Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not to Say I Told You So...

Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court - Now What?

After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

The unprecedented concession was filed on November 9, and sealed to protect the plaintiff's identify. It was obtained through individuals unrelated to the case.

The claim, one of 4,900 autism cases currently pending in Federal "Vaccine Court," was conceded by US Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and other Justice Department officials, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, the "defendant" in all Vaccine Court cases.

The child's claim against the government -- that mercury-containing vaccines were the cause of her autism -- was supposed to be one of three "test cases" for the thimerosal-autism theory currently under consideration by a three-member panel of Special Masters, the presiding justices in Federal Claims Court.

Keisler wrote that medical personnel at the HHS Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation (DVIC) had reviewed the case and "concluded that compensation is appropriate."

The doctors conceded that the child was healthy and developing normally until her 18-month well-baby visit, when she received vaccinations against nine different diseases all at once (two contained thimerosal).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Re: Lee Hazen

Just got some bad news regarding Lee Hazen, the man who recorded so many great Florida 45s, working with bands like the Nightcrawlers, Rocking Roadrunners, et al.:

"Lee had a massive stroke on Saturday. He is paralyzed on his right side and breathing with assistance. He has yet to awaken from the stroke. He is at Skyline Med center 615-769-4636.-patient update line.

When I saw him at Xmas he didn't look great but was his usual self.

If you pray or have other spiritual leanings he could use it.

The address of the Skyline Medical Center is:

3441 Dickerson Pike

Nashville, TN 37207

but several of us from the Ampex list have tried to talk to the hospital and have gotten nowhere.

Anyway, sorry if this is a shock, but I thought maybe you or your readers would be interested to know this news."


Chris Goosman

Monday, February 25, 2008

Florida Rocks Again!: Tales from the Archives

Seeing as I don't have a new podcast and this week's episode on the Blizzard is the same as last week's (owing to transmitter problems this past Wednesday) I wanted to hype the Florida Rocks Again! podcast archives at

FRA! #25: Girls! Girls! Girls!

This time out, it’s a rockin’ roll call of delightful dolls and delectable dames as the all-time greats from the Sunshine State sing songs with girls’ names in the title. Featuring a mess of fine Florida garage 45s, as well as some deep soul, psych, rockabilly, and even a TV theme song.

FRA! #24: Rockabilly Riot!

It’s a Rockabilly Riot as Mal Thursday presents an episode full o’ swingin’ sides from the Sunshine State circa the ’50s and early ’60s, waxed up by such three-chord geniuses as Johnny Red, Tracy Pendarvis, Benny Joy, and others. Edited down from its original form as an installment of Florida Rocks Again’s original broadcast run on WSOS/St. Augustine, this down-and-dirty, short-but-sweet set will make you hop, bop, and boogie.

FRA! #23: Night and Day

In perhaps the most rockin’ episode yet of the long-running series, every song has the word “Night” or “Day” in the title, or both, as in the opening number by the Razor’s Edge out of West Palm Beach. Although the episode starts with a Cole Porter song, it quickly segues into garage greatness with rare cuts by some of the grooviest groups to ever emerge from the swamps, beaches, and backwaters of F-L-A, as well as two different 45s from the legendary Paris Tower label.

FRA! #22: Fuzz Feast

An hour of fuzztone favorites by the All-Time Greats from the Sunshine State, taken from the show’s original ‘04-’05 broadcast run on WSOS in St. Augustine. Although we’ve raided many of this episode’s tastiest nuggets for previous podcasts, there are still some gems that have yet to be heard on the GPP. So sit back, relax, and deep-fry your mind with a Florida Fuzz Feast!

FRA! #21: Cryin’ Time

The all-time greats from the Sunshine State emote for the ages with a three-hankie, five-star episode where all of the songs are all about shedding tears. Sometimes the singers are talking about making someone else cry, but more often than not, it’s the singers themselves who are the ones doing the crying. Featuring 21 weepin’ wailers from such artists as Benny Joy, Mouse & the Boys, the Montells, and many more.

