Time & Matter Recordings are absolutely thrilled to announce that they have registered a new venture – TOME & METRE PUBLISHING, with T&M BOOKS’ first release being the first-of-two-volumes ALVIN GIBBS MEMOIRS.
To help T&M with the funding of this new project, we are firstly offering fans the chance to have their name printed in Alvin’s new book, entitled DIMINISHED RESPONSIBILTY: My life as a U.K. Sub, and other strange stories – Volume I.
Click the link below to get your name added to the first edition of Alvin’s book, we have set the price for this at a very reasonable £5.00, for which your full name will be printed, alongside your town or city and your country, in what will be the world’s first ever book about your favourite band – the U.K. Subs.
Please be aware that this payment doesn’t buy you a physical copy of the book, but when the book goes to pre-order later this year retailing at £15.00 you will have played your part in a bit of U.K. Subs book publishing history 😊
And talking of History! As followers of this page are fully aware, ALVIN GIBBS & THE DISOBEDIENT SERVANTS’ have a fabulous new gatefold cover double 7” single four track ‘HISTORY EP’ being released by T&M… this is now available to pre-order as well; again we have tried to keep the price as low as we can, at £15.00, and a download code is also included with your purchase.
Limited to 500 hand numbered copies!
We will be letting you have plenty of updates regarding both Alvin’s book and the double single, with the DOUBLE SINGLE DUE TO BE RELEASED 30 JUNE 2020.
Please however, be aware that due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, we are unfortunately unable to fully guarantee this delivery date for the single.
These are indeed historical times, so we are tentatively looking at Alvin’s book being on pre-sale May/June time with a 1 JULY 2020 PUBLISHING DATE.
Alvin’s fellow punk luminary HENRY ROLLINS brilliantly observes in his ‘Foreword’ in the book:
“Alvin puts his experiences across with energy and excellent detail… cheerful, hilarious and armed with insight… you are immediately pulled in by this book’s contents… a mark of not only a great story teller but of one who has truly lived in full and continues to do so…”
Volume I of Alvin’s superb, fascinating memoirs run to 105,000 words over 18 chapters and also boast many rare, previously unpublished photos from Alvin’s extensive archive, as well as a discography and bibliography… and your name! 😉
I first caught Brassick at the famous Slugfest, Can’t even remember what one as the years blur into one but they always stood out as a passionate bunch of punk rockers who were committed and 100% lifers to the cause and always gave nothing less than that when performing. In Nicola, they have a whirlwind and compelling frontperson leading from the front and never taking a step back. Their live shows often fly by in a blur of energy and noise and as uncompromising as it can often get but on record you do get to see behind that brutal live energy.
This is the second album from the Brum noisebringers but there is more to them than just kicking up a full-bodied volume assault that’s evident on ‘They Said’ that whilst does engage in power it does hold back and you get some pretty nifty Oi! bv’s. On the third track, they tentatively put one foot in the metallic riff-a-rama with a beast of a tune ‘It Could Have Been Any Of Us’. If this doesn’t get the blood pumping round you then I’d be worried but they aren’t singing about dungeons and dragons or headbanging in unison they have lyrics that tackle real subject matters ones that matter to our lives every day Brassick are deadly serious when it comes to being anti fascist, anti-capitalist and pro-equality and that’s the mantra of the lyrics. They’ve been a going concern on the circuit for the last eight years and they’ve grown as they’ve got more confident and on this evidence can easily stand toe to toe with their peers such as GBH whos Jock funnily enough guests on this very record. There is some fine musicianship going on here and whilst it took an age to release (their words) the light at the end of the tunnel will be some fine recognition as people get to hear this album.
‘Half Life’ is hardcore but adding different textures to the lead vocals works well as does easing back to unveil a really good tune. But don’t worry they’ve not gone soft as ‘Nobody’ leaves you in any doubt which side of the fence these cats are on. I love the breakdown as well. There are fourteen tracks on offer here and I’m glad it has seen the light of day and what a better way to spend a lockdown than with some Brassick. VFM, bang for your buck call it what you like I call it a fuckin’ banger so don’t delay kids get on it and turn it up! ‘Stagnate’ flys by in a blur of energy tighter than a gnats chuff but there is a lot going on over the fourteen tracks and ‘Pull Me Up’ works really well with a great chorus much like the crisp riff on ‘No Longer’. The world needs bands like Brassick and their ‘2.0’. Enough waffle from me I’m going back in for some more. Buy It!
