Saturday, February 7, 2015

Skinheads of Asia

Skinheads of Asia documentary.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spiky Brats


The Spiky Brats are a pissdrunk pogopunk band from Seoul, South Korea.
Proud and Strong (2004)
01 - Beer Class
02 - Sick Seoul
03 - Proud & Strong
04 - Die To The World
05 - Together Moshing
06 - Happy Days
07 - Fury On Bastard
08 - Beer & Pogo
09 - We Never Change
10 - Fight Again
11 - 4Q (Blitz Cover)

New Posts! About Goddamn Time!


Hello there my fellow Punx, Skins, Rudies and Hooligans, this is your humble narrator. I've had alot of shit happen to me over the last year and spent alot of time without a home, job, truck, girl, or cat. So the internet was the least of my concerns. Well fuck, I have some of those things back, namely an apartment and my neighbors stolen wifi so I would like to get back to some of things that bring me happyness. That means posting music that needs to be shared with the world. So Cheers and EnjOi!.

Monday, April 13, 2009


To someone who doesn't know much about Korea, Samchung is kind of weak as a band name; it just sounds like Samsung. And if you see it written in Korean, 삼청 교육대 (Samchung Kyo-Yook-Dae), it looks like a university name. But if you wear the band's name around Korea, you'll get an interesting variety of reactions.

In the early '80s, after South Korea's most popular dictator Park Junghee was assassinated by one of his closest friends, power was seized by the man who would become Korea's worst dictator, Chun Doohwan. Chun created Samchung Re-Education Center, a place where he sent gangsters, homeless, the undereducated, the overeducated, leftists--basically anyone he considered an enemy of the state. Apparently 60 000 people were arrested, and over 3000 died there. Certainly not as bad as what was going on in North Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia, etc, but remember that South Korea wasn't above prison camps as recently as the 1980s.

Having a band named Samchung around certainly raises awareness of this dark page in South Korean history. On the other hand, Samchung is basically a far-right band that seems to support Korea's pre-democracy regimes. I've never gotten a straight answer out of them on why they chose that name.

Samchung is probably the senior skinhead band of the scene, although they're not really identifiable as skinheads. The lead singer, Donghyuk, had to grow his hair out, apparently when he got a job at a pizza parlour--I'm guessing so that the hairnet would fit.

The bassist, Boram, still keeps his head shaved, and I'm sure he's still got that belly tattoo.

I'm not exactly sure how the doo-rags came in, but it seems they're copying similar nationalist bands in Japan. These guys are into all kinds of nationalism, having covered "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" by Skrewdriver. Also, Boram, the tattooed bassist shown above, swears he saw Pluton Svea play live when he was in Sweden.

As these guys have drifted more and more towards metal, they've brought pretty well the whole skinhead scene with them. It's their influence that turned Captain Bootbois away from oi and toward metal. Also the skinheads who don't follow along with them get left behind.

Here you can download a mix of Samchung songs from three stages in their 12-year career. The earliest song is "Rest in Peace," off an old compilation where you'd swear they're Agnostic Front. Next up are two songs from their album "Way of Men" (in which their session drummer was a woman). And it's finished up with the most recent songs, their half of a Samchung/Captain Bootbois split.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dirty Small Town

As previously detailed on this site, the retirement of one of Korea's wildest, craziest skinheads resulted in the dissolution of Jiraltan99. The guitarist and bassist of that band went on to make their own project, Dirty Small Town. This band didn't last long, but they managed to get one good professional-sounding EP out before the inevitable.

The core of the band was Yongwook and Seokyoon, and they went through a few drummers and were even joined by the occasional guest vocalist.

They switched back and forth on vocal duties, but I got the impression Yongwook was supposed to be the main singer.

Seokyoon was a worryingly short guy, but as usual the short guys tend to be the toughest for some reason. And he was never afraid to take off his shirt. In fact, a little too not afraid. I have it on good authority from a Canadian skingirl who will go unnamed, but who was somewhat overweight at the time, that he was able to pick her up and carry her back to his home, where he had his way with her four times in one night.

(Yes, I make skinhead collector cards. Good for a laugh.)

To be honest, they were a little baffling to watch at times because of the dual vocals, but they had a few performances where they really nailed it. Whenever they performed, all the skinheads physically able to make it would be standing on stage with them, adding backing vocals and I guess trying to be in my photos.

Here's their old singer Seungpa coming temporarily back from retirement.

And this singer is Jiwoong, who used to front the band Oi Broker who never did a single recording.

Yongwook eventually grew tired of the direction the skinhead scene was taking, more deeply into far-right politics, and ended up growing his hair out. Seokyoon went the opposite direction, joining Samchung and I'm assuming joining the far-right brigade. I'll have a report on them in the future.

They released a six-song EP that does them justice and features the usual brigade of guest vocalists. Notable songs are track 2, "Working Hard, and track 6, "Dirty Small Town" (not another Pogues cover, don't worry) which features Yeongsoon from Attacking Forces and Jonghee from Rux. The funniest song is track 3, Gochu Chingu, which translates to the meaningless-sounding "Pepper Friend" but in Korean is a term for freakishly close friends, and gochu/pepper is slang for penis. Download "All Together Now" by Dirty Small Town.

