Saturday, February 27, 2021

Revolution Surf 2021 & Show # 871


Surf rock is known for its reverb drenched guitar sounds and solos, drums and relation to surf culture. Starting in the 60s it has since infiltrated several genres of music. But, Western surf music or surf music with Wild West elements is kind of hard to pinpoint. You could go back to the early days of the Spaghetti Western movies and more specifically the films of Sergio Leone, which featured music from Oscar winning Italian film music composer Ennio Morricone. He often created epic, cinematic soundscapes in Western films incorporating elements of surf rock, along with other genres such as country as well as unconventional sound effects at the time. The music that he created for Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western films are iconic. He used elements of surf music, combined with horns, acoustic guitar, Spanish guitar, 60s inspired psychedelic and fuzz guitar, all mixed together. He created a mood that would suit whatever scene it was accompanying in the movie. Morricone who passed in 2020, couldn’t have predicted the influence that his music from this time period would have on rock, indie rock, surf music and other genres of music. The soundtracks to the Dollars Trilogy (Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly) have gone on to influence music in unexpected ways. Just listening to the theme music to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly separate from the movie is quite moving. When combined with the film, it creates an even greater effect on the viewer/listener. Of course, this wasn’t the only type of music Morricone would create when combining music for films. With approximately 500 film scores to his name, other films such as Once Upon A Time In The West, The Thing, The Untouchables, Cinema Paradiso, and The Hateful Eight are just some of the great film scores he created during his lifetime. With Morricone’s music, it's something you need to experience to grasp the full effect. However, surf music or surf guitar finds its way into all kinds of music nowadays it seems. But, Western themed surf music basically has elements of country mixed in with it.

The Ventures are a very well known surf rock/instrumental band. Known as “The band that launched a thousand bands,” their innovation and instrumental abilities have not gone unnoticed. In fact for last year's episode of Revolution Surf, we mentioned their experimentation with the space themed surf/instrumental genre. The band had its beginnings in the late 50s, 1958 to be exact. Bob Bogle first met Don Wilson in 1958 at a car dealership of all places, and after finding they had a common interest in music they decided to form a band. They then added Nokie Edwards on bass and Skip Moore on drums. Bob Bogle initially was the lead guitarist, but would switch to bass when Nokie joined the group, Don Wilson was on rhythm guitar. Nokie Edwards guitar playing and style is heard all over The Ventures early records. Having played numerous versions of Top 40 hits of the day reworked in their own style, in 1963 The Ventures released an album of instrumental/surf based country songs called Play Country Classics. On this album the band tears through country classics such as “I Walk The Line”, “Wildwood Flower”, “Lovesick Blues”, “Oh, Lonesome.”  This is just one of the over two hundred and fifty albums that have been released by The Ventures, starting with 1960’s Walk Don’t Run.

These are not the only examples of Western themes appearing in surf music or vice versa. Toronto’s The Sadies have blended garage, surf, country and folk in their music as well. Starting with their first album, 1998’s Precious Moments, The Sadies blended elements of Ennio Morricone, The Ventures, country, folk and rock. Songs such as “Dying Is Easy”, “Seventy-Six”, “Clear A Path”, “Cheat”, “Wagon Wheel”, alongside tracks such as “Pretty Polly”, “Cowhand” and “Little Sadie” all exemplified an aesthetic that The Sadies would explore. This was just the beginning for the band who have now not only released numerous albums of their own, but have also provided backing music for artists such as Andre Williams, Gord Downie, Jon Langford, John Doe and Neko Case to name a few. They have since expanded their sound incorporating elements of surf, country, folk, garage and psychedelic country aesthetics into their sounds. Albums such as Stories Often Told, Pure Diamond Gold, Favourite Colours, New Seasons, Darker Circles and Northern Passages are all good examples of this. Their albums and live shows are something not to miss. Wherever the origins of surf music combining with country, folk and other genres to have Western or Wild West themes originates from, the music is ubiquitous.

Revolution Surf Wild West Playlist (Originally Aired On February 27th, 2021):

1.  The Sandblasters - Tarantula Taco (Space Bar-B-Q - Mostly Harmless Music - 1996)
2.  The Reverb Syndicate - A Shadow Descends on a Dusty Town (Mondo Cacti - The Reverb Syndicate - 2011)
3.  The Reverb Syndicate - Six Shooter Shuffle (Mondo Cacti - The Reverb Syndicate - 2011)
4.  Monaci Del Surf - Lo Chiamavano Trinita (Monachai Del Surf - Inri - 2012)
5.  Twin Tones - Agua De Coyote (Agua De Coyote Single - Devil In The Woods - 2020)
6.  Beach Bomb - Dunkelheit (Dunkelheit - 2020)
7.  Spindrift - Speak To The Wind (The Legend of God's Gun - Tee Pee Records - 2020)
8.  The Bradipos IV - Titoli (A Fistful of Dollars) (For a few Guitars  (A Tribute To Morricone's Spaghetti Western Themes) - Dancing Bear - 2002)
9.  Charades - The Rider (Cool Cool Japan Soundtrack - GTJ - 2020)
10. Trabants - Train To Durango (Nel Cuore Di Una Terra Selvaggia - Lolipop Records - 2018)
11. Huevos Rancheros - The Lonely Bull (Muerte del Toro - Mint Records - 2000)
12. Atomic 7 - Stab and Steer It (En Hillbilly Caliente - Mint Records - 2004)
13. Les Jaguars - Appalaches (Appalaches - Disques Francbec/Disques Merite - 1996)
14. Urban Surf Kings - Cowboy X (Bang Howdy Partner - USK International - 2008)
15. Rev Hank - San Cristobel Showdown (El Camino De Los Muertos - Reverb Ranch - 2020)
16. Ramblin' Ambassadors - Standoff At Calfrobe Bridge (Ramble On - Mint Records - 2012)
17. The Catamounts - Six Shooters At High Tide (Nuomatac - Transdigital 66 - 2016)

