Was it really twelve months ago today we got the really sad news that friend of the website todd youth had sadly passed away.  A year flys by and there have been plenty of times several of us have talked about his sad passing and the legacy he left behind whether it be introducing some of the magnificent bands he was a member of or telling stories of the brief moments we shared with the guy.  We’ve had a whole year to think about his effect on our little scene and some of our favourite bands have to be the line up he was in alongside Johnny Martin (Now an LA Gun) as part of Jesse Malins St Marks Band.  It has been said that this was the finest line up Jesse has been in since D Generation no doubt about it.

Another band he spent a brief time in was the magnificent hardcore racket that was Bloodclot alongside legend vocalist John Joseph (Cro-Mags), Nick Oliveri (Dwarves) and Joey Castillo (Danzig).  But it all began when Youth was still Todd Schofield a New Jersey boy who ventured over to the LES when it was a tough neighbourhood and not the sanitized high street it is today. He started out in Warzone before graduating to Murphys Law where he stayed until 95. Todd then went on to replace Richard Bacchus in D Generation in ’96 and recorded ‘Through The Darkness’  after D Gen split he formed Chrome Locust with fellow D Gen Michael Wildwood. 

It was after the Chrome Locust album that he then moved onto Danzig and worked with Joey for the first time after turning down the chance to join Foo Fighters and the Hellacopters. Whilst playing with Danzig he got to record the one studio album with Glen that featured his fellow Bloodclot mate on drums former D Gen legend Howie Pyro on bass and of course Danzig on the ‘ I Luciferi’ album as well as the live Danzig album. later in 2007 he left Danzig and became the guitar player for none other than Glen Campbell.

Sometime later when we got to meet him he had formed the awesome Chelsea Smiles with Karl Rosqvist, Johnny Martin,  and  Skye Vaughan-Jayne and also reformed Son Of Sam.  He also almost made it into Gunfire 76 with Wednesday 13 and the inaugural line up of Michael Monroe’s band but Youth split at the 11th hour to play the guitar with one of his heroes Ace Frehley.  youth lasted four years playing with Ace and we spoke once when he played Bristol with the St Marks Social that he had been stranded in the UK as Ace pulled his shows leaving members of his band in the UK without a show. Anyway, it was 2017 when youth hooked up with Bloodclot  (I hope you’re keeping up here folks?) to record the epic ‘Up In Arms’. To be fair to Youth he turned in some epic performances in his time on this planet and along with Chelsea Smiles and Chrome Locust or Bloodclot and Fireburn he certainly left his mark with some amazing records.

Todd was 47 when he passed away and that’s way too young.  We miss you man see you in the next life.

 

Todd Youth R.I.P

 

Another East coast Legend who sadly passed away on this same day was the one and only Lou Reed. Lewis Allen Reed was born in Brooklyn March 2nd 1942. He’s somebody who doesn’t need any introduction and was forever pushing the envelope of Rock and Roll from way back when he was part of the whole Warhol scene and originally moved to NYC to be an inhouse writer for Pickwick Records before forming a partnership with Welshman john Cale whom he lived with in the LES and went on to form the Velvet underground.  It was through Warhol that his association with Nico (A German Model) that Reed wrote some songs after initially rejecting the idea of working with her.

In the 70s Reed signed with RCA who also had some notable other significant Glam Rock pioneers on their roster and he went on to form lasting friendships with bowie and Iggy Pop.  It was 72s ‘Transformer’ album that broke through for Reed which happened to be produced by Bowie and his fellow Spider from Mars Mick Ronson.  The single “Walk on the Wild Side” got him noticed as his anthem for the misfits of the world and the so-called weirdos and gender benders of the time but it was Reeds biggest hit managing to evade scrutiny for its playful lyrics of New York nightlife. Ahead of his time?  For sure he was.  He had a rather tempestuous friendship with Bowie and wasn’t afraid to disagree with his friend with his fists.

