This will go down as one of my most beloved pieces of work. Go ahead and bust my balls. I can take it.
Seeing Jawbreaker at Riot Fest was one of the most amazing shows ever. The trip to Chicago and Riot Fest in general were a fantastic time (much love Chicago Diner) but seeing Jawbreaker, a band we never thought we'd see, a band that hasn't played in 21 years, surrounded by thousands of people who were transfixed that night, was unreal.
....But with expectations running so high, there were so many things that could go wrong. They could be nervous and sloppy. They might play some weirdo set list or go off the rails. There was a chance of thunderstorms. Or worst-case scenario, they could come out on that stage and break our precious little hearts with insincerity.
But none of those things happened.
After 21 years, “One, two, three, four, who’s punk…. What the score?!”....
For the last two years in a row, its possible that the best assignment I've gotten was covering the Salty Dog Cruise, a sailing punk rock festival headlined by Flogging Molly. Our friends The Bouncing Souls were aboard this year, as well as NOFX, Less than Jake, The Voodoo Glow Skulls, The English Beat, The Skalites, the Bunny Gang, and a few thousand scurvy pirates and wenches. We had some good time on that rocking ship.
Of everything I have ever written, this is likely to be among the most meaningful to me. In early January, we said good-bye to Dave Franklin of Vision, aka DaVish, a guy who welcomed me deeper into New Jersey punk/hardcore 20 years ago, as he did for so many over the years that I now count as friends.
On Sunday, April 2, we will celebrate Dave's life and character in the best way we know how - with a raucous hardcore show at Convention Hall in Asbury Park. I'll be the first to admit that it will be an emotional day.
That said, I am honored to have be given the opportunity to write this piece for The Aquarian on the Doing It For Dave show and weave in some of the many stories of our brother. Thanks to Pete Tabbot and Derek Rinaldi who gave me some gold, and photos that span decades from "The Pope," himself, Ken Salerno. You can find the hard copy of the Aquarian at your favorite convenience store. I'll be saving this issue.
Last Saint Patrick's Day, I set sail with a few thousand punk rock misfits and Irish hooligans aboard the Salty Dog Cruise - Flogging Molly's annual voyage out of Miami to the Bahamas with an amazing lineup. Three straight days of seeing Rancid in a small venue and floating around on rafts in the Caribbean with Fishbone watching Flogging Molly, plus hanging with Frank Turner, Christopher Ellis, and The Street Dogs.
"The ship’s stewards—tall, distinguished Norse men in pressed white sailing suits— began to cajole the masses. They herded mohawks and green fedoras, pin-up girls and skinheads, chubby weirdos in Speedos, and miles of tattooed limbs, all while maintaining a smile. Once assembled, the spike-belted mob broke out in soccer chants and squirt gun fights, calmly quelled by the stewards until 2,000 people simultaneously learned how to put on a life vest.
Somehow we got through the drill. When the leather jackets, pirate wenches, checkered Vans, and half of Boston were all back on the pool deck, the cruise director welcomed everyone to the Sail Away Party. Then, as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Sky cruised past the southern point of Key Biscayne, Frank Turner commandeered the mic.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the English punk folk singer declared, “We are on a fucking boat!” The assembled misfits raised their glasses with a roar like the sea."
23 years of seeing Fishbone, seeing them on a beach in the Bahamas was jus surreal. Frank Turner is literally the least pretentious musician I have ever met. And I pretty much avoided the pool since there was free booze 24/7 and no one ever seemed to go to the restrooms.
We are actually on the front page of Inked today. The article features some really amazing images of the crew of characters by Rich Johnson and Caleb Morgan of Spectacle Photo. Huge thanks to Flogging Molly and CA Management for getting me on the boat and Inked for running such a great piece.
It's been 25 years since Jane's Addiction dropped Ritual de lo Habitual and then headlined Lollapalooza. The celebrate the silver anniversary this Friday at the Stone Pony with Dinosaur Jr. and Minus the Bear.
Admittedly, I am really more into Dinosaur Jr and have seen them in Baltimore, New Jersey, Colorado, New York, and Boston. I've listened to Jane's for as long but have never caught them live, but very aware of the influence they had on the counterculture of the early 90s. So, I am pretty stoked to see what they bring to Asbury this Saturday night.
