Peanut Butter Blues - Dr Boogie (self released)
"There is nothing to win by this kind of an outcry..." -Richard Hell
"Everything is really hard, if you ain't got that credit card." -Iggy Pop
Old grape popsicles don't expire, they just get freezer burnt.
Back in my bespangled youth, there was no Internet and no downloadable sound files you could carry around in your hand-held Orwell gadget. We had, like, Walkman's and a couple of cassettes, if we were lucky, you know? If we got real enterprising, we'd spring for all those big batteries to power up our boom boxes, with all the band stickers on it, but it costs a lot to keep those machines blaring, especially if you hung out with a ragamuffin lot of heavy metal kids, Stooges heads, and ersatz break-dancers.
Rock 'n' roll sounds still mostly came on collectible black platters with colorful picture sleeves, but you had to send cash away for it in the mail, relying on the honor of scuzzy rascals, and every so often, you might get chumped. 'Had to figure, somebody must be awful hard up, to rip off their own fans. There was no Pay-Pal, you just paid your pals.
Today's last few standing beer drinkers and hell raisers have their trashy tunes available on multiple formats and the new song usually appears online, before the wax hits the shops, so you can just download it at your leisure. Me, I don't even have a flip-phone,
"I have to push, I have to struggle/eighties, I'm living in the ’80s”
Back then, I had my own promising glam gang with Fanta flavored songs, foolish guts, flash as hell stylishness, and a fanzine buzz, until I abandoned my post and slinked off with the Wrong Broomhilda, a bad move, a wasted opportunity, a tiger trap, a long, bruising fall down the permanent gopher hole, a tragic mistake I never fully recovered from.
You get one chance to strike while the iron is hot. Me and my devilish rakes were all cocksure, little floozy fixating, hard to kill hellions, who liked the Boys and Heartbreakers, the Waldos and Rose Tattoo, and aspired to composing originals in that belligerent tradition, but we never measured up, to recording anything, at that standard, before breaking up, and reforming with diminishing results and replacement players who never had the bold and youthful spirit of the original old lineup, and eventually, splintering off into different factions, in distant parts of the world...
But I always remembered what I was reaching for, as a drunken, sloppy, brattish kid. A loud, flamboyant band in the rowdy tradition of the Faces and Tex & The Horseheads and Hollywood Brats and Alice Cooper, but with a belligerent punk energy, al a the UK Subs and Hanoi Rocks, and vivid lyrics like, say, the Replacements or Dramarama.
A Hollywood group who's, perhaps, come closest to achieving the sonic grandiosity I heard in my own haunted head back when I fronted a long string of skinny, badly tattooed, crash and burnout bands, is called Dr. Boogie. Rarely does the corporate media-controlled Divided States Of Pay To Play Generikkka produce contemporary bands worthy of Australian audiences’ attentions, it's all a disco-fied, back-stabbing, gentrification rich kid, beauty contest with guitars, over here.
You have to be like, a rock star's kid to even participate; if I had two grand a month, why would I rent a tiny apartment-wouldn't I buy my own house? - it's treacherous, absolutely brutal. You have to grovel to maybe get hired in the back as a dishwasher, and the pinky ringed kids upfront bark commands at their parents’ employees. It's horrid to even behold-and most of those big city techno kids just suck ass, as over-indulged, would-be entertainers, because they have nothing relevant to write songs about. Some of 'em are like, maybe mad at a waitress, ("Where's my extra olive oil?!") or their personal assistant bought them the wrong kind of sushi, or something.
I keep meaning to retire from the online underground music journalism loser's game, but when bands come along that make a difference, that make the kids wanna dance, that make us oldsters wanna embrace the moment in front of us, it's all hands on deck, we gotta do our part to get the message out. Most of the modern day kicks we see hyped in the crappy U.S. press is a buncha prima ballerinas that ain't got no wolf in their whistle, ya know? Barkers with no real bite.
