Archive for the ‘Matters of Debate’ category

The History of Punk Show 91: You’re not Hardcore unless you live Hardcore!


The History of Punk Show 91 traced the history of hardcore punk, looking at its origins, characteristics, and ongoing legacy.

The show aired on CJSR 88.5FM in Edmonton on 15 August 2016.

Here’s the playlist!

  1. Slapshot (Boston) – “Ole Tyme Hardcore”
  2. Minor Threat (DC) – “Guilty of Being White”
  3. Jodie Foster’s Army (Phoenix) – “Jodie Foster’s Army”
  4. Cro-Mags (NYC) – “Hard Times”
  5. Circle Jerks (Hermosa Beach) – “Question Authority”
  6. Hüsker Dü  (Saint Paul) – “The Girl who Lives on Heaven Hill”
  7. Sham 69 (Hersham) – “Who Gives a Damn”
  8. The Germs (LA) – “American Leather”
  9. The Middle Class (Santa Ana) – “Out of Vogue”
  10. The Fartz (Seattle) – “You Got a Brain (Use it)”
  11. Bad Brains (DC) – “Sailin’ On”
  12. DOA (Vancouver) – “Slumlord”
  13. Black Flag (Hermosa Beach) – “Damaged”
  14. TSOL (Long Beach) – “Abolish Government/Silent Majority”
  15. MDC (Austin) – “I Remember”
  16. Vibes (Edmonton) – “Unafraid to Believe”
  17. I Hate Sex (Edmonton) – “Sleep Paralysis”

The Middle Class Out Of Vogue.jpg

And here’s the show!

The History of Punk Playlist #39


Here’s the History of Punk Playlist on CJSR from 3 August! It was the shortest playlist in our history, because much of the hour was a round table (or round studio) discussion between Blake from The Anatomy Cats, Craig from Wunderbar, and Stacy and Stephanie from Not Enough Fest!

They were there to talk about issues surrounding The Casualties, especially in relation to the impact the band’s visit to Edmonton was having in the music community.

First, the extensive playlist!

1. Borscht (Edmonton) – “BFF” 
2. Banshee (Edmonton) – “A Won’t and a Why Not”

As for the discussion, what little room we had left after so much music, was efficiently utilized to discuss all kinds of important things. Our SuperPanel™ examined The Casualties, the cross-Canada boycott against them, and the impact and ensuing divisions locally. We used this example to discuss wider issues like sexual assault, creating safe spaces, and participating in music scenes. All in all, it was likely the best hour in radio history. Unfortunately, the computer crashed during the show, and the recording was lost. Sorry if you missed it! Luckily, there’s way to stay engaged with this issue.

For instance, you can:

1. Start here: “Guest Post: I Won’t Apologize for Being Assaulted”
2. Check out this Facebook page: “Boycott the Casualties”
3. Use the Google. “No Link Necessary”

In the end, most of the Canadian dates were cancelled (but not at the Vat in Red Deer, unfortunately).

It’s important to stay on top of this, however. For instance, you could, say, be walking into a punk venue in Berlin, like I was last week. Maybe it’s called SO36. And maybe once you walk in, you see this, and think “awesome!”

safe space

Then maybe you need to use the bathroom, and notice a sign walking through the door that says “trans-friendly.” Again, you think “awesome!”

But, then you see this on the wall:


The Casualties are currently on a European tour. If they’re coming to a city near you, and/or you want to speak out, check dates here.

How “Americans” Live Today


Apparently, this is a documentary from North Korea. It highlights American pastimes like snow drinking and bird eating, common occurrences in a country raked by poverty. First, it’s kind of funny, then frightening, thinking that folks in North Korea believe such propaganda.

It reminds me of the story a political science professor told me – one day North Korea gathered its top intellectuals and sent them on a airplane trip to China. They had never been out of their country before. When they arrived in China and got off the plane, they were all shocked to see the sun was high in the sky. This flabbergasted reaction was caused by none of them expecting to see daylight. Although they were the regime’s tip-top smart go-to people, even they were taught the sun only shined in North Korea.

I don’t know if it’s true that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea really has that powerful of a propaganda machine. But, it might, and this documentary could be another example. At any rate, however, the hyperbole of what daily life is like for the average citizen of the west isn’t too far off the mark from what some people go through in the United States, or Canada, or Western Europe.

Sure, most folks have it better than people unlucky enough to be born under the rule of the Kim family. But, the footage still shows the tragic flaws within our system. People sleeping under advertisements for expensive consumer items? It happens. People lining up for food handouts? That happens too. Everywhere. All the time.

And until we all band together to create the social change necessary to give the most vulnerable people in western society real equality, we shouldn’t laugh so hard at North Korea. There’s people all over the world suffering from the consequences of systemic oppression, whatever the regime or propaganda machine. Even if we know the sun shines all over, we should all help make sure the light gets in.


Thoughts on Remembering


Every year around 11 November, everyone knows the importance of remembering, but what does that even mean?

For me, in high school, it was memorizing names and dates just before an exam and then quickly forgetting them until the next test. When I went to university, I learned that asking questions like “how?” and “why” were much more important than rattling off “where” and “when.”

So I think, in order to truly remember, every 11 November, people should ask a question to place the sacrifice of so many in a wider context. It doesn’t have to be a big one – you could google “why did generals order the construction of trenches?” or “how did so many recruits sign up for war?”

Of course, thanks to the internet, you can just as easily tackle larger questions such as “how did the drive of nation-building impact the involvement of British colonies and dominions during WWI?” or “how did the leaders of countries participating in WWI remain in power and sustain the war effort with so many disasters and staggering losses?”

Then, if you’re really putting in an effort to remember, you could question the narratives pushed in our traditional education system, media, and government rhetoric.

You could look at questions like “why did the Allies target civilian areas of German cities rather than industrial centers during bombing campaigns in WWII?” or “how and why was the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII carried out in Canada?” It’s one thing knowing these things happened, but looking deeper into the issues and engaging with their consequences should be part of remembering too.

My grandfather, on the right: JONES. Evan, V-35210, A/L/Stk, RCNVR, MID~[5.1.46] “This rating has at all times displayed outstanding initiative, resourcefulness and efficiency in carrying out his duties. By his continual cheerfulness and exemplary character he has been an example to all with who he has served.”

My grandfather, on the right: JONES. Evan, V-35210, A/L/Stk, RCNVR, MID~[5.1.46] “This rating has at all times displayed outstanding initiative, resourcefulness and efficiency in carrying out his duties. By his continual cheerfulness and exemplary character he has been an example to all with who he has served.”

In order to understand the past you need to confront the grey area, instead of just assuming everything was in black and white, good and bad. This helps you gain a better sense of what people went through, and why they did what they did.

In my case, it puts the heroism, sacrifices, and humanity of all my family members who went overseas to fight in a larger story and helps me connect to it in a deeper way. The same goes for those at home who had loved ones come home fine, injured, with PTSD…or not at all.

This also helps makes issues of the present more clear, when asking questions like “why are soldiers and war mythologized in Canada but not in Japan? How could this be used for political ends in each country?” or “How can Canada’s role in past wars be compared to contemporary conflicts?”

This hopefully allows for a better understanding of what happened in Canada’s history, and frames events occurring now in a more nuanced way.

Here’s an example of engaging with a grey area, from an article in the Guardian from November 1999.

“We shall not remember them. We shall not remember Herbert Morrison, who was the youngest soldier in the West India Regiment when he was led in front of the firing squad and gunned down for desertion. A ‘coward’ at just 17.”

“Lest we forget: the 306 ‘cowards’ we executed in the first world war”

The “cowards” were finally pardoned in 2006. Another example deals with the racism and poverty First Nations soldiers faced at home when they returned to Canada after fighting valiantly for the country. Francis Pegahmagabow was a sniper credited with almost 400 kills, 300 captures, and dispatched messaged and resupplied positions under enemy fire.

“When he was in uniform he was considered an equal…by what he could do. When he came back, he just went back to being an Indian. Indians at that time were not even Canadian citizens. They were treated like children and the Indian agents wanted him to basically sit back and shut up and not say anything.”

“Legendary Ojibwa sniper unsung hero of WW I”

Pegahmagabow will finally be recognized with a statue in Parry Sound, Ontario, in 2016.

These examples highlight why we need to critically engage with these grey areas and their lasting impact. We can not forget so these things do not happen again.

If we do not engage critically, we get complicit in knee-jerk simplicity. And that’s no way to remember anything at all.

