Thursday, December 19, 2013

Show #111 November 16, 2013

Oh Kyle, Oh Kyle, Oh Kyle....

Kyle- Loose Lips Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago 
What Went Wrong- The Smithereens 2011 
Shakin' Street- Soul Asylum No Fun Intended - Single 
Great Big Kiss- Johnny Thunders So Alone 
See You Anymore- The Daughters Varulven Records E.P 
Real- Bowling for Soup Lunch. Drunk. Love 
Backroom Boys- Jo Broadbery and The Standouts Jo Broadbery and The Standouts 
Mystery- The Effection Soundtrack To A Moment 
^Echo Beach- Martha and The Muffins Metro Music 
Finish- Mega City Four There Goes My Happy Marriage 
Nice Girl- The Trouble Boys Taint Records Single 
Gates of the West- The Clash Sound System extras 
Wrapped Up In A Dream- The Boyfriends Lost Treasures
Kingdom Of Love- The Soft Boys 1976-1981 
*I Wanna Make You!- PRETTYBOYS Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago 
*It's A Miracle- The Names Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago 
*Holiday- The Nines Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago 
*Total Insanity- The Kind Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago 
Naming Names- Senator Flux Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch 
Now You Know- The Real Kids Better Be Good 
You Don't Go Away- Vibeke The World Famous Hat Trick 
Hopeful Kids- Phil Angotti Life and Rhymes 
Sentimental Role- Greenberry Woods Rapple Dapple 
Old Rat- Raxola Raxola 
>The Daily Planet- Love Forever Changes 
If I- The Spys If I/I Spy 7" 
True- Popsicle Laquer 
I Must Be Crazy- The Sweat No More Running 
Stop- Velvet Crush In The Presence Of Greatness 
The Girl That I Let Go- The Go Instant Reaction 
Please Please Girl- The Flamin' Groovies Groovies Greatest Grooves 
In My Arms Again- Shoes Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago 

^Power Pop Prototype:  #5 Canadian Singles Chart 10/1/80

*SacroSet:  Numero Group Compilation Buttons: From Champaign To Chicago

>Power Pop Prototype:  1967

One of the cool things about being a parent is sharing things that mean a lot to you with your kids.  Sometimes things don't always go as planned, however, and there are "unintended consequences."  Jaime will never let me forget the night I "shared" Edward Scissorhands with four year old Nica and seven year old Jack.  She was out that night, so we didn't discuss the film ahead to time but to me Edward Scissorhands is a modern classic fairytale, so no problem.  It's funny how many books, films, TV shows, etc. I've loved over the years are outsider stories- it really shows where I'm coming from doesn't it?  Anyway, I thought Edward Scissorhands would be another great way to impress upon Jack and Nica that bullying is wrong and that inside- where it counts- outsiders are just like the rest of us.  Unfortunately I had completely forgotten about all the violence in the third act of the film.  My kids are getting anxious when Edward accidentally slashes Kim (Winona Ryder) in the backyard and they get really quiet when he does the same to her little brother after saving him from being hit by a car (come on!  Poor Edward's hands are scissors, give him a break!)

About this time I start to get a sick feeling in the pit of my
AMH is a total dick in this movie!
stomach because I can't re- member what's coming next, though I'm starting to realize it isn't good.  We watch Jim (Anthony Michael Hall) beat the hell out of Edward with a shovel then turn on Kim after she tries to intervene.  When Edward stabs Jim in the chest both my kids scream.  Jaime then walks in and the dam bursts- both kids bust out in full on sobs and run to her for comfort.  I immediately stop the film but Jaime is PISSED!  "You showed them WHAT!"  She and I argue whether or not to finish the film- I'm worried Jack and Nica will be scarred for life if they don't see the ending.  Jaime is just shooting daggers at me with her eyes as she tries to soothe our bawling children.  Not my best moment as a father, I'll admit.  We did end up watching the end of the film, which explains where "snow" comes from (Edward making ice sculptures), but the kids still talk about how I traumatized them with Edward Scissorhands

I was not trusted with family movie night decisions for at least a year and since then I have a much better track record.  Jack was a huge fan of the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Spider Man and Lord of The Rings films.  Along with your standard kid fare, (Wizard of Oz, E.T., Disney, Pixar, Potter, etc.) both Jack and Nica loved Peewee's Big Adventure, The Nightmare Before Christmas (more Burton films), Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (NOT the Burton version), The Phantom Tollbooth, Zathura, Spirited Away, The Princess Bride, The Sandlot, The Goonies, Monster House, Adventures In Babysitting, Holes and others.  As they got older I showed them Big, Forrest Gump, Stand By Me, Meatballs, A.I., Rocky, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Field of Dreams, School of Rock, My Bodyguard, Mean Girls, Persepolis and Juno, though I'm sorry to say This Is Spinal Tap failed to elicit much more than a smile from either kid (I try not to see this as a character flaw on their part, but it is difficult.)

