Sunday, April 10, 2016

Show #145 February 13, 2016

Dedicated to Terry (Ork) and his namesake label ORK Records!

Terry- Farrah Moustache 
(I Belong To The) Blank Generation- Richard Hell Ork Records: New York, New York 
Falling For You- DM3 West Of Anywhere 
My-My Kind Of Girl- Ramones Subterranean Jungle 
Don't Play With Fools- Radio Days Get Some Action 
*Red Lights- Marbles Ork Records: New York, New York 
*Love You All Day Long- Prix Ork Records: New York, New York 
*Channel 13- The Student Teachers Ork Records: New York, New York 
^Girl of My Dreams- Bram Tchaikovsky Strange Man/Changed Man 
I Saw Bobbie Sobbing In The Lobby- The Degrads I Saw Bobbie Sobbing In The Lobby 
I Just Wanna Treat You Right- Silver Sun A Lick And A Promise 
*The Summer Sun- Chris Stamey Ork Records: New York, New York 
*97 Tears- The Revelons Ork Records: New York, New York 
*Big Black Truck- Peter Holsapple Ork Records: New York, New York 
Back On Me- Urge Overkill Saturation 
Passport Photograph- The Nerves Notre Demo 
Sandbox- Too Much Joy Cereal Killers 
*All Of The Time- Alex Chilton Ork Records: New York, New York 
*Still Wanna Die- Cheetah Chrome Ork Records: New York, New York 
*Lost Johnny- Mick Farren and The New Wave Ork Records: New York, New York 
About the Weekend- The Jellybricks Youngstown Tune-Up 
So...Goodbye- The Krinkles 3 - The Mordorlorff Collection 
Lonely World- Rob Bonfiglio Freeway 
*Crazy Like A Fox- Link Cromwell Ork Records: New York, New York 
*You- The Idols Ork Records: New York, New York 
*It Was So Funny (The Song That They Sung)- Erasers Ork Records: New York, New York  
>Wonder- The Gants Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, Vol. 2 
Don't Push Me Around- The Zeros Don't Push Me Around 
Help Yourself- The Posies Dear 23 
Little Johnny Jewel- Television Ork Records: New York, New York 

^Power Pop Peak:  #37 Billboard Hot 100 7/7/79

*SacroSet[s]:  Ork Records:  New York, New York

>Power Pop Prototype:  1967

My stated goal to keep things positive on this blog hit a speed bump this week.  You see, I promised myself I wasn't going to do it.  Everyone said it was terrible, so there was no way I was going to subject myself to it.  Yet, when it showed up on Netflix I was only able to hold out for a week before watching the movie CBGB.  It is every
Even the poster sucks!
bit as bad as an 8% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes would have you believe.  I've winced through movies with scripts as trite and performances as superficial but never about a subject so close to my heart.  The portrayal of The Ramones is downright sacrilegious.  Writer/ director Randall Miller has a lot to answer for; the commercial failure of 
CBGB (made for $5million, grossed $40thousand)  makes it less likely a good filmmaker
The wig is not even the worst part
  will ever be able to secure financing to make a movie about the era.
(I should have done my homework because Randall Miller is the guy who made Bottle Shock about the 1976 Paris tasting that put California wines on the map.  I barely got through the film and it was shot in my town!  All you need to know about that movie can be summed up in future Captain Kirk Chris Pine's ridiculous wig.) 

If I were to bring a class action lawsuit against Randall Miller for defaming the legacy of mid-70's NYC rock and roll with
ORK Records:  New York, New York
his sh*t sandwich CBGB, part of the settlement would be that every person who saw the movie would get a free copy of Numero Group's box set ORK Records:  New York, New YorkI had built up some trade at Amoeba records last December and decided it would be my Christmas present to myself.  Even at $80, the box is worth every penny.  This four record set includes an amazing album sized book telling the story of Terry Ork and all the bands on his label- it is the perfect antidote to trash like CBGB.

