Saturday, February 27, 2010

Show #27 February 27, 2010

For Lucinda....and for Doug

Lucinda- The Knack Get the Knack
Jumpin' In The Night- The Flamin' Groovies Groovies Greatest Grooves
Ready and Waiting- The Grip Weeds Infinite Soul: Best of the Grip Weeds
Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call- The Weakerthans Reconstruction Site
Every Wednesday Night At Eight- The Innocents One Way Love 7"
All I Want is You Alone- Steve Blimkie & The Reason Steve Blimkie & The Reason
Tired of Waking Up Tired- The Diodes Tired of Waking Up Tired
Say Goodbye To The Black Sheep- The Furys DIY: We're Desperate - The L.A. Scene 1976-79
^My Sharona- The Knack Get the Knack
Don't Go- The Donkeys Television Anarchy
Time Wraps Around You- Velvet Crush Teenage Symphonies To God Just A Kid- Milk 'N' Cookies Milk 'N' Cookies
Bad Dreams- The Sidewinders The Sidewinders
I Forgot The Flowers- Regular Guys Regular Guys E.P. 7"
*Val Kilmer- Bowling For Soup The Great Burrito Extortion Case
*David Duchovny- Bree Sharp Cheap and Evil Girl
*Gene Hackman- Hoodoo Gurus Ampology
*Michael Caine- Madness The Business
Time For Action- Secret Affair Glory Boys & Behind Closed Doors
I'm An Adult Now- The Pursuit Of Happiness I'm An Adult Now EP
Math Teacher- The Speedies Speedy Delivery
Two Blind Mice- The Screaming Tribesmen High Time
Unsatisfied- The Replacements Let It Be
Where's Bill Grundy Now?- Television Personalities Where's Bill Grundy Now? EP
>Run, Run, Run- The Third Rail Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
World Ain't Turning- The Keys The Keys Album
What Can I Do?- Poodle Boys What Can I Do? 45
Mean To Me (The Clothes You Wear)- Advertising Advertising Jingles
No Direction- Start No Direction 7"
Always Heaven- Tommy Hoehn I Do Love The Light
Queen Of Eyes- The Soft Boys 1976-81
Couldn't Believe A Word- The 45's Couldn't Believe A Word 7"
I Can't Take It- Arlis Titan: It's All Pop!

^Power Pop Peak: #1 Billboard Hot 100 6/23/79

*SacroSet: Actorsongs

>Power Pop Prototype: 1967

Feb. 14, 2010, 7:21 PM EST

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- Doug Fieger, leader of the power pop band The Knack who sang on the 1979 hit "My Sharona," died Sunday. He was 57.

Fieger, a Detroit-area native, died at his home in Woodland Hills near Los Angeles after battling cancer, according to The Knack's manager, Jake Hooker.

Fieger formed The Knack in Los Angeles 1978, and the group quickly became a staple of Sunset Strip rock clubs. A year later he co-wrote and sang lead vocals on "My Sharona."

Fieger said the song, with its pounding drums and exuberant vocals, was inspired by a girlfriend of four years.

"I had never met a girl like her — ever," he told The Associated Press in a 1994 interview. "She induced madness. She was a very powerful presence. She had an insouciance that wouldn't quit. She was very self-assured. ... She also had an overpowering scent, and it drove me crazy."

"My Sharona," an unapologetically anthemic rock song, emerged during disco's heyday and held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard pop chart for six weeks, becoming an FM radio standard.

I was in the 9th Grade in 1979 and had been listening pretty much exclusively to punk rock since mid-1978. At the time, Punk and New Wave (or whatever you'd call Devo and The B-52's) seemed like an all or nothing thing. There was a phase when my favorite bands were Rush, AC/DC and The Ramones but switching allegiance to The Clash seemed to demand an orthodoxy that disallowed any pre-punk/new wave music. These lyrics to The Clash's "1977" say it all:

In 1977
Knives in West 11
Ain't so lucky to be rich
Sten guns in Knightsbridge

Danger stranger, you better paint your face
No Elvis, Beatles or The Rolling Stones
In 1977

Allegiance to this new music was going to demand a sacrifice, one I was more than willing to make. I sold all my Led Zeppelin albums to a kid in my class named Ed Ahigian and hid my love of Kiss and AC/DC from my friends. In fact, I have a vivid memory of listening to the Highway To Hell album with the volume cranked up one Saturday morning only to have Jim Harris and Pete Levine kick open my bedroom door, fake rape/beat me and shove me down between my bed and the wall while screaming about my shitty taste in music. The funny thing is they then went back downstairs and drove away. They were only in the house for about 90 seconds. I've got to admit now- that is pretty funny.

Anyway, even though The Knack were a current band, the record company was trying to position them as a "New Beatles" (matching outfits, back cover shot
replicating The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, etc), so I was VERY leery. Yet, after hearing "My Sharona" and "Good Girls Don't" on the radio, I took the plunge and bought Get The Knack. I liked the record okay and it might have had a chance to grow on me if I hadn't heard the aforementioned songs every half hour on the radio for the next five months. Stories then started to come out in music magazines about Doug Fieger acting like primadonna. Soon the critics, who hate anything that gets too popular because it negates their existence, started piling on.

