What with the madness that is the end of the year there were some EP’s and some pretty good singles that hit us late on that we didn’t want to ignore and so we are here with a little extra crimbo treats for you good people who still believe in Rock n Roll. So as 2018 fades into the distance and we all look forward to 2019 we leave this neat little pile under the tree for your listening and viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Darrell Bath & Los Tupper – Rocking The Streets (Sunthunder Records) Alright let the festive season begin. Sneaking in at the last knock of 2018 this cheeky three-track CD single hit the doormat just in time. Featuring Los Tupper & Mr Bath recorded in Spain it’s exactly what it says on the tin – ‘Rocking the street’. it’s just a very handsome 12 bar rock ‘n’ roll number done with style and a touch of class which we’d expect nothing less from Bath and Los Tupper.
Some lovely slide walking right over this bit of boogie it’s what every Crimbo party needs. It’s loose and sleazy and an excellent tune. Whilst ‘Hand Of Mercy’ is a different beast altogether, a more laid back track with Bath crooning on top of some lovely swirling Hammond courtesy of the Tupper boys. I wouldn’t want to give Mr Bath a big head but this could easily have fallen off a Ronnie Wood record when he was at his peak and be one of the standout tracks for that matter. Then tucked up nicely is ‘Hold Me Close’ is loose and a lovely tip of the hat to the one and only Mr David Essex. What a cool record glad it got to me in time. Cheers me dears! it’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll but I do like it. www.sunthunder.net
Lester Greenowski – let’s Get Fucked Up (Tornado Ride Records) songwriter Lester Greenowski, he of The Crybabys and Honest John Plains band is coming out with a brand new single “Let’s Get Fucked Up” on the 25th of December 2018. The single will be available on all the major web stores and precedes the release of his second solo effort “Out of Tune, Out of Key” out in 2019 on Tornado Ride Records. You know its gonna rock you know it’s gonna roll you know you want it so when you’ve finished stuffin’ the bird go online and click the links to pick up this festive cracker.
The Rizzos / Top Nachos – Split (King Pizza Records) Of course they’re from Brooklyn NY. They ply their rock n roll trade on the mean streets of the big apple and turn in a melodic garage slab of rock n roll where the amps are set to howl and the vocals courtesy of Meg are sugar sweet and lull you into a false sense of security before the noise breaks through. Two tracks are on offer from The Rizzos and pretty damn good they are too. ‘Bless This Mess’ leading the way with a thumping bass line and a neat tempo – pick of the pack for me right there.
As for Top Nachos contribution, well, ‘Fast’ is um, fast. It’s tuneful and rapid and LoFi and then it’s gone. Noisy and punk as fuck. I like it. The pick of the two is ‘Getcha’ with its Misfits like melody and a top tune it is too. rounding off a really good split EP and another two bands we’ll put into our little black book to remember to check out over the coming months and weeks to see if they have anything else released and we feel you should follow suit.
The Night Screams – Stuck EP (King Pizza Records) Wow another day another new band hits the RPM death decks and this time The Night Screams also on King Pizza Records and also from Brooklyn NY are down and dirty scuzzing around in the whole garage punk action rock scene and writing some really impressive tunes. Five song EP in less than ten pulsating minutes we absolutely endorse that and from the moment ‘The Road I Run’ crashes in we nod our approval. The sound is like these were recorded in a garage from the primal stomp of ‘That Look’it’s not about a slick production job its all about the tunes and there are five of them to band against your eardrum right here. ‘Big Picture’ sounds like the Hives without the sharp suits and the closing song ‘Freedom Of Choice’ is the longest and possibly the pick of the bunch here as it drives past some Devo meets Iggy and ends up with some duelling guitars through the feedback its a really good song and the more I play it the better it gets so why not take a chance and check out The Night Screams I’m glad I did.
Demons – ‘Bad Neighbourhood’ (Lux Noise) Wow another we didn’t see coming. Hot on the heels of their collaboration with RPM fav Jeff Dahl Demons knock out two new songs on our favourite Swiss label. Its a strong song that leads the way and packs a pretty mean punch from the barking guitars on the riff to the solo that leads into the gang vocals on the chorus its street punk rock and its an excellent single. The B side is a bastardised classic ‘I’d Much Rather Be With The Girls’ and we like that – of course its good, its sloppy rock n roll kids and it’s gone. Two songs one single just pick it up folks you know you want to! its only rock n roll and we like it!
PELLE MILJOONA OY – Anna Soihtusi Palaa (Stupido Records) I apologise in advance as my Finish isn’t as good as it should be and neither is my translator anyway, there are a couple of names connected to this that made us sit up and take notice and we think therefore its only fair that we should tell you good folks out there all about Andy McCoy and Sami Yaffa playing on some excellent new songs together. the lead track ‘Anna Soihtusi Palaa’ is a banger – we kid you not. McCoy’s guitar noodlings are all over this and it sounds fantastic. I haven’t a clue what its about but rock n roll doesn’t have barriers with language because we should all be singing off the same page and this lead track is most excellent.
‘Hei Hei Hei’ has a familiar feel to its opening riff that will be music to many peoples ears and the song has a bag of energy all the way to its rocking chorus. On closer inspection of the CD I did ask myself wow, could I pull off those strides Andy is wearing? I came to the conclusion that apart from Andy and possibly Ali ba ba nobody outside of Alladin could and that’s what makes him so special. The closing song ‘Olen Unessa’ is a fine way to finish a curious EP that I rather enjoyed to be fair despite the language barrier. Check it out folks.
OK seeing as its Christmas we thought we’d treat you all to a couple of festive related videos that have just been released for the Holiday season. We begin this visual wormhole with Mad Caddie and their seasonal offering out on ‘Fat Wreck Chord –
wonk unit – Christmas in a crack house (Cadiz Music) it doesn’t really need an explanation does it? its Alex Wonk and the rest of his unit with their seasonal offering from the most excellent ‘Terror’ album seasons greetings to you all and as a gift from them to us to you here is the rather soppy video for their limited edition red vinyl single ‘Christmas In a crackhouse’ don’t do it, kids, they did it so we don’t have to’
How about as its the season of giving we point you in the direction of some Free music? Yeah! can I get a Hell Yeah? well click the link and pay the Rum Bar a visit and let Lou introduce you to some of the excellent bands he has signed up on his rather splendid label. this free track is Nat Freedberg and the track ‘Devil Rockin Man’ you know it makes sense and it’s going to be good so what are you waiting for?
Kris Rodgers & The Dirty Gems – Every Little Crack (Wicked Cool Records) some of you will be familiar with Kris when he toured the UK as part of Scott Sorry awesome band and he also helped tinkle the ivories with Rich Rags on some Role Models tunes and also his album released on rum Bar records. Well, Kris is back in the hood with this spellbinding slab of rock and roll complete with some Stones like riffage and horn stabs that lift this belter into the realms of if the house party needs spicing up this Christmas then put this on and let’s trash the place. Its only rock n roll folks but boy do I like it. flip this bad boy over and those ivories get tinkled as Kris dishes out some mighty fine Rock n Roll in the shape of ‘All I Wanna Do’. Hey, Rodgers, we salute you-you rock my friend and this is a big as possible smiling slab of good time music that makes you glad to be alive.
Midnight Towers – All The Songs (self Release) Well this one slipped through the cracks released back at the end of October it will interest quite a few of you readers I guess if we mentioned Ex-members of The Black Halos, The Spitfires, Darlings of Chelsea, Kill Cheerleader, Die Mannequin, Wasted Again, Electric Blood, CJ Sleez, Red Hot Lovers, and more. you might be sitting up right now. well, this is a four-track EP full to bursting with plenty of Action Rock and Roll and right from the opener ‘Heartbreaker’ you know what you’re getting here. Zero bullshit just straight up punk attitude rock and roll. ‘Ride WithMe’ is a departure, Nah, it’s not, of course, it’s not. It’s more on the money riff-a-rama rock with added one-fingered piano tonking that would make Iggy and The Stooges blush seeing as they invented it. They even turn up the heat on ‘Crazy For You’ this would be the dogs danglies live I bet. Beefed up 12 bar riff all the way to the chorus and then you’re done. Oh, they do cram in a brief breakdown before the soaring solo – wickedly good rock n roll folks trust me. Just click the link and make the purchase they even saved the best til last as ‘Stuck In My Brain’ comes out swinging. Love it!
