Monday, July 30, 2007
Hater formed in the early nineties. It started out as a side project by Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd, and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. In this band, Shepherd would play guitar and write the majority of the material, Cameron would play drums, Alan Davis would play bass, and John McBain (Monster Magnet) would play guitar as well. The Band also had Brian Wood (brother of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew wood) on vocal duties as well, but Shepherd would sing as well as Cameron on one track on the bands first album.
Hater was released in 1993. The album would contain ten tracks which sounded like a blend of 60's garage and psychedelic Rock as well as the band The Stooges. "Mona Bone Jakon" the song that starts the album is a cover of a Cat Stevens song. "Circles", and "Down Undershoe" prove to be original Shepherd compositions that would come through in his other band Soundgarden, on the songs he contributed to the group. Other interesting tracks include "Tot Finder", "Lion and Lamb",and "Sad McBain". Many thought that this would be the only release by the band, but it was not. Hater also would have one song on the compilation, Hempilation in 1995. They would contributed a song written by Shepherd titled "Convicted", a 70 second song.
Two years later in 1995 when Soundgarden was on a break, Shepherd along with Cameron would record what would become demos for Haters follow up album. The album which was mostly comprised of demos would not see release for some time due to the fact that Shepherd was not happy with the way it sounded. It would take until 2005, ten years later until the album saw official release; The album would be called The 2nd. Also, from these sessions during Soundgarden's down time, songs for the bands final release Down on the Upside would be reworked. "Dusty" and "An Unkind" songs on Down on the Upside were recorded during these sessions, but are not included on the release. The 2nd is an album that stands up to Hater's first self-titled release. The same 60's garagey and Stooge-ish sounds are here, it is not a clone of the first album. Songs such as "Zombie Hand" a jagged jam, and "Wish On" are great tracks. The album is an interesting listen, as is the first from the band. The band has played various live shows in 2005 Shepherd toured with Hater, but with different band members.
Cameron and Shepherd along with McBain formed the band Wellwater Conspiracy as well around the same time as Hater. The band has a similar 60s rock and psychedelic sound as Hater did. The band has released four albums (Shepherd was in the band from 1993-1997, it then became Cameron and McBain's side project). Matt Cameron currently plays drums with Pearl Jam, he has been a member since 1999. Ben Shepherd was said to be in a new band Unkmongoni in 2005, but no one has heard anything since then about the band, and most likely will hear no more. For more info on Ben Shepherd visit his unofficial homepage.
1. The Strokes – meet me in the bathroom
2. The Boys – turning grey
3. White Stripes – stop breaking down
4. Hater – circles
5. Hater – wish on
6. Soundgarden – kickstand
7. Mudhoney – baby can you dig the light
8. Black Sabbath - lord of this world
9. Tricky Woo – wholesale
10. Smugglers – bad guys
11. Cities in Dust – emergency
12. Young Knives – here comes the rumour mill
13. The Rapture – pieces of the people that we love
14. Arctic Monkeys – plastic tramp
15. XTC – making plans for Nigel
16. Sex Pistols – seventeen (outtake)
17. The D4 – john rock
18. Ride Theory – I’m on board
19. Marble Index – we always complain
20. The Jam – town called malice
21. Dead 60s – stand up
22. Sloan – blackout
23. Sloan – people think they know me
24. The Hives - The Hives - introduce the metric system in time
25. Exploding Hearts – black & blue (alt mix)
26. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – get down Moses
Circles + Interview (2005)
Otis & Mike (Live 2005)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Undertones formed in Derry (in Northern Ireland) in 1975. The bands influence would come from bands such as Ramones, The Stooges, MC5, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, and the like. Influence would also come from 60s Garage Rock bands. The band would have five members, John and Damian O'Neil (both guitarists), Michael Bradley (bass), Billy Doherty (drums), and Feargal Sharkey (vocals). The band would play at clubs in Derry blasting out their form of punk and pop, usually at a place called The Casbah. Upon hearing their demo tape in 1976, Terry Hooley (a record shop owner) signed the band to Good Vibrations Records, which was his label. Teenage Kicks EP would come out in 1978, and it would contain four tracks, "Teenage Kicks", "Smarter Than You", "True Confessions", and "Emergency Cases".
