Archive for the Misc Category

2011 in Review: Pearse is #1!

Posted in Misc on December 31, 2011 by Billy Shears

As we near the very last hours of 2011, it is with great pride I make the following announcement:

To no one’s surprise, the year’s top story on this blog was the PEARSE MCGRATH interview. Congrats, old sport!

If you click the link below, you can see some additional dullard stats about the blog provided by WordPress. Very uninteresting reading.

If you DO click the link, you can see some cheesy looking fireworks graphics and a picture of Pearse, seemingly celebrating his victory as the number one story of 2011.

So please, if you see Pearse ‘aving a ruck at the ATM with Rival Mob, or out on the piss on the backstreets of Boston in 2012, please pass along your personal well wishes as well as a hearty congratulations for the top spot on Saturday Night Beneath the Plastic Palms Trees.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,600 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Bloomington-Normal Hardcore: Semicids, Naked Hippy and beyond….

Posted in Misc, Opinions on June 29, 2011 by Billy Shears

When I was first getting into punk rock & hardcore in the late 80s, there couldn’t have been a bigger influence on me, nor would there ever be, then the folks and bands in the Bloomington-Normal scene. From catching Naked Hippy and drinking at The Gallery, to buying records at Appletree and Mother Murphy’s or any of the other shops that flourished back then, it was what people would refer to as their “salad days,” where every week I was hearing something new and amazing, and was grabbing up classic albums left and right.

One of the bands from that scene (and one that I saw more than a handful of times) was Semicids – an undisputed top band in the area. Always a great show, and always seemingly paired with my personal favorite BNHC band,  Naked Hippy, I often wondered what became of these dudes.

By chance (while looking for a Mediafire of the Naked Hippy LP that I still own but wanted a rip of) I came across this blog entry at Pig State Recon.

Son of a bitch. Not only does he remember fondly Semicids, but he actually interviewed them. “Nostalgia to the point of stomach pangs” is pretty much what transpired when reading the write-up and the interview: mentions of Electric Coffee, The Gallery, and numerous local bands kind of brought everything back in a flood.

Anyone who was remotely interested in Bloomington-Normal punk rock should check out the article, and for those of you that saw some of these bands or shows, it will be a tiny retrospective of the coolest kind.

I still have the demo tape tucked safely away at my house, and still remember those days fondly. Take a look at the interview and check out the MP3s posted for  a little glipmse into one of the bands that made the BNHC what it was.

Thanks for the write up, Pig State Recon. (P.S: if I ever start a band, we’re covering Naked Hippy.)

Fleeced: Meggy & Goldblum “Do Work”

Posted in Misc on April 6, 2011 by Billy Shears

So I’ve been in a rather lousy mood for a few weeks; on top of things being a general pain in the ass as of late, my Rega turntable seemingly shot craps, so I took it into an unnamed hi fi den in Chicago to get a diagnosis.

This shop sits in a rather lucrative spot; they are one of the only places in the city that sells hi-fi such as Rega, let alone repairs it, and it was where I’d bought mine, etc, so I had few other options. The only thing I could think of when I realized my turntable needed repair was when my Dad used to advise me against buying a VW because of the need for repairs, and how (back in the 80s) alot of mechanics around central Illinois didn’t service them. Which is the problem when buying something like a Rega turntable. I should listen to my Dad more.

To be fair, as a precursor, I’ll say that I’ve generally had good experiences in there before, but at times, the Deepak Chopra-like turntable gurus are a bit hard to handle.

TRIP ONE: From the outset, not only was a diagnosis not forthcoming, but the general maliase with which I was told I’d need to leave the player there in order for the “part” to come in (after I was told two days prior over the phone that they had it) was rather unnerving. But I had little to no choice. Leave it there I did.

TRIP TWO: So I return one week later (queue up last Saturday) and go in, only to be fleeced by what I can safely say is the most non-threatening duo since Ace & Gary. Allow me to elaborate.

The first half of the duo calmy explained to me in the hushed whispers that only the trained hi fi salesman and his cronies can actually hear, how the new cartridge they installed, along with new belt, made the player sound “brand new.”

Hmmm. To me, never a good sign. Telling the customer how good it sounds, is a classic Jedi mind trick lead in. It seems to chide: “what you hear will be NO different than before, but trust us, it SOUNDS better.”

"Sell You a Rega?"

Imagine, if you will, a more out of shape and worse complexed Meggy from This is England ’86, and this was who I was dealing with. His partner in crime looked like Jeff Goldblum, with Morrissey’s haircut, except totally silver.

The pair both communicated in mumurs (complete with Cheshire cat fixed grins) that amounted to a more aloof and less aggressive (if can be imagined) Kip from Napoleon Dynamite.

"Upgrade that cable?"

Meggy raved about this and that, Goldblum agreed. I think I may have been having an asthma attack. But undaunted, they plodded ahead with their pitch.

Before I knew it, not only was I down for a new cartridge (I had this in the budget) but also a new belt (not in budget, but not a big deal) and here’s the kicker – new speaker/amp wire. Which is expensive. Even more expensive when Meggy does not tell you it costs an additional $50 to put banana ends on said wire.

When I left, I had to take a second to gather my thoughts and process what had just happened: The complete and total opposite of savvy salesmen had just talked me into spending nearly double what I had planned on spending.

In a way, the only thought going through my mind should be, to quote Irwin Fletcher ,”God I admire you.”

That is, truly, “how it’s done.”

Hat tip, Meggy and Goldblum. Round One & Two go to you. There will be no Round Three. I am outgunned.

Trial By Fire

Posted in Misc, Opinions on March 13, 2011 by Billy Shears

Chris Bjorkland. Trial By Fire. From MRR #3. Taken by Jeff Pezzati.

