I saw earlier today that Taylor Hawkins has died at the age of 50. While I am not the biggest Foo Fighter fan in the world (mostly due to Dave Grohl), I did see the band live a few years ago and they put on a great show. The highlight of the night was watching Taylor smash his drums. The guy had a lot of talent and he will be missed.
10 W/Guns N Roses Live 2018
9 Brian May – Cyborg
8 Sass Jordan European Tour 1994 – At 22 Taylor was working in a music store and was asked if he would go on tour with a female Canadian singer. He agreed to do it and the rest is history.
7 Alanis Morrissette David Letterman Show 1995 – After the Sass Jordan tour was over Alanis asked Taylor to go on the road with her. Canadians know talent when they see it.
A lot of you may ask. Who? Carol Kaye may be the least appreciated musician of all time, and she played during a time when women were not considered real musicians. The sexual discrimination she would have constantly faced must have been unreal. She has played in over 10,000 songs. She started out on guitar , but when she was at a job to play guitar, the bassist didn’t show up, so she grabbed the bass and without any prior experience played the bass on the track as well. Later, as a member of the famed Wrecking Crew of studio musicians, she was constantly hired to play on albums, mostly in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including some of the most famous tv theme songs ever. I could easily do a top 10 just in her theme songs, but I’ll narrow the 10,000 down to 10.
10 Ritchie Valens – La Bamba (guitar)
9 Sonny & Cher – The Beat Goes On (Bass)
8 The Mothers Of Invention – Any Way The Wind Blows (12 string guitar)
7 Motherlode – When I Die (Bass) It’s pretty cool how Carol played on this London, Ontario, Canada band.
6 Mission Impossible Theme (Bass)
5 Buffalo Springfield – Expecting To Fly (Bass)
4 David Axelrod – Urizen (sampled by Jurassic 5 A Day At The Races) (bass)
3 Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking (Bass)
2 Elvis Presley – A Little Less Conversation (Bass)
1996 was a very difficult time for Sammy Hagar. His relationship in Van Halen was strained to say the least. New management was brought in (Alex’s brother-in-law), promises were broken, David Lee Roth was singing a few new songs, and depending on who you believe Sammy was either fired or he quit.
After leaving VH Sammy quickly wanted to show the brothers what they were missing. He recruited former Montrose bandmate Denny Carmassi (drums), Jesse Harms (keys), and Jonathan Pierce (bass) for his band. He also asked a few friends to help out and the list is pretty spectacular. Slash, Matt Sorum, Huey Lewis, Bootsy Collins, Mickey Hart, Damin Johnson are a few of the guest stars on this album. He even enlists his other former Montrose bandmates Ronnie Montrose and Bill Church in a special one-off Montrose reunion song.
Little White Lie – This is the big hit single off the album. It really is a wicked song. The song starts off with some sweet percussion with a Cuban flavour then Huey Lewis blows his mouth organ for all it’s worth. The slide and dobro are sweet by Roy Rogers but the song really kicks it up a notch when Slash joins the party.
Salvation On Sand Hill – Damon Johnson from Brother Cane and Alice Cooper fame is the ace here. He co-wrote the song and his guitar work is wicked. I like the mix of hard and quiet on this one. The quieter parts remind me of a Whitesnake song.
Who Has The Right? – This ballad reminds me of a stronger 80’s ballad. Something along the lines of Sheriff, John Waite, or Damn Yankees. It has a bit of Slash like guitar work even though Slash did not play on this song. He might have been in the studio giving the thumbs up to Sammy though.
Would You Do It For Free – Whoa!!! A funk number in 1997? Who knew this could work? Bootsy Collins, that’s who. His bass work on this one is a throwback to the long lost P Funk groove. This guy is ultra cool. Like on the Snoop Dogg showing up to a house party with a bag of weed and a posse of beautiful women kind of cool. This song is pretty damn cool too.
Leaving The Warmth Of The Womb – This is the Montrose reunion of sorts that fans have been wanting since the mid 70’s. A really wicked song. It’s too bad these guys couldn’t have seen the way to do another album together.
