Tonight I returned to Gilman St for the second instalment of The Lookouting and I knew tonight was going to be filled with all the good times that I had experienced last Sunday. During the week I was interviewed for The Lookouting documentary, I met up with the band Scherzo, and rehearsed with Cringeworthy for the show on Sunday. It’s been an eventful week so tonight I was psyched up to see Scherzo, The Wynona Riders, Surrogate Brains, Corrupted Morals, and Monsula. Excellent!

Arriving just in time to see Scherzo, it was still kind of surreal to me as I have been listening to that record for like 22 years and now I am seeing the band live. Not something I had ever thought would happen or possible. Having met the guys the night before, it turns out that the world is smaller than we thought and guitarist, Mark, knew people I knew back home in Melbourne. Heaps good! The band we both knew in question was pop punkers Caustic Soda (the singer now has Blueline Medic). Like I always say, when people know our countries music, it’s quite a thrill. Caustic Soda were awesome. Check out their 7″ on Crackle Records called Femalevolence. Trust me, it’s four songs of radness that shouldn’t be overlooked.

ANYWAY, back to Scherzo. These guys came on and tore it up. Sure, it wasn’t perfect but that’s rock n roll. Bret Michaels told me that when CC Deville showed up to play Talk Dirty To Me on the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards and it was a complete mess, and let’s be honest, Bret would know. Still, Scherzo opened with Suffering And Joy, the title track off their only full length, and it was a good time for all. Packed with harmonies and some great guitar tones, it was good to see a band who haven’t played together in so long just get up there and kick out the jams. Heaps good!

I remember way back in like ’93 when I bought that Childhood Game 7″ by The Wynona Riders, I picked it up cos I thought the band name was witty, and I liked the actress their name parodied, Winona Ryder (let’s be honest though, in the 90s, who didn’t?). I had met the Wynona Riders vocalist, Skip, while he was in Australia a few years back fronting the Dead Kennedys. After the show I approached him and told him I enjoyed the Wynona Riders and he was most surprised that I knew them out in Australia. Truth is, Childhood Game is my fave Riders tune and listeners of the show would know we have played it more than a few times over the years so seeing them play this tonight was just bliss! They rocked, even while Skip was suffering with the vocals as he choked on the smoke that poured out from the smoke machine. So glad I got to see them live.

I saw Surrogate Brains at the Ivy Room after Dr Frank’s solo performance the other night so I knew what I was in for with their set, just the crowd was heaps bigger and they sounded heaps better. It was a good time and I really do need to find that 7″ again cos I really don’t know what has happened to it.

I was excited to see Corrupted Morals as I have the Chet EP and I think it’s a super bitchin’ record. The fact that guitarist Larry LaLonde (of Primus and the almighty Possessed – they have an album called Seven Churches, look it up!) played with these guys at one time is pretty rad but unfortunately he was not in attendance as he was busy with Primus stuff… in 2017… who’d have thought? ANYWAY, it was still cool to see these guys and they delivered a great set of breakdowns and old school thrash punk and hardcore while the kids got to throw down at the front.

The Corrupted Morals set was setting the tone for what was about to come with Monsula. I don’t have a lot of Monsula stuff, a 7″ or an LP, maybe both, I think, but I really dug their set. High energy punk hardcore with melody and filled with moments like you see on those hardcore t-shirts where they have the black and white photo of the singer screaming words out loud while about 20 people are screaming at the mic he’s holding out to the audience. That was Monsula and it was great. Stoked!

Such a great night of bands I never thought I’d see live, ever. Gotta be happy with that.

Tonight’s show wasn’t at Gilman St. but it was still a part of The Lookouting event. Held at this smaller venue in Albany called the Ivy Room, this was going to be the first time I meet Dr Frank of the world famous Mr T Experience in person. For those counting at home, you may remember we interviewed Dr Frank for the podcast in the lead up to the release of his Balbum (book/album) King Dork Approximately. If you haven’t yet heard this incredible interview, you can hear part one HERE and part two HERE.

Arriving to the venue the word had spread that this guy from Australia had come for the event and a few folks outside from the Surrogate Brains had a chat to me about Australian music. Again, it was nice to hear people here love the music of The Hard-Ons, and even more bizarre was meeting someone who really liked Regurgitator. It’s such a great feeling hearing from people who love Australian music. Especially a band as unique as Regurgitator. Well played, USA people!