SURFPHONY OF DERSTRUCTION 2000 SEGMENT:

18. CARLO - John Steele (CARLO - 2018)
19. Les Guitares Du Diable - Galaxie (Le Teenage Party - Philips - 1963)
20. The Zombrain - A Saga de Cavaleiro Noturno (Surfin' at Bauru River - Tudo Muda Music - 2020)
21. The Reverb Syndicate Theme - To Mondo Cacti (Mondo Cacti - The Reverb Syndicate - 2011)
22. Mystery Action - Spaghetti Western Suite (Surf Mix) (Surf Britannia 2 - Sharawaji Records - 2020) 
23. Twin Tones - Condado de Ladrones (Capello Di Mariachi - T-Vox Records - 2008)


24. The Losers - Snake Eyes Surf Age Nuggets (Trash & Twang Instrumentals 1959-1966 - RockBeat Records - 2012)
25. Link Wray - Deuces Wild Early Recordings (Early Recordings/Good Rockin' Tonight - Ace - 2015)
26. Luau or Die - Western Promises (Dead on the Floor Vol. 3 - 2017)
27. Los Plantronics - Bobby Peru (The Worst is Yet to Come (1995-2017) - Jansen Plateproduksjon - 2017)
28. The Ventures - Squaw Man (In The Vaults Vol 1. - Ace - 1999)
29. C & C Surf Factory - Don't Blame the Buclkle if the Belt's Too Tight (Garage City - Six-Shooter Records - 2015)
30. Secret Agent - Desert Mission (Mata Hari EP - Olare Records - 2019)
31. The Tremelo Beer Gut - Diablo Mountain Sunrise (Under the Influence of... - Crunchy Frog - 2000)
32. Los Plantronics - The Good The Bad & The Ugly (The Worst is Yet to Come (1995-2017) - Jansen Plateproduksjon - 2017)

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Women's Public Strain & Other Music: An Interview With Patrick Flegel & Michael Wallace & Show # 870


In September 2010, the Calgary band Women released their second and final album Public Strain. Recorded in the dead of winter in Calgary, Alberta with Chad VanGaalen over a ten-month period, the album sessions were tense. In terms of sound, Public Strain helped identify a voice for the musicians in the band. With comparisons to bands such as Caribou, The Velvet Underground, Deerhoof and Abe Vigoda, Women shaped a sonic depth with their sound that explored elements of post punk with noise rock. It features darker more jarring sounds, while at the same time pop sensibilities lurk beneath. Experimentation also runs deep within this album, while comparisons can be made to other bands, Women often veer off from that moving into unexplored territory. Public Strain creates a certain mood that you can feel with every listen.

“Can’t You See” opens in a haze of guitar feedback as melodic bass from Matthew Flegel plucks its way through the screeching drones, bowed guitars from Chris Reimer, cello and haunting, yet poppy vocals provided by vocalist/guitarist Patrick Flegel. The atmosphere created here is darker, moody and often referred to as a nocturnal ballad. It contrasts pop elements with more dissonant and experimental ones. “Heat Distraction” is the opposite of the opening track. With its bright guitar interplay and deep bass tones that seem to sink below all the instrumentation, this track has several different time signatures that shift from one form to another seamlessly. The drums from Michael Wallace drive this track as Patrick Flegel and guitarist Chris Reimer sing in abstract lyrics such as “Programmed without form/Programmed without sound” and “Austere known your pen/Throats inside of glass/Hanging next to me” that further adds to the mood of this track and album. “Narrow With The Hall” features clouds of feedback with eerie vocals that float on top. 60s sounding bass melodies jump in with marching drums as the guitar feedback switches forms. The harmonies provided by the Flegel’s on this track were compared to bands such as The Zombies while the track was once described in Pitchfork as producing “a unique, gray-paisley vibe-- the sound of vintage psychedelia bleached of its color.”

