Thursday, October 30, 2008

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol
Heathrow Airport, UK
photo: ht
scanned from a lenticular 3-D photo

May I take your photo please Mr. Warhol?
- Oh, is that one one of those 3-D cameras? Why, sure...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bijou Phillips

Bijou Phillips
Almo Sounds, Greene Street, NYC
photo: ht

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Afghan Whigs

Since it seems to take days - if not weeks - to get these pieces wrote, I'll try to keep you amused (if not entertained) by posting an exclusive, original photograph from my archives. Maybe the subject has a copy, probably not. You saw it here first.
Greg Dulli, The Afghan Whigs
Downtown Rifle & Pistol Club
, 24 Murry St., NYC
scanned from a lenticular 3-D photo

Monday, October 27, 2008

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg: "I Keep Faith"
Grand Ballroom, Manhattan Center, NYC
October 25th 2008

Billy was in tremendous form, Saturday, so if you live nearby, check him out at:
Oct 27 Washington DC, 9.30 Club - tix: (202) 265-0930
Oct 28 Baltimore MD, Ram’s Head Live - tix: 410) 244 1131
Oct 29 Charlottesville VA, Paramount Theater - tix: 434) 979 1333
Oct 30 Norfolk VA, Attucks Theater - tix: 757) 622 4763
Nov 1 Durham NC, Duke University - tix: 919) 684 4444
Nov 2 Asheville NC, Orange Peel - tix: 866) 468 7630

Sunday, October 26, 2008

North Fork Sound Top 20 October 26th ‘08

1. Dr. Horse: Jack, That Cat Was Clean
2. Suicide: Beggin’ For Miracles
3. Mudcrutch: Depot Street
4. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: Mr. Slater’s Parrot
5. Darlene Love: Ooh-Wee Baby
6. B.B. King: Watch Yourself
7. Dandy Warhols: (Tony, This Song Is Called) Lou Weed
8. The Pretty Things: October 26th (Revolution)
9. Richard Berry & The Pharoahs: Louie Louie
10. The Who: Let’s See Action
11. Roy Orbison: Mean Woman Blues
12. Lambchop: Sharing A Gibson With Martin Luther King Jr.
13. Bo Diddley: He’s Got A Key
14. Happy Mondays: Loose Fit
15. The Band: Saved
16. Elmore James: It Hurts Me Too
17. The Ronettes: Baby I Love You
18. Dionne Warwick: Walk On By
19. Dan Baird: Shine A Light
20. Roky Erickson: I Walked With A Zombie

Featured Album:
Various Artists: Take Me to The River: A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977

The 7” B-side:
Danny Gatton Band: Love Is What You Need

Last Week’s Listener Favourites:
Victor DeLorenzo: Picture Her Blue
The Damned: New Rose
Prince Far I: Shuffle And Deal
The Psychedelic Furs: India
The Yayhoos: Would It Kill You
The Fugs: I Couldn’t Get High
The Stooges: Real Cool Time
Gallon Drunk: To Love Somebody
Hawkwind: Space Dust
The Neville Bothers: Fire And Brimstone
The Star Spangles: I Don’t Wanna Be Crazy Anymore
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Strangered In The Night
Jimmy Reed: Found Love
Streak: Gonna Have A Good Time
Pioneers: Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Los Lobos: Shoot Out The Lights
999: Homicide
Bruce Springsteen: Radio Nowhere
Dave Alvin: Dry River
Ray Anthony & His Bookends: Peter Gunn Twist/Tequila With A Twist
The Flashcubes: Got No Mind
Kevin Ayers: Shouting In A Bucket Blues
Whirlwind: Hang Loose (You Gotta Rock)
Billy Bragg: Levi Stubbs’ Tears
Sonja Kristina: I Don’t Believe A Word
Rolling Stones: Monkey Man
Maureen Tucker: Bo Diddley
The Lone Sharks: We’re Gonna Move
Keith Gemmell: Do The Crunch
Girlschool (feat: Fast Eddie Clarke): Metropolis
Billy Fury: What Do You Think You’re Doing Of

(cast your vote by clicking the “thumbs-up” icon in the Live365 player window)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Adam & The Ants

