Saturday, June 08, 2019

How time flies! This past Wednesday and Thursday marked the 45th anniversary of the Fast/Suicide double header at CBGB, a show that I sure wish I woulda been able to see had I only known about the existence of the Fast or Suicide and had been old enough to attend or had been living in the area for that matter.
I know y'all have tuned in to read my own personal thoughts regarding the recent passing of none other than Roger Kynard "Roky" Erickson a week ago Friday.  I mean, you've read the rest so why not read the best!
But rilly, what can one say about the man who pretty much EPITOMIZED the whole idea of the damaged sixties rock 'n roller a whole more than fellow fallen compatriots Sky Saxon, Syd Barrett, Wild Man Fischer and Steve Took, the acid casualty who managed to become a true cult icon during an era when the lysergic stuff was frying more'n just scrambled eggs. At least there were more'n just a few kiddies were up and about buying those legendary International Artists albums during rock's musical epiphany 66-68 (ignore the naysayers who think it was all over by '67, and ignore the offal that made those people believe it was dead and gone at this point), and the seventies seemed to prove Roky and the Thirteenth Floor Elevators' everlasting imprint on TRUE rock 'n roll whether it be via Television or DMZ and Pere Ubu during their "Cloud 149" days (well, that was more Seeds-y). And we better not forget the "garage band revivalists" who, like the "Velvet Underground revivalists", the "Stooges revivalists" and way too many bright if misguided fans, captured the sound, style and maybe even some swagger in the process but never did get to the heart of it, the bared-wire intensity, the deep cut to the quick feeling that seemed way more meaningful to my suburban slob lifestyle than the "Kumbaya" crap they tried pushin' on ya in school ever did.

Still can remember the sonic shiver that hit me the first time I listened to "You're Gonna Miss Me"...that was spring 1978 (hadda wait for NUGGETS to hit the cutout bin depression-era waged kid that I was and spiritually will remain) and even then I knew it was the sole link between everything good that happened in the sixties and everything good that was happening at that time. Didn't have the brains to figure in the equally cool Seeds or Remains for some reason, but like those NUGGETS inclusions the Elevators had me craving more music like this which really seeped into my whole suburban slob sense of value the same way reruns and junk food did. And it was just as good for the soul as it was for the ears too.

Roky's life saga would have made an interesting flick given that the late-sixties filmatic sense was firmly in place. By the way, wasn't there a proposal or even a script goin' round in the eighties about some six-oh revival kiddies who hitch up with a faded former rock star who was a little too affected by demos past and present? Sorta like PERFORMANCE with a deep fried acid twist. I get the feeling this neo-Roky would never live up to the original thing but frankly, what can??? Considering what a dump H-wood has become I'm sure glad that such a film hasn't and hopefully will not be made, and considering how "The Industry" has totally forgotten Roky (unless ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY did mention his passing---you tell me!) maybe it's the best for all involved that he passed on in such relative obscurity while far lesser talents have gained all the riches and notoriety the likes of Roky shoulda been due for ages.

And another huge favorite dies and we're all gettin' older anyway, and as that feral past of primal sonic addiction died out as the new aura of slick and antiseptic sound permeates the landscape all I figure is---well, at least I caught some of this GLORIOUS UNIVERSE when it was up and alive.

YOU got any good Roky stories you'd like to share with us????

(Hey, what do you think of the mock moom pitcher poster repro'd above anyway? Thais originally appeared in the massive Roky Erickson piece [including an interview] which appeared in the twentieth issue of my oft-abused and ignored fanzine BLACK TO COMM the people pictured in that ad are are [top to bottom] John Battles, the man who put this piece together and deserves ALL the praise for it, me as a pre-teen Alfred E. Neuman fan, and Bill Shute doing his best to look like all of the Elevators on the back cover of EASTER EVERYWHERE at once. I believe I have a few of these issues still available, and if you're really that interested well, howzbout getting in touch and you know how!)
Hope you like these apples---not a rotten one inna bunch even tho a few might be better used for apple butter. Thanks to Billy, Paul and Feeding Tube for their efforts in this project.

Idea Fire Company-THE LIGHT THAT NEVER CEASES TO FAIL LP (Feeding Tube Records)

When I first plunked the needle on this thing I thought this sounded like an old Cecil Taylor album that just couldn't get started. Good thing I kept on listening because this Idea Fire Company ensemble have put out a rather different than the usual pus sorta recording that will remind you a lotta good things that made up your youthful musical mindset and expanded parameters the right and PROPER way. Closer to the seventies English minimalist sound (this would have made a better Obscure Records release than the Harold Budd PAVILION OF DREAMS one). In some ways this kinda comes off like a late-forties John Cage piano concert with Ornette Coleman sitting in. Well, it does if you USE YOUR IMAGINATION!
Various Artists-LE ROCK D'ICI A L' OLYMPIA LP (EMI Pathe, France)

This live platter featuring the hotter under-the-underground kinda groups of late-seventies France ain't the kinda effort you woulda expected had Skydog were given the honors. But it is---ok I guess. Hearing Marie et les Garcons romping through a couple disco hits (Village People and Amanda Lear if you care) ain't as snat as listening to 'em do their various "Sister Ray" redos, but it'll keep for now. Electric Callas' take of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" ain't the kinda things that punk rock dreams are made of either. But overall this is a fairly decent representation of just what was goin' on in France during the same time and space it seemed as if any kid with a head twisted on tight enough knew what the future of rock 'n roll was SUPPOSED to be, and it sure as shootin' wasn't the kinda drek the evil powers were tryin' to push on ya THAT'S a fact!
Taste of Blues-SCHZOFRENIA CD-r burn (originally on Ssr Records, Sweden)

