Archive for September, 2008

The Company Of Wolves Part 1

Posted in glam, new music, perfect pop, Punk, Questions and Answers, The Wolfmen on September 29, 2008 by planetmondo

How long have I been howling about The Wolfmen now ? Oh, almost one full year – and in a years of worth hearing the singles, flips sides and Myspace oddities I’ve never become numb-eared to any of Wolfies tunes.

I finally got my paws on the album a couple of weeks ago and it is wall-to-wall wallop all the way, not so much an album more a bespoke collection of killer could-be singles and potential heavyweight hits (staggeringly several tracks were recorded live in the studio) – It’s as close you’ll get to Slade stomping through The Supremes songbook , The Sonics singing ‘Sugar Sugar’ or ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’ re-jigged by Georgio Moroder with splashes and swatches of Roxy, solo Bryan Ferry, T Rex and the Sex Pistols all glazed with an electro pop gloss – but don’t just take my word for it. How about an exclusive track by track guide from the Wolf-gang themselves….

Needles In The Camel’s Eye

Chris Constantinou
We both love the song (‘Needles’ is the opening track from Eno’s ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’). We were trying to come up with something based around it and thought bollox – let’s just do it. We did a decent demo, then worked with Chris Hughes (ex-Ants drummer) who put the drums on – Steve Musters and finally Alan Moulder mixed it.

……………………

While London Sleeps

Marco Pirroni
Another tune left over from our ‘Jack the ripper” musical idea (which
we stole from Spinal Tap), the title’s also stolen from the Rin Tin Tin silent movie which’ll come as a surprise to Chris as I told him I thought of it.

CC
Lyrically and vocally it’s a mixture of stuff – I think it’s pretty obvious what it’s about 🙂 I get to play harp at the end – we have 3 demo versions of this, all totally different!

…………………

Love Is A Dog

CC
Another one started at mine and Marco’s , then worked on with Steve
Musters at Raezor and finally mixed by Alan Moulder ..
…………………

Up All Nighter

MP
You will find this hard to believe, but this started as our take on
Northern Soul, it didn’t end up as anything that you could have played
at Wigan Casino but these things happen in the creative process. But maybe we will get round to finishing the Wolfmen 20 great lost soul classics album one day.

CC
This one started off as a demo from me and Marco’s place – we worked on it at Chris Hughes studio who put the drums on it …
………………………

Better Days

MP
I frown heavily on songs with an optimistic feel and on positive thinking in general,but I like this and it’s going to be our next single.

CC
I had these lyrics for years, and even used to play a version of this with Jackie Onassid …but this has been totally transformed into a new song and BRILLIANCE by Marco ! The guys in the band did a great job with it … check the surf video out on youtube .. Recorded live at Raezor and Steve Musters mixed it ..
……………………….

Buzz Me Kate

MP
I’m told I know who this is about…but I honestly have no idea ask Chris

CC
Hmm …. I think it’s obvious what this is about lyrically. Recorded live at Raezor and Steve Musters mixed it ..

Side 2 of the ‘The Company Of Wolves’ is right here

To check out all the dates details and new tracks – beam on over to…
The Wolfmen’s Myspace site

Funky Friday Pt 2 – Funktacular

Posted in Cover Versions, cream cheese, Funky Friday, Remake Remodel on September 26, 2008 by planetmondo

Well here’s a first, a second FF post (while politely pickled too) – I’ve spent years scouring for this clip so I’m grabbing it while it’s up.

No rabbit, jabber or blab from me could do it justice – just tuck in to this explosive performance from Sammy Davis and two friends – it’s impossible to watch just once

For Once In My Life…

Funky Friday – Get Back and Get Down

Posted in disco, Funk, Funky Friday, motown, Remake Remodel, The Beatles on September 25, 2008 by planetmondo

I’ve always had a thumbnail theory about the distinction and differences between The Beatles and the Stones songs (based on my own eye witness evidence from family parties during the seventies) – The Beatles make people sing, the Stones make people dance – or put another way The Beatles are about the tunes. The Stones are about the groove.

This isn’t set in stone or tried and tested under strictly controlled conditions, it’s just a rough rule of thumb, and as these fab four flavours of ‘Get Back’ show Beatles tunes can just as easily be refried funky side up…

Get Back – Chris Clark

The Merseybeaters get given a Motown makeover


Get Back – Deidre Wilson Tabac

A bubbly,shuffely, loose limbed lollop-a-long re-work.

Get Back – Sarah Vaughan

A brain-frying team up between those beardy buggers brothers from Toto and their squiddly diddly synths, a’topped off with Sarah Vaughan’s deep velvet vocals.

