The Brooklyn based label Personal Injury Records has just reissued two albums from lo-fi legend R. Stevie Moore. The prolific singer, songwriter, and musician has self-released over 400 albums since 1968, mostly through the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club, a home-based label. Moore has also worked on numerous collaborations with a wide array of artists including: Ariel Pink, Mike Watt, Dr. Dog, Eric Matthews, MGMT, The Vaccines, Tim Burgess and many more.
Moore’s classic 2nd album Delicate Tension was originally released by his uncle on HP Music in 1978. Delicate Tension is regarded as an absolute highlight of RSM’s massive discography. Reissued for the first time on vinyl in an exact-repro sleeve and mastered from a digital transfer off the original analog reels.
Glad Music, originally released on the French label New Rose in 1986, is regarded as one of the highlights of RSM’s 400+ album discography and was featured as one of his six most “essential” albums by The WIRE.
“Despite plaudits from the likes of Trouser Press and increasingly favourable treatment in the UK inkies, Moore was unable to convert his critical reputation into sales. Laid down in a professional recording studio, Glad Music feels like a last failed stab at connecting with an audience. It’s as though Moore suspects that, all along, that was the problem. Consequently, although it’s almost conventional, it is, thanks to glistening steel-string acoustic guitar, often beautiful.” – Matthew Ingram, The WIRE (2012)
Michael Hurley is a singularly unusual musician and artist. Born in 1941 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Hurley moved to New York in the early ‘60s, where he began making his name on the subversive Greenwich Village folk scene before contracting mono and spending years in and out of hospital. Back in health, he was discovered by blues and jazz historian Frederick Ramsey III and subsequently championed by boyhood friend Jesse Colin Young, he recorded his debut album, 1964’s First Songs for Folkways, on the same reel-to-reel machine that taped Lead Belly’s Last Sessions. Its songs were borrowed by Holy Modal Rounders and The Youngbloods, the latter signing Hurley to their Raccoon imprint and releasing his next two albums. The singer-songwriter came into his own recording those warm, eccentric records, colored as they are by fantastic characters, charming Americana and homemade blues.
Hurley’s 1971 album Armchair Boggie was recorded with Jesse Colin Young and featured 14 songs about love and strange things – werewolves (‘Werewolf’), institutionalized English gentry (‘English Nobleman’) and aquatic birds (‘Penguin’). Credited to Michael Hurley and pals, Young is among the friends who appear. Largely acoustic, it features little more than the sound of Hurley’s guitar and voice and the occasional mouth trumpet.
Hi Fi Snock Uptown, produced by “Banana” and Joe Bauer, saw Hurley amplifying some of Armchair Boogie’s willfully esoteric qualities and delivering an album that explores the full range of his sound, from blues to country and folk to playful sounds – like his crow impressions on ‘Old Black Crow’. As ‘Twilight Zone’ neatly puts it, “everything is weird”. It also features some of his most loved songs such as ‘Water Train’, ‘Eyes, Eyes’ and the gorgeous traveling track ‘Blue Driver’.
Both Armchair Boggie andHi Fi Snock Uptown are highly sought-after albums sounding better than they ever have, complete with Hurley’s own, unmistakable sleeve art. The albums are housed in a deluxe, gatefold, tip-on jacket.
First ever CD reissue
Remastered by J.J. Golden (Golden Mastering) from the original master tapes
Deluxe Stoughton gatefold CD “tip-on” jacket
Includes 36 page reproduction of original cartoon book by Hurley (*Armchair Boggie only)
It’s time for another installment of Free Basin’ Friday. This week we’ve got an awesome prize for yah! We will be giving away copy of Strawberry Rain’s forthcoming release of Slaty Dog’s self-titled LP with non-album bonus 7” single!!!
Having formed during the height of the Zamrock period, Salty Dog was a three man band modled after the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Having wanted to base the band around the concept of the force of life, Salty Dog was chosen as a result of being slang for ‘sperm’. The 8th release on the Zambezi imprint, Salty Dog is one of the most obscure Zambian titles from the era having failed to achieve the success of some of their peers like WITCH. The self titled release is a combination of psychedelic rock, blues and folk, with all english songs. Really good from start to end, essential for collectors of African rock and insanely rare as an original. As a bonus for this release we’ve also managed to press up the non-lp single that was released before the album titled ‘Sunday Morning Sunshine’.
