Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poptones...The Story of Public Image Limited and Show #263


After exiting The Sex Pistols, John Lydon went on to form a new group who would be titled, Public Image Limited. Forming in 1978, the group consisted of John Lydon on vocals, Jah Wobble on bass, Keith Levene on guitar and Jim Walker on drums. Wobble had been a friend of Lydon's since their school days, while Levene had previously been in an early incarnation of The Clash. Another interesting fact is that the bands original drummer, was in fact Canadian. Jim Walker had been in the Canadian Punk band The Furies and after moving to London, he answered an ad that was placed in the UK magazine Melody Maker. With the band members in order and after rehearsing for several months, the band needed a name. Taking the title from the book Public Image by Muriel Spark, this group of musicians became known as Public Image Limited.

The bands first single "Public Image" would be released in October of 1978. The song which had been written while Lydon was in The Sex Pistols, was sonically different than the Pistols. "Public Image" featured heavy almost Dub sounding bass lines, with the unique guitar stylings of Keith Levene, John Lydon's sporadic vocal delivery and the Dance-like rhythms of Jim Walker. The song was unlike anything at the time and would eventually be labelled under the genre of Post-Punk. The single for "Public Image" charted at #9 on the UK singles charts. A promotional music video was made for the single "Public Image", it was directed by Don Letts. From July to November of 1978, Public Image Limited recorded material for was to become their first full length album. First Issue as it would be titled was recorded in several studios throughout London because the band had went over the budget given to them by their record company. The album which featured eight songs, drew in a wide variety of eclectic music influences. The album features longer songs, four of which are over five minutes. Songs such as the nine minute opener "Theme", "Annalisa" a six minute song blending elements of Rock and Dub expanding on sounds the band had started with the song "Public Image", "Low Life" a droning song with a steady drum beat, and "Attack" a low-fi sounding rock song, the album was unlike anything heard before. With Keith Levene's piercing guitar sound, Jah Wobble's heavy Dub influenced bass tones and Lydon's often experimental and anarchic vocal style, First Issue can not be discredited for it's artistic originality.


When released in the UK, First Issue received a lot of criticism, but fans enjoyed it causing the album to reach #22 on the UK album charts. There was a slightly different version of the album planned for release in the US in 1979, but after some test pressings the album was deemed noncommercial for the America market. PiL actually re-recorded new parts for certain songs and even re-recorded new versions of songs from First Issue for a US release, but the album was never released.

The bands next album, Metal Box would be released in 1979. By this point Jim Walker had left the group, not agreeing with the result of the bands first album. For Metal Box PiL did not have a steady drummer, so several drummers were featured on the recordings, which resulted in the drummers not being credited in the linear notes. Some tracks featured Jah Wobble on drums (on "Careering" and "The Suit"), and Keith Levene on "Swan Lake" and "Radio 4", a song in which he played all of the instruments. Other drummers on the sessions were David Humprey, Richard Dudanski and Martin Atkins. The album departed from the sound of the bands first album, entering more of an exploratory realm. Songs such as "Albatross", "Memories", "Swan Lake", Careering" and "Poptones" all helped characterize the new direction the band was heading in. Metal Box also featured several instrumental tracks.

The packaging and design for Metal Box was a design created by photographer/designer Dennis Morris. The album was packaged in a 16 mm metal film canister featuring the music on six 12" records. The album went to #18 on the UK album charts. In the US a slightly different version of the album was released. It was retitled, Second Edition and made a double album. The artwork for the album featured Keith Levene with a wavy , fun house mirror effect altering his appearance. The album went to #46 on the US album charts. In 1980, PiL embarked on their first US tour. The band had several cancellations due to their controversial stands. At one show PiL records were played over a PA system as the band mimed along to them and Lydon taunted the audience from behind a projection screen. John Lydon and Keith Levene also appeared on the Tomorrow Show with Tom Synder, during their interview viewers were told that the band was a company, while John Lydon and the host insulted each other on-air.


