Archive for the ‘Tim Buckley’ Category

The Mothers Of Invention / The GTO’s / Wild Man Fischer

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

WPLJ / The Mothers Of Invention

Listen: WPLJ / The Mothers Of Invention

In the late 60′s and early 70′s, it wasn’t only The Beatles and The Rolling Stones who started their own labels, Frank Zappa did as well. In fact when he left Verve and joined Warner/Reprise, they gave him two imprints: Straight and Bizarre.

I think The Mothers were one of the few west coast, Los Angeles to San Francisco, groups that interested me at the time. I was admittedly loyal to the British bands back then. They looked better. It may have been the beards that put me off the US acts. Admittedly, Blue Cheer and Big Brother & The Holding Company always looked great, and so too did Love and especially The Seeds, all coincidentally beard free. But despite the beards and various repulsive elements, I loved The Mothers Of Invention. They looked menacing, and dirty and just plain seedy. The cover of MOTHERMANIA is a particularly fantastic shot. Musically, give me WE’RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY, and many of the early singles and songs as well like ‘Wowie Zowie’, only being a let down in that it never got issued as a 7″.

Frank Zappa always applauded his self love of doo wop, as is exampled on this track from BURNT WEENY SANDWICH, ‘WPLJ’. The style, dreadfully out of step at the time, made for a terrific single. There must have been a radio station with those call letters somewhere….if only they’d played it, which I’d bet they didn’t.

Frank Zappa was obviously an insomniac. I mean who has more double albums? And then to constantly tour and put together two labels. Amazing. Alice Cooper debuted on Straight, Tim Buckley moved there from Elektra. Even Keith joined the roster post ’98.6′.

Circular Circulation / G.T.O.S

Listen: Circular Circulation / G.T.O.’s

Two of his earliest signings are on singles featured here: The GTO’s and Wild Man Fischer. I always got a kick out of both these tracks, hearing them initially on one of the many $2.00 Warner/Reprise samplers that were everywhere in those days. Both acts had great album sleeves too.

We may want to blame The GTO’s for giving license to a whole slew of twee female singers hiding behind indie rock as an excuse for minimal vocal ability, but ‘Circular Circulation’ is an absolute out of jail free card.

Merry Go Round / Wild Man Fischer

Listen: Merry Go Round / Wild Man Fischer

Wild Man Fischer has a story and a half going on. Google him – I don’t have enough time to write it all…….but ‘Merry Go Round’ is tops. Sounds like David Byrne picked up some vocal tricks from him.


Monday, October 17th, 2011

Listen: Temple Of Dreams / Messiah

Not to be confused with Switzerland’s death metal band, this Messiah formed in ’88 during London’s acid house craze by college friends Ali Ghani and Mark Davies. When the pair met at an Iggy Pop concert, they decided to purchase some electronic equipment and make music for fun. According to the band’s bio, it was then that their musical chemistry became evident, coinciding with the English rave scene. The duo’s brand of techno encompasses the aggression and volume of punk as well, the diva vocals of house music. So there you have it.

By the early 90′s, several of those acid house anthems began to surface into the mainstream, and even found their way onto the occasional US major label. Such was the case with ‘Temple Of Dreams’ in ’92. Rick Rubin’s American Records, then distributed by Warner Brothers and just down the hall from Duane and I at Medicine, picked up Messiah for the US, and issued ‘Temple Of Dreams’ as an initial single on his techno offshoot, WHTE LBLS.

Everyone loved this on the floor. I don’t think any of us could get enough of it, or the various mixes that seemed to be commissioned weekly.

But the back story was as intriguing as the single. In ’83, This Mortal Coil released a cover of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’, a track from his STARSAILOR album (’70), as a UK single. Peaking at #66 in the Pop Charts, the record went on to spend a total 101 weeks in the UK Indie Chart, a run that ranked 4th during the entire 1980′s, after three classic long-selling records: ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ / Bauhaus (131 weeks), ‘Blue Monday’ / New Order (186 weeks) and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ / Joy Division (195 weeks).

Messiah actually sampled This Mortal Coils version heavily, adding their own blips and bleeps plus a bunch of new shouty vocal vamps.

Despite having played this white at the time, I hadn’t heard it for years until tonight while doing some therapy filing. It’s on about the tenth repeat play at this point.

The Pretty Things

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

prettythingscryuk, the pretty things, fontana, phil may, the rolling stones, freeway madness, warner brothers, mo ostin, whisky,

prettythingscryusa, the pretty things, fontana, phil may, the rolling stones, freeway madness, warner brothers, mo ostin, whisky,

prettythingscryus, the pretty things, fontana, phil may, the rolling stones, freeway madness, warner brothers, mo ostin, whisky,

Listen: Cry To Me / The Pretty Things PrettyThingsCry.mp3

I don’t need much prompting to give The Pretty Things a shout out. Phil May is one of music’s greatest vocalists. When I was running The Medicine Label at Warner Brothers in the 90′s, I asked then chairman Mo Ostin, during casual hallway conversation, if he’d let me reissue their 1973 FREEWAY MADNESS album, which was ripe for CD format. No problem.

