Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: The Dreaded Second Album Edition

[This was one of the very first Listomanias I posted -- back in 2007 -- and to be honest, I had totally forgotten about it until the other day. In any case, I think that thematically it's pretty cool; I've expanded it and made a couple of substitute nominations, as always, just to keep my hand in. -- S.S.]

Sophomore Albums That Surpassed (Artistically) The Really Good Debut Albums That Preceded Them!!!

You know the cliche -- you have your entire life to write your first album, and then you have six months to write your second, which is why a lot of followup albums disappoint. Perhaps the most obvious example is Pretenders II; an estimable work with some terrific songs, but small beer compared to the epochal first one. (More recently, think of the second Hootie and the Blowfish album, or rather, please don't think of it, as Hootie sucked right out of the gate. Although Fairweather Johnson was a really great title...)

In any event, what do you think are the albums that best avoided the usual sequel slump?

Submitted for your approval, my Top Seven would be......

7. MC5 -- Back in the USA

The 5's debut -- recorded live -- was often impressive as a political and musical template, but the songwriting was inconsistent and the whole thing ultimately devolved into aural sludge at some point. However, the followup -- despite the fact that Jon Landau's production sucks hippo root -- featured short concise songs that totally rocked and got the band's revolutionary message over with a surprising level of wit and irony. A great record, from stem to stern.

6. The Byrds -- Turn! Turn! Turn!

Not perhaps so staggeringly innovative as the first album -- which, after all, invented an entire new genre and sound -- but some of the songwriting and performances (the above Gene Clark masterpiece, for example) clearly surpassed the debut.

5. Marah -- Kids in Philly

Their indie debut was promising, but this one is one of the great records of the 90s -- an all but perfect mashup of Bruce Springsteen and the Replacements. They've never even come close to equaling it, alas. I should add that it is one of my longtime dreams to play the song above at very high volume in a band onstage somewhere.

4. Buffalo Springfield -- Buffalo Springfield Again

Not a dud song in the bunch, and production-wise it makes their first album sound like it was recorded on Edison cylinders.

3. Amy Winehouse -- Back to Black

Because we like to have something recorded in this century.

But seriously, folks -- Winehouse's debut album was the work of a talented journeyman with a lot of great influences. The followup, however, was the work of a fully formed artist.

2. Bruce Springsteen -- The Wild, the Innocent and the
E-Street Shuffle

The Boss's first album had its moments and changed a lot of lives, my own included. But this one? It sounds, still, like the kind of music that contains multitudes, the kind of rock-and-roll you only vaguely remember from the best dream you ever had.

And last but definitely not least....

1. Elvis Costello and the Attractions -- This Year's Model

Inarguable, I think, and thus further exegesis on my part would be surperfulous.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?


Vicki said...

My thoughts? I agree with you. Especially about No. 1.

You have excellent taste.

edward said...

You got the biggies I can think of, so, some not as big:

Nick Lowe: Pure Pop For Now People (aka The Jesus of Cool)< Labour of Lust. Jesus/Power is a collection of cute singles, Labour is the work or a serious pop-meister.

Kirsty MacColl: Despearte Character<Kite. Eight year difference between the two albums really shows.

John Wesley Harding: It Happened One Night<Here Comes the Groom. Another live first album vs studio. Just looked at wikipedia and didn't realize he is still making music and has release 17 albums.

Too early to dredge for others

scoper said...

I don't count "Happy Jack" as the 2nd album by the Who, since it was just a collection of singles.

That conceit leaves me to nominate "The Who Sell Out" as a worthy candidate for the other wonderful albums already mentioned.

The artistic growth past "My Generation" is staggering - Townshend's writing matured, the band tightened up, and the production was terrific. 'Nuff said.

The Kenosha Kid said...

More Songs About Buildings and Food
Talking Heads

Strange Days
The Doors

I can't think of any more.

wardo said...

The Bends (Radiohead)
Hats (Blue Nile)
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Neil Young)
and of course, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1!

Anonymous said...

Replacements - Stink
Meat Puppets - II
X - Wild Gift
John Doe - Kissingsohard
Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique

Gummo said...

Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

The Band - The Band (yes, I know their debut had The Weight, but the second album had EVERYTHING)

The Grateful Dead - Anthem of the Sun (if you heard the first album, you probably wondered what all the psychedelic talk was about - when you heard this, you KNEW, for better or worse)

Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

John Lennon - Imagine (his first solo album was a therapy session, the second was an actual album)

You could probably say something similar about McCartney's first two albums, too.

batguano said...

Violent Femmes - Hallowed Ground

Fairport Convention - What We Did on Our Holidays

Blue Ash Fan said...

I loved the self-titled Fountains of Wayne debut, but their second, "Utopia Parkway," remains my favorite to this day.

Marah's first is pretty damn good, as well. But "Kids in Philly" is a life-changer.

DawgVegas said...

Crowded House - I think Temple of Low Men is a masterpiece, whereas the debut had some fantastic songs, and some that are mostly forgotten.

Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair was a gigantic success artistically and commercially. I love The Hurting, but I find it hard to argue SFTBC isn't superior.

The Smiths < Meat is Murder

Strongly agree on this Year's Model (doesn't everyone?)

One could also argue In Color > Cheap Trick

Wow - I am stuck in the late 70's/early-to-mid 80's!

steves said...

Gummo beat me to it.

Freewheelin' hands down.

And I think I'll add Tumbleweed Connection to the list, too. Always loved that album, and I'm pretty sure it was Elton's sophomore effort (though not positive).

Anonymous said...

The Band self-titled after Music From Big Pink

Jethro Tull's Stand Up after This Was Jethro Tull.

Moody Blues Days of the Future Past after Go Now/Magnificent Moodies.

Grateful Dead Anthem of the Sun after self titled debut.

Cream Disraeli Gears after Fresh Cream

Sweet Baby James after James Taylor Apple.

Frampton's Camel after Wind of Change.

Black Crowes Southern Harmony and Musical Companion after Shake Your Moneymaker.

Tom Waits Heart of Saturday Night after Closing Time

The Move Shazam after The Move [some will debate this]

Metallica Ride the Lightning after Kill 'Em All

Bob Marley Burnin' after Catch a Fire

Vickie Rock

cthulhu said...

The White Stripes' De Stijl was substantially better in every way, even production-wise (although still very raw), than their self-titled debut. And the cover of Son House's Death Letter is just majestic.

Continuing in the Jack White vein, the second Raconteurs album Consolers of the Lonely is head and shoulders above their debut disc. Great songwriting from both White and Brendan Benson ("Old Enough" is an absolute classic), plus a over the top but very cool cover of Terry Reid's "Rich Kids Blues".

If you consider Joe Walsh's The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get as the second Barnstorm album (which it is), then it fits the category. Look no further than the hypnotically beautiful and moving "Dreams" to see the growth of the musicians and the songwriting. Still one of my go-to albums.

Warren Zevon's Excitable Boy is technically his third album, but the self-titled record produced by Jackson Browne is usually thought of as his debut. Improving over that one was a very tall order, but Excitable Boy delivers in spades.

Anonymous said...

Van Morrison Astral Weeks after Blowin' Your Mind

Janis Joplin Pearl over I Got Dem Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama

Also Funkadelic's Free Your Ass, Your Mind Will Follow after Funkadelic S/T

Blue Oyster Cult's Tyranny & Mutation after Blue Oyster Cult S/T

Jackson Browne For Everyman after Saturate Before Using

Bonnie Raitt Give It Up after Bonnie Raitt S/T

Big Brother & the Holding Company Cheap Thrills after S/T debut

Quicksilver Messenger Service Happy Trails after S/T debut

Steve Miller Band Sailor after Children of the Future.

