Saturday, July 29, 2017

Golly ned but it sure seems like just yesterday that this whole idea of punk rock, no matter what usage or permutation of the term you were talking about, began to penetrate my ever-sagging midgie mental state during them years o' me as an un-cured teenage blubberfarm. I'm sure you too remember those days well---I sure do bein' so anxious and easily swayed by articles in CREEM (which was perhaps the BIGGEST pusher of the p-rock idiom in Ameriga until the thing got bigger 'n usual and then it was nothing but STADIUM ROCK much to my dismay)---finding out about new bands and new movements and discovering all of those things from the sixties that I missed out on really put a thrill in my mid-teen mind, and frankly if it weren't for the likes of people like Richard Meltzer, Lester Bangs and all of those bands that they were pecking away about where would """""I""""" be today? Probably doin' the exact same thing I'm doin' now only not wastin' so much time gabbin' about groups, comics and moom pitchers you people could care less about! Feh!

And yeah, somehow the concept of punk as the vindication of mid-sixties mid-Amerigan teendom really appealed to me and m embryonic-beyond-belief sense of wonder. To me punk was the Shadows of Knight and Seeds as well as the Stranglers and Stooges, a huge counterattack against the ongoing rape of the teenage mind takin' 'em for for the pack of fools that they most certainly weren't, or at least weren't until the advent of Tuinols. Punk was fun and invigorating and assertive and other strangely positive enough things to rectify one's life and although it was brushed off by many as a weird aberration in the history of a movement that gave us James Taylor and Carole King and, according to the likes of Andy Secher, totally rootless the negativity that was blindly directed at all manifestations of the form (sheesh, the guys I knew even hated Ian Gomm!) that only made the sound more appealing as only a rejected and oft-loathed creature like I was and most certainly will remain can tell ya!

A local FM disc jockey who has finally retired from the airwaves was once asked about his views via punk rock and he said he despised it. It reminded him of the early Who which undoubtedly proves why the station never played "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" but blasted "Who Are You" continually.

I remember asking a certain former BTC conspirator who was well-versed in various musical mores about punk rock and he told me to avoid it all with a flaming passion. The same fellow later advised me against buying the recently-reissued KICK OUT THE JAMS which only goes to prove something to you, only I can't exactly figure out what it is lo these many years later.

Considering that early August marks the Big Fortieth Anniversary of the second (and unfortunately last) Mont de Marsan Punk Rock Festival I thought that a post devoted to not only that particular festival but French punk in particular would be appropriate. After all the French had always been known for their general lack of rockist ideals (why just ask Robert Christgau!) even though they were the nation that spawned Marc Zermati and Skydog Records as well as Patrick Eudeline, Yves Adrien, Rotomagus, Marie et les Garcons, Little Bob Story and other acts that I'm sure the likes of Christgau would find consequential to the growth and development of a high energy punk rock climate. But eh, we always knew better (didn't we always?), or at least I did after seeing (in high stool history class no less!) that snap of Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye receiving some award from a Frenchman for RADIO ETHIOPIA...the French always knew more about rock 'n roll than Christgau did and if only someone had thought enough to translate Eudeline and Adrien into English just so's their verbiage of value could have reached more rock-starved peons such as yourself maybe we wouldn't have had to kid ourselves that THE CHRISTGAU CONSUMER GUIDE was actually worth the time and effort to peruse.

But really, French punk was a beautiful entity all to itself. Part late-sixties US garage band drill and part mid-seventies English hard blooze with a whole slew of points in-between, the music was perfect for rock 'n roll reactionaries whose idea of punk was a buncha wired kids in that garage at the end of the lane cranking out a sound that was mostly atonal but had that feral quality that was sorely missing from most of the music being heard them days. Of course once the Sex Pistols' aura permeated everything in its path things changed, but even then there was a unique approach and attempt at a new INTERNATIONAL YOUTH LANGUAGE that transcended mere gab being made. Perhaps this really was the last attempt to keep it from all tumbling into the abyss, but they did give it more'n the ol' college try if I do say so myself and maybe for that we should be thankful.

And now, a REVIEW OF A BOOK entitled LE MASSACRE DES BEBES SKAI---PUNK ROCK FESTIVAL; MONT DE MARSAN 1976 & 1977 by Thierry Saltet (Julie Editions, 2012)

It's all in French but considering how many consider English nothing but sloppy French maybe I can make it out just a little. I guess that the two Mont de Marson punk fests were famous enough in France at least to rate a book, and this one seems like it would be the kind of read that really laid down the line as to what was goin' on at the fest, the ins and outs of the entire shebang detailing things we never knew about given the various backstage hubbub 'n all. It sure LOOKS good that's for sure, what with the great snaps and fliers present not to mention that author Saltet got his info from some of the better (Jonh Ingham in MELODY MAKER) and worse (Caroline Coon in MELODY MAKER!) extant.

Before we go on any further maybe I should mention how organically together (man!) the concept and portrayal of punk rock was. Many have mentioned how the definition of punk rock was different in 1971 (when CREEM would use the term to describe the likes of Ten Years After and Ashton Gardner and Dyke along with the Seeds and Stooges) and 1975 and 1977, but somehow the news really didn't hit the likes of Zermati who actually presented a wide array of acts that coalesced loosely under the punk banner. Well, not that loose (after all there weren't any of those neo-punk prog "Zeuhl" acts around that's for sure!) but having a "Big Tent" appreciation of the punk term really fitted in with my own understanding of just how deep and of what kind of width the entire underground had absorbed. Even if it did come to the point where NONE of the people I knew could handle Nick Lowe because he was a punk even though they liked "So It Goes" until they found out he was one!

Interesting shards can be discerned. F'r example the boss-beyond-belief rhythm and blues act Roogalator were supposed to play the '76 fest but didn't because an electric piano was not provided, while a cloudburst actually cut the second fest short thus denying attendees the opportunity of seeing a few acts (and I don't know which understanding of French ain't that spiffy!). Bits and pieces I never knew about (such as that the Pink Fairies who appeared here were actually made up of Twink, Duncan Sanderson and a pickup guitarist) are also present, but what I was rather interested in were some of the "also ran" types who appeared, those acts that most of us never heard of before and more likely never heard of again which naturally got my mind in an uproar over the possibility of discovering a new lost seventies wonder.

Now some of these flash inna panners did release material which I have fortunately had the opportunity to review for all of our further rock edjamacation, but acts such as Passion Force, an all-black power trio who came, played a blazing set of punk-funk (long before that concept was officially coined!) and scooted back into obscurity are the thing that make me want to uncover even more and more of the gritty underbelly of underground rockism that was permeating the scene at the time. Like ever-decaying film, these memories and sounds must be preserved lest the vanish like some long-gone D. W. Griffith feature that we sure read a lot about, but never will be able to see.

