Monday, January 18, 2016

Week In Review: Townedger Radio 16, Blue Scratch Band, Horror Bar Story

This new year has been a lot better than last year although I did leave my car keys in the GD car while en route to doing some new songs with Rod Albaugh.  The ratings have been very high here and on historical propositions, not only are we going to crack 5000 views we going to smash through it.  It's nice to think that our friends out in Russia are sorting through the archives to get caught up on the history of rock and roll from this side of the fence.  But I have seen the peaks and valleys that is the stats board and I'm remain skeptical that we'll do over 5000 on a regular basis.  The key remains having 100 plus views per day but I can attest and predict that we'll be back in double digits once the novelty wears off and our Russian friends move on to something else.  I seldom get comments (except for 2000 Man and Tad but Tad has been quiet of late) and I could open up posting the best from the ones who want to be secret.

Blue Scratch-Checker's 1/15/16 (Photo:Julie Gordon)

One thing for certain is that I'm not the quiet oddball that has frequent the Sunday afternoon jam session, word does get around and I been out and seeing my local musician friends hit the stage on the weekend from time to time.  Friday I had off and had a couple bands in mind to see.  On the facebook site my friends bombard me with where they're playing at, and since I have a regular job Friday nights off are few and far between.  Jay plays in Blue Scratch, and I've been meaning to see his band play for a while, I missed out on a winery showcase, somehow over the weekend he made an inquiry about yours truly maybe playing drums in the future.   With my night time work arrangement I thought that might be impossible but it could work out if I filled in from time to time.  But if you know the songs and the arrangements then practicing would be limited.  Still I wanted to see them. Jay is a great bass player, holds the rhythm down quite well.  The guitarist is Jeorgia Robison, and is mostly known as a blues player, she has done popcorn jams songs like Crossroads or Stormy Monday.   Friday night Gig, which was at Checkers Tavern was somewhat of  emotional being, Catey Beth Recker, the original singer played the first two sets before saying that this would be her final appearance for awhile, she was going back to school to finish up getting her degree.  In her place for the rest of the gig would be Julie Gordon.

For the most part, songs were divided up between Jeorgia and Catey, with Julie replacing the latter, Blue Scratch became more of a rock and roll band than blues.   Julie has played in many of bands around the CR area, mostly with the late Kyle Oyloe  with Julie And The Mad Dogs.  She's also plays in the Acoustic Kitties on the Wednesday night unplugged jam at Checker.  While I was supposed to leave between sets to see the Surf Zombies I stayed the whole night.  Later Tim Duffy came to play harmonica on a couple songs as well before things wound down with a robust cover of the ZZ Top barband fave Tush.  Julie tells me that she's been a bit apprehensive about playing the blues but she's not fooling me.  She can play the blues.

I did managed to slip in to see the final set of Brook Hoover and the Surf Zombies.  Like Julie, Brook is very much one of those wild guitarists that isn't content with bar band overplay, The Surf Zombies are a honest to God surf band with a bit of Pulp Fiction to their music and while Blue Scratch is blues rock, The Zombies are instrumental through and through.  The last set featured a few songs from their latest album It's A Thing to which I remembered some of the songs but not the titles, they do sound familiar.  That's where I met up with my best friend and I managed to chat with them before the hour struck and I went home to piece together what I heard.  Brook is the anti classic rocker, oh he can play it all right, but his heart remains near and dear to the Surf Zombies and the memory of the Meekats, where the late Kyle Oyloe is the link between Julie and Brook.  As for future employment with Blue Scratch, I love their music and would help if I can should they not find a suitable drummer.  But there's deep pool of talent drummers in this town.

I don't watch much TV, but Last Man On Earth is one of those shows that I do take in from time to time.  Will Forte really takes things half and half on this latest photo, which might be a teaser for the next installment of that show. (Photo: Getty Images)

Is the Iowa Hawkeyes men's team the real deal?  The question was asked last week and the answer seems to be a resounding YES after they went up to East Lansing and swept Michigan State for the first time in twenty plus years whopping them 76-59.  And then Sunday outlasting Michigan 82-71.  While Michigan did make a game out of it and going ahead by a few points in the second half, Iowa stormed back with a 16-3 run to seal another victory.  Michigan upsetted Maryland 70-67 three days ago and gave Iowa fits.  With the Hawks winning, they're now ranked in the top 10 poll for this week at number 9.  And have won 10 straight Big Ten games dating back to last year, their best since 1970.   And winning their first five Big Ten games in a row in 19 years.

John Cale is still alive and has issued a new update on his Music For A New Society or F:ANS as he calls the new album.  The Guardian interviews him:

More Bowie news:

Abi Ann's Future Ex Boyfriend, a former number 1 on Lucky Star Radio, the video has been in regular rotation on GAC.  If this song was released in 1986 it would have been a new wave rock song. Nowadays it's a country song.   But it rocks hard.