Gov't Mule Dose after Gov't Mule ST

Joni Mitchell Clouds after Song To a Seagull

Mountain Climbing after Leslie West Mountain and if that don't count then

Mountain Nantucket Sleighride after Mountain Climbing

Iron Butterfly Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida after Heavy

Vickie Rock heading for the Belly Up Tavern. Hope you got drrrrrrenched yesterday.

Shriner said...

Purely gut feeling comments:

1) When I saw the title of the post, I immediately went to "This Year's Model" before I saw you ranked it #1. There is no better example than this.

2) Agree that "Utopia Parkway" is the better FOW album than the debut.

3) I count Guns N' Roses "Use Your Illusion" 1 and 2 as one big album -- as such, it's better than Appetite (which is phenomenal in itself...)

3) "Space Oddity" is better than "David Bowie" -- but still not a *great* album.

4) Agree heartily with Surrealistic Pillow. If you are counting Jefferson Starship as a separate band, then "Red Octopus" is a better album than "Dragon Fly"...

5) Juliana Hatfield -- "Become What You Are" is slightly better than "Hey Babe"

6) Badfinger -- No Dice is better than Magic Christian, for sure...

7) The Monkees -- "More Of..." is actually a lot better than the debut. Even with "The Day We Fall In Love..."

8) I find Pretenders II to be better than the debut (which is also great, don't get me wrong...) (Sorry Steve!)

9) SLOAN! Twice Removed is one of the best albums in their catalog and hands-down better than the debut. Probably the biggest jump with all the same band members I can think of (which rules out Costello here...)

10) The Soft Boys -- Underwater Moonlight. Nuff Said.

11) Tori Amos. Under The Pink is better than Little Earthquakes. I said it.

12) Was (Not Was) -- Born To Laugh At Tornadoes is a huge jump over the debut.

Third albums that are better than either of the previous two, though! That would be a good topic (Peter Gabriel, Dire Straits, Fountains of Wayne, Monkees, XTC etc...)

John F said...

Will chime in on the agreement with #1.

Anonymous above put The Replacements Stink > Sorry Ma. But I'm not a huge fan of Stink, and it's just an EP. So, I'll stake out the Hootenanny >> Sorry Ma.

I'll definitely agree with same Anonymous on X (Wild Gift > Los Angeles) and the Beastie Boys (Paul's Boutique > Licensed to Ill). And with Blue Ash Fan on FoW (Utopia Parkway > FoW).


Maybe heresy, but I'd definitely put Pixies - Doolittle >> Surfer Rosa. On the same order as E. Costello's #1 & #2.

Mr. Costello's production helps the Pogues with Rum, Sodomy & the Lash >> Red Roses for Me.

Beck's Odelay > Mellow Gold. there were a couple of interim albums, but they were recorded before Mellow Gold.

Lyle Lovett - Pontiac > Lyle Lovett

New Pornographers - Electric Version > Mass Romantic

Brooklyn Girl said...

The Stones' "12 x 5", with more tracks credited to Jagger/Richards; the first album was almost all covers.

"Having a Rave-Up With the Yardbirds" --- of course, that could also engender a Clapton/Beck conversation, but if your life wasn't changed by "Train Kept A-Rollin' " there is no hope for you. :-)

And Michael Jackson's second album on Epic was "Thriller" --- yes, I know that's sort of a stretch.

Too bad the album as a form seems to be dead ...

Anonymous said...

Lou Reed Transformer over S/T debut

Creedence Bayou Country after S/T debut

John Stewart California Bloodlines after Signals Through the Glass.

Traffic S/T after Mr. Fantasy [close call]

Tame Impala Lonerism after Innerspeaker

Laura Nyro Eli & the Thirteenth Confession after More Than a New Discovery

Billy Joel Piano Man after Cold Spring Harbor.

Blood, Sweat & Tears after Child is Father to the Man because they finally got someone who could kinda sing. Sorry Al Kooper, your heart may be in the right place, but you suck as a blues singer.

Beth Hart Screamin' For My Supper after Immortal

Simon & Garfunkel Sounds of Silence after Wednesday Morning 3:AM

The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards after Horehound

Bruford One of a Kind after Feels Good To Me

BR5-49 S/T after Live at Robert's
Neil Young Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere after S/T [i know its a repeat but it's a great choice as are Surrealistic Pillow and Freewheelin']

The James Gang Rides Again after Yer Album

Taj Mahal The Natch'll Blues after Taj Mahal

East / West after The Butterfield Blues Band

Abraxas after Santana

The Black Keys Thickfreakness after The Big Come Up

Edgar Winter's White Trash after Entrance

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton after John Mayall Plays John Mayall

Fleetwood Mac English Rose after Fleetwood Mac

Badfinger No Dice after Magic Christian provided The Iveys doesn't count.

Stooges Fun House over The Stooges [though it's a tough call]

Iggy Lust for Life over The Idiot [another tough call]

Zephyr Going Back To Colorado after S/T debut

Bread On the Waters after Bread :)

As far as Elvis Costello goes, it must be just me, but I'm partial to the first over the second.

Warren Zevon's Asylum debut over his Zevon album [and I also prefer it over Excitable Boy - never got off on Werewolves of London]

Sorry for the ramble. Get to see my old buddy Chris Robinson tonight. My boyfriend of yesteryear used to sell him smoke when he was in the L.A. area. Chris is the only customer we had who would score four kilos of grass for personal use. But that was a few years back. Things may have changed but I'm sure he's still as funny and charming as before.

Cheers from Solana Beach, Vickie Rock

Mr. Minimac said...

Very impressive lists, y'all. Allow me to add Sailin' Shoes vs. Little Feat's eponymous debut. (Although Dixie Chicken makes a strong argument for the 3rd being the charm.)

Anonymous said...

I disagree on Steve's MC5 choice.

The MC5 never did a decent album. As Steve said, Landau really botched the production on Back In the USA. "American Ruse" sounded good on the radio back then, but that album is corny and laughable. The revolution kinda went rinky dink bubblegum. The Chuck Berry riffs are pedestrian not salacious. And the ballad material is awful. Then there's "The Human Being Lawnmower." Need I say more. Plus they copped the feel of "High School" from Country Joe & the Fish's "Rock and Soul Music." This sure ain't no "Love It To Death." I'd rather listen to the Guess Who. Crabby Appleton slays this MC5 LP.

I can appreciate the high energy of the band, but I only saw them once and they blew. Really blew! Made me wonder what the fuss was all about. But I guess the real fuss started some years later when they became deities. Now it's a five-star album de rigueur. But it really doesn't deserve the accolades. Perhaps it's heresy, but I prefer ? and the Mysterians. Especially, "Girl, You Masturbate Me.":)

As much as I love the Yardbirds, they never did a cohesive album. Sure, Rave-Up is better than For Your Love. Hell, side One is near perfection. But that's only half the disjointed story. As interesting as the poorly recorded live stuff is, it really doesn't belong in the same package.

My favorite early Stones album is The Rolling Stones, Now! But that's their third USA LP, even though it overlaps quite a bit with the UK Rolling Stones No. 2. The Rolling Stones, Now! is superior to the English counterpart and kicks major ass.

If we were talking Stones EP's, Five By Five totally blows away the self-titled first one.

Also disagree with previous commenter who thought Use Your Illusion I & II surpassed Appetite For Destruction on the G'N R front. This girl says no way. I'm not a G'N R fanantic by any stretch of the imagination, but Illusion smelled too much of the studio. The first album was raw as the band was at the time. Plus, it has Mr. Brownstone which is my favorite tune of theirs.

Still, the records pale to the overwhelming energy of their club gigs circa 1985-87. I'll never forget the show where they opened for Johnny Thunders at Fenders in Long Beach. They also opened for Cheap Trick at the same venue on another memorable occasion. G'N R truly were a local phenomenon. And they lived it. Duff and Slash were the nicest guys in the band, hands down. The rest were pretty much a-holes.

