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Festival Review: Catching 350 Fest and Catching Up with The Punk Rock Doc

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

350 Fest V took place a couple of weeks back, August 23-25, 2019 at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Headliners included Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones; and Naked Raygun. Included amongst the many others playing, were Suicide Machines, The Eclectics, Airstream Futures, The Repellants, Tight Night, 88 Fingers Louie, an acoustic set by Anthony Reneri of Bayside, Zebrahead, The Menzingers, Lucky Boy Confusion; and The Bollweevils.

Relive it or find out what you missed by checking out the pics and a full write up below!



DS Exclusive: Strange 90’s – A Benefit for Jerry Bryant of JBTV

Friday, March 8th, on the North side of Chicago, almost but not quite directly across the street from Wrigley Field saw a night all about love. Love for Jerry Bryant, love for his creation, JBTV, which ranks the longest running music television program in the US. And by extension love for all those fighting or have fought cancer. Love this night was expressed by two words, “Fuck Cancer.” A chant repeated multiple times throughout one of the city’s most famous music venues, Metro.

Jerry Bryant founded JBTV in 1984 and since that time has been awarded Billboard Music Awards for “Best Local/Regional Alternative Modern Rock Show,” as well as numerous Emmy Awards. Performances are taped in front of a live audience and then broadcast. Green Day and Chicago’s own Smashing Pumpkins were among the countless acts who gained some initial exposure on JBTV. In fact, the latter band made its very first television appearance on JBTV.

On August 20, 2018, JBTV announced that its founder, Bryant, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer. The diagnosis was followed by six months of chemotherapy. And so there was never any doubt that there soon would be a benefit for Jerry Bryant and this one was a joyous celebration of the man who has done so much for music. The MC for the night was Lauren O’Neil, Q101 personality. It was a night to give him thanks. Another chant heard throughout the night was “Jerry, Jerry.” And when the guest of honor took to the stage, he spent the majority off his time urging everyone to take care of their health, get their tests done and most importantly stay positive in the face of a cancer diagnosis.

Bryant urged everyone in attendance to make sure that last action was taken. He did spent his entire time on stage with a huge smile and as JBTV President Michael Harnett told me by email a few days after the show, “Jerry was thrilled by the turnout and the support of the Chicago Music community.” Harnett added his own take on the night, “It was a great evening and event, very pleased.” JBTV’s partner in making this night such a success was the event, Charity Bomb. Harnett of JBTV credited Charity Bomb with having “…produced the great event.”

A few days after the show I spoke with Charity Bomb founder Matthew Leone by email. In 2010, Leone, bass player for Madina Lake, was brutally assaulted in Chicago near his bandmate/twin brother Nathan’s apartment while attempting to help a woman being beaten by her husband. He suffered brain swelling, a broken jaw, a broken nose and a fractured skull, and was in and out of consciousness for several days. His attacker was later acquitted of the resulting attempted murder charge in a bench trial. Leone described the founding of Charity Bomb. “We launched Charity Bomb because I was severely injured a few years back was the recipient of the same magnitude of love and that we were able to procure for Jerry. In my case, the Smashing Pumpkins stepped up and did a benefit show at the Metro for me.”

The brothers Leone and their Madina Lake bandmates also performed at the benefit, and he also related to me the genesis of this particular event. “Greg from Kill Hannah contacted me and asked for help. This occasion exemplifies our purpose for existing, so it was in immediate yes. It should also be stated that Chicago is a very supportive scene. Everyone in the room was either friends or fondly aware of each other.”

After the benefit for Matthew Leone’s recovery, he was inspired to keep it going. “Subsequently we devoted our lives to giving back for that wonderful experience. We have done several shows in Los Angeles and have five in the calendar for a variety of causes and constituents. Namely our Strange 80s annual benefit for mental health sufferers in the music realm.”

Head below to check out our photos and rundown of the truly memorable night.



DS Exclusive: My Year in Photos 2018

Mike McColgan of Street Dogs, gestures to crowd surfer at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

2018 was another great year for documenting the punk rock scene, not just in my adopted city of Chicago. I also spent time shooting shows in my native state of New York, specifically, in my little brother’s borough of Brooklyn. And for the fourth consecutive year, I spent a long mid-December weekend in Boston, MA. For the compilation of my favorite images of 2018, I am again including faves from bands from a wide spectrum of years together and differing levels of public recognition. Quite a few of these images were featured in DS this year. However, as with my faves gallery in 2017, many others were heretofore not featured in any online or hard copy publications. The shows, Weekend Stands; and festivals (such as Wreck the Halls, Motoblot, Punk the Burbs; and Riot Fest) represented were a blast, every last one. Every group included is one more than worth checking out should they hit your town, city or other location where you might find yourself at the same time as them.

