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Monday, November 15, 2021

The Monsters - you're class, i'm Trash


The Swiss legends and kings of hi-speed-boogie-fuzz-garage-trash-rock-n-roll are back with a collection of 12 new tracks. Here's what Beatman had to say about it. 


1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about The Monsters to introduce yourselves? How long are you  together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays? 

We are a rock’n’roll band from Bern, Switzerland. Our mission is to blow your brain out as much as we can ,we wanna turn you upside down, eat you and spit you out for another turn. We got together in the mid 80’s, we played tours all around the world.. you name the country we played there.. Asia, Europe, North and South America etc, we are best friends, we are a Man club that drinks together and plays music,, this is not for a time this is forever, we are Beat man (that's me) singer and Jan play drums, Janosh the bass and Pumi behind the knobs

2) About the latest full length release, "you're class, i'm Trash", what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

We wanted to go on Tour in 2020, but thanks to that virus that stopped us doing it.. we wend to our practice space and wrote songs together that i recorded on my cell phone, but the album has nothing to do with that virus or with you people think about it.. we don’t care what they think, we found our answer and its Rock’n'Roll.. only Rock’n’Roll can save us and that's why we do it

When we wrote the whole album in about 1 or 2 weeks we wend to another practice room where our friends build a small studio in it (shirts off studio) and we recorded all Live in one or 2 takes.. we did some vocal overdubs and that's it.. we sung the whole album in English and in our Native Language ‚Schwitzerdütsch‘ that nobody except about 3 million people understands

3) Do you guys use the nowadays recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

It's a mix: we record digital and mix analog with a 16 track studio machine, with the analog stuff you have a much fatter and better sound what we think.. it perfect for our music.. i do some digital recordings as well but you can't crank it up so extreme as the analog stuff, but all in all it's the guy that records the stuff and we found in Sebi, our studio guy, the perfect man.. he’s a total chaos pro


4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

Yes it's me.. i bring all the songs.. i make like memos on my cell phone with the acoustic guitar then i bring it over to the practice room and the other guys shredding the shit out of it.. for example.. the song ‚i love you‘ was kinda mellow sweet song. and it turned into a Hardcore Monster.. i love that about my band, they fuck it all up to a good end.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write the lyrics to a new song?

It's live, the live i'm living in, people around me and my experience in live as well mostly.. or i go to shows theaters or exhibitions performances etc and they inspire me as well.. if they are not boring as fuck as the most stuff that is around these days … but if it inspires me i have to run home and take my guitar then i start to write.. its like a flow.. like you turn on the weather or so

6) How would you describe the music The Monsters are playing? 

Rock’n’Roll

7) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the LP?? 

Yes we actually wanted to make a video to all the songs.. but i think at the end it did not work.. at the moment we have 2 clips online 

Dead :

 

 Dead Mortem Batkovitc : see below

Both clips are made by Pelle Bertilsson & Andi Hofmann (https://andihofmann.ch/) filmed in a abandoned house… and i think its fantastic.. we do more videos right now.. one is about the song ‚smell my tongue‘ and its made by the Bernese creative studio Efentwell  (https://efentwell.ch/) and its filmed in another practice space in Bern hahahah .. did you know that Bern has the most bands in Switzerland? anyway its a fact.. we work on another clip ‚devil baby‘ it will be filmed by Oscar bizarre , who just finished filmed john wicks 4 .. then he works on our clip .. 

8) What can concert goers expect at a concert of The Monsters? Are you playing any famous cover songs during the gig? 

No we don’t, we are terrible on our instruments.. we tried to play some cover versions.. but they sucked so we stick to our own music.. it fits us better, we are not a cover band, we create music live on stage , it's like a nuclear reactor, its 10000% energy free style power energy, and it's so loud.. most people walk out of the concert immediately.. the rest that stay in have a orgasm for 1 hour.

9) Are there any bands in Switzerland today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

oh yes there are: Roy and the DEvil’s Motorcycle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHt8TxFzBIc) they are from the same town they are plane amazing or Honshu Wolves they from my town as well.. its more like psych desert space blues https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chr8oHgEelE but my fave band is Film 2 at the moment in Switzerland https://film2.bandcamp.com/ or Bad Mojos https://youtu.be/bXvLEyWTrSE they blow me away each time i see them live.