And is Strange Days really better than The Doors S/T as a previous poster feels. I don't think so. As much as I love "You're Lost Little Girl," "Moonlight Drive," and "My Eyes Have Seen You," I'd give the nod to the first album. If for no other reason than it doesn't include something as useless as "Horse Latitudes." Let's face it, Jim Morrison was a very rotten poet. A frickin' wannabe.

In mute nostril agony carefully refined and sealed over,

Vickie Rock at a window table for pre-show sustenance. Enjoying the surf and turf at the Chart House in beautiful Cardiff, California with Lolita's Seemann inexplicably worming in my ear. All the best!

Dave said...

Tons of great choices here but my first choice was stolen by Vicki Rock. I've never seen a greater growth from first to second album as Laura Nyro's from More than a New Discovery to "Eli and the 13th Confession," which is in my pantheon of great albums.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Minimac

For 99.99% of the people Sailin' Shoes exceeds the 1st Little Feat LP. I used to be of that persuasion until I absolutely fell in love with the debut over the years. It's more eclectic and scattered. It has a lot of rough edges. But over time it has become my favorite Little Feat album.

Songs like I've Been the One, The Brides of Jesus, Truck Stop Girl, Hamburger Midnight, Takin' My Time and the rough take of Willin' just knock me out. Hell the whole album does. But it took time for me to realize this.

Also in an old post you said that Procol Harum played a church in Grand Rapids in 1968. Would that be the Fountain Street Church?

I'm a California native but lived in G.R. circa 1974. I know where the church is. I used to frequent the East Town Saloon, The White Rabbit, The Intersection, the Last Chance Bar and occasionally the Thunderchicken.

Do you recall any of the local bands during the late 1960's 1970's time frame. Do you remember a band named Blue Sky?

Just curious

Vickie Rock

Just thought of:

Todd Rundgren - The Ballad of after Runt

Rod Stewart Gasoline Alley after The Rod Stewart Album

The Faces Long Player after First Step [close call]

Ry Cooder Into the Purple Valley after S/T debut

Tom Jans The Eyes of a Lonely Child after Tom Jans S/T.

Sly & the Family Stone Dance to the Music after A Whole New Thing

Fred Neil Bleecker & MacDougal after Tear Down the Walls

The Doobie Brothers Toulouse Street after S/T debut

Carole King Tapestry after Writer

Fleetwood Mac Mk7 - Rumours after Fleetwood Mac 1975 S/T

Vickie Rock firing on all synapses with high octane rocket fuel

Anonymous said...

Dave: Laura Nyro was a true original. One of the best ever. Seeing her at UCLA's Royce Hall was a life changing event for me. She was completely immersed in the music when performing. And what great stuff she wrote. For me, she sets the standard and will never be surpassed or forgotten.

And she never bombed at Monterey Pop. I don't know who started that bullshit story. Obviously it was someone who wasn't there. She was incredible.

Sorry I "stole" your choice, but I'm am glad you weighed in despite that.

Vickie Rock

Mr. Minimac said...


Your well deserved praise of Laura Nyro reminds me of a potential Weekend Listomania topic that should be considered: What is the most ridiculous concert pairing that you every witnessed? Mine would undoubtedly be Laura Nyro (solo piano) opening for Grand Funk Railroad (Jan '70, Kalamazoo, MI).

Yes the Procol Harum concert was at Fountain Street Church. They made an earlier attempt to "put on a show for the kids" by bringing in the Grateful Dead in March of '68. Unfortunately the fickle March weather put the kibosh on that concert. In a rare moment of teenage wisdom, a buddy of mine in the "Fountain Club" stashed away a carton of handbills and a few posters from the aborted concert. ( Over the years he has generated significant pocket change doling out these legit collector items. After the success of PH, Fountain Street Church followed up with, among other things, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, Frank Zappa and a lovely Moody Blues / Humble Pie show over Thankgiving weekend of 1969. (Back when the sound of a cranky mellotron would make your jaw drop.) Things slowly ground to a halt however one of the final shows in '81 (I think) was a band of up and comers from Ireland, U2.

I was off to college in the early 70's and missed most of the local music scene in GR. FWIW, the Intersection moved downtown and is still alive and well. Eastown Saloon morphed into Billy's Lounge and still is a decent place to catch a night of beer and blues.

I'm off to the basement to dust off my S/T Little Feat LP. Let the reevaluation begin. Thanks for the tip and I hope that high octane reentry goes well today.

Mr. MM

Anonymous said...

Mr. MM

Thanks for your response. Laura Nyro and GFR, hilarious. But I still would have gone and enjoyed both bands. GFR was good at what they did. I love Schacher's fat distorted bass sound. And Laura, well that goes without saying.

A couple of famous ones that I never went to would be the Monkees / Jimi Hendrix Experience shows and Yes and Mary Wells at the Whisky [if indeed this gig ever came off]. Also the Doors and Glen Campbell in Portland Oregon[if it really came off that way]. Phil Ochs with Blue Cheer in the Bay Area.

Some that I've been to which were marginally strange were Linda Ronstadt with Savoy Brown at Valley State College [now Cal State Northridge], Yes / Poco at the Forum, King Crimson & the Flying Burrito Brothers at the Academy of Music, King Crimson / The Eagles Berkeley Community Theatre. But Laura Nyro with Grand Funk is a hard one to top.

Thanks for your info on the Fountain Street Church concerts. I was aware of all the ones you've mentioned except Procol Harum and U2. I had no idea they were still having shows there as late as 1981.

As a matter of fact I have one of those Grateful Dead handbills from the Fountain Street Church. It's the one with Pigpen wearing angel's wings. Pretty rare I'm told. When I lived out there circa 1974 I was seeing a DJ who worked for WLAV-FM and I got mine through him.

I heard the White Rabbit was torn down eons ago. It was a dive, but I liked that place. Unbelievably, the night bartender was a guy I knew from back in California. Because he loved seeing my familiar face I was always treated to booze on the house.

Back then there was a pizza place across the street called Steve's Pizza. We used to buy pizzas and hot grinders and smuggle them in the bar.

For a time I was the night manager of Beer and Burger [aka Bob's Big Boy but with a circular full-bar] while taking some classes at Grand Valley. I was living with a boyfriend who was on the Grand Valley basketball team.

For about a three month period I lived on Sigsbee Street and was withing walking distance of the Rabbit, The Saloon and the Intersection. Is Yesterdog still there?

If I remember correctly, The Intersection was on the corner of Lake Drive and Wealthy at that time. Occasionally they had smaller named bands play there.

I went there by myself once and was cramming for an exam at a small cocktail table. There was a reggae band playing that night whose name I can't remember. There were only a handful of people in the place.

I decided to take a break from all the brain work and do a little solo dancing to the reggae music for a couple of numbers.

When I returned to my table a handsome guy, who looked to be in his mid-thirties, hit on me. I wasn't interested and let him know. He then asked me "How much?"

That pissed me off. I angrily asked him, "Do I look like a whore to you?" He said that I absolutely did not. And that's why he was interested. He again asked "How much?"

His persistence and honesty cracked me up and made me smile. Wanting to be rid of him and joking around, I told him 1000 dollars. He reached in his wallet and pulled out ten crisp ones.

I suppose everyone has their price. I have never done anything like that before or since. But the guy was handsome and a thousand dollars was a lot of money, especially in 1974. I gave him his money's worth. But if I had known how spectacular he was in bed, I would have done him for free.

He was a young doctor who had a beautiful home in the nice part of East Grand Rapids. His wife traveled and he got lonely. He told me she was OK with it, but how could I know that for sure?

He took me to the Butter Wagon for breakfast and that was the end of the best and most rewarding one-night stand I ever had. A terrific memory, but not one I'd necessarily tell to my grand kids.