The History of Punk, Class #15


The Edmonton Free School
Monday November 4th 7:00PM
Location: Humanities Centre 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages & All-Welcome

“Taking Punk to the Edge” 

to the edge

In the first class of the new semester, we will look at musicians who pushed limits on stage. From Iggy Pop to GG Allin, punks took live performances in directions never seen before, but often imitated since. We will also screen the 2011 documentary Last Fast Ride: The Life, Love and Death of a Punk Goddess, on the Insaints’ frontwoman Marian Anderson.  

Marian Anderson

Following the film, we will discuss the various factors that drive people to jump on stage and charge through the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable.

Documentary starts promptly at 7PM (since it’s being taken off YouTube at 8PM)

Please Kill Me, pp. 38-41, 66-67.
Gimme Something Better, pp. 315-316.
Going Insaints
GG Allin: Remembering the GGreat American Hero
Iggy Pop’s Letter to a Fan, 1995

"Having Milk 'n' Cookies with GG Allin," Flipside, No. 55, Spring/Summer 1988.
“Having Milk ‘n’ Cookies with GG Allin,” Flipside, No. 55, 1988.

Iggy Pop and the Stooges “Live at Cincinnati Festival 1970
Iggy Pop and the Stooges “Rare Documentary Footage” 
The Plasmatics “Masterplan” 
The Plasmatics “Butcher Baby”
Nina Hagen “Naturträne”
Blondie “X-Factor” (CBGBs 1977)
The Go Go’s “We got the Beat”
Black Randy and the Metrosquad “I Slept in an Arcade”
The Insaints “Whore” 
The Insaints “Carry On” Gilman (1993)
Thrill Killers “Return of the Living Dead”
Thrill Killers “Bloodbath”
GG Allin “You Hate Me and I Hate You” 
GG Allin “No Rules” 
GG Allin “on Jerry Springer”
GG Allin “Carmelita”
Iggy Pop “on the Tom Snyder Show, 1980”


DQ vs IS

GG Allin

Canadian history is written by the victors



“The [Canadian Museum of Civilization]’s 1990 mandate grandly directed it to “increase, throughout Canada and internationally, interest in, knowledge and critical understanding of and appreciation and respect for human cultural achievements and human behaviour.” [James] Moore’s new law changes that purpose to enhancing “Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of events, experiences, people and objects that reflect and have shaped Canada’s history and identity, and also to enhance their awareness of world history and cultures.” Among other complaints, Marshall red-flags the dropping of “critical understanding” as a signal that the job is now to popularize history, rather than probe the past.”

Full article from Maclean’s

The Backlash to Selling-Out


In 1988, Seattle was still a few years away from seeing its music community explode into the mainstream. That didn’t mean the city’s musicians weren’t getting noticed by major labels. Here’s a page out of Backlash, a Seattle fanzine aimed at covering the local music community:

100_0881 (2)
(From Backlash, August-September 1988, p. 1)

J.R. Higgins’ article was about the rumors going around Mother Love Bone, a super-group made up of members of MalfunkshunGreen River, and Ten Minute Warning. Jokingly, it quotes frontman Andrew Wood on what would happen to the band after hitting the big time: “we won’t forget Seattle,” he said, “until we come back and we’re all at the Coliseum and we’re like, ‘Hello Portland! How ya doin! and everyone boos.”

Dawn Anderson’s piece was about how a stalwart of the Seattle punk scene left town and started a band in Los Angeles (hint: the group had a name that combined both guns and roses). Anderson playfully included old quotes from the migrant punk rocker, Andrew “Duff” McKagan on the topics of selling-out and community.


This fanzine page offers a glimpse into the Seattle music community in 1988. At the time nobody knew, of course, what would happen three years later. What folks did see was a) local musicians on the threshold of the supposed fame and fortune that comes along with signing a major-label contract and b) a guy that left the community for greener pastures and it had panned out.

Everyone knows that things ended up ok financially for McKagan. Mother Love Bone, unfortunately, ended up with a huge debt when Andrew Wood passed away on the eve of the release of Apple, their debut LP. The surviving band members were fronted a lot of money by their record company, which was now almost impossible to pay back.


Luckily, two of the members of Mother Love Bone, Jeff Ament and Stone Gosssard went on to form Pearl Jam. But the musicians mentioned in Backlash showcases the tension between local music scenes and major labels, and the dangers posed by being drawn further into the depths of the music industry.

