Saturday, May 06, 2017

If there is one fact of life that we can all agree on (other'n the eternal jerkitude of Dave Lang), it's the one which says that my obsessions were one thing that really kept me goin' (both physically, mentally and even spiritually) throughout my kiddo and early adulto life. My infatuation with a variety of things was the fuel which gave me something to live for, to look forward to, and generally made up my entire reason for breathing at a time when life generally coulda been dull for a suburban slob kid.When I was seven it was dinosaurs, eight automobiles and whamming my Dinky Toy inna bathroom, comic strips at ten and comic books at eleven. When I got older the obsessive drives continued and hey, if I only had the same self-control and sense of reality as others maybe this whole rock screeding and fanzine hoo-hah on my part never would have happened! Now tell me---aren't you UPSET??????

I thought I had gotten over the whole idea of limitless drooling uncontrollable passion towards everything once I got my life a little more in focus and my bloodstream filled with chemicals that were supposed to alter such compulsive behavior in me. Obviously that is not the case, for just like it was when I was a kid and the mere sight of an Edsel would send me into swoons of classic Amerigan automobile fun and jamz it took the mere entry of the LES PUNKS Cee-Dee (reviewed below) into my life to get me (once again) flipped out over French rock of a punk or similar variety! And with that I just hadda dig into the miracle of internet and find out just about everything I could on acts like Gazoline, Kalfon Rock Chaud and of course the men behind the scene like Marc Zermati of Skydog Records fame and especially Yves Adrien, perhaps "thee" biggest booster of rock as energy en Francais, a man who seemed like the best aspects of Bangs, Meltzer, Kent, Murray, Farren and all of your favorite under-the-underground writers with some of their worse aspects tossed in true, but still boff enough to rate a mention in these pages considering the forgiving nature that moils in my soul like a turd that didn't quite go down the drain.

I sure wish there was more info on Adrien available in English because at this point in time all I have to rely on are google translations and most read like Andy Kaufman's "Foreign Man" character talking endlessly on a caffeine jag. But from what I can tell ya man, this guy is everything I like about the 1964-1981 period of rock 'n roll as pure energy transformed to sound! If he had only written in the Amerigan language he mighta been just as revered o'er here as the likes of all of our other fave rave rock extrapolaters who, come to think of it, were loathed by the majority just as much as they were loved by the rabid (and rockist correct) few who continue to worship their souls long after rock for all practical purposes has been dead and long buried as that International Youth Language we all seemed to adhere to at one time or another.

Sure the guy had his faults such as in his praise of lesser minds like Prince not forgetting his reverence for "techno"/"disko" as a post-"disco" movement, but who can fault Adrien for a few false moves considering his stature as a town crier for the likes of the Stooges, Dolls, Groovies and the rest of those acts that used to get the red carpet treatment in France at a time when hardly anybody thought those guys could rock the roll for some strange reason or another.

As you may have already sensed, I do get the feeling that his post-seventies writings might be a little hard to cram down the ol' optic nerves the same way I kinda shudder at a few of the things some of the once-greats wrote when the eighties gave way to the MTV generation, but then again I've tried reading a whole slew of eighties-era rock mags and the like and find just about everything (with a few exceptions) totally unreadable so why should I quibble about this one guy anyway? From what I can tell Adrien was one of the better rock 'n roll fans (with the proper soapbox) to SPREAD THE WORD to the French equivalent of our own suburban slobs who found this music the perfect soundtrack for their lives, and the more Adrien (and Patrick Eudaline and Alain Pacadis) we can get into our moldy lives (and the less Ann Powers and Anastasia Pantsios) the better!

And while I'm at it, can any of your faithful readers out there direct me to some pertinent translations of the man? After all, my old issues of CREEM are getting dog-eared and it's really hard to read those old NME's while perched on the toilet.
And like, so what else is goin' on here in BLOG TO COMM-land you say? Well, other than the recent infusion of Gallic rock consciousness into my otherwise drab existence not that much. Life has given me some hope since a few essential items will be (or already are) winging their way to my door as we speak, and I am having more than enough fun sitting in front of the boob tube (or flat screen these days...hiss!) watching old programs via Dee-Vee-Dee, some of which will be mentioned in upcoming mid-week posts. Lemme tell you, I am in fanabla heaven when I'm plopped in the comfy chair watching an old SUPERMAN episode or listening to the Velvets while reading FRITZI RITZ in my jammies during the night. That's what I love about a kid the concept of horrid UP WITH PEOPLE humanistic social relationships were being pumped into my brain at an alarming rate but (as I knew even then) the people who were pushing this agenda on unwary kids were as wrong as wrong can be! After all, things are more important that people and don't let anyone tell you different!
And with that, let me delve into just a few of those "things" that I've been listening to this past week!

Ernesto Diaz-Infante-MANITAS CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

KSE reg Diaz-Infante takes us on a 44-minute excursion through the newer-than-new classical guitar style that I somehow can't see the likes of Segovia engaging in. Acoustic strums, shards and clops in what seems like a random style. For fans of the old GUITAR SOLO albums on Caroline and Derek Bailey enthusiasts. Some may call it noodling, but I call it the natural progression of things and maybe you should too.
Various Artists-LES PUNKS: THE FRENCH CONNECTION CD (Soul Jazz England)

And here I am still excited as all heck from the Max's Kansas City double duty set reviewed last week and THIS monster has to enter in to my life! Like I've said the French always seem to be ripe for criticism when it comes to rock music but we know better, and this collection of various French rockers really does excite me the same way I used to get excited walking into the Drome thinking about all of the boffo records I wasn't going to be able to buy with just three bucks in my wallet. For being more or less ignored throughout the history of rock 'n roll there sure were a whole load of good groups coming outta the place, and as far as an encapsulation of what was going on in France as proto-punk mutated into punk proper before eventually petering out into punque this set has the biff bang pow that made record buying such a fun if chance-y experience during those rather dollar-depressed days.

