Here we have one of many compilations coming out in 2020 from Australian rock’n’roll journeyman Johnny Casino. The material here stemming from his earlier days in Asteroid B-612 to some additional tracks from the turn of the Millenium in Johnny Casino’s Easy Action. This is the 90—00 addition of his retrospective deep dives lovingly titled Hits & Misses.

Always incredibly underrated in international terms, the contribution of the land from down under to the metamorphosis of punk rock and it’s reactionary genres. Whether you are looking at their garage rock bands of the seventies, Melbourne’s post punk scene and even New Zealand’s Dunedin alternative rock sound. All highly influential on European and American acts alike but never getting a lot of the name checking it deserves.
I first came across Asteroid B-612 on a garage rock/psyche compilation years ago, I’d originally thought that they must of been a part of the original 70s wave of bands because their sound is so authentic without sounding dated. Not at all unlike contemporaries such as The Hellacopters and New Bomb Turks but at times with a harder edge like Mudhoney or Tad, particularly on 9 minute opus ‘chainsaw’ and album opener ‘moody’.
Original material on the record is backed up with an excellent array of covers spanning from Alice Cooper to Per Ubu. A particular stand out here is their ‘down on the street’ Stooges cover which has the ferocity of Dead Moon, it’s sonic fury making up for any production shortcomings.
Overall this is a great beginning to a career retrospective that has left me wanting to here part two and three that are also available. As well as that we have a new solo album to look forward to, you can check out country-tinged single ‘trouble weighs a ton’ which is out now. We’re just over the halfway point of 2020 and Johnny Casino is more productive than most artists are in the space of five years, pandemic or not, nothing is going to slow him down. Head over to his Bandcamp page and check him out, you won’t be disappointed.
Buy Johnny Casino Here
Author: Dan Kasm
Armed with a venomous swagger The Heat Inc. release their debut single ‘Raptors’, a caustic slice of vitriolic rock’n’roll through Melted Dino Records.
 
On this scorching debut, The Heat Inc. have delivered a visceral thrill, with Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age) hailing ‘Raptors’ as “a perfect rock song.”.
 
Describing themselves as a “Rock and Roll band”, The Heat Inc. recorded ‘Raptors’ in the RYP Recordings Studio in North West London, with Michael Smith (Elvis Costello) producing.

 

So when I say I know rock ’n’ roll when I hear it, you best believe I know rock ’n’ roll when I hear it—and The Heat Inc. are good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll, just like mother used to hate. You might have a good idea of how great The Heat Inc. sound—but don’t bother because The Heat Inc. are so cool they defy definition. There’s all kinds of heat. There’s the summer hot heat that’ll drive you crazy. There’s the in-ring heel heat that’ll get a wrestler over. And there’s the relentless hard heat that’ll track you down until you’re trapped. But ain’t none of them can compare to The Heat Inc you’re about to hear—and that’s not hyperbole, that’s a fact. Who you gonna believe, me or your own ears?”  exclaims Jeffrey Morgan – Creem journalist and biographer of Alice Cooper and Iggy & The Stooges.
 
The Heat Inc. is the suavest new band around and enough to make most God-fearing rockin’ rollers believe in miracles.
 
To purchase Raptors go to Bandcamp or Stream ‘Raptors’  Here
Social Media – Facebook
Hello again, RPM-people, it’s been a while. A limited skirmish with a failing hard drive meant that I lost the first attempt at this article for the cultured readers of this fine web-based tome and, as with all tortured artists, I found myself shaking a fist at the Gods of technology rather than simply getting back on the horse and writing it again while the effortless cool (possibly) was still fresh in my mind. This article’s featured item was going nowhere, however, so new words about old stuff came easy.
Now, if you’re hitting up this webzine regularly then I would imagine that you are well-versed in all forms of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion; trouble is, many of those rebels that litter our record collections are now asking for new dress socks on gig riders or peddling butter on shit TV channels. With that in mind I have had to roll back the decades to find, not only a true rebel of the music business, but also an item of music memorabilia that is as decadent as it is delicious.
And that’s where Andy Gibb comes in.
“Andy Gibb?!” I hear the RPM head honcho exclaim as this hits his inbox like the late Scott Columbus hit those cymbals in Manowar’s ‘Blow Your Speakers’ music video, the Double Diamond tearing at the neck of his Maiden shirt, Ozzy-style. Hear me out: Andrew Roy Gibb was a true rock ‘n’ pop tearaway, and the ultimate piece of merchandise released to tie-in with his all-too-short career is collectable excess par plastic excellence. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
Andy Gibb was the youngest of the Gibb kids: brother to Barry, Robin, Maurice, and forever-forgotten sister, Lesley. He was born in Manchester, was raised in Australia until the age of eight before the Family Gibb returned to the UK. When his brothers were looking nailed-on for pop stardom, Andy was looking for trouble: he quit school at the age of thirteen and, armed with an acoustic guitar given to him by big bro Barry, he toured the clubs of Ibiza and the Isle of Wight (both places where his parents lived at some point). He was married, divorced, and had fathered a child before he was even out of his teens. Minor pop stardom came a-calling when he returned to Australia, but it was when Bee Gees manager, Robert Stigwood, signed him to his label and persuaded him to relocate to Florida that things really started to take off for Andy Gibb.
With Barry producing, and Joe Walsh guesting on guitar for a couple of tracks, Andy’s debut album, ‘Flowing Rivers’, sold over a million copies and, by the time the lead single from his second long player, 1978’s ‘Shadow Dancing’, hit the top spot, he had become the first male solo artist to have three consecutive Number One singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He dated Dallas star, Victoria Principal, starred on Broadway in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, sang with Queen (on a version of the song, ‘Play The Game’, which has never seen commercial release, with some believing that a recording doesn’t actually exist), and co-hosted American television music show, Solid Gold. He would, however, be fired from both the television and Dreamcoat gigs due to absenteeism, with the blame laid firmly at the door of his cocaine binges. The fall was rapid. Guest appearances on US shows Gimme A Break! and Punky Brewster followed, as did gigs in Vegas, but Andy was now tabloid fodder; the Betty Ford Center now a date on his tour itinerary.
In early 1988 it was announced that Andy would become an official member of the Bee Gees – the six-legged tooth machine mutating into quite the quartet – but it was never to be: just two days after his thirtieth birthday in March of that year, Andy was hospitalized in Oxford complaining of chest pains. He died on March 10th as a result of myocarditis; an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by years of cocaine abuse.
Dying young is a sad by-product of rock ‘n’ roll excess the history of which many of you are well-versed in, I’m sure; but I am here to wax lyrical on music-related memorabilia (I had to get there eventually!) so I have to roll everything back to 1979, when Andy was on the covers of teen magazines, on the walls of pop-smeared children’s bedrooms, and on the Toy Fair brochures of the Ideal Toy Company.
Now, there’s a saying amongst the elite of vintage toy collectors that goes, and I’m paraphrasing here, “buy mint and you buy once, buy not mint and you buy many times.” I’m not sure of the exact words because I always scoff when I hear it as, in my humble opinion, it is utter bollocks. Who wouldn’t pick up something über-cool for their shelf because some bloke on the internet has one in better condition? Not me, and that’s why I back-flipped all the way to Nerdtopia when I found myself a vintage Andy Gibb doll.
In 1979, Ideal graced the toy shelves of the coolest US stores with the Andy Gibb ‘Disco Dancin’ With The Stars’ doll. There is, in collector circles, many a debate over whether a toy is a doll or an action figure: never call a middle-aged white guy’s Action Man a doll for Gawd’s sake! Well, let me tell you, the Disco Dancin’ Andy Gibb toy is a doll. He came packaged in neon-littered box art with the supreme tagline: “move him to a disco beat on his dancin’ disc!” Yes, the disco dance stand that came packaged with the doll would actually move mini-Andy’s feet so that it looked like he was actually disco dancing. Sublime Seventies innovation, right there.
Thing is, I don’t have the box. Or the stand. Forgive me, men in sensible footwear in village hall toy fairs the length and breadth of the UK. I do have a mint condition Andy Gibb ‘Disco Dancin’ With The Stars’ doll still attached to its original box inlay, though, so I guess I’m still a winner at life. Also, someone, in their confused wisdom, decided that penning “one of the Bee Gees” on the back of said box inlay was going to help with the identification of this toy. All it did, however, was make me love it even more. Who needed to read that curious inscription anyway? The doll is wearing a lurid pink waistcoat with the “Andy Gibb” logo printed on it!
So let’s recap: a mint condition (save for a few age-related garment marks) Andy Gibb doll, still attached to its original cardboard inlay, wearing a white jumpsuit and pink waistcoat, and with a piece of inked graffiti completely lacking in irony administered to its forever home? Who the frig wouldn’t want one of those?! Not me!
This toy sits happily in my collection alongside the Sonny Bono, Cher, ABBA, KISS, Boy George, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Sex Pistols, and Elvis toys and, do you know what? They all get along. Now, if we all just got along a little better then this revolving rock that we call home would be a little easier to negotiate. Not those people who told me not to buy the Andy Gibb doll because it didn’t have the box, though – they can fuck off.
I’ll be back as soon as possible, technology permitting, with more curios from the Pop Culture Schlock collection. I might even get my studded wristband back out for the next installment. Thanks for reading, keep watching the skies and, most importantly, don’t be a twat!
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Some of the writers managed to send in their list of the top ten live shows they went to in 2019.  they attended hundreds of shows all over the place via trains, planes and automobiles.  On another day I’m sure these lists would change many times over.  RPM Online supports Rock and Roll and loves a live show and as you browse through the lists there are many genres covered as well as some familiar suspects there are many new entries this year.  We’d love to take this opportunity to thank all the bands who toured and played shows all over the UK and continue to do so, All the festivals that supported independent music from Rebellion Festivals and Camden Rocks to Steelhouse Festival in South Wales and all the festivals around Europe and wider thank you.  Continue to look after independent Rock and Roll and help it thrive and reach a wider audience if you want to get involved get in touch we always welcome fresh eyes and ears to spread the word: rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com

