Monday, 22 December 2014

Messer Chups new 7", Silvertooth Loos & The Witch........
Well, what a great way to round the year off ! A 2nd 7" from everyones favourite Russians 'Messer Chups' out on Germany's 'Copase Disques' and officially released in Jan 2015 but I can tell you that if you get over there sharpish you may be in luck to grab a pre-release copy (and they have copies of the 1st 7"  'Jokermobile' too, somewhat late as this was due out in Sept 2014 originally). Two tracks 'Rockin Zombie' and 'Dracula Hates Photoshoots' both of which were taken from 2013 album 'Church of Reverb' and both tracks produced by Jorge of Dr Explosion infamy. Needless to say that following on from the success that they've had this year in particular, these releases will be gone real you know what you need to do....get them here too

Party in your underpants.....wishful thinking !
While you are over at Dead By Mono Records filling the aptly named 'Greedbag' full of goodies, you could do far worse than pre-ordering the latest vinyl offering 'Underpants Hop' from 'Leadfoot Tea' know the dude from 'Thee Gravemen' that does the onemanband thing and you may want to head over to Monster Mash records as well because they've just released the 2nd EP in the MonoBanda Bash series featuring a track from 'Stompin' Leadfoot Tea and as per usual both of these releases are ridiculously limited. Now...the only thing is that this little baby isn't being released until April....looks like the demand for vinyl has gone through the roof of late and there just aren't enough pressing plants to deal with the demand !

Almon Loos, He gives a mean haircut too.
Now here's a thing....couple of years back I'd heard of a great Rockabilly band from Austin Tx called 'The Hoop 'n' Hollers....picked up the LP and a 7" (Sleazy Records, Spain), played it a few times and it was flavour of the month for about a week, before putting it away and kind of forgetting about them.....guess I must have been distracted because as it transpires, the frontman, one Almon Loos turns out to be something of a character and not unlike the one and only Bloodshot Bill, in that he sings and plays guitar, has his own line in male grooming, (Bill has his own brand of pomade) but he is a pretty dab hand with a pair of shears and a straight edge blade (cut-throat razor) too, though probably best to have Bill managing your BBQ rather than cutting your hair.
Sooooo, while I was over at 'Nothin But Trash' checking out the latest post by Mr Noon I was most pleasantly surprised to find a new EP (CD only) by a combo going under the moniker of 'Silvertooth Loos & The Witch'  called 'Swamp Stompin'.....
Silvertooth Loos & The Witch
Looks like Mr Loos has relocated to L.A. and formed a new band, a quick couple of emails later confirms this and 'Wow' Yeah....a great release, you need to contact them through their facebook page to get it though (or head over to 'Nothin But Trash'). I found a very recent interview with Michelle Balanchi (The Witch) done for 'Rockabilly Bash' by Satu Pietarinen.

The Interview.
So purrrfect for Halloween that I got brilliant interview from Michelle aka Witch. Read how the swamp sound began and how the Witch became reality. Sometimes the truth is more stranger than fiction! They have Swamp Stompin EP out and there is more to come...

How did you and Almon meet eachother?
Almon and I met by being neighbors where we worked, him at his barbershop and me at my hair salon. I would walk by and we would always exchange flirty looks. We finally talked one day, then had drinks and the rest was history...Almon didn't really know I played until about a month later, when we went to Caveman Vintage (a music/guitar store in Downtown LA.) He expected me to strum a couple of simple chords, nothing special. I started playing some Dick Dale surf and tuned the guitar by ear and he was super impressed. I didn't know it was special, I just did what I like to do and he said that's it! We're starting a band!
I compose my own songs on the piano! My style on piano would be more like dramatic soundtrack pieces, maybe for movies, etc.
Do you play any other instrument besides guitar?

Why the name Witch?
Almon had always had the "vision" of Silvertooth Loos. Most of his close friends laugh and recall this. However he had a distant dream of a female lead guitar player being The Witch, but imagined that part was unrealistic. He had his character fully ready in his mind and he wanted to incorporate more blues and swampy, but still with a deep rockabilly influence.

