Coming outta Helsinki Finland, Plastic Tears have been around for ages knocking out a glam-punk sound on their own terms. They’ve just recorded a brand new album and to be fair it’s taking them to the next level with some excellent songs and they have undoubtedly found their own sound and added some good time Rock and Roll into the mix.  We thought it was about time we sent out the call and brought them in for questioning. So it’s with great pleasure frontman and mainstay of the band Miqu who joined us for a chat and talk about all things Plastic Tears…

 

The band has been through some changes since starting out – how do you look back on the band’s career so far? You claimed that break-ups, lineups changes, record company changes and drama enough for a soap opera.  Talk us through some of those soap opera moments?

We’ve been around for long, so we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs. The dramas are mostly stuff that happened in the beginning of our career. But we’ve split up on stage, had fights on stage, been filmed completely wasted for national TV and so on. We were wild, young and cocky then, I guess we’re a bit more stable nowadays. We’ve had a lot of lineup changes back in the day, and Eco and I are the only ones that are left from the early days. But I’m not much for nostalgia myself, I prefer to focus on the present.

 

 

The lineup is settled now, right?  who writes the tunes in the band?  and why?

Yeah, we’ve had this lineup since the last album, ‘Angels With Attitude’, and the band has matured a lot I think. I guess that’s what happens when you find the right guys who stay together. If you look through the band catalogue I seem to have written most of the songs. But I guess that’s kind of natural as I’ve been in the band from the start. But everyone in the band is welcome to contribute to the songwriting, and on our new album Juha has also written a couple of tunes. And that’s good because it widens the band’s sound.

 

 

The new album ‘Anthems For Misfits’ is about to be released, tell us about who’s releasing it an Italian label I believe?  Where it was recorded? Give us some of the background as to how it was recording under lockdown during a pandemic or had it already been tracked?

Wormholedeath Records is releasing it worldwide. We’re really excited to work with them as they seem to be doing good work and still leave us the freedom to do stuff ourselves. That’s important to us, as we’re used to being independent and doing a lot of promotion ourselves. We had a European tour at the end of 2019, and before that we had already recorded the base for the album, the drums and bass.

 

When we got back we continued recording, but soon after that the pandemic started showing signs of itself. We were still able to continue recording, even though it progressed slower than originally intended. Our original plan was to release this album in the summer of 2020. We had to look for a new keyboard player too, as the one that was lined up didn’t want to expose his family to the virus. That’s understandable, but luckily we found Ville who did a marvelous job in the studio. We recorded at East Sound Studios in Helsinki with Sammy Aaltonen who also did the previous album with us. It’s easy for us to work with him as he comes from similar musical backgrounds and we could well fit on the same bill as his band Private Line.

 

As somebody who has been lucky enough to hear it, it’s fair to say it’s your strongest album thus far.  Is that fair?  I think the songs are stronger and the songwriting is really good there have been a few risks taken would that be a fair assessment?

I agree, it’s our strongest album this far. ‘Angels With Attitude’ already got a great response, and people have doubted me when I’ve said the new album is even better. I guess that’s how bands always feel about their new release, but I honestly think this is true. The band, the songs, and the production is better. We gave a lot of thought to the arrangements and wanted it to be a diverse album. I guess there are some risks, but, it’s not like we’ve consciously calculated what risks to take, the songs just came out like this.

We’ve always mixed in a bit of this and that, like ‘Spanish Whispers’ (still one of my favorite songs) reggae vibe on the first album, ‘Beat Me Blue’ on the second and so on. But I guess this time the production makes these things stand out better, and overall the album is diverse in a good way I think.

 

 

The first video/single is ‘Riot Zone’ which has a good hook but is only a fraction of what’s on offer why choose this one as the first to go public off the new record?

We had a lot of choices so this was a hard decision to make. The label wanted to make an animated lyrics video to go with the single, so in the end we made the choice based on which song would fit that kind of video the best. It’s also a strong ‘bang your head and raise your fist’ style of song that shows our punkier side and is easy to sing along to. And it has a really funny midsection!

