Cultural desert spawned The Victims' punk brilliance

victims ray dave jamesThe Victims are now Ray Ahn, Dave Faulkner and James Baker. 

Given the current restrictions on social gatherings, there is a certain irony in the story of The Victims’ first gig in Perth in early 1977. Perth, by some calculations, the most isolated capital city in the world, didn’t have a big punk rock scene. After all, this was the era of bland commercial radio, flaccid cover bands and conservative social attitudes.

When drummer James Baker, guitarist Dave Faulkner and bass player Dave Cardwell set up at the sharehouse in one of Perth’s light industrial inner suburbs to play in front of 50 enthusiastic garage and punk rock fans, they’d pretty well captured the entire Perth punk market. But get that many people in a house right now, even to listen to a Ramones record, and you’d be breaking the law. Back then, all the audience cared about was that there were other people who felt the same way about music.

“Music for us was rebellion against the conformity of the city, being so isolated. Because everything we loved was so far away,” Faulkner says.

It's Ron Asheton calling from the Fun House

time tunnel logoWe're hopping back into the Time Tunnel...this time to dig up a late-'90s interview with late Stooges guitarist RON ASHETON by KEN SHIMAMOTO.

It was November 1998. Ron was at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was talking up the prospects of a release and possible tour by supergroup Wylde Ratzz, off the back of the movie "Velvet Goldmine" for which they'd supplied some of the soundtrack. It failed to materialise and the J Mascis collaboration that helped ignite the Stooges reunion was also in the future. 

The interview is one of the most revealing Ron Asheton pieces up until then, laying to rest some misconceptions about his attitude towards fellow Stooge James Williamson, and showing him to be a musician who fervently wanted to not only express his own music as much as reclaim some of his old band's legend. 

The late Robert Matheu's lens eye view of high-energy history

Stooges Grande AsthmaAttack 1969 MatheuA Stooges Asthma Attack at th Grande Ballroom in1968. Robert Matheu photo. 

time tunnel logoThe year 2006 was something of a watershed for fans of high-energy rock and roll of the Detroit variety. The reformed Stooges were in full flight and an historic six-CD, eponymous Sonic's Rendezous Band box set came out on UK label Easy Action.

The box set's executive producer of the box was ROBERT MATHEU, a Detroit-raised and former Creem magazine staff photographer. Sadly, Robert passed away in 2018, but a dozen years before, he told the back-story of the box set to the I-94 Bar - and of course regaled us with stories about the MC5 and the Stooges. 

We're revisiting many of the stories originally published on the I-94 Bar that were archived when we moved virtual location a few years ago. This is one of the trips back in The Time Tunnel. 

US label gives Lobby Loyde's enduring legend fresh legs

lobby with a cigIt's 13 years since he passed from cancer but the reputation of Lobby Loyde is not diminishing. We live in crazy times but one of the sane things occurring right now is that the trailblazing Australian guitarist, bandleader and producer is finally getting his dues outside his homeland. 

As leader of the Coloured Balls, Loyde set a benchmark in Australia for innovative hard rock. The "Ball Power" and "Heavy Metal Kid" albums, both released in 1974, are all-time classics.  As a player in The Aztecs, Rose Tattoo and solo, the earlier Wild Cherries and Purple Hearts,

Loyde blew up more amplifiers and sent more people deaf than anyone who followed. As a producer in the 1980's, he was a force behind albums for the Sunnyboys, Painters and Dockers, Machinations and X.

Re-issues of his Coloured Balls albums and Lobby's solo work on the Aztec label re-lit the spotlight in Australia in the '90s. Just Add Water Records is deep into a program of vinyl re-issues, out of Berkeley, California.

They've done a killer job on three singles and an LP re-issue of "The First Supper Last Or Scenes We Didn't Get To See". 

We decided to track down label owner JASON DUNCAN and ask him about Just Add Water's mission to re-visit the music of Lobby Loyde, and a select bunch of other similarly-minded rock and roll outsiders.

Breaking Bread over a Calimocho or three

breadmakers wide bwThe Breadmakers.

It took an express airmail consignment of his favourite tipple Calimocho - that'd be cheap red wine and cola, for the uninitiated - before we at The I-94 Bar persuaded RAFA SUNEN to take on this assignment. The mission for the singer from Los Chicos, Spain's premier party punk-country-garage-soul band, was to pin down members of Melbourne's R&B garage veterans The Breadmakers and interrogate them about their new album, "The Breadmakers".

Los Chicos have toured Australia many times and anyone who's seen them will know that keeping Rafa still long enough for him to fire off a few questions was half the challenge. Digging up members of the shady crew called The Breadmakers - in a fit state to undergo questioning - was the other.

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.

Oz powerpop pioneer's return carries a hard edge

john dowler and bandJohn Dowler (second from he left) and his Vanity Project.

John Dowler concedes that the name of his solo project, John Dowler’s Vanity Project, is tainted with irony. But, Dowler adds, “a friend of mine did tell me that all bands are vanity projects in one way or another – certainly all of mine are. So I just owning up to it”.

On the basis of his longevity in the rock’n’roll caper, Dowler has cause for at least a modicum of be vanity. Add into the equation the fact Dowler was four bars ahead of the rock’n’roll curve when his contemporaries were still mimicking Beatles chords, and the guy should really have his name in lights somewhere.

A Tornado in the eye of a Stooges storm

biarritz

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.

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’.”

I-94 Bar