Saturday, September 28, 2013


Perhaps in honor of last Wednesday's reviews of UGLY THINGS and FLASHBACK (but then again, perhaps not), here's a list of the old timey fanzines that I have been reading and even enjoying these past few months. Of course this edition just ain't as jambus-packtus with the classic Golden Age of Fanzoonies as I hoped it would have been...frankly there just ain't as many good enough 'zines making their way to my door like there should be, but as usual I make do with what I have little as it may be. Hopefully the stack of rags I've accrued over the past thirtysome years will have enough energy and spiritual zing to keep me going long after the rest of you forget who Phast Phreddie is, though I doubt it.

Although these rare and outta print fanzines have been about as easy to come by as ravioli at a testimonial dinner for Lindsay Hutton my never-ending efforts to locate, digest and relay to you all of the boffo fanzines of the past I missed out on the first time 'round lurches on. Anyway, here are the 'zines (each and every one!) that I managed to get hold of since the last Fanzine Fanabla whenever that was. And although these mags are now beyond the realm of ancient and much of the information that can be found in 'em has probably been disseminated repeatedly throughout the years, I must say that the general effort, sweat, toil and funzies that went into each 'n every one really makes these something that I can relate to in a down home, suburban slob sorta way. Well, at least relate to a whole lot more'n I could reading Chuck Eddy goshie-goo over some eighties indie single he probably found to be "heavy metal" enough to blab about in that dire CREEM METAL ROCK 'N ROLL column of his, but that's another gripe.
Starting off this edition is an addition to my collection which I believe will snuggle up nicely against all of the BOMPs and NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESSes that are boxed up in my closet and crawlspace with all the rest of the bodies. As you would have guessed, I first heard of ROCK "N" ROLL STAR via the pages of BOMP! and figured it out to be yet another one of many teen mags that was probably put out by some girl in one of those New York suburbs who was heavily into glitter...after all with features on Bowie, the Sweet, Wayne County and Nazz I kinda pictured the editress of the 'un to be some ranch house pimplezit princess who had nothing better to do in her spare time than wax poetic about her fave rock 'n' roll bands and look over her dogeared collection of 16 magazine for solace in an age of disco. Just the kind of girl you'd want to go out with, just don't let the inner thigh rash get to you.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the editress was actually an editor, and it was none other than the infamous Jimi Lalumia of Psychotic Frogs fame! Naturally that would explain the Wayne County article. Thusly said, ROCK "N" ROLL STAR is about as good as you could hope it to be, just chock fulla that funtime teenage energy and excitement with a layout that reminds me of the first two issues of KICKS not to mention a slew of boffo seventies fanzines that seemed to fizzle out the same time the music they were covering did.

After pouring through this 'un a few times I'm kinda disappointed that it didn't get out to the general fanzine public like it should have (dunno if they even made it to issue #2!) because this is something a fanzine should be, or shall I say many fanzines were before they somehow got infected with decadent smarm and piousness once the eighties crept in and nothing really has been the same in the once-wonderful world of small press shenanigans since.

Nothing presented in these pages is what'cha'd call stop the presses mind-expanding, but I like the layout, the look and the feel of it at least to the point where an observer could easily say that this was one of the better, if in fact more important fanzines to come out of the seventies. The second-string 'zines true, but that don't mean ROCK "N" ROLL STAR's something to immediately poo-poo. Reviews of records current (a John Gamble, who may be the same one who played with Lou Rone in a variety of groups, reviews KGB and Boxer's BELOW THE BELT, the US version w/o the nekkid gal getting it in the patch) and old (Lalumia on the Seeds' "Can't Seem to Make You Mine") permeate, once again showing just where a lotta rock tastes were huddlin' back in a time when the music scene wasn't really as bad as some retropunks make it out to be. Lalumia's review of Patti Smith's "Gloria"/"My Generation" has to be one of the best, fannish writeups I've read in quite some time---almost reads as if I was talking to someone about it at the time as he spewed forth his own mid-teen addled if on-point feelings toward it not knowing if to hate it for its rough edges or love it for its power, the latter fortunately winning!

And while I'm at it I should also mention that theses guys had a pretty good rock auction section set up which always gave a good indication of where the under-the-counterculture rock mindset stood during the mid-seventies. If you wanna see how much those now-expensive singles you so desire woulda cost you a good thirty-eight years back look no further...and eat your heart out while yer at it!
Here's another that's eluded my grasp for quite some time even though I had the opportunity to buy an (overpriced) faded xerox copy back in 1981 when a whole buncha BOMP! back issues were run off and peddled via their still-amazing catalogs. Maybe the thought of those musical morons the Osmonds being pictured on the cover turned me off (and yeah I know that some of you consider "Crazy Horses" a heavy metal wonder and "Goin' Home" a pop masterpiece but frankly I would only if I were being musically starved), but a good thirty-two years later I finally had the opportunity to buy an original copy of issue #6 (Spring 1971) and even though I'm like thirtysome bux poorer for it the thing does lighten up my fanzine collection if only a tad bit.

Nothing what I would call punkitudinal appears in this issue, but it does serve a fanzine freakazoid like myself well with 39 pages of 1971-focused rock fandom writing. Included are Metal Mike Saunders with a few pages on his favorite Del Shannon trackage not to mention a rundown of the then-current rock mags both pro and fan complete with little funny cartoons encapsulating the spirit of each created by Jonh Ingham himself! The reviews of current albums and singles both fresh, reish and old are always good tips for whether or not you wanna buy some long-ignored item, plus the list of then-forgotten garage band acts on page nine ("Prelude to an Inventory of the Sixties") will probably remind many of you about how hungry you were for high energy rock music at the time and even a mention of the Seeds would have you reading their name over and over thinking...sheesh, my favorite forgotten band isn't that forgotten after all! Even at this early stage it was proven than nothing could stop the shape of things to come, even if it didn't come all over the place like it shoulda.
I don't recall exactly where I first heard about INTERPHASE. It might have been in the pages of THE ROCK MARKETPLACE or BOMP! for that matter, but what I did read about it made it sound like a rather entertaining project even if I'm not exactly champing at the bit to read any more articles on either Queen or Genesis in my lifetime. When I finally found a lead on an ish of this newsprint publication boy was I hot on snatching it up, especially when you consider just how much you'll find small heretofore unknown information on your fave acts in publications like this that somehow seemed to bypass all of the big rags you thought would be on top of it all when it came to scoops. But then again when was the last time you read about Gerry Roslie in ROLLING STONE, eh? (Don't tell me, he finally got a sentence of mention in some ish recently, right? Still don't make STONE a rock mag any more than PLAYBOY is a bastion for the Clean Minds Committee.)

INTERPHASE kinda reminds me of THE SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE in its mid-seventies college target audience kind of way. Maybe they could have become a midwest variation on the SSG style with a snide rock approach that mimicked CREEM more than it did STONE. It was a nice try though I don't think it quite came up to the levels of a SHAKIN' STREET, even with new metallic wunderkind Aerosmith on the cover and a hotcha interview with Black Oak Arkansas' Jim Dandy conducted by none other than the backbone of the GULCHER enterprise, namely Bob Richert, Ken Highland and Eddie Flowers.

I wouldn't exactly call those particular pieces the "highlights" of this ish, but I do think that Cary Baker's article on Wayne Kramer's "new" MC5 was interesting even if it showed Kramer to be a guy cashing in on his old group's fame and seemingly rather jaded with the business after years of bitter struggle. Flowers gets to lay down some news (along with a hot snap!) on Creme Soda who had just released their "I'm Chewin' Gum" single and were in the process of swinging TRICKY ZINGERS our way. Dave Newberger gives us fair warning about the Dictators going girl crazy on us as well. Of course there's also loads of stuff on the local folk music scene, Bruce Springsteen's newie, Triumvrat saying that they have nothing in common with ELP and some fiction, but nobody's sayin' that ya hafta read all that! Bleeb over it, like I did!

