Saturday, December 22, 2012

Show #91 December 15, 2012 CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR

And to all... Mary Christmas!

Mary Christmas - Doug Powell s/t
A Merry Jingle- The Greedies A Merry Jingle 7"
Saturday Night Christmas Lights- Travis Hopper All The Lights In The City Tonight 
Wonderful Life- The Tories Wonderful Life
Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You- The Cute Lepers A Blackheart Christmas
Christmastime in Painesville- The Deadbeat Poets A Deadbeat Christmas
I-Pod X-Mas- Hello Saferide Swedesplease Christmas Mix
I Miss You Most On Christmas- Bowling for Soup Merry Flippin' Christmas
^2000 Miles- The Pretenders 2000 Miles 12"
Christmas- Dillon Fence Christmas
Will You Marry Me (On Christmas Day)- Ed James Hi-Fi Christmas Party Vol 2
Christmas in Kenmore Square- Billy West and Tom Sandman Hark, The Rock 'N' Rollers Sing
The Christmas Sound- The Swimmers s/t
Another Christmas- Psychotic Youth MTV Single
*It's About That Time- The Idea Yuletunes
*Merry Christmas Will Do- Material Issue Yuletunes
*This Christmas- Shoes Yuletunes
*A God of My Own- 92 Degrees Yuletunes
Christmas Day- MxPx Christmas Punk Rawk Christmas
Christmas In New York- Kyf Brewer It's About Christmas
Santa Needs A Holiday- Strawberry Whiplash The Matinee Holiday Soiree
All I Want For Christmas (Is a Chance)- Parallax Project A Kool Kat Kristmas
The Ghost of Christmas- Manic Street Preachers s/t
Joy Is In The Giving- Lisa Mychols Winter Holidays With...Little Pocket 
>Santa Claus- The Sonics Don't Believe In Christmas 45
Homeless For Christmas- Black Halos Homeless For Christmas
I Need My Baby By My Side (On Xmas Night)- The Bumpers s/t
I Believe It's Christmas Time- The New Royalty Spend Christmas With Me
It's Christmas Again (Now I Have It All)- Stew s/t
The Christmas Wish- Kermit The Frog A ChristmasTogether

^Power Pop Prototype:  #15 UK Singles Chart

*SacroSet:  Yuletunes Compilation

>Power Pop Prototype:  1965

Ever since I first heard The Dickies' 100mph version of "Silent Night" in 1978 I've been a sucker for Christmas rock and roll songs.  In the post for the first Christmas Spectacular  back in 2009 I waxed rhapsodic about The Raver's "(It's Gonna Be A) Punk Rock Christmas" and every year since I've managed to find more great Christmas songs to play.  Credit where credit is due, I have to thank two great blogs, Power Pop Criminals and Burn And Shine, that have hipped me to so much great holiday music over the years.  I especially appreciate them this year because for the first time in I don't know how long, I have failed to find a Christmas record or CD to add to my collection.  Of course, it's been pretty busy and I've only been in two record stores in the last 45 days.  Still, I remain hopeful that I'll dig something up over the holidays.

I love surfing the blogs but it's not the same as combing through the stacks at a record store and unearthing a gem.  My family is heading back to Massachusetts in a few days and while (shockingly!) record shopping is only a priority for Cousin Rich and myself, I'm hoping to at least sneak off to Newbury Comics in Kingston for an hour or so.  Jaime and I will be spending a few days in New York City after Christmas which gives me an even better chance.  One of the things that makes our marriage work is that record stores are usually found in cool neighborhoods that also have stores Jaime likes.  We've all seen those bereft "Record Widows" loitering out in front of dingy record stores on a beautiful day- they're the equivalent of the sad men lingering outside a Macy's fitting room holding their wives purses.  With Jaime and I, she always manages to find a cool vintage clothing, book or antique shop near whichever record store I'm in.  The timing doesn't always work out (I have a problem) but on the other hand I've done my share of the purseholding "pace of shame" outside fitting rooms over the years, so I'd like to think it all evens out.  Of course, first I'll have to see if there are any record stores left in New York City- think I'll go check that now.

