Consider yourself lucky if you still have access to Vive Le Rock magazine from Merry Olde. They still write about real rock ‘n’ roll! That mag might write about the Cult, the Damned, Psychedelic Furs, or the Jesus & Mary Chain. They still put The Clash right there on the cover! Ya know?
I’m still livin’ in the’80s. I was mostly into like, Prince, Duran Duran, David Bowie, and Adam Ant, but I hung around with like the stoner heavy metal dudes who liked Ozzy and Dio and shit. Think “Beavis N Butthead”. That shit was real.
I miss newsstands and comic book and record stores, print media. I still don’t carry an iPhone. Where I live. Amazon killed all the book stores and the free press is dead in my country. Daniel Hale, Craig Murray, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, Col. Ann Wright, Ray McGovern...all the real whistleblowers are slandered, hounded, tortured or kidnapped. Seymour Hersh is blacklisted. Max Blumenthal gets harassed. Amy Goodman sadly works for billionaires now and helps sell pro war narratives. Abby Martin, Ben Norton, Jeremy Scahill, John Pilger, and Glenn Greenwald get ignored. Color me depressed.
Eddie Spaghetti (left) of The Supersuckers thinks it's all a bit loud but Frank Meyer begs to differ. Ed Culver photo.
Los Angeles musician, author and filmmaker Frank Meyer is a surprisingly talented singer songwriter and a highly skilled, captivating raconteur. He seems like a genuinely all around good guy, so I'm a little embarrassed I did not get that hip to his extensive discography much sooner.
I first became aware of both Frank Meyer and fellow feature article subject John 5 way back in the hazy distant past-maybe like, 23 years ago, in the pages of a glossy punk ‘n’ roll bible, “Pop Smear”, with both my boyhood idols, Evil Knievel and David Lee Roth on the cover. I was workin' at a news stand in the Midwest where long lines of unhappy barflies flooded in front of my cash register all day, incessantly wanting to buy the scratch off lotto tickets. "I'll take ten Lucky Pots Of Gold and five Leprechaun's Rainbows".
Frank seemed to have won the rock ‘n’ roll lotto when he got to hang out with John 5 and David Lee Roth, live, and in-person, on multiple occasions, and then, went on to write books and form his own bands that criss-crossed the country. He was playing bills with all the other bands I liked at the time and releasing a long and prolific stream of records I never really heard.
Regular Barflies need no introduction to The On and Ons. They are Sydney’s finest power-pop exponents. Their catalogue of two prior albums and a mini-album since 2015 is as much a testament to the songwriting abilities of ex-Kings of the Sun and Screaming Tribesmen guitarist Glenn Morris as the grooves and harmonies provided by bandmates Brian Morris (drums) and Clyde Bramley.
You can judge the quality of a pop album by its earwig-ability and album opener “Vanishing Act” sticks in the brain like a dose of dopamine. Wrapped in a simple, uncluttered ‘60s sound with carefully arranged three-part harmonies, it’s punctuated by finger-clicks and Morris’s parrying guitar.
Sensible Shoes b/w Laughter Lines - Manja and the Maytrons (Robotten Records)
It’s a trio from the UK that plays post-punk-meets-garage-rock on a super-chunky slice of 45rpm splattewred vinyl. “Laughter Lines” is uncompromising with just a glimmer of light in the vocals. Drummer and co-singer Manja and bassist Mark S lock into a hard groove for Neil G to weave a thick layer of distorted guitar over the top. Part sung in German with the balance in English. “Disconcerting” and “different” are good words. So is “unconventional” which is probably the point. “Sensible Shoes” is an odd beast, too, with the bottom-end missing in action and to-and-fro vocal parts. The voices are placed well back in the soundscape in true post-punk style, and it all skids to a sudden stop. Wire springs to mind.
Pain! b/w Wheels on Fire - Smitty & B Goode (Evil Tone)
Been a long time since they rock and rolled in person. Sydney trio Smitty & B Goode isn’t the most prolific act in terms of releases, but they’ve put enforced time off to good use with this power-packed 45. “Pain!” inflicts more pleasure than its title suggests, flipping mild self-loathing on its head. Anger is an energy and Smitty’s assertive vocal and downstroke guitar is set against a fierce sonic brew, “turning gasoiine into a symphony of sound.” Tight as a fish’s, as they say. Flip it over for more of the same garage grit goodness. Carly’s sunny bass-tone suits the up-tempo mood. Succinct and catchy, it’s a short tun of 200 copies so grab yours here while you still can.
About 12 months ago, we made a bold resolution. “When things open up again, we’re going out as much as we can, just so we’ve enjoyed life before everything shuts down again.” (The immediate reaction amongst friends to our reference to the likelihood of further lockdowns was nervous incredulity.)
When venues opened up in late 2020, so we stayed true to our declaration, indulging as much live music as domestic logistics and financial realities would permit, preferably younger bands.
I’d seen Foggy Notion a few times before the world shut down, initially at the behest of James McCann back in early January 2018.
Motherfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll – Frank & Spaghetti (Kitten Robot Records)
Hello Barflies! The Farmhouse has been rocking these past few weeks because the principal members of two of my favourite American bands, The Streetwalkn’ Cheetahs’ Frank Meyer and the fabulous Supersuckers’ Eddie Spaghetti, have joined forces as Frank & Spaghetti to release a long player, “Motherfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll”.
“Motherrfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” is just that and follows a couple of digital singles by the duo (and friends), the epic “Shit’s Fucked” and a cover of Tom Petty’s “Jammin Me”.
Promo shot of The Atlantics 2012. Ashfield Leagues Club, before the last show played by the full lineup. Jim Skiathitis (guitar), Martin Cilia (guitar), Peter Hood (drums) and Bosco Bosanac (bass). Mandy Hall photo
The passing of The Atlantics drummer Peter Hood in September closed the door on one of Australia’s most important surf bands. The Atlantics formed in Sydney in 1961, the group spawned the worldwide hit “Bombora” in 1963.
The follow-up “War of the Worlds” was an innovative 45 that arguably pioneered space rock before there was such a thing. It was unsuccessful and the band re-invented itself after the surf music genre declined in popularity.
Taking on singer Johnny Rebb, they pursued success playing tough R&B (among other styles) and their Peter Hood-penned “C’mon” is widely regarded as an Australian ‘classic, later adopted by the Wet Taxis.
I-94 Bar regulars will know that Sonny Vincent is held in high regard around these parts. He is the Fucking Real Deal for whom Rock and Roll is a calling, not a paerttime job. If you’re not a fan of proselytizing on behalf of Real Rock and Roll, you can stop reading now, because even more than the usual level of evangelistic hard-sell follows.
Just the facts: “Snake Pit Therapy” is Album Number 30-something from the indefatigable punk rock veteran and it’s as good a collection of songs as he’s delivered to date, as well as his best-sounding record.
Not to be confused with Sonny's recent book of the same name, “Snake Pit Therapy” blends familiar melodies with powerful downstroke playing and buckets of passion. It’s delivered with a measured wisdom that only a life lived travelling many miles of bad road can bring.