Saturday, August 28, 2021

Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge: An Interview With Mark Arm & Steve Turner & Show # 897


Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
is the second full-length album from Seattle’s Mudhoney. Released on July 26th, 1991, the album shipped 50,000 copies when it was originally released. Just a few months later, Nirvana’s Nevermind would be released and the whole musical landscape would change. Prior to being recorded, Mudhoney recorded five tracks with producer Jack Endino (who also produced their Superfuzz Bigmuff EP and the Mudhoney album) in a 24-track studio. Unhappy with the results, guitarist Steve Turner pushed for a change of direction. Liking the results of Conrad Uno’s 8-track recording studio called Egg Studios on the Thrillsphere album by Tacoma, Washington’s Girl Trouble, the band decided to record a selection of punk covers with Uno to see what it would sound like recording there. Several of these songs came out on singles or on compilation albums, but not all of them. In spring of 1991, Mudhoney began recording Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.

“Generation Genocide” starts off EGBDF with moody Farfisa organ, fuzzy guitar riffs, fluid basslines and energetic drums that intensify as the track comes to its chaotic close. “Let It Slide” fades in with drumrolls, guitar and bass slides, as Mark Arm sings “They can make it sound so nice/Everybody’s got a price,” in what was the album’s first single. In these opening two tracks, Uno’s production and Mudhoney’s dynamics show a reflection of their new influences, most notably 60s garage and a snotty 80s punk energy. Still keeping the urgency and Arm’s potent lyrics, this track shows a sparser sound, not sounding so much like a traditional 90s recording, but more like a classic recording from the 60s. “Good Enough” brings some acoustic guitar into Mudhoney’s songwriting dynamics. With an infectious collection of drums, bass, guitar and maracas, vocalist Mark Arm sings in an earnest and direct tone. With lyrics such as “I've made mistakes/That I'm sure I'll make again” and “Everybody says/You must have lost your head/Well, one more time is good enough for me,” Mudhoney and co. embrace imperfections while balancing it with an honesty and growth in their songwriting abilities at the same time.


“Something So Clear” juxtaposes fuzzy and energetic rhythms with melancholic lyrics ”Should’ve seen it coming/Like a bird at a window,” and other lines such as “There's a certain comfort in being confused,” this track along with the track before it shows a different side of Mudhoney. “Thorn” leans to the influence of 80s punk with corrosive lyrics, with pummeling drums “Into The Drink” attacks with a fuzzy guitar, bass and acoustic guitar dynamic. The catchy garage punk chorus of “Into the drink” about a seemingly lethal relationship make this another standout on EGBDF. “Broken Hands” reflects a Neil Young influence as it clocks in at just over six minutes. As the song treads along it builds toward an anarchic coda of noise. “Who You Drivin’ Now” is another Mudhoney fuzzy garage punk track. With its heavy guitar, organ and bass riffs that lock in creating a retro vibe, Peters’ drumming keeps the song propelling on all cylinders. “Shoot The Moon” jumps into a punk direction with psychedelic reverb laden vocals as Arm wails words such as “Looking for a life in the back of your mind/Looking so hard, you're going blind/Swear you tasted it, down the sun/Sooner or later, darkness will come” that seems to tackle a complex range of topics such as ambition, ego and trying too hard. “Fuzzgun 91” provides a brief instrumental interlude before “Pokin’ Around” begins. This more psychedelic and mid-tempo track features harmonica and great candid, yet satirical lyrics such as “You used to miss him/Now you're so turned on" and “Pokin' around/Gotten out of hand/I feel for you.” “Don’t Fade IV” brings garage meets Black Sabbath riffs with guitar slides as existential lyrics deal with monotony, while “Check-Out Time” ends EGBDF with a brooding, thought provoking intensity.

Throughout Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, Mudhoney switches their focus embracing 60s garage influences such as The Sonics, Lollipop Shoppe, Neil Young, Spacemen 3, post hardcore, 80s hardcore and the sounds of bands such as Zounds and Hawkwind. With a 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition that was released on Sub Pop in July 2021, the album has been expanded with 15 additional tracks which includes singles, compilation tracks, outtakes and the original five 24-track demos. Generally considered to be their best album, Mudhoney stripped down their sound with Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. These fourteen tracks expand their sound and melodies while still attacking with an undeniable gut feeling.  

Listen to an interview that Revolution Rock did with Mark Arm & Steve Turner of Mudhoney:


Show 897 (Originally Aired On August 28th, 2021)(Mark Arm & Steve Turner Interview):

1.  Ty Segall - Rider
2.  Parquet Courts - Walking at a Downtown Pace 
3.  The Spits - Breakdown
4.  Mudhoney - Into The Drink 
5.  Mudhoney - Who You Drivin' Now? 
6.  Mudhoney - Paperback Life (Alternate Version) 

MUDHONEY INTERVIEW PART ONE

7.  Mudhoney - Something So Clear (24-Track Demo) 
8.  Mudhoney - Fuzzbuster 

MUDHONEY INTERVIEW PART TWO

9.  Mudhoney - Thorn 
10. Mudhoney - Good Enough 
11. Mudhoney - Move Out 
12. The Wipers - Taking Too Long 
13. Tunic - Fake Interest
14. Shearing Pinx - Called By The Wrong Name 
15. Blessed - Thought
16. The Effens - Venom Denim 
17. Golden Cinema - Little Sunscreen 
18. Spread Joy - Unoriginal 
19. The Gruesomes - Bikers From Hell 
20. Kitten Spitt - Sheena Is A Punk Rocker 
21. TV Freaks - Friend
22. The Leather Uppers - Hot Shot 
23. The Rats - Can't Stand Back 
24. The Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit - Summer's Almost Gone

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the August 28 file to download/stream the episode.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Fire Of Love & Shows # 896, 895 & 894


Originally released in 1981, Fire Of Love is the incendiary debut from The Gun Club.  Recorded over two sessions with Chris D. of L.A.’s The Flesh Eaters and Tito Larriva of The Plugz, Fire Of Love captures The Gun Club in their earliest, possessed, disturbing and raw form. Known as one of the first bands to bring together the blues and punk genres, they were one of the first blues punk bands. Fronted by the enigmatic Jeffrey Lee Pierce, bassist Rob Ritter and drummer Terry Graham, both of which played in L.A. punk band The Bags, The Gun Club’s lineup on this record was completed with Ward Dotson on guitar. The band had their beginnings following a Pere Ub concert in 1979 when Jeffrey Lee Pierce and fellow Chicano musician Brian Tristan decided to form a band. They morphed into Creeping Ritual. Lineup changes occurred often in The Gun Club, but their name origins came upon the suggestion from Keith Morris of The Circle Jerks. With a new name, Tristan exited the group shortly after and became Kid Congo Powers playing guitar in The Cramps (although he would later rejoin The Gun Club).  

