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Looking out for Johnny: Author Nina Antonia on Thunders, the Dolls and The Only Ones

johnny thunders nina antonia closeupJohnny Thunders and his biographer Nina Antonia.

Recently, I was obliged to dig through about 30 of my 100 boxes from storage and came across Greil Marcus' philosophical punk book “Lipstick Traces”. Highly regarded around the world, I recall reading it with irritation at the time, feeling that ... there was a distance to his writing. He just didn't seem excited.

I suppose it was that the man was a music journo, and obliged to listen to so much pap that after a while ... everything is part of the same thing. I liked how he got the world-wide impact of what punk did, but I really don't think he came close to nailing his topic.

When I had the opportunity to conduct an e-mail interview with UK author Nina Antonia, I grabbed it with both hands. Nina Antonia is the author of biographies on Johnny Thunders, the New York Dolls and Peter Perrett (The Only Ones) and has a knack of always nailing her topic. She's a delight to read. A quick scamper through bookdepository.com - armed with her name - is always exci

Adelaide's Captain Spud inspires no fear or loathing but brings lots of weird

chris spud

It is my great privilege to interview the elusive Chris Spud at his home. Who? You may ask. Among other things he’s a member of Fear and Loathing, who might just be Adelaide’s most seminal band of the last 30 years. He’s also a solo artist in his own right with persona like Captain Spud producing quirky music that spans the genres of exotica, punk and electronica.

Chris Spud’s home: It’s the kind of neat and tidy which frankly gives me a headache, yet is essential for Chris and Mrs Spud to live an orderly life while creating … a certain kind of chaos. A sheep’s skull peers in through the window…a pricey artwork leers down like the bottom of Poseidon’s trunks…

Voodoo Lust turns back the clock as Sydney sizzles

Gary topGary Slater of Voodoo Lust.    Shona Ross photo

One of the hottest Sydney days of the year translated to one of the coolest gigs in almost as long when Voodoo Lust made their first appearance for five years in the Harbour City last Friday night.

With the mercury clocking 42 degrees Celsius (nearly 103 on the old scale) on this fine Friday it was no time for sitting out in the sun (setting or otherwise) and the appointed venue, Marrickville’s Factory Floor, was accommodatingly air-conditioned.

Remember Voodoo Lust? You would if you set foot in an Australian East Coast rock and roll venue in the late ‘80s. The Voodoos toured the shit out of this place and were a powerpop-punk outfit extraordinaire.

Birdman re-issues on CD announced

radio birdman paddoMiss out on the Radio Birdman box set? After unveiling vinyl versions of the re-issues, Citadel has now announced individual double-CD packs, including one for the killer and highly sought-after “Live at Paddington Town Hall” album.

Each package is loaded with the extras that came in the box set. Go to Citadel Mail Order and get clicking in time for Xmas. 

They Shoot To Thrill and We Salute Them: AC/DC in Adelaide

brian hands

We three ladies - my daughter, sister and I - got into town, parked in the nearby parklands and hurried to the Cathedral Hotel. There was no sign of religion in the Cathedral, so we sculled a wine each and hurried across the park through the crowds to the Oval.

What was it like? It was six hours on my feet. Occasional whiffs of dope smoke. Beer spilled over me from all sides and from above. The odd three, four or five angry altercations, quickly stifled before the bouncers could arrive.

Kuepper cracks 50 and you can pre-order "Lost Cities" now

ed citiesEx-Saints and Laughing Clowns trailblazer Ed Kuepper's 50th (!) album “Lost Cities” is on its way and available for pre-order.

“Lost Cities'' will be released on December 20 on CD only and we reckon it would be the ideal Xmas gift. You can place your order with Ed's own Prince Melon Records webmaster James Last here.

Copies purchased before the official release date will be personally signed by Ed and cover artist Judi Dransfield Kuepper.

The album features nine new songs recorded in August following the successful Nostalgia for the New Australian mini-tour by Ed. Titles are ''Pavane'', ''Friends with the Leader'', "Free passage to Mars'' ''[It's] Never too Late'', ''The Ruins'', ''Fever Dream'', ''What can I leave you'', ''Some said....'' ''Queen of the Vale [that's V.A.L.E]''.

When The War Is Over: A Cold Chisel re-assessment


For overseas readers: Cold Chisel created a bubbling, intense hard-rock scene in ythe 1970s and greatly influenced the Australian music industry. 

They came before Radio Birdman. And they started in Adelaide.

To be precise, quite often at the Largs Pier Hotel. Which, if you look at a map, you will discover nestling in Largs Bay, to the north-west of Port Adelaide which, back in the early-mid ‘70s, was not quite as foul as Port Melbourne, but none-the-less, decent people didn’t go there. A local joke goes that over there you can hear the largs baying, but … as I said, decent people don’t go there…

Cold Chisel had a rough-as-guts image, and played rock akin to punk before punk, used feedback where it was effective, and were huge all around the country in the '70s and '80s. It would be interesting to see what might have happened had the Hitmen been this successful at Chisel’s expense… but that is to tempt the cobra called Fate.

Too Much Too Soon - Nina Antonia (Omnibus Books)

dolls bookIt’s that time of year again, when that fat prick comes scrambling down the chimney armed with a sawn-off and robs you off all your money so’s he can spend it on whores and drugs.

How fair is the world? That’s what I was going to spend it on.

This being the I-94 Barr site, where rock is from Detroit, synths are for Germans and the volume is at 11, you will all have friends who love rock’n’roll. So the bookstores around the world are ready for you this Krimbo, usually armed with tomes the size of one of Mose’s tablets on That Notorious Stone or That Bland Beatle or worse, Someone Who Was Someone Maybe Once (and Just Can’t Get Over It) Volume 3.

