Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't Look Back..The Story of Them and Show # 202

Them are known for creating the garage rock staple/standard "Gloria" and for being the first band of Van Morrison. Coming from Belfast in Northern Ireland, Them originally started out as The Gamblers, playing at a R&B club in Ireland. The band contained Van Morrison (vocals/harmonica), Alan Henderson (bass), Eric Wrixton (keyboards/piano), Billy Harrison (guitar), and Ronnie Millings on drums. The band changed their names from The Gamblers to Them in 1964; The name came from a science fiction horror film titled Them.

Them would build a following playing at The Maritime Hotel. The band was known for their unique live shows. They are said to have gotten their energy from the various members on stage and the audience. Morrison would often make up lyrics and songs on the spot (that is how he came up with many songs) and play covers. The band would also sometimes do a twenty minute version of the song "Gloria", which was born on stage. When a fans recording of Them performing "Turn On Your Love Light" made it's way to Dick Rowe of Decca Records, he went to see the band live. Signing Them to Decca records, Rowe quickly put the band in the studio to start recording right away. To sign the two year contract the band members parents were required to sign and when Eric Wrixton's parents refused, he was replaced by another member. The band moved to England to correspond with their two year Decca recording contract.

Them first recorded in London, England in July of 1964. Studio musicians would be brought in for the records (a pattern that would occur through out Them's brief career). "Don't Start Cryin' Now" was the bands first single. It was released in August of 1964 and was backed with the song "One, Two, Brown Eyes". The single was not successful, so Dick Rowe and Them's band manager Phil Soloman brought in a different set of session musicians, which included the likes of Jimmy Page. The band's next single was a cover song it was "Baby Please Don't Go". This song got them an appearance on the Ready Steady Go UK TV show; The song charted at #26 in the UK. The B-side to the single was the song "Gloria", which would bring the band into the UK Singles Chart at number 10. The song charted higher when it was covered by the band Shadows of Knight.

The band's first album came out in 1965 and was titled The Angry Them. The band released their second and final album Them Again in in 1966. During this time the band also played live and had more hits in the UK with songs such as "Here Comes The Night" and in the US with "Mystic Eyes". In June of 1966, Them secured a three week residency at the Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles. At this time The Doors would play their first show and even perform a twenty minute version of "Gloria" together. Shorty after this in 1966, Van Morrsion broke up Them due to a dispute with the band and management over financial situations. The band would turn into the band The Belfast Gypsies and Van Morrison would go on to have a very successful solo career. Them were known for the blue print they left on rock. They used R&B and Soul influences along with rock to create a sound some would call garage rock. The bands two albums consisted of songs written by Morrison and cover songs of R&B and Soul songs.

The Play List:

1. MC5 - Call Me Animal
2. Ugly Ducklings - Nothin'
3. Marble Index - Anytime
4. Hentchmen - Psycho Daisies
5. Undertones - Teenage Kicks
6. Iggy & The Stooges - I Got A Right!
7. Them - Gloria
8. Them - You Just Can't Win
9. The Who - The Goods Gone
10. Munks - Long Time Waitin'
11. Great Scots - Ball and Chain
12. Collectors - We Can Make It
13. Ride Theory - Truce
14. Velvet Underground - Temptation Inside Your Heart
15. Golden Hands Before God - Communist Party
16. Revolvers - Shuffle
17. Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blues
18. Mint Chicks - Walking Off a Cliff Again
19. Clap Clap Riot - Thief
20. White Stripes - Bone Broke
21. Luger Boa - What is Real?
22. The Hives - I Can't Give it to You
23. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Arms Aloft
24. Bob Dylan - New Morning
25. Compulsive Gamblers - Two Thieves

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hey, Bo Diddley!... The Bo Diddley Story and Show # 201