Dr Frank kicked off the show tonight with a whole slew of fantastic acoustic jams. His witty approach to songwriting is something that I truly am inspired by. I love his records, I love his song structures, and those lyrics… I could only ever dream of writing lyrics that good. He played MTX tunes, solo tunes, and even worked in a reference to one of his next big hits titled Dusty Road 1967. I can’t wait for that song to be finished and recorded. Listeners of the podcast will know the reference. I also cannot wait to see him with the full band this weekend.

Following Dr Frank was Surrogate Brains. Another band whose 7″ I used to see around all the time and when their name fizzled out I never heard from them again and yet here I was, in Albany, California, about to watch them do a reunion show to the small but enthusiastic crowd. They were a lot of fun and I’m sure they had songs about El Salvador or Reagan or about Reagan in El Salvador, whatever, they were a fun band and I really need to dig out that 7″ again as I realised I hadn’t heard it in years.

Closing out the night was The Invalids who had a really good guitar tone. Lots of great high energy Ramones-esque punk rock tunes and I really enjoyed their sound. I didn’t know their stuff before but I need to find it all now. Their guitarist had this whole Johnny Thunders Meets Johnny Ramone kinda swagger / stance about him and he played like a motherfucker. Can’t believe I somehow missed this band before tonight… like they just never appeared on my radar. In saying that though, I’ll probably find I have like two 7″ers and an LP in my collection somewhere.

Tonight was another great night of good times and great tunes. Again I am really stoked to be a part of this whole thing. I now get to rest a little and do some sightseeing before Thursday shenanigans. More on that later.

Tonight was the first show of The Lookouting’s four day punk rock extravaganza held at the famous 924 Gilman St venue. A venue I have always wanted to step foot in and experience the punk rock collective of the Berkeley punk rock scene. You see, growing up in little old Adelaide, I read about these kinds of places in the pages of Maximum Rock N Roll and always wondered what it would be like to actually be there. In 2009 I came close and got a photo outside the venue but there were no shows on that Tuesday and so that was the extent of my time there. Now, five years later and I am here for what is one huge walk down memory lane, seeing a whole heap of bands I grew up listening to the records of.

Upon arrival I was greeted by Alex, the man who put this whole show together. He gave me my wristband and we had a chat and it was all awesome. I then saw my buddy, Bobby, bass player extraordinaire for The Sorority and El-Presidente for Turbojugend’s Oakland chapter. It was great to see him again as it had been a while. It seemed that word had spread pretty fast that a guy from Australia was coming to these shows and everyone who I either met or just randomly talked to me knew who I was. This was so surreal to me but these were my people and for the first time in a while, I felt no anxiety in this crowd. I feel anxiety around so many people but this was different. Everyone was so nice and the atmosphere inside 924 Gilman St was everything I always believed punk rock should be.

So here I am, standing at the merch booth checking out what’s on sale when I see all the books by the RESEARCH Publishing company. Way back in the day these guys released a book called Incredibly Strange Films. This book, along with the Psychotronic Encyclopaedia of Film, were bibles to me in my hunt for the weird, the strange and the truly bizarre b-movies of years passed. Now, here I was talking to the guy who put this book out. He couldn’t believe someone in Australia read his books. Like most things I have found in life, you never really know how far your art reaches unless someone tells you they read, saw, heard it.

I was purchasing a reissue of the Kamala And The Karnivores 7″ that originally came out on Lookout Records in 1989, and my original has gone walkies so another was needed when this woman comes up to me and asks if I was the guy from Australia. I replied to which she introduced herself “hi, I’m Kamala!” My Brain did a back flip as this woman has drummed on some of my favourite punk singles, namely the records of Cringer. (For those who don’t know Cringer’s music, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up their Greatest Hits Vol. 1 CD if you can find it. It’s well worth it.) Kamala was absolutely adorable and was just super nice. We chatted, I got her to sign some records and exchanged details as I really want her to come on the show and talk about her life in punk rock and playing in Cringer, Naked Aggression, and Kamala And The Karnivores who were playing this event tonight.

I also met Larry Livermore; the guy who started Lookout Records. I bought both of his books and we had a short chat about Australian punk heroes, The Hard-Ons. I am always super stoked to hear when people in the USA like The Hard-Ons or any of our other great punk bands but namely The Hard-Ons cos they’re the best band ever and they deserve all the recognition in the world for being the legends they are. If you’re reading this and have no clue about this band, I suggest you head to YouTube and check out the album Love Is A Battlefield. Trust me, you’ll love it.

