Monday, June 27, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


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


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


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


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

Friday, June 03, 2016

What's happening? Not much but y'ken...

Sometimes I think I might try and post stuff here more often and then more often than not something else comes up. The will to procrastinate is so strong that any sign of distraction is seen as an excuse. There’s some good stuff around that I should probably try and write about but aren’t you overloaded with information as it is. As guff as my angle might be though, it was never my intention to neglect the blog as much as I have been doing.

Just recently, Eddie Flowers asked me to contribute to the upcoming Vulcher print venture. I asked him if I should handwrite it and he said yes. Being that I hadn’t broken out the pens in a while, that was quite a culture shock. Not least because a semblance of an arthritic condition has crept over me so holding the writing utensil for any length of time was uncomfortable. I’d also forgotten all about the need to blot and not to smudge the ink. That made for some expletive filled outbursts along the way.

Forgetting is another thing I do a lot of. I’ve come to excel at that. Like a whole bank of memory tapes have been erased. Of course, all of this is down to aging. I’m under no illusion about that or the fact that it’s likely to get worse. At this point I’m well in advance of punk rock at 40 – this all of a sudden worthy commodity that some ne’er do wells can wring some cash out of cashing in on.

But what the hey, if someone is buying then they likely deserve to be taken. In the same way that anyone would even consider going to see Springsteen at Hampden fucking Park in Glasgow. Far be it from me to get in the way of what could only turn out to be the polar opposite of a real cool time. And I truly hope that Iggy will have made enough money to retire soon so that he can maybe hit the talk circuit and stop playing that post-Trainspotting gash. 

Now that - I’d pay to see. 

Thursday, June 02, 2016


In the interest of full disclosure, I am very close to this release but I’m also very excited about it. This latest instalment by The Dahlmanns is their best yet in my opinion. If ever there was a definition of hit pop smash then these two songs are surely the sonic illustration of such a premise.

One original, one cover. I swear that I thought Line had written “Do You Want Crying” and had no idea it was a Katrina and the Waves song. In that time honoured tradition of picking material – and adding to it – this was a master stroke. “Play It (on Repeat)” is an original that stands up alongside any of your anthems. “Faking unaffected” just won’t cut it. I challenge anyone in radio to programme it as an antidote to that anodyne urban slop that they dole out on a minute by minute basis. 

“... Crying” is a tour de force. When the guitar outro comes in at then all bets are off. The first time I heard it, I was gasping for breath so hard that I almost needed oxygen. And that sensation has continued – on repeat – every time I hear it. The expression “on fire” is often overused but this is an incendiary a guitar run as I have ever heard. And I do mean EVER.

They really upped the ante on an already high-fallutin’ catalogue with this one and yes, there will be a vinyl edition coming down the pike. Meanwhile you can get a CD-ingle or a download (via CD Baby) from those savvy folks at the Pop Detective imprint out in New Jersey, USA. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


Wreckless Eric and Roy Loney

Thanks to a stalled Mission Street bus I was a little late for the show... got there just as he started "Reconnez Cherie" which has always been my fave of his. The joint was pretty well full near the stage so I sidled up to the bar and was halfway down my gin and tonic when I realized Roy Loney was sitting next to me. Roy told me I missed about 4 songs. Eric had an acoustic guitar (which he later told me was an Alvarez) with a ton of distortion and echo on it like the Stones Beggars Banquet sound.  

He sometimes switched to a beat up old Telecaster. These went through an old tube Guild combo amp that I’ve never seen before and didn't know existed. Very big and warm sounding.  He talked a lot between songs as he does (these bits are nearly as good as the songs themselves) and went on about naughty (but "undocumented") things going on in the North London Holloway public loo before performing “Joe Meek”. He did a lot of stuff off his recent album “AmERICa” which is his best ever by the way including “Several Shades of Green”, “Transitory Thing”, “Days of My Life”, “Boy Band”, “Sysco Trucks” and the absolutely sublime closer from the record, “Have a Great Day”.  

Opening band, The Mantles, joined him for “Whole Wide World” and came up and joined him again for “I Wish It Would Rain”. They were excellent and it was just fantastic to hear him with a band.

Eric graciously met and gret afterwards signing LPs and CDs (including my copy of AmERICa).  

Roy waited patiently to say hi while he took photos with fans. I helped him out with the gear and hitched a ride in his Buick Le Sabre up to the entrance of the Bay Bridge. His next stop was Portland but he said he was staying over in Chico.  

Eric really was in great form... I'd say he was as good - if not the best - I've ever seen him. 

Report by Don Ciccone (not pictured) / Eric and Roy Loney Pic courtesy of Bram Balam

The Mantles back Wreckless Eric on Whole Wide World from The Mantles on Vimeo.

Friday, May 27, 2016

So long (Gary) Sperrazza!

I heard today via my friend David Wolin that another old co-conspirator has left the crease.

Does the name Gary Sperrazza! (with exclamation mark) ring any bells? He latterly ran a store called Apollo Records in Buffalo, NY and quite possibly continued to sell records after it closed. We started off as pen/type-pals when he wrote for Bomp! and established a friendship over the years. His zine, The Shakin Street Gazette was a magazine that covered great music before pigeonholes ruined things. If I remember correctly, and this is a big thing – he was the one that introduced me to what was going on down Springfield way in Missouri as well as a host of other things. He was a huge soul fan and I discovered all manner of gems through Gary. 

I may never have hooked up with Lou and co if it hadn't been for this guy.

Sperrazza! was a character and on paper he seemed like a very decent geezer. I went to his home town of Buffalo to meet him during my first trip to the USA with my then wife Gail. Big mistake. That was the end right there because we were treated pretty shabbily. It was the rudeness more than anything else. However, I learned a valuable lesson out of that experience. I learned that if someone takes time to meet with you then one should give him, her or them full attention. To always go that extra mile to make sure they had a good time. It was sad because I really hate to lose friends for whatever reason.

There was a positive outcome however, because after that 36 or 48 hours of relative hell (it was good to see David who really was a youngster back then when he was in The Splatcats), Gail and I hopped on the bus to Rochester and hooked up with my lifelong pals Kevin and Corinne Patrick. That was when I also met the Rt. Hon. Greg Prevost at the fabled House of Guitars too. 

So all was well that ended well.

Gary was a complicated person and according to reports not always that easy to get along with. One comes to learn that people are people and sometimes they have a reason for acting the way they do. I don't know whether he did or not but I plan to unearth some of the cassette tapes he sent me this weekend and will endeavour to remember him the way I thought he was before we met.

My condolences to any friends and family that might stumble upon this. I don’t know if he had any but I know that you can read some of his writing on Rock’s Backpages.