The Greatest 80's Garage Band You've Never Heard of.

by Charles Matthews

We rock and roll obsessives are a thorough bunch. When we graduate from listening to mainstream bands to an ever-widening roster of deeper obscurities, we spend years digging through the bargain bins. We spend hours scouring the Internet and YouTube for new bands and old bands that are new to us. Before the Internet, it was import music magazines and xeroxed fanzines that gave us our sacred texts and pointed the way to the holy rock and roll grail. I've been a rock and roll obsessive for most of my life, since I was 13 (and I'm now 45!)- to the extent that when something pops up on my radar that I've never, ever heard of, I'm usually very surprised. Especially when it's a band so up my alley, so perfectly suited to my musical tastes and aesthetic that I cannot believe I haven't run across them before. When you factor in that said bands' initial run of activity was in the early to mid 80's, it even seems more strange.
Such was the case when a band called Emptifish popped up in my Facebook feed one rainy Seattle morning. A website that sells rare Cramps bootlegs and similar garage/trash gems posted a photo of four suave bastards in Ray Bans and sharp suits with perfect 50's/60's hair cuts, holding vintage '60's instruments (Hagstroms! Hofners!). They kind of looked like Thee Milkshakes meets the Specials, but with Duran Duran's cheekbones. "Who the hell is THAT?" I mumbled to myself. I found that the name of the band was Emptifish- kind of a shitty name, I thought at first- and their logo was of the type found mostly on 1980's psychobilly records. I was intrigued.
More digging found a video or two on YouTube- really not much, considering. One of the videos however was a jaw dropping revelation. It was a pro filmed clip of a fast, catchy, pummeling tune called "Surfboard" that showed the four stylish young men in their 80's heyday, clowning it up on a beach, walking moodily up and down stairs while dressed immaculately and performing gags that scanned like the Beatles in "A Hard Day's Night" meets "The Munsters". It's a perfect surf-garage thumper of a tune, and they were smart enough to pair it with a great vintage aesthetic and the perfect stylishly wacky video. I was sold. Not only was this a great lost band, but it was a criminally unknown classic that should be as popular as the Cramps and Los Straitjackets. Emptifish should have been a household word. So why wasn't it?
Well, the answer in part lies in the band's hometown- Portsmouth, UK.
Portsmouth is a port city on the southeast coast of England. It's population hovers in the area of 205,500, and it's the UK's only island city. It has a population density to rival London, which lies only 65 miles northeast.
When I said earlier that Emptifish was not a household name, I was almost wrong: in Portsmouth in the early/mid 1980's, they changed the very fabric of their local youth culture. Boys dressed like them, girls wanted boys that looked like them, and their following was huge and particularly loyal. Their audience was also particularly violent. Gigs erupted in huge fistfights, to the point where the band began to be banned from venue after venue. The running joke was "I went to a fight last night, and an Emptifish gig broke out." A gig in London also turned into a huge brawl, and afterwards, not wanting trouble, the band would turn down gigs in the city. Emptifish did manage one gig at legendary London psychobilly venue the Klub Foot (opening for the Meteors) but mostly they stayed home in Portsmouth and played when and where they could. I believe it is this reputation for violence that stunted the growth of the band, and made a group destined for greatness stop in its tracks.
They did record a couple of great records for local labels- "The Branksmere Sessions" EP and the "I Want That Girl" single, which are now collectible and rare as hen's teeth. It's these recordings, along with unreleased tracks and a session from a 2009 reunion that make up the new retrospective LP on Detour Records, "657: the Best Of Emptifish". When I finally received my copy, I was as excited as when I first held a Cramps or Gun Club record in my hand. This was arcane knowledge, obscure greatness!
It comes with a great booklet that tells the Emptifish story in text and a slew of swank pics. It's a great record. Everything that Emptifish did revealed a greater cleverness and style than any of their so called peers from the era. They were smarter and sharper than any psychobilly band, and out posed and out rocked the rockabilly revival easily. I would guess that their closest peer would have been Billy Childish, but they possessed a ramshackle, innocent sense of fun and a surfy bounce that the poet of Chatham never had.
It's sad when a band this great doesn't get their due, but it happens all the time in underground rock and roll. Fortunately though, the recent interest in Emptifish has prompted the band to reunite. There is a documentary being filmed about the band, and they are getting increasingly high profile gigs, including an upcoming opening slot for the Damned.
The road to rediscovery has not been an easy one however. Original bassist Ricky Sonic passed away in 2010, and guitarist Ian Sonic was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The band has paid their dues, learned hard lessons, and are making the most of what time they have left to rock and roll. They are still a suave bunch of motherfuckers, and they rock with an even tighter ferocity than before.
If you are a fan of the Cramps, Billy Childish, surf music and "Nuggets" style garage punk- you need to do yourself a favor and check out the great Emptifish. Legends can only stay buried for so long.

