Frank Secich

(-this book review and regularly scheduled rocknroll rant by Geordie Pleathur was filmed live in front of a studio audience…)

“The heat from sewer grates warm my bed
the snow ain’t cold anymore
My feet are so wet
From the holes in my shoes
the shoes that walked out your door
But I don’t care
don’t push me away
You can’t hurt me anymore
Not anymore” (-Jimmy Zero and Stiv Bators)

“Those who do not rebel in our age of totalitarian capitalism, those who convince themselves that there is no alternative to collaboration with corporate tyranny are complicit in their own enslavement. They commit spiritual and moral suicide. They extinguish hope. They become the living dead.” (- Chris Hedges)

“Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death―ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.” (- James Baldwin)

“Be sand, not oil, in the gears of the state.” (-Rene Char)

“There is nothing uniquely evil in these destroyers or even in this moment. The destroyers are merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy. It is hard to face this. But all our phrasing — race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy — serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.” (-From Ta-Nehisi Coates on police who shoot black people…)

“If you must comply no matter what a cop orders, you. have. no. rights.”  (-Bree Newsome)

“The music isn’t keeping up with the movement and nor is Black theology. The church is in no way as radical in this moment as the people are. As in music, the church has its remanent of prophetic voices. But in whole, the current theology and preaching of the church is often outdated. Our theology, like our music, should reflect the collective righteous anger we feel in this moment. It should echo Black rage yet offer hope. If there is no Black rage in the sermons you preach …and the songs you write, then you’re not a mouthpiece for our lived reality at this time.

Since Drake, Meek, Nicki and Safaree matter so much…..

This moment should challenge us to evaluate our artistic consumption. How can an artist be Black, famous, wealthy and silent on justice now? Silence is consent. If artists are absolutely silent about the war on black lives, we can take note and divest from supporting their platforms. If these rappers fought to preserve Black lives the way they fight to protect their egos, then we would have a lot more soldiers in this war.

Our generation isn’t asking for another Belafonte. We’re asking the artists we have to step the hell up and stand for more than money and ego. ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ What are we requiring of the artists whose luxurious lifestyles we fund daily via consumerism?

Belafonte once said, ‘When the movement is strong, the music is strong.’ The movement is strong as hell now. But the music isn’t keeping up. These rap beefs are rooted in patriarchy and misogyny. They use vaginas as punch lines, as they war over their masculinity. It’s tragic. We all need and deserve escapes. But you can’t build your capitalistic empire on our backs without any accountability to our community.

If your music has no trace of Black suffering yet you claim to be a product of a crime-ridden, poverty-stricken hood, you’re manufacturing. And we shouldn’t be buying.

When we say the whole damn system is guilty as hell, lets not forget our minds are shaped by messaging and music to help the system prevail.” (-Rahiel Tesfamariam)

“We would do something revolutionary. We would actually use science to determine which drugs are dangerous and which ones are not. That means right off the bat, marijuana and hemp are removed from the list of dangerous substances, because these are not dangerous substances, in relation to other unregulated substances including nicotine and alcohol. We would start with the legalization of marijuana and transform the drug system from a criminal system to a public health system. If people have issues of dependency, which would apply to legal drugs as well as illegal drugs including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and heavier drugs, they need to be treated within the public health system. These are psychological problems not criminal problems.” (-Dr. Jill Stein)

“Under our current system of law, ecological and social destruction is not only legal but required. While common sense visions for truly sustainable community are usually outlawed. How much longer will we allow such nonsense in our communities?” (– Paul Cienfuegos)

“Donald J. Trump is boorish and graceless and witless and a bully — and America’s first mafioso presidential candidate. We Americans secretly find the Mafia very, very cute. Hence his terrifyingly strong showing in the polls.” (-John Mendelssohn)

“American television is full of smiles and more and more perfect-looking teeth. Do these people want us to trust them? No. Do they want us to think they’re good people? No again. The truth is they don’t want anything from us. They just want to show us their teeth, their smiles, and admiration is all they want in return. Admiration. They want us to look at them, that’s all. Their perfect teeth, their perfect bodies, their perfect manners, as if they were constantly breaking away from the sun and they were little pieces of fire, little pieces of blazing hell, here on this planet simply to be worshipped.” (-Roberto Bolaño)

“To hell with the panderers and those who pay lip service to the conservative agenda. It does not require guts or bravery to be led around by the nose and told when to sit, stay, roll over and beg. The political agenda of most Western countries is to enhance fear and panic with ‘hire more police who can beat up our threats and kill anyone who is slightly different or let’s go to war and kick some butt. Because we are obviously way too busy telling other people what works for us and not cooperating by listening to the other folks’ point of view.” (-Angie Bowie)

“Life is never a thing of continuous bliss. There is no paradise. Fight and laugh and feel bitter and feel bliss: and fight again. Fight, fight. That is life.” (-D.H. Lawrence)


