Thursday, February 26, 2009


ENTARTETE KUNTS, the world's greatest underground art exhibit, returns to Portland this year on JUNE 19th! The third annual KUNTS exhibit will once again proudly display the most devoted artists and possessed outsiders from the shadowy corners of the globe, including several extremely rare works never before viewed in public. Mark your calendars! Book your flights! Start saving your money! This will be an historic event! The reception will take place on JUNE 19th with several international artists in attendance, locally brewed beer, and DJ's blasting vintage punk & metal into the Witching Hour! Location and full roster of artists will soon be unveiled...

Monday, February 16, 2009


Those of you who have been visiting this blog for the past three years may recall a nostalgic rant about my first horror convention experience called Gore Shriek Memories. I've always felt it's important to hail those who came before and, when I wasn't underscoring what a nerd I am, that blog attempted to speak to the importance of influences and meeting artistic "elders" who graciously pass the torch. I mostly wanted people to remember Gore Shriek, a really fun 80's horror comic that got me excited about the promise of horror art when I was a kid. I also mentioned that it was at Fantacon in 1988 that I met a guy named Johnny Deathrasher from New Haven, Connecticut. I was 16 years old and proudly wearing my Misfits shirt when this longhaired wizard came up to me and said, "Do you like fast music?" Johnny must've been at least 10 years older than me cause he had facial hair, a cool girlfriend, and a toddler in his arms (his son must be legal drinking age by now!). We both loved Voivod but he was actually friends with Snake and Blacky! He talked excitedly about bands I had never heard of like Heresy and Revenant and handed me a copy of his zine Deathrasher, the one with the dog giving the middle finger salute. He also gave me a P.T.L Klub 7" he had just put out called 'Nobody Cares Anymore', which I still have to this day! Johnny was a very cool guy who took the time to talk to me about all kinds of crazy shit and didn't have a lame attitude like so many older dudes I met back then. I never forgot that. That's the underground spirit that has stuck with me to this day.

Fast forward 20 years. A copy of Mental Funeral zine arrives in the mail. Mental Funeral is a great read and I'm drooling over Bill's arcane knowledge of all things bloody, naked, and loud when I notice a review for a DVD called Cooking With Johnny! After all these years Johnny is still around...and he has just released issue #11 of DeathrasheR (it looks like he's added a weird capital 'R' to the end of the name now). The new one picks up exactly where my old copy left off. And it comes with a compilation CD of live stuff he recorded at shows between 1985 and 1987, including a killer reverb-drenched Saint Vitus tune that seems to go on forever! The liner notes are hilarious as Johnny shares diehard anecdotes like the one about driving to a show in a pickup truck in the pouring rain while his friend sits in a tent on the back of the truck. This guy makes me feel like a fucking poser, and I mean that in the very best way!

I've been thinking a lot about the economy lately and how shit tends to trickle down. The highbrow "fine art" market is drying up, small printers that have kept independent newsprint publications alive for years are closing shop along with glossy mags like Metal Maniacs, and I expect small distros and venues will suffer hard too. But for those of us who have been toiling away in the trenches without financial backing or sponsorship of any kind, the economic forecast doesn't mean so much. Speaking for myself, I've survived several recessions and the fucking 90's with my fortitude intact (yeah, don't let anyone tell you how great the 90's were...anyone who was actually around will agree that the 90's were a fucking bleak time for underground music and art). Convenience has killed something very important in our time: struggle. It has become so easy to record and share music, to immediately throw a drawing in front of thousands of internet "friends", to download information and get instant gratification in the form of "comments", that we're now choking on a glut of sub-par mediocrity. But when situations get hard, the weak tend to drop out. Move on. Grow up. Sell out. Maybe the current economic crisis will inadvertently serve as the cruel gardener we need to weed the soil. Maybe we will witness a great purging and purification. This could be a great renaissance for underground culture! Independent media and D.I.Y. projects could become even more vital as more accessible mainstream outlets dry up, wither, and die. Good riddance. As for the rest of us: ONWARD! Strength through strife! Oh yeah, to get your own DeathrasheR stimulus package just drop Johnny a line.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I'm Cramped

Lux Interior, founding member and lead singer of The Cramps, died this morning at 4:30am in Glendale, California. According to the official press release he died as a result of a "pre-existing heart condition". The world is a quieter and more boring place today. Lux was born Erick Lee Purkhiser on October 21, 1948 near Akron, Ohio and met his wife, the ravishing Poison Ivy, while on a road trip through California in 1972. Together in 1976 they formed The Cramps and went on to influence and inspire countless musicians and greased up psychobilly sociopaths around the world. Lux was a missing link to the not-so-distant but quickly disappearing Americana of the 20th century. He was an impassioned record collector, a consummate entertainer, a hyper-sexualized ringmaster of primitive kicks, and a brilliant lyricist who spat dirty puns like the Crypt Keeper in a barnyard jack shack. My kids can sing his songs in their sleep. Luckily they don't understand 'em yet. If there's any justice in this world, Lux will return from the grave with a hard-on and a handful of Murray's Superior Hair Dressing Pomade. "You square brains out there better beware!" I'm cramped.

I couldn't find a photo of Lux that did the man justice so you get Stephen Blickenstaff's brilliant 1982 drawing for The Cramps instead.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Regrettably, Metal Maniacs magazine is closing shop after the release of their March/April issue. This is terrible news for the U.S. metal community considering Metal Maniacs has been an invaluable vehicle for spreading the glossy gospel for more than 20 years. It's also a grim indication of the economic shitstorm to come. The good news is that I've written two articles about underground art that will appear in their final issues. The plan was that this would be a regular feature called DREAD VISIONS, but they've come to the unexpected and painful realization this week that it is no longer feasible to continue business as usual. My tribute to S. Clay Wilson, one of the greatest living American cartoonists, appears in the February issue that hits newsstands this week! If you read this blog regularly you already know that Wilson had a big impact on me as a kid and he has especially occupied my thoughts in recent months due to a nearly fatal accident in early November. S. Clay Wilson is making a slow but steady recovery at a rehabilitation center for brain damage but now you can learn all about his legacy in the February 2009 issue of Metal Maniacs! Here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite...

SEX & DEATH! Humanity’s oldest and most lucrative businesses are still global bestsellers and no living artist has penetrated the primordial veils of Eros & Thanatos with as much gleeful abandon as underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson. And penetrate ‘em he has! In a career spanning more than 40 years Wilson has sodomized Eros for all she’s worth and slit the throat of Thanatos over his inkwell. He has been banned, censored, threatened, and exiled. “I like the idea,” the artist proclaims, “of keeping the boat rocking.” Indeed. There is more pathos, craftsmanship, and unbridled energy in one of Wilson’s maggot-spewing zombie drawings than an entire museum of modern art. There is more emotive disturbance, swaggering outrage, and terminal shock in Wilson’s historically accurate pirate epics than a moshpit full of serial killers. If the devil is in the details, Wilson will someday be snorting lines of Viagra with Brueghel and Bosch at Old Scratch’s eternal Black Mass! And the 67year old artist’s recent scrape with the pavement had friends and family wondering if that day might come sooner than later...

Read the complete article in the latest issue of Metal Maniacs!