f 7inchSlam.com: November 2006


Punk Rock Indoctrination

It happens for different folks at different ages. Some folks were lucky and got in at age 13, some people are late bloomers and it didn't happen until 17 or 18, but once it happens, your life is changed. After you experience it once you want it more and more until you end up doing it every day.

I'm not talking about when you lost your virginity, that happened about two years after you started bragging to your friends that you lost your virginity. I'm talking about when some older and much cooler kid turned you on to punk rock. It doesn't matter what kind of garbage you used to listen to, it only matters that somebody played you a Stooges or Ramones record and you flipped out. Pretty soon you had a decent record collection, a couple beat up pairs of Chuck Taylors, and a drinking problem. You have arrived.

Then you moved out of your parent's house and developed an even better record collection. You made friends with a bunch of bands, started a few bands, and became one of those older kids that get younger kids into punk. Oh yeah, you still have that same pair of Chucks and drinking problem.

When my little sister announced that she was coming over to watch Steelers with us, it was time for kick ass burritos and punk rock indoctrination. We started with tortilla chips with both salsa and queso sauce to get us through the first half of the game. By halftime we had started cooking refried beans in one pot, black beans in another, and Morningstar crumbles in the frying pan. We threw in some onions and garlic into the fake meat, then seasoned it with chili powder and cumin. After everything was heated up and the lettuce and tomato were on the cutting board, we had fairly healthful burritos lined up for the second half of the game. Then we went all out and topped our burritos with sour cream and queso sauce, which ruined any nutritional benefits that we previously had going for us. We've all had the 50 cent frozen burritos from the grocery store, our homemade burritos put those things to shame. These burritos took less time than a trip to Taco Bell, and were so good that we ate 7 of them by the time the Steelers scored their game winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Here at the 7inchslam.com offices, we've discussed how perfect it would be to pair burritos with Los Crudos. Well that's not what I'm gonna write about. If you want to be one of those cool older kids that indoctrinates the youngsters to like everything that you like, you aren't gonna start with Crudos. You should start with the Rip Offs. Formed out of the ashes of Supercharger (which is another band that may be used to introduce youngsters to punk rock), San Francisco's the Rip Offs are everything a punk band should be. They've got dumb lyrics about cops and sex, catchy hooks, and nobody in the band knows how to play an instrument. Their only full length Got a Record is 14 songs in under 24 minutes, starting with the best instrumental intro track that anybody could ever ask for. When you want to introduce younger kids to punk rock, this is a good record to start with. If you can get somebody to like this record, they can pretty easily move on to Supercharger or any of the other Rip Off Records stuff like Loli & the Chones, Teengenerate, or The Marked Men. And if your younger sibling or friend moves on to like all of those records, then your work is done.

One of the coolest things about being into the music that we're all into is you can turn other kids onto it, and you can make them like all the things that you like. Giant burritos and the Rip Offs are one hell of a way to get into punk rock.

Posted by John

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The years I spent slogging through life on Pittsburgh’s North Side in the early to mid-nineties were pretty good. There were tons of great records pouring out of America, Japan and France. The Rip-Offs, Teengenerate and Oblivians were still together. In walking distance of my place there were pawn shops, three decent thrift stores, a mom & pop video store that rented Blaxploitation, horror & porn, there were also two White Towers and one Stedeford’s where I’m pretty sure I found a record I wanted at least once.

Sure I spent my miserable days slinging pizza with goons, most of who seemed to be named Stan (except for the dude sporting an Ozzy finger tattoo, his name was Bob). My unfortunate nights were spent holing up in an apartment to avoid being murdered by migrating North Side Crips. I once had the misfortune of having a gun pulled on me and spent the next year or two under the false assumption that my surely imminent demise would come from the icy cold hands of an angry black dope slinging Crip. Nowadays, I just figure that those bad times were my penance for being dumb enough to go to Art School.

However, if I’d been smart enough to check out Max’s Allegheny Tavern I may have never left my dubious North Side digs.

Rizzo had the day off and I put in a quick “hack, hack, hack, cough, cough, cough, vomit, vomit, vomit” call off at work. We then proceeded to hit the North Side with a quick jaunt to AIR to check out the Black Panther exhibit (which much to my dismay had nothing to do with Jack Kirby or T’challa) but it was educational and DIY nonetheless:

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After getting our social consciousness on, we were primed and pumped for Max’s:

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We’ll let the pictures do the talking…Rizzo started with the hearty comfort of the Einlauf soup:

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Then she moved on to some gravy covered Spatzle:

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I plowed through a serious sauerkraut laden Dutchtown Style Kielbasa sandwich:

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Although I’m not much of a dessert fan this Apple Strudel with French Vanilla ice cream was impossible to pass up:

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Alright kids, now for the musical portion of our show.