FRA! #20: Florida Time!

The all-time greats from the Sunshine State return with a very special episode where all of the songs are about the swamps, beaches, and backwaters of good ol’ F-L-A. Florida artists like Wayne Cochran, Noble “Thin Man” Watts, and the Corornados rock alongside out-of-state greats like Bing Crosby, the Butthole Surfers, and the Beach Bums, who open the show with this episode’s theme song. There’s even a cut from the soundtrack of our favorite Elvis movie, Girl Happy. It’s Florida Time!

FRA! #19: Love, Love, Love

It’s summertime, and the unmistakable smell of love is in the air… OK, so it smells a lot more like hate and war out there, but Florida Rocks Again! is going to beat ceaselessly against the tide with a show where every song has the word “Love” in the title. Starring the All-Time Greats from the Sunshine State, rocking the usual garage sounds, plus some tasty fuzz pop, folk blues, deep soul, and heavy rock flavors.

FRA! #18: Orlando Rocks Again!

Host Mal Thursday takes you on a trip back in time to Orlando in the ’60s and early ’70s, before the Mouse came to town, when top teen combos kicked out the jams at the youth centers and armories of Central Florida. Featuring exclusive interviews with Wayne Proctor of We The People and members of Tin House, whose bands topped the bill at the Orlando Reunion Concert on September 16th, 2006.

FRA! #17: Hey, Man

An eclectic mix of ’60s sounds from the Sunshine State. The first half of the program features songs with the word “Man” in the title, while the latter half features songs with “woman,” “lady,” or “girl” in the title. There are primitive garage classics from We The People, the Dark Horsemen, and Billy Sandlin & the Interns (thanks to BossHoss for that one), plus Florida-born legends Gram Parsons, Fred Neil, and Tampa Red, not to mention the first appearance in the series of the infamous Blowfly, performing “Hole Man.”

FRA! #16: The “I” Decade

The latest installment of the series features a heapin’ helpin’ of Florida-related ’60s era rock & roll songs, all with the word “I” in the title. This episode is a Podcast exclusive, and one of the most rocking yet. Special thanks to forum fiend Eargasm! for the Bash track.

FRA! #15: Sunshine State Garage

The latest installment of Florida Rocks Again! is the purest expression of the show’s garage underbelly, with many great cuts from 1965 to 1968, but most from 1966. Together with “Sunshine State Garage Revisited” (FRA! #5 & 7) this episode makes the case for Florida’s garage greatness. Featuring We The People, the Allman Joys, Beaver Patrol, and many, many more.

FRA! #14: Baby!

In honor of the birth of his daughter Lola Antonia (aka Tuesday Ann-Margaret), Mal Thursday presents this latest edition of Florida Rocks Again!, featuring the all-time greats from the Sunshine State singing songs with the word “Baby” in the title, as well as a set of songs with girls’ names in the title. In addition to some great fuzz-punkers from the Tasmanians, Mor-Loks, and the Raven, there’s also primal rockabilly from Benny Joy and Kent Westberry.

FRA! #13: Coverama!

Another action-packed episode — this one’s all covers, with the all-time greats from the Sunshine State doing versions of songs made famous by other artists — a set of early rock ‘n roll and rhythm & blues, a set of ’60s songs, a set of Vanilla Fudge-inspired remakes — and bands like the Fifth Order, the Lyres, and the Remains doing covers of songs written by Florida artists. It’s Coverama, baby!

FRA! #12: All About You!

This installment features songs with the word “You” in the title. In addition to the usual assortment of mid-’60s garage bands, this episode also contains a set of smokin’ southern soul, and, in honor of Bike Week (March 3-12 in Daytona Beach), a set of early ’70s hard rock and boogie. Starring Conlon & the Crawlers, the Montells, BOOT — the later, “heavier” incarnation of the Split Ends (”Rich With Nothing”), and many more. Special thanks to BossHoss for the Crawlers and Canadian Rogues tracks. Hope you all dig it!

