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Mohair Sweets – Scenester Reviews

Dream Filled Nights

An EP of four highly varied works from Mohair Sweets, the eponymous title track has a languorous opening, but soon settles into the sort of hard, gutsy driving blues/rock riff and throaty vocal MS fans will be more familiar with. ‘Black Leather Jacket’s traditional rock ‘n’ roll will please the no-nonsense heads down brigade, but where the EP really hits its stride, is in ‘Blues For Bobby’, a churning vortex of sound with bongos and trumpet rounding out this funk/jazz maelstrom, that even takes on techno – and wins – before its crazed keyboard demise. With this hard track to follow, ‘Mr. Sinclair’ manages it pretty well, the muted staccato guitar barking over frantic drumming, evoking the spirit of arch 70’s space-rock.

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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January 4, 2017 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Rock Tags:, ,
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Mohair Sweets reviewed by Scenester

Mohair Sweets

You Better Read Before You Sign (CD Mohair #01)

Sandwiched in between the wheezy grind of the hurdy-gurdy, an unsettling narrative about a vicious murderer,  and peppered with piano tinkling and ghostly skip-rope whipping, we’re treated to two slices of dirty, fuzzy blues of a distinctly late 60’s strain in ‘You Better Read Before You Sign’ and ‘The Green Light’. With a voice that’s sounds like it’s had more than its fair share of trouble, the title track’s sage advice is laid down over a classic supporting cast of troubled keyboard wash, subtle drum and sweet and sour lead guitar, the latter supplying a lead out solo that wrenches out every fibre of resentment and regret it can find. Close on this track’s worn down heels, ‘The Green Light’ leaps in, a full throated vocal declaiming over an 18-wheeler of a riff that doesn’t let up, even in the mean-faced lead breaks.

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 2, 2015 By : Category : Blues Front page Music Punk Reviews Rock 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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DozenQ – Tav Falco

TAV on the Radio http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=MJVXvPNQlCQ&NR=1 TAV at his best
This entry is part 1 of 20 in the series DozenQ 2

In his work as a visual artist, writer and rock and roll musician Tav Falco has crafted an immediately recognizable blend of all things unique, visionary, familiar and yet obscure, dark/light and straight up stylish and rockin’. His recent book – Ghosts Behind the Sun: Splendor, Enigma & Death (Creation Books) – is a trip through the city of Memphis’ history that is part Falco biography, surreal fiction, crime noir and hipster gutter trawl. Fact mingles with hallucination and Tav pins the throttle.

If Tav comes to town with his Unapproachable Panther Burns combo or to do a book reading and presentation be sure not to miss it. They don’t often come as cool as Mr. Falco…

01 The book (Ghosts Behind the Sun: Splendor, Enigma & Death) was fabulous. I have to say though that some of the folks scared the bejeezus out of me – and I’m not talking here more about the wild ones from a hundred years ago either! My guess is there were more than a few dark, hot and humid nights that you found your pace quicken on a walk home?

Although I am now far away, the dark nights and steamy red/gray dawns of Memphis by the torrential Mississippi still haunt me… the world ends at dawn, right?

02 I’d like to ask you a little about motorbikes. My guess is you don’t have one now, or do you? Further to that, any interest in vintage scooters?

Just sold a 1969 Norton Commando to Germany, but I’ve already placed a deposit on a black & beige 1961 Norton Dominator 99 in England. I’m an inveterate Norton rider, though there is a place in the stable for a late 60s BSA Thunderbolt and an early 50s Triumph Speed Twin. For a mid-60s Lambretta 150, I once drove from Paris to L’Aquila (The Eagle), Italy (now destroyed by earthquake). I spent a summer with the scooter in Ljubljana. It was a fun machine with great character.

03 While a percentage of your audience and fan base are more than likely familiar with the artistic concepts behind Panther Burns, those that aren’t – at least as far as I see it – are still getting a heck of a rockin’ combo on top of some of the more heady ideas.  What are your feelings on that component of your audience and how much your skill as a musician has developed?