For your chance to win this weeks Free Basin’ Friday, please answer the following question: If you had a psychedelic zamrock band, what would name it? Please write your answer in the comment box below. Do not forget to included your email address in the box provided, all addresses will be visible to Light In The Attic employees ONLY. Winners will be announced next Friday via Twitter and Facebook.
Continuing the never-ending quest to remaster and repackage the greatest music you’ve never heard (but definitely should), our imprint Future Days Recordings is set to release a survey of Memphis singer/songwriter/keyboardist/guitarist Bobby Whitlock. Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way collects the first two early 1970’s solo albums on CD with extensive liner notes. Additionally, we will be releasing both albums, Bobby Whitlock (1972) and Raw Velvet (also 1972), on 180 gram vinyl with the original artwork and liner notes. These soulful albums from one of rock music’s key unsung figures features star-studded line-ups that include George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Delaney & Bonnie.
Whitlock’s story is a remarkable one. Born to a hardscrabble existence, raised in abject poverty, abused by his preacher father and was sent out to pick cotton in the fields. Moving from one railroad town to another, Whitlock was quite literally from the wrong side of the tracks.
Yet thanks to his singing and piano playing, music was Whitlock’s escape. Winding up in Memphis, Whitlock hooked up with Stax Records, who signed him as the first white artist to their new pop label HIP. But it was soul music, not pop, that was in Whitlock’s heart – and his break came when Delaney & Bonnie asked him to join their band, The Friends.
Following Delaney & Bonnie from Stax to Elektra Records, Whitlock found his life starting to intertwine with ‘60s rock royalty. Delaney & Bonnie took him on tour with Blind Faith, where Eric Clapton was impressed with Whitlock’s playing and the camaraderie he saw in The Friends. Soon, Whitlock joined Clapton, Jim Gordon and Carl Radle in Derek & The Dominos, the crack unit that backed George Harrison on much of the seminal All Things Must Pass and recorded the classic rock album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs.
During the recording of those albums, Whitlock tentatively made his first steps as a solo artist with his 1972 self-titled album. Though drugs were already beginning to tear Derek & The Dominoes apart, Whitlock was able to call on some high profile friends (and “Friends”) to play on his album, including Clapton, Harrison, session bassist Klaus Voorman (John Lennon, Carly Simon, et al), drummer Jim Gordon, Chris Wood (of Traffic) and others. “I really loved my first record and everything that was behind it,” says Whitlock now. “And for the love that was brought to the room by everyone each time we recorded. I know that you can hear it in Eric’s solo on “The Scenery Has Slowly Changed.”
When Bobby presented his album to Atlantic Records they rejected it, citing a different vision for his debut record. So Bobby bought himself out of his contract. Soon after, The Dominos split up following troubled second album sessions. Bobby just kept moving: first back to his rural home in England, then to France, where the Rolling Stones were recording Exile On Main Street. He found a deal for his debut album (via producer Jimmy Miller) and a follow-up too. That second album, Raw Velvet, featured the Edwin Hawkins Singers, the L.A. Symphony, Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon and Bobby’s new band members: Rick Vito on guitar, Keith Ellis on bass and Don Poncher on drums. Andy Johns co-produced the self-titled debut (with Whitlock) and Jimmy Miller produced the Raw Velvet LP. Andy was the recording engineer of Exile on Main Street and later produced Television’s Marquee Moon. Miller, of course, produced Exile On Main Street!
Pat Thomas, the reissue producer of this project, told Bobby Whitlock during their first conversation about reissuing these recordings: “Your first two solo albums are the missing link for all this seminal music that has been on CD for years; Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, All Things Must Pass, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Dave Mason’s Alone Together, and Delaney & Bonnie and Friends ’On Tour’ with Eric Clapton.”
Bobby paused for a moment, and said, “I never thought about it like that, but you’re absolutely right.”
The Portland based label, Manchu Picchu Ltd. has done it again! Their newest reissue Dark’s Round the Edgesis one of THEE greatest guitar-heavy psych records in the world. The album was originally released in an edition of around 50 copies, mostly for friends, family, and the odd record company. Its reputation has since blossomed into something resembling a redwood, or perhaps an original Van Gogh. This album is the holy grail for lovers of fuzz-driven hard rock, and has been the most sought-after privately pressed LP on the planet.
