It has been quite awhile since I have posted anything here at the Headless Pymp Rock Alliance blogspot so I shall dive in head first and get right to the point. For the last several years I have been slowly cultivating a project which documents the local music scene here in Longview / Kelso. Again, when I say ‘slowly’ I am not joking, as this particular project has often taken a backseat to real life stuff which requires my immediate attention. I have gone through fits of inspiration in which I make considerable progress and then there are times when the project goes dormant. The last several months have been a period of extreme hibernation as I completed my final semesters at Washington State University and received a promotion of sorts at my work. Factor in family emergencies and the requisite rock-n-roll engagements here and there, it becomes abundantly clear as to why my documentary project becomes low on my priority list. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I will dish you up an update of sorts as this project is still very much a going concern. It is my belief that while Longview / Kelso has made little headway in the larger world of music, there is an important story to be told.
The initial thought process behind this project has been to figure out what is it that a Longview / Kelso music documentary would actually say. What is the message? What is the overall theme? For me, there is a clear line which local kids were taking it upon themselves to step outside the cover band schematic and write their own songs, create their own scene. This is a common theme with most of the books I have read on the subject, small towns developing a culture of sorts out of what they had gathered from elsewhere. For example, many towns in the Midwestern United States had little to no cultural base unless it was imported to them from places such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York. However, this sort of cultural importation cannot happen unless there are receptive individuals there to receive it. Those individuals have almost universally been bored teenagers who hungered for something more than 38 Special and Sammy Hagar . Thanks to bands such as Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, and M.D.C., a touring network came to exist which brought these bands to all of the lonely outposts, delivering the promise of something new for disaffected kids to believe in. The most important gift these bands left in the wake of their performances was the idea that anyone could do what they were doing.
By my estimation, this cultural exchange happened here in Longview / Kelso as well, but on a slightly different scale. Our small mill town just happens to be situated on the I-5 corridor smack dab in between Portland and Seattle. While those two cities, especially Seattle, were far away from any sort of media attention in the wake of the early 90s Grunge explosion, they were both important in their own right. Not large enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as Los Angeles or New York, but large enough for bands such as Black Flag to make time in their insane tour schedule to make frequent stops in. Our humble little suburb, by extension, took the residue, crumbs, rumors, and remnants of these events which then prompted a small but active music community to grow. We have heard the names many times: Protest, M.I.S., Dread, The Vagrants, and General Concern. These bands to me are a crucial explosion of inspiration which fired up a generation of kids to pick up their instruments and get on with it. It is here that the most critical point of the documentary becomes apparent. I was one of those kids who got caught up in the action and never ever stopped.
So in trying to determine a timeline for what was to be covered I feel that it is important to document the early days of our local scene and chronicle its own small explosion of bands in the early to mid 90s. From there, I want to examine why so many of those kids are still doing it despite there being no money, recognition, or glory in the process. What motivates someone like Barry Brusseau to continue on after nearly 30 years? The same goes for so many of us, those kids who came up at roughly the same time, what is it that keeps us coming back? As my gathering continues on in the coming months I hope that a more concrete timeline takes shape and more thematic elements present themselves. However, it should be noted that I have been having a blast looking at all the submitted materials and I must say that there is always room for more.
CHUCK ROAST FUN LIST #1: THE STATS
Being a hardcore numbers fan I feel that the true gauge of one’s progress is in the raw numbers and the statistical elements therein. So with that being said here are some crunchy tidbits for you local motherfuckers to chew on. Bon apetit.
-109 set lists
-64 pieces of misc. materials i.e. press clippings, calendars, stickers, and ticket stubs.
CHUCK ROAST FUN LIST #2: THE VIDS
Of course, no documentary would be complete without authentic archival footage of our local scene in action. Over the last several years I have been in the process of transferring my own personal collection to DVD and have also done that with other people’s stuff. Check this list out gang! Be forewarned, it is not in chronological order and does not make much mention of out of town bands.
4.1.2011 @ Las Rocas in Longview
11.20.10 @ Chinese Garden Lounge
Centaurpalooza PDX Summer 2010
Arnada Café Vancouver Wa. early 2004
Sky Bar Longview April 2004
Arnada Café Vancouver Wa. April 2004
Swanstock Kelso Wa. 1991 [includes about 60 seconds of The Dream playing]
KLTV Teen Talk 91/92 [includes interview and performance]
Swanstock Kelso Wa. 1992
Swanstock Kelso Wa. 10.31.92
Swanstock Kelso Wa. October 92 [practice shit]
Winlock Community Center December 1993
Clays Coffee House Kelso Wa. January 1993
Clays Coffee House Kelso Wa. March 1993
Clays Coffee House Kelso Wa. July 1993 [second half of show]
Clays Coffee House Kelso Wa. August 1993
X-Ray Café PDX January 1994
Swanstock Kelso Wa. 1992? [random house party jam with various oddballs]
Minus World Longview Wa. 7.20.12 [reunion show]
Excommunicate House Vancouver Wa. 2005 [raging noise show]
Reid’s Pitstop Longview Wa. 1999 w/ Chester Copperpot
AWPPW Hall Longview Wa. 5.14.99
Kalama Fairgrounds Summer 1999
Longview Armory Longview Wa. 8.16.96
Monticello Hotel Longview Wa. April 1997
Matt Johnson’s back yard Kelso Wa. Summer 1997
Reid’s Pitstop Longview Wa. Summer 1997
Satyricon PDX Summer 1997
The Depot Concord Ca. Summer 2001 [includes trip footage]
The Place Battleground Wa. 2001 [picture quality sucks but audio rules]
The Shed Kelso Wa. circa 1992 w/ Marmalade and The Shankleberries
Reid’s Pitstop Longview Wa. 2003? [only has one song]
American Legion Longview Wa. 1997
Compilation vid filmed in various locations both locally and in PDX.
KLTV Get a Clue with host Bryan Edmison [full interview and performance]
Ben Schneider’s basement Summer 2000 [raging set / Matt pukes like a champ]
Reid’s Pitstop Longview Wa. 2003?
Lower Columbia College Student Center Longview Wa. May 1993 J.A.M. Benefit show featuring Group Immolation, Klingon 4 Play, Bung, The Jimmies, The Shankleberries, and Meatlocker. [Awesome show]
Cowlitz County Fairgrounds May 1993 KLTV Grungefest special [has a few seconds of The Jimmies plus some cool footage of local yokels hanging out]
CHUCK ROAST FUN LIST #3: THE PIX
Thanks to the generous contributions of some great people I have amassed a sweet collection of pictures featuring local bands in action and just hanging out. Thus far it is a stunning set of pictures to check out. My collection represents the following bands [in no particular order]:
Big Dick McGee / Bung / Jackmove / Spagg / The Jimmies / F.S.U. / Wallcrawler / G.B.H.C. / Gus / Jet Lag / Meatlocker / M.I.S. / The Hickmans / Chuck Roast / Stranglefish / Sid Khatryd / Thriftstore Undies
I could go on and on about the substantial collection of recordings that I have managed to pick up along the way. However, that could potentially turn into a dissertation too long in the telling. My most recent treasure that I managed to transfer to digital format was The Jimmies / General Concern split 7inch. While everyone knows how amazing The Jimmies were and are worthy of their own documentary, it is the General Concern track that just blows my mind. Here was a band that was truly tapping into something just slightly to the left of the punk rock thing. I cannot accurately put into words how good of a band they were, other than that they were a bit ahead of their time. Without naming names, a handsome gentleman from the local scene is the holder of a cassette reel of a General Concern recording. One of my long standing goals is to take that reel to a studio and have it mixed. My belief is that this reel along with any other treasures of this type should be preserved for posterity and should not languish in a box or a garage. While to some people this may seem corny, I strongly believe that this is our heritage and it must be protected and celebrated.
While the gathering thus far has been exciting and really informative, there is one thing I have come to realize. We really have had an amazing scene here in this little nowhere town. Great bands, great people, and great memories abound in every piece of history that comes my way. While I have long desired to create a documentary of this largely isolated and unrecognized scene, I do not want to do this alone. This is a project where each and every contribution is a critical piece of the puzzle. There is an entire generation of us who each have a very unique and important story to tell. I am not just talking to the musicians either. I am hoping to have participation from people who took pictures, kept journals, recorded/ filmed a practice, or just brought themselves to the shows. From the active participant to the casual observer, each person has a part to play. This is an opportunity for each of us to get our say and tell our story. So dig out those dusty boxes from the attic and find your treasures.
Now here’s where the blog goes a bit off track and I address the skeptics and critics. In the past there had been questions in regards to my motivations as to why I would want to undertake a project of this type. This to me is a perfectly legitimate thing to question but let me be the first to dispel some myths as to what motivates me to do all this. First of all, there was an exchange between myself and a member of General Concern regarding my wish to have the aforementioned cassette reel mixed and mastered. He felt that somehow by doing such a thing at my own expense was a way to somehow make a profit from General Concern’s work. Why would I try to make money off of it? Is such a thing even possible? The question I posed to him was “Why would you allow such a treasure to languish in someone else’s garage? You could do this shit yourself yet you choose not to.” The plan was to have it mixed and mastered and give the finished product to the band and let them decide what to do from there. I mean let’s be real here, what’s the alternative? The physical and sonic condition of the reel itself could prove problematic in terms of salvaging it. However, that is a risk I am willing to take on myself at my own expense for one reason only…..because I give a shit.
So am I assembling all these scattered puzzle pieces simply to make a profit off of a documentary film? The short answer is NO. The following are my top motivations for making this project a reality:
CHUCK ROAST FUN LIST #4: LIST OF MOTIVATIONS
1. Because I care about our local history and the scene that came from it. I am proud of everyone’s contributions…..even the shitty bands. There is so much history there that it is extremely hard not to be excited about all of it.
2. There have been numerous studies and anthologies regarding the subject of art and culture over the years. This documentary could serve as an additional link and area of interest for those individuals who are studying how culture can spread even in small communities. A major influence for me has been the book American Hardcore by Steven Blush. This book is essential reading for anyone into the punk and hardcore scene in the United States. Not only does Blush examine the major cities and the big players in each, but he also examines the spread of punk rock to small isolated communities.
3. To assure those of you who think I will be reaping massive profits at your expense. There is no money to be made here. As brilliant as all of us have been over the years, we all suffer from one thing…..we’re from here. Some of us have had brushes with the big time only to find ourselves back at our jobs or whatever. What I am trying to say is that I have no interest in making money off this project. I fully expect that I will operate at a deficit as I always have throughout my adult life. This is a truly D.I.Y. project in the purest sense of the word. The only money I have spent since I started working on this project in earnest has been to purchase gas to drive to your homes so that I can conduct my research. I fully intend to do all my work at my own expense and I also hope to enlist the help of qualified and sympathetic individuals who can assist in the more technical aspects of the project when I reach that point. Upon completion, I hope to publicly screen a finished product and give away copies to those who would like one. The most modest thing I can hope for with a project of this scope is to possibly screen it in Portland or Seattle. Money is not a good enough reason for me to do any artistic pursuit.
4. This next motivation may ruffle some feathers but I don’t give a fuck. Some of you have amazing pieces of history sitting in boxes, gathering dust in sheds, or at the bottom of your basement. I want to help you preserve your treasures. At best, some of you have this stuff and have not had any reason to dig it out. At worst, some of you are careless and slovenly. In either event I feel a strong desire to protect a heritage that belongs to all of us collectively. There are a lot of young kids out there playing shows locally as of late who have no idea who paved the road for them around these parts. When I hear a young kid say “I’ve never heard of The Jimmies,” it really pisses me off. This is an opportunity to not only preserve our history but to set the record straight. Why let bands like Seacats  have the last word on the scene that so many of us have spent our nights and days building up? These young kids don’t know the history, or at the very least don’t have any respect for it. For some of you, your participation was simply a product of your youth and you moved on to college, jobs, marriage, and kids. For the rest of us who are still out there it is important that people know that we still exist. Again, whatever you are holding, I would love to have the chance to preserve it for posterity. For some people, the past means nothing to them. For others, the past is something to be excited about, it’s a reminder what we have done and what we can still achieve.
5. I just want to do this because I feel it is important. This is something that should be done and it is a way of celebrating some awesome stuff. Is Longview/Kelso’s music scene something for the larger world to be excited about? Probably not, but it still deserves to have its place in history. We were right there during the Grunge explosion and its ripple effect touched us whether some of us want to admit it or not. Something was happening around here and its evidence is readily apparent to me. Our story is but an exciting and dynamic dot which can connect to other dots, an expression of a generation. We deserve to have our say.
So with all of this stuff said, the all important question is what’s next? With the summer in rapid decline I intend to spend my fall and winter evenings working on this project. I hope that I can elicit some help from all of you who read this. Each of you who were there, many of you have pictures, lyrics, set lists, demo tapes, videos and everything else in between. I want to hear from all of you. I want to spend the upcoming chilly nights basking in the glory of a shared history. Scanning your treasures, digitizing your cassettes, putting VHS tapes onto DVD, is something that I really look forward to. In fact, as I have been typing this, I just got contacted by another handsome local rock legend and he is bringing over a stack of video tapes. You fine folks have no idea how exciting that is to me. To some people they are just old tapes. To me they are crucial pieces to a truly amazing puzzle. The following Roaster fun list I hope will spur some of you into action:
CHUCK ROAST FUN LIST #5: MY STUPID WANT LIST
Yes, I have a want list too. A few of the following items are things that I did have at one time but have since lost. Other things are simply items that I hope exist. As stated previously I hope that some of you get as fired up as me and help me out here. Check it.
-Stranglefish live at the post office 7.3.93 [Go 4th show]
-Stranglefish at X-Ray café November/December? 1993
-Stranglefish at Columbia Theater 9.17.93 [Duke’s Music battle of the bands]
-Stranglefish Real Rocker Newsletter [published in summer 1993]
-M.I.S. “Donation’s for Broken Glass” demo
-M.I.S. any video footage, set lists, or photos
-Dread any video footage, set lists, or photos
-The Jimmies any video footage, set lists, or photos 
-General Concern any video footage, set lists, photos, or recordings
-The Vagrants demo cassette
-Protest any video footage, set lists, photos
-The Lolligaggers any video footage, set lists, photos, Lolligagger Lager cd.
-Any fliers from Marty’s garage or video footage from shows there.
-He Man Woman Haters any video footage, set lists, photos, or recordings
-The Naked Apes any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc.
-Klingon 4 Play any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc.
-Loser any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc.
-Chester Copperpot any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings 
-The Inner 6 any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc.
-Academy Street any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc.
-F.S.U. any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc.
-George Bush Heroin Connection any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc. 
-Peabody ‘Hick Bastard’ practice tape. [Only 4 copies were ever made so good luck]
-Aggressor any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc. [Jeremy Denman I’m looking at you]
-Aggressor any video footage, set lists, photos, recordings etc. [Jeremy Denman I’m looking at you]
Of course there are a ton of names I am missing and it is not my intent to leave anyone out. Every time I try to list off all the local bands I can possibly think of, the list is always incredibly long and then I think of about 5 or 6 more. The above mentioned want list is just a smattering of the stuff that is likely to exist out there. It is a near certainty that by the time this project is complete there will most likely be more materials surfacing. I am already well prepared for the idea that to have every piece of archival material from a town’s music scene will be next to impossible. However, as my college experience has taught me, in research it is always far better to have more material than you could ever possibly need. In the future there will be a public website put in place to display all of these collected materials. While a finished product is still a considerable distance off, I fully intend to take advantage of this upcoming fall and winter and really get down to business. If all goes well, I hope to do interviews with a small but diverse list of local musicians and fans by spring and summer of 2015.
In closing this long and meandering missive, I would like to thank the people who have thus far made a contribution to this project: Hilarie Hughes, Jerry Wilson, Erik Gidney, Tim Ward, Matt Johnson, Eric Hazen, and Mindy Conn. I would also like to send special shout out to Barry Brusseau for providing me with some interesting factoids and historical tidbits. I would also like to thank Scott Barnes for discussing his years on the super early local scene. There are still so many more people to talk to and work with in the coming months, and I sincerely look forward to every minute of it. Finally, to all those whom have entrusted me with their memorabilia, rest assured that your stuff is safe and I will get much of it back to you in the coming days and weeks. Ultimately, I felt that I owed all of you an update as to where we are on this project and where we intend to head in the near future. It is an incredibly exciting journey and one that I treat with the utmost reverence and respect.
a/k/a Chuck Roast
Headless Pymp Rock Alliance
All questions, comments, cease and desist orders, and general inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
 Nothing against 38 Special and Sammy Hagar at all but I recall there being a lot of that shit blaring out of many a car in the early 80s around here.
 I said Seacats because…..why fucking not?
 There is a fine handsome man who holds a fairly substantial amount of Jimmies stuff and I foresee myself camping out at his house very soon. You simply cannot talk about anything that ever went on musically in this town without talking about The Jimmies.
If you have “Kings of Tardcore” I will be your friend forever. While I was not particularly close with Mike Agee and I’m sure that feeling goes both ways, one cannot argue with the fact that the dude could write some catchy goddamned songs.
While of course there were different permutations on the G.B.H.C. name I am looking for the very earliest stuff. Of course I am also looking for the later stuff as well so please don’t think I’m nitpicking.
ADDITIONAL END NOTES……THE EVIDENCE:
ADDITIONAL END NOTES……THE EVIDENCE:
Miss Hilarie gave me the inspiration to include some of the items I have collected over the last year or so. In doing this I further hope to prove that I am quite serious about this project, and that I have actually been attempting to put something together. I also hope that by including a few photos, fliers, and other items here along with my dense yet impassioned manifesto I can inspire the lot of you into contributing to this project. So check this good stuff out……which was picked out at random for maximum fun and frolic.