First band of the night was Black Cat Music. I only have the October November CD but I was still excited to see these guys and they didn’t disappoint. In fact, these guys were the perfect openers because if this was any indication of what we were going to expect over these four days, we are in for one hell of a treat. They were well loved and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I can safely say that the first band I ever saw at Gilman St was Black Cat Music. That’s not a bad way to start off a conversation.

Kamala And The Karnivores came on next with their stripped back straight up punk rock with humour and a great attitude. Hearing them all sing together on the song Black Thumb was a sweet moment and it was great hearing the songs from the original single which you should all check out. Grab the reissue on 1986’D Records.

The Criminals came on next and we’re on fire. High energy punk rock with a bassist sporting an INXS shirt. Hell yeah, Australia represent!!! These guys were tops and Jesse (vocals) spent more time in the audience than on the stage and it ruled. I don’t own their record and I feel kinda ashamed of that cos I probably need it.

The Sewer Trout Experience was a tribute show to the band Sewer Trout. These guys were a whole lotta fun and even featured Operation Ivy’s drummer, Dave Mello, on guitar and vocals. In tribute to this, someone decided to bring the electronic board game “Operation” and start flailing it around the mosh pit. Why, who cares! It was random and it was hilarious. Original vocalist Jim Maclean sadly took his own life in 2005 so this was a special homage to the music Sewer Trout had made and a perfect night for such a tribute.

Closing out the night was TILT. I’ve had their first 7″ for like 22 years and to finally see this band live was a real treat! They sounded great and it was such a fun show. The crowd was pumped, the band sounded great and Cinder Block is such an awesome front-woman. During a tune-up between songs, Cinder lead the crowd on a sing-along through Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart”. She actually did it justice and if you’re keen, it’s already on YouTube so go check it out.

After they finished, I got my TILT records signed, said my goodbyes and walked away from The Lookouting one very happy Damo. And this was just the first night. Next up, Dr Frank with Surrogate Brains and The Invalids. Let’s do it!

We all know I hate flying. I really do. I hate everything about it. I feel great deals of anxiety whenever I am on a plane and it drives me crazy. I was lucky to get a window seat for the gruelling 13 hour flight ahead of me and thankfully, I was seated next to a lovely woman named Louisa (I hope I remembered her name correctly should she ever read this) and I gave her my usual pre-warnings that I will be taking Xanax to knock me out so if any stewards wish to wake me, please tell them not to, etc. things like that. So I popped my one and half Xanax and while waiting for it to kick in, I started up a conversation with Louisa about where she’s from, what she’s doing in the USA, you know, the general chit chat that happens when you know you’re going to be stuck next to someone for 13 hours. Honestly, with my social anxiety, I would have just stared out the window and not bothered her but I really just wanted to chat to her so while I was waiting for the Xanax to take effect, a conversation would help take my mind off the anxiety I deal with while flying. I thank her for that and also because she was actually really interesting and well traveled and she didn’t try to snub me off. Maybe she could tell I was freaked out over flying and wanted to help calm me down too? If you’re ever sat next to me in a plane and you look friendly, I’m sure I’ll do the same to you, also. Anyway, I must have passed out mid sentence or something because I woke up about an hour out of LA. Louisa advised me that turbulence had woken me up at some point during the flight and I freaked out and asked her what was happening. I don’t remember any of this at all. Probably a good thing.

Let me remind you here that I do not condone taking Xanax or any other pill for any reason unless you really do need to, not just cos you want to. The only time I ever use Xanax is when I am flying because the idea of being awake for that long on a plane and me having an anxiety attack from hell is just not worth putting other passengers through. They didn’t sign up for that so who am I to be a friggin’ panicky mess?!?! Exactly.

So we landed into LA, I bid farewell to my new found friend and headed through customs. I was outside for possibly no more than five or ten minutes when my good friend Kotton arrived to pick me up. His timing is perfect. Goddamn it was good to see this guy again. Seriously, I wish you all had a Kotton in your life. This dude is one of the nicest and most genuine people I know. A good hearted family man who somehow owns a pair of Godsmack sweatpants (that he tried to give to me “nah, you can keep them, mate!”).

First stop, Pax Am Recordings. Having been a fan of Ryan Adams since the release of Heartbreaker, a visit to his recording studio / record label was a must. And of course I had to wear a Ryan Adams shirt just for the occasion. As I told Kotton, “you can’t be flippant about these things”. We went, we took photos, and from there it was time for Pink’s Hot Dogs. My shout. He came and picked me up at some ungodly hour that he didn’t even know existed to pick me up and hang out for a day. It was the least I can do.

