Saturday, May 30, 2009


Gonna be upfront 'n say that this ain't gonna be yer typical weekend post since I am "chungered" as they say. Tired on all (mental/physical/spiritual) fronts and feeling pretty isolated from the rest of the world...a good thing mind you but I'd feel better about it if I didn't have an overall demeanor akin to Dresden after the bombing. Chalk it up to a variety of things I won't bore you with...well, some of the things that I am interested in as of this week I was going to write about in this opening to "pad it out" and attempt to come off sophisticado and all, but I thought I'd save my planned musings for the "High Six" post I'll deliver the middle of next week. And, as the title of this very post states, ya better be thankful I was able to deliver these measly reviews if anything at all, and you are gracious for that, aren't you?

The Hollywood Squaretet-NICE TETS CD (Roulade)

Here's the second installment of the H-wood Squaretet saga (read my review of their first here) featuring Mssrs. Todd Homer and gang engaging in even more free jazz merriment aided this time by the guitar of Joe Baiza, a name that rings a bell somewhere but I just can't put my finger on it, or up it for that matter. Resultant spew remind me of a mad-way jam between Mahogany Brain, Albert Ayler and Richard Meltzer with or without Smegma, and even though a tad bit of the latterday SST sound might creep in (which might suit "some" bloggers out there in Antipodesville but not me) I can't say that I didn't get maximum enjoyment outta hearing drummer/vocalist Larry Copcar snarl and bark his post-beat poesy to this soundscapade. I'll betcha that CD Baby already carries it so give 'em a try. (A SPECIAL NOTE TO THOSE OF YOU ON THE PROMO GRAVY TRAIN!: whatever you do don't toss out but read the enclosed promo sheet! It was written by none other than longtime fanzine personality Eddie Flowers and you know how little he puts pen to foolscap these days! It's always a joy to lay eyeballs upon his various rockist grumblings and the more of these hypesheets the better I say, especially given the absolute dearth of high energy readings to be found on the web, not only on this blog but elsewhere!)

THE MIAMIS CD (available from CD Baby)

'bout time but thankfully this nice bitta seventies New York rock finally made it out to a public that's probably even less sussed than it was thirty years back. I never considered the Miamis to have been whatcha'd call upper-echelon New York rockers even if their track on the LIVE AT CBGB'S album was a nice enough example of what mid-seventies AM pop-rock would have been like if only more of it were allowed on the radio, but back then if I had only five bucks in my hand and I hadda choose between buying a Miamis record and a Manster one...well, I guess Manster would be five dollars richer! However if I hadda choose between the Miamis and one of the more bloated narcissistic dinorockers of the day...

Well, even then I dunno who I'd choose, but in the here and now these Miami tracks sound a whole lot better at least to mine ears than their "We Deliver" did back then and they might come off nice enough to yours too. Like I said, imagine the more arousing aspects of mid-seventies pop, the stuff that didn't sound that bad blasting from AM radios of the day amidst the proto-disco and Vikki Carr schmooze that used to make my dad pretty happy thinking that the "kids" are listening to this and not that!!! (I remember Freddy Fender and Linda Ronstadt getting heavy kudos in this department.) I'm talking everything from the Sweet to even a surprise outta nowhere like Pilot, only with more Amerigan influx in the Wynbrandt Brothers' genetic makeup. Add some outta-place for the time harmony vocals and a rather smart pop ideal and you got something that was pretty pop, kinda punky and even (shudder!) "commercial"!!!! Hokay, sometimes the results aren't as good as I'd've liked 'em to be, kinda coming too too pop sweet like that other CBGB veteran group the Movies (who had an album on Arista early '76 after being signed right off the stage) but mostly this is smartly written/produced/performed local pop/rock that sure would've sounded swell enough on AM if only the listening public were more attuned to it and not Meco. Nothing to get overly excited about, but rockist enough even for my limited musical scope.
BOOTLEG OF THE WEEK!: The Yardbirds-ANYONE CAN PLAY (Creative Artistry)

I must admit that I was kinda worried when I saw the labels for this sporting a variety of well-known Grateful Dead titles, but rest assured that ANYONE CAN PLAY is nothing but prime Yardbirds featuring a variety of talented guitarists with all fingers intact. A wide-ranging affair as well, covering pretty much these moptops' entire career from the 1963 Clapton blooze boom to their four-piece Jimmy Page days which most "classic rock" stoolboys will remember fondly for being the group that "led" to those Zep guys and nothing but. SQ ranges from surprisingly good on the Swedish radio tracks (which can be beard in their entirety on the just try'n find it BROKEN WINGS double set on Tobe Milo) to typical recorded off the BBC in a Belgian barn muddled, that is if things like that really mattered to ya. Even with classic Yardbirdisms available to you with a mere keystroke ANYONE CAN PLAY does fine for people like me who still have deep sentimental pangs regarding mid-seventies record shops, and the wonders that could be found not only in the reg'lar but the import, bootleg and budget bins as well!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Warsaw Pakt-NEEDLE TIME CD (Captain Trip Japan)

Much much mucho has been written about English ace guitarist Andy Colquhoun both here and elsewhere, but no matter how much ink has been spilled upon the ground regarding this ace player it surely doesn't do the man any justice especially considering the reams of press that has been dumped on less exciting guitarists who managed to plug themselves right into Ameriga's mediocrity worship mechanism. Too bad, especially considering the amount of energy and pumice that the guy not only put into a number of those post-seventies Deviants and Pink Fairies reunion shows (and records), but the stuff he was laying down in the seventies when the radiation emanating from the late-sixties high ehergy scene was still lingering on, or at least it was in certain enclaves. It's a shame his Rockets never released anything and Tanz Der Youth are remembered solely from a one-off Radar single, but at least Colquhoun's Warsaw Pakt not only managed to get a rush-release album on Island out but a self-produced EP as well, and all can be easily enough obtained through the Japanese Captain Trip label who I'll bet have this and a few million other Deviants/Pink Fairies-related platters wasting away in Eddie Flowers' secret stash as we speak.

Nice sound with sparse studio audience. Reminds me of some seventies FM radio broadcast say if WMMS-FM in Cleveland did a Coffeebreak Concert with some local hard punk act around '76, which is of course something they would never have done. Performance is cross twixt Ladbroke Grove people's rock, late-sixties Detroit spasms and early Pretty Things-era British r&b sorta like the stuff that the British weaklies were calling punk before the money-go-round got the best of 'em. Vocalist Jimmy Coull suits the group fine with his tough thug English voice that sorta puts to waste the fact many people hold that the English are a buncha fags. Snobs and bigots maybe, but fags...naah! Wonder what happened to him anyway? And of course the rest of the Pakt fit in fine with a particularly no-holds-barred performance (esp. Colquhoun on lead) that makes me wonder in artificial stimulants are legal over there, or at least do they seem to be...

Did I mention that the Pakt's drummer was Lucas Fox fresh from Motorhead (or at least he is on all tracks but the EP ones) which should at least pique the interests of some of the more astute metal guys out there??? No wonder Mick Farren wrote the liner notes considering how much of the Deviants Warsaw Pakt felt fit to pilfer for their own sound and substance.

Don't think there's anything holding you back from getting hold of this Cee-Dee reish (which is even packaged in a cardboard sleeve like the original only shrunk down to proper size) which I suppose anyone showing enough punkitude to tune into this blog would already know. But then again I'm sure that everyone reading this already owns NEEDLE TIME and has been spinning it constantly upon espying this very review. If you are one of the unfortunates who haven't heard this once tres obscurity, you have a chance to prove me RIGHT if you so desire.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Yes, even I am feeling the pinch, and it's not from the crab lice infesting my eyebrows either! But still I soldier on, trying to make the best out of a miserable situation by perhaps purchasing an interesting item here and there, finding some old unplayed offering in the collection to give its initial spin and just basically trying to get on even with the lack of basics that I'm sure we all have to put up with these sorry days. And by "basics" I'm not talking about the long green (which I can always use more of, but have enough to survive on), but the lack of high energy sounds and even writings coming from ALL directions! Until we hit the mother lode of hot recordings and classic rockscribe reads I guess I'll just have to be digging into my by now ancient collection and reliving past rockism glories which I guess are better than no glories at all.

