Posts Tagged ‘Spiral Objective’

GREEN DAY – Slappy 7″
Label: Lookout Records
Year: 1990

Words by Damo.

So back in 1990 there was an independent band in Australia named Ratcat who hit the charts with a catchy single titled That Ain’t Bad. It was released on an EP called Tingles and shot the band straight into the mainstream public with catchy hooks and a Buzzcocks-ish vibe that reeked of distortion and melody. This once little known trio from Sydney were now everywhere; on TV, in magazines, everywhere. Ratcat Mania had swept the nation and the band went on to have a successful album called Blind Love before disappearing into obscurity with their follow up that basically saw their ‘new’ fans move on to the next hottest newest what’s hip number one album of the year and forget about this power pop band and their three hit singles (all great). Still, people like myself were not going to walk out on our favourite bands at the time and Ratcat were still a band we supported and still do to this day. (more…)

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Sometime in 1990 I was shopping in a local record store named Thrash Grind Grunge and met a punk rocker by the name of Greg. He was running a distribution named Spiral Objective getting independently released punk, hardcore, and garage rock records to the people at super cheap prices. Talking with him about the independent releases by Australian bands like the Hard-Ons, RATCAT, Nursery Crimes, Exploding White Mice, etc. Greg told me he had a copy of Ratcat’s self-titled debut release; a six track EP of power pop goodness. A release I had wanted to hear for a few years. I gave him a blank cassette and returned the next weekend to the record store to collect it. He had recorded the EP for me and added a few extra tracks he thought I’d like.

Following RATCAT’s record, Greg had included an EP by a band from Berkeley, California called Green Day. The EP was called Slappy. I was hooked immediately. What I heard was four tracks of classic Ramones inspired pop punk. I took the tape to school and played it to my art class and was told not only to turn it off but that I listened to nothing but “shit”. I responded saying that they would be huge someday. They laughed.

I immediately snapped up any record / CD that had Green Day on it. And why not? I had a new band to rock to and my addictive personality meant that I needed to collect every release.

One Friday night in 1994, myself and two school friends were watching the ABC music program, RAGE, when a music video came on with members who looked familiar. I said to them “that looks like Green Day” and moments later the words “Green Day – Loungin” came up on the screen. Loungin? (I still have the VHS tape from when I recorded it that night with the incorrect song title listed. RAGE had corrected this by the next week to its correct title, Longview) The video showed the band jamming as a young Billie Joe Armstrong sat in front of a TV and sung about boredom, drugs and masturbation. By the time the song was over, my friends and I looked at each other and I remember saying to them “what the fuck is going on?” We knew right then that something was about to change.

I went to the city the next day and found the new Green Day CD titled “Dookie” in a second hand store for $8. I grabbed it. I went to Thrash Grind Grunge afterwards and spoke to the guys there. They told me “yeah, Green Day signed. They sold out, man!” I wasn’t sure how to take this. Punk rock was our music and it was suddenly being thrust upon the masses and made radio friendly. What the hell is going on?

Over time, trips to the city revealed Green Day’s influence on the kids as the songs Longview, Basket Case and When I Come Around had found their way on to Saturday morning music shows and the mainstream music charts. I have to admit that as a young and naive kid, I was pissed off. Punk was not their music. It was my music. I was annoyed with seeing the kids who had overnight ditched whatever major label processed fake crap they were listening to and suddenly become a “punk”. I would talk with these kids about Green Day and the majority thought that Dookie was their debut. I was really pissed off at those who didn’t do their homework. It’s not like we were talking quantum physics here, this was punk rock.

Green Day had fast become one of the biggest bands since Nirvana broke in 1992 and their success showed no signs of slowing down. An Australian tour was announced for February 1996 following the release of their second major label release, Insomniac (1995). Tickets to their Adelaide show at Thebarton Theatre had sold out in minutes and I missed out. I was angry. This new breed of “punk” kids had got their hands on tickets to a band that I was into first. Not happy. I voiced my anger to anyone who was listening and thankfully, a friend of mine from Melbourne told me she had a spare ticket which I could have. I booked a ticket to Melbourne and was on my way to see Green Day at Festival Hall. For those interested, the support was none other than The Living End (who were great, by the way).

Green Day’s show was OK at best. Tired of being surrounded by kids who didn’t care about punk but only cared for the hits, I was disappointed in the lack of pre-Dookie songs that were played and the fact that when they were played, the crowd stopped moving and seemed stunned over these songs they didn’t know. I walked away feeling a little flat, to put it mildly. I then went to some party of some band that I didn’t know and spent the night on the floor by a drum kit. But that’s another story entirely.

After Insomniac I kinda lost interest in Green Day as the huge harmonies that had me loving their music were just not there anymore. I felt kinda let down. While the world was singing along to the sweet ballad of Good Riddance, I was thinking to myself Good Riddance to a band that I felt had let me down… Well, that was until they released American Idiot in 2004.

Finally, Green Day were back with a mindblowing album packed full of the harmonies I loved. I was once again a huge fan. Maybe I had been too hard on the albums Warning and Nimrod and decided to revisit. Not as good as their first three records or American Idiot but not a total write-off. They have their moments and when they strike, they hit hard.

