Strawberry Blondes

October 4, 2009

Strawberry BlondesWe have all heard it before, "Never judge a book by it's cover", which is a theme that has been a staple of the Punk rock ethos and at times seems to not be followed by all ...guess we are just human after all. Take for example the band we are spotlighting, Strawberry Blondes. Many people from the name may not think that is gonna be a hard rockin' Punk band and that is where the fun begins when you take a listen to this band's music. The songs just explode in your face as your spit your teeth out and keep listening. Strawberry Blondes are from Newport England which is about 125 miles west of London. The songs are catchy and melodic in nature, pretty down right contagious. They have a new record coming out later this year on Not On Your Radio Records that they recently signed to, that is titled "Fight Back". Give this band a tumble and go check out their tunes on their MySpace, seriously good stuff, for sure go see them live when they come to your part of the world.

Band MySpace:

Big Wheel Online Magazine recommends this band



Here is a except about the band from their MySpace:
Keeping it strictly roots, Punk 'n' roll mob kings, Strawberry Blondes like their rock 'n' roll super charged. Their songs are short, sharp, shocks of highly melodic punk rock bile, based on the rudiments thrown down by the classic first Clash album, or against the grain conviction of the early Manics or the zeitgeist defining lyrical smarts of their beloved Rancid and Goldblade. Strawberry Blondes, slash ‘n’ burn two minute blasts of guitar driven punk rock 'n' roll, their mini anthems-should-be-Top-30 missives. This is sheer pop perfection. Heartfelt vocals and the amphetamine rush of guitars, struck with a passion and fired with burning frustration. Turning their cynicism and world-weariness into highly charged angry pop is what Strawberry Blondes excel at. Front man Mickie Stabbs is so wild eyed in his conviction that rock 'n' roll will change the world that he has already burned out several line ups of the band, in his pain staking search for perfection. Not many can keep up with his vision.





The Replacements

September 9, 2009

Have Heart band spotlightWhile we usually don't spotlight bands that have been broken up for a while, we here at Big Wheel thought that The Replacements are such an essential band  to know that we would attempt to expose a whole new generation of music listeners to the great music and lyrics of The Replacements.

I had originally written an entire spotlight for the Replacements that I intended to publish that detailed their career history, but as I reviewed my article I realized that it was much to cold of a spotlight for a band that I have such an affinity for. To me, the replacements are more than just another early 80s Punk band, their songs stir my emotions and tackle a variety topics that are relevant to my life as a hopeless, confused, frustrated 25 year old guy. I'm sure I'm not alone. Steve Soto from the Punk band The Adolescents was the one who had exposed me to this band a few years back. I remember vividly that he told me that this was a perfect band to listen to as a young person who Isn't a kid anymore, but not quite an adult. I couldn't agree more. The Replacements tackle topics that a lot of people at this point in their lives are dealing with.

Have Heart band spotlight

The magic of The Replacements is that you feel a connection with vocalist Paul Westerberg, a feeling that you could be hanging out together sharing your troubles and frustrations. The song "Here Comes a Regular" off of the album Tim talks about the need to feel wanted and what people do just to fill that void. "Bastards of Young" off the same album is arguably the quintessential Replacements song.

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin' cotton and waitin' to be forgotten

The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them


The thing about The Replacements is that in their songs they don't ever claim to have answers, or an action plan, but rather just play these songs as if only to get it off their chest and perhaps see if anyone else feels the same.

Of course I've done a really bad job at telling you what this band actually sounds like, but you know I'm really bad at that, so go pick up a record or download something. The earlier stuff like the album Sorry Ma, Forgot to take out the Trash leans more toward the punk side, while the album Tim is a little slower with more poignant lyrical content, still with a Punk sound.


Matt C.




September 1, 2009

CrimewaveVenues are closing all over the place, the recession is supposedly keeping people at home, heck it's even raining in California. But something wonderful is happening. In short order we've seen new albums from Cock Sparrer, 4 Past Midnight, The Last Resort, and US appearances from the 4-Skins. The Business are touring the US again this fall, The Warriors are coming, and even Fang (who aren't, strictly speaking, and Oi band, but did write the excellent song "Tits and Oi") are on the road again.

Despite, or maybe because of, all the hardships we seem to be on the verge of a second golden age of Oi. But this time it's not just England and the East coast. California has a long tradition of "super groups" hobbled together from various punk bands throughout the region, and this time it's given us Crimewave. With members of Naked Aggression, Dr. Know, Los Infernos, YAPO, and Dead Lazlo's Place, they certainly have a proven track record to back them up as they take a step into new musical territory.

