Last weekend was marked by sad news that the founder of French label Skydog Records MARC ZERMATI had passed away.
Zermati is owed a huge debut by fans of the Stooges, in particular. He kept the memory of the Stooges alive for decades, releasing the live "Metallic KO" album and other material when nobody lse seemingly cared. He was the promoter of France's first punk rock festival and a driver of underground culture. We thought it was timely to extract this 20-year-old interview he gave to KEN SHIMAMOTO.
After a few false starts and 16 years after being stopped in its tracks by court action, the long-stalled documentary "MC5: A True Testimonial" is showing signs of coming back to life.
The film tells the story of the MC5. In 2004 - after rave reviews on the festival circuit and on the eve of its commrcial release - filmmakers David C Thomas and Laurel Legier were taken to court by former Five guitarist Wayne Kramer over a claim he had been promised to be the film's musical producer. In March 2007, a court ruled in favour of Legler and Thomas, and the decision was upheld on appeal.
But the damage had already been done. Media preview copies had been widely bootlegged, and securing musical rights to make a commercial release viable proved problematic.
In March this year, a Twitter account with the handle @MC5movie shuddered into life. We now understand there are fresh plans to re-launch the film into movie theatres, digitally and in deluxe physical format...with a caveat: Be patient.
There's no timeline in place and the entertainment market has been severely disrupted by COVID-19. The only certainty is that it will happen evnetually and be worth the wait.
It's now appropriate to take a trip back in The Time Tunnel and revisit a 2001 interview by KEN SHIMAMOTO with DAVID C THOMAS, exhumed from our own archives. Settle in and soak it up while we wait for the main feature.
Jack White’s Third Man Records will issue a soundboard recording of the last show by the original line-up of The Stooges in August, a day short of 50 years after the performance.
"Live At Goose Lake: August 8, 1970" is a previously-unheard, high-quality recording of the Stooges, recorded just before the release of their earthshaking 1970 album "Fun House", and will be available on vinyl, CD and digital on August 7.
Drive You Mad - The Sunday Reeds (self released)
Well, The Farmhouse has been rocking, again. "Drive You Mad" is the new EP from the fabulous The Sunday Reeds from Adelaide. This six-track EP is a cracker.
Led by Romana Ashton (vocals and bass) this trio is rounded out by Drew Jones (guitar) and Sarah "Shakey" Portaro (drums.) Let me say this: they are crazy-good live. I've seen them supporting some of Australia's finest bands - Exploding White Mice, Radio Birdman and Hitmen DTK just to name a few - and they hold their own with catchy songs, pounding bass and some great guitar. "Drive You Mad" captures their live sound so well.
Five Things - Smalltown Tigers (Area Pirata Records)
There’s nothing new in rock and roll. The same goes for punk rock. So get over it. Reinvention has always been a constant and the trick to being good at the caper is adding as your own unique ingredient.
“Five Things” is eight songs from three Italian girls calling themselves Smalltown Tigers. They come from Romagna in the country's north-east, cut their teeth playing Ramones songs at squats and beach parties and went into a studio in 2019, under the production hand of Stiv Cantarelli.
They're only been around a couple of years but you wouldn't know it. With a single in the racks before this, "Five Things" swaggers with confidence and loads of energy. It would be politically incorrect to say the girls have good looks on their side as well, so we won't. Image counts for much in rock and roll.
The Victims are now Ray Ahn, Dave Faulkner and James Baker.
Given the current restrictions on social gatherings, there is a certain irony in the story of The Victims’ first gig in Perth in early 1977. Perth, by some calculations, the most isolated capital city in the world, didn’t have a big punk rock scene. After all, this was the era of bland commercial radio, flaccid cover bands and conservative social attitudes.
When drummer James Baker, guitarist Dave Faulkner and bass player Dave Cardwell set up at the sharehouse in one of Perth’s light industrial inner suburbs to play in front of 50 enthusiastic garage and punk rock fans, they’d pretty well captured the entire Perth punk market. But get that many people in a house right now, even to listen to a Ramones record, and you’d be breaking the law. Back then, all the audience cared about was that there were other people who felt the same way about music.
“Music for us was rebellion against the conformity of the city, being so isolated. Because everything we loved was so far away,” Faulkner says.
We're hopping back into the Time Tunnel...this time to dig up a late-'90s interview with late Stooges guitarist RON ASHETON by KEN SHIMAMOTO.
It was November 1998. Ron was at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was talking up the prospects of a release and possible tour by supergroup Wylde Ratzz, off the back of the movie "Velvet Goldmine" for which they'd supplied some of the soundtrack. It failed to materialise and the J Mascis collaboration that helped ignite the Stooges reunion was also in the future.
The interview is one of the most revealing Ron Asheton pieces up until then, laying to rest some misconceptions about his attitude towards fellow Stooge James Williamson, and showing him to be a musician who fervently wanted to not only express his own music as much as reclaim some of his old band's legend.
A Stooges Asthma Attack at th Grande Ballroom in1968. Robert Matheu photo.
The year 2006 was something of a watershed for fans of high-energy rock and roll of the Detroit variety. The reformed Stooges were in full flight and an historic six-CD, eponymous Sonic's Rendezous Band box set came out on UK label Easy Action.
The box set's executive producer of the box was ROBERT MATHEU, a Detroit-raised and former Creem magazine staff photographer. Sadly, Robert passed away in 2018, but a dozen years before, he told the back-story of the box set to the I-94 Bar - and of course regaled us with stories about the MC5 and the Stooges.
We're revisiting many of the stories originally published on the I-94 Bar that were archived when we moved virtual location a few years ago. This is one of the trips back in The Time Tunnel.
It's 13 years since he passed from cancer but the reputation of Lobby Loyde is not diminishing. We live in crazy times but one of the sane things occurring right now is that the trailblazing Australian guitarist, bandleader and producer is finally getting his dues outside his homeland.
As leader of the Coloured Balls, Loyde set a benchmark in Australia for innovative hard rock. The "Ball Power" and "Heavy Metal Kid" albums, both released in 1974, are all-time classics. As a player in The Aztecs, Rose Tattoo and solo, the earlier Wild Cherries and Purple Hearts,
Loyde blew up more amplifiers and sent more people deaf than anyone who followed. As a producer in the 1980's, he was a force behind albums for the Sunnyboys, Painters and Dockers, Machinations and X.
Re-issues of his Coloured Balls albums and Lobby's solo work on the Aztec label re-lit the spotlight in Australia in the '90s. Just Add Water Records is deep into a program of vinyl re-issues, out of Berkeley, California.
They've done a killer job on three singles and an LP re-issue of "The First Supper Last Or Scenes We Didn't Get To See".
We decided to track down label owner JASON DUNCAN and ask him about Just Add Water's mission to re-visit the music of Lobby Loyde, and a select bunch of other similarly-minded rock and roll outsiders.