So it appears I lied in my previous post, the MERCY KILLINGS - S/T EP (which is almost sold out) was NOT my last release of 2013! After a plethora of delays and a few years of planning the actual release (not to mention the 32 years since these recordings were cut), the MOD SUBS - PRIMITIVE BY TODAY'S STANDARDS LP is FINALLY ready to roll! MOD SUBS were one of the first punk bands to pop up in the former capital of the Confederacy back in 1980. When Marty approached me about this project I was pretty stoked, my only knowledge of the MOD SUBS was from the WHITE CROSS live set on that CD that GTA did years ago, where Crispy says "Now we're gonna do our MOD SUBS set" and they go into "Can't Handle the Load" - I'd always wanted to hear more and was excited when I finally got around to hearing it! These recordings were released on a cassette tape and I'd be willing to bet most of the very few copies that existed didn't even make it out of Richmond. It consists of a studio session from the infamous Studio Two featuring both originals and covers along with a live set at the very end where they play some songs that, while they didn't manage to be captured in the bands' one studio session, eventually became staples of the live sets of the bands that would follow when MOD SUBS inevitably called it a day, leading to the formation of VAHC greats like WHITE CROSS who would include the song "Pink Flamingos" on their "WHAT'S GOING ON?" LP a few years later. There's even an early / slower version of "Suburbanite" - a track that would eventually appear much tighter and faster on 1982's "FASCIST" EP by WHITE CROSS. Anyways, I'll leave the rest to Doug Dobey. Not only was he there for all of it, but this release could not have happened without him, so cheers! Read on:
The Mod Subs were one of Richmond’s original punk bands. They formed in the spring of 1980 and stuck it out for a little over a year. Mike Rodriguez played lead guitar; Jeff Keezel, bass; Hal Imburg, drums; and Dave Lewis, aka ‘Bowie’, was the singer.
This long-lost master reel was originally recorded and mixed after-hours in the basement studio at Union Theological Seminary where Keezel worked a day job as an AV tech. The tracks are a mix of originals, early punk covers, and a couple of repurposed American classics. It’s presented as it was originally released, a mixture of live-in-the- studio songs recorded two, three, four at a time without a break, and inter-cut with a few samples from movie soundtracks. The last three songs were recorded live at a local club and capture some of the joy and chaos of a Mod Subs show. That’s me announcing the band, by the way. I thought I was being clever at the time.
It was always Mikey’s band. He had already run the short-lived Vacants through their paces, when he put together the Modern Suburbans. Once the lineup settled down to the four guys on this record, the name was shortened to Mod Subs, and the rest, as they say, is history. After the Subs, Mikey became the driving force behind Red Cross, White Cross, then later, Mudd Helmut. A few of the songs on this record stayed with him throughout the life of his later bands. One of them, the venerable ‘Pink Flamingo’, became a Richmond shout-along classic that’s still trotted out to this day. Here’s the story behind the song...
Bowie and I had scouted out a yard in North Side Richmond early one evening. It was chock-full of yard ornaments and we wanted one. We returned late that night. Bowie was the wheel man, and I was the thief. He pulled up onto a side street about a block from the house. Bowie killed the lights as I got out of the car. It looked easy enough, just hop over a small hedge and a chain link fence, grab the bird and go. I grab the bird and as I’m clearing the fence, the flood lights come on, and I break into a run. I sprint down the street laughing, with a pink flamingo under my arm while the owner chases after me. I yell at Bowie, “Go, go, go!” He gets the car moving and I climb in. We got away with it and we laughed hysterically all the way home. The next night Bowie wrote the song. Funny how one silly incident like that can develop a life of it’s own.
Mikey could be a taskmaster, but someone’s got to be in charge I guess. He was always berating Hal to play below his ability. “Nothing fancy!” he’d shout. “No fills! Just ‘boop-bap-boop-bap-boop-bap-boop-bap’!” Keezel was his own man, and stood up to Mikey more than anyone else in the band. The tension was palpable at times. Especially when they were playing live, there was always a sense that one of them might go off on the other. Bowie was always being talked into more and more outrageous behavior, like appearing onstage in his underwear, a diaper, a miniskirt. He could have said no, but that wasn’t his way. Then came the “The Ipecac Incident” at Hard Times...
