A REVIEW TO ROUND OUT THE MONTH---THUNDERTRAIN-HELL TONITE! CD (Gulcher-www.gulcher.gemm.com or try thundertrain.com)
Contrary to popular belief, I never really was what you'd call a big heavy metal fan. True, back in my even-more-moronic-than-I-am-now high school days I would plunk down the coinage in order to sample something in the realms of "metal" here and there maybe just to "try it out," but I never really was stuck on the stuff unlike most of my so-called "peers." In fact, I eventually developed an intense dislike for the form once the fun and snide mid-seventies wooshed into the disco and arena rock-drenched late-seventies, and in no way did I want to be associated with this stoner pimple-farm of a box boy music that heavy metal had become. It always happens that way; when a rock & roll genre is young and fresh the lumpen prole audience doesn't care one way or another about it, though once this style of music becomes worn out and boring suddenly this music's the rave fave amongst the lowlier aspects of any High School USA. Look at "underground" (ne. punk, garage, even new wave) rock...back in the mid-seventies when it was perhaps at its height only a few CREEM reading kids dared to pay attention. However, once punk settled into "new wave" and then eventually into "new music" (of course I ain't talkin' the other variety of splinter directions the form took such as "garage revival" or "hardcore"), every high school seemed to sport its own clique of pseudo-intellectual mousse-domes! Same with heavy metal...I mean, I wonder how many kids who went to high school with Kenne Highland shared his unique heavy metal visions back when he was cranking out ROCK ON in the early-seventies??? I'm sure a check of the same high school ten years later would turn up a whole slew of imitation Highlands without the swagger or punk drive Highland could put into not only his music but his equally stellar written appreciations of the metal form.
Despite the metal genre going from hard crunch to Ted Nugent-ized blowhardisms, I gotta say that I did acquire a liking for heavy metal, but only if this "aesthetic" was firmly planted on punk rock terrain. And frankly, any idjit could tell you that both styles sprang from the same roots starting with Link Wray's pre-Beatle exploits up through the early-Kinks and garage bands on to Yardbirds experimentation, Detroit rock and even late-sixties heavy accomplishment. However, somewhere down the line the two fraternal twins were separated...I mean, in 1973 it was common to see the Stooges lumped in with the heavy metal brigades, but by the late-seventies FORGET IT!!!! Whereas punk remained a grass-roots, localized phenomenon enveloping a variety of styles and movements encompassing everything from sixties rock, pop, bubblegum, r&b and even metallic flange, heavy metal proper became big biz and was ultimately stunted because of its success. While punk and its kin flourished on the stages of small, intimate clubs metal found a home in the arenas of the nation, spawning grounds for the downer generation that never could find a direction and never did go anywhere for that matter.
Yet, heavy metal on punk turf was a fine experience, in fact I could make a valid point by saying that it was punk rock that saved heavy metal from a totally bleak future that Andy Secher and his HIT PARADER minions seemed to think the best thing, at least for their bank accounts! Whether it be Patti Smith's RADIO ETHIOPIA (which was probably the best redux of the MC5's avant rock for the seventies, though I doubt any critic woulda said that at the time), or the groups on the LIVE AT CBGB'S album that the Britsters thought were totally metal, not to mention such local faves as Rocket From the Tombs playing a "heavy metal night" at the Agora or MX-80 Sound (and who besides me could forget a whole slew of heavy metal groups with names like Sorcerers and Junior Birdmen who were playing CBGB and Max's during the days of Alan Arkin haircuts and "quirkiness") and who could forget VON LMO, it seemed that if there was a direction heavy metal should have gone it, it was that of the underground which tossed off the trappings of metal and reshaped it in a style that seems a more sensible metallic direction than had it devolved into its infinitely more popular yet hollow early-eighties plod mode.
