Friday, August 30, 2013

Rebelling Teenagers or just Ahead of the Curve?

As I previously stated in this blog, I have had many groups of friends in my days. It just seems that as life progresses, I gain and eventually leave groups of friends to go on and do my own thing somewhere else. That is not to say I am still not completely and totally loyal to my friends, I still hang out with people from nearly every group that I have ever been a part of. Some groups form from necessity, some I've joined and they have become closer than my family, and some I will probably never encounter again in my life. For whatever reason, this just seems to be part of my natural ebb and flow of my life. This entry is another attempt at explaining THIS group so that readers can have some insight into my bigger, more ridiculous stories down the road without having to explain a ton of backstory.

At age 13 my friends mainly consisted of Nash, Fred, and James (names changed to protect the guilty). These guys were just as ahead of the curve as I was and were already smoking pot and drinking in abundance when I began to hang out with them that year. Fred was the brains of the group and I had known him since we were both in diapers as our mothers were friends in high school. Nash was a huge source of inspiration to me as he got me into Nirvana during this time and we both got into guitars and making music at the same time. James was good people but came from a shit family, he was rough and tumbly, but as long as you were on his side, you eternally had a good friend in your corner.

At this time I was little more than someone who was wrongly looking at his father as a rolemodel. Up until this point I had modeled myself directly off of my father (for lack of any other male influence). A few years prior to this I wore cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, thick rimmed aviator 80's style eyeglasses and blue jeans. I wanted to be just like him in a big and bad way in these formitive years.... at least until I realized what a miserably repressed piece of shit he genuinely was....

The Alcohol Incident:
We four would crash at one anothers house and drink each others parents booze and just generally raise hell with one another all in the name of good, clean anti-establishment fun. The biggest of these nights began and ended at my mothers house. She worked at Miller and 3 weeks before the party I stole a 12 pack of Miller Genuine Draft and hid it for the get together. Now... by hid it, I mean I hid it from humans. I didn't hide it from just her, I hid it from the world. I thought it best to make it disapear from public eyes by taking it deep into my woods, and burying it 3 feet into the earth. Overkill? Yes. But my Mom was crazy overbearing... so, better than being busted.

There we were, fireside and drunk. Completely annihilated on three beers a piece. At least we thought we were annihilated, as far as we were concerned this is what drunk was, this was the beginning, middle and end of drunk. After a while we noticed by the lights in her room that my mother went to bed and Nash and James snuck in and amongst at least 10 bottles of alcohol... they stole the bottle of lime gin. We then proceeded to my room, where they drunkenly spilled 2/3rds of the bottle all over my bedroom, making my room stick like potent 7-Up. In a panic, I deluded some food coloring and Sprite in water, added some lime juice and stuck it back in the cabinet where it sat until the day she moved, unused and un-drank.

The First Pot Incident:
Our first group attempt at smoking weed was less than fruitful. We had a solid lead in Jake (of whom will HEAVILY be involved in one of the next stories). Of all of the shady people I knew, Jake was the only one of them seemed as if he wasn't a total piece of shit. He lived near Jason's house, on the "wrong side of the tracks". Jake had an older brother and we all knew that they smoked pot together, so we decided to pursue him to acquire some. Upon calling. Jake instructed us to wait quietly down the street until he gave us a signal to come and pick it up so as to not arouse his Fathers suspicions. So, not fully trusting the situation, we each grabbed a weapon, mine being nun-chucks, and headed down the street.

We sat there for the better part of a half hour, lurking in the shadows before we suspected somthing wrong. Not wanting to split up for fear of missing Jake, Nash and Jason went back to the house to recall Jake. Jake instructed that he had hid the stuff in the car and to come and collect it, which upon their return, they immediately got to. They were gone an entire 2 minutes when we saw a shadowy figure approach us. We assumed this to be Jake until we saw that the person was holding a baseball bat tightly gripped in his hands.
Fred and I both readied to pull out our weapons when we discovered it was Jake's father.

"What the fuck are you boys doing here?" he asked, bat pulled back as if he were readied to strike us. We concealingly held our weapons, me with my nunchucks and Fred with his knife as I answered "We were waiting on Jake, he said he wanted to come and hang out." His crazy, drunken eyes darted back and forth at us with his bat at the ready as he began screaming about how much trouble Jake was in and how we were the cause of it. Fred and I just sat back under the dim light of the one streetlamp in the neighborhood while Jake's fucked up dad went on about our being terrible human beings.

