sex pistols

#499: Top Five Most Heinous Rock Criminals

Welcome back to the week of Getting More Getting More Tale.  This one is…not funny.

GETTING MORE TALE #499: Top Five Most Heinous Rock Criminals

Who are the biggest dicks in rock? People who have committed crimes so atrocious, so heinous, that forgiveness is all but impossible? Here is a list of some of the most well known examples of extreme douchebaggery in rock and roll.

SID5. Sid Vicious (Sex Pistols)

Not everybody gets to have Gary Oldman play them in a movie. In order to attain this dubious distinction, you have to be the bassist for the most notorious punk band in the world, stab your girlfriend (Nancy Spungeon) to death, and then die of an overdose before the case can go to trial. The unanswered questions will remain so forever.

PHIL4. Phil Spector

The genius producer extraordinaire may have been most well known for his “wall of sound” in the 1960’s, but today people remember him showing up in an array of outrageous wigs for his murder trial. On February 3 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was killed by a gunshot to the head at Spector’s mansion. Spector was found guilty on April 13 2009, and has been in jail ever since. His bald mugshot was a stark contrast to the huge wigs he was known for.

VARG3. Varg Vikernes (Burzum)

This bizarre tale cannot be summed up in a paragraph. Varg did 21 years in jail for stabbing Mayhem guitarist Euronymous (Øystein Aarseth) to death. Vikernes has explained and justified the events of August 10 1993 many times, but every interview just makes the situation more bizarre and surreal. Vikernes is a free man today, continually working on and releasing new music with his solo project Burzum.

VINCE2. Vince Neil (Motley Crue)

Drinking and driving is a crime that no-one should ever take lightly. When it involves injury and death, that goes double. On December 8 1984, a drunk Vince hopped into his Pantera with Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle Dingley to pick up some more booze. Neil hit an oncoming car, seriously injuring its passengers, and killing Dingley. Neil spent 15 days in jail. To make matters even worse, this was not Neil’s last instance of drinking and driving. He faced charges in 2007 and again in 2010. This is an example of a man who is old enough to know better, but will never learn.

WATKINS1. Ian Watkins (Lostprophets)

Ian Watkins is in jail right now, and hopefully will remain there for a very long time. His crime? According to investigators, Watkins is a “committed, organized paedophile” and “potentially the most dangerous sex offender” they had ever seen. His lack of any sort of remorse has made his crimes that much more disgusting.

REVIEW: The Sex Pistols – Filthy Lucre Live (1996 Japanese import)

“Fat, forty and baaaack!” – Johnny Rotten

Scan_20150823THE SEX PISTOLS – Filthy Lucre Live (1996 Virgin Japanese import)

Late to the punk rock scene in ’96, I threw Filthy Lucre Live on the speakers in-store.  Impressed by their canon of catchy, simple guitar rock, I decided I was a fan and bought a double disc version of Never Mind the Bollocks.  I still think the reunited 1996 band were valid and put out a worthwhile document of that tour.  I was fortunate to finally stumble upon the Japanese version with additional B-side bonus tracks, from the concurrent “Pretty Vacant” live single.  It was brand new and cost only $20 at the 2013 Toronto Musical Collectibles Record & CD Sale.

Recorded on 23 June, the album was released only a month later.  Even though a big money reunion tour isn’t very punk rock, a one month turnaround isn’t bad!  The backing vocals however sound so clean that I wonder if some very un-punk overdubs happened in that time.  I don’t know.  I do know that the vocals of Steve Jones, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook deliver the hooks required while Johnny Rotten rants with full-on vibrato.  Either way it sounds brilliant.

Scorching through “Bodies”, the Pistols in ’96 kicked many competitors in the ass.  “Seventeen”, with its classic chorus* of “I’m a lazy sod!” lacks some of the edge it used to have in the 70’s, but I don’t think the thousands of people singing along minded too much.

“New York” rocks sloppily, and Johnny Rotten delivers his voice with that vibrato…almost distracting, almost unnerving, but strangely catchy.  His vocals have become more exaggerated and dramatic over the years and I like these renditions of the songs.  Steve Jones’ sloppy guitar riffs are mixed too low, or perhaps mixed that way to hide a multitude of feedbacky sins?  Who cares.  “No Feelings” slams just as hard either way.

“Don’t be naughty…I’ve done you no wrong,” Johnny scolds the crowd before diving into “Did You No Wrong”.  One song is much the same as another, but that hasn’t stopped AC/DC either. “We’re not that fucking bad after all, are we?” sneers Johnny.  Do I detect some pride?  “God Save the Queen” is early in the set, but as venomous as ever.

Through “Liar”, “Satellite”, and the cover of “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” the set drags a bit. “Holidays in the Sun” brings back that excitement and reckless abandon.  “Submission” is next, another riffs as simple and memorable as “Holidays”, and do I detect a touch of “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” by the Kinks there at the end?

“Pretty Vacant”, “EMI”, “Anarchy” and “Problems” close the set for a memorable end.  Even though I don’t think they ever really gave two shits about the music, there was a lot of good music.  John Lydon is a parody of himself, and he knows it and embraces it.  He’s become a grumpy, angry elder statesmen of punk and Filthy Lucre Live is representative of that version of him. Either way, it’s an enjoyable departure from the same old versions.