These days it's rare that all four Loves see the same film- in fact the only one I remember this year is The Spectacular Now.  I'm more likely to go to different movies with Jaime (Before Midnight, Blue Jasmine, Nebraska) than I do with Jack (The Place Beyond The Pines, Fruitvale Station) or Nica (Catching Fire, Gravity).  I did get Jack and Nica into a theater to see Mud- a film I wholeheartedly recommend. Matthew McConaughey is on fire this year! 

After the Edward Scissorhands debacle, I put a lot more thought into choosing titles for what have now become our increasingly rare family movie nights.  With Nica entering high school this fall I finally decided to share a film that meant a lot to me when it came out:  John Hughes' The Breakfast Club.  I was in college at the time and when my friend Howard convinced a bunch of us to go see the movie I had no idea what to expect.  I hadn't seen Hughes' prior
L.D.D. - Asian Man's Burden Since 1984
film Sixteen Candles, which is probably a good thing; Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall are fantastic but Long Duk Dong?  Just writing the name makes me cringe.  Anyway, Howard got about ten of us to go to The Breakfast Club that night leaving from his Charlesgate dorm room to take the T down to Government Center and walk to the Sack Charles Cinema on Cambridge Street.  I was more along for the ride than anything else which is one of the reasons I was so blindsided by the film.

I think every high school student has an understanding of the social hierarchy within their school.  You start with jocks, druggies, brains, nerds- the typical divisions.  Then there are some variations:  my high school had "Yachties" (Izod shirt/khaki pants with a whale belt wearing rich kids who had boats) and Jaime talks about "Zarks" at her school  (a druggie/motorhead hybrid).  Interestingly, when I think about these cliques it's mostly along male lines- girls would stay within a group or, if they were pretty enough, do whatever the hell they wanted (at least that's the way it seemed to me).  

The thing is, no one talked about any of these rigid social structures in school, even teachers and administrators seemed to pretend they didn't exist.  That's why The Breakfast Club was such a revelation- it felt like John Hughes, in a very respectful way, put our innermost
The Confession Scene
thoughts up on the screen.  I was in college and supposed to be above all this high school bull***t, or at least have put it all behind me, yet I was very moved by the film.  The confession scene where they share their deepest secrets (Claire is a virgin, Brian has contemplated suicide, Andrew hates his father, Allison is a compulsive liar, and John comes from an abusive household) still takes my breath away.  The idea that in one day these five people could put away their preconceived notions of each other and share the most intimate details of their lives blew my mind.  My college friends all seemed similarly impressed- it was very cool that I didn't have to hide my thoughts about the film from them.

The Straight Edge in me (I was new to the phil- osophy) wished they hadn't all smoked weed before the confession scene, but that's a minor quibble compared to what I came to view as Hughes' horrific third act sell out/betrayal which dawned on me seeing the film a second time.  Let me explain.  From the very first scene, my favorite character in
the film has always been Ally Sheedy's Allison.  (Is that some kind of pop culture Rorschach test?   Seems like it should be.) 
The shaggy brunette hair, the Chuck Taylors, the green snorkel coat; this is the kind of girl I would have dated in high school (some might say I have- multiple times). To me, Allison is the American high school version of one of the sexiest women in rock and roll history:
Chrissie Hynde

In other words, there nothing "wrong" with Allison- she is perfect just the way she is.  Then why in the name of all that is holy does Hughes do a "makeover" on her in the last ten minutes of the film!!  Are we supposed to believe that the cool rock and roll girl from the first part of the movie was wearing a "pretty" pink camisole under all that black the whole time!?!  To make matters worse, Hughes then pairs Allison off with Emilio Estevez' Andrew, sending the message "see girls, all you have to do
Booooooooo!  Booooooooo!
is change everything about yourself and you can get a jock to like you!"  All of this REALLY hit home when I was watching the film with family, especially my 14 year old daughter Nica.  (We had a family discussion about it afterward.)  Seriously, John Hughes what were you thinking?  I get Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson's characters hooking up- there was sexual tension there from the beginning.  Andrew and Allison have a nice moment with "what do [your parents] do to you?  they ignore me" but he only sparks after her "makeover!"  And what about Anthony Michael Hall's Brian?  The poor guy writes this awesome essay and goes home alone, probably to spank the monkey- again.  I would have preferred Brian and Allison getting together, he is very kind to her in the confession scene.  Or better yet, no one hooks up and they all leave as five improved individuals.  But no, whether he meant it or not, Hughes tells us that ultimately, the jock gets the "pretty girl-" as long as she is willing to completely change her appearance. 

