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Bad Memories, Killed by Death Bear

While glitz and glamour epitomizes NYC, the seedy cultural underbelly that created this great city has endured a slow suppression. Yes, the streets are clean and flocks of prostitutes have been stuffed indoors, but it’s not really about the hoes and crack. There’s a darkness that’s gone missing. My hope was to find any vestige of a live cultural underground or even just crazy ape shit1 that goes on behind closed doors, to remind myself that this city has not completely broken from its past.



  1. This reminds me of that old film, A Good Ape Shit is Hard to find.
  2. Wonder if he can help this dude.

2010: An Ice Odyssey

“What happened to that dude, what fucking happened?”

The words rang out from my friend Zac Greer’s shiny, bic’d up head. Al Pacino was on television, one of many stars urging Americans to donate to The actor looked creaky and old, haggard. Zac was not exactly paying attention, but became saddened. What happened to Pacino, the strapping young colt of “The Panic in Needle Park”? What happened to Serpico, to Bobby Deerfield, to Glen Ross? Zac wondered aloud. We laughed, but five years since the ad’s air date, we’re still none of us sure.

I felt the same way Sunday night watching Canadian Olympic hockey team suffer an ignoble 5-3 home loss at American hands. What happened to the Canadian team, made up of All-Stars and Hall of Famers both? Where did our legs go? Why wasn’t there any fire from the point? Where was the development factory of years past, short and tall Quebecers, broad hosers and technically-citizens from British Columbia? What happened?



  1. Especially not from Trumbull man Chris Drury.

Searching for the Riff

Wrecking Crew, meddling with metal

The many lives of Celtic Frost’s “Dethroned Emperor” riff

I’ll always remember the day I walked into my best friend Tom’s room about a decade ago, and he held up an album called Balance of Terror. He looked at me with an excited glance and said, “Dude … just listen”. He put the needle on the record, and the next minute was pure bliss in the form of ridiculous, ignorant, hard riffing. It was a harder intro than anything I’d ever heard. It sounded like it was written specifically to blow up your mind, to rile up your senses and get your body to fill up with adrenaline, forcing you to go outside and punch someone in the face for doing you wrong. It was “Why Must They” by Wrecking Crew, Boston’s late-80s answer to Agnostic Front. I had never heard the band, but right then and there I knew I’d never forget them.


True Scene: Rollins Band

To the list of things I have in common with Jimmy Rollins, one may add the fact that, Saturday last, we were both of us on Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach: he at the Ritz Carlton, on the occasion of his wedding; I at the nearby Ocean Club, trying, vainly, to my and my dad’s chagrin, to convince the bartender to make me a milkshake. I didn’t come to know of this coincidence until two days later, when, while seated in the holding area adjacent to GCM departure gate 3, waiting to board a Charlotte-bound USAIR flight, there occurred the following:



  1. Name altered, artlessly.
  2. Slightly less surprising was that [speedy Phillies outfielder] flies commercial.
  3. "Like this one here — 'Are you carrying diseases or foreign agents?' If you're the kind of guy who carries guns and diseases on a plane, are you rewarded for your honesty?"

On Bumouts: Axis of Competition

Jay Schroeder is a regular contributor to Trumbull, and had things to say about Google in his last go-round. Funny enough, The New York Times is leading its technology page with a story on the Google phone. If you want to argue with him, he can be contacted by e-mail and Twitter.

Throughout history, some of the strongest alliances have been forged by those with little in common but a common enemy. Do you think Hitler was down with the Japanese? I doubt it. But he worked with them. Do you think the owners in baseball all get along? Nope. But none of them liked Barry Bonds, once he broke the record, and he sat. And so it is with alliances in the Valley.

Google has been making some new enemies for itself lately, with expansions into things beyond the Internet search. Google Chrome (the browser) and Google Chrome OS (coming this year for netbooks) put a lot of pressure on the Mozilla people, who make the Firefox browser. And with the new Android OS, Google isn’t making any friends with Apple, Microsoft, or Palm. (But Palm won’t matter soon, they’ll be bankrupt.) And of course, Google has its enemies in the search world, mostly Yahoo. I’m going to focus on Yahoo and Mozilla, and suggest how they might be able to succeed against the formidable offerings of Google.