How you would describe the music you play?
First of all, our music comes straight from the heart and soul. Almon and I put together elements of all the sounds we like. I grew up listening to 60's rock n roll, garage and surf, and Almon got me into 50's rock n' roll, blues and rockabilly. So we sort of just put together all those that we liked. What came out of that was dirty, swampy, bluesy 50's rockabilly rock n' roll. If anybody enjoys old music, they would dig us.

What is Almon's strengths as musician and how do you think you compliment each other?
I think Almon is an incredibly talented musician and free spirit. He does whatever he feels and doesn't care what anybody thinks and that's what the audience loves about him. He's wild and crazy but isn't just a front man. We live together and I watch him come up with beautiful guitar arrangements that I could easily flow with and follow. He's very talented about bringing the right parts out of the song. He doesn't just stand there and strum, he pays attention to the way the music goes with the solo, the chorus and so on. He can come up with meaningful lyrics right there on the spot and I've never seen anybody do that before. He always feels what I'm going to do next and I feel what he's going to do to. It's so natural. That's why we've got 19 original songs within the short 7 months we've started this band! It's addicting to come up with songs together.

Debut CD EP out on Loos Records.
This is the first time I have ever officially been in a band. I've been playing since I was 6 and took lessons starting at age 8. Almon brought me out of my shell. I used to be shy until now. It's an unbelievably amazing experience being a female lead guitarist. It's so much fun, and the respect I have been getting and the compliments have been so encouraging. When I'm playing and coming up with ideas, I don't feel like I'm a girl playing guitar. I feel equal to the men around me, because with music, I feel like there is no gender. It also feels good, as a woman, to do something with integrity rather than allow myself to be simply an object or a pretty thing to look at without much use.

How is to be a female guitarist?
Things have taken off quickly yes. I practice 4-5 hours at least everyday and I am in love and obsessed with playing guitar. It comes from our heart and soul, and it's amazing how people from all over can feel that. I can speak for us all when I say the support and love from all our new and old friends and fans has been beyond amazing, encouraging and deeply appreciated. Those are the people who keep me and us going.
Things have progressed quick. How do you feel about that?
What are you good at, what is he good at?
I think Almon is good at handling the stage. He does alot at once, like moving around and entertaining the audience, singing and strumming at the right times. He also never loses his cool. He's very confident and believes in everything he does, while I'm still learning not to be shy. I believe from what our bandmates tell me that I am good at being original. My style is musical and I have alot of classical influence in the way I play from all my lessons as a child. I don't try to be anybody else but myself and I play straight from the heart. Also, if I'm sad or happy, somehow I take it all out of me and put it right into the guitar and song. Everyone can feel the sad songs and they all say they feel goosebumps.

I thought it would be really tough, but actually, I couldn't have found a better in my life than this scene. All the musicians have been nothing but accepting, kind and supportive. Some want to come jam with me and us, which is incredibly flattering. I am always open to learning from other musicians, and I think they seem to appreciate that .

Future plans?
As for future plans, Almon has countless ideas. We are aiming for Europe again, as we went to Germany a few months ago and want to go again. We also really have our sights set for Japan. As for me, I am enjoying and loving what is happening. I have no expectations, which keeps things exciting. We plan to release our very first record in the next couple of months.

We have been getting alot of messages from France and Germany. We will be going to Germany in August for the Hoop n' Hollers and I will be making a guest appearance. How did you feel in Europe. Is the audience different in USA?: It was interesting in Europe. I feel like they really liked us, but didn't know how to feel about a female lead guitar player. Then again, we didn't have Ricky McCann on drums yet, or any drums, so I know the next time, it will be rocking!
Do you have gigs booked in Europe?
Have the musicians accepted you as one of them?
In the very beginning, I was very nervous around any new musicians because I felt like as a female lead guitarist, I had to step up and prove anybody wrong who thinks "Ahh she's just a girl, she wont be any good." However, I was so moved and impressed by all the positive feedback and compliments. Some of the biggest musicians who I felt intimidated by like Ashley Kingsman or Rip Carson were really supportive and complimentive. I used to choke up a bit when musicians Almon knew would come up near the stage and watch my fingers, but now when they do, I play with extra "fire" and it always goes well.
Big Thanks to Satu for the interview.