Well, between digital music sales and Hurricane Sandy there aren't as many record stores in NYC as there were the last time I was in town, yet still probably more than in any other U.S. city.  They say West Village stalwart Bleecker Bob's is closing soon but I can't say I'm too sorry.  The store was a unique New York experience- rude, surly clerks, overpriced beat to crap records- just not a positive one.  Though admittedly it was a fun place to hang out at 2am on a Friday night- what a freak show!   I'm happy to see that Generation Records right around the corner is still going strong- it's a little on the punk rock side for me but I've gotten some good stuff there.

I will dearly miss Subterranean Records (formerly Hideout Records) which was across 6th Avenue on Cornelia Street- a literal hole in the wall, or perhaps "hole in the ground" or simply "hole."  This is one of my all-time favorite record stores.  First you had to navigate the decrepit staircase down from the street, then avoid smashing your head on the low door frame and descend several more steps into the dark environs of the store.  I once saw a woman talking on a cell phone nearly kill herself doing this and the guy at the counter didn't even look up from his magazine.  Subterranean Records was probably only about 200 square feet but I bought so many awesome albums and singles there over the years that it has the highest "quality records per square foot" ratio ever.  For a long time the store was run by a guy named Michael Carlucci who was in 80's band Winter Hours, often described as New Jersey's answer to REM.  Cool New York dudes like Tom Verlaine and Robert Quine used to hang out at the store but I never saw them, though Carlucci was instrumental in the release of The Quine Tapes, rare live recordings The Velvet Underground. 

Good to see that a short walk from Subterranean's former space, Bleecker Street Records, House Of Oldies and Rebel Rebel all seem to be doing well.  Since Venus Records on St. Marks Place closed way back when I haven't been as big a fan of the East Village Record stores but if Jaime lets me I wouldn't mind checking out Academy Records and the far too pristine Other Music.  Jaime and I have taken the train over to Williamsburg in Brooklyn a few times but I didn't think much of the record stores there.  I'm no fan of Indie Rock, so it was foolish to expect anything different in what is essentially the capital of Indierockistan.

So, here's hoping for some Christmas music finds on our trip back east.  It will also be great to see my family.  I'M KIDDING- of course family comes first!  I've invited everyone over to my mother's on Boxing Day and I'm really looking forward to seeing them (hopefully Cousin Rich will bring over a box of CD's with him).  What!?!  That still counts as "family time."

Speaking of Christmas in Massachusetts, one of my big web finds last year was a benefit compilation called Hark! The Rock and Rollers Sing that Boston's Barry Marshall put out with radio station WBCN in 1986.  Boston rock and roll legends Willie "Loco" Alexander, The Neighborhoods and The Nervous Eaters all have a track but my favorite song is "Christmas In Kenmore Square" by BCN production team Tom Sandman and Billy West.  West was a fixture on Charles Laquidara's Big Matress Morning Show and does the best Larry Fine impersonation I have ever heard.  He was on Howard Stern's show for years and went on to huge success voicing numerous animated characters including Stimpy from The Ren and Stimpy Show, Fry from Futurama and just about all the modern Looney Tunes characters.  Before all of that, however, he gave us "Christmas In Kenmore Square:"

You don't need any Christmas lights
'Cause the Citgo sign is there
Have a couple belts
If for nothing else
It's Christmas In Kenmore Square

See the punks in deco fashions now
The weirdest ways they wear their hair
Lopsided, obtuse
Designed by Dr. Suess
It's Christmas In Kenmore Square

"And, like, the students, like,
Can't wait to, like,
Go home for Christmas time
But, like, the Christmas mail
Is, like, rilly rilly slow"

If mom and dad don't send a card
With travel money soon
We'll just stay in our dorm
And hang some mistletoe

It's Christmas party time at the club
I'll keep an eye on my friend's there
I stayed real straight
'Cause I'm the driver designate
This Christmas In Kenmore Square

Santa's wearing red leather and studs
But he can't park his sleigh nowhere
'Cause Santa Claus forgot
There ain't no legal parking spot
This Christmas In Kenmore....
Everywhere it's Christmas....
In Kenmore Square

Merry Christmas to you all- I hope you have a fantastic holiday season!

Links for the 2012 CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR are below (Right click and "Save Link As")
Hour 1
Hour 2

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Show #90 November 10, 2012

It's all for you Maria....

