Originally pressed in 1996 PROFANE EXISTENCE is bringing this quintessential anarcho punk masterpiece back in circulation.
In 1996 AUS-ROTTEN released their first LP “The System Works For Them” on an unsuspecting punk scene. It spread like wildfire in a pre internet era within a genre that mostly depended on tape trading. (at least is was pre internet for us penniless punks) “The System Works For Them” was the perfect mix of anger and intelligence that the scene needed at the time (and still does today). It was like a wake up call that opened the eyes and ears to many punks the world over. The messages where crystal clear and most us were hooked as soon as the beginning shouts of “Boycott” bellowed over the speakers. I don’t believe any of us ever expected their message to resonate so well within the scene, but even more surprising is how the songs are just as relevant today as on they the day they were written. Which is why PROFANE EXISTENCE has decided to repress this record. We feel that that messages that AUS-ROTTEN brought to the table are to powerful to ignore. We feel that this LP is important and therefore should be highly available and priced affordably.
PROFANE EXISTENCE has worked out every last detail of this release with the members of AUS-ROTTEN whom have been involved from step one. All tracks have been re-masted by Jay Matherson at the Jamroom studios. To be 100% honest we didn’t want to do a complete re-master of what we already considered a good recording. However when we opened the tracks on protools we noticed a few balance issues that required fixing. These fixes resulted in a tremendous upgrade to the overall quality of the tracks. We painstakingly scanned, puzzled, and photoshopped the original artwork to make sure that it was as close to authentic as it could possible be. We then went for broke by pressing in three different vinyl color combinations! Overall to say that we are pumped to release this would be an understatement, we are absolutely ecstatic to bring you this LP on PROFANE EXISTENCE!
To top this all off we worked with AUS-ROTTEN vocalist Dave Trenga on redrawing the classic “What Good Is Money, When There Is No One Left To Buy” design for a T-Shirt to concede with the albums release. This is a fresh take on an old image to create a new and original design.
Vinyl options are…
1. Standard black vinyl
2. “The Battlefield is Still Red” Bloodsplatter vinyl.
3. See through “Smoke”. – Available at SKULLFEST only
Silence are a highly active post-punk/peace-punk band from Pittsburgh, PA. “The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing” strives (and succeeds) to achieve the perfect balance between peace and post punk. By taking influences from The Mob, Bauhaus, Zounds, Killing Joke, Amebix, Crass, Conflict, Internal Autonomy and Joy Division SILENCE have created what can only be described a brilliant debut LP. At one moment this record is dark, heavy, and atmospheric and then the next moment it makes you want to dance and sing along. Lyrically SILENCE are much closer to the anarcho side of the previously listed influences. Lyrics focus on a variety of topics but often have a strong focus on the way punk and activist communities deal with political struggle in our current political climate.
“The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing” comes with a 16 page magazine size zine containing lyrics, personal writings and song explanations. Designed, printed and assembled by the band themselves in true D.I.Y. fashion.
Silence will be having a record release show in their hometown of Pittsburgh PA at the Rock Room Friday April 22nd with SHADOW AGE and SKELETON HANDS. Then later this month SILENCE will embark on a full United States tour to support “The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing”. Here is a list of dates. Be show to check in with the bands “bandcamp” or “Facebook” page for show updates.
When all that remains is a world in flames. Is that when they’ll say the wars are finally won? That wars are finally done?
They’re beating on the drums again, they’re fueling up the planes. The congressmen fall into line and sing the old refrain. In the name of peace they’ll burn the land and drop a thousand bombs.
Meanwhile we’ll just stay at home and go back to our sitcoms. It’s the same old song, we’ve heard it before. They’re beating the drums and they’re calling for war. What it’s supposed to accomplish, no one is sure But the victims are always the hungry and the poor.
Once the drums of war begin it’s hard to make them stop. The noise silences the dissidents once the bombs begin to drop. All those who call for peace will be mocked and pushed aside. In 10 years they’ll admit we were right after many thousands more have died.
Finally after many delays from the pressing plant the WARWOUND Demo’s LP “A Huge Black Cloud” is out and copies are moving fast!
Recorded in 1983, this record contains 15 songs from 3 sessions. With a few different takes you get a total of 25 blistering tracks. For those unfamiliar with WARWOUND, they are a UK band formed in 82. WARWOUND recorded 3 demos in 83 before disbanding and members went on to join THE VARUKERS and form SACRILEGE. These demos never received an official release… until now! Highly influenced by DISCHARGE, WARWOUND is one of the first bands ever to take D-Beat Punk to a raw and intense level. Recently reformed in 2015, original guitarist Damian is now joined by Ian Glasper on bass and Rat Varuker on vocals. After a few gigs in the UK word is spreading fast of the relentless onslaught of a live show these veterans put on. WARWOUND have also recently hit the studio to record for the first time in over 30 years. Needless to say WARWOUND is back with a vengeance!
For those of you who don’t know DEADLY REIGN, Its time to get with the program! DEADLY REIGN is a 3 piece D-BEAT killing machine with a legendary line up comprised of members from GLYICNE MAX, DOGMA MUNDISTA, SCARRED FOR LIFE, WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, KEGCHARGE, CENTURY OF WAR AND TILL DEATH. These guys have been at it for a long time and don’t fuck around when it comes to bringing you punk rock authentic and true to its sound and with their new single released on PE entitled SLAVE! These guys don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. So let’s get to the brass tacks and see what these guys have been up to. (INTERVIEW BY DUTCH WELCH FROM KRIGBLAST)
PE: So what are your names, what do you play, and how did you guys come together?
(RAYGUNN) I MOVED TO AUSTIN AND RAN INTO GUERINOT AT HIS DAUGHTER’S BIRTHDAY PARTY. UNKNOWN TO ME, MY WIFE WAS AND STILL IS GOOD FRIENDS WITH HIS WIFE AT THE TIME AND HE AND I KNEW EACH OTHER FROM THE PAST WHEN OUR PREVIOUS BANDS HAD PLAYED TOGETHER. WE GOT TO TALKING AND DECIDED THAT WE SHOULD START A BAND. I SAID, WE JUST NEED A BASS PLAYER/SINGER, AND HE SAID HE HAD ONE. HE CALLED HIS FRIEND GUSHAMMER AND HE WAS INTO IT. THEY HAD BEEN WANTING TO START SOMETHING TOGETHER FOR A WHILE. AND EVENTUALLY WE GOT THE BALL ROLLING (OR SHOULD I SAY, THE BEERS FLOWING?).
PE: You guys have all been in some pretty kick ass bands in the past. who played in what?
RAYGUNN – GLYCINE MAX, DOGMA MUNDISTA, KONTRAKLASE, AND SCARRED FOR LIFE.
GUERINOT – WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, AND KEGCHARGE.
GUSHAMMER – CENTURY OF WAR, AND TILL DEATH.
PE: Who came up with the name Deadly Reign?
(RAYGUNN) I USED TO HANG OUT WITH A KICK ASS BAND IN THE EARLY 80’s CALLED BODY COUNT. THEY WERE AN EARLY D-BEAT STYLE OF BAND (BEFORE THE TERM D-BEAT WAS AROUND) AND THEY HAD A SONG CALLED DEADLY REIGN. SO I TOOK IT FROM THAT. (AND YES, I AM AWARE THAT THERE WAS A BAND CALLED DEADLY REIGN FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BACK IN THE EARLY 80’s, BUT THAT IS NOT WHERE I GOT THE NAME FROM).
PE: The music of DR is furious, in your face politically and socially. Whats the motivation behind your song writing?
(RAYGUNN) MUSICALLY, WE JUST TRY TO WRITE MUSIC THAT WE LIKE. THE KIND OF STUFF WE WOULD LISTEN TO AT HOME. NOT SO MUCH TRYING TO BE ORIGINAL OR GROUND BREAKING. MORE OF JUST PLAYING THE HARD AGGRESIVE TYPE OF MUSIC THAT WE LIKE. WE GET IT ALL TOGETHER AND THEN GUSHAMMER WRITES SOME LYRICS.
