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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Early & Lasting Influences

Iggy-Green, originally uploaded by Cool Auntie.

Iggy, 1977, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

I just learned yesterday that this concert was the first concert In the Red Records main man Larry Hardy attended. Cool! (FYI, my first concert was the Lovin' Spoonful in Anaheim, CA in 1968)

Learning that leads me on two paths - first... I keep finding out and/or meeting people whom I may have stood next to a million times in the past, but never met them til now. Just thought that was peculiar, but happens all the time.

Second - Your first music memories and how they influenced you.

I first met and bonded with Darby Crash in that age-old tradition of camping out for tickets to big rock shows. Glam rockers Bowie and Queen formed the bond for us.

Darby Crash 1977
Darby Crash, 1977

Not long after we attended those shows, Paul, who was calling himself Bobby Pyn changed his punk name again to Darby Crash, emulated or paid homage to Iggy, and the cult of the Germs was born.

Iggy made safe the public display of self-destructive tendencies. Performers like Darby Crash perpetuated it, while others, like Stiv Bators and the Dead Boys kicked it up a notch, by virtue of being able to play for bigger audiences, and Stiv's undying sense of show-biz schtick-ery.

Stiv, Live

As much as I love so many of the bands in the "Class of '77," I really do think what kick-started it all was Iggy with the Stooges, as well as the New York Dolls.

David & Syl
David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain

What the Dolls brought to the party was trash, sleaze and a particularly fantastic sense of homage to the blues and rock n roll greats like Bo Diddley. The Doll's cover of "Pills," a Diddley composition, has got to be one of the best ever covers in rock n roll, hands down.

Back in the day, one looked to labels like Seymour Stein's Sire Records, for music they could count on: The Ramones, Dead Boys, and Pretenders are only three of the outstanding punk bands that come to mind. IRS Records was also the home of home-grown punk rock. From the UK, one could always count on Rough Trade, Island, Stiff as well as producers like producers like Nick Lowe to bring forth reliable new music.

Today, amid a plethora of indie labels, both long-standing and upstart, I look to two labels: In the Red and Sympathy for the Record Industry. Each has a formidable roster of great garage/punk bands and I know when I pick up something on either label, I'm probably going to like it. In the Red has released records by my two favorite bands of the 90s-00's -- The Dirtbombs and The Reigning Sound. Sympathy just put out the Mumps comp, which gives them a million gold stars in my book. They also released the first efforts by the White Stripes, and between In the Red and Sympathy, the entire Detroit scene is pretty much covered.

Lance & the Crocodile Tears dance
Lance Loud of Mumps

Coming out of Anaheim, CA (site of not just Disneyland, but my first concert - The Lovin' Spoonful) is a band on Sympathy, The Willowz. They're kids. Literally, all under 25. When I saw them at Christmas time in LA, I was transported back to my own youthful days in the 70s.

Seriously, both labels have way too many excellent bands for me to name-check all of them, so visit their websites. Here are some of my faves, however:

Dirtbombs, Reigning Sound (on both labels), Hunches, Cheater Slicks, Ponys, Deadly Snakes, Tearjerkers, Gun Club (archives on Sympathy!) and many more.

Go buy some records today! Its Saturday. A good day to shop.

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