Get Back – Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes

A hat-popping, horn-stomping spectacular so fast and furious it rollocks along like a runaway train.

There’s a couple of other tasty Beatles treats well worth grabbing…

BLTP’s unearthing of a gorgeous rework of ‘Rain’ – nothing like the original and none the worse for it – here

And Larry F16’s Beatles based million-hit-mix here

By George This Is Good

Posted in 60's, perfect pop, Remake Remodel, The Beatles, work in progress on September 23, 2008 by planetmondo

It’s 75% Beatles – written and produced by George Harrison, with Macca on bass and Bongo on drums.

Has guest appearances from Clapton at at his British blues-grinding best and the happy honky-tinking piano of session king Nicky Hopkins.

It conforms to all the codes and conventions of classic pop and packs more crackle than a Catherine wheel into a fizzing four minute bundle.

So why wasn’t ‘Sour Milk Sea’ a hit of any kind for Jackie Lomax (it didn’t even chart, after it’s release in ’68!) – And why has no one covered, or at least sampled it since ?

Jackie Lomax – Sour Milk Sea

Jackie Lomax – Sour Milk Sea

You can the hear work-in-progress version below, as the Fabs jam on ‘Sour Milk Sea’ round at George’s place ‘Kinfauns‘ while offering up a fistful of each other’s tunes for possible inclusion on the White album.

George Harrison (demo) – Sour Milk Sea

Charabanc Skank

Posted in Funky Friday, jackie mittoo, reggae, Remake Remodel, retromania on September 19, 2008 by planetmondo


Oh dear, works getting in the way again – so this weeks FF may be short on text but hopefully tall on tunes – anyway it gives me a great excuse to post one of the finest pieces of youtubery I’ve ever found.

‘A trip to the lights’- a homemade work of genius that’s spliced together from the hits and highlights of Beardfreaks1969’s dear old grandad’s cine films – retromatic footage of coach outings, Piccadilly trips and vintage tear ups have been reworked into a 3 minute masterpiece soundtracked with Jackie Mitoo’s ‘Juice Box’.

It’s worth noting the volume of frown free faces in the film. I really don’t think you’d get that today.

‘A trip to the lights’

Plus a double barrel from Mr Mittoo

Juice Box

Get Up and Get It

And a little snifter of something in memory of Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright..

Easy Star All-Stars – The Great Gig In the Sky

The Book Of Revelation

Posted in 1977, 70's, books, Punk, Questions and Answers, retromania, Sex Pistols on September 16, 2008 by planetmondo

The Sex Pistols last pre – Bill Grundy ‘Filth and Fury’ interview, was by Barry Cain for Record Mirror – click on the photo to supersize the original article….

If Nick Cohn’s Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom is Ye Olde Testament of Rock, the New (Wave) Testament being Jon Savage’s Englands Dreaming, then Barry Cain’s 77 Sulphate Strip is surely the Dead Sea Scrolls, revived and risen again from the russet coloured copies of his Record Mirror reports, reviews and interviews, and scrapbooked against a lip-smacking-ace-tasting-page-turning-eye-bulging micro dot-to-dot diary of the key moments, movers, groovers and shakers of 1977. The year that groups of grey-faced, straight-laced politicians and hair flare bunches of prog and pop stars went twelve rounds against a fistful of prickly punks. 365 days with more dynamics, dramatics and dualility than any year since pop records began.

After his stretch at Record Mirror, Barry went on to launch Flexipop, one the snappiest music mag’s ever published, I found a few copies in the loft recently and had forgotten how they crackle with facts, fun and features – including a genius parody of The Face’s famous ’82 ‘Hard Times’ cover – ‘Really Hard Times’ starring two turps glugging tramps which perfectly burst The Face’s snoot-nosed, yell and bellow bubble .

So some questions for Barry Cain then….

77 Sulphate Strip is one of only a handful of rock books I’ve read without any acknowledgment or nod to The Beatles – it’s like they never existed. Was this the mood at the time?
No. The Beatles meant everything to me and most my mates throughout the sixties. They were my teenage idols and helped take the sting out of those years. There’s an unsubtle homage in the names of the characters in Streatham Locarno at the beginning of Strip. I stopped dancing to The Beatles after Rubber Soul because that’s when they started inviting me back to their place – via the Pye Black Box in my bedroom – where I could listen to their darkest thoughts. They changed the way I thought, simple as that. And thank you, for your very kind words. They mean so much. Incidentally, one of the ‘Hard Times’ tramps in the picture is my dad who will be 91 this year and was, I guess, my fifth Beatle. I was an only child and my parents (my mum is 81) have had four dogs all dying tragically and leaving my mum and dad desperate and bewildered. The last one, Bobby, a cute black poodle, died a week ago in my dad’s arms, and it’s eating them both alive. I buried Bobby in my back garden alongside the previous two and that nearly fucking killed me. I felt like some canine-killing version of Fred West.