(GUERINOT) I’VE ALWAYS SAID I CAN’T AND WON’T BE IN A BAND THAT I COULDN’T ALSO LISTEN TO. WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT OF PLAYING SHIT THAT YOU DON’T LIKE? WE AREN’T DOING THIS TO PLEASE OTHERS, JUST OURSELVES.
(GUS) SOME LYRICS HIT RIGHT TO THE POINT, RELIGION. IT’S FUCKING 2013 AND HERE WE ARE STILL DEALING WITH RELIGIOUS NONSENSE! PEOPLE THE WORLD OVER ARE BEING PERSECUTED, MISLEAD, AND OUT RIGHT SLAUGHTERED OVER RELIGION. RATHER IT’S CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS, JEWS, OR WHATEVER FICTITIOUS BULLSHIT SECT THEY ARE IN. RELIGION IN ANY FORM IS UNCALLED FOR AND DANGEROUS! AND THIS COUNTRY USES IT TO PULL OFF SOME SERIOUSLY HEINOUS ACTS OF PURE AND UTTER VIOLENCE AND WAR. WE TOUCH ON THIS OF COURSE ON THIS RECORD, BUT MORE SPECIFICALLY IT’S DIRECTED TOWARD THE WORKING CLASS FOLKS AND THEIR DAILY STRUGGLE JUST TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR THEIR FAMILIES. THE OLDER WE GET, THE SAME STRUGGLE REMAINS, EXCEPT NOW WE MUST NOT ONLY FIGHT TO FEED OURSELVES BUT FIRST FEED OUR CHILDREN AND LOVED ONES AND THEN WITH WHAT IS LEFT OVER, TAKE CARE OF OURSLEVES. SO WE CAN SLAVE ANOTHER DAY FOR A LESS THAN ACCEPTABLE WAGE. OVER THE YEARS I HAVE WATCHED OUR (PUNK) COMMUNITY OF FRIENDS WORK IN HORRIBLE CONDITIONS FOR SHIT WAGES WITH NO BENEFITS AND NO HOPE OF MOVING UPWARD IN THESE POSITIONS. AT THE END OF THE DAY THEY HAVE A SMALL CHECK THAT IS OVER TAXED AND A SORE ACHING BODY, THAT CONTINUES TO GET WORSE. “TELL ME IS THIS THE LIFE I’M FORCED TO LIVE TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY?”…THE ANSWER IS NO! BUT NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT. WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO POINT OUT THESE CONCERNS OVER AND OVER UNTIL THE POWERS THAT BE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO LISTEN.
PE: You guys did a split with HELLKRUSHER not to long ago entitled Continuous Warfare. How did this collaboration come about?
(RAYGUNN) I HAVE KNOWN SCOTTY (HELLKRUSHER) SINCE THE MID 80’s WHEN HE WAS IN HELLBASTARD, AND I WAS IN GLYCINE MAX. WE USED TO BE PEN PALS, AND WOULD SEND EACH OTHER TAPES OF OUR BANDS, AND OUR FRIENDS BANDS. WE EVENTUALLY LOST TOUCH WITH EACH OTHER AND THEN YEARS LATER FOUND EACHOTHER VIA THE INTERNET. I SENT HIM SOME DEADLY REIGN AND HE LIKED IT. AND WE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING TOGETHER.
PE: You guys all have family’s now and continue to tour, play shows, practice, record and work. How has DIY punk changed in your lives and how do you make it work?
(GUERINOT) WELL, I HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS BUT HAVING AN UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORTIVE PARTNER IS KEY. HAVING KIDS IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE SO IN MY OPINION, THEY COME FIRST. WORKING AROUND THEM AND WORK IS USALLY PRETTY EASY. LATELY IT HAS BEEN A BIT MORE DIFFICULT BUT TRYING TO WORK OUT THE KINKS IN A SITUATION AND PUT PIECES BACK TOGETHER IS PART OF THE PROCESS.
PE: The new single from Profane Existence entitled SLAVE, what can we expect and do you have any future releases coming out?
(RAYGUNN) IT’S A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN OUR LAST TWO RECORDS, BUT STILL THE DEADLY REIGN STYLE. NEXT WE WILL BE WRITING FOR A SPLIT 12″ WITH OUR FRIENDS KONTRASEKT.
PE: Closing comments, any last words?
THANKS TO ALL OF OUR FRIENDS THE WORLD OVER. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. ALSO, THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW. AND BE SURE TO PICK UP THE NEW DEADLY REIGN ‘SLAVE’ EP ON PROFANE EXISTENCE! AS WELL AS OUR LP AND THE SPLIT WITH HELLKRUSHER. ALSO, WE WOULD LOVE TO GO TO EUROPE SOMEDAY, IF ANYONE OVER THERE WOULD LIKE TO HELP OUR BROKE ASSES OUT. HAHA! CHEERS – DEADLY REIGN
WARTORN are a whirlwind of thrash punk goodness hailing from Wisconsin. Since 2004, they’ve been hitting the touring and record release circuit with no looking back. Here’s a quick interview I did to let people know about their two latest releases, Domestic Terrorist 7″ (Profane Existence) & Iconic Nightmare 12″ (Southern Lord). – Andy Leffer
(This interview also appears in CVLT NATION)
PE: You know the drill, just give us the basics on who’s who and what’s changed in the past, in regards to any line up changes, etc. Also, give us some insight on where WARTORN is going. We want to know tours, records, riots, protests, arrests….the whole back story on WARTORN’s origins.
Bitty: (Vocals) The band started in 2004, with Ryan, Hart (on drums) and myself as a three-piece. Within half a year I got a call with an offer for our first tour, which was with Municipal Waste. We did a mini tour with them and ever since then we have been able to go on tours with amazing bands each year such as Los Dolares, ATU, CYP, Krang, In Defence, Pyroklast, Hellshock, and up next Raw Power . We have been to 13 countries and have done lots of releases on many different labels.
Ryan: guitar / low vocals / whiskey enthusiast. Well we started as a 3-piece and over a span of over 8 years, have ended up with 6 members. With 3 of us being guitar players we are able to diversify our songs in ways that we could only do in a studio setting. This obviously makes a difference live as well.
Ela: I’ve been the bass player for over the last 6 years. Recently, we came out with an LP/CD on Southern Lord Records called “Iconic Nightmare” and a 7-inch, “Domestic Terrorist”, released on Profane Existence (which is part of their limited edition singles series).
Toban: (Guitar) I think I might have the most arrests out of anyone in the band. Not like its anything to brag about. I did narrowly avoid another arrest a few weeks ago.
Derek: Guitar as well. I’ve been in the band for a few months and have been on two tours so far.
PE: The music is dynamic, to say the least. You’re not getting any half-assed riffs or mindlessly thrown together lyrics or production with your music. Elaborate on the process and what is the driving force for doing such a band. Punk is a political movement, it’s always been a political movement. Are you a part of this fray as a whole, or is this more of a personal, therapeutic outlet?
Ryan: I definitely believe in the power of the riff. Heavy and raging. Punk is a political movement, but I also see it as a community (full of musicians, artists, writers, photographers, open thinkers etc). A lot of us live/ have lived in punk houses and have been booking DIY shows for years. It’s something we do to contribute to it as a whole.
Toban: Ryan is the riff-master general of the band. He does a great job of coming up with some of the most incredible riffs of anyone I’ve been in a band with. Adding Bitty’s smartly composed lyrics and Hart’s hard hitting/tight drum style makes a great concoction.
Bitty: As far as what I write lyrically, I mainly write about personal experiences or historical events. I don’t tell people what they need to think, that is for them to figure out on their own. Also, I could not label myself as more than a realist and a situationalist.
Ela: Well in my opinion, I would say that we are a part of this as a whole, but it also is a personal outlet for me. We have all contributed to the movement in one way or another, but I think of punk as more than just a political movement. For me it is also about a unified community… where people come together, whether it is for political reasons, to share a passion for music, a hobby, art, etc. … and we definitely have that in Appleton, which is awesome.
