Thursday, April 26, 2007

You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory... Show # 142

Johnny Thunders was born John Anthony Genzale Jr. in Queens, New York and is known as being the guitar player in the proto punk glam rock band, New York Dolls. A band that influenced numerous punk bands such as Sex Pistols and The Clash. Johnny Thunders was a guitarist that would struggle with battles of drug and alcohol addiction throughout his life, living similar to his idol Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. Thunders influences included The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, and various blues and R&B artists.

Thunders originally went under the name Johnny Volume being in various bands before joining the New York Dolls in 1971. At this time he renamed himself Johnny Thunders, possibly due to the fact that the Kinks had a song called "Johnny Thunder" on their 1968 album The Village Green Preservation Society. After releasing two albums The New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon, The New York Dolls broke up. They were also managed by a short time by future Sex Pistols manager Malcolm Mcclaren.

The Heartbreakers were formed shortly after with New York Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan, Walter Lure on guitar, and Richard Hell on bass. Richard Hell would leave just after being in this band for a short while, he was replaced by Billy Rath. With Johnny Thunders as the band leader, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers released L.A.M.F. (Like a Mother Fucker) in 1977. The album was one of the best punk albums to come out of New York at this time. It featured Sleazy punkish rock and roll in true Rolling Stones fashion. The album contained numerous tracks and one titled "Chinese Rocks" that was written by Johnny Thunders, Dee Dee Ramone, Richard Hell, and Jerry Nolan. The song a reference to heroin was featured not only on L.A.M.F., but also on the Ramones album End of The Century. The song makes reference to Dee Dee Ramone in the Thunders version with the line "Hey is Dee Dee Home" and to Johnny in the Ramones version with the line "Hey is Johnny Home". 

The band was featured on the Anarchy Tour with UK punk acts such as Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned in 1977. The tour known for having more shows cancelled than played was an infamous tour in UK punk history. The band would move to the UK as well. The band would tour on and off, but would split up after this album, which got poor promotion. 

In 1978, So Alone a Johnny Thunders solo album was released. The album would feature guest musicians such as Steve Jones and Paul Cook of Sex Pistols, but also Chryssie Hynde (Pretenders), Walter Lure, Billy Rath, and Peter Perrett (Only Ones). The basic band was Thunders, Jones, and Cook though. The album featured a remake of a New York Dolls song "Chatterbox" from their album Too Much Too Soon; It was retitled "Leave Me Alone". The album also featured a cover of the Chantay's surf classic "Pipeline", and the excellent Johnny Thunders track "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory". This album along with L.A.M.F. is Johnny Thunders best work. Due to laziness probably caused due to drug addiction, Thunders continued to record, but it was off and on. Apparently shortly after its release Thunders played in the band The Living Dead for a little while. In 1984 L.A.M.F. was re-released as L.A.M.F. Revisited. It was a remixed version of the 1977 album done by Thunders and members of The Heartbreakers. In 1985 a collection of new songs by Thunders was released Que Sera Sera.

Thunders would continue to perform throughout the 80s and was also in the band Gang War with MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer. The band has several live bootleg recordings, but also did record some demos. In 1991, Thunders died of what many people believe was a drug overdose. The issue of his death is controversial because some people believe that he was murdered. The details of how he passed may never be known, but his music still stands up in not only the New York Dolls, but also Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers and as a solo artist.

Several years after this post, I wrote an article on The Heartbreakers L.A.M.F. album.  Check that out here.  

