A quick trawl through the memory banks shows that AC/DC books have figured more prominently on my personal playlist in recent years than almost any others. You’re entitled to ask why.
It’s not that I’m a fan of the band or anything like that. The personal take on them runs along these lines:
Their music is formulaic in a way other “band brands” like the Ramones have never been. Yes, the drummer (Phil Rudd most prominently) swings like the proverbial shithouse door in a cyclone, but there’s not much else doing in the songs apart from well-meshed, chugging riffs. The lyrics were inane (not always a bad thing), the solos predictable (one man’s classic is another man’s so-so), and the whole package was seemingly contrived (songs about venereal disease, schoolboys chucking browneyes) to attrract and repel a certain broad audience. Americans especially took to them in a way they never did with punk.
Frontman Bon Scott had a certain lewd charm but it always seemed that The Powers That Be (that’d be Malcolm and Angus) imposed a certain way of doing things – and god help anyone who wanted to depart from the template.
Adventurous is one thing they have never been but, fuck, they have marketed themselves well.
So why read books about them?
Perth’s powerpop label punching way above its weight, Zero Hour Records, has announced a double CD tribute to Cheap Trick.
The 38-song collection includes music from The Affections, Rob Smith and Danny McCarthy, Plasticsoul and Spike Priggen and is due out on May 22.
Pre-orders get a swag of extras and you can take the plunge here.
You can also pick up dirt cheap stuff from Dom Mariani (his unplugged acoustic album is an underrated gem), Turnaround and a slew of lesser-known acts from the garage-pop underground.
That most durable of bands from the ‘80s revival of acid punk, The Fuzztones, are primed for a bumper 35th anniversary year with a European tour and a flurry of record releases.
UK label Easy Action is releasing the 5-CD boxset "Psychodrama” any tick of the clock now. It will include several previously out-of-print classics, with some new artwork, new photos, liner notes and bonus tracks. Also included will be a 7” single of the infamous Live with Screamin' Jay Hawkins & The Fuzztones EP, as well as a Fuzztones DVD capturing one of the band's greatest performances. It is available for pre-order here.
Not to be outdone, US label, Cleopatra, will be releasing a 3 LP boxset entitled "Alive & Deadly", which includes the Screaming Jay & Fuzztones 12" EP, "Fuzztones Gonn Primitive" (The Fuzztones & Craig Moore LIVE!) and a never-before-released live show from 1984 featuring several songs the band never recorded.
Last but not least, Germany's Houndgawd label will be re-releasing the classic “Lysergic Emanations” LP on vinyl, including bonus tracks from the 1985 John Peel radio sessions. An August release date is planned.
Watch the I-94 Bar for live dates.
The raucous rock ‘n’ roll legends that are The King Khan & BBQ Show have announced Australian side shows to their Splendour In The Grass festival appearance.
They’ll play gigs in Sydney and Melbourne in celebration of their recently released album “Bad News Boys”, their first in five years.
The fabled duo of singer/guitarist King Khan and drummer/singer/guitarist Mark Sultan made their Australian debut at the request of Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson for the 2010 Vivid Festival - and promptly hit the wall.
Well, this is going to be interesting…
See, the Barman scores books by McGarretts, with three being the top score.
So, the book (one of the 33 1/3 series about "classic" albums) gets TWO separate scores, for two separate reasons. It’s up to you to figure out if I’m being fair or not.
However, I’m not quite sure how to imagine half a Steve McGarrett. Which would be the least offensive do you think, the top or the bottom half..?
You see, the reason Astor gets a half McGarrett is because it’s a bloody effort to read. Astor is now an academic, no longer an enthusiastic and rebellious teen, and there is way too much turf, not enough surf. Astor’s haphazard organisation is apparently designed to prevent you reading it, and he apparently has neither enough understanding of either the time (which is just plain weird) or the impact the LP had, and there is certainly too much literary analysis where it seems superfluous.
That highly-anticipated Australian tour by the Supersuckers and the BellRays in May has been canned.
In a statement on their Facebook over the weekend, Supersuckers said that “contractual issues” made it impossible for them to make the trip.
Promoters Nightmare Music say refunds are available from the point of purchase and added: “We hope to bring The BellRays back to Australia in the coming months for their third headline tour of Australia…Details will be announced in the coming months."
As far as I was concerned, the night belonged to Leadfinger.
It ain’t often in this town that you wish you could attend three gigs at the same town. However, when I was young and malnourished, in the '70s to about 1983, there was sometimes one brilliant gig, and a handful of ‘hmm, may as well, nothing else is on’ gigs, and always about three or four parties every Friday and Saturday.
Adelaide parties of the very late '60s on were sometimes legendary… the ones which didn’t stop all weekend were rare but they happened from time to time. A band would come from interstate and play Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights, often at the same place, and I remember … uh, I may be about to digress.
The point is that in the actual '70s, you just would never have anything like this; two gigs showcasing 12 or so bands, all the bands good enough to dance to and fling beer over, some much better and some even better than that. So there. You can’t go back. But by fuck you should get out to more gigs. Sod the kids, bring ‘em along, put ‘em in a sound-proof booth like what Pete Townsend bounces around in and drip feed ‘em over the top.
Well, there are a lot of crappy rock books. This is brilliant, however.
We could start with the book’s blurb:
“‘The One & Only’ is a roller-coaster ride through one of rock’s wildest, most unpredictable careers. Granted full access to the reclusive Perrett and everyone who matters in his story, Antonia unflinchingly traces his path from privileged childhood to drug dealer; from musical obscurity to decadent rock icon submerged in narcotic slumbers in an antique-filled mansion... before the dream spectacularly fell apart. The story of The Only Ones became an industry by-word for how not to succeed in the record business; yet the music, along with the allure of Perrett’s mysterious persona, has endured… Despite the casualties that careen through these pages, including Johnny Thunders and Sid Vicious - Perrett played with both - this is ultimately a story of redemption and rebirth.”
And, frankly, that lot should be reasons sufficient for any self-respecting rock’n’roller to pick this one up, pay at the counter, and scurry home, nose and eyes down. Apart from that, if you own the Johnny Thunders’ album, "So Alone", but no Only Ones, you have a little Perrett in your collection.
As fans around Australia rejoice at the news of AC/DC's upcoming national stadium tour this November and December it's worth reflecting on how rough, but yet ultimately triumphant, the past 12 months have been for the band.
Almost exactly a year ago whilst working a camera shift for the ABC's 7.30 programme I had the enviable task of working on a story about AC/DC: one of my all-time favourite rock bands. But the feeling was bittersweet: troubling rumours were swirling around about the band's rhythm guitarist and unofficial leader Malcolm Young, elder brother of the more recognisable schoolboy uniform-sporting lead guitarist Angus.
The word was he was suffering from an undisclosed debilitating sickness, rendering him permanently unable to play guitar and therefore leaving the band's plans for a 40th anniversary tour and new album in ruins. The band was to call it a day. Such an integral piece of Australian cultural history: no more?! The 'other greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world' (next to the The Rolling Stones): done and dusted?