Hart: I honestly wouldn’t say punk’s always been a political movement at all. The fact that DK, Meatmen, and the Germs, for example, all existed during one heyday suggests more of a harsh musical and broad social changeover than anything to me. For me personally, punk rock, metal and hardcore have always been a therapeutic and vindicating way of life that has consistently solved a lot of my life’s most harrowing, fucked-up times. It had a total bottleneck effect on how I raised myself mentally and emotionally. It was a really great thing to find out about when I was trying to figure out how to express myself when everything just infuriated or bored the shit out of me. Later, after I was free as an adult, I quickly found out it came replete with its own sense of community, and a totally viscous following I was never aware existed at all. This band is fucking great, cause we never throw a blind rhetorical blanket over our lyrical ideals, or even necessarily our instrumentation for that matter. We have a rough format that we’ve stuck to, but we all come from slightly different scenes and upbringings, and I’ve always thought it showed at least a little in our styles. I honestly don’t think the excitement of being in this band has worn off for any of us. Sure, growing pains have slowed our progress a couple of times, but whenever the next lightbulb goes on over our heads, it’s all go no slow!
Derek: For me, this is definitely a personal outlet. That’s what music has always been for me. Being the young’n metalhead in the group, I’ve kind of just been exposed to the world of punk houses and DIY shows recently. From what I’ve gathered so far I can at least say that the sense of community is beautiful.
PE: Your latest singles release on Profane Existence “Domestic Terrorist”. There’s no beating around the bush on this subject matter. Once again, can you elaborate on this specific release and the intention behind the subject?
Bitty: There have been a few times where I had local law enforcement “protect and serve” the shit out of me. As a kid in the 80’s from a small hometown, I’ve had guns in my face from the cops, hammers pulled back and screaming in my face. I have also had an off-duty cop put a gun in my face and ask me if I thought it was funny while he was wasted. You know of all the times I was ever robbed or assaulted, at least I knew if I fought back I stood a chance; I even survived an attempted homicide! But, it’s not so easy when you have to fight back against law enforcement. They just beat your ass and lock you up, even if they are totally in the wrong. I’ve witnessed so much personal corruption; to me it seems to be an extension of an abuse of absolute power. Now that, to me, strikes terror in any citizen.
PE: Bitty, you’re straight edge…maybe not self-proclaimed, but you don’t consume drugs or alcohol. Considering the genre of punk and it’s history of abuse with these elements, has this hindered your views on the movement?
Hart: Total interjection here! Dude, Bitty’s optimism actually astounds me. He’s seen more friends either die or completely lose their vitality as humans due to drug and alcohol use than I’d like to ponder. He’s remained pretty fucking pragmatic in his attitude toward his friends’ choices in that sense. I myself get pretty fed-up at times about my own friend’s use of drugs, especially certain ones. I’ve had plenty problems controlling my drinking in the past. I do believe I have a fairly good idea these days of when to dry out, but it can pull me into a real bad place. I start questioning what even matters anymore, and I start fighting everything that means the most to me. However, that’s where that community comes in again! I’m learning to seek out the right punks or no one at all when the time feels right, and I’ve been keeping up on it for a while now.
Bitty: Not at all. You don’t need to be like me in order for me to like you. The real moment that reinforced my decision was when I came home to a friend that lived with me and I found him in a pool of his own blood. He had tried to cut his hand off with a butcher knife while he was completely wasted and ended up with more stiches then an average shark attack. It really put a bad taste in my mouth about how substances can amplify bad decision-making skills. Although I am aware that most just use it to have a good time, truth be told, I just didn’t like it. It wasn’t my thing. But as long as you’re not hurting me or others in any way shape or form it’s your deal not mine. This is just a suggestion, have fun and do what you need to do to deal with things or get by, but try not to destroy yourself in the process. You might end up missing out on some good things in life.
PE: WARTORN is a great band, so with that….does WARTORN have anything they’d like to say to the world, it’s listeners or the masses in general?
Toban: In the words of country music legend Kris Kristofferson “Don’t let the bastards get you down”. Ryan: Thanks for the interview.
Ela: Thanks for all the support. We can’t wait to hit the road and tear it up again in a couple months!
Derek: May the force be with you. But seriously, I can’t wait to hit the road and I hope to see everyone reading this there.
Hart: As always, start 4 bands tomorrow and eat your fiber!
Bitty: Thanks for the interview Andy and everyone that helped us out and we’ll see you on the road. If you’d like to help us out with booking or have any questions, feel free to write us at email@example.com.
Yes! Finally, after what turned out to be a gigantic task of moving the PROFANE EXISTENCE distro from Minneapolis to Denver, transferring tons of data, and rebuilding the web store, we are finally set to open back up. To access the new store follow one of the many links from profaneexistence.com or access it directly at http://profaneexistence.storenvy.com
The first official PROFANE EXISTENCE title of 2015 is out and ready for order! We are proud to bring you the RIFLE DIET – “NO SOLACE”LP
Rifle Diet’s No Solace is a 12in 45 that combines the Classic Minneapolis crust sound with Swedish hardcore, D-beat and Epic crust (think somewhere between Servitude and Wolfbirgade, with hints of Tragedy and Fall of Efrafa). The beautiful cover art by Hannah Benoche sets a bleak mood for the dark music within, plus a cover of His Hero is a Gone – Chain of Command (ex-members of InDefence and Garmonbozia) This LP is a joint release between PROFANE EXISTENCE and BLOOD OF THE YOUNG RECORDS
To honor both the opening of the new store and our first release of 2015, we are giving a free copy of the RIFLE DIET – No Solace lp to everyone that spends more then $50 from Monday January 12th to Monday January 19th!!! This deal is for one week only. DO NOT MISS OUT!
*Note*Rifle Diet are playing a record release show 1/17/15 at the Dogplex in Minneapolis with Kontrasekt, Aziza, and Fucking. To coincide with that show all orders that contain the RIFLE DIET – No Solace lp will be shipped out on Monday January 12th.
The next release in the works is the new full length lp from APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT – “We Don’t Need Them”.
We Don’t Need Them is the second full-length record from West Virginia punx Appalachian Terror Unit. ATU have become known throughout the years as being one of the most politically charged bands in the current punk scene. This new record is an all out attack on today’s society that takes ATU to a new level of intensity both lyrically and musically. The combination of the beautiful and thought provoking gatefold cover art designed by Stivart along with the brilliant recording and mastering job by Jay Matheson at the Jam Room take this record even further. Song subjects include the horrors of war, police brutality, destruction of the environment, rape culture, consumerism and much more. Expect a very heavy and much angrier approach from a band that has been around the block and matured their sound. Seven raging new tunes including the epic fourteen and a half minute track “We Don’t Need Them”, a song that will one day be ranked among similar greats as the SUBHUMANS “From the Cradle to the Grave” and AUS ROTTEN “And Now Back to Our Programming”.
APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT – We Don’t Need Them will be pressed in the United States on PROFANE EXISTENCE & in Europe on SKULD /RUIN NATION
WARWOUND – “A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983“
Another record we are very excited about is the upcoming WARWOUND – A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983. Recorded in 1983, this record contains 15 songs from three sessions. With a few different takes you get a total of 25 blistering tracks. For those unfamiliar with WARWOUND they are a UK band formed in 82, and released 2 demos in 83. Members went on to join THE VARUKERS and form the almighty SACRILEGE. Warwound are one of the first bands to take the politics and d-beat influence from DISCHARGE and combine it with the blown out sound of CHAOS UK to achieve total destructive raw d-beat ear bleeding chaos!
WARWOUND – A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983 will be a split release between PROFANE EXISTENCE and ORGANIZE AND ARISE.
It will be available in the spring of 2015.
