Last of a dying breed: Junkyard's David Roach

 

junkyard wide shotDavid Roach (centre) and Junkyard.

Consider yourself lucky if you still have access to Vive Le Rock magazine from Merry Olde. They still write about real rock ‘n’ roll! That mag might write about the Cult, the Damned, Psychedelic Furs, or the Jesus & Mary Chain. They still put The Clash right there on the cover! Ya know?

I’m still livin’ in the’80s. I was mostly into like, Prince, Duran Duran, David Bowie, and Adam Ant, but I hung around with like the stoner heavy metal dudes who liked Ozzy and Dio and shit. Think “Beavis N Butthead”. That shit was real.

I miss newsstands and comic book and record stores, print media. I still don’t carry an iPhone. Where I live. Amazon killed all the book stores and the free press is dead in my country. Daniel Hale, Craig Murray, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, Col. Ann Wright, Ray McGovern...all the real whistleblowers are slandered, hounded, tortured or kidnapped. Seymour Hersh is blacklisted. Max Blumenthal gets harassed. Amy Goodman sadly works for billionaires now and helps sell pro war narratives. Abby Martin, Ben Norton, Jeremy Scahill, John Pilger, and Glenn Greenwald get ignored. Color me depressed.

Rock and Roll's Mr Everywhere

Spaghetti and Frank by Ed ColverEddie Spaghetti (left) of The Supersuckers thinks it's all a bit loud but Frank Meyer begs to differ. Ed Culver photo. 

Los Angeles musician, author and filmmaker Frank Meyer is a surprisingly talented singer songwriter and a highly skilled, captivating raconteur. He seems like a genuinely all around good guy, so I'm a little embarrassed I did not get that hip to his extensive discography much sooner.

I first became aware of both Frank Meyer and fellow feature article subject John 5 way back in the hazy distant past-maybe like, 23 years ago, in the pages of a glossy punk ‘n’ roll bible, “Pop Smear”, with both my boyhood idols, Evil Knievel and David Lee Roth on the cover. I was workin' at a news stand in the Midwest where long lines of unhappy barflies flooded in front of my cash register all day, incessantly wanting to buy the scratch off lotto tickets. "I'll take ten Lucky Pots Of Gold and five Leprechaun's Rainbows".

Frank seemed to have won the rock ‘n’ roll lotto when he got to hang out with John 5 and David Lee Roth, live, and in-person, on multiple occasions, and then, went on to write books and form his own bands that criss-crossed the country. He was playing bills with all the other bands I liked at the time and releasing a long and prolific stream of records I never really heard.

Echoes of surf guitar as Peter Hood's passing farewells an era

mandy hall mediaPromo shot of The Atlantics 2012. Ashfield Leagues Club, before the last show played by the full lineup. Jim Skiathitis (guitar), Martin Cilia (guitar), Peter Hood (drums) and  Bosco Bosanac (bass). Mandy Hall photo

The passing of The Atlantics drummer Peter Hood  in September closed the door on one of Australia’s most important surf bands. The Atlantics formed in Sydney in 1961, the group spawned the worldwide hit “Bombora” in 1963.

The follow-up “War of the Worlds” was an innovative 45 that arguably pioneered space rock before there was such a thing. It was unsuccessful and the band re-invented itself after the surf music genre declined in popularity.

Taking on singer Johnny Rebb, they pursued success playing tough R&B (among other styles) and their Peter Hood-penned “C’mon” is widely regarded as an Australian ‘classic, later adopted by the Wet Taxis.

Flying by the seat of his pants: Robert Brokenmouth's punk rock war

smallpox confidential live

Adelaide-based writer, editor, and sometime-musician Robert Brokenmouth took the time, during lockdown — well, lockdown for us non-South Australians, at least — to reflect on his literary and musical trajectory. Its a curious bundle of projects and interests that Brokenmouth juggles — the war buff and the punk music-buff occupy the same territory (no military pun intended) without apparent contradiction.

Brokenmouths published achievements include his chronicling of Melbournes punk scene in the 1996 book “Nick Cave: The Birthday Party and Other Epic Adventures” as well as editing fictionalisedmilitary histories such as Australian WWII navigator Ray Olliss 101 Nights and air gunner John Bede Cusacks “They Hosed Them Out”.  

For Brokenmouth, war and punk have one thing in common, perhaps: both are opportunities for adventure, in very different shapes and forms, but adventure nevertheless.

With COVID-19 limiting opportunities to meet for an interview, Robert kindly responded to my questions via email — and though you might not getting him talking so prolifically in real life, its clear that when he puts pen to paper, or finger-pads to keyboard, hes got a lot to say, and a rollicking history all his own.

Ive pulled out some choice tidbits from Roberts life and career to give you a sense of the BoysOwn, Boys Next Door fan.

