Monday, February 25, 2019

Repost from Beta: Time to Regroup and Focus (unfinished. 12/8/2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Time to Regroup and Focus

Yesterday I walked away from Facebook. Maybe it's temporary. But I hope not. I already feel a sense of liberation in doing it. I have a number of reasons for doing it. Facebook is so limiting and so intrusive on many levels. It is intrusive, sucks up time, and indulges people and ideas that are counter-productive. I'm over it, and I am checking out.

Facebook is intrusive. When I first got a cell phone I felt a piece of my freedom fly away. People could call me and find me at any time. I felt obligated to answer, or to respond in a timely manner. Unlike the pager- which just reminded me to locate someone and respond- the cell phone and texting features gave carte blanche to anyone I gave my phone number to. They could access my life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

And, for the most part, that was fine. After all, it was my family, my close friends, and my work who accessed it. Those are my regulators. The people who kept me anchored and on track. But along the way the computer feature began to interweave with the regulators. And when that happened the fine line between obligation and addiction began to merge.

Facebook makes me question the validity of the First Amendment. Yeah, I said it. Facebook gives a voice to the stupid. I love to clown around with people, but the fine line between joking around, and saying hurtful things was erased. People started stalking and hunting. Real mean, nasty stuff. Trolling happens in the blog world, but the sense of imminent threats is magnified on Facebook.

Facebook eats up valuable time.

Facebook gives access to people who don't deserve my time.

There are things I don't need to know bout you, and that you don't know about me.

Facebook inhibits creative thought and problem solving.solving ones own problems.

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Letter Writing

     When I was younger I was encouraged to read and write. So, I did. I read lots of stuff, and I used to write letters to my favorite musicians, actors, authors, and sports heroes  

                                        with a pen 

                                                        onto a piece of paper.

     As I got older, I continued this odd practice. Writing, I mean. That is not to say that I gave up reading. I did not. I kept that odd practice, too. But what I was referring to was, of course, my practice of writing letters. I had pen pals with whom I corresponded with through my tweens and teens, and I was quite adept at writing letters for free stuff, promo things, junk like that. I was interested in lots of stuff, but most of all I was a music fan, and so I wrote my favorite musicians. 

     Sometimes they even wrote back.

     I was always in awe of the people I wrote. I respected them. I was a fan of their music, and I was interested in who they were, and what their interests were. There was nothing judgmental on my part. That is to say, when I reached out to write to them, I didn't enter the dialogue with the intention of passing my values onto them. I simply wanted to know what their deal was.

     I certainly wasn't going to tell them why their ideals and values were below my standards. Tell them that their politics suck. Tell them what kind of music to play, or tell them which songs to play. The reason was pretty simple. I respected them, and I respected their belief systems. 

     I was well aware of my status. I was a fan, not a friend. These heroes owed me nothing. Indeed, it was me who was being given the gift of their time, after they had already given me more than I deserved- which was their art.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Cover Songs blurb for OX Magazine

What is your opinion on cover songs?
Do you like or dislike them?
Does it depend on what is covered?
Are there songs that should not be covered?
Is there a difference between covering a song live, and covering it as a recording?
Do you know any cover songs that are brilliant, or shitty?
What about bands that only play cover songs?

I like cover songs. Well, I like to play them, and record them, but I would rather play my own stuff given the choice.  I have recorded about 30 songs written by other bands. I do it because I love the songs. No other reason. I have also recorded about 200 songs I wrote, so I give myself a pass for playing music by people I admire. Some of whom I am blessed to know. I don't think any of the songs I have covered are anywhere near as good as the originals, but I hope their authors will accept my humble homage.

There are a number of cover songs that I have heard that are really so great that they deserve a co-write.   For example, it is a given that Hendrix totally kills All Along the Watchtower. The studio version of Stiff Little Fingers Johnny Was still completely amazes me, it is so fucking good. I had seen the Clash play Pressure Drop and Brand New Cadillac and those were so great. Exciting.

Some of my favorite bands play a fuckload of covers. I love The Ramones and their versions of so many songs just rule earth. Let's Dance, California Sun, Needles and Pins, Palisades Park. Surfin' Bird. The list just goes on and on.

