Catalina: Punk Rock Island

And just why is Catalina known as Punk Rock Island??? Well, I suppose it’s mainly because this is supposed to be a mean ol punk rock blog and yet I don’t have anything very punk to write about. Let’s face it, the gigs have been scarce lately, so we have to reach a little here for the Punk content that keeps us in the thousands of hits per hour in the PR community. Perhaps you recall our recent post on Picorino Romano: The Punkest of all Cheeses!

This guy used to hang out at The Masque, you fuckin Poseurs!
This guy used to hang out at The Masque, you fuckin Poseurs!

See what I mean? This is the internet, people, and from now on whenever some poor fool Googles punkest cheese, well, you know where the dollars are gonna flow!!

Perhaps you’ve never been to that little burg we call Avalon, just a scant 29 miles offshore. Let us take you there now, and give you a few handy tips on transportation, lodging and eating establishments.

Dawn broke clear and calm as we loaded the venerable California Sun with provisions…..

Hey, Ho....who's got money for gas, goddamnit?!
Hey, Ho....who's got money for gas, goddamnit?!

The slow float out of the harbor was smooth and quiet. Yes…..maybe too quiet, hmmm? Little did we know the raging winds that were whipping up the channel as we cracked the first beer of the day.

9am on the water equals 5pm on land--gimmee a beer!
9am on the water equals 5pm on land--gimmee a beer!

Soon enough we were in the thick of things, blue water washing over the bow. It was like The Perfect Storm out there, except without the facial hair and bad New England accents. We actually spilled half of the hummus dip on deck, that’s just how bad it got….

Oh come on!  I just got Pinot Noir all over my No Values T shirt!
Oh come on! I just got Pinot Noir all over my No Values T shirt!

Luckliy, the Cali Sun stayed true and strong, and we were soon moored safely in Avalon Harbor.moored

Now you’re there on the island, safe and dry. Let the following photos take you there, as we explore the many activities and fascinating sights Catalina has to offer–Enjoy!

The warm inviting sand of Avalon Beach....
The warm inviting sand of Avalon Beach....

The beautifully groomed fairways at the Avalon Country Club are sure to bring out your best game!
The beautifully groomed fairways at the Avalon Country Club are sure to bring out your best game!

What a great way to catch up with old friends!
What a great way to catch up with old friends!

Why not join us on the Island for some good wholesome fun?
Why not join us on the Island for some good wholesome fun?

The preceeding has been a paid advertisement from the Avalon Tourist Board/Chamber of Commerce. http://www.gocatalina.com

Props to the Old School

Wheeee! Look at us, slingin’ urbanista terms like props and old school, but you know how we roll! It won’t be long til I’m axin some biyatch to break with the digits or bustin a cap in yo ass—these are good things, correct?

Shizzle, mo zizzle, innit that what the kids say? Hey, this is fun! Hollah!

Get back in the fuckin trunk or I’m gonna chop off your motherfuckin head wit dis machete, white devil!

What? Too much?

Lately, we’ve gotten several inquiries here at the Channel 3 tech support center about how we land so many choice gigs. We’re aware how strange it must seem–you look in the goddamn OC Weekly and there’s yer boys, playing some glamorous show at the Forum or the Greek Theatre, and then wha the…? you see us listed 3rd at SaltyMcNutty’s Hotwing House on Tuesday…..

Here's a tip--when you see sports memorabilla hung on the wall behind us, the pic wasn't taken at Verizon Ampitheatre!
Here's a tip--when you see sports memorabilla hung on the wall behind us, the pic wasn't taken at Verizon Ampitheatre!

How is this possible, you ask? Well, simply put, left to our own devices we can only manage to bring twelve to fifteen people to come out and see us play.
The glory days are long behind us, when just the mere rumor of CH3 showing up to pick up a 12 pack at the liquor store would bring 200 kids out with their instamatics.

Vintage photo of Kimm being mobbed at  Guitar Center.  Can't you goddamn people just let me have a normal life?!
Vintage photo of Kimm being mobbed at Guitar Center. Can't you goddamn people just let me have a normal life?!

