Sunday, November 4, 2012

Show #87 September 29, 2012

This one's for Ramona... and my Cousin Rich!  

Ramona- The Ramones Rocket To Russia
Shout It Out Loud- Kiss Destroyer 
Diminishing Returns- Shoes Ignition 
Pick It Up- 999 999 
You And Me- The Strand Seconds Waiting 
Make The Music Go Bang- X More Fun in the New World
Love Too Late- Sorrows Love Too Late
Star Machine- Bob Mould Silver Age 
^The Loco-Motion- Grand Funk The Loco-Motion 
Break The Ice- The Scruffs Wanna Meet The Scruffs
I Quit! I Quit! I Quit!- The Click Five TCV
He Can Go, You Can Stay- The Singles Better Than Before
She's Hi-Fi- The Trend Lucky Day
Tomorrow- The Three O'Clock Sixteen Tambourines
*Fight For Love- Visqueen Message To Garcia
*Keeping Time- Jenny Dee and The Deelinquents Keeping Time
*He's Peculiar- Vibeke The World Famous Hat Trick
*What's A Girl To Do- The Sugar Stems Sweet Sounds of the..... 
Wanderlust- David Myhr Soundshine
Can't Get Loose- The Skunks Can't Get Loose 
Back on Side With You- Someloves Something Or Other 
Pet You And Hold You- Rockpile Seconds Of Pleasure
Always Tomorrow- The Shazam Meteor
That's What You Always Say- Dream Syndicate Days of Wine and Roses
>Strychnine- The Sonics Nuggets Vol. 2 
Glow In The Dark- The Bongos Telephoto Lens 7"
Reggae Reggae- The Real Kids Real Kids
Sometimes- Neats 1981-84 The Ace of Hearts Years 
Girls That Don't Exist- The Records Smashes, Crashes and Near Misses  
Some New Town- Slobberbone Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today 

^Power Pop Peak:  #1 Billboard Hot 100 3/9/74

*SacroSet:  Cousin Rich's Picks

>Power Pop Prototype:  1965 

For generations, older brothers and sisters have helped shape the music tastes of their younger siblings.  I heard my first Alice Cooper and Frank Zappa albums thanks to my neighbor Tommy Harrington raiding the record collection of his older brother Donny who was away at Stonehill College in Stoneham, Mass.  I have vivid memories of stifling laughter while listening to Zappa's "Dinah Moe Humm" at low volume so his mother wouldn't hear us.  I totally didn't get the "zircon encrusted tweezers" reference but assumed it was very dirty and that I would understand it when I was older (which is funny because I still have no idea what it means, though it still sounds dirty).  Making an even greater impression, though, were Alice Cooper's Killer and Love It To Death.  We must have listened to "Dead Babies" from the former and "Ballad Of Dwight Fry" from the latter a hundred times, and these at ear-splitting volume.  Even back then we instinctively knew that moms were more accepting of the violence and death of "Dead Babies" (Little Betty ate a pound of aspirin/She got them from the shelf upon the wall) than "Dinah Moe Humm's" raunchy sex talk (I whipped off her bloomers 'n stiffened my thumb/And applied rotation on her sugar plum).  Of course now that I type these words out I realize that all those moms are right!

Anyway, I'm the first born in my family so unlike my neighbor Tommy, I didn't have an older brother or sister providing musical cues.  That job went to my Cousin Rich, who as I said at the top of tonight's show "is only a year older than me, but his musical knowledge, then and now, is unmatched in my experience."  That's him on the far left in the picture above, next to his sister Anne, me and my sister Sarah.  The picture was taken in 1974 right around the corner from the cottage Rich and Anne's grandfather owned near Grays Beach in Kingston, Mass.  The amazing thing about this picture, aside from my proto-mullet hairstyle, is that this may be the same trip that Rich's musical mentoring began when he played me tonight's Power Pop Peak, "The Loco- motion" from Grand Funk's Shinin' On.  Most kids would've paid a buck for the single and called it a day, but Rich went whole hog and plunked down four dollars for the album.  And what an album it is!  First, before you even get to the music, there's the cover which included punch out 3-D glasses you could use to look at the front and back covers.