So where do Thundertrain fit into all this? They fit in mighty FINE, that's where, since they encapsulate a lotta what was just RIGHT about heavy metal in the late-seventies...high energy ROCK & ROLL played with style and verve with more than a pinch of the dreaded punk rock to keep this from going the Epic Records route to BLAH. Thundertrain had the name, the sound, the volume, the sweat and the aarrgh! as well...imagine if Aerosmith never got signed to Columbia and continued on as a bigname local act retaining a lot of the Dolls/MC5 punk-drive they started out with (well, I remember Jymn Parrett calling Aerosmith a "punk rockin'" band in DENIM DELINQUENT, plus the reviewer who wrote up the first Aerosmith disc in HYPE said the advance buzz on 'em had 'em pegged in the Dolls vein!), and you'll get an idea of where Thundertrain stands.
Anyway, this CD's taken from a 1979 FM broadcast. A jockette emcees the show and I gotta laugh because she reminds me of just about every other FM female deejay of the day with her suave hip puton! (And the show reminds me of about a hundred other FM broadcasts of the same stratum that I've heard, with the same opening schpiel and the usual club audience reactions.) Then Thundertrain proceed to blast a few eardrums with their particular brand of high energy music. Now, it ain't avant garde heavy metal like the kind I've been praising to the rafters for years on end, but it's fine heavy metal that continues to zoom you just like it did when you were twelve, first heard this sorta racket and thought....wha???????
You get two covers: Thundertrain not only have the intelligence to do Slade's "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" which not only pays homage to a Thundertrain FAVE but also cover the Standells classic "Dirty Water" if only out of respect for home town Boston. The original stuff ain't no slouch either, with heavy metal titles such as "Readin' Riotin' Rock 'n' Roll" and "Hot For Teacher!" (Van Halen stealing the title for a comparatively substandard metallic shuck-take) pointing the way towards great, raw and exciting live jamz. My fave of the bunch just has to be "I Gotta Rock," a newer version of the same track that closed out the wild LIVE AT THE RAT double-disc set only a few years earlier. This is the song where Thundertrain lead singer and patented wildman Mach Bell does some mighty rips on the then-current hit parade, mocking such putricities as "You Light Up My Life" and the Village People before screaming at the top of his lungs what-else-but DISCO SUCKS!!! which the radio station actually FUZZED OUT if you can believe that! Booklet says that this was because (in those pre-BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD days) the word "suck" was considered obscene, but I dunno... After all, I remember FM radio being very oh-so-hip daring at the time...y'know, all those coked out deejays snickering over sexual perversion reference in songs like they were ten-year-olds just discovering these things, and hey, WMMS-FM even aired Peter Laughner singing "Ain't It Fun" with "c-word" intact back in 1975, and that was four years prior to Bell's anti-disco tirade! You were even hearing "suck" regularly on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE...remember Dan Akroyd doing his "Leonard Pinth-Garnell" character hosting "Bad Theatre/Musical/One Man Play..." ending each performance with a snooty "Really sucks!"?? I dunno, maybe they're just more straight-laced in Boston.
If you have Gulcher's CD reissue of the Thundertrain LP I reviewed in BTC #25 and liked it, make a point to pick this one up. I think it's even better, mostly because it proves that Thundertrain weren't just some studio whiz project that probably sounded half-assed in a live setting. This here is energy, and come to think of it considering some of the lame musical acts we have to put up with today don't you think we're in need of some raw power NOW just as much as we needed it way back in the energy-crisis seventies???
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:09 PM
Lou Rone-ALONE (CD-R, unreleased)
Those of you few people lucky enough to own a copy of BLACK TO COMM #25 (many issues still available, and I don't want to look like a whining imbecile complainin' about how you'ins [keeping with my WESTERN PENNSYLVANIAN heritage here!] ain't buyin' 'em up fast enough...check out my first ever post from early May for ordering information since I'm TIRED of repeatin' over and over again the price and address and all that rot!) have already read my interview with former VON LMO guitarist Lou Rone (ne. Barrone) in which he "lays down" a whole lotta interestin' information (which might at least make some good footnotes in a lower Manhattan no wave book SOMEONE'S GOTTA WRITE ONE OF THESE DAYS) pertaining not only to his involvement with the LMO band but his own groups. I'm talkin' such acts as Cross, Kross, My Kross, Your Kross, Double Cross, Triple Cross, and whatever variant on the name Rone would use in order to avoid conflict with the myriad assortment of "Cross"-afflicted bands there are out there. And for a guy who's been involved in one of the more fertile times on the planet it seems as if Rone doesn't even seem aware of his greatness or even his brush with it being at the right place (En Why See) at the right time (mid/late-seventies) for rock & roll...I mean, here's a guy who appeared at the fabled CBGB Summer Rock Festival of Unsigned Bands in 1975 when international attention was being paid to the likes of Television, Talking Heads and their co-horts, and the guy doesn't even realize it!