Lyrically, Pierce dug deep into the American psyche that was exposed in the Delta Blues. Also, mixing elements of country, roots rock, folk and of course the energy of punk, Pierce howled taking on Southern Gothic characters and tales in the form of song like a man possessed by a haunted voodoo-like intensity. The band revitalized elements of the blues with punk creating something that was not heard before. “Sex Beat” begins with sizzling guitar riffs, slides, pounding drumbeats and mysterious basslines that provide the opening musical moments of Fire Of Love. Pierce sings of desire, the balance between that and a real connection with an intense bravado. On “Preaching The Blues,” The Gun Club’s take on the Delta Blues Robert Johnson classic, you can really hear the sound of the band playing in the moment exploding in bursts of punk and country as it slows down and picks up pace throughout. 

Other tracks such as “Promise Me,” adds elements of The Velvet Underground with its unsettling violin played by Larriva that creates tension with the more laidback blues/country grooves, “She’s Like Heroin To Me” is a bonafide blues punk track. One of the tracks that clearly sets The Gun Club apart from others in the genre, lyrics such as “She is like an eye-blue swimming pool/But she will never know that she is there/We sit together, drunk like our fathers used to be,” Pierce and The Gun Club deliver a addictive concoction pulling in themes of love, desire and existentialism. “For The Love Of Ivy” is surrounded by the tension as Pierce throws himself into the Southern Gothic characters that populate this song, sometimes taking them on too literally, that is an on the edge murder ballad. The song was co-written by Kid Congo Powers is also a part love letter to guitarist Poison Ivy of The Cramps. On this track, which commands your attention, you can also hear guitar parts that are uniquely Kid Congo-like (although they were played by Dotson on the album). “Fire Spirit” leaps forward with poetic lyrics and ramshackle lustre, “Ghost On The Highway” is a dark, terrifying track that is a rave up country punk track, “Cool Drink Of Water” is a hazy, swampy bass and drum track, as Jeffrey Lee Pierce sings with tormented swagger in this reworking of the Tommy Johnson traditional.  

Although an acquired taste by some, Fire Of Love set the path for future avenues in music. Joining the post punk world, the sounds experimented with here influenced artists such as Jack White, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Nick Cave, The Pixies and many other musicians. It helped invigorate the L.A. music scene and inspired others to start bands. Chris D. stated in 2014: “When you hear Jeffrey Lee singing, screaming, shouting, yodelling and generally warbling through this set of Southern Gothic blue/folk/punk rock anthems, you don’t hear Jeffrey alone – you hear a whole cast of characters venting their bursting spleen; You name it, Jeffrey assumed the mantle. A junior punk Brando hewing close to his tradition of country blues and garage band idols. In fact ascending to the timeless pantheon to rest alongside them.” 

Show 896 (Originally Aired On August 21st, 2021)(The Gun Club Fire Of Love, The Beach Boys Surf's Up, Can Tago Mago):

1.  The Gun Club - Sex Beat
2.  The Gun Club - Preaching The Blues
3.  Japandroids - For The Love of Ivy
4.  Jeremy Gluck - Gone Free
5.  The Gun Club - Goodbye Johnny (4-Track Demo)
6.  The Gun Club - Fire of Love (Alternate Version)
7.  The Gun Club - She's Like Heroin To Me
8.  Matt Ellis - Walk Alone
9.  CLAMM - Keystone Pols
10. Dog Day - Hell On Earth
11. The Smugglers - The B 'N' L
12. METZ - No Ceiling (Live)
13. Psychic Void - Terminal Vacation
14. The Beach Boys - Lookin' At Tomorrow
15. The Beach Boys - Till I Die
16. The Beach Boys - Seasons In The Sun
17. Chad VanGaalen - Where's It All Going?
18. The Unicorns - I Was Born (A Unicorn)
19. The Jesus And Mary Chain - Mushrooms
20. Can - Paperhouse
21. Can - Bring Me Coffee Or Tea
22. Buena Vista Social Club - Chan Chan
23. Ry Cooder - Dark Is The Night
24. Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds - He Walked In

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the August 21 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 895 (Originally Aired On August 14th, 2021)(The Who Who's Next, The Strokes Is This It, Dog Day Deformer):

1.  Ty Segall - Night of the Vampire
2.  The Black - Angels Don't Fall Down
3.  Jeff Tweedy - For You (I'd Do Anything)
4.  Nap Eyes - When I Come Around
5.  Sam Coffey - Hard Livin'
6.  Guided By Voices - Baba O'Reily
7.  The Dipsomaniacs - Bargain
8.  Pat DiNizio - Behind Blue Eyes
9.  Juliana Hatfield - My Wife
10. Pussy Riot - Won't Be Fooled Again
11. Pete Townshend - Getting In Tune
12. Pete Townshend - Love Ain't For Keeping
13. Pete Townshend - Goin' Mobile
14. Pete Townshend - The Song Is Over
15. The Strokes - Is This It
16. The Strokes - Alone, Together
17. The Strokes - New York City Cops
18. Dog Day - Daydream
19. Dog Day - Eurozone
20. Dog Day - Nothing To Du
21. Ashley Shadow - For Love
22. Packs - Holy Water
23. Cub - Your Bed
24. Cub - Chicho (Brave New Waves Session)
25. Fleece - On My Mind
26. David Chesworth & Bill McDonald - Delay
27. Tee-Vee Repairman - Patterns
28. Special Delivery - Not Three Bad
29. Dion Lunadon - Negative Energy

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the August 14 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 894 (Originally Aired On August 7th, 2021)(The Quiet Jungle, Jon Mckiel, Mudhoney, Ducks LTD, Kim Gray):

1.  The Quiet Jungle - Too Much In Love
2.  The Haunted - Mona
3.  Autogramm - Jody Is A Cop
4.  Peach Kelli Pop - Cherry (That's Not Her Real Name)
5.  CIVIC TV - Black Moon
6.  The Sunshiny Daze - The Night Knows (What The Day Don't)
7.  Rick White - Whatever It Is
8.  Magic Roundabout - She's A Waterfall
9.  King Khan & BBQ Show - What's Yours Is Mine
10. Jon Mckiel - Private Eye
11. Jon Mckiel - Management
12. Jon Mckiel - Brothers
13. Jon Mckiel - Turf War
14. Jon Mckiel - Chop Through
15. Liz Phair - Soap Star Joe
16. R.E.M. - So Fast, So Numb
17. R.E.M. - Texarkana
18. Modest Mouse - Heart Cooks Brain
19. Modest Mouse - What People Are Made Of
20. Mudhoney - Generation Genocide
21. Mudhoney - Into The Drink
22. Mudhoney - Let It Slide
23. Holly Golightly - Good Enough
24. Ash - Who You Drivin' Now
25. Motorists - Through To You
26. Body Breaks - Between The Heart and Mind
27. Memes - Funny Man
28. Ducks LTD - 18 Cigarettes
29. Kim Gray - Holiday

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the August 7 file to download/stream the episode.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Get The Band Back Together: An interview with Neil Jarvis & Show # 893


Get The Band Back Together
is an album by Neil Jarvis. Perhaps best known as being in the Manchester band Sprinters, this album is the third solo album under the Neil Jarvis name. Prior to this Sprinters released two excellent albums, 2017’s Sprinters and 2019’s Struck Gold. Neil’s earlier solo albums were recorded the same was as this one was, on a 4-track cassette recorder. Weekends (2012) and Halloween Summer (2014) featured lo-fi, psych/surf influenced sounds that were sometimes experimental. Get The Band Back Together is more acoustic based, but it still features the sometimes haunting nostalgic feeling that is present throughout all of Neil’s songs.