The Japanese CD comes with some B-side bonus tracks.  “Buddies” is what sounds like an audience recording of “Bodies”.  I guess for that raw punk authenticity?  “No Fun” is also present, a Stooges cover to add to the count of classic punk rock.

4/5 stars

*I’m aware that Johnny Rotten would likely kick me in the ass for calling his music “classic”.  He’d probably also disagree with many more of my words, but I love that crazy guy.

Part 282 / REVIEW: Neurotic Outsiders – Neurotic Outsiders (1996)

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RECORD STORE TALES Part 282:
T-Rev, Mike, and the Neurotic Outsiders…

T-Rev called me from his store one afternoon in 1996.

“Mikey!  Have you heard this Neurotic Outsiders CD?  It fuckin’ rocks!”

I had not heard the Neurotic Outsiders CD.

It actually took T-Rev some talking to get me to buy it.  (Playing it in-store was forbidden due to the foul language contained therein.)  I knew Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum were in the band, with Steve Jones and John Taylor from Duran Duran.  I was getting pretty bored with GN’R related solo albums, and while I found this combo intriguing, I was also inundated with other new releases at the same time.  These included a new Rush studio album, a Rush tribute album, a new Scorpions, and a new King’s X.  I had plenty of new music to keep me occupied!

He persisted, T-Rev did, and I caved and bought the CD.  It only took one listen to know that he was right about the Neurotic Outsiders.  They did indeed fucking rock.  I was hooked immediately.

We played Neurotic Outsiders in the car a lot that summer.  If I was driving, Trevor would be playing air drums along with Matt Sorum.  Trev’s a drummer and he was damn good at doing Sorum’s style.  You know that rolling drum intro to “You Could be Mine”?  T-Rev had that one mastered, and there’s loads of that on Neurotic Outsiders.  “Good News” is a great example.  Trevor used to say my car had “good bass”, but he wasn’t talking about my stereo system.  He was talking about the sound he could make when playing double bass on my floor with his feet.   He could bruise his legs (snare drums) just from playing in the car.

I didn’t really drink back in those days so I was usually designated driver, which worked out really well.  Driving home from a party, Neurotic Outsiders blasting, T-Rev playing slightly tipsy but always awesome air drums next to me.   I didn’t have a CD player in that car either, which would have been my old Plymouth Sundance.  Piece of shit car.  The left driver’s side speaker was blown, making everything sound absolutely weak and lopsided.  I recorded Neurotic Outsiders to cassette for car play.  T-Rev’s modus operandi was the mix tape, whereas I chose to record entire albums.  Either way, we heard “Good News” and “Angelina” a hell of a lot that year.

Fuck, that was a good summer.

NEUROTIC OUTSIDERS – Neurotic Outsiders (1996 Maverick)

This album kind of snuck in under the radar in ’96. Guns N’ Roses was disintegrating (Slash quit in October), but Matt & Duff teamed up with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and John Taylor of Duran Duran to form this supergroup of sorts. Lead vocals are handled by everyone except Matt Sorum, who provides plenty of his unique double bass/snare/crash cymbol pounding. In fact if any one member dominates in this album, I’d say it’s Matt Sorum!  The other three guys all have their own songs, but Matt is the consistent common thread.  Taylor tends to handle most of the slower material, Jonesy the heavy snarky stuff, and Duff sings a couple rockers too.

Very few stinkers on this album. Lots of winners. Lyrics with loads of attitude! “The good news is / You’re dying, the bad new is / I’m alive.” (“Good News”)  Then, there’s “Jerk”:

OUTSIDERS_0006“You’re a bitch, I’m a jerk,
I don’t think that we can work,
You’re a prat, I’m a prick,
I don’t think that we will stick,
I’m a cat, you’re a chick,
I think you deserve one more lick.”

There’s a Clash cover, a deliciously noisy “Janie Jones”, but even that great song is overshadowed by the Outsiders’ originals.  Check out the opener “Nasty Ho,” one of Jonesy’s hilarious and thunderous punk songs.  And if you have any doubts as to punk rock authenticity, I think Duff McKagan is well on record on a connoisseur of fine punk rock.

“Union”, a ballad, seems to be Jonesey lamenting that the Sex Pistols were never a real united band, slagging off everyone (himself included), except his “mate, old Cookie”.  It’s a slow song but it has some bite to it.  Two John Taylor songs are two of the heavier ones:  “Always Wrong” and the smokin’ “Feelings Are Good”.  Both these songs were also featured on Taylor’s solo album Feelings Are Good and Other Lies.  (The title track was renamed “Feelings R Good”.) Best tune is “Angelina”, a fast punk rocker (today would they call this pop-punk?) with an insanely catchy chorus.

The only tunes that I could skip over are the really slow ones:  “Better Way” and “Story Of My Life”.  Yet even so, they have some charm.  They’re not bad songs at all, just completely overshadowed by all the super-fun punk rock songs.  Producer Jerry Harrison captured a raw performance, and I like that you can hear the ambiance of the room on “Story Of My Life”.

