MORE BLATHER, OR IN THE SAGE WORDS OF CHARLES STARKWEATHER "WHEN YOU PULL THE CHAIN ON A TOILET, YOU CAN'T BLAME IT FOR FLUSHING"
Before we get up and runnin' with today's typical batch of "I got it and you don't" infantile oneupmanship, I thought that I'd better say what will hopefully be the final word regarding the recent "controversy" that has been going on between myself and a certain Australian blogger who operates under the name "the Barman". Y'know, the riff twixt us regarding his description of my Stooges '71 "box set" review as "blather", something which I'm surprised has caused as much of a kerfuffle as it has but given the fighting nature of some out there in the blogworld who knows. In case you haven't been tuning it much, I recently strongly objected to the Barman's description of my review of The Stooges' '71 5-CD YOU DON'T WANT MY NAME set on Easy Action using that choice adjective while commenting as to why the guy would want to become a "follower" of this blog given his use of such a derogatory term! Nothing more or less as you an plainly see, especially given how the guy's choice of words would save him a lotta money at the oral surgeon's should he want to opt out for false teeth. Surprisingly enough, I actually got a response from this Barman who said that my objections were just another heavy duty example of my "paranoia" (?) because, for some strange reason, this guy says that he has used that particular adjective more or less in jest (a "playful descriptor" as he puts it) which if you ask me is sure a strange way for one to show any sorta affinity or camaraderie for a guy and his writings! But what kind of judge of human character am I anyway...I mean, there was a time in my life where I actually thought Dave Lang was a fit human being and how wrong can a guy get?!?
The whole thing stinks. I mean, yeah, maybe the guy does think that my writing is foolish nonsense which is his own mislaid conclusion, but the Barman's crying crocodile tears over my response (one that was comparatively subdued compared to the reaming he could have received) is something that suspends all manners of belief. I refuse to believe that the guy used such a negative term in jest because if he only would have responded to my post in a relatively civilized way telling me that I was mistaken I would have immediately retracted my entire story and shrugged it off. I even would have re-invited him to become a follower of the blog even though he only tunes in ones every six months but gee, that's the congenial kinda person that I can aspire to. Unfortunately he didn't want to correct any misgivings I might have had but decided to do a little more deriding of my character while engaging in some amateur psychiatry by calling me paranoid, a description the man doesn't back up in any way shape or form in his reply which only makes this whole garbage heap of an issue reek to high heaven.
Hokay, so maybe "for the sake of argument" I am engaging in a tad bit of paranoia like the Barman says. Or maybe I'm just being "cautious" or better yet "suspicious", mandatory attributes while dealing with strangers on and off the web. After all, I've been in many a situation where I trusted someone and trusted 'em pretty good only to have 'em switch gears and rip deep down into me when it became career-climbing expedient to do so. Perhaps the name Ken Shimamoto rings a few bells, Barman? A guy like myself who's been around the fanzine block a few times and has encountered more than a few shady and self-centered/righteous characters and still comes across 'em once in awhile BETTER know better, even though I do occasionally get suckered in by some fandom-infused mountebank even this late in the game which, sad to say, is my own stupid fault. Naturally I learn the error of my way usually after said person does his typical turnabout, making me just another stepping-stone on that big road to Universal Rockworld Acceptance and always at my expense!
So hey, for a guy who was on good terms then bad with more than a few Big Time Bums maybe I should be wary, especially of people who think that describing my writing as "blather" is actually some sort of accolade I should be proud of. And horror of horrors, if the Barman liked that particular piece I wrote like he claims, I'd loathe to know what adjectives he'd use had he hated it! Note that he described Jim Marshall's review of the same Stooges set as "erudite" making me wonder why he'd go and give me the bum's treatment had he some occult ax to grind (some theories abound of course, or is that just my unstable mental state?).
Many questions do remain though, like if the guy only reads my weblog twice in the past year why did he want to become a "follower", something that I thought only the true-bluest aficionado of said blog would be proud to sign up for? There's something extremely foul regarding this Barman's "rant" despite his in-his-own-mind act of innocence, but perhaps none of us outside of the guy's small enclave of toadies will ever know. Not even the mysterious "Jimmy", though judging from his own comments on buttboy Lang's blog (DL cheerfully chiming in with his own little tee hee) I doubt he would have the cranial capacity for anything quite that mentally stimulating.
But after all is said and done why should I care? I just made my own harmless little response to the Barman's hate-spewed word usage, and if anyone really got blown outta shape it was the Barman, not me. And like I said, if he had only responded in a non-threatening gloves-off way saying that my objections were indeed misguided I'd have shrugged the whole thing off. But he's the one who went on the defensive and instead of acting what you or I would assume to be in a logical manner tore off on a rant while calling me paranoid in the process, and that ain't exactly the best way to make buddies! And really, it ain't too late for the Barman or anyone else who wronged me to get in touch and apologize, but for some strange reason I don't think anyone who has would want to living in their own worlds of righteous self-deceit.
