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Friday, 30 April 2010

Batusis tour. Latest news

Just received this email.

"Dear TicketWeb customer,

We regret to inform you that the Batusis event at O2 ABC, Glasgow, on 3 May 2010 has been postponed until further notice.

Please keep hold of your tickets as they will be valid for the rescheduled date. We will contact you again when the new date has been announced."

So not canceled as thought, but postponed.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Ig-night.

No fun? Not likely.

Many, many moons ago I witnessed the mighty Iggy Pop pull off an electrifying gig on the Cold Metal tour.
It was the sort of show where people say “you had to be there” and I was. It’s went down in history as the show mentioned in the Irvine Welsh novel “Trainspotting”, but no matter how much Welsh loves Iggy he fell far short of capturing just how wild the show really was.
It's most definitely a top ten gig for me, but strangely enough although he has toured since I have never actually been to see him again.
So it’s time to rectify that this Sunday when I catch him with the Stooges playing Raw Power in its entirety.
I ask you. Does it get any better than that?
The answer is actually yes it does, because in support are New York legends Suicide who are going to be doing their debut live for the masses.

I can feel it in my blood that this show is going to fuckin’ rock big stylee.

The excitement is starting to build already.
I'm blasting out some Stooges right now while I wait for a show to upload for you guys.
Tomorrow is when it will really register though as that’s the day before we start our journey down south.
My day of preparation.
In my head I’ve already got it planned out. Stooges for breakfast, Stooges for lunch, Stooges for dinner, Stooges all motherfuckin’ day maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

It’s just crashed in that I haven’t been this excited about a gig in a long time. I think I’ll keep my fingers crossed in case I bloody jinx it.

From my own collection I dug deep and found this for all you Stooges fans.
Years ago I had worn out my vinyl copy of Raw Power and as this was way before CDs my only option was to buy it new, or go out and score a second hand copy that was in a better condition that my own. So that's what I did. Then when I got home I found that the previous owner had cut out and sellotaped the original review of the album into the inner sleeve. Result.

RAW POWER
In 1972, the Stooges were near the point of collapse when David Bowie's management team, MainMan, took a chance on the band at Bowie's behest. By this point, guitarist Ron Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander had been edged out of the picture, and James Williamson had signed on as Iggy's new guitar mangler; Asheton rejoined the band shortly before recording commenced on Raw Power, but was forced to play second fiddle to Williamson as bassist. By most accounts, tensions were high during the recording of Raw Power, and the album sounds like the work of a band on its last legs -- though rather than grinding to a halt, Iggy & the Stooges appeared ready to explode like an ammunition dump. From a technical standpoint, Williamson was a more gifted guitar player than Asheton (not that that was ever the point), but his sheets of metallic fuzz were still more basic (and punishing) than what anyone was used to in 1973, while Ron Asheton played his bass like a weapon of revenge, and his brother Scott Asheton remained a powerhouse behind the drums. But the most remarkable change came from the singer; Raw Power revealed Iggy as a howling, smirking, lunatic genius. Whether quietly brooding ("Gimme Danger") or inviting the apocalypse ("Search and Destroy"), Iggy had never sounded quite so focused as he did here, and his lyrics displayed an intensity that was more than a bit disquieting. In many ways, almost all Raw Power has in common with the two Stooges albums that preceded it is its primal sound, but while the Stooges once sounded like the wildest (and weirdest) gang in town, Raw Power found them heavily armed and ready to destroy the world -- that is, if they didn't destroy themselves first. ~ Mark Deming, All Music Guide

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Monday, 26 April 2010

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Here's something for that knee jerk problem you have.

After posting about the attitude towards Soul Asylum from certain quarters I got to thinking about snobbery in music. I would consider myself first and foremost a music fan. The genres that people claim to be into are handy descriptive terms, but little more than that to me.
I can understand young men and women nailing their flags to a genre, but with maturity I would expect that their tastes would broaden and by the time they were in their early thirties they would be enjoying music from a far wider palette.
Personally I find no shame in stating loud and proud that I like a song. To do so doesn’t equate to me loving everything that the artist or band releases, but I may like a certain song and I don’t have a problem saying so.
So far the Pussycat Dolls have released a lot of crap in my opinion, but if their next single was to my taste I wouldn’t deny it just because they’re manufactured girl band toss. A good tune is a good tune regardless of who it is releasing it.
So based on my attitude to music I thought I would up a couple of songs for you to listen to without saying who it is. The first has more than a hint of the Jam in it’s chorus with the rest being a rip off of The Libertines, while the second is treading the same path as say the Arctic Monkeys who were following on from the Fall and John Cooper Clarke in my opinion. I like both songs and I think that without the name of the band being known some people will be honest enough to say that they do to.
Give them a go and listen with fresh ears and tell me what you think.
Link in comments.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Free Vulture Club album

The guys over at the Vulture Club have very kindly decided to offer up their debut album of rock influenced psychobilly for the bargain price of nothing at all.
You can grab it here. http://vultureclub.net/
I remember when it came out that it was a well crafted blast of freshness to the frequently stale psycho scene. So if you like your rock and roll coming at you hard and heavy then these Fins are the guys that will provide you with all you need.
Their new album is about to be released to. So start salting away the pennies, or dimes

Friday, 23 April 2010

Get on the Runaway Train

Fame is the kiss of death for certain bands isn‘t it?
They struggle away looking to get their music out to as wide an audience as possible, and yet when they do manage to do this their so called loyal fan base abandon them in droves.
Initially this exodus isn’t that obvious as the newly found fans mask the departure of the people who were originally raving about them.
It‘s only when they move on to pastures new to worship at the feet of the next big thing that the abandonment by the original fans becomes obvious, and then this leaves the band in the unenviable position of thinking “what the fuck just happened there“.
I don’t really understand this attitude from the so called fans though.
A good band is a good band regardless of the level of fame. A band in point is Soul Asylum.
Where they any different when they were playing club sized venues to the band that played the stadiums and had top ten hits?
The answer is no, of course they weren’t.
They were just doing what they did best, and when six albums in they hit on Grave Dancers Union they were in the right place at the right time to maximise on it. What’s wrong with that?
So I’m at a bit of a loss as to why the success was begrudged. Was there a bit of jealousy and a reluctance to share a favourite underground band with the nation? Maybe a bit of snobbery?
In their case wasn’t it just a case of more people actually coming around to the hardcore fans way of thinking? Isn’t that something to be celebrated rather than used as a reason to drop the band like the proverbial hot potato.
Stupid is as stupid does I guess.
So what brought this on?
Well I popped over to always excellent “Music Ruined My Life” blog this afternoon and there was a feature on Soul Asylum that struck a chord and got me thinking.
So the result was that I got off my high horse and upped this rather splendid bootleg of the band, and I challenge anyone based on this to say that the bands success had a detrimental affect on their talent. This is Pirner and co at the height if their fleeting brush with fame in venues across the US in 1982 and there’s not a duff track on it. Highlights for me are the two covers. One of Sexual Healing and the other a duet with Lulu, yes I said Lulu, on To Sir With Love.
Link in comments

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Stay Gones

Third time lucky. Three interviews in one day. I ask you? Whose the daddy?

This time we have Scotland's latest roots punk band on the scene and they have all the right ingredients to be the best.
I give you........The Stay Gones

The Stay Gones.

El Diablo - So what’s the story with The Stay Gones? A serendipitous mutual meeting of minds over a pint, or was the idea already in the head of one of the band and it was just a matter of finding some like minded people to flesh it out?

