Sunday, June 13, 2010


Which is pretty much what you're going to get with this particular weekend post, since the ball-me weather's been so enjoyable and I've been preoccupied with more important things to do (yeah, what can be more important that rock & roll???) like mowing the yard and generally being a regular Suzy Homewrecker (well, somebody's gotta wash the dishes and vacuum the rug, and it's always gotta hafta be me!). Don't worry, I'll make it up to you somehow, like maybe with an extra-long in-depth midweek post or maybe a scrounge around so's I can do another "Spotlight On..." fanzine history review one of these days. But right now all I'm gonna do is toss out a few meager bones atcha and take it e-z for the next few days just like I used to do during my grade school years when June-August was like a stretch of addle-blissed freedom I wished would never end, even if by the time late-August rolled around I was getting so bored that I couldn't wait to go back to school, misguided and confused sod I was and shall ever remain!

Marc Edwards/Weasel Walter Group-BLOOD OF THE EARTH (ugEXPLODE)

The third (and last) disque in the recent promo package sent my way courtesy of Weasel Walter, and tis no coincidence that this 'un once again features the very same percussionist of renown along with fellow drummer upper Marc Edwards, a gent who has appeared on a number of other Weasel Walter releases on the ugEXPLODE label which is no small coincidence. 'n what can I really say about it...both tracks appearing here hover around the half-hour mark and are bee-youtiful expressions of the free atonal anger that has manifested itself in what we used to call the "avant garde" ever since the decline of the loft era and its minuscule yet vocal rebirth in recent years.

"Red Stream" is a total wipeout, kinda reminding me of something Alan Silva woulda whipped up when he was recording for BYG which I know is an overdrawn comparison but let's see how freely they flow from your fertile mind. Really hot playing from all hands (besides Edwards and Walter, Forbes Graham on trumpet, Darius Jones on alto sax, Elliot Levin on tenor sax and flute, and Adam Lane on double bass) that continues on that high-strung tradition of music as kinetic tension that began somewhere between Ornette's FREE JAZZ and ASCENSION and fortunately never did get buried underground en toto. "Black Earth" comes off more slow burn building with rage, reminding me a lot of some of the things I used to catch Freedomland doing on the old CBGB Lounge cybercasts back in the early oh-oh's.

I'd like to say that Walter and Edwards and the rest have a real future, that they're going to go places and all of those supposedly clever bromides that big city rock critics just love to heap upon their unsuspecting readership, but I won't. Because if I did I would be lying. Really, these guys have NOWHERE to go and if it weren't for me and a few other reactionary visionaries you would be reading NADA about these guys anywhere. Lucky for you if you ever catch 'em live. Yeah, Walter, Edwards and the rest are so high energy good and way beyond the ken of the average citizen that they will NEVER succeed, which I must admit is good for their own personal sense of trust in themselves. As for their pocketbooks, well I guess they can do weddings on the weekend.
Rudolph Grey/Sumner Crane-"The Real Evelyn McHale?"/"4 Hands Is Better Than None" 7-inch single

Arthur Doyle with Rudolph Grey-"Ghosts II (part one)"/"Ghosts II (part two)" 7-inch single (both singles are on the Foreign Frequency label, available thru FORCED EXPOSURE)

It's been soooo long since Rudolph Grey has blessed us with any recordings or live gigs, and if it weren't for the fact that his close personal friend Don Fellman calls me once in awhile to give me an update on The Cranky One I wouldn't even know that the guy was still living. But he is and hey, two brand spanking new singles with his involvement have come out via the mysterious Foreign Frequency label not only giving me hope that the better moments of 70s/80s underground rockism gulcher lives on but that 45 RPM'S ARE NOT A DEAD ISSUE LIKE WE ALL THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE especially after the introduction of the Cee-Dee into our lives way back in those tainted eighties.

The first platter in question's on gosh-it-all blue colored vinyl, a fact which sure brings back hotcha memories of 1978 when you could actually walk into the local chain record store and buy the Deviants reunion single and a whole lotta Stiff Records/English p-rock product snuggled right next to the latest disco hit and for a mere $1.99 t'boot! Not only that but the b-side features Grey's close friend, the late Sumner Crane of Mars fame, who also delineated the mystico drawing on the flip of the sleeve which looks just as surrealistically twisted as all those things he did for KILLER. Talk about a long-needed no wave revitalization of your internal juices!

