Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chris Butler's "Easy Life" on Bandcamp

I reviewed this awhile back, and since then, its creator, Waitresses mastermind and obscuro pop genius Chris Butler, has elected to make it digitally available via Bandcamp. If you dig killer smart pop rock with prog overtones and a great story to tell, you owe it to yourself to hear it. One of my top ten records of all ti-i-ime. For real.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blasts from the past at the I-94 Bar

The estimable I-94 Bar webzine from Australia recently got a facelift, so the permalinks to some of the pieces in the "Electronic Resume of My Writing" on this blog have changed. But now, you can once again read the oral history of Sonic's Rendezvous Band and the interviews with Stooges guitarists Ron Asheton and James Williamson that I did when I was a callow youth of 40something. Lucky you.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Flamin' Groovies to Oak Cliff come

The Flamin' Groovies formed in San Francisco in 1965, before the Grateful Dead even, and were originally a good-timey early blues derivation in the manner of the Lovin' Spoonful (documented on the early indie release Sneakers) and cartoon '50s revival act in the manner of Sha Na Na (see the Supersnazz EP from which a Seattle band appropriated their name). Then they saw the MC5, and their sound got a lot harder.

They brought the Stooges and Alice Cooper to San Francisco, and recorded Flamingo, which no less of a personage than Richard Meltzer deemed more worthy than the Five's Back In the U.S.A. (he was right, too, IMO). I didn't catch up with them until 1971's Teenage Head, which a lot of people, mainly those who were still pissed at the Rolling Stones for firing Brian Jones, rated higher than Sticky Fingers (OK, we were wrong about that one). After founder and frontman Roy A. Loney quit, guitarist Cyril Jordan led the band into Beatles/Byrds-flavored '60s revivalism, and they cut two classic songs, "Shake Some Action" and "Slow Death" (both of which originated in the Loney era) before the wheels, at length, came off the cart.

In the Millennial decade, Jordan re-emerged with a band called Magic Christian that also included ex-Blondie drummer Clem Burke. When they played before the Nervebreakers at End of An Ear during SXSW 2009, I must have walked in front of Cyril Jordan a dozen times without realizing who he was. Then, when he strapped on the Perspex Dan Armstrong from the cover of Teenage Head (which he still plays with his fingers -- Jeff Beck isn't the only rock axe-slinger to forego picks), I thought, "Oh. My Gawd."

I thought the same thing when I saw the Kessler's ad for the Groovies' appearance, scheduled for Sunday, May 4th, with the Hickoids -- for my money, the best Texan rockaroll band currently extant -- opening. While it'll be Chris Wilson from the Shake Some Action era up front vice Loney, it's still a show I never thought I'd see in the Lone Star State. (Wonder if they'll play "Heading For the Texas Border?") Get tickets here.