You really have to look at the demographic of the CH3 fanbase for an explanation. Although we seemingly never age, our audience is growing older, and naturally they have other things to do with their time than to follow the band around. Let’s look at data we’ve collected through extensive research:

graph

As you can see, the average Channel 3 fan can’t be bothered with, oh, I don’t know, actually coming out to see the band! but that’s the way it goes. If we have to play Manzanar for the twelve-thousandth fucking time in front of 6 people at the Doll Hut, so be it! We’re troopers!

But you ax (sorry, it’s just so hard to stop!) did I see you guys are playing with Rancid at the Fonda? You guys are playing with Pennywise? What’s that all about?

Oh, now we see–the phone’s ringin off the goddamn hook hittin us up for guestlist action now! But what about last week, when we headlined Bart’s Pub on Wednesday?

*crickets*
*crickets*

You see, these huge punk acts have to throw a bone to us old timers now and then, just to appease the punk rock gods. It gives them a measure of street cred to have the dinosaurs along for the ride, and besides, it amuses them to see us creak around onstage while they share a plate of caviar with their guitar techs in their dressing rooms.

Ya want a drink Rummy?  Then get up and play I Got a Gun--and play it pretty!
Ya want a drink Rummy? Then get up and play I Got a Gun--and play it pretty!

Well, that’s fine by us. It gives us a chance to be big shots around our kids, but we mainly gratefully take these gigs for the backstage spreads. A little more lavish than the accomodations our booker Ron usually guarantees us with our backstage rider:

Did Anthony take the Banana?  Awww, I was saving that for the ride home!
Did Anthony take the Banana? Awww, I was saving that for the ride home!

We leave these shows heavier than we arrived, backpacks and guitar cases filled with deli rolls and Red Bulls.

Hey, that shit's expensive!  Go in NOFX's room and see what they left behind!
Hey, that shit's expensive! Go in NOFX's room and see what they left behind!

And so we go along, in this weird dual existence. The lonely nights in the damp bars, paying our dues alongside the adolescent bands right out of the garage. And then there we are, on a stage bigger than a regulation volleyball court, playing to an appreciative though unfamiliar crowd. The Pasta Puttanesca sits waitng for us in a chafing dish backstage, next to the Terrycloth towels and the Bohemia on ice.
nofx
It’s great fun, but tomorrow morning it’s back to reality, gotta get the kid to school and see if we can’t fix that goddamn press brake at the shop….

And as we wheeze our way off the stage after our set, we may brush past one of these modern day Punk rock gods in the darkened hallway. We exchange Good Set!, and have a good one!
But we can recognize what we see as we look them in the eye.
That mixture of pity and respect, amusement and fear: It’s as if they’re looking at their own future.

To Whom It May Concern…..

We titled the new release To whom it may concern like we’re sending out a demo tape. Heh. Get it? To whom it may concern…..you know, like a letter!! We’re fucking clever that way, over here at the ol CH3 writer’s room.

Hmmmm...can we work vitamin and hormone into the title somehow?
Hmmmm...can we work vitamin and hormone into the title somehow?

This record, to be released next month by TKO Records contains the the demo versions of all the hits! Put this baby on the turntable and sit back. Imagine you are along for the ride on that fateful March afternoon, as Robbie Fields slipped the cassette into the tape player and history as we know it was altered forever.

Yeah, I know you’ve seen the cover already, but have a look at it again in ………3D!!

Send $15.35 US Dollars to PO Box 169, Hemet CA for 3D glasses
(Send $15.35 US Dollars to PO Box 169, Hemet CA for 3D glasses)

The Liners:
These tracks represent our very first attempts at songwriting, and our first visits to an actual recording studio, somewhere around 1980. They were recently rescued from their fragile cassette tape existence by the good folks at Laundry Room Recording Studios, and at first listen we were shocked, touched, and maybe a little embarrassed at the youthful enthusiasm and rawness we heard. It’s quite something to confront the unspoiled vision that you had so many years ago— perhaps like finding your adolescent diary thought long lost. And so there you sit, crouched in the stuffy attic, an aching 45 year old man flipping through the hopes and worries of your own youth.
This stuff?  Oh, it's what we used to make records on before you kids sucked the life out of everything!!
This stuff? Oh, it's what we used to make records on before you kids sucked the life out of everything!!

