Tuesday, July 26, 2016

RIP - SANDY PEARLMAN


I never met Sandy Pearlman but he played an extremely important part in my formative musical years.

An obsession with Blue Őyster Cult led me to discover a group by the name of The Dictators. The only reason I picked up "The Dictators Go Girl Crazy" was because it was produced by Pearlman and (Murray) Krugman. Integral cogs in the BOC machinery that were flagged up by New Musical Express scribe Max Bell. SP also produced the best Clash album “Give ‘em Enough Rope” by giving them just that to sound less parochial and maybe appeal outside of Blighty. Afficianados of said group will bleat mightily to the contrary and I guess they’re entitled to their opinion however...

Pearlman and Krugman performed a sonic alchemy that created a mutation of metal and what at the time was proper punk rock. Folks of a certain age and persuasion know exactly what I’m talking about. They were able to fuse The Yardbirds, Black Sabbath and the MC5 into something that has never really been bettered. I think I was 14 when I first heard BŐC and they’ve stayed with me throughout the journey. Like they have with many close associates.

Without Sandy and his old tag team partner there would likely have been no way that I’d have discovered Andy, HDM, Ross, Scott and Stu Boy. Without them then you lwouldn’t be being subjected to this. I’d just read a facebook post by Scott Kempner the other day that suggested the prognosis may not be so good.

Condolences to his friends and family at this time and profuse thanks to him for setting me off down this road. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

VULCHER - That's GULCHER with a V!


I'm honoured to be amongst a host of zineage stalwarts here in the debut issue of Vulcher. Not available as a PDF or any of that malarkey. This is a living, breathing slab of print complete with those good old print fumes.

This link will take you right to the place where you can score a copy (or three)Sam and Kelsey will keep you right if you have any questions about ordering. 

It's just 8 bucks with postage within the USA and maybe 15 to Europe. Anyway, please consider supporting Vulcher. That way it can continue. 

Issue Two should be out around the end of the year maybe. 
See that it does.

Monday, July 18, 2016

I Remember... RIP Alan Vega

Alan Vega snapped by Howard Thompson on April 20th 2016
I was lucky enough to actually know Alan Vega a bit. My first encounter with Suicide had been via the 1976 Max’s compilation. When the album came out, it polarised anyone that it came into contact with. In the mind of a daft wee fanzine editor, the duo became part of a holy NY quinity – Cramps/Dictators/New York Dolls/Ramones/ Suicide – presented alphabetically, not necessarily in order of merit.

Howard Thompson had licensed “Suicide” for release on Bronze in the UK after being alerted to their existence by Kevin Patrick who’d sent him a copy as part of their ongoing record swapping activity. I met H through Ms Miriam Linna who was working for Marty Thau at Red Star. I’d recently made contact with Miriam via Richie Teeter of The Dictators and had sent her a tape of Simple Minds that she had played for Howard. Anyway, over the years, I got to know Alan via HT and I always found him to be the consummate gentleman. The first time we met, I believe, was the third floor of a place called Danceteria in 1983 and many times over the years after that.

The best New Years Eve I ever spent EVER was at the close of 1990 in a bar close to Alan and Liz’s apartment. It involved HT, Vega and I discussing the best method of preparing a roast. How much more rock’n’roll could it get? We were the only people in there. Everybody else must have been in Times Square or wherever. It felt like the only people left in the city or even the world, aside from the bartender. There was also the time that Alan weighed in to try and save BBC Radio Scotland’s Beat Patrol. Scotland was always amenable to Suicide at the time when many other places were not. Alan was perplexed when the audience at Tiffany’s in Edinburgh attempted to dance to their “music”. I found that baffling is because audiences in that city are not renowned for dancing to anything let alone something as newfangled as these guys were.

Suicide played a show at The Buffalo bar in London a few years ago (June 2007 as a warm-up for their Grinderman opening slot?). HT, Tony Thewlis and I witnessed a sound check that was so mind-blowingly surreal as to make me wonder if it ever actually happened at all. I saw them a good number of times but this was Lynch-like in terms of electricity.

