A Tornado in the eye of a Stooges storm

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The Tale of Tornado Turner is a curious but intriguing piece of Stooges history. You’re about to hear the story. First-hand.

Flashback to 1973. An increasingly bored and three-quarters strung-out Iggy and the Stooges are holed-up in a rented mansion in the Hollywood Hills, captives of their management company Mainman. “Raw Power” is out. For reasons best known to themselves, Mainman is booking no tours to promote it.

One reluctantly-arranged show (Ford Auditorium, Detroit, March 27) produces an ultimatum following a clash at an after-party between Manman supremo Tony Defries and guitarist James Williamson. The edict is: It’s him or the band. Iggy sacks James. Enter a replacement, Warren Klein.

Schizophonically speaking, this is a tour you don't want to miss

schizos minivan photographyCredit: Minivan Photography.

They formed in 2009 but it's in the last few years that San Diego’s Schizophonics have convincingly cemented their reputation as one of the world’s hardest-working and most dynamic bands.

Gymnastically-inclined singer-guitarist Pat Beers, drummer (and his wife) Lety Beers, plus a series of bass players, have been wowing audiences around the world with their unique brand of explosive garage rock. They’re poised to pay Australia and New Zealand their second visit in a year in February and March, before hitting Japan for the first time.

The Schizophonics have been likened to a cross between James Brown and the MC5. Local bands have been lining up to join them on bills. Aussie all-female combo, The Fangin’ Felines, are lucky enough to be joining them for two support spots - in their own hometown Wollongong (Lalalas, March 12) and Sydney (Marrickville Bowlo, March 13).

Strong females are integral to both bands, so it made perfect sense for the I-94 Bar to host a pre-tour conversation between Lety Beers and Fangin’ Feline singer Carrie Phillis. The ladies spoke over Skype earlier this week. Pat Beers joined them and uber fan Russell Hopkinson (You Am I, ex-Radio Birdman) made the whole thing happen.

It's never too late to go back to school

river of snakesRaul in River of Snakes. Uncredited Facebook photo.

“I talk to a lot of people and musicians in rock’n’roll and they have a real resistance to it. ‘Why do you want to do that?’” laughs Raul Sanchez.

The object of Sanchez’s peers’ derision is his recently awakened interest and understanding in music theory – at first glance, anathema to the three-chord rock’n’roll style he’s explored and exploited as guitarist in Magic Dirt, Midnight Woolf and River of Snakes.

“Learning music theory blew my mind. I’ve known major and minor chords, but I’ve never really knew how they came from, how they worked, how they interacted, functional harmony, things like that. I just wondered ‘How the hell did we get by all those years writing songs without knowing this shit!’ You just grab that and that and say ‘Yeah, that sounds good’.”

Mick Medew walks through "Open Season"

mick and brian jeff ramThe I-94 Bar's Top Tens are about to roll-out and you'd be surprised if both this year's releases on I-94 Bar Records didn't make the grade for The Barman's picks.

A couple of months ago, we posted a track-by-track by Chris Masuak of "Address to the Nation" by Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders. Now it's Mick Medew's turn to walk you through "Open Season", the long-player from Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers. 

It's a killer album of pop, power and melody and if you don't believe us, check out the reviews here

The words below belong to Mick Medew, the photos are by Jeff Ram.

* * * * * 

“Imaginary Friend''
This song was principally written by our guitar player, Brian Mann. He wrote the lyrics to the first verse and I found it easy to run with his theme. 

I grew up in inner city Brisbane in the 1960's and ‘70s where there was plenty of exploring to be done and no security guards in sight.  I have one Sister (11 years older than me ) so i was effectively an only child for a lot of the time. At least it felt like that.

I needed to apply my imagination; necessity being the mother of invention.

 

He's on a Mexican radio


mj halloranMichael Halloran is playing upstairs at The Tote with Light Magnetic on Thursday 14 November. 

Michael Halloran is busy, but he’s not in a hurry. Back in Melbourne from Mexico to see family and friends and to squeeze in a couple of live shows and some recording, Halloran is taking things as they come – organically, if you will.

“That’s where I’ve kind of got to now,” Halloran muses. “Fuck the whole organising and rehearsing, I’m too old for that – maybe not too old, but I’ve got my experiences.”

Having left Melbourne for New York five years ago, Halloran’s nominal home base is now in Mexico, where he runs a bed and breakfast. Earlier this year, Halloran returned to New York to put down some tracks with long-time collaborator Dee Pop and expatriate Australian musician Rob Mason: 

“I lived in New York for about five years so I’ve got a lot of musical contacts and friends. It’s a very strong musical community,” Halloran says. “I’ve had this idea that I’ve wanted to do recently, which is to record with different people at different places. Basically to turn up there, stay for a month, get a feel, get back into the vibe and check some unique music, stuff that’s going on.”