On Bumouts


You are not a game changer. I can say that without knowing anything about you, and I will be right billions of times, and wrong only a handful. When I think of game changers, I think of Michael Jordan. Basketball and the NBA are completely different now than they were before he arrived. That said, when Jordan tried his hands at baseball, things changed not so much.1 So when the Internet collectively shit their pants a bit over a week ago over this supposed “game changing” phone, I responded with a *snort*.

Has Google changed the game of the Internet, or the Internet search, or anything? You could argue both sides. People were searching ably before, and of course, they still search now. Current search are a whole lot better and more accurate than they were before Google’s arrival. One can argue that they’ve created an ecosystem in which all are welcome to participate, what with gmail, Google Docs, and a list that goes on. So if you want to call Google a game changer with respect to the Internet, I can spot you that one.

But that’s where it ends.



  1. To be fair, batting .200 in professional baseball after something like 10 years away from the sport is INCREDIBLY impressive. I have no doubt Jordan would have been a good baseball player. If a 30-year-old can keep above the Mendoza line at Double-A, I don't doubt he would have hit the Majors if he started at 20. But I digress.

Gaga for Gaga

To speak is always to say too much. Please allow me to say too much about Lady Gaga and her new clip “Bad Romance.”


Feminism appears in Lady Gaga only as another vocabulary to subsume, to activate in the service of her sale. She celebrates not simply through ironic distance but through celebrating. Her manipulation by handlers is a gesture towards subsumed models utilized ultimately to only underscore Gaga’s own power. She beats the Russians at their own game — our game, that is — capitalism. But then the brilliance of Gaga sits in her recognition that it is no one’s game: The circulation of capital takes all players, all performers. Show your hand, show your poker face, and you’re in. Or more accurately, you’re already in. Just dance.


Two Short

Good CrewThe Red Sox are toying with putting Dustin Pedroia at shortstop. As an avowed Red Sox fan, I welcome this short-term solution.

Boston signed Julio Iglesias, the 19-year-old Cuban defector, for a high sum this year as their shortstop of the future. This refrain is no doubt familiar to many Red Sox fans. In July 2004, GM Theo Epstein traded fan favorite, batting champ and seeming future Hall of Famer Nomar Garciaparra for Montreal’s Orlando Cabrera. Boston won it all that October, but when Cabrera left unceremoniously in the offseason, there began a long-term void at the position. Florida’s Hanley Ramirez was a couple years in the Red Sox pipeline, jumping two levels over the season, but at the time was less heralded for his numbers than his talent and potential — plenty of high potential prospects have come up short over the years — and the stud was summarily traded, in Epstein’s absence, for Josh Beckett. Since then, the Red Sox have tried several shortstops to varying degrees of failure. Edgar Renteria, who might have had the best non A-Rod/Jeter bat at the position before coming to Boston, was unproductive in 2005 (he would be better in the NL the next year). In 2006, Alex Gonzalez fielded well but didn’t hit. Julio Lugo looked OK at times in 2007, but aside from decent on-base numbers, he didn’t produce to his millstone contract, and was lead-footed, to boot. Last year, there was Jed Lowrie, who was, depending on the columnist, either too young, too injured or a tweener. Lowrie was unproductive enough for Boston towards the end of 2008 that the club trotted out the pu-pu platter in 2009, and things came full circle when Gonzalez returned at the trade deadline after. He was not re-signed, and Boston, which put up its best run in decades as a franchise without a quality shortstop, is now immediately in need.