Other records and projects we have in the works for 2015 …
VASTATION (pdx formally night nurse) vs WAR//PLAGUE Split EP
When a band get’s back together after disbanding we tend to use terms like “Back from the dead”. However in the case of Richmond’s PARASYTIC I don’t think that term fits. If you ask any member of the band they will say that PARASYTIC never broke up but suffered from a period of inactivity. Mainly due Nick’s aggressive tour schedule in his other bands, Ethan’s travels abroad, and Matt recently becoming a father. However after a long two-year hiatus the good news is that PARASYTIC is back. They have kept the reunion somewhat low-key while practicing old material and writing new songs. In the recent weeks however PARASYTIC let the proverbial cat out of the bag by announcing not just their long anticipated return but also a mini tour of the northeastern United States to coincide along with it.
For those of you that have not heard PARASYTIC, I suggest you remedy that situation as soon as possible. PARASYTIC play an absolutely brilliant blend of metal, punk, thrash, and crust. They have been referred to as the United States answer to bands like CONCREATE SOX and THE ENGLISH DOGS. PARASYTIC’s lyrics range from animal rights, to the horrors of war, disgust at puppet politicians, human liberation and much more. With amazing riff’s, harmonizing solo’s, pounding bass, and thunderous drums, combined with Ethan’s onstage antics it is impossible to see PARASYTIC play live and not be impressed. I was fortunate enough to drive PARASYTIC on their first tour in February of 2008. We spent a few weeks on the road starting in Richmond VA and working our down the east/gulf coast all the way to Mexico City and back up the Midwest. Every night was a blast and it never got old seeing these guys play. Spending time getting to know them was even better. PARASYTIC toured extensively in the following few years playing shows all over the United States and spending a month playing the European squat circuit in 2011.
Tonight PARASYTIC take the stage at Strange Matter in their hometown of Richmond VA for the first time in over two years. They will be joined by VISIONS OF WAR (Belgium) NO/TOMORROW (RVA/SC) SEX DWARF (Sweden) and WRATHCOBRA (Pittsburgh). On Thursday they head to New London Connecticut to begin a short mini tour. In my opinion PARASYTIC is one of the most important bands to ever come out of the United States. I for one am completely thrilled to see them active once more. It’s rare these days to see a band that is political and sincere as well as extremely talented and energetic. If you have a chance to see them at any of their upcoming shows you wont be disappointed. LONG LIVE PARASYTIC!!!
With the rise in popularity of the ideas of urban gardening, deep ecology, and permaculture amongst activists, anarchists, and subcultures such as punk often questions of ethics seem to have become simplified to the equation of SUSTAINABLE = GOOD. Yet often all kinds of cruelty can be hidden behind the veneer of that buzzword sustainable.
The unfortunate reality is that simple fixes rarely offer much beyond false hope and easy ways out. Perhaps they help people to ease their personal guilt by assuming they are not part of the problem (everyone else is), but is this any more than a self serving delusion?
I grew up on a small family run farm in Alberta, 10 miles north of a town you have likely never heard of, with a population under 700. My mother grew up on that same farm with her two brothers. Her dad and his family lived there for many years, they had immigrated up from Nebraska where the family had farmed for a few generations since their original migration from Scotland, where again they had been farmers. It would be fair to say that farming is in my blood, so to speak (or perhaps I have just been reading too many Vampire The Masquerade books as of late?) Either way, I feel at least semi-competent to write about some of the ‘sustainable’ realities of small scale farming, drawing on my personal experiences.
I have many memories from growing up on the farm, from playing in the garden and eating carrots straight out of the ground with the dirt still on them, to collecting eggs from the chicken house, or chasing the turkeys for fun, being chased by the turkeys (which wasn’t so fun), or moving cattle from one pasture to another by horse back. There were some great memories too; picking saskatoon berries, wild raspberries that grew in the coolie, or building forts and campfires in the bush by the ravine. However, there were also just as many memories that were not so wonderful to look back on. Branding cattle with a hot iron as they screamed, or castrating steers — many city folks don’t realize you do not eat cows, and you do not eat bulls, you eat a male who had it’s nuts cut off so the flesh will taste better. All of which could be argued as sustainable.
Now I recognize that not all this is relevant to the popular trends I see amongst self styled alternative people over here on the west coast, as most of the folk punks are more into having pet goats and living on boats rather than farming beef or dairy cattle for auction. So I will try to keep more focused on the aspects of small scale farming that would be more of interest to the DIY crowd with their fantasies of farming and sustainable farming.
One of the more popular trends amongst the urban radicals is having back yard chickens, to collect and eat their eggs. Where I live, in the Cascadian bioregion, it has become almost as cliché to have 6-10 birds pecking around your back yard of your community house as it has to wear Carhardts, have a large dog, and all black clothing, or to play banjo. Unfortunately, I also live in an area where one thing that is not popular is sticking around. The radical community here tends to be quite transient in nature, with lots of college kids, traveler punks, and others folks who often didn’t come from here and even more often don’t have much intention of putting down roots. This is a common frustration to those who are part of long term projects propelled by volunteers, but none the less, it has its pros and cons. However for the chickens pecking the dirt and laying those golden eggs, it is a much bigger problem. An average chicken may live up to 8 years, which is far longer than the school term, or even a bachelors degree. A quick peruse of Craigslist at the right times of year will give you a good indication of just how expendable these animals are to many of the people who are excited in September (at the beginning of the school term) to build a chicken coop for their back yard. But even for those who don’t intend to go traveling or tree planting soon as the summer hits, few want to care for a chicken until it dies naturally of old age. You see, chickens only lay a lot of eggs when they are still fairly young, as they get older they will produce less and less. For many of the urban agriculture enthusiasts, a chicken that doesn’t lay eggs is just work with no pay off.
But the plight of the urban chicken doesn’t end there — or more accurately; it doesn’t begin there. You see, chickens don’t just appear, and they are not brought by the stork to deserving families, they come from somewhere – or in other words, someone breeds them. Few of the breeds of chickens people farm have any resemblance to wild breeds, and wild chickens are pretty rare these days due to our destruction of wildlife habitat for cities and farm land; never mind that there was chickens, like Europeans, are an invasive species to this part of the world. So most of the domesticated birds come from a hatchery; either directly – or indirectly.
I remember how exciting it was for me as a kid to order chicks. We would get a catalog in the mail, with pictures of the full grown birds, and you would select them by recording the order number of which breeds you wanted to buy. A few weeks later, you would get a large cardboard box in the mail which would be chirping. Upon opening it, you would see it packed full of fluffy yellow chicks, divided and layered with cardboard dividers so they could fit more into each box. Every so often a couple would die while in the mail, so you would get a few dead ones in every box.Kinda like two scoops of raisins, right?
An important thing to note is, that they also were separated not just by breed, but also gender. See chicks are born about half females and half males, but most people don’t want to order males. Roosters don’t lay eggs for one, and for two, if you have more than one (or maybe two) roosters, they will kill each other. So the chicks are bred, the females are sold through mail order and the males are killed. Yup, right into the wood chipper. When people get back yard chickens, they often order from a breeder or hatchery. I know some get “second hand” or even call them “rescues”, but where do you think those birds came from before you got them? Buying chickens is putting money into the industry that breeds them for profit. This is the industry of commercial chicken breeders, and they are often the same places that supply big farms, as well as small farms and your average urban gardener with their new found interest in permaculture. And I didn’t even talk about the forced insemination.
The study of words can reveal a lot. If you look at the etymology of the word Garden, we discover it is related to the German word for guard, and to words for walled, or closed lot. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to begin to see the relationship between these terms. As anthropologist Layla AbdelRahim explained in Wild Children – Domesticated Dreams, domestication requires the domesticator to control access to food and land. When you begin to garden a space, you must control what other species have access to that land or you will likely not have much of a crop to harvest. Whether we are talking about other non-human animals that might desire and easy lunch, or even competing plant species, insects, or other humans – gardening requires us to control what species are able to access the space. On an even more basic level, gardening usually begins with removing undesired plant species to prepare the land so we can plant seeds of the species we desire.
