Friday, October 29, 2010

Show #43 October 16, 2010

For Melanie...

- Nervous Eaters Eat This!
Yesterdays Gone- Manual Scan Manual Scan 1
I Have a Date- Simpletones I Have A Date
Let's Be Friends Again- The Toms The Toms
The Wild One- Suzi Quatro The Wild One -The Greatest Hits
Holdin' On- Rooney Eureka
The Last Word- Svt Heart Of Stone 45
Come Out and Play- The Paley Brothers DIY Come Out And Play: American Power Pop I (1975-78)
^Surrender- Cheap Trick Heaven Tonight
Your Own Nightmare- Eugene Edwards My Favorite Revolution
Boys Will Be Boys- The Undertones Hypnotised
Friendship- Sloan A Sides Win Singles 1992-2005
Goin' Steady- The Producers On The Beach 45
Baby Let's Twist- The Dictators Blood Brothers
*That Girl- News That Girl 7"
*That Girl- The Scientists The Scientists
*That Girl- The Techtones Shake Some Action Vol. 6
*That Girl- The Windbreakers Meet The Windbreakers
Foolish- DM3 Dig it the Most
Your Little Hoodrat Friend- The Hold Steady Separation Sunday
(I Lost My Love On A)747- The Continentals Fizz Pop(Modern Rock) 7"
She's An Obsession- 20/20 20/20
I'm Not Down- The Clash London Calling
Overcome By Fumes- Rudi Big Time
>Just Like Me- Paul Revere & The Raiders Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era Box Set
Sensation- The Motors Airport - The Motor's Greatest Hits
Play On- Raspberries Starting Over
Johnny Guitar- The Nice Boys The Nice Boys
Somewhere Outside- The Barracudas Drop Out
Sooner Or Later- Flintlock Glitterbest
You Don't Know- The Pleasers Thamesbeat
Dressed In Black- Ben Vaughn Mood Swings
Gimme Back My Dog- Slobberbone Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today

^Power Pop Peak: #62 Billboard Hot 100 7/22/78

*SacroSet: Songs About That Girl (but not Marlo Thomas, not that she doesn't rock too)

>Power Pop Prototype: 1965

Live rock & roll shows in Sonoma county are often feast or famine- and the last two weeks it's been feast city. Doobie Brothers manager/winery owner Bruce Cohn's annual Fall Music Festival finally had some Power Pop bands on the bill. Cheap Trick played in Sonoma Valley!! How cool is that? The $95 ticket for their Saturday show (which also included Grand Funk Railroad and the Doobies) was out of my price range but Sun FM morning man Ken Brown hooked me up with a pass for Sunday.

The first band I saw was The Turtles. The vocals were a little shaky but Flo & Eddie are great entertainers- Flo was especially funny. These guys produced a Boston rock & roll masterpiece (DMZ's first album) so they get props in my book. The next group was the Greg Kihn Band who impressed me by opening with The Only Ones' "Another Girl, Another Planet," a true Power Pop classic. Unfortunately Ryan (Son of Greg) Kihn's guitar was woefully out of tune so he blew the song's intro and solo, which was very frustrating. Who doesn't tune up before a show? The rest of the set was good, especially "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em Like That)," but not great. I would have preferred to hear more originals- Greg Kihn has written a lot of great songs over the years- but they played it safe with several more covers.

I was never a fan of Night Ranger. Aside from the insane "Sister Christian" scene with Alfred Molina in Boogie Nights, I'd never given the band much thought. I have to say though, they really tore it up at BR Cohn on Sunday. Jack Blades is a great front man and the crowd of mostly 40 and 50-somethings that sat clapping politely for The Turtles and Greg Kihn was on its feet going nuts during Night Ranger's entire set. I've always believed in the power of live rock & roll- how it takes you out of yourself, making you part of something big and out of control. Been a long time since I've seen a band slaughter an audience like Night Ranger did that day. It got me thinking that loud, over the top, mind blowing rock shows, a staple of my youth, may be a thing of the past. I've never seen a hip hop performance with 1/20th the power of a rock show and the few live rap shows I've been to have sucked outright. (Seriously, how is a dude and a turntable going to stand in for screeching guitars alongside thundering bass and drums? With a dance crew? I think not.)