“Penal Colony” brings in more pop melodies that rise to the surface as ringing guitar, subtle drums and cello rise and fall slowly in the background. This track adds touches of psychedelia as well into the mix. The sounds of The Velvet Underground and Syd Barrett come to mind when hearing this, but it is its own thing. With lyrics such as “Faces start to blend/Meet a sudden end/And you're gone completely/I know that it's hard to go” the song seems to pull from a personal feeling of exile. “Bells” is an instrumental interlude of sorts. It is a drone heavy, noisy ballad that builds tension and ambiance. “China Steps” arrives with drums where you can hear the squeak of the pedal as bass and two opposing guitars attack the sonic air. About halfway through after a heavy song transition, the vocals come in. Drawing comparisons to 80s Sonic Youth, “China Steps” treads through its sonic landscape never afraid to move forward. “Untogether” features unnerving, disorienting melodies with more experimental indie rock sounds, while “Drag Open” is a visceral onslaught of guitar, bass, drums and feedback. The middle section of the song changes pace, like a change of wind direction. As the song slows down, the song builds up tension, mood and trails off in hazy sounds.

The mid-tempo “Locust Valley” arrives next. The memorable guitar melodies float in between the bass and drums. With krautrock dynamics and unmistakable vocal melodies, it moves with urgency. This is also one of two songs that reference American artist Ray Johnson. Johnson was a seminal figure in Neo-dada and Pop Art who was referred to as “New York’s most famous unknown artist”. Locust Valley is the town Johnson lived in New York State. Women also referenced Johnson on their 2008 debut album with their song “Sag Harbor Bridge”, which was the place of Johnson’s death. “Venice Lockjaw” arrives next. Another highlight among the often experimental and noisy post punk sounds found on Public Strain, this song adds further psychedelic, paisley beauty as it contrasts the music with darker lyrics. The term “Venice Lockjaw” once again refers to artist Ray Johnson, who handed out pins with this term at an art exhibition in Venice in 1990.

“Eyesore” ends Public Strain. With jangly guitars, syrupy basslines and compelling drums, this is the longest track on the album. With words such as “Spill and heat consume both of the lights/They were flashing white and ecru pale” and “I just could not/Tell against your will/Give out your number now,” the lyrics evoke a feeling that is open to interpretation (like many moments on the album) that resemble some similarities to the lyrical style of David Bowie’s Low album. Public Strain ends in a fade out. Throughout this album, there is a contrast between noise, dissonance, psychedelia and pop melodies. Each track offers something that sounds new and fresh with each listen. As a whole it creates a mood that surrounds you that is hard to resist. The lyrical content of Public Strain has been described as cycling “through insomnia, paranoia, resignation and euphoria, to capture a band with an undeniable voice coming into full awareness of their craft.” And while the lyrics are often darker and compliment the at times brooding music, Public Strain is more than just a dark record. Throughout the walls of noise and experimentation, there is something hard to define. Even after ten years of its initial release, Public Strain burns with a passion and intensity that is timeless.

Women toured heavily from 2008-2009 prior to Public Strain’s release in support of their 2008 album Women. They also toured in support of Public Strain, but that tour was cut short in October 2010. Following a show that occurred in October 2010 in Victoria BC, Women stopped playing as a band. The band members went their separate ways. Bassist Matthew Flegel and drummer Michael Wallace went on to form the band Viet Cong (before changing their name to Preoccupations), guitarist/vocalist Patrick Flegel would continue creating music eventually creating music as Cindy Lee and Christopher Reimer joined the band The Dodos as their touring guitarist while collaborating and creating music until he passed away in his sleep unexpectedly in 2012. In 2020, Flemish Eye and Jagjaguwar announced a reissue of Public Strain along with an EP of outtakes and rare tracks called Rarities 2007-2010 in celebration of the album’s 10th anniversary.

Grab a copy of Public Strain from Flemish Eye or Jagjaguwar.

Support Patrick Flegel’s latest project Cindy Lee here.

Listen to Revolution Rock interview with Patrick Flegel (of Cindy Lee/Women):

Listen to Revolution Rock's interview with Michael Wallace (of Preoccupations/Women):

Public Strain Playlist (Originally Aired On February 20th, 2020):

1.  Women - Pinky (CBC Radio 3 Session) (CBC Radio 3 Session - January 2010)
2.  Women - Drag Open (Public Strain - Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2010)
3.  Women - Locust Valley (Public Strain - Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2010)
4.  Women - Bullfight (Live Session) (CJSW Live Session 2010)

PATRICK FLEGEL/CINDY LEE INTERVIEW PART 1

5.  Chris Reimer - Mustard Gas (Hello People - Flemish Eye - 2018)
6.  Preoccupations - Pointless Experience (Viet Cong - Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2015)
7.  Preoccupations - Zodiac (Preoccupations - Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2016)
8.  Cindy Lee - I Want You To Suffer (What's Tonight to Eternity - W.25TH / Superior Viaduct - 2020)
9.  Cindy Lee - Bondage Of The Mind (Cat O' Nine Tails - CCQSK Records - 2020)

PATRICK FLEGEL/CINDY LEE INTERVIEW PART 2

10. Chris Reimer - First Cut/TV Water (The Chad Tape - Flemish Eye - 2012)
11. Chris Reimer - Waving Goodbye From A Tree (Hello People - Flemish Eye - 2018)
12. Preoccupations - Unconscious Melody (Cassette - Mexican Summer - 2013/Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2017)
13. Cindy Lee - The Promise of Lonliness (Tatlashea - Isolated Now Waves - 2012)

MICHAEL WALLACE/PREOCCUPATIONS INTERVIEW PART 1

14. Women - Eyesore (Public Strain - Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2010)
15. Women - Penal Colony (Public Strain - Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2010)

MICHAEL WALLACE/PREOCCUPATIONS INTERVIEW PART 2

16. Women - Service Animal (Rarities 2007-2010 - Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2020)

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Junior Murvin's Police & Thieves & Show # 869

Jamaican musician Junior Murvin is perhaps best known for his song “Police & Thieves”, however he started his career recording under the name Junior Soul.  Influenced by Curtis Mayfield as a youth, Murvin first began performing live in Montego Bay, but then after his family relocated to Kingston.  He would audition for producer Lee “Scratch” Perry and Coxsone Todd.  His audition was unsuccessful, but this didn’t deter Murvin.  He had minor hit for the Crystal label in Jamaica with his song “Solomon” in 1972.  He also wrote songs for artists such as Derrick Harriott and Keith & Tex.  Performing in Kingston hotels and tourist hotels, Murvin also played with The Hippy Boys, The Mighty Falcons and The Tornadoes.  Following a second audition for legendary and innovative producer Lee “Scratch” Perry at his Black Ark Studio in 1976, the two decided to record his song “Police & Thieves”. With Perry’s studio backing band The Upsetters and a small lyrical adjustment, the song was recorded by Perry and released shortly afterwards. Reportedly improvised as The Upsetters performed the music, dub and remix versions done by Perry quickly followed. However, the song about police brutality, gang war and societal unrest, became a hit in Jamaica. 

The album Police & Thieves, which contained the song of the same name, was released through Island Records in 1977.  The album, often viewed as one of the best produced albums to come out of Perry’s Black Ark Studio, is now seen as a classic album that dug deep into elements of roots reggae.  The overall feel of the album is also heavily seeped in soul influences.  Murvin’s falsetto vocal often rises above the music, operating in conjunction with the socially conscious lyrics.  The opening track “Roots Train” blends roots reggae and soul with infectious, dance inducing rhythms.  With lyrics such as “You gotta be righteous/You gotta be clean in thought, word, and deed/To get on board the train”, Murvin sets the tone for this album with its rich soulful, reggae elements in combination with lyrics drawing on spiritual salvation and signaling positivity in a sea of negativity.  “Solomon” is a reworking of Murvin’s earlier hit.  This version, with its soulful horn sections and heavy bass and drums, captivates the listener.  “Tedious” is pulsating with its burning dub rhythms as the lyrics urge for unity in a land that is divided.   Like many of the songs created during this time period, they were often reflections of the ongoing struggles of the common people in Jamaica.  Crime, corruption and political related issues ran rampant.   Socially conscious lyrics run not only throughout the Police & Thieves album, but throughout the music that was created by Junior Murvin's career.  Other tracks such as “Lucifer” has drawn comparisons to Max Romeo’s “Chase The Devil”, with its heavy lyrical weight and even deeper bass and drum grooves that compliment this darker track in a distinctive way.  “Workin’ In the Cornfield” contrasts the hard working individual with the wealthy.  

With its lyrical context and mesmerizing music complemented by Lee “Scratch” Perry’s use of space and innovation, Police & Thieves was destined to become a landmark album for roots reggae music. Throughout all the tracks on Murvin’s debut, the songs captivate as they search for hope in bleakness. It’s not hard to see why this album works so well. But, the story doesn’t end there. In addition to the album, the single “Police & Thieves” would receive an even bigger response in the UK. It became a club hit there. The song became an anthem with the disenfranchised black community in the UK when the Noting Hill Carnival broke out in a riot in 1976. The song was then covered by The Clash. The band's Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon were involved in the riots and inspired to cover the song. Murvin’s version was re-released as a single in 1980 climbing the Top 40 UK singles charts to number 23. “Police & Thieves” appeared in the 1978 movie Rockers by Theodoros Bafaloukos and in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998. It was also re-recorded several times by Murvin, in addition to being covered by other artists that were inspired either by his or the version done by The Clash.

Two other songs of note that were recorded with Lee “Scratch” Perry were the songs “Bad Weed” and “Philistines On The Land”. These songs along with their B-sides used similar rhythms to “Police & Thieves”. But, the two would never record another album together again. Throughout his career Murvin worked with a number of different producers such as Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson in 1979 for the single “Cool Out Son”, Henry “Junjo” Lawes for the 1984 album Muggers In The Streets, Prince Jammy and King Tubby.  The song “Cool Out Son” was later featured on the soundtrack to the Skate 3 video game in 2010.  In 1982, Murvin worked with reggae musician Mikey Dread. With Dread at the controls, he produced the album Bad Man Possee, which delved even further into dub rhythms. Murvin continued making music throughout his life. He released eight full-length albums and many singles. The music always retained that soulful, roots reggae influence balanced with a social consciousness that resonated with audiences.