Personal Note:  A good many of the photos in this selection are of Street Dogs. I have been following them and documenting them coming up on 10 years in March. Those who know me know the only band I place above them as a personal favorite is The Clash. There are numerous reasons for my love of Street Dogs and among those reasons is their showmanship. 2018 presented me with the opportunity to document the band in NYC, Chicago; and in the Boston area. The Chicago images were part of my Riot Fest gallery for DS. They will be playing Punk Rock Bowling this May (which I likely may not make). After that, there are no scheduled shows announced for the foreseeable future. They are among the most fun and exciting bands to shoot. Their shows are always at maximum energy levels and the crowds pretty much never disappoint in matching that energy.  So I would like to extend my best wishes to the Michael, Johnny, Lenny, Pete, and Matt; as well as their crews. They and their latest album, “Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing,” were surely among the best of 2018.

Johnny Rioux (left) and Lenny Lashley of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls

Ben Roy of SPELLS may be one of Those Who Can’t on television but when it comes to getting a crowd going, he is definitely one of those who can.

Street Dogs’ Mike McColgan pulled me up on stage at Brooklyn Bazaar to get a shot of the crowd. I have documented band from various places on the sides and in the back of stages. However, getting the right up at the front P.O.V. of most of the band members certainly is eye-opening

Triumph Ace and helmet sporting the Ace Cafe London logo at Motoblot

The Queers perform at Punk the Burbs 2

Peter Mittler of The Bollweevils at Chop Shop Chicago

Chicago

Ken Fitzner of The Bollweevils at Chop Shop in Chicago

Dr. Daryl Wilson of The Bollweevils gets high…on punk. Pete Mumford and Ken Fitzner also pictured.

A photographer shoot images of Street Dogs at Brooklyn Bazaar in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY

Pete Sosa of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls #SadPeteSosa? Nah, just a quiet moment in the beautiful chaos.

Stickfight! perform at Liar’s Club Halloween show

The Run Around at Punk the Burbs 2

Stage invader during Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls

Ben Roy of SPELLS at Wicker Park Fest in Chicago

Pussy Riot at Riot Fest

Off With Their Heads at Wicker Park Fest

Nuns of Brixton at Motoblot in Chicago

Nate Leinfelder of Noi!se at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

Bill Stephens of Naked Raygun

Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun

Nikki Beller of Mystery Actions at Punk the Burbs 2

Mike McColgan of Street Dogs amid the crowd at Riot Fest

Street Dogs’ Johnny Rioux with his wife Melissa Rioux, on stage at Wreck the Halls

Lenny Lashley of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

Legendary Shack Shakers’ JD Wilkes bends over backward for the Motoblot crowd

Matt Hensley of Flogging Molly on the squeezebox at Riot Fest in Chicago, IL

The Queers headlined Punk the Burbs 2

Scott Brooks of Avenues at Punk The Burbs 2

Trever Keith of Face to Face at Riot Fest in Chicago

Caitlin Rose of Bumsy and the Moochers performs at Punk the Burbs 2. Rose is one of the co-organizers of the fest taking place in the suburbs outside of Chicago

Rubber soles meet Bouncing Souls. Pete Steinkopf of Bouncing Souls has great taste in shoes.

Poli Van Dam of The Bombpops has fun at Riot Fest in Chicago

Todd Pott of Apocalypse Hoboken becomes one with the band’s fans at Chop Shop in Chicago

Alkaline Trejo during Alkaline Trio at Riot Fest

Tony Reflex leads Adolescents at Riot Fest. The band hung a large banner with the name Soto in place of the group name as a tribute to their late bandmate Steve Soto.

Larry Damore of Pegboy is surrounded by fans at Cobra Lounge in Chicago. The band performed at this fundraiser for another small Chicago venue.

