Friday, October 27, 2006
Randy was young...and way too young to die.... he was the sweetest and funniest (alright... he had a caustic sense of humor, but damn... he was FUNNY) man whom I had the pleasure of knowing...very much like a brother.
Randy was one of the co-founders of Lobotomy, the fanzine he created with Pleasant, that Kid Congo, Brad Dunning and I also worked on. Together, Pleasant, Randy and I drove all over California to see the likes of Mumps, Blondie, and other friends who had bands. Randy was a regular fixture at Joan Jett's West Hollywood apartment during the years Joan and I both lived in apartments across the street from the Licorice Pizza record store and the Whisky a Go Go. He was the life of any party... and the guy I could count on to stay awake on any long, long overnight drive...he was there at almost every incident and party that's been described in this blog...at all the parties, all the shows, all the behind-the-scenes...he was a major contributor to the essence of LA punk rock in ways too numerous to mention, and too subtle for someone who wasn't there to comprehend.
After LA punk rock's heyday faded, and we grew up and had to get jobs.... Randy was working at Slash Records, where he worked to keep the music biz honest.... he had a great ear and went on to become a great DJ.
The last time I saw Randy, he drove me home after a late afternoon lunch and laugh-fest reunion we had in Los Angeles last year at Christmas time with Pleasant and Iris Berry .... I was lamenting that the Famous Lobotomy Apartment building (the first apartment I had on my own) had been torn down... but Randy told me it was merely covered by all the big trees of the gigantic condo complex that took over the formerly empty lot next door.... and he was right. Together we breathed a sigh of relief.
At that lunch, Gun Club drummer Terry Graham called while we were all together, still lunching... and I passed the phone to everyone at the table, and Terry made us all promise to "do something together next year...." and next year is here and now nearly over.... there was talk of a Lobotomy compendium... all kinds of other things.... and now Randy is gone. Never to be forgotten.
I love you Randy. Thanks so much for all the good times.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
This is a good week for records....Brooklyn's Bamboo Kids new album Feel Like Hell is released today!
Click the headline and be transported by the magic of the internet to the band's myspace page and listen to some tunes...
Great band... great guys... great record. Get it! Its true NYC punk rock at its best... attitude, energy and LIFE... all in the grooves.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Click here to buy it NOW from Sympathy From The Record Industry.
Jack Oblivian is not just Memphis's Most Valuable Player...he's an essential for anyone who simply loves good music.
Listen to a couple selections over at the Official Jack Oblivian myspace page.... you will surely be convinced....
There are some familiar players on the record..... Harlan T. Bobo and King Louie make an appearance as do various members of the Tearjerkers, Jack's usual band.
Mark Sultan makes an appearance as well...
There's a fantastic duet with Margaret Garret of Mr Airplane Man, who also did a stint with the Tearjerkers while she lived in Memphis.
Mr Airplane Man, Margaret and Tara
I've been living with the record for many months, so I'm comfortable and familiar with it.... its got a great dirty sound, comparable to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street in that it reflects a bunch of players hanging out making music as it comes to them, rather than figuring out what their next move is.
What I like about Jack's music and his approach to it is that he understands and embraces his strengths and knows how to work with his limitations... he also has a remarkable and keen ear for covers... he dug up "Chills and Fever" and "Night Owl," both great songs with a great feel and gives them his own treatment. That "Chills and Fever" is just fantastic and sultry. I like the way he uses his voice and applies it... he's like Iggy or Lou Reed on any number of lithe and muscular growlers, like "Hong Kong Girl"... and on the other hand, he's got a sweet touch...when he's singing about "Black Boots" he summons up Billy Joe Royal's honest, earnest voice from the 60s hit, "Down in the Boondocks" ...
He's one artist who can interpret his own phenomenal record collection without recording an homage... he's an artist whose influence is not so much on his sleeve, but inherent in his blood.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
They really gave me my start in the punk rock biz... Stiv and Greg. Greg Shaw paid me, and many people find that unusual... he commissioned me to shoot many things for bomp, ranging from record covers to their xmas card photo and even referred the then-upstart Bug Music to hire me to do their xmas card photos as well. Stiv was like a big brother and a child to me at the same time... we went on the road together, were roommates in London and in odd situations around the world
I miss these guys something awful.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
This is Pee Wee's van, parked outside Pass Out Record Shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.... the new New York is all about Brooklyn... all about Williamsburg. I stayed at Pass Out when I was visiting NY this past summer... the party never ends! Seriously.... bands rehearse in the basement, the store's open late... GREAT music spinning all day long... live music on Saturday afternoons. Such spirit. The store is a hang out...and a haven. A slice of punk rock in a neighborhood that may soon be gentrified if someone doesn't pony up a few million to buy the cool building across the street to prevent a high-rise condo from going in.