Here's this weeks play list:

1. MC5 – keep movin’
2. Velvet Underground – foggy notion
3. The Who – (I’m a) road runner (live)
4. The Stooges – she took my money
5. Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers – pirate love
6. Diodes – blonde fever
7. The Furies – what do you want me to be
8. Corsage – shame I feel
9. U-J3rks – Eisenhower and the hippies
10. The Saints – messin’ with the kid
11. John Lennon – cold turkey
12. The Clash – Janie Jones
13. The Clash – Capital radio one
14. The Dogs – no way
15. Modernettes – Barbra
16. Popular Front – synchronized swimmers
17. Ramones – rockaway beach
18. Ramones – cretin hop
19. Libertines – vertigo
20. Ride Theory - i'm on board
21. Dirty Pretty Things – blood thirsty bastards
22. Radio 4 – as far as the eye can see
23. Subways – with you
24. Raconteurs – broken boy soldier
25. Arctic Monkeys – brianstorm
26. Arctic Monkeys – teddy picker
27. The Gruesomes - come and see me (i'm your man)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Friction... The Television Story ... Show # 141

Television was interesing band that came out of the New York CBGB's scene in the late 70s. The group would be influenced by The Rolling Stones, 13th Floor Elevators, Count Five and Velvet Underground. In addition to this, it is apparent that Tom Verlaine and the band had an interest in Jazz music. In 1975, Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell formed Television. After recording a demo and playing live with the band, Hell would leave the group to form his own. Fred Smith (ex Blondie bassist) would replace Hell. The group would have Richard Lloyd on rhythm guitar and Billy Ficca on drums (Verlaine would be vocalist/guitarist). Despite making a demo produced by Brian Eno, the band did not get signed. It wasn't until the group recorded the song "Little Johnny Jewel" (a song apparently about Iggy Pop) on their own record label that they would get notice. The song became a hit with the underground and in 1976 they would sign to Elektra Records. The group also convinced CBGB's owner Hilly Kristal to let them play at his club which stood for (Country Blue Grass and Blues music), Television were the first rock band to play at CBGB's. The place would become a significant venue for the New York Punk Rock movement of the late 70s.

When Marquee Moon was released in 1977 it received recognition, but did poorly in album sales. It did fairly well in the UK (reaching #28 on the charts), but it did not do well in America. The album is a classic album, that employed garage rock, jazz influenced guitar lines and a rhythm style that would influence New Wave and Post Punk. The album was originally made up of eight tracks. When it was re-issued in 2003, it was expanded with alternate versions of songs and other bonus tracks. Songs featured on the album such as "See No Evil", "Prove It", and "Friction" really stand out. The song "Venus" is an interesting composition. Lyrically it addresses finding safety in the lost arms of the mythological Greek statue Venus de Milo. There is also the ten minute "Marquee Moon". When "Marquee Moon" was originally released in 1977, it faded out a little after 9 minutes. The re-issue contains the full version of the song without a fade out, it lasts for almost 11 minutes. These songs combined with the wonderful weaving guitars supplied by Verlaine and Lloyd, all make the album a work of art.

Television's second album Adventure, would be released in 1978. The album did better sales-wise in America, and would eventually become a top ten hit in the UK. It was produced differently. Instead of the album sounding straight to the point (as Marquee Moon did), Adventure features a different side of the band. It still had great songs such as "Foxhole", "Careful" and "Glory". Both "Foxhole" and "Careful" were songs that the band played during their early lives shows. Members of the band all had their own visions of what Television should be which would partly lead to their break up. That combined with Richard Lloyd's drug related issues, would cause Television to break up in 1978. Fred Smith would re-join Blondie and the two guitarists, Verlaine and Llyod would pursue solo careers.

In 1991, the group re-formed and recorded an album Television that would come out in 1992. The reunion did not last long, they would stop touring in 1993. In 2001, the group reformed again for a few shows in the UK. Several bootlegs of the band exist. There are live releases such as The Blow-Up, Live At The Academy and Live At The Old Wardorf are all excellent examples of the bands live qualities. Television was yet another band that were around for a short time that made a huge impact. While the albums did not sell that much at the time they influenced numerous other bands musically.