Metal Box (1979) and Second Edition (1979)

By the time the band was to record their next full length album, Jah Wobble was no longer with the group. As a result Flowers of Romance, featured barely and bass, and instead focused around the sounds of percussion, synthesizers reversed guitar and sound effects and vocals. Drumming for this album featured drumming from Martin Atkins (on three tracks), Keith Levene and John Lydon. While the albums title makes reference to a band that featured one time Sex Pistol bassist Sid Vicious, the albums sound is not within the Punk genre. In fact the album features an unconventional sound, and while this may be seen as a bad thing by some, the album went to #14 on the UK album charts and #11 in the US. Another interesting fact is that Phil Collins liked the drum sound of this album so much, he employed the albums engineer Nick Launay for his own recording projects. In 1982, PiL began work on their fourth album, but due to internal pressures and arguments among band members, Levene left the group and the album was cancelled. A few years later, Levene would release the album titled Commercial Zone on his own, which featured songs form the 1982 album sessions. With Levene out of PiL, they re-recorded the album bringing the band in more of a Pop and Dance direction. The result would be the 1984 album, This Is What You Want...This Is What You Get. The album would feature several other musicians and Martin Atkins on drums. A single released in 1983, titled "This Is Not A Love Song" became a huge hit for the band prior to the albums release. The single went to #5 on the UK singles charts and was re-recorded for the album This Is What You Want...This Is What You Get. The single version of the song did however feature Keith Levene on guitar.

Public Image Limited's next album would be titled Album. Released in 1986, the album was titled according to what format it was released on. For example, if you were buying the cassette version of it, it would be titled Cassette and so on. Artwork for the album was a generic blue and white design, which poked fun at generic consumer products. The album was produced by Bill Laswell, who would play bass on some tracks and also bring in a cast of session musicians for the album. Some of the other musicians featured on Album, were Steve Vai, Johnas Hellborg, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Ginger Baker of Cream. Musically the album is a return to a more conventional PiL sound, while incorporating elements of Folk, Middle Eastern and big guitar and drum sounds. The album features songs such as the song "F.F.F (Farewell My Fairweathered Friend)" a song about Lydon's previous band member Martin Atkins, "Fishing", "Round", "Bags" and "Home". Album would also the spawn the hit single "Rise". The song had Folk and Middle Eastern melodies, while lyrically it referenced situations going on in Africa in the 80's. "Rise" went to #11 on the UK singles charts.


Next Lydon would assemble a more stable line up of band members. He would recruit John McGeoch for guitar (of Magazine and Siouxsie and The Banshees), Lu Edmunds (a short lived guitarist for The Damned, but also a multi-instrumentalist), and Alan Dias of The Pop Group on drums. The bands sound would drift into a more Dance and Drum based musical direction. PiL would released Happy? in 1987, 9 in 1989, and This What Is Not in 1992. Following a self financed tour (their label would not pay for a tour), PiL disbanded after a concert in September of 1992. By this point the line up had altered several times, but John Lydon stated that PiL is not necessarily broken up, but that they are just on hiatus. In 1999, a Public Image Limited box set was released titled Plastic Box. It was also announced that Public Image Limited will be reuniting for five UK tour dates for the 30th anniversary of the album Metal Box. More information on Public Image Limited can be found on the Fodderstompf website and Public Image Limited's official website.

The Play List:

1. The Vacants - Television Viewer
2. The Gizmos - Pay
3. The Nerves - One Way Ticket
4. Nebula - Aprhodite
5. One For Jude - Aux Doux Anges
6. Wreckless Eric - Reconnez Cherie
7. Ex-Boyfriends - To The Lowest Bidder
8. Ex-Boyfriends - Born To Be Kicked Out
9. The Rival Boys - Lonely Heart
10. Miesha & The Spanks - Mmmade For Me
11. The Michael Parks - Vanessa
12. The Hidden Cameras - Kingdom Come
13. Brian Setzer Orchestra - Trouble Train
14. The Raconteurs - Keep It Clean (Live)
15. XTC - Buzzcity Talking
16. Only Ones - From Here To Eternity
17. Rocket Reducers - Sauce Wagon
18. Public Image Limited - Tie Me To The Length of That
19. Public Image Limited - Fishing
20. Big Audio Dynamite - Sudden Impact!
21. Gang of Four - Sweet Jane (Live)
22. The Stranglers - Mean To Me
23. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - 5ive Gears In Reverse

To download this week's show visit the CJAM archives and select the files 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM on August 25th, 2009.

