Thursday 26 November 2009

Richard Hell - Go Now

Self-proclaimed as an 'originator of punk', Richard Hell, published the novel Go Now in 1996. I only recently picked it up and read it in two installments either side of Arthur Kane's I, Doll. Funnily enough the New York apartment that the book's lead character, Billy Mud, lives (or rather exists) in bears a certain resemblence to one of Kane's former hovels, described as it is with a bath tub in the middle of the kitchen. Whether Hell visited Kane there, or whether such a set up is commonplace in such a prime location, I couldn't say.

In Go Now Billy Mud is a fading punk rock star, stifled by record company wranglings and dealing with acute drug addiction. He's offered the opportunity to take a road trip across the US to bring a car back from Los Angeles and to document the experience, taking with him a female photographer friend with whom he has had an on-off (mainly off) relationship with for many years.

Part road-trip, part tale of a self-obsessed junkie musician, the novel has just enough about it to keep you interested to the end (and Mud's road-trip ending humiliation - or at least he should have been humiliated; the drugs prevent that natural reaction).

Friday 20 November 2009

I, Doll: Life & Death with the New York Dolls

It's fair to say that I, Doll: Life & Death with the New York Dolls would probably not have been published had the New York Dolls not returned so triumphantly in 2004. The subsequent, and sudden, passing of its author, one Arthur 'Killer' Kane and the release of the excellent New York Doll documentary have further increased the undeniable goodwill that has been extended to the luckless bassist.

Arthur Kane was working on what is believed to have been a series of memoirs, of which I, Doll is the first (and will now remain the only) installment. Covering the 18 months from forming the New York Dolls, Arthur charts the band's early rise to prominence on the New York scene centred around Max's Kansas City as the band take an 'all-for-one-and-one-for-all' approach to mere survival, through to their disastrous UK tour, where the camaderie starts to erode and inner factions develop, and ultimately culminating in the death of Billy Murcia. Arthur clearly carries some guilt over Billy's death, noting that if they'd been back in NYC he would never have been left alone like that. The second half of the book sees Barbara Kane take on Arthur's story to its conclusion in 2004.

The book is written in a truly Arthur-esque way (if you've seen New York Doll then you will have no trouble imagining Arthur speaking what's on the page), comparable in that respect to Julian Cope's Head On/Repossessed and Tommy Lee's contributions in The Dirt. Unlikely to win any literary awards, it's refreshing that, bar a number of corrections by the editor at the end of the book (itself not exhaustive), the publishers appear to have remained faithful to the manuscript.

Any casual fan reading this book would be left thinking that Johnny Thunders was the band's singer right up until the early Mercer Street Arts Center shows. Such is Arthur's disdain for David Johansen he doesn't even mention when he joined the band and it's only on page 60 when Arthur refers to their 'singer' (and a couple more pages before he's mentioned by name). Johansen though gets off lightly compared to the Leber/Krebs management team, but the three of them are very much held responsible for the failure of the Dolls and Arthur's subsequent descent into a life of a struggling musician, as detailed in wife Barbara's section of the book that picks up where Arthur's writing ended.

As in the New York Doll documentary, Barbara Kane's tale revolves on her 'unique' life as a 'rock star's wife without any money' and reveals that within the genteel man that most would have seen Arthur had a temper that would come to the fore when drunk. This was seemingly also driven at least in part by his refusal to accept that the Dolls were over completely, coupled with his frustration at seeing nemesis David Johansen carve out a career in both music and film. Indeed Arthur lays claim to the stage name Buster Poindexter, and quotes that Johansen's own ex-wife has observed that the 'singer' took various ideas and lyrics from Arthur and passed them off as his own.

On balance, a good book which although lacking somewhat in detail (his later devotion to the Church Of The Latter Day Saints may have contributed a reluctance to go into some of the more seedier details) the afore-mentioned goodwill and a dearth of other available texts makes this a must-read.

Older posts:
New York Dolls - Royal Festival Hall 18/06/04
Nina Antonia - The New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon
Johnny Thunders - So Alone
The New York Dolls - Cause I Sez So
Motorcycle Boy - Popsicle

Wednesday 11 November 2009

The Hellfire Club and The Royal George

This is mainly for anyone who was in London in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

A common night out would involve The Royal George, and if a Saturday onto The Hellfire Club. I was surprised to stumble on Facebook groups for both, complete with numerous photos (I even clocked myself in one, but have resisted any urge to tag myself ....). Check 'em out - you might even find a few old friends on there!