Emptifish discography:

Branksmere Sessions - 7” 1985
I Want That Girl - 7” 1986
6.57: The Best of Emptifish - CD 2016


Moronic Pleasures: The Saga of the Lost Candy Snatchers Album”
“One Man’s Junk Is Another Man’s Treasure”

by Jake Starr

Sometime in late 1997, Dave Champion (my heterosexual life partner) and I drove down from Washington, DC, to Norfolk, Virginia, to see our favorite band, the Candy Snatchers, play at some sketchy dive. We had done this several times already, so we knew it was a guaranteed good time. We were also lucky to be friends with the band and stayed at guitarist Matthew Odietus’ apartment most of those times. This time at his place before we left for the club, Matt played us a cassette of the new Snatchers album: “Moronic Pleasures.” Dave and I were so blown away that we insisted on dubs of the cassette on the spot. Little did we know what would happen (or not happen as it were) next.
Let’s back up a bit. After a handful of killer punk rock-n-roll 7” singles, the Candy Snatchers had signed a deal with Safehouse Records in NYC and recorded/released their self-titled debut album in 1996. It was, quite frankly, some of the best rock-n-roll ever committed to tape. Here was a band that was part “Raw Power”-era Stooges, part New York Dolls, part Ramones, part Misfits, and part every other sleazy, tasty morsel. The band featured the Über-Toxic Twins in guitarist Matthew Odietus and singer Larry May. Both were blessed with shocking acumen on their instruments: Matt channeled Johnny Thunders and James Williamson in his playing and Larry was a psychotic gene splice of Glenn Danzig, Gerry Roslie, and Roky Erickson with his voice... plus add a touch of the Tasmanian Devil and you’ve got Larry to a tee! All the while, Uncle Willy Johns kept things solid and simple on the bass.
Now it was early 1997. With explosive new drummer, Sergio Ponce, they had written an impressive amount of new songs and were ready to start tracking them to tape. The first attempt to capture the magic took them to Compactor Studio in Brooklyn, NYC, with Paul Johnson engineering. Nineteen (19) songs were laid down with 17 planned for the new album titled “Moronic Pleasures” and two (“Bum” and “You Want What”) slated for a 7” single on Solamente Records. The 17 album tracks were given only a rough mix and dubbed onto cassette for the band to review; the two 7” single tracks were given a proper, final mix and sent to the record label for pressing. For some inexplicable reason (to me) that has gone to the grave, Matt rejected this session. When I spoke with Larry, Willy, and Serge at the time, they all thought the songs, performances, and production were solid.
Paul Johnson generously contributed his remembrances: “Matt called me about doing a Candy Snatchers record, and although I had never heard or seen the band, I had heard good things about them. I also remember someone warning me that they could be trouble, but I didn’t care about that. I had known Serge for years and had grown up hanging out with the M-80’s, so I was unshockable at that point.
“They were playing at the Continental Club at St Marks Place, so I thought I would go check them out. The place was packed and they sounded great, but I could not see them, so I lifted my head to take a peek and instantaneously got whacked in the face by a flying combat boot Larry had hurled from the stage. ‘I hope this is not a sign of things to come,’ I thought. As it turns out, it wasn’t; although the first part of the first day of recording was spent with Matt, Rob Katherman from the M-80’s, and myself trying to get Serge and Willy to explain to us over the phone where they were in Brooklyn so someone could come and get them. Apparently, neither of them could remember how they got there the night before nor could the people they were with explain to us how to get there. To make it worse, they were in different places.
“Eventually they were rescued and got set up and going pretty quick. I was amazed at how fast they worked. They had me roll the tape while they played the songs from a setlist: one song after another until we were about to run out of tape. I might have stopped the tape only a couple of times during the whole session for mistakes’ sake. No one did that in those days… maybe some hardcore punk bands back in the 80’s.
