The Flamin' Groovies have announced three new US tour dates in July, all in Northern California, as well as a change of line-up.The band's new rhythm section is Chris von Sneidern (“CvS”) on bass guitar and Tony Sales on drums. Longtime bassist George Alexander and Victor Penalosa appear to have stood down.
CvS is a well-known San Francisco musician with several acclaimed albums, and was the subject of the 2009 documentary, "Why Isn’t Chris von Sneidern Famous?". Tony is the son of Tony Sales and nephew of Hunt Sales (who together formed the famous rhythm section in David Bowie’s band, Tin Machine, and recorded and toured with Iggy Pop and Todd Rundgren, among others).
Between The Lines: The Complete Jordan-Wilson Songbook ’71-’81 - The Flamin’ Groovies (Grown Up Wrong! Records)
I’ll Have a…Bucket of Brains! The Original 1972 Rockfield Recordings for UA - The Flamin’ Groovies (Grown Up Wrong! Records)
Keeping track of the Flamin’ Groovies discography used to be harder than Chinese arithmetic. Multiple line-ups on a slew of labels - major, independent or indecent, depending on who you believed - and a dizzying array of re-issues, compilations and live sets made it hard work.
Like everything else, the Interwebs changed that. Resources like Allmusic and Discogs allow you to thread your way - relatively coherently - though the back catalogue to make some sense of it.
“Between The Lines” is a clever concept: It compiles the original songs of the “second” Groovies from their salad pop days and strips out the covers.
Fresh from unleashing a volley of Scientists and Radio Birdman/Stooges offspring material, re-born Australian label Grown Up Wrong has a pair of Flamin’ Groovies releases in the wings to whet the appetite of even casual fans of the band.
Arch-Groovies acolyte and label head David Laing has compiled “I’ll Have a…Bucket of Brains”, which is eight tracks from the tapes made for United Artists in the UK in 1972. Mostly recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales with Dave Edmunds, this release captures the Groovies transitioning from punky R&B artists to flashy Stones types – en route to aspiring to be the new Beatles. It’s the Groovies album that never was, with four of the tracks instead being released on singles.
Expanded packaging and a speed-corrected take of the Groovies’ classic “Shake Some Action”, this collection was previously available as “The Rockfield Sessions” but has been long out-of-print.
The other offering is “Between The Lines: The Complete/Wilson Songbook ’71-81”, which compiles, for the first time, all original songs written by Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson in the classic second version of the band.
That Flamin’ Groovies album we’ve told you about is finally going to be released. “Plastic Fantastic” is out on CD on September 22 on the band’s own Sonic Kicks/Severn Records.
“Fantastic Plastic” was recorded mainly with founding Groovies bassist George Alexander and the band’s latter-day drummer Victor Penalosa (both since departed), with assistance from members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Original member Cyril Jordan and longtime singer and guitarist Chris Wilson will be playing together on an album for the first time in 38 years. It features 10 fresh compositions co-written by Jordan and Wilson, plus covers of the Beau Brummels’ “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad”.
One of the tracks, the stellar "Crazy Macy", was released on Burger Records and our review is here.
San Francisco will be the place to be in February when a stack of friends and former bandmates pay tribute to the late Roy Loney.
The original lead singer for the Flamin’ Groovies passed away in December at the age of 73 after complications from surgery. Loney was with the band for two of its greatest albums, "Flamingo" (1970) and "Teenage Head" (1971) and went on to a long solo career.
One of his bands, The Phantom Movers, will be part of the tribute gig, as well as the current line-up of trhe Flamin ' Groovies, frmted by Cyril Jordan. Jello Biafra, Peter Case and Yo La Tengo members Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley are among other guests.
Gonna Rock Tonight: A Tribute To Roy Loney
The Chapel, San Francisco, USA
Friday, February 21, 2020
Roy Loney’s passing on December 13, 2019 was a very sad day for the music and arts community. He last appeared on stage May 29th, 2019 at the the second warm up show for the Flamin’ Groovies' "Teenage Head" European tour. Always the trooper, Roy continued to perform live despite his declining health. Sadly Roy was forced to pull out of the tour after collapsing at San Francisco Airport.
"Gonna Rock Tonight: A Tribute To Roy Loney" brought together many of the musicians he’d worked with, musical friends and fans for a night to remember Roy.
The Flamin' Groovies in Paris in 1972 with James Ferrell at right.
Long obscured in the Flamin’ Groovies behind Cyril Jordan, Roy Loney, Chris Wilson and even tight-lipped man of mystery, George Alexander, guitarist James Ferrell is a key player in the band’s story. Along with his best pal Danny Mihm, James served in both the Loney-fronted and Wilson-fronted incarnations of the Groovies, and in Loney’s brilliant subsequent band, Roy Loney & The Phantom Movers.
James climbed aboard the Groovies train, replacing Tim Lynch, in Roy’s final days – he plays on the classic 1971 Fillmore recording that’s been released on both Voxx and Norton as well as other labels – and lasted through to 1976. He took part in the early European sojourns, their time with UA in London and the prime days of their relationship with Dave Edmunds and Rockfield Studios. That relationship produced game-changing 45’s, including “Slow Death” and “You Tore Me Down”, as well as the landmark and hugely influential "Shake Some Action" album.
James was there for the band’s legendary shows with the Ramones – on the 1976 Bicentennial bill in London and in LA - before departing the band and ultimately falling back in with Roy and Danny.