Punk rock dads

This is now the movie I most want to see. Opens in Boston at Kendall Theater on 11/11.

This revealing and touching film asks what happens when a generation’s ultimate anti-authoritarians — punk rockers — become society’s ultimate authorities — dads. With a large chorus of punk rock’s leading men – Blink-182′s Mark Hoppus, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath – THE OTHER F WORD follows Jim Lindberg, a 20-year veteran of the skate punk band Pennywise, on his hysterical and moving journey from belting his band’s anthem “F–k Authority,” to embracing his ultimately authoritarian role in mid-life: fatherhood.

Here’s the trailer:

Via Laughing Squid / Brand Flakes for Breakfast

Punk rock dads

Apple and Disposable Technology

This blog post, about Apple and Disposable Technology and how we buy iPods every 2 years now, has been written thousands of times, but I enjoyed Brendan Kelly’s artful take on it and have been meaning to post this for 4 months.

Think about it. Apple really nailed this one. There’s an apple store here in Chicago, and I remember going in there only 2 years after the first ipods came out and there was a bin for ‘recycling your ipod’ right there in the store. There was a sign above it that said something like “it’s been good to you, now recycle it”. Dude? Are you fucking kidding me? Those things cost like 300 bucks! I hate to sound like a fucking grandpa, but back in my day shit that cost three hundred bucks wasn’t supposed to fucking die EVER. I mean, what kind of brass iBalls does this company have that they can sell this shit for so much money and then when you bring it in because it’s broken, they can smile smugly and say “hey, it’s not supposed to last much more than 2 years. It’s been good to you, right? Now recycle it and get another one.” Fuck. You. (and yeah, I’ll take another one…snivel)

Apple and Disposable Technology

Live forgetters Download

forgetters were supposed to record a 7″ in October, but for those of you who can’t wait for it to come out, I found this recording on the Twitter of forgetters at Lit Lounge on 9/19/09 might be able to tide you over. It’s 7 songs in a tight 23 minutes, and it sounds pretty good (better than the Thorns of Life Gilman St bootleg). Unfortunately, I don’t know the music well enough to provide a track listing, and and more unfortunately, this is all 1 MP3 track.
Although there’s some song overlap, I like forgetters better than Thorns of Life, so there.

forgetters, Lit Lounge, 9/19/09

(I’d like to give credit to they that recorded this. If it’s you, let me know.)

Live forgetters Download

Lucero at The Middle East, Cambridge, MA 10/18/09

I heard someone in the crowd telling a friend, “The last time I saw Lucero was on a boat.” They had a slide guitarist that night, but I was thinking that if you hadn’t seen or heard Lucero in 18 months, seeing them Sunday night would have been something of a shock. Lucero officially added keyboardist Rick Steff and slide guitarist Todd Beene to the band, cementing the lineup of the last couple shows I’ve seen. And at least on this tour in support of their new album 1372 Overton Park, they’re playing with a three piece horn section. Adding 5 (FIVE!) additional people to a 4 piece band will obviously change things.

1372 Overton Park features horns on every track except the last, so it was pretty clear Lucero would bring a horn section on the road for at least this tour, but I wondered how they’d work the horns in with the older material. If I remember correctly, the solution was a set list that looked like this: a couple of new ones with horns, a couple of old ones with horns, a couple of new ones with horns, a couple of old ones with horns, horns take a break while band plays a couple of old ones, Ben with slide and keyboards, horns come back for a couple of new ones, a couple of old ones with horns, a new one with horns, thank you, good night. Mixing the horns in and out, was something that may have been better suited to 2 distinct sets, but I’m not sure how that would have flowed.They didn’t play “What are you Willing to Lose” (which they skipped the night before in New York), unfortunately, but they did hit most of the new album, along with a rousing version of “The Blue and The Gray” “The War”, “Mom”, “Chain Link Fence”, “I Can Get Us Out of Here”, “All Sewn Up”, and “Last Pale Light” from Ben’s solo album.

Overall, it was a solid set, lacking some of the drunken sloppiness that had characterized shows from a couple years ago (though we got some of that towards the end, too). The last couple shows have been more sober than the first couple I saw, and while previously, that relative sobriety brought something of a stiffness to the sets, the band seems to be growing into it more.

I also sensed something of a self-consciousness to the band’s set choices… Lucero likes playing and cares about their fans, to be sure, but a two hour set is long for a band with punk rock roots. I wondered if that was acknowledgment of the $20 ticket price. A price, by the way, which probably kept the Middle East from selling out, but just barely, as the room was mostly full. (Incidentally, Lucero played for OVER 2 hours this spring at the Paradise, and tickets were $15 then, so who knows.) Mixing the horns in and out, was something that may have been better suited to 2 distinct sets, but I’m not sure how that would have flowed. There was definitely a desire to play the new songs, but also a willingness to take requests from the crowd for old songs, even if horn arrangements weren’t prepared for those songs. Maybe by the end of the tour it will be horns all night, but I couldn’t tell if that was the plan.