Maria- The Pop Go!
Warning Me- Spinning Jennies Strato- sphere
I Wonder What You're Doin' Now- The DomNicks Super Real 
You Wanna Be Like Her- The Go Instant Reaction
Hope Child- Free Energy Stuck On Nothing
James Bond Lives Down Our Street- The Toy Dolls James Bond Lives Down Our Street 
I Don't / She Don't Mind- The Heats Have An Idea 
Rescue Me- The Volcanos The Volcanos
^Burnin' For You- Blue Oyster Cult Burnin' For You 
Back To You- Richard X. Heyman Hey Man! 
Drivin' Thru My Heart- The Donnas Turn 21
Wringin' Wet- Queued Up Queued Up EP
...and I'm Thinking- The Sneetches Sunnyside Down 
Girl From Out Of This World- Material Issue Destination Universe 
*323- Chixdiggit! Chixdiggit 
*5-2-8- Nervous Eaters Eat This! 
*5-45- Gang Of Four Entertainment! 
*925- Research Turtles Research Turtles 
Stray Heart- Green Day ¡Dos!
With A Smile- Big Kid All Kidding Aside
All That Crying- Prime Movers Mr. Beautiful Presents All Hard
Nobody to Blame- Shoes Ignition 
She's So Wild- Meantime Two For One 45
Glitter Best- The Rooks Encore Echoes  
>Giddy Up A Ding Dong- The Sensational Alex Harvey Band The Best Of 
Drunk And Soppy- Senseless Things Postcard C.V. 
Count On Me- The Reducers Guitars, Bass and Drums 
Pleasure Seekers- Advertising Advertising Jingles 
Plain To See- Blue Ash No More No Less 
1-2-3- The Speedies Speedy Delivery 

^Power Pop Peak:  #40 Billboard Hot 100 8/15/81

* SacroSet:  Numbersongs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1973

I know I've said as much before, but ALL KINDSA GIRLS would not be possible without today's technology.  I loved my years in college radio and then in public radio when I'd spend hours in the voluminous record libraries at WERS and WMBR.  Always a methodical type, I went through each station's library from A-Z, pulling out any album or 7" single I didn't know or had ever stoked my curiosity while record shopping.  
WMBR Record Library

My time at those stations is the foundation of my musical knowledge.  Even so, thanks to the Internet and iTunes on my trusty Dell laptop I can now put a two hour show together in about 1/10th the time it took back in the day.  I do miss playing records on the radio though, especially slip-cueing for a nice tight segue.  The belt drive turntables at most radio stations took a few seconds to get up to speed so if you wanted to keep it tight you had to slip-cue.  Each turntable (there were always two and preferably three in the studio) had a slipmat that would allow you to hold a record in place while the platter spins underneath.  To slip cue, you would:
  • Drop the needle in the lead-in on a 7" single or gap between songs if it was an LP track;
  • Listen for the first note or beat of the song and stop the record in place with your finger or thumb (I used a thumb on the outer edge because since birth I've been anal about touching the surface of records);
  • Turn off the turntable and spin the record backward so you are just ahead of that first sound (this is where the idea of DJ scratching came from)
  • When you're ready to play the song, you hold down the record with your finger or thumb, turn on the turntable to get it up to speed and then release the record at the appropriate time.  
It could get tricky, especially coming out of a break when you'd need to hold down the record, power up the turntable and pot it up (turn up the volume on the mixing board) while you were talking.  I suppose it says a lot about me that to find a picture of slip-cueing on the Internet, I had to go back to the early 60's.  I can assure you that when I got into radio it had been a LONG time since DJ's wore suits on the air.  I started in college radio because I loved music, but I got a really big kick out of the technical side of being a DJ as well.  I'd even bring in some of my own cherished records to play on the air.  This was a big deal because excessive slip-cueing causes "cue burn," a crackly sound that mars the first few seconds of a song.  Plus you'd never know how long it had been since the turntable needles had been changed. 