Kama – Kama is Sammy’s daughter born in 1996. The same one that had a share in Sammy exiting Van Halen. Supposedly the VH brothers ordered Sammy to fly to California from Hawaii where he and his wife Kari were ready to deliver a baby. Kari could not fly and risk the pregnancy, and this caused a huge rift between Sammy and the bros. Matt Sorum makes his only appearance on the album here. It’s another ballad and the drumming is great, but I feel he would have shone brighter on a hard rocker. Knowing the back story of singing a song about his infant daughter makes the song that much more special though. “..To see the most perfect thing together, we’ve ever done. So what do we call this miracle we’ve made, and how can I find one word to say it. When all I’m feeling, here and now, is love. So that will always be you. Kama….” As a dad I get a little choked up over a father writing and singing a song to his daughter. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
On The Other Hand – Damon Johnson joins us again playing acoustic and slide. His slide work especially is really sweet.
Both Sides Now – One of the other singles on the album. Another great one here folks. The church choir sounding background vocals and the sweet Cuban style percussion add a great flavour to the song.
The Yogi’s So High (I’m Stoned) – I wonder if Yogi ate the wrong gummy and had to get Boo Boo to bring him down. Sammy’s guitar work is really great here. I again hear some Whitesnake. He must have been listening to Slow an’ Easy before this one. Or maybe his producer Mike Clink brought his Whitesnake past along for the ride. When a rock song mentions Ouspenski and Velokowski you know it’s not just another dumb rock song, and the guitar solo elevates it too.
Amnesty Is Granted – This song was a Van Halen cast off song written by Sammy. He offered it to Meat Loaf and he played guitar/sang backup on this song for Meat Loaf’s 1995 album Welcome To The Neighbourhood. Van Halen’s loss is Sammy and Meat Loaf’s gain I say. I am surprised that the Sammy version here is softer, and I admit I prefer the Meatloaf song a little more.
Marching To Mars – This song is about leaving earth to find life out in space. I know Sammy believes in aliens so this song is right up his wheelhouse. If this Covid keeps up maybe we can all head there.
Ether – The first of 2 Japanese bonus tracks could be a cross between Pink Floyd, Steve Vai and Dream Theater.
Wash Me Down Again – I have no idea why this didn’t make the album proper. It’s a wicked song with some sweet keys. It might be the best non-album track Sammy ever did.
I know I usually think of Montrose, Van Halen, or Chickenfoot when I think of Sammy. As far as his solo stuff, the 70’s to 1985 seems to get the most attention. Then probably the Waborita albums. However, this one is probably the most underlooked which is a real shame. If you see it in the wild, I say grab it. If you like GNR, Van Hagar, Whitesake you’ll like this album. Or even if you just like Cuban percussion, P Funk or 80’s ballads there will be something for you here. Basically something for just about anyone.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s some Irish music for you.
Gloria – The instrumentation on this one is amazing. Bono allows the individual musicians to shine solo during the song and introduces them. The bass playing here especially is some of the best sounding live bass work the band have ever put out, and would give bass players a run for their money.
11 O’Clock Tick Tock – It sounds like me waiting to drive my wife or daughter (or both) to some event we are already late for. More wicked bass playing but the drum work here is pretty stellar as well.
I Will Follow – Energetic live performance here. This early live stuff sounds so good I almost wish I had gone with my buddies to see the band back in the 80’s, but with my long hair and Canadian tuxedo I may not have fit in. One part of the song that does not fit in is Bono asking the crowd “one more?” at the end of the song. This was the 2nd last song on the day they played live in Germany so it made sense when he said it. It doesn’t make sense here since 5 songs follow it.
Party Girl – The back and forth with the crowd yelling “HEY!”(repeat) is pretty cool. The guitar work is great and the bass is amazing.
Sunday Bloody Sunday – “There’s been a lot of talk about this song. Maybe too much talk. This is not a rebel song. This song is Sunday Bloody Sunday”. Bono sounds almost exactly as he does on the original. The Edge’s guitar work is unique on this live one. I always liked the back and forth between Bono and the rest of the band on this one. The first time U2 played this song in Belfast Bono told the crowd “If you don’t like the song, we won’t play it again”. Only 3 people walked out of the hall in protest so the band has played it ever since. Listening to this version, |I’m glad it worked out that way.
The Electric Co. – The song is a protest against electro shock therapy, which had happened to a friend of the band. The guitar and drums shine here. The addition of a snippet of Steven Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns” is pretty cool. This song when played live in the early days usually is preceded with Cry, often being called Cry/The Electric Co. and the song is done this way on the album, but is not listed that way in the credits.