A note about the sound. I had planned to watch the show from the raised bar area at stage right, but the sound was so bad up there I retreated to the floor in the middle of the first song where the sound was fine (after a song or 2). I think it might have been an issue with the stage volume being too loud for the sound guy to mix appropriately, but the sound on the floor straightened out eventually, while the sound on the raised bar area never did.

I’m interested to see Lucero next time around. Have they kept the horns and added arrangements to all of the old songs, reworked the new songs to accommodate missing horn lines, or have they done what they did Sunday and mixed it all together? This last option would surprise me. Frankly, Lucero has a relatively standard base sound and song structure; 2 guitars, bass, drums, no crazy solos, versechorusbridgerepeat, etc. And yet, as a band, they’ve continued to grow, as songwriters and as performers, while continuing to write songs that resonate with their fans. Because of this, it’s unlikely they’ll come back through town without changing something up, which is about all you want from a band.

Lucero at The Middle East, Cambridge, MA 10/18/09

forgetters at Great Scott, Allston, MA – 10/4/09

Forgetters at great scott When I interviewed Blake Schwarzenbach a couple weeks ago about his new band, forgetters (small f, no the), Schwarzenbach had mentioned that when Thorns of Life started last year, they weren’t interested in trading on anyone’s past to get a head start. That’s apparently still the case as forgetters took the stage at Great Scott on Sunday night for around 125 or so people, the last of 3 bands on a $6 bill. I imagine if they felt differently about playing up the past, the show could have been at a bigger venue, promoted differently, and more widely attended. At the very least, the ticket price at Great Scott could have been doubled. Still, 125 fans for a band’s 5th show is a strong showing, and I expect it will be a harder ticket it the next time they’re in town.

On stage, everyone looked to be having a good time, and Blake is back to eyes shut, neck strained screaming. I never saw Jawbreaker, but I didn’t see this the 2 times I saw Jets. The band seemed more polished than I’d expect for a 5th show, though there was a flub or two (‘Fuck You, Dad’ stopped after a few beats, reintroduced as ‘I’m Sorry, Dad, and started again). Although I don’t think I’ve heard any of the songs, a lot of them sounded familiar. There was the syncopated drumming of Kevin Mahon that punctuated a lot of the early Against Me! catalog. Aside from the drums, the songs sound like a mix between pre-Dear You Jawbreaker punk with bits of Jets to Brazil pop sprinkled in, which, you know, is nice. I don’t know how to explain it, but the songs sounded like they wanted to be recorded, which bodes well for the 7″ recording in October. Most importantly, the songs are good enough to stand on their own. They’re good enough to allow forgetters to build a following of it’s own, without trading on anyone’s past. I could probably get away with saying that everyone at Great Scott on Sunday was there because of Jawbreaker, but if forgetters lasts for 5 years (or more) as Schwarzenbach expressed hope that they would in our interview, that won’t always be the case. I’m looking forward to seeing them again after hearing their record.

forgetters at Great Scott, Allston, MA – 10/4/09

Blake Schwarzenbach Interview

Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil, Thorns of Life, and now forgetters. Blake Schwarzenbach, after not performing publicly for several years following the disbanding of Jets to Brazil, caused a stir when Thorns of Life debuted late last year. After only a handful of performances and a recording session rumored to be troubled, it was said Thorns of Life had reached the end, as well. This was confirmed a couple weeks ago when Schwarzenbach resurfaced playing in a new band, forgetters. They play Great Scott in Allston on October, 4, and I recently had the opportunity to speak with Schwarzenbach over the phone.

We discuss the plan for forgetters, English, the nonpossibility of a Jawbreaker reunion, books, healthcare, politics, and more. Instead of breaking the interview into sections it’s all in one post below. Enjoy!

Why don’t you start off by telling me a little bit about forgetters and what you guys are about and what you want to try to do.

We’re a 3 piece band from Brooklyn and we’re still kinda getting know to each other as a musical entity. But songs have been happening very quickly for this group so we don’t have any huge plans to continue gestating. And we want to play a lot.

So you guys are done with the birth period and you’re gonna get out there.

Yeah! I mean we’re still writing a lot of songs. I’ve got a little backlog and there’s also been some spontaneous creation, which I’m always looking for. So it’s hard for us right now because we’re getting a lot of show possibilities and at the same time, we’re trying to catch up with learning songs, in order to play them. So it’s a good problem, but it is, nonetheless, something we have to negotiate.

Are you guys going to put together a tour, or just keep to weekends?

We’re starting out with weekends and we’ll be recording a couple songs in October for a 7″. I think the plan is to be incremental and modest in our aspirations. We’re trying to live in real human time.

So a 7″ in October?

That’s the recording. It will take longer to come out, obviously.
Continue reading “Blake Schwarzenbach Interview”

Blake Schwarzenbach Interview