Clash – London Calling

20
Aug

Clash
London Calling
January 1980
Epic Records

Joe Strummer – lead vocals, backing vocals, rhythm guitar, piano
Mick Jones – lead guitar, piano, harmonica, lead and backing vocals
Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on The Guns of Brixton
Topper Headon – drums, percussion

1. London Calling
2. Brand New Cadillac
3. Jimmy Jazz
4. Hateful
5. Rudie Can’t Fail
6. Spanish Bombs
7. The Right Profile
8. Lost In the Supermarket
9. Clampdown
10. The Guns of Brixton
11. Wrong ‘Em Boyo
12. Death or Glory
13. Koka Kola
14. The Card Cheat
15. Lover’s Rock
16. Four Horsemen
17. I’m Not Down
18. Revolution Rock
19. Train In Vain

London Calling is the third studio album by The Clash. It was released in the United Kingdom on December 14, 1979 by CBS Records and in the United States in January 1980 by Epic Records. London Calling is a post-punk album that incorporates a range of styles, including punk, reggae, rockabilly, ska, New Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz, and hard rock.

The album’s subject matter included social displacement, unemployment, racial conflict, drug use, and the responsibilities of adulthood. The album received unanimous acclaim and was ranked at number eight on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003. London Calling was a top ten album in the UK, and its lead single “London Calling” was a top 20 single. It has sold over five million copies worldwide, and was certified platinum in the United States.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

Right out of high school I interned with a barber. A very large man that was born in raised in Mexico, by the name of Tom Saucida (I’m not sure about the spelling).

Anyhow, it was during this time that I reconnected with a friend from High School named Stef Bobrick. Once out of high school – I pretty much stopped talking to everyone. As it turns out a friend from grade school that also lived around the block from me started dating Stef. So, somehow I got pulled back into her world. Stef was always fun to be around. Wicked sense of humor.

Almost every weekend there would be a party at Stef’s house. Then one day she said, “No more parties.” Turns out her mom was suffering from some type of paranoia and started leaving tape recorders all over the house.

So, we would all take turns renting hotel room and then once we nailed the room we’d call everyone we knew and throw ragers there. Pass out wherever you were drinking and then at 11:30 jump up and throw all the trash in a Hefty bag and be out by 12:00 check-out time.

Right around this time I started meeting all of Steph’s crew: Elise McMahan, Meredith Wilson (dated two months), Robin (dated a month), and a girl named Sammi (dated a month) and our friend Steph Chatteron from high school (married Mike Palm).

Unlike the other girls no one in my group hit on Elise, to the point where she was sort of annoyed with us. We treated her like a little brother. I think some of the guys were a little intimidated by her. She had a slight air of superiority.

I just found out today that she passed away this past week.

Last time I hung out with her was at a Symbol Six show at the Colbalt Café about a year or so back.

Then, last year right before an Edward Colver art show she texted me and said she was coming to the show, but I would have to be security for her. This whole long story about some stalker that follows her around L.A. and I had to be the buffer.

My funniest memory is her asking Stef, “Why don’t Mike and Chris consider me a girl?”

Because Elise was always one of the guys. God bless.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Oi: A View from the Dead-End Of the Street By Garry Johnson

13
Aug

Oi: A View from the Dead-End Of the Street
By Garry Johnson
Babylon Books
1981

I had been a fan of British Punk and Oi for a little while before I came across this book at Moby Disc in Sherman Oaks one Friday evening. This was the first time I was able to see pictures of what these guys looked like, prior to this book I could only get a glimpse of these bands under two conditions:

1. If they put their picture on their singles/albums (many did not) or . . .

2. They played locally, and Flipside reviewed, and photographed them.

The writing is decent, it’s along the lines of the old Flipside reviews, and the photography is fantastic. The pictures are all in black and white, but you couldn’t get clearer close-up live shots if you tried. This book was the first time I ever saw a photo of Blitz, and the first time I heard of, or saw Wattie.