INTERPHASE, a fanzine that's at least for the archives, and a better'n you'd expect 'un at that! Now if someone would only forward me a copy of INTERPHASE contributor Claire Panke's PREHENSILE TONGUE???
Unlike many readers out there in fandomland whom I guess couldn't be bothered, I used to rave about the various contributions of one Nancy Foster that permeated the various fanzines of the late-seventies/early-eighties stratum. Heck-it-all, but I would be lying if I told you that I didn't enjoy reading Foster's various scribblings that were appearing with an alarming regularity at the time in the pages of everything from FFANZEEN to THE NEW YORK ROCKER...her style was straightforward and fannish in the Miriam Linna mode, and more talk-to-you than the talk-AT-you that was so common not only then but (especially) now or at least in what's left of today's "rock critiquing" world. Not only that, but Foster's overall demeanor and likability were so honest-to-goodness that and true blue rock 'n roll fan would read every word that gal laid to paper even if they didn't really care enough for the act that she was lending praise to, that's how good she was in a way only a few other music scribes could ever hope to be.

I managed to latch onto two issues of her early-eighties GROOVE ASSOCIATES fanzine at the time they were published, and those have remained lasting favorites to the point where they even got the lead mention in the "Fanzine Fanabla" column that appeared in the last issue of my own personal crudzine. However, issues of her original mid/late-seventies publication NEW AGE had remained out of my grasp despite frantic searches throughout the rock scribeosphere, leading to much frustration on my part at least until now. Y'see, after all these years I've finally managed to latch onto a copy which as you might guess have made me a very happy camper here in the wilds of unbridled really don't know just how thrilled I am now that I have an issue of this elusive 'zine to my name because this 'zine really captures everything I loved about the late-seventies/early-eighties fanzine scene within its thirty some pages of pure teenage pulse!

Good idea of Foster putting none other'n Mickey Dolenz on the cover of this June '79 issue* considering what an eye-opener the interview conducted with him most truly is, what with Dolenz actually admitting that all he ever did while in the Monkees was marijuana and booze and how he's been clean for three years! (Something I'm sure many observers on the scene would tend to disagree with.) The layout is similar to GROOVE ASSOCIATES with that typed out at the library look and feel not that different from COWABUNGA or even the early WHO PUT THE BOMP, not to mention the rest of those rock fanzines who were aping the classic Sci Fi fanzine style right down to the wide margins. Writing is simple, fun and real suburban ranch house to the point where you might thunk this was put out by that loudmouth Irish bitch who lived two houses down from ya whose older sister you used to watch sunbathing in the backyard while playing TROUBLE (the pop-o-matic game) with yerself because nobody else wanted to. And if you want you can edit that sentence to give it an entirely new and dirty meaning, if you so desire!

Good enough that even the Generation X review holds you attention, and of course the standard Count Viglione hype which always made these fanzines extra-oomph-like appears making you wonder why the guy never did become as big a star as we all thought he would've. Of course the local scene report (in this case regarding North Carolina) might not appeal to you given how none of the groups mentioned ever seemed to go anywhere, but it's still neat finding out that there actually were bands covering the Flamin' Groovies for people whose musical tastes tended not to veer too far from Kansas and Christopher Cross! (And there's a lotta whining and moaning about the sad state of rock that permeated the late-seventies, a time when we thought it couldn't get worse until the eighties, nineties, oughts and teens rolled in! Glad to see that I wasn't the only crybaby yearning for a return to rock 'n roll aesthetics around.)

Fanzines like this mighta seemed like a dime-a-dozen back in them dayze, but now that they're rarer'n white people in Detroit they mean all the more to rockist stompers like myself. NEW AGE was definitely one of the better "personalist" fanzines of the time, and naturally I am going to make it a life's mission to track down as many of these as I can if only to resensify myself after being inundated with the perils and pratfalls of (shudder!) real life. A hot one to have and to hold, but if only Foster coulda had this 'un printed on both sides of the page 'stead of wasting all that space (anal retentive budget/space-conscious turd I may be....) maybe it wouldn't have taken up so much space in my closet...
It is pretty much common knowledge that BREAKFAST WITHOUT MEAT was perhaps "thee" best fanzine to make its way outta the eighties avalanche of all sorts of home-produced rock reads both stellar and crap-like. That's why I find it my sworn doody to latch onto just as many back issues of the rag that I wasn't lucky enough to get back when I discovered the thing during this publication's final days (which earned it a nice li'l mention, cover and all, in one of the early mega-paged issues of my own crudzine around 1990 way). This issue (# 8) was one of many that I never was able to get my mitts on back when I first started collecting it, and now that I have all I gotta say is that it's a rather slimy piece of junk that I know we could all do without.

Actually it's pretty hotcha stuff, though (if you ask me, and why not?) I woulda preferred it if there were more of Gobo the Plastic Pain Clown's reviews in it not forgetting the usual surrealist fantasy 'n pokes at the snootier aspects of fandom that kept the issues I already had more'n afloat. But this one doesn't quite cut the ol' caga, and that's got me sad. But one thing it does prove, with all of the interviews dealing with the creem of the SST crop, is that this particular label was host to some of the most unbalanced nutcases this world has ever seen! I don't think anybody who worked for or who was on that label was sane in the legal or religious sense and if there's ever a case for somebody to shoot Mike Watt or Derek Bostrom it's to be found in these pages!!!!! And people think I could use a nice weekend at the lobotomy farm!
CREEP was one of the many fanzines popping outta the late-seventies/early-eighties fertile groundswell of punk rock mutating into its bastid offspring gnu wave and hardcore back in that period in time we call the seventies. And although I now have very little interest in this particular city not to mention its role in this particular period in rock I must say that the Flamin' Groovies and Alex Chilton front cover come on had me bidding a whopping $9.99 for this issue (#4) when it popped up on ebay a short while back. And you know what? I actually won a copy which is more than I can say about that $79.63 bid for an issue of HOOPLA that unfortunately slid outside of my grasp!

Consisting of forty-eight newsprint pages dated 1980, CREEP resembles something akin to the future MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL  which would figure, since not only were both from San Francisco but Tim Yohannon was listed as an "honorary staff member" and you kinda get the idea that if this mag had continued on for a few years it woulda become another MRR rip! Goodniz knows we've had way too many during those turbulent times, so maybe it was providence that the rag up and died when it did now, dontcha think?

As far as I can tell CREEP makes it on the Chilton interview even though it's obvious that the last thing the guy wanted to do at this time was consent to one, while the Groovies piece does shed some light on Cyril Jordan's tastes in early-eighties SF acts and let's just say that the likes of Tuxedomoon and Pink Section were not high on his list. A bit on the Brian Eno/Robert Fripp collaborations and the use of the studio as an instrument was passable, but rather out of place in this company. Other'n that the Angry Samoans blabbing about hardcore as the natural outgrowth of early-seventies metallic epiphanies was the only other really attention grabbing thing here...the rest consists of patented local group pieces and early political theorizing on punk turf (with casual references to Lester Bangs' "White Noise Supremacists" article and Julius Lester!) that would eventually find its apex with the Yohannon gang's valiant attempts to corner the punk consciousness market a few brief years later. Well, it coulda been worse with screeds just brimmin' fulla patented politico rants and neo-hippie jargoning that we were inundated with back then under the guise of political correctness, so maybe my investment wasn't totally in vain.
You can bet your bottom dollar (or even your own bottom if you are of that "persuasion") that any fanzine that slaps a snap of Lester Bangs on its cover is gonna grab my attention the same way a two-year-old turdler goes after Mister Weiner! Yeah, I had the sneaking suspicion that there would be nada mention of Bangs on the inside of this "Summer 2004" issue of VINYL A GO GO, but the thought that the guy still had some relevance to a rock generation that was slowly sliding into the abyss did warm the cockles of my heart and if anything needs warming up my days its my heart cockles (ow!). Perhaps the presence of Lester on the front indicates that this fanzine was perhaps "influenced" by the long-reaching spirit of the famed rock scribe which allegedly lives on well into even these dark days of anti-rock sentiment both far and wide, and if you think I'm gonna be a sucker for passing this 'un up you're probably crazy enough to be still waiting for your cassette tapes from Charles Ackers to arrive!