 

The album opens up with a real shot of energy with ‘Doomsday girls’ which is a real Rocker with some fantastic piano that really lifts the song – whos playing that? and how important is the running order of a record?

‘Doomsday Girls’ is a great opener, and it immediately gets you into a party mood. The piano was played by Ville Tolvanen, aka Doc Tolvanen. He also played all the other piano/organ/keyboard parts on the album. He’s a blues/roots guy, but he did fantastic work on all the different styles of the songs. He himself said he’s never used as many different sounds and styles in a studio session, that kind of sums up the album. A big thank you to Ville, his parts were the icing on the cake! The running order is really important. We’re old school in the way that an album is the crown of your work and want it to be strong and balanced from start to finish. So we spent a lot of time thinking of the running order, and I think it worked out pretty good.

 

 

Talk us through some of the highlights of the album in your opinion? I love the opener but in the first three songs, there is a wealth of rock and roll all different but all obviously by the same band.  Has this lineup struck on its identity?

‘Doomsday’ is one of my favorites too. I also love the dark gothic feel of ‘Candlelight Hate Affair’, the pop sensibility of ‘Clash in the Night’, the New York Dolls meets Elvis of ‘Crybaby’ and Hallucinations is a really special song that I can’t really categorize. I think we have. We’ve never wanted to be a band that’s easy to define. There’s rock, punk, glam, power pop, hard rock and more blended into our own sound, and I think all the pieces fell together like they were meant now.

 

What’s the scene like in Helsinki? for fans of Rock and Roll, live music? places to go bands to see?  I know you have support over here on plague island are there any plans to play any shows further afield?

Well, there used to be clubs and venues before the pandemic, let’s see what’s left once this is over. The scene is pretty good, there’s good rock bands of all kinds, and of course a lot of metal bands as we’re talking about Finland. What I’m missing here is the kind of small half-sleazy rock bars, like old Loose and Bäkkäri were. But as always, clubs and bars come and go. Still, good venues to go see bands here, like Tavastia, Semifinal, (new) Loose, On The Rocks, etc.

We had a UK tour scheduled for last year with Paradise Alley, but then came the virus. The plan was to reschedule them for this year, and we’re still on the lineup for HRH Sleaze in August, hopefully, it can be carried through. And if, then we’ll hopefully get some other gigs booked there too. We’re also looking forward to getting back to mainland Europe once that’s possible.

 

What formats will the new album be available on?

Italian label Wormholedeath Records is releasing it on CD and digital. There have been requests for vinyl too, but as our deal doesn’t include vinyl, we’re still trying to find a way to get that done.

 

With regards to the new record tell us how it comes together?  How do you go about putting it together?  Do you demo the songs as individuals? What works for Plastic Tears?

Usually, someone makes a rough demo at home which is then played to the other guys. We then start arranging it and everyone puts in their own parts before entering the studio. As we recorded over a quite long time frame with Sammy we still had the chance to make some changes at Sammy’s East Sound Studios. I think this a couple of days of recording every now and then works well for us, as it gives us time to do changes, as opposed to doing it on a tighter schedule.

Tell us a bit about yourself Miqu. Did you always want to front a band?  Who were your influences growing up and what other artists still make music you relate to and get inspired by?

Me, I’m just a rock’n’roll singer, who writes a lot of songs of which only a fraction are completed. I guess since I fell in love with rock’n’roll at about the age of ten I knew I someday wanted to work with music in one way or another. Elvis was my first step into the world of rock. Shortly after that, I got hooked on punk and soon widened my musical taste with bands like Lords of the New Church, Cheap Trick, Hanoi Rocks, Slade, and many more. Of older artists that still make music I can relate to and get inspired by, I would say, Alice Cooper, Blondie, Social Distortion, John Fogerty, and Rolling Stones. Of the newer bands, I love The Interrupters, Tiger Army, The Sounds, and The Baboon Show. I’m a music fan so I listen to a lot of old and new music.

Thats always good to hear, someone still in love with music.

Congratulations on the album I think it’s your best to date and a big step up in production and songwriting and the whole package (that’s not to say the previous ones were bad, they weren’t but this is excellent)

Thank you Dom, happy to hear this and I agree completely!

