"The Kids Don't Skate Here"

minus one

minus one at the retox
photo: Carl Macki
Dana Alberts, Lliam Hart and Mike Henry
at Retox Lounge, San Francisco, August 3, '08

It's been a heady few months for Minus One. After coming back together to play at the Great American Hall for DirkFest a year ago last June, Dana Alberts and his band mates Lliam and Mike Henry have been practicing and recording both new music written by Dana and refreshiong some older stuff that go back to  their skate punk days on Thrasher Magazine releases.  Drummer Lliam Hart had a health scare about one of his heart valves, and announced his engagement to Leslie Jackson. Michael Henry is soon to marry his girl friend, also named Dana. He's been balancing his job and a new business while maintaining his chops on bass and surfing his long board. Dana's sister Alanna, the bands photographer, functioned as  manager and overhauled their myspace site with fantastic results.

For one, a label started by a stockbroker in Missouri who was a huge fan of Minus One connected with them online and offered them a three year recording contract.

Darron Hemann, the owner of DC Jam Records,  explains:
"I started DC-Jam Records in 2004 as a way to self promote and distribute my own personal music . . . .My vision was to not only sign and help bring along and promote new artists, but to revive some of the great punk music I grew up that was now impossible to find for purchase. I knew that if I was out there looking for it unsuccessfully,then there must be others doing the same as well."

On Tracking Down Minus-One

"The hardest part about this job is tracking down the bands. You would think with the Internet and all of its capabilities that it would be easy but unless the artist has a website or myspace page all the Googling in the world will mostly lead to dead ends.

"Lucky for me that Minus-one did happen to have a myspace page up. When I emailed them I had no idea they were even back together. Its always a long shot. I grew up an avid skater listening to Minus-One from their debut releases on "Thrasher Skate Rock Vol 1 and fell in love with their sound. As I stated earlier, however, I could never find a complete album by them. As it turns out, its because they never released one.

Almost. They came close. Danny Sugerman, the famed rock music promoter and journalist took an interest in the band after Iggy Pop,William Burroughs recommended them on the advice of Burroughs' close associate, James Grauerholz, a Minus One fan. It never translated into a recording deal as was hoped.

Hemann continues. "After emailing them and introducing myself, I received a telephone call about two weeks later from Dana Alberts expressing the band's interest in working with DC-Jam to put out a new record. He told me that as luck would have it that the band just recently got back together and started practicing and playing new gigs again, and that they wanted to make a run at a new LP so my timing was perfect. Win some, lose some I suppose, but I was sure glad to have won this one.

Who's On DC-JAM
"Since 2007, my label has grown quite a bit. DC-Jam is not only putting out the new Minus-One material but has had recent releases by Trusty (a Little Rock, Arkansas Hardcore band that was signed with Dischord Records in the past), The Rudy Schwartz Project (insane, hilarious music I first discovered when purchasing a compilation tape on a High School Daytona Beach spring break trip called "Passed Normal"  RSP had a song on there titled "An Orange is Nothing But a Juicy Pumpkin" which I thought was too cool), The Heard (a funky,punky hip hop group that sent me their demo),Legendary Skate Rock band McRad (who I tracked down the same way I found Minus-One), and Fast Piece of Furniture (Jeff Nelson from Minor Threat is their drummer)."
The show promoter Frenchie found Minus One online as well. Frenchie called for a booking for August 3th at the Retox Lounge in San Francisco  It was to open on a Sunday night in lovely desolate Dogpatch near the monstrous developments at Mission Bay. The Retox is a tiny lounge and the bands play downstairs. Dana said it reminded him of the Tool and Die an early punk club in San Francisco's Mission District.

Frenchie: "The Retox Lounge show was great, the fact that the venue was set up like an airplane with real airplane windows and seats adding a great vibe to the evening.... Minus one packed the place with their enthusiastic fans and they were definitely not there to disappoint.  As far as any expectations I had, this band showed me what it really meant to be a veteran on the San Francisco rock scene!
"So Long Davey came all the way from San Diego and put on a killer show and the San Francisco band My Last Day On Earth brought their progressive rock into the mix with an amazing stand-up bass performance adding to the quirkiness of their catchy new sounds."

Dana and his band played some new tunes that may or may not make the release of "The Kids Don't Skate Here" on DC-JAM by mid-September, in additional to their older skater classics.. They were tight and professional. The Retox on Sunday did not have more than thirty people in the basement.

So far the lineup is "Nick of Time," :The Kids Don't Skate Here," "Bored of It," "I remember John;" and then newer material -- "Someone Must Have Dropped You on Your Head," "Sirens Scream," "Get Used to it," "Blindman," and "Out of the Darkness."

Video shot at The Retox Lounge--Minus One's cover of the Who's "The Seeker"

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