Steev MF Custer and Devin Morris of Death and Memphis perform during their set at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Juan Avalos of Size 5’s jumps, for joy perhaps, as the band performs at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Benny NoGood of Benny and the No-Goods pours emotion into his performance during the band’s set at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Off With Their Heads perform at Brauerhouse Lombard

1916 gave a rollicking performance at this year’s Wreck the Halls

Denis Buckley of 88 Fingers Louie sits this one in, continuing to sing at the band’s show at Chop Shop Chicago

And finally, one of my faves I did not take. From left: Johnny Rioux, Matt Pruitt, Lenny Lashley, Pete Sosa, yours truly, and Mike McColgan. Thanks for all the great times! It’s been a blast documenting you all and I so wish I could make PRB this May in Las Vegas! Best Wishes!! Photo by Mark Korich



DS Photo Gallery: Jawbreaker, Naked Raygun; and Smoking Popes at Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL

Jawbreaker

Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on the north side of the city played host to three heavy hitters Sunday November 4, 2018. The bill provided fans a bit of relief from near constant coverage running up to the midterm elections. There more than a few “I Voted” (early in those cases) wristbands, politically motivated t-shirts and buttons visible. But for the most part this show would promise a a time-out from the heavy 24 hours news cycle.

The crowd proved that they were among those undeterred by heavy rains. They were too interested in watching Jawbreaker, a beloved headliner returning to Chicago roughly a year after the city played host to the band’s reunion at Riot Fest 2017. There had been more than a little grumbling about the ticket prices for this show when it was first announced. However, it appeared those in attendance in short order decided that shelling out north of $40 was well worth it.  Surely seeing two groups of favorite sons, Naked Raygun and Smoking Popes from Chicago’s tight knit punk rock community helped.

Speaking of tight knit, this show did draw a strong representation of aforementioned community. Spotted in the crowd, but not a complete list by any means I’m sure, were members of Pegboy, The Bollweevils, Death and Memphis; and The Usuals.

Smoking Popes

The Smoking Popes launched into a set of both old tracks and new tunes from “Into The Agony,” the band’s first full length album in many years. Lead singer Josh Caterer dedicated “You Spoke To Me,” off their third album, 1997’s “Destination Failure,” to Jawbreaker, as the song was written about Blake Schwarzenbach himself. Caterer described how fortunate he felt to be on same bill as one of his musical inspirations.

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

Naked Raygun is routinely described as legendary. And despite any hesitation about that word from its founder and lead singer Jeff Pezzati, it is so frequently used one may come to believe that is actually part of the band’s name.

There had been rumors that due to heath and other concerns, this show would be Naked Raygun’s last live performance. Jeff Pezzati dispelled those rumors and assured me they will in fact continue playing live shows.

Naked Raygun

 

Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun

Bill Stephens, of Naked Raygun, in a lighthearted moment, sticks his tongue out at photographers shooting from the pit below.

Pierre Kezdy, Naked Raygun’s longest running bass player is presently battling cancer and was not in attendance on stage or in the crowd. But his spirit was nonetheless felt and it was seen, on one of the most popular items at Naked Raygun’s table: a t-shirt featuring a full-bodied portrait of Kezdy.

 

Naked Raygun                                                

 

Naked Raygun

 

Naked Raygun

 

Naked Raygun

 

 

Naked Raygun

Returning to Naked Raygun’s performance on this night, Pezzati’s bandmates, drummer Eric Spicer, Bill Stephens on guitar and bass player Fritz Doreza, in their respective roles matched Pezzati’s vocal strength and powered through almost two dozen songs. Highlights including “Home of the Brave, “Peacemaker,” “Vanilla Blue,” the perhaps fortuitously named “Treason,” on which Eli Caterer of The Smoking Popes guested on stage. And of course “Rat Patrol” with its frenzy inducing “Whoah oh oh oh oh oh.” 

Naked Raygun

Oh and a photographer’s note: After the first three songs were completed Pezzati glanced down into the photo pit when he noticed the security signaling for the shooters to leave the pit and indicated to them with “he stays, she stays…” and so on. When the security again signaled for us to leave, Pezzati once again took a moment to tells the security, “they stay.” This was not the first time, Pezzati has advised security that the photographers stay for the entire set. It’s always appreciated by those of us documenting the show.

Naked Raygun

 

Naked Raygun

 

Naked Raygun

 

Eli Caterer of Smoking Popes guests on a couple of Naked Raygun songs.