Sorry to veer off the path , it’s just worrying me right now.
Pray, continue.

How did you go from being part of a Motown loving Boot Boy and Suede head set to becoming Record Mirror journalist?
Pure genius! If you came from a council estate in London at the time, you became either a straight, a skinhead or, if you took a lot of hallucinatory drugs, a working class hippy. It got interesting when the skinheads got into hallucinatory drugs in the late sixties, but that’s another tale. It was rare to stay on at school after 16 but I went to a grammar and emerged, at 18, with two low grade A Levels. I always kept my school friends and my flats’ friends far apart. As a result, I became, around 15, two people – schoolboy and coolboy. Two heads are better than one and after a bit of luck and a lot of graft, I went from trainee court reporter to indentured journalist on a local paper to entertainments’ editor to Record Mirror. That’s a Yellowbrick Road a lot less travelled these days.

Your first meeting with Rotten reads like a snake charmer being hypnotised by the snake – have you met any other performers with a similar charisma?
Malcolm McLaren. He and Rotten both possess the ability to paint stark pictures with barrages of meticulously chosen words that give delight and hurt not. They’re in a class of their own. Joe Strummer was a little boy lost who dug his way out of his nightmare with remarkable songs and a hunk of devotion that swept me away. Paul Weller was hopelessly devoted to rue, the secret behind his genius. Hugh Cornwell and Jean Jacques-Burnel were deepsea divers in the psyche and there was nowt more challenging than a Stranglers interview. The Damned had collective charisma – they were the commie punk band. Who else? Barry White, Bob Marley, Paul McCartney? Heaps of charisma. But not a patch on Malcolm and Johnny.

In 77 the Pistols were possibly the most hated band in history. It wasn’t just the older generation or other youth movements that were anti-Punk, but politicians, musicians, record exec’s, DJs and almost everyone who wasn’t directly involved with the Pistols (or Punk) that seemed to despise them. Do you think it’s possible we’ll ever see such international outrage caused by a single rock act again?
Impossible. Music has popped its cork. It’s no longer the force of nature it was (what an old git). Outside the X Factor comfort zone, records just don’t sell that much anymore. That’s why TOTP was dumped. That’s why Smash Hits, RM, Sounds, Melody Maker all fell by the wayside. How many generations to go before music is just a bowl of cherries? Before life gets in the way? Before its portability and a few billion options make it futile, obvious, an easy lay? I give it twenty years, tops. My kids’ kids will give the odd flying fuck for a stunning song. Their kids? Different world. Different ballgame. Different tune.

For a movement that was all momentum and ‘of the moment’, Punk styles, sounds, designs and influences are still with us and everywhere from US metal to Top Shop clobber. What do you think has kept Punk (and New Wave) enduring without dating?
Punk was all about bright minds in bondage who wanted to fuck off out of old Durham Town. Sleepy time girls and the boys of summer dancing to a ’77 beat. Punk’s callous, disruptive demands – an anathema to Joe Public – could dislodge reality in exciting minds and create innovation. Originality breeds contempt and contempt breeds originality. It was a vicious circle that has continued to spin unabated like a flaming Catherine wheel shooting flames in every direction. And you didn’t need a voice like Sinatra’s to make the punters sway. Lapsed punks haunt the corridors of power.

I loved the piece about your mum and dad and the pub scene with the piano players, costermongers and comedians having a sing-a-long. Do you think the real seventies get overlooked with all the novelty nostalgia and ‘Abbafication’ of that decade?
I don’t think there ever was a real seventies. It was the itsy-bitsy-no-focus post Beatles decade kicking off with dross, glam, Philly, dross, New York disco, dross and ABBA. It welcomed punk with open arms, shook hands with high-street ska, gave birth to the New Romantics and invented Freddie Mercury. If you were in your late twenties in 1970 the next ten years meant fuck all really. You wouldn’t get it. The seventies had to be ‘Abbafied’ because the sixties were too sad.

Caining It – Barry with beard and Buzzcocks

Malcolm McLaren once said “I have brought you many things in my time” which included breaking Punk, World Music and Hip Hop, but equally there’s a trail of broken relationships and bad blood.” What’s your take on him – genius or jinx?
Genius. I mentioned in the book that Malcolm asked me to ‘ghost’ write his autobiography in 1979. I got to know him as well as anyone after countless interview sessions in my living room over a three-month period. He made me dance all night and still beg for more. He’s the Brian Clough of pop who should’ve managed England. Knowing Malcolm, I think love got in the way – he’s an incurable romantic. But we should all be thankful he turned the world dayglo.

