Sunday, October 31, 2010

Minutes Ago: The Neighbor Kids Are Ready To Rape, Rob, and Pillage!!

It seems the local children are showing themselves to be the TRUE monsters we always KNEW they were! We spotted this duo of trouble makes and their damsel-in-distress hostage in our entryway just minutes ago!

OH, the HORROR!!

10/31/10 Neighbor Kids - Halloween

...oh, wait.

It's OK! They're just trick or treating. PSHEW!!! A few hastily provided Tootsie-Rolls and some Tootsie-Pop suckers sent them on their way with smiles all around and without further incident.

Everything's cool.

We're alive and well...for now.

10/31/05 - 5 Years Ago Tonight In Minneapolis, MN - Vintage Kiss (Tribute Band)

10/31/05 Vintage Kiss Tribute Band @ Star Central, Columbia Heights, MN (Poster - Top)
10/31/05 Vintage Kiss Tribute Band @ Star Central, Columbia Heights, MN (Poster - Bottom)
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

5 years ago tonight my buddy Jonah and I celebrated Halloween with a few cold beers at the Star Central. We thought it might be kind of cool to catch this newish Kiss tribute band I'd been seeing advertised around that time. I think the door was $5.00 or something. The band turned out to be really good, doing a well thought-out Kiss show that entertained all those who attended. They gigged around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for a while and I would actually catch them a few more times (MOre on these shows later), but then I stopped seeing them around after about a year or so. The Vintage Kiss Myspace page is still up and running but their "official" site, VintageKiss.com is not.

Happy Halloween From ThisAintTheSummerOfLove

Have a happy and safe Halloween...

Here's a look at the jack-o-lanterns we carved for this evening's festivities.

10/30/10 Slayer Jack-O-Lantern (/W/ Flash)
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

This one was done by me of course. Looks kinda cool all lit up. The Slayer logo design was suggested by my neighbor who was a bit lit up himself...

10/30/10 Slayer Jack-O-Lantern (Dark)

Then we have one done by the Gorgeous One...not much to look at when the flash went off...

10/30/10 Skull Jack-O-Lantern (With Flash)

...but with no flash, in the dark...it's a winner. I love this.

10/30/10 Skull Jack-O-Lantern (Dark)

And of course...we can't let the day go by without repeated playings of our 7th "7 Songs For Halloween." You can probably guess it - it's everybody's favorite.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

7 Songs For Halloween - #6: Dokken - Dream Warriors -VS- S.O.D. - Freddy Krueger

More 80's metal and horror movies for today's "7 Songs for Halloween." Today it's that insanely catchy Dokken tune "Dream Warriors" from the 1987 classic "Nightmare on Elm Street Part III: Dream Warriors."



I still think the directors of the film should have went with S.O.D. for the soundtrack as well...obviously big Freddy Krueger/Nightmare on Elm Street fans. They even wrote a song about "Freddy Krueger" that appeared on their influential 1985 "Speak English Or Die" LP.



A much more powerful song I think.

Play it again...and this time, sing along:

Freddy Krueger - by S.O.D. (1985)
His hand spells death
He breathes his vile breath
No way you can stop him once his out
He haunt your sleep
In the tub he hides down deep
He rips your face and no one hears you shout

CHORUS:
He's come for you, what wile you do
He'll slash you and rip you and cut you in two
His teeth are black
Flex metal kmickles with a crack
Masgots crawling all throughout his skin
He'll get thear his call
When the razors grip beneath their chin

CHORUS - MOSH PART
As the blood beging to splat
In his sweater and his hat
His rotted shouth smiles as you die
His color's red and green
His skin's not what it seams
He rips at it and tears off his own flesh

CHORUS

I Told This Little Bird, "Look, Buddy, Halloween Isn't 'Till Tomorrow," Then He Flew Off...

I had a visitor on my front doorstep just about an hour ago. I think he was just kinda cold. He even let me pet him for a second before I grabbed the camera. Cute little guy. Then, suddenly, he flew off into the bushes next to the building and I lost interest...

Friday, October 29, 2010

7 Songs For Halloween - #5: Jumpin' Gene Simmons - Haunted House

"7 Songs For Halloween" continues with song number 5 of 7. This is "Haunted House" by Jumpin' Gene Simmons. The song made it to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released back in 1964.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

7 Songs For Halloween - #4: Alice Cooper - He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)

Song number 4 in our "7 Songs For Halloween" series. Today it's the 1986 theme song from Friday the 13th Part VI - Jason Lives. You remember this one right? It's the sub-mediocre Alice Cooper tune drenched in way too many layers of keyboards that appeared on his 1986 LP "Constrictor." I just remember in the summer/fall of 1986 that you couldn't turn on MTV without catching this one...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 Songs For Halloween - #3: Helloween - Halloween

Song #3 in our "7 Songs For Halloween" series. Today it's "Halloween" by German thrashers Helloween. This song appeared on their 1987 LP "Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I." The version that appears on the album runs 13:18 while the video edit (seen here) has been neutered down to just 5:05.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NYCDreamin & The Gorgeous One...Sitting In A Tree...K-I-S-S-I-N-G...

Back in April 2009 I mentioned that I'd recently met "a short, sexy blonde who is currently the focus of my complete undivided attention." I even threatened to cut back on my blogging activities. Instead, I continued on, unabated, much to the dismay of some I'm sure.

Anyway...the day we met, we formed an instantaneous bond and it has only grown throught the time we've known each other. One and a half years later, I am so happy to announce that I have asked that short, sexy blonde (whom you've since come to know as "The Gorgeous One") to marry me...and she has accepted my proposal.

I will be proud to call her my wife.

When the time comes. No date just yet...details here as they develop.

She said YES!!!

10/25/10 NYCDreamin and The Gorgeous One Are Engaged
The happy couple posing for their first "officially engaged" photo.
(Image via NYCDreamin Archives)

A Tune For Tuesday - 7 Songs For Halloween Edition: Type O Negative - All Hallows Eve

Continuing on with our "7 Songs For Halloween" series, this is song number 2 of 7: Type O Negative's "All Hallows Eve" from their brilliantly depressing 1999 CD "World Coming Down."



RIP: PETER STEELE (01/04/62 - 04/14/10)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reconnecting With An Old Friend Leads To Discovery Of His Band "Wiretap"

Wiretap CD Art
(Image via: Myspace.com/wiretap)

I have just recently been in contact with an old friend I hadn't talked to in almost 20 years. Gotta love Facebook. Back in the day he was a pretty good drummer so I asked him if he ever played in any bands throughout the past 20 years that we'd been out of touch and he told me to check out his Houston, TX based band from a few years ago called Wiretap. On their Myspace page they list their influences as such:

"Maybe not modeled after, but somewhere along the way has had a major impact on our music to date: Tool, Sinch, Sevendust, 10 Years, A Perfect Circle, Our Lady Peace, Tonic, Greenwheel, Mad at Gravity, Breaking Benjamin, Incubus, Dwight Yoakam, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Live, Injected, Cold, Matchbox Twenty, Theory of A Deadman"

Although I don't beleive they're still together, I thought you might want to check 'em out anyway...you can listen to some of their music and check out photos of the band including a few of Brent bashing away on his drum kit...

Wiretap (Myspace)

10/25/03 - 7 Years Ago Today In Minneapolis, MN - G3: Satriani/Malmsteen/Vai

10/25/03 G3 (Satriani/Vai/Malmsteen) @ Minneapolis, MN (Ad)
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

These are a few more of the "I wasn't at this show but my buddy 337 was and he gave me these cool momentos" items from the NYCDreamin Archives. Above, an ad and below a ticket from the Minneapolis date of the 2003 Edition of the G3 Tour that featured Joe Satriani, Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Steve Vai. I was out of town visiting relatives and could not make it to the show. 337 reported that it was an amazing thing to behold and told me I shoulda been there. No doubt about that...