Public Image Videos:

Public Image
Poptones (OGWT 1980)
Careering (OGWT 1980)
Tom Synder Interview Part 1
Tom Synder Interview Part 2
American Bandstand 1980 (Poptones & Careering)
This Is Not A Love Song
Rise
Seattle

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rock N' Roll Radio...The Story of Ramones Part Two and Show #262


In early 1978, Ramones were with out a drummer (Tommy left the very same year, to pursue a more producer oriented career), Marc Bell would fill that void. Adapting to the Ramones style/ethic, Marc Bell became Marky Ramone and Ramones had their second drummer in the group. Previously Marky had played in the 70's Hard Rock band Dust and also in the New York based Punk band Richard Hell & The Voidoids. In September 1978, Ramones released their forth full length album Road To Ruin. Produced by Tommy Ramone (now going by his real name Tommy Erdelyi) and Ed Stasium, Road To Ruin displayed a shift in the Ramones sound. The album while it still had influences from previous Ramones albums (Surf, 60's Pop, etc.) showed a more serious Pop influenced sound.

The album starts off with the song "I Just Want To Have Something To Do", a song that musically is reminiscent of the early Ramones songs, and lyrically comes off sounding like a more professional and serious group. Tha album is filled with wonderfully produced Rock tracks such as "I Wanted Everything", "I Don't Want You", "I'm Against It", "Go Mental", and "Bad Brain". There is also one of Ramones most well known tracks here, "I Wanna Be Sedated". It is rumoured that the lyric "Put Me In A Wheel Chair and Get Me On A Plane Before I Go Insane", was actually said by Joey Ramone while recovering from a touring related injury. The band also show off a different more acoustic based Pop side with songs such as "Don't Come Close", the dramatic cover of "Needles & Pins", and "Questioningly", a song written by Dee Dee Ramone. "She's The One" is also another lost classic featured on Road To Ruin. The song is simply a love song lyrically and actually features minor chords (which wasn't a usual thing for the band). There is also a hidden lyrical nugget on this track for anyone that is a fan of The Kinks, the line "When I See Her On The Street You Know She Makes My Life Complete" is similar to a line in found in the Kinks song "Everybody's Gonna Be Happy". The album ends with the song "It's A Long Way Back", which is yet another Dee Dee written track and a German themed song (a theme that is evident on early Ramones albums). The album's cover art, which was a cartoon version of the band was done by Punk Magazine co-founder John Holmstrom.



While Road To Ruin may have been an excellently crafted album, it failed to Billboard Top 100 charts. The single "Don't Come Close" did chart on the UK singles charts at #39, but the other singles from the album did not. As a result the band would then go onto experimenting with a variety of different producers often changing the way they sounding in hopes of getting radio airplay, but the band would remain in cult status for a long time. Before completing their next album, Ramones were featured in the 1979 movie Rock N' Roll High School. Directed by Roger Corman, the film did not help the gain a larger fan base at the time. The soundtrack to the movie featured several Ramones track remixed by Phil Spector and the title track "Rock N' Roll High School", which differs from the version found on the bands next album End of The Century.

The Phil Spector produced album, was drastically different than any previous Ramones release. While Joey was a big fan of the work that Spector had done in the past, many have said that the production work on the album did not fit the band well. For the slower songs such as "Danny Says", a song written about Ramones manager Danny Fields and touring works well on this album. Despite the production style that album features many well written Ramones such as "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?", "I'm Affected", and "This Ain't Havanna". There was also a song titled "Chinese Rocks", which was a song written by Dee Dee Ramone and Richard Hell. The Song first appeared on the Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers album LAMF in 1977. The album would chart at #44 on the US album charts (their highest to date) and #14 in the UK. The single "Baby, I Love You" was the bands only top UK hit, going to #8 on the UK singles charts.

