Band Spotlight: Guns Of Brighton

September 1, 2014

Band Spotlight: Guns Of BrightonBoston is the fertile breeding ground for many of the world's favorite bands. From Dropkick Murphys to Mighty Mighty Bosstones, from Street Dogs to Darkbuster, The Ducky Boys to The Freeze, the city's tightly knit underground scene and many dedicated Punk venues make it a great city for bands. And now there's another group set to take the world by storm, "Guns of Brighton".

The band's name is an obvious tribute to the Clash's "Guns of Brixton", a song that focuses on brutal police repression sparking riots and social unrest, and discontent with economic decline. Less obvious for those unfamiliar with Boston geography, Brighton is the neighborhood where the band keeps a practice space. So Guns of Brighton is a nod to the past history of Punk, the current ongoing struggles, and their local roots.

Looking back, the band now seems inevitable. Front man Markie D and drummer Ant had already been playing together for a while in other bands when they decided to start messing around with some Jimmy Cliff covers. They decided to have some fun and met bassist Lee through an ad on Craigslist. After recording a few songs, the band decided they needed another guitar to round out the sound, and Markie D thought of his old friend Mike (formerly of Gang Green). But Mike had already heard the demos, and approached the band about joining up.

The band plays Punk & Roll, forged in Reggae, and soaked in the Boston Punk & Roll sound, with lyrics focused on social justice and action, and riffs that have you humming along the first time through the album, and singing to yourself a good week afterwards. The band put out their first album, "A Selfish Call to Arms" earlier this year. Guns of Brighton have shared the stage with everyone from local favorites The Welch Boys to The Young Dubliners, and this month will even be supporting UK legends "Menace" during their east coast run.

"Like" them on Facebook HERE and get a free MP3 download when you sign up for the mailing list Guns of Brighton at their main page HERE . You can also check out the band's new video for "Heroes of the Past", shot and directed by TJ Welch of the Welch Boys and Sonic Lobotomy, on YouTube HERE

-Jo Problems-
Big Wheel Staff Reporter


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Band Spotlight: Dirty Kid Discount

August 1, 2014

Dirty Kid DiscountDirty Kid Discount is a collaboration of music enthusiasts from storied backgrounds hailing from Portland Oregon. They have described themselves as Thrash Grass/Romantic Nihilism/Campfire Crust/Train Hoppin' Gypsy Punk! Sounds interesting to you? We think so too!

Brought together by their wolfish ways and mutual desire to create original music, they have drawn influences from a variety of powers including traditional folk music, da Punx!, a whole slew of metal, and the music made by their friends and fellow travelers across the world.

Dirty Kid Discount is a Pacific Northwest Punk band composed of a 8 piece lineup which was birthed from the feral womb of parent project the “Ghosttown Rejects” which songwriters Pitch Goose (Acoustic Guitar, Washboard, Vocals), Icarus (Accordion, Piano) Jay Crash (Bass & Vocals), played together in with other friends around the Portland area and beyond. They are joined by Jake Carpenter (Guitar, Trombone & Vocals), Emily Elizondo (Mandolin, Musical Saw & Vocals), Erin Wolf (Banjo & Vocals), and Jesse Cobb (Drums), who are all from accomplished projects in their own right. As of recent they have also added a new part time member, John Underwood on Trumpet and vocals. They routinely host appearances by many of the talented people they've met and continue to meet.

You may have seen this anarcho-olde-timey-gypsy-Punk band play with bands such as the Subhumans, Suicide Machines, Goddamn Gallows, and Larry and his Flask. Or caught their set at Punk Rock Bowling or OC Cruststock. It doesn’t matter if they’re playing to an aggro crowd with a band like RANCID or a cultural arts theater or on the street corner busking for spare change. They are just as much Eastern European folk as they are  aggressive, distorted, gutteral Punk fucking rock! Their music and performance is full of passion and energy. They move and inspire crowds everywhere they play. Their fan base crosses boarders from Punk to folk and everything in between.

Their debut record "A Life Amongst Ruins" features eight tracks of high energy, free spirited, melodic and gutteral waltzes about drinking, ancient folklore, and the anti-christ. Dirty Kid Discount is 100% DIY. They produce their own material with the help of their friend Mike at Smegma Studios, as well as book their own tours.


Dirty Kid Discount is currently working on 6 new tracks in the studio as well as a music video and live footage from tour. With plans for their next release, they also plan to head back out on a full USA tour early next year.

