Sunday, June 30, 2013

It’s been a while. Still haven’t managed to pull together my latest travelogue but I’m close. A little down the page there, you read me typing about being tired of hearing about people dying. I never met James Gandolfini but I feel like I did. So waking up the morning the news about him broke (pun intended) was shocking. I was obsessed with The Sopranos and recall meeting Steven Van Zandt at Joey’s Birthday party he same weekend as Silvio killed Adriana. That was pretty amazing. There’s a photo of Avy and I with him outside Irving Plaza and he’s holding an Amy Allison CD but anyway I digress.
Thinking about how he bowed out in Italy correlates with something I was thinking while I was in Spain. Can’t recall if I said it out loud or not but it goes something like this. If it is at all possible, I want to go down doing what I was doing like that. While I imagine that it would cause undue hassle for a club, restaurant owner or perish forbid – my dance partner but it would be my choice to keel over in front of The Dahlmanns or the YFF or The A-Bones or... actually just with my crew someplace. Gandolfini was 4 years younger than me and that’s a wake up call right there. Another prod.
The fact that I haven’t gotten over (and may well never) this most recent Spanish adventure is neither there nor here. Took LAST Friday off to attend to mundanities like the central heating and car servicing so that meant I could schlep into Glasgow on Thursday evening. The reason? To meet  and hang out with Monsieur Jacques Ball of the Dig It! Parish and man of science with a beat on the “laws of physics”.  What a gent! And great stories too plus he told me that Ben Vaughn will be making for France.
Cinema-wise, I saw "Populaire" and really liked it. Wasn’t really able to do the EIFF like I used to do but last Sunday I plumped for two movies.  “The Berlin File” lollygads a bit to begin with but then it hits a high octane stride. It makes the most recent Die Hard and all that shit CGI look like "Driving Miss Daisy". I smell a sequel too so I’ll be looking out for that. “Call Girl” isn’t exactly a cakewalk but it’s an excellent film. It has an inherent seediness that has become a staple of Scandinavian grit. Even although the perceived idea that Sweden is a shining example, it is obviously beholden to the same corruption and sleaze as everyplace else. There was one little piece that actually made me shudder. Attention to detail of the period is exemplary too.
I sort of got out of the habit of watching festival coverage on TV. Mostly because the acts they show on there – in my opinion – stink. But a band or an act is a business to some degree and they’re working and presumably earning. None of my business that most of them don’t deserve a second glance far less listen but let’s leave that to one side. It’s an opportunity to be seen and heard, It potentially increases an acts audience exponentially and everything grows.
That my interest in music hasn’t waned to see me acting my actual age is a cause of much pondering to me. It may not necessitate analysis or even matter but something that does bring it into sharp focus is just how awful much of the perceived entertainment is nowadays. Aided and abetted by this chuffing internet which seems much more of a curse than a blessing to me at this point.
I’m at sixes and sevens. No - make that sixteens and seventeens maybe. Weekends flash by so quickly. Particularly when you have no idea where to start with using such precious time wisely.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

RIP - Alistair (William Mysterious) Donaldson

Haven't been able to find out what happened. Had been trying to get a hold of him recently to sign a printers proof of the US CD longbox. The idea was to auction it for charity or something. Needless to say that didn't happen. A damn shame. His passing of course, not the fact I didn't reach him.

Prone to bouts of crazy behaviour by all accounts, my memory of him was as a gentle, quiet guy and a great player that influenced folks like Jim Sangster and J. Mascis. If I can find an obit then I'll link it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sunday, June 09, 2013

I’m truly sick of getting news of people passing away. Their proximity to my age is a factor. Sure. Artie was 8 years older than me. When I was living it up in Spain, I got the news that Prof my old mucker from Tyneside had left the theatre.  No doubt, something else will happen and someone else will be taken in if not exactly their prime, way too fucking early.
So this coming Thursday night, in a certain bar on Tres Cruces in Mad-town. Mahou’s will be lifted in honour of our fallen comrade Arturo Vega who not only designed the greatest, most enduring logo but he made The Ramones possible. He and Monte facilitated their place in the firmament. God knows where those guys would have wound up if it wasn’t for their role.
I can’t claim to have known Arturo well but we met on many occasions where he took care of business as only he could. It’s a sad day for rock’n’roll because there’s one less guy around that made a difference. His spirit will endure though. Through everybody he met. Strangely, my last encounter with him involved my trying to get a print of a shot he took of Joey wearing his NBT shirt, the one in the anthology book. Then just last week when another shot appeared on facebook, I was eager to prove it wasn’t one of Artie’s. He came up in the “conversation” then bam – I get a message from Kevin with the news.
Memo to the Reaper... enough with the collection of good souls lately. Give it a rest for a while or maybe concentrate on the bastards that deserve to be scooped up.
Come see The A-Bones on Thursday and hoist a glass.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

RIP - Arturo Vega

My condolences to his family and friends.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

My thanks to Brother Jon for the heads up on this happening!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The twang is back. Oh, I know there are a host of approximations but I’m talking about THAT twang. The twang the Del-Lords perfected back there awhile. Around the time of the “Great Roots Rock Scare” that Lou Whitney has been known to comment upon. Y’see this twang has a groove, it has a sense of purpose. It’s not there to try and take the strain on a song that might not exactly be up to scratch. And nor would it require to be because Scott Kempner doesn’t deal in so-so.

“Elvis Club” is the sound of a band making a record to please themselves, because it was time. Whatever wrought them asunder at the time is water under the proverbial. In some ways it’s a logical follow up to “Lovers Who Wander”. It was understated in many ways and it never got the head of steam it deserved at the time. Three-quarters of the original band have reported for duty so that makes it more than just another run around the block.

As “When The Drugs Kick In”, kicks in – all you want to do is find out when they’re playing and trying to figure out how you might get there. It’s a hit in as much as it pretty much sets out the stall. Eric Ambel knows how the band should sound and as he takes the vocal on “Flying”, it’s clear that there’s a sense that they know that they’re doing it for us. And for those who have yet to discover this combo. The trick is going to be in connecting the two. There are some east coast US shows on the immediate horizon but the big news is that they’re headed for Europe in October/November. The UK is included even although we don’t really deserve to be.

If there’s one obvious shift in gear here then perhaps it’s toward a blues notion here and there in relation to pace. This could just be a natural thing in relation to age. The fact that there is a new Del Lords album at all is cause for celebration. The fact that it cuts it is even better. Sometimes Scott sounds a little like Joe Strummer, like on “Letter (Unmailed)”, perhaps that’ll help a few more people get the memo. In my opinion, Kempner has always been head and shoulders above that guy – or any of his bands including The Cl*sh. I met someone else recently who thought “Give ‘em Enough Rope” was their best record and we all know why that is... ha ha.

But I digress, we gather here to give thanks that The Del Lords are alive, kicking and heading in this direction. “Elvis Club” is brought to you by GB music, go enlist.

Two volumes of demos and rare, unreleased gear are also due to be made available in the near future. Details here.