Punx Maybe Not Dead!

Photo by Jeanne RiceReader Rob Hallstrom reports witnessing a sign that suggests punk rock may not be quite as dead as we're constantly declaring it, and it comes courtesy of the Angriest Punk In the World, Mike Ness. Hallstrom says that at one of the zillions of recent Social Distortion shows at the House of Blues, he eyeballed a good-ol'-fashioned ass whuppin': "During their Jan. 13 show, between songs, Ness responded to a particularly vocal character in the crowd and invited him up to the mic to speak his mind regarding a politically related statement Ness had made moments prior. After making his way to the stage, the heckler—visibly taller and heavier in build than the rocker—stated that if Ness were to talk shit about President George W. Bush again, that he would 'light him up.' Without a moment's notice and to the surprise of everyone, Ness took two steps back and gave the guy a giant kung-fu kick to the head, taking him down to the floor in fists of fury. Moments later, his shirt a bit tattered, Ness composed himself, strapped his guitar back over his tattooed shoulder, walked leisurely up to the mic stand while catching his breath, and with a complete calmness in his voice asked, 'So is my fuckin' hair messed up?' As if not missing a beat, the band regrouped and went into a fitting rendition of 'Sick Boy.'" (Rich Kane)

BENEFIT BLURBING
A show to help trim the medical expenses of El Centro singer Steve Cabler, who was injured in the Bali terrorist bombing in October that also killed former El Centro manager Steven Webster, is slated for Feb. 8 at the Grove of Anaheim, with a lineup including Pennywise, US Bombs, Shattered Faith, D.I. and others. Dubbed Punk Rock for Recovery, proceeds from the gig will also try to establish a relief fund that will assist uninsured people involved in the local surf, skate, snowboarding and music communities. More info can be had at the site of Finger Records, El Centro's label: www.finger-records.com. (RK)

SMOKESCREEN
The BBC reported last week that some U.S. poster companies have taken to airbrushing out the cigarette carried by Paul McCartney on the cover of the Beatles' Abbey Road album—because, well, y'know, if the kids so much as see a cig, they're naturally gonna all start sucking on those cancer sticks pronto. Various other reports we've heard say that none of the Beatles' legal hoo-hoos knew anything about these acts of ciggie censorship, but other reports seem to suggest the cover of Abbey Road itself may even be similarly altered when it's reissued, so we don't know what to believe. There is a precedent here, though: a cig was airbrushed from Paul Simon's fingers for the cover of a 1997 Simon & Garfunkel retrospective box set, and a whole pack of Marlboros that had been sitting on a side table when Bruce Springsteen posed for a photo in the mid-'70s went mysteriously missing when the same shot was used for the cover of his Tracks box a few years ago. Somehow, we get the odd sensation that somebody, somewhere, is trying to pull off a Joe Stalinization of aural history, trying to deny that anyone ever smoked anything at all. If the busybodies behind this tobacco-hating movement really wanted to help, wouldn't it be vastly more beneficial to society as a whole if they instead succeeded in getting "Smoke On the Water" banned from every FM dial everywhere around the globe? (RK)

COACHELLA RUMBLINGS
No, it's never too early to speculate, but here's what we know: the dates will be April 26 and 27. It'll still be at the Empire Polo Club in hot-as-fuck Indio. Pollstar says Ben Kweller is playing both days. And the last car to creep out of the parking lot after Coachella 2002 ended finally did so just last Monday. (RK)

 
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