“I was also unaware that I was ‘producing’ the record until halfway through the session. I thought I was just the recording engineer. Usually a producer gets to hear rough demos or live tapes of the songs to be recorded so they can come up with production ideas. I had been doing mostly 60’s garage sounding bands, so I suggested background vocals, handclaps, and some tambourine. ‘We like that kind of stuff, but it’s not right for us,’ they politely explained. Looking back, I have to agree with them on that one.
“Willy’s bass had been set on fire or something like that, so he used a Gibson SG bass with old strings that I had in the studio. Not sure if that was the right sound for him, but it is what we had. When we took a break, Rob told me Matt was unhappy with the guitar sound. He had heard the ‘Floyds of Flatbush’ record I had done and told me he liked that guitar sound. I tried explaining that that was done on a four-track and is a very different type of recording than the way we were doing things with a 16-track. I also had very low-budget studio… a couple of cheap compressors and a spring reverb unit. That was it. Most of the bands that came to Compactor Studio requested a lo-fi sound or wanted to sound like Guitar Wolf. That was about what I was capable of.
“After we did the basic tracks, Matt went back and played a second rhythm guitar and solos pretty much the same way: from song to song without stopping the tape. Vocals, same thing. Larry belted out one song after another. Then we mixed and off they went. I had heard they were not going to use the recordings because Matt did not like the guitar sound. I felt horrible that they had spent the money and time and had nothing to show for it. I tried to explain to Matt that my cassette deck was a piece of crap and that it would sound better once it was mastered. ‘It must be the worst thing ever. Why would anyone even make a piece of shit like that?’ he replied over the phone. It was his only point of reference. Oddly enough, they returned to my studio a number of times.
“I’m glad it’s finally going to be mixed and mastered properly. I’m looking forward to hearing it. I wish Matt were still around so he could as well.”
The second attempt to record was a quick stop at Andy Slob’s basement studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, while they were on tour. The band was supposedly unhappy with the overall sound and rejected these sessions as their new album. Most songs, though, eventually were released on various singles and compilations. Larry recalled, “The Cinci session was a blazing performance, but something in the recording made it sound like a drill in the ear!”
With both attempted sessions rejected, the band eventually headed back to NYC with Dean Rispler at the engineering helm to re-record most of the songs for the THIRD time. This final session became their second album now titled “Human Zoo,” presumably after a Bon Scott lyric. The album was released on Go-Kart Records in 1998 and the previous “Moronic Pleasures” session at Compactor Studio was forgotten for 20 years.
Larry May: “The title ‘Human Zoo’ I named after William Weber’s old band. I used to go to see them in Cincinnati when I was 16. He had recently joined the band on 2nd guitar for touring. We were just being silly, but yes, it’s in ‘If You Want Blood, You Got It’ as well. Hahahaha! William thought it was hilarious that we were actually gonna call it that.”
Now don’t get me wrong, “Human Zoo” rocks like a motherfucker, but “Moronic Pleasures” as recorded at Compactor Studio is the Candy Snatchers at their zenith. In my humble opinion, the performances are stronger and the feel of the songs is sleazier; and I must disagree with Matt on his guitar sound!
I took on the crusade of rescuing this session from oblivion. First, I spoke with Dan-O Deckelman (good friend, ex-Adam West guitarist bandmate, and studio entrepreneur) who got the master reels from Paul Johnson and managed the digital transfer. Second, I got the multi-tracks to Dennis Kane (good friend, Delicious Fullness producer, and studio wizard) who freshly and properly mixed and mastered all 19 songs. There were some missing tracks on “Ass Casserole,” so my cassette version of the song was used for continuity. I now offer this 20-years-in-the-making project to you, the astute listener, in the order the band intended... including some songs that didn’t get re-recorded and make it onto “Human Zoo.” And as Larry sings on the album opener: “I’ve got no time to waste! I’m just a drunk-ass motherfucker who ran outta space!” After 20 years, there’s no more time to waste...

