Tuesday, February 01, 2011

AFS v. 299 ~ City Spirit


This week in AFS...

* Cheveu's 1000 hits the USA!
* maybe that was T.M.I. at the end...sorry!
* a remarkable, accidental "City Rock" discovery!




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or STREAM IT HERE by next Monday night.

ED NASTY & THE DOPEDS | I'm Gonna Be Everything | I'm Gonna Be Everything 7" | Last Laugh *new (orig 1978)
CIRCLE PIT | Roll With the Punches | Sewercide 7" | Sweet Rot/R.I.P. Society *new
22-PISTEPIRKKO | Bone Bone Baby | Bare Bone Nest | Spirit 1989
HORRID RED | Foehn Winds | Pink Flowers 7" | Soft Abuse *new
PSYCHE | Wrench 11 | Tales from the Darkside | Animalized 1990 (orig 1982)
BUK BUK BIGUPS | Hot Mess (live on KFJC) | Big Big Fuckups CS | Zeff Group *new
CHROME | In a Dream | Red Exposure | Lilith 2010 (orig 1980)
TUXEDOMOON | Nervous Guy | Scream with a View 12" EP | PRE 1979
CHEVEU | No Birds/Impossible is not French | 1000 | Kill Shaman *new
THE ORTHOTONICS | Whack-a-Mole | Luminous Bipeds | Rift 1986
IMPRACTICAL COCKPIT | Lowell "Bud" Paxson | Pretty Totally | Unwucht *new (orig 2001)
PROOF OF UTAH | August Days | Out of Order | Smiley Turtle 1989
MOTOR TOTEMIST GUILD | Diamonds for Fishhooks | Shapuno Zoo | No Man's Land 1988
PORNOSECT | Pure | ...of Vibrations, Resonances and Divine Things | The Product Korps 1988
SCORN | Automata | Evanescence | Earache 1994
ALVIN LUCIEN | I Am Sitting in a Room Pt. I (excerpt) | I Am Sitting in a Room | Lovely Music 1981
COIL | Ubu Noir | Scatology | Force & Form 1984
THUG | 2 Important Mistakes | Proud Idiots Parade | Black Eye 1987
THUG | Fuck Your Dad | v/a: Waste Sausage | Black Eye 1987
THE POOFTERS | Wipe Out Your Whole Family | v/a: Waste Sausage
SMERSH | Under Your Hoop | Emmanuelle Goes to Bangkok | KK Records 1990
SLEETMUTE NIGHTMUTE | Look Back in Anger | Night of Long Knives | Fast Weapons *new (orig 2004)
SLUMS | Waiting Rooms/Chained to the Wall | demo CDR | no label 2004
TRIAL | Lobotomized Visions | Moments of Collapse | Communications Syndicate 1986
JOHN JARRETT'S TRIBE | Something Always Brings Me Back | self-titled | Capitol/EMI 1984
BROWNSVILLE STATION | Rockers 'n' Rollers | self-titled | Private Stock 1977
THE ROCKETS | Desire | No Ballads | RSO 1980
TIGHT FITS | Bulldozer | Full Frontal Attack 7" | Pure Filth 1995
MY BROTH'R HANS | Set My Bowels Free | The Money Makers of Punk Rock CS | Scud Prod. 1992
THE A.G.'s | Taking a Shit | Bryan's Car 7" | Mystic/Super Seven 1987

Every now and then, I go to pull a record outta the cavernous catacombs of the KDVS record collection and I get blindsided by a record that I never dreamed existed, and it's like a Highlander "quickening" moment. Such was the case tonight when I went back to grab Moments of Collapse by Trial and found the very next record in our alphabetized archive labeled as Tribe. The LP cover piqued my interest. With the "I" represented by a jagged diseased palm tree topped by a sabertoothed ear-pierced (in an era when the right ear was the wrong ear to pierce in rock 'n' roll!) lion-sphynx, the bold red Tribe logo screamed speed-metal, but certain members of the band looked curiously un-metal, even as they posed in an urban ruin. Apparently, the LP had been in our record collection since it was new in September of 1984. The back cover shows a color picture of the band perched atop a crumbling arcade on the 2nd floor of the brick building, posing with much more personality. The band members were John Jarrett, Jon "The Bull" Riveiro, Phil Grande, and Greg "Bonz" Baze. Is Phil Grande a rock 'n' roll name or what? Add the Bull and Bonz to the brigade, and Jarrett's band can only be formidable. Considering themes evoked by the song titles, I knew I'd found the trail of "City Rock"...