Facebook / Website / Order the album Here / Instagram

How about starting your album sounding like Alison Gordys Blonde & Blue jamming the Ramones oh hang on that’s exactly what this sounds like from the wailing saxophone to the Thunders lite sloppy guitar playing to the 50s /60s girl group vocals.  Unashamed and fabulous.  What’s not to like?  It’s down n dirty Garageland rock and roll. Sure this record is totally Influenced by NYC’s original punks (Blondie, Ramones, Heartbreakers), 60s girl groups (The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las), with a drop of Lou Reed & The Velvet Underground’s for the cools – The Carvels NYC have got it going on.

 

The Carvels used producer Freddie Katz, and had it mixed/mastered by Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) so they stacked their cards up pretty good before hitting the studio but at least along with all the vital ingredients they remembered the Sax and stuck it front and center.  What’s on offer here is a whole bunch of sloppy Punk n roll old school playing without a care in the world, it’s pop songs with a tonne of melody and parking lot harmonies through the medium of punk rock 77 NYC style and songs like ‘My Little Troll’ is two minutes of fun with some sexy sax wailing in for a solo.  It’s also a bit racey and in a rush like on ‘Lonely Fantasy’ you keep wanting to shout ‘Trash’ because it’s that sleazy Dolls like trashy. It reminds me a bit of bands like the X-Ray Spex as well because they also saw the value of the saxophone is in the mix as a Rock and Roll essential.

They even manage to throw some shade on covid deniers and no maskers with the fantastic ‘Stay The Fuck Home’.  There should be a van rolling around every town in every country blasting this out from a hailer on the roof.  Nail head hit!

I’d put this in the same ballpark as the misfits project 1950 for style as they race through ‘Darling Where Are You’ in all its trashy sleazy splendor – It’s loud – its Rockin’ and it’s fun what else can you ask for in these strange times? There is time to slow things down and ‘Candy Says’ has a certain downtown about itas the band kick back and chill just for a moment.

They remember to throw in some handclaps but not one single bead of a cowbell which is disappointing. Hey, you can’t have everything so I’ll take this just as it is.  Big, loud, trashy, and sweet-sounding punk rock n roll NYC style. Job done.

Stream/buy Live at The Cutting Room HERE

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Author: Dom Daley

Nailing that quintessential NooYawk rock and roll sound but doing it in the Czech Republic is some feat but New York Junk nailed it.  It’s fair to say these cats are vets of the scene and been in the thick of the Bowery scene since its inception back in the ’70s and survived to tell the tail.  Getting Tarbeach Records to release the record of seven tunes recorded in the Czech Republic at the tail end of 2019 and mixed pre-pandemic these seven tunes are coming out on red vinyl.

It’s a simple formula.  Guitar, Bass and Drums and play from the heart, make it Rock and Roll – sing about what you see and believe in yourself then everything else is gravy.  You either have “it” or you don’t.  We know whos fakin’ it and who isn’t and on this evidence, you can take the people out of Noo Yawk but you can’t take the Noo Yawk outta the people.

New York Junk have released three previous records starting with ‘Passion of the 10th St Blues’ (2008), ‘Doing Time in New York City’ (2014), and ‘7 Train’ (2018). Their sound is somewhere between Thunders and The Stones with a bit of Lou Reed creeping in on some of the melodies but there are some real gems in here. I love side two from the more aggressive ‘Scared’ with a cool thump on the floor toms and strained vocals it’s fragile yet looking for trouble great opening tune to side two. The albums best track ‘Passion’ with its rather splendid Thunders dripping guitar solo the songs got a tonne of passion and it shines through.  They’re not reinventing the wheel here they’re just writing great tunes and relying on what’s pouring out of their hearts and spilling into the grooves of the record. Let’s stay with side two and the title track which is a repetitive riff that’s moving slowly and gently, for the most part, meandering through the cracks of the recording towards the solo sure it’s like a VU moment in time but that’s always going to be cool.

