Just For Fun Concerts EP 2017-15 (Episode 69)

Tales From The Drop Box Episode 69 brings you Part 2 in the occasional series of bands from my past that were influential upon me in ways that were much more important than just offering a blast of good sounding music at the time. As with the Jam, Buzzcocks (no “The”) opened my eyes to the new “punk” sound that was slowly making its way to northern Canada. Sure, I was an avid reader of music magazines in those days (pre-internet by a long shot) but there was absolutely no way that any commercial radio station in Canada was going to play “Orgasm Addict” on its airwaves and I could only guess at how these records and bands sounded. Buying music at that time involved some risk. Buzzcocks were the reference point for every other musical discovery I made during that period. Buzzcocks played with the Clash and Jam on the White Riot tour? Go out and buy The Clash records and The Jam records.

I would later discover, when I attended Vancouver Community College – Langara Campus, that I could play Buzzcocks compilation of singles entitled Singles Going Steady (released in U.S. on September 25, 1979) on the airwaves – and I did repeatedly and with immense pleasure – every show – every day.  Singles Going Steady was a life altering record for me. The Kiss record collection went to the back of the closet because there was something more interesting going on and Buzzcocks sound “crystalized” this exciting change in music, culture, and politics, including sexual politics. Sure, I had heard the Sex Pistols record prior to this one, but the anarchy the Sex Pistols referenced seemed a little contrived. Their shambolic performance was exciting but the poorly produced recording of Never Mind The Bullocks sounded like sludge when measured against Buzzcocks records.

Buzzcocks were excitement. Their songs lyrically were complex ruminations about love and yet at the same time they were not about love. The lyrics were delivered in a bed of chugging drums and bass with razor sharp guitars providing meaty hooks. The ferocity of the guitar attack on those records disguised some lyrically sharp commentary about the human condition. For an 19 year old college student it was a huge left turn musically. England had something going on, much like New York at the same time with the widespread acceptance of the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads and Blondie. Buzzcocks fit nicely in the mix and like the Sex Pistols represented a completely unique take on pop music, blending punk’s ferocity and style with pop music. Buzzcocks had captured the ferocity of the Sex Pistols but with much more control. They played pop music but Howard Devoto (original vocalist aka Howard Trafford) with Pete Shelley played nihilist on Buzzcocks first release, the brilliant Spiral Scratch EP.  The tracks on this “debut” are classics. As you will note below, three of the four tracks from that intial EP are in my 15 favorite Buzzcock tracks of all time.

What was punk? Buzzcocks might share responsibility for spreading the movement and were definitely associated with the punk movement, but Howard Devoto , Buzzocks first lead voclaist recognized the limitations of the “punk” or “new wave” label and did the most punk thing imaginable – he quit the band.  In February 1977, three weeks after the release of Spiral Scratch, Howard left the band because “I don’t like most of this new wave music. I don’t like music. I don’t like movements. Despite all that, things still have to be said. But I am not confident of Buzzcocks’ intention to get out of the dry land of new waveness to a place from which these things could be said. What was once unhealthily fresh is now a clean old hat.”

What the F$^*? Don’t worry about Howard, he went back to school for a year, got bored, and then started his own successful musical venture – Magazine another band that will likely end up on this podcast.

I followed Buzzcocks story as it unfolded. I was getting the NME (New Musical Express back then) and each week tried to find a line or two about Buzzcocks. Were they going to end? Surprisingly, Pete Shelley then the Buzzcocks (nee McNeish – changed his last name to Shelley because that was the name his parents were going to give him if he was a girl. Come to think of it, this may explain my subconscious attraction to the name Shelley!!!! I married one.) decided after Howard left, to become the singer and continue the band. Steve Diggle who had been hired to play bass moved to rhythm guitar. 16 year old John Maher played drums and for a short period they picked up the allegedly unreliable Garth Davies ( nee Garth Smith) to play bass. He was fired after Buzzcocks supported the Clash on the “White Riot Tour” (along with The Jam, Slits, and Subway Sect) and shortly thereafter they found Steve Garvey to play bass and the rest is as they say, history. It is this classic lineup that for me represent Buzzcocks best version of themselves.