Reed had some success with ‘Berlin’ but decided to follow it up with an album primarily made up of metallic feedback and almost unlistenable music that was ‘Metal Machine Music’ no doubt an inspiration to many noisemakers further down the line such as ginger Wildheart for his Mutations records and Endless Nameless albums (possibly).

Drugs and booze might have had something to do with Reed’s creative mindset at the time but it wasn’t long before he would indeed clean up his act (as Bowie had previously requested) He got married at the turn of the 1980s and went on to produce some of his finest work in that decade. ‘New York’ ended the decade for Reed and gave him only his second Gold Record.

the 90s saw him work with former VU compadre Cale on the album ‘Songs For Drella’.  He also played Glastonbury was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his fellow VU bandmates.  He also went on to record a bizarre record with Metallica after playing with the band at MSG in NYC ‘Lulu’ had only sold 13,000 copies in its first week of sales and ever the philosophical musician Reed joked that he’d finally pissed off all his fans and didn’t have any left.

It was in 2013 after suffering for years with hepatitis and diabetes Reed was diagnosed with Liver Cancer and after undergoing a transplant in the May of that year it was in the October Reed said he was bigger and he eventually passed away from liver disease at the age of 71. He was posthumously inducted into the #Hall Of Fame as a solo artist a year after his passing and Reed will forever be associated with the city he loved Lou Reed and New York go hand in hand and many of his songs are about the city and its only right that we remember such a legend on this day. Rest In Peace Mr Lou Reed. #Legend

Jesse Malin’s transition from snotty frontman for NY punks D Generation to acoustic troubadour has been a natural progression over the last 15 years. The long and winding road has seen him release 7 solo albums, collaborating with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams and Brian Fallon along the way.

Critically praised, yet commercially ignored (hey, aren’t all the best songwriters? Ginger,Tyla and Butch Walker, here’s looking at you!). His live shows, whether solo or with a band, can be an immersive experience full of storytelling, comedy and crowd interaction. Jesse Malin continues to tell tales of dreamers, schemers, hustlers and dealers. These are his songs about the characters from his native New York and stories about those he meets on the road.

Jesse’s latest album ‘Sunset Kids’ is a collaboration with country legend Lucinda Williams, who Malin met by chance in a club. They discussed making an album together after she invited him to Tom Petty’s final concert.  During the writing and recording Jesse lost his father, his good friend Todd Youth and even the engineer of the album Davis Bianco.

 

Opener ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World Again’ is a re-recording of the lead track from 2017’s ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’ EP. This version benefits from Lucinda’s lush production and masterful guidance. The verse, sung in Jesse’s lower register with the addition of warm bass and a tinkling of the ivories, comes on like prime Lou Reed. It lends itself well as a great build to the infectious chorus full of lush, gang vocals. It’s a laid back, lazy sounding slice of retro rock ‘n’ roll, the kind that only a New York resident could produce. This is Jesse walking on the wildside and that’s about as rock ‘n’ roll as you can get.

Next up, the countrified ‘Room 13’ is a reflective ode to spending time in hotel rooms (Jesse has been known to book himself into hotels to write songs in isolation, with no distractions). This is prime Malin songwriting, featuring Lucinda’s lush vocal harmonies and twangy countrified guitars, the sparse instrumentation creates space and atmosphere that only adds to the laid back, signature melodies Jesse creates.

 

There’s a nice ebb and flow to the album, from the upbeat to the downbeat. Reflective, acoustic laments like ‘When You’re Young’ and ‘Revelations’ rub (leather) shoulders with funky 70’s groovers such as ‘Do You Really Wanna Know’ and the overly cool ‘Dead On’, 2 tunes that deserve to be jammed out by cool cats in smoky bars, while whores hustle and hustlers whore around them.

The upbeat ‘Chemical Heart’ has the same feel as his version of The Hold Steady’s ‘You Can Make Them Like You’ from the excellent ‘On Your Sleeve’ covers album. Nice stabs of Hammond give this song a quirky burst of energy. It’s one of the coolest on offer, along with ‘Strangers and Thieves’, co-written by Billy Joe Armstrong as part of their Rodeo Queens side project. A euphoric, countrified rock ‘n’ roll blast if ever there was one. Lucinda’s lush backing vocals add depth, great percussion and twangy guitars give a Stonesy ‘All Down The Line’ feel. A much needed dose of urgency.

Jesse’s tales of working class guys, lost love and dreaming of breaking out of the rat race have been popular themes with the guy since D Generation burst onto MTV with ‘No Way Out’, and although the production may have changed, the message is still the same. As he suggests in ‘Shining On’, you gotta keep on, keeping on. “Call me a cab for the last plane to tomorrow” he asks on ‘Promises’ and ‘Grey Skies Look So Blue’ floats along on a summer breeze as Jesse dreams about packing his bags and getting away.

 

 

When an artist goes through tumultuous times, when a songwriter experiences heartache or pain, and truly has something to write about, THAT is when they are at their best. Like much of Jesse’s solo work, ‘Sunset Kids’ is a reflective body of work, full of heartfelt tenderness and cool rock ‘n’ roll, but for whatever reason it resonates so much more than his past albums. And with the help of Lucinda Williams, he may well have made the album of his career.