I guess that's the mark of a great film; it shows you something you've always thought about but never seen before, while getting you laughing, crying and pissed off in the process.  For me that pretty much sums up The Breakfast Club.

Show #111 links have already been taken down, but I'll re-post if they become available.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Show #110 LOU REED TRIBUTE November 2, 2013

R.I.P. Mr. Lou Reed....

Sweet Jane- The Jim Carroll Band I Write Your Name
I'm So Free- Lou Reed Transformer 
Velvet Underground- Jonathan Richman I, Jonathan 
We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together- The Velvet Underground Live MCMXCIII 
There She Goes Again- R.E.M. Dead Letter Office
Kill Your Sons- Tommy Keene Songs From The Film
Femme Fatale- Big Star Big Star's 3rd: Sister Lovers
Head Held High- Subway Sect What's The Matter Boy?
^I Love You, Suzanne- Lou Reed New Sensations
White Light White Heat- The Professionals 1-2-3
The Black Angel's Death Song- Beck Record Club Velvet Underground and Nico
After Hours- Rilo Kiley The Execution Of All Things EP
What Goes On- The Feelies Only Life 
Who Loves The Sun- Teenage Fanclub Bonus B Sides 
*Jesus- Glen Campbell Meet Glen Campbell 
*Sally Can't Dance- The Andrea True Connection White Witch 
*New Age- Rachel Sweet Protect The Innocent
Rock And Roll- The Runaways The Runaways
There is No Time- Lou Reed New York
Venus in Furs- Monster Magnet Monolithic, Baby!
I'm Waitng for the Man- The Celibate Rifles Platters du Jour
Run Run Run- The Riats Run Run Run
Sunday Morning- The Queers Acidbeaters
>Why Don't You Smile Now- The All Night Workers Why Don't You Smile Now
I'll Be Your Mirror- Rainy Day Rainy Day
Vicious- Blitz Voice Of A Generation
Slip Away (A Warning)- Lou Reed and John Cale Songs For Drella 
Perfect Day (Acoustic Demo)- Lou Reed Transformer

^Power Pop Peak:  #78 UK Singles Chart 4/15/84

*SacroSet:  Unlikely Lou Reed Covers

>Power Pop Prototype:  1965 (First Lou Reed/John Cale composition!)

Rock and roll has produced some amazingly prickly characters over the years.  Depending on your taste in music, that statement may bring to mind Bob Dylan or Johnny Rotten or Axl Rose, yet for my money Lou Reed beats them all when it comes to sheer orneriness.  Every time Reed gained some commercial success he would intentionally derail his career.  Following 1972's Transformer, which included his sole Top 40 hit "Walk On The Wild Side," Reed released Berlin, an incredibly dark concept album about domestic abuse, drug addiction, prostitution and suicide.  I really like the record and it makes me smile thinking about what mainstream rock listeners looking for more Transformer style hits thought of a Berlin song like "The Kids" with its refrain "they're taking her children away" as a baby cries in the background. 

Reed followed his all-time best selling record, 1974's brilliant live album Rock and Roll Animal, with a double LP of electronic noise called Metal Machine Music that many critics consider the biggest "f*ck you" to critics and fans in music history.  I love Lou Reed but MMM is in every way "unlistenable."  On the few occasions I've tried, one of two things happen.  Either my brain relegates the "music" to the background, like some nightmarish galactic traffic snarl, or, if the noise can't be compartmentalized, my brain shuts down and I go to sleep.  I suppose a third option would be to go batsh*t insane, which I can also imagine happening.  I wonder if the CIA has ever considered using Metal Machine Music to break down suspects for interrogation.  Forget Cannibal Corpse, I bet MMM would have broken al-Qaeda years ago.

