Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's been a woolly few weeks. Working all last weekend pretty much took its toll. Not much time for blogging far less anything else but hopefully this weekend I'll be able to rectify the backlog. Or at least some of it. Of course, this could all go down the pan but I am armed with the finest intentions. Meantime, Brother Patrick made a whistle stop trip to San Francisco and has filed the following report...

One Groovy Halloween Day in San Francisco

"My plan was just to go to see the Cramps and DollRods Halloween show in San Francisco and then come back to France. I was thinking of Elvis taking his plane just to go to eat his fave hamburger. As Oscar Wilde once said “when I was young, I thought that money car make you happy ... now I know it”. Now I know it too, so I’d like to become rich so I can attend more shows in the USA.

Anyway, here’s a little resumé of my trip...

Due to unattended luggage, there was panic in the Paris Airport then everything was great. Cool plane, roomy seats and a classy lady in the next seat that looked like the French actress Clémentine Célarié. After more of 24 hours of planes, airports, trains, taxis, I finally arrived at my hotel, near to the Fillmore. I called Don, the greatest Flamin’ Groovies fan on earth to arrange to meet at Amoeba, the greatest record shop in town, at the Groovies section, where else ?

In the morning, I got an email from Danny Doll Rod, asking me to call him on his cell phone. After a quick visit to the tourist area, Union Square, I called Frank Margerin, the famous French rock’n’roll cartoonist, and another bonafide Groovies fan (he even married Chris Wilson’s ex wife, ahahah) and arranged to meet him at Amoeba Records too.

I walked from my hotel to Amoeba, a long walk but a very good way to experience magic Frisco. On my way, I stopped at Jack’s Record Cellar, Roy Loney’s shop, 254 Scott Street (another Flamin’ Groovie as everyone should know, thanx for the tip, Jacques) but it’s only open from Wednesday to Saturday and it’s Tuesday. Haight Street is a very long street, filled with awesome shops of all kinds. Amoeba isn’t the best record shop I’ve ever visited, but it’s the biggest and friendliest one. Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead was there to autograph stuff (maybe the 563rd Dead album, I didn’t check). So Don, who looks exactly like a 1976-78 Groovie, Frank and I talked about our mutual friends or the people we like, Little Jim (singer of Wild Child, a French combo), and of course Chris Wilson. Frank told us of Chris recent troubles (he lost his visa in Spain, his health ...). Don and Frank are great guys. We all recommend albums to each other, this shop is overflowing with good stuff. Among other things, I bought an Isley Brothers album, the one with the song “Vip Vop” on it. When Frank left to get dressed up for his Halloween party, Don and I went for a beer in a cool pub. Don called Cyril Jordan to ask him to join us; Cyril said hi, but he was on his way to the studio to finish the second Magic Christian album.

We talked about Jonathan Richman, who lives in Frisco now, about Angel Corpus Christi with whom Don played/wrote songs, and, as you already guessed, about those Groovies. I had almost nothing to tell Don – well, I confirmed that
“Shake Some Action” was issued first in France and told him that Sterling Morrison (of Velvet Underground fame) all time favourite album is “Flamingo”. Here are some (non private stuff) that Don told me. Lou Reed was in the studio (he came to see producer Richard Robinson) while “Teenage Head” was recorded and that’s why Lou came back to high energy rock’n’roll. He told me that no recording of “Sweet Jane” or another Velvet song by the Groovies exist but that, maybe, he had a recording of the Flamin’ Groovies live in London Roundhouse in 1972 ! Don also explained why the Groovies disbanded, on October 31st 1981 (25 years ago to the day) : the band was supposed to play 2 shows, the first at the Best Western Miyako Inn (Where I was staying, by coincidence !) and the second at a party for film director John Carpenter. Chris, for some reason, only wanted to play one show so Cyril got angry : exit the ”real” Flamin’ Groovies. So the last show was at the Miyako Hotel and guess what : Don gave me a CD of it !!! Can you imagine a cooler guy ? The show featured exclusives like a poem by Aleister Crowley, an instrumental song, taken from Dave Edmunds “Rockpile” album (didn’t have time to check the name yet) and “Kicks” a song by Paul Revere & the Raiders. Don also gave me an unissued album by his group The Trip (from 1976) that features a ripped-off-but-as-good-as-a-Groovies-song called”The Love That’s In Your Eyes”; only 2 songs out of the 7 on this album were issued on compilations, when this record is so good that every song could have feature on the recent “Nuggets” or “Shake Some Action” compilations collecting pop treasuries from the 70’s, indeed. Don is putting together a band with members of the Sneetches : once a Groovie, Groovie forever ! My gifts to him were a couple CD’s too, including my recording of Chris Wilson & His Groovin’ Flames Paris show. Those presents really made our day ...

... but my day wasn’t finished : I headed for the Fillmore – by the way, I saw no flyer or poster in town to announce the show, even the flashing marquee didn’t announce it. Danny Doll Rod came to see me. I gave him a copy of “Trash is Neat 3” (# DDR). TIN 3 is the result of my friend Sean’s great idea of brand new groups covering The Cramps to celebrate 30 years of Crampdom. He also sent me TIN 3 # 666 that Danny kindly gave to Lux and Ivy. In my package for them, I also included the note from my friend and staysicker Nimereht in which he explains the idea of his beyond belief compilations, called “Lux & Ivy’s faves” (8 volumes so far, around 240 songs !), as well as a little mixed Cramps/DDR interview that I prepared. My questions are related to details about their tastes in music (kinda : Lux & Ivy, you like DDR, Flat Duo Jets, but what song in particular), their upcoming stuff (Margaret’s second album, Danny’s first, the upcoming DDR dvd on Munster, the Cramps “Gravest Gravy”) and a question Nimereht asked : did Lux love Harold Lloyd, his 3D photos – and what about publishing a 3D book one day, with Ivy pix, among others .... I hope that the Cramps will answer, I’m sure that DDR will do.