Punky Reggae Party Playlist (Originally Aired On February 13th, 2020):  

1.  Junior Murvin - Police & Thieves (Police & Thieves - Island Records - 1977)
2.  Big Youth - Screaming Target (Screaming Target - Trojan Records - 1972)
3.  Mikey Dread - Love The Dread (Dread At The Controls - Trojan Records - 1979)
4.  Bob Marley - Punky Reggae Party (Jamming/Punky Reggae Party Single - Island Records - 1977)
5.  Desmond Dekker & The Aces - Israelites (Israelites - Pyramid - 1968)
6.  Charley Pride - The Snakes Crawl At Night (Country Charlie Pride - RCA Victor - 1966)
7.  Brent & Harry - Foolin' Around (16 Great Country Songs by 16 Great Canadian Country Artists - Banff - 1963)
8.  Brent Williams - Saginaw, Michigan (On The Go - Paragon - 1970)
9.  Brent Williams - Anybody Goin' To San Antone (On The Go - Paragon - 1970)
10. George "Wild Child" Butler - Open Up Baby (Open Up Baby/Big Momma, Little Momma Single - Jewel Records - 1967/Open Up Baby - Charly R&B - 1985)
11. Little Walter - Just A Feeling (Teenage Beat/Just A Feeling Single - Checker Records - 1955)
12. Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Rock Me (Rock Me/Lonesome Road Single - Brunswick - 1938)
13. Lee "Scratch" Perrty - Roast Fish & Corn Bread (Roast Fish, Collie Weed, and Corn Bread - Lion of Judah - 1978)
14. Max Romeo - I Chase The Devil (War Ina Babylon - Island Records - 1976)
15. Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey (Marcus Garvey - Island Records - 1975)
16. U-Roy - Chalice In The Palace (Dread In A Babylon - TR International/Virgin Records - 1975)
17. Rough Francis - Waxed Curb (Urgent Care - 2020)
18. Big Joanie - Baby Rust (Crooked Room EP - Sistah Punk Records - 2016)
19. JONCRO - Degenerates (Lions Den Session - 2020)
20. JONCRO - Bunununus Riddim (Dub Plate) (Bunununus Riddim (Dub Plate) Single - 2020)
21. Culture - Two Sevens Clash (Two Sevens Clash - Joe Gibbs Record Globe - 1977)
22. Dr. Alimantado - Born For A Purpose (Born For A Purpose/Reason For Living Single - Ital Sounds - 1977)
23. Augustus Pablo - King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown (King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown - Yard International/Clock Tower Records - 1976)
24. Toots & The Maytals - Monkey Man (Sweet And Dandy - Beverley's Records - 1969)
25. Un Blonde - Spine (Un Blonde EP - Yew Nork - 2013)
26. Yves Jarvis - Victim Sundry Rock Song Stock (Victim Sundry Rock Song Stock - Flemish Eye - 2020)
27. OGBMs - Ousah (The Ends - Black Box Recordings - 2020)
28. OGBMs - Not Again (The Ends - Black Box Recordings - 2020)

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Destiny Street Complete: An Interview With Richard Hell & Show # 868

Originally released in 1982 on the Red Star label, Destiny Street is the second and final album by Richard Hell & The Voidoids.  It followed their classic debut released on Sire Records in 1977, Blank Generation.  In between this time, Richard Hell & The Voidoids toured the UK for 19 dates with The Clash.  A single also came out in 1979, recorded and produced by Nick Lowe (The Kid With The Replaceable Head/I’m Your Man) on Jake Riviera’s Radar Records.  However, Hell didn’t really like to tour.  The Voidoids would still tour, but infrequently and only when they had to.  Due to this, the band lineup would change often.  When it came time to record the follow up to Blank Generation, The Voidoids featured original members Richard Hell on bass/vocals and Robert Quine on guitar, Naux (Juan Maciel) on second guitar and Fred Maher on Drums.  Destiny Street was recorded and mixed in about a three-week span in 1981.  Richard Hell was also in a different state at this time, finding it difficult to go into the studio on some days.  As stated in his autobiography I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp he was “Strung so tightly … couldn’t tolerate the thought of stepping outside.”

The album opens with “The Kid With The Replaceable Head”.  Attacking at a wilder pace than the 1979 single version, the song also has an undeniable swing to it.  As the solos trade off and Hell’s bass drives in between, Fred Maher’s drums deliver an undeniable groove.  With lyrics such as “They say he's dead, he's my three best friends/He's so honest that the dishonest dread” this song, Hell’s attempt to write a pop song, starts off Destiny Street questioning identity and being honest with yourself.  “I Gotta Move” is a reinterpreted and energetic version of a song originally by The Kinks.  It is also the second track on Destiny Street and the first of three covers.  “Going Going Gone” a song originally by Bob Dylan follows.  The song brings down the tempo contrasting with the earlier up-tempo tracks.  Everything about this track excels.  The guitar work by Quine, the bass and vocals by Hell deliver an honesty and desperation that penetrates not only this track, but also all of Destiny Street.  “Lowest Common Dominator” drives with pseudo disco rock grooves, the guitar work by Naux is scathing as it accelerates in the verses (he trades off solos with Quine later on in this track) and with the propelling drums and bass that really digs in with the vocals.  Lyrically, with words such as “Acknowledging at all that you have had an effect/Well, that alone will make you feel so tough/Oh, we'll just leave you knowin'/Your worm insides are showin'/And that's a revenge enough,” “Lowest Common Dominator” delivers seething lyrics about the dominating, two face type of person.  “Downtown At Dawn” flirts with 80s styled New York funk.  The lyrics operate like a riddle with a poignancy as the listener wanders in and out of the late 70s/early 80s New York nightlife and themes of alienation, anxiety and despair paint themselves throughout the lyrics.  