My friend Frank's brother Hans gave me a cassette copy of Rock and Roll Animal in the mid 80's and I listened to it over and over in my mom's Chevy Chevette.  The Dick Wagner/Steve Hunter dual guitar assault on that record is awesome, especially on "Sweet Jane."  When my family got a VCR, A Night With Lou Reed was one of the first VHS tapes I rented.  It features the great Robert Quine on lead guitar but all in all is a fairly tepid affair- I don't know if I made it all the way through the concert.  

I'm sorry to say it was MUCH worse the first and only time I saw Lou Reed live on July 25, 1986 at Great Woods in Mansfield, Mass.  Debbie, the girl I was dating at the time, got us free tickets from her dad who was General Manager of Channel 4, the TV sponsor of all the Great Woods concerts.  Even for free, it was rough going.  Lou seemed to be trying for some kind of white boy funk deal with a parachute pants wearing, mullet sporting backing band that included, dare I say, it a full time saxophone player.  WTF?  The bass player's
The Godfather vs. The Demon
philosophy seemed to be "why play 4 notes when there's room for 125?"  Plus, I kid you not, on a few songs the keyboard player rocked out on a keytar.  A KEYTAR!  (Even James Brown can't make that godforsaken monstrosity look cool!)  Needless to say, that Lou Reed show was pretty bleak- the low point for me was his "rap" entitled "The Original Wrapper-" I cringed so hard I think I pulled a muscle.  I didn't listen to Reed again until the brilliant Songs For Drella came out in 1990.  Reuniting with Velvet Underground band mate John Cale, this tribute to Andy Warhol (who had died in 1987) marked Reed's welcome return to the simple, sparse and dissonant music that made me love him in the first place.
Songs For Drella, 1990

A lot of Lou Reed's prickliness was put into perspective when I read Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me, the
single greatest book ever written about punk rock.  In 1956 at the age of 16, Reed was given electroconvulsive therapy to cure his bisexuality.  In the book he says:
"They put the thing down your throat so you don't swallow your tongue, and they put electrodes on your head. That's what was recommended in Rockland State Hospital to discourage homosexual feelings. The effect is that you lose your memory and become a vegetable. You can't read a book because you get to page 17 and have to go right back to page one again."
There are several other revelations about Lou Reed in Please Kill Me (some of his sexual proclivities are especially nasty) yet nothing is as troubling as his teenage shock therapy, which forever changed my perceptions of him and his music.

March 1975
Reed's battles with rock critic Lester Bangs are legendary, my favorite appeared in Creem magazine in 1975 (though I didn't read it until 1988 in the Bangs anthology Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung.)  The article is called "Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves, or How I Slugged It Out with Lou Reed and Stayed Awake."  Reed and Bangs fight each other for the "Biggest Douchebag" title and it seems ,like they are having a great time.  No doubt both had huge egos and while Bangs loved taking the piss out of rock stars (most notably Led Zeppelin) he is one of the few people who seemed to "get" Lou Reed, even giving Metal Machine Music a positive review.  Bangs concludes the article with:

"Lou Reed is my own hero principally because he stands for all the most f*cked up things that I could ever possibly conceive of. Which probably only shows the limits of my imagination."
Lou Reed has inspired countless musicians over the years and as his legend grows will no doubt continue to do so.  What's more, he seemed to do everything on his own terms.  Whether you loved or hated what he was doing at any given time, Reed was one of the few musicians you could never completely write off because there was always a chance that his next album might just be his best in the last ten years, or twenty years or ever.

Streaming/download links for the Lou Reed tribute are below (if they "stick" just pause and un-pause)
Hour 1
Hour 2

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Show #109 October 19, 2013

For Hayley... Elvis, Joey and Joe!

