cleopatra records - The I-94 Bar
That most durable of bands from the ‘80s revival of acid punk, The Fuzztones, are primed for a bumper 35th anniversary year with a European tour and a flurry of record releases.
UK label Easy Action is releasing the 5-CD boxset "Psychodrama” any tick of the clock now. It will include several previously out-of-print classics, with some new artwork, new photos, liner notes and bonus tracks. Also included will be a 7” single of the infamous Live with Screamin' Jay Hawkins & The Fuzztones EP, as well as a Fuzztones DVD capturing one of the band's greatest performances. It is available for pre-order here.
Not to be outdone, US label, Cleopatra, will be releasing a 3 LP boxset entitled "Alive & Deadly", which includes the Screaming Jay & Fuzztones 12" EP, "Fuzztones Gonn Primitive" (The Fuzztones & Craig Moore LIVE!) and a never-before-released live show from 1984 featuring several songs the band never recorded.
Last but not least, Germany's Houndgawd label will be re-releasing the classic “Lysergic Emanations” LP on vinyl, including bonus tracks from the 1985 John Peel radio sessions. An August release date is planned.
Watch the I-94 Bar for live dates.
Seven 45s full of Iggy Pop and Iggy and the Stooges goodness. Packaged in a box with some incident extras (patch, big hole single adapter) thrown in. OK, you probably don’t need this box set from Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records but you may still want it.
“Brutal” was the first word that came to mind after finishing the posthumous autobiography of MC5 bass player Michael Davis and that adjective is still hanging in the air, 24 hours later.
Over 350 skilfully-written pages, Davis shines a spotlight onto the lives of family, friends, lovers, bandmates and associates over five decades, but it’s the glare cast on his own existence that’s the starkest.
By accident or design, “I Brought Down The MC5” only covers Davis’s life up until meeting his last wife, Angela, and moving to California in the late 1990s. It excludes the DKT-MC5 reunion with bandmates Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson, his fight with Hep C, charity work and near fatal 2006 bike crash.
All of that, and Michael finding redemption, could have made a dynamite second book, but Davis sadly passed from liver cancer in 2012, aged 68.
We often give you the back story of the music reviewed here. Context is important for discerning consumers and we dig it up so that you don’t have to. It saves you buying the same record by a band that’s been repackaged by a nefarious label, for one.
Recounting and understanding the long and confusing history of the Pink Fairies, however, would require Mensa membership - and the odds are that neither of us carries that card.
Let’s skirt around the history and cut to the chase: There are two versions of the Pinks; one based in the UK comprising Russell Hunter, Duncan Sanderson, Andy Colquhoun, Jaki Windmill and (until last year) George Butler (R.I.P.), and an American version led by the original band’s Canadian co-founder, vocalist-guitarist Paul Rudolph.
“Resident Reptile” is the album from Rudolph’s version (2017’s excellent “Naked Radio” by the other line-up came out on UK label Gonzo) and he’s joined by former Hawkwind bassist Alan Davey and original Motörhead drummer Lucas Fox. The trio recorded in Texas for L.A. label Cleopatra.
Punk/proto-punk guitar heroes, James Williamson (Iggy & The Stooges) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), have joined forces for a studio album. "Two To One" is released in September 18 by US label Cleopatra Recordsand "Stable" is the lead-off video track..
Williamson and Tek met at a memorial show for founding Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton in 2011 and reconnected when Williamson finally made it to Sydney with Iggy & The Stooges in 2013. They’ve since become neighbours in Hawaii. Although generationally separated, they share roots in the fertile Ann Arbor/Detroit high energy rock scene of the late '60s and early ‘70s.
Revisionism is a wonderful thing. If you’d suggested listening to an album of cover songs by UK Subs as a useful way to spend some time 30 years ago, I’d have told you to check yourself into a psych ward.
I never “got” the UK Subs, despite their membership of the first wave of English punk…probably because I’d never bothered to try. There was just too much other stuff on the same block. Time marches on and you can't ignore band leader Charlie Harper’s indefatigable nature (he’s 73) or the 26 original studio albums (one for each letter of the alphabet) as testament to their durability.
“Subversion” is good. Better than good. It’s capital ‘F’ for Fun, underlined by great playing and a collective “we don’t give a fuck” attitude. Which should be what punk rock was - and is - all about. Fuck the fashion.
There’s a temptation to hail this record as the last gasp from a dying breed. After all, it’s 24 years since the last Waldos studio album, the wonderful “Rent Party”, and a lifetime since Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers last staggered onto a stage.
Walter Lure is almost The Last Man Standing from what’s erroneously generalised as “the New York punk scene”. There was a scene but it was more than just punk (whatever that is or was) and it was pushed to the margins by the dual forces of Disney and gentrification.
Walter has lived his share of the nine lives that his old band was gifted, and maybe then some, so if the temptation proves too much not to tag “Wacka Lacka Boom Bop A Loom Bam Boo” as a lowering of the curtain on a long-gone era of Lower East Side guitar sleaze, cut me some slack. A handful of other people still wave that flag.
There are a dozen songs on “Wacka Lacka…” and most contain more raunch per ounce than you can squeeze into a digital back catalogue of Strokes records. This is as you’d expect: Walter Lure – “Waldo” to his stockbroking mates – was the guitar foil to Johnny Genzales in the post-Dolls Heartbreakers, and they were the band that made the template for street-level, pharmaceutical-fuelled, bad boy, four-chord goodness. (Yes, Keef did it first but he could afford not to mix it with the masses who were copping on Norflok Street, hence the term “street-level”.)
Studio work: Jqmes Williamson and Deniz Tek. Franklin Avery photo.
It’s a back to basics, guitar album but “Two To One”, the joint effort from James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), had a complicated gestation that birthed a record in the nick of time.
Commissioned by Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records a year out from its planned release, most of its 11 songs were worked up in face-to-face sessions in Hawaii, where Tek now lives and Williamson spends half his year at his vacation home.
After Williamson went back to his home in San Francisco, the songs were refined via file sharing before Tek flew to the mainland in December last year for rehearsals and a recording session for the basic tracks at Studio D in Sausalito, California.
Sessions for vocal tracking and guitar overdubs followed on both sides of the Pacific. The record was mixed and about to be mastered when the first ripples of the COVID-19 pandemic became a global tidal wave.