10/25/03 G3 (Satriani/Vai/Malmsteen) @ Minneapolis, MN (Ticket)

7 Songs For Halloween - #1: King Diamond - Halloween

Since it's at the end of the week, we'll do a Halloween-themed song each day until Sunday just for the hell of it. Here's your first one...King Diamond's "Halloween" from his 1986 "Fatal Portrait" LP.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Interview With Imperial Dogs Vocalist Don Waller

The Imperial Dogs, in a rare live shot from around 1974.
(Image via: MrOwster)

About a month ago we ran a piece on the origins of the title "This Ain't The Summer Of Love." Most know it as the title of a Blue Oyster Cult tune from their 1976 LP Agents of Fortune. But the origins of the title go back a bit further than 1976 and B.O.C. We were curious...

Always wanting to know more about a good rock and roll story when we catch wind of one, we asked
Don Waller , succesful writer, cook and the one-time lead vocalist of The Imperial Dogs if he'd mind answering a few questions for us about his days as a wild, boundry crossing, pre-punk frontman on the West Coast back in the early 1970's and what the scene was like there at that time.

NYCDreamin:

First of all Don, thank you for agreeing to the interview. So, back in 1974, you were the vocalist for a band called The Imperial Dogs. Can you tell me who else was in the band and how you all came together? Where were you guys from?

Don Waller:
Aside from myself, The Imperial Dogs were guitarist Paul Therrio, bassist Tim Hilger, and drummer Bill Willett. Tim and I first met in 1964 when we were freshmen trumpet players in the the marching/stage band at North Torrance high school. (Torrance is an independent city of 150,000 people that's located in the South Bay -- which is basically everything south of the L.A. International Airport and west of Long Beach -- suburbs of Los Angeles.) Tim and I had a lot of classes together and we became friends 'cause we were both way into what was then-contemporary rock and soul music. We were big Rolling Stones fans and reading the credits on those albums got us seriously into blues and R&B. And, of course, later we got into all the "underground" music like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the (first) Jeff Beck Group, the Doors, Canned Heat, Big Brother & The Holding Company, the Mothers Of Invention, etc. (KPPC in Pasadena, which starting broadcasting out of the basement of a church for only six hours a day in 1967, was one of the first "free-form" FM radio stations and we used to listen to that religiously.) Plus, we heard all the great rock 'n' roll hits of the '50s as "oldies but goodies" on the radio.

I remember seeing The T.A.M.I. Show movie at the Vista Theatre in nearby Gardena in 1964 and James Brown's performance just blew me away. I'd heard some of his records on the radio, but had no idea he had such an incredible live act. Made me want to learn how to do all those knee drops, screams, and one-footed dance moves. Also seeing the Who playing live -- when ABC-TV's Shindig aired a pair of hour-long shows that they'd taped at the 1965 Richmond Jazz & Blues Festival in England -- and they did their whole break-up-all-the-instruments routine. Well, it just made me want to smash up everything in the house along with them.

Tim and I met Paul two years later when he joined the band as a freshman alto saxophonist . Paul was already a sort of child prodigy, playing with a local big-band called the Esquires, doing gigs at Elks Lodges and whatnot, playing all those classic big-band charts. (The Esquires guitarist was a similarly teenaged Lee Ritenour.) Again, we all shared similar tastes in music and a sense of humor -- there weren't too many people around like us (When the original Jimi Hendrix Experience played the 18,000-seat Forum in nearby Inglewood in 1969, there were only six people from our high school, which had 3,600 students, at the show.) so we became and remained friends. (I saw the Doors with Jerry Lee Lewis opening, and the Stones with Ike & Tina Turner, B.B. King, and Terry Reid opening, in '69 as well.)

After we graduated, I went to U.C.L.A. and Tim went to El Camino Junior College, then to U.C.L.A. Two years later, Paul went to U.C. Irvine, but dropped out after one semester. College life bored us to death, so we decided to form a rock 'n' roll band. Paul had already started playing guitar. Somehow Tim became the bass player and I volunteered to jump around and do the shouty bits. Paul's always been a serious surfer and one of his surf buddies, Ron Vaselenko -- who also went to North Torrance and was starting to learn guitar -- became the rhythm guitarist.

Kenny Johnson, who'd also played trumpet in the North Torrance high school band, had started playing drums, so we first started practicing in garages with him. But Kenny wanted to play more Grand Funk Railroad material and we wanted to do the songs that Paul and I were writing -- and we always did original songs from Day One -- and more back-to-basics rock 'n' roll (Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran) and blues-rock (Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown, Free). So we put up ads at the local music stores looking for a drummer.

Bill Willett, who came from Carson (an independent city that borders Torrance's southeast side), was one of the drummers who answered the ad. He came over to Ron Vaselenko's garage, which had become our practice spot. We were doing the Faces' "Had Me A Real Good Time" back then and he just fell right into the groove, played it perfectly. None of the other guys who'd showed up knew how to play a shuffle! We asked Bill to join on the spot. Thankfully, he agreed. Bill's parents were from Toronto, Canada. They were green-card aliens and Bill was a couple years younger than us. It was kinda like when Michael J. Pollard's character joins up with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie And Clyde: "You guys rob banks? Cool!" This was early 1972.

After a couple of months, we'd written and learned about two hours' worth of material. Paul had started playing slide and harmonica, so we made use of that, too. We called ourselves Sugar Boy after the redneck chauffeur character in Robert Penn Warren's All The King's Men novel. Good blues name. We went out and got some flash clothes -- lots of brightly colored velvets, flowered shirts, scarves, etc. -- and started playing any gigs we could get.

We couldn't play bars 'cause we weren't doing Top 40 covers AND we were too loud AND all the local bars were scary redneck joints anyway. So we played local recreation halls, schools, church functions -- and nobody knew what to make of us 'cause we didn't play anything they knew. We wanted to get people to dance. It was tough. But we did play a great gig at El Camino J.C., which is where future Back Door Man fanzine founder Phast Phreddie Patterson first saw us. (We didn't know him growing up, 'cause although he's from our neighborhood, he went to a co-ed Catholic high school, Bishop Montgomery, on the south side of town.)

There weren't any clubs around, so the main thing that people played was "hall parties." Someone would rent a union or ethnic organization hall under the guise of "Joe & Mary Blow are gonna get married and there'll be a band," and these things would go off until the cops came and shut it down. The biggest local band back then was the Clap (those guys were also from North Torrance high school and most of 'em had been playing together since the mid-'60s as one of the 5, 283 bands who called themselves the Chosen Few, then the Few. They played a lot of Rolling Stones and Alice Cooper songs. (A slightly later version of the Clap would eventually make an independent album of their own material, called Have You Reached Yet? that's become a huge collector's item. When we first heard it, we laughed our asses off 'cause every song is so obviously based on a well-known song. I never bothered to own the record.)

Anyway ... the Clap asked us to be their (unpaid) opening act when they did this gig at the Shamrock Roller Rink in downtown Torrance in December 1972. We didn't know there wasn't going to be a real stage -- just wooden pallets stacked about four feet high and covered in sheets of plywood. When we got up there and started leaping around, everything started moving up and down -- it was like playing in a rowboat! -- and all the cords kept getting caught between the moving sheets of plywood and 'causing guitars and mikes to become suddenly unplugged ... But at least 300 people showed up and -- even though they didn't know who we were -- we went over really well. If we didn't blow the Clap off the stage that night, we at least battled 'em to a draw. Phast Phreddie was there. Ask him.

Paul was then sharing an apartment with his older sister and since I was over there all the time -- and I'd lucked out and received a low enough number in the new draft lottery that I wasn't gonna be sent to Vietnam if I didn't keep my student deferment -- I decided to drop out of college and move in with Paul, his sister, and another of our high school pals at house we all rented in Hermosa Beach. (We met future Black Flag members Greg Ginn and Keith Morris when we were all hanging around one of the local record stores, Rubicon Records, long before they started playing music.)