Hayley- Flicks Hayley
Freddy Mercury- De Cylinders Freddy Mercury 7" 
Suzi Quatro- The Blondes The Blondes
Allison- Pixies Bossanova
Johnny's Gonna Die- The Replacements Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash
Geno- Dexys Midnight Runners Searching For The Young Soul Rebels
Arnaldo Said- Wondermints Bali
Patrick Stump- Candy Rose A Rollercoaster Love
^Buddy Holly- Weezer Weezer (The Blue Album)
Yo Yo Ma- The Bis-quits The Bis-quits
XTC vs. Adam Ant- They Might Be Giants Factory Showroom
*Elvis is Everywhere- Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper Bo-Day-Shus! 
*Elvis Is Dead- Forgotten Rebels In Love With The System
*Bastard Son Of Elvis- Denzil Pub 
*We're So Glad Elvis Is Dead- Tits Daddy is my pusher/ We're so glad Elvis is dead 7"
*Velvet Elvis- Scott Davison Welcome To Comboland
Yoko Ono- Ben Lee Rebirth Of Venus
Bowie- Flight Of The Conchords Flight Of The Conchords
Song for Bob Dylan- David Bowie Hunky Dory 
Axl Rose- Art Brut Top of the Pops
Amy Grant- The Young Fresh Fellows The Men Who Loved Music
Doc Pomus- Ben Folds and Nick Hornby Lonely Avenue 
*Joey Ramone- Lifesavers Huntington Beach
*Dancing With Joey Ramone- The Dahlmanns The Dahlmanns 
*You Can't Kill Joey Ramone- Sloppy Seconds Endless Bummer 
*I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone- Sleater-Kinney Call the Doctor 
>Roll Over Beethoven- Chuck Berry The Anthology
Shane MacGowan- Dipsomaniacs The Life You're Faking
Wilco the Song- Wilco Wilco (The Album)
Alex Chilton- The Replacements All for Nothing
Amy- Green Day ¡Dos!

^Power Pop Peak:  #18 Billboard Hot 100 Airplay Chart 9/7/94

*SacroSet #1:  Elvis Songs
*SacroSet #2:  Joey Ramone Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1956

When my family first moved to Duxbury, MA in summer 1975 we did most of our shopping in Marshfield, the next town over.  They had a Purity Supreme for groceries, Pharmacity for candy and for a year or so, Echoes, the record store where I bought Dark Side of The Moon and Foghat Live! (give me a break- like you were listening to the New York Dolls and Rocket from The Tombs when you were 11 years old!)  There was a Levis store on the way into the shopping center that had a pair of huge jeans hung out front, and I mean 300 inch
Elvis Presley 1935-1977
waist huge.  I will never forget the day I was staring at these monster pants from the back seat of my Mom's car and the news came on the radio that Elvis Presley had died- August 16, 1977.  Looking at pictures of Elvis from the last year of his life, it's easy to see things aren't going well.  I remember hearing "Fat Elvis" jokes on WBCN and a few weeks before he died stories of his rampant drug abuse were
breaking thanks to the publication of a book by three former body guards.  Even so, people seemed shocked by his death.  I hadn't listened to Elvis in a long time but as I've mentioned before, my Mom's copy of his debut LP was one of my favorite records when I was a kid so I was sorry he was dead.  Yet even today I associate Elvis with that huge pair of Levi's flapping in the Marshfield breeze.

John Lennon 1940-1980
I'd like to say I was as compassionate when John Lennon was murdered in 1980 but by then I was in punk rock's thrall.  When I heard the news in my high school cafeteria, I laughed and said something snotty (what a douche!)  Even so, it bugged me how people seemed to almost revel in their grief.  At college freshman orientation a few years later a guy in our group- he was 17 or 18 years old, like the rest of us- told a story about the day Lennon was shot concluding with "yeah, I'd never seen my old man cry before."  It struck me as incredibly self-serving, especially when the cute girl sitting beside the dude put her arm around him!  Then everyone started telling their Lennon death stories and I realized they were all bonding- without me!  What was I going to say, "yeah, I laughed when heard the news...have you
heard '1 Down 3 To Go' by The Meatmen?"  I couldn't imagine people my age feeling this much for a guy they didn't know personally and who played their parent's music so I just assumed it was all bullsh*t.  I was very anti-Beatles in those years and didn't gain an appreciation of Lennon's music until I heard The Godfather's version of "Cold Turkey."  I'd heard Generation X's take on his "Gimme Some Truth" but still associated John Lennon more with "Imagine"
and "Instant Karma." "Cold Turkey" though, man what a scorcher!  The original blows The Godfather's version away... the screeching guitar, Lennon's shrieks of withdrawal agony - it gives me chills just writing about it!   

When you're young you think everyone is going to live forever and death is for "other people."  As you get older and your contemporaries start dying you look for reasons why.  Was Elvis' death a wake up call for his overweight fans or did the drugs give them an excuse to go right on super-sizing?  There is no lesson from Lennon's death- you can't codify crazy.  As for myself, when two of my all-time favorite guitarists died in the '90's, Johnny Thunders (New
Johnny Thunders 1952-1991
York Dolls, Heartbreakers) and Bob Stinson (Replacements), I was sad but I can't say their passing was that jarring because both had a history of substance abuse. In other words, there was a "reason" behind their deaths.  (How influential was Thunders in my life?  After scrimping and saving for years, in 1996 I finally bought my own TV Yellow Gibson Les Paul Special- just like his.  In my opinion it is the prettiest guitar ever made.)

