Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Middle Class "Out of Vogue" Advertisement May 1979

I don't think I have seen this full color print ad reproduced since 1979 so a great excuse to revisit this seminal record from 1978. The eminently quotable Brendan Mullen on the Middle Class in a 2002 profile of the late and much missed Mike Atta:
“Many hold the Middle Class up as probably the first American hardcore band, which basically meant playing faster downbeat tempos than the first wave of 'Hollywood' proto-hardcore bands like the Germs and the Bags. . . They certainly pre-date Bad Brains and the D.C. straight-edge Dischord scene with that one, despite how it seems to have been erroneously recorded elsewhere . . they were definitely a major, uncredited Hollywood-to-OC segue band during 1978. . . . The Middle Class is Exhibit A in the case for affirming that openly suburban teen bands like the Zeros (San Diego County), F-Word (Covina) and the Middle Class (Orange County), young bands not pre-fabbed and controlled by Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer; non-fashion bands who didn't dress or look the part of archetypal Britpunkers, were in fact very much included in the earlier 'Hollywood' punk scene. I say this because I feel strongly that the old scene that coalesced around the Masque has been falsely stereotyped by a famously documented South Bay hardcore band with a revisionist agenda who has repeatedly dissed us geezers as elitist and exclusionary to bands simply because they came from the 'burbs . . . or didn't 'look the part' of fashionista punks.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kim Fowley Reviews Alice Cooper's "Musle of Love"/The Hollywood Stars "Shine Like a Radio: The Great Lost 1974 Album"/Richard Creamer Shoots Alice

So did Kiss decide to enlist Bob Ezrin for Destroyer after Fowley’s mash note or prodding? I dunno. The review is spot on nevertheless and pretty funny. Having seen Kim perform a few times, I can even imagine him reading this as a funny spoken word piece. I still like the title track and Teenage Lament ’74 from Muscle of Love but come on Kim, that one sounds like the Band?? I re-read Fowley’s piece in Bomp! on the greatness of the Hollywood Stars (pre-major label article) recently and then listened again to the Hollywood Stars Shine Like a Radio: The Great Lost 1974 Album that came out last year. Yeah, the original Hollywood Stars lp is a bit of a stinker, at least Shine Like a Radio has some good and almost great moments. Live they would have been excellent. Well worth grabbing if you see it. Fowley is right about the failure of Muscle of Love owing to the dropping of Ezrin – I like the Ezrin-produced Kiss cover of “King of the Nighttime World” more than the original, but that may be due to 1970’s saturation or my old roommate Darren’s repeated playing of the lp back in Santa Cruz. Maybe if the the Alice Cooper Band hadn’t fought with Ezrin in the studio, Muscle of Love would be up there with all the lps that preceded it as an undisputed classic. Or maybe they should have let Fowley produce it. I mean that is around the same era as Fowley’s Jimmy Jukebox persona on "Motorboat," which is one of 1973’s top singles worldwide. Do enjoy Kiss on the Paul Lynde show from 1976 (ouch!). Somehow I missed it the first go round. Watching it made me wonder whether Paul Stanley is to thank or to blame for naming Ezra Feinberg's great combo Citay with his pronunciation of the word on the track?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"If Alice Cooper Had Remained A Midwestern phenomenon": Alan Betrock Reviews the Pink Fairies' "Kings of Oblivion" PRM, January 1974/The Third Wave of British Heavy Metal

