Tuesday, October 25, 2011

City Slang ... Sonic's Rendezvous Band & Show # 375

From 1975 to 1980 a band existed in Ann Arbor, Michigan known as Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. The band was composed of Fred “Sonic” Smith (previously of The MC5) on guitar/vocals, Scott Morgan (previously of The Rationals) on guitar/vocals, Gary Rasmussen (previously of The Up) on bass, and ex-Stooges drummer Scott Asheton. Although relatively unknown while they were still active by the mainstream, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band has now elevated to legendary/cult-like status. During their time as a band they only ever released one single "City Slang". The "City Slang" single had the same song on the A side and the B side, although one side was labelled as a mono version and a stereo version, the single contained the exact same song on both sides. “Electrophonic Tonic” was recorded to be the B side of the "City Slang" single, but due to lack of funds the band could only afford to put the one song on the single. Original copies of the "City Slang" single, originally released in 1978 now go for hundreds of dollars.

The band essentially formed from the ashes of The MC5, and The Rationals. Smith and Morgan became friends and prior to the forming of Sonic’s Rendezvous band, Fred Smith contributed lead guitar to Scott Morgan’s first solo single (1973's Take A Look/Soul Mover). The two then decided to form a band, which would go through many line up changes in the rhythm section. The band played their first gig as The Orchids which featured Ron Cooke of Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels on bass. The gig was poorly attended due to a large blizzard that occurred during that night in the bands early incarnation. Shortly after Cooke was out as Scott Asheton came into the group as their new drummer and Gary Rasmussen of The Up signed up on bass. The line up was now complete and the band changed their name to Sonic’s Rendezvous Band and began playing more gigs around the Michigan area starting in 1975. They tried to veer away from playing songs from each of their respective musical pasts instead opting for new original material, but slowly built up a following. The band combined the high energy Rock style of The MC5/The Stooges, with the soulful Garage ethics of The Rationals, but at the same time took a step into a new direction. Several songs were longer songs, evolving from jams that the band had together during rehearsals. Major labels seemed to avoid interest in this band, despite their local following and talent, but things were different then. It was around 1978 that the growing tensions between Smith and Morgan reached greater levels. Eventually the band faded to a stop in 1980.

The bands legendary status was maintained by their fan base through bootlegs released in the 80s of band demos and live shows. Sonic's Rendezvous Band gained international attention during the late 70s Punk scene, which despite the band no longer being together, their fan base grew. In the late 90s, the studio recording of the song “Electrophonic Tonic”, the intended B side to “City Slang” was released by Alive/Total Energy Records. This generated a new interest in the band and two albums were released titled Sweet Nothing (in 1998) which compiled a good quality live recording of the band from Ann Arbor in 1978 and City Slang (in 2000), which followed due to the success of Sweet Nothing. City Slang combined live recordings with the bands 1978 City Slang single, both albums are now currently out of print and were released by Mack Aborn Rhythm Arts. In 2006, Easy Action a UK record label released a six CD box set of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band material. Simply titled Sonic’s Rendezvous Band Box Set, the six CD’s compiled demos, rehearsal recordings, studio material and four live concerts. In 2007, another live recording was released from when the band played The Masonic Temple in 1978 in Detroit.

Following his time with Sonic’s Rendezvous band, Fred Smith married musician Patti Smith in 1980. In 1986 he worked with Patti on her album Dream of Life collaborating as a songwriter, producer and guitarist. This would be one of Smith’s last recordings, in November of 1994 Fred “Sonic” Smith passed away due to heart failure. Scott Morgan continued to tour and record as a solo artist and with groups such as Scots Pirates, Power Trane, Dodge Main, and The Hydromatics. Gary Rasmussen continues to play music as a studio musician and Scott Asheton currently plays with the reunited Stooges. The band reunited as The Rendezvous Band in 1999 featuring Deniz Tek (of Radio Birdman on guitar) in place of Smith at The Magic Stick in Detroit, it was released in 2000 under the titled Getting There is Half the Fun. More info on The Sonic's Rendezvous band can be found at http://sonicsrendezvousband.net/.