To finish off the singles and EPs of 2018 we thought we’d leave you with this lovely slice of punk.
Rat Cage – Night Of The Rat (Kids Of The Lughole) Every now and then its good to cleanse the soul with a slab of hardcore that just kills it dead. No fucking about just blunt trauma force that hits you square on the head and doesn’t relent for its short lifespan. Well, Rat Cage will certainly fit that bill two tracks on this single ok so they’re no Pizzatramp potentially prog in length compared but they more than make up for it with their attitude and delivery as they absolutely pulverise you with punk rock hardcore. Fucking champion stuff. ‘Night Of The Rat’ lulls you in then Bang! we’re off! just pick it up its angry – shouty and fantfuckintastic.
It would also be a dereliction of duty if we didn’t give you the new video from Jayne County to round up an awesome 2018 so as one year ends we sign off with ‘IgenderTy’ and look forward to what 2019 will offer in the 45rpm catagory and what great videos will also get delivered. Chow for now
Steve Conte is a man who needs no introduction. When he’s not tearing up stages around the world with Michael Monroe, he’s touring with his own solo band, playing early Faces songs with Blues Deluxe or jumping on stage to guest with legends anytime he has a glimmer of free time in his busy schedule. Oh, I forgot to mention, he’s also a former New York Doll. Pretty cool huh? I caught up with Steve in early November about all things gear and what’s going on in his world. This comes with a long-read disclaimer but strap in and enjoy the ride. Hope you have as much fun reading it as I did having this conversation!
Hey Steve, thanks for taking the time out to speak with me today. We’ll be having a chat about what gear you use to make noise in your various projects,
My pleasure. So, it’s kinda like that show, Rig Rundown you see sometimes on Youtube, have you ever seen that?
Yeah, I’m a big fan.
What bugs me about that thing is that they never get the actual player, they always get like the guys tech. I mean unless I’ve only seen, you know like the Brian May or the Keith Richards where they talked to the tech. Do they actually talk to the player themselves or is it always the tech?
Sometimes, but it depends on the player. You normally find that it’s the bigger players who tend to get their techs to take over.
Oh yeah, I can’t be bothered (laughs)
I did see one recently where Joe Bonamassa did his own so sometimes the bigger players will.
Yeah, he seems like a real down to earth guy.
You’d be surprised actually, watching some of them, how some of those guys don’t know anything about their gear. I was watching one with the Def Leppard guys recently and Vivian Campbell was telling them that he didn’t actually know what was in his rack, he just used it.
Wow, yeah it is Def Leppard. I bet he knew back in the day what he used. Def Leppard is like a touring machine now, you know?
Yeah exactly. He just shows up every day and gets on with it. Right let’s get down to business.
Awesome, just so you know, I have two different, completely different, setups on each side of the ocean.
Great, that’s good to know. I was going to ask if you had different setups for different countries. I think a good place to start is with the guitar side of things. What would you say your number one is at the moment?
Um, well again, both sides of the ocean have a different setup. When I play with Michael Monroe over here and in Europe, I leave two guitars over here permanently, two of my later period Gibson guitars since I’m a Gibson artist. Also, I’ve been working with Hagstrom lately who’ve been very nice to me, neither companies ask for exclusivity. So, you know, I promote both whenever I can. I use completely different instruments by both companies. I have tons of Gibson’s at home that I’ve been buying and getting from them, since my first electric guitars when I was a kid. When I was 12, I got a Gibson 12 string Melody Maker, which is very rare. I still have it. I tend to hold on to almost everything I’ve ever had. I think I’ve only gotten rid of two or three really good guitars in my whole life. Then I regret it. I regret all of them deeply.
Here, right now I’m on tour with Michael Monroe in Finland and we’re coming over to the UK next week to do some dates with the MC5 for the MC50th anniversary tour. I’ll be using what I keep over here, which is my 2005 Gibson Les Paul Supreme, which is a bit of a thicker Les Paul Body, but it’s chambered inside so it’s a little bit lighter, but not much lighter. It’s beautiful, white, well, it used to be white anyway (laughs)
I remember seeing you use that with the Dolls. I think maybe about 2009.
Yeah, yes that was my go-to guitar. The story behind that guitar is, before I was like an official Gibson artist. I was just borrowing things from them and, you know, they were sort of trying the relationship out, so I’d have to like go into the Gibson showroom in New York City and sign a waiver, to get the guitar out of there. So, I took that guitar out a number of times and one time I went a little bit crazy on stage and kind of threw it and smashed it and they made me buy it (laughs). I wasn’t expecting to buy a guitar, at least they gave me the artists price on it.
That’ll take the edge off it for sure.
Yeah, but, it’s a $5,000 guitar, I mean I paid about half but that’s how I came to own that one and I was using it a lot.
I’ve also got a red, cherry 62 reissue SG that I’ve mainly been using because it’s just a lot lighter than the Les Paul. I mean it’s also a bit thinner sounding. I always have to roll a little bit of the treble off on the bridge pickup. I just kind of as a rule, just keep the treble dialed down to about eight just to take the trebly edge off because one of the major problems that I always find is trying to use two different guitars in the same rigs.
I mean, even when you’re playing with two Gibsons, I mean forget it, like at home in New York, which I’ll get into my stuff over there, I have Danelectros and Fenders and Juniors and, you know, P90’s and single coils. Try going from, a humbucker to a single coil to a P90 to a lipstick, on the same gig. You really should have like four different EQ pedals on the floor to compensate for each guitar. Anyway, I’ve been using the SG the past few years with Michael because it’s lighter and it’s still got the humbucker and a more beefy sound than a Junior. Well, actually, I did bring my Junior out recently. I have two Juniors. I have two vintage Juniors. I have a 1960 and 1959 double cutaway with one P90. I plugged that Junior into my rig and it was so fucking loud. It was louder than the SG, but not in a pleasing way. It was like a honky loud, at least through the rig that I was using, which I’ll get into in a minute. So, I had it over here for some reason, I can’t remember why, and it was just unusable. I tried it on one song and they said, hey, you know what, just leave it in the rack, I won’t use it. So those two guitars are the guitars that use over here on the tour.
Even when I do my own tours I used to leave a double gig bag over here, that I would put the two guitars in and when I would leave Finland for the Summer, I spend my summers in the Netherlands, I would go over there and I’d bring the guitars with me and then I do my own touring in the Netherlands and I’d come to England, France and Belgium. But lately I’ve been using that bag at home and we got this giant road case that we put all the guitars in, so I don’t really use my own guitars for my own tours. I borrowed my bass players Les Paul. He’s got cherry burst. So, that’s a long answer to your question, over here I use Gibsons and that’s another story on the other side of the Atlantic.
Do you find that sometimes the single P90 can be a limit, tonally speaking, or do you find that having the single pickup is beneficial because it makes you make quick decisions about your tone in the moment?
It totally depends on the music. The stuff with Michael is a lot more high octane. So, I would get lost in the sauce if I had a single coil. I can’t really use a sensitive guitar, you know what I mean? It’s not, a Fender Jaguar gig.
So, the humbucker is more suited for Michael and the guys on the other side of the stage pretty much always used humbuckers because as well. Rich Jones has been using Epiphone Vikings, which are great. It’s a 335 sort of semi hollow thing. Also, Dregen used 335s when he was in the band. Ginger, when he was in the band, he was playing a Tele, but it was sort of a Frankenstein. I don’t think it was the traditional Fender. It might have been a Schecter or something.