10) What are the plans for 2022 as far as The Monsters are concerned? Are you gonna tour Europe to promote the record?

Yes we try to plan a tour but its almost not possible with that shit situation so we play what comes in …  until then we work on video clips.. where we lose all our money we made on the tours years back

11) Anything you wanna add?

yes.. start a rock’n’roll band.. trash it up and play as much live as you can.. maybe it's the last time.. and play as loud as you can

PURCHASE IT HEREvoodoorhythm.myshopify.com/collections/news/products/news-the-monsters-youre-class-im-trash-vrcd119-vr12119

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Brothers Steve - Dose


Last month, Big Stir Records released "DOSE", the sophomore album from THE BROTHERS STEVE. This new release is not only featuring the very addictive new single  “Next Aquarius”, but is also offering up 10 new songs which take the band's invigorating punk-pop sound in exciting new directions, folding in elements of psychedelia and glam rock.

This new material was written and recorded by singer-guitarists OS TYLER and JEFF WHALEN and is fueled by the chemistry of the live band: drummer COULTER (aka author S.W. Lauden) and bassist JEFF SOLOMON (Whalen's longtime band mates from the beloved LA pop-rock combo TSAR) and guitarist DYLAN CHAMPION

Tracked and mixed at a secret LA recording studio, DOSE simultaneously captures the band's irresistible live energy while pushing their gleeful aesthetic into fascinating new territory.

So it was time for this blog to talk to OS TYLER about this new release. Here it goes!

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know The Brothers Steve, Can you introduce all the members of The Brothers Steve? Are these all the same guys who played on the debut album?


Hey Eric, the Brothers Steve is a Los Angeles based rock quintet. There’s Solomon (Jeff S.) on bass and Coulter on drums, those two make a solid rhythm section that really gets people moving. Not everyone knows that Solomon once rescued a baby rhinoceros, carrying it on his back across a rushing river in a torrential rainstorm. Coulter has been one of my favorite drummers for a long time, so it’s a real delight to get to play with him, but he’s an unstoppable force in Monopoly, so look out if he ever asks you if you want to play. Dylan, Jeff W and Os (that’s me) we three love to sing harmonies together and share lead vocals, or trade them back and forth. If you listen closely, you can tell when things are really working harmonically: you’ll see a sunset orange and blue color pattern, and perhaps a badger, dressed in a top hat and vest, dancing down a country lane. On our new record, Dose, it’s all the same members from our first record, #1.

2) About the "Dose"  full length album, what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?

Our first record, #1, we had played all the songs live many times and we went in and recorded almost everything in a couple days. On this record, we got going right about the time the Pandemonium hit. So we never played the songs all together as a band. Due to the Global Phenomenon, we couldn’t all be in the studio together. So, the whole process was much more of a track-by-track scenario. But we’ve sung and played together so much, sometimes it really felt like we were all there at the same time, rocking and rolling, grooving and blending.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

On the recording end, we're all digital. But we still try to inject some analog elements with a couple vintage tube amps and vintage microphones. And we’re still singing in analog! … But whether it’s analog or digital, I think the most important part to recording is capturing the feelings of the players. It’s like riding a horse over rolling green hills. If you're doing it right, anyone watching the horse ride feels a little exhilarated!

4) One can hear a much larger range of influences than on the first record going from psychedelia to glam rock. How would you describe the music The Brothers Steve are playing today?

Listen, everybody in the band is a total genius compared to me. And I don’t know if that’s a complement or not. But I know that Jeff and Jeff and Coulter and Dylan are all cultural vibraphones. They resonate with the sounds of the times. And they are deeply versed in music throughout the years and across the genres. So it’s wonderful to play with these talented, musically conscious players who act as a guiding light. 

Me, I like to just let the parts happen as they may, let them all intertwine in whatever way, and if that makes the music Juicy Flumbulicious Poppadelia Delight, then that’s just fine. But yeah, I dunno, the music we’re making today should be a little bit of everything you love from every reference point in your consciousness, let’s call it: Pop Amalgamation or AmalgaPop. 

Jeff W. And I wrote all the songs on Dose together, and it’s really fantastic writing with Jeff, because he always has a number of underlying ideas or themes that he’s presenting and playing off one-another in subtle ways. Jeff has a plan and a vision and when we work together that provides a perfect focal point around which all the swirling ideas can flow and coalesce.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you guys write the lyrics to a new song?

It’s a funny truth that often Jeff and I think that a song we’ve both written is about different things. If you ask us each what Wizard of Love is about, we’d give you completely different answers. Same is true for Griffith Observatory and maybe for Mrs. Rosenbaum, too. So, there are times we’re writing a song and we each actually think it’s about a different concept, and we just keeping writing, each of us in his own direction, and let the two ideas interplay in whatever way they do. 

Anyway, I don’t know if Jeff thinks of this at all while we’re writing, but for me one of the big underlying topics is that all the stories are being told from the viewpoint of an emotive android with just a hint of precognition and a suspicion that it's telling stories sent back from the future. 

6) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the LP?? 

Yeah! Check out our super-calliope-psychedelic video to Next Aquarius. Some truly amazing image transformation … You can see it here:

   

We also have a new official video for Electro-Love coming out soon! 

7) What can concert goers expect at a The Brothers Steve gig? Are you playin' any famous cover songs during the concert?

Expect the unexpected! We hope our gigs are high energy and joyful. And that you leave hoping you can see more soon. … We typically don’t do famous covers at our shows, unless you want to count television commercial songs from long long ago … but you never know what might happen next.


8) Are there any bands in The USA today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

Hard to say. I don’t think there are a lot of bands out there with 3 vocalists trading leads and singing harmonies these days. Bit of a stretch and a turn around the corner, but maybe the Avett Brothers? Do we have something in common with Haim? Is there anything about what we’re doing that Harry Styles would find familiar? 


9) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as teenagers? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today in The Brothers Steve.

I personally lived in a small town in Kentucky when I was a teenager. Most of the music I heard was whatever was on the one Top 40 radio station in town. But I was and still am a big fan of E.L.O. and a lot of what those guys did remains an influence today. Our drummer, Coulter, tends to mention Nilsson when it comes to influences on our writing, or my writing in particular. I’m happy to list Harry Nilsson as an ongoing influence. One more … let’s see, I’ll say the Cars, especially the very early stuff.

10) What are the plans for 2022 as far as The Brothers Steve are concerned?

We’re getting ready to dive into a new song-writing cycle. And from there, move along the creative cycle and record some new tunes. I’m anticipating a new record sometime in 2022. I hope you’ll anticipate that too! 

11) Anything you wanna add?

Hm. Just a little reminder to glow and resonate and to be a divining rod, seeking out and pulling in and sharing back all the love and joy and inspiration that’s swirling around us. Would you do me a favor and remind me that next time you see me? 

Oh, and if you get a chance, give a listen to our new record, Dose. You can listen here on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7vjGNi3ls5JScXw8aAywMG

Or here on iTunes: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/the-brothers-steve/1482189752

Or direct from our amazing label, Big Stir Records: https://bigstirrecords.com/the-brothers-steve

Monday, October 11, 2021

The On and Ons - Back For More


Sydney’s finest power-pop trio, The On and Ons, is back with a new 12-track album released on Citadel Records. 

"Back For More"  follows on from the band’s well received previous releases - “Calling” (2015), “Welcome Aboard” (2017), and the mini-album “Menacing Smile” (2020)

All but one of the songs on this new record are written by Glenn Morris (lead vocals/guitar) and the band is rounded out with his brother Brian Morris on drums/vocals, and Clyde Bramley (bass/vocals). 

These guys have had plenty of past experience with bands like Kings of the Sun, Paul Collins Beat, and Hoodoo Gurus.

Right from the punchy "Vanishing Act", all the way through to "Better Every Day" the On and Ons blend perfectly 60's melodies reminiscent of the Beatles or the Kinks and the energy of bands from the 70's like Big Star or BadFinger.

Glenn Morris song craft is improving with every new release, and he delivers here fantastic songs that will very soon become power-pop classics in the great tradition of all the Aussie bands that we love so much. 

But whatever the various influences you might hear, the trio comes up with a sound of their own. Unique, timeless and fresh, with superb vocal harmonies and lots of powerful guitars. This new album comes out like a real masterpiece.

Back for More is definitely their best offering so far and it is filled to the rafters with catchy and powerful tunes that will keep you humming till the sun goes down. A must buy!

Available to buy from:

Citadel Mail Order: https://www.citadelmailorder.com/jsp/cmos/discs/on_and_ons_back_for_more.html

Direct from the band: http://theonandons.bandcamp.com 

Here is a video of the opening track, VANISHING ACT.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

THE MIGHTY GORDINIS – Sounds From A Distant Galaxy LP on TOPSY TURVY



The MIGHTY GORDINIS started out in the summer of 1998; their first two albums („Kiss my Wheels“ and „For Bosomaniacs Only“) were a mix of punky hot rods songs and surf instrumentals, while the third one „Fueled on Fuzz“ was fully instrumental and the last one, in 2007, „The Future looks like yesterday“ was a full vocal one.

After that, the four members went their own ways for a while before the 2021 MIGHTY GORDINIS-reboot with their new full instrumental album. 

The band is now reduced to two members: Nico Leonard (The MOON INVADERS, The CAROLOREGIANS, ADOLPHE SEX ET SES MACHINES) on drums and Hammond and Eric St John (Les VICE BARONS, THE RATBOYS, THEE MARTIAN BOYFRIENDS, THE EVIL FUZZHEADS) on Fender Jaguar and bass.

The title of the album „Sounds From A Distant Galaxy“ reflects their new musical expansion of influences, exploring some grounds they never dared to go to before: they incorporated some kraut rock elements („Five Miles South of Mumbai“), some dub sounds („Grabuge A Khartoum“), some spy movie soundtracks („There Is No Such Thing As A Former KGB Man“) and even some cool groovy influences à la Acid Jazz, be it Corduroy or Mother Earth („Gun Powder On Your Collar“) – anything to keep them away from the traditional surf sound. 


That being said, they did include a couple of classic surf tracks like „Jaguar Hunters And Headshrinkers“ or the cover of „Shockwave“ (original by ZORBA & THE GREEKS). 

So this album, limited to 300 copies of colored vinyl only, displays a very large palette of sounds made for the never ending listening pleasure of the broad minded groovy people.

Purchase a physical copy herehttps://soundflatrecords.de/releases-brand-new/

Purchase a digital copy here : https://themightygordinis.bandcamp.com/





Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Fantastic Fellinis - Introducing The Fantastic Fellinis


German Label Soundflat records recently released the debut album of THE FANTASTIC FELLINIS, a californian duo featuring Kenneth Wessel and  Vitta Quinn.

Evoking the reverberating vocals of a Motown hit, funky grooves of a '70's exploitation cinema soundtrack, and tight fuzz guitars of a garage punk freakout, THE FANTASTIC FELLINIS are an ultrasonic mod/soul pop explosion! Originating from the star-emblazoned, sleaze-worn sidewalks of Hollywood, California, the FELLINIS' sound storms in with a blend of vintage vibes and modern pop sensibilities.

Their rendition of BOB DYLAN's 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue' is absolutely brilliant and worth alone the price of admission. 


1) What would you tell to the viewers of this blog about The Fantastic Fellinis to introduce the both of you, the history of the band (how did it all start?) and also your body of work (what have you both done prior to The Fantastic Fellinis)? 

Kenneth: My previous projects include The Beat Killers, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Electric Mind Machine, and Dr. Savage and the Shrunken Heads, among others. A couple years ago I was hired to compose the music score for a Spaghetti Western film “Incident at Guilt Ridge”, where I did my best to invoke the spirit of Ennio Morricone. There was a montage sequence that needed a song, so I wrote “Whistling Steel,” a sort of Marty Robbins meets the Pogues folk/rock number. I recruited Vitta to sing the female call and response vocals and the results were pretty magical. We worked so well together we decided to follow up with a recording project. Along came the Fantastic Fellinis.