This Week's Play List:

1. Teenanger - Too Nice To Say No
2. Ghost Knife - Omnipotent
3. Rock 'N Roll Monkey & The Robots - I Should've Stayed In Detroit
4. Flamin' Groovies - High Flyin' Baby
5. Guage - I Saw You On The Telephone
6. Johnny Jaws & The Sharks - Out of Love
7. Pointed Sticks - Part of the Noise
8. Joy Division - Interzone
9. Crocodiles - Soft Skull (In My Room)
10. Mode Moderne - Radio Heartbeat
11. Colleen Green - Green One
12. Hoa Hoa's - Going Out With Her
13. Dog Day - What She Says
14. Empire - Him Or Me
15. The Only Ones - Re-Union
16. XTC - The Rhythm
17. Blue Orchids - The Flood
18. Models - Man of the Year
19. Magazine - Sweetheart Contract
20. Laughing Clowns - In Front of Your Eyes
21. Indian Wars - Old Hotel
22. Sonic's Rendezvous Band - Sweet Nothing (Live)
23. Sonic's Rendezvous Band - City Slang (1999 Mix)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 25. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Ruby Spirit & The White Stripes & Show # 374

This week I will post a few videos for a change of pace. First up a quirky, peculiar video from a Canadian Indie Rock band with a dash of Garage and a peppering of Pop called The Ruby Spirit. The band currently has a six track EP available titled Born under a Veil. The video for "Cagliari" is a stop motion created video that was done by Mike Walter. For more info you can visit http://www.therubyspirit.com/

Here's another cool music video that may or may not be stop motion based:

Also Revolution Rock is now on facebook.  Like Revolution Rock on facebook!!!

The Play List:

1. The Stomach Mouths - Eegah
2. The Rationals - I Need You
3. ? and The Mysterians - It's Not Easy
4. The Barracudas - Rendez-Vous
5. Invasions - Out Of Touch
6. The Remedials - That Look
7. Finks - Can't Say No
8. Martha & The Muffins - Copacabana
9. Southern Culture on the Skids - Zombified
10. The Ruby Spirit - Caligari
11. Magnificent Bastards - She Won't Do It Anymore
12. Bad Vibrations - Losing Time
13. Mad Ones - Behaviour
14. Shimmering Stars - I'm Gonna Try
15. Bear Vs. Shark - Catamaran
16. The Specials - Little Bitch
17. The Equators - Baby Come Back
18. The Ruts - Babylon's Burning
19. The Skids - Night And Day
20. Famous Names - Blind Date
21. Exits - Going Places
22. The Jam - When You're Young
23. The Professionals - Just Another Dream
24. Guided By Voices - Teenage FBI
25. The Hives - Thousand Answers

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 18. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not Now No Way ... The Pagans & Show # 373

Coming from Cleveland, Ohio in 1977 The Pagans are often a largely ignored band that came from the first wave of American Punk bands alongside acts such as The Dead Boys. The Pagans consisted of Mike Hudson (vocals), Brian Hudson (drums), Mike “Tommy Gunn” Metoff (guitar) and Tim Allee on bass. The band played a unique blend of grimy Garage influenced Punk music, which was filled with venomous attitude. They released their first recordings as a 45 single that contained two of the same songs on side A and side B, “Six and Change”. The sneerful and bone rattling Street Where Nobody Lives was the bands second single, it was backed with the self explanatory, but equally gnarly “What’s This Shit Called Love?” It was followed up by the Not Now No Way single in 1979 and the Dead End America single in the same year. The band split initially in 1979, which along with their anti-famous image and lyrical subject matter put the band to a halt, but not for long. The Pagans reformed again in 1982 and disbanded yet again in 1983.

The band released a self titled album in 1983, and continued to release music off and on. A compilation album of the bands recordings was released in 1986 titled Buried Alive, which is often regarded as the best compilation and release from The Pagans to ever be released. The compilation compiled the band in their nasty, snotty glory featuring all of the bands early seven inch recordings and several unreleased tracks. The first CD compilation was released in 1994 entitled Everybody Hates You, and several other compilation albums cataloging The Pagans material has been released since then. A book was released by Mike Hudson titled Diary of Punk in 2008 chronicling his time with The Pagans. The band while they reformed several times, have released numerous recordings that at the time of its initial release was greatly under looked. They have now come to be more recognized by others Hudson’s lyrical style often attacked society related issues and at times came off with a stark lyrical imagery that when combined with the bands anti-star attitude made them not only a unique and at times offensive band, but one that were truly original

The Play List:

1. The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog (Alternate Vocal Version)
2. DOA - Smash the State
3. Existers - Telex Love
4. Plan Nine - I Ain't No Robot
5. Rage - I've Got Your Number
6. Sports - Side Effect of Talk
7. Dum Dum Girls - Always Looking
8. Kasabian - Let's Roll Like We Used To
9. Television - I'm Gonna Find You (1974 Unreleased Song)
10. The Strollers - I Fell Right Down
11. Thee Mighty Caesars - Little By Little
12. Chang-A-Lang - Lay By Your Side
13. Neil Young - Vampire Blues
14. The Locusts Have No King - Last Night In My Favorite Bar And The Reprocussions Thereof
15. Johnny Cash - Locomotive Man
16. Will Currie & The County French - Railroad
17. Johnny Thunders - (She's So) Untouchable
18. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - New Pleasure
19. Generation X - New Order
20. The Bears - Fun, Fun, Fun
21. The Pagans - I Don't Understand
22. The Pagans - Not Now No Way
23. The Dead Boys - Ain't Nothing To Do
24. Compulsive Gamblers - Whole Lotta Woman
25. True Lovers - Obsession

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 11. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

(Return to) Friday at the Hideout

This Friday I filled in for CJAM's Willy Wilson on the program Friday's At The Hideout. A few months back I filled in for the very same show, my play list on this program reflected the Surf, Garage, Punk, and Folk genres. Willy Wilson also hosts the program The Motorcity is Burning every Tuesday at 7 PM, Friday's At The Hideout can be heard every Friday from 8-10 PM.  The program can be downloaded below.

The Play List:

1. Link Wray - Law of the Jungle
2. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Shake Some Evil
3. The Collectors - Eyes
4. The Townsmen - Back Yards
5. Prehistoric Cave Strokers - You're In You're Out
6. The Fuse - Sad Eyes
7. The Hi-Fi's - Look What You've Done
8. Sports - Played Yourself
9. Dum Dum Girls - Hold Your Hand
10. Kasabian - Neon Noon
11. Drew Smith - Smoke & Mirrors
12. Will Currie & The County French - Railroad
13. The Mekons - Geeshie
14. John Doe - Walking Out The Door
15. Twin Library - I Asked Her To Build Me A Phone
16. Chang-A-Lang - Japanese Eyes
17. The Remains - Don't Look Back
18. The Uniques - You Ain't Tuff
19. The Count Five - Psychotic Reaction
20. Square Root of Margaret - Attack of the Giant Problem vs. The Creature From The Planet of the Incredible Shrinking Solution
21. Mark Sultan - Mortal Man
22. Radio Birdman - Do The Pop!
23. The Misfits - Hollywood Babylon
24. Ramones - You Should Never Have Opened That Door
25. The Adverts - Safety In Numbers
26. Buzzcocks - I Don't Mind
27. The Exploding Hearts - I'm A Pretender
28. The D4 - Joe 90
29. The Clash - The Leader (Live Amsterdam 1981)
30. Dex Romweber Duo - Climb Down
31. Dave Allan & The Arrows - Outer Surf
32. Velvet Underground - I Found A Reason (Demo)

The show can be downloaded here. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Nirvana ... Newermind & Show # 372

Twenty years ago Nirvana released their second full length album Nevermind. Prior to the album being recorded the band nor their record label (then Sub Pop, before signing to Geffen) had no idea of the impact that the album would have. While initially it was pressed in smaller quantities, the album quickly climbed the Billboard top 200 charts eventually knocking Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album off the top spot. But would the album have had the same impact if it had been not re-mixed by Andy Wallace? The super deluxe edition of Nevermind that was released on September 27th of 2011 provides an inside look and insight into the events leading up to Nevermind’s success and also provides the listener with a plethora of material to wrap their heads around as Nirvana’s Nevermind hits the 20 year mark. It should also be noted that currently, Nevermind has re-entered the UK top ten album charts.

The set comes in a large vinyl sized book featuring glossy colour photos cataloguing Nirvana’s adventures mostly in picture form. Inside there are budget breakdowns, press releases, previously unseen photos, screenshots from Nevermind-era music videos, and the album cover shoot, and a reprint of a Melody Maker magazine feature on Nirvana and the Seattle scene at the time. If that isn’t enough there is the music which is provided in a variety of formats – one in CD form. There are four CD’s in the set and one DVD featuring a previously unreleased Nirvana Concert from the Paramount Theatre in 1991. The first CD features a remaster of the actual Nevermind album, and a collection of B-sides, that if you have been a die-hard Nirvana fan have most likely heard before.