We got rid of Ron Vaselenko 'cause his mom got sick of us using her garage as a practice space. The police were always being called out for "noise complaints." 'Cause he was an even more limited musician than the rest of us. And 'cause he kept showing up at our house everyday saying, "I've got 35 cents, let's get a six-pack." We also got tired of all the "Stones clones" comparisons and decided to drop most all the blues-based material and changed our name to White Light.

We'd always done a certain amount of what's now called "power-pop" (album cuts by the Who, the Kinks, and the Small Faces, and the Move's "Hello Suzie") as well as things like the Blue Oyster Cult's "Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll, " to which we started adding stuff like the MC5's "Sister Anne," Iggy & the Stooges' "Search And Destroy," and Detroit featuring Mitch Ryder's arrangement of the Velvet Underground's "Rock And Roll."

Then Bill's mom got tired of the noise complaints that came when we started practiced in his garage, so all four of us decided to rent a house together in the "Tijuana Flats" area of Carson where we could practice -- which didn't stop the noise complaints. And after one of these, the L.A. County Sheriffs discovered three week-old pot plants growing in a bowl on a kitchen table and we got busted for "willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously cultivating marijuana." Eight of our friends got busted along with us, so we became known as "the Carson 12." This was the summer of 1973. We quickly left that house -- everybody moved somewhere else -- and the band broke up, but Paul and I decided to continue our musical partnership and after a couple of months of auditioning hoo-yahs who thought the MC5 was one of Einstein's equations, Tim and Bill decided to rejoin us.

Just before we got busted, we'd seen the Raw Power lineup of Iggy & The Stooges play the Whiskey-a-Go-Go and wound up going back night after night. (I personally saw nine of these shows.) This changed our entire way of thinking and we renamed ourselves the Imperial Dogs. (Another of our North Torrance pals -- and yet-another future Back Door Man staffer -- Bob Meyers, came up with the name -- we were going to call ourselves the Plug Uglies, which was a old-time New York City gang; they're in that Gangs Of New York film.) We liked the Imperial Dogs name 'cause it sounded like a gang name, 'cause the Commies used to characterize Western aggression as the actions of "imperialist dogs," 'cause of the oxymoronical high-low cultural connotations, and 'cause it was in the tradition of all those bands who called themselves the Royal somethings or the Fabulous whatevers.

We did our first gig as the Imperial Dogs at Gazzari's (longtime Sunset Strip nitespot) on March 28, 1974 -- and promptly got banned for life 'cause I did a long slow, spread-legged slide down the mikestand and accidentally ripped the crotch out of my jeans which -- since I wasn't wearing any underwear -- exposed my shortcomings. Our failure to immediately vacate the stage sent owner Bill Gazzari's sister into a furious rage and we had to abort the set. We went backstage, I asked some of the girls we knew if I could borrow a pair of underwear and about four or five pairs were dangled in my face -- which is the only time I've ever felt like a rock star, then or since. I picked a pair of hot pink bikini briefs and we went back, finished the set, and got thrown out. (Some outside promoter had booked us into Gazzari's for zero money on the promise that if we did well, he'd hire us to play a big party -- which we knew was total bullshit, but we didn't care, we just wanted to play somewhere.)

NYCDreamin:
How long were the Imperial Dogs active as a group? How many live shows would you estimate your band played during the time it was active? What kind of venues did you play and where? Did you ever open for any larger, more well established bands? What other bands were part of your "scene," your peers locally at the time?

Don Waller:
As I noted, all four members of the Imperial Dogs were in Sugar Boy (which played 15 gigs in 1972) and White Light (five gigs in '73). We played exactly five gigs as the Imperial Dogs between early 1974 and early 1975. Like I said, the first Imperial Dogs gig was at Gazzari's. We didn't play another gig until we did that October 30, 1974 show at Cal State Long Beach -- which was videotaped and turned into that DVD. There were several reasons for this.

One, we needed to get a place to practice -- Paul, Tim and I rented a house in Carson together and we "soundproofed" the garage with fiberglass insulation and carpet remnants that we liberated from dumpsters.

Two, we were writing new material and rehearsing three or four nights a week. (We all had day jobs; I was driving a forklift in a steel mill; Paul was a machinist; Tim worked part-time for the Post Office; Bill was a deli clerk.

Three -- and this is the big reason -- there was absolutely nowhere for a band that did original -- or even unfamiliar -- material to play. Nowhere.

Two weeks after we did that Long Beach gig, we played Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco in Hollywood. We'd read about the scene there and a bunch of us used to drive up from Carson on weekends to go dancing and hear all the Slade, T. Rex, Bowie, Roxy Music, Sweet, Mud, Suzi Quatro, Lou Reed, and Mott The Hoople records that we were way into -- and didn't really hear much on the radio. Rodney told Kim Fowley there were "all these packs of wild girls who follow them [the Imperial Dogs] around" -- which was kinda true, but they were really just our girlfriends and girls we knew from the South Bay -- so Kim was the M.C. that night. Rodney invited Iggy Pop down to see us and he actually showed up, watched us (we've got photos of this), and told people that he'd dug the set and our original tune "The Bad And The Beautiful" in particular. This was November of 1974. I believe the only other acts besides us that ever played a live show at Rodney's were Iggy, David Cassidy, and the Berlin Brats.

Then we played Rodney's a second time. But not until February of 1975 'cause Tim had suddenly quit and we had to replace him with a guy from Carson named Danny Schamber, who'd just left a local band called Atomic Kid. We knew Atomic Kid 'cause the singer/guitarist (Bob Willingham) grew up and rehearsed around the corner from Bill Willett; their drummer (Danny Bruch) was Bill's best friend; their keyboard player (Roger Mashburn) was another guy who'd played trumpet in the North Torrance high school band with us, and their lead guitarist (Eric Sarri) was another Carson guy, but he was only in Atomic Kid for a very short time. We met all those Carson people through Bill. Atomic Kid was doing mostly Bob Willingham's material and he was heavily influenced by Ziggy-era Bowie to put it politely.

We did one more gig after that, opening for a local Deep Purple wannabe outfit who called themselves World War III (which tells you everything you need to know about their imagination) at a Carson hall party in March of 1975. Then Paul walked out .. and that was the end of the Imperial Dogs.

We never opened for anyone of note. Like I said, we couldn't get gigs. Before we played Long Beach, we auditioned for a gig at this place in Seal Beach called the Marina Palace, which was basically this huge quonset hut with a revolving stage so three bands could play immediately after each other and the music never stopped. Once we heard about this place, we drove down there to see what turned out to be a bunch of cover bands. We auditioned on a Sunday afternoon to a room that was almost empty -- except for the friends of all the bands who also were auditioning and a handful of girls who got to decide who passed the audition. Well, they hated us -- mostly 'cause we didn't play anything they knew. It was disappointing. If we would've had any sense, we would've played some covers to get the gig. But we believed in what we were doing and certainly weren't going to compromise. (Atomic Kid actually played there later 'cause their Bowie rip-offs were more palatable or somethin'. I dunno; I didn't see their audition.)
There wasn't a scene. Other than us and Atomic Kid -- who would later mutate into the Zippers and cut a single for the Back Door Man Records label (which was founded by me and BDM staffers Tom Gardner and -- future Angry Samoans member -- Gregg Turner), there wasn't anybody we knew who was doing original material. Even up in Hollywood. And we were some of the few people who'd travel up to the Whiskey or the Hollywood Palladium or the Santa Monica Civic to see bands like Christopher Milk and Sparks, which already had record deals. We saw Stepson open for both of them; they were just a wanna-be Free, boogie-band. We saw Zolar X in 1974; they dressed up like space aliens and were man-discovers-Echoplex awful. We never saw Shady Lady.

