Friday, January 18, 2008
SECRET HATE: THE 1983 TWELVE INCH E.P. THAT THEY PUT OUT IS A LONGTIME FAVORITE OF MINE.
Today's culture, speaking in terms of all things punk rock (whatever that ever meant or even means now) has turned into what i like to call "the Nuggets syndrome", which is a new generation of kids digging into the vaults and salt mines to find exciting rock and roll music in a way similar to me when I got into the "Nuggets" era of forgotten sixties punk. I was totally into music made by people some twenty years older than I myself. But these days what is interesting is how much easier it is to get your hands on information thanks to you know..the Internet and stuff like that. Even more interesting is what is overlooked, and what is championed. Since Double Negative started a couple of years ago I have witnessed some of these choices first hand. I know that you like what you like but I must admit that I am a bit surprised by some of these choices.
A good example to start with is the guy who put out our record. Does anyone remember the band ANTI from Los Angeles? Well, Brandon from No Way Records does. He has all three of their records. Hmmm. I had all of their records too. I am not saying that they are bad but I just find that sorta amazing, mainly due the fact that it is so damn obscure.(The Mood Of Defiance record was a lot better.) Some of the Mystic Records stuff is held in the highest regard to some people I have met, a head scratcher if ever there was one. I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised and I could go on and on but instead I had this idea that there seemed to be some stuff that I haven't heard or read ANYONE singing the praises of. Usually these bands fall into the category of being able to release maybe a seven inch or a twelve inch e.p., maybe having some additional compilation tracks and then fading away into obscurity even though they were arguably as good or perhaps even better than some of the more famous and infamous eighties era punker bands that get praised towards high heaven.
This small list isn't my chance to show off how obscure and cool i am, these are some really good bands that put out some really good records that for whatever reason no one seems to have noticed. Since real information is somewhat scarce (meaning I myself don't know too much about these bands) I am going to stick in little bits of info that I found on the Internet.
SECRET HATE: This band was from Long Beach California and seemed to exist in the early eighties. They released one twelve inch e.p. called Vegetables Dancing that I thought was really terrific; a eclectic (in the best sense of the word. No two songs sounded alike) sounding band with hot shit guitar playing by the band's late guitarist, Reggie Rector and dramatic almost theatrical vocals from Mike Davis, who could actually sing. Secret Hate also had a few songs on various compilation records in the early eighties, most notably Hell Comes To Your House. After all of this, the band seemed to just...fade away. The following interview I found on the net when the band did in fact re-form a few years ago:
Twenty years ago punk rock wasn't so bound by musical conventions. The early bands only had a few bands to look up to for indications of punkness, and most of that was attitude and visual style rather than style of music. Consequently, many bands invented punk rock as they went along. The results could be weird, or off kilter, or just plain amazing. Secret Hate is one of those early bands. From the prolific Long Beach scene, here they are today. ...And remember, it was never really about hate...
U.D.: Who are you and what do you do?
Mike Davis: I'm Mike D and I sing.
Rick Selga: I'm Rick, AKA Junebug, I'm a clinical psychologist and a drummer
Bob Schaeffer: I am Bob. Freaks, whatever, odd jobs.
Blake Davilla: Some call me Blake. I lasso the wind.
Kevin Roach: My name is Kevin, I play the bass guitar.
U.D.: A lot of bands come and go, you guys came back. Why?
MD: Cuz we're able to play without self destructing now. And it's in our nature to make noise.
RS: Always wanted to come back. We were still friends and talked about it a lot. When Sublime used our song, that just pushed us back in.
BS: Because we wanted to.
BD: I got no place to go.
KR: Rick, Mike, and I thought playing would be fun. When it stops being fun, why do it?
U.D.: Why did you leave the scene in the first place?
MD: Too much fighting, too much schmoozing, too much needles.
RS: Burned out on the violence.
BS: We felt we needed to go underground to germinate.
BD: Not qualified to answer old school S.H. questions but I suspect the "Hot Dog" incident had something to do with it.
