Surprise! We’re closing out Saturday night at the this year’s PRF BBQ West in Oakland, California. Get all of the details here. Hope to see you all there. …
Atom 3 of the Protons and Electrons series is now available to listen and order. As always: Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends is Conan Neutron, Tony Ash and Dale Crover (of (the) Melvins) providing the A-Side: RECANT! and on the B-side is Mr. Rick Valentin of Thoughts Detecting Machines (and Poster Children… of course) with Alllies.
Like all of the Protons and Electrons series, this is a digital single, paired with a physical 7″ release that is available to mailorder. There will be 12 of these in total.
RECANT! is riff heavy rumination on heresy and the process of heresy becoming fact.
Rick contributes an excellent guitar track to a future Protons and Electrons release, but most importantly he is part of this series because of what Thoughts Detecting Machines is.
A one man band in the sense of being a self-contained live and recording unit, not in the “bass drum strapped to back and cymbals between legs” sort of way, the way Thoughts Detecting Machines operates has been an inspiration to Team Neutron Friends.
Find a way to say “yes” to awesome opportunities, strip things down to their barest essentials and challenge yourself to dig deeper, try something different and let go of familiar anxieties.
In any case, you can listen to it here and you can order the 7″ as well. Thanks!
Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends – Atom 2 is available to listen to and purchase!
Secret Friends is Conan Neutron on guitar and vocals / Tony Ash on bass and Dale Crover of the Melvins on drums. Toshi Kasai engineers and produces. This song trends towards the poppy/hooky side of the band and is called “Hate Secretary”
Atom 2 of 12 in the Protons and Electrons split single series.
Side B is the excellent rock band Quivers from San Francisco, California
“Although nobody in Quivers has yet played in Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends, all members of Quivers have been playing together in some capacity before coming together in this Voltron like formation of excellent rock.
As one continues “in the game”, more and more people fall off or become a soft parody of what they once more. These rockers have doubled down and are doing some of their most interesting work. It’s a delight to have played with these fellas and their irresistible hooks in any permutation over the past 18 or so years, and I look forward to doing so for years to come!”
In any case, check it out. They don’t ship until the 1st… but the SF Secret Friends show will be the 7″ release show as both bands are playing. here it is:
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Former East Bay resident and noted purveyor of noise rock Conan Neutron brings his current tour backed by his Secret Friends to the Bay Area for a pair of homecoming shows this weekend in SF and Oakland.
A longtime Oakland resident, Neutron was the principle creative force behind the East Bay noise-punk outfit Replicator with bassist Ben Adrian (who later played in Cartographer) and drummer Chris Bolig during the 2000s. Echoing the lurching, dissonant sounds of such influential ’90s acts as the Jesus Lizard, Melvins and SF’s own Steel Pole Bathtub, the group built up a small but loyal fan base over the course of several albums and U.S. tours.
The group dissolved amicably in 2008, with Neutron initially working with Bolig in the still noisy but somewhat more traditional rock group Mount Vicious. Neutron would then spend a number of years touring and recording with anthemic post-punk band Victory and Associates, as well as co-founding and organizing PRF BBQ West, a series of multi-day festivals in Oakland that hosted an eclectic group of noisy, heavy bands from the Bay Area and abroad for several years running.
conan neutron Noise Rock Hero Plays Homecoming Bay Area Shows
A few years ago, he began a new loose-limbed partnership with Melvins drummer Dale Crover and bassist Tony Ash (of Louisville, KY’s Trophy Wives) under the moniker Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends. Though their first effort The Enemy of Everyone in 2015 was more of a traditional power trio (with co-producer Toshi Kasai adding percussion and vocals and Oxbow singer Eugene Robinson providing vocals on the song “Fight Math”), their savage follow-up The Art of Murder drew on collaborators from a variety of bands including Crover’s partner in the Melvins, Buzz Osborne. Neutron also launched his punk-focused Nope Radio podcast Protonic Reversal featuring interviews with such renowned musicians as Black Flag/OFF! singer Keith Morris and Eagles of Death Metal/earthlings? guitarist Dave Catching.
Neutron has since left relocated to Milwaukee (he helped with the first PRF BBQ there last summer), but this week he returns to the Bay Area with the touring line-up of the Secret Friends featuring Ash on bass, his former Replicator/Mount Vicious partner Bolig on drums and Erica Strout (of Motherf–ker fame) on guitar. Instead of a traditional album, Neutron and company recently launched their Proton and Electrons split single series. The even dozen limited edition 7-inch singles set to be released over the next year will feature a new Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends song on one side and a tune by a band that has collaborated with Neutron and friends on the flip.
For the show at the Hemlock Tavern Friday, Neutron and the Secret Friends will be joined by like-minded SF band Quivers (who are the band featured on the just released second Proton and Electrons single) and experimental prog/punk project Lords of Sealand. On Saturday, the group plays the newly opened Elbo Room Jack London with an opening set from SF instrumental quartet Roland and a headlining performance by one-man noise wrecking crew Reptoid.
Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends
Friday, March 23, 8:30 p.m. $8
Saturday, March 24, 9 p.m. $7
Elbo Room Jack London…
Despite the decentralizing power of technology, there still exists the un-killable notion of musicians leaving whatever flyover states they grew up in and “making it” on one of the coasts. Conan Neutron has it all wrong: Last June, the Oakland, California punk musician packed up after 22 years in the Bay Area and moved to the Midwestern climes of Milwaukee, taking the spirit of his band (if not all the members), Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends, with him. A revolving super group of sorts (the current recording lineup features Melvins’ drummer Dale Crover, and former Coliseum and Trophy Wives member Tony Ash), Neutron and company are no strangers to Milwaukee, with the singer-songwriter’s former band, Victory And Associates, once a part of Milwaukee’s Latest Flame Records. But now, as much as any group with members spread throughout the country can be (other Secret Friends call Athens and San Francisco home), Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends are officially a Milwaukee band.
This Friday at Club Garibaldi, the group will celebrate the release of their first “Protons and Electrons” split seven-inch, backed with a track from Trophy Wives. Eleven more seven-inches will be released over as many months, eventually adding up to a full album. Before the tour-kickoff show (which will also feature sets from Body Futures and Guerilla Ghost), Milwaukee Record spoke to Neutron about his music (“Weird music by weirdos, for weirdos,” he says), moving to the middle of the country, and doing other “stupid” stuff.
Milwaukee Record: So let’s get the big question out of the way: Why move from California to Wisconsin? What are your ties to Milwaukee?
Conan Neutron: Basically, they’re all from touring. My old band, whenever we’d come through town, we would always play Milwaukee and have a great time. Some of my closest friends are from touring, a large portion of which live in Milwaukee. The IfIHadAHiFi guys being some of them.
We didn’t leave the Bay Area because we disliked it, it was pretty much a matter of being priced out. It was a choice between having a life where you can really lay into the things you really want to do, or fight as hard as you can just to stay above water. Moving to a place with a lower cost of living makes it easier to do that kind of thing. Especially for me, with my main creative pursuit being Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends, we’re all spread out anyway, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to stay in Oakland, especially with everything skyrocketing. So we narrowed it down to a bunch of different cities, and Milwaukee was definitely attractive because we had an existing base of friends. There’s a lot in common between Oakland and Milwaukee—there are a lot of differences as well—but that’s how we ended up heading east from the Wild West. [laughs]
MR: What are some of those differences and similarities between the two cities?
CN: The Bay Area is very concerned with technology, with apps, and with things along those lines. That’s where all the energy is focused, whereas actual art…The Bay Area is world-renowned, for good reason, for being a hotbed of different types of art, whether its visual, comics, music, etc. But the focus in the past decade has changed toward tech, and there’s so much going on at any given moment in time, that there’s almost too much of everything. Which, by the nature of availability, kind of devalues the experience. Not necessarily devaluing playing for the sake of playing, but it makes it a different kind of thing.
This isn’t a new thing. I think most bands, or most bands that tour, will say, “People didn’t really get into us until we got bigger around the country.” That’s a pretty common refrain, and it’s that way for a reason. Outside validation. There’s a record label named World Famous in San Francisco. And that’s totally a thing. [laughs] It happens in a lot of areas, where a local band is very well known. But the World Famous in San Francisco attitude is hilarious because it’s so …
Hello! This is “A Litany of Grievances” the new single from Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends (Me: guitar/Vocals, Tony Ash: Bass, Dale Crover: Drums). This is Atom 1, the first volume of a 12 volume series called “Protons and Electrons”. Each Protons and Electrons volume features a great band on the B-side that either plays in Secret Friends, Records with Secret Friends or has some heavy relevance to how Neutron Friends came to be. In this case the other band is TROPHY WIVES, their first release in quite some time. Trophy Wives features the low end majesty of Mr. Tony Ash. Tony and I were label mates with previous bands and toured on multiple occasions. If I am the brain of the Secret Friends, he is absolutely the heart. It would probably exist without him, but I wouldn’t want it too. As per always the incredible Toshi Kasai is in the producer’s chair on this one, engineering and mixing as well, and in this case Cristy Joy provided some excellent background vocals.
The B-Side song: Trophy Wives – “Tomorrowland” was always a favorite of mine live, and it’s a pleasure to have it associated with this series. It’s an ass kicker.
Bob Weston of Chicago Mastering Company mastered and cut the lacquer.
This 7” is available for immediate purchase at $8 each, each one comes in a limited edition hand screened jacket by Christopher Williams of Plastic Flame Press, shipping later in March.
You can also purchase a digital version through bandcamp or through any of the usual ways one does that (as of later this week).
