Thursday, June 24, 2021

"Warm Fuzz" Video!

 

I had some leftover footage from the "Big Daddy Pane" video, so I saved it for this final song/video from The Dick Bennett ep.  I also added footage of warm fuzzy things like my guitar amp, my cat, and a blanket.  My work buddy Mariah is an actress, so she was gracious enough to appear in the video and also shoot the footage of me with the blanket on my head.  As usual, the video was fun to make!  Not bad for still getting by with a broken camcorder!

For more fun, read Edna's Employment Agency!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

New Recording!: "Warm Fuzz"

Since I recorded the other three songs from the Dick Bennett ep by Yeast?, I figured I might as well do them all.  I like "Warm Fuzz", but it is not a song I play often.  If I remember correctly, it ended up on that first Yeast? 7" because Damon, our bass player, championed it and it was short so it would round out the ep nicely for the remaining space available.  For this recording, I used the pipe organ keyboard, which I am becoming more and more fond of it, and some Malcolm McLarenesque whispery spoken background vocals (like the wacky stuff he did on The Great Rock And Roll Swindle soundtrack by The Sex Pistols).  I was happy enough with the results that I think I am going to record a couple of more tracks and then make a little album out of these rerecordings of the early songs.  The tracks do sound nice together.  You can get a feel for this by listening to them in order on my Soundcloud page, though I doubt that will be the final arrangement of the tracks, as some songs benefit from being next to other songs.  As for "Warm Fuzz", it is a simple song about wanting to get to sleep, though one can also interpret it sexually as well.  The "Say hello to never" line in the song is a reference to The Velvet Underground  as they use that line in "After Hours".  Ben And Jerry's ice cream was not as well-known back in the early 1990s, but it, like a warm blanket, can be very soothing (and, no, sadly they have never paid me for giving them a shoutout, not even a free ice cream cone, but on the upside, they also never complained about their ice cream being linked with a scruffy punk band).  And, speaking of punk, I was listening to the Peter Laughner box set recently and started thinking about the top ten punk scenes of the 1970s (clearly, there are times when I need better things to do).  I concluded the following:

1) Detroit/Ann Arbor, Michigan USA:  It seemed like Iggy Pop was ultimately dang near responsible for everything, but the MC5 and others also lit the flame with protopunk.

2) NYC, USA:  CBGB is well-known for birthing such classic punk rock as The Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith, and more, but the city also spawned a lot of proto-punk from The Velvets to The New York Dolls.  Most people would probably choose this as #1, but Iggy And The Stooges's influence, even here, made me go with Detroit (and rankings like this are just silly fun anyway).

3) London, England, U.K.:  Iggy hung out here (Raw Power), and there was also the link between The New York Dolls and Malcolm McLaren that proved important in birthing The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, and all the rest of what seemed to be the biggest punk scene in the 1970s.

4) Los Angeles, California, USA:  I was always puzzled why L.A. developed such a great punk scene, and then I remembered that Iggy was there for a couple of years in the early 1970s.  I read a book about this scene and was amazed that it was even more vibrant then I suspected from X to The Dickies to Black Flag.

5) San Francisco, California, USA:  This was the puzzler.  There is no direct link to Iggy here.  The best I can figure is that The Dils moved up to San Fran from L.A. and S.F. has always been weird anyway, so it didn't take much to fuel a great scene with bands such as The Dead Kennedys and Flipper.

6) Cleveland/Akron/Kent, Ohio USA:  Somewhat forgotten, but this was a great scene from Devo to The Dead Boys to Pere Ubu to The Cramps, and many more.  Even the lesser known bands like The Pagans were pretty great.  A lot of them eventually split town (Chrissie Hynde went to London, Devo to L.A., and The Dead Boys to NYC, for example).  The proximity to Detroit no doubt helped, but NYC bands often played their earliest out of town gigs in Cleveland (for example, Television), helping to develop this scene.

7) Manchester, England, U.K.:  The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Fall, and many more great bands came from here.  This seemed to be the first city the London bands played outside London (for example, The Sex Pistols), so they no doubt spread the music there.  Once inspired, Manchester took it from there (and, beyond the 1970s, to The Smiths to The Happy Mondays to Oasis, and so on).

8) Sydney, Australia:  The furthest flung of the great early punk scenes, this outpost in the Southern Hemisphere produced some great music.  It seemed to somewhat stem from a guy moving from Detroit who was a big Stooges fan, Deniz Tek, who formed Radio Birdman.  He found fertile soil apparently resulting in bands such as The Saints (originally from Brisbane but they moved to Sydney), Midnight Oil, and even INXS (heck, you could make an argument for AC/DC being somewhat punk if you wanted to as The Sydney scene seemed to have a diversity of sonic approaches akin to the CBGB bands in NYC, though arguably the best Australian punk band, The Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party, was from Melbourne).  You could also argue that Tek just poured gasoline on the fire, but whatever happened, it made for some notable music.