Older posts: Metro Club To Shut

Tuesday 3 November 2009

I, Doll: Life & Death with the New York Dolls

Thanks to JadeB over on The Slums Off Hollywood for her post on Arthur Kane's book I, Doll: Life & Death with the New York Dolls. I saw this listed on Amazon a few months back but forgot all about it. My copy is in the post now (so who knows when I'll see that) and having recently re-watched the excellent New York Doll I'm already geting quite impatient!

Update: just had a call from home, apparently it's arrived ....!

Sunday 13 September 2009

Def Leppard / Tesla - Bristol Hippodrome 13/09/87

Perhaps not the coolest gig to write about, but then again seeing a band of Def Leppard's stature for £5.50 in a 2,000 capacity venue is something that's going to happen again anytime soon.

Thing is I was more excited at the time in seeing Tesla - I really rated their Mechanical Resonance album. I remember thinking some of the guitar playing on it was phenomenal. This was however just before the release of a certain Appetite For Destruction and the impending shift in my musical tastes. I dare say I'd have a very different opinion now, but on the night Tesla didn't let me down and for me gave Def Leppard a mountain to climb.

This was the first UK leg of the Hysteria tour and, more importantly, the first sighting of Rick Allen since his accident. They could have made this all schmaltzy, but bar a short interlude where Joe Elliot spoke about what happened (with Allen sat on the drum riser) the band simply got on with it. As the album continued to sell and countless singles were released, they returned to the UK six months later and I saw them again - by which time they'd upgraded to Wembley Arena. Poison were supposed to support but pulled out; this was sandwiched between Motley Crue cancelling their UK tour (the infamous 'snow on the roof' excuse) and Cinderella withdrawing from a planned support slot to Judas Priest. I actually avoided buying a ticket for the latter for fear of Cinderella cancelling - a few friends didn't think lightning would strike three times and were rewarded with Bonfire instead. Ho-hum.

Friday 4 September 2009

Kill City Dragons - Monkey Club, Swindon 09/90

Due to the way my ticket was torn in half I can't put a definite date on this gig, but I'm certain it was August or September 1990. This was during a brief phase when Swindon's Monkey Club became part of the circuit that also included the infamous likes of Bedford Esquires, Dudley JBs and Birmingham Edwards No 8.

The Monkey Club had (or rather didn't have) one thing that the other venues didn't (or indeed, did).

A stage.

Yep, the first line of defence between the band and its audience was the lead singer's microphone stand, a fact that was not lost on guitarist Steve von Saint who told me a couple of years later that they nearly pulled this gig when they arrived and saw that the facilities weren't quite what you'd expect from any self-respecting music venue. Bless him.

I'd seen the Kill City Dragons twice before - once in a double-header at the Marquee with the far-superior Gunfire Dance, and later at the Electric Ballroom, a gig I foolishly left early and in doing so missed a guest appearance from Andy McCoy. By the time this show came round the Dragons had released their variable 'Let 'Em Eat Cake' EP and were perhaps under a little more scrutiny than when they first formed. Opening with what was far and away their strongest song (Fastest Way Down), the Dragons quickly showed that they were lacking in depth. It's not that they were a bad band, it was just that they didn't add up to the sum of their notable parts and when McCoy came knocking and took half the band away for the ill-feted Shooting Gallery project it was no great loss. Definitely a case of style over substance, but with a couple of decent tunes thrown in, something many bands fail even to achieve.

Tuesday 1 September 2009

2 Sick Monkeys - Man On The Moon, Cambridge 29/08/09

It's ridiculous to think that I hadn't seen 2 Sick Monkeys before. Not just because I've known both members for over 20 years, or even because I've been in bands with both of them at different times.

No, the main reason this is so ridiculous is that this was their 498th gig.

Feel free to read that again. Their 498th gig.

