Tuesday, January 26, 2010

96 Tears ... The ? & The Mysterians Story...Show # 284

Taking their name from a Japanese science fiction film titled The Mysterians, ? & the Mysterians formed in 1962 in Saginaw/Bay City, Michigan. The band consisted of Larry Borjas (bass), Bobby Balderrama (guitar), and Robert Martinez (drums). When the band originally started out in 62, they played mostly instrumental songs that were inspired by Link Wray and Surf music. The bands lead singer and main song writer goes by the name ? (Pronounced question mark). His name was said to actually be Rudy Martinez, until he legally changed his name to ?. He also claims that he was born on the planet Mars and that he once lived in a past life with dinosaurs. This eccentric lead singer also is never caught without a pair of wrap around sunglasses.

Around 1964, the band relocated to Flint, Michigan and started building up a fan base. There was then a line up change because Robert Martinez was drafted, Larry Borjas was also enlisted. Frank Lugo took over on bass duties, Eddie Serrato became the Mysterians drummer and Frank Rodriguez was added as organist/keyboardist. With these new members in place, the classic "96 Tears" line up of ? & the Mysterians was formed. A poem by ? titled "Too Many Tear Drops" was brought into the band. It quickly became what would be known as "96 Tears", which would be the bands biggest hit. In 1966 the band recorded "96 Tears" for a local label that was owned by the bands manager Lillian Gonzales, Pa-Go-Go. The organ fuelled Garage Rock song became a hit locally in the Flint/Detroit area, which in turn attracted major record labels. The band signed to Cameo-Parkway Records because the labels logo was orange and that was ?'s favourite colour. With the band on a major label, they had more distribution and "96 Tears" became not only a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, but a Garage Rock classic. The song was also the first hit single by any Latino Rock band, and ? with his snotty attitude has also been named as a detrimental element in the evolution of Garage Rock and Punk music.

The bands first full length album was released in 1966, it was simply titled 96 Tears. The next single "I Need Somebody", also charted on the Billboard charts. "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" was the bands next single in 1967, it was minor hit on the Billboard charts. A second album followed the same year titled Action. This raucous album that featured many R & B cover songs, did not sell well and at the time the bands label Cameo-Parkway was dealing with financial difficulties. The label was absorbed by Allen Klein of ABKO Records, the Mystrians left the label and recorded more music for Capitol Records, Tangerine Records, and Super K Records. During this time there were line up changes in the group, Mel Schacher played briefly with the group, he would later go on to play with Grand Funk Railroad. The band also recorded an album for Ray Charles label TRC, that remains unreleased.

In the early 70s, ? & the Mystrians reformed with a different line up yet again, this time with two guitars and no organ/keyboards. They recorded again in 1972 and 1973 for different labels, but there was no real response commercially. ? eventually left the group to become a dog breeder, but the Mystrians would regroup again in 1978 to record some demos in New York with Kim Fowley. The tapes were eventually released as 96 Tears Forever: The Dallas Re-Union Tapes on the ROIR label. In 1984 the band played a reunion show in Dallas, Texas (where most of the band members grew up before relocating to Michigan) with original drummer Robert Martinez on drums. In 1997 the band reunited yet again playing at the CavesStomp Garage Rock festivals, they also played a variety of live shows in the US and Europe throughout the late 90s. In 1997, the band re-recorded their debut album 96 Tears. The reason that the band did this was that they were not able to get the rights to their original master recordings that were done in the 60s, the album was released on the Collectables label as Question Mark & The Mysterians. A live album as released in 1998 and in 1999 a new studio album was released titled More Action. After this release the band went on hiatus for awhile.

The band reformed in 2001 for a live concert event for Little Steven's Underground Garage, in 2003 they played for the final CaveStomp Garage Rock festival. In 2006, ? & the Mysterians were inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Currently the Mysterians, without ? play live shows and a documentary is in the works on the band rumoured to be titled Are You For Real.

This Week's Play List:

1. ? and The Mysterians - You're Telling Me Lies
2. ? and The Mysterians - It's Not Easy
3. Northwest Company - Get Away From It All
4. The Haunted - 8 O' Clock This Morning
5. Ugly Ducklings - Just In Case You Wonder
6. Mark Sultan - Something Wrong
7. Dirty Pretty Things - Hippy's Son
8. Spoon - Got Nuffin
9. The Horrors - Count in Fives
10. Action Replay - Decisions
11. Slates - Empty Streets
12. Private School - Rock and Roll Radio
13. Dream Dates - The Mess you're In
14. The Dishrags - Past is Past
15. Generation X - English Dream
16. Vampire Weekend - Holiday
17. The Vores - Monster
18. The Adverts - One Chord Wonders
19. The Hives - Abra Cadaver
20. Fire Engines - Everything's Roses
21. The Crocodiles - Soft Skull (In My Room)
22. The Hot Rats - The Big Sky
23. John Lennon - I Found Out
24. Paul McCartney - Smile Away
25. Blur - M.O.R.

