Wednesday, June 15, 2016


What a shitty day this was! The Cocodrie, once located in San Francisco across from the famed Lusty Lady strip club, was far from being the best place to deal with in terms of getting shows set up. But unlike Gilman Street, they were at least open to it. The Misanthropists set up the show and if I’m honest, there were too many bands on the bill. Not included on this flyer were Fields of Shit and a band from San Diego called Pinche Swatos. This show was doomed from the start. Bands kept dropping off the bill. The Cocodrie’s matinee shows were notorious for drawing next to no crowd, and the fact that there was a kegger taking place in Berkeley at the same time did nothing to help. I woke up that morning with a huge, bloody blister on my heel that made walking a near-impossible task. After draining a ton of blood and pus and wrapping the heel, I grabbed a cane and hobbled over to Fruitvale BART to meet the rest of the band members. None of us were in a particularly good mood heading over to this show. My limited mobility made the walk from Powell Street BART all the more irritating. What more could possibly happen today?

Enter Jake Filth.

All-ages shows at places like the Cocodrie included a policy mandating that underage patrons had to pay an extra two dollars for a drink ticket. This has never made any sense to me or most anyone else I’ve ever discussed the matter with. But that’s how it was and most kids dealt with it if they wanted to go to shows at places like that. Jake, who was in Fields of Shit, took exception to this policy by grabbing the microphone from the Misanthropists and launched into a diatribe that was something along the lines of “blah blah blah, drink tickets suck, blah blah blah, the fuckin’ punks, blah blah blah, we’re not playing.” That would have been fine, but for some reason Jake took it upon himself to continue the argument with the Cocodrie’s staff. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well. The Cocodrie’s owner (who I remember as bearing more than a slight resemblance to Ozzy Osbourne) got pissed off and pulled the plug two songs into the Masked Men’s set.

Somehow, this turned into a fight. Or a mini-riot, depending on who you talk to. Sean, the 300-pound Masked Men drummer, stomped a hole into the stage with his boots. The potted plants around the club were smashed up. This tagger kid named Luke who came with us grabbed a shot glass and yelled “THIS PLACE SUCKS MY DICK!” before slamming the glass into the mirror behind the bar. I think some of their bouncers got smacked around too. The cops were called, but everyone was able to get out of there without getting arrested. There was talk of moving the show across the bay to the Cloyne Court Hotel, a notorious UC Berkeley co-op that members of Subincision lived at. Since they weren’t exactly hurting for shows at the time, they didn’t entertain the notion for very long and opted to get drunk instead.

An apology or remorse on the part of Jake Filth was not forthcoming. I suppose I can understand why. After all, any band he is in could get shows whenever they wanted, simply because they’re “Jake Filth’s new band.” He didn’t have to do anything to promote the show, nor did he fork over any deposit money like the Misanthropists did. Instead, he enjoyed free beer and made a decision that cost young kids who respected him and his bands a chance to play a much-needed show. Pick your spots.

FLYER/BOOKER: The Misanthropists.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


The front porch of UC Berkeley’s Le Chateau co-op was a good place to kick back and drink a beer on a hot summer day for a number of years. To some, the levels of debauchery and decadence that house has risen to is of legendary status. Le Chateau was also home to many representatives of Telegraph Avenue’s homeless community at different times, regardless of their punk affiliation. I think it was back in 2006 that I heard that UC Berkeley finally cracked down on the co-op and shut it down after years of complaints from their neighbors regarding the nonstop partying there. That’s too bad—I have a lot of fond memories of that place.

Gravediggers of the Bourgeoisie billed themselves as “Berkeley’s only Oi band.” Although only three of their eight members actually lived within Berkeley city limits, nobody bothered to dispute their claim. The Gravediggers were made up of people who didn’t exactly fit into what was acceptable by East Bay/Gilman punk standards, due to guilt by association with Oppressed Logic and the Insurgents. Regardless, they were a fun band and this evening belonged to them. The whole room erupted into a giant drunken pogo and circle pit, singing along to the Gravediggers and their Oi/punk trash.

After their set (and the quick fight drama that took place), we actually took off for Gilman to see the Pist, who were on tour from the East Coast. Some people gave us shit for leaving, but we had played with Oppressed Logic and Subincision quite a few times. The Pist were on tour and we didn’t want to miss them. I don’t recall being disappointed with that decision.

FLYER: Jake Kelly
SHOW: Unknown

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


This show was a benefit for local pirate radio station Free Radio Berkeley 104.1 on your FM dial on a minimal basis on Genoa Street in North Oakland. Interestingly, members of Oppressed Logic, Strychnine, and Skaven were all DJs on the station…and all of them were kicked off the air for various reasons. Most notably was Mike Avilez, who had spent the past year simply being himself (some would also say he was being a reactionary, sexist jerk) and riling people up in the process. Mike was just having fun raising a ruckus, but didn’t always respond in a very mature manner when called on his shit. That said, the meeting in which the Free Radio Berkeley collective voted to kick Mike off the air was an interesting (and frustrating) exercise in ganging up on one person and limiting their options for an equal vote. Free Radio Berkeley founder Stephen Dunifer actually stormed out of the room in disgust at one point. But Mike had already booked the benefit show. Since it wasn’t often that Gilman was willing to have Oppressed Logic play by then, the show went on.