Yes, heading towards their 500th live performance, 2 Sick Monkeys rolled into Cambridge (and ultimately onto my living room floor) to astound everyone as to how much noise a band can make with just vocals, bass and drums. Pete's on-stage banter has been the stuff of legend so it was great to finally witness it first-hand (he always had something to say when fronting Cut Throat Razor, but he's stepped this up a level).

Check them out over at My Space good people - and maybe you could even go along to their forthcoming 500th gig ....

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Lords of the New Church - Live For Today

You know what? I only found out yesterday that 'Live For Today' was not a Lords original. I have no idea how this managed to pass me by - this is precisely the sort of thing that I'm unhealthily anal about. Seems the song has a bit of history, with the Grass Roots version being the most well-known but it was originally recorded in Italian by The Rokes.

This came up as a friend's group, the Left Step Band, have recorded their take on 'Live For Today', which surprised me as I didn't think they would have come across the Lords song. And as it turned out they hadn't. A live video of the Left Step Band performing 'Live For Today' can be found here. Check it out.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Alexandra Palace 25/08/05

Now check out that ticket - how many of those do you see these days? Since the likes of See Tickets and Ticketmaster cornered the UK market I've found myself in the possession of various scraps of paper that all look much the same.

So for Mr Cave & co to produce a ticket adorned with a photo of the Alexandra Palace and it's stunning surroundings is noteworthy in itself. A true beacon above and between the terraced streets of North London, Alexandra Palace is a fantastic location - but a poor music venue. With a low stage and non-sloping floor, even the tall people in the audience were craning their necks to see anything.

A massive shame, and one that detracted enough from the evening for us to end up leaving early. Not a reflection on the gig itself - Nick Cave has enough presence to transcend the fact that you can barely see him. But also nagging away at me was the knowledge that I had tickets to see the Pixies at the same venue the following week .....

Saturday 22 August 2009

Tim Minchin - Debating Hall, Edinburgh 22/08/05

Glamrock? Well, okay maybe not - but then google the name and you'll see he has a pretty fancy hair-do. And as becomes fairly apparent from his set he is very much a frustrated (failed) rock star.

I saw him back in 2005 largely by chance. With a trip to Edinburgh booked for the festival period and countless shows to consider, I heard on 5Live a small piece about the festival during which Tim Minchin was named as the 'must-see' show. So we booked - after all, the element of surprise is partly what Edinburgh Fringe is all about.

The idea of a piano-based songwriting comedian does not hold much hope - the last example I remember of this was Richard Stilgoe (or 'Richard Still-Going', as referenced by Newman & Baddiel). Not the sort of act you want to follow. But .... Tim Minchin has reclaimed the possibility that you can perform comedy this way and pull it off. In isolation his act suffers a little (I've seen him on TV performing individual songs), but his full show, with the songs punctuated by regular stand-up, delivered in a slightly nervous style, works brilliantly.

'Rock & Roll Nerd', in which he describes how he chose piano over guitar but desperately wanted to be a rock star has virtually become his anthem. He's touring the UK from next week before heading back to Oz for Christmas and to get you in the mood a few excerpts from his show can be downloaded from his website.

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Interview with Ozzie from Gunfire Dance

Just picked up this interview from Sugarbuzz. To be honest it's not the most insightful of interviews but Gunfire Dance features are so few and far between that anything is noteworthy!

From a quick trawl of the Sugarbuzz site I've also found a piece on old friends and ex-bandmates of mine , the 2 Sick Monkeys. Go on, have a read ....

Friday 14 August 2009

"7/10 - as usual"

This was a quote taken from a review in the Guardian of a Teenage Fanclub single some years ago. And a fair point it was too - Teenage Fanclub have a fantastic ability to consistently churn out very good, yet rarely outstanding, records. As such you will rarely see them in any 'best albums of all-time' lists (unless someone's undertaken a 'Best Albums Of All-Time That Sound Rather Like Big Star' poll).

But generally speaking, many albums regarded as 'classic' are hugely flawed and probably don't deserve much more than a 7/10 rating if you break them down and rate them on a track-by-track basis. Take Appetite For Destruction - much of side two (for younger viewers this means the second half of the album) is filler. All the genuinely good - in fact great - songs make their appearances early on (I was never a fan of 'Sweet Child O' Mine').