Americans always believe they should have authority over anyone with less money than themselves. We’ve become a nation of spineless boot-lickers and selfish shit-hoarders. Cheerleaders for torture, rank and file ratfinks and snitches, cowardly killjoys, sniveling wimps and klansmen, hiding behind badges and uniforms, playing video games with black lives. The homo-hating hamburglars, sonder kommandoes, and Ford truck driving American Snipers of Copland, USA. I’ve been talking to people for a long time about how mass-media culture has been thoroughly weaponized by the one percent masters of war, police state, slave-owners to brainwash the many—from 90210 and Sally Jessie Raphael and Bill O’Reilly and Maury Povitch way back in the day, to ”The Hills”, and Lady Gaga and the Kardashians and Rachel Maddow and “Dancing With The Stars” and “24″, to all those cut-throat competition shows about excluding oddballs and voting anyone who is weak off the island, to the big super hero movies glorifying war, and everything on the Discovery channel–there is a subtext to all of it, and once you learn to identify it, you see it everywhere. It’s like that campy Roddy Piper movie, “They Live”. “Rolling Stone” even has a resident irony-peddling smarm-meister, who I won’t name here, who has been the go-to shill for garbage pop product for over a decade. If it sucks, he sells it with sarcasm. From reality tv bullshit to manufactured celebrities, that wanker is there to smirk about it’s importance. Katy Perry and Britney Spears, Snooki and Gaga, Taylor and the Foos, that wanker is always there. Cashes big checks and gets to live in NYC for selling that bogus plastic corporate one percenter shite. Conformity has it’s privileges. They fired the only music writer with any remaining credibility. Usually, when I bring up that it’s not just FOX TV and Rush Limbaugh, programming Americans to accept the granny gropers and panty sniffers of TSA & NSA and the bullshit drug war, killer cops, corporate tyranny, racism, the rule of Wall Street bankster pharaohs and endless war, that’s when most people’s eyes glaze over, because they really just want to get back to telling you about their new shoes and old records and fancy pants brunches, travels, titles, inheritance, and acquisitions. That is the programming I’m talking about. Meanwhile, a talking head named Ed Schultz was kicked off tv like Donahue, Napolitano, Olbermann, and so many before him, for merely talking about the treacherous NWO trade agreement, TPP. Ted Rall, the cartoonist, is being harassed by the cops for talking about police brutality. To participate in corporate media, you have to be willing to prop-up bullshit lies of the warpigs and oil-barons and sling your poop at an ailing Jimmy Carter. That’s why they banned all those anti-war songs on Fear Channel and exiled Keith Olbermann to sports. The media-class professionals are all bought-off hacks and whores for war. Don Lemon and Geraldo moaning about young people with hoodies and saggy pants, insisting peace would reign in the happy valley, if only we would all hike our belts up Urkal-high, and suck up to white authority figures. Black and Native American activists are turning up dead in jails all over the country. Teenagers are being assassinated by police over a bag of pot. Hashtag Blue Lives Murder. The prisons are overpacked with poor folks, and predominantly people of color, for non violent drug offenses, while upper-class white kids in plushy animal heads and mustache wax all frolic semi-nude in bodypaint at overpriced, woodsy, drug festivals, unmolested by the Man. As Stiv Bators sang, “the prison’s filled while the rich still rob”. Reporters and preachers and grieving family members are arrested at Ferguson protests, but openly racist cops like Darren Wilson are funded by rightwing groups and become kickstarter and gofundme celebrities, it’s sick and twisted as hell. White hipsters just wanna eat their white brunch and post their white hipster selfies with celebrities, untouched by news of racial inequality. Until they started making this NWA movie, aside from Eminem—who really represents prescription pills gobbling, homo-hating, sexist, bully mono-culture, Real Rebellious black music like Tupac, Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy and NWA have been missing from the mainstream airwaves since 9/11. Authentic punk rock has been absent from the public airwaves since before Nirvana, if you ask me. MTV is all about cougar consumerism and douchebag fratboy lifestyles. The rich house wife unreality tv shit has become so ubiquitous, there is even a spoof airing, that is nearly identical to the ones that aren’t intended as slapstick. Cops arrest and abuse citizens and indefinitely detain them in a Gitmo style domestic black site in Chicago called Homan Square. Cheap Trick totally Van Halened the great Bun E. Carlos, replacing him with somebody’s kid–nepotism rules in corporations–even in corporate rock. Ya ever hear white suburbanites insisting dead black children are receiving too much airtime in our conversations? “ALL lives matter”, they whine, “what about my selfie with Some Celebrity”? “What about my bigass white truck?” “What about my festival in the desert?” “What about my organic garden and solar powered dildo?” “What about my blah blah blah blah blah blah blah?”