But we saw the New York Dolls -- I personally saw 'em five times -- you can see me and Paul and Tom Gardner and some of our other friends standing in line on the street outside the Whiskey, waiting to get in on the first night they played L.A. in Bob Gruen's All Dolled Up movie. (Obviously, we froze every frame of that footage.) Who else? Well, I saw Z.Z. Top, Aerosmith, the J. Geils Band, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Elliott Murphy, and Patti Smith (before she had a record deal), all at their first L.A. shows at the Whiskey. Black Oak Arkansas at the Whiskey, too. Mott The Hoople and the Blue Oyster Cult; Alice Cooper and Howlin Wolf, and Free at the Palladium. The Kinks, the Faces (their first L.A. show -- which was a direct inspiration to us putting the band together), Elton John, Ry Cooder, Derek & The Dominos, the Allman Brothers Band, Slade, Van Morrison, and Kiss at the Santa Monica Civic. The Who at Anaheim Stadium in '70 and later at the Forum with Lynyrd Skynyrd opening. The Stones in '72 at the Forum with Stevie Wonder opening. John Mayall (when Mick Taylor was in the band) at the short-lived Bank in Torrance in '69. The Incredible String Band at the Aquarius Theatre. Frank Zappa and Miles Davis at U.C.L.A. Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley at an 1970 oldies show at the Forum. Mose Allison, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, and Herbie Hancock at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach. Savoy Brown (with Chris Youlden) and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Cal State Fullerton. The original lineup of the Grateful Dead at the Pasadena Civic. Ruben & The Jets at El Monte Legion Stadium. This was all before we started the Back Door Man fanzine in early '75.

So it's not like if there was anyone around who was any good we wouldn't have heard about 'em. It was dire. And once the Whiskey got closed 'cause of a fire there really wasn't any where to play in Hollywood. The Troubadour was all mellow singer-songwriter/country-rock acts; the Roxy was nothing but showcases for bands that already had record deals; the Palomino was strictly Country music; Gazarri's and the Starwood (formerly P.J.'s) were exclusively cover bands.

As for Atomic Kid ... we hung out with those guys, but they never had the balls to play a gig with us.

(Image via: MetalJazz.com)

NYCDreamin:
You have a DVD available on your website, www.TheImperialDogs.com. How did it come about that this show was archived on film? It wasn't exactly cheap or very common for mostly unknown bands to film their shows back in 1974. Tell us a bit about that show.

Don Waller:
Phast Phreddie, Paul, and I became friends when Phast put an ad in the back of Rolling Stone saying he played two trumpets at once and was looking for musicians. It was a local number, so Paul called him up and -- 'cause he was impressed that Paul knew who Albert Ayler was -- Phast came to our Hermosa Beach place and they skronked around a bit. When I came home from work, Phast and I got to talking and we wound up staying up all night playing records. We've been close friends ever since.

A couple months later, Phast and I started teaching an extension (non-credit) night class at U.C.L.A. on rock 'n' roll called "The Loud, The Hard & The Fast." Linda Pascale -- another North Torrance homegirl who we'd never previously met 'cause, like Phast Phreddie, she went to Bishop Montgomery (and she knew him from back then) -- was one of the people who attended this "class." About a year later, Phast brought her over to our house in Carson and she watched us practice. Linda was a student in the honors program at Cal State Long Beach and decided to have us play a gig on that campus, which would be videotaped by the school's film department, and this would be part of her thesis on "death themes in rock 'n' roll."

So Linda got us the gig and got it videotaped -- on this pre-Betamax, half-inch, open-reel equipment. Black and white. Mono sound. Linda -- who's the real heroine of this story -- also had the incredible foresight to buy the tape from the school. Cost her $16 -- more than a semester's worth of parking fees! She gave me the tape afterwards and we rented this huge unit that plugged into a television so we could play it back and watch it. We hated it. And I promptly threw it into a drawer where it sat for about 35 years.

Why? Well ... we promoted the hell out of that show. Designed and printed more 2,000 flyers and blanketed every high school, record store, and music store within 20 miles of the place. Come the night of the show, we discovered that -- owing to the primitive technology at work -- every got-damn light in the room had to be blazing away so the camera could capture anything, so it was hotter than the proverbial Seventh Circle of Hell on stage, the audience felt like they were under surveillance, and we felt like we were playing in a Petri dish, like we were looking down the wrong end of a microscope.

And, while at least 250 people showed up -- 'cause we charged everyone one whole dollar to get in (and we got paid $250 at the end of the night), we didn't know who at least 90% of those people were and they had absolutely no idea what to expect from us. And they just stood there like an got-damn oil painting. It was like playin' to Mount Rushmore. And ... 'cause one whole wall of the room was floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows, the sound was bouncing right back at us, making it impossible for us to play as loud as we would've liked -- we never were able to play a gig as loud as we could practice! -- and creating a steady stream of screeching feedback that only stops when we're drowning it out. AND ... there were also sorts of "wardrobe malfunctions" -- my chain belt broke the second I stepped onstage, and 'cause it was so hot that I'm sweating like a toad from all the jumping around I'm doing and my leather trousers kept s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, I couldn't do all the stage moves I wanted to do and I wound up having serious difficulty remaining clothed. Which was both inhibiting and distracting.

It just seemed like everything went wrong. I always thought it was the worst show we ever did. But we learned a lot from watching the "game films." We dropped songs that we thought didn't work and wrote a bunch of new ones. I also discovered that wearing sunglasses limits your ability to express emotions and communicate with an audience -- and I never wore shades onstage again.

Of course, all these years later any "clams" are less obvious -- and the manic energy, the complete craziness, the forward-thinking of it all are ... remarkable. The band -- especially Bill, who's only 20-years-old at the time -- are playing their asses off.

When I first got the tape digitized, I played it for my longtime galpal (Natalie Nichols, who's also a longtime music journalist, and she fell off the couch laughing three times. I played it for a few friends who were there that night (Phast ,Tom, Linda, future Back Door Man staffer D.D. Faye, Mary Fleener -- who's now Paul's wife, although we didn't know her at the time), the rest of the Imperial Dogs, and some other writers/musicians (Dan Epstein, Byron Coley, Tim Napalm Stegall, Mick Farren, Mike Stax, Nels Cline), and pals (Gary Stewart of Rhino Records fame) whom I know and respect and they were all blown away -- and urged me to make it available to the public.

Here's a tune from the DVD. This one is called "Midnight Dog".






And ... considering the Imperial Dogs were doing all this before the Ramones, Rocket From The Tombs, Radio Birdman, the Runaways, and, of course, all those English punk-rock bands -- and the video is proof-positive that we put all those other so-called "proto-punk" bands in a pipe and SMOKE 'em -- I think the video has a great deal of historical merit (especially 'cause L.A. never gets any credit), the original songs are strong, and the whole thing is far, far better than I remembered. So that's why it's now available.

NYCDreamin:
Did the Imperial Dogs ever make it in to the recording studio? Are there any recordings of the band available out there floating around that people might stumble upon if they look hard enough?

Don Waller:
We never entered a recording studio. There weren't many around -- except in Hollywood. And we didn't have that kind of money or anyone remotely interested in us who would've put up the cashish.

However ... after the Imperial Dogs broke up, Kim Fowley put me in touch with Murray Krugman, who was the co-manager and co-producer of the Blue Oyster Cult. Krugman was in L.A., looking for material for the next B.O.C. LP, so I drove up to Fowley's apartment and played Krugman a cassette of the Imperial Dogs. He asked to see the lyrics to one of our original songs, "This Ain't The Summer Of Love," and took a copy of them with him. A couple months later, Fowley calls me and says the B.O.C. have recorded it for their forthcoming Agents Of Fortune LP -- but Krugman has re-written a lot of the lyrics, and B.O.C. drummer Albert Bouchard has written all-new music, so my share of the songwriting is going to be reduced -- and Fowley wants my share of the publishing for making the deal happen. I've got no problem with any of that.

By the time the B.O.C. album arrives (1976), Gregg, Tom, and I have already started Back Door Man Records -- a spin-off of the 'zine -- so we decided to put the Imperial Dogs' original version of "This Ain't The Summer Of Love" out as a single, with our cover version of the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For The Man" as the B-side.( Since the Imperial Dogs' original version of "This Ain't The Summer Of Love" is a seven-minute, quiet-loud-quiet epic, we wanted a straightforward rockin' flip.) I believe we released it in 1977.

