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AU Vol. 15–4 Issue 88

Saturday, 01 June 2019 00:00 Published in Volume 15

Absolute Underground #88 - Punk Rock Bowling issue featuring interviews with The Undertones, Dead Boys, Pennywise, Fear, The Weirdos, JFA, The Exploited, Flipper, The Dickies, Sick Of It All, and more. We also talk to Judas Priest's Ian Hill as well as the Sex Pistols original bassist Glen Matlock

Also in this issue:

  • Crimson Witch
  • Heavy Trip
  • Concrete Funeral
  • Barn Burner
  • Turbulent Hearts
  • The Bollweevils
  • Stza Crack
  • David Yow
  • 45 Grave
  • The Darts
  • Winston Smith
  • The Zeros
  • Sloppy Seconds
  • Soma Snakeoil
  • Rodney Anonymous - The Dead Milkmen
  • Tom Green
  • Karrion
  • Steel Panther

PUNK IN DRUBLIC - Interview with Anti-Flag

Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:58 Published in Underground News


AU: Who are we talking to and what are you most famous of infamous for?


My name is Chris 2. I play bass and sing in the band Anti-Flag and consider Mario Lemieux to be the single greatest hockey player of all time. 


AU: What first got you into Punk Rock?


A cousin of mine gave me a cassette with Bad Religion on the A side and a band called Cringer on the B. The rest is history. 


AU: Brief origin of your band.


The band began in 1993. The first record Die For The Government was released in 96. I joined the band end of 98. 21 years later we still make punk records and challenge nationalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fascism and war with every song we write. 


AU: Describe your sound for people who have been living in igloos.


We love The Clash. 


AU: What was the genesis of the  Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival?


That’s more of a question for Fat Mike and NOFX. We’re just honored to play any stage in front of any amount of people. 


AU: What makes Punk in Drublic such a unique event? What can people expect if they check it out?  


From the ones we’ve done we know that it’s the confluence of people who hold a specific era of punk rock close to their hearts. We’re on the fringes of that era, but have found ourselves welcomed and are grateful for that. Expect to hear songs that you cut your teeth on. Expect to be surrounded by like minded community and folks from all walks of life, what punk rock should be. 


AU: Anything special planned for your performance at the Canadian Punk In Drublic shows?


We use these shows to go through the entire era of Anti-Flag music. We play songs from our first record to our newest. We’re hopeful to meet new people and celebrate our community with old friends as well. 



AU: I'm assuming there will be some awesome food available as well? Anything people should definitely chow down on at the festival to help soak up the alcohol?


I only care about it if it’s vegan. 


AU: What other bands are playing with you that people should be stoked to check out??


Bad Religion is where it begins and ends.


AU: There seems to be some cool Canadian punk bands on the bill as well. Do you have any favorite Canadian punk bands form the past?


Gob. Marilyn's Vitamins.


AU: What do you like best about Canada, or about playing shows in Canada?


There is a great history with celebrating punk rock. About caring about more than just yourself. That focus on empathy makes the shows feel more important and impactful. 


AU: Any extra-intoxicated tales to share from previous Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festivals?


People come out to the shows and have fun. We are hopeful that in that they take care if themselves and the others around them. 


AU: Anything else you would like to promote?  


Our last record American Fall came out Nov 2017. We are tremendously proud of the work and are doing our best to share it. 


AU: Final words for Canadian fans of Punk and Beer?


Don’t fight it. Feel it.




