SEMEN + SPIT = PUNK ROCK
The Solger Story
Washington's Solger were the Proto-est of Proto Hardcore Punk
bands. They were formed in the Spring of 1980 by seventeen
year old Kyle Nixon after Black Flag came through town and
blew his mind. The band soon started playing around town with
the expressed interest of bumming out the Ramones-loving old-time
punkers and trying to start a good and violent Hardcore Punk
scene in their city. After a mere six months of playing around
town with the likes of 'Flag and D.O.A. they broke up. But
not before laying down some tunes on a buddy's four track
machine. The main tracks were recorded in the dressing room
of a local Punk club named The Showbox. The vocals were done
in such locations as a laundry room, Mary Edward's bedroom
and John Stazzaras's kitchen (not, and I repeat, NOT in his
After all was said and
done, Kyle decided to get the songs pressed up onto vinyl.
Just to have SOMETHING for Solger to be remembered by. Kyle
dubbed the tracks onto a cheapo cassette and sent them off
to a pressing plant. The five hundred records that came back
were the most honest form of folk art to come out of our country
in a long time. The Solger single is one of the greatest scum-encrusted
forms of beauty to ever rise up out of the 80s, and many will
back me up on this statement. Unfortunately, by the time the
record was released in 1981, it was a case of 'too little,
too late'. Solger was broken up and the D.C. and Midwest Punks
were already blazing away with their interpretation of what
was happening in L.A. Solger was most certainly the unsung
instigators of American Hardcore (to say the least). The record
gained collector status as the years went on. It got to the
point where on Sonic Youth's first visit to Seattle in the
mid-80s, Thurston begged from the stage for someone to sell
him a copy for twenty bucks. Mark Arm ended up giving Thurston
his own personal copy, either out of an act of generosity
or just so T. would shut up.
based Garage/Punk label Bag of Hammers re-issued the single
in the mid-90s, much to many poor bums' relief. And now in
the year 2003, we get a whole fucking CD of Solger stuff!
This month Empty
Records will be releasing Solger Codex 1980,
a three part play of a CD (if you will). It is made up of
a remastered/remixed/way cleaned up version of the 7",
an unbelievable live set (you gotta hear their version of
"What We Do Is Secret"!) and the 7" in all
its original, gunk-caked glory.
Solger vocalist Kyle Nixon agreed to do an interview with
me to promote the CD, I nearly crapped my pants! I mean, this
is the guy who wrote the song "Raping Dead Nuns,"
a song I will hold close to my heart until the day I die.
And then I'll have the fucker blasted at my funeral! Paul
McCartney and all his precious million-dollar-making songs
can go sit on his new wife's stump for all I care when it
comes to Kyle-penned tunes like "American Youth,"
"Dead Soldier," or the aforementioned "Raping
. . ."
was a total DUDE and real kick to talk to. For a better grasp
on Solger history, go to groups.msn.com/SOLGER.
So, how did this CD come about?
I bought a re-issue of the Solger 7" on eBay from Jimmy
Stapelton (Owner of Bag of Hammers). When he found out it
was me, he asked about tapes he heard I had of Solger and
he seemed real interested. Then the guy from Grand Theft Audio
called me and wanted to do something, but it fell through.
So, I called Empty and they were damn happy to do it.
you aware of the legendary status of the record?
the fact that it was in the E.M.P.
with endorsement from Mark Arm kinda blew me away (Laughter).
you weren't aware of it?
heard towards the end of the 80s that it was going for in
between a hundred and a hundred and fifty dollars. Then in
the past year or so, I had been researching us on the internet
and I found out people really liked it.
the part of the CD named 'The Good' (a digital remaster of
the 7"). That wasn't taken off the actual record, was
The original four track recording got into the hands of a
friend of The Manson Family named Jim Banner. He wanted to
use it for a compilation, so I told him to pick up the tape
from Phillipo Scrouge, who did the original Solger recording.
He (Jim) ended up taking the recording and putting it on metal
tape, which was the highest quality you could get back in
the day. Somewhere along the way, the original tape got lost,
so all I had was the metal tape to work with. So, 'The Good'
is that metal tape transfer re-mastered by Jack Endino (well
known Seattle producer/engineer). He made it sound real clean.
it's sorta shocking how much he cleaned it up.
it's still really raw.
yeah! There's no way you're gonna get around that! But I have
to agree with Mark Arm in his liner notes. I was shocked to
hear the rhythm section as well!
was used to hearing the old copy, so to hear drums and shit,
it sounded totally gay to me! (Much laughter) When Jack played
it to me, I said 'This is gay!!!" (More laughter) But
I like the way it came out.
about the live show on the CD...Where's that from?
actually our last show. I just talked to the guy who was our
unofficial manager back then and he was telling me how I was
in tears after that show. I smashed up a wall. I really tore
up the place.
Was this the show with D.O.A.?
D.O.A. wanted us to go to Portland to play with them the next
night, but no one else in the band wanted to go. Paul now
tells me the reason he didn't want to go to Portland was because
he had a zit on his head. (Laughter)
is everything, y'know.
