Monday, September 29, 2008
I finally got my paws on the album a couple of weeks ago and it is wall-to-wall wallop all the way, not so much an album more a bespoke collection of killer could-be singles and potential heavyweight hits (staggeringly several tracks were recorded live in the studio) - It's as close you'll get to Slade stomping through The Supremes songbook , The Sonics singing 'Sugar Sugar' or 'Here Come The Warm Jets' re-jigged by Georgio Moroder with splashes and swatches of Roxy, solo Bryan Ferry, T Rex and the Sex Pistols all glazed with an electro pop gloss - but don't just take my word for it. How about an exclusive track by track guide to Modernity Killed Every Night from the Wolf-gang themselves....
Needles In The Camel's Eye
We both love the song ('Needles' is the opening track from Eno's 'Here Come The Warm Jets'). We were trying to come up with something based around it and thought bollox - let's just do it. We did a decent demo, then worked with Chris Hughes (ex-Ants drummer) who put the drums on - Steve Musters and finally Alan Moulder mixed it.
While London Sleeps
Another tune left over from our 'Jack the ripper" musical idea (which
we stole from Spinal Tap), the title's also stolen from the Rin Tin Tin silent movie which'll come as a surprise to Chris as I told him I thought of it.
Lyrically and vocally it's a mixture of stuff - I think it's pretty obvious what it's about :-) I get to play harp at the end - we have 3 demo versions of this, all totally different!
Love Is A Dog
Another one started at mine and Marco's , then worked on with Steve
Musters at Raezor and finally mixed by Alan Moulder ..
Up All Nighter
You will find this hard to believe, but this started as our take on
Northern Soul, it didn't end up as anything that you could have played
at Wigan Casino but these things happen in the creative process. But maybe we will get round to finishing the Wolfmen 20 great lost soul classics album one day.
This one started off as a demo from me and Marco's place - we worked on it at Chris Hughes studio who put the drums on it ...
I frown heavily on songs with an optimistic feel and on positive thinking in general,but I like this and it's going to be our next single.
I had these lyrics for years, and even used to play a version of this with Jackie Onassid ...but this has been totally transformed into a new song and BRILLIANCE by Marco ! The guys in the band did a great job with it ... check the surf video out on youtube .. Recorded live at Raezor and Steve Musters mixed it ..
Buzz Me Kate
I'm told I know who this is about...but I honestly have no idea ask Chris
Hmm .... I think it's obvious what this is about lyrically. Recorded live at Raezor and Steve Musters mixed it ..
Side 2 of the 'The Company Of Wolves' is right here
To check out all the dates details and new tracks - beam on over to...The Wolfmen's Myspace site
Friday, September 26, 2008
No rabbit, jabber or blab from me could do it justice - just tuck in to this explosive performance from Sammy Davis and two friends - it's impossible to watch just once
For Once In My Life...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This isn't set in stone or tried and tested under strictly controlled conditions, it's just a rough rule of thumb, and as these fab four flavours of 'Get Back' show Beatles tunes can just as easily be refried funky side up...
Get Back - Chris Clark
The Merseybeaters get given a Motown makeover
Get Back - Deidre Wilson Tabac
A bubbly,shuffely, loose limbed lollop-a-long re-work.
Get Back - Sarah Vaughan
A brain-frying team up between those beardy
Get Back - Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes
A hat-popping, horn-stomping spectacular so fast and furious it rollocks along like a runaway train.
There's a couple of other tasty Beatles treats well worth grabbing...
BLTP's unearthing of a gorgeous rework of 'Rain' - nothing like the original and none the worse for it - here
And Larry F16's Beatles based million-hit-mix here
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Has guest appearances from Clapton at at his British blues-grinding best and the happy honky-tinking piano of session king Nicky Hopkins.
It conforms to all the codes and conventions of classic pop and packs more crackle than a Catherine wheel into a fizzing four minute bundle.
So why wasn't 'Sour Milk Sea' a hit of any kind for Jackie Lomax (it didn't even chart, after it's release in '68!) - And why has no one covered, or at least sampled it since ?
Jackie Lomax - Sour Milk Sea
Jackie Lomax - Sour Milk Sea
You can the hear work-in-progress version below, as the Fabs jam on 'Sour Milk Sea' round at George's place 'Kinfauns' while offering up a fistful of each other's tunes for possible inclusion on the White album.
