It’s that time again, RPM-people, where I dip a retro-futuristic toe into the Pop Culture Schlock archive hoping to find something that will get your nostalgia nubs tingling and have you rushing to the secondary market seller of your choice, PayPal log-in details set to stun.

It’s the cavernous physical media section of the archive that I am plundering on this fine day, fingering a forgotten Eighties flick (that’s if you even knew of it in the first place!) that is more than deserving of the Cult Classic status that appeared desperately out of its reach as the film fell between the cinematic cracks, despite housing exclusive output from hit parade hot properties like Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Cheap Trick, and, erm, Earth, Wind & Fire… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

 

1983’s Rock & Rule was the first fully animated feature film produced entirely in Canada. Nelvana, the studio behind it, was founded in 1971 and had reached for the pop culture skies several years later when it contributed to 1978’s much-maligned (long-forgotten if Lucasfilm could have its way) Star Wars Holiday Special; the studio creating the ten-minute animated segment that famously featured the first appearance of Boba Fett, the galaxy’s most-feared bounty hunter (well, until we found out that he was cloned from that bloke off of Shortland Street, at least).

 

Nelvana’s animators were ballpoints-deep in developing an animated feature entitled Drats! when they were approached by producer Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Stripes, Twins) to work on a feature-length movie based on the classic magazine, Heavy Metal. Nelvana nixed the idea in favour of producing its own title. Heavy Metal, the movie, eventually released in 1981, utilised the services of several different animation houses, took around twenty million dollars at the box office, and became a cult classic. Them’s the breaks.

Drats! toiled through a development hell of sorts; originally intended as a more child-friendly Grimm’s fairy tale-like opus, the project was subject to countless changes, from tone to title. Now called Rock & Rule, the project dashed into production without a completed screenplay. Re-writes abounded, characters were changed long after their original footage was completed, the studio had to move location part-way through production, investment dried up, and the production sailed past every deadline. At least Nelvana had the might of MGM/UA behind them. Well, not quite. Boardroom musical chairs at MGM/UA resulted in the suits who had fallen for the animated project being hung out to dry and new suitors, if you could call them that, were less than enamoured with the work as a whole. Cuts were demanded, voice actors replaced, the title changed to Ring Of Power, resulting in the movie being dead on arrival – buried by a studio before it even had a chance to find its audience upon eventual release in 1983. But why? Was it really that bad?

 

Watching Rock & Rule now it’s easy to find fault – the post-apocalyptic tone is diluted too often by comic relief characters more suited to Saturday morning cartoons, and the cuts demanded (two different versions actually exist; American and Canadian) make for a patchy viewing experience – but, as far from perfect as it is, there is plenty on offer for this forgotten film to warrant rediscovery. It is, however, the rock and roll of Rock & Rule that will be of the greatest interest to RPM readers.

The story in a nutshell: on a post-apocalyptic Earth where the population has mutated from rodents to human form, a legendary super rocker, named Mok, resides in Nuke York and is obsessed with an evil experiment that will bring forth a demon from another dimension. To do this he needs to find an angelic voice to sing a certain combination of notes. Meanwhile, in a seedy club, a fledgling rock band has a keyboard player just finding her voice. Her name? Angel…

 

Mok was originally to be named ‘Mok Swagger’ until the talent representation of Mick Jagger objected. How did they know at such an early stage of development? Well, the Rolling Stones frontman was considered for the role of Mok (no doubt why the animated character has lips-a-plenty), as were David Bowie, Sting, Michael Jackson, and Tim Curry. Don Francks – who had provided the voice for Boba Fett in the aforementioned Holiday Special animated sequence – was eventually cast as Mok, although the character’s musical sequences were performed by none other than Lou Reed.

 

Who could provide that angelic voice, though? Well, voice-over veteran Susan Roman was cast as Angel, but the character’s potentially demon-inducing singing voice was provided by Debbie Harry. Add to these that fact that Angel’s bandmate, Omar, had a singing voice provided by Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, and the one-and-only Iggy Pop voiced the thing from another dimension, and you have a proper rock ‘n’ roll curio almost certain to be missing from many a collection.