FRA! #11: Florida Freak Out!

An hour-long trip to the psychedelic side of the Sunshine State, as a series of ’60s garage combos turn up their fuzz-boxes and wax poetic about blowing their sun-bleached minds. This episode includes such long-lost classics as We The People’s “When I Arrive,” the Kollektion’s “Savage Lost” (Florida Rocks Again! co-producer Jeff Lemlich named his essential book about Florida garage bands after this regional hit), and the Birdwatchers’ “Mary, Mary (It’s to You That I Belong),” described by lead singer Sammy Hall in his autobiography Hooked on a Good Thing as “a love song to marijuana.”

FRA! #10: Miami

A trip back in time and space to Miami, Florida circa 1966, with music from garage greats the Montells, the Birdwatchers, the Clefs of Lavender Hill, and many others. Co-producer and music guru JeffMiami provides commentary on the bands, the WQAM-WFUN radio wars, and more.

FRA! #9: Florida Folk Rock

This jangly installment of Florida Rocks Again! features a flock of fine folk rockers from F-L-A, including Sir Michael & the Sounds, the Nightcrawlers, and the Non-Pareils. An hour’s worth of 12-string guitars and deep lyrics from the swamps, beaches, and backwaters of ’60s Florida.

FRA! #8: Tampa Bay Teen Scene

This rockin’ installment is the hour-long “Tampa Bay Teen Scene” episode, featuring some of the area’s greatest bands of the ’60s, including the Tropics, the Split Ends, and Blues Image, as well as a tribute to the late, great John Delise (Rovin’ Flames, Outsiders, etc.). There’s also a little ’70s action from make-up-wearin’ weirdos White Witch and some modern-day garage from The Unrequited Loves. Enjoy!

FRA! # 5 & 7: Sunshine State Garage Revisited

Mal Thursday brings you more garage band greats from the swamps, beaches, and backwaters of Florida, including such ’60s combos as the Legends, the Impacs, and the Beau Heems, as well as modern day bands like the Heatseekers, the Evidents, and Thee Monarchy V. Originally podcast in two parts, as FRA! #5 and #7.

FRA! # 3 & 6: Painted Faces/The Tropics

A combination of episodes #3 (”The Tropics Story”) and #6 (”The Painted Faces Story”) for this podcast. The first part was originally FRA! #6, and tells the mind-bending story of Ft. Myers psychedelic pioneers Painted Faces. This is a pulse-pounding ’60s saga of big beats and broken dreams, from their first 45 ’til the drummer got his draft card...Hope you dig it, cuz it is most wild. The second part, subtitled “The Tropics Story,” is told by Charlie Souza, who played bass in the Tropics, then went on to play with Bacchus, White Witch, Tom Petty, and now the New Tropics.

FRA! # 1 & 2: The I-4 Corridor Battle of the Bands!

Host MalThursday takes you on a monophonic journey down Interstate 4, a rockin’ route that runs from Daytona Beach to the Tampa Bay, as a slew of mid-’60s garage bands do battle for your listening and dancing pleasure. Among the participants are We The People, the Berkley Five, and the Split Ends.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ken Russell Tribute in Montreal

Friday Feb 22, 2008
at 7:00 PM

Cinémathèque québécoise
335, boul. De Maisonneuve Est
Montréal, Quebec|62
View Map

FIFA (International Festival Of Films On Art) 2008 retrospective tribute to Ken Russell:




THE DEBUSSY FILM (with Oliver Reed)







Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Brilliant Early Work of Mimsy Farmer, Vol. 2

The second installment in our ongoing tribute to '60s ingénue Mimsy Farmer takes a lingering look at her role in 1967's Devil's Angels, directed by Daniel Haller, and co-starring John Cassavetes, Beverly Adams, and Buck Kartalian (whom you may recall from the film Please Don't Eat My Mother) as "Funky."

The movie, written by the great Charles Griffith (Little Shop of Horrors, A Bucket of Blood) concerns the wacky misadventures of the Skulls motorcycle gang, and their world-weary leader, Cody (Cassavetes). The Skulls like to blow off steam by getting loaded, pouring beer over one another's heads, and outraging the local citizenry. After accidentally running down an unlucky square, the gang splits the scene for greener pastures.

Farmer doesn't appear until midway into the film's 84 minute running time, but when she does, she's mesmerizing. As Marianne, a fresh-faced runner-up in a local beauty pageant, Mimsy is not given a lot of dialog, but she does wonders with her facial expressions. After the beauty contest, Marianne catches a ride on the back of one of the Skulls' hogs and ends up at a biker beach party where she smokes weed and gets pawed by various filthy bikers.

When she runs scared to the Sheriff's office, one of the city fathers inflates her minor hassle into a statch rape beef, and has Cassavetes thrown in jail. The Sheriff releases him after Mimsy admits that there was no rape, but the Skulls decide to address the injustice by staging a mock trial, then thoroughly trashing the town.

Cassavetes leaves the gang and his girl (the gorgeous Beverly Adams, "Animal" in the Beach Party movies) behind and rides off alone, the paycheck for Devil's Angels tucked into his pocket to help finance one of his own projects (Faces, I believe). Meanwhile, a phalanx of county cops descend on the town to bring the pain to the Skulls.

Mimsy is beautiful as ever, a mix of innocence and curiosity, and inevitably, the object of biker brutality.

3 Balls of Fire: Jet Set Guitars

3 Balls of Fire: Jet Set Guitars (Deep Eddy Records)

I picked this CD up at last night's Biker Movie evening at the Alamo Drafthouse, and it's a winner.

Austin's 3 Balls of Fire play guitar instrumentals that satisfy. This modern day Ventures is led by the multi-talented Mike Vernon, aided and abetted by Vic Gerard on bass and various drummers of distinction. Jet Set Guitars showcases the band's musicianship without being overbearing about it.

Highlights include the title track, the opening track, "Wild Fire," and a nice version of Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows."

3 Balls of Fire will be on the bill with Davie Allan and the Arrows and Fever Tree tonight at the Continental Club and Saturday night in Houston.

TONIGHT! At the Continental Club, Austin

and Saturday February 23rd in Houston






Monday, February 18, 2008

"Devil's Angels"/Davie Allan & the Arrows 2/20

Wednesday February 20th at 9:30 pm

Devil's Angels (1967)
Classic AIP biker flick starring John Cassavetes and Mimsy Farmer

Plus Davie Allan & the Arrows live on stage!

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
320 E 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701


I'm there, dude...

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Fundamental Difference of Opinion

An old friend of mine, Michael Carley, is the head of an organization called GRASP, which advocates for people with Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. The group's mantra is "We're happy the way we are."

They also come out against any organization or individual who dares to question the CDC party line that there is no connection between autism and vaccines, or rather the hug spike in the incidence of autism as related to the huge increase in the amount of vaccinations that children are given in the first two years of life (see previous post).

They maintain that since no money has ever been awarded in any lawsuit, that such claims are obviously without merit. Not to compare apples and oranges, but the first lawsuit against the tobacco industry claiming that their products caused cancer was filed in 1954. It took over 30 years for any plaintiff to win a dime. Does that mean that cigarettes aren't carcinogenic? Of course not.

In any case, when my kid was diagnosed with autism, I called Michael. He advised me to "live with it," and not to believe "crackpots" like Generation Rescue, who were trying to "fix" their children rather than accepting them for who they are. I later learned that Michael himself had Asperger's, which may or may not have explained his often inappropriate social behavior, but which did not affect his verbal skills.

My kid is normal in most ways, but at three years old, he is still struggling to communicate. We believe that his speech delay is connected to vaccine damage. Our former pediatrician in St. Augustine, Dr. Paul Leadom, brushed off our concerns over the sheer volume of toxins to which our one-year-old was being subjected, and strongly advocated that we give him the full volley of immunizations. Our child was sick for days afterward, and seemed to change overnight.

