Saturday, December 7, 2013

"But no dilettante filigree fancy beats the plastic you"/Chris D. on Roxy Music's "Mother of Pearl"

About six years ago I approached Chris D. about publishing a collection of his music writing (from Slash and elsewhere) and sent him a dvd of James Frawley's The Christian Licorice Store. Never heard back from him though I was happy to see the publication in 2009 of A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die: A Collection of Writing by Chris D (New Texture, 2009). I have written about the collection previously here but the collection itself is not oriented towards his writing on music and film, though the book is loaded with enough references to both to keep you busy for a while tracking them down. The intros to the various sections (on poems, dream fragments, screenplays, lyrics, novel excerpts, etc.) remind me somewhat of the super dense (albeit short) film reviews that Chris used to publish in Forced Exposure. How many would he cram into an issue, fifty? Though in this collection, there is a lot of memoir contained in the short intro write-ups (generally 2-3 pages) to make the collection stand out from a mere compendium of work. So while I have never had a chance to ask Chris about Roxy Music, I figured like everybody else he would find the first five records unassailable. Who knew that he should have been interviewed for that doco on the band a few years back given his great articulation of why that period is/was held in such high esteem. In the discussion of his still unpublished first novel with the Ballard-esque title Sacred World (an influence on the novel along with Genet, P.K. Dick, Diamond Dogs era Bowie, Burroughs, noir, euro art film and his own "romantic 19th century literary damage from high school and college), he writes:
The title Sacred World was taken from a lyric phrase from Roxy Music's "Mother of Pearl" from their Stranded album. That song perfectly captures the kind of transcendental modern romanticism I was going for here, and it is perhaps Bryan Ferry's shining moment as a singer and lyricist (before he descended totally into artifice). It is a masterpiece of testimonial love that updates the type of high society amor fou found in 1940's films like Gilda, Humoresque and Notorious to profound tragic 1970's melodrama - a sung monologue of obsessive love which raises the object of affection to fetishistic heights, elevating glamour to a surreal cosmology, yet still miraculously retaining a heartbreaking poignance. Disturbingly confessional when the listener can easily interchange the love object: with one line it is the ideal woman, with the next, is it the narcissistic singer himself? Let's put it this way ... is the ideal woman really meant only for the ideal man? Thus making this a double whammy of interlocked circular obsession? That's basically what I was striving for in my elliptical fashion (though you would have to read my whole unevenly-written novel to really get that.
Second that Dr. Chris about "Mother of Pearl." Maybe add in some then contemporary Fassbinder period melodrama damage into Ferry's cultural mix (from the same 1973-74 period of the Musikladen performance below) and stir. Enjoy the screen caps and dig Sal Maida from Milk 'n Cookies on the bass.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Droogs and Plug n Socket Present a Special Edition in Salute to Sky Saxon (1977)

An odd/inspired public relations move to publish a fanzine/press release dedicated as much to your inspiration Sky Saxon as your own band, the Droogs. We salute ‘em as the zine captures the first Seeds revival in full force. Sky had I guess by 1977 drifted back to LA from Hawaii after the Source family implosion, and the Droogs’ fourth single “Overnite Success,” was “dedicated to the epitomal punk rocker, that lost legend of the mid-sixties, Sky Saxon, and of course his Seeds.” I have no idea whether the distribution for this thing was anywhere outside the San Fernando Valley. Blink and you missed picking up a copy at the Gramophone record store next to the La Reina Theater. What I can tell you is that it acts almost as the prototype for the lost (Ken Barnes calls it “mythical”) issue of Mark Shipper’s Flash III. It includes Ken Barnes’ Seeds piece which ended up in part in Who Put the Bomp No. 12 (November 12, 1974), though the Bomp piece only included a small portion of what was published here, and was intended for Flash III as Barnes states in the postscript. What is intriguing for historians is the appearance in the zine of former Droogs impresario Mark Shipper's “Flash” column, that is actually a one page dry run version of his 1977-78 comedic/fantasy novel “Paperback Writer” with the Seeds replacing the Beatles in the fantasy reunion realm and 18,000 fans (including Jack Nicholson and Jackie Onassis) waiting for the return of Sky Saxon and the Seeds to the stage of the Los Angeles Forum.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Norma Jackson's Winning Photo of the Byrds 1968, Tacoma, Washington

So looking through my October 1968 copy of Flip Teen Magazine (Monkees, Raiders, Sajid, Star Trek, Bee Gees cover), I came across this new to me amatuer photo of the Byrds with Gram at the front of the muy serio McGuinn, Hillman and Kelley. Roger (Jim) thinking about how to wipe Gram's vocals off more of the nascent "Sweetheart" tracks before they get back to LA? I can't seem to find any actual tour date in any of my Byrdmaniax sources though this guy was there (and he seems to think it was after the lp release of SOTR though there was a lot of touring outside the US after the release so who knows):
I saw [Gram] with the Byrds sometime in '68 at the University Of Puget Sound fieldhouse (gym) in Tacoma. Don't remember the exact date, but I believe Sweetheart had been released. They did several songs off that album plus some Byrds hits. I remember them doing You Ain't Goin' Nowhere twice - once in the first set and then again in the set after the break. Opening act was local band Merilee Rush and the Turnabouts fresh off their hit Angel Of The Morning. Went with a few guys from high school (I graduated in '68) that had an band (The Obsolete Lampshade) and we all stood right in front of the stage for the whole show. Good times! This is probably the show I wish I could go back in time and see again the most.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

James Dean Pop/Tyranny and Mutation/"A supernova in the stardust. It's a HARD ROCK band"/Radios Appear [repost October 2009]

The Stony Brook mafia cast a wide net in the pre-punk days. Its influence ranged from the shores of San Pedro, California to the bowery of Manhattan, to the coasts of Australia and as far north as Finland. As another piece of the pre-punk universe, I present for your consideration, straight out of Helsinki and fronted by likely Gulcher/Creem approved frontwoman Annika Salminen, Dead End 5. It was a world away from Helsinki to Bloomington, but Annika and the crew would have been right at home chomping burgers with the Cutters, downing Rolling Rocks and listening to the Dictators. Their 1976 lp “Dead Ends” features covers of BOC, ZZ Top and even “Let Me Go Rock n’ Roll” by KISS. A BOC and Kiss-lovin’ proto-punk, female fronted band. Would it have rated the Back Door Man seal of approval?

Methinks so given the rarity of such acts in 1976. On “Dead Ends” there may be a few too many Deep Purple moves for your tastes but it sounds fine to these ears.   The blurb on the back cover (penned by their svengali manager) sums it all up:
DEAD END 5 is English. It's the street you live in. Your mental state. A nuclear charge in the atmosphere. Your insane self. A supernova in the stardust. It's a HARD ROCK band. It's DEAD END 5.
Roger that. Their manager was also the manager just prior to Dead End 5 for Finnish proto-punk glam heads Virtanen. Dig these clips.