Since that interview Rone's sent me a couple CD-Rs of his music which I thought I'd document for you, since I know that there are more people than you'd think interested in this feller and that scene and besides, future rock historians will want to know everything about what went on in those days rather'n be left totally in the dark like they are about too many things we need to know more about. The first CD-R sent my way's a shortie featuring a track by the aforementioned Cross as well as Rone's 1985 post-LMO group Funhouse. The Cross track's flat and crackles so it might be from an acetate or more likely the ultra-rare single they put out then but anyway, this is one for the serious heavy metal fanatic to savor. Echoes of Jeff Beck with early Phil Mogg vocals (guitar and vocals courtesy Rone) and a sound that reminds me of the early heavy metal rush before the entire genre went the way of showoff glitz and arena barbituate bash permeates this, making this reviewer think that Cross would have been the IDEAL BAND for the early heavy metal cum punk brigade of the mid-seventies (talkin' Mike Saunders, Jymn Parrett, Kenne Highland...). It was recorded at Electric Ladyland studios as well, so maybe the spirit of whatzizname was on this one just like Rone said! Neat, but for some strange reason I prefer Funhouse's "All in All" from over a decade later. This was the group that reunited Rone with former LMO/Kongress bassist Kip Kuba along with longtime Rone keyboardist John Gamble on a track I would pretty much describe as...punky new wave heavy metal? Yeah, as anyone who's read BLACK TO COMM over the past few decades can tell you, there was a lotta that going around back then...the Reds, maybe even MX-80 Sound (or VON LMO?) but we're talking new wave not in a 1979 still-hasn't-gotten-its-bad-name-yet sense but a 1985 it-HAS-its-bad-name one...and what was there at the time merging these two overdone forms anyway? Van Halen fercryinoutloud???? But Funhouse do a much better job at it. Maybe because they were doing it in clubs like CBGB five years after critics and fans alike either lost the faith or figured that entire seventies scene deader'n a doornail they shine a lot more than even a jaded one as I would given them credit for (especially since at that time, I was YEARNING for the return of seventies underground "aesthetics"). It's kinda nice in a 1980 Max's Kansas City way with the metallic crunch that was still around thrown in making for a tune that would have made for a refreshing single side back then especially amidst the reams of quickly-tiring hardcore and soon-to-tire speedcoremetalthrash that unfortunately fizzled out faster than a soggy pyrotechnic on a damp Fourth of July.
That was then, and Lou Rone's ALONE is now. Of course, the question of how "now" this thing is's kinda up in the air as we speak. Will it be an independently-released item? Will it ever see the light of day? Who knows, but ALONE is a mighty good CD-R, and I'm not just saying that because Rone's an internet buddy of mine. Believe me, if this one stunk worse than a fresh dog turd on a 100-degree day and you're the one that has to clean it up you wouldn't be reading this post at all, so you know it's an "album" that gets the BLACK TO COMM seal of approval, which probably means a lot more today when the big beat has been subjugated and deconstructed to the point where it is meaningless and merely a sad shell of its former glory.