Vitta: I’m an actress/songstress by trade. A few years ago I produced and self-published an EP, Vitta in Vaudeville, an avant-guard, experimental offering. Kenny and I had known each other a few years before any talk of collaborating musically. The Fantastic Fellinis spun from “Incident”’s theme song.

2)  About the debut full length album, "Introducing The Fantastic Fellinis",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" recording in the studio  or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

K: This was a track by track process. The rhythm tracks laid the foundation. I wanted to make sure the beat was in the pocket. Many of my previous projects had more a frenetic ahead-of-the-beat energy, but I wanted this to be a more solid, almost behind-the-beat groove which was dance able and would have a certain cool vibe to it. Everything else was layered on in separate tracks. I think this helped us to experiment a little more and shape the direction of the music rather than getting locked in by live tracks. After that came organs, guitars, and vocals. We allowed ourselves some overdub tracks to fill out and polish the sound, but didn’t get too crazy.

3)As far as the recordings of this debut album are concerned, did you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

V: Ironically, for lovers of all things vintage and analog, this album was recorded using the nowadays digital tech.

4) What is your favorite topic/theme that comes easily when you write the lyrics to a new song?

K: I’m not sure I have a favorite topic but more a favorite approach to writing lyrics. I think many songwriters fall into the trap of telling you their own personal feelings or emotional state. I find it unrelatable and and self-indulgent. You can’t “tell” people what to feel. You need to “show” people how to feel through visual language, cues, symbols, metaphors, etc. If you can create a visual image in someone’s head, it is much more powerful than spitting out some abstract emotions. When I was young, a local songwriter I looked up to told me “a song should be like a 3-minute movie.” That really stuck with me.

V: …and I’m the self-indulgent lyricist over here. Ha! My favorite topics are New York, the plight of booze, panic attacks, and Catholicism.

5) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers and does it still influence your today work?
What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

V: The Pixies, the Smiths, Abba, The Cars, Liz Phair, Hole, the Ronettes, The Who, Sex Pistols, Pogues, Nancy Sinatra, Julie London, Billie Holiday, and Brigitte Bardot. When I was a very little lass, whatever came in the family Columbia House 8-track order. Cher, Glen Campbell, Don McLean, Blue Swede.

K: In high school I initially gravitated towards punk. The scene in Los Angeles was pretty off-the-rails. I loved the energy and fierceness of it all. I got a job at the local Rhino Records store that had a label that was putting out forgotten archives of ‘60s psych and garage bands. When I heard things like Love’s “7 and 7 is”, The Zombies “She’s Not There”, Stones’ “She Comes in Colors”, or the Chocolate Watchband, it really changed the direction of my music moving forward. I loved the depth, style, and imagery of the songwriting. That’s what really stood out to me at the time, and still feel their influence.

6) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track of the debut album?

V: Yes. We have two official videos up: One for “Nightmare”, and one we just released for “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”. We shot “Nightmare” during lock down, partly as a submission to Roger Corman’s Quarantine Film Festival. I love this video’s fantastical look. I wanted a Metropolis dystopian silent feature feel-meets-a Seventies super-8 disco’d home movie mood. 

K: Vitta directed the “Nightmare” video, and I directed our cover of Bob Dylan’s “Baby Blue”. I felt Vitta’s vocal performance on this track warranted a video. She really killed it. With the Mellotron sound I felt it evoked the Beatles a bit, so I wanted to capture dreamy Peter Max style scenery juxtaposed with the trippy psychedelic graphics projected on the band. 

 

7) Are there any artists in The USA today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

K: I can’t think of any current bands that we sound like, but I think there are bands that are doing it right, that inspire me…even if they may be a quite different sound from us. One is the Schitzofonics from San Diego. They put on the most electrifying live show out there. 

8) Do you plan, some time in the future, to perform the songs of the album live with a full band?

V: Definitely. Now that venues have started opening back up, we’re focusing on developing our live act. We hope to be hitting the stage very soon!

9) How do you split the work? Is one of you composing the music and the other writing the lyrics or is every song the result of a "4 hands" work?

K: For this initial set of songs I developed most of the music, and we split the lyrics between us. I had a clear vision for the sound and was able to nail down the style quickly. For our next record I see Vitta taking a larger part of the music writing side. Her sense for melody and harmony is powerful.