Mo was the ultimate executive, they literally don’t make them that way any more. Prior to getting the green light to set up Medicine, I had a memorable meeting/job interview with him. I wanted details of when he signed both The Kinks and Family, which he ever so graciously recounted. And that was only the beginning of the many fascinating stories.

FREEWAY MADNESS, one of those Mo signings, holds some serious sentimental placemarks. Plus it afforded the band their first US tour. How insane is that? Despite their legendary status almost instantly, it wasn’t until spring ’73 that The Pretty Things played their initial US show, at LA’s Whisky A Go Go. I up and flew to California in April, like the senseless Anglophile that I was. Turned into a fantastic trip. Rich Fazekas, then part of United Artists hip college radio department, put me up for the week and introduced me to old Hollywood. UA had Family, Hawkwind, Ian Whitcomb, Man, The Move, Wizzard, endless Blue Note acts. It was the place to be. We raided, with Greg Shaw, UA’s publishing office, then anxious to dispose of their 7″ library. Talk about timing. We saw Tim Buckley at The Troubadour and of course The Pretty Things at The Whisky several nights straight. One month later, I booked them back at my college. May 19, 1973 to be exact.

Fast forward to last night. At a friend’s for dinner, I became engrossed in THE ROLLING STONES ALBUM FILE & COMPLETE DISCOGRAPHY, by Alan Clayson, that was meant to be casual coffee table glancing. I intended taking a quick look, then couldn’t put it down. Learn something every day – and with this book you’ll learn many somethings. For instance, March 7, 1965. Manchester. Following a stopped Rolling Stones show at The Palace Theater, Keith and Mick taxied across town to leap onstage with The Pretty Things (Brian Jones was a room mate of The Pretty Things at the time) at The Manchester Cavern that evening. Among the songs that Mick duetted with Phil May: ‘Cry To Me’.


Monday, February 2nd, 2009

My Little Red Book / Love

Listen: My Little Red Book / Love

7 And 7 Is / Love

Listen: 7 And 7 Is / Love

Love Jukebox tab

Above: Jukebox Tab filled out by Arthur Lee

Stephanie Knows Who / Love

Listen: Stephanie Knows Who / Love

She Comes In Colors / Love

Listen: She Comes In Colors / Love

Orange Skies / Love

Listen: Orange Skies / Love

Que Vida / Love

Listen: Que Vida / Love

Alone Again Or / Love

Alone Again Or / Love

Alone Again Or / Love

Listen: Alone Again Or / Love

Softly To Me / Love

Listen: Softly To Me / Love

Your Mind And We Belong Together / Love

Your Mind And We Belong Together / Love

Listen: Your Mind And We Belong Together / Love

LoveEverlastingUS, Love, Arthur Lee, Blue Thumb, Bob Krasnow

The Everlasting First / Love

Listen: The Everlasting First / Love

What do Love have in common with The High Numbers, JJ Cale, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Mose Allison and Rockpile? Well, in this case, Tom Petty. He played them all, and more, on his Sirius/XM radio show, which I heard for the first time on the red eye from Seattle to New York Saturday night.

I don’t own a satellite capable device having been so disinterested in American radio for decades, and very bitter that it’s dummied down music as being a big part of culture in the US. Therefore figured it was more of the same. A few friends have, to be fair, tried convincing me otherwise. The very first time I heard it, on one of the now partnered networks, was in Kimberly Boley’s office at Sony. I asked her what she was listening to and she said satellite radio and that she loved it. I said sure but do they play The Cramps, just to throw a real wrench into the moment. She dialed up their station that most likely would, and The Cramps were playing that very second. Swear to God. I guess I should’ve taken it as a sign.

The flight was meant to be a time to finally get some rest. I’d been on Matt & Kim’s tour for several days and it had been non stop, stay awake. But this flight I’d earmarked as a sleeper. That was not meant to be. Spent the whole time flipping round these channels, then started jotting down some of the things I’d heard and kinda liked (The Soft Pack, Titus Andronicus), and some records I needed to look up once in the house to be sure I had (Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown, Titus Turner, Bobby Womack). It was a noticeable change hearing so much variety: Lemon Jelly, Roxy Music (two stations playing two different songs simultaneously), Mott The Hoople, Eurythmics, LCD Soundsystem, Joan Armatrading, Nick Drake, The Nice. It was endless. You see, there is room for everyone. What a democratic concept.

