VARIOUS ARTISTS: 20th Anniversary Comp: LP

At the core of every scene is a tightly knit cluster of people whose dedication and love for music far surpasses any other motivation. Bill, Dr. Strange, is one of those folks. People not from the L.A. bombing area (the area that would be directly affected by a nuclear bomb blast), may think that there are hundreds and hundreds of dedicated punks in L.A. all working together for a united tomorrow (sorta sounds like a skinhead pamphlet), but it’s not. L.A. and the outlying areas are more like three hundred towns that have grown into one another and communication between all the different sorts of punks is scattered and imperfect. And don’t get me started on all the scumbags, rip-off artists, and bluster-filled short-timers who are bent on telling people how to act, and then disappear who have come through L.A. in the past twenty years. But amidst this long-raging storm, Bill has fairly, honestly, and even-handedly run an ethical world-class punk record distro., opened a record store in Alta Loma, and in 1989, started a record company that, to date, has close to 120 releases. I’m always happy to hear from folks living a little East of L.A., how much of a lifeline and an outpost Dr. Strange was for them in finding punk that wasn’t on a corporately sponsored tour or the punk de jour of the moment (ska, emo, mohawked butt hair with violins or whatever’s next). What’s really cool about this picture disk comp is that it reclaims a bit of the ground lost in the glut of label samplers over the past decade. Bill has always had a great ear and if you’re just getting into punk or are interested in more than just one tiny subgenre endlessly repackaged and re-released, this is a great capsule of music, featuring bands spanning Bill’s twenty years of direct involvement. High fives, Bill. Next tube of lube is on me, buddy.

 –todd (Dr. Strange)