Also interesting is some of the things that were presented as fact to a punk-starved populace but were somehow twisted about in the process. Take this one flier for the '77 shows presented by some Spanish punk fans who make a whole load of errors (which I somehow think were intentional but who knows) regarding a variety of subjects. Hokay, we all know that the Tyla Gang were not from Holland nor the Police from Belgium (the promoters of the '76 shows listed the [Hammersmith] Gorillas as being Scot!) but why were they leading unsuspecting attendees into thinking that Lou Reed was actually part of the fest even though he was playing the day after and the audience was just expected to hang around for that 'un. And I dunno who gave 'em the idea that the TROGGS were to play the fest since I hard nada about that until chancing upon this particular poster! Must have been wishful thinking or better yet a pure lie conjured up to get more Spaniards heading up north. Well, the year before promised the appearance of a band called "Mirrors" who were not our Cleveland faves but a makeshift operation featuring Richard Hell along with Nick Lowe and Ducks Deluxe's Tim Roper and I wonder just how much credibility one coulda put into a pairing such as that ever making it to a stage!

While someone's doin' translations on those Eudeline and Adrien articles howzbout workin' this one over??? Your punk rock public demands such a task because hey, we all know that Ann Powers never cut the mustard when it came to detailing the true nitty gritty and fun side of rock 'n roll music!
And now for the records! All of them have something to do with either French punk rock, rock acts that appeared at Mont de Marsan or something vaguely related to either one. Whatever, these platters prove that the French rock scene, especially that of the underground rock 'n roll variety, wasn't as staid and as restrained and as boring as some neer do wells would lead you to believe. Read on, and if smart SAVE THEM SHEKELS!!! Because you will need these to cop all of the booty that's been mentioned and like, better now'n when you're deaf!

IL BARRITZ LP (Atlantic France)

I always wondered what the story was behind this Anglo-Irish-French group who recorded this album with Phil May producing and a whole load of Pretty Things helping out (though not pictured on the back cover...that was the performing group that got the entire reverse to themselves) with the kicker being that these guys were up and operating in France which is probably the only nation that released this '76 platter given its outright obscurity. I guess some old UGLY THINGS has the whole story but I'm too lazy to comb through my collection and find out right now. As far as a relic of punkisms gone by IL BARRITZ really don't measure up to what was expected of the mooment at the time---nice if slightly commercial hard rock is what'cher in store for, but I gotta say that I'll bet that more'n a few bands of the day who sounded like this got tagged as punk rock so why quibble? If you find a copy for fifty cents in your local flea market bin you're probably hallucinating.
Shakin' Street-AXE KILLER WARRIOR'S SET 2-CD box set (Axe Killer France)

It mighta seemed strange to some that Shakin' Street played both Mont de Marsan fests considerin' just how much this act hovered around the heavy metal hive in order to get their honey. But hey, if yer once again usin' the '71 punk definition o' the term, these guys (and gal) were just as much of a buncha punks as Hot Scott Fisher said Budgie were, and in no way did Shakin' Street ever cower in the macho metal (or femme approximation) as many of the losers of the eighties who might have made metal a household word but paled in all-out intensity when lined up against a whole load of hardcore punk blare that was stealin' thunder like anything back then.
This package has everything (including a booklet in French) which details the group's history from the early days up through their two studio albums and live effort which you know was all good because the heavy metal pansies of the eighties ignored it like the plague while slurping up to comparatively dull acts like Ratt and Wasp! Both studio efforts are great high energy excursions that, like Motorhead, owed more to a punkian past than the dolts at HIT PARADER would ever 'fess up to, and like who could ignore the fact that a post-Dictators/pre-Manowar Ross the Boss is up front and center for a number of lead lines that would make Ted Nugent wet his loincloth. The live set, while not up to KICK OUT THE JAMS/METALLIC KO standards, still delivers some hot and straightforward music that I know woulda made the supposed HM dopers wail like babes just like they did upon hearing Von Lmo (a true story!). It's too bad the Shakin' Street are pretty much a forgotten footnote in a book where comparative comatic (made that word, 'eh?) acts in the faux metal category are considered "hard and heavy" man!

The bonus tracks which close the disque out (featuring spacial guests Buck Dharma and Jimmy Page) sound closer to the metal than punk taproot what with their standard riffs and without anything to make it burst out into pure sound as energy. Still you gotta wonder that since both Blue Oyster Cult and Led Zeppelin have on occasion been lumped into a punk continuum maybe everyone was in on the p-rock game and wittingly knew it when laying down these tracks, right? Nawwww.....
Little Bob Story-OFF THE RAILS----LIVE '78 CD (Ace/Chiswick, England)

Only in France could a short goofy looking wop-a-dago kid achieve fame and fortune as the frontman for a hot high energy rock 'n roll band like this! I never really cozied up to these guys after hearing their Chiswick EP a good thirtysome years back, but nowadays Little Bob Story sound like the perfect blues/punk/high energy band that shoulda ruled my growing up existence had only someone nudged me in the right direction (like told me this music even existed!). Bob moans with a great hoarse voice sounding like the high school geek gone good while the band cooks like a combo Dr. Feelgood meets MC5, and if this stuff was verboten amongst the FM-bred Pantsiosites of the late-seventies then you KNOW why that generation better get ready for a toasty afterlife in Lawrence Welk Hell!
Maniacs-SO FAR...SO LOUD CD (Overground England)

This is English punk rock (of the punkiest kinda mind ya) right around the time it was starting to become pUnk yet wasn't whatcha'd call an embarrassment next to what it would become by the time 198X crept into existence. For a group that never really went anywhere this is some pretty solid hard-knuckled music they got here (which is probably why they never did go anywhere), and a whole lot better in approach/anger/energy than some of the lower-rung acts that were comin' outta Blighty at the time. It's too bad that these guys petered out the way they did (being in existence for the lesser part of a year) because who knows, maybe they coulda gotten somewhere and made one of those albums that really fit into the moods and modes of the day, at least the kind of moods and modes that affected disenfranchised suburban slobs like ourselves!
Various Artists-LES PLUS GRANDE SUCCES DU PUNK CD (Skydog France)

Given that more'n a few of the acts that appeared on this platter also appeared at the Fest I felt that it was my sworn doody to latch up their recordings if only to re-create at least in my mind the energy and might that used to be punk rock. And with the infamous SKYDOG COMMANDO platter unfortunately out of reach (back then I didn't think I'd like it...can you believe that???) I've gotten hold of this Cee-Dee which has a good portion of just that on hand plus other French faves to make this an especially adorable package.

Once again this platter contains more of that rough and rumble punk before it lost its original THRUST meaning and became just another prop for armchair radicals worldwide, with roots still heavily into the usual Dolls/Stooges/Velvets-sorta drive that made these bands so delectable in the first place. Personal faves include Little Bob Story's Dr. Feelgood swipe, the Lou's dyke rock, Taxi Girl's art takes via Roxy and Terry Riley and Kalfon Rock Chaud's Dollsalike rave which makes me wonder why everybody out there in French punk land (and beyond) seemed to hate 'em! Also hot are Gazoline, Electric Callas and Marie et les Garcons who prove that even people who look as wimpoid as every other Velvets homage band on the planet can do it right for once (witness Les Scooters' "Hygiene", a "Sweet Jane" re-do that sounds unlike every other weep take of the toon recorded these past thirtysome years!).