George Harrison (demo) - Sour Milk Sea
Friday, September 19, 2008
Oh dear, works getting in the way again - so this weeks FF may be short on text but hopefully tall on tunes - anyway it gives me a great excuse to post one of the finest pieces of youtubery I've ever found.
'A trip to the lights'- a homemade work of genius that's spliced together from the hits and highlights of Beardfreaks1969's dear old grandad's cine films - retromatic footage of coach outings, Piccadilly trips and vintage tear ups have been reworked into a 3 minute masterpiece soundtracked with Jackie Mitoo's 'Juice Box'.
It's worth noting the volume of frown free faces in the film. I really don't think you'd get that today.
'A trip to the lights'
Plus a double barrel from Mr Mittoo
Get Up and Get It
And a little snifter of something in memory of Pink Floyd's Rick Wright..
Easy Star All-Stars - The Great Gig In the Sky
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
If Nick Cohn's Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom is Ye Olde Testament of Rock, the New (Wave) Testament being Jon Savage's Englands Dreaming, then Barry Cain's 77 Sulphate Strip is surely the Dead Sea Scrolls revived and risen again from the russet coloured copies of his Record Mirror reports, reviews and interviews, scrapbooked against a lip-smacking-ace-tasting-page-turning-eye-bulging micro dot-to-dot diary of '77's key moments and movers, groovers and shakers. The year when groups of grey-faced, straight-laced politicians and hair flare bunches of prog and pop stars went twelve rounds against a fistful of prickly punks. 365 days with more dynamics, dramatics and duality than any year since pop records began.
After his stretch at Record Mirror, Barry went on to launch Flexipop, one the snappiest music mag’s ever published, I found a few copies in the loft recently and had forgotten how they crackle with facts, fun and features - including a genius parody of The Face's famous '82 'Hard Times' cover - 'Really Hard Times' starring two turps glugging tramps which perfectly burst The Face's snoot-nosed, yell and bellow bubble .
So, some questions for Barry Cain then....
77 Sulphate Strip is one of only a handful of rock books I've read without any acknowledgment or nod to The Beatles - it's like they never existed. Was this the mood at the time
No. The Beatles meant everything to me and most my mates throughout the sixties. They were my teenage idols and helped take the sting out of those years. There’s an unsubtle homage in the names of the characters in Streatham Locarno at the beginning of Strip. I stopped dancing to The Beatles after Rubber Soul because that’s when they started inviting me back to their place – via the Pye Black Box in my bedroom – where I could listen to their darkest thoughts. They changed the way I thought, simple as that. And thank you, for your very kind words. They mean so much. Incidentally, one of the ‘Hard Times’ tramps in the picture is my dad who will be 91 this year and was, I guess, my fifth Beatle. I was an only child and my parents (my mum is 81) have had four dogs all dying tragically and leaving my mum and dad desperate and bewildered. The last one, Bobby, a cute black poodle, died a week ago in my dad’s arms, and it’s eating them both alive. I buried Bobby in my back garden alongside the previous two and that nearly fucking killed me. I felt like some canine-killing version of Fred West.
Sorry to veer off the path , it’s just worrying me right now.
How did you go from being part of a Motown loving Boot Boy and Suede head set to becoming Record Mirror journalist
Pure genius! If you came from a council estate in London at the time, you became either a straight, a skinhead or, if you took a lot of hallucinatory drugs, a working class hippy. It got interesting when the skinheads got into hallucinatory drugs in the late sixties, but that’s another tale. It was rare to stay on at school after 16 but I went to a grammar and emerged, at 18, with two low grade A Levels. I always kept my school friends and my flats’ friends far apart. As a result, I became, around 15, two people – schoolboy and coolboy. Two heads are better than one, and after a bit of luck and a lot of graft, I went from trainee court reporter to indentured journalist on a local paper to entertainments’ editor to Record Mirror. That’s a Yellowbrick Road a lot less travelled these days.
Your first meeting with Rotten reads like a snake charmer being hypnotised by the snake – have you met any other performers with a similar charisma
Malcolm McLaren. He and Rotten both possess the ability to paint stark pictures with barrages of meticulously chosen words that give delight and hurt not. They’re in a class of their own. Joe Strummer was a little boy lost who dug his way out of his nightmare with remarkable songs and a hunk of devotion that swept me away. Paul Weller was hopelessly devoted to rue - the secret behind his genius. Hugh Cornwell and Jean Jacques-Burnel were deep sea divers in the psyche and there was nowt more challenging than a Stranglers interview. The Damned had collective charisma – they were the Commie punk band. Who else? Barry White, Bob Marley, Paul McCartney? Heaps of charisma. But not a patch on Malcolm and Johnny.
