Saturday, December 1, 2018

Primal Screamers and B-Movie Syndrome: Greta Garbage and the Trash Cans Part II

As a follow-up to the recent Greta Garbage post, I recently came across the 1977 Radiators from Space press kit (thanks Ryan!) issued in conjunction with the 45 release of “Enemies”/”Psychotic Reaction.” I did a double take on the pre-history of the Radiators.  Greta Garbage dates from 1973 and the band was rehearsing numbers by the MC5, Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, as well as Bowie and Silverhead!  Plus originals like the great “Girl With the Luminous Brain.” Wow.  Confirms my take on that single track and makes me want to hear more. A contemporaneous garage band in Dublin mining the same inspirations as those in Cleveland (RFTT, Mirrors etc) Los Angeles (Imperial Dogs) and obviously New York among other places. Just confirms that there is likely more proto-punk gold old there to be found and also changes the historical narrative ever so slightly.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Greta Garbage and the Trash Cans: Irish Proto Punk/Glam from 1975/The Radiators from Space "Television Screen"/"Don’t call me blank generation I’m doin’ the best that I can"

I recently discovered a great proto punk track from 1975 Dublin. May I present Greta Garbage and the Trashcans “The Girl With the Luminous Brain.” To me it sounds a bit like the first two Eno solo lps mixed with Neu! ‘75 among other things (plus some submerged Roxy Music/Stones/Dolls creeping in) . With the “beam me up Scotty” (and “Lost in Space”) references placing them in the class of ’75 Star Trek fans alongside Zolar X! Even the opening line “is she really going out with this brain” predates and to me comes maybe a little too close to the start of the Damned’s “New Rose.”  Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

Who was Greta Garbage and the Trash Cans? None other than the precursor of the unheralded Radiators from Space with the great Pete Holidai, Steve Averill and Billy Morley (in the photo below).  Radiators guitarist Pete Holidai has only posted one Greta Garbage track and we can all thank him for that. For some reason the Radiators from Space TV Tube Heart album is not often discussed in the same hallowed tones as other 1977 punk albums. It is truly a classic and the somewhat recent 2 cd reissue is a must to grab. The Chiswick 45 version from April 1977 of “Television Screen” has always been a favourite (and about twice as fast as the lp version).

What I didn’t quite realise until recently was the Greta Garbage namecheck in the lyrics to “Television Screen”:
So here I am, just watch me now I’ve got a new band It’s the victim and the weapon this guitar in my hand Greta Garbage Trashcans playing hard and fast Things are looking good at last Don’t call me blank generation I’m doin’ the best that I can  
I did get to see the late Radiator’s guitarist Philip Chevron when he played with the Joe Strummer led Pogues at the Wiltern in LA back in 1991.  Chevron had this to say about the name change to the Radiators in an interview in Punk Globe: “I didn't change it of course, but my guess is that Steve and Pete changed it because it felt a bit Glam Rock by 1975.” I think now is the time for Pete to get the rest of the tracks out. Kickstarter?
So here I am, just watch me now/ I’ve got a new band/ It’s the victim and the weapon this guitar in my hand/ Greta Garbage Trashcans playing hard and fast/ Things are looking good at last/ Don’t call me blank generation I’m doin’ the best that I can
Read all about Greta Garbage (and the even earlier Bent Fairy and the Punks) as well as how U2 fits into all of this here.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Phast Phreddie on Radio Birdman's "Burn My Eye" EP in Radio Free Hollywood June 1977/Erasmo Carlos "Sonhos e Memórias" (1972) [repost 2013]

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:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Chris D's First By-Line in Slash - August 1977: "I Got a Right"/" Fucking Obvious Bastards of L.A."/"insipid and retarded hippie wimps with googoo brains"