Incidentally, both of these recordings only existed 'cause some friend of a friend showed up at our Carson practice space when we were preparing to play Rodney's the second time (early '75) with the first stereo cassette recorder that any of us had ever seen. We hung the two microphones from the rafters of our practice space and tore though our entire set in order, no breaks, no overdubs, no second takes, nothing. A pure live performance -- with us doing all the movin' 'n' shakin' that we'd be bringing to the stage -- with vocals through our P.A. The sound in the room was well balanced and the performance was tight -- we were pleased -- so whoever that person was let us keep the tape.

About 11 years later, Melbourne-based indie label owner Dave Laing calls noted record collector/writer Ken Barnes from Australia asking about that single. Barnes says the guy who made it works in the office next to him. (Ken and I met though the collector/writer's scene and we'd been working together at the [now-defunct] trade magazine Radio & Records for several years.) I told Dave that I had an hour-long tape from the same session that produced the single as well as an hour-long, live, mono cassette recording of our first show at Gazzari's. I sent him copies of these tapes, he flipped out, and we picked 10 tracks to create an Imperial Dogs LP titled Unchained Maladies: Live! 1974-75, which he issued on his Australian indie label, Dog Meat , in 1989.

It's worth nothing that seven of these 10 songs appear -- in different live versions of course -- on the Imperial Dogs' DVD. The three Imperial Dogs originals that are only found on the LP are "13 Sons Of Satan" and "The Bad And The Beautiful" ('cause we hadn't written those at the time of the Long Beach gig) and "Needle & Spoon," which we'd dropped from the set right after Gazzari's 'cause we thought it was too conventional (!).

About 19 years later ... I got a call from record collector/San Francisco-based indie label (Anopheles Records) owner Karl Ikola, asking if I'd allow him to reissue this LP. I said, OK, but I've got some tracks that were left off the album and I've also got this live videotape that might be interesting.

Once I got the videotape digitized and witnessed the reaction (see above), Karl ran into money problems and couldn't do it. I showed the videotape to a couple of other larger indie labels and they gave me every excuse in the book as to why they couldn't or didn't want to do it. So ... because the sound on the videotape is better 'cause it was recorded to half-inch tape vs. cassette (and it's such a historical document), I decided to do it myself. After all, six of the songs on the DVD -- five of which are Imperial Dogs originals -- don't appear on the LP.
Of course, there are still at least four Imperial Dogs originals -- those three abovementioned songs on the Dog Meat LP for openers -- and at least two really good live covers (Eddie Cochran's "Nervous Breakdown" and Earl Vince & The Valiants' "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite") still in the "vaults." Might be a couple of other things worth issuing as well, but I'd have to give those a serious re-listen/re-evaluation.

People keep asking me to reissue the Dog Meat LP, but I kept telling 'em, "How 'bout we sell these DVDs and prove there's a market for that first?" Besides, I'd rather put together something that uses those songs I just mentioned in the previous paragraph.

NYCDreamin:
What eventually lead to the demise of the Imperial Dogs?

Don Waller:
The biggest factor was the lack of gigs. It's hard to keep going when you're not seeing anything positive coming from your efforts. For a bunch of guys who'd been friends for years, we were still young men who had a hard time communicating with one another when we weren't happy with one another. Paul thought I was taking too much amphetamine (and Paul had 110 pounds of problems of his own) and Tim didn't like feeling like he was caught in the middle of all this -- and, much like Paul and myself, couldn't tell either one of us how he really felt. So, basically, lack of any sort of positive feedback -- including from one another -- and lack of communication on everyone's part wrecked everything. Would've been nice if people could've sat down and said what was bothering them before they walked out, but the bitter truth is, we were all guilty.

NYCDreamin:
Did you go on to play with any other bands after the Dogs split up? What about your former band mates? What did they go on to do after the band split up?

Don Waller:
At first, me, Bill, and Tim added Tom Gardner on guitar and Bob Meyers as co-lead vocalist -- I'd started playing rhythm guitar as well -- and we tried to get something going, but it wasn't working out. Then Bill left to join Atomic Kid. We added another drummer, Dave Bruch -- Danny's brother -- and that didn't work, either. Then we got rid of Tom and tried to find other guitar players and that didn't work. Then I tried to find another band that needed a singer and that didn't work. Then I joined Atomic Kid (by now they were Bob Willingham, Bill Willett, and D.D. Faye's sister, Danielle Faye, on bass/vocals) for a couple of gigs as a rhythm guitarist -- all four of us sang lead in that band -- but I could barely play guitar, wasn't writing any of the material -- I got 16 tons of shite for even playing with them -- and I really didn't enjoy only singing three or four songs a set, so I just walked away from it all.

I sold my guitar, my P.A., and -- with the exception of singing "'Money" with Patti Smith & Lenny Kaye, backed by the guys in the Pop! (who recorded the first two singles for Back Door Man Records prior to their self-titled album on Gregg Turner's Automatic label, the album they did for Arista titled Go! , and the EP they did for Rhino) at the 1978 Back Door Man Third Anniversary party at the Fleetwood in Redondo Beach (the Zippers, who also issued a 45 on Back Door Man Records, and the Pop! were the opening acts) -- I've never sung a note in public since.

Paul likes to forget this, but he did a few gigs playing bass (!) with Eric Sarri, Roger Mashburn, and Danny Bruch in a group they called Prime Evil. Then he walked away to devote his free time to surfing. He hooked up with South Bay homegirl Mary Fleener (nowdays a semi-famous underground comics & gallery artist), they got married, and -- 'cause Mary's also a damn good bass player -- they put together a few short-lived bands that played a couple of hall parties, etc. Then they moved down to Encinitas, California.

In 2002, Paul, Mary, Tom Gardner, and this drummer that Mary found named Rebecca Oleachea put together an outfit they called the Wig Titans and issued an album End Of The World on their own indie label. Three singers, three songwriters, two lead guitars. Helluva record. But they kicked Tom out and Rebecca left town, so nowdays Paul and Mary play together around their hometown under the name the Wigbillies. They did some session work for and played live with Cindy Lee Berryhill for a bit, too. Paul's still one of the best musicians I've ever met -- and he still plays every day. He just has zero tolerance for bullshit, whether it's the music business or other people's.

Tim lost his bass, amp, record collection, and everything else he owned in a house fire in the early-'80s. He hasn't played since.

Like I said, Bill joined Atomic Kid. After I left, they got lead guitarist/vocalist Lou Cammarata -- who came from Baltimore -- and became the Zippers. They did that 45 on Back Door Man Records, opened for everyone from Tom Petty to John Cale, and did five years of scorching live shows and demo after demo, chasing the major label deal that never came. Bill quit when they were making a last gasp EP for Rhino ( produced by former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek; by then they'd changed managers from Danielle's sister, D.D., to Danny Sugerman). The band broke up shortly afterward.

Danielle went on the play with Slow Children and a bunch of other acts. She was also in the short-lived Kim Fowley project known as Venus & The Razorblades (they did one album) and she and Bob Willingham co-wrote "All Right You Guys," which the Runaways covered. Lou recently did a couple of solo albums on his own label.

That Zippers EP is somewhat notable in this context 'cause it contains two songs that I co-wrote with Bob Willingham: "Someday" and "Falling Off The Edge." I also co-wrote a song ("Juke Joint Junglebeat") with another one of Fowley's acts, this swamp-rock guy named Jo Jo Clark, who had an LP (New Hound In Town) on the New Alliance local L.A. indie label. And a song that I co-wrote with Tom Gardner for the Wig Titans ("I'm In Love") was recorded by Tom Alford on his 2008 indie album (Second Foundation).

Paul and I didn't talk for a few years, but we got over that decades ago. Occasionally, he and I and Mary Fleener have gotten together and written some songs. Most recently, just a few months ago. We've actually created a fair amount of very roots-oriented material (blues, soul, rockabilly, etc.) But we live hours apart. I've gotta write for a living and Mary's got her visual art career -- and Paul's gotta go surfin'. (He still surfs every day.) So ...

