There are two schools of thought when it comes to band reunion shows:
1. "Man, they're time is past. They broke up and should stay that way."
2. "Awesome. They're coming back to fuck shit up one more time. Righteous."
Given a choice betwixt these two differing viewpoints, I'm gladly more in line with the latter rather than the former, especially when it comes to last night's show at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe featuring three of the more renowned punk bands in the Valley: Pinky Tuscadero's WhiteKnuckle AssFuck, The Smoky Mountain Skullbusters, and Blance Davidian.
Probably because I'd never seen any of these groups perform before.
Smoky Mountain Skullbusters last night at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe
Sure, I'd heard all of their songs before, read feature stories and CD reviews that New Times has featured in the past, and heard juicy bits of gossip about each band, but had never witnessed their gigs for my own eyes. I finally got a chance to correct this error on Saturday night, as all three bands reunited in a "one night only" sort of deal in honor of the birthday of local punk musician Ben Barnes.
Barnes (a member of both Bro-Loaf and Casket Life) had also ponied up the cash to produce Pinky Tuscadero's second album The Apology (a follow up to 2005's Halfway to Honkey Heaven), which the band was handing out for free at the gig. It's apparently the last gasp from the stoner rock/comedy punk band, as evidenced by some between-song patter by vocalist Tom Reardon.
"Pinky Tuscadero's WhiteKnuckle AssFuck started as a reason to get together and drink beer," he said. "So it's fitting that it ends as a reason to get together and drink beer."
At least they went out a big bang. Performing right up until the bartenders cut everyone off at 2 a.m., PTWKAF busted out with around a dozen of their best - and most hilarious -- songs, including "Xena" (a comic ode to the Sapphic warrior princess), "The Jerk," and "Geronimo."
Both The Smoky Mountain Skullbusters and Blanche Davidian also provided loud lengthy sets that got the crowd of punks and drunks cheering wildly, including birthday boy Barnes (who jumped on stage a few times during the evening to sing along). Jamie Monistat VII (who spends most of his time these days bartending at the Wok Star Bar in Scottsdale) seemed lively during Blance Davidian's performance and Smoky Mountain Skullbusters' sludgy sound was quite potent and powerful to hear in person.
And last night was probably my last chance to ever see them in concert, at least according to something said during their set by Smoky Mountain vocalist Mike Roberts.
"We're getting too old for this," he declared, thus proving that while punk rock may never die, it's practitioners (sadly) can't fend off Father Time forever.
Last Night: Pinky Tuscadero's WhiteKnuckle AssFuck and Smoky Mountain Skullbusters at Yucca Tap Room
Personal Bias: I used to check out AZPunk every day to keep up on the latest gossip.
The Crowd: Various and sundry punk fans, including roller derby chicks, Betty Page wanna-bes, tattooed pikers, and Mohawked misfits.
Overheard: "Anyone seen Bam-Bam?" [a.k.a. Mike "Bam-Bam" Sversvold from JFA]
Random Notebook Dump: The drummer from Smoky Mountain is wearing a tee shirt extolling the fact he has a huge penis. Okay then.
One More Thing: I got a Facebook message from former Hollywood Alley booker/bartender Robert "Fun Bobby" Birmingham stating he'd seen me at the show taking pictures.