Category Archives: Strange Tales From The Doc

“Strange Tales From The Doc” #26 And you think I’M stupid? I’ll show who is really Stupid(s)…

“Strange Tales From The Doc” #26
And you think I’M stupid? I’ll show who is really Stupid(s)…

It was 1985 or 1986 when my buddy Brian and I were living in a condo in Upland. I was full on “addicted” to buying records at that time. Every extra penny I had was spent on buying vinyl at the local record stores throughout California; Toxic Shock, Rhino, Zed, Vinyl Fetish and more. I was also buying and trading with people in the U.K. You know, “I’ll buy this for you, if you buy that for me”. One person in particular that I traded lots of vinyl with was Tommy Stupid from the U.K. hardcore band The Stupids. (he was the singer and drummer). I bought their debut 7”ep., “Violent Nun” and I saw something in the thank you’s: “Get in touch if you are into trading” [or something like that]. So I did. At first you don’t really know if you can trust the person. You could easily send out a box of records and get NOTHING in return. But that was not the case with Tommy Stupid. Up front and honest from the beginning. He was after things that were difficult to get in the U.K. like; Speptic Death, Minor Threat 7”s etc… while I was after things like The Dickies, Newtown Neurotics and similar bands that I couldn’t find here in the U.S.


All went well for months or more and I was happy to have received a letter from him one day (remember this is all “pre-computer e-mail age”) that said,” can I stay with you if I come out?” I wrote back and said, “Sure, of course”. So a few months later, on the day he said, I get a phone call from Newport Beach and it’s Tommy asking me to drive out to pick him up. The trip was only about 40 miles or so and the beach is always a great place to go so no problem. I remember pulling up at an Alpha-Beta [out of business grocery store chain] seeing Tommy on a skateboard chewing Dr Pepper gum. He LOVED Dr Pepper! It was all new to him since Dr Pepper hadn’t made it over to the U.K. yet. He couldn’t get enough of that stuff! One mistake I made was in not asking him, “So how long do you plan on staying”. He really didn’t have any plans on that, or a job, so it got a little troublesome after a couple weeks [maybe longer?] of him sleeping on the couch. I was able to persuade the guys at Toxic Shock Records; Bill Tuck [Pillsbury Hardcore] and owner Bill that Tommy would be a great person to hire. Nope, I was wrong! Turned out Tommy was caught stealing boxes of records from Toxic Shock. I still feel bad for it!

Years later I ran into Tommy at Spanky’s Café in Riverside, Ca.. He was drumming for the short lived band “That’s It” which featured Shawn Stern of Youth Brigade on vocals. I’ll never forget, he was wearing a Madonna t-shirt (yes, as a joke) when I saw him. It was nice to see him. I’ve since lost touch with him but I do know The Stupids are back together and still putting out great Hardcore music, in the vein of early 80’s. Oh, I forget to mention it was a huge thrill to have bought their debut lp “Peruvian Vacation” in 1986 and while reading the thank you’s I saw a, “Thank You to Bill Plaster for all the great packages”. Great band and good memories! Here are a few Stupids items we have right now. If you like: Minor Threat, Necros, etc… check ‘em out:


*pictured is Tommy on my couch and I had an unused of picture of myself (black spiked hair) and my buddy Queve with Brian in the background [red white] taken “around” the same time at Brian’s house (before we lived together that is).

*Want more info on this story? e-mail me directly at drstrange@drstrange.com or if you want music, shirts, buttons etc… from this band or others, visit the world’s largest PUNK ROCK site at


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“Strange Tales From The Doc” #25 This weeks “Strange Tales” is about the time my wife Crystal and I appeared on the cover (well kinda) of the 1993 Creamers cd “Hurry Up and Wait”



“Strange Tales From The Doc” #25 This weeks “Strange Tales” is about the time my wife Crystal and I appeared on the cover (well kinda) of the 1993 Creamers cd “Hurry Up and Wait”. The Creamers were a late 1980’s L.A. based punk band. They are actually the first full length release, entitled “Love, Honor, Obey” by the legendary Sympathy Records. That lp is still a killer release and one that flew under the radar by most. If you see it, GET IT! Female fronted Punk Rock plain and simple. [plus they put on an awesome live gig too].

For some time The Creamers were a band that we would see often and actually became friendly with. My old buddy Louis Beso became very close to the drummer Bob [no, not like “that” just good friends. They were both painters] so we always knew when and where they were playing. The Creamers had an idea for their upcoming full length “Hurry Up and Wait” and needed some “bodies” for a photo shoot. Crystal and I plus Louis and his wife Tina, their son Devon, Tim from The Mr T Experience and a spattering of others showed up to the “lovely” city of Willmington, Ca and stood wait at a barely used bus stop, while watching our backs, for this photo shoot.
Now you may remember [if you have ANY memory retention] I said we were on the cover of the cd “kinda”? Remember that? I’ll take a minute for you to re-read the FIRST sentence..Done? Good! Either we (me not Crystal) weren’t deemed good looking enough or maybe we were (Crystal not me) TO good looking, but we were “folded” and ended up on the other side of the fold (inside the cover). I’m the one with the fishing hat and Crystal is that Big Dope with the funny smile on her face. Why does she still look the same 20 years later?
We lost touch with The Creamers. The bassist Andi later went into to form the band Snap-Her but as far as the others go, I’m not sure. We’ll always have the good memories of a great band though! Until next time guys!
Oh, follow us on Instrgam! Trust me, you’ll live longer:
Is there an Insta-Ham? You knows I loves my Bacon! 

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“Strange Tales From the Doc” #24 Here’s another “Growing up Strange” story for you friends….


“Strange Tales From the Doc” #24
Here’s another “Growing up Strange” story for you friends.

 

This one is all about the “Great Shaving Era”. As I’ve said before one of our rules (the only rule) was, “If you pass out you WILL get your eyebrows shaved and you are not allowed to get mad about it”. For the most part that held true. Until things started to get out of hand. Eyebrows were one thing but then that escalated into shaving pubes, giving fucked up haircuts, dying hair, marking on people etc… One of the best (worst?) was my buddy (he’s like a brother to me) Gary. I’ve known Gary since 3rd grade. Out of our entire group of friends Gary was probably the smartest of us all. His one downfall? He liked to drink and that always got him in trouble. Gary, Beaman and myself all lived together in a studio apartment in Upland in the early 80’s. And of course it became the “hang-out” of all our friends. People drinking, passing out etc was the norm. One night in particular I had been out all night at a gig. Thus giving me the perfect alibi of, “I wasn’t even there, how could I have done that?” But of course I always did…

I got home late to find Beaman asleep on the couch and Gary passed out in bed. I woke up Beaman and convinced him to shave Gary’s eyebrows. And then his arm hair. And then cut his hair. And then glue on his cut hair to his missing eyebrows. And then, here it comes, his pubes! Of course I was taking pictures the whole time while Beaman asked , “You’re not getting me in the pictures are you?”. I said, “No, no, don’t worry I’m not”. (yeah, I was…..). The night ending up with pictures of Gary getting shaved from head to toe and “revealing” pictures of Beaman “Tea-Bagging” him [and more disturbing images I still can’t get out of my head].