"Soundtrack to Violence" is the band's 7 song EP showcasing melodic Oi anthems that encapsulate both the spirit of what makes the genre great, and something undeniably California. These are songs that are made for rowdy nights in a club, or speeding down the freeway with a backseat of drunks pounding the ceiling and singing along as loud as they can. If you're listening to this record and not rocking out, you might want to check. You might be dead.

For more on the background of this band, and where they're headed, members Seedy and Slime were good enough to answer some questions.

Where are you from?

Seedy - Well the band is from the surrounding LA cities like; Pasadena, South El Monte, La Puente. Shit like that. It's guess it's just easier to say LA to the rest of the world?

How long have you been playing together?

Seedy - Well, we formed the complete band in April 09. So we've been jamming out with quite a few lineups since then. Sounds pretty gross huh? We're a new band that has already gone through a shitload of members. Yeah, we tend to not have much luck with keeping band members. I guess we smell or have bad breath?

How did you guys come together as a band?

Slime - Well.....Once I passionately locked eyes with Seedy, I knew he was the one I was destined to be in a band with for the rest of my life. Just kidding!.......Or am I?..... No, I've known him since the early 90's and we always wanted to form a band together, but never made it happen. So last year in October of 08, being that he was tired of the bands that he was in, and I, being tired of the bands that I was in. Decided to team up & try something a little different. He approached me with a few songs & ideas, & from there we started writing and recording all the songs we have now. Neither one of us till now, have ever been in an Oi! band. So it made sense for us to go that route, since we're long time fans of that genre.

What do you feel your biggest influences are?

Seedy - For this band, obviously, Punk Rock/Oi! bands like; The Adicts, Toy Dolls, Descendents, The Oppressed, Blitz, etc....

Slime - The Misfits, The Damned, The Blood, Cock Sparrer, etc....

What's your absolute favorite thing about the scene?

Slime - That's a pretty hard question to answer? Because the scene is not like it used to be. It's died out alot here in LA/OC/IE. It used to be exciting, crazy, and full of life. Everyone used to go out to all the shows and make it fun. But I guess it's like a rollercoaster. I has it's ups and down from time to time. Plus the stupid recession going on right now doesn't help. But I'd have to say when the scene was happening, the best thing was knowing that everyone had love for the scene (or at least the music). Every Punk rocker I knew weren't a bunch of trendy, lame ass fools and the best thing was.....There weren't any lame ass emo/screamo bands around back then. People weren't walking around crying with big vaginas on their foreheads.

Seedy - Same as that guy. Yeah, the vagina forehead thing. I'm eating a sandwich. Don't bother me.

What would you like to see change?

Slime - I can't really say? The industry is changing, & I'm interested in seeing where it goes. Yeah, I'm pretty boring like that. Sorry I couldn't give some crazy answer to that one.

Seedy - UHHH? Crime Wave? I'd like to see us stop changing band members so much. Oh yeah!.......The fucken venues and promoters. Some of them (not all) need to quit dicking over the bands. I as well as many others, are sick of it. We're the reason why people come out to shows. We're the entertainment! Not the lame ass promoters. EH! They can go eat a wagon full of dicks!

What makes a great show for you guys?

Slime - When the audience is actively participating with the band on stage. When the audience is singing your songs and loving every minute of it. That shit is awesome. Cause at that moment, you realize that all the hard work you put into the band pays off. Cause you bring good times to peoples lives & that's what it comes down to.

Seedy - Hey Slime, when you say loving every minute of it? Is it like comparing when you say.......I'm gonna give that girl the best 20 seconds of her life?

Slime - Exactly!

Seedy - Okay. I'm down with that!

What's your favorite live memory?

Seedy - Wow! We don't have to many of those? We're usually shitfaced by the time we hit the stage. The guys had told me that one of our shows at The Radio Room was really funny. I believe the guys said something about Slime & our bassist doing some perverted stuff on stage. I honestly blacked out before we hit the stage. So I don't remember shit. But I personally had alot of fun when we played at The Slide Bar? That was a fun show? I guess? As far as having a cool, crazy story, I don't have one. The shows have been pretty peaceful for us so far. I know, I suck!

Slime - I rather not talk about The Radio Room show. A gentlemen never tells.

Seedy - You a gentlemen? Yeah fucken right!

What's coming up (shows, albums, etc.)?

