Wednesday, May 30, 2007

CD Reviews - Americana

Here are some releases by artists who are deep into the classic Americana genre, yet bring their own vision to the style.

On “Earning Her Wings” (, ANGELA EASTERLING take a traditional pop country stance (think Loretta Lynn meets Barbara Mandrell) that is full of fiddles, pedal steel guitar, twang and some heavy emoting. From the fun “Feel Like Drinking” to the somber “Dear Johnny”, Angela invites you to the hoedown. Her voice is airy and fits the style like a sheath. Enjoyable from beginning to end, Angela has her finger (and voice) on the pulse of the style. The final cut is a rollicking cover of “When I Wake Up and Sleep No More”, with more than a hint of gospel handclapping sing-along. Yeah, I liked this one.

Stepping even further into traditional Americana, RACHEL HARRINGTON sets the calendar into prohibition period with “The Bootlegger’s Daughter” (Skinny Dennis, c/o Not only does she capture the feel of the period with mandolins, steel pedal guitars, and banjos, but even her syntax and lyrics has the feel of the period. Stunning stuff, and backed by her beautiful, aerie voice, you can imagine you’re riding along with Bonnie and Clyde, or stepped into the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack. Songs tell tales of shamed baseball player Shoeless Joe, revenge against the railroad around the time of the Civil War, and a hint of that ol’ tyme religion. It’s not often one finds this level of sophistication. File with along with Alison Krauss, Nanci Griffin and EmmyLou Harris.

MICHELLE TITIAN comes from one of the more musically underrated cities in Canada: Hamilton, Ontario. But even with me, who knows more of the rock side of the Hammer, there is a lot to learn. Michelle proves that with her eponymous CD ( Her voice is very rich, as she sings somewhere between country and singer/songwriter, with a twang and pull on the heart. There is definitely a strong WTF air about this, making me wonder why this woman is not played on every country radio, as she has such a strong presence. With all the mediocre material broadcast, they need a fresh sound like this. I mean, she’s got the sound, the looks, and the material. The CD just gets better with each listen, making it difficult to pick a fave, so I’m just going to go down the middle, and pick two exceptionally strong cuts, with the classic sound of “Take My Hand” and the more contemporary twang of “Be Mine”.

JENNIFER BRANTLEY proves to be a watchable crossover country artist with her “On the Other Side” (Blue Room, PO Box 160916, Nashville, TN 37216). What does this mean? Simply, she sings country style, but in a way that it could easily fit into other genres, such as singer-songwriter, and even some pop. This is especially true on her demo of “Breakdown”, which I was luckily enough to hear. Jennifer has a sweet voice, which makes the meaning to some of the deep themes she covers all the more telling, including breakups and near suicide after mother abandonment. But the theme that seems the most consistent is coming through “the storm” to realization of love and home. It may sound simplistic, but through Jennifer’s eyes we see redemption among the questions in a way that is part story and all heart.

DOLORES DAGENAIS sent me her entire catalog of three releases, including her older releases “Mona Lisa’s Secret” ( and “The Original Fool” (, and her newest, “Songs For the Moon” ( Of course, I started at the first and worked my way through all of them. Really beautiful music. Dolores sings from the heart, from her opening title cut of “Mona Lisa’s Secret” to her hopeful “A Course in Miracles” off her newest, this is a journey, and not just an RV trip to see James Kellaghan (see her amusing video diary on YouTube). Dolores’s voice is sweet, whether effectively being bluesy or traditional folk. Mostly she sings from the heart with full and emotive knowledge. Whether autobiographical or story form, you know this woman is coming from a place where she has experienced a wide range of both joys and hardships. Some of this shows up in her songs in the form of spirituality (but never preaching), in the likes of “2000 Years Late”, “Prayers” and the aforementioned “Miracles”. You can just feel the hope. Originating in Sudbury, Ontario (showing up in “Sudbury Home”, on “Fool”) she has made her way to Nova Scotia. For someone as prolific as she is (38 songs over 3 CDs), the quality of her writing doesn’t falter, which makes the listening a returned experience.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

CD Reviews - Mixed Batch

Here are some CDs that cover the entire country, in both geography and style.