The shitty commercialized pop that’s supposed to pass for rocknroll these days is embarrassing. I thought Green Day sucked until they spawned Blink 182 and Sum 41 and Good Charlotte, I mean, it just got worse and worse-the plastic jock bullshit that they call pop-punk, nowadays, has little or nothing to do with the bands that I considered pop/punk as a kid, like the Records and Buzzcocks and Only Ones and Stiv Bators “Disconnected” band. They just shove that corporate product-bullshit on us non-stop, and it’s all awful, nowadays. We never go five minutes without hearing about those generic bores, Miley Cyrus and Kanye and Taylor Swift and Dave Grohl. Since the Wall Street bankster sleazeballs foreclosed on all those houses and Gentrification Inc. relentlessly bulldozes affordable housing all over the country to make room for more cost-prohibitive condos and luxury hotels, no one can really afford to rent rehearsal spaces to have part-time punk bands, except for super-rich yuppies, and who wants to hear super-rich yuppie punk??? NOT ME. You got next to zero affordable housing, half the country out of work, competing for minimum wage big-box and food service jobs and all the rent’s jacked sky-high, so it’s a tough hustle just to have a warm and dry place to rest your head. No one has surplus cash for like, art, or entertainment, except like, the rich and upper middle class, management class office professionals. You hear the uptight white suburbanites who watch cable weeping when a convenience store window gets broken in a protest, because only property is sacred, but they have zero regard for black life, for homeless people, immigrants, they hate and resent anyone who is not dutifully goosestepping in a khaki uniform. They reserve their most livid, intolerant tongue lashings for those less well off, lower ranking people on their golden ladder, especially anyone who seems to represent defiance, or who may appear to be getting away with asserting some liberty that is not sanctioned by the higher-ups. They have no urge to take the fight to the institutions, they’d rather blame poor people and symbolic others, for failing to get the proper license to live, notarized in triplicate. Many Americans are so obsessively dedicated to the consumerist hierarchy that they’ll only socialize with people who have more money or status than themselves, they think there is something waiting for them at the top in the penthouse suite, even though Wall Street banksters are jumping out of high rise windows each and everyday. Ain’t no more student uprisings, ‘least not in overpriced sports towns, ’cause it simply costs way too much to go to school, which is like a hardcore, pre-rebel, disciplinary measure, ’cause it takes so much exhausting time and effort and waiting in bullshit lines and testing and enduring endless red tape and paperwork to get in to a box factory, and THEN, of course, they have it rigged, so you can never ever dodge that heavy student debt, so you know, we don’t see many campus activists anymore. In sports towns, college kids can be depended on to actually complain on camera to local news teams when ever a protest takes place on campus. The belligerently shitfaced, fratboy freestyle-vomitorium loafing, sports-drunk tailgating, bongsmoking hellraisers are suddenly sensitive souls studying hard and can not bear the distractions of demonstrations. Often, overpaid administrators are having parking spot sized yellow squares painted on the edge of campus that are supposed to be “free speech zones”. All the housing is jacked up ’cause property owners can rely on that out of state parent dollar and student loans. International students’ parents come to town to visit on game-day and see a poor person and complain to the administrators, who complain to local politicians, who deploy hard-on private security goons to push homeless people out of sight. Everybody is trained from birth to wear the proper school colors and excuse any misbehavior in the holy name of sports and winning.  They think they’re so clever, they think they’re so right.


