Top Tens for 2021: Simon Chainsaw of Simon Chainsaw and the Liberators, SC/TC and Broham
Simon Chainsaw with The Liberators at Frankies Pizza in Sydney. Anthony Mitchell photo.
2021 was a bit of a re-run of 2020.. lockdowns, gigs cancelled, industries decimated. While in 2020 I was inspired to create and consume, 2021 left me fatigued, lethargic and generally disinterested. Let’s hope 2022 too is not a rerun! However, there were some bright spots that come to mind.
The return of SONNY VINCENT!
Long-time friend, rock’n’roll survivor and punk pioneer Sonny had about four years of truly tough times, the likes of which most of us will never experience. Due to a family tragedy (which we’d probably all know about here at the Bar) he had to drop out of music completely and step up to raise his grandson and care for his son and daughter in law while living hand to mouth. Finally, the tide turned and he released two amazing LPs… The Limit’s “Caveman Logic”, which he wrote and produced for Pentagram singer Joey Liebling, and his own “Snake Pit Therapy” LP. Not to mention the accompanying book. If you haven’t heard these LPs, check them out!!!
And more about the Joey Leibling story “LAST DAYS HERE"
The return of STEWART CUNNINGHAM (and Leadfinger)
Another guy I go back with for years, first as fan and then friend. I was a regular at Brother Brick gigs back in the ‘90s and was absolutely enamoured with the first Yes Men LP. With his work in Proton Energy Pills, Asteroid B612, and his input on the Aussie indie scene, he should be a household name. So after being hit with cancer and a good few years out of action, it was great to see him getting back on stage AND releasing new material!
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to catch him live each time - I’ve had a gig myself and was hosting a birthday party for my 13-year-old. Finally, when I could have seen him the gig was cancelled on the day due to Covid! Welcome Back Stewy!
SALT & STEEL
This band came out of the blue to me, We played together at Frankies Pizza By The Slice in Sydney and they just blew me away.. Kinda trippy, hippy, bluesy, rocky (they’re usually a two-gal band (guitar, drums and bass via some hook up thingy on the guitar) they were accompanied by another guitarist… Awesome vocals, harmonies, guitar technique, insane drumming and an infectious love for what they are doing. I scored their CDs but they really don’t do the band justice.. Live they are a lush powerhouse. If you can see them DO IT!! Listen here.
I only discovered Ms Collins this year via her recent single “Fuck It” so I checked out the Spotify and found a great back catalogue most of which I dug. Part Alt. Country, part Alt. Pop, part Lucinda and part Marianne. It’s pretty eclectic, pretty fragile and pretty tough.. She came out of nowhere for me… but she’s done the hard yards aplenty!
Books came later in the year as I just couldn’t be assed to read!
SNAKE PIT THERAPY by Sonny Vincent
This book marks another part of Sonny’s return, it contains short stories from his life as a kid to the Testors, Shotgun Rational, Andy Warhol’s Factory, Minnesota, NYC, poetry and assorted ramblings from Sonny’s faster than lightning psyche! Short entertaining drops, and then onto the next one. A fast read!
PUNK OUTSIDER by Toby Zoates
EXECUTION DAYS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SPENCER P. JONES by Patrick Emery
Although I haven’t read this book yet, I‘m very excited to have it! For most of us, Spencer has been a fixture in our lives, via The Johnnys, The Beasts of Bourbon, his solo work, collaborations or all of the above. Most of us here knew him personally, and what a great guy he was!
Also, Patrick Emery has been writing about the scene for like forever, he’s not some random researcher looking for a payday. For sure he personally knew just about everyone in the book, knew the venues, lived the road trips, and has the smell of all the bars involved firmly entrenched in his nostrils.. This book comes from the heart. Thumbing through it, I’ve happened across some great stories. I’m gonna recommend it even without properly reading yet!
In 2021 I saw more live streams of bands. I even did a couple myself…
Germany’s Stacy Crowne Band was a stand-out! I met these guys in 2016 when we played together in France.. they do a great Rock’n’roll Birdman/ Hellacopters hybrid! So good I even covered one of their songs on my “Thirteen” LP. Their new LP “We Sound Electric” also kicks the proverbial! Watch the stream here.
There is so much out there you can’t keep up but some shows I’ve followed and enjoyed are:
The events that unfolded this year have just been sensational! The guy is fearless!
TIGER KING 2
You simply can’t make this shit up! #2 is a follow up bringing you up to date with what’s happened since #1. As you know our hero Joe Exotic is in jail, so the show was mostly focused on all the other characters. Even so, I binged it, ignored my wife and let my kids fend for themselves for a day. FREE JOE EXOTIC!
Yeah I know it was from some time ago but I’ve only just found it.. A bit like Underbelly without the names and glamour, as our sociopath hero Ray “takes care of business” all the while leading a mundane suburban life as a divorced dad. Some true comic gold in there. Filmed in Sydney’s inner city area it was fun spotting the locations and even the Marrickville Bowlo gets a cameo on occasion as the outside of the strip club.