Ipecac is a syrup that was used at the time to induce vomiting in cases of poisoning. Bowie got talked into drinking a bottle of the stuff before the show. If things went as planned, at the climax of their set Bowie would spin around on stage and become a ‘hurling dervish’. Anything to please the crowd. Trouble is it didn’t work. Try as he might, Bowie couldn’t bring himself to puke. He tried putting his fingers down his throat, made some pretty horrific gagging noises into the mic, but no vomit. At least not on stage. After the show, Bowie was sitting on the curb outside when the Ipecac finally kicked in. He was out there for a while, head between his knees, sadly puking into the gutter.
The Subs played pretty regularly around town with a few forays to DC and Virginia Beach. Typical of the time, they were banned from a couple of local venues. Some tables got knocked over, a few bottles got broken, a couple of fights broke out. Nothing outrageous really, until the ‘Fish Kill’ at a club called Newgate Prison...
Some grandstanding local punk group had trumped up a fake rivalry with the Subs. Their moneyman booked a special Halloween show, and hyped it as a battle of the bands. The Subs agreed to play. Why not? They were getting paid. Then Bowie got an idea. He and I went to a local seafood store to acquire some fish guts, ostensibly for a ‘VCU art school project’. You could get away with almost anything back then if you said you were working on an ‘art project’. We stole a couple of pumpkins from Safeway and carved out special deep-bottom jack o’ lanterns and filled them with as much of the rotting guts as they would hold. The Subs played first. When the other band was well into their set, we carried the gut-laden pumpkins through the crowd and placed them at the corners of the stage. Of course their singer would feel compelled to kick the pumpkins into the crowd. We barely had time to get to the back before their fans were covered with fish guts. As you can imagine, the club’s owner wasn‘t happy.
Limited to 300 copies. Each record comes in a beautifully done screen printed and die cut sleeve, along with an insert featuring extensive liner notes and rare photographs of the band.
This is a split release with STEADY SOUNDS RECORDS and in the event it is more convenient to do so, I urge you to pick it up from them as well.
To order individual copies, please go to http://beachimpedimentrecords.bigcartel.com
To hear a few songs from the "PRIMITIVE BY TODAY'S STANDARDS" LP, go to http://soundcloud.com/beachimpediment
For wholesale inquiries, please contact beachimpediment[at]gmail[dot]com
For more information, please visit http://beachimpedimentrecords.blogspot.com
I'm heading out of town for about a week and a half. I will start shipping these out on January 6th, 2014. I will also be responding to any and all wholesale inquiries upon my return as well. Thanks for the understanding! And if that's not fast enough, hit up the homies at Steady Sounds and they will get you sorted before that.
UPDATE 1/11/14: STEADY SOUNDS are all sold out of their copies but I still have some left. Been laid out with the flu for the past week but slowly getting to wholesale inquiries and sending out mailorder copies. Thanks for your patience!
The following stores / distros have or will have copies in the near future: EBULLITION, SORRY STATE RECORDS, NAT RECORDS (Japan), SOAP AND SPIKES, FEEL IT RECORDS, LIGHT IN THE ATTIC RECORDS, DISCHORD RECORDS, END OF AN EAR RECORDS, VINYL CONFLICT, VELTED REGNUB, HELTA SKELTA (Australia), and more that are in the works.
On that note, thanks again for all the orders and generally good vibes this year! To revise the list from the last post, here is what I had the pleasure of spreading in 2013:
HASSLER - AMORALITY EP
KREMLIN - DRUNK IN THE GULAG 12"
GAS RAG - HUMAN RIGHTS EP
VAASKA/IMPALERS - SPLIT 7"
OBLITERATION - WAR IS OUR DESTINY EP
MERCY KILLINGS - S/T EP
MOD SUBS - PRIMITIVE BY TODAY'S STANDARDS LP
So again, cheers to the lovers and the haters! Have a neat rest of the year, I'll be back within a few months with the GAS RAG 12".