There’s a part during “Too High to Die”, the third track on Annihilation Time’s classic album II, where Jimmy Rose screams, “I got blood pouring from my mouth and I like the taste of it”. Over massive guitar riffs and even a cowbell, it sounds like the perfect storm of greasy 70s rock, blazing thrash and urgent 80s hardcore. You can almost feel the crushed beer cans underfoot.
Now the Oakland thrashers are heading to Melbourne to play their first show in six years as part of the Too Far Gone Rager, that also includes performance by bandmates Lecherous Gaze, White Walls, the Onyas and Hydromedusa.
II stands as an American power punk rock classic now into it’s fifth pressing with Brisbane label Tym releasing a new edition especially for the upcoming Melbourne show. Recorded in 2004 at Motorwolf Studios in Holland while the band was on tour, the album brings together the riffs of Thin Lizzy and Motorhead with the snarl of Black Flag and Siege.
Forming in Southern California in 2001, Annihilation Time were ferocious and constant touring (and partying) with bands like Municipal Waste and Caustic Christ earned them a cult like following across the US and Europe. Since the band split in 2009, members have gone on to play in numerous bands including Lecherous Gaze who are also about to embark on an Australian tour. We caught up with founding guitarist Graham Clise before the band boarded a plane to Australia.
Noisey: Granted your website hasn’t been updated for a while but under the shows section it just says “Yeah right…” Ha! How come you are playing again, in Melbourne of all places!
Graham Clise: Steve from Too Far Gone hit me up about AT playing Australia at the end of the Lecherous Gaze tour a couple years ago. Honestly I was never super into doing the reunion thing. I've always been into doing new music and not beating a dead horse, but those guys are my best buds in the world and the second we all got in the room together we were reverted right back into being the ridiculous morons we were as if not one day has passed. It's been really fun hanging out and it feels super natural playing those songs so fuck it why not?
Everyone references Sabbath and Black Flag but I like in an early interview where Jimmy said he preferred the Circle Jerks to Black Flag. “They are less serious and way more profound”.
The mind of old Jim is a complex enigma. One moment it'll be the Circle Jerks, the next who knows! I honestly don't think he gives two shits about what band is better.
You have a strong Cleveland connection. Jimmy and Shaun both played in Gordon Solie Motherfucker and Puncture Wound. Is Oakland like the Cleveland of the West Coast?
Both Oakland and Cleveland are shitty crime ridden dumps. Both cities seem to be really proud of being sketchy and ugly. That makes a perfect breeding ground for a band as you can easily be a rocker/ slacker in such an environment. Nobody will ever give you shit for playing loud music in the middle of the city in some warehouse. Cops won't even acknowledge your existence unless you are doing something seriously wrong. Although Cleveland seems grimmer, maybe because I'm a mellow California hippy compared to those hostile eastern Ohio folks.
Can we expect any covers in the set at the Tote?
You can expect Annihilation Time II played in its entirety, a couple old songs from the first record and a song from our third record. We're going to cover the Pink Fairies because they're the most perfect band ever.
II has become a modern classic now going into it’s fifth pressing. I bet you didn’t expect that when you recorded it in 2004.
No way. I still find that hard to believe. I love that record because it brings back crazy memories. We were basically living like rats in this legendary squat in Den Haag Holland called the Illusion. Some seriously good times and everyone in the band was really close to each other. Also there was a ton of LSD involved then so in hindsight that time has this very surreal and psychedelic vibe to it that's hard to explain.
You must be excited to be coming to Australia.
After the last Lecherous Gaze tour over there we we're like "fuck going anywhere else". Touring Europe is boring as hell compared to Australia. Everyone over there wants to try and talk to you about politics or about being sensitive. In Australia people want to party and have a good time and all the bands actually have serious balls to them.
Finally, is "The Worm" based on a real person?
Yes, he was this hilarious Southern Californian Jeff Spicoli dude that we used to hang out with.
Catch Annihilation Time in Melbourne at the Tote Oct 17.
Lecherous Gaze Australian Tour 2015:
Oct 15 – Adelaide at Crown and Anchor
Oct 16 – Melbourne at the Tote
Oct 21 – Melbourne at the Old Bar
Oct 22 – Canberra at the Phoenix
Oct 23 – Sydney at the Valve Bar
Oct 24 – Brisbane at the Crowbar
Oct 25 – Byron Bay at TBC
Oct 27 – Newcastle at the Croatian Club
Oct 28 – Sydney at Black Wire