"Teenage Kicks" the song was a fast, loud energetic song that starts off with Billy Doherty hitting the drums three times, then the buzzing guitars coming in. The song was also unique due to Feargal Sharkey's singing style, which was very high. Upon hearing this track John Peel a DJ for BBC radio immediately declared how much he liked the song, saying it was his all time favourite and even playing it twice in a row on his program. This publicity caused the band to get a record deal with Sire Records. Undertones, would come out in 1979. The album would be an excellent debut for the Derry band, it would originally feature 16 tracks, all simple, loud, and full of Rock and Roll energy. "I Gotta Getta", "Get Over You","Jimmy Jimmy", and "Listening In" all are perfect examples of the bands unique blend of Pop and Punk that sounds like a mix between Ramones, The Clash, and Buzzcocks. The band would then support the Clash on their American tour in 1979.
1980, saw the release of Hypnotised. The album would be similar to their debut, but it would also expand on their previous sound. The first song "More Songs About Chocolate and Girls" was a song taking a hit at the band Talking Heads (they had an album called More Songs About Building and Food). Still the album contains many great moments as did the bands debut. "There Goes Norman" features climbing guitar riffs from the O'Neil brothers, "Hypnotised" is a fast paced song with angry, impatient filled lyrics from Sharkey, and "My Perfect Cousin" (a single from the album) was a sarcastic clever song. "Wednesday Week" was a mellow acoustic song sounding influenced by 60s pop, and was also the second single from Hypnotised. It went to # 11 on the UK Charts ("My Perfect Cousin" went to # 9). The band would then go to EMI Records.
In 1981 the bands third album, Positive Touch was released. This album went in a different direction, the album would feature horn sections, and piano. "Julie Ocean" is a good example of their new direction. Some of the bands old pop and punk mix cracks through on songs such as "It's Going to Happen" (which also features a horn section and is about situations in Derry), "Positive Touch" is a definite song that sounds close to the bands earlier sound, but the band was drawing in different influences at this point such as soul music. Sin of Pride would be the bands final release with its original line up. Coming out in 1983, Sin of Pride was more of a change that Positive Touch. The album experimented with 60's psychedelic music, soul, and Motown. The album would feature two cover songs "Got To Have You Back" (Leon Ware) and "Save Me" (Smokey Robinson). The bands change and experimentation was evident on tracks such as "Conscious", "Untouchable", "Love Parade", and "The Sin of Pride". The band would split up in 1983 after touring for a bit due to disagreements about the musical direction of the band.
After the split the band went their separate ways. Feargal Sharkey went on to pursue a solo career. His career was brief. He would realease two solo albums and have a number one single with the song "A Good Heart". The O'Neil brothers would go on to form the politically charged band The Petrol Emotion, that would last until 1994. In 1989 a collection of Undertones BBC sessions were compiled onto a CD titled Listening In. The bands albums would also be re-released and remastered in CD form in the early 2000's, all containing bonus tracks. The band would attempt to reunite with Sharkey in 1999, but he did not want any part in a reunion. The band got Paul McLoone to take over on vocals and even recorded a new Undertones album titled Get What You Need in 2003. In 2001, a documentary titled Teenage Kicks was also released pertaining to the bands history. The band released Dig Yourself Deep in October of 2007. The album, which failed to chart featured fourteen tracks including the song, "Here Comes the Rain" which they have been playing live since 2005. In September of 2008, Undertones released An Anthology featuring one disc of studio tracks, and one disc of unreleased material. More information about the anthology can be found here.
Undertones were a little group coming out of Derry, at the time of the punk explosion in the late 70s. Undertones a great, but underrated band, they blended pop and punk which would get them recognition that still emanates today. For more information about the band visit their official website or undertones.net.