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As you read in the above Record Store Tale, I was hooked immediately on Neurotic Outsiders, and that proved to be a lasting feeling.  I wanted more, and at a visit to HMV Toronto (333 Yonge) I found the CD single for “Jerk”.  It contained a “clean” version of “Jerk” (kind of pointless, but you have to at least try to get played on the radio, right?).  Most interestingly was the B-side track “Seattle Head”.  Duff was born in Seattle and had a connection with many of the artists that came from that city.  (He was also one of the last people to speak to Kurt Cobain.)  I can’t say that this song has that “Seattle sound”, it sounds like Duff McKagan to me.  But it’s also obvious why it’s a B-side; because it’s the weakest of all the songs.

There was another single, a Japanese import for “Angelina”.  This one had two more B-sides: “Spanish Ballroom” and “Planet Earth”. I would really, really, really like to have that. Amazon is asking $45. Hard to justify for two songs (although I have done things like that before).

It’s a shame Neurotic Outsiders never made a second album. But maybe not — maybe a second album would have tarnished my memories. As it stands, it is just a one-off and will likely remain so, but it is also an album I still listen to 18 years later.

5/5 stars, and one middle finger!

The Toronto Musical Collectibles Record & CD Sale

My thoughts are with those in Boston tonight.
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Yesterday, T-Rev, Wes and I attended the  The Toronto Musical Collectibles Record & CD Sale.  T-Rev went specifically hoping to find Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake by the Small Faces, on vinyl, with the original round cover in displayable condition.  He came home with that record for the price of $30.

I hit paydirt.  I came with $200 and I left with $0 (there was a $5 entrance fee).  I also left with seven (7!!!) Japanese import rock albums all with bonus tracks, five 12″ records, a 7″ single, and a rare book.  Today I’ll show you the CDs, which I am most excited about!  You can see the rest another day.

You can’t find Japanese imports anymore around here.  And many of these are long out of print.  I’ve been looking for the Pistols’ Filthy Lucre Live since 1996.  Blackmore’s Rainbow is one that I’d seen before.  The HMV store at Fairview Mall in Kitchener had one…in 1995.  Rob Vuckovich used to try to goad me into buying it, but I couldn’t pay the $50 price tag for just one bonus track.  $15 though?  With obi strip intact?  Hell yeah!

So here’s the list of Japanese imports and what I paid.  I believe most of these have to be half of retail.

HAREM SCAREM – Live at the Gods.  This is a Japanese exclusive live album.  I paid $20, sealed.
SEX PISTOLS – Filthy Lucre Live.  I’ve been waiting a long time.  I love this album.  Two bonus tracks:  “Buddies” (“Bodies”) and “No Fun”.
SCORPIONS – Face the Heat.  I paid $15, for 2 wimpy bonus tracks called “Kami O Shin Jiru” and “Daddy’s Girl”.  Both are ballads, but for $15, no bother!
IAN GILLAN – Gillan’s Inn.  This one was a bit more expensive:  $30, because it had the DVD (that won’t play in this region).  But it also has the bonus track “Eternity” that isn’t even on the Tour Edition.
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY – Wiseblood.  I paid $20, has the bonus track “The Land of Free Disease”.
RAINBOW – Stranger In Us All.  Bonus track: “Emotional Crime”.  Paid $15.
WHITESNAKE – Good To Be Bad.  Paid $20, sealed.  Two bonus tracks:  “All For Love (Alt mix/Doug solo)” and “Summer Rain (Unzipped)”.

REVIEW: Sex Pistols – “God Save The Queen” (3″ single)

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SEX PISTOLS – “God Save The Queen” (3″ single)

I’m going to be covering more of my rarities in 2013.  Here’s a neat little item that I picked up back in 1996 for the princely sum of $4.  A guy called me up and said he was bringing in some discs  including a Sex Pistols 3″ single.  I’d never owned a 3″ single before, so I knew right away that I would want it for myself.  He came in right at the end of my shift and we did the deal.

This 3″ single contains 3 tracks, all of them available on Pistols albums:

  1.  “God Save the Queen” (from Never Mind the Bollocks)
  2. “Did You No Wrong” (from Flogging a Dead Horse, which collected this B-side)
  3. “Don’t Give Me No Lip Child” (from some versions of The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle)

I only own one Pistols album, a 2 CD edition of Never Mind the Bollocks, including a bonus disc called Spunk and Spedding Demos.  That one album is more than enough Pistols for me (although I do still want to pick up Filthy Lucre Live) and I really never liked the bonus disc too much.  The album itself is the meat and potatoes.

Having said that, this single was a great way for me to pick up two more Pistols songs that I liked, without having to get more albums that would probably sit collecting dust on my shelves.  And I do like these two tunes.  “Did You Know Wrong” is a particular favourite, “Don’t Give Me No Lip” sounds like it was probably recorded live in the studio.  It’s muddy and you can barely hear Rotten.  You certainly can’t really make out the words!  You can hear tape drop out at 1:47, don’t know if that’s on the album or not.

3/5 stars