Panther Burns are a vision. It is an Orphic vision… not of the cosmos, nor of the mystic and the airy heavens, but a vision of the underground, of the unconscious where dark waters swirl. We have one song to sing, and we sing it different ways: with a hoodoo gait, or with the shimmer of falling moonlight over burning mansions, or with the sensual curve of a farewell embrace as the master rides off to battle with coat tails flying, never to be seen again….

04 Well then it completely makes sense that you and your musical contributors also have a taste for vintage and exotic guitars. What is the story behind that beautiful black Hofner of yours anyway? I admit to have been admiring it from afar for a great many years now.

My association with the Höfner violin-shaped 6-string guitar began rather early in the trajectory of Panther Burns. The first one I played was found in a Memphis attic around 1980 by a guitarist in the Randy Band. It was brown. I bought it and played it for awhile. Then I traded it for a Gretsch (seen on the Red Devil record cover). The Gretsch hardly had the sound and character of the Höfner, and when I saw a black one appear in a vintage shop in Memphis, I pounced on it. The black Höfner has the same factory installed active, push-button fuzz tone and treble boost that the brown one had. The guitar has become the signature sound of the Panther Burns, and I have not played another guitar over the past 30 years. It has a neck like a baseball bat, but it is an indestructible German workhorse.

05 Ghosts Behind the Sun discusses a number of the great Memphis music legends, are there any new things coming out of Memphis that you have heard lately that piqued your interest?

Sam Phillips, I once heard say that Nashville has a great thing going, but Memphis will always be a place for innovation. Let’s put it this way: in my mind, the Blues are eternal, and Saturday nights on Beale St., there will always be somebody picking a guitar on the corner or in a back alley evoking the twangs of love lost and won, of a working stiff’s misery, of the whip of the boss man, of the moans of hungry children, of mean women and the curse of betrayal, of dice tumbling in a leather horn, of the reaching arm of the law, of the pleasures of the brothel, and the laughter and tears of the Devil’s own music.

06 Your new home of Vienna is famous for a number of things including cafes. Have you found one that you can call your own?

Of the many cafés and Kaffehäuser in merry, sinister old Vienna, I have a number of favorites. If I were to name one that is my Stammcafe or regular haunt, I would say Café Central in the 1st district. It is a part of the neo-Gothic Palais Ferstil with vaulted high ceilings, enamel inlays, geometric frescoes, and lofty paintings of faded nobility. There is a fleet of waiters or Kellners scurrying over the parquet floors, serving coffee, champagne, and chocolate on small silver trays along with tasty, yet affordable meals. The Viennese tortes served there are exquisite. One can hardly be surprised that Café Central was the Stammcafe of choice by Sigmund Freud and his coterie of psychoanalysts. A place for camaraderie, it was the café where Leon Trotsky played his habitual games of chess, while the Viennese pooh-poohed his dreams of revolution.

07 Sounds fabulous. Of course you have also lived in some pretty diverse places including Paris and New York but what intrigues me too is your time spent in Buenos Aries. How did that all come about?

What drew me to Buenos Aires was the lure of the Tango, which I still dance religiously. In the words of Isadora Duncan in 1916 when she visited Argentina,
“My first steps were timid, but the feeling of the languid music caused my body to respond to the voluptuousness of the dance. Soft as a caress, toxic as love under the midday sun, cruel and dangerous as a tropical forest.”

08 Let’s get back to motorcycles here for a moment… Full face helmet? Half helmet and goggles? Gloves? I imagine driving in old cities like Paris and Vienna being quite a challenge in comparison to the open highways of the south. Apart from you are certainly less likely to run into an armadillo of course…

Although the occasional armadillo crossing the road can prove to be a daunting hazard, one thing I do miss about Arkansas is riding the unfettered, leafy back roads. In Europe riding the country lanes on my Norton Dominator 99 is kind of like a sultry burn through Camelot.  For a short burn say around the Ringstrasse of Vienna or a fast burn around the Trocadéro, I wear a half-helmet with a leather chinstrap leather gloves, and aviator goggles. For a medium run over the Höhenstrasse (High Road), a scenic road built in 1937 through the Vienna Woods overlooking the city, I put on a jet-helmet that is black with a white center stripe. For long hauls at maximum thrust, I wear a solid white full coverage casque and put on long gauntlet gloves. Invariably, I ride wearing the black and silver trimmed net-vest of the PBMC (Panther Burns Motorcycle Club).

