I'm not certain who first coined the memorable phrase Glamericana to describe Joe Normal's songs that are part power-pop, part glam rock, and part blue collar romance and workin' man auto-mythology, ala early E StreetBand, but it is indeed an apt description.
Joe Normal's visually stimulating, marketing-minded New Jersey glam gang, the Zeros, moved to L.A. in the 1980s and almost immediately made a big splash on the scene. They were recruited by Howard Stern to record his original radio show theme song and had an endorsement from a top name tennis shoe company. California kids were forming bands with multicolored hair in homage to their Zeros heroes.
The purple haired Zeros were kind of like the missing link between Poison and Green Day. Unless you lived in L.A. in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, it's hard to even remotely grasp how popular the Zeros really were with all the L.A. glam kids, back then, they used to pack 'em in at all the clubs, standing room only, lines around the block.
Simon Juliff flanked by Jimm Sfeftos (left) and Joel Silbersher with Greg Bainbridge on drums.
Simon Juliff might be the best Australian songwriter you’ve never heard of.
Not that he’d ever be so egotistical as to suggest that. Or that it’d be easy to find evidence of Juliff’s songwriting. Indeed Juliff’s career is as sporadic as it is enigmatically impressive.
Juliff formed his first band, The Evil Dead, in his teenage years in hometown Melbourne, in the shadows of more prolific and now legendary Melbourne bands such as GOD, Powder Monkeys and Hoss, vehicles for Juliff’s high school friends Tim Hemensley and Joel Silbersher. Some years later Juliff joined with his younger brother Felix, bass player Dave Bryan and future Dan Sultan collaborator Scott Wilson in the three-guitar, country ’n’ rock band The Roys.
Their ranks included Sultan for a while on drums and they released two criminally underappreciated records on Bruce Milne’sInfidelity Records before fading from view.
It would be more than a decade before Juliff’s songwriting rose to the surface again, this time via long-time fan and Dog Meat Records boss, Dave Laing. Indeed Laing was so impressed with Juliff’s unrecorded material that he decided to release his debut solo album, "Stars", on the rejuvenated Dog Meat label.
Patrick Emery spoke to Juliff about his origins as a musician and recent re-emergence.
Combining elements of 60s garage, funk, soul and old time rock ‘n; roll showmanship, San Diego’s The Schizophonics are one of the "hardest working" bands you’ll see. And I mean "hard working" in reference to when they hit the stage.
Singer/guitarist Pat Beers comes across like a mix between Jerry Lee Lewis and an eight-year-old kid on too much red cordial; the man never stops. While some singers take five to get a breath, Pat keeps the party going with some amazing onstage moves that would score high in any Olympic gymnastics competition.
While the bass often switches, Pat and drummer/wife Lety Beers are the core and soul of the group. The two of them, along with their beautiful dog Beanie, spoke to me via the zoom machine on the eve of their return to Oz.
“Punk is many things and has so many different definitions but, definitely, yes it’s ideological,” says writer, musician and feminist activist Tobi Vail on the eve of an Australasian tour with Bikini Kill.“In my definition, it’s counter hegemonic energy. It’s opposition, it’s questioning the status quo and creating an alternative.”
As founding member of the seminal riot grrrl band Bikini Kill, a punk rock polemicist and a protagonist in the Pacific North-West alternative scene of the 1980s and 1990s, Vail is in a privileged position to muse on the nature of punk rock.
A tense moment at a Meanies band meeting: Wally Kempton-Meanie (right) comes to the realisation that it's his shout and he left his wallet in Spain.
Wally Kempton is a busy man. Fresh from a Meanies tour of Spain (more on that later) last month, Kempton hopped off the plane in Melbourne and into the van for various tour managing duties.
In the coming days he’ll be rehearsing with Ash Naylor and Matt Cotter in preparation for next week’s annual Even Christmas shows, then regrouping with The Meanies for a gig at Hotel Westwood with Super American Eagle and Rocket Science. Then there’s the raft of current, imminent and potential signings to his Cheersquad Records label and associated promotional and general label managerial activities. “I just can’t stop!” Wally laughs.