Michael -Well Raph and me were in The Terrors and share pretty similar tastes in music, so when it looked like The Terrors were coming to an end we decided we'd like to carry on together, but do something different. So it all came from that really. Raph already knew Stu and Stu knew Jas and by chance it turned out that we had a full band out of nowhere really.
Raph - Yeah. I met Stu a while back at an “off with their heads” show in Edinburgh and just because I thought he looked like a nice guy and there weren't many people in the room besides me and Michael I introduced myself and got talking to him. From that chance meeting I took his number and we organised a jam, which went horrendously. I’d had to argue my way out of hospital after having an epileptic fit to get to the practice studios and wasn't on top form but the connection was made.
Then, like Michael says, The Terrors were looking to take a break and I was at the Propagandhi gig in Edinburgh, and spotted Stu at the merch table. We talked about a bunch of stuff and I said that Michael and me wanted to do a gruff/org type project. It was then that he mentioned that he'd been playing with a drummer called Jas and we realised that potentially a full band was in place made up of friends and friends of friends. So we met up on a cold January evening and, attempted a “none more black” cover, and failed miserably. Then I showed them a couple of songs that I'd written and we worked on them together and it sounded okay. So we started fresh with them, went into the studio, recorded them, booked some shows and here we are.

ElD - It’s a real departure in sound from what you were doing in The Terrors isn‘t it? There’s a roots attitude to it. Basic working class rock music that falls between The Briggs and The Gaslight Anthem. What was it that influenced you to make this move from what you were doing then to what you are doing now?

Michael - Well this kind of music is our really our main passion and our common ground. We like all kinds of punk rock, but when it comes down to it this is a lot more natural for us to play. I guess we didn't really have a specific plan of what to sound like though.
It’s like Raph said, he had these acoustic songs and when we played them together this is what we got, and we're pretty happy with that.
Raph - Yeah, it was when I was playing drums with The Terrors that Michael heard me play my acoustic songs a couple of times. Most I’d started writing last year, and from that we had talked about doing something more in the vein of Gaslight Anthem/Hot Water Music/Leatherface. There’s something about the songs of melodic punk rock bands such as The Gaslight Anthem that seems so real to me. Of course, it's the lyrics too, but the music is passionate. You can really feel something special when a band means every word that they sing and every note that they play, and I suppose that's what we wanted to do as well. No pretence, just honest, punk rock music.

ElD - The songs do have an American feel to them. Would that be a fair comment? Did you ever consider trying to do the same thing, but with a more localized approach. Like blatantly keeping the Scottish accents to the fore instead of softening them?
Michael - I think that's a fair comment, we listen to a lot of American music but if it sounds American then it's not on purpose, as I said we're just playing what comes naturally. Vocals wise, we're not all from Central Scotland. Raph's from Cambridge originally and Stu's from up north, so we're not even going to go there with all the accents.
Raph - Hah! I have 5 mansions with many servants and a Porsche. Only joking! Although I do come from Cambridge, but on a serious note, we are definitely influenced heavily by a lot of American bands so it is a fair comment. Mostly I find that a singer's voice differs to their talking voice, and I don't think that's putting on an accent or pretending to be American. It‘s just singing in the way you feel comfortable singing. There are melodic punk bands in the UK who use that localized approach though. The cutups, 7 day conspiracy, for example, who are both great bands and the accent-on-sleeve thing works really well for them. It wasn't something we really thought about and in the end I guess accents don't really matter. Though it really shows (in a negative way) when a vocalist is trying to be something that he/she is not.

ElD - As you are all residing in different places how difficult is it writing material, practicing and getting out to do gigs? What’s the reality of being in The Stay Gones like in comparison to other bands you have been in?
Raph - Well actually we all live in Edinburgh apart from Michael who lives in Glasgow and we mostly practice once a week, Michaels super dedicated and travels through on the train. Myself and Stu tend to bring songs/ideas to practice then we all learn and develop them at banana row which is our regular rehearsal space. So in short, no, I wouldn't say it's difficult. I think it keeps me sane if anything, and gives going to work a purpose (the purpose being so we can afford to practice/record/gig etc). I think the main difference between the Stay Gones compared to say The Terrors, is that this is a more organic process. Bands I've been in before have maybe pushed too hard for a specific sound, and that can be quite restricting, especially when people have differing tastes. With the Stay Gones we just kind of walked into a room together with 2 or 3 songs and didn’t try and create an image or a genre, just music. We had some influences in mind but it just fell into place and that's my favourite thing about this band, musically there's room for so much. It's exciting to say the least.
Michael - I enjoy going through to Edinburgh, it's a nice city.
We're still at the stage where going to practice is something to look forward to as all the songs are still new to us and we're always working on new stuff. Hopefully it'll stay like that.
Gig wise, it seems to be working in our favour as well. So far as we've got a few gigs lined up in both Glasgow and Edinburgh

ElD - So how many songs have you got recorded at the moment and how close are you to releasing an album?
Michael - So far we've only recorded the 3 songs that are on the MySpace page, but we plan on recording more soon. We don't have a specific date in mind for an album, just kind of doing things as they happen.
I've been in bands in the past where we have tried to do too much in too short a space of time, and the songs end up not sounding as good as they could do. So we're trying not to rush this too much.
At the same time though, we are wanting to push forward as much as possible, just at a natural pace. So yeah, hopefully be recording more in the next few months.
Rap - Yeah, We definitely don't want to rush things too much. Firstly for the reasons that Michael said, and also because it'd be cool to not have any "filler" tracks on the album and only choose the songs we feel completely happy with. Those are how the best albums get done. The kind of album when you get to the final track and just want to listen to the whole damn thing again! Our set is only about 7-8 songs at the minute but we're hopefully gonna get some new stuff done at the next practice.

ElD - It sounds as if you guys are all on the same page about the band. I don’t get the sense that you are all pulling in different directions. Is everything just strangely falling in place without any real hassles?
Raph - Yeah you pretty much hit the nail on the head there man. A couple of times I brought songs in and we tried them but they didn't really work. They just sounded like acoustic songs and didn't really convert very well. "Falling into place" is maybe an exaggeration though. We are definitely all on the same page, but writing and arranging good songs always takes hard work. There's been plenty of songs that I've written and then scrapped because I didn't think they were good enough for the band to play. We're proud of the stuff we've written and recorded so far and I'd like it to stay that way. I've recorded with other bands and every recording/song has had a cringe moment or two. I think it's different this time though.
Michael - Yeah, so far no problems, as I think I said earlier we're all just kind of playing what we want to play without any real thought on how we think it should sound, which seems to be working so far.

ElD - What’s the song writing process for the band. Is it Raph writes a song, plays it to the band and then you break it down and build it up again with everyone throwing in their take on it.
Michael - Yeah that's pretty much what's happening right now. Most of the songs (Including the 3 online) are songs that Raph did acoustic. We've just kind of added to them and worked around that basic structure.
We do have one song that Stu wrote and he does the main vocals on to and hopefully we will continue to do more.
Raph - Well mostly so far I've been writing songs with a basic structure, then we've expanded on them together, and Stu does main vocals on one song and a verse on another. I never try and tell the others how exactly to play the song and that's how the best ideas come out and everyone adds cool bits of detail which give the songs a great deal more depth. Gang vocals and harmonies are always fun and I feel are an important part of our sound.

ElD - How have you been going down live. Are you still at the stage where you know everyone coming to see you, or are you starting to notice faces turning up that you don’t know?
Michael - Well we've only played a few shows so far. Seems to be going down pretty well I guess. I've definitely played worse gigs that's for sure. Whether anyone comes back to see us again, we'll need to wait and see.
Raph - Well it's true that some of our friends have come to watch us play and show some support for the first few shows. We played our first show with The Rabble in Edinburgh, so there were plenty of people there who wouldn't normally see us play, and we also played with The Bomb just recently. People seemed to enjoy our music, despite the fact that we are still not as tight as we would like live so that's really encouraging. It's early days for us to be developing our own dedicated fanbase as such but only time will tell!

