Saturday, June 02, 2018

Guitar Boy: An Interview with Bloodshot Bill & Shows # 724 & 723


Bloodshot Bill emerged out of Montreal around 1998. Starting out as a drummer, Bloodshot Bill began performing with just a guitar and stomp board. Bloodshot Bill often tours and performs as a one man band featuring, guitar, a bass drum, hi-hat and reverb soaked vocals. Live as a one-man band he provides the audience with his own brand of rockabilly music that is unlike any other, while at the same time drawing on the past. He once said that his influences range from early country and rock and roll records to what he refers to as his “holy trinity” of influences "Hasil Adkins, Charlie Feathers, and Link Wray.”

On 2017’s Guitar Boy, there are songs such as “The Wobble” a thrashy instrumental song with grumbling bass, surging drumbeats and surf undercurrents, “Love Me Twice”, is a rockabilly rumble, a greasy combination of rock and roll energy that shouts for more. “Be My Own” is a darker ballad with country flavours, “Hypnotize” is an up-tempo fuzzy guitar number with Bloodshot Bill yelps and wails, “Pretty Little Girl From Mars” drifts into rockabilly and surf paranoia, while “Last Call” gallops with reverb and countrified guitar licks. These are just some of the things you’ll find on the Norton Records released album Guitar Boy. It is the fourth full-length album released via Norton Records, although there has been other singles, EPs and things recorded in collaboration with other artists. 

Since starting out, Bloodshot Bill has released numerous records on different labels, recorded and collaborated with artists such as King Khan (as The Tandoori Knights and The Bollywood Argyles), Mark Sultan (The Ding Dongs), Deke Dickerson, Shannon Shaw, Jon Spencer, The 5.6.7.8’s and many others. He has also performed all over the US, Canada and parts of Europe. In addition to all this, Bloodshot Bill also performs with a full band sometimes, usually when in the Montreal area. He has released several recordings with a backing band known as The Hubcaps, but has a new full-length album coming out with a band that he has been playing with lately called The Hick-Ups. There will also an EP coming out that Bloodshot Bill did with legendary rockabilly/roots rock musician Deke Dickerson.

Although he has had many releases out (over 40), there is a bit of mystery to Bloodshot Bill. His songs deal mainly with relationships, but have also branched out to include things such as B-horror movie subjects like monsters, aliens and the like. His sound was once described by director John Waters as “Like Roy Orbison with a head wound”, but whatever you call the music created by Bloodshot Bill, it leaves the listener with a sense of wonder, nostalgia and that primitive rock and roll feeling.

Check out my interview with Bloodshot Bill here:



Show 724 Play List (Originally Aired On June 2nd, 2018)(An Interview with Bloodshot Bill):

1. The Forgotten Rebels - Hello, Hello (I'm Back Again)
2. Iggy Pop - New Values
3. Acid Tongue - Something In The Water
4. Paul The Tailor - Baked Potato
5. Masked Boy - Gritt Used Acid !! (Demo)
6. Black Sabbath - N.I.B (Alternate Version)
7. The Ding Dongs - Weekend
8. Tandoori Knights - Big Belly Giants
9. Bloodshot Bill - I'm Telling You

BLOODSHOT BILL INTERVIEW

10. Bloodshot Bill - Love me Twice
11. Deja Voodoo - Skeleton At My party
12. Sonny Burgess - Red Headed Woman
13. Warren Smith - Rock And Roll Ruby
13. Otis Redding - Shake
14. Them - Bring'em On In
15. Parquet Courts - Tenderness
16. Happy Mondays - Kinky Afro
17. The Stranglers - Something Better Change
18. Gang of Four - Glass
19. Roxy Music - She Sells
20. The Lounge Lizards - Incident On South Street
21. Chain & The Gang - Don't Scare The Ghosts Away
22. Carbonas - Phone Booth
23. The Mods - Step Out Tonight
24. Priors - Got in Me
25. Daniel - Hopital
26. Danny & The Darleans - May-Ree Mack

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 2.

Show 723 Play List (Originally Aired On May 26th, 2018)(Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison 50th Anniversary):

1. Carl Perkins - Blue Suede Shoes (Live At Folsom Prison)
2. The Statler Brothers - This Ole House (Live At Folsom Prison)
3. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues (Live At Folsom Prison)
4. Johnny Cash - Cocaine Blues (Live At Folsom Prison)
5. Buddy Selfish - Rip It Up
6. Frankie & Jimmy - Minglewood Blues
7. Mark Malibu & The Wasagas - Hey Chiwawa
8. The Barracudas - Barracuda Waver
9. Vamos - Outsiders
10. The Shiverettes - Obsessed
11. Young Rival - Got What You Need
12. A Place To Bury Strangers - There's Only One of Us
13. Papermaps - Iron Stove
14. Tough Age - Snakes & Ladders
15. Paul Jacobs - How Did You Find Out?
16. South River Slim - 40 Day Crawl
17. Chris Altman - Deadly Night Shade
18. Bloodshot Bill - Don't Bug Me Baby
19. Danny Kroha - You Got To Move
20. Nap Eyes - It's Only Life (Feelies Cover)(Laginappe Session)
21. Kevin Morby - Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (Bob Dylan Cover)(Laginappe Session)
22. Bob Dylan - Sitting On Barb Wire Fence (Take 6)
23. Bob Dylan - Visions of Johanna (Take 5)
24. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Shake Real Low
25. The Wayouts - Red Rover
26. Black Flag - Fix Me
27. Captain Beefheart - Zig Zag Wanderer
28. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues (Second Show - Live At Folsom Prison)
29. Johnny Cash - Jackson (With June Carter)(Live At Folsom Prison)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 26.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Blues On The Brain: An Interview With Frankie & Jimmy & Shows # 722, 721, 720


Frankie & Jimmy are fronted by vocalist/harmonica player Jim Fitzgerald Jr. and guitarist Frankie Flowers who also plays porch-board bass/tambourine and are a blues duo out of Hamilton, Ontario. They call their brand of blues, Sliding Demento Delta Blues. The band blends elements of garage and punk (having been in bands of those categories in the past) and apply that energy and aesthetic to the blues songs that they play. All of the songs are covers, but they are played in such a way that you might not even recognize the song as a cover.

Frankie & Jimmy’s first album, Scream The Blues, was released in 2014 and featured 13 tracks that dug into the Delta blues and early rock genres. This album stripped down the songs and cut them to their bare essentials. The songs were then executed with a lo-fi, garage/punk groove. Often billed as “The Poor Man’s Blues Bros”, Frankie & Jimmy’s second full-length album Blues On The Brain will be released in late June 2018 on Transistor 66 Records. “Shakemondown” starts off Blues On The Brain. This song jumps right into a high-octane energy with fast sliding guitars, slicing harmonica and howling vocals. It gives a punk twist to this 1937 Delta blues classic “Shake’ Em On Down” that was originally recorded by Bukka White, but the version found here is based on a version that was done by Fred McDowell. Frankie & Jimmy’s version maintains a soulful shuffle rhythm, but is performed at an unhinged, reckless speed.

“Spread The News Around” shakes off the dust of the Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry song from the 60s. This song features a locomotive like rhythm, with smoky harmonica parts, chugging guitar and lyrics such as “Whole lotta people in trouble/Whole lotta people in grief/But out in this great big world/I know there’s a place for me” and “I’m gonna get on my feet after awhile/Then I Won’t Be Down/Spread the news around”. The song calls for an understanding, one of finding your place and not being so down, despite your surroundings, regardless of how good or bad they are. This is a message that is just as relevant today as performed by Frankie & Jimmy in all their revved up, lo-fi garage/punk blues glory as when it was originally done by Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry. “Hellhound On My Trail” brings down the pace a bit with a creeping intensity and paranoia, “Stand Your Test In Judgment” claws at your subconscious with its dirty tambourine and rustic blues guitar, amongst Fitzgerald’s soulful vocals and harmonica parts. Frankie & Jimmy take a greasy blues approach to the blues/gospel track “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning” which is a song about not giving up and staying sharp even when there’s nothing left in you.

“Pony Blues” follows next, based on a song Son House adapted from Charley Patton. It comes to life on this album in a new way. The song runs and roams in its own direction set forth by Frankie & Jimmy, combining a soulful growl vocally, aggressive slide guitar and haunting harmonica rhythms. Lyrically the song draws on elements that have been drawn on in many different forms for generations. With lyrics such as “Why don’t you catch my pony/Saddle up my black mare/I’m gonna find my baby in this world somewhere” and “He’s a travelin’ horse and he don’t deny his name/He’s a travelin’ pony/The way he can travel is a low-down, old, dirty shame”, “Pony Blues” tells a tale of love, doubt and the underdog, as it wanders around searching for meaning and answers. “Vastapol” (a song originally by Elizabeth Cotton) provides a country, blues and folk musical interlude, “Babe It Ain’t No Lie” (also originally by Elizabeth Cotton) drifts into the same places with guitar fingerpicking, porch-board bass, whistling and lyrics sung by Jimmy with a sincere conviction about a lie that just isn’t true.

Dirt and grit are kicked up into the sonic atmosphere as the album gets to “Lil Red Riding Hood”, the final track on Blues On The Brain. Cloaked in a tale of lies and deception, this song is told from the perspective of the wolf from the fairytale of the same name. Throughout Blues On The Brain, Frankie & Jimmie tread in the murky water of the early blues genre. Like old blues and folk songs, the music found here are stories adapted from tales of the sonic book of folk/blues. The difference with this album as opposed to other recent blues albums is that Frankie & Jimmy don’t replicate the past, they create their own gospel from the sounds of the past with their own added grime, grit and soul.

Keep reading for an interview that I did with Frankie & Jimmy:

RR: How and when did Frankie & Jimmy start playing as a band?


