Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It's all fun and games...

...until some planet loses it's sun!

I originally bought them with dimes from returned bottles out of a spinner rack at a corner-shop. The first 'super' comics to grab my interest since Supergirl (Kurt Schaffenberger version), and Shazam! (which also had Schaffenberger) much earlier... the John Byrne drawn and Chris Claremont X-Men! Just in time for Phoenix to meet up with some British television inspired villains (looking like Peter Wynegarde and backed by a Hellfire Club straight out of the Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg Avengers) and become rather a bit twisted (a Peter Cushing lookalike named Hammer was to be found in the Iron Man comics of the same time). Dark Phoenix was pretty trippy stuff to me but actually what first got me reading was they introduced a mutant girl around my age and there were actual real looking, and even interesting, clothes on people some of the time. Wow. I wondered what made them want to change (usually without any comment or verbal agreement) into the gaudy spandex, but you know, you just accept these things as somehow necessary in a comic book. If not for that though I reasoned, even as a 12 year old, this could be decent science fiction ala John Wyndham, Theodore Sturgeon or A.E. Van Vogt.

Anyway, I wanted to post something, so thought I'd blather on like a newly forged fan and gush about John Byrne X-Men comics I've been buying/re-buying. Someone slipped my bf a copy of X-Men: The Hidden Years #1 at some point in the years past and it sat there until I glommed onto it and eventually sought out all the ones that came after that. I guess it was inevitable I'd want to follow up with what I could afford of the '70s issues I loved so much. The art had a lot of expression, preserved by star inker Terry Austin, the women in particular had presence and humanity (and a subtle sexuality in contrast to a lot of the ridiculous stuff that others would plaster about the super-universes before long).

And then of course Phoenix had to die. That sun she lustily scarfed down had an inhabited planet of billions... oops! Even at 12 I knew phoenixes rise from their ashes (plus they would've told me in the Dark Shadows re-runs), and so she has come back over and over. The best come-back though was finding out original X-Woman Jean Grey wasn't actually Phoenix after all. Thank you Kurt Buziek (apparently), and again John Byrne. But by then I had really reached the end of following comics (Supergirl's dead body gracing various covers played a part in that; it seemed like everyone had been getting rid of super females in particular since Phoenix had been put on trial and taking the ultimate fifth). It was good to know poor Jean Grey hadn't died after all, and her humanity even in copied form had actually saved all of creation! Yay!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Not much to say.

Still clinging to the planet. Remember EDWARD BEAR!
Artwork by Paul Weldon of Edward Bear.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


A friend bought this bootleg Beatles record and I really like the cover so have scanned it in. I wonder who the Mrs. Newton is/was? Very Appley name. This would make a nice t-shirt or wall hanging for someone more of a Beatlenik than I am... a small contribution to the continuing story of Bugalow Bill in cyberspace...

It's a 'J', 'R', 'P' and 'G'.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tommy doesn't know what day it is.

    A preview of a new production of The Who's Tommy, October 29th at the Lucky Bar in Victoria, had some genuine high points. With main event vocalists rehearsing during the sound check, expectations would be high. Real power with some solid players backing. Sooke is in for a huge treat I think!

     Erik was part of the pre-Tommy set with various guests which was fun as intended. He contributed to a solid Substitute and Can't Explain which I really dug. I'm A Boy was also irresistible. Very cool to see the former lead Laundronaut in action finally! I apologize for not naming names; everyone added something noticeably unique and cool, and it was a good crowd genuinely grooving on the sounds and sights.

    There would be some last wrinkles, but with as complex a project as Tommy, even without the pre-show, inevitable. A lot of people having to work together in ways they might never have before. As a Shindig with a cover feature on The Who said it not too long ago, for many of us our interest ends with the birth of Tommy. I'm jaded, I admit it. Maybe unfairly this high-concept art rock whatisit stuff gets knee-jerk lumped in with the silver capes and recreations of the
meaning of stonehenge. Hearing the material performed live does give me new respect however, and I'm sure the actual show by these Sooke Harbour Players will be f-ing kick-ass stomping great where it should be!

    It's not like I'm not aware of Simon Simopath, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, Odyssey And Oracle and S.F. Sorrow. I have respect for what Peter Townshend was attempting with Lifehouse and ultimately Tommy, but like Sgt. Pepper's I'm always likely to be the contararian seeing the bare spots on the tapestry rather than in awe of the overall design. I'm about the singles rather than the albums with very few exceptions (Revolver, Village Green Preservation Society, Then Play On). I want the peak moments and impatient to get to them, the context gets wasted on me usually.

    Do yourself a huge favour (if you can) November 6, 7, 13 ,14, 20 & 21st (7:00pm), 15th (2:00pm) at Edward Milne Theater in Sooke. Tickets at door, or Sooke Shopper's Drug Mart, The Stick or online at

Friday, August 28, 2015

Toronto-centric rewriting of Canada's rock history.