Adam & The Ants
handkerchief, 1980
designed by Danny Kleinman
When I worked for Bronze Records in 1977, a demo cassette by Adam & The Ants crossed my desk. It had a couple of tunes on it, neither of which were very compelling. However, Adam had gained some press by then, had been given a small role in Derek Jarman’s film 'Jubilee' and was quickly building a reputation so I went to see him at the Vortex, a punk rock club at the top end of Wardour Street. To be honest, I wasn’t a big punk rock fan. I liked the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and there were several punk 45s I enjoyed a lot, but generally I was more drawn to bands like the Modern Lovers, Television, The Stranglers, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dr. Feelgood, Elvis Costello, the Flamin’ Groovies and Blondie. A lot of them had the energy and some of the attitude of punk, but their music retained a certain old-school rock & roll charm. The Vortex was a punk's home away from home. I went there twice. A load of coloured Mohawk hair-dos, black leather, tartan bondage pants, black make-up, buttons and pins slouched around the joint and unless you were one of them, you didn’t belong. I felt weird going there and not relevant at all. Adam came out, did his thing and I left thinking "what a racket". I couldn’t relate to him, his fans or the tunes and found the whole thing slightly depressing. He ended up being signed to Decca and they put out the 'Young Parisians' single. Then they promptly dropped him. In 1979, indy label Do It Records picked him up and, this time, Adam got to release his first album, Dirk Wear White Sox. Despite more press and touring, the album failed to do the requisite numbers and once again Adam was forced to regroup and look for another deal. Hiring Malcolm McLaren to re-image the band backfired when McLaren persuaded Matthew Ashman, Dave Barbarossa and Leigh Gorman to jump ship and form Bow Wow Wow with Annabella Lwin. Adam is nothing if not persistent and to his credit, he had enormous faith in himself and his vision. He brought in guitarist, Marco Pirroni (ex-Models), bassist Kevin Mooney and 2 drummers, Terry Lee Miall and Chris “Merrick” Hughes, who had released a couple of singles with Dalek I Love You. He hired a manager, Falcon Stuart, who I’d met when he was doing the rounds with former charges, X-Ray Spex. I went through a change myself when my boss, David Betteridge, was offered the position of MD at CBS Records, so having brought Andy MacKay, Sally Oldfield, Goldie, Motörhead and the Red Star label (Suicide, The Real Kids) to Bronze that year, we left Chalk Farm for Soho Square where I found myself working in Muff Winwood’s a&r department alongside Chas DeWhalley, Nicky Graham and former Byzantium guitarist, Jamie Rubinstein. I was quite happily working with the Psychedelic Furs and (not quite so happily) The Only Ones and Judas Priest when Falcon Stuart called and asked for an appointment. When he walked in with a new demo by Adam and The Ants, I sighed. He’s already gone through 2 labels and by now had been pretty much written off by the press. None of the labels had particularly liked him, even when he wasn't damaged goods and now most didn't want to know. But I liked Falcon and so I put the tape into the machine, happy that it only had 2 songs on it. The first song was ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’. I played it again. I turned it all the way up. It sounded fantastic. Whoever came up with the "Burundi beat" idea had hit on a brilliant idea. Falcon told me that Adam was ending his tour that week and asked if I would check him out at the Empire in Leicester Square. Sure, what the hell...why not?
Apparently, there was a lot riding on this tour. Adam had financed it himself by spending his advance from a recent publishing deal he’d made with EMI Music. If he couldn’t get a record deal now, he probably wouldn’t be able to keep the band together and his publishers would have no way to recoup their costs. Comes the night, I walk into the ballroom to find about 3,000 rabid punks, ALL kitted out as 'sex people', fervently waiting for their man to hit the stage. 2 large drum kits on tall risers at the back of the stage created a powerful visual and finally, when the Ants walked out, dressed, and made-up to the gills, the place went berserk. The show was stunning and it took me very much by surprise. The sound was thunderous, the beat was relentless and Marco’s guitar rang loud and pure. Everybody on stage looked fit and fabulous and there was very little ‘punk’ to be seen or heard, onstage anyway. The fans went mental. It was fantastic and you'd think they were coming off a string of chart-toppers by the way the fans were behaving. I scoped the audience for competition but only saw someone from Virgin Records. The following day, I told Muff and David about the show and played them the tape of 'Kings'. They decided to lock up a deal, quickly, before reviews for the show hit the papers. I called Falcon and asked if he and Adam could have lunch with us. At the table, after we’d made our interest clear, I asked Adam, "apart from all the things that go along with a record deal, what do you really want?" He looked at me, narrowed his eyes and with all the seriousness he could muster said, "Howard…I want to be a household name". Well, that sealed it for me. London Zoo was chosen for the signing photos but Maurice Oberstein (CBS Chairman), David Betteridge (MD) and Muff Winwood (head of a&r) didn’t show. Staff photog, Terry Lott, took some pictures near the rhinos and the polar bears and outside the Insect House with his, and my camera, and that was that.
Adam & The Ants, ht
photo: Terry Lott - Insect House, London Zoo
Adam & The Ants, ht
photo: Terry Lott - Rhino Pavilion, London Zoo
While we were preparing the release of the first single, I went to Rockfield Studios where they’d already recorded a few tracks. Adam had wanted Chris Hughes to produce and that was ok by me. I liked his production for Kings and once I’d heard Dog Eat Dog, Antmusic, Los Rancheros and some others it was obvious he was the right man for the job. Later, when I realized Adam was such a control freak, this made even more sense as having a fellow band-mate produce, he wouldn’t have to fight with a stranger to get his way in the studio.
"Kings Of The Wild Frontier" acetate

"Kings Of The Wild Frontier" label copy
(written out by Adam)

We put out 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier' and it stalled at #48 on the charts. Adam was furious and made his feelings well known around the office.
Around this time, Michael Jackson came to London to promote his 'Off The Wall' record. He bumped into Adam in the CBS offices and next, we started seeing Michael in ornate military jackets. 'Dog Eat Dog' was chosen as the next single and it reached a respectable #4.
"Dog Eat Dog" acetate

"Dog Eat Dog" label copy
(written out by Adam)
"You're So Physical" acetate

'Antmusic' followed and made it to #2. We re-released “Kings” in ’81 and, this time, it reached a deserved #2. Antmania set in and it was just fun to watch the craziness. Screaming teenage girls hanging around all the time. I'd not seen this kind of thing from the inside before. I met one of Adam’s best friends, a punk scene originator, Jordan, at the Top Of The Pops studio. She’d just had some new contact lenses made. They’d been tinted a deep crimson red, giving her eyes a wild, startling look. She was fascinating, and turned out to be a very cool person indeed.
gold record presentation
CBS Records, London
back l-r: Kit Buckler, Kate Mundel, Jeff Gilbert, Tony Woolcott, Adam Ant, Angie Errigo, Greg Lynn, ht, Kevin Mooney, Louis Rodgers, Chris Hughes
front: unknown, Marco Pirroni, unknown, Terry Lee Miall