My most recent interaction with him was when Liz kindly put together his recollections of the "Cubist Blues" record for the Light In The Attic reissue. Getting her notes, one perceptive quote really hit me. “We were meditating on sound and time was suspended.” It was so perfect, so Alan. When I sent Iñigo the draft, he freaked out at how succinctly Alan had nailed it. Another thing I recall was my ex-partner being scared to meet Vega and then not being able to believe how nice a man he was “in real life”.

He was and is and forever will be an extraordinary character and inspiration that was locked on a constant trajectory to create. Seemingly unfettered compared to the rest of us. Suicide may might not have set the heather on fire at the time but once the blaze started an eternal flame was lit and those initial dreams burned forever. The world caught up. How did that happen? And then there were his solo records. Always breaking new ground, setting the bar higher and ever higher, visceral one minute, heartbreaking the next. 

An Alan/Liz/Dante project that was previewed at The Barbican is in the pipeline. Recordings that Alan completed with Ben Vaughn and Palmyra Delran will also hopefully find their way into the world over the coming months. It won’t be easy to adjust to a post-Vega world. Who the heck is even close to being as qualified to scream the truth at and for us now? 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

TOE-KNEE WRITES!




Saw a couple of barbs about the individual that penned this "fan letter" on the facedog. Sounded like he was conducting himself as per usual but by way of light relief, i thought I'd dust off this chestnut. I sent a copy of NBT to NME and it was returned torn up with this threatening diatribe. I guess I hit a nerve. His true colour was evident even then in the shitslinging days. Wish I'd kept the whole package. I could have hired it out to a punk rock exhibit in the portals where it was once villified. The punk rock that is. On IPC letterheaded paper but I don't think he was speaking for the company. For an added dimension, I imagine this thin-skinned charlatan reciting it in his comedy English twang. What a gift. The boy looked at ToeKnee, shook his head and kept walking.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Message from Brian Eno


Sorry to bludgeon you with a political message... but this is getting serious.
In just a few days we will be voting whether to stay in the EU.
Until recently I'd assumed there was no chance we'd vote to leave. However, recent polls seem to be showing 'Leave' and 'Remain' are neck and neck. Some polls even show 'Leave' leading.
You may have made up your mind and plan to vote (in which case ignore this letter), but if, like me, you've been complacent about the issue, it might be time to rethink. What the 'Leaves' have on their side is their unquenchable enthusiasm for a 'Great' Britain that they think we can revive - and several powerful media outlets to propagandise the idea. The Leavers know they can count on their demographic - primarily older people - to get out and vote, whereas the 'Remain' demographic is less reliable (and more complacent). And the Leavers have LOTS of money: seems like a lot of very wealthy people are anxious to get out of the EU.
I wonder why? Is it because many of the constraints on how badly you're allowed to treat workers have been put in place by the EU? Is it because the EU has insisted on environmental legislation which hampers the freedom-to-pollute of corporations and governments? Is it because the EU has established an international criminal court where all those people to whom we sell weapons might be called to account? Is it because the EU has tried to come up with some sort of humane response to immigration other than barbed wire and Trumpian walls?
I have a lot of misgivings about the way the EU is run, but they don't make me want to ditch the whole idea. I feel the EU is one of the only restraints on the kind of neo-liberal market fundamentalism that has seen inequality rising throughout the world. I feel that it has been a net force for good in promoting enlightened social and environmental agendas. It could and should be doing a better job at all these things, but to do any job at all it needs our support.
The only good outcome of this referendum is that it might remind us what the original mission of the EU was, and might motivate us to actually make it happen.
So...please vote. And please ask your friends to do the same.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Saturday, June 11, 2016

HEY MR DJ!


In my opinion, a better Neil Young song than ol' Neil himself has come up with for years!

THE RETURN OF THE HOUSE OF ROCK FESTIVAL!


A touch over half a decade after the first one, it's happening again...

HOUSE OF ROCK II.0

Chixdiggit (Can)
The Vanjas (S)
Faz Waltz (I)

The Yum Yums / Sugar Louise / 
Baby Dynamite / The Whipshades /
Caroline & The Treats / The Promdates /
For The Love Of Ivy / El Mapache /
The Boogie Traps