Two years later, we are trying to repair that damage through biomedical means. We moved to Austin so that we could take Liam to Thoughtful House, one of the leading Autism treatment centers in the US, which features several nationally known DAN doctors.

I'm on the GRASP mailing list, and regularly receive emails wherein Michael speaks out against anyone who would try to "fix" autism. It reminds me of deaf people who regard coclear implants as somehow heretical, a betrayal of who they are.

I'm sorry, but I know that not being able to communicate his needs and wants does not make my kid happy.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

While we're not about to file a lawsuit against the evil mofos of the monolithic pharmaceutical industry, we are doing everything we can to help our son talk, and recover from the damage caused by the toxic vaccines he was given at too young an age.

Call me a crackpot, Mike, but I have to agree to disagree.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bring Me the Head of Anthony Wiggle

First off, let me say that I have two beautiful children who are whip-smart little people who I love with all my being. That said, I can't say that I share their taste in television programming. As a matter of fact, some of the stuff they watch makes me crazy.

So crazy that I have created my own Nixonian "enemies list" of my most despised children's TV personalities.

1. Veggie Tales

Or, as I likes to call 'em, "Religetables." It's not the message I don't like, because lessons about sharing, caring, et al., are not inherently bad. The thing about these computer-animated Christian kiddie faves that I cannot stand are their awful high-pitched character voices and the bloody obnoxious songs they sing.


I find myself making up alternate, obscene lyrics to their various ditties ("Sodomy/Lobotomy/Gotta be/Veggie Tales!") and daydreaming about putting Larry the Cucumber and Junior Asparagus into a giant Cuisinart.

Is that evil?

2. The Wiggles

The Wiggles are an entertainment juggernaut, four aging rockers wearing primary colors who sing insidiously catchy tunes about eating fruit salad and driving around in their big red car that are very captivating to the 1 to 4 year old demographic, but which contain absolutely no educational value. And which are maddening to adults. Heading the enemies list from Team Wiggles are Anthony, the Blue Wiggle, and the grating, excruciating Captain Feathersword, whose labored comedy bits are painful to behold, and whose singing voice could cause bleeding of the ears. Anthony I despise for his unmitigated greed, for keeping the money train rolling after their lead singer retired due to health issues.

3. Mickey Mouse

A greedy, megalomaniacal corporate whore. Not funny, either.

4. The Doodlebops

Even though Dee Dee Doodle is hot in a strange girl-next-door kinda way (if the girl next door has a pink hair helmet and huge hands, that is), this Canadian-made kids show is beneath contempt. Demonstrating no redeeming social value, and no educational value, watching The Doodlebops actually makes your kids less intelligent.

Bus driver Bob is filthy.

5. Barney

Evil purple prick who makes the list despite the fact that I try to never let my children be exposed to him and his coterie of creepy kids.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Chunk Records Story, Part Four

In Part One, Chunk Records began as an outlet for '80s garage band the Malarians; in Part Two, it was reborn as an imprint for limited edition 7-inch singles; then in Part Three, Chunk made a move toward bigger and better things, only to get caught in a perfect storm of hubris, naivete, and alt-country effrontery.

Chapter Six: After the Gold Rush

At the end of August 1995, I moved with my then-girlfriend from our downtown Northampton apartment to a remote two-story farmhouse at 23 Beaver Drive in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. There was an above-ground pool and a spacious downstairs bedroom that became the new corporate headquarters of Chunk Records.

A week later, my girlfriend moved out. She later said of our two-year relationship, "I was young and lost. What was your excuse?"

I had been abandoned by both my girlfriend and by the Scud Mountain Boys, who, having paid me off, were now recording their debut album for Sub Pop. I was pretty desolate, but was cheered a bit when the buyout check arrived in the mail.

In November, I had a week-long whirlwind courtship, followed by an impulse marriage to Wednesday Thursday. Most of my friends didn't give the marriage six months, but we proved them wrong. It lasted a year and a half.

