Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The following is a re-post of Michelle Gearhead's latest newsletter. I am a fan of Gearhead. I am a fan of Michelle. I am a fan of Mike (forever indebted to Half Life, Pittsburgh and Mike). Gearhead is releasing the new Lords of Altamont LP - just preordered my vinyl copy. 

I love this email / newsletter as much as I too loved my first K-tel records. While FOE records was no where near as successful as Gearhead records and FOE zine was no where near as successful as Gearhead magazine, the history we all bring with us is fascinating to me.

Frank FOE

From Michelle, April 3, 2014

I listen to my words but

They fall far below
I let my music take me where
My heart wants to go
I swam upon the devil's lake
But never, never, never, never
I'll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never

"The Wind" by Cat Stevens
As I step into my 50th year of existence, I can’t help but look back over the course my life has taken. They say hindsight is 20/20 and never has this been truer than at this point in time.

I remember the exact moment when I first fell in love with rock n’ roll as clearly as if it were yesterday. I was six, shortly before my seventh birthday. There was a company called KTEL and they put out compilations of all the bands that were popular at the time, selling the records with amazing TV commercials that mixed the music with live video of the bands, predating MTV by at least ten years. It was one of those commercials that changed my life. I don’t remember what the record was but I remember the band, Credence Clearwater Revival.

I was playing in the family room, and that commercial came on TV. I wasn’t really paying attention, until I heard the clip for CCR. The song was Travelin’ Band, and as John Fogerty sang, “Playing in a travel band, playing in a traveling band, Yeahhhh”, he screamed this deep guttural scream and I felt a bolt of electricity go through my body like lightening. I ran to the TV to see what it was, with one thought in my mind, “What Was That?!! I want more of that!!” 

Shortly afterwards, my parents got me a Close and Play Record Player for my seventh birthday and my love affair with music and my life long musical exploration began in earnest. That was the early 70s, and I still have the first batch of records I bought with my allowance, a collection of 45s that I paid 69 cents for.

I bring this story up because it is so clear now how my path was unfolding as I look back, but growing up, going through all the passion and heartache and misery that one experiences as one learns life’s lessons, it seemed like I was forever stuck in the twists and turns not ever quite knowing where I was going. But I followed my heart and now, in 2014 I finally see how it all fits together. 
Gearhead® Records was always just about following my passion.

I had met Mike LaVella when we both wrote for Maximum Rock and Roll in the early 90s. We had similar tastes in music and often were the only ones digging the more garagey-rock ‘n’ roll stuff, so Tim always assigned those records to one of us to review. I was also DJing for MRR, and when Tim opened The Epicenter Record Store, we both volunteered there, so were able to spend more time talking about the bands we loved.

When Mike started Gearhead® Magazine in 1993, I was working at Reckless Records on Haight St., and he brought in that first issue to put on consignment with me at the store. Over the next few years, that was usually how our paths crossed, until I started working at Mordam Records and talked them into bringing Gearhead® in for distribution.

Shortly after that, we became partners and created Gearhead® Records and in 2000 put out our first record, a compilation CD called Runnin’ On Fumes. Gearhead® took off like a dragster jumping off the starting line, and we were off and rolling. In fact, this month is the fourteenth anniversary of that first record! Happy Birthday Gearhead Records!

When we parted ways in 2006, it was for the best. We had different visions of what Gearhead® could be, and we each needed to find our voice and follow our hearts. We split the company in two to explore our passions, ideas and interests and each did pretty good on our own.

But it turned out, Gearhead® was better together that it was as separate companies, and it is with pleasure I’m announcing that all the pieces of Gearhead® have been reunited under one roof, managed wholly by Gearhead® Productions, Inc., and guided by a board of directors. There’s a new website, Gearhead® Rocks, and from that site, you can access websites for each of the parts of the company, Gearhead® RecordsGearhead® Apparel and Gearhead® Magazine. You can also access them each individually.

There’s a bunch of new products too, the Motorskull T Shirt and Shop Rag, as well as the Wrench and Roses shirt all designed by Cuz’n Bill Lorenz from Sacramento Tattoo.
There’s also Gearhead® Pomade, crafted exclusively for Gearhead® by Cock Grease, using the XX Cock Grease formula, perfect for both rockers and greasers who need those flowing tresses to stay put whether you’re wrenching or rocking.
A new issue of Gearhead® Magazine is in the works as well, so whether you paid for an ad for issue #19 or want to take an ad out, please contact me right away.  And finally, saving the best for last, the first new record in four years, The Lords of Altamont Lords Take Altamont hits the streets April 15, 2014, just in time for the band to celebrate their fifteenth year.