1. The Nerves – hanging on the telephone
2. Sex Pistols – new york
3. The Jam – a bomb in wardour street
4. Count Five – psychotic reaction
5. Standells – riot on sunset strip
6. Velvet Underground – head held high (alt mix)
7. Ugly Ducklings – hey mama
8. Demics – the grey and the black
9. 49th Parallel - citizen freak
10. The Stooges – loose
11. Neon Boys – love comes in spurts
12. Fun Things – when the birdmen fly
13. Cosmetics – guilt
14. K-Tels – where are you?
15. Gruesomes – ain’t got nothing
16. Spys – machine shop
17. Sturgeons – forward disorder
18. Buzzcocks – friends of mine
19. The Saints – one way street
20. Johnny Thunders – dead or alive
21. Undertones – jimmy jimmy
22. Undertones – I told you so
23. Undertones – it’s going to happen
24. Ramones – chainsaw
25. The Damned – sick of being sick
26. The Furies - what do you want
27. Dishrags - I don't love you
28. Ian Dury - sex & drugs & rock & roll
29. Television - untitled instrumental
30. Ramones - now I wanna sniff some glue
Here Comes the Summer (TOTP 1979)
Jimmy Jimmy (OGWT 1979)
True Confessions (OGWT 1979)
My Perfect Cousin (Live Something Else Show 1980)
There Goes Norman (Live Something Else Show 1980)
The Recording of Teenage Kicks
Teenage Kicks Promo Music Video
It's Going To Happen Promo Music Video
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The Police started out in 1977 in London, England. The band consisted of three members originally, Sting (real name Gordon Sumner on bass), Stewart Copeland (drums), and Henri Pandovani (guitar). After playing around London for a while, the band would get another guitarist in the place of Henri, Andy Summers. Just before their formation Sting was playing with a jazz band called Last Exit (he was also a teacher), Stewart Copeland was in a prog rock band Curved Air, Summers was a veteran rock guitarist. It is also important to mention that Copeland was from America, as opposed to Sting, and Summer who were from the UK. The band would form with an interest in becoming a punk band (as the punk scene was exploding in the UK, and in parts of the USA), but would go beyond punk and bring in different styles to their music such as, reggae, jazz, and would be known as not only a new wave band, but also as one of the biggest band of the eighties.
In May of 1977, the bands first single was released. The single for Fallout, did not do well chart wise at first. It would also contain two heavily punk influenced tracks "Fallout", and "Nothing Achieving". The band would then receive a recording contract with A&M Records. The reason for the contract would be due to the fact that Stewart Copeland's brother, Miles heard the song "Roxanne" and realized its potential, it helped the band get the contract. The single for "Roxanne" would be released in 1978 and would not chart (that would change when it was re-released in 1979). The song itself was Reggae pop song about a prostitute in a red light district (hence the lyrics "You don't have to put on the red light"), it would also be on their first album also recorded/released in 1978 Outlandos D'Amour. Outlandos D'Amour did poor at first, but would climb slowly when the band did a US tour. It would eventually climb to # 6 in the UK and # 23 in the USA. "Next to You" started the album. The song itself was a fast punk influenced song, Copeland and Summers wanted to song to differ lyrically (it was a love song written by Sting), but it remained the way sting wanted it. "So Lonely" was another song with reggae influence (Sting has said that he took influence for the way the vocals were sung from the Bob Marley song "No Woman, No Cry"), it was about loneliness. "Can't Stand Losing You" was another love song, that took a reggae influence, the single was banned due to its cover art, which featured Stewart Copeland on a block of ice with a noose around his neck, waiting for the ice to melt (an alternate cover was also created). "Peanuts" was written by both Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland, It is a fast rock song. The album finishes off with the instrumental track "Masoko Tanga". Outlandos D'Amour was a mix of punk and reggae tracks. The albums title would come from manager Miles Copeland meaning outlaws of love.
In 1979 Regatta De Blanc would be released (the title meaning white reggae). The album would contain the bands first number one hit song, "Message in a Bottle". The song was a flowing rock song with a stop and start reggae bassline, and heavier rock guitars as the chorus builds up to slow down again. The next single "Walking on the Moon" would also become a # 1 single, it was a reggae rock style track. The album also contained some Stewart Copeland compositions. "On Any other Day" was a fast rock song sung by Copeland about a comedic take on middle age troubles, "Does Everyone Stare" features both Copeland and Sting singing, it is a building rock song, and "Contact" was another punk influenced track composed by Copeland. Sting and Copeland also wrote the song "It's Alright For You" another rock song, that features Andy Summers watery sound guitar effects (as does most of his work on this album and with the band). All three band members are credited on the songs "Reggate De Blanc" (an instrumental track featuring chants from Sting), and "Deathwish". The album would show a change in sound from the band, while they were still influenced by both punk and reggae, the sound of the album was less gritty and more shiny or polished. The album also drew in some jazz influences (evident on the track "Bring on the Night").
