In April 1976, another change in Paula's musical life occurred when she wasn't even there. Don and his girlfriend, Sue Greenberg, went to go see a rock 'n' roll show at an on-campus club at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. On the bill were two bands yet to release a record—The Runaways and The Quick, both proteges of the legendary Kim Fowley. The two were already sold on The Runaways, having read about them in Phonograph Record Magazine. However, they were really taken by The Quick, a band Don described as "a cross between Sparks and The New York Dolls" in a review for his college newspaper, the Mountaineer Weekly at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. He spoke with the band afterward and they invited him to see them play at The Starwood, a Hollywood club that catered to signed bands, as there was no local scene in Los Angeles in the Spring of 1976. This introduction to local music, along with the release of the first Ramones album a couple of weeks later seriously intensified Paula, Don and Sue's interest in music. The three quickly immersed themselves in the new local band scene that summer, and that meant lots of shows including The Dogs, The Pop, Atomic Kid (later The Zippers) and, of course, The Quick. Along the way, Robin Cullen, a 14-year-old friend of Paula's started tagging along to the shows. In the summer of 1976, Sue's youth group at Temple Shalom in West Covina promoted an early evening show featuring The Quick with an admission price of 50 cents. Kim Fowley and his entourage demanded to be fed after soundcheck and Don's parents stepped up with a pool party/BBQ on minutes notice. The Quick performed Master Race at the Temple with Danny Wilde wearing a traditional Jewish skullcap, much to the dismay of a few of the Temple's more conservative members. Fortunately, a few of members of The Quick were Jewish and able to smooth things over, explaining that the song trivialized Nazis. The crowd of suburban kids weren't quite sure what to make of The Quick. One person at the show, Jeff Johnson (a classmate of Sue and Don's) yelled out, "Play some Hendrix!" Danny Wilde's reply that instantly became part of Quick fan lore: "Hendrix? He's dead!" Regardless, the crowd was generally enthusiastic and supportive. A few months later, the Ramones and The Quick unwittingly conspired to set the wheels in motion for these four friends to form a band. The Ramones made it look deceptively easy to play in a great band, even if you didn't have virtuoso skills. That really didn't mean much to Paula and the other three until The Quick dropped their favorite song, Teacher's Pet, from the set list and it wasn't going to make the upcoming Quick LP, Mondo Deco.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
I just finished Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83 by Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson, Ed. Steve Miller, Bazillion Points, Brooklyn 2010. Felt like I entered the confines of a fuggy teen bedroom straight into a high school detention with jocks only. To quote a Tesco fave: "I juvenile, I infantile." Kinda a dark age and an era I personally would not want to repeat, though it does boggle the mind looking at the number of great singles released and reviewed in each issue (at least as they moved closer to home and stopped the UK fixation). Would you probably pull out most of this stuff and play it today. Yeah, maybe if you are between the ages of 12-16. Beyond their worship of all things 999 (a midwest/DC thing you wouldn't understand - ask Rollins), the Misfits, baldie music and west coast punk/Slash, there lies in a single volume one of the great artifacts of the era, for better or worse. Their LA fixation was funny to me as I was writing to Negative Approach and the Necros in the opposite direction - LA was awash in UK/Vegas leather and stud save for the godhead chump rock of SST or the many garage revivalists of the day. Unapologetic, misogynist, anti-pc and arrogant, TV and Dave did mine the gold of the era and the reviews for the most part have held up. I did laugh at their top five worst ("woist") lps of all time (Issue #20, Pushead cover): They happen to be faves of mine and methinks that Tesco may actually like them as well in 2012: Von LMO's masterwork "Future Language" ("this one incorporates the worst elements of DEVO and bad Heavy Metal" - uh, such a combo sounds great to me), Milk 'n' Cookies ("if you thought Sparks or the Quick were the ultimate wimps . . .") - huh? and Budgie's 1st lp ("recorded like they liked the bass sound and forgot the other two guys") -dude, you probably don't like Dos or Jaco, do ya. Found this one in the barn the other day and figured it merited a post. Unfortunately, I have never been able to procure an original handbill like the pink one above but there is always hope (drop a note if you have one for sale). I have only had a xerox of it for all these years. Finding the flyer and then reading Tesco's diss had me thinking that "Mondo Deco" (and the Milk n' Cookies lp when I was finally able to get a copy) have had far more play in my house over the past 30 years than all of the baldie singles combined. I acquired a used promo copy for a dollar in Sherman Oaks when I was about 14. Danny Benair's drumming - his powerhouse intro on "Cantaloupe Girlfriend" that I enjoyed live too many times to count was then fresh in my head - anchors the lp and the name of the Quick (and the Falcons) always came up when the Salvation Army/3 O'Clock were interviewed. When I saw Sparks perform "Kimono My House" at UCLA a few years ago, before the show I saw Benair greet Danny Wilde in the foyer - that, my friends, is as close to a Quick reunion that I will be able to see. DB also got see the Stones at Altamont from the side of the stage. His account is here So take that wimps. I had always been curious about the story about the Quick show above. It was not until the great Avebury Records released some archival Paula Pierce material that I got the scoop. That first Pandoras' ep on Moxie is one of the best garage 45's of the entire 1980's hands down but that is the subject of another post. You can read the whole story here but this is a good start from the pre-Rage story below. Check out the Pandoras at the bottom - if I only knew at the time the Quick and Milk 'n' Cookies connection it would have all have made sense!