Gary Bushell, contributor to this book, has been called the Godfather of Oi, and in some cases the creator of the genre. He is an interesting character, who has been around for a long time. In the mid-1970s, at the age of 18, Bushell wrote for Temporary Hoarding, Rebel, and his own punk fanzine, Napalm. From 1978 to 1985, he wrote for Sounds magazine, covering punk and other genres such as British Heavy Metal and the mod revival. Bushell was at the forefront of covering the Oi, also known as real punk or street punk. During his time at Sounds, Bushell was mentioned in songs Hurry up Garry by Crass, Press Darlings by Adam and the Ants and I Wanna Be a Star by Cockney Rejects

After he quit The Sun, Bushell wrote for The People and left that paper on February 18, 2007 to work on books and screenplays. He announced his resignation as a TV critic, stating that he was becoming depressed at the state of British television. Bushell co-wrote the book Cockney Reject (about the punk band Cockney Rejects) and has written a film script for Join the Rejects – Get Yourself Killed. In May 2007, Bushell’s column returned to the Daily Star Sunday. Bushell explained that he “missed the pressure of a weekly deadline. As of 2007, he has been presenting a monthly punk and ska podcast show on Total Rock.

If you get the chance to nab this book, grab it. It’s a great snap-shot of a great time in punk rock.

Rating: *** three out of three stars

On to the story . . .

I know you always read stories about people getting cold feet before getting married. Reality shows are full of people having meltdowns. Well, I had a major one myself.

When I met my wife she told me that while engaged, in her culture, the engagement ring was to be worn on the left hand, not the same hand as a married woman. And being an understanding guy, I pretty much said that’s bullshit, do it my way. Eventually I relented.

Now I understood the tradition of not seeing the bride on the day of the wedding, I actually didn’t want to see anyone, so this was OK with me.

But in my wife’s culture you can’t see the bride the day before the wedding either. I may have been told this, but after months of wedding planning my brain shutdown.

So, the day before the wedding I called my soon to be wife and said, “Let’s go to Starbucks.” She said, she’d love to, but can’t – yet.

Seems simple right? I lost it. I told her the wedding was off, I was taking all my money and moving to Mexico and I was going to find a woman that looked like Salma Hayek and get married and live like a king, goodbye.

Five minutes later I was packing and calling the Greyhound Bus.

Within ten minutes of me hanging up with the future wife, her father calls. He says, “Hey Mike, why don’t you come over for a cup of tea. We can hang out for a bit.” Now, my father-in-law is a pretty good guy. Mellow, down to earth and one of the few people I’ve ever met that only speaks if he has to. Not the typical, I love my voice kind of guy.

So, I stuttered and stammered, Salma Hayek is waiting for me, Mexico. But ultimately I went over.

Surprisingly, he didn’t lecture me or say anything. I had some loose leaf tea, and watched an old movie. And when I left, I was calm.

The future wife didn’t trust me still. At 8:00 am the day of the wedding her brother was at my door with a grilled pita-bread ham sandwich. He hung out at my place for a few hours. Then my dad showed up right as my brother in law was leaving.

My dad sat down propped his feet up on my table and said, “So, Mexico, huh?” And you know what? Hearing my dad say that made me feel so stupid.

Good times, bad times and everything else. The wife has kept me from Salma Hayek for seventeen years.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Symbol Six – Dirtyland

08
Aug

Symbol Six
Dirtyland
Jailhouse Records
2014

Eric Leach – Vocals
Phil George – Drums
Evan Shanks – Bass
Taz Rudd – Guitar
Tony Fate – Guitar

1. Dirtyland
2. Generation Damnation
3. Viva
4. Madness
5. Creepin
6. 13 Woes
7. Spit It Out
8. Outta My Way
9. Psychosix
10. Nitro
11. Never Gonna Make It

When the history of punk rock is written it won’t be filled with stories of exploration and change. It will be stories of young men sitting around the camp fire saying things like. “Henry ruined Black Flag” and “Thank god my favorite band hasn’t changed or written a new song in thirty years.”

I know what you’re thinking . . . what the fuck does this have to do with Symbol Six?! Well, the answer is everything. When Symbol Six’s Posh Boy EP was released they were that perfect hybrid, sitting on the fence of punk and metal. Four songs and none of them had that hardcore 1-2-3-4 feel. They had some harmony, some style. They did and additional song for the Future Looks Bright comp and then they . . . . sort of . . . . went to sleep.

Then in 2010, they pop back up with Monster 11. It was as if they were using the album to challenge you to a dual, instead of a glove, they slapped you across the face with their album. Most bands would’ve been happy with that accomplishment, both Dog Days and Long Way Home were being played from every basement-dwelling net-radio station from here to Delaware. But nope, the Posh Boy EP was re-released; they released a split with the notorious Fang. And at long last a new full-length album. God damn.

The first time I heard Never Gonna Make It, I knew these net-j guys were going to be pulling their chodes to this one. Epic movie-ending track.