Pat Todd throws out his rearview mirror

 rankoutsiders Michael PassmanMichael Passman photo.

Pat Todd is one of the greats of American music in recent times. I say that not just because he has one hell of a set of pipes on him, and is an incredible songwriter, but because he’s also combined elements of garage, punk and country all into one mix. I can’t think of anyone that has done that as long as he has, or has done it so well.

Todd makes music that I find hard to believe anyone could dislike. He’s one of the great American songwriters. Todd formed his latest outfit The Rankoutsiders in the mid-2000s and they pick up where his legendary group the Lazy Cowgirls left off. Their latest release “…….there’s pretty things in Palookaville” is up there with his best work, but every LP he does is brilliant and it’s hard to pick a standout “classic”.Pat spoke to me from his Los Angeles homebase via Zoom, where Rankoutsiders guitarist Nick Alexander greets me before Pat comes on.

Shit From Clay: Stu Spasm shows off his sculptures in "New York Hustle"

 Stuart Gray Pic By Matt Reekie

Former Lubricated Goat frontman Stu Spasm (real name Stuart Gray) is the subject of a new short documentary, which focuses on his work as a sculptor of creepy cult figurines. Part of a series called New York Hustle, which was produced by New York-based Aussie expats Angelica Von Helle and Matt Reekie, and you can watch the doco after the fold below. 

Spasm, who left Australia in the early ’90s and has been based in NYC for the best part of three decades, continues to make music with his latest outfit The Art Gray Noizz Quintet while supplementing his income by making and selling his sculptures. Sculptures shown in the film include Alice Cooper, Suzi Quatro, Charles Manson, Rowland S. Howard and Leadbelly.

Spasm spoke with Danger Coolidge about his work as a visual artist.

(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Doing The Understanding?

ron blue tjgarvie It should be no surprise that Ron S Peno and The Superstitions have delivered their most fully realised album yet in “Do The Understanding”.

With 12 years and three previous long players behind them, they’re a crack outfit of experienced Melbourne players, fronted by a vocalist who made an indelible mark with Died Pretty.

Everyone has a COVID-19 story, and musicians are doing it harder than most.

But Ron Peno’s own experience was preceded by a diagnosis of esophageal cancer, followed by chemo and radiotherapy, and then remission. A much-delayed Died Pretty national tour in April this year was sandwiched between lockdowns.

“Do The Understanding” has a prolonged and disrupted gestation stretching back to its formative writing in 2018, but it’s a contender for best Australian album of the year.

It’s a record full of drama and delicacy; a superb collection of songs underpinned by soulful playing and (arguably) the best vocals of Ron Peno’s career.

“I really pleased with it. It's taken a while to surface but we're really pleased with the seven songs,” a dapper Peno says over a Saturday afternoon Zoom connection.

“I think it's seven wonderful songs. Nice, strong, rather than putting too many tunes on there.

“It's just an hour. It's seven songs. Nobody says you have to have 10 songs. It's a little journey…start here, you finish there, drift off into the distance, you know, and if it's  too short…play it again. Take the take the journey again.

All revved up: The Datsuns storm back

 the datsuns studio

For me, the best band to come out of the so-called garage revival of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s was New Zealand’s The Datsuns. Mainly because while they had a garage sound, they actually managed to be their own thing and not sound like some lame retro rip-off band.

While it’s been a long time coming, their latest release “Eye to Eye” is the band’s first record since 2016 and finds them in full flight. It’s also possibly their best release yet. Frontman and guitarist RUDOLF "DOLF" de BORST spoke to MATT RYAN about all things Datsuns, as well as his membewrship of Nicke Andersson's  bands the Hellacopters and Imperial State Electric.

Working Class Hero

dan denton typewriterIris Berry, the ageless and hypnotic Glittery Queen Of Thee Hollyweird Underground hipped me to this remarkable, marvellous, soulful, author-poet-novelist from Toldeo, Dan Denton, whose powerfully poignant debut novel, “$100-A-Week-Hotel”, is catching fire with everyone who has been yearning for a voice of truth to arrive in these ridiculously propagandized, fictitious times.

Denton's characters are all so sensitively illustrated, it almost feels you are bellied up to the bar with them. It is startling to read the modest words of a real person because most novels, books, and records, and even "hip-hop influenced murals" painted on the side of hipster trap juice businesses are generated by rich college grads from the gentrified Julian Casablancas or Miley Cyrus upper classes. All the media professionals promote falsehoods and stereotypes and bogus narratives from the elitist perspectives of the ruling class.

Denton is a hardworking laborer from the rustbucket factory wasteland of Northern Ohio, and shares a working class sensibility and world view with people like Wayne Kramer, Zack de la Rocha, Boots Riley and Hunter S.Thompson. He has become one of my very favorite writers, alongside Chris Hedges, Falling James, Caitlin Johnstone and Frankie Delmane.

I-94 Bar