Hardcore Pioneers Cro-Mags Thankful Still to Be Pummeling Audiences 30 Years Later

Categories: Punk & Hardcore

Courtesy of Cro-Mags
The Cro-Mags are still putting on hardcore shows 30 years after the release of their seminal album.

Awe is a powerful word.

Upon first listen, 1986's Age of Quarrel by the Cro-Mags was (and still is) capable of rendering mere mortals to a state of awe. For fans of the band and the genre it helped create, awe is both a fitting and fascinating term, especially for those of us west of the Mississippi who have had limited chances to see the New York City band perform in concert.

Twenty-nine years is a long time for a punk rock record to remain relevant, but Age of Quarrel does just that, and the thrill of being able to see the band play these songs in a small Scottsdale venue is more than palpable; it's freaking awesome. For those of you who enjoy energy, put on your dancing shoes (and maybe full-body armor) and get ready to have some fun when one of NYC's best-ever hardcore bands comes to town.

Age of Quarrel turned the world of hardcore punk on its collective ear when it was released. For many of us, it was a perfect blend: well-crafted hardcore punk with a loudly shouted and powerful message of "we can overcome anything, even the bleakest scenarios." There are some thrash and metal sensibilities permeating Age of Quarrel, but these attributes increased the record's power, as well as its ability to unify the oft-divided punk, metal, and hardcore scenes. It was always interesting to see the differently coiffed (and sometimes shaved) heads bob at a party when someone was smart enough to play it.

More »

8 Best Metal Concerts in February in Phoenix

Jim Louvau
Marilyn Manson has a new album out, and he's coming to town to promote it.

The start of February made it one of the busiest, most exciting months of 2015 in the Valley of the Sun. More than a million extra people crowded into town for the Phoenix Open, the Superbowl, or the fact that they're just snowbirds. Clearly cause for shots of whiskey and heavy metal. Lucky for all us metalheads, the heavy metal scene isn't resting on its laurels, even with all the other heavy excitement, traffic, and rain around town.

Don't let that keep you indoors, though. There are a ton of great shows around town, which is why we compiled a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of February.

There's local EP release bashes, legends like Napalm Death and Marilyn Manson, and even a show by metal guitarist John 5 on Valentine's Day. I know where I'll be pre-gaming before the strip club.

More »

The Best Metal Monday Blogs of 2014

Metal Blade Records
The Cannibal Corpse interview didn't even make the list, 2014 was so great.

The holiday season is winding down, and we at New Times hope that you had a great 2014. As we look forward to the New Year, I wanted to recap some of the best Metal Mondays blogs of the year.

These were picked based off of social media shares, how much they got music lovers talking, as well as my own favorite interviews. Here's looking forward to a very metal 2015!

More »

Lil Jon, Adele, and 10 other Unlikely Heavy Metal Covers

Screenshot from A Static Lullaby's "Toxic" video
Brittany Spears' "Toxic" is so good, even a hardcore cover doesn't suck.

Whatever your religious beliefs -- Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Athiest -- there's no avoiding the ruckus of the holiday season. For me, Christmas brings a lot of old traditions, love and charitable giving, but there's a lot of needless commercialism that's shoved down everyone's throats starting the day after Halloween.

So kick back and take a break from the stress of shopping, visiting in-laws, gift-wrapping, and terrible holiday song covers by Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey. Seriously -- not only do we have to put up with pop and hip-hop year-round, but then they invade the already-smothering lineup of carols?

Welcome to your heavy metal music break: If mainstream artists can assault your ears via every genre, you can be damn sure that heavy metal steals the thunder now and again, too.
So forget the list of heavy metal Christmas carols.

More »

Punk Band X Breaks Out the Vibraphone for Acoustic Tour

Categories: Punk & Hardcore

Frank Fargani
Guess which member of X plays the saxophone.

Members of the legendary punk band X will never "walk on down the road yelling hurry up" to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to be enshrined in its hallowed halls. It has never been their style to self-aggrandize, and yet while bands like the Clash, The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie have all long since been immortalized with inclusion into the HOF, the time for X is long overdue.

Anti-establishment and anti-corporate, X lit the flame of West Coast punk rock in 1978, and went about the business of creating sonic sounds that were original, political, irreverent, and yet relevant. The band exuded an attitude and movement that was repulsed by the American underbelly of corporate record label greed, which promoted bloated rock guitar fat cats playing eight-minute guitar solos.