Dr. Boogie, though, are an exceptionally promising, authentically great band, a real rock ’n’ roll band, the likes of which we never, never see or hear, anymore, nowadays. Born for it, totally believable. You get the feeling they actually ENJOY delivering their seething brand of scuzzy blues punk trash to eager rooms of scantily-clad girls and wet, frenzied drunks.
They have a badass producer by the name of Gabe Lowry, who helps them achieve a remarkably warm, ’70s Stones feel, reminiscent of Jimmy Miller. They have an Ian McLagan like presence on keyboards by the name of Teddy Zig Zag, best known for his work with Guns’n’ Roses, Bo Diddley, Alice Cooper and Chuck Berry. Like their friends and sometimes collaborators from Hollywood's other ace popnroll outfit, Dirty Eyes (If Young Bowie grew up listening to the Ramones and Heartbreakers instead of Anthony Newley and Lindsey Kemp...) they both have kickass songs and cool looks and great style. They seem like genuinely nice fellas.
Also, I like NYC's The Sweet Things, who are like a punk rock screw top fortified wine Aerosmith, ya know-kinda like the Joneses, or a nastier version of the Throbs-makin' bubbles with their pink gum, strummin', bummin', kingdom come-they are also pretty fab at the raunchy, streetwise-crackin' caterwauls.
But today, we are here to raise a hearty toast to Dr. Boogie. Now usually, I have a laundry list of criticisms and suggestions about what the latest and greatest drunknroll band needs to do to improve, always handy, right here, in my showoff, red patent leather sheriff's holster, but I can't say nothin' bad about this positively sensational, imminently listenable, marvelously entertaining to watch, power pop meets sleazy glitter punk and classic rock band, at all. If anything, I hope to someday inquire discreetly with THEM, about how they did it-what their secret is for finding the right bunch of likeminded bruisers and getting along for more than five minutes.
Going forward, I'd only dare to humbly suggest they continue reaching deep to pen those intimate and original storyteller lyrics and to stay true to each other and not allow any jealous outsiders, or flattering yes-men, or groupie hangers-on to divide them. Stick together as tight as you can, lads, and don't waste any youthful daylight on petty bickering.
I think they got this in the bag, though. They seem to be genuine amigos having a blast, while co creating and performing, and traveling together and that really is the holy stuff of genuine magic and bona fide paradise coming to life. Bands are all about relationships, and if you don't sincerely like, respect, and trust the guys you're in the trenches with, you're never gonna really invest authentic heart into them, and it's just gonna be another lousy mirage that dies in the puddles of the dirty alleyway.
I'm a hard sell, when it comes to the rocknroll bands I put my own personal black tattoo of approval upon. Mostly, 'cause like most old timey print ranters, I failed at the whole sequined and silver spurred pyro blast, myself, and never got over it. Kinda like Thor, without the muscles and old clippings from Kerrang! to console one's self with. Just the platinum hair and red codpiece.
I think it was Fitzgerald, who said there ain't no second acts in American life, especially if you ain't born rich, and let me tell ya, I am living proof of that shit-I only got a paling glimpse of rocknroll glory as a kid but we fucked it all up, or maybe it was just me, and it's been 25 years of grieving over spilled whiskey. Now, I'm sick and alone here, coughing up my guts, in this cold room, replaying the same old new wave French kiss movies in my head, while most everybody I thought was golden from back then is either long dead, sorry-busy-sorry unavailable, or sold out the tambourine dream, years and years ago.
I never imagined living long enough to witness punk become so safe that even the small-town squares who stayed at home to work for their parent's air-conditioning and heating businesses would be socializing with the jocks and enjoying some kind of strange beergut popularity in their old age with their old man weekend punk bands.