Fall of 1979 saw the release of some All Kindsa Girls' favorites including The Beat, Shoes' Present Tense, The Records and 20/20. These brilliant records went nowhere and, as I've mentioned in a previous post, I think the critical "knacklash" bears some responsibility for squandering Power Pop's moment in the sun. The thing is, when I go back and listen to Get The Knack now, I hear a solid Power Pop album that holds up pretty well and for that we have Doug Fieger to thank.  RIP Doug.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Show #26 February 6, 2010

Je t'aime Cheri, je t'aime...

Cheri- 20/20 20/20Let's Shake- Teenage Head Frantic City
Losing California- Sloan A Sides Win Singles 1992-2005
Black & White- The Windbreakers Meet The Windbreakers
Who's Been Sleeping Here?- Tuff Darts! Tuff Darts!
I Know A Place- Jay Reatard Singles 06-07
Stay With Me- The Krinkles 3 - The Mordorlorff Collection
If You Can't Give Me Love- Suzi Quatro The Wild One Greatest Hits
^Teacher Teacher- Rockpile Seconds Of Pleasure
Brokenhearted- Ray Paul & RPM Go Time
On The Phone- Stryker Stryker 7"
Constant Change- LMNOP Elemen Opee ElpeeTen Feet Tall- XTC Fossil Fuel The XTC Singles 1977-92
T.V. Love- Simpletones I Have A Date
*Liv Tyler- Travoltas Endless Summer
*Doris Day- London Cowboys Animal Pleasure
*Tia Carrere- The Powerchords ...Think I'm Gonna
*Lee Remick- The Go-Betweens Lee Remick
Suzi Is A Heartbreaker- Newtown Neurotics Punk Collection
The Way I Feel About You- The Lyres On Fyre
The Pleasure And The Pain- The Damned Strawberries
Not For Me- Marshall Crenshaw Marshall Crenshaw
Wednesday Week- The Undertones Hypnotised
Before Love Goes- The Keepers By The Same Name
>Somebody Made For Me- Emitt Rhodes Emitt Rhodes
I Shot My Manager- Gruppo Sportivo 10 Mistakes
It Doesn't Bother Me- The Distractions It Doesn't Bother Me 7"
All That Matters- Pointed Sticks Part Of The Noise
Glory- Television Adventure
I Can't Pretend- The Barracudas Drop Out
Shakeaway- The Pop Go!
Electric Toys- Readymades Electric Toys 7"Photographs Of You- The Secrets ...Secrets
Silver Lining- Stiff Little Fingers Go For It

^Power Pop Peak: #51 Billboard Hot 100 11/22/80

*SacroSet: Actressongs

>Power Pop Prototype: 1970

The picture above is from a series called "Saturday Night People" by my all-time favorite photographer Weegee. If you've read any of the previous posts,
you'll know that music is one of my life's great passions and this picture really speaks to me. For me, the photograph shows one of those perfect moments where a song and a performer take you out of yourself and you meet in some magical "other" place where it's just you and them- the rest of the world disappears. It's an almost overwhelming experience- hearing the music, seeing the band, feeling the bass and drums in your spine and the dancefloor under your feet- if you were a pinball machine you'd be on "TILT." My last time was in
Craig Finn
2008 at The Fillmore in San Francisco listening to The Hold Steady tear through "Constructive Summer." After Craig Finn sings: "Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer" he lifts his pint glass high and screams "GET 'EM UP!!" Wow- just writing about it gives me chills. Anyway, I think I know what these women in Weegee's photo are feeling.

I first saw the trombone photo 25 years ago in an ad for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts summer concert series. I cut the small 2x3 inch ad out of the paper and stuck it to the wall in my room in Brookline Village. After a week or so, when it was still catching my eye every time I walked in the room, I decided to see if I could get a copy for myself. Turns out the MFA owns the negative and for $10 they'd send me a print! For some reason I decided to buy two prints and then did something I'd never done before- I took Weegee's photo to be professionally framed. (I'd always had tons of stuff on my room walls, but until then thumbtacks had sufficed).

When I met Jaime a few years later I realized she had the same passion for theater that I had for music. So, I took my second print of the photo to the same frame shop and then gave it to Jaime as a present. This was a nearly perfect gift in my estimation. The funny thing was, she took it as "here's your own copy since we will probably never live together/get married/have children/nurse each other in our dotage, etc." Jeez, talk about a communication breakdown! In any case, despite Jaime's initial misgivings, we are well on the way to doing all those things and I now have the photo up in my office as well.

Weegee, "Their First Murder" 1941

In the years since I "discovered" Weegee, I've been lucky enough to see two exhibitions of his work while Jaime and I were visiting New York. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about him:

Weegee worked in the Lower East Side of New York City as a press photo- grapher during the 30's and 40's, and he developed his signature style by following the city's emergency services and documenting their activity. Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death.

Weegee's "Studio"
Weegee doesn't judge his subjects and his photos are ultimately about them, not him. Whether he was photographing a gangster with his face shot off, kids sleeping on a fire escape or women in a club listening to music, Weegee presents a crystal clear view of real people in a specific place at a specific time. Some of his photos make you laugh and even more make you feel like you just got punched in the stomach, but his compassion shines through every one.
My 2nd favorite Weegee Photograph

On this week's All Kindsa Girls there was a special dedication to Jay Reatard, another member of Memphis' proud musical heritage, who died at the age of 29 on January 13, 2010. One more senseless drug and alcohol related death. Even so, rest in peace Jimmy.

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