It’s Hot, I’m Dead Fest


We go right into Manzanar now, and as I grab for the F# I can tell the strings have dropped a half step at least in this heat.   I look out at the sun baked field, where a few hardy punkers have the sand to start a fledgling mid day pit, but the reasonable ones stay back in whatever shade can be found.
A beer can comes sailing toward the stage, and I savor the baptism of a few precious drops of cooling liquid as it just misses my head.

We’ve drawn one of the very first slots of the day, but console ourselves with the fact that the sun is at least at the far reach of it’s radius directly overhead, and the next poor bands will be playing straight into its blazing stare.


But what the hell, it’s a rare invite to play a big fest, so who are we to bitch about set times?


Ah, 1982, is that you I hear scratching at the backdoor of my battered hippocampus?

The Eastern Front up yonder Berkeley was indeed our first big daytime fest, but I don’t recall any water bottle filling stations or safe spaces back then, brother!

That day was hot and grimy, and quickly dissolved into a drunken mess, sort of an Altamount for the punkers who would’ve welcomed a stab to the gut over a trip into those bubbling porta potties in the north forty.

A few hazy images, of us drinking from our warm Old English jugs at 10 am and trying to lure a squad of new wave chicks into the Blue and White, while Grant & Bob from Husker Du could only shake their head  at our antics as they walked past.

Stevo got into a mortal battle with a gopher who had the bad idea to poke its head above ground, the Vandals singer ultimately removing the rodent’s trachea with a pocketknife.

Then our boy Duane  decides it’s reasonable to tip one of those fetid Port a Potties onto its side, while a poor punker is still inside intent on the business at hand.  It was only Big John Macias from Circle One stepping into the mob, muscled arms raised, that stopped the subsequent lynching.

The day is mercifully finished at some shitbag motel, where Larry calmly pours a beer down the back of the television set, causing the poor Quasar to spark in protest for just a moment before surrendering its fuzzy image of Fred Mertz to darkness–a proper end to a day spent on the edge of reason,  kids in the wild, animals of the Savannah literally on the kill without a thought of nutrition, hydration or safety.  Punk.


It’s a new day when we roll into the Glen Helen Ampitheatre grounds for set up.
9:30 am, and we unload drinking sensible grande Americanos, not a 40 of Olde English in sight.

It’s already a balmy 101 degrees as we set up the merch, but everyone is cheerful and relaxed.


I mean, c’mon!  How can you not grin when you are doing a soundcheck at 11 am and look right across at a Hello Kitty jumpy next to a circus tent.

Jumpies, people-jumpies!

Its our first clue that the It’s Not Dead Festival is a going to be a bit different from that dusty day 35 years ago.  We are taken by golf cart back to the catering area, careful not to make too much noise as the idling tour buses contain the snoring headliners.

We are shown to our air conditioned trailer, and get this–we get the goddamn thing for the whole day!  Usually we are kicked out of  festival dressing rooms as soon as we are done playing, and stand like traumatized first time mothers kicked out of the maternity ward, holding backpacks bulging with energy drinks and waters swiped off the catering table.


It’s all fine hellos and catching up, as these big bills tend to be.  Call it high school reunion for the graying punkers, or perhaps more of a support group for the survivors.  All I know is that it’s grand to say hello to a lot of people we’ve known a damn long time!


Kevin Seconds


Uncle Lars!

Keeping the lucky streak intact, we once again draw the opening slot, so we ring out the first chords of the day on Stage 2 just as the first hardy souls come streaming into the Festival grounds.

The day holds, I don’t know, a million bands?  So the set times are just that: set.

We are given a serious lecture about not going over 30 minutes, so it’s all business at hand:  40 year old songs with a few of the new ones sprinkled in to keep the crew on its feet.  There is no time for the usual Rat Pack banter today baby!

We’re over and done while the majority of the crowd is still emptying their backpacks on the security tables, but we played our first set back from the long layoff, and it went pretty good.
We were able to pull off some of the  new songs  without messing up too many parts, kept our bone marrow from boiling over and suffered only minor heat stroke.
Work’s done, and it’s our turn to go be festival fans now!

Lyman and crew put their years of Warped experience to good use with this one, as there were cool-off misters and water bottle filling stations, not to mention a steady bank of ATM machines humming happily next to the merch booths!

Still, I worry about these kids, drinking so much alcohol in this unrelenting heat.
Let’s hydrate!  And sunscreen!  Have you goddamn people ever heard of it?


It is a major chat fest and band geek out for us, a rare treat to see bands like GBH and Buzzcocks betraying the road map of wrinkles upon face and putting out blistering sets of great sounding classics.


We eat lunch, do some interviews, huddle in the trailer when the white spots start dancing across our fields of vision.

The heat and the hellos, running from one stage to the next in classic festival juggling act fashion,  the day stretches on into weeks it seems.   Murphy’s Law is on at the same time as Buzzcocks,  Kevin Second’s acoustic set bleeds into GBH downbeat.

The temperature has settled begrudgingly at 106 degrees, as if it’s too hot for heat itself to make any more effort.


The day continues  and we’ve become a tribe now, communed in a battle against the merciless Sun.  All eyes on the hills above Glen Helen, that will soon be tucking this bastard fireball away for the night.
A resigned cheer goes up as the first shadows fall across the dusty field, and the unlit side stages go dark to the last horn blats of Voodoo Glow Skulls.
The crowd makes its way over to the main stage now, grateful for the relief of darkness, but burnt.

