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

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