Split 7-Inch

Here's a near-perfect record in the grand tradition of split singles like the Sonic Youth/ Mudhoney "Touch Me, I'm Sick"/"Halloween" (orignally released on Sub Pop, ironically enough), where the two bands covered each other's songs. It is perhaps Chunk's finest hour.

Matt Hunter of New Radiant Storm King was a big fan of Guided By Voices, and soon found his band sharing bills with the Ohio-based lo-fi legends. Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices was a big fan of New Radiant Storm King, and so this split 7-inch came to pass. It was originally going to be released on as the first release of a label called Indi 500, a fledgling enterprise started up by, if I recall correctly, Nate Albert of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and filmmaker Chris Appelbaum, among others, but the venture got back-burnered when the principals all had found they had better things to do than run an indie label. That thankless task is reserved for schmucks like me. And thus the record fell into my lap.

GBV chose to cover "The Opposing Engineer Sleeps Alone" from NRSK's difficult second album Rival Time, while NRSK returned the favor by turning in a stellar rendition of "I Am a Scientist" off of Bee Thousand. This would be the last Storm King release to feature original drummer Elizabeth Sharp.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the sleeve art. The GBV side sported a collage by Pollard, while the NRSK side featured artwork borrowed from '50s sci-fi paperbacks. At the time, I was working with local graphic desgner Eric Olsson, who did the layouts of many of the best-looking records we ever did, including all three Scud Mountain Boys releases, the two DMZ 45s, and this one.


Prior to this record, the Veronica Cartwrights previous releases were all Chunk products: their 3-song 7-inch from 1993, "A Message to Pretty" on 1994's Unloved and "Frog" on Hotel Massachusetts. And so it came to pass that the band's full-length debut, One Careless Match, would bear the Chunk logo as well. Unfortunately, it also bore the imprint of another label (whose name escapes me) started by this guy (I think his name was Corey) in direct competition with Chunk, who hoped to take advantage of our distribution channels and indie cred by making it a joint venture.

The upside was that the other label paid for the pressing; the downside was that the record sold poorly, and the guy from the other label kept pestering me for money that wasn't there.


Flycatcher was supposed to be Chunk's Nirvana. Instead, the band helped dig the label's grave.

A record I committed to back when I still expected a 50 grand buyout from Sub Pop, Pee was already in production when the Scud deal went south. Otherwise, I would have pulled the plug. Not because of the music on the record, but because the band had apparently signed a contract with some Manhattan Rock Skank who was a total mental case, and who bedeviled me with phone calls threatening all manner of legal mayhem. I wasn't about to shelve the record, since it was too late to cancel the order from the pressing plant and the artwork was already done.

Despite being overly derivative of Nirvana, the album definitely has its moments, and sounds great, thanks to the stellar production of Mark Alan Miller. There was also a limited edition sampler 7-inch released simultaneously.

Unfortunately, the band broke up right around the time of its release, and sales were next to non-existent. Not exactly what we needed after the Scuds' defection.

CH1015 RAY MASON BAND: Missyouville CD

Ray Mason is a Western Mass music legend who has been cranking out his brand of "Silvertone Pop" for decades. Chunk had provided distribution for Ray Mason Band's Between Blue and Okay CD, and Ray's "Falling Down" was a highlight of the Hotel Massachusetts compilation CD. Although the record-buying public was largely indifferent to Between Blue and Okay, I agreed to release the follow-up. Part of the reason being that I was expecting a big windfall from the Scud Mountain Boys signing at the time, so I could put out Missyouville as a "loss leader," because it was a damn fine record.

Ray was fond of saying of his often under-attended live shows, "I play the same whether there's six people in the audience or half a dozen." Coincidentally, this album sold in the dozens, although it probably made more money for Ray than any other record in his catalogue, because the following year, when the ship was going down, I gave him boxes and boxes of Missyouville CDs at no cost, to sell at his gigs. Since the Great Scud Mountain Buyout turned out to be something less than the bonanza I had once anticipated, the dismal sales of this record and a couple of other non-starters pretty much blew the buyout loot.