Naturally there ain't even a mention of Bangs in the pages of VINYL A GO GO, but you could consider the innards an awkward if heartfelt tribute to his good deeds. Editor Lew Houston (who may or may not still live at 135 Wapwallopen Rd., Nescoperk PA 18635) might not have been as devoted to the cause of Bangs' memory as Tim Ellison was in his own late 'n lamented ROCK MAG, but some of the spirit and perhaps even deviance of Bangs does seem to manifest itself in a 21st century "slacker" way. I guess that is better than no way at all, at least if you're of  a Bangian persuason.

Lotsa personal ranting (some which even comes off interesting!) and raves on then-current groups I gave up on ages back that I may or may not remember (the Riff Randalls, Panty Raid, Charlie Brown Gets a Valentine...) show up, and some of this reads rather good even if their subject matter might not (or perhaps even might) be worthy of the praise.

True there's lotsa personal rants and jive that pop up here not to mention the obligatory paens to down pat progressive social causes, but its all worth it if only to make your way to a mention of the Troggs. And it's even spirited amid the sometime gloomy downer approach! It's also the print arm of the conglomeration which is centered around a web address that's now up for sale so if you're itchin' for a copy the best bet's ebay.
Probably one of the more obscure and downright interesting fanzines that I've had the opportunity to read as of late has been UN CERTAIN ROCK (!) FRANCAIS, a rag devoted to French underground rock, or fringe progressive if you prefer, which is mostly made up of press clippings and other flotsam related to a wide range of French groups that I will admit look interesting enough even if I have the feeling most of 'em sound kinda like warmed-over yogurt to use an old DOBIE GILLIS catchphrase. But given that I'm the kinda guy who will attempt to sate my own rockist obsessions whenever and wherever I can (in this case look for more important refs. re. acts ranging from the Velvet Underground to Stooges in the most obscure places extant) I find it an exhilarating experience combing through the French language text in search of mentions of these and other acts that influenced the better moments of rock at large. Or at least took what could have been a dippy local longhair group and gave 'em enough zap to make them proto-punky enough that empty-headed music maniacs looking for a hook'll latch onto 'em like snap!

There's more'n enough French obscurity mixed with the better-honed to wade through here including heaps on Gong (with and without Daevid), AME Son (worthy of re-evaluation), Heldon and the French branch of the Rock In Opposition movement which always seemed to come up with more'n a few chamber-prog weiridities. Not nearly enough on such all-time classic French acts as Mahogany Brain, but the reams of information on fellow labelmates Red Noise (and spinoff Komintern) have naturally piqued my interests as did the writeup on Dogon, an act which would be the latest in a long line of late-sixties washed aways to come to light if only someone'd release a few of their wares! Laminated cover too!!!
Unlike many of you fanzine snobs out there, I really go for those English publications that devoted their precious pages to one artist, group, or buncha people who are somehow connected by a specific act. Naw, I ain't talkin' about fan club vehicles, but those usually digest-sized mags put out by Syd Barret, Hawkwind or Deviants fans that are filled to the gills with everything from British Weekly clippings to personal recommendations of which drug goes good with which song. AKTIVITAT was but one of these reads, a magazine devoted to Kraftwerk and nothing but and although I'm about as interested in the group's latterday recordings as Robert Christgau is interested in rock 'n roll I do find their earlier offerings to be top notch krautrock worthy of repeated spins. Not only that, but when these guys utilized a guitarist such as  Michael Rother or (as recounted in a EUROCK writeup) two of 'em to present a version of "Autobahn" closer to the Stooges than Stockhausen my antenna does a perk up to the point where I can imagine Kraftwerk to have been every bit as important to the bared-wire intensity streak that was birthed in the fifties, emboldened by the Velvet Underground, and perhaps the most important rock group to make it out of the seventies alive. I can imagine it true, but then I regain my senses and remember just what turdburgers these guys had become by the time the eighties clocked in.

Nothing really revealing to be found in this issue, but AKTIVITAT was still a decent enough read with a review of a '75 appearance in ol' Blighty as well as various interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits that made for nice enough forget your impending doom late-night reading. The writing is good fan-to-fan chat, and even if Kraftwerk don't exactly rate a big score on your rock-o-meter you can't hate these guys for putting out an interesting mag that, I'm sure, might have dwelled on the early Kraftwerk stylings that I harbor a hankering for in issues yet unread.
I dunno, but can you really classify ZIGZAG as a fanzine in the classic peck it out and print it up tradition? True, the magazine's early days seemed to be the template for what most English rock fanzines of the early-seventies (and even afterwards...talking COMSTOCK LODE and BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS among quite a few more) would look and feel like. True, ZIGZAG had set up a transatlantic deal with Boston's VIBRATIONS who were somehow considered a "sister" publication as well as "a most unique fanzine" in a ROCK MARKETPLACE ad. True, I've mentioned all of these interesting facts and more during the entire course of my blogging career to the point where you should already have it embedded into your thick skulls by now but frankly, I just can't judge the cranial capacity of you readers one iota so I gotta repeat myself over and over again which frankly isn't doing my nervous system any good! But for the sake of brevity (and to fill this post out) let's just say that ZIGZAG was a fanzine in the classic sense and proceed!

Picked up this particular ish (#59, April 1976) because it contained part two of a Nick Kent interview, the first half of which I'd owned for years and after all this time I thought it was about time to find out what else the guy hadda say. The first portion of that interview was so boss containing info not found even in the guy's stellar autobio (such as his impressions of various Rolling Stones as well as his breaking in to the rockscribing business, not to mention how he thought that Wayne Kramer was handing him a big line of revolutionary hooey when Kent did an interview with him for FRIENDS back '72 way!), and as I would have expected the followup is even more grand with Kent talking about playing rhythm guitar on the Flamin' Groovies' "Slow Death" single not to mention some Stooges tracks he performed on which were recorded after James Williamson's hand got busted up by an Alice Cooper roadie! Both of these titillating yet not oft spewed anecdotes are pretty crucial to the entire rockist history process if you ask me, and yeah, I gotta say that because I know about such things in the here and now my life is at least a little more complete. And who knows, maybe your's will be too especially when Kent gets in on his current faves as well as the Sex Pistols and other shards of gab which might change the way you look at the guy next time you settle down with an old NME in hand trying to dredge up long-suppressed rockist urges!

(I gotta hand it to Kent for pointing out just how the NME/MELODY MAKER feud used to go off on all tangents with NME just having to dump on acts like Springsteen because the people at MM championed him and vice versa! Now I know why there was all of that non-prog animosity oozing from those rare MM's I'd latch onto way back in the stagnant seventies!!!)