10) Can the Fantastic Fellinis be described as a ‘60s influenced band or do you consider there is way more than this? If so can you explain?

K: I think a “‘60s influenced band” is an excellent way of phrasing it. I have experienced projects that are very regimented in traditional ‘60s garage and psych. I admire when a band can really capture the sound and style of era. With the Fantastic Fellinis, I wanted to have the influence of the '60s, pay my respects as you would say, but not be afraid of taking liberties and cross over into a new genre all its own. 

V: I'm super-proud of The Fantastic Fellinis' genre-bending sound. It’s everything and not one thing and all at once and not at all. It’s Mod, pop, soul, funk, garage, and…all and none of the above. It’s a secret sonic circus.


11) What are the plans for the rest of 2021 as far as The Fantastic Fellinis are concerned? 

V: Rehearsing for live shows!

12) The album is released on vinyl by the German Label Soundflat. Do you think that the kind of music you are playing is better perceived in Europe than in the USA? Is there also a CD version released somewhere else in the world (USA, Japan?)

K: Very perceptive question. From the onset we had it in our minds to target a European audience. We shopped the LP mostly to European labels, as we feel European garage/mod/soul fans are keeping the scene alive. There is a lot of great garage music coming from America, but everything is spread out and fractured.  Many cool underground bands get lost in this noise. I think Europe is much more connected and allows more access to the music. 

There are no CDs for this release. Vinyl LPs are available in Europe, Japan and the U.S. (as an import), and digital platforms everywhere.

13) Anything you wanna add?

V: Buy our ultrasonic album, Introducing the Fantastic Fellinis! ♦️🏁🎪

Linktr.ee/thefantasticfellinis

In Europe you can purchase a physical copy HEREhttps://www.soundflat.de/search/?search=Fantastic%20fellinis

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sorrows - Love Too Late... The Real Album (2021) Big Stir Records


In the late '70s and early '80s, New York quartet SORROWS was a band on the rise with a thrilling stage presence and a unique sound: three lead singers, a twin-guitar attack, and immediately unforgettable, hook-propelled tunes. By '81 and the release of their debut album TEENAGE HEARTBREAK,  they were along with The Romantics and The Plimsouls at the top of the then called "Power-pop" scene.

The expectations for the sophomore album, Love Too Late, were very high but the end result was disappointing for fans and for the band itself. In fact, it's barely Sorrows on the original album at all, with the players and singers replaced in the studio by a bunch of hired guns, with only the songs surviving intact. 

After four decades and some legal battles, original SORROWS members ARTHUR ALEXANDER (vocals, guitar), JOEY COLA (vocals, guitar) and RICKY STREET (vocals, bass), joined by drummer LUIS HERRERA re-recorded LOVE TOO LATE... the real album. It is, as Arthur says in the sleeve notes, “real Sorrows, playing real Sorrows music, as only Sorrows can”, and those who were there to hear these songs performed live in the band's heyday will attest that This Real Album now released on BIG STIR RECORDS is the real deal indeed.

1) For the sake of the argument, let's say that a very young viewer stumbles upon this blog for the first time and doesn't know who SORROWS are: what would you tell him about the band to introduce the various members, the history of the band and also your body of work? 


I started Sorrows around 1976, shortly after leaving The Poppees, one of the NYC bands on the then just starting punk/new wave scene in the city.  The Poppees were heavily slanted towards the Merseybeat sound of the early 60s, especially The Beatles, and were one of the early bands who laid the foundation for what was soon to become known as Power Pop.  

Sorrows lineup consisted of Joey Cola on voc/gtr; Ricky Street on voc/bass; me on voc/gtr, and Jett Harris on drums (Jett also played with me in The Poppees.)  Early on we played all the hot spots in New York and often played up and down the east coast in Boston, Philadephia, Washington, DC and other cities, developing a solid following.

In 1979 we signed a record deal with one of the CBS Records associated labels and put out two albums.  The first one - “Teenage Heartbreak” – was very well received by the fans and critics alike, becoming stuff of legends.  Especially, since after its initial release CBS never again re-released any of our records.  The follow-up album, “Love Too Late”, was recorded in London and produced by Shel Talmy.  It was a total cluster fuck and a farce of a record.  Basically, a bunch of studio musicians we were replaced with, accompanying Joey’s vocals. 