Author: Ben Hughes

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Should have been huge! How many times do we hear that said of a band?  We’ve all seen bands we think should have – could have, but there is one in particular band I love who seemed to slip between the cracks and time overtook them and alas that moment was gone.  Darren Birch was a quarter of one of if not the most exciting bands of the UK underground scene who played around the toilet scene in the late ’80s early ’90s – they were Garage punks from Birmingham who, with a pocketful of excellent tunes and a strong image had it all.  In Ant, they had a frontman who had the swagger of a Jagger and the cool spirit of Iggy.  They stormed Londons Marquee Club on numerous occasions and put on a show every time. They were head and shoulders the best band anywhere at the time, yet, they remained unsigned with only a seven inch and twelve-inch singles to their name. It was years later they released a CD that delivered all the tunes they played live and managed to capture that magic onto tape yet their moment had gone and sadly had their frontman.  They lost frontman Ant under tragic circumstances so the chance of a reunion had gone. 
Bass player Birchy has a story to tell and has played with some of the pioneers of the first wave of punk and some – he currently plies his trade in several bands namely the Godfathers and Black Bombers (currently)  if you’re not familiar then you need to change that pronto. But not until you read the words from our little recent chat. Over to you Mr. Birch.
Let’s take it back to the beginning for you.  What made you want to pick up a guitar and why the bass? 
I had my first Bass at fourteen years old. A Jazz copy with an awful high action…The guys I played with in my first band called it the Bow and Arrow.  I loved the Damned as a kid and was inspired by hearing Algy play that intro to ‘Love Song’ and then the sound Paul (Gray) had when he joined the Damned.
Who else was influencing a young kid in Birmingham?
There were others I was drawn to like JJ Burnel and Lemmy they were certainly influences on me at the time. I’d also say around that age I was discovering Bowie and the Spiders era and loved Trevor Bolders playing.  then as I was growing older I was discovering all sorts of players from Dennis Dunaway, Bootsy Collins, Barry Adamson…Even in my Jazzier moments Charles Mingus!!
What about early memories of playing shows?
The earliest shows I was playing was in punk bands.  I’d only been playing about six months and even though the other guys I was playing with were three and four years older than me I guess it was the usual story of ropey PA’s just for vocals in pubs I wasn’t anywhere near old enough to be in – Fun Though.
My first memory of seeing you play was in London with Gunfire Dance.  You were always a band I’d go and see and I found the live shows so exciting? Tell us how the band came into being?
Gunfire Dance was the first 2Proper” band I was in.  Me ‘n Ozzie started the band around 83/84we were influenced by the growing scene of Hanoi, Lords, Thunders…that kind of thing. The line up you all know and love (haha ) with Jeff and Ant (R.I.P)  consolidated around 87/88.
Yeah, We always wanted to be a high energy band… We loved gigs like the Cramps, Lords, Iggy that kind of unpredictability.  I think the band is more appreciated now than back in the late ’80s were certainly more understood…We were never part of that Stones/Face thing that was going on nor were we part of the Glam/Hard Rock scene I think we were out on our own at the time…our influences stretched back to the ’50s, 60’s the whole punk scene maybe bands like Thee Hypnotics were kind of our kindred spirits back then.
What about memories of playing abroad? Did you enjoy touring? 
The tours we did around the UK were always self-financed and self-organised except the tour with Tigertailz (Island paid for that.  We had a publishing deal with them but alas no record deal) we also went out with Bang Tango!!! We certainly had a lot of fun and those Marquee shows were always great (as I recall)
Most people will know of your work with Gunfire Dance.  I remember buying a demo cassette and eventually a 7″ single and 12″ why did it take so long to get a long player out? 
We spoke to loads of managers , labels  etc… But fo rone reason or another it just never happened. We recorded lots of stuff at Island some with Rat (Scabies) and some with Brian (James) but none of it got released until the Evil Boy Records put out ‘Archway Of Thorns’ in 2005.
When we played CBGB with D Generation and The Waldos a guy named Rat Boy (Motorcycle Boy) was playing in Pillbox put us in touch with Jeff Dahl and he released the 7″ on his Ultra Under label in the States then the ‘Killing Time’ 12″ we did that ourselves.  Then we went back to the States for a second time and did New York but the band was falling apart, I guess the combination of doing it without success will do that.
What did you do after the band broke up?
After the band called it a day I didn’t play for a while the “Music Business” had left a bitter taste in my mouth for a while anyway.  I had been DJaying and had a club called ‘Stay Sick’ which lasted a few years – That could get messy.  Then Oz, Ant and myself got together with a friend called Mark Barrows and started Stepping Razors which came about inadvertently by us being asked to tour with Tyla (now that’s another story).  Jeff had left for New York by this time so we got together and it was fun…We were a great band – We cut a demo at the famous Toe-Rag Studio and then got some interest from Island (again) after a great show with Royal Trux but again it fell apart for one reason or another it was around this time I’d also started playing with Alan (Black Bombers) in the Morricone influenced Horse Feathers. Still going to this day we even got as far as recording that album (reviewed Here)
Me and Oz ended up playing with Brian (James) he’d asked us back in the Gunfire Dance days if we’d play in his band doing his solo album (the one on New Rose Records) we would have been The Brian James Gang but Brian suffered the loss of both his parents and then he had the money from Guns N Roses for using his song so he moved to France to raise his Son away from London.  some years later we got a phone call out of the blue it was Brian – he’d moved back to the UK and was now in Brighton and he wanted to do something so we resurrected the Brian James Gang with Jez Miller on guitar and vocals doing some Lords, Early Damned and his solo stuff… my ears still have yet to recover!!
I guess the next time I caught you live was when you were playing with Walter Lure.  Tell us how that all came about?
The Walter thing was when Oz got in touch via myspace we saw he’d been to Europe and released a live CD so we asked if he’d be interested in coming to the UK and we’d put a band together for him.  He said yes and the first show was that 100 Club gig where Walter flew in the day before we had one rehearsal and did the show it was brilliant.  He hadn’t played here for twenty-five years.  I can remember the expectancy and when I see the youtube footage of that gig I feel proud of what we did with one rehearsal!! Ha ha, We ended up doing a few more plus the Rebellion show and supported Jim Jones at their final show at the Forumthen when Walter finally retired from Wall Street we did a full UK tour.
Was there ever a chance to record as The Waldos?
It would have been good to record with Walter but there was never the time……He’s over here soon with Mick Rossi….When we played with Brian the plan was to record an album but it got sidetracked by that Lord’s reformation and never happened…
Onto your recent exploits – Black Bombers and Godfathers.  Firstly tell us how the band came together (Black Bombers)?
It came out of the Blue to be honest. Having not done anything for ages Alan and I got together with a few friends and ended up pulling a few songs together originally it was a four-piece but we struggled to find a direction. Eventually, it went down to a three-piece and when Dave joined on Drums we sort of found our sound.  We wanted to just play Rock and Roll but it had to be adult rock and roll musically and lyrically and try and avoid cliches…cranky…and gnarly – much like us men of a certain age! Haha.
The sound of the recordings is unbelievably good and I always tell people to go listen to the sound of the songs it’s huge. Have you always used the same guitar and amp?  What if any effects do you go through? We did the first 7″ in our rehearsal room, miked everything up and blasted away, even the vocals came straight from the PA ala ‘Funhouse’.  We did it that was not only to keep the cost down but we really liked it.  Recording like they used to back in the day – old bluesmen or something at Chess and that’s pretty much how we’ve done everything since.
In fact ‘Vol 4’ the backing tracks are all first takes we never played a song twice.  We rehearsed them without vocals so we knew them inside out and when it came to recording we just bashed them out. as for gear I have the same Precision that I bought with the Island advance back in Gunfire Dance days and I use no effects at all just crank it up!
You’ve recently found a home with Easy Action who also appreciates and releases some fab music and the packaging is always quality who came up with the artwork and design of the LP?  Dave our drummer is our resident artist, He designs all our covers he does a lot of work for easy action on the Dave Kusworth albums, in fact, he plays on some of them.
 
