Sunday, September 17, 2006


The big punk rock reunion gigs started popping up sometime in the nineties, but at this point in the rock/roll spectrum they certainly seem to be going on full steam ahead! My guess as to the reason why this happens to be is that with the hip baby boom punkers starting to get into their bald chrome dome/potbellied crises, and with all of that upper-mid class moolahroolla they've got from their white collar jobs just waiting to be spent, and with their recent divorces and yearnings for a simpler, more copasetic time in life there's nothing better for 'em to do than to rush back whole hog into their past lives and re-live those thrilling days of yesteryear when there really was such a thing as an "International Youth Culture" that sorta spoke the massive drone language beyond borders and otherwise impenetrable barriers.

And you know it's true, like when Nick Nicholas of Clone records resurrected the Bizarros after his split from wifey (ditto Jymn Parrett's brief return to the fanzine front a decade back after he and longtime partner/DENIM DELINQUENT cohabitist Dee Daack parted company), or the Stooges and Rocket From the Tombs touring and recording even though they shoulda been doing such things back when they didn't hafta dye their hair (or had hair for that matter!), or even the renewed interest in loads of groups and various rockism idiosyncrasies that only I thought was pretty much a part and parcel of my own life sphere...y'know, back when I was yammering on about a whole slew of decade-old "first wave" underground snappers in the pages of my own BLACK TO COMM (then PHFUDD!) fanzine while the rest of my self-published compatriates were more or less enthralled by the latest Homestead/SST promotion package to fling their way. (Not that I wasn't going ga-ga over the reams of freebies from these and other labels that were heading to my doorstep with some regularity twenny years back, but I sure got the message that in no way did DC3 or Live Skull replace Mirrors or the MC5 in the panthenon of high-energy mindsear.) So yeah, it's no big revelation to point out to you the plain simple fact that the revival of the punk rock revival is in full gear, and don't blink because it sure seems a lot more palatable than the nineties homophilia revival which is bound to take you by storm sometime in the next few weeks.

Of course, one of the reasons for this revival frenzy going on is the imminent demise of CBGB which has more than a few old timey scenewatchers muttering "end of an era" with slung breasts and broken hearts. And given that the countdown to the noted beerdive's last-ever hoot is taking place as we speak you KNOW that there's gonna be a whole lotta bands both near and far cramming the stages of the various CB-run outlets in order to bid their fond adieus. Both Flipper and the Dead Kennedys are planning to represent the eighties portion of the punk equation with performances next week, but last Friday night was pretty much seventies salutations all the way.

Didn't get to catch the entire evening (actually, I hadda get up extra-early the next day and wasn't looking forward to the prospect of negative-four hours sleep that night!) but I did get to catch most of the reason I was tuning in, mainly the enticing reunion of none other'n THE PLANETS that was going down at the club which, come to think of it, is also going down as well. In case you don't know who these Planets are (or have them confused with the English early-eighties band with the same moniker or perhaps some other heavenly bodies of note) you can read all about 'em in BLACK TO COMM #22 which is still available from me, especially if you click the highlighted title which will take you to a post with the answer to ALL your questions (howzat for yet another not-so-subtle hint???). It promised to be a biggie of a night in itself, not only with the Planets performing but Bill Popp and the Tapes (survivors from the last days of Max's Kansas City who surprisingly enough never did split up!), the Boyfriends (ex-Poppees, with some guy from the Records sitting in somewhere!) and the Heat (Planets singer Tally Tallifarro's late-seventies punk band whom you can read about in the aforementioned article) also tearing up the torn-beyond-belief awlready stage, and I only wish that I coulda been front and center for this gig live 'n in the flesh 'n all, but the way things are I guess I'll just hafta put up with being stuck on the fringe of Sharon Pee-Yay gulcher with shoddy cybercast quality that at least connects with all of those swinging people over New York City way.