Ex-Dictator Andy Shernoff streams...and he wants you to think about that

His old band-mates might be attracting attention on tour as Dictators NYC but ex-Dictator Andy Shernoff isn’t letting the grass grow under his feet.  He’s been recording, producing and playing solo with a couple of formidable EPs under his belt recently, which you can buy here. This week bought into the streaming debate with a lengthy online rant – plus a new song.

Says Shernoff: “I’ve been a professional musician and songwriter for over 40 years. I live and breathe music. I also own thousands of albums and CD’s … but they sit in my closet because…I prefer to STREAM MUSIC!!!!

The Black Tambourines - The Black Tambourines (Easy Action)

black tambourinesThe Black Tambourines are from Cornwall in England. This is one of a series of short reviews of discs which should have been reviewed upon release but, for a number of unfortunate reasons (including at least one huge horrifying house-move) was not reviewed in what public servants like to call "a timely manner". This is the band's fourth full-length album.

The Black Tambourines. By god they’re good. Big, bastard, scratchy, messed-up, four-dollar bourbon, filled-ashtray rock’n’roll. I damn wish they were playing at my local, but folk used to say that about AC/DC and (the admittedly godawful) INXS and such musicians are now no longer lesser mortals like you and I, but ROCK-GODS.

As The Black Tambourines should be.

Dr S and Mr P- Urban Junior (Voodoo Rhythm)

urban junior mrMr Junior has a hell of a quirky appetite, ranging from dirty ultra-hawkwindish rawk to a dirtier electro punch in the head (‘Jetzt’ is killer) some sort of hip-hoppy thing. He’s a former boyband member (!) from Switzerland who plays everything himself.

This is a man who covers a lot of ground in a very short space of time, forcing your feet onto the floor at the same time. If you bought “Max Q”, get “Dr S and Mr P” right the hell now. If you like Ollie Oleson, Culturcide, SPK, Iggy and the Stooges, nasty soundtracks…

(ED: Urban Junior has shared stages with John Spencer Blues Explosion, Bob Log III, John Schooley, Jack Oblivian, Iggy Pop, G. Love & sSpecialSauce, Thee Oh Sees, King Khan, the Pussywarmers and Reverend Beat-Man. That might give you some more clues.)

This is dead dirty rock’n’roll and it’s like being seduced by an oil-stained camel in Doc Martin’s boots (not the star of the TV show Doc Martin, tho, …)

Three-and-a-half bottles. Oh, fuck it, four bottles.


Stop Press: Mummies to play in Melbourne, Adelaide

 Legendary garage rock icons The Mummies are almost certainly going to be making just two Australian appearances.

The Mummies play Max Watts (formerly the Hi Fi Bar) in Melbourne on Wednesday, March 9 with the mighty Mesa Cosa and Midnight Wolfe supporting. Tickets are available here. On March 13 they're billed to appear at Adelaide's Kustom Kulture Show. 

We're told that organisers will put on a Sydney date only if Melbourne doesn't sell - which seems highly unlikely - and there's no thought to playing anywhere else. 


The Mummies announce an Australian gig


In typically random style, those Kings of Budget Rock, The Mummies, have announced an Australian gig.

The mysterious Californians, who play their shows swathed in bandages, will visit Australia for the first time in 2016, with only one date announced so far: March 9 at Melbourne’s Max Watts. More news as it comes to hand.


Pilgrim - Lilith Lane (Beast Records)

pilgrimRecently I saw Lilith Lane perform as part of the Murder Ballads evening in Melbourne; there were many performers, but Lane was one of a handful who impressed. She’s sharp, smart and has a terrific voice.

"Pilgrim" was Recorded live at Sónica, Madrid, Spain, in October 2012 and released in 2013, It is  a rather wonderful live recording, and shows off the great control and power of Lillith's voice; what I like about her is that she’s so natural and approachable with her gift.

The guitarist, (one "Pedro") is damn groovy. It’s a kind of oddly Spanish-flavoured blues '50s rock thing, but you don’t really pay that much attention once Lilith starts singing. You’ll be dancing in a graceful, bopping way.


Beast Records on the Web

Lillith Lane on Bandcamp

Monkey Bones - Burn In Hell (Beast Records)

monkey bonesWhat's it worth? Four bottles if not more. 

Melbourne's Burn In Hell has a hell of a rep on the live circuit, both in Australia and overseas: it’s easy to see why. "Monkey Bones" (uhm, 2014) is world-class rock’n’roll which jangles your fillings and fills your jangles. 

Listen up! Dictators NYC explore the laws of economics

The re-tooled line-up of The Dictators is touring Europe right now - on the back of a new single. Now billed as Dictators NYC, the band’s “Supply and Demand” b/w “Kick Out The Jams” is available as a limited edition 45 or download.

The new line-up formed five years ago without founding Dictators member Andy Shernoff and is Handsome Dick Manitoba (vocals), Ross “The Boss” Friedman (guitar), J.P. “Thunderbolt” Patterson (drums) and Dean Rispler (bass.) It’s the first studio recording by any form of the band in 15 years.

The A side was written by Handsome Dick Manitoba, Ross The Boss and Jake Manitoba and is backed by a live take on the MC5 nugget, recorded in San Francisco. You can order the digital download here  and the seven-inch from label Striped Music here. And while on the subject of all things Dictators, an expanded edition of “Go Girl Crazy!” is in the wings. More info on that soon.

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