Not a bad song on the album. And unlike the bands I mention at the beginning of the article, Symbol Six, like Kiss, Billy Idol and Bowie, sort of, progress and change a bit with each album. It’s still Symbol Six, but they’ve opened a side door and shown us that there’s something else happening in the house.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

It’s funny how we can justify almost anything we do. Years ago I worked with a girl that I found out later she had stolen a package of blank tapes from the place we worked. I asked her about it and she said, “The manager didn’t pay me for the half hour I worked last week.” Simple as that, instead of talking to HR – steal something. Justified.

I watched an interview with Richard Kuklinski years ago and he genuinely felt he was a good guy. One hundred and fifty to two hundred murders and he still felt like he was a good guy. He justified it all away.

I was having lunch with my friend Dave last week and for some reason as we were talking I had this weird little tally going in the back of my head of various altercations I have been in. For example, we were talking about my wedding and in my head I hear, “Mike, you instigated a full-scale riot at your wedding reception, people ended up in the hospital and jail, remember that?” Fuck.

We change the subject, we start talking about travel and vacations and the voice goes off again, “Mike, remember when you took your wife to Ensenada on your second anniversary and dangled a man off the second story balcony of the restaurant you were eating in?” Shit.

Again the subject changed, we talked about going for coffee and once again the voice goes off, “Mike, remember when you went for coffee with your sister-in-law in 2001 and that guy cut in front of you in Starbucks? Words were exchanged and you had him by the neck and the manager and one of the barista’s had to pull you off?” Dammit.

Through all this crap I still view myself as a good guy, I jokingly call myself Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky. I guess I’ve also justified all the dumb crap I’ve done.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Blitz – All Out Attack

06
Aug

Blitz
All Out Attack 7″ EP
August, 1981
No Future Records

Carl Fisher – Vocals
Charlie Howe – Drums
Neil “Mackie” McLennan – Bass
Alan “Nidge” Miller – Guitar

1. Someone’s Gonna Die – 2:29
2. Attack – 1:38
3. Fight to Live – 1:59
4. 45 Revolutions – 1:40

This was the first release from the mighty Blitz. I first heard Blitz on the 1982 Posh Boy album Punk and Disorderly. Someone’s Gonna Die. This was exactly the type of music I needed at that time, a powerful kick-in-the-ass. It felt like a more polished, sing along version of the Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bullocks album.

Blitz was originally from New Mills, Derbyshire, England. They had success in the UK indie charts in the early part of the 1980’s. Comprised of both punk, and skinhead members, they were enthusiastically championed by Sounds Magazine writer Garry Bushell. Although considered an important Oi! Band, the band members simply described themselves as a punk band.

Their song “Someone’s Gonna Die” was covered by Rancid on the Radio Radio Radio EP.

On February 10, 2007, Nidge was struck by a car, and died on impact after running on a freeway while intoxicated in Austin, Texas.

Someone’s Gonna Die
“This is where the good times went,
With his brains lying on the pavement,
With a broken bottle in his hand,
And another in his back.

Do you feel alright?
Oi! Oi! Oi!
Someone’s gonna die tonight
Oi! Oi! Oi!
Do you feel alright?
Oi! Oi! Oi!
The boys are out tonight.

Was it something that he said?
Or his football scarf now stained red,
Or the broken bottle in his hand,
You will never understand.”

Blitz started the trend of looking like, and dressing like the gang from A Clockwork Orange. At one of their early photo shoots the photographer asked Carl to dress up like the Malcolm McDowell character, Alex. After that photo session came out, it was like a monopoly effect. Everywhere I went somebody had the white shirt, suspenders and oftentimes the bowler hat, and let’s not forget Doc Martin’s.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

I remember when this EP came out; I was stuck on Someone’s Gonna Die, great track. One day, when I was still in high school (tenth or eleventh grade) I was walking to my gym class, humming the song. I was wearing my “punk” arsenal – creepers, leather jacket, the whole nine, and this black football player named Chucky was sitting on a planter with eight or nine black guys standing around him. Chucky looks me up, and down, and says “you look fucked-up.” Normally, I would have lit the guy up, but two things came into play, ten of them, against one of me, and the fact that Chucky was the size of a small building; he was over 300 pounds, and was about six foot five inches. Mildly bummed, and slightly intimidated, I only responded with “sorry?!” I thought I looked cool. At the end of the school year Chucky was walked off campus by cops for selling dope to an undercover cop.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

Bobby Steele – Interview

01
Aug

One of the coolest things about doing interviews is being able to connect and/or pick the brains of people I grew up listening to. This is definitely the case with Bobby Steele. Bobby was one of the pioneering members of The Misfits (he joined right after the Bullet single and his first release was the Horror Business single) and the founder of The Undead. Great guitar player and all-around nice guy. If you want to read more about Bobby pick up a copy of American Hardcore.

