new york - The I-94 Bar
Skin Suit - The Bobby Lees (Alive Naturalsound)
If you were on the cusp of releasing your first "real" record, had US and European tours booked and ran head-first into the current viral shit show, you'd feel like you'd been whacked around the head with the Unlucky Baseball Bat, wouldn't you? Such is the lot of a young band in The Age of The Phlegm Plague.
Upstate New Yorkers The Bobby Lees sound mightily pissed-off on "Skin Suit", but the album was recorded long before Covid-19 was kicking anybody's arse.
The Bobby Lees play snotty, raucous blues thrash with all the rough edges left intact. Little wonder that Jon Spencer produced "Skin Suit" - the band's explosive blues sound is right up his alley.
The back catalogue of Johnny Thunders is way overdue for re-issue treatment. It’s coming up to 24 years since the talented but terminal ex-Doll checked into a New Orleans hotel and checked out on life. "ho better to revive his recorded legacy than Easy Action?
Whatever your stance on how the media portrayed Thunders, the guy was a walking contradiction. When it came to his image as Rock’s Most Wasted Human Being (aka The Guy Who Makes Keef Look Like a Schoolboy), he alternately kicked against it or embraced it with open, track-marked arms. “Hurt Me” was a poignant collection of stripped-back covers and standards - and a departure of sorts for JT, coming as it did five years after the bleary-eyed party that was “So Alone.”
CBGB is, of course, no more. It’s a designer clothing store run by Detroit old boy John Varvatos.
At this point, permit me a personal aside.
No matter how many times the new owner’s rock and roll cred and commitment to “tastefully” preserving elements of the old club on The Bowery are thrown at me, I can’t come to terms with this particular march of progress.
My own CBGB experiences may have only been as a beer-swilling tourist living vicariously through the sounds of those on-stage, but turning a rock and roll hovel into a shop selling $300 T-shirts will only get you so far.
Contest the claim if you like, but there isn’t a better Ramones album than “Leave Home”, their second long-player.
Yes, the debut was retrospectively ground-breaking and a beacon for rock and roll’s shift back-to-basics, but “Leave Home” surely should have been the point where “punk” (at least as America knew it) crossed the line, converting from Cult Curiosity to Mainstream Soundtrack.
High-tensile guitars, off-colour humour, melodies and energy live large within its groove. Bubblegum, doo-wop, pop and rock bundled into the perfect musical package, married to an image of teen rebellion, leather jackets and shades. What the fuck is there not to love?
You have to ask the question - at least rhetorically - about why ex-Deadboys guitarist Cheetah Chrome hasn’t been more prolific under his own name. If you want answers, go and read his gripping and nakedly revelatory autobiography, “A Dead Boy’s Tale”, but while you’re waiting for it to ship, grab this stunning mini-album.
It’s that time of year again, when that fat prick comes scrambling down the chimney armed with a sawn-off and robs you off all your money so’s he can spend it on whores and drugs.
How fair is the world? That’s what I was going to spend it on.
This being the I-94 Barr site, where rock is from Detroit, synths are for Germans and the volume is at 11, you will all have friends who love rock’n’roll. So the bookstores around the world are ready for you this Krimbo, usually armed with tomes the size of one of Mose’s tablets on That Notorious Stone or That Bland Beatle or worse, Someone Who Was Someone Maybe Once (and Just Can’t Get Over It) Volume 3.