Photo:  Dylan Weller
Frankie: We formed on June 18, 2011, from the ruins of Hamilton’s underground pop rock sensation Dirty Sack of Steel. A mutual friend of ours named Matt D'Alvise (from Black Collar Union) asked if me and my band The DJ Killers (Pat Sirrs and Marc Baldassi) would form the rhythm section for Matt and Jim’s band, Dirty Sack of Steel. After a few shows, Matt quit, Jim asked if I liked blues music, and I asked Jim if he wanted another beer. The rest is history.

Jimmy: We originally started jamming together as a 5 piece called Dirty Sack of Steel. Frankie was on keyboards. He had a bunch of pedals including this dynamite phaser that he'd string along his keyboard like some kind of tall Polski alien piloting his flying saucer. The guitarist / other singer Matt D'Alvise (Black Collar Union) and I had written a bunch of goofy tunes together. D'Alvise and I met because we stayed in the same student housing when we went to OCAD. As we got to know each other it turned out we knew a lot of the same people. D'Alvise was the first person to really encourage my playing and the first person to jam with me regularly.

The rhythm section for DSOS was Marc Baldassi on bass and Pat Sirrs on Drums. Dirty Sack's line up was very similar to our 6 piece band for our Hamilton record release (June 21st at This Ain't Hollywood) except minus D'Alvise (he gave in to the dark side aka metal) and plus Matt Mangano on Sax and Brandon Dean on Keys. When DSOS proved to be short lived, Franc and I were still hanging out a lot. Right before DSOS dissolved Franc had transcribed all his keyboard parts to slide guitar. I was really excited about that. When that other band clearly wasn't happening we still wanted to jam together and figured the best way to improve our playing was to learn old blues songs. Turns out it was a lot of fun so we started adding to the sound with amplifiers and a rhythm section (Franc's feet). One day we were kind of just like “Ya we're a band now” and decided to name ourselves in an homage to the greatest blues duo of all time: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee aka SONNY & BROWNIE. After that we started playing shows. We just kept doing it because we loved it and also the blues pays better than punk.

RR: Frankie & Jimmy have a unique take on the blues genre. How would you describe your music to someone if they hadn’t heard it before?

Jimmy: We play sped up, fuzzed out blues traditionals with a punk attitude. We play the proper notes and techniques but in our own frantic way. Our live shows are a bit of a clowning comedy routine. We draw a lot of performance inspiration from acts like the Blues Brothers and Blowfly.

Frankie: I usually tell people, “We play folk country blues tunes, punked up a bit with a garage rock edge, whatever the heck that means. Just slide guitar, harmonica, yelling, stomping and head banging.”

RR: How do you decide on which blues songs that you will play? Is there a specific process or method to selecting the songs that you play?


Jimmy: It usually happens organically. One of us will be listening to something and a song will stand out. Blues FM on Jazz FM 91.1 introduced me to a lot of great stuff. Sometimes it will be a YouTube playlist, particularly from our favourite channel RagtimeDorianHenry and sometimes I'll be deliriously drunk and giddy at 4am listening to my friends old blues records and texting Franc that we need to play this song I just listened to. Sometimes we'll play a song someone recommends but that doesn't happen very often so don't get your hopes up.

Frankie: Jim picks them. The only stipulation is that the song must have originally been done by a deceased person, because Jim believes in ghosts. Most our song choices, fall under 3 categories, Dirty, Spooky and Pretty. We try to keep a 5:2:1 respective ratio to optimize the emotional roller coaster of our set designs.

RR: When did you first start working on Blues On The Brain and who did you work with (Ie: Producers, etc.)?

Frankie: I think we started recording in the spring of 2015, with Nick Johannes, he’s awesome and really easy to work with. Originally, we planned to release a trifecta of 7inchers, The Dirty7, The Spooky7 and The Pretty7. After recording The Dirty7, we got talked into scrapping the trifecta idea, and just release a full length album. I believe Jesse from It's Trash Records convinced us to not bother releasing any 7inch records because not too many people buy them. We recorded the rest of the album in the fall of 2016 with Nick and Mike Trebilcock mastered it for us.

Jimmy: We toured a lot of the songs we were planning to put on this record for our west coast tour in 2016. It was recorded by Nick Johannes (The Kettle Black, Get Off The Cop) and mastered by Mike Trebilcock (The Killjoys, Simply Saucer). Basically four people worked on this album (excluding the people that originally wrote the tunes).

RR: Do you think the recording process of this album was different or similar to when you were making 2014’s Scream The Blues, and if so why?

Frankie: The main difference is our new album was recorded over a longer period of time consisting of 2 weekend recording sessions a year and a half apart. We also recorded at one location with Nick and had him mix everything too. Scream the Blues was recorded at 2 locations with different sound engineers, Pat Sirrs and Mike Cividino. Pat mixed all of that album. We did do the similar process of capturing our live sound with no overdubs except 1 vocal overdub that Jim did, but we won’t talk about it.

Jimmy: We knew what we were doing a lot more this time around but the live off the floor, play it 30 times approach is the same for both records. We've calmed down on the partying so we wasted a lot less of everyone's time this round.

RR: Some of the songs that you play are several decades old, yet the songs are still relatable today. Why do you think that is and what is it about the early delta blues genre that draws you to it?

Jimmy: People change and our world changes but despair and joy will always feel the same. Some of the songs we play are hundreds of years old. So old that no one really knows exactly where they came from. I like the raw, haunting sound of early direct-to-disc records. There is no filter, no producer tweaking the knobs. What you hear is what they played and we try to do the same thing with our sound. Most early blues players were self taught. Elizabeth Cotten played the guitar upside-down because she was left handed.

Frankie: I find them still relatable today mainly due to the raw emotion of the sound. It is easier for me to resonate with soulful music rather than triangle and square waves making laser beam Nintendo point collecting synth noises. Also, the lyrical themes and stories are pretty timeless and most people can connect to them at some point or another throughout their life. I’m personally drawn to the sound of the slide guitar. There’s something about the many ways to approach and shape different pitches with a slide. I find that a slide helps enable me to translate emotions and musical ideas to a fret board with a better continuous flow of pitches. Rather than fretting notes individually or playing a piano that leaves a discrete space in between the pitch intervals. A slide gives the guitar a vocal like quality, which is a perfect accompaniment to singing the blues.

RR: The new album is being released through Transistor 66 records. How did you get connected with the label?

Frankie: I think Jim met Art Transistor either on the Internet or in Winnipeg when we played at the Windsor hotel. All I remember is Art giving us a few handfuls of CDs from his label, and buying us the tastiest Indian food in Winnipeg. I was sold right then and there on those things alone, but after realizing Art is a solid, honest, cool dude with a passion for helping musicians, it made it comfortable to work with him.

Jimmy: I can't remember what came first. What Wave Dave from CHRW Radio Western in London recommended working with Art Transistor's label a number of times. It caught my attention. Art Transistor has great taste and I'm not just saying that because he is releasing Blues On The Brain with us. Transistor 66 is based out of Winnipeg, which in my opinion has the best garage bands in the country. The Winnipeg sound is different than anywhere else. I was floored when I first saw The Crooked Bros who work with T66. There's a lot of great acts like Mmmeats, Eve Hell, Bloodshot Bill and Ol' Ba Johnston that have worked with Art. I've never heard a band on T66 I didn't like. When we first rolled through Winnipeg all dusty, covered in fly bites and holding our piss for too long, Art invited us to dinner at The East India Company, which is this transcendental buffet. He gave us a bunch of CDs from the label and we talked some turkey. Feeding a touring band a gourmet meal and giving them a bunch of new music for the van is a surefire way to make friends. It's been great working with Art Transistor. He really has your back and picked up the slack for me when I had some problems to take care of. Art doesn't tell you how to make your record or what it should look like. He lets artists do their thing. Seriously listen to this band they rule https://mmmeats.bandcamp.com/

RR: Frankie & Jimmy have played shows coast to coast. You’ve played in all kinds of places (according to your bio), what are some of the un-traditional places that you’ve played live shows at and what do you remember of some of these shows?


Frankie: We played a wedding cocktail hour at the Art Gallery of Hamilton where Jim was the bride’s maid of honor and the groom requested that we play the King of The Hill theme song upon their entry. That gig seemed un-traditional to me hahaha.

Jimmy: Playing the Palmer Church in the badlands of Saskatchewan was a real highlight. I can't wait to go back there. I was laughing to myself while drinking beer in the confession booth, which is a pretty fun thing to do until you realize there are children still up and dancing and then you feel like a total reprobate. We played a farm on Quadra Island where I called all the dogs to the dance floor and 8 of them rushed the stage dancing in their own doggy vortex way. The train station in Brantford used to have shows and that was a great spot. It was cool to play Freight Train (Elizabeth Cotten) while one was pulling into the station. House Show Pleine Air in Quebec is going to be great this year too. It's like this sweet hippy/carnival party. Last year we blew a fuse while playing Minglewood Blues. The Keene Summer BBQ is always a hoot too. The best BBQ in Canada is at Muddy's Pit BBQ in Keene. The last time we played was during a storm and it's kind of stressful to be protected by some tarps in the middle of a baseball diamond when you know your body is closing a circuit. Can't wait to do it again this year. The BBQ is really THAT good.

RR: You sell your own homemade hot sauce at your live shows. What led to you selling your own hot sauce and how would you rank the spicy/hotness of the sauce if you had to?

Frankie: Our buddy and music video producer, Ian Steinberg, suggested the idea to make hot sauce and beer cozies as band merch, while we were up at Jim’s cottage. We never made any beer cozies, but the hot sauce was a genius idea. I made a few small test batches before ramping up production. I made some small changes to the recipe after a few more batches, but now the consistency is better dialed in. The initial flavor is kind of sweet and not that hot, but then the heat creeps in and if you eat more the heat will bite down and linger. My guess is that it ranks between 45,000 – 90,000 Scoville Heat Units.