In my first few months at Emerson I had gotten pretty good at slip-cueing at closed circuit WECB before I did my first show that fall on WERS (a broadcast station with 3000 watts and an antenna on top of The Pru!!).  Yet, for some reason when I got ready to play my first song I decided to use the turntable remotes on the board.  When using the remotes you'd have to back up from the first sound on the record to give the turntable time to get up to speed- about a quarter revolution for a 33 1/3 rpm album and half a revolution for a 45 rpm single.  I cued up my first record, Elvis Costello's "From Head To Toe" single, did my top of the hour ID, hit the remote and heard "rrrrrrRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr."  The remote had started the turntable but didn't engage so the record stopped spinning.  Panicking I slapped the manual button on the turntable which got it going but since the song had already started I had to listen as it excruciatingly got up to speed "rrrrrrrRRRRRRRRR."  Jim Harris said he was listening back in Duxbury, waving his arms around in an empathetic panic trying to push "air buttons" and save me.  My broadcast career had begun!

Admittedly an iTunes crossfade sounds pretty hamfisted compared to a tight slip-cue, but what are you gonna do; KSVY doesn't even have turntables and playing CDs is no fun at all.  I've looked at software designed to replicate the "turntable experience" but everything I've seen is even more complicated and time consuming.  So it is what it is, though I can still hear my college radio self shout "lame" at some of my segues.  On the other hand, without modern technology there is no way I would have been able to play "I Wonder What You're Doing Now" from The DomNick's new album Super Real on tonight's show.  Emboldened by the luck I had getting some Portland bands to send me their music a few shows back, I sent an e-mail to Dom Mariani when I heard about the new album.
The DomNicks (Dom Mariani with Telecaster)
Now Dom Mariani is not just "some guy," he is an undisputed Power Pop Genius and the pride of Perth in Western Australia.  His groups like The Stems, The Someloves and DM3 have put out a mind blowing amount of great music over the years.   Now working by day as an architectural designer, Dom is still going strong in The DomNicks, partnering with Nick Shepherd of '77 era UK punk band The Cortinas and the post Mick Jones "Cut The Crap" version of The Clash (though I choose not to hold this against him).  Anyway, Dom Mariani got right back to me with two tracks from the new album.  He didn't even seem all that freaked out when I called him a "Power Pop Genius," admittedly in an e-mail it's probably hard to tell if someone thinks you are a dangerous stalker-type person.  What's important is that Dom Mariani wrote back to me and his new songs ROCK! 

Stream this week's show here, to download right click and "Save Link As:"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Show #89 ALL KINDSA GHOULS Halloween Special October 27, 2012

All Kindsa GHOULS is dedicated to Bloody Mary!

Bloody Mary- Barrence Whitfield Dig Yourself
It's Almost Halloween- Panic! At The Disco It's Almost Halloween
Saturday Night In The City Of The Dead- Ultravox! Ultravox!
Dracula's Daughters- Redd Kross Researching The Blues
Death Rehearsal- Toy Love Toy Love
Keepin Halloween Alive- Alice Cooper Keepin Halloween Alive
In The Room Where You Sleep- Dead Man's Bones Dead Man's Bones
Final Ride- Deadbeats Kill the Hippies 7"
^Children of the Grave- Black Sabbath Master of Reality
Free All The Monsters- The Bats Free All The Monsters
Back From The Dead- Adverts  Television's Over 7"
Horror Movie- Skyhooks Horror Movie
Human Fly- The Cramps Bad Music For Bad People
Kottage Kountry Killer- Durango 95 Lose Control
*Graveyard Rockin'- The 3-D Invisibles They Won't Stay Dead!
*Back to the Grave- The Dentists Some People Are On The Pitch They Think It's All Over It Is Now
*Grave Diggers- The Creepshow Sell Your Soul
*Graveyard- Dead Moon In The Graveyard
*One Foot In The Grave- Pernice Brothers Yours, Mine and Ours
*Graveyard Rock- The Joneses Somebody Got Their Head Kicked In!
*Graveyard Groove- The Revillos Attack of the Giant Revillos
Slow Death- The Dictators Blood Brothers
The House On Shady Lane- Plain White T's The House On Shady Lane
Horror Business- Misfits Horror Business 7" >Rockin' In The Graveyard- Jackie Morningstar No Date 7"
The Devil's Bait- The Dead Elvi Graveland
I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement- The Ramones Ramones
I Think Of Demons- Roky Erickson and The Aliens The Evil One
Stake Through My Heart- The Fiends Gravedigger 7"
Dance With the Ghoulman- Fleshtones More Than Skin Deep
Bela Lugosi's Dead- Bauhaus Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The '80s Underground 

