Until recently you’d have thought punk rock was invented by Malcolm McLaren and Bernie Rhodes and that’s about it nobody else was involved and the history books also tend to gloss over the real nuts and bolts and the details that really matter but those who know really do know.  Punk wasn’t invented by chancers or clothes shop owners it was invented by kids on both sides of the Atlantic who felt forgotten and lost and had something to rally against and one of the biggest magnets of the scene happens to have been one Brian James.  From the gushing introduction from Henry Rollins something of a punk rock fact nurd who actually puts things into perspective.  James deserves respect and with respect has carved one hell of a catalogue of work and reinvented himself several times and was a success every time.  I’m delighted to have this book in my hands and feast on the details and exquisite picture catalogue Wombat has amassed.

Brian was a visionary and someone people wanted to be around as this book will testify sure he borrowed heavily from the likes of Richards and Ashton and those Mc5s but he didn’t just copy them he went away and created a new sound and style that exploded for a brief second in time and the ripples are still being felt in and around our little corner of the world where music matters and not just being the first to this or that Brian made records that mattered and was above all life-changing and life-affirming.  This biography tells Brian’s story from dingy basements to where he is today still creating and everything in between.

I don’t want to tell Brians story (He’ll do that when he finally releases his autobiography) in the interim Wombat (who also has some excellent books on Johnny Thunders and Bryan Gregory & The Cramps) has gathered painstakingly some fantastic anecdotal memories and pictures to open up Brians world in music to the reader who if your a fan of all or many of Brians works you’ll find this a real treat. If you’re looking for the true embodiment of punk rock then you’ve found the holy grail Brian James is punk rock and as he said himself he didn’t do this for fame or fortune he did it because its the only thing he ever wanted to do and still is!  That warms the cockles of my heart and confirms what I’ve always known.  Brian James is a legend.

The book starts off right at the beginning and with a classic cowboy picture of James as a nipper and takes you through the various periods of his life – It’s not overly indulgent and keeps things brief but you do get a good picture of where he comes from and the man himself his first meeting with Johnny Thunders, Breaking up the Damned, the Pistols, Anarchy tour its all covered but just giving a brief outline and not reaching into minute details unlike many books on the subject of say the Anarchy Tour it was only a few weeks of one year move on people, please.

The book flows well and some of the pictures are fantastic as are a lot of the clips of tickets and bill posters that are reproduced which is really nice for us anoraks. The stuff around the Brains and Tanz Der Youth period then into Brians thoughts on touring with Iggy on ‘Soldiers’ and ‘New Values’ is great stuff but I wanted to get to the Lords stuff and it doesn’t disappoint with some fantastic pictures spread out over many pages then chapter seven and the Lords with some great insight from Dave (Treganna) and roadie and friend Ivor who knocked out one of the best quotes in the book when he is explaining that the band were forever on tour and they were indeed heady wild times and he’d tuned Brians guitars more times than Brian ever had Dave summary of recording ‘Like A Virgin’ is succinct and the picture taken from the photoshoot is hilarious. I could read about the Lords all day and night to me they were one of the magical bands in my lifetime and along with Hanoi Rocks will always hold a special place.

If you’re a fan then what’s not to like its an easy read and the pictures are great. John wombat has done a sterling job and pulled together a very readable book of one of my musical Heroes and on finishing this it’s only cemented my initial fanboy thoughts go to the link and click and pick up a copy you won’t regret it at all.  Now Mr. James get on with the autobiography this has only whet my appetite for more ramblings and pictures. buy it!

 

Buy ‘The authorised Biography Of Brian James’ Here

John Wombat

June 04 1990 was the date that I lost one of my Rock and Roll heroes. Born Steven John Bator in Ohio back on October 22, 1949, Stiv passed away on this day in June almost thirty years ago! Shit is it really that long? Bator was taken to a Paris hospital but reportedly left before seeing a doctor, after waiting several hours and assuming he was not injured after being hit by a car near his Paris home. Reports indicate that he died in his sleep as the result of a traumatic brain injury. Dave Tregunna said that Bators, a fan of rock legend Jim Morrison, had earlier requested that his ashes be spread over Morrison’s Paris grave and that his girlfriend complied but not after some friends of Stivs snorted some of the singers ashes it was later revealed in the movie about the singer (‘Stiv’) Which was released yesterday as it happens (pick it up Here

Stiv not only fronted the amazing punk rock legends The Dead Boys back in the mid-’70s but after he split he had a successful solo career releasing the amazing ‘Disconnected‘ album back in 1980 Batos then went on to front the punk supergroup the Wanderers who managed one very underrated album ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ along with Dave Parsons, Dave Tregunna and Ricky Goldstein but that was short lived and it wasn’t long before BAtors was onto his next project with help from Tregunna he formed another supergroup – The Lords Of The New Church  featuring Brian James of The Damned, Tregunna from Sham 69 and The Wanderers and Nicky Turner from The Baraccudas. The band released their first self entitled album in ’82 and arguably their finest work.  Over time it has to be considered a stone wall classic.