NYCDreamin:
Backing up a bit, you guys had a song titled "This Ain't The Summer of Love," an original song. Tell me a bit about that song...who wrote it and what is the song about? Then tell us a bit about how it came to be that Blue Oyster Cult ended up recording a song by this title, containing a few lines from your original version but is quite a different song. How did that come about?

Don Waller:
I've already described how B.O.C. came to record the Imperial Dogs' version of "This Ain't The Summer Of Love," which was written by Paul and myself. The song is basically about how the ideals of the late-'60s had curdled into apathy, drug-addled decadence, and a whole lotta lip-service.

We were living in a working-class suburban environment of people who took too much acid and became Jesus freaks, people who thought that just because you smoked pot you were enlightened or cool, and scammers who took advantage of all that. There was a whole lotta "gonna move up to the country get my head together and be mellow" bullshit flying around. And no one wanted to hear any sort of musical expression that wasn't more-sensitive-than-thou, singer-songwriters, so-called "progressive-rock" wank-fests, or really stupid heavy metal with a side order of dungeons 'n' dragons. Meanwhile, Nixon's trying to establish a police state (i.e., Watergate is happening) and American factories are being shut down right and left. I suppose the real message is: "That dream is dead, so wake the fuck up!"

Interestingly, the B.O.C. version of the song has since been covered by the Nomads (under their Screamin' Dizbusters pseudonym), L7, the U.V.'s, Lizzy Borden, and Current 93, and interpolated into Green River's second recorded version of "Swallow My Pride." It's also taken on new life as the title of a book about the crossover between heavy metal and punk by professor Steve Waksman, incorporated into a designer skateboard, and the title of a blog.

NYCDreamin:
What kind of projects are you involved with these days? Anything you'd like to promote?

Don Waller:
Well, just before the Imperial Dogs broke up, Phast Phreddie recruited me to write for this magazine (Back Door Man) that he was creating. I suggested he get Tom Gardner, D.D. Faye, Bob Meyers, and Don and Liz Underwood to write for it as well. And -- after Don and Liz left and Gregg Turner joined and, eventually, these crazy girls (Beth Talbert, Carol Williams, and Lorraine Suzuki) who were mostly graphics people; found us, taught us a lot, and became staff members -- we wound up producing 15 issues in a little more than three years. Eventually we had national distribution with slick paper, spot color covers, and fold-out photo spreads. That ended in 1978.

By that time, I'd attracted a certain amount of attention from my writing and I got a job with a record company, then segued into the world of trade magzines (I've done a lot of writing about the business side of the music business), then consumer magazines and newspapers. I wrote a book on the history of Motown (The Motown Story), chapters in a couple of other books (the L.A. punk-rock history Make The Music Go Bang! and the Lenny Bruce & Lord Buckley chapter in the Rolling Stone Book Of Beats), about 50 sets of album/DVD liner notes blah blah blah. If you go to my biographical entry on the Rocksbackpages site, you'll get a small idea of all the musical stuff that I've written about over the last 30-some years. The Los Angeles Times, Mojo, USA Today, Variety, are some of my best-know credits. A whole lotta print and cyber-pubilcations I wrote for don't exist anymore.

The most recent thing that I'm proudest of writing is the liner notes (and doing the commentary track alongside director Steve Binder) for The T.A.M.I. Show DVD that finally saw an official release -- with the Beach Boys segment restored -- by Shout Factory earlier this year.
And I recently contributed liner notes to this giant boxed set of all the R&B and gospel that was issued on the Specialty Records label from 1946-51. Some astonishing stuff there (about 25% of it never previously available on CD). That should be out by the end of either this year or the beginning of next year. Same goes for liner notes that I recently did for a boxed set of everything issued by the East L.A. label Rampart Records.

I've also written extensively about movies, TV, books, comedy, magic, food and cooking (which is my hobby). I almost never write about music anymore 'cause there's nowhere to write and get paid for it -- and I'm a professional writer, i.e., that's how I keep a roof over my head and put food on my table. I don't have a day job or a trust fund, so I can't afford to write for free. And all you people who think everyone's opinion is equal -- ignoring knowledge, experience, style, humor, and delivering on deadline -- well, you certainly get what you pay for.
As for the future? I dunno. I haven't got a crystal ball. Last time I looked, mine were both flesh 'n' blood.

NYCDreamin:
Ever think about getting the old band back together for a gig or two?

Don Waller:
Well ... Bill Willett suddenly died in November of 2009 (about a month after the Imperial Dogs DVD finally saw the light of day) so that's just not gonna happen. And like I said, Tim hasn't touched a bass in about 30 years. And there's no way in hell that either Paul or myself would even consider doing a gig with a replacement rhythm section or -- PapaLordGod forbid -- as an acoustic duo, both of which would fly in the face of everything we ever stood for. You just can't replace a drummer like Bill; he was so incredibly inventive and aggressive, like a mini-Keith Moon (or Jerry Nolan or Bev Bevan).

NYCDreamin:
Again, Don, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions today. It's always fun to read a bit more about a band from abck in the day that you know virtually nothing about - so many good stories of "how it used to be." Do you have one really great "only in rock and roll" story from the Imperial Dogs days you could leave us with?

Don Waller:
Obviously, I've got loads of stories. Here are two of 'em:

The first time the Imperial Dogs played Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco, one of the people in the audience was our pal, the abovementioned Eric Sarri.(Who can be seen on the DVD dancing with another of our pals, Susan Moncure, and would be dead from an O.D. within five years of that Long Beach gig.) Eric was a good guitar player and a full-time egomaniac who couldn't stand for anyone else be in the spotlight for too long, so Eric agreed to show up at the gig in this wheelchair that we'd liberated in the name of the people from I can't remember where. Eric parks himself in the middle of the dance floor and starts heckling us, calling us fags, telling us we can't play for shite, yelling to play something he knows -- all the crap we heard at every gig we every did. This goes on for several songs.

Finally, we're doing a song called "Lizard Love," which is about sadomasochism, and involves me removing my chain belt and whipping first myself, then the stage, speakers, monitors, etc. Eric keeps heckling, so I jump into the audience and start beating on him with the chain, overturning and tossing him out of the wheelchair. Meanwhile, Eric has concealed a fistful of the same blood and foaming capsules that I used to use to simulate a puking O.D. in the instrumental section of "This Ain't The Summer Of Love" in his mouth and begins to spit blood all over himself, the floor, everywhere. The rest of the audience freaks the fuck out! Half the crowd runs screaming for the exits -- and doesn't come back! They thought it was a actual beat-down!

Here we were just trying to show those Hollywood glitter kids how all their so-called "decadence" was just a pose. (Well, we were also trying to stimulate controversy, press, and word-of-mouth on the street by pulling such an outrageous stunt.) And, of course, it all backfired and we lost half our "audience." Some people might say that's the story of the Imperial Dogs in a microcosm.

As for a second story ... a few months back, Paul, Tim, and I were all together in the same room for the first time in 25 years (Bill had died about six months earlier). A handful of our old South Bay pals -- and a few more recent friends -- are there with us. Everybody's talking at once and we're getting high as Dumbo's crows, which means that Paul wants to play music.
So Paul pulls the $5,400 acoustic guitar that he recently bought with a bonus check out of its case, and -- accompanied by Mary Fleener on acoustic bass guitar -- sits down and proceeds to play the following three songs: Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk" (Paul replicates the lap steel parts with a slide), Thelonious Monk's be-bop standard "In Walked Bud," and Freddie King's classic "Hideaway." That's it. Tim sidles up to Paul and says out of the corner of his mouth: "You've been practicing ... "



Special thanks again to Don for taking the time to tell his story here.