Rone plays all the instruments (no singing!) on this one (where'd'ya think he got the title???), and I gotta admit it cooks pretty well for something that only a handfulla guys are gonna lend ears to, even if the dadburned thing gets released!!! In fact, ALONE cooks all the way, a well done prime piece of filet in fact which makes it all the more tastier in these comparatively horsemeat times. Rone's new style is (maybe) a bit hard to describe...it owes a lot to the the LMO sound in some ways yet it reminds me of those latterday instrumental tunes on the MX-80 DAS LOVE BOOT CD which ain't that peculiar since I used to think there were many similarities twixt the two aggregations. Heavy Metal guitar playing with industrial electronics and primitive drums...maybe 1974 Can on a Stooges jag as well? It's all this hyperbole and more if you can believe that!
Tracks like "Transistor" and "Easthand" have that late-seventies electric intensity that sounds like some of the better experimental rock outings that still remained well-rooted in early-seventies accomplishment. The synthesizer recalls various three-decades-back attempts that, true, might have sounded over-used at the time, but then again the guitar soars, in fact coming VERY close on "Easthand" to what Robert Fripp was doing on the stylistically-similar "Baby's On Fire" (while Bruce Anderson seems to be evoked on "Transistor"...believe-you-me, this CD-R is one to envelop you just like it was still 1979 and this music was making up the ONLY reason for your existence!)
String-y electronic sound drenching "Beggin' With Your Love" almost brings this one to the early-eighties of gnu wave but the tabla-esque percussion and dark middle-eastern mood egging on Rone's weaving guitar lines makes this one nice and seventies nocturnal (meaning I woulda loved to have played this during beddy-bye time to ease me into slumber when I was a much younger brat!), almost like Can's "Ibis" off UNLIMITED EDITION. And anyone who can guess what the song "Mirrors of Imij" is about wins a special NO PRIZE! Though I don't hear the influence of the left-handed one that much here, this (again) sounds like one of those Bruce Anderson side-projects that, although rooted in the heavy metal of the seventies, seems to be aiming at a more stark, maddening direction that transcended that genre which, come to think of it, wasn't exactly a hard thing to do given how much metal had petered out by 1973.
What, is "Rio Rone Sr." an attempt at reggae? Reminds me of the seventies when all these non-Jamaican musicians were using reggae influences and usually sounding their same old selves with a reggae beat not doing anything in particular. This one's passable though, probably because of the intensity of the playing and melodic tension permeating the entire shebang making this an aural earwig!
Closing track "India" ain't exactly one of those paens to Eastern Philosophy or Swami Satchendatchi or whatever his name is type of things the Beatles and Mia Farrow used to hoist on us back in 1968, but another fine piece of instrumental mayhem without any Indian musical influence that I can detect!
And there you have it, probably one of the best things to come out of 2004, if it ever comes out that is. And I hope it does...I mean, not just because Rone is a bona-fide rock & roll legend in the truest sense, but because ALONE is what one would call a proverbial wowzer, a CD-R that really hits you between the ears and kinda reminds you of why you liked the fine mix of art, metal, punk, avant garde and garage into one nice product that always seemed to make for the best listening experiences in times past. If I were some high-falutin' big city rock critics I could push myself around and hype this thing to the rafters but hey, I'm just a bloggin' fool so lemme just tell you this is one to wish and click your heels three times for...IT'S THAT GOOD, and certainly much better'n all of the slop I used to get inundated with in times past when I could have been listening to Rone's unmistakable guitar magestry.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 4:05 PM
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Hi-Some of you faithful readers may have noticed the various technical difficulties being encountered on this blog o'er the past few days (not to mention few months, but that's another story!). Today was a doozy, with me not only clumsily losing the comment box en toto but the archives as well as the banner at the top of the page...let's just say that I was pretty much at wits end for most of the afternoon trying to restore things to some semblance of normalcy (at least as far as BLOG TO COMM goes). Eventually I got them all back but I still can't get the comments to appear after each posting WHERE THEY SHOULD BE, so if anyone out there knows how I (the most computer-un-savviest person on the planet) can correct things please drop me a line with a suggestion or two so that perhaps I can have a normal blog just like everyone else out there. Anyway, as far as real life reviews etc. go, maybe this weekend, but don't hold your breath or anything...