Anyway, Let’s continue as we flip flop back to side one and the opening blast of the ‘Gutter Angels’.  Like a poem to the Lower East Side leaning on the Voidoids or something Lou Reed might have penned. ‘She Don’t Care’ could have been borrowed from Walter Lure whilst ‘Walk My Dog’ is some Thunders homage and fairly standard. Closing off side one is ‘Don’t Cry For Me’ which sounds like we’ve just been dropped off in the early ’70s after finding out this time capsule is captained by Sylvain Sylvain and the cabin crew consists of Johansen and Killer Kane. Pure nostalgia done with care and a big smile – whats not to like?

All in all a really enjoyable seven tracks from New York Junk and for anyone who hankers for a slice of that time when giants walked the earth and strutted their stuff. Check it out if you’re smart enough and start ‘Dreamin’.

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In 1977 Blondie signed their contract with Chrysalis Records which went on to release ‘Plastic Letters’,  ‘Parallel Lines’ in ’78, ‘Eat To The Beat’ in ’79, ‘AutoAmerica’ in 1980 then finally ‘The Hunter’ in ’82.  An incredibly successful period for the band during an incredibly competitive time for music where the band single handidly embraced different genres like pop, punk and rap music and did it with style.

Gaining number one hits whilst on Chrysalis helped a whole raft of new wave and post punk bands get signed in their wake as major labels fell over themselves to sign the punk bands of the day.

Two years later an unknown Irish band released their first EP. ‘U2-3’  Like em or loath them U2 went on to become the biggest band in the world if you have one of those original pressings of which there were 1,000 made you should have it in a vault.

In ’83 Mick Jones was fired by The other three members of The Clash who claimed he’d drifted from what the band was all about from the start he went on to form B-A-D.

The Clash came to a rather sad ending in May 1983. The group had every reason to be on the top of the world by this point: their previous LP, Combat Rock, was an enormous hit and their singles “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” were all over radio and MTV. But drummer Topper Headon was kicked out of the group for drug abuse in 1982, and Mick Jones and Joe Strummer were barely speaking.

They took a six-month break after the ‘Combat Rock’ tour ended in November 1982.  A $500,000 offer from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to headline New Wave Day of the US Festival proved impossible to turn down. Some warm-up shows for the huge festival were booked, the group went on a four-date tour of Texas and Arizona. Tory Crimes (who rejoined the band in 1982 after Headon got the boot) was once again out of the group by this point, so they took out an ad in Melody Maker and recruited 23-year-old Pete Howard.

The band eventually went on stage at US festival two hours late and played a sloppy, 80-minute set in front of a banner that read “The Clash Not for Sale.” Joe Strummer taunted the audience from the stage and afterward, the band got into a brawl with security. The group still walked away with a half-million dollars; four months later, they announced that Mick Jones was leaving the group. The chaotic US Festival was his final appearance with the band and the final two songs were “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Clampdown”.

Joe Strummer and bassist Paul Simonon did release ‘Cut the Crap’ in 1985 and toured as the Clash that year, but that’s like a Rolling Stones tour without Keith Richards. It doesn’t count. The real Clash bowed out at the US Festival other opinions are available.

Finally on this day In 1955 Bruce Foxton, bassist for The Jam was born. Happy Birthday Bruce.

Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts are thrilled to announce that they will be supporting The Tearaways (featuring Clem Burke of Blondie) across the UK Aug 17 – Sep 2.

They will also be doing a handful of Acoustic – Songs & Stories Shows.
These are always very special nights. They’ve found some really great (REALLY SMALL) venues for these shows.

These shows WILL SELL OUT. Make sure you get tix while ya can (once they’re on sale)!

Tickets ON SALE FRIDAY!

AUGUST

17th – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
w/ The Tearaways

18th – Waterloo, Blackpool
w/ The Tearaways

21st – Esquires, Bedford
w/ The Tearaways

22nd – Thunderbolt, Bristol
w/ The Tearaways

23rd – The Prince Albert, Brighton
w/ The Tearaways

24th – *Songs & Stories Acoustic Show* The Tap, Derby

25th – *Songs & Stories Acoustic Show* TBA, Leeds

28th – The 100 Club, London
w/ The Tearaways

29th – Night and Day, Manchester
w/ The Tearaways

31st – Irvine Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine
w/ The Tearaways

SEPTEMBER

1st – Beat Generator, Dundee
w/ The Tearaways

2nd – King Tuts, Glasgow
w/ The Tearaways

… and LOOK, there’s more!
A BRAND NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR
“GET DOWN”, THIS FRIDAY!
It’s their ode to the classic film,
‘Risky Business’.