Jimmy: We were up at my family's cottage and our videographer Ian was rhyming off cool merch that we should make and when we mentioned hot sauce our eyes lit up and we looked at each other. 6 test batches later and we had our flavour.

RR: What’s next for Frankie & Jimmy?

Frankie: We are releasing a music video soon with our new album and plan to tour throughout southern Ontario this summer and also play a weekend in Quebec, and go out east for a few weeks at the end of summer. In the fall we are planning to play a stint of northern Ontario shows. Besides touring with the new album, there are rumours of an underground tag team wrestling circuit amongst 2 piece bands emerging. Jim hired a personal trainer and has been hitting the training hard along the Hamilton escarpment. There is a good chance that we can win the belt this year and start selling mini Frankie and Jimmy wrestling action dolls.

Jimmy: We're touring the circuit this summer and have an east coast tour booked for the end of September. Looking to do northern Ontario in October and a west coast next spring. Then hopefully we can get our passports sorted and go to Europe. We'll be releasing a new music video made by Ian Steinberg that uses marionettes, practical effects, animation and some live action. Franc's mom is a puppeteer with Studio Babette so it was a family affair this time. It was a lot of fun to make and Franc's dear parents let us take over their master bedroom to use as our studio. This video is going to be our magnum opus.

Show 722 Play List (Originally Aired On May 19th, 2018)(Frankie & Jimmy, Courtney Barnett, Blacktop):

1. Iceage - Hurrah
2. Minutemen - Maybe Partying Will Help
3. King Tuff - Psycho Star
4. Liza Anne - Paranoia
5. La Luz - Loose Teeth
6. Glen Branca - Lesson No. 2
7. Parquet Courts - Almost Had To Start A Fight/In and Out of Patience
8. Pretty Matty - Oh Well
9. Psych Void - Gutter Butter
10. Snuggle Bunnies - Looking For Planet X
11. Peach Kelli Pop - Pitch Black
12. Peach Kelli Pop - Black Cat 13
13. Secret V's - Modern Boy
14. Frankie & Jimmy - Spread The News Around
15. Frankie & Jimmy - Lil Red Riding Hood
16. Nudie - It Ain't Gonna Happen Today
17. Courtney Barnett - Charity
18. The Low Joy Ceiling - Boneshaker
19. Thee Mighty Caesars - The Double Axe
20. Wild Billy Childish & the CTMF - In A Parallel World
21. The Beguiled - Black Gloves
22. The Gories - To Find Out
23. Blacktop - I Think Its Going To Rain
24. Blacktop - Here I Am, Here I Always Am
25. Mink Deville - Gunslinger
26. The Lone Bellow & Friends - Me and My Uncle
27. Jonathan Richman - She Don't Laugh at My Jokes
28. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Love For Tender
29. Ty Segall - I'm Free
30. MC5 - Call Me Animal

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 19.

Show 721 (Originally Aired On May 12th, 2018)(Repeat of Show # 670: Chris Cornell Tribute):

1. Kestrels - Thorn
2. Hooded Fang – Queen of Agusan
3. Dusty Mush - Hot Tomato
4. Girl Pool – Corner Store
5. New Pornographers – High Ticket Attractions
6. Robyn Hitchcock – Virginia Wolfe
7. Soundgarden - Kickstand
8. Soundgarden - Blow Up The Outside
9. Chris Cornell – Spoon Man (Demo)
10. Chris Cornell – Seasons
11. Soundgarden - Face Pollution
12. (Sandy) Alex G – Witch
13. Mount Eerie – Death is Real
14. Mountain Goats – Rain in Soho
15. Craig Finn – Jester & June
16. Canailles – Backflips
17. Neil Young - Looking For A Love
18. Dead Ghosts - All In A Row
19. Los Straitjackets - Heart of the City
20. The Velveteins - Midnight Surf
21. Nap Eyes - Roll It
22. Gang War - These Boots Were Made For Walking (Live)
23. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jangling Jack
24. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jesus Alone

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 12.

Show 720 (Originally Aired On May 5th, 2018)(Minutemen acoustic, Richard Hell, Television, Sex Pistols):


1. The Minutemen - I Felt Like A Gringo (Acoustic Blowout 1985)
2. The Minutemen - The Meter Man/Corona (Acoustic Blowout 1985)
3. Ry Cooder - Shrinking Man
4. Tymon Dogg - Cochon
5. Stompin' Tom Connors - Long Gone To The Yukon
6. The Highest Order - Stare Down The Barrel of Today
7. Kristian North - Waiting
8. Shark Toys - Let's Follow (City Lights)
9. Hot Snakes - Plenty For All
10. The Scenics - Wild Trout
11. The Castiles - Baby I
12. Nap Eyes - Roses
13. Bonny Doon - Try To Be
14. Sloan - Year Zero
15. The Replacements - I'm In Trouble
16. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Liars Beware (Live CBGB April 14th, 1977)
17. Television - Judy (Live Max's Kansas City 1974)
18. R.E.M. - Bandwagon
20. Tongues - Gelatinous
21. Miles Davis & John Coltrane - 'Round Midnight (March 21st 1960 - The Olympia Paris, France)
22. Tampa - Bad Hangover
23. Chris Sleightholm - She Left To Another Place
24. Bloodshot Bill - Lemme Rock
25. The Beat Happening - Foggy Eyes
26. Hooded Fang - Ode To Subterrania
27. The Dirtbombs - Infa-Red
28. Sex Pistols - Stepping Stone (Live In Chelmsford Prison 1976)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 5.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The State of Music: An Interview About Pentagon Black No. 4 & Shows # 716, 717, 718, 719


In the recent age of the Internet with the advent of streaming music, the compilation is something that seems to have fallen by the wayside. But, now even more so compilation albums are just as relevant as they were in the 80s or 90s. There are multiple uses for compiling music and instead of just randomly making an endless playlist that you can stream, a compilation album can serve many different purposes. In the case of the recent Pentagon Black No. 4 compilation album, it connects different bands across different parts and scenes in Canada. For the listener it makes them aware of some bands that they would have otherwise never even heard of. This compilation, as does Pentagon Black No. 3, has the effect of a bootleg live recording at times. When listening to the songs found here, there is a certain immediacy and intimacy that flourishes.

The opening track on Pentagon Black No. 4 is by Guelph musician Steph Yates. “The Bitter Part of the Fruit” is an acoustic, Bossa Nova tinged track laced with heartfelt melancholy. This is an example of the different types of music that you will find on this compilation. Not everything is melancholic, not everything is acoustic, and not everything is rough sounding despite the fact that all of the songs on this compilation were recorded with cellphones. But, all of the 19 tracks found on Pentagon Black No. 4 are bursting with the seeds of creativity and cohesion. Don’t Bother (from Toronto) attack with the politically charged “The Rebel”, Usse (from Saint John, New Brunswick) dig into noisy experimentalism on their track “Negative Bolt, No Action”, while Vancouver’s Orange Kyte tackle the shoe gaze and psychedelic genres with their track “Downfall”. Fashionism (also from Vancouver) brings high energy with their power pop dynamics in “Checking Out the Checkout Girl”, Montreal’s Property// bring moody synth rock with their track “TragicSimLoss”, Smokey & The Feelings “Blow” sprouts with gusts of indie folk from Edmonton, Alberta, and Halifax’s Outtacontroller contribute their fuzzy garage sounds with “Too Much Tonight”. These are just some of the examples of the types of songs of differing genres from different parts in Canada found on this release.

With Pentagon Black No. 4, the label takes the theory of a compilation album, keeping it focused and at the same time a little more experimental than the previous compilations that they have released. In addition to this, they cut out the physical element, but not completely. Musically this release, like all of their “Paper LP” releases, features a digital download code that is included with an art element. The artwork for this release comes in the form of a postcard illustrated by Lisa Czech. Also, the compilation is only two dollars to purchase in its entirety. In the process of all of this, Pentagon Black stays true to their minimalism ideology. All of the recordings have a lo-fi element since they were all recorded on cellphones, but this doesn’t affect the quality of the music. They are using technology, but aren’t overcomplicating things. Pentagon Black puts a twist on an old favourite finding an in-between of the past and present way of releasing a compilation album and from this essence an art form blooms.

Get Pentagon Black No. 4 here.

Keep reading for an interview that I did with Raymond Biesinger & Drew Demers of Montreal’s The Famines and also of the Pentagon Black label:


RR: The compilation album is an art in itself. Putting it together, deciding what’s included, what goes where and the artwork. What led you to wanting to put out compilation albums with your label Pentagon Black and what is the general process that you go through when compiling them?

RAYMOND: Yeah, as we played around with the poster-and-download format, it kind of “told” us what to do. When we realized it held limitless minutes of music, we realized we could present a lot of music. When we realized it was cheap to print and people saw it as a valuable thing, we realized we could print a lot of them and not get burned, financially. When we realized it was inexpensive to mail large quantities around, we realized we could decentralize distribution of the records among dozens of musicians and see what happened next.

DREW: In general, we approach bands that we love that are community builders in their own scenes and take it from there. Once all the tracks are in, Raymond (or Lisa recently) works on the art side to properly represent each of the tracks and I get to work on trying to discover a flow between the songs that makes sense.

RR: Why do you think compilation albums are still important today? Do you feel they are more beneficial to independent artists?

DREW: Compilations are more important now because it’s become difficult for a band to cut through the impenetrable wall of the Internet, to get heard by more than just their peer group. I think they are equal parts beneficial to the artist and the consumer: for artists, they get to tap into the fan base of a few dozen different bands, getting exposure in unknown places. For the listener, it's a chance to become exposed to groups they may not have heard before.

RAYMOND: The world is a dangerously libertarian and individualistic place where all kinds of established powers work for themselves and against your average human being. Maybe there’s another way?