Bo Diddley was born as Ellas Otha Bates in McComb, Mississippi in 1928. He grew up with his mother's cousin and was adopted. He would adapt his name changing it to Ellas McDaniel. As a kid he took violin lessons and when moving to Chicago and hearing John Lee Hooker, he decided to take up the guitar. He would begin his guitar career playing on street corners and in 1951, he got a residency in Chicago at the 708 Club. His music was influenced by the likes of Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and Louis Jordan. Besides being a musician Diddley also worked as a carpenter and mechanic. He Changed his name to Bo Diddley. There are three places where the name is said to have originated from. One being a southern slang "He ain't bo diddley" which means nothing at all, the other is to have been from the nick name of a boxer, and the third is from a one stringed instrument known as a diddly bow.

In 1954, Bo Diddley and a set of musicians Clifton James (drums), Roosevelt Jack (bass), Billy Boy Arnold (Harmonica) recorded demos of the songs "Bo Diddley" and "I'm A Man". They would re-record the songs with a backing section at Chess Studios and in 1955 the single "Bo Diddley/I'm A Man" was released. It went to number one on the R&B charts. Bo was known for his rhythm style which was known as the Bo Diddley Beat. The style is said to have originated from street musicians and Rhumba/Clave beat. Regardless of it's origins it has been influential on rock music since Diddley started playing it. Along with fellow Chess artist Chuck Berry, Bo and Chuck could be seen as not only the founding fathers of rock and roll, but also innovators.

The Bo Diddley beat can be heard in the songs "Hey Bo Diddley" and "Who Do You Love?". The style somewhat resembling an oncoming train sound, rarely changes notes. Bo would use a variety of styles through out his career along with his Bo Diddley beat. Bo was also known for his homemade square Gretsch guitar which he called, "The Twang Machine". In November of 1955, Bo Diddley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was asked to perform a cover song, but instead did his song "Bo Diddley". This made Ed Sullivan extremely mad who banned him from further appearances; He also said that Bo Diddley wouldn't last six months, he was wrong about that one.

He did have some minor hits with songs such as "Say Man" in 1959, and "You Can't Judge a Book By Looking at the cover" in 1962. Despite having a number one with "Bo Diddley" he did not do well commercially. He recorded at total of eleven full length albums for Checker (a sub-label of Chess). Bo also had interesting album titles such as Have Guitar, Will Travel (1959), Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger (1961), and Bo Diddley's Twister (1962). As the 60's came Bo's influence came through in the new form of rock. Bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, The Yardbirds, and The Animals. "Bo Diddley" was actually covered by Buddy Holly and when the Rolling Stones covered Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away", they gave it a Bo Diddley rhythm.

In 1963, he toured in the UK with The Everly Brothers, Little Richard and Rolling Stones. In 1979, he opened for The Clash on their tour. He would continue playing live and recording off and on through out his career. In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1983 he appeared in the film Trading Places, and starred in a series of Nike commercials with Bo Jackson. In the 70's he also spent some time in New Mexico where he worked as a Deputy Sheriff, he then moved to Archer, Florida.

On June 2nd, 2008 Bo Diddley passed away due to heart failure, he was 79. He left a large lasting effect on the world of rock music. His music has been covered by and influenced by many musicians. He was influential on the early punk scene by bands such as New York Dolls and The Clash, who covered a few Diddley songs during the London Calling Sessions. He was also influential to the likes of Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Clash, The Pretenders, The Supremes, to The White Stripes.