ElD - If everything went exactly they way you all wanted it to go then what would the future hold?
Michael - From the rest of the interview you can probably gather we don't have a great plan, we're happy to see what happens. Hopefully get some more songs recorded and get a proper UK tour organized. I'd really like to get to Europe at some point, and if we could play The Fest in Florida sometime I could die happy.
Raph- I think I'd just like to keep this band going for many years to come. Get a few albums out, maybe a couple of splits, a vinyl or 2. Who knows what's possible? Touring wise I'd love to get out to Europe or even the states but that's a long way off. I'm with Michael on the subject of the Gainesville Fest too. That would be a dream come true. Though we've just been confirmed as support for Leatherface in June and that is kind of a dream come true in itself for us. Playing with a band who has influenced us so much as musicians and as people will be an amazing experience.

ElD - and how are you going to achieve that?
Raph - Just gonna keep on keepin on!
Michael - ....and by rocking out, haha

Three tracks here from the band for your listening pleasure, but do me a favour. If you grab them then jump over to their myspace and show some appreciation.

http://rapidshare.com/files/378391403/The_Stay_Gones.rar

www.myspace.com/thestaygones

Darth Elvis

Two interviews in the one day. You lucky buggers.

ElDiablo - I was looking at some of your tour dates and a lot of the off planet ones are in what most people would describe as rough sectors. What’s the worst planet you have played on and what was so bad about it?
Darth Elvis - Well you know baby when you play the Outer Rim you take your life in your own hands. We did a show on Mandalore and were lucky to leave in one piece. Our bass player at the time was a Twi'lek called Wormy and he bad mouthed a bounty hunter and found himself at the wrong end of a blaster. Lucky for us the Bounty Hunter played bass and has played with the band ever since.
Word of advice don't mess with our bass player!
Our next show is in The Moorings Bar in a little place called Aberdeen, Viva Mos Eisley. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. You must be cautious!

ElDiablo - Is it true that in your quest to take care of business in every corner of the galaxy that you have managed to get down and dirty with the females of just about every species there is?
Darth Elvis - Does an Ewok shit in the woods? The Dark King has lit his sabre in all manners of ladies, twi'leks (including Wormy's lady), Jedi, royalty You heard of Princess Leia? Well let me tell you, she ain't no princess!
I draw the line at wookies and anything with fur though!

ElDiablo - Why did you turn away from the dark side and embrace rock’n’roll.
Darth Elvis - It's the other way round man. When I first became famous in the 50’s and 60’s people said what I was doing with Gospel music was blasphemous. I took Gospel music and created rock n roll, people said it was the devil’s music. I guess those people were right to a degree, the music is evil. On August 16th 1977, I turned to the dark side of the force. I had Priscilla disintegrated, I found her lack of faith disturbing. I’m my own man now and I’ve come back to finish what I started.

ElDiablo - Can you tell us what happened that night on Dervwat when some Sith turned up at a show with forty storm troopers and were never heard of again?
Darth Elvis - God dang groupies follow us everywhere man. Sometimes these guys just disappear. If someone doubts the awesome power of the Dark King you know the King is going to drop his mic and force lighting those fools. Don't get me started on what I did to that Jar Jar Binks!

ElDiablo - There was a little problem with a paternity case a few years ago wasn‘t there?
Someone called Luke came out of the woodwork claiming to be your son. I don’t know if you were aware of this, but recently he’s been on Jerry Springer in the US and Jeremy Kyle here in the UK bad mouthing you as an absentee father. I know this will sound outrageous, but he even claims you cut his hand off. Would you be interested in doing a DNA test and putting this to rest once and for all?
Darth Elvis - If every farmboy in the galaxy got child support from the Dark King, I'd have to sell my Star Destroyer and the Grace Star!
If that bowl headed little excuse for a Jedi wants a paternity test, let him look me up and he'll see how difficult it is to wipe his ass with no hands!

ElDiablo - It looks like you’ve swapped one type of galaxy domination for another sort. What’s the more rewarding of the two. Legendary despot or legendary king of rock’n’roll?
Basically I guess what I want to know is do you miss anything about the old days?
Darth Elvis - The only thing I miss about the old days is my waistline! Hot dang kid, you gotta understand the power of the dark side! If someone overcooks your Tauntaun burger you force choke them! If someone dares to jump the dinner line on the Death Star you force throw them through a window!
It's easy to be me! The ladies love me and everyone else fears me! To get onstage baby as The Dark King and do what I do best, there isn't a feeling that comes close. I guess the biggest difference between my stage show then and now is I create my own pyrotechnics!
Do I miss the old days? No, not one god dang bit!

ElDiablo - You’re stepping down from the stadiums to do this bar gig in Aberdeen. Do you feel you need to get a bit closer, a bit more intimate with your audience. Were you losing the connection a bit when you went galaxy wide. I mean a bar with a couple of hundred humans in it is a far cry from the last tour where a date was beamed across the whole galaxy and was watched by over 67,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 sentient beings?
Darth Elvis - Even the Dark King has favours to repay. I promised Fudge the Hutt that I would return with the Tattoine Trio for a show after they supplied the Bounty Hunter to disintegrate Priscilla. The Hutt's are cashing in big time and the show will be on pay per view beamed across the Galaxy.
The Dark King is the outright winner as I get all the merchandise sales from the show and off the back of the broadcast. Foolish Hutt's!

ElDiablo - I was flicking through the inter-stellar book of records and I see that your “Live at Mos Eisley” album is the top selling album ever and it has also garnered more awards than any other album released since records began. Where do you keep all these awards and who dusts them? After you have had a few thousand doesn’t it become a bit boring getting them?
Darth Elvis - I got a small family of Ewoks that I get the stormtroopers to use to dust off my awards. Nothing shines a grammy like a wokling. I don't like award ceremonies, I tend to use impersonators to pose as me at these events. When you read headlines that the Dark King is dead it is always just another dead tribute artist.
You can't kill the Dark King!

ElDiablo - Sorry to bring this up, but you had a brother who died at birth. Do you think that the loss was something that you have still to deal with and subconsciously this has been why at times in the past you have been a bit of a nasty cunt. Please excuse me for getting all Freudian on yo ass?
Darth Elvis - Jesse would have been a great Sith! I feel his death has given me extra strength and made me more in tune with the dark side.
You may want to think about what you say to the Dark King or I will have to show you exactly what the dark side can do!
ElDiablo - Final question and then I’ll let you get back to whatever Dark Kings do to chill out.
You’ve been about a bit. Seen things that others haven’t seen and been places that no one else has been.
So what the story of it all? The big enchilada? What are we all doing here? I mean if anyone knows it must be you?
Darth Elvis - You are all here to witness the awesome power of the Dark King! My travels and performances have brought me closer to the force and I've seen and done things that you would never believe.
You are here to serve me...The Dark King of the Sith....the real ruler of the Galaxy!
www.myspace.com/darth_elvis

Black Friday

Bit of a lucky find this morning. I got a friends request on myspace from the band Black Friday and was immediately impressed by their take on the Delta blues.
So with one quick email an interview was arranged and here it is.