1. No Time to Waste
2. Color Me Blood Red
3. Pissed Off, Ripped Off, Screwed
4. If You Can’t Have Fun, You Ain’t No Fun
5. Burn It to the Ground
6. You Make It Hard
7. Hard Up
8. Hooligan
9. Real Thick Head
10. Gone for Good
11. Killin’ My Buzz
12. Run You Down
13. Fresh Rag
14. She Sure Can Blow
15. Such a Fool
16. Moronic Pleasures
17. Ass Casserole
18. Bum (bonus track)
19. You Want What (bonus track)

Recorded at Compactor Studio, Brooklyn, NYC
Larry May: vocals
Matthew Odietus: guitars
Willy Johns: bass
Sergio Ponce: drums
Paul Johnson: recording engineer
Dan-O Deckelman: analog-to-digital transfer
Dennis Kane: mixing and mastering
Jake Starr: super-fan and producer
All songs by Odietus/May except
“Pissed Off, Ripped Off, Screwed,” “Hooligan,” “Hard Up,” and “Gone for Good” by May
“Fresh Rag” by Pop/Williamson
“Such a Fool” by Bent/Clic
(c) 1997 Candy Snatchers and Copyright Control (p) 2017 Fandango Records
Dedicated to Matthew Odietus (1967-2008) RIP



