Alex Chilton sings “Chet Baker Sings”!

chet-baker (quintaavenida.mus.br) alex_big_star_at_hyde_park_2 (acloserwalknola.com)

The voice of the Box Tops in the 60s. The man behind Big Star in the 70s. Solo cult classic in the 80s.

And during the last fifteen years before his untimely death in 2010, Alex Chilton revisited and recorded a handful of jazz standards, leaning heavily on songs from Chet Baker Sings, an album that made a lasting impression on seven-year-old Alex as he listened to it in his family’s suburban Memphis home…on a street called Robin Hood Lane. Thus, Songs From Robin Hood Lane, a 12-track collection of previously-unreleased performances and out-of-print rarities.

alexchilton-songsfromrobinhoodlane-cover (amazon.com)

Leading off with a loungy, flute ‘n’ organ rendition of “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” (not the 1964 Gerry and the Pacemakers song, but a 1946 Louis Jordan tune also done by Ray Charles in 1959), and a stripped-down, acoustic-guitar-and-voice-only “My Baby Just Cares for Me” (a hit for Nina Simone in 1958), Songs From Robin Hood Lane visits no less than six numbers originally recorded by jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker on Chet Baker Sings (1954) and Chet Baker Sings and Plays (1955). The similarities between Chilton’s and Baker’s romantic vocalizing become apparent as Alex and his backing musicians swing their way through “There Will Never Be Another You,” “That Old Feeling,” “Look for the Silver Lining,” “Time After Time,” and the classic “Let’s Get Lost.” Also on the bill are a guitar-ized version of Maynard Ferguson’s instrumental “Frame for the Blues,” and “All of You,” an amusing song popularized by Nick Apollo Forte as nightclub singer Lou Canova in Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose.

alexchilton-frommemphistoneworleans-cover (bar-none.com)

The album is out February 8 on Bar/None Records along with From Memphis To New Orleans, a compilation of material from Chilton’s 1980’s period including the charming Chilton original “Paradise”; his response to the AIDS crisis at the time, “No Sex”; a rockin’ tribute to the Dalai Lama that borrows from the beginning of “Secret Agent Man”; and covers of Carla Thomas’ “B-A-B-Y” and Ronny & The Daytonas’ car-rock staple “Little GTO.”

Unfortunately Alex won’t be touring behind these releases…let’s just say There Will Never Be Another Alex Chilton.

alex2 (theroundplaceinthemiddle.com)

 

Images courtesy quintaavenida.mus.br, acloserwalknola.com, amazon.com, bar-none.com, theroundplaceinthemiddle.com

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Artie Lamonica Changes Shirts

the shirts publicity use this one (ffanzeen.blogspot.com)         the shirts-album cover (discogs.com)

Once upon a time in the mid-seventies, there was a New York new wave band called The Shirts, sporting a sound that welded the guitars of Television to the keyboards and vocals of Elvis Costello & The Attractions. Formed in Brooklyn by Robert Racioppo and Artie Lamonica along with singer Annie Golden, the band gigged frequently at CBGB’s, and featured on two of the lengthier songs on the seminal Live at CBGB’s album. Their 1978 single “Tell Me Your Plans,” while remaining in the new wave underground here, went top five in Europe. Alongside several disbandings and reformings of The Shirts, songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Artie Lamonica is alive and well with his band Rome 56. Taking cues from later Shirts albums (2006’s Only the Dead Know Brooklyn and 2010’s The Tiger Must Jump), Rome 56 comes bounding into 2019 with a 5-track EP and an upcoming album.

rome56-band   rome56-artie

Last summer the band toured the U.K. and the Netherlands, more recently finishing up a season-long residency at Sidewalk in NYC’s East Village on December 22. Performing an eclectic collection of stuff from their albums (spanning 1999’s Sacred Avenue through the present) along with a Shirts tune or two (the lively, trumpet-infused “Spanish Steps” from Only the Dead Know Brooklyn), plus the seasonal “Coming Home for Christmas,” Lamonica and company bedazzled the cozy group of fans with their cool, Costello-ish vibes. Speaking to Mr. Lamonica after the set, he wholeheartedly agreed with the EC comparisons.