« This is not a love night » : The Lords of Altamont + Les Arondes

Having already put out two records from this band, I knew how easy they were to work with and how professional, so when Jake called me and asked me for help with their new record, it was a no-brainer. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve though, since everything has changed since I last put out a record! But it’s been fun and well worth it, and on April 15, 2014, this baby officially hits records stores around the world. You can get your copy right now though, and until April 15, you’ll get free shipping if you live in the US. I’ll start shipping the CD on April 11, to be in your mailbox by street date, but the vinyl is gonna take longer, so it will probably ship around the end of April.


But check this out: the vinyl is a limited edition pressing of 500 copies on yellow vinyl, with a special gatefold sleeve, extensive full-color inner sleeve with liner notes, and a digital download card. The CD has 2 extra bonus tracks, but if you buy the vinyl, you’ll get them when you download the record to your favorite device! How cool is that?


The band is on tour now in Europe, and will be playing a few US shows when they return, and now that Gearhead® is barreling full-speed ahead, I’ll be writing these newsletters a lot more often, so I’ll keep ya more up to date.

For daily updates, be sure to check out the Gearhead® Facebook page as well as my blog and Instagram. I’m slowly getting the hang of all this social media stuff, but if anyone out there has a hankering to help out, I could sure use an intern to help me out!

I’m really excited about the new direction of the business, and the renewed energy and passion I’m feeling again. I am able to look back at my path knowing I’ll never make the same mistakes. New ones for sure, but never the old ones!

If you have something you’d like to share, or a suggestion, or a comment, please feel free to send an email. I’m not the fastest about answering, but I always read them, and at some point, will respond.

Finally, thank you to all of you who have stood by Gearhead® and me with encouragement and support. You know who you are and have my undying gratitude.

Keepin’ the rubber on the road,
Xoxo Michelle

Gearhead Productions, Inc
Gearhead® is a federally registered trademark
Records, Apparel, Magazine

Frank FOE

Monday, March 31, 2014

Iron Reagan "Spoiled Identity" EP Review

Iron Reagan
"Spoiled Identity" EP
Released: March 31, 2014
Free download, soon to be released flexi 7"

Photo by Wendi Shwendi

In case you haven't heard, Iron Reagan released a free download today of 13 songs called the "Spoiled Identity" EP. You have no excuse. Download and enjoy the vintage thrash these Virginians play. If you don't know them, think D.R.I. meets Municipal Waste. 

Of the 13 tracks, ten clock in at 26 seconds or less. Total vintage D.R.I. territory here. Brilliant.

Iron Reagan © Luz de Luna Duran

Iron Reagan makes me nuts, and I like being nuts.

Iron Reagan will have a full length release on Relapse Records later in 2014. Consider yourself teased. Consider obtaining everything else they have released as well (it's all great).

Download "Spoiled Idenity" Ep here. Just click buy now and enter 0 and the ep is yours for free.

Frank FOE

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Satanic Malfunctions "Them" review

Released: October 15, 2013

I sent cash in the mail to own the 1986 7" "Who Wants the World" by Satanic Malfunctions.

It was one of those records that proved cathartic to my mental state back in 1986. Twenty-four songs on a 7" back then was almost proof you knew what you were doing. 

Satanic Malfunctions were in the same field as Protes Bengt and L'arm.

"Them" is Satanic Malfunctions' (from the UK) first full length in 22 years. These 20 songs bring in a bit more of a Concrete Sox meets Disorder or Chaos UK thrash sound and would not fit on a 7". Still averaging under two minutes, the CD lasts only 31 minutes.

Glad Satanic Malfunctions are back, keeping that 1980s chaotic hardcore punk sound alive.

I am late to the draw on "Them", unlike when I was right on time for "Who Wants the World". I also missed 2012's "Disgrace to Music" 2xcd that was their entire discography up until that point. Join me as we catch up from 1986 to 2014.

Frank FOE

Beginners "who knows" song / video

"Who Knows" from the s/t EP
"Who Knows" by Beginners captures my modern pop attention much like Santigold does.

The video captures my attention with with Jeffrey, the 50 something Venice Beach roller skater (see Roller Dreams movie). 

