Sunday, September 28, 2008

Neos "Fight With Donald" EP

First time I heard Neos was when I borrowed their "Hassibah Gets The Martian Brain Squeeze" 7" from someone and they immediately popped up on my bass guitar (DIY sticker of course). This Canadian bunch play breakneck fast hardcore and they shared the stage with the likes of Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and canadian Subhumans. This record has 18 (some are joined together) rehearsal and live tracks recorded in 1983 - the year when they broke up. Later the members played in various bands and projects of which Mexican Power Authority is most known.
You can find more info on their KFTH page and MySpace (it looks that discography is in the works so watch out).
Since this 7" has most extensive bio that I've found, I've scanned it with some OCR software (haven't checked if it turned out 100% right), so if you're interested you can read it here:


infamous scientists, house of commons, the nevar, distortion, nuclear errors, pink steel, easy money, dayglo abortions, the keys, the do-wops, velox strepitus, suburban menace/red tide, the nematodes, da jeep, nomeansno, jerk ward, purple city, pat bay & the malahats, disrupt, twisted minds, automatic shock, the clicks, censored chaos, the slip, divine death...the neos.
separated by an hour and a half ferry ride from the mainland, victoria had a population around 150,000 in the early 1980's when all the above bands were kickin'. i always felt that isolation was key to the diversity and originality of many local bands. the scene at that time was fairly small and tightly knit, and there was a sense of groundbreaking adventure... no feeling of everything having been done already. "all ages" shows meant exactly that, people aged fourteen to forty, whereas today the turnout typically is 100% teenage. hall shows were so common as to be ubiquitous, and generally a lot more fun than going to a smoky bar. people would drink but they were usually discreet and there wasn't much hassle...but on the other hand there was always a certain sense of danger or uncertainty...something could go wrong at any minute, and often did...a fight, the cops, the hall manager flipping out...but i only recall a few gigs ever being shut down. nowadays if i want to see a band i find myself hanging out in some sleazy airless club that basically exists as an extension of the alcohol industry, including most of the bands...just ain't the same...or else hanging out around a real tame bunch of teenagers who seem mostly pretty indifferent to the whole thing, and who can blame 'em...
well, you wanna hear about the neos. steve bailey and dave durrant (a/k/a "donald", later "the crustaceous beast") were about 14 when they got way hipped on the sex pistols album and formed the band. this would*ve been around november-december 1979. they had 4 or 5 songs and a plastic k-mart practice amp. soon they recruited their pal mario to slug the skins and started the tradition of the "afterschool practice"... usually in mario's room, later dubbed the "sweatbox". eventually dave was booted and formed the nematodes as a Sort of revenge, i believe..."gonna show those fuckers" kind of deal...the nematodes were probably the most incompetent and laughable band i ever put an ear to. it almost qualified as naive art... needless to say, they ruled. steve and mare found this Scottish guy named gary to "play bass". most of a year later this lineup played the band's first show, on march 7 1981 at the ray ellls dance studio. this unique one-time-only venue played host to one of the most unforgettable shows of that whole time period. basically it was just a solid great gig, but beyond that it really seemed to crystallize the more "punk rock" oriented elements of the scene. seems to me the sense of identity this show created lasted in some way or another for most of the decade. at this time there may have been around 150 people involved in the punk rock side of things. these were the days of getting mocked, chased, and beat up for having short hair or looking weird. anyhow, it turned out that gary was what you might call a "certified non-musician"...coincidentally i happened to meet steve at a gig at the fernwood in late april 81. we got kind of chatty and a week later i found myself playing bass in the neos. cool score! we practiced through the whole summer and played at the fernwood on august 1. incidentally this was the first nomeansno gig ever, opening as a two-piece. day after the show i happened to meet rob wright, still wearing his ramones t-shirt, passing through the graveyard. no, we got to talking and he offered to record us on this teac four-track he had that was always breaking down.