The rest of the mag does lean more towards the whole English fop scene and West Coast/country rock thingie that ZIGZAG originally bet their bucks on in those distant pre-Clash days, and while this ain't bad by any stretch of the imagination even if groups like 10cc never really jolted me outta my usual lethargy it does reflect just how dudsville a good portion of "rock" had become at the time. But whatever,  it sure makes for good reading even if some of the second-stringers of English rock writing are on hand raving about acts that never really lit a fire under my fart! An overall good, professional job for a scrounge-y publication like ZIGZAG which coulda taught some of the bigger names in rock reads how to put out a mag, but then again why would any of the successful (read: "snooty") mags care about improving themselves in the first place?
Anyone out there with old fanzines along these lines they'd like to sell, or photocopy for me? Still doing that all-important research even after all these years, so if you're still looking to get rid of that 'zine you printed up 40 years back or want to get some long-overdue fame via the new medium of computers, here's your chance. Just drop me a line (you know how) and who knows, your fifteen minutes of fame just might get extended a second or two!
*no issue number to be found anywhere in the mag though I don't believe it's a debut 'un like the guy who sold it to me claimed....sheesh, some people'll do anything to get their wares sold at exorbitant prices!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Great news comm-rats! I don't have to dig into my box of musty old paperbacks to come up with some midweek fodder this time, because thank goodness I finally got the latest issue of UGLY THINGS (see link on left, dizbuster!) and like, I'm in Heaven or Greenville whichever comes first!

Really, I don't have to spend my evenings staring at old ARCHIE comics featuring Betty and Veronica's ample bikini-clad bods for hours on end at least for a few good months because now I can educate, or resensify, or just plain enjoy myself reading about one of my favorite subjects (rock et roll) and dive deep into a realm of music I thought had been milked beyond recognition a good three or so decades back. Thank God or Prevost or something similar that there still is enough material out there to fill a thousand or so UGLY THINGS, and although things are takin' their good ol' time getting out to us peons at least it's there waiting to be discovered which is always a fun thing to do! So if you used to play in some Northwest group that mimicked the Sonics back in 1965 or puked on John Sinclair at the Grande or played a gig at CBGB in 1976 and got booed off the stage please...get in touch with someone NOW and get the story out before it's lost to all posterior!

Mike Stax's celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of UT with this issue, and as you'd expect he devoteed a few good pages to the mag ish by ish complete with his own personal comments and whatnots regarding the mag's evolution into what we know and love it as today. Funny enough, it sure does seem like thirty years ago when I first heard of UT via the then-most recent BOMP! catalog...I for some reason remember mowing the lawn during the summer of 1983 on a warm sunny day (this was during the time I was working a horrible midnight shift job that was sapping my energy and having me dream up strange thoughts of starting a fanzine myself...boy what sleep deprivation can do to a fellow!), thinking about plunking down the additional moolah going towards a BOMP! order for the second issue which had just been released and was eliciting rave reviews from all corners of six-oh fandom! Soon I did and was so impressed by not only the coverage of fave-rave sixties garage (or punk as we still called 'em) bands but the top-notch writing and Stax's personable attitude and being (no stuck up snob he!) that I sent Mike some cash for the debut one which I received post-haste, complete with a note from Mike saying that I managed to snatch up the last available copy which you know made me happier than Vanessa Del Rio at her proctologist's office!

Mike later on bragged about how a copy of the first ish I so luckily managed to latch onto fetched over $400 via ebay a few years back (not the exact copy own, natch...that remains hidden in a box somewhere in my closet!) and although I get the feeling that the winning price was a result of a number of wealthy collectors entering outrageous bids trying to guarantee wins on their part and getting stuck with the high-priced result you could just see the pride Stax was beaming knowing that a creation of his was just about as moolah mounting as his favorite albums and other rock esoterica had remained for years on end!

The mag sure has changed over the years from a home-made staple inna bedroom affair to the glossy covers and phonebook-thick* dimensions, but it still packs more rock 'n roll and high energy into a single page than ROLLING STONE has been able to pack into one of its leather-bound volumes for ages. Space limitations won't permit me to give you a category by category intense rundown of who wrote what and how I feel about who writing what for that matter, but to make things go down smoothly here's what I liked---Neil Norman being interviewed on the Seeds as well as an upcoming Sky Saxon documentary that, although the subject matter sure sounds enticing, I'll be sure to miss out on (can't let my illusions be let down any more than they're bound to be!), Greg Prevost's interview with Stewkey from the Nazz where he elicits some choice comments about former "boss" Todd Rundgren, Cyril Jordan's continuing saga of San Francisco as it evolved from the Land o' Brummels to Slicksville, the Fifth Dimension club in late-sixties Detroit (sadly not mentioning anything at all about the Seventh Seal playing there!) and Prevost's New York Dolls collectibles corner for wont of a better descriptor.

Gotta say that the record, book and DVD review sections seemed rather skimpy in comparison with previous issues, but that's probably because there just ain't as much good hotcha reissue, archival or reading material coming out as there used to be back when things were really in gear fandom-wise. Frankly I sure wouldn't mind hearing some long-forgotten tapes made by some 1969 doofs who thought they were the Stooges, but I guess tasty gunch like that just ain't comin' out the way it should be. And what is coming out just doesn't seem to be the same kinda material that I for one would want to plunk down hard-begged moolah be truthful about it all I only found like two singles reviewed by Mr. Stax that I wouldn't mind owning, and that's a pretty sad statement with regards to the under-the-counterkultur scene these days!

But still, in these cost-conscious times when maybe I shouldn't be spending so much $$$ on frivolities like music and stick to the basics (like food), not having a lotta hotcha items you "must have" might just be a good idea! But at least you can read about 'em in UGLY THINGS even if you don't particularly want to buy any of 'em, and dare I say it but this latest issue is the next best thing to being your teenage self thumbing through the record racks wishing you could own the entire shebang, only by the time you could afford to the record shops had long given way to "Cee-Dee Supermarkets"!

So here's to you Mike, and to UGLY THINGS as well. Hope the next thirty tears bring even more boffo issues and the uncovering of rock facts heretofore unknown or forgotten. But sheesh, once you sit down and grumble about it don't you think yer gonna look silly writing about this music thirty years on in the year 2043? I mean, by that time the vast majority of people will probably be nostalgic for "new country" and AVATAR and where's that gonna put blokes like us? In decrepit state run old fogies homes with Brompton Cocktail-filled drinking glasses, that's where!

Successful endeavors always bring out crafty imitations as any mid-sixties teenbo looking over racks of album covers with "FROM ENGLAND" and half-moon faces floating against a black backdrop could have told you. However, I don't know if you could consider FLASHBACK an imitation or emulation...there are many similarities between the two publications from their glossy covers to large dimensions as well as sharing a few contributors, but FLASHBACK is a different sorta mongoose than Mike Stax's congregation. It's more underground or perhaps even "progressive," though not symphonic or bombastic, and maybe more geared toward the psychedelic end of late-sixties music fandom than UGLY THINGS's punkitudinal push. Though like UT, FLASHBACK is a major effort of love 'n energy and if you go for one of these you'll probably go for the other just like I did.

It's got many of the same writers, same acts and same ads even, but FLASHBACK tends to take 1968 as its ground zero 'stead of UT's '66, and I kinda get the feeling that this mag's concentration on more bearded bunches would offend the pageboy proclivities that originally sprung to Mike Stax for teenage solace back in the dank dark days of 1984. Then again some of these boys used to get offended at the drop of a Beatle wig, but still I gotta admit that FLASHBACK might be a bit too joss stick for the UT target audience.

The rest of us will enjoy this third (I believe the most recent) issue even if there really ain't anything in here that pops the cranial cylinders the same way an old issue of BOMP! did. Highlights include an article on memoirs (all but one of which I haven't read!), the making of Syd Barrett;s THE MADCAP LAUGHS album, Tripsichord Music Box (interesting piece about a group that never did tripsichord my mind), a comparison between mono and stereo pressings of some of our fave (and even least fave) records and loads more. Of course I'm leaving a lot out...after all the likes of Mighty Baby never really did excite me and my punkitudinal concerns...but like UT this is one that'll have you starin' away during the dark evening hours transporting you to distant cosmic vistas that will swirl your mind to realms unknown. That is, if you take some tabs before reading. If not, it's still a swell read.