Cheers from Lou's Records in Encinitas with a belly full from the Potato Shack,

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

And that exam I was cramming for? I missed it completely and had to get a make-up date. This worked out well because I aced it and don't think I would have if I took it as scheduled. It was a stupid intro philosophy class.

I wasn't taking this one at Grand Valley. It was the only class I had at Calvin College, a religious based institution out on Beltline Avenue. Someone had highly recommended the professor to me. He was pretty good.

Enjoy Little Feat. I think the 1st LP has a bite and roughness reminiscent of Exile on Main Street - Only more authentic. Certainly not as accessible as what followed but a taste worth acquiring.

I have been a longtime fan of the band. In the beginning they pretty much only had a cult following in L.A. I tried to see them whenever I could because they were a dynamite live band.

I even have a vial of Lowell George's coke. He played a solo gig at the Roxy in Hollywood in the late Seventies. Christine McVie was in the crowd.

During the break I went to Christine's table and began a conversation about her Chicken Shack days with Stan Webb. Lowell George came from backstage to visit with her and whipped out a vial of coke. He layed out several lines for us. When he went backstage he forgot the vial. I nabbed it.

It contains approximately a gram and a half of coke. I have never touched it due to its significance. Lowell died not long after this gig and he wasn't looking too good that night.

So I guess at 35 years, it's the longest lasting gram of blow in recorded history.

Would the rock n roll hall of fame be interested? :) With DNA testing I'm sure it can be authenticated.

As far as high octane reentry, it isn't gonna happen. Orbit has been achieved. My feet are always off the ground. I'm walking on water. I'm walking on sunshine. My life is an aerial cartwheel. Naked.

Sorry for being such a blabbermouth,

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

My baby just put Ellen McIlwaine in the car stereo which reminds me:

Ellen McIlwaine We the People after Honky Tonk Angel.

Rockin' in the Rover headed for a pitstop at Pechanga Casino,

Vickie Rock

Mr. Minimac said...

(Sorry all. One more spew of Grand Rapids inside baseball.)


A couple of other memorable Fountain Street concerts that come to mind are Clarence White era Byrds and Spirit (just on the cusp of Dr. Sandonicus). Great place to see a concert as long as you didn't mind sitting in a pew!

Yesterdog is still alive and thriving and, if you'll recall, is just a stumble from Billy's (the former Eastown Saloon). The White Rabbit area is slowly being gentrified. I am sure that your place at Sigsbee would have been classified as a "rough neighborhood" at the time. (Do you remember the brick streets? Yep, they're still there somehow).

Calvin College is also still booming. They would, of course, like to forget the fact that their most famous graduate is probably filmmaker Paul Schrader. I always thought that it was hilarious that, as a tribute to GR, he decided to return to the city to film one of his earlier directorial pieces. In order to keep the city fathers from getting their boxers in a bunch, he declared that the film would be called The Pilgrim. Later it was revealed that he never had any intention of calling it anything other than it's final title; Hardcore. Peter Boyle has some very funny lines about GR. "Scumbag town" is one that immediately comes to mind. A few scenes were filmed in one of the tonier sections of East Grand Rapids (possibly near the home of a certain fondly remembered doctor).

That's all I got. Needless to say, being a Grand Rapids native, I'm SHOCKED by your revelations but thoroughly enjoyed the blabber nevertheless.

Mr. MM

Mr. Minimac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

And another:

Derek & the Dominos Layla after Eric Clapton. technically not the same artists but you couldn't have one without the other. So...

Also, my poo-pooing of the MC5's Back In the USA does not mean I don't think they're an important band. They just never cut a great record and the live stuff available is pretty sketchy.

The Yardbirds were an even more important and influential band who never cut a monster album.

BTW, If anyone cares [probably not], Chris Robinson was fab last night. He even did Do Right Woman, Do Right Man which I begged for. They also did Never Been to Spain and I'm old enough to remember that you could easily have headed for Las Vegas and only make it out to Needles.

Other covers included the Dead's Mr. Charlie and they closed with I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water. Grrrreat show. Can't wait for tonight's at Pappy & Harriet's.

My hubby's gambling and me and Sandy are about to get the relaxing 50 minute full body massage with lots of refreshing body butter. We deserve the pampering.

from Pechanga Casino Resort,

Vickie Rock

Mr. Minimac said...

Given his prior output I guess that this isn't really a first and second album however I'm, belatedly, throwing in Grievous Angel vs. GP. I can't find anyone that has ever seconded my opinion but, in today's vernacular, I have always found GP to be a little "pitchy" unlike any other Gram P. recordings.

Anonymous said...

Mr. MM if I may further indulge in Grand Rapids nostalgia: (Sorry to all the rest of you.)

Yes, Sigsbee SE was considered a rough neighborhood at the time. I moved there when I dumped my Grand Valley basketball boyfriend. One of the patrons of the full-bar Bob’s Big Boy that I worked at let me know they had a room at his place. Fifty bucks a month and it was the master. Deal.

BTW, that Bob’s Big Boy [also known as Beer & Burger] I worked at, if my memory serves me correct, was just down the road from Calvin College on the opposite side of the street. I’m guessing between Burton and Woodland Mall. It was a circular building with a circular bar and booths along the walls. Got any idea if the building still stands? When I worked there it was a wild place, hardly a family restaurant. Most patrons were young and were there to party.

At any rate, I lived with four guys. Three had rooms on the second floor with me and the other was in the attic with the pot plants and grow lamps. Two guys went to Calvin College, another worked at Chris Craft [and was always itchy due to fiberglass work - probably dead now because of it] and the other guy was a struggling musician from Canada with a gorgeous Les Paul and a rusted out 1968 Camaro.

Even though the neighborhood was “dangerous” I never felt very insecure. We had both a rifle and a pistol in the house.

Occasionally one of the Calvin guys would walk out on the porch, fire them in the air and yell epithets to let our undesirable neighbors know that they shouldn’t fuck with us. And they didn’t.

But a cab driver did get killed right in front of our house for a miniscule amount of money. And the black guy across the street from us, who I nicknamed “Memphis,” was trying to pimp off his “old lady” to the guys in the house. But he wasn’t a scary dude. All he wanted to do was go to the Rib Crib and get some wine and ladies. He was quite the harmless spade.

One of the Calvin guys in the house used to sell him ounces of smoke which “Memphis” would roll up into these total rip-off penner street joints. He’d put them in the lining of his derby hat and walk the streets hustling air doobies. The guy was a crack up.

Of course I remember the brick streets and the horrible winters. I had a good time while I was there, but the weather made me leave and head back to California. The Canadian musician guy I lived with went along to see if California really was the Promised Land. I just couldn’t handle all the snow and the fuckin’ inconvenience of it all. Plus, I went from bronze California brunette to porcelain in a matter of months. It didn’t seem to get light till about 9 in the morning and then it was just frigid gray and bare trees.

I knew about Paul Schrader being from Calvin College. I am also familiar with “Hardcore,” which I never cared for that much. George C. Scott was way over the top. The story involves his Grand Rapids daughter going missing when she was part of a Young Calvinist Convention in Bellflower, California. I’m very familiar with both locales. I guess to be a Young Calvinist you had to be between 15 and 18 and belong to whatever protestant denomination sponsored the convention. Being Dutch also seemed to fit the bill.

I also know a bit about Young Calvinist Conventions. They had one at the Claremont Colleges circa 1973. I used to hang out there because my boyfriend went to Harvey Mudd and lived nearby. What you have at these conventions are a lot of repressed and over-protected kids coming from god knows where to sunny and sinful southern California. Half of them are socially maladjusted Bible bangers, the other half are kids seizing on the opportunity. Now I’m not saying that any of them would want to go into porno and, eventually, snuff flicks [as in Hardcore], but these are red hot boys and girls just dying for some action. And what better place than California.


Anonymous said...

