Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Johnny Wintrer - Guitar Slinger

I've been kinda hesitant about this album strictly because of Johnny's headless guitar on the cover - I was afraid that this guitar would affect his sound or playing or give the record a different feel. Boy, was I wrong! This is just as strong as his first couple of releases, which I adore! Great, great blues mixed with rock'n'roll and soul, just like his early work. Truly excellent all the way through.

Unfortunately, I just stumbled upon this on You Tube and when I looked for it to purchase, it appears to be out of print, as the prices are fairly astronomical. But, if you can find it at a fair price, this is another superior piece of Winter rock'n'blues.

RIP Cynthia "On The Throne" Robinson of Sly & the Family Stone

Cynthia Robinson, Trumpeter and Co-Founder of Sly and the Family Stone, Dies at 69

Monday, November 23, 2015

Shell Shocked – Howard Kaylan with Jeff Tamarkin

Just before I started reading this book I was thinking about how boring some rocker bios are that Dennis Dunaway's book where he began the tale in high school, already friends with some of the other major players. But here Kaylan (with co-author Tamarkin, editor of Goldmine, among many, many other projects) did manage to keep things interesting with his infatuations with unusual characters and his school training which helped immensely with his career - and he keeps it reasonably brief before turning to his teenage years and his first bands.
delve too deeply in the protagonist's childhood, which are usually fairly dull, no matter who the star is. I liked

Ironically, Howard's first group was a surf instrumental band in which he played saxophone - the Crossfires. He brought in his partner-in-harmony, Mark Volman, who also learned enough horn work via school band to keep up, and with the advent of the Beatles, the group featured more vocal work and morphed into the Turtles. The band made it big with their first recording and continued to churn out hits for several years. Howard regales us with tales of groupies galore - somewhat surprising for a band that was not especially good looking - and meeting with other stars of the day, from Eric Burdon to Jimi Hendrix. Of course, nothing lasts forever and the hits stopped coming and the band disintegrated. 

Howard and Mark maintained their personal and musical relationship and did session work, including hits for T. Rex, among many others, before randomly ending up in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention! A big change of pace, but something that they enjoyed although the band almost came to an end in the famous Montreaux fire (that of "Smoke on the Water" fame) - and did break up when Frank fell off a stage not long after and came close to dying. 

They became Flo and Eddie - the names they used for the Mothers due to contractual obligations, though Mark became Flo after their first press pic was printed backwards! - and did some terrific tours, including Alice Cooper's Killer tour. They added radio and TV work to their resumes and even dabbled in production, including DMZ's first album. He calls them "hardcore" years before the term was in use and claims the drummer broke his hand during the recording of "Cinderella" and that take was used on the record!

The oldies scene came to the rescue after other projects started fizzling and, since they were smart enough to retain the Turtles' name, they have made a good living touring on the 60's reunion circuit.

Of course, there is much more to his story, such as the many women in his life, the drugs, and the innumerable bad decisions, but he has made it out alive and seems to be in reasonably good shape and spirits these days.

I really enjoyed this one - good tales of the crazy days of 60's and 70's rock'n'roll excess. Take a gander, for sure!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

RIP Andy Johns

Celebrated Producer Andy Johns Dead at 61 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, the Undercover Monsters, the Maxies and the Mapes at the Dive Bar, Friday Nov 20, 2015

This evening was MMM's bassist, Denise Heximer's birthday, so for her b-day wish, she asked to open this show! Yes, this is another band that I am playing guitar in, along with Melanie singing lead and acoustic guitar and Clay Heximer on drums. We call it high-energy honky-tonk and cover old-school country tunes. Fun song, fun night with a good, appreciative crowd. Thanks for everyone who came out early and thanks to Nikki Ruffling for the pix!

The Undercover Monsters are an off-shoot of the Maxies with two young ladies on bass and guitar and singing most of the lead vocals. They also do raucous punk-pop, opening with Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Sword of Damocles" and later incorporating L7's "Shit List". Fun, wacky stuff!