When things go right, my instinct is to maintain...keep things the same. But with all this success, the first thing Adam did was get rid of Falcon, replacing him with his head of security, part-time villain and eventual guest of Her Majesty, Don Murfet, who proceeded to immediately alienate most people at the record company. Suddenly, Adam was "unavailable" and I never saw him at Soho Square again. Then Adam fired Kevin Mooney after his guitar strap broke during a 'Royal Command' performance. Without any support, Kevin had difficulty playing his bass, so he bounced it off the floor a couple of times, kicked it and got all ‘pirate-y’ with it. This embarrassed Adam and, later, I was told he fired Kevin backstage. (Whether it was before the band was presented to Princess Anne or whichever royal was there that night, I’m not sure). Kevin went on to form Wide Boy Awake, a marginal ‘new romantic’ outfit who released a couple of singles, 'Bona Venture' and 'Chicken Outlaw' and an album. He's now part of the Lavender Pill Mob, and guess who guests on their new album, ‘Mike’s Bikes’...Adam!
With ex-Vibrator/Roxy Music bassist Gary Tibbs filling the gap, the band checked into AIR Studios to begin work on the follow-up album. During an overdub session at the Townhouse, I spent most of an afternoon watching Marco lay down the 4 bar guitar solo for ‘Stand And Deliver’. The vibe in the studio was good, and it seemed like a refuge from all the madness that was now surrounding the band. When I heard someone on The Comedians, a ‘Variety’ show Granada broadcast on Saturday evenings use "Adam Ant!" as the punch-line to a crummy joke, I realized then Adam had, indeed, become a "household name", although perhaps not in the way he'd hoped.
'Prince Charming' was released in 1981 and the Ants got even bigger. Things started to get silly. The stage set looked like it had been stolen from a Great Yarmouth pantomime production of Peter Pan. There were galleons all over the place. Adam had was losing his punk cred and gaining a teenybopper audience. And we all know what happens then, don't we? For one week during the year, Adam had FIVE singles in Music Week’s Top 75. Stand And Deliver, Prince Charming, Ant Rap, Kings Of The Wild Frontier and something from (the now re-released, on CBS) Dirk Wears White Sox. Cartrouble, I think. Because Adam had become so huge, CBS let me sign Roky Erickson, New Math, Aswad, The Stroke (featuring Barb Jungr) and The Slits. I was having a blast and by this time, I’d visited the U.S. about 16 times, either on business, vacation or even just a quick weekend visit. I'd grown to love NYC and wanted to live there. I didn't like the direction British music was starting to take (Duran Duran, the 'new romantic' movement, etc) and thanks to Margaret Thatcher, the general vibe in the UK left a lot to be desired, so I started to put out feelers. I got some calls. Irving Azoff inquired about me working at MCA but he was based on the West Coast. RCA's Don Ellis flew me to NY for an interview, put me up at the Drake Hotel. Arista's Clive Davis called and I flew out for an interview. After I met with Mr. Davis, he took me to meet with Bob Feidon, his head of a&r. Bob kept his office door locked. I couldn’t think why. I met head-of-promotion, Richard Palmese, about whom I’d been told great things and he said I'd get on well with Mike Bone, who ran their AOR promotion dept. Mike had a tropical fish tank in his office - showbiz! - and the first phone head-set I’d ever seen. He was excited about a new act called Krokus, the antithesis of everything I liked in music. Mike was cool though, and I was seriously thinking about working there but finally, after saying they weren’t interested, Al Teller at Columbia Records came through and said they’d have me in New York at $35,000/year, the minimum (I'd been told) I needed in order to scrape by in NY. Sounded good enough to me, so I left England for new pastures.
Thanks, Adam.

Slideshow: HERE

Sunday, October 19, 2008

North Fork Sound Top 20 October 19th '08

1. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Strangered in The Night
2. John Prine: Ain’t Hurtin’ Nobody
3. Suicide: Swearin’ To The Flag
4. James Brown: Gut Bucket
5. Toots & The Maytals (w/Trey Anastasio): Sweet And Dandy
6. Sweet Justice: Blood And Alcohol
7. Chas & Dave: That’s What It’s All About
8. Muddy Waters (w/Garth Hudson, Levon Helm): Caldonia
9. Chris Wilson & His Shameless Pickups: Shake That Feeling
10. The Star Spangles: I Don’t Wanna Be Crazy Anymore
11. Streak: Gonna Have A Good Time
12. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: Going To A Go-Go
13. Susan Fassbender: Twilight Café
14. Television: Little Johnny Jewel
15. Jeremy Steig: Howlin’ For Judy
16. Steel Porn Rhino: On LSD
17. ZZ Top: A Fool For Your Stockings
18. Sonny Sharrock: Hit Single
19. Sonic Youth: Sugar Kane
20. The King: Sympathy For The Devil

Featured Album:
Various Artists: Sheep In Wolves Clothing (Motörheadbanger Records)

The 7” B-side:
The Romantics: I’m Hip

Last Week’s Listener Favourites:
Warren Zevon: Fistful Of Rain
Luna: Indian Summer
Tulipomania: October
Paul Westerberg: Love Untold
V.V. Brown: Quick Fix
Bother Jack McDuff: Butter For Yo’ Popcorn
Blur: Parklife
Rodney Crowell: Moving Work Of Art
Marvin Gaye: Come Get To This
Little Richard: Jenny Jenny
Grateful Dead: Sugar Magnolia
Motörhead: Going To Brazil
Siouxsie & The Banshees: Cities In Dust
Little Feat: Tripe Face Boogie
Jon Cleary: C’mon Second Line
The Sonics: Have Love Will Travel
VAST: Pretty When You Cry
The Cars: Heartbeat City
Billy Bragg: Cindy Of A Thousand Lives
Big Al Anderson & The Balls: Bigger Wheel
The Hey Hay Ha! Ha!
Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll & The Trinity: This Wheel’s On Fire
Lou Reed: Tell It To Your Heart
The Quireboys: 7 O’Clock
The Slits: Shoplifting