New Years Day – Just like a New Years resolution, I pledge to listen to more (especially early) U2. Also to go into it with an open mind. Not be too concerned with the politics of a multi cajillionaire telling me to give all of my money to charity from his private jet. Again the bass is the star here, but Bono’s voice is amazing. The keyboard playing in this song that may be just a bit off on this entire album.
“40” – I can bet Butthole Surfers used this song as the inspiration for their song Pepper. The song ending with the crowd chanting the song is a great finish to this album.
The album is taken from 3 live performances from 1983. One in Boston, one in Denver and one in West Germany (it seems strange to write that in 2022). The band was obviously able to pick the best songs for the album, but from what I’m hearing they were a pretty great live band, even early one.
In 2009 my buddy worked for Blackberry, the Waterloo, Ontario maker of the once king of the phones. In ’09 the company was still competing with Apple and Android, and they had a sponsorship deal with U2. My buddy phoned me up and asked if my wife and I if we were free. He had a pair of tickets for us to join him at the Skydome (Rogers Centre) to see U2. He got the tickets from work for free (every employee got tickets, and any left over were given to friends and family). All employees were told not to sell the tickets, and some lost their jobs because they tried. U2 put on a great show, and the 60,000 or so in attendance got the rare chance to see a concert with the Skydome roof open. It was a great time had by all. I will admit to not really being a huge U2 fan, but they are a great live band (at least until Bono gets on his high horse, but I digress). This might be the best the band has sounded live though. I suggest to seek it out even if you are not really a fan.
40 years ago Metallica played their first concert on March 14, 1982 at Radio City in Anaheim, California. To celebrate this I will be reviewing a special release 2lp vinyl that I bought at a pop up Met Store in Toronto.
Breadfan – I always loved that Metallica renewed the interest in Budgie. R.I.P. Burke Shelley.
Holier Than Thou – Kirk Hammett is on fire for this entire performance and even Lars pounds the drums so hard that you can’t hear his gum chewing.
Battery – The band can still play the fast ones in their old age.
Harvester Of Sorrow – A heavy droning song that gets the crowd involved.
Guitar Solo – Kirk even brings out the wah pedal for this one, and sounds a bit like Eddie Van Halen (R.I.P.)
Fade To Black – Disc 1 Side B starts off with some wicked acoustic guitar. A very haunting tune. Really great sounding electric guitar on this one (it sounds like it Kirk is playing in my living room). The drums are crisp and tight. James sounds amazing. This is the best live song I’ve heard on a recording in years. Realllly Gooood!!!!
Moth Into Flame – James asked the crowd “What the hell? What took 8 years?” (He is questioning why the band took 8 years between records) This song is played live for the first time, before the release of their new album. Even though the crowd (or anyone else had ever heard the song) the power and crowd energy does not drop off as sometimes happens with new songs played live. That shows the strength of the song as far as I’m concerned. A really good song especially considering all the previous.
Time to change the record out to sides C/D
Sad But True – The guitar work sounds a tiny bit off on the start of this one, but that quickly vanishes. The back and forth between James and the chanting crowd really rule on this one.
Orion – This instrumental pays tribute to Cliff Burton since the show was on the 30th anniversary of his death. Robert does a wicked job here, and not even Lars can stop him from slappin’ dee bass mon. Rob is given centre stage to show off his bass cops on this one. James sounds a bit choked up when he ends the song by saying “30 years. We miss you Cliff” and the crowd chants “Cliff. Cliff. Cliff….”
One – Wow!! This one sounds so awesome. If James’ voice wasn’t deeper with age could almost swear it was 1988 again, except this time the bass is more pronounced. Also, Lars has never sounded better in my opinion, live or recorded material. I know I grind his gears(mostly because of his douchebaggery), but when he focuses on drumming he can be pretty good. Kirk is amazing on this one. The whole band is amazing. Just an awesome song.
Master Of Puppets – A split second into the opening riff and a young woman screams in sonic pleasure (she continues through various parts of the night). The crowd chanting back is so awesome. Another fucking amazing song folks. I order you to listen to this. Obey Your Master. Master.
I’ll be right back, I just have to put sides E/F on the turntable.
For Whom The Bell Tolls – We hear James ask the crowd “Are you ready to get loud?” The same audio was at the tail end of the last record. A tiny audio miscue (there are a few on the entire show, but very minor) that really does not take away from the sound overall. Not the fault of the audio guys at the show, but whoever did the split from one song/record to the next). The crowd again chants back and forth with James on this one. Another good one here folks.
