Archive for the ‘Giorgio Moroder’ Category

Nina Hagen

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Listen: Zarah / Nina Hagen

She never sat in my office at Columbia. Nina Hagen was before my time, but during Howard’s. I don’t recall his memories being flattering. Not unlike her records, she was apparently rather primal.

Her vocal styled in that walking dead voice always took the prize for best dynamic moment on any track, although I’d have to say Mike Thorne was best at dragging that out of her on NUNSEXMONKROCK from ’82, one album and one year prior to ‘Zarah’. In fact, my all time favorite Nina Hagen track from said album, ‘Born In Xixax’, never graced a 7″. Luckily, ‘Zarah’ came in a close second.

Good call on someone’s part paring her with Giorgio Moroder, and, the 80′s version of today’s Mark Ronson fifteen minutes of fame producer, Keith Forsey. The track is superb, soldiering along proudly in the shadow of Sparks ‘Beat The Clock’, another Giorgio Moroder production from three years earlier.

Man, remember when records began to sound really expensive? Looking back, ‘Zarah’ was totally in that fast lane.

Chicory Tip

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

ChicoryWineUKA, Chicory Tip, CBS, Epic, Giorgio Morodor

ChicoryWineUSA, Chicory Tip, Giorgio Morodor, Epic, CBS

Listen: Cigarettes, Women And Wine / Chicory Tip ChicoryWinesomanyrecordssolittletime.mp3

Having scooped a UK release of ‘Son Of Your Father’ off Giorgio Moroder’s own German version, Chicory Tip ended up at #1 as a result. Not so in the US. Giorgio’s reached #48, while Chicory (as their name was shortened to for that one US single) peaked at #91. Despite the UK coup, Moroder wrote it, thereby still earning off every sale without having to schlep about in glam trousers and platforms, as the band did. In fact, Chicory Tip apparently hated their new found teen success, thus live, would deliver heavy blues rock instead. Bad career move.

Back in the studio, the Chicory Tip camp was smart enough to keep a winning formula going for a few more replicas of that lone #1, right down to having the band cover Moroder songs exclusively as A sides. A few charted, but despite heavy airplay from the influential Radio Luxembourg, BBC’s Radio 1 wouldn’t touch ‘Cigarettes, Women And Wine’, supposedly due to the cigarettes mention. Big cheat. They were a perfect mix of Glam and synth rock, and had they continued mixing the two elements, the result may have been much closer to what Manfred Mann’s Earth Band achieved, especially with Giorgio Moroder as producer.

Their sound certainly pointed to a whole musical revolution that wasn’t too many years away.

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.