Sunday, 27 March 2016

TRASH WAX.........Year one, pretty good so far !

The limited Green vinyl edition of TWLP001.
The idea behind Trash Wax as a label is to release material that we feel was unjustly overlooked at the time, mainly from the early 80's to the mid 90's, and there are heaps of shelved projects, demos and unreleased material just waiting to be rediscovered as we have been finding out. We also wanted to make Trash Wax a platform if you like, to release current bands that we rate highly, one of the upsides to DIY is you get to make records that you actually like and would buy yourself rather than make records you hope won't bomb too badly ! So far, so good !
Although The Vibes LP (the first Trash Wax release) came out at the end of May last year (2015) we had actually had started preparing it in February ! principally because of the long lead times at the pressing plants (currently around 10-16 weeks). Anyway we had a gas working with Chris 'Sick' Moore on the sleeve design and getting an acceptable sound from the source tape was an eye opener ! 

The rushed out TWCD001.
One of the funny things that we discovered was the opportunistic nature of some cheeky fuckers out there, within a week of The Vibes LP going on sale someone was selling CDR copies on Ebay for more than the cost of the vinyl album itself !  So we rushed out a CD edition in an attempt to give the folk that wanted a shiny beermat, something a little better than a CDR and photocopy of the album sleeve !......The vinyl only ethos lay in tatters from day one. Yep, originally we imagined releasing only vinyl but that was kind of shot down pretty quickly for a few reasons but in the main, practical ones such as finding factories that can keep to a deadline for vinyl and at a reasonable cost....    

The second release on Trash Wax was a 7" effort from Vince Ripper & The Rodent Show, basically DJ Vince Cornwall and Andy 'Ratfink' Wilson late of Alien Sex Fiend, both of whom are big fans of The Cramps...basically it's ASF go Rockabilly.............'Ex-ASF guitarist ‘Rodent’ unleashes his inner Cramp and delivers the goods with this fantastic cover. It’s the flipside ‘Rippersville’ which steals the show though, think wigged out ‘Peter Gunn’ meets The Meteors ‘Attack Of The Zorchmen’ on acid' quoting the blurb. There were just under 500 copies pressed with a 100 copies on Purple/Lilac vinyl....There will be a new 12" release from VRATRS later in the year (2016) which I guess you could call a homage to The Cramps 'Gravest Hits'.
They've been in the studio recently and their 3rd full length album should be released at the end of 2016......

In Go Go We Trust !
The third slab of lovely wax to see the day highlighted our amateur status in that it was a bit premature, coming out almost a year before due ! TWLP007  Mondo A Go Go's 'In Go Go We Trust' is their anthology from 1996 to 2016, so when it turned up in the latter part of 2015 we were a little embarrrassed but not at all unhappy. A really snazzy package was put together by resident ideas (and all round good) guy 'Mondosean', limited to just 300 hand numbered copies, alternative artworks included, digital download (whatever that is ?) and pressed on a pretty cool shade of red vinyl.
This went down really well in France where they received a full page review in the fab music mag 'DIG IT' ......This little gem ticked all the boxes for me, a bit of Rockabilly, a bit of Garage and even some Revillos/Rezillos type thing going on and way under produced to perfection as well !

Bontempi sleeve for TWLP002
The next one that we pulled out of the bag was 'Into The Valley Of' by Reading's very own Trash dealers 'The Go Go Cult'. We actually licensed this from Rockabilly/Psychobilly label 'Western Star' as they had initially released it as a CD a couple of years previously and I had loved the cool mix of Garage, Surf and Rockabilly. To make it distinct from the CD release a couple of the tracks were omitted and some of the others were messed around with (or maybe it was just one of the tracks ?) We also got 'Artiste and Scenester Extraordinaire' Marcel Bontempi to re-imagine the artworks while still keeping the themes in the original release, then we asked Go Go Nige to write some liner notes and Voila....Sorted !  No release order problems this time around either, TWLP002 was one of the easiest releases to do, Alan Wilson (the guy that owns Western Star) was just so straight forward and organised that everything was done without really noticing.....Way to go.