It has always amazed me how uncritically many Green Anarchists, Vegans, and Primitivists seem to embrace and support permaculture. Yet permaculture is in its essence another system of domestication rooted in anthropocentric desires. In other words, permaculture might be presented by its proponents as being sustainable (and therefore ethical) and based in local ecology, but in fact it is once again about human wants and needs. As well revered permaculturist Erik Ohlson explained in his interview in the book Tangled Roots: Dialogues Exploring Ecological Justice, Healing, and Decolonization, “Permaculture, which could be permanent—agriculture or permanentcultureis about designing human culture that is beneficial to both the land and to human at the same time.” That might sound great on the surface, but look at it a bit more closely and it follows all the same old patterns; humans are in control, Erik posits us as the managers and designers, and in the end it is about human needs first and foremost. Animals are not even acknowledged in this relationship, even though you would be hard pressed to find a permaculturist who doesn’t argue that domesticated animals are needed in order to maintain a healthy closed circuit. The implicit goal of permaculture is to make this human domination of wildlife spaces, plants and animals – sustainable and thus permanent.
I am fully aware that not every radical out there agrees with the anarcho-primitivist critiques of domestication, which sees domestication as not only the control of the wild, but also as the root of many other systems of domination such as patriarchy. It took me a long time myself to come to a place where I was open to those conclusions and the difficult questions they lead to. However there are many lenses to view the question of ‘sustainable farming’ through. From an animal liberation lens, another set of problems presents itself in that permaculture like other forms of gardening for human consumption involves turning wildlife habitat into farm lands that are exclusionary to certain wildlife, and even further permaculture also uses domesticated animals.
This is where it really becomes a problem for me, as it perpetuates the use and domestication of non-human animals for human benefit. But due to the SUSTAINABLE=GOOD formula, we choose to not see its implications for animals: both wildlife and domesticated. Often when I have presented these arguments to proponents of permaculture design, the response I get is akin to the lesser of two evils. The same argument often used to justify voting for shitty, racist, business friendly politicians.
I am by no means arguing that permaculture is worse for the land than monocropping, factory farming, or industrial agriculture, rather I am arguing that it is not the be all end all simple fix that many seem to desire it to be. Permaculture still means wildlife habitat is destroyed and used for human benefit that does not allow wild species full access and use of the spaces. Permaculture still involves captive breeding and continued domestication of animals for human consumption, whether it be chickens to scratch and turn the soil, or goats, pigs, or other species. Many of those animals will be from commercial breeders, and the care of those animals will continue to support industries that profit off of animal agriculture. Many of those animals will also still be killed in the end either so humans can consume their flesh and bodies, or because they have quit producing at the rates desired by the domesticators. Most of those animals will also be of breeds that simply did not exist in the wild, did not exist until humans interfered with their reproductive strategies to cause them to develop traits deemed more desirable. Did you know that wild pigs were never pink skinned, that sheep didn’t produce a harvestable amount of wool for hundreds of years after domestication, or that cattle bred for meat are different breeds than the cattle bred for dairy production? Wild cattle don’t produce as much milk, the animals we farm today are the product of thousands of years of selective breeding.
It is indisputable that modern industrial agriculture is anything but sustainable as it depletes the infrastructure of the landbase for higher temporary crop yields. Such a system by definition is incapable to sustaining itself indefinitely and would eventually lead to a collapse as once fertile croplands become less and less able to produce, due to nutrients in the soil being depleted. Technological fixes such as fertilizers may increase yields in the short run, but only work to deplete the health of the land in the long term. Permaculture on the other hand aims to be sustainable, which may be its most insidious trait. It seeks to make permanent the ability of humans to dominate the wild, and thus maintain industrial civilization. Advocates often argue that permaculture can allow us to use less land in order to grow crops to feed our populace (which is a population of not just humans, but also of the animals we domesticate for our use). However, promises of abundance aside, we live in a society of exponential growth. Capitalism is an economic system that requires such growth, both in profits and in populace which will consume the products of the capitalists. Permaculture does nothing to challenge or disrupt this growth, and in fact may allow it to continue far beyond the limits of industrial agriculture in its current form.
Capitalism kills animals. Industrialism kills animals. Civilization as we know it is based on the domestication of animals and destruction of the wild. I have no doubt that permaculture may live up to its promise of sustainability, I would even go further and suggest that many older practices of agriculture (such as crop rotation and choosing crops based on soil conditions) can also allow long term sustainability, yet like permaculture these techniques do nothing to challenge the relationship of human dominance, capitalism, growth, or cruelty to animals. The system always seeks to recuperate easy reforms in order to maintain itself. If we do not actively work to disrupt these power relations and include questions of ethics, sustainability will just become another way of hiding our violence and rationalizing our domination of other species.
At the very root of agriculture is the domination of other living beings by humans. At the very core of ethics is the question of domination and hierarchy. For me, any system that perpetuates these historical patterns is a system based on violence. I am always reminding myself that agriculture is a relatively new invention in the timeline of human existence. The world I would like to work towards in one that encourages and fosters the growth of wild species and habitats, not the subjugation of them.
I don’t know what the solution to all of this is, but I do know that if we hope for total liberation it can not perpetuate the oppression of others.
For those of interested in finding alternatives to these oppressive systems we need to consider more than simple solutions. Directness of our relationship to our food, and sustainability of our practices is only one part of the question we need to be asking. Another key question is, what is the outcome for non-human animals and for other species? Do the ‘alternatives’ we are promoting make any difference to the chicken in the cage? How about to the Wolf? the Trout? The Orca? Or Mycelium? Are they better off because of our actions? Or does our liberation continue to come at their expense? How can we begin to foster relationships that benefit wildlife? And how can we imagine our relationships to other species in ways that have the potential to be liberating and symbiotic?
Many humans all around the world live in ways that are sustainable and respectful to the land they live on, and through most of human history that was how we all lived. The last couple thousand years is a blip in the time humans have been on this earth.
Constantly I see people who live in urbanized, industrialized places, within a colonial country, and have learned those ways – will turn around and say that it is just human nature and will go on to compare humans (as a totalizing group) to parasites trying to kill their host. This kind of misanthropy is a dead end and a trap that naturalizes colonialism and destruction and by making it simply part of who we are it creates the illusion that we can not be anything else. That we will always destroy, always kill, and always colonize, so we may as well not even try. The argument is not only a self prophesying dead end, that nullifies other possibilities it is also an ahistorical argument.
Giving up is the easy way out. It is escapist and removes all and any responsibility. Meanwhile, there is animals being vivisected and slaughtered, there is burial grounds being built on, old growth forests being clearcut, pipelines being pushed through sensitive ecosystems, women (especially native women) going missing or being found dead, more prisons being built, and all kinds of other shit going on that needs our energy and demands we take responsibility. Things some may personally benefit from do to our privileges but that future generations of humans and other animals as well as plants will need – and may not be able to live without if we don’t do something about this shit
For those of us living north of the colonial imaginary line that divides the power one nation state claims over stolen lands from the power another nation state claims over stolen native lands – today is the day many will celebrate by eating a butchered bird carcass with their families. With stuffing and a side of canned cranberries of course.
What astounds me though is that for many in the animal rights and vegan community, who are rightfully concerned for the hundreds of thousands of turkeys who will be killed for todays celebratory feast; many seem to think that simply having a vegan thanksgiving is somehow cruelty free.
Let me be clear in what I am saying, colonialism is a system based in racist violence, and colonialism is ongoing today. So celebrating a holiday based in colonialism is a therefore a celebration of violence.
It has become popular in leftist circles, and amongst activists, as well as pagans (who’s religion is based in agriculture), to try instead to create a revisionist version of these colonial holidays that removes all acknowledgement of colonialism and instead claims to be “celebrating the harvest.” Yet if we think about this, not only is it a racist framing to act like this holiday has nothing to do with Indigenous people or this history of how the decedents of the first settlers came to be on this land; but further the very concept of the harvest itself brings us right back to colonial dispossession and settlement by Europeans. What we call agriculture is itself a colonial idea and its results for the plants, animals, and people who have lived on this land since time immemorial are clear – a loss of habitat as they are displaced so that the crops of the settlers can replace them. Is this really Cruelty Free?
