artwork by Rick Froberg.
artwork by Rick Froberg.
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…
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. )…
Atom 4 of the Protons and Electrons series is now available. The Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends side is a song called “Paved Age”, which is a song that is ostensibly about the founding of the Interstate Highway System.
The other side features the mighty Nonagon, with their song Saffir-Simpson.
Atom 4 of Protons and Electrons features the inimitable of Chicago, a scrappy and joyous noiserock/post-punk trio whose heart and tenacity have been as inspiring as their songs. A particularly blisteringly and badass set in 2014 that reminded me of everything I loved about making music was the clinching factor for putting together what would become Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends. I’m not saying you can blame them DIRECTLY, but… partial blame, sure. -Conan
Like all of the Protons and Electrons series, this is a digital single, paired with a physical 7″ release that is available to mail order. There will be 12 of these in total. As per normal, free to listen to… $2 for a download and you can preorder the limited edition 7″ (only 300 ever!) all at the link. Spread the word around…