July 23, 2009

Bad Religion: World Taking

Bad Religion's Greg Graffin performs at Sunday's Warped Tour in Oceanport, NJ. The Southern California punk legends made their first East Coast stop at Trenton's City Gardens in '88. 

On The Beat hit up the Warped Tour in Oceanport last Sunday when it ran into Bad Religion bassist Jay Bently. Incidentally enough, I had just gotten off the phone with Randy Now (Ellis)  - a club promoter in Bordentown who tour managed Bad Religion back when the group first ventured east - and decided to get the dirt on the '88 "Suffer" tour and its first east coast stomp in Trenton. 

On the Beat: At what road was Bad Religion's career at when you first hit Trenton's City Gardens?

JB: We were nobody’s. I think the first show he put on for us, we probably had 20 people there. And that was on the suffer tour. That was ’88, and I think the record came out the day before we got there. And nobody gave a shit. “Play Fuck Armageddon!” And we were like, “Ok, whatever.”

On the Beat: When you look back on those days, talking about those late ’80s, early ’90s gigs at places like City Gardens, which was kind of a rough stop on the East Coast? Or being a West Coast band on the East Coast?

JB: What I remember was meeting people like Randy and other East Coast staple people that I never would have met being from L.A., and realizing how cool the scene was and how great everybody was. I was never scared. I was hungry. I was tired. And I just loved playing Bad Religion music. That’s what I remember the most. It didn’t matter how we got to where ever we were getting, I just wanted to play.

On the Beat: Did you ever get a “fuck West Coast” feel during those days?

JB: The first time we played at CBGB’s we sold it out. And that was on that suffer tour, as well. And the shows that we were playing up to that point, were literally just shit – literally in front of 20 people. Before the country western act, it was the Bad Religion puppet show.  And we got out to New York City, weren’t expecting anything, and somebody said, “Did you see the line outside?” And I remember walking outside, walking down the street, saying, “Holy shit.” Then a van pulled up and there was two boxes of the suffer vinyl had just come out, and we cracked them open, and we were just like, “Wow, this is happening.” It was weird. It was really weird. And nobody was East Coast beefy. They were all really excited to see us.

On the Beat: Is it when you hit New York for the first time when you realized you’d made it?

JB: Maybe for a lot of punk rock bands, it was that kind of idea of, “OK, so L.A., Chicago, New York, D.C. are good scenes.” And everywhere else was a struggle. I don’t know if that was true for other bands, The Circle Jerks, Black Flag and Minor Threat, and bands that were touring. But what I got out of it was these are good people from a vibrant scene, and they were really cool to us.

On the Beat: Was there doubt at the time not to spend the money to come out?

JB: I don’t think anyone had an idea of that tour in ’88 was going to happen. We borrowed The Circle Jerk’s van. I shouldn’t say borrowed. We rented The Circle Jerk’s van and we went out on the road for almost two months and came back and each guy owed $1,000. It cost us $1,000 to go out on the road (per person). And my feeling on it was, “Fuck that. I can’t afford that.” And to be honest, the next thing that happened for Bad Religion was that we started getting a phone call from this promoter in Germany, saying, “You need to come out here right away.” We’re like, “Fuck you, we just did a tour of the states and lost $1,000 each. You want us to get on a plane and go out to a place where we’re not going to know anybody, and much are we going to lose on that?” That’s what we all thought. I’m glad he was persistent, because we ended up going on a plane and going out there. And that was a whole different ballgame. The first show we played in Germany was to maybe 5,000 kids.

On the Beat: Did you ever play to 5,000 in California at that point? That’s a pretty big number.

JB: Maybe at the Palladium. But I don’t think we were headlining. It would have been a big punk rock event that there would have been 4,000 kids at the Palladium. But that was a different ballgame, because that was us. And when you talk about any East Coast vibe, when we got to Europe the vibe was, “We really like your band, but we hate you. Because you are Americans.” They said, “We loved what you were saying on ‘Suffer.’ We love the lyrics. We love your band. But we hate you because you’re American.” And I was like, “OK. I can dig that.” I could totally accept that. I didn’t have a problem with that.

