Thursday, October 16, 2014

recommended gigs

Friday October 17 - 3D6, Lambs to Lions, Sector 7-G, Geezus Cryst and Free Beer
Friday October 17 - Tarah Grace and the Magnetics - Triple B
Friday October 17 - the All Togethers and the Beau Hodges Band at the Bunkhouse
Friday October 17 - Bogtrotters Union at Whiskey Dicks

Saturday Oct 18 - Super Zeroes at Double Down with Monogrim

Wednesday Oct 22 - Eddie Bear and the Cubs and the Sundowners at the Griffin

Thursday Oct 23 - Astaires record release party at the Beauty Bar
Thursday Oct 23 - the Unwieldies at Velveteen Rabbit with Yaquina Bay
Thursday Oct 23 - the Cold Blue Rebels at the Dive Bar

Friday Oct 24 - the Psyatics with the Vibrators at the Double Down

Saturday Oct 25 - Thee Mapes, Vermin, Frank and Deans - Double Down Saloon
Saturday Oct 25 - The Psyatics at the Hard Hat w/the Laissez Fairs and much more!
Saturday Oct 25 - Time Crashers, 3D6 and much more at Cheese Boy Comics!
Saturday Oct 25 - Life is Shit festival at the Dive Bar

Friday October 31 - Voodoo Organist and Delta Bombers with the Punknecks and the Octanes at the Dive Bar
Friday October 31 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Dillinger

Friday Nov 7 - GWAR at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip
Friday Nov 7 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger

Friday Nov 14 - The Swamp Gospel with Cashed Out, Eddie Bear and the Cubs and the Ditch Diggers at the Beauty Bar

Friday Nov 14 - The Maxies, Mapes, Time Crashed and Alan Six at the Dive Bar

Sunday November 16 - the Psyatics with Water Landing, Har Mar Superstar and Pizza Underground at LV Country Saloon

Friday Dec 5 - the Unwieldies at Boomers

Saturday Jan 10, 2015 - the Psyatics with the Dictators NYC at LV Country Saloon

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Wayne Hancock, Eddie Bear and the Cubs, Whiskey Breath, the Unwieldies, Fishing Season at the Dive Bar Tuesday Oct 14, 2014

Pretty damn exceptional line-up for this night at the Dive Bar. They definitely try to give you as much bang-for-yer-buck at these gigs and this night things started at a fairly reasonable time, so it wasn't an overly late Tuesday night.

Starting the night was a group that I was completely unfamiliar with called Fishing Season, who had a somewhat nautical theme to their look, down to the bass (fish) mounted on the bass drum. The songs tended to have a kinda sea chanty feel to them and the lead guitarist had a really cool and interesting tone that sounded almost violin-like. Couldn't really think of anyone that they sounded like - think that someone mentioned Cake and I thought vaguely Violent Femmes, but that's not really it, either.

The Unwieldies are now performing with dobro/second acoustic guitarist Richard Wells, which is a nice addition to their sound (and check out his contributions to their new CD, Always the Optimist) and which frees Jack Ball to concentrate solely on violin. Unfortunately, the number of acoustic instruments going through the PA created a sonic problem for this primarily electric venue and the sound balance for the band was, frankly, pretty bad. Feedback, distortion and other issues that do not work well with wooden music detracted from the Unwieldies lovely melodies and intricate tones. They persevered and still performed well, with some powerful moments ("Rain Damage", especially, stood out), but it was not their best - through no fault of their own. See them next Thursday at the Velveteen Rabbit, which seems more suited for their sound.

Thankfully, the sound issues were cleared up for Whiskey Breath's set, although they only had one acoustic instrument, so there were less obstacles to overcome! Guitarists Brandon and Lahm often perform as a duo (and Brandon sometimes even braves it as a solo at times), and their songs hold up well in that format, but it's always good to see the full band rockin' out with their blend of country and r'n'r. The rhythm section of Justin and Steve adds plenty to the sound as they lock in with the cool groove (though the pedal simulating a double bass drum set-up was a bit unnecessary :) ) and contribute to the melody and dynamics. The guys did a number of their catchy originals - "Jim Beam is my Home Boy", "Midnight Special" ("loving her but I was thinking about you"), "You're To Blame", "Westbound" - as well as a nice take on "Down Home Girl" (the Lieber/Butler song done by the Coasters and the Stones). Of course, they closed with their "controversial" song about domestic violence "She Broke My Heart So I Busted Her Jaw" (the title of which Spooky Tooth used first, but does anyone but me remember that?). Well written and memorable song, but it has gotten them banned from at least one establishment. For some reason, Lahm seemed to be hanging back on the harmonies this night, though his singing compliments Brandon well, and if I had any complaints, it would be that I would like to hear him riff a bit more around the songs, but I guess that's the guitarist in me talking!

While Eddie Bear and the Cubs have a somewhat revolving line-up, tonight we got the main men Larry (vocals/guitar), Erik (vocals/guitar), Davis (bass), their rock-solid drummer (I'm sorry I can never remember his name! Wish they would put members on their Facebook page!) and smokin' lead guitarist Brian. They sounded terrific this night and it's always a pleasure to watch and hear these men work - the playing is all top-notch (I always keep my eyes on Brian's playing hands to try to get some tips) and the vocals and harmonies are excellent - Erik has the smoother voice while Larry is gruffer, but still melodic, and his singing better than ever each time I see them. Surprises (to me, anyway) this night included a fine take on Elvis' "Little Sister"and the Blasters' "Long White Cadillac" and their closer, the medley of "Going Down" and "Voodoo Chile" always pleases! I think that there is a lot of talent nowadays in LV and the Cubs are right up there with my faves in town!

I was not familiar with Wayne Hancock before and was surprised to find out that he was born in '65 and made his debut recording in 1995! His sound is old-school country and I assumed that he was an earlier dude since he has such a superior, traditional sound. His line up this night including him on acoustic guitar, a stand-up bass, a female steel guitar player (who stood while playing - highly unusual), and two lead players with different sounds - an acoustic/electric player that had a bit of a jazzier feel and a Tele man who played a bit more traditional (and terrific) country and rockabilly licks. He lists influences such as Hank Williams (I believe that they did one of his tunes, though I didn't write down which one), Ernest Tubbs and Jimmie Rogers and this is all apparent in his show. Wayne has a fine voice, as well, and the material is all strong. He had some issues with his sound this night - personal preference as opposed to real problems - so I don't know if he was completely happy with the night, but the many fans in the audience, who stayed late on a Tuesday night, certainly dug it all!

Another strong Dive Bar night! Thanks to all for making this one happen!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

more on Gonerfest 11

There are videos of a number of cool bands from Gonerfest 11 up, including the Gizmos' set! Check 'em out here.

Thank you Rocket Science Audio!

Monday, October 13, 2014

interview with Craig Bell (Rocket From the Tombs/Saucers/Down-Fi/Deezen and lots more!)

I met Craig Willis Bell a few months ago when one of his latest conglomerations, Deezen, opened up for the first phase of the Gizmos reunion in Indiana.  Being a huge Rocket From the Tombs fan, I was a little freaked out that this man was opening - opening! - for the Gizmos. But, he was (and is) completely down to earth and totally cool and even accepted our offer to play bass in the mid-west version of the Gizmos! I wanted to learn more about him and, after he responded positively to reviews of some of his discs on this blog, I asked if he would consent to an email interview and he graciously accepted! Again, I'm no writer and as this testifies, I'm no interviewer, but here's Craig and his take of the early days of punk and new wave in the mid-west.

Let’s start with the basics - where did you grow up and what first got you into music?

I was born in Elmira, NY, where my dad worked on the railroad. We moved to a number of different places in New York state and elsewhere as he was promoted on his job, finally landing in Cleveland, Ohio in 1961. I was nine. I had always been into music and especially the radio when I was young.  My brother and I built shortwave kits and listened to broadcasts from all over the world.  I made a giant wire antenna in the rafters of our attic and started keeping a log of stations I could hear as I listened to the distant static-y signals late at night.  The farthest west I ever reached was Denver. I listened to Wolfman Jack on a Texas station, long before he was talked about in Rolling Stone.  Long before Rolling Stone for that matter!  I liked listening to different kinds of music and discovered  lots of small RnB and soul stations in the NE Ohio area, as well as country and early rock.  Of course everything changed with the Beatles coming on the scene!  I don’t think people who weren’t there to experience it can ever know what a tsunami the British Invasion was. Plus, lucky me!, I lived in Cleveland where we had the normal top 40 stations blasting the newest US hits, but we had 50,000-watt monster CKLW out of Windsor, Ontario, Canada broadcasting not only the latest Motown hits, but all the British stuff that was coming over to Canada, weeks before it hit the US charts! In on the ground floor!!

