Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wax Trax: An Interview with Duane Davis

It’s hard to imagine a Denver without Wax Trax. More of an institution than a record shop, it began in the mid-‘70s with Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher who eventually sold their Denver storefront and moved to Chicago where they started the Wax Trax! Records label—whose roster included Ministry, Front 242, and KMFDM among others. Duane Davis and Dave Steadman assumed control of the Denver location in 1978, beginning with a humble collection of new and used records and eventually spanning across four storefronts on Thirteen Avenue. Through the years, the Davis and Steadman immersed themselves in the music they sold—even running their own 1980s label, Local Anesthetic, which showcased local post-punk and hardcore bands like Frantix and Defex and even poet Allen Ginsberg. In the '90s and '00s, the store continued its tradition of supporting local music and zines, giving independent bands and authors an avenue with which to promote and sell their art on a very reasonable, very accessible system of consignment. And though Wax Trax has had to bare its brunt of hardships, it has endured all the ebbs and flows of the record industry. We can only hope it continues to do so—a Denver without Wax Trax would be so devoid of culture and character, it’s painful to even imagine.

The Magic of the Farmers Market

All this for $10. I see a cornucopia of vegetable dishes in the week ahead. The anticipation of consuming the organic goodness almost makes going back to work not seem so bad. Almost.

Monday, July 2, 2012

What it’s all About: The Shows that Made it all Worthwhile

By Brian with Virgil Dickerson, Michelle Landes, and John Wenzel

You know those conversations (read: games of verbal one-upmanship) where people brag about the amazing, mind altering, orgasm-inducing shows they’ve seen throughout the years? You know how you always have your own personal greatest show ever that you offer to the assembly (read: I see your bet and raise you one)? And you know how there’s that one guy who saw that show with Dead Kennedys, Minutemen, Black Flag, DOA, The Descendents, a resurrected Jimi Hendrix, The Clash from 1976, Elvis from 1956, Bob Marley before he was discovered by frat boys, and fucking Nirvana when they were in junior high? (That guy sucks.) Anyway, I asked several Denver notables about the best shows they’ve ever witnessed, and a handful of them actually got back to me. (This is probably going to be a two-part series because of the scant response — which works anyway due to space limitations. So if I sent you an email, it’s not too late to get those replies into me!) Here a few responses from folks who have contributed in some meaningful way to Denver’s music scene.

Joy Subtraction's New Album

To purchase this record from the band (or just listen to some of the songs), go here:

To purchase this record through Interpunk, go here:
By Nate Stone

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why I’m a Zinester:

Or Why it’s Okay I Stopped Pretending to be a Writer

  1. Sometimes when I’m sitting on my porch swing in my back yard with a cold beer in my hand, the breeze flowing across my entire body, my dogs at my side enjoying the lazy afternoon all the same, I think to myself, “How could anyone waste a day like this hunched over a computer screen?”
  2. And sometimes when I’m playing my drums or my guitar and the beauty of music lifts my mind from the prison of daily routine and delivers it into the musical ether where my thoughts and worries melt away and I can know and appreciate what it truly means to be human, I don’t think to myself, because thinking would only bring me back down to a cold reality that I drowning out with the sound of sweet splendor.
  3. And sometimes when I’m working on my zine and listening to Embrace, my creative juices flowing all over the page, filling it with my own words—not in an attempt to sell advertising or to generate page views or asinine comments or to appease an editor, but to express whatever the hell it is I want to say to the world—I think to myself something I read in a book once, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
  4. And pretty much all the time, I don’t like to think of work when I’m not working, won’t let it consume my thoughts and eat away at my soul because I don’t like to worry endlessly about what it takes to pay rent and because, you know, if my time off work isn’t its own reward, what the hell am I working for?
  5. And sometimes life can be stressful and you can either get mad about it and tear your hair out and curse at the dog who doesn’t even know why you would curse at him when he didn’t even fucking do anything this time, or you can call up you friends, tell them to bring over some beer, put some records on the turntable, and then tell dumb stories and laugh into all hours of the evening and smile and not do anything productive—because productivity for productivity’s sake is curse, a slow, tortured march towards death and none of us has much time here on earth to act foolish and laugh about it in spite of ourselves because that’s what foolish people sometimes do... All I’m saying is, what would life be like if we all made an attempt to enjoy it more, not conquer it, not be depressed about it, and not work through the whole thing? What if life could be a lot more livable?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Plants and Animals and Chomp!

By Brian Polk
Interview responses by Josh LaBure
The members of Denver’s Plants & Animals have their work cut out for them. As a vegan advocacy group a thousand or so miles from the nearest coast (where plant-based diets seem to thrive), it’s not exactly a piece of—dairy-free—cake convincing meat eaters to give up the flesh. But just as there are liberals in Utah, there are vegans in Denver—no matter how out-of-place they may feel at times. As such, they might as well do what comes naturally to any advocacy group: organize and, well, advocate. That’s the impetuous behind the group’s most successful endeavor, Chomp, a monthly, community-based vegan dinner that’s open to anyone who might be curious about the animal-free diet they’ve been hearing about. Of course, the group also organizes benefits, actions, and other cruelty-free events, all of which Plants & Animals member Josh LaBure spoke with us about.

Things I’d Rather be Doing than Making this List

By Brian Polk

  • Attending a conference on phasing out the use of the word “ha-larious” by 2013
  • I would say, “DJing with a laptop,” but it’s really just playing my iTunes in a bar
  • Becoming more obese
  • Attending a conference on phasing out the phrase, “Not so much,” by 2014
  • Wondering if the ghost of Bob Marley bemoans the fact that people don’t like him due to the lameness of his posthumous followers
  • Rocking in the free world, something I occasionally forget to keep on doing
  • Working on being more ashamed of my sexual organs
  • Coming up with an answer to this question: What’s less awkward, walking in on my roommate while he’s test running his new adult DVD or accepting his invitation to join him? Either way, I think it would lead directly to the next one:
  • Praising the manufacturers of lube for all the tension they ease
  • Wondering if the ghost of Jesus bemoans the fact that people don’t like him due to the lameness of his posthumous followers
  • Admiring my dog for his inability to regret
  • Going to the after-party in the afterlife, if either exists
  • Hand-numbering all my records so that I can tell people I have hand-numbered editions of all my records
  • Explaining to my dog that if I were an Ayn Rand disciple, I’d have to stop feeding him because free meals go against the principles of the free market
  • Vacuuming the shit-hole I’ve allowed my living room to become
  • Using “thou” in a sentence that also doesn’t contain the words “holier” and “than”
  • Getting in on the impending Jazzercise comeback
  • Making a bumper sticker that says, “Thou shall honketh if thou shall feel hornieth” (Did it!)
  • Not so secretly becoming embittered by the fact that my unemployed friends take more vacations that me
  • Transcending life and then transcending death
  • Growing increasingly annoyed at what turned out to be my ill-advised, unfunny decision to play an Alvin and the Chipmunk record at 78 RPMs
  • Finding my virginity while listening to the song “Losing my Religion”
  • Coming up with a list of things I'd rather not be doing than making this list