The Maxies hail from Greenland by way of Orange County and also perform punk-pop tunes about clubbing seals and such. The crowd was singin'n'bouncin' along with them the whole time and the dedicated some appropriately insulting tune to the birthday gal. Every time I see this group they have different members, so I can't keep track of who is "really" in the band at any given time - keyboards were added this time, for one - but they keep their sound intact.


Fighting colds and a long week, we couldn't manage to stay for the madness that is a Mapes show, and it sounds like this one was especially nutz for numerous reasons. In any case, here is the Aftermath of the Mapes- photo by Clay Heximer.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

recommended gigs

Friday Nov 20 - the Mapes, Maxies, Undercover Monsters and Melanie and the Midnite Marauders at the Dive Bar
Friday Nov 20 - 7:00 pm - Shanda and the Howlers at the Arts Factory

Saturday Nov 21 - the Heiz at the Double Down with the Psyatics, Franks'n'Deans, the People's Whiskey, New Cold War
Saturday Nov 21 - 3 Bad Jacks, Dead at Midnite and the Legendary Boilermakers at the Dive Bar
Saturday Nov 21 - Super Zeroes at Babes Charity Car Show

Wednesday Nov 25 - the Swank Bastards Basstravaganza at the Double Down with 23 guest bassists!
Wednesday Nov 25 - Public Imagine Ltd at Brooklyn Bowl
Wednesday Nov 25 - Drunksgiving with the Delta Bombers at Champagnes

Saturday Nov 28 - Gogol Bordello at Brooklyn Bowl
Saturday Nov 28 - Tiki Bandits, Franks'n'Deans and the Mapes at the Double Down
Saturday Nov 28 - the Unwieldies and the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Wednesday Dec 2 - Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast at the Double Down

Friday Dec 4 - Rev Horton Heat, Lords of Altamont, the Bellrays at Vinyl Las Vegas
Friday Dec 4 - the Delta Bombers at Triple B

Saturday Dec 5 - The return of the Lucky Cheats with the Swamp Gospel at the Sand Dollar

Sunday Dec 6 - Ivana Blaize's Pussyrama at the Double Down

Thursday Dec 10 - the New Waves at the Double Down

Saturday Dec 12 - Nic Turner's Hawkwind with the Psyatics at the LV Country Saloon
Saturday Dec 12 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Dec 19 - Nashville Pussy at the Dive Bar

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Symbol Six - Dirtyland

Symbol Six was originally an early 80's LA punk band, though I never saw them at the time. They are now reformed with none other than guitar-meister Tony Fate (Grey Spikes/Bellrays/Black Widows/lots more) at the helm. I saw them a few months back and have been meaning to get to this CD ever since, but...

Although they consider themselves a hard core band, I believe that they have a lot more dynamics, melody and interest than most bands in that genre and I would more likely call them punk'n'roll.

That said, they certainly do not lack in power and energy, as is evidenced in the opening title track. Lots of chant-along vocals, no unlike bands like the Fluid in the later 80's. Cool guitar work and chord changes in "Generation Damnation" and "Viva" is a punk rock take on garage numbers like "Leaving Here". "Madness" and "Creepin'" would not sound out of place at all on any Hellacopters record, and anyone who knows me knows that is a high compliment! In fact, now that I think about it, the Hellacopters have recorded at least one of Tony Fate's songs, so there ya go...

Some Misfits-styled "whoa-ohs" appropriately open "Woes", with its stop-on-a-dime dynamics courtesy of drummer Phil George and bassist Evan Shanks, "Spit It Out" is a big-chorus Dead Boys-type of punk rock with some fiery guitar, "Outta My Way" is frantic, but singer Eric Leach keeps it melodic, while the guitars continue to wail throughout. A bit more 70's-styled riff-punk in "Psychosix", cool starts'n'stops in "Nitro", more big vocal chants in "Never Gonna Make It" and finishing up with a live bonus track of "Fired Up".

Well done, modern take on late 70's/early 80's punk rock. I know I name-checked a number of other bands, but that is simply my writing laziness, as I can't come up with the words to describe their sound on my own. Check 'em out for some tight, high-energy punk'n'roll!

Monday, November 16, 2015

RIP PF Sloan

Songwriter P.F. Sloan, 2015 Ponderosa Stomp performer, has died