What paling rocknroll remains is on Youtube, or at the expensive big city bars full of yuppies, and on scratchy records that everybody wants way too much for, because they hope to sell them at collector’s prices on E-Bay, right? The thrift stores all quadrupled their prices even on old dusty shit. Rich people buy these bars and blast tacky Eurotrash runway techno so loud you can’t have conversations, overcharge for shitty draft and well liquor, turn cut-throat groupies into authoritarian promoters, treat DJ’s like artists who are paid with cheap drinks, and now think they are rockstars for playing sound files of old bands you just told them about yesterday, these booj faux-dive bars even treat performers like suspects– letting gorillas in staff t shirts feel ‘em up, searching for a roach in somebody’s velveteen suitjacket, and the media-classers all wonder why poor people don’t come out to “support the scene” or “rediscover live music”. It’s the greedhead owners, douchebag “V.I.P.” atmospheres, “me first” has-been pseudo celebrities, and in crowd velvet rope scenester bartenders who just want to take another selfie with the replacement member of some broken up old band. A former rockstar from England who shall remain nameless here cried to me about how other people are exploiting his image, his name and sounds, to make money while he starves, so I hooked him up with a cheap merchandising place with ideas about how to get his own swag printed cheap so he can start pocketing the cash for his own gear, ya know? ‘Whined about pains of addiction, so I passed along a famous recovery guru’s private number. ‘Moaned about being misunderstood-I told him I could relate. ‘Complained he could not get live gigs, so I introduced him to some promoters and offered to interview the guy, to help generate some buzz about his half-hearted comeback, but he couldn’t be assed to type replies to my many researched, sensitive questions. Finally, I realized this guy did not want actionable help, he wanted shallow pity, so he can use fans for free room and board and sex and dope money. We’re all fallible and can be careless and accident prone in our callow, inebriated youth, but hopefully, we outgrow some of those less savoury behaviors, in our fifties and sixties, ya know? Some of these old punk dudes have really succumbed to balls-out selfish and opportunistic capitalist douchebaggery. Another tough guy old “punk” picks on a fallen legend’s widow. Disgraceful. Deplorable. You will know a true punk, a genuine article rocknroller, by the way they treat their fans. If they price gouge and hustle and snub and peddle high dollar meet and greets, they are just more sold-out phonys on the take. Other individuals, like the always thoughtful and generous, Frank Secich, have successful chapter after chapter in their thriving musical journeys, because they are honest and kind, that shit goes so much farther than one-upmanship and jockeying for position and petty highschool bickering and status seeking. Poison Idea were right when they said “Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes”. I visited a couple of those online music groups and could not even fathom the whole notion that because you purchased some copy of someone’s music while at college years ago, that is somehow supposed to endow you with some kind of vicarious, second hand mirage of reflected virtue. People sometimes tell me I remind them of the Jack Black character in “High-FIdelity”, maybe because, I’m a fat, loud guy in a suede jacket, still taping up “musicians wanted” fliers, but I never treated civilians poorly when I worked at record stores–I enjoyed hipping people-young and old, punks and squares, parents and brats, to new dimensions of sonic thrills. Malcolm X always said one should be kind to people who do not know as much as you do about any preferred topic of discussion, because there was a time when you lacked that same expertise, as well. For me, kindness, compassion, empathy and loyalty are way more important than shit-hoarding a museum full of Faster Pussycat Kill Kill vixen statuettes and KISS dolls and seventies Evil Kenieval toys and GG Allin head Pez dispensers that no one, but the maid with her trusty feather duster, is allowed to touch, that you keep alphabetized under compulsively polished glass. No wonder everyone hates all us music collectors and so-called rock critics. The smarmy suckup corporate media-pros who get to paid to pimp all that unlistenable hipster disco shit can’t go five minutes in real life without insulting someone for not knowing enough about Captain Beefheart or the early socialist singles of Scritti Politti. I had this one jackass record store owner know-it-all guy tell me it was cool for him to attack people online, because he “knows” Elliot Easton…on Face Crack. Consumer culture cultists really think they ARE their stuff. If you’ve ever been to a record convention, or worked in a record store, you know what I’m talking about. The “My Bubble Puppy Is Mint” people. Ebay and Amazon have really fucked up the thrift store and flea market culture–you won’t find a $3 black concert t shirt, or a dollar record that you love, very often anymore, because every Goodwill buyer wants to sell all that shit online for $500. I’m not exaggerating. Every old Guns N Roses, The Cult, Quireboys and Lords Of The New Church shirt you ever owned is on sale for hundreds of dollars on Etsy, and Ebay now. $500 for a t shirt? It’s plain bizarre. Old fart namebrand punks who crowdsource their side projects just seem like greedy pigs, if you are a millionaire, who plays stadiums and gets a piece of the merch., and your fourth boob-job wife just wants more money for cocaine, you have no business shakin’ fans down, in a depression. If you got lucky with your kid band, you ought to be paying it forward, helping the next guy transition out of the ghetto, not charging $200 for a handshake at sound check. I’m talkin’ to you, Lizard-Lips! You, in the designer hoodie with the empty swimming pool and DJ set pre-programmed on your I-Pod for the art show. Every fucking rich bastard is a painter, now. Every last bassplayer’s ex wife wants you to come buy her fucking oversized canvas with the paint smear Basquiat ripoff stick figures and the silver paint markered random graffiti slogans. Other rich fuckers are socially blackmailed into shelling out too much money for their bogus fart-art to display prominently in hipster-trap bars and coffee shops. Glad it’s not me, but those grapes were already sour, weren’t they? Pass the fortifed wine with the screwtop bottle. Where were you when you realized that none of your dreams were going to come true, and mean spirited, sadistic, greedy rich people were coming to take what little you possessed away from you? Wave goodbye to all you loved. Some rightwing authoritarian middle class folks in the flyover states are happy and content with their mustaches and beerguts, managing big-boxes and chicken wing joints, to piss-test their employees, and make elderly people scrub toilets for minimum wage, so long as they get a nametag with a title and a salary for acquiring piles of shiny objects. Rich people are already bored(!!) with their stocks and cars and property and even drugs(!!!) so THEIR “get high” becomes fucking with people, ruining other people’s lives. Millionaires have to meddle in poor people’s affairs, break up families, kill exotic animals, start wars and poison the rivers for their entertainment and amusement. Look at Poison’s Brett Michaels arm and arm with Trump’s proud elephant killing sons. Wanna buy a bandanna for $55? Ain’t that America for you and me? That whole rotten culture of exploitation is what makes the towering accomplishments and contributions of the real cats ever more precious.