Enter Sandman – We’ve all heard this one 1000 times but it still rules over 30 years later. Kirk again plays wah pedal which is cool, and again Lars’ drums are amazing. I never thought I would say that about Lars, but there it is. I have not cracked my Black Album vinyl boxset yet but the live songs probably won’t be much better than this one. If they are, they must be amazing. This is another amazing song.
Encore Jam – “OHH EE OHH. UU OHH!!!” the crowd was chanting. Then the band started playing along and James has a chat with the crowd, including one who I assume was a young kid there with his dad (I love that). I bet he was whack for his daddy, oh.
Whiskey In The Jar – Speaking of which. More awesome crowd chanting back and forth with James. Also awesome vocals and musicianship from the band. James’ “OH OH OH OH OH’s” sound almost Bruce Dickinson like. Another great one.
Hardwired – This song hadn’t been released yet, but the video was played pretty often on YouTube by the time this concert happened. I remember back in 2016 it seemed like a link to play the video popped up every day in my music news feed. This definitely was not a “song off the new album so let’s go grab a beer at the concert”. They are fast and precise on this one.
Seek & Destroy – A great song to end the album on. James changes the lyrics to “We’re scanning the scene in New York City tonight….” The crowd chanting back to the band do not sound as loud on this one. I’m not sure if the house sound guy altered the mics(haha who am I kidding? Metallica brought their own sound crew), or why it a little quieter, but I love it loud, wanna hear it loud. Right between the eyes. Don’t want no compromise. Wait. Wrong band. Anyway, Metallica. This song was awesome. James ends it off by saying “Thank You Goodnight” The crowd yells “NO!!!” James says “YES!!” Then thankfully the band keep playing Seek & Destroy. Unfortunately it is soon over, and so is the night for this crowd. A final trademark “Thank you so much friends” and “Metallica loves you family. Thank You. We appreciate you and goodnight baby”. The crowd was chanting “One More Song”, and James tells the crowd “No. I gave all the picks away. We can’t play anymore. C’mon. You gonna throw it back?” and “You’re beautiful NYC. Thank You. We had a great time. I hope you did too. You guys are fucking great. Thank You so much. YEAHHH!!!
The rest of the band thanks the crowd and the night is over. I know from experience they would have ran with security and be rushed off (I saw it in Toronto) in Towncars. No autographs folks (Arrrrghhh).
I am so jealous of the people that were at this show. I would gave paid hundreds of dollars for this intimate club experience(1500 capacity). I tried to see them play Massey Hall in Toronto but I stood in the rain, with my head hung low. Couldn’t get a ticket, it was a sold out show. Heard the road of the crowd, I could picture the scene. Put my ear to wall, then like a distant scream. I heard one guitar, just blew me away….now I’m not a juke box hero.
The only knock that I have of this show is the setlist. There was no songs played off of Load, Reload, St. Anger, or Death Magnetic. They could have easily added 4 or 5 more songs from those albums and had a 4lp set. That would have suited me just fine. Let’s say King Nothing, Fuel, St. Anger and The Day That Never Comes. Hell this set could have been a 6 or 8 lp set. 2 or 3 nights. Choose the best songs and off we go. Then the price of the vinyl would have been out of reach for many. A note about the vinyl itself. It’s dead flat and the sound is amazing. I will give credit where credit is due. Mixed by Greg Fidelman (who played with Simon Wright in Rhino Bucket), recorded by Mike Gillies (who has been involved with every Metallica release since Load, and Econoline Crush funny enough), Digital editing by Dan Monti (who works a lot with Serj Tankian and Buckethead) and Sara Lyn Killion (who has done numerous Metallica live shows, Black Sabbath 13 among others), Mastered by Chris Bellman(the list might be longer if I said who he didn’t work with) at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Los Angeles. Great job crew.
This was/is a great live recording. Amazing sound. The crowd loved it and the band fed off their energy.
Today is the 9th anniversary of Stompin’ Tom’s memorial held at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. Fans from across Canada lined up all day for the chance to say goodbye to their hero. Stompin’ Tom holds a really special place in my heart. My family and I used to do a lot of road trips and we would always bring some Stompin’ Tom along for the ride, especially when we ventured down to the USA. Tom always reminded us where we came from, and his songs are so infectious to sing along to. Trust me, when you drive to Florida from Ontario, Canada it takes 24 hours, and you need something to do to keep everyone from harming each other.