The bands sixth album would be titled Pleasant Dreams in 1981. The album was produced by Graham Gouldman, 60's Pop producer known for his work with The Yardbirds, The Hollies and 10cc. The album was what Marky Ramone calls their Pop Punk album. The album this time featured individual song writing credits (previously everyone shared the credits) and the band were on edge with each other after the recording sessions with Phil Spector for End of The Century. His eccentric and over compulsive demeanour of recording only heightened difficulties within the group resulting in a lack of communication between the band members.


Despite this fact Pleasant Dreams features some Ramones songs that should not be avoided. Songs such as "We Want The Airwaves", a Joey Ramone written track obviously reflecting his interest in gaining commercial success, "All Quiet On the Eastern Front", and "It's Not My Place (In the 9 to 5 World)" a song that comes off with a Clash sounding influence. There were also other great tracks such as "The KKK Took My Baby Away", a song that is eerily similar to Cheap Trick's "He's A Whore", the 60's Pop/Garage Rock influenced "Come On Now" written by Dee Dee Ramone, and the Joey Ramone track "She's A Sensation". The album reached #58 on the US album charts and also was the first album to not feature the band on the cover, instead there is a cartoon of a creepy man in a trench coat. Johnny Ramone has stated that he originally wanted to use a photo of the band that was influenced by the Horror movie Psycho .


Ramones spent most of 1982 touring, but in 1983 their seventh album Subterranean Jungle was released. This time the band chose the production team of Ritchie Cordell and Glen Kolotkin, who were known for their work with Joan Jett & The Heartbreakers and as the heads of an independent American record label. The band was once again hoping for a commercial success with this release, but unfortunately it was not. The album opens with a cover of the song "Little Bit O'Soul" a song originally by The Music Explosion in 1967. There were also two other covers "I Need Your Love" (originally by The Boyfriends) and "Time Has Come Today" (originally by The Chambers Brothers). The rest of the album features Ramones originals such as "Outsider" and "Time Bomb" two Dee Dee originals with him singing lead vocals on "Time Bomb". The album also featured collaboration between Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone, on the song "Psycho Therapy". The song is a song that is just as good as any in the bands catalog and features classic Ramones style lyrics. The album can be seen as more of a return to the bands Punk roots, but it is obvious that this album also reflected the bands 60's Pop influences as well. While this album did contain some songs that were perfectly capable of being chart topping hits, the album only went to #83 on the US album charts, it would also be their last album to be in the Billboard Top 100.

During the Subterranean Jungle sessions Marky Ramone's alcohol use was at an increased level and he was kicked out of the band because of it. In fact drummer Billy Rogers plays drums on "Little Bit O'Soul" and "Time Has Come Today". Another interesting fact about this album is that Walter Lure, who was a member of Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers plays on Subterranean Jungle, he doubles all of Johnny Ramones guitar parts. The band would get a new drummer, one that would lead them into a different musical realm. Ritchie Ramone (real name Ritchie Reinhardt), came in as the bands drummer. As a result the band became a faster paced band entering a music style that some might call similar to Hardcore music. This was evident on the bands next album, 1984's Too Tough To Die. This album has been called by some critics "the last great Ramones album". Too Tough To Die Features 13 songs, nine of which were co-written with Dee Dee Ramone. He sings on two of the songs ("Wart Hog" and "Endless Vacation"). This album was also a return to Tommy Ramone and Ed Stasium fulfilling producing duties. The album came off sounding like a hard Punk album with Hardcore capabilities and strong vocal melodies. Another interesting fact is that the albums cover is homage to the movie A Clockwork Orange.

