#864.5: “Oktoberfest Cheer” – A Thank-You to Max the Axe

It was laundry night, when my phone blew up.  Uncle Meat was desperate to get a hold of me.  He rang my phone twice and there was a text message to call him immediately.  Of course, I was worried about my buddy.  If he needed me, I’d be there.

The urgency was apparently musical in nature.

Max the Axe had just finished mixing the three songs that will make up a forthcoming punk EP.  He finished that day…a full sweaty day at the studio that ended with “Thirsty and Miserable”, “Pygmy Blowdart” and “Oktoberfest Cheer” on a burned CD-R.  The only way for Meat to hear these tracks, songs that he sings on, was convoluted.  Max had to physically deliver the CDs to my house, and then I had to rip them to PC and email them to Uncle Meat.  That’s how ass-backwards those two guys are with technology.

The bonus in this case is getting an early copy of the still-untitled punk EP, which I assure you, is a killer.  But Max was so appreciative of my favour that he randomly gifted me this cool set of Twisted Sister guitar picks.  10 picks mounted on a paper matte, with a cool Twisted Sister picture.  Ready for framing.  Thank you Max!

What about the EP?  “Thirsty and Miserable” is a Black Flag cover with inspiration from Lemmy Kilmister.  It’s brilliant is all I can tell you.  “Pygmy Blowdart” is an original (Meat stresses that he did not write the lyrics) that sounds like a Josh Homme hit.  Finally “Oktoberfest Cheer” is a drunken, sloppy, very messy Kitchener-centric party song that could very well become a local anthem.  Oktoberfest actually ended a couple weeks ago, but this song captures the boozy oom-pa-pa of our annual Bavarian celebration.  “Don’t crush my smokes, and don’t spill my beer!”  I think it’s brilliant in that lager-soaked punk rock tradition.  I only heard an early mix, so I hope they take my advice when I say “more accordion”!

Enjoy a free preview of “Thirsty and Miserable” by Max the Axe featuring lead vocals by Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller!



REVIEW: Rancid – …And Out Come the Wolves (1995)

Dedicated to my pal Jason who is about to see Rancid open for the Misfits at Madison Square Gardens.

RANCID – …And Out Come the Wolves (1995 Epitaph)

Some albums earn automatic 5/5 star ratings.  This is one of those albums.  How’s that for a punk rock length review?

5/5 stars



Oh, alright, you wanted to read a little more with your coffee and slippers and battered & torn old jean jacket this morning?  Fine.  …And Out Come the Wolves is a landmark, spiritually plucked from an earlier time, as if it came out alongside Never Mind the Bollocks and The Ramones instead of Dookie and Smash.  It’s uncompromising, timeless, and relentless.   Best of all, there isn’t a weak track amongst the 19 included.

Rancid are punk rock for music fans.  Check out Matt Freeman’s absolutely nutso bass solo on opening track “Maxwell Murder” (1:25 long).  There’s another on “Lock, Step & Gone”.  The album is sharp but not overproduced; there are plenty of rough edges to scratch your itches on.  The dual vocals of Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen are individual; albeit both are adequately snotty and gravelly.

…And Out Come the Wolves is notable for its ska influence on a number of tracks.  It’s even alluded to in the lyrics:  “Give ’em the boot, the roots, the reggae on my stereo.”  Or, “Echoes of reggae, comin’ through my bedroom wall.”  But even the tunes without the ska boast an abnormally astute sense of melody.  Six tonnes of integrity and a sneer.


  • T-Rev’s favourite song was “Roots Radicals”; he got me into the band.  Via the Record Store, I had a four song sampler cassette that included “Roots Radicals”, “Ruby Soho”, “Junkie Man” and “Time Bomb”.
  • Jason’s favourite tunes are the fucking awesome “Disorder & Disarray” and “Journey to the End of the East Bay”.
  • I had a very significant life event associated with “Time Bomb” that I won’t be telling you about.
  • My grunge buddy Aaron strongly hated Rancid and I never understood why.

50 minutes of punk perfection, by four guys who absolutely know their shit.  Each song is different; there is something here for everyone.  Nobody can go wrong, you can only open your world up to something bright and colourful.  …And Out Come the Wolves will blast your adrenal glands up wide open and stimulate your sense of skank.  Do not live your life without it.

