10 Classic Punk Records That Actually Kind of Suck

Categories: Lists, Punk

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Courtesy of Dead Milkmen
The Dead Milkmen: Bad? No. But classic? Also no.

I put on The Ramones' classic 1977 record Rocket To Russia recently in an attempt to join all of my Facebook friends in their collective sadness at the recent death of Tommy (Erdyli) Ramone. I used to love this record, but now, even though I wanted to feel some sense of loss, it became more and more apparent that after their eponymous first record, the Ramones just kept trying to make the same record over and over again.

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Blag Dahlia of the Dwarves: I Really Only Care About What Women Think

Categories: Interview, Punk, Q&A

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The Dwarves

Blag Dahlia (birth name: Paul Cafaro) of the Dwarves is looking for women to come to the band's show tonight at Yucca Tap Room with the Queers, Masked Intruder, and the Atom Age buck-naked and ready for fun. He knows it gets hot in Phoenix, so "Why not be comfortable?" according to Blag. If the Dwarves singer has any hang-ups, nudity is definitely not one of them.

Talking to Blag Dahlia of the Dwarves is definitely enjoyable. The guy clearly knows how to have a good time, and what is even way more interesting is that he almost perfectly walks the fine line between brilliant and bullshit, evil genius and closet good guy. He seems to revel in any opportunity to playfully push buttons. In fact, he'll freely push his own buttons just to see (and enjoy) your reaction. That is, of course, if you don't react to his jabs at men, women, or....well, people, really. With the Dwarves, anyone and anything is fair game, especially if there is a way to work in quick hits of tits and ass on top of one f- bomb after another.

We sat down and had a nice, polite little chat on the phone with Blag a few nights ago. Here is how it played out.


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Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson Is Wrong About Punk

Categories: Punk

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Todd Owyoung
Bruce!
Bruce Dickinson rules. He's the greatest singer for one of the greatest bands of all time, Iron Maiden. But recently, he unleashed some pretty charged words in an interview with the Guardian. In addition to dropping one of the most incredible quotations ever, "fame is the excrement of creativity," he also said a few harsh words about punk rock, referring to it as rubbish and saying that the lack of talent in punk was an excuse to call it performance art. He goes on to state, "Half the kids that were in punk bands were laughing at the art establishment, going: 'What a fucking bunch of tosspots. Thanks very much, give us the money, and we'll fuck off and stick it up our nose and shag birds.'"

Not totally untrue. The problem, however, lies in his words that immediately follow that thought:

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Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves: "We're Probably Not Going to Do Another Record"

Categories: Punk

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Drew Reynolds
Perfect Pussy

Perfect Pussy has just left Boise, Idaho, and is a few hours into the seven-hour trek to its next show when New Times reaches the band's singer, Meredith Graves. She sounds tired. Not standard-issue, stayed-out-until-3 a.m. tired. You get the feeling that maybe the whole experience of being thrown into the meat-grinder hype machine machine of today's media landscape has created a deep-bone fatigue.

When asked if the band has been writing any new songs, she's blunt.

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Against Me!'s Atom Willard on Laura Jane Grace's Gender Transition: "It's My Journey as Well"

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Ryan Russell
Against Me!

In 2012, Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace took the world by storm when she publicly revealed herself to be transgender. Though had we been paying attention, we would have noticed the not-so-subtle cues in the band's lyrics, like these from "The Ocean": "If I could have chosen / I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura."

The past two years have been good for the band. Against Me! recently released its seventh studio album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which at times reads like Laura Jane Grace's diary. The songs are raw and have a strong sense of urgency, as the singer reveals her desires, fears, and secrets.

We recently caught up with Against Me!'s new drummer, Atom Willard, to discuss where the band is now and how Laura Jane Grace is doing.

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Against Me! and Laura Jane Grace's Latest Album Is Brave, Vital

Categories: Punk

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Ryan Russell

Against Me!'s latest album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, may be one of the most important records of the decade. We're deep in a cultural war for gay and women's rights, but we've barely scratched the surface regarding transgender issues. The coming out of someone in the public eye still qualifies as news, yet we rarely hear about folks in the process of a gender transition. So when Against Me! singer Tom Gabel became Laura Jane Grace in 2012, she did more than make a public announcement. She also wrote an incredible, moving album about the experience. And people took notice.

Transgender Dysphoria Blues is possibly the first record of its kind, providing a raw, visceral look into Grace's mind. The title track is a heart-wrenching look into Grace's struggles through an anthemic chorus with a biting edge -- "You want them to see you like they see every other girl / They just see a faggot / They'll hold their breath not to catch the sick."

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Calabrese's Jimmy Calabrese on Hometown Acceptance, Creating a New Sound and Dream Tours

Categories: Punk

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facebook.com/Calabrese666
The Calabrese boys (from left): Bobby, Jimmy, and Davey.
When a band in a small genre possesses a sound that is very much their own, most would assume it would limit the acts it can perform with, but that's not the case with the local horror-punk trio of the brothers Calabrese.

They've performed and shared bills alongside a number of rockabilly and psychobilly bands, including The Chop Tops, Koffin Kats, and legendary act The Meteors, even playing Ink-N-Iron Festival 2012 with Buckcherry headlining. Calabrese, who hail from Phoenix, has proved it has the ability to play with any act with dark influences, even if the bands' sounds aren't similar. This plays over into their aspirations as well, says bassist/vocalist Jimmy Calabrese, the oldest of the three brothers.

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Why I Still Love Green Day's Dookie, 20 Years After Its Release

Categories: Punk

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Reprise Records
Song associations are strange, because when I hear "Longview" by Green Day, I think of Rosemarie Sandoval's hair. We were both sophomores, sharing a table in Mr. Nardinelli's third-period art class. I think she was almost a year older, and if she wasn't taller than me anyway, her bangs sure were. Between the towering, lacquered fan rising from her forehead, a wardrobe consisting entirely of Aztec-god-holding-naked-lady-over-a-low-rider t-shirts, and a constant array of hickies, Rosemarie kind of terrified me, especially when I saw her beat the shit out of some girl outside of Spanish the following spring.

Mr. Nard played the radio on a component stereo up behind his desk, and on that day, he switched it to KWOD 106.5 (Sacramento's New Rock Alternative). Rosemarie got super huffy about it. "Naaard!" she complained. "Why can't we just listen to oldies?" It was a commercial break, and when the DJ came back, he mentioned something about "the new one from Green Day." Rosemarie spent the rest of the period sulking and patting her bangs in front of her compact; I busily worked on my upside-down Picasso drawing, until Mike Dirnt's bass intro wandered out of the speakers and into my brain forever.


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