Razorcake Podcast #155: With Rev. Nørb
The main drawback with my method of collecting and transporting stuff for my occasional Razorcake podcasts is that I am limited to whatever fits in my beat-to-shit pink carry-on duffel bag; that means 45s, obviously, but it also means that the amount of records I can tote along with me is inversely proportional to the amount of other shit with which I am saddled; I was actually on my way to a week-long trade show in San Francisco ((with a stop off in L.A. to demo a video game at a roller derby bout, because that's the arduous kind of life I lead)), which meant that room in my pink duffel bag was pretty much at a premium. Since this was the second of two podcasts we bashed out that day, by about mid-podcast, I was already out of records, and was playing the b-sides of the 45s of which i'd played the a-sides on the preceding podcast. I haven't actually heard the results as of yet, but in between this and the last podcast, we had partaken in a fine whap-a-dang of a barbeque -- I had guzzled about half a case of Pepsi Max and Todd had downed an equivalent amount of Newcastle, so i'm sure our natural lunkheadishness was suitably enhanced.
Alvin Stardust, “My Coo Ca Choo” (Bell)
Thunder Gods, “Who Cares” (Trashcan)
Von Zippers, “She’s Bringing You Down” (Estrus)
Love Taps, “Love ‘Em Or Leave ‘Em” (Super Secret)
Stanley Frank, “S’Cool Days” (Attic)
Buzzcocks, “Why She’s a Girl from the Chainstore” (i.r.s.)
Ramma Lamma, “Truthin’” (Certified P.R.)
Stranglers, “Get a Grip (On Yourself)” (A&M)
Silicon Teens, “Just Like Eddie” (Mute)
The Strike, “Danger” (Johann's Face)
Charlie And The Skunks, “Red Hot Cinnamon”(Eradicator)
Lama, “Bussi” (Johanna)
Davie Allan And The Arrows, “Blue’s Theme” (Tower)
Professionals, “White Light, White Heat” (Virgin)
Barreracudas, “Don’t Get Me Wrong” (Douchemaster)
Thunder Gods, “You Better Learn to Like It” (Trashcan)
Davie Allan And The Arrows, “Bongo Party” (Tower)
Preston Epps, “Bongo Party” (Original)
“My Coo Ca Choo” was a 1973 UK glam smash for Alvin Stardust; as far as I can tell, Alvin ((nee Shane Fenton of Shane Fenton & The Fentones back in the 60's)) didn't have many other good songs, but he did invent the punching-at-the-camera-whilst-dressed-in-black-leather thing that Billy Idol seemed to do OK with, so, y'know, there's that.
The Thunder Gods sent me their one and presumably only 45 in the mid-90's. I remember them as being from somewhere in the Northeast, and influenced by that whole confluence of the Devil Dogs, Rip Off, Estrus and Japan that percolated so tastily throughout the more interesting parts of that decade. I didn't really remember much about the record other than that it rocked, which was all I really needed to remember. We follow this up with a Von Zippers b-side, which is a Vibrators cover, thusly paving the way for the letter V's ascendance to greatness during the “V For Vendetta” era a few years later. The Love Taps are from Texas, and “Love 'Em Or Leave 'Em” was one of the better A-sides of calendar year 2010, which was a pretty decent year for 45s but not particularly so for full-lengths. Stanley Frank is some Canadian guy who made music of vastly differing styles in the late 70's and early 80's. I think he was at least mildly well-known in Canada at some point, but he's a total non-entity in the U.S. Rock Psyche. Great song, though – sounds like a less pretentious Ian Hunter or something.
After the Buzzcocks released the “A Different Kind of Tension” album, their next project was to release “an album on singles” – a series of six 45s, which, when taken collectively, was supposed to be their next album. They got halfway thru the project, releasing the first three of the six planned singles in 1980, then broke up. In some quarters, this song was considered the one song of the six ((which also included “Airwaves Dream,” “Are Everything,” “What Do You Know,” “Running Free” and “Strange Thing”)) that “didn't suck.” It's probably a lot more common now than it was for a while in the 80's. We follow this up with another Ramma Lamma tune, this time with Ryan ((late of the Kill-A-Watts)) on vocals. I've never really been THAT big of a Stranglers guy ((though I do love the “Black And White” album)), but there's something about the beat of “Get A Grip (On Yourself)” that really sends me. Maybe it's the parentheses, I dunno. This is from a four-song 1977 ep that contains a mix of songs from their first two albums, not sure what it's all about. The Silicon Teens were passed off as a band of four teenagers named Darryl, Jacki, Paul and Diane, but, in reality, “they” were just Daniel Miller, the Mute Records label head ((who was also, oddly, the same guy behind The Normal, of “Warm Leatherette” fame)). Their 1980 album was mostly a collection of synth-pop versions of 50's and 60's tunes; “Just Like Eddie” is a Heinz cover; Heinz was the German-born 60's pop singer who owned the shotgun with which Joe Meek offed his landlady and then himself. Go Heinz!
We go back to the red-and-blue-and-red-all-over well of The Strike for “Danger,” which was the other side of “Take Action.” Greg Lowery says he's never heard “Danger,” which, if you've ever heard the Zodiac Killers song “Danger Danger,” you'll find a bit hard to believe. Charlie & The Skunks is one of the better 45s of the last few months, and “Bussi” by Lama refers to a bus, something with which I would become intimately familiar the next morning, afternoon, and evening as I made my way up to SF. Davie Allan ((and/or The Arrows)) was, of course, the undisputed king of mid-to-late 60's biker fuzz guitar movie themes. Their/his earliest stuff ((i.e. the “Apache '65” album)) was really nothing to write home about, but once he got the whole fuzz thing going in '66, that was a whole 'nother can of worms. “Blue's Theme” was from the movie “The Wild Angels,” and allegedly one of the first songs Eddie Van Halen learned how to play. Eh, whatever.
“White Light White Heat” is the Professionals doing a Velvet Underground cover, at this time we're obviously mining the b-sides of the prior popdcast's a-sides pretty heavily, although “Don't Get Me Wrong” might be the better of the two Barreracudas numbers. “You Better Learn To Like It” is more of the same by the Thunder Gods, and I like “Bongo Party” even better than “Blue's Theme,” so I guess it's fifty-fifty all around.
We end things up with a completely different song called “Bongo Party,” this one being the b-side of Preston Epps' “Bongo Rock.” The fact that I didn't have “Bongo Brain” by the Revillos on hand to complete the operation will haunt me till my dying day.