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Modernist

Mod (or, to use its full name, Modernism) is a lifestyle based around fashion, nightlife and music that developed in London in the late 1950’s. With a strong affinity for Italian scooters, bespoke tailoring, Black R‘n’B, Modern Jazz, Ska, Booglaoo and Club Soul either at live sessions or all night ‘scene’ club-spots, fuelled by ‘uppers’ or ‘speed’ and rare imported music.

Also spawned the ‘Youthquake’ of ‘Swinging London’ a lively crop of young ‘pop-art’ UK bands, and the Freakbeat and Psych scenes from the mid-sixties onwards.

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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Modernist 0 Comment

Rhoda Dakar Speaks to Eyeplug

Rhoda Dakar recently took time out from her growingly hectic schedule to speak to The ‘mighty’ Scenester about her current activity including her all new fab EP, ‘The Lotek Four Vol 1’ which is out now.

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S: So, tell us a little about the new EP.

RD: It started out from an idea about when I first took my son to the studio. Cecil and Terry Callier were recording ‘Dolphins’, Doctor Robert was the producer, up at the Church (The Eurythmics’ studio) and my son was six months old at the time, and he was humming along.

They wanted to have a parents’ evening, a concert where the music teachers and the parents actually performed, so I said why don’t we do ‘Dolphins’? One of the music teachers played piano, we didn’t have a bass player. In our first run through, in the rehearsal studio, I recorded it on my phone. It sounded amazing. You really don’t need all the fuss. If the song’s good, and it’s played well, and the arrangement’s right, you don’t need all the extra stuff. It’s a different art form, putting the extra stuff on. So that was the idea for the EP, to get back to the essence of what a song is, so you have a good song, and record it in a good studio, with the minimum of fuss. It was all recorded it in two sessions, in one day. We were lucky enough to have The Black Barn. We recorded two versions of one song (‘Fill the Emptiness’) just to show that it’s not even about style in which you record it.

The EP was recorded with my live band, and that was the real joy because we already had an understanding. I teach vocals and performance, I‘m used to working with different people. It’s about weighing people up, seeing what they’ve got to offer, and seeing how you can get the best out of them. There are some people you can work with a million times and still never get anywhere with them.

S: What first got you into music?

RD: My Dad. He was a singer; he used to sing around the house. There was always something playing. We had a gramophone, and 78’s; they had a big record collection, my parents. I had wanted to be an actress, and my first job was at the Young Vic, at the theatre wardrobe. My grandmother had been a theatrical costumier, she taught me how to sew, so I got a job in theatre wardrobe, and I was there for a couple of years, and in all that time, there was one mixed race actor came in for one play. I had been in the Youth Theatre and we’d done Shakespeare at the Old Vic, and I went to the Young Vic, which is just across the road, working professionally, and I suddenly realised I’d be playing nurses and prostitutes for the rest of my life. I just had to re-evaluate what I wanted to do. I went into the Civil Service but I was only there for about six months, and in that time, I got in a band, and we got a deal. I’d actually been performing for over ten years by the time I got into a band. It takes a long time to be a good singer, and I wasn’t when I started, I’ve had to work at it.

S: How well did you cope with fame at such an early age?

RD: I had been around bands for a long time. I went to see my first gig when I was thirteen, so I’d seen lots and lots of bands and two of my friends were in the Sex Pistols, and I spent a lot of time with them. So I saw how they coped with it, and I saw how some didn’t cope so well, and how one coped brilliantly because he was very grounded and when he wasn’t doing anything, his Dad used to make him work for him. That keeps you on it. I have to say, that Paul Cook was a massive influence on how I behaved in the music industry. His attitude to people, his level-headedness, and I really loved that, so I took after him.

S: Which artists did you like when you first got into music? Are they different to the ones you were into when you first became a musician?

RD: Some of them, I am, I mean, I can’t say I’m a big fan of The Partridge Family anymore, but that was kind of the first thing. Very quickly, I was into David Bowie, and that’s remained a constant, although I have to say he went out of favour with me, and I think it was when I saw him cutting up lyrics, and I thought, I’ve pored for hours over lyrics, and he just cut them up and put them together willy-nilly. I was a bit huffy about that, especially as when I wrote very much from the heart.

S: Which of today’s artists do you admire?

RD: There are loads of young grime artists that I like, when my son was too young to go by himself, I saw Skepta, Wretch 32 years ago, and I think someone who is going to do well is Stormzy. He’s bright enough to know that you can’t take one idea and go with it forever, you have to branch out, and he’s got a little twinkle in his eye. There’s an American band called The Interrupters, I think they’re under thirty, and they’re like a ska-punk band, which wasn’t something I was ever into, but they have this song called ‘Take Back The Power’ which really resonates with me at the moment, you know ‘What’s your plan for tomorrow, are you a leader or will you follow? Are you a fighter, or will you cower? It’s our time to take back the power.’

S: Which person has had the most significant effect on you?

RD: Musically or attitudinally? It’s got to be Bowie, I as a fan when I was 13, even before I went to see him. At the time, to be a Bowie fan was like, we were called Bowie freaks; it was so different to what was going on. Also, I’ve met so many people, with whom I’m still in touch, and they shaped my adolescence. One of them, Jill from Bromley, ended up going out with Paul Weller, she was into Siouxsie Sioux, and so we all ended up knowing Siouxsie, back in the day. Essentially, the reason I’m still hanging around with bands is all about those people connected with Bowie. People I’ve reconnected with over the years, like Hugo Burnham, who was the drummer for the Gang of Four, he was one of our group, all have ended up connected with music in some way. I wasn’t one of those people tearing my clothing when Bowie died. I thought it was a shame, very much so, because I thought he was influential in a good way and the fact that he was starting to make music again. It was just brilliant. As I was coming up the escalator at Piccadilly, somebody was singing, ‘Where are we now?’ If a busker can’t ruin it, it’s a good song.

S: (Mentions ‘Kooks’)

RD: I was there; I did it with Dr. Robert! We did an acoustic version, we were invited onto the Women’s Stage at Pride, and we sang ‘Kooks’, and my son was like 18 months old, in the audience, in his pushchair. It (Kooks) was about his son, wasn’t it? I let my son think it was about him. I remember him (Duncan ‘Zowie’ Bowie) when he was a little tiny boy in his pushchair, ‘cause I used to sit outside Bowie’s house. I was that mad about him.

S: If you could travel back in time, to any place, when and where would it be?

RD: I’ve been asked this before. The answer I should have given is to go back to Swinging 60’s London, however, the real answer is that I would have loved to go to my Dad’s Jazz Club in Piccadilly, in the 40’s, and see what that was like. My parents met there in the Second World War, I’m sure my mother shouldn’t have been there, but in those days, people just thought ‘Well I might be dead tomorrow, let me just go and see what this is about, a Jazz Club in a basement behind the Regent Palace Hotel.’ My Dad hosted the Caribbean Club there, and the house band was the Ray Ellington Quartet. There is some great photos I’ve got from there, amazing. My Dad was so charming. Oddly enough, it would have been his 120th birthday today. He was 62 when I was born. He was from another era; he was the youngest of eleven.

S: Is there anything you would like to have prevented coming into being?

RD: Gosh. Very difficult, because you want to say, ‘prevent Hiroshima, prevent Nagasaki’, but I think I’d like to have prevented HIV. A terrible, terrible thing and I really don’t know how it came about. I don’t know how selfish this would be, but maybe prevent Trump being born.

S: If you could backtrack through your career, what would you edit, if anything?

RD: I don’t think I’d really excise anything. I’d like to add more. I’m putting this thing out now (EP) and I feel like I finally know what I’m doing. If I’d done more, would that have come to me earlier?

S: If you were to meet yourself in your early twenties, what advice would you give yourself?