As I said there were a number of acts at Mont de Marsan that weren't exactly whatcha'd call punk rock in the strictest 1977 sense, but they mighta fit in using the early-seventies NME/CREEM definition of the term. Spain's Brakaman were too loose an aggregation to even fit into these criteria but hey, I can see how they coulda scored a spot at the '77 fest even if they were probably gonna get about as much respect there as I would at Jay Hinman's birthday party. Brackaman played whatcha'd call a more or less toned down glam rock that, although nothing bad, just doesn't hit the same strata that those English groups that used to appear on Bell Records did. But wait...right when you're about to write these guys off they come up with a pretty good rocker that sounds as good as those early glitter-unto-punk mainland Euro singles that you occasionally see posted on the Purepop web site. Not bad at all guys, and hey next to the likes of some of those atrocities committed in the name of underground rock purity back in the eighties you definitely were punks, that's for sure!
Various Artists-DANGER: LA FRANCE A PEUR! LP (Danger Records, France)

Now none of the acts that appear on this recent collection of rare French punkers popped up at the Fest, and most all of this is whatcha'd call punk of the '77 variety having been influenced more by then-recent English doings than earlier sound extrapolations. However, the punk that does make its presence known is of a pretty spiffy quality since it more or less was laid down long before the music got mooshed over by the various kling ons that toilet paper could never remove. Highlight of the set is the first cut on side two, "Strike Up" by the band of the same name who best represent the mid-seventies spirit with their sound that was highly evocative of the early Stooges run through the entire gamut of late-sixties/early seventies grit rock stylings. I sure could use an entire platter from them THAT'S for sure!
The Pink Fairies-NAKED RADIO CD + DVD (Gonzo Multimedia, England)

Mind you, this is not the version of the Fairies that played the '76 Fest which as I told ya was naught but a quickie put-together. This is more or less the latest in the continuing line of Pink Fairies revival acts centering around originals Sanderson and Hunter with longtime hanger-on and guitar hero in his own right Andy Colquhoun and that same gal who was also in the Deviants the day Mick Farren gave an audience a show they'll never forget. Of course it's good in that straightforward Ladbroke Groove sorta way that still retains that post-sixties jaded feeling that made those early Fairies records pretty hotcha even this far down the line. Cover features some of the best schizo/kultural rock references seen in a while what with the hippie and punk stormfronts colliding into something that sure sounds pleasurable in a way that you never could get outta the rest of 'em hippie punks.
And where does that leave the rest of the French punk acts from European Son and Metal Urbain on down? Don't ask me...still have a lot to hear while I still have ears and I sure would like to give some of the more obscure aggregations out there a spin before I check out into used record bin purgatory. Any help would be appreciated, but certainly not expected.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


I never woulda guessed (I mean...who woulda?) that the third issue of this new and exciting fanzine would have kept up with the same high status of top quality rock writing, general teenage anarchy (created mostly by guys in their sixties!) and good ol' snooty rockist attitude guaranteed to offend not only the old 'n stuffys but the young 'n liberated! Yes, the latest ish of VULCHER is here and you can bet that upon reading it I flashed back to them days when the newest NEXT BIG THING or KICKS would penetrate the sanctity of my fart-encrusted bedroom giving me something to dive deep into 'stead of re-re-reread some old comic book or joining the fambly in front of the set to watch THE FRIDAY NIGHT MOOM PITCHER only to get sent back to my room when something a li'l salacious would hit the screen! (Believe it or not but this did happen a few times when THE IMPOSSIBLE YEARS and THE LOVE GOD aired during my young and publetically potential days!)

I sure do miss the era of hand-pecked fanzines printed via spirit duplicator and collated in some dingy basement while records would spin on endlessly, but man is this one yet another SOLID GOLD ROCK 'N ROLL READING AFFAIR even if it is printed up on glossy paper and holds in your hands like an old issue of NEWSWEEK. Another girlie of unknown origin graces the cover (I'll bet it's one of Kenne Highland's old lays, or maybe Eddie Flowers' younger cyster) but that doesn't really prepare ya for the innards of this thing which contains SOME OF THE BEST ROCK 'N ROLL READING TO BE SEEN SINCE THE DEMISE OF THE ORIGINAL GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK BLABBERING IN THE SEVENTIES (or somewhere thereabouts)!!!!!!!  Just a glance at the table of contentment page'll give you an idea of what kinda cool is to be found for those of you who've had more than enough Christgau in your lives...Obnox, Umela Hmota, Craig Bell, Danger (a frog/Canuck glam band of the seventies), Dolphy, Ornette, Joe South, Peter Tork, the Turtles, the Mothers, Coltrane, Jim Dickinson 'n I can go on (but I won't)...that's what kinda cool's appearing here, and you can bet your bottom dollar that these names 'n more are bound to make any true blue fan of the past sixtysome years of manic record buying and worship from afar just run to the bathroom to relieve themselves from the unbearing pressure of whatever out there is passing for the new Justin Beiber (is he still around....alive???) these sad 'n sorry days.

The writing is fantastic enough, even the contributions from some of them upstarts I know nada about rock out like Bangs and that's sayin' something good y'know! Or at least its good enough to make me wanna check out this Obnox guy who has previously performed with the likes of Ex-Blank-Ex and is now a solo star in his own right, not to mention check out the acts mentioned in James Marshall's piece on those Dickinson-produced single sides which proves to be one of the many highlights of this issue. I'm particularly primed to give a listen to the Dickinson "aided" group the Jesters, Sun Records' answer to the mid-sixties garage band onslaught who not only had a lead guitarist who was committed to the booby hatch for swingin' around the swords that he bore and a lead singer who turned to a life of crime when rock didn't cut it, but Sam Phillips' own son on rhythm guitar! Sounds like a pretty boffo lineup if you ask me, and I didn't even mention the Coltrane OM cartoon (!) or the article on new Spanish rock 'n roll (written by the busier than who woulda ever thought Lindsay Hutton!) or the funny Tee-Vee Guide-styled listings* and foto funnies that read more lysergic 'n guffaw inducing but...what would you expect from an alchemist such as Flowers???