 

 

Leigh Fuge 


John Mayer –  02 Arena London

Ryan Roxie –  The Asylum, Birmingham

Michael Monroe –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Cult –  University Great Hall, Cardiff

Kenny Wayne Shepherd –  City Hall, Salisbury

Kiss –  The Arena, Birmingham

Alice Cooper –  Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Paul Gilbert –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Wildhearts  – The Tramshed, Cardiff

FM & The Quireboys  – The Globe, Cardiff

Nev Brooks 
Pulled Apart By Horses – Newport Le Pub (Reviewed Here)

Primal Scream –  Great Hall Cardiff

Alice Cooper, MC50, The Stranglers – Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

Nick Cave – Millenium Centre Cardiff

Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bar Stool Preachers – O2 Bristol

The Hip Priests, DC Spectres, Deathtraps – Le Pub Newport

The Wildhearts, Towers Of London – SWX Bristol

Wonk Unit – Drogonfly Pontypool

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Sin City Swansea

Holy Holy – Tramshed Cardiff

 

 Gareth Hooper
Duncan Reid, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St John’s church Cardiff

Clowns, BBSC – The Exchange Bristol

Amyl And The Sniffers – Louisiana Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – The Blackheart London

The Wildhearts, Janus Stark – Komedia Bath

The Hip Priests – Le Pub Newport

Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions – Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind – Jacs Aberdare

The Stray Cats, Selector, The Living End – Hammersmith Eventime London

Johnny Hayward
Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions, Social Experiment –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (Reviewed Here)

The Hip Priests, Rotten Foxes, Flash House, Glitter Piss –  The Pipeline, Brighton

Rebellion Festival 2019 – Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Jim Jones & The Righteous Minds, Heavy Flames, Deathtraps –  Jacs, Aberdare

Death By Unga Bunga, Seek Warmth –  Hy Brasil, Bristol

Dboy, The Vega Bodegas, Nigel –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Stray Cats, The Selector, The Living End –  Hammersmith Apollo, London

Grave Pleasures – The Fleece, Bristol

Pulled Apart By Horses, Baba Naga, Dactyl Terra –  Le Pub, Newport

Clowns, Broken Bones Gentleman’s Club, Glug – The Exchange, Bristol

Fraser Munro
Adam Ant – St Davids Hall Cardiff

Kiss – Kiss Kruise, Miami

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Briatol

The Hip Priests – The Drippers, Deathtraps – JT Soar, Nottingham

Alice Cooper, MC50, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Turbonecro, The Hip Priests – The Chameleon, Nottingham

Dboy – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Damned – KK’s Steel Mill. Wolverhampton

Skidrow, Backyard Babies – The Forum, London

the Wildhearts, Towers Of London – Tramshed, Cardiff

Ben Hughes
Michael Monroe – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (Reviewed Here)

Duff McKagan/Shooter Jennings – Academy 3, Manchester

The Wildhearts – Stylus, Leeds

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Low Cut Connie – The Fulford Arms, York

Amyl & The Sniffers – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Ryan Hamilton Songs & Stories Show – Bloomfield Square, Otley

Tyla’s Dogs D’amour – The Fulford Arms, York

Levellers – The Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Hands Off Gretel – The Fulford Arms, York

Nigel Taylor 

The Stray Cats – O2, Birmingham

Saint Agnes – Plymouth Junction, Plymouth

The Wildhearts – Cavern, Exeter

Motörgoblin (Orange Goblin plays Motörhead) – St Moritz Club, London

Ginger Wildheart – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Queensryche – Islington Assembly Hall, London

Mother Vulture – End of the World Festival, Plymouth

Uriah Heep – Steelhouse Festival, Wales

Cradle of Filth – London Palladium, London

Ghost – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Blaze Bayley – The Junction, Plymouth

Dom Daley
Rebellion Festival – Winter Gardens, Blackpool (Reviewed Here)

