Monday, February 4, 2008

NEON CHRIST.



Over the weekend we were invited to come down to Atlanta and play with what would be Neon Christ's last show ever. So we did. End result? It was really cool, and everyone had a good time.

Here is a little history lesson about Neon Christ.

Neon Christ were a band that existed in the mid eighties Atlanta hardcore scene. I think they started around the end of 1983 and broke up in early 1986. Between those three or so years they played a lot of shows and established themselves as one of the most important bands of thier genre in Atlanta, if not the most important band. I used to write to thier drummer Jimmy and one day he had mailed me their seven inch, which I loved. The other members of Neon Christ were Danny on bass, Randy on vocals and Kip on guitar. Kip wrote the tunes. In the summer of 1985 I went with COC down to Atlanta and saw them. Since the record came out they had written a bunch more songs and even had a short lived second guitarist. I did a soundcheck with them since Jimmy wasn't around and I remembered that they were really good. There was something special about this band, but I couldn't put my finger on why. I never saw them play again since they had broken up right before I had moved to the east coast.

I ended up seeing a few of the Neon Christ offshoot bands, like Gardens Of (three of them except for Kip) and Final Offering (Kip with Mike Dean of COC, Greg from DDT and another Randy on vocals, who was a longtime freind of Neon Christ as well). Before Kip had formed Final Offering with Mike Dean, he was breifly in Bl'ast! (who I wrote about earlier on this thing) and I did infact see them with Kip in the band.

Going forward about oh...twenty years or so, after the band I play in formed, we met up with Danny and Jimmy and played in their town to their approval. We stayed with Danny and his lovely wife Shelly and a good time was had by all. So it was only a matter of time after that when the band decided to re-form and practice for what would be a final show, and to have it filmed as part of a project that is supposed to eventually be a film about the Atlanta scene. Apparently a few people were really bummed at how the movie (and book) American Hardcore had given Atlanta the shaft, so something had to be done. And we were invited to play by the band. And Kip was flying out to do it. He lives in L.A., having pursued music professionally, and not only has he done that but he has also landed the gig as the new singer for that little known band called Alice In Chains. Maybe you might have heard of them? Maybe.

So how was it? It was pretty great. Neon Christ made thier rep with that seven inch, but also the song "Ashes To Ashes" from the PEACE compilation record from the mid eighties that sealed thier rep worldwide. It was a mighty song. Three other tracks from that session also came out on a double seven inch re-issue, and it was some of these songs and many others, tunes I have been listening to for now over twenty years, where the band really made a impact on me. Songs like "Crush", "The Knife That Cuts So Deep" and especially the song "Drawn IN" (otherwise known as "Savior") were terrific; post hardcore songs with the might and power that put the band in that little window I like to call "The great eighties", a period where bands like COC, Bad Brains, Die Kruezen and Honor Role lived and flourished. You could put Neon Christ in that window as well. They broke up before they had a chance to record these songs, which was a shame since these were the band's best songs.

I think they were a little nervous (at least some of them were) but they totally delivered. Everything was played slightly slower, all of it. It was interesting how they controlled that part of it. They totally meant it, though. The audeince were made up of mostly (you guessed it) kids who all went apeshit while Neon CHrist played, singing along with Randy and having a good time. I couldn't help but notice that "Drawn In" especially got a huge reaction, as did the seven inch tunes and "Ashes To Ashes". Danny was rocking on his bass, hunched over and getting into it, Jimmy held it down in that slightly slower way, and he was urged on by Kip, who was standing by Jimmy's kit part of the time and freaking out the rest. Kip sure is one talented guitarist, that is for sure. Randy seemed to be having a blast too. I think he was somehow surprised that all of these kids knew all of the lyrics. "How did they know?" he asked.

We told him it was because it had been twenty five years. Most of the audience weren't born when Neon Christ were around, ha ha..

So there you go. We all had a very nice time. I would like to thank everyone involved for being so nice to us, and to also thank Henry Owings for letting me crash at his place the first night, and to also thank Danny and Shelly for putting us up the second night.

5 comments:

greg said...

"their" brian, "their."

ten years later and you're still killing me w/ spelling!

Ms. Spellin said...

Yes,just use the spell check option before you post anything on the internet next time...it could be why so many of you words are underlined in red, exposing your misspellings to yourself to correct and not the world to admonish.

brian said...

fuck..i usually do. It hasn't been working lately.

this is lame.

oh well, at least I am consistent.

brax said...

i was wondering what was going on with some of those folks since the 80s. interesting.

thanks for the post.

Elvis said...

Yep, I'm one of those angry dicks over the American Hardcore book.....

What was goin' on since the eighties? Well the Olympics bid killed the culture in the city. Everything became watered down and a lid was forced on all forms of subculture. One club mysteriously burned, other clubs were told to "mellow" out, change their format or else....12 clubs and bars (not just punk rock) bit the dust. Lets also not forget during the midst of all this we had an ugly running race riot for a good chunk of a week where a portion of the city was burned after the Rodney King keystone cops were let off the hook.

Gentrification was put into a steamroll effect to clean up the city. Homeless mysteriously were swept out of the confines of the city. Where did they go? Not the suburbs. Considering we had a corrupt panel in charge of the city and the mayor alone squandered and embezzled millions resulting in a slap on the wrist minimum security prison sentence for him.....If the Olympics puts a bid in your city, forget it. Too much will change overnight it seems for it to ever be the same again.

The rest of us have searched for true signs of life and the pursuit of never ending happiness!

Incidentally once again, sorry I dropped your tom at that gig Brian.

Ciao!