I'm sure some of your readers are tuning in to get a taste of some of the other aspects of my, er, "personal life" and not "just" which records I have been playing and which old fanzines I dug outta the strata. In order to stave off madness I shall admit that I have been digging through loads of the less-heard amongst my collection as well as spinning some old faves that sorta got shoved to the back of the bus. Of course the wonderful CD-R's that Bill Shute and Paul McGarry have sent are helping to make my life a little more pleasant than it otherwise would be. However, I should admit that I tried listening to that John Ylvisaker COOL-LIVIN disque that Bill sent, though about two tracks into the thing I was just muttering to myself why I was listening to this when I could've been spinning the Figures of Light (another recent top-play) or Mirrors. Maybe when I'm not in that much of a "strange music" mood perhaps? What purports to be the top spin of the week would definitely be the LOST HOLY GRAILS CD-R, a fine collection of previously-circulated efforts from the likes of Moby Grape, the Stooges, Can, MC5 the pre-Sabbath Mythology as well as the Velvet Underground etc. and so forth that sounds like it would have made for a fine backdrop for an intense herbology session at Mirrors' practice space on Storer Ave. Hearing the Grape proving that San Francisco was much more than the Dead and 'plane on "Evil Hoodoo" before Pink Floyd with Syd rip into "One in a Million" can be one of the most life-reaffirming experiences one can have even fortysome years after the fact!

As far as reading matter goes, the stack of PLASTIC MAN and SPIRIT DC reprints continue to astound, amaze and other hackneyed ejaculations you can think of making me want to pretty much scour the entire Quality Comics line for not only more of their stories but those of Midnight, the Clock and other guys whose main fashion statement seems to have been mixing masks and forties three-piece suits. Of course the good old fanzines like BIG STAR and the old THE NEXT BIG THINGs are around, fortunately to reminds me of what hot obsessive rock & roll writing was like in the days before Eddy. And in other things, my fave local restaurant the Cookery is closing down after thirty years of faithful service! I guess after the original owner (old friend of the folks who operated a number of eateries since the fifties) died a few years back and the family took it over the usual problems began mounting up. I personally thought that some of the quality was lost since the owner's death (like the time they were passing off what looked like deli meat for their turkey dinners) but not that much and they were still getting the customers, but between the new management and a Golden Corral all you can eat restaurant opening up across the street I guess things were shall we say too much for the new management to handle. Still I am sad to see it go, especially after the memories I had of eating there with the folks after Christmas shopping in 1986 thinking about going home to play all of the new BYG reissues I had just received not to mention my holiday fave THE MARBLE INDEX. Man, I don't know if I'll ever wolf down a chicken-fried steak again!

While you're crying over my gastronomical misfortunes to be, how about reading (and appreciating) these reviews I managed to churn out since last Wednesday. I would try to make you feel even more guilty about the way you treat me by saying that I put a whole lotta effort, sweat, stamina and maybe some skidded underwear into these writeups, but as usual I would be lying. Awwww, read 'em and maybe you'll learn something (like how inarticulate I can really be when I put my mind to it!).

Albert Earl Crabtree/Cold Steel-METAL IN THE 1ST DEGREE CD (available via. CD Baby)

Do you remember when heavy metal either as a style, a fashion or even a vague concept had about as much true rockist value as Guy Lombardo? Mebbe you're too young, but I sure recall them days roughly from 1973 onwards when heavy metal seemed to have lost whatever dank atonal depressing crank it once had and almost overnight turned into boring (mindless I can take, even appreciate) sub rock sputum. Well, at least I remember the reams of dud metallic rompers that FM radio used to dump on me thinking that I was somehow its #1 target audience, which come to think of it just might have been the most backhanded insult to have ever been tossed my way! But let's face it, by the late-seventies heavy metal seemed to have become a big joke, a music that was once loud and obnoxious, attuned to the teenage grief mindset and best of all perhaps the only outlet for non-hippie youth expression and here it was 1978 and all of a sudden metal was the national sponsor for teenage Quaalude, wotta achievement!

Of course I was only looking at the superficial, commercialized aspects of the metal equation since there still were plenty of metallic acts out there in nowheresland that still put forth with a loud barrage even in the face of Kiss going balladeer. What's even more surprising is that this metal underground scene seemed to be taking place on punk turf, or at least these groups were more or less performing in clubs mostly frequented by the purveyors of the post-Velvet Underground generation. And at time when original rock & roll music acts were finally given a safe harbor in a music biz that seemed attuned to cover/tribute bands and some of the most one-dimensional quap that continues to embarrass me (as a living and puking denizen of high energy standards) even though they might put a smile on Chuck Eddy's face.

The metallic approach on punk territory wasn't anything new mind you. Remember, the whole MC5/Stooges scene and attitude (called proto-punk by music wags way after the fact) was getting the "Detroit heavy metal" tag even though a good portion of metallicus proper really wasn't paying attention no matter how hard Anastasia Pantsios was praising the "Z-rock" format back in the eighties. Then of course there was MX-80 Sound who were also getting a heavy jazz rock rep slapped on 'em, though that seemed to make very little sense once their second album OUT OF THE TUNNEL knocked for a loop an unsuspecting underground market back around '80. There were other surprises here and there, like Rocket From the Tombs (playing a "heavy metal night" on WMMS with Hendrix cover band Paragon and Youngstown crazyguys Left End) and Philadelphia's the Reds as well as a number of New York bands who, although unrecorded, at least had hot word-of-mouth publicity that made 'em seem like the next logical step in metaldom even though hardly any of 'em dared to stray outside their New York City environs. Perhaps you heard of some of 'em; Von Lmo, Sorcerers, Junior Birdmen and today's case-in-point Cold Steel.

I saw Cold Steel's name on a Max's Kansas City listing way back when and figured they must've been some studded leather greasy long hair guys Peter Crowley kinda felt sorry for. Well, ain't that how the Cramps got started, and besides these guys hadda play somewhere other'n the Great Guildersleeves so why not Max's? Almost thirty years later who'd believe that a Cee-Dee of 1980-vintage recordings originally recorded under the tutelage of Marshall Chess beneath Studio 54 would ever seen the light of day! But here they are and better now than a thousand years from now when boring college students have to do dissertations on late-twentieth century rock obscurities because although this 1980-vintage album has arrived three decades too late, at least I can still get some hard jollies outta it as a slice of just-pre-capitulation New York Rock than I can, say, some of the more pressing on rockcrit mind acts of the time like ESG por ejemplo.

Cold Steel were a perhaps not-so standard "power trio" led by former Magic Tramp (during their late-Eric Emerson period) guitarist Albert Crabtree. The rest of the group is not mentioned, nor is the guest musician who added some nice complimentary synthesizer work here and there. And amazingly enough, Cold Steel, despite their cutting edge of metal moniker, were not really that hard of a metallic group like I would have expected from an act that had me thinking hefty Motorhead refs! At times they sound more like a standard hard-pop group that you would have seen at Max's and CBGB for the previous five or so years. At first listen you might categorize Cold Steel in with some of the harder rocking punk groups of the era like the Dictators or early Tuff Darts, but I guess if people could categorize the New York Dolls and Sadistic Mika Band as heavy metal back in the day these guys woulda fit in even more so.

Performance-wise you can't go wrong, not with Crabtree's smooth guitar stylings that remind me of Lou Rone even though Crabtree is not "alone" on this outing, and Crabtree's singing fits in snugly with the general hard rock stylings as well coming off kinda like Adny Shernoff's with a tiny bit of Andy Devinitis for warble effect. Playing is professional without being obnoxious even when the music and lyrics are getting in that patented cock rock position #69 cliche with refs to vanilla wafers and fish, and in many ways Cold Steel have a whole lot more in common with Stu Daye and his various ventures (some of which have been mentioned on this blog) than they would with anything else going on in a New York or metallic sense elsewhere, and if you liked Daye's hard-pop excursions via his various outlets you'll probably get a huge hunkerin' kick outta Cold Steel.