(cast your vote by clicking the “thumbs-up” icon in the Live365 player window)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sex Pistols

While the next piece gets written, here's a fabulous Mick Rock photo:
The Sex Pistols
100 Club, Oxford St, London

February 1976

Friday, October 17, 2008


Luna: "Pup Tent"
Amoeba Records, San Francisco, CA
April 2nd, 2000

Sunday, October 12, 2008

North Fork Sound Top 20 October 12th ‘08

1. Bobby Charles (feat: Sonny Landreth): The Mardi Gras Song
2. Kate Bush: The Big Sky
3. The Pretenders: The Nothing Maker
4. Suicide: Radiation
5. Grateful Dead: Sugar Magnolia
6. The Vaughan Brothers: Hard To Be
7. Manbreak: Kop Karma
8. The Cars: Heartbeat City
9. Bob Dylan: Most Of The Time
10. Mickey Newbury: San Francisco Mabel Joy
11. Lori Carson: Something’s Got Me (original version)
12. Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins: You Are What You Love
13. Man: Bananas
14. Horace Silver: Doodlin’
15. ? & The Mysterians: Cheree
16. Wooden Ships: We Ask You To Ride
17. V.V. Brown: Quick Fix
18. Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart (w/Daevid Allen): Ace Of Spades
19. Bobby Rush: I Wanna Do The Do
20. Oasis: The Turning

Featured Album:
Bob Dylan: Tell Tale Signs, The Bootleg Series - Vol 8 (Legacy/Columbia)

The 7” B-side:

The Snakes: Lights Out

Last Week’s Listener Favourites:
Sonny: The Revolution Kind
The Eagles: Lyin’ Eyes
Eric Heatherly: Someone Else’s Cadillac
Johnnie Johnson & Keith Richards: Tanqueray
John Lee Hooker: My Dream
Glasvegas: Daddy’s Gone
The Romantics: Shake A Tailfeather
The Real Kids: All Kindsa Girls
Kevin Ayres: Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
Paul McCartney: No Other Baby
Mickey Jupp: Doo Wop Shang-a-lang Shimmy Shimmy
Sir Douglas Quintet: She’s About A Mover
The Flamin’ Groovies: Slow Death
The Feelies: Fa Cé La
Emiliana Torrini: Jungle Drum
The High Dials: Holy Ground
Mott The Hoopple: Whizz Kid
The Prissteens: Party Girl
The Heptones: Hypocrite
Scott 4: Lefturno
Paul Carrack: Always Better With You
Mungo Jerry: Baby Let’s Play House
Lonnie Mack: Why
Morning 40 Federation: Professional
Jeri Bo Keno: Here It Comes And Here I Go Again
Jim Jones Revue: Fish 2 Fry
Julee Cruise: Mysteries Of Love
David Ruffin: Walk Away From Love

(you can vote by clicking the “thumbs-up” icon in the Live365 player window)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

North Fork Sound Top 20 October 5th ‘08

1. Elvis Presley: Mystery Train
2. Martin Rev: Venise
3. Bobby Comstock: I’m A Man
4. The Hellacopters: I Only Got The Shakes
5. Suicide: Shadazz
6. Lou Reed: My Love Is Chemical
7. Billy Hamon: Butch Things
8. Howlin’ Wolf: Howlin’ For My Darlin’
9. Headgirl: Emergency
10.Chuck Berry: Let’s Boogie
11.Watts 103rd St. Band: Wine
12.Wayne Cochran: Some-A Your Sweet Love
13.Fred: October
14.The Dixie Chicks: You Send Me
15.Mickey Newbury: Frisco Depot
16.The Real Kids: All Kindsa Girls
17.Mitch Webb: West Coast Blues
18.Adam & The Ants: Scorpios
19.Georgie Fame: Seventh Son
20.Swamp Dogg: The Mind Does The Dancing While The Body Pulls The Strings

Featured Album:
Prisonshake: Dirty Moons (Scat Records)

The 7” B-side:
Jona Lewie: Denny Laine’s Valet (Stiff Records, UK)

Last Week’s Listener Favourites:
The Sugarcubes: Delicious Demon
Max Romeo: Wet Dream
Lambchop: Slipped, Disolved And Loosed
Captain Beeheart & The Magic Band: 25th Century Quaker
The Yardbirds: For Your Love
Otis Clay: Trying To Live My Life Without You
Frankie Miller: It’s All Over
Fleetwood Mac: Man Of The World
P. P. Arnold: Am I Still Dreaming?
Keith Richards: All I Have To Do Is Dream
Electric Prunes: I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
Chairman Of The Board: (You’ve Got Me) Dangling On A String
Willie & The Poor Boys: Tear It Up
Jim Jones Revue: Another Daze
Michael Chapman: Postcards Of Scarborough
John Lee Hooker: My Dream
Glasvegas: Daddy’s Gone
Glasvegas: Flowers And Football Tops
The Soundtrack Of Our Lives: Lone Summer Dream
Vanity 6: Wet Dream
Small Faces: I’m Only Dreaming
Ian McLagan & The Bump Band: Wishing Hoping Dreaming
Wanda Jackson: Sweet Dreams (Of You)
(you can vote by clicking the “thumbs-up” icon in the Live365 player window)

(happy birthday, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen...the Fabulous PRISSTEENS!

