Razorcake Podcast #12: With Mor Fleisher
Most of the bands I like are defunct, but that doesn’t mean they should go unheard. Enjoy the smooth sounds of the Monks, Tex and the Horseheads, and Blacktime; sway to classics by the Damned and Joe Meek—all brought to you by the queen of obscure.
The Monks “Shut Up”
Hasil Adkins “She Said”
Electric Eels “Sewercide”
The Zeros “Beat Your Heart Out”
Tex and the Horseheads “Short Trains”
The Shangri-Las “Train to Kansas City”
Modern Lovers “Old World”
Blacktime “Back Door Man”
Wanda Jackson “Rip It Up”
Geza X and the Mommymen “ Rx Rock and Roll”
The Screamers “In a Better World”
The Damned “New Rose”
Suicide “Sister Ray Says”
Joe Meek and the Blue Men “I Hear a New World”
The Monks – The Monks are the greatest American band to ever hit Germany. Let me elaborate: the band was formed by American GIs stations in Germany in the 1960s. After their term’s end, they decided to stay in Germany and keep on playing music together. They are known for their funny hairstyles—they had crew cuts with shaved bald spots on top of their heads—and minimalist song writing style.
Hasil Adkins – This is one badass motherfucker. He’s a one man band straight out of Alabama. His first record, “Out to Hunch,” was also Norton Record’s first release. The label went on to release material by Link Wray and Esquerita, to name a few. This is Hasil at his best, before the chicken obsession and horny as hell.
Electric Eels – The Electric Eels were the best band in 1970s Cleveland… and never released a studio album. This is probably because they could never afford to and no one cared at the time (including the band itself). But man, do they sound amazing or what? I think I have a thing for whiny men.
The Zeros – The Zeros is my favorite band from San Diego (yes, San Diego, NOT East LA). Dubbed the “Mexican Ramones,” these young rascals pumped out hit after hit in the late ‘70s. They were very well established in Los Angeles’ early punk scene, playing with such bands as the Germs and X, but never got the recognition that the previously mentioned bands attained. Guitarist Robert Lopez may be known to many as El Vez, but he will always have a place in my heart as a Zero.
Tex and the Horseheads – Another overlooked Los Angeles punk rock band, Tex and the Horseheads is one of the best female fronted band to come out of California. Texacala Jones (“Tex”) has been rumored to have had a short affair with Jeffery Lee Pierce of the Gun Club. She was a beautiful hardball who put on one hell of a show.
The Shangri-Las – The Shangri-Las always had four women in their photographs, but there were only ever three members in the band. The fourth was usually a pretty, model type girl that fit the look of a 1960s girl group member. No matter how many of them there were, the Shangri-Las sang the most beautiful, heart-wrenching songs of any pop act of their time.
Modern Lovers – “Old World” has the best/worst guitar/keyboard solo ever. Seriously, Jonathan Richman is an idiot savant.
Blacktime – I think this is the only contemporary band in my entire podcast. No matter, Blacktime deserves top billing. They play amazing lo-fi garage punk music. Read their interview in Razorcake and go buy some of their records. These guys (and gal) are one of the best bands around today.
Wanda Jackson – Wanda Jackson is a total fox. I pulled this track from Two Sides of Wanda. It’s one of my favorite covers. Wanda can do country just as well as rock n’ roll, too. Check out said album for both genres.
Geza X and the Mommymen – Someone should write a book about Geza X; there’s just too much to say and not enough room in a three sentence blurb! He’s the king of punk rock production in the west coast. He also did some time as a rap producer, but I will always know and respect him for the drug years.
The Screamers – Sadly, the Screamers never recorded a proper album—they opted to make a movie instead (Population: One) because they saw themselves as a very visual band. A lot of people think it’s shitty (the band members themselves were unhappy with the final product), but I like to watch Tomata DuPlenty dance in it.
The Damned – You know the Damned. At least, I hope you do. They’re one of the finest punk bands from the UK—after the Clash, of course—and this is them at their best!
Suicide – It took me a while to get into No Wave, but Suicide really sold me on it. I’ve never heard a sound quite like theirs. Very raw, in that multimedia kinda way. Suicide and Sister Ray encompass New York; this is both at once.
Joe Meek and the Blue Men – Joe Meek wrote “I Hear a New World” as the title track of an album that sounds like his vision of space. The man was a troubled genius…a bit obsessive, too. His story is a sad one, full of death and depression, but that comes with the territory.