‘Angel’s Song’ is, in fact, an early version of the song, ‘Maybe For Sure’, that would appear on Harry’s 1989 solo album, ‘Def, Dumb & Blonde’. This was just one of three songs written by Harry and fellow Blondie founder, Chris Stein, for the movie; the others being ‘Invocation Song’ and ‘Send Love Through’, the version of the latter featured at the climax containing lead vocals by both Debbie Harry and Robin Zander. Zander’s Cheap Trick bandmate, Rick Nielsen, penned three tunes for the movie (‘Born To Raise Hell’, ‘I’m The Man’, and ‘Ohm Sweet Ohm’), Lou Reed two (‘Triumph’ and ‘My Name Is Mok’), and Iggy Pop just the one (‘Pain & Suffering’). It’s the Earth, Wind & Fire tune that you want to know about though, right? Well, ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ plays out in a neo-disco scene set at Club 666. Now you’re interested!

 

Arthouse cinemas and film festivals provided the only opportunities to view Rock & Rule after its initial flop at release, aside from a rare mid-eighties airing on Canadian television, where it was promoted as a music special rather than an animated feature. Eventual home video releases on video cassette and laserdisc finally allowed the movie to find something of an audience until, in more recent times, a long-awaited double DVD release presented an anamorphic widescreen version to curious viewers and collectors alike. This digital versatile disc set is now out of print so good luck in finding a copy. I did, and it now resides in the Pop Culture Schlock archive where another curious item lies waiting to be fingered for my next RPM column…

 

Until then, keep watching the skies!

