The Rachels

I accidentally found the Rachels website today, and confusion officially turned to disgust. I had heard that Dave joined them, but I didnt know that he joined to fill an empty guitarist spot. The Rachels are now 3/4ths Middlefinger, and I don’t know why they just dont kick the singer out and get Matt to sing for ’em. That way they could do Middlefinger songs and cover songs and we’d all be happy!

I don’t know… maybe I shouldn’t care. Whatever.

Oh, man… it’s SXSW time again!

ska? what’s that?
If you go to the SXSW site, they have a search engine that allows you to search for artists by the genre of music they play. Even though “ska/punk” is one of the categories listed in the search criteria, there are no ska bands playing this year! We’re SOOOOO over!! Even searching through the reggae categories doesn’t result in any bands that attempt to play ska… the closest we get to ska this year is a reunion show from Gal’s Panic. Uhg.

houston, there’s a fucking problem
The search engine allows you to search by city, too. Not suprisingly, there are only 18 artists from Houston playing showcases this year and Dallas doesn’t have more than 30. The number that made me laugh was how many Austin bands made the cut: 284. 284! My question is this: how bad do you have to SUCK to be from Austin and not qualify for a SXSW showcase?

nutz!
The Dead Kennedys (sans Jello) are playing SXSW. It could rock, but then it could suck… who knows?

Random mp3s from Houston

Let’s go over some random mp3s from some Houston bands and see if we can get in trouble…

Skamakozi – “Hate You Now”
This is the first song on their mp3.com page, so it’s probably their best, right? Wow… I hope not! Not only does this song commit the expected ska sins of 1) big unison horn part and 2) upbeats in the verses/metal in the chorus, but they also a general lack of musicianship when it comes to the drummer maintaining a steady beat and the guitarist being able to play upbeats. Bad enough that even though I listened to the song four times through, I was unable to retain a single hint of what the song is about.

WD40oz – “Why I Drink”
I’ve always loved their name, so I thought I should have a listen…
Reminds me of the Didjits, and we need more bands like the Didjits these days. Straight-ahead, turned-to-10, loud punk rock. I can’t really find anything wrong with this song!

Guilla-Teens – “H-Town Punks” & “We’ll Miss You Joey Ramone”
I’d like to state that the Guilla-Teens are the only band thats opened up for us at JavaJazz Coffeehouse that we ever liked. Ok? Ok…
These guys have a serious Misfits obsession, and it borders on becoming a handicap. H-Town Punks is a great song and it’s well recorded, but it’s nothing that you can’t hear on another record. Joey Ramone is a really bad song, mostly due to the hokey lyrics and bad vocal delivery (Glen Danzig’s Elvis style). It’s been a while since I’ve seen these guys, so I’m sure they’ve matured a bit as far as the music goes… I bet they’re very good by now.

the end is near?

the suspects, as a band, are pretty sad…

my pal rude pete (see below) has an interview with Will from secret agent 8 on his site. SA8 could easily be considered the suspects arch-enemy (if you wanted to boil the scene down to a contest of audience share and stylistic differnces), so i was eager to read what he had to say. i dont know if its a matter of age or if they’re just more dedicated than us, but they’re just as interested in what they’re doing as when they started. it would take an act of god to get the suspects working that hard again, and that fact is starting to wear down my resolve.

what resolve is that, you ask?

my resolve to be the last suspect standing. not that i’d be the lone member trying to keep on playing after everybody else quit, but rather the last man who would come forth and say, “it’s over, let’s go home”.

i may be thinking this due to boredom. it might be a sense of my pride escaping as other bands rush past us in a whirl of activity. who knows?

give me a few good weeks with cubase and i may have a different story to tell.

There’s this kid who goes by “rude pete”

i swear to god, he must be the last real ska fan standing. when i read his emails, posts, and web page it’s like stepping back into 1997. he seems to have a true, authentic interest in ska music and it doesn’t appear that he cares too much for the latest trend thats come down the pipe.

pretty cool, huh?

what is also cool, is that he doesn’t seem to like the suspects too much. in eight years of playing, we’ve not had anyone really throw us a critical view while at the same time maintaining a friendly relationship. he likes us, but he won’t blow sunshine up our ass… thats good.

i wonder how old he is.

I have a theory about today’s punk rock

It sucks.

It sucks for one reason, too… There’s nothing to focus all the energy on.The political scene is awash with moderate positions and painted with a thick coat of gray. Poloticians are no longer perceived as evil-doers… instead they’re just guys who eat McDonalds and get blow jobs at work. Back when punk didn’t suck (the 80’s), there was an easily identifiable bad guy who walked the walk and talked the talk. He wanted you to hate him. He made it easy to be a punk.

His name was Ronald Reagan, and he made punk rock great.

Rules for ska bands

Oct 30 2004
Before you leave a comment, please read the following:

1. I, Bill Grady, played guitar for The Suspects from the bands’ inception in 1993 through the final show in 2002.
2. I wasn’t the band’s manager, but I did 90% of the dirty work. I booked shows, a tour, handled $$$, did the web site, made flyers, etc…
3. I wrote these rules in 2001. 2001!
4. So, shut up!

1. Ska-punk, punk-ska, or anything like that is OVER.
Kids, don’t embarrass yourself. The whole “ska in the verses and punk in the choruses” song writing formula is so overdone it’s not even funny. Few bands do it well, and you probably don’t belong to any of them.

2. Don’t wear suits on stage. Or to shows, either.
Actually, if you can go out and spend $400 on a really sweet sharkskin jacket and not feel bad about getting up under the stage lights or wearing it in the pit, go ahead and wear a suit. But if you plan on going down to Value Village, you’re best staying at home.

3. You don’t need five horns in your band.
Seeing half a dozen second chair, second band, high school punks up on stage not being able to play some dorky RBF-style unison part is absolute torture… visually and aurally. Less is more!!!

4. Don’t try to record your poorly written songs until somebody really asks for them (and I don’t mean your mom or your girlfriend!).
You just started a ska band two months ago, you’ve got five songs written, and you’re going to play a Tuesday night at Fitzgeralds next month… well, you obviously need a CD. NOT! Save everyone (especially the guy who has to record you) a big headache by waiting until your songs have a little mileage on them… a good song gets better the more you play it.

So, what is wrong with Houston anyways?

Nothing.

I kind of like the way that we all stay off each other’s backs. When you have a tight, organized scene, you’re bound to have a group of people that controls the action and a group of people who are outside that action. People are denied access to the groupthink, rival sub-scenes are formed, SCENE WARS break out… how lame. Thanks to the laid-back attitude we all seem to have here in Houston, practically noone feuds wit anyone else. Mixed-genre billings at clubs (all though a bit disorganized) let club patrons enjoy a great variety of talent, allows influences to be spread between different musicians, and keeps it all (mostly) clique-free. Let’s hear it for us!