By 1980 the UK’s finest purveyors of ‘erbert rock Sham 69 were all but a spent force. Singer Jimmy Pursey having long since become disillusioned with Sham chose the start of a new decade and the release of the band’s fourth album (‘The Game’) as a platform from which to announce his intentions to pursue a solo career (by way of a previously failed attempt to team up with Steve Jones and Paul Cook as Sham Pistols in 1979). Thus, leaving the remaining Sham members Dave Parsons (guitar), Dave Tregunna (bass) and (drummer) Rick (Goldstein) Rock singer-less and wondering what the hell to do next.
Quickly hooking up with (ex-The Dead Boys) frontman Stiv Bators (I’ll not share the story here of how this came about as the excellent Dave Parsons penned sleeve notes included in this reissue pick up on the finer detail) The Wanderers were soon born and signing to (Sham’s old label) Polydor they were dispatched to write and record what would become their one and only album ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’.
Having long since been out of print on any format (copies of the original LP and the reissue CD are currently going for around £40 online) and as such deemed very much a “collector’s item” amongst fans ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ is thankfully now being given a long overdue reissue on vinyl (pressed up on a variety of random colours) by US label Gutterwail Records. I myself finally picked up a CD copy (released via Captain Oi! here in the UK) over a decade ago at Rebellion Festival for the princely sum of £5 and it’s still very much one of those go to albums in my collection, when someone asks that well-worn conundrum of “what band do you think should have been huge but never actually made it?”
Expanded here to fourteen tracks and finally including the (rumoured to be) lost track ‘They Made Me A Criminal’ which bizarrely had its lyrics printed on the original Polydor LP sleeve but was never included in the final track listing, this reissue offers up the chance for a whole new generation of fans to experience perhaps the definitive version of this much overlooked “cult classic”.
Sounding not unlike a poppier version of the band Bators and Tregunna would go on to form just a few years later it’s the Mick Glossop production on ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ that immediately has me wondering if had been building himself up for the bass and drums onslaught he would bestow on Waysted’s classic ‘Vices’ album just a few years later, as here it’s the keyboards and trebly edge on cuts like ‘It’s All The Same’ and the parp-tastic ‘A Little Bit Frightening’ that tend to catch the ear.
In fairness (keyboards aside) the same production does give the album a kind of “timeless” charm and cuts like the Sham Boys crescendo of opener ‘No Dreams’, the glorious two minute pogo-pop overload of ‘Beyond The Law’ plus the superb proto Lords punks of ‘Ready To Snap’ all have me wondering what it would have been like to have seen The Wanderers live with the energy levels cranked to the max. Likewise the likes of ‘Sold Your Soul For Fame’, ‘It’s All The Same’ and the aforementioned (faithfully restored from cassette) ‘They Made Me A Criminal’ add a depth and maturity to the songwriting that belies the band’s fledgling tenure.
I’m not entirely sure where the source of this reissue was taken from but my promo MP3s feature a couple of light pops and crackles – something that the Captain Oi! CD never had – and this makes me think it must have been taken from the original vinyl or perhaps the promo itself is a rip from a re-pressed LP? Either way, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ is an excellent album, and is most certainly one every self-respecting fan of Sham 69 and The Lords Of The New Church should have in their collection.
Good day to you, RPM-people – I hope this finds you well in somewhat troubled times. At time of writing I find myself at the start of some annual leave from my (key worker) day job, catching up on some isolation entertainment: the beauty of having a vast collection of physical media, I guess.
My recent reading has been music-related: the fabulous new ‘Broken Greek’ autobiography from music journalist, Pete Paphides; Garth Cartwright’s chronicle of the UK record shop, ‘Going For A Song’; and ‘Talking To Girls About Duran Duran’, the coming of age book from Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield. It’s the latter that inspired this month’s column and had me digging into the Pop Culture Schlock archive for a particular item…
After the 1970s gifted the rock ‘n’ pop culture-savvy consumer with dolls/action figures of everyone from KISS to Cher to Andy Gibb, you’d have thought that the 1980s, forever carrying a “bigger, bolder, brasher” tag, would have upped the ante considerably; the post-Star Wars merchandisers giving Walrus Man’s right arm for the rights to make small, plastic likenesses of some of the most iconic music stars ever. But, the Michael Jackson and Boy George dolls (no fear of an ‘action figure vs doll’ debate concerning the latter) from LJN Toys aside, toy companies fumbled the ball when it came to immortalising music stars of the decade into toys for children to play with, and for grown men to hoard. Ahem.
