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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Know You Fine - But How You Doin?
Oblivians and Gories...Gories and Oblivians

There will be some fine house-rockin' in Memphis, TN this weekend and two garage-rock-legends-in-their-own-time bands perform on the same bill in one of their hometowns.  This garage rock n roll extravaganza takes place at the Hi Tone (which did you know is at the location of Elvis's former Dojo.  True.)

Soul Man

The distinguished man pictured above is Mick Collins, a legend in his own time within garage rock circles. He is one-third of the Gories, a trio from Detroit that was instrumental in kick starting the garage rock renaissance of the 1990s.  Dan Kroha, whose Demolition Doll Rods made a name for themselves in the later years of the garage rock renaissance, with their outrageous stage clothes (or lack thereof) and gospel-driven thrash, was the other guitarist in the Gories, and Peggy O'Neill their drummer.

Also in the 1990s in Memphis, the Southern alter-ego of the kind of music town Detroit is, the The Oblivians were garage rockin', and doing that Memphis thing of combining it with their own brand of rock n roll n soul n gospel to create a genre-defying music of their own.

Both the Gories and Oblivians set (or revived, as the case may be, depending upon your point of view of rock n roll chronology) a standard for all-guitars and NO BASS in this genre of relentless fast furious rock n roll that always sounded as if it could fall apart at any moment, but was played so in the moment that you, the listener, as well as the band, could make it hang together.  (Other Detroit bands with no bass:  Bantam Rooster, White Stripes....  70s bands with no bass:  The Cramps and sometimes Led Zeppelin, although John Paul Jones played the bass parts on his Hammond organ foot pedals...)

Greg Cartwright (pictured at the right), Jack Yarber and Eric Friedl, in Ramones fashion, adopted their group name as surnames and then proceeded to rock the world as Greg, Jack and Eric OBLIVIAN.

Also like their punk rock precursors, The Oblivians launched their recorded music career in true DIY fashion, forming their own label and self-releasing a split cassette with another local band, Impala.  Thus was born Goner Records - which has turned into a sizeable culture and lifestyle.

I guess that's a condition of the epoch in which we live:  The Postmodern.

Jack Yarber, Oblivian

As culture grows, it is both cumulative (and therefore derivative) and diminishing (thanks in large part to it being derivative)...  there's nothing new under the sun.

However...  if future generations can get turned on to Memphis or Detroit rock n soul or vintage garage rock or punk because of bands who were influenced by the Oblivians and Gories, then that's OK with me...  as for how you come to appreciate the Ramones, however...  there's a better backwards path than Green Day.  I would suggest listening to Oxford, Mississippi's Black and Whites... like the Ramones meet the Real Kids in the South.

Jack and Eric
Eric Friedl, Oblivian

Detroiters can look forward to this awesome double bill on June 27 at the Majestic Theatre.  Europeans can look forward to a 2-week Gor/Blivians tour starting July 3.  

Considering the date... maybe 2009 with the Gories and Oblivians hitting Europe, there will be another surge of good new music from The Continent, reminiscent of recent history when the Ramones invaded London on July 4, 1976, showing UK punks how it was done (and don't you know that none other than Johnny Rotten and Joe Strummer were BOTH in that audience!), gabba gabba hey.

Now, that's postmodernism for ya!

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