rome56-cover-sacredavenue (allmusic.com) rome56-cover-tripglasses (amazon.com) rome56-cover-impatientworld (amazon.com) rome56-cover-mashville (amazon.com) rome56-cover-unspokenword (itunes.apple.com)

rome56-stranger on a train cover (amazon.com)

Which brings us to Stranger on a Train, the latest Rome 56 offering. The EP kicks off with the urgent, guitar-driven title track and continues with the ominous “Coffin Song,” the catchy swing of the Kinks-like “Dirty Money,” and the timely “Web of Lies” (more Kinks influence – “Til the End of the Day” with sort of a Dire Straits feel, and the best of the five songs here). The band finishes up on the quiet side with “It’s Raining in Paris” (featuring keyboardist Kathy Lamonica on appropriately Parisian accordion). And if you missed any of their 2018 Sidewalk gigs, Rome 56 will be appearing there again January 25 at 7 pm. Come and check ’em out!

 

rome56-keep calm (store.cdbaby.com:artist:rome56)


Images courtesy ffanzeen.blogspot.com, discogs.com, amazon.com, allmusic.com, itunes.apple.com, store.cdbaby.com

Rome 56 band photos by me

Another year down the drain…

Top-100-Innovators

…which means it’s time for the Schizomusica Top 100 of 2018! Before New Year’s this time! With video links! (except two) and Spotify playlist link at the bottom! So Happy Holidaze!