Imagine a Barbie-style ’80s Madonna doll with a bazillion Action Man/GI Joe-esque costume changes? It would take that dodgy Dick Tracy movie in 1990 to finally get a miniature Madonna Louise Ciccone into consumer’s hands. Imagine Duran Duran dolls at the peak of their mid-eighties stardom with a bazillion costume change options: from their pastel-coloured designer suits to sub-Road Warrior post-apocalyptic garb. It would take, crazily when you really think about it, until the dawn of this decade for Funko to finally capture Duran Duran in their full ’80s pomp as part of its Pop! Rocks vinyl figure line. These were released in the same wave as the retro Def Leppard Pop! Vinyls which featured one of the company’s most quirky figures – the one-armed Rick Allen figure. I’m sensing a theme here… But I digress.
I love Duran Duran. Can’t help it. I’m sure the band is a guilty pleasure for many a rock fan: John Taylor’s bass playing, Andy Taylor’s guitar, etc. – but guilty you should not feel when you feel the love for Duran Duran. Three things jump out of my memory banks when I think back to how DD infiltrated my rock leanings: the charity gig the band played at Villa Park, the home of football, in 1983 that even saw them feature prominently on the cover and centrespread of an Aston Villa match programme; the music video for ‘The Wild Boys’ debuting on the BBC on Hallowe’en night in 1984 as they tried to compete with MTV; the sounds of ‘Arena’, the album from which that classic single came, pumping out of my sister’s bedroom… on cassette. This column, of course, is dedicated to pop culture collectables and, though a tsunami of wholly unofficial merchandise swirled around the band’s success – annuals, postermags, badges, photo patches, those particularly classy screen-printed silk scarves – actual official items were in shockingly short supply. Topps, famed trading card producers, released a 33-card Duran Duran card line in 1985 complete with stickers and stick of gum (I have a sealed pack in my collection, 35-year-old bubblegum forever calling to me, siren-like, in a quest to snap my teeth at the friggin’ roots), but it would take The Milton Bradley Company, the American board game manufacturer founded in 1860, to be brave/cool enough to dip a tucker-booted toe into the depths of the band’s chart success to produce the ultimate official piece of Duran Duran merchandise.
‘Duran Duran: Into The Arena’ was released by MB Games in 1985 and it remains one of the ultimate pieces in any rock ’n’ pop memorabilia collection. A true objet d’pop. Right up there with 1978’s KISS on Tour, this board game, if you are lucky enough to have one (guilty, sorry), will mean so much to you, like a birthday or a pretty view. Getting one of these games these days, though, is about as easy as a nuclear war. If you’ve already Googled how much they go for you’ll already understand what I’m on about. This is not a pop pissing contest, however – this is a celebration!
Almost every Internet search for ‘Into The Arena’ for research purposes furnished me with beige articles about the actual gameplay of this vintage toy par excellence. That, my friends, is even too nerdy for someone like me! To me, this board game is one of the ultimate shelf pieces – meant to be looked at, to be adored, marvelled over. Okay, I’ll admit that a games night where chauffeur-driven chums laden with cans of Tizer and Top Deck limeade and lager arrived for an evening of Eighties pop-related faux combat sounds appealing, but until then I’ll just look at this game and love the fact that I have it.
That aforementioned gameplay? Go on, then. Two to four players start off in the outer circle of the game board. The aim is to collect five matching pairs of disc cards – the cards featuring the group’s most popular singles! Each matching pair provides the player with a matching video card for the respective song. Once the player has made their five matches, they are bumped-up, good-looking girl at a concert-style, to the inner circle. There, they must collect and play band member cards (Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Taylors Andy, John, and Roger for those
readers new to Planet Earth), each with a different scoring value. There’s a Duran Duran Wild Card in there too, and a points subtraction thing, with the winner being the lucky mofo whose added video- and band member-card totals are the highest.
