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?!?

Stream/download this show below 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Show #107 September 7, 2013

Dedicated to Jenny!

Jenny- Sloan Hardcore 7˝
Stupid Rock Star's Dream- The Riffbackers The Curtain Shop and Alterations
Time Rolls On- Free Energy Love Sign
Shout It Out- Hello Keeps Us Off The Streets 
World's On Fire-The Cryers The Cryers 
Cherry Red- Lime Spiders Nine Miles High 1983-1990
Let's Play House- Pearl Monica
Somebody New Is OK- Public Enemy Possession 
^Hey Stoopid- Alice Cooper Hey Stoopid 
I Just Wanna Love You Girl- The Wellingtons In Transit 
Hello Girl- The Jumpers Waves: An Anthology Of New Music, Vol. 2 
So It Goes- Primitive Souls Primitive Souls
When I Am With You- Translator The Best Of 415 Records
Speeed King- These Animal Men The Brit Box: UK Indie, Shoegaze and Brit-Pop Gems Of The Last Millennium
*Stupid- Vibeke The World Famous Hat Trick
*Stupid Guy- The Paranoics Shake Some Action Vol 1 (UK)
*Stupid Idea- The Windbreakers Time Machine (1982-2002)
*Stupid Einstein- The Three O'Clock Sixteen Tambourines
*Stupid Now- Bob Mould District Line 
*Genetically Stupid- The Jetsons Suicidal Tendencies 7"
*Stupid Enough- Van Duren Are You Serious?
*Stupid People- The Wigs File Under: Pop Vocal 
*Mr. Stupid- Richard Thompson Sweet Warrior
*Stupid and Shallow- The Futureheads The Futureheads 
When My Baby's Beside Me (Alternate Mix, 1972)- Big Star Nothing Can Hurt Me: Original Soundtrack 
Butterfield 8- Pills A Fistful of Pills
Go Girl- The Pop Hearts And Knives
>Everybody's Stupid- Sparks Big Beat 
Who Needs Love- Material Issue Destination Universe 
To Pretend (Is the Advantage)- The Misstakes National Pastime
Stupid Heart- Game Theory Distortion of Glory 

^Power Pop Peak:  #78 Billboard Hot 100 6/15/91

*SacroSet:  Stupid Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1976

While DOA's Joey "Sh**head" Keithley is the rare exception, if you take a walk down any hipster street in any American city you'll soon realize the cold hard fact that punk rock doesn't age well.  I may wish to hold it closed, but I no longer look down my nose at the hippies on Haight Street in San Francisco or Telegraph Ave in Berkeley.  As I've said before, if I judge the guy in tie-dye, dreads, Birkenstocks and cloud of patchouli harshly I must also do the same to the bemohawked dude beside him in studded leather jacket, bondage pants, Discharge t-shirt, and cloud of b.o. holding a leash with a similarly rancid, miserable looking pitbull on the other end.  No disrespect to punk rock icons like Mr. Keithley, Charlie Harper or Keith Morris but as I got older the music became less relevant to me, especially after I had kids.  I mean The Ramones are timeless and I still listen to The Clash regularly but it's been a while since I've spun the DOA, UK Subs or Circle Jerks. 

Even so, I totally dig Sloan’s Hardcore 7” the source of tonight’s dedication song “Jenny.”  Sloan seem to have made peace with the fact that they will never attain that Weezer-level of fame they so richly deserve.  On the plus side for us fans, that means Sloan get to do whatever the hell they want- including put out a 7” vinyl hardcore single with an album length bonus download of their versions of classic hardcore songs by bands like Angry Samoans, Minor Threat and (here they are again) Circle Jerks.  You’ve gotta love it- a genius Power Pop band of guys now in their mid-40’s kicking ass on a bunch of snotty teenage-angst ridden rants.  I especially love the picture sleeve- an homage to Minor Threat’s 7” swan song “Salad Days.” 
Minor Threat, 1985

Sloan, 2013
Sure the Sloan record is pure nostalgia, but it is fun as hell too.

