Fuel Injected Records

I feel like I just want to cut to the interview on this, but I should set this up.  Meghan is a friend of mine from up north who has been working with her partner to set up a record label to get local music out there.  Their label has, in a matter of months, gotten together several releases (they have a Sabbat split coming up this spring with Bonehunter from Finland) as well as setting up several charity gigs.

Culturally speaking, we're at a point in history where we are more globally connected than we have ever been and with the most potential we have ever had to form bonds in parts of the earth we may never physically visit.  I'm intrigued with projects like Fuel Injected Records that exist on a premise of our subcultural past, in a sense (vinyl and DIY distros) but whose existence also requires our new global community to thrive. -Emily

Okay, to start, what/who is Fuel Injected Records?
Fuel Injected Records is a new fresh label, my spouse and I decided to start one when our friends whom are talented musicians wanted to put out vinyl, and they were having a hard time getting a label to do vinyl for them, and it's really expensive to get it pressed. My significant other, Nathan, ended up having some extra money, which he didn't know about until December, from his RESP. Instead of spending it on records and eating out at a bunch of restaurants we decided to invest it in our company to help bands get vinyl pressed. We're also doing shirts, tapes and stickers. We're also distributing it on our own, we don't really want to be like every other distro/label where everyone trades vinyl and gives discounts to other distros. We want to be successful, and not go out of business, make this our jobs full time someday. We grew up loving music and having a huge respect for hardworking musicians. 

I've been so impressed with what you two have accomplished in such a short amount of time.  Has this project been a long time in the making?

 Mmm, not really. We talked about it one night and decided to sleep on it, and the next day we set out to work on bringing it together. We got our business license, and started up a contract, and next thing you know we have our plate full until end of 2013! It's crazy the overwhelming support we've received locally as well as internationally.

What kind of records are you hoping to put out?

 Well it's a mixture of all sorts of metal, as well as some punk. I'm very excited about the different genres we're working with, and all their sub genres.

Of course, I'm putting this out on Koenji Calling because of the split you're doing with Sabbat and the Japanese punk connections there, but I also really appreciate your dedication to your local scene.  Could you tell us a bit about the Calgary scene?

We have an incredible scene here, mind you like every scene a lot of drama, but I don't think there is as much of competition for any other large cities in Canada. Alberta in general is pretty much the hotspot, but I believe strongly that Calgary is the most intense. It's not common in Canada to have many bands make it big it seems, so I'm excited for these Calgarian/Albertan bands to be making such an impact worldwide. Edmonton has a pretty good scene too, but I think Calgary is more intense. I was at a show the other week, people drove from Vancouver and Edmonton to make it to this show, the turnout was insane and I think Vern's Tavern was over capacity level. You legitimately had to push your way through people to get anywhere in the bar, and yell at the top of your lungs to order a drink, and it was so warm, that I wanted to wear as little clothing as possible. We don't always have such great turnouts, but we have 5 different metal festivals (mini scale in comparison to NWN or ROD) in a year, it's crazy. It feels like its possible that our conservative city will play host to festivals like those held in Europe.

Any bands we should know about?

Well this year we're working with Gatekrashör, Bonehunter, Sabbat, Blackrat, Savage Streets, Vaalt, Morbis Infernus, Germ Bomb, Shrapnal, and Begrime Exemious. We're also in the works of organizing a few charity shows to help with Second Chance Animal Rescue Society ( http://www.scarscare.org/ ) we are beyond ecstatic!

Where did the idea for the Sabbat/Bonehunter split come from?

 Well to be honest, it fell into our lap. Our good friend Joni of Bonehunter is the one who created our logo, and he messaged us about Sabbat and Bonehunter wanting to do a split together and he asked if we were interested in being the label to work with them, we are so honoured and can't believe our good luck so far! 

Local punks have always pushed to connect themselves with international music, but of course the internet is really pushing the possibilities wide open.  What are your feelings on the international nature of metal/punk at this point?

 Well it's nice to make friendly acquaintances all over the world, it's unfortunate we can't go visit them all, and just be online pen pals for the time being, but I'm still content knowing if I was to travel to pretty much anywhere in the world and I'd have friends to stay with and party until dawn with... Which is an awesome feeling, to be honest! 

The Sabbat/Bonehunter split is available for pre-order on their website.  You can also get information on upcoming charity shows and releases on their Facebook page.


The Tattooed Marlboro Man


Starting in 1955 Marlboro started a series of ads featuring their Marlboro Man.  The "Marlboro Man" at this point was a diverse working "everyday man" -- ads feature him in a number of professions (cowboy, marine, driver), ages and styles.  What was a unique feature beginning with the 1955 ads was for the better portion of advertisements published from '55-~'61 the Marlboro man also had a hand tattoo -- an eagle, an anchor, other assorted "military" marks.

I have yet to find an ad man description of WHY this was done, but my guess naturally is with slogans like "Where there's a Man, there's a Marlboro" there is an emphasis on masculinity pervading through the images.  The tattoos, almost all military symbols, naturally speaks to a tradition of military tattooing that Marlboro smokers of the target age demographic of the advertisements could either relate to on account of their participation in the second world war or aspired to in their own young quests for established masculinity.


Of course the location of the tattoos -- the hand -- is inauthentic.  Samuel Steward, talking about his time as tattoo artist Professor Phil Sparrow writes about the new attraction to hand tattoos after the Marlboro ads were introduced in Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos.  He was adamant in his practice to not tattoo the hands or the face except in the case when someone already had established work in the area due to the prohibitive stigma on tattooing of any sort at the time.  Military especially were not to get such visible tattoos, however once the ads aired he notes that men of all types were seeking such adornments to augment their masculinity.  