The Damned – London Palladium, London

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Bristol

Duncan Reid &The Big Heads, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana, Bristol

Amyl & The Sniffers – Lousiana, Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Clowns – The Exchange, Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – Black Heart Camden, London

New Model Army – Tramshed, Cardiff

The Wonder Stuff – O2, Bristol

I’d witnessed every Alice Cooper show in Wales… until the last one. Why the sabbatical? It was an all-seated affair – the anathema of the true rock ‘n’ roll fan. So why, a number of years later, did I find myself taking a seat in the very same venue to attend the final show on the UK leg of the Godfather of Shock Rock’s ‘Ol’ Black Eyes Is Back’ tour? Well, after squinting my RnR morals and convincing myself that Alice’s legendary live show fusion of vaudeville and Grand Guignol would be the one thing that would suit an all-seated affair, and questioning just how many more times I would get the chance to see the artist formerly known as Vincent Furnier, I conceded that there were worse things to do on a Saturday night in the run-up to All Hallow’s Eve than watch one of the most iconic performers of his generation.

“Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!” A curious choice of term to administer to the auditory canals of hundreds of ageing rock fans sat down at around teatime, you’d think. Not when it’s coming from the MC50, the alternative supergroup of sorts put together by the legendary Wayne Kramer to honour the legacy of his original band, the MC5. With Kramer, bedecked with red, white, and blue outfit and matching guitar, flanked by guitarist Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, bass player Billy Gould of Faith No More, with Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty bringing up the rear and Zen Guerilla frontman Marcus Durant finger-snapping front and centre, this would be a true rock ‘n’ roll spectacle to see based on line-up alone; if, of course, the band didn’t have a slew of time-honoured tunes to back it up.

‘Kick Out The Jams’ came early (second song in, following a Kramer-fronted ‘Ramblin’ Rose’) but it was a lighting of the touch paper of an incendiary nine-song set that didn’t shave an inch off the original MC5’s legendary status. A classic one-two-three of ‘Come Together’, ‘Motor City is Burning’, and ‘Borderline’ was given a riotous rock ‘n’ roll run for its money by the similarly pulsing ‘Everything’, ‘Call Me Animal’, and ‘Sister Anne’, before Durant – a masterstroke of frontman recruitment, it has to be noted: towering in both stature and vocal prowess – took off his seemingly perma-shades for a set-closing ‘Looking At You’. “Fight The Power!” a Trump-baiting Kramer shouted as the band left the stage, victorious… and I fought the urge to tell the clod-eared jokers around me who had retreated to the bar to swill overpriced beer down their insipid, Planet Rock-loving necks that they had turned their backs on probably the best band to ever open a three-band-bill at the ungodly hour of 7 pm.

The gentleman seated next to my good self was witnessing The Stranglers live for the thirty-fifth time and, it soon became very clear, a lot of people were there to see the veteran act. It’s almost thirty years now since Hugh Cornwell left the band, but his current replacement, Baz Warne (as featured on a lengthy list of former Toy Dolls band members), is more than a worthy successor to the position; the singer/guitarist more than at home alongside original members, bassist/vocalist Jean-Jacques Burnel and keyboardist Dave Greenfield, plus (baby-faced in comparison) drummer Jim Macaulay.

‘Relentless’, from 2016’s ‘Suite XVI’, reminded everyone in attendance that this band isn’t just a nostalgia act on the retro tour circuit, but the core of the setlist (as many would have expected/hoped of a shorter, eleven-song support set) was culled from the most famed corners of the band’s back catalogue. From opener ‘Toiler On The Sea’ to the set-closing ‘No More Heroes’, via ‘Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’, ‘Peaches’, ‘(Get a) Grip (on Yourself)’, and, of course, ‘Golden Brown’, The Stranglers did nothing but impress upon those not already converted that they had been spectators of a classy performance from one of the truly great British bands. It may have lacked the adrenalin kick of the MC50’s set, but the Meninblack produced something as cool and slick as black ice.

All-seated? Pah! The curtain hiding Alice Cooper’s latest stage set – his Nightmare Castle – hadn’t hit the deck before almost every single person in the floor seating area was on their hooves, bolt (in the neck) upright, raising fists and yelling in the direction of opener, ‘Feed My Frankenstein’. That opener (culled from 1991’s ‘Hey Stoopid’) was an early indicator as to the tone of the show, with many tunes pulled kicking and screaming from that mid-eighties onwards cock shock rock period of the Alice Cooper story. Guitarist Nita Strauss, a whirling dervish throwing out, at times, Vinnie Vincent-like numbers of notes, was perfectly suited to paying the utmost rocking respect to this era; her hard-hitting shredding style underpinning ‘Bed Of Nails’ (from 1989’s ‘Trash’), ‘Roses On White Lace’ (from 1987’s ‘Raise Your Fist And Yell’), and the ‘Constrictor’ duo of ‘Teenage Frankenstein’ and ‘He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)’. The latter was, of course, featured on the soundtrack of 1986 horror sequel Friday the 13th, Part 6: Jason Lives, and this unashamed Eighties horror obsessive loved hearing it in the set. Jason himself made an on-stage appearance too; goring the throat of a teen with a plastic machete before revealing that the man behind the mask was none other than – yep, you’ve guessed it – that fella whose face was on those thirty quid T-shirts in the foyer.

The song choices weren’t purely focussed on big hair and big scares, however: ‘Raped and Freezin’ made a most welcome return to the setlist, a true highlight to be honest, and ‘My Stars’ and ‘Muscle of Love’ checked the same box too. ‘Fallen in Love’, from 2017’s ‘Paranormal’, appears to be a mainstay in the set nowadays and fits in perfectly and, writing of mainstays, ‘Poison’ appeared surprisingly early at the mid-point of the set, following a seminal one-two of ‘I’m Eighteen’ and ‘Billion Dollar Babies’.

Babies, you say? Arguably the most ludicrous yet entertaining of Alice’s stage props appeared after a breathless ‘execution’ section where a twisted fusion of ‘Steven’, ‘Dead Babies’, ‘I Love The Dead’, and ‘Escape’ saw the Coop rid himself of straightjacket, cleaver a baby’s head off, lose his own head via tried and trusted guillotine, then burst back from the dead via a coffin adorned with his legendary eye make-up: interspersed by a giant inflatable baby toddling around with his severed head, of course.

There was a Chuck Garric-sized hole on the stage – the bass player temporarily replaced by Hollywood Vampires four-stringer Chris Wyse, who certainly has the pedigree (The Cult, Ozzy, Ace Frehley) if not the same stage presence – but Strauss attempted to fill it at every available opportunity. Glen Sobel remains one of the finest drummers hitting the skins today – that punters didn’t return to their seats during his drum solo says a lot – and the über cool six-string pairing of Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen never fails to impress, inspire, and make a little jealous, even if the latter has added a meta twist these days by channelling his inner Andy McCoy and looking not unlike Electric Angels era Roxie.