In the book, the music press seem just as hardcore and heavy living as the bands – almost like The Sweeney with press passes rather than police badges. Were there a few juicy nuggets, tear ups and tales you couldn’t include?.
Yes.

If you could beam back to 1977 and take someone aside for a word of advice – who would it be, and what would you say?
It would be me, I’m afraid, and I’d say, ‘Don’t get married, keep your finger on your trigger and put all your money on Man Utd winning the FA Cup, Red Rum winning the Grand National and The Minstrel winning the Derby’. Oh, and to Sid Vicious I’d say, ‘Go for it’.

The Damned, The Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, The Wolfmen (Marco from The Models and Adam and The Ants new band), Carbon Silicon (Tony James and Mick Jones) have all released new albums over the last few years. Have you heard any of the original Punk players’ new songs?
I saw Hugh Cornwell play live a year or so back – great show at Scala – and downloaded his impressive Hoover Dam album, but that’s about it. I don’t listen to much music these days and when I do it tends to be through headphones attached to my laptop as I write. Usually, it’s Michael McDonald’s tribute to Motown, which is just wonderful, interspersed with Steely Dan. I’m a dude. Hey dude, don’t make it bad. Just let it out and let it in.

You were involved with Flexipop, are there any plans for an 80s sequel to 77 SS using Flexipop as source material?
Writing it now. Starts in 1978 when I resigned from Record Mirror, teamed up with then PR guru now PR mogul, Alan Edwards, running a punk PR company out of a Covent Garden squat, discovered I wasn’t cut out for a career as a publicist, became a freelance writer and spent the next two years travelling the world with rock stars, doing big, fat, hairy interviews. It ends 20 years later with the death of pop. Don’t worry, there’s not much to tell after ’84. I launched Flexipop together with my ex-partner Tim Lott (now, of course, a hugely successful novelist) in 1980, and after three bizzarre years I found myself alone, publishing mainly one shot poster mags on pop’s latest flames which I continued to do for the next decade and a half. Got myself a family, a house, a Porsche. Cost myself contacts, desire, drive. Naturally, I blamed everyone but myself for those sad losses – complacency is a cancer of the spirit. But if you catch it early, the prognosis is good. Life can be groovy again Oh, and there’s a few twists and a fucking shitload of watusis. The book should be available this time next year, if anyone has any money by then….

If you were a Record Mirror reporter in 2008 – what would get you picking up your pen and pad, and who would you be trying to interview or avoid?
The song Distant Dreamer made popular by Duffy, who rocked my boat when I saw her perform it at Glastonbury. The version by MC Almont & Butler is a work of art. Pop music at its finest. I think Leona Lewis has an incredible voice. I’d love to interview her. And Duffy. Shit, I sound like an old perve. Who else? Paul Weller, for old times’ sake; Eminem., for Pete’s sake; Alex from Big Brother, for fucksake. That’s five cracking interviews.
Never avoided an interview in my life.

And finally, are there two tunes one Pop, one Punk that sum up 1977 for you?
Anarchy In The UK and Anarchy In The UK.

Anarchy In The UK – from the Filth and Fury

Anarchy In The UK – Early version, slightly rowdier than the single, but possibly my fave take.

Anarchy In The UK (EMI rejected 7″ Single Version) with alt.solos

Anarchy In The UK – Los Punkrockers – yes it’s those crazy punko latinos again.

Beam back to summer of 77 by clicking on the pic’


77 Sulphate Strip MySpace site

Funky Friday – The Groover

Posted in before they were famous, Funky Friday, glam, Marc Bolan, mod, pop-lifting, T.Rex on September 11, 2008 by planetmondo
He ain’t no square, ‘without’ his corkscrew hair either – Marc Bolan joins John’s Children

Marc Bolan is the archetypal UK rock star – a pop pace setter always several stealthy steps and styles ahead of the rest of rock’s runners and riders, including an untimely death 31 years ago – early doors East End proto mod, pre-hippy days Tolkien folksy bloke, gone glam before all other gang bangers and one of the only old wavers inclusive of and included by the new wavers.So, how do you pop, skip and jump from Mod Bolan to Modfather? Like this…

John’s Children – Hot Rod Mama (BBC Session)



Which was covered by Marsha Hunt as…

Hot Rod Poppa

Which was sampled by Paul Weller for…

Always There To Fool You


Which is the instrumental version of…

There’s also a couple of more up to date, but down tempo T Rex pieces on the other side – including an interview with Marc Bolan just before he died.