Zenyatta Mondatta would come next in 1980. It was recorded fairly quickly (four weeks) and was written while the band was on tour supporting Regatta De Blanc. The album itself would be a new wave classic, the album would bring in more influences. "Don't Stand So Close to Me" was a song written by Sting about a teachers interest in a student. "Driven to Tears" was another new wave rock song with Summers trademark watery guitar sound and politically fuelled lyrics about poverty. "When the world is running down you make the best of whats still around" is another new wave rock track. "Canary in a Coalmine" and "Man in a Suitcase" were ska and Caribbean influenced tracks. Copeland also had two more compositions on this album "Bombs Away" a rock track about the conflicts with Afghanistan and the Soviets, and "The Other Way of Stopping" an instrumental track. The album also contained a Andy Summers composition, the instrumental "Behind My Camel" a song that Sting hated so much, he would bury the tapes in the garden. In fact Sting doesn't even play bass on the song, Summers would do that. "Do Do Do Do, Da Da Da Da" was the second single, both singles "Do Do Do, and "Don't Stand So Close to Me" did well, the album overall would reach # 5 in the USA and # 1 in the UK.
Ghost in the Machine was released in 1981 and would reach # 1 in the UK and # 2 in the USA. The album would be a huge change in the bands sound, it would feature saxophones, keyboards, and synthesizers. Lyrically inspiration came in a large part from the book Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler. "Spirits in the Material World" is drowned in keyboards, and itself is a dark sounding pop song, "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" features heavy piano while sounding Caribbean, "Invisible Son" is another dark sounding song written about North Ireland troubles. "One World (Not Three)" features a lot of Saxophones, "Secret Journey" was a song featuring heavily layered guitar effects, and "Omegaman" is a song about personal pressures written by guitarist Andy Summers. The album itself launched the band into the eighties with a new sound that would be expanded on their next album, Synchronicity.
In 1983, Synchronicity would be released, it would also be the bands final album. It would expand on the bands Ghost in the Machine sound, adding more world music influence to the mix. Recorded in the Caribbean the album would be influenced again by the work of Arthur Koestler (The Roots of Confidence) and would go to # 1 in both the USA and the UK. "Synchronicity 1" was another song with circling keyboards, while "Synchronicity II" was a heavy eighties rock song lyrically taking inspiration from Carl jung's theory of Synchronicity. "Every Breath You Take" was a slow moving pop song (one of the bands most recognized song) that was lyrically about stalking someone (it is often misinterpreted as a love song). "King of Pain" another single from the album, was another dark pop song in the vein of "Every Breath You Take" with strong lyrical images,and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" was a light sounding pop song with mystical sounding keyboards. The album also contained another song written by Summers "Mother" (he also sings the track), and "Miss Gradenko" a two minute rock song written by Stewart Copeland. The album also contained the songs "Tea in the Sahara" and "Walking in My Footsteps" two songs drawing world almost tribal music sounding influences.
After touring and big success from Synchronicity The Police were essentially over. In 1986, the band would perform three concerts for a benefit for Amnesty International, then they just stopped. Sting would pursue a solo career, but the band would reunite briefly on a few occasion's. In 1992, when Sting got married The Police played at the reception. In 2003, when the band got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band reunited for three songs. They never reformed officially until 2007. In a surprise move the band reunited as part of the 30th anniversary of the band. On July 17th, 2007 I was fortunate to see the Police perform to a sold out crowd at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The band sounded great, like they never stopped playing. After two world reunion tours, The Police announced that after their second reunion tour they would break up for good. The band released a collectors DVD/CD set of a concert they did in Buenos, Aires on November 11th, 2008. The set will also include a documentary filmed by Stewart Copeland's son, Jordan.