For my own stuff, and when I was with the Dolls of course, that’s a good gig for the P90 and I also used the Les Paul with that too. I find with my own stuff, if you’re playing rock and roll, you don’t need to ever get jazzy with the front pickup or mellow, the P90 is fine, you know what I mean? Most of the tonal variations you can get by stepping on a stomp box if you want a little more drive or with your finger or your, your pick, you know.
I should also mention over here on this latest tour, we’ve been doing a little acoustic set in the middle and I’ve been using the Hagstrom Grand Auditorium Acoustics, which are nice. So, I’ve got some Hagstrom acoustics out here. What I have from Hagstrom, back home is a really nice baritone guitar and a jazz guitar and a bass. So, like I said, I have different instruments from the two different companies, so it’s not really competing. Yeah, absolutely.
Have you got any other gems in your collection outside of the Gibson and Hagstrom guitars? What else is hidden away in the archive?
Well, I’d have to tell you about all Gibson’s first of all, because I have three Melody Makers, all sixties. I have that one I mentioned before, the 12 string. I’m not sure of the year of it. It’s probably about a 65. It’s shaped like an SG style guitar, but it’s a 12 string with the long 12 string head stock, of course. It’s got those weird plastic, sort of a single coil pickups and not a regular toggle switch, but a little black plastic, sort of square, how do I describe it? It’s sort of a square button that sort of moves three positions in a slot. I can’t remember the exact name for them. It’s pretty rare guitar. I don’t ever take that out on the road, that’s one of my gems.
I also have another mid-sixties Melody Maker, which is like the shape that I just call it the Joan Jett shape. I don’t know what else to call it, but it’s that one. And then I have one that’s a little bit slimmer than that. And I guess different years they sort of change the shapes of Melody Makers. This one is starting to get closer to a Junior sort of shape. I’ve seen a lot of them that are like tobacco sunburst, but this one, I saw it in a music store when I was playing with the Dolls and I said, that’s got to be mine. It’s pink with a white pearloid pick guard and two humbuckers. So, it’s, you know, it’s a Gibson neck and body from the sixties, but it’s been totally hot rodded. So, I have those three Melody Makers. I have two Juniors, a 1959, all original in cherry red that I got from Chris Bedding. I really don’t take that one out, but I do use my 1960 that I’ve painted white and put the tortoiseshell pickguard on. That’s kind of my main guitar around New York.
Then, I have a three P90 loaded Non-reverse Firebird. Uh, let me just go through my Gibson’s in my mind. Oh, my 1970 Black Les Paul Custom, which was a fretless wonder. I put some decent size frets on it and now that’s kind of my main Les Paul. So, relating to New York, I’d go back and forth between the Les Paul and the 60 Junior and I have a 1962 Olympic White Fender Strat. It has a gorgeous neck. That’s like my go to single coil and a 1967 Telecaster, but that’s been refinished. It’s got a B-Bender, Hip Shot Drop D tuner, the whole rig on it, which is very convenient. So, those are like my more sensitive guitars and I have a Danelectro DC2, I think. Whatever the one Jimmy page used was.
I was gonna say is that the Jimmy Page one?
Yeah, it’s that one, but it’s an original 59. I’ve played some of the newer ones and you know, they’re okay. This is the real deal.
That seems to be the magic year for guitars, 59.
I played a real 59 Junior at a trade show a couple of months ago and it was just incredible. I own a seventies one but yeah, the 59 is something else altogether.
Oh yeah. Well, I guess it doesn’t really apply to the Danelectro because it’s not even real wood, but, probably the electronics and parts and everything where also being made a little better back then. I don’t have many new guitars. Oh, I also should mention I have a 1977, ES335. That was, that was my main guitar for a long time. It’s in a, sort of natural wood finish. I think that might be it for the electrics. Um, what else? Unless I forgot something. Then I have some acoustics as well. A Gibson Hummingbird, A Gibson J160E and Martin D-18 and I have a really cool Airline Resonator the I use for dobro and slide stuff and um, that might be it.
Great, nice to see a very vintage orientated collection. So what about amps? I know you’ve been using Blackstar for quite a while live. Do the Blackstar amps get used in the studio too, or are they just for live use?
Well, it really depends on who you’re working within the studio. When I made my International Coverup Record, I don’t know if you remember that one, where I did the covers, I used my Blackstar Artisan in the studio, because I did that in the Netherlands and thats the amp that I have over there, that’s my, like my go to amp, I just leave it there and when I tour over here with my own bands, I use that. It’s sorta like a Vox AC30 with more balls and more bass. So, I used that in the studio to make that record. Horns and Halos , if I remember, we were using a producer who I actually can’t name because his name is not on the album, but we had a bunch of amps in there and you know, Dregen was using his Fender Supersonics and the Blackstar just totally didn’t work with that so we ended up using Marshall and you know, I’m easy. I don’t say, hey man, I have to use this amp because I endorsed them. I mean, if it sounds right and it sounds great for the music, we use it, you know. And if it doesn’t, oh well. So, yeah, we ended up not using it there. I was using this HT-Venue series that Blackstar had given me for the road. I guess I’ve been using probably for five years or so and it just was not cutting it. I use these really heavy earplugs that have 15dB attenuation, so I can’t hear a fucking thing once I put them in. I have my monitors blasting and, as it turns out, the amp hadn’t been sounding very good and I wasn’t aware of it.
So, I asked Blackstar if they could give me another choice. They sent me an Artisan that they had made for Jeff Beck. It was a unique 50 watt Artisan head, but it had no master volume. It was so fucking loud. It was unusable, so I tried that for one gig and I couldn’t use it but then they just sent me these new HT-Venue MKii amps that are so much better than the original versions. They just have less of that mid range honk and more bottom end, and they just distort very nicely. I’m pretty happy with that. I’ve been using that on this whole tour and when I come to England next week, I suppose there’ll be one there waiting for me as well. That’s my Blackstar story, but I started with them back in, oh God, it must’ve been, I guess the end of the early 2000s, maybe 2007 or 2008 or something.
Yeah, that’s about the time they came out I think so I guess you’ve been there pretty much since the beginning.
Yeah, since the beginning. The first thing, even before I had an amp, I had these pedals that they were coming out with. These tube pedals, are you hip to those?
Yeah, I have some of those in my studio.
So that’s the first thing they gave me. They actually sent me one to New York and I was like, wow, it’s really great. Then they sent me another one. There’s like two different ones. There’s one with like a channel switching. So, if you ever showed up somewhere and it was a total crap amp, you know, you can just plug this tube pedal in and you can have two different tube amps. And then, it wasn’t until I started playing over here and I used the amps the first time that I discovered that they also made amps. So that’s Blackstar, and then when I’m home, I mean when you play clubs in New York, a lot of times it’s such a hassle to like bring your own shit that you ended up playing clubs that have a backline already. So you’re kind of at their mercy, unless you want to cart your own shit all over the place, which is very difficult in New York City. You end up sometimes just using a crappy amp that they have there so you really gotta bring your own pedals to compensate. If I do use my own stuff, I have a vintage 1962 AC30, a non top boost. I have a band called Blues Deluxe. We do all the old Jeff Beck group, Faces and solo Rod Stewart tracks, like early years stuff and I’ll use that amp. Then I have a 67 Marshall Plexi that is just killer. It’s a killer 100w, super tremolo that actually used to belong to Peter Frampton. He ran his Leslie rig off it on Frampton Comes Alive. I got it from a tech and it’s an amazing amp.
I can imagine. You can’t go too far wrong with a plexi.
Nope! I also have a vintage Marshall 4×12 cabinet from the 70s. When I’m on tour I have techs and guys that move the gear and everything. If I’m by myself and I’m going to do a gig in a club in Manhattan, I’m not dragging a Marshall half style myself you know? So sometimes that just gets used in the studio when I make my records.
That’s exactly the reason why I stopped using big amps all the time because you just don’t want the heavy lifting, and you realize there’s so many great smaller amps and, you know, great combos that you could just easily carry yourself and not need to take the 4×12 and big Marshall head.
