Maty’s Corner #16
Pulley: The Esteem Driven Engine Still Matters
Pulley started up in 1994, right in the beginning thick of the Southern California skate punk revolution of music that shaped my life. This 5 piece hard hitting melodic punk unit is led by Scott Radinsky who was no stranger the punk scene by 94 having been in Scared Straight during its 10 year existence (83-93) being heavy hitters in the Nardcore Mystic Records scene. They then went on to become skate punk greats Ten Foot Pole. Radinsky was in charge of that unit for their first 2 releases then forced to leave due to his pro baseball that he was already 3 years deep into. Being that baseball conflicts with the tour schedule of most punk rock I see it is making sense. That didn’t preclude Radinsky from being the voice of TFP’s seminal single My Wall.
Right outta the gate Pulley was a bit of a super group consisting of Radinsky from his aforementioned bands; Jim Cherry (may his soul be rested) of Strung Out; Matt Riddle of Face To Face and No Use For a Name; and Tony Palermo from Ten Foot Pole and Unwritten Law.
Pulley’s first drop in was 1995’s Esteem Driven Engine. A strong door kicker of a debut from these punk veterans. It slams open with Cashed In which would be a candidate on a best of record. Right away this first album sets a tone for more introspective lyrics which tends to happen to us punks as we get older. Take for instance Bad Religion’s material from the mid 90’s and forward.
Right after this was 97’s 60 Cycle hum. Again a really strong track starts the whole album off on the right foot, or left if ya skate goofy. The most interesting track on this was Noddin’ Off. It kicks like Ten Foot Pole or Scared Straight. I think kinda letting us all know that they remember who they are. Another overall solid effort from this board breaking unit.
1999 brought us @#!*, referred to as self titled. Honestly my favorite album by these guys. I believe it’s also their most popular. The lyrics start getting real introspective and the music on a couple tracks is even a bit dark. It’s still Pulley. The differences show growth in the band and they sound tighter than their first 2 albums. The stand out for me has always been Over It. Somewhat of a scathing indictment of the rat race that even the punk scene can degenerate into. Less of a middle finger and more a wake up call. The more incendiary and equally great track is Nothing To Lose. It’s been the background to a fuck you in my life numerous times. Just a great one to sing with and let something out.
2001 marked Pulley’s first album as a 4 piece, Together Again For The First Time. Jim Cherry had left the band to pursue Zero Down and dropped one solid album with them before he departed us. Despite the missing guitarist, this is as solid and tough an album as Pulley had put out. The first real stand out on this is “Hooray”hooray,matters,olympus,friends, for me. Another honest critique of the scene from the perspective of growing up but not giving in. The other one that hits me of this effort is “Same Sick Feeling.” Always sounds like one off of the 99 album and that’s not at all a bad thing.
2004 marked Pulley’s longest gap between albums. Matters shows the band hasn’t lost a bit of edge over their first 10 years. The band just sounds tighter with each offering they put out. It was also dedicated to their guitarist and friend Jim. This for me is like 99’s “self titled”. Most stand out on Matters is Insects Destroy. Has a bit of Bad Religion and Pennywise feel. Makes sense being that they were all label mates for so long. This marks Pulley’s final album on punk rock Olympus of Epitaph records and their last full length to date.
2009 after about 5 years Pulley gave us their first ep on a new label, Time Insensitive Material. Ghost Inside My Skin is the stand out of this short offering. It’s a blend of classic Pulley with some new ideas. The first glimpse of something new to come. 20011 gave us The Long And The Short Of It ep. Coming in at only 3 tracks, it leaves me hoping for a full length in the near future. There’s been rumors swirling around a new full length since 2012. I was fortunate to see them play recently. After 20 years of Pulley and 31 years of Scott Radinsky, neither part shows any sign of letting up for a long time to come.
Check out Pulley if you don’t know ‘em, re listen or catch ‘em live if ya do.
Article published in the popular Mega Zine STAMINA #3.
You can keep up with Pulley over at:
The FIDLAR Band Review
The Skate Punk Band Making Waves Out Of California…
“FIDLAR” is a skate punk band from Los Angeles, California. The band’s name is an acronym for ‘Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk’; a skate mantra created by singer Zac Carper’s former roommates. The members of FIDLAR were seemingly destined from birth to play in a band. Originally, FIDLAR went under the name ‘Fuck The Clock.’ Three years after recording their first songs they stepped on stage and out of the gate teamed up with ‘The Black Lips’ and went on tour with ‘The Hives,‘ what kind of luck do these kids have?
Elvis Kuehn (guitar/vocals) and Max Kuehn (drums) are the sons of Greg Kuehn, keyboardist for Long Beach punk legends T.S.O.L., while Zac Carper (vocals/guitar) is the son of famed custom surfboard crafter and designer to the pros, John “JC” Carper, who works out of his home based shop in Oahu Hawaii. Along with Brandon Schwartzel (of Rooney fame) on bass, the Kuehn brothers and Carper came together in 2009 to form their local garage/skate punk band known as FIDLAR.