Have A Happy Rockin' Christmas ! 

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Cramps 10 best 7" bootlegs........By Patrick Bainee.

If ever there was to be a qualification in CRAMPOLOGY then I'd hazard a guess that Patrick would presented with an honoury doctorate. If O.C.D. was Obsessive Cramps Disorder then he would be diagnosed as having the condition........You could say that when The Cramps 'wrote' 'I'm Cramped' they had him in mind !.....he's that bad but he's been decent enough to run through his top ten of Cramps 7" bootlegs, here's what he has to say about them........

Well, our man Darren asked me about my top ten Cramps bootlegs 7’’.
I counted 43 different ones on my shelves (I’m missing a few of those recent Greek crap thick ones) , not mentioning different colours, reish of reish, Amnesty international novelties, Polish postards and Russian flexis (which are official tracks sounding like demos from hell, cut at 2 minutes).
I finally chose 5 old ones and 5 ‘new‘ ones, here’s my list.

1) Smell Of San Diego Live!

Issued on Not On Label , in the USA in 1986, as I recall (I bought his one and my # 2 'Ohio Box' the same day at a famous record fair in Paris, when it stood near Austerlitz train station), this 4 songs EP is abfab.
The song s here are 'Domino / Nuthin’ But A Gorehoud / Faster Pussycat / Garbageman', soundboard recording from a 17 songs show (it took me years to find the full set) at Adams Ave Theatre, San Diego ; on June 23, 1984.
Originally issued as 475 numbered copies on black vinyl + 475 on red vinyl (mine is # 210), this single has been recently reissued.

The other ones above ain’t in my fave order, just at they come on my notes.

2) Ohio Demo's 1979
Same label as # 1, this one is a singles box (sometimes sold one by one on Ebay). The 3 – red / blue / green - singles from this Lx Chilton session all feature 4 songs each :
- Twist And Shout / All Tore Up / Mystery Plane / TV Set
- Rockin’ Bones / What’s Behind The Mask/ Uranium Rock / Under The Wires
- Teenage Werewolf / Sunglasses After Dark / Jungle Hop / Mad Daddy
There are lotsa reish of this box set on LP with the same name 'Ohio Demos', or 'Wild Psychotic Teen Souds' or 'All Tore Up'
3) Dance Of The Cannibals Of Sex

This one, issued on :Famous Lux label, USA,first come as a brown cardboard sleeve with cut angles in 1984, then appears one or two years later with a red or green sleeve, then with a black one (1990), followed by lotsa more recent reish.
Two songss –  'Hurricane Fighter Plane' (Red Crayola) and 'I’m Cramped' recorded live at Max's Kansas City, January 1977, featuring Miriam Linna on drums.

4) Leave No Ugly Stubble
Issued on Fan Club, USA, in 1984, as a 700 ltd edition (mine is 441), this double single features 1976 demos recorded by Richard Robinson at Bell Studio (NY, June 1977) with MiriamLinna (second drummer after Pam palam, Bryan Gregory’s sister).
The tracklist is :
Don't Eat Stuff Of The Sidewalk / I Was A Teenage Werewolf / Sunglasses After Dark / Love Me
- Domino / What Behind The Mask /
I Can't Hardly Stand It / I See You On My TV Set
You can find this on LP issued a few years ago under the name of  '1976 Demo Sessions'.