CH3 pretty much started out as a cover band, with barely enough skill to wing a set of Clash and Ramones songs to get us through a Cerritos backyard party on a warm June night. The backbone of those classic songs naturally infused the DNA of any songs that we would attempt to write on our own. I’d like to think that we wouldn’t embarrass our early heroes, though I don’t suppose they would recognize their influence after the wily notes funneled through our beer soaked minds. As you can see from the track listing, a lot of these early songs ended up on the 80’s Posh Boy releases. A few of the tracks were never pressed into action, with apparent good reason.
You didn't think we weren't gonna use this shot somewhere, did you?  Imagine these mugs on 12 inches of hot vinyl!
You didn't think we weren't gonna use this shot somewhere, did you? Imagine these mugs on 12 inches of hot vinyl!

At the beginning, just the thought of playing music in front of our friends was breathtaking– never mind the idea of ever writing our own songs and seeing them recorded. Back before the digital revolution, recording was a mysterious process, full of appointments and reels of actual tape, a lot of adjusting of microphones and ordering takeout food. The recording studio seemed a hallowed and mysterious place, and the thought of getting your absolute best take on that magical spinning tape brought both a heightened energy and a terrifying anxiety. And then to sit there in the control room and hear what came out of those exotic playback speakers! It was as if to witness the thing that you created in your bedroom, alone on a lonely and dark November night, suddenly given a little spank on the ass to draw in that first breath.

These tracks reek of that garage on Cortner Avenue. We’re honored to share these family snapshots with you now, and hope you will take them in the spirit offered!

Wait'll you see these happy faces spinning around at 33rpm!
Wait'll you see these happy faces spinning around at 33rpm!

You know that one Uncle who always gets a little too drunk and a little too loud at family gatherings? The one who always seems to corner you at the end of the night and tells you how much fun it was and how much better he looked in 1981? Yeah, that’s it…that’s what you have in your hands right now—Cheers-M

Chicken Pot au Feu

Here at the Channel 3 test kitchens we’ve been getting a lot of requests for the dazzling recipes that often show up on these pages. And while we can’t guarantee you will end up with the same savory dish shown here, if you follow the directions exactly you and your family will definitely enjoy the results!

Today let’s tackle a comforting and rustic Pot au Feu, but using skinless chicken thighs for a healthier and quicker dish. As with any braised dish, patience and careful attention to detail will result in a deep, flavorful dish.
Quickly sear off the seasoned chicken thighs and remove from your trusty LeCreuset. Soften some root veg and garlic, deglaze with wine, then return the chicken and add touch of chicken broth.

Smell the Love
Smell the Love

Now where’s the fucking mushrooms? At the store. What, really? Sure enough, they’re not even in the trunk of the car, even though you walked into the store whispering, chicken thigh, fingerlings, mushrooms over and over like goddamn Rainman! What is it, 8:20 already and all you had to eat today was Pork Rinds and the rest of that strawberry cake frosting? Alright, whatever– let’s carry on.

You might as well finish the rest of that wine and put on your shoes, but first put the whole pot in the bottom rack at 300 degrees. That’s the beauty of these type of dishes, they’ll only get more flavorful and tender with time!

Nice night for a walk, so you might as well pop into the Irisher for a quick snort.

Stellas on draft and Jamesons.
Repeat.

Keep em comin, I'm cooking dinner!
Keep em comin, I'm cooking dinner!

Are the goddamn Angels blowin yet another one? Man, that Adenhart fiasco really took the heart out of this team….let’s have one for the kid, yeah? But sweet Jesus, how many men are they gonna leave on base? Looks like Seattle might have their shit together, and I think the lack of off-season activity is finally gonna catch up to our guys this year. Fuck. Better switch to the large Newcastles to get through this one…

Don't ask me, I lost it when it went over that big green thing...
Don't ask me, I lost it when it went over that big green thing...

