Thursday, October 31, 2013

Those Who Served: Lou Reed (1942-2013)

It was with great sadness that I learned that Lou Reed died. I certainly was not ready for it because we all thought he was doing quite well after undergoing a recent liver transplant. How quickly things can change.

 I first came upon his music because of his inclusion on the Times Square soundtrack. I purchased it some time in the early eighties from a discount bin at my local Canadian Tire store. I bought it mainly because it had a song by the Ramones. After listening to it all the way through, my second favourite track on it became Walk On The Wild Side even though I could only begin to know what he was singing about. I guess it was his cool spoken street vibe that attracted me. That same vibe permeates Sweet Jane, Vicious and Dirty Boulevard and so many more.

 In high school I discovered the Velvet Underground through an older friend and was completely enthralled by their sound, a mix of experimental noise, soft melody and pop hooks. Lyrically, it was pretty dark stuff for a pre-punk generation. A couple years after Beatlemania and before flower power, these dressed-in-black gaunt New Yorkers were singing about drug addiction, sadomasochism and street life. They did not sell a lot of records at the time but their influence on future generations cannot be overstated. 

After the Velvets, Reed embarked on an amazing solo career that was peppered with some great albums such as Transformer (1972), Berlin (1973), Rock 'n' Roll Animal (1974), Metal Machine Music (1975) and New York (1989). His body of work has directly impacted countless punk, alternative and indie rock bands from the past four and half decades and his songs have been recorded by a multitude of artists including David Bowie, REM, the Vibrators, Big Star, U2, Mott The Hoople, the Runaways and the Cowboy Junkies.

He was sometimes a curmudgeon and usually a crank. He was one of the best songwriters of his era.

Those Who Served: Gypie Mayo 1951-2013

Gypie Mayo (born John Phillip Cawthra) was a hot shot guitarist best known for his work with British band Dr. Feelgood with whom he played from 1977 until 1981. This band cranked out high energy pub rock and even scored some hit singles back in the day including the catchy rocker Milk and Alcohol. From 1996 until 2004, Gypie served time with the reformed Yardbirds playing numerous shows and even doing a bit of recording. It was reported that he had been ill for some time before his passing but as of now, no official cause of death has been announced. Rest in peace.      

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Record Review: Thalidomy Kids - Spirochaete 12" EP

Thalidomy Kids - Spirochaete 12" EP (Fucking Scam)
These kids are a scrappy guitar-based post punk sounding trio from Moncton NB. At the forefront is Ilisha handling both guitar and vocals. If you can imagine a sound similar to Greg Sage and Billy Zoom and vocals not unlike a more controlled Kim Shattuk, you'd be real close. The rhythm section, comprised of Jesse and Brian, is solid and not too busy which is very endearing. This five song teaser certainly impresses and is hopefully a sign of more things to come from this self-described dark dynamic punk band. (RA)   


LORD OF GARBAGE by Kim Fowley (Kicks Books)
 Con-man, Hollywood hustler, Svengali figure, bullshitter. These are all more or less accurate descriptions that have been used to describe Kim Fowley, a man who has been involved with more cool records than any suburban hipster will ever own. Whether he was working as a producer, songwriter, singer or manager, this depraved streetwalker had a knack for uncovering greatness and for staying very much au courant. This first volume, in what will no doubt be a shockingly revelatory triptych, begins with his earliest memories of a severely dysfunctional childhood, through his teenage delinquency, to his unusual stint in the army and finally, his start in show biz. Along the way, he chronicles his run-ins and liaisons by dropping names, airing dirty laundry and courting scandal.
 It's a fun and quick read and the aesthetic of the small paperback pulp novel format only enhances the pleasure. It's a shame that Fowley did not put pen to paper earlier as this is good fodder for rock and roll junkies. (RA)          


Who: Pink Wine (Toronto), Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs (Toronto) and The Virals (Moncton)

Where: Esquire Tavern
When: Wednesdy Oct 23rd, 2013 10PM
Cost: ????

Friday, October 11, 2013

Those Who Served: Phil Chevron R.I.P.

Phil Chevron (real name Philip Ryan) was guitarist/songwriter for the Radiators From Space, one of the earliest Irish punk bands. They put out some great singles and two albums before disbanding in the early eighties. He next appeared as a member of the London band the Pogues a few years later and played on the bulk of their albums including Rum, Sodomy & The Lash and If I Should Fall From Grace With God. He was a gifted and energetic performer but also a superb songwriter having penned the Radiators' Dearly Departed and the Pogues' Thousands Are Sailing. I had the pleasure of meeting Phil and seeing him perform with Terry Woods (also of the Pogues) here in Moncton back in November 2003.
 Phil had been battling cancer for a few years and finally succumbed on October 8, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland at the age of 56. Rest in peace Phil. We'll miss you.