PUNK IN DRUBLIC - Interview with The Last Gang

Tuesday, 11 June 2019 23:10 Published in Underground News
-Greetings from Canada, eh. Who are we talking to and what are you most famous of infamous for?
Brenna & Robert. Brenna is known for being large marge from Pee Wees big adventure because she is a beast of a driver. She drives about 95% of thetime the road, the van and herself are one. Robert is always grinding away and working on what we are doing next.
-What first got you into Punk Rock?
R: It’s sounds very cliche saying this but I mean it when I say it but what got me into Punk and music in general was the feeling of finally belonging to something when I was growing up. When I had nowhere to turn to music was always there for me so I just hope I can put back what I took out.
-Brief origin of your band.
B: We all knew each other from the OC punk scene and as the band took form and integrated new members we all fell into place pretty naturally. I think I asked Robert to join at a local punk hangout Johnny’s Saloon. 
-Describe your sound for people who have been living in igloos.
B: I read on a tour poster once that we were “Joan Jett with balls” and I rather like that, so I’ll stick to it. 
-What was the genesis of the  Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival?
B: Beer is good. Punk is fun. Beer makes punk extra rad. So let’s all get drunk and watch some punk bands. 
-What makes Punk in Drublic such a unique event? What can people expect if they check it out?
B: Its kinda like a giant backyard party with all of your friends and favorite bands. Except for a red cooler full of PBRs and a grill, you have tasty craft beers and delicious food trucks. It’s fucking rad. 
-Anything special planned for your performance at the Canadian Punk In Drublic shows?
R: We may bust out a couple songs we have not played live, we are not 100% sure yet. One thing different from us doing PID this time around compared to last is that people will be seeing one more live member which is our close friend Ken who used to Tour Manage us. For those of your who came out to the last PID you probably saw him play “Karla” with us when Brenna would jump into the crowd. We figured he this sounds great why don’t we add another guitar payer live. It was never really planned but just happened.
-Are you a fan of craft beer? What are some of your favorite ones? 
R: Personally I love the Einstock White Ale.
-Who are some of the breweries involved? Are they mostly Canadian breweries for these dates or are there American breweries as well?
R: We are not so sure who will be there, but we do plan on trying a few.
-I'm assuming there will be some awesome food available as well? Anything people should definitely chow down on at the festival to help soak up the alcohol?
B: Im crossing my fingers they’ll have tator tots. Or potato tacos. Or really anything potato related. 
-Any hangover cures you can share that work well for you?
B: Stay extra hydrated. Then a Bloody Mary next morning. 
-What other bands are playing with you that people should be stoked to check out??
R: Every band on this bill is amazing and different but we are all part of that same punk rock family.
-There seems to be some cool Canadian punk bands on the bill as well. Do you have any favorite Canadian punk bands form the past?
R: Propagandhi, Alexisonfire, The Real Mckenzies, The Flatliners, Old Wives.
-What do you like best about Canada, or about playing shows in Canada?
B: Poutine for days. Plus Canada feels like a second home. 
-Any extra-intoxicated tales to share from previous Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festivals?
B: Sean and I actually snuck our way into the PID in Huntington Beach and backstage without any tickets. We met Mike for the fist time and he recognized us right away. We ended up drinking free beer backstage the rest of thenight. 
-Anything else you would like to promote?  
B: Our latest video for Believe In ThePoet just came out a few months ago. Check it out here on YouTube 
-Final words for Canadian fans of Punk and Beer?
B: I wanna see all of you dancing and singing along with us! Let’s have all thefun!
Website, facebook, etc...
IG @thelastgangmusic
FB /thelastgangmusic

AU Vol. 15–3 Issue 87

Monday, 01 April 2019 00:00 Published in Volume 15

Absolute Underground #86 - 420 Issue!!! featuring the Weed Olympics, Cannabis Corner, Plant Tonix, Dana Larsen, Terp City, and the 420 Music and Arts Festival.


Also in this issue:

  • High Arctic
  • Hexripper
  • Western Death
  • Dizzy Mystics
  • Planet Smasher
  • Uli Jon Roth
  • Gnosis
  • Destroy Wrestling - Techno Destructo
  • Titty Titty Bong Bong
  • Omnipotence
  • Heart Attack Kids
  • A Eulogy to Zippy Pinhead

Extreme the Dojo vol 32. Napalm Death, Eyehategod, Misery Index, Melt-Banana

March 5, 2019, Club Quattro, Osaka, Japan


By Ryan Dyer


Extreme the Dojo is a metal concert variety series in Japan which usually brings together three or four big name acts together in one show. Held in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo, the likes of Nasum, Obituary, Melvins, High on Fire, Nile, Municipal Waste, Behemoth, Pig Destroyer and of course Napalm Death have locked up at the dojos. Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals will take part in volume 33 of the series. Obviously, the forerunners of these events have great taste.