The Prissteens: "Stab The..."/"The Hound"
Coney Island High, NYC
Dec 21 '96

The Prissteens: "Best Of Me"
The Point, Atlanta, GA
May 15th '97

Friday, October 3, 2008

Full "Dream" play-list (week of Sept 28th)

The A-Bones: I Must Be Dreamin’
Abba: I Have A Dream
Alan Vega: American Dreamer
Amy Allison: Dreaming’s Killing Me
Angel Corpus Christi (w/Alan Vega): Dream Baby Dream
Angelo Badalamenti: Dance Of The Dream Man
Arthur Alexander: Dream Girl
Audience: I Had A Dream
The Baseball Project: Sometimes I Dream Of Willie Mays
Beach Boys: California Dreamin’
The Belfast Gypsies: Gloria’s Dream
Bobby Darin: Dream Lover
Bruce Springsteen: Dream Baby Dream
Bunny Wailer: Dreamland
The Call: Scene Beyond Dreams
Charlie Christian: Lester’s Dream
The Charms: Dream
Cheap Trick: The Dream Police
Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds: Just A Dream
Chuck Berry: My Dream
Cornell Campbell: Girl Of My Dreams
Danny Gatton: Memphis Dream
David Bowie: Moonage Daydream
Dion: Dream Baby
Dolly Parton: Only Dreamin’
Dr. John & The Lower 911: Dream Warrior
Duffy: Distant Dreamer
The Eagles: I Dreamed There Was No War
Eddie Cochran: I’ll See You In My Dreams
The Electric Prunes: I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
The Everly Brothers: Sweet Dreams
The Flashcubes: Bad Dream
Forest For The Trees: Dreams
Gallon Drunk: Series Of Dreams
Gary Lucas: Old Dreams/Dream Of The Wild Horses
Ghostigital: Dream Of Sleep
Gladys Knight & The Pips: Pipe Dreams
The Heart Throbs: Dreamtime
Hellions: Daydreaming Of You
Home: Dreamer
Ian McLagan & The Bump Band: Wishing Hoping Dreaming
Ian McNabb & Crazy Horse: You Must Be Prepared To Dream
Jeremy Gluck: Dream Baby Dream
Jesse & Marvin: Dream Girl
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Rainy Day, Dream Away/Still Raining, Still Dreaming
John Lee Hooker: My Dream
John Martyn: Dreams By The Sea
Johnny Allen: Sweet Dreams
Julie London: You Stepped out of A Dream
Keith Richards: All I Have To Do Is Dream
Lee “Scratch” Perry: Dreamland Skank
Little Feat: All That You Dream
Los Straightjackets: Nightmare In Monte Cristo
Luna: Dream Baby Dream
Marianne Faithfull: Bored By Dreams
Marianne Nowottny & The All American Band: Love Is Just A Dream
Mark Knopfler: The Ragpicker’s Dream
Martin Rev: Daydreams
Max Romeo: Wet Dream
Max Wall: Dream Tobacco
Miles Davis: Moon Dreams
Nathaniel Mayer: I Had A Dream
Neil Young: It’s A Dream
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: I Had A Dream, Joe
Otis Redding: I’ve Got Dreams To Remember
P.P. Arnold: Am I Still Dreaming?
Patsy Cline: Sweet Dreams (Of You)
Patto: The Dream I Had Last Night
Paul Weller: 22 Dreams
The Pretty Things: Dream/Joey
Prince Buster: Dreams To Remember
The Prisonaires: Dreaming Of you
Prisonshake: Dream Along
Randy Newman: The Dream I Had Last Night
Reverend Horton Heat: In Your Wildest Dreams
Richard Thompson: Waltzing’s For Dreamers
Rilo Kiley: Dreamworld
Robert Schimmel: From Wet Dreams To Socks (excerpt)
Robyn Hitchcock: I Often Dream Of Trains
Roy Orbison: In Dreams
Sandy Denny: I’m A Dreamer
Small Faces: I’m Only Dreaming
The Soft Boys: Dreams
The Soundtrack Of Our Lives: Lone Summer Dream
Suicide: Keep Your Dreams (alt vocal)
T. Rex: Teenage Dream
Teenage Fanclub: Sparky’s Dream
Terry Hall & Salad: Dream A Little Dream
Tom Waits: Innocent When you Dream (Barroom)
Tommy McLain: Sweet Dreams
Van Morrison: These Dreams Of You
Vanity 6: Wet Dream
Wanda Jackson: Sweet Dreams (Of You) – Congrats, Wanda!
Willie Mitchell: Teenie’s Dream

North Fork Sound (radio):-

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trident (Pt. 2)

