RSD 2014


And so the day finally arrived, after weeks of nauseating self promotion.
New vinyl on Hostage Records? Check.
A reissue of Fear of Life on Drastic Plastic? Naturally.

Post after shameless post on social media, complete with darling new photos? You got it.


There is even the new Indian Summer IPA in the bottle, and it seems as though our appetite for cross promotion knows no limits.

We do, however, walk away from negotiations to lease the new CH3 Hydraulic Horizontal Drill to the fracking concerns in Eastern Ohio.
Hey, we still have souls ya know!


I don't always drink beer, but...ah, fuck it.  Yes I do.
I don’t always drink beer, but…ah, fuck it. Yes I do.

We even ventured back to Cortner Ave in Cerritos, scene of so many charming youthful crimes, to compete with all the Cat and Dog videos already clogging up YouTube:

And for what, all of this smoke and noise? For Record Store Day?
Hell yeah man, and why not?


Oh I hear the bitching alright.
How it’s become such a thing.

How the very heart of this day has been ripped out and stomped by the vultures who would commit these one-off treasures to Ebay!
Such a young holiday, already mourned for losing its mission, and a million breathless voices cannot agree on just what we’re trying to accomplish here.

Oh come on man!
It’s like the local drunks bemoaning St. Patrick’s Day, the one goddamned day of the year the bar finally gets some real business!

And like writing letters to Auntie, (you know, the one who just will not trust this new email fad) it’s something we neglect far too long: a visit to our local shops.
And if it takes a kooky day that celebrates vinyl measured in grams, like any other precious drug, then so be it.

Let’s do this!


It’s gonna be a long one, so we fill up on franchise Bánh Mì and icy cold Belgian style IPA (ahem) at the well lit CH3 offices.


We have a full crew onboard, and the we chatter happily along the 5 freeway to our first stop:
Left of the Dial Records in Santana.



We’re guilty of not visiting the new location of LOTD until now, and we are well impressed.
And though it was awfully nice to have a true Record Store in our sleepy little town, the store seems to fit well in the funky arts district here.
Besides, I’m betting you’ll find a better goat birria out here than in Seal Beach, am I right?

Not Del Taco
Not Del Taco

It’s a cheerful crowd we wade through, amps and drums in hand, and we’re soon set up amongst the racks and bins, mere inches from our pals—cozy!





We go through a few of the oldies before attempting the new songs, and we somehow pull them off.
Who knows, we may even commit the ultimate crime and include some new songs in the set!

Wait, don’t go! We were just joking!



Shameless product placement #3
Shameless product placement #3

And then we unplug the guitars and work the crowd like corrupt politicians, kissing every baby and signing anything that is within a yard of our reach.



It was just a grand afternoon, and we could stay here all day, loitering outside and drinking beer on the sidewalk, chatting up our chums, but we have more work to do.

We say our goodbyes to Geoff and crew.
Promises are made to not make it a whole year before meeting again!



...not even gonna try to compete with those choppers!
…not even gonna try to compete with those choppers!


Back in the van now, and we venture South for stop # 2:
McGreat Records in San Clemente.

The drive is fine on a Spring afternoon, and our spirits soar as the hills finally give way to the glowing Pacific.
The van conversations meander, as van conversations tend to do, especially when fueled by char siu pork and smooth, hoppy ales. (#4)

Alf searches the van for open power ports, Ant calls someone out on a bogus Facebook status.
Everyone is online, logged in, checked in, and talking all at once.

Someone chimes in with the 2 finest phone apps, the true reason smartphones should exist: TouchTunes jukebox and BofA digital check deposit.

It turns out Dell has never heard of Grindr, so we immediately install it on his phone and tell him to start looking for good places to eat in the area.


We get to the store well before sundown and find a cheerful little shop nestled in this wacky little beach community.
The front of the store is well stocked with your CH3 essentials, and there’s an actual performing space in the back.



It’s a younger crowd in here, and it’s heartening that Ian and his crew have really nurtured a good place for the kiddos.
Seems they actually have music lessons in-store, as well as schooling the groms on proper music out front, so this place walks with light in our book.

Now, if they could only produce a refreshing but bold Indian Pale Ale (#5) they’d have all the bases covered, am I right?




We set up and kick it off, and things go all wonky!
The PA cuts off in the middle of each song, a midget pit breaks out and a can of Sprite (Sprite!) goes sailing into the walls.
Dell disappears into the night, as his phone has been beeping out some sort of alerts like a horny squirrel.

In other words, it is perfect!

We play our second set of the day with renewed energy for the kids, and when the PA cuts out yet again, we just scream the lyrics into the night, baptizing the crowd with saliva and the bitter words of a man who’s seen too much—hooohah!



Our pals in No More Saints come in to bat cleanup, leaving us to shill on.
We sign more records, bomb more selfies, chat the night away.

No Mo Saints!
No Mo Saints!



And once more, we load out and pack the van, get ready for the ride home.
And it’s almost wistful, seeing the day end.
Like pushing a broom through spent confetti on a bleak New Year’s Day, you get the feeling like it’s all gone too quick.

