Rebellious Jukebox XXXVII: “45 45 45” vs “Roller Skates”


You can totally skip this one if you want. As much as every one of these columns/posts/blarghs here in/on the Rebellious Jukebox have been about me as much as they’ve been about the records I’m writing/musing about, this one takes the cake. I’m going to review two records that I, myself, released. Both feature songs that I, myself, perform on. I’m not even going to critique them; I’m just going to talk about how great they are. And then I’m going to encourage you to buy a copy of the new record. Probably several times. There’s some sappiness in there, too. Seriously, you can totally skip this one…




The very act of releasing music is vanity…so you might as well have fun with it. I’ve released way too many records & cds (& a few tapes) in this life to think that anything I do matters to anyone in the grand scheme of things. The best that the vast majority (like 99.9999999999999999%)¬† of us who are putting out records & writing songs & playing shows can hope to ever achieve is to create some tiny little tribe of people who think like us for the duration of that one song. If we can do that then we’ve done our job & the world is an ever so slightly¬† better place for us being in it. If we can do that while doing something absolutely ridiculous at the same time, though, so much the better.


I turned 45 this past October. I am generally not overly concerned with birthdays or ages, but I’m always on the lookout for an opportunity to do something dumb, so I asked a semi-randomly selected group of talented friends &/or current-or-former bandmates &/or people whose music I deeply admire if they’d be into writing & recording 45 second songs for me to put out on a 45, 4 songs on side 4, 5 songs on side 5. A 45/45/45! There are very few, if any, times that I have felt so in love with the St Louis music community than when everybody pretty much immediately said yes. Thanks, dudes! Since I know that the “vinyl resurgence” & Record Store Day have played havoc with pressing plants, I shot for sending the thing off by the end of May for an October release. Ah well, dreams are dreamt to be broken, & a sixteen week turnaround turned into a twenty-four week turnaround & my semi-plan of making people drive out to Washington MO & play songs on John G’s Bier Deck o’erlooking the Missouri with me on a sunny Sunday afternoon came to naught. The thing officially comes out Tuesday Dec 15th, 2015 with a release show at San Loo on Cherokee St, but you can get copies from me if you run into me pretty much anywhere (I again must re-iterate that you can stop reading this at any time).


Side 4 kicks off with Carondelet Guy writing a love letter to being drunk & wandering around Carondelet. It’s sentimental but non-judgemental, an honest appreciation of that rough-hewn lifestyle that makes me miss living in Carondelet a lot. Then my band mate & best friend Karen knocks the door down with an Ex-Hex-ian ode to rock-n-roll shows & how that’s sometimes all that matters. Then good ol’ Jason Hutto shows off the kinda techno, kinda sound-collage-y thing that’s he’s been exploring since moving to Houston. It’s cool, though I will dock him half a point for fading in & fading out what’s clearly a longer song in order to fit this record’s time limit conceit. Then Daren Gratton strums his way through the frantic feeling of drinking & dancing against desperation. Man, this record is great!


Side 5 starts with 3of5 (Andy from Vanilla Beans’ solo glitch box project) destroying planets with terror & mayhem, then me & my wife cover a Residents song, then Mario Viele tackles the idea that one’s emotions are constantly at war with reality but that good sort of eventually wins if we let it (I don’t actually know what anybody’s songs are actually about), then Googz does a goofy 1920’s style number about turning 45, ancient Roman style, then Cassie Morgan sends us off with a sobering but uplifting song of un-named regret & cautious optimism. Man, this record is great, though it just now occurred to me that I should have made Andy’s song be song three of five on that side. Dammit!


Oh man, are you still reading? Okay…


Would you believe that that thing I just did isn’t the first short-song-themed 7″ record I’ve released? What is wrong with me? Way the Hell back in 1995, my old band Give Her A Lizard was gearing up to play our last show. We had thrown a skating party with live bands a year prior, & it had gone so well we decided to do that again for our big goodbye (we’ve played a handful of reunion-y shows since then, they’ve been okay). We had always been pretty good at hanging onto our show money to use towards recording & cd pressing & t-shirt making & such, so at the time we were deciding to break up, we actually had a nice little amount of money in the band wallet. Why not release a record featuring songs by us & some of our friends? Record pressing being what it was in those days, the master-to-press time was only six weeks or so, so getting the thing together wasn’t any sort of trouble, even though the Northerns recorded on 1/2 inch reel & we had to get that transferred & it ended up being slightly slow (I couldn’t tell. Oops!). The record was given out free with every paid admission, & anybody who ended up with a copy they don’t want can totally slide ’em my way. I got people.