It wasn't until several years later I came to understand that the reaction most fans had to the deaths of Elvis Presley and John Lennon was not self-serving puffery, but actual grief.  On April 15, 2001 Joey Ramone died of lymphoma in New York City.  I had no idea he was even sick and the news hit me
Joey Ramone 1951-2001
hard.  This was a man I'd never met but who had an enormous influence on my life.  It was even more devastating when his first solo album came out the following year.  Not only does it lead off with a beautiful punk rock version of "What A Wonderful World," the record was titled Don't Worry About Me.  Sure the song itself is about a shiftless female, but I choose to interpret it in a broader sense as Joey's message from beyond to us, his fans.

As unsettled as I was by Joey Ramone's death, it no doubt helped me deal with the devastating loss of my #1 all-time rock and roll hero the following year.  I'd had several favorites growing up, including Elton John, Gene Simmons and Angus Young, but the guy who has meant the most to me over the years died on December 22, 2002.
Joe Strummer 1952-2002
On September 8, 1982 I met Joe Strummer at The
Channel in Boston after an English Beat show.  The Clash had finished a series of two nights The Orpheum earlier that evening.  (I had just seen the band twice at the Cape Cod Coliseum that August so I didn't buy tickets for the Orpheum shows).  The English Beat were fantastic and I was still pretty excited that 1) I had gotten to see them and 2) my incredibly lame fake I.D. (27 year old, blue-eyed Dan something from Maynard, Mass) had worked!  I was still marvelling at my luck walking out with the crowd after the show when I bumped into Terry Chimes of The Clash!  Seeing Paul Simenon on my left, I immediately started looking for Joe and there he was standing by the bar about five feet away!  Following a split second of terror/indecision I walked over and introduced myself, shaking his hand.  It was surreal to say the least- I had three posters of this guy on my dorm room wall!  Joe was pretty drunk so I kept the conversation short, asking only how the Orpheum shows had gone.  His response was "not so good" and overall he seemed pretty depressed.  It may have been the booze but in retrospect the grind of
touring, "Rock The Casbah" fame juggernaut, and growing tension with Mick Jones were no doubt taking their toll.  Joe's opinion aside, as I was told by everyone I knew who went and the From Here To Eternity live album confirms, those Orpheum shows were pretty great.

Strummer's death in 2002 was a complete and utter
shock- he was killed by an undiagnosed congenital heart defect.  When I heard the news I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and it wasn't just nostalgia for my youth.  After a long running battle with his label, Epic Records, Strummer's self described musical "wilderness years" ended when he formed The Mescaleros who put out their first record Rock Art And The X-Ray Style in 1999, followed by Global a Go-Go in 2001.  When Joe Strummer died he was once again doing what he loved- writing, recording and performing- and doing it very well.  

Since we moved to Sonoma in the mid-1990's, Jaime and I don't get down to San Francisco for shows much.  I am so glad we made an exception on October 20, 2001 because that night we got to see what would be Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros' final San Francisco performance at The Fillmore.  
 It was an amazing show- the band was rocking and Joe seemed to be having a great time.  They played a bunch of songs from the excellent Global a Go-Go, a few Clash songs ("Rudi Can't Fail," "Bankrobber") and several songs the band used to cover like "I Fought The Law" and "Police On My Back."  The final encores were "London's Burning" and, completing the circle back to The Ramones, "Blitzkreig Bop"- what an awesome night that was! 

Roy Orbison 1936-1988
On December 3, 1988 I passed on a chance to see Roy Orbison play in Boston, again at The Channel.  The tickets were free- I was just "too tired" or some other lame excuse.  Orbison died three days later and I never got a chance to hear his tremendous voice live.  Thank God I didn't make the same mistake the night Joe Strummer played The Fillmore! 

Click the link below to stream this show, or to download right click and "Save Link As"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Show #108 September 28, 2013

Tonight's about Rachel... and the BAD GIRL!