5) Mad Daddy
This one – supposedly sold as a Vinyl record day item –is in fact a boot of what could have been the 3rd (# 667 was deleted too) Vengeance single (# 669), featuring 'Mad Daddy' and 'Rockin’ Bones', both not turning at the right speed (those bootleggers are so lazy, or lacking of imagination …).
This (UK, I guess) single has been issued this year on black vinyl first (300 copies) then orange and transparent (75 each) and there is also a purple vinyl copy that surfaced recently. Are bootleggers now copying official labels, always reissuing the same stuff?

6) A Vicious Cycle
Scatterbrainchild Records, USA 186
The Cramps  'Elvis tribute single', featuring 'Heartbreak Hotel' and 'Do The Clam' (to be reissued with 'Jailhouse Rock' as a bonus one day ? (Just an idea).
Limited to 500 copies on blue or red vinyl. Recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon, March 16, 1986.
This cramps line-up feature Fur Dixon on bass.
7) Human Fly
One of those first Greek boots. This one, issued in 2013 is a good sounding (for once !) 1 sided limited edition of 20 copies. Very thick vinyl with a laminated B side.
'Human Fly' and 'Teenage werewolf'  live at Mudd Club, NY, July 24, 1981.

8) The Band That Time Forgot 
Bootleggers sometines ' got good tapes ! ' (well, they rather probably get this on Dime).
This should have been an official single ! Soudntrack recording issued on February 2014, in the USA (I guess) as a (so called) limited edition in scarce opaque red vinyl.
This 33 RMP EP live at NY CBGB’s in August 1979 (probably 8th) features : The Band That Time Forgot / Twist And Shout / The Way I walk / Domino / Human Fly.
The cover sez that 'The Band That Time Forgot' was only played that night, but in fact, this song, based on the Collins Kids’ 'Whistle Bait' was also played by The Cramps one year before at The Showplace, Victory Gardens, August 18, 1978.
                              9) Live In MAPA State Mental Hospital 06-13-1978

This one should also have made it on an official release. Correct date is in fact June 16, 1978.
What we have here is half of this great Cramps show issued on VHS and DVD.
The Cramps had the idea to stop playing there while on  their way to Memphis.

The songs are : Mystery Plane / Tear It Up / What's Behind The Mask / Human Fly
This (correctly sounding) single has been issued in Greece in March 2013.
Dark Image Production label, transparent or black vinyl, limited to 50 copies (in total or each colour ?).

10) Live At The Fillmore, SF, CA, US 

Well, this Spanish single hasn’t been issued under that name, but that’s the name I would have chosen if I was a bootlegger (not that I hate them but I got a few friends that do), and i wouldn’t have chosen that Cramps logo ...
Anyway, this was issued in Spain in May 2014. Blank label ; 100 copies on yellow vinyl and 130 black vinyl. The cover is the proof. 'My Flash On You' has been recorded (by me, I also wrote the liner note for this single) during one of The Cramps last shows – their 30th Anniversary – October 30, 2006 at the Fillmore, SF. Same place but a decade before, the B side features a rare version of 'Woodpecker Rock' (Nat Couty & The Braves).
The 'label' sent me a couple of x-tra copies that I hope I can give to Ivy one day.

Have fun tracking these babies down, some will be easier to find than others but even so they won't be cheap.....Thanks Pat,  happy hunting and stay sick ! 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Trash !..........What is it ? part two.

A lot to answer for.
In 1961 Kai Ray (Richard A. Caire) released the sublime 'I Want Some Of That' which The Cramps took and mutated as part of 'The Natives Are Restless'. The B-side of the aforementioned single was called 'Trashman Blues' and this ditty inspired 3 guys from Minneapolis who took a surf holiday in California during the winter of 1962 to call their surf-garage-r'n'r band.......The Trashmen ! (Thankfully they weren't listening to Lonnie Donnegan's 'My Old Mans A Dustman' or things could have turned out very differently). Funnily enough, both Kai Ray and The Trashmen were from the same city and he also went on to write several songs for them as well as providing their name.
'Surfin' Bird' (A mish mash of some of The Rivingtons tunes) is as good a place as any to put as a starting point for what would evolve into the 'Trash' sound and when you throw Link Wray's 'Hidden Charms' and The Sonics into the mix, you end up with a rather potent brew. Fast forward a few years to 81-82, The Cramps had already covered 'Surfin Bird', the gnarly output of The Hammersmith Gorillas was a footnote in musical history and the nascent psychobilly sound was being watered down into cartoonesque parody.