Side “All Skate” opened with Lydia’s Trumpet singing about monkeys & tigers in their own St Louis-ified indie/hippie/stoner Elephant 6-ish way, then Bunnygrunt chimed our way through a song that we had originally recorded for some CD comp that we thought was never going to come out (it eventually did, but not after the folks who were putting it out screwed us on a couple of out-of-town shows, but I digress). Tom Stephens & Tim McAvin (nowadays of Tight Pants Syndrome & Karate Bikini) came next with their mostly recording project only band Crime Squad, doing a song that was intentionally slowed down, as opposed to that Northerns jam (again, oops!), then Darling Little Jackhammer pounded out some pretty palpitating punk pop power to close out the side.


Side “Now All Reverse” featured the pleasantly paper-thin pop folk of Mr Pink Jeans, the aforementioned incorrectly sped acoustic mumble punk of the tallest, Fall-est band to ever come out of Columbia Mo, the Northerns (with cow noises!) then ended with what was probably my favorite Give Her A Lizard song, “Villa Roma.” If you lived here, you’d be home now. Man, this record was great!


The new jam! Buy it!


Darling Little Jackhammer live on public access! The 90’s!




Rebellious Jukebox XXXVI: Q vs Never Alone


When called to testify, as I surely someday will be, I can take comfort in the fact that I can hold up this weathered copy of the Rebellious Jukebox, brittle with age, & present it as evidence that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a punk rocker. I like the punk rock, I buy the punk rock records, & I go to the punk rock shows, but when push comes to mosh, I don’t really know that much about the punk rock & I can’t really argue about what’s the good stuff & what’s the bad stuff, I buy lots of my punk rock records used at record stores instead of mailorder or out of some kid’s distro box, & there are more shows these days than I even KNOW about, let alone have the time to attend.


It’s through these slackings-off that I have not seen St Louis punk rockers Q, & don’t even know who is in the band (& if told, I probably won’t know who any of those people are). Still, I bought the record when it came into the Jerk Store. It’s on Lumpy Records, after all, so it was bound to be good/trashy/sort of chaotic. And boom, it is! The five song 45 starts off with some dry heaving grunts & muffled drum pounding, like somebody locked the singer in the galley of a slave barge, & for the rest of the record he’s gonna have to row his way out. Then the distorted bass comes rumbling in, the feedback squeals on, & the record takes off. There are slower parts & there are faster parts, there aren’t any guitar solos getting in the way of things, & the vocals are hoarsely bellowed, yet almost intelligible. It’s a pretty good record. If I had seen them somewhere & they had been as good live as they are in the studio, I would probably have bought a copy from them at the show. If they’re still even a band playing shows. Who knows? Not me! I don’t know anything!


This isn’t a new phenomenon, though. As long as I’ve been buying records I’ve been buying records by St Louis bands who I hadn’t seen live & didn’t know anything about. That’s how I bought that great Duck Duck Goose 45 at Streetside (I’ll get around to reviewing it one of these days), & that Barking Aardvarks cassette (if anybody’s digitized that, hook me up), before I was even going to shows on a regular basis. So it’s no wonder I missed out on the existence of Never Alone. I don’t remember ever seeing them on flyers or hearing anyone mention the name. That wouldn’t be THAT surprising, though, if three of the five members hadn’t spent time playing in various incarnations of Ultraman, & everybody knows Ultraman. And so I picked up a copy of their “Hidden” ep when it popped up used at the Jerk Store. Judging the record by the front cover art & the brooding white t-shirted tough guys on the back, I was expecting some boot stompin’ street punk, but the music falls much more to the poppy side of things. In today’s underground it would barely qualify as punk rock, but the boundaries were a little looser when this came out in 1991. That early Soul Asylum stuff was still considered kinda punk, & Husker Du had broadened things a bunch, melodically. This sounds a bit closer to the former than the latter,¬† though the chugging guitars do definitely keep some punk in there. I kind of wonder what would have happened to them if they had stuck around long enough to cash in on alternative rock’s punk-grab. Who knows? Not me! I don’t know anything!




Never Alone-Seasons live on Critical Mass (this version is LOTS more punk rock than the studio version!)