Nobody loves a band more than a diehard follower of the Stooges. Through thick and thin, they cling to whatever recording detritus or tidbit of lore is handed down, like a drowning man clutches a life preserver in an ocean liner sinking.
They chase every bootleg with the fervour of a pre-urban renewal Cass Corridor junkie hustling a hit. They celebrate the band’s posthumous legend status and annoy non-believers with trivia, simultaneously living vicariously through the stories of the Stooges' addled (pre-reunion) stumbles and falls.
All this and more is why the news that broke in June this year about a high-quality desk tape concert recording of the original line-up materialising, a full five decades after the event, hit the faithful like a phalanx of neighbourhood leaf blowers at 7am on a hungover, suburban Saturday morning.
The Misery Hang - The Searchin’ Destroyers (Gimme Some Skin Records)
There’s a tiny clue to its sound in the band name but you’d be a fool to collar these Destroyers as just another bunch of would-be world’s forgotten boys (plus a girl.) There are many more varied and subtle reference points on this Athens, Georgia, band’s debut album than there are scars on His Igness’s leathery hide.
Essentially a mid-life outlet for hazmat technician-turned-keyboardist Drew Finn, The Searchin’ Destroyers aspired to play “psychedelic garage pop punk Tejano spaghetti western surf soul rock music” when they formed three yeasr ago. If that mission statement takes a minute getting your head around, you’re not Tom Hanks on a desert island with only a mute volleyball for company.
Aussie yob rockers The VeeBees are making a clip for their song “How’s Get Fucked Sound?” and they say YOU need to be in it.
The Wollongong-via-Canberra band is recruiting participants online and is promising absolutely nothing if you take part. That’s zero. Zilch. Nada. Sweet Fuck All. All you need to do is film yourself giving them the finger and singing or playing along to the song.
Noise for Heroes Complete 1980-83 Vol 1
Noise for Heroes Complete 1988-91 Vol 2
Noise for Heroes Complete 1991-2004 Vol 3
Edited by Steve H. Gardner
Imagine a decade like the 1980s without zines. For the uninitiated (because they weren’t born then) zines were self-produced magazines, often photocopied and sometimes hand-drawn, focused on subjects that the authors were passionate about. More often than not, the topic was music.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of zines in a pre-Internet world. Along with college radio, they powered the American underground music circuit. In Australia, they connected underground bands, and fans across a country of disparate cities and gave insights into scenes overseas in a way mainstream music papers could never reflect. In Europe, they were oxygen for a culture considered low brow that fought to find an audience.
Zines were lapped up by people into punk, high-energy and left-of-centre music that didn’t manage to gain exposure elsewhere. They were the epitome of DIY culture, making the passion of others tangible. You’re “consuming” the digital equivalent of one right now.
One of the best was “Noise for Heroes” from San Diego, USA. The very lanky Steve Gardner kicked it off with some like-minded friends in 1980. It initially had a focus on punk rock. In its second life, it moved onto the Aussie and Scandinavian underground scenes with Gardner its writer rather than editor. Steve drummed in bands, ran his own record label, NKVD, and had a mail order music business.
Detroit Renaissance 79 - Matt Gimmick (HoZac Records)
The penny dropped somewhere on the Road to Damascus exit, just off I-94, but there was no need for a conversion. The revelation that this band Matt Gimmick was a by-product of The Punks, a Detroit outfit active in the mid-‘70s whose overlooked recordings have been posthumously released a coupla times over, sparked a run to the shelves to dig out their release. If you don't own a copy of The Punks' "The Most Powerful Music On Earth" CD, or subsequent re-releases on vinyl, your life is diminished.
The Punks were unashamedly in the thrall of the Stooges. If solo Iggy had sounded like The Punks we would have been spared “Party” and the Pop would have ended up a rich man much earlier in life for delivering what fans of his old band expected all along. Or so the fantasy goes, because for most of the '70s, nobody actually cared.
"I love rocknroll-all the people with nothing to show..." - Jesus And The Mary Chain
"I ain't lookin' for nothin' in someone else's eyes..." - Bob Dylan
"There's nothing I wanna see, nowhere I wanna go..." - Manic Street Preachers
"Don't take More Than You Need" - Paul K.
"I raise my glass to the ugly truth that you can't reveal to the ears of youth except to say it isn't worth a dime." - Leonard Cohen
"I don't want to go out, I want to stay in, get things done..." - David Bowie
"We drink the water and it tastes like medicine... wake up, wake up..." - Richard Butler
DRESSED IN YOUR SHINY CLOTHES
Some people believe I'm excluding them from some par-tay, but there really is no par-tay. Sometimes, I wonder if there was ever a par-tay. Mostly 'been a lot of changing urinal cakes, washing dishes, merchandising endcaps, ruining the knees with constant bending, and always being stressed from the constant threat of Ford truck hick ass ultra-violence. There might have been some nights of frivolous abandon and dressing up and boozy singing, but that was a long time ago .
Baby Grande 1975-77 - Baby Grande (Hozac Archival)
The Brits call it Junk Shop Glam and the name’s derived from the piles of often obscure, sometimes quirky and lost ‘70s glam singles that littered their second-hand shops decades ago and now fetch crazy, collector scum prices. RPM/Cherry Red did a stellar job of bringing much of it to life on their “All The Young Droogs” compilation.
It’s as good a label as any for Baby Grande, the band in which future founders of The Church, Steve Kilbey and Peter Koppes, cut their teeth in the mid’-70s. Chicago label Hozac Archival has exhumed a tape of studio sessions from somebody’s sock drawer and issued it as an LP.
Time to get your skates on if you're cashed up and in need of a piece of Australian rock and roll history. Ex-Radio Birdman drummer Ron Keeley is parting with his infamous "Radios Disappear" drumface on eBay in the UK and it has only days to run.
Designed by bassist Warwick Gilbert, it was created but never used on the band's ill-fated tour of Europe in 1978 and has been in storage ever since.
The Flamin' Groovies in Paris in 1972 with James Ferrell at right.
Long obscured in the Flamin’ Groovies behind Cyril Jordan, Roy Loney, Chris Wilson and even tight-lipped man of mystery, George Alexander, guitarist James Ferrell is a key player in the band’s story. Along with his best pal Danny Mihm, James served in both the Loney-fronted and Wilson-fronted incarnations of the Groovies, and in Loney’s brilliant subsequent band, Roy Loney & The Phantom Movers.
James climbed aboard the Groovies train, replacing Tim Lynch, in Roy’s final days – he plays on the classic 1971 Fillmore recording that’s been released on both Voxx and Norton as well as other labels – and lasted through to 1976. He took part in the early European sojourns, their time with UA in London and the prime days of their relationship with Dave Edmunds and Rockfield Studios. That relationship produced game-changing 45’s, including “Slow Death” and “You Tore Me Down”, as well as the landmark and hugely influential "Shake Some Action" album.
James was there for the band’s legendary shows with the Ramones – on the 1976 Bicentennial bill in London and in LA - before departing the band and ultimately falling back in with Roy and Danny.