Yeah, I’m actually looking for a small taxi cab amp, you know, one I can just grab with one hand, and you know, throw in the back of a cab. But, if you want a tube amp, I mean even those little guys are still pretty heavy, you know?
Yeah absolutely. I work with a guy from the Netherlands who builds amps under the name Kool Amplification and he build me a Plexi clone and it blew my head clean off when I first plugged it in. It sounds awesome.
Is it a head or a combo?
It’s a head but he builds them as a combo too. He’s based in the Netherlands and hand builds everything with military grade components. The Plexi he built me is based on his personal 68 or 69 mKii, the Deep Purple era one. He took it apart, looked at what he could improve and did it.
Sounds great. Oh, I also meant to say about my Plexi, it’s a 67 Super Tremolo but the tremolo circuit has been disabled. One of the controls is now a master volume so you can do the two channel volumes. I jump the two channels. One is a bassier channel and the other is more treble. I just get a balance of those two and then with the master volume I can have that Plexi tone at whatever level I need. You don’t want to go too low but still you know, if I’m ever going to play it at a club in New York, or anywhere, soundmen will be very happy that I have a master volume.
That’s how Kool builds their Plexi. He builds them with two master volumes, so you can drive the preamp and get the jumped channel sounds but keep the amp running at a sensible level.
Yeah, that sounds cool. I also have a bunch of small amps. I have an Ampeg Reverberocket, but I just blew it up actually. A Fender Princeton, oh, and I have a great 65 Fender Bandmaster. Sounds killer with the Tele and that, I mean it’s, I think it’s the greatest, like twangy clean, but with balls, you know,
I got offered one of those recently for a really good price, but the really good price was still a little bit more than I had at that moment.
Yeah, they hold their value. Mine is a black face and it’s also been modded so channel one is feeding into channel two. It was this way when I got it, I actually got it from a music business lawyer, believe it or not. He lived in my building in Manhattan and he was selling a bunch of stuff and I got such a good deal. I was like, wow, I actually got a good deal from a music business lawyer (laughs).
It does happen sometimes.
Haha, yeah sometimes. So, I have that and uh, what else do I have that I’m proud of? That’s probably it. The Ampeg, the two Fenders, the Marshall and the Vox. I don’t have a Blackstar in New York. I’ve been talking to one of the guys over there at the distributor about, you know, getting a little taxi cab kinda amp and trying to figure out what the best, you know, single 12, all tube amp is that I could grab with one hand, but, I haven’t been able to hook that up yet. You wanna talk pedals?
Yes, that was going to be my next question. So, are you a bit of a pedal geek or have you got quite a stripped back approach when it comes to that world?
Right now, it’s pretty stripped back because all the music I’m playing is either pretty rootsy or punky. I’m not very proggy. So, I’ll get to some of the crazier pedals, but basically, in my rig for Monroe, I got the Boss tuner pedal of course, some sort of pedal power. I don’t even know what brand it is. I think something tank power tank, maybe. I don’t know the name. The Finnish techs built it. So, it’s got some sort of power supply. And I have a Dunlop Overdrive, that came out years ago, probably 2010 or so. I think it was a Bradshaw design. It’s like this dual overdrive thing where one side is like distortion and overdrive, one footswitch, with its own tone controls. Then there’s another footswitch next to it with just the volume that’s just a boost. So, you can either go like total, like clean boost or overdrive or together.
I think I’ve seen that one before, is that the Custom Audio Electronics one? The little black one?
Yeah, the black one. Yeah. I don’t know the name of it, but I have two of them. I think I have one in New York too, which I don’t really use in New York. So that’s mygo–to stompbox for overdrive here. I did have a Dunlop Wah as well, but Michael just smashed it with his mic stand. It wasn’t a Crybaby, it was like another sort of sexy high tech wah where I’d had some buttons on it, you know, that I’d never use. I’m just a basic guy, you know, it just has to have the right kind of sweep and feel, like it tapers evenly. When that thing broke, I was just, Oh man, I need something quick. So, I just want up to a music shop. And I the cheapest wah I could find there, which is a Vox with the silver top. Which is fine, it doesn’t have the same sweep as the Dunlop, but it’s okay. I tend to sometimes just get it in that middle position, like, and I get that Mick Ronson thing, you know, where it’s just raw, you know, very nasal, it just really cuts through.
Dunlop does a really cool Billy Duffy signature model that’s based on the Mick Ronson one. It’s got that mid-range honk, it’s quite hard to find now because they only did, like 500 of them, but I bought one when it came out and it’s just incredible because as soon as you touch it, it’s just got that honky sort of mid-range. It’s not too harsh. Some wahs can be a bit too harsh I think, especially as you turn them on.
Yeah. That’s, that’s always the thing you want to click it on and then quickly pull it back. Otherwise, it’s like (Emulates a noisy wah pedal!)
Yeah, exactly. This one switchless, so it starts in the heel position as well, so when you put your foot on it, it’s not straightaway in the treble end, it starts at the other end of the sweep. Obviously, for live use, this is great because then you can sweep the wah in rather than, as you said, click it on and pull back.
Right. Oh, that’s an interesting concept. Does anyone else make them like that?
Dunlop does a few ones like that, I think. They do a standard one which is similar to that with the switchless plate and then the Billy Duffy one was based off the standard crossed with the Mick Ronson one. It’s got a built-in boost as well, which is quite cool.
Wow, I’ll have to research that!
Yeah and it’s white and chrome too, so it looks cool.
Oh yeah, I saw that one in the shop. I was like, that looks cool. That looks too expensive. Let me go for the 1998 era one. Actually, in my New York rig, I have the half size wah. Have you seen the little baby ones?
I’ve seen those, yeah. Do they take just getting used to?
Yeah. I mean it fits perfectly on my pedal board and it took a little getting used to, especially when you’re wearing big boots, but it does everything that a normal size wah does and it fits on my board, and I believe that’s, ooh, I should know this. I don’t know if that’s a Crybaby or not.
Yeah, if it’s Dunlop it’ll be the Crybaby.
Cool. I’ll get into the New York rig now. I think that’s it for the Monroe rig. Tuner, Wah, Overdrive and power supply. I mean its just balls to the wall. I don’t have any delays or anything. Nothing sexy, you know? For my own stuff in New York, what’s on my board right now is the Boss Tuner. It’s one of those Pedaltrain boards that I had my guy at 30th Street Guitars, Matt Brewster. He does all my work for me and he makes the boards really nice. He actually puts a piece of wood on it and carpet and drills stuff in and yeah, he just makes it nice. I’m using a Wampler Plexi Drive as my main overdrive, which is amazing. I mean it just sounds like a vintage amp. It sounds like a vintage Marshall. So, I’m using that as my main overdrive and then a Sex Drive, which is made for Charlie Sexton as a clean boost for after that. So, you know, if I’m playing on a shit amp in a club, I got the Plexi Drive on, it’s just beautiful vintage amp guitar tone, and then if I want to play solo the Sex Drive is the clean boost and you can also adjust the gain and there’s also a compression in it a little bit and you can get a little subtle with it. So, that’s the overdrive system there. And then I also have a Voodoo Labs Tremolo. I like to use Tremolo on my own stuff. And a Carbon Copy Analogue Delay by MXR, which is really nice. It’s very warm.
Yeah. I personally prefer those vintage style delays over the digital ones. It’s the repeats having that warm, analogue tail off that breaks up.
Yeah. It just degrades a little bit. Like a tape echo would but not as extreme as a tape echo, but you know, I used to use those old pink Ibanez analogue delay boxes. I have a couple, but I don’t bring those out on the road, you know, I use them in the studio, but the Carbon Copy is a great warm delay and it’s also got a little button for modulation where you can have kind of just the slightest bit of Chorus. You can’t even really tell its Chorus. I was like a Chorus addict back in the eighties and a weaned myself off that haha. I don’t like to know that there’s chorus on it, but I’m like, oh boy. It really sounds beautiful. You know, if you’re holding a chord, especially on an SG where you can bend the neck a little bit. You’re holding a chord and you’ve just bent the neck slightly and that kind of natural guitar modulation goes with the delay modulation. It’s like really nice. I also recently just got a Leslie stomp box. This black little rectangle one. It does like three different Leslie cabinets and it does the whole ramp up with the speed. It’s beautiful. I haven’t used it much on gigs yet, but I look forward to it because I wanted something that could give me a crazy effect if I needed it. Something extreme. But, you know, I didn’t want the whole, like, flanger or chorus or phase shifter kind of typical thing, you know, the rest of my shit is really vintage anyway, so let me go Beatles or Jimmy Page
That’s the one thing that I’d been having the hardest time trying to find a good pedal that gives a convincing Leslie sound.