^Power Pop Prototype:  #8 Billboard Album Chart

*SacroSet:  GraveSongs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1956 

Woody Allen once said "80% of life is showing up."  I recently lived a great example of this maxim.  (How unfortunate that the word "maxim" now conjures images of douchey "lad mags" featuring young actresses slutting it up in some sort of creepy "post-feminist statement."  I prefer the word's original definition:  "a short, pithy declaration expressing a general truth or rule of conduct."  But I digress....)  Over the summer I was in a Shakespeare stage adaptation called Two Gentlemen of Sonoma with Aidan the Artistic Director of the newly re-named Sonoma Valley Shakespeare Company.  The company was just about to start a residency at Sonoma Valley High School and he asked if I was interested in taking a couple of small parts in Julius Caesar.  There's a lot of live music in their productions so even though the parts weren't very big, I figured I might be able to snag a spot in the "house band."  Another plus is that the school is practically across the street from my house, an easy commute after trekking to Petaluma for Two Gentlemen.

I told Aidan I'd gladly take the parts and didn't see him until the first read-through a few weeks later.  Jaime and I had both been in his previous production, Romeo and Juliet, last fall so it was great to see the returning out of town members of the company.  The read-through went smoothly and I noticed they had yet to cast Decius Brutus, a larger part than the two I would be playing.  I should mention that the whole idea of Julius Caesar was a "punt" for SVSC because they had been planning to do One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest until the play service people screwed them over in some kind of bureaucratic performance rights snafu.  (Ahh, good old public domain Shakespeare...)  Chad the Director then had about ten days to cut Julius Caesar, which has a 2+ hour run time and 30 characters, into the 90 minute 9 actor production we ended up staging.  So, in Chad's cut Decius Brutus had become a bigger role, one I set my sights on after the read-through.  I didn't hear from anyone for a few days, but I knew they were busy rehearsing As You Like It, the first show in their season.  When I did hear back, they said Decius Brutus was looking good for me but I should stay tuned.  A few days later I got an e-mail from Aidan
Julius Caesar
asking if I would be up for an even bigger part- that of Julius Caesar!  Turns out the guy they wanted originally, who in the small world of North Bay Theater had been my director for Two Gentlemen of Sonoma, had union problems.  So, in the space of three weeks, I had gone from playing bit parts to a major role to the dude the play is freakin' named for!  Brutus is clearly the lead and Cassius is up there too, but still I loved having this conversation, as I did many times in October:

Other person:  So, do you have any plays coming up?
Me:  Yes, I have a part in Julius Caesar.
Other person:  Oh, which part?
Me:  Julius Caesar.

Mentally, on my part at least, this is followed by a big high five, flying chest bump, or "what what" roof raising gesture.  Pretty cool.

Chad let me put some of the Caesar lines he had cut back in and I got to work.  Among other things, in my research I learned that Caesar was thought to have epilepsy or migranes or about ten other conditions (referred to as "the falling sickness" in the script) and there is a myth that this is where the modern word "seizure" comes from.  After a couple of times through the script it became clear to me that for all Caesar's faults, Shakespeare cast Cassius and the conspirators as the "bad guys" and Brutus as the tragically flawed hero.  At least that's how I went at the part- as they say, you've always got to find the humanity in your character.

Our costumes were MUCH easier to fight in
One of the coolest things about the show is that Chad the director is also an accomplished fight choreographer- let's just say Caesar did not go down without a battle.  Chad was also open to an idea I had about the order of what we came to call "the stabby stabby."  The script (and the historical record) acknowledge Casca as the first to strike with Brutus stabbing last, from what I think of as a position of weakness.  I had one of those 3am epiphanies during the first week of rehearsals, however, and when I shared it with Chad he put it into the show.  So, our fight started with Caesar deftly repelling blows from Casca, Metellus Cimber and Cassius, essentially kicking their asses.  Then, with a smile of relief, Caesar meets Brutus center stage only to receive the "unkindest cut of all."  