Fake Terry Ork
Terry Ork (slanderously portrayed by Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki in CBGB) was a very interesting guy.  Born William Terry Collins, in the mid-1960's he took the name of his San Diego bookstore, The Tiny Ork, which also served as the local free press, activist theater and Black Panther headquarters.  In May 1968 he became enthralled with Andy Warhol who was in town to shoot his film San Diego Surf with a coterie of "Superstars."  (Three days after his return to New York, Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas and work on the film stopped.)  Back in San Diego, Terry Ork couldn't resist the siren call of The Factory and he left for New York a few weeks after the shooting.  Hanging around Max's Kansas City, Ork finagled a job working with Factory regular Gerard Malanga and was a contributor to the first issues of what would become Interview magazine.  Living with Malanga at 53rd and 3rd (the male prostitution hot spot immortalized on The Ramones' first album) Terry Ork launched himself into NYC counterculture, both high (having Sunday tea at the Dakota with poet Charles Henry Ford) and low (shooting heroin for the first time with Jim Carrol).

Ork and Malanga at The Factory

When Malanga was kicked out of The Factory for allegedly counterfeiting screen prints, Ork got the boot as well.  He became manager of Cinemablia, the go to store for film books and collectables in the city.   One of his early hires at the store
was a high school dropout named Richard Meyers who had a band with a friend he met in boarding school named Thomas Miller.  As Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine these two helped change music forever.  While Terry Ork's initial interest in these "cute young boys" may have been less than virtuous, things changed once he heard their music.  When the band, which also included

drummer Billy Ficca, was looking for a second guitarist, Ork suggested his young "roomate" Richard Lloyd and the first lineup of Television was secured.  In those early days Terry Ork was the group's manager, buying them equipment, letting them rehearse in his Chinatown loft and booking their debut on March 2, 1974 at the Townhouse Theater.  More infamously, Terry Ork got Television their first show at CBGB a few weeks later on March 31, 1974.  After the show Ork went back to owner Hilly Kristal and asked to handle booking for the club.  Since the name at the time stood for "Country, Bluegrass, Blues" I think it's safe to say that Terry Ork played a major role in creating the world's first punk rock club

Patti and Terry
Television's weekly residency at CBGB soon started attracting like minded opening acts Patti Smith Group (she and Verlaine were an item), The Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads.  What I love about this time is that these five bands all have vastly different sounds, with only The Ramones fitting the definition of what would ultimately be called "punk rock."  

As Television's reputation grew, Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell were often at oddsIn manner and appearance, Verlaine came off as more of a cool jazz guy, while Hell was pure rock and roll swagger- this picture is a great example of their different approaches.
Richard Hell far left, Tom Verlaine far right
In 1975 Terry Ork booked Television a show at the Little Hippodrome co-headlining with The New York Dolls during their nadir at the hands of manager/haberdasher/douchebag Malcom McLaren and, admittedly, all the heroin wasn't helping any.
  Always a sh*tstirrer, that night McLaren had the band decked out in red patent leather performing in front of a Soviet sickle and hammer flag. 

Television reportedly blew the Dolls off the stage that night and McLaren started pursing the group in general, and Richard Hell specifically.  Luckily both were smart enough to tell the limey to get bent.  Unperturbed, McLaren stole Richard Hell's music, fashion and philosophy, heading back home to London to repackage it all in the Sex Pistols.  Even so, Richard Hell quit Television a week or so after the Little Hippodrome show.

ORK Logo 1
Unsigned and with new bass player Fred Smith, Television decided to put out a record on their own and ORK Records, the world's first punk label, was born with the 7 inch single "Little Johnny Jewel."  Released in a plain paper sleeve, the record received rave reviews in several national publications.  After leaving Television, Richard Hell had a stint in The Heartbreakers with ex-New York Dolls Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan before forming his own group, Richard Hell and The VoidoidsTerry Ork's contribution to the band was Robert Quine, another of his hires at Cinemabilia.  Quine may have looked like a middle school math teacher but is second only to Hell himself in creating the band's distinct sound. 
Richard Hell and The Voidoids
ORK Records' second release was the group's "Another World" in 1976, which includes Hell's magnum opus "Blank Generation."  (A staple of Television's live set, Verlaine never allowed the band to record "Blank Generation."  In the blog post for Show #54 I make the case that this song is punk rock's DNA.  Proving my point, the Sex Pistols, challenged by Malcom McLaren to do their own "Blank Generation," came back with the UK punk anthem "Pretty Vacant.")

Although bands had a habit of dropping him at the first sign of success, Terry Ork's label made him a fixture in the NYC scene.  The label's third release was by Power Pop group Marbles, featuring Cinemabilia employee David Bowler.  Their manager Alan Betrock had dropped Blondie to work with Marbles (ouch!) but that error in judgement freed him up to start New York Rocker magazine, to which my Cousin Rich was a subscriber a few years later.  (On the cover of Issue #1 is none other than Tom Verlaine.)

