Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Stooges Drummer Scott Asheton 1949-2014 & Show # 501

On March 15th, 2014, Scott Asheton, best known as the drummer in the band The Stooges, passed away. Scott performed with The Stooges on all three of their albums along with his brother Ron, who passed away in 2009 due to a heart attack. Scott and his brother Ron, along with original Stooges bassist Dave Alexander formed the core rhythm section of the early line up for The Stooges, which had its beginnings in 1967. In a recent post on Rolling Stone, Iggy talked of his time with Scott Asheton, calling him “magnetic, and having a “boxer’s authority” when playing drums. In the article, Iggy Pop discusses the band’s early stages and his transition from drummer to lead vocalist and taking the center stage. He taught Scott Asheton how to play the drums in the early embryotic stages of The Stooges. Iggy Pop elaborated on this in the very same Rolling Stone article:

“I first met Scott Asheton when I was working at Discount Records in Ann Arbor to augment my drumming. He used to stand with [future Stooges bassist] Dave Alexander at the corner of State Street and Liberty, which is grand central for the University of Michigan campus. Scott impressed me immediately by his obvious physical gift. He remembered this better than I do, but he would bug me to teach him how to play drums.

Following The Stooges first break up in 1971, there was a period of time when Scott along with his brother Ron were in limbo before being recruited by Iggy Pop to reform The Stooges with James Williamson on guitar, and original guitarist Ron Asheton moving to bass. They would record what many feel is The Stooges best album Raw Power in 1973. After the band split again in 1974, Scott Asheton and brother Ron Asheton would continue music separately through with other groups. Scott would go on to play with a variety of other Detroit related groups such as Fred “Sonic” Smith’s post MC5 band Sonic’s Rendezvous Band along with fellow Detroit musician Scott Morgan. Scott Morgan had been in a Detroit Garage group called The Rationals in the mid 60s, but Scott Asheton would go on to play with Scott Morgan and his related projects such as Scot’s Pirates and The Scott Morgan band throughout the 80s. Additionally, Scott Asheton played live with Iggy Pop in 1978, and played with Sonny Vincent & His Rat Race Choir along with Captain Sensible of The Damned, among other bands. The Stooges reunited in 2003 and eventually went on to record two more albums 2007’s The Weirdness, with Ron Asheton on guitar and in 2013 Ready To Die with Raw Power era guitarist James Williamson.

Although The Stooges were overlooked for the most part when active as a band from 1967-1973, they have since gone on to become not only a cult classic band, but also a band responsible for having roots into what was to become Punk Rock. The Stooges are still a highly influential band and important group in Rock history and it was Scott Asheton in the drummer seat. Currently there is a documentary in the works about The Stooges that is to be done by Jim Jarmusch.

This Week's Play List:

1. The Spys - Welcome To The Cruel World My Friend
2. The Poles - CN Tower
3. Blam Blam Blam - Battleship Grey
4. Thee Mighty Caesars - I’ve Got Everything Indeed
5. Dead Drugs - Get Weird
6. The Revelions - Sighs
7. Scott Morgan - 16 With A Bullet
8. Sonic’s Rendezvous Band - You’re So Great
9. The Stooges - TV Eye (Takes 7 & 8)
10. The New Values - Straight Line
11. Damaged Bug - Photograph
12. Papermaps - Poor City
13. Public Image Limited - Memories
14. Johnny West - You Make Me Feel Like An Impotent Squadger
15. Novels - Mr. Foster’s Teenage Daughter
16. Indian Wars - Won't Do A Thing
17. Neil Young, Bob Dylan & The Band - Looking For A Love (Live San Francisco, CA Kezar Stadium 1975)
18. The Polymorphines - Mainstreet Jimmy
19. The Stomach Mouths - Waiting
20. The Pagans - I Don’t Understand
21. The Diodes -We’re Ripped
22. The Skids - Masquerade
23. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Going Gong Gone

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Revolution Rock: Tales Of A Late Night DJ & Show # 500

This week marked the 500th episode of Revolution Rock to air on CJAM FM’s airwaves in the Windsor/Detroit area. When I originally started the program back in June of 2004, I always wondered if I would make it to 500 episodes, well I suppose that now I have. When Revolution Rock started as a radio program back in 2004 CJAM was still located on 91.5 FM on the FM dial and the show focused specifically on 70s Punk and New Wave music. For approximately two years the show played that genre, rarely venturing outside of the world of the music created during that time period. At the time I created the program, CJAM had many “Punk” programs, but none of them for the most part really featured any music from the late 70s Punk scene specifically, whether in the UK or otherwise. The very first week that I was to be on the air, I recall going to CJAM FM located in the basement of the University of Windsor CAW Centre. I had been given the late night or graveyard shift from Midnight until 2 AM on Thursdays, a position I held for a few years. The very first time I was supposed to be on CJAM, I wasn’t able to get in the building. I told a bunch of my friends that I would be on the radio and they said they would be tuning in that night to hear my program, I was not aware at the time that University was locked on some occasions during late night hours. The next day at the University, some friends told me they heard my radio show, but “didn’t hear much talking from me”. Since I wasn’t there to do my program a CD was put on repeat for the night. It was rather fitting to know that being a radio DJ could be done by a CD player on repeat, but that was a rather short sighted point of view at the time, something that would change with time. This was also before the world of mp3/music playlists could be fully utilized by computers.

The following week I was able to get into the building and actually be on the air. I was extremely nervous to be on the radio live for the first time and when I walked into the studio, some friends of mine from the University's Communication Studies program were hosting their show. One of my colleagues was shirtless and for some reason sweaty and perhaps there were also some outside influences were at play that night. When I asked my colleague why he wasn’t wearing a shirt his reply was “It makes me perform better”. This was my first real introduction to the world of campus/community radio.

During the late night hours at CJAM FM, I explored the 70s Punk and New Wave genres, the music that influenced those genres in great detail and sometimes newer music. But at the time I was still a bit influenced by the mainstream media and way of thinking. Each week on Thursday night or Friday morning for that matter, I delved deeper into this world and in combination with my education at the University's Communication Studies program and the CJAM FM community, I began to think differently. I also learned a few valuable things from my experiences. On Thursday nights, the University had “Pub Night” and often confused drunk University students would wander into the lobby of CJAM FM, not located too far away from the bathrooms and the University Pub. They would at times yell out loud both profane and incoherent thoughts while I was talking on air during my program. This is where I learned, lock the door to CJAM when you are programming late at night. You never know who might wander in.

Then there were the late night callers. They would not be unlike the drunken University student wandering in from the Pub, sometimes starting phone calls either as prank calls where no one got the joke, or just to comment on the fact that they really hated what they were hearing. I recall one very specific instance when a caller phoned in, picking up the phone the anonymous caller on the other end said “Why aren’t you playing Techno music?” When I explained that my program focused on 70s Punk Rock they replied with “This makes me want to smash my head against a brick wall. It sucks!” then promptly hung up. As cruel as that sounds, there were also loyal callers that called in to make requests that were sometimes very obscure or just to tell me they liked what they were hearing in general. Some of those loyal listeners followed me when Revolution Rock switched time slots, which it did twice. For another few years, Revolution Rock aired Wednesday nights from 9-10:30 PM, I was followed by the Electronic program The Rhythm Gallery. It was also around this time in 2006, that I created this blog. It was created as a place to profile bands that were featured on the program and as a way to share my program online with a wider, more international audience.

In September of 2008, Revolution Rock moved to its current time slot Tuesday mornings from 10:30 AM – 12 PM. Since those early days in 2004, the program has evolved greatly in terms of content. Revolution Rock grew to incorporate Garage Rock, Surf, Alternative, Indie and many other related sub-genres into the shows format, but still keeping true to the 70s Punk and New Wave attitude and ethos that the genre helped to create. With the 500th, episode of Revolution Rock now over with I can’t help but think back to my first program in June of 2004. My sweaty shirtless friend introduced me to a world that I had not yet been exposed to. The shirt has now been taken off so to speak and I am no longer trapped between the confines of the mainstream way of thinking and the beginnings of my University education. In essence, I now perform better as a programmer with my metaphorical shirt off. I mean after almost ten years and 500 episodes, you would have to be right?

(NOTE: Revolution Rock switched time slots on May 24th, 2014. It can now be heard Saturday's from 7-9 PM on CJAM 99.1 FM)

The Play List:

1. Sun Stone Revolvers - Elmore's Surf
2. Action Makes - Nothing For Money
3. Simply Saucer - Get My Thrills
4. 63 Monroe - Twist My Wrist
5. The Victims - Open Your Eyes
6. St. Paul & The Broken Bones - The Glow
7. Holy Wave - How Do You Feel?
8. Them - You Just Can’t Win
9. Thee Oh Sees - Wait Let’s Go
10. Link Wray - Raunchy
11. Paul Jacobs - I Got It
12. No Fun - I Ain’t Got No Face
13. Carbonas - Hate You
14. Pointed Sticks - I’m Numb
15. The Scabs - Don’t Just Sit There
16. Ruefrex - Cross The Line
17. Slow - Have No Been The Same
18. The Replacements - Left Of The Dial
19. The Kinks - Powerman
20. Guided By Voices - A Good Flying Bird
21. The Clash - Deny
22. Ty Segall - Femme Fatale (Velvet Underground Cover)
23. The Black Lips - My Struggle
24. The Velvet Underground - Beginning To See The Light (Early Version)

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bob Dylan & George Harrison New Morning Sessions & Show # 499

Bob Dylan’s controversial album Self Portrait was released in 1970. The album was meant to be bad on purpose and was known for the infamous lines in Greil Marcus’ Rolling Stone review, which opened with “What is this shit?” The album was a double album of odd covers with bizarre overdubs and some poorly mixed live recordings. The songs were released in this fashion as a reaction to fans harassing Dylan at his family home. Bob said in a 1984 Rolling Stone interview: “'Well, fuck it. I wish these people would just forget about me. I wanna do something they can't possibly like, they can't relate to. They'll see it, and they'll listen, and they'll say, 'Well, let's get on to the next person. He ain't sayin' it no more. He ain't given' us what we want,' you know? They'll go on to somebody else.” The idea didn’t really work out as planned, but around the same time Dylan was working on another album, one that was to become 1970’s New Morning.

Those sessions are known for their beginnings, which took place on May 1st, 1970, with Beatle George Harrison on guitar. The sessions were a mish mash of covers and a few originals and have been widely bootlegged for some time. However, the sessions showcase an interesting point in Dylan’s career, the transition from Self Portrait to New Morning is night and day. New Morning excels where Self Portrait conveys quite the opposite. From these sessions a few songs were considered for release on New Morning, but they were never used. A few of these songs “Working On A Guru”, a version of “Time Passes Slowly” and “If Not For You” have since been released officially.

New Morning was released four months after Self Portrait. Recording sessions for Self Portrait began in April of 1969, and went on until March of 1970. The beginning of the New Morning sessions occurred on May 1st, 1970, before Self Portrait was even released. Dylan even stated in a 1975 interview “We were working on New Morning when the Self Portrait album got put together."

The May 1st session was to be recorded in secret, but even though the rumours spread, the Bob Johnston produced session went down as planned. Musicians on the session included Charlie Daniels on bass, Russ Kunkel on drums, Bob Johnston on keys and of course Bob Dylan and George Harrison. The session is loose and features several tracks that are of a rough around the edges quality. George Harrison’s guitar playing often reflects influences from the early days of The Beatles. Songs such as “I Don’t Believe You”, Carl Perkins “Matchbox”, the muddy “When’s My Swamp Gonna Catch Fire?”, “Honey Just Allow Me Just One More Chance”, a recording of an early still unreleased Bob Dylan original “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind”, a version of The Beatles “Yesterday” which ends with George Harrison saying that they should “put some cello on that”, all serve as candidates in favour of the sessions. There are still some weaker moments, but overall the sessions symbolize a unique point in both musicians’ careers. They also add to the vast and mysterious unreleased catalog that Bob Dylan has created during various points in his career.

As George had just become an ex-Beatle and was beginning work on his All Things Must Pass album, Bob Dylan was dealing with a difficult period with over obsessed fans viewing him as a sight seeing prophet. Both musicians had plenty on their mind. If these loose and for the most part off the cuff sessions show us anything, it is just a collection of musicians having unstructured fun in the studio rediscovering themselves, while the distractions of the outside world remain elsewhere.

Self Portrait and several of the tracks from the New Morning sessions are revisited on 2013’s The Bootleg Series Vol 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1972), including a full and proper remixed concert from the Isle of Wight with Bob Dylan & The Band.