You wanna invest in some quality entertainment value that you can keep on a shelf and return to again and again, year after year, art with no expiration date? Check out the works of Frank Secich, his brilliant albums with Deadbeat Poets are jam packed with authentic songs. Even the retrospectives and odds and sods compilations of his old bands, Blue Ash and Club Wow, all have Frank’s trademark attention to detail and honorable commitment to artistic excellence. Blue Ash have rare stuff coming out. Club Wow is about to release a beautiful 45 in a quality pop art picture sleeve, like Frank’s heroes from back in the day. ‘Always brings quality and sincerity to the table, this guy–some people call him Johnny Sincere, ’cause he has sincerity. He’s a writer and rocknroller from another time, who genuinely cares about his audience and is not trying to rip you off, like so many others. This guy is a real artist and a gentleman and an example of what a legitimate rocknroll statesman and living legend can and should be like. The dude has more talent than like 100 sports drink endorsing, corporate punk, weight-lifters in cargo shorts with tribal tattoos, and vintage rods, and midlife crisis McMansions in Orange County, but he always has a kind word for his many followers, he’s always endeavoring to give them quality music and art for their hard earned money. Not many are left around, like Frank Secich. If you ever met Stiv or Cheetah, you remember how genuine and kind they both were beneath the black leather? ‘Goes double for Frank Secich. Great artist, good man. We should all aspire to that.

Stiv Bators “I wanna forget you”


More and more people I know are getting sick-some weeks, it seems like almost all my loved ones are in the hospital, on multiple medications, we spend months of the year in waiting rooms or emergency rooms, sometimes it seems like all my closest loved ones are too young to be sick or dying, ya know? It’s partly because industry captured all the regulatory agencies and the health care profession is a joke, but also because so many of us are becoming more reclusive and living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, ’cause who wants to venture out into the police state combat zones and pay some bullshit cover charge to immerse one’s self in middle aged ratrace highschool music scene politics? Even social media seems like a sticky trap for rats. At least those of us who are lucky enough to have four walls today have a choice about minimizing our exposure to the elements and gossiping goose-steppers and uniformed predators.  I worry about the dehydrated homeless folks out there right now,  perspiring heavily in hazy waves of visible pollution, drought and record heat, whom I see garbed in second-hand reggae clothes, because that seems like a drug-war red flag, like a Deadhead sticker on a poor person’s vehicle, for all those steroid raging sadist-cops who were beat by their fathers. Remember the bad guy in the “Karate Kid” movie? I knew a guy way worse than him–he’s STILL a violent coke snorting celebrity among the chicken wing and draft beer slurpin’ hicktown white truck owners, I guess there is a type of horrible woman for whom a bully dickhead symbolizes money for product. She wants to go shopping at Sephora for always more-overpriced potions and lotions to slather into her severely stetchedback, Davey Crocket fringed jacket suede skin. Somebody’s gotta manage Claire’s Boutique, until they get married to jocks they meet at the university and then, they make their tool husbands buy them tanning studios. The tv people of Gentrification Nation want to “be envied” for their spray tans and safari photos. Fifty year old blonde divorcees in g strings, twerking to robot music for pre-teens. Healing crystals, bobbleheads, man-caves, merchandise and collectibles. Trucks. Gadgets. Bigger trucks, bigger gadgets, bigger tit jobs, bigger bathtubs, bigger hot-tubs, bigger sundecks, bigger screened TV’s, bigger boxes of novelty donuts, bigger nightsticks, bigger guns, more. Americans love that big lie that you will be endlessly privileged with super sized freedom fries, canned applause, canned-cheese, in-law approval, unscrupulous landlording, surgical enhancements, and license to abuse—if you just work harder for the Man and help to perpetuate vile racist falsehoods and watch sports and take toxic and untested prescription drugs and look the other way when cops put bullets in the backs of disabled kids and teenagers, and eat your chemical experiment foods, and shut up, until you are signaled to send your kids to war, or watch “My Name Is Cait” like that’s some sortof meaningful political gesture, or root for your sports team to win. “Working Class Hero” said it all so immaculately in the seventies. I don’t like the people who want to be Donald Trump, shouting abuse and firing people. I don’t want no Jennifer Anniston haircut, or one-eyed idle heiress sex robot, or George Clooney Lockheed Martin designer golfbags. Keep your fucking aromatherapy candles and backstage laminates. So I’m alone, like you, but at least, I’m reckoning with plain reality and not giving my consent to the Nazis for a talk-show make-over and a Buddha calendar and thirty pieces of executive class peanuts. All these uniformed, thuggish, masked men are marching around in gangs, looking for someone to taser. What happened to love, motherfuckers? “KEEP SHOPPING OR THE TERRORISTS WIN!” Your lies and deceiving diplomats…