I want all young people to experience the transformative power of a great rock & roll show. I've taken my son Jack to see AC/DC and Green Day, so he's got the idea. In fact, I just asked him if he'd rather see a good band whose songs he didn't know play live or spend the day playing X-box Live with his friends. "Are their songs catchy?" he asked. "Yes," I replied, "Then the rock show- definitely." Now I just need to plan Nica's rock & roll indoctrination. I wonder if The Donnas are still playing out?

Speaking of great live bands, Australia's Hoodoo Gurus are the real deal. The week after the BR Cohn show the band played the Mystic Theater in Petaluma, about 25 minutes away. I was embarrassed that only 40 or so people came out (the theater probably holds 300) but the band rocked like it was a sold-out show. I've seen the Hoodoos about ten times over the last 20 years and they continue to be one of my favorite live bands. That's me with the group's lead singer and principle songwriter Dave Faulkner above. (My friend Frank took the picture- the three crystal-clear "practice shots" he took earlier didn't really help when it was go time.) I got to shake Dave's hand and tell him he is one of my favorite songwriters. He said "Thanks ...songwriting is what I take the most pride in." What a great guy. God bless The Hoodoo Gurus.

Here's Hour 1 of tonight's show (right click and "Save Target As")

and here's Hour 2

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Show #42 October 2, 2010

This one goes out to Annalisa as well as the cast and crew of Silver Moon Theater's production of Agatha Christie's
Murder On The Nile

- Chris Von Sneidern Sight & Sound
Leave Us Alone- The Rousers A Treat Of New Beat
Dozen Girls- The Damned Strawberries
Everyday- Rikk Agnew All by Myself
It's A Secret- Regular Guys Regular Guys E.P. 7"
Falling Away- Richard X. Heyman Hey Man!
Cast A Long Shadow- The Monochrome Set The Independent Singles Collection
Send A Letter- The Keepers By The Same Name
^Real Love- The Cretones Thin Red Line
After Last Night- The A's The A's
Don't Leave Me Tonight- The Rockers The Rockers E.P. 7"
Waiting For The Weekend- The Vapors Anthology
Jackie's Gone- The Vertebrats Jackie's Gone 7"
Your Number or Your Name- The Knack Get the Knack
*Come On, Come On- Cheap Trick In Color
*To Get Back In- Grand Funk Railroad The Anthology - Thirty Years of Funk 1969-1999
*Think I'm In Love- Eddie Money Greatest Hits: Sound of Money
*Sorry- Greg Kihn Most Fun You Can Have with Your Clothes On: Beserkley Story
Tunnel Of Love- The Sunnyboys The Sunnyboys
Ever Fallen in Love (with Someone You Shouldn't've?)- Buzzcocks DIY Starry Eyes: UK Pop II (1978-79)
Tear Me Down- Various Artists Hedwig And The Angry Inch
Best Friend- The Krinkles 3 - The Mordorlorff Collection
School- Mickey Jupp Juppanese
Six- Neats 1981-84 The Ace of Hearts Years
Cheer- The Descendents Enjoy!
Somewhere In The Night- The Monroes The Monroes
Forget That Guy- The Vores The Vores 7"
>Almost There- The Turtles Solid Zinc: The Turtles Anthology
Lost Time- The Plimsouls Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal
How About Me and You- The Carpettes How About Me And You 7" EP
Girl In Golden Disc- The Records Smashes, Crashes and Near Misses

^Power Pop Peak: #79 Billboard Hot 100 5/3/80

*SacroSet: BR Cohn Fall Music Festival 2010

>Power Pop Prototype: 1965

While other kids dreamed of being Dwight Evans or John Havlicek when they grew up I wanted to be Gene Simmons. Rock & roll was my first love and as the ALL KINDSA GIRLS radio show and blog can attest, it still occupies a hallowed ground in my life. Hearing The Ramones in 1977 made playing in a band seem possible in a way it never had in the years I was listening to Kiss, Aerosmith and Rush. I started on the guitar that year and by 1980 was in a band (as lead singer as my guitar playing was still horrendous at the time). I've been in several groups over the years and currently play in an on-again/off-again party band called The Dadz (with an anarchy "A" of course).