After the aforementioned ‘Teenage Frankenstein’ closed the main set, Alice reappeared for the two-song encore wearing a Wales football shirt – with Cooper and the number 18 on the back, obviously – and parked the proverbial bus for an understandably incredible run through the classic ‘Under My Wheels’. Only one song could have brought the night(mare) to an all-too-early conclusion. Original Alice Cooper band bass player Dennis Dunaway had joined the stage for ‘School’s Out’ earlier on the tour, but for the Welsh date it was first Wayne Kramer, then Kim Thayil who stepped up; the latter half-inching Henriksen’s guitar and having to be guided through the now-expected mid-song segue into ‘Another Brick in the Wall’. Before class was over, the rest of the MC50 and all of The Stranglers were on the stage for proper throwback end-of-tour hijinks in keeping with the Eighties feel of the setlist.

I have never seen a bad Alice Cooper show, and nothing changed on an October night in the Welsh capital. In fact, if the stewards employed at the Motorpoint Arena had been as torch-happy as the cinema ushers of my youth (when I first experienced some of these Cooper tunes) then I would have found myself on the edge of my seat…

Author: Gaz Tidey

Photos courtesy of Nev Brooks

With 2019 quickly rolling downhill towards 2020 and with Halloween just around the corner and Shit Island still under Tory rule heres a playlist to take you away from the humdrum of real-life and to take a peek at whats on the RPM turntables and MP3 players this month.

Alice Cooper is in the house with Go Man Go taken from his excellent EP ‘The Breadcrumbs EP’ and how could we not include Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind so get down and get with it as ‘Shazam’ is in the house on the virtual player.

Also on the live front we’ve caught up with the awesome Cyanide Pills who are ‘Still Bored’. this month we’ve got an exclusive interview we recently did with Spunk Volcano so it seems right we should include ‘Shit Excuse’ from ‘Double Bastard’.  It seems that every man and his dog is attending one of The Cult winter tour dates so why not play ‘New York City’ from the 30th Anniversary ‘Sonic Temple’.

Hands up if you’re heading to one of the Black Flag dates around the UK this month?  We are so ‘My War’ is on the list. Pulled Apart By Horses rode into Newport and left a mark so ‘The Big What If’ is on the list.

As for new albums we’ve reviewed how about a few new ones starting off with Pardon Us with the opening track on their debut album ‘Wait’ ‘check out ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Wolves’. The Hangmen are back with ‘Cactusville’ as are Starcrawler who we’ve included with the excellent rock and rolla ‘No More Pennies’, Bitch Queens bring ‘Superboy’ and their brothers from different mother are back with a new single.  The Hip Priests ‘I Hate The City’ from their recent split but fear not pop pickers they have another single on the way this month we’ve heard it and its a no brainer kids all killer and no filler was written for them.

As we say goodbye to Barrie Masters we’ve included Eddie And The Hot Rods cover of ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’.  Since they’re having a movie made about them we think it’s apt that we include the awesome Redd Kross with ‘Motorboat’ on this months playlist.  turn it up baby because Charger make the paylist with ‘Victim’ from their self titled record. Cockroach Clan released their new/old record so why not sample some Norweigan punk rock whilst youre here.

It wouldn’t seem right not to have a Wildhearts tune in our playlist seeing as they have a new mini-album out this month and are playing the UK again so heres ‘A Song About Drinking’.  Supporting them on this round of dates are Janus Stark who also have a headliner at the hope & Anchor so with news of their new album released last week heres one from them for good measure – We can’t play you anything new but trust us when we say it’s going to be worth the wait so to keep you going heres ‘Every Little Thing Counts’.  It only seems fair we offer up some Shitbaby Mammals with the opener from their record ‘Heart On My Sleeve’.  To wrap up this months playlist heres some Black Star Riders with the second track from their new album and title track ‘Another State Of Grace’. So until next month…

 

Another month another visit to the jukebox to see what sevens are spinning round the RPM Jukebox.  this month sees a mixed bag with some of our favorites knocking out 45s and some welcome new bands dipping their toes in the water.  We love a 45 and this month sees some tasty singles. In no particular order this lot are well worth checking out.

Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour – ‘(Everybody Needs) A Friend’ (King Outlaw Records) What a reet little corker this is.  Not expecting a tune this good to come from camp Tyla but hey, here it is, its a gentle rock and roller with all those vital ingredients that were required in the 80s and beyond. It’s got the sloppy rock n roll edge you know you want to hear when Tylas familiar vocal comes in.  ruffle your hair (if you can) get out of bed put this on and you’re good to go. It’s backed by live renditions of ‘111’ with the band firing on all cylinders and you also get an exceptional atmospheric live take on the epic ‘Bullet Proof Poet’ part acoustic part electric but it melts into ‘Angel’ to create a pretty epic eight minutes that makes this worth the price of a pint any day of the week.  Still got it , still relevant, still rockin’? Absofuckinlutely! don’t ever doubt it! Pick it up Here

Suicide Generation – Prisoner Of Love (Surfin ‘Ki Records/ Family Spree/Spaghetty Town Records/Wanda Records) Another day another absolute killer record from Suicide Generation.  This time they’ve got some seriously good labels to share the love around with each label having its own coloured vinyl.  Three tracks of classic Suicide Generation it’s wild, loud and a whole lot of fun in the tradition of Garage Punks from The Stooges to the Damneds debut via channeling some Lux interior   Suicide Generation are an explosion of the finest noise currently making exciting records that you would be foolish to ignore.

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Razorbats – White Trash Radio Another slice of Prime Norweigan Rock and Roll with their usual mix of HArd Rock some classic Rock and a generous slice of power pop a melody and hook to die for Razorbats always deliver and this one is a beauty.  An instant hook on the chorus that you can sing along to and a breakdown that sounds like Had the Police been a ’70s inspired glam Rock outfit then they might have penned this bad boy.

Don’t be daft it’s one single do yourself a favour and go discover your new favourite band from Norway – you can thank me later and if this is a taste of what’s to come then I can’t wait for the next album on this form it will be a real contender. Facebook

 

Paradise Alley/Plastic Tears – Class of ’92 (Self Release) Turning back the clock Paradise Alley look back all (Plastic) teary-eyed at ’92. It’s a romping glam slammer and these two bands have teamed up to make what might just be the best song for both bands to be fair.  Call it nostalgia call it some old rockers just not wanting to go quietly into the night but whatever the reason for the regrouping of Paradise Alley songs like this makes it worthwhile.  Sounding like 69 Eyes used to sound isn’t a bad place to hitch your wagon and anyone can join in on the chorus.

Available as a CD from the band for the handsome price of £3 so hit em up glamsters and pull on those cowboy boots n backcomb your hair its time to get rockin’

Lauren Tate – What About The Kids (Trash Queen Records) Second single taken off her debut album Lauren Tate heads off in a differnet direction that will have fans purring at her new direction and diversity.  Check out the new album details on her website Here

Los Pepes – Automatic / Here Comes The Darkness (Wanda and Beluga Records) Los Pepes have joined Beluga Records for a guest 7inch record, to support there euro tour. Still the loudest powerpop band on earth…the Motörhead of powerpop! No hit wonder 60s and 70s garage pop melodies drowning in a wall of punk rock guitar. With four new tracks on this 7″.