Alright, back to cooking, Better tab out here and get over to Pavillions before they close, get those mushrooms, and I’m thinking maybe a nice crusty baguette to compliment the dish. But hold the phone! now Tbone somes strolling into the bar. Alright one more, that’s it, and I mean it bub. A couple rounds go by, but Tbone seems to really be holding a grudge about that whole public nuisance charge he picked up on Memorial Day. Can’t this kid just let it go? That kind of anger will eat you up, ya know. Couple Jagers will put out that fire…

The Bird during happier times.
The Bird during happier times.

Jesus it’s gettin filled up in here! It’s gotta be a new ship in port— and yeah, sure enough, they’re playing Three fucking Doors Down on the Juke! Gotta be sailors. God, these kids look like, well, kids. What’s with the baseball caps and the cheesy Ed Hardy Tshirts? Hell, if I was a sailor you know I’d be rockin the old school uniforms, just like Popeye or Jack Nicholson in the Last Detail! What are these guys thinking? And now what are they playing on the box– Incubus? Really?

Get yer ass down here, sister!  We're men on shore leave!
Get yer ass down here, sister! We're men on shore leave!

Luckily, they have a handy internet search on the jukebox and for only 2 credits extra you can play your selection first. Go ahead and put in a tenner, front load that fucker with Darkness and Replacements…. I figure I’m doing these hayseeds a favor– Listen to some real music, ya jackholes!

Permission to land granted!
Permission to land granted!

Wha? Wha? I didn’t hear it, but Bone swears that one kid with the bad shoes was talking shit about our Cramps songs! It’s go time! Don’t you fuckin meth heads know Lux gave his life for your stupidity? And don’t slap my hand away, fucko! I can poke your goddamn chest as much as I want to, as long as my point is valid!! Get yer fuckin paws off me!! Gaaa!

AH DO YOU UNDERSTAND...?
AH DO YOU UNDERSTAND...?

A bottle is thrown, an off duty officer’s fiance is called a skank, an Ed Hardy T shirt is ruined forever. We have been asked to leave.

Every time a bell rings, some skank gets her wings!
Every time a bell rings, some skank gets her wings!

Fine. We don’t need this kind of abuse. As we are being escorted out into the crisp night air of Main street I hear the strains of Incubus coming out of the jukebox, and I turn back just in time to see Ichiro send one out of the park. The pure white dot of the baseball leaving the stratosphere looks as round and final as a period, a punctuation mark signalling the end of a long and tortured evening.

Pavillions has long closed, so stop into 7-11 and grab up a couple chili dogs. I suggest going light on the nacho cheese. Yeah, I know it’s free, but have some respect man!

It has no calories if you don't remember eating it....
It has no calories if you don't remember eating it....

The homeless seem especially friendly tonight, nice of that one gent to share his Slurpee. I don;t know when I’ve been so thirsty.

All right. Time to get your ass back home before they start sweeping the streets, and for God’s sake, don’t try to pet the Possum that lives in the alley like last time!

Here kitty kitty...who's the pretty kitty?
Here kitty kitty...who's the pretty kitty?

When you get up at 4am to take the battery out of the smoke alarm go ahead and turn off the stove. Here we serve with a simple couscous and some fresh herbs. While this dish may take a little extra planning and time than your usual week day meal, I think it’s nice to indulge yourself every now and again. Enjoy!!

Good for breakfast too!
Good for breakfast too!

Of Scratches and Needles PtII

So now we’re armed with the lyrics and got together to run through the track a few times. I’m knocked out by the line, “And you ask yourself, why can’t I be…..Like the person who has always influenced me?” Fuckin beautiful!