So whaddya know, a nice outta left field surprise that I never thought I would experience in this life or even the next one where I come back as a slug (a step up I might add). I guess I could end this review by saying that I only hope that a release such as this spurs on some of those other metal-on-punk-turf acts like Junior Birdman and Sorcerers (check out their guitarist on ebay if you wanna track him down for tapes...he goes under the name Sonray 66) to dig out some of their past endeavors for present enjoyment. Of course that would be wishful thunk, but I guess if acts like Just Water and the Miamis could be releasing their decades-old recordings this far down the line why not hope for something like a complete Sorcerers exhumation complete with their showstopping cover of "Brainstorm"? In this electron-saturated age we need it!
Can-OPENER LP (Sunset, England)

Bought this one for purely one-dimensional nostalgic reasons because I remember seeing it in the minuscule import bin at the old Musicland in the Eastwood Mall back during the spring of '75, and since I had only about a year or so earlier read a Can ref. in NEWSWEEK of all places the name and cover pic immediately snapped out at me. I know that 99.99999...% of this personal drivel I toss out atcha means nada to a sane person, but it sure brings back exciting record-hunting memories for me plus I gotta fill up space somehow so why not with my revelations regarding my various high energy epiphanies eh?

Anyway, the list of Mirrors refs on their Myspace page (see linkup at left) had me digging into this budget-y collection of early/mid-seventies Can tracks featuring a good selection from EGE BAMYASI and SOON OVER BABALUMA as well as FUTURE DAYS programmed in such a fashion that you don't care that this was just another tossout at the ever-growing kraut continuum of the day. The lack of material from SOUNDTRACKS and TAGO MAGO does deter a slight bit, but between the neat stark if standard mid-seventies cover and the selection of music I find OPENER a good enough budget collection that woulda adorned the collection of any true proto-punk maniac of the day rather swimmingly!

I wasn't expecting that much considering how these guys were one of the "lesser" groups on the infamous LIVE AT CBGB'S double-header, but danged if the Laughing Dogs just didn't have just the right sense of seventies pop moves on their two cuts, plus the fact that they ended up backing a just-post Dolenz/Jones/Boyce/Hart Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones on the carnival circuit did add up to mucho fun brownie points. Amidst all of this hoopla the Laughing Dogs did manage to record two albums for Columbia, this being the first which not-so-surprisingly enough sports some pretty good late-seventies pop rock moves...y'know, the kinda stuff that got buried under the weight of disco and some of the most abysmal puke passing for "rock & roll" ever to get laid down and passed off for youth kultur or whatever it passed for by that time. Of course there was an extremely slim chance that a group like this would ever "make it", but then again I'm sure all of those reviews looked hip in their mothers' scrap books!

Mostly good hard-pop with great harmony vocals and even a few stabs at the New York punk ideal ("I Need a Million") thrown in, with only a few nod offs here and there. You could do worse, and perhaps I will when I seek out some of the other nth-string New York groups who got to release albums (the Movies come to mind), but this one does satisfy me in a way sorta like a lighter New York-y SHAKE SOME ACTION would, if you get my drift.
The Unrelated Segments-THE STORY OF MY LIFE 10-inch 45 rpm (Sundazed)

Dunno how this '03 reissue managed to slip to the back of the collection but it did, and I'm sure glad that I "rescued" this from a fate worse than being cut out. Finally a collection of this Detroit group's single sides which I know you already have thanks to the eighties Eva reissue, but they do sound "nicer" here and besides you even get a previously-unreleased instrumental backing track, if you're the kinda guy who goes for instrumental backing tracks. Not only that, but Jeff Jarema's liner notes are very informative making me wonder why he's been in hiding so long...I do hope he got paid something for 'em because if anyone should be getting money for what they write it should be people like Jarema and not that goon with the music column in yer local paper! Whaddeva, this is indispensable for fans of the Detroit high energy rock sound and if it weren't for them there might not have been a Stooges or MC5 blahblahblah you know the rest of the story so even bother reading these blogs unless you just got popped outta mom's belly and you're diggin' it for the first time???

Do any of you older readers remember when the Stones toured the US of Whoa back during the summer of '72 and got a whole lotta bigtime publicity which perhaps sealed the fate of rock & roll as a fully-accepted mainstream concern? Well, those of you oldtimers who probably remember all of those deep and fraught-with-everything Stones puff pieces in the pages of TIME and THE WEEKLY READER will wanna snatch up this or any of the various other recordings of their Madison Square Garden show from that epochal tour. If I do recall what I did read about this show, wasn't it where Mick celebrated his 29th birthday with a cake and on-stage food-fight? That ain't on here but "Jumping Jack" and the "Rambler" are, and although I don't cozy up to this part of the Stones' point-in-time as I do their earlier material it wasn't like I was yankin' this off the turntable mid-spin like I would with ELTON JOHN'S CAMPFIRE WEENIE ROAST AND OTHER HOMOPHILIAC TALES. Good enough mid-level show, nothing more or less.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Snatch-"Stanley"/"IRT" 7-inch 45 rpm (Lightning UK)

One thing out of many that I do pride myself on is having been what one would call an unrepentant/unreconstructed Velvet Underground aficionado for the past thirty or so years. Well, at least I've been a faithful follower of the form to the point where I can easily tell a good Velvets-inspiration (Figures of Light, Real Kids, a few hundred local groups ca. 1969-1980) from a bad one (X-tal) which is more than your standard local-paper rockcrit has been able to do ever since the Velvets crept up from their dank subterranean environs to chic hipster acceptance. Yes, my infatuation is definitely obsessive and to a point compulsive, and although this deeply-held mania of mine would definitely be considered tres gauche by some of the more, er, mature musical mavens to be found out there in blogland I find such a devotion, "skewered" as it is, totally copasetic regarding my own musical "scope" re. rock as a hot suburban/low budget form of ranch house expression. If that puts me in the same category as those rural guys I used to see during my childhood who were obsessed with old steam-engine tractors and trains not to mention thirties radio programs so be it...I'd rather be like one of those supposedly "square" geeks into old-timey living and an appreciation of technical doody past than I would decadent rock kultur pseudo-intellectual people who seems to love mankind, but only on horse-blindered, neo-Marxist terms that translates into pure hatred as far as every one else is concerned!

But as far as them thar late-seventies VU applications (and believe-you-me there were many!) go, I gotta admit that Snatch did a pretty good job of emulation with some imitation thrown right in. Inspired by the discovery of co-Snatch and solo star in her own right Judy Nylon's myspace page, I decided to purchase this sorta/kinda rarity in order to see if it would fill the bill w/regards to sating any serious Velvetisms that I continue to hold near and dear. And true those Velvetisms abound (and not in that sickeningly sweet way that they have ever since the eighties) on these bedroom-level recordings done while the two were slumming in London, and even with the cheap guitar crank and primitive nature these two songs do satisfy just like those summer '65 VU demos did in their sparse yet intensity-packed drone riffing way.

I assume that's Nylon shreiking on the a-side in a tuff Bronx gnarl, and "Stanley" does "work" as some sorta post "Piss Factory" poesy even if this sounds like something that I probably would loathe if it only came out a good decade later during the glut of self-produced elitist angst-riddled recordings covering pretty much the same territory. I kinda like the flipster better where the twosome's homesick pangs are put to vinyl in an ode to the En Why See subway system, complete with detailed descriptions of all of the pervos who you see riding the trains in the middle of the night that I'm sure would even would've made Johnny Thunders blush. Sound and attitude is highly Velvetized here proving that with two cheap electric guitars even the lowliest but true-blooded of rockers can create a holy drone equal to the Velvets' full band swing. Low budget and satisfying compact excitement that definitely goes to show you that Snatch are a group that needs to be given the full meal deal reissue status especially this long after the jig was up.

(BTW, if you're curious about the Snatch followup single done with Eno where the Talking Heads "tribute" "King's Lead Hat" is coupled with a number entitled "RAF"...well, I've yet to hear Snatch tackle the a-side but the flip is more or less Eno during his late-seventies arty-funko phase which has little if anything to do with his more rock-oriented early work and therefore quite outside of this blog's "scope". I'd safely say that this one should be obtained and digested only by the more serious students of the form lest it turn you off totally from the cheap majesticism of their debut wonder.)

