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.