The Tar Babies: A Sampler

The guitarist from the Tar Babies, Bucky Pope,  has a new album out with a band called Negative Example. Ben Ratliff tells me so in the NY Times. He calls Pope “one of the great non virtuosic guitarists of the era.”

Here’s a Tar Babies song,  Rockhead.

Here’s another tune.

Well, actually, it’s hard to tell who are Tar Babies and who are other bands called Tar Babies. But this is their first release, a 12″ put together from sessions produced by Butch Vig and Bob Mould. It’s a much heavier headbanging sound than the funk-inflected tunes above.

Tar Babies were from Madison Wisconsin in the 1980s. They reformed in the 90s for an elpee, and then played some more in the Aughts as the Bar Tabbies.

The only Negative Example album I could find on YouTube was this cover of the Beach Boys Disney Girls.


Brett Smiley is Dead.

Screenshot 2016-01-18 23.41.43There’s a lot of dying going on, but this afternoon I read a story in yesterday’s NY Times about a singer songwriter I’d not heard of. Brett Smiley had the aim back in the day to be a similarly big star in the glam rock world as David Bowie, and coincidentally died two days before Bowie, at age 60.

Josh Max became friendly with Smiley in Central Park in the 80s. They played guitars together, critiqued each others songs, but it wasn’t until Max looked Smiley up on the internet after his death that he learned the whole story, which involves Andrew Loog Oldham, a scrapped 1974 album that wasn’t released until 30 years later, oh, and the drugs. But Max does a convincing job introducing Smiley as a genuine nice guy whose story is certainly sad but maybe not exactly tragic.

Loog Oldham recorded that original album, but after the release of the first single (Space Age b/w Va-va-va Voom), he pulled the record. It wasn’t put out until 2004. The reason?

Max writes: “I just refused to let them release the album,” Mr. Oldham said. “I knew it would be a disaster, and we’d already had one — the 45 r.p.m. release of ‘Space Ace,’ ” a song from the record.

You be the judge.




HANZ KRYPT: Real Remnants

Hanz Krypt (or HANZ KRYPT) is

These guys had big ambitions in the mid 80s, and snagged the lead vocalist from Vermin. The future was written.

Things didn’t work out that way. They’ve posted their elpee on YouTube and it isn’t totally outlandish to call them the American Black Sabbath. That’s how good they sound.

Here’s their YouTube bio:

The band Hanz Krypt was formed in 1984 by bass player Mark Hayes and guitarist Phil Pedritti along with Larry Farkus on guitar. They were soon joined by vocalist Vincent Farrentino who left the band Vermin to join Hanz Krypt. Hanz Krypt has been called the American Black Sabbath. Although they do have a doom and gloom sound, they really sound like no one else.
The band performed throughout Southern California opening for such major acts as Foghat, Robin Trower, and Slayer. Along the way built a strong following and were friends with Metallica, Slayer, and Saint Vitus. Now 20 years later the band has reunited with all original members. The band is set to record a new CD and tour throughout the world. Hanz Krypt look forward to a very exciting new year please check us on Facebook and Youtube.

On the other hand, their most popular song, Rainbow Goblins, isn’t a hit by any means. And the sound of their album isn’t that good. On the other other hand, it sounds pretty rockin’. And I love the stills that make up the video.

The better story here is that a band of rockers, in 1984-1986, find themselves 30 years later, commenting on YouTube about all the hot new stuff they’re going to release. Bring it on!

I don’t mention this to mock their commitment, though objectively it is probably misguided, but to celebrate their sound and embrace of the rock. I love finding a band like Hanz Krypt, a band with history and a big sound, then learning more about those who love them and their sound.

More live video please, Mr. Hanz.



The Senders, Radar Love (with UPDATE)

I’m sure this video does these die hards a disservice, but it also defines the problem of rocking but maybe not being all that original.

The Senders were considered New York’s best bar band. At some point. That’s not a bad thing, especially when the PBR and Cosmos are flowing.

And it doesn’t mean they didn’t rock in their day, though this is weak.

So, Radar Love. By the Senders.

UPDATE: This is not the New York City band called the Senders. This is a Rhode Island band called The Senders, who have been playing out and around for more than 25 years, which is pretty cool. But they’re not the best bar band in the world. Or New York City.

Peter Wolf, Tragedy

Screenshot 2015-06-07 01.05.03This is a live video recorded on, maybe, an iPhone a couple of years ago. It got me thinking about what a Remnant is. The first two J Geils Band albums are great, and the next three were hugely popular. This is a guy who had Mick Jagger singing backup vocals on one of his solo records, and is still playing out, in smaller venues.

He’s put together what sounds like a pretty fine band, and is entertaining fans now more than 40 years after the debut J Geils Band album. More power to him, for sure. A classic and a remnant, at once.

Night Music: Chin-Chin, “Dark Days”

Three girls love punk and form a band, though their musical training is a little thin. This is the plot of the great Swedish movie from 2014, We’re the Best, but it’s also a Swiss story from the city of Biel in 1984. The girls call themselves Chin-Chin, find a singer and record an EP. They start playing live, the singer leaves and they record an album with some pretty swell songs in 1985. This is one of them, and I bet you haven’t heard it before.

Breakfast Blend: Silke Berlinn and the Addictions

So, I dug some more after last night’s post, and I found Silke Berlinn and her band, the Addictions.

I’d never heard of Silke, but her bio is a rampage of reference and namedropping, with confusing punctuation and a style that takes the long view. I’ve bolded one graf simply because it seems like the most honest and least self-aggrandizing, and is genuinely funny. Plus she admits hanging with GG Allin.