The good people at Manchu Picchu Ltd. spared no expense to bring you the deluxe reissue of this classic, an album beloved by heads & cosmic couriers around the world for its great songwriting, terrific instrumental workouts, and mysterious vibe. DONT SLEEP ON THIS, ZERO TIME IS NOW!
• Officially licensed by Dark, who will receive royalties from sales of this album
• Remastered and restored by Warren Defever for maximum brilliance
• Sleeve notes by the group’s songwriter and guitarist Steve Giles, including a complete group history
• LP sleeved in a tip-on gatefold jacket, with an expanded version of the original LP booklet – 20 pages of lyrics and never before seen photos from the group’s personal archives.
• CD sleeved in a digipak, with the same detail and notes as the LP
Pre-orders are now open for Paradise of Bachelors‘ forthcoming release of In Search (PoB-07), the first reissue of the highly collectable 1981 private press countrydelic by Chance Martin, longtime friend of Johnny Cash and radio DJ partner of Cowboy Jack Clement.
After working for and touring with his friend and mentor Johnny Cash as cue card man, stage manager, and lighting designer for eight years, in 1977 Chance began a new life. By the time he was thirty-one, he had already worked stagehands union gigs for all the greats, hung with them and partied with them backstage, and realized that it was now or never—time to turn off all the outside influences, hunker down, and make it new, or else. So he started writing songs on Johnny Cash’s D35 Martin, a gift from the master.
Chance and his gang holed up in the Dead End, the kitted-out “bonus room” above his parents’ garage on a cul-de-sac in a residential South Nashville neighborhood, complete with reel-to-reels, bed, bar, a Head of Security, and a Sergeant at Arms. Under the direction of Chance as guru, they spent five years in secrecy and self-imposed musical isolation, writing songs and recording endless hours of work tapes, periodically emerging under the cover of night, in a convoy of limos and people-movers, to record midnight sessions at the Music Mill and Cowboy Jack Clement’s place.
The result was In Search (1981), a fierce, inimitable, and mythmaking countrydelic masterpiece of insular inspiration and absolutely singular vision and scope. Despite its intensely personal origins, long gestation, substantial financial costs, and deadly serious deliberation, the album betrays very little in the way of outside influences or traceable authorship. Commanding, aggressive, and unabashedly masculine, it literally sounds like nothing else we’ve ever heard—this is as close as we’ve gotten to unique music (if there is such a thing), the real deal, an obsessive, private-press triumph of the imagination. The closest analog we can (tentatively) venture is some unholy pot likker of Waylon Jennings, Funkadelic, the Fields of Nephilim, and the Bob Seger System: a strange Southern Gothic, alternately frightening and funky, and utterly transfixing. One can only wonder as to which interstellar channels Chance is tuned, but whatever he’s hearing is not the same transmission that the rest of us hear. And God bless him for it.
For international shipping rates, please email:
We’d like to announce Part II of the 2013 Light In The Attic Subscription Package… There are so many good things on tap for the second half of 2013 that we’ve decided to change it up a bit. Your Part II subscription will exclusively feature titles released on Light In The Attic rather than a mix of our imprint labels. We’re incredibly proud of what we have in store for the second half of 2013, as it’s certainly some of the finest releases in our 11-year history. Below is a sneak peak at what we’ve got coming up. In addition to the below, your subscription will also include two gorgeous anthologies, each Double-CDs / Triple-LPs packages. It’s too early to spill the beans on those but we promise you’ll be happy campers. Without further adieu:
Public Image Limited – First Issue
Light In The Attic
(LITA 100 2xCD, LP+Download, Digital)
This one feels like a bit of the ol’ we are not worthy. Years in the making, we’re delighted to be releasing the seminal 1978 debut album from Public Image Limited. Surprisingly, after all these years, the album’s never been available domestically in North America, not even back in ’78. With the guidance of John Lydon, this official release features a number of PiL rarities including two stickers, various archival materials, the non-album single B-side “The Cowboy Song” and an unedited October 1978 BBC audio interview (both of which are included on the LP download card only). The LP also includes a massive fold-out poster, while both the Double-CD and LP are housed in an expanded tip-on gatefold jacket. Plus, you’ll receive a PiL patch and a set of 6 PiL buttons – only available for subscribers and pre-orders.