The Play LIst:

1. Bo Diddley - Hey, Bo Diddley!
2. Bo Diddley - I Can Tell
3. Bo Diddley - You Can't Judge a Book By Looking at the Cover
4. Buffalo Springfield - Mr. Soul
5. Gruesomes - Get Outta My Hair
6. Faud and the Feztones - Cool Bird
7. The Diodes - Terminal Rock
8. Extroverts - Living in Poverty
9. Hot Nasites - Get Away From Me
10. Futureheads - Radio Heart
11. The Smiths - London
12. The Police - Truth Hits Everybody
13. Wire - Outdoor Miner
14. Black Lips - O Katrina!
15. Raconteurs - Top Yourself
16. Awesome Color - Already Down
17. Luger Boa - 1000 Hooks
18. Valedictions - Hey Lady
19. Mudhoney - I'm Now
20. Supergrass - Caught By the Fuzz
21. Sloan - Emergency 911
22. Sloan - I'm Not a Kid Anymore
23. Dirty Pretty Things - Tired of England
24. Ramones - Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
25. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Lowest Common Denominator
26. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Senior Service
27. The Clash - Koka Kola

Bo Videos:

Hey, Bo Diddley & Bo Diddley
You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover
Road Runner/Mona (Live 1972)
I"m A Man (Live)
Road Runner/Bring It To Jerome/Mona (Live Whembly Stadium 1972)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Auckland Four... The Complete D4 Story and Show # 200

The early 2000's garage rock revival spawned the likes of The Hives, The Vines, and The Strokes but The D4 were quickly dismissed as another garage rock band. The truth is the band contained elements of garage rock, but also 70's punk, soul, and classic rock; they also come from Auckland, New Zealand. Forming at a party in 1998, guitarists and lead vocalists Jimmy Christmas and Dion Palmer formed the group with other members Rich Mixture (drums), and English Jake on bass; Dion was previously in a band called Nothing At All. Drummer Rich Mixture would leave shortly after the bands first album to pursue a taxidermy career (then joining the band The Rock N' Roll machine) and English Jake left. The band would get Vaughan Williams on bass and Daniel Pooley on drums; They would just be known as Vaughan and Beaver.

In a Rolling Stone magazine interview Dion admitted the band got their name from a brothel that advertised in Auckland. "D1 was a massage, D2 was a hand job, D3 was fellatio and D4 was going all the way." In the same interview the band described their sound as this "some people call us garage rock, but we sound more like meat, glass and tires in a blender." The band started out playing around New Zealand building up a fan base and reputation for their live shows. Their shows were high quality and intensely fueled rock and roll. In 1999, The band released The D4 EP. Containing four tracks, the EP would also contain one of the bands best tracks "Come On!". The EP was a quick hard rocking, energetic EP leaving you wanting to hear more. "Girl", "Come On!", "Outta Blues" and "What U Want" were the tracks and it was released on the New Zealand label Flying Nun. In 2000, the band went on their first overseas tour to Australia and Japan; The tours were self funded.

The band then began work on their debut album 6Twenty. The album would be named after an old fashioned type of JansZen guitar amplifier. Recorded in New Zealand at Frisbee Studios, the album was engineered by Andrew Buckton, Co-Produced by Bob Frisbee, and The D4. It was released in October of 2001 in New Zealand. The rest of the world would see the album in 2002/2003 in the US (on Hollywood Records), in the UK on Infectious Records, and on Sony Music in Japan. 6Twenty starts off with the song "Rock and Roll Motherfucker" and it blares all the way to the end with the volume up all the way. Other great tracks include the punk influenced "Get Loose", the drum manic "Party", the flowing "Exit to the City", the crunchy "Ladies Man", and the descending "Little Baby".

The album also featured three cover songs, "Pirate Love" originally by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, "Mysterex" originally by New Zealand punkers The Scavengers, and "Invader Ace" originally by Guitar Wolf; The band did them justice. Containing 12 tracks the album was a declaration of rock with the spirit of punk, sounding like an explosion; The US release contained 14 tracks, while the Japanese 2003 release contained 17 tracks.

The band spent about two years touring to support 6Twenty. They even played on late night talk shows David Letterman, Last Call with Carson Daily, and the Jimmy Kimmel Show. They also played a variety of festivals such as Reading, Leeds, Pukklepop, Big Day Out, and the South By Southwest Festival. The band would begin working on songs for their second full length album in 2004. Initially Jimmy Christmas and Dion Palmer went to Thailand and to different locations in New Zealand to work on songs. They came up with about 40 songs, but most of them weren't used. They weren't happy with the material. The band was dealing with producers and record companies as well so they had their work cut out for themselves. They decided in February of 2004 to go to England to work on their next album and get away from all the distractions at home. The band moved in together, sharing a flat and worked on songs.