On the Beat: Bad Religion is headlining the Warped Tour now, and it has this young vibe. And I’m 33, and none my friends are into that anymore. But I figured you have to see Bad Religion when you can. So, how long will that last?

JB: We don’t really have any kind of plan. The one thing that we all agreed on, is that like every other fucking band, when we say it’s over, it’s over. And it’s not going to be we’re going on a reunion tour, and, hey, we’re going on a farewell tour and come back three years later. I don’t have to be on the Warped Tour and don’t have to be on any big tours. Honestly, I have fun playing in this band in a rehearsal hall, because it’s therapy to me.

On the Beat: So we’re not seeing our last Bad Religion show?

JB: I don’t think anytime soon. God forbid something fucking tragic happened. And with that being said, I tell everybody, “Look, we’re slated to play at 6:55 p.m. – maybe we’ll play.” You never know what’s going to happen. I get on the stage, and Brooks hits the sticks, and I go and can’t stop, no matter what.

On the Beat: What’s you’re overall feel of New Jersey. There’s a couple dates each year on The Warped Tour in New Jersey. Is there ever too much Jersey?

JR: You can never have enough Jersey. You can never have enough. You can have too much Florida. You can have way too much Florida and Texas. It’s too hot. Too muggy.

On the Beat: Is there anything about New Jersey that you fell in love with as you’ve toured for as long as you have?

JR: Randy Ellis. For some reason, seeing him was this safety zone. I’m sure it wasn’t just us, but it really felt like he cared.

On the Beat: He said he was picking you guys up at the airport and he almost got his ass kicked by the porters because you didn’t want to pay them for helping you with your gear?

JR: Yeah, none of us had any cash. And the porter wanted a tip, and we had like seven dollars. We had no money. And the quote was, because we still say it on the bus; “I will bust your shit.” And that wasn’t about our gear. That was to Randy Ellis’ face.

On the Beat: What’s the one song you love to play? The one song you always want to play when you go out on stage for its passion or its lyrics. That one song you can’t leave off the set list.

JB: “Fuck Armageddon.” It’s just loud and obnoxious. Coming on the stage, the quandary of the band is divine power. Power can be quiet. Power can be hard. So to me that song is very powerful. I think it’s a live statement, and all the other songs in our catalog are just as endearing, but for some reason that song, it’s the cornerstone, where playing it (represents) where we came from. It’s who we are. Everything else is building on that. And without that we’d be in the unknown again. We’d still be kind of lost; we’d be without a direction and wouldn’t know what to do.  

On the Beat: July 23-29

We're All Broken play the Mill Hill Basement on Saturday.
Set Your Goals plays The Stone Pony tonight (Thursday).

Set Your Goals

CIV-named Bay Area punk rockers - headlining The Stone Pony (913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park) at 6 tonight – score “the music to (their) own lives” with weighty melodic, smart aleck, hardline pop seen in Senses Fail/Sum 41 on the group’s bouncy new CD, “This Will Be The Death Of Us.” The LP dropped on Tuesday, and it’s infectious, confused-teen lyrical tones and sing-along choruses make for the perfect summer time drive-around record. Four Years Strong, Fireworks, The Swellers and Grave Maker round out the bill. Tickets cost $16 in advance, $18 at the door. All-ages.

Lake Avenue

Colonia techno-punks, whose video-game-inspired breakdowns and pop melodies resemble a sonically infused fight between Panic! At the Disco Mega Man, hit Six Flag’s Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Live & Local stage at 2 this afternoon. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

Guerilla Radio

It’s nothing but bombtracks for this Rage Against The Machine tribute band, set to take the power back at 9 tomorrow night at McGuinn’s Place (1781 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence). Horror Biz, a Misfits tribute band featuring members of Local Demise and Shined, are playing, too. Phantasm and Tomorrow Never Dies, open. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.


