Holiday Greets, Nortonians!
Yes, it’s that time of year, my dears and we have plenty news to divulge! Be sure to check the Norton website for a bash bevy of holiday gift ideas, lots of great sounds plus accoutrements like two styles of Norton tote bags and iron-on patches which are sure to bring a smile to the recipient of your benevolence. As always, gift certificates are available in any denomination, and we will mail directly to the giftee with a message of your dictation. We can prepare a gift according to any specification (i.e. all wax, all CD, all rockabilly, all insanity, all soul monsters, whatever). Gift wrap is free, as always! Nothing says HOLIDAY SMASH like the perfect gift: a stack of wax from Norton Records, USA! (PS: Pick up an original Dec. 1965 copy of the above shown Monster World while supplies last!)
Friday Dec. 4 SMASHED! BLOCKED! Josh Styles is joined by the Norton tag team of Miller & Linna at the first Yuletide dance blast of the season at the always posh Beauty Bar. No cover. 10 PM – 4AM Beauty Bar, 231 East 14th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue)
Saturday Dec 5 ICHIBAN ROCK & SOUL PARTY! Join the fun as WFMU broadcasts live from the Lakeside Lounge! Hear the brightest lights in WFMU’s of stars shine featuring Rex from Fool's Paradise, Dave The Spazz, Gaylord Fields, Debbie From Georgia PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS! All assembled to celebrate the launch of WFMU's brand new Ichiban Rock and Soul Webstream! The premier online destination for fun-lovers and thrill-seekers everywhere! Experience radio live and in the flesh! Win fabulous prizes! Watch unihibited women! Enjoy alcoholic beverages! Authentic reproduction Jivaro shrunken heads will be given away to lucky attendees! Be there as broadcast history if made! Lakeside Lounge (162 Avenue B in NYC) 1 to 6 PM.
ICHIBAN BLOG! Lotsa party pix there, too!
Monday Dec 14 ANDY SHERNOFF GOES GIRL CRAZY!
Prepare for another intimate soiree with the world’s greatest songwriter, the sharpest tack in the toolbox, especially when it comes to lauding the attributes of our town, providing the antidote to the nausea of other pabulum-pukin’ New York States of Mind! Make mine SHERNOFF, high and dry! Andy plays his hits, solo on guitar, and tells tales of life in the Dictators—a very, very special event so do not miss it! Lakeside Lounge, 162 Ave B, NYC 7:30PM sharp - free!!
Thursday Dec 31 THE DETROIT COBRAS, THE A-BONES AND THE UNDERTHINGS Join us at this all night Rock & Roll New Years Eve Party Basheroo! Noisemakers? We are the noisemakers! Come count down the decade all night long! Mercury Lounge, 217 East Houston St, NYC Getcha tickets now! (212) 260-4700
Thursday Dec 31 NEW YEAR'S EVE ALL-STAR CAVALCADE of DJs Spazztacular! Music to Spazz By with Dave the Spazz will be blastin' into 2010 with SIX FREAKIN' HOURS of rock n' roll noise! There'll be special guest DJs (Rex, Gaylord, Debbie D, DA the DJ) PLUS extra-special surprise entertainment personalities! Don't miss this over-the-top soundtrack for your hedonistic New Year's Eve drunken rock & roll monkey orgy! 8PM-2AM wfmu.org
ADVANCE BLABS FOR 2010 FROM KICKS BOOKS!
Double click on this photo for a slide show of the Chicago Launch Party for Sweets!