The next day I ran over to the 1 hour Photomart (you should have seen the owners face when I picked them up!) and mailed these pictures to Gary with a ransom note I cut out from the pages of a magazine. Something like “If you don’t leave $100.00 by the tree in front of your apartment we will send these to your Mom”. AWESOME! He wasn’t happy about it and I felt bad about it. I mean I felt bad I wasn’t there to stop Beaman from doing this to him. What a dick! Pictured here are some shots of our studio apartment, shaving Gary and more nonsense….

 
*want more info on this story? Email me directly at drstrange@drstrange.com — at Dr. Strange Records.


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“Strange Tales From The Doc” #23: Decry at Fenders, Long Beach, Ca. 1985?


“Strange Tales From The Doc” #23:  
Decry at Fenders, Long Beach, Ca. 1985?

Gotta make this one quick friends, I’m home feeling SICK! But I’ll be back for an all new store next Monday. But In the meantime….

Decry is a band that seemed to always “open” for the headliner although they could have easily been THE headliner. Ferrell [singer] always played barefoot, an homage to the great Rik L Rik (F-Word). They were always “on”. I’ve seen them at least 6 times back then and they always seemed to get the crowd riled up and into them. Never a bad show. We saw them a couple years back and they (Ferrel) hasn’t missed a step. Still fantastic! Check out the lyrics to their debut lp “Falling”. It’s about Ferrell’s addiction to Heroin. Drugs = TROUBLE people. Don’t even try. Okay, back to bed for me!

www.drstrange.com
www.drstrangerecords.org
#punk

*want more info on this story? Email me directly at drstrange@drstrange.com 


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“Strange Tales From the Doc” #22 “Growing Up Strange” in the early 80’s…. Here are some personal pics of me and my buddies when we were young….


“Strange Tales From the Doc” #20 “Growing Up Strange” in the early 80’s…. Here are some personal pics of me and my buddies when we were young. Hey, aren’t you glad I took a lot of pictures? I suggest YOU do the same. Most of my friends and myself had a few things in common at the time; Our parents were divorced, we loved [punk rock] music, drinking and going to gigs. Typical stuff for the early teenager then and now. We also loved shaving each other eyebrows [and more as time went on….] when we got to drunk. I was one of the best at it. Why? Because I never passed out and I was able to convince my other friends to do the “dirty work” for me. Thus leaving me “not guilty” when the victim yelled, “Who the fuck did this to me?!” While pointing at a bald spot, missing eyebrow(s) or colored hair when they woke up.
My personal favorite shaving? There are so many but one, the first one, was a great one because it started a the trend. During the summer of ’83 the “gang” always went to my Dad’s house for beer and lasagna. Our group was about 8 to 10 people or so on average and we ranged in age from 15 to 18 so free food and beer was a no brainer. (Hey, we would show up to a Pat Boone concert for that!) Plus it was always a lot of fun. That night a friend, Jay, got hammered like he always did. Little did he know what fate had in store for him.
We left my dad’s condo in Diamond Bar and drove to one of our usual hang-outs [Gary & Rob’s] in Upland. As soon as we got there Jay stumbled through the door and immediately passed out on the couch like always. My friend Ting and I were screwing with him a little while he slept. Nothing big, just sticking our fingers in his ears etc….Then I got the GREAT idea, “Wouldn’t it be funning to shave his eyebrow?” Ting was instantly into it 100%! And of course I was the one who got HIM to do it. When we finished we realized we couldn’t stop at just one eyebrow so Ting used his new razor skills to shave a “patch” of hair above his nose right along the hairline. Just a weird “square” of missing hair about an inch by inch big.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, that’s great, that’s funny” and you’d be right but the REALLY great thing about it is that on that following Monday [just two days later] Jay had to take high school graduation pictures! His mom flipped out! There was no postponing it, Jay had this one and only chance to take his photos. His mom penciled in the missing eyebrow and combed his hair “down” in some crazy fucked up looking way for his high school pictures! AWESOME! After that night we were hooked and the gang and I always carried a Bic disposable razor with us (which I still have in my old leather jacket 30+ years later by the way). Oh, and although these pictures with Jay show him with his twin-Fin Mohwak, he did NOT have that on this night trust me! Jay was actually a “good” kid at the time. I feel a little bad for setting him on the patch for personal destruction! I mean, Ting did that……


Pictured here:
-The gang on the stairs at my Dad’s
-Queve, Steve, Jay, and myself at my dad’s
-Jay, Ting, Steve and myself at my dad’s

www.drstrange.com

*want more info on this story? Email me directly at drstrange@drstrange.com — at Dr. Strange Records.


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“Strange Tales From The Doc” #21… September 1988 Stiff Little Fingers at The Variety Arts Center Los Angeles, Ca.


Strange Tales From The Doc” #19… September 1988 Stiff Little Fingers at The Variety Arts Center Los Angeles, Ca
This was the gig that me and ALL my buddies couldn’t wait for! We all loved SLF and it was the first time since 1981 [I think?] that they came back to the U.S. All original members with the exception of the drummer who at that time had quit the band to join the Red Rockers. Actually Stiff Little Fingers song “Wait and See” was about his departure from the band to join the Red Rockers.
Anyway, back to the gig. They played with some “metal/hard rock” type of a band called Lifeline (no, that’s not it…) I can’t remember. Although I, and the majority of the crowd, didn’t like them at least they were so excited to open up for SLF. They kept going on and on while playing what an honor it was to be there so I cut them some slack. (and no one hunted them down and shaved their heads either)
I’ve seen SLF many times and they are always a great band to see. Imagine a sold out crowd of hundreds of people all singing along to their songs. The air was electric. Even just the way they came onto stage was a pre-mediated plan of energy. Before coming on stage they played one of their songs (I forget which) and got the crowd all amped up. Then they hit the stage and killed it! The crowd went nuts with slammin’, stage diving and singing!
My only regret? Not catching a drum stick the drummer threw out on their last song. It flew inches over my head but I was a little to slow. Would have made a great souvenir if I caught it but at least I have my memories of an amazing gig. Stiff Little Fingers are currently working on an all new full length as I type this. It may ONLY be available from the band so be sure to see this link for more info:

www.facebook.com/StiffLittleFingers
www.pledgemusic.com/projects/stifflittlefingers?utm_campaign=project7965&utm_medium=email&utm_source=pledgemusic

Pictured here is a live shot of the gig and the Marque I took. Oh, and my leather jacket. Yeah, SLF are just about my fav’s)

www.drstrange.com
www.drstrangerecords.org

*Want more info on this story? e-mail me directly at drstrange@drstrange.com — with Stiff Little Fingers at Dr. Strange Records.


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“Strange Tales From The Doc” #20 The Circle Jerks/The Dickies/The Vandals; Irvine College 1985?