RR: Pentagon Black No. 3 & 4 are made up of live recordings from cell/smart phones. This gives the compilations a certain bootleg-like immediate/raw quality. How did you come up with this “phone comp” format for these particular compilations and would you say it is similar to live bootleg recordings that have been released in the past?

DREW: Pentagon Black No. 3 came very close on the heels of the second one, which was a very polished collection. All the artists put their best foot forward. We knew we needed to do something different with that release, both in format and delivery. It was sort of obvious. Any time we write a new song, we use Voice Memo to capture a reference of it. Listening back, they’re at least “listenable” if not “good” sounding, and so easy. We figured it wouldn't be asking too much of bands to supply us with a track that way. You could consider it in the same family as a live record, except that due to the fidelity of the phone recordings, it sounds like every band recorded in the same room.

RAYMOND: I think we were hanging out near Brasserie Beaubien when we decided it was an idea worth trying. The risk was incredibly low—no recording costs, no mastering, we already had the (very easy) technology down, we knew a bunch of bands that trusted us because of the first two compilations, and printing 500 postcards is dirt cheap. That same “low risk” environment bled into the adventurousness of the recordings. Garbageface recorded his track while walking around Peterborough singing into his phone, Special Costello’s while driving in western Nova Scotia. An early version of Steph Yates’ track had her cat in it, Usse described their recording as “their free-est yet” and Fashionism spontaneously cusses at us in their intro. So much of this is unfiltered or untried. I honestly haven’t thought of these as akin to “bootlegs” until you just mentioned it now.

RR: How does Pentagon Black No. 4 differ from No. 3 and what are some of your favourite bootleg/live recordings that you’ve heard?

DREW: They’re different in that artists were taking bigger sonic risks this time around. There is more experimentation and diversity among the tracks. And a bunch of saxophone. Personally, the live version of “The Human Factor" by Oneida is one of my favorites. I have it on vinyl but my partner doesn’t allow me to play it at home because she hates it. It's 15 minutes of improvised drums and screaming.

RAYMOND: Agreed. It was easier to coax tracks out of bands, too, which is why it’s a few songs longer. And there isn’t any Famines on it. And the Rolling Stones’ “Got Live if You Want It” live LP is a sonic mess. I love it so much—it sounds like the Stones gone punk. We named one of our songs “Got Lies if You Want Them” as a bit of an echo of it.

RR: Lisa Czech did the artwork for Pentagon Black No. 3 & 4. When did you first discover her art and how did she become involved with the album art for these recent compilation albums?


DREW: I’d seen her work on posters around Montreal for years but didn't know who she was. We wanted something that stood out as wholly different from the style of the first two, which are easy to spot as Raymond's work.

RAYMOND: I’d bought a few prints of hers over the years, and her B&W-dominated obsessively-detailed art was a clear fit. She’s the only person besides me we’ve ever trusted with a Famines release or comp. I think we may even have been considering her for a Famines record cover before this?

RR: You were involved in the 2018 Flourish Festival recently. The Famines played and in addition to releasing this compilation there was an art exhibition of sorts. Can you tell us a bit about what this entailed?

DREW: We played with Whoop-Szo, Klarka Weinwurm, Lonely Parade and Motherhood, and all of these bands have appeared on at least one of our compilations. In a way it was the unofficial Pentagon Black showcase. We also hung up each of the compilations, the Pentagon Black Famines singles, our Complete Collected Singles paper re-issue, a PRIORS record, and a picture of my leg tattoo (also known as the 7th Pentagon Black release). All the exhibit labels showed a download code, too, and anybody who wanted could download the releases for free. That's at least 106 songs.

RAYMOND: Yeah, it was all ten Pentagon Black releases, left to right, chronologically. Oh, and we added the “Stay Home Club” paper single—our very first paper release. That was on another label (Psychic Handshake, RIP). They basically said “we’re going out of business so do whatever you want as long as it’s cheap, you crazy boys.”

RR: Your label is called Pentagon Black. What inspired the name Pentagon Black?

DREW: We discussed a handful of combinations before arriving at Pentagon Black. I can't remember the exact flow, but black is a touchstone of our vibe and the pentagon is a visually striking shape to rally around.

RAYMOND: The minimalism and starkness of it is expressive of the Famines. And it sounds nice, too.

RR: Do you think that Pentagon Black will ever release anything in a physical format or do you plan on sticking to digital releases?

DREW: We haven’t discussed it officially, but I can confidently say we will always release on paper with digital. Vinyl and cassette are too expensive and wasteful. CDs are equally wasteful, perceived as uncool, and move slower because of it.

RAYMOND: No comment.

RR: The first two Pentagon Black compilations were more studio recorded affairs, while these last two were live. Do you plan on doing more compilation albums and if so, what do you plan on doing next?


DREW: We've put a lot of work into pushing compilations and scene building, but have put zero work into recording and pushing our own music lately. So the next release is going to be by and for the Famines. We haven't closed the book on compilations, but it hasn't been a week yet since No. 4 was released. We're taking a vacation from making any grand plans.

RAYMOND: Good call. As much as we talk about how “easy” our formats are on musicians, this stuff is exhausting. I just want to be a guitarist and singer for at least half a year, tour around, record a bit, talk to the musicians we’ve worked with, and maybe they’ll tell us what comes next.

Show 719 Play List (Originally Aired On April 28th, 2018)(Pentagon Black No.4 Part 2):

1. Billy Lee Riley - Flyin' Saucer Rock & Roll
2. Big Mama Thornton - Wrapped Tight
3. Bo Diddley - Down Home Special
4. The Gories - Be Nice
5. The Space Plan - High Noon In Death Valley
6. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Who's Afraid Of Alison Hymer/Wow Flutter Hiss
7. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Babakganoosh
8. Young Fresh Fellows - Taco Wagon
9. Secrets - Take Another Look
10. Marbles - Fire and Smoke
11. The Revelons - 97 Tears
12. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Oliver's Army
13. The Clash - White Riot (UK Version)
14. The Ronald Reagan Story - Ronnie (I Voted For You)
15. Nocturnal Projections - Nerve Ends In Power Lines
16. Nocturnal Projections - Moving Forward
17. Visitors - The Orcadian
18. Preoccupations - Espionage
19. A Place To Bury Strangers - Execution
20. Heart Attack Kids - Platonic Love Bomb
21. Cellos - Exodus
22. The Famines - Stay Home Club
23. Fashionism - Checking Out the Checkout Girl
24. Outtacontroller - Too Much Tonight
25. Steph Yates - Bitter Part of the Fruit
26. Paul The Tailor - Why Won't You
27. The Ketamines - Spaced Out
28. The Replacements - Hitchin' A Ride
29. Tough Age - 50 Girls 50
30. Guided By Voices - Space Gun
31. Frankie Cosmos - Apathy
32. Subway Sect - Don't Split It
33. The Rolling Stones - Under My Thumb (Live)
34. The Rolling Stones - Get Off My Cloud (Live)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 28.

Show 718 Play List (Originally Aired On April 21st, 2018)(Pentagon Black No.4 Part 1):

1. Iggy Pop - Rock And Roll Party
2. Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen
3. Ivy Green - I'm Sure We're Gonna Make It
4. Epsilons - Drunk On Love
5. Epsilons - Evil Robots
6. The Unintended - Stay Calm
7. Jon Langford & His Sadies - Up To My Neck In This
8. Mayhemingways - 14th of January
9. Born Ruffians - Ring That Bell
10. Baby Giant - Such & Such
11. Human Switchboard - Fly-In
12. The Waterfront - Normandy (On The Beach)
13. Damaged Bug - The Mirror
14. The Government - None of the Above
15. Kim Gray - Reflection of You
16. The Exploding Hearts - Shattered (You Left Me)
17. Kevin Morby - Baltimore (County Line)
18. OCS - Wait All Nite
19. OCS - Tower & The Wall
20. Indian Wars - Walk Around The Park
21. Curtiss A - Bad News From Phoenix
22. The Suicide Commandos - Weekend Warrior
23. The Minneapolis Uranium Club Band - Vanishing Point
24. Don't Bother - The Rebel
25. The Orange Kyte - Downfall
26. The Cavemen - Thug
27. Nap Eyes - You Like To Joke Around With Me
28. Nap Eyes - Everytime The Feeling
29. Gary U.S. Bonds - Quarter To Three
30. The Ugly Ducklings - Nothin'

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 21.


Show 717 Play List (Originally Aired On April 14th, 2017)(Hot Snakes, The Spits and The Wipers):


1. Messer Chups - House of Exorcism
2. The Phantoms - Peter Gunn
3. The Garry's - Relics
4. La Luz - Cicada
5. Bonny Doon - A Lotta Things
6. Lucile Furs - Another Land
7. Papermaps - The Missed Connections
8. The Voidz - Leave It In My Dreams
9. A Place To Bury Strangers - Frustrated Operator
10. Yellow Magic Orchestra - Solid State Survivor
11. Safe Word - You & Me
12. Lychi - Not Sorry
13. Middle Sister - The Diplomat
14. Eamon McGrath - Cartographers
15. Dusted - Backwoods Ritual
16. Hot Snakes - I Need A Doctor
17. Hot Snakes - I Hate The Kids
18. Ten Million Lights - Revolt
19. Shark Toys - Three Dogs
20. The Spits - 2018
21. The Spits - Remote Kontrol
22. LTD - New Stains
23. Guitar Army - I Wanna Be Like You
24. Garbage Face - Rock Music (Kawithitnow)
25. Garbage Face - That Guy Is Cool (Sick!)
26. Paul Jacobs - The Basement
27. The Wipers - When It's Over
28. Destroy All Monsters - Nobody Knows
29. The Gruesomes - You Gotta Believe Me

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 14.