In 1986, Animal Boy was released. The album featured songs such as "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)" and "Somebody Put Something in My Drink" a song written by Ritchie Ramone. In 1987, Halfway To Sanity was released. It would be the last album with Ritchie Ramone on drums, he left following a tour and Marky Ramone came back into the group now that he was sober. Ramone contributed a song "Pet Semetary" to the Stephen King movie of the same name in 1989. The song was also featured on the bands next album Brain Drain, which would be the last one to feature Dee Dee Ramone on bass. He was replaced by Christopher Ward otherwise know as CJ Ramone until the end of the bands career. It should also be noted that even though Dee Dee left the group to pursue his own musical projects (first his Dee Dee King rap album, then Dee Dee & The Chinese Dragons), but he would still give lyrics to the Ramones to use for their songs.


The Ramones continued touring and releasing albums until 1996. Their last album was Adios Amigos! in 1995. On August 4th, 1996 Ramones played their final live show. The concert featured special music guests such as Dee Dee Ramone, Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, Lemmy (from Motorhead) and more. By the end of the bands career the band had played 2, 263 concerts. The Ramones remain an influential band and still have many diehard fans. On April 15th, 2001 Joey Ramone passed away after a battle with lymphoma. In 2002, The Ramones were the first Punk band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In June 2002, Dee Dee Ramone passed away after a heroin overdose and Johnny Ramone passed away in September 2004 after a battle with cancer. There is a great DVD documentary available titled End of The Century: The Story of The Ramones that features interviews from several of the band members and other musicians such as Joe Strummer. In 2007 a two DVD set was released titled It's Alive 1974-1996. It features 118 performances from different points in the bands career.

To view Part One of my Ramones History click here:
Gabba Gabba Hey!: The Ramones Story Part One

Play List:

1. Ramones - Little Bit O'Soul
2. Ramones - I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement (1975 Demo)
3. Dee Dee Ramone & The Chinese Dragons - What About Me
4. The Dead Boys - Ain't Nothin' To Do
5. Pointed Sticks - The Marching Song
6. Active Dog - Nothing Holding You
7. Rude Norton - Sea Cruise
8. The Pretty Faces - Rib
9. The Plasticines - I Could Rob You
10. Devil Eyes - Rip My Heart Out
11. Heroes & Villains - SDWC
12. Modern Lovers - Someone I Care About
13. Golden Hands - Communist Party
14. The Esquires - It's A Dirty Shame
15. Sound Box - Warm Your Mind & Soul
16. Simply Saucer - Bullet Proof Nothing
17. Iggy & The Stooges - Gimme Danger
18. Madness - Dust Devil
19. The Specials - Gangsters
20. New Strychnines - Strychnine
21. Talking Heads - 1-2-3 Redlight (Live Max's Kansas City 1976)
22. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Stagger Lee
23. Mando Diao - Mean Street
24. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Time
25. Television - Untitled Instrumental

To download this week's show visit the CJAM archives and select the files 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM on August 18th, 2009.

Ramones Videos II:

She's The One & Go Mental (Old Grey Whistle Test 1978)
I Wanna Be Sedated
Psycho Therapy
Time Has Come Today

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gabba Gabba Hey!....The Ramones Story Part One & Show # 261


Ramones began in 1974. Taking their name from an early stage name of Paul McCartney (Paul Ramon), Ramones added the letter "E", dressed in black Harley leather jackets, ripped jeans and adopted "Ramone" as their stage name. Originally starting out as a three piece band in Forest Hills, New York, Ramones consisted of Joey Ramone (real name Jeffery Hyman) on drums, Johnny Ramone (real name John Cummings) on guitar and Dee Dee Ramone (real name Douglas Colvin) on bass/vocals. It would be at the suggestion of Tommy Ramone (real name Tommy Erdelyi) that Joey took over on vocals. With Joey as the lead singer the group needed a drummer, this role would be filled by Tommy Ramone. Influenced by Surf music/culture, TV, Movies, Popular Culture, bands such as The Stooges, New York Dolls, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Who, The Rolling Stones, T.Rex, Phil Spector and The Ronettes, The Ramones created a style of music that would be known as Punk Rock.