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Author: Gaz Tidey

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

One of the best debut albums I’ve heard in quite some time happens to be ‘Out Of My Head’ it’s jam-packed with influences ranging from the good to the greats and the passion and energy poured into every groove of the LP is evident to the listener.  I tapped Matt up for an interview with RPM and he was happy to oblige.  If you’re lucky enough to have the band roll into a town near you I suggest you cancel whatever it is you’re doing and get down to the Rock and Roll show.  But hey check em out then support them and Dead Beat Records because we need more bands like this making music on labels like that.  So lets cut the crap and get down to the chatter that mattered  Ladies and Gents boys and girls  Matt from Poison Boys…
When did the band form and let us know a little about where you grew up and what inspired you guys to pick up an instrument and play Rock and Roll?
I grew up right outside of Chicago in Northwest Indiana, about 1 minute from the border of Illinois. Been obsessed with rock n roll since I was a kid. Me and my friend Mike Lippman had been playing in punk bands together since we were young teenagers and finally decided we wanted to start a rock n roll band. I played drums throughout those years but wanted to play guitar if it was a rnr band so started figuring out Ramones songs and went from there.
Can you remember what the first songs you wrote as a band was?  
Mike and I collaborated on nearly all of the early songs, he’d write riffs or I would, and I’d write vocals and he’d help me with the lines sometimes. First ones we wrote were Been Here All Night, Out of My Head, Cut Right Out, Bad Mouth, Without You and a couple of others. Unfortunately, Mike passed away before we could complete a lot of other songs which I ended up finishing later like Headed for Disaster, Got to Tease, and Up to the Sky among others. We always wanted it to be a well rounded rock n roll group, not just one specific sound the whole record or anything. But not to stray too far outside of the rock n roll spectrum.
You’ve released a couple of singles before the album came along with the first two being on the excellent UK label no front teeth.  How did that come about?  How did a label out of London pick up some guys in Chicago?  Is the line up stable now? your almost in Spinal Tap territory for past members already 
I found out about No Front Teeth from reading a PORK magazine and either seeing an NFT ad or a record review with NFT as the label it was released on. Just emailed Marco and he was super down to help us get our first (and second) 7″ out. Really I could not find any snotty punk labels in the states at all. Even now I only know of like 2 or 3 and that’s it. And if they aren’t interested or are too busy or whatever you turn to labels elsewhere that’s all.
As for the lineup… When people don’t wanna play rock n roll anymore or move out of state what do you do? The band hasn’t been around long enough to make much of an impression with anyone lineup, hasn’t had an LP or anything out prior to now so it didn’t matter to me. Granted I don’t exactly enjoy having members flake out or whatever but it is what it is. We’ve had a pretty solid lineup for about a year and a half or so with Matt “Chainz/the Chainblaster” Chaney on drums and Steve  “Stevsie/Stevie Poison” Elfinger on bass at home/guitar on the road, and touring members Nico Bones on bass and Julius Lange on guitar. It’s been pretty killer getting to know and hang with all of them.
The first single was back in 2016 then ’17 then you got White Zoo to release the last one last year.  Had you already signed up to dead beat to do the album by then?  How come you switched for the album? 
Dead Beat came about through me asking them earlier this year if they’d be interested in releasing the LP. They were very stoked especially after hearing the record, so we just had to finish up art and final mastering for it and it was a go. The 7″s were released on the other side of the pond, we were just looking for somewhere closer to get the records released by and knew Dead Beat had put out records by some of our favorite newer rock n roll bands.
Is there a chance of a European release for the record?  What about touring Europe and the UK?
We’d love for it to be released by a European label! Haven’t heard anything about that yet but time will tell I suppose. We plan to set up a European tour for hopefully next year.
As far as the album goes I was really pleased to hear plenty of influences in there and some choice covers.  Obviously, I have to ask why those covers? (apart from them being great songs) 
Well, I was listening to a Beatles singles comp called ‘Past Masters’ and heard a banging rocker called ‘Slow Down’. Knew it had to be a cover and found out Larry Williams was the original and sounded killer!! I figured we could pull it off and should give it a go. It delivers well live so we figured it’d be a good way to help open up the album and add more bitchin’ piano to it which we love big time. As for the Dead Boys cover… that one’s always been relatable to me and it fits with our style really well I think. It’s, of course, a tribute to them and our influences getting into punk at an early age.
I love the album and think it’s one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in an age and the attitude in the songs is superb – really authentic sounding. Is there a plan to tour then record some more? are you someone who writes all the time? 
Thanks man I really appreciate it. We worked hard on these songs and it’s good to finally let them have their day. Really nice to hear that people like them. We’re leaving for our “Out of My Head” East Coast/Canada Tour 2019 this week and beginning recording for our 2nd LP this week as well. Plenty still on the horizon for the Poison Boys. I write all the time even if it’s just little pieces and put them together as I go. Show ’em to the guys and get opinions and we work em out from there.
How has the reception been at the live shows?  How would you describe the scene over there in Chicago? is there much of an appetite for real rock and roll?
The live shows are killer and what we love the most. People seem to love it too and get down to our set so that’s cool. I think people need this type of rock n roll but just aren’t getting it much from bands these days. Not a lot of people go to rock n roll shows around here anymore unless it’s the Stones or KISS or something. A lot of bands around here either play washed out reverb’d out psychedelic shit or shoegaze or grunge or a mixture of all that. There’s like 3 bands in Chicago that don’t do that. As with many bands, the reception on the road is way greater than at home.
There seem to be pockets of superb music coming out of America right now – any chance you cats hooking u with bands like Wyldlife, Ravagers and The Sweet Things and stealing over here for a package tour?  Are there any bands you hear about currently tickling your fancy so to speak?
We generally like touring alone but are open to whatever if the situation’s right. One of our first shows ever was in Indianapolis in 2014 opening for Wyldlife. Alex from Ravagers does a lot of our artwork and we have a gig with our boys the Sweet Things coming up at Coney Island Baby in Manhattan in a couple weeks, Friday 8/02. Yeah favorite bands going on right now in the states are mostly in California, like Black Mambas, the Crazy Squeeze, the Flytraps, Dr. Boogie (although they just broke up), and also bands like Terry and Louie, our boys Jonesy from Montreal, the Rubs, our buds Big Blood from out here, stuff like that. And of course the Sweet Things out in NY. There’s a good amount of rock n roll going on elsewhere and I think it’s growing thankfully.
Listening to the album I hear some obvious inspirations from the likes of Dead Boys, Thunders, then I hear classic Stones and Faces – you guys have some of the swagger that made early Guns N Roses shine (tear Me Apart)  and I love the confidence of songs like ‘Up To The Sky’ but you can also mix it up like Hanoi Rocks on songs like ‘Desperado’   it opens up options for you to go in any direction what’s on in the van currently? What are you listening to?
We listen to old protopunk shit like Berlin Brats, Hollywood Brats, Razor Boys, Nervous Eaters, Rockpile, Flamin Groovies, Stooges, all that. A lot of Johnny Thunders and Dolls stuff of course, their solo stuff right after the Dolls broke up too. Hanoi Rocks, Dogs D’Amour. But also stuff like the Nuggets comps and other more obscure comps like the Bonehead Crunchers comps and shit like that. A ton of old punk bands like Menace, the Only Ones, Teenage Head, the Saints, Chelsea, Testors, Slaughter and the Dogs, Gen X… Then Mott the Hoople for 24 hours straight, Lou Reed, Kiss, T Rex, Motorhead, the Faces, Stones. All the goods all the time. Oh yeah and the RAMONES.
If there is anything you guys need to get off your chests here’s your chance.  Anything you’d like to add?
Come see us on tour!!! Buy merch, support rock n roll and keep us on the road. If you play rock n roll start a band get a shitty van and a mechanic friend and go tour. Keep this shit alive and growing and spread the love not shit talk and hate. We’re too small of a scene to be separated all the time by trivial cool guy bullshit and life’s too short to waste energy tearing each other down. It ain’t like the old days, we all know that… Rock n roll is so unimportant to modern society and we’re all we have left. We’re all in this together. Be inclusive there’s no room for hate against each other.
Buy The Album Here or coloured vinyl Here