The Police were one of the biggest bands of the eighties. They helped define the genre of new wave and then went beyond it. The bands influence can be heard in modern music today, but no one has come similar to the sound that the band created.
Here's the songs that were played:
1. Magazine – because you’re frightened (bbc)
2. The Diodes – no right to make me bleed
3. U2 – city at night
4. Nervebreakers – politics
5. Randoms – abcd
6. Braineaters – rock rock
7. Forgotten Rebels – Rhonda Barrett
8. The Statics – rebel like me
9. Teenage Head – lets go to Hawaii
10. Roxy Music – all I want is you
11. Only Ones – lovers of today
12. Wire – outdoor minor
13. Devo – love without anger
14. Talking Heads - these boots were made for walking/I walk the line
15. Talking Heads - thank you for sending me an angel
16. Klark Kent – ritch in a ditch
17. The Police – hole in my life
18. Public Image Limited – chant
19. Gang of Four – 5:45
20. The Visitors – euro girls
21. Hot, Hot, Heat – wait a second (demo)
22. Pointed Sticks – the witch
23. Fiction Plane – running the country
24. Arctic Monkeys – what if you were right the first time?
25. Franz Ferdinand – outsiders
26. Dead 60s – train to nowhere
Can't Stand Losing You & Next To You (OGWT 1978)
The Bed's Too Big Without You (Live 1979)
Can't Stand Losing You Video (1978)
Roxanne Video (1978)
Synchronicity II Video
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
After spending a lot of 1981 touring, The Clash would go into the studio yet again in New York, to record their final album with the original line-up of the band. The producing duties of this album that would be known as Combat Rock, were done by Clash guitarist Mick Jones. After recording the album (originally it was going to be called Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg), Joe Strummer and Mick Jones had disagreements about the actual mix of the album. Joe Strummer referred to Mick Jones mix as the "Home Movie Mix". This album created a lot more conflict within the band, which ultimately lead to their demise. Glyn Johns known for his work done with The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles was brought in to remix the album (some parts for some tracks would be re-recorded before being remixed). The album would be renamed Combat Rock by Strummer and it would featured the bands two biggest hits. "Rock the Casbah" was a song that was written by Clash drummer Topper Headon (he also played the piano, bass and drums on the track), Joe Strummer would do the lyrics. The song itself is a funky/rock track and was inspired by the banning of rock music in Iran. It is also said to have been influenced lyrically by their manager Bernie Rhodes who asked if everything had to sound like raga (or reggae). There is an actual line in the song "The King told the boogie-men, you have to let that raga drop" that was influenced by this incident.
"Should I Stay or Should I Go" was a Mick Jones composition that some people believe is about Jones' relationship within The Clash. Mick has stated that this is not the case, that it is actually about Ellen Foley his girlfriend at the time. Despite the fact that it may be about Mick's girlfriend, the lyrics still seem to foreshadow Jones departure from the group. The actual music is a stop and start rock song that has heavy fuzz bass on it. Joe Strummer also sings in Spanish in some parts of the song. The song would be the bands biggest hit, it would go to # 1 after it was used in a Levi's commercial. It would skyrocket the bands success, even though they were no more (it was used as a single in 1991).
The album contained a great variety of songs including "Know Your Rights" a political rant about the poor and their rights. The song was the first single released from Combat Rock and was a rock track with climbing bass and echoing guitar effects. "Car Jamming" was a funky track, "Red Angel Dragnet" was sung by bassist Paul Simonon, "Overpowered by Funk" was a dancy funk track, "Sean Flynn" was a song about the American actor of the same name, and "Ghetto Defendant" is a slow reggae rock influenced track that features American poet Allen Ginsberg. "Straight to Hell" was a longer, spacey track that lyrically referenced American soldiers in the Vietnam War that abandoned children that they fathered while they were stationed there. The song was originally seven minutes long, but was edited down to five and a half minutes for the album. The full seven minute version of the song in which Joe Strummer adds additional lyrics and hits the bass drum with a lemonade bottle can be found on the Clash on Broadway Box Set that was released in 1991. The album was a mix of funk, reggae, rap and rock and was deeply influenced by the New York scene at the time.