El Diablo - I like your take on the delta blues. The vocals give it a grunge sort of feel that takes it out of its original context and mixes it up a bit. It’s especially impressive that it was all recorded in one day.
So how did the two of you meet? What are the origins of The Black Friday?
Luca - Well basically I'm the owner of a small vintage studio so we just pressed rec and play and ran through a huge selection of delta blues standards plus "strange gal" that we wrote during a coffee break (It’s a really really simple tune) and "Jupiter" that's a kind of blues moaning layered over a beautiful guitar improvisation.
As a band we met here in Roma. In the beginning we were working on another album and the same love and involvement in folk and traditional American blues songs drove us into forming the black friday.

ElD - How popular is the blues in Italy?
Luca - Not so much, blues in Italy is just the famous "Cocaine" and most of the people don't know that it’s a J.J. Cale song.

ElD - So what is the reaction to you guys when you go out and play?
Luca - Maybe this "grunge sort of feel" that you found creates in the same time a kind of contemporary and fashionable vibe so the audience is always in a watchful, receptive and analytic mood. People asked us if the tunes are originals or not...and this is a big surprise for us.

ElD - Is it a surprise because you are so familiar with the material though, or do you think it might be because the songs do have a more modern feel to them and the audience isn’t necessarily picking up on the fact that some of them are decades old?
Luca - The second one. Exactly.

ElD - As mentioned the album was done in a day and it’s a real grass roots project from start to finish, but what are you doing about getting it out to the public. Where can people get a hold of it?
Luca - Once the artwork is done we'll place it on i-tunes and similar stores. The idea is print the record on vinyl, just in a limited edition of 1000 copies reachable at our gigs or on a dedicated ebay store.
A label could help us but we aren't in the mood to call, send demos etc. Today you can control and manage everything without stress. We are just a blues duo, voice and guitar so it is very easy plan gigs play all around and have the right exposure in the right circuits.

ElD - So what are the plans once the album is available. Are you looking to tour etc, or just wait and see how it all goes without pushing it?
Luca - the idea is play everywhere that it’s possible to AND see how it goes...It’s in the lap of the gods
Thank you so much and see you on the road!
I surely hope so Luca.
It’s well worth checking out Black Friday and you can do so here.

www.myspace.com/theblackfridayband

Get in early and keep an eye out for the album surfacing. It’s going to be good.

……from pirate satellite.

The Clash always meant more to me than the Sex Pistols ever did.
I did, and still do, like the Sex Pistols. In fact I suppose I love them just as much as many others of my generation, but when push comes to shove I will always fall on the side of the Clash as the band that did it for me.
While it’s inarguable that the Pistols initially kicked down the doors in the UK and allowed punk to flourish in their wake, it is also true that they didn’t leave us much when they publicly imploded. A great debut, a trail of cancelled gigs, a bunch of cash in releases and a movie whose only purpose appears to have been to continue flogging a horse that was well and truly dead. Or maybe it had another purpose and that was to flog the cock of Malcy’s ego.
None the less, while people will insist that it’s a classic, I’ll stick to saying that it’s more akin to a celluloid atrocity exhibition with some good songs in it.
So I guess what I mean is that I feel that the Sex Pistols served as a gloriously fucked up catalyst, and that ultimately it was left for others to carry the punk torch, and that‘s where the Clash came in, but they didn‘t just carry the torch, they ran full pelt forward into the unknown with it.
They set fires here there and everywhere with it as they moved ever onwards on their musical journey.
Their dipping into reggae, rockabilly, hip hop and whatever else that took their fancy encapsulates what I consider is the real ethos of punk. No rules, the freedom to express yourself in whatever manner that you see fit, to ignore the little boxes that everyone is so desperate to keep us imprisoned in. That’s punk, and the Clash wrote that big in neon whenever they stepped foot into a studio or onto a stage.
So to celebrate their influence here we have something a bit different for the Clash fans out there.
In Radio Clash we have fifteen songs picked by Mick and Paul. Songs that influenced them, songs they played on and Strummer doing White Man at the 100 Club.
Then we have volume one and two of White Riot - A tribute to the Clash. It is what it is, a tribute, but for me I found it interesting who was covering them and how they were approaching the songs. I don’t think that The clash themselves would be that impressed with straight covers. So while they are a bit hit and miss I’m sure Clash fans will find some stuff they like. This is how I discovers Hamel on Trial and I never looked back since then.
Enjoy.
http://rapidshare.com/files/377783823/RADCLASH.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/377812508/tribclshvol1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/377823592/tribclshvol2.rar

Monday, 19 April 2010

N*W*O*N*W

Remember the New Wave of New Wave scene? It was a blink and you will miss it moment that catapulted bands like S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men into…eh into….well, well into obscurity really. The only one that sneaked out and had any degree of success was Elastica as they managed to hang on to the coat tails of Britpop and ride that train to the charts.
People would however be mistaken if they think that this little known blimp in the history of musical sub cultures wasn’t of any worth. It bloody well was. S*M*A*S*H were the dogs bollocks and These Animal Men were also a real kick up the arse for anyone who thought that punk music had lost its fire.
I’m going to hunt out my S*M*A*S*H stuff to post, but don’t hold your breath for it as Christ knows where it is. Meanwhile here’s some TAM for you to enjoy. Welcome to the high society that never went anywhere.
http://rapidshare.com/files/377583055/TAMHSOC.rar
Currently members of These Animal men are playing as The Orphans.
www.myspace.com/theorphansonline

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Jim Jones Revue/Tragic City Thieves - Captains Rest (Glasgow 17/4/10)

"The hottest rock'n'roll band in Britain right now" shouts Mojo magazine, while Classic Rock virtually screams at you that "This is no-holds-barred rock'n'roll in its rudest most thrilling state".
Both statements may very well be true, but regardless of their veracity it's very obvious to me that the hype is working because Glasgow's Captains Rest is heaving.
There is a part of me that is ecstatically delirious to see so many people out to see live music, but it's tempered with a little pessimistic sadness, as without the hysterical press surrounding the band I doubt that they could pull as many people.
I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that the majority don't organically find new bands to like through word of mouth, but simply wait to be told what's cool and what's not by the music press.
Maybe it has always been this way though and I've just become an old disillusioned curmudgeon.
Never the less this show is proof positive that even now with all the problems that the mainstream music industry has, that a good and sussed level of promotion can work wonders for a band.
It's still a bit of a shame though that a good chunk of the crowd who were there to see The Jim Jones Revue remained skulking about upstairs in the venue while the absolutely fuckin' wonderful Tragic City Thieves barreled through a set of debauched rock'n'roll classics in waiting.
Everything said about The Jim Jones Revue could equally be said about these guys. Granted it's not the same type of rock and roll, but the same fire is in the performance.
While the headliners worship at the alter of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and their ilk, the Tragic City Thieves are undoubtedly the bastard offspring of the NY Dolls and Alice Cooper filtered through The Dwarves and Turbonegro.
This is glam rock without all the limp-wristed hair metal connotations that goes along with the term. If the Tragic City Thieves were a night out then it would be a seriously drunken one that you have a sneaky suspicion that you enjoyed, but can't quite remember why. The sort of night that finds you coming to in a strange bed sporting a a black eye and the legend "Call Me" scrawled in lipstick on your chest, but you don't, as later that day every time you take a piss it's like passing glass.
You know the type I mean. Or maybe you don't.
Let's just say that it's the sort you chalk up as worth it at the time.
Well that sort of sums up what this band are all about. A hit and run performance that's as exhilarating as it is entertaining.
As for the uninitiated into the world of the Thievon. I'm talking about the punters who didn't venture downstairs people. Well all I can say is that you all managed to short change yourselves spectacularly, and missed what could possibly have been the best double act that Glasgow will see this year.
It's a shame really as Tragic City Thieves are a band to watch out for, and just maybe next time the people hovering at a bar in a different room shouldn't wait until Mojo and Classic Rock have given them the seal of approval before checking them out.
Onto the headliners. So did The Jim Jones Revue live up to the hype, or was the benchmark set too high for them?
The answer is that they are in fact one of the best rock'n'roll band gracing our stages at the moment, but the slavish hyperbolic praise that they are getting is working against them as I was wanting to be blown away completely. Not just hugely impressed, but left shellshocked and gibbering that I had seen the best band ever, ever, ever.
The facts are that they play soulful piano driven rock'n'roll at 100miles per hour relentlessly from the moment they step on the stage to the moment that they leave it and that should be enough to make any music lover swoon, but the press has encouraged us all to want just that little bit more and I'm not sure that there is that little bit more to give.
The only way the performance could have been improved on was if I was trollied on illicit drugs and that enhancement wouldn't have had anything to do with the band.
Without all the praise being heaped upon them and catching one of their shows blind I can say emphatically that yes I would have been left gasping at their performance, but I felt that due to all the interest in them I knew exactly what was coming every step of the way.
Jim Jones himself is a hugely charismatic front man and really drives the show forward in an exhaustive, sweat drenched and cocksure manner that reminds me of all the classic rock gods from the fifties right through to the seventies. Is it any wonder that MOJO and Classic Rock cum in their collective pants at the mere mention of his name as he really does tick all their boxes. The huge voice, the look and the retro swagger are all in place, and given time I'm sure that they will be stepping up to bigger stages and then be a band like The White Stripes who reference the past in the present, and occupy a space the the hearts of the public that on paper is a bit inexplicable as they don't fit in to any real demographic.
If they do then that will be great and I'll not be complaining, and if they don't then I don't really mind either as seeing them in a small sweaty club is always going to be their natural environment anyway.
So take of that what you will.
Are they good? Hell yeah. Did they impress? Damn right. Where they everything that the press has built them up to be? Well no, but no one is that good.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Messin About.

The Day The Earth Stood Still
California Disney Alles.
Globalization one child at a time

Friday, 9 April 2010

In conversation with Angie Bowie

ElD - Currently you’re stepping back into the spotlight and promoting a charity compilation CD for Aids Be Gone. Can you tell us a little about the campaign and the CD?
Angie Bowie - It started with WORLD AIDS DAY 01/12/2009 when Giovanni Perini suggested we do a track for the cause. We went one better and did an album!
So Bravo Giovanni.
The CD is called AIDSBEGONE VOL1 and features the talent of such diverse artists as:
Tamkikrest, Bite, Chris Robison, Musselmen & Lowery, She Wolves. Myself (Angie Bowie) and Clif Taylor, The Eris Sisters (mancalledclay), The Ezra Beats, Wasted Angels, Gary Heffern, Transisters, Subterraneans, Tara Rez & The Duel, Giovanni Perini, Al DeLoner, Charles Garish & The Ex Gay Ministers, Charles “Upchuck” Gerra and Jude Rawlins. All need to be thanked for their contributions and assistance in assembling a fantastic Volume 1 for the AIDS BEGONE FUND-RAISING initiative.

Bego put it best….
"AIDSBeGone VOL1 is a witty, infectious mixture of music from around the world united for a single cause and compiled by brilliant taste-maker Angela Bowie. It is the perfect mood music for the new decade! -Mark Bego Feb 19/2010

ElD - You’ve a date in London confirmed for the legendary 100 Club to tie in with the Aids Be Gone promotion?
AB - It’s going under the name of AIDSBeGone LIVE @ the 100 CLUB.
For those who don’t know it’s on Wednesday the 14th of April and I will be doing a set with support from some great UK artists such as Tara Rez and The Duel, The Courtesans and Jude Rawlins, then we will be have an after hours party at the equally legendary Bar12 that’s just a brisk hike up the street. So yeah. I’m looking forward to this. I’m hoping it will be well supported.
Of course the shows are obviously to promote the sales of the AIDSBeGone CD. We really want to do our part and help fund the development of an effective AIDS vaccine.
Money is urgently required to pay for the support drugs that help those who have already contracted the disease to live satisfying lives. Being able support people in being able to work and enjoy some relief from their condition is of paramount importance to myself and those who are helping out with this.
The show is a means to an end. Live shows stimulate sales!

ElD - Aids/HIV as an issue that needs to be addressed appears to have dropped down the agenda globally. Climate change and economic issues are currently the hot buttons that have risen on the political ’things to do’ list. How do you feel about that? Does it make you angry, dismayed, a combination of many emotions?

AB - Do I wish it were completed? The AIDS vaccine and the cure for those suffering with the disease? YES, I do.
I think with all the time that has passed since the disease was recognized we are due for a cure now.
We said the same thing about breast cancer and yet still every year mothers, daughters and sisters die from this horrible condition.
There are various elements that play into the problem of stopping the spread of AIDS. One is the irrational fear of birth control by religions with long arms into societies particularly affected by the AIDS virus.
Condoms have proven themselves as a preventative tool in stopping the spread of AIDS but the Catholic Church disapproves and so enlightened information that may help is being suppressed. Without insulting people in specific countries I would just like to say, to stop the spread of AIDS USE CONDOMS!
I’ve gotten to the stage that it doesn’t make me feel much apart from despondency. It makes me despondent.
That important issues like the cure for cancer and the cure for AIDS have waited 70-80 years on the backburner after two world wars and numerous incursive battles, Vietnam, Iraq, The Falklands etc etc. It’s a sad memorial to our civilization. Let’s cure the disease and explore space and do things that are less destructive.
Heck we can give Lady Gaga $1.99 and watch her video along with another billion folks that’s better than all this bloodshed and still no cure for diseases that by now should have been run out of town!

ElD - Initially Aids/HIV seemed to be a disease that happened to other people. We would see reports about its effects in third world countries, and in the West we could pretend that it had nothing to do with us. Then when cases did start to arise it was initially gay men and intravenous drug users that succumbed to it. So we had the religious right making ludicrous comments about it being a punishment from God and that led people to believe that if they lived a life that these narrow minded people promoted then they would be fine. Obviously that was a crock though, but do you consider that people in the West are still stuck in that sort of mindset, and if so then what can we do about it?
AB - Every generation has to be re-educated in their lingo and fashion. We just have to attract the youngsters and speak straight to their heads & hearts. That’s not difficult if one isn’t bombarded by negativity and laziness.
My motto is productivity rewards creativity. Accomplished tasks sustain my energy and the work schedule I design.
All we can do is repeat what we know about stopping the spread of the disease and repeat that information until we are blue in the face and we must raise money and find a vaccine and then find a cure for those folks already HIV positive. Everyone is stuck in that mindset when it comes to an incurable plague that we have not yet arrested. No one likes to feel helpless and when faced with such a daunting challenge often if we are frightened or it affects us or someone we know we shy away so as not to have to live through the pain of facing it.

ElD - Maybe this is a bit too personal, but can you tell us how it initially impacted on your life, as I know you have lost friends who contracted Aids/HIV? When did it hit home that people you knew were suffering and facing an early demise?
AB - No, you are not getting too personal. I lost many personal friends including a whole group of New York folk, more than 20, and from London John Bindon and Pierre La Roche, Tina Chow a lot of people. We suddenly realized that the noose was tightening and little was being done to relieve the suffering.
As I looked into the eyes of my friend Pierre La Roche, as we visited, I could see the distance between us as he contemplated his life. I asked if he would like to have lunch, we could bring it in, order on the phone or did he want to walk out to a corner restaurant perhaps,
‘No I am too tired,’ he said, ‘but thank you, merci Angie non, Je suis heureux que tu es venu. Je vais dormir un peu.’ I watched him lie down and sat and stroked his hand. I sat watching his handsome face and stroking his forehead and tracing his eyebrows with my finger as my mother did when I was feverish. The I decided I would leave as he rolled over safe and comfortable under his quilt and towards the wall. How many more bedside vigils I would attend? I got up and walked through Chelsea in London, bitter, sad and scowling. I was bent out of shape by the unfairness of life. My life went on, Pierre’s ended and unnecessarily I believe.

