Wednesday, June 2, 2010

400 Blows - 3-19-98

Here's another one that I'm extremely excited to be posting.

400 Blows were part of the Downtown LA scene that also spawned Leopold and Sleestak. In fact, I remember hearing that members of Sleestak and Leopold were instrumental in getting the band members together. Out of the three, though, 400 Blows became the most popular, taking a Melvins/Karp-style assault to an even more basic, primal level.

Christian (or Xian, as he later became known) played a guitar that was tuned to a single chord. He played with two fingers and daisy chained two amps together to get the high-end squeal and the low-end bass, so he effectively acted as both guitarist and bass player. Ferdie was the manic metronomic drummer propelling and accenting the wall-of-sound that emanated from Christian's two amps (and two fingers). At the front of the stage, Skot gyrated and contorted his body like a spastic as he delivered his oddball lyrics of alienation and reckless abandon. All three members wore black naval uniform shirts that Skot found in a thrift store. Sometimes Christian wore a bunny thing on this head. Eventually, Skot expanded his wardrobe to include black leather gloves and aviator sunglasses.

Most of these songs have been rerecorded and released on other 400 Blows albums, but this is how I remember the band sounding - a raw, in-your-face attack by an overgrown three-year-old who tauntingly chants "na na-na na na" as he beats your face into the edge of the concrete curb. For that, this is absolutely my favorite album by them. I suggest turning it up as loud as your ears can take, then a few more clicks and dancing like a heathen to the primitive groove.

I believe they're still around in some incarnation, though Skot's the only original member at this point. After not seeing them for years, I caught them in 2004 at the Knitting Factory in NYC. Skot was outside and he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw me. He gave me a hug and got my buddy and me in on the list. That's the last time I saw the original lineup.

The images and music were uploaded with the full consent of Anthony Francoso, owner of Total Annihilation Records. Thank you, Anthony!

400 Blows
3-19-98 CD
(Total Annihilation)

Sample tracks:

The Bull That Killed the Matador

Premature Burial

Electric Wilderness


  1. Um, Chuck...first off,thanks so much for posting this. But, and this is embarassing- I can't find the file. I downloaded it, extracted it, I made numerous attempts to find it on the external hard drive to which I had the album extracted, but I could not find it. What is the file titled. It sounds like a whiny request, but could you re-upmit and give it an easier title? Begining a file with numerical characters seems to always cause me problems.

    -crabby old man ron (who REALLY wants to hear the 400 Blows recording)

  2. The name of the file is the album title, 3-19-98. Numerical titles are usually listed before the alphabetical ones.

  3. This shit is amazing. LA had a worthy answer to the Cows and the Jesus Lizard- they were just as good and just as unique