Yes, I've let another long period of time go by without updating things here, and again there's been a lot going on. So here's a quick look at what's happened since, and what's on the horizon...as already a few interesting things are in place for 2005.
INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW
I did my set at the 2004 International Pop Overthrow at The Acme Underground. That was my first gig there since November 2002, and the first time I'd been in there at all since last February when I caught Washington D.C. based power-duo Aledo there one very cold night.
The midday set went okay...but coming just a few hours after the November POP GEAR! where music is so loud that talking to someone requires shouting, my voice was a little rough...high notes were a challenge. But I got through fairly well. But as I expected, it wasn't as enjoyable as last year's IPO. Last year it was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon at The Baggot Inn on hoppin' West 3rd Street, with an open door to its (sort of) ground level premises. Therefore, walk-in potential was high. By contrast, the Acme Underground is in a far less busy area, and, as its name implies, is in the basement. Throw in the fact that this was early Sunday afternoon and you've got all you need for a relatively empty room. But the people there were very nice, and I sold more CDs this year than last year.
But I was lucky I played at all...As I mentioned, I had done POP GEAR the previous night (which went quite well) through early that morning, so I didn't get much sleep. I didn't feel overly tired when I got up, but I obviously wasn't completely awake because while waiting for the train at Mineola, it dawned on me...I didn't have my guitar with me! I freak...Did I leave it in the car? Or did I leave it at home? Should I run to the car to check and get it? No, can't do that coz here comes the train. Should I just get the next train? Can't do that, coz taking THIS train is cutting it close enough as it is. Should I forget the IPO and go back to the car...after all if the guitar is lying in the back seat and I leave it there for a few hours, I'm taking a big risk of possible theft. In the fifteen seconds I had to make my decision, I decided to chance that no one would steal the guitar and I should still go to the IPO and hope I can borrow someone's axe there. So that's what I did.
On the train I called a friend of mine who said she'd try to come to the show to ask if she could please bring her guitar. No answer, so I left a message. Then I called another friend who thankfully answered and even more thankfully was happy to come down with her Stratocaster. And that's what happened, and I got through.
Came back to Mineola later that afternoon...The guitar was in my car, safe and sound (I had earlier deduced it was in the car rather than still at my home) so that was a relief.
THE ANYTHING PEOPLE
Our bassist Dan Levine has left us for greener (or louder) pastures, and though we placed an ad on Craigslist and got several replies, we eneded up going with our friend Mark Khan who played with us last July at the Asbury Park battle. We've practiced a few times with him, refreshing him on the six songs of ours he learned back then, teaching him some others Dave, Doug and I have added since then, and also bringing in some songs new to all of us. We're sounding pretty good, I must say. Our last practice, this past Wednesday, went quite well.
We've got some shows coming up.
JAN. 15 - The Lakeside Lounge, NYC.
FEB. 5 - Desmond's Tavern, NYC. This show will be with our friends, New Jersey's The Subway Surfers.
Led by Eric "Fuzzco" Fusco and "Mopar" Larry, The Subway Surfers have a great Ramones-ish sound. Like The Anything People, they played The Asbury Park Battle, and it was good to have friends there on that first crazy night. Unfortunately, despite playing great that night, they didn't make the final four. And I haven't seen them play since...they always seem to be gigging the same night we are, including January 15th, and usually too far away to rush over and see. So...to solve the problem, we decided to double up for a night.
Plus, we were asked to send a CD of our stuff to a local promoter who announced plans to put together a garage festival to be held in late February. No word back from him yet. Keep looking here for details.
In addition to The Anything People and The Dirty Stayouts, I've found myself in yet another band. This one, however, is a one-shot deal. Last October, well respected rock journalist Greg Shaw passed away. A hero to the garage community as he founded 'Bomp' magazine as well as the BOMP record label which revitalized forgotten 1960s garage bands and showcased newer bands in that style, a tribute show is being held in his memory on January 29th 2005 at the Magnetic Field in Brooklyn. Topping the bill will be one of the bands of Greg's label, Boston's The Coffin Lids.
But...also on the bill will be Shaw 'Nuff, a kinda New York supergroup. The group will be led by guitarist Mike Fornatale.
