Tag Archives: The Sex Pistols

T.G.I.F. – Ten For Joey Ramone

Joey Ramone would have turned sixty yesterday.

That’s inconceivable. It’s also hard to believe that so many older bands – who easily endured as much drugs and demonic activity as their younger followers – are still out there banging away when three of the founding Ramones are gone.

But time has taught us what only the die-hard fans knew at the time – The Ramones were one of the greatest American rock bands to ever take the stage. Initially classified as punk, they were really more of a hard, loud pop band who got in, banged out a few chords and got out without wasting your time. You not only could sing along with all the songs, you could play them. But there was magic in their direct simplicity, and Johnny Ramone was a very underrated rhythm guitar player.

Hard to believe that last month marked ten years since we lost him. Ten years! I feel like I’ve been in a coma; time shouldn’t move that fast.

But even though The Ramones are gone, their legacy lives on through their recorded work and the many bands who continue to carry the flag. Sure, there are the obvious ones, everyone from The Sex Pistols to Green Day.

But in honor of Joey – a fellow Queens guy – here are Ten For Joey Ramone…ten lesser known bands who took heed when American music was restructured back in 1974. Turn it up – gabba gabba hey!

(01) – Teenage Bottlerocket

(02) – The Huntingtons

(03) – The Methadones

(04) – The Leftovers

(05) – The Lillingtons

(06) – Screeching Weasel

(07) – The Riverdales

(08) – The Vindictives

(09) – The Queers

(10) – Teen Idols

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New Album! Michael Monroe

Holy Crap! This puppy smokes.

If you like glam rock, you already know that singer Michael Monroe has A-list credentials. And when it comes to powering such a band, it doesn’t get much better than a band featuring Sami Yaffa on bass and both Ginger and Steve Conte on guitar. And while even I had to look up a guy called Karl Rockfist – because that’s just too great a last name for a drummer – I soon realized it was actually Karl Rosqvist, skin pounder for The Chelsea Smiles.

So if you think you’d like a band that combines Hanoi Rocks, The Dictators, The Wildhearts, The New York Dolls and The Sex Pistols, this one’s for you. and while the first album, the Jack Douglas produced Sensory Overdrive, isn’t out yet…Another Night In The Sun (Live In Helsinki) is. A combination of old favorites and covers, it kicks ass from the first note and proves that the band is as tight as it is talented. That might mean no Wildhearts or Dolls shows for a while, but I think we’ll survive.

“Me and the guys in the band decided to record a live album – something for the fans to have while they’re waiting for our actual studio album due to be release in the early part of (2011)…”

Video: “Nothin’s Alright”

 

We're coming to your town, we're gonna party it down

 

 

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Under The Radar: Bad Rackets

Another blind grab from the CD racks today (a little musical roulette game I play when I’m not sure what I’m in the mood to hear). Gotta love an album titled Full On Blown Apart, especially when that’s what you feel like doing to your head. The band describes their sound as cheap beer sizzling on vacuum tubes.

I never heard of The Bad Rackets before or since, so I’m figuring they’re a likely candidate to have sailed under your radar as well. Unfortunately it looks like they shuffled personnel in 2009 and then finally bit the dust. But they left us this testament to the effort, so we got that going for us…which is nice.

If nothing else, you have to see this hilarious video. (No, it’s never too late to take a shot at George W. Bush).

Video:  “Somebody Dropped The Baby

Here’s my review from a 2006 issue of Pop Culture Press:

Austin’s powerpop-punk quartet fills the void between early sloppy Replacements and…well, the early Replacements if they were just a little tighter. In other words, the alcoholic vocals and off key guitar solos are propped up by the brash power chords of the Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols mixed with the throbbing bass lines and snare-snapping drums of (your favorite Britpop band name here).

It’s young, it’s loud and it’s snotty, and if that phrase reminds you of a certain band, you’re on the right track. If not, how about song titles like “Porno Magazines”, “Everybody’s A Loser” and “Atom Smasher” (that’s parts one and two, mind you). Just like the early Mats, Kevin Owens’ vocals and the raw musicianship are enough of a rough edge to terrify program directors from coast to coast. But that’s why God gave you a pair of ears, Sparky.

The guys in Bad Rackets are all Texas bar rats and club band vets, though sight unseen you’d swear it was four eighteen year olds plagiarizing their older brother’s punk pop collection for the first time. Damned if there aren’t multiple hooks in every song, and if you aren’t bouncing off the wall or changing lanes like a madman while songs like “CandyDish” are melting your car speakers, something is seriously wrong with you. Get the chairs off the dance floor and start self medicating, because you’re gonna need it.