‘Automatic’ is the best song The Hellacopters never wrote.  Man has Ben ever written a duff track?  Of course he hasn’t and this EP is another blinder Catchy, Melodic, loud and smack bang on the money. They’ve even had time to nip back to the 1960s and nick a Small Faces inspired tune ‘Here Comes The Darkness’ but thats not to say this is Rock and Roll isn’t up to scratch because it isn’t its a splash of fury, 12 bar at breakneck speed wham, bang, thank you, man! and ‘your Justice’  is pure Los Pepes coasting on a wave of everything they’re great at.  Another essential single from London’s finest.

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Crapsons – Who’ll Babysit The Goths? (Self Release) In the good old spirit of DIY meet these pair of Herberts from The Wirral with their punk rock noise.  Enjoy!

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Baby Shakes – Cause A Scene (Surfin ‘Ki Records) Features a previously unreleased B side of the Teenage Head track ‘Tearin’ Me Apart’ available in several coloured records this Garage punk rock and roll banger is available Here With a Racey rockin drum beat on the intro its more poppwer than power pop but its sickly sweet and a beautiful thing and well worth checking out. Baby Shakes always do Rock and Roll with a tonne of melody and attitude and the solo is bitchin as they say in some rock and roll quarters.

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Fast Eddy – Toofer One (Spaghetty Town Records/Boulevard Trash) You want Rock and Roll with loud guitars then Spaghetty Town have unopened another cracker in the shape of Fast Eddy.  Having your EP Produced and endorsed by Tuk from Biters is something to wear on your denim cut off. Coming outta Denver these four (named after their Drug Dealer) they’ve been weaned on the best stuff money can buy no not drugs I mean Rock and Roll.  From the power-pop with loud guitars of ‘Hurricane Alley’ its got all the vital ingredients to sustain life from the kickin harmonies on the pre-chorus to the solos and guitar licks that cover the tune its all killer no filler. ‘Milwaukee’ is a distant relative of the Faces if they were born stateside and they saved the best til last as ‘Lost’ is the best tune of the month pure 100% Rock and Roll with energy aplenty its just sunshine on a 45.  Awesome

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The Gotham Rockets – Blast Off (Rum Bar Records/Murry Sounds) When you name check being past as members of The Devil Dogs, The Fleshtones, Jack Black, The Prissteens, Simon & The Bar Sinisters, The Swingin’ Neckbreakers, The Trash Mavericks, and The Waldos, Of course, RPM is gonna be interested in what you have to offer.  From the awesome horn honkin’ on ‘What’s Done Is Done’ via the bad boy boogie of ‘Bad With Girls’ this is the bomb. ‘Rip this Night’ is a slice of classic heads down and jive talk and duck walk as we hand jive through the next three minutes of rock and roll. What a great slice of rock and roll and with added sax appeal its gotta come highly recommended and we endorse it 100%

The Empty Hearts – Coat Tailer (Wicked Cool Records) Just another Cool as tune from these power-pop giants. ‘Coat Tailer’ is a sprightly humdinger with some great harmonies and sharp solos but theres enough bit in that guitar riff and its got Clem Burke on the drum kit.  It’s great to have them back making new music and they’ve found the perfect label for their well-rounded sound.

The B Side is a light Beatles esque tune with more great vocals as it just sort of reminds me of walking through a park kicking leaves carefree.  The Empty Hearts doing what they do best writing great power pop – Result.

Available on glow in the dark vinyl – Cool.  Buy it  Here

 

45 Rally – Bigly (Rum Bar Records)  Switzerland’s garage rock sensations 45 RALLY have taken all of their song titles from presidential tweets. But in keeping up with their Swiss heritage, they have decided to remain politically neutral. The music here, a combination of Bubble Gum, Garage Rock, Country and Punk was created for everyone’s listening pleasure.  So to all of  our Conservative, Liberal and Moderate fans,  it’s time to unite! Grab your earbuds, some chocolate and hit the slopes with TWEETS FOR MY SWEET by 45 RALLY! With an equally swing yer pants video this is happy garage for sure.

Screamer – Halo (the Sign Records) Heavy Fuckin’ Metal! make no bones about it folk Screamer aren’t nu metal or Death Metal they just rock like a steam train.  Fist pumpin’, Denim, and leather-clad, long-haired, metalheads.  think Tank think Motorhead think Tysondog think real metal.  Screamer do no frills metal and its Rockin’. with a new album that has a man with wings on a horse al thats missing is some fire and a weapon like a mace or a hammer and they’d be all in. The album is due this month and its called ‘Highway Of Halos’ get on it.

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Right Hand Left Hand – Chacabuco (Bubblewrap Collective) clocking in at the most unsingle like length of a couple of seconds under seven minutes and two minutes elapse before former Estrons singer Taliesyn Kallstrom joins the party.  Post-Rock duo Right Hand Left Hand are back with a brand new album. Following on from their self-titled, Welsh Music Prize-nominated second album, their third offering, ‘Zone Rouge’, tells the story of humanity’s contempt for the earth beneath us, the air above us and the people around us. Layers of guitars and driving drums are the order of the day married with ambient space in between call it art rock or post-punk indie but one thing it does is build and build.

’Chacabuco’ is available to buy and stream digitally on 27th September. The album will follow on 15th November 2019. It will be available digitally, on CD, and on limited edition double clear vinyl. They launch the album with a show at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff on the 13th of November, more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/400022130707013/?ti=cl

Alice Cooper – The Breadcrumbs EP (earMUSIC) 12″ six tracks from the Coop singing about Iggy and The MC5 how can this possibly not have RPM salivating at the sight and sound?  ‘Detroit City 2020’ sounds good – Sure its modern Alice Cooper but there is more of the old school garage rocker in this and out of all his contemporaries I can’t think of any that are still out there doing it night after night and delivering the good and managing to still churn out new music that is relevant and bloody good. If you were impressed with the opener then hold onto your bobblehead because ‘Go Man Go’ is having it big time.  A good tempo with a lotta rhythm and some blazing guitar work. Sure it helps when you can call on yer mates like Wayne Kramer and drag ou tof them such great performances this was always going to be a winner. He gets his funk on on ‘Your Mama won’t Like Me’ and those horns are quality. I’ll admit I’m not so fussed on the lackluster ‘Devil With A Blue Dress On’ but the bar is raised on the finale of ‘Sister Anne’.  So all in all a mighty fine way to round off this singles club and with it being a 12″  long ‘un the Coop might just have taken it on the home straight.