Still, a damn fine record, and I'm glad we put it out.

CHD1016: Tango Palace CD
CH4517: Don't Let Them/Hypnotized

Here's a couple of records I don't remember a whole lot about. Hamlet Idiot was an Amherst-based noise outfit who made a series of obtuse, skronky records with producer Steve Albini. I do recall that the band paid for the pressings, provided the cool cover art, and headlined an underattended record-release show at the Bay State.

Hamlet Idiot's fearless leader Dylan Metrano later formed Tiger Saw. Although the band was pretty obscure in their day, Hamlet Idiot reunited in 2005 for a couple of shows in the Boston area. No word on the attendance.

CH4518 THE FIGGS: Christmas Shake 45

Here's another record that got delayed until it was too late to make a profit on it. Due to the demands of Figgs' manager Brad Morrison, and then having to wait for the unremarkable cover art to come from the graphic artist dude, this 7-inch got released about three weeks before Christmas, and thus sold only a fraction of what it might have.

Let me just say here that the Figgs were, and are, awesome, a great band with great material that should have been the kings of pop-punk, but unfortunately got beaten to the marketplace by Green Day.

At the time of this release, the Figgs had just gotten signed to Capitol, where they released their somewhat disappointing Banda Macho album. Some of the material on this 7-inch eventually got rereleased on a Capitol sampler CD.

The EP combined group originals with a sparkling cover of the Kinks' "Father Christmas," and along with the Cheetahs' "A Message to Santa Claus," puts Chunk alongside K-Tel, Ronco, and other great purveyors of holiday hits.

The Figgs' Mike Gent responds:

"A manager who was difficult? You actually lose money selling 45's??? You don't say?...Also, Banda Macho was not a disappointment for me. I bought at least three guitars, two amps, paid my rent for two years and made The Figgs Couldn't Get High with Banda Macho money."

CH1018 DRUNK STUNTMEN: Taking My Pee Pants Off CD

Drunk Stuntmen originally hailed from Taunton, Mass., and came west to the Pioneer Valley in the guise of a high-energy jam band called Soup ("Bring a bowl for Soup" was their slogan, as I recall). The band changed directions in 1995, reinventing themselves as whiskey-swilling country rockers. In the process, they alienated their UMass hippie fanbase but gained renown among the local indie rock cognoscenti.

Their first release under the Stuntmen moniker was Taking My Pee Pants Off, recorded in their basement by guitarist Terry Flood's brother Mike (who was immortalized by Sebadoh in their song "Flood"). True to the Chunk aesthetic of "Medium Fidelity, Extreme Quality," the disc is a little rough around the edges, but features some great tunes, most notably Alex Johnson's "Statue of Joe Raposo" and the album opener, Steve Sanderson's "Jesse James Dean," which contains the immortal line, "You can all go to hell/I'll go to Texas."

Words to live by, brother.

CH1019: TAG SALE: Trashed and Bent CD

By the end of the '90s, Chunk was a going concern in name only, as the day-to-day business of running the label was no longer my focus. Surviving was more my immediate concern at the time. However, our last two releases, although financed by the bands and released through a distribution network that was a shadow of its former self, are among my all-time favorite Chunk records.

Tag Sale was a local punk squad made up of several of my friends that was a bit polarizing, as they were loved and hated with equal vehemence by the local scenesters. I loved 'em, and I still listen to Trashed and Bent, their lone release, a claim I can't make about a lot of Chunk stuff. I even co-produced a couple of the tracks, which we recorded at the end of a chaotic video shoot for "Jet" (see Appendix B).

Among the highlights are "Rear View," "Space Frontier," and "Traversing the Wave," an homage to the Pixies that is one of the live tracks at the end of the disc.