The Lords continued for the next half a dozen years and some before imploding onstage that fateful night at the Astoria when Stiv came onstage for the encores wearing the t-shirt of the advert that James and Tregunna had made to replace Stiv.  I was there that night and couldn’t believe what I’d seen but it was pre-internet and pre multi news updates so it wasn’t until I had it confirmed in Sounds that what I’d thought happened really did.  gutted to see one of my favourite bands bite the dust was an understatement, to say the least.

It was then that Stiv moved to Paris and embarked on his next phase and a solo record. The rest is history.  There were no reunions and Stiv passed in such tragic circumstances.  He has been the subject of the much-covered movie ‘Stiv’ and his Legacy is the records and concert footage and memories he has left with us all.  Stiv Bator Rest In Piece you were one of a kind and should be remembered as a legend. That certainly what RPM will look back and think when his name is mentioned.

 

 

Ronald Frederick “Ronnie” Lane (1 April 1946 – 4 June 1997) was  best known as the bass guitarist and founding member of two English rock and roll bands: The Small Faces followed by The Faces.  With Small Faces, he was nicknamed “Plonk”. After their breakup, reorganisation and Lane’s losing the band’s frontman slot to Rod Stewart, he earned the nickname “Three-Piece”.

In the late 1970s, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was supported by charity projects and financial contributions from friends, former bandmates and fans. After suffering from the disease for 21 years, he died at 51.

born in Plaistow Maternity Hospital, to Elsie Lane and Stanley Lane, a truck driver. Lane later described his father as a “saint”, who would work a long work day, and then return home to nurse his wife and two sons, all of whom were diagnosed with M.S.  Doctors assured Lane as a child that the destructive disease was not necessarily inherited, although he found out later in his life that he had indeed inherited it.

After leaving school at the age of 16, Lane met Kenney Jones at a local pub, and they formed a group they named The Outcasts. Initially playing lead guitar, Lane quickly switched to bass. When shopping for a  bass, Lane visited a Bar (shock horror), where he met Steve Marriott, who was working there. Lane bought his bass and went to Marriott’s house after work, where Marriott introduced him to his record collection. Lane and Marriott set out to form a band, recruiting friends Kenney Jones and Jimmy Winston, who switched from guitar to organ. Marriott was chosen to be the frontman and singer.

The name “Small” was chosen as they were all under 5’5″ in height. They made their debut in 1965, with Ian McLagan replacing Winston in November 1965. Lane and Marriott began writing hit songs consistently, including “Itchycoo Park” and “All or Nothing”. At least a dozen successful songs credit Lane, and the 1968 concept album ‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’ features songs co-written by Lane with one exception. The band imploded in 1969 as Marriott left the group.

In 1973 Ronnie Lane moved to Fishpool Farm in the village of Hyssington, Montgomeryshire, Wales, just over the border from England, off the Shrewsbury to Bishop’s Castle road. With Ronnie already beginning to feel the effects of MS, he moved back to London in the late 70s After leaving the Faces, Lane formed his own band, Slim Chance.

Lane emigrated to Texas, USA, in 1984 (first to Houston, then Austin), where the climate was more beneficial to his health and he continued playing, writing, and recording. He formed an American version of Slim Chance, which was, as always, a loose-knit conglomeration of available musicians. For much of the time, membership included Alejandro Escovedo. For close to a decade Lane enjoyed “rock royalty” status in the Austin area. He toured Japan but his health continued to decline. His last performance was in 1992 at a Ronnie Wood gig alongside Ian McLagan.

In 1994 Ronnie and his wife Susan moved to the small town of Trinidad, Colorado. Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood funded his medical care as no royalties from the Small Faces work was forthcoming – until Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan were eventually able to secure payments, by which time Steve Marriott had died in a house fire and Lane had also died.