Mostly the long gone past sucked, too, but at least we had better music, when we were young. At least we had each other. I never believed it could happen to me-the getting old and fat shit. Once your health starts to deteriorate, everything becomes a struggle. On the other hand…things that were important in the past just become….not so important. Like Iggy sang, you learn to fake it and just smile along, you push your feelings down, that’s how you cope in middle age. My damaged heart still races when I hear the power-pop masterpiece Stiv Bators “Disconnected” album, on Bomp! Records. What great songs, invested with so much true feeling, humor, hurt, lust, practical jokes, longing, fun. That band was really something. I wonder if people, somewhere, are still alive like that, nowadays. Even the rich people are complaining and needing to grind axes about unsatisfying childhoods and shit, everywhere I look. Apparently, you can’t get good personal assistants, these days. The Stiv Bators band, man, they were not afraid to feel it all. The good, the sleazy, the ramshackle adventures and spontaneous excitement of youth, even rejection and persecution and the fugly adolescent sense of being outcast forever. They explored life’s spectrum of experiences to the fullest. They looked cool, they were good friends, they traveled and performed and played pranks on people–and they had a little record label that believed in them. “A Million Miles Away”. “Make Up Your Mind”. “Ready Anytime”. “The Last Year”. “I Wanna Forget You Just the Way You Are”. “Too Much To Dream”. Stiv Bators was my Elvis Presley Shazam moment. The lightning bolt across my face. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Those songs touched me like the Beatles and Stones, did their generation, or ya know…like Nirvana affected most of my age group. It was the inspirational, consoling, intimate, heartaching personal soundtrack to my youth. When I was sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, I loved the Replacements and Hanoi Rocks and early Guns N Roses, but Stiv Bators “Disconnected” was my favorite record. I took a copy of that album with me wherever I ventured for years and years, it was one of the records always, always playing in the background when we were learning how to write songs and forming our early bands. In the car on the way to see some out of town show in our gothic sad raccoon make-up, or sitting on the floor cutting out stencils to spraypaint our own band t shirts, it was likely Stiv singing from the speakers. Of course, I don’t wear the guyliner so often now that I am old and wise, and fat and slow, but I’m still a sad raccoon, on the inside. Sometimes I have to smile just thinking about the way we dressed back then. I try to block most of that time out, now, because I already mourned that lost moment in time for too long already– it’s so painful to remember how sour things went in my own personal life—the disintegration of my friendships, the loss of my tragically fractured childhood gang, the sad and endlessly, agonizingly, anti-climactic death of my teenage bands, the girlfriends who hated my poverty, regrets-I had a few–all the people who died, died, but against my will, I still frequently have dreams about this old Victorian building I worked in–a glass studio–the glass dust and industrial sand, the rat turds and half-eaten Wendy’s salads and smell of solder and flux, the disapproving old lady in the beehive wig muttering her always offended noises while we made these stained-glass hummingbirds together, all day. My eccentric bosses, my punk rock co-workers, my teenage loves who came to visit me at work, and “I’ll Be Alright” playing in the background. Cigarettes and protective goggles. Stiff records t shirts and combat boots. Windexing and gift-wrapping overpriced artglass gift objects for pretentious country club wives. I had a purple shoebox apartment above a bar downtown where my friends would come and drink with me and listen to “It’s Cold Outside”, while we plotted out all of our own deadend bands that never got nowhere. I was in love with a girl who looked like Brigitte Bardot and liked new wave. 32 years ago I met her in the leafy suburbs and we excitedly, delightedly discussed the Psychedelic Furs and the Smiths for hours on end, and kissed on the couch when her sisters weren’t around, and we usually talked on the telephone while we watched MTV’s “Cutting Edge Happy Hour” on Sunday nights. Her step-dad hated my guts, and every guy in town appeared at her doorstep at some point, with flowers in hand: the jocks, the dorks, the punks, everybody desired her. She told me I should call my band Corporate America. I was the antithesis of that. Scrawny, pimply, awkward, targeted. An ugly garage sale bicycle, painted gray with housepaint, smudgedup glasses, army trenchcoat, purple tie-dye shirt, cutup jeans with holes in them. There was no $500 fitted UK leather from Straight To Hell you could purchase online. We were smalltown misfits, two hours from the nearest college recordstore. One of my closest friends was a decade older and had a good collection of rare seventies vinyl and big city t shirts. The rest of us were like River’s Edge heavy metal kids. Our version of punk rock was always homemade and anguished and duct taped together. We were poor and weird delinquents and all those athletic Republican dickheads in bitchin’ Transmaros shouted “Fags!” at us, as we walked home from work, each day. I grew up reading Creem and Smash Hits and Trouser Press and thought my band would steadily evolve into rocknroll super heroes like Alice Cooper and the Clash. We just needed a manager with some money to buy us some Generation X styled winklepickers and sequined tights and spiky vests, and pay for studio-time. We could generate our own artwork and t-shirt designs and titillate and arouse the people in live venues from bonfires to wood-paneled basement wreck rooms, from boy’s clubs, to cornfields, nationwide! We even had STICKERS! I was 18 and had already found my perfect bandmates, I didn’t even bother to learn how to play my Tokai guitar that a girlfriend had gifted me, because my cobra and leopard sidemen–they already played like Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Thunders and Bob Stinson and Wayne Kramer. Hell, the redneck roadie who lives in his car with a three legged dog even wrote monster riffs like Ron Ashton. I’d read all those library books about the bands that made it big in the sixties and whenever I assessed our collective potential, we seemed to have a surplus of stupid-guts, reckless talent, charisma, creativity and style. I thought it was gonna be like, “Our Gang” until the bitter end, ya know? “We’re puttin’ on a show!” It’s hard to let go of yesterday’s styling products and skull apparel. I was pretty unsophisticated back then, in part, due to lack of access, pre-internet, ya see, ya couldn’t just download the obscure punk rock of the seventies back then, and dutifully Xerox it on mommy’s credit card like kids today, who can buy a lifetime of collecting, at one-stop online shops. Back then, you had to seek all that shit out on risky roadtrips in unreliable vehicles, so the information stream was still painfully segregated in those days, in small towns, most of us were still repeating that obligatory mantra, “I Want My MTV”, because we could not afford cable, but my idea was to marry the gutter-poetic and heartfelt sloppy sentiment and debauchery of Stiv and the Deadboys and Replacements, with the pop melody of Pretenders and Generation X. I liked Van Halen AND the Smiths, ’cause I was basically a child of the video arcade 80′s. An MTV brat.  I was one of those sullen janitorial guys, like Paul Westerberg and Kurt Cobain, only, I figured on being the flamboyant entertainer-lyricist-personality-frontman, like Stiv or Morrissey, and relied too heavily on those other dudes, who chose to pursue their dreams elsewhere, and I got stuck in that moment, when I unexpectedly got kicked out of my own early band, and ignorantly squandered about twenty years just desperately trying to replace that group with different musicians in different cities, town to town, up and down, the left of the bloody dial, but I always sucked at making money. ‘Still do, I’m a professional dishwasher, a deep fryer, a pizza maker with bad retail knees, and the people who were serious about music tended to gravitate towards those who could self finance these operations. I’m the punk rock janitor who never made it out of the ditch. The new wave weirdo who always, always lost, in the end. “Getting sick of finishing last, I’m always the loser…” That’s why I could identify so deeply with all those mischievous and melancholy songs by Stiv’s band. Man. That shit was deep.

