Ah, the ebb and flow that is the life of a publisher. Not only do you learn to live without a steady paycheck, but the workload comes in waves as well, and when a new issue of the magazine comes out, it’s like getting hit by a tsunami. There are subscriber and advertiser issues to mail out, there are store and distributor orders to pack up and ship, of course the mail order picks up too, and when you’re a one-man operation… well, you can see why I haven’t been blogging as much.
The other thing is that I always strive to have a new issue out for the biggest car shows of the year, and there are none bigger than the West Coast Kustoms Crusin’ Nationals (a.k.a. “Paso”) held annually over Memorial Day weekend. This year marked an entirely new beginning for the show, as it was moved after several decades from the streets of downtown Paso Robles to the fairgrounds in Santa Maria, about 50 miles south. I was so busy trying to get the magazine wrapped up that I barely got my vendor application sent in on time, but Penny who runs the show, lil’ sweetheart that she is, made sure I had a spot. Lots of people were apprehensive about the change of venue, and even the weather (it hadn’t rained over this weekend since 1992) seemed confused at times, but I had a great time and will definitely continue to support the show. Not only is it about the only time I get to see friends like The Burbank Choppers and Dan Collins, I got to meet some real legendary characters like Mercury Charlie and Bill Hines. The highlight though had to be the “private tour” of James Hetfield’s insane new fully-custom pick-up that my boy Scott Mugford of Blue Collar Customs got together literally just in time for the show. Of course it won the “Greatest Thing That Ever Happened” or some such award, and here is a pic of Mr. Mugford going up to claim it. Good times, good show, California still a go.
I’ll be the first to admit that, when it comes to The Replacements, I was late to the party. We’re talkin’ like really late, in fact it wasn’t until about three years ago when my friend Aziz, who couldn’t believe that I didn’t own a copy of Sorry Ma, Forgot To That Out The Trash, went out and bought one for me. It’s funny how hard I missed out, especially considering how close I was in the early 80’s to their Minneapolis counterparts Hüsker Dü. In fact, sometimes they got too close, but that’s another story all together. Back then, me and my hardcore pals always thought there was something “faggy” about the ‘Mats, I remember lumping them in with bands like The Violent Femmes, but in hindsight, I have no idea why. Well, luckily for all of us, you’re never to old to pull your own head out of your ass, and after finally hearing that first LP, I went out and got the next four in rapid succession, and I couldn’t believe what I had been missing all of these years.
So along comes The Replacements: All Over But The Shouting: An Oral History by Twin Cities scenester Jim Walsh, published by Voyageur Press. This book is presented in the popular Please Kill Me style, so all the many folks that were interviewed for this project get to tell it in their own words, putting you right in the middle of the action. Well, that is as well as they can remember it anyway, and I say that because if there was ever a more booze-soaked “bar band” in the truest sense of the word, I’ve yet to read about them. Front man Paul Westerberg refused to take part, but is quoted constantly from fanzine interviews and whatnot from the era, so his opinions (on practically everything) are definitely heard loud and clear. For my part, this book arrived exactly at the right moment for me to learn everything I ever wanted to know (and much more) about this legendary band that I’ve only recently become fond of, and I suspect that for long time ‘Mats fans it would be even more of a treasure. Within these pages you’ll find Peter Jesperson heroic, Bob Mould competitive, Lori Barbero charming, Dennis Pernu funny, and Bob Stinson tragic, but mostly it’s just a great story about an American rock 'n' roll band in the 1980’s. Available for less than 15 bucks on Amazon, and for a 300-page hardcover, that ain’t bad. (MLV)
* Out now at www.gearheadmagazine.com
Labels: Top 5
OK, seems that people are really digging the vintage pics of me with the icons of punk from back in the day, so here’s this weeks photo: Joey Shithead. D.O.A. are, of course, beyond legendary in hardcore circles, so in 1987 when I was driver/roadie for Government Issue and they played with them at City Gardens in Trenton, I couldn’t resist having Jay Robbins snap this pic. I like it because I’m stoked and doing the “fist pumpin’ punk thing” while Joey, God bless ‘em, is clearly in the middle of dealing with the mountain of pre-laptop, pre-cell phone paperwork that was a part of touring back then. A whole different era, indeed.