Honey Ltd. – The Complete LHI Recordings
Light In The Attic
(LITA 102 CD, LP, Digital)
Our Lee Hazlewood Archive Series continues with the first ever anthology of soft-psych girl group the Honey Ltd. Hailing from Detroit and moving to Los Angeles in the mid-60s, the band released one album, produced by Lee in ’68. The record instantly disappeared – rumored to have only pressed 50 copies and now selling on the black market for $2,000. The Complete LHI Recordings presents everything the group ever recorded. Fans of The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las and Pentangle are in for a treat – Honey Ltd’s music blended social commentary with harmony-drenched, psych-soul pop. Jessica Hundley’s liner notes include interviews with each band member, filling us in on a lost chapter of Hazlewood’s genius. For LP subscribers, you’ll enjoy a special color edition — only available to subscribers.
Roky Erickson – The Evil One
Light In The Attic
(LITA 097 CD, 2xLP+Download, Digital)
Roky Erickson – Don’t Slander Me
Light In The Attic
(LITA 098 CD, 2xLP+Download, Digital)
Roky Erickson – Gremlins Have Pictures
Light In The Attic
(LITA 099 CD, LP+7”+Download, Digital)
Celebrating a creative purple patch by a singular performer, these three solo works remain a missing jigsaw piece in the history of American rock ‘n’ roll. As the core member of the 13th Floor Elevators and an undisputed pioneer of psychedelic rock, the ’60s were thrilling times for Roky Erickson. His band was riding high in their native Texas and beyond, but Erickson’s ‘60s ended in the stuff of nightmares as he was found with a single joint on his person. Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to avoid prison, Roky was sent to the Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane. Erickson’s experiences in the hospital proved to be fertile inspiration for his music – on leaving, he formed the group Roky Erickson And The Aliens and with the help of Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) recorded his finest work, available here in expanded deluxe editions, including Roky’s masterpiece, 1981’s The Evil One (finally featuring all 15 tracks!). All three titles are meticuously re-mastered and beautifully packaged. Joe Nick Patoski’s liner notes are worth the price of admission alone. For LP subscribers, you’ll enjoy a special color edition — only available to subscribers.
Part II of Your 2013 Subscription Package Includes:
+ The first 8 CDs or 8 LPs released from Light In The Attic during the second half of 2013, excluding box sets.
+ Select LP releases will include special Subscriber-Only colored wax, not available for non-subscribers or anywhere else in the known universe (other exclusive items will be offered when colored vinyl is not)
+ 15% off ALL online orders for the entire year, excluding subscriptions
+ First dibs on various rarities and exclusives throughout the year
+ Free shipping within the USA for your Subscription titles
+ Due to licensing restrictions, not every LP release will include a digital download coupon
+ Due to the varying cost of postage to various countries, please email for international shipping rates: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE TO 2013 PART I SUBSCRIBERS:
You should have received an email from email@example.com detailing where you are in your subscription and how you can renew for Part II. If for some reason you did not receive the email, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
For most people, digging through dusty and moldy stacks of records is not the most enjoyable experience. However, for others diving deep into the bowels of an unpicked record stockpile, no matter how grimy, is heaven on earth. Digging for these people is much more than a hobby; it’s an art and a love, which often boards on obsession. Diggers, like junkies, are always on the hunt for their next fix, whether it’s an obscure Indonesian garage rock 45 or an unopened first pressing of a rare jazz LP. For some diggers, their fascination with searching for records can take them all over the world and led to some interesting experiences. It is for this reason that from time to time we like to check in with some of our favorite crate diggers and see what they have been up too. Recently we caught up with longtime collaborator and resident Light In The Attic head Kevin “Sipreano” Howes for a quick Q&A. In addition to being one of our good buddies, Kevin is also an excellent DJ, writer (wrote the liner notes for the Mowest anthology, the Jamaica To Toronto series, and more), producer, etc. Read the our interview below with Kevin to find out what he has been listening to and working on, as well as his most recent experiences digging.
What are you listening to these days?