ElD - So was it this that galvanised you into action and made you think that instead of standing on the sidelines that you had to be more proactive and do something?
AB - Well the whole thing happened spontaneously and organically.
Giovanni Perini’s original suggestion to memorialize World AIDS Day on Dec 1st mushroomed from one track to an album. Then when sales were not encouraging we realized that we couldn’t do enough just promoting it on the internet we had to take the message to the people; shows had to be set up and gigs arranged and suddenly we were back in touring mode and as this is an area in which all the contributors are experts the AIDSBeGone project has served to mobilized a group of talent who wanted to get busy and help!

ElD - Do you think that there is a still a lot of ignorance in the world surrounding what Aids is and how it can be contracted? There have been many campaigns and from my viewpoint I still don’t think the message is getting across?
AB - I am sure you are right. Many countries have chosen to ignore or allocate their resources without caring for the sick in their countries. Every generation is a new class requiring a custom education designed for them. As generations distinguish themselves from each other so we look to tailor an individual interchange to specialize and communicate the information which may have been lost in the scramble for your, the consumer’s, attention

ElD - Often it seems that there are too many voices shouting a similar message, but doing so individually. This appears counterproductive to me. Shouldn’t the safe sex campaigners, those raising awareness of STDs and the Aids/HIV organizations be pooling their talents and resources to push for change? Or does that sound like just too much of a common sense approach?
AB - Yes, I agree. We should but that smacks of cooperation and God forbid that all these individuals including myself and you and every other thinking person would agree to make this a priority and find a cure. I thought we had done that when the original research grants were allocated to find the cure. Did they drop the ball, did they not report that it was too hard we need more money? Someone obviously wasn’t leading with the type of oversight that favours results. Just another government job finding a cure for AIDS…that’s why there are so many initiatives. There is a lack of trust that the government, or any individual foundation, will see the project to successful completion. In the mean time there is this middle choice of finding the vaccine for AIDS and supporting the HIV positive people who need drug therapy to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

ElD - While it’s laudable that you are using your iconic status to raise awareness does it concern you that in some quarters there will be people thinking that you are doing it for your own ends? Just a publicity stunt to raise your own profile. It’s the curse of the celebrity isn’t it? Let’s call it the Bono/Sting effect. How do you combat that? Is it best to just ignore the naysayer’s and focus on what you are doing?
AB - Do negative mean-minded people bother you? They bother me just about as much they have to live with their sorry selves!
You just have to pay no attention and move onto stage 2. I hardly think helping raise some money to find a cure for AIDS is going to raise or lower celebrity status. What does that mean? Has everyone gone mad? There are more critical questions for someone like me to bother with. That attitude is so low on my radar that it hardly registers.
More importantly is that we are currently producing a new CD AIDSBEGONE Vol 2 and are looking for contributors to an AIDSBEGONE WRITING PROJECT that will be a book of poetry and essays.
That’s where my focus for the present lies.
So if anyone wants to get on board for that then please send your writing contributions to angie@angiebowie.net and we can see how that works out.
Have you noticed though that clear aims and defined strategies are viewed as suspect now as folks have watched the fabric of their beliefs unravel. The taxman was and always will be a tax man. A doctor is a dealer and you go back to him if you get results, the smarter he is and the better educated he is you believe that he may help you ….not if you don’t have enough money! The doctor can prescribe but if you can’t afford the prescription medication to help you survive a life-threatening illness what do you do? The government has lied to us and profited through war. The churches have corrupted the secular administration of government. We are standing on the ice floe of the twentieth century as it melts around us. In the inimitable words of the RAMONES: ‘I JUST WANT TO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO.’
ElD - I was just quoting Bertrand Russell to someone and it appears apt to this to.
“The natural impulse of the vigorous person of decent character is to attempt to do good, but if he is deprived of all political power and of all opportunity to influence events he will be deflected from his natural course and will decide that the important thing is to be good”
Sop as you say. People beliefs are unravelling and in their stead is a propensity to settle for the Status Quo and what we really need is for people to actually take a leaf from the book of Ramones lyrics and indeed “ just want to have something to do” to make a change.
Fair assessment in my opinion.
.
ElD - So in closing, separate from your awareness raising work what else can we expect from you in the future?
AB - Well “When the boys became girls” my new book will be published by Feral Press very soon and I have an album of new punk space ditties that will be available by the end of the year to. It’s going to be a busy, and fulfilling, year and thank you. I am very happy to have had the chance to chat with you and thank you for all the interesting questions!
ElD. It’s been an honour and a privilege Angie and I’m sure I am not alone in wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.

PS. I should have added that the band that are backing Angie for her gig at the 100Club is :
Dave Ball – (Soft Cell) Keyboard
Paul Laventhol – (King Kurt) guitar
Andy Hobson – (The Pretenders) bass
Pumpy – (The Duel) Drums

IF ANYONE WANTS TO USE THIS INTERVIEW, REPOST IT, ASK FURTHER QUESTIONS, WHATEVER. THEN PLEASE FEEL FREE. A CREDIT WOULD BE NICE, BUT IT'S NOT ESSENTIAL.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Personally I don't give a shit, but....

some might.

Malcolm McLaren, the former manager of punk group the Sex Pistols, has died in New York, aged 64, his agent has said.
McLaren, the ex-partner of designer Vivienne Westwood, was believed to have been diagnosed with cancer a while ago.
He set up a clothes shop and label with Westwood on London's King's Road in the 1970s and was later a businessman and performer in his own right.
The couple had a son, Joseph Corre, the co-founder of lingerie shop Agent Provocateur.
His agent told the BBC McLaren passed away on Thursday morning.
Spokesman Les Malloy said he expected McLaren's body to be returned to the UK.

McLaren also managed a number of other bands, including the New York Dolls and Bow Wow Wow before producing his own records including the much-sampled track Double Dutch from the 1983 album Duck Rock.
McLaren emerged from art school in the 1960s and with Westwood, set up Let It Rock - a fashion store specialising in rubber and leather fetish gear. It was later, infamously, renamed "Sex".
He went on to manage the Sex Pistols, who spearheaded the British punk rock scene, although there was a falling out and he later lost a court case over royalties.
McLaren dabbled in politics and at one point, toyed with the idea of entering the race for the Mayor of London.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Sorry and the Sinatras/Fake Exterior/The Murderburgers - Ivory Blacks - Glasgow (6/4/10)