CH1020: THE COOPERS: American Car CD

The last ever Chunk record, put forth by a young garage band in suits and ties whose demo had caught my ear. I really loved this one song about the singer buying pot in Pulaski Park, but this great song was excluded from their debut album, and since there would not be a follow-up, never got a release. I had wanted to direct a music video for that song, but since it wasn't on the CD, I did one for the title track, an unconscious plagiarism of Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself."

The video is a visual tribute to A Hard Day's Night, shot on black and white super 8 film. Unfortunately, on the day of the shoot, we quickly lost the light, and the second half of the video is pretty dark.

Jed Smith, the leader of the Coopers, is still active musically in the NYC area, and tried to get in touch with me a while back via MySpace. I'll have to get back with him, now that I've listened to his old band's record for the first time in years.


When I originally sat down to write "The Chunk Records Story," I had no idea it would take me four months to finish telling the tale. I made a conscious decision to focus on the music as much as possible, rather than on the often insane goings-on behind the scenes. As it was, I'm sure I pissed a few people off with what I did write. In fact, I know I did, in fact, as I received a message from Angry Johnny saying that I had made him, well, angry. Anyway, in respect to various individuals' privacy and my sense of self-preservation, I left out a lot of bad shit.

Frank Padellaro (King Radio, Scud Mountain Boys, Cheetahs, Miss Reed, etc.) put it this way:

"In your defense, I've found your history extremely entertaining and surprisingly even-handed. I laughed out loud when you described Miss Reed as 'less than the sum of its parts.' It was my favorite review since, 'this record is blander than corn and harder to digest.'

"The part you are really missing in the downfall of Chunk is how you were completely out of your mind. It isn't like you made one or two bad decisions. You were making them too fast to count.

"The thing is, I miss those days more than I care to admit, and you, your delusions of grandeur, and your bitter wit will always stand out as high points in my memory.

"In the end, Chunk Records was a mirror image of you. It was hard to tell if all those records had any impact on anyone, until they were gone, and you realize what an empty hole was left in their place.

"The day you left the Bay State, the Northampton music scene started its long slow death, or at least it contracted some kind of withering illness. The day Chunk put out its last record was the day most of our delusions died. Without your boundless influx of positivity and energy, it was impossible (for me anyway) to suspend disbelief. Most of us woke up one day to realize we were coffee shop employees, cooks and sales clerks."

Thanks, Frank.

I no longer have any of the master recordings of Chunk's 30-odd releases, save for a CD-R of the Cheetahs' "A Message to Santa Claus." I have very few of the actual records in my possession. After my marriage broke up, I stored the back catalog in Frank's garage. When his marriage broke up, he moved out of the house, and all the records got swiped by the cleaning crew. They eventually wound up at the Hadley flea market, and in the hands of several local collectors. I bought a few on Ebay, but it's kind of tough having to buy back records that I paid to make, and having to pay collector's prices. thanks to Ken Reed of Main Street Records for selling me at a fair price the GbV/NRSK split that I had sold him all those years ago.

Appendix A:
Announced but Unreleased:
13 Chunk Records That Never Saw the Light of Day


THE CHEETAHS: It's All Going By Too Fast LP/CD

DMZ: Live at the Rat '76/Live at the Middle East '93 CD

ZEKE FIDDLER: "Socket" 45

Framin' Gloovies: A Tribute to the Flamin' Groovies LP/CD

Hotel Massachusetts II Compilation CD

LYRES: "Zebra in the Kitchen" 45

THE MALARIANS: Finished in This Town CD

Singular, No Article CD, My Little Bastard Soul LP

SCUD MOUNTAIN BOYS: Pine Box 8-Track Cartridge

TAG SALE: Fuck the Age Difference EP

THE UNBAND: "Why Do You Think They Call Us Dope?" 45

Several of these titles eventually saw the light of day on other labels. Most of 'em remain unreleased.

APPENDIX B: Music Videos Directed by Mal Thursday

HOSPITAL: "Crazy Train"


THE COOPERS: "American Car"

THE MONTREAL EXPOS: "Vladimir Guerrero"