Still reading through it...the stuff on Johnny Kannis and Big Boy Pete sure looks salivatin', and how can I pass up an article on Craig Bell even if Dave Laing has been givin' me the cold shoulder as of late. Maybe I WILL get into the Dancing Cigarettes more'n I have one of these days and it's sure good to know that Bruce Mowat is doing more these days than selling televisions to bored lumberjacks. While I'm at it, who out there can resist finding out about a band like the Embryonics who do a song entitled "My Problem are Bigger Than Your Tits" an' I hope they ain't singin' about Carol Doda! Send all the money you have, put it in a box and mail it to these guys because you need this more'n you need all of those OTHER up and coming fanzines trying to be high minded and hoity toity! Like Jerry Rubin or was it the Pink Fairies said don't think about it, just DO IT! and like the sooner you do the better you'll be sleeping for at least the next few months until #4 comes out!!!
Gotta say that I was a bit surprised to find out in these pages that none other than famous "street rocker" DAVID PEEL has sung his last high hoot a short while back (and was buried with full military honors after being admitted to a V.A. hospital t'boot!). Really was a sad 'un to find this 'un out if only because it's just another testament to the fact that one of these days it's you and I who are gonna be hittin' the carbon cycle due to advanced age 'n alla that rot that we always said we'd never let get the best of us but we shoulda knowed better. I sure do remember David Peel back when THE POPE SMOKES DOPE hit the bins and was automatically banned in like 23 countries or somethin' like that. I naturally thought it was banned for political/religious reasons though the fact that every review I read of this was a knockdown maybe it was for the sake of taste. I don't know...never did get that one given how rare it has become o'er the years. I eventually did buy HAVE A MARIJUANA and THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION much later in my existence (since like, when I was a kid I woulda had a hard time sneakin' those two into the abode!) and liked 'em a whole lot even though both of 'em got pissed on a whole lot as well. Of course by that time my tastes were well honed by the primitiveness of the Fugs and Stooges so like, the whole thing fit in with my listening parameters like perfect what with their cheap guitar sounds and Peel's nasal rants goin' off about everything and everyone that was related to "the man" 'r at least sumpin' like that!

Oh, and I gotta say that when I was but a mere adolescent and saw the cover of the recently-reissued package of the first two Tyrannosaurus Rex albums a short while later I thought that the sticker notes pasted on the back were written by DAVID instead of John Peel which goes to show you what a stupid fanabla I was and shall remain! Maybe not, but it does make for a fun aside.

But back to the meat at hand. Peel really was a New York under-the-underground icon just like Tiny Tim and Moondog and Max's Kansas City and all of those things we used to take for granite until they were all kaput and a few years later boy did we miss 'em! A musical madman with the dorkiest voice of the counterculture who was a gadfly and annoyance and someone who never could be liked by anyone with a "real" sense of rock 'n roll. Or so I got the impression from reading all of those writeups previously mentioned. I knew better of course and have enjoyed him whether he was singing his up against the wall mantras or capitalizing on his Lennon connections for years even if Lennon tossed him over like a hot potato and by all means Peel shoulda been mad! Yeah you could say he was a cheap radical hanger-onner type with a band who sounded like they picked up their gear only a week back, but Peel sure was a whole lot more early-seventies real than James and Carole and the rest of those mellow out bores who the kids were stamping over Peel albums to get to, that's for sure! And fun too, if that makes any heckuva lotta difference to ya especially in these unfunny cyborg times.

*My personal fave...BRAVO: The Big Gang Bang Theory Sheldon and Mr. Sulu time-travel back to a 1976 San Francisco bath house. Anal hilarity ensues (lavish musical comedy). Or howzbout this? TBS: The King of Kings (1970 Movie) Jesus H. Christ-Sky Saxon, Judas-Kenneth Anger, Mary Magdalene-Merry Clayton. Don't like it? Well then just take a gander at this cube I have here in my hand...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Am I wired! Not chemically but physically mind ya. Spiritually even. And hey, if one can get "high on life" maybe one can become a speed-freak because of it and I sure have enough caffeine-produced energy in me at this point to not only crank out reams of incoherent and incomprehensible screed on a variety of subjects both fave or not but shudder in abject fear and enjoy the terse tide of sound as vindication at the same moment. And yeah, I plan on coming down naturally as the evening progresses but if I don't I'll do it the right and proper way. Not with barbiturates and a few snorts like Nick Kent used to do, but with some melatonin and Ny-Quil. Not until much later...hey, I have this blog to do.

Been suffering through the bared-wire drive of it all moving between the computer keyboard and my bedside boom box comfy chair creating this week's post while trying to use my current nerved-out state in a positive way, like by listening to some equally hell-bent music while reading what I (and maybe you) would call heavy duty rockscreed the kind you hardly see anymore. In this case I'm beginning to read the entire Jonh Ingham MY BACK PAGES blog (see link on left) which I printed out for my own personal bed-time enjoyment. (I also ran off a copy for Brad Kohler to peruse but please don't mention it to him...I want it to be a surprise.) Quite inspiring stuff I must say, and although I'm only about a tenth of the way through I find his opines, expertise and autobiographical tales even more exhilarating than I made 'em out to be in last Wednesday's review of Ingham's punk rock snaps. Right now I'm more or less bludgeoning my way through his diary of the 1976 Patti Smith European tour which makes most of 'em (even Lester Bangs' much hailed Clash one from a year later) look like pure piddle, and that coupled with me spinning my current night time fave JIMMY BELL'S STILL IN TOWN by 15-60-75 The Numbers Band has made for a hard-drive evening of total rock 'n roll as that seventeen-year pulsating drive (talking '64-'81 though much that came before was pure prophesy and most that came after pure shit) that I'm sure glad I was able to live through even if I was unconscious or just too young to fully appreciate what was happening during that time.

As for 15-60-75, nothing they really did after this captures the mania they were legendary for throughout the seventies like JIMMY BELL does. Heck, at this point in time I'll even fall for Robert Christgoo's exclamation about how they sound like a cross between the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead, but only if we're talking WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT with horns and a percussion line or the Dead on a better-than-average night long before the bad acid and the mindless adoration really kicked in. And combined with Ingham's more masterful than Hinman wordplay the experience was a double-barreled blast into my rockism psyche that rarely encroaches into my oft flatline existence. Only got a burn of this on hand...maybe I'll splurge for the Hearthan reissue and make everything nice and OFFICIAL.
I dunno how many of you get FETV (stands for Family Entertainment Television) on your various non-broadcast systems but this new station really does seem to be filling a hole in my boob tube viewing habits. Unfortunately this more fambly-oriented outfit tends to air many of the programs that I would like to watch during the afternoon work hours or inna middle of the night (and I sure would like to see HAZEL if only to find out if it was as cornballus as everyone made it out to be) but the evening hours sure give me a respite from the usual caga that tends to get pushed on my ever-fragile mindset. Seven-thirty inna evening's got THE LONE RANGER on weeknights and maybe other times as well (I tend to switch between this, LOU DOBBS TONIGHT and M*A*S*H [the very early ones mind you when the Radar character was still kinda sleazy and far from the farmboy tuck in the soldiers and kiss them goodnight doof he eventually became] making for some bizarro tee-vee viewing) but at eight I find myself tuning into PERRY MASON with an alarming regularity. 's funny, but I'm old enough to remember this show at the tail end of its network sojurn as well as the years of reruns it was on afterwards (and late-fifties loving me used to watch this 'un even as a single-digiter, not for the actual story but for the definitely non-hippie ambiance of the thing!) but now that I'm older and crotchetier I find myself getting intrigued with the plots and interesting twists, not forgetting the fact that I like to catch glimpses of some of my favorite old time stars either on the way up or way down. Every time I watch this show my entire youth, at least the fun, goof off portion of it, comes right back and given just how dull things have become in the interim when such behavior is considered immature for a person of my age any fond memories of a not-so-bad past are most certainly welcome.
Uh, are any of you out there thinking about ending it all? Doin' the deep six 'n all that because life is just too much to bear what with all of those hurt feelings and various assaults being directed at your unique and special existence? I sure hope so, and if this is the case then you should (and with haste!) read this particular piece regarding that once-hailed and noble yet totally forgotten anti-suicide video courtesy of the one and thankfully only Billy Joel entitled "You're Only Human (Second Wind)"!  (In case you're keeping tabs, this article was coagulated by Andy Nowicki, perhaps my current fave socio-political commentator other'n a few thousand others.) Who knows, just a few choruses of Joel's noble effort to stem the tide of eighties-era depression by zoning the youth of them days with even more of the sappiness they adored might actually make you go through with it this time! 'n hey, given how much of a hatred I have for Billy Joel and his entire bug eyed, smirking existence, Nowicki's opinions really go down nice 'n easy even thirty years after the atrocity was unleashed on a generation that certainly deserved to off itself given just how disgusting the entire eighties seemed not only then but continues to do so a few decades in hindsight.