Don't forget to check out TheImperialDogs.com and get yourself a copy of the Imperial Dogs Live! In Long Beach 10/30/1974 DVD - some great California rock and roll recorded 36 years ago this week. See how it used to be done and probably still should be...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

10/24/09 - One Year Ago In Minneapolis, MN - Airborne Toxic Event/Henry Clay People/Red Cortez

10/24/09 Airborne Toxic Event @ Minneapolis, MN (Flyer)
(Images and video via: NYCDreamin Archives)

10/24/09 Airborne Toxic Event @ Minneapolis, MN (Ticket)

Went to this show one year ago tomorrow and never put this video up. I only filmed one song as we were right above the stage on the left hand side and there was a bunch of P.A. equipment hanging right in the way of getting a good shot from where our seats were. I did film this one song though and it sounds pretty good at least. If you ever get a chance to see Airborne Toxic Event I would say make sure you go...a very good live band.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/21/85 - 25 Years Ago Today In Duluth, MN - Petra/Morgan Cryar

10/21/85 Petra/Morgan Cryer @ Duluth, MN (Poster - Top)
10/21/85 Petra/Morgan Cryer @ Duluth, MN (Poster - Bottom)
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Hard to believe it was 25 years ago today that I saw Petra for the second (and final) time on their "Beat The System" tour. Like the previous time I'd seen them, almost exactly a year prior, my Mom agreed to chaperone a van full of my unruly teenage friends to the concert as she was a pretty big fan of the band as well by this time and she seemed to genuinely enjoy hanging out with us kids...for some reason.

Can't say I remember anything about opening act Morgan Cryar, but I remember the Petra show pretty well actually as it was a good concert, definately the coolest thing I'd seen up to that point anyway.

Later in the tour, the band recorded a few shows which saw eventual release in 1986 as a live double-album and VHS home video, both titled "Petra: Captured In Time And Space." Of course, when they were released my Mom made sure I had a copy of both the LP and VHS, which I watched repeatedly as back in those days I didn't really have a huge video library to choose from. I long ago lost track of the VHS and I think I probably sold the vinyl version at some point in the early-mid 90's. A few years ago I picked up a cassette copy for $1.00 at a garage sale and it was really cool to hear it again after so many years. Listening to it made me think of good memories of having a fun time with my Mom at this show. It was one of the last "fun times" we had for a while as things got pretty strained between us during the following couple of years (differences on our ideology of religion) and I eventually moved out, choosing to live with my Father.

At some point in (I think) summer/fall of 1987, my Mom called me one day and told me Petra was playing in Minneapolis and she'd like to take me to the show. So we made our plans and on the day of the show I (being a newly liscenced driver) was allowed to borrow my Dad's old International Harvester Scout and in the early afternoon I set off on the one-hour drive to my Mom's. I made it about 15 minutes out of town and was involved in a car accident, totalling the Scout. After I was taken to the hospital by ambulance they checked me over and found no real serious injuries. My guitar, which was all I was really worried about in those days, also survived the accident intact. I called my Mom from the hospital and explained what had happened and that I would NOT be coming down to join her for the Petra concert. She decided that since I couldn't make it she really didn't want to go alone so she skipped it as well. I never saw Petra again and to my knowledge neither did Mom.

Goodbye & Good Riddance To Taste Of MN

Back in April we ran a piece where we discussed memories of the annual 4th of July weekend festival in St. Paul known as the Taste of Minnesota. We also discussed the fact that after over 20 years as a free festival, the admission policy had changed for 2009's Taste festival, going from free to $10.00 at the gate. Then, last spring, it was announced that for the 2010 Taste, the admission charge would beupped to $20.00 for entry before 4:00pm and $30.00 for admission after 4:00pm. So in just two years time, the Taste went from one of the most loved free summer events in the Twin Cities to a money grab on the part of the events new promoters.

I also said back in April that I thought the new admission policy would be a colossal failure and the Taste of MN would suffer for it.

Well, my predictions seem to have come true. After the 2010 Taste wrapped, the number crunchers went to work and found - SHOCK!!! - that attendance was down over previous years. Late in the summer I began hearing reports that the promoters had lost enough mony on the festival that they were in debt to the city of St. Paul, the St. Paul Police department, and other organizations that had helped organize and run the festival. And now it's made the news - the rumors were true.

From yesterday's Star Tribune:

"Two weeks after severing ties with Taste of Minnesota, St. Paul officials have put out a call for proposals for a new 4th of July celebration at [Harriet Island]."

"International Event Management took over the festival in 2009, and lost money despite updates to the food and musical lineups and admission fees. The company owes the city's Parks and Recreations Department at least $23,652. The company also owes St. Paul police $87,000 for security. In addition, other groups allege they haven't been paid, either."

You can read more about this fiasco here as well:
10/20/20 St. Paul Pioneer Press


All I can do is remember all the good shows I saw at the Tatse of MN over the past 15 years or so, shake my head, laugh a bit and say...

I TOLD YOU SO!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mon Khmer Gigs CMJ In NYC - Debut Album Issued By Daily Vinyl



The debut album from Brooklyn, NYC based indie jazz rock minimalists Mon Khmer was released earlier this year and the band has been garnering some positive press recently just as they prepare to play several important shows as part of the 2010 CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival at various locations around New York City this week. You can catch the band at the following venues over the next few days:

10/21/10 @ Bowery Electric - NYC, NY (Details)
10/22/10 @ PS122 - NYC, NY (Details)
10/23/10 @ Glasslands - Brooklyn, NYC (Details)

The debut album by the group was the first vinyl release this past April from relatively new upstart Daily Vinyl. It's common knowledge around here that my tastes usually run more towards guitar-soaked heavy metal hysterics and unruly punk stylings than the subtle sound textures woven by bands like Mon Khmer, but I'm finding the material contained on this album to be quite enjoyable to listen to.

You can listen to the entire album before buying as well, which is always cool.

Give it a listen (and purchase as a digital download) HERE.
Also available on 12" vinyl from: DailyVinyl.com

More Information on Mon Khmer:
Mon Khmer.net
Mon Khmer (Myspace)

Monday, October 18, 2010

10/17/10 Triptykon/1349/Yakuza/Enshrined @ Station 4, St. Paul, MN

10/17/10 Triptykon/1349/Yakuza/Enshrined @ Station 4, St. Paul, MN
(All images and video: NYCDreamin Archives - except *)

10/17/10 Triptykon /w/ 1349/Yakuza/Enshrined @ St. Paul, MN (Ticket)

10/17/10 Triptykon /W/ 1349/Yakuza/Enshrined @ Station 4, St. Paul, MN

We arrived at the Station 4 about 5:45pm and just a few minutes later the doors opened and they let everyone inside. I should say everyone who was there. When we arrived there were only a handful of people waiting to get in. There were a few more inside already watching a football game or something at the bar, bringing the total number of people in the club to around maybe 50. I was hoping that more people would show up as the evening progressed. We took a quick look at the merchandise booth and both of us decided we liked the Triptykon hoodie design, so we splurged and each got one. It is nearly winter here after all and you can never have enough sweat shirts. I also picked up a copy of Triptykon's latest CDEP "Shatter: Eparistera Daimones Accompanied." You can get your copy when it released on October 26th.

2010 Triptykon Shatter EP




(*Video via: Century Media Records)

We milled around a bit and decided to take a spot right in front of the stage on the barricade. At around 7:30pm the first band, local speed/black-metal unit Enshrined, came out on stage and began to blast away with furious intensity. They reminded me a bit of Kreator in that they're so technical in their playing but fast and tight as hell. Both the Gorgeous one and I were impressed and agreed when they finished up that they could have played a bit longer. I think the only thing I really didn't like about this band is that the growled vocals came off as kind of rediculous and forced. Other than that...great band.

After a very brief equipment change, Chicago's Yakuza was up next with a very short set. They started playing and the next thing I know, after only the 2nd song, they're announcing they're done. I didn't really notice any problems but I heard later that the guitar player was having serious equipment issues and time didn't really permit a fix so they just cut their set short. What they did play was sure interesting: a mix of sludge metal with horns - resulting in something that I would call "No-Wave Metal," kind of noisy and definately not to everyone's taste to be sure. I thought it was pretty cool and interesting and definately unique - it's nice to see bands that can find such a unique sound all their own.