“Spring, Again” starts off Get The Band Back Together. It is very much a soundscape recording as it features the sounds of someone walking outside and unlocking or locking doors before entering a fenced in area. Acoustic guitar fades in with dusty lax rhythms. The title track blends acoustic guitar, fuzzy electric guitar and looming, ethereal synthesizers. With lyrics such as “And I know you’ll never be the same/And I know we’ll never be the same,” they express a feeling that many people can relate to. The song shows a complexity and duality of two different feelings. One of the joy of a reunion and the other of how that even when this does happen, things just won’t be the same. In the opening moments of Get The Band Back Together, Neil Jarvis shows the listener how he is a master of his craft. “Green & Blue” brings forth acoustic guitars mixed with psych inspired surf riffs. The song features a more introspective mood. Without the drums, Neil’s voice with its reverb effect produces a melancholic feeling, one that is also positive looking towards something new and unexpected.

“Old House” features just an acoustic and vocal track. The reverb on Jarvis’ vocal this time adds more depth to the track. Although it has been compared to Daniel Johnston, the track feels different than Johnston. With lyrics such as “I’ll be here with you/Through the seasons/And through/In this old house,” and “The sun keeps on shining on us/And as sure as the rain keeps on falling on us,” Jarvis creates a character driven song that gives character to an old house as the main character in the song stays there with the house displaying a sense of isolation and togetherness. “Yosemite” features a drum machine and layered distorted psychedelic guitars. Lyrics such as “California/Your burning/Thought I’d warn ya/Don’t disappear” pop up through the haze of guitars and float back down again in this atmospheric track that adds more musical currents to Get The Band Back Together’s aural aesthetics.

“Song For David Berman” is a track influenced by Berman’s music and is directly influenced by the song “People” from Berman’s band Silver Jews. Featuring acoustic guitar and synthesizers that add character in the background, the song with lyrics such as “They say that you shouldn’t crest too soon/They say that you shouldn’t peak too soon,” contemplates the death of Berman by putting it in a larger context. The lyrics are repetitive and effective as they provide a deeper poignancy. “Near Miss” brings more ambiance to the dynamics of Get The Back Together. The reverb and echo present in this song seem to recall a Kurt Vile influence. You can really feel it on this song with its sparse open space sounds that provides the intimacy of seeing an acoustic musician at a small club, minus the people. “Jingle” is a short instrumental piece featuring acoustic guitars and cinematic sounding synthesizer. “Courage” features harmonica. In a more folk-like setting, Jarvis applies the harmonica to his nostalgic melodies in this song that call for bravery in difficult times.

“Time” ends Get The Band Back Together. This track tackles the “time is on our side” cliché, showing the opposite as it puts a spin on it calling for change before you regret it. In this subtle arrangement, Neil Jarvis wraps up Get The Band Back Together. Recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder during lockdown in April 2020-June 2021, Get The Back Band Together takes Jarvis’ earlier tried and true method of recording/writing songs, but adds a sense of maturity and poignancy that sets this collection of songs apart from both Sprinters and his earlier work. 

Grab a cassette/digital copy of Get The Band Back Together on the Neil Jarvis Bandcamp page:  


Continue reading for an interview that Revolution Rock did with Manchester musician Neil Jarvis:

RR: Let’s Get The Band Back Together was written during lockdown and recorded to 4-track like your first few solo albums. How did it feel to return to this recording method after using the standard band/studio approach for the most recent Sprinters albums?

NJ: It was fun. Recording in a studio can be very long winded and you really need to be patient with it. The last 2 Sprinters albums took a long time to record. Recording at home is a much easier process and you can write a song and have it finished the same day. I much prefer it organic that way and having more control of the sound

RR: What inspired the songs on this album. Were they written prior to the lockdown or during and do you think any of them might appear with Sprinters during live shows in the future?

NJ: All the songs were written in lockdown. I recorded an acoustic version of "Teenage Riot" by Sonic Youth during the start of COVID and really liked the vibe. I think I decided at that point I wanted to make an acoustic record. It is definitely a pandemic album as cliche as that sounds. Pretty much all the songs are inspired/galvanized by it in some way. I doubt Sprinters will be playing any of the songs from it though. But I would like to play some solo shows at some point.

RR: Last time we spoke you said that your solo stuff was a bit more experimental than the Sprinters material. Do you feel that is true of Let’s Get The Band Back Together?

NJ: Not really for this album. Once I decided I wanted to make an acoustic record, I was aiming to make something more sophisticated. In my head at the time I was thinking I wanted to make something like "Sea Change" by Beck. It didn’t really turn out like that in the end though.

RR: Having released your last solo record in 2014, what are the most significant changes in the process of writing and recording the songs on Get the Band Back Together, compared to Halloween Summer?


NJ: I’ve definitely learned not to think too much about the songwriting process. I was very precious about it for a while and would often not finish songs because I didn’t think they were good enough. I’ve learned to persevere and finish stuff. As this was just me on the album it was very much a loner thing; recording in my spare room at home. Half of Halloween Summer was a band playing together so I guess that was different. Some of these songs seemed to come really quick too. I would start them with lyrics in mind and they would come together very fast. None of the songs were work in progress songs that I wrote and worked on over time - like a lot of the Sprinters songs.

RR: I wanted to ask about a few of the songs on Let’s Get The Band Back Together, “Let’s Get The Band Back Together,” “A Song For David Berman” and “Green & Blue.” What inspired these tracks?

NJ: With "Get The Band Back Together" I had had the title in my head for a few months and at first wanted to write a Jeff Tweedy-esq kind of tongue in cheek track about getting an old band back together, and make it kind of funny. When I actually sat down to write it, it was around the time of the vaccines being rolled out, and it ended becoming something else entirely and more of sentiment of it’s time to return back to normality. But it’ll probably never be the same.

"Green & Blue" is about getting through the last summer. We have an allotment behind our house and that saved us during the first major lockdown. We spent most of our time there in summer. It was at the time when you couldn’t leave your garden. The green and blue is a metaphor for that but also finding new unexpected freedoms.

"Song For David Berman," is really a eulogy to David. The lyrics reference the Silver Jews song "People." 

‘‘People send people up to the moon
When they return, well, there isn't much
People be careful not to crest too soon’’

His death really stayed with me and I had the idea from hammering Silver Jews and the Purple Mountains record for weeks. The song is a twist on "People" and I think that’s really what tragically happened to David.

RR: Follow up to the previous question: What did David Berman's music mean to you? What stood out about his songs/poetry, and has it inspired your own song writing?

