Hot Snakes Prove That a Band With Two Drummers is Twice as Good

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Hot Snakes' first two records (2000's Automatic Midnight and 2002's Suicide Invoice) feature Jason Kourkounis on drums, but the band's third release, 2004's Audit in Progress, was recorded with drummer Mario Rubalcaba, who became a permanent member for the group's final two years. So, when singer/guitarist Rick Froberg, guitarist John Reis and bassist Gar Wood decided to reunite in 2011, they had a decision to make.

Luckily for fans, the threesome opted to include both Kourkounis and Rubalcaba, allowing each drummer to perform the material he recorded. Taking a quick break mid-set to change skinsmen might sound odd, but it's not. In fact, it's fucking awesome not only because audiences get to see both versions of Hot Snakes but because Kourkounis and Rubalcaba are phenomenal drummers who deserve to be heard.

Still, having two drummers isn't the norm, which is why I spoke to Rubalcaba and Kourkounis in regards to their band's upcoming show at Alex's Bar in Long Beach on Sept. 18 to find out what they plan on doing when the other guy is on stage.

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The Dwarves and The Queers - Alex's Bar - July 16, 2014

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Ryan Ritchie
The Dwarves
The Dwarves and The Queers
Alex's Bar
7/16/2014

As far as Dwarves shows go, last night's at Alex's Bar was fairly uneventful. And by that, I mean no one got naked, stabbed, punched or vomited on. Then again, the self-proclaimed best band ever (seriously, they have a song called "The Dwarves Are Still The Best Band Ever") ditched their infamous on-stage debauchery sometime in the mid to late 1990s, so if you went to Long Beach looking for sex and violence, you were probably let down.

That said, the current Dwarves -- singer Blag Dahlia, guitarist The Fresh Prince of Darkness, bassist Chip Fracture and drummer Gregory Pecker -- still fucking rule. Of course, the absence of long-time guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed was sorely missed, but anytime a naked man in a wrestling mask isn't somewhere, absences will be sorely missed.


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Descendents Guitarist Was a Fan of the Band Before He Joined. These Are His Favorite Songs.

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Greg Jacobs
Stephen Egerton
Rather than having some schlub (i.e., me) pontificate about how brilliant pop/punk/hardcore pioneers the Descendents are and why everyone should see them Friday as part of the MusInk Tattoo Convention & Music Festival, I thought I'd go to the source. And by "source," I mean Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton.

Egerton doesn't play on the group's first three full-length albums (1982's Milo Goes to College, 1985's I Don't Want To Grow Up and 1986's Enjoy! ) and one EP (1981's Fat). He joined the band during 1987's ALL, so I figured the Oklahoma resident would offer a unique viewpoint on the songs as someone who is a fan of the band and a member. The group has had one drummer (Bill Stevenson) and singer Milo Aukerman is on all releases except the first single (1979's Ride the Wild), so their opinions might be biased. And original bass player Tony Lombardo and his replacement Doug Carrion couldn't talk about the songs that followed their departures. Same with original guitarist Frank Navetta (who passed away in 2008) and his successor Ray Cooper. Yes, I could have included third bassist Karl Alvarez -- who joined with Egerton in 1986 -- but I don't have his number. I do, however, have Egerton's. Luckily, I was right as the guitarist spoke at length about the difficulty of honoring the legacy of Navetta and Cooper while maintaining his own musical voice.


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Final Conflict Explain Their Break-Up Just in Time For Their Reunion

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Angela Boatwright
This weekend, Alex's Bar celebrates 14 years of coolness with anniversary shows. Friday's lineup includes the recently reunited bands Final Conflict of Orange County/Long Beach, and hardcore band BL'AST! from Santa Cruz. You can also see the Stitches and Smogtown, and Saturday's show features Swingin' Utters, Old Man Markley, the Black Tibetans, Devil Dogs and Transistor LB.

Yeah, those are all great bands to interview, but I knew I had to speak to Final Conflict singer Ron Martinez. Not only was the 48-year-old a staple of Orange County punk (he booked shows everywhere -- including Chain Reaction -- and worked at Greene Records), he's been a friend for a decade and we hadn't spoken in far too long because he moved to Austin, Texas, four years ago, which might have something to do with the healing of my liver.

Friendship aside, Final Conflict was always a powerful live act. And the group's 1987 record Ashes to Ashes slays and if you don't own it, you should because it's like that dream you had when Black Flag and Black Sabbath became the same band.


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The 10 Best Tiger Army Songs

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Tiger Army may only have four albums and a handful of EPs, but there's no denying that the band will forever be known (at least in our book) as the kings of psychobilly. With the 6th annual Octoberflame coming up this weekend at the City National Grove of Anaheim, a debate over their best songs compelled us to crank out this list based off of songs that the fans like, that are most played at Octoberflame, and songs that lyrically/musically stand out above them all. Here are our picks for the10 Best Tiger Army songs.

See also: Nick 13 Shares His Top Five Halloween Songs and Movies (In His Own Words)

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Big Freedia - The Constellation Room - July 24, 2013

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Hope Lee
Question: In the history of this blog, how many writers can say they got the headlining act to leave the venue, walk into the parking lot and get into a 1960 Ford Starliner on Cragars to take photographs?

Answer: One. Me.

The event in question happened with Big Freedia last night at The Constellation Room.
All week my friend Gabe had been telling me how he wanted Big Freedia (aka the Queen Diva, the Dick Eater, the Late Night Creeper -- ya besta buhleeva!) to take pictures in his car. I told him it wasn't happening. He showed up in the afternoon and was denied. At this point, I figured he'd drop it. He didn't.

See Also: Big Freedia Brings Bounce-Fueled Ass Battles to OC

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The Top Five Black Flag Guitar Recordings

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A recently reunited Black Flag plays tonight and tomorrow at the Observatory, which got me thinking: What songs do I want to hear live? The easy answer is "all of them," but let's face it, I don't want to hear any band do every song they know. Then I started thinking, "Ok, what are my favorite Black Flag songs I sure as hell hope they play?"

This isn't an easy answer seeing as how the group had four singers, one rhythm guitar player, three bassists and six drummers between its initial run from 1976 through 1986. As you might have guessed, each lineup transformed the group into something it wasn't before. Whereas the original lineup with guitarist Greg Ginn, singer Keith Morris, bassist Chuck Dukowski and drummer Bryan Migdol drew heavily from the Ramones, by the time Ginn, singer Henry Rollins, bassist C'el Revuelta and drummer Anthony Martinez toured in 1986, Black Flag was a heavy blues band that borrowed as much from Black Sabbath and Ornette Coleman than they did the Ramones.

Add the fact that Ginn -- the sole constant -- has reformed his group with second singer Ron Reyes (featured on the Jealous Again EP and the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization) and a new rhythm section (bassist Dave Klein and drummer Gregory Moore aka "Drummer") and you've got a headache as pounding as the second side to the band's 1984 record My War.


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10 Songs LBSO Probably Shouldn't Play in a Firehouse

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Just like the Wu-Tang Clan, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra is for the children. If they weren't, the group wouldn't be presenting a family-friendly concert Sunday at the Engine Company No. 8 fire station in Long Beach at 4 p.m.

The event, part of LBSO's "Sound & Space" concert series, is an interactive show featuring a brass band and the west coast premiere of a song called "Fire in the Big Top." The tune -- narrated by Bob Joles, best known as the voice you hear on the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland -- "tells the story of Tom and Maggie, two children living in Long Beach in 1906, who sneak off to watch the circus and are surprised by an adventure they will never forget."

The LBSO's press release doesn't mention how long "Fire in the Big Top" is, so there's no way of knowing if they plan to perform other material. But if they do, here are 10 songs you probably won't hear.

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Rocket From the Crypt Bassist Petey X Never Says Never When It Comes to His Band Reuniting

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Greg Jacobs
There's no shortage of good bands playing the Ink-N-Iron festival this weekend at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Sadly, we can't pay much attention to bands that are merely "good" when the world's greatest band of all time is playing. That's right, folks -- Rocket From the Crypt is performing Saturday night and if that's not enough to get your ass off the couch--even for a festival focused on cars and tattoos-- then it's time to start reevaluating your life.

It's a big deal any time the world's greatest band plays (full disclosure: I'm kind of a fan), but it's an even bigger deal when the show marks the first time in nearly eight years that the world's greatest band is playing on American soil. An announced show, anyway.

Rocket From the Crypt held an uber-secret gig on Easter at Bar Pink in San Diego (this writer attended), but that performance was for approximately 100 heathens who view the six members of Rocket From the Crypt (singer/guitarist John "Speedo" Reis, bassist Pete "Petey X" Reichert, guitarist Andy "ND" Stamets, drummer Mario "Ruby Mars" Rubalcaba, trumpet player Jason "JC2000" Crane and saxophonist Paul "Apollo 9" O'Beirne) as musical Messiahs whose triumphant return to the stage was infinitely more important to humanity than some bearded hippie who rose from the dead.

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Ska Band The Skeletones Are Not Too Old To Out-Skank You

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During the 1990s, the Skeletones used to play every friggin' show from the Inland Empire to Orange County. After search the Internet, you might assume that the 10-piece ska group from Riverside still maintains a busy schedule.But look closer and you'll notice that a few newer bands have also taken the moniker since the original band's heyday. A Google search for "the Skeletones" comes up with three acts -- the Riverside band and two others from Michigan and England.

These days, the original Skeletones -- Jonas Cabrera, Paul Hampton, Mark Cummings, Chris Miles, Kip Wirtzfeld, Rick Bonin, Woody Diaz, Bob Alvarado, John Alvarado and Jared Palazzolo -- perform between 12-24 times a year, which is still a lot considering the group has been around for approximately two decades. That said, don't think frontman Jonas Cabrera has gotten too old to rock a stage because he says he will "out-skank anybody who dares to try" to beat him in a dance-off.

The Skeletones play Saturday as part of Long Beach Sound Society's fourth annual "We Are The Mods Celebration" at Madhaus. The event includes performances by Suedehead and the Savoys and features an array of DJs, food trucks and a horseshoe pit. With so much mod in one area, let's hope Cabrera has a new pair of dancing shoes cuz he's gonna need them.

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