Like UT, you can pick up a copy of this via Forced Exposure if you so desire, or you can write to and get the scoop from editor Richard Morton Jack directly!

*hokay, I'm talking about the Champion Ohio telephone directory, but it is technically a phonebook!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Well, I gotta admit that things have livened up here since the last go 'round because (now get this!) I have just received my latest Forced Exposure order and boy am I glad! Yeah it had been getting a bit dullsville just listening to the same old over and over again*, so it's sure swell getting some new sounds my way even here in the jaded teens long after rock or jazz has had any truly impact on any of our o-minds and life-choice existences 'n all that rot. (To be truthful about it, me listening to John Coltrane and the Stooges here in the teens is akin to my uncle listening to some jazz band cranking out Bix Biederbecke on early morning PBS back inna eighties, but like that now long-gone dixieland fan I could care one whit what the neighbors, or even you think!)

I'll tell ya, getting this latest parcel is almost as exciting as it was back when I was in my twenties anxiously awaiting my next order from either Bomp! or Rough Trade, something which gave me a connection to the real life world of music, art and high energy that somehow evaded the tri-state area! However,I would be lying to you if I didn't admit that these FE orders really do take a pounding on the ol' wallet, making me long for the days when I could manage to scrape up a mail order (or trip to the local flea market) with mere pocket change and come away with some real moozikal treasures. But come to think of it, wasn't $2.99 a hefty price to pay for a self-produced single even then???, and remember how we really hadda talk some flea market hussy with a copy of the Five Americans' "Western Union" single down to a quarter from a whopping fifty cents? Maybe my memories of budget consciousness aren't as econimically stable as I thought they were!

Naturally I'm going to do my best to stretch this latest package way am I gonna review the entire booty in one sitting and then moan and groan because of a lack of fresh wonders to blab about! Naw, I'm gonna take my time with this parcel, though between that and the above-mentioned peoples' burns I'm bound to have a good share of fresh material to write about for at least the next few weeks, if not months. Won't that be a relief to you won't have to put up with yet another review of PARADIESWARTS DUUL I forgot I've aleady written up twenny times in my illustrious "career".
A DREAM I HAD THAT PERHAPS SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT IN THE SUBCONSCIOUS FOR ALL ETERNITY!: I ain't been having that many strange dreams of worth as of late that I'd particularly care to relate to you...most of 'em deal with everyday personal issues that have no meaning outside my close circle of enemies while others are so vague and rambling that they do resemble real life's miasma, but the one I had Tuesday night really topped 'em all as far as left-field bizzaroid knockouts go! In this dream I was, believe it or not, watching scenes from the infamous movie LAST TANGO IN PARIS only instead of Marlon Brando in the lead role it was Joey Bishop of all people playing the grumpy middle-aged curmudgeon who meets up with that ditzy French gal! The sole scene from the movie that I remember viewing was the one where Maria Schneider drove her fingernails into Bishop's hiney as he talked about her and a dying pig (although the exact dialogue was rather muddled), and thankfully I do not recall seeing any nudity or hearing foul language at all during my time in the arms of Morpheus. Then, as is usual in my dreams where logic gets warped worse'n that record I left on the heater, I discover that it wasn't Bishop in the lead role after all but Don Rickles (!!!!!!) which really woulda perked up the humor index in that flick, dontcha think??? I mean, can you imagine all the one-liners that moom woulda brought outta the famed insult comedian?!?!???!?!?

And now for something completely the same as the rest of these dog-tired posts I've been pumping at you the past eight-plus years...

Boris Sujdovic-DESPERATE GIRL LP (Bang! Records, Spain...FE may have some left)

I haven't been spinning much Australian music as of the past nine or so years, and with obvious reason. Therefore, I also haven't been paying attention to any of my old Scientists records or any spinoffs thereof that have been wallowing in the ol' collection since the late-eighties or so which is a surprise, since at one time the Scientists were like my favorite Flamin' Groovies superpop cum post-Velvets scronk band extant. Given all this hoo hah, you might be surprised to see this recent outing from former member Boris Sujdovic being reviewed in these er...pages, and I'm kinda surprised too because I haven't even spun those Kim Salmon albums I got ages ago (they're still inna shrink!) even though I have been tempted to during the few times they come across my path in my search for albums I haven't been spinning much as of late.

Well yeah, even though I wouldn't want to go to Australia these days unless I was packing heat I gotta say that I sure do have fond memories of what the combination continent/rectum of the earth once meant to us mid-eighties rock 'n roll maniacs. Even one with a short-term memory like I sure remember the life-reaffirming intensity and energy that the eighties Aussie scene blasted forth, only to be let down within a few years when that entire scene fizzled out into a mass of not-so-hot recordings and groups that seemed to be imitating, rather than emulating (or at least poorly emulating if not imitating, or something like that) the Detroit wild ride of the 1967-1973 seasons. And after me giving more'n my heart and soul to Australia only to be let down by some rather subpar sputum, boy did I feel dumber'n alla those guys who heard the Clash in 1977 and thought they were great only to be embarassed a good five years later when all of those dorks who badmouthed 'em just a few years before were all agog over "Rock The Casbah"!

Not quite bad...Boris plays and sings with a beat box that gives these recordings an air of Suicide-ish minimalism, and since he pretty much talk-sings like Alan Vega the whole thing works out better'n anyone would have suspected. The music is pretty driving too in that Velvets/Stooges under-the-counterculture sorta way which knew how to drive the drone, and thankfully the sound does not recall a myriad assortment of eighties "cassette culture" offerings that did nothing but reflect the artist's own vapidity and self-importance (as well as overwrought inhibitions) recorded in the sanctity of their fart-encrusted bedrooms.

What's really wild is that side one of this platter was recorded with Sujdovic playing his electric guitar and the flip with him playing solely a bass axe, and surprisingly enough I prefer the second side even thought I thought a lotta the bass worship of the eighties underground might have been way overrated. But hey, with the right overdubbing Sujdovic makes his basso profundo guitar sound like a standard one with a deep resonating sound to it, and somehow he was able to inject a nice WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT feeling to the resultant spew. Sheesh is this a good one which I must say makes me feel like I'm twenty-five if only someone could come up with a disc that can make me feel like an embryo! (other'n a James Taylor one, which makes me feel like an embryo encountering a rather sharp 'n painful d&c!).
Hawkwind-SPACE RITUAL SUNDOWN V. 2 two CD set (Abstract Sounds)

I mean like, what gives with the covers? I remember when the original SPACE RITUAL had just come out and those boobs of Stacia's were just like...starin' at me straight from the rack! Like I was what, thirteen years and thinking of the femme gender as something other'n a mass of gnarling nerve end blobs was something new to my own genital system...let's just say that the lurid day-glo cover with that lady in all of her curvitude was something that kinda "affected" me in many ways and perhaps planted the seed of my Hawkwind fandom a good five years before I actually got to hear any of their music!

But this new SPACE RITUAL, or to put it more succinctly SPACE RITUAL SUNDOWN V. 2...something is definitely quite amiss if you ask me. Now for one thing, that gal ain't Stacia and her tits just ain't as inviting as they were a good forty years back. She just doesn't have that interstellar pudendal overdrive which our stardancer so proudly exhibits on the original slabs, and although our new model sure looks better'n a nude of your wife would she just doesn't cut the mustard as far as deep space hotchas go. Even the belly button (which for me is about as important a component of the female torso as the bullseyes) is just too teeny-tiny to elicit any potent palpitations. I've presented both covers for your own personal comparisonsm the original on the top and the cheap imitation on the bottom:

Thank goodness that the music found within the aluminum reaches of the SPACE RITUAL SUNDOWN double set equal the mastery and majesty of the original SPACE RITUAL release. Of course I gotta say that it's pretty tough to put out a duff live Hawkwind set...I mean even those nth-level bootleg-quality releases at least had their share of redeeming rockism quality, but not only does this one sound pretty snat but it compliments the original. That is, if you were one who's spun SPACE RITUAL incessantly for the past four decades and want to hear more from that particular era in interstellar stasis, then this is the set to get and stash along with the wide array of seventies Hawkwind crank outs you obviously have cluttering up your collection.