NJ: I always loved Silver Jews. I’m a huge Pavement fan, and that’s where the link came, but David’s lyrics really stood out to me. I was actually blown away by his final music he did with Woods, "Purple Mountains." It was my favourite record of that year and when he passed I was in total shock. The song "All My Happiness Is Gone" is really something else. His lyrics directly inspired "Song For David Berman." 

RR: You mentioned that the album’s cover is from the last live gig you were at before the pandemic. What do you remember of that gig and do you remember taking this photo at all?

NJ: I think the photograph was taken by accident on my old film camera. I had accidentally clicked when I was putting it away (it’s an old point and shoot camera) The show I think was the last Sprinters show we did in Manchester in March 2020, which also ended up bring the last live show I went to. The rest of the tour was cancelled. When I decided to go with the album title, I found the picture and thought it fit nicely.

RR: How do you think the process of writing/performing/recording with Sprinters will change now that you have created this new album entirely as a solo artist? Are there experiences from this creative process you will be applying to the next sessions with Sprinters?

NJ: I actually scrapped the third Sprinters album and started again. I realized it sounded too much like the first 2 records and wanted to do something different. I’ve been - trying - to write on a synthesizer and trying to work a new sound whilst also keeping it within a Sprinters style. It would be good to return to tape for this next album as it sounds so much better. But maybe not on the 4-track, but on a reel-to-reel or 8-track. 4-track recording definitely had its limitations. But I think none of us want to spend 12 months recording a new album (like we did on the first 2) we want to get it done fast next time.

Show 893 Playlist (Originally Aired On July 31st, 2021)(Neil Jarvis, The Wipers, Protomartyr):

1.  Dumb - Pizza Slice 
2.  Real Sickies - Give and Take 
3.  OBGMS - Outsah 
4.  Jesse Fellows - (The) Fly
5.  Heavy Manners - Flamin' First (2021 Fresh Mix)
6.  Torres - Last Forever 
7.  Torres - Hug From A Dinosaur
8.  Alan Vega - Nothing Left 
9.  Neil Jarvis - Get The Band Back Together 
10. Neil Jarvis - Green & Blue 
11. Neil Jarvis - Song For David Berman 
12. La Luz - Watching Cartoons 
13. Mario & Maria - What I Like 
14. Daniel Romano's Outfit - Nocturne Child 
15. The Descendents - Like The Way I Know 
16. Dead Fibres - Secret Handshake 
17. Fitness - Theme II 
18. Ryley Walker - Striking Down Your Big Premier 
19. The Lee Harvey Oswalds - Not You, The Blonde 
20. The Wipers - Window Shop For Love
21. The Wipers - Mystery (4-Track Demo) 
22. Mannequin Pussy - Perfect 
23. Worry - Acapulco, 2 AM
24. Anxious Pleasers - What Do You Care About 
25. Amyl & The Sniffers - Guided By Angels 
26. The Armed - An Iteration
27. Metz - Sugar Pill 
28. Greys - Minus Time 
29. Protomarytr - Born To Be Wine 
30. Protomarytr - Too Many Jewels

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Detroit Soul & Shows # 892 & 891


For a late/mid July episode of Revolution Rock we were joined by guest host Graeme Sylvio of CJAM FM’s Sylvio & Soul. Airing on July 24th, 2021, the episode featured a collection of obscure tracks from Detroit artists in the soul, R&B and funk genres. Here is some info about some of the selections that were featured on the show. The playlist is found below. You can hear Sylvio & Soul on CJAM FM every Sunday from 2:30-4 PM EST.

The Miracles – Got A Job (1958)

This is the very first single released by a at the time new emerging songwriter Smokey Robinson. The song was written by Robinson as a response to the 1957 hit Billboard Pop and R&B single “Get A Job” by The Silhouettes, an R&B vocal group from Philadelphia. In The Miracles track, Smokey sings a comedic song of a down-on-his-luck character finding a job in a grocery store, which they ultimately hate, but they keep doing it anyway. At the time that this song was recorded, it was the beginning of Robinson and Berry Gordy Jr.’s songwriting partnership (Gordy co-wrote this track). Motown didn’t exist yet. This “answer song” was originally released in 1958 on Smokey Robinson’s 18th birthday on End Records. Disappointed with the way the label operated, despite the record selling well, Gordy decided to start his own record label following the release of this single.

The Fantastic Four – Alvin Stone (The Birth & Death of a Gangster) (1975)

Recorded several years after their 1967 top ten US R&B Billboard hit “The Whole World Is A Stage,” “Alvin Stone (The Birth & Death of a Gangster)” was a song recorded for the Westbound label in 1975. The album of the same name, which the song is also found on only contained six tracks, but is a powerful late 70s soul album. Alvin Stone (The Birth & Death of a Gangster) is a concept album about a 1930’s gangster named Alvin Stone. It was meant to be a soundtrack/concept album to a film that never existed. The Fantastic Four started out in 1965 with ”Sweet” James Epps, the brothers Ralph and Joseph Pruitt and Wallace “Toby” Childs. Ric-Tic records released their first single. By the time they signed to Westbound in 75, the lineup had changed featuring Cleveland Horne and Ernest Newsome in place “Toby” Childs and Ralph Pruitt.

Dave Hamilton – Highland Sound (Dave Hamilton’s Detroit Funk: Rare and Unreleased Twisted Funk 1967-1973)

Dave Hamilton was a guitarist and vibraphone player that is perhaps best known for his work as a session musician at Motown during the 1960s. He was one of the original members of Motown’s house band that played on many, many Motown recordings, The Funk Brothers. Some of Hamilton’s early guitar credits include John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom Boom,” The Marvelettes “Please Mr. Postman” and vibes on Mary Wells “My Guy,” to name a few. He left Motown to pursue a solo career in 1962. He continued to release singles and produce music. Hamilton released a jazz album in 1963 entitled Blue Vibrations. He also had several different labels and being a producer as well made a large amount of different recordings in the 60s and 70s, most of which remained unreleased for quite some time. Following his passing in 1994, Ace Records released several compilations of his unreleased material, which they acquired including the album Detroit City Grooves and Dave Hamilton’s Detroit Funk.