Some might point to this particular post and twisto-change-o it into even more proof of my own mental imbalance, and if so I guess that's my tough luck. But hey, I guess that I like my writing to be called "blather" just about as much as the Barman would like his to be, or about as much as Dave Lang would like hearing me call his wife a whore...whether those things are true or not is open to debate but I do have the strange feeling that these people would probably react to such exclamations as I did to my review being labeled as "blather". So please Barman and the rest, lay off that phony shock routine for once...I got enough of that infantile false indignation all through kindergarten and that was enough as it is!
And really, I hope that will be the last word. At least for today. As time rolls on I guess we'll see who the real paranoids are and who the perpetrators may be, and really, I have a pretty good hunkerin' feeling that history will bear me out. Probably about a thousand years after I'm croaked, but hey, I'm sure I can have a good chuckle or two in the afterlife no matter how much the likes of the Barman and his ilk continue to sully up my good name for what may seem like an eternity!
***Now that we got the children's portion of this blog outta the way let us tend to matters more, er, pressing. I've been feeling quite lazy as of late, and that coupled with the annual drudgery of leaf raking and raking in the moolah at work has been cutting into a lotta my blogtime so you'll have to settle for two reviews and nada more. I was gonna dig into my Cee-Dee collection and find an oldie I haven't played in years or perhaps lift a few heavy stacks of vinyl to rediscover some mid-eighties underground rock rarity that I probably dismissed at the time, but given the above defense and the reviews that I have already written I figure that this post is quite long enough as it is so there's no need to say now what I could say in a later post that might need lengthened just a tiny bit. And besides, the writeups I have presented for you today are rather top-notch stop-the-presses good if you ask me, so why should I bring their statures down any by adding some quickly-churned padding to the mix?
I know you're all waiting for my blather (yeesh, now I'm really making myself sick with the overuse of that word!) to get into full gear now, so without further ado...
***BOMP!---BORN IN THE GARAGE, edited by Suzy Shaw and Mike Stax (Bomp and UT Publishing, 2009)
I guess that the BOMP! book from last year must have been quite a success, what with this addition to the library comin' at'cha right on its heels. As we all (should) know, that first BOMP! treasury was quite a treat and as I would have expected SON OF BOMP! follows well in its footsteps, helping to fill in some of the little gaps left by the original while creating all new gaps in the process! And since when that something like that not been a good sign?
Mike Stax had a big hand in getting this BOMP!/UGLY THINGS co-production out of the frying pan which would figure since if anything UT is the logical successor to the BOMP! way of rock fandom and if anyone has picked up the mitre dropped by the fallen Shaw it is Stax himself. And as far as this book filling us in on bits and pieces that didn't make it into the original volume goes BORN IN THE GARAGE sure does its duty with regards to giving to us even more of the unabashedly strange BOMP!/Greg Shaw story, with more rare pages taken directly from BOMP! throughout its history (even those early issues nobody seems to remember) as well as from some of those earlier Shaw-edited fanzines, a few of which were even running concurrently with BOMP!, that sometimes delved into the nature of rock & roll proper in that great old time fanzine mimeo style that seemed to go out of fashion once photocopiers began coming into general use (an issue that irked Shaw as you can find out just by reading one of his choice early rambles to be found herein).
It is in these early magazines that the creative, fandom-nurturing side of Greg Shaw, the sci-fi fandom hippie who wanted to be a punk so bad, comes through in the proverbial loud and clear. Even at this early mimeo stage you can see Shaw's early-seventies appreciation of rock evolving to the point where even a choice sentence from ALLIGATOR WINE (last paragraph on page 81) is very reminiscent of something Richard Robinson might have written regarding the promise that the seventies held as far as the development of an "abstract" kind of punk music. It's this early heretofore unknown era of the Shaw Dynasty that really got my rapt attention, and although a pretty good job was done collecting these extremely-limited edition fanzine articles to appreciate from a good forty-year perch all I gotta say is why did Stax tease us about a review of the Deviants' PTOOFF! album from MOJO ENTMOOT yet neglect to reprint it???
But hey, this is Stax's baby I guess so he can write all he wants about Shaw and BOMP! from his own perspective which is spot on perhaps 99.999...% of the time. He does make a few boo-boos which are reflective of that whole seventies punk thing that rejected what became of new wave around 1980 (see KICKS, the writings of Jim Marshall and Todd Abramson etc.), like in his dismissal of the last few issues of BOMP! which ironically were my favorites just because they mixed up-and-coming underground rock with crazed sixties garage band information, but if that's what he believes well, I'll take it with the fab reprints and new commentaries that sorta round out not only what Shaw meant, but what his particular brand of rock fandom had come to mean even this far down the line.