Local weep-core punks act like Taking Back Sunday, headline The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) at 5 tomorrow night. The Last Barbarians, Against It All, All In Blind and Lost In Society play, too. Tickets cost $7. All-ages. 

The Grither

These South Jersey metalers crank out crunchy, crud-grunge smashes in the style of Helmet, Prong and Alice In Chains with Triple Shot at Championship Sports Bar and Grill (931 Chambers St., Trenton) at 9 tomorrow night. Decades Lost, Downcast Theory and A Time For Fire play, too. Tickets cost $8. 21-plus.

Mike Burro

The journeyman folk rocker plays The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) with Sunday’s Murder, Evelyn Rose and Groove Train Riders at 9 tomorrow night. Tickets cost $7. 21-plus.   

Graham Parker

The Brit-rock icon, who made waves in 2003 by collaborating with The B-52’s Kate Pierson and Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz on an album of lost Beatles songs, returns for an intimate encounter The Record Collector (358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown) at 7:30 tomorrow night. Parker, who sold out his show in Bordentown several months a month in advance, saw his “The Mona Lisa’s Sister” LP ranked as the 97th all-time best album of the ’80s by Rolling Stone magazine.  Smash Palace’s Stephen Butler, opens. Tickets cost $22 in advance, $25 at the door. All-ages.


Eighties shred-punk superstars – headlining two shows at 8 tomorrow and Saturday at Asbury Lanes (209 4th Ave., Asbury Park) – like to mix it up between classic New York hardcore a la The Gorilla Biscuits, DC reggae-rage in its membership with The Bad Brains and vibe-laden, beach-grooves seen fIREHOSE. War Hungry, Get Real and Our Turn to Win open tomorrow’s festivities. Cutlass, Soup Sandwich and Rusted Destruction round out Saturday’s bill. Tickets cost $15. All-ages.

We’re All Broken

“Bear Country” post-grunge gallopers - whose new EP “Blacktop Cry” depicts a less mathy Minus The Bear or Thrice with fervent harmonies comparable to ’90s-era Revelation bands like Farcide, hit The Mill Hill Basement (300 S. Broad St., Trenton) at 10 p.m. Saturday, play Dan Maxwell and His Band headline the show. Hello Midnight, open. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.   

Blackened Blue

Bucks rock-radio rebels, playing Championships Sports Bar & Grill (931 Chambers St., Trenton) at noon Saturday with Ender and Oh The Queen, swing an alt-metal hybrid that gets a little jammy – check out the end of “Little Miss Guided” on their MySpace page - when it’s not mirroring Disturbed. Atrophia, Legacy of Lies, Gravelight and Orphus round out the bill. Tickets cost $10. All-ages.

Mummified In Circuitry

Anvil-heavy death sets has these barbaric Entombed-sounding New Englanders – beating down the All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) with In Wake of the Plague, Taking The Tide and Under A Dead Sky at 5 p.m. Saturday – going berserker. Tickets cost $7. All-ages.

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby

Husband and wife pop team, headlining the Record Collector at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, strum ’60-era sugar-psychedelics in a “Please Please Me”-era Beatles vibe. Tickets cost $12 in advance, $15 at door. All-ages.

Kelly Carvin & The Future

The sultry Trenton songstress, whose spunky attitude is redolent of Liz Phair with a artsy Joni Mitchell quality, is a finalist on NBC 10’s “Singing Sensation” contest and a featured attraction at this weekend’s Ab n’ Jacks All-Betterfest at Snipes Farm (890 W. Bridge St., Morrisville, Pa.). Carvin hits the stage at 2 p.m. Saturday. The show runs through Sunday, with overnight camping available. Sound From Atlantis, Bohemian Sunrise, Painted Blue and Steppin’ Razor play, too. Tickets cost $30 a day, $50 for the entire weekend.  