Seriously Cool !
The Guitaraculas LP 'Two Bottles Of Blood' (TWLP003) came next and for me, this was something fairly special as I'd been a fan of Messer Chups for a good few years and never thought for a moment that I'd actually get the chance to do anything with Oleg and the guys ! However....This album is absolutely amazing considering that it started out as a jam session but they ran with the concept and produced the full album as well as making several videos for tracks on the album, I'd highly recommend checking out the vid they made for the 'Coil' cover ' Loves Secret Domain' where Sasha (Bassferatu) gets to do the vocals...A brilliantly atmospheric clip indeed. Taking a touch of Surf, a bit of Rockabilly and a dash of movie scores (There are a couple of John Barry tracks in the mix) they came up with one killer LP....Even if I say so myself.

TWCD002. Supergroup in the making !
Next came a couple of CDs....Hmm, yeah well due to that global phenomena that is Record Store Day, trying to get any kind of commitment from a pressing plant is almost impossible, from about mid December to the second weekend in April it's majors first I'm afraid...So, we decided to put out a couple of CDs as a stop gap, first of these was a recording from way back in 1987 by The Shockwaves, it was actually recorded by Never Mind The Bollocks producer Dave Goodman for a release on Mike Spenser's (of The Cannibals) label. Anyways, we got to pick it up and put it out as it justly deserves, The Vibes & The Purple things are the over-riding influences here and they get it on the nail !  

TWCD003. The Hillbilly Werewolf.
Volume 3 in what appears to be turning into a 'Trash From The Vaults' series, is Germany's legendary 'The Raymen' these veterans of the Trashabilly sound have been releasing records since 1985 and we were really happy to get Hank on board in order to release their very first to the latter part of 1984, these studio recordings were the ones used as demos in order to secure their initial album deal !  And includes one of the first covers of the Cramps version of Goo Goo Muck, the guys at the time thought that it was a Cramps original (they weren't alone in that regard...I did too). 

28 Years wait !  TWLP005.
Back on track with the vinyl releases, we saw the long thought lost album of The Charity Case, 'How To Fall' come out in Mid-March (2016) this really is Jonny/Charlie's labour of love, originally a set of demos which were recorded in 1988 by 3 ex-Sting Rays and the rather charming She Rocola they were critically feted and described as 'Psychedelic Goo Goo Trash' by none other than the NME at the time, unfortunately they only ever released one 7" but hopefully this release makes up for the lack of'll have to decide on that for yourselves ! At just 350 copies this is a beautiful item and deserves a place in any collection of UK garage/trash on it's own merits as well as having the obvious Sting Rays connection.
TWLP005 was released on the 14th March and if you like the idea of late era Sting Rays being fronted by a Surrealistic Pillow era Grace Slick then you won't be disappointed by this, you can read about the band in more detail elsewhere on the blogsite here.

Here's the discography so far and links to where you can get them :

LP   The Vibes : Voodoo Ju Ju.                        SOLD OUT.

CD  The Vibes : Voodoo Ju Ju.

7"  Vince Ripper & The Rodent Show : I Was A Teenage Werewolf    (Purple Vinyl SOLD OUT).

LP  Mondo A Go Go : In Go Go We Trust.

LP  The Go Go Cult : Into The Valley Of.

LP  The Guitaraculas :  Two Bottles Of Blood.

CD  The Shockwaves  :  No Way In, No Way Out.

CD The Raymen  :  The Goo Goo Muck Sessions.

LP  The Charity Case :  How To Fall.

Next post will let you know what most of the releases that are coming out in 2016 will be, and there are a few real beauties in there !

Enjoy !

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Mad Mike Metrovich.......Moldies & Bootlegging.

Original 1st pressing sleeve.
Mad Mike Metro: obscurities officianado, collector of the wonderful and obscure , DJ at WZUM (Pittsburgh), occasional promoter (He apparently had The Sonics play their only East coast show during their heyday) and crate digger extraordinaire. The guy's record collection was legendary and his secrecy around them notorious. He would often remove band names and song titles or relabel  particularly coveted items, make up band names and song titles to throw off listeners and talk over tracks being played on air so as to prevent folk recording them to bootleg later.
Proving that there is very little new under the sun, Mad Mike was prone to producing the occaisonal bootleg himself. (He owned a suitcase case cutter, basically a machine for making what would be called Dub-Plates these days).

2nd pressing sleeve.
Up until the mid-60's the medium of the compilation had been more or less restricted to soundtracks of movies and in particular musicals but in 1965, Mad Mike embarked on a little project, releasing a series of compilation albums put together from his own collection entitled 'Mad Mike's Moldies'.....The Grand-Daddy of Born Bad et al, I guess you could say he was a pioneer of the concept and layed down a lot of the general guidelines which are still followed to this day by the folk who make fan-club releases, bootlegs and unsanctioned releases. His 'comps' included Garage Punk, Surf, Doo Wop and Rockabilly tracks in the main (Sound familiar ?) which would have been fairly radical and a brave move in context of the time, it being the mid-60's and the 'British Invasion' in full swing.....