Roky Erickson & The Aliens
'Creature With The Atom Brain' - acetate

Perhaps the stage in my career where I learned the most about music was when I worked in Trident’s Disc Cutting suite. After my stint as tea-boy, which lasted something like 8 months, I was invited to move up to "tape-op" or assistant engineer, as it’s more fancifully known in the US. I was nearly 19, and had enjoyed my humble start but I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to be a recording engineer (the natural progression after tape-op) as I wasn’t particularly interested in the technical side of things. Seemed to me that you had to know what all those knobs, switches and faders did and that just seemed like being an electrician, to me anyway. Furthermore, most pop musicians had little formal training so endless patience was required while somebody tried over and over to get their parts down in a way that would excite the masses. What if I got lumbered doing a bunch of Elton John sessions? I didn’t like him as a person and I couldn't stand his music. All I knew was my tea-making skills had brought me close to some fascinating people and that I wanted to have some role in the record making process. Who knows? Maybe this was it.
A few weeks earlier, I’d watched Roy Baker (or Roy Thomas Baker, as he soon became known) make the move from staff engineer to produce a group called Skin Alley. He was on his way. John Anthony had been a disc jockey at the Speakeasy during its heyday and was now a producer with a solid track record (Rare Bird, Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator, Lindisfarne) under his belt. In 1969, he had produced a band called Smile while working for Mercury Records. They’d kept in touch and once they’d brought in Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie Mercury) as singer and changed their name to Queen, John brought them to Trident’s owners who were looking to expand their business. Queen were quickly signed to Trident Audio Productions for management and Roy and John formed a production company, Neptune Productions. Recording would take place during "down-time" at the studio (ie when there were no other bookings). Roger Taylor, Brian May, John Deacon and Freddie were nice enough people. Brian had a professorial air and had studied at Imperial College to become an astrophysicist. Roger had ‘rock star’ down, Freddie was completely and brilliantly over the top in every way and Deacon was the quiet, boring one. They were magnificent musicians and Freddie had a (uh) penetrating, distinctive voice. Anyway, to cut a long story short, Roy (who ended up actually behind the desk for most of the sessions) liked to monitor the takes at EAR-SPLITTING levels. I suppose that's ok...if you liked the music. I, however, thought Queen’s songs were ridiculous and no matter how loud they were, to me - someone brought up during the beat boom and weaned on UK r&b - I couldn’t get my head around songs like 'My Fairy King', 'Great King Rat', 'Jesus' or practically anything on the record. Sitting there hitting 'record' and endlessly rewinding spools of tape while being hammered by this stuff began to feel like torture. Plus, Roy started aping Freddie’s über-camp affectations and suddenly everyone was mincing around, calling each other “dearie”, and talking as if we were all locked in some dreadful Larry Grayson episode. After a bunch of these sessions, I begged studio manager, Penny Kramer, to put me to use elsewhere.
They put me in a little-used room on the 3rd floor which was equipped with a small console, 2 Ampex and 2 Studer reel-to-reel stereo tape decks and said “you now make the copies…report to Bob Hill in the disc-cutting room next door". I spent about 18 months copying 1/4" masters, EQ’d production tapes or just plain stereo mixes for anyone who needed them. My biggest client was Liberty U/A Records, a record company not far away, on Mortimer St. They used to send tapes over mainly to be copied for release in countries in Europe. For some godforsaken reason Slim Whitman was HUGE in places like Belgium and the Netherlands. I made copious copies of practically every one of the albums in his vast catalog. Often, Liz Arnold would send over something that piqued my interest and here, I first heard whole albums by Brinsley Schwartz, Help Yourself, Cochise, Neu!, Amon Düül, Nektar, Man, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Ventures, Don McLean and the fantastic, Johnny Rivers. Once, they sent the Flamin’ Groovies (in person) over to get some copies. They’d just been at Rockfield Studios with Dave Edmunds at the controls and lead guitarist, Cyril Jordan (in his nifty green velvet suit) and drummer/joker, Danny Mihm both made a strong impression. Not long after, the record company asked me to edit out the mainlining-a-hit-of-morphine verse from ‘Slow Death’ so the BBC could play it on the radio but it made no difference. They didn’t play it anyway. One of the most electrifying gigs I ever went to was when the Groovies played an all-nighter at the Scala Cinema in Kings Cross in '72. By then, I'd already seen them open for David Bowie at Dunstable's Civic Hall and at the Scala, they didn't disappoint. But I stuck around to see Iggy & The Stooges make their UK debut and they utterly blew my mind, changed how I looked at shows for ever and I doubt if anyone there can remember many details about the Groovies performance. Iggy came out looking like a deranged god and proceeded to show us how rock 'n' roll should be done. Urgent, prurient, unpredictable, cocky and with maximum abandon. Another time, U/A sent over a mono Eddie Cochran album asking me to turn it into simulated stereo. I popped next door and asked Bob's right hand man, Ray Staff, how to fake it. He told me to run the mono signal through two channels on the console, turn the high frequencies up and the low frequencies down on the right channel and do the opposite on the left one. Naturally, this sounded like crap but it created the illusion that some instruments were over ‘there’, while others were over ‘here’. Sort of. The tapes came from a live tv show called Boy Meets Girls that U/A's head of a&r Andrew Lauder had rescued from a vault somewhere. On it, Eddie gives a stellar performance and Gene Vincent adds vocals to 'White Lightning'. It’s well worth tracking down if you can find it.
'Louie Louie' - acetate

L.A. rock legend Kim Fowley booked a session once, arriving with a gorgeous young girl with long, shiny black hair who he introduced as “dog meat”. She sat next to him and didn’t say a word while he took off his shoes and proceeded to pick at the skin between his toes during our session. Despite this, I found him to be a highly entertaining individual. He claimed to have a photographic memory, knew everybody and had great stories about them all. The Stones, the Beatles, the Monkees, the Byrds, Frank Zappa, Gene Vincent were all grist for his mill. A few years later, while at Island Records, an (unsolicited) telex came through with some of his lyrics on it for Eddie & The Hot Rods to consider recording.
Kim’s still very active and has a show well worth checking out at weekends on Little Steven’s Underground Garage station on the Sirius satellite network.
So while I built up a small business in the copy room, next door, Bob and Ray were establishing themselves as two of the county’s top disc-cutting engineers. Their main competition was George ‘Porky’ Peckham (formerly of the Fourmost) who’d developed quite a reputation at Apple Corps and was soon to open up under his own banner at The Master Room.
Eddie & The Hot Rods
'It Came Out Of the Sky' - acetate (unreleased)

In the early 70’s, I’d say all the best records released in the UK had their parts cut by Bob, Ray or George. Back in the old days (BCd), the final stage of a recording’s creative life took place in a disc cutting room. Here, artists, producers, engineers, record companies would bring their ¼” master tapes (stereo or mono) to be turned into acetates for reference purposes or master lacquers for manufacturing purposes. Reference acetates, if handled carefully, could be played back up to nearly a dozen times before they’d start to lose quality. Clients would ‘tweak’ the sound for the last time as it was played back on our Studer A-80 using limiters, compression and EQ’ing the (overall) sound until it sounded exactly the way they wanted. Then that signal would be fed into the diamond stylus on the cutting head of our Neumann lathe.

