Tuesday, December 29, 2009

THE Summer Song of 1976, and all time . . .

Waitakere Walks needs to sit down for a proper, in-depth interview with Joesph detailing his 60's and 70's output (both music and writing). Great single and great lp which followed. Why he isn't more well known we can try to remedy on this very forum. Until then, the debut lp is still available here and contains both sides of this ace 45 albeit in what I think are re-recorded versions. A comparison to check will be down the track later this southern hemisphere summer. In the meantime, listen to the lp versions of "The Salt Water Summers," "Jodi" (ballad with Johnny Thunders styled lead solos) and "The Morn of the Confrontation" here:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Punkitude, Roxy Music and the Greasy Trucker's Party

A 1972-73 barn archive review from the golden age of rock fanzines. Title from thee great Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. On the first Roxy Music lp: "A mixture of intellectualism, punkitude and a healthy understanding of what rock 'n roll is all about." That just about sums it up brother. No comparisons to Sha Na Na here which is where some of the early critics lost the plot. Hawkwind excerpt from the Greasy Trucker's review possibly next time. Prize for who can guess the source.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

vivez à l'heure d' iggy

Inspired by all the buzz of the new box set of live two-guitar era Stooges, I have dug high and low through the archives, dusted off a copy of I Wanna Be Your Dog (entirely in French with great write-ups of the cover stars - and possibly one of the first features outside the US of Crime), and fired up the scanner.

It appears to have been part of the French Iggy Pop fan club. The back cover of the mag implores that you too can live on Iggy time. We could make a mint if we dusted off that exact plastic watch design! Cover, content and design are all ace. The photo to the right is of Ron, Jimi and Jim from the Iggy feature article.

Not sure if I had seen it before. I swear I have seen Alice Cooper is the same t-shirt as Iggy. The photo is credited to Philippe Mogane (co-founder of Siamese Records along with James Williamson). Philippe, if you are out there, can you tell us the year and locale of the photo and where the rest of the film roll is.

Friday, October 16, 2009

James Dean Pop/Tyranny and Mutation/Radios Appear

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.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Over the Edge Rock and Roll

As a cultural artifact, Jonathan Kaplan's 1979 film "Over the Edge" has far more resonance to me personally in 2009 than the other 1979 music film I love, "Rock n'Roll High School."* The soundtrack is great too. It is a universe where Van Halen and Cheap Trick sit snuggled side by side with the Ramones and the Cars. You can also toss in Devo, Ricky Wilson-era B-52's and the Pretenders even though they are not on the soundtrack. It is all good. I just enjoy the American new wave of the non-post punk variety (although I like that too). Are the Pretenders considered English - they had a single or two in 1979 though their eponymous debut did not come out until January 1980. The kids of New Grenada would have played the heck out of it. Which brings me to the real subject of this post which is the pre-Cars output. Matt meet Ric and Ben.

In 1976, as Roxy Music opened for ELO at various US dates in support of the Siren lp, the pre-Cars band Cap 'n Swing was cutting some of the best Roxy Music/VU/Steely Dan hybrid tracks and getting primed for those arena lights. The first two tracks below are "Come Back Down" (3 demo versions exist) and first lp mainstay, "Bye Bye Love."

Without getting bogged down in lineup changes with various assorted Modern Lovers (including Jonathan Richman suggesting a pre-Cap'n Swing band name), it should be noted that Ric and Ben did record a folky/CSNY-y lp in 1973 "How's the Weather" under the name Milkwood. You can check out Ric on the cover with the 'stache putting him neck and neck with Chuck Negron as the standin for Dusty in Floyd Mutrux's "Dusty and Sweet McGee" (1971). In case you are curious, the third track is "Bring Me Back" from the 1973 lp in all its denim glory.

* NB: "Rust Never Sleeps" is obviously another 1979 favorite though technically it is a concert film.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

1974 Was a Great Year for Videotape

The last time I saw Don Waller he was walking in Beverly Hills on Wilshire Blvd. by the Rolex building. Would have been within the past year or so on the way to my old job. The time before that he was talking to American Original Ron Asheton backstage at the El Rey Theater. He was definitely not wearing pants like those sported in the clip below.

In 1974, on the East Coast we have the amazing Television rehearsal tape in Terry Ork's loft (the subject of a longer post forthcoming). In the midwest, we have Victoria Vein and the Thunderpunks on a local OK television program. On the West Coast, we now have the Imperial Dogs live at Cal State Long Beach on October 30, 1974. Unless a live 1974 Stooges at the Whiskey video materializes, this may be IT:

She Said to Me/She Smiled Wild

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 Juis" 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.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

CLE via Japan or a Pre-Electric Eels - Ladies and Gentlemen, Murahachibu

One of my numererous intentions is to share with you various pre-punk favorites from the dark ages. Not unlike the South Bay's unheraled Clap, what happens when you get a garagey/glammy, Stones-influenced band: something not unlike the Dolls. You also get, in this instance, something approaching the brilliance of "Flapping Jets" by the Electric Eels. This track, appropriately titled "Ah," is from 1971's "Kutabirete." If I could turn it up to 11 for you I would.

Here is string of clips from a Japanese dvd, looking like outtakes from Bob Gruen's "All Dolled Up"!! Anyone have spare Marahachibu vinyl to trade?

Now a live version:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Angel Face/Monoshock/The Devil Probably

High energy rock 'n roll from France in the me decade? You bet. Have you not heard the proto-punk/glam lp by the Frenchies. Another time, mate. Metal Urbain are too easy. Here we talk about Angel Face. About a year or two ago, I tracked down a test pressing of a 45 from the lp pictured here. There is an in depth history of Angel Face in a recent Ugly Things which is worth reading. Recorded in the 70's, these guys remind me at times of the earliest, pre-vinyl SoCal incarnation of Monoshock from the late 80's. I have been listening a lot to the Angel Face lp and, yes, the 'Shock has a few things in common with these guys. I imagine Angel Face like the long hairs populating Robert Bresson's late period "Le Diable Probablement"(1977)("The Devil Probably"). Richard Hell, writing about Bresson's The Devil Probably, perfectly encapsulates the magic of it:

And then, after falling in love with Bresson, I come to this particular movie and for the first time find someone, twenty-five years later (when I encountered the movie), but of course independently of any knowledge of me or my local world but in the same period (circa 1977) when I was experiencing these things -- and he's perfectly comprehending them and presenting them with the greatest delicacy, respect, and highest artistry. So it wasn't all a dream! How amazing. I existed and Robert Bresson said it matters and is interesting. I not only was but I was worthy of the most careful consideration. To tell you the truth I knew this, but still it is most gratifying to hear it from Bresson. It is so cool to be verified by the filmmaker whom one already loved above all others! So maybe you'll laugh at me, but I'm confident of it and I don't care.

A great movie worth checking out as is anything Hell writes. So, think I have figured out how to add audio to this thing. Let me know if it works. This is "Pride" from "A Wild Odyssey." Check out 1:42 after the noodly synth intro. Pure Monoshockian madness ensues.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jesus Was a Crossmaker/Jesus in 3/4 Time

JD Souther's self-titled first lp is really one of the standouts of the early country rock lps. Why this one is not more well known is beyond me. First side is paydirt. I guess his success as a songwriter kinda ruins his street cred? Sartorial style gets him an A as well. Dig his various guises through Miami Vice and beyond. Saw JD earlier this year (along with various Eagles and Jackson Browne and his mom in the crowd), supporting his jazzy new lp. Solo guitar/piano for over two hours. May be someone's hell but not mine. Spoke to JD after the show and he said he is not that keen on the self-titled lp and the Longbranch Pennywhistle one. Not sure why that is. Picture is the Spanish sleeve for the first single ("The Fast One" also covered by then-girlfriend, Linda Ronstadt, a few years later). For some reason "Fast One" was not the a-side. Unfortunately, none of JD's Eagles tracks were covered by Peter Laughner on the WMMS Coffeebreak show for posterity. Check out JD two years later cashing that songwriting check here:

The Fast One is here:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waitakere Walks (1976)/PS at the Bottom Line December 1975

I guess it is time to start posting. Landed a month ago and will give an indication of the post subjects next time. Mostly music, olde rock mags, films, books, gulcheral items and hikes in the area. The title of the blog is from a 1976 hiking guidebook for the general coastal bush region printed on b/w newsprint. Layout and graphics are dead on to the vibe that needs to be assimilated. Will post the cover and a page or two if the size is right. Kinda surprised by the meet and greet upon my arrival. Somehow, I was slightly out of the frame for this photo. Record mogul Mapplethorpe, obviously pleased with himself for funding the first PS 45 (Mer Records 601) has pushed me out of the frame, the Boss stolen my look down to the t-shirt and beard. Yes, Lou was at the Bottom Line as well. Great show that live at the Bottom Line. Another topic to be explored in depth upon a closer listen now that I have the TIME! Photos courtesy of Rock Scene.