*After the show was over, I managed to snag setlists off the drum riser from one of the crew guys. I was hoping for just a Triptykon setlist but I got 1349's as well, so that was cool. I guess. OK, not really.

Next up was the band that I was dreading seeing. I'm not a big fan of 1349 and their "we are the sons of Satan himself" act. It seemed like it took them an eternity to play the following songs...

10/17/10 Triptykon /w/ 1349 @ St. Paul, MN (1349 Setlist)

Yeah, you know that classic "Maggot Fetus...Teeth Like Thorns,".

Right?!?

Everybody sing along...

AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!
AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!
AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

It was really bad. I've seen bands like this be that bad before and it's kind of annoying and sad all at the same time because they are really taking themselves seriously and I just can not. We stepped out of the main room and went over near the bar and tried to enjoy a few cold sodas but the incessant aural assault from 1349 percluded us any enjoyment. Then I went out and had a smoke. Then I had another one. I could still hear the band outside on the sidewalk. Reluctantly, I rejoined the Gorgeous One inside at one of the few tables in the bar side of the club and after what seemed like an eternity in hell, which was only actually about 60 minutes, 1349 finally ended their set and went away. We joined in the applause...but not for the same reason others were applauding though. We clapped because they were done.


The Station 4 was a bit more filled up by this hour, maybe 200-300 people were in attendance now. We immediately went back into the main room and found a spot as close to the front of the stage as we could for the evening's main event...Tom G. Warrior and his new band Triptykon. I couldn't stop smiling anticipating what we were about to witness over the course of the following hour. The set change over was short, maybe 20 minutes. The lights dimmed and a few minutes later the band Decibel Magazine has called "the heaviest band on earth" walked out on stage.

And it began...

10/17/10 Triptykon @ St. Paul, MN (Setlist)

...a slow dirge intro. Followed by a blast of sound so thick you could cut it with a knife. The first Celtic Frost song I ever heard in my life way back in 1985...

Crucifixus (Intro)/Procreation Of The Wicked




Followed by the ferocious lead track on the band's well received recent CD Eparistera Daimones...

Goetia




Circle Of The Tyrants




During one of these songs around mid-set, there was some sporadic moshing going on. Then this one guy was getting a bit too crazy and a guy near me grabbed the guy when he came running at him and grabbed him by the throat and started choking him pretty violently. A few other guys pulled him off and the offender ran off to the other side of the pit - if you could call it that. The moshing was pretty limited and half-assed as it seemed most people just wanted to stand and watch and enjoy without being jostled around. Oh how the times have changed. I guess alot of us are just too old for that mosh pit shit these days...

Abyss Within My Soul




One of my personal Celtic Frost favorites...

The Usurper




And at this point in the show began the epic...30 minutes of "Synagoga Satanae" & "The Prolonging" that would eventually bring the show to a close.

At this point, I suggest you take a bathroom break, go grab a soda and some chips and then come back and sit back and enjoy the undeniable black sonic power of Triptykon!

Synagoga Satanae (Part 1)




Synagoga Satanae (Part 2)




Synagoga Satanae (Part 3)




The Prolonging (Part 1)




The Prolonging (Part 2)





...and as quickly as they'd appeared, they were gone. Just over an hour of world class heavy metal destruction from Warrior, Santura, Slajh and Lonhard. Absolutely amazing show - makes one not grieve the loss of Celtic Frost so much as that legacy surely continues with this new project.

It would sure be nice to see Triptykon return to US soil next spring with a much longer setlist and a better support band than 1349, but for now Tom G. Warrior's musical legacy rolls on like a 10-ton sledgehammer of brutality and he is without a doubt, right now, at the top of his game and his brilliantly talented new band members are helping him to realize the extent of just how heavy heavy music can really be. And it can be pretty fucking heavy.

10/17/10 Triptykon @ St. Paul, MN - Stage just afert show ended.(03)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10/14/10 Jason & the Scorchers Kickin' Ass In Minneapolis

10/14/10 Jason and the Scorchers @ Minneapolis, MN (Ad)
(Images & Video via: NYCDreamin Archives)

10/14/10 Lee's Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis, MN

About a month ago we received an email from our fellow blogger and music lover Karate Boogaloo over at Stupefaction. He informed us that it may be our best interest to check out Jason & the Scorchers when they hit Minneapolis on October 14th. I'd heard of this band for many years but had never actually heard them and SHAME ON ME!! So, curious, I checked out Youtube. After just a few videos I knew he was right and I emailed him back and said we would indeed be going to check out this great band when they played here.

The show was this past Thursday night at Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis. We arrived around 8:30 pm and lingered around ouside for a few minutes while I finished up a smoke and took a few photos. We went inside and walked up to the bar and ordered 2 Sprites. The guy tending bar and the guy sitting on the stool closest to us looked at us like we were from Mars. I repeated myself... "Yeah...2 Sprites. And a bag of those Cool Ranch Doritos." We paid for our bevereges and found a still vacant table near the stage. We had a great view and settled in and waited. The Lee's website said the show was at 9:30. The print ad (see above) said 9:00pm. 9:00pm came and went and it was soon 9:30pm...which also came and went.

About 9:45 the band came out, jumped up on the small stage and with no hesitation kicked right in and started off rockin. I didn't turn on the camera for the first two songs so those are missing here. We start off here with the 3rd song of the show, which I didn't catch the title of...





Fear Not Gear Rot




Gettin Nowhere Fast




At this point in the show the band brought out their special guest Stacie Collins. Instead of playing an opening set, she comes out during the Scorchers set and does a few songs with the band, which includes in the lineup, Stacie's husband, bassist Al Collins. She's quite talented and really belts out her vocals with an unabashed style. She can also play a mean harmonica.

/W/ special guest Stacie Collins




After that song, Jason left the stage...coming over and sitting at a table right next to us. He sat down and watched as the rest of the Scorchers and Stacie Collins proceeded to really rip shit up for the next few songs, which I unfortunately didn't get on video. Since Jason sat down so close to us I got a bit nervous that he might see me filming and tell me to shut off the camera and I really didn't want to risk that so I just shut it off and waited. I think he sat out 2 or 3 songs and then soon Stacie Collins was saying her thanks to the crowd and the band and getting back off the stage. Jason jumped back on stage with his band at that point and the show continued on...

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait




I Can't Help Myself




(Title N/A)




Mother Of Greed




Deep Holy Water




The band was really kickin' ass by this point but was time for them to take a break. They announced they would play one more song then take a fifteen minute break...but they left on a high note...leaving everyone wanting more.

Got It Goin' On




After about fifteen or twenty minutes the band returned to the stage and started right back in where they left off. By this time it was around 11:30pm and The Gorgeous One and I both had to work the following morning so we began discussing how much longer we'd stay as we had a longish drive home as well. So we agreed we'd stay for 3 songs of the 2nd set and then we'd leave. Neither of was was really thrilled about the fact we had to leave before the show was over beacause we were really enjoying ouselves but sometimes you gotta leave the party early I guess and this was one of those occasions unfortunately. The 2nd set sounded like it was gonna be great, starting off with...

Bible & A Gun




(Title N/A)




Golden Ball And Chain




...and that was the 3rd song of the 2nd set, so we reluctantly pulled on our jackets and stood up to leave as the band continued to play on to an enthusiastic packed house at Lee's. I'm guessing they played for probably another 45 minutes or so and I really wish we could have stayed...we were having a great time. As we're walking out he door The Gorgeous One walks right into none other than...Stacie Collins. J. tells Stacie that we enjoyed her set with the band and she was very friendly and shook our hands and made sure we knew her name again and told us to make sure to check out her website. It was a brief but friendly exchange and she was on her way back inside Lee's and we were, unfortunately, on our way home.


Many thanks again to our friend Karate Boogaloo for suggesting this great evening out and for turning me on to a band I should have heard years ago.