Monday, May 18, 2009


I thought I tried it all, hard sell. soft sell, appeals to the innate rockism in each and every one of us, but it hasn't worked. I'm still stuck with thousands of BLACK TO COMM back issues cluttering up my closet, my boudoir, my basement and even some special hiding places you'll never know about and what's worse is that there seems about as much interest in people reading this historical fanzine as Jay Hinman has in humility! So, in yet another vain attempt to reach out and move some of these VASTLY UNDERRATED fanzines of mine created twist the years 1989 and 2003 (not exactly top booming years for fanzines or rock fandom for that matter!) here's yet another approach to soften even the hardest of hearts and heads out there in rock fandom land, like maybe the LCD of 'em all, emotion.

Y'see, I've been doing this rag long before I got into the blogging game, and even though I have met with more headkicks and groinstomps than any other fanzine editor out there in the wild and woolly world of rock fandom I've continued doing this mag not only because it's a "labor of love", but its the only way that I could "express" my deeply-set obsessive/compulsive attitude towards this thing called rock & roll or punk or garage or what-have-you without totally flipping out in abject frustration. Oh yeah, expressing my "love" for this music has gotten me stomped on even by erudite yet seemingly bipolar college professors teaching in rural Montana universities as well as ineffectual San Franciscan white-collar professionals slumming in the gutter world, but I've plucked the final knife from my back and sorta curse the idea that I've somehow managed to upset even people I didn't want to in the first place ll I can say is that the whole trip was worthwhile. If I had to do it all over again I would only start earlier in my life, put a lot more effort into my writings and hey, maybe I would go out of my way to piss off even the people who are supposed to be my "buddies" anyway!

One of the most unfortunate things about doing a fanzine, at least for me, was trying to get these rags out to a hopefully eager public. Distribution was always a hassle especially when the people who were circulating the rags, like the Dutch East India Trading Company, pretty much loathed my guts. It's their prerogative to do so I guess, though I sure wish they didn't cheat me outta the money they owed (not much, but I wasn't gonna complain since I wasn't gonna deal w/'em ever again). Ted Gottfried at See Hear was a saint and savior rolled into one package, and when his efforts eventually capsized a big void certainly entered into my life not to mention my pocketbook. As for Get Hip, if it weren't for them I'd have to sell these things door-to-door like freckle-faced boys do GRIT! But for every See Hear or Get Hip there were dozens of distributors like that Nick guy in Chicago who kept changing his aliases in order to avoid paying me what was due, and though I thankfully was spared the big losses that everyone else who used Systematic back in the late eighties encountered (mostly because they too would not handle my mag!) there were way too many cheats and scoundrels who decided to take advantage of me in any way possible, and one can only hope that they all will face an eternity of hellfire and damnation or maybe even the next few years living in Melbourne...same thing!

So here I am years afterwards with tons of BLACK TO COMM back issues, and even though I do have an "audience" that I guess tunes in once in awhile frankly these mags are not flying forth from the tool shed like they oughta. And in these tough financial times I need the moolah to buy essentials like Steve Ditko political comix and maybe even a subscription to CHRONICLES. so I'm begging ya...why dontcha help your Unca Chris out and buy a buncha these magazines out which not only will benefit me but yourselves given how jam-packed with pertinent high energy information they are! Prices postpaid in the US of Whoa too (furriners please write me via a blog comment which I will NOT publish if you so desire!). If you wanna use Paypal, that can be arranged. I even take well-concealed cash! Please buy some fanzines...did I tell you that some of these issues were produced under a heavy strain due to real-life pressures and were a miracle that they even came out under such crushing circumstances? Gee, you people have no heart!

But if you do have heart and wanna buy directly from me via the snail route, why dontcha just send payment to Christopher Stigliano @ 701 North Hermitage Rd., Suite 23, Hermitage, PA 16148 USA and make the checks out in my moniker and not to BLACK TO COMM!

BLACK TO COMM #14-Early 1989. Featuring part one of the Ron Asheton interview, a nice though could be much better given all the information discovered since piece on the Deviants, an article on Peter Laughner's Cinderella Backstreet, the Seeds and Charlemagne Palestine. $6.00

BLACK TO COMM #16-From summer 1989. This one has the Rudolph Grey interview, some reprints of Peter Laughner things I copped out of old issues of ZEPPELIN and elsewhere, more Electric Eels lyrics with a pic, Laughing Hyenas and of course tributes to the recently departed Lucille Ball and Jim Backus. The first, cruddy version can be had for $3.50, though the better take will cost an extra buck ($4.50 in case you can't add). I also have some "damaged" in a basement flood but still readable (they may either be wrinkled a bit and/or have rusty staples) I'll part with for a mere two dollah!

BLACK TO COMM #17-Early '90. The first of the "big" issues has a cover story/interview with Scott Morgan and Gary Rasmussen from the old Scott Morgan band, also inside's an interview with Borbetomagus' Donald Miller as well as one with Maureen Tucker, not to mention pieces on Fish Karma (who I liked until hearing his overly-preachy kiss kiss moosh anti-gun song entitled "God Bless The NRA"), the Dogs (from Detroit, not the French ones or the Flamin' Groovies for that matter!), Rocket From the Tombs (with loads of old photos and the like, some never seen before or since!), the top 25 of heavy metal, METAL MACHINE MUSIC, a piece on the then-new proto-punk reissues and archival digs of the day and the usual reviews and news. $7.00.

BLACK TO COMM #21-From November '94. A VON LMO cover story and interview grace this ish, as do interviews with Metal Mike Saunders, Brian McMahon (Electric Eels) and rockabilly star Ronnie Dawson, plus you can read much-desired items on the Trashmen, Velvet Underground and Hawkwind like I knew you would! Not to mention a piece on the infamous TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE fanzine! $8.00.

BLACK TO COMM #24- From spring 2001. This issue's cover feature's a nice interview with Doug Snyder of DAILY DANCE/Sick Dick and the Volkswagens fame, plus there are interviews with the Dogs (Detroit) and Greg Shaw, a piece on the old CAN'T BUY A THRILL fanzine and the usual feature-length reviews and the like. $9.00.

BLACK TO COMM #25-The latest (December 2003), 162 pages brimming with such goodies as a New York City Scene history (featuring interviews with Max's Kansas City's Peter Crowley and Ruby Lynn Reyner from Ruby and the Rednecks plus pieces on coverboys the New York Dolls and VARIETY scene-booster Fred Kirby), an interview with J. D. King (Coachmen, comix) plus one with guitarist Lou Rone, who would probably be best known to you as leader of the early CBGB-era band Cross as well as one-time guitarist for both Kongress and VON LMO, the Screamin' Mee-Mees, CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS, Simply Saucer rare photos, family tree and gigography, rare fanzines of the Golden Age (and more), tons of book and record reviews (which make up the bulk of this ish!), plus a CD with live Simply Saucer 1975, the Coachmen, The Battleship, Ethel with David Nelson Byers and Ruby and the Rednecks. $12.00

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Yes, I think I have reached the end of my rope, the nadir of my existence, the last square of toilet paper at the end of the roll. I mean, here I am at the end of yet another head-thumping, blood-vessel busting week and there really ain't anything for me to write or gab or talk or gloat about a tall. Methinks that the financial crunch which has prohibited me from buying up all those records I have on hold at VOLCANIC TONGUE and FORCED EXPOSURE has finally caught up with me, but then again there are only a few items coming out these days that really makes me wanna dig into my cashbox to dish out the hard-earned like I usedta even a good decade or three back. Now don't get me wrong, I have discovered a few seemingly tasteful goodies via CD Baby that I might cash in the Coke bottles for next week, plus (while on the search for free downloads) I came across this hopefully onna-level site where I can obtain current-day jass rarities from the likes of Luther Thomas and more for nine bucks a pop, but for now I think I'll jus hang onto the dough until a deep, driving motivation sets into my inner core. Which could be a longer time than I had imagined but at least I can otherwise use that moolah for a nice Chinese takeout. And I haven't had one of those since February!

Not that I've been living the life of a total hermit (that's hermit, not hermaphrodite as in David L of Bumfunk NSW), since there have been a few enjoyable moments to be found amidst the carnage of this previous week. Por ejemplo I managed to catch a boffo Lupe Velez flick on TCM Thursday night which I believe was the first of the MEXICAN SPITFIRE series, also featuring longtime fave Leon Errol doing a fine dual role not only as his typical RKO self but the fumbling English eccentricity Lord Epping which always seems to put a smile on my face even if it doesn't Kenneth Anger's. Not surprisingly this one came off like a 75-minute extended Leon Errol short coupled with Velez's hot tamale persona and surprisingly smooth comic abilities which work perfectly against the staid WASP-isms of the rest of the cast. This 'un even included some dang good skits (most notably the one where Errol impresonates the Lord who eventually shows up at the dinner causing confusion) that were so memorable they were worked into later Errol shorts, plus the whole film ended with a neat free-for-all food brawl straight outta the Three Stooges that got my mother laughing, and she hates the Stooges even though I caught her snickering at their on-screen hijinx on more than a few occasions! Lemme tell ya, it was a whole lot better for TCM to run this 'un than to "air" REAR WINDOW for the umpteenth time, and I hope the ratings were high enough to warrant 'em showing stuff like this more often and moderne-day crap a whole lot less! But man, do I miss the days when I could pick stuff like this up on my favorite UHF!

Hokay, I'm gonna work in one review (not counting my weekly bootleg writeup which I did a month ago anyway) just so's you don't go away hungry. As Julia Childs used to say, bon appetit!

Francois Tusques avec Benny Wilen-LE NOUVEAU JAZZ CD=R (Disques Mouloudji); Marion Brown-SOLO SAXOPHONE CD-R (Sweet Earth)

Hokay, a twofer-one shot here, both dug up from the recent Bill Shute dropoff of downloaded avant garde rarities he swung my way more outta pity'n anything. And like I said there are many to be had on the web and the good part is they're all hotcha rarities that were so obscure even the New Music Distribution Service didn't know they existed! And most of the time, you can latch onto 'em for the price of a blank disque and nuttin' else! The first's an early session that was co-led by French multi-instrumentalist Francois Tusques. You may have his not-quite-as-obscure rarity INTERCOMMUNAL MUSIC on Shandar, and if not I think it can be easily enough downloaded off of rapidshare or at least some jazz blog if you search hard enough. It's a peach, not only because its got sidemen like Alan Silva and Sunny Murray but because Tusques, besides playing his standard piano, also takes violin bow to both a saw and an electric guitar resulting in even more free-form mayhem! Nothing quite, er, Pageian on this album which Tusques co-leads with tenor saxophonist Benny Wilen, but it's still a fine late-sixties sesh performed with typical European aplomb and sensitivity in what I would call a hallowed pre-BYG sense. And it sounds so good that you won't believe that it was recorded by white Europeans imitating black Amerigans, obviously doing a smart job as a result.

I've only come to appreciate Marion Brown over the past few years (for some reason he seemed to pale next to the rest of the late-sixties hard-hitters) but my opinion has changed considering how I felt he fit in with the late-seventies loft jazz scene players as well as the post-AACM all-over-the-mappers rather swimmingly at best. And surprises of surprises, this rare solo sax album (recorded at NYC's Environ, then the hub of the even newer thing jazz) shows off Brown's versatility and general taste in doing old classic standbys which still give off that edgy air that people like Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman used to put into their Great Black Music woodwind spree. Even as backdrop for reading PLASTIC MAN this worked wonders, making me want to dig up up WILDFLOWERS disques to give a listen to Brown's even scrankier reading of "And Then They Danced" which can be found therein.
BOOTLEG OF THE WEEK!: Patti Smith-GOOD FRIDAY LP (Cat and Dog/Dog and Cat)

As far as thirty years of Patti Smith bootleg collecting goes one thing's for sure...these rekkids can get to be pretty chance-y affairs! Take that two-Cee-Dee set from a decade or so a go which was recorded at a '79 CBGB performance where Patti's throat gets so raw and ragged that she can't sing a note worth her own junkie spittle! She's so hoarse that the rest of the group, most notably Lenny Kaye, have to fill up time performing songs like "Spider and the Fly" perhaps making this a better show than had Patti been left to her own late-seventies pretenses! GOOD FRIDAY ain't quite a funtime mess as that one, but still Patti loses her voice early on and seems to struggle with it intermittently which ain't no skin off my nose cuz that night she was sounding like Phyllis Diller in the first place. The sound quality is clear enough for a late-seventies live recording and even with the technical difficulty during "Gloria" on side two it is entertaining probably due to instead of despite the lack of professionalism on EVERYBODY'S (even the people who put this out!) part.
ONE LAST THING YOU BETTER KNOW ABOUT!: Just discovered via the Hound Blog that none other than Miriam Linna of KICKS/Zantees/A-Bones/Nervus Rex/Cramps/BAD SEED/Flamin' Groovies Fan Club (need I go on?) fame has her own very own blog which is called (what else but?) KICKSVILLE 66! As you can see, I have so generously listed amongst these must-reads in the column to your very left not only because of the person in question who has created the thing, but because what's on there so far is perhaps the best novella of 2009 and worthy of some all-important blog award if there was any! Congrats on entering the 21st Century Miriam, and here's hoping that you'll dish out all the goodies regarding your life's work and energies and good deeds on KICKSVILLE 66, or at least the stuff that didn't get mentioned in that interview you did w/me back in '91! Anyway, to celebrate the arrival of this keen new bit of on-line reading, I decided to post the following clip from Amos Poe's underground smash THE FOREIGNER where we find Miriam and her Crampmates tripping the star of the film by the bar at CBGB (while the Erasers lay down a pretty hot number...when are they going to get the (re)issue treatment anyway?) before beating the sissy up in the men's room! Talk about tough chickies, eh? Tell you what, I wouldn't want to tangle with her in a dark alley, nosiree!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

FANZINE REVIEW: RATS! #16 (edited by Bill Kunkel, August 1972 issue)

The stranger the fanzine the better. How many times have you heard that well-worn motto bantered around the fandom circuit anyway? Well, not as many times as a fanzine fanatic of the seventies variety like myself would wish, especially with the reams of generally substandard and downright instant douse wipes that I and presumably you have encountered for quite a loooooooong time. But yes, there have been strange fanzines out there and they have been better, or at least better than the fanzines that were purporting to be strange but merely came off peculiar. Not to mention pallid, pale and downright puke-inducing. Yes, for every TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE there must have been twenty or so TOO FUN TOO HUGEes and as luck would have it it's probably the latter 'zine (this being from the post-"fanzine" era, as if the term "fanzine" denotes middle-class suburban fans of the form instead of urban sophisticados who are too proud to clean their own behinds) which "people" know the best these days given how it seems as if history going beyond a good twenty years is considered ANCIENT anymore.

Talkin' 'bout strange, RATS! rates pretty high at least on my strange-meter mainly because it's a rag that I for one can't categorize no matter how hard I read up down and between the lines here. I think it's outta the Sci Fi genre since it was edited by a Bill Kunkel who I think was an up-there member of the Sci-Fi fandom crowd, but amongst the contributors here are not only Greg Shaw right around the time he was to make an exit from Sci Fi fandom full blast but Richard Meltzer, a guy whom I didn't think writ anything outside of rock spheres other'n a few blasts here 'n there but he shows up in this read'n not with just a mere paragraph or so but EIGHT WHOLE PAGES which is more than he ever wrote for your fanzine so don't go poo-pooin' this effort because it sure has a whole load of other reads out there in fanzine land beat all hollow!