(Thanks to Steve Caraco at the incredible site for allowing me to borrow his 'acetate' page for a picture of the lathe and a more detailed explanation of the process. Interesting to see a Madonna acetate for 'Lucky Star' cut at Trident there, too)

The cutting head would be lowered onto a revolving blank acetate (@33rpm or 45rpm) and move slowly toward the center of the disc imparting its signal, cutting a single groove as it got closer to the center. Then, these acetates would be played on a system that the client knew well and they would either approve it or make further changes. If the disc was approved and it was to be released commercially, then we’d use the same settings to cut the master lacquers. This time, we’d use a larger disc (to allow for handling – 7” singles would be cut onto 10” discs, 12” lps would be cut onto 14” discs) and these would get packed immediately into a dust-free metal container and sent directly to the appropriate factory where they’d be placed into a chemical bath, electroplated and turned into metal stampers (the groove now being a negative version of what was cut into the acetate) and pressed onto dollops of soft vinyl which would then - magically – turn into the item that would suck the money right out of my pocket every week, get me?

So now I’d find myself rubbing shoulders with the best on the creative side of the music business. Producers like Gus Dudgeon, Jonathan King, John Anthony, Neil Slaven, David Hitchcock, Sandy Roberton, Nicky Chinn and Michael Chapman would bring their tapes to us. Artists like David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Pete Townshend, Mott The Hoople, Rory Gallagher, Jimmy Page, the Rolling Stones and Monty Python’s Terry Jones would stop in to use our services. Managers like Doug Smith,
Jack Reiley, Billy Gaff, Tony DeFries, Dave Robinson and Carl Leighton-Pope...companies like Warner Bros, Elektra, Atlantic, Island, U/A, President, DJM, Trojan (they didn’t even bother with tape – they just sent over Jamaican 45s and told us to cut from them, clicks and scratches included), CBS, Charisma and Transatlantic used us regularly. Even Janie Jones, who alledgedly kept a house of ill-repute (featuring one-way mirrors through which influential radio djs would peer while a couple had sex in return for radio play) came by for a couple of acetates. (Bob Hill, who was a bit of a rogue, liked to do the "interesting" sessions).
The first ‘master’ I cut was a Jonathan King production for Bell Records by 'Robin Jack'. His office was just around the corner in Soho Square, and most of the record companies were situated nearby. He always had records on the charts and Music Week had listed him producer of the year three years in a row (thanks to songs like St. Cecilia’s 'Leap Up And Down Wave Your Knickers In The Air', his ownversion of 'Hooked On A Feeling', the Piglets' 'Johnny Reggae', The Weathermen’s 'It’s The Same Old Song' and Shag’s 'Loop Di Love'. Jonathan made commercial fluff that hit the sweet spot of the great British record buying public. His songs would get tons of radio play but by the end of their chart run, everybody in the country would be sick to death of them, and him which, I presume, is why he put so many of his hits out under pseudonyms. He had a somewhat annoying personality that sucked all the oxygen out of the room. He was supremely confident, bossy, narcissistic, camp and loquacious. I liked him. His vastly entertaining web-site is well worth a look, particularly the "Legal" and "Deep Throat" pages.
The longest night of my life was spent when Cat Stevens booked a session with Ray to master a single from his Foreigner album. Ray and I thought it be a couple of hours, tops, but “Steve” brought his own boxy, green stereo system with him and set it up in an empty office
down the corridor, a room that was less acoustically 'tuned' than ours (to simulate a more standard listening experience). The next 14 hours were spent cutting reference acetates of just the one song - 'The Hurt', an execrable ditty that had no chance of being a hit single. EVER. It was obvious from one play that, even if it got played on Radio One every hour on the hour, nobody in their right mind woulkd buy it. Each time we’d cut a disc, he’d have us make the slightest, practically inaudible change and then go and listen to the thing in the other room. Then he’d bring his stereo into our room and listen to it again and decide it didn’t sound right. This went on all night and by the time the rest of the Trident staff came back to work the next morning, I loathed Cat Stevens and everything he ever stood for.
Sometime during the summer of '74, The Rolling Stones booked a session, sending engineer Keith Harwood over with the mixes of their 'It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll' album and we were told we were up against
America's #1 cutting room, Stirling Sound, for the honour of cutting the 'parts'. Ray put in a lot of time on that one and won the job. My role as assistant would usually be, um, writing out the labels, pressing the 'scroll' button on the lathe (creating the gap between tracks) and standing around, nodding and smoking, like I knew what the hell was going on. He’d make all the necessary EQ adjustments between songs and, after each side was completed, I'd pack the discs safely into the tin box that would then be messengered to the factory or flown to two different pressing plants in the US. In the end we had to cut something like 10 sets of lacquers, as each factory needed multiple sets for an album that was expected to a lot of records.
Another memorable session Ray and I worked on was when Terry Jones came in to cut Monty Python’s 'Matching Tie & Handkerchief' album. This was a very complicated record to master as we'd been asked to cut one side of the album with a double groove. Instead of one single 20-or-so minute side, the Pythons had prepared 2 approximately 12 minute 'sides', to be cut running parallel to each other so when you put your stylus down on the album, you never knew which 'side' you’d get. Because it was largely a spoken word album, it was easier to accomplish (there’s less groove modulation than on a musical program), but one still had to rely on a lot of luck when lowering the cutting head the second time, as there was always a danger of 'landing' on, or too close to the groove you’d just cut. Ray made several attempts and after inspecting the cuts carefully via the microscope, was satisfied enough to send the lacquers away to be manufactured. You never really knew if it was going to work, as master lacquers had to be pristine and never played before processing for them to sound exactly the way they should, but it worked and the record sold well.