If and when you are in Brooklyn.... go there! 131 Grand Street. Williamsburg.
Here are the friendly folks at Pass Out
Memphis Mike formerly of the hardcore band Man With Gun and all around cool dude
Chris Teenager who despite his young age, knows more about psychedelic music than half my own age peers.
Not pictured here is Pee Wee without whom..... Well, she doesn't like to be photographed... but I caught her in Memphis... stay tuned.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
OK.... the mourning for the end of an era with CBGB has been going on for over a year...doors are closed and the place has been memorialized on celluloid, digital, print and humans since it opened....
Musicians still have punk attitude and a group of Canadiens (and a Frenchman) who call themselves Demons Claws are playing some of the very best punk rock you can hear these days.
Hear stuff here!
Monday, October 16, 2006
Patti Smith, the punk poet who got her musical start at clubs like CBGB was the last artist to play there.
The following is lifted from the NYTimes:
“CBGB is a state of mind,” she said from the stage in a short preshow set for the news media whose highlight was a medley of Ramones songs.
“There’s new kids with new ideas all over the world,” she added. “They’ll make their own places — it doesn’t matter whether it’s here or wherever it is.”
Crowds had been lined up outside since early yesterday morning for a chance to see Ms. Smith and bid farewell to the club, in an event that was carefully orchestrated to maximize media coverage. Television news vans were parked on the Bowery as fans with pink hair, leather jackets and — the most popular fashion statement of the night — multicolored CBGB T-shirts (but not necessarily tickets) waited to be let in and Ms. Smith’s band played a short set for the assembled press.
Curiosity about the club’s last night was mingled with harsh feelings about its fate.
“It’s the cultural rape of New York City that this place is being pushed out,” said John Nikolai, a black-clad 36-year-old photographer from Staten Island whose tie read “I quit.”
Added Ms. Smith outside the club, “It’s a symptom of the empty new prosperity of our city.”
Ms. Smith was CBGB’s last booking as well as one of its first. In the 1970’s, she was the oracular poet laureate of the punk scene, and her seven-week residency in 1975 is still regarded by connoisseurs as the club’s finest moment. With an open booking policy, its founder, Hilly Kristal, nurtured New York rock’s greatest generation, and in turn those groups made CBGB one of the few rock clubs known by name around the world.
“When we first started there was no place we could play, so we ended up on the Bowery,” said Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone, the group’s first drummer and only surviving original member. “It ended up a perfect match.”
Dee Dee Ramone and Stiv Bators cut their punk rock teeth at CB's... they too are gone and not forgotten...
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Curiosity is a double-edged sword....sometimes after you find out what your heroes or anti-heroes were thinking, you wish you didn't know... that's not the case with my particular set of anti-heroes....those rock n rollers who agreed to talk with (or probably email with) The Turn It Down Rock Interviews. If you click that link, you'll read all about what Tom Potter, of Bantam Rooster, Seger Liberation Army, Detroit City Council and Dirtbombs infamy has to say...
Also, if you spend some time on that blog, you can read insights from Sympathy for the Record Industry's Long Gone John, In the Red's Larry Hardy, The Lamps and many more.
Check it out!
Friday, October 13, 2006
Dirtbomb, Ben Blackwell may not actually be posing in this photo... it may be his reaction to the free floating weirdness around Kim Fowley, who is holding the banana as an edible prop.
I recently cut short my meanderings through the South to work on a Fowley film....I gotta say....its surreal... the content, that is. If you want to follow its progress, you may want to check out Kim's myspace blog. All the history about the inimitable Kim Fowley can be read on his pages.
Back to the edit.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Pleasant and Kid Congo 1977 or 1978...during our Lobotomy days
Rock babe Kitty Kowalski took some great pictures of Kid in Sweden... like this one here!
Kid and his band, The Pink Monkey Birds are in the middle of a US tour! You can always keep up to date with Kid by visiting his website or his myspace page. Unfortunately, I am going to be missing Kid play in Columbus, OH on Friday the 13th... I'm working on a movie in a different time zone.... KID.... Columbus... I miss you already!
