BLACK FLAG LINE UP 2015
Veteran Pro Skateboarder, Company Owner, Mike Vallely, Lead Vocalist
Legendary SST, Black Flag Founder Greg Ginn Lead Guitar, Vocals
Now that I’m in my mid 40’s and at the so called ‘mid life crisis’ age we have all heard about, I have to admit I do get some attention when going to a skateboard park, or while attending a punk rock show and even when catching some waves at the local’s only California coastline. It’s to be expected and most people do appreciate my efforts and my experience.
So I realize I have to accept the fact that I will be dealing with some worried mothers at the skateboard parks and usually I end up having a little chat with them to show I’m no petifile, but rather just a big dumb kid still holding on to his youth. Hey that’s fine with me, I’m just happy to be there and able to drop in and grind that place to pieces, carve out a few lines and I’m out.
Now when I get dressed up for a gig in my punk rock attire complete with a denim vest jacket that’s full of patches I’ve made from cutting up old t-shirts and sewing them on, I tend to get a little amped up on catching a banging hardcore show. Although, I do need to be aware of the age difference between myself and the kids of today, the ones I’ll probably be bashing heads with if I decide to do some moshing that night.
In most cases at the skate parks and the punk shows, or even at the surf spots, I do gain some respect for my age and believe me I think I deserve it. I’ve been living this lifestyle for 30+ years now and don’t let the grey hair fool you; show this pioneer some due respect. That’s all I expect, I don’t want to cause any trouble, or spoil anybody’s ‘good vibrations,’ no way, not at all.
Now I will throw down under certain circumstances, or if someone steps to my grill trying to front with some, “Hey OG” bullshit or tries to use my obvious experienced appearance as a prop for his nickel and dime senior citizen jokes, saying, “Hey gramps the kiddy bowl is at the front of the park,” or “the kiddy waves are down by the pier,” or “Hey Old School, the kiddy seats are up in the balcony. “Oh Fuck No. Kiddy just knocked you out!”
Okay, so I don’t think I’m wrong here for demanding at least some props for keeping my game real for so many years. I kept my bag of tricks fresh with a steady flow and when I was coming up I showed nothing but respect to the senior ranks. Seriously, I’ve been riding this magic carpet for decade after decade now, so please show some due respect to the forefathers who paved the way for our rights and for our freedoms we all luckily enjoy today.
Okay, so my mind may be a little tired from all the years of living the ‘endless summer,’ but don’t let the slow memory fool you. I dogged your daddy’s back when they were coming up and I sure as hell ain’t getting fazed by your swag, hipster, dubsteping, steezy attitude. No way, pal, “I’M HERE TO STAY” and if it’s not meant for me to blow things up anymore on the level, then everybody will at least know that I died trying. ‘Up The Punx!’
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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.
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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.’
“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…”
“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.
Nope, ain’t happening yet grasshopper! The force is with you!
Again, no high fives on what felt like my 40th attempt. Damn I’m fucking old…
That’s it Rich, just slow down and and make a good pop!
Ah, finally, Huston we have made contact. Now just slide the night away.
Fuck this new wax you say everybody uses is slick Fennigan.
Don’t argue me damn it, just snap the fucking shot on the E.O.S.
God I’m a big & tall heavy beast. Tall skaters look rad though when they unfold a trick.
Why do I go so fast? Now I have to land it and not fall into the traffic 10 feet in front of me. Thank God for the spotter. Now just pull it off and walk away for the sake of your body.
God what a sketchy roll away, but I’ll take it. Now pass the bottle and inject the pain relievers from last night, because this spot has made me sober from the brutal falls, fuck!