  1. TIME SONG – The Kinks
  2. STANDING ON THE EDGE OF TOMORROW – The Damned
  3. CATATONIC – The Essex Green
  4. WHISPER – Richard Lloyd
  5. TOXIC – The Surfrajettes
  6. WE’RE SO NICE – The Damned
  7. 25 LINES – Elk City
  8. SMALL VICTORIES – The Lemon Twigs
  9. DISAPPEARING MAN – Byron Isaacs
  10. YOU KNOW HOW IT IS – Kero Kero Bonito
  11. D.R.U.N.K. – Shooter Jennings
  12. ADVICE TO THE PRESIDENT – Chandler Travis Philharmonic
  13. SLOANE RANGER – The Essex Green
  14. HOLD THAT THOUGHT – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
  15. WHAT’S DONE IS DONE – Jack White
  16. CONSEQUENCES – The Walk-A-Bout
  17. SONAR DECEIT – The Damned
  18. HEARTBREAKER – Rich Hope
  19. COOL LIKE YOU – Blossoms
  20. I WAS A FOOL – Sunflower Bean
  21. KIMI NO MIKATA – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
  22. DESOBEISSANCE – Mylène Farmer
  23. MAKE BELIEVE – Kero Kero Bonito
  24. SPARROW – Elk City
  25. ANGEL – Charles Lloyd & The Marvels with Lucinda Williams
  26. I’LL BE YOUR PILOT – Belle and Sebastian
  27. SINKING SANDS – Sunflower Bean
  28. CAUSE FOR CONCERN – De Lux
  29. THE 710 – The Essex Green
  30. TIEDUPRIGHTNOW – Parcels
  31. SKIN AND BONES – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
  32. HIGH HORSE – Kacey Musgraves
  33. WONDERIN’ WAYS – The Lemon Twigs
  34. WARRANTY – Meat Puppets
  35. WHY WON’T HEAVEN HELP ME? – Elvis Costello & The Imposters
  36. PROCRASTINATION – The Damned
  37. VOTE ’EM OUT – Willie Nelson
  38. WHEN SHE’S LOST YOUR MIND – Steve Barton
  39. YOUR GHOST – The Decemberists
  40. BAD LUCK – Neko Case
  41. FLYWAY – Kero Kero Bonito
  42. DAILY LIAR – The Damned
  43. THE SECOND SHIFT – Virginia Wing
  44. THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT GOES – The Walk-A-Bout
  45. BURNT SUGAR IS SO BITTER – Elvis Costello & The Imposters
  46. I CAN TELL – Richard Lloyd
  47. RIDE THE SLIDE – Elk City
  48. NAMELESS, FACELESS – Courtney Barnett
  49. ANGELS FLY – Gin Blossoms
  50. BEST FRIEND – Belle and Sebastian
  51. TOO MUCH TOO SOON – Sunshine & The Rain
  52. SING ME A SONG – Cowboy Junkies
  53. DIP YOU IN HONEY – The Wombats
  54. TIR HA MOR – Gwenno
  55. HI HELLO – Johnny Marr
  56. THINGS ARE LOOKING UP – The Walk-A-Bout
  57. QUEEN OF MY SCHOOL – The Lemon Twigs
  58. LOIS LANE – Franz Ferdinand
  59. EVERYBODY KNOWS – The Jayhawks
  60. DUST – Charles Lloyd & The Marvels with Lucinda Williams
  61. COME THROUGH – The Regrettes
  62. EVERYBODY’S INSECURE – Elk City
  63. THERE’S A LIGHT – Jonathan Wilson
  64. LITTLE RULE BREAKER – Steve Barton
  65. PUPPET STRINGS – Sunflower Bean
  66. SHE WORKS OUT TOO MUCH – MGMT
  67. DADDY’S FARM – Byron Isaacs
  68. PINK OCEAN – The Voidz
  69. ONLY IN THE DARK – Jesse Ainslie
  70. THUNDERCLOUDS – LSD (Labrinth, Sia & Diplo)
  71. NEVER KNOW – The Lemon Twigs
  72. TWENTYTWO – Sunflower Bean
  73. SPIN OUR WHEELS – Sloan
  74. FUTURE ME HATES ME – The Beths
  75. EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE FAMOUS – Superorganism
  76. I LOVE LA – Starcrawler
  77. DIRTY COMPUTER – Janelle Monáe (feat. Brian Wilson)
  78. DISAPPOINTMENT – Chandler Travis Three-O
  79. DARK SPRING – Beach House
  80. SUNSHINE ROCK – Bob Mould
  81. BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT – Melody’s Echo Chamber
  82. INVISIBLE FRIENDS – Justus Proffit & Jay Som
  83. WHEN THE CURTAIN FALLS – Greta Van Fleet
  84. YOUR DOG – Soccer Mommy
  85. MODERN RAIN – The Essex Green
  86. LA LUNE EST CROCHE – Michot’s Melody Makers
  87. SHADOW PEOPLE – The Limiñanas (feat. Emmanuelle Seigner)
  88. SUGAR & SPICE – Hatchie
  89. PSYCHIC LIPS – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
  90. GOLDENACRE – Hamish Hawk & The New Outfit
  91. PARTY LINE – The Surfrajettes
  92. IVANKA (THINGS YOU CAN’T HAVE) – Gang Of Four
  93. TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL & CASINO – Arctic Monkeys
  94. UP YOU – Rachel Taylor Brown
  95. HUMILITY – Gorillaz (feat. George Benson)
  96. DISAPPOINTING DIAMONDS ARE THE RAREST OF THEM ALL – Father John Misty
  97. MORE THAN THIS NIGHT – Chandler Travis Three-O
  98. LOVE’S GONE AGAIN – Starcrawler
  99. SNOW BOUND – The Chills
  100. IT COME ALIVE – Rich Hope

Countdown-style playlist (songs reversed) on Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/mscholl345/playlist/2KvTsdRooXldLEoonN6INl

Image up top courtesy clarivate.com

Happy 248th, Mr. Beethoven!

Beethoven-portrait-1 (thefactsite.com)

What were you doing on December 16, 1770? If you’re that old, you might recall a guy named Ludwig van Beethoven was born that day in Bonn, Germany. A little later on in 1824, the younger folks (!) certainly remember one of Mr. B’s works was performed for the first time in Vienna. He called it “Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125” (a.k.a. the “Choral Symphony”). Being a 20th century boy though, I only heard of Beethoven around 1967 from this dude:

Schroeder (papalouiefanon.wikia.com)

So back to the 9th…ominous stuff, that beginning movement, Allegro ma non troppo. Dark ’n’ stormy, to borrow the name of one of my favorite cocktails. The second movement, Molto vivace, is all vigorous, unstoppable rhythm and ghostly string echoes that make the music sound like it’s bouncing back and forth off massive mountains, in and out of vast valleys. Not even the liveliest of Mozart can rival it. Movement number three, Adagio molto e cantabile, the slow one, is indeed slow, but you can’t have the whole symphony without it. And it’s got an appropriately Beethoven-ish loud, pompous fanfare in the middle.

Finally, the famous last movement. Three minutes in, the familiar melody, nicknamed “Ode to Joy” after Friedrich Schiller’s poem, which makes up most of the “choral” text, creeps along as played by low, mysterious cellos and basses. The opera-esque choral portion is the centerpiece, followed by some real German beer-stein-swinging, and then, twenty-five minutes after the opening notes, the end. WOW. The ultimate piece of music. A symphony within a symphony, it’s been called.

DCINY - Beethoven 12-3-18 (facebook.com:DistinguishedConcertsInternationalNewYork:photos)

The colossal work was most recently performed by an equally colossal ensemble of some 300 musicians and vocalists called Distinguished Concerts International, at Carnegie Hall on December 3, 2018. Under the baton of Jonathan Griffith, the DCI orchestra and singers filled the venerable concert hall with so much intensity and jubilance that the hour-plus-long symphony seemed to pass by in a matter of minutes. And…to think Beethoven was deaf when he composed the whole thing. Amazing!

Happy 248th, Mr. B!

Beethoven-portrait-2 (threadless.com)


Images courtesy thefactsite.com, papalouiefanon.wikia.com, facebook.com/DistinguishedConcertsInternationalNewYork/photos, threadless.com

A couple of Richards (and their guitars) are back

That would be former Television member Richard Lloyd and Canadian garage-blues-rocker Rich Hope.

richard-lloyd-1 (huffingtonpost.com)rich-hope-vancouver-just-play-something-portrait (markmaryanovich.com)
Orange jackets rock!

rich-hope-i'm-all-yours-cover (richhope.bandcamp.com)

This fall saw the release of Rich Hope’s first album in nine years, a ten-song rock ’n’ roll romp entitled I’m All Yours. How about some good ol’ 1960s organ out of the Doors and “96 Tears” garages? Then nothing like “5 Cents a Dance” and album opener “It Come Alive” (uh, shouldn’t that be “I Come Alive”? Rich? Oh well). Like loud, uproarious stuff a la Mojo Nixon? Hope’s version of the Juke Boy Bonner B-side “Runnin’ Shoes” is for you. Straight-up, slow-cooked, searing blues? Dive into “Paranoia Blues” and “La Iguana.” Crazy, creepy voodoo stuff? “Creepstone” is your ticket. What about an obscure Flamin’ Groovies cover from that band’s earliest days in 1968? Yes, it’s “Golden Clouds” (and with a very cool video!). Feel like some easy-goin’ rockin’ soul? Go for “Blow Away.” Want your rockin’ soul with more horns and a rougher edge? Then it’s “Some Kind of Love.” Care for some extended slide guitar ecstasy? Last track “Heartbreaker”’ll do it. Rich Hope makes his home in Vancouver, British Columbia and has been churning out his hardcore brand of blues rock since 1998. Ya should also check out his debut record from that year, Good to Go.

Rich Hope. Nov 11/2016  Anza Club Vancouver, BC.