Jawbreaker’s reunion at Riot Fest 2017 whet their fans’ cravings for more shows. Headlining the annual festival weekend apparently also whet the band’s own appetite to play together more often. Jawbreaker kicked off its set with West Bay Invitational and filled it with some of its best songs, including “Jinx Removing,” “Chesterfield King,” “Kiss The Bottle,” and “Accident Prone.” Their energetic performance challenged the crowd to keep up.

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker 

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

By the end of the night, many the show attendees straggled out of the Uptown venue and up to the “L” red line platform just across the street, shoulders hunched with exhaustion and clothes soaking wet. But it was hard to tell if that was more due to the rain outside or sweat earned inside by leaning into a solid punk rock bill top to bottom, working to match the energy expelled by those on stage. Just your average Sunday night in Chicago, IL.

 

 



DS Exclusive: Catching Up with Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun

Naked Raygun, a band founded in 1980, recently played The Aragon in their hometown of Chicago. Though the headliner was Jawbreaker, there were many in the crowd who were there specifically to see Naked Raygun.
A few days after the show, I checked in with Jeff Pezzati, one of the band’s founders and its lead singer. He is routinely described as a punk rock icon from a legendary band. So how does he feel about such labels? We discuss it here. While the word “legend” may mean one thing to most fans, Pezzati views it with a sense of humor,”I don’t pay that much attention to labels like that. I know that James Van Osdol called us that once. It could mean that we’re just old. Ha.”


Pezzati spoke of the effects such a label might have on the receiving people or groups of such labels, “We’ve always been pretty hard on ourselves to play the best that we can. I don’t think just because a few people are calling us legends would change our preparation for playing out live.” Along the same lines of the band being considered legendary, Pezzati has been ordained by NR fans and those whose job it is to analyze and write about punk musics, with the word “icon.” According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the second description of the word icon is as follows: “an object of uncritical devotion : IDOL.”

From our discussion, I sense that Pezzati would not believe or describe himself as someone who has been an object of devotion, sans criticism. I did put the question of how it feels to be called an icon of punk rock. And whilst the subject of dictionaries never arose, his definition resembles that found in the Collins English Dictionary. As Collins defines it in their entry: “someone or something regarded as embodying the essential characteristics of an era, group, etc.”

On being called an icon, per Pezzati: “Well, that’s weird too. It indicates that I am symbol of punk rock. In that sense of the word” (the literal meaning) it feels right because I believe that punk rock is a very good thing that changed music indelibly forever. I can stand up for that any day.”

Pezzati downplays the influence he and Naked Raygun have had on the musicians and  bands that followed and his role in shaping said people/bands. Most famous perhaps of citing the influence of Naked Raygun is Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters. Grohl has oft relayed his memory of watching and being inspired by his first live music performance. The show was at The Cubby Bear, when Grohl came to Chicago for a visit. He was there with his cousin and the band was Naked Raygun. In 2015, Grohl repaid that “favor” by inviting Naked Raygun to open for them at Wrigley Field.

“Those bands would have probably made the right kind of music anyway. There were plenty of great bands out there to pick up on when we were starting. We might have hurried the process along for some of the people in those bands.”

I have myself seen many bands describe how much they appreciated what Naked Raygun has done and how they were insured by NR. It occurred again on the evening of the Jawbreaker show, when Smoking Popes, the first band on the bill, gave a shout out to NR and Eli Caterer of Smoking Popes joined in for a couple of songs.

So of course, I felt compelled to ask Pezzati to discuss his influences and to recall some of the stand out moments in the band’s history of sharing the stage. “This is a great question. Our influences were: The Buzzcocks, Wire (first 2 albums), The Stranglers, Gang of Four, The Dead Boys, The Birthday Party and a few others. We never got to play with any of them. Shows that stand out for me are: The Undertones at the Aragon Ballroom in the mid 1980’s. Madness at the Park West in the 80’s. Johnny Thunders at some little hole in the wall where Walter Lure’s band was playing in NY,NY – he just showed and took over the show. The Birthday Party at Tut’s in Chicago in the 80’s, The Cramps and also The Psychedelic Furs both at Tut’s. Blurt at Hueys in Chicago. Gang of Four at the University of Chicago. Also Ian Hunter at the Park West with Mick Ronson on guitar.”