Well, this one is made by Leslie, hello! Haha. I tried a bunch of them out and there’s a lot of companies that are making digital, you know, rotary pedals that claim to be, oh, this is the one and whatever. But I mean, when I saw that Leslie made one, I went, wow, that’s got to be the perfect one. Right? And, I tried a bunch of them out. Some of the other ones sound really good too. But to be honest, this one fits on my board. I have a small board. They’re also making a, like a really long one now with like stereo outputs and all this crap. I didn’t need all that. I just needed, you know, I basically get one sound. I pick one and I just kind of go back and forth between the slow sound and in the fast sound and use ramped up and you know, you can keep stepping on it, so it goes up and down, up and down, while you’re playing. And it’s really like a real Leslie. So that’s what you want. That’s what I use now at home, but I have all kinds of other crazy things like I have a Digitech Whammy Pedal, which is great. I have, uh, you know, I have phase shifters, I have choruses, the Electro Harmonix Small Stone, I have a Boss Slow Gear. If you ever played one of those before, they’re pretty cool. It’s basically a volume swell pedal. I have the Boss Chorus Ensemble, which I used to live by, it’s the big grey one that plugs in and it’s got like, you know, stereo chorus, and then also Vibrato, which I would use that vibrato back in the 90s and you know, instead of having Leslie pedal.
That was my get by thing for a while too, a Vibrato running quite subtly instead of a Leslie style pedal.
Yeah, it works! I also have a Rotovibe which I never really got into. Someday I’ll mess with that and figure it out a little more. Oh, and I have a thing called a Seek Wah, you know whats-what is?
Isn’t that one of those pedals that a bit like an auto wah but a bit more “out there”?
Well, it’s basically, it’s like eight little EQs you could set them for various stages, and there’s a switch where you can get it to go and do patterns of four, three or eight and um, and it’s sort of a, you know, I don’t know how to explain how you write this down in print, but it can go like (Emulates a Seek Wah – We won’t even try to transcribe this noise!), know what I mean. It’s like almost that sample and hold kind of vibe from a synth. But, you know, it’ll go muted to like more open and you could set the pattern on these things from wherever you want it to go. It’s almost like a Townsend thing. You know, like what he would do in Baba O Riley with the organ at the beginning. It’s a really cool effect. I mean, you can only use it once on an album, but I’ve used it really effectively on a few albums and it’s always the little secret weapon, ah, seek wah. That’s what the song needs.
Yeah haha, it’s not a pedal you click on in every song!
No, no, no, no, no. So, that’s my arsenal. Unless I’m forgetting anything, but, that’s pretty much the stuff.
Cool. That’s a pretty range of gear to be getting stuck into, So, what’s next then? You’re coming over to the UK this week for a couple of dates but what’s happening after that? Anymore solo tours or Monroe tours. We know there’s the new Monroe album scheduled for 2019.
Um, yeah, that’s being mastered right now. And, as I said, we’re coming over to do the MC5 shows. Then I go home, and I do a couple of things in New York. Let’s see, what am I doing there? Uh, I’m playing a John Lennon show, in the house band for this John Lennon tribute show that happens every year. It’s like, 25 years or more it’s been happening. Patti Smith was the featured performer last year, I think this year it’s Rosanne Cash. I don’t have any of my own shows, so I need to make a new record, a new solo record and I’ve been writing for that so when I get home to New York, it’s just going to be a couple of other, you know, for hire things, which is what I do when I’m home. I don’t have a job, you know, so, besides being an artist and a songwriter and doing my own thing, I need to work, so I do stuff like that. There was a punk band called The Stilettos, Debbie Harry was one of the singers they had in and their main lead singer, I played a show with them last year. They were out around the time of the Dolls a little bit later, like mid-seventies. Probably between the Dolls and the Ramones and their singer just died so I’m doing a show. There’s a big extravaganza at the Bowery Electric with all of her friends and people that were in the band. Walter Lure from The Heartbreakers was in the band, Cheetah Chrome was in the band, Sylvain was this woman’s boyfriend. Elda Stiletto was what she was called. Elda Gentile is her real name. So, I’m going to be playing and musical directing the night, we’re the house band with all these people coming up to sit in and do a song like Cheetah Chrome will be there and Walter and Lenny Kaye from Patti Smith and all these different people. So, that’ll be fun. And I’m gonna like do a holiday show. I’m going to jump up with another band and do a holiday Christmas show with Jesse Malen and a bunch of other people in December. So, you know, I got a couple of things coming up. Nothing of my own, but I expect to be in the studio recording a new record for myself very soon. Probably within the next half a year.
Do you find that you do a lot of ‘for-hire’ work when you’re not on the road as yourself or with Monroe, or do you just pick and choose certain jobs?
Well luckily, I can pick and choose. But yeah, I have to work, as I said. It’s not like the old days where you could sit around collecting royalty checks.
No, of course not. I do a lot of it myself. I do live and studio sessions and stuff like that, between everything else to keep the diary full and the work coming in.
Yeah, absolutely. I’ll produce records for people. I’ll do soundtracks, I’ll contribute my, my songs to film and TV soundtracks. I produced a couple of records in the last two years. A blues harmonica players record, Scott Dennis Gruenling, who’s really great. We did like a vintage kind of vibe with upright bass, drums, guitar, jazz guitar almost. A really traditional setup and he’s a great harp player. He plays the chromatic harps and the bass harps and everything. It was a great thing to produce. So, I’ll do that, and I’ll do sessions, you know, singers, songwriters or whatever bands if they need me, I come, I sing, I play whatever I’ve also done commercials, you know, not sure if that happens anymore. But, you know, whatever. I just don’t take everything that comes in because well I can’t. But in general, I don’t play live with too many different bands. I’m pretty much in the Monroe band and my own band and anything else I do. These special shows like the Lennon thing and the Stilettos thing are, you know, unfortunately, you rehearse, you know, 40 songs or whatever it is. And then the gig is over, and you don’t use those songs again ever, which is kind of a drag. But you know, what are you going to do?
Exactly! Well, thanks for your time Steve, enjoy the short UK run. I’m looking forward to catching the band in 2019 and catching up with you soon. Thanks again for today, it’s been a pleasure.
Alright, my man. I hope so. Keep me posted. Cheers mate!
Do you know it’s been a fantastic year for gig’s, The Bellrays, Thee Hypnotics, Lee Bains, to name just a few and all in Le Pub. A superb year for Lp’s loads of new artists discovered, and a time to watch some I’ve followed for a while step out of the underground on to a much larger stage the Bar Stool Preachers, Estrons, and tonite’s support Pizzatramp to name just a couple.
Pizzatramp have put in the miles this last year, as they did the year before, levelling Rebellion in the process, they are a well-oiled machine and so far from those beginning couple of gigs, in fact, I’d go so far as to say they just get better every time I see them. Tonite’s showing was a foot down, full throttle, flat out fucked from the time they hit the stage.
Now if you haven’t caught Pizzatramp live, the first thing you’ve got to ask yourself is why the next the next thing you have to do is find out where their playing and strap yourself in for the next big thing to hit the punk rock scene.
I mean anyone who’s penned a song called ‘Bono is a cunt’ deserves the time of day, it was played tonight and levelled the place, as was Millions of Dead Goths, blowing chunks, Scumbag Boogie, Nunchucks of Hell, My Backs fucking Fucked and” I got work in the morning”. 100% the greatest punk rock band in Caldicot!!!