    You might want to get this new Backbeat book "The History Of Canadian Rock 'N' Roll" by Bob Mersereau. After all it covers such worthy groups as Toronto's Ugly Ducklings and Paupers, and Ottawa's Esquires and Staccatos. Unfortunately the framework of the 'story' being told is pretty much a latter day fabrication. Rather than Toronto playing an actual anti-Rock anti-Canadian music stance (eventually necessitating actual laws forcing Canadian radio chains headquartered in Toronto to play a percentage of home-grown recordings after a decade plus long foot dragging), it all starts you see with white doo-wop groups in Ontario covering black U.S. groups in a sometimes exaggeratedly chipper manner and 'creating' hits with borrowed song, and then Paul Anka partly based in New Jersey with his originals like Puppy Love and Put Your Head On My Shoulder. I'm sorry but as popular as these white doo-wop and crooner pop tunes may have been at the time they are not Rock & Roll to me. It's almost hilarious to see only at the tail end of Chapter 3, subtitled 'The Whole Country Joins In,' what was happening in Vancouver with Les Vogt & The Prowlers, The Stripes, The Nocturnals, or Aragon Records get mentioned at all (oh, sorry, the last three never do), and the date 1956, at least that is given, might stick out in contrast to the entire preceding chapters for any reader paying attention.

    Let me fill you in. Toronto media may have supported a few local clean cut white almost piss-takes of doo-wop (Crew Cuts, Four Lads), but it wasn't until maybe 1959 when any actual sound of Rock & Roll made it to their Canadian owned radio and tv (probably Ronnie Hawkins). The Chum chain in particular was known for throwing Canadian rock singles into trash cans in front of their producers into the early 1960s! The story of Rock & Roll in Canada belongs entirely to some key stations in Vancouver (especially via DJ Red Robinson), Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal and as many smaller ones in other places. Toronto groups like The Consuls never got their record played by the big Toronto stations. Even Windsor Ontario's CKLW radio/tv behemoth was a very late convert. And outside of Toronto groups? Why it just wasn't possible anything worth hearing could come from there... at least until Winnipeg's The Guess Who started charting in the U.S. in 1969.

    It took a feisty Australian, Ritchie Yorke, to write a real history of a real Rock music scene in Canada with "Axes, Chops & Hot Licks" way back in 1971! He also helped bring about the Canadian content regulations to address the very real anti-Canada and anti-Rock arrogance of the powers that be in Toronto. Imagine Canadian airwaves having to be forced to play the music of it's own audience! It was taken as an extreme outrage by the suits at the top of course, they knew a hit only could come from New York or maybe Los Angeles. People like Yorke, Walt Grealis, Duff Roman and Bernie Finkelstein fought Toronto for years with minimal resources and deserve more than footnote status in any book purporting to survey such a history. There might in fact have been no Rock 'N' Roll history to write past 1971 had the big TO maintained it's grip more viciously. Canadian rock groups of the 1950s and 1960s deserved far better treatment than they actually got from big town bullies in Toronto, and that should be the main story of at least the first three chapters of this current book. Yorkville musicians and clubs in particular had almost everyone against them in 'Toronto the good'. People who had top leave that scene under constant siege went on to make it in spite and in exile so latter day Toronto-centrists could bask in the reflected glow of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Steppenwolf, David Clayton-Thomas, glows they mightily worked to have snuffed out back in the actual pre-revision day.

    Backbeat has published some excellent music history books in the past, unfortunately this is one of the lesser and more flawed entries in their catalog due to severe omissions and some common basic ignorance. It's Toronto that comes in at the tail-end of the story of the early years of Rock in Canada, well, except as chief nemesis of the actual and historic producers and supporters of Canadian Rock music. If we're going to give prime time to super scrubbed up doo-wop cover groups and crooners then maybe there could have been more on the Maritime folk music scene too, but for a book titled Rock 'N' Roll the lion's share should really have gone to actual Rock groups of which les Vogt & the Prowlers on stage in Vancouver were an example of in 1955!!! The Bear Family label in Germany knew this in 2003 with two CD collections of Les Vogt & The Prowlers and Real Gone Aragon (on the Canadian label established in 1946, while eastern label Quality records was content to simply license U.S. recordings). The Vancouver Record Collectors Association and Michael Willmore knew before that, issuing four great albums of historic Canadian Rock sides sans any cultural grants. Too bad those in eastern offices missed so much of the reality when it happened all over the country.

    Further in there is also way too much about Leonard Cohen and Diana Krall for something labelled Rock History.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Green & Perfect

Here's a collection of 'clippings' originally posted to a Fleetwood Mac fan site about two of my favorite artists; Peter Green and Christine McVie (nee Perfect). It seems about time I gathered these back pages together in one place, hope you find them of interest.

Here's the group with a newly added Danny Kirwan (looking very much like Tom Kirby of Michigan's Tonto & The Renegades we thought)...

Fleetwood Mac in 1968

But before that, the even earlier years (from Rave Magazine)...

Player Of The Month for November 1966 in Beat Instrumental...


