Tag Archives: the Minutemen

Secret Society in Smaller Lies

17 Oct , 2011,
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Tony Bergeron, drummer for Secret Society in Smaller Lies

Secret Society in Smaller Lies is a group that comes from Houma, LA. They played their first gig in January 2010.  Secret Society in Smaller Lies is a diverse group of friends and unorthodox musicians who all share an obsession in making music.

Drummer, Tony Bergeron says that the members of Secret Society in Smaller Lies let things come to them naturally at practice and they see where things go from there. He says that Secret Society in Smaller Lies is not concerned being a part of any scene or genre, because that is where he feels many artists begin to lack sincerity and authenticity. “All that frame of  mind does,” he says, “is regurgitate ditto copy bands.”

Secret Society in Smaller Lies lp cover

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–band members

Secret Society in Smaller Lies is Marc Miller on guitar and vocals, Cory Bergeron on bass, Joe Harp on vocals and synthesizer, Christian Yates on guitar, and Tony Bergeron on drums. Tony Bergeron says that SSiSL tries to utilize everyone’s best attributes.

Marc Miller and Tony Bergeron are cousins who starting playing together in a garage when they were around 11 or 12 years old. “We’ve always thrown around ideas and been in projects together. I’ve ran into Joe over the years at parties and we’ve always had really cool discussions about early electronic music.”

When a mutual friend suggested that Tony and Marc join him on a recording session, they were impressed with the sound he brought to the table.

“I was introduced to Christian in late ’99, when I moved to Houston for a short time with a friend from Houma,” Tony says. “At the time we were very much into Gang of Four and the Minutemen. When we’d jam it came off like cracked out jazz punk or something.”

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–all around the South…and California

Secret Society in Smaller Lies has performed in Lousiana, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama,Texas, and California.  A sampling of artists that Secret Society in SmallerSecret Societyband I Lies has played with include Columboid, Bombon, Savage Republic, Saccharine Trust, Wes Hartley and the Traveling Trees, Carnage Asada, Freda Rente and the X Chemical.

Secret Society in Smaller Lies has music on Youtube, Myspace, Facebook, and downloadable stuff on Reverbnation. They are currently in the process of recording an EP at the moment. Tony says that releasing the ep and getting a dependable van for touring are the band’s immediate goals. Tony has been setting aside cash for the tour van, from his day gig at the tire shop he works at. “So, it’ll be a few more weeks for us to knock that out” he laughs.

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–Learning Punk Rock as a kid

Tony told me that when he first started playing drums as a kid in late 1986, his uncleSecter Society II and older cousin would hand mix tapes to him, as a way to introduce him to newer music. Tony says that as early as 7 or 8 years old, he was hearing bands like the Replacements and Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat and the Circle Jerks.

He told me that every time he would go to the mall to buy
tapes he would have either an uncle or cousin guiding his options. “It was a cool time for me. One minute I’d be listening to hard edged stuff from the Dead Kennedys and the next to PIL, the Dead Milkmen, the Cult, the Smiths, and so many others. It was great having older cats show me all these diverse bands.” He says that he felt very fortunate to have the guidance that he did.

Secter Societyband II

Tony Bergeron says that today, he is still listening mainly to the older stuff. “The Screamers, Black Sabbath, the B-52s, the Minutemen, Saccharine Trust, MC5, James Brown, Sebadoh, Hawkwind, PIL, Mission of Burma…I could go on for days man,” he laughs again.  “Right now i have WIRE’s ‘Pink Flag” in my bedroom cd player.”

As I sometimes do, I asked Tony Bergeron if an alien landed on Earth and only knew Earth music from radio broadcasts, how he would describe the music of Secret Society in Smaller Lies. He responded that the band is somewhat a mixture of Black Sabbath, the Cure, and the Talking Heads. Hmmm…Interesting. I think I like it.




Secret Society in Smaller Lies.


X–I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

4 Jun , 2011,
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X–I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts.

I awoke this morning at my mountain top, the smell of coffee and bachelor chow ala campfire caught my attention. My sister’s

EXENE and JOHN DOEbirthday would be coming soon. It’s almost June. June is No Negativity Month. I like it.

After my first coffee and choker, I was thinking of the band X. more specifically, I was thinking of the bass part from I Must not Think Bad Thoughts, from X’s 1983 Electra/Asylum release, More Fun in the New World.

When we were in high school, our youth minister, JD had the greatest vinyl collection–indeed, one of the greatest music collections–I had ever seen.  JD was a divorced guy in his mid 30s.  JD was the guy who could make a twenty minute drive in ten minutes when he had to.    He was pastor of the Methodist Church.  His favorite band is probably still the Rolling Stones.  JD introduced us high school kids, living in the hills, to lots of punk rock and new wave…and the band X.




X–Will the last American band to get played on the radio, please bring the flag?

x los angeles coverIt’s funny that although I liked the way the Americans played rock and roll–we invented it, for cryin’ out loud!–I was still neck-deep in both British Invasions–Beatles, Stones, Sex Pistols, the Clash,  I already knew who Sioiuxsie and the Banshees were, and my friends and I were starting to get into more American rockabilly.  Some–okay, a lot of–the early Sun Records material still sounded kinda hokey to us at first.  This would take some getting used to, but we would manage.