When it was announced that Naked Raygun would be opening for Jawbreaker, there were ripples of rumors that this show would mark the end of the band playing live. Pezzati is quick to dispel that rumor: “Well, we WILL play out live when our album comes out. Although no one seems to be in a hurry to finish it. And we may play on New Year’s Eve…this year.:”

As with what seems to be most bands, the Naked Raygun’s lineup has changed over the course of its history of nearly four decades. I wondered how those changes affect the performances of songs that were first played by members no longer affiliated with the group. Pezzati: “Well every player, plays a little different, however we want the ‘new guy’ to play the songs as close to the recorded version as possible. There may be a slight difference. Hopefully it is an improvement to the original or we would have the part explained better to the player. For example…we have very few songs with any guitar solos. I hate guitar solos…but if you’re going to stick (one) into a song it should be brilliant and you (as a guitar player) should be able to regurgitate it up the same way every time the song is performed.”

Moving on to other ground, the corporatization of punk rock, which is not new. Pezzati describes it this way:

“(Punk rock) certainly started out on unsteady ground. It was the laughable joke of most American music fans. However, as people ‘got it’ they became devout believers and some, disciples of the music. The corporate world just took edible pieces of punk and applied it to sell their products or ideas. I have no problem with that. The fact that the entire genre was ignored by popular radio… now that I have a problem with. Looking forward I see a worrisome predicament beginning to occur…that is that the mainstream music industry still has not included into their ‘boys club’ attitude this great music. I mean how many times have you heard even Weezer on the radio or seen a post, pre, emo, pop punk band on the Grammys? They still believe that rap is good music and it just isn’t. It’s total garbage. And yet they are rewarding it like it’s the best thing since ice cream. How many times are we going to listen to a song where the guy calls himself the N word and think ‘Wow that is so great and new’?”

When discussing punk rock with a singer who was active in his present band during the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher / United States President Ronald Reagan years, I would be remiss if I did not broach a topic on a lot of our minds recently: Donald Trump. I presented it to him as follows: “Treason” is a song that has been recently played, repeatedly on Facebook and other places with Trump in mind. How do you feel about that? Are there songs you have written long ago, which feel newly relevant in the era of Trump?

Pezzati: “I first read about Donald Trump in the 80’s when I bought a book – an unofficial biography of Trump. He had bad taste then and he has bad taste now. Some people will never have the skills to mold themselves into a palatable version of their elected position. “Treason” remains relevant as does “Managua,” “Hips Swingin’ and certainly “Rat Patrol.”

Recalling that roughly one month post-2016 U.S. Presidential election, Guardian newspaper in Great Britain put this query to its readers via this headline “Rise above: will Donald Trump’s America trigger a punk protest renaissance?” I put this query to Jeff Pezzati: “Have you seen an uptick in music addressing politics and is this something you like to see? I see now that a few bands have taken on the GOP in their music (as it seems when it comes to punk does appear to be more of a target that the left). I

Pezzati responds, “I have seen some really pissed off people in bands – for example Vic Bondi. Originally of Articles of Faith. But I don’t know if I’m the one to ask. I’m not really in tune with the kids these days..”

I asked him to respond to something I have also seen happening starting almost from the moment Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton finished her concession speech that night in early November 2016. It seems much of what we see in the punk rock community is addressing the president is via t-shirts and buttons and the like. Is this something you see as productive or merely cathartic for the wearer? And do you see a discernible difference from the punk rock answer to Reagan and Thatcher; and other leaders coming after both Reagan and Thatcher?

Pezzati: “The punk rock community seems split on this issue and during Reagan’s and Thatcher’s day it was too. You have emo bands just writing torrid love songs and some people are just sick of hearing about the latest atrocity that the Trump administration has contrived.”

I then switched gears back to Naked Raygun and specifically, its beloved bass player Pierre Kezdy. Kezdy joined the band in the early 1980’s, however he’s not presently playing the live shows due to his health. I asked Pezzati if he would provide an update that best that he could.

“I know he feels the love from the NR fans…. He is not doing well. Cancer is a bitch. They treat it so viciously that almost kills the host …meaning you. The thing is – most of this malady could have been avoided but Pierre has always had what I call ‘The Martyr Complex’ and always will.”

The love was indeed present at the most recent show where arguably the most popular item available at the Naked Raygun table was a t-shirt featuring a delineation of Kezdy.

Almost wrapping up, I had two more questions to pose to Jeff Pezzati. The first was in reference to upcoming projects he might want to share with Dying Scene readers. And what a teaser he provided.

“Someday I WILL release a solo effort that is mostly complete at this time. It has one song on it that is the best thing I have ever written.”