The Sting Rays cover The Cramps.
Fortunately, not everyone was following the naughty schoolboy antics of the 'Ooh walla walla' squad, covering themselves in make-up or trying to convince the world they were satan spawn ! By this time The (original) Meteors had split and Nigel Lewis and Mark Robertson had decicedly gone down the garage punk/trash route with their new band The Tall Boys. Meanwhile the Sting Rays under one of their several personas, as The Banana Men this time had released an EP of 'Songs Made Popular by The Cramps' much like the Damned's alter egos,  Naz Nomad & The Nightares' album 'Give Daddy The Knife Cindy' had caused a bit of confusion among 60's Garage purists, some mistakenly believing it was rediscovered 'lost album', The Banana Men EP initially had the same bewildered johnnys scratching their heads too !     

The Gorehounds. Dublin, Ireland 1984-1990.
While it's true that the majority of the 'first wave of Trash' bands were coming from the UK, the blending of 60's Punk and Rockabilly with a heavy dose of Cramps style was far from uniquely British, Ireland had The Golden Horde as well as self confessed Crampophiles, The Gorehounds (not to be confused with the US band of the same name) who released a couple of fine platters, 'The Big Spud EP' being a fine example where they totally destroy the country (Kenny Rogers) song 'Ruby' and their only LP entitled 'Semtex' is worth a listen too although it does stray off into pastures I tend to shy away from.

1981's debut 7" (beware of bootlegs).
Equally, The Nomads, from Sweden, output 1981-1987 is essential, but post 87' they veer off into a heavier sound (as did a host of other garage bands) which is fine if you like The Dictators, Blue Oyster Cult et al....Their debut mini LP 'Where The Wolfbane Blooms' is fantastic, as is the follow up, also a mini LP 'Temptation Pays Double'. Both of these MLP's were combined for the Spanish LP 'Rat Fink A Boo Boo' and for the UK release 'Outburst' which make either LP de riguer. The 1989 release of 'Punchdrunk' by The Rumblers saw members of The Nomads (along with some guys from The Bottle Ups) going back to their earlier style albeit with a leaning toward the Rockabilly influences rather than the Garage Punk side of things, it's relatively unknown and so can be picked up fairly easily for a reasonable price.

With The Cannibals
In France 'Le Trash' was a rather localised affair, centering around Le Havre and Paris due to members of The Cannibals coming from Le Havre as well as the place being home to both 'Closer Records' and 'Sonics Records', these labels specialising in releasing Garage (in part) from UK, US, Scandinavia and Australia. Where as in Paris, it was more to do with New Rose and to a lesser degree with Skydog that the connections were made, New Rose having been the licensing label for The Cramps in France once they'd exited IRS. France really did take the 'Trash' thing to heart with many of the gigs (Le Havre in particular) being recorded and extensive tours, far more so than anywhere else in Europe except maybe Germany (?) where it was seen as part of the psychobilly scene. No real legacy on vinyl from any French bands (The Gorgons came a bit later) that I'm aware of (please feel free to correct me) but Belgian band (from Brussels, where they speak French) ' Melody Massacre' released a killer of a Mini LP (S/T) well worth tracking down.

Just have to love the artwork of Antoine Bernhart.
Big Beat actually released a CD of The Escalators 'Live in Le Havre 83' and I know for certain that there are other recordings out there as I've heard a few, most of which would be worthy of release. And you couldn't possibly not mention Antoine Bernhart when talking about 'Trash' in France, he's the crazed genius behind the 'Dead Johnny' logo of The Tall Boys, as well as having designed countless posters and record sleeves, a lot of which can be found on his website......look him up !

More to follow.