My lifelong girlfriend Sandy and I plus many of our friends liberated [some would say corrupted] our share of these innocents on many different levels. But they were oh so willing and hungry for it. They missed all their Bible studies. But who wouldn’t? You’re in California, you’re hormones are raging, you’re away from your parents. Fuck yeah, surf’s up! And we were the catalyst, guide and wheels for their coming of age, thank you very much.

Back to Calvin College Alumni: When I was in high school one of the books assigned to me was by Peter De Vries, also a Calvin alum. He was a pretty good author with a great sense of wit and cranked out a lot of books.

Were the pews padded at the Fountain Street Church or just hard wood?The Byrds and the Spirit gigs at the Fountain Street Church are not ones I had heard of before. Do you have a date for these shows? A guy to whom I fairly recently sold a rare, late 1967, Spirit [as Inner Spirit] at the Blue Law concert poster is trying to put a complete gig list together. I don’t know if he’s got that one. I haven’t talked to him since before Ed Cassidy died.

I simply loved the Clarence White era Byrds. I assume you mean what I call the “Hairy Byrds” with Battin and Parsons. “Lover of the Bayou,” has never stopped knockin’ me out. Only Clarence and his B-Bender could pull that off.

“Ladies and gentlemen let’s have a fine hand for the Byrds!” means get ready for three and a half minutes of stellar tongue rape suffocation.

It’s so damn sexy when McGuinn and Clarence slowly weave into and around each other. It makes you wanna spread your wings and let the penetration begin. Take my word for it, you’re gonna want this number in your soundtrack for sex.

The salaciously distorted B-Bender Telly will flow into your libidos like a bubbling cauldron of hot voodoo brew. The electric assault of his rapacious weapon will leave you in breathless ecstasy. Your hips and bottom, possessed by Marie Laveau and Little Egypt, will sizzle and swirl with the rhythmic genius of Skip and Gene. It’ll bring you to full gallop in the Frenzy of Exultations.

You will fill the panorama with exploding, coming colors. Like Jack the Dripper’s flame merged with the she-wolf, imbibed with the shimmering substance and allied with the guardians of the secret into the lavender mist of convergence, your seed will be flung onto the warm wet canvas and splattered with perfectly predestined fluid licentiousness. Raw abandon.

Oh my. Can you tell I love music? Excuse me for getting carried away.

Spirit was another of my favorite bands. So unique. I love the first and fourth albums the best. They were a true California band. And they were really cute except Mr. Clean on drums, but he was Randy’s step-dad.

One of my major rockin’ teenage crushes was Spirit’s Jay Ferguson. He was incredible looking. The epitome of the pure California man I wanted to sleep with. That blonde hair and the great tan. Those blue eyes --- yummy. Check out the inside gatefold of the first Jo Jo Gunne album and drool ladies. When I was a teen, I wanted him. Shit, I wanted him to write a song about me. But I didn’t want to wait in line.

I finally met him backstage at a very early Jo Jo Gunne gig at the Golden Bear. This was way before the debut album came out. I had just turned sixteen but had been passing for much older for years. Unfortunately for me, I met him in person a little too late. He had a major thing with this girl going on and was on the verge of marriage.

Oh well, Mark Andes was gorgeous too. But he was married and his wife was a fuckin’ bitch. I should have bagged him just to piss her off. It would have been easy. The way he looked at me telegraphed that he wasn’t the faithful type. But fucking him under those circumstances would have been stupid and silly.


Anonymous said...

Mr. MM: I can see the thinking behind your Gram Parsons assessment. I pretty much like the two studio and live efforts equally. Too bad the tracks on Sleepless Nights never made it to the original Grievous Angel LP.

The pitch problems don’t really bother me. Gram wasn’t the strongest singer in the world but he had a most expressive quality to his reedy voice. If his intonation was off, it only lent itself to his drunken authenticity. He sounds like he's pretty blotto on A Song For You, but I really love that performance.

My regret is that I never got the chance to see the Fallen Angels live. To the best of my knowledge Gram died before they ever did a single southern California gig.

Oh well, at least I saw the Burritos several times. Some say the Burritos sucked live. But every time I saw them they were pretty damned good. They played Griffith Park, the Ash Grove, the Golden Bear, Thee Experience and frequent outdoor gigs at local colleges. I probably saw them about ten times but never caught one of their very frequent Whisky shows. They also played the Aquarius Theater with the Dillards and Bread. The last couple of times I saw them with Gram was when they opened for the Doors in Long Beach in early 1970 and in March at San Fernando Valley State College with Linda Ronstadt and Savoy Brown. They were tight but loose live and did many cover songs which never made it to recordings.

Gram was cute but it was Chris I had a crush on. What a great looking guy and really shy. I feel he never got the credit due him because he was overshadowed by Gram’s legend. Imagine how many times people have gone to see him and only want to talk with him about Gram after the show.

I never spoke with him until the 1990’s after a McCabe’s gig. He was doing two shows that night and I had tickets to both. Once the other fans drifted off, I had him to myself. I got him to sign my Scottsville Squirrel Barkers LP and we talked at length about Cal’s Corral and Town Hall Party. Even Spade Cooley, who I knew about through my mom, and religion. He’s an incredibly level headed guy and fairly articulate, unlike some artists. He understood that in music the key is that less is more.

I told him how much I loved “Have You Seen Her Face”. When I asked him who it was about, he grinned, then winked and told me it was about me. That was really cute. I couldn’t help but hug and give him a great big kiss. Then I gave him a few CD’s I burned of live recordings I made at the Great American Bluegrass Festival in Chino, California in 1981. He was thrilled. And I was thrilled that he was thrilled.

I really liked his solo debut record and told him so. Sure it was a slick California album, but it was breezy, melodic and fun. My eyes beamed as I began singing the lead track. He quickly joined in and we had a moment.

"My baby don't take prisoners. She leaves the walking wounded for other girls. She's a spark in the dark out on the back lot. Shoot you down if you give her a whirl."

"Seem like she's seen it all before. And what she hasn't seen she's heard of. So keep your secrets hid. I got my heart out on my sleeve and an eye on the door."

I drove home that evening in a glow with a smile from ear to ear and a gleam in my eyes.

Vickie Rock

Mr. Minimac said...


I really had to tap the memory regarding the Big Boy. You finally jogged the memory cells loose with the circular building description. Yes it is still there and it's, essentially, in the parking lot of what used to be Eastbrook Mall (across the street from Woodland). However, for the last 20 years or so it has been a strip club called Sensations Showgirls! (Yes, a strip club in the shadow of Calvin College!) If you google the name and add Grand Rapids you can see a picture of the place using street view. Windows are boarded up because who the heck wants sunlight in their strip club anyway?

Very jealous of your chat with Chris Hillman. Loved the Byrds and the Burritos and always viewed him as the voice of reason in a sea of madness.

Byrds concert at FSC was prior to the release of Untitled which would make it app. early 1970. (Yes, they lead off with the, then unknown, Lover of the Bayou.) Spirit was probably a little later in 1970. As I recall, the reception was somewhat lackluster because, with the exception of I Got a Line On You, they exclusively played tunes off of their yet to be released 12 Dreams. Sure wish I could go back now and listen again now that the songs are seared into my synapses.

Anonymous said...

Again, thanks for your response and efforts. Amazing! Guess my memory was a little off on that Bob’s Big Boy. I thought it was right on Beltine itself. But that building looks familiar.

It’s only fitting that it became a strip club. When I worked there female customers would sometimes take their tops off and dance on the table tops. They would use their booze buzz as an excuse when, in actuality, they just wanted the attention that showing off their assets brought.