Was the “Dead Ends” lp a fluke? Not after the first Ramones lp. Move over E. Bloom and welcome to the master race rock of Jeffrey Ross Hyman. Dead End 5’s early 1977 single "James Dean Pop/ Teräsneitsyt" is Finland's first punk rock record, with the a-side a cover of "Blitzkrieg Bop". The second LP, "Läpilyönti" (1977) also had another Ramones cover "Judy is a Punk" ("Judy et Jackie Punk"). How All-American is that baseball cover art - do I detect Thurman Munson in the image? A Gabba Gabba Hey cat? These guys put together that the Ramones would be played in sports arenas as jock jams a good thirty years ahead of the rest of the western world. That cover art also rates nicely to the baseball themed cover art of the Jon Tiven (and Ivan Julian) led Yankees lp. Are they the Finnish Shakin’ Street? Not quite the same deal. Annika put out a solo 45 following "Läpilyönti" which has a turgid cover of Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy” (Ronstadt arrangement) backed with “Nobody Does it Better” from "The Spy Who Loved Me." Awful stuff but then again Patti used to sing “You Light Up My Life” in much the same manner.

So for the tunage. First up on deck is a cover of BOC’s “ME 262” from 1976's "Dead Ends." Second is the cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” now christened “James Dean Pop.” Woulda gone down well at the Masque as does the entire second baseball lp. Now not to get into too much of a side tangent, the other great early Finnish punk band Briard (which featured Andy McCoy pre Hanoi Rocks), also had a tune called "James Dean Pop" which is NOT a Ramones cover or even a Dead End Five cover. Go figure these crazy Finns and their James Dean/punk rock fetish. Third track is Briard doing the “James Dean Pop.” Batting clean-up, and bring us all back to tyranny and mutation, we have Radio Birdman covering “Transmaniacon M.C.” live in Sydney 1976. Lastly is "Judy et Jackie Punk" from 1977.

With divshare dropping most of the old sound files, here are some of the missing tracks:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Who's On First?"/Metal Mike California trip report, October 1971

I have to admit that the whole Brendan Mullen/Marc Spitz/Metal Mike spat over "We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk" made me so exasperated that I felt like I was watching the great Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First" routine. Our friends over at Terminal Boredom give you the Cliff Notes version for everyone who missed it here. Thanks guys. Let's just say that Metal Mike's bona fides are unassailable. I am guessing that a lot of folks made the mistake of passing up on Metal Mike's 1999 cd called "Surf City or Bust." What they missed was the most excellent FOURTEEN bonus tracks comprising his and his brother Kevin's previously unreleased 1969 lp as The Rockin' Blewz entitled "I'm a Roadrunner Motherfucka." I first heard one track some time last century on a cd comp Chris put out. Raw and as hi-energy as you would expect from two high school brothers recording in the bedroom or family lounge. It is in Metal Mike's s own words "a pre-Beatles garage band style (2/3rds covers)... Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Ronnie Self, Ernie K-Doe, Shirelles--that kind of material, played with your vintage 60's Fender and Gibson equipment of the time, some pretty crude cool sounds. Wacked out 'originals' that could have been on a Bonzo Dog Band or Mothers of Invention album." Came across this great letter again recently from when Metal Mike was in the midst of his statistics degree in Austin (written from the UT library?) which had me thinking of Metal Mike. I do think Future does not get its due and "Out of the Question" is just as good as anything on the first two lps.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's So Happening We Can Hardly Stand It!!

I have been thinking that the late Richard Creamer was the Brassaï of Hollywood in the 1970's. Why there has been no retrospective is truly a shame. No books for that matter as well. Just piecing together the photos that actually made it to print, mostly in periodicals of the throwaway variety.  "If you weren't at this party, darlings, you're a failure in Hollywood."  From my archive copy of PRM, April 1973.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Clint Eastwood is Boss/Will The Real Clint Please Stand Up

From the 28 July, 1979 NME featuring the Talking Heads (cover), Swell Maps and Pretenders. I wonder what Lee Perry thought of Clint talking to the chair at the Republican National Convention? I have always liked the Upsetters lp named after him (with the great "Dry Acid"). My guess is he would have approved and could possibly claim that he came up with the idea first. I did see Scratch interrogate/talk to both E.T. and R2-D2 set up on the edge of the stage at a memorable show in the 1990’s, well before the phantom BHO conversation on national television. I revisited Clint’s convention performance recently and enjoyed it (as much as I enjoyed all the great late 1970’s travelogue footage of the San Fernando Valley and Burbank in Clint’s “Every Which Way But Loose” which surprisingly has aged well). Clint was a somewhat unlikely though solid JA icon from the 1960’s onward. Given the steady stream of spaghetti western, kung fu and grindhouse fare into JA, it is not surprising that Clint in his outlaw guise was a constant lyrical trope outside of strictly liturgical subject matter. Then there are the numerous tributes to GREAT American 1970’s television, some with the great production of Joe Gibbs. How many Starsky and Hutch 12 inch singles are there? David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser as Kingston icons! And so was Kojak! Can we ask David Katz why there is no Scratch produced cover version of “Don’t Give Up on Us Baby” to sit alongside the great cover by Sharon Isaacs of Morris Albert’s “Feelings” (which some friends swear by). The hybrid liturgical/hard case cinema stuff is the most intriguing. Clearly, the JA gospel/gangster precedent does not get quite the recognition that it should from American hip hop in its wake –(e.g., the lyrical content of certain of the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony catalogue, Jay-Z and his occasional gospel/gangster foray etc., etc). Which brings us to this article from the archive from the NME. Music lawsuits and the threat of music related lawsuits. All of the current legal tussle between GG (as RP refers to him on possibly the most engrossing and interesting Twitter feed out there here ) has me thinking it might be time to put my lawyer hat on and do some court reporting from the Central District of California to break down some legalese for you tell you how the current Black Flag legal saga all shakes out.

Monday, September 9, 2013

L.A. Scene Report: November 1977/"Three Bands Stand Out. The Weirdos, Backstage Pass and the Screamers"/Nickey Beat Has "Movie Star Potential"

In an alternative universe, the Weirdos' lp from 1977-1978 (that they never got the chance to make) would make the all time top ten list. More importantly, how could two of the world's greatest bands of 1977 - the Weirdos and the Screamers - not record a single lp ("Condor" excluded)? Maybe the Weirdos were too picky for an lp deal or maybe Sire could have invested something in LA. Was Lou Adler sitting on the great LA punk live lp from the rejects of the "Up In Smoke" sessions? Was Crime courted by the major labels up in SF? After the success of the Runaways, why not Backstage Pass, perhaps the most criminally underdocumented of all the early LA punk bands?? As a teenager, I was able to find domestic cutouts of "Radios Appear" and "(I'm) Stranded." Why couldn't a teenager in Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney find a cutout of the Screamers lp, one of the greatest major label underground lps of the 1970's outside of the Hampton Grease Band. It simply was not meant to be. Continuing a Screamers theme, some scans from the archive from my favourite US/FR zine, IWBYD:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