Strange Tales From The Doc” #18
The Circle Jerks/The Dickies/The Vandals; Irvine College 1985?

You can tell from the line-up this HAD to be a great gig. Yep, it was! I’ve never been a big Vandals fan and although I know they played that night I honestly don’t remember it. [sorry guys]. But I DO remember the Circle Jerks. Consistently one of the best bands to you could wish for in the early 80’s. PURE energy! Their drummer at the time was so good people would actually pay just to see HIM play. Amazing!!!

Same goes with the Dickies. Never a bad gig from them and I should know. The Dickies is the band that I have seen the most in my life! This is also the gig where I saw this guy wearing the coolest Leather Jacket I had ever seen (still to this day). I snuck a picture of him and later used it for some D Strange ads. On the back of his jacket he had a drawing of Sid Vicious wearing a leather and t-shirt. REALLY cool and done well. And here’s another story from one an underrated band;

MIA at Fenders ballroom Long Beach, Ca 1984-1985
This “could” have been the Youth Brigade/7 Seconds/MIA (the live recording released from Youth Brigade on BYO) but I’m not 100% sure. As always, you took your life in your own [or should I say others did] when you went to The Fenders.. . Nazi skinheads and Suicidal Tendencies gang members were always sure to be there preying on those that were by themselves.

MIA started in Reno, Nv but made the move to Huntington Beach area of Southern California in the early 80’s. I was lucky enough to have seen them play several times and they never ceased to amaze! Great music and great lyrics made them one of my favorites to see back then. When I stared the label a few years later I actually approached Mike (singer) to ask them about re-releasing their first lp, a split with Genocide, and their “Murder in a Foreign Place”lp. For some reason it never happened. Too bad.


Unfortunately Mike passed away in an odd way a few years back. He was on a business trip during winter in the Midwest and while getting out of car he slipped on the ice bumped his head and froze in the parking lot. A homeless person found him and reported it to the police.
#punk

www.drstrange.com
www.drstrangerecords.org

*Want more info on this story? e-mail me directly at drstrange@drstrange.com — at Dr. Strange Records.


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“Strange Tales From The Doc” #15 Here’s a “special” one for Monday’s story. This is an interview I did with John Stabb, singer of Government Issue shortly after he was beat up and robbed on the way home from work while walking the streets of Washington, DC. Hope you enjoy!

“Strange Tales From The Doc” #13 Here’s a “special” one for Monday’s story. This is an interview I did with John Stabb, singer of Government Issue shortly after he was beat up and robbed on the way home from work while walking the streets of Washington, DC. Hope you enjoy!

“On the Couch with John Stabb”

> There are quite a lot of bands that I consider to be great but only a few that are “special” to me. Government Issue is one of those bands. I remember being 17 years old, living on my own, going to school (well sometimes) and starting out my day playing G.I.’s “Boycott Stabb” 12”. It was bands like Government Issue that kept me going when I could have very easily been depressed, unmotivated or bummed out. So it’s a great pleasure to not only be able to re-release some of my favorite songs from them but also be able to call John Stabb and Tom Lyle “friend”. When I heard that John was mugged and beat up pretty badly a few months ago I thought I’d ask him to do an interview. It took a while but here it is. Enjoy!

Doc: Wow, so many things to talk to you about John. Let’s start off with the
“bad” stuff first. It’s been all over the internet about your “mugging” last
month. Please, in detail, let us know exactly what happened that night. And what did they actually end up taking from you?

Stabb: Man, it’s like something out of a scary film! Let’s see … I was just walking home from work about 10:30 pm minding my own beeswax and out of the blue came 6 clean cut young black teens. They were laughing & seemed innocent enough but I soon discovered something much different. It was because none of them had hoods or masks on that I felt at ease until one of them got in my face. With the other 5 standing on a hill about 20 feet from me & this other guy trying to get my attention by bobbing and weaving like a boxer asking “Hey, what’s up? What’s up?”, I knew there was going to be trouble. I looked around trying to keep an eye on all these dudes and wondering who was going to try to jump me or if all of them would take turns. Then I got sucker punched by some person or persons. (It ended up to be just one dude but it sure felt like more than one guy) The fists felt like bricks against my face. But that’s not the first time I’d experienced something like this:
Years ago walking home late from club in WDC on a sidewalk, I got sucker punched for no particular reason by a young black dude & I was able to pick up my glasses & walk away with my bloody face swelling up so I felt like
Shit, this is happening to me again & it’s going to get worse”. So, as my
face was swelling up the size of a f’n honeydew melon & blood was pouring down my face, I swayed back (luckily not hitting the ground). I thought that I’d just been clocked by a few people but discovered it to be one guy. That was a rough night but nothing could compare to the one I was having on the night of 7/17/07.

My right eye was starting to seal up from this kid’s fists & my glasses were somewhere on the ground & this f’n bastard wasn’t leaving me alone. I knew my life was seriously in danger and had an idea: I put on my best psycho-face, pulled out my exact-o-knife from my back pocket and spoke a line I’d always wanted to use in case of something like this. “Have you ever had to beat the shit out of a bunch of dudes in lock-up so you wouldn’t be raped?!!”, I smiled through my gushing bloody mouth. One of the guys on the hill watching said “Hey, he’s got a knife”. Unfortunately this didn’t sway my attacker & the fucker proceeded to pick up some huge blocks of cement (our Condo-community’s pool had recently been rebuilt & cement wasn’t cleaned up) to throw with both of his hands at me. “Put down the knife, bitch!” the mother fucker yelled out at me several times. Seeing all these other guys (and I was pretty blind without my glasses!) around, I thought the best move would be to put the lame weapon away & maybe they would leave knowing my face was rearranged. But the attack dog on 2 legs rushed towards me & I ran to the middle of the street hoping the upcoming car would see me in it’s headlights & stop. I got punched one more time before I hit the pavement. The car stopped & the gang of thugs ran off laughing. The kind citizen called the police for me & another nice person lent me his cell phone to call my wife Mika at her work to tell her I’d just been attacked by a bunch of kids. And lucky for me, someone found my glasses on the ground fairly unscathed. I wasn’t really thinking too clearly because I’d just had the shit beaten out of me. I was definitely shaken up to say the least. The police officer showed up within minutes & took my report. I wasn’t robbed just used as a f’n human punching bag. I gave the cop a description of the young animals and he says “Oh, that sounds like the same description of the ones that just assaulted another man and robbed him 5 minutes ago just up the street from here”. That’s totally f’ed up! These kids were on an adrenaline rush or something. And I’m starting to think it was a gang initiation & I was the unlucky victim. I’m actually lucky the guy didn’t shoot me because I can live with a broken face. If this happened in a bad part of L.A., you’d probably be reading some kind of obituary for me.
I was on my way to be carted off in an ambulance to a local emergency hospital but there was a sudden stop up the road. My EMT groaned, “I really hate when they do this”. And I was more than curious. The EMT tells me they’ve been stopped by my cop on the side of the road & the officer wants me to identify a few guys in cuffs outside to see if they’re guys I recognize from my attack. What the fuck is that about? Like I want these guys to see me identifying them?!! I poked my head halfway through the window and told the cop “I honestly cannot tell you if these guys were the ones because they were clean cut young black teens. These guys don’t look like them to me”. And then I was off to the emergency center.
>

Doc: How has this changed you? Something similar happened to one of my friends many years ago (robbed and beat) and for months after that he was prejudice against blacks. And he was NOTHING like that to begin with. I guess that reaction would be normal. Has this changed your opinion of people based on their race?