I also asked if he had anything else he wanted Dying Scene readers to know. He answered with a few words of wisdom, not necessarily garnered through years of being that aforementioned punk rock icon but by years of just being a human. They are words we all should already be heeding but a reminder every now and again is always a good thing. Of course Pezzati had to answer with a bit of humor.

“Be good to one another. Life is fragile and very short. To overcome any situation, take small bites. You’ll get there. Since most of the time you spend is doing things that you HAVE to do rather than CHOOSE or ENJOY doing ….treat every day as something special… a gift – if you will. And things will work out, I promise. I am after all an icon AND a legend. Ha!”



DS Show Review: Motoblot 2016 – featuring Flatfoot 56 and Naked Raygun

Eric MacMahon of Flatfoot 56 performs at Motoblot 2016

Two of Chicago’s most popular bands, both with  fervent U.S. and international fan bases, Flatfoot 56 and Naked Raygun, were among the many acts performing at Motoblot 2016. Both took the outdoor stage, set up outside of  Cobra Lounge, Saturday June 25th, with the legendary Naked Raygun headlining.The Flatfoot 56 set began with “Brother, Brother” from Toil, a song name seemingly appropriate for the southsiders’ recently slightly revised lineup. Two, not three, Bawinkel brothers, Tobin Bawinkel on lead vocals and guitar and Kyle Bawinkel on bass and vocals, remain as official members of the quintet. Drummer Justin Bawinkel exited the group to focus on his studies and fatherhood as he and his wife welcomed their first child within the last year. Conrad Allsworth is the new drummer. Eric McMahon (bagpipes, guitar), Brandon Good (mandolin, guitar) round out the line-up.

Tobin Bawinkel (L) and Kyle Bawinkel of Flatfoot 56

Flatfoot 56 are known for their high-energy, to the point of near exhaustion, sets. Some highlights of their Motoblot performance included : “The Rich, The Strong and The Poor” and “I Believe It”  both also from Toil; “Chinatown Jail Break,” from  Jungle of the Midwest Sea; and “We Grow Stronger” from Black Thorn.

Flatfoot 56 closed their set out the way they often do, with one of the classics hymns of which they have recorded covers. “I’ll Fly Away” has been described as one of the most recorded gospel songs and has been utilized by several different Christian denominations. And to some, as of yet unfamiliar with FF56, it might seem a curious choice to be covered by a punk band. Yet their version maintains the power;  and as with their version of  “Amazing Grace,” movingly transforms their always very active circle pit into a fellowship session akin to a Revival, with punks, skins and every other conceivable description of fan, regardless of  personal religious beliefs or lack thereof, joyously singing along in unity about life, love and the Hereafter.

Conrad Allsworth of Flatfoot 56

Upcoming for Flatfoot 56, per Tobin and Kyle: “We hit Atlas Studios to record a new album with Matt Allison. We are looking to track at least 14 songs. This will be the first full length album that will we will have written with our new drummer Conrad. It’s going to be an amazing record. We are also planning a west coast tour in September.”

Post-Punk legends Naked Raygun capped the night to a frenzied crowd. Pierre Kezdy, Jeff Pezzati, Eric Spicer, Bill Stephens, and Fritz Doreza gave the crowd what they wanted, classic songs such as “Vanilla Blue”, “Rat Patrol”, and “Home of the Brave”.

Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezzati. NR headlined Motoblot 2016 in Chicago

Naked Raygun, formed in 1981, has been cited as the primary inspiration for many bands to follow. Dave Grohl has famously recalled Naked Raygun as his first concert experience, at The Cubby Bear, and repaid them for their inspiration by having NR join Foo Fighters’ 2015 bill at a venue in close proximity to The Cubby Bear: Wrigley Field.

Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun

At numerous points during their set, Lead Singer Jeff Pezzati, stepped away from continuously stalking the stage and stepped halfway onto the barricade, which had been pulled close to the stage, to give the fans an assist on the vocals. This was especially effective on “Home of the Brave” and “Rat Patrol”, with the frenetic, swaying crowd, grasping for the mic, to join in on “Whoa oh oh oh oh oh, Whoa oh oh oh oh oh” on the latter song.

