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Shotwell – The Devil Has It’s Day, Yet, We Don’t Flinch

Shotwell is a San Francisco punk band with a new album out in 2019 that's been around with various lineups playing underground shows for a quarter century

“Flinch” is the title of this song, and the video in this post features yet another Shotwell lineup recorded recently (48 hrs ago) in August 2019 at the Eagle in San Francisco, an historic gay bar that Jimmy said he was honored to perform at. The new lineup seen here features one of Shotwell’s original drummers, Steve Moriarty, who first played with the band in 1996, and a new bass player, who was introduced onstage with one name, but insisted it was something far less exotic else when asked about it later this past Thursday at the Eagle.

The song “Flinch” itself appeared originally on a cassette demo entitled “for The Devil Has Its Day” which is a lyric refrain from the song, and it first circulated in the fall of 2001 shortly after Shotwell’s Geneva Avenue Fallout split LP with Miami had sold out of its initial pressing. Eventually this tape surfaced as CD, a joint effort between two fledgling indie labels, one called S.P.A.M. who printed the discs, and later Plan-it X, who finished the job by actually getting some cardboard covers made. Here’s a live version recorded about 18 years later… I probably have a tape of Jimmy and a circa 2000 lineup doing this song, and perhaps will put that here for posterity when I find it.

The 4 track recorded demo this song came from was the sequel of sorts to that Shotwell/Miami split record, and featured at the time an all new lineup of Buzz and his friend Ken from Delaware. It was made deep in the recesses of the old Mission Records space, with the late Matty Luv twisting the knobs in the summer of 2001, right after the first wave of dot com stocks crashed but just before the twin towers fell in NYC.

The world was never the same, but somehow…despite umpteen lineup changes…Shotwell is. In fact the band has a new album very much in their quater century of mid tempo punk tradition, their first in a decade, it is entitled Dead Bats, that music is available via Revolver USA is you don’t see it at your local record store.

Jimmy Shotwell in 1998
Jimmy in his Mission kitchen circa ’98

Jimmy Shotwell’s been living in SF since the late 80’s when he moved here from the midwest. He played guitar in a band called X-tal that released  3 albums with him involved on Alias Records. Jim grew gradually apart from the lighter college rock fare offered by X-tal and  joined the punkier flavored Strawman with Tommy Strange in the early 90’s. They toured and released a few records on Allied before parting musical ways. Jim started Shotwell with Aaron Cometbus in the summer of 1994 and their very first gig was opening for Sublime at Komotion in SF.  

Jim always was, and still is, a supportive presence to those helping keep D.I.Y. underground music alive. He prefers to play outside the nightclub circuit and truly emobodies the ook Yer Own Fkn Life DIY ethos. His green monster truck, maroon mini vans, RVs and other vehicles have hauled countless tons of gear and beer around the Bay Area and beyond. In the late 90s, as a favor to a friend, selflessly he drove across the country and took the unknown UK band Scarfo on their first US tour, which introduced Jamie Hince to Allison Mosshart of Discount, she was the singer of a band Shotwell had just made a split 7″ with. Eventually that indirect connection lead to the formation of The Kills. Theyve since made millions apparently, while Jimmy is still hauling the broke and unknown around in his vehicles, barely makin beer money.

He wouldnt have it any other way.

Never content to play by the rules, Jim has flourished and floundered but survived solely outside the mainstream day job employment and musical scenes. The boy has initiative and an ethos of personal industry that might irk a landlord, or perplex the typical wage slave, but he’s still here, unlike so many who couldn’t hack it in the mean streets of San Francisco.

A dedicated member of the volunteer run Komotion International musical collective during it’s early nineties heyday, Jim helped out with so many shows by so many bands including bringing through Pinhead Gunpowder, and majorly saving the day doing beer and gear runs for bands like Citizen Fish, Rancid, the Ex, Fifteen, Beat Happening, and many more. One night at the cajoling of your webmaster, he even helped invent Punk Rock Karaoke there between sweaty sets at a packed Bikini Kill and MDC show.

His main musical influences are punk bands from the old school such as The
Clash, Circle Jerks, Stiff Little Fingers, old Misfits , Ramones, Black Flag and Johnny Thunders. All of the aforementioned also became part of the Punk-araoke repertoire at that 1991 gig.

I found mp3 and even scans of the Shotwell “Devil Has Its Day” cassette tape posted online here at a blog from punk archivist Greg Harvester called Remote Outposts and he has a bunch of Shotwell related posts here. Might as well grab it, because it’s not likely to hit Spotify anytime soon.

The Devil Has Its Day Cassette Cover

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