Here's the play list:

1. Neil Young – don’t let it bring you down (live Massey Hall 1971)
2. Tell-tale hearts – I get up in the morning
3. The Shades – new clientele
4. The Jam – going underground
5. The Zeros – radio fun
6. Riff Raff – what’s the latest
7. Klark Kent – don’t care
8. The Gears – baby runaround
9. Magazine – shot by both sides (single version)
10. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – (i don't want to go to) chelsea (BBC)
11. XTC – science friction
12. Hot, Hot, Heat – save us s.o.s.
13. Pointed Sticks – somebody’s mom
14. Young Canadians – just a loser
15. Smugglers – paper doll
16. Rolling Stones – she said yeah
17. The Metros – on the radio waves
18. Television – prove it
19. Television - see no evil (alternate version)
20. Red Hot Chili Peppers – I get around (live)
20. Talking Heads – with our love
21. The Visitors – hell yes
22. The Hives – see through head
23. Dead 60’s – horizontal
24. Fiction Plane – two sisters
25. The Jam - that's entertainment
26. Buzzcocks - ever fallen in love
27. Wire - i am the fly

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Blank Generation comes in spurts... Show # 140

Richard Hell was one of the originators of punk in the CBGB's scene. Richard Hell (real name Richard Myers) is known for his fashion, poetry and music. He would move to New York (originally he was from Lexington, Kentucky) to join his friend Tom Miller (later he would change his name to Tom Verlaine) and the two formed the Neon Boys in 1972. They would be a three piece with Hell on bass, Verlaine on guitar and Billy Ficca on drums. The group would not last long and would eventually the Neon Boys would Morph into the band known as Television. Richard Hell would not last long in Television due to the positions of creative control within the band. It has been said that Verlaine eventually refused to play Richard Hell written songs and would tell Hell to stop jumping around on stage during the songs. Despite this Richard played with Television for a short while, Hell would leave in 1975 along with his compositions. It was around this time that The New York Dolls split up and guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan were looking for a new group. Lasting for approximately eight months, Richard Hell briefly played Bass with Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers. He would quit due to various reasons, one being that he felt cramped and was not very happy with the musical situation amongst the band.

A few months after this, Hell formed his own band. They would be known as Richard Hell & the Voidoids. Consisting of Hell on bass, Ivan Julian on guitar, Robert Quine on guitar and Marc Bell on drums (later he would be known as Marky Ramone), the bands first release was Another World EP in 1976. It only featured three songs, "Blank Generation", "You Gotta Lose", and "(I Could Live With You In) Another World". In 1977 Blank Generation was released on Sire Records. Being the bands first full length album, It is a punk classic from the era which was fresh and both artistic. The album would feature songs such as "Blank Generation", "Love Comes in Spurts", "Liars Beware" and "Betrayal Takes Two". It should be noted that the versions of "Blank Generation" and "(I Could Live With You In) Another World" on the Blank Generation LP are different than the versions found on the Another World EP.

The group would play among the CBGB's crowd alongside Blondie, Ramones and Talking Heads. Hell would wear a fashion style of ripped clothing that would become known as the punk fashion in the UK when punk broke there in 1977. The band would open for the Clash, but they would never gain the popularity of a band such as The Clash or Sex Pistols. They did not tour enough to support their albums. The group seemingly broke up, but in 1982 they returned minus guitar player Ivan Julian. In 82, Destiny Street was released. The album would feature covers and few new compositions. The band gained new members Naux as the second guitarist and Fred Maher on drums (Marc Bell left to become a member of the Ramones during the Voidoids hiatus). The album would feature six new compositions (one B-side), and three covers (the Kinks, Them, and Bob Dylan). After this the group once again failed to tour behind the album and would break up.

In the 80's Hell would continue to do poetry and was in a few movies. In 1980 he was in the film Blank Generation, and in 1985 he was in Desperately Seeking Susan with Madonna. In 1984 a collection of outtakes was released titled R.I.P., and later Funhunt (a live album). Hell would be involved with various smaller musical projects, in 1992 he joined Dim Stars (a group that had Quine from the Voidiods and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth) and would release an album. He would release various novels of his poetry, and in the late 90's he was featured in a book called Please Kill Me : The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. In 2000, the Voidoids reformed with the original line-up and recorded a new song "Oh". In 2005, Spurts: The Richard Hell Story would be released, an anthology cataloging Hell's career with various groups.

