Tag Archives: Pete Quaife

T.G.I.F. – Ten Absent Artists

I hope they're not lost...

As I’m going back and revisiting the year, I’m reminded once again of those artists I hoped to hear from who didn’t pop up and release an album. Some of them might just be in the normal development cycle, but for others it’s an unusual gap between efforts. I know they won’t all go on forever, but there are many who are still creating at a high level and I selfishly want more from them. I am the customer, after all, and rumor has it that I’m always right.

It’s not too much to ask, is it? Jason and The Scorchers reformed and released an absolute gemDwight Twilley came out with a brand new album this year after a half-decade of vault outtakes. Robert Klein has a new comedy release scheduled for January. I’m not going all Tinkerbell on you here, but things can happen. (Clapping hands is optional.)

So here are Ten Absent Artists – I hope each of them read this and kick it into high gear. I promise to be appreciative of the effort, and I’m hopeful that my anticipation will be replaced by a huge smile.

01) Walter Clevenger – He’s been more centered on his production work than recording. Maybe he’s busy, maybe it’s the frustration of releasing wonderful albums that failed to launch him into the mainstream. But I wish he’d keep punching that wall until it falls. Stop breaking my Paper Heart.

02) Tonio K – A repeat submission, I’m sure, and I know he’s out there because his work shows up on other people’s albums. I wish he’d just saddle up and form a band – Nashville, LA, whatever – and record his own material again. Don’t that make you want to jump right up and start to dance?

03) Fountains of Wayne – There have been a few collaborations with others, from songwriting for Russell Brand to the apparently one-off Tinted Windows project. We need your pop genius, now. Don’t give up.

04) Joe Jackson – You came out in that same “angry man” wave as Graham Parker, Elvis Costello and John Hiatt. Guess who is the only one not releasing new material? Pretty soon now, you know you’re gonna make a comeback.

05) Richard Belzer – you might think this is an odd choice, but Belz was a great stand up comic long before he made a living playing Detective John Munch. Call me a rooster on acid, but i think since he’s been popping up on celebrity roasts, he might have an album in the can.

Waiting to be rocked.

06) The Montgomery Cliffs – Man, I miss this band so bad. Great songs, great presence, big sound and a killer sense of humor. That band, she was good! Hope they reunite or Joey Salvia will have to continue to play for Republicans.

07) Artful Dodger – A lot of pop bands have reunited in the past few years, some for the cash, some out of curiosity, some purely out of the respect for their music and their fans. Artful Dodger never got the credit they deserved the first time around, and their 2006 show in Cleveland proved they still had it. Will bands who copped their style be jealous? I say there’s honor among the thieves.

08) The Faces Rod is back to spewing out collections of pop standards, but Ron, Mac and Kenney hooked up with Glen Matlock and Mick Hucknall to play a series of shows and apparently not only have more dates in 2011 but some new material to record. Rod passed, so let him go!  Seize the day, mates! And this time stay with me.

09) Love NutAndy Bopp moved from Love Nut to Myracle Brah to solo and collaborative efforts, but the pure pop power of Baltimucho needs to be revived. You could just change anything that you want, ’cause that’s alright.

10) The Kinks – Yes, I know there’s another Ray Davies album on the way. Yes, I know he and Dave have sibling issues. I hoped Pete Quaife‘s passing would have woken them up to how tentative life is, since Ray’s bullet hole didn’t do it. Come on, boys…give the people what they want.

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R.I.P. Tommy Hoehn

This is turning into a depressing weekend.

I was so startled by the loss of Pete Quaife yesterday that I didn’t even realize it was Friday and therefore time for my weekly TGIF feature. By the time it dawned on me, I didn’t really care to go back and rectify the oversight; I spent a few hours last night reading tributes and thoughts from other Kinks fans who were also saddened by his passing.

Now just a day later, more bad news. Memphis takes another kick in the nuts with the loss of Tommy Hoehn who died late Thursday night. You might not recognize his name right off the bat, but he was an integral part of the powerpop scene in Memphis and a contemporary of Big Star and other Ardent Studios artists who were plowing a different field than corporate radio in the 1970s.

Memphis is still reeling from the loss of Alex Chilton in March; now this. Besides the obvious thoughts and prayers to friends and family, my heart goes out to John Fry, Jody Stephens, Van Duren and other musicians and associates who knew and worked with Tommy for so many years.