If anything, this show would be most notable for being the one time that I can recall Skaven actually playing at Gilman. Other shows were booked and then canceled, but not this one. Skaven were crustcore to the bone. Vocalist Zeb Gammack and bassist Mike Matusio were just about everything you expected crustys to be—they raised a lot of hell, but to my knowledge weren’t quite of the spare-changing, show-ruining variety. Their previous attempt at a band was Black Maggot, a noisy drunken mess that I happened to witness once at a backyard show on Fairview and Adeline in North Oakland. Amusingly enough, I still have two of their patches to this day. Anyway, Skaven rose to the occasion for their one and only Gilman show. Matusio was wearing leather pants that were apparently thick enough to allow Jim Nastic to continually squirt lighter fluid on his leg and briefly set it aflame. My recording of their set could be better, but it exists nonetheless. At the end, Zeb noted that the bill was a fairly diverse one by saying that the show was “proof that punk rock comes from a lot of different fuckin’ places.” Skaven’s next band would be Lachrymose (minus Zeb and Mike, with Dino from Dystopia on vocals), whose one Gilman show was with the Stratford Mercenaries on their first tour.

The Need were from Antioch—a white trash tweaker shithole about 45-60 minutes away from Berkeley—and might be worth mentioning for the fact that their bassist Tim Regan went on to play with local grind heroes Benumb not long after this. This was the first proper Gilman show for the Young & the Useless, after a couple jump-ons that probably hindered our chances of getting shows more than they helped. Oppressed Logic and we both managed to play two shows together at the club this month, which was kinda cool.

FLYER/BOOKER: Mike Avilez.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


J. Love’s is now called Rooster’s Roadhouse. If you’re familiar with Rooster’s, you know that nothing good will come out of this story. This was the first show I ever set up and it turned into quite the clusterfuck at the end. The show ran late and the owner shut it down before Powerhouse got to play. He then kept the money and refused to pay the bands. The Masked Men left early and were the only ones who got paid out of the whole deal. For the record, they spent the money on vegetarian Chinese food and a new mic cord. Ernie from Powerhouse was mad as hell and wanted to get paid in some form or another, until my fucking MOM showed up out of the blue. Talk about embarrassing! It turns out that a friend of mine called her while I was trying to smooth things over with Ernie. Despite being laid off from her job, Mom offered Powerhouse a $50 check to make things right. Instead, they said that it was okay, no hard feelings and it’s all just a big misunderstanding.

Eventually Ernie and I talked about this show, and we both agreed that the owner was a scumbag and that his club wasn’t really the right place for a punk show. Powerhouse turned out to be a great band in their own right, playing a vital role in kick starting that end of the Bay Area’s local hardcore scene. Ernie Cortez passed away from cancer in mid-2004 at the young age of 37. RIP.

Other things that I remember from this show…one of the Alameda hesher kids breaking Peter’s arm during the Masked Men. Peter joined them as their vocalist several months later, so one could say that it was kind of his initiation into the band. When we played, the hesher kids took over the dance floor and pretty much beat each other up. It didn’t really resemble anything like a circle pit from my vantage point. Mike introduced the Oppressed Logic song “They’re Gonna Die” by going off on a profanity-laced tirade about racism, Nazis, and Proposition 187; screaming it in the faces of all the hesher kids, who may or may not have been all that supportive of what he was talking about.

When things were running late and Powerhouse had yet to play, Ernie was starting to get agitated. He went up to the front of the stage to try to tell Mike to hurry up, but was probably met with a sarcastic “we’re not done yet, faggot!” Oppressed Logic started their next song while Ernie was still trying to get Mike’s attention. All of a sudden, a notorious Telegraph drunk punk named Smiley went plowing into Ernie from behind. Things were about to get ugly fast. Smiley was wearing his brand new silver gauntlet with tons of spikes and whatever else on it. The security guards might have had an issue with it too. Ernie turned around and it looked like there was going to be a huge brawl between these two, although Smiley was trying to explain that he was just dancing and thought Ernie was in the pit too. The security guards came running in and the show was most definitely over.

So much has happened since this show and so much has changed. Fortunately, the network is better organized now. People are more approachable and it’s a lot easier to set up a show and work with folks who are cool and won’t dick you around…much. I certainly learned a lot from this show—mostly what not to do. Better luck next time, kid.