1977's Answer to the Four Preps

The long gone innocent days of the American, male harmony vocal trios and quartets. The Four Preps, the Lettermen and the Beach Boys front line of Wilson, Wilson, Love and Jardine. Inspired by Pleasant Gehman's recent post on the Screamers, as well as Alice Bag's upcoming local reading, I dug this one out of Hoffman, Denney, Pyn and Du Plenty. Kristian has posted another photo from the same event by Douglas Cavanaugh here, but this one is by the late, great Herb of the Screamers fan club published in Seattle in 1978. Back-up to Black Randy at the Masque in 1977.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rodney Bingenheimer's Bed with Debbie, Chris and Flame/Did John Cassavetes Film Bobby Pyn? [repost]

Although it may only start with John Holt's "Ali Baba," and you may take a turn to Dr. Alimantado's "I Killed the Barber," then on to the good doctor and Jah Stitch on motorbikes on "The Barber Feel It" and then Stitch's "Bury the Barber" you will return to whence it came. Dizzyingly you end up full circle back at the Paragons. Yes, back on a Saturday morning over coffee and "The Tide is High." Who knew it would end up like that. It is amazing how many times Blondie played in LA in the early years of 1976-1979. Given their time in LA it was no surprise that they had such a rabid fan base, including Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Pleasant. They were also one of the early phone guests on Rodney on the Roq on KROQ and where I first them before they became part of the regular rotation on the station. I just missed Blondie here and wished I had gone . . . Let's see the dates laid out:
  • February 9-12, 1977 at the Whiskey a Go Go (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) - any discussion backstage that there already was band called the Heartbreakers back in NYC since 1975 and who were just on the "Anarchy in the UK" tour in December 1976?
  •  February 16-20, 1977 at the Whiskey a Go Go with the Ramones 
  • April 15, 1977 at the Santa Monica Civic opening for Iggy Pop
  •  April 20-23, 1977 at the Whiskey a Go Go with Deaf School. According to the Blondie gig guide, on the 23rd, Joan Jett joined Blondie for an encore of "Anarchy in the UK" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog" with Joan on guitar, Rodney Bingenheimer on keyboards and Tony and Hunt Sales, and also Clem on lead vocals and Debbie as "the dog."
  • September 23, 1977 at the Hollywood Palladium with Devo! 
  •  September 28, 1977 at the Golden Bear (Huntington Beach) with Ala Carte 
  • September 29, 1977- October 3, 1977 at the Whiskey a Go Go. Advertised for all shows except the awesome last one as with the Canuck band Max Webster who apparently took time off from heavy touring and jamming with Rush (!???) to play with Blondie.  As seen below, for the last show the LA Times lists "Blondie/Devo/The Germs" (at 4pm) and "Blondie and Devo" (at 9pm and 11:30pm).  Incredible.  What is also incredible about this particular stand of Blondie at the Whiskey is that John Cassavetes filmed a large portion of it.  Cassavetes, Bobby Pyn Debbie, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo and Devo all together - a classic 70's moment if there ever was one.  To think I was only a half hour away . . . 
  • April 25-26, 1978 at the Starwood
  • November 21, 1978 at the Santa Monica Civic
  •  August 15-16, 1979 at the Greek Theater with Rockpile! and
  • October 4, 1979 filming the Midnight Special in LA

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kustomized Al Kooper

From a thrift store, beater copy find of "Grape Jam" earlier this week. Kooper's "Backstage Passes" has always made me quite fond of the guy, and the first edition that book is well worth seeking out if only for the great photos.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Marc on Marc/John's Children "Desdemona"

On the heels of the last post of Joseph Fleury raving about the Sweet as a great singles band, here is another related post. At a benefit for Joseph back in 1990, Danny Benair dedicated a cover of John's Children's "Desdemona" to him as something they bought as kids. So, I dug this clipping out of the archive. Ah, the humility of Marc Bolan! According to Marc, it only took him 25 seconds to write "Desdemona"! I believe him. And I kinda like the idea of artists reviewing their own work when their egos are as large as Marc's! What would M.E. Smith make of it all? As Marc states that the lyrics are "all rather complicated and difficult to explain" ("Lift up your skirt and fly"), I feel you need to read it as prose to truly enjoy Marc's lightening fast process. Also enjoy the Marsha Hunt cover of "Desdemona" which is a great story in and of itself according to Tony Visconti.

Desdemona just because you're the daughter of a man
He may be rich, he's in a ditch, he does not understand
Just how to move or rock and roll
To the conventions of the young

Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona - Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Lift up your skirt and fly

Just because my friend and I got a juke joint by the Seine
Does not mean I'm past fourteen and cannot play the game
Oh, I'm glad I split and got a pad
On Boulevard Rue Fourteen

Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona - Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Lift up your skirt and fly

Just because Toulouse Lautrec painted some chick in the rude
Don't give you the right to steal my night
And leave me naked in the nude
For just because the touch of your hand
Can turn me on just like a stick

Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona - Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona - Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Lift up your skirt and speak 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

"If you dropped the name of the Sweet in the course of rock chat"

So Claw Hammer is playing here next month, and I am not sure if I saw a band more often in the late 1980's to the mid-1990's than those guys in both the Rick Sortwell and Bob Lee era. I was thinking of all the covers the band played at one time or another, and in the deep, deep fog of my memory, I seem to recall Claw Hammer covering this nugget by the Sweet. Is that even right? That plus inspiration from the late, great Joesph Fleury's OVER THE TOP intro to his "Will Success Spoil the Sweet?" story from 1973. :

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On the Shelf

Alan Licht channels James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio and we get one of the best music/film books for some time. Great concept and execution, with some real insight by Will on an otherwise inscrutable process. Had me searching for records that have not been played in some time, as do all good music books. And that is when we don't get some real dish on his contemporaries and elders. A "you are there" conversation, and definitely will be a reference guide for future bios. A real left field add to the cannon, and as unexpected as Will's subtle play in "Old Joy." Score one for Faber and Faber and file next to "Lennon Remembers: The Rolling Stones Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sparks, the Stones and Elton

Being back in Los Angeles has one thinking of all things Sparks of course. Case in point was the first find of the trip: a 1975, Penthouse Publications cash-in on Eltonmania in the form of an eight page mini magazine/fold-out poster devoted to EJ. What is intriguing is that the editor decided to place Sparks alongside the Stones and EJ as the band/performer of the moment. Which had me thinking that in a 1975, pre-“Rumours” moment, somebody out there believed that the Mael Brothers could be the next megastars of the 70's to come out of Los Angeles. We don’t count the success of carpetbagging country rockers or do we? Reverse carpetbagging of the sort that the Mael Brothers engaged in is a-ok though. Of course, history has shown that the true quintessential, homegrown superstar Los Angeles band of the 1970’s are the brothers from Pasadena, no? Any other suggestions? Enjoy the back page Pioneer ad at the bottom.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Billy Squire and the Velvet Underground/Magic Terry & the Universe or How Klaus Flouride Met Jim Morrison