In those days, mastering engineers rarely got credit on albums, despite the important role they played, so one way of telling who mastered a record is to look inside the run-out spiral of the vinyl itself where sometimes the engineer would 'sign' it, using their 'nom-de-cut'. Ray Staff signed his “Rays”, Bob Hill signed his “Bobil”, George Peckham signed his “Porky” or “A Porky Prime Cut” and I’d sign mine “Kip”, the nickname David Bowie had given me a couple of years before (on account of some tea I made him that “tasted like kippers”). All the big jobs were handled by Bob and Ray but they trusted me enough to create the lacquers when EQ’d production masters were sent over, so when Clifford Gee in the production office at WEA sent over albums from the Warner, Elektra, Atlantic and their other, distributed labels for cutting, I’d get to do many of those and in the process hear (for the first time) artists like Randy Newman, Mickey Newbury, Ry Cooder, Harry Chapin, Bonnie Raitt, Donny Hathaway, The Allman Brothers, Veronique Sanson, Todd Rundgren, Sparks, Bobby Charles and countless others. Naturally, I was chuffed when any new Frank Zappa album showed up (I cut the parts for Just Another Band From LA, Waka Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo and Overnight Sensation) and even faked illness to watch him testify at the Strand law courts when he sued the Royal Albert Hall over them canceling his '200 Motels' show. During his stint on the stand, he claimed that he had offered to re-write the lyrics that had 'offended' a female worker there and the judge didn’t believe that it was possible. So, Frank’s barrister asked him to demonstrate and he took about 10 minutes to re-write something off the top of his head. Somewhere in the transcripts is an unrecorded, unheard FZ lyric. John Anthony’s g/f Jane was doing publicity at Warner then and had accompanied Frank to the hearing. She knew I was a big fan and after introducing him to me, to further the conversation along, she remarked, “wow, look and this amazing architecture…it’s kind of Norman” to which Frank replied dryly, “Not really…it's more like Marmaduke, or Cholmondeley”. During a break for lunch, this picture was taken
and the print that appeared in Sounds magazine had me lurking in the background on the left, but Getty Images have seen fit to crop me out of it for some unknown reason, ha!
There was only one day when I wished I didn’t have to go to work, May 5th 1973. Normally, we didn’t work Saturdays but we got a booking and it wasn’t important enough for Bob or Ray to come in for. I begged and pleaded not to have to work that day, but I was told that if I didn’t go in, I shouldn't come in the following Monday, or ever, and that was that. That was the day the team I'd supported since I was 7, Sunderland, played Leeds Utd in the FA Cup. Sunderland hadn’t even been in a final since 1937 and it was likely they’d never be in one again during my lifetime. There was nothing I could do. Leeds were the strong favourites, so maybe working would spare me the disappointment of a
Wembley loss . Suffice to say, the session went ahead (I'm fairly sure it was a session with Duffy Power’s producer, Adrian Miller) and as soon as it was finished, I rushed downstairs to the Ship, the pub next door on Wardour Street, to find a handful of Sunderland fans drinking, singing and crying tears of joy over their 1-0 victory, thanks to an Ian Porterfield goal. I watched it on Match Of The Day later that night, but it felt like I'd won the Grand National but lost the betting ticket.
Favourite sessions often involved working with Ray on David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" or Bob when Marc Bolan came by. We did 'Metal Guru'(or maybe it was 'Telegram Sam') and Marc insisted on having his picture taken with me. I have no idea why he made a point of that, but I wish I had that picture now.
In '74, Trident was the happening place. The studio was one of the best in the country. The disc cutting room was constantly busy. Trident had started manufacturing a line of recording consoles/mixing desks under the supervision of ex-engineer, Malcolm Toft, while the preview theater on the 2nd floor was screening independent films like Andy Warhol’s 'Trash' and 'Heat' and more mainstream fair like 'The Exorcist' for UK distributors. Trident Audio Productions, had brought in an American, Jack Nelson, to steer its artists (Queen, Headstone and Eugene Wallace) through their new licensing agreement with EMI and things were beginning to look pretty good all round. As fun as it was, I was beginning to feel my future was not in disc-cutting. I wasn’t technically inclined and didn’t want to know how something worked, just that there was someone around who did. I applied for a transfer into Jack Nelson’s department to see whether management might have some appeal. Jack told me to be on the look out for something we might want to pick up for representation. Looking back, I don't think they were terribly serious about my role there but I threw myself into 'talent-scouting' as long as it didn't cost me any money (I wasn't on expenses and my salary was still crappy) and I could still get the last bus/tube back to Willesden Green, where I was living with an old schoolmate and a fellow who played bass with (John Peel discovery) Principal Edwards Magic Theatre. His name was, and probably still is, Joe Read, whose mother's flat in Uppingham had previously been a refuge for a few of us dodgy students to go and smoke hash, pretend we were groovy and drink sherry. I digress.
I saw an act called Supercharge (out of Liverpool), and I’m reasonably sure I caught Cado Belle, Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s but just as I was getting my feet wet (about 4 weeks in), I got called into Jack’s office and was told Queen had split for John Reid's management company and that Trident Audio Productions was scaling down...see ya…bye!

Robin Tyner & The Hot Rods
'(Till The Night Is Gone) Let's Rock' - acetate