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 26. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Living World...The Story of The Visitors...Show # 283

Following Radio Birdman's split in 1978, Deniz Tek would form another band called The Visitors. This band was different musically from Radio Birdman, coming off with more of a New Wave influence. Deniz Tek was on guitar, Ron Keeley on drums, Pip Hoyle on keyboards, Steve Harris on bass, and Mark Sisto on vocals. In addition the New Wave vibe that was present on their material, The Visitors music also loomed with an ominous Doors influence. The band was made up of three former Radio Birdman members (Hoyle, Tek, and Keeley), Sisto was a long time friend of Tek's. The line up also was sonically different than The Birdmen, there was only one guitar (as opposed to Radio Birdman who had two guitar players), there was also a darker element to the bands music. Prior to the band forming, Tek and Hoyle were working as interns at a hospital, during their spare time they jammed on songs through piano and guitar and the songs for The Visitors were written.

In 1980, The Visitors released a four track EP entitled Phantom EP. Recorded in 1979 at Palm Studios in Australia, the songs on Phantom EP were originally intended as demos when the studio was booked by Charles Fisher. The band set up live and recorded to an 8-track and after an afternoon of recording, the best tracks were selected and put on the EP. The EP was produced and mixed by Charles Fisher and Deniz Tek.  The band only played about a dozen shows between 1978 and 1979, but they did make release more recordings. A full length album was also released, but it would not be released until 1983. The tapes remained unreleased for several years until the Citadel record label was convinced to remix the tracks.  All of the songs on the album were recorded at the same sessions as the Phantom EP.  Deniz Tek assisted in the remixes, and the artwork was done by bassist Steve Harris.  The album was simply titled The Visitors.

At this time Deniz Tek was also involved with The Angie Pepper Band and in 1981, he became part of the supergroup known as New Race. This band features Tek, Rob Younger, Warwick Gilbert, Ron Asheton (of the Stooges), and Dennis Thompson (of the MC5). The band was short lived (put together for a 1981 Australian tour), and only ever officially released one live album that was titled First and Last. Although the band was short lived, several live bootlegs exist of the band. Following this Tek returned to the USA (he was originally from Michigan) and became a physician and served in the Navy, he returned to Australia in 1991 and continues to play and make music. The Visitors was remixed and reissued in 1994 and has been remastered twice. The most recent edition was released in 2008 with bonus tracks and can be ordered through the Citadel Records website.    The Visitors have also reunited in 2005 and 2008 for select live shows.

More information can be found at:

Deniz Tek's Blog
Retro Kimmer: 48 Hours with Mark Sisto
The Visitors Myspace
Do The Pop (a post I did about Radio Birdman)

Play List:

1. The Doors - Take it As it Comes
2. The Griefs - Bored Outta My Goard
3. The Polymorphines - Bring Your Love Back Home
4. The Willowz - Repitition
5. David Kilgour - Nothing's Going to Happen
6. The Bats - Just Do It
7. Make Me Young - The First Summer After the War
8. Surfer Blood - Harmonix
9. The Action - Do The Strangle
10. Negatives - Echoes
11. Lowlife - Thinking Naturally
12. Luger Boa - Mutate or Die!
13. V2 - City Creatures
14. The Government - Zippers of Fire
15. Joy Division - No Love Lost
16. Pointed Sticks - On Fire
17. The Visitors - Euro Girls
18. The Visitors - Let's Have Some Fun
19. The Fall - It's The New Thing
20. David Bowie - Red Sails
21. Radio Birdman - Smith & Wesson Blues
23. Magazine - My Tulpa

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 19. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Damage...2010 Soundgarden Reunion...Show # 282

Soundgarden's last live show was in February of 1997. The last show was part of a tour the band was doing in support of their 1996 release Down On The Upside. At this point in the bands career, the tensions amongst them were rising and at that live show in February of 1997, after equipment failure, bassist Ben Sheppard threw his bass in the air in frustration leaving the stage.  The encore of the show was played not by Soundgarden, but by Chris Cornell solo. In April of 1997, Soundgarden announcned that they were splitting up. In November, the band released a greatest hits compilation titled A-Sides, they also talked of releasing a B-sides collection, but that never came.

