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Phoenix Rising

[whitespace] Good Riddance

Good Enough: The local band Good Riddance delivers songs both hardcore and heartbreaking on its new CD, 'Operation Phoenix.'

Local rockers Good Riddance return to the punk scene with a new album, 'Operation Phoenix'

By Matt Koumaras

GOOD RIDDANCE HAS a new CD out, Operation Phoenix. I played this for Casey Kasem, and he proclaimed this was so good it had to be a greatest hits release. Then he started ranting something profane about U2. The song "Blueliner" shoots hardcore arrows straight to the brain like a Drano Slurpee. "The Hardest Part" delivers the goods, mostly because of Luke's hyperactive guitar harmonics that go down as smooth as a fine box of nonalcoholic wine circa 1947. When Russ shouts, "So let it go, I can't fix you anymore," it's the scream of screams--sounds like a mad scientist at wit's end with his creation.

"Self-Fulfilling Catastrophe" shows that bassist Chuck must be a geologist in his spare time because he has a penchant for uncovering some amazing rock lines. "18 Seconds" is 28 seconds of neutering hardcore. The melodramatic "Letters Home" is my favorite tune on the CD, with lines like "And as this broken heart just keeps on beating, I send these letters home to you" that make me want to cry. The arena-rockish "A Time and a Place"--fueled by slow-burning vocal and guitar breaks--summons up demented visions of happy dwarves. Super sniper-like bass work from Chuck and stick-in-the-eye drumming from Sean on Good Riddance's Battalion of Saints cover.

Russ packs more throaty panache into "Indoctrination" than a cup check from New Jersey Devil Scott Stevens in overtime. That song's divine "They lie, we die" whiplash line echoes "Enjoy"-era Descendents. Coincidentally, this CD was produced by Bill and Stephen from the Descendents/All.

For a copy of the record or to contact the band, write: Good Riddance, 849 Almar Ave., Suite C-221, Santa Cruz 95060.

A Chemical Reaction

Oakland's Chemical Imbalance made quite the raucous visit to Skinny McDoogle's last Friday night. A sea of mohawks and studs dripping Keystone formed a pit for all the right reasons. Chemical Imbalance's lead vocalist is a throwback to the days of unpredictable music, and he exuded more personality and charisma than Cybill Shepherd. He heaved out chunky Progresso soup­like thrash hollers and ate them up again. The drummer shredded with crash work as big as the line leading to the bathroom after the first screening of The Phantom Menace. How the guitarist generated such a menacing sound through a pygmy amp can only be answered by a certain liberty-spiked Psychic Friend.

I didn't expect much after Chemical Imbalance's set, but Fifth of Pist was worth hanging around for. The bass player whipped out some Houdini-like lines. The audience's participation vocals on the silly chili dog anthem would have blissfully melted the lard at Der Wienerschnitzel.

After Fifth of Pist zipped through its punky brewster numbers, the survivors in the audience all underwent a temporary bout of Tourette's syndrome and exclaimed, "These bleeping guys bleeping rocked."


On Wednesday, May 19, Pedro the Lion and the Roots of Orchis play the Stevenson Rec Room. On Saturday, Woodpecker celebrates its latest CD with Riff Raff at the Aptos Club. On Tuesday, Nuclear Rabbit, Herbert and Serum play Palookaville.

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From the May 19-26, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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