Those two Piper albums are pretty sweet, and "Who's Your Boyfriend" is a great post-Raspberries, shoulda-been AM radio hit. I would love to hear recordings of Billy's time in the Sidewinders in the post-RCA era (a union orchestrated by Ben Edmonds), especially the set where Andy Paley and Billy backed Ronnie Spector as honorary Ronettes. Cant locate the Rock Scene with his Sidewinders photo in it cause I am pretty busy packing, but they apparently were proper reet live according to the Robinsons. Do the original u-ground Boston rock and rollers rate him in the same way the Gulcher folks dropped Johnnie Cougar? Mind you, is 1985's "Scarecrow" an equal lp to "Bad Moon Rising" from the same year with beefier drumming (sorry Bob)? Yer call on how ya define "roots" rock. That said, Edmonds' excellent liner notes to the "Reach for the Sky" comp make a strong argument that his credentials are pretty unassailable, including time in the must hear legendary Boston band Magic Terry & the Universe. In my research I have discovered that none other than DK's bassist Klaus Flouride may have been a fellow bandmate (more on that below). Fast forward to 1980 (or is it 1981?), and Billy was unstoppable, riding on the crest of "The Stroke" among other mega anthems. Enough of a force to merit Metal Mike's attention. There it is at the 3:28 mark: "I Got One Thing to Say ... Billy Squire." Why oh why does this one part of the Angry Samoans' "New Wave Theater" appearance still linger in my memory after the original broadcast decades later? One of my legal brethren's imitation of Metal Mike's "Squire comment" ad nauseum over the years since the broadcast never fails to bring a smile to my face, nor does Peter Iver's nonpareil interviewing technique for that matter:

Edmonds' excellent liner notes to the "Reach for the Sky" contains this great anecdote:
As AM airwaves gave way to FM we haunted the Boston Tea Party, the area's first psychedelic ballroom. One particularly memorable evening, Billy and I ventured in to see the Velvet Underground & Nico, bigger stars in Boston than they ever were in New York. Wandering in as the light show playground between sets, we stubmbled down from the balcony - and smack into Andy Warhol and Nico, who were trying to negotiate their way past us up the stairs. We turned on our heels and followed them back to the balcony, where two sixteen year old suburban boys found themselves with the best seats in the house. We watched the Velvets, we watched Andy Warhol watch the Velvets, and we watched Nico watching nothing at all. (If we'd known where to look we could've watched Jonathan Richman, a kid our age from the next 'burb over, watching this too. Many years and several biographies later, I discovered that we'd been witness to a momentous episode in Velvet Underground lore. Warhol and Nico had flown all the way from Europe for this gig, only to be informed by Lou Reed that the band had hired a new manager and had no further use for a chanteuse. It is cliche to say you watch history being made every day, but we were blessed to have been deposited in a time and place where that was the literal truth. Thanks!)
Now, anybody out actually heard Magic Terry & the Universe? Klaus, any tapes. From an interview with Klaus here:

In 1969, I was in Magic Terry and The Universe. This guy looked sort of like Rob Tyner from The MC5. He didn't really sing, but he read poetry over hard rock music. And he did all these characters. This was before Ziggy Stardust. And we had rehearsals from midnight until six in the morning, and people would show up. Jim Morrison showed up with these bigwigs from Elektra. Morrison ripped off one of Terry's pieces for "An American Prayer." That was Terry's. But we were young... We were getting attention from RCA, and there was a bidding war. We played a show opening for Ten Years After, and Terry mooned the audience. It was supposed to be four dates, but we got kicked off. We should have been playing with The Velvet Underground. They were still playing then. But we were all like "Fuck this business." It wasn't until ten years later that I got with Dead Kennedys. I was like "Music isn't going to take me anywhere career-wise, so I may as well have fun with it." It's probably a blessing, because if we had made it with Terry, I'd probably be an acid casualty.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Long Goodbye and Ball Four/"Yeh I've Been Searchin'"/Marlboro Man (repost April 2012)

Is The Long Goodbye the second best Altman film of the 70's after Nashville? Filmed primarily in Los Angeles in 1973 (released in 1974), I do know that The Long Goodbye is the only one that has Jim Bouton in a compelling and understated supporting actor role. What I associate now when I watch The Long Goodbye (other than Jeremy Blake), is Bas Jan Ader's One Night in Los Angeles, the first part of his work In Search of the Miraculous (1973). In that work (image below), Ader spent a night walking from the Hollywood Hills to the Pacific Ocean. It is the same nighttime trajectory that Marlowe takes in his car to find out what happened to his friend Terry Lennox.

As I recently re-read Bouton's "Ball Four," it turns out he got a call at 3AM from Elliot Gould telling him that he "was going to be in a movie with him called The Long Goodbye, directed by Robert Altman and [he] should catch the next plane to California." Bouton's "audition" consisted of shaking hands with Altman at the airport. Obviously Gould and Altman were big baseball fans, and figured that Bouton had taken enough heat over the book to give him some paid work - check out Jim on What's My Line about 15 weeks after Ball Four was published below.

The Long Goodbye has aged well, and may be Gould's finest work. Though consciously self-referential to the history of noir both on film and in fiction, it was of its time to such an extent that if I want to project myself and feel what Los Angeles of 1973 felt like, I watch it (Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence filmed around the same time works somewhat though not as successfully for me). Name me another film that has the old Ships in Westwood as part of a chase scene of sorts.

Throw in Neil Young's On the Beach and "Rubber Legs"-era Stooges, No Other, Heart Food and the Imperial Dogs' Unchained Maladies and you just may have 1973-74 Los Angeles covered for me. Even Neil gets in a baseball reference in "For the Turnstiles" to tie it all up in my head:

All the bushleague batters
Are left to die
on the diamond.
In the stands
the home crowd scatters
For the turnstiles,
For the turnstiles,
For the turnstiles.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

LA Scene Report: Spring 1978/"The World's Worst Band"

From the barn archive. Some amusing real time remembrances circa Spring 1978 before the real alchemy of "GI" was committed to wax.  "But now it's a half year later, and the Germs have been playing the Whiskey regularly and have a single out on What Records called 'Forming.'" What kind of pact was made to turn the band into such a juggernaut in only six months.  Just wonderin' . . .  Was Nicky Beat still on drums or had Don taken over by that spring/summer?  The fantastic "Raw Power" kinda had a similar aesthetic to what I was going on about in my ""Over the Edge" post a few years back though you may need to add in the Cars and KISS. This issue had Terrible Ted on the cover and features on Cheap Trick, Styx, Blondie, AC/DC, Sex Pistols (five different reviews of the lp), Rex Smith, the Babys and retrospective features on the New York Dolls and Mott the Hoople. It also had a feature on one of Blackie Lawless' first bands in LA playing live at Palisades High to the students!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Robbie Basho live 1971 on KQED

