Posts Tagged ‘The Lookouting’

Episode 115

Well this week’s show is freakin’ awesome! Our special guest is none other than punk rock engineer / producer, ex-Screeching Weasel bass player, and founding member of Squirtgun, Mass Giorgini. If you’re a fan of 90s pop punk, then chances are you’ve been listening to records he’s either engineered, produced or played on. This episode is filled with stories revolving around working with the likes of Ben Weasel, Danny Vapid, Jughead, Dan Panic, Dan Lumley, Zac Damon, Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt, The Hard-Ons, Anti-Flag, Rise Against, Green Day, and the list goes on. He talks about his time at The Lookouting and that one song that shot them straight into peoples homes with the movie Mallrats. This is a two hour interview of solid punk rock goodness and you’re gonna love it! Listen in right now by clicking on THIS LINK. To keep up to date with future interviews, click the subscribe button over there on the left hand side.

Enjoy tunes by anyone and everyone Mass talks about on the show.

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So this is it, the final instalment of The Lookouting. It had been exhausting but awesome all the way and tonight was going to end on a high note. Arriving to the venue early enough for load-in, I got to meet the guys from The Jimmies who were opening the show. I have a split LP with them and The Weaklings so I was stoked to see them kick off tonight’s antics.

The Jimmies are from Oregon and they play straight up melodic punk rock. There’s three brothers in the band and I was told they hadn’t played together as The Jimmies in a long time as they all have different bands now but when they got asked to do this, they were down for it. They were a good opener and the crowd really dug them. They were giving away their 7″ and CD cos they didn’t wanna take them home and so I had to grab a copy of each so expect to hear them on the show in the near future.

Juke took to the stage next and I dunno why but I just couldn’t connect with them. They went over well with the crowd but for me personally, I just couldn’t grasp it. Maybe it was because I had never heard them before or the guitar tone which was layered with feedback, I dunno, it just wasn’t my thing at all. Oh well, I tried.

Black Fork were aggressive female fronted punk rock and packed with high energy and hard hitting songs, the punters were into them bigtime. I had never heard them before either but could see why they were so popular tonight. Not bad at all.

Kamala from The Karnivores who played the first night was back behind the kit again for her Lance Hahn tribute with the band Cringeworthy. Unfortunately, due to sickness the band was unable to perform. A real shame for all who wanted to see and hear the songs of Cringer and J Church but she really didn’t look well. Her health is far more important than a show. I can say that I did hear them rehearse and they gave everything 110% so they would have been incredible. Hopefully they will play again.

The Avengers were called to the stage and went on early which was a blessing for myself as I truly was exhausted and longed for an early night. Once again, the Avengers are a band I never thought I would see live. Vocalist Penelope Houston has so much energy on stage and fire in her voice that she still kicks out the jams and has done for four decades now with their most famous anecdote being that they opened for the Sex Pistols at their 1978 Winterland show. Yep, THAT show! The stories she must have would be so interesting. Seeing them play was an honour and they really rocked the place. Seeing them at Gilman St is something truly unbelievable yet it happened and if you weren’t there, you missed out.

Nuisance closed the night and their dedicated following were in awe. They may be older but they still gave the fans what they wanted and that was a show of classics. I liked these guys and while they’re not as straight up punk as the bands who played before them, their melodic style of indie rock was welcomed by all. Great songs and another band I didn’t think I would ever see live. Nuisance were a great ending to an awesome event.

The Lookouting was definitely something special. It was more than just nostalgia, this was also a celebration of a label that truly did things their way before corporate business got their hands on punk rock in 1994 to exploit its radness to a whole new generation of kids. I love the label’s vision and truly felt like I witnessed something really unique and exceptional. I wish you could have all been there to witness such an event. Thank you Alex, thank you bands, thank you to anyone and everyone who had a hand in putting this together. Well played to you all.

There was no way possible The Lookouting’s Saturday night show was not going to sell out. Gilman St was packed solid for the extravaganza of punk rock shenanigans that would come from the event’s strongest line-up of Lookout legends.

Kicking off the antics was none other Groovie Ghoulies frontman, Kepi Ghoulie playing his brand of pop punk rock inspired heavily by the Ramones. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I never was a fan of the Groovie Ghoulies, they just didn’t connect with me, but tonight was still an entertaining and fun show featuring a cover of Billy Bragg’s A New England which wasn’t bad at all. (Young Statues also cover this song acoustically with Brianna Collins of Tigers Jaw and it’s freakin’ awesome! It’s on Run For Cover Records, look it up!). If the kids weren’t fired up before, they certainly were now.