Listening to Vancouver-based CINDERPOP on “Their Skies Are Beautiful” ( is just what I would imagine it would be like to float in one of those saltwater immersion tanks that gives one a feeling of weightlessness. Super powerpop that is incredibly smooth and polished as ice over glass. A substantial ‘sixties influence as deep as a homage to bands like the Association or Beau Brummels meet the Dream Academy. Kevan Ellis has a voice that glides over the music and programmed sounds. To be fair, and to their benefit, the programming is exceedingly credible and accessible, and not rinky-dink plunking as it tends to be. Very purdy. . – RBFrancos/FFanzeen

The DARK MARBLES originated, in many ways, in the garage revival of the 1980s. Lead singer Yod was in the Buffalo band, the Splatcats, and more recently in the Bernie Kugel Experience. The three cuts presented on “Let’s Go!: First Three Singles” ( are actually from that revival mold, and yet all three are different. “Run Through the Rain” is the purest of the paradigm, with cool farfisa sounds and twangy guitars. “In Angola”, written by Yod, is a moody piece, more arty than garagey, but still maintains enough to see the influence. The last cut is a cool cover of The Good’s (i.e., Bernie Kugel) first single, “Walk Around the World”. More pop than garage, the song is well covered by the DM, and they add their own touch to make it their own. Not we sit back and wait for the whole album. – RBFrancos/FFanzeen

When one thinks of “theatrics” in rock in the U.S., one may reflect along the lines of Alice Cooper. In the U.K., it’s probably more towards the Who. In fact, British rockers have more readily adopted Dance Hall than we have with, say, Tin Pan Alley. “Waking the Mystics” ( by SOPHE LUX, from the U.S. West Coast, is the brilliant brainchild of Gwynneth Haynes, who wrote most of the music here and mixes rock, theatric technic, a vivid imagination, and a band who is totally attuned, and has produced a collection that stands out. Song topics include a “Marie Antoinette Robot 2073” suite, our idiot president who uses religion as a guiding force (from “President”: “Countless bodies burning bridges losing liberties/For a war based on the export of democracy…/You’d turn the water right into wine.”), to a time-tripping “Lonely Girl”. The music never talks down to the listener, and certainly is thoughtful…with some killer tunes with that said theatrical touch. Plus, the CD is enhanced so one can watch their brilliant “Target Market” video, which is the opening cut and a possible breakthrough shot. – RBFrancos/FFanzeen

This is some really fun and fucked up shit. Imagine the Ramones if they had grow’d up on Hank Williams rather than the Beach Boys. Picture the Plasmatics if they had flowered on Patsy Kline rather than Black Sabbath. With fiddle and tongue firmly in place on “Usurpers of the Tradition” (, UNCLE FUCKER just WHIP through their number with a ferocity that’s rare even today. To give you an example, think of Charlie Daniels’ fiddling as the devil in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, and then triple it. Great covers of “Ya’ll Come” and “Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” just burns rubber. This ain’t yer daddy’s bluegrass, this is a country all its own. Never heard nothin’ like it before; I gotta see these guys live, too! – RBFrancos/FFanzeen

In those glorious pre-punk-entitled days when it was just underground rock, bands like the WHITE DEMONS were a fun part of going to CBs or Max’s. They call themselves “Action Rock”, which I’m willing to agree is an accurate label, as I would with bands like the Dolls, Heartbreakers, Demons, and so many others rocked their way into our hearts. These guys are pretty solid and heavy, without being cumbersome. Their songs on “Say Go” ( are catchy, and this is eminently worth giving a listen. In a time when bands were held back by the excesses of studio technology, as they are again today, it’s refreshing to see/hear a band just rock out without all the bullshit that not just pads, but disguises the sound. Melodic without being sappy, rocking without being boring, and musicianship that is nut grabbing. Ahhhhhhh, thanks, WD. – RBFrancos/FFanzeen

As always comments are welcome, and feel free to send us your material to review.

Friday, May 18, 2007

CD Reviews: Boston Special

The latest batch of reviews are all from the Boston area, where they know how to support their local bands.