A good review...

More coverage soon followed...

And meanwhile here is Christine getting noticed with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack group...

Peter Green began a monthly column in Beat Instrumental with the September 1968 issue (here are the first four)...

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Front page news (courtesy Richard Morton Jack) and easier to read text below that...

Pete gets personal...

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

More about Brian Jones

Rolling Stones in 1964

While reading Paul Trynka's Brian Jones book published just this past August, a line, incongruously from an early Neil Young song, kept floating up in my mind. Recorded by both The Guess Who and Buffalo Springfield, 'Flying On The Ground' includes the words "you're from my side of town, and I'll miss you." A lot of people seem to have 'missed' Jones even while he was still on the ground, and many words have since been committed to screen and paper trying to capture what he was really all about. One among those who probably did have a read on the real Brian Jones was 'Stash' Klossowsky de Rola. He pegs Brian and the very spirit of Rock & Roll as reminiscent of the Greek god of fertility and master of the pipes, Pan. Brian Jones himself was aware of this as well. He sired five children with five different mothers in his short run, and while Screaming Jay Hawkins may have been more fruitful, he never played or mastered as many musical instruments as Brian is said to have! Anyone who has ever listened at all deeply to the early Rolling Stones records knows it was Brian who had a natural R&B 'suss' as Steve Marriot might've said. He was your key guy if you also got it, and it made this outrageous 'devil' from your side of town, and who wanted any other side? Well, some did apparently. For turning his own spotlight back onto Howlin' Wolf and other then marginalized black blues men you f-ng loved him! That slide on 'Little Red Rooster', which helped spawn garage groups across the U.S. and blues boom back in the U.K., happened. Happened in spite of the 'nankers' who insisted few would like it, or (Mick Jagger included) could never last.

Thank Your Lucky Stars 1963

As a music fanatic I somehow miss, maybe even deeply, what else Brian Jones could have created. Perhaps he was just lazy as Nico or some band mates claimed, the guy who put everything into getting and making so many early bookings for his uncertain, often uncommitted, group? It doesn't seem arrogant at all that such a namer/leader/manager would want a slight extra share later when his hard work paid off for everyone in a handing over management contract. Who shared all he knew freely, making the most important music related connections, and speaking and writing at length about R&B music? What Brian Jones did create all stood out just like his own personal image. His slide guitar, his harmonica, his marimba, recorder, sitar and mellotron always made the so-called 'Jagger-Richards' songs they were on. His backing vocals were there originally too, but gradually faded out, and Brian began to find himself alone in the studio with instructions as to what he was allowed to add. You shouldn't call lazy someone who was progressively written out like this, even denied half credit for 'Ruby Tuesday'. And in any case, we are told of acetates and tapes existing at one time of his own creation. What music fan wouldn't miss being able to hear those? Were they burned at the possible crime scene documented at his last residence, or perhaps among the many stolen items some of which have been seen since exchanged for large sums? Were the early solo recordings destroyed by a too-sensitive perfectionist, or only after being ridiculed by members of the band he wrote them for and whose own songs he clearly helped to have substance? I also miss the master tapes of the film soundtrack he provided to Anita Pallenberg's film with Kenny Jones of the Small Faces drumming and other quality contributors, and whatever he was working on in 1969 even if not intended for commercial release. I've heard some of his sessions with the Beatles*, and Jimi Hendrix (with vocals), and they are pretty cool!**

The author's ultimate criticism appears to be Brian's failure to simply leave the Stones, positing Loog-Olham, Jagger and Richards' much documented undermining and pushing may even have given him a perverse determination to stay. It was clearly important that he didn't want to appear a victim, and continually showed restraint in talking about fellow artists, mostly showing himself to be a real fan at heart. I don't think he lacked the self-assurance to go solo so much as he always most enjoyed working with others. On your own was simply no fun. 'Stash' injects wise words though when informing that the word "panic" comes from the name of Pan. When not unleashing it in Rolling Stones audiences, that seems what Brian Jones had some tendency to do. His ultimate panic was at the hands of the establishment as exercised through the police and a sensationalist tabloid. He was just recovering from that ordeal, apparently unable to tour the U.S. because of his under pressure and isolation admission of guilt, and recording wonderful things by some accounts in the music room of his last home.

Find this book, it might be the best one yet, although Alan Clayson's Origin Of The Species is also excellent.


* The 'You Know My Name' sessions where Brian plays saxophone.
** Brian and Jimi composed a song, called My Little One and recorded together at Olympic Studios in London with Jimi's mates Chas Chandler and Eddie Kramer. Brian Jones - Sitar and percussion, Jimi Hendrix - Guitar, Dave Mason - Bass and sitar, Mitch Mitchell – Drums

Tracks 1. My Little One (take 1) 3:34, 2. My Little One (take 2, also on Axis Outtakes) 3:30, 3. Ain't Nothing Wrong With That (My Little One with lyrics, Brian Jones vocal) 3:50