The Axeman's Story gets the book it deserves

execution days lgeExecution Days: The Life and Times of Spencer P. Jones
By Patrick Emery (Love Police)

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Melbourne writer Patrick Emery’s exhaustively researched and engrossing biography of the late Spencer P. Jones is that it found a publisher.

Thanks to the internet, book publishing is a low-margin crap shoot. But Aussie publishing houses were already renowned for their lack of imagination and reluctance to take risks on books about anyone who’s not mainstream, middle-of-the-road or, ahem, National Living Treasures. Even those imprints that are outgrowths of universities, our bastions of free thought.

If you haven’t received a formal rejection letter from a friendly Aussie publisher after shopping a musician’s autobiography, you haven’t lived. The stupidity of not keeping and framing a letter that read, in part, “there is no market for this because Radio Birdman fans can’t read” is regrettable in hindsight – it should have gone straight to the pool room - but, fuck you, anyway, self-important publisher twat. You deserve to be shot by a ball of your own shit.  

Patrick Emery suffered his share of similar fools while trying to place “Execution Days”.

Vale Detroit Cobra Rachel Nagy, "Stoogeling" Natalie Schlolssman and guitarist Gregory Hilleard

rachael nagyRachel Nagy of the Detroit Cobras.

The year 2022 is off to a very bad start. Over the weekend, the Detroit Cobras announced co-founder and vocalist Rachel Nagy had died.

Nagy co-founded the Detroit rock-soul band in 1994 with guitarist Mary Ramirez, and Greg Cartright (Reigning Sound, The Oblivians) was a musical collaborator. The band released four full-length albums, toured Australia in the 2000s and was scheduled to play US dates in March. No cause of death was revealed.

The weekend also claimed Nadalyn (Natalie) Schlossman, former manager of the Stooges fan club in the 1970s and a dedicated documenter and champion of the band since.

Known as “The Stoogeling”, Natalie lived in Philadelphia and ran the Stoogeaholics Facebook group where former Iggy and the Stooges guitarist James Williamson has paid tribute:

Ex-Bad Seed a consummate tale teller

up above the city down beneath the starsUp Above the City, Down Beneath the Stars
By Barry Adamson (Omnibus Press)

This autobiography is so sumptuous and clean that I don't want it to end, so I'm taking it in glorious nibbles. I haven't finished it yet, but sod that. You need to know how damned good it is, so I'm filing the review now. Just order it, buy it, demand it from your music emporium. 

Barry Adamson is perhaps best known to the Australian rock 'n' roll world as a founder  member of Magazine, covering for Tracy Pew while the latter was in jail, and the first four Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds LPs (and re-joining in 2013). He is also an accomplished producer of film scores.

His own band came to Australia in September 2012 on the back of his LP “I Will Set You Free”. I have very fond memories of that magnificent night in Adelaide, not least because I only recall three other friends there: one of whom we all miss terribly.

Top Tens for 2021: Simon Chainsaw of Simon Chainsaw and the Liberators, SC/TC and Broham

simon 2021Simon Chainsaw with The Liberators at Frankies Pizza in Sydney. Anthony Mitchell photo.

2021 was a bit of a re-run of 2020.. lockdowns, gigs cancelled, industries decimated. While in 2020 I was inspired to create and consume, 2021 left me fatigued, lethargic and generally disinterested. Let’s hope 2022 too is not a rerun! However, there were some bright spots that come to mind.

Top Tens for 2021: Celia Curtis of White Knuckle Fever and Stone Cold Fox

celia curtis 2021 sandra kingstonAt the MoshPit Bar in Sydney. Sandra Kingston photo 

Celia Curtis’ Top Ten-ish of 2021 (in no particular order)

Pat Todd & The Rank Outsiders - “...there’s pretty things in Palookaville...” Album.
Sixteen songs from the Punk/ Country/ Blues/ Rock’n’roll master craftsman. Pat Todd is the real deal! Sure, it’s not as instantaneously enthralling as 2008’s “Holdin’ on to Troubles Hand”; But seriously, SHOW ME AN ALBUM THAT IS? “..pretty things” grows on you like a stubborn fungus.

Literally anything Pat does in a year is Top 10 worthy. Luckily he put this record out so I didn’t have to rate one of his turds. (Which would have been good shit by the way).

Top Tens for 2021: Big Daddy K Kevin Cherry of 2RRR's Sydney Sounds show

kev cherry 2021Kevin 'BIGDADDYK' Cherry
SYDNEY SOUNDS 2RRR 88.5 SATURDAY 6PM (Sydney time)
TOP 10 + 2   OF 2021.

