Concert previews graphic from the September 1994 issue.

Concert Previews: September 1994


Drown and For Love Not Lisa at the Cinema Bar on September 6

For Love Not Lisa is a hard-working band that spends most of their time on the road. They are becoming a fixture at local clubs, and by now their chops are honed to a fine edge. They started out in Oklahoma and moved to Los Angeles looking for a big break. They got the break and were signed to EastWest for one album. After East West dropped them they ended up on Tooth + Nail Records where they continue to this day.

Drown was here opening for White Zombie at the lake. This time though, they are bringing the noise to the cozy confines of the Cinema Bar. For an idea of what they sound like, ask Dave Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy. “‘Heavy’ is a term which is often used, misused and abused … but is the only word to describe Drown.” Ogilvie should know, he produced their album. They formed in Los Angeles during the year of our lord, 1987. They were “discovered” by A&R Elektra director Michael Alago, who is responsible for signing Metallica and White Zombie to the WEA family.

The album, Hold on to the Hollow, was released early this summer. Love and life haven’t been kind to the gents of Drown, they took their frustration and anger out on their instruments and recorded an album of noise that blends metal with industrial. “Our emotions are really intense and passionate,” says Lauren Boquette, the bands lead singer. “We’re a concept band in that we’re always feeling (hurt) by someone. I couldn’t picture myself writing ‘Shiny Happy People.’” Rob Nicholson (bass guitar) adds, “The record explodes. It rips your head off.” They proved themselves at Saltair, can they translate the act to the small stage?

Greg Ginn and Transition at the Cinema Bar on September 13

SO what has Greg Ginn been doing for the last seven years? I asked him In a short phone conversation. After Black Flag broke up, he concentrated on the music of others—producing, operating the labels and running the businesses. He never quit playing music. “I played in private, playing music for myself without having to deal with everything that goes with the industry side.” He continued to develop his guitar skills and write songs.

About two years ago Ginn built his own studio and got his current band together. Along with Ginn are Steve Sharp on bass and Gregory Moore on drums. They’ve played together for the last two years and have done some live shows. This is the group Ginn will bring with him when he visits the Cinema Bar. Ginn enjoys playing with a variety of different musicians and the touring group isn’t always the same as the recorded one.

Besides running three record labels, producing others records and recording his own, Ginn had his own radio show at KWIZ in Santa Ana, SCREW Radio. The program featured Ginn in the persona of Poindexter Stewart, a wimpy, whiny and slightly hyper radio personality and alternative rock musician. “The character is modeled after the most irritating person I can imagine. It started as a parody of what I see as the superficial elements in the alternative-rock record business. The character is lazy, but expects a lot, but it’s more complicated than just that. That’s the starting off point for Poindexter Stewart. I also try to make a lot of my own points with it, even though they’re kind of coming from this lame personality.”

The station changed to an all-Asian format, and Ginn was “kicked off” the air. He has plans for a syndicated SCREW radio program in the fall. The program will be offered to nonprofit radio stations hopefully via satellite. Along with playing SST, CRUZ and The New Music Alliance artists the show will have SCREW news and the SCREW phone line. Ginn said the topics of phone-in discussion include politics and sex, along with music.

Ginn is quiet and soft spoken over the phone. He seems more comfortable expressing himself through his music than talking. The only thing he had to say about the old days touring with Black Flag was: “There were a lot of riots.” He made sure to let me know there was another band appearing onstage the night of September 6.

Ginn has released a trio of albums and two singles over the last year. The only one I’ve heard, Let It Burn (Because I don’t Live There Anymore), is filled with catastrophic, distorted guitar and bass. He may be quiet and soft spoken offstage, but when he picks up a guitar the pent-up anger all pours forth.

Transition recently released their debut Ginn’s SST label. Their disc is an aggressive dose of discontent. The vocals by David Benson remind me of Blue Cheer’s Dickie Peterson. The words are understandable and in case you don’t get the message they are printed inside the booklet. For a change the nihilism is absent, that doesn’t mean they are happy. They don’t want to destroy everything, they want to change it. Bits and pieces of heavy metal peek through the hardcore now and again but not enough to ruin things.

The first and second generations of modern punk will share the same stage at the Cinema Bar.

Stone Fox at the Cinema Bar on September 20

Stone Fox bill themselves as “eight mountainous melons, yet ten nipples; five pee pees, yet one weenie.” Four girls and one boy, he’s the drummer. They’ve been giggin’ around the San Francisco area for the last few years hoping for a record deal and national acceptance. Brent Hoover, the male and Janis Tanaka, the bassist, used to be in another San Francisco combo, The Jackson Saints. Tanaka also toured as a member of Tommy Stinson is Bash & Pop. Jorjee Douglas is the singer and publicist for the band. Kimba the White Lion is on guitar and so is Yvette the Orbit Woman.

They had a song on the San Francisco area compilation Funhouse 2 in ‘93. Stone Fox finally took matters into their own hands in early ‘93 and self released an album of their music. Now they’re taking the show on the road with plans to give Salt Lake’s boys and girls a peek in September.

Burnt, their album, is a strange mixture of garage punk, ‘80s pop metal (think Pat Benatar) and acoustic folk. Jorjee holds the entire thing together with her vocals. On the electrified songs, the band is screeching and grinding away behind her in all directions. The one acoustic song, “Embalm Me”, is such a straight reading that I’m surprised Rounder Records or Flying Fish Records hasn’t searched them out for fame and fortune on the folk circuit. 

If they can translate this stuff to a stage, and apparently they have in San Francisco, Stone Fox could give the surprise performance of the month. The entrance fee is cheap and so is the beer. Arrive early at the Cinema Bar on September 20 to catch one of the many underappreciated local bands, who at this time are unannounced.

Spahn Ranch at the Cinema Bar on September 22

No, it isn’t industrial night at some local dance club. Instead of spinning records and CDs for the X-96 crowd this Thursday night’s celebration of summer’s end features an actual live industrial band. They don’t have guitars and drums, electronics provide the music. Three actual humans manipulate the machines. They take their name from the former Charles Manson residence and their musical inspiration from the films. “The way we laid out the album, we wanted the album to flow, almost so that it comes across like a soundtrack. So we put segues in it so it would flow from one track to another,” says Matt Green, one of the founding members. He is talking about their 1993 debut album, Collateral Damage, which AP of course raved on and on about.

Their latest is an EP titled The Blackmail Starters and it continues the hard, grinding, pounding wails of the first. Rob Morton was the second founding member of the original line-up. Since then they’ve added vocalist Nathan Maroulis, who appears on the new EP and will tour with them. Spahn Ranch is much harder and faster than the town favorite Machines Of Loving Grace. They are even harder and faster than Sister Machine Gun who played here in July. It’s an industrial band that could please the ravers with the high BPM count. Except it’s live, not Memorex.

Read more from the SLUG Archives:
Concert Reviews: April 1993
Concerts: March 1993