Scratches and Needles
You Display your Scratches, you display your Needles aloud
Just to get the attention from the present crowd
Because you need the attention, it makes you feel supreme
You’d better snap out of it and stop your fuckin’ scheme
Right now

When the Scratches are pain and the needle don’t reach your vein
You begin to question the actions you’ve taken
Then you ask yourself, Why can’t I be
Like the person who has always influenced me?
I Scratch my arms, I’ll poison my blood
Just to get the attention of everyone
I won’t show tears, I won’t show pain
No matter how it hurts
I’ll disguise the Pain
When I’m alone I’ll show the tears
Because the Scratches on my arm are causing Pain
Scratches and Needles tonight…

We had to search for our angle with this track, and I felt the Nils track had a real or imagined sadness to it. We’d be best to pump up the anger, give it a little more spit and piss at the situation, yeah?

Studio day is always fun in my book. We get to make Alf get up early and go set up, followed by 3 hours of him hitting the snare drum to get the sound. Meanwhile, we go and search out the best in suiza enchiladas in the area. Luckily, on this brisk December afternoon, our old producer and partner in crime Jay Lansford was in town, a lil record business judging by his expense-account style accomodations in Bev Hills. We met Jay at Michoacan Carnitas on the Westside and caught up on our lives.

Wonder how the hi hat levels are going?  Oh miss-- Another round...?
Wonder how the hi hat levels are going? Oh miss-- Another round...?

A pleasant hour and a half ride to get across town got us over to Laundry Room Studios, our current favorite hang to lay down the hot tracks. We’ve been working with Uly for a few years now, ever since the traumatic and cleansing One More,,,, Movie, and just dig the vibe over there.

..this one's volume, this one's tone.  The rest?  Not hooked up anyway!!
..this one's volume, this one's tone. The rest? Not hooked up anyway!!

In the past, we would get together for a grueling day of laying down a string of basic tracks, 12 hours straight of trying to get the drum and bass down only to go back over each track ad nauseum for a couple weeks with the dubs. Fuck that, brother! Nowdays, it’s one song per setup, get the drums done and send Alfie down to the store for more Makers and place the bets with the bookie. Then a leisurely guitar session, bark out a few vocals, and kickin it at Jumbo’s by last call.

The track came together smooth, and how’s this for a bonus—saw a goddamn coyote as we were leaving the studio!

ummmm, has anybody seen Tabby lately?
ummmm, has anybody seen Tabby lately?

Do you see? It truly doesn’t take much to excite us any more…. One day we’ll get to ride in the Goodyear Blimp and have a fuckin coronary.

The Klownhouse Fest, Kiel

We didn’t have to think twice when we got the invite to play something called a Klownhouse Fest! How can you go wrong? Klowns! A House—a fest. Come on now!

Unfortunately, Anthony assured us Kiel was in Northern California, just between Stockton and Sacramento. Seems his cousin lives there….

Uh, no. Turns out it’s in goddamn Germany!

That's Klown with a K, bitches!
That's Klown with a K, bitches!

Heh. Ah well– we’ve been meaning to get back over the pond. Our last trip over in 2007 was a quick jaunt through the UK and the Rebellion Festival in Amsterdam. Besides, Alfie has some unfinished business with some Jamaican businessmen who work out of Hengrove Park in Bristol.

Under hypnosis, Alf was able to remember certain details of the traumatic night...
Under hypnosis, Alf was able to remember certain details of the traumatic night...

We were pleasantly surprised to find a few old pals had signed up for the Kfest as well. Jay Lansford has a new lineup of the Simpletones, this time around with a girl singer, of all things!
She's prettier than Snickers, but can she fart on command?
She's prettier than Snickers, but can she fart on command?

Pretty smart move when ya think about it, as it’s kinda hard to have 45 year old man jump around on stage and sound like a sixteen year old. Believe me. I’ve tried.

Also on the bill is GG Elvis, as if we haven’t seen enough of Eric’s ass…

For the love of God, man--keep the clothes on this time!
For the love of God, man--keep the clothes on this time!

And also, the fierce SNFU! Back in the olden days we would pass though Calgary or Edmonton, or one of those other goddamn Canadian outposts, and run into Mr. Chi Pig and his band. One day, he accompanied us to the local laundramat and showed us how to use the funny colored Candian money, and then took us to a liquor store where we could stock up on Wrestling magazines.