The Play List:

1. The Rezillos - Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight
2. Ramones - Highest Trails Above
3. Wire - Just Don’t Care (1977 Demo)
4. Zombie Surfers - Zombie Hand
5. The Orions - Always Clean And Fresh
6. North By North - Burn It Down
7. Deathcats - Aligator
8. Fruit Tones - Just Feeling Lucky
9. Aron D’Alesio - Carousel
10. Picastro - Endlessly
11. The Big Cat Band (Drew from Dead Ghosts and members of Indian Wars) - Jimmy
12. Dead Ghosts - Girl (The Keggs Cover)
13. Bob Dylan (With George Harrison) - When’s My Swamp Gonna Catch Fire?
14. Bob Dylan (With George Harrison) - Mama You’ve Been On My Mind
15. Scattered Bodies - The Many Moments
16. Vaguess - Television Dreams
17. The Zellots - On The Dole
18. Female Hands - Divided By Three
19. Active Dog - Nothing Holding You
20. Tim Ray & AV - Quarter To Eight
21. Private School - Rock & Roll Radio
22. Spizzenergi - Soldier Soldier
23. Magazine - Shot By Both Sides (1977 Definitive Daze Demo)
24. Bob Dylan (With George Harrison) - Working On A Guru
25. Bob Dylan (With George Harrison) - Time Passes Slowly # 1

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

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Devo's Bob Casale (1952-2014) & Show # 498

On February 17th, 2014, Bob Casale, one of the founding members of Devo passed away due to heart failure. Bob Casale played rhythm guitar, keyboards and provided MIDI sampling in Devo, but also provided back up vocals, and from 1984 served as the band’s sound engineer on their albums. Just last year In June of 2013, Alan Myers passed away due to a battle with cancer. Alan was often referred to as “The Human Metronome” and drummed with Devo until 1984. Both members were part of Devo’s classic line up.

Devo formed in Akron, Ohio in 1972, and were comprised of brothers Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, Gerald and Bob (referred to as Bob 2) Casale and Alan Myers on drums. Bob initially was a trained medical radiation technician, but was asked by his brother Gerald to join Devo. The band became a seminal New Wave-era band in the late 70s/early 80’s. Most people recognize them for their quirky hit song “Whip It!”, but when the band first started out and even up to their most recent release 2010’s Something For Everybody, the music they made was based on the theory of devolution. Devolution in its simplest explanation is the theory that man was devolving into a regressive and earlier state, as opposed to be advancing in our modern society. The band first caught the attention of David Bowie at the Ann Arbor Film Festival where their short film The Complete Truth About De-Evolution won a prize at the festival. The film was shot by Chuck Statler incorporating Devo’s theories of Devolution and their music. It was essentially a music video, but following that prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the band went forward from there.

Following the initial split of Devo in 1999, Bob along with other members of the band went on to other music related ventures. Most notably Bob joined the music production company Mutato Muzika, along with other members of Devo that was founded by Mark Mothersbaugh. Bob collaborated with Mark and the company on numerous films and television related programs. Some of the company’s credits include the films Happy Gilmore, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rugrats Go Wild, and many others.

The Play List:

1. La Luz - Sure As Spring
3. La Luz - Phantom Feelings
3. Martin Van Ruin - American Moon
4. Holy Wave - Psychological Thriller
5. Temples - Shelter Song
6. Habibi - Far From Right
7. Tire Swing Co. - I Awoke
8. Middle Sister - Maudite
9. Handsome Ned - One Hundred Miles of Open Road
10 The Hidden Cameras - Doom
11. Dum Dum Girls - Cult Of Love
12. Devo - Big Mess
13. Devo - Freedom Of Choice
14. Devo - Through Being Cool
15. Roky Erickson & The Aliens - I Walked with A Zombie
16. The Hoop - Phog Lounge
17. The Vapids - Powerchords and Skateboards
18. Light Bulb Alley - Liquor Store (Rough Mix)
19. The Basements - Wrong
20. The Black Angels - Better Off Alone
21. Teenanger - Psychic Sonya
22. Wanda Jackson - There’s A Party Goin’ On
23. Handsome Ned - One Hundred Miles of Open Road
23. Stompin’ Tom Connors - The Horseshoe Hotel (Live At The Horseshoe 1971)
25. Lou Reed - Nobody’s Business

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