Archive for the ‘Mickey Leigh’ Category

The Dictators

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Listen: Sleepin’ With The TV On / The Dictators

A bit of a baffling one here. Got to know Andy Shernoff, who wrote this, quite well via Joey Ramone. They were close friends way before I knew either, having played shows together in the early CBGB’s days. Logically, and given the small world we live in, Andy’s close to Monte Melnick, Mickey Leigh and Lindsay Hutton as well. So the fit was natural. But most importantly, he’s a super guy with never a bad word to say about anyone.

And his lifelong bandmate, Dick Manitoba, well same story. A real testament to strength, business sense and flawless musical instinct. Even though we all socialized often for the past twenty years, it wasn’t until tonight did I realize I’d not heard ‘Sleepin’ With The TV On’ for almost as long. How could this be?

Simple, it’s an overlooked, not true to the purists, representation of The Dictators’ harder sound. Instead, I suppose it was power pop, not a genre that brings out my loyalty either.But having caught Manitoba’s Sirius radio show earlier tonight in my new satellite equipped car, it suddenly dawned on me that the first thing I needed to revisit upon arriving home was this single. Which I just did.

True to memory, ‘Sleepin’ With The TV On’, by song’s end and as a result of Andy’s picture perfect chorus, is something else. Now I recall why I loved it so during it’s time of release. Still, the record is an anomaly when it comes to the band’s signature sound, and to quote Little Steven, they were “the connective tissue between the eras of The MC5, Stooges, The New York Dolls, and the punk explosion of the mid to late 1970s”. What’s to disagree about?

They were that and the originators of this classic singalong.

The Damned

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Listen: Smash It Up (Single Version) / The Damned DamnedSmash.mp3

The other day, my super pal Brian Traister maintained the real UK punk band, best ever, were The Damned. I agree.

Every single was just flawless, for ages. Their run on Chiswick being one of those career peaks, and they had several. Produced by Roger Armstrong, I forever hassle his memory cells for details of those sessions. Talk about endless stories of greatness.

When Joey’s Mom and brother Mickey still had the promised 50th birthday party for him, which he unfairly missed by a month and four days, The Damned were the only UK band that flew themselves over to honor what they maintained in the press since day one: The Ramones were the true fathers of punk – it proved who was the real deal from England and who were the money machines, copy cats and fakes.

Hearing the roar when Little Steven announced them (all the acts were kept secret but regardless, 4400 tickets were completely sold out in fifteen minutes to Joey Ramone’s well earned honor) still brings chills. Up came the curtain, and there were The Damned.

Some things were meant to be: Roger was in NY that week, and we made sure he sat right there, in the first box, with Joey’s Mom.

God bless The Damned.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Captain Sensible

Alan Vega

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Wipeout Beat / Alan Vega

Listen: Wipeout Beat / Alan Vega

1983, the year before Howard Thompson offered me my first real job doing A&R for Elektra, I was finishing an electrical engineering degree at RIT in Rochester. I was part of a popular local punk band and apparently a good candidate to anchor a two hour weekly show on the town’s AOR station. The program was called ‘Import/Export’. The point being to play all the very happening music the college and underground kids were devouring and giving the station a touch of needed cred, as well as allowing them to sell spots to local clubs promoting those bands as they passed through town, and charging the labels for some time buys on these releases without really having to play this uncommercial music during the earlier hours, when people actually listened. I was thrilled and should have appreciated it more, as no one has ever offered me a similar opportunity since.

When visiting town last year, I gave the station a listen. It’s an interesting, but sad, time warp, still playing ‘Iron Man’, Styx, J. Geils Band, things I can’t even remember now that dropped my jaw when they came on, a playlist that recently put some of the employees responsible for this programming out of jobs. Oh well, they stifled music culture for long enough. My show, hidden at midnight on Tuesdays. was hosted jointly by Roger McCall, a more wonderful person you just will never meet.

Roger and I would play ‘Wipeout Beat’ weekly for months. Like Marianne Faithfull’s ‘The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan’, it constantly gets overlooked when the press sites early music that helped start electronica and dance are sighted. Produced by Ric Ocasek, as was Alan’s band, Suicide’s ‘Dream Baby Dream’, Roger and I would not answer the constantly ringing request lines as we blared this on 11, a high point of the evening for us always.

When I joined Elektra a year later, Howard and Michael Alago, who signed Alan to the label, introduced me to him and we became amazingly close friends quickly, closing Danceteria almost nightly with booker Ruth Polsky, visiting UK bands like Sisters Of Mercy, The Smiths or New Order, Joey Ramone, Arturo Vega, Mickey Leigh, Monte Melnick, Marina Lutz, Duane Sherwood, a then, unibrowed, Madonna, and of course Howard and Micheal.

With Marty Rev, his other half in Suicide, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by seeing one of their very occasional New York shows. You won’t need to spend either much time or money on going out again. They are so powerful, it’s almost unbelievable. How the likes of Beyonce etc. aren’t lining up to get Marty’s beats onto their new recordings is shocking. Why acts get out of bed in the morning trying to compete with Suicide is quite baffling to me.

Unfortunately, the reality is that a few years back, Roger was cruelly and needlessly murdered. His killers are still unfound. Given that he worked at the station I refer to above, WCMF, for something like 30 years, I heard he may have been the longest employed DJ at any US rock radio station, I’m shocked that, despite the large voice and influence WCMF had in that market, they didn’t use it to bring any attention or help to finding the people who did this, not stopping until justice was served. But no, only more archaic music numbly being broadcast as though nothing had happened.