Actually, the computer was acting pretty nice and fine when unbilled opening act the Tender Mercies were doing their late-seventies power pop thingie, but when it was time for the Planets to hit the stage I hadda keep re-upping the live stream thus catching their set in nice little pieces. But I got to admit that it was boffo to see Binky Phillips (who now has short hair which I guess was dyed for the occasion and kinda stocky-lookin' as well, sorta reminding me of a drive-time talk dee-jay) back on the CBGB stage after years of absence (at least since his fine late-eighties power trio that had me jumping up and down despite his ex-label Caroline's natural lethargy). However, other'n he and lead singer Talliafarro appearing that night there were no other original Planets (mainly, bassist Tony Jones and drummer Steve Korff) to be found. Some guy named Jim Wiseman played the bass while the "School of Rock"'s Desmond Sullivan filled in on rhythm guitar and helping Talliafarro out on vocals was a Phil Solomon who looked like a refugee from some eighties tattoo-punk band and certainly not in tune with the Planets' more metallic oomph-rock (but he was, which proves Bo Diddley's old dictum that you can't judge a man by looking at his tattoos!). Oh, and on drums was none other than Ritchie Teeter of the late-seventies Dictators which at least was a pleasant surprise...glad to see him breaking out of the cover band trap he was in a decade ago!

Talliafarro himself was a surprise as well, getting a special introduction from the band (kinda like the one Ruby Lynn Reyner got when I caught a cybercast of her about four years back!) comin' up on stage complete with dreadlocks hanging all the way down his back. (Somehow I expected him to have avoided the music/hip and cool scene all these years, perhaps becoming an accountant or somethin'!) However, the biggest surprise itself was the music...NONE of the Planets' classic odes to Lois Lane, nor their UFO-esque version of Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" or even that great summer-y Sidewinders-esque "Wish That It Were True" ended up getting performed once and for all (or maybe they saved all that after my computer conked out for good). Starting off with "Shadow Box" (which I believe is a cover...sounds a lot like the Dolls' "Chatterbox" and I know I've heard it somewhere...) and going all the way down through such "chestnuts" as "Sonic Reducer", "Search and Destroy", "Bad Girl" and even a revved-up "Train 'kept a Rollin", the Planets surely had the audience (which included former scenester/New York Dolls Peter Jordan) in the palm of their hands, but I was hoping for something a little more closer to those days of olde when the Planets could probably draw only about ten or so friends and acquaintances before the WORD got out. Still, it was powerful, high energy and fun watching Talliafarro and Solomon trading off choruses of some of our fave standbys and seemingly having about as much fun as I was jumping up and down in my playpen!

And if you want to see a snap of what Phillips looked like back when the Planets were a front-and-center hard-edged entity on the scene, just click here and you'll be satisfied!

Just who was that bloke who was disturbing my self-absorption by calling me up last Thursday night anyway? Well, it wasn't Chuck Eddy just to tell me how much he loved me, it was EDGAR BREAU of all people! Yes, the infamous Canadian primitive/primate gave me a ring, and boy did he have a good reason for doing so...mainly to break to me the news that yeah, SIMPLY SAUCER IS INDEED REFORMING!!!! and in fact have played their first of many reunion gigs by the time you read this!!! The details are sketchy (as was my mind), but I guess that former Saucer rhythm guitarist Steve Parks caught Edgar performing solo in Montreal (where I assume Parks is now can never tell about these things!) and well, one thing led to another and all, and anyway with longtime Saucer/Breau crony Kevin Christoff in the fold as well as a new drum-basher the Saucer is indeed alive and kicking, not only performing their old hits but some new numbuhs as well! And Mr. Breau even told me that they're thinking of getting a new electronics player in order to re-create that original space-y Saucer sound! Not Ping Romany, who I guess is way outta the scene and living the Newfie life somewhere, but no matter who will be minding the synths I certainly think that the addition of electronics to the Saucer sound will be the best thing to happen to avant rock since Eno discovered tape recorders! And Edgar is really excited about performing and all, tellin' me that although he's in his fifties now he feels just the way he did as a busting-out young man playing these songs live for unappreciative audiences who shoulda known better!

And what REALLY gets me all hot 'n bothered about the Breau call is that the man actually had the gentlemanly courtesy to ask ME (certainly a peon next to the massive might of Mr. fact a mere flea in the world of his existence) how I was doing!!! I mean, it really jazzed me when Edgar really seemed concerned enough to find out how my life was going which was great considering how 99.44% of you Pee-Yews out there could care less if I got hit by a bus fulla rock critics on the way to a REO Speedwagon reunion! It really does my heart good to know that sometimes, some of the big people out there are looking out for the mere amoebas in life like myself. And some say chivalry is dead! Lemmee tell you, Edgar's call and his concern for my well being really made my day (but not night...I was so excited I couldn't get to sleep!) and I would say that it was perhaps one of the highlights of the year, at least next to Lou Rone's telephone calls but at least he calls on the weekends when I stay up late anyway!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will Edgar Breau run for office again?