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:47 PM
Sunday, June 20, 2004
HOPE YOU LIKE THE NEW, STYLISH LOOK OF THIS BLOG, complete with a different subtitle which I thought was much better than the original which was way too stodgy to begin with. I also managed to slap a comment box in here somewhere, but for some reason it doesn't appear after each posting like I wished (and it should've!) but at the BOTTOM OF THE PAGE for some odd reason. I'm going to work on getting the comment box to appear where it oughta (finding my away around the template is a pretty confoosin' task for someone as computer-doltish as I am!), and if any of you fans out there have some ideas as to how this situation can be rectified in a way a mentally-deficient six-year-old or myself for that matter can handle it please let me know asap! Until then you'll hafta go way way down the page in order to let your innermost feelings about my opinions be made public, but anyway, if you have a comment you'd like to make on anything related to a certain post or this blog or BLACK TO COMM in general feel free to do so...if it steps outside the bounds of taste I'll merely edit it out, ruthless censor that I am. Have fun out there, and whatever you do, don't take my last post too seriously, but take it seriously enough!!!
In the meanwhile, I lost the archives setting somehow, so tough luck if your're looking for an older post. Will work on this as well!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 5:47 PM
Saturday, June 19, 2004
Alberto y los Trios Paranoias-ALBERTO CD (Transatlantic/Line Germany)
No apologies for not posting any information sooner. Right now let me just say that I don't care...I have other things to do besides write stupid reviews of music that all three of you BLOG TO COMM readers wouldn't even bother with one way or another, and frankly, with all of the body-blows both myself and my faithful fanzine BLACK TO COMM have suffered over the past few months believe-you-me, the LAST thing that I wanna do in my spare time is write some pitsville piece on some "ha ha, I got it and you don't!" recording just to prove that I'm one up on ya, which I gotta say is an easy thing to do with most of you "readers" who haven't bought a record since Matador dropped you off their mailing list! Let's face it, I hate EVERYTHING. I even hate you, and I don't even know who you are, that's how hate-filled I am (and I am PROUD)!
Anyway, I'm only doing this review for one reason and one reason only, and that's for the purely therapeutic benefits. Yeah, in order to STRAIGHTEN MY MIND OUT with regards to certain things clicking and whirling in it like good clockwork should, I thought maybe it best that I GET OUT OF THE DOLDRUMS AND DO SOMETHING rather than just sit around and plot killing people who I don't even know about or where they live or their lifestyles and all that rot and besides that I can't even get hold of an exocet missile that'll trek halfway 'round the world so what good is stewing in my own bile gonna do me!!! Maybe writing a review of some hunk of recently-acquired gunk'll help ease me outta this big cloud o' gloom that's enveloped my beanie just like a wild guitar solo or boss issue of WHERE CREATURES ROAM usedta in happier times but frankly I doubt it. Let's just say that I'm gonna give writing some hot and award-winning review the ol' college try, which'll probably get me expelled more often sooner than later.
Today's case in point...Alberto y Los Trios Paranoias' ALBERTO CD, originally released on British folkie/smarm label Transatlantic in 1976 but since then reissued on Line outta Krautland which has been known to unleash just about EVERYTHING it could get the rights to over the past twennysome years. Anyway, I remember seeing these guys plugged incessantly back in the days when MELODY MAKER was desperately looking for a hook, and mentions here and live reviews there and pics of one of the guys wearing a rubber Richard Nixon mask playing acoustic guitar and harmonica a la Dylan cluttered up their pages but it wasn't like I got all hot and bothered over these Paranoias guys. I mean, in NO WAY was I gonna chance a hard-earned $7.98 plus tax on an import album I knew very little about only to get it home and find out I coulda bought three exciting cutouts for the price of this donkey log (and considering some of my luck buying records because they were on the "right" label and had the "right looking" covers you'd know why I was a wary lad!). So, Alberto and band remained something I thought I'd more or less (maybe) check out in the future, and I guess 28 years later is the future so better to give 'em a listen to now rather than wait until senility finally settles in.