In 77 the Pistols were possibly the most hated band in history. It wasn't just the older generation or other youth movements that were anti-Punk, but politicians, musicians, record exec's, DJs and almost everyone who wasn't directly involved with the Pistols (or Punk) that seemed to despise them. Do you think it's possible we'll ever see such international outrage caused by a single rock act again
Impossible. Music has popped its cork. It’s no longer the force of nature it was (what an old git). Outside the X Factor comfort zone, records just don’t sell that much anymore. That’s why TOTP was dumped. That’s why Smash Hits, RM, Sounds, Melody Maker all fell by the wayside. How many generations to go before music is just a bowl of cherries? Before life gets in the way? Before its portability and a few billion options make it futile, obvious, an easy lay? I give it twenty years, tops. My kids’ kids will give the odd flying fuck for a stunning song. Their kids? Different world. Different ballgame. Different tune.
For a movement that was all momentum and 'of the moment', Punk styles, sounds, designs and influences are still with us and everywhere from US metal to Top Shop clobber. What do you think has kept Punk (and New Wave) enduring without dating
Punk was all about bright minds in bondage who wanted to fuck off out of old Durham Town. Sleepy time girls and the boys of summer dancing to a ’77 beat. Punk’s callous, disruptive demands – an anathema to Joe Public – could dislodge reality in exciting minds and create innovation. Originality breeds contempt and contempt breeds originality. It was a vicious circle that has continued to spin unabated like a flaming Catherine wheel shooting flames in every direction. And you didn’t need a voice like Sinatra’s to make the punters sway. Lapsed punks haunt the corridors of power.
I loved the piece about your mum and dad and the pub scene with the piano players, costermongers and comedians having a sing-a-long. Do you think the real seventies get overlooked with all the novelty nostalgia and ‘Abbafication’ of that decade
I don’t think there ever was a real seventies. It was the itsy-bitsy-no-focus post Beatles decade kicking off with dross, glam, Philly, dross, New York disco, dross and ABBA. It welcomed punk with open arms, shook hands with high-street ska, gave birth to the New Romantics and invented Freddie Mercury. If you were in your late twenties in 1970 the next ten years meant fuck all really. You wouldn’t get it. The seventies had to be ‘Abbafied’ because the sixties were too sad.
Genius. I mentioned in the book that Malcolm asked me to ‘ghost’ write his autobiography in 1979. I got to know him as well as anyone after countless interview sessions in my living room over a three-month period. He made me dance all night and still beg for more. He’s the Brian Clough of pop who should’ve managed England. Knowing Malcolm, I think love got in the way – he’s an incurable romantic. But we should all be thankful he turned the world dayglo.
In the book, the music press seem just as hardcore and heavy living as the bands - almost like The Sweeney with press passes rather than police badges. Were there a few juicy nuggets, tear ups and tales you couldn't include
If you could beam back to 1977 and take someone aside for a word of advice - who would it be, and what would you say?
It would be me, I’m afraid, and I’d say, ‘Don’t get married, keep your finger on your trigger and put all your money on Man Utd winning the FA Cup, Red Rum winning the Grand National and The Minstrel winning the Derby’. Oh, and to Sid Vicious I’d say, ‘Go for it’.
The Damned, The Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, The Wolfmen (Marco from The Models and Adam and The Ants new band), Carbon Silicon (Tony James and Mick Jones) have all released new albums over the last few years. Have you heard any of the original Punk players’ new songs
I saw Hugh Cornwell play live a year or so back – great show at Scala – and downloaded his impressive Hoover Dam album, but that’s about it. I don’t listen to much music these days and when I do it tends to be through headphones attached to my laptop as I write. Usually, it’s Michael McDonald’s tribute to Motown, which is just wonderful, interspersed with Steely Dan. I’m a dude. Hey dude, don’t make it bad. Just let it out and let it in.
You were involved with Flexipop, are there any plans for an 80s sequel to 77 SS using Flexipop as source material?