For a guy who has most all of the original issues maybe this book ain't as mandatory as it could be for you, but it's sure handy to have the choice pages all in one page even if there are some things that I really would have liked to have seen reprinted along with the rest (like this article on the aesthetics of the new underground from that loathed final issue, one which is barely represented here!) if only for handiness sake. I must admit that a lot of the more professional, typeset pages from the mid-seventies onward issues are repro'd rather ickily, but I guess they hadda work from the actual mags 'stead of the masters which probably went missing or got sold down the line along with all of those letters Gene Simmons wrote to Greg Shaw back during their science fiction fandom days!
And although there is much care given to the reprint aesthetic (for wont of a better term) I have spotted a few "additions" craftily snuck in here/there, and although I shouldn't let such minoot things like that bug me I kinda get the idea that Stax and Co. were kinda tampering with the past when they snuck some Troggs Japanese pic sleeve into the British Invasion issue that clearly wasn't there before. But hey, Stax and I guess Suzy also did show some good judgement by reprinting some of the original ads (mostly for long gone items we now have to pay mucho dinero for) which I thought was a nice touch both graphically and aesthetically. Too bad they didn't reprint that great ad for the Sonics' EXPLOSIVES comp from the back pages of the very same British Invasion issue...that was just about as informative and as fun as many of the actual articles in that very issue were, kinda making me wonder why the Sonics didn't rate their own piece in the following issue's punk rock rundown!
Once I get down to it how can I argue about all of the history and pure genius that can be read within these pages? Sometimes I do marvel at it, like in that aforementioned ALLIGATOR WINE remark where Shaw, in describing a concept for a new "liberation music" in 1971, pretty much predicts the growing underground/avant-punk trend that would come to fruition only a few short years later. Or how about the reams of letters featuring the stars or soon-to-be's of fandom...not only the familiar names but such upstarts as Eddie Flowers, Michael Weldon and hey, even Imants Krumins clocks in with two letters even if they spelled his name wrong in one of 'em ("Imants Kru Mins"!!!!). Yeah, I know, some people don't care what is written about 'em as long as their name's spelled right, but I wonder how Mr. "Mins" felt when Kim Fowley wrote in correcting him by saying that Megan Davies from the Applejacks was not the sis of Ray and Dave! And really, to this day I do not know whom to believe (not wanting to offend Imants)!
Of course there's the personal side to this book that draws me not only to BOMP! the magazine/record dealer but BOMP! the tastemaker/monger, since this magazine was pretty much instrumental in getting me outta the usual everyday music fun-and-games that you, I and everybody else heard on the radio (AM band as well as it equally geeky FM brother) into something way more meatier with regards to music as teenage punkitude. You could say that this book even had some rheumy sentimental value to me, gushy softie that I am. And given my recent marathon pre-beddy bye re-readings of BORN IN THE GARAGE o'er the past few nights you know that this one will be sticking to my ribs a lot longer than say, some of the old ROLLING STONE record review guides where tough guys Lester Bangs, Mike Saunders and Richard Meltzer battle it out with the Stephen Holdens and Jann Wenners to see whether or not the Asheton Brothers or the Taylors are really "the first family of rock". (By the way, Meltzer's companion piece to Bangs' immortal Troggs article has finally been reprinted here, better late than youknowtherest...)
But whadevva, this one's a godsend and if I ever see Mike Stax or Suzy Shaw I'll shake one's hand and kiss the other (no jokes!) because BORN IN THE GARAGE is that kind of an exciting, high energy read and after years of fluff presented as to-the-matter rock writing we can all, you know, use more of this instead of that...savvy?
***Snatches of Pink-DEADER THAN YOU'LL EVER BE 12-inch EP (Dog Gone)
Never would have thought that a good group would have come out of Athens Georgia! All kidding aside these Snatches of Pink guys have little if anything to do with the standard "Athens Sound" as typified by a whole number of groups who might have had enough charm and stamina at one point that even I liked 'em but eventually fell into a mire of anti-commercial commercialism of the worst kind. Snatches of Pink come off more like what you'd expect some tough eighties/nineties Amerigan local band who was still operating on seventies gas fumes would. Hard rockin', high energy and with a backlog of influences that transcends the usual names kinda sounding more like what the fare at CBGB (where most of this was recorded 1/90) was like before the fashion and pose began to set into the underground consciousness to undoubtedly negative results.
Live side's hot. Hard but not quite heavy metal and perhaps one part punk rock (talking ROCK SCENE 1975) and the other part the better aspects of dinosaur FM around the same time frame. I only say this because the side ends with a particularly rousing version of Neil Young's "Rocking in the Free World" which might have been 1990's version of Peter Laughner and his Wolves playing "Rock On" in '76. Flip side's the lone studio track which reminded me of Simply Saucer's "Low Profile" more than anything. I'm sure that Bruce Mowat and even Edgar Breau would probably object, but if you ask me the hard drive and negative energy are pretty well matched up! A nice outta nowhere surprise from twenny years back that proves that there still were hard-rocking unpretentious garage bands who seemed to be playing their music despite the prevailing winds of sameness that characterized rock music that far down the line.