I have to admit that I’ve never heard the last “Clash” album. Without Mick Jones they aren’t and can’t be The Clash and Strummer had some nerve pretending otherwise.
This Bill Wyman guy amazes me. How can anyone be so knowledgable and so clueless at the same time? Of course a lot of this has to be pure opinion, but I think the story of this band and therefore their best songs is simple: they started, they had talent, they developed their abilities to the fullest as much or more than any other rocknroll band ever, and they declined. But at least they declined experimenting rather than repeating themselves, musically anyway. As for the lyrics, the politics that began so refreshingly honest quickly devolved into boilerplate leftism. But even in decline they came up with a few more great songs.
To me it is completely and utterly obvious that the best Clash song is Complete Control.
I’m a fool for these riffs and this song. When I saw them they weren’t so good, or rather they were good when they actually played but spent too much time cheerleading the crowd, or trying to. Don’t tell me to clap my hands and stomp my feet, make me clap my hands and stomp my feet. Like this, and may I say “look out.”
Another cover, a song I wanted to do for decades. I was in a short-lived band called the Femme Fatales in 1981-82, with three girl singers fronting a hard pop/punk band. We played one gig, at CB’s, right after Christmas. I had a cassette off the board that was a remarkable document. The band was nails – me on guitar, Johnny Er on bass, the great Nicky D’Amico on drums and Andy Towns on keyboard and writing the songs. The girls sounded great at practice but on stage they couldn’t hear themselves and were awful. I had no idea. It was always really hard to hear the vocals on that stage, even close to the monitors which I was not. All I knew at first was that the band was nails and that the audience reaction was tepid. About three songs in I figured it out. We were just too loud, which was always the problem with girl singers in rocknroll bands: unless they screamed they couldn’t be heard above the volume. That was then, now it’s a piece of cake with technology. But the band broke up in acrimony right then, too bad because we had another gig a week later at the Left Bank in Mt. Vernon. Which we played with me and Andy singing. I had a tape of that too which is long gone, and I was eager to keep going as we were. but Johnny Er was brought really down cuz he had high hopes for the original lineup, and because he wanted to play guitar.
Anyway, I was trying to talk the Femme Fatales into doing this tune, which I always thought was just begging to be punked up. And finally I got my chance. It was recorded a couple of weeks ago but I accidentally posted the rough mix instead of the final mix. So here it is done as well as I can do it. Lead vocals Cecilia Webber, backups by Claire Webber and Nikki Bechtold, drums by the great Bill Stevenson, bass by Chris Beeble who also twirled the dials, guitars by me. Needless to say, turn it up.
While looking at more of Sister Rosetta, I stumbled onto this little documentary which is wicked good.
Thought her guitar might be a Guild also, but one of the Dixie Hummingbirds said her axe was all metal so I thought it might be a Wandre a la Buddy Miller, but who knows? There are some other vids of her playing what looks like a 335 E but not totally sure.
This is really good, though. It is also the first of I believe four 15 minute clips, so if you like this, there is more on YouTube….
Bad lyrics and bad songs go together, as do good lyrics and good songs. Most songs have a good line or two, or a bad line or two, and the rest of the words are neither here nor there. I don’t mind. I like my mindlessness intentional. If you are attempting profundity you have to be profound. Don’t tell me that “the future’s open wide.” I had guessed.
Thinking about it, good songs with bad lyrics are pretty rare. Here is one. Great tune, great sound in its way, killer drum break, even the singing is good. But the words are one embarrassment after another, and enunciated proudly so you can’t avoid them. Right from the title: I’ll melt with you? Gosh. Easy, kid. Then into “there’s nothing you and I won’t do.” Really, nothing? I tell you flat out, pal, there are going to be problems.
And I especially like “making love with you was never second-best.” Just so she (and we) know he’s got a scorecard.
They never followed it up. I saw them open for Roxy Music in 1982 and they were terrible, but the words were unintelligible. The food was bad but at least the portions were small.
Any others come to mind?
There are very few bands I would pay money to see in 2017. The Raveonettes, Social Distortion, I’m sure Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music would still be worthwhile, a few others I guess. And these guys. Name a better band. Really, I want to hear them.
We knew this was coming. The Big A claimed him some years back and he had a dignified last stand.
But today, my first thought was Gentle on My Mind, which is I think the first time I ever knew his name.
My second thought was watching them shoot Rhinestone Cowboy, the movie, on Bank Street. By them I mean Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone.
My third thought was plumbing the depths of Campbell’s time in the Wrecking Crew and the Beach Boys.
But finally, really, this bit of corny soundtrack to a good movie he starred in and contributed the soundtrack is a testament to his giant talent and versatility and big hearted spirit. A little more country than rock ‘n’ roll, a little more mainstream than any of us would like, he cut a big swath across the culture. Good for him.
This shows what Hank and the Hammerheads are doing, sort of. Two drum kits. A cheesey organ. The vocals here are more traditional hard core, but the band can percolate, and it is excellent fun watching the audience sift itself.
We recorded this a couple of weeks ago, and originally I was going to wait to “master” it, but the more I listen the more I want it exactly as it is. It’s not hard rock but it is hard pop. This one has Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag) on drums, and might be the softest he has ever played, at least on the verses. I played everything else and wrote the song, the girls are in fine form, and if Cecilia Webber is not a GREAT singer I don’t know what a great singer is. Cecilia just turned 15. I hope you enjoy it.
He took the jazz/R&B stylings of T-Bone Walker and invented a new guitar style that IS rocknroll. He turned the whole concept of “authenticity” on its ear fifteen years before it reared its misguided head, by writing perfect vignettes of white middle class teenagers as a 30-year old black man. He was sometimes bitter and sometimes difficult and had good reasons for both, but he always got his due and always will. And check out this smoking drummer, who I’d give his due if I only knew who he was. Bye bye.