Thursday, July 21, 2011

DEADBEATS and more...

Well...we have not written anything on this blog for a long time now. Artifix now has the DEADBEATS reissue of the Dangerhouse EP out after about six+ years of trying to get everyone to cooperate and give the "go ahead" on it. Check out the Artifix Records site for the scoop.

So...lately we have been listening to:

Iranian 45rpm records from the 70s (crazy funk stuff)
More rockabilly (50s NOT new crap!)
More surf (just saw The Tornadoes!)
Gogol Bordello's new album
Citizen Fish new album
Social Distortion new album
More "Killed By Death" obscurities
I've kind of been getting back in touch with some of my favorite hardcore records of the past: OLHO SECO (Brazil) 1st 7", THE BRISTLES (Sweden) 1st 7", THE STALIN (Japan) all 7"ers, etc.
Watching: Ballykissangel episodes (BBC), Chico and the Man episodes, old '30s westerns, The Three Idiots (great hindi flick), etc.

I'm going to try and make this blog a bit more up-to-date more often...

Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Something old is new again! GEARS and D.I.'s mega set!


Wow! Let's start with that for a word to sum up this new set of mighty music from Hepcat Records. I gotta admit that I was a bit jealous when Axxel G. Reese first told me about this reissue of the old GEARS stuff. My thinking is always biased toward my own label -'natch. I know the passion that I have to make sure that a group's music is packaged right and looks swell and all that. My first thought when hearing that Hepcat was putting out a reissue of the GEARS material along with the D.I.'s material, I was "Oh no...I hope they don't fuck it up!". Well...let's go back to that one word...Wow! Gabby, the head honcho at Hepcat, has outdone it on this extra lux package.

First off, having a disc of remastered GEARS LP and EP tracks is a wonderful thing and anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a big fan of the GEARS. They are punk...they are rock'n'roll...they are the band that should be revered as gods, but somehow they have always eluded the fame that ilk like BAD RELIGION got...well...I could make comparisons to the past, like with LINK WRAY and PAT BOONE (You know which guys records I'm spinnin' right?), but we all know that the best bands are sometimes overlooked until it's too late. If you have not yet heard the GEARS infectious and catchy surf cum rockabilly cum punk sound, do yourself a favor and get this for that alone. The nice bonus with the GEARS are the recently discovered 1979 demos which are a bit more raw and primitive than what they later refined. Of the five demo tracks that end this complete discography of the GEARS unique California sound wall O' punk, there is only one totally previously unheard song on here; "Girl Crazy". This song is a revelation in as much that any unheard GEARS song would be, but it also has the same frenetic drive that all their other songs have and somehow manages to sound like greasers from the 50's have resurfaced in the 1970's and understand both rockin' and punk. Timeless stuff. Hell, this shit puts my wife in a good mood whenever she hears it so that's gotta be good. I know it helps me out when I'm in a jam....

Okay...let's give some time to the D.I.'s. I will admit my lameness here before one and all. I always avoided this record. The cover was cool, but it reminded me of heavy metal albums and I remember punk purists being totally dismissive of it back in the day. So...I ran across hundreds of copies...some for only 99 cents and still never picked one up even though I knew that I liked the earlier music from all the geezers in the band. Well, Hepcat sets the score straight. What we have with this second disc of the GEARS/D.I.'s boxt set is a chance to hear what many of us missed. The D.I.'s take off where the GEARS left off. The sound is reminiscent of the GEARS, but goes off into much deeper rockabilly, garage and even some blues areas. The punk is left behind and what we have here is the 100% pure rockin' sound. After years of these guys playing in other bands, the D.I.'s sound is tight and growls along with a sonic purity that is only found in the best of head-bouncing, toe-tapping rock and roll. The feeling is more rhythmic than before and the sound is much fatter overall. The lyrics are similar to the GEARS and maybe the closest link to that earlier band. As a rockabilly purist myself, I was overcome with how great this stuff sounds and how uncontrived it sounds compared to the more recent psychobilly (crap!) movement (bowel?). Some songs border on 60's garge punk like the track "Yo-Yo", but mostly this stuff just rocks no matter how you want to label it. Fans of fast, tight, aggressive rock with good lyrics and enough rhythm to get you boppin' will like this. Listening to these tracks is a definite eye-opener to me. Great stuff. Boy, I'm lame for missing out the first time. Thanks Gabby for setting me straight!