Likewise the debut album from the other Roses of that era - the Stone Roses. Reissued this week (or rather re-re-re-reissued as their former label, Silvertone, continue to draw as much as they can from this particular well), the Mancs can claim three bona fide classics in 'I Wanna Be Adored', 'I Am The Resurrection' and 'Made Of Stone'. One backwards song and a direct take on 'Scarborough Fair' surely prevent the album from being considered a 10/10, while the remaining tracks all score somewhere in the mid-range. Overall, it's probably another 7/10 - but try telling that to anyone who went to Spike Island and in 2003 the NME declared it the best album of all-time.

There is an ongoing internet poll over on Best Ever Albums. The ever-so predictable top 10 is currently as follows:

1. Radiohead - OK Computer
2. Beatles - Revolver
3. Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon
4. Beatles - Sgt Pepper
5. Beatles - Abbey Road
6. Clash - London Calling
7. Beatles - White Album
8. Led Zeppelin - 4
9. Nirvana - Nevermind
10. Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground & Nico

Now, I have over the years bought every single one of those albums, although many of them were on vinyl - or in some cases even cassette - and have since been sold on or lost and I currently possess only 5 (numbers 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10).

Out of the top 10 I'd probably pick out Dark Side Of The Moon and Nevermind as being the most solid and near-flawless - although I haven't heard the former for the best part of 20 years and am in no rush to play the latter anytime soon either. The album I'm most likely to play out of the 10 is the one bringing up the rear - Velvet Underground & Nico.

Realistically though I'm far more likely to pick out The Umajets, Jason Falkner, Teenage Fanclub or their predecessors, Big Star. Solid 7/10 artists all the way. But would they make into my personal top 10? Unlikely.

For the record The Stone Roses is at number 22 and Appetite For Destruction is at 41. Teenage Fanclub's Grand Prix is at 1,586 and their breakthrough album, Bandwagonesque, is down at 1,881.

Friday 7 August 2009

From Iron Maiden to the Only Ones in just 21 years ...

I still have in my possession tickets for pretty much every major gig I've been to. A few are signed (Tigertailz at the Astoria; Enuff Znuff at the Bristol Bierkeller; Bobby Conn at the Garage) - I do have a tendency to talk to anyone and everyone at gigs, particularly towards the end of the night (can't think why ...).

I seem to have lost a few from the mid-90s (although to be fair I don't think I went to many), and there are numerous gaps where venues didn't issue tickets. So I only have one Redd Kross ticket - for the Marquee - but I can think of at least four other occasions that I went to see them - twice at the Powerhouse, once at the Subterannea (both long-closed London venues) and once at the Fleece & Firkin in Bristol.

Going back through these tickets leads to the inevitable thoughts of 'which was the best gig?'. And as ever there's no easy answer.

Iron Maiden at Oxford Apollo (1986) has potential, but then it was the first proper gig I went to and so immediately scores high. The New York Dolls at the Royal Festival Hall, (2004) Hanoi Rocks at Camden Palace (2002) and the Only Ones at Shepherd's Bush Empire (2007) all benefit from being gigs by bands that I never thought would happen (and some would argue given the line-ups involved technically never did).

Oddly Black Grape at Cardiff University in 1995 is another I have fond memories of - the audience and the band seemed to feed off each other in a way I'd not witnessed before (there could have been a lot of Ecstasy involved though - not on my part I hasten to add). The way Ryder, Bez and co dealt with their power being tripped due to general overheating within the venue - and the need to call in the Fire Brigade before switching it back on -merely added to the night.

So I'll be going back through these gigs over the coming months - I need something to ensure I focus a bit more on this blog! Two months without a proper post really isn't good enough ....

Monday 6 July 2009

Album Art Cover game

The first article that comes up when you click the link is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Random quotations:
The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to make an album cover!

Here's mine, due out in the autumn:

Wednesday 24 June 2009

The top 10 pages on Glamrock Aftershock

A check on the Google Analytics stats for this site over the last three months threw up some notable trends. Naturally I'd expect the homepage to be at the top, and it's not a massive surprise to see bands with the stature of the New York Dolls and the Manic Street Preachers taking positions 2 & 3. I'd like to say that The Rockit Dolls are at number 4 on merit but I know full well that the majority of that page's hits came via a posting on the Swindon Music Forum. Still, I'll take a number 4 placing any day.