Punk is the new racquet ball, or red sports car, or something. It's the new golf. All those Weezer wimps and Fred Durst fans in the Midwest, with the shorts and tribal tattoos. They all think it's sports. I'm at that unfortunate age where I've been put out to pasture, 'cause I guess I missed my calling, or the dust is calling, And oh, his shoes are too big And oh, his jacket's too small and I still steadfastly refuse to dabble with computer programs to make my own internet muzak, reduced to an online "content provider", while seemingly every former, long lost intimate and former food-service associate who made it in capitalist society feels totally entitled to appropriate my old stuff, confidently asserting, "well, it's not like you have any platform for it".
Ha. Yeah, well, okay. Take all you want, I'll make more. What could be more rocknroll than stealing from poor people who aren't famous?
If you been around the block once or twice, you already know about Pat Boone and Kid Rock, and how Nikki Sixx stole his whole name from another dude, Pretty Boy Floyd took their name and songs from less "important" souls, even "Talk Dirty To Me" was written by guys in CC's pre Poison band. I have started to begrudgingly appreciate the select few who bother to ask for my permission, before using my work as mere grist for the middle class, middle aged, middle brow, middle of the road, murderous McDonna-media, monotony, meat and money, mediocrity machine.
How did punk rock become something sold to baseball capped, 4X4 white truck driving mainstream dorks, like video games, in the fuckin' mall? I feel like Rip Van Halen, the old geezer who passed out beside the tree and woke up 27 years later with a rusty gun and everybody speakin' a new language. The weird part is how I always imagined, when we were all young Stanley Kubrick and Billy Idol crazed gunslingers, that it would be me who made it in media, first, and I'd be the one to go back to the old Honeycomb Hideout for the rest of the similarly bedazzled old hoodlums, as I was the one who was dumb enough to make the original moves to the big city Music Meccas. I thought we'd always be tossin' confetti and climbin' in the back of the clown car, honkin' our horns. Send in the clowns.
These are dark times. You just can't hold on to the hot-pink Saturday night teenage thunder in your forties, it's a sad thing to lose hold of. Always stayed lean and mean until these very last couple of years just in case, I always held forth me and the napalm tigers would reunite for one more Bermondsey style, demolition joyride back to the Mystery Cities. Sadly, that ain't how most people really operate, once they get the replacement teeth and sports cars and maids and the big salaries and accustomed to traveling first class overseas and hanging out with tech millionaires, showbiz dignitaries, cocaine fratboys, and Wall Street warpigs, though, ya know? Nobody wants to get their Italian necktie dirty.
Me, I don't mind, I'm working class, blue collar, carnival people. I like the roar of the clown white and cotton candy and the smell of the greasepaint and elephant ears. It's a cheese fries stands alone feeling when everybody moves on up that golden escalator to capitalist heaven, to the deluxe Starbucks, in the sky. No one can be bothered inviting you to the cookout, or putting you in a studio, or backing you up, or putting your name in parenthesis, or getting you added to the masthead, once they determine you are yesterday's papers, that you "aren't happening", ya know, they just kinda pronounce you dead in the water. If you ain't payin' a mortgage on a house stuffed with unused recording and exercise equipment, they all feel free to ransack the archives, like they did it all themselves. Forgotten, Rotten. John, but not gone.
People move on. Early programming, homes and gardens, high school volleyball, and Superbowl Parties. But those are the fortune seeker people who are in the music "business", for the V.I.P. status shit, for the check cashing, for the festival attending, and truck washing, the tv people-the cultural tourists and weekend warriors, the collectors, who were never really in it for the crazy hot blue creative spark of collaboration, the mad-dash anything can happen day adventure, or the desperate art, or the uncontrollable laughs. The competitive, me first, protein-powdered, pushy ass, parent pleasing, lawn watering, rap-metal, Casual Friday, gym-buddy, auto-parts, believers in the system, JCPennywise, bean counters.
Last time I was in the midst of makin' music, half the roll-call just suddenly quit, up and split, to go boating with their parents on the family yacht, and their wives decided I was not adequately argyle enough to be seen with, just like their mudders did, when I was too mad, bad, and dangerous to show, back in the days of deathrock and hairbands - you can't make this shit up.