Gaaa! Where's Seargeant Slaughter when ya need him?!
Gaaa! Where's Seargeant Slaughter when ya need him?!

Mr. Chi Pig is lookin wild these days, Kinda like a cross between David Carradine in his acid days and Charles Manson–and we dig that!
Snatch the pebble from my hand, punker!
Snatch the pebble from my hand, punker!

Some dates for the CH3 European Tour 2009, more TBA:
July 29 Düsseldorf,Zakk+SNFU,Adolescents,Dickies,DOA
July 30 Hamburg,Hafenklang
July 31 Riesa (near by Leipzig) U-Punkt
Aug 1 Kiel, Klownhouse Fest – Pumpe
Aug 3 Berlin, Wild At Heart
Aug 4 CZ-Prague,007
Aug 5 A-Vienna, Chelsea
Aug 8 UK-Blackpool, Rebellion Festival

Our Last Gig: Spike’s in Rosemead

We’ve been getting a lot of complaints at the
CH3 Home Office
regarding the lack of any real punk rock content on these pages. So in an effort to bring you good people up to date, we’ve started a new feature, Our Last Gig! In this column we’ll review our latest show, the venue, opening acts and friends in the audience. Sounds good, huh? Let’s get started:

Ah, Rosemead. It’s been called the hidden jewel of San Gabriel Valley, but we don’t want to let the secret out! After a lengthy layoff from the stage, we decided what better place to get back up there and bust Alf’s balls than this lil gig…..

This color combination has been know to cause epileptic fits in Cambodian children...
This color combination has been know to cause epileptic fits in Cambodian children...

You know us, though, and any trip out to SGV has us looking for a bowl of noodles– and I don’t mean Udon, brother! Yeah, that’s it, it’s Pho the fellas had on their mind as they made the wordless trek up the 605.

Can you spot how many animals gave their precious lives for this bowl?
Can you spot how many animals gave their precious lives for this bowl?

Pho. It’s more than a dish, it is a state of mind that brings all the senses into play. The poetic beauty of the Vietnamese language, the exotic flavorings of the broth. The slight hint of urine that perfumes the ghostly puffs of steam that rise to your grateful face!!

Well, we simply sat back and let our trusty handler Paul Lucas do his thing. Being a citizen of Little Saigon, he knows his way around a plate of Cha Gio, let me tell you! Behind the wheel, Paul set his radar for Viet cuisine and off we flew.

Level headed Paul Lucas.  He looks 10 years younger on Facebook.
Level headed Paul Lucas. He looks 10 years younger on Facebook.

Eventually we settled on My Dung restaurant, nestled right in the middle of Garvey Avenue. The following photo comes from the 11 o’clock news, not 36 hours after we left this fine establishment– Seems a little armed confrontation left 2 dead within these walls. Heh. Well, you don’t get the authentic Vietnamese experience without a bit of the ol “Di Di Mau!”, eh?

My Dung restaurant.   Nah, too easy....
My Dung restaurant. Nah, too easy....

The Pho dishes, though generously portioned, lacked a certain depth to the broth. Kimm believes that comes from the failure to roast the bones before making a stock, but that’s Kimm for you!

Dinner was going fine until the waiter brought Mr. Paul his Iced Tea with a slice of lemon—-not a wedge! The audacity!

Who the fuck is responsible for this outrage?!
Who the fuck is responsible for this outrage?!

Oh, Paulie, the trouble you’ve seen! On his many travels through the twisted nights of CH3, Paul has seen many things. Sights that would have a lesser man muttering to himself and staring at the lamp, clicking it on, off….on, off.

Here is a man that has taken his share of abuse and good cheer, and his forthright shell has never shown a crack.

Oh, unless you count the little incident at JFK after the boys spent the day with D.I. Casey at McSorley’s on the Lower East Side.

Uh, do you mind, Casey? We're still in the middle of our goddamnned set!