At that time, a number of people in Canada couldn’t get past the name. What was a “Buzzcock”? Given that punk bands at the time were pathological in their devotion to lying to the press about almost everything it seems it was easier to print the myth and this is the myth: Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley after reading the headline “it’s the buzz, cocks!” in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine decided to squeeze the words together. “Buzz” means excitement and “cock” was a Mancunian slang for youth or  youngster. Therefore a Buzzcock was an excited youth!  I had no care that the name sounded offensive although I never shared the name of the band with my mom who would tell me to turn that racket down. Also, she never asked what I was playing,  ever.

Buzzcocks had the goods from the beginning. In a relatively short period of time they released the first truly independent record in the UK (the Spiral Scratch EP) pressing 1000 copies financed by Peter’s dad on January 29, 1977; on the day Elvis Presley died, August 16, 1977 they were signed to United Artists; and on October 8, 1977 released their first single “Orgasm Addict.”

Buzzcocks were the quintessential singles band at a time when the 7’’ single ruled. Pete Shelley is about 3 years older than me, and I was in awe. The bands initial run was short lived – Pete decided to go solo in 1981. As John Maher recalled in Record Collector: Pete went down to Martin Rushent’s studio (Genetic), ostensibly to write and work out new songs for the [new] album – and that was the last we saw of him. Then, two weeks later, we each got a solicitor’s letter through the post saying that he wished to sever all commitments with the Buzzcocks.

What the F$%&^? Don’t worry Buzzcocks reformed in 1989. Maher played the reunion shows and left. Apparently, he was able to move on but I think he was still hurt by Pete’s abrupt decision to end the band in 1981 and so, after playing the first scheduled reunion shows,  he did a Devoto and preemptive strike to prevent the same thing happening again, and left. Buzzcocks carried on but in my mind they were not quite the same. Garvey played with them until 1982 but also left for health reasons.

This list only covers the period of the original band 1976-1981. The reformation Buzzcocks have put out a few top notch tracks and if I evaluated Buzzcocks entire recorded work, perhaps a couple of them would creep into this list. For example, I never tire of hearing “Sick City Kids” or “Isolation” both from the reformation period. However, as noted below, the decision as to what to include in this episode from this original period was very difficult. For a band that only put out three LPs in this period and fourteen 7-inches most of them with non-LP tracks, the choice as to what songs to include is complicated.

I was only able to see Buzzcocks once – at KROQ’s Inland Invasion 2002. Held on September 14, 2002 at Glen Helen Pavilion the Sex Pistols headlined but I was there for Buzzcocks. Having never seen them live, I was enthralled when they came out to play. It was like they had never left and I knew the words to every song they played.  Really. It was a thirty minute sing-a-long and the highlight of a pretty memorable day! Here was that day’s lineup:

Main Stage: Sex Pistols, The Offspring, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, blink-182, Pennywise, Buzzcocks, New Found Glory, X, The Damned, Unwritten Law

Side Stage: The Vandals, Charged GBH, Circle Jerks, T.S.O.L., The Adolescents, The Distillers

Also memorable from that day was my wife, Shelley, accidentally starting a skinhead riot during the T.S.O.L set in the morning as the heat rose to 100 degrees in a venue with no shade. As I returned from the restroom, I was able to rescue her from where she was trapped against the fence (the only shade area) as a group of approximately 50 O.C. skins annihilated some drunk victim who had offended one of their girlfriends who was sitting beside Shelley.

So, Buzzcocks never made a huge splash in the U.S. and certainly qualify for a reexamination. Their influence on punk rock is, frankly, immeasurable. Without Buzzcocks I believe there might not be pop-punk as a genre and most of the bands that played the stage that day, including the Sex Pistols are indebted to Buzzcocks.

I could easily just play the entirety of Singles Going Steady in track order (a compilation of Buzzcocks first 8 singles put together for U.S. release in advance of Buzzcocks’ first U.S. tour) for this episode of Tales From The Dropbox. However, I challenged myself to actually think about how these songs would rank in my own order of personal preference i.e. how they connected with me as a teenager. Now 40 years down the road, these tracks still resonate albeit in a much different way and on a much different level. Hopefully, for those of you who remember and loved Buzzcocks this awakens the energy and spirit of that magical time. For those of you who have never heard of Buzzcocks, and think the name sounds obscene, here is your introduction to go and find out about one of the most influential punk bands ever and the reason why the question as to have you ever fallen in love (with someone you shouldn’t have) is relevant.

