Monday, September 27, 2004

The Higsons- "I Don't Want To Live With Monkeys"

The Higson's came together at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Their first single, "I Don't Want To Live With Monkeys" was released in 1981 on the Romans in Britain label. The band was fronted by Charlie Higson who called himself "Switch" and featured Terry Edwards on guitar and brass. The band "tried to put some funk in the punk" and according to Charlie, "We were often accused of trying to be the English Talking Heads, which we always strenuously denied, but let's face it, that's what we were trying to be." The label on the B-side states: "Anyone caught doing anything illegal with this fine record will have their backs broken, and they will end up mad like Charlie", so please don't download this track! The Higsons did a cover of "Music to Watch Girls By" which earned raves and chart success with the title changed to "Music to Watch Boys By". The band called it quits in 1986. In 1985 Robyn Hitchcock released an album entitled "Gotta Let This Hen Out!" named after a Higson's song. The live album included a song called "Listening to the Higsons". The Higson's were: Charlie Higson (lead vocals, harmonica, piano) who later found fame as a comedy writer and actor on the BBC's "The Fast Show", Terry Edwards (guitar, trumpet, sax ,piano ,vocals) fronted his own band and is a prolific session player, Simon Charterton (drums, vocals) played in Camden based "The Aftershave". Stuart McGeachin (guitar,vocals) and Colin Williams (bass, vocals) left the music business.

Get The Higsons "It's a Wonderful Life"

Go to the download page to get The Higsons- "I Don't Want To Live With Monkeys" mp3 here

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

RUDI - "14 Steps"

[Ed.- Here is part two with Brian Young of RUDI. Rudi were Brian Young - Vocals & Guitar, Ronnie Mathews - Vocals/Guitar, Graham Marshall - Drums, Gordon Blair - Bass and later Paul Martin - Keyboards, Vocals. Here's what Brian had to say about the song "14 Steps" and more about RUDI.]

"The B-side '14 Steps' is about much the same thing (as 'Crimson') only it's just saying you only get one life so don't waste it or poison it with guilt, hate and other fun emotions..the title came out of us wondering (probably drunkenly!!) why there are always the same number of steps in a staircase...(14... ulp! what were we on!) That's it in a nutshell.. Both were recorded in a few hours in Konk Studios in London and produced by Dave Woolley who engineered some Jam stuff but had never produced a record in his life before! We had wanted Mike Robinson who did the BBC session which we loved to produce the record but Jamming! couldn't afford the £200 he wanted paid to do it. Dave did O.K. though. Robin Richards who did so many of the old punk t-shirts did the sleeve for free - it was his wife on the front of we thought the finished article coulda been produced better but it did real well for fact one of the best memories I have of the time I was in RUDI was the last night of our stint as support to the Jam on the Transglobal unity express Tour when we played the Queens Hall Leeds which was the biggest venue we ever played to a packed house and Dave Liddle (Paul Weller's guitar roadie) introduced us with the news that Sounds had made 'Crimson' 'Single Of The Week'..and we went down a storm.... We always said it was up to the listener to decide what the songs were about and whatever it meant to them was what it was about...(just remembered one guy thunk it was a song advocating well!) ya can't win em all!"

[ED.- Thanks again to Brain Young for allowing me to post his music and for contributing to the site.]

Brain continues to make music with the SABREJETS.

Read more about RUDI here and here.

Get "Big Time" - The Best of Rudi here

Go to the download page to get RUDI - "14 Steps" mp3 here

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

RUDI - "Crimson"

[Ed.- When I research a post I try if possible to get permission from the artist to post their music. This obviously can be very difficult since many of the artists I post recorded their music over 20 years ago. If I'm lucky enough to make contact with the artist, I ask if they would like to contribute to the post. Brian Young, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the Northern Ireland punk Band RUDI was kind enough to tell me stories about the band and their music. RUDI is one of the most overlooked bands that rose out of Belfast punk scene in 1977. My next two posts will feature the music of the band and the words of Brian. Here's what Brian had to say about the song "Crimson."]

"Ronnie, Grimmy and I wrote it when we were still a 3 piece and the riff and intro were originally part of a song called 'Murder on The Second Floor' which never quite came off.. A few months later as if by magic we'd kicked it into shape and Crimson was born..! Unlike most bands we did write our songs together..words and just worked better that way.. We used to get slagged for writing 'obscure' lyrics - well they weren't obscure to us - but we hated the dumb sloganeering that was so prevalent at the time (and we'd done some ourselves when we were starting out..!) we let people figger it our for themselves..Crimson, like a lot of our later songs was political - but with a small 'p'...not silly party political crap but I s'pose what people would call personal politics..though we never sat down and figgered that out!

Idiot English journalists used to criticise us and the Undertones for not writing about the situation here - we always did but we avoided all the dumb cliches so I guess they missed the if we cared! Anyways the way we put it was that we couldn't have written the songs we did living anywhere else but Belfast... Crimson was our quirky way of saying that if you wanna do something with your life, or change your life or whatever, that it was up to you to do it..and that no one else would do it for ya..but that there was always hope..even when it looked impossible...we wuz kinda optimistic back then!"

[Ed.- To be continued next post. Thanks again to Brain Young for allowing me to post his music and for telling me his stories.]

Brain continues to make music with the SABREJETS.

Read more about RUDI here and here.

Get "Big Time" - The Best of Rudi here

Go to the download page to get RUDI - "Crimson" mp3 here

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Demics - "New York City"

Manchester, England's Keith Whittaker named his London, Ontario, Canada's band Demics after a Manchester, slang insult meaning "wanker". The band started playing in the small clubs of London after meeting in the downtown loft scene. They released an E.P. called "Talk's Cheap" which garnered some airplay on cutting edge Toronto radio station CFNY-FM with this version of "New York City". They played the Toronto club circuit and opened for The Dead Boys and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. The band split up in 1979 but reformed with new guitarist Steve Koch in early 1980. They recorded a self-titled album with a new version of "New York City" produced by English guitarist/producer Chris Spedding who later covered the song himself over 10 years later. They called it quits again in 1981. In 1996 Chart  Magazine, a Canadian college and alternative radio publication, voted "New York City" the best Canadian single of all time. Demics were Keith Whittaker - vocals, Iain Atkinson -bass, Rob Brent - guitar, Jimmy Weatherstone - drums and Steve Koch- guitar. Weatherstone and Koch would go on to play with country cow-punk Handsome Ned's various band incarnations. Sadly, Keith Whittaker died of cancer in Toronto in 1996.

In 1996, Other People's Music out of Toronto released a compilation CD of Demics material.

This Fall Linus Entertainment is rereleasing the 1980 self-titled album.

Go to the download page to get Demics - "New York City" mp3 here

Saturday, September 04, 2004

New Wave Doesn't Mean Shit

"I have excellent news for the world. There's no such thing as New Wave. It does not exist. It's a figment of lame kinds of imagination. There was never any such thing as New Wave. It was the polite thing to say when you were trying to explain you were not into the boring old rock 'n roll but you didn't dare to say punk because you were afraid to get kicked out of the party and they wouldn't give you coke any more. There's New Music, there's New Underground Sound, there's Noise, there's Punk, there's Power Pop, there's Ska, there's Rockabilly, but New Wave doesn't mean shit."

Claude Bessey, from the film The Decline of Western Civilization

Sadly, Claude Bessey died of lung cancer in 1999.

Hear the quote