Another curious cameo, this one in a speedy lockdown montage video collage by a punky reggae band from London called Smiley and the Underclass and their song “We All Get Like This” from their EP “The Way To The Bomb” (Bandcamp) released July 1st / + FB & YT
It all flashes by rapidly but if you look sharp, you might see your old pal in the grain barn studio lip-syncing along to the chorus.
Bad Wougar is/was a hard rocking band in Vancouver BC with four fine gentleman who practised diligently in a room called the “the Den” which I’ve visited several times – occasionally playing some drums, especially extended jams to “Cortez the killer”. The name “Bad Wougar” came from a campfire myth about a dangerous animal which was a mix of a wolf and a cougar.
On a trail walk one day, I recorded a myth about the creature for the bands use and amusement. They then invited me into the glorious brand-new Monarch Studio (which has an origin story to share another time) to record a few snippets from the riff for the songs. In all, my voice/words appear in two tracks on this final release which was distributed on CD with a paper gatefold cover (i have 2, Mac Kobayashi has 1).
For the record, released: February 28, 2014 (noting this was a high point in an otherwise tough tough year). As mentioned, the four members of the band (including a non-related Olson) were each fantastically kind, interesting fellas as well as quality musicians and it’s a privilege to know them.
So it goes, folks have other commitments and adventures in life so they don’t play anymore but I hope this CD/album is more widely distributed in future / Kind of band that would be big in Europe.
… every time I sling this album on the stereo I can’t but feel like I’ve been transported to a wood-panelled backwoods bar where the band are plying their gnarled rock ‘n’ roll trade in such a fashion that the venue’s customers are worried that the whole place will go up in flames, the sounds so incendiary….
There’s a grubby charm to this band and its self-described brand of hard charging rock ‘n’ roll. It’s garage rock by way of the forest and you can’t really ask for anything dirtier, earthier than that.
As the stoner-like riff of final track, ‘Spoke Too Soon’, rattles the fillings out of my teeth I’m left wondering if maybe what I just listened to was part of a crazed fever dream. Then I look up and see the album cover, the eyes of the Bad Wougar appearing to follow my every move…..
This spoken kick off made me realize I was in for a fun ride, just as if I was watching a movie–and I was not disappointed. …
The album itself has a delightfully punk element to it, often mixing with elements of classic and progressive rock. It could have been released in 1984, 1994, 2004, or 2014 and reflected the music of its time period.
Yeah i know the pics aren’t great but just to document my trip to Subpop HQ, Seattle (of course)… in March 2010 – I was in the city for a conference, gig, start-up internet-y meeting or some thing, I remember eating some Hawaiian/Japanese hybrid at an izakaya and a few other activities but importantly, visiting Subpop.
Note: This was the third company I had SubPop (OlyWa, Zhonka, Hootsuite) as a customer and received a warm familiar welcome and buncha questions about social marketing for bands/labels strategy. Felt useful.
Carrying on anyway,… i had visited the old HQ years ago (with Banghi and scored a Sebadoh “Zippo” and other treats) but this time got the full tour, especially loved the walls various photo strip booth and instant-photo collages – So many faces from bands I know and appreciate over decades, I’ll present it in a style that’s right out of my playbook.
Plus various walls of silk screen posters (silkscreening done on site), walls of stickers (yeah my style!), bunch of other neat stuff like original invoice for the Nirvana 7″, original loser ads, the framed “Wood Records” for bands it sold fewer than a gold record, some of the gold/platinum records are displayed in the toilet, and, at-the-time-just-recently framed and hung properly B&W Charles Peterson (who rocks the instagram like whoa) classic photos.
I left with a box of CDs, bunch of posters and other ephemera, most importantly it Mudhoney double signed by fcking legend Mark Arm of Mudhoney who works as a shipping warehouse wrangler (and to whom I asked a stupid question about his other band Monkeywrench) PS thanks Dean.