RD: The advice I would give myself would be either ‘get yourself a decent manager’, or ‘learn about the music business’. I have lost and have been eased out of thousands and thousands of pounds over the years, because I trusted people to do things for me – because we never had a manager for more than about six weeks, I never joined the PRS. So I missed out on money there for example. Another one; just never reading paperwork properly that was given to me. Get acquainted with the business, and be on point, as the young people say.

S: What songs or arrangements are you most proud of, and why?

RD: I would say I’m proudest of this latest EP, particularly because I was in charge of making everything happen, for the first time ever. Nobody found the studio for me; I found it. Nobody decided on the tracks; I decided on them. I made all the big decisions, I designed it, and it’s all down to me. If there’s something wrong, it’s my fault. Even the free download, it was my decision.

S: ‘The Boiler’ is such a powerful piece of work. Did you have any misgivings about it? Has it ever proved a millstone around your neck?

RD: I don’t think of it as a bit of a millstone. For me, it was a transition between me doing acting and singing. It was the only original song we had at our first gig. It was where I started to become a songwriter. I’d think of it as a millstone if people still expected me to do it. That said, I can’t do it because it’s very much a piece about someone like my younger self, I’m not twenty, I don’t think the same thoughts. It would be me faking being twenty.

S: How did the launch for the EP go?

RD: I’m pleased I’ve had a positive response, it’s very rewarding, and we’re already writing the next one!

Rhoda Dakar spoke with Scenester1964 23/2/2017

Rhoda Dakar; The Lotek Four Vol. 1 (LTK4V1CD)

 

Coming from the doyenne of the 80’s Ska revival scene, and dressed in natty hounds-tooth (the EP, not Rhoda) the five tracks on offer here are a personal labour of love.
‘Fill The Emptiness’ opens as a languorous, swaying Lover’s Rock track, with some lovely falls in the voice, and a crisp, raspy sax solo to boot.

‘Tears You Can’t Hide’s high, pumping beat and tension and release dynamic shows Rhoda’s rounder, yet ironically, more stentorian voice tone.

‘You Talking To Me?’ has the kind of late night atmospheric sax and keyboard that welcomes you in, the voice smooth, even drifting into French at opportune moments.
Rhoda lets her voice soar on ‘Dolphins’, the ‘lapping water’ piano complementing the jazzy feel in a relationship tale.

‘Fill The Emptiness (Reefa)’ reprises in a very different style, and fits its piano riff well, the slide guitar setting it off beautifully, Rhoda duetting with herself at one point.

BUY A COPY HERE

Scenester1964 7/3/2017

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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March 8, 2017 By : Category : Articles Eyeplugs Front page Interviews Jazz Modernist Pop Soul Tags:, , , ,
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Thee Ones speak to Eyeplug

This entry is part 19 of 19 in the series DozenQ 4

THEE ONES – BACKYARD BOOGALOO

Thee Ones come from the five valley delta of Stroud. Raised on a diet of Dr John, The Meters and Captain Beefheart they’re all about the groove. With clever story telling lyrics their sound is infectious and will move your mind and body in equal measures. They can be dangerously wild live, whipping a crowd into a frothing frenzy, then soothe them with a delicate Latin-tinged vibe. If you catch them out-and-about we highly recommend you take your dancing shoes and a voodoo charm. Their new album, ‘Backyard Boogaloo’ is coming out in November 2016.

01 Tell us about Thee Ones in a short potted history?

Myself and Greame started the band around 2010. Writing material that crossed our interests in early rhythm & blues and 60’s latin music. But it’s not easy to blend Howin’ Wolf and Willie Bobo while not trying to make a pastiche of either, so we ended up just sounding a bit like Thee Ones.

02 How do you create or write new pieces, what’s your process?

I tend to walk about muttering to myself a lot. I tend not to write anything down as I hope that if I can remember it I can class it as ‘rememberable’. So a lot goes by the wayside. Most of the time I feel like a lazy collector of mumbo jumbo, or trapper of daydreams, hoping they make some kind of sense. But generally, I guess a lot is the mix of nostalgia and foreboding. Paint pictures of what was great to warn of what we are losing. And alway a bit of Rock n Roll nonsense stuff as I can’t be glum for long.

03 What are some of the influences that form your own sound?

With this last lot of songs, I sat with a cheap Spanish guitar playing along to lots of cheesy latin. And I guess it rubbed off with things like ‘The Moon’ and ‘77a’. There’s also a lot of Ska and Rock Steady going on. We have alway listened to a lot of Jamaican Music but not used it so much as an influence before.

04 What is your local music scene like?

Everyone around us, here in Stroud seems to be an Artist or a Musician and this corner of Gloucestershire seems to punch above its weight in terms of alternative culture. The likes of Low Chimes (who were Hotfeet unto a month ago), Pete Roe and Emily Barker have been shining brightly for a while now of the new Folk scene and there is some great Latin/Ska/Calypso stuff coming from Dave Andrews new band Solomento. We have also been loving some of our festival stablemates that we’ve been brushing shoulders with, especially Bristol band, Mama Jerk and The Lady Fingers. Not sure what they are but it’s good stuff.

05 Tell us about your latest LP?

With the first album, we recorded the whole lot with the most basic methods we could. This the help of Eve Studios fantastic knowledge and vintage kit. We did the lot all in one and no over-dubs, like something from the early fifties. But this time we planned to work a bit more conventionally and record in a modern studio and make the songs as luscious as we could, without losing our rough edges. Although ‘Dirty Stopout’ is the demo/live room version and was sneeked onto the final cut.

06 What were the ups and downs of this Studio visit?

I alway have a bit of trepidation before recording. I guess no-one likes looking in the mirror too long. But it was great. We had been playing the new songs out a lot and so were very gig fit, so getting everything down was pretty painless. Though I had a belter of a blocked nose to contend with.

07 What other current bands do you all dig?

We listen to a lot of Mod-Jazz and African music in the van on our way to gigs these days. Current ‘van hit’ is, Fela Kuti – ‘Coffin Head of State’.

08 What can folks expect from your live shows?

We alway give our all. Sweat, blood and full power ahead. And now with added Organ! (And maybe Baritone Sax in the near future, but keep it under your hat).

09 What types of themes run through your songs?

Well a lot of my songs are memories of growing up in London. ‘77a’ tells of the bus journey from Lavender Hill to Clapham Common and all the things that are no longer there. I don’t think the bus route even runs anymore.

10 What pieces of kit do you hold dear?

My Black Epiphone Sheraton from the easy 80’s. I got it re-fretted the other day so it has a bit of a chance of getting near tuned but I love it. It changed the way I played more than any other guitar. It was a right bitch.

11 What can we expect in the future?

We are still hoping of getting to Texas. Maybe next year.

12 Can you tell us a joke please?

Us playing Texas!

Weblinks
theeones.com
facebook 
Soundcloud

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admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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November 7, 2016 By : Category : Garage Interviews Modernist Music RnB Tags:, , ,
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The Orders – If Gold Dust Turns To Stone

The Orders are a young three-piece creating waves currently on the Isle of Wight and way beyond. With recent BBC interest and a double appearance at the recent Isle of Wight Festival including a stint on the main stage, things are looking rosey for these ‘Caulkheads’ (please feel free to google that one and no it is NOT a type of drug!).

We had a  nice fresh signed copy of ‘If Gold Dust Turns To Stone’ on chunky 7-inch Vinyl, wrapped in a cool sleeve drop through our letterbox, recently and it went straight onto the turntable, and after several spins a Summer smile finally appeared on this cynical old face.

Kyle Chapman (guitar and vocals) seems at present to be the main songsmith for the Orders with shards of Telecaster guitar chopping into the fray with tidy support from the throbbing, wandering, bass-punch of Issac Snow (Bass & Backing Vocals) with the entire thing held together with the safe time-keeping of Joe Rowe on (Drums & Percussion) who for his age is a mighty fine drummer!

