Saturday, July 04, 2009


Happy July 4th! Hope you'll have as good a time as I will when I celebrate a good ol' traditional Independence Day only a few short hours from now! Yes, In keeping with this aforementioned traditional day o' freedom all I'm gonna do today is play nothing but a smattering of independent singles from the early-eighties, each one personally approved by Robert Christgau, before attending the ceremonial burning of King George III in Effigy. That's a small town just south of here, and boy do we have a good time roasting some ol' pooperoo we dress up to look like the eventually to be maddened piece of royalty.

Keeping the above joke swiped from an old issue of MAD outta it, here's an abbreviated (meaning I use a lotta shortened words) edition of today's post which I just managed to "crank out" before the festivities begin. I hope you'll like enough not to murder me, and we wouldn't want that to happen now, would we? And don't worry, It'll be back to normalcy come next week, ah guarantees ya that!

Monti Rock III-"For Days and Days"/"Trouble" 45 rpm (Mercury)

All hail Monti Rock III! I mean it. True, I thought his first Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes album was a turd in a handbasket but the fact that Dave E of Electric Eels fame actually defended the guy against Miriam Linna's naysaying must account for something (see Miriam's mandatory KICKSVILLE 66 blog for the nitty-gritty details straight from the typewriter of the former Eel himself!) plus knowing that none other than Brian Sands had his singles proudly emblazoned upon his ROCK MARKETPLACE want list has gotta account for something at least w/regards to Rock's standing with the seventies Cleveland Underground! And yeah he had a small role in that disco diarrhea extravaganza SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER but who could forget all of those whacked-out and downright surreal appearances on THE TONIGHT SHOW where he came off as the most famous nobody since Peter Lemongello, blurring the distinction between reality and late-seventies hipster parody straight out of FERNWOOD TONIGHT! Or even stranger howzbout Rock popping up in this early MERV GRIFFIN clip sitting next to Jayne Mansfield and her chihuahua (much more famous for his pic in HOLLYWOOD BABYLON than for his appearance here) that goes to show you just how outta control television could have been even in the hands of such able professionals:

And hey, were you name-checked on the Le Stelle di Mario Schfano album along with the Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd? I didn't think so either!

So what else can I say about this guy who went everywhere and did everything with everybody and only managed one hit record! Well, too bad his early stuff like this '66 vintage Mercury single didn't make the grade because it really is a wild rocker complete with snotty chick background singers and hotcha singing that really puts to shame all of those sixties prettyboy idols who were doing the same thing (in a vastly inferior fashion) and getting regular jobs on WHERE THE ACTION IS for their efforts. At least Rock could shake things up (as the above clip would indicate) and for being a "teen idol" it coulda been a lot worse, like Steve Alaimo worse if you get my drift. And if I had a daughter I wouldn't mind her going on a date with Rock. At least I could be sure nothing would happen!


Last week's Ramones double-LP live set on the Korneyfone label was one example of a reincarnated bootleg label catering to the once-verboten punk contingent, and this one from the equally-reincarnated Trade Mark of Quality is yet another. And for being a Cramps album documenting the group's early days when fame if not fortune was just around the corner well...I can't think of a better document'n this unless you count that 45 rpm boot of "Hurricane Fighter Plane" that was making the rounds a couple decades back. Sound is very good for an audience tape (this is probably from the Charles Ackers collection from which many a New York rarity has cometh) and the performance is soo-perb showing Lux and friends starting to get into the groove and tighten up a bit presenting a very solid show that somehow bridged late-fifties electric rockabilly, mid-sixties basement rock crank and seventies underground rock credo.

The flatter audience recording actually helps the proceedings, kinda in the same way that listening to a Moxie EP of surf music kinda reminds me of being some geek six-year-old in 1961 playing my imaginary older brother's singles collection before hitting the tee-vee for a good round of afternoon kiddie programming. Lux is in fine form while the dual guitar lineup of Bryan Gregory and Ivy Whatzername sounds almost as good as Link Wray's next door neighbor. And izzat Miriam Linna on the drums? I dunno because I think I actually heard a drum roll in there somewhere! Whaddeva this is one record (recorded June '77) from the days which I never wanted to end, at least on a high energy musical level that is (as far as my own personal turmoils and utter shame goes, they coulda ended day one!).


J.D. King said...

All hail good King George III!

Death to the scurvy bumpkins who dare to raise fist or musket to him!

Christopher Stigliano said...

I guess you two would have a lot in common. Have you checked the color of your urine lately?

Bill S. said...

Happy 4th of July, Chris.

Monte Rock III was REGULARLY on Merv Griffin. I must have seen him 5-8 times, if not more. At the time, I figured that he was some kind of Kim Fowley-esque renaissance man that I just had not heard of, sheltered life that I was leading.
However, later I discovered that NO ONE had heard of him; it wasn't just me. Has there ever been an article about him? Was he Merv's nephew or the son of someone in Merv's employ? Was he simply a scene-maker? My enquiring mind wants to know...


ps, hey I like Steve Alaimo. A lot.
His twist album is a killer, and many of his singles hold up really well. And he produced many great records. And he was in some classic south Florida exploitation films as an actor. The WHERE THE ACTION IS stuff is not his finest moment.

Christopher Stigliano said...

There certainly are a lot of gaps in the Monti Rock saga...I did know he was a hairdresser to the elite, which is perhaps where he got his showbiz connections. But exactly when he became a "teen idol" if he ever really was one in the first place I do not know, nor do I know much about his general career other than during the Disco Tex days. If I know much about that period in his life at all! What a mystery man! His TONIGHT SHOW appearances which pop up on Youtube are equally strange with him talking about roles in movies that never get released and how his career is stagnant... But he must have had some sorta bubbling under staying power or how else would he have gotten name checked on the Mario Schifano album?

solomon spector said...

I remember always seeing Monti Rock on Merv Griffin. The first time I saw him he did a version of Ray Charles` "I Got A Woman" and unfurling his long hair. I thought he was a hoot. No talent, but he put on a good show. You can say that about alot of people in rock and roll.

Chris, want to send me your e-mail? There`s gonna be O.Rex and other things coming out I`d like to send to you. Solomon

Christopher Stigliano said...

...and, after doing a bit of gabbing about the man with Don Fellman, I discovered that Rudolph Grey is another fan of Monti Rock III! The list just keeps on growing...