As MRR enters its 40th year, we are undertaking our most ambitious project ever: creating a comprehensive online database of our record collection and music reviews. The project will also see out-of-print issues of the magazine fully digitized. You’ll be able to access it all online for free. We’re in the home stretch of a fundraising campaign, and we just passed our reach goal of $25,000. The money will ensure that we can do this project quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Consider donating if you have the means, and spread the word! More information is available here.
June 13th, 2016 by MRR Archive Project
Categories : Archive and Database Project, MRR Archive
October 6th, 2015 by Layla
This originally ran in MRR #291/Aug ’07. The 25th Anniversary Issue which you can order here
All photos courtesy of Martin Sprouse.
OK, Martin, why don’t you start off by talking a little about yourself—tell me who you are and how you first got into punk.
My very first exposure to punk was in 1977. My next-door neighbor was an art student, and he became punk overnight—like crazy Sid Vicious punk—overnight. I had just seen something about punk on the news, and all of a sudden one day he shows up—he’s got a punk rock girlfriend, a Sid Vicious look head-to-toe, messy hair and spiked jacket and harnesses and boots—the whole Vivenne Westwood type of thing. They looked amazing, like the most outrageous thing in the world. He played some music for me; I didn’t understand it at all. I was just a skater kid, and I was just thinking, “That is the most fucked up thing I’ve ever seen.” But it was also cool, because he was the nicest guy in the world. This had to be ’77. So that was my first exposure, and I had a positive impression of it, but I didn’t understand it at all. It was just too crazy. And I was probably just a little too young to get into it, you know? Later on, when hardcore came out in the early ’80s, it all made sense. It was kind of connected through skateboarding. Punk and hardcore kind of fused for me, being young and in Southern California where everything was happening. It was like, “This is it!”
Where did you grow up?
You got into hardcore when hardcore pretty much started, so what was your first show? What was that experience like?
It was a local San Diego show, just San Diego punk bands.
Do you remember who played?
No. I remember seeing Black Flag early on, and that was life-changing. It was crazy. Southern California was really violent at the time, but we were young, so it all kind of made sense, but at the same time it was really sketched-out, you know? So it had this crazy energy, really exciting, really underground, really small, really young, youthful, violent. Rebellious in all the right ways. You know, when you get older, you over-think everything, everything’s theory and process. This was full-on energy, Southern California hardcore punk rock. It was scary too, but in a good way. It just defined you immediately. Everyone that you were friends with didn’t like you anymore, you know, because you were a “punk rock faggot.” I think that was my name for most of the rest of high school.
When did you start Leading Edge zine—how did that come about?
A couple of us who grew up together, we all got into punk and hardcore about the same time. It just sort of happened; it was very spontaneous. We weren’t really the fucked-up kinda kids, we were all skater kids. We didn’t really become the stereotypical early-’80s punk rock asshole guys. We immediately became friends with people that put on the shows, we started reading the little underground xeroxed fanzines, we became friends with the bands. It became a natural extension for us to do something. We’d go to LA and get these fanzines from all over the place and that’s how you’d learn about everything. So immediately, it was like, “We should do it,” once we started going to LA. We started Leading Edge in like ’82 or ’83. It was a while after we’d seen some shows. The first issue must have come out the summer of ’83.
Why did you do it?
Just to do our own thing. It was obvious to us…’cause San Diego had the military there, so a lot of punk guys were in the military, it had the violence, a lot of drugs, a lot of fuck-ups, y’know? It just had a bad reputation. There were a lot of fights in LA, but there were twice as many fights in San Diego. It just sucked. Out natural extinct was not to be a part of that. We didn’t want to be the stereotypical SD “Self-Destruct,” “Slow Death,” fight-starting, maybe shaved-head, junkie thug, beating everybody up. None of that had anything to do with us—but we liked the energy of the hardcore scene. There were also a lot of young hardcore bands that weren’t part of that; younger bands that weren’t doing stupid shit, but still playing really fucking great hardcore. They kind of identified with us and vice versa, and we started a fanzine that would represent that, while at the same time respect all the other stuff that was going on. I wasn’t just focused on skate punk or straight edge punk or positive punk, we were covering bands from all over.
Categories : From the Vaults, Interviews, MRR Archive
June 24th, 2015 by Layla
This originally ran in MRR #307, December 2008, this issue is sold out
In the few years the Homostupids have been around, they’ve grabbed the harrowing task of deconstructing rock ’n’ roll by the balls, diving head first into a tiff with our venerated verse/chorus/verse conservatism, asserting themselves as perhaps the best purveyors of an entirely counterintuitive brand of aggressive music that they haven’t even gotten their heads around yet—in the process paving their way to leaving a pretty significant stain on underground punk of the ’00s. This interview was conducted at Steve’s marvelous summer home after a night of burgers and bowling in the mistake by the lake. Tape recorder in one hand and mixed drink in the other, this is what became of our discussion of Cleveland’s finest. Now go out and buy all their fuckin’ records. Intro and interview by Brandon Gaffney.
MRR: So, the Homostupids. A lot of people like you guys, despite your always insisting that you’re a real shitty act. Any thoughts? Are we a bunch of retards?
Steve: I think you are a retard. How do you like that? Our band is great. Of course a lot of people like our band, our band is very good. All of our records are better than most other bands’ records.
MRR: Last time I was in Cleveland you told me that your band’s forte is the dialectic of simplicity and complexity, that they’re one and the same. Fingers connected to the same palm—you know, all that LSD bullshit. You think it’s people’s ability to paint their own understanding of such simple, caveman music?
Steve: Hang on there, I was supposed to call our guitar player Josh when we started the interview. Hang on a sec and I’ll put him on speakerphone so we can all talk. [speaking into phone] Hi, Josh?