DATELINE: FRESHWATER BEACH, SYDNEY, NSW: I'm fortunate to be living within 10 minutes walking distance to the birthplace of Australian surfing - affectionately known to the locals as Freshie.  I usually go there in the early evening around 6pm when it's un-patrolled as there are less people and cooler so I’m less likely to get sunburnt. Water temperature has been tropical (around 21 degrees Celsius) but refreshing.  A great, healthy and socially-distanced way to spend Summer.

The following 12 highlights (in no particular order) are by local bands recorded during Covid lockdown and regularly played on The Sydney Sounds Show ON SaturdayS 6pm 2RRR 88.5mz.

1. MOONLIGHT FIVE
Made their debut last year (and listed in my Top 10 of 2020) with the polarising song/video “Lockdown Blues”, followed a few months later with the more accessible “Listening to Gospel Music on The Radio” - both of which received radio airplay, locally and overseas, to critical acclaim. About to launch their third song/video “I Just Want To Be Me” which had its radio airplay debut on SYDNEY SOUNDS on January 8. A band that are not afraid to go out on a limb and create something a bit different from the usual Sydney rock sound.

Even's album for the ages

reverse light yearsReverse Light Years – Even (El Reno)

This double album features Even at their creative best – a beautifully crafted 17-track, 81 minutes with something for all tastes. It provides a definitive, seminal record for long-time fans and will certainly open the door to new legions.

Ash Naylor is arguably the hardest working “stop and go man” in Oz music. He, (Wally) Roderick Kempton II (bass) and Matt Cotter (drums) make a formidable three-piece. And a durable one.

Top Tens for 2021: Donat Tahiraj of Phase 4 Records and the LCMR label

donat 20212021 was a year of invention, reinvention and history slowly fading away – and that’s just on the subject of Brisbane music! Losing Fred Hardon of the Hardons and the Leftovers’ Ed Wreckage dealt huge blows as two pioneers from the first wave of punk gave their last middle fingers towards the sky.  

From a personal standpoint, Phase 4 Records sadly left Fortitude Valley after six years and not because of the price of rent – just the ultimate cost of nobody bothering to walk its promenades while the sun was out. It’s the customers who help pay it after all!   

After a brief stay under Backbone’s wing in East Brisbane before the council decided it’s best to turn a vibrant and accessible venue and artspace into greenspace (or is that developers’ dreamspace?), we again moved the store to a new forever home on the top floor of the Cave Inn, a ball’s throw from the grounds of the Gabba. Here, at the discretion of Omicron, we will be hosting bands and events as well as running Brisbane’s only after hours record and vintage emporium.  The only downside could be the loss of our slender figures, with the pizza and beer providing fine companionship for our racks.  

VOIGT/465 – "LIVE KIRK GALLERY 19/05/79" (Download only, self-released) 
Sydney's Voigt/465 used punk almost as a cue to unleash a sound that captured their love of (daggy) UK art-rock of the early 70s and throw it right into the fire of Sydney’s ever-expanding inner-city music scene. Their Kirk Gallery show – which you’ll find on their Bandcamp page - was originally recorded via the ABC’s mobile truck for a radio broadcast that never happened.  

This show (which was shared with the Thought Criminals and Tactics) serves as an impressive aural document from this short-lived act that left us with only one single and an album over their all-too-brief life. And if one more person spells the band name as Voight/465, I too may scream like co-lead vocalist Rae Macron Cru! 

Top Tens for 2021: Monster Thunderclap of The Dark Clouds

monster 2021MONSTER THUNDERCLAP’S TOP TEN

1. EAST COAST LOW – “SEAS ON FIRE”
Cause I f&*king like it!

2. LUCIFER STAR MACHINE – “THE DEVILS BREATH”
Cause I F#&king like it!

3. GRINDHOUSE – “SEX PUNK POWER”
Cause it’s SEXY!!

4. SHOWS 2021
Cheers to all the awesome bands we shared a stage with, and a huge shout out to all the venues…. CAUSE I SAID SO!!!  

5. LEADFINGER AND SWEDISH MAGAZINES AT MARRICKVILLE BOWLO, NSW
No explanation needed!!

6. TUMBLEWEED 30TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS AT LA LA LA’S, WOLLONGONG, NSW.
Brilliant!

7. SPIDERS – “SHAKE ELECTRIC”
Cause it’s Killer!

8. MONSTER MAGNET – “A BETTER DYSTOPIA”
Cause it’s a mind-blowing album of covers!

9. MARVEL – “LIZARD LOUNGE”
Cause they do it for me!

10. AUSSIE BANDS
All the great Aussie bands putting out inspirational music (WE SALUTE YOU!) F@$k all the lazy MOFO’s, that say there isn’t any good music anymore.

Monster Thuinderclap plays guitar for Wollongong's The Dark Clouds. 

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