In the years that followed the various members of Soundgarden were involved in other musical projects. Chris Cornell pursued a solo career, and played with Audioslave which featured members of Rage Against The Machine. Kim Thayil has played with numerous bands since Soundgarden split. He has played with Presidents of the United States of America, Pigeonhead, more recently he played some guitar for Probot in 2004 and with Sunn O))) and Boris in 2006. In 1999, he formed a Punk band with Krist Novesellic and Jello Biafra called No WTO Combo. Bassit Ben Shepherd played with The Wellwater Conspiracy in 1997, along with drummer Matt Cameron. Shepherd also formed the band Hater that released two albums, he also played bass for a song on a 2001 Mark Lanegan album titled Field Songs. Matt Cameron has been playing drums with fellow Seattlers Pearl Jam since 1998, he has released several albums with Wellwater Conspiracy, taking over as lead vocalist when Ben Shepherd left the group in 1997, and has contributed and collaborated with numerous artists.

Reunion rumours have been flying for some time now, but they were always put down.  Several band members have said that they did not see it happening, but around 2009 rumours started up again when Chris Cornell was interviewed by Rolling Stone to discuss a Soundgarden box set. There is said to be numerous outtakes, B-sides, alternate takes, demos and previously unreleased material available for the box set project, the band has also expressed an interest in releasing a B-sides collection CD in addition to the box set.  On March 24th, 2009 at a Tom Morello solo show in Seattle, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Ben Shepherd, and Tady Doyle played two Soundgarden songs "Hunted Down" and "Spoonman", which served as a reunion of sorts (minus Chris Cornell).  Also in additon to this Temple of the Dog (which features Chris Cornell, Matt Cameron and members of Pearl Jam) in October of 2009 played the song "Hunger Strike" together, which served as yet another possiblity that a Soundgarden reunion would happen.  On January 1st, 2010 via Chris Cornell's twitter page Cornell stated that the band would be reunitng in 2010. Exact details are not known, but the reunion will at least consist of some live shows and hopefully some sort of music release. A new Soundgarden website has also been launched called soundgardenworld.com.  By signing up for the newsletter, you can see a new music video for the band's 1989 song "Get On The Snake".

Play List:

1. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Zig Zag Wanderer
2. True Lovers - Bang Bang
3. The High Numbers - Zoot Suit
4. Main Line - Don't Wait Around
5. The Staggers - Out of My Mind
6. Nick Lowe - Cracking Up
7. The Phantom Chords - Big Town
8. Television - Call Mr. Lee
9. Thrush Hermit - At My Expense
10. Paper Lions - Everything You've Done Wrong
11. Foam Lake - Underwhelmed
12. Myelin Sheaths - Do The Mental Twist
13. Miesha & The Spanks - Harem
14. Githead - All Set Up
15. Blue Peter - Do The Robot
16. The Regulators - That's Right, Nothings Left
17. The Dead Boys - Hey Little Girl
18. The Wolfmen - Mr.Sunday
19. Soundgarden - An Unkind
20. Foo Fighters - Mountain of You
21. Iggy Pop - Fall in Love with Me

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 12. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2009 Highlights...Show # 281

Today's program was composed entirely of albums that were released in the year 2009. The last nine songs on the show constituted my favourite nine releases from 2009. While re-issues were included in the list (The Beatles Remasters, Nirvana's Bleach 20th Anniversary Edition, and The Vaselines - Enter The Vaselines), I did not count them in the top nine list, due to the fact that they have already been released prior to 2009. The following are my favourite nine releases from the year 2009:

1.  The Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand

200 Million Thousand was the follow up to 2007's Good Bad Not Evil. This album differed from their 2007 release, instead of continuing with a similar sound the band went for a dirtier and darker Garage/Psychedelic sound. While the album does feature many great Pop moments ("Short Fuse","Drugs", Just Like Staring Over", and "I'll Be With You" ), the album has more of sleaze element than their previous album (Good Bad Not Evil). The 14 track album even features a Rap song "The Drop I Hold" and a cover of The Iguana's (Iggy Pop's first band) "Again & Again", that is mixed in with The Black Lips unique blend of fuzzy Atlanta, Georgia Garage Rock.

2.  Sloan - Hit & Run EP

Released fairly close to the end of 2009, this five track EP was released in digital form only. Of the five songs featured here two are from Bassist Chris Murphy ("Take It Upon Yourself", "Oh Dear Diary"), and one each from the other Sloan band members "Midnight Mass" (Jay Ferguson), "It Is Never" (Patrick Pentland), and "Where Are You Now?" (Andrew Scott). Overall the EP is a mix of Pop, 70's and 60's Rock, and is a great example of Sloan's excellent musical output of the last few years. A must for any Sloan fan and essential for anyone looking for a great underrated Canadian band.

3.  Julian Casablancas - Phrazes For The Young

This was the first full length solo release from Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas. The album is comprised of eight songs, all of which reflect a love for the 80's. While there are only eight tracks here, it still features some great enjoyable tracks that stand out on their own such as "Out of the Blue", "River of Brakelights", and "11th Dimension". This track seems like a nod to the New Wave influences employed on The Strokes album Room On Fire. The albums title Phrazes for the Young, is referencing Oscar Wilde's Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young.