It's funny, but had I heard this album back in the best/worst of times year o' '76 I probably woulda chucked this record down the toidy! Dunno why, because at that time I was totally hothotHOT on the likes o' Frank Zappa with and without his Mothers of Invention, even to the point where I couldn't stop speaking about 'em and used to drop mention of Frankie and Co. in everything from term papers to casual discussions with Dad (who couldn't've been thrilled MORE!), and although there were HUGE, HULKING DIFFERENCES between the sounds that Zappa and the Paranoias guys emitted there was ONE BIG SIMILARITY, and that was that when both bands spoofed, they didn't seem to have any original warmth in what they were doing. There was the satire for sure, the comedy angle, but with Zappa there was also an air of snootiness, this "I'm above all this boring and middle-class schmooze and totally ahead of even you suburban hippie wannabes who eat all of my dropping up without question!!!" attitude that seemed to permeate much of his satire. With the Paranoias it seemed the same attitude would show, albeit from a proto-punk standpoint. But in both cases, it was like the music these acts laid down rarely if ever could match the genius of the sounds being spoofed, or capture the essense of ridiculousness of a rather worthless genre such as disco. What I'm trying to say is that it was put-on, spoof, what-have-you, but as far as being listenable beyond the one-off jokes, I doubt it. Just like every other comedy album in your collection.
Of course, one thing Alberto had that Zappa didn't was that aforementioned proto-punk bounce, that certain style and feel that always seems to be best summed up by using pretentious French phrases only the smuggest of critics like to toss around. However, even with that abounding there seems to be a bitta something here that keeps this CD from becoming a classic repeato spin. It's just too...calculated???, to win you over totally. Maybe half-way, and these days even 50% will have to do as a passing grade considering the lack of expertise we have to put up with in the rock & roll world!
Opening track "Torture You" is the disco rip, and since disco used to torture me enough during the "worst of" part of the seventies equation the music itself would've done the job right. Lyrics aren't as bad but rank with Zappa's "The Torture Never Stops" as yet another cheap seventies S&M reference done by people who liked to talk about it all the time but you kinda doubt they'd actually go in for a little bitta the thing as Lindsay Hutton said long ago! (I'll take even Zappa's "Penguin in Bondage" over this ANYDAY!). "Dread Jaws"'s the first of their reggae swipes (another appears on their Stiff EP SNUFF ROCK) and it's pretty good since the song at least captures some kinda rasta feeling and comes off as a homage to the music that's getting the MAD treatment (hmmmm, MAD "TWISTS" REGGAE anyone???), though the rockabilly take "Pavlov" flops all over worse than the local "Vance Valiant and the Packards"-styled fifties party band playing their 35-th anniversary reunion show as we speak.
Also getting the Albertos treatment are Hawkwind (complete with a "This is your captain speaking" rap, though the song's only good for Hawkwind enthusiasts who spend their time categorizing this stuff) and the Velvet Underground via the tune "Anadin" which sounds about as one-dimensional as many Velvets-"homages" have for years only remember, this is a take off and all those Velvet Underground wannabes were as serious as ever so Alberto has the edge on 'em anyway! There's also a country and western "born again" thingie that isn't even good for a laugh...I mean, the not-there post-Bonzo Dog Band-cum-Scaffold group Grimms did a better c&w homage on ROCKIN' DUCK, and everyone I know who's heard that one HATES it!
And don't worry, there are some "straight" Albertos numbers that sound like then-contempo AM/FM rock stylings though whether this is what the band came off like when not spoofing or more slams at then-current hoo-hahs I do not know. What I do know is that after all these years I've finally heard Alberto y los Trios Paranoias and though this CD ain't quite jelled in my mind I wouldn't mind listening to more of their tuneage such as their Stiff EP (where punquisms come in for a ribbing as well!) one of these eons. Sure, this ain't quite as engaging as labelmates the Deviants, but it holds its own (and I don't mean self-abuse...this ain't some old G. G. Allin record!). However, in closing let me say that the Cleveland late-seventies/early-eighties group the Baloney Heads (with ex-Electric Eels/Styrenes drummer Danny Foland) were doing the exact same schtick at roughly the same time, and doing a much better job at it as their collectible EP and rare radio appearances prove. At least they played a cheap punque variant that continues to hold my attention and affect me in a positive way even when they're covering the same seventies territory as Alberto did. But after all is said and done all I have to say is...where can I find a Sadista Sisters album???
Remember, I STILL hate you.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:30 PM
Thursday, June 10, 2004
RAY CHARLES, 1930-2004
"And how about a cat named Ray Charles? Hmmm? For my money, he's more important than Elvis Presley, and much more important than the Stones. He was able to seamlessly blend adult pop, gospel, country and western, jazz, big band, rock & roll, you name it!-with apparent ease. He would write, play piano, lead a big band, sing like a monster and he was real cool looking, too! He cut a very sharp figure! Well, he was churning out hit after hit at this "dire" time, stuff that appealed to a wide audience despite its eclecticism and emotional content."
-J. D. King,
BLACK TO COMM #25
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:06 PM
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
From BEYOND OUR CONTROL #1 (July, 1973)-"Remember Sky Saxon and the Seeds? They're undergoing a revival in England right about now. Apparently someone got the idea that T. Rex derives their sound from them..." The possibilities are endless...
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 8:40 PM
For an idea of my own political views summed up in a way I could never express given my at-times limited scope, read Joseph Sobran's "The Reluctant Anarchist" which has been posted on today's Lewrockwell.com site. Sobran expresses a lot of the feelings I have with regards to the current politico/philosophical scene these days and says more about what I believe in than all the useless pseudo-"libertarian" bloggers with their watered-down bile have this past month. A wowzer for sure!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:34 PM
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
SPOKE TOO SOON!...about the comment box, that is! Although they appear on my earlier posts, it seems that the most recent one does not have any place to publicize your views for some odd reason! Will continue to work out the bugs even though I don't know where to start!!! Sorry!!!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:57 PM
THE BEST OF T. REX CD (A&M)
Title's a misnomer since everything on here's actually from the Tyrannosaurus Rex hippy dayze of acoustic guitars and slapping bongoes, long before a streamlined name and electric warrior metallic crunch made Marc Bolan a proto-punk supreme. (Besides, none of the big hits appear here making me wonder whether or not this platter was some quickie toss out to anxious Brit teens released during the early days of T. Rex superstardom, and at a budget price too!) Still, even at this early date you can hear the echoes of future glories from the revamped fifties riffs to those patented way-outta-kilter lyrics (which certainly didn't come off as pretentious as Prince's, though some of Marc Bolan's later ones could come mighty close...however, I can see how such early definers of punkism like Brian Sands and Joey Ramone could've fallen for Prince in the first place given the precedence Bolan had set!). The early attempts at electric music like on the single side "King of the Rumbling Spires" (which reminded me of early Slade for some maybe not-so-odd reason---Mike Snider heard the Troggs here!) and "Elemental Child" from A BEARD OF STARS are probably the closest we'll get to hearing what that original 1967 Tyrannosaurus Rex (back when Marc was Boland) sounded like before the finance company reposessed their instruments and the quintet shrank to a duo, but even with their amplified might perhaps it's not that much of a mystery as to why Bolan would have thought these early electric endeavors a bit premature. Although I do prefer the early electric tries to the acoustic janglings (which got hefty beddy-bye play in my abode during the summer of 1975 and still cut a mean path!), they do have a tad bit of a shaky presence about them. Note to Michael Weldon...has anybody ever caught the "Papa Oo Mow Mow" ending to the song "Find a Little Wood"??? (Since I'm missing PSYCHOTRONIC #1, I'll never know!!!!)
