Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fall of Efrafa Documentary To Cover Band's Last Year

Fall of Efrafa @ ABC No Rio. New York City. March 2009.

The English(UK) melodic-atmospheric-crust band, Fall of Efrafa, has always said that it would call it quits after it completed it's trilogy of albums "The Warren of Snares," whose ideas revolve around the political themes and overtones in Richard Adams "Watership Down." Fall of Efrafa's final album 'Inle,' is due out Fall of '09, and will see the end of one of the most inovative and elusive bands in the history of crust.

Members of Fall of Efrafa have decided to make a documentary following the band in it's last year (this will include footage from Fall of Efrafa's US tour)and is being made in appreciation for the help the fans and friends of the band have given them. If you have footage or photos of the band playing it's only US tour, be sure to get it to the band, they want as much fan footage and photos included in the documentary as possible.

I was lucky enough to see Fall of Efrafa at ABC No Rio back in March, and let me tell you, it was one of the most epic, heartfelt sets I have experienced in my life! Fall of Efrafa literally puts so much emotion into their music, it's incredible!

For those of you who never had the privilege of seeing Fall of Efrafa live, I'm sorry to say, you missed out. The band's impact on the crust/DIY scene will surely live on forever both through the trilogy of CD's and now this exciting documentary.

Definitely expect a review of 'Inle,' this fall!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

‘I don’t really like Slayer,’ and other stupid shit Shane West told me!

Photos, Article, and Interviews By: Stephen Tompkins


I’m standing next to the jukebox in the bar area of the Cleveland punk venue, Now That’s Class. There is a young man with a one inch Mohawk, an Ernest P. Worrell t-shirt and a disconcerted look on his baby-face shuffling through the song options—he is the new face of The Germs, Shane West.

“I can’t think of what to play, I have one song left,” West said.

I point to Slayer’s first album ‘Show No Mercy,’ and tell him to choose a song off that album.

“I don’t really like Slayer!” West said. Insert record screech here.

With that being said, I had a jaded outlook on Shane West from that point forward. Slayer rules, Shane West doesn’t!

I remember The Germs came to Cleveland in 2006 and hearing that Shane West (A Walk to Remember) was taking Darby Crash’s (RIP) place as the front man. Upset, I decided that even if I hadn’t had to work that night I wouldn’t have gone anyways. But it’s been a few years and I felt I was ready to see The Germs, regardless of West’s presence and so I went.

I skipped the opening acts, and opted to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, in the back area, but managed to make it inside to see the Krum Bums play their last two songs.

After about 15 minutes of staring at my shoelaces and asking The Germs sound guy why he purposely misspelled the songs on the set-list, Pat Smear (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) and Lorna Doom, who are both original members of the Darby Crash-era Germs, walked on stage followed by Don Bolles, also an original member. Last to push his way through the crowd and stumble on stage holding a cigarette indoors (punk as fuck, brah) was Shane West.

They opened with ‘Media Blitz,’ my personal favorite Germs song, and everyone started raging. I was kind of shocked because I was having fun, even though Slayer-hating West was on-stage. Although the Germs are now about 50-years-old apiece, they managed to stay lively, especially Bolles (drums) who played with the intensity I remember seeing in ‘The Decline of Western Civilization.’ And I’m not going to lie, I got the chills when I saw Pat Smear up there playing, being that I’m both a huge Germs and Nirvana fan, but I couldn’t help but ponder asking him if he felt he was a curse in bands, since two of the three he has played guitar in have ended because the lead singer killed himself (Crash and Cobain.)

Halfway through the set West took off his shirt and visible on his left shoulder was the same tattoo that Darby Crash had sported in the ‘70s—a Germs circle, not colored, with a panther tearing through it, this guy takes emulating Crash for serious, yo!

As the show progressed I was shoved harder and harder onto the stage and eventually ended up just sitting on it, while resting on the monitors. Before ending, The Germs had torn through classics such as: ‘Lexicon Devil,’ ‘We Must Bleed,’ ‘Manimal,’ and ‘American Leather,’ among others.