Volume 32 saw four huge underground acts together under one roof - Napalm Death, Eyehategod, Misery Index and Melt-Banana. In Osaka, it was held in Club Quattro - a livehouse which used to be a cinema on the 10th floor of a building in the center of Umeda, Osaka’s bar and club district. The show brought together a variety of different people - crust punks, veteran metalheads who have been to several dojos - sporting t-shirts from past events, a handful of foreigners and the odd three-piece suit clad business man. There seemed to be no sense of elitism in the crowd as everyone felt in place as they chatted among each other in the t-shirt line or smoke room before the bands started.


First up was Japan’s Melt-Banana, a legendary noise/grind/experimental project who would merit a trip to Japan alone. The band has had a long relationship with Napalm Death, touring with them and the Melvins on their 2016 tour. The two piece of Yasuno Onuki and Ichirou Agata best exemplify the feeling of walking around cyberworld districts like Shibuya or Dotonbori - a sensory overload of lights and sounds - high pitched chirping emanating maid cafe girls, and post-metal guitar bordering on hyperreal with programmed bass, drums and electronic blips and bleeps blanketing the audio canvas like a digital hot spring.


Ichirou, clad in a medical mask, utilized a deli tray of pedals while Onuki waved around her hand held beat sequencing device like a replicant sorceress through their half hour set, starting with “Feedback Deficiency” on through tracks from their latest highly acclaimed album Fetch, through their earlier efforts. “My Missing Link” is a suitable name for the experience Melt-Banana brings - obviously influencing countless female sung, hybrid bands since their inception, but by being based in Japan, a bit obscure unless a special occasion brings them overseas. The fans at Extreme the Dojo, however, seemed more interested in the foreign riff mongers who followed, and besides myself, I think only three or four other people bought Melt-Banana shirts. Maybe they had seen them too often and the novelty had worn off - but to me it was something of a revelation and homecoming. It was the right move to have Melt-Banana play first, as their jarring brand of music would no doubt alter the vibe brought by the next three bands.


Up next were Baltimore’s Misery Index, who after Melt-Banana, brought a more streamlined and straightforward ass kicking to the Japanese crowd. This was meat and potatoes without any wasabi. It is worth noting now that the sound quality at these Japanese concerts is absolutely top notch. The crunching riffs sounded crisper here than on CD, I dare say. The crowd was ready to throw down now as the band crushed through songs from their five previous releases before unleashing a new track from their upcoming Rituals of Power LP. Guitarist Darrin Morris wowed the crowd with showman like poses while the rest of the band grinded away. The crowd ate it up and chanted when appropriate, such as during their anti-anthems “Traitors” or “Heretics”. The band travelled several hours overseas for these few dojo shows, and made sure they made their mark on the audience, who were aching for more when all was said and done.


Now let’s slow the tempo down to the speed of sap dripping down a maple tree near Minoh waterfall. The Louisiana sludge legends Eyehategod took the dojo to an alter of feedback worship as the band played for a very eager audience who had not seen Eyehategod in Japan for a number of years.


Starting with “Lack of Almost Everything” and “Jack Ass in the Will of God”, the riffs and agitated screams of the band no doubt brought flashbacks to the older members of the audience of the legal days of mushroom usage in Japan. Mike Williams groaned on tracks like “Agitation! Propaganda” but between songs joked in jest with guitarist Jimmy Bower about how quiet the crowd were - as is custom in Japan. The crowd will applause enthusiastically once the song ends but won’t shout out like barbarians as the band preps for the next offering.