Can't say that there's a loser in this pack and most if not all of the groups are born and bred of that Velvets unto Stooges unto wherever you wanna go with it (Groovies, MC5, Suicide...) sound that typified the latter portion of the seventies, at least for me. It all just oozes that whole smart set style that was pushed by the likes of Marc Zermati, the much mentioned Yves Adrien and Patrick Eudeline (howbout some English lang translations of Eudeline while you're at it???) which came to fruition back when this breed of custom made for suburban slob sounds finally made its way into that enclave and suddenly even the likes of CRAWDADDY couldn't ignore it anymore. None of that cheap "gnu wave" crap that was created for those who couldn't handle the real thing...this is French punk rock 'n roll done up as wild and furious as all of those other self-produced high energy screechers and be THANKFUL you're far beyond the depression-era wages days that kept you from getting this stuff the first time 'round for it's once again available and for a song!

Personal faves naturally include the rougher of the bunch...Gazoline's "Sally" sounds like it was recorded on a wobbly Wollensack after the guitarist had all of the fingers on his left hand sewn together. Of course it's great. 84 Flesh's "Salted City" also rubs a certain raw nerve ending in my psyche, and of course I can't resist Metal Urbain and Marie et les Garcons even if the latter tends to point the way towards softer if still pop enough trends for people who couldn't keep time with a metronome.

Robert Christgau once said there's no such thing as French rock. Another reason for him to take a much needed rest stay at a Belgian euthanasia clinic if I do say so myself.
Shady Lady-RAVING MAD CD-r burn (originally on Rave Up Records)

Wow, another Stones/Dolls swipe! Only these guys were around before the Dolls got their act together and for that matter recorded this platter a good year or so before them guys even got inked to Mercury. The singer comes off like Micky Jo and the band is about as hard-clang as any good local boys could get at the time. Not only that but it's got the patented acoustic bloozy Stones-styled moaner in case you're still in doubt as to where these guy were comin' from. A wild ride through the early days of platforms and unis*x that should appeal not only to fans of the Stooges, but those of Jump and of course the Stones and Dolls right before the early-seventies promise twisted itself into variations that continue to both surprise and confound this far down the line.
The Fleshtones-RADIO PARTY NYC CD-r burn

(I might have said this a few times already so bear with me...) There was a time when I considered these guys a buncha turncoats and renegades because of Whatzizname Zaremba's co-hosting that MTV show 120 MINUTES or whatever it was as if his presence on the net was gonna actually help the Fleshtones make that big zoom into the bedrooms of overweight smelly teenage girls like he hoped! But now that the smoke has cleared and it's 2017 all I gotta say is that I sure think these guys are pretty swell what with them being alive here in the late-'teens and playing the exact same kinda music they had for the past forty years! Live October '80 with that Big Beat sound that made the 'tones one of those new New York bands along with the Comateens, Bloodless Pharaohs and Zantees (really!) that took past accomplishment and remolded it for a music I thought would dominate the eighties! But I was wrong about that 'n so what else is old???
COZMIC CORRIDOR CD (Mental Experience, Spain)

Moody synthokraut sounds from a group I never heard about until the folk at Mental Experience released this obscurity! Lots dark droning electric organ and synth couple with spoken female voice give this an eerie similarity to side two of Ash Ra Tempel's JOIN INN. Quite intriguing at times in a spooky gothic way only the Germans would work out without looking stoopid, and although this is about as far away from rock 'n roll as Cat Stevens it does make for better music to sweat the introspective creepies outta ya. Nice archival digup you have there, Mental Experience!
David Johansen and the Harry Smiths-SHAKER CD-r burn (originally on Chesky Records)

It's really fun knowing that, after all of these years, the New York Dolls are still considered persona non gratis when it comes to "respectable" rock circles. But what would these same "classic rock" types who (of course) are all gung ho for the blues, at least in its cleaned up present state, think of a recording like this where chief Doll Davy Jo Hansen affects his best Howlin' Wolf vocalese on these backwoods blues numbers that are so raw 'n ruff you woulda thought Greg Prevost woulda had somethin' to do with 'em. The playing from these Harry Smiths might as well be the King Biscuit guys umpteen years later its that real a deal, and combined with Johansen's growl this makes for a pretty hotcha time! Good enough that I almost (key word) forget Buster Poindexter!
Various Artists-EIGHT-MILE BASIN ST. RUMBLE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

I don't think Bill will be snarl-like with me for dumping on this particular collection. It ain't bad, but none of the heights and thrills of previous burns seems to emanate from this one the same way the smell of greasy fried garlic emanates from your armpits on a 90 degree day. Not that the usual local rock group rarities aren't fine nor the cheap label soul, but they just don't wow me the same way previous Shutescursions have what with their ancient ads and old 78 crankolas. The best bouncers outta this bevy happen to be the early-sixties vintage instrumentals, and even Steve Marcus' take on "Eight Miles High" sounded better than I woulda expected some jazzy redo would turn out. I hope the well ain't runnin' dry because I can sure use more of those strangities that Bill always has the fortune of finding onna web.

1 comment:

rnigma said...

Most folks seem to remember David Johansen as "Hot Hot Hot" Buster Poindexter, or for his acting in "Scrooged" or that gawdawful "Car 54" movie (with Dr. Cox from "Scrubs" as Muldoon...?)