We as a band disowned it, fan picked up on the stench and the radio DJs wouldn’t touch it.  The record, as could be expected, was a total flop and disappeared without a trace.  And that was a good thing!  

2)  About the newly re_recorded album, "Love too late",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

While re-releasing “Teenage Heartbreak” was relatively easy, just a matter of improving the mixes and overall sound, “Love Too Late” presented a whole different problem.  Even though we eventually reclaimed the rights to our songs and masters, when it came to this record there was really nothing to ‘re-release’. Talmy’s “production” was total garbage and “the band” was a bunch of studio hacks, not Sorrows. The only (and the right) thing to do was to record the album as it was intended. 


By this time we were spread out between east and west coast so doing it “live” was not an option.  Also, by then Jett Harris had retired from playing altogether.  Luis Herrera stepped in and the first thing on the agenda was to replace the abominable sounding drums with ones that sounded like drums and being played by a real rock and roll drummer (though I would have settled for at least someone with a pulse!).  That done, we replaced all the fucking keyboards and synths the tracks were drowning in, with guitars, since we ARE a guitar band! Next came replacing the studio singers with our own vocals (what a concept!).  Only then came the overdubs as I intended them to be, which I never even got to do any of it after I walked out in the middle of the original sessions.  It took a lot of time and hard work, but it was worth it.  

Love Too Late… the real album” IS the album that Sorrows meant it to be.

3) As far as the recordings of this latest album are concerned, did you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you still keep on working with analog machines in analog studios?

We didn’t have the luxury, or the budget, for going to commercial studios and I have a pretty  cool studio setup of my own.  It was all done in Pro Tools, although I did run many tracks through my 2-track Studer/Revox tape machine while recording.

4) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

Sounds like you mean “lyrics”?  Joey and Ricky are actually quite good when it comes to lyrics.  Me, well, I’m no Bob Dylan, so I typically end up sticking with the tried (trite? ) and true, you know, boy/girl/sex… though occasionally I do surprise myself with something that’s actually half way decent!

5) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers and does it still influence your today work? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

We all share common influences, from the early rockers, like Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Eddie Cochran, to the 60’s Brit bands; Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, etc… 


6) Now that your sophomore album finally received the deserved treatment, do you also consider, at least, a reissue of your debut album. If I'm not mistaking this album has never been released on CD?

Ummm… errr… you are mistaken!  “Teenage Heartbreak” got its due with the release of “Bad Times Good Times”, essentially the “Teenage Heartbreak” album with new mixes, mastering and bonus tracks, released in 2011 by Bomp! Records. The Poppees’ legacy was also preserved by the 2010 release of “Pop Goes The Anthology”,  on Bomp! Records as well.

7) Are there any artists in The USA today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

Frankly, I can’t think of any, one exception being Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders from LA.  A great rock and roll band that deserves way more recognition than they’ve gotten. 

8) Do you think it was easier to be in a rock'n'roll band way back in the 70's/ early 80's than it is now? What has changed?

I don’t know if it was “easier”, but I think it was more fun.  At least for us, since we were fortunate to be a part of a real ‘scene’ that was happening in New York at the time, something that really hasn’t happened since. 

9) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

I’ve been the main writer in the band, but I always encouraged the others to bring in their songs .  Both Joey and Ricky have contributed quite a few great ones to our repertoire.  

10) You guys are now Big Stir Records recording artists. Is this the label that suits SORROWS the best And if so, why?

Yes, we’re part of BSR family of artists and couldn’t be happier!  They are great people, work their asses off for their artists and are truly on a mission to not only promote Power Pop, but to also treat their artists like human beings, not just numbers on the accounting ledger. Quite a refreshing concept!...

11) What are the plans for the rest of 2021 as far as SORROWS are concerned? 

The way things are right now, with Covid raging across the country and half the US population apparently having swallowed the ”stupid pill”, there is really no incentive to do much. Hopefully they all get a clue before they die and things will get back to normal.

12) Anything you wanna add?