Okay, packaging...both discs are full of music. EVERYTHING by both bands (with the one exception of the recent GEARS demos that Chris Ashford just released on his new label...damn! Another got away from Artifix!). Both discs feature nice color layout and production notes. The real winner is that the GEARS disc comes with a poster with tons of pics of cool GEARS memorabilia like fliers, concert tickets, etc. The D.I.'s set comes with a poster too of D.I.'s memorabilia and also includes a small four-page booklet with some band history. Sound is great, packaging is top notch...be glad that Hepcat had the foresight to loose these tunes out of the vault once again.

On a side note, I remember when kids at my school were going to have a big fight (rumble?) after school over who was better...rockers or rockabillies...this was around 1982. I remember as a self-labeled punk rocker, I didn't care about taking sides, but the metal dudes tried to convince me that punk was more aligned with metal so I should be on their side against the rockabillies. I stayed out of the 30+ kid fight, but now I know better...punk is more closely linked to rockabilly than metal in my philosophical view of it. The rebellion is much the same as attitudes of the 1950's. Not wrapped in the hedonism that heavy metal offers. No more "Mohawk vs. DA" for me unless you start telling me that NEKROMANTIX are a good example of what rockabilly really is...then we're on! -Greg/Artifix Records

Monday, July 07, 2008

WHITE FLAG video -Artifix

In case you never got to see it before...here is a music video for WHITE FLAG's song "Danger Island". I was the Director of Photography on this. Pat Fear did the editing. This is the lo res, unfinished edit. We made this video during the summer of 2006. My kids are the actors as well as my wife. This was shot in our house. You will also see the Artifix kids again this summer in the GERMS movie What We Do Is Secret. My daughter actually got a mohawk on the set for one scene in which they needed mohawk kids. You will see her face in close up with her red-haired mohawk. You will see me in two parts; one as a Hell's Angels biker-bouncer at one show and the other as Eddie Subtitle (uncredited) hanging out at the Masque. Enjoy this video.


video

Also...don't forget to check out this news article from the Inland Empire Weekly on fanzines in the Inland Empire. They interviewed me for this story as I produced 5 issues of Disturbed Minds fanzine in Victorville and Apple Valley (Southern California) between 1985 and 1987. The picture of the goofy looking guy in the hat is me!

http://www.ieweekly.com/cms/story/detail/fanzines/1382/

More stuff soon! -Greg/Artifix

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Stuff For a Dying World

I know that it has been way too long since I created a blog post here. Since the last post, Artifix Records has been busy with many projects. Last year we worked a bit on the upcoming GERMS film "What We Do Is Secret" by supplying club noise and music. Four out of five members of our immediate family are even in the picture! We also helped as fashion consultants to get the "punk" look down right.
Another thing that we worked on is the current art gallery show "Vexing" which is about the Latina involvement with punk rock in East Los Angeles and surrounding areas. We supplied records, fliers, and video footage, which is all being used in the show. This show is going on through August at the Claremont Art Museum. Check it out.
Recently, we were interviewed by the Inland Empire Weekly about fanzine culture in the Inland Empire during the 1980's and 1990's and the decline in the production of paper fanzines. We have also been asked about some possible interviews both in print and on the radio.
All of these things have been very gratifying as we are trying to spread the history of Southern California punk rock and shed light on as many different facets of it as possible. Our greatest contribution still lies in our releases...

Last year we released the BAGS "All Bagged Up: 1977-1980" LP. So far in 2008 we have just released the first album by CIRCLE ONE in over 25 years since their 1983 debut LP "Patterns of Force"! Here is what this new record looks like:



We currently have a RHINO 39 / BLACK RANDY split 7" being mastered and soon pressed. This split 7" features a previously unreleased out-take from the Dangerhouse 7" sessions and features Dave Dacron on vocals. The song is called "Night In Watts" and was written by Dacron as an autobiographical account of a night that he spent trying to walk through Watts to get back home. This is being released in it's original mix.The BLACK RANDY AND THE METROSQUAD song is a previously unreleased alternate version of "I Wanna Be a Nark" from the "Idi Amin" 7" sessions. This song was mixed for the first time ever by us last summer and we hope you like our hardcore take on it.
On a collector geek note...our pressing plant wants to bring back the flexi-disc like the cardboard kind that used to be on cereal boxes, etc. The record on a cardboard sheet...anyway, they needed some test subjects so we created artwork for it and sent in a song and they made them...the rarest record that we have ever released...BAGS "Babylonian Gorgon" 1 sided flexi-record! We only received 10 copies and the plant was unhappy with the outcome so there are no more copies! The rest are being returned and destroyed for credit! Here is what it looks like:




Anyway...after the RHINO 39 / BLACK RANDY 7" look for a SOCIAL TASK 7" of tracks they recorded in 1979 and the upcoming EYES complete Dangerhouse recordings (which we still can't decide if it will be a 10" or 12"). After all of this there is talk of other stuff including the recently uncovered REACTORS material from San Bernardino from 1978 to 1980 and much more. We leave you with a picture of the REACTORS taken from a newspaper article about them from 1980 (this last line-up features Tony "Fate" Bramel who is the guitarist in the BELLRAYS):




More later....?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Without Further Ado...The Bags LP!

Okay...We are going to try and make this Blog more of a regular deal. We are way too busy between many interests and although our records are top of our list, we also have three kids to worry about that are 14, 16, and 19. Plus Kim and Greg both have day jobs...'nuff complainin'...welcome back! Our label refuses to go away and we will continue to release records for some time to come. This brings me to some of our newer releases:

BAGS "All Bagged Up: The Collected Works 1977-1980" 20 song LP is finally out as of May 24th. We gave away 15 free copies of the test pressing of it on May 5th during the Alice Bag award ceremony. Alice received an award for being a "pioneer Latina in rock and roll" from the Silver Lake Film Festival. We are very proud to have her as a part of our label family. The BAGS LP is currently only available direct from us and probably won't hit our distributors for a couple of weeks yet as we put the records together and ship them out. The first 70 copies come with a slightly different cover (mostly font, color, and minor text changes) than the rest of the run. All covers are hand silkcreened creations from John Miner and Jesse Xeroxed. The first 500 are all on red clear vinyl. All copies come with a 4 page cardstock booklet with liner notes by Brendan Mullen and a track listing with detailed audiologist info. You can order this direct from Artifix Records by sending $16 (U.S.) or $18 (World) to Paypal user ID: artifix@artifixrecords.com

CONTROLLERS "Another Sunny day" 16 song CD. This CD is hands down our best ever! You get 16 songs that are all previously unreleased (or unreleased versions/recordings). This CD includes the recently discovered songs from the band's first demo from November 1977 which had been considered lost all these years untilit was discovered in 2004! This CD also inludes songs from the Masque reunion show at the Cathay De Grande in 1982 and studio demos from 1996 and 2002. Everything left of the Controllers recorded legacy is here. This is it, there ain't no more! Comes with a 12 page booklet with full color photos from inside the Masque and it's graphitti. Order direct from us for $10 postpaid (U.S.) or $12 (World) to Paypal user ID: artifix@artifixrecords.com

We also have a bunch of the BENEDICT ARNOLD AND THE TRAITORS "Kill The Hostages" reissue 7"s (1980) and the BAGS "Survive" reissue singles available for $5 bux each postpaid (U.S.) or $7 (world) to the same user ID above.

Just a note about the BAGS LP...It took so long to come out for a myriad of reasons. The main reason is that we had to line up enough tracks of high enough quality to warrant releasing an LP. Please believe us when we say that it could not have existed until now. The CD version will be out by the end of this summer and will feature completely different artwork!

Monday, July 10, 2006

What We've Been Watching & Listening to Lately

Okay, I decided to share what we've been watching and listening to lately. Maybe you can reply with more info, insights, etc. Here goes...

Viewing:
Kim and I have not been watching too many movies lately. We have gone out and seen some of the blockbuster summer films, but none of them excited us too much. X-Men 3 was pretty good. Pretty darn good for a 3rd outing. Superman Returns was better than expected and made for an enjoyable film. Pirates 2 was a BIG let down for us. Too much ridiculous action, silly antics, and cliches. I know that's what the Pirates films are supposed to be like, but did you notice that the basic plot of Pirates 2 was the exact same as Pirates 1??? I'll leave my review at that. The best surprise of the summer so far has been Nacho Libre. This film was very funny, but used so many stereotypes that I felt a bit uncomfortable with it. I could see how this comedy could be taken as racist film. Jack Black acting as a Mexican luchador is really no different than the original Amos and Andy actors in black face (for the movie, not the TV show that actually used black actors). Other than films in the theater, we have only watched a few DVDs. At the top of our list is the MINUTEMEN documentary "We Jam Econo". Although it was not as good as the SST produced documentary from several years back, it was good and the quality of the sound and visuals were excellent! Great stuff! It's worth it alone for clean copies of the MINUTEMEN's music videos. The other DVD that we've been watching is the Cary Grant Box Set from Sony. This set has some true classic films with stunning prints: His Girl Friday, Holiday, Only Angels Have Wings, The Awful Truth, etc. All amazing films. We've also been wathcing way too much YouTube! If you don't know what it is, go check it out for yourself at:

http://youtube.com

You can find many great music videos and film clips there. My user name is "Signal30". Do a search for me and you can see some great punk, R&B, Rockabilly, and Western Swing clips that I've found and saved to my library. The two best are Screamin' jay Hawkins doing "I Put a Spell On You" and The Stalin (from Japan) videos.

Speaking of videos...WHITE FLAG just finished shooting a music video at our house for their song "Danger Island" for an upcoming DVD release in Japan. They used our two youngest kids and Kim in it. We'll let you know when it comes out and how you can view it (hopefully through YouTube).

Listening:

Well, we've been listening to that things we are releasing of course. Listening to the CONTROLLERS new CD a lot. Also listening to Carl Perkins, Rudie Grayzell, The Pogues, Nervous Eaters, White Flag, King Oliver, California Ramblers, Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot peppers, and much more.

That's enough for now...

Back For More!

I must apologize for not blogging more. This last year has seen a lot of changes in the life of my family. Just this year, Kim graduated with her Masters degree, our oldest daughter graduated from high school, our youngest daughter promoted to high school, I've had to deal with a new principal at my school, and the biggest thing that happened was the death of my father. Just too much going on...well, I'm going to try to blog again. Please bear with me.

Now that summer is here and some things are behind us, we are moving forward with new releases and so on. We have several releases that will be out within the next few months including:

BENEDICT ARNOLD AND THE TRAITORS "Kill The Hostages" 1980 7" reissue
WARHEAD "If-Then-Else" CD reissue of 1981 LP
CONTROLLERS "Another Sunny Day" CD of demos and live from 1977, 1982, 1996, and 2002

and YES! We are still working on the BAGS CD! It is just going slow dealing with all concerned parties.

We are also working on a DVD project that will probably be released in Spring '07 which will be like the old Flipside Videozines and feature 2-4 songs by up to 23 bands or so. All of the bands will be ones that were from, or played around, Los Angeles from 1976 through 1982. We have many bands already on board with this project, but I don't want to spill the beans yet on who is on it because we are still getting confirmations almost daily from bands. More as it develops...

That's the Artifix update for now. Check back.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Things I've Been Listening To Lately

This is not necessarily a week by week list of what I've been listening to. I just decided to create a new post and decided that it was time to share what I've been listening to again. My hope is that if you like the kind of old school punk that we release on Artifix Records, you may be inclined to check out some of the other genres or artists that we also enjoy besides what we release. Anyway, here goes...

The Best of Bollywood CD on Hip-O Records
The Drags "45x3" CD on Empty Records
The Drags "Dragsploitation...Now!" on Estrus Records
The Real Kids "Grown Up Wrong" on Norton Records
Ramones -any/all
Swans "Swans Are Dead" 2xCD on Release Records
One Way System "Waiting For Zero" CD on GMM Records
The Brat "Act of Faith" CD-EP on Time Bomb! Records
Horror Hits (Halloween compilation -best one I've ever found!) by Paper Magic Group
Vice Squad -"Live and Loud" on Cleopatra Records
First Born (Guyanese Reggae that Kim brought home on her trip to Guyana) 3xdemo CDs on Vizion Records
The Rotters "Pull It and Yell" CD on Dionysus Records
Born Bad (compilations of 50s-60s rock that Cramps borrowed tunes/ideas from) several volumes CDs

Not much else lately...have not had much of a chance to listen to music lately, but I have been watching a lot of great Japanese movies lately. I've been watching a lot of "Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman" movies, the complete "Hanzo the Razor" series, three of the "Sleepy Eyes of Death" series, and a great Japanese comedy called "Tampopo" which I would encourage everyone to watch! Great film! Labeled as the first "Noodle Western". Check it out!

More later -Greg @ Artifix