The Cramps covered stuff by bands I had never heard when I was younger. Talk about turning-on a generation.I cassette recorded them off of the radio- the Rodney Bingenheimer show in Pasadena. Lux brought in these great records. Blew my mind. I can't recall any other band having this kind of effect on me..

The Dickies are probably my favorite band when it comes to inventive, creative, and just triumphant cover songs. Paranoid, Gigantor, The Banana Splits Theme, Hair, She, and Nights in White Satin. These cover songs are so much a part of my life, that I cry when I recall the times in my life where these songs became literally stitched into my being.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Liner Notes EF How to make a Monster

Anyone who tells you that the nineties were great  is a fucking liar. Next to the seventies, the nineties suck factor in rock nearly superseded it. No lie. Pablum was served, and it may of have been Fleetwood Mac, or the Eagles. No, they aren't suddenly cool in retrospect. They suck, and they always sucked.

Personally, bored to death by most of the shitty stuff that kept being slopped out, it was only because of Sympathy, Man's Ruin, and Sub-Pop that I didn't jump off of Suicide Bridge. I was hanging out at the last years of Flipside Mag, at that time Todd, Al, Cake, Pooch, and Gus were pretty much running the room, and I would drop in and pick up some vinyl and review it. That is how I crashed into  the first music I would hear by Electric Frankenstein.

I managed to wee them with three different singers, Scott Miller, Rik L. Rik, and of course, that gravel and howl of Steve Miller. Electric Frankenstein were one of the few bands that weren't on any of the rosters mentioned. Which made them something of an anomaly. In fact, that whole RAFR movement was the last great explosion in rock. The last of the great Golden Age of 20th Century Rock and Roll.

Sit back, fire up, and dig it. There is no going home.

Friday, February 15, 2019

White Flag/ Adolescents correspondence re. Runaways Comp. August 2010

Runaways comp

Hi Lauren and WF,
meet one another :). Lauren is compiling a Runaways comp and is interested in
White Flag for the comp.

Sat, Aug 28, 2010, 2:54 AM

to me
Hi  We'd love to o something, we have a wonderful live pro recording of a  
version of Cherry Bomb but I am sure that's taken, let me know the  
what's and  who else will be on it and what songs are taken



The Adolescents formed in 1979. The band was formed by Steve Soto and myself. I named the band and designed the logos (there are two) before we had played a single show. Frank Agnew soon joined., and was followed by Peter Pan and JOD. This lineup was soon overhauled when Pan broke his arm and RA was brought in to play drums. JOD and RA hated each other, and JODS was tossed out. RA went to guitar and CR became the drummer. This line up lasted long enough to record an album, and lasted approximately 5 months, at which point I threw RA out for failing to show up to a headlining gig with a fucking guitar.

The next lineup recorded an EP. Although RA is on the cover, he did not play on the record. An astute opportunist, he showed up uninvited

In 1986 the Adolescents played a couple of shows and began preparing for the album ¨Brats in Battalions." CR was fired, by me, for failing to show up for a rehearsal with a fucking drum kit. Replaced with Sandy Hansen, a fantastic drummer. DC toured Brats, but didn play a note on the album. Rikk did some, but the guitar work was mostly done by Alfie Agnew.

In 1988 I left to finish school. Steve Soto and RA released the album ¨Balboa Fun Zone" which was a flop, and that was it until 1991. In 1991 I compiled all of my live cassettes and put together Live 1981 & 1986 using tracks with RA and CR only to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the debut album. No other reason. 

At the 20 year point, 2001, CR lasted two shows and was replaced by Derek O'brien. An EP and then ÖC Confidential was recorded and released. RA slept through the recording. Guitar parts were played by Steve Soto and Frank Agnew. RA was fired, for the third and final time. FA, jr. joined as a touring member, lasting about three months. 

This band has had to many members for me to go through all of the personell changes. However, the most significant loss was the death of my friend and partner Steve Soto. At his funeral every member of the rADOLESCENTS told me how they respected Steve. Then two weeks later they showed their respect by stealing his songs and presenting them as their own.

So letś recap 

Adolescents as a band have existed since late 1979. That was 40 YEARS AGO!
Adolescents have released 9 studio albums. 

Start with me- 

Tony Reflex 
Number of LP Studio records EIGHT
Wrote 95 SONGS
Number of years in the band- 39, tho a silent member for 40.
All tours except two
Co founded and named ADOLESCENTS

Steve Soto
Number of LP Studio records NINE
wrote 95 SONGS
Number of years in the band 39 
All tours

Now, compare to the rADOLESCENTS, 

J - 
Number of LP Studio records- ZERO- . 
Time in the band 3 months.
Zero tours

Number of LP Records- ZERO
Time in band- 16 months
Two tours

Number of LP Records- ZERO- 
Time in the band 3 months.
One tour 

Number of LP Studio records- ONE- 
Wrote- TWO Songs, one of which was co-written by me and stolen 
Time in band- 16 months
Zero tours

Number of Records- TWO
Wrote 16 SONGS, half of which are Balboa Fun Zone. 
Time in band- 6 months up to 1982, about 3 years
3 tours

Thursday, February 14, 2019

It is Totally Personal

Lately I have been told on the facebooks that I am fronting a cover band. Not true. The  Adolescents play mostly original material. There are nine albums full of material to choose from. Unfortunately, the interwebs allows for all kinds of stupid to be magnified, including mine. 

In the interim of a decade made inane by the Misinformation Highway, I will continue to try my best to define myself and my world, with little regard for the misinformation posted by the unknowing. 

For example, before sending me a fuck you Tony post, the current owner of the Doll Hut implied that I front a cover band. Of course I blocked him. I don't have time for drama. However, I can't really blame him, after all, his bar has never invited me to play, and has a hard on for tribute bands like rADOLESCENTS. That means those knuckleheads are feeding him a line of bullshit, and he simply doesn't know because he wasn't there. 

In any event, let me define terms. 

There is a huge difference between a cover band, and a tribute band. A tribute band plays material of one particular band. They generally play it very well, and it fills a void for people who want to relive some sort of nostalgia factor. In the old days we would call this SHA_NA_NA. 

Some of the bands often try to not only sound like the band, but look like them.  I think most noticeably bands like Wild Child, a DOORS tribute band that was fronted by a Jim Morrison look alike. There are tons of these bands, tributes to all sorts of punk and classic rock bands. Hell´s Belles tribute to AC/DC or Cheap Chick come to mind. These are bands that generally love the material they play, and stay focused on it. In an age of historic inaccuracies and  creating an anachronistic void , however,  for the fan who has no true reference to the past. 

In the 21st Century that is called fake news, but even that bullshit term negates the true nature of the misinformation.

Then there are bands like FLAG and rADOLESCENTS, which are simply tribute bands composed of former members. These bands provide a snapshot into the past, generally covering one specific window of time. They are generally fun, and provide a release of energy- generally to appease the fan who wasn there the first time- whether because of age- or more likely- because they were too lame to see the real deal because they were busy being jocks, or gearhead, a Republikkkan, or whatever.

While tribute bands take on one specific persona of the band,  cover bands take on any personality they choose.  They don discriminate. They will play anyone´ś songs. Many of these bands end up in lounges and bars, taking requests for tips. Although these bands generally suck, the punk rock versions of this sub-genre can be pretty fun. Steve Sot played in alot of these bands; BLACK DIAMOND RIDERS, MANIC HISPANIC, FLOCK OF GOO GOO, and PUNK ROCK KARAOKE. 

Then, of course, are the bands that hold their name and move on, sometimes writing new material, usually not. DEAD KENNEDYS,  999, ANGELIC UPSTARTS, FLIPPER, BLACK FLAG, VANDALS, ADOLESCENTS, FEAR, etc ...... and every band you loved from 1953 to now and is still playing.... we all fall under that blanket. We play the old, some of us play the new. 

I walk on a fine line. I have friends that play in all of these kinds of bands. It is not my intention to draw any parallels, or to dismiss any of the bands. However, it has become necessary for me to stop my silence on the matter of the rADOLESCENTS in order to present my insights. My desire is simply to have people insult me in a way that they don't come off looking so foolish. 

Unlike FLAG, in which the core of the band actually played and recorded the songs, 3/5 of the rADOLESCENTS played on none of the records. Not a single fucking note.

My problem with the rADOLESCENTS is totally personal.