X opted for a more urgent sound that filled its three- to four-minute songs with disaffection and desperation, born of rockabilly, soul and country, and bathed in angst and street poetry the likes of Bukowski. Los Angeles' true fearsome foursome burst onto the scene with a music that was lean, mean, and populist first -- popular second.

More »

Screeching Weasel Singer Challenges CM Punk to Punch Women Like He Did

Categories: Punk & Hardcore

Marc Gaertner via Recess Records
Ben Weasel, not punching any women at the moment.

I've never had an interest in Screeching Weasel, as I don't listen to punk music that comes off like it was meant to be the soundtrack of a straight-to-video film about kids rollerblading in a shopping-mall parking garage. I listened to Boogadaboogadaboogada! a few times (primarily just so I could say I knew what the band sounded like) and I've gotten drunk with a pal of mine who has a tattoo of the group's iconic Fonzie-rat-looking character. (He's a good guy who also collects vintage board games -- cheesy tattoo be damned.)

More »

Iceage Offers One Way to Keep Interviews Interesting -- Make Stuff Up

Photo courtesy of Iceage

It's mid-afternoon on Friday, October 24 when an unidentified member of the Danish underground post-punk/hardcore buzz-band Iceage finally answers the group's mobile phone.

"Oh! You want to talk to my friend Elias, don't you?," he cheerfully says, referring to Elias Bender Ronnenfelt, Iceage's 22-year old singer, who bears a striking resemblance to River Phoenix around the time of the actor's death. When asked how he's doing, Ronnenfelt morosely replies, "I am absolutely mediocre today. We are driving through Omaha."

More »

10 Most Influential Punk Records of Arizona: This Is Phoenix, Not the Circle Jerks


Over the next several weeks, we will uncover the order of the 10 most influential Arizona punk rock records, complete with an in-depth look at each. But for now, we present a record that functions as a sort of honorable mention, a record that would probably have made a few people's lists, for sure. It's a highly influential number 11, if only because it is the sole compilation on the list: This Is Phoenix Not the Circle Jerks, put out by Placebo Records.

"This Is Phoenix Not the Circle Jerks was the second of three local compilation records on Placebo. The title was a spoof of an album called This is Boston Not LA, which was a compilation that had come out just prior," says Tony Victor, who ran Placebo Records and promoted the lion's share of early Phoenix punk rock shows. "The cover photo was taken at Mad Garden during a Mighty Sphincter show. The back cover was something I cut out of an old advertisement in Life Magazine. Decisions for almost all aspects of the records, shows, tours, etc., were made fast and on the go."

More »

The Venomous Pinks Are a Punk Band, Not a Girl Band


Punk rock comes in all shapes, all sizes, all colors, and all genders. Originally, it was a badge of courage with the ability to supersede all of the aforementioned labels, but somewhere along the way, it has segmented itself like other aspects of society -- probably because of the stupid human brain, but that is another story altogether.

What's important here is the simple fact that The Venomous Pinks are a punk band. Not a "girl" band or a "chick" band, but a punk band, and on October 17, they will celebrate the release of their second EP, Exes and Whoas, at the Yucca Tap Room.

Even in this day and age, when anyone with a thousand bucks and a cassette recorder can put out a CD, the second EP for a four-year-old band is no small feat. Better yet, people around town seem to actually like The Venomous Pinks (as they should) and are excited about this release. Drea Doll (guitar), Gaby Kaos (bass), and Jukie (drums) have created a powerful five-song offering drenched in frustration, attitude, and East Coast-style punk panache. With the recent addition of former Dames (longtime local punks who also featured Drea Doll) guitar player Corrie Zazzera to round out the sound, these musicians are ready to take the next step in their evolution.

More »

Best Metal Concerts to See in Phoenix in September

Victor Palagano
Rob Zombie is coming to Phoenix later in September.

Our desert summer is finally winding down; and really, it wasn't so bad, now was it? It's probably in part to the awesome parade of metal shows that came through our fair state since the music industry's touring season was in full swing. Either way, at least the September nights will only be in the 90s when you're leaving those sweat- and blood-drenched mosh pits.

September is filled to the brim with heavy metal shows around Metro Phoenix, thanks to concerts and gigs by locals and major international legends. As such, we're on the lookout for the best upcoming shows.

More »