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Notes From the Underground
By Arwen Curry

I Hate Hate:
Or why the Gorehounds are a punk rock love story

'ONE THING I WANTED TO BRING BACK to rock & roll was the knowledge that you invent yourself. That's why I changed my name, why I did all the clothing style things, haircut, everything. So naturally, if you invent yourself, you love yourself."--Richard Hell, in an interview with Lester Bangs (published in Gig, January 1978).

Exactly--but wasn't that then, isn't this now? Hell had his abandon, his "Blank Generation" and torn T-shirts, while good ol' Lester lamented in digressions on the demise of the human heart in the disco-soaked carelessness of the '70s. Neither witnessed the young 'uns of his generation (today's twentysomethings) desecrate the impact of every fashion statement in some desperate communal identity crisis.

No, the idea hasn't changed--pulling something personal out of the air and making it alive for other people. Some of us in this slumped generation--like the Gorehounds at last Friday's release show for the What-Nots' new CD--still seem capable of doing damage. To re-create yourself is to change something in the fabric of the times. Few succeed, and the Gorehounds are among them.

Geez, I've seen these guys maybe 15 times, but something in the air on Friday opened a vent and let the audience crawl into their heads, but lost them in amplification. Don't get me wrong--singer/guitarist Chris Gonzalez still joked around with his usual breed of tongue-in-cheek alertness, but after a while the audience stopped listening to drummer Lee Tom's half-delirious meters or Mari's heavy bass strokes--as a series of questions and interrupted answers.

Etcetera

Oh yeah, some other good bands played last weekend too. At Streetlight on both Friday and Saturday nights, the What-Nots had delicious performances, overwhelming their own precedent. I was reminded of the 1995 debut of Spain by the total harmonic perfection that both groups attempt. Of course, Spain is neither local nor exactly independent, so the comparison is at best insulting. The What-Nots may have compromised its indie standing by playing for free at a large record store.

Riff Raff, who proved that years of experience don't daunt its evolution, may also find itself in dire straits when it becomes known that the band also solicits merchandise on consignment at a private--but really large--establishment like Streetlight. Any punk on the street could tell you that to sell yourself for money isn't anarchy.

Upcoming

On Friday, Political Silence plays with P.A.W.N.S at The Point in SC (7pm, 21 and up). Also, the Hoods, Torment, Downshift, and Within play Three Spirits Gallery in Sand City (7pm, $5, all ages). On Saturday, the Odd Numbers plays at Streetlight (7pm, free).

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From the Nov. 13-19, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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