Numbers 5 to 8 however are what really caught my eye. None of Gunfire Dance, The Last Of The Teenage Idols, Soho Roses or Uncle Sam are household names. In their time they managed five albums between them (three by Uncle Sam, one each by the Last of the Teenage Idols and Soho Roses) and four singles/EPs (two each by Gunfire Dance and Soho Roses), all of which were on small labels and/or self-financed and all long-deleted.

Over the last couple of years the collected recordings of Soho Roses and Gunfire Dance have been reissued and MySpace has also helped bring their music back into the public arena.

Their high positions will have been helped by the comparatively small pool of sites available to anyone searching for them; but it's heartening to see that people ARE searching. I suspect most of these readers are of a certain age (i.e. roughly the same as me), have warm, possibly rose-tinted, memories of these bands (ditto) and probably feel that their equivalents today don't come close to matching them (double ditto).

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Van Halen feud spills over to 'Guitar Hero'

I never really cared much for Van Halen but this seems a bit petty towards Michael Anthony. Not quite up to the standards of Ozzy and his re-recording of the rhythm section on the 2002 remastered editions of 'Blizzard Of Ozz' and 'Diary of a Madman' but not far off!

Sunday 7 June 2009

Glitzinet - new forum

Anyone who's having trouble accessing the Glitzinet forum needs to go the new board here.

Seems an ex-moderator took it upon themselves to delete the old board ...!

Saturday 6 June 2009

Smashed Gladys - Social Intercourse

Based in New York (but originating in Toronto) and so immediately differentiating themselves from the slew of west coast 'glam' bands, Smashed Gladys released a low-key debut before grabbing the major deal that resulted in Social Intercourse.

Their other key difference (or should that be 'USP'?) was female vocalist Sally Cato - whose take on being a frontwoman in an otherwise all-male band in a largely male industry was to simply be one of the boys.

Her gravelly vocals gave Smashed Gladys an edge, and lyrically you'd be forgiven that this was a band driven solely on testosterone (bookending the album you have the not-difficult-to-decipher opener 'Lick It into Shape', while closer 'Sermonette' talks of being in a band 'to get laid').

Musically Smashed Gladys had a certain amount of bar-room cool, and this easily qualifies as one of the better US releases of the late 80s. On last listen - admittedly a couple of years ago - it hadn't stood the test of time too well (the production in particular ties it to the period), but if you haven't heard this band check out the tunes over on MySpace.

Friday 5 June 2009

So far in 2009 ....

As noted in a previous post, I managed to get to the end of 2008 without any albums released that year troubling my ears. Thanks to a little application on my part I'm pleased to report that almost halfway through 2009 there are already a handful of albums that are making my daily commute more bearable.

As well as the latest releases from the New York Dolls and the Manic Street Preachers, Iggy Pop's french-jazz Preliminaires, the new Eels album, Hombre Lobo, and Jarvis Cocker's Further Complications have all succeeded where every album released in 2008 failed.

At this rate I'm on course for a year-end top 10.

Monday 1 June 2009

The New York Dolls - Cause I Sez So

For those of us frustrated at there only even being two New York Dolls studio albums (the second of which was vastly inferior to the debut), the arrival of the album that doubles the tally, Cause I Sez So, whilst also out-performing 1974's Too Much Too Soon is most welcome.

The title track has been on the net for a few weeks as a taster, and along with 'Muddy Bones' it's immediately clear that the album has at least two songs that would hold their own in a live set. Hopefully that live set wouldn't contain the reggaefied re-recording of 'Trash' that turns up here - an unnecessary revisit. Indeed it seems that whenever the modern-day Dolls look back they falter; 'Rainbow Store' on 2007's One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This was reminscent of 'Great Big Kiss' (as featured in the Dolls repertoire back in the 1970s and later recorded by Johnny Thunders on the excellent So Alone) but was little more than a throwaway number.

Having failed to catch the New York Dolls live since the Royal Festival Hall shows in 2004, I think seeing them again is this year's priority. Not sure that the Lovebox festival is the way to go, so will be banking on a few dates being added in the week after before they head off to France ...