Can't complain a bit whether it be the electronic screeches or even the "Sonic Attack" announcement (that tres upper-class English "do not panic" voice continues to affect me like a squeaking balloon or screeching chalk on a blackboard---like it's supposed to I gather), and the music is just as driving in that DOREMI-period fashion that sounded so pre-punk on one hand yet had all of my prog acquaintances hearing Yes and Emerson Lake and Palmer references on the other! The drone-on tracks like "I Do It" please me even more than they did a good three-some decades back and really, I couldn't think of spending a better evening listening to something like this unless I get hit with yet another one of my New York rock jags. An outta-nowhere surprise that should satiate the Ladbrook Grove in us all.
Tim Buckley-THE DREAM BELONGS TO ME CD (Manifesto)

It may seem heresey, but other'n LORCA and STARSAILOR I haven't been as familiar with the works of Tim Buckley as I "ought to" be, perhaps perceiving him to have been a male Joni Mitchell singer/songwriter shuck who maybe actually was a little bit too introspective enough to have been allowed to live. Well, I was kinda/SORTA right (after all, some of those mid/late-seventies Mitchell toonz do have more'n a few modern jazzbo moves and turns that seem lifted straight from the Buckley playbook and who's not to say vice/versa?), but in actuality Buckley was a completely different animal even if his songs did get into an inward-looking froth that usually wouldn't settle too well with someone as forward looking and on top of all gulcheral concerns like myself. At least it was a froth of a different chemical makeup than Joni's Canyon Girl gravestone-rubbing art class mewl, and even when he was treading similar waters it wasn't like Buckley was exactly roaming anywhere near the James Taylor/David Crosby sphere of sickening solace and commercially boffo inner "quick! pity ME!" turmoil.

THE DREAM BELONGS TO ME begins with some of that acoustic jazz-folk that Buckley became a cult figure with right around the time Elektra figured out what to do with him. On the first track "Song to the Siren" (yeah, the STARSAILOR number that Buckley not only sang on THE MONKEES but was covered by Pat Boone a few years later), Buckley's groove is rather laid back true, but still intense enough to separate this from all those whole wheat types who were cluttering up the teenage stratosphere in the post-Altamont back to the soil days. Can't complain one bit as Buckley and band sound jazzy enough (especially when the vibraphone comes into play) w/o having either a teenybopper attitude or one-dimensional protest kiddie aura to date the thing. Kinda makes me wish that I gobbled up all  those used Buckley platters I'd see going for 99 pennies back in the used bins of 1978, but considering how spend-thrifty I could get back then I'm lucky that I latched onto the albums and singles that I did!

I'd be lying to you if I didn't mention that I approached the '73 SEFRONIA session tracks with some trepidation...after all, just about everybody I've read, including the Lee Underwood article in DOWN BEAT that first got me interested in Buckley way back in '77, has dismissed this final period in his career as being commercially retch-inducing and forced upon him by the powers that be just so's he'd regain the listeners and maybe get a hit album outta the deal. Nothing sadder'n seeing a talent forced into playing music he just didn't have his heart into being trotted out on stage while he career slipped right before his eyes, but despite the bad reputation that get thrust upon Buckley's later spins I gotta say that I didn't find these tracks offensive one iota. In fact I thought they were way better singer/songwriter taffy'n the dross that was making the SoCal Laurel Canyon cocaine freaks types big bucks, and in fact I would rank Buckley's performance at this point almost up there with Elliot Murphy's suburban post-sixties decadent Dylan stylings, and eons ahead of Bruce Springsteen's, whose own singer/songwriterdom seemed to take more'n a few pages from Buckley's albeit with a blowhardiness that was custom made for the seething anti-rock 'n roll dolts who were to permeate the late-seventies onwards.

Sure the backing band's no help and the material might have benefited from some fine tuning or at least a few tweaks, but Buckley makes the standard commercial feh sound downright bare-wired with his flash singing and ability to take the negative aspects and manage to turn out something that was, glad to say, rather engrossing. Even when the esoteric might get in the way a tad (like on the title track) Buckley does a durn good job making you forget he's singing about cross eyed flamingos as he churns on and on with rather potent perfection that belies the fact that he was drugging himself into oblivion as his career was spiraling down way beyond hope of recovery.

A surprisingly good find that I gotta say I never thought I'd purchase let alone listen to especially back in the late-eighties when interest in Buckley's career was being revived by the same fanzine types I could care less about. An interesting change of pace from the usual hard-edge especially if you want to get rid of those split ends on your nerves, and somehow I get the feeling that you want to do that more than you're willing to admit.

Yes, it's the classic album by these Grosse Point teenagers finally digitized, and not only that but a load of previously unreleased material has been packed in to double-disc the thing! It also comes with a booket that details the group's short but tangy history so if you're in the mood to read something hotcha while listening to these platters it ain't like you have to dig into your personal library to find that copy of FANNY HILL you've had in hiding in case your mom popped in for a surprise visit!

As for me, the original album remains a nice example of late-sixties suburban upper-middle-class music (y'know, the kinda band the richer kids at your school woulda had since the poor kids were all into Motown and the Four Seasons). but I found the new stuff to be a mixed blessing, sometimes snat and sometimes passable. It's like you've heard better many times before, but this still does have that sorta late-sixties local feel that reminds me of scarfing up Matchbox cars more'n anything.

Maybe if those rich snobs in your neck of the school put out an album it woulda sounded like this, but if not you can console yourself with the Index and reminisce about those days when all you hadda worry about was your mom catching you listening to stuff like this 'stead of the classical music she was cramming down your throat!
Canterbury Music Festival-RAIN & SHINE CD-r burn (originally on BT Puppy)

Pretty nice late-sixties fag pop that you'll be sure to go for, if you go for stuff like that. Actually I must admit that I had my doubts considering some of the commercial goo that came out of the late-sixties fop pop scene, but remarkably enough I found that a good hefty portion of this platter contained potentially powerful music that, had it only gotten out to the general populace, woulda made for some refreshing radio listening at a time when the AM dial was starting to mutate into something a little less pleasant than what it had once been. Naturally the sitar-laden cover of "Son of a Preacherman" is about as out of place here as Brad Kohler at an anti-smoking league meeting, but the rest ain't that bad a slab of late-sixties pop that doesn't sound teenybop or cerebral, but (if you can believe it) straightforward. Might be worth a download (I'm sure you can find it somewhere on the web if Bill Shute could!).
Various Artists-WATCHING LINDA TWIST ON MY SHOULDER CD-r burn (compiled by Bill Shute)

Typical Shutemix here with some interesting late-sixties pop (the Kaleidoscope), some countrytonk (Cotton Henry's "Devil on my Shoulder") and even some Wes Montgomery that they probably hadda shame him into recording! Of course right when you're ready to reach for the syrup of swill Bill sticks some hotcha Who and John Mayall on to keep your senses bound together. The Isley Brothers also make an appearance doing the original "Shaking (Twisting) with Linda" amid a whole buncha acts both good and gooder who somehow missed their fifteen seconds of fame, but one listen'll have you wishing that you'd heard this stuff next to the Ohio Alarm Clock back inna day. Also contains a song custom made for the majority of you readers: Steve and the Holidays' "Unemployment".
Blue Phantom-DISTORTIONS CD-r burn (originally on Kismet)

Just what I need...Eyetalian progressive rock! But don't worry, nothing here would have earned a mention in a Banco-oriented fanzine 'r anything like that since the session men who made up Blue Phantom were working in a fashion more akin to a film soundtrack to some rather cheap feature where the mouths move one way and the voices go another. Gotta admit that there was nothing which was really engaging here unless you're into wopadago western like Bill is but I was wondering...was it track three or four where the group gets into an "I Wanna Be Your Dog" riff towards the end???