Actually playing a vintage board game aside, the thing looks fabulous: Arena-like graphics everywhere; classic singles artwork reproduced on their respective cards; stills from epic music videos captured on theirs; the band members in all their teen idol glory on crescent-shaped cards that just feel more decadent than the usual oblong cards in your common or garden board game, somehow. There’s even a cardboard insert featuring a great band shot from ‘The Wild Boys’ photo shoot which doubles as a place to pile the game cards, but also carries a great little history of the band from 1980 to the end of 1984.
Rule #32: Enjoy the little things. You don’t need me to tell you that we are currently living in unprecedented times. People that have been a part of my story are no longer with us and, no matter how or why, we find ourselves in an uncertain place where every day feels like a fucking test. If you surround yourselves with the things you love then life, in any circumstances, always seems that little bit more manageable. And it’s never too late to start accumulating stuff – any stuff, just stuff that makes you feel better in whatever way. Trust me, I’m a master of stuff.
When this shit is all over we’ll have ourselves a Duran Duran board game night – you bring the Tizer…
A couple of years ago I just happened to bump into Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson at Hellfest for the briefest of chats following the band’s blistering set on the festival’s main stage. He let it slip to me that the line up (albeit minus the stand-in drummer at the time) would soon be hitting the studio to record the first Tatts album since 2007’s ‘Blood Brothers’ and I must admit that at that point my inner Rose Tattoo fan did do a little fist pump.
As 2019 drew to a close I then happened upon the fact that said album was finally due to be released in early March 2020 and it would be entitled ‘Outlaws’, BUT as a rockin’ amigo of mine was quick to point out…whilst it may be a new album it wasn’t really new material being recorded. That’s because ‘Outlaws’ is the band’s SEMINAL ten track debut record re-recorded complete with three bonus tracks; songs originally written during that era but not originally on the debut.
On learning this my initial gut reaction I must admit was to holler ”WWWWHHHHHYYYYY?” I mean how can you improve something that is already perfect?
Winding my neck in for a minute and recalling having once seen a Rose Tattoo show at Dudley JBs where Angry (suitably refreshed, due to it being his birthday) totally reworked the vocals on most of the band’s back catalogue, I was now more than just a little bit intrigued to see what this would sound like. Plus, when you also factor in this line up now also boasts the talents of Mark Evans (ex-AC/DC) on bass, (ex-Skyhooks and The Angels) guitarist Bob Spencer, slide guitar player Dai Pritchard (who had been hand-picked by the legendary Pete Wells to replace him not long before he passed away from cancer) along with (Jimmy Barnes’ son) Jackie Barnes now behind the kit, it must at least be a half-decent record right?
Well, yes of course it is, not least because it’s well recorded, the performances are tight (albeit Angry does a bit AWOL on a couple of tracks, not least the “ahem” bluesy love song ‘Rosetta’ where he kind of vocally jams around the tune – let’s not forget he is 72 though), and as I mentioned above a few of the classic tracks do get some fresh air in their lungs (especially a bruising ‘Remedy’ and an almost Faces-like take of ‘Snow Queen’ which are both excellent) thanks to this great line up of the band.
HOWEVER, then when it suddenly sinks in that (if you live in the UK) it’s going to cost you £30 plus just to own ‘Outlaws’ on limited edition coloured vinyl or £15 on CD I come to the collusion that I’ll probably just stick with the much cheaper option of simply streaming it (and that’s the platform I’m reviewing this from here), as its most certainly not as one Amazon reviewer insanely claimed “better than the original”.
‘Outlaws’ is still very much a decent Rose Tattoo album though; it’s just that it feels more like one of those bonus discs reformed stadium rock bands recorded when they released new material. You know that limited bonus “hits” disc to try and attract older lapsed fans back into buying new music once again. So, as such ‘Outlaws’ is something of a disappointment, especially after the quality ‘Pain’ and ‘Blood Brothers’ records that preceded it.
Who was it again that said “always trust your gut reaction?”
