Friday, November 6, 2009


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eddy Dixon

I had Robert Gordon's records, but never saw him back in the day. I did, however, see him and Willem Dafoe (in his first movie role) in "The Loveless," a movie about two 1950s bikers who are headed for the Daytona races but mechanical difficulties in a small town with a hard-nosed sheriff with a smoking hot daughter get in the way. I saw this at the 8th Street Playhouse on, uh, 8th St. in "The Village." (Ask me about how when we went to see "Rock & Roll High School" there Marky Ramone and his mother sat right in front of us.)

Anyway, "The Loveless" had a great soundtrack, with a couple of Robert Gordon originals and re-recordings by the the likes of Little Richard of signature hit tunes.

Also on there was this guy Eddy Dixon, with a song called "Relentless." It was a slow one, but it boomed with singing emotion and twang guitar. Eddy Dixon's voice sounded at times otherworldly, like some latter-day Gene Vincent. The song had great lyrics too, containing a refrain "Look out, cat, I'll kill you twice." It was, to put it in WFMU "Fool's Paradise" DJ Rex's words, "a remarkable achievement in recorded sound."

A couple of years after the movie came out, I was skimming the Village Voice one week, and I saw that Eddy Dixon would be playing one of those music joints that crowd Bleecker St. I rounded up a crew from Staten Island and my East Village girlfriend and we went. We arrived midset and it was I must say disappointing. They must have been on something. No tightness, all over the place, and the guy couldn't sing. I kept calling out "Relentless!", "Relentless!" Eddy Dixon flipped because someone actually knew a song he recorded, and he tried. Oh, he tried. Poor guy. The "Relentless" he played was unrelentlessly piss-poor. Sounded nothing like the record and you could see he was struggling. I'm not really knocking him, it could happen to anybody. I screwed up singing a couple of times me-self.

My girlfriend recognized Eddy as a freelance plumber from the East Village, who had done work in her co-op tenement. Turns out he later played some bit part in "Wild at Heart" and was in a David Lynch short film "Rockabilly Guy". I wonder what he's doing today.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Phish Dec. 30, 1997 Madison Square Garden

Wait. What? Me at a Phish show? Free ticket in a big telecom's luxury box courtesy of this guy Terence, that's why. Old pals in attendance, as well. Couldn't see the show for the marijuana clouds, and from what I heard of it I'm glad I was never a Phish fan, because I'm certain I'd be disappointed. Oh yeah, and some dang hippie kids raided our box and swiped our free hot dogs, but at least we guarded the Heinekens properly.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ramones/Runaways/Suicide Jan. 7, 1978 Palladium NYC

Home from college, I dragged Duff, Eddie, and Butch to this. This was my second Ramones show, and it was a significant one because it was the first one the group played outside of a club in New York. A big-time genuine theater. Tickets were like $5.00, which I purchased from the Ticketron guy at The Record Baron on Forest Avenue on Staten Island. We were in about the 10th row in my estimation.

Suicide opened up. I guess they were forerunners of what was called "No Wave." This two-man "band" consisted of Alan Vega on screaming and Martin Rev on some kind of keyboard set-up that blasted our ears with some sort of unlistenable electronic racket. Boos rang out, and then they got pelted with crap. They blew. (Note however I did buy Vega's 1981 rockabilly record, Collision Drive, which I did like). We couldn't stand no more, so we went out to the lobby for beers. I scoped out Debbie Harry and David Johanson hanging about.

Of course, the Runaways exuded nothing but sex, and I'd read their management/PR had in the past hired teen boys to rub their crotches while standing stagefront. Eddie really had the hots for Lita Ford, the one with the long blonde hair. Joan Jett, in her Runaways, pre-"Joan Jett" persona, exhibited some fine rock & roll moves. I didn't like them too much though, but how can one resist the chorus to 'Cherry Bomb"? I was there to see The Ramones, the most amazing band I'd ever seen up to that point in my life. (I'll get to writing about the first time--that's gonna be a long post.)

The Ramones leapt on the stage and put out non-stop for 27 songs, my research shows. "Rockaway Beach" was the first one, with "Blitzkreig Bop" number three. They did the usual ritual doffing of leather after a few numbers. With a bigger stage, there was some room for Johnny and Dee Dee to do some choreographed maneuvers. They would head to the rear of the stage and and then charge up to the lip, bashing their instruments on the way. No audience member held their seat, and everyone rushed up the aisles to get close to the action. The pinhead showed up for the "We're A Happy Family" part of the encore.

The ears rang after this one, boy. The lives of Duff, Eddie, and Butch, who were more mainstream in their musical tastes, were altered forever by the show. For me, it was number two in a long line of Ramones concerts to come.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kinks at SUNY Geneseo 1979

Always liked The Kinks, I did (well except for maybe some of their ultra art rock of the early '70s). I liked how they sang in English English. They followed up their great hits of the '60s with credible rock & roll/new wavish hits later on.

In 1979, I hitched a ride from SUNY Fredonia over to see my Staten Island pals Roger and Bobby at SUNY Geneseo in Upstate New York. I arrived Friday afternoon and they scrambled to get me a ducat for that evening's performance to which they already had tickets. The show was in the gymnasium at the school. I don't remember if there was an opening band, or not. Anyway, we secured places right in front of the waist-high stage, in the argie-bargie. I couldn't help notice how the roadies had taped down sheets with the word "Geneseo" written on them so Ray Davies wouldn't have to remember where he actually was when addressing the crowd.