You can keep up with Dirty Kid Discount on Facebook HERE

and listen to their music at Reverb Nation HERE or Band Camp HERE 

Look out for gigs on DKD's upcoming tour, trust us, you will be glad you did!


Big Wheel Magazine


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We Need To Talk

June 23, 2014

We need to talk. They say history repeats its self, that things move in cycles, and there's some shit happening right now that I've seen before. I know how it ends, and it needs to stop.

A few weeks ago I was at a show here in Boston. The show was of a much loved, much respected band who's been active since 1976. This is a band who I've personally witnessed turn an ugly seething crowd from anger to joy, covered in streamers and glitter. This is a band I've seen play more than 25 times in multiple countries, and never seen anything but smiles. Until last night.

Last night I watched as a small group of people shut a show down. I watched as a band were booed and insulted for caring about the safety and well-being of all the fans present, not just some meat-head idiots who thought they had a right to do whatever they wanted. I watched as this band explained that the night before, in similar circumstances, a kid broke his neck at their show in NYC, and pleaded with both the crowd and the venue staff to not let that happen again. I watched the crowd respond by pelting them with glass bottles, and the staff do nothing. I watched people in the crowd start to shout racist shit at the band, and go out of their way to hurt people in the crowd who weren't dancing, and didn't want to be involved, knocking them down, and stepping on them rather than picking them up. I saw people rush the stage to shove band members *while they were still playing*, and staff continue to do nothing until a fight erupted and the show was shut down.

I then listened to people call the band "pussies", "faggots" and demand their money back. After a set that lasted more than an hour. After no one did anything to help the situation. Because they thought it was the band who didn't "act Punk Rock".

I'm disgusted. I'm ashamed. And I'm telling you guys we've got a problem.

If you've been listening to internet chatter, you can probably guess who which show i was attending. Maybe you were there, maybe you think you've read enough to know what happened, maybe you saw something else. I don't care. Because this isn't an isolated incident. Festivals and shows around the country are being shut down or scaled back because of people intent on ruining things for everyone else. Punk Rock Bowling saw disgusting behavior this year, including someone shitting in the pool, and no one would be surprised if no one wants to have punk rockers back again next year. If we let things go on this way, we're going to lose every venue, every festival, and every show. We are going to lose every goddamn thing.

News and public media promote the idea that Punk rock is, at it's core, mindless destruction. Self destruction, property destruction, what have you. You and I know that's not true. We love punk rock because it's a music that speaks to all of us. It's a space for the weirdos, the free thinkers, the artists, the off beat, and the passionate to come together. And it's a space where we take care of each other. We have to. No one else will. When someone falls in the pit, you pick them up. You don't fucking swan dive on top of them. And you don't fucking kick them when they're down. Throwing glass, starting fights, trying to hurt people, screaming "faggot" and being racist, none of that shit is punk rock.

I probably go to 150 gigs in a slow year. I've been in this area a long time. A lot of the kids causing trouble last night I've never seen at a show before in my life. I'm not advocating for no new guys, and I'm certainly not advocating for vigilante mob justice, because nothing kills venues faster than fights, but there's a lot of misinformation out there, and we have to do something about it. Talk to people. Meet the new kids. Make it clear that we're ALL here to have a good time. And that means not hurting each other. It means respecting that bands are people, not dancing puppets to be shit on, and the same for other people in the audience. It means promoters being actively involved, and making sure there's appropriate staff at shows, and making sure people trying to start trouble are removed before they get the chance. It means supporting decisions that keep people from being permanently disabled, or even killed, and not lashing out at performers or venues for your own shitty behavior.

The Agitators said it best: "If you're here to have a good time, welcome to the show. If you're gonna be an asshole, we'd rather see you go."


-Jo Problems-

Big Wheel Staff Reporter

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Operation Damayan: Relief in the Philippines

December 26, 2013

I was burned out. I had been the frontman for The Stitched Lips for about 6 years already. Eric Martinez, who now plays bass for the Black Mambas, and Sergio Sandoval, who is now focusing on his career and is soon to be married, formed the band in our hometown of Bell Gardens, Calif., while we were seniors in High School.


Eventually, Luis Herrera, who is currently the drummer for Sonny Vincent and the Testors, the Sorrows and the Nasty Souls, joined in and we established ourselves as an upcoming Los Angeles Punk band that was roughly in the style of the Stooges, the Kids, and the New York Dolls.

We were doing really well before disbanding. We were playing good gigs, we opened up for more established bands and started carving a mark into the scene, but the slightly more fame we got, the more discontent I felt. I wasn’t making any money and it really was like a job. I lost interest, and we decided to split. That was the end of a huge chapter in my life, rock ‘n’ roll was everything.