Eventually he walked off muttering to himself, leaving Fred and I to just sit in bewilderment. We discussed our options about whether to stay on the street, awaiting the other two of our crew, or to return home when Jason and Nash returned. We then all darted off back to Jason's house at top speed. When we got there, we sat and discussed the hilarity of the event over Coca-Cola and popcorn.... because there was no booze, weed, or alcohol to be had.

Friday, August 16, 2013

AntiCurrent Booze & Grub Review #1: The Record Crate Bar & Grill - Sydney

In an effort to diversify this blog beyond the occasional insane story about my life, how-to's, bootleg releases, and general absurdity, I am going to branch out and blog about my drinking/dining experiences as well. Now, for those of you that don't know me personally, I have quite diverse taste. For instance, last night I was at a hole in the wall pub with graffiti on the walls where the overwhelming stench of of feces was permeating the room, and tomorrow I am taking the love of my life for a 10 course meal with matching wines at an upscale French restaurant. So these posts will range from everything between gutter-punk places that may be completely and totally unsafe to visit, to upscale eateries I shouldn't be able to afford and everything in between.

The Record Crate Bar and Grill Sydney GlebeWith that said, The Record Crate, located in beautiful Sydney, Australia (specifically Glebe) is basically Disneyland for seasoned music affectionados such as myself. Under one roof you can watch amazing live music, stand up comedy, view experimental live art performances, browse amazing quality hard to find records, eat great food and drink amazing beer. I've visited there only a handful of times and have already added amazing condition, original pressings of Tom Waits, The Pogues, The Clash, and Nick Cave, just to name a few. Basically this is my favorite place in the world.
Neville & I

Now, every record store worth its salt usually has one amazingly well-rounded owner/operator in charge of the ship and this place is no different. His name is Neville, and like all record store owners, he is a wealth of knowledge. This dude can school even the best informed record collector and teach him a thing or two about what pressing was made where and how it differs to other pressings at the time.

First two Clash Albums in One Set
For instance, I recently was in the market to purchase an original pressing of The Clash's self-titled record. He asked me whether I was purchasing it to collect, or if i was just wanting to spin some amazing sounding vinyl. I answered that I wasn't overly in need of collectability, and he pulled out a gatefold  2-for-1 pressing released by CBS records in the mid 1980's that contained their first two records. The cover was beat, but the discs were in fine condition. He informed me that these were not very collectible but for the price, you couldn't beat the value as both records were struck from the same source as the original pressings. So instead of purchasing an OG copy of the first album that I was just going to spin and ruin for $100 or more dollars, I got the same quality recording, plus their second album "Give Em' Enough Rope" for $15. These are the kind of deals/experience that only a few people have access to.

Brekky Sandwich
Not only is this an amazing wealth of knowledge and records, the food too is quite spectacular, in particular the breakfast. I've had a nasty habit as of late of closing down the bar and upon waking up, stumbling back down the road to have The Record Crate's amazing Eggs Benedict (although this particular morning I had the breakfast sandwich). For under $20 you get a full two eggs poached, toast, and bacon (which is actually known as Canadian Bacon to this State-side guy). This and a little hair of the dog is my usual order and I can not overstate it's ability to battle even the worst hangovers you've encountered.

Speaking of hair of the dog, the booze here is great. They have liquor available to make any cocktail you desire, but what's even better than that is that they have Kingpin on tap for a reasonable price. Matter of fact, Kingpin is so popular here that they named their houseband The Kingpins after it (more on them later). There are also a selection of other taps and bottled beverages as well, but in my typical fashion, I found the one I like and refuse to touch anything else.... unless it's a extra-dry, dirty, uncouth, martini.;-)

As for the entertainment, it is quite diverse. They recently removed the majority of the CD's (which is sort of a shame as I hate to see CDs fall out of fashion) and put them behind the main counter. This opened up an area to have small bands play and every Thursday night they utilize this space to let their personal houseband The Kingpins play. The band is quite good, verging on a funk almost reggae beat with a wide assortment of sounds. If you're in Glebe on a Thursday night, they are not to be missed for at least a half hour of performing. Past this, Neville has recently began utilizing his top floor to all kinds of different acts. Some of these are comedians, but many of these are avant-garde live performances bordering on the insane. It's well worth looking into anyone he would book, but even if they are not your cup of tea, there is still the downstairs main are and the outdoor courtyard where you don't have to partake in the experience.