A large majority of Out of My Head was recorded at two studios in London. They also used two studios in Auckland and Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne, Australia. The band also had a variety of producers The Dirty Geezers, Alan Moulder (Nine Inch Nails), and The D4 themselves produced one track on the album, "Stops Me Cold". The different locations and producers came at the recommendation of their manager Alan McGee (responsible for finding Oasis, and The Hives). The band was asked to play at Little Steven's Underground Garage Festival in August of 2004.

In 2005, Out of My Head was released. The album came off sounding a little different than 6Twenty. All of the songs on the album were recorded in live takes to give the band and the album more of a live feel. The band expanded their song writing and lyrical abilities on Out of My Head. The album opens with the fast and twisting "Sake Bomb" before being thrown into the next song "Feel It Like It", which is a song featuring a lot of bass work and short stabbing guitar parts. Other great tracks include the D4 anthem "What I Want", the punk induced "Trust Nobody", the Maraca shaking "Omerta", the slow stalker anthem "Stops Me Cold", and the fast and creepy "Peepshow". The album came out as a limited edition which included three bonus tracks. These songs were a Japanese sung version of "Sake Bomb", "Rock N' Rule", and the dirty Stooges flavoured "Diamond, Ruby, Stone".

Like the first album, the band included cover songs on Out of My Head. The band covered Australia's Lime Spiders on "Out of Control", and the Fun Things with "Savage". After touring for a little bit, The D4 announced that they were going on an indefinite hiatus in June of 2006. They played their last show on June 9th of 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand. The band released this statement about the split :

"They are leaving the book open, but have no foreseeable plans for The D4 in the future and would all like to try other things, musically and otherwise. The band would like everybody who has worked with them and their fans to know that they have had the time of their lives being in this group and done so many amazing things, but at this point in time need to explore other avenues. Thank you all for being part of such an incredible trip."

Even though the band did not break it that big in terms of mainstream status, The D4 has toured with the likes of Oasis, Foo Fighters, and The Hives. Currently Jimmy Christmas has formed a new group called Luger Boa, Vaughan plays bass with The Shocking Pinks, Beaver moved to the UK and currently drums for the Valedictions, and Dion currently plays with his new band The True Lovers. What ever you want to call the band, The D4 were a great, honest, in your face rock band. They were straight to the point, played for the love of music, and rocked out like any band should with high energy and passion. I urge you all to check them out and the various musical projects that they are currently involved with.

D4 Play List:

1. Come On! (6Twenty 2001)
2. Sake Bomb (Out of My Head 2005)
3. Girl (The D4 EP 1999)
4. Party (6Twenty 2001)
5. Ladies Man (6Twenty 2001)
6. Invader Ace (6Twenty 2001)
7. What U Want (The D4 EP 1999)
8. Out of My Head (Out of My Head 2005)
9. Trust Nobody (Out of My Head 2005)
10. Out of Control (Out of My Head 2005)
11. Pirate Love (6Twenty 2001)
12. Running On Empty (6Twenty 2001)
13. Little Baby (6Twenty 2001)
14. Stops Me Cold (Out of My Head 2005)
15. Feel It Like It (Out of My Head 2005)
16. What I Want (Out of My Head 2005)
17. Omerta (Out of My Head 2005)
18. Exit To The City (6Twenty 2001)
19. Rock and Roll Motherfucker (6Twenty 2001)
20. Mysterex (6Twenty 2001)
21. Get Loose (6Twenty 2001)
22. North Shore Bitch (6Twenty B-side 2003)
23. Joe Orton's Wedding (6Twenty B-side 2003)
24. Peepshow (Out of My Head 2005)
25. Savage (Out of My Head 2005)
26. Diamond, Ruby, Stone (What I Want B-side 2005)
27. Evil Heart (Final Song released by The D4 2006)

I have tried to assemble the most complete history of the band since most of the info on them is scarce. Their home webpage is no longer active. I have also included some relevant links with good information on the band.