Before long, the four members were cohabiting in a pad on Figueroa Street, rehearsing DIY garage style and recording on site their newest tunes, and throwing insane house parties every weekend. They soon became the talk of the L.A. underground punk scene and went on the road full-time, and haven’t looked back yet.
FIDLAR haven’t stopped touring since their early beginning performing local high school-house parties, when known as “Fuck The Clock” before 2009. FIDLAR is the band to keep an eye on now as they carry the torch, and continue to make news in the underground punk rock world, proving punks not dead in skateboarding, it’s very much alive. I haven’t gotten juiced up for a sk8 punk band since 1980’s band the ‘Faction.’
In their title song “Cheap Beer” lyrics say;
“Getting fucked up on the 101, shooting our guns and having fun, 40 beers later and a line of speed, eight-ball of blow and a half-a-pound of weed. (chorus) I drink cheap beer so what fuck you…”
In the song titled “Stoked and Broke,” lyrics say;
“I just want to get really high, smoke weed until I die, I don’t ever wanna get a job, if I fucked up today, hey nothings wrong. Get pissed up by the hills, cocaine and shitty pills, get head in a broken car, with the windows up and the lights turned off. There’s nothing wrong with living like this, all my friends are pieces of shit…
The band is constantly making references to weed, cocaine, girls, guns, surfing, skating, L.S.D, pills and having no money. The songs make perfect sense for a generation of young skaters who just don’t give a fuck. Before long I was singing some of the chorus’s while driving down the road…”Wake – Bake – Skate.” These guys make me feel 22 again.
Zac Carper – guitar, vocals
Brandon Schwartzel – bass
Elvis Kuehn – guitar, vocals
Max Kuehn – drums
Los Angeles, CA
*In 2012, were named one of Stereogum’s ’40 Best New Bands of 2012′
*In the 2013 O Music Awards, FIDLAR were nominated within the ‘Best Web-Born Artist’ category.
*In 2013, AIM Independent Music Awards, hosted by Association of Independent Music (AIM), FIDLAR were nominated within the ‘Best Live Act’ category.
This is a street skating spot that Rich Monday discovered while construction crews were still building it. It has a 5 foot transition wall and a lip at the top worthy of a nice grind, or in this case a long slider. At age 40 Rich Monday shows the youngsters, that some things do get better with age.
Kill Me, I Need The Rest… The Master Of Disaster
Duane Peters! Master of Disaster. A junkie, a fuck up, a bum, a legend and man who has had permanent effects on skate boarding and punk rock music. Most know Duane as either the front man of U.S. Bombs or as a skater. Many don’t know both and less even know about his importance to skate boarding. But don’t give me blank or worried stares, I’ll introduce ya the spectrum of the Disaster.
So in the skate world this nut case invented a number of tricks including the acid drop which forever changed vert skating. Other tricks on his resume include the sweeper, indy air and the fakie hang-up (better known as the Disaster). He was also the first and one of the few to conquer the loop of death. One of the skaters to start the punk style of more narrow legged pants and high top chucks. He was a pro on the Santa Cruz team and has had a long standing sponsorship with Independent Trucks. Also has had many of his own model shoes. First was on Vision. Yep, he skated with the other skate punk legend Gator. He then had a shoe on Draven. Was lucky enough to get kicks straight from the place.
Never met Duane, but got to hear the story of him getting staph infection in Australia from drinking beer out of a prosthetic leg. Currently he has a shoe out on Iron Fist. The current skate team he’s on with Mike Vallely. Perhaps his best known team was Emergency which was a division of Black Label.
Outside of being the most bad ass skate punk since Jay Adams, Duane has led a number some great punk rock bands. There was Political Crap which never really went anywhere and involved some members of the Jaks which were a skate punk crew in San Francisco.
His first band to record was Exploding Fuckdolls. They concentrated on the old 77 punk sound and was merely a gateway band to much bigger things to come in the world of punk rock life.
His best known band who was a major force in shaping the skate punk sound of the 90’s was U.S. Bombs. One of the iconic bands of the So-Cal scene. I slightly lesser known but equally great band was Die Hunns. Along with Duane they had his then wife and Nashville Pussy bassist Corey Parks slinging a 4 string for that project which was a more rock rooted sound than the Bombs. Die Hunns were active on Volcom Entertainment. Post Hunns Duane started Gunfight which owed a lot of there influence to Gun Club.
They had a harder sound than the Hunns, something like a bar room brawl. Duanes most recent offering is The Great unwashed which is a blues punk project with lyrics sounding as though written by Charles Bukowski. All of Duanes bands are still active in a touring manner, so the stuff we remember can still be caught at some dive bar or punk venue. Duane has some new band starting up. Details are currently scarce, so be on the lookout for him screaming some new punk rock songs into that old mic. Well that’s a basic Duane Peters run down. If ya want more, get Who Cares, The Duane Peters story on dvd. And here’s hoping we’re all rockin’ that hard at 52 years young!