Blue Oyster Cult 

by Mike Mindless
Blue Öyster Cult understand better then most how to roll with the punches. In over 4 decades of playing raucous hard rock, “thinking man’s metal” the band have gone thru many lineup changes, but fans have always hungered for the classic lineup’s return. In a fitting finale to their career, they have welcomed back the brothers Bouchard in a limited way to the lineup, and performed a number of amazing shows this year, just when fans had resigned themselves to the slow fade out.
The band got their start when drummer Albert Bouchard met Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser in college. Several other important collaborators came into their college orbit, like longtime BOC producer/songwriter Sandy Pearlman, writers Helen Wheels, David Roter, and Patti Smith, who was considered to become their singer early on. Sandy Pearlman and Albert Bouchard created an entire score based around the character of Imaginos, a shape shifting vampire that reappears thru their career in various songs and many of the songs appear on the 1985 Imaginos LP. 
Undoubtedly one of the oddest moments in their career had to be the moment Saturday Night Live parodied their hit “Don’t Fear The Reaper” with Christopher Walken demanding “More Cowbell!”. Singer Eric Bloom was reportedly annoyed at first but has come to accept that a whole new audience discovered the band thru that episode, and the Bouchard’s even wrote a song called “More Cowbell”.
Albert had left the band in 1981 at the height of their stardom, and it has taken decades for the band to slowly heal the wound, with Buck Dharma joining the Bouchards on a tribute CD to fallen singer Helen Wheels leading to a full reunion at their 40th anniversary show a few years ago in NYC. Meanwhile, the Bouchard brothers have released many solo cds and have a band with Alice Cooper bassist Dennis Dunaway, called “Blue Coupe”.
This year, to pay tribute to their breakthrough LP, the band played a series of dates in their hometown of NYC. These shows were true guitar clinics, with Buck Dharma still an innovative and nimble player leading the band thru a number of deep cuts, many that had only been played live once 40 years ago. The band played the first 4 numbers of the LP before Albert joined them onstage to a standing ovation and a fierce version of “The Revenge Of Vera Gemini”. After playing the entire LP, the current BOC lineup played their full set, then Bouchard rejoined them for their classic 5 guitar jam.
To cap off the series, the final date paid homage to fallen guitarist/keyboardist Allen Lanier, with the band again extensively rehearsing deep cuts that had not been performed since the 80s. This time, bassist Joe Bouchard also rejoined the band for the night, and Albert & Joe appeared throughout the show at various points. Fans flew in from all over the world for the final date, and they were rewarded handsomely with a huge number of rarely played tunes. This band’s catalog has a depth to it that most bands cannot match, due to them having 5 songwriters and vocalists, and numerous outside writers besides. It’s fitting a band with science fiction inspirations have had songs written for them by scifi authors. The band seems to have been greatly inspired by these dates and have added many new tunes to the setlist. They have also gotten a number of prestigious bookings, and have taken the “Agents Of Fortune” show on the road with Albert Bouchard joining them for several high profile gigs across Europe. 
You never know where the road will take you. This band claims to be on the road forever, and are still well worth seeing. Who knows where these recent gigs will lead, but the band have said they want to play more gigs like these. Forgetting the trappings of their 70s arena rock stardom, the band still kicks out the jams nightly and still give a great show every night. From their humble beginnings where they had to change their name after a terrible show at the Fillmore East, the band has been game to every opportunity and weathered several down periods that ended larger bands. Buck Dharma and singer Eric Bloom have a pact that when one hangs it up, the other will too….




by Dario Bai

(for this issue our beloved Earle Thunders won’t be writing this column because he’s super busy with his band, Guns of Nevada, but he will be back right in time for the next one. But don’t despair we still have something for ya!) 

Tacoma, WA is a city that gave us a great number of remarkable bands. I’m not gonna list them all here but all you need to know is that BWSS is among those remarkable bands. They broke up a couple of years when their bass player moved away and this three piece combo had to face the dilemma of finding another member or ending the project. The latter won so they split up after only two, very well received, records and three tours. I played with them on a couple of occasions and we had a blast. You can imagine my surprise when all of a sudden I received the news that they were getting back together for two shows because Jake, the bass player, was in town. So last November I went to Slim’s for their second show to witness, once again, their loud, sweaty and adrenalinic show. 
But let’s start from the beginning. Who are they? What do they sound like? It’s simply high voltage rock ‘n’roll from the good old days played at eleven. Put Grand Funk Railroad, The MC5, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Mountain all together in a blender. Mix ‘em up, give it an electroshock and you’ll get The Big Wheel Stunt Show wall of sound. And if you think they accomplish all that in three, you’ll get how good these rockers are. BWSS is a “Watchers Band” - meaning: Must-See-Live. The guitar players in the audience tend to be up-front, watching Evan Nagle twisting and turning through all sorts of guitar styles from Van Halen to Hendrix. Meanwhile, bassist Jake Melius is all the fret board, playing in a style along the lines of John Entwisle and Cliff Burton, with drummer Justin Gimse holding down a solid backbeat while sharing back-ups and lead vocals with Evan. I briefly talked to Justin recently and he told me that there are some juicy news. Since these last two shows went very well, they are planning some more shows for the future and we should see them back on stage next spring. He also told me there are talks of new album. And these are good news if you ask me. Let’s hope the wheels will turn in their favor and everything will work out for BWSS because Rock ‘n’ Roll needs a band like them! Music is Revolution. And they are read to fight the good fight!

Big Wheel Stunt Show discography:

Cheetah Milque - CD 2011
Wonderful Life - CD 2012
Fireball - Single 2012



The Misfats vs. Dave Plow

Who are you and what do you do?  