Back in the day, it was Creem Magazine that first tipped me to Big Star and I wanted to gobble up as much of that type of music as I could find. During that expedition I discovered Losing You To Sleep, Tommy’s second album. It was on London Records and sure, with his beard and opened white shirt, he looked more like J. D. Souther or Andrew Gold than your typical powerpopper. But “Hey Polarity” and the title song knocked me out, and another track (“She Might Look My Way”) was a Chilton co-write. 

Hoehn had his hand in the jelly jar for Sister Lovers and also did some work with The Scruffs, but he slid to the melodic Paul McCartney and Emitt Rhodes side of the fence more than he did the crunchy sound of The Raspberries or Badfinger. Reportedly his musical hero was Todd Rundgren, but listening to his beautiful melodies and delicate style, you realize that his doppelgänger might have been his friend from Big Star,  Chris Bell.

Coincidentally, another album I picked up at that time was Are You Serious by Van Duren; Van would later record with Tommy as the Hoehn-Duren Band during the powerpop rebirth of the 90s,  releasing Hailstone Holiday and Blue OrangeNothing disappears on the Internet, so I can give you this link from an eleven year old blog post that sums up how they got back together after years apart. (Van has a new album out, but more about that very soon.)

The anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death is sucking all the oxygen out of the atmosphere this weekend and no doubt both Quaife and Hoehn are getting lost in the shuffle. Maybe that’s par for the course, since both were underrated and undervalued in the commercial scheme of things. But for those of us who get it, these are sad and painful goodbyes to people who have contributed far more to the music of our lives than Jacko ever could.

R.I.P., Tommy. Ironically, we’re losing you to sleep.

Scott Homewood’s 2007 essay on Tommy from Lost In The Grooves

Amy Nyman’s 2007 blog post about that Memphis scene.

Ardent Studios

***

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Dead End Street

Pete Quaife, original Kinks bassist, dead at 66.

“All those early gigs we ever played
Sometimes we were lucky if we even got paid
On the road
Pete played on the bass guitar
Liked to get around, mixing with all the stars
But Mrs. Avory’s child was all fingers and thumbs
But solid as a rock, setting time on the drums
While Dave the Rave hit the rock ‘n’ roll riffs
Yours truly strummed away with a slightly limp wrist

Ironically, Ray Davies also just turned 66 the other day. Rumors had run rampant for the last couple of years that the original band was going to reunite for one more album and tour, but I remember Ray saying he was going to do that a decade ago to celebrate the Millennium.

Now it’s too late.

Quaife was an underrated bass player and understandably so; how could you possibly stand out with the flamboyant Davies brothers out front? But listen to the early singles and albums like Face To Face, Something Else and Village Green Preservation Society and you’ll realize just how solid Quaife and Mick Avory were. They were the engine; Ray was the fuel…and Dave was the gear shift, chrome bumpers and (careful, ladies!) back seat.

Where Have All The Good Times Gone?

Pete quit the band over forty years ago (replaced by the exquisite John Dalton) but was still revered by Kinks fans worldwide. And even when he was diagnosed with renal cancer a decade ago but turned lemons into lemonade. A graphic artist after his music career, he drew cartoons during treatment that morphed from a private pleasure into wide acclaim. A collection of these were released in a book entitled The Lighter Side of Dialysis.

In Pete’s words, “For the last 10 years, I have been a dialysis patient. During those long, boring, sessions, I found that drawing cartoons was an amusing outlet for all of my frustrations with the condition, the hospital and even at times, the professionals that were treating me. I hope you can enjoy the humour in these cartoons – I know I certainly enjoyed creating them! I have tried to make light of the various situations that I know we have all had to endure at one time or another. I hope these cartoons will make your situation a little better, wherever you may be. Remember, there is always humour – even in the deepest despair.”

He had reportedly fallen ill recently, even in a coma for a short time. The passing of anyone who has endured renal issues for a decade is not a great surprise. But it’s a sad day for Kinks fans worldwide, for his chapter has closed forever. Rest in Peace, Pete.

Today will be filled with Sunny Afternoons and Waterloo Sunsets.

***

Kinda Kinks

Geoff Edgers’ tribute from Do It Again

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Do It Again, Again.

