Don't call it a comeback
The Missing 23rd and Glass and Ashes reunite for a rare performance this weekend
By Chris Mastrovito 06/16/2011
Many of us have learned to react to the familiar refrain “last show ever” with a smile, nod and eye-roll. Few bands making that promise will resist the follow-through. Sometimes, all it takes is a very convincing buddy with a 30th birthday wish.
That alone is one reason that Ventura County’s punk/hardcore scene is lucky that the guys in The Missing 23rd (M23) and Glass and Ashes (G&A), two of the 805’s most celebrated punk bands of the late ’90s and 2000s, have a friend like Jon Shimer.
“Jon Shimer is a manipulative jerk and we all love him very much,” explains Mike Gleeson, drummer or G&A.
Shimer, a local show promoter, after hearing about a possible G&A reunion, got the band to hold out on a comeback show until he could put enough heat on his other friends/local legends M23 to jump on the bill, too. Shimer has now turned his birthday into an all-out, all-ages local punk festival on two stages at Zoey’s Café, June 18, with a total of nine bands slated to perform, including locals The Fucking Wrath, Shattered Badge, Gun of a Son and Strike Anywhere from Richmond, Va. Many of us are lucky to get a cake.
“We are bracing ourselves for the punk party of the summer!” beams Polly Hoganson of Zoey’s.
In their heyday, both M23 and G&A released a handful of critically praised albums, toured all over the U.S. and Europe, and drew an enormous following, both locally and in the broader punk and hardcore scenes. A decade ago, it was near impossible not to come across a M23 sticker or T-shirt in Ventura or Santa Barbara if you so much as ventured outside. In the late ’90s M23 was like a punk rock Luke Skywalker, the new hope for Nardcore, helping to unite the Oxnard punk scene and inspiring a generation of new bands. Its sound was at once an exciting reinvention and something familiar. It drew from a steady diet of early ’80s East Coast and West Coast hardcore cranked up a few notches, with a positive message and the mesmerizing live presence of singer John Crerar.
Starting out under the name Kenji in 1999, the incredible Glass and Ashes was a whirlwind of spasmodic yet melodic hardcore/punk ’n’ roll adrenaline. With two full-lengths on Gainesville label No Idea Records the band ignited a following no less devoted, drawing comparisons to such bands as The Bronx and Drive like Jehu. The breakup in 2008 has been bemoaned by fans ever since.
“We have had a long incestuous history with the guys in Glass and Ashes,” says Crerar, referring to a member swap that might be called “Mike sharing.” Gleeson was the original rhythm section for M23, while G&A bassist Mike Carter was M23’s bassist in the later years. All the more reason that the members of both bands are looking forward to the event as not just a show, but a trip in the way-back machine. “I feel that I’ll always want to rock with my bros,” says Gleeson.
In the few years since the bands disintegrated, the members have stayed busy with other projects. (Gleeson has now put his whole heart into playing guitar in the indie band Lovebird, while Crerar juggles his dual identity as the singer for Stop Breathing and drummer of The Fucking Wrath, and other members can be found in such bands as The Pullmen, Creature Feature and Young Livers.) While, unfortunately, we can’t hold our breath for any new albums or tours from either band, both are wise enough not to label this as a final performance. “We’ve said that before, and here we are . . .. If there are still people out there that want to see us play,” adds Crerar cryptically, “you never know, we just might.”
Fans can also raise their glasses to M23’s release of a limited (only 123 copies) color vinyl pressing of its second album (never before on vinyl) CTRL+ALT+DEL, which will only be available at the show on June 18, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the original CD release.
“Rock your TFW or M23 tee, sport closed-toed shoes, bust out the earplugs and prepare to have your face melted,” instructs Polly Hoganson.
Tickets for Jon Shimer’s birthday at Zoey’s Café, on June 18 are moving fast. They are available from Salzer’s Records or online through ticketweb.com.