Ramones played their first live show in March of 1974 at their rehearsal space. The music was loud, fast, raw and short. It was stripped down Rock and Roll that was both simple and complex at the same time. Combined with their striking appearance (of leather jackets and ripped jeans) Ramones came off sounding and looking like nobody else. Soon after this, the band was playing shows at CBGB's in New York with bands such as Television and Blondie. By the time 1975 hit, Ramones were getting mention in magazines such as Rolling Stone and Melody Maker. Around this time they recorded a 15 song demo in hopes of getting a record deal. The demo was recorded in eight hours and contained 15 tracks. The demo was rejected by almost every label at the time, except one. In mid 1975, Sire Records signed Ramones to a record deal.


The Ramones first album, Ramones was recorded in February of 1976. Recording of the album took a total of 17 days and cost just over six thousand dollars to make. The music was defined as Punk Rock and it was one of the first albums in that genre. Ramones contained 14 songs, most barely over two minutes. The sound of the album was raw and it featured a unique mix. In one channel there were guitars and the other bass and drums, an effect that was used by early Beatles and Cream. It was produced by both Tommy Ramones and Craig Leon. The cover photograph, featuring the band leaning against a brick wall was taken by Roberta Bayley, who also took photos for Punk Magazine. The album charted at #111 on the billboard album charts.

Ramones featured many classic songs. The songs were credited to all of the band members, but Dee Dee Ramone helped come up with a lot of the songs. There were songs such as "Judy Is A Punk" a song about Ramones super fans, "Chainsaw" a song written by Joey after seeing the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre and "Blitzkrieg Bop". Originally titled "Animal Hop", "Blitzkrieg Bop" can be analysed to have many meanings, but it is essentially just about having a good time at a concert. There were also songs such as "Beat On the Brat", "Loudmouth", "53rd & 3rd" and "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" that all add to this albums aura. Ramones toured a lot to support this album, but it wasn't until a performance in Britain that they would see a huge turnout. In July of 1976, the Ramones concert at the Roundhouse was attended by lots of adoring fans, and it would in turn help to influence a music scene that was beginning in the UK. Ramones were met by members of two bands that would in turn have a huge impact in their own scene Sex Pistols and The Clash.


Leave Home was released in 1977. Produced by Tommy Ramone and Tony Bongiovi, Leave Home did well on the UK album charts (#45), but not as well in the US (#148). The album featured songs such as "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment", "Pinhead" (inspired by seeing a movie titled Freaks), "Glad To See You Go", and "Swallow My Pride". There was also controversy due to the song titled "Carbona Not Glue". The song (which was a sequel to the song "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue") was removed from the album due to possible lawsuits, but did still make it onto some original pressings of the album. There was also a cover song on the album (as with every Ramones album) "California Sun". The song was originally done by The Rivieras.

Rocket To Russia followed Leave Home in November 1977. The album was produced by the same team of producers as the previous album (Tommy and Bongiovi), but this album was different than the previous two Ramones albums. Rocket To Russia was an album where the band showed off more of a Surf Rock influence. Rocket To Russia also brought in a variety of other influences such as Bubble Gum Pop and Pop music such as The Beatles. The album contained songs such as "Cretin Hop" (a song about crazed Ramones fans), "Rockaway Beach" (written by Dee Dee about an actual place in New York), "We're A Happy Family", "I Wanna Be Well", "Teenage Lobotomy", and "I Can't Give You Anything". There were also two cover songs on the album, "Do You Wanna Dance?"(by Bobby Freeman) and "Surfin' Bird (by The Trashmen).


The song "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" is also a well known Ramones track that is featured on Rocket To Russia. The song was written by Joey Ramone and when released as a single went to #88 on the US Singles charts and #22 on the UK Singles charts. The actual album Rocket To Russia went to #49 on the US album charts and #60 on the UK album charts. The album sleeve art was created by Punk Magazine editor/illustrator John Holmstrom, at the request of Johnny Ramone. While on tour, Ramones recorded a double live album in December of 1977, which was eventually released in 1979. It was titled It's Alive (which was also a reference to a horror film with the same title). In 1978, Tommy Ramone would leave the group as their drummer in 1978, after tiring of touring. He would continue to help out the band as producer. Next week I will do part two of my Ramones history.