As for the a-side, "The Real Evelyn McHale?" is a newly recorded ditty with Grey (engineered by Kongress' own Otto von Ruggins) reinterpreting the track he originally did ages ago regarding the famed Empire State Building suicide victim, transforming the original into this beautiful mad atonal blare that sounds neither guitar nor synthesizer, but electronic in the purest Velvet Underground sense. It's one of those drone-ons that you kinda wish would never end as it works wonders with revitalizing your frayed nerve cell endings. The flip, "4 Hands Is Better Than None", was laid down in June of '80 at a Chinese laundry on E. 4th Street in En Why See and it sounds it because either Grey was making more than an ample clanking with his guitar or else they were recording during peak office hours. Maybe Grey works there...who knows? Nice cavernous hand-held cassette sound with Crane doing his best Cecil Taylor impression while Grey puts forth appropriate guitar power and screech.

The rilly big surprise tho is the Doyle single which, if the sleeve notes are to be believed, was originally intended to be released on the Milford Graves-related Ak-Ba label way back in the still no wave hot days of 1980! Sure coulda used that one then, but at least I got it now to resensify me as Doyle plays his sax-o-net in even more sub-Roscoe Mitchell-esque toneage while Grey amply plays support on his guitar making for an overall effect that comes off so bared-wire encapsulating that most of the loft jazz that was ruminating in the burgh at the time sounds like Return to Forever in comparison. Those of you who've been following not only Grey but Doyle ever since the Blue Human days (and before) don't have to be coaxed into obtaining this, y'know...

I guess Grey is in need of the long green if he's finally deciding to issue this archival material. Hopefully his "poverty" spells MORE GOODIES FOR US considering the backlog of material that the guy has just begging to make it out into the open. And this booty consists of not only all of those old Red Transistor tapes but some of those early Blue Human live shows pre-Doyle like the one with Rashid Bakr 12/78 not forgetting the second show with the Arto Lindsay/Alan Vega lineup that sure sounds tempting even if Grey seemed to poo-poo the entire idea afterward sayin' that it didn't work out the way he woulda liked. Hey Rudolph, let us peons be the judge of that, hokay? And how about the Flaming Angels gig which featured more of the best of the no wave and free jazz players making one massive wall of avant splurge that sounded like Wayne McGuire's Universal Musical Force come to life. C'mon Grey, empty out the vaults and get yer stuff out to us starving minions! You need it, we need it and what else needs to be said????
IT SURE IS A SMALL WORLD, AIN'T IT? DEPT.: Hokay, one of the real reasons this particular post is comparatively skimpy is because I've been helping the folks not only get ready for, but exhibit their salable wares at the Burton Ohio Antiques Show which was being held at the Geauga County Fairgrounds yesterday. It was a nice if sweaty time (un)loading the van and doing other sundry work for the cause, and naturally when things were slow I decided to take a few walks around the fairgrounds to not only get in a little more exercise but to do some shopping as well (all I managed to latch onto was an old Dinky Toy model of some late-fifties Austin...pickings were obviously slim). During one of my trips around the racetrack where the exhibitors are set up I noticed a man, sixty-ish or so, sporting a t-shirt which read "The Black Keys" and, for no apparent reason other than cat-like curiosity, asked him if his shirt was indeed in reference to "the" Black Keys, blues-rock duo, who have been making a bit of a racket on underground turf over the past ten or so years.

The man responded that yes, he was sporting an official Black Keys t-shirt and that in fact he was the father of Dan Auerbach for the very same band! Even stranger still, this guy knew me from awhile back since he used to buy quilts from my parents (and since I had nada memory of him you can bet that I felt about two inches tall), after which he regaled me about his son's band and how they just had a new CD out proud pop that he most certainly was. (I mentioned to Mr. Auerbach that I liked his son's group even though in my review of their debut CD found in the latest BLACK TO COMM I did write on as to how much I was really beginning to dread blues music in general, a malady I think I am overcoming slowly step by step, but of course I did want to be courteous to the man!)

Anyway, things were going smoothly between us and all until I brought up the subject of Robert Quine, Dan's uncle and Mr. A's in-law, when the mood changed drastically! Auerbach Sr. did not like the man one bit, saying that his encounters with Quine (including a few dinners) were not exactly pleasant and that his opinion regarding the famed Voidoid guitarist was very low. He did admit that Quine was a fantastic musician, but regarding his associations with the guy (something having to do with a situation regarding Quine's 90's-ish parents) Auerbach totally disliked the man, calling him a junkie amongst other expletives that you can dream up yourself. But despite my obvious faux pas, Auerbach was still gracious and all to me, and told me to tell the parents that he said hi.

And that, dear reader, is how I spent my weekend. How was yours, hmmmmmmm?


Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

Mr. A, huh? Was Steve Ditko down there, too? There's a piece about Quine and Akron worth reading at 2010/03/encounters-with-quine/,
including a quote about Dan A. meeting Quine...

Christopher said...

Yeah, he told me about it. Thanks for the address, which I was looking for.