Volume 2.
Another of the cooler aspects to Mad Mike's releases was that he released them on coloured vinyl, pretty neat for the time, (something which makes them highly desirable to collectors today) and he wasn't above being caught out either ! There are printing errors and labelling mistakes on various volumes and volume three was apparently blocked over a breach of rights ownership which didn't stop him as he went ahead and pressed it anyway.     
In 2008 Norton Records, those purveyors of all fine things rockin' released 3 volumes of  'Mad Mikes Monsters' which include some amazing liner notes as well as an interview with Miriam Linna for 'Kicks' which I'd urge you to pick up as it's a great read and way more informative than this little piece......

Below is a piece from the Pittsburgh Music History website and hopefully you'll be tempted to go and dig up more about this demented nutter (He once blew himself up with a home-made bomb aged 14)....
Promo poster for the Norton releases.
Pittsburgh DJ Mad Mike is known to record collectors and oldies fans around the world for his five album series of oldies compilations entitled “Mad Mike’s Moldy Oldies”.  His albums feature an eclectic mix of R&B, Rockabilly, and garage rock tunes by little known small label bands that he played on his radio shows and at record hops.  During the 1960’s Mad Mike was a DJ on WZUM in Carnegie. Pa and he hosted packed teen dances around the Pittsburgh area.  Looking to unearth interesting tunes, he rummaged from coast to coast through stacks of 45s buried in record store bargain bins and in the back rooms of record distributors.  With his keen ear he searched for unique never heard of wild underground records. buy 10,000 overstock records at a penny or two a shot.    He introduced his listeners to the punk songs “The Witch” and “Psycho” by the Sonics of Tacoma, "Wooly Bully" and “Little Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs of Memphis, and “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James. He often did not announce the names of the obscure groups that he played, making it difficult to go out and buy copies.  Cleverly he built fan loyalty as his listeners had to keep tuning in or go to his dances to hear those wild songs again.  No one else had his records.  To keep his songs shrouded in mystery he scratched out or glued comics over the names of the bands on his 45 records.  Some songs he played only once.  He’d announced "Listen in - you may never hear this song again”.
Mad Mike Metrovich, who was born in 1936 in the Manchester section of Pittsburgh, grew up in Overbrook.  Mike became a fan of Fats Domino and Big Joe Turner in the 1950s while he stationed at a Brooklyn navel base.   Leaving the Navy in 1959, Mike hosted record hops for a living.  He regularly DJ’d dances at West View's Teen Danceland, Mt. Lebanon's Lebanon Lodge, Castle Shannon's Linden Grove, North Park's Wildwood, and McKeesport's White Elephant.  He was so popular in 1964 that he drew 2,000 dancers to Westview Park’s Danceland, while the young Rolling Stones played for only 200 people next door.  In their leather jackets with their greased back Mad Mike’s fans danced on tables to his hand picked crazy new secret tunes.
As his popularity as a DJ grew, he landed his first radio DJ job at WPIT-AM in 1964.  He switched over to WZUM-AM on August 2, 1964 staying there until 1972.  He later hosted oldies shows on Sunday nights on WYEP-FM in the 1980s and on WEDO-AM and WWCS-AM,"   After a hiatus from on air work, he returned to WZUM in 2000.  Mike played two segments on his shows.  During the Mad Mike's Moldies segment he played floor pounding R&B and weird doo-wop tunes.  On the second Mad Mike's Monsters segment he featured garage rock, surf music, and wild instrumentals that would get his listeners ‘ movin' and ‘booty shakin'.  While the English Invasion ran it’s blitzkrieg over radio, Mad Mike introduced Pittsburgh to garage rock, proto-punk and rockabilly. 
Mike was a studio electronics wizard with a first class FCC license who worked as a studio engineer at several stations.  He troubleshot and repaired radio transmitters and broadcast equipment. He also taught local broadcasters.
During the 1960’s, Pittsburgh’s National Record Mart chain (NRM), first released Mad Mike’s Moldies & Monsters albums.  They were comprised of Mike’s secret songs whose identities had been uncovered.   Norton Records reissued Mad Mike compilations on CDs in 2006?  "Mad Mike" Metrovich signed off from planet Earth in Oct 31, 2000, leaving behind a broadcasting legacy and a collection of wild music. 

Big thanks goes to Stephen Jaye for some of the images used and check out the website for more info on Mad Mike.

Stay Sick Folks.

And don't forget to head over to the Trash Wax website for bunch of whigged out 
And here for a load more 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Charity Case......After The Sting Rays.

Here's a little insight into what some of the former members of The Sting Rays got up to following their split in 1987.


She Rocola.
Well, it all started in the spring of 1987 when Joe (Whitney) answered an advert in an issue of 'Sounds' (UK music paper). It read, "Keith Moon, Clem Burke, John Maher style drummer wanted for 60's influenced band."

I thought "That's the job for me!” I didn't have the money to buy the paper at the time so I had to find a newsagent who had a copy left after payday…were it not for that ad virtually everything that followed in my life wouldn't have happened for better or worserer!" (Joe Whitney/Drums)

So, off he went to the audition and lo and behold returned a Sting-Ray! Which was pretty cool as I remembered having seen them along with another memorable band called "The Prisoners" in an episode of The Tube a while beforehand and had really liked both combos!

As Joe's girlfriend at the time I went along to his first gig with the band and enjoyed every minute of it! I decided Mark was my my new favourite guitarist and Bal was one of the best front men ever! And the songs were just great! On the way home that night, sitting in the back of the band's van I recall Joe nipping out to puke up on Camden Road and Bal leaping on his back as he did so yelling "Wahey! Now you're really one of us!" Indeed!

Sadly though The Sting-Rays were to release only one more album, a live recording of their last ever gig in June 1987 at the Blow-Up Club, London. A fine packed and sweaty finale as I recall. The album was fittingly titled "Goodbye To All That."

So, this is where I came in…It was Autumn 1987, Alec and Mark had started to write new songs with a more melodic feel to them, as we were in the same ball park musically and because I looked the part in my 'fab gear', they asked me if I'd like to fill the vacancy for a lead singer.

Think Grace Slick! (Alec Palao/Bass)

The Charity Case. 1988.
So I gave it a go and before too long we were rehearsing on a regular basis which then led to a recording session at the now legendary Pathway Studios in Islington. It was here where most of the songs (but not all), on the forthcoming Trash Wax LP 'How To Fall' were recorded, including "Safe in the Mind" which was duly released as a 7" single in early '88 and received great reviews in the music press!

Gigwise, our first was at The Camden Falcon in January 1988 and our last (with Alec) was in the September of the same year, on a boat going up and down the River Thames! I seem to recall the drum kit (and us) sliding across the floor mid-gig at the Houses of Parliament, or wherever the turnaround point was in those days!

She dealing so majestically with hecklers....
Joe cocking a snoot at any sound-man foolish enough to suggest damping down the snare or a stuffing a pillow in the bass drum....
Alec railing against pretty much the whole musical world - but totally justified by his song-writing..... (Mark Hosking/Guitar)

In the Autumn of 1988, Alec had decided to fulfil his ambition to live at the the centre of all things groovy (ie. San Francisco),  and asked if we would move there too hence allowing us to carry on with the band. But we all liked London too much, so had to decline.

The Charity Case did continue however and with much to report I'm happy to say but I shall leave that scintillating second half of the story to accompany any further releases from us in the future… keep watching this space as they say!


Order it here :
'How To Fall' (released by Trash Wax 14/03/2016) comprises of twelve tracks recorded over a number of sessions from 1988 & encompasses a variety of different sounds & styles. The record pulls on influences from 60's Psychedelia, Folk Rock, Pop, Beat, Garage Rock & New Wave to create a kaleidoscope of sound, best appreciated at volume.

Tracks like Don't Worry, Victory Gin, Positively Negative, How To Fall & Sandie Shaw – World War will have you jumping around the room in various animated states (depending on your level of intoxication & by what substances), so it's just as well that tracks like Only Lovers Left Alive, Goodbye To All That & In My Mind are there to calm things down. Goodbye To All That, incidentally was the last song Alec ever wrote for the Sting-Rays!

To Sting-Rays fans, the guitar of Mark Hosking will be instantly recognisable as will some of the odd & uneven chord structures that you'll find within songs on this treasure chest on wax. If you grew to love 'Cryptic & Coffee Time' you will see this recording as another natural progression in sound from where The Sting-Rays ended & The Charity Case begin.... Goodbye To All That..... Hello To All This!

Charlie (March 2016)