Stompin’ Tom was also my daughters first concert. Also her second. She was mesmerized at how Tom would play guitar, sing and stomp his foot on the board he would bring on stage. Plus his stories he told between every song were always just as entertaining as the songs he sang. Thanks for helping a dad bond with his daughter Tom. I’ll always miss you.
Bud The Spud – The only song I know of about a potato truck driver. The geography about the route between Prince Edward Island through to Ontario should be played in Geography classes across Canada.
The Ketchup Song – The wah pedal beginning is almost as awesome as the funny lyrics. “..and so this guy from P.E.I., they used to call potato, he’s got 2 boys and a little girl – 2 spuds and one tomato. They romp and run around Leamington (where many of Canada’s tomatoes are grown, and the inspiration for the song) and boy when they get hungry, the bottle drips all over the chips, way down in the ketchup country….”
Ben, In The Pen – “They call me Ben here in the pen, where ya takes the guff and ya suffer. But I’ll be free when I’m 53, and I bet I’ll be a lot tougher…”. That song strikes a chord with me since I am 53 but thankfully I haven’t spent most of my life in jail like Ben.
Rubberhead – “…goodbye Rubberhead, so long boob. Go and blow your inner tube. I got a brand new sugar cube. So goodbye Rubberhead so long boob..” Such an awesome way to tell an ex to piss off.
Luke’s Guitar (Twang Twang) – A song about a man who sells all of his items to please his wife and buy her things ..”but that woman of mine’ll be in a box of pine before I hock my old guitar!”
My Brother Paul – A song about a lazy guy mooching off his brother.
The Old Atlantic Shore – Soundgarden would be proud of the spoon man playing on this fun little ditty.
My Little Eskimo – This song from the 1960’s was from a time before political correctness.
Reversing Falls Darling – I’ve been to the reversing falls in Saint John, New Brunswick. It’s almost as big of a natural phenomenon as Stompin’ Tom was.
She Don’t Speak English – It sounds like the first time I visited Quebec in the 1980’s, although it would have been renamed She Selectively Chooses To Not Speak English.
The Canadian Lumberjack – Tom just finished telling us on the last song how he doesn’t speak French, then sings half of this song in French.
Sudbury Saturday Night – One of the best blue collar Canadian drinking songs ever. “..da girls are out to bingo, and the boys are gettin’ stinko, and we’ll think no more of Inco (the town’s nickel mine and it’s biggest employer) on a Sudbury Saturday night…”
T.T.C. Skidaddler – If you’ve ever been to Toronto you’ve seen something from the T.T.C (Toronto Transit Commission). Buses, street cars and subways are everywhere. Many Canadian bands have videos with T.T.C. vehicles in the background, and many t.v. shows filmed in Toronto do as well. That is how I often can see a U.S. movie of tv show is actually filmed in Toronto.
(I’ll Be) Gone With The Wind – A song about leaving a cheating spouse.
This album has a ton of great, and some amazing songs that still get sang across Canada over 50 years later. It really should be in every Canadian home from shore to shore.
I remember listening to Toronto radio station Q107 in 1983 and hearing a song come on called Tell Me What You Want. Sorry Hall & Oates fans, it wasn’t their song I was hearing. Definitely not Hall & Oates. Unless Darryl Hall had been kicked in the junk and was screaming at his highest possible octave. I bet he couldn’t go for that (no can do). This was someone I had never heard before and my ears perked up instantly. It sounded a bit like Triumph with that stadium rock sound, but was higher pitched than either Gil Moore or Rik Emmett. Almost Geddy Lee like, but more straight ahead than Rush. I found out after the song was over the band was called Zebra and they weren’t Canadian at all. They were a New Orleans band that later called Long Island, New York home. The band had started out as Shepherd’s Bush. In 1973 one of the band members worked in a recording studio and caught wind that Led Zeppelin would be having a party in the studio. The teen band members hid in a closet all day with nothing but a bucket for a makeshift toilet. When Led Zep arrived they waited for a bit and emerged. Their reward was getting to stand near Robert Plant as a joint was passed around. Their live show was mostly covers but they quickly found the crowd really enjoyed their Led Zeppelin covers. Lead singer Randy Jackson (not the American Idol and bassist though Dawg) had the pipes to sing Led Zeppelin (he still does Led Zep tribute shows with various symphonies to this day, and he was actually invited by Robert Plant to play on the 1988 Now and Zen Tour when Plant’s guitarist was battling addiction, but Plant rescinded the offer at the last minute and brought his guitarist back). The band morphed into a 3 piece and changed the name to Zebra with Felix Hanemann on bass/keys, Guy Gelso on drums, and Randy on vocals/guitar/synth/piano/percussion.
