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! 

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