Amazing archival dig by the folks here and those behind an upcoming Basho documentary

Thursday, May 30, 2013

(Early) 20th Century Man: Beatle Boots

From an excellent interview with Billy Childish here which touches upon Joseph Beuys, the Sex Pistols, George Orwell, Robert Walser, Lyengar yoga and sheela na gigs. The Buff Medways' "1914" and "Steady the Buffs" demonstrate a continued mastery of the garage idiom into the 21st Century (this go around with a heavy 1965 MONO Who-vibe on both lps including a cover of "Ivor"). The (roughly) under three minute hits just appear like nobody other than say, Dead Moon?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Angeleno Dread/"I, I and I"

In Richard Hell’s most excellent new memoir I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp (Harper Collins, New York, 2013), he outlines the “basic” disagreement between himself and Robert Quine over reggae. Put simply, Hell states: "[Bob's] aversion to reggae was especially mysterious, since that music is so wacky and homemade, the way Bob liked recordings, and Bob liked a lot of New Orleans rock and roll, and reggae comes out of a New Orleans beat. I think maybe these gaps of his came from being so guitar or solo oriented, which reggae and Dylan and country music and punk aren't." I think Hell nails the appeal in part for many reggae listeners with the wacky and homemade comment. That Quine didn’t like reggae was especially surprising to me given his omnivorous musicologist bent. He probably could identify all the American soul and r&b strains inherent in the very best of the music. Apart from the top notch instrumentalists found all over myriad JA recordings (equalling if not besting the Motown/Tamla/Stax/Hi etc inspiration into the beyond with dub and discomix – take James Jamerson and Leroy Sibbles as comparables), could Quine deny Junior Byles, one of the most profound and soulful performers of the 1970’s, whose religious devotion drips off the vinyl as much as any gospel great. One of the great mysteries that the man who loved "Pangea" and "Agharta" in real time (in part no doubt due to Reggie Lucas) could not grok Junior Byles And Rupert Reid's "Chant Down Babylon" from the same year or contemporaneous Lee Perry’s riddims.

Quine’s lack of interest may also have been an American thing though Hell was onto something about the centrality of guitars/soloists in Quine's worldview. The West Coast, and LA in particular was another thing. Claude Bessy was writing a reggae magazine in LA, "Angeleno Dread," as early as 1973 (copies anyone?) Claude Bessy had Philomena presumably to initiate him (via the UK). The influence is omnipresent: "Ranking" Jeffrey Lea Lee Pierce/Uptown Top Ranking J, Chris D of "Upsetter" records and Kickboy Face (nomme de rock gifted by Prince Jazzbo). Slash Magazine had no aversion to reggae and embraced it wholeheartedly ("Back Door Man" Mainman Phred Patterson also had excellent taste is JA music). I have been planning to write something on the Slash/Reggae connection. Looking at the Slash Magazines I have, I think you could write/compile a small book on the unique perspective of these cultural outsiders/insiders in the small LA punk clique that was Slash. The influence was more than overt editorially as both Peter Tosh and Burning Spear were cover stars. It is pretty weird to read real time reviews by favourite LA punks on what are considered now all time JA classics. For example, in Vol.3 No.4 (April 1980) is Chris D's review of Prince Jammy 's "Kamikazee Dub" and Kickboy reviewing Hugh Mundell's "Africa Must Be Free by 1983" alongside AWESOME reviews by JLP of the Cramps "Songs the Lord Taught Us" and X’s "Los Angeles" There is a lot of push/pull between someone like JLP who lambastes Kickboy for supporting any type of "ska revival" (though he loves JA music) instead of American roots music of roughly the same period. According to JLP, who in the course of making a pretty strong argument that "Songs the Lord Taught Us" is one of the best lps ever made, makes this digression on our topic:
I don't prefer revivals (the very word makes me uneasy) but I can't sit and watch people deny their own culture.  Writers in this magazine (a certain French Fry and Euro-damaged brethren) made an international embarrassment of us all by ignorantly condemning a short-lived rockabilly revival and instead encouraging a ska revival, which has no relevance to our music and culture at all.  The herky-jerky ska beat did not influence the likes of Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Jim Morrison (under whose shadows all good new music exists), but I'll bet you all three would gladly confess to a preoccupation with Elvis.  Just about anybody growing up in America in their time would. . . You're gonna learn a lot more about yourself from American music of 20 yrs ago than you are from Jamaican music of 20 yrs ago
I will save Kickboy's riposte for my longer article (and a dissection of JLP's own cultural critique) though can one say they were both right? Looking at A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die: A Collection of Writing by Chris D (New Texture, 2009), had me thinking perhaps the radical divergence between Chris and Danzig on how the mix of “Walk Among Us” should have been done was based in part on Chris D perhaps pointing to someone like Errol Thompson or Joe Gibbs (if not Perry, Tubby or Scientist)! According to Chris:
“Cry Baby Killer” was influenced by reggae giants Lee Perry and Big Youth, with ironic lyrics spurred from reading too many true crime serial killer tomes and a song title cribbed from the name of a Roger Corman-produced exploitation quickie (that was Jack Nicholson’s first starring role). Likewise the title “Version Nation” – though the music track was identical to “Disintegration Nation” – indicates the reggae/Jamaican dub influence in mix-style. I laid a new lead vocal track, back-up vocals and new lyrics over a radically remixed, more dynamic version of the instrumental. (For those unfamiliar with the Jamaican dub mixmasters, they frequently would radically remic and edit already existing tracks, renaming them “Version such-and-such” as the case may be. To my knowledge, Lee Perry and other reggae pioneers were doing this way before even the earliest American rap artists in the late 1970s.)
The weird Jamaican/Rastafarian use of the personal pronoun “I” – something common in reggae lyrics and which I loved solely for the aesthetic sound of it – can be found in the song “No Questions Asked.” The “I” usage also occurred in another one of the earliest Flesh Eaters compositions, “I, I and I,” a song played live in 1978 but never recorded by the band.
Obviously the interest in reading the Slash reggae reviews is based upon what the authors were also doing on the side musically. Did JLP have anything to do with Blondie covering the Paragons for instance? Anyways, here is Chris D on Prince Jammy’s “Kamikaze Dub.”


Saturday, May 25, 2013

"She Said to Me"/"She Smiled Wild" (Repost 2009)

I wouldn't trust the description of a "basement" psych lp as far as I could spit. Exhibit A is the Les Temps Heureux lp on Shadoks. "En Ces Jours" has a few sleeper tracks that make me wonder how closely folks listened to it. Not a single review touched on how ace some of this is - well, mainly the track below. I picked up the 1971 demo lp last year on the basis it had some folky/basement psych vibe from the description. I guess it sort of does. Hackamore Brick it ain't but that is a singular species. Who woulda thunk some straight-ish looking French hippies could crank out such a catchy, garagey, VU-styled chugger like "She Said to Me"? In 1971! Am I off on this one? It would have made a great single a-side.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Brian Eno 1974 (with Judy Nylon and Polly Eltes): "China My China"/"Seven Deadly Finns"

From Judy Nylon's 3:00 A.M. Magazine interview:
Yeah, the first time was one "Ooh La La!" on a single called "The Seven Deadly Finns." Somewhere in the vaults at Island, there is an early seventies video of me and Polly Eltes performing my guitar Kama Sutra (cheesy moves from arena rock), edited to the typewriter sound on "Taking Tiger Mountain," then played back on a pyramid of old TV sets with Eno in a beret standing in front singing his vocal. This was pre-MTV. I would love to see it again; it must be hilarious.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Marc Bolan and Hawkwind/"For the group that should have written Star Wars and didn't"/Ruminations on Devo, Neu! and Hippies

The Hawklords Riddle (Melody Maker, November 13th, 1978.  Robert Calvert: " "I want to do a piece of music that reflects schizophrenic mania, rather like the Velvet Underground's 'Murder Mystery'."!!
Mike Davies talks to Bob Calvert and Michael Moorcock
Q: Are we not hippies? A: We are not Devo, either
This article was not originally conceived as an apology for Hawkwind (or the Hawklords, as they're now styled). However, David Blake's review of their Hammersmith show, carried in Melody Maker a couple of weeks back, forced a modification of approach, because it seemed to crystallise many of the prejudices and misconceptions that the media have about the band.
Although not a long-standing admirer of their music, especially in the days of the ear-blasting Sci-Fi rock, I have always felt that their concepts and ideals are more than worthy of support, especially since the release of "Quark, Strangeness and Charm" last year. I point this out merely to show that this isn't a devoted fan mouthing off about their total cosmic awareness, but somebody who is infuriated by blind put-downs of a very original and deeply thought-out concept.
Let's examine the two main slagging-off points of the review. First, the tired old cliche of 'faded hippies' was thrown, not only at the band, but also at the audience - which was depicted as a bunch of drug-smashed, drunken unwashed louts. That was compounded by the accusation of ripping off Devo's use of industrial themes and dramatic movements. What the reviewer failed to notice was the fact that the audience went absolutely bananas, and gave the band the kind of reception that hasn't been seen at Hammersmith for many a gig.
When I spoke to Bob Calvert and Dave Brock I was able to raise the points made in the review and take a more objective view. I was also able to talk to author Michael Moorcock who has had a close association with the band since its' inception. The Devo connection is not a totally irrelevant point to make in view of Calvert's involvement with the industrial concepts that loom so large in the present stage set, but even on a basic level that could be discounted by parallels of thought: it is not impossible for two people to have the same ideas independently.
More telling is the fact that Hawkwind have been involved with industrialisation and technology for far longer than Devo have been wearing surgical masks, etc.. Without wishing to answer Blake on his own level, it should still be pointed out that, back in 1973-74 one of Hawkwind's biggest strongholds in America was was the area around Akron, and the band played there six or seven times. Chicken or egg? The "metaphysical factory" theme of the current album, and the stage settings, are merely an extension of the early space celebrations that Hawkwind were involved in during their middle period, a joyful awareness of the machine age glorified in their classic "Silver Machine" single, and which is self-evident in their use of industrial overtones on numbers like "Forge of Vulcan" on the "Quark" album. To ease out a few more comparisons, there is an overtly Germanic tone to the Hawkwind/Hawklords history, moving from an almost Wagnerian approach in the "Space Ritual" to a Metropolis scenario for the current show.
That German connection could also be applied to the cold starkness of Devo, yet it's more than likely that the sources differ. Calvert points out that "a lot of German bands like Neu and Kraftwerk have been influenced by early Hawkwind lyrics. Dave Brock, in fact, wrote the sleeve notes for Neu's first album." It's interesting to see that Buzzcock's Pete Shelley continues a tradition by adding his observations to the recent Can double re-issue. Actually the coldness of the industrial/factory approach owes far more to Bertold Brecht than it does to the Akronites.
Bob Calvert: "I was inspired by Brecht's 'sprechtesang' -speech song- which gives a very Germanic feel to our machine-gun lyrics." Brecht is very much a city writer, and one can hear the influences showing through in the music, just as they acknowledged a debt to Hesse in "Steppenwolf" on the "Amazing Sounds" (sic) album: "A lot of people who live in cities are influenced by what goes on within them, but we're influenced by the cities themselves".
Next, there's the point about the use of movement. Calvert again is bitter about that. "Last year one of the papers, I think it may have been Melody Maker, said that if one got bored with the music 'you can always watch Bob Calvert's inimitable movements'." Now it seems that those same movements are being interpreted with a curious use of hindsight. Certainly there are influences in the use of movement and dance, one of the most important in both Calvert's own movements and the choreography of the dancers being that of the Japanese Noh theatre which Calvert readily admits. "I go to fringe theatre quite a lot, more than to rock concerts. I don't listen to albums, much either; I try to keep my musical influences pure, both consciously and sub-consciously."
The venomous backlash against the whole concept of 'hippiedom' and the ideals it embraced is hard to understand. As Brinsley Schwarz sang, "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding"? Surely certain ideals are not outmoded, even if the exterior fashions may be. In many ways, the punk explosion owes a lot to the same awareness that prompted the initial hippie movement, and if Sham 69's "If The Kids Are United" isn't a '78 version of "Woodstock", what is it? Nor does the audience composition bear out the image of 30 year-old long-locked drug fiends; a vast proportion of the crowd at the Hawklords' Birmingham gig were in the 14-19 bracket, and they have as much to do with Scott McKenzie and Donovan as do Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Michael Moorcock has been involved with the band since he was dragged along to see a very early gig. He has written for them and has worked with them onstage. His own books have always tended to pre-date the times, especially the Jerry Cornelius sequence, and they deal with technology and the city in the same fashion as Hawkwind. He is firmly convinced of the conitnuing relevance of the band. "One reason why Hawkwind are still going strong these days is because the current scene has caught up with them. One of the reasons I conceived the Cornelius books was to try and make technology ordinary - that's what I liked about watching DikMik and Del Dettmar in the early days. That's why I liked Hawkwind, because they weren't anti-technology, they celebrated it - unlike a lot of science-fiction writers and performers. "When I first saw them they seemed like barbarians who'd got hold of a load of electrical gear; instead of being self-conscious and pseudo-intellectual, they were actually *of* the electronic age. They weren't impressed by their own gear.
"This was at the height of the swinging Sixties, and popular culture was attaining a level of excellence it had only ever hinted at before, it was becoming concerned with real things. It gave the lie to the Richard Hoggett thesis, in Uses and Literacy, that you can't be good *and* popular. "You had a sudden sense of renaissance in genuine popular art, and you could actually make a living at it, and you were working in areas where people weren't looking over your shoulder all the time. "I think that's what's gone wrong with rock'n'roll now; there's far too much attention being paid to it, too much criticism. It explains the whole punk movment, shifting away from areas where standards were being applied, as a reaction. It celebrates the city too, as does Hawkwind. I think nearly all their best stuff has been connected with the city and technology."
Bob Calvert warms to the suggestion that the band are completely of their time, yet is reluctant to see them as prophets. I suggested that in a lot of respects they were a teleprint band. "Yes, it is like that, I think we're probably more influenced by the news than anything else. At one time we were actually talking about having a point in the set where we could perform a spontaneous item directly influenced by a major news event. "In '25 Years', which is about the small man, the average person's plight, there's a point where I read what's in the Daily Mirror on the day we're doing it. That's teleprint music, and what's very interesting is that we often pre-date events. 'Urban Guerilla' was released just before the concerted IRA attacks on London and it's still relevant today. One does wonder about how much psychic influence is at work." "Henry Miller used to think of the artist as an antenna. It's the same with 'Psi-Power' - these things are emerging now as more than just hippie mystic concerns. It's fact, I'm not saying that we're prophets or anything. "I felt that the early band was expressing what was going on, with the whole space programme, and the concern with communication and industry. That's what people living now should be concerned about. It's no good coming on with a show about a revolutionary in the Peruvian mountains.
"In spite of the New Wave, people are still singing about problems with their girlfriends. That's not enough. William Burroughs was right when he said that if man is going to become a space age creature, he has to drop a lot of ties. The punk thing didn't do enough. Literature and other forms of art have abandoned those restricting and limited fields of vision. "I want to do a piece of music that reflects schizophrenic mania, rather like the Velvet Underground's 'Murder Mystery'. Modern writers use their materials in a far more adventurous way than modern musicians do. I think what we're trying to do is a form of modern art, rather than providing a cosmetic effect. We're trying to make music that actually reflects the way we feel about the world." The material in the current set, drawn from early works as well as the present album, and the as-yet-unreleased 'PXR5', shows their concern with the present day rather than the uncertain future; as Moorcock says "the future is such an obscene idea". Listen to '25 Years', 'The Age of the Micro-Man' ("who sees the detail but never the plan") , 'Automation', or the haunting 'The Dead Dreams of the Cold War Kid', all from the current album, or long-established stage numbers like "Robot" and "High Rise" for proof of their commitment.
The success of their concerts clearly indicates that the Hawklords could well survive without another word being written about them - as Kid Strange said "those who know, know" - but perhaps the observations of Calvert and Moorcock have cleared away a few misconceptions and unclouded a few prejudices. The Hawklords aren't a bunch of crazed anachronisms; sure, they have influences, but let's at least recognize those influences for what they are and not place the burden of the media's current pet concept on musicians who've been developing their ideas for several years, and who have probably given more to the New Music than they've taken from it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

"What the Velvets Never Were, and What Dylan Never Could Be, All This and More is Television" - Alan Betrock, 1974 [repost from 2011]

Rummaging in the barn, I never know what may turn up. This is what I found out today: by early 1974, Alan Betrock had already identified the greatness of Richard Hell-era Television and its historical import during the band's initial residency at CBGBs. Writing in the May 1974 issue of Phonograph Record, in a multiple-page spread featuring at least 15 writers discussing local venues and clubs, Betrock manages to give the highest praise possible to Television, as well as giving ink space to Andy Shernoff of the Dictators! Mind you, none of the other writers provide band commentary except for Betrock or even feel it appropriate. Somehow I think Betrock knew what kind of easter eggs he was planting for future historians - the man knew it all along as we have written about before here and here! Pantsios unfortunately does not score too well as I sit with cup of tea in hand scratching my beard in late 2011. Sadly, she gives no mention to either Rocket from the Tombs or Mirrors in the CLE write-up, though she manages to slag Left End not once but TWICE in the issue. Though this is the shortest of excerpts, Betrock says enough about Television and CBGBs:

Friday, April 26, 2013

"The easiest blues move ever": Thurston Moore, Robert Quine, Guitar Player Magazine and the Natchez Burning

Thurston has always been a great storyteller. This one is no exception. I was pretty excited when Hell (and Quine) were pulled into the SY orbit. The anecdote is short and via flowers crack concrete. In a recent Vice interview, Hell has said of the Dim Stars:
It was a total of one month. I like all those guys, and originally, we were gonna go in and have this one session and make a single out of it and it sounded like a kick. If I could just make a record every 18 months and there were no other responsibilities or obligations but as a musician, that would be great; I’d love to do that. It’s just that I don’t want to have the life of a rock ’n’ roll musician where I’m out touring all the time and I’d have to pay a band and deal with all the promotion and the music industry. It’s all that peripheral stuff, but I love making records.
Now if we can get a mash up of Quine playing with the Byrds circa 1969-1970:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Are Those Iggy Stooge - Judee Sill Rumors True?/"Kinda Chipmunky"/"Where I Came From I Was a Legend" [repost from March 2011]

I had never really given it much thought, but I guess we can thank the alignment of Judee Sill and Iggy Stooge with providing the title of the Dead Boys' debut "Young, Loud & Snotty." Is it some mere coincidence that Iggy provided the phrase in early 1973 and one of his biggest disciples - he of the apocryphal peanut butter handling and rated second only to Jim Morrison as rock vocal stylist by Mr. Pop - usurps the term for the lp. Maybe Cheetah Chrome can confirm that the phrase was from Iggy - I'm guessing in a contemporaneous interview it may say so. [ed. - thank you Cheetah for confirming back in 2011]. And to think Judee Sill triggered it in a contemptuous putdown, possibly by the very OGWT performance posted here a few months back. Time machine me back to the double bill of Roy Harper and Judee.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Battalion of Saints v. the Cheese Factory Round 1

Giving the Battalion of Saints, and the spiritual mentor of both bands - Motorhead - a run for their money at the same time, true metal madness from Caracas, February 1980, one month before the introduction of colour television in Venezuela. An almost Ginn/Sharrock-esque solo is in there as well at 1:26. Thanks to Eddie for the tip: Now, the similarities are pretty strong in execution but the low tech Cheese Factory takes the prize even though this may have been the Crue's best moment - was there an equivalent to the Strip in La Castellana or Altamira in Caracas?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love Over Gold Part II: Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band "Beat Club Session," Bremen, Germany, June 24, 1972

As I have said before, the "Clear Spot"/"Spotlight Kid" 3 cd outtake set is one of the holy grails up there with the "Funhouse" boxset (if you like that particular era of the Magic Band - who doesn't really). The Beat Club clip of "I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby" taped when the Magic Band was on their 1972 European summer tour has been a favourite for decades now, from crappy VHS tapes of upteenth generations to the fantastic quality of the clip below with an introduction that I only have just seen. What I had not seen but hoped had existed were the other three songs recorded that day. Now we can see Mark Boston's solo bass on the signature "Mascara Snake," Golden Birdies," all time fave "Click Clack" and the Captain in a Nudie suit jacket and satin pants (the outfits! on the entire band), all recorded on June, 24, 1972. Warren Ellis seems to be currently channeling Elliot Ingber's 1972 style crossed with the Captain's threads more than any particular member of the Band:

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Real Dropout Boogie 1969-1970/Edgar Broughton Band live

From the incredible power trio rock of the German clip to the crazy LA fantasy hybrid of the Doors, Captain Beefheart AND the early Mothers simultaneously (as a trio!!!) at the start of the French TV Pop2, the Edgar Broughton Band's records do not do them justice as good as they are. Some serious lessons to be learned on dynamics for bass, guitar and drums. Mind you Dez's DC3, Sun City Girls, the Sylvia Juncosa band, BGB, Rangda, the Clean, Monoshock, the Entrance Band and any live trio with Watt know this already - the list goes on:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

'Cause when all the water's gone/The feeling lingers on

Gilles Caron died at thirty. You may know his work "The Student Revolution in Paris, May 1968" from a couple of different sources. Blink and you can miss the photo pinned to Malcolm McDowell's dorm wall in Lindsay Anderson's If. It is found in my home on the cover of Heldon's Allez Teia. Which brings me to Le Noise. I swear that when I first saw the cover of Le Noise at the mall in Henderson I was looking at the cover of the latest Thin Wrist, Ultra Eczema or Not Not Fun release. And on multiple listens, it could be. And that cover photo of Neil in the mansion - well, yeah, the font screams Heldon! I saw Richard Pinhas (b. 1951) several years ago. Live, not so good as it was difficult to tell what was programmed and what wasn't. He could have phoned it in - would it have altered the dullness? Neil (b.1945) plays here with Crazy Horse next week, and I am assuming he won't phone it in. Far ahead of the curve and the link between Crazy Horse, Television and the then (ever) evolving SST/New Alliance aesthetic, Slovenly's SST years have aged well. For what it is worth, other than Slovenly, I can personally attest that the original Rain Parade hit that same Television/Crazy Horse sweet spot live. So often in fact that it could be the reason Rain Parade guitarist Matt Piucci joined Crazy Horse for their lp just prior to Ragged Glory.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Technotronic Lad: Shawn Phillips, Alien Soundtracks and Half Machine Lip Moves

Creed: “We were really inspired by Pink Floyd, from Syd Barrett all the way to Meddle, and by early Hawkwind. But we weren’t hippies. It was something else.” Another element that came through when Creed himself sang was the influence of the post-psychedelic folk singer Shawn Phillips, especially the albums Contribution and Second Contribution. You can hear it especially on the amazing track “Pygmies in Zee Park”. Creed: “That’s left over from my folk days – that’s the way I used to sing. Shawn Philips was a big inspiration. He did a lot of lyrics for Donovan. Hehad the most incredible voice and the most incredible range, and me and my friends all tried to sing like him.” (from the the footnotes to Rip It Up and Start Again).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Phast Phreddie on Radio Birdman's "Burn My Eye" EP in Radio Free Hollywood June 1977/Erasmo Carlos "Sonhos e Memórias" (1972)

I have had several copies of Erasmo Carlos' excellent 1972 lp "Sonhos e Memórias." It has that great early 1970's Polydor Brazil production quality and this track, "Bom Dia, Rock 'n' Roll" has got the Creedence hoodoo down to a science along with some great early rock/Beatles stylings with late tropicalia filtered in there. It also has one of my FAVOURITE early 1970's gatefold covers (Elvis, Lennon, Jagger, Dylan, Hendrix, Warhol, Monroe etc). Somebody rolled a few too many on my "nicer" gatefold copy.  While Jovem Guarda may not be your thing, and Erasmo has some weaker moments in his early catalogue, he struck gold in 1970-1972.  Why do I bring this up?  Although I doubt that Stars in the Sky ever heard "Bom Dia, Rock 'n'Roll," it has that same Fogerty jog where I expect the Kessel Brothers (like Erasmo) to start name checking Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry et al in Portuguese inflected English.  Why do I bring up Stars in the Sky? Does the comparison below of Stars in the Sky make "Bom Dia" a proto "Shake Some Action" styled track? 

Moonlighting from his own Back Door Man, Phast Phreddie penned the "Pharmaceutically 45" columns in the early Radio Free Hollywood. What jumps out to me in this column from #2 in June 1977 is his inclusion of Radio Birdman's "Burn My Eye" ep - you could probably count on one hand the number of copies of that ep floating around the US at that time. Obviously, the U.S. release of "Radios Appear" on Sire changed the likelihood of RB sightings and I found my used copy in the bins at Rhino in the early 1980's. But a compilation of just the then-new tracks he reviews in this single monthly column could make a best of the 1970's lp hands down: Devo, Roky, Radio Birdman, Droogs, "I Got a Right/Gimmee Some Skin." - and just think of all of the amazing records still to be released from June 1977 though December 1979!
The best version of "Burn My Eye" other than by Radio Birdman itself for me hands down is the version by Monoshock on the S-S comp. I saw them play it at a practice followed by an equally unwound version of the Pink Fairies' classic "City Kids." Maybe they will play them in Portland in March. Who knows? Given that neither is available as a split single, here is a pretty hot 50's styled live take (with equally awesome 1980's aussie hairdos) by the Girlies:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Hairdresser's Battle Royale: The (Berlin) Brats v. The Quick/Radio Free Hollywood No.1 April 1977

I have written here before of my fondness for both the Berlin Brats and The Quick. From the first issue of Radio Free Hollywood, April 1977.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Radio Free Hollywood #2 June 1977/The Whisky Presents Gene Clark, Van Halen and Kim Fowley's Ten New Wave Bands

Digging in the barn I came across the first two issues of the great Radio Free Hollywood from April 1977 and June 1977. Cover stars the Dogs ripping into "Slash Your Face" no doubt. June 1977 at the Whisky? In 2013, it is a no brainer to see all three multi night shows. Wasn't quite the case back in 1977. Yeah, I am enjoying "Two Sides to Every Story" (in parts) and that picture of Gene could be a portrait of me in front of my barn today in a vintage Swandri. Just listened to the Van Halen boot "Demo Daze" with the world premier of "Running With the Devil" and "House of Pain" live on Rodney on the Roq December 14, 1976. Great covers by Van Halen circa 1974 of James Gang, Bad Company and Sugarloaf with Mark Stone on bass. Sweet! The Rodney/Fowley THREE night TEN New Wave Bands? That dear friends, is the source of GERMICIDE by the Germs with the great Belinda intro. Where were you? Waiting in line to see Star Wars again that month. Hah! Also dig (cut-off) Shock without Kip and before "This Generations on Vacation." Lookin' far more Dubrow than Masque at that point. More RFH here soon . . . /waitakere+clark+001.jpg" /> Finally, the Dogs back in 1971 at Lansing Catholic Central High School, in Lansing, MI caught on super 8 with a dub over of "John Rock":