Part Two of my Ramones history can be found here:
Rock N' Roll Radio: The Ramones Story Part Two

The Play List:

1. Pearl Jam - Brain of J
2. The Things - Some Kind of Kick
3. Wooly Bandits - Gonna Make It Right
4. Skeletones Four - Let It Snow
5. Gentlemen of Horror - Rich Kids
6. Animal Kingdom - Tension
7. The In Crowd - Blow Up
8. Clinic - Tomorrow
9. Little Claw - Frozen in the Future
10. Action Makes - Sand Worms (Rough Mix)
11. The Worst - I Don't Want You
12. The Astronauts - Montezuma
13. The Treblemakers - The Grudge
14. Love Me Nots - Come On Over
15. The Howlies - Howlies Sound
16. Young Rival - 4:15
17. Lou Reed - Vicious
18. Link Wray - Hidden Charms
19. Speed - She's All There
20. Rolling Stones - Get Yourself Together
21. Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent
22. Bob Dylan - Jolene
23. The Prime Ministers - My Turn
24. Bob Dylan - Shake Shake Mama
25. The Scavengers - True Love
26. Ramones - She's A Sensation

To download this week's show visit the CJAM archives and select the files 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM on August 11th, 2009.

Ramones Videos I:

Judy Is A Punk (1974 CBGB's)
Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World (1975 Rehearsal)
Rockaway Beach (Don Kirshner 1977)
Blitzkrieg Bop (Musikladen 1978)
California Sun (Musikladen 1978)
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (Musikladen 1978)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A True Testimonial...The Story of The MC5 & Show # 260


In 1964, The MC5 formed in Lincoln Park, Michigan. Short for "Motor City Five", the band consisted of Rob Tyner on vocals, Pat Burrows on Bass, Bob Gaspar on drums, and Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith on guitar. By 1965, MC5 had been experimenting with their sound and Pat Burrows and Bob Gaspar left the group. They would be replaced by Michael Davis on bass and Dennis Thompson on drums. This line up of the band can be seen as the classic line up of The MC5. Their music was influenced by Chuck Berry, Dick Dale, The Ventures, R&B and Soul music, and Free Jazz. They would also be influenced by bands such as Rolling Stones, The Who, Little Richard, Sun Ra and John Coltrane. They built up a following by securing a residency at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit. Soon they had audiences of 1000 plus, showing up their live shows, which were often radical and chaotic.

1967 saw the release of the MC5 single "I Can Only Give You Everything". It was also around this time that they acquired band manager John Sinclair. Sinclair was a previously a teacher, but soon became known for his political views and radical protests. His views were applied to The MC5's music and this would be evident on their first full length album, Kick Out The Jams. The album would be released through Elektra records. The band was signed by Danny Fields (who would also sign The Stooges).

Released in 1969, Kick Out The Jams was a live album. It was recorded on October 30th and 31st of 1968 at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit. The album is a live assault from beginning to end. It contains Proto-Punk classics such as "Kick Out The Jams", "Motor City is Burning", and "Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa). It also contained "Ramblin' Rose" a cover song and several other MC5 original compositions. The album also drew in some controversy from the bands record company due to the fact that Rob Tyner shouts "Kick Out The Jams Mother Fuckers!" before the song "Kick Out The Jams". This caused the record company to issue a censored version where the words "Brothers and Sisters" are used instead. This was rumoured to be done without the bands knowing. Despite this fact, the album went to #30 Billboard Charts, but this would be the bands last release on Elektra. They would be dropped shortly after.


Next the band signed to Atlantic Records. With Sinclair no longer being the bands manager, MC5's music displayed a new kind of energy. Their next album Back In The USA, was released in 1970. Produced by John Landau (who would later be known for his work with Bruce Springsteen), the sound and production of the album would be different than the bands previous efforts. The band and some fans stated their dislike for the album upon its original release, but fans of the band have since come to like the album. The album did not do as well as the bands first, it would reach #137 on the Billboard album charts. The album is sandwiched between two cover songs. It starts off with a cover of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and ends with the song "Back In The USA" by Chuck Berry. In between there are nine MC5 original compositions. Songs such as "Shaking Street", "Looking At You", "High School", "The American Ruse" and "Tonight" all show off the bands energy and love of music. It is pure Rock and Roll.