The timing of the Sloan release is interesting because after years of listening to nothing but hip hop, my son Jack has been getting into hardcore lately.  Based on what Sonoma kids listen to from the era, you'd think Minor Threat and The Misfits were the only punk bands around in the 80's.  It's almost like some weird music embargo was in place and those two groups were the only ones that managed to breach the blockade.  I blame Hot Topic.  In any case, I've enjoyed broadening Jack's musical horizons.  He of course
first asked to hear- you guessed it.... The Misfits and Minor Threat.  After that though, I set him up with Angry Samoans' Back From Samoa, Black Flag's Damaged, and for some scorching hometown flavor This Is Boston Not LA.  It's been fun listening to those records with him- hearing them with his ears.  Hardcore was never my favorite music as I've always been a melody fan.  And yes, those who do not have an ear for the music might quibble with my designation of groups like Stiff Little Fingers
and The Damned as "melodic," but they certainly were to me.  I definitely appreciate the power of hardcore- there's no denying its speed and fury.  The fact that it was mostly made by suburban white boys just like me was also a selling point.  Plus, these were the 
I was there!
halcyon days of the "all ages matinee hardcore show" when we got to see Black Flag, Husker Du, The Misfits and many others at Boston clubs where we were not welcome after dark.  Once I got to college at Emerson there were also a ton of hardcore shows at VFW halls and Community Centers where I saw bands like Minor Threat, The Necros and The Meatmen.  Would I have rather been seeing The
I was here too!
Ramones or The Clash every weekend instead?  Sure, but I missed the scenes in New York in 1976 and London in 1977 so I was going to take full advantage of my scene:  Boston in 1982. 

The thing I liked least about hardcore was what was first called slamdancing, then moshing.  It just seemed so pointless to me- a bunch of jocks playing football in front of the stage, completely oblivious to the band.  Stage diving was even worse- I thank Jello Biafra for bringing it to Boston at a Dead
Jello in 1981
Kennedy's show in what would eventually be the dining hall of my Emerson dorm, Fensgate.  The practice of jumping up on stage, grabbing the mic from the singer and screaming into it- well I've hit on that one before.  At my first punk shows it was pogo dancing- jumping straight up and down.  Yes you would bounce off other people and toes were stepped on (we were all wearing Chuck Taylors so no harm) but the point was not to slam into other people.  Moshing seems all about drawing attention to yourself, battling for
Pogo Dancing!
supremacy in "the pit."  Pogoing faced the band and to me was all about celebrating music you loved so much you had to jump for joy.  The sucky thing about the advent of moshing in Boston was that people started doing it at all shows- not just hardcore bands.  I'll never forget being at The Channel and getting shoved out of the way by a bunch of dudes moshing at a Hoodoo Gurus concert.  Putting up with a pit full of douche bags was the price of admission when you saw hardcore bands like Negative Approach or Deep Wound but the HOODOO GURUS?!?!  Come on!

The Dreaded Mosh Pit

That said, I will never forget seeing DOA at the tiny club Cantones near Government Center. A particularly fierce mosh pit broke out during the first song "F**cked Up Ronnie" and someone jumped up and smashed one of the ceiling tiles.  Within a minute half the ceiling tiles were down and the room was filling up with asbestos dust.  Owner Teddy Cantone runs on stage and tries to calm everything down but DOA didn't really help him any by launching into "The Enemy."  Then the rest of the ceiling tiles came down along with a lot of the metal structure holding them in place and the cops busted in to kick us all out.  Best two song show EVER!  
DOA, truly hardcore in '81

 I later heard one of the kids at the show turned up the next day with a load of ceiling tiles from his dad's company and rebuilt the ceiling.  Don't know if that's true or not but I really hope it is.

As a postscript I’ve got to mention that after 35 years , DOA are finally calling it quits.  Believe it or
"Mr. Speaker..... Mr. Sh**thead
has the floor"
not, Joey Sh**head has decided to run for political office in British Columbia.  I respect DOA's tenacity, but I haven't bought any of their records since the early 90's.  The last time I saw them was in 1994 or so at legendary all ages punk rock collective 924 Gilman in Berkeley.  I made the mistake of taking my wife Jaime to the show.  It would be an understatement to say she did not have a good time- she found the 14 year old punks spitting on each other especially horrifying.  A few years earlier Girlfriend Jaime may have pretended to be okay with filthy punk rock clubs, but Wife Jaime was having NONE of it.

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