Charles Ball, Jon Tiven, Terry Ork
A scenester of great renown, Terry Ork was no business- man so once the label was a going concern, Ivy league dropout and preppie film geek Charles Ball (who is pictured with Terry on the cover of the Numero box) became ORK's president in July 1976At a Modern Lovers show that October, the two met Jon Tiven who was back from Memphis having produced sessions for Alex Chilton that became the next ORK release.  Concurrently, the label put out a single by Tiven's band Prix, which included future Memphis legend Tommy Hoehn.  It's one of my favorite ORK releases- pure Power Pop gold- and is produced by Chilton's Big Star bandmate Chris Bell.  

Stamey (left) and Chilton (right) at CBGB
When Alex Chilton agreed to promote his ORK single with some NYC shows, a pre-dB's Chris Stamey was drafted to join him on bass as a member of backing band The Cossacks.  Repaying the favor, Chilton backed Stamey on the latter's debut ORK release "The Summer Sun," another Power Pop gem. 

The first album slated for release on ORK was a Rolling Stones tribute called "Sun Blotted Out From The Sky."  Including tracks from Chilton, Stamey, The Cramps, Richard Lloyd of Television, The Feelies, Mick Farren of The Deviants and others.  The record never saw the light of day but the concept was years ahead of it's time.  Charles Ball left ORK in 1978 to focus on the emerging No Wave scene with his label Lust/Unlust.  (His part in the story ends here but the box set never would have happened if the Numero guys hadn't found the contents of Ball's storage locker, purchased by Angry Mom Records in Ithaca, NY after his death in 2012.)

Ork Logo 2
The partnership with Ball dissolved, Terry Ork secured financing from an unlikely source, a pair of Hasidic Jews known in the Max's Kansas City scene as "The Hats."  With a new logo he started scouring the city for talent, finding and recording art rock band The Erasers but never releasing the single.  He had better luck with The Idols (featuring former New York Dolls Killer Kane and Jerry Nolan) and The Revelons.
The Erasers
The Idols
The Revelons
Student Teachers
My favorite of ORK's second go round is The Student Teacher's "Channel 13."  The band was made up of high school kids who met sneaking into CBGB.  Like my own bands growing up, Student Teachers had a photo session before they played one note together.  Talking themselves into opening slots in clubs all over town, the band quickly made a name for itself.
Student Teachers at CBGB
By October 1979 "The Hats" had grown tired of the
Real Cheetah Chrome
down- town scene, losing money on ORK releases and gaining cocaine habits.  A few drug fueled nights at Max's Kansas City helped birth the label's final release.  One of The Hats hooked up with Cheetah Chrome who had been kicked out of the Dead Boys for excessive drug useIt must have been pretty bad to get the sack from those reprobates, plus Chrome had broken his wrist- you're not
Fake Cheetah Chrome, note the "punk face"

going to believe this one- rollerskating with Mick Jagger and Richard Lloyd at Keith Richard's 35th birthday party.  Rollerskating!  Chrome's single was the last ORK release, and The Hat was even credited for playing bass on the single.  One final dig at the movie CBGB, in the film Cheetah Chrome is ludicrously portrayed by... Ron Weasley himself, Rupert Grint!

In the wake of ORK records Shake, Jimboco, Bomp! in LA and, on a greater scale, Stiff in London, picked up the DIY label banner with varying success.  Terry Ork escaped to Europe for three years only to return to his Chinatown loft and find his original Warhol and Mapplethorpe artworks gone.  Moving to LA Ork took the name Noah Ford, reportedly to dodge the IRS.  In the late 80's he wrote for arts magazine Venice and edited film magazine Modern Times.  While the details are sketchy, from 1991 to 1994 Ork/Ford served time in jail for rumored tax fraud, check fraud, passport fraud and, shades of his past, Warhol fraud.    On October 20, 2004 Terry Ork died of colon cancer.

I know I've said this before, notably about Fred and Toody
Terry at the CBGB jukebox
, but if I was an independent film producer, there are few untold stories out there as fascinating as that of the great Terry Ork.

HUGE thanks to Ken Shipley and Rob Sevier, who wrote the outstanding book and put the ORK Records:  New York, New York box set together, for material for this post.  Gentlemen, you have created something for the ages and I thank you.

Terry In The ORK office
Below are links to this show.  Click to stream or to download right click and "Save Link As."
Hour 1
Hour 2

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