Problem Stick
Wrecked rock for the extra twisted.


Dropping Names: Problem Stick’s Wayne Newcome on sharing the stage with David Allan Coe
Written by Mike Bookey   
The Source Weekly, Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Wayne Newcome now leads the local rock band Problem Stick but 25 years ago he was driving a delivery truck in San Francisco and hating nearly every song he heard on the radio. It was around this time that he bought the 45 single of David Allan Coe’s “Willie, Waylon and Me.” Now, a quarter of a century later, Newcome and Problem Stick take the stage in an opening slot for Coe’s Midtown Ballroom performance.

“When all those stupid hair bands came out, I couldn’t stand all that shit. So I started listening to country music and that’s when I bought my first David Allan Coe 45,” Newcome says.

Today Newcome is living in Bend, DJing his “Onslaught” radio show on KPOV (under the name Morgan P. Salvo) and leading what very well might be one of the city’s strangest bands. Problem Stick’s sound is intentionally “wrecked,” as Newcome likes to describe the band’s deliberately messy blend of downright garage rock laced with Sonic Youth style soundscapes. (“I always wanted to play music that I would go see,” offers Newcome.) His mix-and-match flannels and layered T-shirts give him an appearance as intentionally “wrecked” as his music but is perfectly in line with his giggling personality and wide-reaching wealth of knowledge – most of which is centered on obscure music factoids and the idiosyncrasies of D-grade horror films.

Newcome points out that his Silver Moon Brewing solo show on September 6 took place on David Allan Coe’s 69th birthday. Is this a sign that Newcome and the legendary country rocker are meant to share a stage? Nope. But Newcome is pumped to share a stage with the rebellious and often contentious Coe.

“David Allan Coe to me really is a living legend and I was just glad to have a chance to play with him. I don’t know, maybe everyone else was too scared,” he says laughing for what is probably the 45th time in the last five minutes.

Wayne Newcome - guitarist, singer, director of "Brainman No Die"
Why in the hell would anyone be scared of a 69-year-old whose handlers declined a telephone interview with our paper (or any paper for that matter) on account that he is “close to deaf” and has penned songs with titles like “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile?” Well, that’s because Coe also has an entire record (Nothing Sacred) of tracks with titles so foul we can’t even print them, has done some serious time in prison and recorded a project called Rebel Meets Rebel—a surprisingly good metal-in-cowboy-hats collaboration with the late Dimebag Darrel and other members of Pantera.

“He’s not going to let anyone forget that he’s been in prison and that he’s a badass dude,” Newcome says. “He’s got a real you-wanna-mess-with-me-then-go-ahead thing going on. Man, I wouldn’t mess with him.”

But Coe’s badassedness hasn’t kept him from rubbing elbows with the greats of country music. Strangely, you don’t hear his name as often as the giants of classic country music, even if Coe does everything within his power to equate himself with more well-known heroes through an impossibly persistent habit of name dropping.

“He’s kind of a mystery and here’s why,” Newcome says, “He always seems to be name dropping. But I never hear Kris Kristofferson or Waylon or Willie dropping David Allan Coe’s name, ya know?”

But one place you do hear Coe’s name is in his own songs – he drops his own name, all three words of it, in a good number of his tunes. It’s sort of like station identification, reminding you exactly which artist you’re listening to.

Newcome won’t be dropping his own name or anyone else’s name when he and the Stick warm up the Midtown stage on Wednesday night, but he will be playing songs that he’s amassed through a career that spans three decades, back to his San Francisco days of his band Ugly Stick, the music of which he accurately describes as “timeless” and akin to certain aspects of the Velvet Underground. This is the same band that Newcome took into a deaf club that was literally a place for deaf people to “feel music.” Newcome has an endless amount of stories like this, including but absolutely not limited to the production of his two-and-a-half-hour-long horror flick, Brainman No Die. After Wednesday night, he’ll have another story, and it’s called “The Time I Opened for David Allan Coe.

Honolulu, We Have a Problem: From soothing to raw in four hours
Written by Jeff Trainor
The Source Weekly, Wednesday, 02 January 2008

Problem Stick took over for CPC around 11pm. Whirlwind CPC drummer Jim Stout donned some pink arm-stockings and stunna shades, downed some extra beer-fuel and picked up the bass guitar for PS.

Stout’s conversion into loose and rowdy mode was reflective of the dirty, meaty aesthetic that splatters out of the speakers when frontman/songwriter/guitarist/keyboard player Wayne Newcome and friends lay into a sound system. In spite of subtle bubblegum pop, folk and rockabilly undercurrents, they just don’t come any punker than this. The band’s patented, outlandishly gory lyrics and all-around not-so-fresh feeling prompted a handful of crazies – most notably Cable Turtleneck Man and Midriff Girl – to dance freakout-grade death-waltzes like the world was about to explode. Tom Waits, meet The Misfits. Long live atonality. Long live Problem Stick.

Next week: James Taylor vs. the ghost of G.G. Allin

**Watch "Different World" from the Summit show here!

Calendar:  Tuesday June 26 "Problem Stick" 

This local combo plays what may be the most wrecked rock we’ve heard, and we have to commend them for that - even though we’re extremely frightened of them. Think of them as the They Might Be Giants who went to sick n’ wrong school with Slayer. The Annex, 51 NW Greenwood Ave. 388-1106.

The Source Weekly, June 21, 2007

CD Pre-Review

"If Tom Waits’s mind were quite a bit more twisted than it is now and he took more of a Butthole Surfers via Frank Zappa via GWAR approach to his tunes…he’d probably sound just like Problem Stick’s Wayne Newcome. We fully support getting this “wrecked rock” into the innocent public’s hands, but it should probably be packaged with complimentary antipsychotics. Warning: Do not feed to youngins."

Jeff Trainor, The Source Weekly, May 23, 2007

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