Tell Me What You Want – A wicked tune that I still enjoy almost 40 years later. My introduction to this band. Maybe someday I will see them live since they do still tour.
One More Chance – The start of the song is very Triumph like but the lower octave vocals have a Jethro Tull feel. Then the wailing high pitched vocals kick in and we go off into mid 70’s Rush territory. Another really good song that has pretty good sounding drums for an 80’s song, and the synths/keys are not annoying.
Slow Down – This Larry Williams (most famously done by The Beatles) cover is sort of Nazareth meets Meatloaf meets Slade meets The Beatles song. It sounds weird on paper but not to the ears.
As I Said Before – The guitar work is pretty ace here and the drums pound the way they should. The vocals are mostly sung in a lower octave which is a nice shakeup. I get a bit of a Styx feel from this one.
Who’s Behind The Door? – Jimmy Page like acoustic guitar starts this one off. It has kind of a Led Zeppelin feel, if Led Zep were a prog band. A really great song.
When You Get There – Like a harder version of a 60’s psychedelic/garage rock song. The guitar is driving, the drums smash, the keys compliment and the high pitched vocals send us off into the clouds.
Take Your Fingers From My Hair – Another proggy effort with many octave jumps in Randy’s vocals. It has some parts 60’s, some 70’s and some 80’s feel to it. A really epic song that any band from any decade would be proud to own.
Don’t Walk Away – It has a bit of a Paul McCartney meets Styx feel to it with some really wicked guitar and drum work.
The La La Song – ..and the award for the dumbest song title goes to…But seriously, this is a really amazing song no matter how dumb the title is. Yes was a big inspiration for this one. It’s an epic 70’s era prog classic in the heart of 1983.
I know there are a lot of comparisons here but the band is not copying anyone. They obviously had a lot of influences, but still remain unique. It was refreshing in 1983 to hear a band rock out when a lot of 70’s rockers were going soft and synth heavy, and to hear some prog when most bands had given up on the genre.
Unfortunately the band never got the fame and fortune. It might have been a timing thing. I wonder if they released this album in 1975/76 if they would have struck it big. Who knows? All I know is that it rocks.
Yesterday was International Women’s Day so I chose to watch a documentary about probably the greatest underrated female band of all time, if not the greatest underrated band period, Fanny. Fanny, for the most part existed between 1969 to 1975, putting out 5 albums. The band started out with sisters June and Jean Millington( who had moved from Philippines to USA in 1961). June (guitar), Jean (bass, vocals), Addie Lee (percussion), Brie Brandt (drums). This early form of the band was originally called Wild Honey and mostly performed Motown covers. During this time Brie was pregnant and was undecided what to do. She chose to keep her child and left the band. She was replaced by Alice de Buhr. Frustrated by the lack of success or respect in the male dominated music industry, they decided to play one final show at an open mic at L.A.’s Troubadour Club. As luck would have it, Norma Kemper, secretary for music producer Richard Perry at Warner Brothers. She had been looking for a female band to mentor and told Perry that he had to sign them. Before the release of their debut self titled album, Richard Perry hired Nickey Barclay (keys) and Brie Brandt was back in the band. This may have caused tension because de Buhr knew Brandt was a great drummer and vocalist. This was short lived anyway because Richard Perry fired Brie to make the band like an all girl Fab Four.
The movie starts off with a quote on the screen “One of the most important bands in American rock has been buried without a trace.” – David Bowie. There are a slew of musicians on screen speaking about Fanny and their influence. Joe Elliott says “Yeah they were girls, but they weren’t wearing mini skirts with their tits out. They were long haired with instruments. It’s like this is a girl with an instrument on. So, ok this is a game changer.”
Earl Slick says “It didn’t get to the general public. They know about The Runaways or the Go-Go’s ’cause they had major hits, which Fanny never did. They never had the number 1 hit or the platinum records that the other bands had. But those other bands wouldn’t have had those platinum records if Fanny didn’t open the door. It’s always the ones that get started that get fucked.”