If you really have the urge to puke and don't have any ipecac available just click on the video screen presented in Nowicki's article and be taken to a page where, after you get up enough stomach to watch this sugar coated brain-decaying dandy IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE swipe so common in eighties entertainment, you can actually get to read the comments section where some sap actually wrote in saying how this vid (now get this!) saved his useless upper midclass suburban existence that, judging from the guy's tepid saga revealed therein, had nil value whatsoever so what's the great loss! Gee, if that song only had served the purpose it had not intended maybe we would have been rid of those irksome leeches who have been bothering us since time immemorial, or at least since the days of the loathsome video-drenched eighties which really drove rock 'n roll as the true cutting avant garde expression in our lives to total moosh. For a reminder of just what the post-rock era really meant to us all, look no further than this sanctimonious slab of self-righteous feelygood and be thankful to whatever lucky stars there are that I'VE BEEN AROUND DOIN' ALL OF THIS ROCK-SCREEDING FOR OVER THIRTYSOME YEARS IF ONLY TO SET YOU UNWORTHY PEONS STRAIGHT!!!
Enough autobiographical goo that might have worked for Eddie Flowers but not for me. Here are this week's big spins, most of it courtesy of personal faves Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and P.D. Fadensonnen (I managed to find more of his Christmas-era booty and boy am I glad!). Also gotta give big heaping thanks to Bob Forward for his latest package containing burns of not only Roscoe Mitchell's BELLS FOR THE SOUTH SIDE double-header on ECM but Roland Kirk's RIP RIG AND PANIC. Unfortunately the disques sent skip and sound static-y when played...might be my cheap bedside boom box's fault for this so I'll try to have 'em all on hand for my next long car ride to see just where the problem might lie! I'm bettin' on the disques but hey, I have been known to jump to conclusions at times (just ask Bill!).

Galactic Explorers-EPITAPH FOR VENUS CD (Pyramid/Mental Experience, available via Guerssen, Spain)

Haw, I reviewed a CD burn of this 'un a few years back and now the thing has been reissued on the highly-recommended Mental Experience label outta Spain if you can believe it. And like, what more can I say about this platter which I guess ain't a fake like I had been led to believe...a pretty good heap up of various kraut sources (Tangerine Dream, Cluster/Harmonia...) all combined into a nice little package that might have been the best compact export since the VW had this only gotten out. Makes me wonder what other gems are rotting away over in the Olde Worlde just beggin' to be heard by our kraut-starved ears.
Various Artists-LA MUSICA FUTURISTA NELL'ITALIA E NEL MONDO 2-LP set (Modern Silence, available here)

Shee-yucks, the entire newspaper-styled sleeve (kinda reminiscent of past album covers by the Four Seasons, John & Yoko and Jethro Tull!) is all in dago-ese and I can't read a word of it! Not only that, but the first album in this collection is nada but spoken word explanations of the futurist movement (with scant music) spoken in the native tongue and it all comes off like listening to Bacciagalupe talking about a bad calamari incident he had at a local eyetalian restaurant! At least the other 'un's got some interesting sounds including that one 78 that gets on all these Futurist collections as well as works by the likes of Arthur Honegger ("Pacific 231") and...Paul Whiteman (!) that show just how far-reaching Futurism was even if it wasn't exactly the kinda thing you blabbed about at the dinner table. If you know the lingo and can understand the bulk of this...fine enough.
Kilburn and the High Roads-HANDSOME 2-CD set (Cherry Red, England)

I was warned for ages to avoid those pre-Blockheads-era Ian Dury platters which is strange, because other'n but one yellow vinyl Stiff Records single not to mention STIFFS LIVE I owned nada by the guy! Of course then again I was an extremely frugal fellow when it came to buying records of all sorts during those depression-era wages days because like, if I only had six bucks plus change to spend on a record hunting excursion to Cleveland Heights why should I waste it on something I might not actually have an affinity for? Now that I'm a rich (hah!) bugger whose been buggered too many times by poor record choices all I can say is...maybe I shoulda sprung for those reduced priced High Roads albums that were cluttering up the used record shops of the early-eighties.

You know how it sounds, not quite rock 'n roll yet quite enchanting neo-reggae dance music with heavy English flavours (!) included. Good enough that even ROCK NEWS considered 'em a fine example of early-'76 English punkdom and who can argue with that!

The new bonus Cee-Dee is a great 'un complete with alternate takes and radio tracks that add that nice tinglin' dimension to it all. Just get outta your mind how the Stiff empire that started from such humble pub beginnings evolved into new unto gnu wave and maybe you'll like it just as much as I could.
Anais Maviel-HOULE CD-r burn (Gold Bolus Records, try Anais Maviel Bandcamp)

If yer big on the myriad assortment of female mewlers and moaners who have been making their monikers known since the days of Cathy Berberian you'll probably love Anais Maviel, a singer and percussionist who hails from Haiti of all places. Maviel coos and eeks while thumping on a variety of percussions making a music that sounds part beatnik experimentation and part voodoo ritual which makes me wonder just what KIND of healing powers her music is supposed to produce. Hopefully it won't make any of your tiny appendages droop off, but you might get some interesting jamz out of her talents like I did. These numbuhs stimulate your spirit and suck you in to their true magic, which come to think of it is the same allakazam that any great piece of sound which makes you feel like a true specimen can create!
The Resonars-NONETHELESS BLUE CD-r burn (originally on Get Hip Records)

For a minute I thought this group was called the Reasoners and I was wondering why someone would name an act like this in memory of a famous early tee-vee-era newscaster! Then I discovered that they were called the Resonars which was even more creepy because...what the heck is a resonar anyway? Fortunately this act does put out with some good enough Byrds ideas meshed into the standard newer than new groove bands like this who seemed to be popping up outta nowhere for the past thirtysome years. Not bad, but like many of these recent (even ten years back like this 'un!) attempts at past accomplishment for a new audience not my cup of pee.
Dane Rousay-ANATOMIZE CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, Rousay's site obtainable via