What was your first band?

When living at home, I was not allowed to own a guitar.  I played the trombone (horribly) and the clarinet (see trombone) in grade school but wanted to rock! I would hang around with friends who formed bands, being the go-fer/roadie. Without the intervention of my mother in Feb of 1964 I probably would not have seen The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, but I did. Although, that did not completely seal the deal.  What did was going to the Beachcliff Theatre with my buddy Dave Davis and spending the afternoon sitting through the Gerry and the Pacemakers movie Ferry Cross The Mersey in 1965 about four times; after that, we wanted to be in a rock and roll band!!!  Since I was 13 at the time, I had to wait another five years until I graduated from High School and moved out on my own to follow that dream.  During my high school years, I met the boyfriend of a girl I knew from my church who was a guitar player and liked a lot of stuff I was into.  Jim Crook was home on leave from the Army and soon to be off to Vietnam, as were thousands of others during the 1960’s. Jim did his stint, and he and Shari married when he returned in 1970.  About a year later he invited me to come over to his house on the West Side of Cleveland to meet his friend, guitarist Jamie Klimek.  They both were very excited that I had both Syd Barrett solo albums.  I was very excited that Jamie had a cute sister. I started hanging around more until Jamie decided to put me to use by handing me a bass guitar, showing me how to tune it, what the four strings were, and told me to figure the rest out for myself.  So I did. We needed a drummer, so I asked my friend Michael Weldon, who was a guitarist in that band I used to hang around with in school (I should mention their name here, The Rivers Edge) and we were given a drum set by another friend and we became Mirrors in 1971.

The Mirrors

How did you hook up with Rocket From The Tombs - who did you meet first?

I knew of Peter Laughner from he, and his wife, Charlotte Pressler, being fans of Mirrors and coming around on occasion to the few shows we did. Just as we were starting to play out a bit, I got drafted into the Army and would be gone from 1972-74 keeping you all free. (You’re welcome.)
Jamie has some humorous remarks about this in the liner notes to Those Were Different Times release on Scat Records, if you can find it.  Upon my return, I rejoined Mirrors. Jim Jones was holding place for me in the band while I was away, and we resumed sporadically playing around town. Later that year Peter approached me to join RFTT, which was going through its transition from a loose, parody, fun, weirdo band, to a loose, intense, fun, weirdo band. I went to the rehearsal space downtown near the Shoreway Bridge in Cleveland where I met Cheetah [Gene O'Connor - guitar] and Johnny [Madansky/Blitz - drummer] for the first time.  I had known  David  Thomas (Crocus Behemoth) for some time as he worked at the Viking Saloon and wrote a column for the weekly entertainment papers.


Obviously the band was big Iggy fans - what other influences were the basis for your sound?

The Stooges were up there with The MC5, Velvet Underground, The Kinks, Troggs, Beefheart, Barrett, Pink Floyd, Eric Dolphy....we can go on but you get the picture.

Were there places that you could play in town? What kind of reaction would you normally get? Any particularly memorable shows?

RFTT played about five shows in its first go around.  We got some really good gigs at the Agora, opening for the likes of Iron Butterfly and Left End. Peter was really psyched about this NYC band Television and brought them to Cleveland for two shows with us in this penthouse club. We also played with Mirrors and die electric eels at the Viking Saloon a few times.

How was it working with those guys? Were there line-up changes while you were in the band? Did everyone get along?
Were you aware and did you have interactions with the other scenes in Ohio - Akron, Cinci - or were you playing before any of these other scenes got off the ground?

We got along as well as any early twenty somethings with lots of ideas fueled by various and sundry substances who suddenly found themselves in the middle of something that took on a life of its own. So we did what any band of twenty somethings with lots of ideas fueled by various and sundry substances who suddenly find themselves in the middle of something that has taken on a life of its own – we broke up!  Stiv Bators started hanging around and for awhile it was discussed if he would join the group, but instead, we decided to implode.

As for other budding Ohio music scenes, Besides, meeting Stiv, who was from Youngstown, Mirrors had played shows with Akron’s Tin Huey and that was about it, for me, before I left Cleveland that September.  

