Bill’s Sperm

Obviously, there was a lot of fun to be had years ago (and it still holds up today!) with this early Descendents’ gem. It occurred to me this week that in perhaps the song’s most celebrated lyric, “Do you want Bill’s sperm with that?” that sperm would be produced by none other than Gene’s now friend and musical compadre, drummer Bill Stevenson.

This is something you should investigate further, Gene.

The Biters Forge Ahead

Things to know:

1) I feel guilty for liking this Bolan forgery so much.

2) It’s the “soco, soco, soco. . .” part.

3) They’re not even from Sweden! Atlanta, actually.

4) The singer is prettier and probably half as masculine as Joan Jett, whose look he forged. (Joan Jett did plenty of Bolan forging herself so it all comes full circle.)

1970 Classic Nuggets: Tighter, Tighter, and Ride Captain Ride

The good old Spotify shuffle dug these choice pop tunes from 1970 out the other day as I was driving to the golf course (was I driving in order to drive?) and I was reminded of a couple of things.

One, is both are just classic pop/rock gems from the era, with pretty lush and thoughtful productions. The second is both songs feature not just one, but two guitar solos, the first of which falls after a couple of verses, the second to close out the song.

What is different is that in both, that second solo gives the guitar player a chance to cut loose, and by most 1970 pop song standards, both guys shred and push their sound as much as anyone.

First off is Tighter, Tigher, by Alive’n’Kicking. Alive’n’Kicking were actually discovered by Tommy James, who got the group signed to his Roulette label. James wrote the song Crystal Blue Persuasion  for Alive’n’Kicking, but liked it so much he kept the song for the Shondells.

However, as a gesture, James gave Tighter, Tighter to the band who scored a hit in a song which does bridge 60’s pop (ie, there are trumpets) with the pop influenced by Psychedelia and Brit Pop. Add that great Hammond organ, and guitar work by Dave Shearer and a sparkling catchy tune is the result. (Note these are two of the funkiest videos ever: maybe even funkier than those early Clash ones.)

The Blues Image were a Florida-based band who moved to LA at just the right time, making it to the strip and signed to Atco, releasing a second album in 1970 that included Ride Captain Ride.

For Ride Captain Ride Kent Henry–who went on to play with Steppenwolf–played the first solo and fills, and then Mike Pinera did the shredding at the end. Pinera moved on to play with Iron Butterfly and then Alice Cooper, and his band-mates did work with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and Manassas. (This is one funky video, BTW.)

It is kind of sad that song production has changed from those lush 60’s sounds of Motown and Phil Spector and George Martin, to Jack Nietschze and Sonny Bono, and even into guys like Steve Lillywhite. Somehow, though, it seems like electronics have kind of purified music kind of like CGI has changed film.

I am OK with that progress, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss what used to be too.

Some Sound Advice

Just finished reading a book that was a Christmas present from my girlfriend. It’s called There, I said it – Bob Dylan is overrated. She knows the author/editor (Joshua Shelov), I forget how. Maybe she knows somebody who knows him.

Anyway, for me, the book concept gets an A. The execution, maybe a C. It’s some disappointingly short essays by different intelligent folks (some ESPN people, film people, actual professional musicians, etc.) each taking a personal crack at an untouchable artist.

The Dylan essay is good (by the author/editor, presumably where the entire project began). I like the Steely Dan essay. I think the Stevie Wonder essay is well done.

On the contrary, the Beatles essay never gives any kind of concrete reason whatsoever for not liking The Beatles. The Billy Joel author’s essay proves to me that the guy knows way too much about Billy Joel’s music to hate it. (Plus, he tries way too hard to be funny, as do some others.)

Frankly, I think the four founding Remnants would do a much better job producing the same book.

Go buy it if you’re intrigued. My girlfriend would be happy you supported Joshua Shelov. It’s certainly a quick and easy read.

Within the book, there’s mention of “a bit floating around the internet, with Dave Grohl railing against American Idol, how it’s destroying music, and so on.” As sad as I think it is (in more ways than one) that Dave Grohl seems to be the only official spokesman for rock ‘n’ roll anymore, I had to find it.

This is the best match I could find. Perhaps you’ve seen this a million times already; I had not. Although I wish it were nastier and more direct, as a guy who certainly believes the popular music of today is firmly in the shitter, it speaks much truth.

Since No One Else Is Posting Anyway. . .

Here’s another Primal Scream.

Condensed Wiki story of this band, for those who care or not:

1) The singer was the drummer for Jesus & Mary Chain.

2) They did all kinds of critically acclaimed experimental stuff early on.

3) Eventually, they decided to do a simple, straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll album, Riot City Blues, where both the songs I posted live. It was critically meh, with some severe pans.