KR: Our "scene" was 18-20 years ago. We just went separate ways. Life changes and you do different stuff. Rick and I crawled around L.B. for years.
U.D.: Secret Hate was an integral part of the early Long Beach punk scene. How does the scene differ today?
BD: Chain wallets.
MD: Long Beach was in between the O.C. scene & L.A., we had no clubs so we had to d.i.y., it's not as tight knit today but people seem to be getting along...
RS: There's more of us today.
BS: There is more trash, and less natural beauty, people still try to act really tough for no reason.
KR: I wish I could tell you about the scene in L.B. today. Lots of new bands, cliques, etc., etc. I'm jazzed whenever I hear a band outta L.B., Secret Hate, out of necessity is a bit detached from it all, which is not always a bad thing.
U.D.: What year was Reggie Rector (original guitarist) murdered? Can you share the details?
MD: I'm not comfortable sharing this with you.
BS: I dunno.
KR: I don't have many details on that. Long Beach has claimed so many. Reggie's death was just another tragedy in a long list of the same. We miss him.
U.D.: My fondest memory of Reggie is when he, some one's mom, and I were alone in a cramped, one-room bungalow and the two of them crept under a blanket on the floor and proceeded to conduct business. I never could understand why they didn't go outside and commando a bush or something! What's your fondest memory of him?
MD: Me and Reg were pushing his car and he got mad and picked it up by himself, also just chillin' at his house smoking pot and writing songs that made no sense to any other punkers.
RS: His lead in Bomb Chic.
KR: It seems most of my memories of Reg are when he pissed me off. It's funny how the mind works. I think what I remember most about Reg was his laugh. We'd get stoned and he'd giggle and laugh like a child. He was a gentle guy, could play bad-ass guitar, and could drop a man with one punch.
So this isn't much to go by, but Vegetables Dancing remains a favorite of mine. It had been re-issued on c.d. with some bonus live tracks that all sound just as good. Secret Hate was/is a unheralded gem.
REBEL TRUTH: I know almost nothing about this band from Sacramento California excpt that this trio put out one amazing seven inch in 1983 on Version Sound and disbanded shortly afterwards. The seven inch had lots of speedy precise sounding hardcore songs on it that were seriously up there with the likes of Minor Threat in terms of catchiness and clean execution. Some of the arrangements reminded me of an astronaut landing on the moon. It sounds stupid, I know. The lyrics were all very astute and intelligent. I ripped off a few of these in some old bands I was in, ha ha. They also had songs on various compilation records and tapes to boot. Their drummer was shit hot, too. Here is a little part of an old 1982 Flipside Magazine interview:
FS: Where did Rebel Truth start? Who is in the current lineup?
The band started here, in Sacramento about a year ago. At this time the band has three members - Erik Fremstad (Bass), Stu Horne (Drums), and Kevin Lee (Guitar).
FS: Do you have a definition for Rebel Truth that you want people to know about?
As a banner and concept, we think Rebel Truth makes a concise statement on society in general - Truth as rebellion to the thinking and actions of the status quo. As a band we seek honest, responsible and compassionate answers and efforts because for us sincerity and humanity are very important values necessary for good ideals, actions and goals.
FS: Tell us about the lyrical content of your songs.
We're not exclusively pursuing political issues, but politics are automatically implicated when you write society-conscious music. Still, we stay pretty basic. We usually try to keep our lyrical style straightforward and earnest because we don't want to be misconstrued. We also try to take a personal stance towards dilemma in a song because even though we want to touch a universal nerve, we can literally only speak for ourselves.
It takes a special skill to attack a political issue astutely with a song, though that's not to say we wouldn't want to try and do that in the future - it's just that dissipating personal anxieties and pressures with our music challenges us quite enough right now. We're really concerned with trying to do this as best we can.
As for what we're trying to accomplish - as far as we can see and hope, cooperation is vital to the future and communication is a vital basis for cooperation. We can serve as a communicator, hopefully a good one. We always want Rebel Truth to inspire and/or cause change for the better, but musical communication is our home base.