New York Dolls tour dates

See also:
New York Dolls - Royal Festival Hall 18/06/04
Nina Antonia - The New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon
Johnny Thunders - So Alone
Motorcycle Boy - Popsicle

Friday 29 May 2009

Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers

'The album of 2009' (Independent - 5 stars)
'A phenomenal rock record' (Q - 5 stars)
'An outstanding album' (NME, 8/10)

All fair comments? Along with the inevitable comparions with 1994's The Holy Bible, reviewers have been falling over themselves to praise the new Manic Street Preachers album, Journal for Plague Lovers. Using lyrics left behind by Richey Edwards this was always going to be an emotional release (no more apparent than on the album's closer William's Last Words, sung by Richey's close friend Nicky Wire and with lyrics that are laregly assumed to be a suicide note).

It is the first Manics album that I've been interested in since being left disappointed by Everything Must Go. There have been a few sparks since then (The Masses Against The Classes in particular; even the style and choice of its b-sides - one acoustic, one cover - were a throwback to the early Manics singles) but nothing that has been sustained. One meat & potatoes album followed another.

And in truth, this is a genuinely good album. Yes, it's familiar in places. Yes, some of the vocal melodies struggle to wrap comfortably around the vast lyrics James Dean Bradfield is trying to get out. And yes, it is their best album since The Holy Bible (a task made so much easier by the standards of their output since 1994). But it's also a prime contender for the best album of the year - watch those year-end polls with interest.

See also:
Richey Edwards
Generation Terrorists

Monday 13 April 2009

Likely interruption to service!

Due to the arrival of one Martha May a few days ago it's fair to say that my time spent online will be somewhat restricted in the short-term!

Still, check back when you can, and there's always The Big Takeover, Green Man Music and the various other sites listed on the left to keep you going in the meantime ....

Sunday 12 April 2009

Wednesday 8 April 2009

The Rockit Dolls - Link Centre, 08/04/89

Well, it is my blog after all ... and if anyone else wants me to shamelessly mention their band (past or present) do let me know and we'll see if we can come to some kind of arrangement.

Still, seeing as today is the 20th anniversary of the first gig (20 years!!!) there is at least some point to this posting. So please allow me to set the scene.

It's a gig that shouldn't really have happened, for as of mid-March 1989 we

a) didn't have a drummer and
b) only had two songs.

Our hand was forced after attending a Swindon Rock Front meeting - now, don't get carried away thinking this was some alternative underground movement. Swindon Rock Front was a council-led initiative that put on gigs at the Link Centre as well as a series of outdoor shows through the summer at the Town Gardens park. Compared to the other four attendees we were the youngest by some distance. We only went along hoping to find a drummer, left our details and a few days later got a call from a band that had a gig coming up and, seeing our name and twigging what sort of band we probably were, offered us the support.

Despite the two minor drawbacks above we accepted. And I would recommend any band that needs a kick up the backside to do the same - nothing focuses the mind more than knowing you've got a gig in three weeks' time.

So stage 1 - find a drummer. Easy. Off we went to local punk heroes Cut Throat Razor. Top blokes one and all, and drummer Freddie stepped into the void on loan.

Stage 2 - write some songs. Not so easy. The only two we had were 'Teenage Dream' (predictable 12-bar with lyrics stolen from the first D'Molls album) and 'The Elvis Rug', a 40 second paean to, well, a rather grotesque Elvis Presley rug that had been hanging unsold for years at Swindon's Brunel Market until one day - it was gone. There were a couple of covers we'd been playing while drummerless ('Blitzkrieg Bop' and 'Anarchy In The UK' - we were nothing if not predictable) and so that was half the set sorted.

The rest was cobbled together over three rehearsals. In some cases they were barely songs but a collection of randomly assembled riffs that the singer, Mark, tried to make sense of lyrically, desperately searching for the bit that could best be considered 'the chorus'. Funnily enough the song most considered our 'hit', 'Chained To Your Love', for which I have to take sole responsibility for its terrible lyrics regarding a visit to a prostitute but which actually featured something resembling a proper song structure, was - rightly - dismissed as excruciating when we reformed for a couple of gigs in the mid-90s. Bassist Billy weighed in with one of his, and somehow we found ourselves with the required 30 minutes worth of material.

Fast-forward to the gig itself ... due to an accidental double-printing of tickets the 200 capacity venue had about 300 people in it (we'd sold over 100 on our own). No pressure there then. We went on stage at about 8.20pm, opened with a brief snippet of the 'Batman' theme, and then into 'Blitzkrieg Bop' (also played by LA Roses later on). The first Rockit Dolls original was 'Fatherly Type', a song all about never wanting to have kids. As I type this I'm awaiting the arrival of my second child, and there are three other baby Dolls fathered by my fellow band members - so we might have gone back on that one.

Mark suffered a microphone problem during 'Chained To Your Love' (not that anyone missed much as the second verse was merely the first one repeated), I cocked up the solo to 'Teenage Dream' but other than that we pulled it off - having not bothered leaving the stage we assumed an encore (a repeat play of 'Anarchy In The UK' - the second of three airings as the other support, The Fred Dineage Experience, also played it - I did say these weren't original covers). A live video exists of this, and when Mark says 'Shall we do 'Anarchy' again?' a voice close to the camera is heard to say 'Why not - Dreamtime did it'. We have no idea what this means.

After the gig I signed two autographs. I have never been asked to do so since and so it could be inferred that this was the peak of my musical career.

But hey, there's still time to change that - isn't there?

Tuesday 7 April 2009

The true 'Chinese Democracy'?

Some of my three year old's books come with CDs with a read-a-long version of the story in question. I was just backing some of these up (as they tend to get thrown around quite a bit) and much to my amusement the CDDB music match program identified Green Light for the Little Red Trainas 'Chinese Democracy'.

Anything you want to tell us Axl?

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

I was wrong, okay? There, I've said it and it's out in the open. It was 1990, The Good Son had been released and I couldn't stand it. My colleagues at Our Price however were big fans of Mr Cave and it seemed to be on constantly in the shop (looking back it probably got played twice at the most).

That same year I had what I then considered the misfortune to see him at Reading Festival. We only went along to see Jane's Addiction; one of our party lost his ticket inbetween the first gate and the main entrance, went back and bought another and only then found out that Perry and the boys had cancelled (their replacement on the bill? Gary Clail and the On-U Sound System. I mean, I ask you ...).

The initial turning point was Murder Ballads, but it was on seeing Nick Cave performing on various TV shows on the release of Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus that the full volte face was performed. I even went to see him live (but then again it only meant going as far as Alexandra Palace, approximately 20 minutes walk fromw here I lived at the time).

This morning the excellent Cannibal's Hymn popped up on my MP3 player just as I was arriving at work (after a journey made to the backing track of Art Bergmann - more on him another time) and the urge to confess was too great to ignore.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Dogs D'Amour - Bierkeller 13/03/89

Damn, should have posted this last week, for it was 20 years (and a few days) ago that I first saw the Dogs D'Amour down at regular stamping ground the Bristol Bierkeller.

Memory suggests that this gig was on the same day that the mini-acoustic album A Graveyard of Empty Bottles was released. In real terms this was when the band were at their peak, just before they took to releasing hastily-assembled albums every other week (or so it seemed) and with the classic line-up firmly in place, before Ginger or Andy McCoy whisked anyone away.

It was around this time that I took to frequently calling the Dogs D'Amour's management - after all, they'd put their contact number on their record sleeves - usually testing the water to see if they used local bands for supports. And very polite and friendly they were too as they rejected my overtures. In recent years I've found that another friend - that I hadn't met back in '89 - used to do the same thing.

Move forward to 1998 and quite by chance I finally got the gig - supporting Tyla at an acoustic show at the Water Rats in Kings Cross. Thing is, I wasn't looking forward to it having seen him two years earlier Upstairs At The Garage - a dreadful gig, where he was simply going through the motions while flagged by two bouncers (their presence may have been for more sinister reasons), barely acknowledging the audience and ignoring any requests for the 'hits'. The intervening years had obviously been kind to him though - he gladly played whatever anyone wanted to hear, cracked jokes inbetween songs and ensured we all went home happy.

A few weeks later we supported Spike at the same venue - where were these gigs when I needed them ten years earlier?!!

Wednesday 18 March 2009

The New York Dolls - Cause I Sez So

A release date has been set for Cause I Sez So, the forthcoming New York Dolls album - May 4th in the UK, the following day in the US.

As well as re-uniting with Todd Rundgren the band have re-recorded 'Trash'.

Watch this space ....

See also:
New York Dolls - Royal Festival Hall 18/06/04
Nina Antonia - The New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon
Johnny Thunders - So Alone
Motorcycle Boy - Popsicle

Sunday 15 March 2009

Royal Court of China - Geared And Primed

This blog has been a good excuse to go through my collection and see what's been gathering dust. The Royal Court of China were mentioned in the thread on the Swindon music forum that emerged from this blog and so I found myself in the loft rummaging through boxes of tapes to see if I still had anything by them.

I was first exposed to the Royal Court Of China were some older guy brought their Geared & Primed album up to the counter in the record shop I worked in and asked to listen to it 'on the cans'. I dismissed the guy as thinking he was much cooler than he really was, that he should immediately stop using words like 'cans' and that he had no idea what this band was about.

He proceeded to buy it, making comparisons to Georgia Satellites. My opinion shifted slightly and he started to become more credible. He then said he wanted to buy the Simpsons album and those gains were lost. Until ... 'Because my old mate Davey Jo's on it' he said. Eh? Surely he doesn't mean? And he did. And the worst thing is I can't for the life of me remember how/why he knew David Johansen (who under his Buster Poindexter alter-ego duets with Bart on Chuck Berry's School Days).

I haven't got round to playing the tape yet (limited access to a tape deck doesn't help), but if a friend of David Johansen rates it and says it sounds like the Georgia Satellites then what more do you need to know?

Thursday 12 March 2009

Suicide Twins - Silver Missiles and Nightingales

One of the best post-Hanoi releases (or now I guess 'in-between Hanoi' releases) and easily the most distinct from Hanoi Rocks itself, Silver Missiles & Nightingales is the excellent 1986 collaboration between Nasty Suicide and Andy McCoy. Recorded around the same time that the pair were in the Cherry Bombz (some material was used in both bands)

I remember reading somewhere (I think it was on Glitzinet) a suggestion that this album was directly influenced by the Jacobites; to my mind the Gary Holton & Casino Steel albums are a more likely source of inspiration (but then acoustic albums by traditionally electric-based artists are hardly that rare - I mean, couldn't it be argued that all or any of McCoy, Suicide, Holton, Steel, Sudden and Kusworth were indirectly responsible for the MTV Unplugged format?).

The joyous Sweet Pretending is perhaps the album's highlight, but there are stunning moments to found in quieter numbers such as Heaven Made You and The Best Is Yet To Come. Far superior to Jerusalem Slim or Shooting Gallery (and for once Devil Callin' wasn't dragged into the studio kicking and screaming, although it's possible it hadn't been written yet).

I'm not sure why this album is now so expensive online - even on Ebay it's selling for double figures, less than two years since I spent approximately £2 there on a brand new, sealed CD replacement for my well-worn vinyl copy. Yet another one for the reissue list ...

See also:
Hanoi Rocks - Bristol Bierkeller 17/11/02
Hanoi Rocks - The Nottingham Tapes
Hanoi Rocks to split
Sloppy seconds and filthy thirds

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Your must have, ultra-essential glam release ...

Nice little thread over on Glitzinet - name "the album, whatever, that you feel is an essential MUST HAVE of the genre ... that one release that we all feel is the "must have", the CD that when you go into somebodies house who claims to be into the style, if they don't have it, you almost faint."

"Easy" you might say .... but then think again. As there had already been a few answers I had a brief inclination to say something different. I toyed with Appetite For Destruction, as that was the album that kick-started things for me and moved me away from Metallica and Anthrax, but as good as it is it's not THE album. Too many flaws, particularly much of side two.

Soho Roses nearly got a look in for 'The Third And Final Insult', the album that my band at the time attempted to imitate (and almost got there in that we apparently sounded like the Buzzcocks). Then there's the Hollywood Brats - I can still remember my excitement when I first got that LP home and on my turntable.

But in the end it came down to the debut album by The New York Dolls. It wins almost by virtue of the opening chord and cymbal crash on Personality Crisis alone.

Voice your comments and nominations here.