"Who Knows" is fun, light and enjoyable. Pop.

The video and Jeffrey are amazing.

Frank FOE

BL'AST The Expression of Power Review

"The Expression of Power"
Released: March 18, 2014
digital or 3xLP

In case you missed my write up of BL'AST!'s "Blood" reissue, follow this link. Dave Grohl remastered and mixed that masterpiece.

I'm not sure what BL'AST! was thinking back in the early 1980s, but they recorded "The Expression of Power" three times before finally releasing the album in 1986 on SST Records. I suppose with a title like "The Expression of Power" you set the standard pretty high and better make sure it is indeed an expression of power.

BL'AST! with COC in the early 80s.

I'm not sure what Southern Lord was thinking in 2014 but they decided to reissue "The Expression of Power" with all three recording sessions across three LPs. Crazy? Yes. But in my book, a mandatory addition to my vinyl collection. Although I must admit, I was heartbroken when the booklet inside the triple LP with gatefold cover was.... a cd sized booklet... OMG how completely awesome would it have been to have had that booklet as a 12" or even 10" sized booklet. Those photos scream out the power, energy and unrestrained outbursts that is BL'AST!.

As a debut, BL'AST!'s "The Expression of Power" captures a chaos, raw energy that is also brutally straightforward and blunt. It is fantastic that this classic hardcore LP is reissued in this format, and as a fan, I love hearing the early versions. Knowing this record was released nearly 30 years ago it is a statement of just how great this record is as it stands strong alongside today's hardcore and metal releases.

BL'AST! is taking things out on the road! Original BL’AST! vocalist Clifford Dinsmore and guitarist Mike Neider have added Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Mondo Generator) on bass and drummer Hoss Wright (The Exies, Mondo Generator) and are hitting the stages in 2014.

Frank FOE

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Released: 2014

This is some of DROPDEAD's most frantic, spine-tingling, arm hair raising hardcore to date. That is saying a lot since their lengthy discography of songs started back in 1991. If this doesn't get your blood boiling and have you ready to run down the street screaming you are dead.

Dropdead do me the service of introducing me to RUIDOSA INMUNDICIA from Vienna, Austria. This female-fronted hardcore band is pure venom spitting energy. First thing I thought was Los Crudos. The press release includes that and adds the likes of Antischism. Yeah. Love it. This music makes me insane!

I want to see Dropdead and Ruidosa Inmundicia live in a squat in Philly now.

Search this out. The above photo says it all.

Frank FOE

Whores / Rabbits split

Released: February 18, 2014

Whores and Rabbits are two modern day noise rock bands. Unsane set the standard in my books back in the day, these two bands carry the torch mightily.

This 7" (100 on pink/400 on black) & download includes 3 Cure covers. 

Yup. The Cure.

Noise rock and the Cure. I understand this. I love the Cure. Consider that Rabbits cover "Give Me It" from 1984's "The Top" and "A Reflection" from 1980's "Seventeen Seconds".

"A Reflection" is originally a moody piano/keyboard type instrumental. Here it is a doomy guitar instrumental. Want to hear something really f'd up? Play the Cure and Rabbits versions at the same time. I think my mind left my body and gave me a hazy neck massage.

Then of course, Rabbits goes into their  version of "Give Me It". Consider the lyrics and you will understand how freaking brilliant it is that Rabbits gave this the brutal, harsh, violent treatment that they did. 

The Cure "Give Me It"
Get away from me
Get your fingers out of my face
This room's so hot
This room's so hot

I break the walls
Get away from me
Leave me alone
Like the pig on the stairs
In a groovy purple shirt

Gasping for air
I'm gasping for air
I'm gasping for love
I'm gasping for air...

Slit the cats like cheese
Then eat the sweet sticky things
Suck harder!
Suck harder!
Suck your insides
Insides out!

Blood thick swimming round your feet
As you're choking
Choking on the fleshy words

Give me it give me it give me it
Deaden my glassy mind
Give me it give me it
Make me blind
One step back and one step down
And slip the needles in my side...

My head is cold
My hands are cold
My heart is cold
My heart is black
And stops every f*cking night
Every night
I wait until it stops...

Sing birds sing birds sing birds sing

Get away...

Whores take the 1979 punky, upbeat new wavey, "Jumping Someone Else's Change" and turn it into a feedback, stoner fest that challenges the best noise from the Am Rep camp.

Yes, I am thrilled with this record!

Frank FOE