I knew at that point the band was toast, so I decided to get
the hell out.
kind of music were you into before Punk?
was a Led Head....I was real into Led Zepplin. I saw them
in '77. I remember reading an interview in Creem or something
where they asked Robert Plant or Jimmy Page what they thought
of Punk and one of them said they liked The Damned. I bought
the first Damned album and I liked it a lot. Then I went out
and bought The Pistols and The Clash albums. When I heard
those records, I just thought 'This is awesome' .
did the L.A. stuff work its way to Seattle?
was reading Slash and other smaller magazines. I got that
first Middle Class single and that was my favorite record
at the time. Then I heard Black Flag and I was like 'This
is it'. I got to sing 'Nervous Breakdown' with them the first
time they came to town and that's what made me want to start
my own band. I think Black Flag were really the birth of it
all. Everywhere they went, they spread this new gospel to
their philosophy was a little easier to swallow than The Dead
love The D.K.'s but Black Flag had this intensity plus they
were regular guys. Their lyrics were real honest and really
captured the feeling of having inner turmoil in the head.
it was after seeing Black Flag you decided to start Solger?
I saw and met Black Flag, it was Valentine's Day weekend in
1980. Then I had them come to Seattle again in May for a show
I put on, the first all ages Punk show in Seattle. At the
end of May, I met Paul and through my girlfriend, we met Doug.
We put up a flyer at The Showbox for a drummer and got Tor.
when did you start playing around Seattle?
first show was July 14th 1980 at The Showbox.
was the crowd reaction like?
mocked us. I jumped into the crowd and everybody moved. They
threw me back onto the stage and I landed on the monitor.
Then Paul flew out of nowhere and landed on me. A 16 year
old kid, his first show...and he broke his guitar! Our third
show was August 16th with Black Flag and after that show was
an 'after show' party where The Fartz made their debut.
exactly did you guys break up?
days after that D.O.A. show, around October 16th or 17th in
1980, but the e.p. didn't come out until 1981. Rough Trade
bought all the records up and distributed them all over the
did you do after Solger?
Paul joined The Fartz, I became sort of a manager for them.
I was promoting shows too.
played with other bands in between Solger and joining The
He was in The Fags who did 'Scheme and Fraud' (a Solger track
featured in the live set available on the CD). I have a tape
of them doing it and it sounds incredibly industrial. I think
was the deal with The Fags?
is real gay. There were three groups of people in the scene
at the time. There were people from the east side, like Paul
and Tor. We grew up in middle class homes and we were just
unhappy. The University District people were into the Power
Pop sound and then you had a lot of homosexuals. They were
getting out of the Bowie thing and coming into Punk. I remember
seeing The Subhumans, The Lewd and The Wipers at a gay caberet
and the urinal traugh was full of semen from guys going in
there and jerking off together. So, between the constant shower
of spit during the show and the semen in the urinal, I thought
'This is Punk' (Laughter). When Hardcore really moved in on
Seattle, it drove away the gay people because they thought
it was too macho and insensitive. I always thought Solger
had more to it though. We had an artistic sound, we weren't
just a bunch of meatheads trying to play loud and fast. We
were sensitive young boys growing into men (Laughter).
what's the story with that band, The Fags?
was a short term band that became a band named Third Arm.
after promoting shows what happened with you?
became a Born Again Christian for nine years.
did that happen?
would take too long. It would be too esoteric for you! Buy
my book when it comes out! After that, I became the number
two man in a religious cult and after I got out of the cult,
I started getting back into Punk.
were pretty occupied for awhile there, between the cult and
you know, I missed the whole Grunge thing in town here!
that time, I was working as a chef and a lot of the people
I was working with were real into it.
there anything else you can think of that we didn't cover?
I hope the cover of the new 7" pisses people off and
causes controversy. I already got one complaint. Some guy
saw it on eBay and wrote me saying he couldn't believe someone
from The Fartz would be involved in something like this.
was the motivation behind that cover?
that song on the 7" ("Do Me A Favor") is about
telling someone to put a gun to their head and pull the trigger.
So when Jimmy wanted to put out that single, I had to come
up with a cover for the damned thing. I was up all night trying
to figure something out and I was just sitting there and thought
"Put a gun to your head....Pull the trigger... Kurt Cobain!"
When we got into a fight with The Dead Boys, it was about
beating up the old punks and picking on the old establishment
that didn't matter anymore. So, I thought doing that cover
was in the same vein. We always wanted to cause reaction and
wanted people to beat the shit out of us. And it's real nice
to know I can still do that!
this about getting into a fight with The Dead Boys?
Dead Boys came to town and we put the word out that Solger
was going to beat the shit out of them. We didn't actually
go the show of course (Laughter). But me, Doug, and my girlfriend
showed up to the after show party. One of the guys in The
Dead Boys' road crew kept trying to get me to swing at him.
I just ignored him. Then, I remember sitting on the steps
and seeing that same guy from The Dead Boys' crew fly above
my head! Apparently he said something to Doug and he (Doug)
was real strong. After he landed, Doug and my girlfriend started
kicking the shit out of him with their steel tipped boots.
Then Stiv Bators comes
up and says 'Who's Kyle Nixon?' and I say 'I am'. He was real
short and had this pointed stick with him. At this point,
I was just honored he knew my name! That was the whole point
of saying we wanted to fight them, y'know? To get this guy
to know who the hell I was. So I told him his whole Punk Rock
act was old and he should move on like Lydon did. I guess
he listened to me because he started Lords Of The New Church
and it bombed!
then he died!
could of had him on the back cover of the single. Sprawled
out in front of a car.
he's not worth it. He was so small, man! But it's still so
funny to me that we got them to react. The greatest publicity
we ever had!
last thing, I think, that used to make me wonder.
I always wondered if Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth actually
ever got a copy of that original Solger record. And
he did, Mark Arm gave him his copy, thinking he could
just go out and buy another (wrong, lol), in exchange
for a rare Sonic Youth record (which he never got).
Several years later Mark got another Solger record and
had Paul sign it, and then I signed it a few months
ago as well." -- Kyle Nixon