The Bad Rackets on MySpace

Listen to clips at Amazon

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T.G.I.F. – Rock Me Out Of This

It’s been a really shitty week.

Letdowns. Oral surgery. Roy Oswalt traded to the Phillies.

I need some great songs to break me out of this. I need loud guitars, sing-along choruses, air guitar opportunities. I need to rock my way out of this funk.

So from one of the greatest hits-that-never-was (“Understanding Jane”) to classic guitar wanking (Leslie West) to the Johnny Winter Experience (yes, you read that right), here are Ten Terrific Tracks sure to wipe that glum off your puss

(01) The Sex Pistols  –  “Anarchy In The U.K.”

(02) The Icicle Works  –  “Understanding Jane

(03) The Kinks  – “Rats

(05) The Johnny Winter Experience  –  “Bonie Maronie

(05) Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds  –  “Train Tracks

(06) Mountain  –  “Mississippi Queen

(07) Archie Powell and the Exports  –  “Enough About Me

(08) Iggy and the Stooges  –  “Raw Power

(09) The Wildhearts  –  “Battleship Chains

(10) The Faces  –  “Pool Hall Richard

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Stand Up Wit…Dwight York!

(It’s never too late to pimp a comedy CD. This review was submitted to a magazine that never left the drawing board. Now it’s here for you.)

Dwight York does not want to waste your time.

As the title suggests, York is a rapid-fire guy firmly in the laughs-per-minute mode. Him starting a show by saying “I hope you like jokes” is like Butch Cassidy telling The Sundance KidI hope you like water” after they jump off that cliff…because here it comes, ready or not.

Quickies is certainly funny enough to appeal universally. York isn’t constantly mining the deep subtleties that a Steven Wright (or even Mitch Hedberg) base their punch lines upon, but he is clever as hell. In other words, you don’t have to think below the surface all the time, but often you’ll be rewarded if you do. His laid-back nature and off-putting style looks casual, but his persona is the result of almost twenty years of grinding it out from part-time comic to joke writer to performer.

Between his dramatic enunciation and his twisted logic, his style is most reminiscent of Emo Philips; if you like Emo, you will love Dwight York. He has the skill to drop a corny but funny line, follow it with a subtle but filthy joke, and then toss up an ironic statement (which those getting the subtle joke a second too late are still laughing over, of course). Then rinse and repeat – he’s got a million of ’em, and the gold far exceeds the clunkers.

Listen to some clips on Amazon.

Although most of his  jokes are short and sweet, he resists the temptation to blast through them at a machine gun pace. He’s got great timing and delivery, and although he’s the antithesis of the storyteller comic, he does weave in some great call backs. You’ll find yourself wanting him to keep peppering your brain with zingers even though part of you is crying out for a chance to breathe.

Recorded at the Skyline Comedy Club (Appleton, Wisconsin), Quickies boasts great production quality; everything is crystal clear even though the audience is laughing hard from start to finish. And since it clocks in about 50 minutes, you (like them) should be prepared for aching ribs afterwards.

Visit Dwight York on MySpace and at his his website.

Dwight’s page at Stand Up! Records

The Vile File (Jokes too Sick For The Stage). Excerpts here.

***

And R.I.P. Malcolm McLaren, fashion impresario and partial ringleader of the circus known as The Sex Pistols. Whether you believe the story told in The Great Rock And Roll Swindle, The Filth and the Fury or There’ll Always Be an England, McLaren was anything from an opportunist to a Svengali. But he was in the middle of it all, wasn’t he?

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New Album! The Hot Rats

So...what are the other two Supergrassians doing?

I love tribute albums more than I should, and when a band tosses a well placed cover into their set or onto their own album it can often be a real treat. And while playing the song straight can be reverential, adding your own flavor to the stew can often be far more rewarding. On Turn Ons we get both from The Hot Rats. While that latter name may call to mind one of Frank Zappa‘s greatest albums, it is also what two famous UK pop stars call their fun side project. 

Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey of Supergrass have teamed up with producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck, Travis) for an album of well-chosen covers of some of their favorite artists including The Kinks, Squeeze, The Doors, Gang of Four, Elvis Costello and David Bowie among others. While some of the songs (i.e. the Lou Reed stomper “I Can’t Stand It”) are made for the stripped down thumping, you will be amazed at how they approached songs by The Sex Pistols and The Beastie Boys

Despite the limited instrumentation, the versatility on the album separates The Hot Rats from the pack of bands flailing to surf the wake of The White Stripes. Simplicity merely repeated gets monotonous, but The Hot Rats wisely employed Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich to add his brush to their canvas, and the result is an exciting and surprising collaboration. At its core it’s brimming with the exuberance and fearlessness of a garage band, and with twelve tracks in just over half an hour, one is left wanting more

Read my full review in Blurt Online.