Their latest self-titled album was featured heavily, with “Parish Motel Sickness” and “Medicine Noose” appearing, with Bower raising his mic stand and cord like a makeshift rope before letting in to the lyrics of the latter. ‘This song is about fucking your sister,’ was the cue for “Sisterfucker (Part 1)” followed by its sequel. The set ended with the monolithic sludge jam of “Run it into the Ground” from their debut In the Name of Suffering and as the feedback faded, fans went to the bar for one more drink before as the Godfathers of sludge left the stage and the Godfathers of grind set up to destroy it.


Britain’s Napalm Death are no stranger to Japan, playing the Extreme the Dojo event before with Nasum and Pig Destroyer, as well as other small tours throughout their 30-plus year existence. They have a connection with the crowd and judging by the hype of the people there and number of t-shirts sported by the Japanese fans, were the act most wanted to see this evening.


“Unchallenged Hate” broke down the doors as an opening track. Pits immediately opened and the packed room suddenly folded in on itself like a sushi roll. Roarer Barney Greenway has the admirable quality of going from Tasmanian devil mode during tracks like “Smash a Single Digit” and “Everyday Pox” to civil humanitarian in his between-song speeches. He preached to the audience about peace, love and understanding - stating that every person on planet earth deserves to live a comfortable, happy life. And what is a happier time than experiencing the legendary Napalm Death slam through “Suffer the Children” and “Scum”?


From their latest compilation album, Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs came “Standardization” a track about ‘How the higher ups want to make every person completely stagnant and like everyone else’. From their latest LP, Apex Predator - Easy Meat, they unleashed “Cesspits” ‘A song about people dying in pits from making shit we don’t need. How fucking ironic.’ “You Suffer” and “Dead” were played consecutively, ‘Two very harmonious tracks’ quipped Greenway while catching his breath afterwards. The audience cheered politely before another pocket of silence - which brought fourth “Silence is Deafening”. When the last seconds of its crunchy breakdown ended, more silence, ‘How fucking appropriate’ laughed Greenway. The set came to a close with their cover of the Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks - Fuck Off” and their classic “Siege of Power”.


‘We will be back in a few years - it’s like clockwork.’ Indeed, how the years condemn, but they also bring gifts like a grindcore family reunion with the Godfathers.

Download Festival Japan - March 21, 2019

Friday, 01 March 2019 00:00 Published in Underground News

Download Festival Japan - March 21, 2019


By Ryan Dyer

With festival season being months away, you may be chomping at the bit to have a full days’ experience seeing top-tier metal acts. Well, March is full of activity as well, with Britain’s long running Download Festival making its first appearance in the land of the rising sun, Tokyo Japan, on March 21. The festival joins Australia’s double Download Festival in Sydney and Melbourne, also in March, with many of the acts playing all three festivals.

Taking place at the Makuhari Messe Stadium in the Chiba prefecture, the full day festival, presented by Live Nation and Creativeman Productions, will showcase 10 major rock and metal acts. This marks the first major metal festival in Japan in over a year as Loud Park, Japan’s long running two-day festival, was put on hold during 2018.


Judas Priest

The immortal rock gods Judas Priest make their second return to Japan in a year. Still in support of their latest album, Firepower, the 40-year veteran band have something of a spiritual connection with Japanese audiences since they first toured and released their classic Unleashed in the East live album and are sure to deliver another legendary performance to be talked about for years to come.


Slayer take their final world tour to Japan, meaning this is the final time the thrash legends will unleash hell in Tokyo. Recently playing Loud Park, before their retirement announcement, the experience this time is set to be cathartic and possibly emotional, as fans are sure to throw all of their memories of the band into one last circle pit during their undisputed classics “Angel of Death”, “Hell Awaits” or “War Ensemble”. It could very well be raining tears instead of blood.

Sum 41

Canada’s anthemic punk/pop group Sum 41 are also no stranger to playing Japan, with Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley recently reminisced about doing mushrooms while the drug was legal back when the band first started while touring the country. About the Download festival, he states, “It’s going to be a great place, in Japan, for Download. The level of enthusiasm from the Japanese fans is the craziest out of anywhere in the world; everyone is enjoying themselves together.”