Mike has played shows with the reformed Moby Grape and the Monks and also with The Cavestomp Redcoats, the band that backed Mark Lindsay for two amazing New York shows in the fall of 2001. Mike's wife Wendy will play keyboards.
On drums will be Kurt Reil of acclaimed New Jersey pop-makers The Grip Weeds. He too was in the Cavestomp Redcoats, as was...
... Shaw 'Nuff bassist Peter Stuart (seen above with Mark Lindsay, and with my arm and watch rather visible as well), best known for 1980s garage faves The Headless Horsemen.
And rounding out the lineup is...yours truly, guitar and vocals.
I don't know what songs we're doing yet (Mike and Peter are presently making that decision) or if they're even songs I've heard before. We'll see. But I'm looking forward to it. I've never played with Peter or Kurt before, but I've admired their playing so it'll be a pleasure and an honor to work with them. Mike Fornatale played bass for my 2003 IPO gig, but that's our only musical project thus far.
Much thanks to my friend Justina who took the above photos of Mike Fornatale, Kurt Reil, Peter Stuart and The Subway Surfers and gave me her kind permission to use them here. To see more photos of the above musicians and of over a hundred other great garage groups, please visit her site at www.whatawaytodie.com.
'Lost In The Groove - Scram's Capricious Guide To The Music You Missed' was published recently by Routeledge Press. This collection of essays by a few dozen writers (including the aforementioned Greg Shaw) includes my praise of 'Blaze' by Herman's Hermits. It's a fun read, and I was thrilled when I saw a review that summed up the book by listing a few artists covered, and Herman's Hermits was one of them.
Also, British rock writer Sean Egan, who has already written great books about The Animals, Jimi Hendrix, and The Creation is finishing up a book about The Rolling Stones' classic 1969 album 'Let It Bleed.' Well, my pal Dawn Eden kindly put me in touch with him, and I've since been assisting Sean, sending him 1969 reviews of the album he sought, and answering various questions about the album's sessions and songs. I may be only a small part of the big picture, but still happy to be assiting on a project concerning my fave album by one of my two fave bands. I don't know when this book will be published but I sensed his deadline was fast approaching.
The new issue of Ugly Things came out a few weeks ago, including some reviews of mine.
I'm not overly in love with my submissions because writers were given word maximums that drastically cut down all the things I wanted to say. But I still managed to make the main points in my reviews of the CDs '1-2-3-4, Beat Beat Beat Volume 4,' 'Let It Be...Naked,' the books 'According To The Rolling Stones' and Bill Wyman's 'Rolling With The Stones,' and the 'Monterey Pop,' 'The Kids Are Alright' and 'The Monkees, Season 1' DVDs.
For the next issue, which will not be far behind as this current issue was so crammed there was a lot that didn't make the mag, leaving almost enough for a ready-made followup, I'll be reviewing the books 'The Beach Boys' by Keith Badman and 'The Beatles Are Coming' by Bruce Spizer, plus the new Beatles box set, 'The Capitol Albums, Volume 1.'
POP GEAR/MOD CHRISTMAS BALL
Finally, on December 11th POP GEAR had its second annual MOD CHRISTMAS BALL. It was a fabulous and very successful night, thanks in large part to Kittybeat, Dawn Eden and myself being joined by DJ Pythagoras - Prophet Of The Street (Augustus Payne of New York Mod combo Headquarters) who kept the packed crowd moving straight on through. We almost had a disaster when the soundboard conked out, but luckly it was back up and running within ten minutes.
We tried a new promotional angle this time...I made up a "radio commerical" for the night and placed it in the Files section of various newsgroups. Don't know how many people were lured in specifically by the spot, but it did get a good number of positive comments.
If Dawn still has it up, the spot can be heard at her website by clicking here. Thanks Dawn for hosting a home for it.
The next POP GEAR will be January 8, 2005. As that date happens to be Elvis Presley's 70th birthday, no doubt we'll allude to that in someway. I believe Richard Rockstar, who was our guest deejay in October, will guest that night as well. Come on by. At RiFiFi, 332 East 11th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenue), NYC.