The A-side track, ‘If Gold Dust Turns To Stone’  has an energetic youthful vibrance with a ‘surf’ style twang here and there and a solid indie-sike- pop feel with mixed hints of The Kaiser Chiefs, The Stone Roses, The Artic Monkies, The Who, The Jam, all mashed up as influences, but with a nice dreamy twist. I even recalled a glint of ‘Crocodiles’ era Bunnymen and very early Cure, in there, as the nice space in and around this track with layered backing vocals added a lift and a confidence for even brighter things ahead. It would be great to get the Drummer Joe to add into making, even more, 3-part harmonies central to their sound and identity. The folks at Humbug Studios seem to have caught a moment in time nicely too!

The sound has a tinge of 1960s Freakbeat, West-Coast Sunshine Pop, and mixes that with a dose of gritty Britpop. They certainly have a poppy appeal that spills over onto the B-side track ‘Time Ran Circles’ which has a Roses’ style outro interplay at the end which illustrates how this band have already absorbed tons of melody, harmony and rhythmic spirals that will no doubt come out into their set list in the future.

So this gets a firm thumb’s up from us here at Eyeplug and we look forwards to seeing and hearing more from them soon!

Web Links

facebook.com/theorders
soundcloud.com/the_orders
Instagram – @the_orders
Twitter – @the_ordersuk

Buy record here – paypal.me/TheOrders £8.50 including p&p

 

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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July 13, 2016 By : Category : Indie Modernist Music Picks Pop Psychedelic Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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Another Splash of Colour – Longjohn Reviews

“Another Splash of Colour (New Psychedelia in Britain 1980-85)’’ is arguably the first comprehensive overview of the British psychedelic revival of the early 1980’s. Cherry Red Records have put together a 3-CD set featuring 64 neo psychedelic tracks that span the first five years of the 1980’s. This compilation expands on the original ‘‘A Splash of Colour’’ LP, which was released in 1981 and this new edition comes housed in a clamshell box with a 34-page booklet containing exclusive pictures, and a mammoth 9,000-word essay written by former NME journalist Neil Taylor.

The artists who featured on the original album are included here, and The Mood Six, The Times, Miles Over Matter, Icicle Works, The High Tide, The Barracudas, The Earwigs and The Marble Staircase, were all heavily influenced by 1960’s British psychedelia.  What is rather nice about this new expanded version is that it now includes some big hitters who are rubbing shoulders with some lesser-known artists, including The Soft Boys, The Television Personalities, The Dream Factory, The Legendary Pink Dots, Robyn Hitchcock, Julian Cope, Playn Jayn, The Attractions (minus Elvis Costello) and The Prisoners.

The expanded box set is a timely reminder that psychedelia was a broad church musically, and Cherry Red Records have used the original “A Splash of Colour’’ LP to form the basis of this new collection. The envelope has been pushed even further by the inclusion of post punk and new wave acts that were influenced by 1960’s pop and psychedelia but without being slavishly devoted to a 1960’s sartorial and musical aesthetic. It is clear that psychedelia was a much looser musical concept in this period, than the original ‘A Splash Of Colour’’ LP suggests, and this collection is a nicely rounded overview of bands and artists that were not quite carrying the psychedelic freak flag but obviously owed a small debt of gratitude to the pioneers of psychedelic rock music in the late 1960’s.

A special mention should be given to some of the artists that graced the original “A Splash Of Colour’’ LP as without them this box set would not have materialized. The High Tide, The Marble Staircase and The Mood Six have two songs apiece on this collection and these artists in particular were not afraid to doff their velvet fedoras to Syd Barrett Era Pink Floyd, Tomorrow and Traffic, and the result is pleasing but the studious approach to recreating the past leaves these artists sounding somewhat derivative.  The Barracudas also appeared on the original album and were ironically an English band that was clearly indebted to the USA’s surf music scene of the 1960’s. “Watching The World Go By’’, and ‘’Inside Mind’’ feature on this collection, and clearly demonstrated their bias for 1960’s sunshine pop. However, these days The Barracudas might only be remembered for their top 40 novelty surf song called “Summer Fun’’ which was released in 1980.

Robyn Hitchcock features on Disc 1 with a solo effort “It’s a Mystic Trip’’, which came out as a flexi disc 7’ in 1981, but it is the scorching “Only The Stones Remain’’ with his group The Soft Boys that almost steals the show on the first CD of this box set.  It is no secret that Hitchcock was a big admirer of his Cambridge compatriot Syd Barrett, and The Soft Boys did a remarkably brilliant version of Barrett’s “Vegetable Man’’, which can be found on the expanded edition of their second album “Underwater Moonlight’’. The two songs included here showcase Hitchcock’s surreal lyrics as well as his knack for making brilliant hook laden tunes, and as these two songs demonstrate Hitchcock and The Soft Boys are criminally underrated.

The Monochrome Set have one song included on this collection, and “On The Thirteenth Day’’ taken from their third album “Eligible Bachelor’s’’ demonstrates that they could combine a macabre sense of humour, hooky melodies and bristling edgy energy to make effortless pop songs and it is baffling that The Monochrome Set remain nothing more than a well kept secret. “On The Thirteenth Day’s’’ surreal and grotesque lyrics about corrugated horse flesh and venus fly traps hint at an acid trip going awry, and the Kafkaesque imagery is possibly the only explanation for the inclusion of this brilliantly quirky song’s inclusion on this collection.

It would be doubtful if no more than a handful of discerning souls have heard of Nick Nicely, and if that is the scenario then this artist thoroughly deserves to be rediscovered on the basis of the two tracks included here. “Hilly Fields’’ and “49 Cigars’’ take the experimental nature of psychedelia and electronic synth pop and combined these two elements together to almost breathtaking effect. “49 Cigars’’ in particular, is eerily psychedelic and sounds like it owes something of a debt to those late 1960’s psychedelic pioneers The Factory, and it is about time that both of these acts in their respective time period were given the recognition they richly deserve.

No collection like this would ever be complete without acknowledging the influential Medway garage scene that sprouted up from around the pubs and clubs of Rochester and Chatham in Kent in the first half of the 1980’s. The Dentists first single from 1985 the effortlessly catchy and jangly “Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden’’, has an obvious 1960’s dreamy West Coast pop influence with harmonies and tambourines galore, and this little known gem of a song is a welcome inclusion on this box set.

However, it is the roughly hewn music made by The Prisoners and The Milkshakes that have overshadowed other Medway acts like The Dentists and both of these bands are arguably the most celebrated and influential acts that came out of the Medway scene.  The sheer effortless power of The Prisoners, which is demonstrated by the inclusion of ‘’Reaching My Head’’, that ably demonstrates what a popular live draw they must have been around the Medway and London in the 1980’s.  Graham Day’s crunching, spiky guitar riffs, soulful vocals, and James Taylor’s masterful swirling organ, combined to create a somewhat rough garage sound that was also dripping in obvious pop melodies, which make it baffling why The Prisoners never broke out from their status as a critically acclaimed cult act to wider recognition.

There is not too much that can be said about legendary punk band The Damned, however, a little mention should go to their alto ego’s Naz Nomad and the Nightmares, who covered the Electric Prunes psychedelic classic “I Had Too Much Too Dream Last Night’’.  Legend has it that it was originally thought that Naz Nomad and the Nightmares were a lost 1960s Garage band, and it is easy to see why fans of Nuggets era garage were salivating over the thought of uncovering some obscure 7’ records by a long lost 1960s act. Naz Nomad and the Nightmares covered a number of garage classics to such stunning effect that they were genuinely seen as the real thing, and one can only assume that The Damned adopted this pseudonym so they could completely immerse themselves in the garage and psychedelic records that they so clearly adored.

