…it waits no more.
…it waits no more.
“I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I’m living on.”
This version of Black To Comm is total Detroit Soul Punk by way of Hawkwind; utter riff damage and destruction. Obvious why Spacemen 3 pilfered it for their Revolution. The Kick Out The Jams intro is, of course, also exceptional.
Amphetamine sulfate, ultra speed, version of Motorhead’s titular classic, featuring a veritable who’s who of Motorhead members including Fast Eddie Clark, Brian Robbo Robertson, Larry Wallis, Lucas Fox, Phil Philty Animal Taylor and Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott on second bass! Outrageous! Thank you, Lemmy!
If you’ve followed this blog for any period of time, you know that I’m sorta obsessed with Proto-Punk, particularly the Cle Punk scene of the 70’s. Bands like the Electric Eels, Mirrors, Rocket From The Tombs, X_X, The Styrenes, and later, the godlike Pagans, etc, produced some of the most exciting music of the era, influenced in varying doses by the Velvet Underground, the Avant Garde, Performance Art, and a take no prisoners approach to live shows. Though most bands received minimal, if any, fanfare outside of the area during their existence, the sphere of their influence posthumously, is substantially wider.
As noted, The Styrenes were one such band, formed with former and future members of several of those other Cle Punk bands. They released several singles (one as the Poli Styrene Jazz Band) and one LP on the seminal Cleveland label Mustard, from the mid-70’s to the early 80’s, which showed an updated, take on Psych and Prog, with a twisted, more cynical, sense of humor, not to mention being blessed with one of the best post-Reed/Morrison guitarists, in one Jamie Klimek. Check out Drano In Your Veins, posted below, for ample evidence.
All of this leads me to the new 3x 7″ box set, Cle 76-79 Unreleased, which includes a version of Cle Punk’s own Louie Louie style obligatory regional cover, Jaguar Ride (a song on which I will soon do a separate post), and sixteen other unreleased recordings, issued on My MInd’s Eye Records. Yet another essential part of the Cle Punk puzzle, for those of us who care about such things.
Horses was a crucial step in the evolution of New York Rock & Roll, blending a reverence for Smith’s musical and literary influences, with a fresh and vital perspective on those traditions, and in so doing, it helped lay the groundwork for New York’s (and by proxy, the world’s), nascent Punk scene. Smith’s shamanic, poetic explorations were ably abetted by the sympathetic musicians who would form the core of her band, for the following several years (and further), Lenny Kaye, Ivan Kral, Jay Dee Daugherty and Richard Sohl, who provided both solid ground and an improvisational fluidity perfectly suited to Smith’s style. Add some help from Television’s, Tom Verlaine, Blue Oyster Cult’s, Alan Lanier, John Cale behind the board, god of all that is mastering, Bob Ludwig, on post-production, and the now iconic Robert Mapplethorpe cover photo, and you’ve got yourself a masterpiece, every bit as vital today as it was forty years ago.
To be directed by Scott Crawford, fresh from his documentary on DC Hardcore, Salad Days, and featuring interviews with Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Wayne Kramer, Bob Seger, Kiss, and, of course, Creem mag personnel. Kickstarter forthcoming.
Thanks to Detroit Metro Times for this news, proving yet again why they are my favorite city paper.
How has this never seen the light of day? Absolutely blazing tracks, proving that Wallis classic solo single, Police Car, was no fluke. With a pedigree that includes stints in Pink Fairies, UFO, Shagrat (with a post Tyrannosaurus Rex, Steve Took) and as the original guitarist for Motorhead, Wallis’ name is legend among aficionados of vicious Psychedelic Punk guitar spew. On these recordings Wallis is joined by former Man member, Deke Leonard, and drummer for Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Pete Thomas. Based on these three tracks, this album belongs in the Top Ten of great unreleased records. Again, why is this still languishing in the vaults?!
Check out a Goldmine article on the album…
an amazing, hilarious and informative 1987 interview with Wallis from Forced Exposure…
and another one from Perfect Sound Forever…
Gotta say, I would not have envied the man who had to fill in the guitar slot for Ron Asheton, when Iggy and management forced him into playing bass, but damn if James Williamson didn’t step up with a force every bit worthy of The Stooges legacy. Raw Power, baby! While everyone knows that classic, less recognized is the Pop/Williamson follow up from four years later, Kill City, which features my favorite post-Stooges Iggy cut, No Sense of Crime.
Though Nico is best known for her association with the Velvet Underground, as a solo artist she charted a career every bit as unique and interesting as her Velvet cohorts Lou Reed and John Cale. Her first single, released on the hip Immediate Records label in 1965, was orchestrated Mod Pop not unlike her contemporary Marianne Faithful, or dozens of others, for that matter. Written by Gordon Lightfoot, I’m Not Sayin’ is the most cautious of love songs, reflecting an emotional honesty not typical of the era, but perfectly suited for Nico’s unmistakable monotonic accent and melancholia. Add to that the twelve string guitar Jimmy Page, and a production from Brian Jones and you’ve got an impressive musical debut.
The following year, at the insistence of Andy Warhol, Nico was brought into the Exploding Plastic Inevitable/Velvet Underground fold, on whose debut she would sing only three songs, despite the album being titled, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Well, as everyone knows by now, that album, despite modest sales, went on to become one of the most influential albums of all time, and cemented Nico’s role as an outsider icon.
So much ink has been, rightly, spilled on the debut, that discussing it further here borders on pointless, so I’ll just add my own random aside: a girlfriend of mine once asked me what song I would play at my wedding. I, never having seriously considered it, can’t even remember what song I said, mostly because whatever it was, she totally trumped me with, I’ll Be Your Mirror. Ever since then I’ve known that, should I get married, that song will be playing. And yeah, I woulda married her then and there, were it meant to be.
Released hot on the heels of the VU’s debut, Nico’s solo LP, Chelsea Girls (named for the Warhol film in which she starred), featured songs written by Reed, Cale and Morrison, in addition to paramour Jackson Browne, Tim Hardin, and an unreleased Dylan nugget, I’ll Keep It With Mine. In addition to songwriting credits, her fellow Velvets performed on the album, and VU producer Tom Wilson again manned the boards. Musically it’s a continuation of her debut single, the orchestrated Pop, while fitting perfectly alongside her Velvets cuts.
Nico’s sophomore album, The Marble Index, saw a dramatic change in sound, as she began her love affair with the harmonium. The droning pump organ was a natural progression from John Cale’s La Monte Young influenced viola in the Velvets, and naturally lent itself to Nico’s world weary melodies. Nico wrote and performed the songs solo on harmonium, then brought them to Cale, who would arrange all subsequent instruments. Though his influence looms large, there is no mistaking that Nico had found what would become her signature sound.
Frozen Warnings is my ultimate winter song.
Look out for another of Nico’s boyfriend’s Iggy Pop in this promo clip from Evening of Light.
Desertshore would see Nico developing that sound, this time with Cale sharing production with Joe Boyd, a legend for his productions of sixties Psychedelia and Acid Folk.
It would be four years before another Nico LP hit the shelves. The End centers on the titular title track, a very Nico reading of The Doors psychedelic magnum opus, and the occasional synthesizer work of a freshly Post-Roxy Music, Brian Eno.
Following The End, Nico would not record until the eighties, at which point she had become an icon to Goths and Punks around the world.
I absolutely love this performance of Chelsea Girls shot in the Chelsea Hotel.