 

richard-lloyd-countdown-cover (schoolkidsrecords.com)

Meanwhile, Richard Lloyd – co-founder and co-guitarist of legendary NYC band Television – has come out with his eighth solo album, The Countdown. Leading off with “Wind in the Rain” and that trademark in-your-face riffing that defined Television’s classic Marquee Moon, Lloyd sings his songs of woe in a shaky baritone not unlike the late, great Warren Zevon. “Smoke” sounds like it could’ve perhaps fit onto Television’s second album Adventure; “So Sad” showcases Lloyd’s intact-as-ever guitar antics against a bleak backdrop; first single “Whisper” does anything but, as it chugs along in fine Richard Lloyd power-pop style (including a chorus of “Oh forever”s that beg to be sung along to); “I Can Tell,” one of the album’s best tracks, continues the delightful power-pop groove; the touching moments of “Just My Heart” and “Something Remains” intertwine with more classic Lloyd guitarism; “Down the Drain” is another fun, rockin’ sing-along, uh, for those who think they’ve lost everything; and the playful title song “Countdown” is just that, a countdown – with space-travel phrases galore – as Mr. Lloyd and his band (Nashville session men Dave Roe on bass and Steve Ebe on drums) blast off into the rock-osphere…

richard-lloyd-2 (ughmylifeissohard.wordpress.com:Marcia Resnick)

 

Images courtesy huffingtonpost.com, markmaryanovich.com, richhope.bandcamp.com, finetuned.ca/FineTuned Vancouver Photography, schoolkidsrecords.com, ughmylifeissohard.wordpress.com/Marcia Resnick

It came from Louisiana!

louisiana-tourism-map-the-pelican-state-attractions (alizah.co)

jerry-reed-amos-moses-1970-4 (45cat.com)

Back in 1970, Jerry Reed unleashes “Amos Moses,” a mighty hot ’n’ spicy tale about a Cajun alligator hunter, and it’s on my plastic turntable the following year. Not long after, Creedence Clearwater Revival enters my playlists, the best part being John Fogerty’s bluesy, gritty voice. What is he, Cajun, or does he just try to sound that way? Especially on “Bootleg” (or “Boo-lay” as he sings it). “Born on the Bayou” is even more intense, with its hot gumbo of guitars stomping through the dense swamps in the summer heat. When the immortal Captain Beefheart comes along, “Clear Spot” stands out, stomping through the swamp again as only the surrealist, swashbuckling Don Van Vliet can. But wait – none of those guys are actually from Louisiana. Reed was born in Georgia; Fogerty and Van Vliet in California. So let’s move on to some authentic Louisianans…

DrJohn-InTheRightPlace-vinyl (guitarcenter.com)  Beausoleil-ZydecoGrisGris-vinyl (musicstack.com)  Buckwheat-Zydeco-Taking-It-Home (discogs.com)

DrJohn (blissandmischief.com)

Mac Rebennack! The Night Tripper! New Orleans’ own Dr. John. His hit “Right Place, Wrong Time” (containing the lyric “brain salad surgery” before ELP adopt it for their album title) and semi-hit “Such a Night” make their way into my records and radio along there in the ’70s. Around 1980something, after seeing the film The Big Easy, I pick up Zydeco Gris-Gris by Lafayette group Beausoleil, the title track featuring in the movie’s opening credits. Next, a Buckwheat Zydeco album…and how about that TV show The Cajun Cook, hosted by the very entertaining Justin Wilson (pronounced “Juice’tan Wil’sone”), which conveniently appears around this time? Cajun rules! I gar-on-tee!

justin-wilson-cajun-chef (ritalovestowrite.com-Smoking Meat Forum)

MMM-Blood-Moon-cover (michotsmelodymakers.bandcamp.com)

Now in 2018, another Lafayette band called Michot’s Melody Makers is out and about with their debut Blood Moon. Led by Louis Michot, lead singer and fiddler of the Grammy-winning Lost Bayou Ramblers, the Melody Makers stomp through the swamp with a collection of contemporary, amped-up renditions rooted in French-Louisiana fiddle and “pre-accordion” Cajun and Creole music. If Blood Moon’s opener “Two-Step de Ste. Marie” doesn’t get you moving as it bulldozes through its drum/fiddle/triangle riff, nothing will. “Grand Marais” continues the party, after which “Dans Les Pins” (“In the Pines”) comes creeping in. The high-steppin’ energy is back with “Allons Tous Boire Un Coup” and “Blues de Neg Francais,” then…“La Lune Est Croche”! One of the album’s best tracks, melding traditional instrumentation with modern rock vocals. Imagine Ozzy transplanted from his classic black magick metal to the voodoo and graveyards of New Orleans! And singing in French of course.

