norton records - The I-94 Bar
The Fleshtones joined by Miriam Linna (and Dave Champion at right of stage) . Photo: LePetitRusse
The “Wheel of Talent” was spinning in northern Ontario, Canada, baby. Oh yeah!
I very rarely open the newsletters and catalogs I get from various labels and bands but for some reason I was drawn to this month’s from Norton Records.
What do I see but that the mighty Fleshtones are playing two hours from home. And Sudbury hometown girl, Miriam Linna (head honcho at Norton Records, ex-Cramps drummer and solo artist in her own right), was going to be joining them. On stage. So, yeah, I had to go.
Billy Miller (left) with ex Flamin Groovies frontman Roy Loney and Miriam Linna.
Co-owner of legendary label Norton Records and former member of the A-Bones, Billy Miller, has passed away after battling long-term health complications.
Miller founded the label with his future wife Miriam Lina (a former Cramps drummer) in 1986, originally to issue the music of Hasil Adkins.
Hundreds of releases followed for bands as diverse as The Wailers, The Sonics, The Dictators, Reigning Sound, Esquerita, Ramones, the Pretty Things, the Flamin' Groovies, the Alarm Clocks, Question Mark and the Mysterians, Dale Hawkins, Andre Williams, Jack Starr, the Flat Duo Jets, the Untamed Youth, the Phantom Surfers, the Hentchmen, Wade Curtiss, Jackie & the Cedrics, the Church Keys, and Iggy Pop’s alma mater, The Iguanas.
Miller had lost a leg to complications from diabetes a year ago. He had been back in hospital in recent months.
Blues-punk rockers Daddy Long Legs are embarking on their first tour of Australia this month.
Starting out on Norton Records, home of legends such as Andre Williams, the Sonics and Link Wray, the New York City-based group recently dropped their new single, "Nightmare", a cracking and frighteniing tune that sums up what we’ve all gone through the past few years. They even got their mate Wreckless Eric to do backing vocals.
Singer/guitarist Brian Hurd spoke to me on the zoom machine while the band was mid tour in Europe.
I-94 Bar: Dave Laing, who teed up this interview up, told me he can’t stop listening to the new Daddy Long Legs single, "Nightmare". Once I heard it I kept pushing repeat as well.
Brian: Right on, thank-you!.
It’s certainly a song of the times, did you write it about all the stuff that happened in the last few years?
Brian: Yeah it’s absolutely of the times, and inspired by everything that’s happened all around us. The story behind it is, in January 2021 I got sick, I had the COVID bug, and I had these crazy dreams that were super vivid, and every night I would dream a different song.
One of the nights that I was under the weather, I had a dream that I was hanging with all these leather clad, denim clad rockers, long hair dudes, and they were telling me how much they dig Daddy Long Legs and they were telling me their favourite song was called "Nightmare".
Well pre-COVID, before all this happened you made a LP called "Lockdown Ways" (2019), so you really have nailed the current times before it happened, AS WELL!
Brian: (Laughs) Yeah.
Detroit boy and founder of The Gories, Mick Collins, always did love to fuck with expectations in The Dirtbombs. Now, he's doing it again with some new playmates in Heavy Trash's Matt Verta-Ray, Matt's wife Rocio, and members of Swiss creole kings Mama Rosin.
"Subway Zydeco" sounds like it was cooked up in the kitchen of a cajun restaurant in the East Village, with a liberal sprinkling of blues. You can bet a New York minute against a free ride in a checker cab that this was exactly the intention. It's an LP of obscure 45s taken off a Louisiana jukebox and transplanted to a New York City dive bar.
If you came expecting a Blues Explosion - Jon Spencer co-founded Heavy Trash with Matt Verta-Ray - you're in the wrong place. "Subway Zydeco" is more folky than swampy, its pumping rhythms tied to accordion for most of the way.