The Fillmore is the best venue I’ve ever seen with lotsa posters (saw 2 Cramps), photos (saw 1, Nick and Candy era) and many bars.

The merch stall sold mostly T-shirts, stickers, pill boxes, the latest albums / DVD’s by DDR / Ghoulies, but no poster of tonight’s show. Except a few gratis after the show, the only way to get one autographed was to play lottery tickets ($ 2 for 1, 3 for $ 5).

The Groovie Ghoulies opened the show with a short but entertaining and humorous Chuck Berry-esque set that was interrupted by acts like girls throwing Halloween treats to the audience from the stage:sweets, glow in the dark bats, stuff like that. The Ghoulies catchy tunes sound better on vinyl than on stage in my opinion.

Then another two chicks and one guy band hit the stage, the Doll Rods were as sexy as ever with a beautiful makeup for Margaret and Tia. Danny had blue/gray make up around his eyes and looked like a vampire zombie from hell. It was the best show of theirs i’ve ever seen (the 3rd in 2006) and included just songs from their latest and highly recommended album “There Is A difference”. Here’s the set list : Get It On / Take It Off / How Does It Feel To Feel / I Wanna Take You Home / I Bet You / We Will Ride / Let Yourself Go / Little Piece Of Leather / On The Way To School / Booty Call / Baby Say Unh ! / Open Up Your Door, with a great horny intro by Margaret.

I saw Lux taking pictures of the Doll Rods but the Cramps finally arrived, at 10:10 PM (precise, ain’t I?) : what, Lux with 3 girls? But ain’t that Harry wearing a skirt and a pompadour, yep ! Ivy took her place after spilling salt all over the stage. She was wearig a short short dress. Sean Yseult, the new bass player (of Famous Monsters and White Zombie fame) was wearing shorts and Lux his usual vinyl trousers.

This was the best I’ve seen them since the early days (I mean 1980-84) and the first I saw them in the US : Mystery Plane/My Flash On You/speaking about drugs, this is another song about drugs, Lux said to introduce Bop Pills/then, thank you , you’re sick motherfuckers, wanna have trouble before Everything Goes/Papa Satan Sang Louie/Big Black Witchcraft Rock/Goo Goo Muck, with a great intro by Sean Yseult /Human Fly, gigantic version/Sunglasses After Dark/Teenage Werewolf - at that part, Lux jokes with his broken mike stand – look at the balance on that sucker, excellent/The Most Exalted Potentate Of Love/ What’s Inside A Girl?/I’m Mean/Ultra Twist/ Lux asked if we wanna see his tattoo, pointing to his dick, that he won’t show tonight (we’re in the USA!). He also pointed out Elvis in the audience who’d come incognito, then TV Set/Psychotic Reaction saw Lux spitting wine, most of it splashing Sean who rapidly recovers her smily face. Lux teased her a couple of times, reminding me of the Fur era (I don’t think he did that with Candy). Ivy too seemed to be in a very good mood, smiling and sexy as ever/Wrong Way Ticket/Encores: Lux pointed out that it was their 30th anniversary and started an incredible version of She said, the best version I’ve heard/And then it was time to tear that damn place up; Lux stole a hat from one of the guys in the crew that was standing next to me. The crowd screamed for another encore, but it was over.

The audience put on their own show, two thirds of them decked out in full Halloween costumes. There was a girl dressed like a typical 19th century Frenchman (beret, moustache, baguette), a real jerk, that was throwing pieces of bread on to the stage – you should have seen her face when Jack tapped her on the head with a piece of the baguette she threw. I hope that he didn’t figure she was a real French dummy, ahahah.

I had another chat with the DDR folks, who were very happy with their performance (they sure should be!). Danny stayed mesmerized in front of a portrait of Miles Davis whom he really loves. I gave them best wishes for the forthcoming shows and I received a big hug in return. They were rock’n’roll stars tonight (for me, they’re a combination of the Cramps and the Kinks), they got a great reaction from the crowd which was well deserved. They are such nice, down to earth, generous people.

Before leaving, I told Jack that I’d see him soon with his band, the Lords Of Altamont, in my town, Evreux. He shook my hand and I went to have a rest before another 24 hour journey.

I know why I’m not doing drugs to feel good/better. I just have to crank the stereo up with groups like these, they’re the only drug I need. And that’s what I’m gonna do on my way back:listen to the shows. What could be more exciting than these kinds of recordings, that you can share, rather than scum collecting a rare record that will impress just another collector who’s looking for the same record, when everybody else will say “Yeah ? So what ?”

Patrick / music lover

PS : And probably, because I’m a lucky guy, on my way back from Philadelphia to Paris, I sat next to the famous sci-fi author, James Morrow and his wife, Cathy. They kindly helped me to improve the style of this little report."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

sounds great! some photos at
http://flickr.com/photos/victor_lee/sets/72157594356887864/

Howard Wall

luxivyig1 said...

Thanx Howard.

Also, Lindsay skipped that from my article, but it must be said : everybody, everywhere in the world say that Lindsay is a beautiful human being, Don even said he's the best.

Patrick

Lindsay Hutton said...

Well, i've been called a lotta things but "beautiful human being" is a first. I appreciate the sentiment though... like I said to Patrick before this thing ain't about me.

Anonymous said...

more pics at http://flickr.com/photos/joycecroft/sets/72157594357650597/

howard

Nick LaRocca said...

Damn, I would REALLY like to hear the Groovies at the Roundhouse in 1972. Shouldn't a label like Norton be tripping over themselves to release this?