With Karen DeBiasse leading the Boston-based GIRL ON TOP, it shows how a good rocker can range from heavy to light, as with “Cherry Blossoms/Sakura” ( ), and still come out…er…on top. This band knows how to wave their axe high and strong (“Air Waves” and “Beat Myself Up”) and yet have a tender side (“Cherry Blossoms”), to just take the first three cuts of this rock-solid CD. The musicians in this band have passed the ingénue stage, and have enough solid experience to get the job done effectively. It makes total sense that there are two Stones covers (in a row!) from their post-Blues period, because they fit in so well here, including a smashing version of “Paint It Black”, which is loyal and yet Girl on Top make it their own, with Karen showing her range by singing in a lower register. The whole recording is catchy enough to get on the radio without selling out, which is a tough thing to do. – RBF/FFanzeen

MACH 5 are named as much for Speed Racer’s car as for lead singer Mach Bell, who fronted the seminal Boston first-wave punk-era band, Thundertrain. And he’s lost none of the power, growl or grit. This new combo has all the earmarks of hook-laden bar rock that would fit in well on the shelf with the NY Dolls and their ilk. Right from the start on "Meet Mach 5" ( , they pound you into the floor with “Get It Up”. Bell and the ridiculously monikered (but good songsmith) Dee Stroy wrote this and many of the others. “Deadly Combination” is almost an updated version of Wayne County’s “Max’s Kansas City”, looking at the wasted deaths of the likes of Thunders, Vicious, and Spungen. There are also some interesting covers, including Kirsty McaColl’s “They Don’t Know” (also previously covered by Tracy Ullman, and which seems a bit out of place here), Mose Allison’s total I-IV-V rave-up “If You’re Goin’ to the City”, and Alice Cooper’s “Under My Wheels” also make an appearance. But they’re local Boston boys, and they make it clear with shout outs to “Quincy Girl” and “Kenmore Square”. This CD is a fun flashback of pure rock power. Welcome back, Mach. – RBF/FFanzeen

So, what happens when a bunch of musicians centered in Worchester (for those out of the know, it is pronounced Wooosda), MA, who had previously been in metals bands, get together and decide to go pop? You get some wicked guitars behind a mainstream sound with a solid bottom and soaring vocals. While ALMADA's self title release ( is a little too sterile for my taste, I also believe that they deserve their props. The songs are catchy and I can easily see them right beside bands like My Chemical Romance. Actually, I heard the latest from MCR while getting a haircut this afternoon, and I think Almada blows them outta da water. Just from the strength of this first release, I am amazed I don’t hear them on some radio station, or blasting out of some retail store, bolstered by songs like “Killed By Cuteness,” “Japanese B-Side,” and especially “Radiator”. Note that since this release, Almada have changed their name to the ArkRoyal. – RBF/FFanzeen

The night I received the self-titled CD of PAUL HULTMAN (, I was fortunate to see him play at the Kirkland Café in Somerville, MA. Paul used to be in the band The Instagators (yes, that’s how they spell it), and that period along with he rest of the last 20 years (including some demos) are included in this collection of his work. The Instagators parts are solid ‘80s Boston bar band sound that is still accessible (such as the rave-up opening cut, “Where’s the Party”; the closer is the same song in Spanish), thanks in part to producer/label owner Joe Viglione. But I emphatically want to emphasize just how strongly Boston-based Paul’s work is, with lines that include words like “stahka” (stalker). While Hultman did an acoustic set the night I saw him play, his rock playing is melodic and catchy. His voice is unique and feels present and sincere. There are also some interesting choices for covers, like the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”, Zep’s “Ramble On”, Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”, and “Down Town Talk” by Tom Dickey & the Desires (Paul’s pal Jon Macey was a member, as well as leader of FoxPass, who also shared the bill that night). There are lots of Boston staple players here, including Steven Paul Perry (who also mastered the CD), Paul Santo, and Brian “Taz” Durante (who was in the audience at the Kirkland). I’d love to see him play electric some time. – RBF/FFanzeen
Photos I took that night of Paul, Joe V, and FoxPass at the Kirkland:

I liked APPOMATTOX ( the first time I heard their CD, and it just continues to grow with each listen. A power trio from Boston, the band has a way with a song that is punk, melodious, and yet manages to stay wicked edgy. Yeah, they use a shredding guitar, dissonant notes, and sharp vocals, but the songs are memorable and powerful. Not a hint of a bad cut here. At six cuts in a bit less than 20 minutes, I’m looking forward to the whole she-bang. – RBF/FFanzeen

Monday, May 14, 2007

CD Reviews

Here are some CD reviews that the artists have been kind enough to send or give to me. They cover a spectrum of styles. Comments are always welcome.