1. First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I’ve been a huge fan of yours for years. First off I wanted to ask you about your involvement in The Misfits. All the bio’s on the web list you with them from 1978 until 1980. You recorded six slabs of vinyl with them, (approximately thirty-five songs) did you write any of the songs?

No. Despite claims by others, Glenn wrote everything. The closest I ever came to ‘writing’ for them was suggesting the idea for LONDON DUNGEON, and offering the music that became WHEN THE EVENING COMES.

2. I remember there being a few different rumors about your departure from the Misfits:
1. You quite and/or . . .
2. You were fired to give Doyle a job.
Which, if either, is true?

After decades of speculation, it comes down to one thing. Jerry wanted to control Glenn’s band. Jerry is not even an original member – only Glenn is. Jerry needed to have someone to back him up on his ‘mutiny’, and he took advantage of Doyle in doing it. HE deliberately orchestrated things to make it look as if I wasn’t interested in the band anymore – telling me we weren’t practicing on days that we actually were, and using that to convince Glenn to get rid of me.

3. Who were, and are your influences, musically and personally?

That’s a tough one. It’d probably be easier to list who isn’t an influence. If you want just the top 5, in no particular order; it’d be The Beatles, Alice Cooper, Glenn, The Ramones and Jimi Hendrix.

4. Back in a time where most of the music being produced was extremely amateurish, you were pretty polished, and professional, what was your training?

I took guitar lessons from a guy who used to play on the old TV shows in the 1950s, and wrote method books for Mel Bay. Later, I learned that he wrote columns in guitar magazines – where Brian Setzer learned all he knows. In high school, I studied classical music theory – so I applied some of the ideas, in regard to dynamics, and how different frequency ranges had different effects in the mind of the listener. While most guitarists were merely playing on the two, or three lower strings, instead of full chords, I always played full chords.

5. I hope this isn’t too far out, here’s a bit of self-analysis. The question is what does Bobby Steele bring to a band?

Whatever the band calls for. I’m about making the music its best – not making myself shine in front. That was one thing I loved about being in The Misfits – I was in the background, just playing. Glenn had to deal with the frontman pressures.

6. Of all the many bands you played with (The Misfits, Undead, Times Square, Zero Prophets, Mourning Noise), who did you most enjoy playing with?

Again – that’s a tough one. I don’t think I can answer that.

7. Of all the recordings you’ve done in your career what slab of vinyl (or CD for the younger fans) are you most proud of or best represents your skills?

I’m really proud of TIL DEATH. I was able to really work on the songs for that one, and on most songs, I spent up to 24 hours mixing and remixing them. I’m especially proud of Thorn In Your Side – because I was able to duplicate the ‘Phil Spector wall of sound’ on it.

8. Thirty-six years have past (since your first recorded release) and the bulk of your early work is still in print. Does your influence on this younger generation of “punks” surprise you?

Absolutely. I knew it’d be big, but… WOW!!

9. Tell us about some of your more recent projects, The Undead and Mourning Noise.

Those aren’t very recent… Mourning Noise was in 1982/3. Steve and his crew were a lot of fun to work with. They were always cracking on each other. Currently, I play at church mainly; and I’m working on a musical.

10. How much of a part did you play in the visual direction of the bands you played in, and the overall art direction?

Since it was Glenn’s band – I just tried to do whatever he wanted. With The Undead, I tried to keep it ‘street’, with a good amount of spookiness – but always in a fun manner. I never take myself too seriously, so you see a lot of self-deprecating humor in the image.

11. Other than being in the incredible bands you were in, give us some of your greatest memories of being the punk scene back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Okay. I’ll leave band experiences out – to make it easier. One memory was going into one after-hours club in the summer of 79. It was run by the Hells Angels, and this summer, there were Angels from around the world in town. This one night, there was a party going on, and they’d gotten the DEAD BOYS to reunite for the night. For an encore, they did ‘Sonic Reducer’ – and were joined onstage by some Danish Hells Angels, and that little old man from the BENNY HILL SHOW.

12. Our last question, rather than complain about the current state of punk rock, my question to you is: do you find it strange or maybe amusing how incredibly accepted punk is now?

I always believed punk would catch on. I just expected it to be more of the real deal, instead of the candy-coated stuff being passed off as punk rock. I’d like to see more of the poor, struggling musicians making it – the ones with real heart.

 

 

Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGbикони

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