Julian Cope is another artist who really needs little introduction as the lynchpin and creative force of The Teardrop Explodes.  However, Cope also released two overlooked solo albums straight after the demise of The Teardrop Explodes and included on this box set is “Sunspots’’, which is taken from Cope’s second album “Fried’’. “Sunspots’’ was released as a single in 1984 and it is easy to see why this particular song has ended up on this box set as the “Arch-Druid’’ is a unique pop star, who easily churned out great Psychedelically pop inflected tunes with consummate ease. Cope ploughed his own artistic furrow to such an extent as to pose naked under a turtle shell for the front cover of “Fried’’, and this eccentric pop star’s inclusion on this collection makes it an even greater well rounded listening experience.

Three bands from Creation Records feature on the third disc, and co founder of the label Alan McGee has never denied his utter devotion to 1960’s psychedelia. His fascination with 1960’s pop was such that he even named his fledgling label after cult British psych pop art band The Creation and named his own band Biff, Bang, Pow after one of their songs. The inclusion of Biff, Bang Pow, The Jasmine Minks and The Revolving Paint Dream demonstrate that a new musical beginning was just around the corner that was introspective, self-deprecating, amateurish and sonically ragged. This new musical movement it could be argued was a natural evolution from the music included on this box set, and it would eventually become christened as “Indie Pop’’ and this fleeting moment was crystallized on the NME’s C86 cassette tape.

“Another Splash Of Colour’’ is such a brilliantly diverse and varied collection of somewhat obscure neo-psychedelia that it could be a contender for one of the compilations of the year. The collection ably demonstrates that their was an alternative listening experience in the early 1980’s that was to some extent lysergic, and was the absolute antithesis to the ubiquitous and slickly produced synthesizer pop that was polluting the FM airwaves with alarming regularity in this period. If you are a discerning soul whose preference is for obscure psychedelic tinged music that has slipped under the radar then there is simply no excuse for not buying this box set. BUY HERE!

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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April 18, 2016 By : Category : Eyeplugs Front page Garage Modernist Music Psychedelic Reviews Rock Tags:,
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Author – Howard Baker (Sawdust Caesar)

Sawdust Caesar: Omnibus Edition by Howard Baker (HB Publishing)

For those of you fed up with reading yet another 60’s memoir from the once-famous, Howard Baker’s complementary volumes, ‘Sawdust Caesar’ and ‘Enlightenment and the Death of Michael Mouse’, are now available in an omnibus edition from HB Publishing. The author asserts that the first volume is basically a true history, although the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

The casual book-browser may not notice that the stereotypical shot of the scooter-riding mod lad on the cover is superimposed on a landscape of opium poppies and their pickers, the land and sky an angry red. It’s an early hint of what is to come, and a better summation of the two books’ contents is hard to imagine.

I admit I wasn’t immediately taken with the writing style of ‘Sawdust Caesar’, feeling that the wide awake, adolescent, motor mouth ravings were overdone, and his misadventures all a little desperate to shock, but I’m glad to report that persistence pays. So long as you’re willing to tolerate the protagonist’s speed-crazed narrative, near-psychotic self-absorption and sheer contempt for everyone he meets, you may be on the way to appreciating the second volume, if not the first in itself.

This two-book set evocatively traces the frankly sordid life of a dyed-in-the-wool mod, through pilled-up days and nights, serial girl misuse, money hustling and petty crime, and then pulls off something of a coup, in putting our protagonist on the road to spirituality, in an epic journey to Afghanistan. Swapping amphetamines for dope and opium, and his wardrobe of cool street threads for the barest minimum to ensure warmth and decency, our narrator journeys across the poverty-stricken, unfriendly Afghan terrain, encountering druggies and drug barons, drifters and prophets, seekers after spiritual peace and charlatans only too pleased to sell you a simulacrum of it.

It’s a fast-paced, foul-mouthed, self-obsessed narrative that never lets up, but as our narrator turns his attention from his id to ego and to super-ego, the balance of his life undergoes a seismic shift, before being brought back to reality by the mundane world he thought he’d escaped.

Scenester 2016

Meeting with Aoratos 

Buy Sawdust Caesar now: on Amazon

Interview

As a Londoner, Howard Baker is the first to admit that he was fortunate indeed to have not only experienced those amazing years of the Sixties, but indeed to have survived them: from gang warfare to drug abuse and sexual emancipation, the opportunities for disaster were endless. The wise of course saw the period as one to be savoured and many are those who feel somehow blessed to have been part of that particular generation moulded by events now recognised as unique in our cultural history.

After the Sixties Howard jacked it all in and went off to explore the world feeling, like so many others, that life was there to be lived. On his return he found it impossible to re-enter the stuffy confines of conventional life and went to live on a farm in Wales where self-sufficiency was the order of the day. But as is so often the case, fate stepped in and he found himself on the road living among the gypsies with a young family to feed.

Years later and back in the mainstream, the chance to live in rural France arose. Now an organic farmer he lives the idyll which had earlier eluded him.

01. How did you first get started in the world of words and ink?

I was always good at telling stories apparently. Then my English marks, notably from an imaginative essay, helped scrape me through an otherwise unremarkable 11-plus examination.

02. Was it a struggle getting your first book published and out there?

It was long-winded and fraught with chance: the work was originally a screenplay and a close friend managed to get it in front of Stevie Wonder’s agent, but they deemed it too violent for his image. So it came back and was passed on to an editor at X, a large, well-known publishing company, and he read it, thought it a potential best seller as a book, and asked if I could re-write it. But by the time it was finished the guy had moved on. So off it went to another smaller publisher known to another friend and they snapped it up. Despite promotion not being their strong point the first print run sold out and I wrote the sequel which hit the bookshelves the same day that the World Trade Centre was taken down and by the time the dust had settled the world had changed. Timing’s everything.

03. Where did you see the first piece you had written actually in print, how did that feel?

A letter to The Eagle comic when I was a kid. And it made me realise that each of us has a voice in the great communal scheme of things.

04. What was the main core reasons that you started to write seriously?

I read a Hemingway book about his early life struggling as a writer in Paris, sitting in cafes, scribbling notes. And I was hooked.

05. What’s a typical working day like for you as a writer?

Living on a farm doing the self-sufficiency number, I have to be quite methodical, that’s to say, I write when I can. But when I lived in town I wrote nine to five, finding that easier than burning the midnight oil – although I do that if there’s a deadline.

06. What were your childhood experiences that helped to shape your later views and mindset?

What a question! Where does one start? Probably resistance to authority caused by shit schoolteachers.

07. What was it like to be an early Modernist, what were your pointers and outlook?

Dangerous, given the mass of bikers ruling the roost so to speak. But great when up the West End together; the recognition and camaraderie. And the beautiful chicks. Clothes and music were the two prime factors. And clubbing.

08. What was that early sixties period in London like for you as a young man?

Difficult. A mass of mixed emotions, school-leaving, adolescence, and shortage of cash. Parents who didn’t understand the changes going on. ‘64 onwards was better. Late Sixties superb.

09. How did the Media distort what was going on at the Seaside Towns and Resorts?

Some reporters staged scenes to photograph using cheap actors. They paid us for exaggerated stories of an offensive nature, constantly seeking a controversial headline pay-off day. When my first book came out I was approached by a well-known ‘social reporter’ looking for dirt to dig up.

10. What was the discovery of the ‘hippy trail’ and the druggy period like at the time?

The ‘hippy trail’ began with the Beatniks of the early Sixties and was followed by a few enterprising characters who bought clapped-out buses and vans to provide an overland to India service. But the main overland thing started around 1967 just as Flower Power began on a large-scale. It was an unbelievable time, hitching around, meeting others on the road, in cheap doss houses and hotels across Asia. Living on beaches in faraway lands long before mass tourism and politics came along and screwed everything up.