Passing gas and environmental sounds mostly. Oops, do you mean records??? You prolly mean records, right??? Ok, I can answer that too. Um, I’m always buying wax so let’s walk over to my decks (where the vinyl seems to congregate) and I’ll spew out some pseudo-random titles for y’all: Clarice Labbé and Charlie Hampton – Clarice Swings With Charlie Hampton (LP), Sacha – Dance To The Violin (LP), Lee Cremo And His Band – The Cape Breton Fiddle Of (LP), Susan Jacks- I Thought Of You Again…. (LP), Diane Marchal – Soleil De Ma Vie (7”), Frumious Bandersnatch – s/t (7”, EP) (*an OG, finally!@#$%!!!), Steve Winwood – Night Train (Instrumental) (12”), Hiroshima – Another Place (LP, *props to Dancing Bear!!!), Miles Davis – A Tribute To Jack Johnson (LP), Shoes – One In Versailles (LP, *nice Numero reissue, once again, props to DB!!!), Nancy Nash – Ain’t Nothing Without You (12”), Joani Taylor And The Numerality Singers – Joani (LP), Stan Campbell – Seven Long Years (12”), New Order – Technique (LP), My Bloody Valentine – m b v (LP), Expansives – Life With You…. (12”), Les Pharaons – Marche Des Martiens (7”), Wayne St. John – Two Can Play(LTFSO) (7”), Lise Cousineau – Ville Emard Blues Band- Yama Nekh (7”), China Crisis – Tragedy & Mystery (12”), Morley Loon – Northland, My Land/Cette Terre Du Nord Qui Est Mienne (LP), Beverly Copeland – s/t (LP, CBC), and on, and on… Remember, it’s all about the music!@#$%!!! Don’t forget to E-X-P-L-O-R-E sounds outside your comfort zone or “scene”!!!
What are you currently working on?
Putting the finishing touches on LITA’s Native North America Vol. 1 is the BIG priority. NNA is a vinyl/CD/digital series of aboriginal folk and rock music from the 1960s-80s featuring a cross-section of indigenous performers like legendary Métis singer-songwriter and filmmaker Willie Dunn. We’ve recently shot some accompanying video footage w/ a few of the artists involved, so keep your eyes open for that too… I’m also assembling a book on 1960s-70s Canadian easy listening (MOR, sunshine pop, vocal jazz, Latin, instrumental). Any publishers out there wanna lose boats of money for the sake of art and or history??? Please be in touch!!!
As we know, you’re constantly diggin for records across the globe, have you had any great finds or interesting experiences lately?
International trips these days are mostly centered on friends, food, art, architecture, nature, and city life, but of course, it’s almost impossible to pass by a record shop w/o taking a peak. I adore music from all over the world (and dig and listen to tunes more than ever), but around 12 years ago I decided to go down a specific path and concentrate my collecting energies on vintage (yet still pertinent and often undocumented) Canadian sound heritage. Instead of following trends or trying to have a carbon copy collection of some “famous” DJ or producer, I tried to do my own thing (of course, inspired by mentors and close friends, most importantly, my local record guru/OG hippie, Ty Scammell, RIP). Following this passion has taken me all over Canada and it’s been tremendously edifying learning more about the place I call home (the digging is just a part of a greater whole). While I’m def trying to stay focused on what’s available to me here, of course, the Internet makes most anything accessible these days. It’s an endless search really, and one that splinters off into so many intriguing directions. Always learning. Apart from all of that, I do dream of returning to Japan for some vinyl shopping. My third (and last) trip to Nippon was back in 2000 and I miss it (and my Japanese friends) very dearly. Any LITA tomodachi (友達) to the west??? Kanpai (乾杯)!!! Hit me up at Voluntary In Nature. Let’s link!!! I also gotta say “Hola!!!” to Mexico City, where my partner and I recently returned from!!! Sending out eternal props to Carlos Icaza (aka Tropicaza) and all the good people we met who showed us a glimpse into another reality!@#$%!!! In addition to going to see The Stone Roses LIVE (!!!), Tropicaza and I played a selection of 7”s one night at a sweet Pulqueria in the Roma district. It was nice to see fine folks moving and grooving to the sounds!!! The D.F. is such an affecting place!@#$%!!! We will return. Thanks again for your hospitality Carlos!!!
* Photo Courtesy of Voluntary In Nature
Any last words?