Hailing from out west (okay, Michigan), I must say this self-titled CD by CHOKING SUSAN ( really pissed me off. I mean, it’s so much fun that I felt almost gypped by its being only 15 minutes. Seriously, this is majorly entertaining. The band is solid Ramones throwback – a compliment that complements vocalist Colleen Caffeine. Okay, I realize this is exceedingly obscure, but Colleen’s voice remind me a lot of Canadian singer Anne Lorree, though the style is ever so different. Very clean sounding recording and so sharp leading the buzzsaw behind her. And I do mean behind; the vocals on this recording are so far in front of the band in the mix, that sometimes it has a karaoke feel, but it all comes out in the wash with fun songs, dynamite instrumentation, sublimely racous lyrics, and keen vocals. A must NOT to avoid. - RBF
Here is a link to the photos I took when Choking Susan played at CBGBs in 2006:

ObjectOBJECT is not just a rock duo but a couple as well. Eric is the voice and plays a strong guitar with a grunge style. Maria is a kick-ass, full-on energized power drummer. I’ve seen them play a few times now, and they never fail to impress. Their songs, including the 5 here on “The Mirror World” (Velcro Kitty, c/o, are brash and inventive within its genre. “Talk Too Much is the catchiest and easily the breakout of this collection. And there is the irony for this connected couple: the lyrics are all first person about the misery of relationships (an example is “You are a hole I fell into” from “The 8th Floor”). While I don’t know what that is all about, I am convinced the Object as a whole is wholly worthwhile listening. - RBF
Here are some photos at a show at Peggy O'Niell's in Brooklyn which feature Object:

The first (and last) time I met TERRY SULLIVAN was outside Max’s Kansas City, when his seminal Buffalo band The Jumpers played there. That group should have made it. Another of his bands, the Restless, came close. Now here is a solo release that highlights what Terry can do. Terry was always a great rocker, and this release, "The Earth Moovs Around the Sun" (, shows his growth, adding some Cars-ish/Bowie-like pop edges (Bowie especially on cuts like “Mr. Completely”). Jumpers co-member Bob Kozak, one of the better songsmiths to come out of Erie County, joins him on a few cuts. Terry covers a bunch of different pop-rock styles, including blues inflection, Springsteen-type rock, ballads, singer-songwriter, and even some programmed techo-influence. Sounds like he’s all over the map, and, well, perhaps he is, but this is a decent exercise in pushing his own envelope. That being said, I still have to add that I’d like to hear more of the Jumpers’ style “I Wanna Know What’s Going On” straight bar rock. – RBF

Tamara HeyWe went to see Mary Gatchell play at the Rockwood on the Side of the Lower East, and figured we’d finish our drink and go. But fate had other plans, when TAMARA HEY came on. We did not leave until after her set, as she transfixed us right from the start. After her set, I got a copy of her CD, “Right This Minute” (Sunsound, c/o, which I’ve listened to a number of time now. Tamara is a local veteran, but this was my first taste of her sound, a comfortable mix of pop, singer-songwriter, and just a touch of country. Her voice is reminiscent of Emmylou Harris without the vibrato. A sweet voice with a solid band (including her own guitar) and excellent production values. There are lots of standout cuts, including the title one, “Up in the Air”, “”Rainy Rainy Cloud”, and so many others right to the end . She can break your heart with “More Like Melanie”. to getting your foot tapping with the bluegrass influenced “Pebble In My Shoe.” I feel fortunate to have the happy accident in seeing her. Won’t be the last. – RBF
Here are the photos I took of the show mentioned in this review:

At that same Gatchell/Hey show, I also ran into chanteuse KATHY ZIMMER, who gave me her CD “Dreamin’” ( Kathy’s vocalizing is clearly the focus of this 15+-minute EP. Her voice is silky and cultured like a pearl, with a velvet smoothness that is reminiscent of laying in a bubble bath. There is a strong jazz influence and a hint of operatic training in there. She sounds like she could be singing standards sitting on a piano, or jazz on a rainy afternoon. The four songs, written by Kathy, are all right in their own right, but actually her voice seems stronger than the material. Really, that’s meant as a compliment of degree. – RBF

I will try to put up 5 reviews every few days or so. Keep those CDs coming in, folks.