After the show I found myself pounding on the door of The Germs tour bus (yeah, I said it, The Germs have a fucking tour BUS) trying to score an interview and was met by the band’s tour manager who told me that I was knocking on the door of an empty bus, and said that he could get me an interview if I waited. Being a young journalist, I said fuck it and opened the door to the basement of Now That’s Class where I was followed by the tour manager telling me to ‘Get the fuck out of here, now!’ but Don Bolles high-fived me and told me to wait outside and he would do an interview, so I did and the following is an interview I did with: Lorna Doom, Don Bolles, and Shane West, all separately. They are all shorter than they actually were (I’m too lazy to transcribe it all right now), but this is probably the best stuff anyways

Warning: If you are a huge Darby Crash fan like I, you will most likely hate Shane West by the interview’s end!

Lorna Doom Interview

Compare the scene of the Darby Crash-era Germs to the Shane West-era Germs. Which do you like better, what are the biggest differences?

“It’s much better now, also bigger. They’ve [kids today] waited 25 years to see The Germs.”

Why, do you like today's scene better?

“The audience cares more, now (signing an autograph a 35-year-old man shows Lorna Doom his first tattoo, The Germs Circle) That’s the reason!”

Who do you like performing with more, Darby Crash or Shane West?

“Shane West, because now we are able to complete a set. I know that sounds so wrong, oh god, but it’s the truth.”

Don Bolles interview

What is the biggest difference from the scene in the ‘70s and today’s scene?

“Back then there was no internet, so you had to look. Now it makes people more able to do more stuff. There’s always good shit going on. Now we’re able to complete a set, but there is no comparison to the original. “

“Our first show back [reunion with Shane West] as The Germs with Suicidal Tendencies we made more at that one show than the entire time we were originally The Germs. I think it took Pat Smear being in Nirvana to complete The Germs[present day].”

Shane West interview

Tell me about punk in the ‘70s and now.

“Now it’s a scene, back then anyone (points to a passed out guy and then a passed out girl laying on the ground of the parking lot) would go to the shows, now anything goes. The best thing about punk rock in ’77 didn’t have a uniform, now it’s exciting.”

Lorna Doom and Don Bolles agreed that you fronting the band is better than it was when Darby Crash did, why do you think they said that?

“I’m not on heroin mixed with speed. I’m drunk, but not on drugs. Darby is one of the best front men, like James Dean, but he had a death card, and I don’t have a death card.”

“I know I’m a better singer than Darby.”

“Darby would never make a tour he wouldn’t have been here tonight if he still fronted The Germs. Darby is a genius. I just want the fans to see the music is better. I might die myself, The Germs are more consistent now, but who knows I might end up in the gutter.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Latest jams

G.I.S.M.-Performance of War CD

Ever since the semester ended I haven't been reviewing much music, maybe if someone suggests something they want to see me review, I will do so! With that being said, I'm still jamming music all of the time, so here's a couple albums that have been on constant rotation with me as of late!

1. Ratatat- LP3 If you like catchy electronica or Mogwai, then you'll dig this one for sure.
2. Pg. 99- Document #8 This is real screamo out of VA, very melodic. When it hits, IT HITS. See "Life in a box."
3. G.I.S.M- Performance of War Gism has probably garnered the highest acclaim as far as Japanese Hardcore of the late '70s and early '80s goes. While most people opted to listen to Gism's M.A.N. (Military Affairs Neurotic)album, I was always more into their raw punk stuff like Endless Blockades for the Pussyfooter and ABC Weapons, but don't get me wrong, M.A.N. is an amazing album! Plus if you know me, you know I wear a Gism hoodie everyday!
4. Orchid-Chaos is Me Orchid is the hardest hitting screamo band of all time in my opinion, so much that I almost consider them more hardcore than screamo. Check out the most creative intro I've ever heard in the album opener "Le Desordre, C'est Moi!" and see if it gives you the chills like it gave me the first time I heard it!

So those are the albums I've had playing lately, but I've got a few songs that I've been listening to a lot lately, also.

Bachman Turner-Overdrive- Let it Ride.
Pentagram- Be Forewarned
Beck-Gamma Ray
Queen-Killer Queen
Band of Horses- The Funeral
The Smiths- What Difference Does it Make
Elliott Smith- Kiwi Maddog 20/20