Writing it now. Starts in 1978 when I resigned from Record Mirror, teamed up with then PR guru now PR mogul, Alan Edwards, running a punk PR company out of a Covent Garden squat, discovered I wasn’t cut out for a career as a publicist, became a freelance writer and spent the next two years travelling the world with rock stars, doing big, fat, hairy interviews. It ends 20 years later with the death of pop. Don’t worry, there’s not much to tell after ’84. I launched Flexipop together with my ex-partner Tim Lott (now, of course, a hugely successful novelist) in 1980, and after three bizarre years I found myself alone, publishing mainly one shot poster mags on pop’s latest flames which I continued to do for the next decade and a half. Got myself a family, a house, a Porsche. Cost myself contacts, desire, drive. Naturally, I blamed everyone but myself for those sad losses – complacency is a cancer of the spirit. But if you catch it early, the prognosis is good. Life can be groovy again Oh, and there’s a few twists and a fucking shitload of watusis. The book should be available this time next year, if anyone has any money by then….
If you were a Record Mirror reporter in 2008 - what would get you picking up your pen and pad, and who would you be trying to interview or avoid
The song Distant Dreamer made popular by Duffy, who rocked my boat when I saw her perform it at Glastonbury. The version by MC Almont & Butler is a work of art. Pop music at its finest. I think Leona Lewis has an incredible voice. I’d love to interview her. And Duffy. Shit, I sound like an old perv. Who else? Paul Weller, for old times’ sake; Eminem., for Pete’s sake; Alex from Big Brother, for fucksake. That’s five cracking interviews.
Never avoided an interview in my life.
And finally, are there two tunes one Pop, one Punk that sum up 1977 for you
Anarchy In The UK and Anarchy In The UK.
Anarchy In The UK - from the Filth and Fury
Anarchy In The UK - Early version, slightly rowdier than the single, but possibly my fave take.
Anarchy In The UK (EMI rejected 7" Single Version) with alt.solos
Anarchy In The UK - Los Punkrockers - yes it's those crazy punko latinos again.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Marc Bolan is the archetypal UK rock star - a pop pace setter always several stealthy steps and styles ahead of the rest of rock's runners and riders, including an untimely death 31 years ago - early doors East End proto mod, pre-hippy days Tolkien folksy bloke, gone glam before all other gang bangers and one of the only old wavers inclusive of and included by the new wavers.So, how do you pop, skip and jump from Mod Bolan to Modfather? Like this...
John's Children - Hot Rod Mama (BBC Session)
Which was covered by Marsha Hunt as...
Hot Rod Poppa
Which was sampled by Paul Weller for...
Always There To Fool You
Which is the instrumental version of...
There's also a couple of more up to date, but down tempo T Rex pieces on the other side - including an interview with Marc Bolan just before he died.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I'm flat out and frazzled with work at the mo', (what a cheek clogging up my blogging like that), so instead of my usual cyber-babble, here's a few words from our sponsors...
The Who - Great Shakes Ad'
Left Banke - Coke Ad'
1966 Plymouth Baraccuda Ad'
Used as the intro to The Barracudas - Summer Fun
David Bowie in Lyons Maid 'Luv' Ice Cream ad'
He really is in there - just have a right good peep and you'll see him!
Friday, September 5, 2008
It's a guest blogger day today, and Tall J from the Tall J Blog has picked and mixed a medley of Mod, Soul and French Funk for Scooter Mix Volume Two - aside from this mighty mix, J has also managed to track down one of my fave funk obscurities Willy Mitchell 'That Driving Beat' by way a of soul stomping comp, which is well worth grabbing and a vid' well worth watching below. So, over to Tall J...
When I make a mix, my first priority is too make it fun. I want it to be something I would dance too. To quote the Junior Walker track I put in here, I want someone to hear this and say "Put on your wig woman, we're goin' out to shake and fingerpop."
This one starts out with Gemini by Gunter Norris. Don't know much about him, but it's a great track and I thought the space theme was appropriate for a visit to Planet Mondo. From there on out it's a mix of classics and hopefully a song or two you may not have heard before. The original version of this mix was a bunch of hopelessly obscure songs but in the end it didn't flow right, didn't feel right, and was just a real bore. I mean, there is a reason that a song like the Vandellas' Nowhere to Run will always pack a dance floor, regardless of how many times it has been played before. So rather than just slap together a bunch of "nuggets", I picked tracks for how they work together. I picked them for their beat. There's no grand reason any of these songs are here. They are here because I really like these songs and for me, that's reason enough.