Do you want Rock n Roll? Well, How about an amazing performance from Lou Reed from way back in ’78 recorded on the West Coast in San Fran and Ohio this is arguably the guy in his pomp tearing it up with an incredible band behind him it contains a set of some of his finest songs no question about that.

‘Gimme Some Good Times’ sounds huge with all the swagger of New Yawk City fizzing through the airwaves. With being way too young to even remember seeing any band in 78 let alone how it must have felt like seeing something like this from the saxophone and that carefree swing on the drum kit to Reed in his prime its a real pleasure to see Easy Action taking such good care of our musical history.  It’s an immaculate recording and really capture the raw beauty that is songs as amazing as ‘Satellite Of Love’ never mind your Bono’s tucking up Reed’s legacy get an earful of this.  Spread out over two records with either two or three tracks per side has really let the sound come flooding out on these pressings. Hell, You can close your eyes and get transported back in time. Reed could rock it up with the best of them as he demonstrates on ‘Leave Me Alone’ as the band kick seven shades out of the backbeat whilst the guitar (Stuart Heinrich) and saxophone courtesy of Marty Fogel duke it out – out front. Man, this band had groove and feeling.  The ‘Street Hassle’ tour in support of that fine fine album is the order of the day and it’s hard not to love what was the guy on top of his game.  It might get a little jazzy at times as the players take a turn in jamming out from the piano to sax to guitar but boring it certainly isn’t.

You also get the most incredible groove from this band hell I can understand Reed wanting to introduce them they’re so good they embrace the songs and own them whilst breathing unbelievable amounts of energy in them and with all that style they still maintain a grittiness and back street punch up if you want it attitude.  Take ‘I Want To Be Black’ as a shining example.  Amazing musicianship but attitude and toughness. Glossy and shiny it isn’t (thank god)

‘Walk On The Wildside’ is funked up and the title track of the tour ends the recording taken from Ohio there is a drop in audio quality for the Frisco show but the change in sound doesn’t detract from the performance that Reed and his band makes. To be fair side four does offer up ‘Coney Island Baby’, ‘Sweet Jane’ and album closer ‘rock and Roll’ which isn’t to be sniffed at by any means.  Imagine being responsible for writing those three?!  It’s commendable the love and attention Easy Action pour into their reissues and this is no exception with some great sleeve notes from Dick Porter perfectly summing up where Reed was at.  78 was the pinnacle of punk rock and Reed just did his own thing as he had always done and this collection shows he was right to continue to lead and never follow.  Excellent live double album and one I’d safely recommend to anyone with even the slightest bit of taste and rock and roll in their soul. Love hasn’t gone away at all – buy it!

 

Author: Dom Daley

 

Buy Waltzing Matilda Here