You might remember Eddy Grant’s big hit “Electric Avenue” from back in the 80’s, that special far and away time when your parents were having coked up orgies in the backyard swimming pool and MTV, AIDS and crack were the hot new things. Well when Eddy was rocking his “one hit wonder” status in 80’s, The Clash (love ‘em or hate ‘em) were covering “Police On My Back” from his late 60’s early 70’s combo the Equals:

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It’s hard to pin down the Equals mod/pop/bubblegum/rock/funk sound but suffice it to say if you don’t like the Equals, I’d be hard pressed to call you a friend. Not because you have shitty musical taste but because not liking the Equals is akin to not liking fun. Germany liked 'em so much they had 13 charting singles in good old Deutschland.


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Fucked Up Weekend

While I'm even more guilty of laziness than my other contributors, I feel it's important to say that I at least left the country in the last two weeks. I don't think either of them left their couches. However, suffice it to say, I'm back. I got the chance to cross the border into the Great White North with 7inchslam.com's favorite little teenage asshole, the singer of Rot Shit and world's number one shitbag, Lil' Vinnie.

Since we had planned to take a trip up to Toronto for the Fucked Up release extravaganza, I figured it would be a perfect time to get completely wrecked for two days, eat all the food in the city, buy all the records there, obtain illicit drugs and do them on the street, and all the various other nonsense that a mini-vacation entails. However, in grand Steve fashion, almost nothing worked out right and all I wanted to do was go back to Pittsburgh after about twelve hours.

Since we were leaving at 2 PM on a Friday (I took the day off, Vinnie quit his job), we decided it would be prudent to accompany one Mr. Tony Valone to my favorite pub, Piper's in Pittsburgh's South Side for some celebratory pints. Vinnie stuck with Piper's tastiest pint, the McEwan's IPA. I had three different pints: the Belhaven St. Andrew's Ale, a Franziskaner Weissbier (served in the fruitiest glass ever, which will get you made fun of by assholes drinking Labatt's like dogs), and also a Spaten Optimator.

We were picked up from the pub drunk in the afternoon and proceeded to annoy the others in the car with complaints of full bladders and empty stomachs. So once we got on the interstate, I made Rachel pull over at a gas station where I witnessed something I'd never seen in my years of honestly enjoying convenience-store snacks. This gas station (whose name and location I forget but was most likely located on I-79 North) had a case with ready-made Hot Pockets. Now that was a great idea.

I picked up a Beef and Cheddar, two hot dogs: one with chili and cheese and one with mustard and relish and onion, and then began stealing Vinnie's bags of Andy Capp's Hot Fries. So after getting drunk in the morning, I was full of the world's crappiest food in the car. Since I couldn't smoke, I attempted to lull myself into the realm of schleep to no avail. After the weather began to be unbearable, I offended the front seat with backhanded comments then demanded more food. We pulled into an Arby's, I ate a Beef Bacon Cheddar melt before anyone even got to the ketchup stand, then decided to go outside and vomit in the rain for ten minutes. The weekend was shaping up poorly.

By the time we made it to the first show, we had to stand an hour in the rain with Chuck Barrels of Terminal Boredom fame waiting to get in and see Pittsburgh locals Brain Handle play to a big crowd with sweet bands. Good for them, ya know? WRONG. No one gets let in forever, I'm freezing to death, Vinnie is screaming at everyone telling them they're queens, mandatory coat check, we miss Brain Handle.... just lovely. Fuck that.

Up next was Mind Eraser, a band I've seen in a basement (punishing) and own both of their LP's (destructive). They opened with a cover of "Black Sabbath" and raged hard for their set. I was expecting a little more Neanderthal dance-floor insanity but I just saw a bunch of gimps in sweatsuits jumping onto the backs of little Toronto HC fops. Great set nonetheless, and their records must be checked out to be believed. They play powerviolence with belligerent metal leanings and classic Nor'easter angst.