Show 716 Play List (Originally Aired On April 7th, 2018)(Archie & The Bunkers, Husker Du, Nap Eyes & Ty Segall):

1. Creation's Disciple - Psychedelic Reaction
2. Phil and The Frantics - I Must Run
3. Archie and The Bunkers - The Traveler
4. Archie and The Bunkers - She's A Rockin' Machine
5. Naked Giants - Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows)
6. Frankie Cosmos - The Ballad of R & J Vessel
7. The Damned - Idiot Box
8. Iggy & The Stooges - Shake Appeal
9. Psychic Void - Day Dreamer
10. Husker Du - From The Gut
11. Husker Du - Sunshine Superman
12. Hellaluya - Iggy Pop
13. Cartoons - Bugeyed
14. Young Canadians - No Escape
15. Spizzenergi - Mega City 3
16. Devo - Wiggly World (Live at The Walker 1978)
17. Ought - Disgraced In America
18. The Magnificent 7's - Dirty Road
19. James O-L & The Villains - Foolsome Tourist
20. Bloodshot Bill - Pretty Little Girl From Mars
21. Baby Giant - Sky Writer
22. Leonard Cohen - Stories of the Street
23. Nap Eyes - Roses
24. Nap Eyes - Follow Me Down
25. Chain & The Gang - I Hate Winners
26. Ty Segall & White Fence - Easy Ryder
27. Ty Segall - You Say All The Nice Things
28. Danny & The Darleans - I'm Right Here
29. Preoccupations - Manipulation

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 7.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Arc Records & Shows # 712, 713, 714, 715


Arc Records was a Canadian independent record label that had its beginnings in Toronto in 1958. Founded and owned by Philip G. Anderson, Arc Records was a subsidiary of a distribution company called the Arc Sound Company Ltd. that distributed records for many American record companies. Arc Records began pressing their own records in 1959. In 1961, Arc set up Precision Manufacturing Ltd. in order to press their own records and 45 RPM singles. The label released many covers or tributes of pop hit songs of the day performed by Canadian artists and specialized in regional artists. Arc would also find success in the US music market, as well as regionally.

Arc Records released music by many top recordings artists in Canada in the 1960s such as Anne Murray, Terry Black, Abbey Tavern Singers, Dublin Corporation, Catherine McKinnon, Richie Knight & The Mid-Knights, and Ronnie Hawkins to name a few. Two other artists of note to have music released on Arc Records were Newfoundlanders Dick Nolan and Omar Blondahl. Nolan was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and the music that he made combined elements of country music, traditional Newfoundland, Maritime and Irish folk music. In 1959, he moved to Toronto where shortly after he and his band, The Blue Valley Boys, performed at The Horseshoe Tavern as the venue’s backing band. They often backed up US country musicians such as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare and Charley Pride when they came to town. Nolan would sign to Arc Records and record 14 albums for the label between 1959-1969, two of which (I Walk The Line (1962), Folsom Prison Blues and Other Johnny Cash Songs (1968)) were Johnny Cash tribute albums. Some of his notable songs were the Newfoundland folk songs “I’s the B’y” and “Aunt Martha’s Sheep”, in addition to country material that he recorded. Omar Blondahl was born in Wynyard, Saskatchewan, but it wasn’t until getting a job at a radio station in Newfoundland that he discovered the folk songs of Newfoundland. He became fascinated by the then largely unrecorded folk songs of Newfoundland and helped to popularize them. Several albums (Songs of Sea and Shore (1959), Favorite Folk Songs From Here … And There … And Everywhere (1960), Folk Songs From Around The World (1961)) of his were released on Arc Records.

Terry Black was a Vancouver born musician who scored a high charting single with the song “Unless You Care” at the age of 15. The song written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri led to an album in 1965 produced for Terry Black called 16. It was released on Arc Records, along with several singles and an album of outtakes and alternate versions of songs in 1966 called, The Black Plague. Richie & The Mid-Knights, an R&B band from Toronto, while they had many songs released through Arc, are perhaps best known for their high charting hit single “Charlena”. The song was originally by the Los Angeles based band The Sevilles and was a song that the band heard at a Toronto dance hall. They learned their own version of this song, mostly from memory. It became a favourite at live shows and caught the attention of Arc Records vice president Bill Gilliland. The song became a number one single on CHUM radio’s chart in Toronto for two weeks straight in the spring of 1963, being the first single by a Toronto band to do so at the time.

A subsidiary of Arc Records was the Yorkville label. This label released more garage rock and psychedelic rock oriented material by artists such as Toronto’s The Ugly Ducklings, Stych In Tyme, The Secrets and many others. Ugly Ducklings had a series of national hits with songs such as “Nothin’”, “10:30 Train” and “She Ain’t No Use To Me”, while Stych In Tyme was a band from Nova Scotia that only ever released a few singles for Arc/Yorkville, but one of their songs, a version of The Beatles “Got To Get You Into My Life”, became a national hit as well. The Secrets are known for recording their 1966 single “Cryin’ Over Her”. Backed with the slower, psychedelic based song “He Treats You Bad”, this single would be the last recorded by the band as The Secrets. The band themselves were another band in the Toronto music scene at the time. Although they formed in 1959, they got their start in recording by recording a novelty song in 1966. “Clear the Track Here Comes Shack” was a song about Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player Eddie Shack and was credited to Douglas Rankine & The Secrets. In addition to their “Cryin’ Over Her” single, The Secrets recorded an album of Monkees covers that was anonymously released through Arc entitled A Little Bit Me (Plus 9 Other Tail-Hanger Favorites) in 1967, an album of Christmas songs entitled The Story of Snoopy’s Christmas and Other Favourite Children’s Songs in 1968 on Arc Records, but by this time the band was going by The Quiet Jungle. Changing their name to avoid association with their early novelty single, as The Quiet Jungle, the band released their first single “Ship of Dreams/Everything” in 1967. The psychedelic tinged track had a modest success, but after their second single, “Too Much in Love”, The Quiet Jungle was essentially over.

These are just some examples of music released by Arc Records. You may not like everything that was released on the label, but there are all sorts of records by different types of bands that have been released with the Arc imprint. The label and its subsidiaries released a wide selection of top 40 covers, novelty songs and music from differing genres such as country, R&B, pop, folk, garage, by Toronto artists at the time, other Canadian artists and artists from the US. A lot of Arc’s material was recorded by Canadian record producer and guitarist Brian Adhern. He left the label in the 70s when he relocated to Nashville and would record material with Johnny Cash, Neil Young and Emmy Lou Harris. Ben Weatherby was also a producer and musician associated with the label. He was the original house producer for Arc and has been credited on numerous releases. In the 70s Arc Sound Ltd. and all of its related subsidiaries were combined into one company called AHED Music Corporation Ltd. and expanded to sell guitars and amplifiers. Arc and AHED ceased operations in 1986. While nowadays you will most likely find Arc Records related releases at thrift shops in used record stores in Canada, they are still around in some way. You just have to know where to look.

For more information on Arc Records, please visit the following websites:
Arc Sound Company
The Canadian Encyclopedia
Garage Hangover (Arc Records)
Garage Hangover (Yorkville)

Show 715 Play List (Arc Records, The Black Angels & The Black Lips)(Originally Aired On March 31st, 2018):

1. The Electric Vomit - Treasure Hunt
2. U.I.C - Lite It N' Fly It
3. Ramones - I Don't Care
4. The Cure - Grinding Halt
5. Papermaps - Terminal
6. Sloan - All of the Voices
7. The Phantoms - Ghost Riders In The Sky
8. Richie Knight & The Mid-Knights - Homework
9. Ronnie & The Hi-Lites - The Fact of the Matter
10. The Cheshyres - Shake Your Money Maker
11. The Cryptones - Lolita
12. Juliana Hatfield - A Little More Love
13. Lou Reed - Wait
14. Baby Giant - Minnesota
15. Baby Giant - She Don't Want To Fall In Love
16. Dick Nolan - Truck Driving Man
17. Dick Nolan - All Over Again
18. Diane Motel - Get Through To You
19. X - I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
20. Sonic Youth - The Empty Page
21. Syd Barrett - Octopus
22. The Garry's - Burger Buoy
23. The Black Angels - Currency
24. The Black Angels - Phosphene Dream
25. The Black Lips - Drugs
26. The Black Lips - Again & Again
27. The Black Angels - Winter '68
28. The Black Lips - O Katrina!

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 31.

Show 714 (Preoccupations, Captain Beefheart & Bob Dylan)(Originally Aired On March 24th, 2018):

1. The Velvetones - Static
2. The Charades Band - Christina
3. Mark Malibu & The Wasagas - Twelve Year Surf Itch
4. Mike Mikus - Figured As Much
5. The Men - The World
6. Superchunk - Dead Photographers
7. The Polymorphines - Saucer Eyes
8. Preoccupations - Solace
9. Preoccupations - Disarray
10. Preoccupations - Newspaper Spoons
11. Melody Fields - Rain Man
12. Ten Million Lights - Red Tornado
13. Razorhouse - Mortality Vs. The Accountant
14. Jeff Rosenstock - All This Useless Energy
15. Lychi - Serf In U.S.A
16. Ricky Hell & The Voidboys - Apartment 9
17. Captain Beefheart - Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles
18. The Oblivians - Oblivion
19. The Gories - Smashed
20. Deja Voodoo - Private Eye
21. The Gruesomes - 3 Men 1 Coffin
22. Le Kidd & Les Marinellis - Camille
23. The Cheetahs - Girl of Doom
24. Bob Dylan - Highway 51 Blues
25. Bob Dylan - Talkin' New York
26. Car Seat Headrest - Sober to Death
27. Ponctuation - Unhemlich
28. Simply Saucer - Dance The Mutation

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 24.

