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: