Monday, July 27, 2009

DEKALB ROCKS! Reunion Dekalb Sun Aug. 23

On Sunday, August 23, DEKALB ROCKS! Productions reunites The Service, happy hunting, Otis Ball & The Chains, Ring 13, Subverts and blackcandlelove and brings them back home. Otto's Nightclub (118 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, IL 60115), Dekalb's premier live music venue, will be hosting a night of Dekalb music and memories, featuring live performances and vintage videos beginning at 5 PM. Admission is $10, 21 and over.


happy hunting

happy hunting mp3 downloads available at their website.



More Ring 13 music at their My Space page.


Subverts Independent Study EP available for download on this page.

Also appearing on the show will be blackcandlelove and Dan Chambers of Smile.

DEKALB ROCKS! Reunion Chicago Sat Aug. 22

On Saturday, August 22, DEKALB ROCKS! Productions reunites Blatant Dissent, happy hunting, Otis Ball & The Chains, Ring 13 and Subverts. The Abbey Pub (3420 W Grace, Chicago, IL 60618), Chicago's premier live music venue, will be hosting a night of Dekalb music and memories, featuring live performances and vintage videos beginning at 6 PM. Admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the door, 21 and over.


Download the Hold the Fat album. Link available on this page.

happy hunting

happy hunting mp3 downloads available at their website.



More Ring 13 music at their My Space page.


Subverts Independent Study EP available for download on this page.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ohio Loves Jenny Mae

Well, I am both pleased and embarrassed to say that my Summer Babes post has shattered all records hyah at the Otis Ball MP3 Club, thanks to Bela spreading the word.

In appreciation, here is a zip file of Jenny's Brownie's show from March 19, 1996, featuring a live version of the disco song, which I believe is called Disco Song, but that may have been a working title. If anyone can help me fill in titles from this show and/or musicians in the band, please post them in the comments.

NOW! Please return the favor. Not to me, to Jenny. There is no better way to tell a musician you love her and you want her back than by voting with your dollars. If you don't already own them, go download Jenny's albums. There's A Bar Around The Corner and Don't Wait Up For Me. Bela assures me there is a finished album in the can. Wanna hear it? Go show some love and maybe you'll get it.

Oh yeah. Also thanks to that knucklehead Chris DuVal at Columbus Live for the couple hits from his repost.

IMSA On the Brain

Illinois Math and Science Academy is a residential high school in Aurora, IL.. The best and the brightest from across the state have been attending since the school's opening in 1986. A friend of mine was hired that first year as a residential counselor and entertainment director. Which is how I ended up playing more shows at IMSA than any other venue in IL. By a long shot.

That first class of students brought in were sophomores and I played shows until I left for NJ in late '88. I even came back for one more show on the infamous Ballroom Blitz tour in April of '89, just before the charter class graduated. I made a number of friends that I still have to this day, including, but not limited to, my ol' pally and webmeister, Derek.

In honor of the big 20th IMSA charter class reunion this weekend, here are a buncha clips from some of the IMSA shows. Have a great party, everybody!

This clip is from the very first IMSA show and features not a Metallica song from the request bucket and a special IMSA jam.

The following clips feature Kissyfish and OB&C from the Blitz tour.

Here's a video produced and directed by one of the IMSA students, Dave Franklin. Filmed in NYC's Central Park. And probly featuring Friday Night Lights' Connie Britton.

And my favorite, the promotional video for Charles Manson's Birthday, filmed in an IMSA dorm and featuring the IMSA Boogie Krew.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Babes or This One's For the Ladies

It seems like the last few summers, the songs I wanna spend the season with are all by ladies. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but there's something about summer that seems to get me going on a fox hunt. Actually, that's not even right. The songs I end up playing endlessly all seem to find me. A few years ago, I fell head over heels for Amy Winehouse's 'Back To Black' album. And I went looking for more. Well, come the summer, I found the Al Usher remix of Tears Dry On Their Own. Damn. Why did she have to go all crazy?

And last year I Otis-come-latlied my way into the Alex G remix of Paris Hilton's 'Screwed.' Hot.