“Time” is one of Richard Hell’s best songs.  Both lyrically and musically this song sucks the listener into its vortex, not in an aggressive way, but more in a jangly, trance-like way.  While there is an influence of The Byrds found here, the song is completely its own.  The guitar work and solos on this song and on “Going Going Gone” by Robert Quine are in a class of their own.  Lyrically, the song with its strong melodies and poetically honest lyrics such as “Only time can write a song that's really really real/The most a man can do is say the way its playing feels/And know he only knows as much as time to him reveals” are enduring and thought provoking.  “I Can Only Give You Everything” is the third cover found on Destiny Street and it captures the spirit of “real gone rock and roll”, which is the sound that Hell wanted to achieve with Destiny Street.  This on edge version of a song originally by Them is described in the CD linear notes to Destiny Street Complete as compelling, being reduced "To a marching song, strung out as if the guitars were razor wire threaded through the knotted strand of drums in cartoony shapes against the void."  It ends in complete chaos.  “Ignore That Door” continues the themes present on the album.  It hustles with conviction, an anti-drug message, duelling guitar solos and plenty of ooh’s. 

“Staring In Her Eyes” surrenders itself to the lyrics and music.  It is a mid-tempo love song that at one point states “Stare like a corpse in each's eyes/Till you never want to come alive and rise.”  The final track of Destiny Street is the title track.  It pulsates with funkier bass and drum rhythms.  It was a collaboration that came to be in the studio as Hell intertwines a tale throughout about meeting a younger version of yourself and being seduced by that younger self.  The song itself ties in many themes found on Destiny Street, but also operates as a cautionary tale about the temptations of the past and future as stated in the lyrics “Playing for the past or future/Is playing with a fool's paradise.”  

The new Destiny Street Complete version of this album released by Omnivore Recordings presents every version of the album available.  It is a remastered, remixed and repaired reissue.  It features the original 1982 Destiny Street remastered, the repaired version from 2009, which featured Hell doing new vocals over the bed tracks (of drums, rhythm guitar, bass), guitar contributions from Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell and Ivan Julian and the 2021 remixed version of Destiny Street.  When the three of the original master tapes were found in 2019, the album was remixed by Richard Hell, Nick inner of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and engineered by Erin Tonkin.  In addition to this, there are also demos, singles and some outtakes.  There is a studio outtake version of the song “Don’t Die” which is a moment captured in time that has an urgency and focus that utterly captivating.  

When it was originally released, Richard Hell was dissatisfied with Destiny Street.  The master tapes were said to have been lost and the album mix “was a morass of trebly multi-guitar sludge."  When Destiny Street was released in 1982, it did receive some good critical reviews, but it never quite had the impact that it should have.  Now in 2021, we can look at the album and its evolution.  The remixed version of the album is great.  It revitalizes Destiny Street, enhancing the best moments that were lost in the original 1982 mix.  It gives the album and these songs a new life.  You can even get a remixed 11-track version of the album on on its own vinyl via Omnivore or you can listen to the Destiny Street Complete version.  But, you decide.  There are many paths you can take to rediscover this underappreciated classic by Richard Hell & The Voidoids, but whatever path you take all roads lead to Destiny Street.  

Listen to an interview that Revolution Rock did with Richard Hell:

Destiny Street Complete Playlist (Originally Aired On February 6th, 2021):  

1.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - The Kid With The Replaceable Head (Destiny Street Remaster) (Destiny Street Complete - Omnivore Recordings - 2021)
2.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Staring In Her Eyes (Destiny Street Repaired) (Destiny Street Complete - Omnivore Recordings - 2021)
3.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Time (Destiny Street Remixed) (Destiny Street Complete - Omnivore Recordings - 2021)
4.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Don't Die (Single Version) (Destiny Street Complete - Omnivore Recordings - 2021)

RICHARD HELL INTERVIEW PART ONE

5.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Love Comes In Spurts (Blank Generation - Sire Records - 1977)
6.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - I'm Your Man (1977 Demo) (Time - Matador Records - 2002)
7.  Richard Hell - The Hunter Was Drowned (Time - Matador Records - 2002/R.I.P. - ROIR - 1984)
8.  Dim Stars - Baby Huey (Let's Dance) (Dim Stars - Caroline Records/New Rose Records - 1992/Spurts: The Richard Hell Story - Rhino - 2005)

