Thursday, December 29, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! HEAVY METALLOID MUSIC---THE STORY OF SIMPLY SAUCER by Jesse Locke (Eternal Cavalier Books, 2016)

Dunno about you, but there was a time in my life when I certainly wouldn't have ever dreamed that a book on an "obscure" Canadian punk rock group, let alone any punk group woulda ever seen the light of day ever! After all, here I am having been stuck in and grown up inna middle of one of the most anti-rock 'n roll areas imaginable, one where the late-seventies and early-eighties were spent with FM rock fans spitting ire at all of those horrid punks like Nick Lowe (no shit!) who were just too scabrous to be allowed to live 'n stuff like that. I mean...who "really" cares about some nobody kinda act like Simply Saucer, y'know??? Now pass the bong and turn up the Journey!

Enuff of that dated mainstream rock putdown that was trite even inna early eighties (albeit true to the core) and down to the bare knuckles. But hey, there is a whole lotta truth in what I had written above regarding a whole slew of acts who had been conceived in the excitement of the mid-sixties and birthed around the time rock had quit being that new intellectual game and was mostly a limp bowl of yesterday's pastafazool as R. Meltzer might have put it. And really, who in their right mind back say 1984 way (when rock for all purposes had fizzled out from being that International Youth Language to the aforementioned fazool) woulda thought that a book on an act like Simply Saucer would not only be written, but actually published and delivered straight into our sweaty palms?!?!?! Not me, and I've never been in a "right" frame of mind my entire life!

But man is this a good read. Jesse Locke really delivered on the goods with this detailed history of Ontario's best kept secretion and eyeballing the accounts surrounding the growth of Simply Saucer kinda makes you feel like you were there in the midst of the grubbiness of it all sweatin' it out with head Saucer Edgar Breau himself as he spins the first Velvet Underground platter for some guys who came to his door with clubs ready to beat him up! Yeah, it's that gritty a history and that enriching as one as well, and hey if you were one to have grown up in music with the likes of the Velvets and import bins molding your musical parameters you might just like this particular tome for the times as well.

Locke writes pretty good, even when he's trying not to cleanse his palate when describing Breau's non special snowflake opines on life and politics which I assume do not quite mesh with his own. And hey, maybe the later chapters on some of the Hamilton Ontario and environs bands that sprung up in the Saucers' wake coulda be trimmed a bit. But hey it ain't like I have been known to go off on tangents a whole lot wilder'n what Locke does and after all, its' HIS book.

But oh whatta book! Great detail and interviews with the likes of Breau as well as early Saucer members Paul Colilli and David Nelson Byers (he of the incredible Shangs) fill in all of the specs and data regarding the early days of the group before digging into the mid/late-seventies heart of it all with a few interesting stops on the way, including the arrival of Gary "Pig" Gold on the scene which really helped boost Saucers' stock quite a bit if you ask me. Then it's on to the eighties dark ages before the grand re-ignition in interest thanks to one Bruce Mowat and the CYBORGS REVISITED album on Mole Records which I must say did like a few fires in the underground rock gulcher at a time when such a fire NEEDED TO BE LIGHTED!

And don't forget the other names that pop up in the brew like the Battleship, Ethel and Imants Krumins, a guy who also did his share to boost the Saucer secret even though he ain't as much covered in this book as one would have hoped.

Strangely enough, I consider Edgar Breau a "close" (or as close as anyone can get to me) friend even though I had only talked with him via phone and exchanged various missives. I can tell he's a pal of me because he's one of the very few who dared answer Dave Lang's charges against me when the rest of blogworld was eager to get their anti-Chris licks in! Not that I care anymore (figuring that terms like racist and sexist can be twisted to mean just about anything the accuser wants so like a big SO WHAT!), but it sure was nice of Mr. Breau to go out of his way in my defense and I only hope that someday I may be able to do him a return favor. Let's just say that Breau really is a true legend and I hope this book only makes him all the more howshallIsay big guns when it comes to documenting the real deal rock 'n roll as your soundtrack during the 1964-1981 seasons that is bound to make up one hefty textbook in Elliot Murphy's rock class of the future.

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