Did you try to do any other bands in Cleveland?

When I joined RFTT I was kicked out of Mirrors, so at the end of 1975 when Rocket was no more, I was kind of  lost at sea.  I briefly worked with Cheetah, Stiv, Johnny and Jimmy Zero in an early version of Frankenstein, which later became The Dead Boys, and David asked me if I wanted to join his new project with Peter, Pere Ubu.  I also worked with Kevin McMahon for awhile in what later would become Lucky Pierre, but in the end I wanted to try and do something that was my own.  I had been writing a few songs starting in Mirrors wrote and/or co-wrote some more in RFTT, and decided to pursue that direction.

What brought you to New Haven?

When I graduated, I got a job on the railroad (the family business, as it were, I was the 6th generation to work on the railroad) When I returned from my stint in the Army, my job no longer existed.  All the Eastern railroads were being re-organized because massive bankruptcies in the late 60’s early 70’s totally messed up the business. I could not get a decent job in Cleveland in the years after I came home, and when RFTT went bust, I thought it was time to try to find work somewhere else.  I got a job in New Haven, CT on Amtrak and moved there in the fall of 1976.

The Saucers What We Did album - and a link to their song "Muckraker"

Was there a scene happening when you got there?

I didn’t know up from down when we, my then girlfriend Rene Duer and I, came to CT.  I had only been there once before while in the  Army to see Pink Floyd, and it took about a year to start meeting people and finding out what’s what. I slowly learned of goings on, and soon answered an ad for a bass player in a town close by for a recording.  After that I started meeting more musicians in the area and put my own ad in the paper to find some people to form a band.  I met Malcolm Marsden, Malcolm Doak and Mark Mulcahy and we formed Saucers in late 1977. We had a rehearsal space in an old building off downtown and one day a couple of guys walking by heard us playing and stopped in to check us out.  Tom Hearn, and his friend Legs McNeil, of  Punk Magazine fame, liked what they heard and offered us our first gig at a strip mall bar along the shore in Devon.  We were off! After awhile more bands playing original music and non-top-40 covers started either forming or coming out of their spaces and we started doing off nights in a few local clubs that would let us in. Most of the scene at the time were the Top 40 cover bands.  Then we found a bar down by the Yale University campus that became Ron’s Place and from 78-81 it was the scene of an extraordinary explosion of original music in the city and surrounding region of Southern CT that has lasted to this day.

From the comp (It Happened But Nobody Noticed) it seems like a real scene developed, if it hadn’t already been going. What did you think were the strong bands and bands that you dug playing with? How long were you there and what made you leave?

Yes, there was, and still is, a vibrant music scene there. The Poodle Boys, Disturbance, Hot Bodies, Stratford Survivors [with Mad Mike Czejka of the Fuzztones, among many others], Scout House, Subdudes, Baby Strange and many others both on the original 13-song LP I put out in 1982 and the CD re-master I made in 2006 with another 13 bands from that era, a testament to the diversity and incredible talent that exists there.  A documentary about the NH scene was made a few years ago, titled after the comp, It Happened, But Nobody Noticed and is on YouTube.

The Bell System and a link to their song "America Now"

What brought you to Indianapolis?

After 13 years and many bands (Saucers, Future Plan, The Plan, The Bell System, Rhythm Methodists) I was burned out on music, on trying to get a record out, and on bad choices, I needed a change.  I took a job transfer to Indianapolis, IN in 1989.

What was your first band there?

I pretty much was through with music when I moved here, I was beaten and broken.  I spent the first few years working my RR job and feeling sorry for myself and allowing myself to sink into the dark shadows of life.  Around 1995 things started to clear a bit and I pulled the guitar out from under the bed and my wife Claudia, who had been playing in bands with me since 1982, and I started playing a little bit every Xmas with friends in Columbus, Ohio.  Then I went to Cleveland for a show and ran into Jim Jones and Jimmy Zero. From that I was invited to speak and perform at the RnR HOF and Museum in 1997 along with Jimmy and other Cle musicians. After that, David issued the RFTT album of old recordings, The Day The Earth Met Rocket From The Tombs, in 2002 and we reformed to do a one off show in Los Angeles that has turned into a, so far, 12-year new journey.

