Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental Crème de la Boinkoise! Fah Lo Suee and I will be off to a shopping mall somewhere for a Teabagger protest against the Communist takeover of Hooters, or whatever it is they're cheesed off about. In any case, we'll be packing heat, just in case anybody gives us any crap.
That said, further posting by moi will be sporadic for a few days as a result, especially if we can't make bail.
But in the meantime, here's a fun little project for us all:
Best, Worst or Least Appreciated/Understood Representative of a Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Musical School or Regional/Local Musical Scene!!!
And my totally top of my head Top Seven are:
A twofer: These guys, who emerged to much fanfare in 2007, came from the same NYC scene as The Strokes and clearly wanted to be them. But on the basis of this song, which is, shall we say, derivative of Joy Division (only without the warmth), they just as clearly seemed to think they had come up in Manchester in 1978. To my knowledge, however, Interpol's singer has not yet hung himself in emulation of Ian Curtis. Alas.
After R.E.M., the most beloved band out of the whole post-punk Athens, Georgia scene. Personally, I never got them on any level.
5. The Frut
During the late 60s/early 70s heyday of Detroit rock -- MC5, Stooges, et al -- these guys were widely considered to be the absolute worst band in town, but apparently that was their point. In any case, I never heard either of their two LPs, which I'm told are highly prized by people who like that sort of thing. I believe there's also a Detroit legend about The Frut getting the shit kicked out of them in a parking lot by members of Brownsville Station, although I may have that backwards.
5. The Turtles
If there was ever a School of a Particular Band, it was the original folk-rock Byrds, who influenced just about everybody in their wake from the Beatles to the Velvet Underground (and that's just in the 60s). In any case, of all the bands who emerged immediately after "Mr. Tambourine Man," nobody did it better than The Turtles, a fact that's been mostly forgotten as a result of the efficient hitmaking pop machine they became in their latter-day incarnation. "Glitter and Gold," a Mann-Weill song from their very first album, has always seemed to me to be particularly representative; I actually saw them do the tune, and much else, at a teen club in Waukegan, Illinois in the fall of 1965. They were great, in case you were wondering.
Lots of people have wanted to sing like Little Richard over the years -- Otis Redding and Paul McCartney spring to mind -- but to our knowledge, nobody but the howling weirdo christened Eskew Reeder, Jr. ever actually tried to be him. To be strictly accurate, there's some disagreement among historians as to who actually influenced who, but it's clear that executives at Capitol Records, who signed Esquerita and issued his rather astonishing eponymous album in 1959, were trying to cash on the success of the "Long Tall Sally" auteur. Although if you've ever heard the record --including "Esquerita and the Voola" (in the clip above), which sounds like an unholy shtup between Martin Denny and Sun Ra -- you really have to wonder what they were thinking.
3. The Eyes
There were a lot of Brit bands, circa 1965-66 who did the early Who almost as well as the Who -- The Creation, and The Birds (featuring a young Ron Wood) among them -- but The Eyes, who are perhaps best known for their classic freakbeat workout "When the Night Falls," may have been on balance the best of them. In any case, "My Degeneration," which can be heard at the link above, probably earns them the nod simply for the chutzpah of the title.
2. The Harlots of 42nd Street
New York Dolls wannabes and perennial also-rans on the early 70s New York trash glam-rock scene that coalesced around the Mercer Arts Center. David Johansen: "We used to compete with the Harlots of 42nd Street which was a group of guys who looked like truck drivers but dressed like the Dolls and wore, like, fishnet stockings over these big muscular hairy legs. They were my favourite band." Incidentally, I've included both sides of their only single here, mostly because the A-side is so utterly awful I felt the slightly less appalling B-side deserved a hearing out of simple fairness.
And the Numero Uno misunderstood avatars of a thriving and fertile rock scene clearly were...
1. The Big Three
Musician's musicians, and apparently the loudest band in Liverpool, these guys were briefly managed by Brian Epstein and seemed poised for big things. It didn't happen, of course, for all the usual reasons, but bassist John Gustafson has been a major figure as a sideman ever since; that's him on Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug," among other interesting credits through 2007, and as far as I can tell he's still active.
Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: most memorable score for a non-musical film or TV show -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, it would put a song in my heart if you could take a moment to go over there and post something pithy. Thanks!]