Show 713 (St. Patrick's Day, Hot Snakes, Ty Segall & The Ventures)(Originally Aired On March 17th, 2018):

1. Undertones - Wednesday Week
2. U2 - Stories For Boys (Live)
3. The Outcasts - Self-Conscious Over You
4. Protex - (Just Want) Your Attention
5. The Pogues - Streams of Whiskey
6. Guided By Voices - I Love Kangaroos
7. Nap Eyes - Dull Me Line
8. James O-L & The Villains - Wild Goose Jack
9. Titus Andronicus - Above The Bodega (Local Business)
10. Shame - Concrete
11. Ought - Disaffection
12. Hot Snakes - Death of a Sportsman
13. Stiff Little Fingers - Roots, Radicals, Rockers
14. Freak Heat Waves - Moved You Right
15. U.S. Girls - Time
16. Sliver Apples - Oscillations
17. Suuns - Baseline
18. Kim Gray - No Moonlight
19. Rec Centre - Dealer To The Stars
20. La Fete - Marine Malice
21. Microdot - Endless Doubts
22. Mount Eerie - Earth
23. Ty Segall - Alta
24. Deerhunter - Cryptograms
25. The Ventures - Dick Tracy
26. The Ventures - Journey To The Stars

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 17.

Show 712 (International Women's Day 2018)(Originally Aired On March 10th, 2018):

1. La Luz - Sunstroke (It’s Alive - 2013)
2. Cub - Tell Me Now (Betti Cola - 1993)
3. She Trinity - Have I Sinned (Have I Sinned/Wildflower - 1966)
4. The Detroit Cobras - (I Wanna Know) What’s Going On? (Tied & True - 2007)
5. Patsy Cline - Gotta Lot of Rhythm in My Soul (Gotta Lot of Rhythm In My Soul/I'm Blue Again - 1959)
6. Wanda Jackson - Honey Bop (Honey Bop/Just A Queen For A Day - 1958)
7. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Let It Go (Lotta Sea Lice - 2017)
8. U.S. Girls - Incidental Boogie (In A Poem Unlimited - 2018)
9. Actors - L’appel Du Vide (It Will Come To You - 2018)
10. The Brat - Swift Moves (Attitudes EP - 1980)
11. Suburban Lawns - Gidget Goes To Hell (Gidget Goes To Hell/My Boyfriend - 1979)
12. The Slits - Shoplifting (Peel Session 1977)(The Peel Sessions - 1998)
13. The Adverts - One Chord Wonder (1977 Peel Session)(The Wonder's Don't Care: The Complete Radio Sessions - 1997)
14. Bags - Babylonian Gorgon (Survive/Babylonian Gorgon - 1978)
15. Alice Bag - 77 (Blueprint - 2018)
16. Mary Margaret O’Hara - Body's In Trouble (Miss America - 1988)
17. Mary Margaret O’Hara - Dear Darling (Miss America - 1988)
18. Neko Case - John Saw That Number (Fox Confessor Brings The Flood - 2006)
19. The White Stripes - In The Cold, Cold, Night (Elephant - 2003)
20. The Beverleys - Bad Company (Brutal - 2015)
21. Eric’s Trip - Eyes Shut (Purple Blue - 1996)
22. B-Girls - Who Says Girls Can't Rock (Who Says Girls Can't Rock - 1997)
23. Teenanger - N.O.B.L.O. (Teenager - 2017)
24. The Mo-Dettes - White Mice (The Story So Far - 1981)
25. Erasers - It Was So Funny (That Song That They Sung)(Ork Records: New York, New York - 2015)
26. Danny and The Darleans - Les Fleurs Du Mal (Danny And The Darleans - 2013)
27. The Cramps - Get Off The Road (A Date With Elvis - 1986)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 10.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Beach Party: New Surf, Old Surf and Surf in Film & Show # 711


In the early 60s The Beach Party film genre was born. The films were aimed primarily at teen audiences and often dealt with common interests at the time of teens such as surfing, dancing and drag racing. Serious issues of the day were ignored such as political issues and the Vietnam War, instead they just focused on teenagers partying and having a good time. The films also featured music within the film, with characters often performing songs, miming to the music. The first film like this was Beach Party, which was originally released in 1963 by American International Pictures (AIP). It was a surprise success and many of the same actors appeared in the Beach Party film series such as Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. Dick Dale and His Del-Tones were featured in the movie and on it’s soundtrack.

Davie Allan & The Arrows are an instrumental rock band that recorded several soundtracks for films in the 60s and have a vast and at times dizzying discography. They recorded several classic instrumental based soundtracks in the 60s. They did the soundtrack to Roger Corman’s 1966 cult-classic, biker movie, The Wild Angels, The Glory Stompers (1966), Skater Dater (1966), Thunderball Alley (1967), Wild In The Streets (1968), and Born Losers (1967) to name a few. Their fuzzed out sound rides alongside surf culture. It mixes instrumental sounds with fuzzed out guitar lines and garage rock dynamics, often combining it with elements of surf music and drifting into other directions.

The Endless Summer was released in 1966 internationally, but initially was put out in 1964. This documentary follows two surfers Mike Hynson and Robert August as they go on a surfing trip around the world. Created by filmmaker Bruce Brown, who also narrates the film, The Endless Summer is often seen as the Citizen Kane of surfing films, as it portrays surfers, surfing in different elements around the world. The soundtrack to this film was composed by the band The Sandals. John Severson was also another influential figure in surf culture. He created and founded Surfer magazine in 1962, in addition to being a photographer, painter, filmmaker and surfer. His films Surf (1960), Surf Fever (1960), and Pacific Vibrations (1970) all were documentaries that helped to modernize and add to surf culture. Surf music was also featured in these films, sometimes alongside other types of rock music.

There have been many other films that have featured surf music in them. Another big one was 1994’s Pulp Fiction. I have already written about this film for a previous episode of Revolution Surf, but this film helped reintroduce the genre to a new generation of people. In 2006, Ron Mann made a film called Tales of The Rat Fink. The documentary film focused on Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, who was a customer car designer. He created the cartoon character The Rat Fink, as an anti-hero to Mickey Mouse and he has become an icon in American culture. Roth was also in a musical novelty group Mr. Weirdo & The Gassers, who released a few bizarre surf rock albums in the 60s. All of this combined with hot rod and surf culture from the 60s and an interest resurged in the Rat Fink character in the 80s/90s. The music for this film was composed by the Canadian band The Sadies. 26 of the 60 compositions created for the film were put out as a soundtrack album entitled, Tales of the Rat Fink. Surf music was once seen as dated and no longer relevant, but it has proven time and time again that it is still influential and relevant. It can still be heard in music today, whether it is an instrumental surf band, a garage band combining surf music elements or just an indie rock band. It can also be found in TV shows, commercials and still in film. Surf music coasts through our culture, regardless of the decade and is here to stay.

Revolution Surf Play List 2018:

1. The Sandals - Driftin' (The Endless Summer (Original Soundtrack to the Motion Picture) - 1966)
2. The Sandals - Theme From "The Endless Summer" (The Endless Summer (Original Soundtrack to the Motion Picture) - 1966)
3. Vic Mizzy - Daybreak At Malibu (Don't Make Waves - 1966)
4. Dick Dale - Secret Surfin' Spot (Annette's Beach Party - 1963)
5. Sting Rays - Surfers Walk (Surfer's Walk/Mad Surfer - 1964)
6. The Swanks - Ghost Train (My College Cry/Ghost Train - 1968)
7. The Intrepides - Golash (Golash/Donna - 1965/The Birth of Surf Vol 2 - 2010)
8. The Sentinals - Big Surf (Sunset Beach: The Best of The Sentinals - 1999)
9. The Separatwists - Commanche (Bar Walking - 2016)
10. Forbidden Dimension - The Shadow Knows (Think Link Vol 2 - 1996)
11. Atomicos - Hotdog! (Surfodelic - 2017)
12. Los Straitjackets - Outta Gear (Viva! Los Straitjackets - 1996)

THE SURFPHONY OF DERSTRUCTION 2000 SEGMENT WITH DERK BRIGANTE:

13. Retrocaine - Baywatch (Back To The 90's - 2017)
14. Tsunamibots - Automaton (The Crushing - 2016)
15. C&C Surf Factory - Planet Mar (Rumbler - 2017)
16. Carlo - Commanche Drive (Carlo - 2018)
17. Surflamingo - Green Hill Zone (Entrepenas Bay Terror - 2017)
18. The Sufrajettes - Mrs. Motto (Surfrajettes EP - 2017)


19. The Centurions - Bullwinkle Pt II (Surfer's Pajama Party - 1963/Music From The Motion Picture Pulp Fiction Soundtrack - 1994)
20. The Mummies - The Fly (Play Their Own Records - 1992)
21. Dusty Mush - Cold Sands (Cheap Entertainment - 2017)
22. Davie Allan & The Arrows - The Chase (The Wild Angels - 1966)
23. Davie Allan & The Arrows - Blues Theme (The Wild Angels - 1966)
24. Davie Allan & The Arrows - Skate Out (Skater Dater - 1966)
25. Ben Vaughn - Main Title (Psycho Beach Party Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 2000)
26. The Fathoms - Overboard (Overboard - 1998/Psycho Beach Party Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 2000)
27. Bloodshot Bill - Release The Beast (Home Recordings Vol 1 - 2018)
28. Jan Davis - The Snow Surfing Matador (The Snow Surfing Matador/Scramble - 1964/Jungle Exotica - 1991)
29. Mark Malibu And The Wasagas - Psychedelic Summer (The Original Surf Punk Recordings - 2014)
30. The Shoobies - Spy Kill Tito (The Shoobies EP - 2018)
31. Huevos Rancheros - Secret Recipe (Dig In! - 1995)
32. The 5.6.7.8's - Harlem Nocturne (The 5.6.7.8's - 1994)
33. The Sadies The Mowhawk (Tales of the Rat Fink Original Soundtrack - 2006)
34. The Sadies The Bug Jar (Tales of the Rat Fink Original Soundtrack - 2006)
35. The Sadies The Double Wide (Tales of the Rat Fink Original Soundtrack - 2006)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 3.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Northern Passages: The Sadies Radio Special, Travis Good Interview & Show # 710