Mick Jones original mix of the album can be found on bootleg, it is titled Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg. On Mick Jones original mix, the songs are different. "Should I Stay or Should I Go" is a completely different version, with Joe's Spanish vocals through out the song, no fuzz bass and a horn section in the middle of it. It also contains two unused Clash tracks "The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too", and "Kill Time" both of which remain unreleased officially. Combat Rock was released in May of 1982 and climbed to # 2 on the UK and # 7 in the USA.
The Clash opened for the Who in 1982, playing stadiums becoming even bigger than they were before. Also just before the band started touring for Combat Rock, drummer Topper Headon was fired due to his drug addictions. Original Clash drummer Terry Chimes would take over for a little while. He would leave in 1983 and be replaced by drummer Pete Howard. Mick and Joe would constantly be arguing during this time. In 1983, the Clash played the US Festival. This concert was the last with guitarist Mick Jones, he would be fired shortly after this show for a variety of reasons. One was the direction the band wanted to go in. Mick and Joe had different ideas, the other was that Joe and Paul were influenced by their manager Bernie Rhodes to fire Mick, even though he was one of the main song writers for the band.
In 1984, The Clash recruited two new members to play guitar for the band, Nick Sheppard and Vince White. The Band did a tour with the new members playing new material, this period of The Clash is known as the Clash II period. Cut The Crap was their new album and it would be recorded in Munich, Germany. During this time it was evident that Rhodes wanted to be an artist and in turn got Joe to kick Mick out of the band, attempting to gain control of the group and a music career. The sessions for the album were chaotic, the songs are credited to Rhodes and Strummer. The album sounded nothing like the bands previous efforts and is disregarded as an album by most fans. It was disowned by Strummer and Simonon at a later date. The album did have one single "This is England" and the album would be released in 1985. Clash II would then go on a busking tour. Armed only with acoustics, the band would go to various places and play unplugged and unplanned. After this tour, the band split up. Mick Jones would go on to form Big Audio Dynamite, Joe would work on soundtracks and have a few movie roles and a solo career, and Paul Simonon would form the short-lived group Havana 3AM, and pursue a painting career.
The Clash ended in a mess, the band would break up just before they would have gotten really, really big. In the 90's reunion rumours were sparked by the success of "Should I Stay or Should I Go", but it never happened. In 2002, the Clash were inducted in the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were rumoured to play again, but this never happened, Joe Strummer would pass away due to an unexpected heart defect at the age of 50, just before the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December of 2002. The Clash would go onto influence many.
In 1999, the entire Clash catalogue was remastered and re-released. The albums did not include any bonus tracks due to a request by Joe Strummer to keep them true to the original way the albums were released. Other interesting Clash releases include The Clash on Broadway box set which includes a variety of outtakes and b-sides, such as demos of "Career Opportunities" and "Janie Jones". "One Emotion" was an outtake from Give'em Enough Rope and "Midnight To Stevens" an outtake around the time of Sandinista! that would also be featured on the box set. Super Black Market Clash is a collection of further singles and remixes (it was itself an expanded version of the Black Market Clash EP that was originally released in 1980). In 1999, From Here To Eternity was released which was a collection of live Clash material. In 2003, The Essential Clash was released, a 2 CD greatest hits-type compilation of Clash songs, 2005 saw a remastered Legacy Edition of London Calling with a bonus disc of songs. In 2007 The Clash Singles Box Set was released. This release was a collection of all of the bands singles in replica CD form, similar to ones done by The Who and The Rolling Stones. As for DVDs, Westway To The World is a documentary of the band, Rude Boy is a movie done around the bands tour in 1978, and The Essential Clash DVD is a collection of the bands music videos, as well as some live performances. In November of 2008, Live At Shea Stadium was released on CD.
