FUTURE PLANS (not confirmed):
SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN - 8 Days a Week Mention:
Destroy! It's no accident that Mobilization Recordings, Laughing Squid, and KFJC, 89.7 FM, chose Pearl Harbor Day to launch 'How to Destroy the Universe Festival Part I.' By creating mass fear, the attack on Pearl Harbor not only pulled the United States into war but also ushered in a backlash against civil liberties facilitated by an oversimplified and misguided concept of security. What better way to raze today's false safety net than with fire, steel, and sound manipulated by veteran masters of extreme music and art? Dr. Howland Owll of the Church of the SubGenius MCs the event, which features psycho-surf-core by the Mermen, pyro-industrial post-punk mantras by F-Space (including Scot Jenerik and former members of Savage Republic and Chrome), gothic cabaret by Neither Neither World, psychotic episodes by the Serotonins, and classical covers of '80s hardcore hits by the Punk Rock Orchestra. Burning Man artist Charles Gadeken and We're Desperate early L.A.-S.F. punk-scene photographer Jim Jocoy provide added visual stimulation, and DJs Fernando (Thunderdrome, DeathGuild, Assimilate) and KFJC's MC Christ confer their special sonic touches. 5 p.m., StudioZ.tv, 314 11th St., S.F. $10. (415) 252-7666. (Camille T. Taiara)
(first to last):
Guest Master of Ceremonies: Dr. Howland Owll (Church of the SubGenius)
Advanced tickets available from
Posters and recordings from the bands are available at:
The complete Mobilization
'How to Destroy the Universe Festival, Part I'
I instantly became a fan.
So when I heard that Savage Republic member Ethan Port (now living in the Bay Area) had gotten together with local pyro-noise artist Scot Jenerik and Chrome drummer Aleph Kali to form F-Space, I knew I had to check them out.
I got my chance at the "How to Destroy the Universe Festival, Part I," an eight-hour affair that, as it turned out, was the brainchild of lifelong DIYers Port and Jenerik themselves. The bill included multiple 16mm projections, slides by We're Desperate photographer Jim Jocoy, a few DJs, and live music by Neither Neither World, the Punk Rock Orchestra, the Mermen, and the Serotonins (the latter from L.A.).
The crowd was a blend of aging though still disaffected Reagan youth, artsy brainiacs, and thirtysomething occultish types.
We arrived in time to catch the Punk Rock Orchestra, a 20-plus-member ensemble of mostly female classical musicians that covers old favorites by the Avengers, Joy Division, and others. The PRO was led by a tyrannical, Mohawked conductor in black coattails who, given a different look, could easily double as a World Wrestling Entertainment referee. And they did a decent cover of Dead Kennedys' "California über Alles" even adapting some of the lyrics in honor of Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the end, though, the act boiled down to a kind of theatrical "name that '80s cover" trivia game that could get a bit tedious after a few numbers.
Next, a corpulent, middle-aged white guy took the stage donning a red velvet Masonic hat emblazoned with a single, blue eye: not a particularly reassuring image. MC Howland Owll soon won us over, though, with a masterfully executed, deadpan soliloquy on the causal relationship between Annie Oakley, World War II, and the advent of punk rock.
On his heels, DJ MC Christ set himself to spinning 45s of obscure indie music from the Devo years. Collaborators threw up as many as six projections at a time onto StudioZ's walls: Jocoy's portraits of early-'80s punks in San Francisco and L.A., '60s car crash test footage, a nature film on carnivorous frogs.
Then came the moment I'd been waiting for. F-Space battered the unsuspecting audience with a wall of noise. Port's instrumentation on an electric 12-string maintained the breakneck speed and ominous tones of early Savage Republic. He'd loop a string of notes into a mixer, then switch guitars, or forsake them for a homemade instrument created out of two thick metal springs stretched along the length of a four-foot-long segment of pipe, which he alternately beat on and picked up and let drop to the floor.
Jenerik used drumsticks and even a violin bow to elicit the most raw and, at times, excruciating sounds from a similar instrument propped on a metal sawhorse. Kali added the energy of a runaway locomotive on drums.
The result was apocalyptic: the music summoned a feral, destructive trance state that implied a catastrophic act of nature, a march through the desert on the path to war, or the offender's mental state during a crime of passion.
The Mermen followed with a set of hypnotic soundscapes rounded out with a honky-tonk surf song all deftly crafted but a bit too low-key after F-Space's ferocity.
The last band, the Serotonins albeit possessing a great name came off a bit like an inside joke that, well, just wasn't all that original. We called it a night after two songs.
Altogether, though, the evening was a promising start for what Port and Jenerik hope to build into an ongoing noncommercial, multidisciplinary series, with shows every other month or so at random nontraditional spaces.
The Reagan years that inspired the heyday of California's original punk counterculture certainly have a lot in common with today's political environment. With the neocons back in power and well on their way in their project to overtake the world, something like "How to Destroy" is more necessary than ever. For information on "How to Destroy the Universe," go to www.mobilization.com.
(Camille T. Taiara)
NOTE: The Savage Republic 2002 re-issues are nearly sold out. If an item appears in this catalog as "sold out", you may still be able to obtain it through us from returns we receive from our distributors in the next month or two. Email orders 'at' mobilization.com with your requests.
Incredible punk photos from Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1978-1980.
Forward by Excene Cervenka and Thurston Moore.
[Home] [Store] [About] [Artists] [Email]