Volume #7, Issue #1 – February 1980

By Steve Kraye with Toni A. Brown

Turn on your cable television and you expect to see X-rated movies and a lot of sports shows, right?  Not in some places.  In southern California, for instance, two pay stations are offering rock films such as Let it Be, Sgt. Peppers…., Performance, The Kids Are Alright, Hair, and Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.  They’re also showing promo films of assorted artists that the record companies use as sales tools.  And on the east coast, a show called Nightclubbing has been offering new wave and punk shows taped at such New York venues as Max’s Kansas City, the Mudd Club, and CBGB.  Featured acts have included the Offs, Startoon, the Heartbreakers, Crayola, and the Lounge Lizards.  It’s almost enough to make you want to stay home and watch the tube!

Ian Hunter has a live album coming out.  The world’s least lonely schizophrenic taped a show at Los Angeles’ Roxy last November.  This show followed on the heels of a tour on which Hunter opened for mega-acts like Blue Oyster Cult, the Kinks, Styx, and Cheap Trick.

Speaking of BOC (and those initials are awfully close to BOF, guys), the Cult has acquired three surplus World War II German tanks for use in their live shows.  Now, hold on, they haven’t gotten quite that extreme.  The band plans to use the tanks for their sound stage and lighting platforms.  The German insignia will be replaced by the Cult logo.

Until recently, Staten Island was known as that little place in the water across the river from Manhattan which connected Brooklyn to New Jersey and spawned David Johansen.  Now, another group of Islanders, a new band called Dirty Looks, threatens to become hot news pretty soon.  At a Bottom Line gig which they opened for Liverpool’s the Yachts, the Dirty ones stole the show from under the headliners.  Even the usually staid New York Times reviewer thought there was no contest.  The band is currently in England recording their first album, which will be released on Stiff Records.  Dirty Looks is a three-man ensemble consisting of guitarist/vocalist songwriter Pat Barnes, bassist Marco Sin, and drummer Peter James.

Another new band, this one on the other coast, is Red Shift, formed by former Doors’ guitarist Robbie Krieger.  Keyboardist Arthur Burrows, bassist Mac McKenzie, and drummer Don Poncher fill out the lineup.

Hey kids!  Wanna be a Rhino Rebel?  We thought so.  Now, here’s whatcha do:  Take ten of your hard-earned American dollars and send them to Rhino Records, 11609 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90064.  Make sure it’s a check or money order, ‘cause Rhinos can’t use cash or food stamps.  Oh, you wanna know what you get for your tenspot!  Among other things:  a sweat shirt, an interview EP featuring Rhino artists such as Wild Man Fischer, Gefilte Joe, and Fred Blassie, an official Temple City Kazoo and other junk, including a quarterly newsletter.  Offer ends March 31, 1980.

Remember Comfort, Rober Hunter’s old band?  Sure you do.  Now they’re calling themselves San Francisco and are currently in the studio.  Well, maybe not right this minute, but y’know.  Meanwhile, remember Larry Klein, Hunter’s old bass player (well, not that old, but y’know)?  Well, Klein has teamed up with Eric Blood (nee Don Gaynor), ex of the Sheiks, Long Island’s hottest band, in a new band called the Ghosts.  They’re based in Marin County, where they’re working the club circuit and keeping their fingers crossed for a record deal.  Now, you’re gonna ask what happened to the Sheiks, right?  Glad you asked.  They’re hotter than ever, and after five years of filling Long Island bars with rabid fans, they’ve released their first single.  It’s called “Blow It Up”/”Here Comes the Night,” and is available for $2.50 (blood-red vinyl) from Rockbeat Productions, P.O. Box 1921, Grand Central Station, N.Y. 10019.  The Sheiks have fans as far away as California, although they’ve never played there.  It seems that live tapes of the band made it out that way a few years ago and a pocket of admirers began to crop up.  So, when musicians such as Dan Hicks, John Cipollina, and Vassar Clements were in the Long Island area, they made it a point to sit in with the Sheiks.

Necrophilia dept., continued:  Beserkley’s Rubinoos had an interesting sorta Halloween party at San Fran’s rock disco, X’s (co-managed by Relix’s own Howie Klein).  The show was billed as “Rubinoos Raise the Dead,” and among other proceedings were group members Royse Ader appearing as Duane Allman, Jon Rubin as Ritchie Valens, Donn Spindt as Keith Moon, and Tommy Dunbar as Eddie Cochran.  Other friends were brought out to jam, including Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Ronnie Van Zant, Mama Cass, and hmmm… Paul McCartney?

