Monday, December 30, 2019
Friday, December 20, 2019
Roy A, Loney, Miriam Linna, Don Ciconne - NYC 1979 - Photo: Tom Bessoir
I never met Roy Loney, nor to my regret, did I see him
onstage, but as a member of the Flamin’ Groovies he played a vital role in my
life. Yet, despite such a forthright statement, I can’t exactly recall how I
first became aware of the group. I’m fairly sure it was via Lester Bang’s
review of Supersnazz in Rolling Stone, but at that point I paid scant regard to
his opinion – this was the man, after all, who’d panned Kick Out The Jams –
which is perhaps why there’s some dubiety over the timeline. However, that same
Groovies’ album was on my radar in 1970 and, during a fetish for the unknown, I
opted to order an import copy, unheard, alongside the debut from Dan Hicks And
His Hot Licks. I felt then, as I still do now, that it’s a patchy collection
but it was one I kept returning to, sensing a hidden potential.
True fandom kicked in the following year when Flamingo and
Teenage Head were paired for British release. There’s little point in extolling
just how great these records are; if you are reading this you know it already,
but their distillation of Detroit high-energy, rockabilly, garage bands and
British R&B was utterly captivating. Roy’s vocals, almost Zelig-like, could
be Dr. Ross or Mick Jagger, but they were imbued with his unique swagger and
poise, tongue slightly-in-cheek, yet always affectionate. I was hooked and
would play these records at any opportunity; at home, at friends and in Bruce’s
Rose Street branch where I worked part-time. It was while there I discovered
via United Artists that Roy had parted company from the band he co-founded, but
that a revised line-up would move to the UK and record here. A package
containing ‘Slow Death’ duly followed, as would ‘Married Woman’ some months
I also saw them live at the mudbath that passed as the Bickershaw
And so it continued. In 1974 I travelled to London’s Rock On
stall to buy the Skydog releases and was in Paris the weekend Sire unleashed
Shake Some Action into the world, although that was a coincidence –
honest. This, however, takes us a bit
ahead of the tale. These years were not quite as bleak as Pop orthodoxy now
determines, but there’s little doubt music’s overriding tenor then was that of
sullied complacency. Contemporaneous compilations of 1960s’ material such as
Nuggets, the Creation’s 66-67 and Mersey Beat ’62-’64 teemed with an
inventiveness, purpose and excitement so lacking in most mid-70’s releases.
Fired by their content and inspired by Who Put The Bomp and The Rock
Marketplace, I laid plans for a fanzine to celebrate the era. As always with
such matters, choosing a name took forever. Several pop art-type options were
tried but rejected and I instead found myself drawn towards song titles found
on records never far from my turntable. Cue the Groovies. Perfect! Here was a band I was passionate
about condensing everything I thought great and so it was decided - the fanzine
would be called Yesterday’s Numbers. It stayed that way for around a week, but
I gradually thought that too specific and wanted something punchier. Having
pulled Supersnazz from the rack, my eyes immediately fixed on the penultimate
track and from then on in there was no question – the magazine was now Bam
Issue 1 appeared in February 1975, fourteen in all would
trickle out until 1982 after which I began writing liner notes, often for
labels run by people - Andrew Lauder, Roger Armstrong - I’d first met on the
trail of Flamin’ Groovies’ releases. As for the band, they had continued under
Cyril Jordan’s unbending stewardship but, much as I care for those late 70s'
recordings, they increasingly showed signs of stylistic paint and corners. It
was also sad to hear members deny their early work and, by extension Roy, when
much of it was at least the equal of that which followed. Indeed a succession
of archive releases from the period, live and studio, as well as a repackaging
of Sneakers, the group’s magnificent debut, confirmed just how special this
first line-up was. Any difference between the two was of emphasis; Cyril wanted
his music to be of a time while Roy preferred to celebrate it. That he would
continue to do, beginning in 1978 with the excellent Artistic As Hell,
maintaining it over the years with various aggregations, notably The Phantom
Movers and The Longshots. Perhaps he never regained the artistic heights of the
Groovies’ halcyon period but, to quote Joseph Heller when asked why he hadn’t
written something the equal of Catch 22 – who has?
Although wary of such get-togethers, I was genuinely excited
at the thought of seeing Roy reunited with Cyril to take Teenage Head on tour
earlier this year, perhaps even shaking his hand to say “thank you.” Alas, it
was not to be, but any personal disappointment pales into insignificance with
the sad news of his passing. 2019 was already a bitter year for the Flamin’
Groovies following the death of Mike Wilhelm but the loss of Roy Loney has
extinguished the spirit which forged them. I will hear those early records a
little differently now but will always love the music within and be thankful
for the personal paths they introduced.
Brian Hogg, December 2019
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Monday, December 02, 2019
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Monday, November 11, 2019
Monday, October 21, 2019
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Thursday, October 03, 2019
Monday, September 23, 2019
Friday, September 20, 2019
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Monday, August 12, 2019
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Friday, June 07, 2019
Tuesday, June 04, 2019
My poster is in a frame on the wall and the
glass is reflecting so I pinched this one
from the web.
Where to begin with Roky?
The first time I heard The 13th Floor Elevators “You’re Gonna Miss Me" on Nuggets was the introduction and I’m fairly sure my reaction was much akin to your, the first time you heard that voice, that otherworldly purr. This would have been 1972 when the import of the Elektra comp appeared at the record store I worked in.