THE BLACK JASPERS CD-r burn (originally on In The Red)

This un came from the mystery man mentioned last week, a somethingorother Gilmore I believer but I'm not quite sure. Anyway it's a beaut, one of those King Khan projects that has that typical eighties/nineties "garage" sound that owes about as much to the Ramones as it does the Sonics and it's pretty neat for what it is (no-fi sub-basement crank out!). I must admit that I haven't been going for music like this much lately since I find the original a lot more closer to my gulcheral roots, but there really ain't nothing wrong with these sounds a few generations down the line. Done up with a whole lotta snot appeal and basic no-chord knowhow and if you're one of those guys who still thumbs through old issues of FORCED EXPOSURE to catch up on all of those eighties rarities you somehow missed out on the first time 'round you know what to do w/o me sayin' a word!
Got a nice change o' pace planned next weekend. Let's just say it's another one of my "specials"...nothing that'll earn me a blog of the year award true, but who knows. You may like it or loathe it, but you'll undoubtedly ignore it.
*though those "Care Packages" that Bill Shute and Tom "Somethingorother" Gilmore have sent really do help out, the material enclosed having introduced me to music that I otherwise wouldn't have thought about listening to in a millyun years!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! SING ALONG WITH MAD, written by Frank Jacobs and illustrated by Al Jaffee (Signet, 1970)

Following on the heels of last week's MAD paperback atrocity comes this 'un from the same flea market batch (which at least yielded some better early-sixties magazine reprints), this time a collection of song spoofs 'n musical skits written by longtime MAD contributor Frank Jacobs and drawn by Al Jaffee, who did a much better job of it during his HUMBUG and TALL TALES days.

Again, I must admit that the show tune and pop spoofs that permeated MAD during the sixties and beyond never were my favorite part of the mag, and one reading of this book'll show you why. Sheesh, some of this is so contrived that even those cornball if dirty takeoffs you hear via "classic rock" drivetime radio and the Capitol Hill Pantcrappers come off illustrious in comparison.

Well it does starts off better'n either you or I woulda expected with a "hip" take on MY FAIR LADY (this time with a clean cut butch teenage auto mechanic being turned into a rabid antiwar rockstar), but that was lukewarm at best and it goes downhill pretty zip-like from there. You know, with the usual swipes from everything from THE SOUND OF MUSIC to WEST SIDE STORY (if those two Broadway productions didn't exist the writers at MAD would be in deep trouble trying to come up with musicals to spoof) that were already way overdone a good ten years earlier. Do I have to go on and tell you just what a drag this collection of page filler and outright rejects are to the point where you can just feel all of those letters to comic fanzines nationwide mentioning just how lame MAD had become since Harvey Kurtzman left???

Note to original owner Brian Davis (name marked inside front cover)...yeah I paid for this book along with many others of yours, but if you'd like it back you are most certainly welcome to it. To be honest about it I get the feeling that Davis, now a fairly successful day laborer who is looking forward to taking an early retirement next year, is chortling over the fact that it was """""I""""" who got stuck with this atrocity and will spend the rest of my life agonizing over its placement amid much better sixties/seventies satire and comic offerings in my ever-moldering collection. Kinda shows just how MAD influenced a generation to become snide, sarcastic, back-stabbing cutthroats now, don't it!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Guten Somethingorother friends...nothing much to start this rather diseased post off with, so I will cut the caga and let the following relay my general malaise to you and like pronto!

Gunslingers-MASSACRE-ROCK DEVIANT INQUISITORS (tracks 1 and 2); NO MORE INVENTION (tracks 3-11) CD-R burn (originally on Riot Season)

An outta nowhere surprise from the mystery package received last week (still working on deciphering the anonymous donor's might be from a Tom Somethingorother, I'm not sure) that really rocks the socks off. A group of French origin, these Gunslingers make a rather unholy racket with their gear sounding like a lost seventies underground aggro filtered through eighties jadedness. Reminds me of the infamous En Why fringe no wave group Jack Ruby with Dilton Doiley on lead vocals. A left-field effort that will probably only appeal to a fraction of you, but oh what a fraction of you'll be tearing the sheets to confetti once you hear this!
Lee Konitz-IN HARVARD SQUARE CD-R burn (originally on Storyville then Black Lion)

Bill Shute's the big Konitz fan, at first taping then burning some of his sides he thought I should be more familiar with ignorant stroon that I am. Given that my own interests in jazz begin with the roots of avant garde and sorta gush forth from there some of these sides really don't hit me between the ears like Bill hoped they would, and frankly this 'un doesn't do a dad-blamed thing for me especially after a hard day at the salt mines when all I wanna do is have my nerves hitched up to a car battery. I've heard better Konitz (via Shute natch!) before, but frankly this one lacks the hard drive, high energy, vision and raw power that I look for in jazz. Bill, howzbout some Roscoe Mitchell next time around???

Of course if you don't believe me and wanna call me a turd to my face (or via the comment box) why don't you listen to the thing yerself? Here's the entire album available via the miracle of youtube:

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band-NEXT... cassette (Vertigo England)

I keep fergetting...was it this 'un or TOMORROW BELONGS TO ME that broke SAHB in the United States? Or was it just Cleveland? Yeah, Clevelanders in general had the worst taste in rock music as the success of some rather simpy bar band flacks like Michael Stanley and Breathless would attest to, but when it came to Alex Harvey at least they were right this time! So right that I'm surprised Harvey booster Charles Shaar Murray never moved there just to get in on some of the aura himself.

I once stated (OK, I've stated it more than once!) that NEXT... was not one of my favorite SAHB albums, but as usual I am one to give things like mid-seventies English (OK, Scottish) albums another go 'round as long as they weren't released on Manticore Records. 'n hey, I gotta say that this 'un sounds a whole lot better'n I remembered. Of course it ain't no FRAMED (the one which started the whole ball rolling with import copies even popping up in department store record bins) but it's hotcha enough for me with more than a few solid rockers like "Swampsnake" and "Giddy Up a Ding Dong" perking my oft-jaded ears up a bit. Yeah some of this did drag on for me...I mean, Jacques Brel never did fire my imagination like he did Bowie's...but overall it has a whole lot more spark and verve'n the progressive shuck these guys often got lumped in with.

Still a good encapsulation of the just pre-underground overlap into everyday teenbo concerns music that has about as much mid-seventies cred as Roxy Music, Sparks (look out for a seventies overview on the Maels more later than sooner) and more of those import bin faves that got pushed to the back of the collection once Pere Ubu albums started coming out. Snat theatre rock with a snide attitude that also got swept under the rug within a few years, and oddly enough I heard more'n a little Orchestra Luna during the showstopping "Last of the Teenage Idols" finale which really goes to show you how Broadway strut this can get!
The Crummy Fags-RILLY LOZ DINDA MIRE O' NARZIZISM cassette (Whitewall Tapes)

After years of searching through stacks of boxes in the darkest reaches of my closet I find this, a bonafeed tape of the infamous eighties Akron band the Crummy Fags that I've been on the lookout for fanabla knows how long. I mentioned these guys many a times both in the mag and on this blog, and given their love for the seventies underbelly of Cleveland rock (Electric Eels, Ex-Blank-Ex...) you know why I've been doing the rah-rah-ing about 'em for oh so long!