I gotta admit that I was always enamored (well, at least I was since reading some old books on the avant garde music scene of the thirties) with those mostly if not totally percussion ensembles such as the ones that produced Edgard Varese's "Ionization" not to mention those various John Cage landscapes and other early-forties efforts featuring vocal/tom tom duets. If you like those, or if you like the Milford Graves album on ESP or the Andrew Cyrille one on BYG, you just might like ANATOMIZE. Rousay is a very talented multi-percussionist who uses various banging instruments to create free form rhythms and "found" sounds (ringing phone, bird calls so real you'll think a robin fell down the chimney again) all to mind-engaging effect, and really if you think a percussion platter would be filled with nothing but boring pitterpats guaranteed to send you to the bongo room think different. ANATOMIZE is a wail of a recording and something that I would call "adventurous" even these days when we all thought the adventure ran out years and years ago.

Good swing to these two sets even if the sound comes off a little too sterile FM. The Only Ones were one of the better under-the-covers English groups to hit the late-seventies Amerigan shores, and this show captures some of the energy and excitement that made Peter Perrett a household name, in some of the stranger houses around I will admit. You already know the legend, this is just a bitta trimming.for those of you following one of your favorite reserved junkie musicians and no, I don't mean James Taylor.
The Rolling Stones-THE COMPLETE BRITISH RADIO BROADCASTS 1962-1965 2-CD set (London Calling Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Gotta wonder about the legality of this (along with all of those Keyhole Records offerings that I have been snatching up these past few years) but as long as they're comin' out like, I ain't gonna blab to the gendarmes! Quality on these English radio sessions and live performances are way better'n those nth generation tapes that have been flying around for years, and if you wanna hear the Stones not only in a rawer'n usual environment but at their prime long before they became THE WORLD'S GREATEST JOKE well,  you can't do better'n this. As you'd expect there are some pretty exhilarating moments to be found within these...grooves??? but whatever you do, don't throw out all of those old Stones bootlegs just yet...howzbout givin' 'em to me!!!
The Pills-A FISTFUL OF PILLS CD-r burn (originally on Primary Voltage Records)

For being a 21st Century production these Pills ain't hard to swallow. Not the Jymn Parrett Texas punk bunch (drat!), these guys (and gal singer) are Pills of a different nature...more like hard pop soft metal teenage rock that shoulda been bigger back inna seventies but hey, how could you sell a stoner box boy with terminal acne on a band like this? Mildly exciting music that does serve its purpose (whatever that is), and for being yet more fodder for the newer-than-new young hipster set or something like that all I gotta say that its...a lot better'n I thought it was gonna be!
JUNE WILKINSON AND HER PHYSICAL FITNESS FORMULA CD-r burn (originally on Calendar Records)

I dunno if any of you female readers (do I have any???) will start sprouting succulent and ripe-looking suckems after doin' these exercises, but I get the feeling that most of you MALE readers would have enjoyed watching this famed glamour gal doing her knee bending and toe touching routines. Listen to that young and innocent voice with the sexy English accent give out instructions counting " kick as high as you can!" while jazzy music straight outta some 1962 z-feature plays on. Now quick, rush to the bathroom and don't let anyone see you!
Various Artists-LITTLE RED MOJO WONDER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another grab o' bag here with a number of good 'uns mixed with things that might be good enough but just don't appeal to my sense of digestion. F'rexample the Congress of Wonders comedy blackouts only reminded me of the unfunny tank that much comedy fell into back in the late-sixties (even MAD came off wittier) while a lotta the soul-y blooz-y stuff sounded like the saggy rejects they obviously were. Some good points include the Rolling Stones doing "Little Red Rooster" (not too sure, but is this some sorta alt-take Bill?) and the Cadets of "Stranded in the Jungle" fame doing a bright toe-tapped entitled "I Want You". Oddly enough my fave of the batch has to be this self-produced single from some band called Snak who do a fair Hendrix swipe on the a-side and a standard hard scronker on the flip. A good cross-section of something that was goin' on back in the more original and exciting past of ours...maybe you can tell me just exactly what that was.
OK, I think I'm comin' down...lemme just stretch out here for awhile........

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

REVIEW! SPIRIT OF 76; LONDON PUNK EYEWITNESS by John Ingham (Anthology Editions, 2017)

John ne. or is it neeeeeeee????? Jonh Ingham is just one of those lucky few guys who happened to be stuck in the right rock 'n roll place at the right rock 'n roll time, a feat that could only be equaled by a few other lucky bums who got to see the creation and flowering of it all before the rest of us got to experience the dread downfall, and usually via what we read in magazines at that.

Born in Australia, Ingham's folks had the good sense to leave that hellhole in the early-sixties ending up in the Vancouver B.C. area which was basking in the radiation of the infamous Northwest Sound as typified by such south of the 54/40 line groups as the Kingsmen and Paul Revere and the Raiders. The mid-sixties saw Ingham trekking down to San Francisco where the lucky fanabla witnessed first hand the local scene before that did a perfect swan dive into the realm of hippie hackdom. In the meanwhile Our Hero managed to hook up with the likes of Greg Shaw and did a super-fine entry into fandom of a rock and otherwise nature where his comics and articles appeared in the likes of not only WHO PUT THE BOMP but NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS (a much better read than historical snobs would lead you to believe). And hey, if your early-seventies issues of CREEM don't have a Jonh Ingham article in them then hey, they don't have a Jonh Ingham article which is tough luck but worse things have happened.

Ingham eventually ended up in London England where his smart writings for the likes of NME, MELODY MAKER and SOUNDS appeared throughout the mid-seventies and beyond, and  most definitely these pearls of somethingorother oughta be packaged up just like they did with Bangs' and Meltzer's musings and force-fed to millions of college paper rock creeps to show 'em what rock screeding is really about. But while he was anchored in London Town the man also happened to find himself immersed smack dab inna middle of the burgeoning as they always say punk rock scene, and of course he made his mark there championing the new upstarts making their misery known around the area and managing Generation X in the meanwhile. And in this book some of Ingham's own personal collection of primo punk snaps have made their appearance, some for the first time, to give us a first-hand view as to what the punk scene was like o'er there long before punk became pUnk before it became punque and not quite the same thing it set out to be once the movement unraveled right in front of alla the idiots and dolts in their cloistered communities. Y'know, revealed to people like me!

Sure I woulda preferred a nice autobiographical spew regarding the entirety of Ingham's career if not that aforementioned sampling of his critical best, but this package is certainly worthy of your time/effort what with the rare snaps of the S-x Pistols, Clash and (get this!) even Subway Sect (a personal atonal fave at least when I'm in the mood) at the dawn of their careers.You even manage to get a few photos of the likes of a pre-goth Siouxsie and Steve Severin (not to mention the Billy Pout-era Chelsea) along with the usual partygoing suspects and it's sure nice seeing what things were like before (again) the lumpen proles in cooperation with the upper crusts that be turned it all into some marketable fashion for people who didn't have the time to make their own future so they bought it at a department store.

