• Fred

The Virus That Would Not Die (1997)


Before the advent of such musical platforms as Pandora, Slacker, and Apple Music, music labels used to bundle artists and sell cheap CDs to expose the audience to like-minded label mates. Like many great deals in the analog age, the label sampler has gone by the wayside in the digital age.

With that being said:

Let's review a historically significant Sampler that got lost in the shuffle of time.

Like a maniacal, punk Johnny Appleseed, Jello Biafra was trying to spread the seeds of Punk and Hardcore across the fruited plain. (And in Europe.)

1. Video - Buzzkill

A curious decision for lead track from an obscure band, even by Alternative Tentacles' standards.

Off of 1996's release UP.

City: Somewhere in New Jersey

(Sorry, no audio.)

2. Trainwreck - Dead and Gone

This song was so good, it inspired me to buy the album God Loves Everyone But You, which was a solid effort. Dead and Gone was dead and gone shortly after this release....

City: San Francisco

3. Half Life - Logical Nonsense

Hardcore that was before its time and will still melt your face off, they are currently in "limbo."

City: Santa Fe, New Mexico

4. Bored With Beauty - Facepuller

From the rare 1994 snowboarding movie Shadrack Meshack Abednigo, here's Facepuller.

City: Vancouver, British Columbia

5. Oklahoma City Alarm Clock - The Fixtures

The reason this article took so long to write is because of the Fixtures. With the best single on the sampler, I just assumed that I missed the boat on the Fixtures. But in my defense, the Fixtures kind of disappeared into the ether, despite releasing a handful of albums and a couple of 7 inch recordings: (I think. There was a different Fixtures band from Austalia in the 2000's.) But researching the band in a coherent fashion was next to impossible.

This article just doesn't work without Oklahoma City Alarm Clock, so I'm re-posting the song to YouTube myself in the hopes that you can hear this great song for yourself. Here's where you can find more of their music today:

1994 (?) Screw the World - 7 Inch

1996 The Devil's Playground - Alternative Tentacles

1997 Dangerous Music / Defect - iTunes / YouTube (Compilation of 2 early self-releases.)

1999 One Crisis Short of Chaos - iTunes / YouTube

2000 (?) Forward

City: SoCal-ish

6. Life Sentence - Dead Kennedys

One year after this Sampler was released, the ex-Kennedys sued Jello and won. Rolling Stone Magazine explains the whole mess better than I could. Jello's rationale was sound to me, for many pure capitalists, not so much.

City: San Francisco

7. Dicks Hate the Police - Dicks

Gary Floyd is awesome!

City: Austin, Texas

8. A Bright Shinning Hell - Mumia Abu Jamal

The views of Mumia Abu Jamal are his and his alone.

Editor's Note: Beacon of Speech agrees with Micheal Moore, Jamal is almost certainly guilty.

City: Philadelphia

9. Trouble Shake - Zen Guerrilla

Off of 1998's Positronic Raygun, it was Zen Guerrilla's last album before jumping to Sub Pop. Sub Pop was unable to jettison the band to greater heights and they broke up shortly after the new Millenium.

City: Philadelphia, PA

10. Trouble In Vegas - Pachinko

I can't make heads or tails of Pachinko.

City: Madison, Wisconsin

11. Swell Song - Hissanol

Andy Kerr and Scott Henderson sharing their pen pal project with the world.

City: Victoria, British Columbia and Amsterdam

(Sorry, no audio.)

12. Wrong Bathroom - Tribe 8

Believe it or not, this was my first exposure to the transgender bathroom issue. 20 years ago.

City: San Francisco

13. Sometimes I Get This Urge - Thrall

A punk supergroup with 5 releases on Alternative Tentacles alone.

(Not to be confused with the Black Metal band Thrall. Again from Australia.)

City: Kalamazoo, MI (?)

14. Would We Be Alive? - Nomeansno

A personal favorite, superlatives don't do the band justice in such a short blurb. Over 35 years of greatness.

City: Victoria, British Columbia

15. C'Mon Baby - Half Japanese

Of all the bands on the sampler, who would have thought that Half Japanese would be the one still around and prolifically releasing albums.

Their FIFTEENTH album came out last year called Perfect.

City: Who knows. For our article we will use their home base when they formed

-Uniontown, Maryland

16. I Wanna Be Drug Sniffing Dog - Lard

Lard was a re-imagining of the band Ministry if Jello Biafra was their lead singer.

City: They don't exist in a physical realm, more of a state of mind.

17. Sleepin' On Bowery Street - Ultra Bide

Noise Punk? Yeah, that's a good description.

City: New York City (via the urban Japanese Jungle)

18. Bomb School - Judi Bari

As Kurt Cobain once famously said "Just because you're paranoid / Don't mean they're not after you." Judi Bari wasn't an artist, she was an activist. She died of breast cancer in 1997, but was almost killed by a car bomb in 1990. You can read her whole crazy story here: JUDI BARI.

Area: Northern California

(Sorry, no audio.)

19. The Story Of Thomas McElwee - The Crucifucks

Fact: There really was a Thomas McElwee. He was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and died in prison due to a hunger strike.

Rumor: And the former lead singer of the Crucifucks has since changed his name to the number 26 and has renounced swearing. He will not speak the name of his former band. (This can't be right.)

City: Lansing, Michigan?!?!

20. Marijuana - Life After Life

A self-described gypsy punk band? When I think of gypsy punk, I only think of Gogol Bordello.

City: San Francisco

21. The Chicken Cow - Wesley Willis

I actually had a friend who met Wesley Willis and he said that Wesley was the friendliest person he had ever met. (RIP Wesley Willis - 2003)

City: Chicago, Illinois

22. Suberfuge - Man Is The Bastard

Man is the Bastard was described as Powerviolence music, but to me, this song was a strange concoction of repulsion and fascination.

City: Los Angeles-ish

23. King Of The Road - Peligro

Yes, that's Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers dancing around.

City: San Francisco

What about the legendary Alice Donut, you ask? They had broken up the year before. Missing and presumed dead, the Donut gang would surprisingly re-unite 5 years later. Rumor has it that they're deep in the bowels of Hizhaus Studios crafting a new masterpiece as we speak.

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#AlternativeTentacles

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