Rhode Island dub-copy-cats got “something for your punk ass” – in the form of Sublime covers – when headlining their annual Garden Groove Festival at the Stone Pony Summer Stage (913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park) at 4 p.m. Saturday. Openers include Ballyhoo, Flights Kool, The Ice Picks, Underground Logic, Entelechy, Scotty Don’t, The Pony At Night, Almost There, Barry and the Penetrators and Good Question. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. All-ages.   

Shadows Lie

New York-based goth-rock dark angels – playing Six Flag’s Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Live & Local stage at 2 tomorrow afternoon – share the despondent harmonies and metallic riffage seen in nu metal maidens Lacuna Coil/Evanescence. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

Nindy Kaur

Body-moving Bollywood beauty, starring in Saturday’s Mid-Summer Masala at Six Flag’s Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Northern Star Arena at 6 p.m., merges hip-hop beats with traditional Indian music in perfecting her own brand of modern belly-dancing music. Think Missy Elliot adding a dash of urban spice to “The Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack. Sukhbir, Mitch Hyare, Jess Tooray and deejays Masti and Ladla round out the bill. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

Not In Public

Trenton funk-punk cats get lifted on Nebula-style stone grooves, hit The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) with Hydra Melody, Montauk, Vertigo, Our Fair City, The New Divide and Tagle at 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $7. All-ages.      

Geri Mingori Band

The Central Jersey singer keeps her vocal range at Stevie Nicks-type proportions, while her love-lost poetic stanzas and alluring lyrical tearjerkers keep the live element emotional and uplifting. Her band is slated to get everyone holding hands by the time Asia and Yes hit Six Flag’s Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Northern Star Arena at 5 p.m. Sunday. Free with admission to the park. All-ages. 

We Are The Union

Motor City ska-punks, hitting Asbury Lanes (209 4th Ave., Asbury Park) at 8 p.m. Sunday with The Snips, get strung out on the Less Than Jake structure – survive long drives listen to Kid Dynamite. Tickets cost $7. All-ages.  

The Great Explainer

Trenton post-rock insurgents rage Against Me! at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Asbury Lanes (209 4th Ave., Asbury Park). Such Gold plays, too. Tickets cost $7. All-ages. 

Scott Frost’s On The Beat concert listing appears in The Trentonian every Thursday. If your band is playing around town, hit up the On the Beat webline at djscott111@aol.com. And for links to the bands above, photos from Sunday’s Warped Tour in Oceanport, an interview with Bad Religion, free downloads, videos and information on other cool music happenings from around the world, check out http://onthebeatphilly.blogspot.com.


Jay-Z: Heading West

Big Pimpin headed to All Points West


JAY-Z CONFIRMED AS FRIDAY NIGHT HEADLINER OF  ALL POINTS WEST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL SHOW TO MARK HIP-HOP SUPERSTAR'S U.S. FESTIVAL DEBUT In a precedent-setting move for American music festivals, ALL POINTS WEST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL organizers have just confirmed the U.S. festival debut of JAY-Z. The hip-hop superstar and pop culture icon will take over the headlining slot for the opening night (Friday, July 31) of the critically acclaimed annual event.  This show will mark the U.S. festival debut of Jay-Z, who last year performed at a variety of overseas festivals including the U.K.'s Glastonbury, Denmark's Roskilde Festival, Norway's Hove Festival and the O2 Wireless Festival in London. In a review of a recent show, the LOS ANGELES TIMES' Ann Powers said, “Jay-Z shows are fun because the rapper is so adept at spinning liquid gold; his mouth is one of the most nimble in the genre's history, and he uses it to present thoughts that are sharp, funny and resonant” (July 4, 2009). Grammy winner Jay-Z joins Tool (Saturday) and Coldplay (Sunday) as headliners of the three-day, multi-stage music and arts festival. ALL POINTS WEST will also feature performances from Echo & The Bunnymen, My Bloody Valentine, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, MSTRKRFT, Gogol Bordello, The Black Keys, Fleet Foxes, Neko Case, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys and more than 65 artists appearing throughout the 80-acre historic location that has panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan skyline.  ALL POINTS WEST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL organizers would also like to extend their best wishes to Beastie Boy Adam Yauch as he undergoes treatment for throat cancer. As previously reported, Beastie Boys were forced to cancel their headlining appearance at APW's opening night (Friday, July 31)--as well as all other engagements--when Yauch was diagnosed as having a cancerous tumor in his left parotid (salivary) gland. For those requesting refunds based on this news, ticket refunds are available at point of purchase for Friday single day tickets only.  ALL POINTS WEST is produced by Goldenvoice and Liberty Event in association with the HighLine Ballroom. For up-to-the-minute information on the ALL POINTS WEST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL, visit www.apwfestival.com