RICHARD HELL INTERVIEW PART TWO

9.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - You Gotta Lose (Another World EP - Ork Records - 1976)
10.  Neon Boys - That's All I Know (Right Now) (Spurts: The Richard Hell Story - Rhino - 2005)
11.  The Heartbreakers - Hurt Me (Demo) (Time - Matador Records - 2002/R.I.P. - ROIR - 1984)
12.  Television - Blank Generation (Live) (Spurts: The Richard Hell Story - Rhino - 2005)
13.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Ignore That Door (Live) (Funhunt: Live at CBGB's & Max's 1978 and 1979 - ROIR - 1990)
14.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Lowest Common Dominator (Destiny Street Remaster) (Destiny Street Complete - Omnivore Recordings - 2021)
15.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Going Going Gone (Demo) (Destiny Street Complete - Omnivore Recordings - 2021)
16.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Funhunt (Demo) (Destiny Street Complete - Omnivore Recordings - 2021)
17.  Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Destiny Street (Destiny Street Remixed) (Destiny Street Complete - Omnivore Recordings - 2021)

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Coming Up On Revolution Rock in February 2021!

It’s February, which means that throughout this month Revolution Rock will devote each episode that airs in February to theme based programming. Dave and co-host Adam have some cool programming lined up ranging from reggae, dub, blues, jazz, hip hop, punk, post-punk, garage and surf.  Revolution Rock airs every Saturday from 7-9 PM EST on CJAM 99.1 FM in Windsor/Detroit. It can be streamed and downloaded cjam.ca. This year is also a first for the show as we have now become syndicated with other campus stations across Canada. Revolution Rock and its programming can now also be heard on CFUV 101.9 FM in Victoria, BC (Wednesdays 7-9 AM PST), on CKUW 95.9 FM in Winnipeg (Mondays 2-4 AM CST), on Caper Radio/CJBU FM in Sydney, Nova Scotia (Tuesdays 12-2 PM AST) and on CFRC 101.9 FM in Kingston, ON (Thursdays 9-11 PM EST).  

Continue reading to find out about this year's Theme Month schedule:

Destiny Street: A Special on Richard Hell’s 2021 Release Destiny Street Complete and Other Selections (Featuring An Interview With Richard Hell)
Saturday February 6th, 2020
7-9 PM EST
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)


Richard Hell is an author, poet, musician and actor. Known as one of the originators and pioneers during the early days of New York punk, Hell quit the music world in 1984 to focus on writing, only reappearing a few times on some music projects. Having co-founded Television, being one of the original members of The Heartbreakers (featuring Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan of The New York Dolls), Hell formed Richard Hell & The Voidoids in 1976 and released their debut album, Blank Generation in 1977. Hell’s look and aesthetic would go on as a template for punk music that would influence others, most notably The Sex Pistols, who in turn would influence their own music scene. The Voidoids first album is seen as a classic, with its title track still sounding as vital and thought provoking today. When it came time to put out a follow up to Blank Generation, Richard Hell and his band were in a different state. The album was recorded over a three-week period at Chelsea Sound Studios in New York City and produced by Alan Betrock. Never completely satisfied with the way it was originally released in 1982, Destiny Street has been an often misunderstood album in Richard Hell’s discography. Originally released on the Red Star label, Destiny Street’s master tapes were said to have been lost preventing any type of remix. In 2009, a cassette version of the bed tracks of drums, bass and rhythm guitars were discovered and Hell, along with a few other guest guitars (Marc Ribot, Ivan Julian and Bill Frisell) recorded new parts to this album. It was titled Destiny Street Repaired. However in 2021, after the master tape/multi-tracks of the original recording sessions were found and a remix was done, Destiny Street Complete was released by Omnivore Recordings. The set contains four versions of the album, along with a few outtakes. The original 1982 version remastered, the 2009 Destiny Street Repaired version, a newly remixed version of Destiny Street and a collection of demos that show early and different versions of the songs that would make up this album. Destiny Street Complete re-establishes the great moments of Destiny Street for everyone to hear. On this episode of Revolution Rock, we will play selections from Destiny Street Complete, other selections from Hell’s discography as well as featuring an exclusive interview with Richard Hell.

Punky Reggae Party: Reggae and its influence on the 70s UK punk scene

Saturday February 13th, 2020
7-9 PM EST
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)


Many people have heard the song “Police & Thieves”, it was covered by The Clash on their debut album. This was many people’s introduction to this song and to reggae. It is however a reggae song originally by Jamaican reggae musician Junior Murvin. “Police & Thieves” has its roots in Jamaica where it was recorded in 1976. Following a second audition for legendary and innovative producer Lee “Scratch” Perry at his Black Ark Studio in 1976, the two decided to record his song “Police & Thieves.”  With Perry’s studio backing band The Upsetters and a small lyrical adjustment, the song was recorded by Perry and released shortly afterwards. Dub and remix versions done by Perry quickly followed. However, the song about police brutality, gang war and societal unrest, became a hit in Jamaica. A reflection of the times in Jamaica, the song would be released via Island Records and would receive an even bigger response in the UK. It became a club hit there. The song became an anthem with the disenfranchised black community in the UK when the Noting Hill Carnival broke out in a riot. The song was then covered by The Clash.  The band's Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon were involved in the riots and inspired to cover the song.  Murvin’s version was re-released as a single in 1980 climbing the Top 40 UK singles charts to number 23. This is just one of the examples of reggae being influential. Featured heavily in UK clubs in the late 70s thanks to DJs like Don Letts, other artists would also elicit an influence such as Toots & The Maytals, Mikey Dread, Desmond Dekker & The Aces and Bob Marley. In July 1977, Bob Marley released a single called Punky Reggae Party. This song with lyrics such as “New wave craze/New phrase/New Wave/New craze” and “I’m saying/The Wailers will be there/The Damned, The Jam, The Clash/Maytals will be there/Dr. Feelgood too,” Marley wrote this song about the positive response in the UK of The Clash’s cover of Junior Murvin’s “Police & Thieves”. The sounds of reggae and dub’s influence can be heard all over. It found its way into punk music and helped pave the way for the sounds that were to become post punk. On this episode of Revolution Rock, we will celebrate Black History Month by featuring sets of music devoted to reggae and its influence on punk music, as well as different genres from black artists such as blues, soul, jazz and more.