11. What other books do you wish you had written?

I still have a few on hold in my head, but I’d like to have written Hesse’s Siddhartha which is sublime. Or Gibran’s The Prophet; wisdom, beautifully written.

12. How has the internet changed what you do?

It provides a quick basic research tool and helps you get things right. But as a real research facility its benefits are limited, everything being old news as it were. Real research is a belt and braces, hands-on job. You have to get out there and discover stuff for yourself.

13. Do you have any advice for wannabe authors?

Keep a note-book. I’ve thought of so many startlingly amazing things and forgotten them. It’s gut wrenching to think about it.  Next thing is actually writing and sticking at it. And remember that the old saying ‘everyone has a book in them’ is actually a load of bollocks as inspirational advice: everyone may have a book in them but actually getting it down on paper’s another thing.

14. What projects are you planning for the future and please feel free to plug your latest book?

Latest work ‘Meeting with Aoratos’ is a departure from the uncomfortable realism of my earlier work and focuses on New Age philosophy and its pitfalls. Another work is a collection of tales relating to the many varied and sometimes bizarre meals I’ve eaten and the circumstances around them; from dining alongside a famous film star to snatching a bite to eat at a roadside eating house with a murderous Pashtun tribesman and a wild dog for company. Other work in progress includes life in Wales as a drug-fuelled freak, and ‘On the Road’ – life with the gypsies; a sort of antidote to Ken Kesey’s vastly over-rated (imho) version.

Web Links:

Meeting with Aoratos 

Buy Sawdust Caesar now: on Amazon

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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February 23, 2016 By : Category : Culture Eyeplugs Interviews Literature Modernist Tags:, , , , ,
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DozenQ – Daniel Bennett Group

This entry is part 16 of 19 in the series DozenQ 4

Manhattan-based saxophonist Daniel Bennett has been hailed as one of the most original and unpredictable musical voices of his generation. Daniel Bennett can be heard throughout the world performing his award-winning compositions on saxophone, flute, clarinet, and oboe. Daniel Bennett is currently touring the United States with renowned guitarist Nat Janoff, bassist Eddy Khaimovich, and master percussionist Matthew Feick. The Boston Globe describes Bennett’s music as “a mix of jazz, folk, and minimalism.” The Daniel Bennett Group was recently voted “Best New Jazz Group” in the Hot House Magazine NYC Jazz Contest. The Daniel Bennett Group has been featured in the Boston Globe, NPR, First Coast Living (NBC), Indianapolis Public Radio, St. Louis Public Radio and the Village Voice. Daniel Bennett is also very active in the New York City musical theater scene. He recently composed the musical score for stage adaptations of “Frankenstein” and “Brave Smiles” at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Manhattan. Daniel Bennett recently played woodwinds in “Blank! The Musical,” the first fully improvised Off-Broadway musical to launch on a national stage. The New York Times called the show, “Witty, Likable and Ludicrous!” Daniel Bennett’s theatrical works have strongly influenced his eclectic sound and musical storytelling abilities as a bandleader. We caught up with him recently…

01 How did you get started in music?

I live in Manhattan, but the Daniel Bennett Group actually formed in Boston in 2004. I had just finished my masters degree in saxophone performance from the New England Conservatory. I was also doubling on flute, clarinet, and oboe quite regularly. I was composing music that blended modern jazz with American Folk music and elements of experimental classical music. My musical journey began when I was ten years old. My older sister took me to the high school jazz band Christmas concert. I’ll never forget it. I heard the jazz band play a rendition of “The Pink Panther.” I knew at a young age that I wanted to be a full time musician, and it’s hard to imagine I have been leading a band for over 10 years. The Daniel Bennett Group has toured extensively and recently shared concert billings with Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter Trio, Steve Kuhn, Greg Osby Duo, James Carter Organ Trio, Joy Electric, and Billy Martin. In addition to leading the band, I recently toured Italy and Switzerland with world music ensemble, Musaner. I have performed with the Portland Symphony, the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, and other symphonic groups. I am very active as a pit orchestra musician in Manhattan. I composed and performed the original score for the stage adaptations of “Frankenstein” and “Brave Smiles” at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Manhattan. I also recently performed in the off-Broadway show, “Blank! The Musical.” The show was produced by the insanely gifted comedians at Second City, Improv Boston, and Upright Citizens Brigade. It was the first fully improvised musical to launch on a national stage. My work in the theater world has strongly influenced my eclectic “storytelling” approach to musical performance. I would say that the Daniel Bennett Group is very “theatrical” in our performance aesthetic and stage presence.

02 Where did your direction come from?

My direction is fueled by the energy and musical output of the people whom I perform with. Daniel Bennett Group just released our 6th full length album, “The Mystery At Clown Castle,” on the Manhattan Daylight Media label. The album was produced by MP Kuo at Lofish Studio in Manhattan. I play alto saxophone, flute, piccolo, clarinet, and oboe on the album. I am joined by guitarist Nat Janoff, Eddy Khaimovich on bass, and Matthew Feick on drums. Nat Janoff has performed with artists like Michael Brecker, Matt Garrison, Kenny Burrell and Dave Samuels. He also leads his own band at the 55 Bar in Manhattan every month. Matthew Feick is very active in the musical theater scene. I met Matthew when we were in the pit orchestra for “Urinetown” at the Secret Theatre in New York City.

03 Who are your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

I love the music of Ornette Coleman, Paul Desmond, The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass. I generally love any music that has a great melody and displays a vibrant sense of honesty. I despise any music that lacks integrity or soul.

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound

I am inspired by my surroundings. I am always trying to evolve and grow as an artist. “The Mystery at Clown Castle” is a bold departure from anything we have done in the past. I threw away all conventional “rules” in the production process and really did this record my way. Surprisingly, this album features electric bass prominently. Eddy Khaimovich plays fretted and fretless electric bass brilliantly on the album. This album also features special guest poet, Britt Melewski. I first read Britt’s poetry in the Philadelphia Review of Books. I was so honored to have Britt contribute two poems on The Mystery at Clown Castle. Our producer, MP Kuo, auto-tuned Britt’s voice to increase the intensity and creepiness of the poem. We also feature pianist Jason Yeager on a few tracks. Jason is a very prolific sideman and bandleader on the Inner Circle record label. I have known Jason for many years. Jason performs frequently with Ran Blake, Greg Osby, and John McNeil. Jason has a sound and feel that is perfect for this music. The Daniel Bennett Group has released six albums in the last ten years: A Nation of Bears, The Legend of Bear Thompson, Peace and Stability Among Bears, Live at the Theatre, Clockhead Goes to Camp, and The Mystery At Clown Castle. Each album is a very honest snapshot of who I am in that moment in time.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

Expect the unexpected! I am currently touring with guitarist Nat Janoff and Matthew Feick on the drums. I am playing alto saxophone, flute, piccolo, and oboe on this tour. We have been performing most of the songs from “The Mystery At Clown Castle.” You will hear original melodies, as well as American folk music references and elements of Celtic music. Our live concerts take many creative detours and spontaneous turns. We love to engage the audience. Every night can be so different!

06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

I am a saxophonist, but I actually write all of my songs from the guitar. The process is somewhat simple in many ways. I only writes songs that I can easily sing. I don’t restrict myself to any time signature or key signature. The composition goes wherever the melody is leading it. I have studied the music of Steve Reich and Philip Glass extensively. I am drawn towards repetition of phrases, gradual shifting of melodic shapes, and slightly free-form improvisation. I am a classically trained, even though I make my living as a jazz player. I have a masters degree in Saxophone Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. While studying at NEC, I performed music by contemporary classical composers like Ingolf Dahl, Paul Creston, Eugene Bozza, Pierre Max Dubois, and Alfred Desenclos (to name a few). I also performed numerous transcriptions of pieces by Rachmaninoff, Bach, and Mozart. In 2002, I performed the Concertino da Camera by Jacques Ibert as a soloist with the Roberts Wesleyan College Orchestra. All of these experiences have shaped who I am as a composer. I love any song with a great melody. I am equally influenced by Steve Reich’s “New York Counterpoint,” Ornette Coleman’s “Skies of America,” and the Smiths “There is a Light That Never Goes Out.” All are masterpieces. I grew up playing in the church, so I love hymns like “It is Well with My Soul” and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I see no boundary line between any genre of music. I transcribe Paul Desmond saxophone solos every week. I just transcribed his solo on “Out of Nowhere.” Some of his lines could have been pulled from a Bach invention. No joke. Some would say that I have a slightly twisted mind when it comes to my conceptual approach to music. The Daniel Bennett Group recently released a “trilogy” of albums based on a fictional bear named Bear Thompson. I’m a big fan of cartoon animation, storytelling, and programmatic music. The albums were entitled, A Nation of Bears, The Legend of Bear Thompson, and Peace and Stability Among Bears. I frequently collaborate with visual artists who design our album artwork. I have been very fortunate to have Timothy Banks design most of our album covers. Banks has done a lot of work for Paste Magazine and Cartoon Network and is a real super talent!

07 How has your music evolved since you first began playing?

Our earlier musical material was more influenced by American folk music. I grew up listening to Pete Seeger, the Weavers, Peter Paul & Mary, and Simon & Garfunkel. After moving to New York City, my music has taken on a more “back-beat” driven vibe. There is almost a pop aesthetic to our new songs.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Have you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

My worst moments happen when I am too focused on myself. Every day I wake up and try to think of ten people I can help. This takes the attention off myself and focuses my heart and mind for the day. It’s not always easy. I pray a lot! The music industry requires us to basically “sell ourselves” every single day. There is nothing wrong with our desire to make money. My wife and I just welcomed our second child in September. And it’s not cheap to live on the upper east side of Manhattan! So I need to find balance in everything that I do. A wise man once told me, “worship God and serve the people.” That is something I strive towards. It’s a tough challenge, but so rewarding!

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We do play covers occasionally. We just played a concert at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club in Maryland. We spontaneously played “Daniel” by Elton John as an encore. It actually sounds quite nice on the flute. It’s a beautiful melody. We also mix jazz standards into our repertoire frequently. People don’t know that I actually spent a decade playing mostly straight-ahead jazz all over the world. I love the music of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Cole Porter.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

I envision myself meeting many new people. Music is about relationships and love. We just returned from a tour in Kansas. We met so many great people that we now consider to be our friends. It’s a great thing!

11 Who would you most like to record with?

I would love to record a saxophone and vocal duet with Morrisey. Maybe I could even convince Johnny Marr to burry the hatchet and reunite with Morrissey for one song!

12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

Daniel Bennett Group is touring on the west coast, Midwest, and parts of Florida this year. We also perform every month at Tomi Jazz in midtown Manhattan. We are recording the next album in December. Stay tuned!

Weblinks
Homepage: danielbennettgroup.com
Facebook: facebook.com/danielbennettgroup
Twitter: twitter.com/dbennettgroup
Instagram: instagram.com/danielbennettgroup

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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September 30, 2015 By : Category : Blues Eyeplugs Folk Front page Jazz Modernist Pop Tags:, , , , , , ,
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The Montecristos: LP Review by Colin Bryce

The Montecristos: Born to Rock‘n’Roll (Easy Action)

Its rock‘n’roll fetish time! Big ‘ol guitars! A blazing (all gal) horn section with a stand-up bass pumping the bottom of that primitive rockin’ rhythm to get ‘em out on the floor. Add a pile of peroxide and pomade, a little bit of leopard on your strides and some suggestive late-night ideas from vocalist/guitarist and front man Neal X and you’ll have a pretty good idea where London’s Montecristos are coming from. Fronted by former Sigue Sigue Sputnick and Marc Almond guitarist Neal X this six piece outfit has got the show going. Plenty of 50s glitz and gonzo with the occasional nod to the swingin’ 60s (the Rascal’s “Good Lovin’”) and with Marc Almond as featured guest vocalist on Vince Taylor’s well-known classic “Brand New Cadillac”. Like “Good Lovin’” it could probably have been swapped out for one of the band’s originals or something a little more uncommon but they may very well help with getting some friendly radio play. I was very pleased to see the great rock writer Nina Antonia listed as co-writer on the title track “Born to Rock’n’Roll”. No doubts here – the Montecristos are rockin’ it. (14 tracks.)

GRAB A COPY HERE!

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themontecristos.com

Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Blues Eyeplugs Front page Garage Modernist Music Picks Reviews Soul Tags:, , , , ,
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The Dub Rifles Interview

The Dub Rifles were a Canadian underground band based in Western Canada in the early 1980s. The band took R&B forms (soul, funk, ska/reggae) and merged them with a variety of “punk” attitudes and sounds. After releasing a couple of extended play 45s and touring steadily for a couple of years the band relocated to Montreal and quickly came to a crashing halt. Now, thirty years after their final gig at Toronto’s famed El Mocambo club Sundowing Sound Records has released a collection of their studio and live recordings.

01. Where did the name Dub Rifles emerge from?

The name came from the idea that dub is head music and I sort of tied it to a “shooting for higher consciousness” theme. I was young and looking for answers basically I think. It seemed a good idea at the time. It was years and years before someone else came up with it and now a reggae band from Uruguay uses it. I’ve never contacted them about it. I should though coz I have a bit of a weird fascination with the place. Maybe they’ll invite me for a visit!

02. What was the local Winnipeg music scene like in late 70s and early 80s?

Dismal. No style. The same as everywhere else pretty much. The geographic centre of North America (where Winnipeg is located) is/was as you would expect pretty much – full of pickup trucks, baseball caps and bad moustaches in an attempt to “be a man” and the rest. Back then there also seemed to be a lot of emphasis put on being a “good player” and all that muso crap as well. Terrible times really wasn’t it? And yet those types of bands, that attitude and lack of style persist even today. Shocking really. The stories of being chased or threatened because one didn’t look every other member of the Eagles are pretty much true. I imagine you remember the “threat” of punk rock the media/corporations created. Pathetic. Of course we’re now over-run with hipster douche bags and wanna-be gang bangers. (Yawn)

03. How did the band come about and decide on that final format and line-up?

I’d been playing music in teenage bands and all that since the tail end of the glam rock era as it evolved into what became known as the “punk” scene. After one of those initial local scene bands called it a day I became acquainted with our bassist Clint through a mutual friend (Jimmy “Vendetta” Green) who went on to play in a fairly well known band from here called Personality Crisis. (Check out Chris Walter’s bio on them here). We started messing about, introduced another pal who wanted to play sax and tackle a bit of reggae/soul and we were on our way, um, somewhere. It wasn’t too long before we’d added a second horn player, maybe a half-year or so.

04. What were your all listening too at that time?

I was trying to recall all this as we put the compilation together and remember very fondly a tape we had on permanent repeat in our rehearsal space that featured quite a bit of the Temptations psychedelic stuff, the Wailers Rasta Revolution record as well as various Motown and late 70s punk/revival things. As a band we only ever learned a couple of covers that stuck around, and they certainly reflect our listening choices, which were “Gabrielle” by the Nips and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” by Guns for Hire who many will recall as morphing into the great Dept. S.

It was a very exciting time in music and the rise of independent labels from Chiswick to Rough Trade released countless things we liked. We can’t forget too the downtown New York thing that was home to so many fantastic funky and arty things like the Raybeats, Contortions, James Blood Ulmer and all that. And yeah we did listen to a boatload of reggae and original ska stuff like Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear, Dillinger, Skatalites and more. Matumbi and the first couple Steel Pulse records were really big with us. This was around the time too that the Intensified and King Kong comps were out as you probably remember. They also got many listenings.

05. How much did other styles of music and other scenes from abroad influence your outlook and sound?

As I mentioned the scenes elsewhere were pumping out tons of great things but we also grew up when radio wasn’t as completely controlled as it is now. So there was lots of stuff from pop and soul to country on the radio. We dug all that. I mean obviously it wasn’t all good and it was certainly deteriorating rapidly. A local radio friend of mine recently commented to me that its basically three guys in Toronto currently dictate what gets played across our country. No regional flavour at all anymore basically. Fucking tragic. The thing with being from a place like Winnipeg – even though it has a population of three-quarters of a million people – is that it has never been a media centre so we’ve almost always “imported” some influence or another – or been accused of importing it! That’s the way the world works though isn’t it. I mean the original mod scene wouldn’t have been what it was without the Ivy League style, the Italian scooter and American R&B would it?

Having said that though a couple of things that sprung up out of here – that could only really have come from here – remain one or two of the my greatest musical/artistic influences. And they certainly affected the way I approached music and life as a result. If you haven’t heard, Canada has an incredible inferiority complex. The US influence is huge but we also grew up singing “God Save the Queen” in school and our national broadcaster (CBC) has usually had an, or at least did when we were kids, assortment of British creations in its line-up. The point being basically that as Canadians we usually get accused of “aping” somewhere else when in actual fact there have been some incredibly original creations artistically. One review of the Dub Rifles in Tony Fletcher’s Jamming all those years ago basically said as much. He was wrong. Sorry Tony. I mean, and this is no offence to Tony, and I’m saying this sarcastically and not quoting his review directly but y’know, “How could any of those poor lumberjacks in Canada possibly come up with anything etc…” Fuck that. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the filmmaker Guy Maddin? He’s one of the scene guys who has done very well and is recognised for bringing something a bit special to the party. Musically it’s happened as well.

06. What type of equipment did you have access too?

You mean like the coconut phone? Kidding. We had and still have some great studios here. Guitars, drums and the like, especially back then, were often available for a great deal at a pawnshop or in the local “Buy and Sell” rag etc. Gear (cough) never a problem my man.

07. What were your studio forays like, a good or bad experience?

Uh, shall we say, inexperienced? Good but inexperienced. The idea of doing some demos really never crossed our mind too much. This was before the 4-track recorder was out and we just kinda figured, y’know, go in, bang it out and voila! So we did. Studio time was also pretty expensive so we made it work the best we could. We had a great guy for an engineer, named Howard Rissin. He went on to do a number of big Canadian things including the Irish Rovers! He owes us I think for helpin’ him to learn the ropes. Don’t you think?

09. What about live shows from around that time, anything that stands out?

You mean like being hit with human excrement? Ah, yeah, there were some real interesting moments.

Our local venue – at least where we made a name for ourselves – was a place called the Royal Albert Arms. Anyone who toured across the country at that point – and later – played there including the likes of Husker Du, Urge Overkill and countless others. When we began playing there the owner was a decent guy who cared about and invested in the place. We used to play six night stands there and make decent money. After it changed hands it didn’t fare so well and became a kind of a CBGB’s of the west. Frankly you can stick that. I mean really, who wants to play some place where the toilets don’t work and you get threatened working the door. Not me. Fuck that. Anyway it’s up for sale now and who knows. Been closed a couple years and unlikely – in my opinion – it can be revived to a decent sort of place. The old “Albert” and another about a hundred feet from the place called Wellingtons were both plenty packed out many a night back then. No bloody video games and computers keeping the kids indoors.

In terms of gigs for the Dub Rifles outside of that venue we did open a few nights for the mighty Steel Pulse and that was a complete education. I have no idea what they thought of being in some bar in the middle of Canada back in the very early 1980s but for us, and the crowd there to see them it was just unbelievable. They were super nice and just fantastic to see. If you passed them a spliff you could be sure it wasn’t coming back.

The other lot we played with one time was the Angelic Upstarts. I doubt we were very good at the time but they had Paul Thompson of Roxy Music on drums. I couldn’t believe it. I made some comment to him about some Commie hall in the North End of Winnipeg being a long way from Madison Square Garden. He told me they were buddies so he was doing the gig. Nice. But I also learned later, and was standing there when he was talking to Mensi and never even twigged, that Tony “Feedback” Morrison was the bloody bassist! Had I have realised!! I’ve talked to him about it a number of times now and thankfully he doesn’t remember us, ahem, but y’know, small world.

We also played quite a bit in Toronto and that was a lot of fun. We chummed with a band called Blibber and the Rat Crushers who were a punky bunch with a drum machine – named Blibber. We just thought they were the best. Tons of fun they were and the Queen Street scene in Toronto back then was hopping with bands. After Toronto one of our favourite places was Halifax on the East Coast of Canada. We played the art college there and some other joints a few times. We also misbehaved quite badly out there and it lead to a rather expensive Rickenbacker bass being smashed against a mirrored pillar on the dance floor and as a result our immediate firing from a gig that we really needed to get paid for so we could get to the next bloody one!

10. The collection of NO TOWN NO COUNTRY is just being released, can you tell us about the project?

I was approached by Chris who runs Sundowning/Dub Ditch Picnic Records here who I’ve known for a number of years about maybe reissuing the original Notown EP and I told him I personally wasn’t so keen unless it could be remixed and that I would prefer to do something a bit more expansive considering there was some decent stuff sitting in a box somewhere. He bit and so my pal/band mate in our Driving Wheel R&B project Lloyd Peterson – who just happens to run a studio and be a top-notch engineer – was my first call. He’d been after me for years to get at the two inch tape and save it so we did that, found and saved some decent live stuff, re-EQ’d the second EP from vinyl – because the master tapes ended up somewhere in Jamaica to be re-used. Sigh… Uh, and so once we got all that together, got my old Mohair Sweets ‘zine pal Ron White to do some graphics and Chris came up with the cash – bingo! So far so good. I think some of the people who had maybe heard the name but not the music are pleasantly surprised. See full eyeplug review here!

11. What types of day-to-day challenges did you have to face up to?

Back then with the Dub Rifles? Sheez. Getting enough cash for gas and food to get us to the next gig mostly. In town here it wasn’t an issue really. Rent was cheap back then and a part-time job often was enough to get one through. The problem with having a band on the road back then that played original stuff – that we didn’t encounter in our hometown – was that gigs were often just the one night so the money didn’t match up to expenses. Thankfully my old man invested a grand or so in an old half-size school bus we converted to a decent touring vehicle. Gas was cheaper then – thank god – and as long as we weren’t doing the twenty-plus hours to Toronto too often it was all-good. It should be noted he never got his money back but I think it provided the folks back home with some sense of relief knowing we at least had a roof over our head – of some sort anyway.

Of course we did have to deal with the whole “punk rock bad” thing as well even though we didn’t sound anything like they expected we would once they finally heard us.

12. How were you treated by your record labels, the industry and local media that you worked within at that time?

Well we were the record label so if there was any money we immediately bought spliff. That was nice of us.

The industry, such as it was in Canada back then, didn’t have a clue. They were just a bunch of holdovers from the early 70s in their handle bar moustaches and cocaine dreams. Take a look at the Canadian charts back then for a laugh. Complete fucking rubbish. College radio was and still is the only real support independent acts get. Sadly it pays nothing in terms of royalties. CBC (our national broadcaster) provides some support but really folk/roots is their bag typically. CBC did play us a bit back then and the New Music program on national TV did a piece on us once – near the end of course. I was completely fucked in the head by the time we did that. Not pretty.

The local media was largely those same Genesis loving twerps running the record companies apart from maybe one or two. It wasn’t until our age group started graduating into those positions that our scene grew to gain a hair of respect.