I love playing music- figuring out songs, rehearsing and playing shows, but with work and family commitments it's hard to keep the music thing going. After my Sonoma band V.O.I.D. (Vain, Obnoxious, Ignorant, Degenerates) broke up in the late 90's I was looking for a creative outlet and my wife Jaime suggested I try theater. She's a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC and has been acting in theater productions for years. In a case of perfect timing, a Sonoma community theater production was casting a production of 12 Angry Men that spring and I won the part of "Juror 11" (the sniveling ad agency dork). Rehearsing a play is nowhere near as fun as playing in a band but when you get closer to opening night the rush of nervous anticipation is comparable. That first show was a HUGE success and people still talk about it today.

In the intervening years I've played many roles in shows including Glengarry Glenn Ross ("Williamson"), Plaza Suite ("Jesse") and my favorite, playing "Seymour" to Jaime's "Audrey" in Little Shop of Horrors. My approach to acting at this time consisted of memorizing all my lines and adding "character" afterward. Not too surprisingly, to an astute audience this yielded performances that looked like I learned all my lines and added "character" afterward.

At Christmas that year Jaime gave me a two day acting seminar by a guy named Kirk Baltz, who is best known for his role as the cop who gets tortured by Michael Madsen to the strains of "Stuck In The Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel in Reservoir Dogs. I still see him in occasional walk-on TV roles but I think he spends most of his time on the acting seminars which are pretty amazing. I came out of that weekend with a whole new approach. Now when I prepare for a role, everything starts on day one; lines, backstory, character- it all comes together at once. This process takes a lot longer but it has made me a much better actor. I put it to use as "Mark" in a play about the first hospice called The Shadow Box and it was invaluable in my most recent role as "Simon" in Agatha Christie's Murder On The Nile.

Agatha Christie is not my thing but since they don't seem to be launching any productions of Hedwig & The Angry Inch or Avenue Q in Sonoma I figured I'd take a shot. Being a dude is a definite plus in any community theater casting call so I felt good about getting a role but didn't expect to land a part as big as "Simon." The audition was in February and I got the script in March thinking I'd have a good part of my lines down before the first rehearsal in mid-June.

Of course I only managed to read the play once before we started but luckily didn't do any line work because at the first read through the director asked for British accents. This really freaked me out because I'd never done it before and it took me about ten more days to even open the script. I began by over-enunciating consonants and playing with vowels but it wasn't until I started thinking about the character that it came together. The play is set in 1937 so I had Simon as a low born enlisted man who had lied about his age to fight for England in World War I. He ran away often but fought well the times he couldn't avoid it, noticing that when the battle was in question the wealthy officers tended to disappear only to return when victory was imminent. Simon vowed that if he survived the war he would do everything he could to become one of those rich men that had others do their fighting for them. Once I put this backstory together the lines and accent fell into place. It was a very challenging role playing pleasant naivete, physical pain, rage, grief, duplicitousness as well as loss of consciousness (not once but twice).

We were the final production in the inaugural season of Sonoma Stage Works and the Sonoma Theater Alliance. For the first time in over 20 years, Sonoma had a summer theater season. This is dream come true for Jaime and she worked tirelessly for a year to make it happen. So along with the cast and crew of Murder On The Nile, I owe my wife a huge debt of gratitude for an experience I'll never forget.

You can download Hour 1 of tonight's show here:

And here is Hour 2:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Show #41 September 18, 2010

Marilyn is the Belle of our Ball...