09 Do you miss the comfort food of the south very often or was that never really your thing?

If you mean God’s own watermelon, Yes.

10 Ghosts Behind the Sun has been out a good 7 or 8 months now. I know you have mixed up readings with a photo display and even screenings of your video work and a performance by Panther Burns. Probably a bit hard to get a rock and roll crowd to be quiet during a reading, no?

Reading in London at Rough Trade Records East on May 30th, you could hear a pin drop. Geoff Travis, president of RT, was there and can attest to that.

11 Could you see yourself moving back to the US at some point or is life in Europe somehow better suited to your interests?

Life in Europe holds the utmost fascination, and I am living in a neutral country far removed from the aggression of war profiteering and the poisonous campaigns of Monsanto.

12 What’s next musically and artistically, if that isn’t gonna give too much away?

Presently I am editing my new 16mm film, URANIA DESCENDING: an intrigue featuring VIA KALI and KARL-HEINZ von RIEGL. Set in the old world of Vienna on the Danube, the narrative follows the precipitous descent of an American innocent who falls into discreet, yet decadent dalliances at Hotel Orient and her ultimate submersion beneath the dark, swirling waters of Lake Atter.

Photo: Via Kali

LINKS

Tav on Myspace

Nice Fan Site

PERSONNEL

  • Perry Michael Allen: keyboards, backing vocals: 1995
  • David Berger — drums: 2002
  • Barri Bob — percussion, rhythm guitar: some 1980s gigs
  • Orazio Brando — guest guitarist: 2005
  • Roy Brewer — violin: 1980s and 1990s
  • Benny Carter — drums: 1994
  • Grégoire Cat (real name: Grégoire Garrigues) — lead guitar: early 2000s onwards
  • Ben Cauley (also of The Bar-Kays) — trumpet: 1990s
  • Raymond Cavaioli — lead guitar: some 1980s gigs
  • Alex Chilton (aka L X Chilton) — lead guitar: 1979–early 1980s and occasional appearances thereafter; produced several of the albums
  • Rene Coman (also of The Iguanas/New Orleans) — bass: early to mid-1980s and occasionally thereafter
  • Peter Dark (also of Bellmer Dolls, real name: Peter Mavrogeorgis) — guitar: early 2000s; 2011
  • Jim Dickinson — producer and keyboardist: occasionally 1980s and 1990s
  • Peter Dopita — singing saw: 1991
  • Jim Duckworth (also of The Gun Club) — drums: 1981, lead guitar: early 1980s & 1989
  • Doug Easley — bass: occasionally
  • Ron Easley (aka Durand Mysterion; also of the Country Rockers) — lead guitar: 1980s and 1990s sporadically; producer: 1989
  • James Enck (later of Linda Heck and the Train Wreck) — lead guitar: 1984, 1991 (appears on bass on “Cuban Rebel Girl” from the “1984” cassette release)
  • Kai Eric (aka Red West) — bass: mid-1980s–2000 on most tours except some in the South U.S.
  • Tav Falco — band leader, lead vocals, guitar: since 1979
  • Cyd Fenwick — backing vocals, dancing: 1979– 1981
  • Kitty Fires 1 (real name: Sue Easley) — backing vocals: 1984; Kitty Fires 2 (different woman) — guitar: 2000
  • Bob Fordyce (also of the Odd Jobs) — drums: 1989
  • Doug Garrison (also of The Iguanas/New Orleans) — drums: 1996
  • Diane Green (also of The Hellcats/Memphis and the Odd Jobs) — theatrics, tambourine, dancing: occasional 1980s appearances
  • Alex Greene (also of Big Ass Truck and Reigning Sound) — organ: 1989–1990
  • Jim Harper — snare drum: 1981
  • Mark Harrison — guitar: 1984–1985
  • Linda Heck (later of Linda Heck and the Train Wreck) — bass: 1984
  • Jessie Mae Hemphill — snare drum: 1981
  • Eric Hill — synthesizer: 1979–1980; 1989
  • Douglas Hodges (aka Tall Cash) — drums: 2001–2002
  • Teenie Hodges — lead guitar: 1990s
  • Michael Hurt (also of The Royal Pendletons) — bass: 1999
  • Rick Ivy — trumpet: 1979
  • Cathy Johnson — backing vocals, dancing: 1979–1981
  • Ross Johnson — drums: since 1979 on a number of albums
  • Amanda Jones — backing vocals: 1984
  • Jules Jones -artistic collaborator for publicity flyers and costumes, Backing vocals in studio and live shows 1979
  • Via Kali — tango dancer at live shows: 2006 onwards
  • Kye Kennedy — lead guitar: mid-1980s touring
  • Gabriele Kepplinger — backing vocals: 1991
  • Little Victor — guitar, harmonica: 2005
  • Laurent Lanouzière — bass: 2002 onwards
  • Michael Lo (real name: Michael Rafalowitch) — bass: early 2000s
  • Andrew Love (also of The Memphis Horns) — saxophone: 1990s
  • Vickie Loveland — backing vocals: 1991
  • Tammo Lüers — guitar: 1995
  • Randall Lyon — theremin: 1991
  • Olivier Manoury — bandoneon: 1995
  • Bob Marbach — piano: 1991, 1995
  • Lisa McGaughran (aka Lisa Burnette on one compilation; also of The Hellcats/Memphis) — backing vocals, bass: 1984–1990
  • Ron Miller — bass: early 1980s
  • Jack Oblivian — bass, organ: 2000
  • Warren Scott (Band’s agent) 1980s
  • Robert Palmer — clarinet: 1989
  • Giovanna Pizzorno (also of The Hellcats/Memphis) — drums: first sporadic tours began 1986; steady member since early 2000s
  • Jon Ramos — bass: 2002
  • George Reinecke (also of Busted Flush) — lead guitar: 1980s and 1990s
  • Will Rigby (also of The dB’s, Steve Earle) — drums: 1980, 1999
  • Jimmy Ripp — guitar: 1983
  • Roland Robinson — bass: 1992
  • Kurt Ruleman — drums: 1984–1989
  • Raffaele Santoro — keyboards: 2010 onwards
  • Harris Scheuner — drums: 1989
  • Jim Sclavunos — drums: since about 1982 on a few albums, beginning with Blow Your Top
  • Jim Spake — saxophone: 1991
  • Brendan Lee Spengler — keyboards: 2000
  • Ken Stringfellow — bass: 2011
  • Nokie Taylor — trumpet: 1991, 1995
  • Nina Tischler — backing vocals: 1991
  • Lorette Velvette (real name: Lori Greene; also of The Hellcats/Memphis and The Kropotkins) — backing vocals: 1984–1990; guitar: 1984 briefly
  • Misty White (also of The Hellcats/Memphis and Alluring Strange) — drums: 1988
  • Vincent Wrenn — synthesizer: 1979–1980
  • Abe Young — bass drum: 1981