Well, these are strange times and Rock and Roll won’t be clamped down even if we are. Thanks to the magic of this here interweb we can still get our mitts on new music (gloved up of course) first up on this playlist is a right banger from Noo Yawk Citys Wyldlife . It’s recently been reviewed on RPM and I happen to agree with Ben when he claimed it could be a contender for record of the year. We have added ‘Sacre Bleu’ to our banging playlist.
Next up is a band from Sweden called Dictator Ship and Fraser covered this one and ‘Your Favourite’ is a great slice of scandiRock with ‘Eat The Poor’ making the cut in our Playlist.
Australia is quickly becoming the epicentre of Global Garage Rock and you sure can add The Chats to that list of fine Australian bands and with their recent record ‘High Risk Behaviour’ hitting the shelves we’ve included ‘ The Kids Need Guns’ to our playlist with its classic DC early days rawness and their snotty lyrics The Chats rightly are causing a stir around this globe all of their own.
It’s not all snotty records this month we did have some offerings from the Classic Rock and Grunge crossover of Buffalo Summer so included the excellent ‘Hit The Ground Running’ taken off their recently released album ‘Desolation Blue’ with some fine cool slide on the otherwise beefy riffs it’s a real tour de force from Soth Wales on this new album.
It might have been a lifetime ago that The Psychedelic Furs last released a new album but the wait is over and Made Of Rain is almost upon us. We’ve included the first single taken from the record ‘You’ll Be Mine’.
Naked Six have a new album out and the lead track off that album is ’21st Century Brawl’ and that makes our playlist with its jarring poke before the album kicks off with some great tunes. Well worth investigating so let this opener suck you in but don’t forget to buckle up.
Ben found his stereo working overtime as The City Kids released ‘Things That Never Were’ so we’ve added ‘You Get Nothing’ To our playlist.
I know a girl, a girl called Party, Party Girl. Bono sang that but the Dahlmanns sing ‘Party Girl’ which was released as part of a split with Tommy & The Rockets on Beluga Records a classic castanets clacking slice of power pop with saxophone and New Wave approved piano.
Then Comes Silence who we include ‘Devils’ from their most excellent ‘Machines’ album that was recently reviewed with some dark Goth undertones this has been on heavy rotation around some RPM circles as the corpse paint went on and certain writers were only venturing out after dark with this on their playlists. Get on it kids.
If a bit of Goth isn’t your thang then why not grow out those sidies and some facial hair and get on down with Rookie. We’ve got ourselves a ‘One Way Ticket’ to listen to this great playlist and ride out this Global pandemic.
As well as some awesome reviews April sees us bring some news that bands push out so why not include some of the movers and shakers who are busy this month either re arranging tours or putting the final touches on new releases. How about some Rock with American Jetset? ‘Gold & Nines’ is classic cock rock n roll so it makes the cut. Our old friend Jizzy Pearl also announced that he has signed a new deal with Golden Robot Records so expect some new music and live shows soon. We head back to when he did the album ‘Just A Boy’ and include the cracker ‘Do You Wanna Get High’.
With everybody with a guitar and camera phone shooting home shows we have a few suggestions of who you could check out starting with Rich Ragany & The Digressions who bring ‘Later Than It Is’ to our playlist off the excellent debut album and rumour has it that recording has begun for the follow up which commenced before this lockdown but be sure we’ll bring you the news as and when.
Another artist smashing the numbers watching his home broadcast is Mike Peters with his ‘Big Night In’ I’ve not tuned in yet but rest assured I will. Heres one from his recent output ’13 Dead Raindeers’. Another live streamer is Jesse Malin who we also interviewed recently and who has a brand new single out sadly it’s not on this service yet so make do with a cut off his last album ‘Chemical Heart’.
There’s fifteen reasons to stay in and have RPM Playlist be your companion and while away the hours playing some quality rock and roll . Go on a journey of discovery and see where it takes you as you avoid the rocks on the choppy water of Rock and Roll 2020.
New York’s finest troubadour Jesse Malin has been on the road touring his critically acclaimed new album ‘Sunset Kids’ since last summer. We caught up with him on his UK tour last month prior to a sold out show in Leeds to discuss punk rock beginnings, songwriting influences and hanging about in Dublin with Johnny Depp and Bono.
This interview was conducted on March 4th, prior to lockdown. At the time, Jesse had two more tours to the UK pencilled in for 2020. While we hope those will be rescheduled at some time in the future, for now this could be the last tour related interview you read for some time. Enjoy.