LucindaWilliams1 (allmusic.com:David McClister)

Meanwhile, over in Lake Charles, a woman named Lucinda Williams appears and proceeds to make marvelous music throughout the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, right up to today. And on November 7, 2018 she arrives at NYC’s Beacon Theatre for one of twelve select dates (in ten cities) of the Car Wheels on a Gravel Road 20th Anniversary Tour. With her backing band Buick 6 (guitarist Stuart Mathis, bassist David Sutton, and drummer Butch Norton), plus special guest keyboardist Roy Bittan of E Street Band fame and special guest guitarist/harmonica-ist Steve Earle (both of whom played on and co-produced Car Wheels), Ms. Williams performs the album in its entirety, beginning with an intriguingly off-time “Right in Time” and ending with the heartfelt moaning of “Jackson.” And since the album itself is so good, the set plays like a collection of greatest hits.

LucindaWilliams-CarWheels-cover (allmusic.com)

With little anecdotes about how each song came into existence – the best being how “I Lost It” was inspired by Williams’ annoyance at the proliferation of bumper stickers along the highway proclaiming “I Found It!” – the experience is more like hanging out with Lucinda in her living room than watching her from a dark theater seat high above a stage. Other great songs with great intros: “Metal Firecracker” (the “metal firecracker” was her band’s tour bus), “Joy” (came to mind while driving long distances alone), “Lake Charles” (about a guy who, among other things, made a mean pot of gumbo), and the title song (Lucinda’s father, the late poet Miller Williams, told her the little kid in the song, in the back seat of a car, was actually her – “little bit of dirt mixed with tears”).  And what? They couldn’t find an actual “gravel road” for the album cover, so they had to use a stock photo? Yes, we learn that – and probably way more than we need to know – as Lucinda and Buick 6 rock on through the evening.

Lucinda-Beacon-Buick6                                 l-r: Sutton, Norton, Williams, Mathis (photo by me)

Following Car Wheels, Williams solos on 2016’s “Ghosts of Highway 20,” then brings the band back (minus Bittan and Earle) for a handful of stuff from her other albums including “Those Three Days” and “Righteously” (her only song to appear in karaoke books, a distinction she seems quite proud of) from 2003’s World Without Tears; “Dust” (based on one of her dad’s poems) from The Ghosts of Highway 20; a nice, crunchy version of “Essence” from the 2001 album of that name; and the crowd-riling, fist-raising “Foolishness” from the 2014 release Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. Encore-wise, a jazz collaboration (with Charles Lloyd, who does not make an appearance); the Grammy-winning “Get Right With God” from Essence; and, with Mr. Bittan returning to his keys, the grand finale: Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising.”

Okay, meetcha down bayou at the crawfish boil…

crawfish-boil-karl-wagner (pixels.com)

 

Images courtesy alizah.co, 45cat.com, guitarcenter.com, musicstack.com, discogs.com, blissandmischief.com, ritalovestowrite.com/Smoking Meat Forum, michotsmelodymakers.bandcamp.com, allmusic.com/David McClister, pixels.com/Karl Wagner

Beacon Theatre videos courtesy YouTube/choops4683 and mr2bur; other Lucinda Williams videos courtesy Lucinda Williams YouTube channel

Evil Spirits? Yup, it’s that time of year

Graveyard-zombies-evil-spirits (warriorsofmyth.wikia.com)

Who’d a thought…42 years after acquiring the distinction of being the first British punk band to release a single, the breakneck-tempo love song of sorts “New Rose,” the Damned would still be at it – and sounding as vital as ever. Yes, this past April the band released their eleventh album, Evil Spirits, and this month they put in an appearance at Irving Plaza in NYC. Their usual Halloween-season show, though a bit earlier this year. (remember this one? from way back when Schizomusica was just learning to crawl)

