Ever heard of Corvallis Oregon? No. The answer is no, you have not. Oh you have? Well you must be from there, so it doesn’t count. Oh you’re not from there? Well you must go to school there then. Look pal I’m going to have to ask you to stop interfering with my blog.
The point is, most people have never heard of this place. I’ve never been there myself, but I’m very aware of it, and I will be there this July as a pit-stop on my way to San Francisco (I’ll probably talk more about that trip at some point). That’s what Corvallis is though; a pit-stop, and I think kind of an important one for touring punk bands, especially if you go back a couple decades. In the 90’s a lot of your Gilman bands did excursions up to Seattle or Vancouver. I think I read somewhere that Aaron and Billy Joe wrote a Pinhead Gunpowder song on the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver. I might have just made that up in my head though. Anyway, a lot of bands did these little Northwest mini-tours, and Corvallis was often a pit-stop for them, but the reason this town is really significant is because it was home to my favourite record label of all time Mutant Pop Records. It’s for that reason alone that I decided to make this a stop on my trip, in hopes of finding some trace of the Mutant Pop legacy. I have visions of finding a dusty old milk crate of Mutant Pop EP’s in the back of the local record shop. I know that’s never gonna happen. I’ll still be disappointed when it doesn’t, but hey, that’s not what I’m here to tell you.
I’m here to tell you what’s happening in Corvallis NOW and, well, the same thing is still happening by the looks of it. Lots of great local bands and lots of other west coast bands stopping there to play. A whole butt-pile of them happened to be there just a couple weeks ago for the Sinking City Pop Fest. If you missed it, and I’m almost certain you did, you’re in luck cuz they made a comp featuring all the incredible bands that played. I mean, I’m assuming the festival went ahead as planned. I have no evidence that it actually took place. Maybe someone from Corvallis can let me know about that if you’re reading this. Maybe write me a whole re-cap of the festival and I’ll post it? Maybe we hang out when I’m in town? Maybe we become best friends forever?
If you know anything about me (and I hope you don’t), you know (you shouldn’t) that I’m a super-nerd for Lookout! Records and Mutant Pop Records. Most people are familiar with Lookout! but not everyone remembers Mutant Pop, so here’s a little blast from the past.
Way back in the 1990’s there was an influx of, what’s commonly known as, Pop Punk. I don’t like calling it that though, because when someone says ‘pop punk’ the first thing I think of is every band that was on the Survival Of The Fattest comp, and though that stuff was fairly rad, it’s not at all what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about what was on the Punk USA comp. I sometimes refer to it as grease-punk or weasel punk, leather jacket punk (not to be confused with spikey jacket punk), snot punk if you will; That late 80’s/early 90’s Ramones-revival punk, made popular by bands like Screeching Weasel and The Queers. It’s pop punk. Everyone calls it pop punk, but it’s not the same as the other pop punk. It’s Mutant Pop Punk. It’s more like rock’n’roll punk. It’s more Buddy Holly with distortion than it is The Descendents with a skateboard. I know, it all gets very confusing. I still have no fucking clue what the difference is between Crust and Grind.
Mutant Pop Records was a label that came out of Corvallis Oregon, which is where Oregon State University is. It was kind of like a pit stop for a lot of touring bands back then. Like Olympia junior or something. This label was fanatically committed to pumping out the greasy style of punk I speak of. I mean they put out tons of bands, and every one of them followed the exact same formula for punk rock’n’roll. They all sounded exactly the same. I mean they all practically had the same album cover, of the band standing there in leather jackets looking as uncool as possible. It doesn’t matter ok. It doesn’t matter how many bands sound exactly the same. They’re all going to be awesome because it was the most awesome genre of all time ok. That’s what Mutant Pop and I understand and so few other people do. It’s ok though. That’s not what I’m trying to show you with this post.
Really I just wanted to share this cool clipping from the Mutant Pop ‘ZINE’. This was issue #9 from February 1995, and it featured a lot of cool stuff. I do recommend exploring the website. You can find the zines in the Old Catalogs section. If you’re strapped for time though (God you must be important), then at least check out the pic below. It’s from the TOP 10 of ‘94 section which featured submissions from quality dirtbags like Ben Weasel & Joe Queer and (as seen below) the very best person of all time, Blake Schwarzenbach. You know what’s really neat-o is the incomplete submission and apology from Corin Tucker of Sleater Kinney fame, talking about her new band.. Sleater Kinney! Wow cool right! This whole post was leading up to this moment.