Stabb:I guess I’d be lying if I said I haven’t suffered from a bit of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome but it’s probably not that surprising after being attacked. I’m a hell of a lot more cautious around folks now & I carry a much bigger knife (which I use as a box cutter at my job) in case anyone confronts me. I’m not about to have some mother fucker rearrange my mug again! It hasn’t changed my opinions against anyone for the color of their skin because I will never end up a racist. To me, you can be white, black, yellow, red, polka dot, whatever. That’s no reason to judge anyone. I just hope that all young folks stop thinking this shit is fun and the ones doing the damage are caught and locked up.
>

Doc: I guess one of the good things about this incident is the huge outpouring of support and concern from the punk community. I myself (as a record store) have had people mail me money from England and come into the store to donate to you for your hospital bills. That has to make you feel good.
>

Stabb: It has made my wife Mika and myself feel incredibly great deep inside every time we get another donation or caring word from someone. We had no idea how many people out there cared about the geezer from G.I.-ha! It’s the outpouring of love from some mighty caring individuals that we shall never forget. It really blows my mind how much everyone within the punk community or not has lent a helping hand to this injured man. We are truly grateful for your love.
>

Doc: And speaking of Hospital bills how is that going? Did you have any
insurance at all to help you out?
>

Stabb: The bills are almost finally paid after a handful of benefits, pay pal
donations and e bay auctions. I do have Blue Cross/Blue Shield from my workplace but it’s only covering half the debt. And we just couldn’t do it without the help of everyone out there. My face looks normal thanks to the talents of my oral surgeon and I’m happy to have the damned braces off my teeth! The running joke around my work was “Finally, we have a way to shut Stabb up”. Ha! But I came back from the surgery with braces and was talking up a storm … you can’t keep a good Stabb quiet-ha!
>

Doc: Have any of these people been caught?
>

Stabb: No, and even the police think the likelihood that this group of thugs will
ever be caught isn’t very likely. It would be great to have them locked up so they cannot do this shit again but it’s not going to keep me up at night thinking about it. I won’t be making their capture my life-long goal or anything. Life goes on, you know?
>

Doc: Okay, onto some other stuff! I do have one of the founding fathers of the early D.C. scene at my disposal after all. On that “note” do you think of yourself like that? A “founding father” of the D.C. Scene? I know there were many before you of course but in the history of Punk/Hardcore and the D.C. scene, what will the Books say about John Stabb? What should they say?
>

Stabb: I don’t feel like I helped impregnate the DC music scene so “founding
father” is a weird term. I’m happy to be one of the folks who helped get the WDC punk scene’s name out there to the world. But I’m certainly not going to go around informing people “Hey, don’t you know who I am?! I created the DC punk scene, man!”
And as far as what the books say about me or Government Issue, it’s up to them. But. that said, I actually feel a bit left out of the punk loop when I read a book on the Underground Music Scene and don’t even get a passing mention because they will always talk about another DC band … Minor Threat. Now I happen to love what Minor Threat did but G.I. did our time in the WDC punk scene and sometimes are overlooked. I still think so many of the 80’s punk bands are great so it’s a little disappointing to be dismissed like you never counted among them.
>
I don’t really care what they say as long as there’s some truth to their
research so a book like “American Hardcore” means nothing to me. And unlike Ian or Henry, I am very happy not to have the “figurehead” tag placed upon my name. I consider them both as friends but man do they get so much shit from folks. Some people have such high expectations about celebrities, musicians, actors, sports stars that nobody can live up to. I like having a “cult following” and not world stardom. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: “I’m just another bozo in a band”. And that’s good enough for me.
>

Doc: What got you, not only into Punk, but just music in general? Who was the first band (punk or otherwise) you saw?

>
Stabb: What originally got me into music was “The Monkees” because I was so into the old 60’s TV show when I was a wee lad. And of course, I had to own their “I’m not (Your Stepping Stone” single! My older sister was all about The Beatles, Beach Boys, Herman’s Hermits, and others and I went through her record collection at times. But “The Monkees” were my first real introduction to music. From there it delved into the silly teen pop of “The Partridge Family” (everyone knows I was a TV baby, right?) to the pretentious Dino-rock of “Led Zeppelin”. But I’d have to say that the Monkee’s “Stepping Stone” was my first into to Punk because (despite all the early WDC punk bands covering it years later) it’s a pretty big “Screw you for trying to string me around, girl!” song. And what got me into punk was the typical stuff that most 19 year old suburban males had to rebel against: snobby girls in designer jeans, mechanical bulls, preppies, and high school to name but a few. But remember this was the 80’s for me.

The first rock concert I went to was: Linda Ronstadt on her “Mad Love” album tour at the Capitol Center during the summer of ’79. I was just starting to get into underground music with bands like Blondie, The Stranglers, Talking Heads, and The Cars. I was so naive that I thought Linda Ronstadt had gone kind of punk because she was doing Elvis Costello covers. But the first punk gig I saw had to be Black Market Baby at the Psychedely. It was also the night a young angry 19 year old almost lost his virginity. And that’s all I’m going to say about that-ha!
>
Doc: Tell us about some of the early days of G.I.. How old were you at that
time? And what was it like hanging out at the Dischord House, recording with Don at Inner Ear and playing the 9:30 Club? Was there ever any sense that, nearly 30 years later anyone would give a damn?

Stabb: The early days of G.I. were some of the most treasured ones in my memory bank. It was a time of a handful of bands and friends all feeding off one another’s energies. We were all sharing something special that we called “HarD.C.ore”. After a few years, there were far more bands and people came & went. Different factions took place and the innocence of what we were all a part of was gone. It wasn’t the same close-knit connection and a lot of the fun of just hanging out disappeared.
I was 19 years old and just out of high school. A lot of us were close to the same age. I’m actually as old as Ian (MacKaye) and Henry Rollins. Those guys got immersed into the punk scene a bit earlier than me but I caught up pretty quickly-ha!

I was fortunate enough to not only hang out at Dischord House but also got to live with that group of punks for a brief time. When the house was initially forming, I wanted to live there but didn’t have the funds to pay for my room. Sab Grey of Iron Cross got my room in the Va group house and I will always wonder what it would’ve been like if I would’ve been one of the original tenants of the house. Instead, after my first punk group house nearby ended very badly (try having to go to court with your house mates after they commit assault & battery on you!), the good folks at Dischord House took me in. There was all of us (Ian, Eddie Janney, Jeff Nelson, Sab, Richard Moore and myself) staying up till the wee hours of the morning watching old reruns of “Perry Mason” & “Private Secretary” on the tube while sucking down 7-11 Big Gulps of Coke & Beef Bean and cheese burritos. It was the best of times, it was the beast of times-ha!