Finally, I have tried to spice up this list by giving you a couple of live versions, demos, or alternate takes to keep it interesting for those who, like me, consider themselves fans. Unfortunately, Buzzcocks are amongst the most reissued, repackaged, officially bootlegged band around, so the references below are usually to the original official release and then the release from where I dug out the particular track I’m playing! Whew…

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #69: (N.B. I put these in order from my favorite to my most favorite!) :

15.“Boredom (Demo)” – Original version is on the Spiral Scratch EP, “Boredom” is Side 2, Track 1 released January 27, 1977. Howard Devoto is the vocalist and this track expresses Howard’s view of rock music as a whole. Released on New Hormones with an original pressing of 1000 copies, Spiral Scratch is the first truly independent release in the UK. Original pressings are identified by the molded plastic labels and the cover does not mention “with Howard Devoto” which appears on the August 17, 1979 repress. This demo version is from the, now official, bootleg of demos, Times Up, which originally appeared mysteriously in 1978, and was reissued several times over the years. The most recent reissue is by Domino Records who released it again on March 10, 2017. There is also a box set limited to 300 copies that includes the Spiral Scratch EP. Of note, these tracks are more than 40 years old! The Times Up album is basically a “live” recording of Buzzcocks set at that time and recorded on October 18, 1976.

14.“Breakdown (Demo)” – This track, also originally appeared on the Spiral Scratch EP as Side 1 Track 1. The EP sold for £1 a copy. Howard Devoto again is the lead vocal on this track. Within days of the initial release, Howard Devoto quit the band.  The Spiral Scratch EP quickly sold out its initial 1000 pressing, went on to sell 16,000 copies over the next six months. This version is again from the Times Up LP. I’ve included the demos of these two songs because the originals are readily available and familiar. I like the rawness of these two tracks. Another note about the Spiral Scratch EP – it was the fifth official “punk rock” record released (preceded by The Damned’s “New Rose”, the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.” singles and two “first” singles by The Vibrators in November 1976 (“We Vibrate” / “Whips And Furs” (RAK, RAK 245, November 1976) and “Pogo Dancing” / “The Pose” (RAK, RAK 246, November 1976).

13.“Fiction Romance” – Not a single. Appears on Buzzcocks debut LP Another Music In A Different Kitchen released March 10, 1978. It is on Side 2, Track 2. I only really care about vinyl. That’s how I heard this first and perhaps it was the thrill of hearing these sounds emanating from the black spinning disc that gave them their unique impact. This is a live favorite and appears on a number of the live recordings/bootlegs. Buzzcocks catalogue was remastered in 1996, and for the most part the versions are “brighter” but not necessarily better. This is from the original LP version.

12.“I Believe” – Not a single. The longest track in Buzzcocks’ catalogue running 7:08. Originally released on Buzzcocks third LP, A Different Kind of Tension released in the UK in September 1979 and the other territories Canada and the U.S. in 1980. Track is a laundry list of “beliefs” held by allegedly Shelley as a “representative” person, but perhaps the most harsh analysis of why the times are contentious is Shelley’s repetition of the line “there is no love in this world anymore.” Perhaps that is true. Given all of the other takes on “love” present on this LP, “I Believe” is a direct statement that “beliefs” without love are rather meaningless. As the album’s liner notes indicate, the B-side of the LP is subtitled “The Thorn Beneath The Rose.” “I Believe” affirms that sentiment.

Buzzcocks - Geary Street

11.“Something’s Gone Wrong Again” – 8th single from Buzzcocks. This was the B-side of the “Harmony In My Head” single released on July 13, 1979 . The song was not released on an LP and therefore first appeared on the Singles Going Steady compilation released in UK on September 25, 1979. This might be the most negative song in Buzzcocks catalog, except for perhaps, “Boredom.”

10.“Autonomy (Live”) – Another track from the debut LP, Another Music In A Different Kitchen, on Side B, Track 3. This version of “Autonomy” is from Access All Areas Live which was released by Demon Records in 1990 as a limited edition (500 copies) picture disc. This show was filmed at Nottingham’s ITV Studios in 1989 – almost a decade after they broke up, but with the original lineup. Oh…and when I was young, I thought the lyric to this song was “I want you … on top of me.”

9.“Sixteen” – The last track, Track 6 on Side A of Another Music In A Different Kitchen, this also was not released as a single. Also rarely played live, as you will see, it is a perfect introduction to the next track in this list, that appeared on Buzzcocks next album – Love Bites – where Shelley figures out that youth is precious. In this track Shelley is looking back just 4 years (he is 20 at the time):

An’ I wish, I was sixteen again
Then things would be such fun
All the things I’d do would be the same
But they’re much more fun

8.“Sixteen Again” – From Buzzcocks 2nd LP, Love Bites released on September 22, 1978 just 6 months after the debut LP. This is also the last track, Track 6 on Side A matching the position of “Sixteen.” I’m not sure if this was a conscious decision but thematically the songs are linked. In this second and later take on the relationship with youth a more mature (6 months older!) view emerges:

Things in life are not played for keeps
If it makes you happy it’ll make you weep
And if you want some more practical advice
If you can’t think once then don’t think twice
‘Cause things won’t seem so nice
You’ll wish you were sixteen again

7.“Time’s Up” – ‘Time’s Up’ was recorded at Revolution Studios, Bramhall Lane Stockport on the 18th of October 1976. The session, recording Buzzcocks’ live set at the time, cost £45 and was engineered by Andy MacPherson. This version is from the Times Up LP. A different take of this track was released on the Spiral Scratch EP on Side A, Track 2. Again, Howard Devoto is the lead vocal.

6.“Orgasm Addict” – Buzzcocks 1St single on United Artists was released November 4, 1977. “Whatever Happened To…?” is the B-side. The French version of the single contains different takes of the same two tracks. This was the only single featuring bassist Garth Smith, who joined in early 1977 to replace Steve Diggle, who switched to guitar. Shortly after its release, he was fired for being “unreliable.”

5.“What Do I Get? (Live)” – 2nd single from Buzzcocks released January 20, 1978. B-Side is also a classic, “Oh, Shit”. This was the first Buzzcocks single to make the chart as Orgasm Addict failed to chart largely because radio wouldn’t touch that first single and even the pressing plant refused to press the single. What Do I Get? Reached No. 37 and spent 3 weeks on the chart. This version is from Beating Hearts (Live At The Apollo) recorded live at the Apollo Theater, Manchester 27/10/78.

4.“Promises” – 6th single released November 17, 1978. My mom, who was born on November 17th used to yell at me to turn down the bloody noise, but I think she actually liked this song. It was just poppy enough…but still bloody noise. B-side was “Lipstick” which was close to ending up on this list, but the choice to leave it off had to be made. The single spent 10 weeks in the UK charts peaking at 20.

3.“Harmony In My Head” – 8th single released on July 13, 1979. B-side is “Something’s Gone Wrong Again. Reached No. 32 in the UK music charts, the track is both written and sung by Steve Diggle. Apparently, this is Henry Rollin’s favorite Buzzcocks. Diggle claims he smoked 20 cigarettes before recording in order to get the gruff vocals.

2.“Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” – The 5th Buzzcocks single written in November 1977. Buzzcocks were watching the musical Guys and Dolls in the lounge of a guesthouse in Edinburgh, Scotland. Shelley wrote the lyrics to the song being inspired from the dialogue in the play “Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have.” Apparently he wrote the lyrics in a van outside the post office the next day. B-side is “Just Lust.” Released on September 8, 1978, the track also appears on Buzzcocks second LP, Love Bites. This single had the highest chart position ever for Buzzcocks reaching No. 12 and spending 11 weeks in the chart. Pretty good performance on the Top of The Pops Appearance from 1978. (All Top of The Pop performances were lip synced – all of them.)

1.“Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” – 7th Buzzcocks single was released on March 2, 1979. The B-side was “Why Can’t I Touch It. This track is not released on an LP and for some reason was also rarely played live and rarely found on the myriad of live recordings available. However, there is a good video of their performance on Top of The Pops from 1979. Not sure why I like this song so much but it is my favorite Buzzcocks track. Perhaps it’s the catchy lyric – “life’s an illusion, love is a dream.”

I was so tired of being upset always wanting something I never could get, life’s an illusion, love is a dream, but I don’t know what it is . . . You spurn my natural emotions you make me feel I’m dirt and I’m hurt and if I start a commotion I run the risk of losing you and that’s worse…

KFR

Just For Fun Concerts EP 2017-14 (Episode 68)

So, here you have another exciting episode of Tales From The Drop Box and it is special because in Episode 68 you’ll learn about how Mr. Belding feels when he is not invited to Nate’s bachelor party. Don’t be alarmed it is all in fun as we are all very happy for Nate! As with all episodes of Tales From the Drop Box, this episode is filled with great tunes by a bunch of artists that, for the most part, are not really well known outside of their own hometowns, all of which are likely genuinely loved by their friends and families (that statement would also include Cancerslug from last week’s episode). So, while Nate is partying in an undisclosed location because he feared I might actually attend (although he did let the state -Arizona – slip) I will still bring you joy! Nate, if you are reading or listening to this episode, I wish you joy as well because you and I both know that you have to return to work…. and I will still be here. The joy you feel from your bachelor party should last at least as long as the others in our office (who also, by the way, were not invited by your best man to this shindig i.e. right of passage), including me, are finished working you over! Words cannot describe how proud we are of you as you step forward shortly into a partnership where it is clear you will not be the boss. 😉

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #68:

  1. Lucy Spraggan – “All That I’ve Loved (For Barbara)” ( I Hope That You Don’t Mind Me Writing)
  2. Ten Fe – “Another Way” (Hit The Light)
  3. Ron Gallo – “Put The Kids To Bed” (Heavy Meta)
  4. Pink Turns To Blue – “NYC Breakdown” (The AERDT – Untold Stories)
  5. Old 97’s  “Jesus Loves You” (Graveyard Whistling)
  6. Knola – “Fabric” (To The Rhythm)
  7. Barbarisms – “Eternal Recur” (Browser)
  8. Wire – “Diamonds in Cups” (Silver/Lead)
  9. Free Cake For Every Creature – “Another Girl, Another Planet (The Only Ones)(2 Love Songs)
  10. Guided By Voices – “Absent The Man” (August By Cake)
  11. Dominic – “Circular Sign” (Goodnight, Doggies)
  12. The Narcotic Daffodils – “Bruxelles” (Summer Love)
  13. Iguana Death Cult – “The Dreamer” (The First Stirrings of Hideous Insect Death)
  14. Devo – “ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo)
  15. Allison Crutchfield – “I Don’t Wanna Leave California” (Tourist In This Town)

Jesus loves you more than I do just because He doesn’t know you not like I do . . . put the kids to bed I need you to lie beside me remind me that I’m dead
KFR

P.S. for Nate: Really – have a terrific time this weekend! I completely understand the importance of this last traditional bonding experience, and while I’m sure it will be fun, your marriage to Michelle is going to be a blast! We (Angel, Patrick, and I) will go easy on you when you get back into town. Our wives all told us we had to!

Just For Fun Concerts EP 2017-13 (Episode 67)

Well another week and another awesome (early positive spin!) episode of Tales From The Drop Box! Episode 67 starts violently – with some off color language, so be forewarned if sensitive listeners are around. As for my thoughts on healthcare, (I am awaiting the house vote which looks like it may not happen again today), I believe that affordable access to healthcare is a right guaranteed to all of us. This rational emanates from the social contract i.e. access to healthcare is part of the bargain that we make when we agree to engage in societal behavior i.e. one nation . . indivisible…with liberty and justice for all. Failure to provide access to healthcare interferes with our liberty interest. No matter where you are from, a civilized society makes healthcare affordable for all of its people. This includes, obviously, your musical healthcare. You can access the most advanced treatment for free by just pressing play!

N.B. Again, here is the sensitive listener warning. Several of the tracks in this episode utilize either the F-word, the C-Word or both at the same time and may also contain a couple of other words that also have letters in them that some people still consider offensive, such as politics, etc. So, if you are around people who might be sensitive (because if you are listening to this podcast you are probably not that sensitive), be kind, and turn up the volume so they too can share in the enjoyment! The * indicates those tracks, eh? For example, you probably guessed that the Cancerslug track might be one of these “sensitive listener” tracks.

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #67:

  1. Mobina Galore – “Suffer” (Feeling Disconnected)*
  2. Trunkweed – “Rather Be” (You Are A Nice Surprise)
  3. Danko Jones – “Going Out Tonight” (Wild Cat)
  4. Idles – “Rachel Khoo” (Brutalism)
  5. The Peacocks – “Around and Around” (Flamingo)
  6. Hideout – “Sun Gazer” (So Many Hoops, So little Time)
  7. Amyl and the Sniffers – “I’m Not A Loser” (Big Attraction)*
  8. Dams of the West – “Polo Grounds” (Youngish American)
  9. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “Colours Run” (The French Press EP)
  10. Mystery Weekend – “The Obscenity Prayer” (Surprise!)*
  11. Mr. Elevator & The Brain Hotel – “Let Me Be” (When The Morning Greets You)
  12. Hollow Coves – “Coastline” (Wanderlust)
  13. Cancerslug – “Die on the Battlefield” (Fuck This Bullshit: This is Cancerslug)*
  14. The Alley Cats – “Nothing Means Nothing Anymore” (Urgh! A Music War)
  15. Coathangers – “Captain’s Dead” (Parasite)*

I’m on the outside watching in silence and in anger, I will, I know, I’ll suffer through this . . . I know we had a good time, I know what’s good, right? and I’ll see you on the other side

KFR

Just For Fun Concerts EP 2017-12 (Episode 66)

Happy day after Saint Patrick’s Day! A little sumthin sumthin new from Tales From The Drop Box! Episode 66 is a pop flavored adventure of a bunch of bands I am really digging the tuneage from this week. As this episode might be wiretapped by the Obama administration, please listen in a sealed soundproof room. Nothing serious in this bunch of tunes – just a pretty bouncy romp with catchy tunes, and of course your own Mr. Belding serving up slabs of information of little relevance except to vinyl collectors and music nerds. However, that shouldn’t detract from the feel good nature of most of these tracks. So, stay green all year round.

Oh.. and here is my final 4 – Villanova, Kansas, UCLA, and Arizona.

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #66:

  1. Bleached – “Can You Deal?” (Can You Deal? EP)
  2. Hornal – “Running Away (with Sophie Ellis-Baxter) (The Game Begins With The Lights Out)
  3. The Matinee – “Figure It Out” (Dancing On Your Grave)
  4. Moon Tapes – “Surf Song” (Dos)
  5. Poni Hoax – “Lights Out” (Tropical Suite)
  6. Bay Faction – “Capture Cows” (Bay Faction)
  7. Minus The Bear – “Last Kiss” (Voids)
  8. Gemini Club – Stolen Time” (End Of Your Life)
  9. Funeral Suits – “Temple” (Islands Apart)
  10. Natewantstobattle – “Live Long Enough To Become The Hero” (Sandcastle Kingdoms)
  11. Rackets – “Swan Song” (Walking The Skeleton)
  12. Communions – “Midnight Child” (Blue)
  13. Summer Moon – “Class A” (With You Tonight)
  14. Au Pairs – “Sex Without Stress” (Au Pairs – Shocks To The System)
  15. Cayetana – “Mesa” (Camp Cope & Cayetana – Split [7”])

Pretty little child, tell me your tale how you got the courage to rebel yell …I’m really feeling cheated oh baby go hard on me I am the only one, they’re sellin’ it all for free

KFR

Just For Fun Concerts EP 2017-11 (Episode 65)

Back in the groove after last week’s special episode highlighting the Jam. I had some good feedback, so there is another “special” episode in the works to be released next month. However, to keep the ball rolling, and because it is always a good time for a mostly punk rock episode, Tales From The Drop Box Episode 65 offers a slice of new and somewhat new dynamic punk rock that should give you a good feel for the current state of the punk-garage rawk nation. As nationwide political dissent ramps up for a 4 year fight, I should be able to bring you some other interesting goodies later this year. Hopefully the sun is shining wherever you decide to listen to this episode and there is good weather ahead …

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #65:

  1. Dog Party – “Round ‘n Round” (‘til you’re mine)
  2. Dr. Chan – SANnnnK$$$” ($outh$ide $uicide)
  3. Audacity – “Counting The Days” (Hypervessels)
  4. Black Doldrums – “Sidewinder” (People’s Temple)
  5. Barbazons – “I’m in Luv” (Barbazonia)
  6. Jim & The French Vanilla – “When You’re Down” (Afraid of the House)
  7. Deadends – “Directions” (The Essence of Every Second)
  8. F.O.D. – “American” (Harvest)
  9. Career Suicide – “Cut and Run” (Machine Response)
  10. Grit – “Rundown Town” (GRIT Ghost Estates 7’’)
  11. Dude York – “Something In The Way” (Sincerely)
  12. Uniform – “The Killing of America” (Wake in Fright)
  13. J.D. Buhl – “Do Ya Blame Me” (Little Victories 1978-1985)
  14. Buzzcocks – “Breakdown” (Small Songs With Big Hearts – Live At The Rainbow)
  15. Ratboys – “Bugs” (AOID)

Under the weather looking for shelter inside the eye of the storm… I can stand austerity but it gets a little much when there’s all these livid things that you never get to touch

KFR

Just For Fun Concerts EP 2017-10 (Episode 64)

Tales From The Drop Box Episode 64 represents a first for this podcast. Instead of the usual mix of artists you’ve likely never heard of before, this special episode covers an artist that you might recognize if you are old enough, have cool friends, or an interest in the early days of punk rock (whatever that means to you). Part of the rationale for this episode is to address questions that some of my friends pose when they hear me play a track and ask who the #$^! is this? When did this come out? Why have I never heard of them?

For me, this episode, the first of hopefully a series of “occasional” special podcasts, is a chance to revisit one of a select group of bands and their music that not only changed my life in one way or another but formed a critical part of a musical education that had to be experienced live as well as on record. This episode is not intended to be a nerdy dissection of the band that is featured (although I am somewhat nerdy) but rather an introduction for some listeners and a reflection of the genius for other listeners of bands that influenced music and culture of their era and whose influence on music is felt today. So, with that in mind, Episode 64 represents my effort to pay homage to one of my favorite bands of all time – The Jam.

I was only able to see The Jam live twice – April 24, 1979 at the Commodore Ballroom and June 5, 1982 at the Kerrisdale Arena. Both venues are in Vancouver B.C. Even today, after more than 35 years, I can still vividly recall both shows. These two shows coincidentally highlighted the Jam’s live prowess at two different points in their career: on the rocket ride to the top of the UK charts in 1979 and a band breaking apart in 1982.

The 6 studio albums and 18 singles the Jam released during their existence from 1977-1982, were, I believe, one album short of what would have been a perfect career. The last offering, the under rated and under-appreciated The Gift, hinted at a more soulful direction of the band than prior records and if one more album was released under The Jam name I believe it would have been the perfect blend of punk aggression and soul. It certainly would not be the Style Council. But I’m digressing…

The Jam had a tremendous impact on me during my college years as I, like Paul Weller, had left a small town – For me, the journey was from the far reaches of northern Canada to the big city of Vancouver. The songs spoke directly and were unlike anything on the radio.

The Jam were also very much an anomaly in the punk scene of the time as they embraced the past – incorporating obvious Who, The Kinks, Small Faces and the Beatles influences and then spicing up with some Motown hooks. All of this “past” was then blended with punk energy and direction. It was not just “fire and skill” but also “direction, reaction, and creation” that gave The Jam their sound and for me a special place in rock history.

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #64: (N.B. I put these in order from my favorite to my most favorite!) :