Buy Breadcrumbs Here

What’s that musty smell? Ah yes, it’s emanating from the veritable feast of vintage collectables housed in the Pop Culture Schlock archive. For your delectation today I take you back to the Christmas of 1979; a seminal decade of music about to come to an end and give way to the dawn of a more brash, more brazen ten year period…

 

If you were a good, music-loving boy or girl in 1979 and had a.) done well in school, and; b.) not scratched your big brother’s vinyl, then there was a good chance that you’d find the Rock On! Annual 1980 nestled under the Christmas tree in your modest living room.

 

“The Rock What Annual?” I hear you exclaim, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed at your lack of knowledge on this subject because, truth be told, Rock On! magazine was a short-lived, oft-forgotten publication… if you’d ever heard of it at all.

 

Rock On! magazine debuted with an issue cover-dated May 1978. Debbie Harry featured on its cover and the mag – costing a whole 25p – promised a healthy mix of punk, new wave, heavy metal, and prog rock. It kept its promise too as, over the course of seven eclectic issues, Rock On! dished out features and photo spreads on a dizzying cadre of top musical combos; from Status Quo to Sham 69, The Clash to KISS, Rush to The Rezillos. Meat Loaf graced a cover, Ozzy, too, until Issue 7, with Jimmy Pursey as its cover star, and cover-dated November 1978, when Rock On! disappeared from newsagent shelves. The editorial in that final issue wrote of the outrage of cutting off such a desirable publication in its prime but, if anything, Rock On! was a victim of its own blurring of genre lines: readers seemingly wanting specialist publications dedicated to singular strands of the rock ‘n’ roll world rather than this ambitious crossover style.

 

That final editorial, though, did offer some hope for the future; stating that it was the last Rock On! “in its present form”. Fast forward to around a year later and, in the Autumn of 1979, the true final piece of the Rock On! jigsaw arrived in shops and catalogues to complete the punk ‘n’ prog rocking picture.

With a scorching hot live photo of Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott on the cover, Rock On! Annual 1980 (price – £2.00) may well have been jostling for attention on the shelves alongside big-hitting television and film spin-off annuals, but it certainly looked the most badass. It was, the cover screamed, packed with pictures, facts, and quizzes on your favourite rock bands. It did not disappoint.

 

The heady mix of photo spreads and more in-depth features on select bands really did make Rock On! stand out from its competitors, and this annual amps that angle right up to eleven. The first photo spread was a “Tribute to Vocal Power!!!” (yes, with three exclamation marks) and featured cool live action shots of Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten, Cherie Currie, Pete Townsend, Willy DeVille, Graham Parker, Joan Jett, and Mick Jagger. A good start, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Next up, a photo diary detailing a “hard band” going “soft” as The Stranglers met their devoted fans, followed by a quartet of stinging live shots of “the band the critics love to hate”, Status Quo. Rock On!’s attitude to those Quo critics could be “summed up in two fingers” readers were informed.

 

With barely a pause for breath, a six-page A-Z of Heavy Metal feature detailed the prime acts in the genre, from AC/DC to, erm, Wishbone Ash. A-W, then. A few curious names in this run-down, too: Prism, Quartz, and Mahogany Rush rubbing shoulders with the expected likes of Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and, a firm favourite on the turntable at RPM HQ, Uriah Heep. A “Heads Down Heavy Metal Quiz” followed: a select question being “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees was a double live album for which heavy metal superstars?”

 

A Ten Years of Genesis feature followed, the first in a series of in-depth essays by John Tobler. His similar two-page spread on the history of Queen followed, as did those dedicated to Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult, Rush, and KISS. The latter, subtitled “Kings of Shock Rock”, wrote of “the forty foot columns of fire that emit from Gene Simmons’ mouth” and, c’mon, if you were eight years old at Xmas 1979 you had every excuse for then falling head over platform heels in love with the idea of the hottest band in the world.

There was a Rock On! reggae report, a fashion guide of sorts where the Quo’s Rick Parfitt spoke of his love of jeans and Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers of his love of raincoats (!), a Hi-Fi buying guide, a feature on sound engineers, a top DJ article covering John Peel and Anne Nightingale, plus one-page specials on Peter Gabriel and Ken Hensley of the Heep.

 

A photo spread of Ian Dury swimming (just your seven shots) padded out the pages, but not before an impressive photo set of live Black Sabbath shots appeared, a Star Cars article featuring Steve Jones, Meat Loaf, Midge Ure, and, ominously, Cozy Powell, a “Cult Heroes” feature detailing the likes of Iggy Pop, Nils Lofgren, Todd Rundgren, Tom Petty, and Bruce Spingsteen, and a “Sex ‘n’ Girls ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” spread featuring Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Siouxsie Sioux, Linda Ronstadt, Annie Golden, Poly Styrene, Stevie Nicks, and Rachel Sweet.

 

A “That Was The Year That Was” feature dedicated to 1978 was an obvious leftover from the previous year’s magazine and makes for entertaining if a little sombre reading amongst the other genuinely funny articles. Rock On! was a cool magazine, with its tongue firmly in its cheek and its love of a broad range of music at the forefront of any thinking. Your Uber Rocks, your RPMs are all subconscious descendants of Rock On! magazine.

No annual is complete, however, without a pull-out poster section (even if no kid ever dared pull a poster out of an annual!), and Rock On! Annual 1980 does not disappoint in that department. There are pin-ups of the aforementioned Pursey, Rezillos, Dury, Harry, Clash, and Lynott, plus Bob Geldof, Paul Weller, Freddie Mercury, David Lee Roth, Jon Anderson, Elvis Costello, Paul Stanley, and the Buzzcocks. Great photos too.

 

The Rock On! Annual 1980 may well be an uncommon piece in the average music memorabilia collection, but it is certainly a worthy one. Copies turn up on the secondary market relatively cheaply and, yeah, you should pick one up if you get the chance. The Rock On! staff were most certainly music journalist mavericks, and we’ve all tried to go there, right? Search for this precious, rockin’ tome… or you might never know how Rick Parfitt’s aunt ironed his double denim.

 

Thanks for reading, and for the feedback on my first column on the debut Alice Cooper comic. I’ll be back next month with something suitably archaic that the rock ‘n’ roll world tried to forget. Search for Pop Culture Schlock 365 on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Kevin Michael “GG” Allin was born Jesus Christ Allin on August 29, 1956. One of the most divisive members of the punk rock community he courted controversy wherever and whenever he could.  Love him or loathe him he certainly left an impression on the punk rock scene in the 80s and early ’90s.  Passing away on this day back in 93 is possibly one of the least surprising things to have happened in punk rock.  Let’s face it GG was never going to grow old and after promising to take his own life on stage as part of his act many times he sort of quietly slid off his mortal coil in tragic circumstances. Playing his last ever show in NYC the club turned off the power after a couple of songs which caused Allin to trash what wasn’t already trashed and then roaming the street almost naked covered in blood and shit the performer ended up partying at a friends house where he took a lethal Heroin overdose and never woke up being pronounced the morning after by paramedics exactly where he laid down the night before.