Following on from the lunacy that Pizzatramp bring it was over to Newport’s finest Bad Sam, now anytime around Xmas your not quite sure of what your going to get from Bad Sam, Beddis pulled out all the stops this year and we’re confronted with the pope stepping in all the way from the Vatican to mumble absolutions overall in attendance and fair play it was packed solid, as the mask drops what we actually have is Bad Sam, Beddis fronted, firing on all cylinders, gone was that metal sheen brought in by the last guitar player, and what a noise and twin guitar carnage now bestowed onto us by Jeff and the Glove, what we now have is punk at its very best.
Looking deeper into the band you begin to see the reality which is you also have a shit hot rhythm section locking it all down. I mean come on starting with “I’m a Terrorist” from the Bring me the head of Lp its only going one way.
Now if you’ve ever caught Bad Sam or The Cowboy Killers back in the day, you’ll know that usually the last place you’ll find Beddis is on the stage watching the “Pope” tear through the crowd was a little disconcerting but watching the Pope sings “Dicks with dogs” “Newport Hotel” “Valium”, “Cocaine me” even “Christ Betrayed” took on a whole new dimension.
To finally finish off the crowd “I love the Port” was what was demanded and duly delivered. Now if your hoping to see a lot more of Bad Sam in 2019, this line up has shifted things up about three gears, you might be disappointed, in fact, if you see any gigs advertised anywhere get in there!!! The only thing you’re likely to get is the unexpected.
Well we’re pretty much up to date folks and December hasn’t exactly been the month to sit back and bask in the glory of our musical achievements as we’ve all been too busy going to a plethora of live shows a veritable feast of new (and reissued) records and a chance to look back at another year and hopefully look forward to 2019 and what delights musically are on the horizon. With most things seemingly grinding to a halt I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank the writers who’ve contributed in any way to this website and the bands, managers, agents, promoters or PR people who’ve helped us in any way it means a lot and keeps the wheels of Rock and Roll rolling and at least there’s a corner of the industry that is still quality over popularity but things can change and we’d love the quality to become popular who knows it might be your album or your band that kicks a dent in 2019 and we hope to be there however small a contribution. Keep it real folks keep it RPM.
With the Month of December still with a week to run we’ve been busy going to shows all over the place and thank God there are bands still out there playing we’ve been to Swansea for Trampolene York for The Dogs D’Amour, we’ve also been to Newport for Bad Sam and Pizzatramp. But London for me was blinding as The Briefs, Miscalculations and More Kicks did a number on the Lexington.
There have been some quality records come out this month as well in the shape of those lovable noise bringers Exit International so in their honour here have a gander at this.
Also, the Interrupters zigzagged across the UK and packed them in at every venue entertaining old and new punks with tunes off their huge selling new album –
One of the best albums we’ve heard this year was reviewed in December by Ben and that was The Spangles debut ‘#Sweet FA’ although we were expecting good this is way better than that.
so there was no let up in the quality music coming out this month and we hope this continues next year as we expect new albums from big hitters like Michael Monroe who releases ‘One Man Gang’ also The Hip Priests will unleash their new long player via Ghost highway and Gods Candy Records so keep buying records keep going to shows and keep reading RPM. with just Christmas Eve to go where we bring you a special interview that needs your attention, it’s us done for 2018
See you in 2019 stay Sick!
We leave you with this one from Craggy Collyde here he is swapping a copy with Buffalo Tom frontman Bill Janowitz Enjoy a merry Christmas and a rockin new year!
December passes and possibly the saddest news for us was the shock news of the passing of Pete Shelley so here you go a couple of him in his prime for he will be sadly missed by us. thanks for the tunes Pete it was awesome.
Described as toe-tapping party tunes is doing themselves a bit of an injustice because there rock and rollers have got a bit more about them than that. They write songs with a hook and melodies and granted, would shake the shit out of any party I’ve no doubt but it’s not just about being the soundtrack to kids making out is it? Maybe it is I won’t judge them.
Opening track ‘Getaway Car’ is jammed with a great hook and some right tasty playing and I love that hook and want to join in on those gang vocals and that guitar solo kills me man, as the kids say – “on point my man on fuckin’ point!”
I looked up what was happening in Stamford, Connecticut. Right where these cats come from and it would seem there isn’t a lot going down in their neighbourhood so I’m saying right here right now that Jacques Le Coque is the best band in Stamford no question about it.
With a couple of albums, Jacques Le Coque (self-released, 2012), Hooky (King Pizza, 2015), and the Tip of My Tongue 7” (Windian, 2015) to proceed this album the title gives it all away and tells you exactly what’s happening. This is power pop with a buzz saw sharp guitar sound and a tonne of melody with a great walking bass line right through the spine of this record.
‘I Got You’ has a great rhythm behind those dreamy vocals then its back to the ’50s for ‘Outsider’ where the whole crew joins in on the bv’s but I love the cha cha cha of ‘Pretty Penny’ and at least they’ve moved into the ’60s for inspiration on this one. At this moment in time it’s my favourite song not just on this album but this week it makes me want to drag my heels and walk around with my head down and my hands in my pockets daydreaming like I used to do as a kid. Superb.
I knew they couldn’t leave it there so they really crank it up on ‘Roller Girl’ like the Ramones or Buzzcocks never happened. It’s like a cross between the looser Rock n Roll Johnny Thunders when he was looking for a kiss and End of the century Ramones and that’s a place that really appeals to me that’s for sure. Before we’re done those horns on ‘No Worries’ are killing me, man what a tune. I love this sloppy rock n roll and the horns are inspired. With only ‘I Only Want To Rock And Roll’ left the band want to rock out one more time and I get that totally and what better way to sign off than with a 12 bar romp. ‘Positively…’ has just kicked my backside and if you chill out get a little loose and crank this up it will positively kick your backside too.
True country roamer Pete Berwick is back and ready to tell it exactly how it is with his new album, ‘Island’. Channelling influences from Bruce Springsteen to Steve Earle, Berwick has spent many years walking on the dusty side of the country road, spinning lonely nomadic tales of sorrow and heartbreak.
Following on from the punchy ‘The Legend of Tyler Doohan’, released in 2015, ‘Island’ immediately offers something a little different with the opener ‘I’m Getting Tired of This Place’. While the former album opens with a punch, you can’t help feeling that this one finds Berwick in a weary, tired mood – a feeling that permeates through the entirety of the album. The album is no less striking, however. On the contrary, ‘Island’ is truly a fantastic piece of work.
The album is once again packed with stories and multi-layered characters, whilst also appearing deeply introspective. Berwick is a master of getting his storytelling across, and here this depth is backed up by the superb backing band, The Mugshot Saints. The album is something of a journey, from the bitterness of the opener to the romantic last notes of hope on ‘The Streets of Pasadena’. The album does indeed begin and end on the streets.
Tracks such as ‘Anyway’ offer the familiar country-on-hard-times sound, while others reflect the aforementioned world-weariness, such as title track ‘Island’ and ‘I Am Not Afraid’. Others detail his need to hide, for example in ‘Let’s Make It You and Me Tonight’. Berwick is certainly not afraid to turn on the big choruses for this one, and songs such as ‘One Setback at a Time’, ‘I’m Really Not That Kind’ and ‘They Gave Love a Chance’ are standout tracks on a collectively brilliant album.
‘Island’ is a perfect slice of alternative-country rock ‘n’ roll, full of the dust and grit to be expected from Pete Berwick. And with excellent musicianship complimenting honest songwriting, it is also quite possibly his best album to date.
“Its hard to hold a candle in the cold November Rain”
November was truly the month for live shows as the scribes got their gig legs and ventured far and wide for our fix of live rock n roll. With RPM in full swing, we were getting the hang of this as the albums poured in to keep us out of trouble and keep the air full of excellent Rock n Roll.