Passing's: Clarence Reid aka Blowfly, one of the pioneers in rap passed away Saturday, another victim of cancer, he was 79.

Dale Griffin, drummer for Mott The Hoople and later became the recording engineer for live at the BBC studio recordings for bands passed away in his sleep after having Alzheimer's disease a few  years Sunday Night.  He was 67.  Buffin as he's been called, had that sloppy drum style that I copied in playing in my own bands, he was an influence on me as well.  The classic Mott The Hoople albums from the S/T on through All The Young Dudes are worth getting.

Mic Gillette, horn player for Tower Of Power Band RIP:

Gary Loizzo, American Breed (Wake Me Shake Me) also lost his battle with pancreatic cancer Sunday, he was 70.  Loizzo also ran Pumpkin Studios and did live sound for Styx as well in their formative years.  Todd Sucherman writes:

Gary Loizzo, RIP my dear friend. This is a hard one to write as it’s one of our own. Gary Loizzo has been our front of house engineer since I joined the band 20 years ago but before that he was the (Grammy nominated) recording engineer on many of the Styx records of the 70s and 80s (and 90s and 00s.) And before that he was the lead singer of The American Breed, most famous for the song “Bend Me, Shape Me.” He was a man of exceptional taste, wonderful musicianship, eagle sharp ears, but most of all he was a shining example as how to conduct yourself as a man, a professional, a husband and father. In 20 years I never saw him lose his cool or raise his voice to anyone, and believe me, the road can be frustrating at times. He just made everyone feel good. He was a magical person and I know everyone in our organization feels they are a better human being having had the privilege to wok along his side.

Can we please cure cancer? Enough already.

Gary stopped touring with us in early summer 2015. When we played Chicago on September 5th, Gary and his amazing wife, Diane and the whole family came out to the gig for a party before show time. We had worked up “Bend Me Shape Me” and brought him on stage to sing it mid set. The large screen behind us displayed an image of Gary from the late 60s as he came out on stage with the energy of a teenager, all smiles, and sang the hell out of his hit song in front of 20,000 people in his home town. What a send off my dear, dear friend! I love you, and you will continue to be an inspiration and a shining example of how to live life.

Glenn Frey, guitarist and de factor leader of The Eagles had various ailments that contributed to his death on Monday, he was 67.  Frey also had hits on his own (I Found Somebody, Smuggler's Blues, The All Nighter) and also dabbed in acting (Miami Vice and a short lived series that lasted one episode) but it was The Eagles that he shall be remembered for.

Pat Geasland, voted loudest drummer last year by the Crabby Awards (TM), plays in Flex, a modern day rock/metal band.  In the coldest of winters this weekend, the band played at Rubys Bar in Center Point.  He shares the usual nightmare story of playing a gig in front of a indifferent and bitchy owner. Which makes me think twice about playing live again.  I forgot about the shyster bar owners that has the Pay To Play thinking that makes us seek regular paying jobs.

"So last night was interesting. flex played at Rubys in center point. We agreed on 400 $ and "hospitality" We have played there before opening up for Divinion a METAL BAND this last fall. They knew what our style of music was.

Immediately we were greeted and told by the bartenders and husband of Ruby that we would need to be volume controlled. We play ACOUSTIC 2 sets and 1 electric. It was less than a warm welcome. WE hadn't even played yet and we were too loud.

After set up, I proceeded to go to bar to get my "hospitality" drinks and immediately it was an issue as the owners husband wouldnt confirm our free drinks. I started a tab at that point.

Through out the night, the bartender and owners husband were very rude to us as a band......very unprofessional. Telling us to "calm down" numerous times. Saying were "too loud for the regulars" " driving out business" and said "shut up" ....OUR LEVELS WERE LOW...WE PLAYED THE SAME WE ALWAYS PLAY AND NEVER HAVE AN ISSUE. ANYWHERE! Mind you the place was packed stand room only at one point. Dance floor packed. The bar was hopping. People singing.....the bar did well making a ton off our people we bring in on our own.

At the end of the night the owners husband laid down f bomb after f bomb and personally insulted us saying we "suck" were "terrible" and we're assholes cause we wouldn't calm down...... for being to loud.....(the juke box was louder). Seriously.'s rock n roll....Foo fighters don't write calm music....war pigs is not a calm song...from whom the bell tolls. get it.. they more than made out well on the night. We brought IN the business they had.

Bottom line the old man and old lady didn't like our music. But the rest of the place loved us.
So warning. If you play at rubies be ready to deal with unprofessional staff who want you to play music quietly....and cater to the "regulars" a whole 6 people with AARP cards And want country music at elevator levels. Sorry but we're a rock band. That bar can kiss my ass hardcore and we will never be back."