The-Damned-colour (burningflame.net)

The-Damned-Evil-Spirits-cover (amazon.com)

The new-ish album is a brisk, ten-song trip that PopMatters describes as sounding like “a band stretching out and having fun in a studio, under the watchful eye of someone who is accustomed to working with mavericks and outcasts.” That someone is Tony Visconti, venerable producer of many a David Bowie record, who’s certainly elicited some top-notch creations out of this bunch of mavericks and outcasts. Lead-off track “Standing On the Edge of Tomorrow” is classic, gothic, Dave-Vanian-sung Damned, almost bringing to mind the faster side of…the Moody Blues? And it’s got a knockout sci-fi-themed video. Following are songs composed by various Damned members, the best being “We’re So Nice,” “Sonar Deceit” (both written and sung by guitarist Captain Sensible, the latter adopting a nice 60s-Supremes-style beat – with horns even); “Look Left” (by drummer Pinch and touring bassist Jon Priestley – as opposed to recording bassist Paul Gray – and with another great video); the theme song for myself and many people I know, “Procrastination” (penned by Sensible and keyboardist Monty Oxymoron – so lots of cool organ going on); and the 6-minute, trumpet-infused Vanian/Sensible monster “Daily Liar” (now who could that be referring to?). And check out the cover art: a film-noir movie poster motif down to the listing of the band members’ names – big last name, small first name.

 

The-Damned-stage-logo-2

October 18th brought the Damned to NYC once again, for a set studded with classics, not-so-classics, and a few soon-to-be-classics from Evil Spirits – against a backdrop showcasing the shadowy “man in the doorway” figure on the album cover. Kicking off with “Nasty,” the number the band performed back in the mid-80s on Brit TV comedy The Young Ones, the set seemed to lean heavily not on material from the new record (“Standing On the Edge of Tomorrow,” “Devil in Disguise,” and “We’re So Nice” – nothing more), but on the 1980 release The Black Album – including four in a row early on, plus the single “History of the World (Part 1)” and an abbreviated rendition of the epic “Curtain Call.” Rounding out the main set were “Stranger on the Town” from 1982’s Strawberries, the ’86 single “Eloise” (a cover of a 1968 Brit-hit by Paul Ryan), the always-appropriate-nowadays “Democracy?” from 2001’s Grave Disorder, and a healthy helping of good ol’ punk rock like “Love Song,” “Neat Neat Neat,” and of course “New Rose” (which they dedicated to ‘Joey’ – Ramone I would imagine).

The-Damned-b&w (arena.com:The Damned)     l-r: Monty Oxymoron, Paul Gray, Dave Vanian, Pinch, wot! Mike Love?

The spectacular encores – two of ’em – couldn’t help but drive the Irving Plaza crowd to ear-gasm: “Curtain Call,” the rowdy sing-along “Ignite,” “Street of Dreams” (the opener from 1985’s Phantasmagoria), and hands-down the best Damned song ever, “Smash It Up.” But the charm of the Damned goes beyond their amazing songs. After singing lead on “Silly Kids Games,” the affable Captain Sensible quipped, “They let me sing one song each gig…like Ringo…like Ringo without the money! But, big noses!” At the end of the show Sensible and Vanian each thanked the audience for “putting up with him” (pointing at each other), at which point the Captain mentioned he’d been working with Mr. Vanian for 42 years. Yikes. Punk rock is old! So once again…OLD GUYS ROCK.

vintage_halloween_rock_n_roll_skeleton_w_guitar (zazzle.com)                                                                   (wait, that’s a little too old)

 

Images courtesy warriorsofmyth.wikia.com, burningflame.net, amazon.com, me, arena.com/The Damned, zazzle.com

YouTube videos courtesy Good999Music, TheDamnedVEVO (© 2018 The Damned, under exclusive license to Universal Music Operations Limited), The Damned, Casey Purdy, Chuck Friendly, Ace Records Ltd