Rachel- Tommy Tutone Tommy Tutone 
Get To Know You- The Vandalias Yellow Pills Vol 1 The Best of American Pop! 
Normal Chicks- Bowling for Soup Lunch. Drunk. Love 
Not A Boy- The Rangehoods Rough Town 
Dice Behind Your Shades- Paul Westerberg 14 Songs 
Someone Who'll Treat You Right Now- The Lyres 12 Classic 45s 
Clockwork Rockwork- Panic Squad Panic Squad 12" EP 
1-2 Crush on You- The Clash Sound System Extras 
^Bad Girl- Matt Webb Bad Girl 
All Of This And More- Gobblinz Communique EP 
Radioactive- Scott Wilk + The Walls Scott Wilk + The Walls 
Still Ill- The Smiths The Sound Of The Smiths 
Feeling In The Dark- Dwight Twilley Band Sincerely 
I Just Wanna Stay Home- The Blondes Swedish Heat 
*Bad Girl- Off Broadway Quick Turns 
*Bad Girl- Cherry Vanilla Bad Girl 
*Bad Girl- The Innocents No Hit Wonders From Down-Under  
*Bad Girl- Cowboy Mouth Uh-Oh! 
High Time- The Screaming Tribesmen High Time 
Green Hearts- Luxury Yellow Pills Prefill [Disc 1] 
Clear Spot- Pernice Brothers Overcome by Happiness 
See No Evil- Television Marquee Moon 
Last Night- The Moberlys Sexteen 
Lookin'For A Hero- Elliott Murphy Nightlights 
>Bad Girl- New York Dolls Rock 'N Roll 
The Real Things- The Wild Giraffes Right Now 
Thought I Knew You- Matthew Sweet Girlfriend 
Record Store Renegade- Bankrupt Shorter Than Danny DeVito 
Holding Back- Strangeways! Powerpop! 
Stars Are Right- The Red Ball Jets Rockin' 
Lovers of Today- The Pretenders Pretenders 

^Power Pop Peak:  #53 Canadian iTunes Chart 4/20/11 (it's a stretch but fit the theme so give me a break)

*SacroSet:  Songs For The Bad Girl

>Power Pop Prototype:  1973

I guess brand extension only goes so far- after six years in business the Kiss Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach, SC has closed its doors.  No more Kiss Army Blend or French Kiss Vanilla coffee and forget about the Kiss Frozen Rockuccino.  Perusing the menu, it looks like pretty standard coffeehouse fare though it does strike me as unfair that raging alcoholic Ace Frehley is pictured over the "Alcohol" section.  (Of course Ace is no longer in the band and his "character," called "The Spaceman," is now being "played" by Tommy Thayer.)

Kiss put out several great albums in the 70's ( my favorite being Dressed To Kill) and have always been an amazing live band.  I've been a proud member of the Kiss Army since 1976.  I consider this a lifetime membership and still have my credentials in case I ever need to prove it.

After moving to Sonoma I saw Kiss' 2000 "Farewell Tour" (yes I know they've toured several times since then, keep your ironic snicker to yourself please) at Chronicle Pavilion in Concord.  The band was every bit as good as the first time I saw them in the late 70's.  As a kid I loved that you could immerse yourself in Kiss- with other bands you had records, posters, T-shirts and that was pretty much it.  With Kiss it was those things plus lunch boxes, comic books (with actual band blood mixed into the red ink!), trading cards, board games, pinball machines, halloween costumes, etc.  One of the best Christmas presents I ever got was a full set of Kiss dolls (sorry, "action figures") that my sister Sarah gave me fifteen years ago.  Each figure's instrument doubles as a weapon- Jack and I had many hours of fun playing with them when he was little.  The figures now have a place of honor, occupying a shelf of their own in a glass display case in my Rock Room.

You can bet that virtually any item you might think of Gene Simmons has gotten their first and plastered with the Kiss logo.  According to Wikipedia, Kiss has licensed its name to more than 3000 product categories and generated more money from merchandise than any other artist in the history of music.  On a recent business trip to Florida I stopped in to an awesome record store in Orlando called Rock and Roll Heaven.  Along with several sets of Kiss action figures I came across these life size busts of Ace, Paul, Peter and Gene.  While the busts are a bust with me, I seriously considered throwing down some of my hard-earned for this:
Come on!  A 36" Destroyer-era Gene Simmons doll?!?  We've got this raised area in our living room that would be PERFECT- the first thing visitors see when they come into the house.  I seriously thought about trying to make this sale to Jaime and even had the phone in my hand, but I'm just not that good a salesman.  So, rather than calling her on the phone, I used it to take this selfie instead (sigh).