Lane finally lost his life due to pneumonia, in the final stages of his progressive multiple sclerosis, on 4 June 1997 and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Trinidad, Colorado.

A street was named after him, “Ronnie Lane”, in Manor Park in 2001and if you’ve got an hour spare check out this beautiful documentary on Ronnie.  Rest In Peace both – Legends

As far as soundtracks go this was a no brainer for me.  Having seen the film and always been a huge Bators fan in this day and age I’ll take anything on offer and Danny Garcia did such a great job I can’t imagine a Stiv fan not wanting a piece of this. I know its been a long time coming but its finally here and just ahead of the video or DVD release April saw a RSD special with the soundtrack hitting certain shelves (mainly) through America I know at first I couldn’t get my paws on it over here on Shit Island but thankfully I managed to score a copy off the internet and not too soon the Red 12″ record sort of landed on my mat.

 

Featuring twelve cuts from the likes of Deadbeat Poets, The B-Girls, Lustkillers and Jimmy Zero to name a few its a quick smile at the cover art with Stiv van surfing and the needle drops.  Side one kicks off with the wonderful Deadbeat Poets ‘The Stiv Bators Ghost Tour’ then the wonderful B Girls and ‘Mystery’ before Stivs track ‘Don’t Go Away’ that was previously released on the Easy Action album released a few years ago of the work Stiv was working on before he passed.  I can only presume this is from the very same sessions so would feature Neil X on guitar but I can’t say for sure as there aren’t any credits on offer here it’s just your basic sleeve with tracklist a few thank yous and a nice Red slab of vinyl.

I love the Lustkillers and ‘Revenge’ is an excellent track taken from ‘That which Does Not kill Us’ It’s uncanny that two people could sound so alike and play similar kinds of music but I love it and think ‘Revenge’ is such a good tune. Next up and one that made this a must-have was Stiv performing ‘Evil Boy’ live in Berkely Sq back in 1980. Club Wow performing ‘Nights Are So Long’ is another great cut even if I am more familiar with the Michael Monroe version which he did so well this is a top tune and brings a really strong side one to a finish. Jimmy Zero from the Dead Boys, Jeff West from The Testors I guess it all fits together with Deadbeat Poets with Frank Secich and this (club Wow)  Jimmy Zero and Stiv its a big family at times but it’s not all at the same time.  These songs are such killer songs It breaks my heart to think that only a (relatively) small number of people get to hear them and exposure is minimal especially in today’s quick as a flash musical climate.  I’m always really excited to hear about films like ‘Stiv’ and records like this coming out in the hope that these bands and artists have a lasting legacy and who knows some kids might dig it again and we see a resurgence in some great music.

Anyway, flip it over and side two is more of the same great songs starting with the dark and brooding ‘Paris’ from Jimmy Zero followed by the fantastic ‘You Don’t Go Away’ from Alpha Kitty whilst The Stiv Bators Ghost Tour are back for a second bite with the excellent ‘Room Full Of Strangers’. Danny Fury rocks up with ‘Dark Star’ from his band Tango Pirates before the soundtrack is signed off with ‘To Feel You’ The Primadonna Reeds pure Noo Yawk cool like you didn’t already know that.

 

All in all there is so much good music on offer here and as far as soundtrack records go it might not be the Ghostbusters soundtrack but its got an abundance of great songs by great bands for a great cause and if you have any sort of love for Stiv and his legacy then you need to snap this up pretty quickly before they’re all gone and you won’t be able to find one for love nor money.  Get out of here!

Buy Stiv Vinyl Here or CD Here

Order The DVD of the film Here

Author: Dom Daley

A new documentary on legendary DEAD BOYS frontman STIV BATORS is to get its UK premiere next month.

Born 70 years ago, the charismatic singer was the original embodiment of the self-destructive punk frontman with Cleveland, Ohio’s DEAD BOYS before embarking on a solo career. He went on to team up with members of SHAM 69 in THE WANDERERS. His greatest success came in the mid-80s with THE LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH alongside The Damned founder Brian James, Dave Tregunna from Sham 69 and ex-Barracudas drummer Nicky Turner.

The succinctly-titled Stiv, which features heaps of rare and unseen footage, as well as new interviews with all the major players in the singer’s life, is to receive its UK premiere on 24 March at the Regent Street Cinema, London as part of the Soundscreen Festival, presented in conjunction with Vive Le Rock! The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Danny Garcia.

Tickets are available 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