RPM: Hey there Jesse, welcome back to Leeds. Your new album ‘Sunset Kids’ came out late last year, and it’s your 8th solo album I believe?
Jesse: I guess around that yeah, if you don’t count the live and the covers record, so yeah something like that.
RPM: And you collaborated with Lucinda Williams on this album?
Jesse: Yeah, she produced it along with her husband Tom Overby and we made it in California and New York. We’ve been friends for a long time and it turned out to be a great experience making a record with her. I had an instinct that she would have a great feel in the studio and she’s great with storytelling and just being a friend. But also, being a fan made me wanna, you know, step up my game. I think the band I have came through and we just had a really great time making the record. It was one of those records where we recorded 20 plus songs and narrowed it down to 14, which is still a lot, but you know I’m real proud of this one
RPM: Yeah, there is just something about this album; it seems to be the right album at the right time. There was a lot of personal tragedies leading up to and during the recording of ‘Sunset Kids’. Can you elaborate?
Jesse: Yeah, it was a heavy time of death and loss. Life is for the living and I don’t wanna be all bummed out, you know, “woe is me”. But yeah, one of the engineers who started the record with us; David Bianco, who did Tom Petty’s ‘Wild Flowers’ and Bob Dylan and Frank Black. But he also did D Generation my first band, so there’s history there, He had a stroke in the middle of the record, and then my Dad passed away right before we finished. Also, Todd Youth, who played with me in D Generation and St Mark’s Social. Inside the album we dedicate the record to those people we lost. So it was one of those crazy runs when all this was happening, but despite all that, going through heavy times, the best thing to do is play music and be around people you love. We started the record around Christmas time, we were in the studio in LA, no snow or cold, it was kinda surreal. But me and Lucinda kinda got the holiday blues, so we had the mindset to work through that.
RPM: I think tragedy and tough times brings out the best in a songwriter, wouldn’t you agree?
JM: Yeah, well we went out to see her (Lucinda) open for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in L.A., which turned out to be his last gig. We didn’t know it was going to be his last gig, nobody did. And we met with her the next night over dinner and said we wanted to do this album and she and her husband seemed to be into it. We started to make plans, but a week later it was the Vegas shooting and the same day Tom Petty died, so everything ground to a halt.
I mean, I didn’t know him, but witnessing that show really impacted on some of the writing on songs like ‘Shining Down’. So we started working on it in December when we could meet in-between her touring schedule and my touring schedule. We would sit around in her kitchen and I would show her lyrics or they would come to me and sit in my apartment. And every time we would go away from each other something else would happen and I’d write a few more songs. Like I went to Shane MacGowan’s 60th birthday to sing, and I came back and wrote a song (‘Shane’) about how weird it was to be the strange guy standing next to Johnny Depp and Bono and Nick Cave, and being in this country pub for like 3 days.
RPM: Going back to songwriting, I read you take yourself away to hotel rooms to write in isolation, is that a regular thing?
Jesse: Well, I was living in L.A. for a little bit and I’m not a big L.A. guy. But it was a nice change this time and it felt good, we were staying right near Sunset Boulevard actually. But I like to be in places that are not my usual place to write, not where you might do your usual routine in your apartment. So you kinda have a place that’s a blank canvas, a transient place. You get a lot of those on the road because every night we are somewhere different. We’ve been touring this record a lot. Since August we’ve been on the road non-stop.
RPM: And the reception has been good on the road?
Jesse: Things have been growing. These aren’t the biggest rooms, but most are sold out. In the States this record seems to connect more. Sometimes I’m bigger in the UK or Europe than America, but this record had a lot of support from some magazines and press, and people seem to know the words more. I notice that in the crowd every night, that’s always a funny thing. You write a song in your little room somewhere and people sing the words in other places. The songs take on another life when you take then in front of a crowd. It’s one thing to say something privately, but then say it in public, you kinda see if it rings true or if you’re full of shit or not.
RPM: A lot of our readers will know you from your days fronting D Generation. Do people in the audience still shout for you to play those old songs?