5/5 mohawks



REVIEW: The Sex Pistols – Filthy Lucre Live (1996 Japanese import)

“Fat, forty and baaaack!” – Johnny Rotten

Scan_20150823THE SEX PISTOLS – Filthy Lucre Live (1996 Virgin Japanese import)

Late to the punk rock scene in ’96, I threw Filthy Lucre Live on the speakers in-store.  Impressed by their canon of catchy, simple guitar rock, I decided I was a fan and bought a double disc version of Never Mind the Bollocks.  I still think the reunited 1996 band were valid and put out a worthwhile document of that tour.  I was fortunate to finally stumble upon the Japanese version with additional B-side bonus tracks, from the concurrent “Pretty Vacant” live single.  It was brand new and cost only $20 at the 2013 Toronto Musical Collectibles Record & CD Sale.

Recorded on 23 June, the album was released only a month later.  Even though a big money reunion tour isn’t very punk rock, a one month turnaround isn’t bad!  The backing vocals however sound so clean that I wonder if some very un-punk overdubs happened in that time.  I don’t know.  I do know that the vocals of Steve Jones, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook deliver the hooks required while Johnny Rotten rants with full-on vibrato.  Either way it sounds brilliant.

Scorching through “Bodies”, the Pistols in ’96 kicked many competitors in the ass.  “Seventeen”, with its classic chorus* of “I’m a lazy sod!” lacks some of the edge it used to have in the 70’s, but I don’t think the thousands of people singing along minded too much.

“New York” rocks sloppily, and Johnny Rotten delivers his voice with that vibrato…almost distracting, almost unnerving, but strangely catchy.  His vocals have become more exaggerated and dramatic over the years and I like these renditions of the songs.  Steve Jones’ sloppy guitar riffs are mixed too low, or perhaps mixed that way to hide a multitude of feedbacky sins?  Who cares.  “No Feelings” slams just as hard either way.

“Don’t be naughty…I’ve done you no wrong,” Johnny scolds the crowd before diving into “Did You No Wrong”.  One song is much the same as another, but that hasn’t stopped AC/DC either. “We’re not that fucking bad after all, are we?” sneers Johnny.  Do I detect some pride?  “God Save the Queen” is early in the set, but as venomous as ever.

Through “Liar”, “Satellite”, and the cover of “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” the set drags a bit. “Holidays in the Sun” brings back that excitement and reckless abandon.  “Submission” is next, another riffs as simple and memorable as “Holidays”, and do I detect a touch of “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” by the Kinks there at the end?

“Pretty Vacant”, “EMI”, “Anarchy” and “Problems” close the set for a memorable end.  Even though I don’t think they ever really gave two shits about the music, there was a lot of good music.  John Lydon is a parody of himself, and he knows it and embraces it.  He’s become a grumpy, angry elder statesmen of punk and Filthy Lucre Live is representative of that version of him. Either way, it’s an enjoyable departure from the same old versions.

The Japanese CD comes with some B-side bonus tracks.  “Buddies” is what sounds like an audience recording of “Bodies”.  I guess for that raw punk authenticity?  “No Fun” is also present, a Stooges cover to add to the count of classic punk rock.

4/5 stars

*I’m aware that Johnny Rotten would likely kick me in the ass for calling his music “classic”.  He’d probably also disagree with many more of my words, but I love that crazy guy.

GUEST SHOT: 30 Albums that Uncle Meat Thinks You Should Visit (Or Re-Visit) Part 1

By Meat

Music fans love lists.  Maybe it’s the Ten Best Bass Lines of the 1990’s or a list of the songs you wish you lost your virginity to.  I have always been a lists guy as the whole Sausagefest Top 100 thing would attest to.  So here is yet another list.  The albums listed below are not my favorite albums of all time, even though many of my favorites are included.  The point of this list is to possibly introduce to, or maybe even remind, this blog’s readers of 30 albums that I think need to be heard.  Maybe an album that in my opinion was under-appreciated.  Perhaps even an album that inspired me in some way.   Anyways, here are 30 albums that Uncle Meat wants you to visit … or re-visit.  They are in alphabetical by album title.  Enjoy


I could have easily listed several other Orange Goblin albums here, but their latest album is an absolutely killer album.  Almost fusing some Black Crowes into their brand of Metal, these British stoner-rockers put out maybe the best Metal album of 2012.  And considering that there are only 3 albums on this whole list that were released before the year 2000, it feels good to actually get some new content in here.  The album ends with the title track, which almost plays out like its own Rock N’ Roll Western.   The band finally tours Canada for the first time coming up in spring of 2013.  As the late Billy Red Lyons used to say, “Don’t ya dare miss it!”