I was privileged to attend the screening of Do It Again at the Independent Film Festival Boston last night. The Somerville Theatre was packed – the film was an advance sellout and the ticket of the weekend – and the audience response was astounding. The crowd was a diverse group, with a huge contingent of traveling Kinks fans (like me!) among some friends and families of the principals and the healthy crowd that the Festival naturally attracts.

I won’t rehash the previous promos of the movie I’ve written, nor will I spoil anything for you today, as there are many warm surprises, but I highly encourage you to get to a screening and see this film. There were at least two dozen moments during the film when the entire audience broke into spontaneous applause or laughter in unison as if operating from one central nervous system.

Blending stock footage, interviews, travelogue, voice-overs and creative graphics, Do It Again’s 85 or so minutes breezed by leaving me exhilarated yet wanting more. There are moments of gut-busting laughter, moments of tender poignancy, musical encounters that will make you cringe and others that will make you cheer…and maybe even dampen that eye of yours.

  • If you are, or have ever been, a Kinks fan…you need to see this.
  • If you have ever had an obsession about a band…you need to see this.
  • If you have ever questioned your pursuit of a goal…you need to see this.
  • If you enjoy a well scripted and superbly edited documentary about a fascinating subject…you need to see this.
  • If you are a Kink and your name is Rayyou need to see this.

Here’s a taste…

I’m writing a larger piece about the film and the principals for Blurt Online and will post an excerpt and a link here in the near future. But I would be remiss if I did not send up a flare within ten minutes of my return from Boston to implore you to do whatever you have to do to see this movie as soon as possible.

Please note that I didn’t say I was happy to see the film or lucky to see the film.

I was privileged.

The Do It Again film website  – trailer, info, etc.

Geoff Edgers interview at the Full Frame Film Festival

Reviews from Nashville Scene and Variety and The Huffington Post

Back the film project on Kickstarter

Dave Davies website

Ray Davies website

Kinda Kinksunofficial website

Kinks fan club forum discussion

Ray Davies fan forum discussion

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God Save The Kinks

Still four, still fab.

…and perhaps Ray and Dave have decided to save them also. 

During an interview promoting an upcoming master class series he will be participating in, longtime drummer Mick Avory spilled some rather interesting beans. Not only are he and Ray “baking” some old unreleased Kinks tracks in the studio (there are reportedly eight ready to go!), but the efforts finally seem in place to record some new Kinks material. Those of us pining for the long-awaited Julien Temple Kinks film are now also hopeful that the recent Kinks box set will become outdated as a result, and for all the right reasons: 

New. Kinks. Music. 

Ray has always been the one to squelch rumors about any Kinks projects, citing the unwillingness to just reunite without new music. That hasn’t stopped him from taking the old chestnuts on the road or creating new projects around them, from Storytellers to The Kinks Choral Collection to a new studio effort re-recording Kinks Klassics with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and The Killers, among others. He’s currently hitting the road as an acoustic two-piece presenting forty years of Kinks songs (with The 88, an excellent band, opening the shows). 

Dave’s issues have been more cut and dried – since suffering a stroke in 2004, he has struggled to regain his strength and chops, although he did start playing some dates again. And as to his slagging Ray for “performing karaoke Kinks shows” for the past fifteen years, Ray wryly observed that Dave’s sarcasm was a good sign that he is getting back to normal. 

Of course, these reunion rumors have been going on forever. But to Mick’s point, Ray seems to have turned the corner regarding new music. In a November 2009 interview Ray spoke about missing The Kinks and the desire to make a new album with Avory, Ian Gibbons and others, but the key was if Dave was willing. That could be the very thing that gets Dave to bury the hatchet…and not in Ray’s head

To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, “we wait with bated breath“. 

Ray Davies - Prince of the Punnnnks

And speaking of the Legends Master Class series, check out the website. If you hit the main page you might be put off by the offer to rehearse and write in the same room used by Lady Gaga or…um… master where Robbie Williams did (hand sanitizer not included). But forge ahead to the 2010 schedule where the teachers include respected icons like Avory, Chris Difford, Glen Matlock and the great Ian McLagan. Plus any event that winds up at Bill Wyman‘s pub for lunch is alright by me. The fun starts in April, so plenty of time to sign on; sounds a lot better than Rock&Roll Fantasy Camp to me. 

The only fan site you need: KindaKinks.net 

A Kollection of Kinks Klips

Do It Again

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