I’d love for Sorrows to do some live shows, tour, especially Europe, Japan would be a blast!... but for the time being that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.  May be 2022 will bring some hope.

PURCHASE THE GOODIES HERE:  

https://bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com/album/love-too-late-the-real-album



Friday, August 6, 2021

The Mergers - Three Apples in the Orange Grove


THE MERGERS return with their 3rd album on Soundflat Records and again they deliver a perfect mix of 60's influenced Freak Beat & 90's Power Pop. If the first track of the album, 'Outta My Way' is pretty much what you might expect from the four boys from Nuremberg, it becomes clear pretty soon, that this time around they are trying to create something new and a little bit more psychedelic than on its predecessors. 

But whatever the various influences you might hear, the quartet comes up with a sound of their own. Unique, timeless and fresh, with superb vocal harmonies and lots of reverb and swirling guitars. This new album comes out like a real masterpiece.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about The Mergers to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument nowadays? 

The Mergers started in 2011 as a 60's Beat/Garage band. Over the years our sounds became a little more psychedelic. Jerry and Jay e.g. met for the first time in kindergarten and started their first band together about 20 years ago but we’ve all played together in different bands and formations before and we have known each other for quite a while. The Mergers’ lineup is and has always been: Jerry Coma - Vocals/Guitar;  Jay Le Saux - Vocals/Guitar; Henry Florence Jr - Bass/Vocals; Winston McCloud - Drums

2) About the latest released full length record 'Three Apples in the Orange Grove',  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? Can you also explain the meaning of the title of this album?

For most of the songs we played the basic tracks together. But this time we had the intention to explore a little more where the musical journey might go to or end up. So here and there are some overdubs or sounds that we added afterwards while trying to create something new that hasn’t been on our previous LPs.

Actually there is just one song that was recorded track by track because we had to rearrange it completely so it would fit on the record. 

The title Three Apples In The Orange Grove could mean that ‚it might not always be what it seems‘.


3) Do The Mergers use the nowadays recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

We use lots of vintage equipment and instruments but no more any analogue recording machines. We experimented with it in the beginning - didn’t really work out for us.

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

Jerry is writing most of the stuff while Jay is contributing a lot of songs too, but there are no restrictions of any kind. We are still creating the final versions of all the songs all together in the rehearsing room like we always did.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

Used to be love. Right now it’s more about time or the right way to spend your time before it is all over or about the meaning of life or some strange thoughts on life in general.

6) The Mergers are sometimes described as a 60's influenced band. Do you agree with this opinion? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that? 

We are definitely heavily 60’s influenced. I don’t know if we’re proud of it - it’s just the way it is. Of course there is a lot more in it. But even the 1970-2021 bands that had an impact on us were mostly heavily 60’s influenced too.

7) Do you have a new video on youtube  featuring a track from the latest LP?? 

Actually we have 3:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C695E5McbK8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16xFtU2YKHk&t=1s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-VPxoGhcVg

8) What can concert goers expect at a gig of The Mergers?  Are you playing any famous cover songs during the gig? 

People can expect an energetic life show and a band that can actually play all the stuff that’s on the record. Usually we don’t play any cover tunes during our shows.

9) Are there any bands in Germany today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

Sure, there are some German bands that have the same musical background and are playing music that we like too but at least we don’t know any German band that we would consider really close to us or what we’re doing.

10) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as teenagers? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

We probably all listened to The Beatles as teenagers. Then some of us listened to Oasis, Blur, Kula Shaker, Supergrass, Travis, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Police and lots of other stuff. The 60’s influenced bands like Oasis and Kula Shaker or the real 60’s bands like The Beatles still have a big influence on our music today.

11) What are the plans for the rest of 2021 as far as The Mergers are concerned?

We’ll be playing our first indoor show since the begin of the pandemic in October (Nürnberg Pop Festival). Besides that we’re just trying to plan a little ahead for 2022.

12) Anything you wanna add?

Everybody who reads this - buy the record!

PURCHASE THE GOODIES HERE: 

https://www.soundflat.de/garage-mod-surf-en/garage-mod-surf-lp/mergers-three-apples-in-the-orange-grove-orange-vinyl-lp