The band shared a home in Los Angeles (that used to belong to Hedy Lamarr) that the band named Fanny Hill. It was a sorority with amps and electric guitars. At any given time Little Feat, Bob Dylan & The Band, Joe Cocker or a slew of other famous musicians would be there hanging out or jamming. Bonnie Raitt says “One of the times I came to L.A. they had kindly offered to let me stay at their legendary Fanny Hill. It was just a great hng, vibe, there. We all just became very close…My bass player was with me Freebo (Daniel Friedberg), who ended up being very frustrated because there were a lot of gorgeous naked women walking around, all of whom were gay.”
Photographer Linda Wolf is quoted as saying “Oh God. Fanny Hill was like a males wet dream” (Then I have to cover my eyes to avoid seeing a ton of shots of naked women on screen. Ok I had to peek a little.) “Nudity. Freedom. Bodies. Everyone had their bed mates. I didn’t have a bed mate, but I would crawl in bed with all of them.”
Alice speaks of coming out at 17 and how her mom put her in a psychiatric hospital. She gets choked up when she recalls how her mom changed and the letters were informative, but not judgmental. June speaks about how she understood, as a lesbian that it was very dangerous, she could lose everything. She had an internal don’t ask/don’t tell policy(The band did keep their sexual preferences a secret. They pretended to have boyfriends and husbands to keep up appearances).
The band was the first all female rock band that was signed to a major label, and had an album out. Charles Neville says “It created an awareness in the business that women do this too without having to be a background singer for some guy.” Kate Pierson says “Fanny was the first band I had seen where a woman played guitar, and her attitude too, kind of flipping her hair, just a tough attitude, and she played great.” Kathy Valentine says “Nickey Barclay. I mean you just don’t see women rocking out on the keyboards like that. She was the first person I saw play like Nicky Hopkins. I’d only seen men do….and Alice is a great drummer.” John Sebastian (speaking about Jean) ” I had never seen a woman do a stage face. She would play one of these real vicious bass lines you could see this (demonstrating what Jean’s stage face looked like)..”
Alice says “All we had to do was get on stage. I knew I was gonna put that bass drum right up your crotch (while punching fist forward). You know, boom, that’s where I wanted it.” June says ” So we broke through that barrier, and it wasn’t through talking, it wasn’t through arguing, it wasn’t through convincing anyone that girls can play, we just fucking did it.” This may have been my favourite quote in the movie.
Joe Elliott says “..they worked their asses off sitting in the back of a shitty van travelling up and down whatever highway to get to some bar or some gig. The difference being is no doubt when they got on stage they had to deal with a lot of drunken ‘get your tits out’ shit that guys really didn’t have to deal with.”
The band speaks of just about every interviewer started by asking ‘how does it feel to be a girl playing an instrument?’ (They wonder, did you do any research?). They also speak of subtle racism, so they played as hard as they could because they felt they were being judged.
When they toured the UK, the band understood the name Fanny meant something different than in the USA. They felt they were getting more respect over there however. Joe Elliott was a young lad back then who bought a magazine that included a free flexi disc with the Fanny song Blind Alley. He says “I remember putting it on and hearing it for the first time, and thinking how powerful it was…. I had no idea who they were but this 4 minutes of music I was hooked. I would play that thing ’til the needle would have gone it.” (He is genuinely excited to find the flexi in his record collection and show it off)
For every day between 1970 and 1974 the band would either be doing a gig, doing interviews, or recording. Sometimes all 3 at once. The band put out an album every year doing this time and they were exhausted. This pace was just not sustainable, and it started to cause conflicts between the band members. Once a week they had to have what they called therapy sessions. Also the band signed over power of control and they never made any money. The record company execs wanted the band to change their image. Dress in glam, skimpy costumes. June and Alice decided to leave the band at this point. Patti Quatro joined to play guitar and the band welcomed back Brie to play drums. Shortly after Jean was dating David Bowie and touring with him, Brie left the band, Nickey did a solo album and the band broke up after their 5th album and their highest charting single Butter Boy reached 29 on the charts in 1975.
The movie features the bands more recent endeavors including their new band Fanny Walked The Earth and new s/t cd (2018). A week before the release of their cd Jean suffered a stroke and was paralyzed on the right side. She is working hard to be able to one day to play bass again. For the time being her son has taken over her bass duties.