Seedy - As far as upcoming shows? Just check out our myspace page at to keep updated with what we have going on. As far as an album? We are currently deciding on which songs we want to go with for our first complete album. We honestly have around 30 new songs or more to decide on. And that's not including the 10 songs we're already playing. We're looking to have around 14 to 16 songs for the first album. I hate buying albums that only have around 9 or 10 songs on them. I feel like I'm being cheated.

Slime - Also, we have a split comp coming out soon that will feature us and our good friends Battle Flask on it. Did I do good?......At night?

Seedy - Yeah! That was pretty professional. I'm proud of you now. Good job!

Anything else you'd like to add?

Slime - Yeah! I'd like to thank god and our ……

Seedy - Shut the fuck up!!! Your done! No one wants to hear your bullshit anymore!
Do you understand the madness I have to deal with? Thanx!

Thank you boys. So there you have it. "We are united, together as one" so get over to the MySpace and do yourself a favor.

Band MySpace:


-Jo Problems-
Big Wheel Music Scene Reporter



Have Heart

August 26, 2009

Have Heart band spotlightThe first time I saw Have Heart was at a show in Providence, Rhode Island. They were opening for Modern Life Is War at a small DIY run club called AS220. This was in the winter of 2003/2004 and before they went on I wasn't expecting much. At the time I was pretty burnt out on most of the new bands coming out of the Boston area and was expecting Have Heart to be a boring and generic band following the status quo of hardcore. However from the second that the band took stage I was floored by their sheer energy and passion. Vocalist Pat Flynn's face and head (which had just been shaved) were turning bright red from screaming with such intensity. Their strength as a live band came from Flynn's charismatic stage presence and the band's commitment to putting every ounce that they had into their performances.

I bought the band's demo and played it over and over again in my car's tape deck. At the time there was a real void in Boston hardcore scene and there were no other bands playing straight edge hardcore with the same level of sincerity and urgency as Have Heart. Over and over their early sound was compared to Rhode Island's Verbal Assault and sure enough the last song on the demo was a cover of V.A.'s "More Than Music" which really seemed to sum up Have Heart's attitude towards hardcore and life. The song that really stuck out though was a song called "The Worth," which spoke to me on a deeply personal level as many of my college age friends were losing interest in the scene. The song's chorus  "If it means that I'll stand on my own/That's the price I'll pay and I'll pay it alone/If only I'll stand, then alone I will strive/To remain, sustain." Coming from almost any other band at any other time these lyrics would have come off as completely cheesy and contrived but given the circumstances the lyrics made sense and became somewhat of a battle cry in my day to day life.

With time I had more interactions with the band and learned to respect them as musicians and as people. On several occasions my band at the time opened for them and I also booked Have Heart to play at my college. They had no egos and money was never a motive for them. At every show that they played they were the most energetic band of the night and they always seemed grateful just to be able to play.

In 2004 Have Heart released their "What Counts" 7" on Think Fast! records. With some slight lineup changes their sound got a little thicker, with big guitar sounds and a slightly more heavy edge. Think Fast! was a modest but successful label and "What Counts" immediately caught attention of people all across the country and in Europe. They quickly became a buzz band and where ever they toured people started talking about them.
Have Heart band spotlight
By 2005 the band was signed to Bridge 9 records which was already a major institution for modern hardcore. B9 released their first full length record, "The Things We Carry." By this time Pat Flynn's lyrics were increasingly getting more personal and having less to do with scene politics and the hardcore scene at large. The most powerful and emotional song on record was "Watch Me Rise" which addressed the issue of overcoming depression. This subject matter was a common theme throughout the album and undoubtedly spoke to a lot of the band's fans.

After "The Things We Carry" was released Have Heart became one of the most popular hardcore bands in the country. They were featured in a National Geographic documentary about the straight edge movement and a photo of the band playing live appeared on the cover of a book published by Rutgers University Press called Straight Edge: Clean Living, Hardcore Punk, and Social Change. It seemed that the band had become a face plate for the positive straight edge movement and by touring around the world relentlessly while also staying true to their ideals they were helping to reshape the somewhat ugly image that straight edge had earned in the 1990's.

2008's "Songs to Scream at the Sun" debuted in Billboard's Top 200 which is almost unheard of for a hardcore Punk band. This album showed the band trying out some heavier sounds and the subject matter of the lyrics was often deeply personal, dealing with family issues. While the sound was not radically different from the Have Heart's previous releases it did show a new level of maturity.
This Summer the band embarked on a world tour that stretched across six continents. Just before leaving home the band announced from their Myspace profile that this will be their last tour. The impact was felt immediately and the bulletin received over 400 comments. Next week Have Heart will play their annual show at Anaheim, California's Chain Reaction and a daytime show  beforehand at a smaller venue in Whittier, California. This string of dates will be the band's last shows in California.