To say that this is a massive undertaking is an understatement of the highest order. It has been a grueling and involved process that is now just beginning to pay off with the actual release. Take all of the hassles of one release and multiply it by a dozen, and then involve other bands as well… yeah… let’s go ahead and say I have some tales. Yet, this is the way we wanted to present this material to you, as singles… months by months as part of this series.
What you will see is a digital single every month, followed by a physical single of the same song the next one.
If you wish you can purchase a “Friends of the Neutron” subscription and guarantee yourself a copy of each one as well as copies of the entire back catalog digitally, a custom t-shirt and another fun surprise. Either way, this is here for you to listen to now, and that makes us very happy. Spread the word!
hi everybody, long time no talk?
(in this format anyway)
Alright so in celebration of Bandcamp’s day of action for Trans Rights, we’d like to present you with “Conversion” a NeutronFriends song sung by our friend Ashley Altadonna from The Glacial Speed Conan Neutron-Guitar, Tony Ash-Bass, Dale Crover-Drums, Sean Kirkpatrick of Nervous Curtains-Piano, Moog, Synth.
A powerful song sung about the horrifying “conversion therapy” process.
This was released in conjunction with bandcamps day of action for trans rights, 100% of the proceeds for this song go to the Transgender Law Center, a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to change law, policy, and culture for the more equitable. Please enjoy, consider purchasing a copy and remember to support equal rights for all.
(Oh yeah, there are a couple of other tunes on there as well, and you can buy the whole Secret Friends digital discography for under $6 this weekend. Also going to the Transgender Law Center
Also, a bunch of new Secret Friends stuff coming up soon. )…
Conan answered some questions from Shiny Grey Monotone.
Here it is: Secret Friends are discussed, as well as Replicator, Mount Vicious, Victory and Associates all with candor and honesty.
Dale Crover, David Yow, Industrial guest appearances Radio NOPE and damn near everything else.
Also includes a weighty “awesome band” list is that would be a worthy homework assignment for any discerning rocker. I can already think of at least a half dozen bands I forgot to include. Damn!
you may recognize the name.
and even if you don’t you’ll still find yourself saying “that’s a pretty kick-ass name. why couldn’t my parents name me conan neutron. i hate my parents!” and then running into your room and slamming the door behind you and then cranking up the stereo. and this is the point where’d you’d forgotten that you hadn’t taken out that BEST OF ABBA cd and now everyone knows your dirty little secret.
and before all of this begins i need to clear something up: conan is in no way shape or form related to jimmy. don’t bring it up. the last time that happened it wasn’t so nice. you may have heard about it on the news.
also: never mention that pointer sisters song either. just don’t.
some of you may have heard of some bands with names like:
victory and associates
you may have even seen them around here on SGM island.
and if you haven’t you’ve just been voted off.
nowadays he’s fronting/playing guitar in a band with some of his secret friends.
and no i’m not going to tell you who they are.
that’s his job.
Q: seeing as how you and your secret friends league have just been brought up…tell us all about that.
A: Sure, this is like my weirdo rock version of the Avengers, or something. Every player is a superstar totally capable of badass acts of heroism and power on their own, but coming together for a greater purpose. I suppose that would make me Captain America. I guess Tony Ash is Iron Man and Dale Crover is the Hulk? Wait, no Thor. Toshi Kasai is… uh… Nick Fury?
Wait… this is dumb.
Another way to look at it, is this is my version of the the Bad Seeds or something. The players sometimes change and cycle in, but the basic core remains the same and the songs come from me originally before being twisted, contorted and shaped into whatever dark forces come together at the end. It’s my version of rock ‘n roll. And that includes a world where Melvins, Bon Scott era AC/DC, DEVO, Unwound, The Jesus Lizard and Thin Lizzy all should be lauded equally. You get me? It’s rock, but with the no bullshit or excuses attitude that can only come from people that live and breathe punk rock/noise rock or whatever the hell you want to call it.
From my standpoint, it’s a little bit of every band I’ve ever been in, and a little bit something entirely different, I’m writing the kind of music I’d like to hear and trying to use all of the lessons I’ve learned over the years to make that a really cool thing. I’m surrounded by great and brilliant people and one of the best rhythm sections a guitarist could hope for. Pretty cool.
Q: dale crover. does he still like to stand around the water cooler and wait for folks to walk by so he can tell some of his grunge stories?
A: oh, constantly! He’s always like: “Man, this one time Tad and I pants-ed Krist Noviselic and he…” and we’re like: “OK! COOL DUDE, WE GET IT.”
No, in all seriousness Dale is one of the sweetest dudes in the world, and all of us have tour stories or crazy back in the day stories. It just so happens that some of his involve people that are incredibly, incredibly famous. It’s easy to forget because he’s such a nice fella.
Although he is always shouting: “ok boys, I really want you to GRUNGE OUT on this next one.”
Don’t know what all that is about.