In May of 2011, about one month after we split up, I enlisted in the Navy. I went in there expecting to receive a job that consisted of hard labor, I mean; I did join the military after all, right? Well, much to my surprise, I was offered the very rare job of Mass Communication Specialist (MC), basically, my job as a U.S. Sailor is to document the Navy’s history and mission through photography, photojournalism, videography, broadcasting, news writing, graphic design, print and production, and public affairs tactics. I lucked out, didn’t I? 

After boot camp, I went straight to my specialty school. I went through six months of training in Fort Meade, Md. There, I found I was pretty good at photojournalism. I was given orders to the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), based out of Yokosuka, Japan. 

I went back home for about three weeks before reporting to my command. I played my very last show at my house and it was the best going away present I could ever receive. More than 100 people showed up to this private show to see the greatest band that never was. We sold our never before released EP, and they all sold out. People went nuts. It was a great feeling, but it was time to leave it behind and start a new chapter.

I’ve been at this command for a little over a year now, primarily working as a photojournalist aboard the ship. I write stories and take photos of our daily operations, ranging anywhere from launching and recovering aircraft, going up in helicopters to photograph ship formations, various training evolutions and community service events during our various port visits. Occasionally, we get sent to different ships or different commands to provide media coverage for various operations. 

The ship departed for its 2013 patrol June 26. We visited Australia, South Korea, Singapore and finally Hong Kong. During our Hong Kong port visit, our ship was recalled. The Republic of the Philippines was hit by the super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. The typhoon left many areas in the Philippines decimated, with many dead in its aftermath. Our mission was to go to Philippines and provide relief for those who needed it most. We were to provide water, food, and medical care to disaster victims. The George Washington media team and myself were there to document it.

On Nov. 14, the ship arrived in the Philippines. I departed the ship around the afternoon via MH-60S Seahawk from the “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12; I was supposed to be temporarily assigned to the Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen, where I was to document the ship’s participation in the relief effort, but first, I had to get dropped off in Tacloban Air Base. The helicopter had to make a few supply drops before they dropped me off on the ship. 

We flew over Philippines to our destination and I saw firsthand the aftermath of the typhoon. From up above, I saw the trees that looked like they were blowing in the wind, but there was no wind blowing. I saw villages that were surrounded by debris and rubble from buildings that were missing roofs, windows, and walls or were just completely gone. There were trucks and cars that were flipped over.   Every city that we flew over was in ruins.

I had no idea how much worse it was down there than I could see from above. The Seahawk soon dropped supplies into Tacloban. Sailors were waiting in the rain, directing aircraft. As soon as these supplies came in, Sailors rushed the pallets to get them ready for distribution. I didn’t know how long the Sailors were there, but they sure as hell looked busy. They were all Sailors who volunteered to help. They were probably doing more intense work than what they were doing on the ship. They didn’t care, they all wanted to help.

The first thing I saw when we reached the air base was the line of disaster victims that were waiting to get evacuated. They were coming out of a building that was barely standing. These people were waiting in the aftermath of a chaotic environment and all men, women, children and elderly had a blank, desperate look on their face. Most of them only had the clothes they were wearing. Few had backpacks, purses or some form of luggage. Many were soaking wet from the on-and-off again tropical thunderstorms, but the ones that were helping them the most, were the Marines assigned to Logistics Battalion 4, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

Marines were lined up, escorting and loading supplies onto MV-22 Ospreys and C-130s. They were tired, wet and their uniforms were all messy. They had been there all day and night helping the people that needed it most. They never once fell out, they made sure everyone got to where they needed and got the supplies they needed. They didn’t stop; they kept on going.

I walked through lines of disaster victims, aid relief tents, debris and trash and made my way onto where the Marines had set up their tents. Once I got there, I spoke to a Marine officer who was curious about the transport capabilities we had on the ship. He then informed me that there were more Marines coming on foot from Manila and pointed out that they were trying to make room for them. I looked over to the open field and noticed that there were Marines clearing out debris, trash and bodies from the grassy areas. I made my way over and was going to start taking picture, but ultimately decided against it. I didn’t want family members or friends to find out their loved ones were gone through a photograph on a newspaper.