I became an instant fan but those records weren’t easy to access. It would really be the advent of his 70s resurgence that would make them available. When he played shows and got in tow with The Aliens was when it really hit warp speed.
As incredible as those early recordings were, he really hit his stride when the songs that would make up the CBS album in 1980 were taking form. When that record came out, it caused a ripple that should have been a tsunami. Whatever his mental state, he was crafting beautiful ballads worthy of Buddy Holly and epic, ripping rock n’ roll songs. He was a devil angel from an alternate universe or plane or wherever the heck such rarefied creatures dwell.
As time went on, more and more material became available. Often the same songs with different arrangements and takes but we hoovered it all up There was a documentary that I know some people rate but that I found very disrespectful. You get one chance to do something like that and this was not celebrating the subject to my mind. It merely gave precedence to the man being a weirdo. But not in a good way.
Thankfully, somehow it became possible for the demons to be reigned in and Roky was able to perform across the world. Those first few outings were particularly transcendent. I regret to this day not seeing them play with The Nomads but those that did make it were treated to something akin to what a religious experience might be like.
The only time I saw him was at the Royal Festival Hall in 2007 where I got something in my eye several times. I met him too thanks to Bill Allerton lending me his pass. My friends Bigor and Viva were there from Ljubljana and I managed to get them a ticket autographed during that brief encounter.
It was great that he got to roll in the thunder these past years to catch a glimpse of how important he was. That he was able to function at all to the degree that he did was nothing short of something that could rightly be called a miracle. Particularly following how he was depicted in the film. The recent clip of him performing “Night Of The Vampire” with an orchestra and choir was a hell of a testament to that song and I bet I wasn’t the only one that hoped we might hear more of his songbook tackled in the same manner. Does anyone know if anything else was recorded?
It’s another sad reminder that our heroes are disappearing and they really are not being replaced by individuals with anything like the chops. His music will live on far beyond all of us provided that there’s still a planet to hear it on.
Friday, May 31, 2019
Sunday, May 26, 2019
Since the start of April, I've posted something here every day. It's time to take a break from that for one reason and another. It's still a surprise that folks still come by here so for that reason alone, I'll try to get back to it within a couple of weeks. Maybe sooner.
Gracias for continuing to visit. I'll leave you for now with this.
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019
I've no idea what the story is but I approve of the subject matter. It doesn't seem to be available anywhere but via this link...
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Monday, May 13, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019
The latest Wreckless Eric sonic mini-series is called "TRANSIENCE" and he’s currently traversing the length and breadth of this sceptic isle in support of its being let into the world. Picking up the psychedelic beat shapes of "Construction Time & Demolition", “Transience” continues Eric’s soundtracking of imagined kitchen sink dramas that take place across continents.
I’m no audiophile but I feel like he’s continually breaking new ground in the exploration of fusing several generations to arrive at something way more fresh than we’ve been used to by artists that are still making new music. The inclusion of Kevin Coyne’s “Strange Locomotion” is timely, it could well be a description of the content therein.
I hope he can keep up these instalments. It’s like the sonic equivalent of Better Call Saul. These eight songs run concurrently and need to be consumed in this sequence for maximum effect. As the guitar in this season’s finale hits the discordant peak you just wonder what’s next. There’s not resting on your laurels and there’s creating ground-breaking musical art but seldom are the two melded so seamlessly. Hear it, see it, feel it and be relieved that the quality control department out in Catskill has been working tirelessly to bring you the toppermost in entertainment.
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Monday, May 06, 2019
Sunday, May 05, 2019
Wednesday, May 01, 2019
I’ve no idea if you noticed but something was posted on here every day during April. Partly to prove that I could discipline myself to do so and also to mark the 42nd anniversary of NBT. There were no lengthy rants or reviews or any of that, the days for doing that are more or less over but maybe there’ll be some opinion here and there as time rolls on.
I haven’t decided or indeed given it any more thought beyond typing it just now. The traffic here is way down but I’m surprised there still is any at all to be honest. So thanks for persisting with stopping by. I’m not interested in hashtagging and trying to drum up hits any which way. Fuck that. If anything, I’m trying to extricate myself from all of this. Maybe not completely but the further the better. Here we are om May 1st 2019. Who'da thunk it?
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Friday, April 26, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Saturday, April 20, 2019
Friday, April 19, 2019
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Tuesday, April 09, 2019
Saturday, April 06, 2019
Friday, April 05, 2019
Thursday, April 04, 2019
Wednesday, April 03, 2019
Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Monday, February 18, 2019
“Oh By The Way it’s Natalie Sweet” is the solo album from the former Shanghai on Surfin’Ki. It’s killer Josie Cotton type perennial pop. This stuff never goes out of season and I’d be surprised if it didn’t actually paint a proper smile across your face. ‘Good Love’ has a wee nod to Lulu’s shout. Did you know that she based her version on Alex Harvey’s rendition?
The band is Travis Ramin, Curt Jorgenson and the one, the only Morten (Moss Rock City) Henriksen. I don’t think you need any further info to send you scurrying to the Ki-shop for a piece of this action.
Channelling Stockard Channing in ‘Pizza Man’, she creates something that gives Lenny and the Squigtones a run for their money. The skirl of “I Don’t Want to Need You (Tonight)’ is the perfect mesh of glam and post Brudders-pop while ‘Eye Candy’ is primo Toni Basil. ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ closes the show with a Glitter band approximating the Bobby Fuller Four and it’s all over.
Proving conclusively that she has the stuff, Natalie is sweet by name and sweet by inclination.