Pink’s Hot Dogs is an institution and it’s awesome. You need to try this stuff. True American fatty foods that are guaranteed to gain you some weight. But I’m on holiday so it doesn’t matter.

After Pink’s we walked down Melrose and headed to a comic store where i picked up the most incredible Archie Meets The Ramones shirt while Kotton got the comic. He needed it and again, my suggestion was the least I could do.

We then made our way to Headline Records because I saw recently on their Instagram that they had t-shirts of The Exploding Hearts. A great band that sadly ended way too soon due to an unfortunate fatal car crash.

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After my purchase we headed to the Rainbow Bar and Grill so I could see the amazing Lemmy statue. If you have been paying any attention at all to my life or the podcast or the zine, you would know that Motörhead are easily in my top all-time favourite bands. Along with the Ramones, Motörhead just had everything I wanted in a band so paying my respects to the great man has been on the cards ever since it’s unveiling.

The bar is now known as Lemmy’s Lounge and the stools are decked out with the snaggletooth logo and there are photos of Lemmy and Motörhead everywhere. Their music played over the PA, and down the back stood the almighty statue of the great man himself. This just blew me away and it still upsets me that my two favourite vocalists of all time (Joey Ramone being the other) both passed away from cancer. Still, it’s lovely to see this statue standing in front of me, in Lemmy’s favourite drinking place, right next to where he would sit and play the games machine. It was actually quite a heartfelt and surreal moment. I was glad to be there. I paid my respects and left a guitar pick by his left foot alongside the roses that had been placed there for him. He will forever be missed. He was a Lemmy and he played rock n roll.

Next up it was off to The Grammy Museum to see the Ramones exhibit that was showing. Again, like Motörhead, the Ramones are the band for me. This exhibit is important for every single person who loves punk rock music and also for people who may not like their music but must learn music history and why this band is so important. The museum only costs $12.95 and is well worth it.

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The Ramones exhibit is amazing. Everything from clothes, to hand written lyrics, to even Johnny’s diary where he kept notes of how many people in attendance and how much the band was paid. There’s many photos, most of which I had never seen before. There’s videos, memorabilia, books, collectibles, paintings, everything. It’s freaking awesome and if you are traveling through LA before the end of February, do yourself a favour. It really is something special.

We left the museum with only 20 minutes to spare til my bus left for San Francisco. We got there with nine minutes to go. I ran through the station and got the bus with only one minute to spare. As I write this now, I feel exhausted so I am going to need this here with one last comment…

Happy new year to you all. See you at The Lookouting.

Episode 113

Michele (with one L) and Damo are back again with a whole slew of indie radness and chatty shenanigans. Lots of random stories and discussions and heaps of awesomeness can be And just look at that playlist! So much rad. All the rad! And you can listen in now by clicking on THIS LINK.

Enjoy tunes by:
Exploding White Mice
Digger
The Wonder Years
H2O
The Queers
The Dragons
Puffball
Putters
The Wardens
The Smugglers
Scherzo
Mary’s Kids
Hard Action
Fuzzbubble
Turkish Techno
The Humpers

NOW GO BUY SOME RECORDS!

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Michele (with one L) and Damo return for a week of Aussie goodness as we play nothing but Australian music cos Australia has some of the best bands in the world and you all need to hear them. There’s also random shenanigans and we managed to somehow spend half an hour talking about how great the Beastie Boys are. Hot damn! Yep, listen now by clicking on THIS LINK.

Enjoy tunes by:
Brother Brick
Frenzal Rhomb
Screamfeeder
Spiders In The Biscuit Jar
The Shine
Nursery Crimes
Tumbleweed
Smudge
The Eastern Dark
Front End Loader
Bodyjar
The Mothers
Toys Went Beserk

NOW GO BUY SOME RECORDS!

Episode 111

Michele and Damo return with a bunch of rad tunes from Damo’s collection of 45s. We talk a whole bunch of randomness including movie reviews and record buying, using lines to pick up, plus heaps more! You can listen right now by clicking on THIS LINK.

Enjoy tunes by:
30 Amp Fuse
Murderburgers
Screeching Weasel
Snuff
The Riptides
Clowns
Flour
Space Cowboys
Pink Lincolns
Supercharger
Shoji with Firestarter
The Unlovables
Parasites
Hellmenn
The Put-Ons
Imperial State Electric

NOW GO BUY SOME RECORDS!