The item that seems to get the most attention whenever Gene Simmons' obsession with Kiss merchandising comes up is the Kiss Kasket
Dimebag Darrell of Pantera was buried in one of these and the line has since been extended to include branded cremation urns, bronze memorials, memorial prayer cards, registry books, memorial candles, and pet cremation urns. 

Wait.... I just had a brainstorm- let me google something....   Nope, the band has yet to launch a line of financial products.  Think of it: the Rockfolio, including the 401Kiss, Bond of Thunder, Detroit Stock City, Rock and Roll All Annuity, etc.  I kid but I bet Gene is already working on it and if he isn't I want a cut for coming up with the idea.

Merchandising has been a big part of Kiss from the beginning so I don't have a problem with it.  In fact, it has been fun to watch Gene's work over the years.  On the other side of the rock and roll "integrity spectrum," 180 degrees away- as far as you can get- are The Clash.  My all-time favorite band's approach to the music business was quite a bit different from Gene Simmons', as this entry from The Clash Wikipedia page shows:

The band's political sentiments were reflected in their resistance to the music industry's usual profit motivations; even at their peak, tickets to shows and souvenirs were reasonably priced. The group insisted that CBS sell their double and triple album sets London Calling and Sandinista! for the price of a single album each (then £5), succeeding with the former and compromising with the latter by agreeing to sell it for £5.99 and forfeit all their performance royalties on its first 200,000 sales.  These "VFM" (value for money) principles meant that they were constantly in debt to CBS, and only started to break even around 1982.

After The Clash broke up in the mid 80's, greatest hits sets were released in 1988 (The Story Of The Clash, Vol. 1),  1991 (The Singles), 2003 (The Essential Clash) and 2007 (again, The Singles).  These join box sets in 1991 (Clash On Broadway) and 2006 (Singles Box) as well as several b-side compilations and a couple of live albums.  The year 2000 saw new remasters of all the band's records (except Cut The Crap) and London Calling:  25th Anniversary Edition in 2004. This brings us to September 2013 and a new greatest hits package (The Clash Hits Back) another box set of remasters (5 Album Studio Set, again everything but Cut The Crap- seems like they are trying to erase this album from history) and expanded box Sound System.  Mick Jones says this will be the final time he works on anything involving The Clash and their music:  "I’m not even thinking about any more Clash releases. This is it for me, and I say that with an exclamation mark."  

The thing is, at a cost of $180 Sound System looks more like something Kiss would put out than the VFM espousing Clash.  Check out the contents of the box:
  • Outer boom box radio format casebound box with hinged lid
  • 5 studio albums re-mastered in black polycarbonate vinyl replica discs presented in casebound pozzoli books with poster booklets (still no Cut The Crap!)
  • 3 bonus CDs featuring rarities, non-album singles and B Sides
  • Bonus DVD featuring contributions from Julien Temple and Don Letts plus rare live footage and complete promo videos
  •  "Owners Manual" 24 page casebound book
  • Badge holder box - to hold badges & dogtags
  • A4 folder (to hold 3 booklets + adhesive sheets)
  • Armageddon Times 1 & 2 (2 x 24 page booklets) / Armageddon Times 3 (36page booklet)
  • 1x Poster 381X381mm
  • 1x Poster Tube
  • 3x stickers size 140mm x 85mm
  • 1x A4 sticker
  • 2x stickers size 297mm x 105mm
  • 5x badges: 1 x 25mm badge, 3 x 32mm badge, 1 x 45mm badge
  • 2x dogtags; 1 x 60mm chain and 1 x 10mm chain, stainless steel chains, each dogtag embossed 'The Clash'
The kid in me is salivating at all the cool bonus stuff in this box while adult me is looking forward to hearing remasters that according to Mick Jones reveal guitar parts he forgot about and that we've never heard before.  On the other hand, my inner 22 year old idealist is thinking "badges? ....stickers? tags? ....$180 freaking bucks? ....what would Joe Strummer think?"  I've no doubt Gene Simmons approves of Sound System, though he probably finds the extras lacking (I can see him saying "what no tattoos?")  Myself, I'm torn.  I'll probably get Sound System but I have the nagging suspicion Joe Strummer will be looking down on me with his arms crossed, shaking his head with a slightly disappointed look on his face.  That said, did you hear how awesome "1-2 Crush On You" sounded tonight?!?

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