Josh: Lemme call you back.
Steve: Alright, forget that for now. What were you asking? Something about LSD, right? Stay away from the stuff. Bad for your body. How does the song go? “Don’t do drugs, be a hero not a zero, drugs are no good, get ’em out the neighborhood.” Is that what you’re talking about? ‘Cause that other shit you said doesn’t make any sense.
Categories : Interviews, MRR Archive
June 20th, 2015 by Layla
This originally ran in MRR 319 / December 2009 you can pick it up here
Brilliant Colors was formed in 2007 by Jess Scott, inspired equally by old Postcard 45s, the Shop Assistants, and early ’80s San Francisco lesbian separatist punks, Wilma. Several line up changes ensued, documented by two 7”s on the Make a Mess and Captured Tracks labels, but now the line up is final, with Jess on guitar and vocals, Diane on drums, and Michelle on bass. There’s a forthcoming LP on Slumberland which is worth investigation if you are intrigued by that mysterious post-punk girl sound… Plus Michelle is the touring guitarist for the Slits!
Interview by Layla Gibbon.
MRR: Brilliant Colors has existed in various forms for a while now, and this current line up is the first time it has really felt like more than just the Jess Scott experience-do you wanna talk about the many mutations of Brilliant Colors?
Jess: I’ve been at a computer for eight hours, then had a tall boy. I’m not exactly at the mental peak right now. I guess there’ve been a shit ton of people. Two or three bassists, two or three drummers…
MRR: So you’re basically Spinal Tap
Jess: Yeah. We got together, me and Michelle maybe a year ago, and Diane came just after New Years of this year. All of our recorded stuff so far is from the two original people, from late 2007, so it’s actually pretty old. Now there’s new stuff, which features this line up.
MRR: Do you feel like…
Jess: No. I don’t feel.
MRR: How do you feel about the older line-ups compared to now?
Jess: It was just really random. It was just my friends, whoever was around kind of, and then…
MRR: Did you write together?
Jess: No, I have always written everything until now, I feel like we’ve moved beyond that now. But basically I wrote songs, then I got a band together. I finally found people who wanted to play music more than like, “Spring Break!” or whatever.
MRR: All of you have been playing music for a while, what was the first band you were in, or more how did you start playing music?
Michelle: The first band I was in was in New York with my friend Phil, who was in this band called the Nurse, and Matt who plays in Matt and Kim now.
Diane: You could be famous right now!
Michelle: I could be famous! We all got boyfriends and girlfriends, and then the band broke up. Then I came out here and played in this band…
MRR: But you also play in the Slits right?
Jess: Don’t be modest-you are in the Beatles right?
Michelle: Jen and Shell from Shellshag set up a tour to South by Southwest with them, and the Slits’ guitarist backed out at the last minute, so they called everyone that they knew that played guitar, and I was the one that said yes. Suckers! No, seriously, that sounds mean. It was actually really fun, it was stressful but it was fun—it wasn’t like a tour I’d ever done before. Normal tour for me is sleeping on floors, eating out of dumpsters, rather than like staying in hotels and having a per diem, showering… Sitting in a car, navigating with an iPhone…
Jess: This was in the seventies right? (Laughter) Speaking of which, I saw this thing online, where you can listen to music, last.fm, I don’t know what it is, but I was trying to find Brilliant Colors videos from this fest we played. So I clicked on this page, and people had left comments, “Listening… Don’t like!” and someone had left this comment, “Wow you guys look really good for being from the early ’80s.” I was trying to think of what they could be talking about, Brilliant Corners maybe? I was laughing, like how could someone possibly think something like that, I wasn’t even born then. It must be the hair gel…
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Categories : Interviews, MRR Archive
June 19th, 2015 by Layla
This originally ran in MRR #324, May 2010 which is out of print.
Necro Hippies bring angsty middle school notebook scrawlings to life, blasting the dust off your snotty hardcore records into the eyes of the Internet Age. Stinging proof that not only did punk never die, it was born again yesterday, fully formed as the straight-ahead assault they bring, forged out of the slag heap of the eighties and nineties, equal parts fuzzy sludge and Fizzy Lifting Drink. Drawing their vital alienation from the boozy nether-regions of New Orleans’ Bywater, from the slime at the bottom of the bus-tray, the stray onion ring that saves the day, they hate their jobs, but they will continue to do them for as long as rent’s due; for now, for changing your order, they hate you. Half of them have Germs tattoos. Guess who.
Interview by Nathan Tempey
MRR: Candice, where are you from?
Chris: That’s a lie.
Josh: I’m from Florida.
Chris: I am from Mandeville. (white people stronghold across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans)
MRR: Woah. (laughter)
Phil: Those are my problems… (laughter) Mandeville.
Chris: Slash Slidell
Phil: I’ve lived in New Orleans for twelve years.
MRR: Yeah, you can say from New Orleans.
Phil: New Orleans.
MRR: Nah, you’re from the North Shore.
Chris: He’s from Mandeville.
Phil: From New Orleans.
MRR: More or less. And how did you all come together as a band?
Candice: Phil was my manager.
Phil: I worked with Candice in, uh…
Candice: The application asked what magazines I read and I wrote that I like to read Maximum Rocknroll…
MRR: For what job?
Candice: For a job at Urban Outfitters. (laughter)
Josh: And Chris was my roommate at the time. He started drumming for them and told me they needed a bass player.
Chris: Phil and I had been playing for a long time before Candice came in.
Candice: And we started out with Phil on drums. And I was playing these weirdo songs.
Chris: It worked out ‘cause I’m a really bad guitar player.
Candice: No you were playing bass, I was playing guitar.
Chris: Oh, yeah. No you’re a bad guitar player, that’s what it was.
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Categories : Interviews, MRR Archive, Uncategorized