Show 892 Playlist (Originally Aired On July 24th, 2021)(Obscure Detroit Soul, R&B, Funk w/Guest Host Graeme Sylvio):

1.  The Satintones - Motor City (Going To The Hop/Motor City - Tamla Motown - 1959)
2.  The Miracles - Got A Job (35th Anniversary Collection - Motown - 1994)
3.  The Marvelettes - All The Love I've Got (The Sound of Detroit (Original Gems From The Motown Vaults) - One Day Music - 2012)
4.  Melvin Davis - I Don't Want You (Detroit Soul Ambassador - Vampi Soul - 2010)
5.  Don Hart and The Fyve - Keep Holding On (Lou Beatty’s Detroit Soul - Thirty Rare Gems from the vaults of La Beat Records - Grapevine - 2006)
6.  The Fantastic Four - Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death of a Gangster) (Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death of a Gangster) - Westbound Records - 1975)
7.  The Dynamic Superiors - Soon (The Dynamic Superiors - Motown - 1975)
8.  Chairmen of the Board - Skin I'm In (Skin I'm In - Invictus Records - 1974)
9.  8th Day - You've Got To Crawl (Before You Can Walk) (8th Day - Invictus Records - 1971)
10. Caroline Crawford - The Strut (Nice and Soulful - Mercury Records - 1979)
11. The Black Nasty - Party On 4th Street (Party On 4th Street - Big Hit Records - 1976)
12. Dave Hamilton - Highland Sound (Dave Hamilton's Detroit Funk - BGP Records - 2006)
13. Herbie Thompson - Jungle Time (Jungle Time/Let Your Love (Grow Stronger) - Big Hit Records - 1971)
14. The Dramatics - Don't Leave Me To Be Lonely (Funky Funky Detroit - Funky Delicacies - 2003)
15. Andre Williams - Mozelle (Mr Rhythm - Regency - 1996)
16. Nathaniel Mayer and The Fabulous Twilights - I've Got News (For You) (Going Back To The Village of Love - Fortune Records - 1963)
17. The Delteens with the Orbits - Listen To The Rain (Listen To The Rain/Why Don't You Love Me - Fortune Records - 1961)
18. Nolan Strong & The Diablos - Mind Over Matter (I'm Going To Make You Mine) (Mind Over Matter - Fortune Records - 1963)
19. The Holidays - Watch Out Girl (No Greater Love/Watch Out Girl - Golden World - 1966)
20. Rose Batiste - Hit & Run (The Golden Torch Story (A Collection of 30 Classic Northern Soul Shakers) - Goldmine Soul Supply - 1995)
21. The CombiNations - The Feeling Is Fine (While You Were Gone - Solid Rock - 1967)
22. Mary Wells - Drop In The Bucket (Tamla Motown Early Classics - Spectrum Music - 1996)
23. Richard Street & The Distants - Save Me From This Misery (Answer Me/Save Me From This Misery - Thelma Record Co. - 1962) 
24. Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson - I'll Eat My Spinach (Broke-Down Piano/I'll Eat My Spinach - Capitol Records - 1951)
25. Shorty Long - Night Fo' (Last Here Comes The Judge - Soul Records - 1968)
26. Pat Lewis - Can't Shake It Loose (Can't Shake It Loose/Let's Go Together - Golden World Records - 1966)
27. Lemont Dozier - Fortune Teller (Tell Me) (Dearest One/Fortune Teller (Tell Me) - Mel-O-Dy Records - 1962)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the July 24 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 891 Playlist (Originally Aired On July 17th, 2021)(The Beach Boys, Funkadelic's Maggot Brain (50th Anniversary), Smithereens Songtracks, The Blow Up, Swell Maps):

1.  The Beach Boys - Big Sur 
2.  The Beach Boys - Add Some Music To Your Day
3.  Martin Shiller - Future Prints 
4.  Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit - World Stopped Spinning 
5.  Century Egg - Ring A Bell 
6.  betaboys - So Shy 
7.  Paul Jacobs - The Boys Are Back 
8.  Chad VanGaalen - Golden Pear 
9.  Ty Segall - Hit It and Quit It 
10. Brittany Howard - You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks 
11. Mavis Staples - Can You Get To That One 
12. Funkadelic - Back In Our Minds 
13. Joe Strummer - Junco Partner (Acoustic)
14. Danny & The Darleans - You Colonized My Mind (Demo) 
15. The Ray Beats - Guitar Beat 
16. The Feelies - Original Love 
17. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Another World 
18. Squid - Pamphlets 
19. black midi - Slow
20. black midi - Hogwash and Balderdash
21. Pale Lips - Don't Take Your Switchblade To New York
22. Matt Ellis - Missing You 
23. Bloodshot Bill - Can't Dance Alone 
24. PRIORS - Astral 
25. Swell Maps - Vertical Slum 
26. Swell Maps - Off The Beach 
27. The Yardbirds - Stroll On 

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the July 17 file to download/stream the episode.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Under The Table: Vern Smith Interview & Show # 890


Under The Table
is a novel from Chicago author Vern Smith. Set in the TV production world of Toronto in 1989, Under The Table follows a collection of underdog characters and outcasts that find themselves on the cusp of the 90s as an old world and new world looms in Hollywood North. In Under The Table, Nathan Collins, a former PGA Tour caddy turned parking lot attendant working for a TV production studio that is producing an out of control TV comedy called The Otto Show becomes entangled with an on set cop named Claire Malik and a payroll heist scheme. The story also involves a Billy Idol obsessed set decorator named Cyrus Dagan who spirals out of control as the story progresses, along with Arlene Marion a sketchy producer of the TV show comedy that is being filmed during the story and Veronica Williams, her resentful assistant. Overall, Under The Table transports the reader to a certain time and place that doesn’t exist anymore, but one that feels so real as you read it. Under The Table is a darkly comic character driven tale that is a twist on the traditional heist/crime genre that thrills while it keeps you guessing.  

Grab a copy of the novel through Run Amok Books.

Listen to an interview that Revolution Rock did with Vern Smith:

  
Show 890 Playlist (Originally Aired On July 10th, 2021)(Vern Smith Interview):

1.  Mission of Burma - This Is Not A Photograph 
2.  Mission of Burma - Outlaw 
3.  Pegboy - That's When I Reach For My Revolver
4.  Graham Coxon - Fame and Fortune 

VERN SMITH INTERVIEW PT. I

5.  Rational Youth - Dancing On The Berlin Wall Cold War Night Life
6.  The B-52's - Planet Claire
7.  Nena 99 - Luftbaloons (Live at the Pinkpop Festival 1983)
8.  Generation X - Wild Youth (Live Osaka, Japan 1979) 

VERN SMITH INTERVIEW PT. II 

9.  Gordon Dick - Siwash Rock 
10. Sugluk - Fall Away 
11. Willie Dunn - Down By The Stream (Starlight Maiden) 
12. Huron Lines - The Company I Keep 
13. T. Hardy Morris - Just Pretend Everything Is Fine 
14. Tuns - Keeping Options Open 
15. Status/Non-Staus - Find a Home 
16. Danny Laj & The Looks - You & Me 
17. Miesha and the Spanks - Mixed Blood Girls 
18. Trophy Knife - America's Favourite Pastime (CJAM: Live Off The Floor)
19. The Garrys - Sintaluta 
20. The Plugz - Reel Ten 
21. The Plugz - El Cavo Y La Cruz 
22. Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog - They Met In The Middle 

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the July 10 file to download/stream the episode.

