dark carnival - The I-94 Bar
We're hopping back into the Time Tunnel...this time to dig up a late-'90s interview with late Stooges guitarist RON ASHETON by KEN SHIMAMOTO.
It was November 1998. Ron was at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was talking up the prospects of a release and possible tour by supergroup Wylde Ratzz, off the back of the movie "Velvet Goldmine" for which they'd supplied some of the soundtrack. It failed to materialise and the J Mascis collaboration that helped ignite the Stooges reunion was also in the future.
The interview is one of the most revealing Ron Asheton pieces up until then, laying to rest some misconceptions about his attitude towards fellow Stooge James Williamson, and showing him to be a musician who fervently wanted to not only express his own music as much as reclaim some of his old band's legend.
Rick Chesshire cartoon
January 27, 2008 - If the impending (2008) return to live performance by premier Detroit art-punk chanteuse Niagara isn't enough to get you excited, you're browsing the wrong website or you're a cadaver.
More like The Lost Great Ride because it's been hard to find in any format, this vinyl re-issue of Dark Carnival’s 1997 studio swansong tells you all you need to know about this Detroit ensemble. Bang! Records have given it a re-master job and restored two tracks that were found on the CD version but omitted from an earlier LP edition.
Dark Carnival was built around vocalist Niagara and guitar god Ron Asheton with a floating cast of players, who were a Who’s Who of the denuded but defiant Michigan punk underground. A direct descendent of Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival thanklessly played in and around Detroit for years, even making it to Australia for a lengthy 1991 tour.
Of course, they never got their due accolades. There’s one universal truth that’s harsher than the menu at a homeless shelter in the Cass Corridor in winter and it’s this: Being a Best Kept Secret is great for your cool kid cred but doesn’t buy you more than a cup of shitty Starbucks coffee. Ron (R.I.P.) had to wait for the Stooges revival, and Niagara for her painting career to take off, to make it onto the broader cultural radar. As the Carnies make clear, life really is for sissies but it’s infinitely easier when you can pay the rent.
The Strains – The Strains (No Solution Records)
Rock and roll is usually at its best when kept simple and played hard. Detroit’s Euro-American outThe Strains know this well and deliver in spades.fit
With a bloodline that includes membership of Dark Carnival, Euro punks Dumbelland The Nitwitz, Cult Heroesand backing bands for Andre Williamsand Cub Koda, you should have more than an inkling that it’s going to be good. I’m happily here to tell you it’s much better than simply good.
Recorded live in the studio with minimal overdubs, ”The Strains” is a no-nonsense instant classic. This band’s powered by a twin cab, heavy-duty engine room and armed with sawtooth twin guitars and attitude. Paul Grace-Smith spits out a dozen songs full with an anthemic, street savvy edge. These are stories about the streets and their populace. No bullshit.