Friday, December 18, 2009

The Rowskabouts

At the risk of turning this into the Ozark Ska Page, let me mention one more important act from Joplin before we move on. The Rowskabouts were my personal favorite Ozark ska band from the 90’s. They had a goofy, upbeat, energetic style that was a blast to witness. My copy of their demo tape is way too worn out to be posted here, but luckily you can find most of the tracks from it streaming on their MySpace page. It’s worth checking out. They also have a reunion gig coming up in Joplin on Dec. 23rd, 2009. Those in the area should try to make it out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hubcap-Rob And Wes Like Cake Any Way You Slice It Demo Tape

I’ve had several Joplin natives tell me that Hubcap was one of the best local ska bands back in the day, often sharing bills with Big Bad Chubba. I for the life of me can’t remember ever seeing or hearing of them, but their tape is pretty solid 90’s ska stuff. The quality is a little rough, but this is apparently a hard one to track down, so once again I guess we have to be happy with what we can find. Thanks again to John, and if anyone has clearer memories than I do about these guys, please share them in the comments.

1. Let’s Go!
2. Pokerface
3. Go Hair
4. Rob n Roll
5. Noodles
6. Wes Side Story
7. Agent 99
8. Go
9. Obstruction


Friday, November 20, 2009

Big Bad Chubba-Tha Bootleg! Demo Tape

Big Bad Chubba was a notable ska act based in Joplin in the late 1990’s. Members of the band later went on to play in acts like Vaginal Discharge and The Itch. I booked a few shows for these guys back in the day, but didn’t really know much about the band. If anyone has any memories to share, please do so in the comments. My own lack of knowledge aside, they played tight straight-up 90’s style ska, and this recording is a good representation of their work. Special thanks to John for sending this stuff to me.

1. New Shoes
2. Murder Lane
3. Silly Girl
4. Chubba You and Me
5. 42 Cigarettes
6. Kill the Kid
7. Crockett Express
8. Untitled Instrumental
9. On-Line Love


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chris Schultz 1972-2009

I recently received the sad news that Chris Schultz had passed away. To say Chris was a controversial figure in the Springfield punk scene would be an understatement. In his young years he ran with the local Nazi skinhead crew. Later he dropped the racist ideology and became a somewhat active player in the punk music underground. His band, Violent Karma, was a magnet for drunken thugs and skins, and their shows often ended badly. But a lot of people didn’t know that Chris was actually an intelligent guy who could be a lot of fun to hang out with. I remember going over to Chris’s place back in the day and listening to Crass and Fear albums while we debated the virtues and faults of various bands. Chris always carried a lot of pain with him. His best friend Sludgy (the bass player in Violent Karma) passed away years ago, a blow from which he undoubtedly had difficulty recovering from. Chris was a complex man, and at one time I called him a friend. I’m sorry to hear he’s gone.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Noise With A Beat Compilation Cassette

Released in 1997 by Wee Rock Records, this compilation featured 27 songs by 14 local acts. Musically, the tape goes from so-so alt-rock (such as Monumental Radio) to screeching hardcore punk (such as U$MC, with the tracks coming from an early demo tape with their original guitar player Brian). The compilation is also notable for having tracks from some fairly obscure Ozark bands like The Acronyms and Piezo Transducer (both side projects by the members of Fugue), as well as the obnoxiously cutesy Carbon Star (“The Wee-Wee Song” still makes me want to strangle someone) and Erector Set, a short-lived Springfield based punk three-piece. Finally, the tape has a couple of songs by Big Bad Chubba and The Rowskabouts, two worthy Joplin ska acts whose full-length demos I’m still trying to track down. There’s way too many track titles to list here-just download the thing and experience an interesting (if uneven) snapshot of the 90’s SW Missouri underground music scene.


Monday, August 10, 2009

The Debs

I’ve briefly mentioned the Debs before on this blog. They were a Ramones/Joan Jett-inspired all-girl garage act that played out in Springfield in the late 70’s. They’re getting together for a reunion show on Saturday August 15th, 2009 at the Outland Ballroom in Springfield (they play at 10:00). I wish I were in town to go to the show. If anyone can make it over there and check it out, please share your thoughts in the comments. In the meantime, you should take a look at their MySpace page; judging from the couple of songs posted, they were quite a rocking band.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Vault of Punk

I’m at long last getting near the end my list of things to post here. There are still some tapes I’d like to track down (like stuff by the Rowskabouts, Vanilla Christ, Force Fed Patriots, and the Now or Never demo), but postings on here may slow down a bit. To compensate for that I’ve decided to start another blog on which I’ll post my favorite punk and hardcore releases that are now out of print (or in a few cases never in print to start with). So mosey your web browser over to The Vault of Punk and check out some obscure underground treasures. I’ll be adding more stuff over there as time goes on, and make sure you check back here now and then for the occasional update.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Barbie Holocaust-1996 Demo

Barbie Holocaust was a Springfield-based band that was around for a couple of years in the mid-1990’s. They played poppy-punk with a grunge influence, and were notable for a couple of unusual things: Guitarist Matt and bass player/vocalist Rudie were all of 14 years old when they started the band, and drummer Annette was Rudie’s mom. They released a well played but poorly recorded demo tape in 1995, and then this superior demo in 1996. Professionally recorded, the tape featured some strong songwriting and playing. It was the last thing to be released by the band.

1. A Bomb
2. When I Grow Up
3. Sue the World
4. Sick of It
5. We Will Become U
6. Erase


Friday, July 10, 2009

Fugue-Sings Your New Favorites CD-R

Fugue was a long-running Springfield pop-punk act that released several CD’s and tapes over the years (their Best Of CD-R is still available). Recorded in 1999 and released in 2000, this was their last (and probably best) recording. It has a somewhat goofy and fun sound, yet is very well played and recorded. The two key members of the band, Justin and Jason, were very involved in the scene, running venues like the 423 Club and starting Wee Rock Records (a Springfield underground music label that’s still going strong today). They currently play in The Fine Lines, a garage rock band that has a significant following both here and in Europe.

1. Riot
2. Dan is Dumb
3. Drunken H.S. Girls
4. Randy
5. Through My Head
6. Cristina King
7. Begin or Lose
8. Media Dream Girl
9. Take a Stand
10. Litterbug
11. (No) Boneheads
12. Point Lookout
13. Lovin' You Is Stupid
14. Thinking
15. Good
16. Pukin' Over You
17. Nine Seconds of Silence
18. My Devil


Saturday, June 27, 2009

11 Blade

This band isn’t based in the Ozarks, but seeing that two of their three members are alumni of the old SW Mo underground scene, I think their inclusion here is appropriate. 11 Blade plays agro hardcore stuff with a considerable amount of skill, and recently put out a self-released CD that was produced by a former member of White Zombie. Based out of New Orleans, the band is fronted by Jay, who used to play in Springfield punk acts Squelch and General Zod. Beth, the band’s bass player, used to be a member of Odd Things Happen When It’s 60 Below, a Springfield-based ska act. They have a MySpace page with audio clips, band news, and info on how to get their CD. Their stuff is also available through itunes. (I remember the days when if you were an underground DIY band you released demo tapes with crudely photocopied covers that would be heard by maybe 100 people. Now you can get instant worldwide exposure if you’re willing to pay itunes’ fees. Times they are a’changin’.) Give their stuff a listen, and hear modern hardcore in action.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Rising Sun-United We Stand Demo Tape

At long last I have located a copy of the elusive Rising Sun demo. It’s a copy of a copy, and the sound wobbles in a few spots, but on this one beggars can’t be choosers. The Rising Sun was around from about 1988 to 1990, and is generally regarded as being the first hardcore punk band to come out of Springfield, Mo (and probably the Ozarks in general). I hadn’t listened to this tape in years, and I must say it holds up pretty well. It has a real 80’s punk sound, and a few of the songs (particularly “America” and “Afraid”) hold up as great thrash-punk. The Rising Sun was also notable as one of the first anti-racist skinhead bands in the U.S., and the song “We Don’t Care” is a forceful “fuck off” to the local Nazi crew (this is a problem that still plagues Springfield, unfortunately). This demo was recorded in 1989, and was the only thing released by the band. The band’s singer Joe later sang for another Springfield skinhead act, Violent Karma, which ironically had a sizeable Nazi following. I never had the privilege of seeing the Rising Sun play live; if anyone has any stories to tell, please share them in the comments.

1. America
2. Think for Yourself
3. Afraid
4. We Don't Care
5. Fight
6. Co-Existence
7. Fight Back
8. You Just Want
9. Confusion
10. Help Me


P.S. The above photo of the tape cover was jacked from a blog posting by Laurie, a scene regular from the old days. She posted a bunch of other pictures of memorabilia from the old Springfield underground music scene; you can see the rest of the photos here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Other Ozark Underground

Forgive me for getting non-punk for a moment, but I don’t know how this website has escaped my attention for so long. The Underground Ozarks is a way cool webpage with accounts and photos from people who have explored some of the forbidden places around SW Missouri. They cover some sites I was familiar with already (Albino Farm, the Acid Tunnels [pictured], and my old day camp Ritter Springs) along with some that were unknown to me (the MSU Tunnels, Phenix). The site hasn’t been updated in a while (although the message board is still active), but it’s still a great resource on a little known part of the Ozarks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Walking Octopus-Unreleased Demos 1986-1992

Walking Octopus was an early Springfield punk/garage act that played out from the mid 1980’s to the early 1990’s. They fused rock n’ roll and punk with a somewhat goofy and upbeat lyrical style. They were a regular at the old Commercial Street Club, and had a decent fan base back in the day. Members of the band later turned up in other acts such as Dunce Cap, the Cheerleaders, and Unteen. Despite their relative popularity and frequent recording sessions, the band never released any music. The cuts here are taken from a mishmash of recordings made from 1986 to 1992. The sound quality is excellent, as are the performances on the tapes. It’s a shame they were never heard publically at the time of the band’s existence, but it’s good to know that at long last they’re now available to anyone who wants to hear them.

1. Lynching at the Hoedown
2. Gone Are the Days
3. Draining Out
4. Shithead
5. Jellybean
6. Moving
7. Sex With A Russian Spy
8. Insects Inherit the Earth
9. Blueshead
10. Changes Come
11. Stupid
12. Untitled Instrumental


Friday, March 13, 2009

A Lesson In Punk Rock Economics: The Harper’s Bizarre Ledgers

I moved a while ago, and in doing so came across an interesting bit of punk history: the financial ledgers of the Harper’s Bizarre club, which operated in Springfield circa 1996-1997. They provide a good example of how DIY music shows were run at the time, as well as how little money is to be made in such endeavors. Let’s start with a small show. On Oct. 26th, 1996 the Richards played along with Dysfunctional Family and the Sex Offenders, both out of Kansas City. 51 people paid to get in, which was actually pretty solid for a Springfield show (Joplin shows usually drew better). At four bucks a head, that comes to $204. A few Cokes were sold at a buck a piece, and the bands sold some tapes and shirts for themselves. At the end of the night, the club had $214. Both of the KC bands got $40, and the Richards got $20 for gas, making for a profit of about $90. Not bad, but consider that the rent on the place was $425 a month. On Aug. 30th of that same year, Naked Aggression (a fairly popular anarcho-punk act at the time) played with Brine and Squelch. 60 people paid to get in, plus the club sold a bunch of Cokes and waters, bringing the profit for the night to $286. Naked Aggression was guaranteed $200, along with $20 for a couple of pizzas (they also got a free place to sleep that night). Brine got $40, as their singer had to drive in from KC. Squelch got nada, as was the norm at the club for bands that came from in town. That left the club a grand total of…$26. You can start to see here why booking smaller time punk acts was often more profitable, at least in the Ozarks at that time: About the same number of people would show up, but you could pay the bands less money. For a good laugh, consider the Mustard Plug/Rowskabouts/Bishops show on Oct. 12th, 1996. Mustard Plug was a pretty big ska act, while the Rowskabouts brought out the Joplin folks. The Bishops, if I remember right, were a local ska band from Columbia, Mo. Punk shows are usually a handshake thing; contracts are very rarely used. You could make a lot of money off of ska bands, but they were a bit too professional for their own good. Consider the contract in this case. The club was supposed to supply “a clean, well lit, lockable dressing room able to comfortably accommodate 5 to 10 people”. Those of you who remember Harper’s Bizarre are no doubt laughing by now, as the club had nothing even remotely approaching a dressing room. I won’t even get into the P.A. requirements, which a DIY punk club could not even hope to meet. All of this was explained to the booking agency beforehand, yet they signed the contract anyway. Contract silliness aside, the show was profitable (as I noted, ska was a good moneymaker). 74 people paid to get in at $6 a head, giving a total of $444. Drink sales took the total to about $460. Mustard plug got $200 plus a $50 meal buy out. The Bishops got $40, and the Rowskabouts got $20. The club ended up with about $150. Perhaps the ultimate moral of this economic story: If you want to make any real amount of money running a music club, book cover bands and sell alcohol. Only book punk if you love it.

Monday, February 23, 2009


In this age of post-punk techno crap, it’s good to know that there are still a few bands like Unteen around who play old style punk rock, in this case with the emphasis on the rock. The band is a Springfield based four-piece including former members of Walking Octopus and Brine. They’ve released a CD (available at their very cool website, which also has free mp3 downloads, flyers, and some very well done comics by and about the band), and play fairly regularly around the Springfield area. They also have a MySpace page, and you can see some additional photos here. I haven’t had a chance to see these guys play yet, but given the quality of what I’ve heard, I intend to the next time I’m in town.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shameless Commercialism

I recently moved, and while doing so discovered a box with some forgotten copies of the Obey: We Have Guns 7” comp. I’ve decided to sell them for the low, low price of…oh let’s say $5.00 each postage paid. Sure, you can already download the contents of the 7” on this very site, but I’m giving you the opportunity to own an actually piece of Ozark punk rock history! These are original pressings, with the accompanying booklet and stickers. If you’re interested, e-mail me at ozarkpunkrock * hot/mail dot com and I’ll write back with my mailing address. Supplies are very limited, so don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime bargain! I mean, once Ozark punk gets as big as I think it will one of these things could probably finance your retirement!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vaginal Discharge-Froth CD

I wasn’t planning on posting anything by Vaginal Discharge here. The folk duo certainly doesn’t qualify as punk in any musical sense. But they were a regular at Ozark punk shows in the mid to late 90’s, and I’ve gotten several requests for their stuff, so I’ll acquiesce. The band was made up of Stan (guitar) and Ryan (vocals and harmonica), and specialized in writing uber-obscene, hilarious songs with memorable titles like “Fat Farm Orgy”, “Pass the Percodan”, and of course the classic “Bring Me the Head of Bono”. (Stan later went on to have some small success as a movie star under the stage name “Denver”.) They released a slew of demo tapes, split CD-Rs, and side projects, along with the full-length Froth CD on Reality Impaired Records out of Joplin in 1998. I think it’s their best release, containing professional recordings of all of their most notable songs. From what I’ve been able to gather, a couple of tracks from the 27-song CD were circulated on Napster back in the day and were widely played in some college dorms and frat houses.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ozark Punk Rock Gets Even More Mainstream Coverage

Ben Westhoff has written an article for the Riverfront Times (St. Louis’s corporate-owned “alternative” weekly newspaper) on the Ozark Punk scene, kind of a greatly expanded version of the piece he wrote for Crawdaddy a few months ago. Overall it’s pretty good, although he does focus a bit too much on the negative and sensational elements of the scene rather than its positive points (he opens the article with a lengthy retelling of Born Against’s run-in with the local Nazi crew, certainly not one of the Springfield scene’s finer moments). And what does he mean I’m “reed-thin”? I prefer the term “ethereal”.


Ben, the author of the above-mentioned piece, also published some material on the Riverfront Times blog that didn’t make the cut for the regular article. The additional stuff tells the story of Roger and Jeanene, who were involved in the bands Encrusted and Initial Detonation, as well as the DIY label/collective Reality Impaired. The blog article also has a link to an in-depth examination of Jeanene’s appearance of Extreme Makeover, with a healthy amount of criticism over her decision.