All in all I cannot say more positive things about The Record Crate. Everything from the building, to the staff, to the food, to the drink, and most importantly, the records, are of the highest caliber. When visiting Sydney, Glebe is a must-visit area. It is very art-centric, containing indie bookstores, art galleries, eateries, and most importantly, The Record Crate which is a must-visit when anywhere near the area. A+++

The Record Crate on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

AntiCurrent Archive Vol 5: Rancid- Life Won't Wait Demos

For the fifth edition of the " Archives", a collection of rare albums I'm releasing through this blog, I'm releasing the demos for my FAVORITE album of all time.  Click here to view all past Archive Albums.

This is an exciting post for me as Rancid is one of my all time favorite bands and LWW is hands down my favorite album of all time. In 1997, I was 13 years old and living in my hometown of Middletown, Ohio where there was fuck all going on. I was still figuring out exactly who I was as a person and looking for some kind of direction to take my life. It was that January that the movie "Beavis and Butt-Head: Do America" was released, and forever altered the course of my life. In it was a sequence where they used the song "I Wanna Riot" by Rancid W/The Stubborn All-Stars and I was immediately breath-taken. "What the fuck is this music" I wondered. It was loud, angry, talked about rioting.... but it was fast paced and had horns.... it was like nothing I'd ever heard and it was just what a pissed-off little 13 year old me needed.

Life Wont Wait Front Cover Demo Bootleg
This being the days before the internet, I immediately went out to CD Connection at the mall and guilt-tripped my father (with what a shit parent he was) into buying it for me. The soundtrack was mostly amazing, but I really just kept "I Wanna Riot" on a constant loop. It wasn't long before I went off in search of more material by this band, Rancid.... Unfortunately, living in a one horse town didn't lend to there being any sort of diverse taste available at your local store and I couldn't get my hands on ANY of their material without special ordering it for a 15% up charge on the product, and being 13, I had zero money.

I kept on a steady diet of readily available music at the time, got huge into Nirvana, huge into the Seattle scene, but was always alluded by the inability to track down any Californian based punk rock... at least that was until Rancid dropped a little album titled "Life Won't Wait" in 1998. I walked by the FYE in our mall and spotted the LWW album, not only in stock, but on the "listening machine" where you could demo the album. I was broke, but I stood in front of the machine for a solid hour and a half listening to every track of this genius piece of music. I returned a few days later with money I had either begged for or stole, purchased the album, declared my self a punk-rocker, and have yet to look back.

Fast forward to years later, I started to get heavily into the bootleg scene. Not bootlegged, readily available albums, that is just fucked up, but I became a huge collector of B-Sides, rarities, and demos. I read on some forum that a guy who's username I will not publish had not only the demos for the album that got me into punkrock, but also an exclusive acoustic show by Rancid that I was able to lie my ass off and attend. At this time, the Life Won't Wait Demos were not readily available and only 3 people claimed to have access to them. Of those 3, two were full of shit. I got the rip of this from the man who himself got it directly from Matt Freeman via a cassette tape in the early 2000's. For this, I traded him 2 bootleg Rancid vinyls, and an original pressing of their debut album.

Life Wont Wait back Cover Demo BootlegThe demos have since leaked much more aggressively and aren't quite as hard to get ahold of anymore (I may have purposefully played a role in this as I think that everyone should have access to them, not just a select few). This demo was originally accompanied with an additional 6 tracks by the band The Silencers which was Rancid with Vic and Dave from The Slackers. I decided against publishing them with these as I believe the two are best listened to independently of one another.

These demos are great quality and are sure to be enjoyed by any fan of the album. As with any demo, this is a much more stripped down very raw version of these songs. In particular, the song "Brad Logan" that ended up on the South Park soundtrack I feel is a much stronger version of the song, and actually contains female backing vocals (of whom I am only assuming to be by Brody at the time).

If you enjoy LWW as much as I do, I suggest you check out the newly remastered 45 set that just came out. The records were completely remastered to utilize the 45 sound, and although I wouldn't say they sound superior to the original record by any means, I would say that it is an entirely new experience with an all time classic punkrock album. As a side note, i own every incarnation of this album from the CD I had Lars sign in 2002, to the vinyl, to the picture vinyl (which isn't suggested for anymore other than wall-artwork, which mine is, and is signed by the entire band). See folks, I don't just put out free bootlegs in place of buying their music, get out there and support your favorite independent musicians goddammit.

Download The Entire Album and Cover Art Here:
MP3 Zip Archive

The tracklist is:
1: Who Would've Thought
2: The Wolf
3: Backslide
4: Cash, Culture & Violence
5: Things To Come
6: Brad Logan
7: Hoover Street