  • 15. “It’s Too Bad (demo)” – On The Jam’s third album, All Mod Cons originally, this version is from Disc 5 of the Direction, Reaction, Creation Box Set.
  • 14. “Funeral Pyre (Live)” – The Jam’s 13th single release May 29, 1981, this version is from the Hammersmith Palais show on December 14, 1981. Not released on an LP. All of the live shows that are mentioned below are contained on an amazing live box set entitled: Fire And Skill: The Jam Live [6 CD].
  • 13. “The Modern World – The Jam’s 3rd single released October 28, 1977. This version appears on This is The Modern World which is The Jam’s 2nd album.
  • 12. “Eton Rifles” – The Jam’s 9th single released October 29, 1979. This version appears on Setting Sons, the Jam’s 4th album.
  • 11. “Ghosts (Live)” – Originally appeared on The Jam’s 6th and final studio album The Gift. This version is from the Wembley Stadium show on December 2, 1982.
  • 10. “Strange Town” – The Jam’s 7th single released March 9, 1979. This is the single version. Not released on an LP.
  • 9. “Slow Down (Live)” – Cover of the Larry William’s 1958 classic, the original version appears The Jam’s 1st album, In The City. This version is from the Music Machine show March 2, 1978.
  • 8. “English Rose” – Appears on The Jam’s 3rd album All Mod Cons although neither the song title or the lyrics are printed on original issues of the LP due to Weller’s feeling that the song’s lyrics didn’t mean much without the music behind them.
  • 7. “A Bomb In Wardour Street” – Released as the B-side to The Jam’s 5th single (A-Side was the cover of the Kink’s “David Watts”) released on August 18, 1978 and is found on side two of All Mod Cons.
  • 6. “Man In The Corner Shop” – Appears on the Jam’s 5th LP, Sound Affects released on November 28, 1980.
  • 5. “That’s Entertainment/Tales From The Riverbank (Live) – The Jam’s 12th single “That’s Entertainment was not released in the UK but charted as an import single from Germany (Metronome Label) released on February 7, 1981. The track appears on Sound Affects. “Tales From The Riverbank is the B-Side of The Jam’s 16th single. Although intended as the Aside, a pressing plant mistake made “Absolute Beginners” (not the David Bowie song) the A-Side. The single was released on October 16, 1981. The song was not released on an LP. This version is from the Hammersmith Palais show December 14, 1981.
  • 4. “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight” – This is the single edit released as The Jam’s 6th single on October 13, 1978. Appears on All Mod Cons.
  • 3. “Boy About Town” – There are two very different versions of this song. This version is the original which I prefer. This version is on the Sound Affects LP. Although the Peter Wilson fan club remix found on the Extras compilation is pretty cool “jazzing” the song up with horns I guess my sense memory always takes me back to the original.
  • 2. “Butterfly Collector” – This was the B-Side to the Jam’s 7th single “Strange Town” released on March 9, 1979. This version was only released on the Canadian Polydor version of Setting Suns. This song was released in the U.S. in May 1979, as Polydor #14553. It did not even come close to charting although it was on brilliant gold vinyl in clear plastic sleeves.
  • 1. “Going Underground” – This was The Jam’s 9th single and first UK #1 record released on March 22, 1980. The song was not released on an LP. It is my favorite Jam song.

And the public gets what the public wants but I want nothing this society’s got I’m going underground . . . You use your senses to suss out this week’s climber and the small fame that you’ve acquired has brought you into cult status but to me you’re still a collector
KFR

Just For Fun Concerts EP 2017-09 (Episode 63)

Haven’t done one of these types of episodes in a while. Tales From The Drop Box Episode 63  is …. an all-female vocal episode (the third such effort overall) highlighting some outstanding contributions to the musical world in several genres that you might have missed or might miss. Like everything else played here there is apparently little space on radio to play great music. Most of these tracks are fairly new but there are a couple from last year that I’ve been saving. A good mix on this show…it is all good…as usual.

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #63:

  1. Bombpops – “Marry.Fuck.Kill.” (Fear of Missing Out)
  2. Crystal Fairy – “Crystal Fairy” (Crystal Fairy)
  3. Pollen Rx – “Packaging” (Sunbelt Emptiness)
  4. Chastity Belt – “Evil” (No Regerts)
  5. The Courtneys – “Virgo” (The Courtneys II)
  6. Vow – “Glow” (Kind Eyes)
  7. Nectar – “Change Your Mind” (4 Songs)
  8. Las Kellies – “Sugar Beat” (Friends & Lovers)
  9. The Wind and the Wave – “Grand Canyon” (Happiness Is Not A Place (Acoustic) EP)
  10. Stove – “Blank” (Is The Meat That Fell Out)
  11. Orange – “Dose Of Heaven” (The Complete Recordings)
  12. Empty Houses – “Better of Me” (Daydream)
  13. Black Beach – “Nervous All The Time” (Shallow Creatures)
  14. Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Helter Skelter” (The Scream)
  15. Pie Face Girls  “Fuck You, I’m Pretty” (Formative Years)

I’m in demand, I got a little bit of time on my hands If you wanna work something into your plans it might work out for me . . . When you look in my eyes what do you see? a darkness has consumed my soul and I’ve become . . .
KFR