The Sadies are described as a Canadian rock/country and western band. Coming from Toronto, Canada, the band is comprised of brothers Dallas and Travis Good, Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky. Dallas and Travis come from a country music family. They are the sons of Margaret and Bruce Good, as well as the nephews of Brian and Larry Good who are members of the Canadian country band, The Good Brothers. Forming in 1994, The Sadies developed their own take on country and western music, incorporating elements of surf and garage rock with a punk infused energy. Their first album was released in 1998, and was entitled Precious Moments. Songs on the album Precious Moments featured a large amount of instrumental tracks, combined with songs with vocals, but all the elements of The Sadies are there. Songs such as “Glass of Wine”, features an almost R&B garage sound, “Little Sadie” is their take on the traditional song of the same name, giving it a psychedelic folk spin, “Cowhand” is a slow creeping folk song with fiddle and guest vocals by Neko Case and “Barbarosa” is a bombastic garage track. This combined with their instrumental surf tracks such as “Cheat”, the Eninio Morricone styled “Dying Is Easy”, “Snow Squadron” and “Rapid Monkey”, all add to the landscape they first painted in 1998. The album was recorded by Steve Albini, along with several other early albums in the band’s catalog (Pure Diamond Gold (1999), In Concert Vol.1 (2006)).

As The Sadies albums progressed so did their sound. Known for their live shows, their undeniable chemistry is something that is always present on their recordings, but as their albums and sound progressed, so did their songwriting. It still is for that matter. 2002’s Stories Often Told, fleshed out their sound to include more psychedelic, folk, bluegrass, country and blues elements. This is apparent on songs such as “The Story’s Often Told”, “A Steep Climb" and “Within A Stone”. 2004’s Favourite Colours upped the ante, balancing their sound while also featuring collaborations with Rick White (of Eric’s Trip), and Robyn Hitchcock. In 2007 their album New Seasons earned a Polaris Prize nomination. New Seasons featured a focus on the slower side of the band’s country/folk influences. The harmonies and songwriting strengthened even further on this album, which was co-produced by The Jayhawks Gary Louris with The Sadies. Songs such as “Anna Leigh”, “What’s Left Behind”, and “The Trial”, displayed a haunting sense of atmosphere.

2010’s Darker Circles was nominated for a Polaris Prize as well. It was produced once again by Jawhawk guitarist Gary Louris with The Sadies and is often seen as a companion album to New Seasons. However, this album took on more layers within the music and lyrics. The lyrics have been said to be darker than usual on this album. The Sadies have always had darker elements in their sound and lyrics, but this album took it to a new level. Darker Circles is nuanced, with something always seeming to rumble beneath the surface. Songs such as “Another Year Again”, and “Cut Corners” are psychedelic-garage tinged tracks, while songs such as “Tell Her What I Said” combine psychedelia and country, “Postcards” takes on a Byrds influence, “Idle Tomorrows”, and “Choosing To Fly” drift into country and bluegrass territories. In addition to releasing numerous albums, The Sadies have also collaborated, performed and recorded with other musicians such as Andre Williams, Neko Case, Blue Rodeo, Garth Hudson, John Doe, Neil Young and Gord Downie. This is in addition to being involved with other bands such as The Unintended, Heavy Trash, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet and other groups.

In 2017, The Sadies released Northern Passages, their 10th full-length album. Recorded in the Good parents' basement and produced by Dallas Good, Northern Passages mixes up a complex pairing of thoughts and reflectiveness, while at the same time displaying a sense of hopefulness. With an overall sound that can be described as an “acid-folk-country-punk trip”, Northern Passages finds The Sadies navigating through familiar and new territories, building on their sound and atmosphere. Whether it is with the string of collaborations, their own albums or their live shows, The Sadies are always approaching their music from different directions. Since their beginnings they have always found their own path and still continue to do so.

Check out my interview with Sadies member Travis Good here:



The Sadies Play List:

1. The Sadies - Cheat (Live) (In Concert Vol. 1 - 2006)
2. The Sadies - Little Sadie (Precious Moments - 1998)
3. Jon Langford & His Sadies - Strange Birds (Mayors of the Moon - 2002)
4. The Sadies - What's Left Behind (New Seasons - 2007)
5. The Sadies - Postcards (Darker Circles - 2010)
6. The Sadies - Translucent Sparrow (Favourite Colours - 2004)
7. The Sadies - The Story's Often Told (Stories Often Told - 2002)
8. The Sadies - Questions I've Never Asked (Northern Passages - 2017)
9. The Sadies - Dying Ain't No Way To Make A Living (Dying Ain't No Way To Make A Living - 1996)
10. The Unintended - The Collaspse (The Unintended - 2004)
11. Andre Williams & The Sadies - She's a Bag of Potato Chips (Red Dirt - 1999)
12. The Sadies - There's a Higher Power (Pure Diamond Gold - 1999)
13. The Sadies - Reward of Gold (Pure Diamond Gold - 1999)
14. The Sadies - The 400 (Tales of the Rat Fink - 2006)
15. The Sadies - Flash (Tremendous Efforts - 2001)
16. The Sadies - Wasn't Born To Follow (Tremendous Efforts - 2001)
17. John Doe & The Sadies - The Cold Hard Facts of Life (Country Club - 2009)
18. Neko Case - Hold On, Hold On (Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - 2006)

TRAVIS GOOD INTERVIEW

19. The Sadies - Leave Me Alone (Live) (In Concert Vol. 1 - 2006)
20. Garth Hudson Ft. Neil Young & The Sadies - This Wheel's On Fire (Garth Hudson Presents A Canadian Celebration of The Band - 2010)
21. Gord Downie & The Sadies - The Conquering Sun (And The Conquering Sun - 2014)
22. The Sadies - Leave This World Behind (Internal Sounds - 2013)
23. The Good Family - Taller Than The Pines (The Good Family Album - 2015)
24. The Sadies Ft. Kurt Vile - It's Easy (Like Walking) (Northern Passages - 2017)
25. The Sadies - Anna Leigh (New Seasons - 2007)
26. The Sadies - Locust Eater (Demo) (Archives Vol 1 (Rarities, Oddities and Radio: 1995-2015) - 2015)
27. The Sadies - Lay Down your Arms (Stories Often Told - 2002)
28. The Sadies - Cut Corners (Darker Circles - 2010)

Download/listen to this program here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Rebellious Jukebox: The Music of The Fall & Show # 709

Article Written by Adam Peltier & Dave Konstantino

“Always different, always the same” - John Peel on The Fall

“It could be worse; you could be the singer of The Fall” - Tony Wilson on Mark E. Smith

“People only need me when they’re down and gone to seed” - Mark E. Smith, “Hip Priest”


Mark E. Smith was one of post-punk’s great deconstructionist agitators. In his forty year career with The Fall, Smith didn’t so much act as a band leader as much as a sonic provoker. While The Fall has literally hundreds of tracks to its name, the compositions arranged by Mark E. Smith and his ever-rotating roster of musical accomplices rarely felt like songs in the traditional sense. The angular and abrasive music made by the band, led by Smith’s idiosyncratic style of spoken/sung fractured rambling, felt more like odd aural experiments, strange tone poems, and at its most extremes, broadcasts from some alien radio station. Smith, while lazily attributed the status of rock-poet, hardly used language to elucidate or beautify. Smith’s strength was in demonstrating the malleability of language, fracturing familiar phrases, garbling syllables, and patch-working words to create a seemingly new variant of English. If anything, Smith showed the arbitrariness of spoken language, taking a piss of the idea of the songwriter/poet, while paradoxically demonstrating astonishing creativity in his heedlessly irreverent compositions. It makes sense he titled an album Perverted by Language. He saw conventional language as bondage, a form of restriction that he rallied against throughout his artistic career. To be blunt, Mark E. Smith was the great anti-poet of post-punk, holding more in common with the likes of William S. Burroughs and Thomas Pynchon, kindred souls who also saw language as bondage and art as an exercise of escaping these bonds.

The Fall’s career was an interesting one to say the least. The band’s first EP, Bingo Master’s Break-Out! was released in 1978 and featured three songs. Of these songs, “Bingo Master”, seemed like a character sketch out of some short story about a dejected bingo caller. “Psycho Mafia”, is a song that seems to reference the then rabid, audience of the late 70s punk scene, who also would spit on bands in a disgusting display of admiration and “Repetition” operates like a band ethos, as the lyrics attack the listener on a different level altogether. As stated earlier the lyrics of The Fall, played with language, but were also cryptic in some ways. Mark E. Smith never liked to discuss the meanings behind his songs or lyrics, he left it open to interpretation. Live At Witch Trials was The Fall’s full-length debut album. The debut featured an altered line up from their first EP. This is something that would happen often within The Fall, they would over the years have 66 different band members in the group with Mark E. Smith remaining the only constant member. Despite its title, Live At Witch Trials was not a live album. It displayed an energetic focus and was at the same time rough sounding. With songs such as “Rebellious Jukebox”, “No Xmas For John Quays” and “Industrial Estate”, The Fall set their own path. Lyrically and musically, The Fall seemed to come from a different place.