With a new Mini album or is it an EP? just released what next for the band? Yeah we just put out ‘Vol 4’ a 10″ mini album its been having some great reviews and we did a short run of shows to support it with the likes of Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind, The Folk Devils and a few more throughout the year (any promoters get in touch)  Also we’ve started putting some new songs together that will make a new album.
You’re also a member of Godfathers and recently released a live album, the sound of the band is exceptional and the band sounds like its having a ball really attacking the back catalogue. A lot of those old songs sound amazing and really fresh.  Tell us how and why you got involved with Peter and Godfathers?
I’ve been involved about three years now.  I stood in for a few festivals originally then Peter said they were going to record a new album and asked if I’d be involved and it’s as simple as that really. We made ‘A Big Bad Beautiful Noise’ which I think is a really good album and it stands up to any of the early 80’s Godfathers albums.
Before we finish up I wanted to ask why ‘Archway’ has never had a vinyl pressing.  Any chance of one?
 I would like to do a vinyl version of Archway of thorns…..Maybe get a band page up first see if there is enough interest…
Songs like ‘Blue’ sound timeless, how did the songwriting work in the band? The songs would come together in rehearsals really…’Blue’ for instance was just written around the bass line and some chords I threw together…Jeff put his thing over the top and Ant wrote the lyrics…We were all quite individual musicians and everyone played their part.
Is there anything still on the cutting room floor or did ‘Archway Of Thorns’ have the lot? 
There are some songs that we never recorded…..A few on YouTube clips…I have some live tapes from the Marquee with songs on that we never did in a studio…
Good Quality?
Not Bad.  The tapes I have were recorded by our driver on a minidisc player…There are a couple from Edward’s in Brum too.
You ought to celebrate the band and release the album on vinyl.
Jeff is coming over and doing a couple of Electrajet gigs in November…Oz is gonna play drums. ..Black Bombers gonna support. …That’s probably as near as you’ll get to a reunion…. Ha…
and that’s where we’ll end for now.  Thanks, Birchy for your time and effort.  I loved gunfire Dance still do and they shouldn’t be forgotten they should be championed as should his contribution to music whether it be through Walter Lure when he tours or as part of The Godfathers or with his own band Black Bombers if you’ve never heard any of them then be prepared for a treat  all mightily fine bands that deserve people time oh and if you would like to see ‘Archway Of Thorns’ on vinyl where it belongs then the campaign starts here.