RATS! does have many of the "trappings" of a typical early-seventies fanzine (Sci Fi or otherwise)...Jay Kinney art, typewritten innards akin to those old WHO PUT THE BOMPs, construction paper pages, obscure cartoons etc. And surprisingly it has very little if anything in the way of actual Science Fiction coverage. In some ways RATS! was a precursor to the "personalist" fanzines of the nineties re. the editor talking about his duodenal ulcer to what he was currently watching on telly (UFO, M*A*S*H, some Leonardo DaVinci documentary), not forgetting some interesting tidbits on ol' Al Jarry and the debut performance of his UBU ROI performed by puppets, but even with the eclecticism RATS! seems to be a fanzine that is more or less about being a fanzine and nothing else! I believe that the term "genzine" might be best put to use here but even that was more or less used to describe the rock fanzines of the early-seventies that weren't pigeonholed into a certain aspect of fandom (say, an artist or particular style of teenage pop music) such as FLASH so really, I'm not sure how I'm gonna dewey decimal this 'un into my fanzine collection since it certainly won't fit in with any of the categories whether mentioned or not in this article.

Not that any of this detracts from RATS! being a pretty hotcha fanzine read despite it's difficulty to discuss. Naturally for me the Shaw and Meltzer articles are the highlights...Shaw clocks in with a piece on rock & roll freebies, this being during the Golden Age of Promotions when rock critics and even "ex"-critics of a Meltzerian variety were getting inundated with exquisite and even expensive baubles promoting whatever up-and-coming act or album needed that big money push. Not only were Rolling Stones tongue patches being delivered to the likes of Mr. Shaw but he even received an inflatable cow udder used to promote Pink Floyd's ATOM HEART MOTHER as well as a whole buncha badges that I'm sure would fetch a nice amount if placed on the auction block these days. (I remember reading an article which mentioned a Jeremy Steig album being pushed with an actual nickel-plated flute which I guess even put the infamous 1969 Sha Na Na promotional package to shame pomade and all!) Meltzer does even better with his eight pages reviewing everything from PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT (the long-forgotten Richard Benjamin vehicle based on Phillip Roth's personal jackoff) to future ALL IN THE FAMILY supporting actress Liz Torres doing here "pregnant" rendition of McCartney's "Yesterday" at the Continental Baths (a skit she actually repeated on Don Ho's short lived ABC daytime television series). Meltzer's by-now famous instructions on how to preserve stillborn kittens in lime Jello and how Janis Joplin's nipples would have been great set in celery gelatin for the festive holiday season is repeated as well, not forgetting this extremely high-larious saga about his "involvement" in the apa-zine movement and his creation of some rather unique (pardon me and my typical loss for words) contributions in the form of some of the strangest examples of fanzines-as-visual art since AJAX, with everything from pubic hairs taped to pages plus dried come (a stunt he actually pulled on Imants Krumins!) on a page all of which got the guys runnin' this thing kinda grossed out albeit they showed their indignation with typical fanzine coolness. Not that they didn't like off-color contributions since they actually printed a drawing of some guy whizzing into a bottle, but having actual below-the-waist refuse (which they apparantly mistook as dried urine!) sent to them was what would be called "beyond the pale". Let's just say that if any of you have an issue of PISSDOODLE you not only have a bonafide Meltzer readymade, but a whole lotta DNA on your hands (or at least your magazine!).

It's a good fanzine. Up there with FLASH and TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE (even personal fave NHRP) in the top ten of self-produced ragdom for that year. Just try getting a copy nowadays though even if you need it more than you need these new specialty blog where one-dimensional losers plug their pathetic "indie" labels rehashing quarter-century-old junk in new wine skins, or something just about as equally odious to lovers of the true form.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Happy Mofo Day y'all. Not much happening here on the ranch what with the absolute dearth of hotcha proto-punk 'n generally high energy items headin' my way'n all, but I am still shuffling through the Care Packages of CD-Rs that Bill Shute and Paul McGarry have parachute-dropped my way (just played Dave Burrell's ECHO which I don't think has been reissued on disque proper and man does it remain a doozy!) and I'm romping through some DVDs that I know will get the royal treatment once I view and digest ever frame of 'em to my own personal satisfaction. Until then here are a few tasties to chomp down on which I hope you'll get some satisfaction outta especially considering the drought we've been forced to go through at least for the past five months or so...

Various Artists-ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW; THE COLORADO MUSICAL UNDERGROUND OF THE LATE 1970s double LP, CD and 24-page booklet set (

The letter I got that accompanied the envelope containing all of the above unmentionables (condensed into one compact disque...dunno what happened to the other one promised in the letter) said that "this may not be entirely to your liking" almost as if the gentleman who had sent the thing was APOLOGIZING for the contents to be found therein. Sheesh, what kinda way is that to sell your hard-worked/hard-edged labor of love to a cynical and over-the-top/hill rockblogger like myself anyway? If you ask me, a good hunkin' portion of this late-seventies Colorado underground rock "sampler" is to my liking, for this is punk before it became punque and a pretty (hopefully?) representative documentary of yet another facet of that brave DIY scene that birthed an uncountable number of great groups as well as astronomical bids in record auctions ever since! If you want to save millions just like those old tee-vee record collection commercials would tell us you'd do yourself proud by snatching up a copy of ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW and have a time to be had just like back in the late-eighties when all of those KILLED BY DEATHs were thrilling you out of more'n just your trust fund monies!

Hokay, so maybe late-seventies punkisms aren't quite thrilling me the same way the same stuff of an early/mid-seventies vintage does these days, but it still fills the bill more than, say, the 1987 Chuck Eddy playlist so why should I knock it anyway? And believe it or not (this is not some overactive imagination hyperbole for a disque that will be soon forgotten) but I also gotta say that just about every track on ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW is worth your while, and true you could say that a sizable portion may be derivative of the big guns just like you'd find ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE PLANET but it's still high quality rock & roll especially when it hits its low quality best. I find these excursions into the punk realm a whole lot more adventurous, more thrilling in a suburban squat kinda way than I would various other attempts at aping the New York and London sounds handed down to us via ROCK SCENE perhaps because of this isolated scene being able to develop without too much interference from outside...I think.

Waywayway too many items to mention here so I'll just blab about a few of my faves, like Radio Pete's early ('76) low-fi Barrettesque paens to John F. Kennedy as well as the Guy's all-gal snot rock to forgetting my faves of the batch, the Dancing Assholes who put the Flintstone Flop into their already garage-level recordings to the point where you wonder if the Urinals haven't been listening in and taking notes. You get it all, punk, proto-hardcore, post-garage, Phil Gammage before he went to New York and even the enclosed booklet sports a snap of a long-haired, wire-rimmed and unshaven Eric Boucher hanging out with Joey Ramone! So what else were you looking for???
ROCK'S WILD THINGS; THE TROGGS FILES by Alan Clayson and Jacqueline Ryan (Helter Skelter, 2000)

Yeah we really need a biography of perhaps thee (2nd to Kinks) all um-portant British Invasion group of all time, but I don't think this 'un is exactly "it" in pure Clara Bow-speak. Oh, author Alan Clayson (working with a Jacqueline Ryan...wonder if that's pronounced "Jack-qua-LEEN") is a good enough biographer as his Yoko Ono book will attest to, but somehow his handling of the Troggs saga is a rather dry affair, reading as if it were merely compiled from a good fortysome years of NME and MELODY MAKER articles with maybe a touch of his own personal ideals (including a snide Lester Bangs putdown!) thrown in just to leave his imprint on the thing. Good enough for facts, but I'm not Joe Friday and frankly I think that GORILLA BEAT's 1980 Troggs cover story complete with interview was a whole lot livelier than this particular retelling. At least the book sports some fine Troggs snaps ranging from various nifty pre-Troggs photos to one where the foursome are riding the range in the United States complete with cowboy hats! Hip Hip Hooray!

Another TMOQ "budget" release featuring the first two sides of the MICK'S BIRTHDAY PARTY boot on its lonesome and in what HOT WACKS calls "satisfactory mono" but I call a throwback to the glory days of cylinders. Even with all of the crackles and general lack of wit and intelligence that went into this 'un (at least compared with those William Stout delineated and color vinyl TMOQ releases that I used to drool over) the music does come through like a transistor radio at midnight while you're huddled under the sheets in fear of tomorrow's travails. The performance is standard typical early-Stones knockdown long before the myth and the chicness caught up with 'em when, at least in the minds of more than a few fanzine editors of the day, they were still punky enough and quite on par with the Stooges and Dolls. True the first tracks on side two were taken from the legit GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT EP and can be had in much better quality, but I think this time I will take quantity over quality if that means low-fidelity yet high energy music!