There are many different eras of The Fall that could be looked at. They released 31 studio albums in their lifetime. There were 32 live albums and that’s not counting singles and EPs. With the line up changes often came a change in sound. Going back to John Peel’s quote, they were “Always different, always the same”. Brix Smith was part the band from 1983-1989 and helped to shape the sound of The Fall during this time period. It should also be noted that bassist Steve Hanley played bass with The Fall from 1979-1998 and there are many other band members that were with the band for extended periods of time, but there are far too many to name. The sound during the Brix Smith era of The Fall adopted more of a conventional approach, often adding pop hooks to the Fall’s already established sound. A string of critically acclaimed albums and singles followed such as This Nation’s Saving Grace (1985), Bend Sinister (1986), The Frenz Experiment (1988) and I Am Kurious, Oranj (1988), which was the product of a collaboration of Smith and dancer Michael Clark, for the ballet. These are just some of the examples of music that was released from the band’s long career that even featured an album in 2017 called New Facts Emerge. It would prove to be The Fall’s last full-length album released during Mark E. Smith’s lifetime.

As admirable an artist that he was, Smith was far from a flawless human being. Smith endured a life of substance abuse, frayed friendships, and failing health. The Manchurian musician passed away too young, at the age of sixty, undoubtedly the suddenness of his passing exacerbated by the lifestyle he lived. While Smith was not a perfect man, he was one who forever changed the way a lot of us saw what music was and how it could be made. In a statement made by the musician’s ex-wife and former band member Brix Smith, she stated that “He never once compromised...how many others can leave this life with such a singularity of vision?” It's hard to think of very few others. Nobody can say exactly what legacy the future will hold for Smith and The Fall, but perhaps it is much like the alienated young people who find solace in reading Naked Lunch or The Crying of Lot 49, that same type of person will find solace and inspiration in records like Perverted by Language, Hex Enduction Hour, and This Nation’s Saving Grace. For how he changed that way we listened to music and what we thought was possible for a singer to do, all we can say is thank you Mark E. Smith. RIP

The Fall Play List:

1. The Fall - Bingo Master (Bingo Master's Break-Out! - 1978)
2. The Fall - Industrial Estate (Peel Session - May 30, 1978) (The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004 - 2005)
3. The Fall - Rebellious Jukebox (Live At Witch Trials - 1979)
4. The Fall - A Figure Walks (Dragnet - 1979)
5. The Fall - I Feel Voxish (Perverted By Language - 1983)
6. The Fall - Coach And Horses (Reformation Post TLC - 2007)
7. The Fall - Funnel Of Love (Your Future Our Clutter - 2010)
8. The Fall - Theme From Sparta F.C.#2 (The Real New Fall LP - 2003)
9. The Fall - There's A Ghost In My House (The Frenz Experiment - 1988)
10. The Fall - C.R.E.E.P. (C.R.E.E.P. Single - 1984)
11. The Fall - Kinder of Spine (Re-Mit - 2013)
12. The Fall - Fol De Rol (New Facts Emerge - 2017)
13. The Fall - Strychnine (Peel Session - February 28, 1993) (The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004 - 2005)
14. The Fall - Victoria (The Frenz Experiment - 1988)
15. The Fall - Mr. Pharmacist (Bend Sinister - 1986)
16. The Fall - Cruisers Creek (This Nation's Saving Grace - 1985)
17. The Fall - New Big Prinz (I Am Kurious, Oranj - 1988)
18. The Fall - Hip Priest (Hex Enduction Hour - 1982)
19. The Fall - How I Wrote Elastic Man (Grotesque - 1980)
20. The Fall - Totally Wired (Totally Wired Single - 1980)
21. The Fall - What You Need (This Nation's Saving Grace - 1985)
22. The Fall - Stepping Out (Live) (77 - The Early Years - 79 - 1981)
23. The Fall - Psycho Mafia (Bingo Master's Break-Out! - 1978)
24. The Fall - Repetition (Bingo Master's Break-Out! - 1978)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 17.

On February 10th, a previous episode of Revolution Rock aired due to weather conditions. That episode was a repeat of a Black History Month episode from 2017's theme month programming. That show can be downloaded here (Show # 708) and the play list can be found here.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Revolution Jazz: Miles Davis & Show # 707

Article Written by Adam Peltier

In recent years, jazz has unfortunately been regarded as an erudite musical form, something for academics and intellectuals to pursue in a curricular fashion. There is an unfortunate truth to this. The institutionalization of this genre has led jazz to be integrated in conservatories and theory, academizing (and by extension, neutering) this art form. When jazz is not relegated to the esoteric, it is tossed off as chintz, ersatz music meant for elevators and cocktail lounges. What is often forgotten about the genre is how dangerous and volatile it can be. Listen to the right album and you’ll hear it: the syncopation of the drums hammering harder and fiercer than any metal record, the horns lacerating as much as any cut by the Stooges or Velvets, the bass as bellowing and emotive as the most soulful of human voices. Jazz is dangerous, not only in its possibility to defy musical conventions (tonality, melody, and predictable chord changes have all been subverted within this genre, and sometimes simultaneously), but in the volatile performances of its creators. With this said, few jazz musicians have been as dangerous, or for that matter as influential, as Miles Davis.

Davis was a pioneer, not only of jazz music, but of 20th century music in general. Could UK Jungle have developed without the fearless polyrhythms of Dark Magus, ambient music without the sustained vamps of Bitches Brew, or hip-hop without the hypnotic beats of On the Corner? Yes, we may have eventually developed those genres, but it definitely would have taken a lot longer without the constant experimentation of Davis. The man has played a crucial role in almost every major development in jazz since the 1940’s. He treated the genre not as a set of parameters to follow, but a fluid forum to explore an infinity of possibilities.

To appraise the legacy of Miles Davis, it would be too restrictive to simply focus on one album or even a single era of his career. His exercises in “cool jazz” (see Birth of the Cool) from the 1950’s marked a major shift in post-bebop jazz, introducing a range of classical music techniques into both Davis’ sound and the genre itself. ‘Round About Midnight defined the hard bop subgenre, along with the works of fellow legends like Coltrane and Rollins. Kind of Blue not only changed the landscape of jazz again through its use of modality (using musical modes as opposed to standard chord progressions), but the record also remains the best selling jazz album of all time. His late 1960’s collaborations with producer Teo Macero (In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and A Tribute to Jack Johnson) not only invented jazz fusion, but caused an uproar amongst fans equal to the controversy of Dylan’s “electric era”. Then there are his later era experiments in augmenting jazz and electronic music, resulting in groundbreaking and boundary defying records like On the Corner and Doo-Bop. To say the least, it’s hard to pin Davis down as simply a musician of one movement or style. His music was always in flux, never static, never the same. Like the compositions he poured so much energy into, he refused to travel the safe road or follow the path expected of him. Davis was a musical subversive, never resting on his laurels and never satisfied in repeating himself.

There is a great amount of passion in Davis’ music. His compositions contain a lot of sadness, humour, anger, and pride. This pride also acted as a type of armour he had to wear to defend against the arrows of bigotry and racism slung his way. There are numerous accounts of Davis facing discrimination during his career, often in the form violence. Perhaps part of what motivated Davis and his preternatural creativity was the desire to prove that a black American man could not only be a great musician, but THE great musician of the 20th century. Without question, representation of the African Diaspora was a huge element in Davis’ music, as evidenced in his song titles, musical movements, and album artwork. This is also what moved Davis to compose the titular tribute to Jack Johnson, the peerless black American boxing champion. Johnson was quoted for the record as stating “I’m Jack Johnson, heavyweight champion of the world. I’m black. They never let me forget it. I’m black all right! I’ll never let them forget it!” I don’t doubt for a second that Davis saw himself and the music he made in the same light.

Davis took pride in his who he was, and provoked conservative white America and the patriarchal-colonial ideas they stood for. This is part of what made Davis so dangerous: not only his defiance of musical conventions, but his defiance of the conventions of the world he lived in. He was unwavering, unafraid, and brazen. No peer was as bold as Davis was during his life, and no one has been since the artist’s passing in 1991. However, the ghost of the trumpeter lingers and continues to haunt the musical landscape of our 21st century. He can be heard in the harrowing hip-hop of Kendrick Lamar, in the fractured electronics of Jlin, the dreary atmospheres of King Krule, and the fuzzed out noise of Ty Segall. Even those who have never listened to Davis’ music are still indirectly influenced by what he forged. Anyone who found solace in the music of Bowie, James Brown, the Stooges, Prince, Eno, or Hendrix has Miles to thank for that.

Miles Davis truly does deserve to be regarded as a legend. For his groundbreaking work in musical experimentation, his profound influence in numerous musical genres, and his constant defiance of the world he lived in, Davis will always remain one of the greatest and most dangerous of musicians who ever lived.

Miles Davis Play List:

1. Miles Davis All Stars - Milestones (Milestones/Sippin' At Bells - Savoy Records - 1946)
2. Miles Davis - 'Round Midnight ('Round About Midnight - Columbia Records - 1957)
3. Miles Davis - Red China Blues (Get Up With It - Columbia Records - 1974)
4. Miles Davis - Water Babies (Water Babies - Columbia Records - 1976)
5. Miles Davis - Jeru (The Birth Of The Cool - Capitol records - 1957)
6. Miles Davis - Will O' The Wisp (Sketches of Spain - Columbia Records - 1960)
7. Miles Davis - Riot (Nefertiti - Columbia Records - 1968)
8. Miles Davis Quintet - Orbits (Miles Smiles - Columbia Records - 1967)
9. Miles Davis - Come Get It (Star People - Columbia Records - 1983)
10. Miles Davis - Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (Bitches Brew - Columbia Records - 1970)
11. Miles Davis - Moja (Dark Magus - CBS-Sony - 1977)
12. Miles Davis - Chocolate Chip (Doo-Bop - Warner Bros Records - 1992)
13. Miles Davis - Shhh (In A Silent Way - Columbia Records - 1969)
14. Miles Davis - Black Satin (On The Corner - Columbia Records - 1972)
15. Miles Davis - Right Off (Jack Johnson/A Tribute To Jack Johnson - Columbia Records - 1971)
16. Miles Davis - Blue In Green (Kind of Blue - Columbia Records - 1959)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 3.