CD Reviews

More reviews:

Francos_DaveRave_LivingRoom_050306_04DAVE RAVE Anthology Vol. 1 (
DAVE RAVE Anthology Vol. 2 ( While many people in the US don’t know Dave Rave DesRoches, up in his native Hamilton, Ontario (aka “The Hammer”), he is one of the larger hometown rock’n’roll heroes, with a wide history that goes back to the ‘70s. I’ve known him a number of years, though we’ve probably met three or four times. Nice guy, and his music is certainly well represented on these two CDs, covering his entire history in over 2 hours. His earliest periods were spent in bands like the Shakers and the Trouble Boys, where he was a pop maven who could have been the bastard child of Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe, possibly brother of the Plimsouls, if such a thing were possible. This is especially true in songs like “Out the Door”. And his cover of the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Shake Some Action” shows you his interests and influences. Then he officially joined Hamilton’s top cult band, Teenage Head as vocalist (he played with them on and off over their long history). There his material became more rock focused, but never lost the beat. After leaving the Head, he joined with A+ rock writer/historian/musician Gary Pig Gold and Coyote Shivers to form the Dave Rave Group. At this point he started to expand his musical repertoire into more melodic pop rock with deeper lyrics and less formulaic song structures. For me, one of his high points was when he joined up with ex-Nervus Rex/Washington Squares’ Lauren Agnelli to form Rave & Agnelli. Their voices work so well together, and their songwriting is sharp. In his latest incarnation, Dave Rave & Mark McCarron, Dave delves into some rock jazz, ever expanding his style. The first CD covers the more pop and rock side, and the second is focused on his more esoteric stylings. This is an excellent overview, with too many great songs to pick out a few (37 songs in total). Worth checking out. – RBF
Here's some of my pictures of his record release party in New York at The Living Room:

FIRE BUG – “End of the World” (Buddha Belt, c/o There’s four songs, and the last is just a shorter version of the first (“End of the World”). I enjoyed this, and wanted more, damn it. Vocalist Juliette Tworsey has a solid rock voice, reminiscent of Marge Reynolds of the ‘80s Brooklyn band Flame, but definitely has a uniqueness to help it stand out. Not only are the songs well sung, but they’re written with a strong catch (I can see hands waving as the chorus of “Hey, my, my/No need to worry”) comes out the amp at a concert. The musicianship is matched by the superb production values that highlight without burying. I want more. And yes, this made it to my iPod. Check out their superb video on YouTube. – RBF

Kung Fu GripKUNG FU GRIP “S/T” ( The core of KFG is vox/rhythm guitarist/drummer Anthony Kapfer and lead guitarist (and Anthony’s cousin) Ricky, who used to be in a duo, Good Grief (with Ricky as main voice). They became instant south Brooklyn icons after filling in at a gig when a band was a no-show (yes, I was there). Since then, they’ve played numerous times, and Anthony has been with many other bands (usually as drummer), such as The Nerve! KFG is essentially Anthony’s group, with Ricky’s massive support, and an additional bassist and drummer (for live gig purposes). KFG wave their influences on banners, including Foo Fighters, local legends Monty Love, the Nerve!, and even some of the more pop edges of the Beatles. Anthony shows on this CD that he can definitely lead, with catchy songwriting. Whether it’s the buzzsaw screamo of “W.I.P”, the catchy, hard yet melodic opening “Taking the Fall”, or the schmaltzy love poem to Anthony’s girlfriend Desiree, the songs stay with the listener. For a new outfit (even though Anthony and Ricky have been playing together since childhood), this is a dead-on first effort. Both guys are worth keeping a watch. – RBF
Kung Fu Grip and Randy Nerve playing the Southpaw, in Brooklyn:

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Fuzztones: Illegitimate Spawn – The Fuzztones Tribute Album (Sin, Postfach 21035, 10121 Berlin, Germany). I had to ask myself, really, is the Fuzztones important enough to have not only a tribute CD, but also a two-disk one? Well, hell yeah. The Fuzztones are to the garage revival sound what the Cramps are to rockabilly: a raucous, psychotronic vision of the genre, thereby creating a sub-genre all their own. With Rudi Prodrudi’s vocals (hero = Jerry Lee Lewis) and Deb O’Nair’s (hero = Nancy Sinatra) signature farfisa, they swamped up the garage sound in the ‘80s retro psychedelic sound that idolized bands like the Music Machine and the Standells). And here is an international collection of bands that recognize the ‘Tones importance. There are so many good cuts, I’ll just pick a few here and there from the 42 selections at well over 2 hours. The collection starts off strong with The Sparkling Bombs (France) doing “This Sinister Urge”. There’s a beautiful and powerful rendition of “Charlotte’s Remains” by “Gondolieri (Argentina). My favorite growlsters and old pals the She Wolves (v.1, USA) do a rough and ready “Heathen Set”. Plasticland (USA) do one of the Fuzztones’ early classics, “Ward 81”. Jayne County (USA) beautifully does “You Tarzan, Me Jane” (with the lyrics ”Women are women and men are men”). Nikki Sudden (Germany), while being a coup for the collection, contributes one of the weaker performances with “Just Once”. The Deltones (Finland) go a fab “Third Time’s the Charm”, and Hank Ray (Germany) handles a very flat, nearly scary “Ghost Clinic.” This CD ends with a complete tribute rave-up by Manganzoides (Peru) with “Fuzztomano Piedricolas”. There’s at least two original songs here named for keyboardist Deb O’Nair. And rightfully so. Pre-Fuzzones' Tina Peel is represented with "Fabian Lips" by Aliens & Strangers, from Rudi and Deb's home turf of Harrisburg, PA. I’m just sorry no one covered more of their bizarre middle-period tunes, like “Bent Nail Syndrome” (though Sons of the Moon (US) do a gr-8 and humorous “Johnson in a Headlock”). As a scene that’s dedicated to the obscure, this would have been a coup. This compilation is a must-have for the garage revivalist. – RBF
Two photos I took of the Fuzztones from the early '80s at Irving Plaza:

As always, comments are welcome.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

She Wolves, Mynks: Delancey, 5/9/2007

There have been a few shake-ups in the She Wolves camp, but one thing for sure, each incarnation has its own flavor, and each one (presently they are in Mach 3) has the power of a full-swing chainsaw. Last time I saw them play was, well, too long ago. While I have had the opportunity to hang out with drummer Tony (Wolf)Mann and Mach 1 bassist Laura Sativa during the last Wigstock (and the Poison Aeros from Ontario), and interviewed vox/guitarist Donna She Wolf and Mach 2 bassist/legend Gyda Gash – the interview was e-published by Punk Globe ( – the previous time I saw the band perform was at CBGBs way back. So long ago that the opening act was the now-defunct and missed Lady Unluck.

When I heard they were going to be playing at Delancey, on the Lower East Side of New York, I figured it would be a good time to get to see their new line-up. The first band was announced to go on at 8:45, but the ads said 10:30. I arrived at 8:30, and got to hang out with Donna and Tony just-post soundcheck, and with Gass Wild of the Love Pirates who was helping to roadie. He told me how he caught a vicious form of pneumonia earlier this year, and almost checked out. Also met were some other cool folks, like Christine Natanael of, and a few guys from Reality Check TV (, one of whom, Huge, gave me a copy of their “Real Rock Divas” DVD (to be reviewed on a future blog). The gig was a release party for said DVD (and birthday celebration for one of their own, Ace).