We do want Rebel Truth to become a cooperative effort between audience and band - a concept that will lead or initiate action by its existence, one that offers positive change, support and encouragement for people both in and out of the scene. We'd definitely like to see benefit/donation gigging for honorable, compassionate causes become a much bigger part of our performing future.
Perhaps the idealism of the band caused their early demise, who knows. But Rebel Truth was definitely a overlooked gem to me. Their music had been reissued on c.d. by Brian at Grand Theft Audio Records, so it shouldn't be too hard to track down if you want to check them out. The c.d. also comes with a live show, various demos and outtakes.
NO LABELS were a sister band to C.O.C. I suppose In this case I do actually know a whole lot about them. They shared band mates (Reed Mullin on drums and Woody Weatherman on bass) with them, and were formed at precisely the same time as C.O.C. If you have read any of my blog at all and you remembered the Like Gold Down A Sewer archives, you know that this was the first hardcore band that I heard from North Carolina, via their "Jane Doe" cassette. It is still a great recording, some of the best type of this music I have heard, on par with about anything. A few of these songs ended up on compilation records and the demo had limited circulation when it was recorded. We are talking about 1983 here, folks. The tapes have since been long since lost/destroyed or forgotten. I did have a crystal clear copy made for me by the band's guitarist Ricky Hicks, but it was ripped off on that ill fated Pittsburgh encounter that Scared Straight had (to the three people reading this who will know what I am talking about) and since then in twenty years or so, NO ONE has a decent sounding cassette of this amazing recording! No one in the band does I can assure you. It is too bad but oh well. File this next to that four track that the Mike Dean/Woody/Reed Mullin version of COC made at the Brewery of all the new songs they had (minus then singer Simon Bob..no vocals..alright!!) before Mike quit. Sniff sniff....There is not much info on No Labels but here is a short snippet that I would imagine Ricky Hicks handled:
Background No Labels started in February of '82. We were looking for fun and there were quite a few people in Raleigh who liked hardcore - but no bands to speak of. By August we had established a permanent line-up and we started writing our own songs. We all like music other than hardcore - i.e. blues, heavy metal (without the mentality), reggae - however it's the energy and/or truthfulness of the music that we are attracted to - not the label. At this point it is mainly "hardcore" that we play.
Band's Purpose or Intent Having fun - us and the audience - is the main purpose but we can't help but interject personal opinions and politics within our songs. As Vince told me, it is too band that there are so many bands that don't take a stance on anything either in their music or lyrics. If you're serving something that tastes good, why not add some nutrition to it?? One important thing to remember about us and every other band is that what we say is an opinion - no more, no less - the important part of what we say is the questions or thoughts we arouse, not the answers. Those are for you to find.
On Raleigh and D.C. Because of Raleigh's small size, a relatively small scene, and narrow-minded club owners, very few national bands make it to the area. No Labels and others have relied on DC as a place to go and see shows. They have some of the best bands anywhere. This is important because the song "HarDCcore" on the North Carolina compilation NoCore has seemed to cause a lot of tension between NC and DC. It is unnecessary and unfortunate. We would like to explain that we personally think that DC as a whole has a great scene with good attitudes and good people, but within any scene, especially one of its size, one is going to find problems. We cite DC in the song because we are familiar with the place. Its intention is not to breed ill feelings, but to serve as constructive cirticism from an outside view - stressing the distinction between territorial ism and local ism; and the stupidity of the hypocrisies people commit just to be "accepted" in the "scene".
No Labels were real good. Everybody I know around here said that they were by far the most important band until they broke up and then C.O.C. took the ball and ran with it. This is all here say of course, I wasn't there. Unlike Secret Hate or Rebel Truth, there is no real proof of No Labels' existence. Maybe one day someone will find that forgotten good quality tape of "Jane Doe" and figure out the rest.
Honorable mentions go out to Mecht Mensch, the Neos, The early Tar Babies, Genetic Control and if I think about it a whole bunch more so I will shut up and stop for now. So long, kids!
Posted by brian walsby at 12:20 PM