The asthethics of being The Messthetics

lallo pirog canty AntoniaTricaricoJoe Lallo, Anthony Pirog and Brendan Canty. Antonia Tricarico photo.

“There’s no line between improvisation and self-indulgence!” It’s all the same thing, so just be forewarned before you come to our shows. It’s rampant self-indulgence, 100% of the time!” laughs Brendan Canty, drummer with Washington DC band The Messthetics.

Canty’s reply to my question is deliberately facetious: The Messthetics explore the jazzier side of rock’n’roll, eschewing the melodic and lyrical hook of a vocalist for an improvisational instrumental sonic aesthetic enabled via guitarist Anthony Pirog’s reedy guitar lines. But the contrast between The Messthetics’ exploratory style and the brutal discipline of Canty’s former band Fugazi is stark.

“We don’t have a vocalist, so I like to think that Anthony’s guitar lines are the vocals,” Canty says. “There are times of course when we do rampant self-indulgence but for the most part we have written music, and we try and diversify what we play and make it interesting for everyone.”

Road Animals who celebrate the blues

john steele bam festival hengeloYou know the drill by now, surely? The Animals and Friends is the official title, and while many of us might wish to transport ourselves back to 1964 to see The Animals as they once were, that's a tad awkward. Not least because one founder member, Eric Burdon,  lives in the US, and the other (who was in the band which Burdon joined with later became The Animals) lives in the UK.

Not wishing to misrepresent what they do, drummer John Steel's Animals has an official title, but really, aside from Burdon's special voice, this is as close as you'll get. 

The Animals must be on their fourth or fifth tour of Australia. They consistently pack out. Because they're damn good, entertaining and great fun, real and natural and the songs are powerful, still, and resonate like slow sonic booms.

John Steel is a co-founding member of the Tyneside group that changed its name to the Kansas City Five, and then (via several permutations) to The Animals in 1963 after Eric Burdon joined. Together with Mick Gallagher (replacing Alan Price in 1965 -Gallagher was the band's second keyboardist), Danny Handley on guitar and vocals and Roberto Ruiz on bass and vocals. Live, they're a royal hoot, Steel is clearly still enjoying playing live and touring.

A little perspective: Steel is 78 and, unlike most 78-year-olds, is busy cramming a dozen 90-minute gigs into 18 days, which seems a punishing enough schedule for young bands these days. He's a cheerful man, and our conversations are punctuated with laughter.

Chris Masuak takes us track-by-track through "Address to the Nation"

CM Oscar Millarengo"Address to the Nation" on our own I-94 Bar Records is the latest album from Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders. If we do say so ourselves, it's the equal-best Australian release this year (the other being "Open Season" by labelmates Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers.) .

After a series of requests from fans, we decided to ask Chris Masuak to take us through the album track-by-track. Here it is in Klondike's own insightful words:

Sound explorer Eric Mingus

eric mingus portrait

You, devoted I-94 Bar reader, may have noticed a review I did a few weeks back, for the album by New York-raised, now Ireland-domiciled multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Eric Mingus, called "Fog of Forgiveness". One of Eric's collaborators, Catherine Sikora, sent it to me out of the blue, and when I had a chance to listen, I was rather blown away. 

Eric Mingus came to my attention several years ago, when a musical interpretation of "Tommy” (the Who double LP) played in Adelaide for the Festival Fringe, at the magnificent Her Majesty's Theatre (now being rebuilt). I thought that, since I wanted to ask Eric about a ton of stuff, I asked Catherine if I could do an e-mail interview with Eric. He doesn't seem to do that many interviews - possibly because of the nature of interviewers.

His dad Charles was a mighty jazz legend (if you know who I mean, then read on; if not, get Googling); however, if you have your own, distinct musical drive, people will always compare the first with the second. (Recall that Sir Winston Churchill named his son Winston Spencer-Churchill - imagine going to school with that millstone of a name ...) Eric Mingus is a very different kettle of fish to his dad, and what he does is ... well, it is to some extent beyond music to my mind. 

Rather than a series of straight Q&As, I had more of an email conversation with Eric, so if the preambles seem a little involved ... well, sod you. I'm writing this for your entertainment. Either be entertained, or don't be. There are a lot of musical springboards (ie, links in here. You're far too conservative in your musical tastes). Get corrupted and follow the links. Lastly, Eric writes in American English, and yes, he has spelled his words correctly.