After that, the band we were most excited to see, Pissed Jeans, took the stage. Since I'd missed their recent Pittsburgh show, I was more excited than ever. Vinnie and I had double-fisted beers as soon as we got in, so I was feeling pretty lubed-up and ready to yell. When Da Jeans took the stage with "Throbbing Organ", I attempted to stage-dive, fell on my back, didn't care, kept drinking and screaming, and enjoyed the four song set as much as ever. The slow crushing jam from the recent Sub Pop 7" sounded great, and the packed-in feel of the crowd (the room was shaped very oddly, more of a DJ spot than a rock club) made it a lot of fun.

I'd like to take a minute to discuss Canadian beer. Canada: your beer is fucking awful. Who is going to drink Labatt 50 in America? No one, because we have the good sense to actually not pay five dollars a bottle for horseshit that must be imbibed double-time to get you drunk. This ain't Utah, asshole. Fuck that! I did not have a passable beer in Canada till the next day. And by the time the Bayonettes, Brutal Knights, and Regulations got to play at the White Orchid, I was already pretty pissed. Saw a great performance by the Bayonettes, who really impressed and inspired me to start digging for their records. Brutal Knights got the crowd moving and were OK, but by this time I'd had it with everyone there, including our host, Vinnie, all the kids who showed up, the weather, lack of food, and since I was baked anyway, I just shut up and watched Vinnie ruin everything. A punch to the forehead from myself later quieted him down for about five minutes. I missed most of Regulations, but I stand by my love for that band still, even when everyone else chides them for being unoriginal. Yeah, your Discharge rip-off band sure has some catchy songs.

After finding a random showgoer to stay with, Vinnie and I awoke to find ourselves stranded in Toronto with no bags, not much money, a set of keys that weren't ours, no ride, and no clue where to go next. We decided to head to Queen Street where the next show was. We were very pleased to learn that Toronto has AMAZING HOT DOGS.

For those who know me, this is possibly the best thing I could see happening. The first spot we stopped at had new toppings I never even thought of, such as yellow corn with red peppers. They had an excellent mustard, BBQ sauce, fresh relish and onions, and basically the makings of a perfect street dog. For $2.50 Canadian you could snag a large dog with a toasted bun. Vinnie and I both took part with reckless abandon, since we were very hungry and very unconcerned with how crappy everything was turning out and what to do next.

With about eight hours till showtime, Vinnie and I wandered over to Noise Annoys records, Cloud 9 headshop, and a great little pub called the Gorilla Monsoon. As we walked in, we noticed the nice decor, giant TV with the Milan v. Inter match on, and one pissed-up English dude calling everyone "fackin' greasy cunts". So we sat down and started getting drunk while we waited for Rachel to show up again. This place was a bright spot, because despite having only like six beers in the whole joint, one was American and the guys there were awesome bartenders and funny as shit. We BS'ed with the English guy Greg about the Cockney Rejects and Manchester City and United. Great time. I should also note by now that Chuck Barrels flaked today for the Sabres game. Christ!

After getting wasted high with them, it was time to get more hot dogs. They also served veggie dogs for $1.50 right outside so you should be in luck if you're veggin' it up in the Queen City. The night was a blur after that. Got to see Formaldehyde Junkies play a raging, shambolic set with the worst guitar tone in history, saw Criminal Damage's only East Coast show which sounded amazing and made me surprised at my recent respect for well-done Oi, saw the Darvocets suck live as well as on record, watched a little of Regulations again, didn't care about Nine Shocks Terror or Fucked up or Drop Dead. I was done. I wanted out. I needed to be back home. And in order to do that, I had to miss Career Suicide (who have raged the two times I've seen them) and the Inmates (who I was very disappointed to miss again) at the Saturday afterparty. I got home at 7 AM to see the Steelers lose. Fuck that. Here's a shot of Criminal Damage for y'all:

Here's a great gyro I forgot about. I also realized I brought beer everywhere I went:

Also, somehow Vinnie got babes to lick him. That little fucker.

Canada doesn't have poutine if you're not a Frog, has good hot dogs, costs too much money, hot Asian babes everywhere, has the worst beer ever, sweet record stores, drugs galore, and a bunch of other shit I'd talk about if I wasn't already boring myself. Thanks to Rachel for bringing us, Sian for putting us up, Vinnie for making me look awesome by comparison, and no thanks to the people who flaked on us and screwed us over on Friday night. You suck! Till next time! See ya!

*Posted by Steve-O

PS: For the rest of our trip, you can check it out here.

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