Make Up Your Mind


FRANK SECICH had some health problems, like so many of us, and took that opportunity to pen his memoirs, which is something many have been waiting for since the eighties, not only was he a crucial co-writer and collaborator of Deadboy, Stiv, but he was also a member of one of America’s most cherished power pop bands-Blue Ash, who have been receiving the enthusiastic attention of a whole new generation of power pop kids with unearthed artifacts seeing release on hip indie labels, lately. He had a band with Jimmy Zero called Club Wow, toured as a Deadboy, managed record stores, hung out with Susan Sarandon, John Belushi, Yoko One, Clem Burke, Nico, Curtis Mayfield, Ron and Keith, Marianne Faithful, Kim Fowley, Joan Jett, Bobby Keyes, Anita Pallenberg, etc., etc. He managed younger groups, sold insurance, is a dedicated family man, and has been releasing a series of impeccable albums with the Deadbeat Poets. His book features rare and unseen photographs by world-class photographers Donna Santisi and Theresa Kereake and he has fanclub goodies available if you are among the first to contact his publisher to pre-order this long-anticipated tome. Frank’s book kicks off with a car surfin’, acid-drenched joyride through the sixties rocknroll scene and the garage bands he played in as a suave young peacock en thrall to the Beatles and the Stones. I think that’s why Frank is so real, he never forgot what it was like to be a fan, or how much someone’s song can mean to you. He still loves rocknroll. He still loves a real song. That humanity shines through in everything he does. I mentioned the Bomp! Records Bators band as being my own real lightbulb rocknroll moment, when I innately knew I was gonna front ruffian rocknroll bands, win or lose; and Frank’s own Ed Sullivan moment was of course, the actual black and white Ed Sullivan Show. Prior to that, he’d been a model student, who had shook hands with the President. After those lads from Liverpool changed the world with their whoos and by shaking their shaggy moptops, Frank was forever transformed, and on a crash collision with punk stardom and power pop glory.