Satanic phenoms Ghost make their return to Japan. The band, in support of their fourth album Prequelle, bring their flair for theatrics to the big stage at Download, and will show just why they are on a meteoric rise to the top of the rock world. In just a few years, it could very well be Ghost who are headlining the festival.


Bay Area thrash veterans Anthrax are no strangers to Japan, with guitarist Scott Ian being a self proclaimed Japanamaniac and the band playing the country numerous times since the ‘80s. He weighs in on the festival, “When you see the brand - Download, you know it’s going to be huge, it’s going to be great. There are some festivals, where people know the name, and know it’s a rock festival. Even if it was just us, Slayer and Ozzy, it would be earth shattering.”

Arch Enemy

Tried and true melodic-death road warriors Arch Enemy will once again tear it up on a Japanese stage. On momentum from their recently released Covered in Blood covers album, Canadian growler Alissa White-Gluz and her Swedish cohorts have a devastating track record of hair raising performances and are sure to put on a clinic of brutality at Download.


The Grammy winning rock act Halestorm, in support of their latest album Vicious and fronted by Lizzy Hale, are known to play over 250 shows a year. This stop at Download Japan will further strengthen the band’s reputation as a live rock and roll machine and have Japanese fans hailing the storm.

Man with a Mission

“Who are those guys in wolf masks?” many inquisitive fans may ask when looking at the lineup photos for Download Japan. Surely, Little Red Riding Hood would be no match for this foursome. The Japanese rock/dance band has provided soundtracks for various anime, movies and games and is setting the already illuminated Shibuya on fire - soon, the world will join it.


Swedish metal act Amaranthe is difficult to classify, as the band shares three vocalists, each with a distinct style of singing. From death to power metal to even pop style choruses within songs, you are bound to get a buffet out of Amaranthe, and out of the 10 act lineup, this band could probably give you a sample of each subsequent band on the bill.

Like a Storm

New Zealand rockers Like a Storm will take the opening slot at Download Japan, meaning concert goers who arrive when the gates open will be treated to an early morning didgeridoo wake up call accompanied by monster riffage. The highest charting New Zealander band in American Rock history has toured with the likes of Korn and Alter Bridge, and will chalk up Download Japan as another show for their legacy.

The final lineup was not without its changes, as the aforementioned Ozzy Osbourne had to drop out of all festival appearances in the next few months including Download Japan due to medical advice from his doctor after getting pneumonia. However, in the case of Download Japan, the news of Ozzy’s cancellation was announced days before the festival unveiled its final two bands in the lineup, Judas Priest and Ghost, which eased the blow.

So during Spring Break, hop on a plane and experience Download in Japan.

More information can be found at www.downloadfestivaljapan.com/en

Foreigner Live Review

Thursday, 28 February 2019 11:36 Published in Live Reviews


Molson Canadian Theatre
Hard Rock Casino, Vancouver, BC
Feb 23rd, 2019


“Standing in the rain, with my head hung low.
Couldn't get a ticket, it was a sold out show.
Heard the roar of the crowd, I could picture the scene.
Put my ear to the wall, then like a distant scream.
I heard one guitar, just blew me away.”

That guitar belonged to one of Foreigner's original founding members, Mick Jones, as he set out across Canada on Foreigner's Cold As Ice tour. This Rock Icon is also a record producer (Van Halen, Bad Company, The Cult, and Billy Joel) and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.

Thanks to Sonja, Amanda, and Nancy at the Hard Rock in Coquitlam I was able to get media access to the second of two sold out shows.  

The Casino is full of epic Rock memorabilia as I made my way towards the Molson Canadian Theatre (previously the legendary Red Robinson Show Theatre). This top quality venue has an open floor area for those wanting to get closer to the band, who provided a tight seven-piece Rockstravaganza on this night!

A giant disco ball hanging from the ceiling added to the nostalgic ambiance of the night, reflecting a hypnotic glow across the entranced audience. It was then the show kicked off with the songs Long, Long Way, Double Vision, Head Games and Cold As Ice. Cold As Ice had Mick Jones switching talent from guitar to keyboards.