First band up was the Mynks. In some ways being diametrically opposite of the She Wolves, they were a blast. Imagine Cheap Trick with a bit more balls, but ironically if Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen were women. Actually, the band is three-fifth female (vox, lead and rhythm guitars). There’s a definite pop leaning, with Em’s vocals being solid yet pleasing, and some solid and strong guitar and rhythm backing it up. There was some technical problem with the amp that fed the bass at one point, which Em commented on by expressing disappointment in not being able to share the strong bass-line of the song with the crowd.

After an amazingly swift complete stage change, the She Wolves came up (set list below). New bassist Jamie Gorman was definitely up for the task and, well, looked the part. They started off strong with the opening cut from their “13 Deadly Sins” CD, “Vicious Tit” (gotta wonder about those mom issues…, hahaha). They proceeded to go through some of their very strong numbers, like “Art of War”, “Crimewave”, and Tony’s great solo, “Chainsaw” that has a hook that goes right through you like a…well…you get the picture.

Toward the end of the set, metal guitar legend Richie Scarlet jumped up (accompanied by his OWN roadie to plug in his guitar) to wail on the Tony-led cover of “Holiday In the Sun”. There was that pesky gremlin again, screwing up the guitar wire, knocking out Richie’s solo for about two stanzas. Tt’s always fun to be in the presence of legends – many of who seems to be happy to be around the She Wolves – but I must that that while he was technically flashy, I liked the more down to earth roll in the mud subtle bombastic guitar styles of Donna. At least with Donna you can follow a melody line, rather than just didit-didit-didit-didit-wah-wah-wah. Ross the Boss of the Dictators was a master at finding the middle ground of these two styles. I am not trying to put down Richie’s playing OR style, just making a comment on my particular taste. I would LOVE to be ABLE to do what he does.

For the last song, with Richie still on stage, Queen Vixen of Donna’s old band The Cycle Sluts From Hell jumped up for a totally rousing version of Donna’s “I Wish You Were a Beer”. And just like that – or what felt like just that – the show was over.

There were a couple of more bands playing, but it’s a work night and I’m…well, realistic. After my saying some goodbyes, and a stop at the now relatively pricey Grey’s Papaya, I headed for the subway. A new day – my birthday – was blooming.

A link to the pictures I took of this event will follow soon.

1. Vicious Tit
2. Satan
3. Chainsaw
4. Keep Yer God
5. Art of War
6. Crime Wave
7. Holiday in the Sun
8. I Wish You Were a Beer

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The purpose of this blog

Back when I was in college, I wanted so much to write about what I was seeing. Often, with Bernie Kugel (who used to lead Buffalo seminal bands The Good and Mystic Eyes) and Alan Abramowitz (producer and creator of New York City-based cable access show Videowave), I'd hear amazing music played by ever-interesting bands.

It started when Bernie dragged me to CBGBs in June of 1975, where we saw Talking Head opening for the Ramones at CBGBs. There were 12 people in the audience for both sets, most of them at the bar. After that, we saw literally hundreds of show there, Max's Kansas City, or other venues.

My college newspaper was just not interested in publishing anything that wasn't disco or what is now called "classic rock", so I said to hell with it and I started my own fanzine, FFanzeen, which ran from 1977 until 1988. It started out as a xeroxed 15-pager (the back cover has recently turned up - uncredited - in a book titled "The Cramps: A Short History of Rock'n'Roll Psychosis" by Dick Porter [p. 45]), and ended up a typeset half-tabloid with tons of text and pix. Also, around this time, I started taking pictures of the bands.

After the mag folded out of lack of funds and time, I went dormant. Some time in the 1990s, I was anxious to hear some new music. My tastes included folk/singer-songwriter, as much as punk. I contacted a few magazines and fanzines, and started writing regularly for a few of them, such as Oculus and Shredding Paper. Around 2001, I started writing for Jim Testa's excellent Jersey Beat, and took over the "Quiet Corner" column, while continuing to review and see punk shows.

Still, I want to write more and have some control over when it will be published. Hence, the start of this blog. If bands/singers/musicians/etc. are intersested in my reviewing their CDs, DVDs, LPs, 45s, live shows, just let me know. Or send them to me at:

Robert Barry Francos
PO Box 109
Parkville Station
Brooklyn, NY 11204

Let's hope this blogging works well for this early member of the blank generation.