Public Strain: Women’s Public Strain and Other Music (Featuring An Interview With Patrick Flegel & Michael Wallace)
Saturday February 20th, 2020
7-9 PM EST
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)

The second and final album released by the Calgary rock band Women was titled Public Strain. Recorded in the span of ten months in the dead of winter in Calgary by Chad VanGaalen, Public Strain explored more post punk sounds, often darker and more jarring, but at the same time there is something strangely beautiful that permeates this record. The album received widespread critical acclaim, eventually being long listed on the nominees for the Polaris Prize in 2011. Prior to this album’s release Women put out their debut album Women in 2008. Also recorded by Chad VanGaalen in a basement with boom boxes and tape machines, the album displayed a lo-fi sound. Women generated buzz in various media publications at the time. In a press release the album’s sound was described as "Sometimes light and spacious, at other times eerie and dense with an ominous weight, this self titled album touches upon Velvet Underground, Swell Maps or This Heat while not really having any obvious precursors - a lo-fi masterpiece cloaked in layers of vibrato and guitar wash."  Women toured heavily from 2008-2009. They also toured in support of Public Strain, but that tour was cut short in October 2010. Following a show that occurred in October 2010 in Victoria BC, Women stopped playing as a band. The band members went their separate ways. Bassist Matthew Flegel and drummer Michael Wallace went on to form the band Viet Cong (before changing their name to Preoccupations), guitarist/vocalist Patrick Flegel would continue creating music eventually creating music as Cindy Lee and Christopher Reimer joined the band The Dodos as their touring guitarist while collaborating and creating music until he passed away in his sleep unexpectedly in 2012. In 2020, Flemish Eye and Jagjaguwar announced a reissue of Public Strain along with an EP of outtakes and rare tracks called Rarities 2007-2010 in celebration of the album’s 10th anniversary. In celebration of this, Revolution Rock will have an entire episode devoted to the music of Women’s Public Strain and its lasting influence, as well as featuring selections from the band members of Women other bands. Expect to hear selections from the album Public Strain and from other material in Women’s catalogue, along with music from Cindy Lee, Preoccupations, Chris Reimer and more  This episode will also feature an interview with Patrick Flegel (of Women/Cindy Lee) and Michael Wallace (of Women/Preoccupations).  

Revolution Surf 2021: The Wild West
Saturday February 27th, 2020
7-9 PM EST
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)

Surf rock is known for its reverb drenched guitar sounds and solos, drums and relation to surf culture. Starting in the 60s it has since infiltrated several genres of music. But, Western surf music or surf music with Wild West elements is kind of hard to pinpoint. You could go back to the early days of the Spaghetti Western movies and more specifically the films of Sergio Leone, which featured music from Italian film music composer Ennio Morricone. He often created epic, cinematic soundscapes in Western films incorporating elements of surf rock, along with other genres such as country and folk as well as unconventional sound effects at the time. The soundtrack to films such as For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly have gone on to influence music in unexpected ways. Surf music, or surf guitar finds its way into all kinds of music nowadays it seems. But, Western themed surf music basically has elements of country and folk mixed in with it. Surf itself in its early days in the 60s often took influence from other cultures of music. In the case of guitarist Dick Dale, he added Middle Eastern and Mexican music influences into his songs that in turn helped create a style now common in the genre. Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” originates from a folk song that has been played in numerous different languages.  It has ties to many different musical origins such as Greek Rebetiko, Middle Eastern Belly Dancing and Jewish Klezmer.  The Ventures even had an album of instrumental/surf based country songs called The Ventures Play Country Classics in 1963. It’s not surprising since The Ventures explored and tackled many different genres in their music with their own sense of innovation. However, these are not the only examples of Western themes appearing in surf music or vice versa. Toronto’s The Sadies have blended garage, surf, country and folk in their music as well. They have several albums featuring surf music while mixing in other elements of music. On this edition of Revolution Surf, the program will be made up entirely of surf and instrumental music that contains Western themes. It will also feature guest hosts such as Derk Brigante of The Surfphony of Derstruction 2000, Carley of CJAM FM’s Everything’s No Good and Brady Holek of CJAM FM’s The Mighty Mezz.