ultimately we did the beds for "end all discrimination" with rob, one evening in early September. right after that steve and mare had a big fight and the band split for a few months. somehow we pulled it back together in time to play a show January 10 and also managed to record vocals for the ep one december Sunday in the living room of the Vancouver street house. "end all discrimination" came out february 20. at that time there was a pressing plant in Vancouver so it was pretty quick and easy to run off 500 copies like we did. one thing i liked about the cover for that record was the three or four different colours it came in. mine's green, i think there was orange and off-white and maybe one other. so we had this record out, and proceeded to distribute it through rough trade (can you say "rip off"? sure...! knew you could) and our own mail order. and we started doing a lot of writing to people.
during 1982 we wrote the material for "hassibah gets the martian brain squeeze", practiced 84 times, played five shows, and did tons of correspondence. there were a few people who really did a lot for us in getting the word out through their own correspondence, pushead is the one who really comes to mind, he even did a piece of artwork for the "hassibah" label. jello biafra was also a big fan and helped get our name around. "hassibah" was recorded September 18 in scott henderson's basement studio, located approximately where the produce department of save-on foods is now. we got a pretty good sound in there and overall i, for one, was a lot happier with this recording. we pressed 500 ourselves at first, and later on went for an offer we got from ratcage records in new york to repress it for "10%"...sure we were naive, but unless you just came down outta the trees you've already guessed we never even made back what we paid to mail the guy our master tape and artwork. don't ever do this, kids! and hey, dave, where's our "10%" of all those reputed thousands of records you pressed and sold, mainly in europe from what i heard? ah, jesus...wel1, at least he sent us some copies. it's a better mastering job than the first pressing, actually.
the neos played sixteen shows between march 1981 and October 1983, including some cool shit like getting to open for black flag in July 82 and for the dead kennedys in Vancouver at ubc and then here in victoria, both in april 83. we even managed to scrape up a few shows in Oregon and California in august of 83. massive personal differences caused a final split after the October 83 show. unfortunately we never did record about a dozen newer songs that we had talked about as a putative album. there was a lot more diversity to this batch of tunes. mostly they clocked in well over a minute and had a broader range of styles and influences. "sleeve" is the only one ever recorded, not a good example though since it fits right in with the "hassibah"-era material.
after the band struck the final reef, steve and myself did a lot of basement four-track stuff for about a year, later released on cassette as "a harvest of seaweed". i formed sludge confrontations with john london from jerk ward in may of 84, and since then i've played in mission of Christ (86-87), a couple basement bands, and in 1991 cofounded mexican power authority, by far the longest-lived and most prolific band i've ever been part of. steve cofounded show business giants with tom holliston, but hasn't been musically active since, steve and his wife cindy just had a son this past summer. i've had no personal contact with mario since...well, probably since i picked my amp up from his house back in fall 83.

Released: 1997
Label: Schizophrenic Records/Break Even Records
Size: 37 MB
See/Hide tracklist

01. No Tyme 4 Romance/Conscripts/Just Like All The Rest
02. Racist Act
03. Opposition To All Violence, Even If Committed In Self-Defense
04. Ripped Off/Destruct
05. Typical...Song/Don't Want To Be
06. Sleeve
07. Bobby Sands
08. Sexual Revolution
09. Other World
10. School Punks
11. Where Did You Go Wrong???
12. Churchgoers Motive
13. They'll Destroy Themselves
14. Fight With Donald (9/28/80)



Sime said...

Thanks for this! I never even knew this recording existed. I had the Hassibah ep on tape for many many years (a friend owned the record)and lost the tape and I didn't hear the Neos again until this internet thing started! I have the EP again in digital format but does anyone have the artwork/lyrics/tabs that came with the Hassibah ep? I would love to see them

Malisha Old 666 said...

Sorry Sime. I've also taped the Hassibah 7" for myself, but I can't remember who from, so no luck with the covers here.