HOT SCOOP! ANDRE WILLIAMS TO NYC POETRY PROJECT On the heels of his wildly successful Chicago book launch reading, Andre has been invited to read from his landmark new novel SWEETS at the esteemed Poetry Project at St Mark’s Church, NYC. Few are considered, fewer are called for this great honor. Top secret guest details on this big-big Feb. 5 event will be in our New Years Day newsletter! Andre Williams' fiction paperback SWEETS debuted in Chicago on Nov. 14. The event was organized by local artist/DJ and Andre Williams acolyte John Phillips, who tapped the wonderful Phyllis Musical Inn for the book debut, an exceedingly homey neighborhood tavern with an intimate stage and original musical murals and decor. Chicago was chosen for the debut reeding because it is where Andre chose to set the scene for his stories, where he wrote SWEETS, where he spent his pre-teen years, and where he now resides. With the book hot off the press, I hit-git-and-split for the Holyland (birthplace of Vin Saxon a/k/a Ron Haydock) for what was to be a truly memorable and historic evening. This was the night that our hero Andre Williams (he of Jail Bait, Greasy Chicken, Mozelle, Bacon Fat, and Cadillac Jack fame, to name but a fraction of his musical accomplishments) was to appear in public for the first time as a writer, an author, a scribbbler of acrid prose. None of us, Andre included, knew which way the pendulum would swing. Would people be interested? Would they come to listen to mere words, without music? And if they came, could Andre hold their interest with stories concocted in drug rehab, while his mind was in bedlam? You see, SWEETS, is an odd little book, the title tale containing a multitude of plot lines that revolve around a teenage girl with a survival instinct to rival even Andre's. It was written a rebours, literally against the current, with Andre fighting to grasp and develop entertaining and surprising elements, grappling with the task of setting it down by hand-- all the while tormented by addiction. Andre Williams has unmatched perseverence, an unkillable sense of humor, and a will to do it all. That said, let's get back to the night in question. John and I got to the venue early to set the stage up, and even then, hours early, there was a gaggle of fans gathering. By the time we returned for John to begin pre-show DJing (as "Mr Wiggles"), Phyllis's was already getting crowded with thrill-seekers, garden variety lushes, and loads of local musicians, record execs, newspapermen, and full on rock & soul stars, all curious and excited to see and hear Andre. By 9:30, the joint was rampacked. R&B slinger Bo Dudley showed up dolled and decked head to toe in electric blue sateen, and Lords/Amboy Dukes lead singer John Drake held court with his fiancee Mary Ann. Top cat guitar slinger Danny Doll Rod of the Gories and Demolition Doll Rods had jetted in from Detroit to support the man of the day. When Andre arrived, there was much whooping, as the sea of people parted, to allow him passage to the stage. Dressed to the nines-- two tone shoes, red silk tie, impeccably tailored suit and hat-- he began the beguine, slowly introducing himself, all the while rolling his manuscript into a tight scroll. He would not refer to it again, choosing instead to ad lib an hour-long, jaw dropping spoken word production, all the while, punctuation the air with the rolled scroll as though he were orchestrating our emotions with a baton. Andre began by describing how he had fallen into the role of paperback writer, about street life as real life, about going into rehab one mo' time again, about molding real deal memories into fiction. He then began an incredible-- alternately funny and heartbreaking-- telling of SWEETS, describing the characters in great detail, and playing the x-rated segments a la Red Foxx. This was an amazing evening, one to cherish as the night that Andre Williams reinvented himself and... us. I'd say he received a standing ovation, but everybody was standing throughout anyway. Regardless, the crowd went crazy, and Andre stayed to speak with fans, sign books, and cut the massive cake that was emblazoned with the book cover-- talk about Sweets! Mr Wiggles pumped the sounds deep into the night, the dance floor packed with stompers wailing to the beat of Andre Williams' records, celebrating the life of one of our key figures. Congrats, Andre Williams and long may you reign! See you in New York City in February! PS The next day, John and I visited Bo Dudley at his boss pad. Dig the pix.