4.  Pearl Jam - Backspacer

Backspacer is Pearl Jam's follow up to 2006's Pearl Jam. The songs on this album reflect more of a Pop and New Wave nature, the album was also produced by Brendan O'Brien (he hasn't worked with the band since 1998's Yield). Recorded at a variety of places in the US, Backspacer is said to be the bands most rehearsed record and the one with the most positive lyrics from front man Eddie Vedder. The album was released on the bands own Monkeywrench label and through Universal Music Group internationally. Cover art for the album was designed by editorial cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (real name Dan Perkins) and it features nine images created by Perkins. 

5.  The Almighty Defenders - The Almighty Defenders

Released in September 2009, The Almighty Defenders is a group made up of two bands King Khan & BBQ Show and The Black Lips. This 11 track album was recorded in Berlin (where King Khan was living) after The Black Lips had to cancel their tour of India following an incident on stage. In eight days, this new supergroup laid down the eleven tracks, it was released on Vice Records. The music on this album can be described as Gospel influenced Garage Rock.

6.  King Khan & BBQ Show - Invisible Girl

Released in November of 2009, Invisible Girl is yet another R &B and Garage Rock album, on my list, this one comes from King Khan & BBQ Show. While this duo (Originally from Montreal) has released several albums, this album is the bands third full length.  Elements of Sam Cooke, The Sonics, Chuck Berry, good old fashioned R & B, (not the new overproduced kind) and trashy elements of 60's Garage are all over this record.  

7.  The Dead Weather - Horehound 

In 2009, a band popped up featuring Jack White and Alison Mosshart of the Kills. The band consists of Jack White (drums/vocals/guitar), Alison Mosshart (lead vocals/guitar), Dean Fertita (guitar/organ/piano), and Jack Lawrence on bass. The group formed in January 2009, from a Jam session at Jack White's Third Man Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Following the session, the band began writing material and recorded quickly. Horehound was released in July of 2009, and did very well on the charts. The band was said to have been halfway done their second album in October of 2009.

8.  War Child: Heroes Compilation

This album is comprised of 15 bands doing cover songs. It features artists such as Beck (covering Bob Dylan), Yeah Yeah Yeah's (covering Ramones), The Kooks (covering The Kinks), and Franz Ferdinand (covering Blondie). The album also features a cover of "Straight To Hell" by Lilly Allen featuring Mick Jones of The Clash. Another interesting fact is that each song that was to be covered was selected by the original artist themselves. Artwork for the album was done by John Squire, former Stone Roses guitarist. For more information visit the Warchild Homepage

9.  Franz Ferdinand - Tonight

Produced by Dan Carey, Tonight draws on the bands earlier sound, bringing in elements of electronica, dub/reggae, 80's synthesizer music. The album is based around the concept of a night out partying and the morning after. The album cover photos (taken by Søren Solkær Starbird in Glasgow) have the look and feel of Berlin-era David Bowie. The album was well received and released by Domino Records in January of 2009, a bonus disc of Dub remixes was released in June of 2009 titled Blood.

Other interesting releases from 2009 were The Beatles re-issues.  This is an obvious choice, but these re-issues have been a long time coming.  The design and packaging are of excellent quality, and I highly recommend any of these albums.  The Vaselines - Enter The Vaselines, is an excellent collection of all the material that The Vaselines have put out, it is complete with demos, live material and studio recordings.  Rhino released the Where the Action Is box set.  This four CD collection features 100 songs from the Los Angeles area from the time period of 1965-1968, this is yet another great addition to the Nuggets series.  As far as new releases go, The Crocodiles released an eight track album titled Summer of Hate that seems very new wave influenced, and The Howlies released a great 60's Garage influenced album called Trippin' With The Howlies

Best of 2009 Play List:

1. Portugual. The Man - Everyone is Golden
2. John Doe & The Sadies - Stop the World and Let Me Off
3. Spiral Beach - Domino
4. The Vaselines - Dum Dum
5. Arctic Monkeys - My Propeller
6. Nirvana - About A Girl (Live Pinestreet Theatre 1990)
7. The Beatles - Think For Yourself
8. The Mustangs - That's For Sure
9. Neil Young - Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (45 Version)
10. Ex-Boyfriends - Born To Be Kicked Out
11. Yellow Wood - Chinese Women Unite!
12. The Crocodiles - Refuse Angels
13. The Horrors - I Can't Control Myself
14. Franz Ferdinand - Send Him Away
15. The Howlies - Sea Level
16. Beck - Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat
17. Dead Weather - 60 Feet Tall
18. King Khan & BBQ Show - Zombies!
19. Almighty Defenders - I'm Coming Home
20. Pearl Jam - Got Some 
21. Julian Casablancas - Out of the Blue 
22. Sloan - Where Are You Now?
23. Black Lips - Short Fuse

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 5th. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.