This new feature is called No Place Like Home. The point of it is to interview bands about their hometowns and why they love where they’re from. When traveling it is always best to have a local to direct you to the spots worth spending your time and hard earned money.
When one of our readers travels to a place that is foreign to them they will have some solid recommendations from an awesome source, one of their favorite bands!
I know I look forward to checking out some of these places and am sure that there are many others who would be interested. Eventually the intention is to have a full blown travel guide here at B.G.M.!
Summer in the Pacific Northwest is usually a slow time for music locally. Attendance at shows is sparse. It is still light outside at this time of year and we need to take advantage of enjoying the outdoors before hibernation begins. Same goes for writing about music. I would much rather be camping, playing in the water somewhere or sitting outside having beers while hanging with family and friends than pecking away at the keyboard. To be honest, summer aside, I have been getting pretty tired of rock and metal.
GIVE ME SOMETHING TO BE EXCITED ABOUT!
Good To Die Records’ ears must’ve been burning. Maximum Mad from Portland revitalized my love of all things rock. The band’s debut release is the Dear Enemy EP. It comes on a tidal wave of anticipation being that the band is comprised of vets in the weirdo underground rock scene of Portland. This swift kick to the teeth feels more akin to a Whores record than most of the music coming out of their hometown recently.
Ever seen the movie Three Kings? That part where Marky Mark gets the bullet wound to the chest? With every breath more air is sucked up into the wounded area and can’t get out. This continues to overwhelm his lungs with compression until Clooney jams that needle into his chest to relieve the pressure.
With all of the shitty things going on it can feel overwhelming and hard to breath. Maximum Mad is that needle being jammed into your chest providing sweet relief.
There are a lot of ideas and mentalities out there that seem to be enemies to people that just want to be good and treat people kindly. The Dear Enemy EP is an exercise in treating those concepts as your own personal Bart Simpson. For example, while blasting “Affluenza” allow your Homer Simpson grip can tighten on the throat of extreme materialism while headbanging to Jayson Smith repeating “punching and kicking and punching and kicking”.
The band is a lot of fun. They put on a high energy show and that translates well on the recorded material. The music is heavy and abrasive but it comes off lighthearted and welcoming. Thank you Maximum Mad. Thank you for not being a clone. Thank you for making these songs that will be on heavy rotation for the rest of the year. So damn good.
You can pick up an ultra limited run of this EP on cassette (100 copies) over HERE.
I would like to thank Mark Bassett (Guitar) for being so kind and answering the questions for this edition of No Place Like Home.
Where does Maximum Mad call home and how long have you been there?
Maximum Mad hails from Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA. We’ve all been here a long time – 20 years to life.
Are there any attractions you would consider touristy that you would also consider a can’t-miss for visitors?
Tourists come for the food, breweries, and nature, all of which are described below. The other big attraction that we’re known for are strip clubs. They are embraced by pretty much everyone here, and varied – there are ones with great food, 100 beer taps, or just fun dives. Some notable ones are Sassy’s, Devil’s Point, Lucky Devil, Casa Diablo, Mary’s Club, Rose City Strip (an all heavy metal joint!), Dancin’ Bare, and The Acropolis.
Since they’re not in any other categories, we have some great record shops – 2nd Ave, Music Millennium, Everyday Music, Little Axe, Future Shock – as well as arguably the best bookstore in the world, Powell’s City of Books. Some great local musical instrument stores for all of your touring needs are Old Town Music, Centaur Guitar (formerly Guitar Centaur until they got a cease and desist letter), and Briz Loan & Guitar (just across the river in Vancouver, WA). And no skater should miss a chance to check out Burnside Skatepark.
If you are hosting friends or family for a weekend, where would you bring people for grub?
Portland is known as a foodie place for good reason. I love taking people to the food cart pods here where you find anything from authentic Viking food to sushi burritos, usually with a dozen or so places to choose from at each pod. Some of my favorite carts are Chicken and Guns, Kim Jong Grillin’, Matt’s BBQ, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, and Thai Champa. We’re also well known for our internationally renowned brick-and-mortar spots like Pok Pok, Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Beast, Ox, and Laurelhurst Market. Those can be a little fancy, and some of my other favorite (cheaper) spots are Yoko’s Sushi, King Burrito, Slow Bar, Shut Up and Eat, Teote, Frank’s Noodle House, and Tamale Boy.
A key to any hometown is a local watering hole. Any spots that you like to go for drinks? Breweries, dive bars, distilleries…whatever floats your boat.
While Portland is known for its many breweries (Widmer, Bridgeport, Hair of the Dog, Burnside, Upright, Basecamp, Migration, Gigantic, Breakside, Hopworks) and pubs that serve massive amounts of them (Horse Brass, Moon and Sixpence, Apex, Roadside Attraction, Green Dragon, Kells), I tend to stick to the dive bars… Places where you can get a beer and a shot for under $8, and that dude sitting next to you might be a rock star, lawyer, or homeless. My favorites are B-Side, The Standard, Basement Pub, Sandy Hut, Billy Ray’s, Reel M’ Inn (which has the best fried chicken in town too), Slingshot, The Vern, Lutz, Star Bar, Ship Ahoy, My Father’s Place, and Lay Low.
Music is life. What music venues should people be checking the calendars for shows to catch?
We have some really great venues here – The Know, High Water Mark, Tonic Lounge, The World Famous Kenton Club, The Fixin’ To, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Ash Street Saloon, Wonder Ballroom, Dante’s, Star Theater, Mississippi Studios, Doug Fir, as well as some really big places that I try to avoid…
After working up a sweat at a good show are there any late night spots to grab a bite or a night cap?
Bars and venues here are generally open until 2:30 AM, and if I’m looking for a drink after a show I either stay at the venue or go to one of the aforementioned dive bars. For food/drinks most of the venues have pretty good food. B-Side is great with Sizzle Pie pizza (owned by some of the same people as Relapse Records) right next door and Thai Champa food cart a couple blocks away, both open after 3 AM on the weekends, and B-Side is happy to let you bring their food in since the bar only serve Hot Pockets and corn dogs. Some other food carts are open late, but they’re kind of random and you have to search for them. The Original Hotcake House on Powell is open 24 hours and is definitely interesting around 3 AM…
The morning after can be rough. Where is your go-to for breakfast and/or coffee?
Portland is also known for our brunch and coffee spots, but beware, you will wait an hour or two to get a table at the most popular spots. Screen Door is probably the most popular for good reason – they have the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had. If that’s too busy, equally good City State is just down the street, with more divey Beulahland or Holmans close by. Pine State Biscuits, Zells, Genies, J&M, and Jam are also great, and My Father’s Place and Original Hotcake House serve up that delicious greasy hangover cure that you’re not sure if you can eat or not. Good coffee can be found at Stumptown, Albina Press, Spella, Heart, Extracto, Grendel’s, Tiny’s… Really anywhere. You literally can’t walk a block without running into a decent place.
To get out of town life, what are the nature based options surrounding your city? Any good hikes, camping, and other fun outdoors stuff to do?
More than I can list here… We’re really fortunate to have Mt. Hood, The Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon coast all within a two hour drive. When I first moved here and went to the coast for the first time (at 20 years old) I knew that was where I was going to retire someday. I still haven’t ruled that out. Oswald West is my favorite place to camp out there, and Astoria, Manzanitas, Seaside, and Newport are all cool little towns right on the beach. The Gorge has some of the most amazing hiking anywhere, with dozens of trails that lead to waterfalls that you can swim around in. Mt. Hood is another favorite camping spot and also has a few ski areas. One of them is Timberline Lodge, which is the outside of the hotel in The Shining.