In fact, on one such occasion there was a lone family with tween kids eating their Big Boys when this repeat offender, Barbara, unfurled her luscious mams. Barbara was a gorgeous brunette and originally from California – in fact she was a Calvin College dropout who never left town. I actually think I have an instamatic photo of her dancing topless on the table top in a shoebox somewhere around here. She did it all the time. She had nothing to be ashamed of either. A few shots of booze and Radar Love on the jukebox would set her off like Pavlov’s dog. There was a version of Wild Thing by a band called Fancy that she also loved to topless dance to. And anything by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. And American Woman.

Unbelievably, she ended up marrying a cousin of mine who came from northern California to visit me. It was love at first sight for him. He instantly moved in with her and didn’t return to California for two years, where they subsequently got married. They still are. By all accounts she was one wild piece of tail. And my cousin wasn’t letting it go.

Anyway, when Barbara stripped in front of this family, I think they complained to Bob’s Big Boy. Shortly after that incident the place’s name was changed to “Beer and Burger,” but the pay checks were still coming from Bob’s Big Boy corporate. Let’s face it, how many Big Boys have you heard of with a full bar and crazy college aged girls dancing topless on the table tops? They had an image problem so they just changed the name.

I actually had sex in that building a bunch of times when I was closing up. So it’s nice to know it’s still standing. Maybe I’ll give it another whirl once before I die.

I do remember Eastbrook and Woodland malls. I found it odd that they had liquor stores in the mall. On a couple of occasions I remember shopping there with girlfriends while brown bagging vodka or whiskey. I bought some records there and also at non-mall shops. I can’t remember the names of the popular local record stores. Can you help?

I agree with your assessment of Chris Hillman. I’ve talked to him more than once. McCabe’s Guitar Shop is such a low key place and Chris may not remember my name but he knows who I am on sight. That’s good enough for me. I still buy his stuff and get enjoyment out of his music, no matter who he’s playing with. The beauty of McCabes is that you never know who will turn up to guest with the scheduled artist. But as far as having a conversation with a musician, Chris is one of the best. I’d put Nils Lofgren, Jim Lauderdale and Sammy Hagar up there too. Super nice down to earth guys.

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

I loved Spirit. Since they were a local band, they played around So Cal a lot. Somebody in the band was related to Ed Pearl who owned the Ash Grove in Hollywood. He gave them a weekly Monday Night gig to get them started. After a while they played Bido Lito’s, which was pretty much on its last legs at the time. Eventually they branched out into San Fernando Valley Clubs and the rest is history.

My uncle took me as his date to see them at the Whisky a Go Go. Three Dog Night opened. Later that year, I saw them with the Moody Blues in San Diego at some college I can’t remember the name of. Sandy and I thumbed to the gig with cardboard and felt pen signs. We were crazy and precocious but rides were abundant and the creeps were pretty easy to spot.

When I lived in Michigan on Sigsbee Street, the young slum lord who was renting us the place and also owned a few tire stores, said he’d seen Spirit in Detroit with Fever Tree and the James Gang circa 1968. Those were the days.

Spirit also played the Swing Auditorium in Berdoo. They were billed with Lee Michaels, the Hook and Joanne Vent. Joanne Vent was amazing live despite her short set. Her subsequent album was only so-so at best as the production sterilized her. I was a big fan of her live shows. She played out at Venice at the Beach House with her band Muskatel. Grreat. But no recorded evidence to back it up. The Hook were pretty stupid even if they had Lee Sklar playing bass. Lee Michaels was always a good time. Spirit seemed a bit tentative on some of the numbers. But, for me, they were a hot and cold band live. That is not saying they sucked that night, it’s just that I had seen them better at the Whisky.

I also saw them with the Airplane at Cal State Long Beach around this time. That was a great show. There were other bands but I got to the show late and missed them, maybe on purpose. Chicago Transit Authority was finishing as we pulled into the parking lot. Spirit also played with the Dead and Country Joe at the Shrine Expo Hall, another favorite venue of mine. That was when the second album was just released.

I saw them over Memorial Day Weekend in 1970 at the Selland Arena in Fresno. I went with my cousin from Modesto who I was visiting. It was hot as hell and we spent the early part of the day in the Sequoias frying on mushrooms and skinny dipping near this amazing waterfall. We both wore cut offs and bikini tops to the show because of the heat. Neither one of us were old enough to drive, though we did have learner’s permits. Because of this, my aunt let us take her boat sized Buick on our road trip.

The opening band was Crabby Appleton. Their set was short but sweet. I think this is the last time I saw the original line-up of Spirit. Randy did Nature’s Way at that show. First I ever heard it. The great thing about concerts at that time was that the bands were ahead of the audience. Going to concerts meant you were going to be exposed to songs which would be on their forthcoming album that they hadn’t even begun recording.

I bought The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus when it came out in late 1970. On the same trip to the record store I got All Things Must Pass and Lola Versus the Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. Great albums, all.

I met Randy in 1995 with Ed Cassidy, but that’s a really long and wonderful story. Randy was a very gentle guy and maybe a bit strange. But his heart was very big. After meeting him I fully realized this. It was so tragic when he died. Now, three of the five original members are dead.

I’m with you on that way-back machine regarding past concerts. I never saw them do a full-on Sardonicus show. I love that album. That would have been great. It was not long after its release that Jay and Mark left.

Cheers, Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

More spew and blather:

I remember seeing Jo Jo Gunne early on when they opened for Humble Pie at the Whisky. The Pie’s Rock On had just come out and I loved it. I went with this photographer that I had known since I was twelve. I did junior miss fashion ads and catalog shoots with him back then. I’m still great friends with him.

He freelanced the show and got some great results, especially with Humble Pie. He also took some great backstage (which is upstairs at the Whisky) shots of the Steve and Peter tuning up and such.

I had some Thai stick joints and I asked Steve if he wanted to get high. The next thing you know the four of us are standing on the sidewalk on Clark Street making small talk and smoking some great herb. Peter couldn’t believe the head rushes he was getting.

I was getting high with Humble Pie. Only in L.A. during this time frame could this ever happen.

Unfortunately, the conversation was all about Vanishing Point. I asked them what they’d been up to since arriving in L.A. and they said they saw that movie. The photographer and I had both seen it too. So we compared notes. The Brit rockers really liked it, considered it very American and enjoyed the naked girl on the motorcycle. I suppose we liked it too. I come from a car crazy family. And it’s just stupid enough to make it thoroughly enjoyable. But it doesn’t max my meters like The Born Losers.

We planned to go again the next night and get some better shots of Jo Jo Gunne, but there was a fire at the Whisky after the previous night’s show and the venue was closed for repairs for a long time after that. Bummer. More free time for Humble Pie in L.A. Maybe they went to see Billy Jack.:)


Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Prefab's Steve McQueen/Two Wheels Good

Mr. Minimac said...


I am sure that we have, effectively, chased everyone away from this thread at this juncture.

Local Grand Rapids record stores: There were a couple of stores in the burbs whose name escapes me. Strangely I remember that they were owned by a guy by the name of Larry Biehn. His brother Tom also worked at one of more of the stores. About 15 years ago, I stumbled across the fact that Tom Biehn has made a pretty good living as a Bill Clinton impersonator.

However the 5 ton gorilla of GR independent record stores back in the 70's was Believe In Music. Consider your memory jogged.

And, speaking of jealousy, Crabby Appleton opening for Spirit? Man!

Mr. MM

Alzo said...

The Cars' second, Candy-O, is superior to their overplayed debut. I'm also a big fan of Twilley Don't Mind. Still waiting for the Sex Pistols second...

Anonymous said...

Mr. MM:

Apparently we haven't chased everybody away yet as Alzo proved.

Again thanks for the major memory jog. But I'm still a little hazy. Now that you repaired my circuits somewhat, I recall a Believe In Music on Fulton. I think they used to advertise on WLAV-FM as well.

LAV was the rage with locals at the time because they never had good FM there before. Or so I was told by one of its DJ's who actually raped me when I was closing shop at Beer & Burger. He hid in the bathroom and surprised me. It was a good kind of rape though. I guess you'd call it consensual rape. It was a memorable first time for us. I kinda turned the tables on him. But that's another story.