Glen Hamzinger: Who are you to demand such information of me, Glen Hamzinger, earth-bound god of mirth and excess?!? 
Noland Bell: Well, actually, we are the misfats and, this year, we're reuniting because we love you all just that much.
How did the idea behind the Misfats come about? 
Glen Hamzinger: You don't question the source - you fall to your knees and thank the heavens you've been granted such a gift! 
Noland Bell: (cough) again, umm, well, we said to one another, "You know what? We're sick of these bands taking themselves so seriously. You know what would be dumb? A Misfits parody act - because it'd be so damn genius."
Do you consider yourselves a satire/parody or a tribute band? 
Glen Hamzinger: Yes!!! 
Noland Bell: Okay, gotta agree with that loud-voiced guy this time...more parody than anything else but where else are you going to hear these great misfits songs performed?
You've been on a lengthy hiatus and are now coming back out of the kitchen to play a Halloween show. What have you guys been up to all this time? 
Glen Hamzinger: We have not been in the kitchen!!! We have been in the bathroom and it has been glorious!!! 
Noland Bell: Geez, how does that guy keep getting in here? Actually, we've spent that time traveling to each and every single one of our fans and thanking them in person for their support. that's a lot of fans so that's a lot of time, ya know?
Is this a one off show on Halloween or do you have more things planned? 
Glen Hamzinger: You cannot fathom the plans we have for your puny, skinny world!!! 
Noland Bell: I'll translate this time for him, "yes, this is just a one-off, unless we get a call from Colbert or Kimmel."
Has Glenn Danzig or Jerry Only ever heard or seen the Misfats? And have you ever communicated with them? If so, what was their response? 
Glen Hamzinger: Who are these pretenders of which you mention?!? Bah! Banish them from your mouth forever! 
Noland Bell: Wow, someone's got attention issues. In any event, we've heard tales from other bands mentioning us to former Misfits, with the range of responses being suspicious disdain to full-bellied laughter.
What's your favorite buffet to eat at? 
Glen Hamzinger: Gorgon's meat-and-flesh palace on kulutia prime! 
Noland Bell: Seriously, it's just the best - if you're ever in the area...
What was the best and worst gig you have played? Did you ever get a negative response? Hate mail? 
Glen Hamzinger: Every gig is our best and our worst - Have you not borne witness to our glory?!?  
Noland Bell: Umm, again, gotta agree with the loud guy. And the only groups that don't seem to like us are crusties (take this stuff far too seriously) and kids (not secure enough yet in their punk rock to mock it).
Is there a Misfits song in their catalog that you just couldn't turn into a song about food? 
Glen Hamzinger: Bah! Every song is fodder for the mighty Misfats conversion machine! 
Noland Bell: True, but some just don't work well at all so we've left pretty much alone (i'm looking your way, "skulls").
Shamelessly promote whatever you want here (websites, youtubes, myspaces etc.)
Glen Hamzinger: “”””fix this one”””””
Noland Bell: yeah, what he said!



In order to survive, in these troubled times of no royalties and free sharing music, bands have to play live as much as possible. Sometimes they have good nights, Sometimes they don’t. Here are some tails, shared by touring bands and their fans.