Bill Stephens and fellow members of Naked Raygun headlined Motoblot 2016 in Chicago,IL

In what was the easily the most fun moment of the strong set, Naked Raygun dedicated Coldbringer to their close friend Steev MF Custer and teasingly jumbled the name of Custer’s band, asking if it was Death IN Memphis? Death OR Memphis and various other possibilities.  Custer, who makes no secret of the fact that Naked Raygun is his all-time favorite group and inspiration, (and on at least one occasion stepped in on guitar  with Naked Raygun) was spotted grinning widely at the side of the stage, seemingly in partial disbelief. This moment was especially fun for the crowd as well, as many are also fans of Death and Memphis and present for their rollicking set just a few hours earlier. Naked Raygun is scheduled to headline at The Smooth Fox in Elgin, IL on Saturday July 23rd, with support by the Biscaynies, The Bungdoons, and The Usuals.



Naked Raygun stream new song “Broken Things”

Naked Raygun premiered a new song titled “Broken Things” earlier this week on Rancid guitarist/vocalist Tim Armstrong’s Sirius XM radio show. If you weren’t able to catch the show when it aired, you can give the track a listen now, below.

“Broken Things” will be appearing on Naked Raygun’s currently untitled new album, which is set to release sometime next year. It will be the band’s first full-length in 26 years, serving as a follow-up to 1990’s Raygun…Naked Raygun.



Naked Raygun debut new song on Tim Timebomb & Friends radio show

Chicago-based pioneering post-punk veterans Naked Raygun debuted a new song last night on Tim Timebomb and Friends‘ radio show on Sirius/XM. The song is called “Broken Things” and it’s taken from the band’s upcoming album, which will be their first since 1990’s Raygun…Naked Raygun. The show will be re-broadcast Thursday (11/5) at 9pm PST and Sunday morning (11/8) at 9am PST.

Last week, Naked Raygun announced that they will be playing three shows with Direct Hit!.



Naked Raygun team up with Direct Hit! for three December shows, announce 1st album in 26 years

Super awesome news for our midwestern punk friends!

Chicago-based pioneering post-punk veterans Naked Raygun have announced a small run of three shows that’ll take place in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Lombard, respectively in early December. The band will play a different set each night, and all nights will feature brand-new material from their forthcoming full-length, due out in 2016!

Naked Raygun will be joined each night by Milwaukee’s Direct Hit!…as if you needed more of a reason to take in one of the shows! All tickets will be on sale this coming Friday (October 16th) at noon Central; get more details here, courtesy of the good people at Riot Fest

Oh…and stay tuned for more news about Naked Raygun’s as-yet-untitled release, which’ll be their first full length since 1990’s “Raygun…Naked Raygun.”



DS Photo Gallery: Hi-Fi Rock Fest at Queen Mary’s Park (pt. 3 of 4) – Richie Ramone, The Sonics, Naked Raygun

This next portion of Hi-Fi Rock Fest was somewhat similar to adult swim. No, not the channel, more like that time when you were a kid and you were kicked out for an hour so the adults could get drunk and spill beer in the pool.

Richie Ramone followed SoCal thrashers, Luicidal, and he proved after all these years he’s still got it. Yep, still got that bottle in his hand and as sloppy as ever, yet somehow it manifests itself into a great stage performance, alternating between both drummer and vocal duties. In an attempt to get intimate with the front-row fans, Richie slipped on the sound monitor but kept on rocking. Unfortunately, as the photo crew hoisted him back to the stage, my lens was knocked off my camera, so I was out of the game for the rest of the set – tending to my wounded equipment.

The Sonics were next up – and may have seemed to be an odd pairing for this festival (even though these guys were punk before punk even knew what punk was), but these guys have been rocking for decades and show no signs of stopping. You can have a look at their entire set here.

It seemed the space was filling up properly in anticipation for Naked Raygun‘s appearance at Hi-Fi. The band had been ‘less-than-active’ up until recently, so it was exciting to finally see these guys live.

You can have a look at photos from the band’s performances below, and check back tomorrow for Street Dogs and Dead Kennedys.



Win free tickets to Hi-Fi Rockfest (Dead Kennedies, Street Dogs, Naked Raygun, etc)

In Long Beach, CA on Saturday, September 26th punk-hardcore legends the Dead Kennedys will headline Hi-Fi Rockfest supported by, Street Dogs, Naked Raygun, The Sonics, Richie RamoneLuicidal, Dirty Filthy Mugs Year Of The Dragon, Downtown Brown and The Two Tens.

If you want a pair of free tickets just fill out the form below and we just might hook you up!