I know that the competition WGRD-FM was decidedly more pop Top 40 oriented. They were the Bitch Is Back / Bungle In the Jungle station and those were tunes I found extremely annoying. Those were the straws that broke the camel's back for already wavering Elton and Tull fans. Das Ende. WLAV was the more progressive of the two.

Anyway, was Believe In Music also in one of the malls, either Eastbroook or Woodland circa 1974-1975? I know there was at least one record store in those malls. It was close to where I worked. But was that a Believe In Music?

I remember buying a few albums during my Michigan stay like Late For the Sky, The Heart of Saturday Night, Gene Clark's No Other, Traffic's When the Eagle Flies [disappointing], Them's Backtrackin' compilation which included the wonderful "Mighty Like a Rose", It's Only Rock 'N' Roll [after which I swore I would NEVER buy another Stones Record:) I considered it the second of two skunks in a row. I was so depressed after hearing it that I went to an alcoholic dive bar (I think it was called "Dean's") and got shitfaced with a like minded boyfriend of mine]; 1969: The Velvet Underground Live, The Gregg Allman Tour, Genesis Lamb Lies Down, Thin Lizzy Night Life, Supertramp Crime, Joe Walsh So What, Yes - Relayer [damn was Gates of Delirium a masterpiece - I loved that track - the unsung Pat Moraz was a much better keyboard player than Wakeman. Saw them at Cobo during my stay. Moraz really impressed me], Joni Miles of Aisles etc.

Just trying to verify if the mall store was Believe In Music or something else because I'm not sure. were there any other Michigan chains?

The only concerts I went to locally were Aerosmith with Mike Quatro at Grand Valley College and a few shows at the Thunderchicken including REO when Mike Murphy was lead singer - Lost In a Dream era. My Grand Valley basketball guy, who was obviously very white considering his musical tastes, dragged me to it. For the bigger shows we either drove to Chicago, Detroit or Ann Arbor.

Vickie Rock thanks you abundantly for your efforts. I owe you a dinner at the eatery of your choice.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of concerts during that time, I also remember being dragged to a George Harrison show in Detroit by a really persistent Beatle nerd who was a customer at Beer and Burger. He kept waving the tickets at me, and even though the guy repulsed me on every level imaginable, I finally relented, figuring I had nothing to lose. You know, dinner, free show and then adios motherfucker. This did not even reach the level of a sympathy date, it was pure opportunism on my part. God punished me for it.

Going to the concert with the guy was a big mistake. It was horrible. George's voice was all fucked up and the band had zero passion. It was just a bunch of horribly arranged notes being played by a band that was phoning in a phoned in performance. Possibly the worst and most disappointing concert of my life.

Plus the douchebag that I went with kept trying to stroke my inner thigh. He had no skill or finesse whatsoever. But that was immaterial. His advances were unwanted and I made that abundantly clear. But apparently he needed to be reminded every ten minutes or so. He was an annoying, foul breathed, pestering, pathetic, dweeby loser.

I wouldn't let this minor league insect hold my hand if he was the last guy on earth. The whole night was torture and I couldn’t wait to get home and be rid of him. His touch and presence were so creepy that he made me want to take a shower to wash it away. Yecccch. Worst date ever.

Don’t know anything about suburban record stores. Did most of my shopping in GR. Was there a shop near Grand Valley?

I was a bootleg fiend already in 1974 and GR seemed devoid of them. Were there any outlets that carried underground stuff. Ann Arbor had some outlets that carried them. But coming from California where they were pretty ubiquitous, Grand Rapids seemed dry. But maybe I never hit the right stores.

So that was another drawback for me along with the horrible winter I had to endure as a snow virgin. Plus weed cost more in GR than in California too. But at least the drinking age was 18.

One of my connections lived in GR and was very artistic. She was actually dating a Calvin College professor, which I found hilarious, considering her occupation. She lived platonically with a guy named Larry who had a VW van. Periodically he would go to Florida, sell some of her art and pick up the goodies. I went along with him once. It was the first of many great times in Florida during my life.

Another guy that I got contraband from lived in Holland. He was in a band. His parents would go to Florida for the winter and leave him to take care of the GR home. One of my roommates turned me on to the guy. Lots of times when I came he’d be jamming or rehearsing. During the short time I was there I scored weed, shrooms, acid and coke from him. He was totally into the glam stuff going on then and emulated Mick Ronson’s playing.

The last time I went to his place, he played some guitar riffs then put Sweet Fanny Adams on the turntable. I smiled. Reminded me of Rodney’s circus on Sunset where I used to go every other week with a gay guy from my high school. Was Michigan catching up or was this guy really hip?

It didn’t matter because the next thing he did was tie himself off before cooking and shooting some heroin. He nonchalantly did it in front of me like it was no big deal. I’d never been around that kind of shit – at least not that close up. It freaked me out. I never went back. Later I heard he got busted for selling heroin and was looking at some serious time in Jackson.

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Regarding your jealousy over the Crabby Appleton Spirit gig. Crabby Appleton’s LP was just out so I didn’t know any of the material other than the single which was getting airplay on FM and KRLA, the hip AM station. They had more edge live. But I had no idea how one day in the future this would be looked at. After the impressive show I bought the album. I saw them again when they opened for the Doors a few months later.

I just bought tickets to see Johnny Rivers and Jimmy Webb at the Ford Amphitheatre. I’m stoked to the max. I saw them together in January and it was stu-fucking-pendous. I know, no one else cares, but I’m still gonna holler it from the mountain tops.

Thanks again for all your help jarring out those memories. So glad you found that building. And thanks to google maps I could lay my eyes on it again. So sweet of you.


Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Mr. MM,

As far as that mall record store in GR goes, I think it had a really unimaginative name like Record Land or Record Center but I'm not feeling that it is the exact name. Any help?

Was there a place called Boogie Records? Or was that a memory from another town and state?

Oh, and that Aerosmith concert at Grand Valley? I just checked out the stub it's from 1974-10-26 and the tix were $4.50. I thoroughly enjoyed that show. Get Your Wings is my favorite album of theirs and this was the tour in support of it. They did the Yardbirds' Think About It that night. It blew me away. I think they did the entire second album, except Spaced, and the biggies from the debut.

I liked them much better at this show than I did at the Whisky at the end of 1973. But it was mainly that the material was better. I just adore Seasons of Wither and they did an amazing version that night.

"Blues-hearted lady, sleepy was she. Love for the devil brought her to me. Seeds of a thousand drawn to her sin. Seasons of wither, old in the end."

My ship leaves in the midnight,

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

(What's the Story) Morning Glory? after Definitely Maybe. That's how you top an "A" album with an "A+" album. For a couple of years, Oasis was the best band in the world.


Anonymous said...

For the worst of Changes list:

Black Sabbath - Changes

Vickie Rock

For best of Change

Bob Dylan Things Have Changed

Mick Abrahams Winds of Change

For schmaltzy change

Scorpions - Wind of Change

also general purposes

Peter Frampton - Wind of Change

Joe Cocker - Change in Louise

The Doors - The Changeling

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Oops wrong blog

Vickie Rock

Mr. Minimac said...


Boogie Records, as I recall, was in Kalamazoo however their name popped up frequently on WLAV & GRD. Thanks to Mr. Google, I finally came up with the name of Larry Beihn's stores which was Crazy Larry's. I am sure that there was one on the west side of town in Rogers Plaza and I think that they also were in Eastbrook Mall at one point. As you mentioned, I also recall something with a very generic moniker in Eastbrook but I'll NEVER be able to access that aging brain cell. Believe In Music expanded from their flagship Fulton St. store however it may have been after you hightailed it out of town. They had a lovely store just to West of Woodland Mall on 28th Street. I also used to frequent an independent store on the south end of town called Flaming Rat. One of the owners was Frank Salamone who was a respected blues guitarist in GR.