Attacking Forces

It was January 25, 2004, the day after Skunk Hell, Korea's main punk club, had their first show. I woke up hungover and not totally sure I got back to my own bed. I had everything with me, the remains of my wrecked camera and all that. On the memory card was a recollection of things my own memory had blocked out. Oh, and there was something else new. A name/e-mail that I didn't remember getting. Yeong Soon, Kong Kyuk Dae, and contact info.

Who the hell was this? I asked a Korean female friend on MSN, and we agreed that Yeong Soon sounded like a girl's name, and Kong Kyuk Dae was possibly a university, as "Dae" is shorthand for university. It could be Konkuk University.

I don't know if she was pulling my leg, because Kong Kyuk Dae means "Attacking Forces," and Yeongsoon is one of the last guys I photographed that night. Here's me with him in a picture I have no memory taking.

Back in those days, the only people who went to shows in Korea were band members and people starting bands. It was a fiercely talented crowd but it meant no money for promoters as just about everyone there got comped at the door.

Attacking Forces was a rare band based outside of Seoul. Back then, there virtually was no punk scene outside Seoul, and it's still pretty well the same. The exception is the small inland university town of Cheongju, population just over half a million. There's basically no punk scene in larger Korean cities, including Busan, Korea's second largest city, but for some unknown reason this one little place has produced some of the best punk and hardcore of the peninsula.

Part of it is due to the management of MF Crew, a record label that supports local bands as well as other non-Seoul bands. Attacking Forces is the only skinhead band on that label.

The two skinhead members, Yeongsoon, the singer, and Jongo, the guitarist, are my favourite Koreans.

For a long time, Attacking Forces was a bit of a typical Asian cookie-cutter oi band, but then every single other Korean band doing that sound either broke up or turned metal. Part of the reason is Yeongsoon was conscripted when the scene was at its height, and when he came back everything had changed but him. Oh, except he lost a ton of weight. Now they always get a good rise at shows because they're a rare fun, uncomplicated band with memorable tunes.

There's one other story you must hear about guitarist Jongo. You wouldn't know it to look at him because he's a small guy, but he's the lightweight boxing champion of his entire province.

Apparently at the tournament, just before weigh-in, he was going to be the smallest guy in his weight class. Then he took a dump, and weighed in just at the top of the weight class below. So basically, he won this trophy for defecating.

Attacking Forces were working on an album just before Yeongsoon was sent up to the border fence. It sat in a box for two years before he returned and they finished laying down all the tracks. This was one long-assed recording several years in the making, but it was worth the wait. Download Beer, Blood, and Boots here.

Also included is a cover of "Dirty Old Town" by the Goo Gang Sung Gyo Orchestra, which is just a masturbation reference Yeongsoon made up when he was fooling around with some recording equipment at work one day.

Here's me with the AF boys back when I had my Abraham Lincoln chops.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Translating literally to "Mad Bullet 99," which is the Korean term for a gas grenade, Jiraltan99 is a name that stirs up weird feelings in Korean people. Once while at work my boss caught me with a Korean dictionary translating the song "바보처럼 살련다" ("Live Like Idiots"), and he simply said "Don't listen to that song." He was simultaneously offended by the band name, the song title's implication, and the disrespectful verb tense of the song. It doesn't take a lot to offend people in South Korea.

These guys were the flagship skinhead band of Korea in 2003 and 2004, when Captain Bootbois vocalist Donghyun was in the army. They were a great live band, partly for their preference of vocals in their native tongue and partly because everyone who saw them play tended to know all the vocals themselves.

Their vocalist, Seungpa, was basically the Korean Joe Hawkins--he was wild, unpredictable, and always up for either verbal or physical sparring.

He had a, uh, special relationship with me, and would always taunt me by reminding me that my name, Jon, is a popular Korean name for pet dogs. In retaliation, I named a kitten after him:

In retaliation, he nicknamed my then girlfriend (now wife) "Mongol Mary."

Unfortunately he was one of those guys who would be all skinhead as fuck one year, and then the next year he'd sober up and try to stop being a jerk. When I first saw Jiraltan99, Seungpa was sporting a pompadour, and a tattoo I'm sure he regrets by now:

Still, it never kept him from taking his shirt off on stage. A few months after that picture, he shaved in again for a year or so, then he officially went into the Skinhead Retirement Plan: rockabilly.

At that point, he gave up the band, and never got back on stage, not even for his new genre of choice. Jiraltan99 was finished, without leaving us a quintessential recording--except for one song on the Skunk Label compilation, and one poorly recorded split album with a band I've never heard of.

The remaining members, Seokyoon and Jongwook, started their own band, Dirty Small Town, who will be spotlighted on this site in the near future. However, Dirty Small Town lacked a good frontman, with the guitarist and bassist switching off vocals a little too frequently to follow along with and leading to the feeling that they're just backup vocalists and their lead singer is offstage. To their credit, they released a good EP with some well-produced songs. Still, their only good shows were when Seungpa jumped back on stage and sang "바보처럼 살련다."

Download the one good Jiraltan99 song, and their half of the split album here.