FLYER: Mike Avilez
SHOW: Jake Kelly

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


The Hof-Brau was a dive bar in downtown Oakland on Broadway and Grand Street. Mike Avilez of Oppressed Logic was booking shows there, and I believe Marcus da Anarchist and Russell Wordburger were helping with the PA and general setup. I’d been to one or two shows there before this one, but it seemed like things picked up for a little bit when Gilman closed down for a month to undergo earthquake retrofitting. I have no idea if the Hof-Brau’s shows really were all ages, or how I was able to convince my mom to let me go to shows there. Shows at the Hof-Brau took place in a small upstairs room that was as bad of a setup as I’ve ever seen. For one, the stairs were quite steep. I can imagine that hauling equipment up and down was something of a task. There were times when I thought the floor might collapse, sending the show crashing into the bar downstairs…or that some wayward circle-pitter would go careening through the window. Neither incident happened, fortunately.

Both the Criminals and Blackfork were relatively new bands at this time. New Blackfork drummer Jim Nastic had to pull double duty and play with the Criminals because their drummer Ross hadn’t shown up for some reason. The Criminals’ lineup then included a second vocalist; a young lady named Claudia Bitter who had previously been in the Flatulents. You couldn’t help but make Blatz comparisons, nor could you help but heckle Jesse about it. He gave as good as he got, though. In between songs, Jesse was trying to bait one Aaron Insurgent into a fight, which didn’t quite work out. Apparently, Aaron and some of his fellow Insurgents—a notorious group of drunk punks who morphed into the BP Psychos—had been ejected from Gilman for drunken shenanigans some weeks prior. Since the Hof-Brau was in their neighborhood, they went there for shows all the time, which Jesse was none too pleased about. Blackfork had improved considerably since I’d last seen them. Shortly after this gig, they began issuing some great trashy-sounding demos that are really the best recorded representations of them as a band.

S.M.D. were “Strong Mexican Drunks” from East LA and unleashed a barrage of tough and fast hardcore that got people moving. I was one of those people…at least until I slipped on a patch of spilled beer and literally did the splits in the process. A guy named Ducky—his most recent “contribution” to the scene was slashing open the face of Amyl Nitrate from NYC’s Spider Cunts at a party in 1999—grabbed me and pulled me out of the pit before I got trampled. S.M.D. is still around to this day, occasionally visiting the Bay Area and holding down the fort in their hometown. This was the first time I saw them.

FLYER/SHOW: Mike Avilez.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 9

This week, we celebrate the True Sport of Kings, aka professional wrestling! Bands include: The Novas, the Cleavers, Johnny Legend, the Foreign Objects, Cocknoose, and Gordon Solie Motherfuckers. Wrestlers include Freddie Blassie, Mad Dog Vachon, Terry Funk, Michael Hayes, Captain Lou Albano, Jesse Ventura, and Slick!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 8

Our first episode of the new year sees us taking our third and final trip to Japan. Bands like C.F.D.L., D-Clone, Dust Noise, Effigy, Framtid, Iconoclast, Melt-Banana, Muga, Paintbox, and Sink bring much crazy chaotic crusty punk hardcore noise!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 7

This week’s episode collects some of the favorites from my SUNDAY STOMP DJ night at Eli’s Mile High Club. No metal bands include Bad Manners, Cocksparrer, Demented are Go, the Eyes, Frankie and the Flames, (Impatient) Youth, Madness, Operation Ivy, Screeching Weasel, the Sweet, and lots more!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 6

No theme or anything here, just the usual random assortment of tunes. Bands include Aryan Disgrace, the Bags, Cro-Mags, Deformed Conscience, Gay Cowboys in Bondage, Lazy Cowgirls, Load, Puke Spit and Guts, Rancid Vat, Upright Citizens, and much more.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 5

Back to Japan and their great punk bands, this time from the mid-to-late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Bands include Lip Cream, Chicken Bowels, the Swankys, Mad Conflux, Poison Arts, Deathside, Bastard, Gudon, Battle of Disarm, OAC, Tetsu Arrey, and more.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 4

We’re back up to our usual tricks. Bands include the Cramps, F-Word, Pere Ubu, Suburban Lawns, Mushroom Attack, Polikarpa y sus Viciosas, Blood Spit Nights, Question, Health Hazard, Christian Death, and lots more.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 3

We listen to some of the early Japanese HC/punk bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Featuring Star Club, Typhus, Friction, Gauze, Laughin’ Nose, the Sexual, Kikeiji, the Clay, GISM, Zouo, Poisonous Cross Gibbet, Rose Rose, Outo, and more!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 2

This week’s episode sums up the best of my Fucked Up Fridays DJ night at Eli’s Mile High Club. If you never showed up, you missed out on bands like the Accused, Black Sabbath, Christ on Parade, the Dead Boys, Generation X, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Too Short, and more! Fucked Up Fridays, RIP!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Idle Hands: Season 2, Episode 1

Our second season premiere is dedicated to the best holiday of the entire year—Halloween! Featuring Annihilation Time, Bathory, the Cramps, Demented Are Go, Ghoul, the Industrials, King Diamond, the Meteors, Septic Death, and more!