Melbourne band The Baudelaires take their name from Charles Baudelaire, a talented, troubled, decadent and ultimately doomed 19th century French poet and essayist whose writing is said to be the vanguard of the Modernist Movement.
The Baudelaires, in contrast, evoke the spirit of psychedelic exploration, a trippy triangulation of bent Texas psychedelia, Krautrock discipline and the dearly departed elastic brilliance of Yura Yura Teikoku. Six years after releasing their debut album, “Musk Hill”, The Baudelaires have returned with a new album, “TiLT” on Wally Kempton’s effervescent Cheersquad Records.
Hello all my brothers and sisters and friends of the revolution, I-94 Barflies, and incorrigible sleazepunks of all ages , it's your ole pal JD here.
Ya know, I don't do a lotta interviews no more mostly cause I'm a lazy sod and probably still salty about takin' all that time to pen questions for little known artists who couldn't be bothered to reply after agreeing to do the interview-rock 'n' roll is full of flakes and fakes, as you know, and that shit gets old quick.
But one new band that ain't fakin' it is from South Wales of all places and they're making a real gorgeous fuckin' wild and untamed rocknroll racket you're gonna love, called SISTER MORPHINE, who my dear comrade Laur from Vague Scare turned me onto.
Wow! What a fuckin' GREAT band! They reminded me of the Diamond Dogs and Rock City Angels, the Quireboys and Rose Tattoo! I already said somewhere else those guitarists remind me of Thunders, Jeff Drake's Joneses, and Greg and Brent or whatever studio dudes played on that first Pussycat record.
Sister Morphine’s Gaz has an awesome and exemplary rock ‘n’ roll voice somewhere between Angry Anderson and Zodiac Mindwarp. These guys write glamtastic songs, part grebo, part sleaze, with power pop hooks, and vintage lads at the pub Hoople/Faces heartfelt sentimental alcoholic feeling. Fuckin' A righteous! Only thing I've liked this much in modern years is Richard Duguay's stuff! What a beautiful, romantic myth they've carved!
Blues-punk rockers Daddy Long Legs are embarking on their first tour of Australia this month.
Starting out on Norton Records, home of legends such as Andre Williams, the Sonics and Link Wray, the New York City-based group recently dropped their new single, "Nightmare", a cracking and frighteniing tune that sums up what we’ve all gone through the past few years. They even got their mate Wreckless Eric to do backing vocals.
Singer/guitarist Brian Hurd spoke to me on the zoom machine while the band was mid tour in Europe.
I-94 Bar: Dave Laing, who teed up this interview up, told me he can’t stop listening to the new Daddy Long Legs single, "Nightmare". Once I heard it I kept pushing repeat as well.
Brian: Right on, thank-you!.
It’s certainly a song of the times, did you write it about all the stuff that happened in the last few years?
Brian: Yeah it’s absolutely of the times, and inspired by everything that’s happened all around us. The story behind it is, in January 2021 I got sick, I had the COVID bug, and I had these crazy dreams that were super vivid, and every night I would dream a different song.
One of the nights that I was under the weather, I had a dream that I was hanging with all these leather clad, denim clad rockers, long hair dudes, and they were telling me how much they dig Daddy Long Legs and they were telling me their favourite song was called "Nightmare".
Well pre-COVID, before all this happened you made a LP called "Lockdown Ways" (2019), so you really have nailed the current times before it happened, AS WELL!
Combining elements of powerpop, grunge, and the sort of hard-edged rock ‘n’ roll that only comes out of Melbourne, the Huxton Creepers were one of the of the best bands in Australia in the ‘80s. With three well received LPs and non-stop touring, the Creepers, while only round for five years, certainly made their mark on the scene in Melbourne but also all over the country, playing anywhere and everywhere.
The Creepers are back playing a rare show at the Corner Hotel on Saturday, 27 August, along with other ‘80s legends the Gas Babies and Intoxica.
Huxton Creepers lead singer Rob Craw was happy to reminisce on the bands original run, and also what keeps them coming back for more.