The new Stones album, That’s Another Fine Mess You’ve Gotten Us Into, Ronnie, should be out within the next few weeks.  If it isn’t already (hope they keep that title, too).  And the band is also slated for tours of Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S. in 1980.  Still no confirmation at press time on the Stones’ allegedly planned tour of China, which would make them the first Western band to perform there.  1979 was the first year since the Stones first hit these shores that no recorded product of theirs whatsoever, even a greatest hits package, was released in the U.S.

The New Riders of the Purple Sage have made several appearances in the New York area recently.  They opened for the Little River Band at the Palladium and for Charlie Daniels at Nassau Coliseum, the latter of which was broadcast locally on WLIR-FM.  They also played at the Lone Star Café in New York and at a club called Speaks in Long Island.

Commander Cody, besides touring, has been busy working on a TV program for Warners with his brother Chris.  The Fraynes are including animation and other items of weirdness.  Cody has also contributed to an art book entitled Starart, which includes previously unpublished works of Joni Mitchell, John Mayall, Cat Stevens, Klaus Voorman, and Ron Wood as well as Cody.  Starart can be ordered by sending $32.50 plus $2.00 postage to:  Starart Productions, Box 29, Site 1, RR1, Dewinton, Alberta Canada, TOL OXO.

A San Francisco record company called Crystal Clear has released direct-to-disc album by Merl Saunders, Charlie Musselwhite, Taj Mahal, and the Dillards.  The direct-to-disc technique brightens the sound remarkably, and works particularly well with these artists, whose music should be heard as purely and clearly as possible.  The Saunders record features Ed Neumeister on trombone and veteran session player Martin Fierro on alto sax and flute.  Any questions about these albums can be directed to Crystal Clear Records, P.O. Box 3864, San Francisco, CA  94119.

Another fine new album is Jon Sholle’s Catfish For Supper on Rounder.  Sholle is assisted by David Bromberg, David Grisman, Tony Rice, Peter Ecklund, and David Nichtern among others.  Sholle is an accomplished guitarist and the LP is worth checking into.  Sholle is currently a member of Peter Rowan’s band, Wild Stallions, which also includes bassist Roger Mason.  Speaking of Rowan, although he still plays his classic material, he’s working in a rock format now and hopes to have a new LP out some time soon, which will include both acoustic and rock material.

Rockages, who have presented the incredible Rock and Roll Flea Markets for the past several years in New York and now Philadelphia, has become Rock ‘80s with the turn of the decade.  The next flea meet will take place on March 29 and 30 at the Hotel Diplomat (West 43rd St. between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway), and, for the first time, at Town Hall across the street.  The hotel will house the dealer rooms and a film room.  Film showings will be continuous, featuring clips of the Doors, Beatles, Stones, and many others.  Town Hall will feature a film room plus name and local bands performing live.  The $7.00 a day ticket grants you admission to all attractions.  As always, all sorts of rock memorabilia will be available:  rare albums, T-shirts, posters, photographs, buttons, stickers, etc. and so on.  We’ll be there, too, so come on and say hi.

SVT has a new drummer and a new single on 415 Records.  Paul Zahl, formerly of the Readymades and Tuxedomoon replaces Bill Gibson.  The single includes two new songs by Brian Marnell:  “Heart of Stone” and “The Last Word.”  415 Records is at 519 Castro St., San Francisco, CA  94114.

On a recent flight from San Diego to San Francisco, one of the members of Jorma Kaukonen’s band decided he wanted some ice.  So, he knocked on the pilots cabin door to ask him for some.  The FBI wasn’t amused and briefly detained the band upon arrival.

Jerry Garcia is scheduled to tour with his band soon, and is working on a solo LP as well.  The Dead’s next, Grateful Dead Go to Heaven, should be out by now or will be any day.  Mickey Hart is reported to be working on an album as well.

The Dead Heads have established another hot line in addition to the New Jersey number (201-777-8653).  The new west coast Dead Heads line is a San Francisco number, 415-457-6388.  Dead Heads is still accepting people for its mailing list.  In case you’re not on it yet, write to P.O. Box 1065, San Rafel, CA  94902.  If you care to write for information, please send them a stamped, self-addressed envelope along with your inquiry.

And finally, New York radio recently took an upward swing for four days in November when Frank Zappa played, in his own words, “bogus disc jockey” on WPIX-FM.  Zappa played mostly small-label punk and new wave records and a lot of music by his friends and himself.  Imports comprised a large portion of his airplay time, with a German LP by Nina Hagen receiving repeated plays.  Zappa hammed it up, as expected, goofing on commercials and displaying bizarre music under the readings of the news.  Zappa is apparently a big fan of the new music, mentioning that he likes to spend his nights in new wave clubs such as Hurrah and Max’s when he’s in the Apple.  Maybe there’s more to that short haircut than meets the eye!!  In any case, New York radio hasn’t witnessed anything that free-form and exciting in a while.

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