Well, I've been digging through the boxes of old cassettes and digitizing all kindsa audio goodness. I recently came across a tape I put together years ago. When Pier Platters went under, (Yeah, I ain't forgot. We'll get back to that story. In due time. Don't rush me.) I figured I'd get an A&R job at one of the labels. Seemed a reasonable transition. A number of the A&R folks shopped at Pier and many would call us up and have us put packages of the hot unsigned bands together for them. I'd been doing it for free for years. So I put together a reel with a few of the bands I knew that had the goods.

Unfortunately, my timing was a little off. (Indie rock had worn out its welcome by that point.) But maybe not so unfortunately. Looking around these days, I'd say the major labels have worn out their welcome. But I digress.

Listening to that tape again, I found my '09 summer jams. First up, Jenny Mae. Straight outta Columbus, OH. She was hanging round with the likes of Gaunt, New Bomb Turks and The Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. She released a split single with GBV, which is where I first heard her. Somehow, I managed to get hold of a demo tape with some unreleased tunes, which is where I found this disco rocker hiding out. It musta hitched a ride on a time machine from the summer of '79. Check it out.

And I got one more for you. My ol' pal Odes. She started with the band Love Child, an underrated pop/noise trio from NYC. After Love Child, she struck out on her own. Her first release was a delightful single for the Merge label, Meltway, recorded at Hoboken's late, lamented Snacktime Studios, featuring Yo La Tengo's James McNew on bass. She followed that up with the excellent Me and My Big Mouth EP, also on Merge. Odes slipped me a tape of a song from the tail end of Love Child that I don't believe ever saw the light of day. Until now. I am very pleased to present to the world, Erotomania.

Crank em up and have yerself a merry little summer!

Goldman Sachs posted a quarterly profit of $3.44 billion!

Wanna know how they did it?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

COHO! or That Blowed Up Real Good

It's 1979, OK? Disco cross the USA. Don't misunderestimate me. I was a chubby lil disco fool from the afternoon I saw Saturday Night Fever in '77. A weekend matinee at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL. Tony fuckin' Manero. You bet. I had the soundtrack 8-track on endless loop.

Steve Dahl came to the Chicago radio market in February '78. I still remember the full page ads in the Sunday Trib and Sun Times announcing his arrival. It listed his many "sidekicks" with brief bios. This was right around the time I had discovered the magic of radio. Back when radio actually was magic. And I was hip-no-tized.

Well, after a brief 10 months at WDAI, the previously rock station went disco. All hot mixes, brief mic breaks. That wasn't what Dahl signed up for, so he handed in his resignation. But he was not out of work for long. In March of '79, he landed at The Loop.

Oh, The Loop. I was a high school freshman and The Loop was THE rock and roll station. For all you young uns, back in the day, DJs actually played the songs they wanted to play. Sure, there were program directors and music directors, but the jocks weren't working from playlists. And the star jocks were free to fly. (Shout out to Sky Daniels!)

Well, Dahl had the morning shift. 6 - 10 AM, I believe. And I would say his show was 70% talking to his listeners, minus commercials, doing monologues about what was on his mind, "bits" with his characters (which were all Dahl), and taking calls. The Dahlmeister was almost exactly 10 years my senior, but he understood the 15 year old mind. Probly better than he understood his contemporaries. (And I am sure that still holds true today.) He very quickly added The Loop's overnight jock, Garry Meier, as his sidekick. And they were off and running. Dahl was still angry at his former bosses at WDAI. And he wasn't afraid to speak his mind on the air. He never missed an opportunity to lambast the music that forced his resignation. Steve and Gar had a daily bit where they would play a disco record for a little bit, "critique" it, then SCRATCH the needle across the vinyl and blow it up with the appropriate sound effects.

So let's cut to the chase. Early on in their Loop stint, they were always looking for ways to promote the show. Chicago was a competitive radio market. As well as a competitive sports market. The White Sox were in a slump. Long/short, Mike Veeck, the son of Sox owner Bill Veeck and also the head of Sox promotions, called up The Loop and asked if Dahl would want to host a night at Comiskey Park. Bring a disco record and get in for 98 cents, 98 being The Loop's FM radio home. It was a double header. In between games, Dahl would blow up the disco records. I imagine persuasion was not necessary to arrange this.