  1. Aside from Cabrera, who is all but promised not to return.
  2. A left-handed compliment if there ever was one.

Follow Die Lederhosen

Ah, the Bundesliga fashion of West Germany. I remember growing up in Belgium, and besides the one Belgian TV channel, the BRT, you got BBC (England), RaiUno (Italy), WDR (West Germany), FR1 and FR21 (France), and some other ones you couldn’t understand. It wasn’t until the early ’90s that Belgium got another TV channel, and it was another few years before we got channels like MTV. The WDR was by far the worst channel. I hated it. Not only are Belgians raised to hate Germans, since your grandfathers fought and died in the war against them, but the WDR was the most boring and conservative channel in Europe. On Italian and Spanish channels you could see a lot of cleavage and funny gags, the French at least had Louis De Funes movies (that guy rules – look him up). But ze Germans, all they had was talk shows, the news, and old-man-detective shows like “Matlock,” except not awesome. They had tons of them. “Derrick,” “Der Alte,” all that shit. I haven’t watched these shows in two decades and I still remember them perfectly. Fucking WDR.



  1. Sadly, Melissa Theuriau wasn't on either of these channels.
  2. We should note that the Bundesliga, Germany's Federal League, comprised teams from both West and East Germany. This is a good account of things.
  3. This happened.

Young Buck

Jennings, with a great haircut, as a McDonald's All American

Jennings, with a great haircut, as a McDonald's All American

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics, say many. But empirical evaluation and advanced metrics are popular now, and many well-heeled sports fans might object to that sentiment: Statistics, they might say, best show what an athlete did in competition. They help explain the zero-sum game better than the won-loss record. When a player scores, he wins. Someone got beat, and the scorer made them pay, and it remains in the stat line. But stats do not depict the whole story, and too big a reliance on numbers can lead to a misevaluation, which is what happened with Brandon Jennings.

Don’t pay for past performance, say many in baseball. Don’t gladly pay (with cheap prospects) today for a (pricy) home run hitter tomorrow. Don’t look for a slugger in free agency, either, since he will cost a draft pick — a young player under club control. Don’t pay too much for a 30-year-old whose best days, and stats, are likely behind him; don’t pay good money for what happened in the past. But in the case of Jennings, a heralded Compton point guard whose bad grades sent him to Italy to play pro basketball, teams paid for past performance when they didn’t sign him.

Jennings is leading his rookie class in scoring and PER, and on Saturday he set a Milwaukee Bucks franchise record with 55 points. He’s the youngest player in NBA history to score 50 points, beating LeBron. The teams which passed on Jennings in this year’s draft, nine in all, are reeling. Points are an overrated stat1 — not everyone can get enough looks to score, and some who put up big numbers are inefficient — but scoring 50 is special, and Jennings has been holding his own with the class even before his big night.



  1. Simply put, teams overpay for scorers, even if they are defensive liabilities or can't rebound. Points is like batting average, it doesn't explain everything.
  2. One team took him off its board after scouts waited on him to show for a pre-draft workout.
  3. "NBA's Akon," 26 seconds in.
  4. And this was in a year when some fine NBA players returned to Europe.
  5. As one analyst predicted.

Scene R3ader

Check 'em

You think you’re an empman, but you’re not.

You might have 160 gigabytes worth of music on your iPod Classic, but if I know my emps and the indiscriminate practices of “music listeners” these days, you’ve got some m4a’s in there as well. You may have even just grabbed an advance copy of [Popular Band]‘s latest album off mediashare, but chances are the emps were scanned, retagged, and archived on our RAID solutions two weeks ago. Truth is, you know nothing of the world of emping. From your vantage point, you see only the tip of the iceberg but not the depths to which the game descends. If you pay close attention here, though, you can learn to survive in the mosh pit of private trackers and the world of emping.


Squirrel Bait

Lady Londonberry

There is a stereotype attached to Catholic schools, one of being beaten by nuns with rulers and learning to fear hell and the devil. But I’m actually going to save my tales of metal-lined straight-edge rulers finding their marks on my devil-worshiping seven-year-old wrists for a goooood therapist. Or at least someone waiting for the No. 1 bus at the Mass Ave. bus stop, on a day I decide I just want to drool and yell at passersby.

I will share a quick tale from the nunnery, for now, that has always stayed with me. One of the school’s nuns was walking through the forest-like section of Mission Hill separating Alleghany St. from Cherokee St. (We used to call it “The Jungle” as kids, and I’d later hide with friends and smoke cigarettes there when I was 13. Also, when I was 10, a bug flew down my throat as I barreled through the rocky dirty pathway on my bicycle. I’m actually still waiting to die from that and/or have my mommy “take it out.”) As the nun was walking through, a squirrel came scampering up to her, as squirrels do. But this squirrel happened to be rabid, and promptly chomped down on her ankle, not releasing it from its teeth. This nun, who was probably Chevy Chase,1 screamed for help and ran about with a wild invalid affixed to her ankle, causing a nearby priest to come to her assistance with a rifle. He blasted the critter off her.