The second CD is where the super deluxe set gets interesting. First it starts off with the eight song Smart Studios Sessions that Nirvana Did with Butch Vig (who would also produce Nevermind) in April of 1990. Through these eight songs we hear Nirvana with Chad Channing on drums, and in an early primalistic form, the songs sound like they come from Bleach-era Nirvana, which they do in a sense, but this form of Nirvana is one that is in transition. The listener is taken through early versions of songs such as “Lithium”, “Breed” (then titled “Immodium”), “In Bloom”, “Pay To Play” (which would become the song “Breed”), and a cover of the Velvet Underground song “Here She Comes Now”, “Dive”, and “Sappy”. From these demos the band decided to shop around in hopes of moving to a major label, but following the demos the listener is thrown right into yet another, early version of the Nevermind album. There are eight boom box demos, which were recorded by Nirvana in their rehearsal space in Tacoma, Washington in March 1991. Here we have yet more early versions of songs that would find their way onto Nevermind, with different lyrics and two tracks which never made the final cut of the album “Old Age” and “Verse Chorus Verse”. Ever since a snippet of the boombox demo of “Old Age” was leaked onto the internet many years ago, these demos have been greatly in demand by Nirvana fans. It should also be noted that on the 2004 Nirvana With The Lights Out box set, there are the studio outtake versions from the Nevermind album sessions of “Old Age” and “Verse Chorus Verse”, they do not appear on this set. Additionally, there was a version the band did of “Sappy”, which would be re-recorded and released at a later date, but the Nevermind recorded version remains unreleased. After listening to Nirvana playing some of the same songs back to back with different drummers (Channing on the Smart Demos and Grohl on the boombox) there is an immediate change in chemistry to the bands energy. Through this CD we hear Nirvana’s evolution. At the end of this CD, two songs from a BBC session are tacked on “Something In The Way” and “Drain You”.

The third CD provides the listener with what is called The Devonshire Mixes. These are the infamous mixes that Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain had referenced in the past, saying that they were rawer and less polished than the final released Andy Wallace mixed version. The songs found on this CD are a more stripped down version of the Nevermind we have all come to recognize. While some of the tracks appear to not have much changes, several of the songs have noticeable differences, such as “Lounge Act”, Territorial Pissings”, and “On A Plain”. “Come As You Are” is noticeably less produced that the album version, while “Drain You” is different, yet doesn't have the same impact of the Wallace mixed version. The songs seem to have clearer vocals, a more raw/live feel to them, which when compared to the Wallace version is less produced, but at times lacks the impact that the final officially released version has. These were rough mixes that were put together by Producer for Butch Vig for the band to hear, which in this set provides us with yet another fascinating evolutionary stage of the album. Finally we are provided with a CD version of a live concert that is also provided in DVD form, which can be argued for its significance. But after delving through many demos, alternate/early versions of songs and alternate mixes, the 20th anniversary super deluxe edition of Nevermind ends with the band in its rawest aural form, live. Finally there is the Live At The Paramount DVD, which is a previously unreleased live concert of the band from October 31st, 1991.

This limited edition release is pricey but if you are a big Nirvana fan it is something that you will enjoy. Hearing the evolution of a band coming from the Seattle underground into the mainstream, we are provided with a lot of material to listen to and watch. There are also different versions of the release, such as the two CD deluxe edition of the album, a four LP vinyl box set, and a Blu Ray version of the Live At The Paramount concert. So what if the album was never re-mixed by Andy Wallace would it have had the same impact? The songs are there, they were being crafted by Cobain and the band in preparation. This is a question that at this point is irrelevant, it could be argued for on either side, but regardless of which you prefer the songs are there and the music is there. Good music is good music, oh well whatever Nevermind.

For more info on the band you can visit http://www.nirvana.com/ or Kerrang! Radio's 20 Facts about Nevermind.

The Play List:

1. The Libertines - The Boy Looked At Johnny
2. Dream Dates - Heartattack Rhythm
3. Psychotic Pineapples - Stranded
4. The Polymorphines - Bring Your Love Back Home
5. Wild Flag - Short Version
6. The Strokes - Two Kinds of Happiness
7. Nick Lowe - 36 Inches High
8. Brian James - Ain't That A Shame
9. Result - Suburban Addicts
10. Wayouts - Wild At The Beach
11. B-Girls - Angel Doesn't Shoot A Gun
12. The Dishrags - Can't Wait
13. Brazilian Money - Slowly Soaking Up Some Rays On A Sofa
14. Wilco - I Might
15. The Saints - Memories Are Made of This
16. The Velvet Underground - Beginning To See The Light
17. Nirvana - Sappy (Smart Studios Demo Version)
18. Nirvana - Territorial Pissings (Devonshire Mix)
19. Nirvana - Drain You (Live At The Paramount)
20. The Teardrops - Seeing Double
21. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Hold Me Tight
22. The Lyrics - So What!!
23. The Hentchmen - Ham & Oil
23. The Black Lips - Not A Problem

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 4. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.