A major punk rock force has erupted from Alabama's capital: The Abusements!! I've been a fan since first reading Shannon Heupel's article about them for the The Montgomery Advertiser. I checked out the videos and instantly fell in love. Snotty and fun, but with bullshit detectors set on max, the Abusements are an antidote to the malaise one suffers even when they actively avoid today's politics.
Who are these lunatics and where the hell did they come from? I reached out to the group to get to the bottom of it.
"Dominique Bradley on drums, and Chris Eckels on bass, they are both from Montgomery Alabama. DJ Fake Name is on guitar and vocals, he’s from the early 1980s."
"Like many professional musicians, especially in the south, Dominique’s real gig is playing worship music. That’s what pays the bills. Chris used to be a member of the legendary Creep List. DJ Fake Name was placed into a medically induced coma back in 1984, after a bizarre and freakish tanning booth accident. Then promptly forgot about. Through the miracle of Obamacare he was revived about two years ago, and seems to function pretty well although his memory is completely shot. He was pretty psyched to discover that Ronald Reagan was no longer president, but that enthusiasm was very short-lived.
He’s also rather irritated that we still don’t have personal flying jet packs and levitating skateboards here in the amazing future year of 2018."
Well, that's an answer I guess. The gentlemen were kind enough to hook me up with a couple of the 45s, which I happily reviewed waaaay back in GAD! issue 18. Not a bad song in the bunch. As I mentioned before, I'd seen a couple of their music videos online. But outside of them, there wasn't much of a way to hear their material online. Then, while stalking the band online, I noticed a statement on their Facebook page about them not using streaming services. This is a debate that has interested me from the beginning. I've personally had my music on Spotify, taken it down, and put it back up.
"DJ Fake Name takes a very dim view of the entire music industry as a sector, and the deals foisted upon musicians by streaming services are especially lopsided, exploitative and non-negotiable. However, we have made the decision to release the forthcoming album on every streaming and download service we can find, because we actually do want young people to be able to hear it, on whatever fucking stupid formats they use. The idea of losing money while gigantic multinational corporations sell ads and subscriptions off our backs is distasteful, but that’s the environment today. Most young people don’t have CD players or record players these days, they’re getting music through their phones. And you can’t blame them. A one-band boycott is not going to change anything. We are better off just getting the music and the messages out there anywhere we can."
So the Abusements are going digital...
"We are also releasing it on CD, and eventually LP, because sound quality and packaging do matter
There’s no replacement for having a tangible physical artifact."
On the subject of the upcoming full-length, I was compelled to inquire more about the release....
"18 tracks of all original smart ass punk rock, professionally recorded, running about 36 minutes or so. It’s almost all the songs from our current live set, all written within the last 18 months.
The first part is songs about science and politics. The second half reports on disastrous results from mating attempts."
Sounds tragically relateable....
"It was never intended as a concept album or suite, the songs just kind of fell together that way thematically. The title track is brand new, last thing written and recorded. We haven’t even played it live yet.
We made this with Robert Shimp, who has a whole bunch of impressive credits including work with REM, the Donnas, the Queers and many others. Robert has built an impressive new studio here in Montgomery, called Technical Earth Recorders, and succeeded at making us sound much better than we actually are. Which, you know, is always the goal."
Having adequately made myself ravenous with enthusiasm for the new Abusements album, I greedily asked DJ Fake Name about other Montgomery bands I should check out.
"Great Montgomery acts include Barrens, Heavy Children, Pleasant Valley, the mighty V8 Death Car, Froggy Fresh, King Bee, all completely different, all great."
So there ya go. Better buy the Abusements new album, "IRRITAINMENT!" immediately and check out all those other cool bands they recommended. These fellas clearly have impeccable taste! -Harmless