Recording with Don at Inner Ear has always been a joy. He’s the coolest engineer a musician could work with. Because “Legless Bull” was our very first Dischord session, things were tense for us kids. I can remember Me, Brian Gay, John Barry and Marc Alberstadt getting into silly arguments because we were in the studio with the mighty Ian was producing & Don recording us. This was also when Inner Ear Studios wasn’t the monster studio it is now. It was more like Don’s basement featuring a sound booth, microphones and kids toys strewn about the room. I actually did my vox in the washer/dryer room. The recording for “Boycott Stabb” was far more relaxed and quite a bit more fun. Ian’s producing was amazing and Don’s engineering brilliant!

Playing the old small 9:30 Club back then was one of the coolest things in the world! Stage dive heaven! Slam dancing galore! Some of my all-time greatest memories are buried in the ground where that building use to stand. It was my hangout, therapy session, and lifes blood all rolled into one. And at the time we were all so involved in the thing that I doubt any of us even remotely gave any thought of how we’d be remembered in the punk analogs. I think it’s cool that something I was fortunate enough to be a part of is thought of in such a lauded way. It’s nice to get some respect after all these years. I’m extremely proud of all I’ve accomplished with music but it ain’t over for this old punk yet-ha!

Doc: And what about the “movement” you, and others like Minor Threat helped to start: Straight Edge. I myself, in a big part due to you and Minor Threat, was Straight Edge for 7 years from about 20 to 27 or so. Do you feel any responsibility, even today, to stay on the straight and narrow or is that past history?

Stabb: I never felt like being straight in the punk scene was any way part of being in a movement. I get asked (and even harrassed by some idiot punk kids at times) about “Straightedge” quite a bit but it’s a fine Minor Threat song & that’s it. I never labeled myself this but was on an incredible natural adrenaline high at shows to ever want to ruin it with drugs. I left my “Dazed & Confused” years back at high school along with that awful Led Zeppelin film. I think folks have really blown the meaning of Ian’s song way out of proportion. This said, I do find it a monumental tragedy when you hear about young talented people such as Heath Ledger and Brad Renfro recently dying from drugs. I like a good fruity mixed drink now and again but I would never mix drinking and my punk rock back in my G.I. years. I knew people who would get stoned or trip on acid to G.I. and this blows my mind! Our shows were so intense and emotional that I could only imagine them to be terrifying on drugs. Unless you’re having to take some kind of meds (I take Paxil) for depression, anger or just helping you focus better on everyday things, drugs suck! I’m certainly not all fascist or militant about people who do them but I prefer not to be around those folks.
>
>
>Doc: I was lucky enough to see you guys in the early to mid 80’s at a small
> place called Oscar’s Cornhusker, Azusa, California with Uniform Choice. How was that tour? Did it meet expectations? Any cool or funny stories?

Stabb: That mini-tour that Mystic Records flew us out to California to do was a blast! Not only did we have a great photographer and lovely friend in SST Record’s own Naomi Petersen shooting us at gigs but hung out with all kinds of cool folks. Mystic Records head honcho Doug Moody couldn’t have been a nicer fella to us and his assistant Philco was generous to a fault. I’ve heard all of the horrible “dealing with Doug & Mystic” stories but they were very very good towards G.I. Mystic set us up with a handful of gigs, a driver with Winnebago, studio time, and great food!
I don’t have any major issues with the label in the long run. Doug regaled us with stories of his youth in the major label industry and all the bands he had first time original recordings of like: Suicidal Tendencies, Lone Justice, Guns “N” Roses, etc. He was a real sweet guy to listen to. We had a really enjoyable time hanging out in sleazy Hollywood and even went to a TV show taping (Tom & Lenny went to “The Price is Right” & Marc and I checked out “The Merv Griffin Show”). There was even some romance for me before we left … oh yeah!!! The only downside of that tour was having Lenny go through a bit of a nervous breakdown but it didn’t ruin our total experience.

Doc: Government Issue is still hugely popular today. Maybe even more so than when you were playing around? In my store and mail order people young and old are into G.I. No matter what age. Why do you think that is? Just good music or is it (Government Issue) just something you have to have in order to be “punk”? You know, you’re not cool unless you have: Circle Jerks, Ramones, Adolescents etc. Or is that even the case in your opinion? Has G.I. gotten it “Just Dues” in the Punk Scene?

Stabb: I couldn’t pinpoint a reason why folks dig G.I. maybe more now than when we were playing out. I’m always pretty blown away that G.I.’s fan base runs from as close as close to me as WDC to the outer reaches of Japan. It’s nice to be appreciated for something you put so much of your life’s blood into but that was never the reason I’ve been part of any group. I’ve always just done it for myself and if others enjoyed it than that’s cool. I don’t think people place G.I. in the leagues of say Circle Jerks, Ramones, Adolescents, etc. Bands such as these have a zillion times more popularity than a little group like Government Issue could ever come close to. Those would some pretty big combat boots to fill-ha!
I think after all these years that G.I. has definitely gotten their “just dues” by having a label such as Dr. Strange want to put out our material. The G.I. collections that y’all have released made people think about us again and that’s awesome. G.I. struggled their asses off back in the eighties so it’s nice to finally make a bit of a profit 19 years later. And when I come across a person placing G.I. on their favorites list, contacting me on an online site like Daghouse.com or Myspace or even approaching me in person to tell me how much the group means to them … it makes me feel good. I’m always about making an impact on people so I think I’ve accomplished that.
>

Doc: What’s your opinion on the value of some of these records today? Your “Legless Bull” 7″ goes for a small fortune. How does that make you feel? Flattered or angered that people actually pay that much for Punk record?

Stabb: It boggles the mind how much people will shell out for a piece of vinyl!!
I have seen “Legless Bull” go for as much as $300 on ebay and Minor Threat’s first “7” test pressing sell for a whopping $1200!!! That’s insane, man. It doesn’t anger me that someone is willing to pay that much for something I was part of so long ago. I still think it’s ridiculous that they’re doing that. I have never spent more than say $40 on some recording I felt was worth it to me to own. The collector’s market is a crazy world and it’s not my world. When I think about spending anywhere near the amounts that some kids do for a record, I’m reminded of the days I once spent being incredibly unemployed and having to accept public assistance. When you’re struggling you should never be too proud to accept any charity the government is willing to dole out. Money is a fleeting thing so you should only spend it on things you truly need. That’s not to say that treating yourself and your mate to a nice dinner, movie or gig now and then. That is, if it’s in your budget. My wife and 2 cats are the most important thing to me in my life, not a record.
>

>Doc: For right or wrong, singers always get all the attention in bands (and
> chicks?) but let us know a little about the other guys in G.I.. Tom Lyle is
> a lot like you in my opinion: A gracious, giving, level headed all around
> good guy. What of the others? Do you still have any contact with them?