The Down Fi and a link to a live show

And here's my review of their records, Beehunter and America Now

So I decided to give it another go.  I cleaned myself up a bit and started over with some folks here, Sam Murphy, Mike Theodore, and Jason Bambery in The Down-fi. We recorded our CD America Now in 2009. We have continued through some personnel changes, Sam and I, along with Blane Slaven now on drums, with another EP and a couple of singles. We are presently writing and recording new material for immediate release!

I also joined with Sam and our friends Mike Rippy, Kelsey Simpson, and Dan O’Connell (replaced by Kerry Miller) in Deezen for the past number of years also.

What are your plans now?

I am retiring from the railroad this December 2014 and plan to play and record music as long as I am physically able.  Besides playing and recording with TDFi, Rocket From The Tombs, and Deezen, I play with friends in various other projects at present such as The Gizmos, Teddy and the Mofos, and X_____X. Have bass will travel!

Deezen live, opening for the Gizmos

The Gizmos with Craig, Kelsey and Sam from Deezen

Thursday, October 09, 2014

recommended gigs

Friday Oct 10 - Time Crashers with Slow Children, Hard Pipe Hitters and more at Artistic Armory

Saturday October 11 - Gentlemen of Four Outs perform for a benefit for the Huntridge (70th Anniversary!) at the Mesquite Club (702 St Louis) - details to follow
Saturday October 11 - the Angry Samoans at the Dive Bar
Saturday October 11 - the All Togethers at the Glam Factory - noon
Saturday Oct 11 - Crazy Chief and lots more at the House of Blues

Tuesday October 14 - the Unwieldies with Wayne Hancock, Whiskey Breath and Eddie Bear and the Cubs at the Dive Bar

Wednesday Oct 15 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Griffin
Wednesday Oct 15 - the All Togethers at Hennesseys

Friday October 17 - 3D6, Lambs to Lions, Sector 7-G, Geezus Cryst and Free Beer
Friday October 17 - Tarah Grace and the Magnetics - Triple B
Friday October 17 - the All Togethers and the Beau Hodges Band at the Bunkhouse

Thursday Oct 23 - Astaires record release party at the Beauty Bar
Thursday Oct 23 - the Unwieldies at Velveteen Rabbit with Yaquina Bay
Thursday Oct 23 - the Cold Blue Rebels at the Dive Bar

Friday Oct 24 - the Psyatics with the Vibrators at the Double Down

Saturday Oct 25 - Thee Mapes, Vermin, Frank and Deans - Double Down Saloon
Saturday Oct 25 - The Psyatics at the Hard Hat w/the Laissez Fairs and much more!
Saturday Oct 25 - Time Crashers, 3D6 and much more at Cheese Boy Comics!

Friday October 31 - Voodoo Organist and Delta Bombers with the Punknecks and the Octanes at the Dive Bar

Friday Nov 7 - GWAR at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip

Friday Nov 14 - The Swamp Gospel with Cashed Out, Eddie Bear and the Cubs and the Ditch Diggers

Sunday November 16 - the Psyatics with Water Landing, Har Mar Superstar and Pizza Underground at LV Country Saloon

Friday Dec 5 - the Unwieldies at Boomers

Saturday Jan 10, 2015 - the Psyatics with the Dictators NYC at LV Country Saloon

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Dockers - Tale from the Dock

Deezen keyboardist Mike Rippey (Fez Core) comped me this marble-colored 7" while hanging with the Gizmos at Gonerfest. I'm a big fan of Deezen but didn't know what to expect from this. And yeah, this is pretty different!

Here Rippey sings and writes songs of lurid trash and misogyny (tongue-in-cheek) backed by a band mixing punk and garage. The guitar at times sounds like garage fuzz, sometimes like punk thrash and sometimes like metal dirge - don't know how he does that! I didn't realize, but apparently Sam from Deezen (and now the Gizmos) plays guitar here, as well. The drums are slightly boxy, but overall, the sound is pretty exceptional and powerful - truly ferocious rock'n'roll!

The songs are short and sick, with titles like "Pussy Hat", Pussy Pawn Shop" (do they sound like geeky horror/comic book fans? They should!), "Overweight Drac'la" and the slower, keyboard-laden "I Got You" ("say what you want about me but I fucked your sister"). Juvenile humor, but done with some real musical talent. Fun and funny!

Definitely wanna see these cats live sometime - have a feeling they must be hilarious!