The other thing he notes -- the Marlboro ads took tattoos as a masculine icon and what were rather traditional military tattoos for the upper arm and repositioned them ... to better augment the product. Hand tattoos still are not the norm and were rarely seen at the time, let alone upside down in the fashion the advert situates them -- the logic of this of course, as the advertisements with the close-up of just the tattooed hand and the cigarette illustrate -- was to catch the viewer's eye long enough so they would linger on and desire that product.  The Marlboro Cigarette. 

Other, in Steward's eyes less scrupulous, tattoo artists would tattoo these emblems on new clients who saw them in the Marlboro advertisements and many failed to correct the upside-downness presented in the ads (If this needs clarification -- most tattoo traditions with images/lettering with a "up" side should be seen right side up when the arms are at rest at the sides.  The Marlboro ads with their emphasis on the cigarette being held are all upside down in this context).

Steward highlights this ad and the infamous villain Reverend Harry Powell from the film Night of the Hunter (also 1955 -- played by Robert Mitchum) as two of the biggest influence in the spread of hand tattoos among his clients in the 1950s.

  If you have not read Samuel Steward's book I highly recommend it.  It is a part-academic/part-memoir account of tattooing in Chicago in the 1950s from a man who dropped out of the academy (he was a literature professor with a PHD) to do so.  Samuel Steward also moonlighted as a writer of gay erotic novels under the name Phil Andros.  A very cool guy.


Guitar Wolf 3/31/12 at the Knitting Factory

I had some luck with timing and was able to go see Guitar Wolf's show at the Knitting Factory in NYC while I was traveling.  The poorness of the luck was going to Williamsburg for the first time....

... yeah, let's just leave it there.

I started taking notes on this show the day after as my ears were ringing at Rockaway Beach.  All I sort of ended up with was "What kind of band has the balls to open every one of their sets with the Ramones?"

I mean, naturally Guitar Wolf.  And such a thing can be disputed by no one.  On stage they put most other bands to shame and their position as elder statesmen of the Japanese garage rock scene is noble. 

I won't say too much on the show... the crowd was kind of relaxed for a Guitar Wolf show which had its advantages and disadvantages... the advantage of course being that I could stand right in front of what I thought was the new bassist's mic unchallenged and unworried that a boot was going to hit me in the head.

Of course, I was not standing in front of the bassist's mic....

I mean, I can say with certainty I have never had such a good vantage at a Guitar Wolf show.  Right under Seiji's damn mic.  It was actually a bit creepy as I got a great vantage of all the otaku fangirls grabbing his thighs and shit.  But it was truly an incredible experience and one I'm grateful for.  Guitar Wolf did not disappoint either, going through a blistering set with three encores.

This picture won't surprise long time fans.... During the encore Seiji again went for the human period... it was kind of amazing because I remember it lasting 20 minutes... though maybe it wasn't so long.  But how indulgent, to be able to totally set a show on hold for playtime like this?

Their last encore, I Love You, OK?, closed out the night but a ton of people, either clued out or disinterested, had already left, leaving the last song as a much more intimate performance which was pretty cool.

Later on I met up with some Tokyo friends who moved to NYC for school and we got drinks at Izakaya Kenka which has a rather funny bar menu....

Some people on the internet seem not to quite get Kenka's whole deal and rant on like it's some sort of WWII themed place... the thing is it's most similar to a Showa-style bar, but thematically fucks with things in this really clever way... I totally got a kick out of it, and totally recommend it if you're in the East Village and looking for a spot to drink.


I was the STALIN

This is a scan of one of the original fliers I have for the Stalin's last live.  I quite love it.

Original fliers for some of these older shows can still be found at record stores or on Yahoo!Auctions... I think I paid like ~$10 for this one a few years back at Flower.  There are people who run xeroxes of old fliers for people more interested in the art... Y!A has some sellers of those too.


Florida (and Japanese Cyberpunk)

This past week I presented a paper at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts.  I thought I would post up the abstract if it was of interest, though I imagine there is a discussion to be had on how punk looks at (and trusts) academic discourse...

Reclaiming the Punk in Japanese Cyberpunk:
Nihonjinron, Territories, and Deviant Subcultural Exchange in Sogo Ishii’s Burst City
This paper aims to re-examine the film production of Japanese cyberpunk through the lens of the genre’s first major work, Sogo Ishii’s 1982 film Burst City (Bakuretstsu Toshi).  While the offerings of Japanese cyberpunk produced by media subcultures in anime, manga, and science fiction literature have largely been explored, relatively few scholars have discussed the aesthetics of the film movement and its positioning within the historical contextualization of Japanese deviant subculture, with the exception of Shinya Tsukamoto’s 1989 film Tetsuo: Iron Man.  Ishii’s Burst City with its revolutionary hyper-kinetic film technique presents a Neo-Tokyo ghetto of punks, prostitutes, cyborg bosozoku, yakuza and disenfranchised day laborers.  The film offers us a unique view into the discourse surrounding the then-ongoing subcultural politics at work within the first generation of Japanese cyberpunk through this narrative of proletariat revolution and punk fury.
I will engage first with issues of the meta-narrative subcultural context that encodes the characters of the film and the use of territories to enable subcultural objectives such as medatsu, a sometimes high risk exhibitionistic act sociologist Ikuya Sato has discussed at length in relation to bosozoku, or Japanese motorcycle gangs, and asobi, the rules of play.  These concepts will be expanded on to provide a framework for how Burst City uses the “dislocation” provided through the dystopian technocentric framework of future that comes to be called “cyberpunk” to relay a hegemonic parody of the modern Japanese state.  Of key concern will be how subcultural exchange within the film re-negotiate the project of nihonjinron, or the systemic ideology of Japanese uniqueness, that Kumiko Sato, by way of Takayuki Tatsumi, argues become furthered in the narratological cues of other mediums of cyberpunk.