Cultural brainwashing. Keeping Up With The Apprentice. For us, or against us. War, war, war. What a country. Clubbed. Golf-clubbed again. What the fuck? When those plans, they don't fit your style, you get a feeling of your own ordeal, so now, I make a real effort to avoid those camo-shorted, capitalist, Duck Dynasty bearded, heavy metal honchos, grown-up goths, and only in it for the money, merchandise peddling, cannibal eyed, ex Devo dorks, on the take.
I think that's why I'm not that into many of the more prominent, faceless, new glam bands. Their cries ain't got no real tears. Where is the danger? The risk taking, the soulful confession? Where are the personalities? Where is the originality? The sex appeal, the wildness, the humor? Where is the fuck you? The snap, crackle, and pop? If you want it, got to bleed, baby. I mean, there are always hundreds of amateur hour skinny jeans emo shag haircut bands now, and they commonly bring almost nothing new, or intimate, or meaningful, of their own, to the card table-just the same old scene, bought and paid for animal printed shoes and Ronnie Wood haircuts.
All of 'em always think that just because their parents bought them an oversized vintage instrument, or some touring oldster lets 'em onstage for another half hearted run-through of a golden oldie, or their aged stripper girlfriend bought 'em the polka dotted shirt off the big girl rack, that a credit card turns 'em from from Little Billy Batson into Izzy Stradlin. Shit, man. Sometimes, I think Izzy Stradlin's overrated....
Dr. Boogie, however, are exceptionally heroic, yellow caped, real-deal, Captain Marvels! I mean super dooper, terrace stompin', solid gold, Paul Kossoff era, throwback purveyors of purple-scarved perfection and revivifying, Classic Trash, road ramblin' yeehaw anthems, you can tell these fuckers were raised on the NY Dolls and Mott The Hoople, Eater and the Jook, Sweet and Slade.
I mean they just GOT IT. In spades, they will make you glam all over, utterly splendid, their talent really can't be overstated, everybody's a star, they leave the rest of the punk pack in the pink dust. I think Dr. Boogie should be all over the place, by now, on lunchboxes and sparkly T-shirts, bubblegum trading cards and big, wall sized posters - they got that intangible stars quality that their many, many so called peers sorely lack.
They are radio-ready, hard-candied, dapper dandies, but sound somewhat reckless and destitute, ya know? Two steps from the gutter. They got good lyrics, an amazing vocalist, and everybody plays their ass off. Oh, the joint start shakin', it's ready to crumble. The boys are dukin', lookin' for a rumble, all the girls in the neighborhood they all wanna tumble, even I vouch for 'em, and I scoff at most everybody. This is what real rocknroll feels like. REBELLIOUS AND FULL OF LIFE! Pogo urging heart throbs writing perfect hits, almost like a yankee Generation X, or updated Hollywood Stars.
The other American groups with Betty Page bangs and brown suede cowboy vests are mostly all nepotism nephews, imitating hacks, Youtube kids and Karaoke cornballs, so the music always sounds lifeless and flat, pointless and pintless, no party in that music, no shattered glass or revealing emotions, just shamelessly derivative, not ready for primetime, but somehow they all got to cut to the front of the line, where they are now eagerly cutting lines, with their aforementioned credit-cards, but you know, it's all so plastic, practiced, it just ain't the nazz-more like namby pamby prat rock, vacuously on auto-pilot, just mostly going through the motions. Who can expound all the children this time?
Meanwhile, Dr. Boogie get you flying with the scolding white lightning zap! This is how it's done, kids. Keep your ears tuned for more REAL rocknroll from Dr. Boogie. Too many fortunate son, showbiz family, tribute bands of cheap impersonators, recycling somebody else’s act, like rank amateurs, out there, wasting people's time and hard earned money. Perpetual high schoolers, sucking up to the bullies and rich kids, begging for an invite to sit at the popular kid table with the DJ's and heiresses and white rappers and fat actors. They all operate like giddy contestants on one of those "Survivor" unreality shows, where they vote unpopular people off for the island for not being good athletes, or good enough liars, 'call that "wit". No songs, no statement, no pizzazz or showmanship, nothing much, ever.
Dr. Boogie get it, man. They are powerhouse rocknroll animals, they throw down, they do NOT fuck around, at all. They are in it, to win it, together. I tried to interview one of 'em months and months ago, and he was like, we are all equals, so we prefer interviews are conducted with the whole fab four. I love that. That's a true gang. Gabba motherfuckin' Gabba Hey. Smart. They are loyal to each other, and are bonded by a common vision, even though they have endured harsh setbacks, unexpected mutinies, and disappointments.
I am totally rooting for this bunch. Even when they sing about peanut butter or pizza, Dr. Boogie always sound way deeper and more soulful and heartfelt than the other shag-headed soda pop kids on the block, because they bring derelict derring-do and blues man feeling to the party. They are bringing a bottle to ya mama's tonight and they are looking for someone to sleaze. They totally know what they are doing. They walk it man, just like they talk it.
If you ask me, Dr. Boogie are the only band who's shattered, shattered. The guitars are like Mick Taylor. Dustin James has a helluva feel for stinging, seventies style, piercing, trashy blooze licks. The drums, courtesy of monster-truck thunder god, Luis Herrera, are a pounding, relentlessly danceable locomotive, almost careening off the track, as it swings wildly around that bend-it will definitely make you wanna shake your satin clad booty. The "whoo hoo hoos" will make you wanna put on all your costume jewelry and favorite sunglasses and call old friends to go to the show.
Teddy Zig Zag totally sounds like Nicky Hopkins or Ian MacLagan. Bassist Pat Salway is a sad eyed girl magnet who looks like he just got kicked out of Badfinger, for his optimism. The singer/guitarist, Chris P., sounds just like vintage Rod Stewart. I can't imagine anybody ever being in a room anywhere in the world, with these fellas blastin' out their hot as hell raunchnroll, without merrily, merrily, merrily, dancing with strangers, smiling, high-fiving the old geezers, clapping, throwing their velvet newsboy caps in the air, and taking their clothes off.
It's been quite awhile since I've heard new groups with this much rocknroll authority-not since the days of Beat Angels, Coma-Tones, and Hello Disaster, at least. If you liked the Hangmen, London Quireboys, or Izzy & The Juju Hounds, you're gonna love Dr. Boogie. On their new hit-single, "Peanut Butter Blues", they are triumphantly straddlin' that line between sticky pop/punk with a shiny teen appeal that will please fans of the Briefs, Cyanide Pills, or Exploding Hearts...and that harder driving, roadhouse, journeyman blues rawk power ala AC/DC, Black Crowes, Tom Petty, and Bob Seger, that always gets heartland F.M. radio listeners, who buy black T-shirts, waving their lighters over their heads. That's why I am pretty sure they can go crossover big-time, even if much of their potential audience has never heard of the Dogs D'Amour.
"Peanut Butter Blues" is now available on iTunes and Spotify. They deserve your buck, it will help them stay on the road. They are very sincere at what they do and that alone makes them seem rare and important in this lazy, joyless age of half-assed bullshit, cheap imported lies, and techno-infused, manufactured garbage-pop.
Whether you like Johnny Thunders, Gram Parsons, the Angels, or the Clash, this is a totally respectable and worthwhile rock’n’ roll band you'll enjoy listening to and their songwriting seems like it's just gonna keep getting better and better. They are doing everything right and I hope they last a long time. I wish they'd give me some tips.
Dr. Boogie will be appearing live Saturday, Feb. 18th at Alex's Bar in Long Beach, CA opening for Cheetah Chrome.