We brought you interviews with some up and coming talent in the shape of Jack Jones from Trampolene who have been prolific both in the studio and on the road. Earning their stripes by hitting the road zigzagging across the country Jack also found time to travel to Japan and just completed another round of dates as recently as December. As mentioned yesterday Jeff Dahl dropped by to tell us about his plans for the new mini album and that he was currently busy recording a new album that will be out in 2019.
Then Gerald caught up with Vienas Reverend Backflash for a great interview about the band and their grand plans for the future and it was an opportunity for those of us unfamiliar with the band to get acquainted and we were glad we did as Gerald has said the new album is easily one of his highlights of the year.
we also scoured the globe as you would expect to uncover some of the best music currently available like Black Heart Breakers who were ‘Rotting Out’. We welcomed The Erotics and Beechwood from the East coast. Canada’s Sick Things were in the house before we headed North to Norway for a few words about the most excellent Death By Unga Bunga then as we headed south Leigh was mightily impressed with Thomas Silvers solo album headed back to the big smoke for the years biggest turkey that was Billy Idols remixed revisited rejected disco versions of classic Idol. Dear dear, what was he thinking?
however One of the brightest albums of the month was easily that belonging to Glen Matlock who was ‘Good To Go’ and along with his star-studded list of special guests, he turned in a mightily impressive record – again!
Right we’ll break the album list up with a quick rundown of some of the best shows writers went to in November where better to start than when Martin and Rags popped into London town to see a newly reformed for one night only Jony Cola & The A-Grades and Martin described it as a bit of an experience and a show he was delighted to have witnessed for himself whilst Rags was equally impressed, man I think its fair to say that there are several amongst us who thought Jony Cola put out the flame way too soon but it was nice to have been reminded of tracks as good as ‘Halo’ once again.
Craggy took in a couple of shows over on mainland Europe notably in the shape of TV Smith in Viena but he raved about the Levellers in Prague and best of all was finally catching up with Buffalo Tom in Berlin I haven’t read the reviews either so does that mean that they didn’t happen? Fortunately, they did happen because I’ve seen the pictures of Craggy swapping singles with Buffalo Tom.
As for us lot still on this island well we weren’t forgotten because there was the Damned tour dates to catch up with as Armitage caught their performance down in Brighton as they went around shit island for a second time this year. There were several sightings of Nashville Pussy as Martin ventured across the channel to see them in France but Johnny and Fraser took in their performance at the Globe in Cardiff which didn’t disappoint either. MC50 played some great shows but the daddy of all live shows in November just had to be the incredible line up that was put on in Holland under the banner Helldorado. Boy, what a tremendous lineup. There were many discussions as to why we couldn’t see a bill that good in the UK for a festival and it was decided there isn’t enough appetite for a fantastic jam-packed underground festival outside of what they do at Rebellion but this as a slightly different beast to be fair; even if most of these bands could cross over under the rebellion banner would it be raved about by a wider audience? It remains to be seen but I’d love to have a discussion about it with promoters in the UK. Anyway I digress, those that went agreed that Danko Jones were on fire and whilst they might not be the best band at the festival they put on the best show that weekend. Oh, apart from the little guy who came on stage during The motherfucking Dwarves set oh and the guy who set himself on fire also during the Dwarves set. Spectacular! I’m sure you’ll agree?
Another band covered in November was Junkyard who played Fibbers as headline act before they headed out around the rest of the country supporting Blackberry Smoke. Finally, on the live front, there was another epic performance from The UK Subs in Bristol who continue to turn in top performances and records. To cap off an amazing November Leigh went to Prague to see Buddy Guy certainly a player and event you won’t get the chance to see every month. This is what he had to say about it..not Buddy but Leigh, “After years of waiting to see one of my guitar idols I finally got to see him in 2018. This could be the gig highlight of my entire life. I’d been waiting what felt like a lifetime to hear a bonafide blues guitar legend do this thing before my very eyes. In his 80s but with the charisma and energy of a fresh-faced 20-year-old, Buddy Guy is the man.”
The King Of Power Pop Paul Collins sat in the interview chair in November to talk about his new album and tour commitments but ti was a fantastic interview with Rich Jones letting us in on what is coming up in the Michael Monroe camp as ‘One Man Gang’ is finished and off to the manufacturers ready for a 2019 release. We got some background on Jones and his impressive CV.
On the interview front we weren’t finished there because we only had a chat with the frontman of the finest power poppin punk rockin band on the UK live circuit bar none Phil from Cyanide Pills also said about the plans to release the follow up to the awesome ‘Sliced And Diced’ in 2019 which is good news for people with exquisite taste and an exceptional ear for a top tune. November wasn’t finished just yet because we also had a quick word with Sal from Electric Frankenstein who told us about his compilation releases and what EF were up to.
To wrap up a quick foray into November I’ll leave you with Leighs feature where he talks guitars, amps and pedals this time with Mike Christie under the microscope we hope to satisfy the tech-heads amongst you as Leigh dreams about guitars – he plays em when he’s awake he even has his duvet printed with Gibson guitars and his pillowcase is Fender prints oh and he sleeps on Les Paul Jr shaped bed. I kid you not. I’d like to add here that he’s just submitted a 7000-word tech talk interview with a legend out of New York that’s coming up on RPM but its as good a place as any to wrap up November or at least a brief glimpse into the month that gave so much and there was so much we left out.
Come back tomorrow when December or at least part of it gets nitpicked. Some of the choice picks from November are as follows
Jagger J. Holly- Vocals/Bass, Lennon Lee Roth- Guitar/Vocals, Ringo Moon- Drums great names guys now please tell me they were given to you at birth? Jagger Holly might well be ‘The Last Of The International Playboys’ but what have they done to warrant such a tag? have they got the chops to pull it off? or the cahoonas to deliver such a boast? Well. Innsbruck, Austria isn’t my go-to location if I want some party punk rock ‘n’ bop but that might be about to change as Jagger Holly have a sack full of Christmas cheer with a bop ‘n’ roll punk rock record. ‘Party Tonight’ is doing just that.
Hipsters would clear the dance floor ready for you to dive in windmilling as Jay asks “if you’re having fun tonight”? and on this evidence, it would be difficult not to. There is certainly a CJ era Ramones feel to ‘It Ain’t Over Til I’m Sober’ Loud, dumb fun with a chorus you can sing or shout along to, You knew as it was going towards the breakdown before picking up straight into the gang vocal chorus now Pause for a breath inhale then bang! we’re back on it for ‘One More Day’.
A great sounding record that will have mass appeal right throughout. Like I said they’re not reinventing the wheel here its sex drugs and rock n roll and where is the nearest party and that’s cool with me. ‘I Know I Know’ is catchy as hell and I love the horn stabs – it’s just great writing on a tried and trusted formula- full of melody and gang choruses it’s a hoot and you know it.
It’s pretty relentless in its delivery they come thick and fast but the songs never outstay their welcome and Jagger Holly never outstay their welcome either which is what separates the weak from the strong and the ones who just know how to get it right and those that don’t.
My opinion is these guys win on every count and that’s why they might well be the last of the international playboys. Turn it on turn it up and enjoy – maybe open a beer or two or four and invite some friends around put this on the player and hey presto you have a party! What are you waiting for?
From that first moment I dropped the needle on my copy of ‘How Come It Never Rains’ 12” vinyl back in 1988,to excitedly doing the same with new album ‘In Vito Veritas’ now as 2018 draws to a close, I have had an on/off love affair with a man from Wolverhampton, his songs, his words and his artwork.
While I haven’t bought every album Tyla has released (who has? there’s been a lot of ‘em!) I have followed his career through the ups and downs and caught him live when I can. Now in 2018 he has released his strongest album arguably this century and he’s playing a couple of rare intimate shows to celebrate.
Matty James Cassidy has been Tyla’s bass player for a good few years now. But he has his own solo thing going on that any self-respecting Tyla fan should be checking out. Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, the man in black from Enniskillen plays a fine, upbeat set of nomadic tales from the road.
With two solo albums under his belt and a new single imminent, he has a growing set of catchy, folk-tinged tunes to whet the appetite of the growing crowd awaiting their hero.