Thursday, May 07, 2009


In case you don't know or remember and even if you don't care, today marks a very important anniversary in the history of rock & roll, or at least regarding the history of it as deemed relevant and meaningful by people of a certain gnarly moozical bent such as myself! Y'see, it's the fifth anniversary of the creation of the very blog you are reading at this very moment! Now, doesn't that send tingles down the back of your spine? Well, it should because frankly, if it weren't for the actions of a couple of wizeacre bloggers who felt it proper to SMEAR me with a variety of half-truths and downright lies BLOG TO COMM would not exist, or at least it wouldn't exist as we know it today! In fact, my writing "career" wouldn't have even entered the computer age if it were not for the reckless antics of one Mr. David Lang and another Mr. Jay Hinman because I was planning on retiring and for good from the writing industry if not for the bald-faced lies both perpetrated under the guise of looking politically-correct "hip" or perhaps just plain libel! Sure if anything I am doing this blog out of pure SPITE rather than any sorta "devotion" or "love" of music because I thought that I had enough of losing everything from my money to my sanity writing, editing and publishing a fanzine that I got little if any feedback, notoriety, fame, reward, kick or pleasure outta only to get the all-star between the thighs that both of these supposed "friends" delivered in their attempts to prove just how radically leftoid they could be taking on me and my decidedly pro-decency viewpoints. Well screw 'em Jack, because I'm gonna be around and I'm gonna be around to STAY and if anybody don't like it then they can go read any of the aforementioned dorkoids' blogs and get a real taste of what printed dysentery can be!

Maybe you do feel that I've been beating this dead horse to the point where it could be sold as ground round at Sparkle Market and I have "gotten over" unprovoked slams in my life that make the attacks of these two fools seem Katzenjammerish, but so what! cuz the pair of 'em just happened to play their games at a time in my life when the last thing I needed was any sorta negative energies directed at me or my life's "work" for that matter (especially considering all of the turmoil and heaviness that was happening to me on all levels of my existence)! I mean, how could anyone (at least anyone in their right mind) NOT like me, my fanzine, my blog and my various writings o'er the course of the last twennysome years which shoulda earned me some fame alongsides that of Meltzer or at least Ranier Karasz (not like I was expecting any from an industry that thinks the highest of hacks like Chuck Eddy nor a fandom that tends to gravitate towards some of the mushiest melodies extant), but the fact that I have been rejected like this en masse only goes to prove the public wouldn't know good high energy rockist writing if it came up and bit them on their overtly cellulite-riddled buttocks. Yeah, I do get miffed about it sometimes whilst crying myself to sleep, not out of any sorta egotical self-pity (nothing wrong with that!) but when I do see what passes for thought and insight whether it be in the realm of music or something else and compare it with my naturally superior contest, pard, no contest!

So today, just settle back for a moment and think of what it would be like in a world where my superior head/mindset was switcheroo'd with that of the prevailing tide of which both Misters Lang and Hinman both proudly ascribe to, and how much better it would be for all of us. And then show your anger and angst for all to see, preferably in the faces of these tormenting geeks who continue to rule the world while my natural energy and pow'r is all but ignored in the face of pure unadulterated mediocrity!

Awww, enough vengeance're a coupla reviews you might wanna gnaw on like Sam would on my dinosaur toys:

TV Toy-SHARDS 1977-1983 CD (Reversing Recordings, available via CD Baby)

Wow, no sooner do I order that TV Toy disque via CD Baby than the thing arrives thus saving this posting from being just another mindless rantscreed that most of you could care less about. If yer astute enough to click on that link or scroll down just a tiny bit you can read my review of this overlooked group's debut single which I thought was a pretty smart example of late-seventies "cold wave" before the eighties awashed the whole thing in a snot-jelled sea of "new musik". And not so surprisingly this Cee-Dee collection of TV Toy's various singles as well as unreleased live/demo bits gives you (the discerning listener) a more-than-ample idea not only of what they were all about being an underground rock group with progressive proclivities but as far as documents of what was going on in New York/New Jersey back in the day and, well, I just wish there were more of these things floating about because I'd rather hear some thirty-plus-year-old recordings by a band with energy, ideas and verve than a current-day offering from some schmucks who seem to be playing around with all of that old innovation doing little if anything with it.

Surprisingly enough I prefer the group's earliest demos (recorded at Vanguard Studios of all places) when the still-threesome were playing a more British artrocky music which, due to its stripped down nature (guitar-electric tenor sax/bass/drums), reminds me more of some of the early-eighties minimalist groups like Blurt than they do the King Crimson TV Toy were obviously trying to ape. Of course the intricate melodies and tricky soloing (as well as the use of glockenspiel) do point the way towards the then-popular import bin attitude but there's nothing here that would frighten away those staunchly punkoid types who used to upchuck o'er the thought of neoclassicism pretending to be rock music.

The later, more attuned to the now sound TV Toy material's closer in spirit to the whole Pere Ubu-spawned style of urban thud that I'm sure most of you reg'lar fellers would "appreciate" a tad more than the group's original direction. It was a nice touch for the compilers to use the John Peel broadcast of the "For What It's Worth" single complete with his typically reserved commentary, and the rest of these guys' recorded output ain't that bad as well even if the later on tracks seem to suffer from the same post-scene trauma that really got me disappointed in the whole kitten kaboodle back in the day. But that's nothing new as anyone who had to live through the dullsville eighties after the high energy seventies can tell you, and even if you're one of those guys who (like me) can't see why we found those mid-eighties TROUSER PRESS issues worth reading at all you won't tend to hate these numbers as much as you thought you would've.
Die Engel Des Herrn-LIVE AS HIPPIE PUNKS CD (Captain Trip Japan)

Here's one that a few people have been telling me to AVOID like with a capital "A" for as long as this post-Neu!/La Dusseldorf project of Klaus Dinger's has been on the market. Being able to afford such omissions in my life at the time I did what I was told, but now that it's 2009 and frankly this ain't exactly been a year for high quality/energy jamz what little choice do I have but dig this latterday krautrock effort up if only to inject a little more refreshment into my already sagged out life? Let's face it, the way things are going these days maybe we shouldn't "poo poo" these kinda items even if that means the possibility of latching onto something that just doesn't reach for the stars the way FUNHOUSE or OUT OF THE TUNNEL do, but then how many of those do we come across in the here and now anyway?

These Engel Des Herrn guys do come off as quite a surprise for being a nineties krautrock group with the standard proto-punk credentials. Instrumentation-wise this is a guitar keyboards or electronics to be found and the only variation from the standard form is when the bass guitarist takes a turn bowing a bass violin during the extended (26 minutes +) "Cha Cha 2000" redo. A definitely more punky vibe does ensue, and danged if the guitar interplay on this live set doesn't just recall everyone from Television to those "Sour Mash" bands that came out a good five years after. And although the energy level never does peak the way it woulda on even a halfway-there Television boot tape there is a nice bounce and atmosphere to this even though it is way too long (eighty minutes) and I don't blame you if I ketch ya noddin' out about 3/4ths through.

Dinger of course keeps this show together as the leader and vocalist (perhaps "conceptualist" as well) and although the results ain't exactly Neu! or La Dusseldorf at their punkiest they sure make for a generally more adherent to krautisms past time than a good portion of those latterday faux-krautsters I've had the mispleasure of hearing as of late. And since LIVE AS HIPPIE PUNKS has been floating around at reduced prices perhaps it's time YOU TOO decided to snatch this up because it does make for a good Dinger continuum from his early Kraftwerk days on down and who ever went wrong pursuing that?

