Category Archives: hardcore punk

froggy & the ringes

Artwork by Jams Domestic from The Domestics

All right, I confess I know ‘jack’ about this band other than they kick serious ass. This could be a pretty short feature!

I stumbled across Froggy & The Ringes on Bandcamp and instantly felt compelled to help spread the word. When their new full length release ‘Ringe Rock Pond Scum’ appeared on the player, little did I realise the artwork was more an actual portrait of the band.

Ringe Rock Pond Scum’ – album cover

Yes – it apears the band do perform like this – hence not very much info is readily available. Indeed, their Discogs listing makes mention of the fact that they are a ‘mysterious UK garage punk band with several releases in unbelievable small quantities. No one ever bothered to put them in the discogs database. Five labels were needed to convince the band to release their first “major” release (300 copies) in November 2020.’

The natural reaction for some, would be to instantly condemn them to ‘novelty’ status. And let’s be honest it would cost a small fortune to hire a defence lawyer and successfully argue against that assertion, given the circumstantial evidence.

But wait! Check out the sounds! This is hardcore garage punk of the highest order – yeah even if it is a sort of ‘concept’ album based on pond life!

Growled vocals, most un-frog-like, rage over the old school, late ’70s punk driving bass and pounding drums. There’s also room for some whining, Stranglers-esque organ squeezed in amongst the chaos. It’s all so frantic. And wonderful!

I dare you not to tap your foot . Or at least nod your head.

‘Growin’ Grapes‘ opens with a sort of USA evangelist rant; ‘Tadpoles’ starts with the sound of gurgling water /tadpoles ‘talking,’ and ‘Fuck You, Kermit!’ contains the fantastically image inducing line “Oi! Oi! Ribbit! Ribbit! Oi! Oi! Ribbit! Ribbit!”

It’s just so silly, especially set against the anger of the ten songs on the album. It made me laugh, anyway.

But the bottom line for me is the music and energy. And in my book, if you can successfully combine genuinely excellent punk rock with a touch of humour, then you’re onto a winner!

Methinks these guys have been hiding their talent under a pond lily way too long.

sacripolitical

(Sacripolitical 1983 – Mark, Matt, John & Sam)

Sacripolitical were, and now are now once again, a hardcore punk band from Marin County, California. Formed in 1982, around their time of leaving High School in San Rafael. The band, whose name reflects the members’ irreverent attitude towards politics, played shows around the state right through the decade.

They first took to the stage at the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax in late 1983, as a three-piece. No amp; upturned plastic pickle barrels substituting for drums, and improvised,, shouted vocals – the stunned audience of hippies and punks didn’t quite know what to make of the young upstarts!

Vocalist, both then and now, John Marmysz, takes up the story:

Back then, there was a very small, but very enthusiastic punk scene here in Marin County, California that has been sorely under-documented and over-shadowed by the San Francisco and East Bay scenes. There was a lot of raw creativity and rebellion, a good deal of trouble, lots of fun, and some sad tragedies.

“We played shows throughout the 1980’s on the bill with bands like Frightwig, Fang, Camper Van Beethoven, and The Pukes. We were interviewed on the Maximum Rock N Roll radio program, and in 1993 we recorded an EP titled ‘Peace: Under Our Supervision’ that was released on cassette.”

During the mid-1980’s, Sacripolitcal became a fixture at Marin County punk shows, frequently playing at the Sleeping Lady Cafe, various underground warehouse shows, and at the Flashback Cafe in Mill Valley, where the founder of “Cutting Edge Productions,” Mike Kavanaugh, dubbed them the house band.

Performances at the Flashback Cafe were frequent and rowdy. It was there that Sacripolitical appeared with bands such as Tales of Terror, Special Forces, Victim’s Family, Defend the Keg, Diet Tribe, The Pukes, and many, many others.

Often, Sacripolitical would hand out special “prizes” and “treats,” sometimes consisting of band pins and stickers, sometimes consisting of spent rifle and pistol casings. The shows went late into the evenings and were regularly interrupted by the police, who sought to silence what must have appeared to them like a riot waiting to happen.

(Live at Flashback Cafe. Mill Valley 1984)
(Live at the Cabbage Patch, San Rafael, 1983)

John continues:
Sacripolitical broke up in 1993 and everyone went their different ways, but by 2019 some of us – now old guys! – resettled in and around Marin and decided to start playing shows again. This, as it turns out, was bad timing as the pandemic hit in 2020 and live music venues went into hibernation.

“The pandemic killed a lot of bands, but we assembled some recording equipment, learned how to use it, and started writing new songs.

“In 2021 we recorded a 4-song, DIY EP and pressed a 7” 45 rpm vinyl record. The EP is titled ‘Pandemic Sessions, ‘ commemorating the conditions under which it was made. We’ve also been contributing songs to a number of punk charity compilations put out by 8 Up Records.”

You can hear, and indeed buy, the result of these sessions , here on Bandcamp. I particularly enjoyed ‘Gogol’s Nose,’ with the discordant saxophone giving a bit of an old school, No Wave kind of feel.

Hopefully, over the coming months, we can all get on top of the pandemic, and gigs will once again become more commonplace. Neighbourhoods need a vibrant local music scene, and while they may now be about thirty years older, I bet Sacripolitical can still do ‘vibrant’ with the best of them!

(Live, January 2020 – pre-pandemic.)

SACRIPOLITICAL
John Marmysz – Vocals
Matt Schmidt – Guitar
Mark Wallace/Mike Hansen – Bass
Gary Benson – Drums
Charles Greer – Saxophone
Juneko Robinson/Sian Killingsworth – Backing Vocals

TITLEFORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Peace: Under Our SupervisionCassette / Single sided EP1993N/A
Shove It Up Your Ass B/W Gogol’s Nose ‎7″ single2021N/A
Pandemic SessionsDigital album2021N/A – via Bandcamp