Silke Berlinn, a “proto-punk” vocalist renowned for her exceptional and broad-ranging vocal abilities with rhythm-and-blues feel. Silke, once called the female alter-ego of lead singer, Willie Borsey (with whom she once lived) of Mink deVille, is often compared to Amy Winehouse. Silke began singing in Catholic girls’ choirs at the age of 5, perfecting her style with the help of blues greats Charles “Blue Boy” Huff, one of Sam Cooke’s original Soul Stirrers, Oakland blues greats Hi-Tide Harris and Cool Pappa among others. Silke has studied voice from the time she was a child and her distinct vibratto-rich vocal style is at once reminiscent of great girl-group vocalists Ronnie Ronette & Mary Wells with the unleashed performance qualities of a Janis Joplin or Tina Turner and more recently, Amy Winehouse (with whom Addictions guitarist, Eric Zodik, was linked. Silke’s poetry has been compared to that of Patti Smith

Silke Berlinn began singing in San Francisco underground bands at the age of 15 when she left home in NYC to join the original members of Mink deVille, started by Robbie McKenzie was later known as Fast Floyd & The Famous Firebirds. Willie Borsey, lead singer of Mink deVille & childhood friend of McKenzie, left Connecticut for San Francisco at McKenzie’s importuning, urging Willie to join McKenzie (now known as “Floyd”), bassist Ruben Siguenza and Oakland drummer Manfred Jones in McKenzie’s newly-formed band which he called “Mink deVille.” Floyd did not want to move back to NYC permanently, leaving Mink deVille to form Fast Floyd & The Famous Firebirds with Silke in 1979.

After recording “Bizarre” with the assistance of Bill Graham Presents, Silke & Floyd had a falling out (he began stalking her with a gun when she left him for Addictions guitarist Spike Mayfield (n. Keith M Dailidenas, aka Keeth Paul, Keeth Mayfield, seminal member of the entourages of David Bowie, New York Dolls, & Teen-Age Lust)

Silke fled Los Angeles for New York City, followed shortly thereafter by guitarist Keeth “Spike” Paul and other members of The Addictions, which, over the years, came to include Brendan Earley (The Mutants); Steve Berman (The Victims); Jerry Nolan (New York Dolls, The Heartbreakers, Richie Scarlett, Teen-Age Lust); Frankie Infante (Blondie); Clement Burke (Blondie); Johnnie Opat (Etta James); Clarence Clemmons (E Street Band); The Hooters; drummer, Richie Spinoza; Luigi Scorcia, avatar of NYC’s 90s Swing Scene (Johnny Thunders, The Casualties, Lords of the New Church, Phreddy Vomit, Them Bowery Bums); Steve McKay (Iggy Pop); The Dangerous Birds; Andy Paley; Billy Bacon; Billy Balls; Ruben Siguenza (Mink deVille); and saxophonist, Manhattan Rob Walsh. Silke had a three-record contract with Columbia Records negotiated with former Blondie manager, Gino Riccardi, which she failed to fulfill after a nervous breakdown in the late eighties.

She has been linked romantically with Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys); DeeDee Ramone (Ramones); Jerry Nolan (New York Dolls, Heartbreakers, Teen Age Lust); Fast Floyd (Mink deVille, Fast Floyd, Offs); & Addictions’ guitarist, Keith Dailidenas (David Bowie, Richie Scarlett, New York Dolls, Teen Age Lust.) Silke in known to caution those with a potential romantic interest: “I only get involved with guitarists and most of the guitarists I get involved with die.”

Silke has co-written, recorded, played, and/or toured with most of the above-mentioned artists.
Her memoir, “Queen of the Underground,” one of three she has written, chronicles her life as a notable figure of the “heroin chic” in the late 80s New York underground scene is being currently serialized in the music publication, Teenage News. At age 26, Silke’s first volume of poetry, “Palace of Perversion” was published by a prominent university press.

She currently seeks a major publisher for her three memoirs. We include a passage from “Queen of the Underground”:

Cheetah Chrome: “What’s this?”

Silke Berlinn: “It’s my wrist after the other love of my life (Keeth) slashed it with a straight-edge razor & i went to the hospital & got 60 stitches because when she got home that night, Vicki Schrott said i was bleeding to death because i went to bed after Keeth slashed my wrist, it was just a little love bite anyway, & Keeth & I played in bands together for the next 5 years anyway… but it is true, the slashing did end any thoughts I had of a guitar-playing career, which was a good thing anyway, because it never even started so I wouldn’t have to sit around practicing guitar chords anymore trying to be a hardcore Patti Smith, it was a relief—-i always fall in love with the weirdest people.”

Over the years, Silke has collaborated extensively with guitarist, Luigi Scorcia, impresario of the New York underground as a photographer, videographer and musician having played, recorded and/or toured with Johnny Thunders, Cheetah Chrome, Stiv Bators, Steve Jones and Chris Spedding among others. He is a co-writer of Asphalt Punk, Silke Berlinn’s much-anticipated third album with The Addictions.

Among the band’s ecumenical influences are the Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop, Tommy James and The Shondells, The Mamas and The Papas, Thunderclap Newman, any and all things Motown or Phil Spector, Sixties garage bands, Mink deVille, Bush, John Murry, Biggie Smalls, Cypress Hill, GG Allin, The Flamin’ Groovies, Mary Wells, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, Social Distortion, The Dead Boys and The Ramones, among others.

The music? I like Candy better, but I bet they would be fun live.