9) Washington, DC USA:  Bad Brains is probably the only band really cooking in the 1970s (Minor Threat would emerge in the early 1980s, though their predecessor The Teen Idles were active in 1979), but the seeds for the whole Dischord scene that would prove to be very influential on subsequent punk were already sown then (would Black Flag be as remembered as fondly if they had never stopped by D.C. and picked up Henry Rollins for their singer?).  

and 10) Anyplace, Anywhere:  Yeah, yeah, you can make arguments for Minneapolis, Paris, Belfast/Londonderry, Austin, Chicago, Boston, and so on to rank on this list instead of one of the scenes listed, but they're all here because punk rock was an idea in the 1970s (now it's kind of a cliche and dumb, but then it was a refreshing response to the excesses of the 1960s politically and culturally as well as a semi-sane response to growing up in a post-Vietnam War, post-Watergate, stagflation, fifteen minutes away from a nuclear apocalypse, etc. world) that took root whenever even one person in a small town decided to do it yourself, and the best local punk scene in the 1970s, like any scene, was always the local one that one was involved in directly.

Anyway, Peter Laughner's dead and it's time to bed, hoping that some more great music is just around the corner because it sure feels like 1975 again lately.  

To hear the original version of "Warm Fuzz", get the Dick Bennett ep

Sunday, June 6, 2021

"Big Daddy Pane" Video!

 

Since the camcorder is on the fritz, this video was a bit more challenging to make, but I still had a good time making it; I hope that you have fun watching it also!  Like the last two videos, this song is from the Dick Bennett 7", so the record makes an appearance.  I don't normally play "Warm Fuzz", the remaining song from the 7", but since I have rerecorded the other three, I might as well go for a full sweep and rerecord it next.  The many birds in this video was accidental, but it does relate to jailbirds and wanting to fly free out of a cage, I suppose.  If you want to make a Spotify playlist out of Yeast?, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Big Daddy Kane after watching this video, then please invite me to your next dance party as you sound like fun!  

For more fun, read Edna's Employment Agency!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Fashion Plant!

 

The Russo Brothers were holding a film festival, and I had a free Friday night, so I made a video about the secret life of a houseplant.  There were 700 or so entries (you can watch some on their Twitter account).  This probably ranked #699 (#700 was probably somebody uploading the wrong video), but it makes me laugh.  Maybe it will make you laugh also.

For more fun, read Edna's Employment Agency!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

New Recording!: "Big Daddy Pane"

Another one of the songs on the first Yeast? gets rerecorded here.  I like the pipe organ sound on my vintage Yamaha keyboard, so I used that here.  I have told the story behind the song before, so I won't recap it here.  It's a fun song to play, maybe more fun than a song about male anal rape in prison should be.  I had to buy a pair of wireless gaming headphones for a gig I had (they overcharged for them, which was typical of that crazy place), and they have become useful during recording, which makes me less bitter about the employer price-gouging (on a sidenote, if your employer tries to offload the cost of your work materials on you, just try to find another job).  I kind of like the microphone sound on them as well, but I didn't use that mic here.  The drums get overloaded at times here, but I like the sound of them.  This is more tuneful than a lot of my songs.  It's fun to hum and whistle.

To hear the original version of "Big Daddy Pane", get the Dick Bennett ep.

Friday, May 14, 2021

"Generic Smokes" Video!

 

Rather than just follow the lyrics with images (though you can find that here as well, albeit more disjointed than usual), I turned the video into a silent film/story.  It can be read at the surface level as a tale of teen angst, much like the song, or as a satire of such, unlike the song.  I don't smoke, but, fortunately, my buddy John was nice enough to let me film his cigarettes.  The cheap camcorder I usually use for the videos is on the fritz, so this video is more lo-fi and freaky than usual.  I guess I'll keep using it until it breaks completely, but it could make for some strange videos coming up.  I always find it amusing what YouTube picks for the thumbnail pictures, and this time it looks like my Lamb's Ear made the cut (they are really soft--strange to have a furry plant). 

For more fun, read Edna's Employment Agency!

Friday, May 7, 2021

New Recording!: "Generic Smokes"

This is another of the songs on the first Yeast? 7". It's about a bored teenager who is thinking about killing herself one minute and then what color she should paint her nails the next (really, it should be a woman singing it, but you get stuck with me). Being only two chords, it's a lot of fun to play. For this version, I jammed out a little bit at the end, so if you want the garage rock version, then stop listening in the middle when the singing stops. I recorded an even longer version, but it started heading into Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same territory, and I had to pull the plug on that.  This version is a nice compromise between the short, tight version that ends when the lyrics do, and the crazy jamout the song can become.  I Vince Neiled it and doubletracked the vocals (apparently, the Motley Crue recordings were actually collages of dozens of takes, taking the best from each; fortunately, I didn't get that crazy).  For the weird instrument, I was going to use a tin whistle, but it didn't sound good, so I utilized it as a percussion instrument instead (it's that trebly metal sound); I don't recommend that as the whistle is now considerably bent, but it did make for a nice percussion sound.  

To hear the original version of "Generic Smokes", get the Dick Bennett ep.