Thursday, July 31, 2014

Baby Jane's in Acapulco, We are Flying Down to Rio/Dan Flavin and Stairway to Heaven/The Pensioner [repost from May 2010]

For the past several decades, I keep coming back to the first five Roxy Music lps as a highwater mark of seventies popular music. Can you name another group or artist who had as good a streak during the 70's and claims the VU as a front and center influence and put out FIVE great albums in a row (other than the Ramones)? For most critics, Eno gets a free pass for his 70's solo work. When he moves past his suppressed rockist tendencies, the music goes limp. It seems his extracurricular activities gives him the high grades. He records Television with Richard Williams at their near height and then co-opts an entire scene a few years later (thank you for the document though). However, Ferry as person and solo artist is ridiculed. Below is Bryan at CBGB's in 1975 catching the Ramones pre-lp (photo courtesy Danny Fields) - where were you:

What drives the hatred? Is it as Iggy said off the cuff: "you can throw any thing at me but your girlfriend will still love me you jealous @@*&$$$#s!" Succint. I think the 70's rockcrits deeply felt this is panning the solo lps. Devo had another possible theory - in my mind likely derived from spending too much time with Eno:
We first got those blue firemen's jumpsuits and we wore those masks that took your faces away, cause what we decided that what we hated about rock & roll was STARS -- we watched Roxy Music, a band we liked, slowly become Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music. If you got a band that's good, you bust it up and sell three times as many records. Take the Beatles for instance, the magic was in the combination -- nothing that any single Beatle did after that matches up. (Search & Destroy, 1978).
Well I can argue that one with Mothersbaugh till I am blue in the face but it won't change his mind. Eno is lionized for his solo lps (rightfully so in some cases) and Ferry is accused of being a STAR. And, as anyone who knows me well, I can talk the merits of "Beaucoup of Blues" as ranking up there with Beatles '65. (Aquarium Drunkard image of first four post-Beatles solo singles). Here is Ferry paying his respects as only he can (with Spedding on guitar). Dig the great Dan Flavin/Powell & Pressburger homage. Eno can only wish he could grow such a beard!!:

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 . . . .