I had the opportunity to interview Perry Farrell for this Jane's/ Dinosaur Jr. preview in The Aquarian Weekly and we talked about the importance of the live show, his love of parametric architecture, and women ingesting drugs off a certain male organ (although that last part didn't make the story.)
“I was down on the technology, but then I adjusted to it really fast,” admits Jane’s riveting frontman, Perry Farrell. “I realized that people were going to get music online for free and I just made my trade the live performance. It used to be that the recording was everything, but now it’s more important to be a great live player. When we started out, you played shows for five years before you ever recorded anything, so you learned to play for a crowd. Today things happen so quickly. Bands appear, get big, and then disappear. They don’t get a chance to do what we did. We lived it and breathed it.”
This is not my work, but definitely worth posting. The legendary hardcore band Bane played Philly for the last time on May 6 and May 7 of this year. They have been a shining light of positivity and inspiration in the hardcore scene, a band you can pop in to get you through the hardest of times. My bud, photographer Ryan Johnson and I got to see the May 6 show at the First Unitarian Church in Philly. This is the amazing video by the good folks at Hate5six.com. 500 people, no one on their phones, no barriers, PMA, living in the moment, and one couple got engaged.
These are photos taken by Ryan Johnson. Bane has since played their final shows ever in Worcester. -"Never been much good at saying goodbye."
After weeks of work preparing for the Hop Sauce Festival here on LBI last weekend, I am pumped to just go enjoy Punk Rock Bowling this weekend in Asbury Park. Who's playing? Ah.... just The Descendants, Dag Nasty, Agnostic Front, Flag, H2O, The Slackers, 88 Fingers Louie, and my boys The Scandals. Damn, this is going to be a good weekend. For a complete guide, check the advance I wrote up for The Aquarian. I'm told there's bowling too.
We've been listening to Against Me! since they broke out of the Gainesville scene with Reinventing Axle Rose, 13 years ago. I remember seeing them at the First Unitarian Church in Philly in 2003. Then in 2012, former frontman Tom Gable came out in a Rolling Stone interview that he would be transitioning to a woman. The punk community basically took it in stride. Laura Jane Grace became a voice for transgendered people years before the nation started having the dialogue we are having now - and the band continues to make great music. Additionally, Against Me! is one of Ann's all-time favorite bands and she had the opportunity to shoot them last year in DC.
On Friday of Labor Day weekend, I interviewed Laura Jane and covered Against Me!'s Red Bull Sound Select show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, where her story is extremely relevant. It was the same day their new live album 23 Live Sex Acts dropped. The story recently ran on Asbury's music scene site Arcade-Radio.com with photos by Drew Gurian.
Joe Sib is the co-founder of Side One Dummy Records, the guys who have put out record by 7 Seconds, the Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Casualties, and Title Fight, and are still releasing amazing work from Pup, Restorations, and Chuck Ragan.
Sib is still running the day to day ops at Side One Dummy, but in addition to the day job, he's got a little stand up comedy career. A lot of his material is based on his experiences in the punk scene. Some folks in independent culture take themselves too seriously, so he's really refreshing. Of course, our conversations were funny as hell and we both had stories of being grown men and saving important emails from Ian MacKaye. Read the full profile I wrote for Huck Magazine.
For the last 18 years of my life, few things have influenced me as much as Hot Water Music and the solo folk career of Chuck Ragan I've been fortunate enough to hang out with him on several occasions and also interview him. The most recent was before a Red Bull Sound Select Show in New Brunswick last fall with Cory Branan, Jared Hart of the Scandals, and Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids.
We put away a massive amount of sushi while we talked about punk, travel, fishing, and Chuck's past. When this guy tells stories about angling excursions while on tour and bringing fresh catch into a restaurant in a random city and asking them to cook it, it's priceless. He also relayed a chapter of this youth that I had never heard. He took incarceration in a juvenile detention center and turned it into something inspiring and positive.
We walked back to the Court Tavern and Chuck proceeded to blow our minds until the early hours. I reconnected with Chuck and his entire band, The Camaraderie, in Atlantic City in early December where my friend Bryan Derballa took some amazing portrait shots.