On this most rockin’ of days way back in 1975, AC/DC released their debut album ‘High Voltage’. The album featured a cover of ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ a blues song first recorded by Big Joe Williams and ‘She’s Got Balls’ which was written about singer Bon Scott’s ex-wife Irene – the first AC/DC song for which he wrote lyrics.

Bon, Malcolm, Angus, Mark and Phil saw this record peak at number 14 but has since gone 5x platinum what you could describe as being a slow burner.

Originally released on Albert Productions in Australia and has never been reissued by another label in this format. The international version of High Voltage, which was issued on Atlantic Records in 1976, has different cover art and track listing, with only “She’s Got Balls” and “Little Lover” appearing overseas. “Baby Please Don’t Go”, “Soul Stripper”, “You Ain’t Got a Hold On Me” and “Show Business” was later released on ’74 Jailbreak in 1984. “Stick Around” (about Scott’s inability to hold onto a lover for more than one night) and “Love Song” have been released on Backtracks in 2009. The title and artwork were the suggestion of Chris Gilbey of Albert Productions. In the 1994 Scott biography Highway to Hell, Gilbey explains that he came up with the concept of “an electricity substation with a dog pissing against it. It’s so tame now, but back then we thought it was pretty revolutionary.”

The musicians that played on this release were quite different from the internationally famous line up of AC/DC – George Young who also produced the record played some bass guitar, rhythm guitar, and backing vocals, Rob Bailey also played bass guitar whilst Peter Clack played drums on their cover of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’. Tony Currenti played drums on the other seven numbers. Whilst it might not be the best DC album ever this version is certainly worth tracking down if you don’t already have it amongst the other 3,000 different versions with different covers and track lists.

 

Buy ‘High Voltage’: Here

In other significant news on this very day in 1979, Blondie scored their first UK No.1 album when ‘Parallel Lines’ started a four-week run at the top of the charts, featuring the singles ‘Heart Of Glass’, ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ and ‘Sunday Girl.’ With its iconic album sleeve, a generation of teenage boys fell in love more so when they managed to see the video for ‘Heart Of Glass’. Deborah Harry – vocals, Chris Stein – guitar, 12-string guitar, E-bow, Clem Burke – drums, Jimmy Destri – electronic keyboards, Nigel Harrison – bass guitar and Frank Infante – guitar was the iconic line up who recorded ‘Parallel Lines’ in New York City where the band shared an unbreakable bond and used the city in many of their videos and were forever tied to clubs like CBGB and Max’s.  ‘Heart Of Glass’ was one of the biggest selling singles in the decade reaching number one in over eight major record buying countries.  Amazingly it was only the UK where the album hit the number one spot only reaching number six in their native USA. who knew?

The album has been reissued and expanded several times since its release back in 79 and you can pick up a copy Here

Also, RPM would like to give a shout out and a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to Billie Joe Armstrong, Born Today back in 1972. Whilst fronting Green Day Armstrong is also a member of the punk rock band Pinhead Gunpowder and provides lead vocals for Green Day’s side projects Foxboro Hot Tubs and The Network. Many Happy returns Mr Armstrong.

Buy Pinhead Gunpowder: Here

Finally, on this very day in 1979, The Clash opened the US leg of their ‘Pearl Harbour ’79’, North American tour at New York’s Palladium. The Clash were keen to embrace the US, though Epic were less enthusiastic despite releasing …Melody Maker writer Caroline Coon paid her own way to New York and set up eight shows in medium-sized venues that mainly sold out. The Pearl Harbour ’79 US tour allowed The Clash to visit key cities. The band took Rock’n’Roll legend Bo Diddley out as support act to make America aware of its musical legacy. “We brought them in and helped to introduce them to people who weren’t aware of them,” Jones told Coon. Diddley got on famously with the band, who hung on his every war story.