Foreigner's singer (since 2005) Kelly Hansen delivered spot on vocals as he roamed into the crowd like a tiger in search of prey in his striped shirt and flowing rockstar scarf. Before launching into Dirty White Boy, he commented on how many beautiful Canadian women were in the audience and how many of them were with sketchy looking dudes.

This tour also marked the 40th Anniversary of the Head Games album and Foreigner even went back 42 years to their first song people ever heard on FM Radio and 8-Track Feels Like the First Time.

The stellar setlist consisted of other established hits like Waiting For A Girl Like You, Blue Morning, I Want To Know, and Urgent with cowbell and blazing saxophone solos by Thom Gimbel. He could have been father of the legendary oiled-up sax man from The Lost Boys.

A spaced-out keyboard solo got the room pulsating and clapping. Then a drum solo for the ages including the ol’ water on the drums trick. It looked wicked and sounded even better. Cue the giant gong that led directly into fan favourite Jukebox Hero. The starry eyed crowd erupted and sang along to every word. I'm looking forward to Jukebox Hero: The Musical. 

For the encore it was time to light up those cell phones for I Want To Know What Love Is as Foreigner was joined on stage by a high school choir from Coquitlam. The band ended the night with a scorching rendition of Hot Blooded.  After their final bows, the band thanked the audience for “Warming our hearts even though it's super cold outside.”

Rock 'n' Roll will never die thanks to places like The Molson Canadian Theatre at the Hard Rock Casino.

Thanks again to Sonja, Amanda, and Nancy! Keep on Rockin'!!!

Check out www.hardrockcasinovancouver.com for upcoming events such as Cheech and Chong on March 15th and The Lalas Burlesque Show on April on April 12th.

-Ira Hunter

AU Vol. 15–2 Issue 86

Friday, 01 February 2019 00:00 Published in Volume 15

Absolute Underground #86 - Special Punk Rock and Paintbrushes Issue! Featuring interviews with Descendents artist Chris Shary, The Vandals Warren Fitzgerald, Mad Twins, H2O's Toby Morse, AFI's Hunter Burgan, Emily Nielsen, and Kevin Seconds. We also cover KISS and Ace Frehley's latest concerts.

Also in this issue:

  • Riot City
  • Yama Hama
  • Killitorous
  • Slave to the Grind
  • Taggart and Torrens
  • Saints of Death
  • The Stampeders
  • Vampire Dark Rose
  • Imonolith
  • Witches Hammer
  • Okilly Dokilly
  • Getaway Van

AU Vol. 15–1 Issue 85

Saturday, 01 December 2018 00:00 Published in Volume 15

Absolute Underground #85 - XXX-MAS Issue! Legalization Day celebrations featuring an interview with Cannabis Corpse. Also San Francisco & East Bay Punk band interviews including VKTMS, Crucifix, The Pathogens, Dick and Jane, and the Dwarves.

Also in this issue

  • Wolfbrood
  • Punish
  • Shred Bundy
  • Psychostick
  • Claudio Simonetti's Goblin
  • The Reaction
  • Raven
  • The Human Prism
  • Midnight
  • Sloppy Seconds
  • HeWhoCannotBeNamed

AU Vol. 14–6 Issue 84

Monday, 01 October 2018 00:00 Published in Volume 14

Absolute Underground #84 - Halloween Issue! Featuring horror icon interviews from Calgary Horror Con with PJ Soles, CJ Graham, Ken Foree, Tiffany Shepis, James Remar, John Jarratt, George P Wilbur, and David Naughton.

Also in this issue:

  • Deathtime
  • Turbo vixen
  • Nightseeker
  • Striker
  • Gutter Demons
  • Cleve Hall - Monster Man
  • Zimmers Hole
  • Michale Graves 
  • Randy Rampage Memorial
  • Revocation
  • Stiff Little Fingers
  • Knuckleball

Copyright Absolute Underground 2011/2012. All rights reserved.

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