The mood revealed in these photographs seems to show a more easy-going, un-corrupted scene made up of kids who might just have been more "aw golly" 'n altruistic than anyone would lead you to believe. I get the impression that the band members and audience were just out there to have a good time where none of the more "serious" aspects of punk as that great world saving social cause can be discerned. Of course the whole punk as a social concern blabdom was there even at that early stage in the game, but it is quite obvious that fun via raw power was the rule, not the humorless attitude of the Existensil Press people who thought that the music was certainly not entertainment but a total driving revolutionary force that only a base mindless consumer could derive pleasure out of.

In all a good snapshot of an era that vanished way too soon and probably before many people even knew it existed in the first place. Which is too bad for us, but great for Ingham, a guy who I hope continues writing until he just possibly can't because we need him more than we need Joel Selvin or Robert Hillburn (are they even still around?) that's for sure!

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Let's skip the opening huzzah (you know by heart the schpiel about hapless kids saving pennies and sacrificing in other painful ways to put their opines to press) and start out this soiree with a fanzine that I tried like the dickens to latch onto back during my really depression-era wages days with nil luck. That fanzine was CONTEMPO CULTURE, and the only reason I wanted to pick up a copy of it was because of that plug inna pages of (now brace yourself!) THE VILLAGE VOICE during the days when Lester Bangs was cloistered in Austin Texas and contributing articles on the Thirteenth Floor Elevators and DNA to their pages. Unfortunately CONTEMPO CULTURE was not being sold in any of the Rough Trade or Systematic catalogs that I possessed and given that I wasn't exactly a guy who liked to send shekels through the mail unless it was like a bulk order (postage costs, y'know) it was like forget that 'un Chris. Or so I thought at the time.

Thanks to the miracle of internet I have obtained some of these CONTEMPO CULTUREs years after the fact, these two being amongst 'em (or at least the three that I do own and I might have even mentioned that one in these pages before!). Not that my life has improved the way it would had I been able to latch onto a copy of NIX ON PIX #1 or some of the NEW AGE/GROOVE ASSOCIATES that I do not have, but at least I have these within the realm of my paws and like, I have been sleeping better at night because of it, y'know...

These two are I guess typical of the 'zine's run. Not the standard rock fanzine (punk or otherwise) of the day, CONTEMPO CULTURE operates more as a deviant art (this being from the pre "deviant art" days when people who did things like this were just nutzo) rag that was put out by those fru-fru boho types you used to come across back in college during the seventies onward. (Locally there was a fanzine of this sort called 3-D ETHYL which earns my all time respect for featuring a very good NANCY article amidst the art cut ups.) Actually there is very little regarding music here, though the spirit and layouts that permeated the early-eighties under-the-underground scene of the day can be easily discerned.

Not only that but there's a pretty good sense of true nihilist concerns here what with the bizarro takes on everyday life (Barbie and Ken demonstrating birth control methods) and a piece on William Burroughs that doesn't read like some of the goo that has been written on him recently. Not to mention a smattering of recent record reviews and the like which sure do dredge up them memories. Hard to read and maybe infuriating, but always enough to make you wanna read more. And sure it was stuff like this that has led to the whole pouty youth rebellion of today where everything except well...certain things...are ripe for ripping, but at least back then these same kinda kidz sure knew how to do it right!
I'm always game for a good seventies-era rock 'n roll fanzine, as long as it ain't filled to the brim with loads of subpar sputum passing for mind-filled writing or hippie head musings about getting high on life 'n rot like that. That's why a rag like RECORDS really appealed to me, what with the typical mid-seventies fanzine-styled cover listing the droolsome contents along with those masterfully cheap xeroxed Rolling Stones single sleeves. Nice effort true, though how'n the heck is anybody who dunt know the inside story on this 'un gonna realize that RECORDS really ain't nothin' but an adzine featuring auction and set sale lists for records, tapes, fanzines etc. and nothing else!!!

No real articles here to speak of, the fanzine review section's nothin' but a list of what the writers just happ'd to get, and although it is great looking through those lists of then-affordable bootlegs and mid-sixties garage gems its like, where's the meat and potatoes anyway??? Nice letter section featuring notes from some of the bigwigs in the fanzine game, though I sure wonder why Phast Phreddie Patterson of BACK DOOR MAN fame dissed on onetime mag contributor and future Frontier Records head Lisa Fancher? Sheesh, you'd think there's be more solidarity in this unnerground than to have people acting all nice to you then stabbing you in the back once the momentum is with (or even against) you!
And speaking of the mid-seventies (I always seem to be), these Iggy Pop related fanzines (y'know, the ones that were done up long before boondock-locked suburban slobs such as I learned about 'em via the pages of ROCK SCENE) are really the best in pure addled reading if I do say so myself. Keeping this in mind you can bet that those IGGY POP FAN CLUB rags that were comin' outta both San Francisco and Germany are the kinda reads that really rankle my regions! Take this second issue of IGUANA put out by the San Francisco club...pure high energy bliss if I do say so myself. It doesn't just contain recent pix and the like as the IGUANA reviewed in the previous FANZINE ESOTERICA did but is brimming full with a whole batch of interesting Ig wanderings done up by the fans who put this thingie out! And man, were they guys who were just as anxious as everyone else regarding the METALLIC KO bootleg making its way to their door, not to mention the exact whereabouts of the man himself who was then spending time in an Insane Asylum where David Bowie would frequently smuggle in some cocaine to ease the tedium. The clippings are pretty rare because I can't even recall seeing most of 'em before and the ENERGY over-the-top punkified Ig raves that prove there was still enough interest in him at a time when the major forces that be had long written the guy off as just another suburban slob loser. It even features a snip of a missive (complete with an early Bowie bashing!) from ace fan Miriam Linna, who really must have done very little studying during her college kid days at Kent State University considering all of the time she had spent playing records and writing for fanzines way back when.

And whaddaya know...right after getting hold of the above I latch on to the second and final issue of HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE and boy is it the proverbial pip! Better'n even the debut, this artyfact from EUROPE'S ONLY IGGY POP FAN CLUB is all encapsulating and sucks you in even with its one-sided xeroxed pages its that wowzer-like! Lotsa people wrote in to praise the mag so not only do you get to read the Iggified opinions of the likes of Phast Phreddie Patterson and D.D. Faye of BACK DOOR MAN fame and Jymn Parrett, Dee Daack and Evan Jones from DENIM DELINQUENT but see pix of 'em as well!

True you prob'ly've already seen all the Stooge snaps before, but the spirit and fan thrills this one exudes can light up the skies for miles and you too will drool to the photos of Metchild (Iggy's #1 fan!) in various stages of undress even if she coulda used the Mark Eden Course! Too bad this was the last could have really developed into a real top read had the club developed into something HUMONGOUS once Iggy's solo career got into gear and the guy's mug was poppin' up all over the place!

 HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE's Harald Inhulsen midt Jonh Ingham
White we're still inna seventies here's a good discovery that's probably worth your effort to search out. 3rd WAVE was one of those fanzines that really exemplified the days back when new wave wasn't quite the dirty word it would become within a relatively short period of time, and this debut issue just goes to remind ya of just why this breed of rock was so important to more'n just a few cloistered kids who were probably picked on even by the principal. Slapping Stiv Bators and Johnny Blitz of the Dead Boys onna cover was a good move, and the interview to be found therein is equally boffo. (Cheetah Chrome says he wrote "Ain't It Fun" on January 19th or 20th of 1973 after the Stooges played Cleveland a few days earlier---prob'ly a typo) Also good were the record and live reviews, the Robert Gordon interview even if he does come off kinda detached not to mention the gab with the Fleshtones who back then seemed like one of the better enigmas to come outta the New York scene. Gotta give this one five stars if only for the David Johansen/Johnny Thunders centerpiece poster which can be neatly removed from the mag and placed smack dab in the middle of your fart encrusted bedroom wall.
 I always got the impression that while there were many rock fanzines out there in the seventies that were getting their just dues via reviews in BOMP and COWABUNGA there were many more that just didn't hit the spotlight like perhaps they shoulda. Maybe they were just too low budget and too low circulation to make a dent anywhere. And somehow I get the impression that some of these fanzines were rather informative despite their being quite outta the loop and distributed to a few fans and nobody else but!

I should dismiss THE DISTRICT DIARY on the mere basis of its subtitle "The People's Paper" (whenever I would see something from the seventies with the word "people" in it I knew I was in for a politically pious experience!) but it comes off more like a teenage rock rag than an imitation VILLAGE VOICE no matter how you look at it! Edited by a Lee Lumsden, this Seattle-area spirit duplicated job  really does capture the grade school newspaper feeling even if I doubt most sixth-graders would be as hip as these kids. The staff of THE DIARY go for the likes of Lou Reed, the Dolls, Kiss, Iggy and much more and even if they are tend to make more'n a few boo-boos (like their feature story on streaking, a fad that was no good unless it was being done by nice looking females) you can't fault 'em for sticking up for Elton John and raving on about THE WAY WE WERE. Fanzine allusion of the year---when contributor Ben Rabinowitz mentions that if you're aware of Lou, the Dolls and Iggy you should be aware of Queen, and that's no lie!
The later issues of Mick Mercer's PANACHE don't strike me as anything special outside of the entire English "post-punk" cadre of Rough Trade-styled bands and goth wannabes, but the earliest ones really do have that hot fanzine style that I liked in a number of contemporary rags from THE NEXT BIG THING on, complete with that hefty Stooges worship and love of everything that was new and exciting in a rock world that seemed to ignore the fresh and innovative in favor of big biz cocaine karma and general drop dead (literally!) musical acts. This third issue is no exception, what with the cover feature on Ultravox and loads of news on those old "save the world bands" that seemed so new and innovative in the mid-seventies only to become lost in the shuffle once we clocked into the snoozeville eighties. Hand printed (just like NBT!) and filled with that talking to you 'stead of AT you attitude, this one-sided print job rag might seem like just another crudzine to some but it had a whole load of that high energy and spunk to it that really reminds me of what it meant to be a suburban slob crawling through flea market stacks to find that elusive Seeds album I never ever could find. Lotsa non-p-rock mentions in the bootleg and record review section too making PANACHE the English answer to...TB SHEETS???
THIRD RAIL #3, being from the mid-eighties and all, really ain't from a period in fanzinedom that cozies up to me and vicey versey. After all this was during the mid-eighties when for all practical purposes the rock scene was tiresomely dreadful on the "mainstream" front, and the underground from which rock fandom seemed to gravitate towards was either big on hardcore punk or new wave unto gnu wave as Bill Shute so acrimoniously put it. So why did I snatch THIRD RAIL up you say??? Not only because the writing is pretty good considering the time, and not only because the acts reviewed from Syd Barrett to the Mothers of Invention are the kinda things I still like to read even if on a retrospective level, but because Bill Shute himself actually contributed an entire "Inner Mystique" page and I really can't get enough of Bill's writings, especially these earlier forays into print. Hey Bill, if you're reading this there's one thing I'd like to know, what was the free LP given away and who won it???
Here's one that will really throw you for a loop-de-loop. Remember TEENAGE NEWS, the fanzine from Montreal Quebec what began in 1975 as a New York Dolls-oriented fan mag yet soon opened its doors to other favorites such as the Flamin' Groovies and later the whole English (and local---meaning Canada) punk rock contingent? I sure do, but then again for the life of me I don't remember this other TEENAGE NEWS from early-eighties Hamilton Ontario which featured the same style of rock 'n roll worship only with about eight years of deadweight dragging things down. I mean, in 1975 things like the Dolls and Stooges and those groups playing in their "tradition" sure seemed exciting and life-reaffirming. By 1983 it was about as easy to get excited over Boy George as it would be getting excited over nude pictures of Totie Fields, and not post-mortem you necrosickies out there!

This "new" TEENAGE NEWS ain't bad even though such championed groups as Rank and Fire weren't exactly anything that captured my spirit of rockism. Reminds me a lot of THE MOLE which would figure since the long gone Bruce Mowat contributed to it. Mat Mania also contributed one of those wrestling articles done up back when wrestling was still fun Saturday afternoon tee-vee viewing. And like the old TEENAGE NEWS they even got part two of a Flamin' Groovies history, nothing we don't know already but gee is the heart-warming THOUGHT just baked into its eternal being!

Like just about any fanzine of worth there is loads to peruse and digest here. But sheesh, you think the guys who did this 'un woulda done some research into their name because this coulda resulted in a lawsuit. And those fanzine publishers sure needed to count each and every penny they got into their mitts now, right?
And to close this post out comes this li'l surprise. I never heard of OUTLET, this cheap l'il photocopied fanzine before and when I discovered that it lasted a good number of issues before capitulating I was surprised! I mean, I thought I was the only stubborn soul onna fanzine scene willing to waste money and time outta pure spite if anything! But hey, this mag was a cool effort, part funtime fanzine rah rah and part collectors mag with articles on Stiff Records, Ruben Guevara of Ruben and the Jets fame regarding his Bicentennial single on Rhino, some Glaswegian gang called the Exiles and hey, how can you fault a rag that puts the DOWNLINERS SECT on the cover of their first issue??? The writing is good enough in that late-seventies hipper writers on the English Weaklies scene style, and this debut's got me slobbering for more and more issues which are available out there, albeit at pretty dicey priceys! So it's either save the skekels or do some hard-time begging if I wanna read any more of these in my lifetime!
Before I go, a big 'n happy SEVENTIETH birthday to none other'n Roky Erickson as well as a big thirty-first (I think!) birthday greetings to Eric Shute who doesn't read this blog anyway  but I'll betcha daddy'll tell 'im.