Even if we were to look at this from an animal rights lens alone, European agriculture means the destruction of wildlife habitat and native ecosystems. Monocropping means killing all competing species, through the use of pesticides, herbicides, and agricultural techniques such as plowing the fields to prepare them for the planting of the crops we wish to later harvest. Anthropologist Layla AbdelRahim takes this further in Wild Children – Domesticated Dreams; explaining that domestication is based in the control of another species access to food, and control of their reproductive strategies. Whether we are talking about artificially inseminating a turkey or heifer to use for food, or taking the seeds of crops and selecting which ones we want to use for next years harvest, we are talking about violence. Controlling how and when another breeds is not Cruelty free.
Now I know that many of us have struggled for what little we have – to make a life for ourselves – and
that many of us struggle day to day still to keep afloat in a world that seems to want us to drown so someone else can make it rich. So I realize people might take issue with me complaining about the idea of giving thanks for what little we have. But who are we thanking? And where did the stuff we are consuming come from? Or maybe I should be asking who should we be thanking? Do we even think of who has been harmed so we can have what we have? Again, this brings me back to how we got where we are today – colonialism, genocide, dispossession and settlement.
Today we live in a society where many Indigenous peoples no longer have access to their traditional foods, and are very limited in the access they have to spaces where their communities and families have harvested wild foods and medicines for generations. These lands are being paved over to make way for grocery stores, housing or condo developments, and parking lots, and plowed for crop lands. Meanwhile invasive species continue to push out native plants and animals, and people who were once nomadic or semi-nomadic are no longer able to move over their traditional lands.
There are many other ways in which colonialism continues have effects; from the appropriation of Indigenous cultural traditions and spirituality, to the multitudes of missing and murdered Indigenous women who disappear every year, or the rates of addiction and suicide amongst First Nations communities in the wake of the residential schools. Yet these cultures still survive through it all. If Vegans and animal activists want to build a world free of violence, than we need to also engage with the violence that is colonialism so as to not perpetuate it. Humans are animals too, and colonial settler occupation is anything but cruelty free. Colonialism hurts both animal people and human people alike.
We must work decolonize ourselves for animal liberation to ever be a movement that will challenge the systemic violence this culture is built on.
The Profane Existence Collective was formed in 1989 as a resource for the worldwide activist punk community. Over the years PE has published a magazine, released numerous records, and ran a large distribution operation. For the last 25 years volunteers and collective members have donated both their passion and time working endless hours making PE a worldwide name in punk rock and in activism. A few things have changed through the years and some of the biggest changes yet are now upon us…
In 2011 PE changed hands when founding member and main operator Dan Siskind stepped away leaving Ben Crew at the helm. In the last few years Ben rallied many of the old contributors and worked furiously getting out PE 64 and released a slew of records. After many hours of hard work Ben is stepping away from PE. So rather than allowing PE to die out the main operations will be changing hands yet again. However that is just one part of the many changes in store for PE.
Profane Existence will continue have many contributors and collective members however it will now be jointly spearheaded by Chris Luton (Appalachian Terror Unit) and Josh Lent (ROÄC, Custerfux, Chain Reaction Records). This means that for the first time PE will not be based in Minneapolis. The distro and mailorder site will now be run by Josh and based in Golden/Lakewood, Colorado while Chris will be working out of Huntington,West Virginia.
After much discussion we have decided that over the years PE got a bit sidetracked from the highly charged political punk outlet that it once was. Our goal is to get back on course. We expect many bumps in the road especially in the beginning, as we get familiar with websites. However we have a clear plan of action to be laid out over the next few months. You can expect the following changes…
First off we be trading much more and offering wholesale on PE releases. Which will mean a huge spike in the PE distro. We are eagerly looking forward to once again be distributing punk records on a wide scale. We are getting rid of all corporate downloading sites. No i-tunes no Amazon “no fucking way!”. In today’s world offering digital downloads makes perfect sense, however we will offer them from our own site and at a much cheaper rate. The end goal getting punk rock to places in the world it normally wouldn’t be found but on a DIY level.
We want to bring the zine back. The zine was always Dan’s baby and we hold no illusion that we will ever be able to crank it out like he did but we hope to try. The next PE release will be the second APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT full length “We Don’t Need Them”. We plan to follow it up with an international compilation double LP that is already rolling. We feel that doing the comp is great way to work with a wide group of bands as well a good starting point in our “back to the roots” effort. Expect to hear more about it soon!
With both of us being huge record enthusiasts we plan on doing honest reviews of the records that come through the door and adding them to the site. So bands and labels send us your records! (Please only DIY political punk/hardcore/crust/metal – “no corporate bullshit!”). We plan on doing more in the way of promoting tours and festivals as well as collaborating more with political organizations raising both money and awareness through benefits and campaigns. We plan on working more with international labels to get more records overseas. So overall the biggest change to expect is more. More punk, more politics, more Profane Existence!
So yeah, when asked why we chose to take up the task the answer is simple “we love punk”. Both of us have been heavily involved in punk the last 20+ years and Profane Existence has always been an inspiration to us. We hope to restore PE to make it what it was and better-a daunting task that we happily accept. Make no mistake that although our main focus is for Profane Existence to continue along the same path, it’s still a new Profane Existence run by new people. As far as we are concerned it’s a fresh start. If you butted heads with PE in the past it was just that – in the past. Let’s be friends. If you contributed in the past and want to again, or if you never did but want to start, write us. Together – Lets make punk a threat again!
Until we get everything sorted out with the PE email. You can reach us through these.
La Armada will be heading on the road in october and november in support of this year’s “Crisis” EP (Profane Existence). The guys will be playing up and down from the Midwest to the east coast. They’ll be playing select dates with Weekend Nachos, Cove, KDC, Mama Ladilla, as well as a special show with hardcore legends Sick of it all. Check out the poster below for complete dates and take a friend to a show.
There is a story we never hear. It is the story of the wealthy developer who procures a piece of land to build on, and then upon finding out the land is sacred to local Indigenous people and has heritage sites on it, chooses to not build go ahead with construction. Instead the developer chooses one of many other paths open to them, they try to find other ways to get money back out of their investment or perhaps they go after the previous land owner for not disclosing this information previous to sale. Or maybe they even try to find ways to return at least a portion of that land to the Indigenous.
Yesterday I sat in on the Grace Islet injunction hearing; where an injunction was being sought by a wealthy land owner named Barry Slawsky against protesters – specifically Indigenous people – from being allowed near the site where he is constructing his dream home on top of a native burial ground.
I find that nearly every time discussion comes up about this conflict; someone (generally a white person) will inevitably make a joke that the developer clearly has never read a Steven King novel or watched a horror movie. For the most part I find the joke seems rather tasteless and insulting given that it is easy to joke about for people with nothing at stake, but if it was their own families graves they wouldn’t likely be making bad jokes about it. Yet there is a reason why these classic stories have become such a genre cliché; and the reason is simply because there is such a long history of rich people metaphorically shitting on the sacred sites of Indigenous people. If developers didn’t so routinely say “fuck the Indians,” King and others wouldn’t have made a career out of stories involving people getting terrorized by ghosts for doing precisely that. Perhaps those books should be through of more as wishful thinking…? Or perhaps it’s time to write a new story?
Yet todays court proceedings had more parallels to fiction and TV dramas. The lawyer for Barry Slawsky lived up to every negative stereotype of a lawyer in court today. He came off as utterly despicable, slimy, and dishonest. He was such a caricature he seemed almost like a real life version of the blue haired lawyer often seen representing Mr Burns on The Simpson’s.