Saturday, July 03, 2021

White Blood Cells, Blue & Shows # 889, 888 & 887

On June 22nd, 1971 Joni Mitchell released her fourth full-length album Blue. The album has since gone on to be named one of the best albums of all time from many musical critics and was a commercial breakthrough. It went to number nine on the Canadian RPM Album Charts, number three on the UK Album Charts and number fifteen on the Billboard 200 Charts. Musically, Mitchell produced an album that was open, honest and not afraid to go to darker places. The personal honesty displaced by Mitchell on Blue was a reflection of the happenings in her life at the time. Mitchell had by this point in her career stopped touring and decided to travel overseas which in part inspired the songs that would make up Blue. Recorded at A&M Studios in Hollywood, California, Blue is notable for its simple musical accompaniments and arrangements. Several of the songs feature just piano, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. On the album Mitchell works through relationships, her life, pain and grief. in 2021, Blue celebrated its 50th anniversary.  This album is now identified as a classic, but it continues to have a profound effect on fans and listeners. 


Originally released on July 3rd, 2001 White Blood Cells was the third full-length album released from The White Stripes. This was also the first critically acclaimed album from the band. Featuring breakout singles such as “Fell In Love With A Girl” and “Dead Leaves On The Dirty Ground,” the album also featured songs such as “We’re Going To Be Friends,” “This Protector,” “Hotel Yorba” which showcased Jack White’s songwriting abilities. This was the band’s commercial breakthrough record and was also the first album that the band recorded outside of Detroit. White Blood Cells was recorded at Easley-McCain Recording in February 2001 in less than four days. The album would go on to sell over one million copies. The innocence and rawness that is displayed on this album mixes with the simplicity of the band’s dynamic which contrasted with the complexities of the lyrics that White expressed. The Michael Gondry Lego themed music video for “Fell In Love With A Girl” also helped quite a bit. In 2021, this album celebrated its 20th anniversary. Third Man Records released White Blood Cells XX as part of its Vintage Vault series featuring demos, outtakes and a live concert. It was also reissued digitally featuring a live concert from the Gold Dollar in Detroit from 2001 and also on vinyl through Third Man Records.   

Show 889 (Originally Aired On July 3rd. 2021)(Joni Mitchell's Blue, The White Stripes White Bloodcells Anniversaries):

1.  Sloan - A Case Of You
2.  Universal Honey - Carey
3.  Arc Isis - Little Green
4.  The Supremes - All I Want
5.  Cat Power - Blue
6.  Beth Orton - River (Live Radio Broadcast)
7.  Joni Mitchell - Hunter (Demo)
8.  Neil Young (Ft. Joni Mitchell) - Raised On Robbery
9.  Neil Young - Everybody's Alone
10. Ed Kuepper - Spratch The King of Eurodisco
11. Desperate Journalist - Personality Girlfriend
12. Yoo Doo Right - Presto Presto, Bella's Dream
13. Packs - Clingfilm
14. Julien Baker - Ringside
15. Mononegatives - Living In The Age
16. Aversions - Famous Last Lines
17. Dean Marino - Devil's Day
18. The Routes - Society
19. Night Beats - Hell In Texas
20. The White Stripes - Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground (Peel Session)
21. The White Stripes - Fell In Love With A Girl (Alternate Take)
22. The White Stripes - Hotel Yorba
23. The White Stripes - The Union Forever
24. The White Stripes - We're Going To Be Friends
25. The White Stripes - I Think I Smell A Rat
26. The White Stripes - This Protector

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the July 3 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 888 (Originally Aired On June 26th, 2021)(Guest Hosts Brady & Carley Part II - Shoobies, Dragsville, Mudhoney, The Garrys, Evaporators):

1.  Shoobies - Surfin' Surgeon
2.  Dragsville - Royal Drag
3.  Avantis - Gypsy Surfer
4.  Link Wray - Dinosaur
5.  Amyl & The Sniffers - 70s Street Munchies
6.  Viagara Boys - In Spite of Ourselves
7.  Dry Cleaning - John Wick
8.  Dale Crover - The Bowie Mix
9.  Mudhoney - An Ounce of Decption
10. Chad VanGaalen - Golden Pear
11. CHAI - Action
12. Century Egg - Do You Want To Dance?
13. Bachelor - Stay In The Car
14. The Garrys - Get Thee To A Nunnery
15. Childbirth - Siri, Open Tinder
16. Shadow Show - What Again Is Real?
17. Habibi - Detroit Baby
18. TEKE::TEKE - Yori Ni
19. Fitness - December '98
20. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson - Head of the Lake
21. The Mountain Goats - The Slow Part in Death Metal Songs
22. Lucy Dacus - VBS
23. Man Or Astro Man - Defcon 5
24. Damaged Bug - Smile For A While
25. Oblivians - Pinball King
26. The Amino Acids - The Amino Acids vs The Space Bettys 
27. Amyl & The Sniffers - Gacked On Anger
28. Cellos - Bury Me On Highway 3
29. Los Plantronics - Plantrosaurus
30. Tough Age - My Life's A Joke and I'm Throwing It Away
31. The Evaporators - I Can't Be Shaved
32. The Evaporators - I Can't Puke
33. The Evaporators - I Say That On Purpose To Bug You
34. Paul Jacobs - Your Last Words

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the June 26 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 887 (Originally Aired On June 19th, 2021)(Guest Hosts Brady & Carley Part I - Cub, METZ, Linda Lindas, Black Country, New Road, Parquet Courts):

1.  Cub - Go Fish
2.  The Exbats - Try Burning This One
3.  The Rolling Stones - Connection
4.  Catl. - Get Outta My Car
5.  The Highest Order - I'd Ask You To Stay
6.  Daniel Romano - Green Eye Shade
7.  Shotgun Jimmie - 401
8.  The Blasters - I'm Shakin'
9.  The Ventures - The In Crowd
10. NOV3L - Group Disease
11. Squid - Houseplants
12. METZ - Slow Decay
13. The Linda Lindas - Big Mouth
14. Colleen Green - You're So Cool
15. No Joy - Hare Tarot Lies
16. Black Country, New Road - Instrumental
17. Black Country, New Road - Athens, France
18. Godspeed You! Black Emperor! - Fire at Static Valley
19. Women - Grey Skies
20. Neil Jarvis - Time
21. Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band - Elastic Band
22. Faux Fur - Rough Palms
23. Sarcasm - (Above The) People Wall
24. Autogramm - Anxiety
25. Souvenir - Holding Pattern
26. PONY - Chokecherry
27. Tommy & The Commies - Devices
28. Pardoner - Spike
29. Parquet Courts - Hey Bug
30. Parquet Courts-  Outside
31. Parkay Quarts - Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the June 19 file to download/stream the episode.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Baby Giant 2: Shawn McDonald Interview & Shows # 886 & 885


2 is the second album by Baby Giant. From London, Ontario, Baby Giant is made up of musicians Shawn McDonald and Tim McDonald. The band started out around 2017 to record a collection of reworked/reimagined songs in commemoration of an earlier band that the McDonald’s had been in called Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit (that album is called Grassy Magic). Being in numerous bands such as The Fine Print, Dragsville, Hurricane & Able and many others Shawn McDonald really showcases his songwriting abilities on 2, both on his own and in collaboration with Tim McDonald. The album was recorded by Tim McDonald (credited as King Woobs) and released in 2018. 
 