I personally don’t see why priests or the Catholic church in general doesn’t devote the lions’ share of their sermons to Rabid Satan Squirrels, because, as a kid, this story terrified me. I feel they could really get their numbers back up. I mean come on! The devil is more played out than a backwards Judas Priest record. What about these squirrels? I’ve yet to hear about Rob Halford or K.K. Downing attacking nuns. This leads to my next thought: What happens when you play a Chipmunks record backwards? But I’ve been meaning to start a new religion anyway, so maybe I’ll hold off on that petition for a bit.



  1. No word as to whether she was indeed him, he of "Vacation" and the original Steely Dan lineup.
  2. Well... at least a few months ago.
  3. !

Classic-Lee Executed


A Stan, (Phils ace Cliff) Lee. Pic c/o Carl's Cards, Philly

World Series games undergo a lot more analysis than they should. I definitely don’t have any beef1 with the attention the World Series gets — why would I? I’m not an asshole — but the games themselves, well, there are only a handful. Seven games… name me what Albert Pujols did the first seven games of the season.2 I don’t even think he remembers. But the World Series, well, we scrutinize and theorize, and try and find deep meaning in the accomplishments and failures of grown men doing their job. Some say wrongly — even the best, most attuned athletes have awful (or improbably good) stretches, so what’s a bad week? A good player is still a good player. The games are fun, though, and the attendant scrutiny can make for fine pageantry but is sometimes just noise.



  1. xcoochx: b33f
  2. Or just click here.
  3. No pedo.
  4. Scroll down a bit, they go hard.
  5. Lee pitched and won the only game I saw at the original Yankee Stadium, a.k.a. The Toilet, a.k.a. The Connecticut DMV, and we got out of there by about 9:15, but in the interests of full disclosure, I was a lot more interested in the androgynous freak with the ponytail and Babe Ruth shirt eating nachos near us than I was the game.
  6. Just don't ride them HORSIES.

There Will Be NYHC

altercation grid box tapes nyhc trumbull islandIf you had told us a few years ago — much less during the Mullet Board era — that we could expect unreleased Straight Ahead and Cro-Mags songs before turning 30, we’d have reacted in an outrageous, respectful manner befitting vintage Chris Spaulding or Michael Dolloff. New music from any of the old NYHC bands is a sea-change, and inexplicably1 these have been unearthed, and are a gift. That these songs have come out, and been forgotten over a weekend is a bit troubling, but this is beyond the scope of this article. Our friend Chris “Cooch” St. Germane, record collector, illustrator, and so on, recounts his favorites.

Straight Ahead – Knockdown demo recording with Don Fury, May 20, 1987

This legendary Straight Ahead song came to me in late 2004 via a dubbed tape that was originally sent to a friend in Florida, courtesy of an infamous NYHC pack rat, Straight Ahead archivist who had been peddling his wares on eBay.2 Said friend — who is no slouch in the pack rat (N.B. — not PacRat, a.k.a. Tommy Rat, a.k.a. Daddy Moshbucks a.k.a. King Joffee Jaffee) department himself — informed me of the contents of said tape upon its reception, and upon hearing that, my own and several Boston-area heads simultaneously exploded. It should be mentioned that this friend did not own a tape deck at the time, and could not produce a dub nor a CDR, so we arranged to meet at an upcoming Daytona Beach, Fla., gig that Righteous Jams and Mental were playing. Once arrived, I borrowed the tape and was able to make a copy of it. Upon inspection, it contained, along with the song — the most ephemeral in Straight Ahead’s all-too-slim catalog3 — original live sets which the mysterious sender recorded from the audience, including the first Project X show, from the inaugural Superbowl Of Hardcore (bad quality), the first Skinhead Youth show, at CBGB’s (“for all the bashers” — enough said there), an Altercation soundboard from CBGB’s (incredible), and some other sets already in the PKR archives. This tape was so hot it almost burned a hole in my backpack.