Jesse: In certain areas, yes. Some places they don’t know that band and others there will be guys with dark black hair and leather jackets yelling out for a D Generation song. You know, D Generation is something I am not ashamed of. I’m proud of those records and I loved working with those guys, you know… we were a gang. But I’ve been doing this for so much longer than I did that. I’ve had this band, these cats, for a bunch of years now.
RPM: It seems a lot of punk artists go down the singer/songwriter or Americana route. Do you think there a connection between the two?
Jesse: I think there is a connection. It’s the same 3 chords, a message, sad lyrics and a lot of fuckin’ attitude. It might just be louder through a Marshall amp with a punk band. But with an acoustic guitar, there is this thing. Its street music, its folk music…Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams… You know, I think they were all pretty punk rock. As well as Neil Young, who I think is a great bridge to that, as well as Joe Strummer, even The Clash had this folky edge to it. But for me personally, I always liked songs that painted pictures, told stories. Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ was always a great influence on me wanting to play solo and Billy Bragg’s records, as well as Elvis Costello. It’s great to hear Frank Turner, Brian Fallon, Chuck Ragan, all these great people who have a great punk spirit but also have a great craft.
RPM: Ok Jesse. Now we get to the fun part of the interview we like to call the ‘Rock Star’ questions where we get our subject to challenge themselves and think outside the box.
When people think of Jesse Malin, what do they associate you as being?
Jesse: What do they think I am? Well, that’s hard for me to say. I’m just gonna repeat a lot of bullshit that people say about me. A singer/songwriter, or a Troubadour. A Rabbi Rasta, jack-off, goofball, vegan-nut New Yorker. A positive mental analyst!
RPM: Is that what you get shouted at you then?
Jesse: Um, yeah! “What’s the name of your band”, “who are you?”, “what does Jesse Malin mean?”, “where you going”?,”what’s the future of the planet?”.
RPM: what’s your morning routine?
Jesse: I wake up, I drink a herbal tea. I jump out of bed like anything could happen. You never know what’s going to happen in life. I do a bunch of push-ups. I keep the gadgets and devices off for a while, put on a little music. Sometimes I write, as coming out of a dream state is a good place to write. I’ll write in notebooks with an old fashioned pen and some real paper. Then I turn on the computer and wait to be slapped by the world.
RPM: What was your first guitar and what did you learn to play on it?
Jesse: It was an acoustic guitar, one of those nylon string $20 jobs. I sat around and tried to learn how to play ‘Jingle Bells’ on it. But then I got aggressive and I took a microphone from a reel to reel player and I taped it on there and I tried to play Kiss songs, Ted Nugent songs and Led Zeppelin songs. I wasn’t so great at it so I started to write my own songs instead, and just play Ramones songs because right away that was instant gratification.
RPM: You knew Joey, right?
Jesse: Yeah, D Generation toured with The Ramones. Me and Joey became friends, he was just a lovely person that just loved rock music.
RPM: If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what 3 pieces of advice would you give?
Jesse: To stay on the road longer, to be fearless, more loving and compassionate, and to not give up.
RPM: And would you have listened though?
Jesse: To half of it…the other half I would’ve pissed out into the toilet or something!
RPM: When you hear the word successful what comes to mind?
Jesse: Happiness, having enough money to be able to have the freedom to live. To have good love in your life and to be happy with what you do every single day.
RPM: Have you ever written a song, only to realise it had already been written?
Jesse: I’ve had melodies that have been familiar to other things or lines here and there, but never full songs. I’ve come close though, I remember somebody in the band, I think it was a wisecrack from the drummer saying “that sounded like that song by Oasis” and I’d be like “No, Oasis took it from there” and I guess…well Martin Scorsese said “good ones copy, great ones steal!”. It’s how you steal it and what you do with it that counts.
RPM: Ok, and to wrap up Jesse. If you could have a billboard anywhere in the world where would you have it and what would it say?
Jesse: Oh man…somewhere in the Middle East I guess. Saying ‘peace and love – stop the fighting. We are all flesh and blood, we all bleed the same… just peace’.
Jesse Malin is currently holding a YouTube residency every Saturday evening at 9pm UK time entitled ‘The Fine Art of Self-Distancing’, playing songs and telling stories from his apartment in New York. It’s free to watch but donations to help the band and his crew are more than welcome. Tune in, grab a beer, tell your friends. And join in the new normal for live music experience right now.