I also played two new Arctic Monkeys tracks "The Bad Thing", and "Old Yellow Bricks" which is on their new upcoming album Your Favorite Worst Nightmare. The album isn't released until April 24th, but if you look hard enough on the net you can find it. I also suggest if you do download it and you like it, go and buy it when it comes out on April 24th, as I will be doing.

Here's the play list:

1. Sex Pistols – problems
2. Chuck Berry – too much monkey business
3. The Kinks – harry rag
4. Scavengers – money in the bank
5. Buzzcocks – paradise
6. The Demics – new york city
7. Teenage Head – picture my face
8. Gruesomes – what’s your problem?
9. Los Strait Jackets - all day and all of the night
10. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – kid with the replaceable head
11. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – time
12. Generation X – flash as hell
13. Public Image Limited – analisa
14. Wire – outdoor miner
15. The Police – does everyone stare
16. Neil Young – cowgirl in the sand
17. Modernettes – I can only give you everything
18. Marble Index – I don’t wan to try and change your life
19. The Stooges – greedy awful people
20. The Stooges - she took my money
21. The Briefs – stuck on you
22. The D4 – exit to the city
23. Sloan - nothing lasts forever anymore
24. Sloan – back stabbin’
25. Arctic Monkeys – the bad thing
26. Arctic Monkeys - old yellow bricks

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Terminal Rock...Show # 139

The Diodes are a Canadian band from Toronto, Ontario. They were signed to Columbia Records in 1977 making them the first Canadian punk band to be signed to a major label. In 1978 their first self-titled debut was released. It featured a cover of the Paul Simon song "Red Rubber Ball". The band was influenced by punk bands such as The Clash and Ramones, but they also had a different melodic almost new wave style to their songs. It was obvious that the band was punk influenced and the album was available in the US and UK. The band would tour with other acts such as Ramones, the Nerves, Talking Heads, Ultravox! and U2. They had credibility. The band consisted of Paul Robinson (vocals), John Catto (guitar), Ian Mackay (bass), Mike Lengyell (Drums).

In 1979, their second album Released came out. The song "Burn Down Your Daddies House" was cut from the final album due to the fact that it was seen as controversial. Due to poor album sales, the band was dropped from their label after this album. The band would move to England and release Action/Reaction in 1980. The band would break up after this and release an album featuring outtakes and demos in 1982 titled Survivors. In 1983 members of The Diodes and The Barracudas formed a band called High Noon. They recorded material in London, but it has never been released. In 1998 Tired of Waking Up Tired a combination of the bands first two albums, served as a greatest hits of their material released for Columbia (from 1977-1979). The band also reformed in January 1999 to play on The Mike Bullard Show in Canada, for one time only to promote Tired of Waking Up Tired.

One more thing I have to mention please visit the CJAM Jammie web page and vote for the Jammies. The voting ends on April 6th.

Here's the Play List:

1. Pretty Things – midnight to six man
2. Small Faces – sha-la-la-la-lee
3. MC5 – shakin’ street
4. Diodes – midnight movie star
5. Neon Boys – that's all I know
6. Real Kids – reggae reggae
7. Piranhas – green don’t suit me
8. Pointed Sticks – the witch
9. Tricky Woo – get around
10. The Stems – can’t resist
11. Lime Spiders – out of control
12. The Saints – one way street
13. Ramones – Havana affair
14. The Clash – (whiteman) in Hammersmith Palais
15. Undertones – more songs about chocolate and girls
16. Fastbacks – won’t have to worry
17. Vindicators – thinking of birds
18. Joy Division - leaders of men
19. Mudhoney – poisoned water
20. The Stooges – free & freaky
21. The Doors – take it as it comes
22. Neil Young – the needle and the damage done (live at Massey Hall 1971)
23. Neil Young - tell me why (live at Massey Hall 1971)
24. Ride Theory – hey sugar
25. White Stripes – walking with a ghost
26. The Scientists - atom bomb baby