4) This song was their biggest hit single in England. I don’t think it’s as good as the other one, but it’s good enough that I’m gonna buy the album. Will report back later if necessary. The video is easy to watch, if nothing else.

Afternoon Snack: The Who, “Jaguar” and “Rael”

I have been listening to the complete reissue of The Who Sell Out, which has the original tracks and bits of commercials supporting Peter Townshend’s penchant to make an album a cohesive unit.

Townshend, as most of you likely know, imagined the album as a daily radio program on the BBC, so he sprinkled in radio spots, largely performed by the band making the music sparkly, the ads goofy and funny, and the entire work just so different and musically prescient that the whole affair just kills me. In fact, The Who Sell Out is my favorite album by the band.

With the reissue all the original cuts are indeed there, along with the released spots, but there are almost 30 cuts on this, with several takes on several songs in several styles making the whole smorgasbord kind of fascinating in so many ways.

But, at the core is the music which my mate Steve Gibson called alternative, even though the album was released 10 years before the Sex Pistols saw daylight.

If you listen to the song below, Jaguar, I think you will see what Steve means.

If you drop down to Rael, you will find an instrumental riff that worked its way into Underture from Tommy.

 

 

Oh The Times Square They are a Changing

Diane and I are in New York for our vacation. Actually, I came to participate in the FSTA football draft, which is great as it means seeing so many friends from the fantasy sports world. The draft was part of the annual summer convention put on by the organization and since we both love visiting our most vibrant city so much, the convention was an easy excuse to plan an hiatus around.

One of the things I always do when I am in the Big Apple is stop by Rudy’s Music, on W. 48th street. Aside from just loving to look at guitars, Rudy’s always has, or had, a bunch of beautiful vintage axes that are more than wonderful to gawk at.

Over the years, I have purchased stuff there, too. Before boutique pedals were as readily available as they are today, I got my “King of the Brits” pedal and also my Fulltone “Choral Flange” at Rudy’s who always had easy access to such stuff when all Guitar Center would carry was BOSS (not knocking that company, in fact I use their digital tuners for all my setups).

Even more, I fell in love with Hofner basses at Rudy’s, playing one there, and then knowing that was my next purchase (Diane actually bought one for me as a present some years back and I do indeed love it to pieces).

So, this trip, first day of stumbling around mid-town, we met my cousin Richard at Virgil’s for lunch (another serious ritual, and if you like wings, Virgil’s has the best ones on the planet) and were walking around just soaking the city in when I suggested walking over to Rudy’s. Last year, I got a leather necklace there with a little carved guitar, and somewhere the guitar got lost, so I wanted to get a new one.

Much to my shock and dismay, Rudy’s was gone, and all that remained was an empty storefront. There is still the Rudy’s in Soho, functioning away, but no more mid-t0wn. So, at least to get in a guitar fix, I walked up the street to Manny’s, a music store possibly more famous than Rudy’s as that is where the Ramones hung and bought their gear, for example.

But Manny’s too was gone, again leaving an empty storefront in its wake.

I talked to a couple of people and asked what happened, and, well, the Times Square area is indeed undergoing a major renovation, and property is being snatched up, and Rudy’s and Manny’s were part of the toll of progress.

I understand this: the past will inevitably fall behind and become quaint (although nostalgia does often foster a comeback from falling out of favor) and outdated and dismissed in lieu of the next big relative thing. And, of course, profit will always sneak into the equation as well.

Anyway, for some reason, as I mused the loss of Manny’s and Rudy’s, I kept coming to this 1965 hit by the Trade Winds, New York’s a Lonely Town which essentially has nothing to do with any of this save the NYC locale, and perhaps the thoughts of things lost.

So, here it is. The song is kind of hoaky, but in a perfect 60’s way, I think.

Afternoon Snack: The Fresh & Onlys, “Waterfall”

I was talking music during Tout Wars with Sirius/XM’s Kyle Elfrink, continuing a discussion we had begun a couple of weeks earlier at LABR.

As part of the process I sent vids of Jefferson Airplane and now Richard Thompson to Kyle, while he turned me onto this Northern California band, The Fresh & Onlys.

I am not so sure about the name, and I listened to the entire album, Play it Strange which is ok, but somewhat limited in sound scope in my opinion.

But, the bay area band does deliver on this tune which hearkens both The Flaming Groovies and the Bodeans to me.

Still, like this song a lot!

 

Afternoon Snack” Def Leppard, “Armageddon It”

Def Leppard is a band I paid no attention to during their heyday, and truth is, I have listened to some of their stuff of late, and it all kind of sounds the same.

But, this song–which is clearly in their sound wheelhouse–is just a great little pop/rock tune with great drums and fun (if simple) guitar pyrotechnics.

You can love it or hate it, but it is a perfect little pop tune.