Been getting positive vibes and vibrations from FUSE TV’s Crate Diggers series (hella fun, especially when funny, check J. Rocc’s episode for proof, pure comedy and dope records), Enjoy The Experience(can’t afford to shell out for this heavyweight tome on the world of private/vanity press vinyl, but I thumbed through every page w/ glee at Vancouver’s Beat Street Records), H.K. BBQ Master (any non-veg heads visiting B.C. should hit this spot for top notch char siu!!!!), Just Jam (86 w/ Four Tet!@#$%???), Cratery (complimentary series of oldies mixes from this Toronto-based crew, also available on iTunes), Seekers International (cop The Call From Below, so boss!!!), 180 Proof Records’ Strata archival series, The Trilogy Tapes (crucial blog and cultural hub from the UK), the impending summer months (more vitamin D please, swimming in lakes and the ocean!!! getting hitched in the OK!@#$%!!! sounds about perfect!!!), The Stone Roses, “Love Is The Answer” (*dedicated to the two who know who!!!), Willie Thrasher, Willy Mitchell, Willie Dunn, and all of the artists involved w/ Native North America. PEACE!!!
* Photo by Rana Chatterjee
You can follow Kevin on his travels at his blog Voluntary In Nature. From all of us here at Light In The Attic we’d like to thank Kevin and congratulate him on his engagement!
The documentary Her Aim Is True, about legendary rock-n-roll photographer Jini Dellaccio, will premiere this weekend at the Seattle International Film Festival, May 26 & 27. Dellaccio, now 96, is responsible for some of the most iconic photographs of the early 60′s Pacific Northwest rock-n-roll scene. She is best known for her documentation of the Seattle garage-rock groups the Sonics and the Wailers. Additionally, she has also worked with notable artist such as Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, and the Who. Although she did not become interested in rock photography until her late 40′s, she is widely recognized for her unique and creative approach. Dellaccio steered clear of the standard formulaic five-member line-up, instead photographing her subjects in more natural environments, often outdoors or in her home studio.
*Etiquette Records, album cover photo by Jini Dellaccio
A few years back we published an interview in two of our zines between photographers Jini Dellaccio and Charles Peterson. The interview, conducted by Kate Peterson, discussed what lead her to photography and the story of how she picked out her first camera.
In Her Aim Is True, independent filmmaker Karen Whitehead, explores the life and career of Dellaccio through archival photos and film, as well as exclusive interviews with Jini Dellacio, Merrilee Rush, Jim Valley of Paul Revere and The Raiders, Andy Parypa of The Sonics, Buck Ormsby of The Wailers, Steve Lalor and Doug Hastings of The Daily Flash. Famed rock photographers Alice Wheeler, Charles Peterson and Lance Mercer also appear in the film. Much like Dellaccio’s own work, Her Aim Is True is a documentation of an artistic legacy that helped influence and shape decades to come. For a schedule of screenings visit SIFF.net. Additional information about the film can be found at HerAimIsTrueMovie.com
For some time now, Ugly Things magazine has been a regular fixture of the Light In The Attic library. If you were to dig a little through our archive of aging publications that now inhabit our bathroom magazine rack, you would find countless issues of Ugly Things dating back to the early 90′s. First established in 1982, the San Diego based fanzine has championed the underdogs of rock’n’roll, focusing on the best overlooked bands and records of the 1960′s and beyond. The biannual publication has asserted itself as “THE” magazine for the garage rock enthusiast by featuring exclusive interviews, rare photos, and a massive review section of hundreds of vinyl and CD reissues, music-related books and DVDs. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Ugly Things and I was lucky enough to speak with Editor, Mike Stax, about the history of the magazine, some of the most memorable issues and their upcoming 30th Anniversary event. In our 10 + years in existence, Ugly Things has always been a big supporter of Light In The Attic and we can’t thank them enough for that. Here’s to 30 more years guys!
*Issue 12, Summer of 1993
Tell us a little about the history of UT. What lead you to start the publication?
It was late 1982 when I started putting together the first issue. It was the MTV era and the music scene seemed to be overrun with poodle hair metal groups and pretty boys with synthesizers. None of it spoke to me at all; in fact it just made me nauseous. For the past several years I had been digging deeper and deeper into the rock & roll of the ’60s, and the deeper I dug the more there was to dig. So I made it a personal mission to enlighten people about the greatness of bands like Q65, the Seeds, the Music Machine and the Pretty Things. I honestly believed (and still believe) that once people are exposed to that music they would never want to listen to the Police or Huey Lewis & the News ever again. So I started Ugly Things — the title was a tribute to the Pretty Things and also a declaration of our philosophy that the most real, authentic and exciting music was made by outsiders and misfits not overly stylized pretty boys.