There’s one thing that hasn’t changed though: the tired, lazy, hokey US DJ presenter. Does a building need to fall on these people? Unlike the BBC, and Radio 1 in particular, that presentation is lightning fast sonically and annoucer-wise. So with the luxury of access to BBC stations (Radio 1, 2, 6, Radio London) via internet streaming and my new discovery of satellite, I think things are pretty tolerable out there. I’d get subscribed up if I ever drove anywhere.

Back to Tom Petty’s program. He played Love’s ’7 And 7 Is’ on this particular episode. Interestingly named, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Love. Many times, I crave hearing the music and thoroughly enjoy it. Other times, it sounds so lame, and twee, and overrated.

Some strong opposing opinions out there about Arthur Lee too. Met him the one time, and he was cool about doing the jukebox tab, but I was with Gary Umbo, a Love hardcore who I’m pretty sure Arthur knew and was friendly with. Undeniably some great singles though, and if you’re like me, it’s hard to forget the first time hearing ‘My Little Red Book’. It was a pretty big hit everywhere rightfully. Then ’7 and 7 Is’ came out, and that was the loudest cut record I’d ever heard. You can’t turn it down. Just try.

When I worked at Elektra in ’85, our mailroom guy Mark Cohen came down to my office telling me there was a closet that was about to be part of the renovation underway to create more office space. It was full of old chairs, cabinets, typewriters AND some boxes of old 45′s. Was I interested, they’ll be tossed otherwise.

It was a treasure trove. About 200 singles in all, and a virtual history of Elektra’s early 7′s. So many amazing things, I never separated the lot, kept them as they were. Loads of Tom Rush, The Voices Of East Harlem, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Beefeaters, Tim Buckley, plus a mixture of US and UK presses.

Every Love single was there, promos and stock, and some UK copies as well. Many are pictured here. Note the withdrawn copy of ‘Stephanie Knows Who’ / ‘Orange Skies’ (EK 45608). The catalog number was re-assigned as EK 45608 (REV). I’m guessing to indicate ‘revised’, replacing the A side with ‘She Comes In Colors’. I knew of the switch but wasn’t aware original copies had been pressed until that day.

Also, for some reason unknown as it wasn’t an Elektra master, the pile included a UK pressing of ‘The Everlasting First’. It was originally released in the US on Blue Thumb, Bob Krasnow’s label. Although he was our chairman and boss at Elektra, he had no idea why the record was included there either. “Maybe I gave Holtzman a copy then, and yeah that is Jimi playing the lead”. Thankfully he didn’t reclaim it.

Not long after, the front desk somehow decided to forward through an irate Arthur Lee to my line. I pick up and he launched into a rage about unpaid royalties and how Elektra, and even I myself, were stealing from him, so much so that he had to move in with his aunt in Nashville or some such place. I was very unequipped to handle this one, so politely sent him through to Gary Casson in business affairs, where I’m sure the rampage ended abruptly.


Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Listen: Rock The Nation / Montrose
Rock The Nation / Montrose

Montrose. If it’s good it’s always good. You may remember a time in punkcentric ’77 when Montrose was a nasty word, representing the hard rock, metal hair band, LA Sunset Strip. A frozen in time culture when we were all teens and knew way more than those folks did. Yeah right. Like the reality of every musical movement, there were great things happening which we happily turned our nose to at the time. I secretly didn’t. Montrose was one. I went to LA for the 1st time in May ’73 at the invitation of Rich Fazekas, then promotion guy for United Artists. We’d stuck up a friendship (lasting until this day) as a result of him promoting their UK signings (The Move, Family. Hawkwind, Man, Help Yourself). This resulted in my self-serving position of playing them on my college station even though no one was probably listening, which was basically the situation for all of us in small towns acting as cities. Still it got me a relationship with Rich. So in May ’73, at his invitation, I schlepped to LA. Bless his heart, Rich introduced me to mexican food, took me to the Troubadour for a jaw dropping Tim Buckley show, we raided a publishing company with Greg Shaw that was dumping all their 7″ singles (I got many sick things like several copies of The Alan Price Set’s ‘I Put A Spell On You’) and took me to see The Pretty Things 1st US shows at the Whisky (which was the ultimate point of the trip originally). Somewhere in that 4 day blur, we went to Warner Brothers Studios to see Montrose making their 1st album. I vividly remember this song being recorded – but I’m not choosing to post it for nostogia or show off reasons – instead becuase it is so ‘the real thing’ and sounds it until this day – and in mono my friends, straight from my 7″. I hope you love it like I do. I never hear it anymore – not that I did then. Hopefully someone will discover it here and make Montrose some well deserved $.