I already knew a little about Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins from my grandmother.  Dad taught me about Elvis and Bill Haley and the Comets when I was younger–wasn’t rock Around the Clock  used as the opening for the first season of Happy Days?

Anyway, I wasn’t just being plunged into ice cold 1950s rockabilly without any preparation. I was already a Stray Cats fan.  I knew a little about rockabilly, I just preferred to work my way back to the original artists slowly.

One day after school, my friends and I went to see what JD was up to.  When we got to his place,  JD was watching a beta–anyone old enough to remember Betamax?–copy of an X concert  that we watched.  I was about 16 at the time.

X–Talk about presence…john doe

I was drawn to X.  I remember not being able to take my eyes off of Exene Cervenka.  Billy Zoom, standing like a damned statue,playing all the right guitar notes.  And to me, X has always been about John Doe and his amazing, perfectly-timed and phrased bass parts and vocals.

X wasn’t even really rockabilly, exactly.  I heard the term “Cowpunk” a few times to describe X’s sound.  I like it.  I think it fits.

Discovering what other American bands were doing in the early 1980s

I had pretty much been a Clash guy for a few months at that point–with other music drifting in and out–but when I heard I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, and the long list of perhaps unjustly over-looked American bands, I knew I was on a mission.  I had to find out about some of this music.  I had heard of many of the American artists they mentioned in the song, but I had really yet to discover “…the Minutemen, Flesh Eaters, D.O.A., Big Boys and Black Flag…”

I was looking forward to the journey.  I still enjoy the journey.

Yeah, don’t get me started on the band, Journey.  June is coming soon.  June is “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” month.  I’llbilly zoom rant against the band Journey again soon enough, I suspect.

In the Beatles’ song, Let it Be, Paul McCartney tells us that in his times of trouble, he is comforted by Mother Mary and her words of wisdom.  That’s cool.  I’m glad.  I often like to listen to X and remind myself that I must not think bad thoughts.  In many ways, it’s the same thing.

From the top of my mountain, morning chores and devotions over, I listen to the band X, and I don’t have to remind myself not to think bad thoughts.    X.



Guns and Roses’ Appetite for Destruction..!

7 May , 2011,
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Guns and Roses in 1987

I was thinking about the early part of the summer I turned 19, before I had ever heard of Guns and Roses. It was 1987. Nothing much was happening in my sphere of music that year, and I was getting bored. I would catch bits and pieces of bands like Sonic Youth, Husker Du, and others. Some, like the Minutemen, were over and done before I had any exposure to them. But, generally, I was bored. I was visiting a high school buddy in Venice, CA in mid summer. Sean and I used to listen to a lot of weird bands in high school, like the Boomtown Rats, X and some of the more popular New Wave. Now, Sean was doing the ’80s metal Hollywood thing.

The record Sean introduced me to that summer almost two months before it hit the rest of the world was Guns and Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. Damn! That record, going to Venice, getting into clubs underage, seeing Guns and Roses at the Troubadour, and generally feeling like Axl in the Welcome to the Jungle video, all hit me at once.  Here I was a 19 year old farm boy from Cathey’s Valley, going to school to learn and working in the recording industry in Hollywood in the late 1980s.

Guns and Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine has one of my favorite guitar solos ever

Years ago, my brother and I sat down to determine our favorite guitar solos in history.  We came up with a three way tie for first place.  First, was Little Piece of my Heart by Big Brother and the Holding Company.  I haven’t heard that song in a while, but I remember that’s a good one. Our second choice for greatest solo ever was Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4.  We used to play that in marching band in high school.  That put the song in our heads.  So we listened to the record again, and were astonished that a band as heavily-reliant on horns would have one of the three greatest guitar solos of rock and roll history. The last was Guns and Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine.

Where to start with that song?

First, Sweet Child of Mine is perhaps one of a small handful of Guns and Roses songs that can be turned into an acoustic campfire song.  I have a rendition of what it might sound like if Johnny Cash were to play an rendition of Sweet Child of Mine.  Next time we have a campfire, buy me a beer or two and I’ll play it for you.  Sweet Child of Mine is simple.  When I play it, I start on D.  But, that guitar solo!  Damn!  Easily one of the Top Three ever. Want to argue?  Bring it on!  If you’ve got something better, I’d love to hear it.

I haven’t heard it in a while, but seems to me that I remember Sweet Child of Mine actually having two solos in one.  There’s the first part of the solo where Slash is getting warmed up, and it’s pretty cool. It begins at about 2:53 But, about 2/3 of the way through the solo, at about 3:25, Slash gets airborne!

Guns and Roses debut record.  Not bad at all.

I recall that all of the tunes on Appetite for Destruction were pretty good.  Some of the stand-out songs by Guns and Roses, for me were Welcome to the Jungle, My Michelle, Paradise City, Sweet Child of Mine and maybe You’re Crazy.