The History of Punk, Class #14


The Edmonton Free School
Sunday January 27th  1:30PM
Location: Roast Coffeehouse (10359 104 Street NW)
All-Ages & All-Welcome

“Idle No More” 

Idle No More

Idle No More is bringing all kinds of  issues, opinions, and feelings to the surface in Canada.  In this seminar, we’ll discuss the movement’s  tactics, aims, and portrayal in the media. We’ll also debate its success in communicating grievances, and how its message is resonating with mainstream society.

And if we’re lucky, we’ll help dispel some myths, and place what’s happening now in the wider history of social movements.

UofA PhD Candidate Daniel Johnson will be there to speak and discuss the movement as well.

Please RSVP to if you plan on attending, so we know how many seats to save.

‎”The music strikes up as regularly as at a political meeting.” Edmonton Bulletin report on ceremony at the flats, 1882.
Martin Luther King on “The White Moderate”
Alcatraz is Not an Island”
You say you want a revolution: Soundtracks for Change in American Protest Movements”
“Idle No More is Not Just an ‘Indian Thing'”
Storify’d: Welcome to #Ottawapiskat
Justice minister’s blockade rhetoric risks inflaming public passions
Racism, hunger and laziness: A First Nations youth perspective on Idle No More media coverage
Red Deer Radio DJ Responds to Idle No More
“Daniel Johnson’s Twitter Feed”
“Idle No More – Priscilla Settee and Sheelah McLean”
Idle No More Art: Posters Promote A Revolution
Idle No More: Canadian musicians throw their support behind the movement
“Idle No More album unites Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists”
“How Idle No More Could Help Save Canadian Democracy”

Propagandi  – “Oka Everywhere”
“Idle No More – Round Dance Flash Mob at WEM in Edmonton”
“Idle No More – Songs for Life, Volume I”
“Idle No More Mix”
Drezus – “Red Winter”
Crystal Shawanda – “Not Without A Fight”
Boogey The Beat ft. Charlie Fettah, Wab Kinew, Young Kidd – “Idle No More”
Brother Ali – “Letter to my Countrymen”
Nathan Cunningham – “Warriors”
Blue Rodeo – “Fools Like You”
aul Kelly – “From Little Things Big Things Grow”
Shy-Anne – “The Awakening”

Feel free to add to the “Readings” and “Playlist” by leaving a comment below.

Idle No More

Idle No More Rally

Idle No More Sun

Idle No More B&W

The History of Punk, Class #10


The Edmonton Free School
Sunday September 30 3:00PM
Location: Humanities 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages, All-Welcome

“Punks in Plight”

Pussy Riot in Russia. Punks in Indonesia. Goths in Uzbekistan. Emos in Iraq. In many countries, members of subcultures are finding themselves in trouble with authorities. Some are activists, some are not. But they are all facing repression for dissenting from traditional societal norms.

In this seminar, we’ll examine how punks are facing jail time, Orwellian reeducation, or even death – in some cases for speaking out, and other times just for dressing differently. We’ll look at the response by the wider music community, the media, and, because they hate being left out, celebrities.

“Self-Expression meets Repression: Pussy Riot’s plight is only one example of mistreatment by authorities”
“After Pussy Riot, artists everywhere must stand up for each other”
“Young Persons Called to Private Grand Jury for Owning Books”

Rites of Spring – “For Want Of” (live 1985)
Embrace – “Dance of Days”
Warsaw – “Warsaw”
Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Arabian Knights”
The Cure – “Killing an Arab”
Why Indonesian Kids are Crazy for Punk”
Marjinal – “Hukum Rimba”
“Report on Emo Killings in Iraq”
“Pussy Riot Grrrl Protest”
Tobi Vail & The Pussy Riot Olympia Solidarity band – “Free Pussy Riot”

Self-Expression meets Repression: Pussy Riot’s plight is only one example of mistreatment by authorities


In August, the sentence handed down to members of the feminist collective Pussy Riot was a grotesque overreaction to political self-expression.  A two-year prison term for “hooliganism” reflects how seriously Russia’s political and religious authorities treat acts of perceived subversion and dissent.

Freedom of speech has never been valued as highly in Russia as it is in the West. The members of Pussy Riot, however, participate in the punk community, a subculture in which speaking out is a basic tenet. They are following a rich lineage of personal expression and protest.

Unfortunately, there is also a history of punishment.