Play list from the show:
1. Neil Young – living with war
2. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – crack of dawn
3. Heatseekers – new (old) sound
4. 101ers – steamgauge 99
5. The Clash – inoculated city
6. The Clash – the beautiful people are ugly too
7. B.A.D. – v. thirteen
8. Latino Rockabilly War – trash city
9. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – coma girl
10. Carbon/Silicon – prophet
11. The Good, The Bad, and The Queen – green fields
12. Iggy Pop – new values
13. Viletones – she’s free
14. The Shades – new clientele
15. Tricky Woo – Kentucky derby/ten tons
16. Generation X – this heat
17. Young Knives – part timer
18. Radio 4 – enemies like this
19. Young Rival – the haunt (demo)
20. Sloan – in the movies
21. White Stripes – I’m slowly turning into you
22. The Visitors – I don’t belong
23. The Hives – I’m a wicked one
24. The D4 – Joe Orton’s wedding
25. Undertones – true confessions
26. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - no action
Video Clash II:
New Music Interview 1982
Combat Rock Commercial
Know Your Rights (Live US Festival 1983)
Sound of the Sinners (Live US Festival 1983)
Rock The Casbah (Live US Festival 1983)
Should I Stay or Should I Got (Shea Stadium)
A series of two radio specials I did on The Clash can be found here:
The Clash (1976-1979)
The Clash (1980-1985)
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
In 1979, The Clash would begin rehearsing for the songs that would end up on the album, London Calling. The band would rent out a place and play, would then set out to find a producer for the album. Guy Stevens was chosen as producer, but he wanted to hear some of the material that The Clash was working on. They would make what would be known as The Vanilla Tapes. The Tapes were finally released in 2004 on the Legacy remastered edition of London Calling. The album would be yet another step in a new direction from the band, drawing on more diverse influences than their two previous efforts. "London Calling" the song was written about a variety of subjects, the threat of nuclear war, the flooding of the Thames River in London, and the punk scene in general that came out the UK. The actual title of the track came from a line that was used by the BBC during World War II "This is London Calling...". The song itself is a mix the bands influences. That actual guitar work of the song is eerily similar of a song done by The Kinks, and the bassline is reggae influenced.
The album also addressed a variety of subjects such as addiction to drugs with "Hateful" and "Rudie Can't Fail" a reggae stabbing tune with a horn section. It was originally written for a movie made about the band titled Rude Boy (Rude Boy was released in 1980 and featured The Clash on their Sort It Out tour and the recording of Give'em Enough Rope, amongst a plot featuring a character known as Ray Gange). "Clampdown" was a rocking track in the vein of punk that concerns issues relating to factory life. Other tracks include "The Right Profile" a song about the actor Montgomery Clift, "Lost in the Supermarket" a slow and somewhat autobiographical track written by Joe Strummer, but sung by Mick Jones, "The Guns of Brixton" a reggae track written and sung by bassist Paul Simonon and "Koka Kola", a fast rock song about corporations and advertising. At the end of the recording sessions for the album, which were done at Wessex Studios, Mick Jones had one more song to record. Train In Vain (Stand By Me)" was a pop song Clash-style (influenced by Blues and R&B music) that was originally intended to be given away with NME Magazine. The deal would fall through and the band would instead add it to the end of London Calling after the song "Revolution Rock" (a cover song), but it would not be listed on the album's artwork. Part of the reason for this is because the artwork was already done for the album, so many people referred to "Train in Vain" as a hidden track, but that was not the original intention.
Elvis Presley vs. London Calling
The album's now famous cover features bassist Paul Simonon about to smash his bass to pieces while at a Clash gig (on September 21st, 1979 in New York). The picture taken by Pennie Smith is out of focus and was not originally intended to be used as the cover shot for the album. The cover itself is similar to an Elvis Presley album (it has the same type and colours), instead of a guitar being raised as it is on the Presley album, it is being brought down and smashed (technically it's a bass guitar). The album itself did the band good. Released in the later part of 1979 in December in the UK and in early January in the USA, the album went to # 27 on the US charts and # 9 on the UK charts. The album itself which found the band drawing in a variety of styles and influences (ska, Reggae, Jazz, R&B, rockabilly) would be later voted to be one of the best rock and roll albums of all time.