July 21, 2009

Passion Pit: Lord of the Tube

Love these guys. Watch their new video. Thanks to my boys in Off The Radar. That's a great blog, with some awesome free downloads

July 20, 2009

NOFX: Set List Sell Outs

NOFX played Sunday's Van's Warped Tour in Oceanport, NJ. But, as usual, wasted the 40-minute set chopping each other and goofing off.
So here's the Top 5 NOFX songs, the Cali punks forgot, or forgot how, to play on Sunday.
1. The Brews
2. Kill All The White Man
3. Creeping Out Sara
4. Liza and Louise
5. Bob

East Coast Addiction: Warped Babies

Awesome to catch some Trenton love at Sunday's Warped Tour in Oceanport. Here we have Robbinsville's East Coast Addiction getting down on the Jersey Stage, while most were getting ready to see NOFX on the Main Stage. The guys threw down an energetic set, got the crowd of about 30 to toss a beach ball around, as they slid through a collection of synth-shocked pop punk. It's the second year the guys played Warped. Burning Jersey was there, too. But they played at noon, and traffic getting in was hell.

TAT: Rock 'N' Roll Rebel Reincarnate

One shining moment at a fairly regular Warped Tour was British punk rockers TAT, and it's slinky lead singer, Tatiana DeMaria. The band's got this classic, Joan Jett/Runaways feel, which is refreshing considering all the emo-slop and synth-cartooning that infected this season's tour. It got really raunchy when DeMaria noted that she just got done her woman cycle and then decided to burn it out with a can of Monster Energy Drink she poured down the front of her really tight jeans. You go girl.

Millionaires: Head Trip

About the only thing good about the Millionaires was their overtly sexual stage show. But that's about it. Totally sucky hip-hop, party thrash-trash - and the little girls watching totally ate it up. Girls, go check out Peaches' new album. That record's the bomb!

Beastie Boys: Cancer kills Summer tour

A Cancerous tumor found on MCA's left parotid gland forced The Beastie Boys to shut down their summer tour. It'll also postponed the release of The Boys' new record, "Hot Sauce Committee," due out this fall.
"Adam "MCA" Yauch of Beastie Boys was diagnosed last week as having a cancerous tumor in his left parotid (salivary) gland. Luckily it was caught early and is localized in one area, and as such is considered very treatable. It will however require surgery and several weeks of additional treatment. Fortunately the cancer is not in a location that will affect Yauch's vocal chords." 
"I just need to take a little time to get this in check, and then we'll release the record and play some shows," Yauch said. "It's a pain in the neck (sorry had to say it) because I was really looking forward to playing these shows, but the doctors have made it clear that this is not the kind of thing that can be put aside to deal with later."

Meg & Dia: Winnie Cooper circa '09

Spotted "Wonder Years" starlet Winnie Cooper at Sunday's Warped Tour at the Monmouth Race Track in Oceanport. Gotcha! That's actually Meg Frampton of the indie pop sister act Meg & Dia. Pretty close to the real thing, don't you think?