I guess whilst it wasn’t a surprise to hear the news it’s still a shame to hear about anyone passing away under such tragic circumstances.  Allin was fairly prolific throughout his career and moving from his early more glam roots he passed through punk, hardcore and country as well as spoken words performances Allin was no slouch when it came to what he considered art.

Even in death, the Allin circus continued when he was laid to rest his open casket was videotaped and he can be seen wearing a jock strap accompanied by a bottle of booze whilst friends posed with his corpse, placing drugs and whiskey into his mouth. As the funeral ended, his brother Merle put a pair of headphones on Allin.  plugged them into a cassette player which had a copy of The Suicide Sessions on it.

The film ‘Hated’ features the footage of that final performance and chaos that went on after.  Sadly GG’s grave was frequently vandalised urinated on, cigarette butts left as well as feces and alcohol left by so-called fans, an act that was greatly discouraged by his mother Arleta. His tombstone has since been removed because of this.

Musically he was a Beatles fan and that was reflected in his early songs other bands that greatly influenced him were the likes of Alice Cooper, the Stooges and Kiss.  when he put the Jabbers together.

Allin became popular when ROIR released a cassette-only ‘Hated in the Nation’  containing tracks from the Jabbers, the Scumfucs and Cedar Street Sluts. All unavailable elsewhere.  The tape also featured recordings with the likes of J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. on lead guitar and  Mark Kramer on bass. The most famous person to work with GG would have to be none other than Dee Dee Ramone who toured with the band as part of the Murder Junkies.

It wasn’t until the mid ’80s that he began to spiral out of control as his commercial career failed to take off he took full advantage of his underground personal and the myths began to appear (remember kids this is pre-internet) Allin was already making record designed to offend and provoke and he certainly achieved that with titles and collaborations to cause outrage (which they certainly did) the subject matter was attacking gay people, promoting drug use and his fascination with serial killers like Gacy led him to go visit the guy in prison. Live he couldn’t finish a set either because the fans stopped it or the police and/or venue interrupted him for his behavior. 

There was nothing big or clever about his behavior from the mid-’80s as he tried to stir up a hornet’s nest at every opportunity by saying repulsive comments about women, children, and boasting of his antics.  The music had long since stopped being relevant and instead he’d turned into a parody of himself and covered in ones own blood and poop began to fade into history and be a figure of fun that people would poke fun at and goad on to carry out his threat of killing himself on stage. In 91 he recorded with Antiseen what he described as his best album that most closely connected with himself.

If you’ve never heard him or fancy seeing what all the fuss was about then I suggest you check out ‘Hated’ it sure is an extreme ride and one you won’t forget in a hurry. I hope finally after such a chaotic life GG found his peace and afterlife and he can finally rest in peace.

you can pick up his records on the net but this company Aggronautix make a whole bunch of GG related collectibles as well as other bands and iconic figures in punk you really should check them out.

 

Also passing on this day back in ’81 a guy named Robert “Bob” Davis better known as Chuck Wagon from the punk band the Dickies. Chuck was a talented multi-instrumentalist who played Drums, Bass, Rhythm Guitars, keyboards and Saxophone. He will be best remembered for their iconic debut record  ‘The Incredible Shrinking Dickies’.  He also returned to the band to record its follow up ‘Dawn Of The Dickies’ as well as playing a few tracks on the third album which came out after his untimely suicide. suffering from depression after the breakup of his relationship Wagon returned after a show with the band and shot himself with a rifle this was 1981 and he was only twenty Five years young.  Rest in peace Bob.

 

Finally today former Gun Club guitarist Rob Graves also known as Rob Ritter.  Rob died of a Heroin Overdose on this day in ’90.  Rob played with the Gun Club, 45 Grave as well as a bunch of other lesser known bands like The Bags and. Graves played on Gun Clubs early 80s ‘Fires Of Love’ and ‘Miami’ as well as 45 Grave ‘Sleep In Safety’. Gun Club will always be remembered as the vehicle used by Jeffrey Lee Pierce but 45 Graves were part of the art Goth Rock scene with their striking images and this outlandish video for ‘Party Time’.  Its believed that Hole and Courtney Love dedicated ‘Pretty On The Inside’ to Rob when it came out.

 

 

Thanks for checking out my little corner of the Internet again. There really are no rules or expectations of what I am going to do here. Immediately after completing my first one though, this piece started writing itself in my head. It’s also shifted back and forth a bit during that time. The Wildhearts recently released their latest studio album ‘Renaissance Men,’ and it is quite simply a monster of an album. It is a serious album of the year contender with its 10 mostly compact songs reminding us of those albums of yesterday that did not waste time and placed an emphasis on all killer, no filler. That album served as the inspiration for the topic here- the stigma of mental illness.

 

Completing the first half of the album, ‘Diagnosis’ finds the band making a powerful statement that cannot be heard enough. The album has been on constant rotation, and that song kept nudging me to emphasize it for anyone that carries a mental health diagnosis with them. Coincidentally, I also saw a study by Record Union which indicated 73% of independent musicians suffered from some form of mental illness (https://www.the73percent.com/). I do not believe this is by any means a new phenomenon, but there has thankfully been much more awareness raised now. Unfortunately, there continues to be a stigma attached to mental illness that needs to be destroyed. People are NEVER a diagnosis. I do not care if it is a physical health condition or a medical health condition. Labels have genuine consequences.

 

‘You are not your diagnosís
You’re not that prescription in your hand
You are not your diagnosís
Simplified for them to understand’

(Ginger Wildheart, The Wildhearts, ‘Diagnosis’ from their latest album ‘Renaissance Men’)

 

I have worked in behavioral health for many years and have seen remarkable changes taking place within the field which are innovative and produce remarkable results. I remember the first time the clinic I where I worked brought a Peer Support Specialist (PSS) on board. We only had one, and there was some definite ignorance among the clinical team as for the first few days there was an unsaid belief that the PSS probably should not work with someone in crisis because it could cause the PSS to also go into crisis. I am very happy to report this belief was eradicated within about a week because we experienced the power of peer support. Clinically, we had failed to connect with the person, but this approach was remarkably powerful. In the not too distant past, I introduced a Peer Support Specialist to an inpatient psychiatric unit where the concept was entirely new.

 

“The stigma I experienced working in that facility has permeated through my recovery story. Before I reached wellness, people were telling me that my reality wasn’t true. Throughout my journey, having friends and loved one’s back away. Now in my profession as a Peer Specialist, being denied opportunities to help someone because it would “trigger a crisis” in myself according to their opinion. I am not my diagnosis. I am not my past. I am a person. My name is Jessi.”  Jessi Davis, MHPS RSPS Transition Age Youth Coordinator Via Hope

 

I have been fortunate that I worked in a system that celebrated strengths and meeting people where they are. It inspired a passion for me in my career to always try to do everything I can to make this world a better place. Some days are more successful than others. I have heard and seen horrific stories. I have heard and seen beautiful acts of love, empathy, support, resilience, and recovery.