The frosting on the cake was the 3-D poster that came inside the record.  Seriously, how cool is that!  With the glasses in place, Don Brewer's afro is an awesome 3-D effect- it just jumps right out at you!  Cousin Rich attached the glasses to the poster with a piece of string for convenient viewing, so of course I did the same.  I loved Shinin' On and "The Loco-Motion" isn't even my favorite song- I like both the title track and "To Get Back In" more.  Another thing I'll never forget about that trip to Kingston back in '74 is that as we were pulling out of his driveway to head home to Brockton, Rich came over to my window and said "Shine On!"  Great songs, a 3-D poster AND some cool new slang my parents didn't understand.... man, I was hooked!  Needless to say, I love Homer Simpson's rant to his kids in the backseat from an episode a few years back:  "You guys back there know Grank Funk right?  Nobody knows the band Grand Funk?  The wild, shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bong rattling bass of Mel Shacher?  The competent drum work of Don Brewer?  Oh, man!"

I started seeing my Cousin Rich a lot more in the summer of 1975 when my family moved from Brockton to Duxbury, the next town over from Kingston.  He blew my mind a few months later with Kiss' Destroyer.  I must have stared at that cover for ten minutes straight while we listened to the album in his bedroom.  I was enthralled by "Detroit Rock City" starting with sounds of the dude getting in his car, listening to Kiss on the radio ("Rock and Roll All Nite"), speeding away and then, at the end of the song, dying in a horrible crash that blends into "King Of The Night Time World."  The record scared me a little, I remember telling my mom on the way home "it's a group with FOUR Alice Coopers!"

Cousin Rich has always had a voracious musical appetite.  After Kiss, he turned me on to a ton of bands:  Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Rush, etc.  During my brief cassette buying phase (I had decided ANY record noise was unacceptable), Rich copied out ALL the words from Rush's concept album 2112 on notebook paper, complete with a colored marker rendering of the record's cover art, so I could fully appreciate Neil Peart's lyrical genius.  Rich got a high tech "super radio" that picked up Worcester radio station WAAF, which played a lot of the newer hard rock groups like Van Halen and AC/DC.  When he started reading rock magazines like Circus and Hit Parader we found out about lesser known bands like Starz and Angel that we liked even more than the "big" groups.  It was around this time that we started going to concerts, getting rides from our parents.  We saw several shows at the Cape Cod Coliseum, including Blue Oyster Cult (supported by Cheap Trick!) and Ted Nugent, but our favorite venue was the Orpheum Theatre in Boston.  In the late '70's we saw Rush, Styx with Starz opening up and Angel with The Godz on The Heavenly Tour.  Rich won the Angel/Godz tickets from WAAF and in order to go my dad had to drive us 80 miles to Worcester just so we could get on the station's "party bus" and drive all the way back to Boston.  It was an amazing show!  Angel were the "anti-Kiss" dressed all in white and they had all these cool magic tricks and special effects.  They also started a trend of rock bands with completely illegible logos.  Angel's logo designer apparently felt it was important that a logo read the same upside down as right side up.  Yet even after seeing ads for the group in Circus I had no idea what they were called until, of course, Cousin Rich told me.

Everything changed after Cousin Rich saw The Ramones on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.  Within a week we both had Rocket To Russia and that started a unique transition in my music tastes:


Kiss, AC/DC, Rush
AC/DC, Rush, The Ramones
The Ramones, The Clash, AC/DC
The Clash, The Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers

Rich got a subscription to New York rocker so he knew about all the new bands.  His "super radio" also picked up The Late Risers Club on MIT college radio station WTBS (now WMBR, after Ted Turner forked over heaps o' cash for the "WTBS" call letters in the late '70's).  Then on March 22, 1980 something momentous happened- the MBTA opened a station on the South Shore, in Braintree, Mass about 20 minutes away from where we lived.  Thirty minutes on the Red Line took us to Park Street station, close to record stores Strawberries and Discount Records.  That downtown Discount Records is where I got my import copy of The Clash's first album.  After that store closed Rich heard about The Harvard Coop, so we'd stay on the Red Line all the way into Harvard Square in Cambridge.  We never knew when The Coop was having a sale, so it was like Christmas morning whenever we'd walk in and see the sign at the bottom of the escalator reading "All Records Regularly $7.99, This Weekend $4.99."  We discovered a bounty of import 7" singles by The Clash, The Jam, Buzzcocks and more at the Harvard Square Discount Records, though I'm pretty sure the clerks used to steal picture sleeves.  There was also a New England Music City around the corner where I bought some of my first Boston Rock records by groups like Classic Ruins and Mission of Burma.  On those late 70's "record runs" there was never any shortage of great music to buy.  For every new band Rich would read about or hear on the radio, there would be two or three more that we didn't know but would later end up loving.  I can also thank Cousin Rich for getting me to buy The Real Kids first album, which includes this show's namesake song "All Kindsa Girls."  As I said back in my first blog post, I balked at the record when we saw it at Musicsmith in the Hanover Mall because Billy Borgioli's long hair (far right) didn't fit my narrow punk orthodoxy.  Rich saw beyond the hair though and convinced me to do the same.  The rest as they say is history; The Real Kids remains one of my Top 5 records of all-time.

Rich and I didn't see as much of each other during our college years, he was at Babson in Wellesley and I was at Emerson in Boston.  Hardcore was all the rage my freshman year and I started getting into Minor Threat, Bad Brains and The Misfits.  Rich never really got into hardcore in the early 80's, opting for an exploration of 60's punk and psychedelia.  He sought and found rare original pressings of  bands like The Electric Prunes, Blues Magoos and my personal favorite of the era, Tacoma garage rock kings The Sonics, who gave us tonight's Power Pop Prototype "Strychnine."  The Sonics are downright ferocious- The Sex Pistols would've sold their souls to sound even half as dangerous. 

The Neats
Cousin Rich's segue into 60's music was no doubt a factor in his love of Boston band The Neats in the mid '80's.  The Neats had the jangle of REM (in fact I saw them open for Michael Stipe and Co. at MIT in 1985) but much more of a 60's sensibility.  I think it was Danny McCormack of the Mighty Ions/Lyres who once said to me "how many songs with open E chords can you have?"  Not a problem for Cousin Rich, who probably saw The Neats about 50 times and even stayed loyal when they tossed the jangle for a heavy rock sound in 1987.

I left Massachusetts in 1992 but Rich and I would try to find time for a record run into Boston whenever I came back home.  I was pretty much out of it musically in the late 90's when my kids were young but despite having two children himself, Rich always seemed to find new bands to listen to.  Punk rock doesn't really age well as I found when I took my first walk down Haight Street in San Francisco.  Really, how different are the guy in the studded leather jacket with a graying mohawk/wrinkly tattoos and the even grayer long haired guy in tie die/fraying
denim?  Like a lot of guys our age who were into punk rock, Rich got into Americana in his late 30's and early 40's.  Thanks to him I heard about Slobberbone, who are in my opinion the greatest live band of the late 90's and early 2000's.  We even got to see the band together once at the Narrows Center in Fall River.

As I write this my Cousin Anne, Rich's sister, is visiting from Quincy, Mass.  When we were younger every month or so our families would get together for dinner on a Friday night at Ernie's Restaurant  in Plymouth. Anne and my sister Sarah had to endure hours of "rock talk" at these dinners.  We had our own kids table and my menu selections were always the same:  a cup of tortellini in broth (a delicacy I learned about from Rich), one of Ernie's awesome cheese pizzas (with a small puddle of delicious grease in the center) and a great conversation about rock and roll with my Cousin Rich.  Frankly I don't know how Anne and Sarah stood it all those years.

Cousin Rich has always been partial to female singers and female fronted groups whether its pop (The Reivers, The Bangles), punk (Tex & The Horseheads, The Donnas, The Muffs) or Americana (Lucinda Williams, Kasey Chambers).  Over the last few years he has recommended the four artists in tonight's SacroSet, which was the genesis of this show and blog post.  Cousin Rich was also one of the first my first listeners at All Kindsa Girls which is one final thing I have to thank him for.  Just so you know, this show/post is not eulogy, Cousin Rich is alive and well.  The guy runs marathons for God's sake- he's going to outlive us all. 

No comments:

Post a Comment