As you may or may not know, I dislike, and am deeply suspicious of, political causes. Usually they’re poorly thought-out (with unforeseen consequences which should have been foreseen, if you know what I mean) or are laden with the usual ‘elect me’ agenda.
This one isn’t.
It started publicly with Facebook, as many things do these days, as we’ve lost our newspapers. A chap called Nathan May posted at 8.25pm on 11 May:
“So tonight I was supposed to receive an award from the University of Adelaide for my contribution within the Music Faculty but I rejected it. The reason why I rejected it is because the course I did for the last three years in risk of getting cut. If it wasn’t for CASM I would not be in the place I am today, CASM is family.”
Seems not so long ago (and in fact, it was the late 1980s) that the shadow of a still breathing, although not always fully-functioning, Johnny Thunders was almost everywhere you looked. His records filled the racks and every second person in a band wanted to look like, if not be, JT. As in buying the T-shirt with no need to tap a vein.
It was P.I. (Pre-Internet) so we didn’t have the same visual options that YouTube and Torrenting now offer, but you had to wonder how someone whose wasted pictures and sound defined the term “fucked-up” so convincingly could continue to make music.
Of course, way down in Australia we got our answer when an at least partially cleaned-up Johnny toured, with the ever-present legend Jerry Nolan on drums and a real live Sex Pistol, Glen Matlock, on bass. That had to be the year I was overseas, but by all reliable reports The Man and His Band were both lucid and great.
His music tends to be overshadowed by the fact that Thunders was a hardcore junkie for the second tw-thirds of his career, at first by choice and then, over the years, by necessity. You might argue that he also milked that reputation for all it was worth, to the point that it was a marketing tool as much as a cross to bear.
Four years after being diagnosed with terminal liver disease, Detroit musical elder statesman Scott Morgan is back making new music. A mountain of bills from medical treatment and ongoing living expenses, however, are making it tough going.
The former Rationals, Hydromatics and Sonic’s Rendezvous Band member was diagnosed with terminal liver cirrhosis and a stomach tumour that was swiftly and painfully ravaging his body. Against great odds, he survived thanks to the excellent medical staff at University of Michigan and St. Joseph Hospitals.
Scott spent two years in treatment and recovery, and a third year in physical therapy to regain his vocal strength.
The world’s greatest exponents of down and dirty, heart breaking, soul shaking rock ‘n’ roll,The BellRays, are about to hit Australian shores again in August. The re-scheduled dates follow the cancellation of their planned double-headed tour of Australia with Supersuckers.
The ROCKPOCALYPSE Make Up Tour takes in three states and the national capital and includes forays into regional centres.
I'm going to surprise you and tell you this isn't a great single. Well, not in the traditional sense. It's not what anyone calls a hit record. It barely finds a chorus. But is it fucking great? Oh yeah.
This is all kinds of thundering great hyper rock and roll madness. It's the sort of track that makes you want to jump into your Panzer Tank and overrun the nearest neighbouring country whilst swigging Wild Turkey and taking no prisoners. Guitars slash, scream and gurgle in electric squall. Bass pounds earthquakes. Drums thump the beat of zombie apocalypse (but the fast kind of modern zombie and not the shambling old school type). Tick off all the appropriate cliche rock and roll review boxes. Throw in words like blistering. Mention Detroit. It's not important. Just get the message out. This thing rocks like the proverbial motherfucker (even though I'm not sure how that visual is appropriate).
This Newport, Kentucky, band lived its first life deep in the American Midwest from 1983-87 and has reformed sporadically since. One of the “Killed By Death” outfits - so-called because a series of bootlegs using that title gave them and scores of others fleeting fame outside their own backyards - they’ve issued this three-tracker CD single as a precursor to a retrospective album.
On the strength of “Resuscitation” they could just as easily make it all-new material. This stuff burns like a clear-headed version of the Heartbreakers, although without the same swing. The licks make it obvious where guitarist Donny “Tex” Watson is coming from, even if his feet are planted on the ground, rather than skidding all over the stage like the late Johnny Genzales.
Let’s be provocative right up-front and say that The Pretty Things are not entitled to still be making records this good. Not after 50 years and not even allowing time off along the way for bad behaviour.
It’s not a disc full of instantly catchy “hits” by any stretch - and if it was nobody would listen anyway. The Pretties’ name is a total misnomer. Putting aside the baby-faced engine room, this is a band of three grizzled old men.
So let’s talk about what it is.
After a 22 year hiatus, the Dubrovniks are temporarily back together and will be playing shows around the world, book-ended by gigs in Perth (June 6) and Melbourne (July 18).
“I’m Flipped Out Over You” is the theme for the Australian dates, the first leg of which is a show at Perth’s Rosemont Hotel with the original Scientists. It also happens to be the wedding reception for Dubrovniks and Scientists drummer James Baker and features the Television Addicts (two-thirds of the Victims, Spencer P Jones and The Runaways (Spencer P Jones and Kim Salmon.)
The Melbourne version of “I’m Flipped Out Over You” becomes a two-stage garage punk extravaganza at the Corner Hotel with a gloriously loud bill that also includes the original line up of the Scientists (Kim Salmon, Baker, Boris Sudjovic and Rod Radalj), They’ll be joined by Rocket Science, Spencer P Jones & The Escape Committee, Hits, The Pink Tiles, The Electric Guitars and Girl Crazy.
For the better part of 2013-14, Ed Kuepper toured Australia performing his crowd-pleasing 'By Request' show in city centres and regional towns, culminating in a sold-out performance at the City Recital Hall for Sydney Festival with the Sydney Chamber Orchestra.
For his first tour of 2015, Kuepper will defy industry pre-conceptions by performing a set of largely new and as-yet-unrecorded material.
Dubbed the "Nostalgia For The New Tour", the run will include a three-week-mid-week residency in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne with spin-off weekend shows in regional areas.
The new material is being workshopped with the intention of recording a new album of all new studio material before the end of the year. Fear not, diehard Saints/Laughing Clowns fans: with each show being upwards of two-hours long and without a support, the sets will include back-catalogue gems.