Hand it to Alan Betrock to review all time classic "Kings of Oblivion" and clearly articulate why it stands far above their first two platters ("boring riffs and psychedelic mishmash," duh). Not only that, he positions the lp as clearly in the spiritual tradition of Detroit circa 1968-1973 (SRC, Frost, Cooper), whilst in his discographical disposition nodding to the Deviants (he can't resist - at least no catalogue numbers!). The muscularity of the lp lands "Kings of Oblivion" alongside "Ball Power" IMHO among THEE standard bearers of '73 (beyond "Raw Power" and RFTT of course). My heads in '73 indeed! For all his various obsessions (freakbeat,girl groups, then current Max's happenings via Television/Patti, etc), the guy totally had it sorted with what he terms the u-ground "Heavy Metal Pipeline": Budgie, Dust, Bang and now the Pink Fairies. What was so great about Betrock's writing is that it is a concise history lesson in the guise of a short review. Name checked this go round: Deviants, Grand Funk Railroad, Terry Knight and the Pack, Twink "Think Pink," Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Alice Cooper, SRC, the Frost, Catfish, T.Rex, Dust, Budgie and Bang in one review. Enjoy the GREAT live 90's version of "When's The Fun Begin" in all its degraded and wobbly VHS glory with Mick Farren.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar/Peter Laughner and Lou Reed December 1973/"I don't know, man, I mean you're the guy who played the lead on 'I Heard Her Call My Name . . .'"

Back in action and a nugget for ya from Laughner's December 1973 interview of Reed in Zeppelin at the time of Berlin's release. Apparently there exists an audio tape of the entire conversation which veered from topics including Ray Davies, Kant and Nixon,and a whole slew of unprintable gossip. Maybe Smog Veil can dig it up for the box set . . . .

Friday, June 6, 2014

Rockcritocracy 1970-1971/Ben Edmond's Hair/Jonathan Richman on Schmucky Stage Performers/The Great 1970 Fusion Funhouse Debate [Repost from December 2010]

The socratic method of teaching was in full force when I was in law school last century. In rock criticism, not so much, eh? However, we do have an example of some serious Paper Chase styled socratic battling - by honest to goodness Bostonians no less - slugging it out over perhaps the greatest lp of 1970. At some later date, I will argue with one and all that pre-mustachio Gordon Lightfoot's "Sit Down Young Stranger" captures the ennui of 1970 on personal terms just as valid as Iggy's or Altman's Brewster McCloud. Some forty years on, I equate 1970 with Johnny Bench, "L.A. Blues," "If You Could Read My Mind" and the Astrodome.

Who are these Bostonians tackling the Stooges in real time? Well none other than Jonathan Richman and Ben Edmonds. For historians, these are primary source documents. I have included them many times in bound readers for my pre-punk history of American music course. I haven't seen the Robert Matheu Stooges book and unless a copy is going to be air dropped into the bush and/or money lent, I won't see one soon. This "debate" may in fact be reprinted therein so do let me know. From the barn archive, Fusion Magazine 1970, courtesy of Chris over twenty years ago, and boat freighted to the other side of the planet for your enjoyment NOW. Chris always seemed to take Richman's review as a total pan. I guess it turns into a mild ad hominem attack on Iggy at the end but even that is tempered somewhat. American icon Ron is given much praise. WHOA Jonathan, not many people can say that they got off the Stooges bandwagon by 1970 because they didn't like "Funhouse" as much as the first lp and because Iggy's "schtick" got old. Jonathan is one smart cookie as he reads the tea leaves and sees the the blowback excitement of "Metallic K.O." three years early. As to the Christopher Milk ad dug up from a barn archive copy of RPM ordered from the Shaws decades ago , yeah Mendelssohn is pictured in the great rock crit shot from an early 1971 Phonograph magazine and I dug the first half of the "I, Caramba" book. A Davies fan for all time as well.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Twist & Shout '77/Legs & Co./Northern Dreamin'/Before You Were New Wave (repost from August 2011 with video links up again)