Riot Fest announces guests for Speakers’ Stage

Last year, Riot Fest unveiled a Speakers’ Stage, where musicians and activists engage in a panel discussion in front of the audience.  Due to the success of last year’s lineup, which included members of Russian female punk group Pussy Riot, Riot Fest is bringing back the Speakers’ Stage.

This year’s speakers will be split over 2 days, with the September 12th event featuring Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin of the “West Memphis Three.”  In a panel moderated by Henry Rollins,  they will discuss their history and the way music activism contributed to their release after 18 years in prison, after being wrongly accused of the murders of three young boys in 1993.  On September 13th, the event will feature Joe Principe (Rise Against), Jeff Pezatti (Naked Raygun,), Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms), Nan Warshaw (founder, Bloodshot Records), Daryl Wilson (The Bollweevils) and Dem Hopkins (owner of the legendary Club Oz).

You can find all the Riot Fest info that Dying Scene has to offer right here.



New punk festival Hi-Fi Rockfest: Dead Kennedys, Naked Raygun, Leftover Crack, Street Dogs& more

Hi-Fi Music Productions has announced the line-up of their 1st annual Hi-Fi Rockfest which will take place at Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach, CA on Saturday, September 26th, 2015. Punk/American Hardcore legends the Dead Kennedys will headline the festival, along with festival favorites: Naked Raygun, Street Dogs, Leftover Crack, Richie Ramone, Luicidal, True Rivals, Dirty Filthy Mugs and Downtown Brown.

Tickets are only $30 and can be purchased here.

Note: There are a small number of VIP passes available offering full access to the Hi-Fi VIP area featuring a private bar, shaded area with tables and chairs near the stage, private air-conditioned restrooms and unlimited “Baller” status.  Those tickets are only $55 and will go fast so I advise you grab a pair asap.

Hi-Fi Rockfest is an all ages, all day celebration of great music, gourmet food, flowing booze and punk themed distractions. Rainbow Lagoon Park borders the Pacific Ocean, which will serve as a backdrop to all of the festivities. The festival is being produced by D.O’B Sound Studios owner and veteran drummer/producer, Derik O’Brien, DC-Jam Records owner Darron Hemann, and Dying Scene head honcho Dave Buck. Pooling their collective experience and imagination, Derek, Darron and Dave are throwing a party to celebrate the end of summer featuring 9 ripping bands that will satisfy loud music fans of all generations.

The festival will mark the first of many years to come. For further information, please visit the festivals website.



The Bomb (members of Naked Raygun, The Methadones, etc.) stream new song “Silent Fall”

Chicago punk super-group The Bomb (ft. Naked Raygun frontman Jeff Pezzati, Methadones drummer Mike Soucy, Pete Mittler (who has played bass for both of those bands) and Jeff Dean of All Eyes West) will be putting out a new 12″ EP titled The Axis of Awesome on March 17th through No Idea Records.

To tide you over til then, they’ve made one of the new songs available to stream! Here’s what drummer Mike Soucy had to say about “Silent Fall,” which can be heard down below:

“I wrote the lyrics about a shirt that I accidentally left at a bar in Blue Island. The title is a play on the words Island and Fall. The show was in October so go figure… I used words to describe the shirt that might also be appropriate when describing a girl. I didn’t want people reading them to think I lost a shirt. Who writes a song about a shirt?? I wanted them to think I lost the love of my life on an Island. And the word Fall made it sound more dramatic, I thought. The chorus even sounded more desperate and I purposefully used the word “us” to give a more personal touch to the shirt that I no longer had in my life. It also was the first song I ever did most of the vocal melodies for. Pezzatti changed the lyrics around a bit so it’s not quite the same. The idea is still there, though. It’s a simple tale of a man who lost the coolest shirt he’d ever had.”

Pre-orders for The Axis of Awesome are available on No Idea’s webstore. The first pressing of is limited to 325 copies on coke bottle clear vinyl with a special screen-printed B-side.



Video: Fall Out Boy cover Naked Raygun’s “New Dreams” with Jeff Pezzati on vocals

Last weekend at Riot Fest, Fall Out Boy covered the Naked Raygun classic “New Dreams”. Joining the band on stage was none other than Naked Raygun frontman Jeff Pezzati.

You can watch the performance below.

Fall Out Boy released their fifth studio album, Save Rock and Roll, on April 16 through Island Records.