13. Where are they all now and what are they doing?

One in Montreal, three of us here in Winnipeg and now one in Saskatchewan. It was years before I talked to the drummer (residing in Montreal) though the sax man Matthew and I saw each other quite a bit over the years because I lived not too far from him in southern Ontario for a time. We all play a bit here and there though Matthew has since replaced the tenor sax with the bagpipes.

14. What about a few re-union shows, you only live once after all?

Problems are distance, time and money. We tried about a decade ago but the initial rehearsals ended in a fistfight so it was laid to rest. If someone wants to stump up a few grand I suppose it might happen. Separate corners please! Might have to get a pound of weed in though to get us tuned up as it were. If one thing is true about the Dub Rifles it is that we LOVED our weed.

15. Can you tell us a joke please?

Steven Harper and the current Conservative governments environmental and energy policies. Sadly it’s just not very funny.

Photos: Carmen Arndt and Assorted others (please feel free to contact us for a credit)

The Dub Rifles NO TOWN NO COUNTRY – BUY A COPY HERE

Sundowning Sound Recordings:

Canadian Music Encylopedia entry: 

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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 23, 2014 By : Category : Articles Features Front page Interviews Modernist Post-punk Reggae Tags:, , ,
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Dub Rifles – No Town No Country

The Dub Rifles were a mixture of modernist power pop, ska, punk-funk  and garage soul band, formed in 1980, in Winnipeg Canada. The original members were lead singer/guitarist Colin Bryce, drummer Eloi Bertholet, saxophonist Matthew Challenger and bassist Clint Bowman. A year following their onslaught, a second saxophonist, Dave Brown, was also added. After completing three EPs, the Dub Rifles reached the end of their line in 1984.

Colin Bryce (a.k.a Mohair Sweets and Eyeplug key writer)  has lovingly re-visited the original mster tapes (wherever possible) old vinyl (where impossible) and some vibrant sounding live shows mainly from Montreal cicra 1984 to glue together this rather astonishing until now hidden treasure trove of songs that provide a sterling snapshot of the rampant widespread influences that mashed together to re-surface in these fine forms herein. BUY A COPY HERE

Track One – NO TOWN NO COUNTRY

The Dub Rifles kick off this collection of rare as hens teeth recordings taken from 1981-1984 with an upbeat corker that displays curt interplay between brass, guitar, bass journeys and solid-as-you like drums, this version being lifted straight form the master tapes which helps set the tone.

Track Two – STAND

A choppy, catchy brass riff with slow chanted vocals of ‘are you ready’ and moody booming backing grind and drive this one along and no wonder or real surprise that it was quickly snapped up for a Trouserpress/ROIR ‘Best of American Underground collection at that time – not bad for a Canadian outfit!

Track Three – DELICATE ACTION

Another moddy-powerpop classic in the making, jaunty arrangement, with Bowmans’ bass and Bertholets’ drums squeezing in more explosions among that solid Bryce guitar sound and the dual brass glory from Challenger and Brown. Just teeters on the edge of collapse yet strangley makes sense at the same time.

Track Four – MINE

One of several live recordings taken from Montreal circa 1984, ‘The sun sets in my street and I just choose to get on home’ saw the Dub Rifles venture further into modernist pop perfection with thoughts of even bringing in names such as Georgie Fame to assist on production duties during a studio trip to Toronto. We can only guess at how that would have played out!

Track Five – X

Really cannot get enough of this our fave standout track from this wonderful bunch! A seeming Motown/garage post-punk that is more catchy than a wicket keeper and lingers like a hot n spicey meal. A dark yet uplifting ode to those testing times in life in all of the ups and downs. Deep, personal and yet universal. Well crafted, well played and as we say here: toppermost. Artful, heartfelt and sincere, this really is a lost classic.

Track Six – PRODUCTION OF FUNDS

Free and scratchy funky-soul motion with a no-wave twist that digs at one of the big creative issue that won’t ever change, art versus cash! Remixed deftly by Colin Bryce from the master tapes and serves as a sublime snapshot form this entire era in terms of sonics with that James Brown meets MC5 glow.

Track Seven – TESTIFY

Taken from the BOOM E.P. A no nonsense, what you see is what you get, garage soul blaster. You can almost still smell the  fish soup, weed and patties from the room above the reggae record store that was HQ at the time.

Track Eight – CAFE OF THE FOR

The Two Tone influence is evident here, that mixes with a big punky guitar sound that somehow works against the lyrics of alienation, tedium and the like. Nifty brass stabs build and drift against the wall of sound from the guitar, bass and beat. Live and direct from Montreal 1984!

Track Nine – BOMB SHAKES THE DANCHALL

‘Bomb’ being a hand-drawn character from the sleeve of the first EP, etched into the Bryce imagination dancing on the death of Politics as we know it. Wild sax from Dave Brown ply against Clint Bowmans’ throbbing bass lines with Eloi Bertholet holding it all together with his fine skin-work and proves time and again on this collection that some drummers can also sing! Nice controlled feedback and flourishes from Colin Bryce on guitar and for some odd reason this somehow reminds me of a certain Boris the Spider???

Track Ten – FACE UP!

Another live treat form Montreal ‘84, tight and vibrant sounding, a band really at their peak with everything falling into place yet not sounding over-played and bland. The powerpop punky-funk spirit is alive and kicking here for sure! The balance is just prefect!

Track Eleven – TESTIFY (Live)

Another live alternative workout form Montreal ‘84,  with nice high energy !

Track Twelve – PUNCH

Rolling tom toms and floating  and whooping sax lines underpin this steady mid-tempo affair then at 2:20 all hell seems to let loose, nice!

Track Thirteen – PRODUCTION OF FUNDS (Live)

Another live alternative workout form Montreal ‘84,  with nice call and response and a bit of muttered swearing thrown in!

Track Fouteen – NUMBER ONE 

The virgin tune with refreshed remix, bright and poppy and likeable and illustrates the bands ability to sometimes push to the boundary of chaotic implosion yet veer nicely into complete control. A dancey ska infested beat, this track was much loved by CFRW and top DJ Lee Marshal in particular who even took in the odd live show. Has the familar sound of a lost classic. Some bright arsed advertising guru should grab this as a soundtrack pronto.

Track Fifteen – RELUCTANT HOST 

A tight locked in type of groove with a roots rocker vibe that bounces nicely along recalling youthful summer daze, partying with unwanted annoying guests that turn hosted fun parties into latent doss houses, with a superb guitar break and we really love that effective door slam at the end of the piece! Mighty! The art of gate-crashing is a fine thing!

Track Sixteen – OVER THE TOP

Another live take with a light anti-war guilding via Trenchtown with natty bugle calls in response to a bouncey backdrop.

Track Seventeen – X (Live)

More live mayhem from Montreal with this one comparing nicely alongside the tighter and cleaner studio version.

Track Seventeen – SEE YOU! 

And so ‘bye, bye!’ it is to this interesting and diverse assortment of tracks, sounds and styles that collide and smash but always cut a dash! This final track points what could have been the way ahead for this fine outfit, a more ‘feelgood’ raw rnb seemd to be looming with a subtle hint on display here.

My final thoughts are that this is a well thought out and well packaged VFM product that is an honest and warm snapshot to an underground era that chucked up an almost earnest, innocent way of making music that proudly wore its influences yet steered clear of simply copying them without filter. It therefore  shows that the sound clashed to provide new and inspiring versions that assimilated and embraced the traditional forms without being servants or slaves. That slight tension, twisting and distortion is what made bands like The Dub Rifles so much less bland that much of todays clone-like masses thats simply did not have the day to day struggles to draw from in the same way. Maybe thats a little over generalised but being original and hard to fathom is something to via for. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy of this one!

Sundowning Sound Recordings:

Canadian Music Encylopedia entry: 

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

More Posts - Website

June 23, 2014 By : Category : Features Front page Funk Garage Modernist Post-punk Reggae Reviews Soul Tags:, , , ,
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