“Just about anyone who saw Trial By Fire live or heard their ultra rare recordings said that they were a special band. Even today people who were part of the scene in 1982/1983 say that Trial By Fire was one of the best bands of the Chicago Punk era.”

I always wondered about this one – with all the re-releases, compilations, shitty demo quality cash-ins being released out there – why hasn’t anyone ever done anything with TRIAL BY FIRE?

TBF was a group active in early 80s Chicago, made up of former STRIKE UNDER members: Chris Bjorkland (who also went on to BLOODSPORT & THE EFFIGIES) Bob Furem & most importanly (in my eyes) Pierre Kezdy (John Effigies brother, and big time NAKED RAYGUN/PEGBOY component.)

From all accounts, and from what I’ve been told by people who WERE there, Trial by Fire were the best band in the city for a time. But what do we have do judge them on? Well, if you’re me, next to nothing.

The You Weren’t There soundtrack includes the seminal “Rocks of Sweden” later covered by Naked Raygun  (available on the All Rise rerelease LP/CD) and one other Raygun cover (from The Last of the Demohicans collection) that cements TBF’s existence, “Giveaway.” This track is as interesting as anything I’ve heard out of Chicago.

Additionally, Arsenal (Santiago Durango of the original Raygun line-up & Pierre Kedzy’s band) covered TBF song(s) on their  Factory Smog is a Sign of Progress ep.

So, for me, TBF exist as NR/Arsenal covers and one singular tune of their own. Why?

One may cite the opinion that tracks have been lost; no one has anything readily available, except for the fact that I have heard there exists a full album that had been recorded but never released from Ruthless Records, as TBF had broken up before its scheduled release date. Also told that a three song demo, as well as live material, is floating around as well.

Whether any of this is true or not, I’m not 100% positive, but I know I’d love to hear these recordings. C’mon. An entire album out there, and SOMEONE can’t release it? I shake my head.

If anyone has any info or any access to any of TBF’s recordings, needless to say, I’d love to hear any of it.


Posted in Misc on August 24, 2010 by Billy Shears

Our friends from across the pond – and this year’s receipient of “Best Thing We Heard All Year” award, THE CONCRETE GODS have just released an online single for the HELP FOR HEROES charity for soldiers that have served their country and are suffering the after effects.

Please see the details below on how you can do your part to help out, and get a slice of crackling power-pop, served up in that classic GODS way at the same time. I’ve had it for a few days, and trust me, if you dig the CGs, you’ll want this release.

We have recorded TOMMY’S SONG to raise money for the HELP FOR HEROES charity.

Hear it on our MySpace site –

Those of you that know us personally will know that we are 100% sincere in wanting to collect for our brave lads and lasses who’ve done their bit and are left with the scars of war. We aren’t famous like Bob Geldof and Simon Cowell. All the money that you donate by buying TOMMY’S SONG will be given to HELP FOR HEROES. We don’t agree with the politicians or their reasons but then again that’s another story. If you’re a DJ or someone that can help push this song then please do contact us.

The lyrics to TOMMY were written by the immortal Rudyard Kipling, a man who respected and understood the lot of the British soldier.

You can get it from……. iTunes………..Amazon………..eMusic and others for around 70 to 80p. (.99 CENTS or so)

The EMPIRE (CLUB) Strikes Back!

Posted in Misc on October 13, 2009 by Billy Shears


Though the London of Davies and Weller is  disappearing or has already gone; though proper British pubs may be closing up at an alarming rate, council estates are being abandoned by the working class and the smell of a good pie ‘n’ mash is but a wispy memory in the air; though Del Boy’s scheming is long quiet, the Eastenders have moved south, and what became of the likely lads is a mystery, fear not.

For though Jack Carter is still dead, and The Sweeny retired, another defender of the faith has arisen!

Welcome to The Empire Club.


THE CONCRETE GODS pine for the days gone by days with gallons of tea, hoisting real pints of ale and washing it down with four alarm curry and brown sauce; days past of scooter exhaust and Brighton Beaches,and the real British rocknroll tradition. From The Who to Slade to The Pistols to The Jam and back, The Gods took em on and done em all. And the days, the days, the beautiful days, they’re gone, they’re gone, but not for long.

The purveyors of a disappearing way of life, The CONCRETE GODS, offer their newest release, WELCOME TO THE EMPIRE CLUB. This album puts into words and music, what its like to watch a way of life disappear,yet resist until the very end.

From tradition comes resurgence, and perhaps all is not lost after all..

RocknRoll Disgrace Records is proud to help promote the sale of the latest release from Britains finest THE CONCRETE GODS. Welcome to the Empire Club.

Buy it before it too disappears.

Please see here old boy for details on the band – CONCRETE GODS

Check Rock’n’Roll Disgrace’s MySpace for upcoming details, or comment here and I will get you info on how to obtain this slice of Cool Britannia!

L.A. Retrospective: LION’S PRIDE Pictorial

Posted in Misc on July 1, 2009 by Billy Shears

Many thanks to Ronnie The Mad Mongol for hooking Saturday Night up with these photos from the era discussed at length in Saturday Night’s L.A. RETROSPECTIVE: A HISTORY OF L.A. MOD/SKINHEAD SCENES feature from a few months back.

These pictures are early L.A. oi! band LION’S PRIDE, who were reminisced upon within that interview by former members GREG NARVAS (drums) and MARTIN RUANE (guitar), including discussions on former band-mate ERIC OWENS (bass.) SEAN was the vocalist. All four are featured below.

Documenting an era, behold LION’S PRIDE!