Archive for the ‘CBGB’ Category

The Stone Poneys / Linda Ronstadt

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Stone Ponies - Different Drum

Listen: Different Drum / The Stone Poneys StonePoneysDifferentDrum.mp3

Ok, so a follow up single isn’t always better than the hit preceding it, as was maybe the case with ‘Up To My Neck In High Muddy Water’. It’s hard to top ‘Different Drum’. In fact, Linda Ronstadt never did. At least I don’t remember her doing it, possibly due in part to my general lack of interest toward country leaning music back then.

‘Different Drum’ was indeed another story though. It became a radio staple not long after Jefferson Airplane’s somewhat similar sounding ‘White Rabbit’, and at the same time as both ‘Itchycoo Park’ by The Small Faces and ‘Zabadak’ from Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.

‘Different Drum’ felt a bit psychedelic, even though it wasn’t. Maybe it was by association. Nick Venet was the producer and his work covered many genres. As a Capitol in house employee, seems he was handed all their youth culture signings of the day, thus slotting The Stone Poneys sessions between The Leaves, Lothar & The Hand People or Hearts & Flowers. It was one of many historic times at the Capitol Tower.

Stone Ponies - Up To My Neck picture sleeve

Listen: Up To My Neck In High Muddy Water / Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys StonePoneysUpToMyNeck.mp3

Long before Simon Cowell, the ruthless corporate machine gnawed it’s way through bands, carving out the superstar for investment and mainstream marketing, leaving the other members to survive somehow. As when Clive Davis butchered Big Brother & The Holding Company for Janis Joplin, so too, it seems, did Capitol decimate The Stone Poneys for the asset now known as Linda Ronstadt.

‘Different Drum’ by The Stone Poneys was literally still on Billboard’s Top 100 when ‘Up To My Neck In High Muddy Water’ was released as Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys. Housed in a full color sleeve, big things were expected. The record stalled at #93, but the setback was only temporary. She skyrocketed. It’s a great single despite the misery.

Linda Ronstadt was particularly critical of The Ramones, having gone to CBGB’s, catching an early performance and trashing them the very next day in a local New York paper. It was a hurtful moment that they talked about on occasion. So when Elektra threw a rather lavish party for her in New York, upon release of a successful new album, CANCIONES DE MI PADRE, the mischievous idea of inviting the band was impossible to resist and they were happy to attend.

We all met at Paul’s Lounge on 3rd and 10th, now a drug store, for a drink, then proceeded uptown to the event. Monte of course came along, Michael Alago and Arturo Vega did too. Everyone cleaned up on designer Mexican food, the album theme being traditional Mexican folk songs, and waited patiently for her to make the rounds, greeting her guests. The moment when she turned towards our table was classic, but it was too late to turn back. Obviously, she’d not been forewarned. Her look was priceless. DeeDee smiled and stared very menacingly, John just glared. Joey, after about five or ten seconds, decided to break the silence with “So Linda, long time no see”.

Nervously: “How are you guys doing?”

“We’re fine” replies John before she’s even finished her last word.

Incredible singer, successful artist but at that moment, Linda Ronstadt was stumped. Wincing, she backed away and slithered into the crowd.


Eddie & The Hot Rods

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008


Listen: Power And The Glory / Eddie & The Hot Rods

Either you have it or you don’t. Eddie & The Hot Rods always did, despite little commercial success in the US pointing otherwise. When they returned to tour during summer ’08, it was made clear their cult rep was well in tact, with a sizable audience of very young kids freaking out up front. And live, well as powerful as ever. Those that will remember can verify they could tear apart a stage in the late 70′s.

I stumbled on them during ’76, pre-punk. One of the Canvey Island bands that included Dr. Feelgood and Ducks Deluxe, their lightning speed attack was a huge attraction. I was the PD of WITR, Rochester Institute Of Technology’s radio station at the time. I dropped a quick letter to Island UK about the reaction we were getting from the band’s EP, LIVE AT THE MARQUEE. It landed with Howard Thompson who’d signed them. We became close friends as a result, and he eventually hired me at Elektra. I’d still be stuck in upstate New York had it not been for him and that letter.

As for Eddie & The Hot Rods, I became a bit of a stalker. Happy about that too as it meant getting to see them many times, at BBC sessions, UK TV shows, in the studio. Great guys and Barrie Master is still a pal. The great news being their power on stage has never waned. That hasn’t changed, and oddly, neither has Barrie. Not one less hair on his head nor one pound more on his bones. Voice as strong as in the day. He even wore the same pair of white jeans as he did at CBGB’s in ’77. Amazing.