If you’ve never heard of Fanny, or never paid much attention to them please do yourself a favour and pick up some of their music. Also, check out this documentary. It’s a fun watch about a great band.
The 1980’s was a dark time in music. Especially as far as freedom of art and expression is concerned. Judas Priest, Ozzy Osborne, Twisted Sister and other metal acts were being forced into court for their lyrics. The “Filthy Fifteen” were songs chosen by Tipper Gore’s group PMRC as being the most objectionable. The end result was stupid stickers warning the youth (and probably more so their parents) of the evil words that might be heard.
In 1990, Florida police determined that 2 Live Crew – As Nasty As They Wanna Be was obscene (even though it already had the warning stickers on it). The cops told record store owners they would be charged if they sold the record. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. Luckily the Appeals Court found the music had artistic value and was not obscene.
Canada was not immune to this nonsense. In 1988 a teen girl in Nepean, Ontario asked her father to help her make a tape recording of a Dayglo Abortions album she had borrowed from a friend. Unfortunately her father was a police sargeant and he did not like this music at all. He convinced his cop buddies and prosecutor friends that this music was obscene (while ignoring the copyright laws he had been breaking, but I digress). The record company, distributors, a record store chain (Record Peddlar) and owners were all charged under an antiquated 1959 Canadian obscenity law. This was the first time this law was used for music. It took almost 3 years in court, but partly due to testimony from people like Daniel Richler (author, and host of The New Music) this album and Feed Us A Fetus (1986) were found to not be obscene.
Fuck My Shit Stinks – The Dayglos waste no time in pissing off the sensitive types with this one. The lines “..sitting on the pot on Tuesday mornin, reading bout the war in Lebanon. A car bomb killed 3 Yankees in Rome, but I got a bigger problem and it’s closer to home…..Oh fuck my shit stinks. Holy fuck’n moly my shit stinks….” crack me up. The wicked alternating guitar between co-lead guitarists Cretin and Anus top it off for me. Their shit may stink but their musicianship definitely does not.
Fuck Satan To Death – Luckily the drummer Jesus Bonehead can absolve them of all of their sins.
Dragons – With lyrics such as “…You created your character but your destiny is ruled by the die of six. You’re standing at the edge of churning black water. A tributory(sic) of the river Styxx….” this is more proggy than most punk/thrash bands. Almost like a really heavy version of Rush.
Hide The Hamster – A really great song. Just ask Richard Gere.
The Spawn Of Yog Sothoth – H.P. Lovecraft fans will like the reference here, and casual fans will realize these Canadian thrashy punks can actually read as well as rock. The backmasking on the song is something to the effect of ‘Oh Awaken Yog Sothoth’. I’m not playing my near mint copy backwards to find out though.
Shred Central – This skateboard themed song brings me back to my youth. Days of skinned knees, shredding, and saying stuff like rad board dude and the last line of the song “Later skater”.
Drugged And Driving – “It was a quarter to 12 and we were rockin, I put my money on the bar and heard the devil knockin. We played some drinkin games while the band was thrashin, a fight broke out so we gave the place a trashin. When the cops showed up I had to eat all my drugs, a couple of the guys had to kiss their billy clubs. The rest of us got out through the basement door, I ran into the back and dove into my car. We were drugged. Drugged and driving…” This might be the best thrash/punk song Canada ever produced. It could easily have fit onto an 80’s album from the Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax). Check out the album version and the live version (Sorry for the sound. I was right beside the speaker and it was LOUD) I recorded a few years ago when I saw the band in my hometown.
Here Today Guano Tomorrow – A cool play on words here. This is a protest song against Televangelists, war, and the wealthy few. “Jim and Tammy Bakker were messengers of god and the bank of America. Tammy sprays on some makeup, pops some downers and says this must be heaven. Jim is in the bedroom converting hookers on a mattress full of money. Meanwhile another 1000 people make their beds with death and misery and starvation….” and “Mister Reagan and Gorbachev will let us fight like animals in a barnyard, while they play the roles of the farmer, the butcher, the distributor, and the consumer…We Are Here. Here For Today. But We’ll Be Guano. Guano Tomorrow…”
Kill Johnny Stiff – “We got gigs over here, we got gigs over there, we got gigs everywhere, we ain’t playin nowhere…” It could easily represent the last 2 years due to you know what.
This album is probably more thrash than punk, but still has that punk attitude and brashness. Mix in clever lyrics and thought provoking prog themes and you have a great album.