There’s more than a hint of The Levellers in the upbeat and folky ‘Gunpowder’, it seems the Dogs fanbase are getting familiar with Matty’s back catalogue. ‘Stick and Stones’ incites the sing-along treatment and just released new single ‘Rosary’ promises much for new material in 2019 from this Northern Ireland troubadour. Great stuff from a rock ‘n’ roll rogue.
What more can I say about Boss Caine that I haven’t already said? Daniel Lucas is a local singer/songwriter, a fellow lover of all things rock ‘n’ roll who is living the dream, touring the country and regularly supports his heroes at local gigs. Hell. In fact, I have witnessed him supporting Tyla and The Wildhearts in this very venue.
He has a great new album out called ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’, that you really should have in your collection. If you dig gravelly tones vocals, rustic instrumentation and honest, heartfelt songs full of sentiment and stories of life, love and addictions, then dig deep, Mr Lucas has a tale or two for you.
Tonight, he’s flying solo with no Boss Caine band to help him out. While I do love a full big band Boss Caine show, the one man acoustic show is just as mesmerising. Mixing up new tunes with old, Dan plays one of the best shows I have seen him play, to a packed out room, full of fans of one of his musical heroes, does it get any better I ask? And while there are always the annoying people chatting away, there are still plenty giving the Bossman their full attention tonight.
Newbie ‘Morphine & Marmalade’ has a great little guitar riff going on and even better lyricism. New album highlight ‘Champagne’ is always an over-catchy live favourite and sentimental country of ‘Where Good Things Go To Die’ hits in the feels every time
I think Dan needed this show more than ever tonight and he certainly delivered.
This is becoming a thing now, innit? Tyla playing at The Fulford Arms. I still have to pinch myself to confirm it’s real, that I have seen one of my biggest heroes several times over the last few years in my favourite local venue.
Riding on the release of latest album ‘In Vino Veritas’, Tyla’s Dogs D’amour are playing just two intimate pre-crimbo shindings at Bannermans in Edinburgh and first of all, here at The Fulford Arms in York. It’s a sold-out show, luckily I purchased a ticket early.
Tyla takes to the stage clutching a bottle of red and a handful of A3 sheets of paper with the lyrics to the new songs. Yep, Tyla has crafted songs that are up there with the best in the back catalogue and his band are going to play them all before we even get a sniff of the hits.
And rightly so. As Tyla breaks out the opening bars of ‘111’ and the band kick in, it truly rocks. For a band that doesn’t actually tour much, The Dogs are tight. Tyla, guitarist Gaz Pennick and drummer Simon Hansen have been a unit for a good few years now and the addition of Matty on bass just works perfectly.
Tyla is on fine form tonight, sipping from a glass of red, he tells bad jokes and fumbles with papers he can’t see. We are in hysterics and there’s already an electric atmosphere, as the heat rises and the drinks flow…they haven’t even started the second song yet!
Recent single ‘Black Confetti’ follows. A classic mid-paced funeral march if ever there was one. Then ‘Bloodline’ takes things back up, a proper pumping rocker that gets the blood flowing, reminding this reviewer of ‘More Unchartered..’ era Dogs. A killer tune if ever there was one.
A bouncy, Grease styled bass line, courtesy of Matty, gets ‘Bottle Of Red’ going. A perfectly crafted drinking song with a sing-along chorus to boot, classic Tyla at work here.
“Anyone got the new album yet?” Tyla asks the sweaty crowd to a chorus of drunken approval. “You didn’t order through Pledge then?”. Seems there have been some issues with Pledge, he ain’t the first and he won’t be the last, but there are plenty here who mouth the words to every new song the band crank out tonight.
‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ is probably the finest song Tyla has written for years. It sounds like a classic from the back catalogue, heartfelt and full of sentiment like so many before, it’s up there with the best and is a most wonderful highlight this evening.
By the time he strums the opening chords to ‘Last Bandit’ the room erupts and we all sing along for the next 40 minutes or so to some of the greatest songs of our youth. ‘Last Bandit’ is like welcoming an old lost friend back into your life, my god I love that song!
‘Billy Two Rivers’ follows, couples embrace and kiss, friends hug and rejoice and we all sing as one. Is that the opening riff to ‘Firework Girl’? Holy shit it is! Amazing, I can pretty much die happy right now.
They concentrate on the hits, the early live favourites, all the songs you want to hear. ‘Heroine’, ‘Wait Until I’m Dead’, ‘Drunk Like Me’ and the obligatory ‘How Come It Never Rains’.
‘I Don’t Want You To Go’ is slower than normal and shambolic, it sounds ace! ‘What You Do’ form the highly underrated ‘More Unchartered…’ rocks us out nicely too.
Out of tune, off their heads and in our hearts The Dogs D’amour will always continue in one form or another, with Tyla always at the heart of it all, and right now he has the best line-up since those long gone glory days.
Tonight was a glorious celebration of the old and the new. 35 years he’s been at it and many here have been with him every step of the way. Like a fine red wine, the old dog has aged mightily well. Proving to all doubters that he still has a few new tricks up his sleeve and the power to captivate all who will listen, here’s to a good few more.
Every now and then I vanish down one of those wormholes on this here internet and several hours later with my ears ringing, I’m several pounds lighter as paypals til is ringing due to places like Bandcamp where I’ve happened upon some band or other. Well, I’ll be honest The Dahmers name raised an eyebrow and then another once I heard the first three bars of ‘Down In The Basement’ it was obvious to me that this was a band I had to contact and hear the rest of this brand new album.
These cats aren’t from The northern states of America or some sickos from California or Noo Ywk their from the sleepy town of Bromölla, Sweden. Ah, it makes sense now, of course, their from Scandinavia. There is a spooky vibe as album opener ‘Blood On My Hands’ is like a Gatling gun firing off in all directions at a rapid pace with a sound not a million miles from The Hives with a frantic 12 bar riff and great hook. This is a fine opener and as the song breaks down and the drums sound like an out of control Keith Moon I’m already sold. Third album? fuck me where have I been hiding? I feel embarrassed as ‘Murder Ride’ kicks my backside from the opening lick we’re off like Hanoi Rocks going out of control these punks have really got it going on.
With eighteen songs on the album, they have a sackful of energy and hooks aplenty. It’s catchy as hell, on ‘Street of The Dead’ it’s like an unheard T Rex number that’s got a modern edge upgrade and it’s so damn good I’m loving it. Drunken sing-a-long choruses and with a real raw Rock ‘n’ Roll bite. There isn’t anything new here but they’ve obviously found that secret formula and I congratulate them on that. Either that or they sold their souls to a snake oil salesman in exchange for some magic Rock ‘n’ Roll beans that need to be nurtured in the sweat of another five kids from backwater nowheresville who just want a good time and are happy selling some vital organs to get there.
I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite song because there’s so many there are enough tracks here for two albums let alone one and songs like the frantic piano tonking ‘The Ripper’ just sound so fresh. I mentioned earlier that there is Hanoi vibe happening maybe ‘self-destruction Blues’ era and when the band mix up the melodies and backing vocals on ‘Howling’ its a simple formula but damn it’s so good.
They touch on early Hellacopters flair on ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ and who wouldn’t be down with that? The sax on ‘Creepiest Crawl’ is inspired as is the breakdown. Pulling these spooktacular tunes together from recordings over the last two years sounds inspired. The backbeat of the pop-tinged ‘Man Obsessed’ shows that they have variety with its almost 60’s jangly guitar is the sound of a band who haven’t got boundaries and if it sounds good for them then it’s going in and it’s not just crash bang wallop (although they do that really nicely too). ‘November’ could certainly be a Bolan inspired strum. and they even end the album with a late 70’s early 80’s horror flick synth spookout and that makes me smile. The Dahmers are my new favourite band and I can’t get enough. Is there still time to write to Santa to send me all their records? I’ve been a bad bad boy and totally deserve their records and I suggest you click the link and join me.