Still working the nuts and bolts of this site out, and I thought I’d share something good while testing upload capacity.A great British rock band starts to fall apart, and yet they produce this awesome track. Years after their one big hit ( “All The Young Dudes ” in 1972 ), Mott The Hoople lost their singer ( the mighty Ian Hunter ) , shortened their name, and recorded this song, which comes from a battered piece of vinyl I found in Missouri during the last hurricane. It shoulda been a hit!
Mott : ” Monte Carlo
Mott : ” Monte Carlo “
I was looking through a box of old, old stuff the other day and I found this tape, which has somehow stuck to me since the days of hardcore punk, skateboarding, my first band, and getting into whatever busted-ass car we could scrounge to go play in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan with other kids like us – that was 24 years ago. Yow.
These guys were from Grand Rapids, Michigan .. I don’t remember where we met, but I know we played with them a couple of times, in Muskegon, maybe in Grand Rapids, maybe Kalamazoo. You can’t skate in the snow, so we probably just goofed, drank cokes, experimented with smoking ( I remember that they smoked merits, it’s really odd what details your brain keeps ). A little later, when we were all starting to grow our hair out and perhaps listening to more Prince and MC5 than hardcore, some of them would come down to Chicago to hang out.
The kid in the photo at the top with his checkerboard Vans Hightop sticking out was Chris Ide. He was the guitar player. He was a little ahead of the game, the first person I ever personally saw drink an espresso ( we gave him a hard time for that one, a dollar seemed like a lot of money for a thimbleful of coffee at the time ). He later became a gifted poet, a protege of Allen Ginsberg, and died of a heroin overdose in 1994.
That was when I was riding the White Zombie juggernaut, rocketing toward … you know, you hearing ” More Human Than Human ” on the radio every 4 minutes for a year or three, and I didn’t know about any of this until many years later. It makes me feel old and sad.
These kids ( they were 16 or 17, I think ) made a basement 4-track cassette tape — and props to them, my own teen hardcore band was never able to achieve anything usable that way — and they bounced the results down to another cassette. Then, probably, after driving around for hours playing the tape over and over on a totally magnetized car tape player that hadn’t ever been cleaned and was full of Merit ash, set about making copies. A dual dubbing deck was still something of a fancy item then, so I’m imagining they hooked together 2 tape decks, or boomboxes, or maybe even Walkmans ( I used to do it all the time ) . Listen to this : sure, it’s a primitive sound, but ultimately it’s amazing that it’s a sound at all, given the journey of this music to you – from the master cassette to this tape which I played the shit out of ( remember, kids, there wasn’t anything else to do back then, salvation came in the form of a 7″ record, or a letter written on the back of a punk flyer, or getting your first ” real ” guitar ) that then sat in a succession of wet basements and hot attics for 24 years. And you can actually hear all the instruments.
I’ll tell you what else – after transferring this, I woke up the next day with ” Prodigal Son ” stuck in my head, and it wouldn’t get out of there. Seems like back before you could just press the ” start ” button, teenagers wrote ……. real songs. And here they are.
Holy Terror : 01. ” Prodigal Son “
1. ” Prodigal Son ”
Holy Terror : 02. ” Self Reliance “
2. ” Self Reliance ”
Holy Terror : 03. ” Close Call “
3. ” Close Call ”
Holy Terror : 04. ” Love Or Lust “
4. ” Love Or Lust ”
Holy Terror : 05. ” Olé “
5. ” Olé ”
Holy Terror : 06. ” Hiding Place “
6. ” Hiding Place ”
Holy Terror : 07. ” Ways Of The World “
7. ” Ways Of The World ”
9AM Thursday morning, and the only people round my way who were up to see it were still drinking from the night before. It’s a sad and beautiful world.
... And here I am, I’ve been putting seven new Rock City Morgue tracks together for mixing at Piety Street this Saturday and Sunday. There was ” The Cat’s Meow “ 4-song EP ( a perfect and seldom-seen format, the 10″ record ) that we did earlier this year, and then they played some shows, recorded, played, recorded, and etc. and etc. and now those songs and these new ones are going to be incorporated into a full album, which they’re calling ” The Boy Who Cried Werewolf “.
I swear that when we get the bugs worked out of this site I’ll start putting up songs for you to listen to, there’s a lot of music I worked on coming out right after the holidays.
I mentioned something in an earlier post about pieces of skull sticking out of the mud in New Orleans cemeteries, and I wasn’t kidding. Because we’re below sea level and the soil is saturated with water, the ground tends to vomit things up, especially after it rains. I usually keep one eye on the ground when I’m walking around, and I’m always finding wheat cents, old marbles, pieces of Victorian blob-top bottles. I recently took some pictures at one of my favorite graveyards, a place where you can’t walk around without kicking … the top of someone’s head.
|December 3, 2008 | Gear
This is my Echoplex, pictured here because it’s so darn cool looking. It works, too. Smells like hot 1960s electronics when you turn it on.
|December 2, 2008 | Stuffs
Ballzack is a kitten fan. An admirer, an aficionado, an all-around sucker. Here’s a flyer from earlier this year that I’m posting here just because I like it.
This is a picture I took of the floor of the chapel at St.Roch cemetery in New Orleans — this was the first time I’d been there since it flooded in Hurricane Katrina, and although I kind of miss the crazy air of total neglect that characterized the place before, it was nice to see the cemetery and its people being well taken care of. Besides, I know some places that still have chunks of skull straight-up sticking out of the mud. Wheeeeee !!!
Here is a message I got on my voicemail recently.
It’s funny how people don’t listen to your outgoing message when they call your phone – even when mine used to be me saying very slowly and clearly, ” This is J.Yuenger : please leave a message “, people I didn’t know would go ahead and leave 2-3 minute rambles about … usually nothing, but occasionally something that was clearly important to whoever the message was intended for.
Nowadays I have a goofy little disco song with claps and robot vocals that I made in my studio, which this guy heard and ( I guess ) assumed was on the phone of the person he was about to beat down for 12 dollars.
|December 1, 2008 | Gear
Speaking of phones, a couple of months ago I was messing around in an abandoned factory and found this old ( I’m guessing 1940s or 50s ) intercom handset. Earlier, inspired by the cool microphones Placid Audio makes out of telephone parts, I got some broken mics from the New Orleans Music Exchange and a couple of junk telephones from a thrift store and I built two usable tele-mic hybrids. When I got this thing, though, I realized that it IS a microphone — it’s got a chunky little transformer built into it .. and it was made by Electro-Voice, an old-time manufacturer of mics like the RE20, which you still see in almost every radio station and recording studio. All I had to do was clip the female end off of a mic cable and solder the wires to the wires of corresponding color inside the phone. Presto! It sounds like ……. a telephone, but when used in conjunction with other mics it produces a distinctive tinny, warbly sound that can be really atmospheric ( I hate using words like ” vibey “, but that’s exactly what it does ) . The first time I tried recording with it was as one of the piano mics for Rock City Morgue‘s ” The Cat’s Meow ” EP ( you can get it on itunes, or vinyl 10″ record direct from the band ). It’s also on Rik Slave & The Phantoms‘ forthcoming album ( on tack piano ) and on some vocals on Odoms‘ album. Both should be out in a few months.