I can thank Ricky for originally introducing me to the Holyground staple of records by dropping A-Austr on me several years ago. Next, I stumbled upon a Canadian fanzine from 1977 in the barn, Twist & Shout, which had some excellent crossover coverage of material that 1977 "punks" getting whole heartedly behind the new wave probably pretended they never listened to just twelve months before. What is pretty great about Twist & Shout is that it lacks that insularity that comes from a lot of year zero punk zines. Dude, you did like all the Chinn-Chapman singles and you may have even had a Yes record at one point. Hell yes, Twist & Shout liked Status Quo, Sparks, Be Bop Deluxe and pub rock as much as any current import punk 45 from south of the border or the UK. At least they didn't lie about it. In 2011, I guess we can proudly call people like the Twist & Shout folks record nerds. What A-Austr and the cover story of Twist & Shout had me curious about was the involvement of Bill Nelson in the whole Holyground enterprise and his shaggy, bearded and sneaker wearing self before the takeoff of Be Bop Deluxe. He may look like Bill Fay's relative, but "Northern Dream" aint "Time of the Last Persecution." That said, it is worth checking out to see how far Nelson came in such a short time before "Axe Victim." Not so sure about that dodgy cover cartoon cover art - I would have opted for the photo on the side of the bed writ large.

As has been pointed out, there is something Thin Lizzy-ish about this great 1975 single. But it is clearly in that the band is incredibly tight. Was there another Kiwi musician with as high a profile in the UK at that time as Charlie Tumahai. Gotta say that Nelson cleaned up pretty nicely by ditching both the early 70's beard and 60's mustache. Can you touch the guy sartorially? "Landed"/"Unlimited Edition" Can comes pretty close - Exhibit A from the barn below. Compared to the 1975 other pop hits, this one is pretty classy.
I have to say, that this oddball Top of the Pop clip clip will give you newfound appreciation for Be Bop Deluxe's crossover appeal (if you can avoid creepy Saville - which was a story that broke after I first published this back in 2011). A great 1974 live version of "Sweet Jane" sounding as good as Laughner's Cinderella Backstreet version of the same year? Here is the whole Twist & Shout interview. The Sparks interview is great and needs a full reproduction here soon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Quick in the Studio with Kim Fowley and Earle Mankey (Mondo Deco sessions)/Rodney and the Flamin' Groovies/Dee Dee on L.A. & More/Blast Celebrity Rock Magazine December 1976

The December 1976 Rolling Stone magazine covers: Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Maurice Sendak. Almost a parody that Belushi would have had a field day with if given more writing time during the 1976-77 SNL season. Blast which billed itself as a "Celebrity Rock Magazine" (my kinda celebs for the most part, I might add) in their December 1976 issue: the Who on the cover with generous features on BOC, Bryan Ferry, Burning Spear/Toots/Marley and Tosh, as well as a 1960's SF rock family tree ala Zig Zag. Gotta say that Blast wins the December 1976 battle royale with a team including Jon Tiven, Trix A. Balm (Lauren Agnelli) and edited by Michael Gross (who had some nice NME articles circa 73'74). The Ferry piece was written by Mick Rock who also supplied the photos. Also among the contributing photographers for this issue are a who's who of rockist photographers including  Richard Creamer (who I consider the Brassaï of glitter Hollywood), Richard Aaron, Chuck Pulin, and the great Brad Elterman, my man from the SFV. For your enjoyment are two thumbnail photos by Brad a little larger for your perusal (where are the full negative sheets of these sessions!!). Historically, I think these two pictures would now get the full feature treatment given how important the events documented in the photos. The Quick at the Mondo Deco recording sessions.  The Flamin' Groovies with Rodney was taken by my guess at the joint Ramones/Flamin' Groovies bill at the Roxy, August 12, 1976. Sire Records double bill.  In the audience we can only guess the Denney Bros., Claude and Philomena, Mike Kelley, the entire nascent Masque scene, the Runaways, the Back Door Man crew, Plez and Kid Congo, Greg Shaw, Gene Scalutti, Gregg Turner (was Meltzer in LA by late 1976). Anyway, Brad WAS there to take the photos. Any crowd shots? Even better is Dee Dee's take on LA nightlife circa 1976 . . . .
The announcement of the start of Rodney on the Roq!