People of Columbus... please go see him play!
Jack Martin, Pink Monkey Bird
See Kid’s own photos right here!
Monday, October 09, 2006
The Shangri-La's were the girl group with the sassy punk attitude... from their songs to their fun loving behavior...and the fact that they hung it up while they were still teenagers and at the top of their game.
Mary Weiss is making her comeback with an album scheduled for 2007 with The Reigning Sound as the band. Bandleader, songwriter, and co-producer, Greg Cartwright, has quite a punk pedigree as a member of the Oblivians, who did punk right in the 90s.
I dropped in on them over the summer just to snap this picture and others you can see on Mary's myspace page.
The Mary Weiss album will be released by Norton, and Norton co-head honcho Billy Miller is co-producing this gem. Check out their pages and build up your anticipation!
Saturday, October 07, 2006
New York Dolls David Jo & Syl Sylvain will play in Glasgow later this month.
Well, actually, they found me! The Punk News and Punk Calendar!
Here's what they have to say about what's going on in October (this is a straight lift from their page - which is great for me because I am in the throes of preparing to start cutting a film on Monday and won't have the nifty new photos from GonerFest 3 back for several days):
Oct 2006 6th October Elvis Costello play Speedway Meadows in San Francisco. 8th October Anti Flag play in Auckland, New Zealand. 12th October The legacy of legendary DJ John Peel will be remembered with a day of gigs across the UK .The date marks the second anniversary of John's last broadcast for the BBC. 14th October The Stranglers finish a UK tour at 53 Degrees Preston. 15th October The Horrors in Astoria NME ROCK N RIOT TOUR hits London. 20th October The New York Dolls land in Ireland and play Dublin. 22nd October Anti Flag play in Tokyo Japan. 22nd October The New York Dolls land in England and play London. Billy Talent play a major U.S. fall tour starting 23rd October Lake Buena Vista, Florida at House of Blues. 25th October The New York Dolls play Liverpool. 26th October The New York Dolls land in Scotland and play Glasgow. 30th October The Clash release all 19 singles in a box set on CD and vinyl, look out for the extras with contributions from Damon Albarn, Pete Townshend and Irvine Welsh.
Check out that punk news and calendar site. Don't forget 1976!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
International Supergroup - the international part is because of Roman Aul of Germany's Redondo Beat (wearing the white t-shirt)... the Super part is equal parts of legendary southern garage rock with the likes of three Memphis men all of whom are here via Mississippi (could this be the source of my fascination with that place?) Tyler Keith (pictured in the back of the photo), Scott Rogers (with the shades), and Jack Oblivian.
Its not unusual around these parts to stumble upon various bands chock-full of amazing players, each of whom could front a supergroup of his own. You can't spit in Memphis without hitting someone who makes great music. If you go to the Buccanneer in Memphis tonight, you will bear witness to some of the greatest music...Jack Oblivian band, Harlan T. Bobo and the Brand New Love Affairs all playing on the heels of their successful sets at Goner Fest 3.
I won't miss this.
Besides.... my camera wants one more try to stalk Harlan.... the most elusive face I've ever met. Tyler and Roman, on the other hand, were good sports about being photographed, and Jack always is....
As soon as the camera found its way to my eye, Harlan hid his face... Roman and Tyler were sitting ducks on Jack's porch and seemingly loving it. Tyler is demonstrating his very best work, suitable for the Sears catalog.
But forget about the photos tonight.... see them in the flesh. Buccanneer. It'll be a late night I'm sure. But well worth every moment of lost sleep!
While still trying to shake the fatigue and catch up on sleep (which cannot be done, it is scientifically proven)... I have this to say: I LOVE Memphis... home of Elvis Presley...soul music...Stax...The Oblivians...what? Of course...this Southern mecca of soul music and soul food and Elvis also birthed the best punk influenced band of the 90s.... and uh, the Sex Pistols played here on their 1978 tour and did not play my home town....
Here's a Memphis pictoral....
The Space/Atomic Age iconic thingie atop the Joe's Liquors sign on Poplar Avenue
The remains of the Lamar Theatre on Lamar Avenue
The Historic Home of Memphis Slim - standing in the shadows of the Stax Museum... being renovated
Studio - the glass door of the legendary Sun Studio....where it all began for Elvis... and by extension, for me.
Memphis is music city!
So, speaking of the Oblivians....Jack Oblivian has a new record out - The Flipside Kid, on Sympathy. Two words for you: GET IT!