His fast-paced book is a topdown cruise through the sixties counterculture chock full of pop culture landmarks, old tv shows and A.M. radio, “Kookie, Can You Lend Me Your Comb” and the Doors and the Byrds and later, Slade. He even had a sidekick nicknamed, Beaver! These passionately devoted rock dandies cut a rakish profile and made a ruckus most everywhere they went, acting out their own unruly Rolling Stones Mars Bar misadventures-mostly acts of petty vandalism and flagrant dress code violations. The way me and my spiky headed cronies remember so fondly how we were affected by the Deadboys, that’s exactly how Frank feels about “Between The Buttons” and the Poets. He still gets it, he ain’t forgot shit. This book is overflowing with charm and really exactingly recaptures the hot rush of hearing a Brian Jones or John Lennon lick for the first time. It’s strangely gratifying to read  Frank’s stories and be reminded of the nearly universal experience of rebellious teenagers discovering the liberating and profane powers of raunchy rocknroll. Frank is a sweetly nostalgic fella who still draws loads of inspiration from his childhood chums and former bandmates and their Bowery Boys like hijinks they pulled in more innocent times. Frank summons back the early days of flower power where having long hair could really put you in danger. There were many years in the late sixties all the way through the early nineties, where it seemed like people had gotten over those stodgy old stereotypes, but once the Evil Dick neo-cons came into power, you could once again get marked for trouble by refusing to get your haircut, military style. This book feels more like a film than a heavy read, it’s like hanging out with your cooler older musician friend after he’s had a few drinks and starts telling you about his adrenaline charged antics alongside Jimmy Zero and Johnny Blitz, the Viletones, the B-Girls, Levi & The Rockats, Dick Clark, Jim Morrison, Tom Ridge, the Stooges, the Infidels, Backdoor Men, and Johnny Thunders. The energy is so raucous, it might remind you of a naughty coming of age film like “Fast Times” or “Porkys”, or “Animal House” or “The Wild Life”. It’s particularly insightful to discover the back-stories that directly inspired his many wonderful tunes. I feel no shame celebrating his ouvre so brazenly because the same way you and I treasure the memory of discovering the Plimsouls “Million Miles Away” and The Church’s “Unguarded Moment”, and Stiv’s “Make Up Your Mind”, ya know, that is how Frank feels about the British Invasion bands and all those obscure garage Nuggets songs, and it’s absolutely enchanting to behold his unbridled enthusiasm for Chuck Berry or Bob Dylan. I think any bona fide rocknroller is gonna absolutely love reading Frank’s bio ’cause he’s such a fine spinner of colorful yarns. I remember one time I had to take a job at this yuppie breakfast joint that rushed customers in and out, and they told me I could not wear my leopardprint Creepers-it had to be big white clean tennis shoes like fucking goofy Steven Adler, and khaki pants which you know how I loathe, and a Madras shirt–I did not know what the fuck a Madras shirt was, at the time. Frank Secich similarly had to cope with hassles from school administrators and juvenile authorities for his paisley clad appearance, much like us skinny-tied new wave rebel yellers. When he describes the Ohio garage scene of the late sixties, it really brings those places and colorful characters to life, you’ll either feel like you know those people, or you’ll wish you did. You’ll probably read this exceptional bio in one sitting the first time, and find yourself going back to certain marked chapters to re-read some of his whirlwind escapades in stinky vans and fancy Bill Graham dressing rooms, involving legendary American Indian Movement activists Russell Means and Dennis Banks, Ray Robsinson-”The Green Man”, Pure Hell, Eddie Best, Jeff Magnum, Rick Bremmer, George Cabaniss, David Quinton Steinberg, Rick Derringer, David Johansen, Dick Van Dyke, Bebe Buell, Deadbeat Poets, NY JUNK, etc., etc. It’s a wildly gripping and fun filled tear through the decades, as Frank and his dastardly cohorts record some of the coolest songs in the world (OFFICIALLY, according to Little Steven’s Underground Garage listeners) and set things on fire in the desert.

It was essential for Frank to write this collection of stories for the rocknroll generations to come. Everybody’s been waiting for books about Stiv Bators to be written since we lost him in Paris all those years ago, and Frank’s vivid memories of blastoid buffoonery backstage in the Mother Goose and Frankenstein era and wild kicks on the road being rescued by the Real Kids in the Bomp! heyday will doubtlessly fire the imagination of other authors and filmmakers who will hopefully write more about the Evil Boy. I really enjoyed learning more about Frank’s work with Blue Ash who really were power pop greats like Badfinger and Big Star and Cheap Trick and the Raspberries. I hate when book reviewers spill all the best stories from the book because it’s like telling somebody elses’ punchline when they start telling you a joke, so I’m gonna shut up now, and adamantly urge you real rocknroll people to purchase this intensely enjoyable and historically significant book when you get the chance. It’s really worth your while. It’s a rewarding ride that’ll remind you of why you fell in love with rocknroll in the first place, and why real music is still important.

DeadBeat Poets “Staircase Stomp”

THANKS FOR THE MAMMARIES!:…/song/24115177-everywhere-i-go