Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birthday Party/Gig


A special gig, as it was my birthday party as well. My family and me started celebrating at around 4pm, with lots of fine food and drinks. At 8pm we went to Club Zica (Wire), had a quick soundcheck and continued drinking. I invited some 20 family members and friends. Some of them I haven't seen for years. There were another 5-10 people there as well. I was talking to guests, my brother was playing some CDs in the background (lots of Bamodi, Tiala and Bariken).

I started playing at around 10.30pm. Did a couple of tracks, was happy with it. Wanted to finish it, but they wanted more, so I gave them more. Then had another couple of drinks and took the cab home...

Monday, October 20, 2008

The last Belgrade gig (for now)


It was time for last show in Belgrade and I was glad I booked it at Akademija club – a venue I spent half of my youth watching some cool bands. The venue is situated in the basement of the Academy of Fine Arts in the heart of Belgrade. Nowadays they split it in two venues and I got to play the smaller one. It looks really cool, with it's walls and floors built centuries ago, giving it a bit of a spooky feel – the right mood for Gutter Guitar.

By the time I started the venue was reasonably packed. I played two pieces, some 25 minutes in total. During the second one a guy came up tome from the crowd and asked if I mind him joining on drums. I didn't mind at all, expecting him to jump on a kit and do some crazy fucked up free jazz drumming. Instead he just kicked the beat on a bass drum for a couple of minutes and that was it. Hopefully I'll be back next year for some more shows.Now it's time to go back to Japan, then to Perth...

Your mission here is finished, turn the amp off and buzz away...

Monday, October 6, 2008


I went to Zagreb with my younger cousin Marko. The last time I was there was some 17 years ago, when I went to see Miracle Workers. WE had great fun, but the war started the very next day (nothing to do with me being there, hehe).

My friend Zeljka picked us from the train station, we left our stuff at her place and hit the town. A couple of hours later we met Goran, who was our host for next couple of days. Goran was in seminal Croation punk band Babies (now sadly defunct). They left two great albums behind, the second one was produced nad mixed by Tim Kerr. Goran now plays in equally awesome garage punk trio Wwelcommin' Committee In Flames.

First night we checked a coupleof venues in the city and had some drinks. We were exhausted from the trip and had an early night. The next day we did some sightseeings and tried some local food, very nice. At 6pm Zeljka took me to some University Radio Station where they interviewed me and I had a chance to play live on air. No guitar though, so I only used the lead, but it sounded pretty good. To me, at least.

Then we went to SPUNK where I had a show booked. That night they had a DJ who played strictly punk rock, so I thought my gig might not go that well. And I was right. I took the stage around 11pm and five minutes into my set I could fel the bad vibes from the crowd (the place was packed). The set was pretty noisy, I must admit, and 15 minutes later I decided to bring it to an end. To my initial surprise there was a very loud applause, but soon I realised the crowd was clapping so loud because they were happy that I have finished!

Now, I'm not concerned about the crowd reaction anywhere and I knew they were there to get smashed and listen to some punk rock, but I cannot say I was too excited. Luckily, there were lots of cool people there and with most of them I've been in touch for years, so at least I had a chance to have a drink with my friends and forget about shitty response. Needless to say I didn't sell any CDs.

The next day we hang around with Goran for a meal and one more drink and we took the train back. The next show is in Belgrade on my birthday, 8 October. Hope it goes better than Zagreb...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Serbia Pt. 1


The day of my first solo show in Europe has arrived, but before that I went to a couple of radio stations to plug the gig and that went pretty good. Around 1pm my brother arrived with Singing Loins – a damn fine English combo who had 4 shos booked in Serbia. We had lunch together and then went to the city. Singing Loins were scheduled to play in Novi Sad (third biggest city in Serbia, 80ks north of Belgrade) and my brother had to take them over there, while I had to take care of my show in Belgrade.

Dicking around in front of a huge billboard

The headliners for the show were Qui – new band of David Yow (ex-Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard). Before them we had Gerda Blank – half-New Zealand/half-English band. We caught up with them around 5pm and soon after Qui guys came, so we all had a drink together.

The we went for a soundcheck and dinner after that. Qui guys seemed nice and polite. After dinner they went backstage to chill out and I went to set up my gear. The show was suppose to start at 10pm, but one thing I learned here is that everything is running so fucking late. I was ready at 10pm, but there was no one at the venue except for me and two sound guys. I went outside and saw a bunch of people hanging there, drinking cheap from the supermarket. I recognized one guy and asked him to tell people I'm about to start and if they can be bothered to get inside.

I went in, plugged in and started making noise. I didn't dare look up for at least 5 minutes and was surprised to see a few punters in the venue already. I played for about 15-20 minutes and finished. People clapped after it. Don't know if they liked it or were just happy for me to finish.

Gerda Blank were loud and rocked hard. Two piece (guitar + drums), kinda half indie/ half garagey stuff. Spent next 3 days with them, top guys. Qui were good, but I was too busy taking care of business and catching up with people to pay too much attention. Also, there were only 60 or so people there, so the band seemed to be going through motions a bit.

After the show I helped them load up and take them to the hostel, then I took cab to my parents' place and went straight to bed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Japan Pt.2


Today was my last gig in Tokyo and the only one I played without Chris and Stina, and since Kenta and Scott have left already I had to go to the venue all by myself. I stopped at some flea market on the way, but there was nothing there to write home about, so I went straight to the venue.

The gig was at Nishi Ogikubo at Rinky Dink Studios – basically a rehearsal space with 4 rooms on three floors. The event lasted for two days and there was 100 bands/acts in total.

When I arrived I saw bariken guys who organised my pass and introduced me to the organiser and some other cool people who showed me around. The drinks were AUS$2 and bands already started playing, so there was no time to waste. I got onto the booze (sake and grapefruit juice) and checked some acts. The bands were all different styles – from ska-punk to math-rock to hard core to acoustic to noise... and all of them were fucken great! But when you have 50 bands to check and cheap drinks and cool people to hang around with it becomes a bit hard to see every single band. The rooms varied in size – from tiny to slightly bigger rooms.

My show was at around 4pm. I did a quick set up, checked everything and all was cool. I started playing and the first track went for about 15 minutes. I had another 10 minutes of my set and decided to get the audience to participate. I put my guitar on the floor and said “Let's make noise together”. The punters took turns on guitar while I was on pedals. Everyone had lots of fun and by that time I was slightly pissed and enjoyed even more. At the end we had a laugh, I got some CDs (including the one from a Tzadik band who I saw in one of the rooms earlier) from the punters, and the it was time to check Tiala.

Some of Gutter Guitar's special guests.

Tiala's singer Minoru is the manager of eM SEVEN, and I was looking forward to see them live, but could not expect them to be so incredibly good! The room was packed and 5 seconds into the first song everyone went berserk. The vocalist was all over the venue, the punters were following him in a manic dance and the band just chucked the song after song... Hopefully we'll see a 3-way split between Bamodi, Bariken and Tiala in next few months.

Tiala's singer Minoru after the gig.

And this is what it looked like on video:

It was 6pm, I got drunk and after hanging outside with Bariken guys I opted to head home. I said goodbye and they said they'll organise some gigs for me when I return in October. I jumped on train, and after 3 stops the train went in different direction. Suddenly I ended up on a station I never heard of. I asked some guy in my broken Japanese if I could catch a train to Shinjuku and was told that I can catch a train to Seibu Shinjuku, which was good enough for me, even though I didn't know where the fuck that was.

Once I got there I came out of the station and I was right in the middle of theTokyo madhouse – neon lights and zillions people everywhere! I didn't have a clue where I was and was too drunk/proud to ask anyone for directions, so I started walking down the street, looking for Shinjuku station, but it was nowhere in sight. I was thinking of catching a cab, but was afraid they would just laugh at me and tell me it's just around the corner. Finally I asked some Combini attendant and he gave me good directions. 10 minutes later I was on a train to Yokohama...

Friday, August 8, 2008


It's been over a week since I arrived to Japan and this is the first time I found some time to reflect on my experiences so far. It has been overwhelming, to say the least. And this is how it started:

Some months ago Scott Bishop – a damn fine young lad – informed me he is starting a record label and he wanted to release my solo stuff. I only started mucking around on solo guitar improv thingy and was hapy that someone actually cared and liked it, so I said “yes” even before he filled me in on details.

We went to some Japanese restaurant in Perth, got smashed, got well-fed and drew the plan – Scott will release 100 vinyl LPs on his new record label Heartless Robot, they (him and his best pal Nathan Smith) will also release 200 CD-Rs. I am to submit 3 guitar and 3 bass tracks. No problem!

Immediately I started looking into getting gigs in Japan. I came here last year with Abe Sada and I was planning to visit on the way to Serbia anyway. Then one day I had a chat with another damn fine Perth lad – Chris Cobilis. He mentioned he would love to go back to Japan and play some gigs. And he also mentioned that Stina (Stina Thomas, a damn fine lass, if I may say so) would love to come. Fast forward a couple of months: 17 July 2008, Perth, Australia. Stina, Chris and myself are launching our 3-way split CD and I'm launching my vinyl LP/CD, bot on Scott's Heartless Robot Production. Not only that, but we're also leaving for Japan in few days after that.

So, on 29 July me, Stina, Chris, Scott, Rachael (she designed our CD) and Kenta (who came to film the whole thing for a possible doco) took off from Perth to Tokyo. The take off was a bit bumpy and I didn't get much sleep. Some 10 hours later we landed on Narita Airport. I took the train to my in laws place, while the other guys went to the places they stayed in Tokyo.

Rachael and Stina getting totally blurred on the plane

I caught up with them the next day. Scott, Kenta and me stayed in Koenji – “underground mecca of Tokyo”. I took the train from my in laws place to Koenji and managed to jump on the wrong one, of course. Still, a few minutes later I was united with the boys at Koenji station.

We walked to our parlour – a weekly mansion, which is basically a tiny self-contained unit. Still, we pretty much only slept there, so huge comfortable place was not necessary. I dropped my gear and we went to Kichijiyoji to meet with Stina, Rachael and Chris, who all went to Ghibli Studio Museum.We hung around big park over there, drank beer in public (yes, the savages we are), took some photos...

Around the corner from where we stayed

Scott and me went to UFO Club to catch up with Croatian psych outfit Seven That Spells who I have been in touch with for a while. They were gone to get something to eat, which is what Scott and me decided to do as well. I remembered a nice izakaya nearby where I went for a huge feast with Abe Sada last year. It was still there, but this time we didn't have my wife to order food for us, so we had to use our limited knowledge of Japanese to get some meals. Then my friend Mikiko came and helped us with another coupled of dishes.

Around 7pm we were off to UFO Club, which is a real cool venue. There I met with Croatian guys and found out their drummer left Japan after only a couple of days – he had way too much of a r''r lifestyle in two days, if you know what I mean. We started drinking straight away, chew some fat and before you know it was time to see Seven That Spells gig. They used different Japanese drummers on the whole tour and tonite's one was fuckin' amazing! The band was heaps better than on the live DVD I saw earlier (and that one was great!) and had two guests on saxophone and hurdy gurdy.

After the show we took a cab home, left the gear at our place and went in search for an after midnight snack. Now, if you live in Perth you would know that only places you can get something to eat after midnight are petrol stations and a couple of cafes that are open overnight. That's in case if you want to risk eating at those places. In Japan it's a whole different story. The streets are buzzing even at 1am on a weekday, there are zillions of places to eat open and they all (at least every single one we checked) have some really tasty food.

The place we ended up in was one of the tiniest small eating houses on the side street. If Kenta didn't point to that one we would probably miss it. We bumped in and the master was obviously about to close, but he let us in for a snack. And where there's food there's drinks too! We started eating and drinking some of the delicacies when a couple of extremely drunk blokes came in. One was so smashed, it was beyond belief. He wanted to talk to us, and he did, in a very broken English. I tried to reply in even more broken Japanese. Then these two ladies showed up, obviously they were paid company, and soon after the guy started touching the bum of one of them right in front of us. Oh, the joys of after midnight snack in Japan! The master soon kicked them out, we went home and hit the sack.

We woke up, had some brekky and went in search of a music shop – I needed to buy a a power adaptor for my pedals. We searched and Searched, and then searched some more. We asked for directions, but no one seemed to know of any music shop around Koenji. While we were roaming the streets we realised we lost our way. Suddenly we ended up in this beautiful park, but with no clue where the home is. We walked some more, took twists and turns and – BANG! - we ended up right on our footsteps. It seems we just went in a huuuuge circle.

I had to buy some batteries instead, knowing that I will be able to get the pedal adaptor the next day in Shinjuku. We got our stuff ready and hit the road to Koiwa, where we played our first show at Em-Seven. When we arrived the other three people were there already, we soundchecked and went to find a place to eat. After a while we settled on okonomiyaki restaurant and that was a great choice. We had a three course meal and 2 drinks each for $20 each. The food was awesome, the girl preparing it right in front of us was cute.

First band on was GeGeGeGe Quartet, who are actually a three piece. They were OK, but perhaps almost too funky for me. Then it was Chris, Stina then me. All three of us played cool sets. The sound (as in all other venues later) was superb! After me a band called Tokyo Super Stars took the stage. It seemed they were setting up for almost half an hour and the first song really put me off being kinda boring indie rock, so I went out to talk to venue manager Minoru-san (from awesome band called Tiala) and the guys from Seven That Spells who played their last gig on tour that night. When I went back inside the venue my crew told me that Tokyo SS were incredible and that I missed out. Apparently, they totally flipped the coin after the first song and went completely berserk. I watched some footage that kenta took and regretted decision to leave early.

GeGeGeGe Quartet. Nothing to do with GeroGegiGeGeGe, unfortunately

Stina tearing the staga apart in Koiwa

Chris doing his usual self-mutilation on stage. The blood flew.

Seven That Spells extended version.
Conti were next – sitar and drums. Unreal stuff. The Seven That Spells took the stage with two drummers, two saxophone players and bass and guitar. It was great, but perhaps not as great as night before and we had to leave before they finished, so we could catch our last train. In Shinjuku something like 5 million people got on that train and to say it was incredibly packed would be an understatement. I don't know how we got alive out of that...

Back in Koenji we went for another after midnight snack and more drinks, which is what will happen every night for next few nights.

After breakfast me and Scott went to Shinjuku. I went straight into the music shop and bought an adaptor. Then we went to Disk Union shops and spent some money on records and CDs/DVDs. After a quick refreshing ice coffee (did I mention it was bloody hot and humid all the time?), we went to Shibuya for more record shopping and to meet Sora-san from the Gimmies. He took us to some cool izakaya where we ate raw horse. I've done it last year and I love it, but it was first time for Scott. He didn't complain.

Sora took us to Shibuya O-Nest to see 5678s. I was excited about it, as I've heard them a long time ago, but never had a chance to see them live. The opening band was a hardcore one and they were cool. It was weird that the band has set up in front of the stage, but I thought that's OK, because they are support and later on 5678s would take the main stage.

The next band was Supersnazz, who I thought broke up, as I haven't heard about them for long time. They were great and I hope they can make their way to Australia soon. The next band started setting up in front of the stage. The bass player was these obese Japanese guy in a drag, but I saw 5678sdrummer there too, so I thought maybe that's her side project or something. When I saw guitar player/singer I started thinking that this is actually 5678s. Had to ask Sora-san, and he confirmed. It smelled fishy.

They started playing and straight away it was obvious this show will suck. It was sloppy as hell (apart from the drummer) and just very, very disappointing. They play 8 fuckin' songs only! There were 6 bands on the line up for the whole night and I seriously expected 5678s to play last in front of a packed house, but this was anything but. Later on Sora said this was their first gig in two years or something, but that's not an excuse.

The band after them was called Punch Your Face. I'm sure you're aware that Japanese bands tend to copy western bands. Some of them become better than original, but some are just plain boring fuckin' copy, like Punch Your Face. They totally ripped Dwarves off, including a bass player in nothing but wrestling mask and jocks. Well, the crowd seemed to love them, don't know why. It was entertaining watching them jumping all over the place. At some point a woman in kimono and wrestling mask appeared, but 30 seconds later all she got left was the mask and knickers. Guitarist and singer took their turns in grabbing her breasts and she didn't seem to mind...

We decided to piss of and meet Kenta and his friend Adnrew who was in Tokyo at the same time. They were in karaoke place, already quite drunk. We joined in for more songs and singing. I was total shite. Pex, don't try to sing, please, even drunk. But for about $12 an hour you could drink as much as you can the place, so we certainly took advantage of that. We had to catch the last train home, went for another snack and more drinks.

3 & 4 AUGUST
These two days were spent in doing sightseeing, eating, drinking, then eating and drinking some more. We went to Harajuku, visited a temple, visited rockabilly guys in the park, crappy bands playing to a bunch of stupid teenage fans, went to my in laws for a feast (and I mean FEAST!), bought some more records...

Kenta, Scott and me really liked Koenji. We met some locals and every night we would buy a few drinks, sit on the street corner and had a chat with local people. I guess we would be arrested in Perth right away for drinking in the street. Here no one seemed to mind.

Stina, Rachael and Chris came to Koenji, so we checked local shops, ate some nice burgers at Freshness Burger and went to the venue of our second show – Penguin House. I went there first, as I had a soundcheck at 4pm. On the way there it was pouring down with rain and umbrella couldn't help at all. By the time I got there, I was soaked wet. The first thing I've done when I went inside was went to the toilet, took my sneakers off and poured 5 l of rain from it. No Joke. I did a quick soundcheck and went home to change. Of course the rain has stopped by now.

During Stina's soundcheck Sawada-san came to the venue. He organised last year's Abe Sada tour and would play with us the next day at UFO Club. We went in search of some nice place to hang around before the show. Unfortunately prog rock cafe was closed, so we had to settle for traditional Japanese restaurant, which had super tasty food.

I was on first and it went well. Penguin House is a tiny venue, capacity of 40 and it's ideal venue for my kind of music. I wish we had something like that in Perth. After me there was an improv free jazz act Bon No Kubo, and they were great. Then Stina took the stage and it was my favoruite of her 3shows I saw in japan. She used a piano in the venue too for two songs. Then there was a three piece with a guy on drums, a guy on Irish bouzuki, and a guy who was playing his self-made instruments. They were OK, but kinda lost me after 3 songs. Chris finished the evening.

Kenta, Scott and me dropped our stuff home, then went in search for one last after midnight snack together. We settled for jumbo gyoza, which was a good choice. Then we checked some comic store that also sold X-rated DVDs. Then we went for one last drink at some cool cafe and hit the road home.

Kenta and Scott left today. It was difficult to see them go, as I had some great moment with those two guys and they were certainly upset about leaving. I said goodbye, met with other 3 guys and went to UFO Club for a soundcheck. It was great to be there again, and see some familiar faces. Soundcheck went easy and then we went for dinner. We bumped into guitar player from Tokyo SS on the way, how fuckin' small this world is???

At the venue I met my myspace friend and awesome music artist Sachiko and her husband, as well as Matsuoka-san from Geltz. First on were Sawada+Harada, awesome two-piece (drums/vocals and laptop). Sawada is a superb drummer. Then this band came on stage and we were kinda shocked. They sounded like they only got together 5 minutes ago. The bass player were playing repetitive dub lines, drummer couldn't keep his shi together, lead guitarist were plucking his strings out of tune with other and vocalist/guitarist was playing for himself. At best it sounded like dub version of Captain Beefheart, at worst it sounded like total crap. They gave me their CD (original, not CDR) and it shocked me to say it sounds exactly the same as their live show. Was there something I didn't get???

Next on was Outsuka-san, one of guitarists from Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra. This time he was doing solo performance, very Jimi Hendrix-like. Not my cup of tea, but he was great for that kind of stuff.

Then it was Chris, Stina and I finished the show. I was kind of exhausted, both physicaly and emotionally. I said goodbye to Stina, Rachael and Chris, I said goodbye to everyone else and went home by myself. Felt quite sad...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Early Yugo punk singles

Long time no see... So to wish you a Happy new Year yours truly has decided to offer you first two punk(ish) Yugoslavian singles from 1978.

Pankrti has been one of the first Yugo (now Slovenian) punk bands and they released their first 7" in 1978 for independent SKUC label (basically, Slovenian students' organisation, not a regular label, although they released few more records in years to come). It was presed in 3000 copies and was gone soon after. Awesome single, enjoy!


Prljavo Kazaliste were not really punk band, but rather sped-up Rolling Stones kinda band. This is their first 7"EP with 3 awesome songs.