We had to miss 2 flights as we waited for Anthony to sober up between shots at Manitoba’s! Paulie was then subjected to a high speed gypsy cab ride to the airport where Salvadoran porn played non-stop on the overhead DVD player.

Get in, rápidamente!!  She's about to squirt!
Get in, rápidamente!! She's about to squirt!

A guitar was left behind at CBGB’s, a cigarette was lit in the security line. The authorities have been called.

It would make any man crack.

Sir?  Can you step out of line and speak to those kind gentlemen with the uniforms?
Sir? Can you step out of line and speak to those kind gentlemen with the uniforms?

That day at the airport, the sun slowly set over our shoulders, reminding us that we were still still! on the East coast. That warm sun was presently sinking into the familiar Pacific waters without our audience. I heard Paul’s voice crack as he pleaded with the ticket lady for the next flight- any flight– to escape these mad men. As we leaned against the Jet Blue ticket counter, so far from home, I caught one of the twinkling teardrops that cascaded off his face and touched it to my lips. The taste? Bitter defeat.

Stay tuned for the next gig report from your ol pals here at CH3!

Of Scratches and Needles

What do ya do when Mark Stern calls up and asks for a new track for the upcoming BYO anniversary compilation album? Well, when yer dealing with an organization that has as much embarassing dirt on us as the brothers Stern (*cough* Sacramento 1983 *cough*), you damn well get to the studio!

R-L  Mark, Shawn, and Adam, the nice one!
R-L Mark, Shawn, and Adam, the nice one!

Seems as though for this project they are asking bands to cover a track from one of their previous landmark collections. Pretty cool idea–We had a track appear on the compilation Something to Believe In way back in 1952. We had the song Indian Summer on that crazy disc, and the thought of covering another track from that record sounded like a fun project. And of course, we’re lazy, so the thought of not actually having to write a new song was Mr. Bonus!

Squint your eyes and you can see a lady riding a unicorn...
Squint your eyes and you can see a lady riding a unicorn...

Well, after confirming that someone already took the Jonses’ Pillbox, we of course had to have a go at the Nils’ Scratches and Needles! We’ve always loved this song, but I never quite knew all the lyrics. The Nils were a Montreal band, really more of a contemporary of the Replacements and Husker Du than to us punk knuckleheads. Besides sharing residence on that one compilation, really knew nothing else of the band.

A quick web search only coughed up a few bios, and then I came across an obituary by our old pal Jack Rabid…Seems Alex Soria, the songwriter/singer died of a violent train track suicide, apparently strung out and desolate. When you look on the lyrics of the song, which deal with addiction and the hypocrisy of the heroin chic culture, the story of Alex and the Nils takes on a darkly ironic twist. Reports on Alex’ last moments on Earth have him standing on the tracks, holding up a hand to the oncoming metal. As a desperate gesture of halt or an apologetic wave goodbye, no one will ever know. He left behind his brother Carlos, who always stood by him in bands, bass in hand.

The Nils
The Nils

A quick email to Jack got me in contact with Woody at Toroto based Mag Wheel Records and I was quickly caught up on all things Nils! Woody graciously sent us lyrics and a grip of cds, including other Nils tributes and tracks from other Soria projects. I sent Woody back a few things, and we began one of those friendly, faceless long distance relationships unique to the Web. At the end of one of Woody’s emails, he mentioned that Carlos heard we were doing this project and seemed excited. There was a phone number, he said Carlos wasn’t much for emails…
Carlos and Alex
Carlos and Alex

I called Carlos a few days later, and he was happy that we were doing the track. They always thought Needles and Indian Summer were the 2 best tracks on the record, and yeah-funny how they are pretty much made up of the same damn chords! He filled me in on his career, how he was actually out here for a bit playing with Mike Conley from MIA, who tragically also suffered an early death. He mentioned how he might try to get the Nils back together, this and that. As we were ending the call, he wondered if BYO might be interested in his new band covering Indian Summer for the comp.
I said I didn’t know…

Alex Soria
Alex Soria