Death Angel’s first two albums are pretty sloppy, sound-wise and in song structure.  Some very heavy moments, but at times it just sounds annoying.   On their third release, Max Norman (Megadeth) got his hands on them and it resulted in a polished sound and the best album of their career.  Gone were the high-pitched shrieks of singer Mark Osegueda that littered their first two records.  It really does seem that the band simply matured.  One of the best Metal albums of the 90’s indeed.  Definitely among the most progressive metal albums I can think of.  A must-have album for every true Metal fan.



It is fair to say that Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy would never have the musical identity they have, if it wasn’t for Wishbone Ash.   Innovators in twin- lead guitar harmonization, this band never really got its due.  Interestingly enough, the sound engineer on this record is none other than Martin Birch.  Coincidence?  Meat thinks not.  I remember this album sitting in front of my Dad’s stereo for years when I was very young, and then seeing Star Wars and thinking that Darth Vader looked a lot like the guy on the cover of Argus. Check this album out and discover a part of where it all came from.   When you listen to the beginning of the song-clip included here, “Throw Down the Sword, think “To Live is to Die” by Metallica.  Sounds like Lars and the boys were paying attention as well.



Think The Beatles meets The Clash.  The first two songs on this album are both stellar pop moments.  The melodies are McArtney-esque, and that is truly saying something.  “Pulling Mussels From a Shell” is pure song-writing genius“Another Nail in my Heart” is one of my favorite songs of all time.  Check out the incredible guitar solo in this song.  Funny enough, like the 2 previous albums listed, this was the band’s third album.  Maybe a trend is happening here.



For Joe Jackson’s 8th release, he decided to go all out. An original studio album, recorded live in front of a New York City audience who were told to be silent throughout.  Capturing the excitement and spontaneity of a live performance, in which absolutely no post-recording mixing or overdubbing was done, this record is ambitious as it sounds.  It is all here.  You get Jazz, Pop, Punk and everything in between.  Jackson possesses one of the classic all-time voices.  When this double-album was released, it contained three sides of music, leaving the fourth side blank.  A landmark recording.



This album came in at Number 30 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All-Time chart, the highest placing for any female artist.  So why is this album on this list?  Honestly because I still believe this album is truly under-appreciated.  Too many people do not realize how great this album is.  Simply, some of the best lyrics of all time are here.  If this album was any more personal it would contain a video of Joni Mitchell going to the bathroom.  Listen to this front to back when you want to feel like someone understands your pain.   A truly cathartic experience, when she played this album originally to Kris Kristofferson he was reported to respond, “Joni… You really should keep some of that to yourself”.  I am glad she didn’t take heed of his advice.


DOGMAN  –  KING’S X (1994)

It seems as soon as Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam/STP/Black Crowes) got his hands on King’s X, the band’s sound fattened up.  Thick, lush and pounding would be a good overall description of the sound on this album.  The songs are great too.  I saw King’s X at the legendary El Mocambo in Toronto and was standing literally beside Dimebag Darrell and the rest of Pantera.   While I love almost every song on this album, the title track is an absolute killer.  When the first Woodstock concert in 25 years began, it was King’s X who took the stage to kick it all off.  Check out this live performance from the old Jon Stewart show from back in the day and crank it.  One of my favorite youtube videos ever.



This might be my favorite jazz album of all time.  Duke was 63 and Trane was 36 when this album was recorded.  With a running time of 35:05 this album is short and oh so very sweet.  Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” starts this album off and it never lets up.   “Big Nick” is just a wonderfully happy shuffle.  True story: I once got so fed up with Metal that I became a Jazzatarian for a few months, listening to nothing but old school Jazz.  I started with John Coltrane and went from there.  I never did find a jazz artist after him that I enjoy more.



Simply put, this album is easily in my Top 3 albums of all time, of any genre.  True storytelling at its finest, El Corazon is a complete masterpiece.  It seems that sobriety allowed Steve Earle to realize how great of a songwriter he really is and on this album he branches out and removes any constraints of style.   Of all the 30 records included on this list, this is the one I am not asking you to check out, but I am TELLING you to check out.  Comparing the laid-back intensity of “Christmas in Washington” to the sheer power of “Here I Am” truly makes you appreciate the diversity of this record.   Steve Earle is THE man.  A lifetime Bro-mance going on here.



Quite possibly the greatest jazz fusion record ever recorded. This record is a funk buffet.  Only 4 songs and all of them are great.  The YouTube clip here of “Watermelon Man” is the shortest song on the album, and is as original as it is velvety-smooth.  I find it hard not to do some sort of jig when this I hear this song.  “Chameleon”, “Sly” and “Vein Melter” complete one of the most influential jazz albums of all time.  Half of this album made 2012’s SausageFest countdown.  I suspect the other half will not be far behind.

Stay tuned for Part 2!