After touring behind London Calling, the band would enter the studio again in 1980 (in New York) to work on songs for the album that would be known as Sandinista!. Before heading to New York the band would go to Kingston Jamaica and record the track "Junco Partner". Originally a blues song, the track would be redone it a reggae/dub style. When relocating to New York in Electric Ladyland studios, the band would once again expand on their sound. Being in New York the band would draw in influences from early New York hip hop, funk, and their traditional blend of reggae and rock. The album would be a triple album (by vinyl standards). While it contained 36 tracks, some of the songs would be dub remixes (done by Mikey Dread), adding a dub feel to the album. The album would have a few guests Norman-Watt Roy would play bass and help compose the funky, hip hop track "The Magnificent Seven" (the reason for Roy playing bass was that bassist Paul Simonon was busy with a movie role), Mikey Dread (reggae artist/producer), Ivan Julian (Richard Hell and the Voidoids), and Tymon Dogg Joe Strummers old friend from his 101'ers days.
The Clash experimented even more with this album. Some critics thought of it as too much from the band and too different. In fact, the album is just as good as it's predecessor, some people believe that if it had being released as a double or single album, it would have received greater acclaim. "Hitsville U.K." was influenced by Detroit Motown, and is sung by Mick Jones and his then girlfriend Ellen Foley. "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe" was a disco flavored track sung by drummer Topper Headon, Paul Simonon sang on the reggae song "The Crooked Beat", "Somebody Got Murder" was a strange, but excellently crafted pop song written for a movie that was never used, "The Leader" was a fast punk and surf rock influenced track that lyrically referenced a politician Joe read about in a newspaper. The album also had "Rebel Waltz" a combination old time waltz music and reggae, "Lightning Strikes (Not Once but Twice) a hip hop flavored song similar to "The Magnificent Seven", "Let's Go Crazy" a Caribbean-vibed song, "The Sound of the Sinners" a Gospel influenced track, and so much more. "The Call Up" a song about the draft, would be the bands first single. Other different tracks were "Broadway" a jazz song, "The Street Parade", "Kingston Advice", and "Version City".
In order to get the album released as a triple LP, the band forfeited a certain number of royalties to ensure its release. The album was quite ahead of its time and very different. The album received good reviews in the USA, but not so good ones in the UK. The Clash scheduled a series of shows at Bond's Casino in New York in 1981. The tickets to the shows got over sold and in turn, the fire Marshall's had to close down and cancel one of the bands scheduled shows. Since so many fans were denied to the show (and also since all the people that bought tickets weren't allowed into the show, due to over crowding), the band extended what intended to be a week long residency in New York to 17 concerts. This time in New York was chronicled by film maker and friend of the band Don Letts, but was rumored to have been lost. In 1999, 15 minutes of what supposed to be a much longer movie were added to the Clash documentary Westway to the World, which was also filmed by Letts. Recently there has been rumours of the complete film being found. The Clash would take week long residency's while on tour in other places such as France and London as well. After spending 1980 and 1981 touring, they then recorded their final album, Combat Rock in 1982. Since this post is so large I will continue my clash post next week, thus completing the bands history.
Here is the play list:
1. Public Image Limited – public image
2. Modern Lovers – roadrunner
3. Ultravox! – fear in the western world
4. 4/4 – systematic
5. 999 – my street stinks
6. The Visitors – sad tv
7. Modernettes – barbra
8. Smugglers – bad guys
9. The Odds – say you mean it
10. The Mark Inside – carousel
11. The Scabs – don’t just sit there
12. Red London – CND
13. Only Ones – my immortal story
14. Adverts – we who wait
15. Gang of Four – at home he’s a tourist (bbc)
16. Suburban Reptiles – Saturday night, stay at home
17. Hot Nasties – I am a confused teenager
18. The Demics – talk, talk
19. The Diodes – tired of waking up tired
20. XTC – statue of liberty
21. Buzzcocks – I don’t mind
22. The Clash – safe European home
23. The Clash – up in heaven (not only here)
24. The Specials – its up to you
25. Television – venus
26. Sonic Avenues - off the ground
27. The Saints - enough is never enough
28. Long Blondes - sparated by motorways
Live on Fridays Part One (London Calling, Train in Vain)
Live on Fridays Part Two (Guns of Brixton, Clampdown)
Bankrobber music video
Spanish Bombs Live 1979
Magnificent Seven Live Tomorrow Show 1981
Radio Clash Live Tomorrow Show 1981
The Call Up music video
A series of two radio specials I did on The Clash can be found here:
The Clash (1976-1979)
The Clash (1980-1985)