“She Don’t Want To Fall In Love” starts off 2. With its syrupy melodies and nostalgic feeling it evokes the sunny melancholy of The Vaselines and 80s Flying Nun bands such as The Clean. With lyrics such as “I don’t want to fall in love/I just want your candy” and “Everyday is Halloween/That’s what she told me/I’m just atmosphere,” this song is an effective character driven tale. “Wyoming,” stirs up 60s fuzzy melodies as one of several songs on 2 that focus on different places (the others being “Minnesota” and “Japan”). The enduringly existential and catchy chorus of “Wyoming” utilizes the first part of this US Western states name as it poses the question of “Why.” The acoustic jangle of “Nobody Loves You” drums up an early rock n’ roll aesthetic while lyrically the person in this song is haunted by an unrequited love, “Sky Writer” is one of the highlights of 2. A jangly Byrds track pulling influence from early 60s concept albums/songs by The Who and The Pretty Things, the song tells the tale of a skywriter blurring the line between duty, heroism and the mundaneness of everyday life. “High Tide” is a surf song with psychedelic undercurrents, while “Minnesota” brings in nostalgic keyboards and hooky bassline and guitar lines that juxtapose with the lyrics. Dominated by what sounds like drums from an 808 drum machine and low-fi effect laden guitars, the words “Take a look at me and tell me are you real/Or are you imagination/Behind the steering wheel that night” and “Nobody was really sure if they would win the fight that night/On the streets of Minnesota” drive home potent surreal lyrics. 
 
“Do What You Want” rattles with a 60s R&B rave up sound combining ramshackle acoustic gro0ves with blues guitar licks and slides, while lyrically it swaggers with a story about an aloof character that seems proud of having a detachment from his surroundings. “Wall To Wall” features what sounds like synth bass with steady drumbeats and trippy surf guitar sounds and lyrics such as “I was looking at you/You were looking at me/That’s what they say,” “It’s wall to wall,” that features characters surrounded in a cozy confusion of emotions. “Japan” picks up the tempo with driving drums and fuzzy guitars. With lyrics such as “I guess I’ll have to try to understand/My baby’s gonna move off to Japan” and “I can’t believe that she loves me/I can’t believe that she’s so free” this song is an evocative, yet complex mixture of emotions and thoughts. 2 ends with “Legs Won’t Stop,” a restless instrumental track that is full of mood, lethargy and a contemplative atmosphere. Throughout 2, the music displays a bedroom recording aesthetic contrasted with 60s melodies, lo-fi and rock and roll sounds. The songs found on 2 stir up something in the listener. They have a depth to them and prove to be more than just atmosphere.  

Continue reading for an interview that Revolution Rock did with musician Shawn McDonald.  He talks about some of the bands he has played/recorded with and what he is currently working on.
 
RR: You played in a band called Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit. When did this band form/with who and what do you remember of the recording/time period of the lost album Hollandays that was recently put out online?

SM: Grassy formed in late 2000 I think. Me on Electric Guitar, Noel [Greaves] on acoustic guitar and my brother Tim [McDonald] on drums. Over the next two years we went through I think 4 bass players. We did a live to air on CHRW [94.9 FM Radio Western in London, ON] which we released as our first album and just kept playing and playing. By the time we got to the Hollandays sessions in which was supposed to be our first “studio” album two things were happening, we were about as tight and fun as we could get and my brother got married and was thrown out of the band because we needed absolute commitment! The Hollandays album was so named because it was recorded by a guy named Jason Hollander. What I remember most about the sessions is we recorded them after hours in an office Hollander’s Mom owned. I also remember we teased my brother mercilessly because he was wearing some sort of collarless black mandarin shirt the whole time. We kept calling him Morpheus or Neo.

RR: Some of the songs on Hollandays are also on She Woke Up In A Frantic, which was another album that Grassy Knoll released. When was this one recorded and how do you feel it differs from Hollandays?


SM: She Woke Up In A Frantic was Grassy 2.0. By that time Noel, Geez [Ryan O’Driscoll] (bass player on Hollandays) and I had moved to Toronto. We had met a bunch of bands from TO and had made the band a fantastic live act with Sean [McNabney] on drums and Tom Barnes on bass. We did a few of the old songs because we felt they never got the right treatment. We recorded this in I think 4 or 5 days with Andy Magoffin at the House of Miracles in London. I remember he was kind of pissed off at us because we put “produced by Andy Magoffin” on the Album. He told me he didn’t produce it, he recorded it. He said that the job of a producer was to accurately reflect what a band was on record and that all he did for us was to press record. I think he was used to bands agonizing over their albums, but for us, we had played everything so much that we knew exactly what the songs were. I think he found the ease of it unsettling. A couple of years later he apologized and said that actually, that’s what the band needed and he would accept the credit.

RR: I was wondering about a few of the songs with this band. What inspired the songs “Ground Under Your Feet,” “Such and Such,” “Canada Arm” and “Summer’s Almost Gone”?

SM: “Ground Under Your Feet” was a great example of Noel addressing the audience. When he was at his best he would write songs that spoke directly to the listener or the crowd. Musically, I think I was listening to a lot of John Lee Hooker.

“Such and Such” I stole the riff from the Fall. “Athlete Cure” off I Am Kurious Oranj. I realized later that they stole it from Spinal Tap, “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock you Tonight.” This is really fitting for me because as much as I wanted us to be like the Fall, we were definitely more like Spinal Tap. I wrote the lyrics in Budapest.

“Canada Arm” was an attempt to write a Kinks song from Something Else. I stole a little climb from “Susannah’s Still Alive.” My Grandfather had worked for Canadair and we were sitting around talking about that and how maybe he helped build the Canadarm. Noel turned it into a song about a loser that had great, underappreciated things inside him. Tom Barnes told me that he joined our band because he heard us play the song live, noticed the similarity to “Sussanah’s Still Alive” and thought it was a coincidence. When I told him I did it on purpose, he was in.

“Summer’s Almost Gone” reflects the sort of sweet Hippie underbelly that we had in the early days. Noel wrote great lyrics for it and I threw in a nice riff that I thought reminiscent of Jerry Garcia, even though none of us listened to the Dead. It was our last song of the night for a good long time.

RR: You played in a band called The Fine Print who had an EP called Standing Out. How did this band differ from other bands that you were in and where did you record this EP?


SM: The Fine Print was actually Tom Barnes’ band with his old buddy Dave Cavanaugh (they were in a band called Curiosity Shop back in the day.) The bass player was Phil [Glennie]. After Grassy disintegrated in TO I held on there for a bit and then moved back to London, probably a year later. When I got back Tom and Dave told me they had a 60’s Mod style band going and they wanted me to play lead on it. I really needed this because I hadn’t had a band in awhile and I was getting rusty. The main differences between Grassy and The Fine Print were Tom actually had a great singing voice! I was exclusively coming up with 60’s style riffs and having a blast. Around this time I was also in a band called the Psychodaisies. London Music Hall of famer Jack Whiteside was our leader and we played nothing but obscure shit from 63-66. These 2 bands really helped me learn how to be in a band without having to be like a founder member. And it taught me how to get Psych.