And yes - grab this too!

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Listen, People (Part 2)

On Thursday I waxed poetic about a recent concert featuring The Rascals, The Turtles and Herman’s Hermits and left off at intermission. Here’s the rest…

Peter Noone 2009

I wondered why Herman’s Hermits was set up as the sole act past intermission, an obvious headline ploy (as if the posters didn’t make it clear enough).  As the lights dimmed after intermission, a huge Union Jack dropped down across the upstage scrim in tandem with explosive fanfare and British anthems blaring. But when Peter Noone hit the stage with four younger, energetic musicians dressed as if it was 1964, my question was answered. The British were coming…again!

Peter Noone is 62 but looks like he’s in his mid-40s and sings like he’s in his 20s. In reality, by the time he was twenty, Herman’s Hermits were just about done. But on this night in a packed auditorium, the only sign of age was in the crowd; the band was on fire and gave the songs a boost they never had in their original form; for the most part they sounded as good or better.

Noone led the band through an entire catalogue of beloved songs, and as each one played two points dominated my thoughts. First, every one of these tunes was melodic, crisp and fun, and he and the band played them with such enthusiasm and life that they should just hit the club circuit and win over a whole new generation of fans; ones who avoid “oldies shows” like the plague. And second…my God, this was a prolific band!

What were you doing at sixteen?

When people talk about the great bands of the ’60s, Herman’s Hermits seldom enters the discussion. Why not? For starters, just look at this string of singles five Top Five hits…in five months! A dozen singles in the Top 15 in just over two years. Amazingly, in 1965, they outsold The Beatles in the United States!

And in addition to their own great material, Noone filled out the show with tributes both sincere and funny. Peers like Freddy and The Dreamers, Peter and Gordon and Chad and Jeremy got their due with excellent cover versions of some of their hits. But Noone’s funny between-song banter and occasionally randy storytelling also gave him an opportunity to imitate artists from Mick Jagger to The Sex Pistols (!) as the band launched into segments of “Start Me Up” and “Pretty Vacant”.  There was also a running gag about The Turtles being old men, although like Peter,  Mark Volman and Howard Kalyan are also 62 (their birthdays are a few months apart). It was just banter between and about old friends, playfully mocking them for being asleep in the limo before it gets to the hotel and wondering if it was their set list taped to the floor “because there’s only four hits on it“.

Like many UK groups from the pre-Beatles  era, there’s a strong music hall influence bleeding through their material, whether it’s vaudevillian jokes  about dim people requesting “She’s A Muscular Boy”, or the bounce in pop chestnuts like “Dandy” and “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”. Until Noone pointed it out, I hadn’t realized that part of the charm about Herman’s Hermits was the unrelenting joy in their songs. Maybe “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” is a little sad, but only “The End of the World” is truly morose. The rest can’t help put a smile on your face.

The Tremblers 1980

He also wove in a couple of tracks from his underrated skinny-tie era album with The Tremblers and cheekily made up a song about his lifelong dream to be in this very theatre on this very night. By the time the vocal participation challenge went out to the audience during “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”, he had the entire crowd in the palm of his hand (not that there hadn’t been a few eating out of it since the moment he walked onto the stage). Knowing the show was closing with “There’s a Kind of Hush”, the audience was on their feet mid-song, providing Noone and band a lengthy standing ovation for what was truly a dynamic ninety minute show. The post-show autograph and merch line was enormous, and Noone graciously shook every hand and signed every item.

Some bands from long ago trot themselves out for these events to get a little adulation, connect with their glory days and make a little coin (sadly, perhaps for the first time in their career). Peter Noone and his new version of Herman’s Hermits might be a nostalgic act because of their catalogue, but their presentation, energy and musical chops were fresh and vibrant. No doubt they could kick the ass of a lot of current pop acts.

I’m not certain if Peter is writing songs these days, or even if he’s entertaining cutting new material in addition to bringing the old hits to his loyal fanbase of Noonatics. But he’s talented as hell, is a consummate entertainer, and he’s proven time and time again that he can deliver the goods. The Hermits era speaks for itself. The Tremblers album from 1980 still sounds wonderful. And as recently as 2001 he guested on pop wunderkind Richard X Heyman’s ep titled Heyman, Hoosier and Herman and nailed it with “Hoosier Girl”.

Someone get this guy and this band into a studio, get them the right material, and have at it. Something tells me we’d be into something good.

Peter Noone website.

Wiki pages for Peter and Herman’s Hermits.

Grab that Tremblers album!

56 tracks of Hermits

Heyman Hoosier Herman

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