Monday, October 8, 2012
"Now that’s the essence of Mod" - Bowie Covering the Velvet Underground Before the First VU LP Released in US/The Deviants Covering "Prominent Men" 1965-1966?
Is the music game only about one-upmanship? Who was hep to who at the earliest? Do you really care? I do. Grady has recently pointed out that Bowie covered "I'm Waiting for the Man" as early as 1967, which turns out to be before the first VU lp even came out in the US! I even had the track on the Bowie "Rare and Well Done" cd but as boots go, it had the date listed as a 1969 demo. That boot also has the track "Litle Toy Soldier" with its Small Faces-ish rewrite of "Venus in Furs" listed as 1969 as well. According to this excellent and illuminating write-up, which lays out the timeline, the who and how, it demonstrates that the proverbial race to the courthouse door does matter if you care about such things. Or is it "first in time, first in possession"? “Now that’s the essence of Mod,” Bowie boasted [about covering the VU before the lp was even out]." Turns out "Little Toy Soldier" dates from 1967 as well, again with the Riot Squad. Not so fast flash. Mick Farren had an acetate of the 1965 VU demos (stolen from Joe Boyd!) that eventually became the first disc of the "Peel Slowly and See" box set around the same time (1965-1966) so maybe he can claim the hep crown from old carrot top. We need Mick to see if he can scrape up some rehearsal tapes to back up his claim! First lets hear Bowie tackle Lou twice in 1967: What I can say with absoulte certainty is that the British were among the first to "get" the Velvet Underground in a broader cultural sense, and that the influence was seeping into the consciousness of folks like Mick Farren and David Bowie as early as 1965-1967. Makes me want to dig out my original U.S. Sire pressing of the Deviants' "Ptoof" right now. I remember reading with some astonishment Ritchie Unterberger's interview of Farren back in 1999 right here and it would behoove you to remind yourself of what their approach encompassed.
Q: What were the Deviants' inspirations when you starting coming together around late 1966?
MF: We didn't know what we were doing, for a start. The most exciting thing at the time was probably the Who. Probably what Pete Townshend was doing. But that in a way was kind of big time major hit single rock'n'roll. The two rather diverse things that we were listening to was on one hand, we were getting the first ESP records by the Fugs. And at the other extreme, I was listening to a lot of... particularly the album Mingus [did], "Oh Yeah," with Roland Kirk, with "Ecclusiastics" and "Passions of a Man" and "Eat That Chicken" and all that stuff on it. Bob Dylan of course. We were trying to like blend it all into something that made sense, without very much money. The Fugs had a certain kind of jugband appeal, which fitted our income at the time. Joe Boyd [producer of Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, and numerous other late-'60s bands] brought over some tapes of the Velvet Underground, which we stole off him, and somebody immediately stole off us. That was the most interesting thing that seemed to be a similar kind of synthesis, coming from the same sort of background. [The tapes] were pre-first album (ED: i.e. predating the Velvets' famed "Banana" LP).. I was almost beginning to think I'd dreamed them. Everybody denied all knowledge of them. We performed a song called "Prominent Men" for a while that we took off those tapes. And suddenly they resurfaced. They're the very first tapes on the Velvet Underground box set. [The tape] was ["Prominent Men"], three or four versions of "Venus In Furs," the very strange acoustic version of "Waiting For The Man," "Prominent Men," "All Tomorrow's Parties." [We were] a bunch of guys who'd really come out of the sort of British North London art school R&B band scene. Like the Pretty Things; that was really our heritage. We were trying to like push it in simultaneously a more demented and more intelligent direction. 'Cause we couldn't really be spending our time recycling old Jimmy Reed tunes. So we were looking for something to do. I think basically Lou and Cale got in there first. It was very much a sort of parallel development, London and New York. That's where we felt things were happening the most. You know, we were pretty incompetent at the start. We were pretty incompetent at the end. But more money came in. The amplifiers got bigger. We all got ourselves fierce amphetamine habits, and at that point, kind of ear-bleeding noise took over for a while. Plus we were also kind of listening to Zappa, which definitely affected the way we made the first album.