Razorcake Podcast #80: With Russ Van Cleave

Nov 06, 2009

Razorcake Podcast #80: With Russ Van Cleave

Snuff – “Dicky Trois” from Demmamussabebonk (Fat Wreck Chords)
The Stains – “Sick And Crazy” from Chunks (SST)
The Rollers – “Knockin’ At The Wrong Door” from Eccentric Soul: Outskirts Of Deep City (Numero Group)
3 – “Swann Street” from Dark Days Coming (Dischord)
The Amber Squad – “I Can’t Put My Finger On You” from This Is Mod! (Cult Records)
The Mr. T Experience – “The History Of The Concept Of The Soul” from Night Shift At The Thrill Factory (Lookout!)
Pavement – “Silence Kit” from Crooked, Crooked Rain (Matador)
Husker Du – “Data Control” from Land Speed Record (SST)
Jimmy Martin – “Drink Up And Go Home” from Country Music Time (MCA)
The Front – “Immigration Report” from Killed By Florida (La Republica De Libertariano De Florida)
Camper Van Beethoven – “Oh No” from Telephone Free Landslide Victory (I.R.S.)
Failure Face – “I Won” from Complete Failure (Burrito)
Robert Hicks – “Mississippi Heavy Blues” from People Take Warning : Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, 1913-1938 (Tompkins Square)
The Freeze – “Broken Bones” from This Is Boston, Not L.A. (Wicked Disc)
Walter Jackson – “My Ship Is Coming In” from Okeh Soul (Okeh)
Todd Congelliere – “Bottom Of The Sea” from People In The Sand EP (Ol’ Tennis Shoes)

SNUFF: In honor of probably getting to see Snuff soon, I thought I’d kick this podcast off with one of my favorite songs from my favorite Snuff album. If you are a Snuff novice, I’d recommend Demmamussabebonk as an excellent place to start.

THE STAINS: I’ve always heard a lot about The Stains (this is the East L.A. Stains and not The Stains that later became MDC), but this song, from the SST Chunks compilation is the only one I’ve ever heard by them. Of course, I think it’s awesome, but I don’t have anything else. I’ve been looking for their debut album on SST but it is out-of-print and not so easy to find. Aside from that, all I really know is that they were one of the bands to come out of the East L.A. hardcore scene in the early ‘80s.

THE ROLLERS: On the recommendation of a few people, I recently bought one in a series of compilations featuring ridiculously obscure soul artists put out by this label called the Numero Group. The compilations feature songs from regional soul scenes around the country during the late sixties and early seventies. At first, I was a little skeptical because they didn’t even list the artists on the back of the record (not that it would do much good), but I eventually settled on this one featuring a slew of recordings of artists from southeast Florida, e.g., Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, etc. If this song by The Rollers was the only good song on the record I still think it would’ve been worth it. Fortunately, the whole thing is full of some really great songs.

3: This song is from the only record 3 ever put out. They featured Jeff Nelson from Minor Threat/Teen Idles and many of the guys who played in another Dischord band, Gray Matter.

THE AMBER SQUAD: I don’t know much of anything about this band except that they’re from the UK during the mid to late ‘70s, but I like this song on this cheap, generic compilation of “Mod Classics” that I found somewhere.

THE MR. T. EXPERIENCE: According to the internets, this song is based on the content of the college thesis that lead singer Frank Portman, a.k.a Dr. Frank, put together. Learning is fun.

PAVEMENT: I used to hate Pavement. I hated them because, in the mid-‘90s, they were the musical darlings of every single person I knew who used the trust fund money their Daddy set up for them to smoke pot and live like a Bohemian in some fancy art studio they opened to sell crappy paintings. My friend Richie told me that that was a stupid reason to not like Pavement. He burned me a copy of Crooked, Crooked Rain and now I think he’s right.

HUSKER DU: This is the last song on this very intense, early, live Huskers record.

JIMMY MARTIN: Jimmy Martin got his start in bluegrass and country playing guitar for the legendary Bill Monroe. Both Bill and Jimmy had pretty strong personalities and it was only a matter of time before he struck out on his own. Songs like this, from what I believe is Jimmy Martin’s second solo LP, are full of the stuff that made classic country and bluegrass a fixture on the American musical landscape. Unfortunately, a lot of that same stuff is all but long gone nowadays from contemporary country.

THE FRONT: All I know about The Front is that they were an early ‘80s punk band from the Miami area. The compilation this song came from is full of some awesome, yet obscure, early FL punk and hardcore tracks.

CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN: I’ve been on this CVB kick ever since I found their first CD a few weeks ago. It makes me go back and listen to some Cracker now. I guess I am of that generation/region that heard how the world needed another folk singer before they ever heard anything about taking skinheads bowling.

FAILURE FACE: This is a track from a great ‘90s hardcore band out of Brandon, FL. The song originally appeared on the All Pain, No Gain EP that came out on Ebullition and Daybreak Records. The cover had a dude committing suicide by jumping off the roof of a church. Sound Idea Distribution and Burrito Records, the braintrust of Bob Suren, singer for Failure Face, closed up shop last year, so I don’t know the status or availability of this or other Burrito releases.

ROBERT HICKS: Also known as “Barbeque Bob”, Robert Hicks was one of the first persons to put the blues on record. He died of pneumonia and TB in 1931 and this recording, about the flooding of the Mississippi River in 1927, was supposedly played at his graveside funeral.

THE FREEZE: I’ve been on this pretty intense early ‘80s hardcore thing lately and I felt that I needed to play this classic track from the This Is Boston, Not L.A. compilation.

WALTER JACKSON: Walter Jackson is a fairly obscure Pensacola, FL-born soul singer. His family moved him to Detroit where he contracted polio at a young age. The disease kept him on crutches for the rest of his life. He never achieved much mainstream success, but still produced some great songs, including this early track from his Okeh records days.

TODD CONGELLIERE: Todd is a singer and songwriter for the San Pedro bands Toys That Kill, Underground Railroad To Candyland and the now defunct F.Y.P. I think the songs on this 7” are his first solo recordings. I really liked this track and decided to end the podcast with it.