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Hi. Nothing special. Spring Fever, sad to say, has not set in as of yet but I'm still feeling kinda woozy to say the least which is why this post will probably be about as jammed up as all of my previous weekend writeups have this past year. Oh, I have been keeping up with all of those freebee Cee-Dee-Are burns that Bill Shute and Paul McGarry have sent me ('ve been playing the Derek Bailey ones that the former has flung my way while the latter's Milford Graves/Don Pullen dowload is worthy of a writeup hopefully in the near future) and I PROMISE to play the Serge Gainsbourghs that Mike Snider sent way so long ago (was waylaid by some other blogster doing a Gainsbourgh post which totally threw my taste buds off!) but as far as going whole hog into writing about these things and posting pertinent cover pix for your edification well forget it, it's like I just feel too whipped by these six-day weeks I have to work (and unlike God I ain't restin' on the seventh because the grass needs cut and it's gonna rain Monday!) an' besides I really need to get whipped into a nice froth about something hotcha and punky right about now, and the sooner I dig out alla my fave seventies rock groups trying to recreate the mid-sixties Velvet Underground sound records and tapes I have and give 'em a listen the better!

My re-reading of them old NEXT BIG THING's as well as some CAN'T BUY A THRILLs that I chanced upon in a box has gotten me back whole hog into the late-seventies scheme, even if I never fully was out of that scheme and the latter publication (along with BACK DOOR MAN) seemed to have a phobia directed towards the New York groups. But danged if I just want to hear every shard of sound made by just about every group out there claiming true allegiance to that old Velvet sound (New York or otherwise), or at least every group who did such a commendable thing at least before gnu wave replaced hard-edged intensity in the underground music world somewhere around the time Max's Kansas City closed up shop and Lester Bangs died. Call me obsessive/compulsive if you so desire, but I find it a whole lot more healthier let alone sane to want to experience those up-and-comers of the past who never did get their fifteen minutes of fanzine press than the current buncha ne'er-do-wells who have reaped great rewards for doing one-tenth of what some outta-place group in Cleveland or Prague for that matter couldn't get arrested for, and although fulfilling my wish may be about as hopeless as sitting through an Electric Bunnies Cee-Dee dadgum will I do my darndest to see that I get to hear just about every bit of this stuff that I can before its lights out permanent like!

Other minor beef...may have to change my opinion of the new HUMBUG compilation/collection even if ever so slightly, if only because it just seems too sterile and antiseptic at least compared with the cheap newsprint comic book-y originals which I have also come across in the same box I found my CAN'T BUY A THRILLs. After looking over these HUMBUGs I can see how a lotta liberties were taken not only with the color onlays (which looked better in the mags) but the re-set type which just comes off too modern despite the care Fantagraphics put into trying to match the original without any historical revision other'n typos. And not only that, but I saw a few spots where the color wasn't restored like it shoulda, which doesn't add up to any great offense on my part but will not make me want to part with the issues I do have. If there is anything sad about this saga it's that HUMBUG, like MAD and HELP not to mention a few thousand other gulcheral watermarks of the day, was a magazine that showed just how exciting and attuned that the post-World War II/pre-hippydippy era was for everyday people of all ages and even stripes. Maybe I am overreacting about it, but when I read HUMBUG I wanna be transported to a time and place when you could catch a lotta good tee-vee even if you only could drag in two stations and got all excited over the new cars comin' out that looked like outer space dream machines and comic books were only a ten-cent thrill and all of those things that the anti-Amerigan crowd (y'know, those Aunt Polly types who have been in charge for the last X #of years) told us were evil. Well if this is "evil" then call me the devil and gimme a pitchfork, and while yer at it give me a few good TARGETS where I can aim it at! And believe-you-me, if I ever saw Whoopi Goldberg bending over you know where my pitchfork is gonna be flung 'n but FAST!

Enough are a few interesting platters to've graced mine ears this week:

Ning-"Machine"/"More Ning" 45 rpm single (Decca Germany)

Well glory glory hallelujah! After reading and re-reading Johan Kugelberg's junkshop glam as the roots of English punk rock piece and bemoaning the fact that I had little if any chance to scarf up an original copy of any of those rare singles that Kugelberg has mentioned as being the Holy Grail of a complete musical breakfast I've actually located/bought/played this particular proto-everything rarity and boy do I like it! Dunno if you can call it glam proper because this single came out in '71, but Ning sure have that cheap punky attitude down on this 'un to the point where one could have easily mistaken 'em for glamsters of a post-New York Dolls variety had it only made its way to our turntables a few short years later. It's the a-side that gets the kids a-hoppin', with this strange swipe from "Little Bit Of Soul" and a Steppenwolf on the highway styled drive sung by a gruff voiced Britster trying to overcome his rather sissified upbringing. Other track is straight hard rock...nothing bad but nothing out of the ordinary and I'd stick with the plug side which could've been a surprise smash at Rodney's had he done his record shopping a bit more thoroughly.
TV Toy-"For What It's Worth"/"Instant This/Instant That" 45 rpm single (Permanent)

Well whadja know. Here I go buying up this very single because I couldn't locate the supposedly "obscure" Cee-Dee compilation of this late-seventies New Jersey group's material, and the very day I sit down to crank out this review I not only find out the thing still exists, but is readily available via CD Baby! Well, I guess you know where my next $13.98 is going, but until then at least I do have this shining artyfact from the glory days of Amerigan underground rock that never did penetrate into the consciousness of youth in general even though this stuff was so omnipresent that only a Helen Keller wouldn't be aware that it existed.

I had a few misgivings about TV Toy (or TVT as they would eventually be known) probably because of their progressive rock leanings which were laid out in a NEW YORK ROCKER article from '78. In that piece which I perused only because these guys opened for the ex-Hackamore Brick Moonlight at Max's Kansas City, the band mused on about how the punks thought they sounded like King Crimson while Jan Hammer (!) thought they were punks through and through, and with an identity crisis like that (plus a Fred Kirby review of a CBGB gig in a '76 VARIETY that mentioned how the group used pre-recorded musical backing to fill their sound out) I didn't know what to expect! Fortunately TV Toy were late-seventies New York Rock high energy enough to transcend any of their more artistic leanings, and this single just oozes that great bared-wire intense sound that drew me and perhaps a few thou other confused suburban lads who were too late to join the Velvets backstage to these decade-later surrogates. Brilliant cover of the Springfield hit on the a-side while the flip kinda reminds me of what the "cold wave" late-seventies acts were best known for with their austere yet still firmly rooted in a garage band swing of things style and grace.

If you want to read more about TV Toy/TVT and even the great electronic heavy metal duo WKGB, just click here to be taken away!

Here's a legendary Bowie boot that I recall even got a rave writeup in STEREO REVIEW if you can believe that. Taken from an FM broadcast like the best boots of the day usually were, STEREO REVIEW regular Steve Simels (who I must say was and perhaps is one of the most unintentionally funny rock critics to have ever set fingertips to keyboard o'er the past thirtysomething years) actually praised this double set for not only its exemplary sound quality but its performance, something that was not exactly customary of a guy whose staunchly anti-garage/punk screeds in STEREO REVIEW and other places were some of the most guffaw inducing in their predictability items to ever grace the pages of a professional mag. OK, consider that bit of rockscreed fluff just one more meaningless musing from a rock critic who deserves a dungeon seat in Dante's Circle 9 with all the rest, but I still find it interesting that some major magazine even dared to mention the existence of a bootleg in such glowing terms, especially after ROLLING STONE turned against 'em with a vengeance whilst spreading of malicious rumors regarding their quality as Ralph Gleason called bootleggers "quack robin hoods" in order to placate the advertisers.

OK, the quality on SANTA MONICA LIVE isn't that hotcha though I gotta admit that for a guy who spent a good portion of the eighties and nineties cursing the name of the one called Bowie the performance is purty good. Well, at least the Spiders From Mars play like a rock & roll band 'stead of another facet of Bowie's fantasy world and even on the more schmoozy numbers they seem to do more than a halfway decent job trying to be a...Velvet Underground for the seventies? And at times, such as on the heavy metallic cuts that originally appeared on THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD, the Spiders are downright high energy 1970 powerhouse in a way that the Detroit groups and few others were during those days which I gotta commend 'em for considering the guy they hadda work with, whose musical tastes seemed to change almost with his hair style (or vice versa)! There's a legit version of this out now on LP and Cee-Dee, but these old battered insert-sleeve bootlegs just have a nice aura 'n attitude about 'em that you just can't get from some moderne-day rehash of nearly four-decade-old innovation.