BOBBY FULLER BIO eminent! (Yes Jim, EMINENT!) As you all know, our Bobby Fuller bio has been in the works for longer than we like to imagine. Now, with interviews in place with the remaining elusive few, and having unearthed the only known tape interview with Bobby Fuller, recorded just weeks before his death, we are ready to roll. Release is not imminent, but it is coming in 2010. If any of your followers have last minute comments, requests, suggestions, get them in now, as they will be considered. You faithful have been here with us through thick and thin for over twenty years of heartache and happiness in making available the earliest recordings of Bobby, and telling the story of his life, first in KICKS #6, with added information as it has surfaced, via our El Paso Rock CD’s and then LP’s. We will release a third volume of his work in the Spring, which will precede the biography. We thank all of you who have been supportive and instrumental in preparing for the book, and again, encourage you to throw in your last two bits before we hit print with KICKS BOOKS! PS. Late breaker—Bob Keane is dead.
IN THE GRAPEVINE... Double whammy! Savage Mag does a big time blast on killer Norton power duo the Figures of Light- check it out and pick up their records-- they will blow a hole in your sock! Contact us for more info!
Figures Of Light Interview!
and the NYT goes ga-ga over the enw pair on Norton hero Mr. Kim Fowley! Donnie and the Outcasts in the NEW YORK TIMES? Our work on this planet is done!
“One Man's Garbage: Lost Treasures From the Vaults 1959-69, Volume One”
“Another Man's Gold: Lost Treasures From the Vaults 1959-69, Volume Two” (Norton)
Many have made profound records with a heavy hand and dumb records with a light hand. But making dumb records with a heavy hand: that is for the true hot-doggers, those who truly love their own scent and know that immortality in the arts is both a construct and the desired thing.
During rock's middleweight years Kim Fowley turned out this sort of record by the dozen: doo-wop, surf, girl-group, novelty, psychedelia. A song about undercover cops posing as surfers. A song about yo-yos. Who is Kim Fowley? He's a recording-studio lizard still living and working in Los Angeles, an old-fashioned producer, promo man and Svengali who eagerly sang or talked over the band when necessary. You may know him from his work with the Runaways, Joan Jett and Lita Ford's mid-'70s band. It's possible you know him as a producer of “Alley Oop,” by the Hollywood Argyles, from 1960; or as a writer of “Nut Rocker,” the 1962 instrumental that swiped the “March of the Wooden Soldiers” melody from “The Nutcracker.” Maybe, if you're good at this, you know him as a credit line on lesser tunes by Kiss or Cat Stevens. Beyond that you might be in trouble.
An anthology of Mr. Fowley's work, “Impossible but True,” totes up his successes, and another, “Underground Animal,” is dedicated to his obscurities, with a greater quotient of greatness. But here, in two volumes, are his abject failures, mostly small-batch 45s, some never let out of the can. This music is in certain parts nearly unjudgeable by musical standards. But it qualifies as West Coast social history, conceptual art and, possibly, a form of fiction.
A few songs are great (“Bodacious” by the U.S. Rockets). Some are deeply inept (“Bounty Hunter” by Donnie and the Outcasts). Outside of their three minutes or less on vinyl, most of these bands existed mainly in Mr. Fowley's head; he had a concept for each one. Rock 'n' roll, he writes in his loud, profane and insightful liner notes, is “music by the unknown for the unloved.” Further, he writes, it's “about the sun beating down on you and lemonade in your hand. It's atmospheric.” That may be his credo or just a rationalization, but it's very good.
In his early days there was no album-length work to undertake, and as he imagined his one-off happenings, Mr. Fowley jumped on meager opportunities with a brio beyond what they deserved. He took unused instrumental tracks made by bands with unpaid studio bills and rendered new songs upon them. He corralled misfits into studios and dreamed up band names in short order. He created his own labels: Kimco, Last Chance, Rubbish.
Here are a bad Shirelles (Althea and the Memories), a bad white Shirelles (Bonnie and the Treasures), a good California-beach “Susie Q” (the Renegades' “Geronimo”), a corny satire about hippies (“Long Hair, Unsquare Dude Called Jack”). There's a great creative wiliness behind it all. You can't condescend to Kim Fowley as an outsider artist: he's too mercenary, too self-conscious about the aesthetics of pop and too much of a thrill seeker. - BEN RATLIFF