Stabb: That may be right that the wacky front person gets the attention most of the time but someone has to make the band look good-ha! The bottom line is that front people are usually the focal points in bands because we are the biggest hams up there. When you put on a frenzied fun-filled intense flamboyant performance, you’re bound to stand out. Tom and I went through many years in G.I. wanting to tear each other apart but there was a lot of petty immaturity happening back then. I’m happy to say that Tom and I are good friends again, the way we first were when he joined G.I. He’s a great guy and an amazing musician! But don’t think that young Stabb got all the chicks back in G.I. because Tom was usually the one the girls went for. I was usually the guy they watched on stage with this “tortured nutlog” vibe and they were afraid of me after the gig. Tom didn’t chase after any of them but they sure went for him-ha!
Tom and I are extremely happily married so those, um, days are a thing of our sordid past-ha!

We both used to hear from Marc Alberstadt (who grew up close to me) but he’s kind of dropped out of the musical loop lately. Marc’s a great guy to hang with and talk about movies and music. Otherwise, the man’s a reserved quiet dude. John “God” Barry teaches at Townshend University and lives in the Baltimore-area. I’m happy to say that John and his wife Ditty plus Tom and his wife Kim, were all at my wedding. If I knew how to get a hold of other x-G.I.’s at the time, they would’ve been invited. I’m still in touch with J. Robbins and Peter Moffett who were both at my Government Re-Issue gig. They’re great guys as are anyone who spent time in the group.
>

>Doc: – I have to ask you because I’m asked this many times. With more bands reuniting than not: The Freeze, Bad Brains, Sham 69, etc. why not you? I know you would get a ton of people to go your gigs. What has stopped you?

Stabb: Tom and I discussed doing a reunion gig as a benefit for J. Robbins and his wife Janet Morgan’s baby who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I called Tom and said “You and I have always been violently opposed to ever doing a G.I. reunion (we were even asked to play one of the “Save CBGB’s” benefits and turned it down) because we wish to just move on and not take ten steps backwards but the only reason I would do it is to help raise money to help medical bills for J.’s son”. “I agree with you but I’d do it in a heartbeat to help J.’s son”, Tom answered. I even contacted Pete to see if he’d do it and he told me to ask J. if he’d be part of it because he would only do it with J., Tom, and me. I avoided contacting J. because I felt he had enough to deal with but Pete asked him. Apparently J. wouldn’t have been opposed to doing it but we discovered that in order to make it happen, we’d need to be f’n great! This would call for us to do some serious practicing time. What with Tom living in the Jersey area raising a daughter, Pete traveling across the world as a drum-tech for Dashboard Confessional, and J. seeking alternative medicines for his child … this was not to be. There was no way on earth we could do this half-assed so better not at all. It would’ve been a hell of a gig if it did happen, I tell you what-ha!

>
>Doc:- Speaking of music, what’s up with your newest band: Factory Incident?

Stabb: The Factory Incident lasted a good 5 years but are done making their post-punk noise. x-F.I. guitarist/best friend/best man at my wedding Karl Hill and I are getting together with a few other folks to see what gels.
I will tell you this: I’m extremely anxious to make some noise in front of people again!! I miss being part of a band but life’s been pretty busy lately. Mikastabb’s dying to see her crazy husband back on stage as she’s probably my biggest fan-ha!
>

Doc: – Tell us about life today for Stabb. I know you recently got married. No
> kids correct? What is an average day for you John? And what are your goals for tomorrow?

Stabb: I work in really cool hardware store so you could say I went “from hardcore to hardware”. Mikastabb and I love spending time with our little fuzzy 4-legged family: Cat-Astrophe & Whisper. They are our kids and play a huge part in our lives. We check out DVDs on Netflix and go to check out a band or 2 now and then. We’re very comfortable hanging at home watching a movie while our cats sleep nearby (or on us). Unlike the old days of having to check out so many bands during the week,
I don’t feel that need. When I was younger in the scene, I had (!!!) to check out every cool punk gig. It was my destiny-ha!

My goals these days are pretty simple ones (at least I hope they are):
To keep myself from ever getting into huge debt, complete my memoirs “The Sheer Terror of John Stabb”, form a publishing company with Mikastabb so we can release my book and any others we come up with, do a speaking tour a la Henry Rollins, have another band that records and plays out, be able to afford a house to raise a child with Mikastabb.

Thanks for the therapy session, Doc. Who should I mail the check to-ha!

Thanks again to John Stabb and all the great memories and music!
Doc
*Want more info on this story? e-mail me directly at drstrange@drstrange.com or if you want music, shirts, buttons etc… from this band or others, visit the world’s largest PUNK ROCK site at www.drstrange.com

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“Strange Tales From The Doc” #12 Hi Friends! Dr Strange here with a “bonus” story for you. I know it’s long but it’s one of my personal favorites. If you have time, please read it. Although it’s one day short of Veteran’s Day it is still important.

Hi Friends! Dr Strange here with a “bonus” story for you. I know it’s long but it’s one of my personal favorites. If you have time, please read it. Although it’s one day short of Veteran’s Day it is still important. This was done 6 years ago and originally ran in MRR Fanzine. Hope you enjoy…

I have a few of these old “On the Couch” interviews. This one, below, is good timing for Veteran’s Day.

“On the Couch” w/ Dr. Strange

I’ve been doing mail order for 19 years now and one of the best things about it is getting to know and meet new people from all over the world. I’ve actually been lucky enough to make “real” friends. You know people you call, visit and care about. And all because of selling records. In those 19 years we’ve dealt with several punks that are in the military but it hasn’t been until our (the U.S.) recent war in the Middle East that I actually started wondering, “Who are these people?”. “Why are they in the military?”. One thing specifically that got me wondering that was when I did a mass mail-out of the catalog. A couple of them, to people in the military, were sent back. All it said was “Not Claimed”. I wondered to myself, “Are they dead?”. That inspired me to get in touch with a newer customer of ours; Chris Dunn, who is in Iraq right now. I hope you’ll take the time to read what he has to say~

Okay Chris, for everyone out there, those of us who you are fighting for, tell us your: name, age, rank and where you are right now. –chris dunn, 26, specailist, we patrol the Wetsern Baghdad neighborhood of Amariyah. U.S. army infantry 1-5 cavalry
 

What initially made you want to join the Military and how long has it been? Was it for Education money? Patriotism? Gain Skills? A family history?

–Well I was having a long stretch of bad luck, that was lasting like 3 years. It got to the point were I was pawning everything I owned just to pay the bills. Then I had to start selling all my movies and worst of all my records. I knew I had to do something before I was out on the streets, so just said “fuck it” and made the drastic move to join the army. I just reached my 2 year mark.

Do you have any regrets? And when you signed up did you assume you were going to have to fight in a war?

–It’s hard to say I regret joining the army, like I said it helped me get back on my feet, and I knew I would be going to Iraq when I joined, I figured if I was going to go, I would want to be out there on the front lines rather than sitting behind a desk on base doing some boring bullshit.

