Archive | Garage Rock RSS feed for this section

The Zombies’ Biloxi Performance Produces Magical Moments

10 Mar

Zombies

“The Zombies Live” — a bit of an oxymoron, right? Or maybe a title of an upcoming horror film? I’ll tell you what I call it: A damn good time! These guys (leaders Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone, by name) have been at it since 1961. Their first charting hit came along in 1964.  And you know what? They still sound great. Sure the lads have aged a bit. And maybe picked up a pound or two since the dashing portrait above was snapped. Some called them nerdy — some called them art school geeks — I have always dug them. They were always thinking a step ahead of their musical peers and that did not always translate into commercial success.

zombies hrc

The Hard Rock Casino – Biloxi is where it all went down

zombies sign

Our tickets to this Thursday night Zombies show at the Hard Rock Casino were just $25 each plus tax — and the seats were superb. Probably about 10 rows back and just a tad left of center stage. I didn’t really want to be much closer. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, it can get a little loud up there sometimes.

zombie LP

The average Joe might be hard pressed to name a single song by The Zombies. Time of the Season could come to mind … as it should. That recording, in my world, ranks right up there with The Beatles best work. The casual music fan of a certain vintage probably remembers tracks like Tell Her No and She’s Not There — and most likely Argent’s big solo smash Hold Your Head Up. The more hardcore vinyl junkie like your’s truly can go much deeper into The Zombies’ highly underappreciated catalog. I, for one, would be hard pressed to stop at 20 or so songs. They were indeed that special. Especially when further incorporating Rod’s time with Argent and vocalist Colin Blunstone’s solo recordings (check out his breathy Caroline Goodbye for starters) and stellar session work with the Alan Parsons Project (see Old and Wise for beginners).    

zombies on stage

The view from our seats (above) at Hard Rock – a steal at $25 + tax

zombies signed cd

A signed CD was my souvenir for the evening

The Zombies masterpiece (often discussed in the same hushed tones as Sgt. Pepper’s, Pet Sounds, and Love’s Forever Changes) is their Odessey and Oracle album. It may have only included one chart hit (the soaring Time of the Season) but it is laden with innovative, quirky, and ultimately unforgettable tunes. The themes can be somber (A Rose for Emily) and downright bizarre (Care of Cell 44). This is an album that grows on you — and then stays with you forever. I can’t recommend it enough if you consider yourself a fan of The Beatles, Beach Boys, Moody Blues, The Kinks, or Pink Floyd. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy it. Critics rave about it and it is often cited as one of the Top 100 LPs of all time. Rolling Stone ranked it #80 in their Top 500. How ’bout them apples???

zombies c n r

If you ever get a chance to see The Zombies in concert, don’t miss them. Rod and Colin work incredible magic together. Argent can still bang on the keyboards like nobody’s business and Blunstone remains, to my ear, one of rock’s great voices. They play a great mix of the old and the new — and both founding members get plenty of time to bask in the spotlight. When they broke into Time of the Season (easily one of my all-time favorite songs), my wife Eileen and I were grinning from ear to ear. By the time the song reached its crescendo, I could have sworn our feet were floating about a foot or two off the ground. It was the same magical feeling I experienced when I first heard Booker T and the MGs perform Green Onions in person. Or the time I saw Tony Joe White singing Polk Salad Annie. Or the time I experienced the great Roy Orbison bring the crowd to its collective feet with a live take on Running Scared. It was indeed one for the ages.

Thank you, Rod and Colin. LONG LIVE THE ZOMBIES!!!

And just in case you boys ever wonder if all the bad meals, hotels, and travel are worth it, it is. Trust me … it really is.

You are making the world a brighter, more joyful place.

And what could be more rewarding than that?

Hoodoo Gurus Unveil Rockin’ 9th Recording

21 Mar

Wake up all you aging rockers! We are totally psyched out of our minds to see this one finally come to fruition. I have already tracked the CD three times and I’m happy to report that there is not a weak track on the entire disc. Standouts include  the blistering “Crackin’ Up,” a horn-laden “Only in America,” the jangly “Evening Shade,” and closer “The Stars Look Down.” Gurus vocalist Dave Faulkner even channels his own inner Billy Idol swagger with the shouter, “Why So Sad?” To cite the one and only Huey Lewis … “The Heart of Rock n’ Roll is Still Beating!”  

“PURITY OF ESSENCE” COMING MAY 11TH

“Crackin Up” came to frontman Dave Faulkner as a dream

 
SYDNEY, Australia – The Hoodoo Gurus, known for high energy, hook-laden rock ‘n’ roll, have completed their ninth album, Purity of Essence, which will be released May 11, 2010 on their own label in the United States via Virtual Label/ADA. Formed in 1981, the band is described by AllMusic.com as “(channeling) their inspiration from the vast entirety of the American pop cultural landscape, drawing on such disparate sources as B-movies, bad sitcoms, and junk food in tandem with the usual suspects like garage rock, power pop, and surf to create a distinctly kitschy and catchy sound. . . .and if you don’t like the Hoodoo Gurus, I suspect you don’t like rock & roll very much.”

A jam session at a Sydney rehearsal studio earlier this year produced eight songs and set the template for their ninth studio record. All four band members were pole-axed by the lightning bolt moments that brought singer and songwriter Dave Faulkner’s songs to life from his demos.

Even the songwriter himself says there must have been some rock ‘n’ roll magic at work when “Crackin’ Up,” the album’s first single, arrived almost fully formed in a dream.

“It’s only ever happened before once in my life where I have actually dreamed a song. I woke up and had the melody, all the chords and the title, walked out of my room and told the friends who were staying with me not to talk to me while I found my little cassette recorder and put the song down,” Faulkner says.

The serendipity continued when the frontman brought the song to the band.

“During that day, there were so many songs and sounds coming out that we’d never done before,” he observes. “They had the classic Gurus feel but it was different even though we weren’t pushing ourselves to do something different. But on this particular magic day, it all happened. It was the most memorable day in the rehearsal room that the band has ever had.”

The resulting inspiration resulted in more good songs than they could reasonably fit onto one CD. But, as Faulkner says, “Dammit, let’s just put ’em all on. The good news is that there is such a diversity of styles – from punk ˆ la the Ramones to dare-I-say pretty songs and some guilty pleasures – that it doesn’t get repetitive.”

Speaking of the Ramones, the Gurus reunited with old friend Ed Stasium (and former Ramones producer) to mix Purity of Essence. The album was co-produced by the band with Charles Fisher, producer of two classic Hoodoo Gurus albums, Mars Needs Guitars and Blue Cave. The album was mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound with the exception of “Crackin’ Up”, which was mastered by Don Bartley. The album cover is a large-scale painting by Doug Bartlett.

Immediately upon completing the album, the Hoodoo Gurus set upon shooting a number of videos and “webisodes”, including a “mockumentary” about the making of the album. These videos may be seen on YouTube, and the “Crackin’ Up” video may be seen here.

For two and a half decades the Hoodoo Gurus have consistently been one of the most inventive, lyrically smart and exciting rock ‘n’ roll bands Australia has ever produced. And they’ve done it with style, panache and a wicked sense of humor. Already a seasoned live outfit from endless Australian touring, the Gurus found themselves in 1983 signed to A&M Records in the U.S.; their first release, Stoneage Romeos, hit #1 on the American college radio charts. On the strength of this they embarked on the first of countless tours of the U.S. and many other countries.

In fact the Gurus have toured internationally dozens of times, including repeated sell-outs at 10,000 capacity venues in Brazil. The band was consistently cited as one of the highlights at the 2007 SXSW Music Festival in Austin. The SXSW performances were part of an extended run of North America and Canadian dates that were greatly anticipated by a new generation of fans who thought they’d never have the opportunity to see the much-mythologized Australian band perform live.

The Hoodoo Gurus remain as relevant and impassioned about their distinctive brand of rock ‘n’ roll as at any time in their twenty-five year career.

Let the essence flow!

New Collection Spotlights Paul Revere & The Raiders

13 Feb

Often forgotten by critics discussing mid-60’s American rock, Paul Revere and The Raiders had an impressive string of ten or so hits that few groups of the era could match. Positioned somewhere between the zany showmanship of The Monkees and the grit of the early Beatles, lead singer Mark Lindsey and the band started out as a popular garage band in the Pacific Northwest. The boys could write a little bit and play their own instruments, something it took the Monkees several years to develop.

Like The Monkees,  The Raiders were aided by consistent TV exposure, skillful production (by Doris Day’s son, Terry Melcher), and the support of some superior song writers and West Coast session players (master drummer Hal Blaine, to name just one). Mark Lindsey was also one of the best leather-throated shouters of the period. This thorough collection includes all the hits, misses, and oddities. It’s a must have for longtime fans and curiosity seekers alike. Pay special attention and reverance to rockers like “Ups and Downs,” “Kicks,” “Good Thing,” “Hungry,” “Just Like Me,” and “Steppin’ Out.”     

Here’s the product description from Collector’s Choice …

Having done complete singles collections on such great 60s singles bands as Jan & Dean, Gary Lewis & the Playboys and Jay & the Americans to rapturous applause from the collector community, we knew which group they were hungry for next it had to be Paul Revere & the Raiders! And, with all due respect to those previous collections, we think this one might the best set yet!

Once again, Ed Osborne is your annotator and curator for this triple-disc collection, which features all 62 commercially-released A and B sides the band recorded for Columbia in its various incarnations (as Paul Revere & the Raiders, Paul Revere & the Raiders Featuring Mark Lindsay, the Raiders, etc.), plus their two Special Products tracks Corvair Baby and SS396 and two bonus tracks, commercial jingles for Mattell s Swingy Doll and the Pontiac Judge GTO Breakaway Commercial for GM.

As with our previous collections, all singles appear in their original mono taken from original tapes (on the first two discs) and original stereo from original tapes (on the last disc), with invaluable assistance provided by Columbia vault-meister and engineer extaordinaire Bob Irwin. Copious liner notes featuring new, exclusive interviews with Raiders Paul Revere, Mark Lindsay, Phil Fang Volk, Keith Allison, Jim Harpo Valley and manager Roger Hart accompany, festooned with rare photos. It’s the definitive collection from one of the great early American rock n’ roll bands, and remember – many of these original single versions have never appeared on CD! 66 tracks!

Get your copy now at http://www.ccmusic.com/item.cfm?itemid=CCM20882