On October 17, 2009 Have Heart will play their last show at an undisclosed location in Massachusetts. This is a significant date as it is the tenth anniversary of the break up of Boston's Ten Yard Fight, which was dubbed National Edge Day. The following year another significant Boston straight edge band, In My Eyes played their final show at an Edge Day celebration. This appropriately fulfills the legacy of a band that helped to keep Boston Straight Edge alive or "Back on the Map." Have Heart will surely be missed.

Band MySpace:
Band Website:


Broken Needle

August 1, 2009

Broken NeedleAnyone who has followed Los Angeles hardcore within the past ten years is sure to be familiar with some of the members of Broken Needle's other projects. Current members of the band have played in notable bands such as Life's Halt, No Reply, Carry On, Knife Fight, Holier Than Thou? (perhaps the best of the recent crossover/thrash revival bands), Bad Reaction, and C.O.P..Having formed in 2001, Broken Needle may not be as well known as some of these other projects, but they certainly could give any other band a run for the money.

The band, who are often noted for their energetic live performances, recently played a record release show in Long Beach for their new 7" E.P. on Schizophrenic Records. The record features five high speed positive hardcore songs addressing scene related politics as well as some more broad based political issues on a larger scale. "Trash This Place" has already become a bit of an anthem in L.A. with its lyrics condemning careless behavior at Punk rock shows which can often result in venues banning Punk rock from their repertoire.

Prior to their self titled 7" Broken Needle helped forge their name with an L.P. on Lengua Armada records. It had memorable songs such as "Waste Away," "Cash In," "My Rules," and "Who the Fuck Are You." What set apart the band from many of their peers on this record was a musical flexibility that combined aspects of late 80's straight edge hardcore with an early 80's Punk rock attitude and additional influences from skate rock bands like Agression and RKL. In short virtually anyone who is a fan of hardcore Punk rock could find something to appreciate in their sound.
Broken Needle
In the past few years Broken Needle have headlined shows in small venues as well as playing support for bands like Fear, Bold, Negative Approach, Bold, Circle One, The Stains, Fucked Up, and Total Fury. Perhaps their most memorable performance was a Halloween show in October of 2008 where they played a half a set of Uniform Choice and Unity covers before finishing off with a hand full of original songs.

This October Broken Needle will head to Japan for an eight day tour. In the meantime we hope to see them play more shows here in Southern California.

Band MySpace:





Danger’s Close

July 17, 2009

Danger's Close Punk band photoThere are thousands of bands out there you're not listening to that you probably should be. There are scores of bands you're not listening to that you definitely should be. Danger's Close is probably top of the list of bands you can't live without, you just haven't realized it yet.


Don't feel bad, they're relatively new, and you've still got time. Their album, "Closer Than You Think" is in the running for the best new thing I've heard in a long long time.

Fronted by powerful female vocalist "Abs" who seamlessly combines the rawness of Punk rock with an almost bluesy sensuality to produce a driving urgency behind her compelling lyrics, this album is one you'll find difficult to turn off. When she tells you "Like the pills in your hand, I will never let you down" you not only completely believe her, you want to shove anyone who dares to imply otherwise.
Danger's Close photo
Make no mistake, Danger's Close could well be the benchmark for the next wave of Punk music. Abs isn't the only powerhouse, the band themselves are phenomenal as well. While the music is undoubtedly Punk, the heavy guitar riffs and hard-hitting drums somehow completely avoid sounding like stale, re-hashed versions of '77 hits. There is creativity here to accompany the obvious musical chops.

The entire album has high energy guaranteed to make you run around in a circle, but there's depth to the album as well. "She Says She's Leaving" contains all the anger and sadness familiar when a long relationship limps toward it's end, while opening track "Burn" unleashes a sonic wall of raw fury, and "The Daily Grind" is a strong, socially conscious anthem.

Self-proclaimed Punk purists will be happy to know these Ipswich upstarts are completely DIY, and their album can be had for only a little more than the asking from the band themselves via their MySpace at

Those lucky enough to be in the UK this summer can not afford to miss live performances at Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, and London's Bridge House.



-Jo Problems-
Big Wheel Music Scene Reporter


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