How long have you been on tour for? Is this your first?

— Yup this is my first tour, we have been here a little over 10 months now and still have another 5 or so to go.

I hear in the News about all the hardships, atrocities, killings etc… that go on in Iraq on a daily basis. How do you deal with that? Do you separate yourself from Chris the “civilian” from Chris “the soldier”?

— I don’t seem to have a problem with dealing with what I’ve seen over here. The first few months all we were dealing with was sectarian violence. We were picking up dead bodies almost everyday some as many as 3-4 a day. We would find them everywhere; in the streets, sidewalks, trash piles. Some were decapitated, arms cut off, tied to trees with their head in their lap. Then it turned to attacking the Iraqi National Police that would patrol with us, they would set off the I.E.D.’s trying to get them, but hitting us at the same time. Then it turned to just attacking us, we were getting hit almost everyday for weeks, had a few close calls in my Bradley (tank) and then they started making them bigger and deadlier able to destroy Bradley’s and tanks. In may alone we lost 13 soldiers and they destroyed 6 Bradley’s and a few tanks. Our sector was becoming one of the worst. Lately the I.E.D. attacks have stopped a lot and now its snipers taking shots at us. We stay so busy doing patrols and such, were you gotta stay focused on a lot of your surroundings so we just don’t think to much about it. We joke around a lot in our platoon, and that helps keep you sane and in a good mood.

Man, I don’t know how I would be able to deal with just “seeing” the things you’ve seen (bodies etc…). You must have some pretty terrible nightmares… And what about you and your platoon. Have you personally had to kill anyone? What does that feel like? How have you, or your buddies, dealt with that?

— I haven’t had any nightmares or anything like that, you have to be strong mentally more than anything. We’ve had a few guys get sent home that couldn’t handle it. I personally haven’t killed anyone, shot my weapon once while we were guarding one of our combat outposts. We were taking shots from surrounding rooftops, once we started shooting back they took off. It’s really hard to know in an urban battlefield just how many casualties are out there.

What is a “normal” day like for you? What is your job and tell us how hot it gets over there. I’ve heard as much as 125+ degrees? Is that true?

— I drive a Bradley fighting vehicle. I have done dismount missions, clearing houses, and gunner on a Humvee. No such thing as a normal day here. Since bush’s new plan to put the troops out in sector living in these combat outpost in the middle of some of the more dangerous neighborhoods. We live in some lousy conditions a lot, sleeping in bombed out buildings no running water and using burn shitters, sleeping on cots, the ground. We rarely stay on base were we have a/c and comfy beds. Instead we are always out patrolling the streets, usually looking for I.E.D.’s and searching houses. Then we rotate with other platoons and pull security on the outpost. We also do a lot of q.r.f. missions (quick response force) where for 24 hours we have to wait around, if something happens in sector, we have to be ready in like 10 minutes to roll out. But we always get stuck also pulling security for barrier missions, where they go out and put concrete barriers and block off entire neighborhoods to reduce the flow of weapons and bombs into the area. So its rare we get much down time. yes it gets so fucking hot here, we have a huge thermometer in our Bradley and it usually stays around 140-150 in the Bradley.

You’re kidding? You have to live in the city? I just assumed you would go out on patrol but at the end of the day get to come back to your base. So you guys are sleeping in bombed out houses etc? Also, how many people are in a platoon? 8-10?

–We started to move out in sector around February. We have started 3 C.O.P.’s (combat out posts) some were nicer than others, our second one was nice cause it was in an Iraqi National Police compound, so we really didn’t have to do much to make it livable. The one we are at now has taken a lot of work, its a great building, cause its huge and its basically a bomb shelter, but someone had loaded it full of tires and burnt them inside, and there were 2 really bad decomposed bodies out back, so its been a long ordeal to get it cleaned out, painted the inside, and put cots and bunk beds and a/c. it’s come a long way. But when we were getting that building ready we would sleep in this bombed out building next to it, cause at least we had the breeze. But when you stay out there all you hear all day it gunshots and explosions all around you. About a month ago we split our infantry platoon and joined with the tank platoon, so now we roll out 2 tanks and 2 Bradley’s. We have now about 24 guys.

I would imagine (because that’s all I can do) that making friends with fellow soldiers may be kind of “odd”. I mean you have to have a good person watching your back for you but is there a sense of not wanting to get to close to someone in fear of that person getting killed? Has this happened to one of your buddies? How do you deal with that and do you ever feel “guilty” because it was him and not you?

— It is very odd, cause you are put with all these guys with all different backgrounds. Most of them are people you would never hang out with outside the army, but we all get along real good for the most part, there are some you don’t care for, but others you never thought with nothing in common that you would get along great. You can’t help but get close to them. Since I’ve been in for 2 years living in the barracks back in the states we have lived and worked with each other every day all day. So far in our battalion we have lost I think up to 15 or 16 now. We are actually having another memorial service tomorrowfor a guy in our company. Several have been friends, while the rest are people I’ve seen at work but didn’t really know to well, but it hits you hard never the less. One guy was my roommate back at fort hood. Yeah its tough, but we hear that we lost another soldier but then we have to roll right back out on mission, so you have to push it to the back of your mind so you can stay focused. Everyday we roll out you know it could be your turn, that’s why we joke around a lot, to take your mind off it. These terrorist have gotten damn good at hiding these bombs, and in our sector they are so big they take out Bradley’s and tanks. We had to stop rolling out in our Hummves. The longer we stay, the better insurgents we have created.

Are you worried that when you get back home this all may “hit” you at once? You know, when your mind starts to let it’s defenses down? And above you referred to them as “terrorists”. I’m still confused, thanks to the News, White House, etc… as to who we really are fighting there. Iraqi Nationalists who want us out, Al Queada, Iranians, men, women, children or a mix of all. Chris, help me out. Who are these people and why do they (really) want us out? Or do they?

–I’m sure there are genuine cases of P.T.S.D. (post tramatic stress disorder) but I think its B.S. that so many people try and use that as an excuse, it’s just people that were weak minded before they came here, they knew they were coming to war and now that they are here they cant handle it. Well there is definately Al Qaida here, our sector of Amariyah was a strong hold of them. I would agree that Iran is a huge part of a lot of the attacks, you talk to the locals and they all say that most of the I.E.D.’s in Baghdad come from Iran. I hate to say that kids and women are used a lot. We have found that Al Qaida was using kids age 9-16 to set off the I.E.D.’s. They would stand out in the street and wave at you, than as you turn the corner the kids would go back in the courtyards and watch for the antennas on the vehicles to pass a certain point and detonate the bomb. it’s a tough question on why, so many different terrorist factions have sprung up, its hard to say why.

In my first question I said that you were “fighting for us” back home. Do you agree with that? I know what the “higher-ups” have told you why you are there but why do YOU think you are there? Do others agree or disagree with your opinion?