A couple of hours and photographs later, I was informed that I would not be going to Lassen. I went back on the Seahawk and we made quick drop off in a small island. It was torn apart. People rushed out of their houses to get our attention. They kept signaling at us to land. We circled around a couple of times but we found no suitable place to land the Seahawk. We had to hover over a small patch of land right off the island to drop off supplies. The Aircrewman had to hoist himself and box after box, 50-pound bag after 50-pound bag; he lowered himself to deliver those supplies. People were scrambling to get them and many others thanked and waved as we flew off. It was great to see joy in such a devastating area. 

I got back to the ship and I was told to keep my equipment packed just in case I were to go out again. Later that day, I was informed that I would be going to the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63). I spent my first day on Cowpens settling in, but the next day I was up on a Seahawk from the “Scorpions” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49. For the next four days, I flew with them to document everything they were doing. We would pick up water from George Washington, pick up food from Tacloban and deliver them to different areas. 

At one point, we picked up a couple of Army Rangers who assisted us in evaluating which villages needed supplies and medical attention. We would drop them off, pick up supplies, drop those off, and pick up the Rangers and any evacuees they brought with them. I recall them bringing on a woman who had a bandage wrapped around her hand. I asked one of the Rangers how she got injured. He informed me her hand was severed by debris as she was trying to pull herself into shelter during the typhoon. It was getting infected without the proper medical treatment. I didn’t see here after we dropped her off. I was just glad these guys were there to help.

Back on the Cowpens, the crewmembers started collecting candy, cookies, cereal, chips and any snacks they could get their hands on. The ship store was running out of items because of all the snacks people were donating. Some went ahead and wrote messages on the packaging. Others made goody bags and left a note in each bag. Every time we handed them out, kids would rush to us, laughing and smiling. They would shake our hands and gives us high fives. At one point shortly after handing out snacks, a woman grabbed my hand and kept thanking me as tears streamed down her face. 

The look on her face, the children laughing and smiling as they waved by, the feelings and emotions I felt and continue to feel is very gratifying. The experience I had there was something new that I’ve never experienced. Seeing it on television or photograph doesn’t do it any justice. 

Although our armed forces are an asset of war, many seem to overlook the work that we do to help those who need it most. There were many Sailors who voluntarily gave up their rack, ventilated spaces, and hot food to go sleep in a tent and work a full day carrying box after box of heavy supplies onto helicopters and I can tell you that none of them have any regrets.


-Ricardo Guzman-

Big Wheel Contributor

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Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – When I was young and wanted to set the world on fire

October 3, 2012

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song - When I was young and wanted to set the world on fireBy the time you read this fall will be in rearing its head, school will be in full swing and Halloween decorations will be gracing our lawns and front porches. But right now I’ve still got summer on the brain- maybe it’s the just damn heat which makes me glad I no longer live in the SGV but its still pretty hot in Long Beach (yeah cry me a river i live in long Beach and a work a couple miles from the beach).Any way as I’ve gotten older and settled in to my career -quick updatefor those of you who missed my first column or forgot because my output has slowed down to Haleys comet like sightings lately-Im in my sixth year as a high school counselor by day-I’ve realized I feel like I’ve become more of a part time Punk. But when summer rolls around I’m not an authority figure, and i use that term loosely, Im just a husband, a dad, a surfer and a Punk. For seven straight weeks I don’t have to wear pants, a collared or shoes for that matter. although I do get dressed up for my anniversary  on July 7 heat be damned I gotta look good for the wifey. I get to live in band t-shirts-this year it was a steady rotation of Rancid, Bad Brains, US BOMBS and Dead Kennedys not that I’m that cool its just those are some of the only non black t-shirts I own -and boardshorts. I get to enjoy the perplexed look and off base  comments of midwestern tourists when i wear the previously mentioned Bad Brains T-shirt on a family visit to DisneyLand. I get to stay up late and re read the Rum Diary while watching Clash and Jimmy Cliff Videos on Youtube. But as summer starts to slowly fade into autumn and I start to break out my shoes and dress pants from the back of the closet a faint thought of self doubt starts to creep into the back of my brain. Am I still rebellious. Am I still an outsider. Am I still challenging conventions and making changes in our society -Did I ever? You see when I was eighteen I thought of myself as  some kind of mix of Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac and Joe Strummer with a surfboard and a mohawk. I was going to write for Rolling Stone and change the world or least turn people on to some of my favorite bands. I was going to be Zack De La Rocha without the dreads or maybe just Greg Graffin without the big words and all the science stuff-sorry I was a history major and big words freak me out. I’ve always wanted to rally people against oppression and injustice or maybe save a couple of dolphins here and there, i do donate to Surfrider and Greenpeace. When it comes to trying to make the world a bit better I’ve always been a cockeyed optimist, a pollyanna and a true believer. When I wore my R.E.M. t-shirt with the line “Understand the power of a single action” I took that as gospel. That’s what part of the allure that punk had over other genres-the desire and attitude to rock the boat, make things different and turn the world upside down. I know it may seem self absorbed and self indulgent to lament the fact that I’m not Gandhi, Mandela, Marley or even Bono-hell Adam Clayton for that matter but it’s really more of a reflection about having stayed true to my core beliefs and ideals as opposed to my rightful place in the pantheon of great upstarts and revolutionaries. Is that kid whose favorite quotes were “Question Authority” and “Sir could you describe the ruckus?” still inside me.