Side A
------
1. I Wanna Be With You
2. I'm Always In Trouble
3. Call Of The Wild
4. Movin'
5. Something Always Brings Me Back

Side B
------
1. Don't Say No
2. Every Man For Himself
3. Nature Of The Beast
4. Love Is Like A Wheel
5. You Can't Do That

Flipping back to the front cover, I noticed that the band was actually called John Jarrett's Tribe, so this record had been mislabeled and misfiled since 1984! It was some kinda miracle that I'd found this record. Then I noticed that the radio station label had but one DJ notation: "Grower!" I knew right then that I must hear this album!

Like everyone else, I knew nothing of this "City Rock" phenomenon until I had noticed that the "City Rock" message board thread at Terminal Boredom had burgeoned so quickly to about 20 pages. I tried to catch up, but was still confused about whether this so-called musical genre was real and whether its proponents weren't pulling a fast one on other TermBo readers. But soon I came to realize what was actually special about it....at its best, this music was as much about truth, as genuine, devotional, and honest as punk rock at its best, and like punk rock or hip hop, it was as at once a style of music and an immersible lifestyle with its own belief system. And, again like punk rock or hip hop, the lifestyle city rocker was viewed by others as having made the wrong choice. Some chased their dreams to stardom and successful careers, like Eddie Money or even Huey Lewis (whose News are claimed by nearly every little city in the East and North SF Bay Area as a hometown band, and local legend when I was a 4th-grader was that their first practice was in a basement in the huddled little downtown of Suisun City...which was a neighborhood on the skids when I was a 4th-grader at Suisun Elementary). But others kept chasing and never achieved the dream. They gave the best years of their life to rock 'n' roll, partying, party-girls, living every day like it was the weekend, and if they were still rockin' toward or into their middle ages, they'd be more qualified to write songs about epic loss and despair than any post-folkrock plunderer of world-beat music, or any ex-school-teacher post-new-wave Zen-master, or any Juno-award-winning supposedly-edgy ingenue.

Having found John Jarrett's MySpace (which includes a song not from this album--"The Racer"--that totally smokes anything on the first Def Leppard album as a palpably-punk-tangential glitter-pop-metal nugget!), I see evidence that he rocked it as recently as five years ago! And a recent photo of Mr. Jarrett with Hilly Michaels (right), who's credited in several ways in the liner notes of the album. Other notable names in the liners include Ellen Foley and Dan Hartman on background vocals. If you search Discogs.com, nothing comes up for this album, but you do find John credited as a vocalist on "Mano a Mano" from Hall & Oates' Private Eyes. More Google-sleuthing reveals that bassist Bonz was also in disco outfit Touch, and Phil Grande played guitar with Joe Cocker, and re-joined John (with Hilly on drums) in a band called Life Dot Com.

Surely, there's several songs on the Tribe's album which exhibit the cringeworthy cheese of 1984's prevalent professional studio production values, but there are several winners on the album that are bursting with that irrepressible city spirit. Check these lyrics from tonight's selection...

"Something Always Brings Me Back"

So pretty, those neon lights are calling me
This city, my city means so much to me
The many faces that she has
Places that she has to hide away
When you don't feel like being seen.

But don't be foolish
Don't let it hold you down
It's not so easy
I know, 'cause I've been around

Something always brings me back
No matter how I try to spread my wings and fly
Something always brings me back

This Friday, they're having a party in the street
I'm going, I know there'll be lots of girls to meet
There'll be dancing all day long
And dancing until dawn
A real good time for all
In the city that never sleeps

But don't be foolish
Don't let it hold you down
It's not so easy
I know, 'cause I've been around

Something always brings me back
No matter how I try to spread my wings and fly
Something always brings me back

Here's another track from the album (incorrectly titled by the person who posted the video)...



You can smirk and say it's 80s cheese...but that's too easy! Many examples of City Rock sounds like a soundtrack to any of the hundreds of mostly-forgotten one-star-rated 80s movies you enjoy on an ironic level. But if you consider the lyrics of "I'm Always in Trouble" and hear the conviction in the vocal effort, you've gotta figure that this is a pretty honest biographical song. The intimacy totally betrays the larger-than-life production value.

If this doesn't help you catch the City Rock bug, then keep reading as the TermBo thread grows, and please forgive me if I occasionally dig up another nugget and stick it near the end of a future podcast. I make no promises on their behalf, but I'm gonna keep bugging Sacto's chief arbiters of City Rock crucialness to come guest-host an AFS where we can get it all outta our system.

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