Record Reviews: (brought to you by Cocaine Toothache Drops)

Brotherhood (RCA 1968)

Leaving Paul Revere And The Raiders, Drake Levin, Phil Volk and Mike Smith formed this new version and the recording is a bit of a departure from Paul Revere And The Raiders.  In fact this owes more to The Monkees and The Beatles Sargent Pepper era and muzak if you can believe that.  This record is part of a 2 CD from Real Gone Music called The Complete RCA Albums.  The reason why it didn't sell as well as The Monkees or The Beatles or even Paul Revere was that the sound was all over the place.  They even jazz it up on Pastel Blue.  Another problem, most of the songs weren't that good, in the end what saves this record from being a disappointment is failed hit single Jump Out The Window and the moody Forever.  Their next album would be a slight bit better.
Grade B-

Randy Newman-Little Criminals (Warner Brothers 1978)

Short people turned out to be Randy's big selling 45 but I think it's one of the lesser songs on this record.  Better remembered for having members of The Eagles sitting in and singing  on Short People but to better effect on Rider On The Rain and Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh playing guitar throughout the album.  Walsh turns out some of his fine trademark slide lead on Kathleen and the title track and Baltimore, one of Newman's all time best is here as well.  Another fine album from one of the most all around cranky guys in music.
Grade A-

Albums of my youth: Eddie And The Hot Rods-Life On The Line (Island 1978)

In my 8th month of participating in jam sessions all across town, I am somewhat dismayed of the host keeping in tune with the same classic bar band rock and roll songs I get tired of hearing on the radio. Last Sunday for the first time in my playing career I jammed on a couple songs I never done before, Hotel California by The Eagles which turned out to be a tribute song when Glenn Frey passing away and I Want You To Want Me, the Budokan version, with some goatee looking dude saying I was playing the song too GD fast. Upon hearing the live version I was right in the way it was played but if I never played it again it wouldn't break my heart.  That said, in my high school years I grew tired of the same songs that would have a stranglehold on Corporate rock radio.  College radio was a relief, KUNI played The Ramones from time to time and pub rock and roll, Dr. Feelgood, Dave Edmunds and so forth.  Eddie And The Hot Rods, I remember seeing Life On The Line at the old Big Apple Records store in the cutouts for I think 2.99 or something like that.  Now, their first album Teenage Depression (the US version) was different than the UK version, a couple of covers (Show Me) was left off and one other, in their place Island US issued the live EP with a scathing covers of 96 Tears and a speed metal Get Out Of Denver and the closer Gloria/Satisfaction.   Life On The Line on the other hand, is a complete album, with a bit more punk rock sound.  There was a minor hit Do What You Wanna Do (There's a butchered 2:55 edit out there on 45).  The Hot Rods got themselves a new guitarist (Graeme Douglas from the Kursaal Flyers) and he added some lead guitar.  While reviews were lukewarm (Bob Christgau gave it a B minus), the caffeinated drums of Steve Nicol really drive the album into high speed overdrive and both sides had great opening tracks and side enders,  Ignore Them (Still Life) is from Bernie Masters said was a disastrous gig that they got thrown in jail but the driving beat of Nicol and the bass of Paul Gray makes a perfect counterpoint to Douglas' lead guitar work.  The title track leading off side 2 is more in your face rock and roll but my favorite songs is the 8 minute 16 jam that is The Beginning Of The End, which is more pub rock than punk.  After all punk rock was more 2 and half minutes rather than 8.  Alas trying to find the lyrics posted online has proved to be non existent.  We were almost young, when you pushed us RIGHT OUT OF THE WAAAAAAAY, Masters yelled right before more crazed Douglas leads trying to keep with the runaway beat of Nicol and Gray.  But still a close second for best song is Ignore Them, with the lasting line Don't take no shit from noone just keep on having fun.  Inspirational chorus: So listen to me closely now , I tell you what to say,  they never really mattered, ignore them anyway.   The perfect antidote  to the tired classic rock boredom of the same bar band songs.
Grade A

NOTE: Captain Oi reissued the Island album and added plenty of bonus cuts and UK B sides to make it a must add to your CD collection.  Overall, both Teenage Depression and Life On The Line are must haves.

NOTE 2. Steve Lillywhite recorded the album.  Side note 3, on the US version of Life On The Line LP, there's a couple added seconds of We Sing...The Cross, nothing substantial I guess but the final fade out is a Keith Moon type drum roll from Steve Nicol, one of the most underrated drummers of that era.

Townedger Radio 16  (Broadcast 1/20/16 on Lucky Star Radio)

This month's edition is the new release of The Townedgers Fitting Finales album with a few variations of the songs listed.


Better Off Alone (New Mix)
I Know About Me, Don't Know About You (Version 1)
Different  Paths (New Mix)
Just To Satisfy You
May Not Be A Next Time
The Life We Lead (Version 1)
Faygo Revisited (Bonus track)
It's My Time (Bonus Track)
I Know You Rider
Some New Highway (Bonus Track)
From A Motel 6
Get It Over With (Corrected Version)
A Satisfied Mind
Love Tonight
Let's Work Together (Acoustic Version)
Grandiose Failures
Fitting Finales (Version 2) 

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