Now, 22 years since I first heard them, I look back on those days and have grown up a lot since then. My attitude to their music has changed. Probably a good thing. I’m a much better person now. More importantly, I am surprised they are even still going today.

Green Day have just released the first of their triple album project, ¡UNO!, ¡DOS!, ¡TRE! and I will no doubt buy it. I have still bought Green Day releases, seen them a bunch of times and I still enjoy their music (not all of it but definitely most of it). It still seems weird to me that this band I originally had on an old TDK cassette back in 1990 that my friends at the time thought was nothing but shit has turned into this huge multi-million dollar band who made punk rock commercially acceptable and no longer a threat to our parents. Hell, even my mum watched them when they were on David Letterman and thought they sounded good. Times have changed and so has punk. If you’re still upset over Green Day’s mainstream success (and I have met people who are), I think it’s time to build a bridge and get over it. If I can do it, so can you. Cool? Cool.

Oh, I never did see the Broadway of American Idiot though. That sucks. Wish I did.

Thanks for reading. Eat at Chef Wongs. Gabba Gabba Hey!

Back in 1991, I think it was, I went record shopping at my fave record store at the time, Thrash Grind Grunge, in Adelaide. There was this guy named Greg and he was running a distro called Spiral Objective out of the store. All you had to do was bring the catalogue in with you and you got the stuff you wanted at the catalogue price. This was a super awesome idea and I must have spent tons of cash in this place over the years. One Saturday afternoon I was in the store buying records by Green Day and Parasites when Greg was telling me about some other Ramonesy bands that I needed to hear. He played me this album titled ‘My Brain Hurts’ by a band called Screeching Weasel. Within seconds I was hooked. I couldn’t believe my ears. I bought the CD and walked out of the store smiling ear to ear. This couldn’t really be happening, could it? Have I just discovered a band as good as the Ramones and the Hard-Ons? It appears that I had finally found an album that was on par with the likes of ‘Rocket To Russia’ and ‘Love Is A Battlefield of Broken Hearts’. When I got back to my mates house, I played the album to him. We must have listened to it about 10 times in a row. Yeah, 5 hours later we were still listening to it. It didn’t get boring. All we wanted to do was listen to it again and again. That began my love of the Chicago punk rock band, Screeching Weasel. I then set out to find every record, CD, 8-Track, etc. that I could find by the band. It was a hard feat but it needed to be done. I did ok. I didn’t find them all but I managed to get about 95% of them. That works for me. What? You want me to get to the new downloadable song? Hang on a sec, just keep reading… don’t be so impatient. Didn’t your mum teach you anything?

Anyway…

25 years of catchy punk rock… it’s a feat not too many bands can say they have upheld. Okay, technically, one could argue that it hasn’t really been 25 years as they have been split up for a considerable amount of years during that time, playing one off shows here and there and Ben Weasel has done some solo stuff as well, but still, like all good bands, they got back on the horse, and delivered exactly what it is you would want from them: another Screeching Weasel record. They’re a band who never drifted from their style, always sticking to their guns and just going for it. Next month sees the release of the band’s latest album titled ‘First World Manifesto’ on the renowned Fat Wreck Chords label and the lads have been nice enough to allow us a sneak peak into the new record by giving the world a song to download, which you can do so by following this link.

I have heard it and it’s just as I would expect. A fun, uplifting punk rock tune from the Ramones mold. I can’t wait for this album. Should be a hoot! Now, who else is joining me for the Weasel Weekend in Chicago? It’s my birthday, come and celebrate with me and buy me drinks (of water). Let’s rock!

In other Screeching Weasel news, Midway Pictures are releasing a doco / movie on the band and I hope that when it gets released, the DVD comes with about 3 bonus discs of live footage and rehearsals n stuff and that the feature length ‘Disgusteen’ gay vampire movie that Ben Weasel made is included so I don’t have to watch my horrible VHS 27th generation dub of this cult schlock. I could go on but I won’t… click here for more information on this should-be-awesome movie.

You can pre-order the new Screeching Weasel album right here through Interpunk.
Screeching Weasel online
Fat Wreck Chords

Hunting through all my video tapes, I came across this little gem of a video of the almighty Devil Dogs. I remember the day I discovered the Devil Dogs, I ordered some records by the New Bomb Turks and also a 7″ called “Radio Beat” by the Devil Dogs all cos the review that was in the Spiral Objective Mailorder catalogue said it was great. I was randomly buying records back then and I was stoked when I played “Radio Beat” and immediately found the Devil Dogs to reek of awesomeness. Heaps good! I then hunted down CDs, LPs, etc. anything at all that I could find of this awesome band. Unfortunately, I don’t think they ever got the attention they so deserved. An extremely underrated band. I have a bunch of videos of these guys and each show is really 100% high energy rock n roll. This short spot was not on YouTube anywhere and I felt it shouldn’t go unwatched. So here it is… another gem found in the Long Gone Loser archives. Have fun.

Highly recommended Devil Dogs listening is the album “Saturday Night Fever” (Crypt Records). Hunt it down and crank it up cos it’s an excellent batch of kick ass songs.