The "Stabby Stabby" (That's me on the floor)

The other conspirators then fall on Caesar like jackals as a horrified Brutus looks on.  (The center stage meeting echoes an earlier scene where Brutus comes to Caesar's house to escort him to the senate.)  It seems so much more Brutus-like that he start "the stabby stabby," and it makes his later statement stronger:  "but as [Caesar] was ambitious, I slew him."  I mean it's not "but as he was ambitious, I watched a bunch of other guys stab him for a while and jumped in at the end when he was pretty much Swiss cheese."

You'd think it would be dull playing a part where you die at the end of Act I but Chad started Act II with a slow motion reenactment of "the stabby stabby" set to music and ending with the always surprising, never predictable bursting blood pack.  (Limiting the blood to Act II cut our laundry by half- even so, by the third week our white shirts all had a pinkish hue.)  Chad's special recipe for "blood" is a tantalizing blend of red food coloring, chocolate syrup and laundry soap.  Over the course of the run it exploded, among other places, on my pants, in my face (tasty!) and all over the stage, causing a safety hazard that needed to be surreptitiously cleaned up later.  Once I even "body swiffered" it myself during the blackout before the funeral scene.  All in all I had to lie on the stage dead for about 20 minutes in Act II and aside from the occasional itchy nose it wasn't too bad.  In fact when Nica's 8th Grade class came on a field trip to one performance the only comment she reported back from her classmates was "your Dad can really lie still for a long time."
SVSC Julius Caesar Cast

As I said SVSC shows have a lot of musical cues, so throughout each performance I would have to play a scene change on guitar or plunk out the chiming of a clock on the bass.  After my "death" things really got fun- that's when I got to play the drums.  Despite my deep admiration for the craft and it's practitioners, from Tommy Ramone to Neil Peart, I am in no way a drummer.  But when it's a battle scene and everyone else in the cast is on stage, the "dead guy" gets the sticks.  I made such a racket during the battle they let me play drums during one of the pre-show songs, an instrumental jam of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."  I played decently most nights and was feeling pretty good about myself by closing night.  You'd think playing Julius Caesar might have kept me on guard about the dangers of hubris, but sadly no.  We had a good crowd on closing night and I had several friends in the audience.  Going into the first break in
The White Stripes
the song I thought I'd shout out "here we go" to show how cool I am.  Needless to say, I COMPLETELY flubbed up the timing and for an endless, exceedingly painful eight measures Daniel the guitarist, Jordy the bass player and I might as well have been playing free jazz.  It was AWFUL.  Theater is a great metaphor for life though, because "the show must go on."  Immediately afterwards I had to strap on the guitar for the remainder of the pre-show music and immediately after that I had to play the leader of what was then the free world for 90 minutes.  Blessedly it leaves you little time to dwell.  As we were loading out the gear before the play started the only thing said was "wow!"  Wow, indeed.

Shakespeare loves him some ghosts, so even after Caesar died I had one last scene where I go haunt Brutus' tent.  In between Act II musical cues, Sharon, who played Cinna, and Chad got my ghostface on- see the picture at the top of this post.  We were only using white light in the show (except for one red spot during "the stabby stabby") so it was a challenge finding the right "dead" rather than "dead tired" look.  Like the blood splatter, which the night this photo was taken settled in an upstage right direction, Sharon and Chad's makeup was always different- I think this night is my favorite.

The Sonoma Valley Shakespeare Company is an inspiring group- along with Julius Caesar and As You Like It, they also offered an amazing production of Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus.  In less than three months they rehearsed and staged three shows, all with music, performing each about ten times.  During this period they also taught several classes at the high school.  What's more they let me play Julius Caesar and the drums in the same show!  For that I will always be grateful.

 *          *          *

Since this post is for the ALL KINDSA GHOULS halloween show I would be remiss if I didn't include a picture of this year's costume.  I was once again Evel Kneival, as I will be for all future Halloweens, thanks to the awesome suit Jaime gave me last Christmas.  She even got in on the action this year, dressing as Evel's nurse.  Needless to say, our costumes were a hit!

Click the link below to stream this show or to download, right click and "Save Link As:"
ALL KINDSA GHOULS Halloween Special #89