I can't even count how many shit-fi French Stooges bootlegs I bought in the 1980's but it was a lot. Pretty much every early 1970's rehearsal scrap and live show that made an appearance before the floodgates opened (and in great sound to boot starting in the late 1990's).  I practically fell out of my law office chair when I opened the email announcing the release of the Funhouse box set. Was this really happening? In this most prescient of reviews, Chris D. articulates what I was searching for on every one of those 1972-1973 rehearsal bootlegs: more of the "rawer, crazier, less calculated, more despairing" and yes, more brain shattering masterpieces left off the official releases. Still a top five single from the 1970's. "Wild Love" is one of my favourite excavations from the myriad of live tapes from the era with a great Williamson solo - a classic fer sure. The August 1977 issue also features a live review by Chris. I wonder if he had a rethink on the Dogs.  Such a great band live.  Check out the Dogs super 8 footage from 1971 (yes 1971) with sound from the "no-nonsense single" which Chris references (guessing it was the John Rock/Younger Point of View 45 from 1976?).  The Masque vs the Radio Free Hollywood crowd coming into contact and not quite gelling?  Anybody with info on F.O.B.L.A.? One of the funnier reviews in the earlier Slash issues with a Buddy Greco reference to fine tune the hazing. Just imagine Claude reading this out loud after Chris handed it to him!
First of all, what does F.O.B.L.A. stand for? Fucking Obvious Bastards of L.A.? Should be,because these kids are still caught up in the sequin shit trip of singing about being R 'n' R stars . . .insipid and retarded hippie wimps with googoo brains; even have drum solos yet and plunging V-neck shirts a la Buddy Greco. Hasn’t anybody learned anything, in the last year? There's no excuse for this kind of music any more ... no matter how unimaginative/unoriginal one is.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Buck Dharma joined by Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway: "Born to Rock" (1982)

Recently revisited Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser’s solo lp Flat Out. Funded in the wake of "Burnin' for You"'s success? The last time I saw Buck was with BOC in Isla Vista in the late 80’s. Such a sweet, recognizable guitar tone. On Flat Out Buck is credited with playing all “instruments, effects and noises.” On “Born to Rock" however Buck is joined by Alice Cooper Band greats Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway on bass and drums. Great track and those lyrics! “Your Loving Heart”: sound effects and six plus minutes with a solo in the second half right out of “Godzilla,” which in sum reminds me vaguely of Ariel Pink/Gary Wilson (in a good way). Best heart transplant song outside of Ray Steven's 1974 "Heart Transplant"? Then you have the R. Meltzer penned "Wind Weather and Storm" which is not yer mother's VOM. I had no idea that videos were made for the lp until this week. "Mad Max" meets Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky" fer starters and the overall emotional tenor of the video "Yer Loving Heart" is worth a watch.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

"Astral wailings from the black oozing pit of Cleveland's concrete hell": Chris D. on Pere Ubu's "Heart of Darkness"/Peter Laughner's mug in Slash Magazine August 1977

Although I have not reviewed it properly, the Slash Magazine coffee table book Slash: A Punk Magazine from Los Angeles: 1977-1980 (B. Roettinger & J.C. Gabel eds, Los Angeles: Hat & Beard, 2016) is essential reading, preferably by those with a magnifying glass. I could nitpick that there is no proper index to the reviews but that is my next task right? Also, I probably could use an index to the various aliases so that I could tell who was reviewing what, and who should have recused themselves from reviewing their roommate's/girlfriend's/boyfriend's band etc. Chris Desjardins' first reviews under his own name are in Vol. 1 No.3 (August 1977): Iggy and the Stooges' 1977 via 1971 Siamese "I Got a Right" single and a live review of the Dogs at the Whisky (August 15, 1977). But let's start with his September 1977 review of Pere Ubu's 1975 double A-side "Heart of Darkness/30 Seconds over Tokyo" from Volume 1, Number 4 ("hypnotic mindfuck singles" - exactly!). Or is it "30 Seconds" on the A side? Chris' question of where the lp (with the various singles) was answered the following year with Datapanik in the Year Zero. Along with Phast Phreddie Patterson's most excellent 1978 review of The Modern Dance in Back Door Man #14 (March/April 1978), there is no mistaking the psychedelic uptake by two of the most astute music writers in Southern California circa 1974-1978. Laughner was out of the band after the second 45 (with no eye contact for the unnamed photographer) and died June 22, 1977 - around 6-8 weeks before publication of this review, which no doubt he would have liked. To be continued with Chris D.'s earlier work . . .