Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
The Mummies - "(You Must Fight To Live) On The Planet Of The Apes"

One reason why the Children of Nuggets box, while fine, didn't live up to my mind's hype was that it largely lacked the swaggering/stumbling we-wanna-be-Stones/Yardbirds menace of so many of the bands on the original Nuggets box set. Children of Nuggets substituted "psychedelic and pop sixties" for "garage" and while these sounds are pretty, there wasn't enough of basement brewings like "Pabst Blue Ribbon" by Untamed Youth.

Another true garage band to show up on Children of Nuggets were the self-proclaimed "Kings of Budget Rock," the Mummies. They dressed in mummy costumes made of Ace bandages, refused to release their music on compact disc, played through the crappiest used lo-fi equipment they could find, and proudly bashed out garage rock that on recorded tracks sounded like it had been dubbed from tape to tape to tape, the kind of trashy great stuff that was called "punk rock" back in the sixties. As Mark Deming says at Allmusic.com:

Four guys in mummy outfits bash out crude '60s-style rock about beer, babes, and open hostility on battered gear which was doubtless discarded by tone-deaf teenagers who got over their 15-minute delusion of possible future rock stardom in 1966 ... At a time when a lot of garage rock bands sounded like they were drowning in a sea of paisley and nehru affectation, the Mummies flipped the whole scene the bird.

If these jokers had come up in the last ten years I would have scoffed, but they thrashed around in the eighties-into-nineties years making them likely my age, so of course I dig 'em. Then again, I only got into them ten days ago.

Oh ... the song? Gloriously loud and dumb and the first few times I heard it on Little Steven's Sirius station I hated it, but then suddenly I loved it big-time. Things like that happen sometimes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
Sniff 'n' the Tears - "Driver's Seat"

It hit number 15 on the US charts but I don't remember hearing it on Top 40 radio. This song will always be:

1) An eerie song I heard on Q-98 on rainy afternoons in Ottertail County thirty years ago or so. Kinda new wave, kinda hard rock.

2) The song playing in Boogie Nights on the New Year's Eve where the seventies turned into the eighties and Floyd Gondolli (Philip Baker Hall) entered the room.

As for the Sniff 'n' the Tears video, well I truly couldn't ask for much more.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
Focus - "Hocus Pocus"

You think I'm going to try describing this tune with words??

But how great is this song? Its title rhymes, meaning it goes up there with standards like "Tutti Frutti," "Wooly Bully," "True Blue," "Double Trouble" "Bang-Shang-A-Lang," "Wango Tango," "A.C.D.C.," "Someday, Someway," "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," etc. etc.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
Steel Wool - "No Sugar Tonight"

I told the story of this song (or my theory on it) last year on an Exiled Radio podcast. Since I haven't done a podcast in over a year - got sick of hearing myself talk - and I think only four people listened to those podcasts anyway, I feel safe writing the same old thing about the song here.

A couple of years ago, I read the book Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth by Kim Cooper and David Smay. There was a short chapter on White Whale Records, a Los Angeles label in the sixties that was most famous for having The Turtles on its roster. The book mentioned that one of the singles released by White Whale was a song titled "No Sugar Tonight" by the band Steel Wool and that the song was written by one Randy Bachman. There was no mention of Bachman's Guess Who pedigree or that his band actually recorded this song also. So I downloaded the song - a terrific, fast-paced, garage-y take on a song you've heard a million times on classic rock radio and are likely sick of.

But Steel Wool's take lacks the "New Mother Nature" second half that the Guess Who had. A look at Wikipedia's entry on the song shows that Bachman wrote "No Sugar" while in Los Angeles and that while the Guess Who recorded it in 1969, they didn't release it until 1970 so there is a solid chance that Steel Wool released it first. My theory on this is further backed up by Wikipedia's claim that Bachman played "No Sugar Tonight" for his band and the record label, they said it was too short, and Burton Cummings then wrote "New Mother Nature" to fill out a longer piece. (Which makes "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" Canada's "A Day In The Life.") See, I think Randy Bachman wrote "No Sugar Tonight" in Los Angeles and shopped it around in order to get some songwriter money. But the best he could do was pawn it off on Steel Wool - which in order further the mystery was maybe fronted by Bobby Randell, who used to be a key member of The Knickerbockers of the garage-rock Beatles-sounding "Lies" fame.

A song that's two minutes and five seconds long and yes, it stuck with me so that I thought through all of the above. Damn that was a fun few days.