.

9. Samiam: Too Many Buttons - I AM 7” (Lookout Records, Lookout 24, 1990)
I totally forgot that Samiam formed from the ashes of Isocracy. Sergie, guitar player, came over from Sweet Baby. About 80% of me thinks I should have played an Isocracy song instead of this, but I always thought the I AM 7” this song is from was pretty dang good. It came as a surprise to me that SAMIAM is still an active band since I stopped paying attention after their first LP.

10. Monsula: Wither - v/a The Big One: San Francisco/Los Angeles LP (Flipside Records, Flip-30, 1990)
Monsula released two LPs and a 7” on Lookout but I never owned their records for one reason or another. It’s more East Bay goodness in the gruff sung vocals/tunefull but fuzzy guitar vein kinda like Samiam or Nuisance or Crimpshrine or.....

11. Scherzo: Suffering And Joy - Suffering And Joy LP (Lookout Records, Lookout 47, 1991)
One of my good buddies put on a show in Kaukauna with these guys and I remember Scherzo being really nice while I got drunk. They played well too, though at this point the whole thing is a bit fuzzy. Not sure what became of ‘em, but it was fun while it lasted.

12. Nuisance: Nicotine - Confusion Hill LP (Lookout Records, Lookout 48, 1991)
I never really knew much about Nuisance and now that I’m looking for info, the inter-net can’t seem to provide any info in a fashion that’s easy enough for me to take advantage of.

13. Stikky: Cheese Is Still Fantastic - Where’s My Lunchpail LP (Lookout Records, Lookout 6, 1988)
Stikky was the brainchild of Chris Dodge, whom later went on to found Slap-a-ham records and the band Spazz. The whole album is full of super-fast goofy songs that made fun of pretty much everything. Sorta like the AOD Wacky Hi-Jinks LP.

14. Schlong: Ploppo - Waxy Yellow Buildup LP (Very Small Records, VSR-35, 1992)
Huge musical talent that found a comfort in the wacky side of punk. Mixing political with cartoon fantasy lyrics, along with punk, funk, jazz, and cartoon fantasy music. You may be familiar with their punk-a-fied version of West Side Story. This song is kinda like an instrumental. Check out the link for a live performance from 1991.

15. Econochrist: Bullet With No Name - Ruination LP (Very Small Records, VSR-08, 1990)
Originally from Arkansas, this hardcore band gravitated to the Berkly scene and carved out a deep niche. Singer Ben Econochrist (might not be his christian name, pardon the pun) gave hardcore music a leftist political sound different from the east coast hardcore.


16. Crimpshrine: Bricks - Sleep, What’s That? EP (Lookout Records, Lookout 08, 1988)
This is the penultimate late 80’s northern California punk band. A definite influence to all other bands from the area. Though, not often copied due to the originality of Jeff Ott’s guitar playing, and poetry based lyrics. You may know of the drummer Arron Cometbus from his long running zine “Cometbus” telling tales of travel and adventure. I remember learning how to screenprint in my friend’s garage useing the cover of this 7” to make our own t-shirts.