BTW, my buddy who peddled the Grateful Dead handbills was very involved with the radio station at Grand Valley in the early 70's. He taught the tools of the trade to a couple of youngsters who went on to fame and (probably not) fortune at WLAV: Tim Steele and Tony Gates. Perhaps after your time but perhaps not. He also was involved with some of the concerts there. They had some great bands (J Geils, Lou Reed, Peter Garbriel era Genesis) but the acoustics in that fucking barn were atrocious as I recall.

And speaking of concert prices, some enterprising soul located a hoarder who still had ticket stubs from some of the early Fountain Street Church concerts. The going rate back then was $3.50! They were just getting their feet wet with Procol Harum and had some seats available (probably balcony) for $2.50! (And I don't think that they charged a "convenience fee"!)

Mr. MM

Anonymous said...

Mr. MM:

Thank you soooo much. The time I spent in Michigan was a small slice of my life but I made a lot of memories there. I have a tendency to do that. Stuff seems to happen in my orbit. I’ve led a charmed and catalytic life. Again, thank you for all your efforts. And I’m very sincere about it. I’m having fun. Guess you are too.

Regarding Boogie Records: Yeah, I spent a day in Kalamazoo when my car took a shit there in January 1975. So that’s where that comes from then. My Canadian guitar player housemate and I were going to head to Florida on the spur of the moment, but shit happened. I actually broke down in some bumphuck town called Oshtempo, or something like that. My car started limping and we took the next off-ramp and ended up at a service station out there.

Naturally it was freezing cold and the middle of the night. We shivered in the office of the gas station until some young guys came there to get gas. We bribed them with a couple of joints to take us to Kalamazoo.

Once there, we got a room. It was awkward. Really awkward.

The people in the bordering room were doing some serious fucking. I don’t know how many people were in there but it was a really loud multi-party fuck-athon. My housemate and I drank a good portion of a pint of Jack Daniels as we cracked up about the annihilating sexcapades happening next door. Hell, we thought they were gonna bang themselves right through the wall. And I’m not exaggerating. It was jackhammer city in there.

My housemate was gonna sleep on the floor. But it was cold so I invited him under the covers. I pulled a joint out of my pack of Marlboros and we got high and blew shotguns to each other. That has a tendency to make people horny. We succumbed to our bodies’ wishes and kept each other very warm. It was a no strings situational thing.

The next day I found out it would take several days for the service station to get the parts for my car. Rather than stay in Kalamazoo we hitch-hiked to Florida. We got there in three rides. But that’s another story and I’m already babbling on.

Re: Crazy Larry’s: That doesn’t ring any bells with me. I don’t think I ever graced their doorway. Seems like a name I would remember too.

Re: Flaming Rat Records: No. Never went there. Sounds like a good indie store. Did Frank stock bootlegs??

Speaking of 28th Street: Was there a Sambo’s Restaurant near the malls on 28th?

I used to get groceries at Eberhard’s. Do they still exist. Also, if my recollection is correct, you couldn’t buy booze on Sundays in Grand Rapids. Does that law still exist?

RE WLAV air personalities: Don’t know or recall Tim Steele or Tony Gates. Only knew the one guy and I won’t use his name because I have no clue what he’s up to now. I never knew his age, but he was young and he was at least a part-time student. I listened to the station but never paid attention to who the DJ’s were.

Re Grand Valley Rock Concerts acoustics: Because my boyfriend was on the basketball team we had excellent seats for that Aerosmith show. If you’re up close and dead center, you don’t really notice the acoustics of the room.

RE early ticket prices: Yeah, shows were cheap back then. I don’t remember paying any more than $4.50 for a ticket, excepting the Stones and Beatles. Prices went up to $6.00 in the mid-Seventies. We complained. If you look at some of those amazing triple bills, we had no right whatsoever.

I just remembered a weird bill pairing as per your Laura Nyro / GFR bill. War /Gentle Giant and the Bunions Bradford Marching Band with Bill Cosby.

Have you begun to realize just how tasty that meal I owe you is gonna be? You deserve a mouth-watering all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of sizzling succulence in a private booth:) I’ll teach you what making pancakes in the morning is all about.

Just teasin’. I’m a natural flirt. Runs in my DNA. I’ve left a long trail of blue-balled beggars behind. It gets me off:) I am woman … hear me roar.

Vickie Rock - fixin' to see Rickie Lee Jones with old buddy Alfred Johnson tomorrow

Anonymous said...

Mr. MM:

Are you there? Was it something I said?

I hope not.

From google, here's the house I lived in circa 1974-75. I don't know how current this picture is, but it doesn't seem too gentrified yet. In fact, it looks almost exactly like it did then, which is kind of scary. Address is 1347 Sigsbee SE, Grand Rapids.

My bedroom was upstairs on the left when facing the house. It was the master.

One of the Calvin guys who lived in the room next to me was evangelistic about pot. He used to roll joints and put them next to my alarm clock after I fell asleep. He tried to get fresh with me once when he was doing that. I had to put him in his place.

He was pathetic and begged after I spurned him. Finally he pulled his thing out and pleaded for at least a hand job. I laughed at his desperation and lack of self control. Then I told him that if he jacked himself off, I would watch. He got really embarrassed and left the room.

Jeez, didn't he know that beggars can't be choosers? Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth! What a worm. Typical Calvin College material. Lots of guilt, no experience and no self esteem. I wonder how premature his ejaculation would have been? He was already leaking sap like a ripe opium poppy:)

I still remember running down the stairs and out in the freezing snow in my bra and undies when my car was getting towed away in the early morning. It was parked on the wrong side of the street for the snow sweepers for the umpteenth time. I used to turn my wipers on in the morning and the citations would fall in the street. Out of sight, out of mind.

On this occasion I managed to convince the tow truck driver not to take my car. This was not an easy feat, especially since he already had it hooked up. But, with a little honey, tears and shivering I had him eating right out of my hand. I think the wardrobe helped as well. It was a pretty sexy bra. And in that weather, you know my nipples were hard. So,.... yeah I gave him my number. But I never returned his calls. He already got way more than he deserved by seeing me in my undies:)

Do you know anything about the Thunderchicken? It was out on Alpine and got some pretty well-known acts. I'm guessing it held about 750 to 1000 people. I think it had four bars, pool tables and a stage.

What happened to it? And what about that Sambo's around 28th by the malls? Am I imagining that?

I got stranded there one time. It's a very complicated story. And it's really weird. Too weird to tell, I think.

What do you know about the Last Chance Bar? I never went there much because I didn't like the people or atmosphere. It was where the geekiest of Calvin students hung out. At least then. They called it LCB's.

Is Spring Lake as rural as it was then? I had some very hallucinogenic experiences there. As the sign said, "Spring Lake, Where Nature Smiles for Seven Miles". I remember a very old cottage-like motel out there which had super low doorways. The showerheads were way too low too. But man did we have ourselves a witchy time there.

Is it still the same? Or did progress fuck it all up?

Just wondering.

If you're tired of this, just let me know.


Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Hey Vickie
Different GR responder here but I think the Thunderchicken became Top of the Rock and may have been the Alibi for a while.
I have a feeling your LAV DJ may have been Kevin Matthews as he got his start at Grand Valley.
Eberhard's is no longer. Crazy Larry's started out as Big apple Records and Tapes in Eastbrook and Rogers Plaza. It was a retail outlet for the aforementioned Biehn Brothers distro.
Boogie Records lasted in Kalamazoo until 10 or so years ago. They also had a store in...I want to say Toledo,Ohio.
Also I believe Bob's Big Boy is a west coast thing. Here they were called Elias Brothers Big Boys.
That's all for now but I will post more if I think of anything. Take care.