His tone was repeatedly condescending, his arguments were colonial and racist, and on a number of occasions he was accused of presenting his speculations as accepted facts. He began by trying to undermine any claims to Aboriginal Title or Treaty Rights and asserting it was simply a case of private property rights and trespass. He was also caught for misrepresenting his own evidence at least once, and on another occasion for trying to cite as evidence a media article quoting unnamed people who were claiming the Cheif’s said something, as proof. In the end he even tried to accuse the judge of bias because the judge lives on Salt Spring Island, where the protests have been taking place. At another point, he claimed that the entire defense was a red herring because if they were trying to stop damage to the burial site – and damage meant work being done – it was a mute point cause the work had already been started. but the one that really got me was when he tried to claim the injunction was necessary for the protection and safety of the protesters who might get hurt…. Yet he was also exceptionally dull to listen to, to the point that I saw two people sitting near me fall asleep. The defense council were far better orators and had a strong case that more time was needed as they presented numerous thick affidavits that had just been filed or were still coming in.
In the end, the judge ruled in favor of adjournment; that the defendants (which included 2 First Nation Cheif’s amongst others) would have 4 weeks to prepare arguments before the injunction hearing moves forward. Many people including myself will be watching to see what comes of this. I am by no means an expert of any sort in the matters of law, nor in the traditions and practices of any of the local indigenous peoples, I presume from my limited knowledge of other supreme court cases that this will be a long and drawn out process, and todays court hearing will be one of many. I also would presume this won’t be the last of the protests, which I hope will continue until work is permanently stopped. It is an interesting time though, with recent court rulings that acknowledge the land as being stolen and sovereignty never having been extinguished which may influence the outcome of this case. While I remain cynical that a court system of a state built on stolen native lands and a history of genocide and ongoing colonization will suddenly rule in favor of Indigenous lands rather than capitalist development; It is only my hope that we as a society can choose to write a different story than the cliché ones we have been enacting for so long.
These are just my observations as an interested and concerned outsider. If you want to learn more about this conflict, the court case, the lands it is taking place on or the history, I highly suggest checking out the Grace Islet facebook page where the people organizing to stop this shit have been posting updates. I am sure that they will be needing support, which can come in many ways
An in depth look at the events that unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri following the police murder of Michael Brown, a black teenager. Also features an exclusive interview with former Black Panther, Ashanti Alston, about the state of black “America”, abolishing penile power and taking care of your peeps in the muthafuckin resistance.
Days before the band left for London, while still in Louisville, I sent Nico a note regarding how much I appreciated the spreadsheets he made for the upcoming Reagan Youth European Tour. He told me he was going to file that under “things he never thought a singer would say”. I then told him I was to be on bail while playing the next nine overseas shows. So much for breaking the mold.
Late July was a disaster. I had ten grand and two felonies hanging over my head. So I did what any reasonable person would have done. I caught a flight to Heathrow Airport in London on August 5th, 2014 to spread Dave’s gospel and better understand our world the best I could.
All the love in the world to my folks and brother who helped me all the way to the airport as opposed to awaiting jail sandwiches and juice boxes. I love you three goofballs. I really do.
The Flights and London, England
After tying up loose ends before leaving the country for fifteen daze, goodbyes and all, I was flown to O’Hare Airport in Chiraq. En route to London I noticed I was surrounded by young missionaries from the Church of Latter Day Saints (read Mormons). We chatted regarding beliefs, both mine and theirs. It was agreed the words of any good book makes sense and I was proud of them for taking on a two year mission across the Atlantic. They got Rome as their station, which should be interesting with the Vatican and all. I remember it was said “it is interesting at what lengths people will go for what they believe”. So true I thought as I tied up my turban and fell asleep.
The waiting room at Heathrow airport at 8am was not enticing. The bus to downtown London, however, was screaming my name. I was the first to land that morning, so I decided to see some sights. I had to visit Buckingham Palace and see those guards with those insane hats while keeping the notion of monarchy alive. I made friends on the coach and we went to watch people from all over the world as they gazed upon the palace. As I finished a cigarette under Queen Victoria Statue, I flicked the butt up over the steps and onto the sidewalk. All the faces from all over the world were now gazing at me. It was here I learned how Europe frowns upon littering and my first lesson on why the world finds America obnoxious. Turns out they kinda hit that one right on the head.
I mixed up everything and thought the first show was the following day. Turns out it was in a few hours. Meanwhile I got deeper into London than planned and fell out on a park bench. Everyone was meeting at Nico’s Dad’s flat and enough time had passed where I should have been in touch with the band. Without a phone, I caught a bus back to Buckingham in hope of finding a free computer in a cafe or something. While making a bus transfer, I noticed a brand new iPhone on the sidewalk right where the bus let off. Fukkin’ brilliant! I mention this only because THAT BECAME MY LIFELINE FOR THE ENTIRE TOUR. Paul has said more than once that God must be a Reagan Youth fan because things like this happen all the time on tour. My inbox was full of emails telling me “I hope you landed ‘cuz the show is today!” and “where the fukk are you?” etc…. Well, let’s rush along to Camden and start this crazy thing.
I arrived early at The Underworld and led backstage to properly crash out. Next thing I heard New York accents asking “is that Trey??” My sore eyes were glad to have seen Tibbie-X, Staten Island Greg, and Paul Cripple. We quickly caught up then went for a stroll along the streets to visit the shops before sound check. Well, we plug up and play, but the clubs still call it sound check. I was pleased to be around more or my own kind as Paul got into a dispute with a French shop owner after knocking over a display in search of a price tag. On the sidewalk he began to scream “nobody shop here!” oh so loud over and over again. Christ RY has landed in England. I met Tom, Nico’s father, and understood where my man Nico was coming from a tad bit more than before. Dr. Tom wrote very detailed volumes of Turkish history. Paul and Tom chatted so much pre-World War I Europe all I could do was listen in awe.
This gig was the first time we had all played since June with the Dead Kennedys. Plus we were sharing the stage with some old acquaintances, the Street Dogs. We caught up and laughed a bit. Tibbie began talking about prescription pills as I brewed this Somalian bodega tea in a coffee maker, which was acquired earlier that day. It caused me to pack and unpack my bag relentlessly for no good reason. We noticed that the bands were watching us in a quiet backstage area. Two new members replacing deceased originals while having meltdowns on substances must be difficult to ignore. Tib’z and I noticed this along the way in England, but when you are in a punk band from another land, what did we expect??
The show was amazing with a huge Wednesday night crowd, lots of love, and best of all, we played very well. Thank God we played the songs correctly, but then again I or the band won’t let the music or Dave’s message down; we respect it far too much. Afterwards Mike from Prague offered me a beer outside the venue. I had to say yes as he was the first European to openup about life in this new continent, its customs, and ways of the land. After the gig we caught the train and a cab to Dr. Tom’s, where we fell asleep in preparation for Blackpool and RebellionFest.
Northbound Transit & Blackpool, England
I awoke on the floor, sat up to overlook the front window, and was told the black van outside was here for the band. Tom Saunders, our driver and colleague, was here to take us within a hundred miles of the Scottish border, to a city near Manchester. Blackpool was its name and where RebellionFest was held. We said our goodbyes while boarding and… lights out. We got caught in traffic sometime later right as we hit Birmingham, the home of BLACK SABBATH!!! Hours later the sight and smells of the ocean were in the air when we entered, as Tom said, the Las Vegas of England.
We knocked on the door of our new lodgings to be greeted by Jerry, very jolly and had one tooth in his head. He ran the Del Rosa Inn, which was one of many to host the Punx in town for the Festival. As dusk hit the English beach community, we went to the Winter Gardens to mingle and catch The Dickies play. But first we settled into a single room with five beds and a sink, with the WC down the hall. It was all so Eurotrip I wanted to squeal! We followed the fish & chip stands that littered the boardwalk towards the sounds of drums.
Interesting side note, if you are ever in Great Britain – THE CARS COME FROM THE LEFT AND NOT THE RIGHT. Also, as the cars sped towards me while crossing an intersection – THERE ARE NO PEDESTRIAN RIGHT OF WAY LAWS. This makes more sense in practice. I was rolling my own cigarettes at this point since tobacco was so expensive. I vaguely understood why an influx of migrants fled to the new world to grow their own. ‘Cuz they be taxin’!