Then a couple of things happened this month. A couple of weeks ago I heard a familiar voice outside of my office, It was a former student stopping by to pick up some transcripts or other school records. This student was one of the first kids I worked with my first year as the at risk counselor at my school six years ago. This kid was like an early Social D song come to life-looks of trouble, lots of problems and not a lot of hope or so it seemed. He was never rude or disrespectful at school but just a lot of issues outside of school. He was the type of kid you wished and hoped for the best but who gave you knots in your stomach thinking of what might happen. So I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years-so i hoped for the best and thought about the worst and in he walks looking happy healthy, clean and sober and with a two year old daughter. We talk for a couple of minutes, I say hi to his daughter and I smile. Now the second thing that snapped my out of my self doubt was that one of my current students stopped by my office and gave me a coffee mug that she had decorated with the words worlds awesome'st counselor and all of the O’s were skulls. Have I gone out and set the world on fire? Maybe, maybe not. Am I changing the world-damn right! Am I still a Punk -till the day I die.

-Daniel N-
Big Wheel Staff Columnist

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Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – A Hangover and a Black eye

July 22, 2012

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song - A Hangover and a Black eyeIt wasn’t in mid July but it was a pretty muggy night in may of my second junior year of college. Yes you read that correctly my second junior year-I was on a bit of an extended plan in college. Anyway that's when it happened. The hangover and the black eye. now there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the hangover, I’d had plenty before and I’ve had a few more since and really who wants to remember a hangover anyway? What makes the incident memorable was the combination and the circumstances. I wish I could say I got in a fight over a girl that was out of my league and some dumb jock and his buddies kicked my ass for being a Punk at the wrong party but that would obviously be a blatant rip off of Valley Girl( which is one of the greatest film of all time) though that would be pretty cool if things happened that way. Alas my story is a bit different in that there was no romance involved but there were meatheads who had it out for me. Apparently a few months earlier I had broken up a fight in which one of the meatheads friends was involved but due to my penchant for wearing Hawaiian shirts and leopard spotted hair I was easily recognizable and it was assumed that I was part of the fight instead of being the guy who saved said meathead from a certain beat down. Oh well the devils in the details and no good deed goes unpunished. So my reward for trying to keep my friends from beating up a stranger wound up being a trip to the ER-complete with a smart ass doctor who told me I needed to learn to fight better, thirteen stitches over my right eye with a pretty huge shiner, and the worst part of all my favorite Hawaiian shirt was a total loss. I didn’t necessarily  get beat up strictly for being a punk rocker with crazy looking hair I got beat up because being a Punk with crazy looking hair made me stand out among a group of  friends that looked nothing like me. But hey I’ve never liked fitting in so sometimes that’s the price to be paid for being a little different. It’s not like I was a martyr for a cause I was just some kid getting in a fight on  a hot almost summer night just like kids tend to do in the summer all over the world since the dawn of time. Too much beer, not enough beer. Too much girls not enough girls. Punks  metalheads, jocks, greasers and socs( yup it’s an Outsiders reference-check it out kids) , pretty boys and on and on. It doesn’t really matter who it just seems like its a natural part of summer when your growing up. I'm not condoning violence but sometimes fist fights are as much a part of life as a first kiss maybe its a yin/ yang thing.

This all brings me to something my old friend Dario once said right after we graduated high school. “You really haven't lived unless you’ve gotten drunk, been in a fight or spent a night in jail” or something to that effect. its like a rite of passage part of the journey into manhood. So I guess two out of three ain't bad for a single night. Now I’ve gotta go and take me wife and kids to the beach-cause that’s what you do in the summer and thats also part of growing up.  Oh and naturally black and mostly gray hair is still kinda like leopard spots, right?

-Daniel N-
Big Wheel Staff Columnist

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