by Melchior Quitt

We've already been touring a lot with the Bitch Queens. Every year we play up to 60 concerts across Europe but this trip to Japan was different. This was a next level thing for us and we couldn't wait to get on the plane. Organizing the tour took us almost a year. We worked hours and hours on the computer and had several meetings. Some befriended bands and the independent label AMRecords did some promotion for us, but social networks like Facebook are in Japan pretty much useless for musicians. At least there is something you don't have to care about in Japan: Equipment. Every venue is equipped with an amazing backline. In addition to the tour, we planned on shooting a music video in the streets of Osaka and later Tokyo, as Japanese cities offer an incredible number of unique sceneries. Equipped with guitars and some clothes we started our almost 24 hour trip to Japan. All worked out pretty well…too well probably. We went directly from the airport to the venue and, right before sound check, Danny realized that the tuners on his guitar got damaged during the fight. 
But Japan is quite different from what we are used to in Europe. During our sound check the bass player of the opening band "The Dead Vikings" ran to the nearest guitar store and repaired the guitar within half an hour. That's how it fucking goes! The show was great, the crazy Japanese audience sang (despite massive language barrier) along our songs and our T-shirts were almost sold out on the first evening. We don't really remember our entire performance because at that point we have been up for something like 40 hours staright ... After the show we were invited by the "Dead Vikings" to an excellent Japanese restaurant. Hospitality is very important in Japan. I don't know how, but four hours later we were still able to walk straight to the hotel ...oh the hotel ... by mistake our bass player Marcel had booked some kind of weird sex hotel for Japanese couples. From a Kleenex box at the end of the bed, to the oversized mirror in the bathroom, to the non-stop porn channel on TV (there was only one channel), the room was probably the weirdest place we've ever stayed on the road.
 The next morning we woke up with some nice moaning from the room next door. There are worse wake-up calls…Ken, the singer of “Dead Vikings“ picked us up and opened his new burger joint "Louie Louie" just for us. The small restaurant was in a gallery full of vintage shops, bookstores and a pet shop that wouldn't have been admissible in any way in Switzerland. After our very first Japanese burger feast we took the subway to Osaka. Once we arrived at the correct station, which would have been impossible without the help of our friend Ken, we realized that we had booked our hotel in the "ghetto" of Osaka – well done again! This noble accommodation was for day laborers and homeless people in the neighborhood. We definitely had better places to stay on the road…The day started much better than how it ended. The show has been poorly promoted and the two Japanese local support bands seemed to have no friends or fans. This fact makes things rather difficult for a band from abroad. Highlight of the night; our bass player kissed one of the few girls in the audience right from the stage and after the show we went to eat some damn good Sushi with the Dead Vikings and their friends. At the same time we got wasted as fuck just to forget about our super nice hotel. The third show was the complete opposite then the previous one. Although the Para-dice is a really small club, it has total punk rock attitude. The venue was packed and we played one of the best concerts of the tour. We could hardly save ourselves from taking pictures with fans, signing merchandise and a few girls began to scream when we gave them some stickers (regular stickers…) for free. After another night in our cozy hotel, we went took the Shinkansen (the famous bullet train) to Tokyo where The Neurotic Spiders, a really cool speerdock band, picked us up. On the way to the club we saw around 50 kids performing martial arts exercises in middle of the street in front of hundreds of spectators. That's some crazy shit!