But we’re satisfied, ultimately, with what has been done here.
Sure, some T shirts have been sold, some platters signed and sent to their new adoptive homes with our blessings.
All in the name of Record Store Day, though this should be done any old Saturday of the year, shouldn’t it?

If we can’t gather at these jewel-like hearths of music, then what have we become?
Will we get our music with a swipe of thumb across a touchscreen and have music delivered to us in zeroes and ones through the ether?

Or would you go into a store, and talk to someone who knows, and feel these songs in your very hands?
And then you can take something home with you, something with weight and presence, and then you can sit.
And listen.


Additonal photos: Martin Wong, By The Barricade and ripped off from Facebook!

Fear and Life in Las Vegas….

Hofbrauhaus Bavarian restaurant Las Vegas

I’m in the bathroom now, and lean my full weight back against the swinging door.
Still it’s no use.

The incessant chug of the oom pa pa, the drunken melodies of the Fatherland odes, these come at me still through the steel and wood.
A bathroom attendant is there and he gives me a quick smile, he’s seen this before.

“You get used to it man,” he says with a wave of paper towel. “Hell, I don’t even notice that shit anymore, not any more.”


Just a light snack pre -game....
Just a light snack pre -game….


I’m aware of the absurdity at play.
We’re in town, after all, to play a gig at a club appropriately named The Dive Bar.
In a couple hours we will be on a moist stage and setting the Marshall JCM900’s to a lethal 7 on the main volume, and then shouting ourselves hoarse for lack of proper monitor.

All the while, a sound man gives us the universal mating call of his species: Turn it down please!


But for now I’m huddled in the bathroom of a faux-German tourist trap, a noise induced headache working its way to the temporal lobes.
I can hear the noise ratcheted up yet another notch, as some group sing along starts again, all beery tears and hugs out there.

What am I afraid of?
Being forced to suffer the humiliation of the goddamned Chicken Dance?
The inevitable shouts of Kill the Jews! that will come right after Komman Mein Herz ??


But this peace is artificial and not to be possessed for long, like a stack of twenties dispensed from a strip club ATM.

The bathroom chap gives my hands a squirt of soap and holds out a paper towel as I wash my hands and check for gray nose hairs in the mirror, then sends me back out to the beerhall with an encouraging smile.
I toss a couple bucks into his tip bucket and take a mint from the counter, one kind human engagement fulfilled in a town known for cruelty.

We brave another round and a bite of sausage more, and then we load into the cars.
It’s a Saturday night after all, an easy one nighter, but perhaps Vegas has lost some of its charm for us grumpy fucks.


I used to love that initial descent into the valley after a 4 hour drag along the 15, that magic moment when the lights of the Strip would come into view, amplified by the blackness of desert sky.

But now it seems as though Vegas is expanding like a toxic spill toward the State line.
The city grows larger and brighter, and those thrilling casino lights that used to shine like jewels now seem as just more dots among the millions.

To walk through the outrageous casino lobbies now, it’s harder to recognize the thrill and chance of treasure.
And now those green and black chips illustrate a different value, tanks of gas and groceries for a week.
Is this what they call growing up?


Turns out the Dive is a proper bar, with a lively crowd come out to play.
We are immediately cheered to find some friendly faces inside, and the night is off!




We get ready to set up when I see Joe and his crew roll in.
Now, I’ve known this kid since he was a teen, when he would only come to see us at the rare all-ager or stand out in the parking lot of Alex’s.

Now he’s a card carrying adult, of course, and a familiar and welcome face at a lot of the gigs.

Still, it’s strange to see the homeboys from East LA here in Vegas, especially on a weekend that doesn’t involve bowling or an appearance by The Adicts!

The birthday boy and crew.
L-R: The birthday boy and crew.

Turns out it’s Joe’s birthday–his 23rd!—and the gang has decided on a classic Vegas road trip to celebrate!

Ah 23.
Let’s look at the immortal lyrics that will forever earn us shit.
Oh, I imagine Roger Daltry cringing each night he has to sing, I hope I die before I get old.
But we had to go one further and get all specific, motherfucker!

Fear of Life

I’ve grown so fond of this weekend life, no responsibilities
I’m not ready for the real world, wake me up when I’m twenty-three
Eat mom’s pills, drink dad’s beer
Anything to forget my fear
Got no job, got no girl, got nothing at all
Sounds like a life of misery, still I’m having a ball
I live in my own little fantasy, I won’t listen to you
You tell me to act more seriously, hey man, fuck you


So it’s only fitting, mid set, that we bring Joe up onstage and have him spit out the song himself–Fear of Life!


The kid nails it, breathing a new life into a song that has been perhaps missing a spark.

You've learned well, grasshopper!
You’ve learned well, grasshopper!

And with that we are energized.
We finish out the set strong, play all the old hard fast ones for good measure.

When we finally get outside to gulp down some cool air and let the sweat dry, the lights of the city look new.
Joe and the kids are full of fire.
I hear them chatting and plans are made for a night that is a still young at 3am, for this town, for people 23 years old.

Us? We call it a night.

We get back to the hotel and pause before heading to the elevators and ending the night.
There’s still time, it seems, to sit down at the bar and feed the video poker a twenty, order up one more drink.

There’s always the chance, isn’t there? to win.