Hailing from the North Italian town of Rimini situated on the Adriatic sea and famous for its golden sands come a trio of punky – glam rockers called the Small Town Tigers I’d doubt they get played much around the Golden sandy beaches of their home town but that Rimini’s loss it would seem. So what do they sound like I hear you cry.
Well, They play straight-up punky Garage Rock and Roll and do it very well, it must be said. They’ve stripped it down to some real instruments of guitar, Bass and Drumsbut they throw in some great melodies and worked hard on just playing Rock and Roll they are the sum of their influences I’d wager just how you’d want them to sound – raw, alive and vibrant with attitude, snot and a shit kickin’ grin (at least I hope that’s how they go about their craft).
A lot of how they sound might be down to being fresh at the business or from naivety but they use those as qualities to fire up the tunes and certainly not criticisms. Take ‘Girl’ and its simple guitar lick. Not to dissimilar to licks Poison Ivy made a living from and when that one finishes it crashes into the wonderful ‘Find Myself Another Name’ that is a rush of attitude that’s held together with some spit and dirt from the rumble on the bass that’s barely holding the drums to check and then the buzz saw guitar riff is churning behind the vocals that remind me of a hungry Joan Jett for sure and if that’s not enough to persuade you to go check em out I’d check for a pulse.
Imagine had The Runaways been listening to The Stooges rather than the radio and then ran through a couple of Ramones covers that’s where ‘Runaway Girl’ is hanging her hat. On offer here are eight tunes and primarily the lo-fi production is spot on for the genre and none more so than ‘Darling Please!’ with the sleazy backbeat and hypnotic riff that sounds like it’s bouncing off a concrete bunker wall but it only help to create the perfect tone for the song. The ladies keep things short and sweet and understand that the kid’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be and maybe as we get a little older we don’t have time to hang about but I’d make time to hang about if this were the soundtrack. ‘I Want It Now’ is a glam slammin’ romper, sure its a foot on the wedge handclapping retro rocker and the chorus is easy – even for the most challenged listener but hold on don’t go anywhere ‘The Bitch’ takes a turn down a dark alley with a filthy sloppy riff that’s a switchblade away from falling apart as the guitar overheats due to the riff being so dirty. what’s not to like? Its short and oh so sweet and as they sign off with the bruising thump of the title track it dawns on me shouldn’t it be called ‘Eight Things’? Anyway, ‘Five Things’ is suitably trashy in its delivery and I have a lot of time for that. If you like Garage Rock and Roll or The Runaways meets the Stooges using The Cramps gear then what are you waiting for? but remember they don’t just steal from the bands I’ve referred to they’ve learned from them and given something back in return. This is a must-hear for you if you want zero fucks given, good time, Garage Rock and Roll – get on it NOW! and as they say in the blurb – Turn It Up!
While this is a new band to me, Mean Motor Scooter previously released the ‘Hindu Flying Machine’ album, plus other EPs, but they seem to be finding their niche here. The reviews name check the B52s and Dead Kennedys, of which more later. These five tracks seem quite at home in the current, warm spell, isolation notwithstanding. It’s kind of beach music, kind of dance music, but, whatever you want to call it, it’s catchy.
‘Aristobrat’ pairs a sunny, upbeat tune to the lyrics “I play my best when I feel depressed”. It’s practically jaunty, in a “damn you pesky kids” kind of way. ‘The Void’ comes on like a rival gang to King Salami And The Cumberland Three, staccato riff and dance beat, but with added organ swirls. Any time is a good time to dance, but especially these days.
‘Portals’ is a side-step into a freakier world. Starting off like Syd Barrett’s poppier moments, before crashing into louder psyche-pop. ‘Zombie Cop’ is where the B52s comparisons are warranted, which is no bad thing. The organ and backing vocals compliment the riff, and the frenetic voice of main Scooter Sammy Kidd is nodding in the direction of Biafra. This continues on the final song, ‘Put Me Down Like A Dog’, a wall of surf-fuzz wipeout music, berating all the things he can’t do. Well, we can currently all relate, unexpectedly, to that. But, this is certainly good-time music. Mean Motor Scooter aren’t taking themselves hugely seriously, but are committed to the tunes. Get groovy.