I know for me personally and I’m sure for a lot of other people, without UT we wouldn’t have been turned on to countless great bands out there like The Pretty Things, The Monks and a whole slew of awesomely obscure 60′s garage rock groups. So, what’s been your favorite Top 3 articles or interviews over the past 30 years?
I’m always the most excited about whatever interview I’m currently embarking on, but here’s three of my favorites:
1) The Misunderstood (Issues 20-23). People began to question my sanity with this one. I lived and breathed the Misunderstood for about five years, interviewing all of the band members and dozens of other people connected to their story. It’s probably the most in-depth story ever written about a relatively ‘unknown’ band. The band members still cared passionately about the music they had created, and their lives had all been profoundly affected by their experience with the Misunderstood, so the interviews yielded responses that were detailed and filled with emotion.
2) The Monks (Issue 11). Again, the musicians’ lives had been impacted permanently by their experience playing in this band. Visiting Eddie Shaw at his home in Carson City and spending 24 hours immersed in Monks stories and memorabilia was an unforgettable adventure for me and Keith Patterson, who collaborated on the story with me.
*Dave Day of the Monks
3) Sean Bonniwell (Issue 2). This was the first interview I ever did, and I was fortunate that it was with someone as articulate and impassioned about his art as Sean. He had never talked at length about the Music Machine before, and I know our interest in his music really sparked something inside him and helped him make peace with his past. Talking to Sean inflamed my desire to track down more overlooked musicians from that era and tell their stories. That interview put Ugly Things on the track it has stayed on for the past 30 years. I really miss him.
With so many magazines shifting from physical circulation to digital, how does UT maintain its physical presence and relevance?
I think Ugly Things provides the kind of detailed, long-form content that loans itself better to the printed page than to the digital format. I mean, no one wants to read a 30,000 word story on a computer screen. Also people want the magazine in a tangible, permanent form — much like having a vinyl LP instead of a bunch of sonically inferior MP3s that are likely evaporate at any moment. I say this a lot: blogs are transitory, print is forever. The printed word carries more weight because it brings with it a sense of permanence. Online opinions are dished up and digested in the moment then they disappear into the ether. But when you set your words down on paper and send them out into the world, you are making a tangible statement that you will have to stand behind. Our readers appreciate and identify with that sense of commitment and passion.
This years marks the 30th anniversary of UT and to commemorate you’re throwing an event in San Diego during Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26. Can you tell us a little bit about the event?
We wanted to put together a celebration of the music we’ve been championing for the past 30 years, but also to make it unique and personal with some once in a lifetime configurations of musicians. On Friday, May 24 we have Glenn Campbell of the Misunderstood flying in from Auckland to play with our band, the Loons, on a special set of Misunderstood favorites and Loons tunes. Campbell is an amazing, instinctive player, and when he cuts loose on his pedal steel he sounds like no one else in the world. Ebbot Lundberg of Soundtrack of Our Lives is another person who impacted the magazine immensely, and he’ll be playing a special solo set that night. A great young band from Orange County, the Neumans will be opening the show. On Saturday we have LOVE Revisited with original LOVE lead guitarist Johnny Echols, and Ebbot will be singing lead for a big section of their set. If anyone can channel Arthur Lee, it’s Ebbot so I think this will be magical. Also that night the Sloths of “Makin’ Love” infamy, and the Rosalyns, an all-star girl garage band with members of the Schizophonics, the Gore Gore Girls, the New Kinetics and the Loons.
The final night is going to be tremendous. The Unclaimed will be playing their first show since 1987. They were one of the first and best of the so-called “garage revival” bands, and leader Shelley Ganz is a visionary songwriter. Then the Nashville Ramblers will play a set of New England ’60s sounds as the Rising Ramrods. They will also back legendary ’60s garage icon Ty Wagner for a couple of songs. Closing the night will be Benedict Arnold & the Traitors, another all-star constellation, this time from Detroit, featuring Fortune & Maltese. They’ll be playing a set of Paul Revere & the Raiders music in full costume and will blow the roof off the place on this final night of fun. They’ll be joined for part of their set by Cyril Jordan of the Flamin’ Groovies, who will also be playing with the Loons on the Friday. We have a few surprise guests in the pipeline too. Also, during the daytime, there will be film screenings, book signings and other fun. It’s going to be an unforgettable weekend!
For more info about Ugly Things magazine and their upcoming 30th Anniversary event visit Ugly-Things.com.