DISCOGRAPHY

  • Behind the Magnolia Curtain, 1981 (re-released 1994 and 2011)
  • Blow Your Top EP, 1983 (re-released 1994 and 2011)
  • Now, 1984
  • Shake Rag, 1985
  • Sugar Ditch Revisited EP, 1985 (re-released 1994)
  • Swamp Surfing in Memphis (various artists), 1986
  • The World We Knew, 1987
  • Play New Rose for Me (various artists), 1987
  • Red Devil, 1988 (re-released 1994)
  • Live Atlanta Metroplex 10-3-87, 1988
  • Midnight in Memphis (live), 1989
  • Return of the Blue Panther, 1990
  • Life Sentence in the Cathouse, 1992
  • Unreleased Sessions, 1994 (recorded 1980)
  • Deep in the Shadows, 1994
  • Shadow Dancer, 1995
  • Disappearing Angels, 1996
  • 2 Sides of Tav Falco, 1996
  • Love’s Last Warning, 1996 (best of collection)
  • Shadow Angels & Disappearing Dancers, 1997
  • Panther Phobia, 2000
  • Live at Subsonic, 2002
  • CONJURATIONS: Séance for Deranged Lovers, 2010

 

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 : Art Blues Cult Culture DozenQ Features Front page Garage Heroes Interviews Literature Music Rockabilly Tags:, , , ,
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