I had a lot of fun making it. I've had a lot of fun listening to it. There's some Northern Soul. There's some YéYé. There's some Mod Revival stuff. Hopefully there's a little bit of something for everybody who hangs around Planet Mondo. Big thanks to PM for inviting me to do this.
Scooter Mix - Volume Two
Same Old Song-The Four Tops
Baby Hit And Run-The Contours
Les Responsable-Jacques Dutronc
Shake and Fingerpop-Junior Walker and The Allstars
Air Travel-Chris Farlow
Let Your Heart Dance-Secret Affair
Sproston Green-Charlatans UK
I Can't Explain-The Who
He Was Really Saying Something-The Velvelettes
Latin Skate-The Cheap Skates
Les Filles C'est Fait Pour Faire L'amour-Charlotte Leslie
Save It For Later-English Beat
Nowhere To Run-Martha Reeves and The Vandellas
Own Up Time-The Small Faces
I Love You Baby-Cindy Scott
Scooter Mix - Volume 1 (and a little extra )is available at Tall J's always excellent blog.
Willy Mitchell 'That Driving Beat'
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
"Steve Jones turns 21 .... inch neck in about 2 hours." Hammersith sings 'Happy Birthday Dear Fatty'- to Steve Jones (his record for pies eaten in one session is 8).
'Cocktail sticks' stage right and 'cocktail drinkers' stage left. The band as described by Rotten.
All photo's courtesy of Mr T.Youth
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I can carbon date exactly when I bought my first Sex Pistols single - Tuesday 27th February 1979 - a group of us had spent the morning clustering around Kelleys Records in Hadleigh waiting for the Tuesday new singles delivery which included the Pistols 'Something Else' - not a classic by any stretch, but the anticipation of owning my first piece of 'as it happens' punky shrapnel (with the added bonus of some explosive effing and jeffing on the b-side) still had me giddy headed and punk drunk.
Rewind a few months and I'd had no interest in snotty, shouty, sweary spiky tops until an earful from a friend's older brother's - it's always the older brother - copy of NMTB got me switched on and tuned in to the 'now wave' of punk, with its high speed rage and rush mirroring my own hormonal hi-jinks. Hearing the Pistols properly for the first time, on a pair of Easter egg sized headphones, was a sonic seismic shift which exploded in a brain frying Everything You Know Is Wrong moment:I cut my hair, changed the way I dressed (and didn't care what anyone thought) wanted to learn guitar and start ripping out those Sex Pistols riffs. Starsky was out Sid Vicous was in, and I signed on the studded line committed to slowly becoming a teeny punk.
'Something Else' was followed up with regular record buying bus trips to southend's John Peel and punk friendly shops - Kelleys, Golden Disc, Parrot but never Projection (which was all trendy-teacher types, thirty something ex hippies in hessian jackets, corduroys, Kickers or cowboy boots) - for The Damned, Dead Kennedys, The Undertones, Crass, UK Subs and one-off wonders like The Satellites, The Victim, Honey Bane and Magic Michael.
By 1980 it was punk pilgrimages to SW3 and the King's Road - with mum and dad -for punky togs . One year later and it was The Damned's 5th Anniversay gig with A. N. Other friend chaperoned by his older brother (see what I mean?)
So, cue shots of fly away calendar pages and fast forward to today as I hold in my hand two pieces of paper that have got me as clucked up as Charley Bucket (now there's a proto punk name) unwrapping Willy Wonka's choco' bar and finding that glint of gold.
Yes. It's tickets to the Sex pistols. Tonight. At Hammersmith Apollo. Piley'll be there, and I'll be hoofing along with Tronik the boy wonder.I haven't been this giddy and punk drunk since that misty Tuesday morning outside Kelleys Records in 1979.
Hopefully there'll be plenty of this on the menu.
Pretty Vacant (Live 1996)
*I bought three tops from BOY (Seditionaries was being refitted as Worlds End) on this visit. Two cheesecloths - God Save The Queen and Anarchist Gang (pictured)- plus a Vive Le Rock black tee, which circumstantial evidence suggests at this point in 1980, were possibly Seditionaries over-stocks being sold off at BOY - but unfortunately all were dropped in the bin yonks ago.