Digression: Remember back when Subpop was a column in the fine alt/news-weekly “The Rocket” (thanks Marty) and Olympia/ Evergreen was sort of where Poneman/Pavitt started it up, and most of the bands first came through, a lot more to say about this but you probably know already… (see also: Go With the Flow).
Summary: Woke up to the news, quit my job, went to a candlelight vigil, passed one around, talked to some geeks from Pacific Daily News newspaper, learned about the Internet, signed up for class the next day, started making websites about hemp in Japan, got a new job, quit, went to Palau and Yap, went to Olympia, met some Internet hippies… somehow its today.
My beloved 1974 Volkswagen van broke down in Moab on an ill-fated mission with friends – including a child – in tow. As such, I went in search of a replacement coil (a lil cylinder needed to fire the ignition) and after a few stops, ended up at Tom Tom’s “museum” which is really just a lot of great buses (with a great view) which he can’t decide if they’re for sale or for parting out.
The truth is, I was in a jam, no parts available anywhere, was push-starting the van, needed to get somewhere, was getting late on a Saturday (Sunday in Utah limits options) but he wouldn’t sell me sell me a coil despite having dozens and dozens.
Now in way of confession, after he left, I took one, stuck 10 bucks in the mail slot and left, found my friends (who were rather upset at that point) and drove back north. A miserable trip.
PS I shared the story in a rather pretentious Moab-area topical internet forum and was lambasted for being a thief, warned never to return to Moab (keep in mind this was 1990) and called a coward for waiting out “statute of limitation” / yup for a $10 at best par / all this despite the people in the group regularly discussing their *renegade anti-establishment* views and clandestine “night work” activities. Such hypocrisy, but hey, goes with the territory.
In 1989 (iirc), my beloved VW bus criss-crossed states at a frenetic pace with long drives to Kansas City for Drum Corps, California for punk concerts, over the Rockies to Denver for The Who, a Vancouver trip or two in there, couple of Moab and then was wrangled into the epic trip starting in Utah to the US Northeast and swinging back down through the Midsouth stopping by universities and colleges of all times so a fellow named Kaimi could pitch his idea of selling flag T-shirts to various bookstores.
The deal was: he would pay the bills, do much of the driving and other logistics and I was just along for the ride and providing the wheels.
Resulted in many harrowing nights in places like New Haven, Cambridge, New York City (where we weren’t allowed through Lincoln tunnel because of onboard propane and required a complicated turn around in the midst of traffic), a break down in Connecticut – replacing fuel pump with a random mechanic in his driveway. I remember driving on a graceful parkway then seeing a horrific accident unfold in the pouring rain storm. Sneaking into all sorts of university dorms for clandestine hi-jink, being mysterious “aliens” from the west marauding in this renegade van. Seeing a wonderful girl I knew from Utah working as a nanny in Connecticut (rip Janel H.), making friends with the father of the house (he let us sleep in the basement because I was reading Jack Kerouac), buying beer with fake IDs and never a second glance, (racks of it drinking back while crossing midwest and through Penn), stops at Wrigley Field in Chicago (no game :(!), Sun Studios in Memphis (met a fine lady there), watching Kaimi spin spin spin with endless energy. Oh, staying with his family around Washington DC and going like a “show and tell” item to his younger brother’s high school class (to much acclaim :)). The van getting broken into and ransacked while parked in Washington DC to see the Smithsonian. Must’ve been a couple of other significant roadside attractions along the way.
Pal Jerrod aka Spanky was also on board (as kinda Kaimi’s svengali) and brought his guitar so, along with my bongos, we did some busking here and there ++ saw Fugazi play at All Soul’s Church, DC and REM play at Merriweather Post, Maryland, just missed secret Rolling Stones at a frog-something-named-bar by Yale. Rambled campuses and saw how the system of private patronage in the East works – they ain’t no smarter, just better connected / mostly. Skullz and Bonez.
I had no schedule nor expectations except to just go go go and so we did. And, behold I have evidence.