The D4 link round up:

Amplifier D4 Timeline
Rolling Stone Magazine Article
Sake Bombers : NZ Magazine Article
Launch Interview
My Previous Post on The D4 (not as complete as this post)

D4 Videos:

Get Loose
Exit To The City
Sake Bomb
What I Want
Feel It Like It
Out of Control
Invader Ace (Live Yahoo Exclusive)
Yahoo Exclusive Interview

Other D4 related links:

The D4 Myspace
Luger Boa Myspace
The True Lovers Myspace
The Shocking Pinks Myspace
Valedictions Myspace
D4 Party Fan Site (No Longer Updated)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Harmonies in My Head: Buzzcocks Special...Show # 199

This week I did a show of all Buzzcocks songs. It was a mix of songs from some of my favourite albums by the band (mostly early ones). I already have done an extensive band history on the band. You can read that by clicking this link. Recently the band released 30. The album is a live CD containing 28 tracks, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the band. Here's an interesting and Newer Interview with Pete Shelley.

Next week will be my 200th show. The show will focus on the music of the New Zealand band The D4.

In other news, The Green Man Music Festival which is in the UK from August 15th-18th, 2008 is looking for music lovers to help pick a band to open the festival. The festival is looking for the public to vote on the band that they want to see open the festival by voting using something called the green poll.

This is how it works:

- Bands register for Green Poll on their site
- The public vote for the bands they like and get a chance to win a pair of tickets
- Band with most votes plays Green Man attended by 10,000 people and they also get 6 extra tickets

Anybody can enter Green Poll signed or unsigned. There's tickets to be won, and new bands to discover. This is a cool opportunity to choose who you'd like to hear open the festival if you are in the area. The festival includes the likes of Super Furry Animals and more.

The Play List:

1. Breakdown (Spiral Scratch 1976)
2. Boredom (Spiral Scratch 1976)
3. Lester Sands (A Drop in the Ocean) (Time's Up 1977)
4. I Can't Control Myself (Time's Up 1977)
5. Orgasm Addict (Singles Going Steady 1979)
6. What Do I Get? (Singles Going Steady 1979)
7. Fast Cars (Another Music in a Different Kitchen 1978)
8. Sixteen (Another Music in a Different Kitchen 1978)
9. I Don't Mind (Another Music in a Different Kitchen 1978)
10. Autonomy (Another Music in a Different Kitchen 1978)
11. Moving Away From the Pulsebeat (Another Music in a Different Kitchen 1978)
12. Love You More (Singles Going Steady 1979)
13. Promises (Singles Going Steady 1979)
14. Real World (Love Bites 1978)
15. Ever Fallen in Love (Love Bites 1978)
16. Sixteen Again (Love Bites 1978)
17. E.S.P (Love Bites 1978)
18. Everybody's Happy Nowadays (Singles Going Steady 1979)
19. Harmony in My Head (Singles Going Steady 1979)
20. Paradise (A Different Kind of Tension 1979)
21. Sitting Round At Home (A Different Kind of Tension 1979)
22. Raison D'etre (A Different Kind of Tension 1979)
23. I Don't Know What To Do With My Life (A Different Kind of Tension 1979)
24. What Do You Know? (Parts 1,2,3 1981)
25. I Look Alone (NME : C81 Compilation 1981)
26. Flat-Pack Philosophy (Flat-Pack Philosophy 2006)
27. Sell You Everything (Flat-Pack Philosophy 2006)
28. Reconciliation (Flat-Pack Philosophy 2006)