It’s funny how your mind can play tricks on you. I haven’t been in this venue for years and I remember it being much larger. It’s actually pretty small.
Maybe it’s not my mind playing tricks on me though, rather it’s dementia settling in because for the second time in a week I failed to recognise a band playing right in front of me.
When the first of the night started belting through Ramones styled songs at 100mph I commented that they sounded just like the Murderburgers.
It turns out that there was a good reason for this.
It was the Murderburgers. Glasgow’s very own answer to Screaching Weasel.
It’s hard to criticize these lads as they are really very good at what they do. Unfortunately for them it’s become a bit of a niche sound now. In the nineties you were falling over bands that were playing a similar style, but now they have all but vanished and bands like The Murderburgers are left carrying the flag.
Truth be told I don’t actually mind because out of all those bands The Murderburgers are one of the best.
Yes it’s generic, yes it’s dumb and it’s basic punk rock with a bounce in its step, but it’s good dumb punk.
With original tracks like ’you’re a fuckin’ moron’ and a mach speed version of ‘Judy is a punk’ on display they prove that it can still be entertaining and that practice over the years does make perfect.
The best thing about their set was that for once they had a good sound. This could have been the first time that I have seen them that it hasn’t been in a subterranean club with the sound bouncing off a low ceiling or the back of a pub where they are squeezed in next to the cigarette machine. It certainly makes all the difference.Fake Exterior followed the Murderburgers and straight away my attention started to wander. They’ve been on the whole Sorry and the Sinatras tour so far and I’m not sure why. They have absolutely nothing in common with the headliners.
Simply put they play very generic rock music that’s as boring as fuck. It was as boring as fuck when pish bands from the US introduced it to us and it became increasingly boring as fuck when home grown acts attempted to emulate them. Now Fake Exterior have managed to distil something that was crap in the first place to a level of crap-ness that is pure one hundred percent crap. If music had a colour then what they play would be brown. To carry the theme on, I have had more entertaining bowel movements.
I clapped once. It was when they said ‘this is our last song’.Sorry and the Sinatras were of course the highlight of the night. They’re fast, loud and aggressive from the start. They’ve got a debut album that’s gaining critical plaudits wherever it’s reviewed and they’re determined to push it hard. Really hard.
It’s all buzzsaw guitars, pounding drums and growled vocals energetically strung together and played with a hell of a lot of commitment. I can’t be arsed with all the people who want to roll out a list of bands that they think Sorry and the Sinatras reference, for me they’re just a blue collar rock band who are taking a walk on the wild side and turning everything up as loud as they can while rockin’ out as hard as they can, and that should be enough for enough.
Firing full speed into Burn City Burn they set everything out on the table for the audience. No one is going to entertain the thought that these guys are going to give less that their all. There‘s hardly a break before and they have No Angels and Riverside done and dusted, and then with a few mutterings to the crowd it‘s heads down and they’re barrelling through Black n Blue, Gimme More and Borrowed Time.
It’s relentless and anyone hoping that they would take the foot of the accelerator to catch a breath was deluding themselves.
More songs from the album are played and then near the end they slide from Nose Don’t Work into a cover of the Misfits track Where Eagles Dare. It’s into the home stretch at this point and I haven’t a clue how long they played for but it seemed to be all over in a flash.I don’t feel short changed though. I’d rather have 30 minutes of commitment than two hours of half hearted guitar wankery any day of the week.
In closing I’ll just say that while there has been much made of the fact that the band is the baby of Scott Sorry of the Wildhearts that this is pretty much incidental. Of course there are hints of the Wildhearts in what they do, but this is still more about punk rock being played with a rock and roll heart rather than revisiting old ground.
By the time this tour is finished I would hope that his stint in the Wildhearts will be relegated to a simple footnote in his career. That was then and this is now.
Viva Le Sinatras.
Review and pics by me, but if anyone wants to grab anything feel free. It would be nice if it was credited though.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Orphans, Stooges, Batusis. Bring it on.

The anticipation is starting to build up. This morning I got a message from a friend saying that 60’s RnB garage legends The Pretty Things were playing the night before The Stooges in London and did Kel and myself fancy going.
Damn right I thought.
Then he sent me an alternative. A glam club night with The Orphans (Ex These Animal Men) playing at it.
When I say glam I’m talking about the foot stomping seventies style of glam rock. A night of Suzi Quatro, Sweet, Mott the Hoople, NY Dolls, David Bowie, T-Rex and the like.
So I balanced it out.
Thirty odd quid for The Pretty Things or six quid for The Orphans?
My wallet won the argument hands down and now the weekend starts on Saturday at 9pm with us catching The Orphans. We should fall out of the club at 4am and stagger, stumble and crawl to our hotel to recuperate before catching a second wind for the Stooges on the Sunday night.
Finishing off what will no doubt be a fantastic weekend will be a mad cross-country dash to Glasgow just in time (fingers crossed) to see The Batusis.
At my age I reckon that the rock and roll hall of fame should erect a statue in my honour at the extent I will go to procure myself a fix of pure unfiltered rock and roll.
Tonight it's Sorry and the Sinatras though.
I think I'll treat this as a trial run and acclimatise myself to rockin hard with a drink in my hand.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Twilight Sad - ABC - Glasgow (2/4/10)

On the advice of a friend we arrived earlier enough to catch ‘Take a worm for a walk week‘, but while I had a modicum of respect for their talent they just didn’t do anything for me. The Beefheart influence was so much to the fore that it was difficult to appreciate anything else about them. I’d file them under ‘too much like hard work to enjoy‘.
Then the Twilight Sad came on. The sound was a bit crap and they really didn’t seem to be making the effort to reach the grandiose soundscape that they do so well in the studio. The vocals were that far into the mix that we didn’t even recognize any of the songs either. I was hugely under whelmed by them and at 8.30 as they left the stage I felt cheated by the whole experience.
Fortunately the band we had just watched wasn’t actually the Twilight Sad.
So much for Stevie Fly and myself being cutting edge music connoisseurs. We couldn’t even tell the support band from the headliners.
In our defence we didn’t have a clue what the Twilight Sad looked like and this band, who were more than a bit crap, did sound like an unimaginative watered down version of the headliners.
The Twilight Sad themselves were however the polar opposite.
Where the support band had dipped they soared. The sound was spot on and the passion for what they were doing is very obvious.
As Stevie pointed out people are keen to jump to a Joy Division comparison, but there’s a heavy Sonic Youth approach that is more obvious when you see them live. Very powerful.
There’s a lot going on musically and while some want to pick it apart I think it works best as a whole. I mean you wouldn’t look at the stitching in a tapestry when you can take a step back and appreciate the whole picture. The sound works best as a blend. Close your eyes and it washes over you. It was so loud that I think if I had held my hands up that the force of it would have had my fingers buffeting in the air. I would have felt the music flowing from the stage in waves.
Yep. Pretty good all in.
After two pretty forgettable supports The Twilight Sad managed to save the night.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Brothers, Sisters, Comrades

I'm a socialist. I'm proud of the fact.
I don't wish to be part of the me, me, me society that prevails and I lust for a fairer, more balanced and just existence for my fellow man/woman whom I share this planet with.
I'm not a politically correct liberal hippie, but I would rather people think that than the alternative. A greedy self obsessed drone being manipulated by a Machiavellian minority.
Push my buttons and you will see that I'm pretty much an intolerant fella.
I'm intolerant of intolerance.
Racist thick as shit sexist homophobes will always hear my voice opposing theirs.
So with my cards out on the table I want to share with you an email I got this morning from David Rovics.
Now all I want anyone reading to do is just think about what he is saying. I'm not asking anyone to sign on for the gospel according to Rovics as I don't agree with every word that comes from his pen either, but just absorb what he is trying to convey here.

Here in the USA, millions of people are continuously losing their jobs and
not finding new ones, millions more are losing their homes, still more
millions are in prison for nothing more than self-medicating with drugs
that arbitrarily happen to be illegal and will be discriminated against as
felons for years to come. Tens of thousands are being shot to death every
year, there are massacres happening somewhere in the country every other
week or so, our Democrat-controlled government has just passed a health
care “reform” that is being praised by the corporations who bought the
government in the first place, we continue to spend as much on the military
as the entire rest of the world combined, and our military is actively
employed killing people in at least four different countries while
threatening to expand that number. The oil industry is making good on
their investments in the Congress and expanding off-shore drilling for the
first time in twenty years, while the nuclear industry is getting a great
bang for their Democratic buck and now has the chance to build new nuclear
reactors for the first time in the US in three decades.