Sinead starts wailing mournfully above the Chieftans for the usual Dropkicks intro of Foggy Dew as the exodus continues toward the sound:  A ghostly landscape of tired legs shuffling in  the dust, as if through  a smoky battlefield.

But there is plenty of laughter and smiles among  all these tired faces.


We start our checkout of the merch and begin loading out the boxes as Rancid kicks into Roots Radicals, Lars singing his guts out on the last night of their tour.

I walk back to do a  final sweep of the trailer, and pass the Grim crew at their motorhome, a big screen TV showing the McGregor/Mayweather debacle.


Tim Armstrong is now singing about hanging with Lars on 52nd and Broadway.  For a fleeting moment I sense the confluence as they sing about nothing more than friendship, while the bored looking champ fends off the feisty leprechaun, who is at least putting himself out there and leading with his heart.  I struggle to make the connection, but my brain is fried.


I step into the empty Star Wagon for the last time today, the little space that has been a godsend on this boiling day.  We had the rare luxury of coming back here to literally chill out, while the masses of true fans stayed in the dust and heat, rolling as one to their favorites.

I take every banana and water bottle left and feed my bursting backpack, as habits die hard, and take one last look around the trailer.
It’s quiet and cold in here now.
I feel that stab of punk rock guilt, to be standing here in comfort while a few thousand kids stand out there in the dirt and heat, singing along to their heroes.

For a fleeting moment, I consider taking one of the last beers out of the mini fridge and pouring it down the back of the plasma TV mounted amidships.
But what would that be?  An uneasy assurance to myself that I am still that carefree and careless punk of 3 decades back, that a true spirit lives on?

Instead I tidy up the trailer and put all the recyclables and garbage into the proper trash cans.

And when I leave I turn off the light.

Channel 3.1

O hi.


A bit of catch up, shall we?

When last we left the lads, staggering about the wilds of Tijuana after a gig in search of the mythical Monkey Bars of Avenida Revolución— this back in goddamned April 2015 !–the rascally Yemini Civil War was still in its adorable toddler stage.

Green Day had finally been elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and we left Don Draper sitting in the lotus position on the brink of the frothy Pacific: the genius idea to sell brown fizzy water to the masses in the guise of brotherhood the only insight gained from a 2 week stint at Esalen.

  …another dream is tossed to the Sea! 

We thought it was a good time to take our well earned sabbatical.
After all, you kids were doing OK, and it was time for you to start your own C level punk rock bands and suffer your very own brand of decades-long indignities.

And we left you in the hands of an eloquent, thoughtful World Leader, a stable economy and the promise of a nationalized Health Care system finally on the horizon.

So yeah,
Been a while, am I right? Anything new happen while we’ve been away?















I leave you goddamned kids alone for a couple years and what happens?
It’s as if no one ever learned from those classic cautionary tales of the 80’s!



C’mon now! You didn’t see this one coming?

What is this, some sort of grand experiment?
Were we so bored with progression as to to wander into this alternate reality where Biff gets to keep the Sports Almanac and  70 year old men take to Twitter at 3am like junior high girls flushed on their first Zima?

I say again:

Alright, enough of that, we won’t be wasting any of your precious toilet reading time on Dear Leader any more.

Lots of things to catch up on, so let’s get started.

Yeah, the band went a bit underground for a couple years.

A few lineup changes, the usual minor plastic surgery, new pets and all the weird behaviors they inflict upon the household.
Some heartbreaking farewells to people who were so dear to us.

And yeah, as you might’ve heard, we got a new record!


Why do you think we’re here people?

Listen, I know it’s a new world out there.
A place where words such as alt right, fake news and Impeachment are abruptly copied and pasted into the daily lexicon.
We’ve lost that very last delicate morsel of innocence that we were saving for the Dodger’s pennant run, spent our National Goodwill on the moon pushing the goddamned Sun out of the way for a few precious moments of childlike awe.

We look around, at this world we all hold some sort of blame in creating, and can only struggle to make it through another day.   Shudder at what the next morning will bring.

But your old pals are back now, and if things are not going to be better for a while, at least you will have pictures of food and guitars to soothe your battered soul.


    Tuxedo Rickenbacker and Tot Poutine.        Boom.

Oh, I’m sure in the next few months we’ll get back to the regular blog subjects:  those fine greasy meals consumed at 3 a.m., the Golden age of Television we currently enjoy, poorly attended shows in cities that didn’t want us to visit in the first place–ya know: the usual.

But we return in full on whore mode, ready to sell off the last of our dignity to get this new stuff out to you.

We’ve got some tour dates lined up, a spiffy new web layout and even our very own in house store to shill our wares to you suckers.

I want you to savor the quiet time you were gifted, as you will soon be very sick of us as we continue this shameless promotion.

So feel free to kick around the new digs, scroll through a few meaningless Instagram  posts, trust us with your credit card number or Paypal account and we’ll send you a T shirt.  And if you do not also see an Alibaba charge for 25 kilos of alpaca food show up on the monthly statement, hey- bonus!


Alright then, let’s be careful out there kids,  talk soon.


Oh, and one more thing: