Saddam Hussein, Honningbarna, Black Metal and the war on Gay Stuff

I was sitting in a pizzeria in Oslo when they caught Saddam Hussein. The TV crackled fiercely into life as one of the pizza chefs turned the volume up and one of the Americans, with a slight tremor in his voice as the emotion threatened to overwhelm him, spoke into the microphone, ‘Lady’s and gentlemen; we got him.’

And thank god for that, I thought. And let’s us hear no more about the ghastly subject.

The satanic black metal band member who sat opposite me seemed ambivalent. ‘Who gives shit?’ was all he said as he munched on his calzone.
I had been up in Oslo for three days, standing in basements, watching a savage pantomime of blood, horrifying make-up, cod pieces, bullet belts, and badly played rock songs which constituted the Norwegian black metal scene. The blood was real and so was the fear.

I had watched a band drape themselves in fresh pig carcasses and play a set draped in the bleeding skins, spraying blood on us all as we watched; I was horrified to see specks of dried blood on my jacket the following morning. It didn’t end there of course; they had burned down the local ancient churches and killing each other too. That was more or less during the first Iraq conflict under Bush senior. It is all infamous legend in the metal underground theses days but in those early years, the rumors made all that heard them terrified. There had even been one band some years back who had made a necklace out of their singers skull after he had shot himself. There was little doubt that whatever had been going on out here, the violence had been real.

Watching my black metal contact across the pizzeria, the fear was beginning to wear off. He was softly spoken to the point where, if I shut my eyes, I felt like I was having a conversation with Michael Jackson – he was still alive and well at that point and dangling babies off balconies. And to be fair, the great years of black metal were well past at that point having peaked in the mid nineties. I was witnessing the end and the last of the true believers who were ending their days with a bit of a bang. The satanist and his like were drifting into obscurity, doomed to be just another ridiculous footnote in the annals of shock rock history.

The year was 2003 and the Iraq war was raging in a controlled kind of way and frankly, I had to agree with the sentiment of the satanist. Who really gave a shit? So, they captured Saddam? The fact made little difference to the lives of either myself or my satanist dinner companion. Although the satanist definitely believed that he too was fighting a war and also one, in its own way, of terror.

‘I am,’ he held the last part of the sentence for effect, ‘at war with the doctrine of Christianity and,’ there was another dramatic pause, ‘the depravity of homosexuals.’
He sipped his coke.
‘Homosexuals?’ I asked him.
‘Yes. The faggots.’

And he was dead serious too. The black metal scene in Norway was utterly terrified of homosexuals; absolutely scared shitless. They had a new gay nemesis too in the shape of fellow Norwegians,Turbonegro, who had just released Scandinavian Leather, a fine salute to the full glory of buggery and gay cock sucking in one blistering record which was storming underground record shops. The black metal dudes were unimpressed and deeply afraid. Turbonegro resembled a hyper homoerotic rock version of the Village People and they were gaining fans fast. They were to be, in many respects, the final nail in the black metal coffin.

‘How do you actually feel about Turbonegro?’ I asked the satanist. He muttered into his pizza.
‘God damn poofs!’ he finally spat rather squeakily. ‘I hate that band!’
Years later, the singer of Turbonegro is reportedly an occasional judge on the Norwegian X Factor and the satanists have most definitely lost the war on gay stuff.

I asked the members of Honningbarna, a new breed of Norwegian punk rockers, a few nights ago if the X factor rumor was true. They told me it wasn’t.

Saddam too went the way of many a dictator, strung up and hanged, the footage captured on a mobile phone. His career as ended on April 9th after which he spent the remainder of his days hiding a hole till the Americans finally dug him out.

When I asked Honningbarna, they denied any knowledge of the infamous Black Metal bands like Burzum. Who wants to be sprayed with pigs blood on a Saturday night anyway?

Jingle Bells!

Jingle Bells and Shotgun Shells!!!!

Ah yes, that glorious season is upon us again! And frankly, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a touch of good ol’ fashioned Mojo Nixon bad taste; shotgun shells indeed. Welcome to a Yum Yum Saint Hamilton Christmas extravaganza, where all the dusty hits are dug up for some Jultide listening pleasure.

“Bloody hell and bah humbug,” I said when I was down the pub the other night. “I have to come up with 10 of my favorite Christmas songs for the Bitchslap webpage.”
“Jesus! 10 Christmas song!? Who wants to listen to 10 Christmas songs!?,” said my friend as he gloomily sipped his ale.
“Listen, you miserable bastard, there is nothing wrong with Christmas songs,” I told him.
“But 10? Maybe five. What are you going to put in there? Rudolph the red-nose-fucking-reindeer?”

I had to concede that perhaps he had a point; not so much in terms of 10 being too many, but perhaps 10 of my own personal favorites might just be too much.

So here it is.

Not 10 Christmas songs, but five. And a merry Christmas to you all and may you live in a state of solid excess till January and spend the next three months worrying about the size of your fat arse!

Mojo Nixon: Christmas Christmas
Possibly the most redneck Christmas song ever made and glorious it is.

The Pogues: Fairytale Of New York
A classic of the season. The most beautiful of the punk bones laid bare in all their poetic savage glory.

The Stiff Little Fingers: White Christmas
Yeah! Stick it up your jacksie, Frank Sinatra! Where’s the eggnog, you little legend?

The Ramones: Merry Christmas, I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight
Asked my mother to a 12 year old Yum Yum. “What do you want from Santa this year?”
“I want the Ramones!”

The Ronettes: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Rock and Roll’s first sex kitten couldn’t have put it any better. The ultimate Christmas song off the greatest Christmas record ever made.

Blood and Tears at The Supersuckers

Ask the right people and they will tell you: the Supersuckers are the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world. Their fan club it called P.I.T or People of Impeccable Taste and Eddie Spaghetti is a God; a God that stalks the earth in a cowboy hat. I met him once at Loppen after getting beaten up by a punk girl in the front row of a show they played with Nashville Pussy. He was at the merch stand, hanging out beside a pile of CD’s that no one was buying.
“Jesus,” I told him as I shook his hand. “That was a great show! It’s just a pity that my fucking eye hurts like hell!” And it did too. The side of my face was swelling like damnation and my eye was already a light Hendrix purple. Those Swedish punk girls pack a punch.
“Uhuh,” was all Eddie Spaghetti had to say about the matter.
“I am kind of a fan,” I continued lamely. “Of your music, I mean… Um. Yeah,” I trailed off.
“Uhuh,” said Eddie Spaghetti. He wasn’t smiling and he hadn’t taken his sunglasses off.
“So, I better go and some ice I guess.”
“Uhuh. Want to buy a CD?”
“Nah. I have most of it on Vinyl.”
“Uhuh.”

“I mean, who buys CD’s anymore, right? Haha!”
“Uhuh.”

That was possibly the wrong thing to say. I went to find some ice.

I have been beaten up a few times and immeasurably worse than this particular time, but it still came as a bit of a shock. Did I deserve it? Possibly. But then again, possibly not. This is after all a biased account.

I remember standing at the front and being very excited. This was the first time I had seen the Supersuckers play and I wanted to be as close as I could. There was a bunch of punk chicks to my right and they were big. Not in a particularly rotund way; they weren’t fat or buff. What they were was bloody tall. They were huge willowy creatures, 2m tall, who could have been kind of sexy if they didn’t look so damn scary. The girl closest to me kept trying to push me out of her way but I wasn’t going anywhere. Hell, it was the Supersuckers! The greatest band in the world!
The punk girl fell over. I picked her up. She grabbed my beer out of my hand and drained it in one full go. I was pissed off; I had lined up for ages to buy the bloody thing. I grabbed it back, spilling beer over her head. She took one look at me, and punched me in the face. And then her boyfriend, who was, I swear, no more than 1.5m high and about the same wide, ran at me looking all the world like a large square  hell bent on doing me some mischief. Luckily I had a lot of friends at that show so I was saved rather quickly from a thorough beating. I was too stunned to fight back and anyway, you can’t hit a girl!

Yeah she used to be pretty, but now she’s just pretty fucked up!” crooned Eddie Spaghetti.

I knew just what he meant.

Sundowner, Eddie Spaghetti’s latest solo record came out this year.

Yum Yum vs. Chris Cole

Jesus Yum Yum! You are unstoppable!

When Iguanas Attack

Everyone keeps bitching at me to go to LA these days.

“It’s where it’s at, right now!” is what people tell me, in much the same way they were going on and on about Berlin some years back. And before that, Barcelona. And before that? I can’t remember.

I have been in LA before and I was terrified the entire time. “That’s only because you went to the wrong places, man.” a buddy told me. He is probably right. Sitting down at the pub the other night, a girl tried to convince me that going back was a good idea. She had just seen Drive and now she wanted in. LA, she excitedly explained, was suddenly cooler than NY. Jesus! It brought back bad memories; I had a similar conversation just after September 11 which ended in me getting on a plane, stoned out of my wits, and flying directly to LAX. It was soon clear that LA, as it was then at least, was not for me. The Americans were going crazy at the time, their flags waving everywhere, their cars savage and enormous, Bush was just about to invade Iraq, and Saddam and Bin Laden were still alive; they hated that of course. I had heard rumors that there was a shooting range out near Vegas where you could shoot paper cuts-outs of them both with automatic weapons, keeping the bullet shredded poster as a souvenir. I wanted to do it.

But by the time we arrived in LA all those years ago, I was a mess. I don’t remember the drive to the apartment because I had passed out on the back seat of the SUV. I was still groggy from the flight, the fact I had been partying the day before, and also the jet lag. LA, I decided while we were driving, was an ugly place. The pollution sits in the valley like a dull orange sand pit and only seems to lift when the pacific winds pick up and the salty air becomes a little fresher on the tongue. Iggy Pop once lived there in the early 70‘s. It didn’t work for him either. He ended his days in the city by selling his famous Cheetah jacket to Stan Lee of the Dickies (featured on the back cover of the seminal Raw Power) for drugs and a ticket out of there. It was a decision that probably saved his life. No, LA has a history of savagery for the unwary stranger. I wasn’t prepared for it.

As I sat on the leather sofa in in the small apartment, not that far from Santa Monica beach and situated in a walled enclosure painted white, I watched Fox News and drank a Corona. It seemed like the most sensible thing to do. I didn’t know these people and the boyfriend of the girl who had picked me up at the airport was friendly, if in a guarded kind of way, and watched me watch him.

I was trying to piece together the chain of events that brought be there when the rubber lizard I had been looking at which sat on top of a book shelf suddenly launched itself at me. The thing must have been a good meter and more; lizard is the wrong word. It was more like a fucking dinosaur. I was so surprised that my beer flew from my hand and shattered on the tiled floor. I was still screaming when the lizard was hauled off me; it was shockingly heavy.
“You shouldn’t scream, man. He gets scared when you do that! Check him out man; you made him go all grey in the face.” He was looking over at me, stroking the damn thing as it glared at me from across the room.
“All he wanted was a little affection. Jeez, you need to relax. If you tense up, he tenses up. Why do you think he bit you, man?”
It was true. I guiltily held up my finger which was bleeding on the white leather. The fucking reptile had sunk its teeth into my pinkie leaving a nasty gash.
“Shit. I’ll get you another beer. Hey,” he called from the kitchen, “Do you like guns? I got a couple, want to see?”
“Shit, sure. Why not?” I felt the dull thump of my heart as my blood pressure rose and the adrenaline kicked in, a sure sign I was suffering from over stimulation. I was expecting some kind of hand gun, I suppose. For a brief and crazed moment I considered shooting the iguana but quickly dismissed the thought. He had said a couple of guns; it was possible the owner might shoot me back.

Somewhere floating around in a box there is a faded photograph of myself holding an AK47 in one hand and an enormous automatic shotgun in the other. The iguana is nowhere to be seen in the shot but I know it’s there, lurking in the shadows, and by God I am ready for it. No, LA wasn’t for me. That first evening drinking beer, playing with guns, getting attacked by the lizard, and watching Fox, poisoned me against that foul city forever. 


Yum Yum and the state of Danish garage Rock

“Well, I’d book more Danish bands but the problem is, they just aren’t that good.”
“What?! Jesus, where have you been? There are some great bands out there. Right now there is more than there has ever been!”
“Hmmmmm.” The booker looked at me skeptically as I went through a whole list of Danish garage acts which, in my opinion at least, are very very good indeed. This wasn’t just a local booker at a small and shitty stage, this was actually a professional. This was his job.
“The Swedes are much better.” was how he cut me off and went over to the bar to buy another round. He avoided me for the rest of the night despite my continual yells of “have you heard…” and “have you seen”. I suspect that by the end I had had too much to drink.

I think we are still friends but I am not sure.

I suppose it is easy to be dwarfed by the that Swedish Juggernaut over the bridge and their enormous live music scene, their killer punk bands who only seem to get younger, and their all blonde – all girl rock acts. But then again, they are a much bigger country. What does Denmark have? Aqua? The worst band in the history of the universe ? (that, by the way is actually true; there was a vote and everything). I guess there is Volbeat; they are huge in Germany I hear. I went to see Graveyard in Stockholm recently and was aghast to see that there was over 1500 kids trying to get in to the venue. In Sweden there just seems to be more rock fans.

No, forget that. There are some pretty bloody amazing local bands kicking around Denmark right now; who could forget the hype about Ice Age? What am amazing record that was! But there are others out there too who deserve attention. Has anyone heard the Cola Freaks lately? Now that is one killer band. Their live show is intense; I keep worrying that the singer is either going to beat someone up or collapse on the ground in some kind of deranged fit of some kind and someone will have to jam a rag in his mouth to stop him biting off his own tongue. But that’s cool; I like those kinds of shows. Who wants to stand around for 45 minutes watching a band that doesn’t do anything? I don’t! The Cola Freaks are on Hjernespind. Check them out and get a copy of their record.

Also on this label are De Høje Hæle (The High Heels for the English speakers). These guys are my favorite right now, little Valby legends that they are! This is blistering punk played to perfection, non of that awful skate punk shite which beat the 90’s to death. This is old school, minimalistic, and  a good time on a stick.
Don’t believe the nonsense. This is just two great bands I can think of from a list which is only growing. Sometimes, bookers don’t know shit, and it doesn’t matter how many beers they make me drink.

Yum Yum meets Erik Ellington

10 000 views in 3 days! Wow Yum Yum! Are you Famous? Um. No.

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