The head honcho behind Lookout Records is no stranger to those in the Berkeley punk scene or to anyone who is into punk rock music and Larry Livermore’s own band, The Potatomen were up next to dish out their stories of yesteryear and to play some tunes. Having bought both of Larry’s books, it’s interesting hearing him tell stories in between the songs and it should be noted that The Potatomen’s drummer was none other than Chris Appelgren who is the man behind the artwork found on Green Day’s Kerplunk LP. Seriously, there was a whole tribe of Berkeley royalty amongst the crowds at this event. It was pretty awesome.

From the laundromat to the stage of Gilman St, Brent’s TV were definitely a hell of a lot of fun. These guys were so hilarious and a good time was had by all. I didn’t even remember a single song until the moment they started playing them and then the memories came flooding back. These guys are well worth your time. Check them out, especially if you like laundromat garage rock n roll with a stand up drummer.

Squirtgun were the biggest surprise for me. I dig ’em but had no idea what it was going to be like as bassist Mass Giorgini was the only original member on stage. Still, backed by drummer Danny Panic (ex-Screeching Weasel), guitarist Zac Damon (Screeching Weasel), and vocalist Kevin Sierzega (ex-Teen Idols), Squirtgun put on one of the most fun sets of the whole weekend. Besides playing tracks from Squirtgun, they also played covers of Screeching Weasel, Common Rider, and Teen Idols, before finishing off with their hit, Social (you know, the song that plays over the opening credits to the movie Mallrats). Good times!

How good are The Smugglers? I think “heaps” is the word you’re looking for! They are one hell of a fun band. Making the trek down from Canada, more than a few were saying that they stole the show. That could very well be true considering they were flawless. Some bands just stay awesome no matter how many years they have been broken up for and it seemed like they had never gone away. They were just as fun now as they were when they toured Australia with Mach Pelican and the Hard-Ons a gazillion years ago. Heaps rad band! Now if only I could just find their vinyl in Australia life would be so much better.

I hadn’t seen Pansy Division since they toured Australia in ’95 and here I was 22 years later seeing them again. They are so much fun. Hilarious songs and now having two guitars is the best thing they could have done. Joel Reader (ex-Mr T Experience, The Plus Ones, The Avengers, etc) has the distorted guitar while vocalist Jon Ginoli has the jangly guitar and when you mix the two together, you get the sound that Pansy Division should have always had. Their set consisted of classics, both old and new, kicking off with Fem In A Black Leather Jacket and smashing through their golden greats like Denny (Naked), Bad Boyfriend, Blame It On The Bible, and Dick Of Death which featured an oversized blow up penis being thrown around the venue. And why not? They were tops and I am stoked they’re still together and doing what they do because they are an important band for breaking down walls and boundaries and fighting homophobia.

If you’ve been listening to the show then you would have heard the interview with Dr Frank of the Mr T Experience (hey, I’ll plug it as much as I want… it’s my show after all) and how much of a fan I am of MTX. Seeing him play with the full band is something I’ve only dreamed of cos I really do dig this band bigtime. I have every single record they have ever released (an impressive accomplishment cos it’s not easy) and I couldn’t wait for this day to finally come. It has to be said that they didn’t disappoint. They played everything I wanted and more. Opening with At Gilman Street and following through with classics like I Love You But You’re Standing On My Foot, Cinthya With A Y, I Fell For You, Swallow Everything, Dumb Little Band, And I Will Be With You, Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba, Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend, etc etc… it was all the hits! All of them. It was so much radness and fun combined and I really wish this band was way bigger than they are because these songs are just like wow and you should all be listening to them. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Not listening to them is just nonsensical.

Once the night was over, I was exhausted but extremely happy. Such a good night for great bands and I really wish I could see bands like this all the time. I shan’t complain though cos the Descendents are touring Australia soon with Nursery Crimes supporting so if that doesn’t scream “Hey America, now it’s your turn to be jealous!” then I dunno what will. Nursery Crimes are amazing. Go listen to All Torn Up Inside on YouTube and try and tell me otherwise. ANYWAY, there was one more night to go and I needed sleep. Bad. Let’s rock!

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!