–I honestly think it was a good idea to come here at first, but all we did was turn this country upside down, it came clear that Saddam was what these people needed, they respond to fear more than kindness. The Iraqi people try to carry on a normal life, but with the corruption within the Iraqi forces, I don’t see it being something we can fix. They want us to do most of the work for them, but its their country and they know it better than we do, so without their full support its almost impossible for us to fix it all for them. They are so terrified to tell us about the insurgents in the area, cause if they are seen helping us it puts them and their families in danger to be murdered. It’s basically a cat and mouse game we are playing. A lot of us feel the same. I totally agree we should just leave, they have lived with war and violence for centuries, it’s all they are used to. A few times we’ve had guys that wanted to show us were the Al-Qaida meets every week, but he wouldn’t go unless he had us treat him like a captive, he wanted to be zipped tied and blindfolded.

I’m sure you, and others over there as well, know that your country back home pretty much hates the President Bush (22% approval) and wants us out of Iraq. How does that make you feel? Is there a feeling of “Why even try”. And do you, as an extension of the U.S. Government, feel any responsibility or guilt for the situation that Iraq is in now?

–To me it’s just a job, I don’t pay to much attention to the politics of the war. In my opinion we are here for some hidden agenda, usually money, who knows. It’s a tuff situation, I think if we stop trying to win the hearts and minds of the locals, like I said earlier they respond to fear. There are locals that try hard to help us at the risk of their families life, tuff question. It’s hard, one day we lose 3 of our friends in an I.E.D. attack and a few days later we are having to pass out food to the locals in the same area. For the most part the Iraqi people are nice and like us there but they know what’s going on when Al-Qaida is planting bombs in the streets next to there house.

I hope that you and the troops know that even though the country is against the war they do (really) support you guys. Is there a feeling of understanding that the country supports the Troops but not the Governments policy? Or do you feel clumped into the same catagory? (of being disliked)?

–I agree with that, I feel a support for the troops, when I flew home for r & r in April, at the D.F.W. airport, there were hundreds of people cheering and giving us a standing ovation. That was kind of weird.
Was going into Iraq a mistake? Did we take our eye of the ball by not going in stronger into Afganistan as many have said? Where do you think Iraq, as a country, will be in 2 years? 5 years? 10 Years? Is there still hope for them?

–Like stated earlier, it was a good idea, but we made this country worse, at first they liked us around, they said they felt safer, but it started to get real bad again and the locals say its worse than when Saddam was in power. It will take a long time to fix this place, but it should be up to them. one problem is the corruption, I know in Western Baghdad, the Iraqi police hate the national police, and the national police hate the Iraqi army. They are all working for the same result, but it all goes back to the hatred between the Sunni and Shia tribes.

On that note, what would YOU do to fix it? If you were the “man in charge” starting today what would you do?

–I think I would just leave, I’m sorry we kinda fucked this place up, but if they cant unite and fix their own problems, there is no need to keep putting our lives in danger.

Okay, now onto a better topic; Punk Rock! You order a lot from my mail order (thanks by the way). How did you hear of Dr. Strange and how long have you been into Punk Rock? Name a few of your favorite bands.

–Well I think it was back in 2000, I came across a catalog of yours somehow, I ordered a few patches and some records, I remember I was pleased with the selection, and I got the stuff pretty quick. But I always liked to support the local record stores around town, plus its always fun to go record hunting, but sometimes they just don’t always have some of the old rare stuff all the time. So when I got to Iraq and had my debts paid it was time to rebuild my collection that I had to pawn. So I remembered Dr. Strange and haven’t found anywhere else I would buy my records online from. I was in high school and was into the whole headbanger metal scene, and a friend made me a punk comp tape, and immediately I was hooked, so I would say its been 12 years now. Naming my favorites would take forever, i love music so much, its a big part of my life. i go into phases where i will listen to several bands all the time, right now its been Poison Idea, Adolescents, Angry Samoans, Zero Boys, and the Feederz always playing.

I know you order on-line from Iraq and have your stuff sent home to Texas. I bet you can’t wait to get home. I’ve been to San Antonio, Texas. Where do you live and what do you miss most (besides family). What is your life like back home?

— Fuck man its going to be awesome to get back to all those records, I cant fuckin’ wait. I was born and raised in Austin, I miss going to the bars and clubs, I plan to go out a lot, I have a lot of catching up to do. Well now that I’m back on my feet financially, i can go back and do a lot of what I wasn’t able to do being so poor before. Just having fun. Being in Iraq has been good, its helped me realize a lot about what’s important in life and that’s having good friends, and having fun with what time you have in this life. Seeing the condition these people live in everyday, we as Americans take so much for granted it makes me sick, when you really get to see how a lot of these other countries live and survive you will think twice about what you complain and bitch about.

I couldn’t agree more! That’s my favorite part about going on vacation (to other countries). It really makes you appreciate how great the U.S. is. Not perfect but the best thing going in my opinion. Getting back to Iraq, have you met any other Punks over there?

–Unfortunately not. Rap and hip hop seem to be what everyone is into.

Are there any cool bands that go through or near your town? Who have you seen?

–I’ve been away for a few years, but it seems a lot of bands skip Austin, which sucks. Being born in ’81 I missed out on the great early hardcore scene. But I have managed to still see bands like the Circle Jerks, MDC, Cramps, Exploited, T.S.O.L. reunion show to name a few. Seen the Austin bands such as Lower Class Brats, Krum Bums. There are others but a lot of nights are real fuzzie and don’t remember a lot.

Hey Chris, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to do this and more importantly, thank you (sincerely) for doing all you do over there. You’re in a hellish situation over there and right or wrong my hope is that it’s over soon and more importantly, we will learn from it and not repeat our mistakes in the future. I hope that the word “War” will eventually only be found in our history books instead of our present world. Keep your head low Chris!

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“Strange Tales From the Doc” #11 Big Drill Car/All/Chemical people; Cruz Records night at The Roxy

“Strange Tales From the Doc” #11 Big Drill Car/All/Chemical people; Cruz Records night at The Roxy I forget the date on this one but it must have been early 1990’s. This was the “Cruz Records Night” featuring: Big Drill Car, All and Chemical People. It was an awesome gig! All these bands were totally top notch. The bass players for Big Drill Car, Chemical People and All were some of THE best at the time.

I remember standing in line outside of the Roxy, located on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, Ca, some guy with bleached hair on a motorcycle stopped at the corner at a red light. I thought to myself, “That guy looks like Billy Idol”. Why? Because it was Billy Idol! My wife Crystal and I recently (well a couple years ago now) saw the All/Big Drill Car reunion gig and neither one has lost a step. Big Drill Car stole the show in my opinion but both were amazing. Big Drill Car [ as well as Pegboy] were the two bands I REALLY wanted to sign for my label but never could. Oh well, I’m still one of their biggest fans! 

*Want more info on this story? e-mail me directly at drstrange@drstrange.com or if you want music, shirts, buttons etc… from this band or others, visit the world’s largest PUNK ROCK site at 
www.drstrange.com