The bands third and final album High Time was released in 1971. The eight track album featured songs such as "Sister Anne", "Baby Won't Ya", "Over and Over", "Gotta Keep Movin'" and "Poison". The band was much happier with the production style of this album and experimentation took the bands Rock style to the next level. Songs such as "Future/Now" and "Skunk (Sonically Speaking)" are good examples of this. Since Back In The USA and High Time did not sell well, Atlantic Records dropped the band from the label. In February of 1972, bassist Michael Davis left the MC5, he was replaced by Steve Moorhouse. The band did one final recording session in London, recording three songs "Inside Out", Train Music" and "Gold". These songs were made for the soundtrack to a film titled Gold. After a New Years Eve concert at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit in 1972/73, The MC5 split up.

Following the bands break up, several of the bands members were involved with different music projects. Fred "Sonic" Smith formed the Sonic's Rendezvous Band. They only released one single "City Slang", although now there are numerous other songs from the band available. Fred Smith also married musician Patti Smith in 1980 and retired from music. On November 4th, 1994 Fred Smith passed away following a heart attack. Wayne Kramer returned to music in 1995 with the album The Hard Stuff and has since released numerous other interesting solo albums. Rob Tyner produced several bands and released several solo albums as well. In 1991, Rob Tyner (real name Rob Derminer) passed away following heart failure.

During the bands absence from playing live and releasing music, The MC5 have had a large influence on music going onto influence the likes of 70s Punk music and numerous other Rock music groups. In 2003, Wayne Kramer, Dennis Thompson, and Michael Davis reformed The MC5 for a live show in London. Nicke Andersen (of The Hellacopters) filled in for Fred Smith on guitar, and the vocals were covered by Dave Vanian (of The Damned), Ian Astbury (of The Cult), and Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead. In 2004, the band changed their name to DKT/MC5 and went on a world tour. This time the band included several other guest musicians such as Mark Arm (of Mudhoney) and Evan Dando of The Lemonheads. Starting in February of 2005, Handsome Dick Manitoba (of The Dictators) has been singing with the group.


Despite the fact that the MC5 only had 3 albums, The MC5 have several bootlegs out there. There are recordings of live shows, demos, and studio work. In 2004 a box set titled Purity Accuracy was released compiling band rehearsals, demos, and live recordings. There was also a greatest hits compilation released in 2000, titled The Big Bang!: Best of the MC5. In 2002, a documentary of The MC5 was made titled MC5: A True Testimonial, which is highly recommended.

Play List:

1. Undertones - You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It)
2. Luger Boa - I Wanna Girlfriend
3. True Lovers - Guilty Pleasure # 9
4. Them - You Just Can't Win
5. James OL & The Villains - Last Lemmings Over The Cliff
6. Muddy Waters - Tom Cat
7. Chuck Berry - Jaguar and Thunderbird
8. The Sonics - Shot Down
9. Two Star Tabernacle - Sixteen Tons (Live)
10. Ugly Ducklings - I Wish You Would
11. Teenage Head - Let It Show
12. The Spys - I Wanna Be Like You
13. Lost Patrol - In Your Eyes
14. The Famines - Free Love is a Sales Technique
15. Supergrass - Sun Hits The Sky
16. Heat-Ray - C`mon C``mon C`mon
17. The Pixies - Where is My Mind?
18. Mudhoney - Ounce of Deception
19. MC5 - Call Me Animal
20. MC5 - Gold
21. The Saints - No Time
22. Clap Clap Riot - Thief
23. Dirty Pretty Things - Tired of England
24. Magazine - I Love You You Big Dummy (BBC Session)
25. The Kinks - Apeman

To download this week's show visit the CJAM archives and select the files 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM on August 4th, 2009.

MC5 Videos:

Black To Comm (1967)
Kick Out The Jams (Beat Club)
Kick Out The Jams (Live Wayne State University 1970)
Ramblin' Rose
Looking At You (Live)