I mean, whatta group! Yeah alla 'em other punks could take their cues from the S-x Pistols and Clash all they wanted, but if you took 'em from the likes of Dave E then you REALLY knew where your punkisms lied! And they sure ooze punkitude on this tape, mostly culled from 1985 performances at JB's in Kent as well as in the rehearsal closet or wherever these guys conjugated. Of course you get the Fags' world famous version of the Eels' "Agitated" as well as a radically diff. "No Nonsense" too, but there's also a fantastic take on Jonny Richmond's "I'm Gonna Walk" as well as a pile of original material that just might become as famous as the aforementioned gunch...if only this woulda made it out to the public the way it shoulda back in 198X.

Some of the music does have a bit of an eighties "date" to it (meaning it sounds like too much if perhaps too late), but it all goes down rather pleasant in your own ranch house sorta way.  In many ways this is about as good as some of Dave E's eighties-era groups so you know you're gonna be in for a warpoid treat if you're ever able to wrangle a copy of this! Come on, why don't some of you under-the-rock labels who are so keep on digging up these rarities of the past take a chance on this and recoup some of the losses you incurred on alla those phony punk cash in platters you somehow thought were the real true blue item!

One thing, you may be disappointed to discover that "Open Up and Bleed" ain't the Stooges song, though "1969" is, even though it has about the same rush through and get it over with feeling as all of those other Stooges covers that cluttered up the eighties amerunderindie world, and boy were we sick to death about it!
THE ROY WOOD STORY cassette (Harvest England)

I remember seeing this import bin fave all over the place back when it originally came out '77 way, though I wonder how many copies this obv. career cash in sold over here in the U.S. of Wha? After all, Roy Wood may have been one of those fanzine faves on the basis of his Move-ments alone, but Wizzard were never more'n a cut-out staple in Yankeeland or Dixie for that matter and frankly, if you could've sat through their Eddy and the Falcons-era appearance on MIDNIGHT SPECIAL w/o getting up for a late-night snack then you musta had the iron will of a G. Gordon Liddy roasting his hand on an open flame before downing it with mustard and onions!

I guess the rock world really coulda used an item like this at the time. Better yet, I'm sure that EMI coulda used the additional pence or two in their coffers capitalizing on an English rock legend who wasn't on their roster anymore. But it's something that I'm sure woulda gotten the typical NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS and ROCK MARKETPLACE kinda guys all excited...a selection of Wood's various musical highlights from the beginning in the mid-sixties all the way up to the end of his contract when he probably got a much better deal elsewhere. But sometimes I wonder, who exactly was this double LP/play cassette aimed at anyway, Jeff Lynne?

Side/LP #1's the boss one though, showing off Wood during his early days in fact starting off with "Make Them Understand," Wood's first ever songwriting credit done up when he was with Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders. From there it's on through the Move at their best with all of the big faves that sure sound good in this company, especially when the obv. Beatles puff eventually mutates into a more early-seventies tough pop pounce that was due to make a comeback around this time.

Oddly enough side/LP #2 only has one Electric Light Orchestra track which is OK if you have the myriad assortment of budget LPs that came out in the seventies,  but even if you do they would've still fit snugly enough here. Naturally there's a whole slew of Wizzard and solo tracks that (like I said) might have met with success over there but remained bargain bin finds this way. Gotta admit that I actually enjoy Wizzard even if that fake Phil Spector sound is utilized in one of the chintziest ways since the mid-sixties, and even when the mass of violins and saxophones start to get to you you'll be reminding yourself this is a whole lot better'n "Lucky Man" getting spun and re-spun on the local "classic rock" station.

The solo material swings surprisingly as well, with tracks like "When Gran'ma Plays The Banjo" having almost as much downhome knee-slap as when George Clinton used to do those rural hoots on the early Parliament and Funkadelic albums. And I must say that I was even "touched" by Wood's solo single debut "Dear Elaine" which I thought had all of the panache and depth that the Orchestra had right before Wood picked up and took it all with him!

Not anything that would light a fire under the average (if there is one) BLOG TO COMM reader's honeycombed butt, though it sure is a better presentation of a rather major English pop figure's career (to date, and I mean like 1973!) than what could have transpired. Might be worth the snatch up at one of those flea markets where some old hag's selling off the record collection of her long od'd son, and if so don't try gypping her too much. Just try getting the thing for like a quarter, 'r maybe fifteen cents even. I'm sure she'll thank you anyway.
BONE CLUB cassette

Didn't want this post to particularly become another "cassette caga" but it looks as if it's turning out that way. But hey, despite the occasional drop out I gotta say that I do love these things to the dickens, not only because they remind me of some of the better highlights of the seventies but because nowadays the cassette machines that are being made are so hotcha you don't have to worry about any tapes jamming and getting crinkly like you did back when you were a kid staring at the spools wind keeping an eye out for any irregular turns and warbles!

Got this 'un as a promo way back when I was writing for a certain magazine whose title I prefer not to mention, and for a freebie being sent my way all I gotta say is...howcum I didn't get more goodies like this? Bone Club was a name I was kinda familiar with at the time perhaps because of an appearance at CBGB on a bill with not only the Lubricated Goat but Buzzy Linhart (!), but for the life of me I can't remember if I ever reviewed this sucker in the first place. And since I've BURNT all of the issues of that mag I used to write for it ain't like I can go back 'n check that easily, so's giving this 'un a play is like totally all-new, virgin territory for me even if I know the proverbial cherry was busted long ago!.

Nice hard sound on these three tracks that have some connection to the "Minneapolis" sound but enough originality to set 'em apart from the usual needle abusers. Not quite hardcore yet not punk in the commercial sense...kinda like p-rock in an early-seventies CREEM vein with some heavy metal/hard rock if you will ideas tossed in to confuse everyone even more. But oh what a confusion this is, and at least Bone Club pulled it off sans acquiescing to the baser moments of a variety of musical forms that seemed to have milked their worth for all they had by the time these tracks were recorded (1989).

Bone Club actually got some legit booty out before heading who-knows-where, and maybe it's better if not as good as the three demos that pop up here. Maybe it's the same dang material but who knows. Find out for yourself if you're so interested, but as for me I think this tape'll keep me going for a few weeks until I once again lose interest.

However I wouldn't mind buying their sole EP if only for the whacked-out cover featuring a crazy re-do of the "Three Ball Charlie" guy who appeared on the STICKY FINGERS album cover (something which really "affects" me because when they album came out I tried replicating Charlie's feat and am still surprised I didn't swallow the one ball I managed to get in and choke to death!).
Various Artists-LONG BLACK LEOTARDS, YOU ALL! CD-r burn (courtesy of Bill Shute)

Last but most certainly least as Bullwinkle once said comes this Bill Shute entry, a collection of more "thrift shop" rarities that I never saw in any thrift shops I've inhabited! Unfortunately this 'un didn't quite zoom me the way some of Bill's other compilations have...sure the pounding instrumental by the Raiders and Royal Teens' "Leotards" always help fill the bill when I'm looking for late-fifties jollies, but I just couldn't swing with some of that gospel and blues material Bill packed into this 'un like the fudge gets pounded San Francisco way. I gotta remark that Bill's comment regarding the Consolers' 1959 "It May Be The Last Time" which he says sounds suspiciously close to the Rolling Stones' '65 hit pf a similar title was right onna moolah, but for the most part I must admit I couldn't wait until the thing was over so's I could slip some Velvet-drone on to resensify my frizzed out nerves. Yeah, and a boo-hoo to you too!
"That's it, Fort Pitt" as some of us used to say.