 

I know that I never liked the task in school when I was asked to identify 3 strengths or things I liked about myself. I think it has become much easier with time, but I honestly do not know if it is because of the experiences I collected on my way to adulthood or some other reason. Parts of my adolescence were awful, and it didn’t change until I was well into my 20’s. I also know though I was extremely lucky and fortunate in many ways, especially in that I found coping mechanisms that worked for me. Music spoke to me and was my escape from the challenges I experienced. I also began writing in a journal, and, while they were initially song lyrics, my limitations in musical talent (having none) meant that these would become essentially poetry, even if that wasn’t what I wanted to call it due to preconceived stereotypes about my role in this world as a man and how we are trained to guard our feelings. My darkness I felt when I was younger had outlets-  healthy outlets.

 

Along the way in my career, I was presented with an exciting opportunity. Despite having no behavioral health diagnosis, I had the opportunity to attend a two week Peer Support Training class as part of my orientation for a job. Part of the training is the Peer Support Specialist being able to share their story in a way that inspires hope and resiliency. It was scheduled for about the middle of the training, and I felt uncomfortable with the idea of being in the class that day. I felt like I was an outsider and was betraying my classmates trust in some way. On the second or third day, I said something to one of my classmates during a break. This came out later that day in class, and our instructor told me he was sure I would have a story to share. Sure enough, I was annoyed that we only had 10 minutes to share as I felt it was not nearly enough time. While I have never experienced some of the things my classmates had, I had experienced similar emotions, similar moments in my life, and was moved by the stories I heard. Those two weeks have been extremely inspirational in my career. I have worked with others who have also received that training, and the power and energy these individuals radiate with afterward are contagious.

 

Turning this back to the song ‘Diagnosis’ and what inspired this, people are never just one thing. If you take 60 seconds and write down everything you are, I am sure you will have quite a list. It might start with father, son, husband, supervisor and then it gets really interesting as we drill down even deeper into what makes us who we are. To label someone as a disease takes away everything else they are. I have been fortunate to work with a CEO who frequently serves to remind others of this and has inspired significant changes in organizations across multiple States on this side of the pond with his approach. He also plays to people’s strengths and understands that you meet the person where they are in their reality, which can be quite challenging for some staff. Whatever the person is experiencing is what is real to them, if that is not validated, what reason does the person have to trust you?

 

If you watch the evening news, scroll Facebook or Twitter, pick up a newspaper after a horrific event, you will be hit hard with the power of stigma as people are quickly labeled or assumed to be (fill in the derogatory word that comes to your mind). What word was it for you? How did that become your conditioned response? Statistics over the years have demonstrated that individuals diagnosed with a serious mental illness are more likely to be the victim of a crime than the perpetrator.

 

“Using longitudinal data of more than two million individuals and multiple independent variables, the Danish study found that individuals with mental illness are at 2.5 times higher risk of being subjected to any crime compared to the general population, and at even higher risk of being subjected to violent crimes.” Jeffrey Swanson PhD (https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/fixing-the-system/features-and-news/4007-research-weekly-violence-victimization-and-serious-mental-illness-)

 

While I am not writing this to dig out all of those reasons why that might happen, I believe addressing the stigma of mental illness can help serve as a catalyst for change. If people felt like they could discuss what they were feeling and experiencing without the negative responses and shame, I believe it would begin to make differences, even if the ripple of change is small. Several of them become larger and a wave can form with enough of them. It starts with each of us though. We interact with people on a constant basis in our lives. We do not know what most of them are experiencing or have gone through in the moments before we see them, earlier that day, earlier in their lives. We often get one snapshot of that person. In my worst moments, I would not want someone to take that as being all I am.

 

When I look at the artists whose lyrics have hit me in the heart and soul the hardest, it is the likes of Frank Turner, Ginger Wildheart, Tyla, and others who articulate so clearly many of the thoughts that have passed through my brain over the years. Many of their songs have become personal anthems that inspire me when I need them. They inspire resiliency and let me know my brain is not really that strange in those weak moments. Turner’s ‘Get Better’  Being a powerful anthem for many and a reminder that we can always get better as people as long as we are still breathing.

Thinking about this topic has also given me a reason to really take a look across several parts of my collection with various albums immediately coming to mind that has connections to this blog. If we travel back in time to 1978 when I was just a boy, Alice Cooper unleashed ‘From the Inside’ which was conceptually based around his stay in a psychiatric hospital of the time.

The ballad ‘How You Gonna See Me Now’ has always been one of my favorite Alice ballads, and I have really enjoyed the lyrical depth to it that became apparent as I got older. Titus Andronicus released ‘The Most Lamentable Tragedy’ in 2015 and shared the story of someone dealing with symptoms related to bipolar disorder over the course of a rock-opera with the band releasing one segment of the story as a music video  that portrays someone receiving services in an institution.

Stand Atlantic released a music video for their song ‘Lavender Bones’  in 2018 which show their singer being treated the same as everyone else and being taught to think and act the same way. She breaks free from the authority in the video, and, to me, celebrates the character she is playing by showing all of the different sides to who she is as a person through all of the colors she uses in her painting (my interpretation).

Ginger Wildheart has been very open with the challenges he experiences and their impact on him. Between Twitter, his music, his charitable actions, and even negative incidents, he has let fans have a window into a world that would not have been seen decades earlier before the rise of social media. Ginger Wildheart has albums such as ‘Ghost in the Tanglewood’ and ‘The Pessimist’s Companion’ that really speak to the insecurities and dark emotions that we experience and provide catharsis. He has also addressed these experiences in specific songs over the years as well such as ‘The Order of the Dog’ and personal favorite ‘Drive.’ Ginger was recently on “Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon” with Alan Niven talking about their recent suicide attempts and mental health care. Here is a link to the show:

Wade Bowen is a red dirt singer/ songwriter based here in Texas who has a discography of amazing albums, and he has never backed away from singing about person topics that have affected both him and his family, such as his song about post-partum depression ‘Turn on the Lights.’ He recently released a piece on YouTube that addresses his own recent struggle with a physical illness as well as the suicide of his nephew who was also a member of their team. While Bowen and the team continue to process their grief, it serves as another reminder to eliminate the stigma that keeps this topic from being discussed. Here is a link to ‘Inconsistent Chaos.’

Another band that served me extremely well back in my late teens when I felt mentally exhausted and struggling was Suicidal Tendencies. I felt like Mike Muir was often tapping into my own brain with the likes of ‘You Can’t Bring Me Down,’  ‘Alone,’ ‘Can’t Stop,’ etc. His lyrics served as a kick in the butt while also tapping into human emotions that all of us feel at some point in time. They also helped provide another realization in that we need to like the person we are and be comfortable in our own skin. I feel like that goes back to my earlier example where I would struggle as a teen to identify my own strengths.

As the Wildhearts served as the inspiration behind this blog, it seems fitting to close it with Ginger Wildheart and Ryan Hamilton  ‘Fuck You Brain’

 

 

Author: Gerald Stansbury