We mingled on the sidewalk as we learned the box office was closed. This meant it was too late to distribute wristbands. Yea, like this had stopped us before. Tibbie and I went out back where we ran into the Street Dogs. They slid their wristbands onto our forearms. Once more we felt like everything we said was anything but ordinary as they once again gave those baffled looks while we rambled on and on. We went inside and caught The Dickies set. Upon seeing the size of the arena (while getting lost over and over), we knew we had to up our game. When watching the band I heard a voice ask “Trey Oswald??”… Now who knows me in Blackpool? My man Mo from St Louis and Scene of Irony all the way from Missouri, that’s who! We all caught up and laughed before retiring to the Inn.
Reagan Youth was the second headliner on the second main stage. We went on before Stiff Little Fingers, who headlined the main stage. I read this on the program understanding we had a few moments to breakdown after our set before they played. Wait… one moment… we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back to the morning on the Friday of Rebellion…
We split up as we walked along the sunny boardwalk, where Tom and I ended up spending an afternoon together after breakfast. Tom explained some of the English’s views on the United States. It was similar in many respects, for each side saw the other as, how did we put it… hipper than the other. You know how in the States it is considered by many to be exotic to be British? Yea, same with American culture in England. We all want what we can’t have. Shame so many of our own people are so naive about a country who has such an amazing record as the British. Think about it! The sun still never sets on the English speaking empire. The country may have fared the sea more than land when you consider this. Also much respect to the country that brought us The Rolling Stones, The Who, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Sex Pistols, X, Damned, PIL, etc… point taken?? My company, the Guinness, and the Atlantic could have kept me all day but the fest awaits!!
I entered wearing my turban, denim, bandannas, while wrapped in the religious tapestry featuring the Virgin Mary as Lady de Guadalupe. We were taken all over the Winter Gardens and thru crowds of punx in search of the onsite radio station ran by Del. He sang in Peter and the Test Tube Babies. In typical RY fashion, we were also a day late for the interview. Del was cool enough to laugh it off. It’s also only punk rock, right?? Paul and I ate food in the backstage area and afterwards got lost every time we turned down a corridor.The size of this venue cannot be emphasized enough. The punx I gave all the wristbands to from the night before met up front by the stage. OK nerves and all go out the fukkin ‘window. We plugged in before the massive auditorium, packed to the brim, guardrail and monitors and giant spotlights and all.
The punx I met out on the sidewalk the prior evening when told by the bouncers we couldn’t enter the fest due to lack of wristbands were up front cheering us on as we opened with Degenerated. We have been sporadically playing bigger rooms as the band’s stability (consisting of STI Greg, bass mater general Tibbie-X, Keith Richard’s ghost Paul) and reception has increased. Not to mention people love these songs! I had learned to jump over the camera pit and guard rail and into the crowd without landing on the railing. However the lights are still too much, and wearing a turban while wrapped in a the Lady de Guadalupe tapestry did not help. It did look good in pictures and better looks on the faces and blogs reviewing the show wondering what this was all about. God is a Reagan Youth fan, we keep telling you!
More people I met along the weekend were coming to the front to show support. The friendly faces made the show easy as 1-2-3 aka A-B-C. The looks on the faces when I came hurling at them was even better. The band played quite well. This was our second time together since the DK tour in June. Being on stage at a festival made it all the more exciting. I tried my best and when I lost part of a tooth while on the floor I knew I was doing something right. Since guardrails keep singers onstage at these shows, it is always well received when I go to the floor. Those bouncers did an wonderful job keeping me plugged in, and trust me, I kept them busy. Cheerio mates! Another thing about going onto the floor, it meant people danced and they usually do not at festivals. The separation between band and crowd is a real thing that can hurt a show when punx are involved. Breaking barriers worldwide and do not do it alone.
Afterwards I hopped over the guardrail to walk through the ballroom in search of the main room to catch SLF. In an attempt to save time I tied my denim jacket, the religious tapestry and the turban somewhere on my body plus wore the bandannas and shirts the best I could. In what I thought was a quasi-messianic muscle car rock appeal ended up, after our set, to resemble more of a walking bodega. Loosies and all! Fukk it, I stuck out before so why not now?
Times like this I forget that I have walked into (as some have said) iconic punk status overnight (the lot of others have had less to say but only on message boards) and am not only a fan anymore. Before I could make it over the railing I was met by fans telling me this was the best set of the fest and the only one anyone danced along with. I took more pictures at my most unflattering – after the performance – where my hair is a trainwreck, my face is red, and one eye is open while the other is closed, and so on. These picture sets can now be found all over the world, I can safely say. After giving all the thanx inside me, I accompanied Conor and Nicola, who traveled from Ireland to be with us, only to see an Irish (Belfast counts right?) band play songs about inflammable material, with me. I was honored.
As the set went on and Conor’s generosity on the ciders did not subside, the band played song after song. This was cool, trust me, but the walking yard sale I had all over my body plus the daze thus far had been tiresome. So as Stiff Little Fingers played Barbed Wire Love I hit the eject button. With the help of the nearest punk, I was lifted to surf another audience only to go over the railing. I was led backstage and outside, met some Americans, some Russians, some everywhere you name its, and eventually bak with my band. With them were my new soon to be friends Ali and Colin. The couple are back and forth between the UK and Ireland. They were too impressed that some big band singer was talking with them. Please, I was honored they wanted to talk.
We retired to grab some more fish & chips and met more punx along the way who stopped us like we were the Rolling Stones or something. I gladly introduced myself and shared what sauces for chips I had, only to end up at the only all hours bar. I met back up with Colin and drank with the Rebellion Punx as the band caught a few hours sleep before our next flight. In company was Dickie Hammond (Leatherface & Angelic Upstarts!). OK so now I was giving the fanboy treatment and he gave me the casual, friendly approach. Touche! As the sun was rising it was time to find my bandmates, say my goodbyes, and catch a ride with Tom to the airport where we flew into Hanover, Germany, beginning the second and more grueling half of the European Tour… to be continued. What a gyp I know!!!
I mean it took four daze to get thus far. We had to split to story in two volumes.
-Tr’z Oswald (loudmouth, fan, sometimes a writer, lover & hater, human being, friend, brother, son, and one to never forget how lucky some can be and always one to remember how choices can get you to the top or in the gutter aka yin and yang) bids you tatty-bye.
Be on the lookout for “Profane Euro Punx Vol.2 European Redemption” coming sooner than later. Same profane time! Same profane channel!
Next time we meet we will…
*Learn why smoking onstage is more frowned upon than sieg heiling during our theme song!!
*Understand why Americans not only speak way too quick, but are hated by most of the free world due to the decisions of their leaders!!
*Meet a skunk named Mo whom we met in Germany while being walked on a leash!!
*Discuss how the East Berlin Airport will be something I will always remember!!
*Tell tales from the Autobahn and journeys with Giovanni de Italia (love you friend I do)!!
*…and more about spreading the peace punk gospel with Dave’s right hand man and the three he has chosen to help in continuing the ministry!!
Peace, love, unity & anarchy to the following…
Reagan Youth (Dave Insurgent, Paul Cripple, Tibbie-X, Staten Island Greg, and the others before me you are never forgotten), Ben Crew for trusting my judgement and words with the Profane site (you keep me writing despite my mounting personal turmoil), Tom Saunders for being a friend first and foremost, road dog, guide, etc, Nico and the British Westerdale family, you make it happen every time friend and we never forget it, the punx we met on the British Isle (names go on and on and we try to remember if not the name but the smiling faces), Landon and the gang at Covert Booking, the struggling masses, you, me, them, us, our dog Spot, and last if only to emphasize the point… my family aka Mom, Dad, and Zac – I’d be who knows where right now without you.
Any questions, concerns, fact checks, misquotes, message boards still too impersonal, or want to simply say hello? I’m still down with the drones at Google.