RR: Dragsville was a band with more country influences. They released Welcome To Dragsville in 2014. How did this group come together and what do you remember about your time with this band and this album?

SM: Dragsville started because I wanted to start a band with Jesse Whiteside, a bandmate from high school. He had recently moved back to London and we put this thing together with Dave from the Fine Print and Geez from Grassy. Jesse had previously been a member of Tacoma Hellfarm Tragedy. We wanted to be country but like Burrito Brothers country. Jesse had a Pedal steel so that was cool. We wrote some songs, played a bit but then the whole thing kind of petered out. The thing I remember most about this band was that I had to play bass, which didn’t really make a lot of sense.

RR: I wanted to ask you about Hurricane & Able. Weird Canada described your Last Temptation of H&A album as going “well with a broken heart, a day off, your comfy bed and a pack of cigarettes.” Do you think that is an accurate description of the songs? Maybe you could talk about about the dynamics of the music that you and Barry Weatherhead (of Hurricane & Able) made during that time.

SM: That quote from Weird Canada was almost embarrassing. It was just so dramatic but we took it as a compliment. I think the way I read that was that all those things are things that are evocative or that have feeling and I think that Barry and I did indeed find a lot of comfort doing those albums together. Writing songs together and then recording them was all we did together, aside from sitting around and talking about how we wrote the best songs around. And we really did have a musical and emotional connection and I suppose it shows in the work.

RR: I heard that you used Mr. Dress Up’s piano on one of the Hurricane & Able records. Could you describe this experience and how this came to be?

SM: Barry worked at Ryerson and when the kids went on holidays we would go into the studio there and record. It was amazing. Mr. Dressup’s piano just happens to be in there and when Barry told me the history of the piano I insisted that we use it. Problem was neither of use are competent piano players so we would sit beside each other, one guy playing the left hand with two hands and the other the right with two hands. Barry put it all together and it sounds like we know what we were doing.

RR: You’ve released two albums with Baby Giant. 2 was released in 2018 and has several songs on it that deal with different places (“Wyoming,” “Minnesota,” “Japan”). Maybe you could talk a bit about these songs and this album in general?


SM: Baby Giant is when my brother Tim and I finally got doing music together again. Japan was actually an old song from grassy days, it’s my take on the Buzzcocks or Sham 69. The other place songs like “Wyoming” and “Minnesota” were songs that were taken from our aborted USA 50 states tribute album. I think we got 10 states in before we realized it was just a stupid idea. I have also written a song called “Man Oh Manitoba” which I believe should be their provincial song.

RR: It is a longer song on 2, but the song “Sky Writer” has a jangly sound to it. What inspired this song and how did it come together?

SM: “Sky Writer” has that jangle because it’s played on an electric 12-string. I wanted to write a sort of early rock opera song like A Quick One or SF Sorrow. The skywriter just struck me as something sort of heroic but banal. Like he’s up there flying an old prop plane, doing all these maneuvers just to write Happy Anniversary. I stole the riff from The Kinks. In the middle 8 we tried to make my guitar sound like a dive-bombing plane. Pretty successfully I think.

RR: When was the last time you played with a live band. Do you remember the show at all and who was it with?

SM: The last gig I really remember was the David Bowie Birthday Bash. I’m in a Bowie tribute act called Hunger City and we threw a birthday party for the old guy at the Richmond January 4 2020. The place was packed, people were lined up down the street, the band was on fire and the night could not have gone any better. I hadn’t seen a night like that in a long time and it really is the kind of night that reminds you why you keep going.

RR: What is next for you musically? Are you working on anything else at this time?

SM: During the lockdown I started socially distantly writing songs with Dawn Redskye for some Home County Folk festival remote thing. She’s got a great voice and writes great songs, and I added some reverby Beach House/Cowboy Junkies/Mazzy Star licks. It ended up sounding really good so when we can we will probably write a bunch of tunes and make a record. I’ll send it to you when it’s done!

Check out some of the episodes below for music from bands featuring Shawn McDonald.

Show 886 (Originally Aired On June 12th, 2021)(Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit, Baby Giant, The FIne Print, Hurricane & Able, Modest Mouse, Nap Eyes, Century Egg, The Delmonas, Lungbutter)

1.  Packs - Hold My Hand
2.  Lou Barlow - Privatize
3.  Japanese Breakfast - Sit
4.  The Garrys - Get Thee To A Nunnery
5.  Treephones - Seeds
6.  Lincoln St. Exit - The Bummer
7.  Heavy Trash - That's What Your Love Gets
8.  Willie Dunn - I Pity The Country
9.  Karen Dalton - Reason To Believe
10. Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit - Such and Such
11. Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit - Canada Arm
12. Baby Giant - Sky Writer
13. Baby Giant - High Tide
14. The Fine Print - Tonight
15. Hurricane & Able - The Novel
16. Dragsville - That Girl
17. SpaceSlave - She Don't Need A Hero
18. Nap Eyes - Following A God Desire
19. Gruff Rhys - Can't Carry On
20. Modest Mouse - Poison The Well
21. Modest Mouse - We Are Between
22. The Pesticides - Jessy
23. Bad Buddy - Mind Control
24. The Delmonas - Chains
25. Century Egg - Do You Want To Dance?
26. Boy Wonder - Kinda Blue Too
27. Ducks Ltd. - Annie Forever
28. Cluttered - Don't Hold Your Breath
29. The Descendents - Baby Donca Know
30. Lungbutter - Bravo
31. Lungbutter - Jellyfish
32. Lungbutter - Solar


Show 885 (Originally Aired On June 5th, 2021)(X - Wild Gift 40th Anniversary, Dirtbombs - Ultraglide in Black 20th Anniversary, Reigning Sound, Juliana Hatfield, NOV3L):

1.  Reigning Sound - You Don't Know What You're Missing 
2.  Matt Sweeny & Bonnie Prince Billy - Hall of Death
3.  Tekke::Tekke - Barbara
4.  Needles//Pins - Back to the Bright 
5.  Easy Idiot Brainworms Power Games
6.  X - We're Desperate Wild Gift
7.  X - I'm Coming Over Wild Gift
8.  X - In This House That I Call Home Wild Gift
9. Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit - Ground Under Feet
10. Baby Giant - Minnesota 
11. Tough Age - Giuseppe Pizzeria
12. Paul Jacobs - The Boys Are Back
13. Run Coyote - Shadowlands 
14. Bachelor - Stay In The Car 
15. Juliana Hatfield - Gorgon 
16. The Beaches - Blow Up 
17. Julia Jacklin & RVG - Army of Me 
18. Black Midi - John L
19. Squid - Padding 
20. NOV3L - Stranger 
21. Delta 5 - Mind Your Own Business 
22. Gang of Four - Elevator (Demo) 
23. Print Head - All I Want 
24. Autogramm - Mantra 
25. Matt Ellis - I Don't Wanna Know 
26. Anxious Eaters - Suck 
27. The Dirtbombs - If You Can't Want 
28. The Dirtbombs - Ode To A Black Man 
29. The Dirtbombs - I'll Wait