The band played their newer, hard rock/punk influenced hits from the album "Low Budget." Ray Davies was great--he is a showman extraordinaire.

At one point in between numbers, some guy in the crowd offered up a whiskey bottle to the band. The keyboard player made a gesture that said "sure I'll have some." Audience guy obliged by throwing the bottle of spirits toward the ivory tickler, who bungled the catch and whiskey went all over him and all over the place. Ray Davies did not look pleased.

They ended up doing all their old hits in the encore, like "Lola" and " You Really Got Me," and my fave, "All Day And All Of The Night."

Pretty good rock & roll show.

Friday, September 18, 2009

WNEW-FM 102.7 Summer Park Series 1972/1973

If you were cool you listened to WNEW, which at the time was pretty much free-form radio. You had your young Pete Fornatele, Scott Muni, Allison Steele the Nightbird, Vin Scelsa etc. as DJs. The station put on a free concert in each borough in the summertime, and this 13-year old's first one was in 1972 at Silver Lake Park on Staten Island. My brother Charlie and I and a couple of friends went. An interesting line-up. We sat on the grass in front of the bandstand while viewing Fleetwood Mac--but not the version you're probably used to hearing. It was all hairy guys and they played nothing but the blues, nothing at all like their pop-ish and popular persona of a few years later. There was Taj Mahal, a solo blues act who has been around forever. Several other bands whose names I can't recall played. One I do remember is McKendree Spring, a country rock Byrds-like outfit. They were all hairy, too.
In 1973, the concert returned. Allison Steele emceed. That's her in the upper right corner of this post. She was a beautiful red-headed woman. It was the first time I ever saw her, whether in the flesh or even a photo for that matter. This 14-year old wanted her so badly. On the radio, her soothing voice came on at 10 p.m., usually opening the show with some heavy poetry and then playing mind-bending, spacy music for the next few hours. I first heard Pink Floyd on her show.
Anyway, this concert was notable for me in that afterward I went out and purchased albums by two of the acts at the Record Baron on Forest Ave. One was Tower of Power, whose minor hit "What is Hip?" I really dug. These soulsters were from Oakland, Cal. and had a lot of horns action. Very energetic and dynamic, performancewise.
The other group I liked was Wet Willie, a bluesy rock/soul group that were stablemates of The Allman Brothers at Capricorn Records. Yes, they were from the South. This list of songs from a live album of thiers will give you an idea of what they were all about: !.That's Alright Mama, 2. She Caught the Katy, 3. No Good Woman Blues, 4. Red Hot Chicken, 5. Airport, 6. I'd Rather Be Blind, 7. Macon Georgia Greezy Hambone Blues, 8. Shout Bamalama. Oh yeah, they were hairy.
I don't know if WNEW continued the concert series after that, but 1972 and 1973 were it for me. Those were my first-ever concerts. I wanted more.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Drongos And My 'Net Legacy

When I first got on the Internet back in '98, I picked as a handle drongozone, which I still have/use to this day in some form or another. I got the word "drongo" from a New Zealandish rockabilly quartet with the monicker The Drongos. They used to busk at lunch time in Liberty Plaza, diagonally across Church St from the World Trade Center, back in the early '80s. They were a skinny bunch, three cats with big sideburns on gee-tar, bass, and snare drum and a guitar-playin' chick in a very short skirt. They could really rock. I didn't know it at the time but they also played out at CBGB's and other joints. But the street was their main theater, and I saw them all the time that one summer. And, yes, I did contribute to their bucket.
Anyway, several years later, I asked a Kiwi co-worker with the great name of Bronwyn Collie what the hell a "drongo" was and she told me in NZ it means "nerd" or "stupid person." And while I don't think those two descriptors actually describe me, I did like the way the word looked and sounded. So, I became Drongo, thanks to the skinny Kiwi rockabillies of Lower Manhattan.

Old Punks Never Die, They Just Sing Live Band Karaoke

The pic above features me at the microphone singing The Clash's version of Bobby Fuller's "I Fought The Law." The occasion was the WFMU 91.1FM Record Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th St. in October 2005. The group was called something like the Happy Fun Karaoke Band, and I was one of about 20 brave warblers seeking the spotlight in front of thousands of record collectors and millions of records in boxes, hoping to win some kind of gag prize. WFMU Saturday afternoon DJ Terre T emceed.
I had never sang live band karaoke before, just the usual guy-in-a-bar with music-machine type. It was a little daunting, but a couple of Bud bottles really made it easier to sign up. The group was pretty tight and their covers sounded a lot like the originals. It's hard to remember the numbers other contestants sang, but I do recall "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" and some Igg Pop tune.
I felt exhiliarated while singing, the band and I meshed really well, and the crowd reacted favorably. It felt really good. And then when Terre T put her hand over my head for crowd applause, I made it as a top-5 finalist. I didn't win ("Boots" did, I recall the gal who sang it was from Toronto). But it was great being part of a rock & roll show instead of just observing.
That's what this blog will be about--I intend to attempt to to recall every band I've ever seen, from about 1972 to present. This blog will amuse and inform and will provide a unique view on the grand history of one of America's great traditions--Rock & Roll.