Those of us who have woken up from our Obama-induced trance state or never
got hypnotized in the first place (because we're too busy being bombed by
drones, for example) are feeling frustrated. Some of us, certainly, are
venting that frustration in various constructive ways, but by and large
that old “silent majority” is being pretty silent. As I travel around
the country doing concerts people earnestly, often a bit desperately,
wonder aloud to me, what's it going to take to get people really riled up
and ready to do something about this situation? How much greater must the
divide between the rich and poor grow? How many more ecological disasters?
How much more climate change? How many more dead Muslims? Etc. People
start feeling bad about their fellow Americans – are they just sheep
after all?

Backing up a moment, the fact that people are asking the question “where
are my fellow outraged citizens” tells me that one important thing is
already understood, at least by most people who come to my shows – that
mass movements of outraged citizens (and other people) is what's needed in
order for real change to have a chance to occur. So then the question is,
what are the conditions that need to exist for this movement to coalesce?
If the situation is so bad for so many why is so little happening in
reaction?

This is, of course, one of those perennial questions that everyone who
yearns for a sane society is trying to answer. If there were a clear
recipe, if it were like baking a loaf of bread or something that would be
nice, but it's somewhat more complicated. If there's one thing I think
many people need to understand – and there are probably many things, but
if there's one thing that seems most relevant in what I get out of these
conversations I'm having with people all over the place, it is this:
sustained mass movements rarely happen unless many of the participants
believe they might win.

It seems especially worth noting given that in hindsight everything is a
bit less volatile – what's happened has happened. When you're there,
making history, everything is much less predictable. The rebels in the
Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 knew they were merely choosing the time and place of
their deaths, and they referred to each other as “the walking dead.”
They are the exception, however, not the rule – most rebellions take
place in an atmosphere not just of need but of hope. The tens of thousands
who went to Spain in the 1930's were not just planning to become martyrs.
They were risking their lives, yes, but they thought that if enough of them
joined in, and perhaps if France or Britain helped out a little (they
didn't), they could defeat fascism in Spain. As for the thousands of
brigadistas who came from Germany and Italy, why did they not launch a
rebellion against fascism in Germany or Italy in 1936 rather than going to
Spain to fight German and Italian troops there? Because they thought in
Spain they might win, and they had already lost the fight in their home
countries for the time being, most of their comrades by then already dead
or in prison camps.

You can't organize workers to go out on strike if they think they'll
inevitably lose their jobs and get blacklisted – people are generally
willing to strike if they think there's at least a decent chance that some
of their grievances will be redressed. During the first two decades of the
twentieth century there were millions of people involved with a militant
labor movement that was ultimately crushed with the Palmer Raids and other
events following World War I. During the 1930's another massive wave of
labor organizing, this time resulting in lasting reforms to the capitalist
system. Why no huge strike wave in the 1920's? Were conditions so good
for workers then? No, there were other factors at play – among them the
sense that victory was (or wasn't) possible.

The many thousands of people who were participating in the movement in
Tiananmen Square in 1989 were not planning on being massacred, they were
planning on bringing lasting change in China. The millions who poured into
the streets of Caracas after the coup against Chavez in Venezuela in 2002
were not planning on being massacred, either. They were planning on
bringing about the return of their president this way – and they were
successful. A year later millions of people pouring into the streets of
every city and many small towns in the US and around the world hoped
through these demonstrations they could affect Bush's foreign policy. If
they had known for sure before the fact how little impact this would have
on the US government most of them would probably have stayed at home.

Of course there are innumerable other factors involved with
movement-building – especially successful movement-building -- aside from
the existence of conditions people want to change and people having a
feeling of optimism about changing those conditions. I'll outline my take
on some of those factors, for what it's worth.

It seems to me the first thing people need is a sense of who is out there.
A heck of a lot of people in this country live in suburbs where they don't
know their neighbors and their main contact with the world is what they see
on TV, what they see out the window of their cars, and what they experience
at either of their two jobs. These people and people around the country
need to know that most of their fellow citizens are also unhappy with the
status quo – according to mainstream poll after poll it is clear that
most people think things like health care, housing and education should be
government priorities rather than oil drilling and empire-building. Most
people think action should be taken urgently to deal with climate change.

First and foremost it is a battle for the hearts and minds of the people.
The ruling elite knows it, that's why they've bought up most of the
airwaves and won't even let Al-Jazeera on cable here. Successful social
movements have met this challenge in the past by creating their own media,
running their own educational institutions, summer camps, theaters, etc.
At the heart of successful social movements is a vibrant culture of
resistance, complete with a more sensible historical narrative, a vision of
a better society, and lots and lots of songs. There is a clear sense of a
larger community of like-minded people and a sense of being part of a long
and often successful history of social movements that have come before us.

The movements that tend to succeed are also broad-based, inclusive, and
more or less democratically organized. There are commonly-held ideas about
tactics and strategies. Tactics tend to be militant and may often be
illegal, but are designed to build your support rather than to alienate
your supporters.

Naturally, the ruling elite, their lackeys in Congress and the White House,
bought and sold by the Fortune 500, will try to convince us that raising
money for political campaigns and then voting in rigged elections is the
way forward. (Either that or smashing the windows of your local
Starbucks.) They won't tell you that democracy doesn't happen that way.
Naturally, the ruling elite will have their own, much better-funded and far
more ubiquitous institutions of learning, their media, their outlets of
propaganda in Hollywood or Nashville.

But when people ask me whether I am hopeful in these dark times, my answer,
unequivocally, is yes. Perhaps partially because I take a long view of
history. But also because I am privy to a secret that is known well to the
powers-that-be: for all the wealth and power of the corporate clique who
are ruining the world for their private gain, they still require the
consent of the governed. They will throw us crumbs while they rip us off
and they will try to give us a false sense of security as we race headlong
towards the proverbial wall. But, to use a dangerous word, there are basic
truths on our side, and as someone said, ten minutes of truth can
counteract 24 hours of lies.

We live in a corporate-run empire, not a democratic republic, and there is
a mysterious thing that can happen when enough people who are being
adversely affected by this fact understand it and realize that they're not
alone. I was interviewing veteran organizer Leslie Cagan for my internet
radio show the other day, asking her about the police infiltrators
constantly trying to create divisions within activist groups. “They're
just people,” she said. And just like us, they can make mistakes, and
regularly do.

What I'm trying to say is, sure, always question tactics, strategies and
visions. But whatever you do, ye fellow members of the choir, know your
history and don't give up. Know that as you're apparently spinning your
wheels, doing whatever things you do to try to organize, educate, agitate
or otherwise work to build the infrastructure of a future democratic
society, the darkest hour is often just before the dawn. At any moment,
apparently quite suddenly, the spell can be broken, and things can shift.
That another such moment is coming is certain. What we and our neighbors
will do with it is the question.

...and here's some artwork I did for an old fanzine that seems relevant.
Think about it. How often does the claims by those in a position of power actually tie in with our experiences.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Shakin' all over

Everybody needs some of this band.
No, seriously. I’m not kidding.
I was going to write screeds about them and how they can brighten the day of anyone, but nothing I can say will match the experience of listening to them.
So all I will say is that Beach Boys and Beatles comparisons aside no one did power pop like this.
Pre- Jellyfish Beatnik Beatch album, the legendary Bellybutton, SpiltMilk and Imperial Drag.
Knock yourself out.
http://rapidshare.com/files/363296504/Btnk_Btch.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/359709433/Bllbttnbns.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/363311346/SpltMlk.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/370658231/ImprlDrg.rar