The Tornados-THE EP COLLECTION CD (See For Miles UK)
Better collection of the Tornados' best than the cheapie CD flying around the budget bins. The Tornados were certainly a mystery group in more ways than one; students of rock & roll trends in the United States are surprised to find them a "British Invasion" act predating the Beatles by over a year while others look at their music as some strange time-warp; electronic rock from 1962 retaining the instrumental credo of the day with futuristic space-y effects and a clavioline long before the Beatles dared use one. For me they were the perfect group for a perfect time. Music that truly reflected not only the space race craze but the spirit of the early-sixties, the final days before middle-America (and middle-Earth?) would be strangled to death by the same Forces of Evil that we have to contend with even to this day. Rock & roll's answer to TWILIGHT ZONE/OUTER LIMITS/SUPERCAR and FIREBALL XL-5 intensity, the early Marvel Comics era and the whole mad teenage mindset that seemed to shine brightly before airplane glue stunted these punks' mental capabilities to the point where they'd actually prefer having David Crosby as a role model over Iggy Pop!
Nice selection...29 numbers here ranging from their corniest (and still wowzer) covers of old themes for rockism mentalities to the best outer space sounds well up until their mid-sixties capitulation when the mop tops forced the revamped band (only original member left being Clem Cattini, once pegged for the Led Zep drum chair!) into doing tepid vocal takes on fifties chestnuts that deserved to be left roasting on an open fire! A (dare I say) necessary historical overview of a band that seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to rock history ("oldies" books seem to poo-poo their contribution to the scene while everyone else seem too hip to care), and really, what kind of justice is there in this world of ours when bands like the Tornados are given persona non gratis status while utter phonus balonuses like Grace Slick are still considered "relevant" by the "old" hands at the Rock & Roll (Inc.) Hall of Fame????
RIP Robert Quine...just found out that Robert Quine has died (yesterday in fact!), a suicide too which makes things even worse since I've always considered suicide the ultimate defeat (I mean, if things are bad enough for you why dontcha just go and off the people you despise? Milk the state and let the authorities get rid of you, it's much cheaper!!!). Anyway, considering Quine's contribution to the rock & roll world with his blazing guitar making not only Richard Hell and the Voidoids but early-eighties Lou Reed so tasty, this is a major loss indeed even though Quine's later work seemed to woosh right by me (I mean...Matthew Sweet?????). With the recent passing of Lizzy Mercier Descloux and now Quine, it's almost as if those great, high-energy days when punk music had finally broken out of the garages and into the psyches of Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch are all the more distant and a faded dream that was perhaps too good to have come true in the first place.
OTHER NEWS---big hefty heaping thanks to Bob "the Bear" Richert for those old BEYOND OUR CONTROLs and GULCHER #2 which I might write about in a future post. Anyone else with old seventies proto-punk fanzines willing to donate copies to the BLACK TO COMM READING LIBRARY AND TOILET feel free to contact me.
CAUGHT ON THE CBGB.COM CYBERCAST, SUNDAY 6/6/04; STORM WITH DANIEL CARTER---like I said in an earlier post it seems to me that the best music coming out of the famed club these days is the avant garde jazz music being showcased on Sunday evenings, even if it is coming from the CBGB Lounge next door. Storm is one of the newer aggregates taking to the stage...featuring long-time avant scenester Daniel Carter on woodwinds and trumpet along with two Europeans whose names I forgot (and since all info regarding these guys was taken off the CBGB website I can't retrieve any info on 'em!), Storm was being touted on the site as an Ornette Coleman/Sonny Sharrock/Karlheinz Stockhausen merger which whetted my appetite, though I felt they were more or less a re-channeled version of the Arthur Doyle-period Blue Humans which is fine even if the guitarist didn't quite reach the same levels of sonic earblast that Rudolph Grey and Sonny Sharrock made their monikers with. Obviously a group that deserves more exposure, and perhaps this show was recorded for future enjoyment? One could only hope so!
ONE FINAL NOTE---have you ever read this blog and wanted to comment on something I wrote so bad that you could wet your pants? Well, now you can---leave a comment, that is! (And I guess you could wet your pants if you really wanted to as well.) All you have to do is click the pound sign below (right where it tells you who posted this piece of drivel and when!) which takes you to the new page which features this post and nothing else! At the bottom of the page there's a place for you to make your opinions known, so feel free to say what you wanna say whether it be "GOOD JOB" or "GREAT JOB," but remember, you're on MY turf now!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 5:39 PM