I have no idea why, but the colors on the pic of the color photo are all inverted - bizarre! Probably something the band did on purpose.

The Nevermores - Now More Than Never

I have had the honor of playing with some amazing drummers over the years and a fave has always
been Roger Ward, who pounded behind me in the Tommyknockers - stellar player, reasonably sane and a damn nice guy. A number of years ago he relocated from LA to St. Louis and has played in a few different groups there (even spending some time as a long-distance drummer for the Fuzztones). His current project is the Nevermores, where he joins forces with John Ebert (guitar/vocals), Steve Marquis (bass/keys/sitar/vocals) and Jason Sanders (guitar and sitar).

While I have heard the band in the past and always dug what they were doing, here they up the ante significantly and have put out a monster slab of garage madness! This starts out with Roger slamming the sex-beat and then the gnarly guitars come in with a cool, staccato chord riff and John's vocals are a good balance of snotty and tuneful, as the rest do a call'n'answer chorus. After "Crescent Moon", we get the feedback-drenched "I'm Waiting", where the guitars wail like a mastodon sinking into the tar pits! But, this is another upbeat rocker that will get you shakin'n'movin'! They have really honed their songwriting here - quite a step above and beyond any of their previous efforts and of many of their garage contemporaries.

Cool sci-fi sound effects open the more psychedelic "Lilly's 11th", with its tremelo'd guitars and fuzz riffs and nice, almost off-time rhythm. Really diggin' the lead work, throughout, as well. Nice descending riff reminiscent of a few other tunes opens up "Adeline" as it turns into another garage smasher. Some little sonar bleeps appropriately start out "Tangerine Submarine", a power-pop garage tune with some catchy dynamics and licks.

Not sure how many formats this was released on, but I've got a rose/marble colored 12", so side two begins with a wah-wahed Big Ben toll for "12 Bells" that has some very distinctive backing and this melds into another groovy hard-edged crasher with a chorus and musical tag-line that sounds familiar, but ya just can't place it. And then they add a Count V-styled rave-up and a Lollipop Shoppe turnaround! Wow!

More upbeat rock'n'roll in "Like a Pill", again sounding fresh yet recognizable, as is the stop'n'start of "House of Smoke and Mirrors". "Blue Diamond" is a fierce number, sounding like a mix of 60's garage and frantic punk'n'roll. A smokin' riff opens and moves into a shimmy-shakin' keyboard instrumental - wild and groovy! The closing "Shallow Grave" has a gargantuan fuzz riff (sorta/kinda lifted from the Doors "L'America"), more tremelo'd guitars, more keys - damn near the whole garagey kitchen sink! Great noisy/spooky ending to a great record.

Yes, suppose you can guess that I dig this! Really outstanding slab of garage rock'n'roll!

Memphis/Gonerfest Part Seven - The Gizmos headline Hi Tone with tons of cool stuff

(OK, Blogger posted this out of order, so to be sure that this post is seen, I am re-publishing)

I'm sorry to say that between Graceland and sound check, I missed the copious day shows. The Gizmos all met up for the first time at check (as members dribbled in due to traffic and airline troubles) and ran through as much of the set as we could considering that we didn't have enough equipment for all 7 members!

Ran out for a quick bite to eat and back in time to visit a little and see Obnox start the night in his unique way. He opened with three rap numbers done to backing tracks before picking up a guitar and adding a female drummer to make some punky blaring rock. He used some open tunings and had some droney sounds as well as some blues influences, making him one of the more different acts of the weekend. Lots of people love this cat - look for him to do plenty more!

We had met Natalie (guitar) and Madison (bass) of NOTS at various ventures throughout the weekend and they were incredibly sweet and soft-spoken and friendly. So, when they hit the stage with a monstrous sound, shrieking vocals and an overload of power, we were taken back a bit! "Not" what you would expect from such nice women! Abetted by Charlotte and Allie (keys and drums), they put out a post-punk/punk rock blast not unlike previous all femme bands like L7, but with their own touches, of course. The crowd went absolutely berserk for the ladies and the band were highly visual and volatile, as well. It was too much of a madhouse to get close enough for any good photos, so this is the best I could do!

Again, as old men, we needed some time to cool down and tune up before playing and we were graciously given a cool side room, used normally as a photo studio, with tons of great backdrops and props. Hence, the preponderance of photos with wacky backgrounds below! As we did this, we missed most of the other bands before us, other than popping our heads in once in a while - not enough to make a coherent review, though.

A fantastically enthusiastic crowd met us right from the start and sang along, jumped on stage, crowd-surfed and generally went pretty darn nutz throughout the set! Of course, I couldn't really take pix during our set, but had to get a shot of our drummer Kelsey (of Deezen) picking up a guitar for "Pumpin' to Playboy"! None other than Bim of Obnox sat in on drums and showed off his skills there, as well. Had to take a selfie of me with Craig Bell of the infamous Rocket From the Tombs, also! Members of Sick Thoughts and Gooch Palms joined us for "Human Garbage Disposal" and chaos generally reigned supreme! We were thrilled by the reception and happy that people still want to hear our version of sloppy, teenage punk rock (played by old men).

Back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before we all met up at Goner Records to go our separate ways - Deezen folks (Craig, Kelsey, guitarist Sam and roadie/general cool cat Mike Rippey, along with Giz-manager Marvin Goldstein) with Ted, Kemne off to Boston on a bus, and Eddie & me & Melanie with a little free time so check out the record store, have a bite to eat and run off to the airport. Eddie got to stick around for the closing ceremonies, which looked to be quite entertaining, and it seems that we could have seen it, considering how late our flight was, but that's a whole 'nother story!

Thanks for the millionth time to Eric, Zac and all of the Goner folks and all of the volunteers who pitched in to help with the huge number of details and especially to whoever supplied us with all of the rockin' amps so that we could make some noise! This was a truly wild weekend that we will never forget!

There are some videos posted here, including the Wild Emotions, crazy closers the King Brothers and the Golden Pelicans and Ausmuteants. Hopefully, more will appear. I would love to see what the Gizmos really sounded like!

Memphis/Gonerfest Part Six - Graceland

We were in Memphis and who knew if we would ever get back, so how could we NOT go to Graceland, even though neither of us are huge Elvis fans. Still, it is an American institution that we needed to see.

Of course, this is a big business enterprise here - not dissimilar to something like Disneyland. Incredible amount of people, lots of chances to spend money, and plenty of long lines. We were a little pressed for time as we slept in a bit to recover from the night before and I had to be back for a sound check, so we saw what we could without delving nearly as deeply as is possible with the iPad tours.

The opulent living area opens, looking like something out of Liberaces' pad! Lots of over-the-top decorations throughout, showing that having money does not equal having taste! But, that's why so many people come - if this were a tasteful mansion, it wouldn't be nearly as interesting!

Elvis portraits are everywhere, though I dug this early one.

The downstairs rec room had several TVs featuring old time television shows and lots more wild decor.

How many huge stars met up with Elvis in this pool room? I need to start researching photos, but I know many, many icons graced this room. It is surprisingly small, as are all of the rooms here. Considering that this is a mansion, the spaces themselves are not very large and seem somewhat claustrophobic, though, of course, there are areas that we are not allowed to access, such as the King's bedroom and the bathroom where he died - in fact, the entire second floor.

OK, blogger is giving me all kinds of grief, so I can't post all of the pix that i have, but dig this one of his jungle room (at least that's what I'm calling it), complete with tiki bar!

View out back by the horse paddocks.

There were countless toys and memorabilia, but I found this Elvis doll the creepiest of them all!

And how many times have we seen a photo of the man with these shoes on?

This room was a bit boggling - think they even called it something like the "Gold Room". Filled floor to ceiling with gold records and augmented by some of his most outlandish costumes. Wild!

His cemetery is in the back, where Elvis, his parents, and grandmother are all interred, as well as a commemorative stone for his "twin" who died in childbirth. Apparently, the bodies were all moved here, which makes it somewhat eerie and morbid.

At the end of the tour you can take pix of the outside, though you have to be quick as there are always more people coming in!

We spent a little extra in order to see the car exhibit, as well, since Melanie used to take care of Liberace's cars in his museum. Plenty of hip automobile and some silly stuff like a golf cart and tractor and such. Nice exhibit, though.

Although we are taken by shuttle from across the street, we briefly viewed the outside walls, which are scrawled with thousands of names and homages. Wish we had had a chance to walk around it.

As I said, this is all big business, with Disneyland-like prices ($6 for a bumper sticker!), and you get the cattle-like treatment (though politely!), but it is something to see.