Further adventures in Rock and Roll featuring Darren Birch can be found below

Horse Feathers Review Here

Black Bombers Review Here

Godfathers Review Here

Well hello and thanks for checking in.  Your Monday just got a whole lot better as Stiv Bator hits the screen.  Seeing as it would have been Stiv’s birthday last week it seems only fair that we air this classic and I make no apology for the shitty quality of the footage.  R,I.P Stiv we miss ya

Buy Stiv Bator music Here

 

No Monday morning middle finger would be complete without this classic single from the mighty Wonk Unit and RPM would like to offer our congratulations to Alex and his wife on the birth of their Daughter.

Buy Wonk Unit Here

 

To finish off your soul cleansing Monday morning FTW you can’t go wrong with the mighty D Generation

Buy D Generation Here

 Nev Brooks.

When this gig flashed up on my watching list, the juices really started to flow, I mean an essential part of the great Green on Red (Chuck Prophet) that I have vague recollections of catching way back in the day at the reading festival in 1989 when it returned, taken over by The Mean Fiddler group.

 

Add into the mix probably my favourite live artist at the moment Jesse Malin part of the superb D-Generation and more to the point an incredible live act on his own, electric or acoustic. Tickets were booked instantly,

 

But enough of the waffle, arriving at the venue I have to say, parking was a bit of a nightmare, be warned, (it’s a venue I’m going to watch out for in the future) Hey Ho! The joys of driving everywhere!! Moving upstairs I did a bit of a double take, a seated gig? Hmm, and then we’re into it with Jesse Malin and I have to say what a set, even though shortened to 50 mins, we had a sample from the new LP, scheduled for release mid 2019 (my little life, meet me at the end of the world) an awesome cover of the Pogues classic,” If I should fall from grace with god”, a great collection from the St Marks social LP-love it to Life, including all the way from Moscow and an absolutely blinding “Burning the Bowery” were I to say none of the audience remained sitting would be more than fair.

 

The songs from New York before the war just keep getting stronger and tonight we had “The year that I was born” and a track that stopped me cold “Turn up the mains”. Without going track for track, we had his whole career represented, from The fine art of self destruction, through to the Outsiders with Glitter in the gutter getting a more than welcome representation.

 

With such an outstanding catalogue the music itself was always going to be top drawer, but what came across tonight was Jesse Malin the storyteller, if you get chance to catch this tour anywhere don’t miss, but also what should also hit you is why isn’t this guy huge!! I suppose a damning inditement on the malaise that the mainstream music world is currently investing it’s time in.

 

Now you’ve probably guessed I’m a bit of a Jesse Malin fan and his set was my main reason for travelling over tonight, but I was 100% in the minority the audience were here to catch Chuck Prophet so strapping in, not really knowing what to expect from a solo Chuck I entered the set with an open mind.

 

Struggling with a virus I have to say what a set followed from Chuck, and what a vocalist Stephanie Finch is, a perfect foil from that swamp blues drawl, splitting vocal duties her voice very much came across with hints of early Marianne Faithful, that innocence embedded in pop sensibilities, while also giving a nod to that world weary Americana style. This was part of a series of Americana gigs being promoted by the Hen and Chicken after all.

 

As a singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet is faultless, but the track that caught me was a track by the McCoys from 1965, re-interpreted by David Bowie on the Hunky Dory LP-Sorrow, stripped down, slowed up and re-interpreted as an Americana classic. Other tracks that stuck with me, were “Bad year for Rock and Roll, The left hand and the right hand, doubter out of Jesus” and the Bob Dylan cover “Abandoned Love”.  Again what hits you are the stories between songs, holding the audience enthralled, these two have toured together for years, hit the same audiences and made the same connections and what came across to me was the link both had to a fledgling Ryan Adams and again the though flits across my mind, they should be standing alongside him on the much larger venues.

 

As an aside, I picked up a vinyl copy of Glitter in the Gutter, one I was missing and ended in a conversation with Jesse, and what a humble guy, wrapped up in music, grounded and focused.

 

Pick up the Jesse Malin back catalogue here

Pick up the Chuck Prophet here