We had to wait two long days until we hit a tape deck — this was in Austin, Tex., or about 1,143 miles away — and by that point it was New Year’s Eve. We were able to pop the tape in at Nate from Far From Breaking’s home4 stereo. Vigorous dancing erupted in the living room. After what must have been a dozen listens, some newness wore off, and we sat down to really listen to the recording. Admittedly, we expected more than was possible, and at rest, we were met with a somewhat lo-fi song, recorded live in the studio as so many others did with Don Fury. The vocals were a bit muffled, and the recording was raw and similar to Straight Ahead’s demo/comp tracks.

But it was still “Knockdown,” recorded in a studio, 117 seconds of unbridled hardcore glory, so what were our complaints? The sender of the tape (to my friend) mentioned that Straight Ahead played their final official show a week and a half before recording, and the musicians in the group — Armand Majidi, Rob Echeverria, Craig Setari — were apparently not happy with singer Tommy Carroll’s newfound stylings. Though I don’t know if this recording reflected that sentiment, the vocals are VERY low, and sound a bit unenthused — though it might just be a poor mix. The tape’s supplier also mentioned that the version of “Knockdown” was part of a two-day session during which just about every Straight Ahead song was put to tape. Unfortunately, the rest of the tape has never surfaced, which left us all scratching our heads, wondering what songs like “More Important”5 and “Take Control” would sound like on this phantasmic recording.

Cro-Mags – Unreleased Don Fury session, 1984

Another tape which came straight out of nowhere — specifically, a shoebox in drummer Mackie Jayson’s closet — and proved there is no limit to the amount of unarchived classic-era NYHC on the horizon. I heard about this tape from a N.J. friend several months before its March 2008 official release; he had overheard rumblings about an “unreleased early Cro-Mags demo session.” True to form, the session was released for the first time – official or otherwise, since they had not been bootlegged — sometime around Easter 2008 as bonus tracks on a CD re-pressing of The Age Of Quarrel. That demo-era Cro-Mags songs existed under the radar for so many years is perverse, like an earthquake hidden under a thatched hut. Luckily, when we heard them, they did not disappoint. If they did, our souls might have been harmed irreparably. A bad Cro-Mags song — none exist — would cause a re-evalutation the likes of which I have not grappled with since my girlfriend dumped me in high school.6



  1. Inexplicable as far as fate goes. What did we do to deserve this? It’s not surprising that the broken-up bands sate their newly acquired and newly curious fans. But again, as far as fate goes, this is all too kind.
  2. Name withheld.
  3. And arguably the coolest. Cf. the origin of Stop and Think, it being a lyric in “Knockdown”: “Stop and think, knock down the chains of ignorance.” Also making the song's case was that allegedly, outside those involved in the band, only a young Joey C. knew its lyrics – he was first to ask, in my estimation, and saw the lyric sheet. The above lyrics, were were then discounted, I think even by Cooch, and have been proven false by a Google search. But in any regard, it’s a cool song to a man.
  4. A classic Texas pit-stop that is sadly no more.
  5. Or, “The More Important.”
  6. OK, I wrote that, not Cooch. But then again, “It is I, Cooch.”
  7. Why, you ask? Because it’s the Cro-Mags. That’s an answer to a lot of questions. But yeah, it’s the Cro-Mags.
  8. Of the Bad Brains, a band that has recently reached new heights of popularity here in New York. You might have seen them on a T-shirt?
  9. “Of about 115 WNYU sessions” – Cooch.
  10. A favorite in Canada for some reason.
  11. Not to be confused with Boston's Finest in "Infinite Jest."
  12. Only? Even Cooch doesn’t know.
  13. Suffice it to say … well, even Cooch wouldn’t spit it up. We’ll get it out of him though, pause.
  14. Just a demo.
  15. Says the article’s author, “This group has the chops — they were shredders, though they never strayed too far from the hardcore track.”
  16. Where the hell is this? Anyone know?