How I stopped worrying and learnt to love the (Cherie) bomb

runawaysThe Runaways. That's Cherie on the left.

It has taken some time but I have finally found my inner klutz. Fortunately, Cherie Currie is a wise and generous woman. So, if my tale lacks substance, the blame is on me.

On Saturday morning, lacking even the first sip of caffeine, I received an e-mail. Robert Brokenmouth couldn’t do the Cherrie Currie interview. Could I step into the breach? Grown up me was fine with this. I’ve done phone interviews before. I just ring the number and try to build a narrative that gets you, the reader, so excited that you’ll hand over your hard-earned dollars for tickets or discs or downloads or whatever. I know the job.

The trouble is, grown up me is suddenly no longer in charge. Fifteen-year-old me is essentially melting down and demanding attention. Fifteen-year-old me is terrified. Grown up me is trying to explain how things that terrify you can also be fun and exciting. Fifteen-year-old me remains unconvinced.

Take a Chance on Me: Brooke Delarco and the sound of the Heartbreakers at the Village Gate

Heartbreakers tape

Want to know what the classic line-up of Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers sounded like live? Most of us missed them the first time around and with three of them no longer with us there’s no chance whatsoever of them reforming - at least in this life.

So you’ll just have to settle for listening to “Live At The Village Gate”.  

Glad you asked.

“Live At The Village Gate” is a newly-minted album on Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records. It’s out on LP and CD. It was recorded at the legendary jazz venue, The Village Gate, in New York City in 1977. Our review is here.

To many ears, it represents the ultimate recording of the infamous Heartbreakers at their highest peak. No slop, no pop. Pure power and energy that’s powerful enough to level a New York City block. It captures the notoriously drug-addled quartet in clear-eyed form and totally on their game. Out to impress and definitely Down To Kill.

Anarchy? What Anarchy? Glen Matlock just wants to have serious fun


men with no shameMen Of No Shame: Earl Slick, Glen Matlock and Slim Jim Phantom

Sweat is pouring down my neck and back. Rob from the C-Bombs is dangling pictures of his empty pool at me on facebook and I suddenly remember to start dialling.

I’m calling Glen Matlock in London. It will be something like 8.30 in the morning there. He’s organised, sounds quite sober, matter-of-fact and down to earth. Which is pretty good, cos if you’ve never heard the bugger’s name you’ve certainly heard at least one of the bands he’s been in, and helped write the songs for: The Sex Pistols.

Glen is coming to Australia for the ‘Men of No Shame’ tour with Earl Slick and Slim Jim Phantom.

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

Dodging bullets and shifting sands with Six Ft Hick's Geoff Corbett

sixfthick crowdsurfKarina Astrup photo

A lot of bands say they're unique but Six Ft Hick’s claim is real. A two-headed mutant from deepest Queensland in Australia’s sub-tropical north, the Hick has been trashing stages around their home country, and further afield in Japan and Europe, for two decades.

Over four studio albums and a live long-player since 2000, Six Ft Hick have carved out a space for themselves somewhere between amped-up (vaguely) rockabilly and full-steam ahead trash rock, but it’s as a stage entity that they’ve made their most lasting mark.

With vocalist-brothers Geoff and Ben Corbett running off each other like crazed wingmen at a testosterone party, they’re an irresistible and confronting beast that’s impossible to ignore. Smashed glasses (mainly on their own heads), broken furniture, casualty ward visits and ringing ears are de riguer.

Flashback: Buffalo one of Australia's best

buffalo portraitFrom 1970-76, Buffalo were undoubtedly one of Australia’s greatest high-energy, rock and roll bands. They were a great example of four musicians whose combined musical chemistry created devastating results.

Their five original albums (on the great Vertigo label) sell for massive amounts of money on eBay. Decent condition copies are practically hard to come by, as most of Buffalo’s original 1970’s fanbase were drugged/drunken freaks who trashed those albums at their hippy parties.

After the band broke up Pete Wells put together Rose Tattoo, Dave Tice based himself in England where he joined great R & B/pub rock combo The Count Bishops.

First published in November 2005

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…

Vale Ron Cooke, bassist for Sonic's Rendezvous Band and Mitch Ryder's Detroit

early lineup with miguel mike martinez and ron cookeMuch-traveled Michigan bassist Ron Cooke has passed away, his wife Pam announced on Facebook earlier today.

Although replaced by Gary Rasmussen before Sonic’s Rendezvous Band’s "classic" period (the one which produced "City Slang"), bassist W.R. "Ron" Cooke was there from the very earliest days, when Fred "Sonic" Smith was searching for a musical direction following the MC5's 1972 implosion.

Ron is pictured in an early publicity shot at right, and is second from the left. 

Cooke was also a member of the Johnny Thunders-Wayne Kramer collision that was Gang War, an idea that the principals agreed looked good on paper but lost direction as old habits took hold.

And Ron had plenty of Detroit rock'n'roll history under his belt before then, most famously with Mitch Ryder's Detroit, whose killer version of Lou Reed's "Rock and Roll" was a classic slice of Motor City Rock Action that even the song's author agreed was "the way the song was MEANT to be played."

Ken Shimamoto talked to Ron from his home in Ann Arbor in early October 2000 as part of the research for this history of SRB. Here are Ron’s verbatim recollections.

Flashback: King Khan caught in conversation

King Khan singingGarage rock royalty, King Khan and BBQ, are heading back to Australia in July, to play the sold-out Splendour In The Grass festival and sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney.

They’ll have a new album, “Bad News Boys”, in tow and it will be their first appearance on these shores since their chaotic show at Vivid in Sydney in 2010, after which they were declared by organisers to be "a security threat" and promptly broke up.

Canadian-born King Khan (guitar-vocals) and BBQ aka Mark Sultan (drums-vocals-guitar) have a string of solo and collaborative records to their name and years of touring their off-the-wall show. 

Their reformation and new record are as good an excuse as any to take a trip back in the time tunnel to 2008 when Patrick Emery cornered King Khan on the eve of him touring his band, The Shrines...