And so it came to pass that on July 12, 1979, 30 years ago today, Steve Dahl and the White Sox hosted Disco Demolition night. The Sox were used to about 10% capacity of the 50,000+ stadium. It became very clear, very early, that they would do a little better that evening. As a matter of fact, the attendance was so brisk, that early in the evening, the ticket takers stopped accepting the disco records. Which meant that a number of very rowdy, very drunk and very high rock and roll fans were in the stadium with potentially lethal frisbees. (copyright Whammo)

Honestly, I can't do the rest of the story justice. I will tell you that I was at home, watching the whole evening unfold on Channel 44. I was never a sports fan, nor was my family. I had no real desire to go to Comiskey that night, but I was very excited to monitor the action on TV. And I got far more entertainment than anyone could have expected. It is at this point that I would IMPLORE you to watch the following reel of news coverage of the evening.

I can't imagine any Chicagoans around at the time will ever forget that night. An excellent documentary was released on DVD for the 25th anniversary and I highly recommend the purchase. I have shown it to some of my east coast pals who were not aware of the event and they bought their own copies. There is far too much to this story than I could possibly cover in a blog post.

And so, it is on this 30th anniversary of an event that so many will never forget, I raise a toast in a SAH-LOOT to Mr. Dahl and Mr. Meier. Today we are all COHOS!!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

3 AM

Been going through a lot of old tapes for yer digital enjoyment. Here's sumthin fun I found. A brief clip of an opening act meditating on a mysterious woman that will inevitably lead him to the heartbreak trough.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Freedy Be You and Me

Got a note from my old pal Freedy Johnston yesterday. He's playing Maxwell's Friday July 10th! Well, that's good enough reason to pry my lazy ass outta the cave. And an early show to boot, which clinches the deal.

Freedy and I were labelmates back in the day. Rock and roll brothers. The kind of brothers that have really good stories about each other that you will never get to hear. Unless you buy me a whole lotta top shelf whiskey when you see me out. Which you won't. See me out. But if you have a spare bottle of Johnnie Walker Green, shoot me a note and I'll give you my mailing address.

Freedy and I were both signed by the label-that-shall-not-be-named at the same time. He was from Kansas and I was from Illinois. We played a buncha double bills back in the day. And he occasionally called me in when he was short a second guitarist. Which I loved. Being a full time front man, on the rare occasions I got to be a sideman, it was like a trip to an amusement park. All the fun, none of the pressure. We had some great times.

Fer instance, 1990 at the Rodeo Bar. (Or do you say Rodeo Bar?) It was Freedy, me, my ol' buddy Rich Grula on bass and Will Rigby from The dB's on drums! An all-star band in my book! Freedy popped a string. This was back in the day before Freedy had guitar techs falling all over themselves to work for him. So he was changing his string. (And the smoke from the damn bull head wasn't helping matters at all!) Well, you don't gotta beg me to fill time! Which prompted the following impromptu moment. And Freedy was more than happy to join in the reindeer fun.

And then there was the time I talked Freedy into sitting in at an Otis Ball & The Chains frat party. Yup. The same one from the previous post. Hoo boy! I'm telling ya, I ain't lying. That show was an event. After the show, Freedy told me it was the most fun he ever had performing at that point. Probly my most favorite as well. Here's a taste of dat!

And, hey! It was a frat party!

I don't think I've ever told Freedy this, but his second record, Can You Fly, is one of my all time favorite records. I rank it with Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds. It really captures a very personal time, yet it is built on a universal soul that any feeling person can relate to. Truly a masterpiece. The first verse of the first song tells the story of the album. I hope he doesn't mind me splainin' a little, but he was running well over budget on that record. The label wasn't gonna cough up any more. So he sold the farm he inherited from his grandfather. He used the money to continue recording the album he wanted to make.

"Well I sold the dirt to feed the band
Falling right through my hands
Yes I sold the map up to the sky
Falling down always"

Yeah. I like that record a whole lot.

So Freedy, I'm coming to see ya, buddy! Been too long. Yup. Been too long, rock and roll brother.

Addendum - Great show!