The club is called Earthdom and we were told that it is one of the best in Tokyo for underground punk rock shows and they were right because the evening was absolutely perfect. The audience and the other bands were great and also the Turbojugend Tokyo showed up. We had one hell of a party!
The next day started too much early and we all woke up with a killer hangover from the night before. Unfortunately, the coffee is pretty bad and quite expensive in Japan, which didn't make it easier to start the day. We had sound check at 1.30pm. In Japan all shows start around 7pm and all the bands (yes…every single one) do sound check. So we went more or less directly from bed to the concert venue. In the free time before the show (like every day) we were busy with our video shoot but we realized soon that this time we picked the wrong neighboorhood. There were signs everywhere saying that it was prohibited to film. No risk, no fun ... we did it anyway and ended up being expelled after a short time by an older and quite strong looking Japanese. He shouted something in Japanese, but it was so clear that we left the place right never know…
The show itself was ok for a Tuesday night. Something we noticed particularly on this evening was that most of the bands in Tokyo have way better skills on their instruments than bands in Switzerland but when it comes to songwriting and singing the situation is quite different. After a few days on the road you feel some kind of weird tiredness you can't get rid of. You can sleep as much as you want, you can try to keep the alcohol level as low as possible or minimize the party factor but it doesn't get any better. But there is one thing you can do: Visit a Cat Café, yes sir, you read that right…So we lied down comfortably for an hour or two among 20 cats and relaxed. That evening we played the ADM and everything from start to finish was fucking amazing. The bands were great that night and a speech was held on stage especially for us. Although we did not understand a word it sounded positive, at least that's what we told us. After the show we went to eat some noodle soup, sang some tunes at a karaoke place and played baseball in the middle of Tokyo sometime after midnight. Sleep is for losers!
Yokosuka, the next town on our tour, is close to a US Navy base. The audience was full of Americans and they went bat shit crazy right from the start. “Punik" the loudest band of entire Japan opened the evening and these four gentlemen play punk as punk should sound like. Everything in Europe sounds like a Christmas carol compared to this. We fucking loved it!
After the show we went together with Dave Blakey from AMRecords and Punik to a bar right next to the venue. The owner has been a fan of the Bitch Queens for many years and that's why we could order whatever we liked in unlimited quantities. Unfortunately we had to catch the train back to Tokyo. 
But a day in the Bitch Queens universe does not end before everyone is asleep…so we took the opportunity for some good shots in the subway for our video clip. Our time in Japan flew by and that was already the second to last show of our tour. Our stage outfits stank like a dead rat and our physical condition only allowed us to care about two things: food and punk rock. Even better if you can play in a great venue like 20,000 Volts and the crowd is celebrating your show. And do you wanna know what's the best thing about Japanese shows? 30 minutes sets. Well, six bands each night are a bit too much, but in Europe most bands play way too long sets and it gets boring really fast. The last day we took the opportunity to go shopping and to finally check out the city of Tokyo. At that point we could give a shit about the video shoot and bought some crazy Japanese stuff. The day itself was super stressful. We had to pack our luggage, afterwards we went directly to the show, then back to the hotel for two hours of sleep and we finally left Tokyo at 5 am to catch our flight back home. But who fucking cares in the end, there's no rest for the wicked, right? The trip to Japan was the fucking shit!



By Mike Mindless / Photos Dorothy Lee

Chikara returned to Easton in September for a great night of wrestling, with the best of the world coming to PA to fight for the title of “King Of Trios”. Due to the unique position Chikara enjoys in the wrestling business, Mike Quackenbush was able to bring in teams from the UK, Mexico, and some of America's finest to clash in matches unable to be booked in their home promotions due to contract obligations. The King Of Trios is one of Chikara's spotlight annual events, and this year did not disappoint, with 3 days of hot action capped by a fast paced battle with Mexico's Team AAA coming out on top of ROH's Bullet Club to win the tournament over 15 other teams. Emotions ran strong as they dedicated the match to recently deceased star Perro Aguayo Jr, who had passed away during a match in Mexico, and Aerostar started doing a strip tease for the crowd, throwing his belt, arm & shinguards into the audience as they celebrated with the chanting crowd. Chikara's English tour paid high dividends as Mike scouted their teams & picked the best to compete over the 3 days, which also features the eliminated wrestlers competing in a cruiserweight mini torneo the second day, and numerous other dream matches built out of teams & wrestlers that lost their Trios matches. Former WWF stars also turned up, with Xpac Sean Waltman doing color commentary, The BWO reuniting to fight in the trios, and Too Cold Scorpio in a great match. By the third day, some of the wrestlers are always walking a bit funny, after several hard matches. 
Of course, Chikara's own homegrown talent had many chances to shine over the weekend as well, with the Osirian Portal reteaming. An amusing moment when the ring was showered with rats for Devastation Corporation, who had cheated their way thru both rounds. They were handily disposed of by the AAA team however. Team AAA were on fire all 3 nights & thru 4 matches kept coming up with new moves & flying over the ropes. Lucha libre is expanding all over the USA, and with explosive performers like Aerostar, Fenix & Drago it's easy to see why fans love the style. You can see the entire show at Chikara

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