- The Popes Hi We're The Popes 

Atmosphere- Velvet Crush Teenage Symphonies To God 
What's In It For Me- Hoodoo Gurus Purity Of Essence 
Love In a Hurry- The Proof It's Safe 
Beautiful Amnesia- Visqueen Message To Garcia 
Spit It Out- Brendan Benson The Alternative To Love 
I've Got Rock- The Tweeds Perfect Fit 
Holding My Breath- Mad Turks Cafe Istanbul 
^Army- Ben Folds Five The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner 
Legal Tender Love- The Pop Go! 
Baby Snatcher- The Moondogs Imposter Single
Lookout- Cheap Trick Cheap Trick 
Best Chance- Big Star In Space 
After Hours- The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground 
*Living a Lie- The dB's Repercussion
*Perfect Light- Arrogance Mondo Montage 
*Shock Therapy- The Spongetones Beat and Torn 
*Co-star- Let's Active Cypress / Afoot
Little Boxes- Teenage Head Teenage Head
Baby You're A Fool- The Names Why Can't It Be 45
Long Goodbye- London Cowboys Animal Pleasure
Mass Romantic- The New Pornographers Mass Romantic
Step By Step- Poison Squirrel Step By Step 45
Modern Times- Code Blue Code Blue
>Ruby- Sneakers Sneakers
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind- The Dickies Stukas Over Disneyland
Rock'n'Roll Millionaire- Blue Ash Front Page News
She- The Taxi Boys The Taxi Boys
You Can Borrow My Car- The Necessaries You Can Borrow My Car 7"
Love Affair- The Tearjerkers Love Affair 7''
Brighter Worlds- The Connells Welcome To Comboland

^Power Pop Peak: #17 Billboard Modern Rock Chart 6/1/99

*SacroSet: North Carolina Power Pop

>Power Pop Prototype: 1976

As I've said many times before, the late 70's/early 80's was an amazing time for music- I don't think I'll ever see another like it. Past SacroSets have documented scenes from that era in places like Seattle WA, Kansas City MO, Boston MA, Milwaukee WI and Davis CA as well as in states like Illinois and Ohio. For this week's show I headed down south to North Carolina.

Thanks in large part to world class universities in Winston-Salem (Wake Forest), Chapel Hill (UNC), Durham (Duke) and numerous other schools like Raleigh's NC State, culturally North Carolina seems to have a lot more going for it than its neighbors Virginia or South Carolina. Witness all the great Tar Heel State Power Pop I played tonight:
  • The Popes, Arrogance and Sneakers from Chapel Hill;
  • The dB's, Let's Active and Ben Folds Five from Winston-Salem;
  • The Spongetones from Charlotte;
  • The Connells from Raleigh.
Chris and Alex at CBGB in 1977
That is some serious Power Pop pedigree. While all the bands have a distinctly southern sound, my favorite The dB's, were also "flavored" by time spent in New York City. After Sneakers (tonight's Power Pop Prototype artist) broke up in 1977, Chris Stamey moved to NYC and started playing with Alex Chilton just as punk
rock was breaking on the stages of CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. Having already started independent label Car Records for the Sneakers EP, Stamey went on to put out some legendary records by Chris Bell of Big Star, Peter Holsapple (his soon to be bandmate in The dB's), as well as The dB's debut 7" "I Thought You Wanted To Know."

The dB's
I credit my best friend Frank for introducing me to The dB's with their second album, Repercussion, pictured above. Despite having helped craft the southern pop sound that REM subsequently used to make millions, The dB's couldn't get a record deal in the US. They signed with UK label Albion which did a cool thing by bundling Repercussion with a free cassette copy of the LP (you still see copies of the LP in record stores where the cassette creased the album cover). Frank heard or read something about The dB's and ponied up for Repercussion, one of the most perfect Power Pop records ever.

Allston, Mass
Frank played the record for me at his apartment in Allston, MA and I was as taken with The dB's as I was with his place.  Frank was living with three other guys from Duxbury who were working or in college. I was still in high school and had never known anyone who had their own place- it offered a level of freedom that blew my mind. They had a stereo in the living room that everyone used to play their records. In what I think was supposed to be a formal dining area there was a recessed buffet that had three large drawers all filled to the top with porn!  My friend Jim and I would take the Red Line all the way in to Park Street and the Green Line all the way out to Allston just to hang out there.

Even now, I think about how cool that place was. Yes it was filthy, roach ridden and robbed three times (once when Frank was sleeping in a bedroom) but I
16 Westland Ave,
post 1990's restoration
loved it. So much so that two and a half years later Frank and I got our own roachy railroad flat on Westland Ave in Boston, right around the corner from Symphony Hall.  They tried to rob us three times too, but luckily never got in. Some of my fondest memories are of hanging around with friends listening to/arguing about music in those crappy apartments.

You can download tonight's show here: