Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend at Bernie's

As far as mainstream music writers go, Bernard Zuel of the the Sydney Morning Herald writes stuff that's neither here nor there on the I-94 Bar radar screen. Much of the time it's the latest British indie pop thing, and he has a leaning to innocuous country music. What really stands out, however, is Bernie's predilection for reviewing good looking female recording artists he'd like to, er, put on high-rotation.

The latest is "rootsy" (term used under advisement) American singer-songwriter Jess Klein (who doesn't even have an album out in Australia.) Bernie's weekend review wasn't available for online perusal, but you can see some of his finest work regarding Perth blues-rocker Abbe May here. Slip it in, indeed!

Now, Abbe's record doesn't fluff around when it talks about sex - in fact that's all it talks about - but you can see there's a long-term fixation on Bernie's part. You can't help but that think if Abbe ever wants a room, Bernie's going to be reaching for his credit card. Zuel rhymes with...?

There's nothing wrong with linking music to sex. Rock and Roll is essentially all about sex and death, but some of Bernie's more florid writings read more like a personal ad on a bad online dating site, or billboard copy for the clinics selling erectile dysfunction cures. Here's a modest sample:

When May sings, she pins you back and holds you up like some giant dangling a floppy doll: helpless and happy to be so. When she curls around a hard-nosed lyric she sends a charge through you like that first powerful crush you had on an impossible target: bring the pain, please.

Enough pain already, Bernie! And we know this line could be directed in our general direction (if Bernie cared)...

All those boys, and boy critics, in thrall to blokey "hard" bands repeating on history and themselves like some all-in burping competition would do well to shut up and see the truth. Abbe May has those bands for breakfast.

Lest you dismiss this post as a cheap shot, be aware that we're not the first people to notice. A couple of labels around town have noted that it's a waste of time sending most promotional material to BZ unless the act in question is good looking and female. Further afield, there's at least one PhD paper in the offing that references Bernard Zuel's drool.

So in honour ofT Great Man, I'm kicking off ZuelWatch, an occasional and fun space for referencing any Bernie-isms and making sure he gets a date. Even if he is married. Post comments in the usual place or email scans of past indiscretions or goss to

Friday, November 27, 2009

London Calls Again

There's yet another legacy edition of "London Calling" coming, if it's not here already. Online magazine Quietus says something very perceptive about it:

However, the problem with London Calling is in its inconsistencies and incoherence. For what is seen as a "brave" album in the context of its time, there is little that links each track to the other in form and fluidity. The shuffling rigmarole of Vince Taylor's 'Brand New Cadillac', and the crapulous slur and turgid bass-walk of 'Jimmy Jazz', are only to be saved by the Bo Didley-like 'Hateful' at the start. It's the aural equivalent of a trifle: somewhat confused as to what it is, ingredients and influences have been thrown into a bowl with a lack of care and clarity, but a whole lot of enthusiasm that tries to cater for every taste.

"London Calling" is a sweeping, sometimes dated and occasionally ham-fisted attempt to say something to everyone. That's a strength and a flaw. I wonder if the Clash would have been given enough rope (sorry) to make an album like it in this era. They tried again with "Sandanista" and that time were found wanting.

There was something very exciting about hearing it at the time and even cultural rent boy Molly Meldrum's gibbering endorsement on Countdown (admit it - you watched it) couldn't spoil it entirely.

More of that review here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Robert Quine's Tube Screamer (Revisited)

Sold on eBay for 41 US bucks. Just in case you were dying wondering.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Robert Quine's Tube Screamer

Someone is selling it on eBay here if it's not gone by the time you read this. Who wouldn't want to own a pedal owned by the guitarist responsible for some of the most beautifully noxious sounds committed to tape? Gracias to Steve Gregory for the head-up.

Xmas comes early...and it's Hard To Beat

In the shape of Santa suit-wearing Stooges cover band The Scrooges:

Friday, November 20, 2009

So great an idea they should bottle it. Oh, wait...

The idea of cross promoting wines through association with famous bands is a clever one that US company Wines That Rock have launched. No word on whether the beverage inside the bottle matches the bullshit but we can anticipate that with a retail price of about $20 in Aussie money, the stuff would be passable.

Pink Floyd and their mainstream multi-million dollar earner "Dark Side Of The Moon" has been chosen as the first band to be matched with a wine, in this case a 2006 Cab Sav. There are more varietals coming, including Rolling Stones and Woodstock dedications.

There are some endless possibilities here and it shouldn't end with a piss up over a glass or three of Pink Floyd plonk. How about a line of Iggy-branded Passion Pop? Surely Shane MacGowan deserves a range of not-too-delicate-on-the-palate gut rot that you could brush your teeth in? The magnificent Jet could have their own varietal that tastes like cheap versions of everything else, but is ultimately low-alcohol and thoroughly unsatisfying.

Revival a night no-one with half a brain should miss

Just 10 bucks to see this line-up? You'd have to be mad to pass it up if in the area. Online tix have just gone on sale here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Klondike cuts loose

Nick Cave, Wolfmother and young bands who pose but can't play get the treatment from Aussie music Hall of Famer Chris Klondike Masuak (Hitmen, Radio Birdman, KN40, the New Christs, the Screaming Tribesmen et al) at music website Mess & Noise here. Nice one Blockster!

It's not too late

But it might be soon. The Hitmen shows at the Sando (with all new band room) this weekend are looking like sell-outs. You can score tix online here.

Main support both nights are Decline Of The Reptiles who have a new album in the can. The fantastic Snoozefests open Friday and vets Young Docteurs do the honours on Saturday.

Do you call this a Velvet Underground reunion?

Probably not but the NY Public Library's description is as vague as all get-out in regards to what they're doing. David Fricke from Rolling Stone is on the bill so it's probably a Q & A session. Reed, Yule and Tucker doesn't have the same ring to it as the Velvet Underground.

Sterling Morrison has an excuse but where's John Cale? Something tells me he may not have been invited - or wouldn't have turned up, given the presence of one other party.

Props to Stupefation for the heads-up.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wanda is Jack's Fujiyama Grandmama

Rockabilly queen and ex-Elvis squeeze Wanda Jackson teaming with producer Jack White? There have been stranger combos. Initially, it's for a digital single, so both are probably giving things a try before they buy. More about this here.

There are still people kicking around "what if" regarding White's failure to get the Stooges production job for what was "The Weirdness". Speculation of course, but who's going to help the reformed-again band cut an album this time out? James and Ig seem keen to do something.

(There! I knew I could turn a rockabilly post into a Stooges one.)

Syl Sylvain, David Jo back on solo trail

They haven't abandoned the NY Dolls who are about to tour the UK, but both principal members will be doing their own thing as well. For Johanasen that means a one-off show in the US and for Sylvain it's work in his home studio. There's an expansive interview with Syl here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mike Watt correction

I mis-labelled Watt's bass in a recent post about him honouring fallen Stooge Ron Asheton by applying the guitarist's photo to his instrument (aka the Thud Stick.) Herewith a message from the Man:


you are very kind, thank you.

I have to tell you though that bass in the picture is a gibson! sorry.
I use a 1965 gibson eb-0 w/the stooges. I removed the original pickup
and added two rio grande pit bull pickups to replace it.

big respect to ron asheton.

thank you again.

on bass, watt

Rarities from the vault: Sonic's Rendezvous Band and Scott Morgan Band

The audio is from a Sonic's Rendezvous Band show from 1978, recently unearthed by Michigan multimedia producer Ed Primeau and left with him for safekeeping. The montage was done by one of Ed's employees.

And here's a Scott Morgan Band/Scots Pirates promotional clip Ed dug up:

That second one would be rarer than a piss-up around a TV set in an Amish elder's lounge room, I'd reckon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mike Watt remembers

The Stooges bassist honours fallen brother Ron Asheton every time he takes his Gibson bass on stage. You can hear him interview bandmate James Williamson here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Something Wild - Scott Morgan Band (1983)

That's Scott Morgan singing, his fellow former Sonic's Rendezvous Band member Gary Rasmussen on bass and then ex-Stooge Scott Asheton behind the kit. Video posted yesterday by producer/engineer Ed Primeau. Blues guy Mike Katon is the talented guitarist.

Free King Khan (and BBQ)!!!

Canadian trash garage-soul genius King Khan is due in Australia next month to play the Falls Festival and a handful of dates but the news that he and partner-in-grime BBQ have been arrested on tour in the US and charged with drug possession is one bit of info right out the box. Thanks to Kopper from for the heads-up and guess you won't be seeing the pair Waddlin' Around in St Louis this weekend.

I guess that King Khan will be out of stir and a semi free man by the time the Aussie shows roll around but since he is dark-complexioned, is fond of women's wigs and was in a lock-up in a place called Christian County, Kentucky, we can't be 100 percent sure. A frequently updated blog on the subject is here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Original Rock Chick? I think so

It's amazing to think that Ronnie Spector's formidable album "Last of The Rock Stars" is finally getting a US release after 12 years. Laughing Outlaw released it in Australia earlier this decade and it's also been available in Europe. It made the Barman's Top Ten in 2006 and you can read the review here.

Joey Ramone, Keith Richards and members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Ravonettes guested and although there's been some obvious radio sheen applied, it's one great record.

Ronnie has been dubbed "the original rock chick" by more than one writer and here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Neil

He's 64-years-Young today.

Neil's latest in the series of archival albums is called "Dreamin' Man Live '92" and is out on December 8. It's a live take on the "Harvest Moon" album in intimate mode, just before the album's release.

This shapes as Pleasant But Not Compelling, in my view. Where's the Ditch Trilogy outtakes, the stuff that was too edgy for "Tonight's The Night", for example? The "Time Fades Away" that was too Tequila-fucked to consider unleashing? C'mon Neil. Get THAT stuff out there and stop teasing.

Patti, Lou and Andy make NYC list but where are the Ramones?

The Museum of the City of New York has named Patti Smith, Lou Reed and Andy Warhol on a list of the Big Apple's Top 400 Most Important People but not one Ramone made the cut.

Great musical figures like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane made it, as well as Sean "Diddy" Coombs. Hang on a second...

It just goes to show that lists really do suck.

Road To Russia on two wheels

The Ramones become a bike. The branding link is dubious to say the least.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hall of Blame

Time to shut the R 'n' R Hall of Lame? So says the LA Times.

I'd rather see Rolling Stone publisher Jan Wenner shut down if the insider's claim is true that the publisher of that heap of fashion-obsessed tripe has the sort of influence on the voting process that extended to Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five getting the nod over the admittedly harmless Dave Clark Five.

Yeah, shut the fucker. I'm not planning on going there soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pretty good summation, I'd say

Former Sounds writer and NY Dolls biographer Kris Needs on "The Stooges" LP.

Pixies for nixies

Nirvana were the global break-out act of the early '90s but The Pixies (frontman Frank Black pictured) were the soundtrack of any inner-city or suburban hipster party in the closely-preceeding late '80s. Certainly that was the case in Sydney.

Personally, I wasn't fussed about or fascinated with them, either way. I owned "Dolittle", which was flogged to death on the (then listenable) 2JJJ, the youth-orientated Aussie broadcaster whose reach hadn't yet extended nationally and thus wasn't as homogenised as it is today. The Pixies were an OK listen, mainly because their guitars bristled. They were way preferable to A Flock Of Sausages, Pseudo (as in "Fraud") Echo and all those crappy Euro-synth bands, but I had my head in another musical space.

The point is that the reformed Pixies have a world tour happening, as well as a nearly sold-out run through Australia, and that'll take all those once-upon-a-time hispter kids back to their yewf and have everyone asking whether they really had a haircut like that back in the '80s. You'll also get to download each gig, or walk away from a show with a copy on a USB stick.

More immediately, there's a free download of a Paris concert here and everyone likes shit that is free, don't they? Tell me if it's any good.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Mummies seek mummification after Japanese sojourn

Garage garbage gods The Mummies played a one-off show in Japan recently. Expat American and champion of US West Coast-via-Michigan band The Dogs and American expat, Detroit Jack, explains their plans which include going to Cairo to buy coffins here.

Ironic or what?

This is great. Brittany Spears is slammed by the Australian media for lip-synching on her Oz tour (tickets for which are as pricey as $1500) - and she replies through a mouthpiece. Have a giggle here.

Stooges Go Nuts in Brazil

Here's the set list for the return of the Raw Power Stooges at the Terra Festival in Brazil:

Raw Power
Kill City
Search & Destroy
Gimme Danger
Fun House
Skull Ring
I Got A Right
I Wanna Be Your Dog
Five Foot One
The Passenger
Death Trip
Lust For Life

James Williamson was, of course, back on guitar and Steve Mackay remains in the line-up. From the lo-fi bit I'm hearing, "The Passenger" was a sax-enhanced re-working.

Thanks to Cathy Benson-Burke, first with the news, as usual.

STOP PRESS: Here's some YouTube taken from the broadcast. Sounds great and I can't wait to watch the whole thing but a second guitar would make James' job a lot easier:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Rock and Roll's Turin Shroud

You know what it is and who originally wore it. Long John Gone owns it these days. Read all about it here.

The "Raw Power" Stooges are about to play a festival in Brazil as i type. More on that event as news comes to hand.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I-94 Bar Top Tens

It's that time of the year again. The Top Tens are starting to roll in. Klondike Masuak is first cab off the rank here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The War Against The Jive

Props to Peter Ross.

Killer Kane doesn't write a thriller

I've been hanging off grabbing Arthur Kane's posthumously-published autobiography. Maybe this confirms I was right not to take the plunge. Musicians often make lousy writers (Nick Cave - are you there?) and I'm not sure there was time to get a ghost writer ion board, given that Killer passed away weeks after there-born Dolls became a big deal.

Monday, November 02, 2009

That's the way the cookie doesn't crumble

Ex-D.O.A. drummer Chuck Biscuits is alive and his mates are angry. Read the comments here. You never heard friends of Paul complain about this, back in the pre-Internet days. Here's a sample quote form the drama:

“The only reason I put any stock in the Internet rumours was because [James Greene, Jr.] used Chucks wife’s name [in private e-mails],” Bob wrote after his visit to Chuck’s house. “Otherwise, I would have filed it under the African ruler looking for money to enlarge his penis file. I am really curious as to who’s been sending [him] this info.”

It's all too Spinal Tap for me.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Another groupie book

An ex-employee/groupie spills the beans on the Beatles and says they used to take drugs. Wow, there's some news. Does the book come in mono and stereo versions?