PO Box 26632 / Richmond VA 23261-6632
A few years ago I started keeping a list of all the books that I read, in an attempt to simply keep track of them, as well as to find out just how many books I read in a year. This past year I think I set my own record with 47. This doesn’t include zines—just books.
As the year came to an end, I found myself holed up in my house, fighting the social phobias and depression even worse than earlier in the fall as the seasons changed. Consequently I gave way to doing nothing much reading. In fact I kind of went on a year-end bender trying to just plow through as many books as I could. It’s my own way of beating depression I suppose. It’s also a means of escape, without actually going anywhere, one I can thrown myself into between issues of my zine.
But as the year actually turned I found my spirits pick up. I went up to Philly for the “Slush Fest”, which wasn’t so slushy at all. I guess a big show and gathering was just what I needed to kick the doldrums of winter, cause ever since I’ve been in a good mood. It was a funny show, in that it was much different from the usual crust fests I go to. Friday night was a much punker show, with street punk and oi-punk and lots more skinhead and Mohawks than I’m used to seeing being brought out by the Boils and Cranked Up. I also ran into a lot of folks I haven’t seen in a decade. The Bayonettes opened the show, and it was a treat to get to see them after hearing much about them. Imperial Leather were the highlight for me. I missed their show in Richmond the night before, much to my frustration, but made up for it by driving 5 hours to another town to see them. I hadn’t seen Amyl in over 10 years and it was good to catch up. Saturday’s show was quite a mix of bands, all headliner type bands with their own cult-like following and it brought out a very diverse crowd. Again, people I haven’t seen in forever from all different niches of the diverse underground punk scene. Hardskin from the UK were brought over for this winter fest, and while it took me a while to settle into getting the continuous banter and jokes, their old-school oi-punk is undeniably catchy. But my favorite thing was watching the crust punk lose their minds. Fucked Up, Paint it Black and Dillenger 4 are all bands with cult-like followings and it was pretty cool to see all of them at once. Erik Peterson played a Mischief Brew set with a full electrified band and stole my show for me, as I kind of expected he would. But once again, it was just as much about seeing the people, and in this case catching up with really old friends, as it was about seeing the bands. But Erik & I can not get enough of the good Philly shows, so we were back in the van 2 weeks later to trek up to see RAMBO, Municipal Waste and Caustic Christ ñ a winning combination if ever there was one. Tony Pointless is moving to Arizona, leaving the streets of Philly behind, so this was his going away show. It’s not like we won’t see RAMBO play again, in fact they’re heading off for their second South East Asian tour this month. But it was still an event to celebrate cause Tony has given the Philly punk scene so much, he deserved a good send off. And besides the utter drunken chaos of what is usually a venue with no drinking allowed (and should be), the show was a blast, packed to the walls and full of thrash insanity. Cardboard costumed fans meet up with boogie board crowd surfers in a combination that only these two bands can create. And Caustic Christ sounded better to me than ever before. FOD opened up, and with their first song I had an epiphany, being reminded that I do love their old-school Philly punk sound, especially that one song. Wow. What a time.
It’s funny cause at the beginning of the season of this issue, when I was not expecting many shows, nor much to happen, I thought that I would have few photos and perhaps print more artwork. I also thought as this issue was in the works that it’d be a smaller issue. As it turns out I managed to get to as many shows as normal, plenty of which were great ones here in Richmond. AOS came down to play with Aghast and Direct Control at the Paper Street Info shop. The Aghast guys organized their own birthday fest, and a whole slew of bands played and there were more people at that show than at many of the shows with bands from foreign countries in the past several years. It was actually pretty damn cool to see so many punks in our little town. There seems to be a surge of punks in Richmond, a whole new movement of younger kids, and it’s really exciting to see. It’s like what I’ve been waiting years for has finally come to fruition, right around the time when I accepted that my scene was small and contained, now it’s blossoming out of control with plenty of new blood. I’m stoked. So in the end, this issue’s got tons of photos, and though technically this could have and for financial reasons probably should have been a smaller issue, I bite the bullet and went for the full size, printed the photos big, and the text is a bit bigger too. In part I can thank Nick Mattes for a generous contribution, and countless others who have helped out financially in terms of donations, or in purchasing patches, continued to advertise, or just offered words of encouragement. Thanks!
Usually winter is a depressing time for me, and I did go through my share of the doldrums in the late fall. But winter has barely touched us here in Richmond. It’s been unseasonably warm more of the time than actually cold. And already, even with Groundhog Phil saying we’ll have more winter, the days are getting minutes longer and I can feel the energy building. Before I even realize it, I’ll be rejuvenated with spring energy and losing my mind again. In the meantime, life here is good. Richmond is rad, and though I’m still living in my own neurotic night schedule, I’m happy and can’t complain.
On the PS: At the time of this issue coming together I got word that my friend Jack Control was stabbed in the chest while trying to break a fight outside a show. For now I’ll refrain from further comment for now, other that to say when you get a phone call that says something along the line, of, “Well he’s gonna live... but...” it’s really fucking freaky, and makes your heard go into your toes. He’s in critical but stable condition and expected to make a recovery, but his medical bills are going to be outrageous. Timmy has set up a paypal account for donations. If you would like to donate, or help Jack out in some way, contact Timmy at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ya know I like to joke about the kings and queens of punks, and said found myself saying, “You can’t stab one of the kings of punk.” But seriously, talking about the kings of punk, Pig Champion died in his sleep this week. Once again these are reminders that we have to make the most of our time while we’ve got it. And by the way, the new World Burns to Death recording is one of the best things I’ve ever heard!!