There was a lotta good stuff comin' outta Scandanavia (and Finland!) during the late-sixties as well as a buncha goop (how Lester Bangs could give Tasavallan Presidenti a good review is beyond me!) but I gotta say this particular platter straddles the spheres. Some of it has an engaging jazz rock base with repeato-riff bass guitar and some fairly hot playing while others seem to come close to the standard Blood Sweat and Tears eclecticism doodle bag complete with the usual heavy testicle'd singer kinda vocals that were so in vogue then. You experience admiration to snoozeville track to track and stanza to stanza for that matter, and when it's all over it's sure hard to make up your mind whether or not this is a pretty raving outta-nowhere effort or another failed attempt at late-sixties zeitgeist. Wonder what Bangs woulda thought.
BILLY STRANGE PLAYS THE HITS CD-r burn (originally on GNP Crescendo Records)

I know that GNP hadda bank on more than the Seeds and Challengers, but I don't think this particular piece of guitar instrumental music was exactly the way to go. I gotta wonder if there even was an audience for Billy Strange's cheesedog takes on the latest biggies, but even if they were cheesedogs they do pack some sorta fun kick the same way those Mustangs records where they took on the Beatles did. I'll betcha that if it were 1971 and I found this is a pile of platters at some relative's place I'd beg for 'em to give me it until I was black and blue in the face...from the beating I got for being such a pest, that is!
AFRTS Mystery Theater Presents CARY GRANT IN "ON A COUNTRY ROAD" CD-r burn

More good ol' tymey radio here from AFRTS. From SUSPENSE we get Cary Grant as a hubby who, with his wife, is stranded on a Long Island road during the night in a thunderstorm while some crazy lady's on the loose chopping some heads off nearby. Already shaken with fear, the couple are even more terrified when some hysterical gal fitting the description begs to enter their vehicle and...yeah, this one's telegraphed to all heck but it's still worth the time to listen to. After that "GI Jill" spins forties Big Band records for lonely GI's to munch their MRE's to and, unlike some of these Armed Forces programs that I've heard it's not exactly time to defect...yet.
U.K. Subs-COMPLETE PUNK SINGLES COLLECTIONS 2-CD-r burn set (originally on Anagram Records)

I dunno why too many "enlightened" types pour wrath upon the Subs...these tracks actually stick closer to the ideal of what rock 'n roll used to be (and perhaps shall remain) with hefty guitar playing, strangulated vocals and an overall appeal that is reminiscent not only of the early English punk types but the Dolls and Stooges before 'em. Two solid platters of high-spirited, engaging music that certainly beats the whole stomach-upsetting socially conscious and relevant hippie music we've been hearing from way too many supposed punk rock anarchists these past thirtysome years! And the weirdest thing about it is, I've been rather unimpressed if not downright dismissive of these guys for quite some time!
The Lurkers GLM-THE FUTURE'S CALLING CD-r burn (orignally on Drumming Monkey Records)

Smooth and energetic enough punk rock of the late-seventies English variety, but when I'm in the mood for a Stooges or Mahogany Brain this type of music just doesn't cut the mustard, cheese or jugular for that matter. Oddly enough the more-loathed UK Subs did a better job of getting me into their "universe". For serious rock musique sophsicados only.
Various Artists-HARMONICA WITCHDOCTOR TWIST CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Personally I really don't give a flyin' fanabla about any of the Alvin and the Chipmunks revivals from the eighties on, finding only the original worthy of my time and attention. So these early David Seville sides don't sound as cornballus as they most certainly were (and yeah, they were like a good encapsulation of hip corniness). Chuck Slaughter's Johnny Cash impression was impressive while Ray Bryant's "Shake a Lady" just reminded me of the lack of ladies there are to shake these days! The Timothy Leary track only makes me wish the Feds had caught him a whole lot earlier, and as for Les Fantomes well, maybe now you'll believe me when I tell you that French rock wasn't the terrible racket too many Francophobes have led you to believe o'er the year! Overall more educational and enlightening than COVER TO COVER WITH JOHN ROBBINS ever was!
Sixty-million (maybe that should read fifty-million!) rock fans can be wrong! After all, there's gotta be at least that many true rock 'n rollers on this planet who haven't read BLACK TO COMM, and judging from the sick state that music's in maybe they oughta shoulda! Hey, all I can hope is that someone out there will make that number fifty million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety nine (maybe that should read forty-nine million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine!), and is asking that really too much?


MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Three things:

1. Find and review the Gulcher release by Bill McCarter/Stalingrad Symphony. It is everything you want in a record, trust me. Cheap, too. Not sure why this got no attention. A tiny excerpt from it was on that Gulcher Xmas thing you reviewed, but this thing needs attention shined on it all by itself.

2. Make Feeding Tube send you the just-out Trinary System LP. Roger Miller's latest.

3. You've been easing up on the Sieg Heil stuff lately. Are you dying?

Christopher Stigliano said...

Shows how much you know! I'm big on "Viva Le Muerte!"

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Oh, yeah, I remember how much you liked Terrapin Station.

Christopher Stigliano said...

You know what I'm talking about, silly!

Anonymous said...

Roky? A degenerate.